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'it ,, 








BY HUGH McQueen. 


No8. 330 AND 331 PEARL STREET, 




9--^ /.^.v. 


Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1853, by 


In the aerk*B Office of the District Ck>urt for the Southern District of 

New York. 





The followmg pages are very respectfully inscribed, by 
one who bas uniformly cherished an equal admiration for 
the beautiful morality which adorns his private character, 
and for the solid learning, sound integrity, and inflexible 
firmness, the luion of which in his person, has contributed 
to reflect an enduring lustre on the most elevuted seat 
of American jurisprudence. 


The Essays presented in this volume were com- 
menced by the author without any view to publi- 
cation, during a suspension of professional duties, 
occasioned by the pressure of ill health. The earlier 
numbers were written under the united influence of 
two very innocent desires. The one of which was to 
occupy the thoughts of the writer with some species 
of employment, and the other to embody in a tangible 
and specific form, some novel if not profitable views 
which had been long floating on the surface of the 
mind, and which had been directly derived from an 
observation of practical life. 

The determination to hold these papers in reserve 
was changed by the persuasion of a few cultivated 
and judicious friends who had carefully perused them, 
and expressed the conviction that some good might 
probably be accomplished by investing them with a 
more enduring form than was originally contemplated. 

It is highly probable that the ultimate yesults may 


prove that the opinions which influenced the writer 
to change his early decision on this subject, were the 
dictate of a partial spirit of kindness, rather than of a 
severe judgment of what was best for the writer and 
the public interests. But the publication of the ensu- 
ing chapters has been induced by a sincere desire on 
the part of the writer to make some contribution, 
even should it prove to be a mere pittance, to the 
common treasury of his coimtry's information. If a 
portion of the exercises presented in these essays shall 
be impressed with the stamp of novelty, a lively hope 
is cherished that they wUl prove practically beneficial 
to those who may adopt them. And if they should 
not ascend so high in the scale of public appreciation 
as to be commended for their utility, they will at least 
experience an immunity from censure for the inflic- 
tion of any positive injury on the interests of society. 
And they are accordingly submitted to the worid by 
the writer in a spirit of humble but fearless confidence 
in regard to the personal results of the adventure to 

The words "speaker," "pupil," and "student," 
have been alternately adopted in the following essays, 
as descriptive terms to indicate the person who may 
conceive it expedient to apply to his own interests 
and improvenjent any of the disciplinary exercises 
which are suggested in this Book, Neither the term 
"ispeafer," "^w^7," por "5^t«fen^," aeused in the ensu- 


ing pages, has the slightest shade of reference to the 
age of the person who shall subject himself to the dis- 
cipline of the exercises which have been advised. 
Either of the preceding descriptive terms as used in 
this treatise may include a person in the maturity of 
life equally with one who may be buoyant with the 
spirit and bloom of youth — ^the octagenarian as well 
as the minor amongst those classes of persons who 
shall choose to make an experiment on the validity 
and soundness of the suggestions contained in this 

It may possibly be objected that the preceding 
terms '^ speaker,^* ^^pupil,'^ ^^ student,^^ have been intro- 
duced with a culpable degree of frequency. But, in 
paying a due share of homage to the interests of per- 
spicuity, it waa found impracticable to indulge in a 
more sparing use of the terms in question. For they 
have been used as descriptive of character, and that 
particular character too, which forms the principal 
subject of the essays contained in this book. 

There is another feature which prominently marks 
the ensuing essays, which, without explanation, may 
be pronoimoed a glaring and incurable imperfection. 
The feature to which reference is now made, is the 
fact of first devoting a chapter specially to the consid- 
eration of a particular exercise, and then recurring to 
the exercise already described again, and repeating it 
in union with some distinct subject presented in a 


cmbsequent chapter. The act of bringing up again or 
repeating an exercise which may h»ve been abready 
considered, and of blending it to a brief extent with 
some subject included in a succeeding chapter, has 
been adopted for the purpose of calling the attention 
of the practitioner in a special manner, to the subject 
which may be thus repeated. The preceding course 
has been also pursued for the purpose of preserving 
the unity between two exercises, where the use of one 
would be utterly useless and unproductive, indepen- 
dent of the other as an adjunct or auxiliary. 

In regard to the general arrangement of the chap- 
ters contained in this book, it may be affirmed that it 
was found utterly impossible to reduce them to that 
precise and symmetrical beauty of form and of system 
which marks the pages of the stricter and sterner 
sciences. All which has been attempted by the writer 
was to preserve a distinct and visible boundary 
between those exercises which have been suggested 
for the improvement of the voice, and those other ap- 
pliances of a more varied and miscellaneous character 
which conduce to fiU up and perfect the entire scope 
of oratory. The writer is animated by the faint hope 
that in the last-mentioned attempt he has not entirely 

Abtok Housi^ New York, Nov, 25tht 1853. 



Inteoduction 1 


The Management of the Voice one of the Principal Elements 
in Successful Speaking ! 

A Happy Faculty of Intonation — Its Advantages. 25 


An Effective Style of Delivery a Specific Quality, like that of 
Tune. The Pupil in Elocution should carefully fix in his mind 
some Model of Excellence in that Department 28 

By vhat means an Effective Style of Delivery may be Acquired. • 81 


Deep and Musical Tones of Voice — The Mode by which they 
are Produced 83 


The Deep and Musical Tones — Both acquired by and perpetuated 
by the Persevering Culture of the Voice 3t 




The Deep and Musical Tones -which are occasionally blended with 
the Voice of a Pupil in the Exercises of Music and Declama- 
tion — Is it possible to transfer them to the Practical Business 
of Speaking ? 43 

* Exercises in Vocal Music beneficial to the Voice 46 


Tlie Mode by which Vocal Music is rendered beneficial to the 
Voice 48 

The Mode by which Vocal Music is rendered tributary to the Ac- 
complishment of Speaking 51 


The Quantity of Time that should be devoted to Vocal Music by 
a Pupil in Elocution 63 


The Exercise of Vocal Music conducted on the Natural Key of 
the Voice— Its Effect 6b 

Vocal Music on the Natural Key of the Voice^ontinued 66 


The Alto, or Highest Key, to be adopted in Musical Exercises 
only when the Pupil in Elocution giyes Full Sound to the 
Sharpest and Highest Notes 68 




Vocal MasiCy conducted on the Natural Key of the Voice, to be 
succeeded immediatelj by an Exercise in Reading or in Decla- 
mation on the same Key 60 


The Particular Tunes by which the Voice of a Speaker should 
be exercised in Vocal Music 62 


Exercising the Voice immediately prenous to retiring to rest 
— ^Its Effect considered 66 

Miscellaneous Reflections on the Tones of the Voice^ 67 


The Essential Importance of Confining the Voice, in the Act 
of Speaking, to the Natural Key— and in what the Advan- 
tage of this Course consists 68 


Does it ever happen, in the Exercise of Speaking and Singing, 
that the Human Voice is pitched on a Key too low to admit 
of Easy and Effective Speaking 9 74 , 


The Preliminary Exercises which may prevent the Embarrass- 
ments which result from pitching the Voice on an Incorrect 
Key in Speaking • 76 




The Mode by which a Pupil who possesses no Ear for Music, or 
Sense of Tune, is to correct the Iraperfectioos of his Voice. . . 78 


The Mode by which a Pupil who possesses no Recognition of Tune 
is to ascertain when his Voice is pitched on a Wrong Key 
in the Process of Speaking 81 


When a Speaker discovers, in the Process of- Speaking, that his 
Voice is pitched on an Erroneous or Difficult Key, the Remedy . . 64 


Are all the Disciplinary Exercises tiselessly expended on the 
Voice of a Pupil in Elocution, who speaks on one Key only f. . 86 


^ The Practice of Declaiming, when alone, on Questions which may 
be selected by the Pupil Himself 88 


The Power of giving Marked Effect to Particular Words in a 
Speech, 93 


y ' How the Faculty of yielding Peculiar Effect to Certain Words 
^'^'^ may be acquired 99 


The Effect of giving a Round, Full, and Deep Sound to the Voice 
by the Repeated Vociferation of Certain Words 100 




Loud Speaking Considered.. . t 102 


The Frequent Repetition of Interrdgatories in Speaking, a- Bene- 
ficial Exereise for the Voice 106 


Keeping the Voice on a Continuous Strain of Vehement Ded.* 
mation during the Deliver j of an Entire Speech, considered. 119 

Beading with the Utmost Strength of the Voice, considered. . 118 

The Daily Exercise of Reading in an Audible Tone of Voice. . . 115 

The Practice of Reading in a Tone of Voice scarcely Audible • . 120 

The' Subject of Gesticulatioa 123 


The Act of Pronouncing Accurately — Its Graces and Adran- 
tages. 129 


The Advantages which result from a Clear Articulation of Words 
by a Speaker. 188 




The Property of Cadence in Speaking. •.••• 1S8 

The AUlitj to yield a Proper Emphasis to Words 141 

The Conversaiional Style in Public Speaking 148 

The Oonyersational Style in Public Speaking— continued 147 


The Acquisition of Different Modes of Delivery — Its Adyan- 
tages 150 


The Regulation of the Voice in Reference to the Volume of 
its Sound from the Beginning to the Close of an Entire Ar- 
gument • 152 


Is it possible to Imitate the Delivery of an Accomplished Speaker 
-with such a Degree of Success, as to ensure the Transfer of 
his Particular Style and Manner to the Person of the Copy- 
ist! 155 


Deliberatioa and Self-possession Necessary, both in the Open- 
ing and in the Progress of an Argument.. •• ••• 161 




Speaking Ckxuid^red wit^ Regard to the Length of a Speedi. ... 168 

How a Speech or Address should be Considered. 168 


What Particular Speeches a Pupil should select for the Ex- 
cise of Declamation 178 


The Habit of noting down the Points assumed by a Speaker 
in DeHrering an Argument where the Obserrer may not be 
concerned himself 181 


The Importance of securing one Correct View, Idea, or Argu- 
ment in Relation to a Subject on which a Speaker is about 
to Reason 188 


IHien a Speaker shall have once indicated by the Course of his 
Remarks that he is about bringing an Argpmient to a Close, 
He should never take a Fresh Start in Speaking on the Occur- 
rence of a New Idea or Fact to his mind. > 185 


The Practice of noting down in Succession the Prominent 
Points which may be involved in a Case at Law, or on a Sub- 
ject which has been set for Debate 187 




Writing out Copious Notes on a Subject which is to be Dis- 
cussed 190 


A Speaker should not Reply to eyery Position assumed by an 
Opponent in Debate 19i 


The Order in which a Speaker should Discuss the Points or 
Propositions which must naturally arise in a Trial at Law, or 
in a Question which may be in the Progress of being De- 
bated 196 


The Preparatory Process to be Adopted when a Student is about 
to prepare a Written Production of any Description. 200 


H^e Practice of noting Passages of Peculiar Excellence which 
\ occur in Various Authors 20i 


A Speaker should always maintain the most perfect GkK)d Hu- 
mor in addressing an Audience of any Description 209 


A Speaker should never be Discouraged by an Early Failure 
in an Oratorical Attempt 212 


Which Place or Position in arranging the Order of a Discuss- 
ioQ a Debater should prefer 214 





Tlie latrodaction of Anecdotes into a Discourse or Argument 220 


A Speaker should never be Restrained from tbe Performance 
of Duty by the lufluence of Diffidence. 225 


Reasoning by the Abduction of a single Fact or Principle in 
Debate 227 


The Policy of reserving Particular Facts by a Speaker, to be 
Disclosed by him in the Delivery of on Argument 231 


The Propriety of Abusive Language being applied to Parties 
and Witnesses by Advocates, considered 238 


A Debater should never, whilst engaged in Speaking, single out 
any Member of a Jury or Person in any other Assembly, 
and address his Remarks directly to that Person 236 


No Speech of any Description should abound in Allusions to the 
Speaker Himself ^ 241 


A Debater should give Courteous Replies to Questions pro- 
pounded to him when Speaking. 243 




A Speaker should never oonduct an Argument in such a way 
as necessarily to communicate Pain to the Feelings of any 
Class of Persons 245 


The Elements of Euclid and the Intellectual System of Arith- 
metic, considered as Preliminary Aids to the Reasoning Fac- 
ulties 248 


The Practice of ohserving the most Brilliant Passages of Wit 
which occur in Authors, and also those which enliven De- 
bate and Conversatioa 261 


The Expediency of Questions being occasionally propounded by a 
Speaker, in the course of an Argument or Address, to Op- 
posing Debaters, or to Persons sympathizing with such 
Debaters in Opinion 264 


It will prove an Injudicious Course, in any Member of a De- 
liberative Assembly, to participate in Debate with undue 
frequency. 269 


I The Importance of making Ample Preparation for the Dis- 
f cussion of any Question long previous to the Period at which 
it IB to be disposed of 262 


A Legislator should never participate in Debate exclusively for 
the Applauseof the Gallery 264 




The Great Advantage to a Speaker of Preserring a Perfect De- 
gree of Serenity and Coolness, when the Assembly of which 
he is a Member may be thrown into a state of Excitement, Tu- 
mult, and Confusion. 266 


The Authors which a Speaker should habitually read with the 
Tiew of Improving his Diction in Speaking 269 

The Introdaction of Biblical Quotations into Secular Speeches. . . . 2*79 

A Speaker should abstain from Latin and Greek Quotations, and 
from habitual allusions to Greece and Rome 282 


The Advantage which a Speaker derives from possessing a Fine 
Person, considered. 28i 


The Benefit which may be derived from practising Declamation 
before a Mirror 294 


Hie Daily Practice of Writing an Essay on some Subject, con- 
sidered 298 


The Influence exerted by Competition on the Energies of a 
Speaker 301 


The Introduction of Poetical Quotations into a Speech 806 

The Influeuce exerted bj Locality in the Formation of Speakers. . 809 

The Mania for Speaking 816 

The Influence of Luxurious Living 819 


A Public Speaker should abstain entirely from the use of To- 
bacco 828 


A Speaker should never resort to Stimulating Liquors as aux- 
iliaries to successful Speaking 826 


The commentaries presented in this book are based upon 
two very sincere convictions, which, if fortified by the deduc- 
tions of an enlightened experience, are assuredly deserving 
of the most munificent and profound attention from every 
intelligent mind. 

The first of these convictions is, that every human being 
who has been endowed by nature with reasoning powers of 
an ordinary grade of respectability, may be rendered an effi- 
cient and useful debater, by a persevering application of the 
appropriate disciplinary appliances, and that accomplished 
orators, by the influence of well-applied culture, may be drawn 
fi>rth from the rough materials of intellectual nature, just as 
statues of exquisite mould and finish are extracted from the 
rugged marble by an application of the artist's chisel. 

The second conviction is, tliat the accomplishment of public 
speaking, instead of waving as a proud and attractive plume 
in the coronet of any peculiar class or profession, will soon 
become an universal attribute of the American people. 

Our faith in the justness of the first conviction, is founded 
on the fact that the instance is exceeding rare in which history, 
with her impartial pen, has recorded, or tradition, with its 
authentic voice, has reported, an example of any person failing 
to grasp the palm of eloquence, who aspired to it with a 
perseverance which never faltered, and who was endowed by 
nature with powers of a respectable grade. 

The reason why the second conviction is believed to be 



jiist^ is because speakers are bursthig in rapid succession 
upon the world, who were utterly unknown to themselves or 
their acquaintances in that character, until their powers re- 
ceived an impulse from some casual train of circumstances, 
which started them into life as public speakers. Tongues are 
growing nimble under the spreading influence of the spirit 
of liberty, which had formerly been as torpid as that of the 
toad or the serpent. The farmer who scatters grain upon the 
broad surface of the earth for our physical nutriment, during 
the day, raises his voice in our public meetings at night, to 
encourage his countrymen to sow broad-cast the seeds of 
education. The mechanic, who yielded his devotions with 
unrelentiog patience to his tools by day, pleads in fervid 
strains for the cause of religion, science, literature, and tem- 
perance at night. Every village and neighborhood in the 
country plumes itself on its orators. And there is not an 
aspirant to the post of constable, or to an inferior clerk- 
ship throughout the land, but who has the confidence to as- 
cend the hustings, and address his countrymen not only in 
intelligible, but frequently in very intelligent terms. 

And why should it not be so 1 The plain and unpretend- 
ing farmer converses as sensibly at the fireside, as the politi- 
cian who is seeking his vote ; and he frequently furnishes 
him with bullion, in the shape of ideas, which is coined up 
into arguments, and expended with prodigious power upon 
the hustings. The mechanic can state his case more intelli- 
gently and lucidly, perhaps, whilst sitting on his work-bench, 
than the attorney whose boot he mends. Why is it that 
these men, who abound in the most precious stores of wisdom 
and information for private conversation, should not be able 
to ascend the hustings, or take a position within the bar, and 
speak at large to the assembled multitude on topics of public 
interest ? They are restrained from doing so by the same 
circumstance which deters children from making their first 
attempts to walk, by a distrust of their powers to execute 


Mrith intelligence and propriety. When a child shall have 
perfected one step in walking, without tumbling down, he 
will venture to make another, and another, and otheie, in 
endless progression, until he shall acquire the pervasive but 
useful and graceful accomplishment of walking. It is thus 
with the sensible speaker in ordinary conversation, who may 
never have ventured to participate in public speaking. If he 
once stands erect upon the public stage, and utters one sensi- 
ble idea intelligibly, he can proceed farther in the business, 
and state two appropriate views of a subject ; and he can 
afterwards so perfect himself by practice, as to s^eak as 
long as he pleases. The accomplishment of speaking, like 
that of dancing, lies dormant in the system of a large num- 
ber of persons, who may be charmed by the brilliant and 
attractive powers of others ; and, similar to dancing, this fac- 
ulty or power only requires the application of one vigorous 
and determined attempt to secure its permanent possession. 
For, when once acquired, the faculty of public speaking is 
never lost, unless an individual shall wantonly and capriciously 
throw it aside. Men of limited education, almost universally, 
and frequently men of the most enlightened understanding, 
who have not acquired any experience in regard to the pro- 
cess qf speaking, by sharing in the labors it imposes, lie under 
a gross misappirehension respecting the difficulties which are 
connected with this engaging exercise. Persons destitute of 
a practical acquaiiitance with the matter, are almost inclined 
to believe that a superior degree of fluency of speech flows 
directly from divine inspiration, and that where a person 
may not be endowed with supernatural gifts in this depart- 
ment of human exertion, that it is aiming at an impracti- 
cable height, to reach after the palm of eloquence. And those 
who excel in the business of speaking, have encountered no 
Herculean labor to expel the delusi«n which has fastened 
itself on the minds of their silent brethren, relative to the 
difficulties connected with the acquisition of speaking talents. 


Persons at the porch of human existence often express 
their astonishment at witnessing the capability which exists 
in seme men of speaking several hours in succession without 
even a brief resignation of the floor, and they marvel how 
the thing can be effected. And yet, after the lapse of a few 
years from the period at which the admiration was expressed 
at the observation of this almost celestial accomplishment, 
the very same men will be often found speaking during the 
space of 'four or five hours in succession themselves. So 
great a revolution does a nearer approach to the maturity of 
intellect, and the application of appropriate exertion, produce 
in the sum of human accomplishments. 

A broader illustration of the deep and impenetrable dark- 
ness in which persons are often steeped in regard to their 
own. accomplishments, cannot be exhibited than that which is 
sometimes afforded by men who suddenly burst upon the 
world in a strain of fervid and impetuous eloquence, witb- 
out having previously dreamed of possessing the faculty 
themselves, or having yielded any symptom of its existence 
to others. Tlie breath of life is infused into their latent 
powers by some exciting and unexpected circumsti^ce, and 
the magic powers which are thus started into life are seldom 
quenched except by the icy fuiger of death. 
% For every human being who possesses the power of re- 
flection, is competent to fix in his memory the leading views 
or arguments which will be reasonably "suggested by any 
subject which may deserve his attention or excite his interest 
in the business of life. And if he may be able to fix. these 
views in his mind and memory, he will certainly be as com- 
petent to repeat them to the public in an intelligible discourse 
as ever a pupil in a country academy was to repeat a lesson 
to his preceptor, in the presence of his class, which he had 
learned by the studjrand reflection of the previous night. 
For the faculty of acquisition brings into action a power of 
much more elevated reach, than that of recitation. The 


first operation demands thought, which is the attribute of 
philosophers ; the last calls for impudence, which is the prop- 
erty of fools. In relation to the possession of the gift of 
eloquence by a large number of our race, unknown to them- 
selves, a beautiful and touching fragment, from one of the 
sweetest poets in the English tongue, is eminently applicable : 

" Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest, 
Some Cromwell guiltless of his country's bipod" 

If, then, every person who is capable of reasoning mentally 
can be qualified, by persevering practice, for the business of 
intelligibly conveying his reasoning through a medium of 
words to others, it is a matter of crowning importance in 
this noble enterprise, that he should prepare himself by the 
adoption of the essential preliminary measures, for perform- 
ing this duty agreeably, gracefully, and efficiently. And 
Lord Chesterfield, in those letters to his son; which have 
acquired a celebrity commensurate with the diffusion of let- 
ters, has somewhere submitted some remarks on the bland- 
ishments of manner and the melodies of intonation, which 
might be appropriately recorded on a tablet of marble in 
characters of gold. He says to his son, in substance, " that 
there was a member of the popular branch of Parliament, 
who never arose to address the house without at once com- 
manding the most breathless attention, and yet that this 
member never submitted any views of a question more 
instructive than those which were spoken by a large propor- 
tion of the members." And he asks his son, in continuation 
of his remarks, " What particular quality it was in this mem- 
ber that constituted the source of his fascination 1" and he 
answers the question himself, by observing that, " it was his 
pleasing address." He then proceeds by stating to his son 
that " there was another who never opened his lips in ad- 
dressing the house without shedding light on every question 
he touched, and yet that the homage of a very slender share 


of ^attention was paid to him whilst speaking.'' And he 
asks his son in continuation, "Why this was so?" He 
answers this interrogatory also, by remarking, " that it was 
owing to an imperfect delivery and a graceless manner." 
And we might explore the speaking world from one of its 
extremities to the other, and we would behold the propositioi;i 
written in characters as bright and as intelligible as sun- 
beams, that music and grace impart to the business of 
speaking a charm equal in fascination, and infinitely more 
enduring in its influence, than these qualities ever lend to 
halls resounding with the sweetest and most cultivarted music. 

Whilst recurring to the charm. exerted by a musical de- 
livery and an engaging manner, it may not be considered a 
culpable degree of minuteness, on a subject of such vital 
concern to the best interests of humanity, to present a few 
illustrations of the matter, both from historical and traditional 
reports. It has been said of Biirke, that with all his strength 
and solidity of reasoning and magnificence of phrase, that it 
was his custom, from the effect of an ungainly delivery, to 
send the members of the English House of Commons to their 
dinner whenever he addressed the house ; whilst Lord Chat- 
ham, (however great his far-reaching and intuitive wisdom 
may have been,) who was greatly the inferior of Burke in 
solid argument and varied attainment, almost universally 
chaiaed the members to their seats by his rich, sweet, and 
varied tones. 

