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eles rejected with indignation the proposals of Pausanias, and refused pe remptorily to engage in any manner in his schemes: but then he concealed what had passed between them, and did not discover the enterprise he had formed; whether it was that he imagined Pausanias would renounce it of himself, or was persuaded that it would be discovered some other way ; it not being possible for so dangerous and ill concerted an enterprise to take effect.
After Pausanias' death, several letters and other things were found among bis papers, which raised a violent suspicion of Themistocles. The Lacedæmonians sent deputies to Athens, to accuse and have sentence of death passed upon him ; and such of the citizens who envied him, joined these accusers. Aristides had now a fair opportunity of revenging himself on his rival, from the injurious treatment he had received from him, had bis soul been capable of so cruel a satisfaction. But he refused absolutely to join in so horrid a combination ; as little inclined to delight in the misfortunes of his adversary, as he had before been to regret his successes. Themistocles answered by letters all the calumnies with which he was charged; and represented to the Athenians, that as he had ever been fond of ruling, and his temper being such as would not suffer bim to be lorded over by others, it was highly improbable that he should have a design to deliver up hiinself, and all Greece, to enemies and barbarians.
In the mean time, the people too strongly wrought upon by his accusers, sent some persons to seize him, that he might be tried by the council of Greece. Themistocles, having timely notice of it, went into the island of Corcyra, to whose inhabitants he had formerly done some service : however, not thinking himself safe there, he fled to Epirus ; and find. ing himself still pursued by the Athenians and Lacedæmonians, out of despair he made a very dangerous choice, which was, to fly to Admetus, king of Molossus, for refuge, This prince, having formerly desired the aid of the Athenians, and being refused with ignominy by Themistocles, who at that time presided in the government, had retained the deepest resentment on that account, and declared, that he would take the first opportunity to revenge himself: but Themistocles, imagining that in the unhappy situation of his affairs, the recent envy of his fellow.citizens was more to be feared than the ancient grudge of that king, was resolved to run the hazard of it. Being come into the palace of that monarch, upon being informed that he was absent, he addressed himself to the queen, who received him very graciously, and instructed him in the manner it was proper to make his request. Admetus being returned, Themistocles takes the king's son in his arms, seats himself on his hearth amidst his household gods, and there telling him who he was, and the cause why he fled to him for refuge, he implores his clemency, owns that his life is in his hands, intreats him to forget the past, and represents to him that no action can be more worthy a great king than to exercise clemency. Admetus, surprised and moved with compassion in seeing at his feet, in so humble a posture, the greatest man of all Greece, and the conqueror of all Asia, raised him immediately from the ground, and promised to protect him against all his enemies. Accordingly, when the Athenians and Lacedæmonians came to demand him, he refused absolutely to deliver up a person who had made his palace his asylum, in the firm persuasion that it would be sacred and invio. lable.
Whilst he was at the court of this prince, one of his friends found an opportunity to carry off his wife and children from Athens, and to send them to him ; for which that person was some time after seized and condemned to die. With regard to Themistocles' effects, his friends secured the greatest part of them for him, wbich they afterwards found opportunity to remit him ; but all that could be discovered, which amounted to 100 * talents, was carried to the public treasury. When he entered upon the administration, he was not worth three talents. I shall leave this illustrious exile for some time in the court of king Admetus, to resume the sequel of this history.
ARISTIDES' DISINTERESTED ADMINISTRATION OF THE PUBLIC TREASURE.
HIS DEATH AND EULOGIUM. I have before observed,t that the command of Greece had passed from Sparta to the Athenians. Hitherto the cities and nations of Greece had indeed contributed some sums of money towards carrying on the expence of the war against the barbarians ; but this repartition or division bad always occasioned great feuds, because it was not made in a just or equal proportion. It was thought proper, under this new government, to lodge in the island of Delos the common treasure of Greece ; to fix new regulations with regard to the public monies; and to lay such a tax as might be regulated according to the revenue of each city and state : in order that the expences being equally borne by the several individuals who compos. ed the body of the allies, no one might have reason to murmur. The business was, to find a person of so honest and incorrupt a mind, as to discharge faithfully an employment of so delicate and dangerous a kind, the due administration of which so nearly concerned the public welfare. All the allies cast their eyes upon Aristides; accordingly they invested him with full powers, and appointed him to levy a tax on each of them, relying entirely on his wisdom and justice.
