sure that

secret sympathy which exists between minds with whom a communication is established. You feel that you are listened to and understood, just as you are painfully conscious when your audience are not heeding, though they be ever so silent and still. Keep your eyes upon the jurymen while you address them, for the eye is often as attractive as the tongue; watch them well, and, if you mark any that do not seem to listen, fix your eyes upon them, and you will talk to them, and they will feel as if you were addressing them individually, and open their ears accordingly. If they put on a puzzled look at any time, you may be

your argument is too subtle for them, or your language too fine: be warned; simplify your argument; introduce some homely illustration; win them to a laugh ; repeat in other forms and phrases the substance of what you have wasted in unintelligible sentences. Above all, if you see them growing weary, restless in their seats, averting their eyes, yawning, looking at their watches, and other symptoms of having heard enough, accept the warning and bring your speech to a close, even if you may not have said all that you designed to say. When your jury has been brought to this pass, continued attempts to attract their attention are not merely failures in themselves, but they mar the good effect of that which has gone

before. Come to a hasty, or even to an abrupt, conclusion and resume your seat. The art of sitting down is quite as useful at the Bar as in the other arenas of the orator.

The style of an address to a Jury is peculiar. A formal speech is rarely required, and when not required, is altogether out of place and unpleasing. It argues bad taste as well as an unsound judgment, and is sure to be visited by a shower of ridicule. The occasions that call for oratory at the Bar are very rare, and when they offer you should not neglect them; but it is a mistake to suppose that, when they are turned to good account and a flourish has been made, success is achieved. It is not the orator, but the talker, who wins fame and fortune nowadays as an Advocate. A tendency to speechifying is rather a hindrance than a help in our courts, where there are a hundred commonplace disputes, in which it would be ludicrous to attempt eloquence, for one great case in which oratory is looked for. Imagine, if you can, a rhapsody in a running-down case, or a grand peroration in an action for goods sold.

Remember this, that you may win renown and fortune at the Bar without the capacity to make a speech; but you will certainly fail, though great in oratory, if you do nothing more than spout. Strive to accomplish both, and to know the fit occasions for each ; but educate yourself to talk well, as your chiefest need.

An oration at the Bar does not differ much in its construction from an oration elsewhere. The rules I have already suggested for oratory generally are equally applicable to this form of it, and to them the reader is referred for further instructions.

Our present concern is with the ordinary business of an Advocate in the civil courts before a common jury. The examination and cross-examination of witnesses does not properly belong to the subject of these letters; and as I have already treated them at some length in The Advocate, I


them by now, and invite you at once to the consideration of the address to the Jury.

Light, lively, pleasant talk is the most effective. Do not speak at them or to them, but with them. Lord

Abinger used to say that his great success as an advocate was due to his making himself the thirteenth juryman. There could not be a better illustration of the manner of dealing with juries. Therefore take a little trouble at first to put yourself on good terms with your Jury, not by flattering language, but by that more effective flattery which is shown, not said. If you meet a man in the street, and want to convince or to persuade him, how do you proceed? You take him by the button, you appeal to his intelligence, you explain the matter to him in the most familiar terms and with the most homely illustrations, and you do not let him go till you have made him understand you. Twelve jurymen are only a multiplication of such cases, to be treated in the

same manner,

Good temper goes a great way towards conciliating a jury. Command yourself; win with smiles; frowns repel them. Exhibit unflinching confidence in your cause, for any distrust betrayed by you is instantly in parted to them. If the subject is dry, enliven it with some timely jest, and the duller the theme the smaller the joke that suffices to relieve its dullness. Throw before them as much fact and as little argument as possible ; you are not so likely to convince as to persuade. When you think what sort of minds you are seeking to sway, how entirely incompetent they are to follow an argument, you must make the most of facts, treating your audience as children, who are never tired of listening to that which paints a picture upon their minds, or evokes a sentiment, but whom abstractions and logic send to sleep. The majority of any common jury are in this respect only children. You may make them see it,” you may make them “ feel it;" but I


defy you to lead them, by the cleverest and closest argument, to be convinced, as a cultivated thinker is convinced.

Make large use of illustrations ; they will be readily accepted as substitutes for argument, and often, I am sorry to say, for facts. But you must not travel for them beyond the circle with which your jurymen are familiar. You will not throw light on one obscurity by comparing it with another. Refer to their own knowledge and experience whenever you can, and make your client's case their own, if the slightest chance opens to you.



It has been often to me a matter for regret that lawyers are excepted from liability to serve on juries. I am sure that to all of us who aspire to be advocates there could be nothing more instructive than to act as a juryman occasionally. When I have seen the twelve heads laid together in debate upon the verdict, I have felt the most eager curiosity to learn what view each one had taken of the case, and by what process they arrived at their decision. I have thought that, if I could but be among them through a dozen trials, to witness what most moved each, to what extent some were governed by others, and how the unavoidable conflict of opinion was conducted and finally closed, I should possess a knowledge that would be of inestimable value to me in dealing with other juries whom it was my business to persuade. That source of knowledge has, however, by the policy of the law, been closed against us, and we can only guess what goes on in the jury-box from the verdicts that we hear, and slight intimations occasionally given by a question or a look.

« ElőzőTovább »