One of the most distinguished divines in this country, for 
the saintly sanctity of his life, as well as for the classic pur- 
ity and elegance of his diction in speaking, once followed 
in preaching an exceedingly illiterate clergyman, who was 
yet favored in possessing a most melodious intonation of 
voice, in the process of delivery; and the cultivated preacher 
cleared the church, in a very brief interval, of a congre- 
gation which had been previously held in a state of death* 
like silence for an hour or two by his illiterate predecessor 


on the stage. What was the occasion of this graceless and 
unbecoming desertion of their spiritual counsellor, on the 
part of the congregation 1 It was tiie cold and lifeless enun- 
ciation of the one speaker, following immediately in the train 
of the musical and fervid tones of another. ^ 

The voice may be legitimately regarded, then, as £iir as 
physical agencies are estimated in the business of speaking, 
as the exuberant spring of a speaker's &scination ; for a 
voice of music not only insinuates its own incidental charm 
into the heart of an assembly, but it almost universally bears* 
with it the blended charm of an engaging and graceful man- 
ner. . For whilst it will prove utterly impracticable for a 
speaker, who possesses a voice deficient in fulness and flexi- 
bility, to execute graceful gestures, the occurrence will prove 
equally rare, of finding a speaker blessed with a full and « 
melodious voice, who can indulge in any other than flexible 
gestures, unless he shall perversely, choose to do so, con- 
trary to the organic structure of the human system, for in 
this particidar the voice and the hands move in sympathetic 
unison together, as has been demonstrated in the sixteenth 
chapter of this book. 

If the voice may be justly regarded as the principal source 
of that power which is wielded by. a speaker over human 
opinion and action, no rational or innocent measure should 
be omitted which may promise to bring an accession of im- 
provement to that important instrument of power. And 
the principle is here assumed, that the voice is equally as 
susceptible to improvement from the influence of sterner dis- 
dplinary exercises, as those which are imposed upon the organs 
of speech by ordinary conversation ; as the mind is accessi- 
ble to an augmentation of its vigor from the effect of severer 
exercises than those imposed upon it by the reading of any 
plain and simple author, or as the body is to be improved in 
its measure of eneigy and elasticity by the circumstance of 
being frequently brought in contact with more trying 


exercises than those involved in the ordinary motion of 

The proposition is advanced in the commentaries contained 
in this book, that the organs of speech, which constitute an 
integral portion of the human machine, are as greatly im- 
proved in the work of producing sweet and agreeable sounds, 
by being frequently subjected to the severe discipline of 
declamation or singing on a high key, as the limbs of the 
body are magnified in their power to execute swift, graceful, 
and energetic movements, by the application and training of 
the exercises imposed by a gymnasium. The most surprising 
corporeal feats or evolutions which can be displayed to an 
admirmg assembly, by any member of our race, may be 
regarded as an effect produced by a specific agency. And it 
requires but a limited expenditure of words to demonstrate 
the proposition, that in proportion as the productive power 
of the agency is enhanced, in the same ratio the effect must 
be pushed forward towards that degree of perfection which it 
is capable of reaching. If the limbs shall be carried from 
humbler degrees of elasticity, to those of a more elevated 
grade, in almost endless progression, by the exacting exer- 
cises of a gymnasium, it is evident that those evolutions of 
the body which depend for their perfect execution upon the 
activity of the performer of them, must keep pace in their 
advances to perfection with the extension of the activity of 
the frame that is to execute them. The human voice may 
be denominated an effect of supervening agencies, as justly 
as the motions which are produced by the limbs of the body. 
It is a motion of the organs of speech, caused by an exertion 
of the human will, which produces the sounds of the human 
voice conveyed in music and in speech. And although the 
organs of speech are not as clearly revealed to the vision, 
from their want of that extension which pertains to the limb3 
of the body, yet their agency in producing the effect of sound 
is equally as positive as that which is exerted by the limbs of 


the body in the productiqpi of motion ; and the sounds when 
produced by the organs of speech, are just as perceptible to 
the sense of hearing as the motions of the limbs are to the 
visual organs. It foMows as a necessary sequence from the 
premises, that should the organs of speech be improved in 
their strength and flexibility, by the disciplinary training 
imposed by declamation and vocal music, that the sounds 
which are produced by agents thus improved, must corre- 
spond in their approaches to perfection with the agents them* 

Another illustration of the immense improvement which 
may be imparted to the voice by the imposition of discip. 
linary exerdses on the organs of speech, is presented in that 
intellectual development of our race, which is constantly 
going forward under the influence of the sterner sciences, 
and the ancient classics. There is a permanent share of ac- 
tivity and strength communicated to the human intellect by 
the discipline of mathematical science, which will broadly 
assert its presence to the world, and to the subject of the 
discipline himself, when he shall be summoned to perform 
the grave and important duties of life. But the votary of 
these sciences may obtain a satisfactory revelation of the 
benefits conferred by them upon his intellectual powers, long 
previous to the time when he shall be called to participate 
in the more solemn duties of life. 

Immediately afl:er a student shall have taxed the powers 
of his mind by the study and solution of an abstrusfe prob- 
lem in fluxions, or in conic nections, let him open a volume 
of some historical work which has formerly been regarded 
by him as being as dry as the dust of the earth itself, and 
if the work is commended by any intrinsic value or interest, 
he will find it as charmjng as the legends of some beautiful fic- 
tion, from the facility with which he reads it in immediate con- 
trast with the scientific exercises, which he has just laid aside. 
And after having taxed the corporeal functions, in running 


10 ii^EODUonoN. 

with considerable celerity up steej^ascents, in jumping over 
elevated bars, or wide rivulets, or ditches, or in raising heavy 
bodies from the earth, a person will find, after a brief inter 
val of repose, that the simple exereises^f life, such as walk- 
ing, jumping any ordinary distance, or performing any com- 
mon operation which requires the application of the hands, 
will be performed with a large increase of ease. This tran- 
sition is brought about not merely by the effect of contrast 
between the relative exercises, but the muscles of the body 
will have experienced a positive accession to their strength 
and elasticity, from the influence of the previous exercises. 
And where the disciplinary exercises are continued in a 
proper degree of moderation and regularity, the amount of 
strength and activity added to the limbs will become per- 

It is asserted in this treatise, that the organs of speech are 
fitted for the production of superior sounds to what they 
would have otherwise, been adequate by the severe and acute 
exercise of singing and declaiming on the highest key of the 
voice, just in the same way that the mind is trained for the 
better and more skilful performance of the whole catalogue 
of human duties, by subjecting its faculties to the maximum 
severities of scientific training, and just as the limbs of the 
body are prepared for performing, with greater alacrity and 
ease, all the simple duties of life which tax the corporeal 

Immediately after a pupil shall have stretched his vocal 
functions to their utmost pomt of tension, by singing or de- 
clfdming on the highest pitch of the voice, when he shall 
have indulged himself in an interval of rest, he will find 
that he can read or speak with infinitely greater fulness and 
clearness than he was able to attain immediately before the 
exercises in question were indulged in. And should he 
subject his voice to that sort of severe training daily, or 
even occasionally through life, he will find that it will be 


jpermanently improved in^ its music, depth, flexibility, and 
power of modulation. And as the most elevated keys in 
singing and declamation, when the force of the voice shall 
be fully exerted on thim, impose the greatest amount of la- 
bor on the organs of speech, so the lower keys, in a gradual 
descent to the natural, middle, or conversational pitch, im- 
pose proportionally a less amount of labor on the organs of 
speech, when singing or declamation shall be practiced on 
them. And it will be vastly beneficial to a pupil in elocu- 
tion, to take this descending scale, and practice his voice on. 
the different keys in declamation and singing, for each key 
higher than the conversational or middle key, affords some 
degree of expansion to the voice. 

And it should never be forgotten that the pupil ought to 
subject himself to an exercise in declaiming and in reading 
on the conversational or middle key universally, when he 
can do so shortly after having practiced his voice on the 
higher key, for this branch of practice seems to be as essen- 
tial to preserve the natural key of the Toice in speaking, as 
walking is in exercises of the body to secure the equable 
tenor of it^ motions. And there is some danger to be ap- 
prehended, where the voice is frequently practiced on the 
higher keys, that the pupil will involuntarily slide into the 
adoption of those keys as a permanent habit in speaking, 
unless they should be followed immediately by exercises on 
the natural key of the voice. And it will not be possible 
for him ever to speak with perfect ease on the more elevated 
keys of the voice. 

A very lucid illustration of the benefit which may be de- 
rived by the human voice from an adoption of the disciplin- 
ary exercises which are recommended in this treatise, may 
be drawn from, a reference to several objects which are very 
familiar in the f)ractical duties of life. Scarcely any observ- 
ing mind is igngrant of the very perceptible improvement of 
its tones, which is imparted to an ordinary church-bell, by a 


long application of the clapper to it in the usual process of 
ringing. Every person who possesses even a limited con- 
ception of the nature and properties of musical instruments, 
is conscious of the vast improvement which is communicated 
to violins and flutes by constantly subjecting them in the 
hands of a careful performer to the process of being 
played on. ^^ 

But the &vorable change which is usually produced in the 
tones of the instruments just referred to, by the feet of being 
long used, seems to result from a clarification of the tones 
of these instruments, in wearing from their inner surfaces, 
by the constant attrition of sound upon them, any roughness 
or slight excrescences which invisibly to the naked eye may 
exist upon these surfaces. This effect bears a striking an- 
alogy to that clarification of the notes of the human voice, 
which is- oflen temporarily produced by clearing it from a 
pre-existing hoarseness, by a short subjection to sharp exer- 
cises in dedamation or music. 

But there are other objects connected with the business 
and the pleasures of life which afford a very simple and dear 
illustration of the vastly-augmented expansion, depth and 
flexibility which are yielded to the human voice by the exer- 
cises of declamation and singing with ^the utmost strength 
of the lungs on a key of great elevation. 

We will in the first place adopt, for the purpose of the 
illustration just suggested, the instance of an accordion, 
which, when its possessor first commences using it, may be 
stiff and difficult from the want, of flexibility in the leather 
of which it is usually" composed, to pull to that degree of 
extension from one side to the other, which may be essential 
to its complete inflation ; and to the production of the proper 
sounds in music. But when the performer shall have fre- 
quently seized the sides of the accordion, and stretched it to 
its utmost power of tension in producing music from it, the 
itistrument becomes so perfectly flexible as to open mechan- 


icaJIy whea used inr plajing, the proper extenfiions, curves, 
folds, and contractions, so as to render the matter of per- 
forming on it quite an easy task to one who may be at all 
acquainted with the nature of the operaticm. 

The preceding illustration corresponds as nearly as any 
illustration drawn from material nature can accord with the 
beneficial changes which may be wrought in the human voice 
by an application of that training to the vocal functions, 
which is conveyed by a habitual resort to the exerdses of 
singing and declamation. 

But the shoes which cover our feet, and the gloves whicb 
we wear on our hands, exhibit in very strong relief the ex- 
tension and the flexibility which i^produced in the organs of 
speech by the preceding exercised. The leather which enters 
into the composition of a pair of shoes, may be so unyielding 
when they are first obtained by their owner, as to render 
them not only exceedmgly difficult to get on, but when ac- 
tually put on, to exert a very stringent and painful pressure 
on the feet. But when the operation of pulling them on 
shall be daily repeated, and they are worn for some time, 
they become as yielding and flexible as a bit of India rubber, 
A pair of gloves when first purchased, may demand a con- 
siderable degree of pains and exertion to fit them to the 
hands of the wearer. But when he shall have thrust his 
hands into them a few times, and subjected them to the wear 
of a few hours, they become adjusted to his hands just as if 
they had been made for^m expressly. 

The voice, under the influence of the exerdses prescribed 
in this book, becomes just as flexible and just as controllable 
to its possessor as any of the articles or objects which we 
have just mentioned may be rendered by use in the hands 
of their o\hier. 

In subjecting the vocal organs to the process of tension, by 
a perseverance in the use of the proper disciplinary exercises, 
they receive a degree of extension and flexibility which not 


only increases the strength of the voice, but which grafts on 
it the feculty of modulation to such an extent, that it may 
yield a measure of sound which may be regulated by the 
discreticm of its possessor. It may be enabled to indulge 
in the deep tones, as well as the high and the sharp ones, 
the soft and sweet as well as the loud and vehement ones. 

But in the prosecution of the object now in view, a very 
satisfactory class oMllustrations may be derived from the 
practical philosophy of the human voice itself. We may be 
enabled almost constantly to observe the vast progression 
both in strength and melody, which occurs in the voices of 
those who frequently exercise the lungs in musical perform- 
ances in union with the chOirs of churches. We recognize 
the vast revolution which may be produced in the voices of 
those who are subjected to the tas]^ of hallooing in answer to 
calls which may be made upon them in the character of ferry- 
men at fords on rivers. The voices of such persons, by the 
fact of being frequently exercised in hallooing, acquire inci- 
dentally a great increase of compass and depth. Persons 
also who have long been subjected to the necessity of speak- 
ing loudly, amidst the noise of mills and factories and the 
din of workshops, exhibit a vast reinforcement to the original 
vigor of their voices. Those at all familiar with the iiabits 
and peculiarities of the African race, must have recognized, 
even with the aid of a very superlicial observation, how much 
their voices are almost universally improved in compass, 
depth, and music of tone, by the daUy habit of singing and 
hallooing about the farms of their owners. The world has 
been long apprized too of the immense energy wliich is added 
to voices naturally feeble, by the practice of daily speaking 
in the open air, or even within the walls of churches. The 
itinerating system of the Methodist denomination affords 
abundant examples of the improvement referred to. And to 
dose, in this connection the consideration of examples, it will 
occur to every member of the bar, how much the voice su^ 


fers, in both its music and flexibility, in consequence of that 
long suspension of its usual exercises which Qows from a 
vacation between the courts. When the labors of a lawyer 
are resumed again, upon the close of one of these vacations, 
until his voice shall be disciplined afresh by the exercises of 
the bar, he will imagine that he has one of the most unman- 
ageable voices on earth. 

The instances of improvement recognized in the powers of 
the human voice whidi have been submitted in the preceding 
lines, were obtained merely as an incident to other avo- 
cations and duties. They came to the recipients of these 
improvements unsought, and involuntarily to them. They 
consulted no lights thrown upon liie path of elocution and 
music by the beneficence of art. They only enjoyed the 
benefit of two exercises for the voiije — ^those on the loud and 
the high keys ; and they paid no attention to the application 
and adjustment of these. They adopted no discipline for the 
voice, tending to prepare it for the production of the softer 
and sweeter notes. They subjected the brgans of speech to 
no exercises on the intermediate keys between the high and 
the low. The pupil in elocution may ask himself the ques- 
tion — ^If the voice of main may experience involuntarily, and 
merely as an incident to the performance of other duties, 
such an enlargement of its powers, what indefinite accessions 
to its improvement- may it not 'receive from the use of the 
appliances which have been prescribed by the enlightened 
and approved experience of past times discreetly and artistic- 
ally applied 1 

It must not be imagined, from the degree of earnestness 
with which exercises on the highest key of the voice have 
been enjoined in this treatise, that the sounds or notes pro- 
duced by the voice when exercised on those keys, are intended 
to be conveyed into the business of practical speaking. They 
are generally too sharp and straining to interweave with the 
simple and prevailing uses of the voice. They are intended 


merely aa exerdses to give expansion, depth, and flexibility, 
to the Yoioe. 

The sweet tones produced in the preliminary exercises — 
those which possess a glassy melody, and which convey a 
music similar to that produced by the waving sounds of the 
clearest notes of a bell — are those which the pupil has to^ 
transfer from his disciplinary training, to the business of 
grave and practical speaking. 

And there is no proposition more true, than that a voice 
0(»stantly habituated to the production of sweet and musical 
tones, in the exercises which are imposed for the purpose of 
discipline, can be made to transfer the same tones to the 
business of speaking. The production of isuch tones con- 
stantly in exercise will, in the course of time, ripen into a 
fixed habit, and will • intraduce itself into other exercises of 
the voice, and will blend itself with them. The nerves and 
muscles about the throat — the organs of speech — become 
influenced in such a way in the exertion of frequently pro- 
ducing such tones, that they at length receive an inclination, 
formation, or curve, adapted to the yielding of them. The 
act of producing them in the grave and important business 
of speaking on the active stage of life, ailer having habitually 
repeated them in exercises adopted merely for the purposes 
of training the voice, will be similar to the act of transferring 
by a sportsman that precise degree of accuracy which he may 
liave acquired in the exercise of shooting at a mark, to the 
practical business of shooting at living objects. For the organs 
of speech, like other materials in nature which yield under the 
force of pressure which may be exerted upon them, are ex- 
panded and rendered flexible by the stress of the voice being 
frequently brought to bear upon them ; and when a certain 
inflexion or curvature of the organs of speech is caused by 
the force applied in producing a melodious tone of voice, that 
same inflexion, curvature, or yielding of the organs of speech 
will occur again, whenever the same measure of force shall 


be brought to bear upon them, and consequently the sweet 
tone or sound will follow as the result, until it shall become 
as mechanical as any tune produced on the fiute or violin. 

The perplexing diflfiiculty which meets a great proportion 
of speakers at the very threshold Of their exertions in speak- 
ing, is what appears to be on some occasions a level surface, 
and on other occasions a convex sur&ce about the root of 
the tongue, that prevents him, let him exert himself as he 
may, in sounding the voice, from producing deep, full, and 
swelling tones. At l)is early essays in speaking, the inevita- 
ble product of the student's voicd, will be superficial notes. 

The speaker, under the experience of the preceding diffi- 
culties, eagerly covets a hollow space, or concave sur&ce in 
that portion of the throat, about the root of the tongue, 
which will afford room for creating and sending forth deep, 
mellow, and full tones, in the business of speaking. What 
will appear to a practitioner or pupil, to be a cavity or hol- 
low about the root of the tongue, will be produced by along 
perseverance in exercising his voice with its utmost strength, 
on the most elevated key in declamation, and in singing. 
Which exercises should be invariably followed by exercises 
on the middle and lower keys, in order to blend softness 
with depth and strength in the tones of the voice. 

The pupil will find exercises on the high key of the voice, 
almost universally followed by an apparent deepening or 
concave curvation of the surface, about the root of the 
tongue. But this sense of hollowness will disappear, and 
will not become permanent in its duration, until it shall be 
habitually contracted from a long perseverance in practicing 
the voice on the highest key. 

And whilst the subject of full and swelling sounds of the 
voic^ is under consideration, it may not prove a culpable 
expenditure of time, to suggest to the pupil, that the voice 
is qualified to produce full and melodious sounds in their 
greatest perfection, by fluently exerdsing it on the highest 


key. But sounds of this description are rarely if ever 
yielded in perfection by the voice, in the article of being 
trained on the high key. Full and sweUing sounds are yield- 
ed in their best form, and in their utmost reach and exten- 
sion, when the voice is pitched on the natural or middle key, 
and exerted on that key. The notes produced by the voice, 
when exerted on its highest key, are too sharp to admit of 
fulness or sofbiess. Hence follows the necessity of practic- 
ing the voice frequently on the middle or natural key, in 
order to render the production of full and swelling sounds, 
a permanent accomplishment or property of the voice. 

If the voice of a speaker should habitually yield feeble, 
effeminate, or treble notes in speaking, the practitioner or 
pupn mjay remedy this Refect, and render the voice more 
masculine and energetic in its tones, by exercising it with 
frequency, on the high key in declamation and in song, by 
hallooing loudly when in the depths of the forest, or the re- 
tirement of the fields, and by putting in requisition the vari- 
ous exercises which have been prescribed in this work. 

The question is ofben propounded, whether a voice natu- 
rally extended in its compass, and soft and musical in its tones, 
can be improved by an application of the rules of art. 
There is no proposition more true, than that a voice of this 
description may be improved by culture and discipline, and 
it is an affirmation equally true, that even a very superior 
voice requires the assistance of art, to perfect its powers. 
The voice, in this respect, is like the limbs of the body. 
One individual may throw another an immense distance be- 
hind him in a foot race, and yet in dancing, or in any other 
exercise of the limbs which might be perfected by the ap- 
plication of art and skill, the person thus distanced in a foot 
race, would perhaps surpass his elastic and nimble-footed 
neighbor, so far as to shame him into insignificance. So 
great is the efficacy of science, practice, and method, in reg- 
ulating, and in disposing to advantage, the functions of the 


human frame. The result of discipline and cultivation, will 
be found as perceptible in relation to the finest human voice. 
Unregulated and uncultivated music, melody, and softness, 
in a human voice, may be appreciated for the agreeable in- 
tonations which the combination of these qualities in one 
voice will be likely to produce. And a sparkling eye, a 
crimson cheek, and regular features, planted by nature in a 
rustic face, will excite pleasing sensations in the breast of a 
beholder. But to invest such qualities in the human &ce 
with that just measure of power and influence which they 
are capable of yielding, they must receive their crowning 
graces and finishing touches from the hand of art. It is thus 
with the human voice. Its inherent possession of the prop- 
erties of softness and melody, without the ability to give a 
specific application or direction to these advantages, accord- 
ing to the pleasure of their possessor, renders them, to some 
extent, vain and nugatory gifts. Even the wild birds of 
song may be enabled, under the influence of care and cul- 
ture, to yield sweeter and more varied notes.. What incal- 
culably greater benefits must the voice of man derive from 
culture, when he, in his highest state of development, is the 
noblest and proudest monument of cultivation and art. A 
large proportion of those who contemplate devoting their 
lives to the business of speaking, appear to repose with a 
spirit of perfect contentment on the conviction that their ac- 
complishments in elocution are fully developed and complet- 
ed by the instructions on that subject which are incidentally 
imparted to students during an academic or collegiate ca« 
reer. This supposition is as shadowy as it would be to sup* 
pose that a student of divinity, law, or medicine, was per- 
fected in either of these sciences, by the preliminary lessons 
which might be received under the roof of a preceptor. 
The discipline received in either of the professional sciences, 
firom a preceptor, may be regarded in the light of a porch 
of entry to a temple, in wldi^ the most precious and occult 

20 nrTRODUCTKar. 

myst^ies were concealed. The instruction received by a 
student on the subject of elocution during a college course, 
is not designed by those who administer the instruction, to 
be final to any greater ^extent than that which is communicat- 
ed in the various other branches of education. Elocution, 
as it is usually taught in colleges, is merely incidental. It 
is rarely taught as a distinct branch of education, in which a 
professor is to devote his whole time and taints to the cul- 
tivation of the style and manner of a pupil in delivering a 
speech. Most universities are liberally provided with the 
means of instruction in the department of rhetoric. But 
here the beauties of diction are cultivated to the almost en- 
tire exclusion of that ample and imremitted care which 
should be bestowed on the voice and actiom It is not de- 
nied that the instructions given during a college course, pos- 
sess their efficacy in giving the general principles of the art 
of speaking. But if the seeds are permitted to perish dnd 
decay in the ground, without subsequent and continued cul- 
ture, the labors thus expended upon the pupil, are worse 
than thrown away. Unless he yields as devoted a share of 
attention to the voice and manner, amidst the active duties 
of life, as he does to his intellectual interests, he never will 
attain the maximum of his powers as a speaker. 

