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CONTAINING SKETCHES OF THEIR LIVES, SPECIMENS OF THEIR ELOQUENCH,
AND AN ESTIMATE OF THEIR GENIUS.
CORNER OF WHITE
1874, ivril 25
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1854, by
DAVID A. HARSHA,
District of New York.
In offering the following work to the public, the author would advert to a few of its distinguishing features.
It consists of historical and critical sketches of some of those who have been most eminent both as orators and as statesmen; including a plain and brief account of the leading events in the public life of each.
To render the volume useful for reference, particular attention has been given to the insertion of dates. The time when the most celebrated speeches were made, is mentioned. This is also true with reference to memorable historical incidents. In furnishing extracts from speeches, as well as in noticing biographical events, strict chronological order has been observed. Such a plan is preferable, as it gives the reader a distinct view of the subject.
Copious extracts are made from the best orations and speeches. In this department the work is very comprehensive. Embracing the most beautiful specimens of the style of each orator, it thus contains some of the finest pas
sages in English and American literature. Where can we find, for instance, finer models for study and admiration than in the great speeches of Chatham and Burke; of Grattan and Erskine ; of Pitt and Fox; of Henry and Ames; of Calhoun and Clay; of Webster and Everett?
It is to be hoped that the graceful passages in which this volume abounds, may create in the mind of the reader a deeper interest for the study of eloquence. The author fears that this subject has not received the attention which its importance demands. It is certainly true that the best speeches of our greatest orators are not generally read. The principal cause of this neglect is, that most of those highly wrought sentences, which most delight every reader of fine taste, "are often combined with a quantity of matter of temporary interest only - with a mass, in fact, of political, financial, and statistical detail, which the public or parliamentary business of the moment required. Unless the reader has some particular object in view, his mind hesitates to encounter this formidable obstacle to its gratification. The precious gem lies in a heap, it is true, but the labor and perseverance of the diamond seeker can alone arrive at their possession.” Now one design of the author has been to collect those gems of literature, which are specimens of all that is beautiful and sublime in oratory. Without the labor of searching through voluminous collections of speeches, the admirer of eloquence can herc turn, at once, to those exquisite passages with which he will love