« 前へ次へ »
of youth, an object to which he directed all his care and attention. He kept, however, no fixed public school, but took every opportunity, without regarding times or places, of conveying to them his precepts, and that in the most enticing, agreeable manner. His lessons were so universally relished, that the moment he appeared, whether in the public assemblies, walks, or feasts, he was surrounded with a throng of the most illustrious scholars and hearers. The young Athenians quitted even their pleasures to listen to the discourse of Socrates.
3. He greatly exerted himself against the power of the thirty tyrants, and in the behalf of Theramenes, whom they had condemned to death ; insomuch that they became so alarmed at his behavior, that they forbade him to instruct the Athenian youth. Soon after, an accusation was formally exhibited against him by Melitus, containing in substance "That he did not acknowledge the gods of the republic, but introduced new deities in their room ;" and further, “that he corrupted the youth.” He urged, in his defence, that he had assisted, as others did, at the sacrifices and solemn festivals. He denied his endeavoring to establish any new worship. He owned, indeed, he had received frequent admonitions from a divine voice, which he called his genius, that constantly attended him, and discovered to him future events ; that he had often made use of this divine assistance for the service of himself and his friends; but, that if he had been |thus particularly favored by Heaven, it was owing chiefly to the regularity of his life and conduct; and that the approbation of the Supreme Being, which was given him as a reward for his virtue, ought not to be objected to him as his crime.
4. Then, as to the other article, wherein he was accused of corrupting the youth, and teaching them to despise the settled laws, and order of the commonwealth, he said, he had no other view in his conversation with them, than to regulate their morals; that as he could not do this with any public | authority, he was therefore forced to insinuate himself into their company, and to use, in a manner, the same methods
to reclaim, which others did to corrupt them. 15. How far the whole charge affected him, it is not easy
to determine. It is certain, that amidst so much zeal and
What were the charges against Socrates ?
superstition as then reigned in Athens, he never durst open! oppose the received religion, and was therefore obliged t preserve an outward show of it. But it is very probable, fron the discourses he frequently held with his friends, that, in hi heart, he despised and laughed at their monstrous opinions and ridiculous mysteries, as having no other foundation thai the fables of the poets; and that he had attained to a notion of the one only true God; insomuch that, upon the accoun of his belief of the Deity, and his exemplary life, some have thought fit to rank him with Christian philosophers. And indeed his behavior upon his trial was more like that of a christian martyr than of an impious pagan; where he appeared with such a composed confidence, as naturally results from innocence ; and rather, as Cicero observes, as if he were to determine upon his judges, than to supplicate then as a criminal.
6. But how slight soever the proofs were against him, the faction was powerful enough to find him guilty. It was a privilege, however, granted him, to demand a mitigation of punishment to change the condemnation of death, into banishment, imprisonment, or a fine. But he replied generous. ly, that he would choose neither of those punishments, because that would be to acknowledge himself guilty. This answer so incensed his judges, that they determined he should drink the hemlock, a punishment, at that time, much in use among them. Thirty days were allowed him to prepare to die; during which time, he conversed with his friends with the same evenness and serenity of mind he had ever done before. And though they had bribed the jailer for his escape, he refused it, as an ungenerous violation of the law's. He was about seventy years old when he suffered; which made him say, he thought himself happy to quit life, at a time when it begins to be troublesome; and that his death was rather a deliverance than a punishment.
7. Cicero has described, with great elegance, the lofty sentiments and magnanimous behavior of Socrates. While he held the fatal cup in his hand, he declared, that he considered death not as a punishment inflicted on him, but as a help furnished him of arriving so much sooner at heaven.
What privilege was granted Socrates on being found guilty ?-How did he reply to this offer ?-In what manner did he suffer death>
He gave it as his opinion, that upon the departure of our souls from our bodies, there are two passages for conducting them to the places of their eternal destination ; one leading to never ending punishment, which receives those souls, that, during their residence on earth, have contaminated themselves with many great crimes ; the other, leading to a state of felicity and bliss, which receives the souls of those who have lived virtuously in the world.
