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the Rhymer's Play-thing or Poetaster's
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New Improvements in Navigation.-
85. Account of the Female Thermometer.
Secret Affections of Ladies discovered
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86. Letter from Orator Higgins, relating his
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88. On Ideal Happiness. Authors possessed
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89. On Fondness for Animals-Instances of
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90. On Genius and Application. Hare and
91. Letter containing the Character of a Nota-
92. On Drinking. Characters of several Hard
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Story of Addison and Steele. Evils re-
93. Of the Lottery.-History of several Ad-
BY MR. TOWN,
CRITIC AND CENSOR-GENERAL.
N°. 47. THURSDAY, DECEMBER 19, 1754.
Hic mecum licet, hic, Juvence, quicquid
In buccam tibi venerit, loquaris.
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
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 similies. 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
other sex, that they should be denied the opportunity of exerting them. The remarkable tendency in our politest ladies, "to talk, though they have nothing to say," and the torrent of eloquence, that pours (on the most trivial occasions) from the lips of those females, called scolds, give abundant proofs of that command of words, and flow of eloquence, which so few men have been able to attain. Again, if action is the life and soul of an oration, how many advantages have the ladies in this particular? The waving of a snowy arm, artfully shaded with the enchanting slope of a double ruffle, would have twenty times the force of the stiff see-saw of a male orator: and when they come to the most animated parts of the oration, which demand uncommon warmth and agitation, we should be vanquished by the heaving breast, and all those other charms, which the modern dress is so well calculated to display.
Since the ladies are thus undeniably endued with these and many other accomplishments for oratory, that no place should hitherto have been opened for their exerting them, is almost unaccountable. The lower order of females have, indeed, long ago instituted an academy of this kind at the other end of the town, where oysters and eloquence are in equal perfection: but the politer part of the female world have hitherto had no further opportunity of exercising their abilities, than the common occasions which a new cap or petenlair, the tea or the card-table, have afforded them. I am therefore heartily glad, that a plan is at length put in execution, which will encourage their propensity to talking, and enlarge their topics of conversation: but I would more particularly recommend it to all ladies of a clamorous disposition, to attend at Macklin's; that the impetuous stream of eloquence, which, for want of another vent, has long