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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 prefented with thofe Miracles of Speech, thofe inimitable Compofitions, which anciently appear'd in those happy Scenes where Eloquence flourish'd and reign'd. For where's now the Orator, that shall prefume to command the Refolutions of his Audience? This fair Enchantress, and Universal Mistress of Hearts, has heretofore been seen to calm and alwage in a moment, a disturb'd and mutinous People: She has been feen, in the publick Deliberations of a confus'd Affembly, to make unhoped for Impreffions upon the moft obftinate and prejudiced Spirits to appeafe Seditions, by infpiring the Fearful with that Courage which fhe had taken away from the Infolent and Rebellious, and by conftraining the one and the other blindly to follow her Directions; She has been seen in Camps and Armies, going from Rank to Rank, giving Life and Vigour to the Soldiery by the Mouth of fuccefsful Generals; and, at laft, triumphing by the Arms of thofe whom he had first conquer'd by her Reasons. But we have little more than Ingenii ip- the Shadow left of that victorious Eloquence, fius lumen and feem to poffefs it only in Notion, It Eloquensia. Cic. may therefore be worth our while to enquire,
what fhould be the Caufe of this great Dif parity, in an Age which lays fuch high Pre tenfions to Senfe and Wit. Now the proper Reflexions that we ought to make upon this whole Subject, and in general upon the Eloquence of our Times, according to my Apprehenfion, are as follow.
Ariftotle, Cicero, Quintilian, and Longinus, whofe Rhetorical Inftructions are the moft accomplish'd of all Antiquity, obferve, that true Eloquence, fuch as was heretofore admired at Athens and Rome, while thofe two Republicks Ariftoteles were yet in Poffeffion of their Liberty, can onfublatis in ly prevail among a Free People. They paint Sicilia tyHer as a fierce and haughty Dame, that can rannis res not stoop to Servitude or Flattery. And privatæ juAriftotle pretends, that in Sicily, while under diciis repethe Dominion of the Tyrants, all other Arts increas'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 fuch as might poffibly be fomewhat Siculos biafs'd in favour of a Government under confcripfifwhich they had receiv'd their Education. Ife. Cic. in cannot wholly come into their Sentiments: For Brut. Eloquence is fecure 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.
As the Honours paid to this Art in Greece, fine elorecommended it to the Favour and Efteem of quentia, other Nations, and as it ow'd all its Succefs aut affequi at Rome, to the glorious Recompences attend- poffe in ciing it in that State, fo its Credit fail'd and tueri,confunk with its Encouragement and Reward. fpicuum & We are therefore not to wonder, if while the eminentem Fruit and Benefit of good Speaking is, at pre- Dial, de fent, fo very unequal to the Labour and Ap- Cauf. plication that it demands, there fhould be fo Eloq.cor.
few Orators of Spirit enough to undergo the Fatigue, when not fupported by any of thofe Hopes that are wont fo 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 fcarce to any that is worth the feeking. This Difcouragement alone is enough to extinguifh all that Heat and Flame which fhould carry Men to the Study of Eloquence; to break the force of their Spirit, and with-hold them from any vigorous Efforts in this way.
