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thought which appear in the larger debates are almost equally conspicuous in those abstracts of thought contained in the “ Topic.” Thanks are eminently due to the various writers who have laboured with us in the effort to represent the pros and cons. of argument possible on the several questions at issue.
To the “Essayist” and the “ Reviewer” we can point as progressing towards the excellence we aim at. The value of the “Inquirer” columns may be tested almost at a glance. The amount of carefully collected information, suited to supply express wants, and yet capable of farther usefulness, cannot easily be equalled in an equal space. The “Poetic Section” occupies its own peculiar field, at least agreeably and usefully, if it is not highly commendable. With our best efforts, the “Societies' Section” still, in our own opinion, falls considerably short of what it might be-a register of the doings and achievings of those grand self-culture Institutes which stud the land, and impart a stimulus so wholesome to multitudes of minds. In “Our Collegiate Course" we hope, taught by the experience of the past, to introduce such improvements as shall both heighten its interest and widen its scope. Even as it is, however, its suggestiveness and originality mark it out as a scheme which merits more extended acceptance than it has yet received. It aims at the betterment of those for whom few other opportunities of improvement are possible. The “Literary Notes" contain a brief summary of the most interesting items of the news of the learned world from month to month.
of the leading articles it seems to us now almost superfluous to speak. Their quality has already raised the author to a high rank among the benefactors of the self-teaching classes.
On a survey of the results of the labours of their contributors, as they are displayed in this Volume, the Editors believe they are justified in commending its pages to the earnest and careful perusal of the intelligent and truth-seeking. While doing so, they cannot withhold from approvingly quoting the saying of Bishop Berkeley, “Truth is indeed the cry of all, but the real game only of a few. Certainly, where it is the chief passion, it doth not give way to vulgar cares or views; nor is it contented with a little ardour in the early time of life. He that would make a real progress in knowledge must dedicate his age as well as his youtb—the latter growth as well as the firstfruits-at the altar of TRUTH."
PARLIAMENT is the Supreme Council of the Nation. Etymolo. gically, the word signifies an assembly of persons gathered together for mutual conference and discourse; while in its origin, as well as in its actuality, it is a congress of representatives of the several interests of the realm called into session to be consulted by, and to advise with the Sovereign, concerning the management of public affairs. In the progress of the ages its legislative power has become more prominent in our thoughts than its deliberative nature ; and we have fallen into the habit of looking upon it-when we put ourselves to the trouble of making an ideal of it-as a meeting of sages (wittenagemote), to enact laws, and to decide upon the state and posture of the national concerns, instead of representatives of the estates, expressing (and sometimes enforcing) the opinions of the people on matters affecting law, government, police, war, peace, international relations, colonial interests, and taxation. This is a very natural mistake in our time. Public opinion now hag-or fancies it has—another and a better organ in the press. And hence it does not seem so needful to canvass, consider, discuss, and confer about public affairs through Parliament. There rests, however, on the representative of the people, or the holder of a peerage, a sense of personal responsibility to the country and to the Sovereign, with which we cannot endow the press. The Parliament is a corporate power, possessing rights and privileges both by law and custom. It has a tenure, not only of office but of duty. It is the embodied will of the people, because it is the personalized opinion of the estates of the realm. The need and obligation of consistent and reasonable thought and action, in regard to the affairs of the State, sit more closely to the soul, and act more directly upon the consciences of members of parliament than of writers for the press ; for anonymity, while it gives greater freedom of speech, and wider acope for criticism, tends to produce haste in judgment, rashness of interference, and readiness to deal in plausibilities, which look well in writing, but are unfitted for practice. To all these the press is much more prone than the Parliament. The unity, too, of Parliament, or what is called “the spirit of the House," places à check upon the chosen advisers of the Sovereign in “the despatch of business” to a far greater extent than the esprit de corps binds and restrains the daily advisers of the people. In fact, the press is an ideal, the Parliament a real entity. We cannot, therefore, accept the press as a substitute for the Parliament, though we welcome it, both as a coadjutor in debating public questions, and a reporter and critic of the proceedings of the senate. When, therefore, the press chides Parliament for “ its much-speaking," and urges it to greater activity of performance-while we offer no defence, either for the quantity or for the quality of the talk, in both of which, in our opinion, there is need of improving changewe think its objection is void of real relevancy. Parliament is a conference. It meets to advise upon measures ; speech, therefore, is one of its functions. But it should be thoughtful speech, the honest and true utterance of statesmanly reflection ; for then only is it worthy of the designation-outspokenness, eloquence, or oratory.
