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Defending Myself in Court at the Age of Seventy

The Effects of the Accusations

I do not know what effect my accusers have had upon you, gentlemen, but for my own past I was almost carried away by them—their argu-ments were so convincing. On the other hand, scarcely a word of what they said was true. I was especially astonished at one of their many misrepresentations; I mean when they told you that you must be careful not to let me deceive you—the implication being that I am a skillful speaker.

I thought that it was peculiarly brazen of them to tell you this without a blush, since they must know that they will _Soon be effectively confuted, when it becomes obvious that Lhave_not___ theslightest skill as a speaker—unless; of course, by a skillful speaker they mean one who speaks the truth. If that is what they mean, I would agree that I am an orator, though not after their pattern. My accusers, then, as I maintain, have said little or nothing that is true, but from me you shall hear the whole truth—not, I can assure you, gentlemen, in flowery language like theirs, decked out with fine words and phrases. No, what_yallwill_hear will be-a straightforward speech in the _first words that occur-- me, confident-as I am in the justice of my .cause, and I do not want any of you to expect anything   different. It would hardly be suitable, gentlemen, for a man of my age to address you in the artificial language of a schoolboy orator.

One thing, however, I do most earnestly beg and entreat of you. If you hear me defending myself in the same language which it has been my habit to use, both in the open spaces of this city—where many of you have heard me—and elsewhere, do not be surprised, and do not inter-rupt. Let me remind you of my position. This-is myfirst appearan.ce in a court of law, at the age of seventy, and so I a complete stranger to thelanguag-6--ol this place. Now if I were really from another country, you would naturally excuse me if I spoke in the manner and dialect in which I had been brought up, and so in the present case I make this request of you, which I think is only reasonable, to disre-gard the manner of my speech—it may be better or it may be worse —and to consider and concentrate your attention upon this one question, wheth-ef irly.eroaiii'are fair or not That is the first duty of the juryman, just as it is the pleader's duty to speak the truth., The proper course for me, gentlemen of the jury, is to deal first with the earliest charges that have been falsely brought against me, and with my earliest accusers, and then with the later ones.

I make this distinction because I have already been accused in your hearing by a great many people for a great many years, though without a word of truth, and I am_ more afraid of those people than_ am of Anytus _ and his colleagues, although they are formidable enough. But the oth-ers are still more formidable. I mean the people who took hold of so hold  many .of you when you were_children_and tried Ur minds.

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