Page images

advocate is justified, and is fulfilling a duty, not only in protesting with solemnity his own full conviction of the justice of his client's cause, though he may feel no such conviction,—not only in feigning various emotions (like an actor; except that the actor's credit consists in its being known that he is only feigning), such as pity, indignation, moral approbation, or disgust, or contempt, when he neither feels anything of the kind, nor believes the case to be one that justly calls for such feelings; but he is also occasionally to entrap or mislead, to revile, insult, and calumniate persons whom he may in his heart believe to be respectable persons and honest witnesses. Another on the contrary observes: 'We might ask our learned friend and fellow-christian, as well as the learned and noble editor of Paley's Natural Theology, and his other fellow-professors of the religion which says 'that lying lips are an abomination to the Lord,' to explain to us how they reconcile the practice under their rule, with the christian precepts, or avoid the solemn scriptural denunciation—'Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter; . . which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him.''—[Licence of Counsel, p. 10.]

Of the necessity and allowableness of the practices upon which these opposite legal opinions have been given, I leave every one to judge for himself. For my own part, I think that the kind of skill by which a cross-examiner succeeds in alarming, misleading, or bewildering an honest witness, may be characterized as the most, or one of the most, base and depraved of all possible employments of intellectual power. Nor is it by any means the most effectual way of eliciting truth. The mode best adapted for attaining this object is, I am convinced, quite different from that by which an honest, simple-minded witness is most easily baffled and confused. I have seen the experiment tried, of subjecting a witness to such a kind of crossexamination by a practical lawyer as would have been, I am convinced, the most likely to alarm and perplex many an honest witness; and all, without any effect in shaking the testimony; and afterwards by a totally opposite mode of examination, such as would not have at all perplexed one who was honestly telling the truth, that same witness was drawn on, step by step, to acknowledge the utter falsity of the whole. Generally speaking, a quiet, gentle, and straightforward, though full and careful, examination, will be the most adapted to elicit truth; and the manoeuvres, and the browbeating, which are the most adapted to confuse an honest, simple-minded witness, are just what the dishonest one is the best prepared for. The more the storm blusters, the more carefully he wraps round him the cloak, which a warm sunshine will often induce him to throw off.

I will add one remark upon the danger incurred by the advocate—even if he be one who would scruple either wilfully to use sophistry to mislead a judge, or to perplex and browbeat an honest witness—of having his mind alienated from the investigation of truth. Bishop Butler observes, and laments, that it is very common for men to have 'a curiosity to know what is said, but no curiosity to know what is true.' Now, none can be (other points being equal) more in need of being put on his guard against this fault than he who is professionally occupied with a multitude of cases, in each of which he is to consider what may be plausibly urged on both sides; while the question what ought to be the decision is out of his province as a pleader. I am supposing him not to be seeking to mislead by urging fallacious arguments; but there will often be sound and valid arguments—real probabilities—on opposite sides. A judge, or any one whose business it is to ascertain truth, is to decide according to the preponderance of the reasons; but the pleader's business is merely to set forth as forcibly as possible those on his own side. And if he thinks that the habitual practice of this has no tendency to generate in him, morally, any indifference, or, intellectually, any incompetency, in respect of the ascertainment of truth,—if he consider himself quite safe from any such danger,—I should then say that he is in very great danger.


TO seek to extinguish anger utterly is but a bravery1 of the Stoics. We have better oracles: 'Be angry, but sin not; let not the sun go down upon your anger.'2 Anger must be limited and confined, both in race and in time. We will first speak how the natural inclination and habit 'to be angry,' may be attempered3 and calmed; secondly, how the particular motions of anger may be repressed, or, at least, refrained * from doing mischief; thirdly, how to raise anger, or appease anger in another.

For the first there is no other way but to meditate and ruminate well upon the effects of anger, how it troubles man's life; and the best time to do this, is to look back upon anger when the fit is thoroughly over. Seneca saith well,' that anger is like rain, which breaks itself upon that it falls." The Scripture exhorteth us 'to possess our souls in patience:'" whosoever is out of patience, is out of possession of his soul. Men must not turn bees:

'Anira asque in vulnere ponunt.'7

Anger is certainly a kind of baseness, as it appears well in the weakness of those subjects in whom it reigns, children, women, old folks, sick folks. Only men must beware that they carry their anger rather with scorn than with fear, so that they may seem rather to be above the injury than below it; which is a thing easily done, if a man will give law to himself in it.

