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You would, I expect, men of Athens, accept it as the equivalent of a large amount of money, if it could be made clear to you what will prove our best policy in the matters now under discussion. This then being so, you are bound to give an eager hearing to all who offer advice. For not only if someone comes forward with a well-considered plan, could you hear and accept it, but also I count it part of your good fortune that more than one speaker may be inspired with suitable suggestions on the spur of the moment, so that out of the multitude of proposals the choice of the best should not be difficult.
On many occasions, men of Athens, one may, I think, recognize the manifest favor of heaven towards our city, and not least at the present crisis. That Philip has found men willing to fight him, situated on his frontiers and possessed of considerable power, above all so determined that they regard any accommodation with him as both delusive and fatal to their own country—this has all the appearance of a super-human, a divine beneficence
Very different, men of Athens, are the thoughts suggested to me by the contemplation of public affairs and by the speeches to which I listen. I observe that the speeches are all about punishing Philip, while our affairs have reached a stage at which it must be our first concern to avoid disaster ourselves. Hence these speakers seem to me to make precisely the mistake of submitting to you the wrong subject for deliberation.
If the question before us were a new one, men of Athens, I should have waited until most of the regular speakers had delivered their opinions, and if satisfied with any of their proposals, I should have remained silent, but if not satisfied, I should then have tried to express my own views. Since, however, it is our fortune to be still debating a point on which they have often spoken before, I can safely claim your indulgence if I am the first to rise and address you. For if in the past their advice had been sound, there would be no need for deliberation today.
I perceive, men of Athens, that the present outlook gives rise to much vexation and perplexity, because not only have we suffered serious losses, which cannot be mended by fine speeches, but there is also complete divergence of opinion about the preservation of what is left of our empire, one favoring this policy, another that.
Whenever, men of Athens, we are discussing Philip's intrigues and his violations of the peace, I observe that all the speeches on our side are manifestly inspired by justice and generosity, and those who denounce Philip are all felt to be saying exactly the right thing; but of the much needed action, which alone would make the speeches worth hearing, little or nothing ensues.
Men of Athens, the charges that Philip brings against the speakers who here uphold your claims shall never deter us from offering our advice on what concerns your interests; for it would be monstrous if the freedom of utterance which is the privilege of this platform should be stifled by dispatches from him. But for myself, men of Athens, I wish first to touch upon the diffho here uphold your claims shall never deter us from offering our advice on what concerns your interests; for it would be monstrous if the freedom of utterance which is the privilege of this platform should be stifled by dispatches from him. But for myself, men of Athens, I wish first to touch upon the different points of his letter, and then to add my comments on the speeches of his ambassadors.
It should be the duty of all speakers, men of Athens, to give no expression to their hatred or their partiality, but to put forward just what each thinks the best counsel, especially when you are debating a question of urgent public importance. But since there are speakers who are impelled to address you, either as partisans or from some other motive, whatever it may be, you citizens who form the majority ought to dismiss all else from your minds, and vote and act in such a way as you think will best serve our city.
Many speeches are delivered, men of Athens, at almost every meeting of the Assembly, about the wrongs that Philip has been committing, ever since the conclusion of peace, not only against you but also against the other states, and all the speakers would, I am sure, admit in theory, though they do not put it in practice, that the object both of our words and deeds must be to check and chastise his arrogance; yet I perceive that all our interests have been so completely betrayed and sacrificed, that—I am afraid it is an ominous thing to say, but yet the truth—even if all who address you had wanted to propose, and all of you had wanted to pass, measures that were bound to bring our affairs into the worst possible plight, I do not think they could have been in a worse condi
The matters that you are debating, men of Athens, are to my mind so important and even vital to the State, that I will endeavour to offer you what I consider profitable advice on the subject. While the faults that have produced this unhappy state of things are neither few nor recently accumulated, there is nothing, men of Athens, more vexing at the present time than the way in which things are neither few nor recently accumulated, there is nothing, men of Athens, more vexing at the present time than the way in which you detach your thoughts from affairs, and display an interest only so long as you sit here listening, or when some fresh item of news arrives; after that, each man goes home, and not only pays no attention to public business, but does not even recall it to mind.