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edition heretofore published. Mr. Mills has made an || From the New York Daily Advertiser, October immense number of corrections in typography and
2d, 1829. punctuation, we should suppose nearly two thou
04: Corrected Stereotyped Edition of Blair's LecBand. At the end of each lecture, Mr. Mills gives a
|| tures.-Messrs. Carvill have just published an edi. list of questions, so worded as to call upon the recol. ||
tion of Blair's Lectures, from the stereotype plates of lection of the learner, without putting the answer ||
Hopkins, after making numerous corrections, and into his mouth. He also appends to each lecuire a ||
I introducing many additional pages of matter, peculi. summary analysis, arranged with great care and
arly well calculated to make the work still more use judgment.
ful in the study of rhetoric. This edition is decidedly superior to any other that
It is a well known fact, to all persons familiar with we have ever seen, English or American.
the highly popular and useful lectures of Dr. Blair, From the New York American, September 30th,
that numerous cases occur, in different parts of the 1829.
work, in which the very faults of style which the au.
thor criticises and condemns, repeatedly occur. Blair's Lectures, by Mills.-We have looked
These faults are so obvious, that it must have seemed over this new edition of Blair, published under the
surprising, even to learners themselves, that they direction of Mr. Mills, of this city, well known as a
should have been allowed to disfigure all the English successful teacher; and, upon comparing it with
editions, even the most recent, as well as our own. In the best previous American edition, are satisfied of
addition to this, there were almost innumerable irre. its ou perior accuracy in typography and punctuation. Indeed, but for the evidence this comparison has
gularities in punctuation, calculated to confuse and furnished of the fact, we should have hardly thought
mislead the reader or pupil; and Mr. Mills, to whom it possible, that a book so constantly used as a stan.
the defects of the work had become intimately known,
through a long course of professional use, as a teacher dard work in education, and printed with great ap
of rhetoric in some of the most respectable academies parent care too, could have been so faulty.
of this city, was very judiciously engaged to make Mr. Mills has appended to each chapter a series of
the necessary corrections. We have had an opportuquestions, the answers to which embrace, of necessi.
nity to judge of the extent and importance of the laty, every sentence in the chapter, so as to require the student to master the whole. This is followed by an
bour he had to perform. About two thousand correc. analysis of each topic treated in the chapter. The
tions were made in the plates; and, in addition to two together will both aid and test the scholar's profi
these, a series of questions follows every lecture,
closely connected with the subject, and requiring in ciency.
the pupila thorough knowledge of the lesson. These From the Mercantile Advertiser, October 1st, 1829.
griestions amount to five thousand seven hundred and
fifty in all ; and each lecture is also furnished with a Blair's Lectures.-We observed a few days
Il brief analysis, of great convenience and use. We since, a notice of a new edition of this standard work
shall expect to see this improved work republished in on Rhetoric and Belles lettres, in which high praise
England. was awarded to Mr. Abraham Mills, for the detection of numerous errors in a late American edition for an analysis of each lecture, and copious questions arising from them. This praise was awarded on From the New York Commercial Advertiser, Ocwhat was said to be a careful comparison of the two
tober 3d, 1829. editions; and, as we were struck with the strength
The Messrs. Carvills have just issued a new edi. of the remarks, and wondered not a little at the bold
tion of Blair's Lectures, the text for which is perhaps ness which had atteinpted the emendation of Blair,
entitled to be called immaculate. A few years ago, we took the trouble to call on the publishers, Messrs.
I an edition was printed with extraordinary care, from Carvill, to examine and compare for ourselves. The stereotype plates. Nearly two thousand errors have, result has been, that although Mr. Mills may have, in i however, been detected by Mr. Abraham Mills, well one or two instances, been too fastidious in his corres. known as a teacher in this city. Some few of these tions, yet, in the main, they are judicious, and, whe may, by possibility, have escaped Dr. Blair himself, ther the errors arose from inadvertence in the learned | though they are violations of his own rules. The author, or the carelessness or ignorance of some of
bulk of them, however, had been accumulating his editors, the present corrections are invaluable to
|| through the successive editions of the work, as they those for whom the work was intended. The correc were published in Great Britain and this country. tions in punctuation are very numerous, and almost Many were of a serious character, deforming the invariably unexceptionable. The analysis is such as
sense ; while all were important in a work expressly could not have been made but by one who, like Mr. treating of accuracy in style. The punctuation in the Mills, has been in the long and daily practice of in former editions was very slovenly. It has, as we have structing by means of these lectures, and the ques.
ascertained by an examination of the copy sent to tions which he has arranged at the close of all tne lec us, and by comparing it with that imprinted from tures admitting of illustration by question, are also
the old plates, been judiciously corrected by Mr. the results of close study, and correct understanding Mills. The questions and analysis annexed to each of the author. Mr. Mills is at present engaged in two
le ture, are calculated to be of much practical use in of our most popular female, and one of our best male schools, and even in colleges, according to the preseminaries. We hope his work may compensate for
sent standard of education in this country. The the labour bestowed upon it, and remunerate the i
questions comprehend the literal whole of each lecpublishers for their enterprise, and the attendant ex- | ture; the analysis the whole of each of them in subpense of such a publication.
