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Can we then wonder at the success of a judicious and happy imitation of those extempore forms of address?
As a caution against making too free with these. very bold forms of address, which are adapted to Thow that a man is in earnest, and confident of the goodness of his cause, I would advise that no one appeal to another, unless it be morally certain that the person he appeals to, and boldly expoftulates with, will really take his part, or, at least, that it will be generally allowed that he ought to do it. Otherwise he exposes his own vain confidence, and betrays the cause he espouses.
Let no person venture to exclaim and apostrophize, unless the importance, as well as the goodness of his cause will justify it. These strong natural emotions are not to be counterfeited. To
Το these arcana of nature it is hardly poflible that artifice should have access: and if the circumstances and occasions of the address will not justify such vehemence of style, a man makes himself ridiculous by attempting the imposition. Besides, direct exclamations and apostrophes to persons not present, or to things inanimate, though ever so just, ought to be used very sparingly; since, if they produce their natural and full effect, they raise the attention to such a degree as cannot be kept up long.
It is, likewise, proper that all Englishmen in particular should be informed, that a person of a liberal education in this country can hardly ever be in such a situation, as will not render the imitation of some of the boldest, the most successful, and admired strokes of Roman, not to say Grecian eloquence, extremely improper and ridiculous. The English pulpit, the English bar, and the English senate, require an eloquence more addressed to the reason, and less directly to the passions, than the harangues of a Roman pleader, or the speech of a Roman senator. Our hearers have generally more good sense and just discernment, at least they are naturally more cool and phlegmatic; both which qualities check a propensity to strong emotions: and marks of great vehemence must appear absurd in a speaker, when the audierice is unmoved, and fees nothing to occasion such emotion.
An audience, indeed, that is wholly illiterate, may have all their paflions actuated by means of admiration, or astonishment, and mechanical communicatio ; but then there are few English audiences composed wholly of persons of so little reading and reflection as makes that practicable. And it is hardly poslīble that a person whose reading has lain among modern English books, or has conversed with persons of a liberal education, should not have acquired more delicacy of taste, than to be taken with that gross and direct address to the pafsions, which Cicero adopted with applause. The refinement of modern times requires that we speak, upon all occasions, with more temper, and use more address in raising the passions.
If a person adopt any of the forms of address which derive their beauty, force, and efficacy, from their seeming to be extemporary, as well as those which express great earnestness and vehemence; all his gestures, the air of his countenance, and his whole manner, should correspond to them; because certain gestures and motions of the countenance universally accompany natural vehemence, and genuine extemporary expression. When these things, which have so strong a connection in nature, are not united, the whole must appear extremely unnatural, the imperfect artifice will be easily seen through, and the impostor be deservedly exposed.
If a person never attempt these forms of speech but when his temper really corresponds to and dictates them, he will seldom fail in point of propriety; because the state of mind being strongly associated with those correspondent motions, they are excited mechanically and justly. No attention can supply the place of this. The external exprefsions of passion, with all their variations, correfponding to the different degrees of their emotions, are too complex for any person in the circumstances of a public speaker to be able to attend to them. Or, were it possible, the difference between a genuine automatic and a voluntary motion, is sufficiently apparent. All motions that are automatic have a quickness and vigour which are lost when they become voluntary; witness Nighing,
laughing, laughing, the gestures peculiar to anger, &c. and the same when imitated. The difference is too apparent to escape any person's observation.
If these observations be sufficiently attended to, they will deter any prudent and considerate perfon from attempting phrases and modes of address, expreflive of earnestness, when they do not really feel those emotions, which will of themselves suggest the proper attitudes and gestures correfponding to them.
These cautions are given in this place, because they peculiarly relate to those forms of address which express earnestness, extreme confidence in the goodness of one's cause, and that quick conception and animated delivery natural to extemporary speaking, which have now been explained. They are, indeed, applicable, but not in the same degree, to the remaining forms of address which are adapted to gain belief.
Of OBJECTIONS, SUPPRESSION of what might be
Said, and Marks of CANDOUR.
We more easily give our affent to any proposition when the person who contends for it appears, by his manner of delivering himself, to have a perfect knowledge of the subject of it, so as to be apprized beforehand of every thing that can be objected to it, and especially if he seem to be master of more arguments than he chuses to produce. For we naturally presume that a person thus furnished hath studied the question in debate, that he cannot but have weighed the arguments that appear to be so familiar to him; and therefore that he hath determined justly concerning it. These forms of address, as well as those which are natural to a person who is greatly in earnest, have been observed, and the advantage attending them may be had by those persons who adopt, or imitate them, with judgment.
Thus an able orator will sometimes disarm his antagonists, and gain his hearers, by anticipating all they can allege for themselves, and by obviating their cavils before they have had any opportunity to start them; by which means his argument proceeds without interruption.