8. When Socrates had finished his discourse, he bathed himself. His children being then brought to him, he spoke to them a little, and then desired them to be taken away. The hour appointed for drinking the hemlock being come, they brought him the cup, which he received without any emotion, and then addressed a prayer to heaven. It is highly reasonable, said he, to offer my prayers to the Supreme Being on this occasion, and to beseech him to render my departure from earth, and my last journey, happy. Then he drank of the poison with amazing tranquillity. Observing his friends, in this fatal moment, weeping, and dissolved in tears, he reproved them with great mildness, asking them, whether their virtue had deserted them ; “for," added he, “I have always heard, that it is our duty calmly to resign our breath, giving thanks to God." After walking about a little while, perceiving the poison beginning to work, he lay down on his couch, and, in a few moments after, breathed his last. Cicero declares that he could never read the account of the death of Socrates without shedding tears.
9. Who firmly stood in a corrupted state,
10. Soon after his death, the Athenians were convinced of his innocence, and considered all the misfortunes which afterwards befel the republic, as a punishment for the injustice of his sentence. When the academy, and the other places of the city where he taught, presented themselves to the view of his countrymen, they could not refrain from reflecting on the reward bestowed by them, on one who had
done them such important services. They cancelled the de-. cree which had condemned him ; put Melitus to death; ba. nished his other accusers; and erected to his memory a statue of brass, which was executed by the famous Lysippus.
THE SOCIAL STATE.
Man in society is like a flower
BATTLE OF MARATHON.
1. The Persian army, commanded by Datis, consisted of 100,000 foot, and 10,000 horse. That of the Athenians amounted in all but to 10,000 men. This had ten generals, of whom Miltiades was the chief; and these ten were to have the command of the whole army, each for a day, one after another. There was a great dispute among these officers, whether they should hazard a battle, or expect the enemy within their walls. The latter opinion had a great ma. jority, and appeared very reasonable ; for what appearance of success could there be in facing, with a handful of soldiers, so numerous and formidable an army as that of the Persians ? Miltiades, however, declared for the contrary opinion ; and showed, that the only means to exalt the courage of their own troops, and to strike a terror into those of
Who commanded the Persians ?-How numerous were the Persians in the battle of Marathon ?-How many were in the Athenian army? --Who commanded the Athenians ?
the enemy, was to advance boldly towards them with an air of confidence and intrepidity. Aristides strenuously defended this opinion, and brought so many of the commanders into it, that it finally prevailed.
2. Aristides reflecting, that a command which changes every day, must necessarily be feeble, unequal, not of a piece, often contrary to itself and incapable either of projecting or executing any uniform design, was of opinion that their danger was both too great and too pressing for them to expose their affairs to such inconveniences. In order to prevent them, he judged it necessary to vest the whole power in one single person; and, to induce his colleagues to act conformably, he himself set the first example of resignation. When the day came on which it was his turn to take upon him the command, he resigned it to Miltiades, as the more able and experienced general. The other commanders did the same, all sentiments of jealousy giving way to the love of the public good ; and by this day's behavior we may learn, that it is almost as glorious to acknowledge merit in other persons, as to have it in one's self.
3. Miltiades, however, thought fit to wait till his own day came. Then, like an able captain, he endeavored, by the advantage of the ground, to gain what he wanted in strength and number. He drew up his army at the foot of a mountain, that the enemy should not be able either to surround him, or charge him in the rear. On the two sides of his army he caused large trees to be thrown, which were cut down on purpose, in order to cover his flanks, and render the Persian cavalry useless. Datis, their commander, was very sensible that the place was not advantageous for him ; but, relying upon the number of his troops, which was infinitely superior to that of the Athenians, and, on the other hand, not , being willing to stay till the reinforcement of the Spartans,
he determined to engage. The Athenians did not wait for ,, the enemy's charging them. As soon as the signal was given for battle, they ran against the enemy with all the fury imaginable.
4. The battle was very fierce and obstinate. Miltiades had made the wings of his army exceeding strong, but had left the main body more weak, and not so deep; the reason of which seems manifest enough. Having but 10,000 men i to oppose to such a numerous and vast army, it was impossi