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opinions were, of course, fully matured, and all the reasonings as well as the learning connected with them, were manifestly familiar to his mind; but the depth of his feelings was alike apparent, and suited to the solemn nature of the discussion. His family was of the Saxon settlers from Scotland and the North of England; and though amply endowed with the gifts of fancy, the closeness of his reasoning powers, and the severity of his taste seem to betoken that origin. They, however, would be in a grievous error, who should suppose that his feelings were incapable of warming into enthusiasm, or that the powers of his imagination were enfeebled by the discipline which chastened and controlled them.

His education had been classical, as, indeed, no one who listened to him could doubt. But the delight with which, after his retirement from office, he visited Italy, and frequented the scenes in reality which were familiar to him in the pages of his favourite authors, showed how little age had chilled the feelings or bedimmed the memory of early associations. Upon his return from Rome, when a work there much esteemed and constantly spoken of, was recommended as a companion of his journey to Ireland, he said he had promised Horace a place in his carriage. "Surely you had enough of his company at Rome, where he was your constant companion.' "Oh no! I never am tired of him. But then, if he dont go, I am engaged to Gil Blas.

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Mr. Phillips has justly observed in his admirable work,* that from the vast "space which Lord Plunket filled in the public eye as a senator, justice has hardly been done to his merits as an advocate in the Courts of Law." In truth, he had all the talents, and had early acquired (if, indeed, they were not natural to him) all the habits which are essential to securing professional success;

* Curran and his Contemporaries.'


and though he did not start at once into great practice, his progress was uninterrupted, and at an accelerated It was independent too of his success in Parliament; and when he took his place among the greatest debaters, in the Irish House of Commons, he had already won his way to a foremost rank at the Bar. Although his practice was chiefly in Chancery, where eloquence is by no means so effective as before a jury, and although he was comparatively little used to either the tactics, or the suddenly arising discussions, or the declamation of Nisi Prius, it was yet found that when he went into an Assize Court, whether criminal or civil, no man surpassed him either in extracting evidence by the examination of witnesses, or in dealing with it, or in addressing powerful arguments to the judgment, and appeals to the feelings, or to the sense of the ludicrous, of those who had the decision in their hands.

There never was in any court an advocate who worked more constantly by close reasoning, and the plain unadorned statement of facts, skilfully selected, and placed in bold relief, and wove into the argument; nor was there ever an advocate who more strictly performed his highest duty of keeping the interests of the cause alone in view, and sacrificing to that cause every personal consideration. If this be now stated in considering his conduct at Nisi Prius, it is not that in the Courts of Equity he less displayed the same great qualities, but because the temptation to swerve from the right line is much greater in addressing an assembly in some sort popular, than in arguing before a single and a professional judge. There his merely legal arguments had the highest merit. He is described by those who had often heard him as avoiding all ostentation of ingenuity or research, and disdaining everything like subtlety, but stating his reasons and comparing the authorities with perfect simplicity and clearness, the art, but the well

concealed art, being the marshalling of his propositions in such an order that you must assent to them successively, and were not aware how you had been drawn on towards the conclusion he desired to make you adopt, until you found it the last stage of the process. Thus he would distinguish the case in hand by numerous unexpectedly traced particulars, from the case cited against him, and which had at first appeared identical and decisive. He would then find as unlooked for a support to be derived from it in consequence of some part that had not been duly marked; or if neither support nor escape from it was possible, other authorities were set up against it, or circumstances so urged as to impair its force, if not to neutralize it altogether. In this as in every part of his addresses, whether to the court or to a jury, his whole object was to convince by arguments, because he deemed that the surest and safest way to the mind of rational men, and because he never threw away a thought upon anything but gaining his cause.

In this he closely resembled the greatest of advocates in modern times, and second to none of the ancient masters. The resemblance was not confined to the self-denial, the entire absorption in the cause, the invariable and, as it were, instinctive sacrifice to it of all feelings, save those which could insure its success; but Erskine, too, was eminently an argumentative speaker. His great orations, which are happily preserved (and those on more ordinary occasions down to the least important cases form no exception), are throughout, reasonings addressed to the understandings of his hearers, with rare appeals to their feelings or passions; and what at first glance appears figure or allusion, or sentiment, or declamation, or possibly mere ornament, is found, when more carefully considered, to be an essential portion of the reasoning. This, indeed, is even more true of Plunket than of Erskine; and it is characteristic of his eloquence, in the Senate as well as

at the Bar. There never was a more argumentative speaker; and the extraordinary impression produced by him in Parliament, was caused by the whole texture of his speeches being argumentative; the diction plain, but forcible; the turn often epigrammatic; the figures as natural as they were unexpected; so that what had occurred to no one, seemed as if every one ought to have anticipated it; but all-strong expressions, terse epigram, happy figure-were wholly subservient to the purpose in view, and were manifestly perceived never to be themselves the object, never to be introduced for their own sake; they were the sparks thrown off by the motion of the engine, not fireworks to amuse by their singularity, or please by their beauty; all was for use, not ornament; all for work, nothing for display; the subject ever in view, the speaker never, either of himself or of the audience. This, indeed, is the invariable result of the highest eloquence, of the greatest perfection of the art, and its complete concealment. In all great passages the artist himself, wrapt up in his work, is never thought of by his hearers, equally wrapt up in it, till the moment when they can pause and take breath, and reflect on the mastery which has been exercised over them, and can then first think of the Master.

There have been orators in all ages to whom this description applies; to many of them, however, only in occasional passages. But though Lord Plunket rarely, if ever, reached the highest point attained by so few in any age, of rapid, overpowering declamation clothed and combined with argument, he probably surpassed them all in this, that there was no interval whatever in his speech, the whole being an exemplification of the rule-clear statement, close reasoning, felicitous illustration, all strictly confined to the subject in hand, every portion without any exception furthering the process of conviction. That he possessed a lively imagination as well as strong feelings, was

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manifest in almost every speech he delivered; that he had wit in the ordinary sense, the happy power of seizing on resemblances and diversities which escape other men's observation, is equally certain, though of course, like both his fancy and his feelings it was ever subdued to the use of the occasion. It was employed not to season his discourse and give it a relish, but to help the argument. In society it appeared more frequently. To give instances would be easy-one or two may suffice. When Lord Essex once said that he had seen a brother of Sir John Leach, and could almost have thought it was the Master of the Rolls himself, so much did the manner run in the family, "I should as soon have thought of a wooden leg running in the family," said Plunket. "What has taken O'Connell over to Ireland?" said some one, at the time the tribute called rent was collecting: "Very likely to look after his tenants," was the answer.

The beauty of his figurative passages has been always extolled, and never with exaggerated praise. The great excellence was not merely in the power of imagination displayed, but in the absolute perfection of their fitness to the occasion. Like the point of his wit, his fancy was only employed to enforce the argument, or afford necessary illustration. The celebrated description of time as securing titles, cannot be too much admired for the perfect appropriateness of the figure, its striking and complete resemblance, as well as its raising before us an image, previously familiar to the mind in all particulars, except its connexion with the subject for which it is so unexpectedly but so naturally introduced. Like all the passages of the great master, its perfect concision is as remarkable as that of the great masters of song, the Dantes and Miltons, who with a single blow that needs not be repeated, accomplish their object: or like Demosthenes himself in the woTsp vepos and the

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