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bably by far the most efficient cause of the want of for if the business of the profession does not justify a morality in legal practice, I call gratuitous. It is disregard of morality, it is not capable of justifica. not necessary to law that it should be so extremely tion. Suspended! It is lamentable that such a ques. complicated. This, the public are beginning more and tion can exist. For to what does the alternativa more to see and to assert. Simplification has indeed | lead us? Is a man, when he undertakes a client's been in some small degree effected by recent acts of business, at liberty to advance his interests by every the legislature ; and this is a sufficient evidence that it method, good or bad, which the law will not puuish! was needed. But whether needed or not, the tempta- | If he is, there is an end of morality. If he is not, tion which it casts in the way of professional virtue something must limit and restrict him; and that someis excessively great. A man takes a cause-a morally thing is the Moral Law. bad cause we will suppose-to a barrister. The Of every custom, however indefensible, some adbarrister searches his memory or his books for some vocates offer themselves; and some accordingly have one or more amongst the multiplicity of legal tech- attempted to justify the practice of the bar. Of nicalities by which success may be obtained for his that particular item in the practice, which consists in client. He finds them, urges them in court, shows uttering untruths in order to serve a client, Dr Paleg that the opposing client cannot legally substantiate has been the defender. “ There are falsehoods," his claim, and thus inflicts upon him practical injus- says he," which are not criminal ; as where no one tice. This is primarily the fault of the law. Take is deceived, which is the case with an advocate in away or diminish this encumbering load of techni. asserting the justice, or his belief of the justice, of his calities, and you take away, in the same proportion, client's cause." It is plain that in support of this the opportunity for the profession to sacrifice equity position one argument and only one can be urged, to forms, and by consequence diminish the immo- and that one has been selected. “No confidence is rality of its practice. There can be no efficient re- destroyed, because none was reposed; no promise to form amongst lawyers without a reform of the law. speak the truth is violated, because none was given
But whilst thus the original cause of the sacrifice or understood to be given.” † The defence is not very of virtue amongst legal men is to be sought in legal creditable even if it were valid: it defends men from institutions, it cannot be doubted that they are them. the imputation of falsehood because their falsehoods selves chargeable with greatly adding to the evils are so habitual that no one gives them credit ! which these institutions occasion. This is just what, But the defence is not valid. Of this the reader in the present state of human virtue, we might ex- may satisfy himself by considering why, if no one pect. Lawyers familiarize to their minds the notion, ever believes what advocates say, they continue to that whatever is legally right is right ; and when speak. They would not, year after year, persist in they have once habituated themselves to sacrifice the uttering untruths in our courts, without attaining an manifest dictates of equity to law, where shall they object, and knowing that they would not attain it. stop? If a material informality in an instrument is If no one ever in fact believed them, they would to them a sufficient justification of a sacrifice of these cease to asseverate. They do not love falsehood for dictates, they will soon sacrifice them because a word
its own sake, and utter it gratuitously and for nohas been mis-spelt by an attorney's clerk. When thing. The custom itself, therefore, disproves the they have gone thus far, they will go further. The argument that is brought to defend it. Whenever practice of disregarding rectitude in courts of jus- that defence becomes valid—whenever it is really tice will become habitual. They will go onward, true that “ no confidence is reposed” in advocates, from insisting upon legal technicalities to an endea- they will cease to use falsehood, for it will have lost vour to pervert the law, then to the giving a false its motive. But the real practice is to mingle falsecolouring to facts, and then onward and still on- hood and truth together, and so to involve the one ward until witnesses are abashed and confounded, with the other that the jury cannot easily separate until juries are misled by impassioned appeals to their them. The jury know that some of the pleader's feelings, until deliberate untruths are solemnly statements are true, and these they believe. Now averred, until, in a word, all the pitiable and degrad- he makes other statements with the same deliberate ing spectacles are exhibited which are now exhibited emphasis; and how shall the jury know whether in legal practice.
