« EelmineJätka »
He proceeds to show that upon his coming of age they had given into his possession only the house, fourteen slaves, and thirty minas in money; the total amount of which he puts at seventy minas; although they had taken their own legacies, without performing the conditions of the will; Aphobus, in particular, having received the eighty minas, his mother's marriage portion, without marrying her, and having also taken her jewels and plate. He proves that they had rendered a false account of the profits of the sword-cutlery; that they had altogether made away with the twenty sofa manufacturers, and the whole amount of the stock in trade; and that the explanations which the three guardians gave of this were unsatisfactory and inconsistent. They had made a return to the property tax, on behalf of their ward, which proved the value of the estate to be what he represented, as appeared by the public books. The large legacies bequeathed to the guardians were of themselves a clear proof of the falsehood of their account; for the testator would never have given them so much, had there not been a considerable residue for his son; they were not the principal objects of his bounty, but he had made handsome bequests to them, in order to secure their fidelity. Of the contents of the will they had given different accounts; but their refusal to produce it disentitled them to belief. Their omission to invest the residue, as required by the will, was not merely evidence of waste and breach of trust, but was a substantive fraud by the Athenian law. If it had been properly invested, his estate might in the course of ten years have been doubled or even trebled in value, as those of other persons had been. In estimating the damages, the jury were bound to take all the circumstances into account; they should look at what Aphobus had wasted or appropriated either singly or jointly with his colleagues; they should consider the value of the estate at the time of the testator's death, and what it might have yielded by judicious management; and having regard to all the circumstances, they should give him just and reasonable compensation The facts relied upon are proved by a multitude of witnesses, and partly by the admissions of the guardians, each of whom, in his anxiety to clear himself, had made admissions tending to implicate
his colleagues. The refusal of Aphobus to submit to friendly arbitration, and the decision given against him by the official arbitrator, are insisted upon, as raising a strong presumption in favour of the plaintiff. Some parts of the intended defence, which had become known to him in the course of the proceedings, are shown by Demosthenes to be fallacious or false in fact: after which, he concludes with a general peroration and appeal to the feelings of the jury.
For explanation of some matters of law the reader is referred to the first and second Appendices.
IF Aphobus, men of the jury, had been willing to act like an honest man, or to submit the matters in dispute between us to the arbitration of friends, there would have been no need of lawsuits or troublesome proceedings. I should then have been contented to abide by their decision, which would have put an end to all our differences. Since however the defendant has declined the umpirage of persons well acquainted with our affairs, and has chosen to come before you, who have but a slight knowledge of them, I am compelled to seek for redress at your hands. I am aware, men of the jury, that it is dangerous for one, who by reason of his youth is inexperienced in the world, to risk his all in a contest with persons who are able speakers, and know how to provide all the materials of defence. Yet, notwithstanding my disadvantages, I am confident that I shall obtain justice in this court, and that (in stating the case at least,) young as I am, I shall speak well enough to make you understand the facts and the issues which you have to try. I entreat you to give me a favourable hearing, and, if you think I have been wronged, to give me the justice which I am entitled to. I shall compress my speech into as short a compass as possible, commencing with a statement of those matters, which will give you a clear view of the question.
Demosthenes, my father, died possessed of property to the amount of nearly fourteen talents. He left two children, myself aged seven years, my sister aged five; and a widow, my mother, who had brought him a fortune of fifty minas. Being anxious to make the best provision for us, when he was on the point of death, he left the whole of this property to the care of the defendant Aphobus and Demophon the son of Demon, who were his nephews, the one by his
brother, the other by his sister, and to Therippides of the township of Pæania, who was no relation, but had been one of his earliest friends. To the last-mentioned person he gave the interest of seventy minas, parcel of my property, to be enjoyed by him until my coming of age,1 in order that he might not be tempted by avarice to mismanage my affairs. To Demophon he gave my sister with a portion of two talents, to be paid immediately; and to the defendant he gave my mother with a portion of eighty minas, and the use of my house and furniture. These bequests he made to them, believing that, the closer the ties by which they were connected with me, the more faithfully would they act in the execution of the trusts confided to them. Upon my father's death, these men immediately took possession of their own legacies, and, as my guardians, they took the management of all the rest of the estate, which they retained for a period of ten years; and now at the end of this period they have given up to me the house, and fourteen slaves, and thirty minas in money, amounting altogether in value to seventy minas; of all the residue they have defrauded me.
