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BOOK they are plain, palpable, and familiar; the result of personal observation and daily experience. Men of enlarged minds, on the contrary, think it necessary to remount to loftier, more abstract, and more demonstrative principles: their arguments are more solid, but less striking; more convincing, when well weighed, but not easily appreciated by a popular audience. Before such assemblies, the orator is not to argue, therefore, from all probabilities indiscriminately, but from things deemed probable by his hearers or judges, or by those individuals held by them in high estimation; the more of these are on his side, his conclusions will be the more satisfactory, though far distant, in themselves, from complete certainty. But in all the three kinds of eloquence, and whether our reasonings be precise and philosophical, or political and popular, the three kinds main point is to have a knowledge of our subof oratory subject: a certain degree of this, is indispensable; for, if totally ignorant of the particulars belonging to the matter in hand, from what facts or principles can we reason or conclude? If the subject of deliberation, for example, were, whether or not the Athenians ought to declare war; how could we undertake this discussion without knowing the resources of the Athenians? whether their national force consisted chiefly in fleets or in armies; what was the amount of either; how large were their revenues; in what allies they could confide, what enemies they had to fear; what had been the nature and result of the wars formerly waged

guments used in the


by them? and many other particulars appertain- CHAP. ing to the same question. Again, were the theme of our discourse to be a panegyric on the Athenians, how could we honour them with due praise, had we no previous information concerning the battle of Salamis, or that of Marathon? were we totally unacquainted with their generous protection of the descendants of Hercules, and with all those ancient and illustrious exploits from which Athens has derived such an inheritance of glory? In the particulars that belong, or that seem to belong, to any subject, are the only grounds of praise; and particulars of a contrary kind afford the only topics for invective. Thus we inveigh against the Athenians, because they tyrannised over the Greeks; because they enslaved the citizens of Ægina and Potidæa, who had manfully co-operated with themselves in repelling the invasion of the barbarians; and by arraigning them for other proceedings of a similar description, should they, of any such, have been notoriously guilty. In the same manner, accusation or defence must be drawn from an analysis of the subject, and a careful examination of the particulars belonging to it. It matters not whether this subject be a commonwealth, as that of the Athenians or Lacedæmonians; or an individual, of a human or a divine nature. Would we exhort or dissuade, praise or blame, accuse or defend, the topics of our discourse must always be drawn from the nature, the qualities, and the relations of the subject: thus, if we would persuade Achilles to embrace a certain measure, we must


BOOK endeavour to show, that, under his circumstances, this measure will be attended with advantage if we would praise or blame him, we must show that his conduct, on certain occasions, has been fair and honourable, or disgraceful and odious if we would accuse or defend him, we must know when his proceedings were conformable to justice, and when they bade defiance to this queen of the virtues.35 Instead of communities or individuals, should we have to treat of abstract qualities, or habits 36, the mode of argumentation must still be the same: if we would explain their nature and tendency, and show that they are goods or evils, we can only discuss the subject rationally, by enumerating the particulars included under these terms, and examining their mutual agreements or differences. Since, then, in all kinds of reasoning, whether philosophical or popular, the same mode must be pursued, and that this conclusion is drawn both from induction and from argument, it is plain that the only means of demonstration or proof, whether in extemporaneous or premeditated discourse, is to select the particulars belonging to the subject; and the more exclusively belonging to it, the better; for the more numerous those particulars are, the proof will be the easier; and the more appropriate they are, it will be the more impressive. Thus, in the eulogy of Achilles, to say that he was a man of valour, a demigod, and that he fought against Troy, is to

35 See Introduction, p. 51.

36 "For example," he says, " of justice."


bestow praises common to Achilles with Dio- CHAP. med, and other heroes. It is, therefore, a far less ennobling panegyric, than to select particulars that are peculiar, and exclusively his own; as that he killed Hector, the bravest of the Trojans; and also Cycnus, who, being invulnerable", long prevented the debarkation of the Greeks; and that he was the youngest of the Grecian leaders, and sailed to Troy, not bound like the other heroes, by oath. This, therefore, is the main point in persuasion, to select the topics appropriate to the subject.

mon topics

or sources

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prove or

We should now speak of the more general The comsources of argument, alike applicable to all the three kinds of eloquence; the roots, as it were, from of arguwhich various propositions branch, and the centre ing to in which they unite and terminate.38 Let us first disprove. observe, however, that we reason with two views, either to prove or to disprove; and that,as in logic we employ syllogisms and refutations, so in rhetoric we make use of arguments and objections. The former bring together propositions agreeing with each other, and with received opinion; the latter bring together propositions at variance with each other, and with received opinion. In preceding parts of this work, we collected the propositions applicable, respectively, to the three great ends of oratory,—justice, honour, and utility; we have also treated of manners, passions, and habits; and exhibited those propositions concerning them which are the most

37 He was strangled by Achilles. Ovid. Metamorph. l. xii. v.142, 38 Ετι τοιχείον και τόπος, εις ὁ πολλα ενθυμήματα εμπίπτει, p. 582.


p. 569.


BOOK efficacious instruments of persuasion in all our moral reasonings. We now proceed to consider the matter under a still more general aspect, and to enumerate the topics or sources of argument applicable alike to all the three kinds of oratory; distinguishing those which serve to demonstrate or prove, from those which serve to disprove or refute; and those also, in both kinds, which are fair and legitimate, from those which are spurious and sophistical. We shall then take the same comprehensive view of solutions and objections; showing by what means the knots of sophistry may be untied, and in how many ways objections may be raised against arguments that are solid.

Of the sources of argument, then, common to all the three kinds of oratory, we shall place first, 1. The that flowing from, the nature of contraries, and topic derived from thence denominated the "topic of contraries." the nature As it is the nature of contraries to be endowed

of contraries.



with contrary attributes, and attended with opposite effects, we may argue that temperance is a thing of great value, because nothing is more ruinous than intemperance, and the unrestrained indulgence of our passions; or, as the orator reasoned in his Messenian discourse," the sufferings which you actually endure are occasioned by the war; peace, therefore, will bring back a state of enjoyment and happiness: " or, as the Iambic poet says,

Ill, done unwittingly, is not to be resented;

What gratitude can, then, be due for good unmeant?

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