Demetrius, who was then very young, had to answer all these representations; and it was no easy matter to retain in memory, either all the charges which were brought against his father, or what was proper to be said in reply.
For the charges were not only numerous, but most of them exceedingly frivolous; of disputes about boundaries, of men forced away and cattle driven off; of justice, either capriciously administered or refused; of property adjudged either by force or influence.
When the senate perceived that Demetrius could not explain any of those matters distinctly, and that they could not gain satisfactory information from him, and when, at the same time, the youth, through inexperience and bashfulness, was much embarrassed, they ordered that he should be asked whether he had received from his father any written instructions on those points; and on his answering that he had, it appeared to them better and more proper to receive the answers of the king himself, on each particular head;
so they immediately called for the scroll, but afterwards gave him leave to read it to them in person.
Here were his apologies on each subject, compressed into a narrow compass; informing them that, in some cases, he had [p. 1844]
acted in conformity to the determinations of the ambassadors; in others, that the fault of not conforming to them, lay not in him, but actually in the persons themselves who accused him. He had interspersed, also, complaints concerning the injustice of the decrees, and the partiality with which the discussion was carried on in presence of Caecilius, and of the insults that were offered him, in a most unworthy and unmerited manner, by all.
The senate inferred from these marks that his mind was irritated;
nevertheless, on the young man apologizing for some things, and undertaking that others should be performed in the manner most agreeable to the senate, they ordered the answer to be given him, that “in no instance had his father acted with more propriety, or given more pleasure to the senate, than in his choosing, whatever the nature
of those transactions might be, to send his excuses for them to the Romans, by his son Demetrius. That the senate could leave unnoticed, forget, and put up with, many past matters, and believe also that they might place confidence in Demetrius;
for though they restored his person to his father, they still had his mind as a hostage, and were convinced that, as far as he could, without infringing on his duty to his father, he was a friend to the Roman people.
That, to do him honour, they would send ambassadors into Macedon, in order that, if any thing which ought to have been done was left undone, it might then be effected, but still without requiring an atonement for former omissions.
That they wished Philip also to be sensible, that it was owing to the kind offices of his son Demetrius, that the treaty between him and the Roman people remained inviolate.”