In the meantime, too, Polysperchon, who had the king1
in his own personal charge and was seeking to thwart the schemes of Cassander, sent a letter to the citizens of Athens, announcing that the king restored to them their democracy and ordered that all Athenians should take part in the administration of the city according to their earlier polity.
This was a plot against Phocion. For Polysperchon was scheming (as he plainly showed a little later) to dispose the city in his own interests, and had no hope of succeeding unless Phocion was banished; he was sure, however, that Phocion would be banished if the disfranchised citizens overwhelmed the administration, and the tribunal was again at the mercy of demagogues and public informers.
Since the Athenians were somewhat stirred by these communications, Nicanor wished to address them,2
and after a council had been convened in Peiraeus, he came before it, relying upon Phocion for the safety of his person. But Dercyllus, the Athenian general in command of the district, made an attempt to arrest him, whereupon Nicanor, who became aware of the attempt in time, dashed away, and was clearly about to inflict speedy punishment upon the city. Phocion, however, when assailed for letting Nicanor go and not detaining him, said that he had confidence in Nicanor and expected no evil at his hands; but in any case, he would rather be found suffering wrong than doing wrong.
Now, such an utterance as this might seem honourable and noble in one who had regard to his own interests alone; but he who endangers his country's safety, and that, too, when he is her commanding general, transgresses, I suspect, a larger and more venerable obligation of justice towards his fellow citizens. For it cannot even be said that it was the fear of plunging the city into war which made Phocion refrain from seizing Nicanor, but that he sought to excuse himself on other grounds by protestations of good faith and justice, in order that Nicanor might respect these obligations and keep the peace and do the Athenians no wrong;
nay, it would seem that he really had too strong a confidence in Nicanor. For though many gave warning against that officer and accused him of hostile designs against the Peiraeus, in that he was sending mercenaries across to Salamis, and tampering with some of the residents in Peiraeus, Phocion would not give heed to the story nor believe it at all. Indeed, even after Philomelus of Lamptrae brought in a decree that all Athenians should stand under arms and await orders from Phocion their general, he paid no attention to the matter, until Nicanor led his troops forth from Munychia and began to run trenches around the Peiraeus.