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gripes of wrestling, wherein Englishmen are wont to excel, as need may often be in fight to tug, to grapple, and to close.58 And this perhaps will be enough wherein to prove and heat their single strength, The interim of unsweating themselves regularly, and convenient rest before meat, may both with profit and delight be taken up in recreating and composing their travailed spirits with the solemn and divine harmonies of music59 heard or learned, either whilst the skillful organist plies his grave and fancied descant in lofty fugues," or the whole symphony with artful and unimaginable touches adorn and grace the well studied chords of some choice composer;61 sometimes the lute or soft organ-stop waiting on elegant voices either to religious, martial, or civil ditties, which, if wise men and prophets be not extremely out, have a great power over dispositions and manners to smooth and make them gentle from rustic harshness and distempered passions.2 The like also would not be inexpedient after meat, to assist and cherish nature in her first concoction, and send their minds back to study in good tune and satisfaction. Where having followed it under vigilant eyes until about two hours before supper, they are, by a sudden alarum or watchword, to be called out to their military motions, under sky or covert according to the season, as was the Roman wont; first on foot, then, as their age permits, on horseback to all the art of cavalry ; that having in sport, but with much exactness and daily muster served out the rudiments of their soldiership in all the skill of embattling, marching, encamping, fortifying, besieging, and battering, with all the helps of ancient and modern stratagems, tactics, and warlike maxims, they may, as it were out of a long war, come forth renowned and perfect commanders in the service of their country. They would not then, if they were trusted with fair and hopeful armies, suffer them for want of just and wise discipline to shed away from about them like sick feathers, though they be never so oft supplied; they would not suffer their empty and unrecruitable colonels of twenty men in a company to quaff out or convey into secret hoards the wages of a delusive list and miserable remnant; yet in the meanwhile to be overmastered with a score or two of drunkards, the only soldiery left about them, or else to comply with all rapines and violences. No, certainly, if they knew ought of that knowledge which belongs to good men or good governors, they would not suffer these things. But to return to our own institute. Besides these constant exercises at home, there is another opportunity of gaining experience to be won from pleasure itself abroad: in those vernal seasons of the year, when the air is calm and pleasant, it were an injury and sullenness against nature not to go out and see her riches, and partake in
her rejoicing with heaven and earth."" I should not, therefore, be a persuader to them of studying much then, after two or three years that they have well laid their grounds, but to ride out in companies with prudent and staid guides to all the quarters of the land, learning and observing all places of strength, all commodities of building, and of soil for towns and tillage, harbors, and ports for trade." Sometimes taking sea as far as to our navy, to learn there also what they can in the practical knowledge of sailing and sea-fight. These ways would try all their peculiar gifts of nature, and if there were any secret excellence among them, would fetch it out and give it fair opportunities to advance itself by, which could not but mightily redound to the good of this nation, and bring into fashion again those old admired virtues and excellencies with far more advantage now in this purity of Christian knowledge." Nor shall we then need the monsieurs of Paris to take our hopeful youth into their slight and prodigal custodies, and send them over back again transformed into mimics, apes, and kikshose. But if they desire to see other countries at three or four and twenty years of age, not to learn principles but to enlarge experience and make wise observation, they will by that time be such as shall deserve the regard and honor of all men where they pass, and the society and friendship of those in all places who are best and most eminent." And perhaps then other nations will be glad to visit us for their breeding, or else to imitate us in their own country.
III. Now, lastly, for their diet there can not be much to say, save only that it would be best in the same house; for much time else would be lost abroad, and many ill habits got; and that it should be plain, healthful, and moderate, I suppose is out of controversy.7
Thus, Mr. Hartlib, you have a general view in writing, as your desire was, of that which at several times I had discoursed with you concerning the best and noblest way of education; not beginning, as some have done, from the cradle, which yet might be worth many considerations, if brevity had not been my scope.71 Many other circumstances also I could have mentioned, but this, to such as have the worth in them to make trial, for light and direction may be enough. Only I believe that this is not a bow for every man to shoot in that counts himself a teacher, but will require sinews almost equal to those which Homer gave Ulysses;72 yet I am withal pursuaded that it may prove much more easy in the essay than it now seems at distance, and much more illustrious; howbeit not more difficult than I imagine, and that imagination presents me with nothing but very happy, and very possible, according to best wishes, if God have so decreed, and this age have spirit and capacity enough to apprehend.
STUDIES AND CONDUCT.
SUGGESTIONS BY MEN EMINENT IN LETTERS AND AFFAIRS.
LETTER FROM LORD BROUGHAM TO ZACHARY MACAULEY, ESQ., ON THE TRAINING OF HIS SON, (THE LATE LORD MACAULEY,) as an orator.
NEWCASTLE, March 10, 1823.
MY DEAR FRIEND :-My principal object in writing to you to-day is to offer you some suggestions, in consequence of some conversation I have just had with Lord Grey, who has spoken of your son (at Cambridge) in terms of the greatest praise. He takes his account from his son; but from all I know, and have learnt in other quarters, I doubt not that his judgment is well formed. Now you, of course, destine him for the bar, and, assuming that this, and the public objects incidental to it, are in his views, I would fain impress upon you, (and through you, upon him,) a truth or two which experience has made me aware of, and which I would have given a great deal to have been acquainted with earlier in life from the experience of others.
