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after some performances of this kind shall have given him boldness, he will find it the better method not to confine himself so strictly; but only to write, beforehand, some sentences with which he intends to set out, in order to put himself fairly in the train; and, for the rest, to set down short notes of the topics, or principal thoughts upon which he is to insist, in their order, leaving the words to be suggested by the warmth of discourse. Such short notes of the substance of the discourse, will be found of considerable service, to those, especially, who are beginning to speak in public. They will accustom them to some degree of accuracy, which, if they speak frequently, they are in danger too soon of losing. They will even accustom them to think more closely on the subject in question; and will assist them greatly in arranging their thoughts with method and order.
This leads me next to observe, that in all kinds of public speaking, nothing is of greater consequence than a proper and clear method. I mean not that forinal method of laying down heads and subdivisions, which is commonly practised in the pulpit; and which, in popular assemblies, unless the speaker be a man of great authority and character, and the subject of great importance, and the preparation too very accurate, is rather in hazard of disgusting the hearers; such an introduction is presenting always the melancholy prospect of a long discourse. But though the method be not laid down in form, no discourse, of any length, should be without method; that is, every thing should be found in its proper place. Every one who speaks, will find it of the greatest advantage to himself to have previously arranged his thoughts, and classed under proper heads, in his own mind, what he is to deliver. This will assist his memory, and carry him through his discourse with out that confusion to which one is every moment subject who has fixed no distinct plan of what he is to say. And with respect to the hearers, order in discourse is absolutely necessary for making any proper impression. It adds both force and light to what is said. It makes them accompany the speaker easily and readily, as he goes along; and makes them feel the full effect of every argument which he employs. Few things, therefore, deserve more to be attended to, than distinct arrangement; for eloquence, however great, can never produce entire conviction without it. Of the rules of method, and the proper distribution of the several parts of a discourse, I am hereafter to treat.
Let us now consider the style and expression suited to the eloquence of popular assemblies. Beyond doubt, these give scope for the most animated manner of public speaking. The very aspect of a large assembly, engaged in some debate of moment, and attentive to the discourse of one man, is sufficient to inspire that man with such elevation and warmth, as both gives rise to strong impressions, and gives them propriety. Passion easily rises in a great assembly, where the movements are communicated by mutual sympathy between the orator and the audience. Those bold figures, of which I treated formerly as the native language of passion, have then their proper place. That ardour of speech, that vehemence and glow of sentiment, which arise from a mind animated and inspired by some great and public object, form the peculiar characteristics of popular eloquence, in its highest degree of perfection.
The liberty, however, which we are now giving of the strong and passionate manner to this kind of oratory, must be always understood with certain limitations and restraints, which, it will be necessary to point out distinctly, in order to guard against dangerous mistakes on this subject.
As, first, the warmth which we express must be suited to the occasion and the subject; for nothing can be more preposterous, than an attempt to introduce great veheinence into a subject, which is either of slight importance, or which, by its nature, requires to be treated of calmly. A temperate tone of speech, is that for which there is most frequent occasion; and he who is, on every subject, passionate and vehement, will be considered as a blusterer, and ineet with little regard.
In the second place, we must take care never to counterfeit warmth without feeling it. This always betrays persons into an unnatural manner, which exposes them to ridicule. For, as I have often suggested, to support the appearance, without the rcal feeling of passion, is one of the most difficult things in nature. The disguise can almost never be so perfect, as not to be discovered. The heart can only answer to the heart. The great rule here, as indeed in every other case, is, to follow nature; never to attempt a strain of eloquence which is not seconded by our own genius. One may be a speaker, both of much reputation and much influence, in the calm argumentative manner. To attain the pathetic, and the sublime of oratory, requires those strong sensibilities of mind, and that high power of expression, which are given to few.
