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an instance of the greatest heroic virtue; but afterwards, when they had been accustomed to an arbitrary government, and the spirit of liberty was now lost, the poet Martial could venture to say,
Death to avoid 'tis madness sure to die.
A prudent orator therefore will be cautious of opposing any settled and prevailing notions of those whom he addresses, unless it be necessary; and then he will do it in the softest and most gentle manner.
Now if we look back and consider the several heads of praise enumerated under each of the subjects above mentioned, we shall find they are taken from their nature, properties, circumstances, or some other general topic, as was intimated in the beginning of this discourse.
Of Arguments suited to deliberative Discourses.
This kind of discourses must certainly have been very ancient, since doubtless from the first beginning of men's conversing together they deliberated upon their common interest, and offered their advice to each other.
All deliberation respects something future, for it is in vain to consult about what is already past. The subject matter of it are either things public or private, sacred or civil: indeed all the valuable concerns of mankind, both present and future, come under its regard; and the end proposed by this kind of discourses is chiefly profit or interest. But since nothing is truely profitable but what is in some respect good; and every thing which is good in itself may not in all eircumstances be for our advantage; properly speak.
ing, what is both good and profitable, or beneficial good, is the end here designed. And, therefore, as it sometimes happens, that what appears profitable may seem to interfere with that which is strictly just and honourable, in such cases it is certainly most advisable to determine on the safer side of honour and justice, notwithstanding some plausible things may be offered to the contrary. But where the dispute lies apparently between what is truly honest, and some external advantage proposed in opposition to it, all good men cannot but agree in favour of honesty. Now when it proves to be a matter of debate whether a thing upon the whole be really beneficial or not, as here arise two parts, advice and dissuasion, they will each require proper heads of argument: but as they are contrary to each other, he who is acquainted with one cannot well be ignorant of the other. For which reason, as in my last discourse, I recited only the topics suited for praise, leaving those for dispraise to be collected from them; so here, likewise, I shall chiefly mention those proper for advice, whence such as are suited to dissuade will easily be perceived. Now the principal heads of this kind are these following, which are taken from the nature and properties of the thing itself under consideration.
And first, pleasure often affords a very cogent argument in discourses of this nature. Every one knows what an influence this has upon the generality of mankind. Though, as Quintilian remarks, pleasure ought not of itself to be proposed as a fit motive for action in serious discourses, but when it is designed to recommend something useful, which is the case here. So, would any one advise another to the pursuit of polite
literature, Cicero has furnished him with a very strong inducement to it from the pleasure which attends that study when he says: If pleasure only was proposed by these studies, you would think them an entertainment becoming a man of sense and a gentleman. For other pursuits neither agree with all times, all ages, nor all places; but these studies improve youth, delight old age, adorn prosperity, afford a refuge and comfort in adversity, divert us at home, are no hindrance abroad, sleep, travel, and retire with us in the country.
A second head is profit or advantage, which has no less influence upon many persons than the former, and, when it respects things truly valuable, is a very just and laudable motive. Thus Cicero, when he sends his Books of Offices to his son, which he wrote in Latin for his use, advises him to make the best advantage both of his tutor's instructions and the conversation at Athens, where he then was, but withal to peruse his philosophical treatises, which would be doubly useful to him, not only upon account of the subjects, but likewise of the language, as they would enable him to express himself upon those arguments in Latin, which before had only been treated of in Greek.
The last head of this kind which I shall mention is honour. And no argument will sooner prevail with generous minds, or inspire them with greater ardour. Virgil has very beautifully described Hector's ghost appearing to Æneas, the night Troy was taken, and advising him to depart, from this motive of honour. O goddess-born, escape by timely flight
The flames and horrours of this fatal night.
Enough is paid to Priam's royal name;
The argument here made use of to persuade Æneas
But although a thing considered in itself appear beneficial if it could be attained, yet the expediency of undertaking it may still be questionable; in which case the following heads, taken from the circumstances which attend it, will afford proper arguments to engage in it.
And first the possibility of succeeding may sometimes be argued as one motive to this end. So Hannibal endeavoured to convince king Antiochus, that it was possible for him to conquer the Romans if he made Italy the seat of war; by observing to him, not only that the Gauls had formerly destroyed their city, but that he had himself defeated them in every battle he fought with them in that country.
But the bare possibility of a thing is seldom a sufficient motive to undertake it, unless on very urgent occasions. And therefore an argument founded upon probability will be much more likely to prevail. For, in many affairs of human life, men are determined either to prosecute them or not, as the prospect of success ap pears more or less probable. Hence Cice
ro, after the fatal battle of Pharsalia, dissuades those of Pompey's party, with whom he was engaged, from continuing the war any longer against Cæsar; because it was highly improbable after such a defeat, by which their main strength was broken, that they should be able to stand their ground, or meet with better success than they had before.
But further since probability is not a motive strong enough with many persons to engage in the prosecution of a thing which is attended with considerable difficulties, it is often necessary to represent the facility of doing it as a further reason to induce them to it. And therefore Cicero makes use of this argument to encourage the Roman citizens in opposing Mark Antony (who upon the death of Cæsar had assumed an arbitary power) by representing to them that his circumstances were then desperate, and that he might easily be vanquished.
Again if the thing advised to can be shown to be in any respect necessary, this will render the motive still much stronger for undertaking it. And therefore Cicero joins this argument with the former, to prevail with the Roman citizens to oppose Antony, by telling them, that the consideration before them was not in what circumstances they should live, but whether they should live at all, or die with ignominity and disgrace. This way of reasoning will sometimes prevail when all others prove ineffectual. For some persons are not to be moved till things are brought to an extremity, and they find themselves reduced to the utmost danger.
To these heads may be added the consideration of the event, which in some cases carries great weight with