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International Copyright, . 278
Van Artevelde to Men of Ghent, . 145
Van Artevelde's Defence, .
Van den Bosch and Artevelde, 520
200 WEBSTER, Eloquence of Action,
Supposed Speech of J. Adams, . 283
Moral Force, .
Sympathy with South America, 328
Resistance to Oppression, 332
Clay's Resolutions, .
Matches and over Matches, 335
S. Carolina and Mass.,
Liberty and Union, .
Guilt cannot keep its own Secret, 369
To Revolutionary Veterans,
Fourth of July,
Apostrophe to Washington,
Power of Public Opinion .394
Standard of the Constitution,
. 517 WATELY, Against Artificial Elocution, 22
87 WHITE, J. BLANCO, Sonnet,
Conquest of Americans,
. 349 Wirt, Instigators of Treason,
. 124 Wolfe, Gex., To the Army before Quebec, 147
80 WOLFE, CHARLES, Desence of Poetry, 89
Burial of Sir J. Moore, . 152
71 | YOUNG, Time's Midnight Voice,
510 | YRIARTE, The Monkey and Magpie, 534
ORAtoRy, which has its derivation from the Latin verb oro, signifying to plead, to beseech, may be defined the art of producing persuasion or conviction by means of spoken discourse. The word eloquence, in its primary signification, as its etymology implies, had a single reference to public speaking ; but it is applied by Aristotle, as well as by modern writers, to compositions not intended for public delivery. A similar extension of meaning has been given to the word rhetoric, which, in its etymological sense, means the art of the orator, but now comprehends the art of prose composition generally.
ORATORY AMONG THE ANCIENTS.
It is apparent, from the speeches attributed by Homer to the chiefs of the Iliad, as well as by the commendations which he bestows on Nestor and Ulysses for their eloquence, that the art of Oratory was early understood and honored in Greece. But it was not till Demosthenes appeared that Grecian eloquence reached its perfection. Demosthenes, who, by the consent of all antiquity, was the prince of orators, still maintains his prečminence. Of his style, Hume has happily said: “It is rapid harmony, exactly adjusted to the sense ; it is vehement reasoning, without any appearance of art ; it is disdain, anger, boldness, freedom, involved in a continued stream of argument; and of all human productions, the orations of Demosthenes present to us the models which approach the nearest to perfection.” It is related of this great orator, that, in his first address to the people, he was laughed at and interrupted by their clamors. He had a weakness of voice and a stammering propensity which rendered it difficult for him to be understood. By immense labor, and an undaunted perseverance, he overcame these defects ; and subsequently, by the spell of his eloquence, exercised an unparalleled sway over that same people who had jeered at him when they first heard him speak in public. The speeches of Demosthenes were not extemporaneous. There were no writers of short-hand in his days; and what was written could only come from the author himself.
After the time of Demosthenes, Grecian eloquence, which was coèval with Grecian liberty, declined with the decay of the latter. In Rome, the military spirit, so incompatible with a high degree of civil freedom, long checked tho growth of that popular intelligence which is the only element in which the noblest eloquence is nurtured. Rhetoricians were banished from the country as late as the year of the city 592. A few years subsequent to this period, the study of Oratory was introduced from Athens; and it at length found a zealous disciple and a consummate master in Cicero, whose fame is second only to that of his Athenian predecessor. The main causes to which the extraordinary perfection of ancient Oratory is to be ascribed are the great pains bestowed on the education of the young in this most difficult art, and the practice among speakers of preparing nearly all their finest orations before delivery.
