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FALVEY MEMORIAL LIBRARY
FALVEY MEMORIAL LIBRARY
Chambers's London Journal
Chambers's London Journal of History, Literature, Poetry, Biography, and Adventure, v. 2, no. 53, Ma...
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Chambers's London Journal of History, Literature, Poetry, Biography, and Adventure, v. 2, no. 53, May 28, 1842.
Blanchard, Edward Litt Leman.
11 October 2015
London: W. Strange ... W. Clements ... and G. Berger
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r- >-e--......v xnq -...,4,...-.-K,-J.‘ l 3 “ IN EDUCATION MEN BECOME EASY ‘:0 LEAD, B171‘ DIFFICVLT TO mnvx-EASY TO GDVERN, BUT IMPOSSIBLE To r:Nsl.Avl:."-Lulu) BEOUGHAM. NUMBER 53. Events of the Persian ‘War. Wire): the small and forlorn remnants of the army reached Xerxes at Sardis, bringing with them the tidings of its complete annihilation, the disappointed monarch wreaked his vengeance on the Greek colonies of Asia, swept away the temples and public edifices of Ephesus, Smyrna, and other cities, and hastened C0,lliS capital at Susa. Not two years before he had left it at the head of a conquering host, and possessed of an ‘army of warlike men, unequalled for. pumbers, appointments, and treasure. The task before it was of comparatively little importance-itpbpetokened no symptom of danger- it pi'es:iged no possibility of defeat. Now that pro mass was stricken low : the waste of treasure had been immense-the sacrifice of human life fearful, even for a iitful tyrant to calculate. The trophies of Asia were now despoiled: his boastings had become a mockery; and his captives at Persia looked on him with contempt. He who had prided himself in the brilliancy of martial pomp, and had fancied himself ompipotentyvhcn, he re- ceived the military obeisance of his glittering millions, now abandoned himself to the despair ofdissipation: as 'nmbition could be no more his dream, he banished thought itselg and rioted in all the sensual luXlll‘leS'WlllClI eastern debauchery could procure. The fury which before had sought to destroy men and nations beyond numbers, now expended itself on the lives of his dependants; in the drunken wildness of excess he comported himself as “ every inch is king.”-a tyrant and a brutal master to the last. Ilut what kingdoms, and armies, men ofpower and of princely blood, could endure, and crouch hoiierith its arrogance, the slaves of his domestic establishment found unbearable. He was no hero in their eyes - the despot who called for impossibilities in cookery, who reduced himself to a helplessness of gluttony and drunkenness among his slaves, and who tortured for his pleasure the female appendages of his court, could not long protect himselffrom assassination. lle whose look ad made millions tremble, could not terrify an unknown slave : he who had comman ed ‘b h "' o som swords, fell unwept beneath the retribution ofo rnenial‘s knife. There arose a wild cry in Persia, but it was not one of sorrow ; of his brothers not one became his avenger : Artaxerxes, finding the presence of one elder brother between him and the throne, as well as one absent, caused the former to be poignarded, and took posses"on of the crown--murder had been too common to excite surprise, and the nations were too glad to et rid of one sovereign to look too narrowly into the claims of the : G4 u :1 ‘< HEX As if to prove that too much success was dangerous even to the reflecting Greeks, differences now began to occur among the allies. The Spartans, who never until the war had madevany use of their sea coast, and who, by their mode of life, had no occasion for the mercantile services of a deetybecame at once aware that the polished and luxurious inhabitants of Athens would rather in. crease the advantages derivable from commerce, and maintain an imposing fleet, alike for defensive and mer- chant purposos. Addedlto this. the Athenians now set about the rebuilding their "1ICy,‘3l'l(l projected a number- ofdefences around it. “mt 1‘ might ‘not again so easily become a prey to an invader. lu this the Spartans saw a desire of the Athenians to maintain their high po ‘ ‘ in Greece-zt position which their warlike propensities were not inclined to broo . 