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b. Europe was a stranger to the popular
principle (p. 92, 1. 31–p. 93, 1. 4).
(p. 93, 11. 4-21).
popular government (p. 93, ll.
22-32). III. The influence of world opinion upon arbitrary
governments (p. 93, l. 33—p. 94, 1. 19). The
case of Greece (p. 94, 1. 20—p. 95, 1. 33). IV. The rise of independent states in South America
(p. 95, 1. 34-p. 97, 1. 6). The influence of the example of America (p. 97, 1. 7). I. It proves that free government may be safe and
just (p. 97, ll. 13-19). II. If we fail, free government will perish from the
earth (p. 97, 1. 20—p. 98, 1. 2). III. Free government may be as permanent as any
other (p. 98, 11. 3-13).
The duty of America is to preserve what the fathers won
and to increase the spirit of union.
This analysis shows that Webster is in complete control of his material; he divides it as he will, for the subject and the occasion do not rigidly prescribe what points he shall take up. There is no logical proposition to impose requirements upon him in the matter of division, subdivision, and proof. To be sure we may reduce the whole address to the form of a syllogism if we wish:
Major Premise. All true patriots who have made sacrifices that their country might furnish to the world an illustrious example of freedom, good government and prosperity, should be gratefully honored by their countrymen.
Minor Premise. The heroes of the American Revolution have made sacrifices that their country might, etc.
Conclusion. The heroes of the American Revolution should be gratefully honored by their countrymen. Nothing is gained, however, by applying this strict logical test to an address the chief aim of which is not to prove a proposition, but to deepen feeling and to increase appreciation. To treat it as we treat an argumentative discourse is to reduce it to a string of platitudes, and to miss all that gives it distinction.
It is to be noted, however, that while Webster is free to select what topics he wishes, we find no waywardness or eccentricity in the selection. The topics are eminently appropriate to the subject and the occasion; each is distinct from the others; each follows the preceding topic naturally. As we pass from one to the next we are made to feel their relationship. In some cases it is a relationship of similarity or contrast; the apostrophe to the survivors (C) suggests the tribute to the patriotic dead (D) and this in turn suggests the address to the living (E). In other cases it is a relationship of cause and effect; the eulogy of La Fayette (G) follows as a natural effect of the facts cited just before under (F); the apostrophe to the survivors (C) is the natural effect of the recital of the mighty events referred to under (B); the improvement in the world (H) is the effect of the diffusion of knowledge and community of ideas (H-I); the difference between the Revolution in America and in Europe (H-II) is accounted for by a recital of causes (H-II a-b). In still other cases it is a relationship neither of similarity and contrast nor of cause and effect, but ideas follow one another because they are felt to be in contiguity, that is near to one another, either near in time, as in the narrative portions, or near in thought. The influence of world opinion upon arbitrary governments (H-III) is near in thought to the preceding topic, the desire for popular government everywhere; the case of Greece suggests the case of the states of South America (IV). Thus it is easy to account for the position of each topic in the discussion and to find a reason why it is where we find it.
We notice also the use of climax in the arrangement of the divisions. The first climax is reached at p. 78, 1. 29; the second at p. 83, 1. 23; the third at the close of the eulogy of La Fayette, p. 89, l. 7; the fourth at p. 95, 1. 33; the last in the conclusion of the speech. The general arrangement is in accordance with the usual principles of cause and effect, similarity and contrast, and contiguity.
(2) The second element that may enter into the body of a discourse is definition. When this term is used most people think only of the kind of definition that is found in the dictionaries, å single sentence giving the meaning of a term in other words that are likely to be better understood, a sentence that puts the thing to be defined into its proper genus or class and then gives its difference from the other members of the class. This kind of formal definition is almost always necessary in argumentative discourse, especially in debate. Before a proposition is discussed its terms must be understood.
But the word definition has a much wider meaning. It means all those processes of explanation, illustration, and example that set the limits of an idea. Lincoln's letter to Greeley is definitive of Lincoln's policy; it sets the limits of that policy and tells both what it includes and what it does not include. Definition may be inci
ntroduise, immediate a separate adder writ
dental and may appear in a discourse wherever it is needed, or it may be the main object of a discourse and may dictate the method of dealing with the whole subject. The general method involved in a definitive discourse is the method of inquiry or the inductive method.
(3) Narration, description, or exposition may also enter into a discourse. Each, like the element of definition, may be found on a very restricted scale, in one place in the discourse, or may be scattered through the discourse, appearing wherever it is needed; and, like the element of definition, each may be merely incidental or may dominate the whole discourse and determine its method. Older writers conceived of the narration as a separate and distinct part of the discourse, immediately following the exordium, or introduction, and immediately preceding the formal statement of the partition or division. They thought of it as a preliminary recital of facts or events which must be understood before proof and refutation could be profitably presented. When the facts or events were well known, the narration was to be omitted. The narration, when expressed, was to be persuasive; it was to foreshadow the proof and prepare the way for it, but was not to pretend to be proof itself. In modern public address we find this procedure still common and necessary in argumentative discourse, especially in debate; only here, in most cases, the narration would be more accurately called the description or the exposition, for it both recites facts and explains them. If the proposition refers to the past, some historical narrative will be unavoidable, early in the discussion. A present day proposition also may require preliminary narration, description, and exposition. Thus the proposition, "The present British ministry should be sustained in making the taxation of land values a part of its 1909 budget,” would certainly require a preliminary description of the economic conditions in England that make new sources of revenue necessary, a historical narrative showing what have been the customary sources of revenue in the past, a definition of the term “taxation of land values,” and an exposition of certain principles of taxation. In the words of the older writers on rhetoric and oratory, “The present state of the question must be made clear by narration and exposition.” The second paragraph of Webster's Bunker Hill oration performs a function analagous to that of the narration in an argumentative discourse; but in most expository addresses the narration is not concentrated in one part of the discourse. In sermons the place of the narration is supplied by the scripture reading that precedes. In sermons of the traditional type there was usually, in addition to this, an explanation of doctrine, definitive in character, just before the partition was announced.
What is a single feature of one address may be the entire substance of another: some addresses are essentially all narration, description, or exposition. The eulogy, for example, may be in its fundamental structure a narration. Superimposed upon this narration there will be a mass of description and exposition, the purpose of which is character interpretation. The biographical sketch preceding an appreciation of character is narration and description combined. If interpreted as standing in the relation of cause and effect to the work and influence of the life, it precisely fulfills the function of the narration in an argumentative discourse.* In most expository addresses, however, narration, description, definition, and explanation are
*See also p. 138.