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motion for imprisoning Harpalus and sequestrating the Harpalian treasure in trust for Alexander; in fact, Hyperides himself denounced Demosthenes, as having, from subservience to Alexander, closed the door against Harpalus and his prospects.
This, however, does not meet the entire charge against Demosthenes. It tends to refute the charge of receiving money directly from the wealthy refugee; but how about the corrupt appropriation of it, after the satrap had made it over to Athens ? Had Demosthenes the means of embezzling the money, after it had passed out of the control of Harpalus ?”—this is the question. And to this also Mr. Grote's answer is in the negative, with the caution," so far as Athenian practice enables us to judge”-into the details of which practice he enters at some length, deducing from them a plausible case in favour of his client. He appeals, too, with force and confidence, to the accusatory speech of Deinarchus," which is mere virulent invective, barren of facts and evidentiary matter, and running over all the life of Demosthenes for the preceding twenty years ;" to the similar character of the speech of Hyperides, judged by the fragments † still remaining; to the like absence of facts in the report made by the Areopagus,and again, to the way in which Hyperides met the demand of Demosthenes (a demand which every defendant would naturally make), that the charge against him should be proved by some positive evidence, by setting aside the demand as nothing better than cavil and special pleading.
“One further consideration remains to be noticed. Only nine months after the verdict of the Dikastery against Demosthenes, Alexander died. Presently the Athenians and other Greeks rose against Antipater in the struggle called the Lamian war. Demosthenes was then recalled ; received from his countrymen an enthusiastic welcome, such as had never been accorded to any returning exile since the days of Alcibiades; took a leading part in the management of the war, and perished, on its disastrous termination, along with his accuser Hyperides.”
To so speedy a revolution of opinion about Demosthenes, Mr. Grote appeals, in confirmation of the conclusion he draws from the other circumstances of the case that the verdict against the orator was, in reality, not judicial, but political; growing out of the embarrassing necessities of the times. In this view, it was a political rather than a judicial sentence which the Areopagites pronounced, when, at the end of six months, they presented their report on the Harpalian affair-and they singled out Demosthenes, accordingly, as a victim highly acceptable to Alexander, and as a man who
* Grote, XII. 408. † Lately edited by Mr. Churchill Babington, and used to some purpose by Mr. Grote in his closing volume.
Grote, XII, 407 sqq. .
happened to be unpopular at that crisis with both the reigning parties; with the philo-Macedonians, from long date, and not without sufficient reason; with the anti-Macedonians, because he had stood prominent in opposing Harpalus. His accusers, Mr. Grote continues, “count upon the hatred of the former against him, as a matter of course ; they recommend him to the hatred of the latter, as a base creature of Alexander. The Dikasts doubtless included men of both parties; and as a collective body, they might probably feel, that, to ratify the list presented by the Areopagus was the only way of finally closing a subject replete with danger and discord” •
Such appears to Mr. Grote the probable history of the Harpalian transactions and it leaves Demosthenes innocent of corrupt profit, not less than Phocion, while it is the reverse of creditable to the Athenian politicians generally; exhibiting, as it does, the judicial conscience of Athens as under pressure of dangers from without, worked upon by party intrigues within. It may be added that Mr. Grote passes over lightly the exculpatory testimony of the admiral, Philoxenus, cited in Pausanias, in favour of Demosthenes, which Bishop Thirlwall has laid considerable stress upon, in his narrative of these troublous times.
There is an unwonted warmth in the eulogy Mr. Grote passes on the great orator, when called upon, in the course of events, to record the death, and sum up the characteristics, of that illustrious patriot. We are reminded that thirty years before his death, which occurred at the age of sixty-two, Demosthenes, in his first Philippic, took a sagacious and provident measure of the danger which threatened Grecian liberty from the energy and encroachments of Philip; that he impressed upon his countrymen this coming danger, at a time when the older and more influential politicians either could not or would not see it calling aloud upon his fellow-citizens for personal service and pecuniary contributions, and enforcing the call by all the artifices of consummate oratory, when such distasteful propositions only entailed unpopularity upon himself.
Throughout the whole career of Demosthenes as a public adviser, down to the battle of Chæroneia, we trace the same combination of earnest patriotism with wise and long-sighted policy. During the three years' war which ended with the battle of Charoneia, the Athenians in the main followed his counsel; and disastrous as were the ultimate military results of that war, for which Demosthenes could not be responsible—its earlier periods were creditable and successful, its general scheme was the best that the case admitted, and its diplomatic management universally triumphant.”+
So much for the later, stage of the orator's statesmanship. As for the earlier, the period of his first Philippic (B.C. 352-1), which, be it remembered, was long before the fall of Olynthus, Mr. Grote is fully convinced that the power of Philip (then philippicised for the first time), though formidable, might have been kept perfectly well within the limits of Macedonia and Thrace; and that it probably would have been so kept, had Demosthenes possessed then as much public influence as he had acquired ten years later : ten years later, and perhaps eight or nine too late.
* Ibid. 415-6.
† Ibid. 443,
The peculiar grandeur which, in the historian's judgment, ennobles the purposes and policy of Demosthenes, is, that
they were not simply Athenian, but in an eminent degree Pan-hellenic also. His cry was something more than Athens for the Athenians ! if not more than Hellas for the Hellenes, Greece for the Greeks! "It was not Athens only that he sought to defend against Philip, but the whole Hellenic world. In this he towers above the greatest of his predecessors for half a century before his birth—Perikles, Archidamus, Agesilaus, Epaminondas; whose policy was Athenian, Spartan, Theban, rather than Hellenic. He carries us back to the time of the invasion of Xerxes and the generation immediately succeeding it, when the struggles and sufferings of the Athenians against Persia were consecrated by complete identity of interest with collective Greece.”
