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ARTICLE I. All the ORATIONS of Demosthenes, pronounced to excite the
Athenians againt Philip King of Macedon. Translated into English ; digested and connected, so as to form a regular History of the Progress of the Macedonian Power : With Notes historical and critical. By Thomas Leland, B.D. Fellow of Trinity College, Dublin. 410. Pr.6 s. in Boards. Johnston.
O animate a people renowned for justice, humanity, and valour, yet in many instances, degenerate and corrupted ; to warn thern, of the dangers of luxury, treachery, and bri
bery; of the ambition and perfidy of a power.ful foreign enemy; to recall the glory of their ancestors to • their thoughts; and to inspire them with resolution, vigour, 6 and unanimity; to correct abuses, to restore discipline, to * revive and enforce the generous sentiments of patriotism and
public spirit : These were the great purposes for which • the following Orations were originally pronounced. The • subject therefore, may possibly recommend them to a British
reader, even under the disadvantages of a translation, by no • means worthy of the famous original. His candor may par . don them ; or sometimes, perhaps, they may escape him, if " he suffers his imagination to be possessed with that enthusiasm,
which our prator is, of all others, most capable of inipir. ing; and will, for a while, interest himself in the cause of • Athens.' VoL, H,
Thus does Mr. Leland with great modesty and diffidence introduce his translation in a short but sensible preface to it, containing a very useful summary view of the affairs and interests of Greece, and the divisions which had a long time fubfifted between its principal ftates, and on which Philip justly grounded his hopes of success, in his attempts upon their liberties. Our author has likewisc bricfly characterised the rival powers of Lacedemon, Athens, and Thebes, and given us a short account of the situation in which the Macedonian hero found every one of them. What Mr. Leland, with great truth, observes concerning the Athenians, with whom Philip was chiefly concerned, may well deserve the attention of an Englishman at the present juncture.
« The Athenians (Jays he) after the death of Epaminondas, were now no longer upon their guard, but abandoned them<selves to ease and pleasure. Festivals and public entertainments engaged their attention, and a violent passion for the ftage, banished all thoughts of business and glory. Poets,
players, singers and dancers, were received with that esteem • and applause, which were due to the commanders who « fought their battles. They were rewarded extravagantly,
and their performances exhibited with a magnificence fcarcely to be conceived. . The treasures which should have main
tained their armies, were applied to purchase seats in their <theatres. Instead of that spirit and vigour which they exerted • against the Persian, they were pofíeffed with indolence and
effeminacy; they had no further concern about the affairs
of war, than just to keep a few foreign troops in pay; in • fhort, treachery, corruption, and degeneracy, overspread the < state.'
Few of our Readers, we imagine, will be able to pass over this character of the degenerate Athenians without an application, but too obvious, and some melancholy reflections on the striking resemblance between them, and a nation now fubfifting, funk into universal corruption and depravity, and perhaps on the very brink of ruin.
Our author proceeds to an account of Philip, and the hiftory of his transactions previous to the subject of these orations, and concludes his prcface with the characters of the
principal principal orators of the age, as collected from the writings of antiquity, with which we shall present our readers.
• Demades, by his birth and education, seemed destined to meanness and obscurity: but as the Athenian assembly ad
mitted persons of all ranks and occupations, to speak their “sentiments ; his powers soon recommended him to his counStrymen ; and raised him from the low condition of a common (mariner, to the administration and direction of public affairs. • His private life was stained with those brutal excefies, which ' frequently attend the want of early culture, and an inter
course with the inferior and least refined part of mankind. • His conduct as a leader and minister, was not actuated by the principles of delicate honour and integrity : and his eloquence seems to have received a tincture from his original condition. He appears to have been a strong, bold, and what we call a blunt speaker; whose manner, rude and daring, and sometimes bordering on extravagance, had osten' times a greater effect than the more corrected style of other ' speakers, who confined themselves within the bounds of • decorum and good breeding.
• Hyperides, on the contrary, was blessed with all the graces of refinement: harmonious, elegant, and polite; with a well-bred festivity, and delicate irony: excellent in panegyric; and of great natural abilities for affecting the passions. Yet his eloquence seems rather to have been pleasing than persuafive. He is said to have been not so well fitted for . a popular assembly, and for political debates ; as for private 'causes, and addressing a few select judges. And even here, when he pleaded the cause of a woman, for whom he had the tenderest paffion; he was obliged to call the charms of « his mistress to the assistance of his eloquence; and was more indebted to these for his success, than to his own powers.