The citizens had no cause to repent their choice. I He presided over the treasury with the fidelity and disinterestedness of a man who looks upon it as a capital crime to embezzle the smallest portion of another's possessions; with the care and activity of a father of a family, in the management of his own estate ; and with the caution and integrity of a person who considers the public monies as sacred. In fine, he succeeded in what is equally difficult and extraordinary, viz. to acquire the love of all in an office, in which he that escapes the public odium gains a great point. Such is the glorious character which Seneca gives of a person charged with an employment of almost the same kind, and the noblest eulogium that can be given such as administer public revenues. It is the exact picture of Aristides. He discovered so much probity and wisdom in the exercise of his office, that no man complained ; and those times were considered ever after as the golden age, that is, the period in which Greece had attained its highest pitch of virtue and happiness. And, indeed, the tax which he had fixed, in the whole, to 460 talents, was raised by Pericles to 600, and soon after to 1300 talents : it was not that the expences of the war were increased, but the treasure was employed to very useless purposes in annual distributions to the Athenians, in solemnizing of games and festi
* 100,000 crowns French, about L. 22,500 Sterling. * Plut. in Arist. p. 333, 334. Diod. I. xi. p. 36.
| Tu quidem orbis terrarum rationes administras ; tam abstinenter quam alienas, tam diligenter quam tuas, tam religiose quam publicas. In officio amorem consequeris, in quo odium vitare difficile est. Senee. lib. de brevit. vit. cap; xsu.
vals, in building of temples and public edifices; not to mention that the hands of those who superintended the treasury, were not always so clean and incorrupt as those of Aristides. This wise and equitable conduct secured him, to latest posterity, the glorious surname of " the Just.”
Nevertheless, Plutarch relates an action of Aristides, which shows that the Greeks (the same may be said of the Romans) had a very narrow and imperfect idea of justice. They confined the exercise of it to the interior, as it were, of civil society; and acknowledged that the individuals were bound to observe strictly its several maxims : but with regard to their country, to the republic (their great idol to which they reduced every thing,) they thought in a quite different manner; and imagined themselves essentially obliged to sacrifice to it, not only their lives and possessions, but even their religion and the most sacred engagements, in opposition to, and contempt of the most solemn oaths. This will appear evidently in what follows.
* After the regulation had been made in respect to the tributes of which I bave just spoken, Aristides, having settled the several articles of the alliance, made the confederates take an oath to observe them punctually, and he himself swore in the name of the Athenians ; and in denouncing the curses which always accompanied the oaths, he threw into the sea, pursuant to the usual custom, large bars of red hot iron. But the ill state of the Athenian affairs forcing them afterwards to infringe some of those articles, and to govern a little more arbitrarily, he entreated them to vent those curses on him, and discharge themselves thereby of the punishment due to such as had forsworn themselves, and who had been reduced to it by the unhappy situation of their affairs. Theophrastus tells us, that in general (these words are borrowed from Plutarch) Aristides, who executed all matters relating to himself or the public with the most impartial and rigorous justice, used to act, in his administration, several things, according as the exigency of affairs and the welfare of his country might require ; it being his opinion, that a government, in order to support itself, is on some occasions obliged to have recourse to injustice, of which he gives the following example. One day, as the Athenians were debating in their council, about bringing to their city, in opposition to the articles of the treaty, the common treasures of Greece, which were deposited in Delos: the Samians havivg opened the debate ; when it was Aristides' turn to speak, he said, that the dislodging of the treasure was an unjust action, but useful, and made this opinion take place. This incident shows, that the pretended wisdom of the heathens was overspread with great obscurity and error.
It was scarce possible to have a greater contempt for riches than Aristides had. Themistocles, who was not pleased with the encomiums bestowed on other men, hearing Aristides applauded for the noble disinterestedness with which he administered the public treasures, did but laugh at it; and said, that the praises bestowed upon hiin for it, showed no greater merit or virtue than that of a strong chest, which faithfully preserves all the inonies that are shut up in it, without retaining any. This low sneer was by way of revenge for a stroke of raillery that bad stung him to the quick. Themistocles saying, that, in his opinion, the greatest talent a general could possess was, to be able to foresee the designs of an enemy; “ This talent,” replied Aristides, “is necessary; but there is another no less noble and " worthy a general, that is, to have clean hands, and a soul superior to ve4 nality and views of interest.” Aristides might very justly answer The
* Plut. in vit. Arist. p. $33, 331.
mistocles in this manner, since he was really very poor, though he had possessed the highest employments in the state. He seemed to have an innate love for poverty; and, so far from being ashamed of it, he thought it reflected as much glory on him as all the trophies and victories he had won. History gives us a shining instance of this.
Callias, who was a near relation of Aristides, and the most wealthy citizen in Athens, was cited to appear before the judges. The accuser, laying very little stress on the cause itself, reproached him especially with permitting Aristides, his wife and children, to live in poverty, at a time when he himself wallowed in riches. Callias perceiving that these reproaches made a strong impression on the judges, he summoned Aristides to declare before them whether he had not often pressed him to accept of large sums of money, and whether he had not obstinately refused to accept of bis offer, with saying, that he had more reason to boast of his poverty than Callias of his riches ; that many persons were to be found who had made a good use of their wealth, but that there were few who bore their poverty with magnanimity, and even joy; and that none had cause to blush at their abject condition, but such as had reduced themselves to it by their idleness, their intemperance, their profusion or dissolute conduct. * Aristides declared that his kinsman had toid nothing but the truth, and added, that a man whose frame of mind is such as to suppress a desire of superfluous things, and who confines the wants of life within the narrowest limits, besides its freeing him from a thousand importunate cares, and leaving him so much master of his time as to devote it entirely to the public, it also approaches him in some measure to the Deity, who is wholly void of cares or wants. There was no man in the assembly, but, at his leaving it, would have chosen to be Aristides, though so poor, rather than Callias with all his riches.
