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I HAVE, in the four preceding Lectures, considered what is peculiar to each of the three great fields of public speaking, popular assemblies, the bar, and the pulpit. I am now to treat of what is common to them all; of the conduct of a discourse or oration, in general the previous view which I have given of the distinguishing spirit and character of different kinds of public speaking, was necessary for the proper application of the rules which I am about to deliver; and as I proceed, I shall further point out, how far any of these rules may have a particular respect to the bar, to the pulpit, or to popular courts.

On whatever subject any one intends to discourse, he will most commonly begin with some introduction, in order to prepare the minds of his hearers; he will then state his subject, and explain the facts connected with it; he will employ arguments for establishing his own opinion, and overthrowing that of his antagonist; he may, perhaps, if there be room for it, endeavour to touch the passions of his audience; and after having said all he thinks proper, he will bring his discourse to a close, by some peroration or conclusion. This being the natural train of speaking, the parts that compose a regular formal oration, are these six; first, the exordium or introduction; secondly, the state, and the division of the subject; thirdly, narration, or explication; fourthly, the reasoning or arguments; fifthly, the pathetic part; and lastly, the conclusion. I do not mean that each of these must enter into every public discourse, or that they must enter always in this order. There is no reason for being so formal on every occasion ; nay,


would often be a fault, and would render a discourse pedantic and stiff. There may be many excellent discourses in public, where several of these parts are altogether wanting; where the speaker, for instance, uses no introduction, but enters directly on the subject; where he has no occasion either to divide or explain; but simply reasons on one side of the question, and then finishes. But as the parts, which I mentioned, are the natural constituent parts of a regular oration; and as in every discourse whatever, some of them must be found, it is necessary to our present purpose, that I should treat of each of them distinctly.

I begin, of course, with the exordium or introduction. This is manifestly common to all the three kind: of public speaking. It is not a rhetorical invention. It is founded upon nature, and suggested by common sense. When one is going to counsel another; when he takes upon him to instruct, or to reprove, prudence will generally direct him not to do it abruptly, but to use some preparation; to begin with somewhat that may incline the persons, to whom he addresses himself, to judge favourably of what he is about to say; and may dispose them to such a train of thought, as will forward and assist the purpose which he has in view. This is, or ought to be, the main scope of an introduction. Accordingly Cicero and Quintilian mention three ends, to one or other of which it should be subservient, "Reddere auditores benevolos, attentos, dociles."

First, to conciliate the good will of the hearers; to render them benevolent, or well-affected to the speaker and to the subject. Topics for this purpose may, in causes at the bar, be sometimes taken from the particular situation of the speaker himself, or of his client, or from the character or behaviour of his antagonists contrasted with his own; on other occasions, from the nature of the subject, as closely connected with the interest of the hearers: and, in general, from the modesty and good intention, with which the speaker enters upon his subject. The second end of an introduction, is, to raise the attention of the hearers; which may be affected, by giving them some hints of the importance, dignity, or novelty of the subject; or some favourable view of the clearness and precision with which we are to treat it; and of the brevity with which we are to discourse. The third end, is to render the hearers docile, or open

to persuasion; for which end, we must begin with studying to remove any particular prepossessions they may have contracted against the cause, or side of the argument which we espouse.

Some one of these ends should be proposed by every introduction. When there is no occasion for aiming at any of them; when we are already secure of the good will, the attention, and the docility of the audience, as may often be the case, formal introductions may, without any prejudice, be omitted. And, indeed when they serve for no purpose but mere ostentation, they had, for the most part, better be omitted; unless as far as respect to the audience makes it decent, that a speaker should not break in upon them too abruptly, but by a short exordium prepare them for what he is going to say. Demosthenes's introductions are always short and simple; Cicero's are fuller and more artful.

The ancient critics distinguish two kinds of introductions, which they call "Principium," and "insinuatio." "Principium" is, when the orator plainly and directly professes his aim in speaking. "Insinuatio" is, where a larger compass must be taken; and where, presuming the disposition of the audience to be much against the orator, he must gradually reconcile them to hearing him, before he plainly discovers the point which he has in view.