Lycurgus had all the advantages which birth and education could afford for forming an orator. He was the hearer of • Plato, and the scholar of Ifocrates. He seems to have been
particularly affected by the charms of poetry, and the polite arts; nor was he lefs remarkable for diligence and attention ; ‘yet his influence in the assembly seems, like that of Phocion, to have arisen rather from a respect to his character, and a
• general general opinion of his virtue and integrity, than froin his • abilities as a speaker.
· Aeschines was an orator, whose style was full, diffusive, (and sonorous. He was a stranger to the glowing expressions 6 and daring figures of Demosthenes, which he treats with con• tempt and ridicule. But tho' more simple, he is less affect
ing: and by being less contracted, has not so much strength ? and energy. Or, as Quinctilian expresles it, carnis plus habet, lacertorum minus. But if we would view his abilities to the greatest advantage, we must not compare them with those of his rival. Then will his figures appear to want nei
ther beauty nor grandeur. His easy and natural manner, will • then be thought highly pleasing: and a just attention will dis
cover a good degree of force and energy in his style, which at first, appears only flowing and harmonious.
• But all the several excellencies of his countrymen and cotemporaries were at least equalled by Demofthenes. His own, no age or nation could attain to. From him, critics
have formed their rules; and all the masters in his own art, • have thought it an honour to imitate him. To enlarge up6 on his character, would be to resume a subject already ex« hausted by every critic both antient and modern. Let it be • sufficient to say, that energy and majesty are his peculiar
excellencies. From the gravity of Thucidydes, the pomp and * dignity of Plato, the ease and elegance, the neatness and * fimplicity of the Attic writers, he formed a stile and manner 6 admirably fitted to his own temper and genius, as well as that
of his hearers. His own severity determined him to the more • forcible methods of astonishing and terrifying, rather than • to the gentle and insinuating arts of persuasion: nor did the o circumstances and dispositions of his countrymen admit of '
any but violent expressions. As many of those to whom he • addrefled himself were men of low rank and occupations, his . images and expressions are sometimes familiar. As others of
them were themselves eminent in speaking, and could readily o see thro' all the common artifices of oratory; these he affects 'to despise : appears only folicitous to be understood; yet, as it * were without design, raises the utmost adiniration and delight: such delight as ariles from the clearness of evidence, and the 4
« fullness of conviction. · And as all, even the lower part of • his hearers, were acquainted with the beauties of poetry,
and the force of harmony; he could not admit of any thing
rude or negligent; but with the strictest attention laboured ' those compositions, which appear so natural and unadorried.
They have their ornaments; but these are austere and man<ly, and such as are consistent with freedom and sincerity.
A full and regular series of diffusive reasoning would have « been intolerable in an Athenian assembly. He often contents
himself with an imperfect hint: a fentence, a word, even • his filence is sometimes pregnant with meaning. And this "quickness and vehemence flattered a people who valued
themselves on their acuteness and penetration. The impe- tuous torrent that in a moment bears down all before it; the
repeated Aalhes of lightening, which spread universal terror, 6 and which the strongest eye dares not encounter, are the • images, by which the nature of his eloquence hath been 6 expressed.
• As a statesman and as a citizen, his conduct was no less remarkable. If the fire of his eloquence seems at sometimes < abated, his judgment and accuracy and political abilities are
then conspicuous. The bravery with which he opposed the
paffions and prejudices of his countrymen, and the general • integrity of his character (to which Philip himself bare witness)
are deserving of the highest honour : and. whatever weakness he betrayed in his military conduct, his death must be acknowledged truly heroic.'
We now come to the orations themselves, twelve in number, which our translator has given us in the order of time, and fo digested and connected as to form á regular history of the progress of the Macedonian power, as follows:
I. The first Oration against Philip: pronounced in the archonship of Aristodemus, in the first year of the hundred and seventh olympiad, and the ninth of Philip's reign.
II. The first Olynihiac Oration : pronounced four years after the first Phillipic, in the archonship of Callimachus, the fourth year of the hundred and seventh olympiad, and the twelfth of Philip's reign.