« PreviousContinue »
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1843, by JOHN HANBURY DWYER, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Northern District of New-York.
PRINTED BY C. VAN BENTHUYSEN
As usefulness to our fellow men is one of the grand ends of our being, it behoves every one to contribute his share to the general good; therefore, if this attempt prove but as the widow's mite, yet is the writer justified in making it.
The Exercises which it was necessary that the Author should compose for the instruction of his pupils, first suggested the idea of attempting to make a book upon the subject, by extending the plan. This suggestion was strengthened and encouraged by the favorable opinions of some who read those exercises, and for whose judgment and talents the writer and the community at large have a high respect.
If Elocution, so diligently studied by persons of respectability in Europe, were duly appreciated in this country, its advantages would be so apparent, that wonder would arise that it should have remained so long without a proper place amid the general mass of information, so widely disseminated among the people of America. Perhaps, useful knowledge being the grand aim here, ornamental aids may have been considered superfluous; but, in this case, they are so happily blended, and so necessarily connected, that just fault cannot be found with the mixture. Independently of Elocution, correct oral eloquence cannot exist, for it is its grammar. In this, the freest country that now exists, or ever did
exist, although elocutive knowledge will not make us orators, yet it will cause us to be fearless and correct speakers in a land like ours, where the humblest of her sons has continually occasion to address his fellow-citi
Eloquence has frequently been objected to, as having a tendency to bewilder the understanding by dressing fiction in the garb of truth; but admitting that to be the case, are we to argue the exception against the general rule? To decry oratory because an abuse of it may occur, would be as absurd as to find fault with Christianity, because some, not following its precepts, use the semblance of it hypocritically, and as a cloak for their own selfish and wicked purposes.
As well may we abuse the blessed sun which sheds life, and light, and lustre all around, because the intenseness of his rays sometimes engenders putridity and pestilence.
For nought so vile that on the earth doth live,
Nor aught so good but, strain'd from that fair use,
Such objections generally spring from minds incapable of conceiving the inexpressible delights which flow from eloquence, delights which do not rest merely in being capable of comprehending and feeling the orations of a Demosthenes, a Cicero, a Curran, or the senatorial harangues of a Chatham, a Burke, a Fox, a Pitt, a Sheridan, without reference to all the rest, whose names alone would fill a volume, but in the highly fraught mental enjoyment of speaking peace and pardon to, and smoothing the pillow of the dying, and perhaps before desponding sinner; of advocating the cause of defrauded orphanage, or unprotected widowhood; of arousing the spirit of a country to the asser