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Preface to the Second Edition
Burke, who at the close of a century which rather prided itself on its lack of enthusiasm and its steady going devotion to the prosaic and commonplace, declared in an outburst of almost ummatched eloquence, that the age of chivalry was gone!
The present generation, which has witnessed two world wars and experienced the vast political and social changes resulting from the same, has also, under the new and more material environment, turned largely from the classical culture of the past and its refining influence to seek a practical but far less ornate method of expressing its view of principles and circumstances.
This new mode of approach is nowhere more manifest than in public address, whether in Parliament or at the Bar. To say what one has to say in the fewest words consistent with an adequate exposition of the matter, seems to have become the almost universal ideal. Though in almost every change something is lost to be regretted, there is, usually, not a little to compensate for what has ceased to be.
Fascinating as the beauty and power of language are, it has been in the past too often employed, not to manifest, but to conceal truth. To sway an audience and foment prejudice and even passion, appears to have been the great, the unworthy, task. The restrained, if matter of fact, method of stating a case, which now generally prevails, may often fail to arouse much enthusiasm, but it does, as a rule, win the goodwill of the fairminded who want plain facts and not "rhetorical fireworks," as Lord Russell of Killowen once expressed it.
These remarks, we believe, will be found borne out in what is recorded in the following pages. If the " spoken word " of the more recent advocates, whose lives and achievements are briefly touched upon in this book, be compared with that of many of their illustrious predecessors, it will doubtless be acknowledged that the Bar of to-day is happily influenced by that spirit of restraint and frankness which should ever be the guiding start of those whose mission it is to make known the truth and npt to aim at a mere dialectical victoty.