these are false or true ? How shall they discover the But when we say that the original cause of this point at which they shall begin to “repose no conunhappy system is to be found in the law itself, is it fidence ?” Knowing that a part is true, they cannot tantamount to a justification of the system? No: always know that another part is not true. That it if it were, it would be sufficient to justify any de- is the pleader's design to persuade them of the truth parture from rectitude—it would be sufficient to of all he affirms, is manifest. Suppose an advocate justify any crime, to be able to show that the perpe- | when he rose sbould say, " Gentlemen, I am now gotrator possessed strong temptation. Stong tempta- ing to speak the truth ;” and after narrating the tion is undoubtedly placed before the legal practi- facts of the case should say, “ Gentlemen, I am now tioner. This should abate our censure, but it should going to address you with fictions." Why would not not cause us to be silent.
an advocate do this? Because then no confidence We affirm that a lawyer cannot morally enforce would be reposed, which is the same thing as to say the application of regal rules, without regard to the that he pursues his present plan because some conclaims of equity in the particular case.
fidence is reposed ; and this decides the question. If it has been seen, in the preceding chapters, that The decision should not be concealed that the admorality is paramount to law; if it has been seen vocate who employs untruths in his pleadings, does that there are many instances in which private per- really and most strictly, lie. sons are morally obliged to forego their legal pre- And even if no one ever did believe an advocate, tensions, then it is equally clear that a lawyer is ob- his false declarations would still be lies, because he liged to hold morality as paramount to law in his own always professes to speak the truth.” This indeed is practice. If one man may not urge an unjust legal true upon the Archdeacon's own sbowing ; for be pretension, another may not assist him in urging it. says, " Whoever seriously addresses his discourse No man it my be hoped will say it is the lawyer's only business to apply the law. Men cannot so • I speak of the bar, becanse that branch of the profession cheaply exempt themselves from the obligations of
most convenient illustration of the subject. The
reasonings will generally apply to other branches. morality. Yet here the question is really suspended; + Mor, and Pol. Phil. b. 3 p. 1. c. 15.
o another, tacitly promises to speak the truth.” | which is founded upon the divine will: if they may The case is very different from others which he pro- | not, the argument of Gisborne is a fallacy. But in oses as parallel-" parables, fables, jests.".
In truth he himself shows its fallaciousness : he says, hese, the speaker does not profess to state facts. “ If a cause should present itself of an aspect so dark But the pleader does profess to state facts. He as to leave the advocate no reasonable doubt of its itends and endeavours to mislead. His untruths being founded in iniquity or baseness, or to justify herefore are lies to him whether they are be. extremely strong suspicions of its evil nature and ered or not; just as, in vulgar life, a man whose tendency, he is bound in the sight of God to refuse ulsehoods are so notorious that no one gives him all connexion with the business.“ Why is he thus redit, is not the less a liar than if he were believed. bound to refuse & Because he will otherwise violate
From one sort of legal falsehoods results one pe- the Moral Law : and this is the very reason why he aliar mischief, a mischief arising primarily out of an
is bound in other cases. Observe too the inconsistnhappy rule of law, but which is not on that ac- ency: first we are told that whatever be the pleader's ount morally justifiable. “ Decision is commanded opinion of a cause, “ he is guilty of no breach of y pleadings as by evidence, and that also to a vast truth and justice” in advocating it; and afterwards, xtent and with a degree of certainty refused to that if the cause is of an “ovil nature and tendency vidence. Decision is produced by pleadings as if he may not advocate it! That such reasoning does ney were true, when they are known and acknow not prove what it is designed to prove is evident ; odged to be false ; because they act as evidence and but it proves something else—that the practice cans true evidence in all cases where the opposed party not be defended. Such reasoning would not be adannot follow them by counter declarations- a con- vanced if better could be found. Let us not, howequence which may and does result from poverty ever, seem to avail ourselves of a writer's words nd other causes.' This is deplorable indeed. To without reference to his meaning. The meaning mploy false pleadings is sufficiently unjustifiable; in the present instance is clearly this—that a pleader, ut to employ them in order that a poor man or that generally, may undertake a vicious cause; but that ny man may be debarred of his rights, is abomi- if it be very vicious, he must refrain. You may abet able. But why do we say that this peculiarly is abo- an act of a certain shade of iniquity, but not if it be ainable ? For to what purpose is any falsehood urged of a certain shade deeper : you may violate the t the bar but to impede or prevent the administra