Of this latter sort of introduction, we have an admirable instance in Cicero's second oration against Rullus. This Rullus was tribune of the people, and had proposed an Agrarian Law; the purpose of which was to create a Decemvirate, or ten commissioners, with absolute power for five years over all the lands conquered by the republic, in order to divide them among the citizens. Such laws had often been proposed by factious magistrates, and were always greedily received by the people. Cicero is speaking to the people; he had newly been made consul by their interest; and his first attempt is to make them reject this law. The subject was extremely delicate, and required much art. He begins with acknowledging all the favours which he had received from the people, in preference to the nobility. He professes himself the creature of their power, and of all men the most engaged to promote their interest. He declares, that he held himself to be the consul of the

people; and that he would always glory in preserving the character of a popular magistrate. But to be popular, he observes, is an ambiguous word. He understood it to import, a steady attachment to the real interest of the people, to their liberty, their ease, and their peace; but by some, he saw, it was abused, and made a cover to their own selfish and ambitious designs. In this manner, he begins to draw gradually nearer to his purpose of attacking the proposal of Rullus; but still with great management and reserve. He protests, that he is far from being an enemy to Agrarian Laws; he gives the highest praises to the Gracchi, those zealous patrons of the people; and assures them, that when he first heard of Rullus's law, he had resolved to support it if he found it for their interest; but that, upon examining it, he found it calculated to establish a dominion that was inconsistent with liberty, and to aggrandize a few men at the expense of the public: and then terminates his exordium, with telling them, that he is going to give his reasons for being of this opinion; but that if his reasons shall not satisfy them, he will give up his own opinion, and embrace theirs. In all this, there was great art. His eloquence produced the intended effect; and the people, with one voice, rejected the Agrarian Law.

Having given these general views of the nature and end of an introduction, I proceed to lay down some rules for the proper composition of it. These are the more necessary, as this is a part of the discourse which requires no small_care. It is always of importance to begin well; to make a favourable impression at first setting out; when the minds of the hearers, vacant as yet and free, are most disposed to receive any impression easily. I must add, too, that a good introduction is often found to be extremely difficult. Few parts of the discourse give the composer more trouble, or are attended with more nicety in the execution.

The first rule is, that the introduction should be easy and natural. The subject must always suggest it. It must appear, as Cicero beautifully expresses it, "Effloruisse penitus ex re de qua tum agitur."* It is too common a fault in introductions, that they are taken from some common-place topic, To have sprung up, of its own accord, from the matter which is under consideration."

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which has no peculiar relation to the subject in hand; by which means they stand apart, like pieces detached from the rest of the discourse. Of this kind are Sallust's introductions prefixed to his Catilinarian and Jugurthine wars. They might as well have been introductions to any other history, or to any other treatise whatever: and, therefore, though elegant in themselves, they must be considered as blemishes in the work, for want of due connexion with it. Cicero, though abundantly correct in this particular in his orations, yet is not so in his other works. It appears from a letter of his to Atticus, (L. xvi. 6.) that it was his custom to prepare, at his leisure, a collection of different introductions or prefaces, ready to be prefixed to any work that he might afterwards publish. In consequence of this strange method of composing, it happened to him, to employ the same introduction twice, without remembering it; prefixing it to two different works. Upon Atticus informing him of this, he acknowledges the mistake, and sends him a new introduction.

In order to render introductions natural and easy, it is, in my opinion, a good rule, that they should not be planned, till after one has meditated in his own mind the substance of his discourse. Then, and not till then, he should begin to think of some proper and natural introduction. By taking a contrary course, and labouring in the first place on an introduction, every one who is accustomed to composition will often find, that either he is led to lay hold of some common-place topic, or that, instead of the introduction being accommodated to the discourse he is obliged to accommodate the whole discourse to the introduction which he had previously written. Cicero makes this remark; though, as we have seen, his practice was not always conformable to his own rule. "Omnibus rebus consideratis, tum denique id quod primum est dicendum, postremum soleo cogitare, quo utar exordio. Nam si quando id primum invenire volui, nullum mihi occurrit nisi aut exile, aut nugatorium, aut vulgare."* After the mind has been once warmed and put in train, by close meditation on the sub

*"When I have planned and digested all the materials of my discourse, it is my custom to think, in the last place, of the introduction with which I am to begin. For if, at any time, I have endeavoured to invent an introduction first, nothing has ever occured to me for that purpose, but what was trifling, nugatory, and vulgar."

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