Abbildungen der Seite
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

tigable warmth of Demosthenes and Cicero. [e] I am convinced, that a genius is the first and most necessary quality for a pleader ; but I am also certain, that study is of great service. Tis like a second nature, and if it does not impart a genius to him who had none before, it however rectifies, polishes, improves, and invigorates it. And Cicero had great reason to insist very much upon this article, and to assert, that every thing in Eloquence depends on the care, the pains, the application and vigilance of the orator.

5. The knowledge of the law, and its different customs, form properly the science of the lawyer; and to pretend to plead without those advantages, is to attempt the raising of a great building, without laying a foundation.

4. The talent of speaking constitutes an orator; it is, as it were, the instrument which enables him to make use of all the rest. But, in my opinion, it is not enough cultivated. Whether it be the effect of idleness, or a confidence in ourselves, we generally think genius alone will enable us to excel in it. But Cicero is of another opinion. His endeavours to attain perfection in this particular, would seem incredible, did not be himself attest it in several places. He should be the model to youth, in this and every thing else. To imbibe Rhetoric from the very fountain, to consult able masters, to read carefully the ancients and moderns, to be constantly employed in composing and translating, and to make his language a particular study: these were the exercises which Cicero thought necessary to form the great orator.

5. But of all the qualifications of an orator, action and utterance are the most neglected ; and yet nothing contributes more towards giving success to speeches.

[e] Cùm ad inveniendum in di- quod non assequatur. . . . Reliqua cendo tria sint, acumen, ratio, di- sunt in curâ, attentione animi, coligentia ; non possum equidem non gitatione, vigilantiâ, assiduitate, laingenio primas concedere: sed ta- bore; complectar uno verbo, quo men ipsum ingenium diligentia sæpe jam usi sumus, diligentià ; etiam ex tarditate incitat. . . . Hæc quà unâ virtute omnes virtutes repræcipuè colenda est nobis ; hæc liquæ continentur. 2. de Orat. n. semper adhibenda; hæc nihil est

147, 148, 150.


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

[f] That external Eloquence, as Cicero calls it, which is adapted to the capacities of all auditors, in regard it speaks to the senses only, has something so enchauting and dazzling, that it often supplies the place of every other merit, and sets a lawyer of no great parts above those of the gteatest abilities. [g] Every one has heard the celebrated answer of Demosthenes, concerning the qualification which he thought most necessary in an orator, the want whereof could least be concealed, and which at the same time was best adapted to conceal the rest. This induced him to make incredible efforts to succeed in it. Cicero imitated him in that, as in every thing else ; and he was in some measure obliged to it, from the desire he had to equal Hortensius, who excelled in that particular. The example of both ought to have great weight with young lawyers.

6. A great many of these, in my opinion, want a certain quintessence of polite literature and erudition, which embellish, however, and enrich the understanding vastly, and diffuse a delicacy and beauty over discourse, which it can have from no other source. The reading of ancient authors, the Greeks especially, is very

much neglected. How closely did Cicero study them? orators, poets, historians, philosophers, he was acquainted with them all, and made them all of serviceto him; and the latter more than the rest. Young lawyers ought not to attempt pleading too soon, but should employ their time, at their first setting out, in acquiring a valuable and necessary fund of knowledge, which cannot be attained afterwards. I own the practice of the Bar is the best master, and most capable of making them great lawyers; but it should not consist, at first, in frequent pleading. There we listen assiduously to great orators, we study their [f] Est actio quasi corporis quæ

natur. Sine hâc summus orator esse dam eloquentia. Nam & infantes. numero nullo potest : mediocris, actionis dignitate, cloquentiæ sæpe hâc instructus, summos sæpe supefructum tulerunt : & diserti, defor- rare. Huic primas dedisse Demosthe. mitate agendi, multi infantes putati nes dicitur,cum rogaretur quid indisunt. Orat. n. 55, 56.

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


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

cendo esset primum : huic secundas, [8] Actio in dicendo una domi- huic tertias. 3. de Orat. n. 213. H 3




níus, we observe their action, we are attentive to the opinions which the learned give of them; and thus we endeavour to improve equally by their perfectionsand defects.

7. If it should be asked, what is the proper age for being called to the Bar, and pleading at it? I answer, that is a thing which cannot be brought to any

fixed rule: and Quintilian's advice upon it is very prudent.

[11] A medium, says he, must be observed; so that

a youth should not expose himself in public before "he is capable of doing it with advantage: nor make

a parade of his knowledge, while it is crude and in

digested, if I may use the expression: for by that “ means he will despise pains and study; impudence “ takes deep root in him; and, what is a greater

misfortune, confidence and boldness, precede vi“ gour and strength. But he must not, on the other " hand, wait till he grows old, for then he will grow more timid every day: and the longer he delays

, “ the more fearful he will be to venture to speak in

public: so that, whilst he is deliberating whether " it is time to begin, he finds it is too late.”