In modern times, Oratory has not been cultivated with so much care as among the ancients. The diffusion of opinions and arguments by means of the Press has, perhaps, contributed in some degree to its neglect. A speaker is now mainly known to the public through the Press, and it is often more important to him to be read than heard. Still, the power of Oratory in republican countries must always be immense, and the importance of its cultivation must be proportionate. We see it flourish or decay according to the degree of freedom among the people, and it is a bad sign for a republic when Oratory is slighted or undervalued. It was not till France began to throw off the trammels of her monarchical system, that she produced a Mirabeau. Her parliamentary annals will show that the eloquence of her National Assembly has been in proportion to the predominance of the element of constitutional freedom in her government. The struggle against incipient despotism in England, which resulted in the execution of King Charles the First, was productive of some great bursts of eloquence from Vane, Pym, Eliot, and other champions of popular rights; whose speeches, however, have been strangely slighted by the majority of English critics. The latter part of the eighteenth century was illumined by the genius of Chatham, Pitt, Burke, Fox, Sheridan, and Grattan ; all of whom were roused to some of their most brilliant efforts by the arbitrary course of government towards our ancestors of the American colonies. Ireland is well represented in this immortal list. Her sons have ever displayed a true genius for Oratory. The little opportunity afforded for the cultivation of forensic or senatorial eloquence by the different governments of Germany has almost entirely checked its growth in that country; and we may say the same of Italy, Spain and Portugal, and most of the other countries of Europe. To the pulpit Oratory of France, the illustrious names of Bossuet, Bourdaloue and Massillon, have given enduring celebrity; and in forensic and senatorial eloquence, France has not been surpassed by any modern nation. But it is only in her intervals of freedom that her senatorial eloquence reaches its high note. The growth of eloquence in the United States has been such as to inspire the hope that the highest triumphs of Oratory are here to be achieved. Already we have produced at least two orators, Patrick Henry and Daniel Webster, to whom none, since Demosthenes, in the authority, majesty and amplitude, of their eloquence, can be pronounced superior. In proportion to the extent of our cultivation of Oratory as an art worthy our entire devotion, must be our success in enriching it with new and precious contributions. And of the power of a noble Oratory, beyond its immediate circle of hearers, who can doubt? “Who doubts?” asks Mr. Webster, “that, in our own struggle for freedom and independence, the majestic eloquence of Chatham, the profound reasoning of Burke, the burning satire and irony of Barré, had influence on our fortunes in America? They tended to diminish the confidence of the British ministry in their hopes to subject us. There was not a reading man who did not struggle more boldly for his rights when those exhilarating sounds, uttered in the two houses of Parliament, reached him from across the seas.”
SUCCESS IN ORATORY.
For the attainment of the highest and most beneficent triumphs of the orator, no degree of labor can be regarded as idly bestowed. Attention, energy of will, daily practice, are indispensable to success in this high art. The author of “Self-Formation ” remarks: “Suppose a man, by dint of meditation on Oratory, and by his consequent conviction of its importance, to have wrought himself up to an energy of will respecting it, — this is the life and soul of his enterprise. To carry this energy into act, he should begin with a few sentences from any speech or sermon ; he should commit them thoroughly, work their spirit into his mind, and then proceed to evolve that spirit by recitation. Let him assume the person of the original speaker, put himself in his place, to all intents and purposes. Let him utter every sentence, and every considerable member of it, if it be a jointed one,—distinctly, sustainedly, and unrespiringly ; suiting, of course, everywhere his tone and emphasis to the spirit of the composition. Let him do this till the exercise shall have become a habit, as it were, a second nature, till it shall seem unnatural to him to do otherwise, and he will then have laid his corner-stone.”
Quintilian tells us that it is the good man only who can become a great orator. Eloquence, the selectest boon which Heaven has bestowed on man, can never ally itself, in its highest moods, with vice. The speaker must be himself thoroughly sincere, in order to produce a conviction of his sincerity in the minds of others. His own sympathies must be warm and genial, if he would reach and quicken those of his hearers. Would he denounce oppression ? His own heart must be free from every quality that contributes to make the tyrant. Would he invoke mercy in behalf of a client? . He must himself be humane, generous and forgiving. Would he lash the guilty 2 His own life and character must present no weak points, to which the guilty may point in derision. And not only the great orator, but the pupil who would fittingly interpret the great orator, and declaim what has fallen from his lips, must aim at similar qualifications of mind and heart.
DIVISIONS OF ORATORY.
The Greeks divided discourses according to their contents, as relating to precept, manners, and feelings ; and as therefore intended to instruct, to please and to move. But, as various styles may oftentimes be introduced into the same discourse, it is difficult to make a strictly accurate classification. The modern division, into the eloquence of the Pulpit, the Bar, and the Senate, is hardly more convenient and comprehensive.
