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alarm you; and that, in your imaginations, you Pride, already grasp the empire of all Greece.
what would you think, my countrymen, if I should tell you, it is on account of the seeiningly favourable circumstances I have mentioned, that I am apprehensiv.. My observation has presented me so many instances of states,
which at the very time they s:amed to be at the !!
height of prosperity, were in fact upon the brink of ruin ; that I cannot help being alarmed at the security, in which I see iny country at present sunk. When a nation is puffed up with an opinion of her own strength and safety ; it is then that her counsels are likely to be rash and imprudent, and their consequences fatal. The con
dition of kingdonis, as of individuals, is variable. Caution. Permanent tranquillity is seldom seen in this
world. And with circumstances, the conduct both
of individuals and of nations, is commonly seen Instruction. to change. Prosperity renerally produces er
rogance, rashness, folly. Want and distress, naturally suggest prudent and moderate resolutions. Therefow, it is not so easy, as at first view it may seem, to determine which condition is, for the purpose of real happiness, the most to be desired for individuals; or, with a view to national prosperity, which state one should wish public affairs to be in, duririg his own life and that of his children; whether of perfect superiority to danger and fear, or of circumstances requiring caution, frugality, and attention. For that condition, which is most desired by mankind, I mean of perfect prosperity, generally brings with it the causes and the fore-runners of misfortune; whilst narrower circumstances commonly lead on to care, prudence and safety. Of the truth of this observation, better proofs cannot be desired, than
those which the histories of our own commonArguing. wealth and of Lacedæmon, furnish.
Was not the taking of our city, by the barbarians, the
very cuuse of our applying, with such diligence, to the arts of war and government, as set us at the head of Greece ? But when our success Apprehen. against our enemies misled us into the imagination, that our power was unconquerable, we soon found ourselves on the verge of destruction. The Lacedemonians, likervise, from inhabiting a Arguing. few obscure towns, came, througi a diligent attention to the military art, to conquer Peloponnesus.-And, upon this, increasing their
power by sea and land, they were soon puffed up to such Contempt. a height of pride and folly, as brought them into the same dangers, which we had run into.
Whoever attends to these particulars, and yet Arguing. thiniis our commonwealth in a safe condition, must be extreinely thoughtless, especially as our Apprehen. affairs are now in a worse state, than at the period I refer to ; for we have both the envy of ihe other states of Greece, and the hostility of the king of Persia to fear.
When I consider these things, I am in doubt, whether I shouid conclude that you have lost all care for the public safety ; or ihat you are not indiferent, but wholly ignorant of the present dangerous state of our affairs. May it not be said, that we have lost the cities of Thrace; that Contempt. we have squandered above a thousand talents in military pay, by which we have gained nothing ; that we have drawn upon ourselses the suspicion Alarm, of the other states of Greece, and the enmity of the barbarous king ; (1) and that we are necessitated to take the side of the Thebans, and have lost our own natural allies? And for these sig Blame. nal advantages we have twice appointed public thanksgivings to the gods; and shew, in our deliberations, the tranquillity, which could only be proper, if all were in perfect safety. Nor is it to be wondered, that we fall into wrong measures, and consequent misfortunes. Nothing is' Arguing. to be expected to go right in a state, unless its
(1) Of Persia.
