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and charmed the hearer with its appropriateness, stirred the emotions, animated the feelings, roused the passions, and so brought the inner faculties of their audiences under the control of the commanding energies of the speaker, who used them to dun and din the intellect into active thought. Though close-textured reasoning often underlay the many-hued surface of the stretching web of word-woven reflection, yet the glow and radiance first attracted the attentive interests of the Athenian assemblies or the Roman crowds. Rhetoric coloured the careful draft which logic drew, and the vivid tints struck the eye before the grace of form was noted. They kindled reason with the fires of passion, and tipped the arrows of their invectives with the venom of their own inflamed hearts. Even while merely perusing them, the eager and suspended soul feels that, under the influence of their out-breathed thoughts,
"Passion's fierce illapse
By that collision all the fine machine." In modern Eloquence much of this is changed. Indeed there are few exertions of the mind in which the modifying power of circumstances is more marked than in the means by which the orator of an age like ours "astonishes, enraptures, elevates," and instructs an audience, compared with those which stirred the hearts of the men and nations of those century-hoar eras when Demosthenes uttered his resistless orations, or Cicero declaimed his grand and ample sentences, instinct at once with grace, beauty, and life. The insti. tutions of modern society have imparted a sedateness, temperance, argumentativeness, and business-liketone to many things, and to none more than to Eloquence. The poet may still adorn the complicated members of his verse with all the gorgeous rarity and wondrous beauty fancy can yield, and tone the undulating harmony of his lay to please himself; and yet be faultless. The sculptor must conserve the weird and stainless purity and symmetry of the olden models, or impart but the palest tinge of earthliness to the lineaments into which “he hews the marble.” The painter may dash his colours on the willing canvas in any groupings and forms which may best give effective visibility to the inner ideal from which he works. The musician may weave the moving air into a gossamery mantle of enchantment, and touch the soul by the thin medium which enwraps the earth in any mode which gratifies his gifted spirit. The orator, however, cannot nowadays express the strong conception vitalized by his mind in the full pith and plenitude, with the undeviating directness and thrilling passionateness, the moving energy and impulsive variousness which his ideas may possess, but must soothe his mind and smooth his style to the practical level of a colder age ;-unless, indeed, some political convulsion, some moral monstrosity, some unexampled eventuality in social life, some spirit-stirring hour occur, in which the mind shakes off the shackles
of conventionality, like the withes which bind a fresh-awakened giant; then
« The words of men,
The native weight and energy of things." As the province of law extends, the surface of civilization is widened, the regularity and simplicity of thought is cultivated, the diffusion of knowledge broadens over the earth, the devotion to business and matters of fact is deepened and intensified, the power as well as the province of Eloquence will be altered. We do not believe that at any time the persuasive influence of oratory will fail; that the fresh-born thought of the dilated soul, that the effluent emotion of the living teacher, will ever cease to be efficacious, or resign their functions, before "the sober, gainful arts of modern days:" yet we think that the potent voice of the publio speaker must, as a general rule, be subdued and modified, and that be can now only, or at least chiefly, become the master of the heart by acquiring the control of the intellect. Nor do we think that the modern orator has a less noble function in exercising the best efforts of his skill to form the life, and rule the emotions of the society of our own day, than had the great professor of the divine art of Eloquence in the days of old. Though the newspaper flashes the energy of thought daily into the public mind in vivid, vigorous, sententious, and ornate phrase; the pamphlet sows along the fields of opinion the seed of active and nervous intellectuality ; the magazine brightens the whole hemisphere of social life with the light of genius, or the radiancy of a polished reflectiveness; the volume treasures up the sage's thought, the thinker's argumentative cogency, or the poet's fluent ardour; the published sermon distils among the eager crowds the words in which the divine message has been delivered ; and the reported speech brings to the eye the pbrases employed by those who can expatiate and discourse on matters of interest, “still, the conjuration and the mighty magic" of personality can never but impart to the speaker's thought "the light that never was on land or sea," and give it a necromantic fascination that wiil throb into the very soul, and thrill the inner chambers of the heart. The press is mighty as an engine for instruction, persuasion, and delight; but the living, thought-discharging, passionate fervour of an orator, as he forges and launches forth the volatile essence of his spirit in forms of power and diction of pith, with a speed that defies observation, a resistlessness that brooks no obstacle, and an art that is consummate in its apparent artlessness, is a potency which diffuses animation, ardour, glow, and