Moral Law to a certain extent, but not to every on of justice between man and man? I make no pre- extent. To him who would recommend rectitude ensions to legal knowledge. Some false pleadings in its purity, few reasonings are more satisfactory re legally“ necessary” in order to give formality than such as these. They prove the truth which ) a proceeding. In these cases the evil is attribu- they assail by evincing that it cannot be disproved. able in a great degree to the law itself, though I Dr Johnson tried a shorter course: “ You do resume the law is founded upon custom, which cus- not know a cause to be good or bad till the judge om was introduced by lawyers. The evil therefore determines it. An argument that does not convince nd the guilt lies at the door of the system of legal you may convince the judge to whom you urye it, and ractice, although it may not all lie at the doors of if it does convince him, why then he is right and you xisting practitioners.t
are wrong." This is satisfactory. It is always satisGisborne is another defender of legal practice, and factory to perceive that a powerful intellect can find ssumes a wider ground of justification. “ The nothing but idle sophistry to urge against the obliandard,” says he,“ to which the advocate refers gations of virtue. One other argument is this : he cause of his client, is not the law of reason nor Eminent barristers, it is said, should not be too be law of God, but the law of the land. His pecu
scrupulous, because clients might fear their causes ar and proper object is not to prove the side of the would be rejected by virtuous pleaders, and might uestion which he maintains morally right, but legally therefore go to “needy and unprincipled chicaners.” ight. The law offers its protection only on certain why, if their causes were good, virtuous pleaders reliminary conditions ; it refuses to take cognizance would undertake them; and if they were bad, it f injuries or to enforce redress, unless the one be matters not how soon they were discountenanced. roved in the specific manner and the other claimed In a right state of things, the very circumstance a the precise form, which it prescribes; and conse- that only an “unprincipled chicaner" would underuently, whatever be the pleader's opinion of his take a particular cause, would go far towards proause, he is guilty of no breach of truth and justice curing a verdict against it. Besides, it is a very a defeating the pretensions of the persons whom he loose morality that recommends good men to do pposes, by evincing that they have not made good improper things lest they should be done by the bad. he terms on which alone they could be legally en- Seeing therefore that no tolerable defence can be itled, on which alone they could suppose themselves adduced of the ordinary legal practice, let us conntitled, to success." | There is something specious sider for a moment what are its practical results. in this reasoning, but what is its amount !- that if A civil action is brought into court, and evidence he laws of a country proceed upon such and such has been heard which satisfies every man that the maxims, they exempt us from the authority of the plaintiff is entitled in justice to a verdict. It is, on aws of God. We arrive at this often refuted doc- the part of the defendant, a clear case of dishonesty, rine at last. Either the acts of a legislature may Suddenly, the pleader discovers that there is some uspend the obligations of morality or they may
verbal flaw in a document, some technical irregulalot. If they may, there is an end of that morality rity in the proceedings—and the plaintiff loses his
The public are disappointed • West. Rev. No. 9.
tations of justice; the jury and the court are griev+ Some of these legal falsehoods are ridiculous to the last tegree. A horse is sent to a farrier to be shod. Unhappily,
ed; and the unhappy sufferer retires, injured and nd to the great regret of the farrier, his man accidentally wronged—without redress or hope of redress. Can ames the horse. What then says the legal form ? That the this be right! Can it be sufficient to justify a man arrier faithfully promised to shoe the horse properly: but that "he, not regarding his said promise and undertaking, but con.
in this conduct, to urge that such things are his riving and fraudulently intending, craftily, and subtilely to business--the means by which he obtain s his living ? leceive and defraud the said plaintiff, did not nor would shoe be said horse, in a skilful, careful, and proper manner, &c.!"
The same excuse would justify a corsair, or a troop - See the form, 2 Chitty on Pleading, p. 151.
of Arabian banditti which plunders the caravan. Duties of Men. The Legal Profession.
