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6 if my being the father of such children had brought 6- such calamities upon me. With regard to the young 66 men that are now no more, I had intended them for the
government, and caused them to be educated at Rome, " in the court, and under the auspices of Cæsar, that they 6. might be the better qualified to govern: yet, when I 66 had raised them to the envy of other princes, they be“ came the greatest enemies of my peace and safety. “ Antipater, however, sought to profit by their ruin, by 66 securing the succession of the sovereignty to himself: “ yet how am I requited by this monster of iniquity, 6 who has concerted schemes against my life, in return “ for kindness! He thought, and he was grieved to think, “ that I should live too long; nay, that I had already “ done so. He could not be contented with the posses“ sion of the crown, unless he waded to it through the 66 blood of his father; and I must own that I laid the “ foundation of this conduct, by bringing him to court " from a private condition, and declaring him my suc“ cessor, in preference to the sons born of Mariamne. I " must freely, acknowledge to you, Varus, the error of my “ proceedings. It was wrong in me to deprive my sons of 6 the succession in favor of Antipater; nor did I ever 6 shew them the favor I evinced towards him. The 66 united wickedness of all the rest of my family equals “ not that of Antipater; the proofs against them fall very “ short of what I have against him; yet has he the au“ daciousness to plead innocence, nor does he despair to • confound the truth by artifice. Be guarded, Varus. “ He will recite his tale with plausibility ; but I know 6 him in all his disguises, and am assured of the baseness 66 of his heart.”
Herod, having finished this speech, requested Nicolaus of Damascus, his old and assured friend, whom he knew to be a perfect master of the whole subject, to proceed in the business that laid before them, by examining those witnesses whose evidence would tend to convict bis son of
Antipater, however, interrupted him by beginning to make a defence of his conduct, in which he intimated that his father's kindness to him was a tacit acknowledgment
of his own merit; and assumed to himself the credit of having discharged his duty in every instance: 66 What “ó probability (said he) can there be, that after having “ prevented the effects of the treachery of so many other “ people against my father, I should myself act the part “ of those very traitors whose conduct I had censured,
and bring so much disgrace on a reputation obtained by 6 so many acts of firm and unshaken loyalty? What 66 wish, what ambition could I have to become greater or 6 more distinguished than I was already? Is it to be sup“ posed I could be so weak as, the dignity of my situa6 tion considered, to act the part of a villain, only to be a “ loser by such conduct? For the succession was already 66 settled upon me, and ratified by all the forms that law 66 could give it; and, through the goodness of the king, I “ was admitted to such a proportion of the exercise of the “ royal power, that I was in actual possession of the gov. “ ernment, rather than in the view and expectation of it: 6 nor did any person dare to control my actions, or pre66 sume to controvert my right. Why, then, should I “ causelessly struggle through imminent danger, for the 66 obtaining of that which had already devolved to me, " and of which I had the peaceable possession, in conse6 quence of my superior virtue? Why should I expose “ myself, in the hope of an uncertain gain, to the utmost 6 degree of certain infamy? It is still less likely that I “i should have acted thus, when I saw the consequences 66 of false ambition, in the trial, conviction, and execution 66 of my brothers. I acknowledge myself to have been “ accessary to their fate; and I pride myself in my con• duct in that affair, of which I shall never repent, as I 66 conceive it was the strongest proof that I could have có given of my filial regard, and the inviolable love and 6 duty that I bore to my father. With regard to my con66 duct while I was at Rome, I dare make my appeal to 66 Cæsar himself, whose wisdom is such that he cannot be - imposed on; and I could likewise appeal to a number 6 of letters under his own hand, in my favor, which I am • able to produce. Now I would wish to ask if it would " not be a bad precedent to credit the calumnious reports • of abandoned men, who are my professed enemies,
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" against the authority of such respectable evidence? Men 66 who are a disgrace to their nature, and are never so 66 happy as when they are involving the royal family in 6 difficulties? These people have now taken the advan6 tage of my absence to propagate false and scandalous 6 reports to my prejudice, which would never have been 66 listened to, or had the least regard paid to them, if I had « been on the spot to have defended my own conduct."
When he had almost finished his speech, he made an observation on the absurdity of the custom of examining people by means of the torture, which he said was full as probable a method of extorting a falsehood as a truth: since the extreme pain that was inflicted on the sufferer would induce bim to assert any thing the tormentor pleased; especially as the torments were continued till such confession was made. Notwithstanding this, Antipater himself offered to submit to the torture, and rest the credit of his cause on the event. He delivered his speech in so emphatical a manner, attended by such force of action and expression, and accompanied it with such a profusion of tears, that the council were greatly concerned, and those who were his most professed enemies seemed to lament his situation: even Herod himself appeared to be affected, and to pity his case, though he endeavored all he could to conceal the emotion of his mind.
