When Alexander wrote asking the Athenians to send him triremes, and the orators opposed the request, and the council bade Phocion speak upon the matter,
‘I tell you, then,’ he said,
‘either to be superior in arms or to be friends with those who are superior.’ To Pytheas, who at that time was just beginning to address the Athenians, but was already loquacious and bold, Phocion said:
‘Hold thy peace, thou who art but a newly bought slave of the people!’
And when Harpalus, who had run away from Alexander out of Asia with great sums of money, landed in Attica,1
and those who were wont to make merchandise of their influence as orators came running to him at breakneck speed, to these men he dropped and scattered small morsels of his wealth by way of bait; but he sent to Phocion and offered him seven hundred talents, and everything else that he had, and put himself with all his possessions at the sole disposition of Phocion.
But Phocion answered sharply that Harpalus would rue it if he did not cease trying to corrupt the city, and for the time being the traitor was abashed and desisted from his efforts. After a little, however, when the Athenians were deliberating upon his case, he found that those who had taken money from him were changing sides and denouncing him, that they might not be discovered; while Phocion, who would take nothing, was now giving some consideration to the safety of Harpalus as well as to the public interests.
Again, therefore, he was led to pay court to Phocion, but after all his efforts to bribe him found that he was impregnable on all sides like a fortress. Of Charicles, however, Phocion's son-in-law, Harpalus made an intimate associate and friend, trusting him in everything and using him in everything, and thus covered him with infamy.