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suades all the spectators that I did not throw him, though they themselves saw him on the ground.” Those three renowned orators adopted in early life, the excelent motto, that “nothing is given to mortals, without indefatigable labor.” Discarding the absurd notion, that the gods made orators, or that they were born so, they acted upon the true principle, that however much or little nature had done for them, they would rely exclusively and entirely upon their own exertions. The docility of Demosthenes, Cicero, and Pericles, through life, and the care and success with which they cultivated the science of speaking well, afford examples worthy of universal imitation, from the President of the United States, members of Congress, and of State legislatures, lawyers, clergymen, conductors of literary institutions, and other gentlemen of public consideration, down to the humblest citizen of our republic. Those peerless orators immortalized their names by “patient labor, and patient labor only." If they excelled Americans, or any other men that the world ever produced, it is because they devoted time, money, and labor to the improvement of their manner of speaking,
Who does not know that inattention to a subject, is tantamount to ignorance of it? Knowledge is not intuitive. The infant grasps alike the near flame, which would burn him, and the bright orb of day, which he cannot reach. It is a truism, but, nevertheless, one which is too often practically disregarded, that we know little or nothing, except what we learn. Why, then, talk so much of “nature's orators ?" that the “poet is born, but the orator is made.” Nature, doubtless, makes a great difference in the capacities with which she endows her children; but art makes a still greater difference. In an excellent letter addressed to a young man engaged in the study of law, the late Hon. William Wirt, truly observes, that “it is a fiat of fate, from which no genius can absolve youth, that there is no excellence without great labor."
Vocal music is more gratifying than instrumental, because the human voice, whether its notes are heard in song or speech is the noblest and sweetest instrument of music in existence. It, however, differs from a musical instrument in this respect, among others : it is capable of producing an infinite variety of sounds. By the tones of the voice, may be expressed, not only all the operations of the mind, but every emotion implanted by the hand of nature, in the heart of man. The best readers and speakers are not governed by particular rules. They read and speak
They do not stop to give a rising inflection of voice, here; a falling, there ; and a circumflex, elsewhere. Dr. Goldsmith says, that “ to feel our subject thoroughly, and to speak without fear, are the only rules of eloquence.” It is certain, that in order to be eloquent, we must surrender ourselves to the spirii that stirs within us, and the “mouth " must speak“ from the abundance of the heart.” Being perfectly satisfied with nature's system of elocution, the author has not presumed to lay down a series of artificial rules in the shape, either of marks of inflection or rhetorical notation, in the vain hope of attempting to make a better. Those extraordinary endowments of intellect, of imagination, and of sensibility, which are derived from nature, and without which preeminence in oratory is unattainable, are possessed by few men in any age or country. But all may learn to read and speak correctly and impres.
sively, by becoming familiar with the elementary sounds of our language, and the other important principles of elocution, and by engaging in practical elocutionary exercises.
This work contains a great variety of pieces, all of which are suitable, both for reading, and for exercises in recitation. There is no good reason for drawing a line of demarcation between reading and speaking. To excel in either, requires a cultivated voice, and a knowledge of elocution. In both, and in one as much as the other, the principles
upon which elocution is fo'inded, are involved. Similar exercises, therefore, if not the same, are required to become either a good reader or an accomplished speaker. The introductory part of this work, comprises suggestions on elocution, and specimens illustrative of its principles, and of the powers of the voice, which it is believed, will be serviceable to all who wish to improve their elocution.
The pieces for exercises in reading and declamation, are selected indiscriminately, from ancient and modern au thors; and also from foreigners, and from Americans. The object has been to embody the best pieces in our language, for elocutionary purposes. If a piece be well written, it is not material whether its author is an ancient or a modern, a foreigner or an American. The notes with which almost every piece is accompanied, contain generally brief biographical sketches of their several authors, and of the circumstances under which they wrote. The notes, however, are intended chiefly to explain the manner in which the several pieces should be read or recited. Before reading a piece, it may not be altogether unprofitable to look at the note which may accompany it. This work, being designed as a reading book for schools, academies, theological seminaries, and colleges, the pieces are divided into verses. More pieces will be found in it, on elocution itself, than in any other book before the public. The dialogues are in a cluster. To avoid monotony, the prose and poetry are intermixed. All the pieces, and the notes accompanying them, are calculated to inspire the reader with the love of freedom, of virtue, and of the Christian religion. For the benefit of seminaries of learning, a number of dialogues are inserted. It has also been thought advisable to insert several amusing pieces for the accomodation of youth.
