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PHOCION. Phocion the Athenian was never seen to laugh or cry. In an assembly one told him, You seem to be thoughtful, Phocion. You guess right, said he, for I am contriving how to contract what I have to say to the people of Athens. The Oracle told the Athenians, there was one man in the city of a contrary judgment to all the rest; and the Athenians in a hubbub ordered search to be [p. 214] made, who this should be. I, said Phocion, am the man; I alone am pleased with nothing the common people say or do. Once when he had delivered an opinion which pleased the people, and perceived it was entertained by a general consent, he turned to his friend, and said: Have I not unawares spoken some mischievous thing or other? The Athenians gathered a benevolence for a certain sacrifice; and when others contributed to it, he being often spoken to said: I should be ashamed to give to you, and not to pay this man,—pointing to one of his creditors. Demosthenes the orator told him, If the Athenians should be mad, they would kill you. Like enough, said he, me if they were mad, but you if they were wise. Aristogiton the informer, being condemned and ready to be executed in prison, entreated that Phocion would come to him. And when his friends would not suffer him to go to so vile a person; And where, said he, would you discourse with Aristogiton more pleasantly? The Athenians were offended with the Byzantines, for refusing to receive Chares into their city, who was sent with forces to assist them against Philip. Said Phocion, You ought not to be displeased with the distrust of your confederates, but with your commanders that are not to be trusted. Whereupon he was chosen general, and being trusted by the Byzantines, he forced Philip to return without his errand. King Alexander sent him a present of a hundred talents; and he asked those that brought it, what it should mean that, of all the Athenians, Alexander should be thus kind to him. They answered, because he esteemed him alone to be a worthy and upright person. Pray therefore, said he, let him suffer me to seem as well as to be so. Alexander sent to them for some ships, and the people calling for Phocion by name, bade him speak his opinion. He stood up and told them: I advise you either to conquer yourselves, or else to side with the conqueror. An uncertain [p. 215] rumor happened, that Alexander was dead. Immediately the orators leaped into the pulpit, and advised them to make war without delay; but Phocion entreated them to tarry awhile and know the certainty: For, said he, if he is dead to-day, he will be dead to-morrow, and so forwards. Leosthenes hurried the city into a war, with fond hopes conceited at the name of liberty and command. Phocion compared his speechesto cypress-trees; They are tall, said he, and comely, but bear no fruit. However, the first attempts were successful; and when the city was sacrificing for the good news, he was asked whether he did not wish he had done this himself. I would, said he, have done what has been done, but have advised what I did. When the Macedonians invaded Attica and plundered the seacoasts, he drew out the youth. When many came to him and generally persuaded him by all means to possess himself of such an ascent, and thereon to marshal his army, O Hercules! said he, how many commanders do I see, and how few soldiers? Yet he fought and overcame, and slew Nicion, the commander of the Macedonians. But in a short time the Athenians were overcome, and admitted a garrison sent by Antipater. Menyllus, the governor of that garrison, offered money to Phocion, who was enraged thereby and said: This man is no better than Alexander; and what I refused then I can with less honor receive now. Antipater said, of the two friends he had at Athens, he could never persuade Phocion to accept a present, nor could he ever satisfy Demades with presents. When Antipater requested him to do some indirect thing or other, Antipater, said he, you cannot have Phocion for your friend and flatterer too. After the death of Antipater, democracy was established in Athens, and the assembly decreed the death of Phocion and his friends. The rest were led weeping to execution; but as Phocion passed silently, one of his enemies met him and spat in his face.

[p. 216] But he turned himself to the magistrates, and said, Will nobody restrain this insolent fellow? One of those that were to suffer with him lamented and took on: Why, Euippus, said he, are you not pleased that you die with Phocion? When the cup of hemlock was brought to him, being asked whether he had any thing to say to his son; I command you, said he, and entreat you not to think of any revenge upon the Athenians.

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