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STUDIES IN ELOQUENCE.
ARISTOTLE, who was one of the first to reduce the chaos of ancient knowledge to something like order, defines oratory as "the power of saying on every subject whatever can be found to persuade.”
Theodorus describes oratory as "the power of discerning, and expressing with elegance, whatever is creditable on any namable subject." The Peripatetics viewed oratory as a science; the Stoics, as a virtue. "An orator," says Cicero, in his De Oratore, "is one who can use words agreeable to hear and thoughts adapted to prove."
Cicero, in the same treatise, bases eloquence upon three processes: (1) The conciliating of hearers. (2) The instructing of hearers. (3) The moving of hearers. He further states that these ends are accomplished, (1) By mildness. (2) By penetration. (3) By energy.
Quintilian, in his treatise upon rhetoric, divides oratory into invention, arrangement, expression, memory, and delivery or action. Most ancient writers add to these the power of correct judgment.
Quintilian defines oratory as "the power of persuading," and "the science of speaking well.". Gorgias defined it as "the power of persuading by speaking."
Says Lord Macaulay, in his essay on Athenian orators: "The object of oratory alone is not truth, but persuasion. The admiration of the multitude does not make Moore a greater poet than Coleridge, or Beattie a greater philosopher than Berkeley. But the criterion of eloquence is different. A speaker who exhausts the whole philosophy of a question, who displays every grace of style, yet produces no effect on his audience, may be a great essayist, a great statesman, a great master of composition, but he is not an orator. If he miss the mark, it makes no difference whether he have taken aim too high or too low."
Says Lord Russell, in his Life of Fox: "Of eloquence it has been eloquently said, 'Eloquentia sicut flamma, materie alitur, motu excitatur, urendo clarescit.' Mr. Pitt renders the passage thus: 'It is of eloquence as of a flame; it requires matter to feed it, motion to excite it, and it brightens as it burns.''' "Eloquence," says Bautain, "would miss its aim, if it failed to lead the hearer to some act." Says Fénelon: "I think the whole art of oratory may be reduced to proving, painting, and raising the passions. Now all those pretty, sparkling, quaint thoughts that do not tend to one of these ends, are only witty conceits. . . . The whole art of eloquence consists in enforcing the clearest proofs of any truth,
with such powerful motives as may affect the hearers, and employ their passions to just and worthy ends; to raise their indignation at ingratitude, their horror against cruelty, their compassion for the miserable, their love of virtue, and to direct every other passion to its proper objects.”
Says Emerson: "The end of eloquence is is it not?—to alter in a pair of hours, perhaps in a half hour's discourse, the convictions and habits of years." Noah Webster, who may be allowed to represent modern lexicographers, defines eloquence as "the expression or utterance of a strong emotion, in a manner adapted to excite corresponding emotions in others. It ordinarily implies elevated and forcible thought, well chosen language, an easy and effective utterance, and an impassioned manner.” Webster defines oratory as "the art of an orator; the art of public speaking in an eloquent or effective manner; the exercise of rhetorical skill in oral discourse."
From these views and definitions we may conclude that eloquence as an art is such a representation of thought in vocal, written, or gesture language, as is adapted to persuade. The aim in eloquence is to persuade the will and the moral faculties, rather than merely to convince the judgment. Hence anything that persuades, whether oral or written composition, a look or a gesture, is eloquent.
As a science, eloquence is the theory of the processes of so expressing thought as to persuade. · Eloquence is, therefore, the art and science of per
Its highest form combines right intentions and correct expression. The Christian sermon ought, therefore, to be the highest type of this highest form of eloquence.
Oratory as an art is such an exercise of rhetorical skill in oral discourse as is imposing and impressive. A classification and systematic arrangement of the rules of oratorical art constitute the science of oratory. Oratory is, therefore, the art and science. of producing strong impressions by means of oral speech. Eloquence, strictly speaking, generates volition; oratory generates conviction.
To these definitions may be added that of sacred or pulpit eloquence: it is the art and science of persuading men, by means of a sermon, to become Christians in heart and work. Sacred, or pulpit, oratory is, therefore, the art and science of employing sacred, or pulpit, eloquence orally, skilfully, and impressively. In this treatise it is not necessary constantly to keep up these distinctions between secular and sacred eloquence and oratory: we shall, therefore, treat the general subject under the head of Eloquence.
HISTORY OF ELOQUENCE.
"To the famous orators repair,
Those ancients, whose resistless eloquence
Shook the arsenal, and fulmined over Greece
FOR one thoroughly to master the art and science of Eloquence, he evidently must master the history of public speaking. The student will, therefore, best begin with the life of Demosthenes, making a careful study and analysis of his masterpiece, the Oration on the Crown, which Macaulay says is "the most splendid contest of eloquence the world has ever known." Next, the student ought to take up the life of Cicero, mastering, for instance, his Defence of Milo. Tully and his Oration Against Antony should not be overlooked. The British secular orators should next be thoroughly reviewed. The following deserve special attention: - Lord Chatham, Speech, April 2, 1778; William Pitt, Speech, February 26, 1781; Charles James Fox, Speech on the Rejection of Napoleon's Overtures; Sheridan, Speech at the Trial of Warren Hastings; Curran, Defence of Rowan; Burke, Speech