Page images



JUNE 26, 1930

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1869, by


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York.



HIS work may be said to have grown, rather than to have been written for the purpose of making a book. Having used in the class-room, in academy and college, many of the text-books on Rhetoric, ancient and modern, foreign and American, and having instructed some classes without using a text-book, I have been most satisfied with the result when the method herein presented has been pursued. This book is therefore the result of actual experiment.

Abstruse arguments about style and oratory, about the conflicting theories of taste and beauty, about conviction and persuasion, and the laws of mind, and the philosophy of language, are all good and valuable in their place; but a student may read and repeat them with but little more effect on his own habits of speaking or power to write well, than he would receive from an equal amount of study in mathematics, medicine, or law, or any other subject.

At the same time, mere exercises in composition, on a series of topics presented, with a few outlines and directions, are too superficial to produce the desired result.

What the student needs is an orderly and perspicu

ous presentation of the theory, with illustrations and directions how to profit by it.

Examples both for imitation and disapproval, in this work, have been drawn from modern as well as ancient writers, American as well as foreign-from some not widely known, as well as from the most celebrated.

As it regards the best use to be made of the book, I would respectfully suggest to teachers that students of Rhetoric should always combine practice with study, and should be required to produce either original or selected examples of every figure of speech, of every kind of composition, and of every style described. Once a week, perhaps, the class may present in writing specimens or illustrations of what has been studied during the week, and the exercises suggested in Part IV. should all be fairly wrought out after the previous parts have been studied. In this way the science and art are so welded together in the memory as to be of permanent value.

It is also an excellent exercise for a student to be required to present written criticisms of some productions, well-known or otherwise, according to the principles stated in the text-book. It is comparatively easy for a student to write when a definite subject is suggested to him. Rhetoric, like music, is eminently practical; and while theoretic study is indispensable, persistent, careful work is demanded.

« PreviousContinue »