The general course of remarks pursued in this introduc 
tion, might incline the reader to believe that the voice and 
the action of a speaker, the physical agencies employed in 
the business of speaking, had received an exclusive share of 
attention in the chapters which are comprehended in this 
work. This is so &r from being the case, that we think it 
may be safely assumed that much the larger proportion of 
the ensuing pages have been devoted to a consideration of 
those branches of the business of speaking, which require thp 
expenditure of thought and the application of what may be 
deemed pure intellection. It is true the voice has been 
extensively considered, but this important agent in the ao- 


oomplishment of speaking, lias been heretofore so muoih 
neglected both by public speakers themselyes, and in the 
works devoted to the subject of elocution, that we could not 
consent to dispose of it with an exposition less elaborate and 
minute than has been displayed ^ our treatment of it 

And in conclusion it may be truly said, that the student 
in elocution is lured by the brightest and holiest incentives 
to tread with an elastic and un&ultering step the path which 
leads to the steep but radiant summit of oratorical renown. 
He is stimulated by the growing demands of his country for 
speakmg talent in every department of her service. He is 
stimulated to advancement by the fresh fields for the exer- 
tion and display of oratorical accomplishments, which are 
opening in rapid succession in every part of the world. 
He is prompted to a perfect development of his powers 
by a prospect of the incalculable benefits which may possibly 
flow from the future employment of his faculties in advo- 
cating the interests of religion, of peace, of science, liter- 
ature, and all the varied and endearing objects which are 
inscribed on the extended catalogue of human interests. He 
is encouraged to persevere in the race of improvement, by 
the precious rewards which will gather on his path from 
the commencement of his career until he shall attain the 
goal of glory. He is encouraged to press forward in his ap- 
proaches to the heights of celebrity, by the example of those 
names which shine as conspicuously as the brightness of a 
star on the long and shadowy expanse of past ages, and who 
trampled in the dust of the earth, with a proud and triumph- 
ant spirit the most startling' difficulties which accosted 
them in their march. And he is invited to persevering 
exertion by the cheering light of those noble and ethereal 
spirits, who, on the American continent, have encountered 
the force of every billow, the anger of every surge, and the 
fury of every tempest, in passing over the sea of difficulty to 


reach the bright landscape of promise which they finally 
enjoyed as orators and statesmen, and whose memory now 
sttuids revealed to the contemplation of the American peo- 
ple, like the roses in the sky, after the parting be^ms of the 
sun have disappeared. • 



If a person is endowed by nature with a voice of full com- 
pass and melody, the usual exercises in declamation which 
pertain to the system of collegiate and academic discipline 
prevalent in this country, will exert a highly-improving 
influence on the speaker. But the great mass of human 
beings require an attention to the voice vastly greater than 
that which is aflbrded by the. field of collegiate culture. The 
voice of but few persons, unaided by contmued attention, will 
ever arrest the attention of the listener on account of the 
special beauty and melody of its tones. Many voices are 
what we would classify as indifferent, having no pecidiarity 
either of excellence or deficiency. The voice, too, in some in- 
stances, is decidedly disagreeable, either on account of the 
monotony of its tones, the screeching character of its enunci- 
ation, its hoarseness, or its utter incapacity for cadence or 
modulation of sounds. 

In every instance where the voice of the speaker is either 
indifferent or disagreeable, it does not execute the functions 
for which it was designed by nature ; and it requires in such 
cases a degree of culture as sedulous to develop its inherent 
capabilities as the human mind itself. On this subject, per- 
haps, there is a more pervasive degree of ignorance prevailing, 
than on any other which is so intimately associated with the 
best interests of the human race. Those to whose professions 
and duties public speaking may pertain in life, are inclined to 


believe that nature itself has done all for the voice which is 
necessary to its uses, and that it will serve as an intelligible 
medium through which their ideas may be conveyed to the 
world, and that nothing more can be done, or is^equired to 
be done. And it is by the happening of a combination of 
circumstances apparently fortuitous in their character, or by 
the providential interposition of some friend who possesses an 
enlightened experience on the subject of the human voice, that 
a person is usually awakened to a just perception of the vast, 
we may affirm indefinite, susceptibilities of the human voice 
to improvement from continued culture. 

Every person who has enjoyed an ordinary share of 
experience in the practice of speaking, will apprehend the 
justness of the preceding remarks, in the comparative in- 
fluence and effect exerted by his own efibrts at different 
times. He will at times anticipate a rich and brilliant 
harvest of admiration and plaudits from the immensity of 
his preparations and the plenitude of the resources which 
he knows he will be enabled to bring to bear on the subject 
before him. His mortification will be frequently propor- 
tioned in its intensity to the vividness of his previous expec- 
tations, at the perfection of his disappointment. What was 
intended and expected to be the music of eloquence, falls in 
lifeless and futile accents from the lips of the speaker. Not 
a syllable of commendation is uttered — ^the audience has not 
been wooed into a breathless silence by the speaker ; and 
perhaps the current of expectation, which flowed with so 
much fervor a few minutes before, is frozen in its channel, 
by commentaries on the length of the speech, on the intro- 
duction of topics whidi had nothing to do with the question 
discussed, or the culpable omission of others which were 
vitally essential to its fidr exposition. The same person has 
been perhaps regaled with miracles of achievement and Tap- 
tares of applause where he cherished but little interest in the 
disposition of the subject debated, and where his preparation 


had been culpably superficial. The solution of this apparent 
capriciousness in the admiration and taste of the public, may 
be infallibly traced to the varying powers of execution in the 
speaker himself. Where his mental preparation was com- 
mensurate with the occasion, his vocal functions did not act 
in unison with the powers of thought. When his treasury 
of thought had been lightly taxed, his machinery of utterance 
had invested poverty of language and feebleness of argument 
with the deceptive glare of artificial beauty. The same pecu- 
liarity is recognized in the varied effects attendant on efforts 
in the department of music. The skilful votary of science 
turns over leaf after leaf in the volume of his printed melo- 
dies, and plays off his piece with the glibness of well-oiled 
machinery, without having omitted the minutest dot, cross, 
or bar which enters into the composition of the piece. The 
universal exclamation is, alas! how insipid. Another per- 
former takes up the same piece of music who is vastly 
inferior in point of science to ihe first, but who is competent 
to draw forth the latent treasures of sound from the instru- 
ment, and he discourses his audience into ecstacies. 



As the effect and power of a speaker depends, in a very 
great degree, upon the intonations of the voice in the deliv- 
ery of a speech, address, or argument of any description, it 
is an achievement of incalculable importance, in the field of 
elocution, to acquire some specific tone of enunciation, which 
shall be peculiar to the person himself — that is, he should 
adopt it as an inflexible rule of action, to acquire some fixed 
mode of music in the matter of enunciation, into which he 



may easily and inevitably glide on every occasioir, ^hen he 
participates in speaking, just as a graceful dancer &lls natu- 
rally into his own peculiar mode of dancing, whenever he 
passes through the evolutions of a dance, or as a charming 
vocalist, whenever he raises his voice in song, slides as easily 
^into his own particular style of singing, as the hand falls to 
the side of the human frame, when it has been elevated for 
any particular object or purpose. 

It may appear to an unpracticed ear in such matters, to be 
an unique expression, to apply the term music to the subject 
of elocution or oratory. But an axiom of any kind does not 
suggest the idea of greater iiitrmsio certainty, than the propo- 
sition that every successful or engaging speaker has a style 
or intonation in speaking, which may be denominated his 
own peculiar music. For unless lie grafts this special prop- 
erty upon his oratory, it will present no definite quality or 
characteristic, and whenever he commences the performance 
of speaking, he will have a tendency to fall into the ever- 
shifting varieties of indifferent and imperfect enunciation. 

A large proportion of those who speak from the pulpit, from 
the hustings, amid the pursuits of the bar, and in the delib- 
erative assemblies of the country, may be truly said to pos- 
sess no generic style of music or of intonation in speaking. 
They invest their hearers with the possession of their intel- 
lectual wares, just as a Saturday-night fiddler at a rustic 
dance puts his patrons in possession of his resources of mu- 
sic, by a profuse expenditure of physical exertion. The 
legitimate fruit of this want of style and tune in speaking, is 
that the speech made by a' speaker on any particular occa- 
sion, is only recollected by the hearers as such, some pure 
particles of intellectual gold, which are drawn forth from 
the mind of the speaker by the exigencies of the occasion 
are treasured up in the memory of the audience as incidents 
distinct from the speech ; but the effort itself, as an integral 
thing, leaves no fragrant or pleasing reminiscences in its train. 


Whilst sitting in the gallery of the House of Re|)rosenta- 
tives, some years since, our attention was engaged, amidbt a 
wilderness of uninteresting debaters, by one whose delivLry 
was peculiarly fine in its mould, and on fixing our ob- 
servation steadily upon the speaker, we noticed that the 
same agreeable sensation which was imparted to our own 
breast by the speaker, had also been communicated to 
others, for the members of Congress were collecting in a 
dense group around him. This attraction exerted by the 
speaker, was purely the result of intonation, and it earned 
for him the highest honors of the house, unaided by any 
peculiar powers of ratiocination. For though imbued with 
the elegancies of ^lassie lore, he was fortified by no giant 
energies of mind. 

We once saw 'that great master of the music of the 
human voice, Henry Clay, followed in an address by one 
of the most celebrated speakers in the southwest, and not- 
withstanding the speedi of the last-mentioned speaker was 
embellished with the varied gems which sparkle in the 
treasury of science, history and poetry, his enunciation fell 
upon the ear like the croaking of the raven after the dul- 
cet strains which preceded it. The two addresses appeared 
side by side in one of the" city journals a day or two after- 
wards, and though the speech of Mr. Clay was not deficient 
in beauty of phrase, yet we thought its literary features pre- 
sented a quiet aspect in juxtaposition to the gorgeous deco- 
rations which marked the production of his associate. 

And it may be here affirmed, that the peculiar charm of 
Mr. Clay's intonations of voice, was neither a casual nor a 
natural accomplishment, it was perfected and secured by the 
enduring application of all the aids derived from retired and 
public practice in the art of declamation, and from a studi- 
ous and vigilant observation of the best living models in the 
accomplishment of speaking. This representation is not 
based simply upon some popular tradition^ which is incapa- 

28 ErFBcnvB sttle op deliveey. 

ble of Joeing traced to any definite source, but is fortified by 
the declarations of the possessor of these rare graces himseli^ 
on some literary occasion, though the occasion itself is not 
distinctly remembered. Yet when admired in the perfec- 
tion and maturity of his unrivalled perfections as a speaker, 
he was regarded as a partial recipient of the beneficent en- 
dowments of nature. His elevated reach of intellect, it is 
certain that nature gave, but the aggrandizing medium 
through which his intellect was surveyed, was the fruit of 
persevering personal labor. 



There is rarely a person who has bestowed any atten- 
tion on the mode and manner of speaking in others, but who 
has found his admiration on some particular occasions, fired 
with raptures by the inimitable beauties exhibited by some 
speaker in the matter of delivery. Many speakers also, 
who are not distinguished for a habitual or uniform excel- 
lence in the performance of delivering a speech, will at times, 
under the influence of some casual combination of circum- 
stances, display a music and power of intonation in speak- 
ing, which will excite both the astonishment of the speaker 
himself, and that of his acquaintances. 

Now, whether the beauty of iiftonation in the matter of 
delivering a speech; to which we hav^ just referred, has 
been recognized in another speaker, or whether a person, 
contrary to his current experience, has been favored in find- 
ing this beauty of intonation unexpectedly connected with 


his own speaking on some isolated occasion, it is a definite^ 
fixed, and subsisting quality or property, like that of music > 
'or language, which may be acquired — which may be ma- 
tured into a fixed habit — which is transferable, if .the beau- 
ty of delivery has been noticed and admired in another — 
and which may be identified, seized, and rendered available 
to a speaker himsell^ if it has unexpectedly communicated a 
charm to his own E^>eaking, on some particular occasion. 

The person who has been smitten by peculiar beauties of 
intonation on any occasion, whether that beauty character- 
ized his own effort, or that of another speaker, will frequently 
find it difficult afterwards to identify and to reduce to a spe- 
cific personification, the precise qualities or beauties of sound 
in the particular speech or speaker which forcibly engaged 
his admiration. The effort to personify and bring a matter ' 
of this kind practically and visibly to the memory, so that 
the person desiring it, may give a taste or sample of the 
peculiar intonation to another, is similar to the efibrt to per- 
sonify and bring up to the memory some favorite tune or 
air, which a performer would play off immediately, if it 
were only made known to him by the procesi^ of whistling 
or singing. 

But however difficult it may be to revive the recollection 
of special beauties of intonation or delivery, so that the pu- 
pil may imitate or repeat the precise intonation when he 
wishes it, yet it may be accomplished, and that unfailingly, 
where the requisite attention is yielded to the subject. The 
best mode of commanding the specific mode of intonation 
when required, is to revolve the matter over and over in the 
mind, just as one exerts his memory to recollect a name, or 
some particular tune; and the personification of the specific 
beauty of intonation demanded, will (after persevering ef- 
forts to catch it) arise to the memory vividly. The object 
then should be to paint the impression of the particular in- 
tonation which the speaker admires, enduringly on the tab- 


lets of his memory, by keeping the invisible entity contin- 
ually before his memory by reflection, by declaiming it ex- 
tempore, and by connecting the precise intonation with the 
reading of some particular speech. 

The student in elocution may apprehend in some degree, 
the certainty with which an excellent mode of speaking may 
be grafted upon his voice, by referring to the instances in 
which he has seen persons of a curious or grotesque enunci- 
ation in ordinary conversation, successfully imitated by ob- 
servers of a mirthful and comic turn of mind. Imitations 
of this description are frequently accomplished with such a 
punctilious degree of accuracy, that persons in an adjoining 
room to that in which the mimic is stationed, will suppose 
with surprise, that acquaintances are present; who may be 
then at some distant locality. On other occasions, an assem- 
bly will be sustained in shouts of merriment for a consider- 
able space of time, by well conducted imitations of persons 
who are characterized by vocal peculiarities. Another illus- 
tration of the perfect competency of the student to acquire 
the excellencies of intonation, is the fecility with which he 
sometimes involuntarily imbibes the defective traits in the 
enunciation of a^ preacher, or a public speaker of any profess- 
ion whatever, whom he often hears. He will sometimes 
detect a nasal or a drawling tone in his coUoquial exercises, 
or some defective pronunciation of a word, which, on reflec- 
tion, he will be enabled immediately to trace to some speak- 
er that he has been in the habit of listening to. 

It is true that valuable and agreeable peculiarities in speech, 
like those in music, are more diflicult of acquisition than im- 
perfections and defects. But still the certainty with which 
defects may be imitated by exertion, demonstrates infallibly 
the certainty of acquiring excellencies by the application of 
persevering exertion. 



The first duty of a pupil in elocution, who may be desir- 
ous of acquiring a faculty of perfect intonation, is to cast 
about his recollection amongst the public speakers of the 
country, and to select amongst them that which has proved 
itself the best and most engaging intonation. Or if there be 
any peculiar tone or music of enunciation which has occurred 
to his own taste, as possessing high beauties and advantages, 
let him select that as his model of style, in what may be 
termed the music of speaking, and make it his own. 

To reduce a particular style of intonation into possession, 
and to command the use of it when he chooses, there is one 
method of discipline which will as certainly achieve this ob- 
ject for a pupil as it is for the sparks to ascend upwards, 
when an explosion of any sort occurs. Let him select some 
speech or address remarkable for the brevity of its sentences 
and for the smoothness of its style, and let him adopt it as 
his daily habit to read the particular speech or address until 
he can read or declaim it just as he chooses to speak it. 
He should peruse, reperuse the particular speech or address, 
until he can give his voice any degree of elevation or depress- 
ion he pleases in speaking the different sentences in it, so 
that he may accentuate each word in a sentence distinctly, 
and assign to each word in the sentence its proper emphasis. 
He should then read over the particular speech or address, until 
the whole production becomes set or tuned to the music of his 
voice. Afler this important preliminary has been achieved, he 
should then, when he takes up this, speech or address, early 
in the morning, or at midday, or at whatever time he selects 
for commencing the speaking of it, fix in his mind the style 


of enunciation or iiitonation which he has chosen as his habit- 
ual music of speech, just as a leader in the music of a band 
or choir brings up to his mind the particular or fitvorite 
tune in sacred music, which he intends to raise for the con- 
gregation to follow in or unite with him in singing. He 
should run over the first sentence of the speech mentally, and 
blend the particular mode of intonation or style of music, 
with the sentence, before he utters a word audibly. He 
should then gently repeat the first sentence or two so as to per- 
ceive whether or not he. can communicate to them the par- 
ticular intonation, sound or style in speaking, which he de- 
sires. When he discovers that he has succeeded in this 
point by repeating the first sentence or two, let him add a 
third and other additional sentences in the speech, taking 
great care to preserve the style of intonation he began with, 
through the whole speech, or such portion of it as he may 
choose to read, declaim, or speak at the time. If a pupil will 
adopt this mode of acquiring a desirable intonation or style 
of music in speaking, and practice it several times in each 
day, or even once every day, he may, without doubt, com- 
mand any mode of intonation or style of enunciation in speak- 
ing he chooses, ^ 

The simplicity and practicability of this formula of prac- 
tice, may be explained by reference to performances in vocal 
music. Every person '\rho is at all fitmiliar with the prac- 
tice of singing, knows that a vocalist will be able to blend a 
tune with much greater &cility with a hymn whidi he has 
sung often in connection with that particular musical com- 
position, than he can any other tune. The intcmations of the 
voice, by being frequently combined in a particular arrange- 
ment or organization of sound with the particular hymn, song, 
or composition, by habit is so disciplined or broke as to cor- 
respond, after the necessary amount of practice, with the 
language, measure, pauses, breaks and time contained in the 
selected pi^oe of music. 


Thus it ifl in regard to any partieular qieech or address 
which a speaker daily reads or declaims, his Toice by habit 
gradually becomes attuned to the words and to the particu- 
lar measure of the sentences in it, so as to attain a great de- 
gree of flexibility and ease in repeating it over. So much is 
this the ease, that the pupil or &^>eaker will, after a term of 
practice, be enabled to speak it with any intonation or style 
he chooses. 





Is presenting the view whidi is designed to be unfolded in 
this chapter, it may be premised that the starring impedi- 
ment to a production of deep and musical tones which 
meets almost every beginner in speaking at the early stages 
of his career, is what appears at one time to be too level a 
sur&ce about the toot of the tongue, and on other occasions 
a sur&ee of too mudi convexity, to admit of the production 
of deep, full, and melodious tones in speaking. And this is 
a sensation^ in speaking which will be experienced in some 
•degree through life, unless it shall be corrected and removed 
by the creation oi what will appear to the speaker himself 
to be a hollow or concave sur&ce about Ihe root of the 
tongue, by a p^severing exerdse of the voice on the highest 
key in declamation or in music, or in both, if he chooses to 
adopt them. 

When the pupil, in the morning of life, is discouraged in 
all his first attempts to speak, by that perpetual obstacle to 
the creation of musical soundii which exists in what appears 
to be too level, too convex, or too unyielding a sur&ce about 



the root of the tongue to admit of the fonnatioa of agreeable 
and melodious sounds, the young aspirant pants for a hollow 
space or concave surface at the root of the tongue, almost 
with the same intensity of desire with which a subject of the 
nightmare covets a channel for free respiration. The pupil 
wants more room or depth of space about the root of the 
tongue, in which to create and forge melodious, full, and 
musical sounds. 

The room, hollow space, or concave surface about the root 
of the tongue, which may be regarded by the pupil or begin- 
ner in speaking as essential to the creation of deep, musical, 
and full tones of voice, is produced by that tension or stretch- 
ing of the muscles about the throat which is imposed upon 
that portion of the machinery of speech by exerting the voice 
habitually with its utmost strength on the highest key in 
declamation and in music. 

Immediately after the voice shall have been exerted on a 
very high key, either in music or in declamation, the pupil 
will feel as if the whole pressure of the exercise had been 
brought to bear upon the ro6t of the tongue, or on that por- 
tion of the organs of sound near the root of that member. 
The portion of the throat about the root of the tongue, after 
the pressure exerted by the act of singing or declamation 
shall have been removed, appears as if it had yielded consid- 
erably to the exercise, and that it had sunk lower down under 
the stress which had been imposed upon it. . In a few mo- 
ments, too, after the pressure exerted upon the organs of 
speech shall have been removed from what appears to the 
performer to be the root of the tongue, he will find the 
voice to be in much better tune or condition to utter 
deep sounds and to accentuate and emphasize correctly. The 
pupil will also find, when the voice shall have enjoyed a brief 
interval of rest, after the pressure first spoken of has been 
removed from what his physical senses indicate to be the 
root of the tongue, that it will be more full, dear, and deep 


than usuat, and that he can both read and speak with more 

than his habitual clearness of note. The root of the tongue 
will seem either to have receded or sunk lower down in 
the throat, under the influence of the exercbes which have 
been referred to in the early part of this chapter. 

But whether it be the root of the tongue that is acted upon 
in the exercise of dedaiming or singing on a high key, which 
produces that expansion or deepening of the organs of speech 
that renders them more competent, to produce with ease 
deep, full, and swelling sounds, and which invests them in a 
more perfect degree with the faculties of modulation, articu- 
lation, and accentuation ; one thing is certain, that the person 
performing in music or declamation on a key of great eleva- 
tion, will feel, when the exercise has ceased, that greater room 
than before has been afforded about the root of the tongue 
for the exercise of speaking ; and it is also certain, that it is 
the very expansion which is thus felt about the root of the 
tongue immediately after severe exercises in singing or 
declamation, which gives depth and compass to the voice, 
when the expansion shall have become habitual, by repeated 
and persevering exercise. And wherever the voice may be 
formed, whether it be in the glottis, or still lower in the 
throat, if the pupil himself should feel that the voice is bene- 
ficially affected by a pressure which shall be apparently 
brought to bear upon the root of the tongue, although it may 
in fact be brought to bear elsewhere, and yet lower down in 
the throat, it is enough if the student feels that the benefit is 
produced by pressure exerted upon the root of the member 
in question ; for he will know that he is laboring ^r the 
improvement of his voice with some returns of benefit to 
himself although he may not be able to designate with tech- 
nical accuracy what particular portions of the organs of 
speech are particularly affected by his disciplinary exercises. 
If a patient who is afflicted with a chronic disease of the liver, 
shall find that a p^n in his lefb side is greatly alleviated by 


the daily applicati<»i of a brush to that side, a physician 
would be regarded as very unfaithful to his trust, if he should 
prohibit to the diseased person the use of his brush, because 
he might not be able to specify, with professional and tech- 
nical accuracy, that part of the vitals which had been bene- 
ficially influenced by the application of the brush. 

Every system of instruction touching the^rmation of the 
human voice, concedes the point that all deep sounds of the 
voice are formed £ir down in the throat, and that they are ac- 
companied by a much greater tension of the muscles about 
the throat than common or c<Miversational tones which ap- 
pear to come from the lips. And the pupil or performer 
certainly feds immediately after having exercised his voice 
on a high key, that the organs about the root of the tongue 
have given way, to some extent, under the pressure exerted 
upon them, and that the voice immediately afterwards is 
formed much lower down the throat than it previously was. 

An accomplished writer on the subject of elocution in 
referring to the exertion of the organs of speech in producing 
deep tones or sounds of the voice, expresses the following 
views : — ^ This peculiar voice (referring to the deeper tones) 
when it is adapted to the expression of what is solemn, grand, 
and exciting, is formed in those parts of the mouth posterior 
to the palate, bounded below by the root of the tongue, above 
by the commencement of the palate, behind by the most pos- 
terior part of the throat, and on the sides by the angles of ' 
the jaw. The tongue, .in the meantime, is hollowed and 
drawn back ; ^ and the mouth is opened in such a manner as 
to favor as much as possible the enlargement of the cavity 
described." The same lecturer observes in the same con- 
nection, " that the deeper formation of the voice is the secret 
of that peculiar tone which is found in orators and actors 
of celebrity." 




In the view of the human voice which was presented in the 
chapter immediately preceding this, (the proposition was in- 
cluded,) that the deeper tones of the voice are formed at a 
point of some depth in tl^e throat. It sometimes happens 
that the Acuity of sounding such tones is a natural endow- 
ment. But this is an event of rare occurrence. The original 
inclination of the human voice is, almost universally, to the 
production of superficial tones — ^those whidh appear to pro- 
ceed from the lips, and in the formation of which the throat 
of the speaker appears to have no ^ency whatever. 

It is by the adoption and daily application of disciplinary 
exercises to the organs of speech, that the capacity for utter- 
tering the deep and musical notes is acquired, and it is by a 
tenacious adherence to these ^cerdses that they are preserved 
in perfection. 

