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THE Editor of the present edition of Dr. Blair's Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres, has endeavoured to present the work to the public, in a style which he thinks will meet with entire approbation. The plates from which it is printed, were originally cast for Mr. George F. Hopkins, from a late London copy, and were, in general, found to be very correct; a few errors were, however, on critical examination, detected; but these having been carefully removed, the Editor has now no hesitation in saying, that this is as perfect an edition of the work, as any previously issued from the press, either in this country or in Great Britain.
In addition to its correctness, this edition has to recommend it, a copious collection of questions, which were prepared with the greatest care and attention. The Editor is, however, aware, that this method of teaching has, by some gentlemen of science, been objected to; and considering the manner in which questions have almost uniformly been written, the objection is certainly not without foundation. But that the student may be preserved from the disadvantages arising from using questions unskilfully prepared, and, at the same time, be relieved from the tediousness of studying the work without them, the Editor has been careful, so to construct these questions, that the answers which they require, necessarily include every sentence of the work itself; thus effecting the double purpose of greatly facilitating the recitations of classes, and, at the same sime, of compelling each scholar to learn every word of the anthor,
To the lectures that require them, the Editor has also affixed analyses, which are principally designed to facilitare the studies of young gentlemen at college, and of young ladies at school, who máy be sufficiently advanced to pursue this course; and it affords, the Editor, peculiar pleasure here to state, that they have been used by a number of classes of young ladies, educated by himself, in this city, with entire success.
In preparing these analyses, the Editor has generally followed the natural divisions of the lectures, as they are laid down by the author himself; but from the necessity of making each one of nearly the same length, he has, perhaps, in a few instances, extended the number of his subdivisions beyond their natural length: he presumes, however, that no inconvenience will result to the student from the course which he has pursued, as the omission of such subdivisions as may appear unnecessary, will be attended with no material consequences.
New-YORK, August, 1829.
X. Style-Perspicuity and precision,.
XI. Structure of sentences,.
XII. Structure of sentences,.
XII. Structure of sentences-Harmony,..
XIV. Origin and Nature of Figurative Language,
XVI. Hyperbole –Personification-Apostrophe,
XVII. Comparison, Antithesis, Interrogation, Exclamation, and other figures
XVIII. Figurative Language-General Characters of Style—Diffuse, Concise
-Feeble, Nervous—Dry, Plain, Neat, Elegant, Flowery,....-... 192
XIX. General characters of Style-Sinple, Affected, Vehement-Directions
for forming a proper style,......
XX. Critical Examination of the Style of Mr. Addison, in No. 411 of the
XXI. Critical Examination of the Style in No. 412 of the Spectator,.. 226
XXII. Critical Examination of the Style in No. 413 of the Spectator,.. 235
XXIII. Critical Examination of the Style in No. 414 of the Spectator,... 242
XXIV. Critical Examination of the Style in a Passage of Dean Swift's writ.
✓ XXV. Eloquence, or Public Speaking-History of Eloquence-Grecian Elo-
XXVI. History of Eloquence continued-Roman Eloquence—Cicero-Mo-
XXVII. Different kinds of Public Speaking-Eloquence of Popular Assemblies
-Extracts from Demosthenes,..
XXVIII. Eloquence of the Bar-Analysis of Cicero's Oration for Cluentius,... 298
XXIX. Eloquence of the Pulpit,.......
XXX. Critical Examination of a Sermon of Bishop Atterbury's,.....
XXXI. Conduct of a Discourse in all its Parts-lotroduction--Division-Nar.
ration, and Explication,....
XXXII. Conduct of a Discourse—The Argumentative Part-The Pathetic Part
- The Peroration,...
XXXIII. Pronunciation or Delivery,
LIFE OF DR. HUGH BLAIR.
DR. HUGH BLAIR was born in Edinburgh on the 7th of April, 1718. He was descended from the ancient and respectable family of Blair, in Ayrshire. His great grandfather, Mr. Robert Blair, minister of St. Andrews, and chaplain to Charles I. was distinguished hy his firm attachment to the cause of freedom, and his zealous support of the Presbyterian form of church government, in the time of the civil wars. The talents of this worthy man seem to have descended as an inheritance to his posterity. Of the two sons who survived him, David, the eldest, was one of the Ministers of the Old Church in Edinburgh, and father of Mr. Robert Blair, minister of Athelstaneford, the celebrated author of the poem, entitled “The GRAVE," and grandfather of Lord President Blair, distinguished by his masculine eloquence, profound knowledge of law, and hereditary love of Literature. From his youngest son Hugh, sprung Mr. John Blair, who was a respectable merchant, and one of the Magistrates of Edinburgh. He married Martha Ogston; and the tirst child of this marriage was the excellent person who is the subject of this narrative.
In consequence of some misfortunes in trade, his father retired from mercantile business, and obtained an office in the excise; yet his fortune was not so much impaired as to prevent him from giving his son a liberal education.
From his earliest youth his views were turned towards the clerical profession, and his education received a suitable direction. After going through the usual gramma. tical course at the High-school, he entered the Humanity class, in the University of Edinburgh, in October, 1730, and spent eleven years in that celebrated seminary in the study of literature, philosophy, and divinity. In all the classes he was distinguish ed among his companions, both for diligence and proficiency; but in the Logic class he attained particular distinction, by an Essay On the Beautiful; which had the good fortune to attract the notice of Professor Stevenson, and was appointed to be read publicly at the end of the session, with the most flattering marks of the Professor's approbation. This mark of distinction made a deep impression on his mind, and de. termined the bent of his genius towards polite literature.