It is gratifying to know, that elocution is beginning to secure a portion of attention, corresponding, in some degree, with its importance. But still it is too much neglected not only by community generally, but even by public speakers and teachers of youth. There are, as yet, few or no distinct professorships of elocution in our literary institutions. The bishop of Cloyne says, " that probably half the learning of these kingdoms is kost, for want of having a proper delivery taught in the schools and col. leges.' Is not half the learning of these United States, “lost for want of having". elocution properly and thoroughly taught in our “ schools and colleges ?” Does not religion suffer in the hands of those who, owing to their ignorance of elocution, and their want of those feelings of love to God and love to man with which the gospel inspires all who believe and practice its precepts, present that solemn and surpassingly important subject to the world, in a cold, lifeless, and bungling manner? It is, as Dr. Blair observes, “a poor compliment, that one is an accurate reasoner, if he be not a persuasive speaker.” Why may not the people of the United States, become as much distinguished for their eloquenca, as for their free and glorious institutions? Is not eloquence as valuable now as it was in ancient times? Is not freedom's soil adapted to its growth? And would it not be " glorious to excel" other nations, as well as other individuals, " in that article in which men excel the brute ?"
The Supreme Being has kindly allotted to us our portion of human existence, in a country, the constitution and laws of which, recognize in every citizen, the right to form, to cherish, and to express his opinions on all subjects interesting to our common welfare, –a country where the opinion of a majority prevails, and where eloquence creates public opinion. Here, as in the free States of antiquity, "every man's opinion should be written on his forehead." Here, too, the noble science and art of elocution should receive, at least attention enough to elevate the standard of public speaking, particularly among our representatives and senators in congress.. Then, when foreigners visit the city of Washington, as they often do, they would witness something more than" the flag of the Union floating on the top of the capitol,” they would hear within its walls, specimens of eloquence, the power and grandeur of which, they could not otherwise than admire. They now animadvert very severely upon the manner in which our congressional orators are accustomed to speak. After crossing the Atlantic, they visit the seat of government, in the expectation of hearing some of the most eloquent speakers in the United States. In that respect, they are not disappointed. And not only so, but they hear in the Senate, if not in the House of Representatives, orators, compared with whom, the best speakers in England or any other country, are not superior, if equal. The cavillers undervalue the merits of American speakers. In their books, they criticise too severely those who have seats in congress, as well as other citizens of the United States. But if we would entirely escape censure, let us endeavor to avoid deserving any portion of it. Let American speakers unite elegance of language, with force of reasoning, so perfectly, that even the inhabitants of other countries, will be constrained to say, with regard to them, as Milton did in another case:
" That their words drew audience and attention,
American young men are, then, called upon by considerations of national honor, to become good speakers. In order to accomplish so desirable an object, that honorable enthusiasm for the art of eloquence, by which the great men of antiquity were characterised, should pervade their minds. “The torch of genius," be it remembered, " is lighted at the altar of enthusiasm."
In view of the whole subject, it is proper to remark, in conclusion, that whatever may be the perfection in which the individual possesses the face ulty of speech from nature, it is susceptible of acquiring much additional power, smoothness, and flexibility, by cultivation and practice. It is hoped that this work will be conducive to the attainment of accuracy, and beauty of expression, in reading, conversation, and public speaking. If several years experience as a teacher of elocution, afford the judging, the matter which it contains, will be serviceable to all who are desirous of improving their mode of reading, or of public speaking. Lord Bacon took "all knowledge to be his province." "Mrs. Sigourney
advises us to “take all goodness for our province." Let us take both. To be wise and good, is the highest object to which our hopes can aspire. Those in whom wisdom and goodness are combined in the greatest degree, will participate the most largely in all the social pleasures of this life, and in the unspeakable joys of that which commences, never to end, beyond the darkness and silence of the tomb. It is the will of Him who built the heavens and the earth, that man should be the instructor of his fellow man. We are commanded by Him who “ spake as never man spake,” to do all that in our day and generation may be done, "to teach all nations," and thus to swell the triumphs of knowledge.