This, men of the jury, is a concise statement of the amount of the injury which they have done me. That the property left me by my father was as much as I have stated, they have themselves given the best proof; inasmuch as they consented on my behalf to be rated to the property tax at onefifth of the whole value of my estate, the same per centage at which Timotheus, the son of Conon, and men on the largest fortunes were rated. It will be better, however, to explain to you more particularly what portions of my estate were producing a profit, and what were unproductive, and what were their respective values; for I am sure that, when you are accurately informed of these particulars, you will see, that no trustees ever plundered an estate in so flagrant and barefaced a manner as these men have plundered mine. will produce witnesses to prove, that they consented on my behalf to be taxed in the manner I have stated, and that my father, so far from leaving me an estate of only seventy minas, left me one so considerable, that even these men were not able to conceal its value from the state. Take and read this deposition.
1 See Appendix I.
2 See Vol. i. Appendix IV.
From this evidence it is clear, what the value of the property was. Three talents is the rateable value of an estate of fifteen; this was the proportion in which they thought proper to be assessed. You will have a better notion of the case, if I explain to you the component parts of the property. My father, men of the jury, left two manufactories, in each of which a considerable trade was carried on. One was a sword manufactory, in which thirty-two or thirty-three slaves were kept at work; they were worth (most of them) about five or six minas each, none being worth less than three;1 and they produced a clear annual income of thirty minas. The other was a sofa manufactory,2 in which were employed twenty slaves, who had been pawned to my father for a debt of forty minas, and brought him in a clear income of twelve minas. He left in money as much as a talent, lent at the interest of twelve per cent, which produced him more than seven minas a year. This was the part of my father's capital which was productive, as these men themselves will admit; the whole amount of the principal being four talents and fifty minas, and the annual proceeds fifty minas. Besides this, he left ivory and iron, used in the manufacture, and wood for sofas, worth altogether about eighty minas; and gall3 and copper,
1 As Demosthenes has stated just before, that the house and fourteen slaves given up to him were worth only forty minas, whereas by this statement it appears that none of the sword-cutlers was worth less than three minas, and that the house was worth thirty minas, Reiske, Boeckh, and others accuse the orator of having made an intentionally false statement to deceive the jury; for the house and slaves given up to him could not (they argue) be fairly valued at less than one talent, forty-two minas. Doubtless, if the value at the end of the ten years had been the same as at the beginning, this charge would be wellfounded; and Demosthenes, or Isæus, must have been very simple to imagine that the jury could be deceived by so obvious a miscalculation. But is there any difficulty in supposing that both the house and the slaves had greatly deteriorated in value? The house may not have been kept in proper repair; the slaves may have grown old; and the guardians very probably left for Demosthenes those of the poorest quality.
2 So Thirlwall translates it. Pabst, "Bettgestellmacher:" makers of bedsteads. rute
3 Obtained from the oak-apple, and used for dyeing the hilts of swords or handles of knives. Pabst, "Galläpfel."
which he had purchased for seventy minas, and a house worth thirty minas, and furniture and plate, and my mother's jewels and wearing apparel and ornaments, worth altogether a hundred minas, and eighty minas in the house in money. He left also seventy minas which were lent to Xuthus on a maritime adventure; twenty-four minas in Pasion's bank, six in that of Pylades, and sixteen in the hands of Demomeles, the son of Demon; besides friendly loans,1 to the amount of a talent, lent to different persons in sums of two and three minas. The total of these last mentioned sums is more than eight talents and thirty minas, which, together with those first mentioned, you will find comes to about fourteen talents.
Such is the amount of property, men of the jury, which was left by my father. It is impossible for me, in the time here allowed me, to explain all the details of the fraud; to specify what they have taken severally, and what they have jointly embezzled. I must keep these matters distinct. will be time enough to discuss the frauds of Demophon and Therippides, when I deliver in my charges against them.2, Now I shall speak of the defendant, and of what I know, and his colleagues prove, to be due to me from him. I will first show you, that he is liable for the marriage portion, eighty minas; then I shall go to the other parts of the case, and state them as briefly as possible.
Immediately after my father's death the defendant entered and dwelt in the house, according to the directions of the will, and took possession of my mother's jewels and the plate, amounting in value to fifty minas. Besides that, he received from Therippides and Demophon the proceeds of the sale of the slaves, until he received the full amount of the marriage portion; upon which, previous to his departure for Corcyra with a ship of which he had the command, he sent Therippides a written acknowledgment of the sums paid him, in which
1 Χρᾷν οι κιχράναι is “to lend without interest :” δανείζειν " to lend at interest," though the distinction is not invariably observed. See Meier and Schömann, Atl. Proc. p. 499.
2 The actions had been brought, but the plaints not delivered, at least, a full particular of the charge had not been delivered. What was commonly called λήξις or ἔγκλημα is here called γραφή, which in its general sense may signify any writing. See Vol. iii. p. 356, note 8) and pp. 374, 375,