Much the greatest number of those who have charmed the 
world on the dramatic^ boards, and on the yet more sacred 
theatres for the employment of the &culty of speech, were 
originally endowed with a very slender share of vocal attrac- 
tions. It was by a martyr-like submission to the most 
taxing, laborious, and continued disciplinary measures, that 
they grafted upon their voices the eloquence of sound. And 
these remarks apply as truly to those who have delighted 
eager assemblies by their accomplishments in music, as to 
those who have borne away captive multitudes by the seduc- 
tive infiuence of eloquence in speech. They have almost 
universally commenced life with the conviction vividly 


painted on their minds, that they had to draw on the treas- 
ury of art for the great faculty of interesting and pleasing 
the world. 

And, after all which has been said or written on the subject 
of the secret power of charming an audience which may be 
possessed by accomplished tragedians, the whole of this ex- 
uberant spring of attraction may be dearly recognized in 
the superior depth of theif voices. It- is in this quality, 
simlar to a wand of magic, that the creative principle of 
power may be fi>und, which draws tears from the eyes of 
the heartless, shouts from the lips of the dumb, action from 
the limbs of the halt, aad laughter from the stoical amongst 
the multitude. 

It may not be denied that when depth of tone may be 
once acquired for the human voice by the application of the 
exercises which have been prescribed by the intelligent ex- 
perience of the world, that other excellencies may be added 
to this prolific source of power. Its softness may be increas- 
ed, its capacity for receiving the necessary inflexions is ex- 
tended, its power of modulation will be improved, and its 
competency for the important duties of accentuation and em- 
phasizing will be greatly heightened. 

But all these &culties are the precious progeny of that 
prolific parent, depth of sound in the voice. They depend on 
that precious property in the voice, as truly as the leaves and 
the fruit depend upon the parent tree. Blend that quality with 
the voice, and all other graces will be spontaneously added, 
obliterate that estimable feature, and they will decay and 

The very term, superficial sound, is at variance with the 
idea of music, flexibility, and sofhiess. That quality, where 
it predominates, is an insuperable bar to grateful notes in 
instrumental music, and it is an impediment equally as for- 
midable to engaging performances in the sphere of the voice. 

The first duty of every person then, who desires to convert 


the voice into a spring of power and celebrity, is to displace 
its superficial tones, by grafting upon it those of greater 
depth. And this will not prove the work of an hour or a 
day. Like every creation of art and labor which is highly 
appreciated by mankind, or which wields a commanding 
share of influence over the progress of human af&irs, it is 
the fruit of persevering labor. 

The pupil will be apt to suppose, after he has taken his 
earliest lessons in that system of training for the human 
voice which is recommended in this work, that the depth of 
tone which may be so eagerly sought, will never assert its 
presence. The voice will appear deeper and clearer, imme- 
diately after it shall have been exercised on a high key, ei- 
ther in declamation or in vocal music. But that apparent 
depth will give way in a short time to what may appear to 
be sounds of the voice, hopelessly and incurably superficial. 

But let not the pupil despond or despair. That transient 
depth of tone and clearness of note which is almost certain 
to succeed every exercise of the voice on an elevated key, 
by the persevering use of intelligent training, will be ulti- 
mately ripened into a permanent faculty. 

And an ample stream of encouragement flows from the 
fact, that the most prolific sources of vocal melody which 
have ever charmed the world, were opened and supplied 
by the culture of art. Similar to those beneficent and prod- 
igal soils, which have been raised by labor and art upon the 
surface of rocky and sterile deserts, the notes which are 
grafted by art upon harsh and discordant voices, are those 
which yield the most bountiful and grateful returns of music 
to the world. 

And the pupil should not be affected by surprise or pained 
by discouragement at the tardiness of the process by which 
deep and musical tones are acquired. If it be a natural ten- 
dency of the voice (which it is in a majority of cases) to 
emit superficial and unmusical tones, this, like other consti- 


tutional properties or conformations, requires time and labor 
to remove it, and to substitute a faculty for differ^t and 
more desirable tones. For all natural properties of the hu- 
man system are difficult to deface. 

But the very sensation which is experienced about the roof 
of the mouth, about the root of the tongue, and about the 
muscles of the throat, when a pupil in elocution is passing 
through the process of exercising his voice on a key of great 
elevation, satisfactorily discloses to his own judgment that 
an operation is then in progress, which will eventually qual- 
ify his organs of speech jR>r the production of deep and full 
tones. This exercise will reveal to him the fact that the 
vocal machinery is subjected to the principle of t^ision or 
stretching, which will not only afford more room in the pos- 
terior portion of the mouth and throat, for the utterance of 
deep and musical tones, but which also renders the muscles 
about the tongue and throat more nimble and flexible in the 
creation of sounds of any description. 

The influence exerted upon the muscles and membranes 
about the tongue and throat, by the intense pressure of sound 
upon them oflen repeated, seems to him who experiences this 
pressure, like that which is imparted to the covering of a 
drum by the stress of the fingers upon it. The covering of 
a drum will yield but little to the pressure when applied the 
first time ; and when the finger is removed, the covering will 
resume its level sur&ce — ^no trace of the finger beii)g visible 
upon it. But when the finger, or any other solid substance, 
sha^l be repeatedly and perseveringly applied to the covermg 
of the drum, it will become more and more yielding, until 
at last it will become flexible to a very slight application of 
the finger. Thus it is with the organs of speech : the impress- 
ion made upon them by the earliest exercises in declamation 
and in s(mg, no matter how stretching and straining these 
exercises may be, will seem exceedingly transient in their 


But when the OTgaoB of gpeecfa shall be subjected to sharp 
and straining exercises, often repeated for a considerable 
length of time, they at length begin to yield to this continu- 
ally-repeated pressure of the voice upon them, they become 
divested of their stiffiiess and rigidity^ and receive that flexi- 
ble and elastic nature which places them completely under 
the coi^trol of theur possessor. 

And is it at all strange that the organic machinery by 
which the voice is formed should yield to the pressure of 
sound continually and repeatedly brought to bear upon iti 
Even the hardest rocks are worn and hollowed out, after 
years shall have passed away, by the conthiued but gentle 
attrition of water upon their surface. Is it a proposition 
more formidable to the belief, to suggest that the functions 
of speedi may be rounded, incurvated, or rendered more 
hollow by the^continued attrition of sound upon them 1 

Sound is as much an agent as water, although it may not 
be as visible, tangible, and operative to the senses as that 
element. It is the force of the breath continually brought 
to bear upon a spongy surface of mere flesh, blood, and 
muscles, whidb is a much more pliant and manageable sur- 
face than that of stone. 

But the plain and substantive fact, that at the conmience- 
ment of a system of disciplinary training, Hie voice of a pupil 
or beginner is found to emanate from the lips outwards, and 
that the same voice is found issuing from a posterior point 
to the root of the tongue or in the depths of the throat, at the 
termination of six months afterwards, is a fact which supplies 
a much more nourishing aliment to the human &ith on this 
subject, than any reasoning which may be aflR>rded by specu- 
lations merely theoretic in their character. 

The great object of the pupil, then, in commencing any 
systematic effi>rts to train the organs of speech, should be 
to deepen the voice ; that is, he should so stretch the muscles 
about the throat or root of the tongue, by daily exercise, as 


to form the voice deeper in the throat than it was natural 
for him to do. This is the simple but punctual performance 
through which he is summoned to pass. And the simple 
&ct, that no person has patiently worshipped at the shrine 
of labor, in search of vocal improvement, without reaping 
the reward of success, whilst it stifles the voice of cavil, 
is qualified to waken into life the stoutest exertions of the 

Another symptom of difficulty in forming deep and musical 
notes which is experienced both by speakers and vocalists, 
is what appears to be a stricture or tightness about that 
portion of the throat which is adjacent to the root of the 

This tightness in the integuments or muscles about that 
region of the throat, will not admit of ftill, deep, and swelling 
sounds of the voice. . It is this stricture or tightness which a 
speaker or vocalist has to remove, by imparting an habitual 
relaxation or flexibility to those particular muscles. And 
after he shall have kept the organs of speech under a daily 
recurring discipline for some months in succession, the pupil 
will feel at the end of that term as if he was actually emitting 
sounds from a different organ from that which ushered them 
forth at the commencement of his exertions. 

And there is another feature blended with the results of 
these exercises, and it is, that the improvement of the voice 
resulting froin them will be revealed to the observation of 
others long before the pupil will be perfectly assured 
of their presence himself. The fulness and melody of his 
voice in common conversation will be a subject of remark 
among his acquaintances, before the student is conscious of 
tfee improvement himself. 




If, in the course of exercising the organs of speedi, in 
declamation or in song, the voice shall be frequently or 
occasionally sounded in deep and musical tones, these desira- 
ble tones will be produced by the application of a degree of 
exertion which a speaker or pupil can recognize, estimate, and 
identify. If he can call back to the mind, can recognize and 
identify the specific measure of exertion which produced the 
rich and musical tones, he may be able to indulge himself in 
exerting the same degree of force again. And he can acquire 
the faculty of repeating the application of the same degree 
of exertion to the organs of speech, which in the first instance 
produced the musical tones, until he shall eventually glide 
into the habit of applying die specific degree of force with 
mechanical and un&iling accuracy. 

llie conclusion which may be legitimately derived from 
the premises assumed in the preceding paragraph^ is this ; 
that if the pupil can, by practice, bring to bear, with mechan- 
ical and unfailing accuracy, that measure of force upon the 
organs of speech, which in the first instance produced the 
musical tones of voice, he will, as the necessary result of this 
attainment, become qualified for the mechanical and un&.iling 
production of the musical and sweet tones of the voice when- 
ever he* shall choose to do so. 

Upon the two preceding propositions a third is suspended 
from which will be drawn the conclusion which is sought in 


this chapter. The third proposition is, — that if the organs 
of speech shall be mechanically and intelligently trained to 
the production of certain sweet and musical tones, by the 
unvarying application of a specific measure of force to them, 
then we are justified in adopting the conyiction from the 
science of the human voice, from the anatomical develop- 
ments of the human system, and from the general analogies 
of the case, that the organs of speech themselves will receive 
from the habitual application of the specified measure of 
force in question to them, an inflection, curvation, or deter- 
mination, which will fit them for the mechanical production 
of the musical tones which have been spoken of. 

The conclusion from the preceding propositions combined, 
is this ; that if the organs of speech, by the habitual use of 
them in producing musical tones, shall receive a formation 
or curvation which will qualify them for producing the 
tones in question, at the pleasure of the pupil or speaker, 
then this formation or determination of the organs of speech, 
is an acquired or permanent physical property, which may 
be tran^rred to other duties performed by the voice, more 
important and momentous than the preliminary exercises. 
It may be transferred to the practical business of speaking, 
it may be habitually blended with the grave discussions 
of life, and may become an integral element in the compo- 
sition of the speaker's voice. 

The conclusion which has just been expressed, is sustained 
by the example of all masters of the science of the human 
voice, who have yet delighted the world. With few ex- 
ceptions, the mbst accomplished and bewitching vocalists, 
who have shared the admiration of the world in a measure 
of redundant folness, were originally destitute of any pecu- 
liar charm in the entertainment of song. It was by a perse- 
vering resort to the most approved modes of discipline, that 
they grafted their powers of &scination upon* the voice. 
And when they once suooeeded in producing an isolated note 


OP sound of unusual sweetness, they never suspended their 
exertions on the subject until they succeeded in the precious 
enterprize of incorporating the attractive note as an integral 
portion with some entire and complete mu^cal performance. 



The voice, like the mind, is improved, expanded, and con- 
ducted to its highest reach of perfection, by an almost indefi- 
nite range of appliances ; and amongst the exercises which 
conduce to its improvement, the exercise of singing deserv- 
edly takes a high rank. The daily practice of singing com- 
municates to the voice volume and expansion, invests it with 
energy where it is feeble, corrects its hoarseness, deepens its 
tones, and grafts upon it in the exercise of speaking a portion 
of that melody and sweetness which attaches to some of its 
notes in singing. And the introduction of vocal music in 
the exercises of many primary schools, as a branch of disci- 
pline essential to the perfect development of the pupil, can- 
not be too highly commended. For, independent of the aid 
which it yields to the voice in subsequent life, it is a powerful 
auxiliary to health, in augmenting the vigor of the lungs, in 
promoting freedom of respiration, and yielding a healthful 
tone to the whole system of the physical functions. 

The object here is to consider vocal musie in connection 
with the benefit which its daily practice yields to the human 
voice in the exercise of conversation and public speaking. 
And there is one principle blended both with the mental and 
physical constitution of the human race, which clearly demon- 


strates, before we advance farther, the soundness of the prin- 
ciple here contended for, and that is the immense amount 
of improvement which is yielded to every faculty of the mind 
and every function of the body, by continued perseverance in 
any well-selected exercise. Is there any substantial reason 
which forbids an application of appropriate correctives to 
the voice. Without indulging in a retrospect so compre- 
hensive as to include Demosthenes within its limits, we may 
scan the roll on which the names of the most successful speak- 
ers of modern times are inscribed, and we will discover that 
the most finished models in the art of enunciation, acquired 
their chief graces and skill from a constant attention to the 
interests of the voice. 

In relation to the persevering practice in vocal music, we 
have never known an instance in which a beginner in the 
accomplishment of singing, who might have been indifferent 
or even insufferable at the commencement of his career in 
singing, failed to take rank in one of two classes of perform- 
ers — that of being an agreeable or very excellent vocalist. 
And we have never known an instance in which a pupil in 
the art of elocution, habitually indulged in vocal music with 
the view of improving his voice in speaking, who did not 
reap perceptible improvement from the practice; an im- 
provement too, which continued to be progressive, as long 
as the pupil persevered in paying his devotions at the shrine 
of the same auxiliary. We know one very conspicuous in- 
stance, in which the voice of an acquaintance, though pos- 
sessed of incalculable strength, was yet harsh, monotonous, 
hoarse, without any depth of tone, without flexibility, with- 
out any power of modulation, and as one may naturally sup- 
pose, without the slightest pretension to melody, and who, 
yet by singing in every variety of way when opportunity 
presented itself, attained a height of improvement, which 
eventually astonished himself and his acquaintances. When 
the person in question, took occasion to participate in debate, 


every person was impressed with the fulness, clearness, and 
flexibility of his voice ; and when he conversed in private, 
both strangers and his former acquaintances were in the 
habit of remarking upon the mellow and rich tones of his 
voice, and even on the sweetness of its music. 

Almost every person is in the habit of observing the 
superiority of the voice of the slave population of the coun- 
try, over that of the whites, in vocal music. In regard to 
the superior melody and sweetness of the African voice, we 
do not accede to the proposition ; for there is* something 
wild, vulgar, and indicative of a want of intellectual culture 
in the intonations of the African population in singing, which 
is characteristic of the race. But the superior compass and 
energy of the African voice, is so palpable as to defy all 
efforts at contradiction or refutation. The superiority of 
the African voice at the point which we have just admitt^, 
is manifested in the surprising fiwsility with which a band of 
sable choristers in the gallery of a church, will drown the 
more feeble efforts in sacred music, of the white race in the 
seats on the lower floor. We also observe the vast sweep 
of their voices, when engaged in sacred music in their cabins 
on the Sabbath, or in their nocturnal meetings. The same dis- 
tinguishing property will present itself in their miscellaneous 
musical exercises, when passing from one part of their mas- 
ter's farm to another, or from the residence of their owner to 
that of a neighbor. The voice of a juvenile vocalist of this 
race, even without any extreme efibrt, will be heard from one 
boundary of a large plantation to its opposite. In addition to 
this, it may be safely affirmed that the voices of the slave pop- 
ulation exhibit greater energy in ordinary conversation, or in 
communicating with persons at a great distance, than those 
of the white race. Their superiority in these respects, may 
be safely attributed to their constant indulgence in the prac- 
tice of singing and hallooing about their masters' farms 
from infancy to maturity. A |>ractice to which they are 


equally lured by an inherent fondness for music, and by a 
temperament naturally mirtliM. 

Another illustration of the vast addition to the strength of 
the human voice, which may be acquired by a habitual indulg- 
ence in singing, may be recognized in the extended reach which 
is usually acquired by the voices of ferrymoi, simply from the 
diuly and sometimes hourly practice of hallooing in answer 
to those on the opposite shores of a river, who may be ap- 
plicants for their assistance at ferries, where no better or 
more artificial signal may have been adopted. Every person 
may also refer to the great additional clearness and ful- 
ness which will be communicated to his own voice imme- 
diately after having finished a hymn or song of any descrip- 
tion, provided they may not have sung with so much v^iem- 
ence as to siqperinduce a temporary hoarseness. 



It may be adopted as an axiom, that the voice of every 
human being may be rendered more available for the pur- 
poses of publiQ speaking, by a constant resort to the discip- 
line afforded by vocal music. Voices of unusual strength 
and compass may be improved in sweetness, in softness, in 
depth of tone, and in the power of modulation, by the perse- 
vering application of this exercise; dull and monotonous 
voices may receive from it animation and melody ; whilst 
feeble voices, in addition to the benefits already enumerated, 
may reap from it a vast augmentation of strength. 

But the mode of applying this discipline has not been 
specified. And it may here be observed, that whilst every 
candidate for the honors of, superior excellence in speaking 


may instinctively adopt some exercise for the improvement 
of the voice peculiar to himself, and whidi he will dso 
instinctively correct as its defects may be disclosed to him by 
daily practice and observation — yet, in relation to the practice 
of singing, it may be observed that there are certain rules to 
be observed, by the &ithful application of which the pupil 
may greatly abbreviate both his labors and the length of the 
route to the goal of excell^ice. 

^ One of the primary exercises of the pupil, in the applica- 
tion of the discipline of music to his voice, is, whenever 
opportunity may present itself, to select a verse of some 
hynm or a portion of some song with which he may be familiar, 
and having first pitched his voice on a key of as much eleva- 
tion as may be consistent with his vocal powers, and with a 
due regard to the safety of the lungs, then to sing the verse 
throughout at the utmost reach of his voice. The object to 
be attained in pitching the voice on an alto or high key, is 
for th^ purpose of imparting to it elevation of reach and 
depth, as well as sweetness of tone, by the process of tension, 
or stretching the oi^ans of speech. 

This exercise will prove in some degree irksome to a pupil 
who has not been mudi habituated to singing, but the fatigue 
resulting from the operation will certainly be vanquished by 
daily repetition. And by way of diminishing the amount of 
labor connected with this discipline, a pupil who has not been 
previously trained to any great extent, by the exercise of 
vocal music in church services or elsewhere, may adopt as 
his daily exercise for the first few days after he has com- 
menced this mode of improvement, one verse of some familiar 
hynm or song, and sing it with the utmost reach of his voice, 
and then abandon the labor until the next day. And when 
he repairs to his selected place for practice on a succeeding 
day, let him sing his favorite verse again, and then pause, 
and af^ier having paused for the space of five minutes, if his 
voice has not been too severely taxed by singing the verse 



over one time to admit a repetition of it, let him sing it over 
agafii, on the same elevated key which has been already 
recommended. Let him continue the method of exercise 
here suggested, until he may be able to sing the one verse 
on a high key with perfect ease, and he will find that his ease 
in flinging it will be increased at each instance in which it is 
repeated, provided he may not repeat it so often in rapid 
succession as to produce hoarseness. 

After he has ascertained that he can sing the selected verse 
with perfect ease, let him then from time to time daily add 
another verse to his lesson, as his improvement may require, 
and the strength of his lungs may permit, until he can sing 
the whole hymn* or song. 

And although, in his future and more advanced exercises, 
he may retain the hymn which was adopted as his first lesson, 
as a daily or occasional exercise, yet for the purpose of 
yielding to his voice a varied kind of discipline, he should 
bring into his service other hymns, songs, and tunes, which 
he may find by practical experience to be conducive to ihe 
improvement of his voice in elevation of reach, and in sweet- 
ness and profundity of tone. 

The use of a single verse to beginners, has been recom- 
mended only in those instances where the voice will not 
bear the exercise comprehended in singing a greater number 
of verses, without inducing fatigue or injury to the lungs. 
Where a pupil, even at the commencement of the exercise, 
can sing a considerable number of verses without incurring 
fatigue, and without taxing the lungs and the vocal functions 
too greatly, he may sing any quantity he pleases, having a 
view at the same time to the prevention of hoarseness, which, 
though not a permanent injury to the voice, will render the 
subject of this exercise, in some degree, incompetent on the 
succeeding day, and perhaps for several days, to engage in 
the desired exercise with ease and advantage to himself. 

But it may be here suggested to the pupi], as an indis- 


pensable rule, even at the commencement of the mode of 
discipline pointed out in the previous portions of this article, 
after having finished the daily exercise of singing one or more 
verses, on the highest key which the voice can bear to ad- 
vantage, then to sing the same verse, or the verses of another 
hymn or song, on that key which will afford perfect ease, 
without descending to a pitch which will prove so low as to 
be both destitute of melody and of the benefit of discipline 
to the voice. The exercise last pointed out should be an 
unfailing supplement of the alto key in singing ; and whilst 
the first will give to the voice elevation, compass, and depth, 
the latter exercise will preserve for it flexibility, ease, the 
power of modulation, and the natural key. 



It may, perhaps, be shaping the proposition too broadly to 
instruct a pupil in the art of enunciation to sing a verse or 
verses on the natural key of his voice, immediately afler 
having engaged in the exercise of singing with his voice 
raised to its highest pitch, for almost any degree lower than * 
the highest, appears so easy when sung just after the vocal 
functions have been released from the straining effect of an 
alto key, as to seem at the time to be the natural one. But 
it will be a beneficial exercise for the pupil . to exercise his 
vbice on some of the intermediate keys beloW the highest, 
immediately subsequent to singing on that, for the purpose 
of tuning the voice or of bringing it down to its natural level 
again. He«may probably strike the natural pitch or level of 
his voice, immediately after having raisei his voice, to its 

52 VOCAL MUSIC m rrs descent. 

lughest pitch in singing a hynm or song, but the probabilities 
are against the happening of any such event, and if it should 
happen to be the case, it will be merely an accidental cir- 
cumstance, unless the pupil has, by long practice and study, 
acquired great skill and expertness in the management of 
the voice. For the voice, immediately after having been 
subjected to intense exertion, is not in a tuneable state, and 
cannot be naturally brought to its usual level in conversa- 
tion or in singing. It may appear to be the natural level at 
the time, but the pupil will find, after he has repeated a 
verse or two in singing, that there is still a key a little above 
or a little below the one which he has selected, which is the 
natural one. 

The best method by which to strike the natural key, is to 
postpone the effort to obtain the natural key, or level of the 
voice, until some hours afterwards, when the voice has got- 
ten over the straining effects of an alto key, and descended 
to its wonted and natural key or level. When the pupil does 
succeed in obtaining the natural pitch of the voice for sing- 
ing, he should sing some favorite hymn or song, or any num- 
ber of them he chooses, on this particular key, for the pur- 
pose of habituating his voice to it, which is the only one 
upon which he will be enabled to speak with a remarkable 
degree of fluency or grace through life. 

When singing on this key, he will discover the benefit 
which he has reaped previously by exercising on a high key, 
only in one way, and that is in the great comparative ease with 
which he sings on the natural key — just as a historical work, 
or any work in general literature, appears almost as easy as 
a primer or a spelling-book, just after the mind has been re- 
leased from the taxing process of solving some severe prob- 
lem in mathematical science. 

But notwithstanding the benefit of having previously exei^ 
cised the voice on a high key in singing, may not be palpable 
to the praditioner, when he afterwards sings cm the natural 


key of his voice, yet the benefit does exist, and he will dis- 
cover it in the exercise of speaking or reading on the natural 
key of his voice, immediately after he has finished the exer- 
cise of singing a hymn or a song on the natural key. 

He will find that the voice, after having been previously 
taxed up to its highest dlipabilities, by the alto key, performs 
its offices with a surprising increase of facility on the lower 
and natural key, just as a racer runs with a vast increase of 
ease and celerity when he puts on light shoes at the com- 
mencement of the race, after having had his feet encumbered 
for some we^ks previously with heavy brogans or thick- 
soled shoes. 



