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BY MR. TOWN,
CRITIC AND CENSOR GENERAL.
N° 47. THURSDAY, DECEMBER 19, 1754.
Hic mecum licet, hic, Juvence, quicquid
Here, witlings, here with Macklin talk your fill,
IT has hitherto been imagined, that though we have equalled, if not surpassed, the ancients in other liberal. arts, we have not yet been able to arrive at that height of Eloquence, which was possessed in so amazing a manner by the Grecian and Roman orators. Whether this has been owing to any peculiar organization of our tongues, or whether it has proceeded from our national love of taciturnity, I shall not take upon me to determine: but I will now venture to affirm, that the present times might furnish us with a more surprising number of fine speakers, than have been set down by Tully in his treatise De Claris Oratoribus, Foreigners can no longer object to us, that the northern
-Non de villis domibusve alienis,
Nec male necne lepos saltet: sed quod magis ad nos Pertinet, et nescire malum est, agitamus.
coldness of our climate has (as it were) pursed up our lips, and that we are afraid to open our mouths: The charm is at length dissolved; and our people, who before affected the gravity and silence of the Spaniards, have adopted and naturalized the volubility of speech, as well as the gay manners, of the French
This change has been brought about by the publicspirited attempts of those elevated geniuses, who have instituted certain schools for the cultivation of eloquence in all it's branches. Hence it is, that instead of languid discourses from the pulpit, several tabernacles and meeting-houses have been set up, where lay-preachers may display all the powers of oratory in sighs and groans, and emulate a Whitfield or a Wesley in all the figures of rhetoric. And not only the enthusiast has his conventicles, but even the free thinker boasts his societies, where he may hold forth against religion in tropes, metaphors, and similes. The declamations weekly thundered out at Clare-market, and the subtle argumentations at the Robin Hood, I have formerly celebrated: It now remains to pay my respects to the Martin Luther of the age, (as he frequently calls himself) the great orator Macklin: who, by declaiming himself, and opening a school for the disputations of others, has joined both the above plans together, and formed the British Inquisition. Here, whatever concerns the world of taste and literature, is debated: Our rakes and bloods, who had been used to frequent Covent-Garden merely for the sake of whoring and drinking, now resort thither for reason and argument; and the piazza begins to vie with the ancient portico, where Socrates disputed.
But what pleases me most in Mr. Macklin's institution is, that he has allowed the tongues of my fair country-women their full play. Their natural talents for oratory are so excellent and numerous, that it seems more owing to the envy than prudence of the