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Minds of Men, and of which we see so many bright Characters in the Ages, and States, that once it govern'd. We are now no longer presented with those Miracles of Speech, those inimitable Compositions, which anciently appear'd in those happy Scenes where Eloquence flourish'd and reign'd. For where's now the Orator, that shall presume to command the Resolutions of his Audience ? This fair Enchantress, and Universal Mistress of Hearts, has heretofore been seen to calm and allwage in a moment, a disturb’d and mutinous. People: She has been seen, in the publick Deliberations of a confus’d Assembly, to make unhoped for Impresions upon the most obstinate and prejudiced Spirits ; to appease Seditions, by inspiring the Fearful with that Courage which she had taken away from the Insolent and Rebellious, and by conftrajoing the one and the other blindly to follow her Directions ; She has been seen in Camps and Arnies, going from Rank to Rank, giving Life and. Vigour to the Soldiery by the Mouth of successful Ge
als; and, at last, triumphing by the Arms of those whom she had first conquer'a by
her Reasons. But we have little more than Ingenii ip- the Shadow left of that victorious Eloquence, fius lumen and seem to possess it only in Notion, It sia. Cic. may therefore be worth our while to enquire,
what should be the Cause of this great Dila parity, in an Age which lays such high, Pretensions to Sense and Wit. Now the proper Reflexions that we ought to make upon this whole Subject, and in general upon the Elor quence of our Times, according to my Apprehenfion, are as follow.
Ariftotle, Cicero, Quintilian, and Longinus, whofe Rhetorical Instructions are the most accomplish'd of all Antiquity, observe, that true Eloquence, such as was heretofore admired at Athens and Rome, while those two Repúblicks Aristoteles were yet in Poffesion of their Liberty, can on- fublatis in ly prevail among a Free People. They paint 'sicilia 190 Her as a fierce and haughty Dame, that can, rannis res not stoop to Servitude or Flattery. And private ju Aristotle pretends, that in Sicily, while under diciis repe
terentur, the Dominion of the Tyrants, all other Arts
tum priincreas'd and flourish'd, and the Art of Speak- mum quod ing alone remain'd unfruitful. This is the Opi- effet acuta nion of those Great Men, whom tho' we must gens illa, allow to have been very competent Judges, yet
præcepta, they were such as might posibly be somewhat Siculos biass'd in favour of a Government under conscripsifwhich they had receiv'd their Education. I se. Cic. in cannot wholly come into their Sentiments : For Brut. Eloquence is secure of being crown'd in every Age and Country, where She has but a true Title, and has an opportunity to make her Title be heard.
neniinem As the Honours paid to this Art in Greece, fine clorecommended it to the Favour and Esteem of quentia, other Nations, and as it ow'd all its Success aut affequi at Rome, to the glorious Recompences attend-Polje in ci. ing it in that State, fo irs Credit fail'd and tueri, comsunk with its Encouragement and Reward. spicuum We are therefore not to wonder, if while the eminenten Fruit and Benefit of good Speaking is, at pre- Dial, de sent, so very unequal to the Labour and Ap- Caur
. plication that it demands, there should be fo Eloq.cor. few Orators of Spirit enough to undergo the Fatigue, when not supported by any of those Hopes that are wont lo powerfully' to strike upon our Intereft, and our Ambition. In the Countries which were once happy under its Sway, it was the Road to all Distinctions of Honour and Greatness; whereas in our Time it leads to no Prize, or scarce to any that is worth the feeking. This Discouragement alone is enough to extinguish all that Heat and Flame which should carry Men to the Study of Eloquence; to break the force of their Spirit, and with-hold them from any vigorous Efforts in
Sic fentio The first Spring and Source of Eloquence
is a natural "Talent for Speaking, without primùm ad which it is not possible to succeed, and with dicendum vim afferre
which it is almost impossible to miscarry: And maximam. the more rich and happy this Talent, the Cicer. de greater still the Success; for 'tis this that sets Orac. the distinguishing Value on an Orator, who Nibil præ- is seldom great, but by the Greatness of his cepts at
Genius. 'Tis this that does all in the Profes. valent, nif fion of Eloquence, and that entirely supplies it adjuvante with its Ornament and Grace. And, again, matura.
