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the style, and the harmony of the sentences, prompt, almost necessarily, a modulation of voice more rounded, and bordering more upon music, than conversation admits. This gives rise to what is called the declaiming manner, But though this mode of pronunciation runs considerably beyond ordinary discourse, yet still it must have, for its basis, the natural tones of grave and dignified conversation. I must observe, at the same time, that the constant indulgence of a declamatory manner, is not favourable either to good composition, or good delivery; and is in hazard of betraying public speakers into that monotony of tone and cadence, which is so generally complained of. Whereas, he who forms the general run of his delivery upon a speaking manner, is not likely ever to become disagreeable through monotony. He will have the same natural variety in his tones, which a person has in conversation. Indeed, the perfection of delivery requires both these different manners, that of speaking with liveliness and ease, and that of declaiming with stateliness and dignity, to be possessed by one man; and to be employed by him, according as the different parts of his discourse require either the one or the other. This is a perfection which not many attain; the greatest part of public speakers allowing their delivery to be formed altogeteer accidentally; according as some turn of voice appears to them most beautiful, or some artificial model has caught their fancy; and acquiring, by this means, a habit of pronunciation, which they can never vary. But the capital direction, which ought never to be forgotten, is, to copy the proper tones for expressing every sentiment from those which nature dictates to us, in conversation with others; to speak always with her voice; and not to form to ourselves a fantastic public manner, from an absurd fancy of its being more beautiful than a natural one.*

It now remains to treat of gesture, or what is called action in public discourse. Some nations animate their words in

* « Loquere,” (fays an Author of the 16th century, who has written a Treatise in verse, de Gestu et Voce Oratoris)

"Loquere ; hoc vitium commune, loquatur

Ut nemo; at tensa declamitet omnia voce.

Tu loquere ; ut mos est hominum; boat & latrat ille;

Ille ululat; rudit hic; (fari si talia dignum est)

Non hominem vox ulla sonat ratione loquentem."

JOANNES LUCAS, de Gestu et Voce, Lib. II. Paris, 1675,

common conversation, with many more motions of the body than others do. The French and the Italians are, in this respect, much more sprightly than we. But there is no nation, hardly any person so phlegmatic, as not to accompany their words with some actions and gesticulations, on all occasions, when they are much in earnest. It is therefore unnatural in a public speaker, it is inconsistent with that earnestness and seriousness which he ought to show in all affairs of moment, to remain quite unmoved in his outward appearance; and to let the words drop from his mouth, without any expression of meaning, or warmth in his gesture.

The fundamental rule, as to propriety of action, is undoubtedly the same with what I gave as to propriety of tone. Attend to the looks and gestures, in which earnestness, indignation, compassion, or any other emotion, discovers itself to most advantage in the common intercourse of men; and let these be your model. Some of these looks and gestures are common to all men; and there are also certain peculiarities of manner which distinguish every individual. A public speaker must take that manner which is most natural to himself. For it is here, just as in tones. It is not the business of the speaker to form to himself a certain set of motions and gestures, which he thinks most becoming and agreeable, and to practise these in public, without their having any correspondence to the manner which is natural to him in private.. His gestures and motions ought all to carry that kind of expression which nature has dictated to him; and, unless this be the case, it is impossible, by means of any study, to avoid their appearing stiff and forced.

However, although nature must be the groundwork, I admit, that there is room in this matter for some study and art. For many persons are naturally ungraceful in the motions which they make ;, and this ungracefulness might, in part at least, be reformed by application and care. The study of action in public speaking, consists chiefly in guarding against awkward and disagreeable motions, and in learning to perform such as are natural to the speaker, in the most becoming manner. For this end, it has been advised by writers on this subject, to practise before a mirror, where one may see and judge of his own gestures. But I am afraid, persons are not always the best. judges of the gracefulness of their own motions; and one may

declaim long enough before a mirror, without correcting any of his faults. The judgment of a friend, whose good taste they can trust, will be found of much greater advantage to beginners, than any mirror they can use. With regard to particular rules concerning action and gesticulation, Quintilian has delivered a great many, in the last chapter of the 11th book of his institutions; and all the modern writers on this subject have done little else but translate them. I am not of opinion that such rules delivered either by the voice or on paper, can be of much use, unless persons saw them exemplified before their eyes.*