governors know how, by prudence and sagacity, to consult the general advantage. Fortune may, occasionally, bring partial success and temporary
prosperity, but upon this there can be no depenBlame. dence. When the command of all Greece fell
into our hands, in consequence of the naval victory gained by Conon and Timotheus, we could not keep what we were in actual possession of. The very constitution of our commonwealth is gone wrong, and we have not the least thought
of entering upon ways and means to set it right; Inftru&ting. whilst we all know that it is not the surround
ing of a city with high and strong walls, nor assembling together a multitude of people, that makes a great and flourishing state, but wholesome
laws, a vise police, and a faithful administration. Desiring. How much, therefore, is it to be wished, that
the commonwealth could be brought back to the condition in which the wise legislation of Solon placed it, (than whom no one ever had the good of the people more at heart) and to which Calisthenes restored it, when enslaved by the thirty tyrants, whom he expelled; re-establishing the commonwealth in the hands of the people, according to the original constitution. It is notorious, that in the happier times, when the republic was administered according to the original constitution, there was not, as since, a nominal liberty, with a real tyranny ; but that the people were accustomed to other principles, than those, which now lead them to consider democracy as the same with anarchy, liberty with licentiousness ; and that
their happiness consists in the unpunished violaCommen- tion of the laws. in those times, the equal dis
tribution of justice, which prevailed, brought adequate punishment upon those who deserved it, and conferred the due honours upon such had earned them by their virtue. Preferment, to stations of power and trust, was not, in those days, open to all promiscuously. They, who appeared to
the public to have the best claim by merit and character, obtained them : For they wisely con- Commen. sidered, that to promote to high stations inen of dation. superior eminence for virtue, was the likeliest means to excite a general emulation among persons of all ranks, even to the lovest ; as the people Infructing. are constantly observed to form their manners upon the model of their superiors. Instead of the public treasures plundered to fill the coffers of private persons ; it was common to see large sums of private wealth voluntarily contributed Commer for defraying the public expense. in those times, the difficulty was, to prevail with the persons qualified for filling important stations, to assume thein : whereas in our days, all, are aspiring to preferment, worthy and unworthy, qualified and unqualified. In those times, they, who refused, Commeitwere the most solicited to assume high stations ; as it was considered that merit is commonly diffident of itself. In our days, they, who elbow others, and thrust themselves forward, obtain the most readily, what they, by this very conduct, shew themselves the most unworthy of. ancestors did not look upon a place of authority Commenas an emolument; but as a charge; the successor did not enquire what his predecessor had gained, Contempt. while he held his employment ; but what he had Commenleft undone, that the deficiency might be supplied, dation. as soon as possible. They held it proper, that the administration should be trusted to those, who had the most to lose, in case of a subversion of the state ; but so, that no riches, or power, should screen any person from an enquiry into his conduct, nor from suffering adequate punishment, in case of delinquency. The rich thought extreme poverty in the lower people a reflection upon them, as having failed in their patronage of them ; and the poor, far from envying the wealth of their superiors, rejoiced in it ; considering the power of the rich as their protection,
Sensible of the supreme importance of right educạtion toward the happiness of a state, they betowed the strictest attention upon forming the manners of the youth to modesty, truth, valour, and love of their country. Nor did they think it sufficient to lay a foundation of good principles in the minds of young people, and leave thein, after they were grozon up, to act, as they pleased ; on the contrary, the manners of adult persons were more strictly inspected, than those of the youth; and the general censorship was vested in this very court of Areopagus, of which none could be members, but persons eminent for their birth, and their virtues, so that it is not be wondered, that this court bore, at that time, a character su
perior to that of all the other councils of Greece. Contempt. It is from ignorance that they speak, who would
persuade us, that there is nothing more necessary toward making a state great and happy, than a body of good laws. The laws, by which our commonwealth was governed in her most flourishing tiines, were known to all the other states of
Greece, and they might adopt as inany of them Remonstr. as they pleased. But were all the other states of
Greece was any of them, upon as advantageous Inftru&tion. a foot as the Athenian Republic? What chiefly
tends to the establishment of a state, is, a police found in habitual modesty, temperance, integrity, valour, and patriotism. The general prevalence of these dispositions in a people, is not brought about by laws or sanctions, but by education, example, and a judicious exertion of the discretionary power, which is, and ought to be, in the hands of magistrates, whereby they discountenance vice, without directly punishing it, and draw the sub
jects into that voluntary rectitude of behaviour, Contempt. which force will never produce. Laws heaped
upon laves, and sanctions added to sanctions, shew an unruly and perverse disposition in the people, who would not otherwise require such various