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attending school in La Roche-Guyon, at the age of seventeen, wrote thus to a friend, concerning his oratorical exercises: "You would laugh heartily, my dear friend, if you could but see me in one of my rambles, whilst I follow one of my favorite pursuits declamation. By times, in the depths of the woods, I begin an extempore philippic against the cabinet ministers; and all at once, thanks to my near-sightedness, I find myself face to face with some wood-cutter or peasant-girl, who stares at me in amazement, and probably looks upon me as a madman just escaped from a Bedlam. So, quite ashamed of myself, I take to my heels; and once more set to work at gesticulating and declaiming."
Henry Clay's confession and advice are confirmatory and encouraging: "I owe my success in life to one single fact, namely, at the age of twentyseven I commenced, and continued for years, the process of daily reading and speaking upon the contents of some historical or scientific book. These off-hand efforts were made sometimes in a cornfield, at others in the forest, and not unfrequently in some distant barn, with the horse and ox for my auditors. It is to this early practice in the great art of all arts that I am indebted for the primary and leading impulses that stimulated me forward, and shaped and moulded my entire subsequent destiny. Improve, then, young gentlemen, the superior advantages you enjoy. Let not a day pass without exercising your powers of speech."
Patrick Henry must not be omitted from this list. By "his every-day trials on his lingering visitors of the power of words, his deep and enthusiastic investigations of history, and particularly by his patient and continued study of the harangues of Livy, and the elaborate translations he made of them, he became one of the most illustrious examples of persuasive eloquence that this country has ever known."
Wirt, who was himself a most laborious student, gave the following advice to a young law-student : "I would commit to memory and recite, à la mode de Garrick, the finest parts of Shakespeare, to tune the voice by cultivating all the varieties of its melody, to give the muscles of the face all their motion and expression, and to acquire an habitual use and gracefulness of gesture, and command of the stronger passions of the soul. I would recite my own compositions, and compose them for recitation; I would address my own recitations to trees and stones, and falling streams, if I could not get a living audience, and blush not even if I were caught at it."
Rufus Choate, whose genius in speech was "science in disguise," made forensic eloquence the study of his life, and for forty years allowed no day to pass without an effort to perfect himself in the arts of speech. Instead of disparaging, as many do, the teachings of elocutionists, he said to one of his students: "Elocutionary training I most highly approve of; I would go to an elocutionist myself, if I could get time. I have always, even before
I first went to Congress, practised daily a sort of elocutionary culture, combined with a culture of
the emotional nature."
The pulpit has lacked, largely, elocutionary drill, and bears too many evidences of it: many preachers have felt, nevertheless, the importance of this kind of discipline and regretted that they have been denied its benefits. Not a few noted pulpit orators have received special elocutionary instruction, and most of those who have not and who slur it, show with marked clearness the need of it.
Whitefield was a diligent student of this subject, and was constantly practising accent and intonation. Mr. Beecher has remarkable natural pulpit power, and is the son of a pulpit orator who had rare ability on the platform as well as in the pulpit; still he has not thought himself exempt from elocutionary discipline. While in college, he placed himself under a skilful teacher, and for three years 66 was drilled incessantly," he says, "in posturing, gesture, and voice culture.' At the theological seminary this discipline and practice were continued. There was a grove between the seminary and his father's house, and it was his habit, with his brother Charles and one or two others, "to make the night, and even the day, hideous with their voices, as they passed backward and forward through the wood, exploding all the vowels from the bottom to the very top of their voices." "The drill that I underwent," he says, "produced, not a rhetorical manner, but a flexible instrument, that accommodated itself readily
to every kind of thought and every shape of feeling, and obeyed the inward will in the outward realization of the results of rules and regulations." 37
XVI. The ideal orator is a master of those arts of eloquence bordering upon the department of Rhetoric.
Orators and rhetoricians have recommended different methods of becoming acquainted with those principles of composition and construction which are of special use in eloquence. Perhaps there is no recommendation in which there is such general agreement as, the perfection of one's style through the untiring use of the pen.38 The following is taken from De Oratore:
"What can be the reason,' asked Brutus of Cicero, if there were so much merit in the oratory of Galba, that there is no trace of it seen in his orations?' 'The reason is,' replied Cicero, 'that some of our orators, being indolent, do not practise composition; for most of the orations we are now possessed of were written, not before delivery, but some time afterwards. Others do not choose the trouble of improving themselves, to which nothing more contributes than frequent writing.'"
Antonius, in this same treatise of Cicero, thus criticises Sulpicius:
"There is in his style at times, as farmers say of their corn when in the blade, amidst the greatest fertility, a sort of luxuriance which ought to be, as it were, eaten down by the use of the pen."
Plutarch says that Demosthenes repeatedly told his friends that "he neither wrote the whole of his
orations, nor spoke without committing a part to writing." Lord Brougham, in his Inaugural Discourse, uses this language:
“This leads me to remark that, though speaking without writing beforehand is very well, until the habit of easy speech is acquired, yet after that no one can ever write too much. This is quite clear; it is laborious, no doubt, and it is more difficult beyond comparison than speaking offhand; but it is necessary to perfect oratory, and at any rate it is necessary to acquire the habit of correct diction."
Elsewhere he lays it down, as a rule admitting of no exception, that a man "will speak well in proportion as he has written much." Robert Hall, Summerfield, and Dr. Olin, though remarkable extemporaneous preachers, carefully wrote their sermons either before or after their delivery. Dr. Channing, too, practised and recommended the use of the pen:
"We doubt whether a man ever brings his faculties to bear with their whole force on a subject until he writes upon it. . . By attempting to seize his thoughts, and fix them in an enduring form, he finds them vague and unsatisfactory, to a degree which he did not suspect, and toils for a precision and harmony of views, of which he never before felt the need."
In an address to the students of the Union Theological Seminary, Dr. John Hall thus speaks of the advantage of writing sermons:
"I think it is settled that all men who mean to be good preachers, should write. There are good reasons for that. It often enough happens that a man thinks he has got a