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this consolation, that no ignorance nor inattention on my part can possibly prevent you from seeing, under the direction of the judges, that the crown has established no case of treason.". LA Erskine.4
9. Pretended Omission. This mode of expression pretends to be passing in silence a certain matter while at the same time stating it in the strongest manner possible Thus, after fully recounting the deeds of the early Greeks, Demosthenes says:
"Thereafter they did such deeds as all men through all ages are eager to recount, but which no one is able eloquently enough to tell; wherefore I too shall pass them by. Justly so."
"For greater the deeds of these your forefathers than any one can utter them in any words.". Second Philippic. I speak not now of the public proclamation of informers, with a promise of secrecy and of extravagant reward. I speak not of the fate of those horrid wretches who have been so often transferred from the table to the dock, and from the dock to the pillory. I speak of what your own eyes have seen day after day." — Curran.
"I pass over all considerations of the written treasures of antiquity which have survived the wreck of empires and of dynasties, of monumental trophies, of triumphal arches, of palaces of princes and temples of gods. I pass over all considerations of those admired compositions in which wisdom speaks as with a voice from heaven; of those sublime efforts of political genius which still freshen as they pass from age to age in undying vigor; of those finished histories which still enlighten and instruct governments in their duty and their destiny; of those matchless orations which roused nations to arms, and chained senates to the chariotwheels of all-conquering eloquence."— Joseph Story.
See also, Heb. xi. 32: Eph. ii. 8: Philemon 18, 19.
10. Diminution. This figure is employed when the speaker desires to lower the tone or importance of a thought. It is usually sought for by unfavorable association, comparison and anti-climax.
What, then have you made of Ireland? Look at her again. This fine country is laden with a population the most miserable in Europe, and of whose wretchedness, if you are the authors, you are beginning to be the victims; the poisoned chalice is returning in its just circulation to your own lips. Your domestic swine are better housed than the people." — Daniel O'Connell.
"An Aristotle was but the rubbish of an Adam, and Athens but the rudiments of Paradise."— Dr. R. South.
“And what is this world in the immensity which teems with them, and what are they who occupy it? The universe at large would suffer as little in its splendor and variety by the destruction of our planet, as the verdure and sublime magnitude of a forest would suffer by the fall of a single leaf." Chalmers.
II. Oratorical Inaccuracies. The misuse of words, and especially of figurative language, to which one is liable when completely carried away with his subject, is, if intentional, a device of oratory called "catachresis." The orator seems to be in a state of noble forgetfulness of all small matters and of verbal technicalities and niceties. He fearlessly introduces colloquial expressions, or inelegant illustrations, to set off the truth more clearly, or to render it more emphatic, and still he gives, thereby, no offence. This mode of speech, therefore, befits the speaker when a crowd of thoughts, in an instant, burst upon the mind.
Figures mix. Rules of grammar and rhetoric are put to flight. The speaker, for the moment, becomes a genius; genius heeds not rules, but in breaking, makes them. See Hamlet, Act I., Hamlet's fourteenth speech, in Scene II. Also, Act I. Scene IV. lines 30-36. Lev. xxvi. 30: Deut. xxxii. 14: Ps. lxxx. 5: Hos. xiv. 2: Matt. xi. 31, 32: I Cor. i. 25.
12. Confession. As:
"I come forward on the present occasion, actuated solely by a sense of duty, to make a serious and important motion, which I am ready fairly to admit involves no less a consideration than a fundamental change in government."
13. Concession. As:
"But, sir, let us admit the fact and the whole force of the argument. I ask, whose is the fault? Who has been a member for many years past, and seen the defenceless state of his country even near him, under his own eyes, without a single endeavor to remedy so serious an evil?" John C. Calhoun.
We enumerate a few other types of oratorical device, leaving the student to supply examples. 14. Holding the hearer in suspense.
15: Special adornment of repulsive or uninteresting subjects.
16. Pretended recollection.
17. Exaggeration and extenuation by the enumeration of details.
18. The excitement of interest by the introduction of something irrelevant.
19. Pretended impossibilities.
20. Pretended doubts.
21. Pretended surprise.
The student should observe that these and all other figures of speech, to be adapted to oratory, must be expressed with simplicity, conciseness, and precision, otherwise they are devoid of that energy and directness which ought to characterize the ideal orator.
XIX. The ideal orator must regain the lost art of naturalness.
The reason for calling naturalness in speech a lost art is, that almost every young man, through a failure to develop his faculties of speech, and by reason of imitating speakers who are full of elocutionary vices, at length becomes cramped by mannerism, and false to nearly all the graces of oratory. The ability, therefore, to conform to the elocutionary law of naturalness depends first of all upon one's strength of character. Is the speaker enthusiastic enough to submit to elocutionary drill; is he heroic enough to appeal less and less to some external authority, and more and more to his inmost convictions; is he man enough to shake off his teacher and his model, after having received all the benefit they can render? if so, he has that self-reliance and independence which make obedience to the law of naturalness comparatively easy.
If it is not natural for a given speaker to be like a continuous roar of thunder, as was Demosthenes; or if it is not natural for him to be like a conflagration gathering fuel in its progress, as was Cicero ;
or if it is not natural for him to be like Everett, the florid word-painter of the English tongue; or if it is not natural for him to be perfectly easy, elegant, and graceful, then, let him dare to be what he is, and he will be successful, if success, in his case, is possible.
There is, perhaps, more unnaturalness in modern pulpit than in any other department of oratory; Ostervald's advice is needed no less to-day than when first given:
"There is a false eloquence in being ambitious to say everything with spirit, and turn all things with delicacy. If you would attain to true eloquence, you must first lay aside the passion for appearing eloquent. So long as you have vain, ambitious views, you will never preach well, and you will never become truly eloquent."
Dr. Lyman Beecher's rule is rough-hewn, but wise:
"Fill your mind and heart with your subject, then mount the pulpit and let nature caper."
Women are now appearing, with marked success, upon the platform and in the pulpit. But their right to be heard and their popularity as speakers, will ultimately depend upon their naturalness. Women can be as eloquent as men; it is doubtful if they can be as oratoric. In attitude, gesture, and enunciation, they must be women full of persuasion, but should not display much oratoric passion.
All speakers, of whatever class and of both sexes, will do well to heed Dr. Franklin's admonition: