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LEC T. difcern and approve. We see their faults


overbalanced by higher beauties. We fee a
writer of fense and reflection expreffing his
fentiments without affectation,
thoughts as well as to words;

attentive to

and, in the elegant and

main current of his Language,
beautiful; and, therefore, the only proper use
to be made of the blemishes which occur in
the writings of fuch Authors, is to point out
to those who apply themfelves to the study of
compofition, fome of the rules which they
ought to obferve for avoiding fuch errors;
and to render them fenfible of the neceffity of
ftrict attention to Language and to Style.
Let them imitate the ease and simplicity of
thofe great Authors; let them ftudy to be
always natural, and, as far as they can, always
correct in their expreffions; let them endeavour
to be, at fome times, lively and striking; but
carefully avoid being at any time oftentatious
and affected,






AVING finished that part of the Courfe L E C T. which relates to Language and Style, we are now to afcend a step higher, and to examine the fubjects upon which Style is employed. I begin with what is properly called Eloquence, or Public Speaking. In treating of this, I am to confider the different kinds and fubjects of Public Speaking; the manner fuited to each; the proper diftribution and management of all the parts of a difcourfe; and the proper pronunciation or delivery of it. But before I enter on any of these heads, it may be proper to take a view of the nature of Eloquence in general, and of the ftate in which it has fubfifted in different ages and countries. This will lead into fome detail; but I hope an useful one; as in every art it is


LECT. of great confequence to have a juft idea of the


perfection of that art, of the end at which it aims, and of the progrefs which it has made among mankind.

OF Eloquence, in particular, it is the more neceffary to afcertain the proper notion, because there is not any thing concerning which falfe notions have been more prevalent. Hence, it has been fo often, and is still at this

day, in difrepute with many. When you
fpeak to a plain man of Eloquence, or in praise
of it, he is apt to hear you with very little at-
tention. He conceives Eloquence to fignify
a certain trick of Speech; the art of varnish-
ing weak arguments plaufibly; or of speaking
fo as to please and tickle the ear. "Give me
"good fenfe," fays he,
" and keep your
"Eloquence for boys." He is in the right,
if Eloquence were what he conceives it to be.
It would be then a very contemptible art in-
deed, below the ftudy of any wife or good
man. But nothing can be more remote from
truth. To be truly eloquent, is to speak to
the purpose. For the best definition which,
I think, can be given of Eloquence, is the Art
of Speaking in fuch a manner as to attain the
end for which we fpeak. Whenever a man
fpeaks or writes, he is fuppofed, as a rational
being, to have fome end in view; either to in-
form, or to amufe, or to perfuade, or, in some



way or other, to act upon his fellow-creatures. LECT. He who fpeaks, or writes, in fuch a manner as r to adapt all his words most effectually to that end, is the most eloquent man. Whatever then the subject be, there is room for Eloquence; in hiftory, or even in philofophy, as well as in orations. The definition which I

have given of Eloquence, comprehends all the different kinds of it; whether calculated to inftruct, to perfuade, or to please. But, as the most important subject of discourse is Action, or Conduct, the power of Eloquence chiefly appears when it is employed to influence Conduct, and persuade to Action. As it is principally with reference to this end, that it becomes the object of Art, Eloquence may, under this view of it, be defined, The Art of Perfuafion.

THIS being once established, certain confequences immediately follow, which point out the fundamental maxims of the Art. It follows clearly, that, in order to perfuade, the most effential requifites are, folid argument, clear method, a character of probity appearing in the Speaker, joined with fuch graces of fstyle and utterance, as fhall draw our attention to what he fays. Good fenfe is the foundation of all. No man can be truly eloquent without it; for fools can perfuade none but fools. In order to perfuade a man of fenfe, you must


LECT. first convince him; which is only to be done, by fatisfying his understanding of the reafonableness of what you propose to him,

THIS leads me to obferve, that convincing and perfuading, though they are sometimes. confounded, import, notwithstanding, different things, which it is neceffary for us, at present, to diftinguifh from each other. Conviction affects the understanding only; perfuafion, the will and the practice. It is the business of the philofopher to convince me of truth; it is the bufinefs of the orator to perfuade me to act agreeably to it, by engaging my affections on its fide. Conviction, and persuasion, do not always go together. They ought, indeed, to go together; and would do fo, if our inclination regularly followed the dictates of our understanding. But as our nature is constituted, I may be convinced, that virtue, justice, or public fpirit, are laudable, while, at the fame time, I am not perfuaded to act according to them. The inclination may revolt, though the understanding be fatisfied; the paffions may prevail against the judgment. Conviction is, however, always one avenue to the inclination, or heart; and it is that which an Orator must first bend his ftrength to gain for no perfuafion is likely to be ftable, which is not founded on conviction. But, in order to perfuade, the Orator must go farther than merely


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