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INTRODUCTION

То

WHAT MIGHT BE CALLED

THE

PENNSYLVANIA BLACKSTONE.

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IT must be the result of every man's experience, that happiness consists in the employment of the mind upon some object, the attainment of which, calls forth the energies of thought, or action. So that I consider the poet, as not going the whole length of the foundation of happiness, when he says,

“ Reason's whole pleasure ; all the joys of sense, Lie in three words, health, peace, and competence.'

For though without these, little pleasure can be enjoyed ; yet, even with these, little can be enjoyed, where there is Wanting an occupancy of the mind. Hence it is, that Aristotlet places happiness in mental energy; an opinion says he, "ancient and universal among philosophers.” The same thing is abundantly inculcated in that collection of wise sayings, which are ascribed to the Jewish King, Solomon, as meditated by himself; or, compiled under his direction. It will be seen from that divine composition, that the employment of the mind in virtuous action, is the means of happiness in this life ; while, on the contrary, idleness is as comfortless in itself as it is disreputable, in the opinion of men.

Pope.
Gillies 254.

The historian Sallust, in his introduction to the Bellum Catilinarium, expresses the same idea:“*truly, he truly, at length, appears to live, and enjoy life, who intent on some business, seeks the reputation of some excellent achievement, or good art !" This is a sentence which may be called golden; and would deserve to have been inscribed on a column; or, over the gate of a temple by antiquity. For the employment of the mind, on some object of pursuit, is necessary to happiness. This is the nature of man, and the labourer who earns his daily subsistence, enjoys a greater portion of felicity, than the listless and vacant mind, which has no design to execute, and nothing to do. Give me an employment, or a profession, therefore, is the cry of nature to every one that has the conduct of youth.

The profession of the law under a Republican Government, not only leads to emolument, but qualifies for political eminence ; if that were a thing desirable for one's own sake ; which it is not; but, for the sake of the public, it is desirable. And it may not be in the way of private emolument, or happiness, for one of the profession of the law, to give his services to the public, on a special occasion : but for one's own sake, I have said that political distinction is not in general desirable. It is to the youthful of the profession, chief ly, that the glare of eminence in political life, is at all captivating: and, from the fire and passion of that age, they are the least fit for it. I count therefore him who confines himself to his profession, till he has arrived at the calm of years, as most likely to consult his own happiness, and at the same time, the interests of the public. For it cannot well be, that before this time, he has acquired an independence of estate ; and much less, that he possesses that self-denial, and humility of spirit, which, experience in life, gives ; so as to render him a useful member of a deliberative body.

But eloquence at the bar, gives great distinction. The name of the orator is not heard so much abroad; but, in pro

*“ Verum, enimvero, is mihi demum vivere, et frui vita vi. detur, qui aliquo negotio intentus, præclari facinoris, aut bonæ artis, famam quærit."

portion as his fame is concentrated, it burns the more steadily at home. It is, in the respect of those alone who are nearest us, and with whom we are conversant, that we find enjoyment. A sphere more or less extensive is of little moment.

But it is at the bar, that eloquence has the fairest scope; and, the most powerful effect. In the councils of the state, or of the nation, two formed parties will invariably prevail. The representative who does not range himself with one of these, can be of no account; he is heard by no one ; because it is not what is reason, or good policy, that is considered; but what has been the previous determination of the party, or their leaders, out of doors. A speaker must know it therefore to be unnecessary to address those on the same side with himself; for they are already persuaded : and with regard to those on the opposite side, it must be the same thing as urging arguments to the walls. Hence it is, that, unless an individual can be at the head of a party, and lead it, he has little occasion for judgment; and none for eloquence. It is but a vain declamation on the side that he is, as a champion of their opinions ; but without the least prospect of moving any one.

At the bar, on the contrary, a court or jury are to be persuaded. Were not even conscience to secure this for the speaker, in the breasts of Judges, and jurors ; yet, respect for themselves, and their reputation amongst men, would, in general, secure it. For they are considered as deciding or giving a verdict, according to the right or the wrong of the case ; and the credit of their understandings will depend upon it. Hence it is that having the human mind to deal with, free and unembarrassed as to the question, there is an encouragement to employ the resources of the orator, in canvassing the law or fact under consideration.

It may be worth while for me, now, to say a few words on the qualifications of a Lawyer. Integrity is unquestionably, the first qualification; the love of truth and justice. Without a consciousness of virtue, what man can even stand erect and present himself with a proper posture of body ? but can he open his countenance, and shew that he is himself persuaded of what he says? Can he evince that indignation, against in

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justice, which the heart does not feel? It is impossible to have a confidence in one's self, unless conscious of integrity. Hence it follows, that it is of the highest consequence, that from the earliest years, the mind of one intended for an advocate, should be formed to virtue. Such is the connexion between mind and body, that the feelings of virtue are thought to contribute to health, and longevity ; but, certainly, to strength of intellect, and boldness of elocution. No man can be great in any profession, much less in that of the law, without a soul of benevolence and truth. It is a vulgar error, that parts alone, meaning powers of understanding, can render great, in a moral science. The affections of the heart have so much to do in sustaining right, and opposing wrong, that if these are depraved, nothing great can exist. The indiscriminate defence of right and wrong in the practice of the law, is thought to deprave the mind. This impression which prevails much, arises from a misconception of the duty, and the usual conduct of the profession. I have no idea but that a lawyer, for his own sake, in giving counsel, will advise to the best of his abilities; and in taking the cause of a defendant, will point out to him the weakness of his defence, if there is a weakness; that the client may compromise, and avoid costs. But it is his duty, if a defendant persists, to undertake his cause; and to present it to the best advans tage; and this in order to save him from the recovery of more than ought to be recovered against him; and from excess of damages. For it being presumed, that a plaintiff having had his choice of advocates, has chosen the ablest, a defendant might be oppressed by the talents against him ; and it is impossible for a Court and Jury to reach the whole truth, and hit exact justice, unless the law, or facts of a case are well discussed on both sides. The pleading and counter plead. ing of advocates, is a great help to the comprehending what is equal in the meum and tuum of actions.

In the case of a plaintiff client, it is always, in the power of a Lawyer, to decline the cause; if, on the plaintiff's own shëwing, it is not inaintainable : and it is his duty to decline it. Nor can I suppose, that he will not decline it, for his own

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