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MONG all the advantages which attend friendship, there is not one more valuable than the liberty it admits in laying open the various affections of one's mind, without referve or difguife. There is fomething in difclofing to a friend the occafional emotions of one's heart, that wonderfully contributes to footh and allay its perturbations, in all its most penfive or anxious moments. Nature, indeed, seems to have caft us with a general difpofition to communication though at the fame time it must be acknowledged, there are few to whom one may be fafely communicative. Have I not reason, then, to esteem it as one of the most defirable circumftances of my life, that I dare, without fcruple, or danger, think aloud to Philotes? It is merely to exercise that happy privilege, I now take up my pen; and you must expect nothing in this letter but the picture of my heart in one of its fplenetic hours. There are certain feasons, perhaps, in every man's life, when he is diffatisfied
with himself and every thing around him, without being able to give a substantial reafon for being fo: at least I am unwilling to think, that this dark cloud, which at prefent hangs over my mind, is peculiar to my conftitution, and never gathers in any breast but my own. It is much more, however, my concern to diffipate this vapor in myfelf, than to discover that it fometimes arises in others: as there is no difpofition a man would rather endeavor to cherish, than a conftant aptitude of being pleased. But my practice will not always credit my philofophy; and I find it much easier to point out my distemper than to remove it. After all, is it not a mortifying confideration, that the powers of reason fhould be lefs prevalent than those of matter; and that a page of Seneca cannot raise the fpirits, when a pint of claret will? It might, methinks, fomewhat abate the infolence of human pride to confider, that it is but increafing or diminishing the velocity of certain fluids in the animal machine, to elate the foul with the gayeft hopes, or fink her into the deepest despair; to depress the hero into a coward, or advance the coward into a hero. It is to
Tome fuch mechanical caufe I am inclined to attribute the prefent gloominefs of my mind: at the same time I will confefs, there is fomething in that very confideration which gives ftrength to the fit, and renders it fo much the more difficult to throw off. For, tell me, is it not a difcouraging reflection to find one's self servile (as Shakefpear expreffes it) to every fkyey influence, and the sport of every paltry atom? to owe the ease of one's mind not only to the difpofition of one's own body, but almost to that of every other which furrounds us? Adieu.
HE paffage you quote is entirely in my fentiments. I agree both with that celebrated author and yourself, that our Oratory is by no means in a state of perfection: and, tho it has much strength and solidity, that it may yet be rendered far more polished and affecting. The growth, indeed, of eloquence, even in those countries where the florished most, has ever been exceed
ingly flow. Athens had been in poffeffion of all the other polite improvements, long before her pretenfions to the perfuasive arts were in any degree confiderable; as the earliest orator of note among the Romans did not appear sooner than about a century before Tully.
THAT great master of perfuafion, taking notice of this remarkable circumstance, affigns it as an evidence of the fuperior difficulty of his favorite art. Poffibly there may be fome truth in the obfervation: but whatever the cause be, the fact, I believe, is undeniable. Accordingly eloquence has by no means made equal advances in our own country, with her fifter arts; and tho we have seen some excellent poets, and a few good painters rife up amongst us, yet I know not whether our nation can fupply us with a fingle Orator of deferved eminence. One cannot but be furprised at this, when it is confidered, that we have a profeffion fet apart for the purposes of perfuafion; and which not only affords the most animating and interefting topics of rhetoric, but wherein a talent of this kind would prove the likelieft, perhaps, of any other to obtain those ambitious prizes which were thought
thought to contribute fo much to the fuccessful progrefs of antient eloquence.
AMONG the principal defects of our English orators, their general difregard of harmony has, I think, been the least obferved. It would be injuftice indeed to de-i ny that we have fome performances of this kind amongst us, tolerably mufical; but it must be acknowledged at the fame time, that it is more the effect of accident than defign, and rather a proof of the power of our language, than of the art of our orators.
DR. Tillotson, who is frequently mentioned as having carried this fpecies of eloquence to it's highest perfection, seems to have had no fort of notion of rhetorical numbers and may I venture, Orontes, to add, without hazarding the imputation of an affected fingularity, that I think no man had ever lefs pretenfions to genuine oratory, than this celebrated preacher. If any thing could raise a flame of eloquence in the breast of an orator, there is no occafion, upon which one should imagine it would be. more likely to break out, than in celebrating departed merit: yet the two fermons which he preached upon the death of