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Special pleading   /spˈɛʃəl plˈidɪŋ/   Listen
Special pleading

An argument that ignores all unfavorable evidence.
(law) a pleading that alleges new facts in avoidance of the opposing allegations.

WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University

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"Special pleading" Quotes from Famous Books

... except in the course of buying ['ships?'—Arber interpolates] as in former letters specified." If he had not then "ingaged" (as Robinson intimates), as an Adventurer, he surely did later, contrary to the pastor's prediction, and the above may have been a bit of special pleading. Robinson naturally wished to keep their, affairs, so far as possible, in known and supposedly friendly hands, and had possibly some assurances that, as a merchant, Pickering would be willing to invest in a ship for which he could ...
— The Mayflower and Her Log, Complete • Azel Ames

... defect of intellect must, in charity, be attributed many of the wretched cases of special pleading which we continually hear from the pulpit. In the year 1853, I heard, in Edinburgh, a sermon from a leading and excellent Presbyterian clergyman, on a subject generally grateful to Protestant audiences, namely the impropriety and ...
— Modern Painters, Volume IV (of V) • John Ruskin

... the lands and lordships of De Burgo, adjacent to the Castle of Athlone, and, in fact, the whole remaining province, belonged to the crown. It would be useless here to give details of the special pleading on which this statement was founded; it is an illustration of what I have observed before, that the tenure of the English settler was quite as uncertain as the tenure of the Celt. The jury found for the King; and as a reward, the foreman, Sir Lucas Dillon, ...
— An Illustrated History of Ireland from AD 400 to 1800 • Mary Frances Cusack

... all the same, this special pleading against marriage, by a married man, who is happy in ...
— Artists' Wives • Alphonse Daudet

... fraud on the part of the applicant, and the enormity of the crime. He will now prove his objections by competent witnesses. The proceedings being in accordance with what Mr. Snivel facetiously terms the strict rules of special pleading, the old man's lips are closed. Several very respectable witnesses are called, and aver they saw the old Antiquary with a gold watch mounted, at a recent date; witnesses quite as dependable aver they have known him for many years, but never mounted with anything so extravagant as a gold watch. ...
— Justice in the By-Ways - A Tale of Life • F. Colburn Adams

... idea of letting him off on definitions and general rules, and he plunged at once into special pleading, as presented by Chitty, in his chapter on Replications. No severer test could have been applied, and the young men thought it a little rough. Bart answered the questions with some care, and gave the reason of the rules clearly. Ranney then proposed a case of a certain special plea, and asked Bart ...
— Bart Ridgeley - A Story of Northern Ohio • A. G. Riddle

... this is making a case for her, this is special pleading for her, but who so abandoned that in the ultimate judgment a case will not for him be prepared? Try to consider how it went with her. First intoxication of happiness; and must not intoxication in time wear off? Then immense intention and then dispirited in her ...
— This Freedom • A. S. M. Hutchinson

... paws of the noblest beast of the forest.... Just as this note was going to press, a volume lately published by you was put into my hands, wherein you attempt to defend the fluxions and Principia of Newton. Man! what are you about? You come forward now with your special pleading, and fraught with national prejudice, to defend, like the philosopher Grassi,[593] the persecutor of Galileo, principles {263} and reasoning which, unless you are actually insane, or an ignorant quack in mathematics, you know are mathematically false. What a moral lesson this for the students ...
— A Budget of Paradoxes, Volume I (of II) • Augustus De Morgan

... witnesses, it had not been changed in England. But, to the credit of her American colonies, let it be said that so oppressive a doctrine had never obtained a foothold there. The 19th century originated legal reforms of no less importance. The whole fabric of special pleading, once thought to be necessary to the elimination of the real issue between the parties, has crumbled to pieces. The ancient tenures of real estate have been largely swept away, and land is now transferred ...
— Project Gutenberg Encyclopedia

... the public is by strong writing, powerful creations, and by the number of volumes given to the world." Theory-ridden Zola's polemical writings, like those of Richard Wagner's, must be set down to special pleading. ...
— Ivory Apes and Peacocks • James Huneker

... after careful preparation. Upon the heads of her diplomats and princes are the blood and the guilt of it, and they stand before the world as murderers with red hands and bloodshot eyes, and souls as black as hell. In this war of self-defence we are justified and need no special pleading to proclaim our cause. We did not want this war, and we went to the extreme limit of patience to avoid it. But if there is to be any hope for humanity we must go deeper into the truth than the mere analysis of White Papers and Yellow Papers with diplomatic correspondence. ...
— The Soul of the War • Philip Gibbs

... development of English speech and English writing on this side of the Atlantic has kept measurable pace—now slower, now swifter—with the speech of the mother country. When we recall the scanty term of years within which was produced the literature of the age of Elizabeth, it seems like special pleading to insist that America has not yet had time to learn or ...
— The American Mind - The E. T. Earl Lectures • Bliss Perry

... murderer, and prayed with all her heart; not the self-conscious, special pleading of the prayer across the hall, but the humble prayer of the penitent on Calvary: "Lord, we, of this felon den, ask to ...
— The Entailed Hat - Or, Patty Cannon's Times • George Alfred Townsend

... sometimes to all who live and love, did there break through the mists of ignorance and prejudice surrounding her a flash of light by which she saw, so far as she was capable of seeing, her true position, which in the clear light of truth no special pleading could entirely justify. For she was free, she had not the slave's excuse. With every inducement to do evil and few incentives to do well, and hence entitled to charitable judgment, she yet had freedom of choice, and therefore ...
— The House Behind the Cedars • Charles W. Chesnutt

... taken from Coxe's "Life of Walpole." Monck Mason, however, in his various notes appended to his life of Swift, has once and for all placed Coxe's narrative in its true light, and exposed the specious special pleading on behalf of his hero, Walpole. But even Coxe cannot hide the fact that the granting of the patent and the circumstances under which it was granted, amounted to a disgraceful job, by which an opportunity was seized to ...
— The Prose Works of Jonathan Swift, Vol. VI; The Drapier's Letters • Jonathan Swift

... head of his Essays, though it happens to occur in another volume. The History as a whole does not, as it seems to me, reach the same level as the shorter articles. One cannot but feel that it is a brilliant piece of special pleading from a fervid Whig, and that there must be more to be said for the other side than is there set forth. Some of the Essays are tinged also, no doubt, by his own political and religious limitations. The best are those which get right away into the broad fields of literature and philosophy. ...
— Through the Magic Door • Arthur Conan Doyle

... and perfecting of the old revelation. His declaration that, so far from his being a deserter from Israel, he was a prisoner just because he was true to the Messianic hope which was Israel's highest glory, was not a clever piece of special pleading meant for the convincing of the Roman Jews, but was a principle which runs through all his teaching. Christians were the true Jews. He was not a recreant in confessing, but they were deserters in denying, the fulfilment in Jesus of the hope which ...
— Expositions of Holy Scripture: The Acts • Alexander Maclaren

Words linked to "Special pleading" :   law, jurisprudence, specious argument, pleading

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