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difcernment and prudence. They are like feafoning to an oration; they raise the ftile, make us quit the vulgar and common way of speaking, prevent the diftafte which a tirefom uniformity would occafion; but then they must be employed fparingly, and with difcretion; for if they are used too often, they lofe the grace of variety, in which their principal merit confifts; and the more they fhine, the more they difguft, and tire, from a vicious affectation, which fhews they are not natural, but far fetched with too much care, and, as it were, forced in.
It is not necessary to obferve, that fome figures are fo common and trivial, they have loft all their beauty, especially when they are too long. Miferum eft exturbari fortunis omnibus: miferius eft injuria. Acerbum eft.... acerbius. Calamitofum eft. Calamitofum eft.... calamitofius. Funeftum eft.... funeftius. funeftius. Indignum eft,... indignius. Luctuofum eft.... luctuofius. Horribile eft.. borribilius. The auditor anticipates the answer, and is tired of this burthen of a fong always in the fame ftrain. The fame may be obferved of the other figure, which is ftill more tedious. Qui funt qui foedera fæpe ruperum? Carthaginienfes. Qui funt qui in Italia crudele bellum gefferunt? Carthaginienfes. Qui funt, &c.?
ARTICLE the SIXTH.
Of oratorial Precautions.
Here give that name to a certain care which the orator must take not to offend the delicacy of those before, or of whom, he is speaking; and the studied omnibus latebris extractas congeftafque declarant. Quintil. 1. 9.
illam gratiam varieratis amitter.... Nam & fecretæ & extra vulgarem ufum pofitæ, ideoque magis nobiles, ut novitate aurem excitant, iti copiâ fitiant: nec fe obvias fuiffe dicenti, fed conquifitas, & ex
2 Pro Quint. n. 95.
and artful turns which he employs to exprefs fome things, that would otherwife appear harsh and offenfive. I call this oratorial precautions, because it contains an art and addrefs, certainly effential to rhetorick, and for that reafon deferves the attention of youth. Some examples will render the thing more obvious.
Chryfogonus, Sylla's freed-man, was in fuch credit with his mafter, (who was then abfolute in the commonwealth) that no lawyer durft plead against him in behalf of Rofcius. Cicero only, though very young, had the courage to undertake fo delicate a caufe. He is very careful throughout the whole fpeeeh, to obferve in feveral places, that Sylla was a stranger to all the villainies of his freed-man; that great induftry had been ufed to conceal them from him; that thofe who could have informed him of them, were denied all accefs to him; that, on the whole, it was not fuprizing that Sylla, who alone had the care of re-establishing and governing the commonwealth, fhould not know or neglect feveral things, fince a great many escaped the knowledge and attention of Jupiter himself in the government of the univerfe. It is very obvious that fuch precautions were abfolutely neceflary.
Cicero, in his pleading, called Divinatio in Verrem, is obliged to fhew that he is fitter to plead against Verres than Cecilius. Such a caufe was to be managed with great addrefs and conduct, to avoid giving offence; for felf praife is always odious, especially when it turns on wit and eloquence. After Cicero had proved that Cecilius had none of the qualifications neceflary for a caufe of fo much importance, he is far from afcribing them to himfelf: fo grofs a vanity would have fet every body against him, He fays only, that he had laboured all his life to acquire them,and
b Pro Rofc. n. 21, 22, 25, 91, 110, 127.
c N. 131.
Intelligo quàm fcopulofo diffi cilique in loco verfer. Nam cùm omnis arrogantia odiofa eft, tum illa ingenii atque eloquentiæ multo
moleftiffima, n. 36.
e Fortaffe dices: Quid? Frgo hæc in te funt omnia? Utinam quidem effent! veruntamen ut effe poffent magno ftudio mihi à pueritia eft elaboratum, n. 40.
that if he was not able to fucceed, notwithstanding his great pains and industry; it is not furprizing that Cecilius, who never had any idea of this noble profeffion, fhould be abfolutely incapable of it.