In the third place, even when the subject justifies the vehement manner, and when genius prompts it; when warmth is felt, not counterfeited; we must still set a guard on ourselves, not to al.. low impetuosity to transport us too far. Without emotion in the speaker, eloquence, as was before observed, will never produce its highest effects; but at the same time, if the speaker lose command of himself, he will soon lose command of his audience too. He must never kindle too soon: he must begin with moderation; and study to carry his hearers along with him, as he warms in the progress of his discourse. For, if he runs before in the course of passion, and leaves them behind; if they are not tuned, if we may speak so, in unison to him, the discord will presently be felt, and be very grating. Let a speaker have ever so good reason to be ani. mated and fired by his subject, it is always expected of him, that the awe and regard due to his audience should lay a decent restraint upon his warmth, and prevent it from carrying him beyond certain bounds. If, when most heated by the subject, he can be so far master of himself as to preserve close attention to argument, and even to some degree of correct expression, this self-command, this exertion of reason, in the midst of passion, has a wonderful effect both
to please, and to persuade. It is indeed the master-piece, the highest attainment of eloquence; uniting the strength of reason, with the vehemence of passion; affording all the advantages of passion for the purpose of persuasion, without the consusion and disorder which are apt to accompany it.
In the fourth place, in the highest and most animated strain of popular speaking, we must always preserve regard to what the public ear will bear. This direction I give, in order to guard against an injudicious imitation of ancient orators, who, both in their pronunciation and gesture, and in their figures of expression, used a bolder manner than what the greater coolness of modern taste will readily suffer. This may, perhaps, as I formerly observed, be a disadvantage to modern eloquence. It is no reason why we should be too severe in checking the impulse of genius, and continue always creeping on the ground; but it is a reason, however, why we should avoid carrying the tone of declamation to a height that would now be reckoned extravagant. Demosthenes, to justify the unsuccessful action of Cheronæa, calls up the manes of those heroes who fell in the battle of Marathon and Platæa, and swears by them, that their fellow-citizens had done well, in their endeavours to support the same cause. Cicero, in his oration for Milo, implores and obtests the Alban hills and groves, and makes a long address to them: and both passages, in these orators, have a fine effect.* But how few modern orators could venture on such apostrophes? and what a power of genius would it require to give such figures now their proper grace, or make them produce a due effect upon the hearers ?
In the fifth and last place, in all kinds of public speaking, but especially in popular assemblies, it is a capital rule to attend to all the decorums of time, place, and character. No warmth of eloquence can atone for the neglect of these. That vehemence, which is becoming in a person of character and authority, may be unsuitable to the modesty expected from a young speaker. That sportive and witty manner which may suit one subject and one assembly, is altogether out of place in a grave cause, and a solemn meeting. Caput artis est,' says Quintilian, 'decere. «The first principle of art, is to observe decorum.' No one should ever rise to speak in public, without forming to himself a just and strict idea of what suits his own age and character; what suits the subject, .
* The passage in Cicero is very beautiful, and adorned with the highest colouring of his eloquence. "Non est humano consilio, ne mediocri quidem, judices, deorum immortalium cura, res illa perfecta. Religiones, mehercule, ipsæ aræque, cum illum belluam cadere viderunt, commovisse se videntur, et jus in illo suum retinuisse. Vos enim jam Albani tumuli, atque luci, vos inquain imploro atque obtestor, vosque Albanorum obrutæ aræ, sacrorum populi Romani sociæ et æquales, quas ille præceps amentia, cæsis prostratisque, sanctissimis lucis, substructionum insanis molibus oppresserat; vestræ tum aræ, vestræ religiones vigue. runt, vestra vis valuit, quam ille omni scelere polluerat. Tuque ex tuo edito monte Latiali, sancte Jupiter, cujus ille lacus, nemora, finesque, sæpe omni pefario stupro, scelere maculärat, aliquando ad eum puniendum, oculos aperuisti, vobis illæ, vobis vestro in conspectu, seræ, sed justæ tamen, et debitæ pænæ salutæ sunt * Good sense is the foundation of eloquence, as it is of all other things that are valuable. It happens in oratory exactly as it does in life, that frequently nothing is more difficult than to discern what is proper and becoming. In consequence of mistaking this, the grossest fanlts are often committed. For to the different degrees of rank, fortune, and age among men, to all the varieties of time, place, and auditory, the same style of language, and the same strain of thought, cannot agree. In every part of a discourse, just as in every part of life, we must attend to what is suitable and decent : whether that be deterinined by the nature of the subject of which we treat, or by the characters of those who speak, or of those who hear."
the hearers, the place, the occasion: and adjusting the whole train and manner of his speaking on this idea. All the ancients insist much on this. Consult the first chapter of the eleventh book of Quintilian, which is employed wholly on this point, and is full of good sense. Cicero's admonitions, in his Orator ad Brutum, I shall give in his own words, which should never be forgotten by any who speak in public. • Est eloquentiæ, sicut reliquarum rerum, fundamentum, sapientia ; ut enim in vita, sic in oratione nihil est difficillius quam quod deceat videre ; hujus ignoratione sæpissime peccatur ; non enim omnis fortuna, non omnis auctoritas, non omnis ætas, nec vero locus, aut tempus, aut auditor omnis, eodem aut verborum genere tractandus est, aut cententiarum. Semperque in onni parte orationis, ut vitæ, quid deceat considerandum; quod et in re de qua agitur positum est, et in personis et eorum qui dicunt, et eorum qui audiunt.'* So much for the considerations that require to be attended to, with respect to the vehemence and warmth which is allowed in popular eloquence.