There can be no definitive length of time prescribed for 
exercising the voice daily in singing on an elevated key, at 
the terminus of which the pupil must stop, and beyond 
which improvement to palpable observation cannot extend. 
Nor is there any specific number of tunes 4n each day for 
the exercise of the voice in this way, which is clearly prefer- 
able to any other number. On this point the pupil often hav- 
ing applied the exercise to his vocal improvement for a con- 
siderable space of time, whether that space of time shall 
be measured by weeks, months, or years, will be enabled to 
determine with a nearer approach to certainty from his own 
progress in improvement, than by any other standard or 

But it may be regarded as a tenable proposition, that 
though the eKcrcise of singing on the specified keys is not to 


be persisted in daily, until the close of life, to. the end that 
the desired improvement may be reached; yet the pupil 
should submit to this exercise daily, or as often as opportu- 
nity may permit him, for a sufficient length of time, whether 
it be six months, a year, or even more, to satisfy him that 
he has achieved the objects for whick the exercise was origin- 
ally commenced. This he will be enabled to ascertain with 
almost infallible certainty, from the improved facility with 
which he can read a speech or address, or any passage in a 
book. He may discover the improvement which has been 
effected by this exercise, after he has persisted in it for a con- 
siderable length of time, by the enlarged compass of his 
voice, and by the improved melody of the intonations of his 
voice, both in declamation and in singing. And his friends, 
perhaps to his surprise and gratification, will begin occa- 
sionally to remark on the tuneful fineness of his voice. 

When he has progressed sufficiently fiir in the daily adop- 
tion of this exercise to discover that the excellence imparted 
to his voice has become in some degree habitual, he may 
then suspend it as a daily exercise, and resume it occasionally 
again when opportunity presents itself, for the purpose of 
preserving the benefit acquired, and of rendering it a perma 
nent possession. 

After the voice has been once augmented in its vigor, 
deepened in itg tones, and sweetened in its notes, a resort to 
this exercise may be made once in a week, once in a month, 
or at such returning periods as may be afforded to the pupil 
by solitude or by his general convenience, reference always 
being had to the preservation of the improvement which has 
been acquired by previous discipline. 

As to the number of times a pupil should engage in this 
exercise each day, it may be suggested that once is sufficient, 
but he may indulge in it m6re frequently if opportunities 
present themselves, and it should be dictated by his own 
convenience and pleasure. 




Some remarks have been made in a preceding chapter in 
commendation of the practice of singing a hymn or song, 
with the voice pitched to its natural key. The object in 
adopting this practice as a daily exercise, is to train or hab- 
ituate the voice, by daily discipline in this particular mode, 
to that pitch or elevation in speaking, which is natural and 
easy to the speaker. Every human being has some grade 
or key in his voice, on which he converses, speaks and sings 
with greater facility and effect than on any other key. Per- 
sons may converse and speak intelligibly on a lower key 
than the natural one, and they may speak and converse in- 
telligibly on a key of greater elevation than the natural key. 
They may also sing agreeably on a key of greater or less 
elevation than the natural one. But they camiot engage in 
either of these exercises with such perfect ease and grace, 
and with so much satisfaction to others, on any key except 
that which is natural or constitutional to the person. 

It should be an object of constant solicitude then, with 
every pupil who is seeking either improvement or perfection 
in the art of enunciation, to ascertain by constant attention 
and effort, which is the natural pitch of his voice for singing 
and speaking. And when he has once ascertained this &ct, 
then he should by daily singing and speaking less or more 
on that key, aim to make himself so perfect a possessor and 
master of it, as to be able to summon it to his aid whenever 
he commences speaking. 

As to the time when the exercise of singing on the natural 
key should be put in requisition by the pupil, there is no 


period which is decidedly wrong or inoontestibly right. The 
pupil may be governed in the selection of the time by his 
own opportunities and pleasure, and may indulge in the ex- 
ercise when he chooses, and as often as he chooses. But it 
is not the most fevorable occasion for striking with certainty 
on the right key of the voice, immediately after the pupil 
has been practicing the voice in music, on an alto or very 
high key. The voice at that time having been just released 
from an intense exertion, which has given it an unusual ex- 
pansion, will not be in a condition to yield notes on the nat- 
ural key with unerring certainty. And although the pupil 
may beneficially practice on lower keys than the highest, 
immediately after having practiced on an alto or high key, 
yet he cannot rest perfectly assured then, that he has 
selected the right key of the voice, for the reason already 
assigned, that any key at that time will appear so easy in 
comparison with the straining effect of the highest, as to seem 
to be the natural one. 

The preferable and most certain mode by which to ascer- 
tain the natural key, is to practice the voice some hours after 
it has been exercised on the alto key in singing, on the lower 
keys, until the one which is perfectly easy and natural shall 
be discovered. 



To guard against error and misoonoeption in this partic- 
ular, it is proper to suggest to the pupil, that in making his 
efforts to obtain the natural key of the voice, he may select 
a key sufficiently low to be perfectly easy, but which yields 
no music, and the exercise affi>rded by which, will yield no 


melody or improvement of any kind to the voice. In mak- 
ing the selection then, a great degree of attention is requi- 
site at times, to enable him to discriminate between various 
pitches of the voice, which are very similar in regard to the 
measure of ease with which he may sing on them, and also in 
regard to the portion of sound which they respectively yield. 

It ii| known to every person who has participated even to 
a limited extent in vocal music, that in almost every hymn 
or song, sharp or alto notes occur in every verse or stanza, 
either at the middle of a line or at its closjp. These notes 
tax the voice at times, to carry them, out lull and perfect, to 
the utmost limit of its powers. At other times the voice, 
firom the faet of these notes being at a point of sharpness 
beyond its reach, will drop them, skip them over, or sound 
them with a broken or imperfect intonation. When the 
voice fails, in the exercise of singing, to give to the alto or 
sharp notes which have been mentioned, a full and swelling 
sound, this fact furnishes positive proof that the pupil is not 
on a key natural to his voice. And the habitual practice of 
singing without giving a full and perfect sound to the sharp 
or alto notes,^ is injurious to the voice in the same way that 
the habit of dropping any portion of an evolution in dancing 
injures the pupil in that species of performance. It grafts 
upon his person habitual irregularity, and is a bar to the ac- 
quisition of the graces of motion. This habit in singing, 
most assuredly as an exercise in connection with improve- 
ment in speaking, should be sedulously avoided. 

The certain way of enabling the pupil to appropriate the 
proper and natural key to himself, is to sound the different 
pitches or keys of the voice, previous to commencing the 
exercise of singing, and he will thus, after repeated efforts, 
be able to perceive the natural key or pitch, from its adap- 
tation to his voice. 

When he has discovered the right or natural key, let him 
then sing a verse or an entire hymn or song <m that key, as 



circumstances may dictate. And let him repeat the exercise 
regularly every day for such a length of time as to acquire 
the perfect mastery of it, and establish it as a habit. And 
he may also practice it occasionally when opportunity may 
permit, until the close of life. 

When the pupil has sounded the different keys of his 
voice, for the purpose of finding the one which is natural, 
and commences a hymn or song, supposing he has struck 
the right one, if he should find afler exercising for a short 
time,that it is the wrong key, he should suspend the exer- 
cise for awhile, and renew his eflbrts to obtain the right one, 
for the object which he is seeking is not obtained until he 
finds the right key. That object is to acquire a habitual 
practice of singing and speaking on the natural key. 



It must not be apprehended, from the remarks in the pre- 
ceding chapter, which cautioned the pupil against the adoption 
of a high pitch for the voice when practicing on the natural 
key, with a view of making the latter key habitual, that it is 
considered advisable that the alto pitch should be discarded 
altogether as an exercise. The whole tenor of the early 
numbers on this subject clearly prohibit any such con- 
clusion. The alto key, which may be the treble to some 
voices, the tenor to others, and the counter to another class, 
is regarded as an invaluable exercise. But it is principally 
to be regarded in the nature of a preliminary discipline. It 
is intended to augment the energies of the voice, to give it 


elevation of reach and depth of tone, to clarify it, and to 
increase the music'of its intonations. 

The exercise of singing on this key should never be suc- 
ceeded by an exercise in declamation or reading, without the 
intervening exercise of singing on the natural key of the 
voice. For the pupil, without the adoption of the last^men- 
tioned exercise, will not be able, without a mere accident, to 
strike the natural key of the voice in speaking, where he has 
been previously engaged in speakmg or singing on the highest 
key of his voice. ^ 

And here it is necessary to remark, that when the alto 
key is advised as a profitable exercise for the human voice, 
no such elevated key is advocated as will not permit the 
pupil, in the exercise of singing, to give full and perfect 
sound to every note in a hymn or song — ^the highest and sharp- 
est, as well as the flattest and lowest. By habitually or even 
occasionally pitching the voice on such a high key in singing 
as to compel the pupU to drop the sharper notes or to give • 
them an imperfect sound, the voice is injured both for the 
exercise of singing and speaking. 

For whenever the voice may be pitched on a key of such 
great elevation, the disposition to omit the sharper notes 
becomes habitual in the exercise of vocal music, and it will 
be transferred in some degree from the exercise of singing 
to that of speaking. Not that the pupil in speaking will omit 
words in a speech or address, because he has previously 
omitted to give a full and swelling sound to a note in singing, 
but because his voice, when raised in speaking, will give an 
imperfect sound to words, from the feet of having been pre- 
viously habituated to giving an imperfect sound or no sound 
at all to certain sharp notes in vocal music. 

The great object to be attained in exercising the voice on 
an alto or high key in singing, is to raise it to the very lofitiest 
pitch which will permit the pupil to give a perfect, full, and 
swelling sound to every note in a hymn or song. Every 


time he accomplishes this object, on an alto or high key, he 
adds to the powers and resources of his voice. This extreme 
exercise is to the human voice what the highest brandies of 
mathematical sdence are to the human mind. 



What has been designated, in the previous numbers, as 
the natural key for the human voice in vocal music, corre- 
sponds with the same key in the voice when employed in 
speaking or in readmg. And every person who chooses to 
make the experiment, will find that whem he has, finished a 
piece of music of any description, which he may be compe- 
tent to sing, on the natural key, giving to each note its full 
sound, that the exercise of reading or speaking adopted after 
an interval of five or ten minutes shall have elapsed from the 
dose of such musical exercise, will be conducted with an ease 
and freedom which can be rarely attained under any other 

It may be also clearly ascertained, by a due share of atten- 
tion to the subject, that when any peri^rmance in vocal music 
has been sung on a high or sharp key, and is followed in 
quick succession by an exercise in dedamation or in reading, 
the exerdse of speaking will be executed very imperfectly 
and with great difficulty. 

The cause of this imperfection md difficulty may be traced 
to the fiict that the voice in speaking falls immediately on 
that key which has preceded it in the laboi: of singing. It 
has contracted its character temporarily from the key on 
which it was exercised in music, and it takes its direction so 


strongly towards that key, whilst the influence of the previous 
exercise in singing remains, that it will adhere to the voice 
throughout the declamation or reading of an entire speech or 
article of any kind which is commenced immediately after 
t}i6 hymn or song is closed. To illustrate the justness of 
the preceding remarks, we uniformly see how vehement, 
irregular, and destitute of flexibility the voice of a minister 
will be in preaching a sermon immediately after having raised 
the hymns in the church service for his congregation, pro- 
vided he has sung with i^rpness and vehemence. 

A pupO in the art of singing, if he intends to eng^e in the 
exercise of reading or declamation on the natural key of his 
voice in the evening, may sing a piece of music on the highest 
key which his voice will permit on the morning immediately 
preceding the intended exercise. And so may a public 
speaker, in the maturity of his experience, participate in the 
exercise of singing on an alto or high key, in the momii^, 
where he designs to make a public speech on the evening of 
the same day, or on the day immediately succeeding, for the 
voice, in this instance, will have time to contract and descend 
to its natural key before the exercise of speaking commences 
either with the pupil or the speaker in full practice. Or if 
the pupil or speaker should be distrustful of the voice resum- 
ing its natural key at the required or appointed time, it will 
be very easy for him to sing a hymn or song on the natural 
key of the voice, and it will certainly perform its functions 
on the proper key, when the exercise of reading or speaking 
has to be commenced. 

And the pupil, when he wishes to read with ease or declaim 
with ease, should daily precede this exercise, when practicing, 
by having previously trained his voice, by singing a hymn 
or song on its natural key, and the lawyer or member of 
any deliberative assembly, should adopt the same prelim- 
inary exercises,-when he intends to make a speech in court, 
or in a deliberative assembly. 




The safest and most infallible criterion by which to be 
governed in the selection of music for the exercise and im- 
provement of the voice, is to consider the tunes with which 
the pupil is acquainted, with reference to their adaptation to 
the easy elevation and cadence of the voice. And he will 
inevitably derive the largest share of improvement from the 
habitual repetition in song of those tunes, whether they be 
connected with hymns or songs, which admit of the loftiest 
elevations and lowest depressions of the voice in singing the 
difierent verses which enter into their formation, or in singing 
any portion of a verse. When a portion of a verse is re- 
ferred to, it will occur to every one who may be at all fa- 
miliar with vocal music, that some pieces of music may be 
sung throughout with the voice upon an uninterrupted level, 
there being no point in them at which the voice of the vocal- 
ist is raised to an exalted pitch of -elevation, or subjected to 
a very considerable descent or depression. 

There are other pieces of music again, in which the elevar 
tions of the voice, and its depressions or descents, occur once 
or more in every successive verse. 'And there are other 
musical compositions, in which the elevations and descents 
of the voice occur only in every alternate verse, the inter- 
mediate verse being always sung with the voice on a perfect 
level, without imposing any effort or exertion on the vocal 
organs whatever. 

In each of the foregoing descriptions of music, to which 
reference has been made, it is the exercise of the voice in 
singing the particular verses in a composition, in which the 
elevations and descents of the voice are easily combined in 


one^line, or where the elevation occurs at the commencement 
of one line, and the descent takes place at the termination of 
a line which immediately succeeds it, that yields a special 
degree of benefit to the voice of a pupil in elocution. 

The source of this improvement may. be found in this fact, 
that when the voice is frequently subjected in the exercise of 
vocal music to a sudden and easy transition from Jofty elevsr 
tions to sudden descents or depressions, then it is improved 
by this very exercise in the qualities of flexibility and soft- 
ness, and in its powers of modulation. 

As the limbs, by a frequent indulgence in the exercise of 
running and dancing, may acquire a peculiar degree of nim- 
bleness and elasticity for that particular exercise, which may 
be beneficially felt in walking and other exercises of the per- 
son, which require less exertion than those of dancing and 
running, and which may be transferred to the more moder- 
ate exercises of the person ; so in a similar maimer the hu- 
man voice, when frequently subjected to elevations and 
depressions, combined with very short intervals between 
them in the same verse of a piece of music, will not only be 
visibly improved for musical exercises by this particular 
discipline, but the benefit will be transferred to the voice in 
conversation and in public speaking, by rendering it softer, 
more flexible, and sweet in its tones. 

In speaking of elevations and descents of the human voice 
in this chapter, the two extremes of the voice, the high and 
the low, are referred to in this exercise as a combination of 
two different notes in one measured stretch or sound of the 
voice forming an unit — just as the hand is deliberately raised 
by an exertion of the will to the forehead, and brought down 
again quietly to the side, or just as a person may be smoothly 
elevated to the highest story of an edifice by the application 
of a tackle, and is deliberately lowered again to the basement 
or ground-floor, by letting the tackle down again. In this 
exercise the human Voice is deliberately elevated in one 


strain to its highest pitch, luid without any suspension of tWe 
sound let down again or lowered by almost imperceptible 
gradations to the lowest key. 

The preceding exercise for the voice is broadly difTerent 
from that discipline .which consists in great elevations and 
depressicHis of the voice in declamation and in vocal mu- 
sic, which^ instead of being prosecuted or conducted in a 
blended form, are executed and perfected distinct and sep- 
arate from each other, as pure elevations or pure depress- 
ions or cadences. The voice in the exercise of vocal music, 
is sometimes raised to a very great pitch of elevation, with- 
out lowering it again at all. This exercise is merely intended 
to give the voice reach, expansion and depth of tone, by the 
application of the principle called tension, which is the oper- 
ation or act of keeping it on a continuous stretch for several 

The voice may also in declamation and in vocal music be 
placed on a very low or moderate key, and kept there during 
the entire exercise, for the purpose of inuring and disciplin- 
ing the voice for the easy articulation of soft and low tones 
in public speaking, which may be greatly essential at times 
to the perfection of its beauty in speaking, as well as to in- 
vest it with peculiar effect. This last, instead of forming a 
combination or blending of two sounds, the high and the 
low, in one stretch of the voice, like that referred to in the 
early stage of this chapter, may be regarded as a pure de- 
pression of the voice throughout. 




Thbbb is a benefidal influeaoe exerted on the voice of a 
speaker by exercises in reading, in declamation, or in vocal 
music, immediately previous to retiring to rest at night, 
whieh will be clearly realized and felt in delivering a speech 
or argument oh the next succeeding day. This improve- 
ment communicated to the oi^ans of speech by an exercise, 
which is succeeded by some hours of repose previous to 
their employment in executing any of the duties of life, is 
similar to the increased vigor and elasticity which is plainly 
experienced in the limbs in jumping, or in running on a day 
immediately succeeding that in- which they have been mod- 
erately but vigorously trained by exercises of a similar char- 
acter. A practitioner in jumping may have failed in repeat- 
ed efforts to jump a certain number of feet on one day, 
which he may have prescribed as a maximum, whilst on the 
next day he may bound over the given number with the 
nimbleness of the antelope. The secret of this fresh access- 
ion of activity to the limbs and muscles> by exercises ap- 
plied in this particular mamier, may be Tecogoixed in the 
fact, that the &tigue of previous exercise will be entirely re- 
moved, if it has not been too severe, by a few hours of suc- 
ceeding rest, whilst the benefit given to the muscles by the 
force of tension, has been fully preserved. 

Thus it is with the organs of speech. They will have 
been rendered flexible and expansive, for the exercise of 
speaking on a succeeding day, by the exercises of an imme- 
diately preceding night, which are followed by an interval 
of rest. When the voice shall have been severely trained 


in declaiming aloud, or in vocal music conducted on a very 
high key, only a few moments before the exercise of speak- 
ing commences, it is highly probable that the speaker may 
not possess that control over his vocal fiinctions which may 
be essential to agreeable and effective speaking. For the 
organs of speech having been subjected to a high degree of 
expansion by severe exertion, will not in all cases yield an 
agreeable enunciation inmiediately after the force or press- 
ure of this exertion shall be removed. An interval of an 
hour or two between the preliminary exerciseaof declamation 
or singing, and an argument, will in most instances afford the 
organs of speech time to resume their equable and natural 
state, under the influence exerted by rest, whilst the benefit of 
the exercise will be recognized in the increased expansion and 
flexibility of the voice. If the whole or the greatest part of a 
night shall intervene between such exercises and the speaking 
of a succeeding day, as has been remarked in the commence- 
ment of .this chapter, the benefit will be yet greater. 

If a speaker should indulge himself in an effort to improve 
his voice for speaking, immediately before the duty is com- 
menced, he should either sing a few verses or read a few pages 
in some well-selected speech, on the natural or middle key of 
his voice, unless the voice should be so contracted at the trial, 
or should betray such an obstinate degree of hoarseness as 
to require an exercise in declamation or in vocal music on 
its highest key, in order to give it expansion or to remove 
its hoarseness. When this exercise shall have been closed, 
too, afler about fifteen minutes shall have elapsed, the speak- 
er or pupil should sing a few verses of a hymn or song, 
on the natural or middle key of his voice, or should read a 
few pages from a speech, with remarkably brief sentences, 
on the same key. This exercise will secure the natural key 
in speaking. 




The soH;er sounds of the human voice are acquired by 
practicing it in speaking or reading low on the middle or con- 
versational key ; for habitually reading or speaking loudly 
disqualifies the organs of speech for executing soft tones 
with facility — just as the constant practice of walking 
rapidly renders one less at ease in walking at a very 
slow pace, and as the constant practice, also, of stamping 
heavily in the act of walking, renders one less able to walk 
or creep with a feline lightness of tread when he wishes to 
do so. 

But notwithstanding the habitual practice of loud reading 
and speaking renders it difficult for a speaker to execute the 
softer tones in speaking when he wishes to do so ; and, al- 
though for the purpose of acquiring that ease, it is necessary 
to practice the voice in reading and speaking lowly on the 
middle ori natural key, yet the voice is greatly assisted in its 
efforts to acquire the softer tones, by being frequently sub- 
jected to exercises on the more elevated keys of the voice. 
This-latter exercise, when it is not carried to an extreme, as 
has been frequently affirmed in the course of these commen- 
taries, expands and deepens the voice and renders it more 
flexible, and as a matter of course fits it in a much higher 
degree for the process of modulation — just as the leather 
which enters into the composition of a shoe, though stiff at 
first, becomes flexible and soft by constantly subjecting the 
leather to the pressure of the foot. 

If the voice is contracted and superficial in its character, it 
will be utterly incompetent to execute in perfection the softer 
tones ; and it is the expansion and depth, as well as the addi- 


tional flexibility which is imparted to it by exercises on a 
high key, which increases its capacity for uttering the deeper 
toi^es. But it is not immediately subsequent to exercising 
the voice on a key of great elevation that the benefit of this 
exercise will be experienced in producing the softer tones. 
It will be after an interval of rest, comprehending some ten 
or fifteen minutes, and then special care must be' taken to 
pitch the voice on the natural or middle key. 

If the voice of a speaker should be feeble and effeminate, 
and will yield none other than treble notes, and those of an 
insufferable and screeching nature, he may succeed in recti- 
fying its tones, and in imparting to it a more masculine 
character, by declaiming, singing, and hallooing with the 
utmost strength of his voice, whenever an opportunity shall 
be presented for indulging in those disciplinary exercises. 