energy into the audience, and sets the contagious influence of emotion in ever. enwrapping circles closer and closer round the soul; till, whirled into the vortex, it too becomes an incorporate part of the active motion which has been excited, and resigns itself to the overmastering vehemency which captures and captivates it. This special spell the press can never appropriate. The dead, cold columns of type range themselves before the eye, and tell, with exactest minuteness perhaps, the thoughts and words which the speaker expressed; but the animated form, the flashing eye, the tense-strung countenance, the living intonations, the emphasis of feeling, and the concurrent throbbing of many hearts, as the idiomatie utterance of his ideas touches them, for the time being, into a special unity, are all a-wanting, and cannot be represented. Character, position, power, corporate or individual station, may all be indicated by titles or terms ; but the fascination of personality, and of the actual eyewitnessing of thought, coming into being, ripe from the master-spirit who utters it, cannot be conveyed through any phraseological description, however copious, elaborate, sprightly, elegant, or varied. In reading, all these enter the mind in sequent singleness, in one long line of straight-going excursiveness ; while in listening, all these converge, concur, and co-operate, with a united, appulsive power upon each individual mind, and so place each under strikingly similar conditions of intellectual activity. The charm is the charm of life ; and where the press fails, it fails, “ for life is wanting there."
But the press, though not able to reproduce at once the entire unity of the ravishment of oratory, has had much to do with effecting the modifications which Eloquence has undergone in modern days. Thinkers are not now compelled to culture all the expressive and impressive faculties, to perfection as far as in them lies, the entirety of their nature and being, to deploy their whole life into the publication of their ideas. The press presents man with a means of communicating with his fellows in another form than that in which, in ancient times, the man of thought required to meet, affect, and excite bis comrades in life's pathways. While this opportunity has intensified the individual capacities of the soul, it has lessened the wholeness as well as the wholesomeness of intellectual efforts, and has divorced power from power; so that, in our day, we many times find the best writers of the age ineffective in speech, and our most effective speakers by no means the most thoroughly trained in the arts contributory to argumentative cogency, or accuracy of rerbal expression.
Extemporaneousness is plenteous enough in the study or the editorial sanctum, but it is of a sort which cannot throw itself out and off in the blaze of day, and among crowds. An almost superhuman intuitiseness regarding the causes or issues of events; an extraordinary power of precise thought and concise expression; a marvellous aptitude for popular exposition, are daily displayed in the leading articles of the great journals and periodicals; but the rapid pen quivers, and the trenchant mind is palsied by the mere personal congregating of the public to be addressed ; and the man who could fling down upon the broad expanded sheet before him with all but the speed of speech, will falter, and fail, and quail before an audience who wait upon him to expedite those very thoughts along the viewless atmosphere at a public meeting. Introspection is too active in him, and his own consciousness is too much developed to permit the usual and requisite concentration of ideas to which habit inclines him ; and the disturbing play of the outgoing emotions is too active and engrossing to allow him to use his whole faculty of thought upon the topic under consideration. An orator, on the other hand, feels a passivity and inertia of mind congealing and frost-fixing his whole intellect; unless the glow and animation, the living excitement and inducement of a crowd be before him. The tension of his thoughts cannot be wrought up to effectiveness unless the emotions are under the influences of a circle of anxious hearts ready to be subjected in turn to the controlling charm of his invigorated enthusiasm,-unless an atmosphere of livingness environs him, into which he can impel the vivacious energy of an excited. and exciting mind. Few have such perfect and unalloyed command of thought, feeling, pulse, frame, physical habit, and mental idiosyncrasy, as to enable them to give full scope to the actual efferves. cence of the intellect, and in the mere extemporaneity of their mental activity utter the impassioned thought which springs in fresh-born exuberance from the living spirit. The reticence of modern manners is against it. It is voted extravagance and rhodomontade. It is rashness, volubility, volatility, bombast, rant, froth, turgidity, and magniloquence,--not vigour, raciness, piquancy, and eloquence. The cause of this may be said, in a great measure, to be in the multiplication, in our times, of printed matter,-matter to be read in quiet, and apart from the play and display of passions and the consequent tendency in every mind to compare the spoken words with the written style to which we all are so much more accustomed. This comparison operates to cool and depress the emotions of the speaker, and to incline the hearers to judiciality and calmness. It has a sedative effect on both. It makes Eloquence, in its ancient sense,-outspokenness,-less possible, and, therefore, more rare in modern than in ancient times.
