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will you honour him, or dishonour yourselves, and those who have died for you in battle-whom imagine you see bewailing—if this man shall be crowned? For it would be monstrous, O Athenians! should you honour Demosthenes, the man who proposed the last of all your expeditions, and betrayed your soldiers to the enemy!
But, what is the most important of all, if your youths should inquire of you, upon what model they ought to form their conduct, what will you answer? For you well know, that it is not the Palæstras alone, nor the schools, nor music, which instruct your youth, but much more the public proclamations.
Is any man, scandalous in his life, and odious for his vices, proclaimed in the theatre as having been crowned on account of his virtue, his general excellence and patriotism!--the youth who witnesses it is depraved. Does any profligate and abandoned libertine, like Ctesiphon, suffer punishment! -all other persons are instructed. Does a man, who has given a vote against what is honourable and just, upon his return home, attempt to teach his son? He, with good reason, will not listen; and that which would otherwise be instruction, is justly termed importunity.
Do you, therefore, give your votes not merely as deciding the present cause, but with a view to consequences---for your justification to those citizens, who are not now present, but who will demand an account from you of the judgment which you have pronounced. For you know full well, O Athenians! that the credit of the city will be such as is the character of the person who is crowned; and it is a disgrace for you to be likened, not to your ancestors, but to the cowardice of Demosthenes.
SECOND EXTRACT FROM THE SAME.
Our city is scandalized on account of the measures of Demosthenes. And
should crown him, to be of the same mind with those who are violating the common peace; but if you act contrariwise, you will acquit the people of the charge. Do you therefore deliberate, not as on behalf of a foreign
country, but your own, and do not distribute your honours as of course, but discriminate, and set apart your rewards for more worthy persons and men of better account. And make use not of your ears only, when you consult, but of your eyes, looking round amongst each other to see, what manner of persons they are, who are about to come forward in support of Demosthenes;-whether his partners in the chase, or companions in exercises during his youth. But no, -he has not been in the habit of hunting the wild boar, or attending to graces of the body, but he has been constantly practising arts to rob the wealthy of their estates. Bear also in mind his boastfulness, when he asserts, that he rescued Byzantium out of the gripe of Philip as ambassador, and drew off the Acarnanians from his cause, and roused the Thebans by his harangues. For he supposes that you are arrived at such a pitch of simplicity, as to be gulled into a belief of all this; as if you were cherishing amongst you, not a vagabond or a common informer, but the goddess of persuasion herself.
But when, at the conclusion of his speech, he shall call before you, as advocates, the partakers of his bribes, believe that you see, upon this rostrum where I am now standing to address you, drawn up in array against their effrontery, the great benefactors of their country-Solon, who adorned the democracy with the most excellent laws,---a wise man, a good lawgiver, mildly, as befitted him, entreating you not to make the speeches of Demosthenes of more avail than your oaths and the laws;–Aristides too, who settled their contributions for the Greeks, and upon whose death the people portioned his daughters, demanding if you are not ashamed, that your ancestors were upon the very point of putting to death Arthmius of Zelia, who brought the money of the Persians into Greece, and journeyed into our city, being then a public guest of the people of Athens, and did expel him from the city and all the dependencies of the Athenians, —and that you are about to crown Demosthenes, who did not bring the money of the Persians into Greece, but himself received bribes, and moreover even now retains them, with a golden crown! Do you not imagine that Themistocles also, and those who fell at Marathon and at Platæa, and the very tombs of our ancestors, will raise a groan, if this man, who, avowedly siding with Barbarians, opposed the Greeks, shall be crowned?
I then,---I call you to witness, ye Earth, and Sun!-and
Virtue, and Intellect, and Education, by which we distinguish what is honourable from what is base,-have given my help and have spoken. And if I have conducted the accusation, adequately, and in a manner worthy of the transgression of the laws, I have spoken as I wished;—if imperfectly, then only as I have been able. But do you, both from what has been said, and what has been omitted, of yourselves decide as is just and convenient on behalf of the country.
Extracted from D. WEBSTER's Speech delivered in Congress, 1823.
The asserted right of forcible intervention, in the affairs of other nations, is in open violation of the public law of the world. Who has authorized these learned doctors of Troppau, to establish new articles in this code? Whence are their diplomas? Is the whole world expected to acquiesce in principles, which entirely subvert the independence of nations. On the basis of this independence has been reared the beautiful fabric of international law. On the principle of this independence, Europe has seen a family of nations, flourishing within its limits, the small among the large, protected not always by power, but by a principle above power, by a sense of propriety and justice. On this principle the great commonwealth of civilized states has been hitherto upheld.