The high importance and precious advanfe^e which results 
from confining the voice, through life, in the practice of 
speaking or reading, to the natural key, consists in this — 
that whilst the voice confined to this pitch or key reaps the 
full benefit, as it regards volume of sound, depth of tone^ 
and sweetness of intonation, which may be conferred on it 
by the various other modes of discipline to which it may be 
subjected ; it may, at the same time, be truthfully affirmed 
that there is no other pitch of the voice on which each indi- 
vidual speaker can reach the highest and fullest measu)*e of 


success which his capacity and resources may fit him for at- 

There is no other pitch of the human voice on which ^ 
speaker may be. able to command and maintain that happy 
lenel in speaking which may be termed the conversational 
style-— which is the most acceptable and engaging of all oth- 
ers to tUbse whom it may be his duty to address. There is 
no other key of the voice in speaking, on which the speaker, 
during the progress of an argument, speech, or address of 
any kind, will be perfectly competent to let his voice rise or 
descend at pleasure, as the exigencies of the case may require. 
It is the only key in speaking on which the speaker may pause 
when he pleases, and resume the thread of his argument 
again with an appropriate share of &cility and grace. It is 
the only key of the voice on which the speaker may conduct 
an argument with due deliberation. And it may also be al- 
leged with perfect fidelity to truth, that it is the only pitch 
of the voice in speaking qn which the speaker may descend 
with perfect ease into the most minute particulars of an ar- 
gument, narrative, or subject of any description, and press 
into the service of his cause or proposition the smallest par- 
ticles of reasoning which may be qualified to assist in ac- 
complishing the object which he may have in view. And 
the reason why a speaker may descend into minute particulars 
with greater ease on this key of the voice than on any other, is, 
that whilst he is engaged in speaking on this key he is at per- 
fect ease, and he will be at perfect ease during the continuance 
of a very protracted argument, if he may be perfect master 
9f the subject discussed. And it may be safely stated 
that when speaking on a key above the natural level of his 
voice, the voice being imder the pressure of a straining ex- 
ertion during the whole course of an argument, the speaker 
will be actuated by an impatient spirit from the irksome 
character of the process of speaking on a key of too great 
elevation ; and from a feeling of repugnance to the labor in- 


volved in the undertaking, he will omit the minute particu- 
lars, facts, and data pertaining to his cause or proposition ; 
and will confine himself almost exclusively to the boldest 
and most prominent points, which will not be presented with 
any peculiar degree of felicity. * 

In connection with this branch of the subject, it may be 
very appropriately suggested to the pupil, that the'natural 
key of the human voice is the only point of elevation in 
speaking at which the speaker may be able to acquire and 
command the graces of action, and reduce them to practice 
whenever he participates in the labors of a discussion, deliv- 
ers an address, or indulges in the exercise of reading. For 
the purpose of testing the justness of this proposition, the 
pupil may declaim a speech which has been committed to 
memory, read an address, or a chapter in any book, and 
practise gesticulation in conjunction with either of these ex- 
ercises, and he may perceive with perfect clearness the im- 
perfect nature of his gestures, on every pitch of the voice he 
may strike or select, except the natural one. And this key 
of the voice proves itself to be the proper one, because ges- 
ticulation is conducted with perfect ease whenever the pupil 
may be able to command that particular key, in the exer- 
cise of reading or speaking ; and because iri addition to this, 
the gestures are certain to become difficult, irregular, and 
broken, whenever he deserts this pitch of the voice, for any 
other on which it may be exerted, in the article of speak- 

This inability of a speaker to move his hands with perfect 
freedom and facility, results from the fact that those functions 
of the body, the exertion of which produces the voice, do not 
at the moment of speaking act and move with perfect ease 
and freedom themselves. Speech or sound is produced by 
the motion or action of certain organs or parts of the body, 
as much as gesticulation is produced by the action of certain 
members of the body called the hands. The organs of 


speech have not extension, like the hands, and their action is 
not perceptible, like that of the hands, to the organ of vision. 
But yet they are moved at the will of the possessor, by put- 
ting them in motion, just as the hai^s are moved at the will 
of 4;heir possessor by a certain amount of exertion. But if 
the organs of speech, when speech is intended to be produced, 
are not in a condition 'to act with perfect flexibility, the hands 
will act in sympathy with these organs, and will ML to move 
with flexibility of sweep when thqy are put in motion by the 
wiU, to produce gesticulation. Or if the speaker, when he 
commences the business of speaking, should bring to bear 
upon the organs of speech, too large an amount of pressure 
to admit of their executing their functions with ease, then 
the hands will also refuse to execute their functions in mo- 
tion with a graceful measure of ease. Just as the voice, no 
matter how tuneful and flexible it might be at the time, would 
certainly yield a broken current or measure of sound, if the 
speaker, in delivering a speech, or a sentence in a speech, 
should, when attempting to raise his hand to make a gesture 
at any giving point, find it bound to his side, or encumbered 
by an amount of weight which would prevent him from 
moving it at all, or which would prevent him from moving 
it backward and forward, or upward and downward, without 
the application of considerable exertion. 

The operation of the foregoing principle will be clearly 
detected in machinery of any description, in which, if an 
undue amount of pressure is brought to bear upon any one 
spring in a machine, or an undue amount of weight is sud- 
denly attached to any one of its balances, the regularity of 
motion in every other part of the machine will be disturbed 
and deranged, until the pressure is diminished, or the undue 
weight removed. 

The foregoing sympathy which has been affirmed to exist 
between the voice and the hands, in the matter of speaking, 
may be illustrated by a reference to various other examples. 


Let U3 assume, for instance, the case of persons who have been 
instructed in the accomplishment of dancing. Many persons 
familiar with this agreeable and sprightly exercise, sometimes 
choose to indulge in the recreation of dancing after their own 
music. Now, if a person acquainted with the art of dancing 
should commence singing some lively tune on that pitch of 
the voice which would render the exercise perfectly easy to 
the performer, and he should simultaneously commence the 
dancing of some step, the motions in dancing will be con- 
ducted with the most per^ct nimbleness and ease, as long 
as the voice shall be preserved on that key in singing, which 
will contmue the functions of song at perfect ease. But let 
the dancer suddenly pitch his voice, in singing the same tune 
he commenced with, on a more elevated key of the voice 
than the natural one, and the motions of the feet in dancing 
will simultaneously become rugged, irregular, and labori- 

As further illustrations of the operation of the principle of 
sympathy, which exists between the action of the voice and 
the hands in the exercise of speaking, we may refer to the 
grace and flexibility of motion with which almost every per- 
son engaged in a cotilion, or dance of any description, at the 
same time almost involuntarily moves, whilst the spirits 
and limbs of the dancers are propelled by a tune pitched on 
the right key, and played to the proper measure^ and time. 
Let the same or another tune be suddenly pitched on a 
wrong key, and played to a defective time and measure, and 
the movements of the same party of dancers suddenly be- 
comes spiritless, cumbrous, and laborious. 

Let an accurate performer on the violin or flute, consult 
his past experience in matters of music, and he will vividly 
- recollect how nimbly his fingers have at times covered the 
holes in the flute, and with what incalculable facility they 
have touched the strings of a violin, when these instruments 
have been tuned to the proper key for playing those tunes. 


which he chose to play at the given time. He will also re- 
member at other trials, how heavily and irregularly his fin- 
gers fell on the holes of the flute or the strings of the violin, 
when either of these instruments were pitched on a wrong 
key for playing any required tune. 

Those who have observed the exercise of speaking amidst 
the discussions of the bar, of deliberative assemblies and 
popular meetings, will not Ml to remember speakers 
whose gestures were exceedingly irregular and broken, and 
who frequently in gesticulation extended beyond the person 
only that portion of the arm which is comprehended be- 
tween the elbow and the extremities of the fingers, the elbow 
itself appearing at the same time to be pinioned to the side. 
They will recollect at other times speakers who seemed to 
labor so much^in speaking, that there seemed to be a 
threatening prospect of their falling on their faces. All these 
labors and all these imperfections were the product of the 
voice being pitched on a wrong key at the commencement 
of the exercise of speaking. 

It is very true that the voice may be in a condition at 
times, owing to the effect of hoarseness produced by a cold 
or extreme exertion, or relaxation produced by excessive 
labor in speaking, or contraction produced by various causes, 
to bid defiance to any previous precautions of the speaker to 
pitch the voice on a proper key. This chapter has not been 
written for the purpose of providing for defects which are 
positively invincible, but for the removal and alleviation of 
imperfections which are clearly within the reach of human 
skill. But it is certain that if a speaker should have pre- 
viously paid a sufficient share of attention to the voice to 
ascertain its properties and wants, that he can almost as- 
sure himself of the certainty of previously providing for the 
embarrassments to speaking just pointed out, by reading, by 
declamation, or by vocal music indulged in to some extent 
on the natural key of the voice in some retired place, an 



hour or two before he may be sammoned by his duties* 
In cases of hoarseness, unaccompanied by cold, the same 
remedy will be serviceable. 



M!uch has been said in the previous numbers on the sub- 
ject of pitching the voice on a high key in the exercise of 
music, both in the nature of a preliminary training, to give 
s compass and depth of tone to the voice, and to ' correct its 
various defects. And many suggestions have also been 
made heretofore in regard to numerous difficulties and dis- 
advantages which result in the exercise of speaking, from the 
feet of placing the voice whilst thus engaged on a key of too 
much elevation. Now the question recurs, does the human 
voice ever fall in speaking or in singing upon a key too low 
to admit of easy and melodious sound in speech and in songl 

There is nothing more certain than that the voice does fre- 
quently fall upon a key in both these exercises, which the 
speaker or singer will discover as he progresses in either (as 
the case may be) to be entirely too low to be consistent with 
his own ease, or to be productive of full and melodious sounds. 
The speaker or pupil can easily determine on the certainty 
of this occurrence himself, by adopting' an experiment which 
is very simple in its nature. Let him take up a speech or 
chapter in a book, and purposely select a low or bass key 
for his voice in the exercise which he chooses at the time, 
and he will find after he advances a little way, that the sound 
of his voice will be deficient in melody and fulness, that ges- 


ticulation will be difficult and imperfect, and that he cannot 
yield the proper emphasis to the words and sentences which 
are embraced in the speech or chapter he may be reading or 
declaiming at the time. The same remarks are strictly true 
in relation to vocal music. If the voice should be pitched on 
too low a key, by a leader in church-music, the music will 
be drawling and monotonous, and entirely destitute of ani- 
mation, and the leader will frequently be compelled to pause 
and commence the music on a key of greater elevation. 

This difficulty of pitching the voice on a lower key than 
the natural one in speaking and in music, is entirely different 
from the voluntary determination of the speaker or singer 
to exercise himself in speaking or singing low on the natural 
and easy key of the voice. For there is no exercise which 
in its proper place is more beneficial to the voice in pro- 
ducing softness, flexibility, and facility of modulation, than 
the one last mentioned, and it is advisable to indulge in 
this practice daily, as a powerful auxiliary to the other 
exercises which are recommended in this treatise as cor- 
rectives to the voice. But no matter how the speaker or 
singer may read, speak, or sing on that key which, for ttie 
sake of simplicity, may be denominated the natural pitch of 
the voice, he will uniformly find that the 'restricted volume 
of the sound does not prevent tlie voice from yielding a 
quiet melody, or from giving each note and sentence in 
either exercise an easy, full, and perfect sound or intona- 

In regard to the corrective which ought to be applied to 
this embarrassment, when it occurs, a brief chapter will be 
hereafter especially devoted to that subject. But it may be 
suggested in this connection, that if the speaker should find 
in the course of delivering a speech at the bar or elsewhere, 
that his voice is pitched on a key too low for easy and tune- 
ful speaking, the most eligible mode by which to remove the 
difficulty, is to pause until he shall have time to breathe and 


collect himself, without taking his seat, and to fix in his 
mind a higher key when he resumes. We have known this 
difficulty frequently corrected in the discussions of the bar, 
by reading at length when the pause is made, some author 
applicable to the subject, and by then resuming it. 



The most effective discipline to which a public speaker or 
a pupil in the art of speaking can possibly resort, to place 
the voice in tune for easy, flexible, and acceptable enuncia- 
tion^ is to select some fevorite hymn or song with which he 
may be perfectly ^miliar, and sing it on such a pitch as will 
allow the pupil to yield a full, swelling, and musical sound 
from the beginning to the end of the selected piece of music, 
without extraordinary labor or difficulty to the person prac- 
tising. And let him repeat the same hymn or song, or sing 
another which he may execute with «qual &cility, until the 
voice shall have received from the exercise a proper degree 
of expansion. And this the person practising in this man^ 
ner will be enabled easily to perceive by his own feelings, 
and by the degree of flexibility and ease with which the 
voice executes, its functions in singing. 

After the speaker has continued the exercise of vocal 
music to a sufficient extent as just prescribed, then let him 
pause for the space of five or ten minutes, or for a sufficient 
space of time to afford the vocal organs a little respite from 
tlie previous exercise of singing, or to enable the ear to de- 


termine with accuracy the measure of sound to be used in 
speaking or reading. Then let him declaim from memory 
a committed speech, if he should be prepared to do so, on that 
key of the voice which will admit of his speaking the speech 
throughout in a natural and easy manner, and which will 
also admit of his giving the proper emphasis to' each sen- 
tence and word in the speech. And let him continue this 
exercise of declaiming the speech in question until he shall 
have assured for his voice that set or proper level on which 
he wishes to speak in whatever exercise may await him. 

After having finished the exercise of vocal music as here- 
tofore prescribed, if the pupil or speaker has no committed 
speech, or he should not choose for any reason to exercise 
himself in that particular mode, let him read four, five, or 
ten pages of some easy and agreeable speech, in which the 
sentences may not be remarkable for their length. If he 
should not have a speech at command, let him read as many 
pages in some author which may be convenient as the exi- 
gencies of his voice may require at the time. And he can 
ascertain with some degree of certainty when he has de^ 
claimed or read enough, by the fact of fmding his voice in a 
condition which will permit him to let it rise or Mi at his 
pleasure, to sound the words with clearness and with some 
degree of melody and flexibility, and to allow him to give 
the proper emphasis to the words which occur in the speech 
or author. 

The exercise specified in the preceding portions of this 
chapter will generally assure for the voice a proper degree 
of fulness, and also the necessary power of modulation in 
any exercise of speaking which is to follow m the course of 
the same day. 

But if when the speaker or pupil in commencing the ex- 
ercises heretofore pointed out, should find his voice in a con- 
dition of too much .rigidity and contraction to be corrected 
by the mild exertion of singing on the natural key of the 


voice, then having first pitched his voice on the highest key 
which will admit of his yielding a full and swelling sound to 
each note in a song or hymn, let him indulge himself in 
singing a sufficient number of verses to satisfy him that he 
has sufficiently expanded his voice, or succeeded in correcting 
for the time the impediment to flexible sounds under which 
it temporarily labors. Then afler having paused for some 
five or ten minutes, let him adopt the exercises in singing 
and in reading before described in this chapter. 



It frequently happens that persons with the highest capacity 
and most refined and correct taste on general subjects, and 
who are also adorned by the richest and most varied mental 
culture, are yet entirely destitute of tlie perception of tune, 
or what is more usually designated an ear for music. The 
question here presented is, how are persons of this descrip- 
tion to improve the voice for public speaking and to correct 
its imperfections ? 

This question may be answered by the affirmation that 
such persons have at their command the whole volume of 
sound, and the broad field of reading and declamation, in 
which to give full and profitable exercise to their vocal func- 
tions. And let it be remarked, in this connection, in the 
first place, that there is no exercise known to man, the daily 
adoption of which yields a larger amount of expansion to the 
voice, than the practice of declamation on the most elevated 
key which will admit of a full and perfect sound being given 
to each word in the speech which may be read or spoken in 


this way. Nor is there any other exercise, the daily use of 
which more greatly improves the voice in depth of tone and 
in increase of melody. 

In order to avail himself of the foregoing exercise to the 
greatest advantage, a student, if he resides in a town or city, 
should resort to some retired place without the limits of a 
city, with his speech in his memory, or his book of speedies 
in his pocket, and at the appointed spot, after having first 
secured for his voice a pitch on which it will sound melodi- 
ously, let him declaim a committed speech, or such portion 
of it as he may be competent to declaim without injury to 
his lungs or throat, at the very loftiest pitch of his voice. In 
the early stages of this exercise, a single page of a committed 
speech wiH constitute a sufficient daily exercise for his voice, 
and he should, at the commencement of this exercise, 
content himself with the performance of it once in each 
day. When the voice has become in some degree inured to 
the exercise, he may increase the number of times at which 
it is repeated, should he choose to do so. 

And it may be proper to remark, that inasmuch as the fre- 
quent speaking of one ^eech accustoms the voice to that 
particular production, and renders it much easier to speak 
than one which the pupil has not repeated over a number of 
times in speaking, it will be well for him to retain one speech 
for an exercise so straining as that of declamation upon an 
elevated key of the voice, for some time after he may have 
commenced this exercise. A portion of any one speech will 
answer for this exercise, until the end of the pupil's life, as 
well as any number of speeches ; for the object sought in 
this exercise is not improvement in accentuating and empha- 
sizing the language contained in the speech, but to improve 
the compass and musical qualities of the voice. And as any 
one speech is rendered easier to speak again every time it is 
enunciated on a high key or on any other, it is suggested, for 
the comfort of the pupil himself, to select and retain a portion 


of some one speech, as a daily formula for the practice of 
this exercise. 

After the pupil shall have subjected his voice to the pro- 
cess of training which is comprehended in the exercises' of 
declamation, as has been just advised, let him return to his 
chamber and read some speech, or a portion of some chapter 
in a book which he may select for the purpose, on the natural 
or easy key of his voice. And if he should strike this key 
in reading, which he certainly may if he makes persevering 
efforts, he will discover with what a large increase of facility 
he can read, after having placed the voice under the severe 
discipline of declaiming on a key of unusual elevation. 

But if the pupil should for any reason prefer not to indulge 
in this exercise, by daily declaiming a speech whicfc has been 
already committed to memory, he may perhaps, without the 
loss of any very important advantage, adopt as his daily 
exercise the reading of some page or two in any speech which 
he may select for the purpose ; for a person may read on 
the most elevated key of the voice, as well as declaim and 
sing on that, though not perhaps with an equal degree of ease. 
He should select for this purpose, too, some speech which 
contains very short sentences, for the longer the sentences in 
a speech or production of any kind may be, the more difficult 
it will prove to read or to declaim that speech. This exer- 
cise of reading on an elevated key of the voice should be 
succeeded, when the pupil or speaker returns to his chamber, 
by the exercise of reading at length, and that on the natural 
and easy pitch of his voice, some speech or chapter, in order 
to accustom and discipline his voice habitually to that par- 
ticular key. 




It is not in accordance with nature, or with the deductions 
of daily observation, to expect that a person entirely destitute 
of .the perception of tune, will frequently indulge in the prac- 
tice of song. But the want of a proper ear for music or 
tune is not by any means inconsistent with a just taste for 
music. Eer it is an event of ahnost daily occurrence to ob- 
serve persons who are not able to distinguish one tune from 
V another, who are just as accessible to the delightful influences 
flowing from agreeable tunes, as the most accomplished pro- 
ficients in the science of music ; and who appear also to be 
equally as sensitive and as much revolted by indifferent 
music and discordant sounds, as those who have the organs 
of tune developed in the highest degree of perfection. 

In addition to these observations, it may perhaps be very 
justly and truthfully remarked, that it is highly probable 
that many of the most finished masters of the accomplish- 
ment of eloquence, who have engaged the admiration of the 
world, were defective in the perception of tune. 

If persons in this condition have a cleaif perception of sweet 
sounds, and a just appreciation of such sounds, though des- 
titute of a discriminating ear in relation to difierent tunes, 
they may be perfectly competent to the task of discerning 
when agreeable or disagreeable sounds are produced by their 
own voices in speaking, as well as by the voices of others. 
And if they po^ss the &culty of perceiving and annexmg a 
proper appreciation to pleasant and unpleasant sounds, it 
must folloxy as a necessary deduction from this proposition, 



that they possess the power of correctmg and of changing 
the different notes of the voice, as they from time to time 
arise to the observation of the speaker. 

If a person of this description perceives and admires an 
agreeable intonation in his own voice while engaged in the 
exercise of declaiming or readmg, he will be also able to iden- 
tify such sound, and repeat it again, and continue to repeat 
it until he perpetuates it and renders it a permanent possess- 
ion. The same person too, will be conscious of sweet or . 
engaging intonations in the voices of other speakers, and by 
a proper degree of attention, may identify such agreeable 
sounds or intonations, after the sound has passed from his 
ear, and by repeated efforts, may graft the power of pro- 
ducing similar sounds or intonations on his voice in the exer- 
cise of speaking. 

It is equally certain that the person who is destitute of the 
feculty of discriminating between different tunes, is equally 
competent with any other speaker to know when he is speak- 

: with a distressing amount of labor and fatigue to him- 
self. He is also equally capable with other persons, of 
knowing when he is reading or practicing himself in the ex* 
ercise of declamation on a pitch of the voice which renders 
the voice easy and flexible in performing its functions, or on 
one which entails upon him an irksome amount of labor and 

If, then, a pupil or speaker without a just perception of 
musical relations may be competent, as he certainly is, to 
know when he is speaking or reading with ease to himself^ 
it is not a strained inference to aiSrm that he can exercise 
his voice in declamation and in reading until he discovers 
that key on which he can speak or read with perfect ease to 
himself. And having once ascertained such key of the voice, 
he can daily engage in the exercise of declaiming and read- 
ing on that particular pitch of the voice, until it ripens into 
a permanent and settled habit. 


Speakers who are destitute of the oi^an of tune, are 
usually endowed with a sense of hearing as acute as that of 
the most skilful votaries of musical science ; and they can 
ascertain with just as much precision as persons, of that de- 
scription, whfbt measure of sound is essential to the develop- 
ment and improvement of the voice at the various stages of 
the exercise Which they may choose to adopt for their dis- 
cipline. « 

When persons in this condition are desirous of enlarging 
the compass of the voice, they may retire equally as well as 
other persons, to some solitary or unfrequented spot, where 
they may indulge at pleasure in the lofUest flights of the 
human voice, in hallooing, or in declaiming d speech of any 
description, or in giving a sound of peculiar loudness to any 
particular words, which may be qualified, as they may be- 
lieve, to improve the voice. 

If, also, the same class of persons should be desirous of im- 
proving the voice in sofhiess, in flexibility, and in the power 
of modulation, they may indulge themselves in the quiet 
repose of the chamber or office, in reading a speech or author 
from the point of being distinctly audible to those who may 
be moving around them, down to reading in a whisper, which 
may be so low as to be scarcely heard by the performer 

From the foregoing observations, it must be evident to a 
pupil of this description, that with the exception of exercises 
in vocal music, he has at perfect command the whole cat- 
alogue of appliances, which may be qualified to improve the 
human voice. 





It not unfirequently happens in the practice of speaking, 
even after the preparatory precaution has been adopted of 
commencing the exercise on a very low pitch of the voice, 
that the speaker having extended the compass of his voice as 
he becomes warmed by the subject^ will discover that his 
voice has been pitched on an improper key to admit of the 
requisite ease in speaking. It has been placed upon a key 
too low or one of too great elevation. This may sometimes 
occur even if the speech read or declaimed shall have been at 
first commenced on a pitch of the voice so low as that of a 
whisper scarcely audible. And the difficulty of adjustment 
in regard to the pitch of the voice, results either from the 
want of previous discipline and culture to this faculty to ac- 
custom it to the natural pitch, or from the fact of its not 
being in a tuneable condition from the influence of some 
supervening cause or impediment of temporary duration. 

The discipline essential to the prevention of difficulties of 
this description, has been pointed out in a previous chapter. 
The present object is to secure relief from the pressure of 
this impediment when it may ^attest its presence in the 
course of delivering a speech or in reading an author. And 
though it is not a very easy matter to effect this object at all 
times after the voice has taken a particular set or direction 
in speaking, yet it is nevertheless frequently accomplished. 

The most successful mode by which to correct the voice 
when its improper pitch shall be detected by the labor and 
difficulty of speaking after the exercise has commenced, is to 


pause a few moments to afford the organs of speech a very 
brief interval of rest, and in resuming the subject again to 
strike or aim for a different pitch of the voice, a higher key 
if the previous pitch of the voice was too low, and a lower 
. key if it was previously too elevated. And this is an inter- 
val of rest which the speaker must snatch from the exercise 
in progress, without resuming his seat, and that in such a 
way as will not create the impression with his audience that 
he is about to relinquish his subject. These pauses are fre- 
quently indulged in by many speakers without reference to 
the state of the voice itself, for the purpose of enabling the 
speaker to survey with due deliberation the ground of dis- 
cussion over which he may be passing at the time. 

In the impatience of the moment some speakers make an 
effort to overcome this difficulty by suddenly raising the 
voice to an unusual point 9f vehemence, and getting appa* 
rently into a terrible fervor of passion. But the most effi- 
cient and certain of all modes by which to relieve the diffi- 
culties connected with speaking on a wrong key, when the 
impediment shall be discovered in the process of delivering 
a speech, if the subject under discussion is one to the eluci- 
dation of which authorities may be applicable, is to take up a 
book and read from it at as great length as its appropriate- 
ness to the subject may permit, and then to resume the 
business of speaking again. We have frequently known the 
temporary impediments of the voice in speaking to be cor- 
rected in this way both in the discussions of the bar and of 
deliberative assemblies. 

