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met with; and that the powers of the mind, CHAP. whether belonging to reason or to taste, will be very differently exercised in studying such works, and in gathering, were that possible, precisely the same information from compilements and dictionaries.
In concluding this introduction, it is fit to observe that I saw not any necessity for speaking in it of preceding translators or commenters of the " Rhetoric," not having derived any assistance, or borrowed a single sentence from any of them.
Rhetoric, natural, how improved into Art.- Its connection
Oaths with the Propositions or Enthymemes, relative to all these subjects.
RHETORIC is the counterpart of logic; for both CHAP. are conversant with subjects not falling within the distinct province of any particular science, Rhetoric, and are superficially understood by all, even the improvable most unlearned. To a certain degree, all men are rhetoricians and logicians, all being ready, on occasion, to provoke or to sustain an argument, to praise or to blame, to accuse or to de
BOOK fend. This, indeed, is performed ill, and at random, by the multitude; a few only do it tolerably well, and that chiefly through practice. A way, however, is thus laid open for attaining higher proficiency; for when a speaker has fortunately hit the mark at which his discourse aimed, we may investigate and discover the causes of his success; and from the contemplation of these causes, derive rules of art, productive of like success in all similar cases.1
This art ill under
Hitherto, writers on Rhetoric have confined themselves to the least important parts of the worse pro- art. Enthymemes or arguments, form the main central body; the rest is mere outwork. Yet of enthymemes, in which the whole weight of proof consists, dependent on the speaker's skill2, they make not any mention; while they expatiate on calumny and aggravation, pity and anger, and other extraneous matters not bearing any essential reference to the merits of the cause, but calculated solely to bias the decision of the
1 This passage is highly extolled by Mr. Stewart in the Preliminary Dissertation to his Philosophical Essays. He ascribes it "to an obscure author quoted by Sir Joshua Reynolds, and placed in the front of his Academical Discourses." The supposed obscure author is no less a man, however, than Aristotle, in the very first chapter of his Rhetoric. I subjoin the Latin translation, as quoted by Mr. Stewart, (Essays, Preliminary Dissertation, p. lxiii.) "Omnia fere quæ præceptis continentur ab ingeniosis hominibus fiunt; sed casu quodam magis quam scientia. Ideoque doctrina et animadversio abhibenda est, ut ea quæ interdum sine ratione nobis occurrunt, semper in nostra potestate sint; et quoties res postulaverit, à nobis ex præparato adhibeantur."
2 Other proofs, such as writings, witnesses, &c. will be spoken of hereafter.
judges. Before tribunals, constituted as some CHAP. tribunals are in well regulated states, such rhetoricians would not have a word to say. The principle of these tribunals is universally The Areoapproved, and the Areopagus strictly conforms pagus deto it in practice. This court confines the plead- the respecers before it, to the points in debate: an ordi- of litigant nance most fit, since to pre-occupy and pervert parties, and of judges. the judge by pity, envy, or anger, is nothing better than to make crooked the very ruler that was to be employed for making other things straight. It is plain, therefore, that litigant parties have only to state correctly the matter of fact, to show that certain things have been done, or that certain transactions have taken place. To ascertain the nature and quality of these actions, that they are just or unjust, important or trivial, when the law itself has not explicitly pronounced, is the proper function of the judge. Such things he is not to be taught by the parties concerned.
termined by them,
Good laws are clear and comprehensive, Definition leaving the fewest points possible to the decision of good of judges. Of this description, the grounds why nothing that are, first, that one or a few good law-makers are can be demore naturally to be expected, than a long succession of upright and able judges. Secondly, legislation is a work of time, of long and patient consideration; whereas, judges are called to decide on the spur of the occasion, and therefore less likely to discriminate the exact points of justice and utility. A third difference, and the greatest of all, is, that laws pronounce generally,
ought to be left to judiciary discretion.