35 they wished to bl! con- sidered alike the dictators and defenders of the entire country. They therefore sent ambassadors to Athens, to dissuade the inhabitants from the erection ofcity walls -not, of course, as desirous to see Athens defenci-less, but to remind them of the danger which the whole Pclop. pom-sus would incur should their fortifications fall into the li-.ind ofii common enemy. The slirewdness of’l'hi-mis- toclcs at once discovered the aim ofthe Spartans, and pro- vided him with a remedy. lls received the ambassadors courteously, told them that their representations would be submitted to the people‘that they would be carefully considered, and messengers despatclicd to Sparta to in- Na. 21. Vol. ll. - SATURDAY, MAY 23, 1842. form them of the result. llis influence readily pro- cured his own election for this otlice, and he proceeded to Lacedeinon to keep the people there in play, while the Athenians-men, women, children, and slaves-were employed night and day at the walls. Themistocles art- fully discussed the project with the Spartans-listened, disputed-became convinced, and again doubted-rem soned, elocutioniscd, sudngain gave way, until, the works being new sufficiently advanced, he boldly threw 0E his mask, and claimed for Athens the power and the will to do wh:[,t it considered best for its own protection. He had hitherto been the most popular s-ranger at Sparta, but this conduct, and the conviction that they had been his dupes, so irritated the Spartans, that they were on the point of laying violent ‘hands on ‘him, when he threw hiuiselfin the midst of them, defied them to touch him 38 the representative ofAthens, and threatened, did they do him any violence, that all the Spartans at Athens would be sacrificed. lie was therefore allowed to depart in safety; but with him he took the confidence, the affection, tho pride which the Spartans hitherto had in hiru and for him: they became his enemies from that day. That, however, mattered little to Theniistocles, he had gained his purpose: his country had secured its object; and any regret which his vanity might have felt at the manner of his leaving arm, was amply compensated by his reception at Athens. lie was welcomed, on his return, with ever demonstration of respect, and received all the honours due to a triumph. Elevated by the success'of this project, the restless mind of Themistocles speedily conceived aiio which the supremacy of Athens might be insured, an his active disposition be acknoivleilged still more as ser- viceable to the state. In an open m(‘(!lil)g of the people he announced that he had a scheme in viewof theutmost importance to the welfare of Athens, one which would make it the ruling power in Greece, but that it required [0 be kept secret until completed: he therefore sought the people to elect a deputy with whom he might con- sult, and with whose decision the assembly and himself would be satisfied. Aristides was at once chosen or the oillce, to whom Tliemistocles divulged his plan of burning the Eco! of the confederatz-s,tlien lying in a neighbouring harbour, by which the ships of Athens would retain the mastery of the sea. and be able to dic- tate tcrms to the whole country. Aristides immediately went before the people: he caliuly announced that nothing could tend more to tho pcrsonal greatness of Athens throughout Greece than the proposal of The- mistocles, but at the same time nothing cou d be more unjust. The people, at that time governed by an im- pulse of virtue, unanimously rejected the idea, with- out inquiring what it was. The opinion of Tm: Just was to them at that moment sullit-ient- evidence of its impropriety: their sense of right had been too re- cently tried and quickened by their own misforlun to induce them to violate its principles against those who had succoureil them, and Tliemistocles was thus again defeated by the chaste and unbenrling in- tegrity of his noble countrymen. This exalted feeling was not, however, of long duration: another project at a later period was conceived by Tlieinistocles, o rio- lating a stipulation in ri treaty with the allies. Aristides was again chosen to decide on its propriety ; the same answer was returned: but the liigli-souled statesman had losthis influence, the people liatlhrcome intoxicated with success, and dreams of ambition lliiti-(1 before their opaque vision, therefore was the verdict ofltristides set aside, and a wrong act detcrininedly agreed on, merely be- cause its result might be advuntagroiis to their country, or more likely because it agreed with their own dispo- sition towards tyranny. It is such acts as these ashave ever cruelly militated ngainst popular govvrnnient-ns have given occasion to despotism to claim a