One of the most distinguished privileges which Providos.co has conferred upon mankind, is the power of communicating their thoughts to one another. Destitute of this power, reason would be a solitary, and, in some measure, an unavailable principle. Speech is the great instrument by which man becomes beneficial to man: and it is to the intercourse and transmission of thought, by means of speech, that we are chiefly indebted for the improvement of thought itself. Small are the advances which a single unassisted individual can make towards perfecting any of his powers. What we call human reason, is not the effort or ability of one, so much as it is the result of the reason of many, arising from lights mutually communicated, in consequence of discourse and writing.
It is obvious, then, that writing and discourse are objects entitled to the highest attention. Whether the influence of the speaker, or the entertainment of the hearer, be consulted; whether utility or pleasure be the principal aim in view, we are prompted, by the strongest motives, to study how we may communicate our thoughts to one another with most advantage. Accordingly we find, that in almost every nation, as soon as language had extended itself beyond that scanty communication which was requisite for the supply of men's necessities, the improvement of discourse began to attract regard. In the language even of rude uncultivated tribes, we can trace some attention to the grace and force of those expressions which they used, when they sought to persuade or to affect. They were early sensible of a beauty in discourse, and endeavoured to give it certain decorations, which experience had taught them it was capable of receiving, long before the study of those decorations was formed into a regular art.
But, among nations in a civilized state, no art has been cultivated with more care, than that of language, style, and composition. The attention paid to it may, indeed, be assumed as one mark of the progress of society towards its most improved period. For, according as society improves and flourishes, men acquire more influence over one another by means of reasoning and discourse; and in proportion as that influence is felt to enlarge, it must follow, as a natural consequence, that they will bestow more care upon the methods
of expressing their conceptions with propriety and eloquence. Hence we find, that in all the polished nations of Europe, this study has been treated as highly important, and has possessed a considerable place in every plan of liberal education.
Indeed, when the arts of speech and writing are mentioned, I am sensible that prejudices against them are apt to rise in the minds of many. A sort of art is immediately thought of, that is ostentatious and deceitful; the minute and trifling study of words alone; the pomp of expression; the studied fallacies of rhetoric; ornament substituted in the room of use. We need not wonder, that, under such imputations, all study of discourse as an art, should have suffered in the opinion of men of understanding; and I am far from denying, that rhetoric and criticism have sometimes been so managed as to tend to the corruption, rather than to the improvement, of good taste and true eloquence. But sure it is equally possible to apply the principles of reason and good sense to this art, as to any other that is cultivated among men. If the following Lectures have any merit, it will consist in an endeavour to substitute the application of these principles in the place of artificial and scholastic rhetoric; in an endeavour to explode false ornament, to direct attention more towards substance than show, to recommend good sense as the foundation of all good composition, and simplicity as essential to all true ornament.
When entering on this subject, I may be allowed, on this occasion, to suggest a few thoughts concerning the importance and advantages of such studies, and the rank they are entitled to possess in academical education.* I am under no temptation, for this purpose, of extolling their importance at the expense of any other department of science. On the contrary, the study of Rhetoric and Belles Lettres supposes and requires a proper acquaintance with the rest of the liberal arts. It embraces them all within its circle, and recommends them to the highest regard. The first care of all such as wish either to write with reputation, or to speak in public so as to command attention, must be, to extend their knowledge; to lay in a rich store of ideas relating to those subjects of which the occasions of life may call them to discourse or to write. Hence, among the ancients, it was a fundamental principle, and frequently inculcated, “Quod omnibus disciplinis et artibus debet esse instructus orator;" that the orator ought to be an accomplished scholar, and conversant in every part of learning. It is indeed impossible to contrive an art, and very pernicious it were if it could be contrived, which should give the stamp of merit to any composition rich or splendid in expression, but barren or erroneous in thought. They are the wretched attempts towards an art of this kind, which have so often
* The author was the first who read lectures on this subject in the university of Edinburgh. He began with reading them in a private character in the year 1759. In the following year he was chosen Professor of Rhetoric by the magistrates and town-council of Edinburgh; and, in 1762, his Majesty was pleased to erect and endow a Profession of Rhetoric and Belles Lettres in that university, and the author was appointed the first Regius Professor.
disgraced oratory, and debased it below its true standard. The graces of composition have been employed to disguise or to supply the want of matter; and the temporary applause of the ignorant has been courted, instead of the lasting approbation of the discerning. But such imposture can never maintain its ground long. Knowledge and science must furnish the materials that form the body and substance of any valuable composition. Rhetoric serves to add the polish; and we know that none but firm and solid bodies can be polished well.
