Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

ing corrected him of his errors, by frequently reproaching him with them. He kept a man in his service to tell him every day before he gave audience, “Philip, remember thou art mortal.”

* He † discovered great moderation, even when he was spoken to in shocking and injurious terms; and also, which is no less worthy of admiration, when truth was told him ; a great quality, says Seneca, in kings, and highly conducive to the happiness of their reign. At the close of an audience, which he gave to some Athenian ambassadors who were come to complain of some act of hostility, he asked, whether he could do them any service ?. “The greatest service thou couldst do us,” said Demochares, "would be to hang thyself.Philip, though he perceived all the persons present were highly offended at these words, however made the following answer, with the utmost calmness of temper : "Gó, tell your superiors, that those who dare make use of 54 such insolent language, are more haughty, and less pea

ceably inclined, than they who can forgive them.”

| Being present, in an indecent posture, at the sale of some captives, one of them going up to him, whispered in his ear, "let down the lappet of your robe ;' upon which Philip replied, "seț the man at liberty ; I did not know till now that "he was one of my friends."

$ The whole court soliciting him to punish the ingrati. tude of the Peloponnesians, who had hissed him publicly in the Olympic games : “What won't they attempt,” replied: Philip, should I do them any injury, since they laugh at me after having received so many favours at my hand ?”.

|| His courtiers advising him to drive fror him a certain person who spake ill of him : “Yes, indeed, says he, "and A so he will go and speak injuriously of the every-where." Another time that they advised him to dismistaan of pro, bity, who had reproached him : "Let us first take care, says he,

that we have not given him any reason to do so. Hearing afterwards that the person in question was but in poor circumstances, and in no favour with the courtiers, he was very bountiful to him ; on which occasion, his reproach, es were changed into applauses, that occasioned another fine saying of this prince's : "It is in the power of kings to make themselves beloved or hated."

** Being urged to assist, with the credit and authority he * Senec. de Ira. 1. jji, C. 23.

+ $i quæ alia in Philippo virtus, fuit et contumeliarum patientia; ingens inftrumentum ad tutelam regni. | Plye § Ibid,

Pluts in Apoph. **Pluto

had with the judges, a person whose reputation would be quite lost by the sentence which was going to be pronounced against him : "I had rather,” says he, "he should lose his “ reputation, than I mine."

* Philip rising from an entertainment, at which he had sat several hours, was addressed by a woman, who begged him to examine her cause, and to hear several reasons she had to alledge which were not pleasing to him. He accordingly heard it, and gave sentence against her ; upon which she replied very calmly “I appeal.' _“How !” says Philip, “ from your king? to whom then?"-'to Philip when fasting,' replied the woman. The manner in which he received this answer would cio honour to the most sober prince. He afterwards gave the cause a second hearing, found the injustice of his sentence, and condemned himself to make it good.

† A poor woman used to appear often before him, to sue for audience, and to beseech him to put an end to her law. suit ; but Philip always told her he had no time. Exaspe. rated at these refusals, which had been so often repeated, she replied one day with emotion, "if you have not time to “do me justice, be no longer king." Philip was strongly affected with this rebuke, which a just indignation had extorted from this poor woman ; and so far from being of fended at it, he satisfied her that instant, and afterwards became exact in giving audience. He indeed was sensible, that a king and a judge are the same thing; that the throne is a tribunal ; that the sovereign authority is a supreme power, and at the same time an indispensable obligation to do justice; that to distribute it to his subjects, and to grant them the time necessary for that purpose, was not a favour, but a duty and a debt; that he ought to appoint persons to assist him nr this function, but not to discharge himself absolutely froin it ; and that he was no less obliged to be a judge than a king. All these circumstances are included in this natural, unaffected, and very wise expression : “Be no long. er kingt ;" and Philip comprehended all its force.

$ He understood raillery, was very fond of smart sayings, and very happy at them himself. Having received a wound near the throat, and his surgeon importuning him daily with some new request : 'Take what thou wilt,' says he, "for “thou hast me by the throat."

|| It is also related, that after hearing two villains, who accused each other of various crimes, he banished the one, and sentenced the other to follow him.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

Menecrates, the physician, who was so mad as to fancy himself Jupiter, wrote to Philip as follows: “Mercrates Ju *.piter, to Philip greeting" Philip answered : “ Philip to " Menecrates, health and reason. f” But the king did not stop here'; for he hit upon a pleasant remedy for his visionary correspondent. Philip invited him to a grand entertainmet. Menccrates had a separate table at it, where nothing was served up to him but incense and perfume, whilst all the other guests fed upon the most exquisite drintic3. The first transports of joy with which he was seized, when he found his divinity acknowledged made him forget that he was a man'; but hunger afterwards forcing him to recol. lect his being so, he was quite tired with the character of .Jupiter, and took leave of the company abruptly.

Philip made an answer which redounded highly to the honour of his prime minister. That prince, being one day reproached with devoting too many honrs to sleep : “ 1 in* deed sleep,” says lse, “but Antipater wakes."

Parmenio, hearing the ambassadors of all Greece mur. muring one day because Philip lay too long in bed, and did not give them aurtience : "Do not wonder," says he "it he sleeps whilst you wake ; for he wakcd whilst you slept." By this he wittly reproached them for their supineness, in negleeting their interests, whilst Philip was very vigilant m rogard to his. This Demosthenes was perpetually observing to them with his usual freedom.