preference forwhat they call unity and consistency in public rule, although that svslem should unifonnly act against the interests of the inany for the advantage ofthe few. lt U: -c 5 Fl 9' 9% m we is such acts as those as ‘,liavc robbed the people of their. . .s. ..:...g.... PRICE TIIREE HALFPENCE. moral power, as have thrown them down from the high eminence ofintcllect, and made the sayingthat the voice of the people is as the voice ofGod, a bye-word and re- proach. It is such acts as these as have reduced the mass into a mob, and render anarchy the only instru- ment which popular excitement can wield. When every man shall think and shall govern his words and ac- tions hy the everlasting law of truth, then shall the quiet and effective revolutions ofj ustice shake the po itics of nations, and the triumph be to those who do 5. e . It was resolved by the confederates that their ileet, instead of lying idle in the ports, should proceed to sea, and dislodge the Persians from all the coasts and islands of the Meiliterram-an. his expedition was entrusted to the command of Paiisanius, the Spartan, who pro- ceeded in an uninterriipted career of conquest until he came to Byzantium, st-riding home vast treasures. and securing greater sums bv the ransom of the notable fa- milies of the enemy. This sudden influx of war-got wealth did more to undi-riniiic the spirit of independ- ence in Greece than all its misfortunes; an honourable poverty came to be dt-spised; men ride themselves on their wealth instead of their integrity, and the pos- session of riches only induced the desire for more. The Athenians, more courtly in their manners, and expensive in their habits, rctziined, ninidst this influx of wealth, their elevation at least in appearance, but the Spartans, having broken one of the primary laws of Lycurgus by admitting gold into their country, could not withstand the luxuries and temptation consequent on its posses- sion; the simplicity of their food became all at once unpalatable, and the severe but well-regulated poverty of the citizens no longer possessed the charm of self- austaining indepeinleiice. On Pausanius himself the contagion operated with the most virulent eEect : dazzled with the splendour of the Persian court, envi- ous ofthe wealth and state of its nobles, and seduced by the luxurious proofof Asiatic extravagance, be per- mitted hioiselfto be led away by the traitorous intention ofsellingtlielilx-rties ofhis country, and of betraying the important trust confided in him by the common interests of Greece, for his own selfish aggrandisement. He made overtures to the King of Persia, by which he undertook to place Sparta and its allies beneath his sway, provided that monarch would give im his daughter in marrhglr, with in suitable rank among his satraps! So flagrant ii violation of all honour, an offer so unworthy ofa Greek commander, an attempt so un. natural in n Spartan, could not be long concealed : he was charged before the general council of Greece with high treason. Twice was he accused, on bothoccasions being acquitted by want of evidence; but circum- stances thickened against him, and he was again ordered to be apprehended, the evidences of his crime becoming too apparent to be doubted. flying from his pursuers. as a last place of refuge he took shelter in the temple of Minerva, the sanctity of the place preventing the mea- sengers ofjustice, as it were, from tearing him from the altar. In this prcdirament, the magistrates were ata loss how to secure the person of the criminal, when his mother, a lady of royal blood. appeared before the gates of the temple. With all the dignit and heroic fortitude of ii I.aced:emoniim matron, wit i her heart steeled against the impulses of maternity by the dreadful tres- son of her son, alie silnntlyapproaclied the door, and Z. placed a stone against it. The mligistrates and the crowd at. once unilcrstood the symbol: a wall was speedily erected ngninst i-very outlet, the temple was ‘ unroofed-and thus was left to ]1i‘l'lSll, in all the i';uo- . miny of public hate, in all the wild and distracting liar- rors of starvation, the lion) who, amidst the dangers and carnage of Platan, had sustained alike the honour of Sparta and the general liberties of Greece. The rude cry ofexecration embillerezl the agonies of death, and public contempt was the only ucconipanimpnt to his tomb. Whilst the blond that had been noblr spilt in his country's cause, was left to foster in'bis own veins.