Imágenes de páginas
[blocks in formation]

You have asked me for some hints to help you in your studies of the Art of Oratory. I readily comply with your request, and I will endeavour to throw together my thoughts upon the theme, in a shape that may possibly be useful to others also. It is a subject to which I have given some attention, and on which I hope that I may be enabled to convey to you a little information not to be found in existing treatises.

But I must take the liberty of changing one part of its name. I do not like the title—oratorybecause it has a pretentious sound. We do not think or talk of a man as an Orator, unless he excels in the art; we look upon an oration as something higher and grander than a speech. If a man were to call himself “an orator,” we should call him vain ; but he might call himself “ a speaker" with


out reproach to his modesty. So, if I were to profess to give you hints for the study of oratory, I should be reasonably met by the objection that I am not myself“ an orator,” and therefore have no right to appear as a teacher of oratory. But by the requirements of my Profession I am compelled to be “a speaker”-an indifferent one, I know—and therefore I may venture, without incurring the charge of presumption, to tell to others so much as I may

chance to have learned about thie art of speaking. But there are two other accomplishments,—Arts so intimately allied to the Art of Speaking, that I could not treat fully and satisfactorily of the one, without treating more or less of the others. I propose, therefore, to enlarge the main subject, and embracing the allied Arts of Writing, Reading and Speaking, to treat of each separately, but with more particular reference to the connection of the Arts of Composition and of Reading with the Art of Speaking.

And this title, indeed, exactly expresses my design. I contemplate nothing more than to convey to you the lessons taught to me by my own experience, reading and reflection, relating to the arts by which a man is enabled publicly to give utterance to his own thoughts, and the thoughts of others, so that his audience may hear him without pain and his readers understand him without difficulty.

Writing is a necessary part of the education of everybody and Reading ought to be so. Oratory is the business of the Bar and of the Church : it is only the accomplishment of other callings. Unless you are content to subside into the chanıber counsel, or to sit for ever briefless in the courts, you must learn to think aloud, to clothe your thoughts in appropriate language, and so to utter

« AnteriorContinuar »