Demosthenes, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Dem.].
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10.22when the next event occurs, you are again in a bustle of preparation. But that is not the way. If you trust to occasional levies, you can never gain any of your essential objects; but you must first raise a force and provide for its maintenance, and appoint paymasters and clerks, and arrange that there shall be the strictest watch kept over your expenditure, and afterwards you must demand from your paymasters an account of their moneys, and from the general an account of his campaign, and you must leave the general no excuse for sailing elsewhere or engaging in any other business. 10.23If you do this, and you are really in earnest about it, you will either compel Philip to keep the peace fairly and to stay in one place, or you will fight him on equal terms; and perhaps—perhaps, just as you are now inquiring what Philip is doing and where he is marching, so he may be anxious to know where the Athenian force is bound for, and in what quarter it will appear.

10.24But if anyone thinks that all this means great expense and much toil and worry, he is quite correct, but if he reckons up what will hereafter be the result to Athens if she refuses to act, he will conclude that it is to our interest to perform our duty willingly. For if you have the guarantee of some god, since no mere mortal could be a satisfactory surety for such an event, that if you remain inactive and abandon everything, Philip will not in the end march against yourselves, 10.25by Zeus and all the other gods, it would be disgraceful and unworthy of you and of the resources of your city and the record of your ancestors to abandon all the other Greeks to enslavement for the sake of your own ease, and I for one would rather die than be guilty of proposing such a policy. 10.26All the same, if someone does propose it and wins your assent, so be it; offer no resistance, sacrifice everything. But if no one approves of this, and if on the contrary we all of us foresee that the more we allow him to extend his power, the stronger and more formidable we shall find him in war, what escape is open to us, or why do we delay? When, men of Athens, shall we consent to do our duty? 10.27“Whenever it is necessary,” you will say. But what any free man would call necessity is not merely present now, but is long ago past, and from the necessity that constrains a slave we must surely pray to be delivered. Do you ask the difference? The strongest necessity that a free man feels is shame for his own position, and I know not if we could name a stronger; but for a slave necessity means stripes and bodily outrage, unfit to name here, from which Heaven defend us!

10.28Now, men of Athens, with regard to such public services as it is the duty of everyone to discharge, both with person and with property, that there should be a disposition to avoid them is not right—indeed, far from it—but still it does admit of some excuse notwithstanding; but to refuse even to listen to all that you ought to hear and all that you are bound to decide deserves, at such a time as this, absolute condemnation. 10.29Your habit, then, is not to listen until, as now, the events themselves are upon you, and not to discuss any question at your leisure but whenever Philip makes his preparations, you neglect the chance of doing the same, and you are too remiss to make counter-preparations; and if anyone speaks out, you drive him from the platform, but when you learn of the loss of this place or the siege of that, then you pay attention and begin to prepare. 10.30But the time to have listened and made your decision was just then, when you would not do it; now, when you are listening, is the time to act and put your preparations to use. Therefore in consequence of these bad habits you alone reverse the general practice of mankind; for other people deliberate before the event, but you after the event.

10.31The one thing that remains and that ought to have been done long ago, though even now the chance is not lost, I will tell you. There is nothing that the State needs so much for the coming struggle as money. Some strokes of good fortune we have enjoyed without our design, and if we make the right use of them, the desired results may perhaps follow. For first, the men whom the king of Persia trusts and has accepted as his “benefactors,” [Note] hate Philip and are at war with him. 10.32Secondly, the agent [Note] who was privy to all Philip's schemes against the king of Persia has been kidnapped, and the king will hear of all these plots, not as the complaint of Athenians, whom he might suspect of speaking for our own private advantage, but from the lips of the very man who planned and carried them out, so that their credit is established, and the only suggestion for our ambassadors to make is one which the king would be delighted to hear, 10.33that the man who is wronging both parties should be punished by both in common, and that Philip is much more dangerous to the king if he has attacked us first, for if we are left to our own resources and anything happens to us, he will soon be marching confidently against the king. I think you ought to send an embassy to put all these matters before the king, and you ought to drop the foolish prejudice that has so often brought about your discomfiture—“the barbarian,” “the common foe of us all,” and all such phrases.



Demosthenes, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Dem.].
<<Dem. 10.14 Dem. 10.27 (Greek) >>Dem. 10.37

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