Under these impressions, this book has been prepared for the press. And it is offered to the people of my native country, with a confident hope, that it will be found useful in advancing the interests of that branch of education to which it is devoted, and which must be regarded, not merely as a fine art, but as an eminently valuable accomplishment.
ADVERTISEMENT TO THE SECOND EDITION. It is highly gratifying to the author of this work to know, that the first Edition, which consisted of one thousand five hundred copies, has been sold within a brief priod. It has been adopted as a reading and text book into many literary Institutions. It has been favorably noticed by numerous public journals, and recommended by several distinguished gentlemen. In this Edition which consists of three thousand copies, the misprints and other errors are corrected. To make the work more valuable, a chapter on articulation containing specimens of difficult utterance and several pieces for declamation and reading, are added. With these emendations, it is no less confidently than ardently hoped that the work will continue to receive a share of patronage corresponding with the importance of the subject of which it treats.
ADVERTISEMENT TO THE THIRD EDITION.
The fact that this work has passed through two Editions, within a few years, consisting of four thousand five hundred copies, is evidence that the public have already recognized its practical utility. It appears from the report of the Regents of the University, made to the Legislature last Winter, that it is now used in more than twenty Academies in the State of NewYork. Many other institutions of learning, including a large number of common schools, have also adopted it. It has been introduced, too, into several school district libraries. It is, moreover, in the hands of many private learners and families. The rapid circulation of the two former Editions, is a double gratification to the author, as an indication that his labors in that capacity have been conducive to the end, to promote which, has been his great and paramount object, the elevation of the standard of reading and oratory in the United States,--and as a proof that his countrymen, especially the rising generation of both sexes, are beginning to pay more attention to this branch of polite literature, than has heretofore been bestowed upon it.
Elocution is the soul of Oratory, and Demosthenes justly called it the first, second, and third part of that sublime art. If Elocution can be taught, it ought to be ; and it can be, for it is taught. But let it be remembered, that it is taught well by those, and only those, who have acquired from elocutionary
books, or from living instructors, the requisite qualifications. In this Edition, which consists of 3000 copies, no alterations are made, affecting the pages.
My grateful acknowledgements are cordially tendered to committees on text and reading books, conductors of literary institutious, Trustees of seminaries of learning, editors of public Journals, clergymen, gentlemen of the legal profession, mechanics, farmers, and all other classes of men, for their patronage. And my thanks are particularly due to the Ladies, for their approbation, which, perhaps, has been secured, partly, in consequence of my occasionally entwining a wreath of poetry with the more solid matter of the book,
The Recommendations will be found at the close of the volume, excepting Mr. Rochester's, which not having been received in season to accompany them, is inserted here. The city bears the name of Mr. Roches. ter's father, a name greatly honored in Western New-York, and recently peculiarly endeared to the people of Monroe County, by the indefatigable, successful, and deservedly popular efforts of the Superintendent, conjointly with his colleague, to improve the condition and elevate the character of Common Schools.
The “ Public Schools" of the city of Rochester, are now " in the full tide of scccessful experiment,'' under the auspices of good Teachers, and a most excellent Superintendent.
The opinion of Henry E. RochestER, Esq., Superintendent of Common
Schools for the County of Monroe. Prof, Samuel N. Sweet.
SIR :- I have examined the second edition of your work on Elocution, and have met with it in some of the schools of this county. The opportunity thus afforded me to test its merits as a school book, has led me to form a very favorable opinion of the work ; and I do unhesitatingly recommend it as a valuable aid to Teachers, and well calculated for the instruction of the more advanced scholars in our best common schools and academies.
Yours, very respectfully,
HENRICIE. ROCHESTER. Rochester, N. Y. November 13, 1843.