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sake; since the failing in a suit, brings some disreputation upon a counsel; and is at least unpleasant. But it does not follow that because a plaintiff has failed in his suit, he had not reason to think, and so presented it to his counsel, as having a good cause of action. For evidence may have failed him which he expected to procure; or that may be brought against him of which he had not a knowledge. It is not safe for counsel; or, justifiable in them, to decline, in a matter of meum and tuum, and to undertake to say what is the justice of the claim; for he may err in his judgment of the law; and it is his business to serve his client, in bringing forward his case, before the proper judges; and presenting it to the best advantage, that it may receive a determination. I have no idea, that so doing, the counsel identifies himself with the cause; or makes the morality of it his own; nor does he feel that he does; though it is impossible, but that in a matter of dubious controversy, he may have a leaning in favour of that side which he espouses; and it is necessary that he should, in order to sustain the balance of a like leaning on the other side. But, if, in forming a verdict, juries will hang; or,
in deciding, judges will differ, does it not prove that the right and wrong of the case, is not, always, so clear that counsel could pronounce upon it, undertaking it, that it was a clear matter. So far from it, that, such is the imperfection of human investigation, and even judgment, that the truth or justice of the case is not always reached. But, this I will say, that, if at all attainable, it will be owing in a great degree, to the advantage of an able discussion by counsel on both sides, presenting their respective cases, in the best point of view, for their several clients.
It is not to be understood that I would countenance sophistry, or quibbling, in attempting to persuade a court or jury; for no wise counsel will attempt this, as he must know that it cannot prosper. He may sail close upon the wind, in pressing a point'; but not in the wind's eye ; for if he does, to make use of a nautical phrase, his sails are instantly aback, and he will make no progress. Much less, in the conduct of a suit, do I take into view, what I reprobate, the catches of those whom I disclaim as lawyers, who avail themselves of the slips of counsel ; and would take advantage of a mistake. These may be said to carry on the legal war, not according to the laws of civilized practice, but resembling savages, who make their attacks unseen, which is a species of assassination. This, at the same time, is, in general, as useless as it is vexatious; for, in most cases, it can give but the trouble of an application to the court to set right, on the payment of costs, and at the expense of the counsel who had not been duly vigilant. But these things are not known, but amongst the illiberal, who are at the foot of the profession. A nice and delicate sense of honour, and a contempt of undue advantage, that affects not the merits, is the characteristic of the noble minded of the profession ; and these are always the ablest as they are the fairest in practice.
In order to qualify for the profession of the law, a liberal education is necessary. For, though there are instances of strong minds, that are but little indebted to a liberal education, making tolerable orators, and even lawyers; yet, it would have been of great advantage to them, to have possessed this. For something like a universal knowledge of literary subjects, would be desirable ; because, in proportion as we have a knowledge of subjects, the mind is enlarged. For there is scarcely a subject of human knowledge, but that when the mind is brought to bear upon a point of at least moral discussion, it may not draw something from it to illustrate an argument or fortify a position. Not that I would have an orator to be able to support a thesis, in omni scibili et, de quolibet ente; but I would require some general infor. mation, on almost all subjects of science ; especially that sphere of study which is fashionable, and I think useful, in our system of education. It is a question lately agitated whether the acquisition of what are called the learned languages, is useful. The perfect command of one's own vernacular tongue, in which the advocate is to speak or write, is certainly necessary; not the command of words merely, but the delicate selection of words, and choice of terms. In order
to this, it is necessary to understand the precise meaning of words; and this is not to be collected from dictionaries ; so well, at least, as from the roots of the words, which are found in those languages, from which our own is derived ; and of which it is in a great measure made up, and composed. These are, of the ancient languages, the Latin and the Greek; of the modern, the French and the German. The farthest way about, is said to be, oftentimes, the nearest way home; and in order to be master of the English language, I would think it the shortest course to endeavour to obtain a knowledge of these; and more especially of the Latin and the Greek.
But by studying the structure of these languages we learn the structure of our own; in other words, the grammar of it; and nothing can contribute more to the richness and abundance of expression, in our own tongue, than a knowledge of these that are related to it. But the translation of an idea from one language to another, to which, in learning a language, we are accustomed, gives a facility in conveying an idea that is our own. And hence translation from another language, orally, or in writing, is an easy, and successful introduction to the speaking and writing our own.