# Every one of the ten tribies of Athens used to elect a new general every year. These did their duty by turns and er ery general for the day commanded as generalissimo. But Philip joked upon this multiplicity of chiefs, and said, “ in $& my whole life I could never find but one general (Parme" nio,) whereas the Athenians can find ten every year, at " the very instant they want them."

The letter which Philip wrote to Aristotle on the birth of his son, proves the regard that prince paid to learned men, and at the same time the taste he himself had for the palite arts and sciences. The other letters of his, which are still extant, do him no less honoer. But his great talent was that oftwar and policy, in which he was equalled hy few; and.it is time to consider him under this double character. I heg the reader to remember, that M. de Tourroil is the author of most of the subsequent particulars, and that it is he who is going to give them the picture of king Philip.

• Elian. lib. xii, cap. 38.
+ The Greek word ygiaincin significa both these things.
Plut.

tbilja-Apoph. p. i, 177.

[ocr errors]

It would be difficult to determine whether this prince were more conspicuous as a warrior or a statesman. Surrounded from the very beginning of his reign, both at home and a. broad, with powerful enemies, he employed artifice and force alternately to defeat them. He uses his endeavors with success to divide his' opponents : to strike the surer; he eludes and diverts the blows which were aimed at him self ; equally prudent in good and ill fortune, he does not a. buse victory ; as ready to pursue or wait for it, he either hastens his pace or slackens it, as necessity requires ; he leaves nothing to the caprice of chance, but what cannot be directed by wisdom ; in fine, he is ever immoveable, ever fixed in the just bounds which divide boldness from témeri, ty:

In Philip we perceive a king who commands his allies as much as his own subjects, and is as formidable in treaties as in battles ; a vigilant and active monarch, who is his own superintendant, his own prime minister and generalissimo: We see him fired with an insatiable thirst of glory, search, ing for it where it is sold at the dearest price ; making fa. tigue and danger his dearest delights ; forming incessantly that just, that speedy harmony of reflection and action which military expeditions require ; and with all these advantages turning the fury of his arms against commonwealths, ex: hausted by long wars, torn by intestine divisions, sold by their own citizens, served by a body of mercenary or undis, ciplined troops, obstinately deaf to good advice, and seeming ly determined on their ruin.

He united in himself two qualities which are commonly found incompatible, viz. a steadiness and calmness of soul that enabled him to weigh all things, in order to take ads vantage of every juncture, and to seize the favourable moment without being disconcerted by disappointments ; this calmness I say, was united wsth a restless activity, ardour, and vivacity, which were regardless of the difference of seasons, or the greatest of dangers. No warrior was ever bold er, or more intrepid in fight. Demosthenes, who cannot be suspected to have flattered him, gives a glorious testimony of him on this head ; for which reason I will cite his own words. *" I saw,'' says this orator, “ this very Philip with “ whom we disputed the sovereignty and empire ; I saw

him, though covered with wounds, his eye struck out, his “collar-bone brokę, maimed both in his hands and feet “ still resolutely rush into the midst of dangers, and ready ş to deliver up to fortune any other part of his body she

[ocr errors]

* Demosth, pro Ctes. p. 483e

might desire, provided he might live honourably and glo“ riously with the rest of it."

Philip was not only brave himself, but inspired his whole army with the same valour. Instructed by able masters in the science of war, as the reader has seen, he had bronght his troops to the most exact regular discipline ; and trained üp men capable of seconding him in his great enterprises. He had the art, without lessening his own authority, to familiarise himself with his soldiers ; and commanded rather as the father of a family, than as the general of an army, whenever consistent with discipline : and indeed, from his affability, which merited so much the greater suimission and respect, as he required less, and scemed to dispense with it, his soldiers were always ready to follow him to the greatest dangers, and paid him the most implicit obedience.

No general ever made a greater use of military stratagems than Philip. The dangers to which he had been exposed in his youth, had taught him the necessity of precantions, and the art of resources. A wise diffidence, which is of service, as it shows danger in its true light, made him not fearful and irresolute, but cautious and prudent. What rerson soever he might have to hatter himself with the hope of success, he never depended upon it ; and thought himself superior to the enemy only in vigilance. Ever just in his projects, and inexhaustible in expedients ; his views were unbounded; his genius was wonderful in fixing upon proper junctures for the execution of his designs; and his dexterity in acting in an imperceptible manner no less admirable. Impenetrable as to his secrets, even to his best friends, he was capable of attempting or concealing any thing. The reader may have observed, that he strenuously endeavoured to lull the Athenians asleep, by a specious outside of peace, and to lay silently the foundations of his grandeur in their credulous security and blind indolence.

But these exalted qualities were not without imperfections. Not to mention his excess in eating and carousing, to which he abandoned himself with the utmost intemperance, he also has been reproached with the most dissolute abandoned manners. We may form a judgment of this from those who were most intimate with him, and the company which usually frequented his palace. A set of profligate debauchees, buffoons, pantomimes, and wretches worse than these, flatterers I mean, whom avarice and ambition draw in crowds round the great and powerful ; such were the people who had the greatest share in his confidence and bounty. Demosthenes is not the only person who reproaches Philip with

« PreviousContinue »