there is no other Art, in which this Felicity Quintil. of Nature shines fo bright, or discloses it self
with so much Pomp and Dignity. To which
purpose, I cannot but set down those Words ---Ipfeque of the Poet, which fo forcibly express its por le Vo stately Air, and majestick Loftinefs of Voice. lacet' But the true Greatness of Genius, so requisite
to this sublime and sovereign Eloquence, is Lucret. no more to be found amongst Men; it is the Gift of Heaven, and the Work of Ages. For
besides this peculiar Happiness of Birth, the Linguæ fo. Combination of all those natural Qualities and lutio, vocis Dispositions which are necessary to the Art of Sonus, lateSpeaking, is extremely rare. There must be a conformanoble Elevation of Spirit, a Reach and Mastery tio quædam of Sense, a Solidity of Judgment, to be improv'd figura and perfe&ted by a Depth of Learning, and a s corporis. compleat Experience of the World. Again, Cic.de there must be a great Extent of Memory, and Orat. Force of Imagination, a quick and easy Apprehension, a clear and diftin& Elocution, a Countenance that has nothing disagreeable, a Pronun
Animi at. ciation clean and lively, an Air of Authority,
qu: ingenii and many other Advantages, which being fre. quently incompatible with each other, do scarce dam motus ever meet in the fame Person. 'Twas this en-elle debent, gaged Cicero to complain, at a time so favoura- ad excogi. ble to Eloquence, that there were scarce two
curi, ad exOrators, of Note and Value, produced in any plicanone Age. Not that the Thing is imposible at this dum, or. time of Day, more than it was formerly. But nandum. Men seem either not intelligent enough to dif- que uberes, cover these Qualities in themselves, when they riam firmi really have them, or not industrious enough to atque diuimprove and cultivate them. And thus they tuini. Cic.
de Orat. may possess so many and great Advantages,
Cernimus without being the better for the Posellion.
vix fingur lis ætatibus binos Oratores laudabiles extitiffe. Idem.
No Man san excel in Oratory, unless to Erat in this natural Talent he farther adds a compre- tura admi. hensive Knowledge, and a severe Application. rabilis, These were the three concurring Parts in the exquifica finish'd Eloquence of Brutus, which Tully so do&trina,
industria much admir'd and prais'd. Now, in this studious Confinement, and strict Converfation fingularis. with Books, so necessary to fill the Mind with Multo 14-the proper Treasures of Eloquence, we ought bore, af to go to the Fountains, and to take a thovariaexer: rough View of the Ancients, those especially citatione, who are Originals in this kind; and above all pluribus to make Aristotle's Rhetorick the continual experi
with clar.Orat haustible
Object of our Meditation. For 'tis here the mentis, al.
Philosopher has so exactly described all the tifsimâ pru- Motions of Man's Heart, the first thing that dentiâ, præfentis- an Orator ought to study : We must begin fimo confi- with this, if we would reach the Soul of lio, conftat our Hearers by the way of their Affections, ars dicendi. Quint.
the true Springs of this Machine which is so very difficult to be moved. The Art of Eloquence, says Tully, must take in the whole Course of Civil Duties, must understand the Rise and Origin, the Force and Vertue, the Changes and Revolutions of all things; must be familiarly acquainted with Nature, as to what concerns the Life, and Manners, and Inclinations of Men; must extend its Power and Jurisdiction over the Laws and Customs of Nations, and the Government of States : In short, he maintains, that it ought to be ignorant of nothing, because it ought to speak of every Thing. And indeed, without a very considerable Stock of Learning, an Orator will not only be at a loss in deciding any Difficulty, but his Mind will be utterly incapable of any great and wise Production; agree
ably to the Observation of the very judicious Petron. Critick, Neque concipere, neque edere part um mens Satyr. poteft, nifi ingenti flumine literarum undata ; that
is, without a large Capacity, and a Fund of good Sense, 'tis imposible to speak in a due Manner of all Subjects, and upon all Occafions. The Understanding, therefore, must be furnish'd with almost an immense and inex