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What then were the speeches he made at that crisis—the speeches that brought everything to ruin? He told you that you need not be excited because Philip had passed Thermopylae; that, if only you kept quiet, you would get all you wanted, and would within two or three days learn that Philip was now the friend of those to whom he came as enemy, and the enemy of those to whom he came as friend. The bonds of amity, he declared, with his most impressive eloquence, are fortified not by words but by community of interest; and it was an interest common to Philip, to the Phocians, and to all of you alike, to be quit of the unfeeling and offensive behavior of the Thebans.
How did he manage it? By hiring Aeschines. Nobody, of course, had any inkling; nobody was watching— according to your usual custom! Aeschines was nominated for the deputation to Thermopylae; three or four hands were held up, and he was declared elected. He repaired to the Council, invested with all the prestige of Athens, and at once, putting aside and disregarding everything else, addressed himself to the business for which he had taken pay. He concocted a plausible speech about the legendary origin of the consecration of the Cirrhaean territory, and by this narration induced the commissioners, men unversed in oratory and unsuspicious of consequences
therefore be it resolved by the Council and People of Athens, after offering prayers and sacrifices to the gods and heroes who guard the city and country of the Athenians, and after taking into consideration their ancestors' merits, in that they ranked the preservation of the liberties of Greece above the claims of their own state, that two hundred ships be launched, and that the Admiral sail into the Straits of Thermopylae, and that the General and commander of the cavalry march out with the infantry and cavalry to Eleusis; also that ambassadors be sent to the other Greeks, but first of all to the Thebans, because Philip is nearest to their territory,
If in each of the cities of Greece there had been some one man such as I was in my appointed station in your midst, nay, if Thessaly had possessed one man and Arcadia one man holding the same sentiments that I held, no Hellenic people beyond or on this side of Thermopylae would have been exposed to their present distresses:
I came forward and reported the whole truth to the Council. I denounced these men, and told the whole story, point by point, beginning with those earlier hopes created by the reports of Ctesiphon and Aristodemus, going on to the more recent orations of Aeschines at the approval of the peace, and showing to what straits they had reduced the city. There remained the question of the Phocians and Thermopylae, and we must not—such was my advice—we must not repeat our experience, and throw them overboard, and so, in reliance upon a succession of idle hopes and assurances, allow ourselves to fall into the last extremity of disaster. I convinced the Counc
Well, the Council adopted this resolution. When the Assembly met, Philip was already at Thermopylae. For that is the beginning of their misdeeds; they had surrendered control to Philip and then,—although the right course for you was, first to hear the facts, next to decide, and finally to carry out your decision,—you heard nothing until he was already on the spot, and it was no easy matter to advise you what to
We returned from the oath-taking embassy on the thirteenth of Scirophorion, when Philip was already at Thermopylae and making promises to the Phocians which they were not disposed to believe. The proof of that is that otherwise they would not have resorted to you. Then the Assembly, at which these men brought the whole business to ruin with their lies and cajolery, was held on the sixteenth of Scirophorion.
But when he had reached Thermopylae, and when the Lacedaemonians, detecting the snare, had withdrawn, he sent Aeschines as his agent in advance for your deception, lest, when you discovered that he was acting in the interest of the Thebans, he should be involved once more in delays and fighting and waste of time with the Phocians resisting him, and you helping them. In this way he hoped to obtain complete mastery without a struggle. And so it fell out. Aeschines, then, must not escape punishment for deceiving you, merely because Philip deceived the Lacedaemonians and the Phocians. That would be unjust indeed.