Puslapio vaizdai

With respect to doubtful facts (which are in themselves matter of opinion), it will be best, in long and complicated cases, that they should form a second division of the narrative, in which the evidence for and against them should be stated and weighed, and the uncertainties as much as possible cleared away. In a third division it will be convenient to draw the inferences which should result from the undisputed or ascertained facts. In a fourth, the inferences as modified by the uncertainties: and in a fifth, which may be the final division, may be set forth the measures proper to be taken upon a survey of the entire


It may be thought that this separation of inference from fact, which compels of course a cursory resumption of facts to accompany the inferences, will lead to redundancy and repetition. But the fear of such repetition as this proceeds upon a mistaken notion of what sort of enlargement is really burdensome.

The great

maxim to hold by is, that nothing is to be avoided which makes easy reading of a voluminous and complicated case. There would be no harm in reading the facts of such a case twice over, even if they were twice stated at large; and such light and rapid resumptions of them as shall be required for the drawing of inferences, will be found to be any thing but redundant. And it may be observed generally of the style and method to be employed in such statements, that freedom and an easy copiousness is better than a conciseness forced upon the style beyond what would result from the natural vigour of the writer's understanding. The object of conciseness in such matters is not to spare words, but to spare intellectual labour. We are not to grudge, therefore, such interstitial and transitional matter as may promote an easy connection of parts and an elastic separation of them, and keep the reader's mind upon springs

as it were.

In purely argumentative statements, or in the argumentative divisions of mixed statements, and especially in argumentative speeches, it is essential that the issue to be proved should be distinctly announced in the beginning, in order that the tenour and drift that way of every thing that is said may be the better apprehended; and it is also useful, when the chain of argument is long, to give a forecast of the principal bearings and junctures, whereby the attention will be more easily secured and pertinently directed throughout the more closely consecutive detail, and each proposition of the series will be clenched in the memory by its foreknown relevancy to what is to follow. These are well-known rules, which it were superfluous to cite, except for the instruction of the young. But examples may be occasionally observed (though perhaps less in this country than elsewhere) of juvenile orators who will keep the secret of the end they aim at, until they shall have led their hearers through

the long chain of its antecedents, in order that they may produce a sort of surprise by forcing a sudden acknowledgment of what had not been foreseen. The disadvantage of this method is that it puzzles and provokes the hearer through the sequence, and confounds him in the conclusion: the only advantage is an overcharged impression of the orator's ingenuity, on the part of those who may have attended to him sufficiently to have been convinced. It is a method by which the business of the argument is sacrificed to a puerile ostentation in the conduct of it, the ease and satisfaction of the auditors to

the vanity of the arguer.

[ocr errors]




THESE methods are chiefly two; by special commissions, and by committees of either of the Houses of Parliament.

The advantages of the latter method are that a number of members of Parliament are brought acquainted with the question which the committee is charged to inquire into. But with this is connected the disadvantage of diverse opinions arising amongst them, which is apt to end in the compromise of giving effect to none. The advantage of the former method is, that if the number of the commissioners be suffi

« AnkstesnisTęsti »