One thing is certain that both the prevention and the cor- 
rection of this embarrassing impediment justifies the expen- 
diture of immense care and attention, for it produces mono- 
tonous speaking when the pitch of the voice is too low ; 
graceless and irregular declamation when its pitch may be too 
high; and broken and imperfect gesticulation on either key. 




The proposition has been frequently affirmed, tibat there 
are persons who ^eak exclusively on one key of the voice, 
and there are many conspicuous examples which go very far 
to establish the justness of the proposition. For fio matter 
how much the voices of some persons may be raised in 
compass and in animation by the fervor excited by de- 
bate, yet the voice uniformly retains its iflexibility, power 
of modulation, and beauty of intonation, and when at its 
ordinary level, the voice of this class of speakers presents 
an uniformity of sound which identifies the key on- which 
they uniformly speak as a single one. In other speakers 
who appear to speak on one key of the voice exclusively, the 
intonation produced by the exertion of the voice in speaking, 
may be very indifferent in its quality — ^it may be a very 
hoarse or very sharp and screeching sound, but the sound 
is sufficiently uniform to produce the impression that persons 
of this description are confined in the exercise of speaking to 
one key. 

But the important question to settle in this number, is 
whether persons who speak on one key alone, if there be 
such persons, may be benefited by the exercises prescribed in 
this treatise. Hie voice is similar in this respect to the 
mind or the body, where any particular function is capable of 
being almost indefinitely improved by the application of ap- 
propriate exercises. The intonations or sound of the church- 
bell, are clarified and improved in point oi melody by the 
process of ringing it^ and a very lame performer oq the 



violin will be competent to the discovery that the tones of a 
very common instrument are perceptibly improved by the 
use of it. 

It matters not then whether the voice of an individual is 
susceptible to one or many keys in speaking, as far as the 
point of improvement may be involved. Persons with one 
key, equally with others, may enlarge the compass of the voice, 

^deepen its tones, and sweeten them by indulging in vocal 
music on the most elevated key of the voice, and by partici- 
pating in declamation or reading on Xhib same key. They 
are presented too with the same privilege with others of 

. softening the voice and of imparting to it the power of modu- 
lation and emphasis, by indulging in the milder exercises for 
the improvement of the voice, which have been prescribed 
in the preceding numbers of this treatise, such as singing on 
a pitch of the voice which may yield a full and swelling 
sound with perfect ease to the pupil, declaiming on the same 
key and reading on it. And it may be suggested in addition 
to these remarks; that if a person should learn from previous 
observation, that his voice habitually strikes a key in the 
exercise of speaking which produces harsh or indifferent 
sounds, he may by repeated efforts procure a pitch for it 
which will habitually produce more melodious and agreeable 
sounds in the exercises of music and declamation. 

It may also be observed, that should a speaker habitually 
speak on a bass key, which of course will produce very 
hoarse intonations oY the voice, he may by persevering ex- 
ercise increase its sweetness and melody. IS, on the con- 
trary, he should habitually produce treble notes by the ex- 
ertion of his voice, he may by proper exercise soften it, 
augment its energies, and impart to it a more masculine 




It is a proposition which is firmly fortified by the best and 
most enlightened experience of the. world, that there is no 
theatre of exercise which yields a more powerful and pro- 
ductive impulse to the faculties of the young aspirant for the 
glories of finished oratory, thap a juvenile debating society, 
properly organized and conducted. And there is no species 
of discipline, yielded by any school of oratory that the wis- 
dom of the world can furnish, which is more conducive to 
the development of the beauties and powers of the voice, or 
which is better fitted to train the faculties of the mind for 
the sharp contentions which arise in the discussions of the 
bar, the legislature, and the hustings, than trials of strength 
which spruig up in a hall devoted to youthful polemics. It 
is a £ict of incontestable certainty, that many of the finest 
and most engaging ornaments which have ever reflected 
lustre and celebrity upon the political and professional dis- 
cussions of this country, imbibed the divine art of touching 
with effect the keys of human will, human passion, and hut- 
man energy, within the precincts of the juvenile hall of de- 
bate. Amongst the ornaments to which we have just re- 
ferred, William Pinckney, Patrick Henry, and Henry Gay 
hold a prominent and commanding position. 

But notwithstanding the almost incalculable advantages 
which may accrue to the young disputant from the theatres 
of juvenile strife, yet the advantages which institutions of 
this kind afford, are not at all times within the reach of those 
who may covet them. And even if they were, the exercise 


whic|^ we are now about to suggest, is one which may be 
adopted with vast returns of benefit to the pupil, either in 
the character of an auxiliary to the debating society or as a 
source of discipline and improvement, entirely distmct and 
independent of sudi an institution. 

The discipline to which we refer, is the habit of selecting, 
for solitary discussion, either legal questions or queries in 
general politics, literature, history, and moral ethics, and al- 
lowing the pupil to advocate that side, jpro or con, which he 
may prefer at the time. This involves what may be denom- 
inated a solo in the exercise of discussion, and if properly 
conducted and managed by the pupil, may be rendered pro- 
ductive of an amount of improvement to the voice and men- 
tal faculties, second only to those acquired in the more seri- 
ous discussions of life. 

This is a discipline for the mind and voice, in the benefits 
of which a pupil may be able to participate when he is trav- 
elling alone along tibe highways of the country — ^when he is 
perambulating the parental fields — ^when he is drinking in 
the sweets of retirement in the forest, or when he is im- 
mersed in the quietude of his own chamber. It may be a 
timely caution, however, to observe, that the practitioner or 
pupil will not be expected to conduct a solo or solitary dis- 
cussion with as much animation or vehemence in his own 
chamber (unless he be a bachelor, and live alone in the coun- 
try) as he would when exercising himself in a place of great- 
er retirement. x 

To furnish a very simple elucidation of thi^ mode of con- 
ducting a discussion, in which the pupil himself is to be the 
only disputant, we may here suggest to him that there is no- 
thing easier than to choose some proposition with which he 
may be in some degree familiar, and after having selected 
either the affirmative or negative side of the question, and 
having revolved in his mind the prominent points involved 
in the side he has chosen, together with the array of facts 


which may be collected at the time to fortify that particular 
side, to begin the discussion with the proper degree of meth- 
od, earnestness, and zeal. And for the sake x>f prosecuting 
the exercise in question to a still greater extent, he may im- 
mediately turn around and advocate the affirmative side of 
the question, if he previously sustained the negative, or vice 
versa, and engage in the work of overturning without mercy 
the propositions which he had previously sustained. 

But if the pupil should be too greatly fatigued, either in- 
tellectually or physically, to engage in the labor of answer- 
ing a previous argument of his own, made on an opposite 
side of the question, he may with great advantage postpone 
the exercise until a subsequent day or occasion, when he may 
be enabled to meet the labor with that freshness of mind 
and voice, and with that accumulation of views, which may 
result from the intervening interval devoted to meditation 
and reflection. 

There is another mode by which this exercise may be 
prosecuted with immense advantage to the pupil. In the 
branch of discipline now under consideration, a practicing 
member of the bar will enjoy a very important advantage over 
persons not similarly situated with himself, for he will be 
apt to retain a tolerably vivid recollection, not only of all 
the important cases tried in the courts, in the labors of which 
he may have personally participated, but also of the promi- 
nent facts and points connected with those cases which have 
been tried in his hearing. But whether a person desirous of 
advancing his improvement in the art of speaking be a mem- 
ber of the legal profession or not, if he be intelligent, and has 
been in the habit of observing the trials which occur in the 
courts, he will probably retain in his memory a sufficient 
recollection of the fects disclosed in every important trial 
conducted under his observation, to know with a tolerable 
approach to accuracy the points on whidi they were ulti- 
mately decided. If thus situated, he has only to establish a 


moot court of his own, to make up cases from the facts con- 
tained in the causes which have been formerly tried in his 
hearing, to argue the side of the prosecution to-day, and to 
answer himself by making an argument in behalf of the 
defence to-morrow. Or if he chooses a civil cause for dis- 
cussion, he may prosecute in behalf of the claim of the 
plaintiff in an action in the morning, and answer his morning 
speech by an argument in defence of the interests of the 
defendant in the evening. 

This exercise may be conducted, by one who adopts it in 
good earnest, with as much system and method as the trial 
of a case in court. But a person practicing himself simply 
for improvement, can scarcely be expected to assume upon 
himself a greater amount of labor than to note down upon a 
small slip of paper the prominent facts disclosed in favor of 
that side of a cause which he intends to advocate, and to 
refer to this quaai brief, when he begins the discussion or is 
progressing in it, for the purpose of refreshing his mem'ory. 
And after he has disposed of that side of the question first 
chosen for discussion, he may then write a brief note of the 
points and facts discussed by himself, and answer them at 
such time as he may choose in behalf of the opposite side of 
the case. 

The field of Congressional and of Legislative debate, too, 
opens to those who are ambitious of improving themselves 
in speaking an almost, inexhaustible mine of wealth ; for the 
pupil has only to peruke the leading speeches delivered on 
the important questions discussed in these bodies, to make a 
compendious synopsis of the best arguments used on each 
side of a question, and to make a speech in his moments of 
retirement on one side of a question, and to answer it when 
opportunity Or inclination may dictate. 

In the exercises which have been pointed out to the student 
in the preceding reflections, a treasury of materials is pre- 
sented to every person whose bosom may glow with a thunst 


for excellence, the assiduous use of which would enable them 
to ascend to any height of excellence to which ordinary am- 
bition may legitimately aspire. But the materials prescribed 
are too simple in their nature, and may be commanded with 
too small an expenditure of labor, to be justly appreciated. 
In the course of our past experience, we knew an individual 
of moderate powers, of meagre education, and of still more 
limited pecuniary resources, who commenced the labors of 
the bar with a most imperfect and ungainly elocution, who, 
by invincible perseverance in using the exercises prescribed 
in this chapter, became a very powerfiil speaker. 

It is somewhere affirmed of the celebrated William Pitt, 
that he adopted it as the constant practice of his life to listen 
with the most devout attention to every speech which might 
be delivered in the Parliament of Britain by the enlightened 
speakers who figured in his day, that he.carefiilly noted down 
the prominent grounds Bssumed by them, and silently taxed 
his Reasoning powers to discover the best arguments which 
might be made in reply to the points taken by them. This 
is a labor to which he subjected, his mind merely to sharpen 
its faculties and to increase its promptness in debate, inde- 
pendent of any design, in most instances, on his part, to 
answer the particular speaker whom he might be observing 
at the time. 

In a public address delivered by the late Henry Clay, on 
some occasion of a literary character, he took occasion to 
remark, in reference to the superior excellence which had 
been ascribed to him in the department of speaking, that the 
excellence in question, if it really existed, was attributable 
to no ordinary cost in the way of labor and pains-taking ; 
that from an early period of his life he had been accustomed 
to the exercise of declaiming when alone on questions selected 
for the occasion, that he sometimes addressed the stock on 
his farm, at other times a tree in the forest ; and he might 
have added no doubt, consistently with a punctilious rever- 


ence for truth, that in the more advanced stages of his pro- 
gress towards the goal of perfection in the accomplishment of 
speaking, that he indulged himself in the habitual practice of 
replying to some hypothetical argument which had been made 
by some able debater of real existence. And it is a proposi- 
tion witiiin the grasp of even a very feeble measure of faith, 
to believe that if the secret history of a great majority <^ 
those distinguished masters in eloquence who have impressed 
their character and views indelibly upon their race and 
country were revealed tQ the world, that it would be found 
that they had reached an enduring eminence by the use 
and application of every resource conducive to improve- 
ment which came within their reach. And if the youthful 
candidates for glory in eloquence, who are now rising up in 
this country, shall &ithfully use all the simple appliances 
adapted to their improvement which may come fairly within 
their reach, they will never have just cause for regretting the 
absence of the pebbles of Demosthenes, or the want of his 
searbeach to practice on, or the seclusion of his cave. 



The power of giving peculiar effect to certain words in a 
speech or sentence, may be attributed in Bome instances to 
the feet of the speaker having previously set his voice to 
music on those particular words, by repeatedly conning them 
over ; but may be more usually ascribed to that degree of 
flexibility and power of emphasizing, which has been im- 
parted to the voice of the speaker by the application of pre- 
vious discipline. 



TTiis faculty constitutes one of the most potent springs of 
power in speaking, for it is one of the most successful of all 
modes by which the attention of an audience may be fast- 
ened upon the orator whilst he is engaged in the act of speak- 
ing, and to impress upon the minds of his hearers a durable 
recollection of the speech. A very few words uttered or 
emphasized with marked beauty and force, will engage a 
special share of attention as they fall from the speaker's lips, 
and will be retained in vivid remembrance by many of those 
who heard them, perhaps during the remainder of their lives. 

But if a speaker should possess the power of arming a 
large proportion of his words with an electric sort of energy, 
every speech he delivers will be impressed indelibly upon 
the memory of his hearers, their wills and judgments will 
be led captive by the force of his language, independent of 
the superior strength of his arguments and his own reputa- 
tion will ascend to a lofty height in the public estimation. 
' This accomplishment was the secret spring of that unri- 
valled sway which Patrick Henry, during a lai^e portion of 
his brilliant career, exerted over the juries, popular assem- 
blies, and legislative bodies of his country. For entirely 
apart from that measure of influence which was infused into 
his speeches -^jy the intrinsic vigor of his arguments, in which 
particular they were by no means deficient, yet the voice of 
tradition and the records of biography must have combined 
together to cheat the world of an accurate knowledge of the 
true properties of his eloquence, if he was not largely in- 
debted for his pre-eminent success as an orator, to the aston^ 
ishing degree of energy with which his words descended 
from his lips. The celebrated Lord Chatham, whose elocu- 
tion was embellished with all the graces which could flow 
from intellectual culture of the highest perfection, a person 
of the most finished mould, action of the most graceful flex- 
ibility, a voice of the most tuneful intonations, and an eye as 
vivid as the lightning-flash itself, nevertheless drew a liberal 


share of the magio of his mighty sceptre, from the music of 
his words. And we learn from every intelligent observer 
of the elocution of William Pinkney, whose affluent fulness 
in the chief graces and powers of oratory, his left such an 
enduring impression upon the era in which be flourished ; 
that one of the most prolific sources of his power was the 
accomplished skill witb which he enunciated the words which 
he delivered. 

In descending to orators who figured in more recent times, 
the name of George McDuffie will occur to every one in a 
state of almost inseparable association with the specific power 
now under consideration. A very intelligent gentleman who 
heard his celebrated speech on the removal of the deposits 
by General Jackson, observed at a period long after the 
speech in question had been delivered, that many of the 
identical words uttered by Mr. McDuffie in delivering that 
speech, continued then to linger upon his ear, and that the term 
^ Fandemoniumj^^ which was used in some way as being ap- 
plicable to General Jackson and his Cabinet, whilst it appeared 
to fall like a peal of thunder in the hall of Representatives 
when it was uttered, still seemed to ring in his ear at the 
time he alluded to the subject When he addressed the 
Senate of the United States on the Oregon question, imme- 
diately after his election to that body in 1843, though then 
divested of his original fire and impetuosity by the enfeebled 
condition of his physical energies, yet this distinguishing 
property of his elocution presented itself with striking prom- 
inence, in answering the arguments of those gentlemen who 
had affirmed the perfect clearness of the American title to 

Mr. McDuffie remarked, in the course of his speech, 
"Mr. President, if our right to Oregon be as clear as some 
gentlemen assume it to be, why slumber upon it so long ?" 
The whole sentence within which the preceding interroga- 
tory is comprehended^ was remarkable for the searching 


energy with which it was uttered, but the word "«&«m- 
. 6er" fell from his lips with a fulness, fire and vigor which 
produced a marked impression at the time, and which 
will probably be long remembered by many of those who 
heard it. Senator Preston, of South Carolina, also pos- 
sessed the power in question in a remarkable degree of ful- 
ness, and it would assert its presence not only once or twice 
in the progress of a speech, but in every stage of its delivery. 
And this accomplished orator was unquestionably indebted 
for this controlling skill in sounding particular words, to the 
persevering use of the varied appliances which may yield an 
efficacious culture to the music of the voice and to its powers 
of articulation and emphasis. In addressing a multitude of 
human beings on the Canton course, near Baltimore, in the 
presidential canvass of 1840,. he took occasion to refer to the 
notorious '^ hard cider" sneer which had been used during 
that exc]4^ period, in connection with the name of General 
Harrison, and whilst commenting in a strain of vehement 
eloquence on the sneer to which reference has been made, 
Mr. Preston remarked, "but, fellow-citizens, we took up 
this conten^ptible effiision of malice, and threw it like a hand- 
grenade into the ranks of the democracy, and they scattered 
like pigeons under the shot of the fowler." There was a 
musical cadence connected with the utterance of the words 
hand-grenade, which yet continues to ring upon the ear of 
thQ writer of these remarks, but tlie inimitable action which 
accompanied the utterance of these terms, appeared to sug- 
gest to the assQjnbly at the time the reality of a hand-gren- 
ade being tossed amongst them, accompanied by an imme* 
diate explosion. 

In what may be regarded as the more varied beauties of 
the himian voice, no orator who has lived in modem timesk— 
perhaps there has been no orator who lived at any time — ^who 
surpassed the late Mr. Clay. In the expression of the feel- 
ings of deep and quiet pathos, and in the struns of elevated 


and impassioned eloquence, his voice was the perfection of 
music But this great master of the human passions was 
gifted too with the power of lending magic to particular 
words. But the special effect given by Mr. Clay to any 
particular word, was derived more from the tremulous beau- 
ty of the inflexions and intonations of his voice, than from the 
electrifying energy with which he uttered them. Early in 
the year 1847, and immediately after the battle of Monterey 
had been fought, an immense meeting was held at the Ex- 
change in New Orleans, to adopt measures for the relief of the 
suffering population of Ireland. Amongst the eminent speak- 
ers who addressed this meeting, Mr. Clay was one, and in 
the course of an address of about fifteen minutes in duration, 
which was marked as well by the beauty of its delivery as 
by the philanthropy of the sentiments it breathed, he re- 
marked in a deep and tremulous strain of quiet pathos — 
" Eefuse relief to the Irish, fellow-citizens ! Refuse relief to 
suffering Ireland ! when every battle-field in America, from 
Quebec to Monterey^ has been crimsoned with Irish blood !" 
Taking the terminating points of the battle-grounds of Amer- 
ica, both on our northern and southern frontiers, as far as they 
had been then fought, (for the battle of Buena Vista did not 
occur until some weeks afterwards,) he presented a practical 
illustration of his views in the most thrilling tones of sweet 
and measured beauty to which the human voice is suscepti- 
ble. There were hundreds fresh from the heights of Mon- 
terey present at the time, and upon whose hearts this pas- 
sage of the speech fell like electricity. 

The late William Gaston, of North Carolina, possessed to 
a very remarkable extent, the faculty of infusing a stirring 
degree of energy into particular words, when <n*ought up to 
the pitch of unusual fervor in debate. When once address- 
ing the legislature of North Carolina in opposition to some 
bill proposing relief for political grievances to a certain part 
of the State, and when his indignation was provoked by what 



he considered a measure of intimidation held out by the 
friends of the bill under consideration to coerce those op- 
posed to it into a support of it, he remarked with an energy 
which seemed to penetrate the floor on which he was 
standing : "Mr. Speaker, if the friends of this bill desire the 
members from the East to vote for it, let them remove their 
rod sir." The word " rod" fell from the lips of the speaker 
with almost the startling enei^y of an exploding bombshell. 

Whilst remarking on this subject, it is due to the present 
chief magistrate of the United States, General Pierce, to sug- 
gest, that a more conspicuous display of the capacity for in- 
vesting particular words with a felicitous effect, is rarely pre- 
sented than was afforded by him in speaking the following 
sentence, which is contained in his inaugural address : " You 
have summoned me here in my weakness, now you must 
support me with your strengthJ^ The people of the United 
States were supposed to compose the audience to which these 
remarks were addressed, and the relative position occupied 
by two words in the sentence, " weakness^^ and " strength^^ 
combined with the graceful animation and distinctness with 
which they were uttered, made an impression on the minds 
of those present at the time, which will not be speedily 

Some care has been taken in this chapter, to present from 
the speeches of distinguished American orators, a few simple 
examples in illustration of the accomplishment in speaking, 
to the consideration of which this number has been princi- 
pally devoted. In the number next succeeding, an effort 
will be made to point out and simplify, as much as possible, 
the means by which this feculty may be acquired and per- 




It is a proposition which requires no profuse expenditure 
of reason to demonstrate it, that the capacity for giving an ef- 
fective or impressive sound to particular words, in a speech 
or sentence, arises more from that improvement of the voice 
in melody and flexibility which is produced by long perse- 
verance in using the proper modes of discipline, than from 
any particular attention which may be yielded to the partic- 
ular words themselves. For every intelligent observer who 
possesses any skill in musical performances, must be con- 
scious of the great expertness which he acquires by practice 
in producing certain sounds, in the application of the bow 
and the fingers to a violin. It is thus with the voice 
itself, when it is improved by the application of discipline, 
in the general character of its intonations it is also improved 
in its capability for pronouncing particular words as the speak 
er or reader chooses to pronounce them. Just as the limbs of 
the body, when improved in their general elasticity, by exer- 
cises of any description, not only receive from this discipline 
an adaptation to running, jumping and wrestling, but are also 
qualified by the same exercises to acquire, with greater faci- 
lity the graceful faculty of dancing. 

It is a proposition which requires no profuse expenditure 
of reasoning to demonstrate it, that the capacity forgiving an 
effective or impressive sound to particular words, is a speech 
or address which the pupil may read or speak, those which 
may be justly denominated the leading words in a sentence, 
whether they are located at its commencement or at its close. 


And when the leading words are discovered, it should be the 
object of the pupil to give to them a very conspicuous utter- 
ance in speaking or reading the sentence. And by the^faith- 
ful observation of these prominent words in a sentence, aid- 
ed by the energetic pronounciation of them when they are 
reached in the exercise of reading or speaking, the speaker 
or pupil will not only sharpen his faculties of discrimination 
in such a way as to be enabled to detect the locality of such 
words in other sentences entirely distinct from the one in 
which he is exercised, but he will fall habitually also into 
the practice of yielding to all prominent words in sentences 
a full and stirring measure of sound ; but more particularly 
will he give an engaging sound to words of a similar form 
with those on which his voice has been previously practiced. 



There are certain words, sentences, and expressions con- 
tained in the treasury of human language, which, by the daily 
exercise of repeating them, a pupil wilt find exceedingly ben- 
eficial in the efiect of giving to the voice a full, deep, and 
melodious sound. This exercise may be conducted on the 
various pitches of the human voice, from an alto to the 
bass key. 

The words to which reference will be particularly made in 
this connection, are those either commencing with the letter 
O, or having their characteristic sound determined by the ap- 
pearance in them of that particular letter. As. an illustr.a- 
tion of the proposition under consideration, we may take the 
words, "bold," "cold," "hold," "gold," "roU'd," "mould," 


" poll'd," " scold," " toU'd," and repeat them on the various 
keys of the voice with very improving results. 

When these words, or words similar to them in which the 
letter O gives the determining sound or accentuation to the 
word, are frequently repeated in succession, with a pause 
occurring of a few seconds between them, on the loftiest 
pitch of the voice, they tend to give to it reach and tension, 
whilst the particular sound of the words improves-the voice 
in rotundity, in fulness, and in depth. 

But the idea is not intended to be conveyed to the mind 
of the pupil, that the exercise of the voice on words of this 
description is to be confined to its highest key alone. It 
may be exercised in this way on its various other keys with 
very great advantage. The highest pitch of the voice is se- 
lected in the first instance, in order that the voice, in sound- 
ing words of this description on that particular key, may be 
stretched to its utmost point of tension and reach. 