Oratory comprehends the four following divisions: invention, disposition, elocution, and delivery. The first has reference to the character of the sentiments employed ; the second, to their arrangement, and the diction in which they are clothed ; the third and fourth, to the utterance and action with which they are communicated to the hearer. It is the province of rhetoric to give rules for the invention and disposition of a discourse. It is with the latter two divisions of Oratory that we have to deal in the present treatise.
II. ELO CUTION. ELocITION is that pronunciation which is given to words when they are arranged into sentences, and form discourse. It includes the tones of voice,
the utterance, and enunciation of the speaker, with the proper accompaniments of countenance and gesture. The art of elocution may therefore be
defined to be that system of rules which teaches us to pronounce written or extemporaneous composition with justness, energy, variety and ease ; and, agreeably to this definition, good reading or speaking may be considered as that species of delivery which not only expresses the sense of the words so as to be barely understood, but at the same time gives them all the force, beauty and variety, of which they are susceptible.
ELOCUTION AMONG THE ANCIENTS. The Greeks and Romans paid great attention to the study of elocution. They distinguished the different qualities of the voice by such terms as hard, smooth, sharp, clear, hoarse, full, slender, flowing, flexible, shrill, and rigid. They were sensible to the alternations of heavy and light in syllabic utterance ; they knew the time of the voice, and regarded its quantities in pronunciation ; they gave to loud and soft appropriate places in speech ; they perceived the existence of pitch, or variation of high and low ; and noted further that the rise and fall in the pronunciation of individual syllables are made by a concrete or continuous slide of the voice, as distinguished from the discrete notes produced on musical instruments. They designated the pitch of vocal sounds by the term accent ; making three kinds of accents, the acute ('), the grave (), and the circumflex( ^), which signified severally the rise, the fall, and the turn of the voice, or union of acute and grave on the same syllable.
MODERN THEORIES OF ELOCUTION.
THE MEASURE OF SPEECH.
For the modern additions to elocutionary analysis, we are indebted mainly to the labors of Steele, Walker, and Dr. James Rush of Philadelphia.
The measure of speech is elaborately explained by Mr. Steele, in his “ Prosodia Rationalis.” According to his analysis, measure, as applied to speech, consists of a heavy or accented portion of syllabic sound, and of a light or unaccented portion, produced by one effort of the human voice. In forming the heavy or accented syllable, the organs make a stroke or beat, and, however instantaneous, are placed in a certain position, from which they must be removed before they make another stroke. Thus, in the repetition of fast, fast, there must be two distinct pulsations ; and a pause must occur betwixt the two, to enable the organs to recover their position. But the time of this pause may be filled up with a light syllable, or one under remission ; thus, faster, faster, occupy the same time in the pronunciation as fast, fast. This remiss or light action of the voice may extend to two and three syllables, as in circumstance, infinitely, &c. The stroke or pulsative effort of the voice, then, can only be on one syllable ; the remission of the voice can give several syllables after the pulsation. This pulsation and remission have been illustrated by the planting and raising of the foot in walking ; hence the Thesis and Arsis of the Greeks. The first is the pulsative, the second the remiss action. Now, a part from the pauses of passion and connection, there must be frequent pauses arising from the nature of the organs of speech ; these are denoted in examples marked, according to Steele's system, by the figure 7, and the pulsative and reniiss syllables by ... and ... It has been said that the pulsative effort can be made only on one syllable ; if the syllable have extended quantity, it may be pronounced both with the pulsative effort and die away in the remission ; but if it is short in quantity, a pause must occur before the pronun. ciation of the next syllable. One syllable, then, may occupy what is called a measure, the voice being either prolonged, or the time being made up with a pause. This pause, as already remarked, is denoted by the figure 7; a repetition of the same figure is used to denote the longer pauses, which are determined by passion, or the intimacy and remoteness of the sense.
Steele's system has been adopted by several teachers of elocution ; by Mr. Chapman,