Of those who peruse the following Lectures, some by the prufession to which they addict themselves, or in consequence of their prevailing inclination, may have the view of being employed in composition, or in public speaking. Others, without any prospect of this kind, may wish only to improve their taste with respect to writing and discourse, and to acquire principles which will enable them to judge for themselves in that part of literature called the Belles Lettres.
With respect to the former, such as may have occasion to communicate their sentiments to the public, it is abundantly clear that some preparation of study is requisite for the end which they have in view. To speak or to write perspicuously and agreeably with purity, with grace and strength, are attainments of the utmost consequence to all who purpose, either by speech or writing, to address the public. For without being master of those attainments, no man can do justice to his own conceptions; but how rich soever he may be in knowledge and in good sense, will be able to avail himself less of those treasures, than such as possess not half his store, but who can display what they possess with more propriety. Neither are these attainments of that kind for which we are indebted to nature merely. Nature has, indeed, conferred upon some a very favourable distinction in this respect, beyond others. But in these, as in most other talents she bestows, she has left much to be wrought out by every man's own industry. So conspicuous have been the effects of study and improvement in every part of eloquence; such remarkable examples have appeared of persons surmounting, by their diligence, the disadvantages of the most untoward nature, that among the learned it has long been a contested, and remains still an undecided point, whether nature or art confer most towards excelling in writing or discourse.
With respect to the manner in which art can most effectually furnish assistance for such a purpose, there may be diversity of opinions. I by no means pretend to say that mere rhetorical rules, how just soever, are sufficient to form an orator. Supposing natural genius to be favourable, more by a great deal will depend upon private application and study, than upon any system of instruction that is capable of being publicly communicated. But at the same time, though rules and instructions cannot do all that is requisite, they may, however, do much that is of real use. They cannot, it is true, inspire genius; but they can direct and assist it. They cannot remedy barrenness; but they may correct redundancy. They point out pro
per models for imitation. They bring into view the chief beauties that ought to be studied, and the principal thoughts that ought to be avoided; and thereby tend to enlighten taste, and to lead genius from unnatural deviations, into its proper channel. What would not avail for the production of great excellencies, may at least serve to prevent the commission of considerable errors.
All that regards the study of eloquence and composition, merits the higher attention upon this account, that it is intimately connected with the improvement of our intellectual powers. For I must be allowed to say, that when we are employed, after a proper manner, in the study of composition, we are cultivating reason itself. True rhetoric and sound logic are very nearly allied. The study of arranging and expressing our thoughts with propriety, teaches to think as well as to speak accurately. By putting our sentiments into words, we always conceive them more distinctly. Every one who has the slightest acquaintance with composition knows, that when he expresses himself ill on any subject, when his arrangement is loose, and his sentences become feeble, the defects of his style can, almost on every occasion, be traced back to his indistinct conception of the subject: so close is the connexion between thoughts and the words in which they are clothed.
The study of composition, important in itself at all times, has acquired additional importance from the taste and manners of the present age. It is an age wherein improvements in every part of science, have been prosecuted with ardour. To all the liberal arts much attention has been paid; and to none more than to the beauty of language, and the grace and elegance of every kind of writing. The public ear is become refined. It will not easily bear what is slovenly and incorrect. Every author must aspire to some merit in expression, as well as in sentiment, if he would not incur the danger of being neglected and despised.
I will not deny that the love of minute elegance, and attention to inferior ornaments of composition, may at present have engrossed too great a degree of the public regard. It is indeed my opinion, that we lean to this extreme; often more careful of polishing style, than of storing it with thought. Yet hence arises a new reason for the study of just and proper composition. If it be requisite not to be deficient in elegance or ornament in times when they are in such high estimation, it is still more requisite to attain the power of distinguishing false ornament from true, in order to prevent our being carried away by that torrent of false and frivolous taste, which never fails, when it is prevalent, to sweep along with it the raw and the ignorant. They who have never studied eloquence in its principles, nor have been trained to attend to the genuine and manly beauties of good writing, are always ready to be caught by the mere glare of language; and when they come to speak in public, or to compose, have no other standard on which to form themselves, except what chances to be fashionable and popular, how corrupted soever, or erroneous, that may be.
But as there are many who have no such objects as either com