Imatges de pÓgina

distinguished deftruction, perfons of all conditions and characters, &c.

In all branches of fcience it is of the greatest importance to fhow the analogy, or mutual correfpondence, of the several propofitions; and it is always deemed an argument in favour of a new discovery, if it be analogous to others already made, and if that analogy be wanting, we require much stronger evidence of other kinds.

Lawyers argue from this topic when they urge, in favour of their client, precedents of the determination of other caufes. Since the uniformity of the proceedings in law, and the fameness of right in the fame circumstances, require that every person be intitled to the fame justice that another had done him, in a case nearly like, or analogous to his own. Comparisons also belong to this head.


It is, upon many fubjects, no lefs ufeful to confider what things are contrary, or oppofite to the terms of the proposition, than what are connected with them. As when moralifts, in order to demonftrate the advantages of a virtuous life, describe the fatal effects of vicious courfes upon the minds, the bodies, the reputation and fortunes of men; or, on the contrary, in order to fet the hatefulness of vice in a stronger light, they contraft it with a view of the amiableness of virtue. In all fuch cafes as these this argument concludes in a very ftrong manner: for virtue and vice, being directly oppofite to one another, it is very obvious to reflect, that all their effects and influences must be the very reverse of one another.




It greatly illuftrates and confirms even moral maxims to show them exemplified in real hiftory, in the characters and lives of men. Thus the fatal effects of ambition will be made much

more fenfible, if, after examining the nature and tendency of that paffion in general, the writer fubjoin the example of Alexander, Julius Cæfar, Charles of Sweden, &c.; and the value of wife and good princes will be greatly enhanced by a view of the amiable characters, and useful lives of Titus, Trajan, Antoninus, &c.; and it is of particular use to divines, to fupport all their maxims by examples from the fcriptures.

It is likewife a happy confirmation of a principle in mechanics, mathematics, and philofophy, if it can be brought to an experiment, be fubjected to the fenfes, and reduced to practice.


It is a great confirmation of our belief of even universal propofitions, which have no connexion with particular perfons, places, or times, to have a teftimony in favour of them from perfons whofe opinions are generally allowed to be juft.

A confiderable part of that ftrong affent which we give to truths of an abftract nature, as to mathematical theorems, and philofophical discoveries, which may be even our own investigating, and much more if they be not, is derived from the authority of others, who concur with us in profeffing an affent to them; which may help us to account for a seeming paD radox,


radox, viz. why the disciples of fome Greek masters of philosophy usually, in a course of time, grew more zealously attached to the tenets of their respective schools, than the founders themfelves originally were.

Cicero argues from this topic, when, in proof of a future ftate, he alledges, not only the natural arguments for it; but, what he seems to lay the chief ftrefs upon, the concurrent teftimony of all the wife ancients.

Lawyers argue from this, when, in favour of a determination, not fixed by custom and precedent, they alledge the opinions of perfons learned in the law, given without any view to the cafe in hand.

Argumenta ad hominem, or those in which we appeal to a man's known principles and profeffion, belong to this head. If the authority of others have any weight with a man, much more may it be prefumed that his own opinion, that is, his own authority, will weigh with him.



Of Particular TOPICS; and Objections to the Use of TOPICS anfwered.


ARTICULAR topics are those which furnish arguments for particular propofitions; or those which relate to particular perfons, times, and places. Of these I shall do little more than give distinct tables. The tables will, likewise, be very general; so that each article may be fubdivided again and again, without end. But what is here done is abundantly fufficient for a treatise on the art in general, and it will be very easy for any person to carry the divifion as far as he pleases for his own use.

Topics of arguments for limited propofitions, viz. fuch as relate to particular FACTS. With respect to these we may confider

The Perfon,

The Time,

The Place,

The Motive,

The Manner,

The Inftrument,

The Evidence,
The Law concerning it,

&c. &c. &c.

I fhall

I shall give an example of the subdivision of one or two of these heads. With respect to perfon we may confider

The Sex,

The Age,

The perfonal Qualifications,

The Fortune, as rich or poor,

The Education,

The Capacity or Ability; as Senfe, Learning, &c.

The Profeffion, or Employment in Life,

The Nation, Tribe, Family, &c.

The Offices of public Life,

The Relations of private Life,


The Connexion, Company, Party, &c.
The general Character, &c.

Laws may be confidered as to

Their Precision or Ambiguity,

Their Intention,

Their customary Forms, &c. &c.

It is obvious that it may be convenient to have recourse to these topics in any kind of difcourfe or compofition in which any particular fact or person is introduced; as, whether a fact be proved, or difproved; whether a perfon be accufed, or defended; whether a writer make a panegyric, or an invective; or fimply compofe a bistory.


To give an idea of the use of a few of these topics, it may be observed, with regard to fex, that a woman is not fo likely to be 53.25% .252 guilty

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