Yet indefensible, immoral, as this conduct is, it is
amount of injustice which is indicted by this prace some respland, where the criminal process is in
profession, and the
respects superior The plea that such are the rules those prisoners who escape punishment on account of the law is not admissible. Whatever utility we of “technical niceties," is very great. Of the may be disposed to allow to the uniform application persons acquitted in our courts, at least one half of the law, it will not justify such conduct as this. escape from technical niceties, or rules of evidence
The integrity of the law would not bave been vio- which give advantage to the prisoner, with which, lated, though the pleader had not pointed out the in the other part of the island, they are wholly unmis-spelling, for example, of a word. For a judge acquainted."* Is not this a great public eril! to refuse to allow the law to take its course after And if we charge that evil originally upon the law, the mistake has been urged, is one thing; for a is it warrantable, is it moral, in the advocate actively pleader to detect and to urge it, is another. The to increase and extend it. judge may not be able to regard the equity of the The plea that it is of consequence that law should case without sacrificing the uniform operation of be uniformly administered, does not suffice to justify the law. But if the inadvertency is not pointed out, the pleader in criminal any more than in civil courts. that uniform operation is perfect though equity be “ A thief was caught coming out of a house in awarded. There is no excuse for thus inflicting Highbury Terrace, with a watch he had stolen injustice. It is an act of pure gratuitous mischief : therein upon him. He was found guilty by the jury an act not required by law, an act condemned by upon the clearest evidence of the theft; but his morality, an act possessing no apology but that the counsel having discovered that he was charged in agent is tempted by the gains of his profession. the indictment with having stolen a watch, the pro
An unhappy father seeks, in a court of justice, perty of the owner of the house, whereas the watch some redress for the misery which a seducer has really belonged to his daughter, the prisoner got inflicted upon his family; a redress which, if he were clear off.”+ The pretext of the value of an uniform successful, is deplorably inadequate, both as a re- operation of the law will not avail here. Suppose compense to the sufferers and as a punishment to the counsel, though he did discover the watch was the criminal. The case is established, and it is ma- the daughter's, had not insisted upon the inaccuracy, nifest that equity and the public good require exem- no evil would have ensued. The integrity of the plary damages. What then does the pleader do ! law would not have been violated. The act of a He stands up and employs every contrivance to counsel therefore in such a case is simply and only prevent the jury from awarding these damages. a defeat of public justice, an injury to the State, an He eloquently endeavours to persuade them that the encouragement to thieves; and surely there is no act involved little guilt; casts undeserved imputa- reason, either in morals or in common sense, why tions upon the immediate sufferer and upon her any particular class of men should be privileged thus family; jests, and banters, and sneers, about all the to injure the community. evidence of the case; imputes bad motives (without The wife of a respectable tradesman in the town truth or with it) to the prosecutor ; expatiates upon in which I live was left a widow with eight or ten the little property (whether it be little or much) children. She employed a confidential person to which the seducer possesses; by these and by such assist in conducting the business. The business was means he labours to prevent this injured father from flourishing; and yet at the end of every year she obtaining any redress, to secure the criminal from all
was surprised and afflicted to find that her profits punishment, and to encourage in other men the crime were unaccountably small. At length this confidenitself. Compassion, justice, morality, the public good, tial person was suspected of peculation. Money was every thing is sacrificed--to what! To that which, marked and placed as usual under his care. It was upon such a subject, it were a shame to mention. soon missed and found upon his person ; and when
In the criminal courts, the same conduct is prac- the police searched his house, they found in his postised, and with the same indefensibility. Can it be ne- session, methodically stowed away, five or six thoucessary, or ought it to be necessary, to insist upon sand pounds, the accumulated plunder of years! the proposition — “ If it be right that offenders This cruel and atrocious robber found no difficulty should be punished, it is not right to make them in obtaining advocates, who employed every artifice pass with impunity.” If a police officer has seized of defence, who had recourse to every technicality a thief and carried him to prison, every one knows of law, to screen him from punishment and to secure that it would be vicious in me to effect his escape. for him the quiet possession of his plunder. They Yet this is the every day practice of the profession. found in the indictment some word, of which the It is their regular and constant endeavour to pre-ordinary and the legal acceptation were different ; vent justice from being administered to offenders. and the indictment was quashed! Happily, another Is it à sufficient justification of preventing the exe- was proof against the casuistry, and the criminal cution of justice, of preventing that which every was found guilty. good citizen is desirous of promoting-to say that a Will it be said that pleaders are not supposed to man is an advocate by profession! Is the circum: know, till the verdict is pronounced, whether a stance of belonging to the legal profession a good prisoner is guilty or not? If this were true, it reason for disregarding those duties which are ob. would not avail as a justification; but, in reality, it ligatory upon every other man? He who wards off is only a subterfuge. In this very case, after the punishment from swindlers and robbers, and sends verdict had been pronounced, after the prisoner's them amongst the public upon the work of fraud guilt had been ascertained, a new trial was obtained ; and plunder again, surely deserves worse of his
not on account of any doubt in the evidence that country than many a hungry man who filches a loaf
was unequivocal—but on account of some irregulaor a trinket from a stall. As to employing legal rity in passing sentence. And now the same conartifices or the tactics of declamation in order to
duct was repeated. Knowing that the prisoner was obtain the conviction of a prisoner whom there is guilty, advocates still exerted their talents and reason to believe to be innocent; or as to endea- eloquence to procure impunity for him, nay to revouring to inflict upon him a punishment greater ward him at the expense of public duty and of prithan his deserts, the wickedness is so palpable that
• Remarks on the Administration of Criminal Justice in it is wonderful that even the power of custom pro
Scotland, &c. tects it from the reprobation of the world.