The current of style should in general be full, free, and natural. Quaint and artificial expressions are out of place here; and always derogate from persuasion. It is a strong and manly style which should chiefly be studied; and metaphorical language, when properly introduced, produces often a happy effect. When the metaphors are warm, glowing, and descriptive, some inaccuracy in them will be overlooked, which, in a written composition, would be remarked and censured. Amidst the torrent of declamation, the strength of the figure makes impression; the inaccuracy of it escapes.
With regard to the degree of conciseness or diffuseness suited to popular eloquence, it is not easy to fix any exact bounds. I know that it is common to recommend a diffuse manner as the most pro per. I am inclined, however, to think, that there is danger of erring in this respect; and that by indulging too much in the diffuse style, public speakers often lose more in point of strength, than they gain by the fullness of their illustration. There is no doubt, that in speaking to a multitude, we must not speak in sentences and apothegms : care must be taken to explain and to inculcate; but this care may be, and frequently is, carried too far. We ought always to remember, that how much soever we may be pleased with hearing ourselves speak, every audience is very ready to be tired; and the moment they begin to be tired, all our eloquence goes for nothing. A loose and verbose manner never fails to create disgust; and, on most occasions, we had better run the risk of saying too little than too much. Better place our thought in one strong point of view, and rest it there, than by turning it into every light, and pouring forth a profusion of words upon it, exhaust the attention of our hearers, and leave them flat and languid.
Of pronunciation and delivery, I am hereafter to treat apart. At present it is sufficient to observe, that in speaking to mixt assemblies, the best manner of delivery is the firm and the determined. An arrogant and overbearing manner is indeed always disagreeable; and the least appearance of it ought to be shunned: but there is a certain decisive tone, which may be assumed even by a modest man, who is thoroughly persuaded of the sentiments he utters; and which is calculated for making a general impression. A feeble and hesitating manner bespeaks always some distrust of a man's own opinion; which is, by no means, a favourable circumstance for his inducing others to embrace it.
These are the chief thoughts which have occurred to me from reflection and observation, concerning the peculiar distinguishing characters of the eloquence proper for popular assemblies. The sum of what has been said, is this: the end of popular speaking is persuasion; and this must be founded on conviction. Argument and reasoning must be the basis, if we would be speakers of business, and not mere declaimers. We should be engaged in earnest on the side which we espouse; and utter, as much as possible, our own, and not counterfeited sentiments. The premeditation should be of things, rather than of words. Clear order and method should be studied; the manner and expression warm and animated; though still, in the midst of that vehemence, which may at times be suitable, carried on under the proper restraints which regard to the audience, and to the decorum of character, ought to lay on every public speaker: the style free and easy; strong and descriptive, rather than diffuse; and the delivery determined and firm. To conclude this head, let every orator remember, that the impression made by fine and artful speaking is momentary; that made by argument and good sense, is solid and lasting.
I shall now, that I may afford an exemplification of that species of oratory of which I have been treating, insert some extracts from Demosthenes. Even under the great disadvantage of an English translation, they will exhibit a small specimen of that vigorous and spirited eloquerce which I have so often praised. I shall take my extracts mostly from the Philippics and Olynthiacs, which were entirely popular orations spoken to the general convention of the citizens of Athens: and, as the subject of both the Philippics, and the Olynthiacs, is the same, I shall not confine myself to one oration, bui shall join together passages taken from two or three of them; such as may show his general strain of speaking, on some of the chief branches of the subject. The subject in general is, to rouse the Athenians to guard against Philip of Macedon, whose growing power and crafty policy had by that time endangered, and soon after overwhelmed the liberties of Greece. The Athenians began to be alarmed; but their deliberations were slow, and their measures feeble; several of their favourite orators having been gained by