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educated at the military college of Angers in France. He there acquired some knowledge of French, but his pronunciation was far from Parisian. Being engaged in conversation one day with Talleyrand, some one asked the witty diplomatist how the duke spoke French. The answer was: "Just as he does everything with a great deal of intrepidity." A writer upon this subject has therefore remarked, that had not Wellington been a great general, he might have been a great orator.
From the opinions of these men, and from the uniform methods of noted public speakers, it will be inferred that the logic of an orator is an energetic process of reasoning, rather than a formal statement of propositions involving intricate sentences and connecting links. The logic of the orator is a comprehensive grasp of the subject, a power of instantaneous arrangement of all the important subjectmatter belonging to the subject, and the power of tracing things to their causes, and of following them to their results.
And, further, the reasoning of an orator must be cumulative and earnest. There will be in it occasional repugnant and antagonistic expressions. It will be rugged, abrupt, often hurling an ill-favored word that in the quiet moment would almost shock the hearer.
"Pithy sentences, nervous common sense, strong phrases, the feliciter audax, both in language and conception, well-compacted periods, sudden and strong masses of light, an apt adage in English or
Latin, a keen sarcasm, a merciless personality, a mortal thrust, - these are the beauties and deformities that now make a speaker the most interesting."
The orations of Demosthenes fully answer these conditions. They are clear, bold, massive chains of reasoning, with no over-nice distinctions and technicalities, as Brédif says: "His (Demosthenes) mode of arguing, strong and simple, is that of truth made conspicuous by lofty, sententious thoughts, by picturesque vivacity, or by a logical network of expressions." The orations of Cicero, Burke, Pitt, Erskine, and Webster, in the field of secular oratory, are likewise noted illustrations of untrammelled logical powers.
In sacred oratory, Jeremy Taylor in the British pulpit and Jonathan Edwards in the American, were also masters in the arts of strong and popular reasoning.2
We have not, in all this, been arguing for less logical clearness and conclusiveness; we would contend for even more of this than is at present heard, both at the bar and from the pulpit, especially from the pulpit; but the formulas of logic and the finish of rhetoric must be such as are adapted to the vigorousness of oratoric power and impressive
XI. The ideal orator is a philosopher.
Most of the subject-matter properly falling within the scope of this division is brought under the section treating of the orator's knowledge (see p. 103); we therefore merely remark in this connection that,
as the orator ought not to be trammelled by his logic, so, also, he must not be trammelled by his philosophy.
XII. The ideal orator has a philosophical mem
The full discussion of this topic belongs to the psychology of speech. But the distinction between the technical or verbal memory and the species called philosophical, or, properly enough, oratorical memory, may here be made. The technical memory recalls, without the aid apparently of classification or association. Such is the ready memory of the child, which to the orator is of some account, but not of vital importance. The philosophical memory, however, — that, we mean, which easily recalls principles, and without apparent difficulty groups and classifies all data belonging to a subject, rejecting everything that does not essentially aid the cause (for this type of memory is just as serviceable in being able to forget as in being able to recall), — is absolutely indispensable to the orator. The practice of constantly generalizing is the surest way to come into possession of a philosophical memory.
XIII. The ideal orator is a man of extensive learning.
From what has been said, the inference will follow that there are three fundamental factors that constitute the orator: what he is, what he knows, and his power of using himself and his knowledge. As to the orator's knowledge, ancient writers seem extravagant in their demands. They insist that an orator
should know everything: but it is well to remember that the field of human knowledge, during the periods of Grecian and Roman eloquence, in comparison with what it is at present, was extremely limited. Cicero is especially emphatic and specific, requiring that the orator shall be a logician (De Ora. lib. i. §6), a philosopher, and an historian (lib. ii. § 13, 14, 34), and be thoroughly acquainted with the classics (§ 16). Cicero's own accomplishments were varied. "He was apparently master of logic, ethics, astronomy, and natural philosophy, besides being well versed in geometry, music, grammar, and, in short, in every one of the fine arts. It was from no unassisted natural gifts, but from deep learning and the united confluence of the arts and sciences, that, as Tacitus affirms, the resistless torrent of that amazing eloquence of Cicero derived its strength and rapidity."
Quintilian is scarcely less exacting. "The material of oratory," he says, "is everything that may come before an orator for discussion." 29
Fénelon, in developing Plato's view of this subject, says:
“Orators ought to know the laws and customs of their country, and how far they are agreeable to the genius and temper of the people, what are the manners of the several ranks and conditions among them, their different ways of education, the common prejudices and separate interests that prevail in the present age, and the most proper way to instruct and reform the people. This knowledge comprehends all the solid parts of philosophy and politics. So that Plato meant to show us that none but a philosopher can be a true orator. And it is in this sense we must under
stand all he says in his Gorgias against the rhetoricians; I mean that set of men who made profession of talking finely and persuading others, without endeavoring to know, from solid philosophy, what one ought to teach them. In short, according to Plato, the true art of oratory consists in understanding those useful truths of which we ought to convince people, and the art of moving their passions, in order to persuasion."
Bautain, discussing the "Fund Needful to the Orator," says:
"The orator's capital is that sum of science or knowledge which is necessary to him in order to speak pertinently upon any subject whatever; and science or knowledge are not extemporized. Although knowledge does not give the talent for speaking, still, he who knows well what he has to say, has many chances of saying it well, especially if he has a clear and distinct conception of it.
'What you conceive aright you express clearly,
"Our office," says Cecil, speaking of the ministry, "is the most laborious in the world. The mind must be always on the stretch, to acquire wisdom and grace, and to communicate them to all who come
During the era of British eloquence, education was largely confined to classical study, and noted orators were accustomed to acquaint themselves with ancient lore, that they might weave into their speeches felicitous quotations. Accordingly, we find that Curran was passionately devoted to the classics, and always had with him a pocket-edition of Virgil. His biographer tells us that, during a