Outspoken thought is a masterful agency; “Eloquence has charms to lead mankind, and gives a nobler superiority than power, that every dunce may use, or fraud that every knave may employ." Oratory, by the ideas it pours forth, the feelings it excites, and the passions it rouses, exerts a force of unimaginable efficacy. Speech is the expression of thought, oratory of impassioned thought, eloquence of persuasive thought. If suasion is applied to the reason only, the pith of the mind must be uttered; if the power of the passions is to be called in to the aid of the reason to overweight the balance, and procure or secure a decision, the quick fervour of emotion must throb from the heart's core into the forth-rushing words, and out of the ardency of the spirit, thought must leap, pervaded and tingling with the very flush and vigour of life. The former will be speech, the latter oratory; yet each, because adapted to the attainment of a given end, may be eloquence. Eloquence at once informs, delights, and persuades; and, by a combination of all, gains the cause it aims at, by realizing the effects it had predetermined to produce
To advise is to use speech to prevail upon another, or others, to adopt a course in agreement with our opinions of fitness or right. To confer is to meet for consultation upon matters on which there is a fair likelihood of difference of opinion, and, consequently, of an intellectual (or other) disagreement, in order that, after due consi. deration, a harmony or unity, of a greater or less number, but of, at least, more than the half, may be brought about. In all true conference there must be statement of several opinions; and examination by comparison of these statements. This comparative examination will lead to discussion, and to the assignment of reasons for the preferential adoption of each given opinion. Each, in so far as be honestly holds his opinion, must wish to see it accepted as true or beneficial; and hence, if he speaks at all, must speak to gain his end. To represent is to act as deputy for a given interest, and as delegate from a special body. We cannot adequately perform the duty of a substitute or agent without in some form or other making known and appreciable the opinions or wishes of those represented ; and do not truly act for them, unless we strive to effect the main purposes on which they have fixed their hearts. Hence, to attain an end is the express object of all representative speech.
It seems, therefore, to follow, with the inevitability of demonstration, that the generali.e., the prevailing character of parliamentary language should be that it is eloquent at least in the sense of being thought outspoken for the attainment of a given end, or, more briefly, persuasive speech.
We are as far from affirming that the palace of Westminster is "a temple sacred to noble thinking” as we are from insisting that each member should be “a prating thing"
" A stately ... animal,
That plies the tongue :
All flatter, pride, and talk ;'" or from asserting that among its numerous frequenters there are none to be found
"Who think too little, and who talk too much." We have been treating of the general quality which should belong to the speaking employed in the national councils, in order that we may be able to show the laws and conditions under which that eloquence operates, and to what sinister influences it is exposed, that so we may explain the difficulties which environ the parlia. mentary speaker; and render among our readers the ability and likelihood of judging correctly concerning parliamentary eloquence more reliable and judicious-to culture in them the power of knowing-if it may not be of employing—such words as should "pierce the labyrinths of the ear" of people, nobles, and Sovereign, in the debates of the high courts of legislation.
Nor is it unimportant that this ability should be widely spread among the people; for the press brings the Parliament now into the humblest home, and the right of petition supplies the most lowly with the opportunity of approaching these the most august assemblies in the political world, while the nobler right of free discussion affords each cultured, thoughtful man the means of impressing even upon Parliament the thought, feeling, and passion, which animate him in regard to public affairs. Though, therefore, the franchise should never be lowered-in the progress of time it cannot but be widened-there is a sufficing interest why the criti. cism of parliamentary eloquence should be possible among the many; and though the facilities for entrance into the House of Commons, or admission to the lofty places of the peerage, may never be increased, there are examples numerous enough in modern life to show that it is possible for men, sprung from the lowliest ranks, to touch the souls of the representatives of the estates of the realm
with the resistless sweep of even parliamentary eloquence. We need only farther state, that as all deliberative eloquence partakes, more or less, of the same qualities, if we knew the characteristics, and can reach the beight (in personal power) of parliamentary oratory, we shall be all the better prepared to conduct any real and important business requiring speaking, which may arise in any convention or assembly in which we are concerned. For successful eloquence, in all its forms, requires sound logic, apt arrangement, and fit expression, reputation and ability in the speaker, and a suitable demeanour and utterance. Truth best commends herself to the mind, when grace of manner, and worth of thought, combine to advocate her claims, and oppose her foes. To know an enemy's arts is to accomplish half a conquest. “Eloquence, like every other weapon, is of little use to the owner, unless he have the skill and the force” to employ it rightly. If sophistry and truth contend with equal weapons, we need never fear for the issue; for the intrinsic power of the latter must secure a victory. If, however, the friends of truth leave themselves weaponless, or use the instru. ments of aggression or defence awkwardly, or keep them in the rude unpolishedness of their original condition, while her opponents brighten and sharpen theirs with the keenest skill, the contest is made unequal by the careless over-confidence of the parties engaged in the warfare for truth, not by the badness of her cause. It is an ill compliment to truth to lose her battles, and resign her strongholds.
Parliamentary eloquence has for its special function the maintenance of truth, right, law, justice among men. The peculiar interests which are confided to the management of the supreme council are so serious and important, as to demand the most assiduous care in endeavouring to work them to such an issue as shall bring into harmony the convictions of men, and the decisions of the legislature. To do this effectively, it is necessary to explain the principles upon which change is advocated, or on which it is resisted, with care, honesty, and ability; to criticise the objections taken to the status in quo, or the opinions advanced regarding what is preferable ; to state the arguments on each side calmly, fairly, tersely, popularly; to use all possible just arts to induce and incline the advocates to abandon, and the opponents to resist, the proposed measures; to declaim against the form, the means, the intentions, of the advisers of innovation, or the resisters of improvement; and to defend with fervency and warmth the grounds upon which the party, with whom we link ourselves upon the particular point or topic under discussion, conduct the controversy, and hold their opinion. Sometimes, too, it is requisite to make a show of rebutting objections, or advancing arguments, when the only object is to instruct and inform outsiders upon the matter-sometimes to gain time for another to get ready to speak, and sometimes it is even thought advisable to speak in the House when the person has nothing to say, only to appear attentive to the business of the House, and to gratify friends, patrons, or constituents. Any or all of these