8. It were very much to be wished, that the custom observed formerly among the Romans, should take place among us: and that the houses of old lawyers should be, as it were, the school of the youth designed for the Bar. What can be more worthy a greatorator, than to conclude the glorious course of his pleading, by so honourable a function? [i] We shall see, says Quintilian, a whole company of studious young people frequenting his house, and consulting him upon

the [b] Mocius mihi videtur quidam &, dum deliberamus quando incipitenendus, ut neque præproperè dicendum sit, incipere jam serum est. stringatur in matura frons, & quic- Quint. I. 12. c. 6. quid est illud adhuc acerbum pro- [1] Frequentabunt ejus domum feratur. Nam inde & contemptus optimi juvenes more veterum : & operis innascitur, & fundamenta veram dicendi viam velut ex oraculo jaciuntur impudentiæ, & (quod est petent. Hos ille formabit quasi ubique perniciosissimum) prævenit eloquentiæ parens, &, ut vetus guvires fiducia. Nec rursus differen- bernator, littora, & portus & quæ dum est tyrocinium in senectutem. tempestatum signa, quid secundis Nam quotidie metus crescit, majus. flatibus, quid adversis ratis poscat, que fit semper quod ausuri sumus : docebit. Quint. 1, 12. c.11.


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

o the

proper methods of speaking. He forms them, as though he were the father of Eloquence; and, like an old experienced pilot, points out to them the course they are to steer, and the rocks they must shun, when he sees them ready to set sail.

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



that before make



I DID not think proper to conclude this little treatise on the Eloquence of the Bar, without saying something of the lawyer's morals, and the chief qualifications requisite to his profession. Youth will find this subject treated in all the extent it deserves, in the twelfth book of Quintilian's Institutions, which is the most elaborate and most useful part of his work.

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

I. PROBITY. Cicero and Quintilian lay it down as an indisputable principle, in several parts of their works, that Eloquence should not be separated from probity; that the talent of speaking well supposes and requires that of living well, and that to be an orator, a man must be virtuous, agreeable to Cato's definition: Orator vir bonus dicendi peritus. [7] Without this, says Quintilian, Eloquence, which is the most beautiful gift that nature can bestow upon man, and by which she has distinguished him, in a particular manner froin other living creatures, would prove a fatal present to him; and be so far from doing him any service, that she would treat him as a step-mother, and like an enemy, rather than a mother, in imparting a talent to him for


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

[4] Si vis illa dicendi malitiam fuerit, si facultatem dicendi sociam instruxerit, nihil sit publicis priva- scelerum, adversam innocentiæ, hostisque rebus perniciosius eloquentiâ. tem veritatis invenit. Mutos enim ... Rerum ipsa natura, in eo quod nasci, & egere omni ratione satius præcipuè indulsisse homini videtur, fuisset, quim providentiæ munera quoque nos à cæteris animalibus in mutuari perniciem convertere, Separasse, non parens, sed noverca Quint. 1. 12. 6. 1.


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

H 4

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

no other end, but to oppress innocence, and fight against truth, like the putting a sword into the hands of a madman. It would be better, adds he, that a man should be destitute of speech, and even of reason, than to employ them to such pernicious ends.

The slightest attention will discover how necessary honesty is to a pleader. His whole design is to persuade; [?] and the surest way of affecting it is to prepossess the judge in his favour, so that he may look upon him as a man of veracity and candour, full of honour and sincerity ; who may be entirely trusted; is a mortal enemy to a lie, and incapable of tricks and cunning. In his pleadings, he should appear not only with the zeal of an advocate, but with the authority of a witness. The reputation he has acquired of being an honest man, will give great weight to his arguments : whereas, when an orator is disesteemed, or even suspected by the judges, it is an unhappy omen to the cause.

[ocr errors]

II. DISINTERESTEDNESS. [m] The question treated by Quintilian, in the last book of his Rhetoric, whether lawyers ought to plead without fees or gratuity, does not square with the nanners or customs of our days; but the principles he there lays down suit all ages and times.

{n} He begins with declaring, that it would be infinitely more noble and becoming men of so honourable a profession, not to sell their service, nor debase the njerit of so great a benefit, since most things may scem contemptible, when a price is set upon them.

[1] Plurimum ad omnia mo- causæ argumentum. L. 12. C. 1. monti est in hoc positum, si vir bo- [m] Quint. I. 12. c. 7. nus creditur. Sic enim continget, [n] Quisignorat quin id longèsit ut non studium 'advocati videatur honestissimum, ac liberalibus disafferre, sed penè testis fidein. Quint, ciplinis & illo quem exigimus ani, 1. 4. c. I.

mo dignissimum, non vendere opeSic proderit plurimum causis, ram, nec elevare tanti beneficii aucquibus ex sua bonitate faciet fidem. toritatem! cùm pleraque hoc ipso Nam qui, dum dicit, malus videtur, possint videri vilia, quòd pretium urique malè dicit. L. 6.c. 3. habent, Videtur talis advocatus mala


« ZurückWeiter »