Page images
PDF
EPUB

* As to the custom of making agreements with clients, and taxing them in proportion to the nature of the cause and the risque they run ; 'tis, says Quintilian, an abominable kind of traffick,' fitter for a pirate than an orator, and which even those, who have but a slender love for virtue, will avoid.

Far therefore from the bar, and so glorious a profeffion, says he in another place, be those mean and mercenary fouls who make a trade of eloquence, and think of nothing but sordid gain. The precepts, says he, which I give concerning this art, don't fuit any person who would be capable of computing how much he shall gain by his labours and study.

If a heathen has such noble sentiments and expresfions, how much niore glorious and difinterested should the views of a lawyer be according to the principles of Christianity? And indeed we see this spirit prevail among the Lawyers of France. They are so delicate in this point, as to debar themselves from bringing any actions for payment of their fees; and this they carry so far, that they would disown any member of their profession, who should commence any suit, or retain his client's papers, in order to oblige him to make some acknowledgment for the aslistance he had given him.

III. Delicacy in the choice of Causes. "As soon as we suppose the orator a worthy man, 'tis plain he can never undertake a cause he knows to be unjuft. Justice and truth only have a right to the

Paciscendi quidem illi pirati- mihi quid studia referant compucus mos, & imponentium pericu- taturum. Quine, l. 1. C. 20. lis pretia procul abominanda ne- "Non convenit ei quem orato. gotiatio, etiam mediocriter im- rem esse volumus, injufta tueri probis aberit.

scientem . . . . . Neque defender Neque enim nobis operis amor omnes orator : idemque portum ileft : nec, quia fit honesta acque lum eloquentiæ suæ salutarem, non pulcherrima rerum eloquentia, pe- etam piratis patefaciet, duceturque titur ipfa, fed ad vilem usum & in advocationem maximè causa. fordidum lucrum accingimur. Quinc. d. 12. 6. 7. Ne velim quidem lectorem dari

affistance

affistance of his voice. Guilt has no title to it, what fplendor or credit foever it may appear to have. His eloquence is a fanctuary for virtue only, and a safe haven for all, except pirates.

w Before therefore a man discharges the function of a lawyer, let him perform that of a judge; let him raise a kind of domestick tribunal in his closet, and there carefully, and without prejudice, weigh and examine the arguments of his clients, and pronounce a severe judgment against them, in case it be necessary.

*If even, in the course of the affair, he happens, by a stricter inquiry into the title, to discover that the cause he undertook, fuppofing it honest, is unjust; he then must give his client notice of it, and not abuse him any longer with vain hopes; and advise him not to prosecute a suit which would prove very fatal to him, even though he should gain it. If he fubmits to his advice, he will do him great service; if he despises it, he is unworthy of any farther assistance from his lawyer.

IV. Prudence and moderation in pleading. These virtues are chiefly necessary on account of raillery. There are certain polite and becoming rules in this point, which every orator, and every gentleman should observe inviolably. It is not necessary to remark, that it would be inhuman to insult people in disgrace, when their very condition entitles them to compaslion, and who besides may be unfortunate, without being criminal. z In general, our raillery

w Sic causam perscrutacus, pro judices sumus, beneficium eft, ut poliris ante oculos omnibus quæpro- non fallamus vana fpe, litigantem. Got noceanc-ve, personam deinde Neque eft dignus operâ patroni, qui induat judicis, fingarque apud fe non utitur confilio. Ib.c.7. agi causam. Ib. c. 8.

y Adversus miseros inhumanus * Meque verò pudor obiter quo- eft jocus. minus susceptam, cùm melior vi. ¿ * Lædere nunquam velimus, derecur, litem, cognita incer dif- longèque absit propofitum illud, poceptandum iniquitate, dimittat, amicum quam dictum perdidi. cùm priùs licigacori dixerit verum. . Quint. l. 6. C. 4. Nam & in hoc maximum, G æqui

* I am of opinion, that it onghs so be read so, instead of ludere, as it is in all the editions,

Mould

should be inoffensive ; and we must take care not to fall into the fame error with those, who would lose a friend rather than a jeft.

• There is nothing but moderation in using jefts, and prudence in applying them, that distinguish

an orator, in this respect, from a buffoon. The latter uses them at all times, and without any occasion: whereas the orator does it feldom, and always for some reason effential to his cause, and never barely to raise laughter; which is a very trifling kind of pleasure, and argues a mean genius.

Repartees give occasion sometimes for delicate raillery; fo much the more sprightly, as it is concise; and as it flies in an instant like a dart, piercing almost before perceived. These pleasantries, which are neither ftudied nor prepared, are much more graceful than those we bring from our closets, and which often, for that very reason, appear frigid and puerile. Befides, the adversary has no reason to complain, because he brought the raillery upon himself, and can impute it to nothing but his own imprudence. Why de you

bark? said Philip one day to Catulus, alluding to his name, and the great noise he made in pleading: Because I fee a thief, answered Catulus.

