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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 general-. 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 parliamentary 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 height (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 berself 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 keeneşt 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
purposes may give form to a parliamentary speech-very frequently à simultaneous combination of several of them operate together. It becomes evident, then, that, as the form must vary according to the end in view, there must be several specific classes of deliberative oratory, as well as many varieties of address, in legislative assemblies, springing from the blending of two or more of these specific classes into a new form. It is impossible, however, to elaborate rules for all the possible permutations of style of which the oratory of the supreme assemblies is capable; and we must confine our attention in the meantime, at least, to the simpler and more distinct forms, in order that we may fix more thoroughly in thought the specific characteristics of each class. We purpose, therefore, to define as briefly and carefully as we can the chief varieties of which parliamentary eloquence may consist; and, by noting their main elements, enable our readers to judge of oratory from a knowledge of the principles on which it depends.
I. Expository.-Espository discourse is employed to make statements of facts, to supply an abstract of some foregone occurrence or debate, to explain in detail the opinions of the speaker, or to describe the proceedings upon which any motion is to be founded, or from which the propriety or impropriety of a course of action, whether past or future, is to be judged. It is, of course, chiefly narrative and explanatory, and its main object is either to inform or to produce belief in the essential accuracy of the view given, and the opinions enforced. In such speech there need be no straining after novelty of form; an easy and idiomatic style, the words of which are simple and exact, the collocations of which are precise and perspicuous, the flow of which is discursive and animated, and a mildly earnest, yet pretty sedate elocution will, in general, best fit the utterance, in a noble assembly, of any expository discourse.
The chief constructive elements to be attended to are, the selection and the arrangement of the facts, opinions, &c. These should, in general, receive the order of time for facts, and that of logical consecution for opinions. The salient points alone ought to receite pre-eminence; and tedious particularity, unless under special cir. cumstances, should be carefully avoided. These should be so allocated, as to admit of a ready and easy transition from part to part, and yet so built together, as to produce a cumulative impression, heightening always towards the close. Each section of such a discourse ought to lead to, and necessitate, the next; each should deal with a distinct subject distinctly; and the whole, unitedly, though they need not exhaust the subject, must present such a view of the whole as might justify, if not demand, decision.
These moral elements seem essential to expository discourse, viz., fidelity as to statements, and impartiality in their exhibition. Any appearance of what is called * making a case” tends materially to lessen the effect of a narrative, descriptive, or enunciatory speech ; and honour and honesty possess a vigour of their own, which we ought always to endeavour to bring over to our side. Good temper and unstrained promptness may co-exist with, and be employed in, even a hostile marshalling of facts or thoughts ; and modest firmness, as well as exact and unmistakable pertinence may add force and pungency to a defensive detail of matters of fact, policy, or purpose.
Exposition need not dispense with ornament. The words should be expressive and well chosen; the sentences should be skilfully rounded and harmoniously balanced; and the length and style of the several paragraphs ought to be judiciously varied. Yet it is desirable that any appearance of minute care, elaborate arrangement, or exquisite polish of diction should be avoided, and as far as possible we must labour against incurring a'suspicion of subordinating any portion of the details on which we enter to the requirements of proportion, elegance, grace, or selection. The more credit we gain for art, the less we shall get for candour and correctness.
The form which an expository discourse will preferentially assume will consist of an exordium, showing the necessity of the statement to be made, the importance of accuracy and truth, and making a claim upon attention. The state of the subject, at the point where it is taken up, will naturally form a matter for observation, and the narrative portion will follow that in the order of selection already determined upon. The peroration may usually conciliate objectors, and maintain the substantial integrity of the statements made, defend the form of exposition adopted, and indicate the aspect which the topic should assume after the matter addressed to the hearers has been duly reflected upon, or taken into consideration.
II. Critical.-Criticism is the exercise of the discerning, distinguishing, and judging faculties, for the purpose of leading to, or pronouncing a decision upon, the correctness and accuracy of some matter placed before the mind for examination. It consists in the application of some principles of determination as the touchstone and test of the value, or worthlessness, of that which is placed before us for note or comment. It is examinative and estimative. It requires us to balance and assay objections, and to expose to search and trial the elements and parts of which the matter before us is composed, and to penetrate into the very beart of the subject, that we may see and know the life, vigour, and power it possesses. The critic's function is to state the grounds of acceptance or rejection ; to touch, with the potent analysis of logic, the sophisms sought to be palmed upon the unwary; and to bring into operation such determinate tests, as shall give ample evidence of the validity of just arguments or true statements. He must probe with experimental nicety and care, and gauge with correctness and circumspect officiality, the merchandise of thought, notwithstanding the fairness of the bale-wrapping, and the apparent formality of the inventory presented.
The rules of just criticism are not arbitrary; and the laws of logic, when well known and used, form at once the tenderest and the most remorseless principles of judgment, to which men's efforts can be subjected; for they are the unbiassed decisions of nature. They cannot, therefore, swerve from the firm-fixed decisions with which they are endowed, and for which they are marked, through private grudge, cruelty, jealousy, or hate. In critical discourse, therefore, every principle should be distinctly stated, and its bearing upon the point or points at issue ought to receive accurate note. All caprice must be avoided. Just reasoning, supported by genuine induction, and illustrated by fair analogy methodically brought before the mind, can alone satisfy the critical inquirer or the investigator into any matter.
The grounds of critical decision are :- Ist. Intuition, or personal conviction-immediate conscious perception. 2nd. Evidence, i.e., mediate or immediate proof of the very point or fact at issue. 3rd. Authority, i.e., acquiescence in the expressed belief, opinion, or statement of others; acceptance of documents, narrations, or personal witnesses, as proof sufficient for the purpose in hand. 4th. The results of the operations of the syllogistic faculty when in accordance with, and derived from, a right observance of the laws of inferential thought.
Criticism may pursue either the order of investigation, or the order of proof Criticism always implies the present indeterminateness or hypothetical uncertainty of the matter before it. It is only on this assumption that it is amenable to test. The test to which it may be exposed depends on the nature of the case advanced in its behalf.
If, in the matter under consideration, the argument be that certain antecedents being granted, certain consequents do result, will result, or have resulted; or that a certain principle being accepted, certain results follow from it, we may criticise, 1st, the propriety of granting the antecedents ; 2nd, the necessary invo. lution of the consequents ; or, 3rd, the direct colligation of so many of the granted antecedents with so many of the alleged consequents; or we may question the accuracy of the principle,—which will throw us back to the induction on which it depends, or maintain the irrelevancy of the results—which will necessitate a revisal of the syllogistic process which it involves.
On the contrary, if the argument be that certain consequences actually exist, and are the results of certain antecedents, we may question the existence of the consequences, as explained, or impugn the validity of the connection asserted to co-exist between them, in other words, we may deny the alleged facts, or institute an examination of the reasoning employed to connect certain effects with certain causes as their solo or proportionally combined products.
The groundwork of all critical discourse must, therefore, be reasonable, and its form must partake much more of a logical than of a rhetorical cast. Clearness, judicious arrangement, keen incisiveness of intellect, and a quick play of the mind in the grooves of a fixed logic, are the chief characteristics of such eloquence.