Then again, as to the part Demosthenes played in the Lamian war: though not of his suggestion, since he was in exile at its commencement, he threw himself into it with unreserved ardour, and was greatly instrumental in procuring the large number of adhesions which it obtained from so many Grecian states. There was no excessive rashness, the historian maintains, in calculating on distractions in the empire left by Alexander, on mutual hostility among the principal officers, and on the probability of having only to make head against Antipater and Macedonia, with little or no reinforcement from Asia. “Disastrous as the enterprise ultimately proved, yet the risk was one fairly worth incurring, with so noble an object at stake; and could the war have been protracted another year, its termination would probably have been very different." But this is speculation; and there will be those to whom Mr. Grote's apology for the Lamian war, as feasible and promising, will, considering the issue of that strife, invalidate his opinion as to the feasibility of opposition to Philip, when Demosthenes first came out as opposition leader.
Melancholy as are the circumstances attendant on the death of the great orator,—though, after a catastrophe which extinguished free speech in Greece, and dispersed the citizens of Athens through distant lands, he could hardly have desired, at the age of sixty-two, to prolong his existence as a fugitive beyond sea,”—there is something more melancholy still, the historian reckons, in the prolonged life of Phocion. Phocion, a man of war, had played the man of
peace; and, as every believer in Demosthenes must hold, not wisely, but too well—for the invader. None, however, distrust the integrity of Phocion's purpose, or suspect the incorrupt singleness of his motives,
with whom Athenian honours sunk, according to the poet of the “ Seasons,"
And left a mass of sordid lees behind;
Not friendship softer was, nor love more kind. But to zealous anti-Macedonians the role assumed by Phocion, as agent of Macedonian supremacy in a city reft of half its citizens, does seem in character only with that of
a very foolish fond old man,
Fourscore and upward, the actual age at which he had now arrived, though they cannot add that,
- to deal plainly, They fear he was not in his perfect mind, but in a state of “second childishness and mere oblivion," the consequence of attaining to such years of indiscretion,-since the policy Phocion adopted as an octogenarian was but a continuation of what he had all along sanctioned by precept and example. Of course he is, politically, no favourite with Mr. Grote, who always does justice, however, as well to his public probity as to his private worth. The story of his condemnation and death is told with impressive simplicity. His last sayings and sufferings, so characteristic of the man, and of those who judged him, are once again recorded, which they never can be without effect : how he exclaimed, when a hearing was refused him, "For myself, Athenians, I plead guilty ; I pronounce against myself the sentence of death for my political conduct; but,” pointing to his friends, who, like him, were cried down with tumultuous clamour,—" but why are you to sentence these men near me, who are not guilty?” And the bitter answer was, “ Because they are your friends, Phocion !” -how, when one brutal mobsman planted himself in front of the hooting ranks, through which Phocion and his friends had to pass on the way to prison and to death, and there aspired to a eminence” among the throng by spitting upon the aged statesman, the latter turned to the public officers, and exclaimed, “Will no one check this indecent fellow?”—and how, being asked whether he had anything to tell his son Phocus, Phocion replied, " I tell him emphatically, not to hold evil memory of the Athenians.”
This bequest of pardon and good-will to Athens was a very
morituri salutatio just before the hemlock was administered to him in the condemned cell. He was the last of the five to drink it. As it was for treason they suffered, the bodies of the prisoners were excluded from burial within Attica; “nor were Phokion's friends allowed to light a funeral pile for the burning of his body; which was carried out of Attica into the Megaris, by a hired agent named Konopion, and there burnt by fire obtained at Megara. The wife of Phokion, with her maids, poured libations, and marked the spot by a small mound of earth; she also collected the bones and brought them back to Athens in her bosom, during the secrecy of night. She buried them near her own domestic hearth, with this address—Beloved Hestia, I confide to thee the relics of a good man.
Restore them to his own family vault, as soon as the Athenians shall come to their senses. Plutarch tells us the Athenians did soon come to their senses : they discovered. that Phocion had been a faithful and excellent public servant, they repented of their severity towards him, they celebrated his funeral obsequies at the public expense, they erected a statue in his honour, and they made an example of his adversaries.
All this Mr. Grote admits, except the involved inference that the Athenians had come to their senses. Plutarch's facts he accepts, but Plutarch's philosophy on the subject he rejects. The real explanation of the change, according to Mr. Grote, lies in this—that within two or three months after the death of Phocion, Cassander became master of Athens, and the oligarchical or Phocionic party again got the upper hand,—Demetrius the Phalerean being recalled from exile, and charged with the government of the city under Cassander, just as Phocion had governed it under Antipater. The anti-Phocionites were again under a cloud; it was not by act or deed of theirs that Phocion was now honoured—by no reaction in their feelings was his memory now canonised, in the city that had condemned him not many weeks since. Plutarch's account implies a spontaneous change of popular opinion respecting him, and this is what Mr. Grote will not allow. “I see no reason, he declares, “ why such change of opinion should have occurred, nor do I believe that it did occur." For the historian is of opinion that the demos of Athens, banished and deported in mass, had the best ground for hating Phocion, and were not likely to become ashamed of the feeling. He recognises the virtues of Phocion, his personally mild and incorruptible character,—but can see no benefit that the people of Athens ever derived from these good qualities in the minister: to them it was of little moment that he should steadily refuse all presents from Antipater, when he did Antipater's work gratuitously. He might deliver his own soul by this superiority to corruption ; but they, meanwhile, were in the same position as though he were the sold, salaried, servile tool of the Macedonian.