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Aeschines, then, was the first man in Athens, as he claimed at the time in a speech, to perceive that Philip had designs against Greece, and was corrupting some of the magnates of Arcadia. It was he who, with Ischander, son of Neoptolemus, as his understudy, addressed the Council, and addressed the Assembly, on this subject, and persuaded them to send ambassadors to all the Greek states to convene a conference at Athens for the consideration of war with Philip.
Your deliverance of the island was a generous act, but still more generously, when you had their lives and their cities at your mercy, you restored them honestly to men who had sinned against you, forgetting your wrongs where you found yourselves trusted. I pass over ten thousand instances I could cite,—battles by sea, expeditions by land, campaigns of ancient date and of our own times, in all of which Athens engaged herself for the freedom and salvation of Greece
You will find that I maintained the same character both in domestic and in Hellenic policy. At home I never preferred the gratitude of the rich to the claims of the poor; in foreign affairs I never coveted the gifts and the friendship of Philip rather than the common interests of all Greece.
It was he who afterwards, on his return from Arcadia, gave a report of the fine long orations which he said he had delivered as your spokesman before the Ten Thousand at Megalopolis in reply to Philip's champion Hieronymus, and he made a long story of the enormous harm which corrupt statesmen in the pay of Philip were doing not only to their own countries but to the whole of Greece.
The war at Amphissa, that is, the war that brought Philip to Elatea, and caused the election, as general of the Amphictyons, of a man who turned all Greece upside down, was due to the machinations of this man. In his own single person he was the author of all our worst evils. I protested instantly; I raised my voice in Assembly; I cried aloud, “You are bringing war into Attica, Aeschines, an Amphictyonic war;” but a compact body of men, sitting there under his direction, would not let me speak, and the rest were merely astonished and imagined that I was laying an idle charge in private spi
Now hand me the letter which Philip dispatched to his Peloponnesian allies, when the Thebans disobeyed him. Even that letter will give you a clear proof that he was concealing the true reasons of his enterprise, namely his designs against Greece, and especially against Thebes and Athens, and was only pretending zeal for the national interests as defined by the Amphictyonic Council. But the man who provided him with that basis of action and those pretexts was Aeschines. Read.
You see how he avoids personal excuses, and takes shelter in Amphictyonic reasons. Who gave him his equipment of deceit? Who supplied him with these pretexts ? Who above all others is to blame for all the ensuing mischief? Who but Aeschines? Then do not go about saying, men of Athens, that these disasters were brought upon Greece by Philip alone. I solemnly aver that it was not one man, but a gang of traitors in every state.
therefore be it resolved by the Council and People of Athens, after offering prayers and sacrifices to the gods and heroes who guard the city and country of the Athenians, and after taking into consideration their ancestors' merits, in that they ranked the preservation of the liberties of Greece above the claims of their own state, that two hundred ships be launched, and that the Admiral sail into the Straits of Thermopylae, and that the General and commander of the cavalry march out with the infantry and cavalry to Eleusis; also that ambassadors be sent to the other Greeks, but first of all to the Thebans, because Philip is nearest to their territory,
And yet he who built his reputation on the accumulated misfortunes of Greece deserves rather to perish himself than to prosecute his neighbor; and the man who has found his profit in the same emergencies as his country's foes can make no claim to patriotism. You stand revealed in your life and conduct, in your public performances and also in your public abstinences. A project approved by the people is going forward. Aeschines is speechless. A regrettable incident is reported. Aeschines is in evidence. He reminds one of an old sprain or fracture: the moment you are out of health it begins to be active.
All that can be said now is, that we have failed and that is the common lot of humanity, if God so wills. But then, if Athens, after claiming the primacy of the nations, had run away from her claims, she would have been held guilty of betraying Greece to Philip. If, without striking a blow, she had abandoned the cause for which our forefathers flinched from no peril, is there a man who would not have spat in your face? In your face, Aeschines: not at Athens, not at me!