Page images
PDF
EPUB

countenance from a jury in seeking to reverse a judgment against his own claim, which I obtained against him after appearance and argument, and in which he has acquiesced; as if

, when it is for this man's advantage, awards ought to be valid, but when it is not for this man's advantage, his judgment ought to have more effect than decisions pronounced according to your laws! He is such a designing person, that even this reference he did not propose with a view to terminate our disputes, but his object was that, as he had already carried on his knavish tricks for eleven years, so, by setting aside the judgment of nonsuit pronounced for me by the arbitrator, he might renew his vexatious proceedings against me and elude the present action. I can give you the strongest proof. He did not accept the challenge which I gave him according to the laws; and before that, when I had referred the cause about the name to Xenippus, whom he proposed as arbitrator, he gave him notice not to pronounce an award. That my last statements are true, you shall see from the deposition and the challenge.

[The Deposition. The Challenge.] Having declined this challenge, his purpose being to ensnare me and to delay this action for as long a time as possible, he will (as I am informed) accuse not only me but my

I father also, saying that he did him injustice in many ways to gratify me. Now, men of the jury, my request to you is this—As you yourselves would deem it scandalous to be defamed by your own children, on the same principle permit not Bootus to speak evil of his father. It would be shameful indeed, when you yourselves abide, as honourable men should do, by your convention of amnesty with persons who under the oligarchy put to death without trial a large number of your countrymen, that you should allow this man, who made it

father in his lifetime and acquired advantages far beyond what he was entitled to, to rip open the quarrel and calumniate him. I entreat you, men of the jury, to do nothing of the kind. If possible, prevent his taking this course; but, if he abuse my father in spite of you, remember that he proves by his own testimony that he is not the son of Mantias. For true-born children, though they have differences with their fathers in their lifetime, praise them at all

up

with my

events after their death: those who pass for sons, but are not the real issue of their supposed parents, easily quarrel with them while they are alive, and don't scruple to speak ill of them after they are dead. And besides this, consider how absurd it is, that Boeotus should abuse my father for having failed in his duty towards himself, when it is by my father's failings that he has become a citizen of Athens. And while I, who through their mother bave been deprived of two-thirds of my property, have still too much respect for you to speak of her offensively; Bootus is not ashamed in your presence to disparage the man whom he compelled to become his father: and so lost is he to all sense of propriety, that, although the laws forbid the calumniating even of other mens' fathers after their death, he will vilify the man whose son he pretends to be—he who should have shown indig. nation if any other person had defamed him.

I expect, men of the jury, that, when he is at a loss for other topics, he will endeavour to abuse me and try to raise a prejudice against me, by recounting how I was reared and educated and married in my father's house, while he enjoyed none of these advantages. I beg you to remember, that my mother died leaving me a child, so that the interest of her marriage portion was sufficient to rear and educate me; whereas Plangon, the mother of these men, brought them up at home and kept a multitude of female domestics and herself lived expensively, having my father (who was under the influence of his passion) to furnish the means, and she led him into all kinds of extravagance ; so she must have spent far more of his property than I have. I then had much more reason to complain of them than they of me. Besides this, I in conjunction with my father borrowed two thousand drachms from Blepæus the banker for the purchase of some mines, and after my father's death I shared the mines with these men, but was myself compelled to pay the debt. I borrowed another thousand drachms for my father's funeral from Lysistratus of Thoricus, and I have paid them out of my own pocket. That these statements also are true, you will see from the depositions which I now put in.

[The Depositions. ] When in so many points they have clearly had the advantage over me, shall Bæotus now, by making a fuss and a clamor

about his grievances, deprive me also of my mother's marriage portion? I entreat you, men of the jury, by Jupiter and the Gods, not to be confounded by the clamour of my opponent. He is vehement in manner, vebement and audacious, and such a crafty knave, that, what he has no witnesses to prove, he will

say is well known to you, men of the jury; a trick which all people resort to, who have no good argument to offer. Should he attempt such a trick, put him down ; expose him: What any one of you does not know, don't let him fancy his neighbour knows : require Bæotus to give clear proof of everything he asserts, and don't let him shirk the truth by saying that you know things which he is unable in the least degree to substantiate. I myself, men of the jury, though all of you were aware of the manner in which my father was compelled to adopt these men, have sued them at law nevertheless, and have produced witnesses responsible for their testimony. Our risk however is not the same : for, should you be imposed upon by these men, I shall not be at liberty to sue again for the marriage-portion; whereas, if my opponents think that the arbitrator, to whom their actions were referred, was wrong in deciding for me, as at the time they might have appealed to a jury, so now again they will have the opportunity, if they please, of recovering their rights from me before your tribunal. And I, if you abandon me, (which Heaven forbid !) shall have no means of giving a marriage-portion to my daughter, whose father I actually am, though, if you could see her figure, you would think she was not my daughter but my sister ; while my opponents, if you grant me redress, will pay nothing out of their own property, but will return me my own out of the house, which, though by our common agreement it was reserved to satisfy the marriage-portion, these men have for some time past been occupying alone.

