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feeling, must have acquired some warmth and ardour in the cause.
Grant that he is in some degree confined by the precision of our laws, still it is matter of fact on which he has principally to address a jury, and the less of technical language he mingles in it the greater will be its effect. It would indeed perhaps be better if oratory had less influence than it is known to have in our courts of justice. It is somewhat checked by the sedate character of the people of England, and by the feeling of jurymen that they are bound by their oaths; but still it is found to be of so much intrinsic consequence, that the barrister who possesses this talent finds that it infallibly conducts to fame and fortune.
1st. The most important rule that I can lay down to the practitioner at the bar, is to make himself perfect master of the science of the law. Without this be can never speak with courage and confidence; and he will also be in danger of incurring the ridicule of his adversary, and perhaps the contempt of the court. A knowledge of the law will also supply the means of eloquence, or at least a substitute for it; for a
sound lawyer is always heard with attention, whether he is what is called eloquent or not.
2d. The next requisite is a perfect knowledge of the cause in which he is engaged. This is indeed a duty he owes not less to his client than to his own reputation, for he actually defrauds the man from whom he receives a fee, unless he exerts himself to the very utmost of his ability.
3dly. Though warmth and vehemence may be occasionally admitted, and sometimes required, yet a counsel will commonly have most weight with a jury, who addresses them as rational beings, and seems at least to labour to convince their judgment. In the beginning of his oration he should always appear cool and temperate, but always in earnest, otherwise they will have less confidence in his assertions.
The plan and order which I laid down in my last letter is strictly applicable to judicial oratory, and every address to a jury must consist of; Ist, an exordium, in which he must endeavour to conciliate their favour; 2d, a statement of facts or narrative, in which the pleader recapitulates or anticipates the principal parts
the evidence ; 3dly, it will be in general better and clearer to a jury, if he points out the proper divisions of his argument, as more of method is expected from a pleader than in a mere declamatory address ; 4thly, the argumentative part is indispensable, that being the peculiar business of an advocate; 5thly, the peroration or conclusion should be always remarkably clear and lucid, and if the subject admits of the pathetic, this is the part in which it will commonly be introduced to the greatest advantage.
Rise and progress of Eloquence.
MY DEAR JOHN, It would be a very pleasing exercise to trace the history of eloquence from its first rude ori. gin through the various ramifications of human genius ; to mark the powers, the character of the different men in the different ages of society, who have successfully employed this fascinating art. It would be pleasing even to pursue the science as long as the records of civilized man permit; and to trace the progress of oratory from Pericles to Pitt. But our materials for such a critical investigation are very few. The best effusions of oratory are Emia nyepotyta (winged words). Unfortunately for us they are not
Congealed in northern air.”
Not only we lose the music, the cadence, the action with which they were graced, but even
the substance of very few of these productions are transmitted to us. Of the orations of Demosthenes, a very small number have outlived the depredations of time. Cicero, who for some years spoke almost daily in public, and who was the most diligent of men, has committed to writing a very small proportion of his numerous orations; even the eloquence of our own great and distinguished orators, St. John, Pulteney, Pitt, Fox, and Sheridan, are only to be traced in those meagre and imperfect registers, the volumes of Parliamentary Debates, in which you are presented rather with the language of an illiterate reporter, than with that of the accomplished statesman and orator, whose speech he undertakes to detail.
That oratory was not only practised, but studied with considerable effect from almost the earliest periods, is evident from the specimens which stand recorded almost as soon as language became stationary in writing. The oratory of the Hebrews is of a peculiar kind, short and sententious, like their poetry. But in the Book of Job, in the speeches of Moses and of Samuel, we have some beautiful examples of the sublime and the pathetic in oratory. The