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the words of the late Dean of Ripon (the Rev. Hugh M'Neile, D.D.), who in closing a course of Lectures on the Church of England, delivered nearly forty years ago at the Hanover Square Rooms, London, forcibly remarked in reference to educational training for the Ministry :
“No one who has given even a passing attention to the habits and feelings of our people, can doubt of the immense effect produced by a ready and natural elocution : yet how little attention comparatively is paid to a right training for its acquirement! Looking at all the ministrations of the Church practically and in detail ; following them from the Pulpit to the Schoolroom ; from these to the Platform ; in whatever department of his labours you contemplate the minister of the Church, it would be difficult to estimate the advantage that might, under the divine blessing, be derived from Elocution classes in our Universities, where, under the management of competent professors, our young men might be trained in recitation, both of selections from standard authors and of their own compositions on set subjects. . . . Instead of superseding any part of the present process, this might be added to it all ; and if candidates for Orders were thereby delayed a year, there would be more than compensation for the delay in the increased competency for the work."
The ideas thus forcibly put forth by the eloquent divine who, in his own person, afforded a striking example of great natural powers of oratory, developed and cultivated by elocutionary study and practice to the highest degree of perfection, must have been more or less felt by thousands—laymen as well as clergymen - who have at all considered the subject in any of its many forms and phases. No one can look around him, indeed, without being impressed with their truth and importance. Earnestly do I hope that the time is at hand when the national reproach of not having a regular system of training in the arts (to the Church and the Bar the all-important arts) of Public Reading and Speaking, at our Universities, as suggested, not alone by the preacher whom I have quoted, but by many eminent thinkers and writers during the last twenty years, may be removed from amongst us; and that ere long a regular Professorship of Elocution may be found attached not only to our great Universities, but to all Theological, Legal, and Collegiate Institutions throughout the country.
CHARLES JOHN PLUMPTRE.
KING'S COLLEGE, LONDON,