+ West. Rev. No. 8, Art. 4.
fate justice. They did not succeed: the plunderer | graph, let clients take a beneficial hint. I suggest vas transported; but their want of success does not to them, if their opponent has engaged the ablest iminish the impropriety, the immorality, of their counsel, to engage him also themselves. The arndeavours. If, by the trickery of law, this man rangement might easily be managed, and would be ad obtained an acquittal, what would have been attended with manifest advantages ; clients would be consequence ? Not merely that he would have be sure of arraying against each other equal abili
ossessed, undisturbed, his plundered thousands ; ties; justice would be promoted by preventing the ot merely that he might have laughed at the family triumph of the more skilful pleader over the less ; those money he was spending ; but that a hundred and the minds of juries might more quietly weigh r a thousand other shopmen, taking confidence the conflicting arguments, when they were all proved rom his success and his impunity, might enter upon
and all refuted by one man. similar course of treachery and fraud. They Probably it will be asked, What is a legal man to right think that if the hour of detection should do? How shall be discriminate his duties, or know,
rrive, nothing was wanting but a sagacious advo- in the present state of legal institutions, what exate to protect them from punishment, and to secure tent of advocation morality allows ! These are fair heir spoil. Will any man then say, as an excuse questions, and he who asks them is entitled to an or the legal practice, that it is “ usual,"
I confess that an answer is difficult : and omary,” the “ business of the profession?” It is why is it difficult ? Because the whole system is reposterous. *
unsound. He who would rectify the ordinary legal It really is a dreadful consideration, that a body practice, is in the situation of a physician who can if men, respectable in the various relationships of scarcely prescribe with effect for a particular sympife, should make, in consequence of the vicious tom in a patient's case, unless he will submit to an naxims of a profession, these deplorable sacrifices entirely new regimen and mode of life. The conof rectitude. To a writer upon such a subject, it is scientious lawyer is surrounded with temptations lifficult to speak with that plainness which morality and with difficulties resulting from the general sys'equires without seeming to speak illiberally of men. tem of the law; difficulties and temptations so great But it is not a question of liberality but of morals. that it may almost appear to be the part of a wise When a barrister arrives at an assize town on the man to fly rather than to encounter them. There is ircuit, and tacitly publishes that (abating a few, however nothing necessarily incidental to the legal ind only a few, cases) he is willing to take the brief profession which makes it incompatible with morality. of any client ; that he is ready to employ his abili- He who has the firmness to maintain his allegiance ies, his ingenuity, in proving that any given cause to virtue may doubtless maintain it. Such a man s good or that it is bad ; and when, having gone would consider, that law being in general the pracbefore a jury, he urges the side on which he happens tical standard of equity, the pleader may properly o have been employed, with all the earnestness of illustrate and enforce it. He may assiduously exaseeming integrity and truth, and bends all the fa- mine statutes and precedents, and honourably adculties which God has given him in promotion of its duce them on behalf of his client. He may dissuccess; when we see all this, and remember that it tinctly and luminously exhibit his client's claims. In was the toss of a die whether he should have done ex- examining bis witnesses he may educe the whole actly the contrary, I think that no expression charac- truth: in examining the other party's, he may enterizes the procedure but that of intellectual and deavour to detect collusion, and to elicit facts which moral prostitution. In any other place than a court they may attempt to conceal; in a word, he may of justice, every one would say that it was prosti- lay before the court a just and lucid view of the tution : a court of justice cannot make it less. whole question. But he may not quote statutes
Perhaps the reader has heard of the pleader who, and adjudged cases which he really does not think by some accident, mistook the side on which he was apply to the subject, or if they do appear to apply, to argue, and earnestly contended for the opponent's he may not urge them as possessing greater force
