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the friend of Pope.” Sir A.“ Barristers, I believe, are not so abusive now as they were formerly. I fancy they had less law long ago, and so were obliged to take to abuse, to fill up the time. Now they have such a number of precedents, they have no occasion for abuse.” JOHNSON. “ Nay, sir, they had more law long ago than they have now. As to precedents, to be sure they will increase in course of time; but the more precedents there are, the less occasion is there for law; that is to say, the less occasion is there for investigating principles.”
Boswell asked him, whether, as a moralist, he did not think, that the practice of the law, in some degree, hurt the fine feeling of honesty. JOHNSON.
Why no, sir, if you act properly. You are not to deceive your clients with false representations of your opinion : you are not to tell lies to a judge." Boswell. “But what do you think of supporting a cause which you know to be bad ?" JOHNSON.
Sir, you do not know it to be good or bad, till the judge determines it. I have said, that you are to state facts fairly; so that your thinking, or what you call knowing, a cause to be bad, must be from reasoning, must be from your supposing your arguments to be weak and inconclusive. But, sir, that is not enough. An argument, which does not convince yourself, may convince the judge to whom you. urge it: and if it does convince him, why, then, sir, you are wrong, and he is right. It is his business to judge; and you are not to be confident in your own opinion, that a cause is bad, but to say all you can for your client, and then hear the judge's opinion.” Boswell." But, sir, does not affecting a warmth when you have no warmth, and appear. ing to be clearly of one opinion, when you are in reality of another—does not such dissimulation impair one's honesty? Is there not some danger, that a lawyer may put on the same mask in common life, in the intercourse with his friends ?” JOHNSON, " Why, no, sir ; every body knows you are paid for affecting warmth for your client; and it is therefore properly no dissimulation. The moment you come from the bar, you resume your usual behaviour. Sir, a man will no more carry the artifice of the bar into the common intercourse of society, than a man who is paid for tumbling upon his hands will continue to tumble when he should walk on his feet."
Speaking of the inward light, to which some me. thodists pretended, he said, it was a principle utterly incompatible with social or civil security. “ If a man,” said he,“ pretends to a principle of which I can know nothing, nay, not so much as that he has it, but only that he pretends to it; bow can I tell what that person may be prompted to do? When a person professes to be governed by a written ascertained law, I can then know where to find him."
Talking of law cases, he said, “ The English reports, in general, are very poor : only the half of what has been said is taken down, and of that half much is mistaken; whereas, in Scotland, the arguments on each side are deliberately put in writing, to be considered by the court. I think, a collection of your cases upon subjects of importance, with the opinions of the judges upon them, would be valuable.”
Of Mr. Andrew Stuart's Letters to Lord Mansfield, on the celebrated Douglas cause, Boswell said to him,
May it not be doubted, sir, whether it be proper to publish letters, arraigning the ultimate decision of an important cause by the supreme judicature of the nation.” JOHNSON. “ No, sir, I do not think it was wrong to publish these letters. If they are thought to do harm, why not answer them? But they will do no harm : if Mr. Douglas be indeed the son of Lady Jane, he cannot be hurt; if he be not her son, and yet has the great estate of the family of Douglas, he may well submit to have a pamphlet against him by Andrew Stuart. Sir, I think such a publication does good, as it does good to show us the possibilities of human life. And, sir, you will not say, that the Douglas cause was a cause of easy decision, when it divided your court as much as it could do, to be determined at all. When your judges are seven and seven, the casting vote of the president nust be given on one side or other ; no matter for my argument on which : one or the other must be taken; as when I ani to move, there is no matter which leg I move first. And then, sir, it was otherwise determined here. No, sir, a more dubious determination of any question cannot be imagined.”
Another time they talked of a book, in which an eminent judge was arraigned before the bar of the públic, as having pronounced an unjust decision in a great cause. Dr. Johnson maintained, that this publication would not give any uneasiness to the judge. “ For," said he,“ either he acted ho. nestly, or he meant to do injustice. If he acted honestly, his own conciousness will protect him ; if he meant to do injustice, he will be glad to see the man who attacks him, so much vexed."
Boswell and Johnson got into an argument, whether the judges who went to India might with pro
priety engage in trade, Johnson warmly maintained that they might : “ For why,” he urged, “ should not judges get riches, as well as those who deserve them less?” Boswell.“ They should have sufficient salaries, and have nothing to take off their attention from the affairs of the public.” JOHNSON. “ No judge, sir, can give his whole attention to his office; and it is very proper he should employ what time he has to himself, to his own advantage, in the most profitable manner.” Davies enlivened the dispute, by making it somewhat dramatic, “ Then, sir, he may become an usurer; and when he is going to the bench, he may be stopped-Your lordship cannot go yet: here is a bunch of invoices; several ships are about to sail.'” JOHNSON, “
Sir, you may as well say a judge should not have a house; for they may come and tell him—your lordship's house is on fire;' and so, instead of minding the business of his court, he is to be occupied in getting the engine with the greatest speed. There is no end of this. Every judge, who has land, trades to a certain extent in corn, or in cattle, and in the land itself : undoubtedly, his steward acts for him, and so do clerks for a great merchant. A judge may be a farmer ; but he is not to geld his own pigs. A judge may play at cards for his amusement; but he is not to play at marbles, or chuck farthings, in the piazza. No, sir, there is no profession to which a man gives a very great proportion of his time. It is wonderful, when a calculation is made, how little the mind is actually employed in the discharge of any profession. No man would be a judge, upon the condition of being totally a judge. The best employed lawyer has his mind at work but for a small proportion of his time : a great deal of
his occupation is merely mechanical. I once wrote for a magazine: I made a calculation, that if I should write but a page a day at the same rate, I should, in ten years, write niue volumes in folio, of an ordinary size and print." BoswELL. “ Such as Carte's History?” Johnson. “ Yes, sir : when a mpan writes from his own mind, he writes very rapidly: the greatest part of a writer's time is spent in reading, in order to write ; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.”
Boswell argued warmly against the judges' trading, and mentioned Hale as an instance of a perfect judge, who devoted himself entirely to his office, JOHNSON. “ Hale, sir, attended to other things besides law; hę left a great estate.” Boswell. " That was, because what he got accumulated without any exertion or anxiety on his part.”
After talking of the great consequence which a man acquired by being employed in his profession, Boswell suggested a doubt of the justice of the gene. ral opinion, that it is improper in a lawyer to solicit employment;" for why,” he urged,“ should it not be equally allowable to solicit that as the means of consequence, as it is to solicit votes to be elected a member of parliament ?” Mr. Strahan had told him that a countryman of his, who had risen to eminence in the law, had, when first making his way, solicited him to get him employed in city causes. JOHNSON. “ Sir, it is wrong to stir up law-suits ;, but when once it is certain that a law-suit is to go on, there is nothing wrong in a lawyer's endeavouring that he shall have the benefit, rather than another.” BOSWELL. “ You would not solicit employment, sir, if you were a lawyer.” JOHNSON.
No, sir ; but not because I should think it wrong,