Plutarch gives us, in few words, Plato's glorious testimony of Aristides' virtue, for which he looks upon him as infinitely superior to all the illustrious men bis cotemporaries. Themistocles, Cimon, and Pericles, says he, filled, indeed, their city with splendid edifices, with porticoes, statues, rich ornaments, and other vain superfluities of that kind; but Aristides did all that lay in his power to enrich every part of it with virtue : now to raise a city to true happiness, it must be made virtuous, not rich.
Plutarch takes notice of another circumstance in Aristides' life, which, though of the simplest kind, reflects the greatest honour on him, and may serve as an excellent lesson. It is in the beautiful f treatise, in which he inquires, whether it is proper for old men to concern themselves with affairs of government; and where he points out admirably well the various services they may do the state even in an advanced age. We are not to fancy, says he, that all public services require great motion and hurry, such as to harangue the people, to preside in the government, or to head armies : an old man, whose mind is informed with wisdom, may, without going abroad, exercise a kind of magistracy in it, which though secret and obscure, is not therefore the less important; and that is, in training up youth by good counsel, teaching them the various springs of policy, and how to act in public affairs. Aristides, adds Plutarch, was not always in office, but was always useful to it. His house was a public school of virtue, wisdom and policy. It was open to all young Athenians who were lovers of virbue, and these used to consult him as an oracle. He gave them the
* Plut. in compar. Arist, et Cat. p. 355.
Plut in compar. Arist. et Cat. p. 795–197.
kindest reception, heard them with patience, instructed them with familiarity, and endeavoured, above all things, to animate their courage, and inspire them with confidence. It is observed particularly, that Cimon, afterwards so famous, was obliged to him for this important service.
Plutarch * divided the life of statesmen into three ages. In the first, he would have them learn the principles of government; in the second, reduce them to practice; and in the third, instruct others.
† History does not mention the exact time when, nor place where Aristides died; but then it pays a glorious testimony to his memory, when it assures us, that this great man, who had possessed the bighest employments in the republic, and had the absolute disposal of its treasures, died poor, and did not leave money enough to defray the expences of his funeral; so that the government was obliged to bear the charge of it, and to maintain his family. His daughters were married, and Lysimachus his son was subsisted, at the expence of the Prytaneum ; which also gave the daughter of the latter, after bis death, the pension with which those were honoured wbo had been victorious at the Olympic games. Plutarch relates on this occasion the liberality of the Athenians in favour of the posterity of Aristogiton their deliverer, who were fallen to decay ; and he adds, that even in his time, alınost 600 years after, the same goodness and liberality still subsisted. It was glorious for a city to have preserved for so many centuries its generosity and gratitude, and a strong motive to animate individuals, who were assured that their children would enjoy the rewards which death might prevent them from receiving ! It was delightful to see the remote posterity of the defenders and deliverers of the commonwealth, who had inherited nothing from their ancestors but the glory of their actions, maintained for so many ages at the expence of the public, in consideration of the services their families had rendered. They lived in this manner with much more honour, and called up the remembrance of their ancestors with much greater splendour, than a multitude of citizens whose fathers had been studious only of leaving them great estates, which generally do not loug survive those who raised them, and often leave their posterity nothing but the odious remembrance of the injustice and oppression by which they were acquired.
The greatest honour which the ancients have done Aristides, is in bestowing on him the glorious title of “ the Just.” He gained it, not by one particular action, but by the whole tenor of his conduct and actions. Plutarch makes a reflection on this occasion, which being very remarkable, I think it incumbent on ne not to omit.
Among the several virtues of Aristides, says this judicious author, that for which he was most renowned was his justice, because this virtue is of most general use, its benefits extending to a greater number of persons, as it is the foundation, and in a manner the soul of every public office and employment. Hence it was that Aristides, though in low circumstances, and of mean extraction, merited the title of Just; a title, says Plutarch, truly royal, or rather truly divine; but one of which princes are seldom arobitious, because generally ignorant of its beauty and excellency. They
* le applies on this occasion to the custom used in Rome, where the Vestals spent the first 10 years in learning their ofiice, and this was a kind of noviciate ; the next ten years they employed in the exercise of their functions, and the last 10 in instructing the young novices in thein. + Plut. in Arist. p. 334, 335.
Vid. Book V. Art. viii.