For it is not proper that, having a marriageable daughter, I should dwell with persons of this description, who not only live a profligate life themselves, but bring many other persons of the same character into the house ; nor indee do I consider it safe for me to abide under the same roof with them; for when they have thus openly conspired against me in getting up a charge before the Areopagus, what poisoning or other criminal device do you think they would scruple to employ?

ز

Among other things—for this I just remember—they are so outrageously impudent, as to have put in a deposition of Crito, stating that he has purchased from me the third part of the house ; the falsehood of which you will easily perceive. For, in the first place, Crito does not live so economically as to purchase another man's house, but with such reckless extravagance that he spends other men's property as well as his own.

In the next place, he is not so much this man's witness as by adversary on the present occasion. For, as every one knows, those are witnesses, who are not concerned in the subject matter of the suit ; those are adversaries, who have an interest in the questions upon which one goes to law with them; as is the case with Crito. Besides, men of the jury, out of all your numbers, out of the multitude of people living at Athens, not a single other witness has said that he was present at this transaction : Timocrates only, as if he were brought on the stage by a machine, deposes, that my father gave a feast for Bæotus on the tenth day, he (the witness) being a person of the same age as the defendant; Timocrates says that he knows absolutely everything which is for the advantage of these men ; Timocrates now declares, that he alone was with Crito when he purchased the house

Which of you will believe this story? No one, I am sure ; especially when the question in this cause is not about the house, whether Crito has purchased it or not, but about the marriage-portion which my mother brought to my father, and which therefore the laws enable me to recover. As I then have proved to you by a mass of testimony and circumstantial evidence, that my mother brought a marriageportion of a talent, that I have not received it out of my father's estate, and that the house was reserved by us as security for its repayment, so also require the defendant to prove to you, either that I do not speak the truth, or that I am not entitled to recover the marriage-portion ; for these are the questions upon which you have to give your verdict. If Bæotus has neither credible witnesses nor proofs of any

other kind to offer on the matters upon which he is sued, and therefore introduces irrelevant topics for the purpose of deceit ; if he blusters and talks of hardships and uses language foreign to the occasion ; by Jupiter and the Gods ! do not tolerate such behaviour; give me that redress which all the reasons I

from me.

have urged show me to be entitled to; and remember, that it is far more just that you should by your verdict give my mother's fortune to my daughter for her dowry, than that Plangon and her sons, adding another injury to those which they have already inflicted, should, contrary to every principle of justice, deprive me of the house, which was specially reserved as a security for the marriage portion.

THE ORATION AGAINST SPUDIAS.

THE ARGUMENT.

The plaintiff

, whose name does not appear, had married one of the two daughters of Polyeuctus, an Athenian. By the marriage contract he was to receive with his wife a portion of forty minas. Thirty minas were given to him in ready money; the remaining ten were to be paid after the death of his father in law; and Leocrates, who had married the other sister and been adopted by Polyeuctus, agreed to be responsible for the payment. Polyeuctus afterwards quarrelled with Leocrates; an arrangement was with some difficulty effected between them, Leocrates retiring out of the family, and agreeing to a separation from his wife, who was transferred with her marriage portion to Spudias, the present defendant. Polyeuctus then, to secure the ten minas to the plaintiff, mortgaged his house to him, and subsequently by his will directed that tablets of mortgage should be put up.. (As to these see ante, p. 145, and also Appendix II. in

this Volume.) Upon the death of Polyeuctus without male issue, his estate descended to his two daughters as co-heiresses. The plaintiff however, in his own and in his wife's right, had certain demands upon the defendant, which by this action he sought to enforce. In the first place, he claimed the ten minas, the residue of his wife's portion, secured by the mortgage of the house. He claimed also half a mina, as the defendant's contribution to a funeral sacrifice, offered in honour of their father in law. Further, he required that two several sums of eighteen minas and two minas, one of which Spudias had borrowed of his mother in law, and the other he owed to Polyeuctus for the purchase of a slave, should be paid by him to the estate, or brought into the general account; together with certain articles of property

which he had borrowed and never returned. The plaintiff supports his claim by the production of various depo*. sitions, by the will of Polyeuctus, and by certain sealed papers which

had been left by his mother in law. We collect in some measure from the plaintiff's speech, what the defendant's answer to the claim was. Spidias contended that Polyeuctus and his wife were acting under undue influence, and gave an unjust preference to the plaintiff.

« EelmineJätka »