Hence a great error committed in our age in regard to public speaking. In our efforts after the attainment of an oratorical style,
-in our criticisms upon those who aim at occupying the senate. house, or the forum, the platform, the lecture-desk, or the pulpit, we refer to the old oratory with all its stir, its fearlessness, its passion, fervour, power, flash, vigour, invective, glow, point, polish, and antithesis, as our model and pattern, forgetful in this of our own altered days and ways. The elder orators had no such dampening practicality as we have to contend against ; had no such mere reference to business, fact, interest, and section to gratify; no such intricately collocated questions to unravel; no such general culture to address; no such comparison with books, treatises, and serials, to fear; and no such criticism of men wielding the vast powers of the daily press to risk, endure, and run the gauntlet of. If we say, then, that modern Eloquence ought to be considerably different from that which moved the aggregated masses of past centuries, we say what facts warrant and experience proves,
that ancient Eloquence cannot rightly be cited either as our “ensample,” or used as the given premises of a just criticism. Ancient Eloquence was impassioned thought; modern Eloquence is thought impassioned: the former kindles thought by the emotions; the latter illustrates it by the glare, or lights it on the way by the glow of passion: the one excited passion to incite or induce thought; the other induces thought by reflection, but excites to active ulterior objects by the stimulation of the passions. Ancient Eloquence persuades; modern Eloquence not only persuades, but convinces.
Conviction is the complete vanquishment of a resistent state of mind by the presentation to it of such evidence as compels the acceptance of that which is proven by it as true, conclusive, and satisfactory. It is the necessary assent of the intellect that sufficient proof has been afforded to warrant action upon the matter subjected to the criticism of the reasoning powers. Conviction exercises a regulating, guiding, and restraining influence on human actions and their issues. It is that state of thought in which a man is able to say, “I have made up my mind." To convince is to employ the means of producing belief,-of causing the mind to regard certain principles or ideas as true, and of inducing the intellect to consider them as fixed, settled, and certain. Persuasion is something considerably different. Conviction is not always followed by action, and may only induce in the mind a calm and dispassionate acquiescence in the mere accuracy of a statement and an intellectual resting in the truths determined by the reason, but neither operative upon the conscience, nor initiative upon the active powers. Suasion is the excitement and direction of the sensibilities of men to the exercise of deliberation and to the employment of choice; it is the induction in the mind of a proneness or readiness to assent to and comply with any proven obligation or duty; it is the prompting of the inclinations to acknowledge and to act upon the ideas of right and wrong which are lodged in the conscience or determined on by the reason. Suasion seeks to promote activity of conduct, by adding the notion of advantageousness to that of right, and so inducing the poised and indeterminate mind to give itself to that course of conduct on bebalf of which the suasion is used. Persuasion is the thorough and entire mastery of the whole nature, appetites, instincts, passions, inclinations, habits, impulses, intellect, conscience, and will; the conquest by some truth of all the various powers of humanity; the concentration and excitement of the whole personality to the accomplishment of a proposed end; the affecting of the guiding, governing, and determining capacities of the man by the authority of some great idea, and the creation of an imperious desire to vindicate and effect the active success of that idea. It produces a oneness of aim in the entire being, a simultaneousness of exertion, and an undivided loyalty to a given dictate of the feelings, the will, or the intellect. For this is the point requiring particular note here, that in persuasion any one of the trine of activities, of which the soul is the single unity, may acquire the over-urging force, and