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LECT. all who heard it, cannot, at this day, be read


without emotion.

AFTER the days of Demofthenes, Greece loft her liberty, Eloquence of course languished, and relapsed again into the feeble manner introduced by the Rhetoricians and Sophifts. Demetrius Phalerius, who lived in the next age to Demofthenes, attained indeed fome character, but he is reprefented to us as flowery, rather than a perfuafive speaker, who aimed at grace rather than fubftance. << De"lectabat Athenienfes," fays Cicero, " magis quam inflammabat.” "He amused the Athenians, rather than warmed them." And after his time, we hear of no more Grecian Orators of any note.






HAVING treated of the rife of Eloquence, L ECT.

and of its state among the Greeks, we now proceed to confider its progress among the Romans, where we fhall find one model, at least, of Eloquence, in its most splendid and illuftrious form. The Romans were long a martial nation, altogether rude, and unskilled in arts of any kind. Arts were of late introduction among them; they were not known till after the conqueft of Greece; and the Romans always acknowledged the Grecians as their masters in every part of learning.

Græcia capta ferum victorem cepit, & artes
Intulit agrefti Latio *.—

HOR. Epift. ad Aug.

• When conquer'd Greece brought in her captive arts, She triumph'd o'er her favage conquerors hearts; Taught our rough verfe its numbers to refine,

And our rude Style with elegance to fhine. FRANCIS.

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LE CT. As the Romans derived their Eloquence, Poetry, and Learning from the Greeks, fo they must be confeffed to be far inferior to them in genius for all these accomplishments. They were a more grave and magnificent, but a lefs acute and fprightly people. They had neither the vivacity nor the fenfibility of the Greeks their paffions were not fo easily moved, nor their conceptions fo lively; in comparison of them, they were a phlegmatic nation. Their language resembled their character; it was regular, firm, and ftately; but wanted that fimple and expreffive naïveté, and, in particular, that flexibility to fuit every different mode and fpecies of compofition, for which the Greek tongue is diftinguished above that of every other country.

. Graiis ingenium, Graiis dedit ore rotundo
Mufa loqui


And hence, when we compare together the various rival productions of Greece and Rome, we shall always find this diftinction obtain, that in the Greek productions there is more native genius; in the Roman, more regularity and art. What the Greeks invented, the Ro

To her lov'd Greeks the Mufe indulgent gave,
To her lov'd Greeks with greatness to conceive;
And in fublimer tone their language raise :
Her Greeks were only covetous of praife. FRANCIS.



mans polifhed; the one was the original, LECT.
rough fometimes, and incorrect; the other, a
finished copy.

As the Roman government, during the re-
public, was of the popular kind, there is no
doubt but that, in the hands of the leading
men, public fpeaking became early an engine
of government, and was employed for gaining
diftinction and power. But in the rude unpo-
lished times of the State, their speaking was
hardly of that fort that could be called Elo-
quence. Though Cicero, in his Treatife " de
"Claris Oratoribus," endeavours to give some
reputation to the elder Cato, and those who
were his cotemporaries, yet he acknowledges
it to have been " Afperum et horridum genus
dicendi," a rude and harsh ftrain of speech.
It was not till a fhort time preceding Cicero's
age, that the Roman Orators rofe into any
note. Craffus and Antonius, two of the Speakers
in the dialogue De Oratore, appear to have
been 'the most eminent, whofe different man-
ners Cicero defcribes with great beauty in that
dialogue, and in his other rhetorical works.
But as none of their productions are
tant, nor any of Hortenfius's, who was Ci-
cero's cotemporary and rival at the bar, it is
needless to tranfcribe from Cicero's writings'
the account which he gives of those great



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LECT. men, and of the character of their Elo


quence *.

THE object in this period moft worthy to draw our attention, is Cicero himfelf; whofe name alone fuggefts every thing that is fplendid in Oratory. With the history of his life, and with his character as a man and a politician, we have not at present any direct concern. We confider him only as an eloquent Speaker; and, in this view, it is our business to remark both his virtues, and his defects, if he has any. His virtues are, beyond controverfy, eminently great. In all his Orations there is high art. He begins, generally, with a regular exordium; and with much preparation and infinuation prepoffeffes the hearers, and ftudies to gain their affections. His method is clear, and his arguments are arranged with great propriety. His method is indeed more clear than that of Demofthenes; and this is one advantage which he has over him. We find every thing in its proper place; he never attempts to move, till he has endeavoured to convince; and in moving, especially

Such as are defirous of particular information on this head, had better have recourfe to the original, by reading Cicero's three books De Oratore, and his other two treatifes, entitled, the one, Brutus, Sive de Claris Oratoribus; the other Orator, ad M. Brutum; which, on feveral accounts, well deferve perufal.


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