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A TABLE of the LESSONS; and an Index of the various
Passions and HUMOURS in the Essay and LESSONS.
Neque vero mihi quidquam præftabilius videtur, quam poffe
dicendo tenere hominum cætus, mentes allicere, voluntates
The SEVENTH EDITION.
Printed for T. LONGMAN, T. FIELD, C, DILL Y;
M. DCC. XCII.
E S S A Y
HAT oratory is an art of great consequence, will, those, (if any are fo ignorant) who do not know, that it has been taught, and studied, in all countries, where learning has gained any ground, ever since the days of Aristotle. That the manner or address of a speaker, is of the utmost importance, and that a just and pleasing manner in delivering either one's own compositions, or those of others, is difficult of acquisition, and but too much neglected amongst us, seems unquestionable from the deficiencies we so commonly observe in the address of our public speakers, much more than in the matter uttered by them, and from the little effect produced by their labours.
of the learning necessary for furnishing matter, and of the art of arranging it properly; of invention, composition, and style, various writers among the Greeks, Romans, French, Italians, and English, have treated very copiously. It is not my design to trouble the world with any thing on these branches of oratory. I shall confine myself merely to what the prince of orators pronounced to be the first, fecond, and
third part, or all that is most important in the art, viz. delivery, comprehending what every gentleman ought to be master of respecting sexure, looks, and command of voice.
What is true of most of the improvements, which are made by study, or culture, is peculiarly so of the art of Speaking. If there is not a foundation laid for it in the earlier part of life, there is no reafonable ground of expectation, that any great degree of kill in it should ever be attained. As it depends upon, and consists in practice, more than theory, it requires the earlier initiation: that practice may have its full scope, before the time of life arrives, in which there may be occasion for public exhibition. Mankind mast speak from the beginning, therefore ought, from the beginning, to be taught to speak rightly; else they may acquire a habit of speaking wrong. And whoever knows the difficulty of breaking through bad habits, will avoid that kabour by prevention. There is a great difference between Speaking and writing. Some, nay most of mankind, are never to be writers. All are speakers. Young persons ought not to be put upon writing (from their own funds, I mean) till they have furnished their minds with thoughts, that isa till they have gotten funds : but they cannot be kept from speaking
Suppose a youth to have no prospect either of fitting in parliament, of pleading at the bar, of appearing upon the stage, or in the pulpit ; does it follow, that he need bestow ne pains in learning to speak properly his native language Will he never have occasion to read in a company of his friends, a copy of verses, à paffage of a book, or news-paper? Must he never read a discourfe of Tillotson, or a chapter of the Whole Duty of Man, for the instruction of his chil. dren and servants? Cicero justly observes; that address in speaking is highly ornamental, as well as useful, even in private life*. The limbs are parts of the body much less noble than the tongue : Yet no gentleman grudges a confiderable expence of time and money to have his fon taught to use them properly. Which is very commendable. And is there no attention to be paid to the ufe of the tongue, the glory of man?
Supposing a person to be ever fo fincere and zealous a lover of virtue, and of his country; without a competent skill and address in speaking, he can only fit fill, and see them wronged, without having it in his power to prevent, or redress, the evil. Let an artful and eloquent statesman ha
Cic. de Orat, L. i. p. 83.
rangue the house of commons upon a point of the utmost consequence to the public good. He has it greatly in his power to mislead the judgment of the house. And he, who jees through the delufion, if he be aukward in delivering himTelf, can do nothing toward preventing the ruinous schemes, proposed by the other, from being carried into execution, but give his fingle vote against them, without so much as explain-, ing to the house his reasons for doing so. The case is the same in other smaller afsemblies and meetings, in which volubility of tongue, and iteadiness of countenance, often carry it against folid reasons, and important confiderations.
To offer a help toward the improvement of youth in the useful and ornamental accomplishment of speaking properly their mother-tongue, is the design of this publication; to set about which I have been the more excited by experiencing, in my own practice, a want of such a collection, as the following. What I proposed to myself at first, was only to put together a competent variety of pafages out of some of the bet writers in prose and verse, for exercising youth in adapting their general manner of delivery to the spirit or bumour of the various matter they may have occasion to pronounce. Such a collection, I thought, might be acceptable to the public, in confideration of its furnishing, at an caly expence, a general variety of examples for practice, chosen and pointed out, without trouble to masters. A design, which as far as I know, has not before been executed * On farther confideration, it occurred to me, that it might render such a publication more useful, if I prefixed some general observations on the method of teaching pronunciation, and put the emphatical words in italics, and marginal notes fhewing the various humours or paffions, in the several examples, as they change from one to another, in the course of the speeches. All masters of places of education are not, I fear, fufficiently aware of the extent of this part of their duty; nor of the number of particulars to be attended to, which render it so difficult to bring a young person to deliver, in a completely
proper manner, a speech containing a confiderable
• The PRECEPTOR, a work in two volumes 8vo, has fome lessons for practice; but not the variety of humours, or paffions, which my deliga takes in; nor the notes of direction for expressing them properly. Befdes that the PRECEPTOR is a book of price, and fitter for the master's use, than the pupil's ; so that I do not think it answers the purpole I had in view in this publication. If it did, I should have used it. Otherwise, i think it an useful book, and am glad to find that it is well received. B 2