His distressed client at length conveyed an or applicability than he really thinks they possess. intimation of his mistake, and he, with forensic dex. He may not endeavour to mislead the jury by apterity, told the jury that hitherto he had only been pealing to their feelings, by employing ridicule, and anticipating the arguments of the opposing counsel, especially by unfounded insinuations or misrepreand that now he would proceed to show they were sentation of facts. He may not endeavour to make fallacious. If the reader should imagine there is his own witnesses affirm more than he thinks they peculiar indecency in this, his sentiment would be know, or induce them, by artful questions, to give a founded upon habit rather than upon reason. There colouring to facts different from the colouring of is, really, very little difference between contending truth. He may not endeavour to conceal or discrefor both sides of the same cause, and contending for dit the truth by attempting to confuse the other either side, as the earliest retainer may decide. I witnesses, or by entrapping them into contradictions. lately read the report of a trial in which retainers Such as these appear to be the rules which rectitude from both parties had been sent to a counsel, and imposes in ordinary cases. There are some cases when the cause was brought into court it was still which a professional man ought not to undertake at undecided for whom he should appear. The scale all
. This is indeed acknowledged by numbers of was turned by the judgment of another counsel, and the profession. The obligation to reject them is of the pleader instantly appeared on behalf of the client course founded upon their contraricty to virtue. to whom his brother bad allotted him. From the How then shall a legal man know whether he ought mistake which is mentioned at the head of this para- to undertake a cause at all, but by some pre
vious consideration of its merits ! This must Some obstacles in the way of this mode of defeating the
really be done if he would couform to the requisiends of justice have been happily interposed by the admirable exertions of the late Secretary of State for the Home Depart.
tions of morality There is not an alternative: mentStill such cases are applicable as illustrations of what and “absurd” or “ impracticable as it may be the duties of the profession are; and, unfortunately, oppor. tunities in abundance remain for sacrificing the duties of the
pronounced to be, we do not shrink from explicitly profession to its “business." Here, without any advertance to maintaining the truth. Impracticable! it is at any political opinion, it may be remarked, that one such statesman rate not impracticable to withdraw from the profesas ROBERT PEEL is of more value to his country than a multi.
sion or to decline to enter it. A man is not comtude of those who take office and leave it without any endearour to ameliorato the national institutions.
pelled to be a lawyer; and if there are so many
difficulties in the practice of professional virtue, upon the principles of strict integrity, his experi: what is to be said ? Are we to say, Virtue must ence would occasion any exception to the general be sacrificed to a profession-or, The profession rule, that the path of virtue is the path of interest. must be sacrificed to Virtue ! The pleader will The client who was conscious of the goodness perhaps say that he cannot tell what the merits of his cause, would prefer the advocate whose known a case are until they are elicited in court : but this maxims of conduct gave weight to every cause that surely would not avail to justify a disregard of mo- he undertook. When such a man appeared before a rality in any other case. To defend one's self for an jury, they would attend to his statements and his reahabitual disregard of the claims of rectitude, because sonings with that confidence which integrity only can we cannot tell, when we begin a course of action, inspire. They would not make, as they now do, whether it will involve a sacrifice of rectitude or not, is perpetual deductions from his averred facts; they anill defence indeed. At any rate, if he connects him would not be upon the watch, as they now are, to self with a cause of questionable rectitude, he needs protect themselves from illusion, and casuistry, and
ia not and he ought not to advocate it, whilst igno- misrepresentation. Such a man, I say, would have rant of its merits, as if he knew that it was good. a weight of advocacy which no other qualification He ought not to advocate it further than he thinks can supply; and upright clients, knowing this
, it is good. But if any apologist for legal practice would find it their interest to employ him. The should say, that a pleader knows nothing or almost majority of clients, it is to be hoped, are upright. Pronothing of a brief till he is instructed in court by a fessional success, therefore, would probably follow. junior counsel, or that he has too many briefs to be And if a few such pleaders, pay if one such pleader capable of any previous enquiry about them, the was established, the consequence might be benefianswer is hand-Refuse them. It would cial and extensive to a degree which it is not easy to only add one example to the many—that Virtue compute. It might soon become necessary for ober cannot always be maintained without cost. It is pleaders to act upon the same principles, because necessary that a man should adhere to virtue ; clients would not entrust their interests to any but it is not necessary that he should be overwhelmed those whose characters would give weight to their with briefs.