But a great use in studying the analysis of language, is the habit of investigation ; it being of all things the most difficult to fix the attention of the youthful and wandering mind. The tracing etymologies and examining the concords of speech, and the structure of sentences, is a good exercise for the judgment and suited to the understanding of early years.
But can any thing contribute more to form a taste for style than the study of these models of language, where there is every ornament and grace of expression : strength, at the same time, which will depend in a great degree upon conciseness and brevity : perspicuity also, without which there is neither strength nor grace. For were I to lay down a rule of style, it would be to endeavour to obtain a precise and clear idea of what is to be said ; and, to express it with the utmost brevity, and in the most perspicuous phrase possible.
Where one is master of this, but which requires much previous discipline of the mind, a diction may be indulged with the embellishments of figure, and the flowers of imagination. But until this rib and bone of clear thought is obtainable, all garniture but wearies. All this excellence of brevity, perspicuity, and grace, is distinguishable in the classical writings. Hence it is that the diction of a good classic cal scholar is distinguishable from that of one who has not had the advantage of this education, by a certain flavour, and, if I may so express it, raciness of diction that savours of the ancients. This, though not discernable in its cause in the hearer, is felt abundantly. There is a charm in such eloquence that is not equalled by him whose taste has not been so cultivated.
But it is not the etymon of radical words, merely, that ve acquire by the study of the learned languages; or even the helps to form our taste for style; or other advantage that has been hinted at; but in the course of acquiring these, we get impressed upon our minds many fine sentences, and excellent maxims of good sense and morality with which the classic writers abound; and these, from the very difficulty of translating, become better fixed in the memory, than what is obtained with more ease and facility. But when we take into view the ancient mythology to which in our writings there is yet a great reference; and the knowledge of an. cient history, and ancient geography, with which these are connected; and which can, and ought to be studied at the same time ; and also the lessons of rhetoric and criticism, which from these as a text the preceptor will explain, I do not know any more useful system, or course of study that can be taken. I would think it an up-hill work to undertake to make a lawyer without such a previous course of study, and such acquisitions. I say the more on this subject because it is a prevailing idea, which favours the indolent, that the study of the dead languages is unnecessary. It is true, that from the slovenly and imperfect manner in which these languages are taught, with oftentimes bad pronunciation, and false quantity; and also from the neglect of them after the
academy is left, a slur is brought upon that part of the system of education. But it behoves that the acquaintance which has been formed with the classics should be kept up;
“Nocturna versate manu, versate diurna." For, the reading the divine poets in these languages, and in short of the poets in general, wonderfully feeds the imagination, and furnishes the orator with images and diction. This brings me back a little to observe that the whole circle of the belles lettres, or what is called polite literature, is necessary to eloquence. There is amongst all the fine arts, in the language of Cicero, the commune vinculum; and, looking at them it may be said, in the language of Ovid; "Nec una facies omnibus, sed qualem decet esse sororum."
Hence these are called the sister arts. Runnington in his life of Sir Mathew Hale, states of him, that when wearied with studying law, he would recreate himself with Philosophy or Mathematics; alleging “ that no man could be master of any profession without having some skill in all the sciences." For, it will not be understood that I mean to undervalue mathematical learning; which is so universally admitted to be necessary to assist the reasoning faculty, as well as to enlarge the sphere of knowledge. But I say the less upon this, because it is not questioned ; though I do not think it a study proper to begin with; or approve of the system of Pestallozi, who makes it precede that of Languages. It is the main study to fit the mind for mechanical pursuits; and very properly constitutes the chief study in the military academies; and though, doubtless, a public speaker must be lame without a general knowledge of all the parts that come under the idea of mathematical learning, yet the invention and imagination, which constitute the ora. tor, is not so much fed from this source ; and with regard to moral truth, which is the soul of law, it has nothing to do. The only practical branch of mathematics, of which every lawyer ought to have a competent knowledge, is that of the application of trigonometry to surveying; and this for the purpose of understanding the designation of proper