1 Bravery. Bravado. 'One Titit, wbo was then of the Lord's party, came forth in a bravery, asking if any had courage to break a lance for his mistress.'— Spottiswode.

s JSphes. iv. 26.

3 Attemper. To temper; soften.

"Those smiling eyes, attempting every ray.'—Pope.

* Refrain. To restrain.

'I refrain my lips.
I refrain my soul and keep it low.'

• Sen. De IrA, i. 1. e Luke xxi. 19.
7 'And leave their lives in the wound.'—Virg. Oeorg. iv. 238.

For the second point, the causes and motives of anger are chiefly three: first, to he too sensible of hurt, for no man is angry that feels not himself hurt; and, therefore, tender and delicate persons must needs be oft' angry, they have so many things to trouble them which more robust natures have little sense of; the next is, the apprehension and construction of the injury offered, to be, in the circumstances thereof, full of contempt—for contempt is that which putteth an edge upon anger, as much, or more, than the hurt itself; and, therefore, when men are ingenious in picking out circumstances of contempt, they do kindle their anger much; lastly, opinion of the touch3 of a man's reputation doth multiply and sharpen anger, wherein the remedy is, that a man should have, as Gonsalvo was wont to say, 'telam honoris crassiorem.'3 But in all refrainings of anger, it is the best remedy to win time, and to make a man's self believe that the opportunity of his revenge is not yet come; but that he foresees a time for it, and so to still himself in the mean time, and reserve it.

To contain * anger from mischief, though it take hold of a man, there be two things whereof you must have special caution: the one of extreme bitterness of words, especially if they be aculeate6 and proper;6 for 'communia maledicta'7 are nothing so much; and again, that in anger a man reveal no secrets; for that makes him not fit for society: the other, that you do not peremptorily break off in any business in a fit of anger: but howsoevers you show bitterness, do not act anything that is not revocable.

For raising and appeasing anger in another, it is done chiefly

1 Oft. Often. See page 358.

3 Touch. Censure. 'I never bare any touch of conscience with greater regret.' —King Charles

3 'A thicker web of honour.'—A. L. II. xx. 12.

4 Contain. To restrain.

'Fear not, my lord, we can contain ourselves.'—Shakcspere.

5 Aculeate. Pointed; sharp; stinging.

6 Proper. Appropriate.

'In Athens all was pleasure, mirth, and play,
All proper to the Spring and sprightly May.'—Dry&en.

7 'General reproaches.'

s Howsoever. However. 'Berosus, who, after Moses, was one of the most ancient, howsoever he has since been corrupted, doth in the substance of all agree.' — Raleigh.


by chusing of times when men are forwardest and worst disposed to incense them; again, by gathering (as was touched before) all that you can find out to aggravate the contempt; and the two remedies are by the contraries: the former to take good times, when first to relate to a man an angry1 business, for the first impression is much; and the other is, to sever, as much as may be, the construction of the injury from the point of contempt; imputing it to misunderstanding, fear, passion, or what you will.


Aristotle, in his Rhetoric (book ii. chap. 2)—a work with which Bacon seems to have been little, if at all, acquainted — defines anger to be 'a desire, accompanied by mental uneasiness, of avenging oneself, or, as it were, inflicting punishment for something that appears an unbecoming slight, either in things which concern one's self, or some of one's friends.' And he hence infers that, if this be anger, it must be invariably felt towards some individual, not against a class or description of persons. And he afterwards grounds upon this definition the distinction between anger and hatred; between which, he says, there are several points of comparison. Anger arises out of something having a personal reference to ourselves; whereas hatred is independent of such considerations, since it is borne towards a person, merely on account of the believing him to be of a certain description or character. In the next place, anger is accompanied by pain; hatred is not so. Again, anger would be satisfied to inflict some pain on its object, but hatred desires nothing short of deadly harm; the angry man desires that the pain he inflicts should be known to come from him; but hatred cares not for this. Again, the feeling of anger is softened by time, but hatred is incurable. Once more, the angry man might be induced to pity the object of his anger, if many misfortunes befel him; but he who feels hatred cannot

Angry. Provolcing anger.

That was to him an angry jape (trick).'—Siatorpere.

« PreviousContinue »