advocacy. Thus even the profligate part of the There is one consideration under which a pleader profession might be reformed by motives of interest may assist a client even with a bad cause, which is, if not from choice. Want of credit might be want that it is proper to prevent the client from suffering of practice ; for it might eventually be almost equitoo far. I would acknowledge, generally, the jus- valent to the loss of a cause to entrust it to a bad tice of the opposite party's claims, or, if it were a The effects would extend to the public. If criminal case, I would acquiesce in the evidence pone but upright men could be efficient advocates, which carried conviction to my mind; but still, in and if upright men would not advocate vicious both, something may remain for the pleader to do. causes, vicious causes would not be prosecuted. But The plaintiff may demand a thousand pounds wben if such be the probable or even the possible results only eight hundred are due, and a pleader, though of sterling integrity, if it might be the means of rehe could not with integrity resist the whole demand, forming the practice of a large and influential procould resist the excess of the demand above the just fession, and of almost exterminating wicked litigz. amount. Or if the prosecutor urges the guilt of a tion from a people--the obligation to practise this prisoner and attempts to procure the infliction of an integrity is proportionately great : the amount of undue punishment, a pleader, though he knows the depending good involves a corresponding amount of prisoner's guilt, may rightly prevent a sentence too responsibility upon him who contributes to perpetu. severe. Murray the grammarian had been a barris- ate the evil. ter in America: “I do not recollect," says he, " that I ever encouraged a client to proceed at law when I thought his cause was unjust or indefensible ; but in such cases, I believe it was my invariable practice to discourage litigation and to recommend a peaceable settlement of differences. In the retro.
CHAPTER VI. spect of this mode of practice, I have always had great satisfaction, and I am persuaded that a different procedure would have been the source of many painful recollections."
PROMISES.-Definition of a promise-Parolo-Extorted proOne serious consideration remains—the effect of
mises-John Fletcher. the immorality of Legal Practice upon the personal character of the profession. “ The lawyer who is
LIES.-Milton's definition - Lies in
to lunatics : to the sick - Hyperbolo–Irony Complimentary frequently engaged in resisting what he strongly sus- untruths"Not at Home"-Legal documents, pects to be just, in maintaining what he deems to be in strictness untenable, in advancing inconclusive A Promise is a contract, differing from such reasoning, and seeking after flaws in the sound re- contracts as a lawyer would draw up, in the circumplies of his antagonists, can be preserved by nothing stance that ordinarily it is not written. The motive short of serious and invariable solicitude, from the for signing a contract is to give assurance or securisk of having the distinction between moral right rity to the receiver that its terms will be fulfilled. and wrong almost erased from his mind.” + Is it The same motive is the inducement to a promise. indeed so! Tremendous is the risk. Is it in- The general obligation of promises needs little illusdeed so ! Then the custom which entails this tration, because it is not disputed. Men are not fearful risk must infallibiy be bad. Assuredly no left without the consciousness that what they provirtuous conduct tends to erase the distinctions be- mise, they ought to perform; and thus thou. tween right and wrong from the mind.
sands, wbo can give no philosophical account of
the matter, know, with certain assurance, that if It is by no means certain, that if a lawyer were they violate their engagements they violate the law to enter upon life with a steady determination to act of God.
Some philosophers deduce the obligation of pro• Memoirs of Lindley Murray, p. 43. + Gisborne. mises from the expcdicncy of fulfilling them. Doubt.
to robbers :