I shall only add further on this head, that in order to succeed well in delivery, nothing is more necessary than for a speaker to guard against a certain flutter of spirits, which is peculiarly incident to those who begin to speak in public. He must endeavour above all things to be recollected, and master of himself. For this end, he will find nothing of more use to him, than to study to become wholly engaged in his subject; to be possessed with a sense of its importance or seriousness; to be concerned much more to persuade, than to please. He will generally please most, when pleasing is not his sole nor chief aim. This is the only rational and proper method of raising

* The few following hints only I shall adventure to throw out, in case they may be of any service. When speaking in public, one should study to preserve as much dignity as possible in the whole attitude of the body. An erect posture is generally to be chosen; standing firm, so as to have the fullest and freest command of all his motions; any inclination which is used, should be: forwards towards the hearers, which is a natural expression of earnestness. As for the countenance, the chief rule is that it should correspond with the nature of the discourse, and when no particular emotion is expressed, a serious and manly look is always the best. The eyes should never be fixed close on any one object, but move easily round the audience. In the motions made with the hands, consist the chief part of gesture in speaking. The ancients condemned all motions performed by the left hand alone; but I am not sen sible that these are always offensive, though it is natural for the right hand to be more frequently employed. Warm emotions demand the motion of both hands corresponding together. But whether one gesticulates with one or with both hands, it is an important rule, that all his motions should be free and easy. Narrow and straitened movements are generally ungraceful; for which reason, motions made with the hands are directed to proceed from the shoulder, rather than from the elbow. Perpendicular movements too with the hands, that is, in the straight line up and down, which Shakespeare in Hamlet calls "sawing the air with the hand," are seldom good. Oblique motions are, in general, the most graceful. Too sudden and nimble motions should be likewise avoided. Eearnestness can be fully expressed without them. Shakespeare's directions on this head, are full of good sense; "use all gently," says he, "and in the very torrent and tempest of passion, acquire a temperance that may give it smoothness."

one's self above that timid and bashful regard to an audience, which is so ready to disconcert a speaker, both as to what he is to say, and as to his manner of saying it.

I cannot conclude, without an earnest admonition to guard against all affectation, which is the certain ruin of good delivery. Let your manner, whatever it is, be your own; neither imitated from another, nor assumed upon some imaginary model, which is unnatural to you. Whatever is native, even though accompanied with several defects, yet it is likely to please ; because it shows us a man; because it has the appearance of coming from the heart. Whereas a delivery, attended with several acquired graces and beauties, if it be not easy and free, if it betray the marks of art and affectation, never fails to disgust. To attain any extremely correct, and perfectly graceful delivery, is what few can expect; so many natural talents being requisite to concur in forming it. But to attain, what as to the effect is very little inferior, a forcible and persuasive manner, is within the power of most persons; if they will only unlearn false and corrupt habits; if they will allow themselves to follow nature, and will speak in public, as they do in private, when they speak in earnest, and from the heart. If one has naturally any gross defects in his voice or gestures, he begins at the wrong end, if he attempts at reforming them only when he is to speak in public. He should begin with rectifying them in his private manner of speaking; and then carry to the public the right habit he has formed. For when, a speaker is engaged in a public discourse, he should not be then employing his attention about his manner, or thinking of his tones and his gestures. If he be so employed, study and affectation will appear. He ought to be then quite in earnest; wholly occupied with his subject and his sentiments; leaving nature, and previously formed habits, to prompt and suggest his manner of delivery.




I HAVE now treated fully of the different kinds of public speaking, of the composition, and of the delivery of a discourse. Before finishing this subject, it may be of use, that I suggest some things concerning the properest means of improvement in the art of public speaking, and the most necessary studies for that purpose.

To be an eloquent speaker, in the proper sense of the word, is far from being either a common or an easy attainment. Indeed, to compose a florid harangue on some popular topic, and to deliver it so as to amuse an audience, is a matter not very difficult. But though some praise be due to this, yet the idea, which I have endeavoured to give of Eloquence, is much higher. It is a great exertion of the human powers. It is the art of being persuasive and commanding; the art, not of pleasing the fancy merely, but of speaking both to the understanding, and to the heart; of interesting the hearers in such a degree, as to seize and carry them along with us; and to leave them with a deep and strong impression of what they have heard. How many talents, natural and acquired, must concur for carrying this to perfection? A strong, lively, and warm imagination; quick sensibility of heart, joined with solid judgment, good sense, and presence of mind: all improved by great and long attention to style and composition; and supported also by the exterior, yet important qualifications of a graceful manner, a presence not ungainly, and a full and tunable voice. How little reason to wonder, that a perfect and accomplished orator, should be one of the characters that is most rarely to be found?

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