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Ο γάρ γούς, και μη σαφώς διδάξας, εν ίση εί και με έναθυμήθη.
A BRIEF outline of the principal part of the following Work was sketched out several years ago for the private use of some young friends; and from that MS. chiefly, the Article “ Rhetoric” in the Encyclopædia Metropolitana was afterwards drawn up. I was induced to believe that it might be more useful if published in a separate form; and I have accordingly, with the assistance of some friends, revised the treatise, and made a few additions and other alterations which suggested themselves; besides dividing it in a manner more convenient for reference.
The title of “ Rhetoric,” I have thought it best on the whole to retain, as being that by which the Article in the Encyclopædia is designated ; though it is in some respects open to objection. Besides that it is rather the more commonly employed in reference to public Speaking alone, it is also apt to suggest to many minds an associated idea of empty declamation, or of dishonest artifice.
The subject indeed stands perhaps but a few degrees above Logic in popular estimation; the one being generally regarded by the vulgar as the Art of bewildering the learned by frivolous subtleties; the other, that of deluding the multi tude by specious falsehood. And if a treatise on Composition be itself more favourably received than the work of a Logician, the Author of it must yet labour under still greater disadvantages. He may be thought to challenge criticism; and his own perfc emances may be condemned by a reference to his own precepts; or, on the other hand, his precepts may be undervalued, through his own failures in their application. Should this take place in the present instance, I have only to urge, with Horace in his Art of Poetry, that a whetstone, though itself incapable of cutting, is yet useful in sharpening steel. No system of instruction will completely equalize natural powers; and yet it may be of service towards their improvement. The youthful Achilles acquired skill in hurling the javelin under the instruction of Chiron, though the master could not compete with the pupil in vigor of arm.
It may perhaps be hardly necessary to observe, that the following pages are designed principally for the instruction of unpractised writers. Of such as have long been in the habit of writing or