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LECT. Topics or Loci, were no other than general ideas applicable to a great many different fubjects, which the Orator was directed to confult, in order to find out materials for his Speech. They had their intrinfic and extrinfic Loci; fome Loci, that were common to all the different kinds of Public Speaking, and fome that were peculiar to each. The common or general Loci, were fuch as Genus and Species, Caufe and Effect, Antecedents and Confequents, Likenefs and Contrariety, Definition, Circumftances of Time and Place; and a great many more of the fame kind. For each of the different kinds of Public Speaking, they had their "Loci Perfonarum," "Loci Rerum:" As in Demonftrative Orations, for inftance, the heads from which any one could be decried or praised; his birth, his country, his education, his kindred, the qualities of his body, the qualities of his mind, the fortune he enjoyed, the stations he had filled, &c.; and in Deliberative Orations, the Topics that might be used in recommending any public measure, or diffuading from it; fuch as, honefty, juftice, facility, profit, pleafure, glory, affiftance from friends, inortification to enemies, and the like.


THE Grecian Sophifts were the first inventors of this artificial fyftem of Oratory; and they showed a prodigious fubtility, and fertility


in the contrivance of thefe Loci. Succeeding LECT. Rhetoricians, dazzled by the plan, wrought them up into fo regular a system, that one would think they meant to teach how a perfon might mechanically become an Orator, without any genius at all. They gave him receipts for making Speeches, on all manner of fubjects. At the fame time, it is evident, that though this study of common places might produce very fhowy academical declamations, it could never produce useful difcourfes on real business. The Loci indeed fupplied a most exuberant fecundity of matter. One who had no other aim, but to talk copiously and plaufibly, by confulting them on every subject, and laying hold of all that they fuggefted, might difcourfe without end; and that too, though he had none but the most fuperficial knowledge of his fubject. But fuch Difcourfe could be no other than trivial. What is truly folid and perfuafive, must be drawn "ex vif"ceribus caufæ," from a thorough knowledge of the subject, and profound meditation on it. They who would direct ftudents of Oratory to any other fources of Argumentation, only delude them; and by attempting to render Rhetoric too perfect an art, they render it, in truth, a trifling and childish study.

On this doctrine, therefore, of the Rhetorical
Loci, or Topics, I think it fuperfluous to infist.
D d



LECT. If any think that the knowledge of them may contribute to improve their invention, and extend their views, they may confult Ariftotle and Quinctilian, or what Cicero has written on this head, in his Treatife De Inventicne, his Topica, and Second Book De Oratore. But when they are to prepare a Discourse, by which they propofe to convince a Judge, or to produce any confiderable effect upon an Affembly, I would advife them to lay afide their common places, and to think closely of their fubject. Demofthenes, I dare fay, confulted none of the Loci, when he was inciting the Athenians to take arms against Philip; and where Cicero has had recourfe to them, his Orations are fo much the worfe on that account.

I PROCEED to what is of more real use, to point out the affiftance that can be given, not with refpect to the invention, but with refpect to the difpofition and conduct of Arguments.

Two different methods may be used by Orators in the conduct of their reafoning; the terms of art for which are, the Analytic, and the Synthetic method. The Analytic is, when the Orator conceals his intention concerning the point he is to prove, till he has gradually brought his hearers to the defigned conclufion. They are led on, ftep by step, from one known



truth to another, till the conclufion be ftolen LECT. upon them, as the natural confequence of a chain of propofitions. As, for instance, when one intending to prove the being of a God, fets out with obferving that every thing which we fee in the world has had a beginning, that whatever has had a beginning, must have had a prior caufe; that in human productions, art fhown in the effect, neceffarily infers defign in the cause; and proceeds leading you on from one cause to another, till you arrive at one fupreme first cause, from whom is derived all the order and defign visible in his works. This is much the fame with the Socratic method, by which that philofopher filenced the Sophifts of his age. It is a very artful method of reasoning; may be carried on with much beauty, and is proper to be used when the hearers are much prejudiced against any truth, and by imperceptible steps must be led to conviction.

BUT there are few fubjects that will admit this method, and not many occafions on which it is proper to be employed. The mode of reasoning moft generally ufed, and most suited. to the train of Popular Speaking, is what is called the Synthetic; when the point to be proved is fairly laid down, and one Argument after another is made to bear upon it, till the hearers be fully convinced.

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Now, in all arguing, one of the first things to be attended to is, among the various Arguments which may occur upon a caufe, to make a proper selection of fuch as appear to one's felf the most folid; and to employ these as the chief means of perfuafion. Every Speaker should place himself in the fituation of a hearer, and think how he would be affected by those reafons, which he purposes to employ for perfuading others. For he must not expect to impose on mankind by mere arts of Speech. They are not fo eafily imposed on, as Public Speakers are fometimes apt to think. Shrewdnefs and fagacity are found among all ranks, and the Speaker may be praised for his fine Discourse, while yet the hearers are not perfuaded of the truth of any one thing he has uttered.

SUPPOSING the Arguments properly chofen, it is evident that their effect will, in fome meafure, depend on the right arrangement of them; fo as they fhall not justle and embarrafs one another, but give mutual aid; and bear with the faireft and fullest direction on the point in view. Concerning this, the following rules may be taken :

In the first place, avoid blending Arguments confusedly together, that are of a separate nature. All Arguments whatever are directed to

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