cepta atque artes
- Sic fentio The firft Spring and Source of Eloquence maturam is a natural Talent for Speaking, without primùm ad which it is not poffible to fucceed, and with dicendum which it is almoft impoffible to mifcarry: And vim afferre maximam. the more rich and happy this Talent, the Cicer. de greater ftill the Succefs; for 'tis this that fets Orat. the diftinguishing Value on an Orator, who Nibil pra- is feldom great, but by the Greatness of his Genius. 'Tis this that does all in the Profef valent, nifi fion of Eloquence, and that entirely fupplies it adjuvante with its Ornament and Grace. And, again, natura. there is no other Art, in which this Felicity Quintil. of Nature fhines fo bright, or difclofes it felf with so much Pomp and Dignity. To which purpofe, I cannot but fet down thofe Words -Ipfaque of the Poet, which fo forcibly express its per fe Vo- ftately Air, and majeftick Loftiness of Voice. siferatur, But the true Greatnefs of Genius, fo requifite natura. to this fublime and fovereign Eloquence, is no more to be found amongst Men; it is the Gift of Heaven, and the Work of Ages. For
befides this peculiar Happiness of Birth, the Lingua foCombination of all thofe natural Qualities and lutio, vocis fonus, lateDispositions which are neceffary to the Art of ra, vires, Speaking, is extremely rare. There must be a conformanoble Elevation of Spirit, a Reach and Mastery tio quædam of Senfe, a Solidity of Judgment, to be improv'd figura and perfected by a Depth of Learning, and a 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 eafy Apprehenfion, a clear and diftin&t Elocution, a Countenance that has nothing difagreeable, a Pronunciation clean and lively, an Air of Authority, que ingenii and many other Advantages, which being fre celeres quiquently incompatible with each other, do fcarce dam motus ever meet in the fame Perfon. 'Twas this en- esse debent, gaged Cicero to complain, at a time fo favoura- ad excogi ble to Eloquence, that there were scarce two cuti, ad exOrators, of Note and Value, produced in any plican one Age. Not that the Thing is impoffible at this dum, ertime of Day, more than it was formerly. But nandumMen feem either not intelligent enough to dif- que uberes, cover these Qualities in themselves, when they riam firmi really have them, or not induftrious enough to atque diuimprove and cultivate them. And thus they tuini. Cic. may poffefs fo many and great Advantages, without being the better for the Poffeffion.
de Orat. Cernimus vix fingu
lis atatibus binos Oratores laudabiles extitiffe. Idem.
No Man can excel in Oratory, unless to Erat in this natural Talent he farther adds a compre- tura admihenfive Knowledge, and a fevere Application. rabilis, These were the three concurring Parts in the exquifita finih'd Eloquence of Brutus, which Tully fo doctrina, induftria much admir'd and prais'd. Now, in this ftu- fingularis. dious Confinement, and ftrict Converfation Cic. de with clar.Orat
ars dicendi. Quint.
with Books, fo neceffary to fill the Mind with Multo la- the proper Treasures of Eloquence, we ought bore, affi- to go to the Fountains, and to take a thovariaexer rough View of the Ancients, thofe efpecially citatione, who are Originals in this kind; and above all pluribus to make Ariftotle's Rhetorick the continual experi Object of our Meditation. For 'tis here the mentis, altiffimâ pruPhilofopher has fo exactly defcribed all the dentia, Motions of Man's Heart, the first thing that prafentif an Orator ought to ftudy: We must begin fimo confi- with this, if we would reach the Soul of lio, conftat our Hearers by the way of their Affections, the true Springs of this Machine which is fo very difficult to be moved. The Art of Eloquence, fays Tully, muft take in the whole Courfe of Civil Duties, muft understand the Rife and Origin, the Force and Vertue, the Changes and Revolutions of all things; muft be familiarly acquainted with Nature, as to what concerns the Life, and Manners, and Inclinations of Men; 'must extend its Power and Jurifdiction over the Laws and Customs of Nations, and the Government of States: In fhort, he maintains, that it ought to be ignorant of nothing, because it ought to speak of every Thing. And indeed, without a very confiderable Stock of Learning, an Orator will not only be at a lofs in deciding any Difficulty, but his Mind will be utterly incapable of any great and wife Production; agreeably to the Observation of the very judicious Petron. Critick, Neque concipere, neque edere partum mens Satyr. poteft, nifi ingenti flumine literarum undata; that is, without a large Capacity, and a Fund of good Senfe, 'tis impoffible to fpeak in a due Manner of all Subjects, and upon all Occafions. The Understanding, therefore, must be furnish'd with almoft an immenfe and inexhauftible