Antipater having made his defence, and the witnesses given their evidence, Nicolaus of Damascus resumed the cause, enquired into every particular article, recited the names of the witnesses, summed up the proofs, and reiparked on the confessions of those who had been put to the torture. He then proceeded to make remarks on the king's bountiful temper, the care and tenderness he had exhibited in the education of his children, and how ill that care had been requited. With regard to Alexander and Aristobulus, he said, that though they were not in.“ fluenced by motives of interest, they were actuated by ambition, and impelled by the ardor of youth, and the heat of blood; it was therefore the less to be wondered at, if the evil advice and example of bad company had seduced them to a departure from the strict line of their duty: but with respect to the conduct of Antipater, he said that it
was worse than brutal; for that beasts, even of the most ferocious kinds, entertained a sort of mutual gratitude to those who fed and protected them: whereas the young man in question was so far from being influenced by the kindness and indulgence of a tender parent, that even the unfortunate examples that had been made of his brothers, could not deter him from copying their vices; but, on the contrary, he seemed to pride himself on the cruelty and exemplary wickedness of his conduct.
Nicolaus now 'addressed himself to Antipater in the following manner: “ Was it not you that first discovered 6 the design of your brothers? Who but yourself was the 6 prosecutor? Did not you direct the sentence, and of 61 course occasion the punishment? I do not mean, in the 66 present instance, to reflect on that zeal and indignation “ by which you might be supposed to be inspired in so “ just a cause; but I am astonished to find that you 66 should have been so inveterate against your brothers, “ for a crime of which you yourself are now guilty. This 6 is to me an undoubted proof that you did not so much bó consult the preservation of the father, as the destruction 6 of the sons; that you sought, by acting the part of a 66 severe brother, to obtain the credit of an affectionate and (í dutiful son, by which means you flattered yourself, that, 66 with the greater security, you might make an interest 6 with the king. And this, in fact, is the plot that you 66 have been concerting: else, how should it happen that 66 the brothers were doomed to death, while their accom6 plices were spared? What could be the intention, what « the view in this proceeding, if you and the accomplices có had not a perfect understanding of each other? That, 66 after they had assisted you in one scheme of villany, 6 they might be at your command to lend their aid to56 wards the perpetration of another? By this mode of 6 proceeding you had a double pleasure in contemplating " the intended wickedness; for, in the first place, you 6 thought to make a most impious transaction pass through 6 the world, as an honorable deed of virtue and filial “ piety: and, in the second instance, you intended to have “ caused the execution of a horrid scene of barbarity, and “ subjected suspected persons to that punishment which 66 would have been due to the actual perpetrators of the 6 crime. If you had been a severe detester of the pro66 posed malicious proceeding, you would not have been 6 so ready to have given it the sanction of your imitation. 6. However, you have had the address and contrivance to “ destroy those first whose enormities were less than “ your own, by which means you have disclaimed all 66 competitors in the action, and determined to have 6 neither rivals nor witnesses of your conduct: and this “ being done, it was your resolution to bave added the 6 murder of the father to that of the brothers; by which 66 kind of management you thought not only to escape the 4 punishment you merited, but to transfer the weighty 6 consequence of your crimes to your parent, by the per“ petration of such a parricide as is almost unexampled in “the annals of history: for it was not your intention to “ have acted this horrid treason against a parent of only 66 common feelings and humanity, but against one whose “ tenderness and indulgence had been manifested in a 6 very superior degree: for you, the conspirator, had been 6 already chosen to succeed to the government; you al. “ ready possessed a kind of half property in the crown; 6 you had a previous share in the enjoyment of your “ father's dignities, and his will had secured to you the “ reversion of the whole. But (continued Nicolaus) so 66 immoderate and unreasonable were your desires, that it 66 was impossible for his goodness to prescribe any bounds " to them, since you meant to regulate them only by the “ measures of your own perverse will, and ungrateful “ sentiments. You could not be contented with your own “ half of the regal rights, without the possession of that 66 which more immediately belonged to your father. You 66 made an artful pretence of being bis protector from the 6 insults of others, when, in fact, your plot tended to work « his immediate destruction. Nor was this horrid con- . 6 trivance to be carried into execution simply by your