Repartees of this kind require a great presence and celerity of mind, if we may use the expression; for

a Temporis ratio, & ipfius dica- cessiti dicimus, quàm quæ priores. citatis moderatio, & temperantia, Nam & ingenii celeritas major est & raritas dictorum, diftinguet o- quæ apparet in respondendo, & huratorem à scurrå : & quod nos cum manitatis est responsiv. Videre. causa dicimus, non uc ridiculi vi- mur enim quieturi fuiffe, nii effedeamur, sed ut proficiamus aliquid ? mus laceflici.

2. de Orat. n. 230. il!i turum diem, & fine causa. 2.de Quafia, nec ex tempore fea, Orat. n. 247,

sed domo allata, plerumque sunt b Risum quæsivit: qui eft, mea frígida. Orat. n. 89. sententia, vel tenuiffimus ingedii a Catulus, dicenti Philippo : fructus. Ibid.

QUID LATRAS? FUREM, in. · Dicacicas posita in hac veluti quit, VIDEO. de Orat. n. 220. jaculatione verborum, & inclusa Opus et imprim's i' genio ve. breviter urbanitate. Q. 1. 6. c. 4. loci ac mobili, animo præsenti &

Ante illud facetè dictum hærere acri. Non enim cogitandum, fed debet, quàm cogitari posle videatur. dicendum ftatim eft, & prope 2. de Orat. p. 219.

sub conatu adversarii marius eri. Omnia probabiliora funt, quæ la• genda. Quint. 1. 6. c. 5o

they

e

e

[ocr errors]

they afford no time for reflection; and the blow must be given the inftant we are attack's. But they require great prudence and moderation. *For how much must a man be master of his temper, to suppress even in the very heat of action and debate, a smart saying or joke which starts up on a sudden, and might do us honour; but would at the same time offend persons whom we are obliged to treat with deference! The way to succeed in it, is to fight, and not pique ourselves upon fo dangerous a talent; and to acquire a habit of speaking moderately and with caution, in conversation and common life.

If a lawyer is not allowed to use harsh and offensive raillery, with how much more reason ought he to abstain from grofs language ? ? This is an inhuman kind of pleasure, unworthy of a gentleman, and which must necessarily disgust a prudent auditor. Yet some clients, often more solicitous to revenge than defend themselves, extort this kind of eloquence from the orator ; and are not pleased with him, if he does not dip his pen in the bitterest gall. But who is the lawyer, if he has any sentiments of honour or probity left, that would thus blindly gratify the spleen and resentment of his client; become violent and passionate at his nod, and make himself the unworthy minister of another's foolish rage, from a sordid fpirit of avarice, or a mistaken defire of false glory? V. Wise emulation remote from mean and low jealousy.

No place, in my opinion, is more proper to excite and cherish a lively and prudent emulation than the bar. It is a great concourse of people in whom the

fHominibus facetis & dicacibus defenfionem. Hoc quidem quis difficillimum eft habere hominum hominum liberi modò sanguinis rationem & temporum, & ea quæ fuftineat, petulans esse ad alterius occurrant, cùm falsiffimè dici pof- arbitrium? Orator à viro bosint; renere. 2. de Orat. n. 221. no in rabulam latratoremque cre

8 Turpis voluptas, & inhumana, vertitur, compositus, non ad ani& nulli audientium bonu grata ; à mum judicis, fed ad ftomachum litigatoribus quidem frequenter ex- litigatoris. Q.1.12. c. 9. igitur, qui ulcionem malunt quàm

most

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

wher

most valuable qualities are united; as beauty and force of genius, delicacy of wit, solidity of judgment, a refined taste, a vast extent of knowledge, and long experience. There we see combats fought every day between famous champions, in the presence of learned and judicious magistrates, and amidst an extraordinary concourse of spectators, drawn thither by the importance of the affairs, and the reputation of the speakers.

There eloquence exhibits herself in every shape; in one, grave and serious ; in another, sprightly, and a gay, sometimes, unprepared and negligent; at others, in her finest attire; and arrayed with all her ornaments; diffusive or contracted, soft or strong, sublime and majestick, or more simple and familiar, as causes vary. Not a single word is there loft; no beauty, no defect escape the attentive and intelligent auditors: and whilst the judges on one hand, with the scale in their

hands, in the presence and in the name of Supreme Justice, determine the fate of private persons: the public, on the other, in a tribunal no less inacces, sible to favour,determine concerning the merit and reputation of lawyers, and pass a fentence, from which there is no appeal.

Nothing, in my opinion, can raise the glory of the bar more, than to see such a spirit of equity and moderation prevail in the body of lawyers, as gives every one his due, and banishes all jealousy and envy, and that amidst all those exercises which are so capable of fomenting self-love; and when the ancient lawyers, almost upon the point of quitting the lists, in which they have been so frequently crowned, joyfully see a new swarm of young orators entring, in order to suco ceed them in their labours, and support the honour of a profession that is still dear to them, and for which they cannot forbear interesting themselves; and when the latter, so far from suffering themselves to be dazzled by there growing reputation, pay a great deference to their seniors, and respect them as their fathers and masters: in a word, when the same emulation

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

prevails

« PreviousContinue »