It may now be required of me to show what interest we have, in resisting this new system. What is it to us, it may be asked, upon what principles, or what pretences, the European governments assert a right of interfering in the affairs of their neighbours? The thunder, it may be said, rolls at a distance. The wide Atlantic is between us and danger; and, however others may suffer, we shall remain safe.
It is a sufficient answer to this, to say, that we are one of the nations; that we have an interest, therefore, in the preservation of that system of national law and national intercourse, which has heretofore subsisted, so beneficially for all. Our system of government, it should also be remembered, is, throughout, founded on principles utterly hostile
to the new code; and, if we remain undisturbed by its operation, we shall owe our security, either to our situation or our spirit. The enterprising character of the age, our own active commercial spirit, the great increase which has taken place in the intercourse between civilized and commercial states, have necessarily connected us with the nations of the earth, and given us a high concern in the preservation of those salutary principles, upon which that intercourse is founded. We have as clear an interest in international law, as individuals have in the laws of society.
But, apart from the soundness of the policy, on the ground of direct interest, we have, Sir, a duty, connected with this subject, which, I trust, we are willing to perform. What do we not owe to the cause of civil and religious liberty? to the principle of lawful resistance? to the principle that society has a right to partake in its own government? As the leading Republic of the world, living and breathing in these principles, and advanced by their operation with unequalled rapidity in our career, shall we give our consent to bring them into disrepute and disgrace?
It is neither ostentation nor boasting, to say, that there lie before this country, in immediate prospect, a great extent and height of power. We are borne along towards this, without effort, and not always even with a full knowledge of the rapidity of our own motion. Circumstances which pever combined before, have co-operated in our favour, and a mighty current is setting us forward, which we could not resist, even if we would. Does it not become us, then, is it not a duty imposed on us, to give our weight to the side of liberty and justice—to let mankind know that we are not tired of our own institutions—and to protest against the asserted power of altering, at pleasure, the law of the civilized world?
THE SAME CONTINUED.
It may, in the next place, be asked, what can we do? Are we to go to war? Are we to interfere in the Greek cause, or any other European cause? Are we to endanger our pacific relations?-No, certainly not. What, then, the question recurs, remains for us? If we will not endanger our
own peace; if we will neither furnish armies, nor navies, to the cause which we think the just one, what is there within our power?
Sir, this reasoning mistakes the age. The time has been, indeed, when fleets, and armies, and subsidies, were the principal reliances even in the best cause. But, happily for mankind, there has arrived a great change in this respect. Moral causes come into consideration, in proportion as the progress of knowledge is advanced; and the public opinion of the civilized world is rapidly gaining an ascendency over mere brutal force. It is already able to oppose the most formidable obstruction to the progress of injustice and oppression; and, as it grows more intelligent and more intense, it will be more and more formidable. It may be silenced by military power, but it cannot be conquered. It is elastic, irrepressible, and invulnerable to the weapons of ordinary warfare. It is that impassable, unextinguishable enemy of mere violence and arbitrary rule, which, like Milton's angels,
“ Vital in every part,
Cannot, but by annihilating, die.” Until this be propitiated or satisfied, it is vain for power to talk either of triumphs or of repose. No matter what fields are desolated, what fortresses surrendered, what armies subdued, or what provinces overrun. In the history of the year that has past by us, and in the instance of unhappy Spain, we have seen the vanity of all triumphs, in a cause which violates the general sense of justice of the civilized world. It is nothing, that the troops of France have passed from the Pyrenees to Cadiz; it is nothing, that an unhappy and prostrate nation has fallen before them; it is nothing that arrests, and confiscation, and execution, sweep away the little remnant of national resistance.
There is an enemy that still exists to check the glory of these triumphs. It follows the conqueror back to the very scene of his ovations; it calls upon him to take notice that Europe, though silent, is yet indignant; it shows him that the sceptre of his victory is a barren sceptre; that it shall confer neither joy nor honour, but shall moulder to dry ashes in his grasp. In the midst of his exultation, it pierces his ear with the cry of injured justice, it denounces against him the indignation of an enlightened and civilized age; it turns to bitterness the cup of his rejoicing, and wounds him with the sting, which belongs to the consciousness of having outraged the opinion of mankind.