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Such, in consequence, is the state of our public affairs that if anyone read out your resolutions and then went on to describe your performances, not a soul would believe that the same men were responsible for the one and for the other. Take for instance the decrees that you passed against the accursed Megarians,Neither this nor the following allusion can be determined with certainty. when they appropriated the sacred demesne, that you should march out and prevent it and forbid it; in favour of the Phliasians, when they were exiled the other day, that you should help them and not give them up to their murderers, and should call for volunteers from the Peloponnese.
If the Megalopolitans, though peace is secured for them, still cling to the Theban alliance, it will of course be obvious to all that they prefer the ambition of Thebes to the claims of justice; or if, while the Megalopolitans join our alliance in all sincerity, the Lacedaemonians refuse to keep the peace, then it will be equally obvious that the object of their activities is not merely to restore Thespiae, but to subjugate the Peloponnese while the Thebans are engrossed in the war.
I come to another claim sanctioned by the compact. For the actual words are, “If any of the parties shall overthrow the constitution established in the several states at the date when they took the oaths to observe the peace, they shall be treated as enemies by all the parties to the peace.” But just reflect, men of Athens, that the Achaeans in the Peloponnese enjoyed democratic government, and one of their democracies, that of Pellene, has now been overthrown by the Macedonian king, who has expelled the majority of the citizens, given their property to their slaves, and set up Chaeron, the wrestler, as their tyra
When the Phocian war began—not by my fault, for I was still outside politics—you were at first disposed to hope that the Phocians would escape ruin, although you knew that they were in the wrong, and to exult over any misfortune that might befall the Thebans, with whom you were justly and reasonably indignant because of the immoderate use they had made of the advantage they gained at Leuctra. The Peloponnesus was divided. The enemies of the Lacedaemonians were not strong enough to destroy them; and the aristocrats whom the Lacedaemonians had put into power had lost control of the several states. In those states and everywhere else there was indiscriminate strife and confusion.
In this letter there is no mention of the name of Demosthenes, nor any charge against me. Why does he forget my acts, when he blames others? Because he could not mention me without recalling his own transgressions, on which I fixed my attention, and which I strove to resist. I began by proposing the embassy to Peloponnesus, when first he tried to get a footing there; then the embassy to Euboea, when he was tampering with Euboea; then an expedition— not an embassy—to Oreus, and again to Eretria, when he had set up tyrants in those citi
So we were engaged in thanksgiving, and the Thebans in the deliverance that they owed to us. The situation was reversed, and a nation that, thanks to the intrigues of Aeschines and his party, seemed on the verge of suing for aid, was now giving aid in pursuance of the advice which you accepted from me. But indeed, what sort of language Philip gave vent to at that time, and how seriously he was discomposed, you shall learn from letters sent by him to Peloponnesus. Please take and read them, that the jury may learn the real effect of my perseverance, of my journeys and hardships, and of that profusion of decrees at which Aeschines was just now scoffing.
What course of action was proper for a patriotic citizen who was trying to serve his country with all possible prudence and energy and loyalty? Surely it was to protect Attica on the sea-board by Euboea, on the inland frontier by Boeotia, and on the side towards Peloponnesus by our neighbors in that direction; to make provision for the passage of our corn-supply along friendly coasts all the way to Peiraeus;
Moreover, apart from the discredit and infamy attached to these transactions, it is easy to show that they have involved the commonwealth in very serious perils. You all know that the prowess of the Phocians, and their control of the pass of Thermopylae, gave us security against the Thebans, and ensured that neither Philip nor the Thebans would invade either the Peloponnesus, or Euboea, or Attica.
Yet this infatuation, this hankering after Philip, men of Athens, until very recently had only destroyed the predominance of the Thessalians and their national prestige, but now it is already sapping their independence, for some of their citadels are actually garrisoned by Macedonians. It has invaded Peloponnesus and caused the massacres at Elis. It infected those unhappy people with such delirious insanity that, to overmaster one another and to gratify Philip, they stained their hands with the blood of their own kindred and fellow-citizens.