At this time he formed a plau of study, which contributed much to the accuracy and extent of his knowledge. It consisted in making abstracts of the most important works which he read, and in digesting them according to the train of his own thoughts. History, in particular, be resolved to study in this manner, and constructed a very comprehensive scheme of chronological tables for receiving into its proper place every important fact that should occur. This scheme has been given to the world in a more extensive and correct form by his learned friend Dr. John Blair, Prebendary of Westminster, in his “ Chronology and History of the World."
In 1739, he took the degree of Master of Arts; and on that occasion, printed and defended a thesis, De fundamentis et obligatione Legis Nature, which exhibits an outline of the moral principles by which the world was afterward to profit in his Sermons.
At this period he was engaged as a tutor in the family of Lord Lovat, and spent one summer in the north country, attending his Lordship's eldest son, afterward General Fraser. When bis pupil was appointed to the command of the 71st Regiment, he testified his respect for his old tutor, by making him chaplain to one of its battalions.
On the completion of his academical course, he was licensed to preach the Gospel by the Presbytery of Edinburgh, on the 21st of October, 1741. His first appearances in the pulpit fully justified the expectations of his friends, and, in a few months, the famre of his eloquence procured for him a presentation to the church of Collessie, in Fifeshire, where he was ordained minister on the 23d September, 1742.
He was not permitted to remain long in the obscurity of a country parish. In consequence of a vacancy in the second charge of the Cannongate of Edinburgh, which was to be supplied by popular election, his friends were enabled to recall him to a station more suited to his talents. Though Mr. Robert Walker, a popular and eloquent preacher, was his competitor, he obtained a majority of votes, and was admitted on the 14th of July, 1743. In this station he continued eleven years, assiduously devoted to the attainment of professional excellence, and the regular discharge of his parochial duties.
In 1748, he married his cousin, Catharine Bannatyne, daughter of the Rev. James Bannatyne, one of the ministers of Edinburgh; a woman distinguished for the strength of her understanding, and the prudence of her conduct. In consequence of a call from the Town Council of Edinburgh, he was translated from the Cannongate to Lady Yes. ter's church, in the city, on the 11th of October, 1745; and from thence to the first charge in the High Church, on the 15th of June, 1758, the most respectable clerical situation in the kingdom. The uniform prudence, ability, and success, which for a period of more than fifty years, accompanied all his ministerial labours in that conspi cuous and difficult charge, sufficiently evince the wisdom of their choice. His dis courses from the pulpit were composed with uncommon care, and attracted univer. sal admiration.
In June, 1757, the University of St. Andrews showed its discernment by conferring on him the degree of Doctor in Divinity; an academical honour which at that time was very rare in Scoiland.
His fame as a preacher was by this time established, but no production of his pen had yet been given to the world except two Sermons, preached on particular occasions, some translations, in verse, of passages of Scripture for the Psalmody of the church, and the article on Dr. Hutcheson's “System of Moral Philosophy," in the “Edinburgh Review;" a periodical work begun in 1755. Of this paper two numbers only appeared, in which his learned friends Dr. Adam Smith, Dr. Robertson, and Mr. Wedderburn, afterwards Earl of Roslin, had a principal share.
At an early period of his life, while he, and his cousin Mr. George Bannatyne, were students in Divinity, they wrote a poem entitled The Resurrection, copies of which were handed about in manuscript. No one appearing to claim the performance, an edition of it was published in 1749, in folio, to which the name William Douglas, M.D. was appended as the author.
Besides the compositions above mentioned, he was by some supposed to have repelled an attack on his friend Lord Kaimes, by Mr. George Anderson, in his “ Analysis of the Essays on Morality,” &c. in a pamphlet entitled Obserrations on the Analysis, &c. 8vo. 1755, and was believed likewise to have lent his aid in a formal reply made by Lord Kaimes himself, under the title of Observalions against the Essays on Moralily and Natural Religion, examined, 8vo. 1756.*
Having now found sufficient leisure, from the laborious duties of his profession, to turn his attention to general literature, he began seriously to think on a plan for teaching to others that art which had contributed so much to the establishment of his own fame. Encouraged by the success of his predecessors, Dr. Smith, and Dr. Watson, and the advice of his friend Lord Kaimes, he prepared with this view, a course of Lectures on Composition, and having obtained the approbation of the University, he began to read them in the College on the 11th of December, 1759. To this undertaking he brought all the qualifications requisite for executing it well; and along with them a weight of reputation which could not fail to give effect to the lessons he should teach. Accordingly, his first course of Lectures was well attended, and received with great applause.
In August, 1760, the Town Council of Edinburgh instituted a Rhetorical class in the University under his direction, as an addition to the system of academical education. And, in April, 1762, on a representation to his Majesty, setting forth the advantages of the institution, as a branch of academical education, the King, “ in consideration of his approved qualifications,” erected and endowed his establishment in the University, by appointing him the first Regius Professor of Rhetoric and Belles Lettres, with a salary of £70.
In 1760, he was made the instrument of introducing into the world, “Fragments of Ancient Poetry, collected in the Highlands of Scotland, and translated from the Gaelic or Erse language," 12mo, to which he prefixed a Preface. These "Fragments" were communicated by Mr. Macpherson, and followed in the same year, by "Fingal” and “Temora,” published by him as translations of complete and regular epic poems, the production of Ossian, a Highland bard, of remote antiquity. Being himself persuaded of their being completely genuine, he published in 1762, A Critical Dissertation on the Poems of Ossian, &c. 4to. in proof of their antiquity, and illustrative of their beauties, which spread the reputation of its author throughout Europe. Of those who
Lord Woodhouselee's Life of Lord Kaimes, Vol. I. p. 142.