First, that the foundation of all excellence is to be laid in early application to general knowledge, is clear; that he is already aware of; and equally so it is, (of which he may not be so well aware,) that professional eminence can only be attained by entering betimes into the lowest drudgery-the most repulsive labors of the profession-even a year in an attorney's office, as the law is now practiced, I should not hold too severe a task, or too high a price to pay, for the benefit it must surely lead to; but, at all events, the life of a special pleader, I am quite convinced, is the thing before being called to the bar. A young man whose mind has once been well imbued with general learning, and has acquired classical propensities, will never sink into a mere drudge. He will always save himself harmless from the dull atmosphere he must live and work in, and the sooner he will emerge from it, and arrive at eminence. But what I wish to inculcate especially, with a view to the great talent for pub. lic speaking which your son happily possess, is that he should cultivate that talent in the only way in which it can reach the height of the art, and I wish to turn his attention to two points. I speak on this subject with the authority both of experience and observation;:
I have made it very much my study in theory; have written a great deal upon it which may never see the light, and something which has been published; have meditated much and conversed much on it with famous men; have had some little practical experience in it, but have prepared for much more than I ever tried, by a variety of laborious methods, reading, writing, much translation, composing in foreign languages, &c., and I have lived in times when there were great orators among us; therefore I reckon my opinion worth listening to, and the rather, because I have the utmost confidence in it myself, and should have saved a world of trouble and much time had I started with a conviction of its truth.
1. The first point is this,-the beginning of the art is to acquire a habit of easy speaking; and, in whatever way this can be had (which individual inclination or accident will generally direct, and may safely be allowed to do so,) it must be had. Now, I differ from all other doctors of rhetoric in this, I say, let him first of all learn to speak easily and fluently, as well as sensibly as he can no doubt, but at any rate let him learn to speak. This is to eloquence, or good public speaking, what the being able to talk in a child is to correct grammatical speech. It is the requisite foundation, and on it you must build. Moreover, it can only be acquired young, therefore let it by all means, and at any sacrifice, be gotten hold of forthwith. But in acquiring it every sort of slovenly error will also be acquired. It must be got by a habit of easy writing (which, as Wyndham said, proved hard reading) by a custom of talking much in company; by speaking in debating societies, with little attention to rule, and more love of saying something at any rate than of saying any thing well. I can even suppose that more attention is paid to the matter in such discussions than in the manner of saying it; yet still to say it easily, ad libitum, to be able to say what you choose, and what you have to say, this is the first requisite, to acquire which every thing else must for the present be sacrificed.
2. The next step is the grand one-to convert this style of easy speaking into chaste eloquence. And here there is but one rule. I do earnestly entreat your son to set daily and nightly before him the Greek models. First of all he may look to the best modern speeches (as he probably has already); Burke's best compositions, as the "Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents;" speech "On the American Conciliation," and "On the Nabob of Arcot's Debt;" Fox's "Speech on the Westminster Scrutiny," (the first part of which he should pore over till he has it by heart); "On the Russian Armament," and "On the War," 1803, with one or two of
Wyndham's best, and very few, or rather none, of Sheridan's; but he must by no means stop here. If he would be a great orator, he must go at once to the fountain head, and be familiar with every one of the great orations of Demosthenes. I take for granted that he knows those of Cicero by heart; they are very beautiful, but not very useful, except perhaps the Milo, pro Ligario, and one or two more; but the Greek must positively be the model; and merely reading it, as boys do, to know the language, won't do at all; he must enter into the spirit of each speech, thoroughly know the posi tions of the parties, follow each turn of the argument, and make the absolutely perfect and most chaste and severe composition familiar to his mind. His taste will improve every time he reads and repeats to himself (for he should have the fine passages by heart,) and he will learn how much may be done by a skillful use of a few words and a rigorous rejection of all superfluities. In this view I hold a familiar knowledge of Dante to be next to Demosthenes. It is in vain to say that imitations of these models will not do for our times. First, I do not counsel any imitation, but only an imbibing of the same spirit. Secondly, I know from experience that nothing is half so successful in these times (bad though they be) as what has been formed on the Greek models. I use a very poor instance in giving my own experience, but I do assure you that both in courts of law and Parliament, and even to mobs, I have never made so much play (to use a very modern phrase) as when I was almost translating from the Greek.
I commenced the peroration of my speech for the Queen, in the Lords, after reading and repeating Demosthenes for three or four weeks, and I composed it twenty times over at least, and it certainly succeeded in a very extraordinary degree, and far above any merits of its own. This leads me to remark, that though speaking, with writing beforehand, is very well until the habit of easy speech is acquired, yet after that he can never write too much; this is quite clear. It is laborious, no doubt, and it is more difficult beyond comparison than speaking off-hand; but it is necessary to perfect oratory, and at any rate it is necessary to acquire the habit of correct diction. But I go further, and say, even to the end of a man's life he must prepare word for word most of his finer passages. Now, would he be a great orator or no? In other words, would he have almost absolute power of doing good to mankind, in a free country or no? So he wills this, he must follow these rules.
Believe me truly yours,