When he pleaded for Flaccus he was to invalidate the teftimony of feveral Greeks, who had fwore against his client. To do this the more effectually, he attempts to depreciate the nation itself. as not over fcrupulous in matters of veracity and fincerity. He does not begin abruptly with fo harsh a charge. At first, he fets apart, as it were, a real number of worthy perfons, who are far from being carried away with the blind paffion of fome of their countrymen. He afterwards gives great encomiums to the whole nation, highly magnifying their genius, abilities, politenefs, their tafte for arts, and their marvellous talent for eloquence: but he adds, that the Greeks never piqued themfelves upon being exact or fincere in giving evidence. Verumtamen hoc dico de toto genere Græcorum: tribuo illis litteras, do multarum artium difciplinam; non adimo fermonis leporem, ingeniorum acumen, dicendi copiam; denique etiam, fi qua fibi alia fumunt, non repugno: teftimoniorum religionem & fidem nunquam ifla natio coluit, totiufque hujus-ce rei quæ fit vis, quæ auctoritas, quod pondus, ignorant.
We know Cicero excelled chiefly in moving the paffions, and that he often drew tears from the eyes of his auditors, by the foft and affecting difcourfe he put into the mouths of his clients, in the conclufion of his pleadings. The greatness of foul and noble pride upon which Milo valued himfelf, deprived his advocate of fo powerful a refource. But Cicero had the art of making even his courage of fervice towards gaining the favour of the judges; and he himself affumed the character of a petitioner, which he could not give to his client.
f Pro Flacco, n. 9.
Ergo & ille captavit ex illa ceffit. Quintil. 1. 6, c. I. præftantia animi favorem, & in
locum lachrymarum ejus ipfe fuc
The inviolable refpect which children owe to thei parents, even when they treat them with rigour and injuftice, makes fome conjunctures very difficult, in which they are obliged to fpeak against their parents; and it is on these occafions that true rhetoric furnishes turns and artful ftrokes, which give to paternal authority whatever is it's due, without lofing any of the advantages of the caufe. It muft then be inculcated, that nothing but indifpenfible neceffity can force, from the mouths of children, complaints which their hearts would fupprefs; and that even through thofe complaints, not only a fund of respect may be discovered, but one of love and tenderness alfo. A fine example of this precept may be feen in the pleading for Cluentius, whom his mother treated with unheard of cruelty.
The rule I have now touched upon regards every inferior, who has any juft pretenfions against a superior, whom we ought to refpect and honour.
There are fome occafions where intereft or decency will not permit us to exlpain ourselves in exprefs terms, but in which we would, at the fame time, infinuate to the judge fome things we dare not speak openly. A fon, for example, cannot gain his fuit with out difcovering a crime of which his father is guilty.
The things themselves, fays Quintilian, muft lead the judge infenfibly to guefs at what the parties are unwilling to declare; that, every other motive being laid afide, he may be forced, as it were, to fee the only one which remains; and which the respect for a father
hinders him from difcovering. And then, the son's
There are likewife fome perfons of fo venerable a character and fo univerfal a reputation, that their very names are enough to bear down their adversaries. Such was Cato in his conteft with Murena; and we cannot make youth too sensible of the surprising art with which Cicero deprived Cato of fome part of his authority and credit, by the picture he drew of the fect of the Stoicks, which he turned into ridicule with fo much wit and humour, that Cato himself could not forbear laughing at it; and this, without faying any thing derogatory to his perfon, which was to be, in a manner, facred to him, and was certainly inacceffible, and impregnable to any kind of cenfure.
Was there ever a nicer or more difficult affair than that which Cicero undertook, in oppofing the levelling or Agrarian law, for fo they called the law which appointed lands to be diftributed among the pooreft of people? That law had at all times ferved the tribunes as a bait to gain the populace, and to fix them in their intereft. It appeared indeed to be very much in their favour, by procuring them repofe, and a fafe retreat. However Cicero undertakes to make the people themselves reject it, juft after they had chofen him conful with unparallelled marks of diftinction. Had he begun with speaking openly against that law, the whole people
Quàm molli autem articulo tractavit. Catonem, cujus natufam fummè admiratus, non ip
fius vitio, fed Stoicæ fectæ, qui-
videri volebat. Quint. l. 11. c.