Let us take another example of words in which the letter 
O gives the determining sound — ^words which commence a 
sentence with the letter O in them, and which contain a com- 
mand or request, as the case may be. A speaker may be 
referring, in a speech or address of any kind, to the indis- 
criminate havoc produced by death amidst the different ages 
of the human race, and may present as a request to his audi- 
ence, the sentence — " Oo to the grave-yard, and you may 
there find graves of every length. Oo to the death-bed 
scene, and you there see stretched beneath the icy sceptre of 
the grim monster victims of every age. Oo to the house 
of mourning, and you may see the tear of grief streaming 
for charming infancy and blooming youth, as well as for ma- 
ture manhood and hoary age." The frequent repetition of 
the word " go" in sentences of this description, yields an im- 
proving influence to the voice on any of its keys, but partic- 
ularly on the highest key, when sentences of this kind may 
be adopted as exercises. 

102 LOUB sPEAKma. 

A speaker, for the purpose of iUustrating the baneful 
fruits of intemperance, may say to his audience — Go to the 
prisons of your country, and behold them literally crammed 
with the victims of intemperance. Go to the halls of jus- 
tice, and cast your eye on the criminal dock. Go to the 
chamber where squalid wretchedness reigns with absolute 
sway, &c. Go to the dramshops of your country, &c., and 
finally. Go to the &tal tree, and there behold the victim of 
intemperance closing his days in anguish and in infamy. 

In referring to examples of countries which may serve to 
illustrate the baneful effects of tyranny, ignorance, or any 
other destructive moral or political agency, we may refer in 
the speech to a great number of countries in the following 
manner : Go to Russia, and see there the blighting effects of 
tyranny. Go to Turkey, &c. Go to Persia, &o. Go to Po- 
land, <ko. Go to Spain, &c. 

But whilst the foregoing sentences occur occasionally in a 
speech or address of any description, and serve merely for 
the purpose of exemplification in an exercise for the voice, 
they may be pushed to any length which the pupil may 
choose. He may take every State in the Ameriican Union, 
beginning with Maine, without adding any expletives or other 
words, simply repeating the brief Sentences, Go to Maine, 
Go to New Hampshire, &c., until he runs through the whole 
catalogue. And in a similar manner run over any number 
of the States of Europe, Asia, or Africa. 



A PUBLIC speaker should never acquire the habitual prac- 
tice of speaking in a loud and vociferous strain. There may 
be exceptions to this proposition, but they are exceedingly 


rare, and are of such a partial character as not to disturb its 
general accuracy and force. It may be perfectly legitimate 
that a speaker should expand his yoice to the farthest 
limit of its strength to the end that he may be distinctly 
heard by a very multitudinous assembly which is spread 
over a very ample surface ; or it may answer a very useful 
purpose that the fullest range phould be given to the voice 
when a speaker arises to address a popular assembly which 
is already raised to a very high pitch of excitement, touch- 
ing any very important topic which may .be in the progress 
of discussion before it. But the speaker should take a 
special degree of care to assure himself that his audience is 
in, an excited state of feeling before he undertakes to address 
it at the topmost key of his voice. For whilst he may be 
fully appreciated in addressing with unusual energy and ve- 
hemence an assembly, which has contracted from previous 
speaking, a very fervid state of feeling — ^yet a speaker will 
appear to be entirely ahead of his audience, and will indicate 
a childish exdtableness of disposition in addressing in a 
very animated and boisterous manner an assembly which is- 
perfectly calm and self-possessed. And when a speaker 
does address even an excited assembly with the utmost 
strength of his voice, he should take the precaution to be ex- 
ceedingly brief in his remarks ; for neither his own voice 
nor the sympathies of his audience will sustain him in 
speaking with peculiar advantage in a strain of unusual 
fervor more than ten or fifteen minutes. His voice will in 
all probability begin to relax in some degree ; to contract a 
partial hoarseness, and to exhaust a portion of its melody from 
speaking in a strain of unusual vehemence more than fifteen 
minutes ; and it will be difficult to preserve the feelings of 
an audience at the acme of their interest for a longer 
space of time than that which has just been suggested, ex- 
cept in the instance which has been mentioned in the outset 
of this chapter, where the speaker, in order to be under- 


stood, is compelled to speak loud ; the feelings of an audience 
will also become fetigued by a lengthened strain of vehe- 
ment declamation. To assure to an orator the patient and 
well-sustained attention of an audience through the delivery 
of an extended speech or argument, there must be elevations 
and depressions or descents in the voice of the speaker. 

But as an additional and very persuasive reason why a 
speaker should not habitually indulge himself in very loud 
speaking, it may be very truthfully affirmed that speaking, in 
proportion as its volume of sound is extended, sinks in the 
same ratio in the scale of intellectuality. So much is delib- 
eration, calmness and placidity associated in the human 
mind with intellectual operations, that the best and most 
cogent reasoning which ever falls from human lips, loses to 
some extent its appearance of intelligence by being con- 
veyed to the ear of an audience in a boisterous manner. 
The stunning roar of the voice will attract the attention of 
hearers so much to the impetuous energies of the physical 
man, that they will not have the power of estimating prop- 
erly the intellectual man. 

To illustrate in a still more lucid manner the reality of 
the principle asserted in the commencement of this chapter, 
it may be suggested to the pupil that the divinest and most 
touching melodies in music are conveyed to the senses through 
a soft and flexible medium of sound. And it may be received 
as a proposition of infiillible certainty, that all music which 
is characterized by unusual loudness of sound, is not calcu- 
lated to touch any congenial chord or key of sympathy in 
the human breast, unless it be an invocation to arms, a song 
of exultation at some public jubilee or festival, or an anthem 
at some religious celebration. 

Another reason why a peculiar loudness of sound is apt to 
depreciate the effort of a speaker in the estimation of his 
audience, is the almost inseparable connection which exists 
in the human mind betwe^ unusual compass of voice and 


the subordinate intelligences in the scale of creation. For 
instance, sounds of this description, as a characteristic prop- 
erty, are usually attributed, as far as they are used amongst 
men, to uncultivated and savage life — ^and amongst brutes, 
to the ox, the ass, the lion, and the aUigator. 



In connection with the subject of declamation, it may be 
appropriately observed, that there is one very important ex- 
ercise for the voice which a speaker should certainly include 
in his disciplinary code. This is not declamation in its perfect 
character, but approaches the nature of that exercise to some 
extent, and may be denominated a fragmentary declamation. 
This discipline for the voice consists in the repetition of the 
various interrogatories which are used in conversation and in 
sp'eaking, in regular succession, and for a considerable Interval 
of time, on each occasion when the exercise shall be re- 
sorted to. 

Most persons have observed the animation which is com- 
municated to a speech, when an energetic speaker pours out 
a number of interrogatories in quick succession. And it is 
a circumstance which is perceptible to every person who has 
yielded even a superficial degree of attention to proceedings 
of this description, how much additional vigor is exerted by 
the voice of a spirited speaker in the act of propounding 
questions to an audience. 

The terms, the use of which is here enjoined on the stu- 
dent in elocution, are the following : How? Who? What? 
Where f When? Why? and various other words which usu- 



ally constitute the leading terms in any interrc^atory which 
may he used in the delivery of a speech or addrpss^ but which 
do^ not at all times, when standing alone, form a full and 
perfect interrogatory, without the accompaniment of other 
terms or language applicable to the information apparently 
or really sought by the interrogatory. 

To avail himself of the benefits of this exercise, whenever 
an opportunity of doing 39 may present itself, the pupil may 
frame if he chooses a declamation formula, containing an 
extended list of interrogatories, preceded in each instance by 
the different terms which have been heretofore presented in 
this number, and by any other terms which usually assume 
a leading position in questions of any kind. 

A pupil in declamation may frame a formula for his own 
private exercise in the following manner, assuming to himself 
the position, as is usually the case where questions of the 
kind are propounded, that some proposition has been affirmed 
by a previous speaker in which he does not concur. He may 

begin his formula thus : If the proposition which Mr. B 

has just affirmed be true, how is it that no person besides 
the honorable member himself has been competent to discern 
the justness of his position? J3bw is it that the propositton 
in question is contradicted by the past history of the world ? 
How is it that the proposition affirmed by him to be just, has 
been tacitly and impliedly condemned by the practice of 
every free government of the world, both in ancient and 
modem times ? How happens it that the proposition of the 
honorable member has been condemned in all ages and in 
all countries by the principles of sound morality? JSbw 
happens it that the dictates of public and private interest 
condemn the proposition 1 ITow happens it that the princi- 
ple of decency condemns it? And, beyond all other consid- 
erations, how is it that the solemn warnings of the Holy 
Bible condemn it 1 

The preceding skeleton is of course intended only to serve 


as a specimen or sample of the artificial formula which every 
pupil may adopt for his personal improvement in the private 
exercises which are designed for the amelioration and cor- 
rection of the voice. The formula in question may be ex- 
tended to any length the pupil may choose. And the formulas 
should be prepared in such a manner that all the questions 
propounded in each of them separately, should be preceded 
by only one of the terms heretofore suggested in this chapter ; 
that is to say, each formula should be devoted exclusively to 
one of the leading terms of a full interrogatory heretofore 
mentioned, viz. : Howl Who? What? Where? &c., accom- 
panied with the necessary amount of language to render eadi 
interrogatory full and complete. 

In reference to interrogatories commencing with the term 
" Why^^ we are presented with a very beautiftd example in 
one of Doctor Channing's sermons, devoted to the elucidation 
of the principles of Christianity ; and this is a sermon which 
may be very justly commended to every one, not merely as 
a beautiful exemplification of the exercise here recommended, 
but because it is also a spring of profound thought and ele- 
gant diction ; and from the easy, smooth, and flowing style 
of its sentences, will serve as a selection of unsurpassed ex- 
cellence in which the pupil may daily exercise himself to 
very great advantage, both in reading and in declamation. 
This sermon begins as follows : Why was Christianity given 1 
Why did Christ seal it with his blood f Why is it to be preach- 
ed? (kc. The preceding example has been given to the pupil 
to show him dearly, by a practical instance of the kind, in 
what way interrogatories may be properly commenced with 
the word Why? But the pupil may adopt for himself a for- 
mula, in which interrogatories commencing with the same 
word, may be extended in immediate succession, to any 
reasonable length. 

As an example of interrogatories commencing with the 
word " Where," a very brief e^^traot is here presented, from 


a speech delivered by the late Daniel Webster, at a dinner 
given in honor of his public services, by the people of Boston, 
June 3d, 1828. Having previously referred, in the course 
of his remarks, to an attempt which had been made in some 
parts of the confederacy, to draw a line of discrimination 
between New England and other States of the Union, by a 
classification of the States in which the States of New Eng- 
land were designated as the " New England States," and the 
other States of the Union, termed' "the Patriot States," Mr. 
Webster, in a stream of indignant eloquence, propounds the 
following questions to his audience : — "Where but in New 
England did the great drama of the revolution open 1 Where 
but on the soil of Massachusetts was the first blood poured 
out in the cause of liberty and independenee ? Where 
sooner than here, where earlier than within the walls which 
now surround us was patriotism found, when to be patriotic 
wa-s to endanger houses and homes, and wives and children, 
and to be ready also, to pay for the reputation of patriotism 
by the sacrifice of blood and of life f The pupil or person 
practicing himself in the exercise of declamation may adopt 
a formula for daily practice, of his own creation, in which 
questions similar to those immediately preceding may be 
extended at considerable length. 

As an example of questions commencing with the word 
" Who," we present an extract from a discourse delivered 
December 22d, 1820, by Mr. Webster, in commemoration 
of the landing of the Pilgrims, at Plymouth. Referring to 
the peculiar circumstances which marked the early settle- 
ment of New England, Mr. Webster propounded in that 
particular connection the following questions : " Who would 
wish that his country^s existence had otherwise begun f Who 
would desire the power of going hack to the ages of fable? 
Who would wish for an origin obscured in the darkness ofan- 
tiquity ? Who would wish for other emblasoning of his coun- 
tryh heraldry J or other ornaments of her genealogy^ than to 


he able to say that her first existence was with intelligence ; 
her first breathy the inspirations of liberty ; her first principle^ 
the truth of divine religion .^" In a formula framed and 
adopted for exercise, a pupil or practitioner may extend 
questions of a similar character with the preceding, to any 
length he chooses. 

As an example of interrogatories commencing with the 
word " What," we submit the following. A speaker, in de- 
nouncing the improper application of the power of taxation 
by any legislative assembly, may be supposed, for the pur- 
pose of enforcing his views, to invoke the aid of the celebrat- 
ed "tea tax," in the following questions: — ^Whal circum- 
stance was it which caused the fires of the American revolu- 
tion to blaze forth ? Wh^t circumstance was it that stimu- 
lated the early apostles of liberty in this country, to pour 
out their blood like water 1 What measure of the British 
Parliament was it, which threw this country into a ferment 
from its Northern to its Southern extremity ? What en- 
croachment of the British Parliament was it which caused 
the friends of the revolution to brave every terror, to incur 
every danger, to share the fatigues of every toil, and the 
bitterness of every sacrifice *? — ^it was the power of unjust 
taxation. A formula adopted simply for exercise, may con- 
tain questions similar to the foregoing, extended to much 
greater length. 

As an example of interrogatories commencing with the 
word " When." A debater in speaking in praise of Mr, 
Jefferson's administration, may be supposed to propound, 
in the course of his remarks, the following questions : — ^When 
did our country enjoy a higher degree of prosperity at home 
and respectability abroad, than during Mr. Jefferson's ad- 
ministration ? When were the duties of the government 
administered with a more single eye to the liberty and hap- 
piness of the citizen, than at that memorable period ? When 
was the cause of science and of letters mor6 munificently 


encouraged? When was the extension of free principles 
more ably advocated ? A formula for practice, containing 
questions of this sort, may be extended as the practitioner 
may desire. 

A sufficient number of examples have now been yielded 
to the student or practitioner on this subject, to explain to 
him, with some degree of clearness, in what manner interrog* 
atories may be shaped and used, so as to serve as a daily 
practical exercise for tlie human voice. And it may be 
proper to observe, that in order to render them productive 
of all the benefits they are capable of yielding to the voice, 
the student diould declaim these interrogatories whenever 
retirement may permit him, on the loudest key of his voice; 
and with a brief pause between each question, should repeat 
them for the space of ten or fifteen minutes on every occa- 
sion in which he engages in the exercise. He may exercise 
his voice on a formula containing the questions, beginning 
with the word " how " at one interval of practice ; and he 
may select the formula which contains the interrogatories, 
beginning with the word " why " at another exercise. And 
he may repeat and re-repeat the questions contained in any 
one formula, and add to them new interrogatories as his 
pleasure may suggest and his invention may permit. Or he 
may take the formulas, one aflec another, embracing the in- 
terrogatories which commence with the various words that 
have been presented in the course of this chapter, and re- 
peat them at one lesson or exercise of the voice. The par- 
ticular exercise of the voice which is connected with the 
sounding of these interrogatories in an energetic and ani- 
mated strain is the advantage which is sought, and it matters 
not how often they may be repeated over. 

The adoption of these interrogatories in a speech or ar- 
gument, imparts a very large accession to the animation of 
the exercise, if they should be repeated with a proper degree 
of enei^. But the principal aim in this treatise is to in- 


culcate the use of these questions as a very essential auxil- 
iary in the important undertaking of improving the voice for 
speaking. And the philosophy of exercising the voice in 
this particular manner, may be traced to the fact that these 
interrogatories cannot be repeated with a peculiar loudness 
of sound without yielding a very improving discipline to the 
voice and great animation to the exercise in progress at the 
time. And in addition to this, it may be remarked that 
when the voice shall have been ireqiiently exercised at stated 
times on these particular interrogatories, that from the in- 
fluence of previous practice any of these questions, or inter- 
rogatories similar to them, will be invested with great effect 
and power whenever they may arise in any of the more im- 
portant and serious discussions which pertain to the interests 
and the business of life. 

From the particular structure of the word " how," inter- 
rogj^tories commencing with that term of speech, are qualified 
to yield to the voice in the simple act of pronouncing it on 
a loud key, great additional reach, depth, rotundity and 
fulness. And when questions commencing with this word 
are frequently repeated on a loud key, the pupil will find 
that the volume of his voice has been perceptibly extended 
afber the suspension of the exercise. From this source 
arises the great advantage of exercising the voice at stated 
times by the frequent repetition of interrogatories com- 
mencing with this particulas^ word. 

The word " why " as a starting-point to a train of inter- 
rogatories set apart for the discipline of the voice, is also 
calculated to lend an important measure of assistance in the 
enterprise of improving it in energy, animation, melody and 

The word " who," when coupled with an interrogatory as 
an antecedent, is also available in a very eminent degree, 
when loudly and distinctly sounded, in giving tension to the 
vocal functions. 


The words " what," " where," and " when," do not yield 
to the voice in the act of pronouncing them, the same meas- 
ure of exercise in the way of tension as the preceding words, 
but they afford, w^hen frequently repeated as heretofore sug- 
gested, a very profitable exercise for one who may be direct- 
ing his attention to the improvement of the voice. And it 
may be very justly affirmed that these terms when legiti- 
mately introduced into a "speech, argument, address, or pub- 
lic effort of any description, lend great additional grace, 
animation and attraction to the performance, whatever it 
may be. 



An address which may be delivered from its commence- 
ment to its close in a very vehement strain, will be rare- 
ly remembered by an audience with any very vivid sen- 
sations of pleasure. They may applaud in the most mu- 
nificent manner, the ability of the speaker, for that will not 
be concealed from an intelligent assembly of men, even by 
the repulsive exterior of a graceless and ungainly delivery. 
But they will never single out fragments or parcels of a dis- 
course of this kind, which they admire for its peculiar beau- 
ties, and hold it up -to the admiration of their friends and 
associates. The reason of this failure on the part of hearers 
to seize on any special passages in such a discourse, and to 
honor them with encomiums, may be traced to the fact that 
a discourse delivered in the style to which we hg-ve referred, 
has nothing varied in its features to attract the spirit of ad- 
miration to any particular portion of it. We do not find in a 


discourse of this kind a patch of light here, and a passage of 
shade there, to make the picture interesting by the effect of 
transition ; without anything of variation about it, without 
any undulations of surface from beginning to end, it presents 
the appearance of a monotonous unit. 

An address to find a large degree of acceptancy with an 
assembly must present elevations and depressions on its sur- 
face, the speaker must come down from the summit of the 
mount at times, and hold communion with his hearers as do- 
mestic and social beings. For if he keeps his voice on an alto 
or even on a continous strain of animation throughout the 
delivery of an entire production, they will cherish no sympa- 
thy with him in his labors ; the divinest reasoning conducted 
with unbroken vehemence, will not wake a responding key 
in the bosoms of hearers, and they will feel as much relieved 
when such a discourse is brought to a final pause, as ever any 
mathematical class has been at the close of a tedious lecture 
of their professor before the black-board. The imagination 
of an audience is kept on a continuous stretch by speaking 
of this description. Human beings, to become deeply en- 
gaged by an argument, sermon, or address, must have rest 
during its delivery, and in order to secure this object, the 
^speaker must come down occasionally from his lofty height, 
and converse with his hearers on the level plane below. 



In a succeeding chapter, the daily practice of reading at 
that elevation of ^e voice, which is usually reached in an 
animated and rational conversation, has been suggested to 


the student, because it is desirable that he should habituate 
his voice by constant discipline to that particular key which 
is calculated in the grave discussions of life to produce the 
most natural, persuasive, and effective oratory. 

But the suggestion of that particular measure' of sound in 
reading, has not been intended to exclude^other modes of 
conducting this exercise. . As a means of imparting expan- 
sion, clearness, and depth of tone to the voice, there is 
scarcely any exercise which merits a profounder share of at- 
tention than reading, when convenient, a page from some 
speech remarkable for the brevity and flowing smoothness 
of its sentences, on the topmost key of the voice. 

This exercise demands in most persons a very severe ex- 
ertion of the vocal organs whilst it may be in progress, and 
it should not be protracted beyond five or ten minutes. And 
notwithstanding the adoption of this mode of reading as a 
daily exercise in the retirement of the forest, will be attended 
with a return of very conspicuous benefits to the voice of 
the pupil, yet it will prove amply sufficient for the purposes 
of improvement to practice in this way about three times in 
each week. 

And on each occasion when the pupil shall have prac- 
ticed himself in this particular manner, he should invariably 
take the precaution, afber the lapse of half an hour from the 
expiration of the exercise, to read some portion of an author 
at the conversational level of his voice. 

The object to be attained in this procedure is, the benefi- 
cial influence exerted upon the voice by bringing it back to 
its natural elevation, immediately after having been practiced 
on a very high key. Unless the voice shall have been too 
severely strained by the previous exercise of reading on the 
alto key, it will be found much more flexible and easy to 
control in reading in the usual and natural mode, immediate- 
ly after that discipline, than at any other time. And hf 
making the exercise of moderate reading a supplement of 


the former, on every occasion in which it shall be practiced, 

the voice will not only be shielded by this precaution from the 
acquisition of any unusually harsh and vociferous sounds in 
speaking and in conversation, yrhich might possibly be super- 
induced by practicing frequently on a key of great elevation, 
but the student will be ultimately conducted to an incredible 
degree of facility in modulating his voice, and in giving their 
proper measure and emphasis to words and sentences in read- 
ing. He will also be enabled, in this way, to acquire the 
feculty of giving the proper elevations and depressions to the 
voice which may be demanded in reading and speaking. 
The preceding theory has been derived from an experience 
so truthful and practical as to entitle it to the highest con- 



There is no branch of discipline, within the range of hu- 
man attainment, which confers on the voice a more solid 
and enduring class of benefits, than the daily practice of 
reading, in a distinct and audible tone, a judiciously chosen 
speech, or a select chapter from a book which may be 
commended for the smoothness and facility of its style. 
Yet this important and effective auxiliary to advancement 
in public speaking, similar, to light, air, water, and ^11 
other earthly advantages of esisy acquisition, has been held 
in light estimation, from the simplicity of its character and 
tte small expenditure of labor imposed by its performance. 

The habit of reading daily from ten to twenty pages in an 
author, is to the human voice what the daily exercise of walk- 
ing is to the human frame. The natural and eas^* operation 


of walking, put in requisition daily to a certain extent, pre- 
serves the muscles and sinews of the body in that equable 
condition which qualifies a person for the perfect and vigor- 
ous execution of all the physical duties which may devolve 
upon him in the progress of life. Without professing to 
suggest how wonderfully the appetite and general health of 
the system of man are heightened and preserved by a move- 
ment of the body so gentle and free from excess as that 
of walking, it may be justly asserted, that all the physical 
exercises which are carried to the highest degree of perfec- 
tion by the powers of a vigorous and elastic frame, such as 
heavy draughts from the ground, running, jumping and dan- 
cing, are chiefly dependent upon the very simple exercise of 
walking. If this natural discipline for the human frame 
should be totally suspended for a great length of time, the 
most active limbs would become in a high degree stiff and 
torpid, until a fresh stock of flexibility might be infused into 
them again by the full resumption of this exercise. 

The daily exercise of reading occupies very much the same 
relation to the voice which that of walking does to the move- 
ments of the body ; it preserves the voice in an equable con- 
dition. By subjecting the organs of speech to a moderate 
exercise daily, it preserves them in an open, expanded, and 
tuneful condition. 

When the human voice receives its only discipline from 
that portion of speaking which is executed under the public 
observation, in the courts of justice and other assemblies of 
men which convene for the transaction of business, it misses 
an immense harvest of improvement, in the shape of intona- 
tion, emphasis, modulation, flexibleness and expansion, which 
may be most certainly derived from the daily practice of 
audible reading, in the closet, or in the silence of some se- 
questered grove. 

When the business of speaking shall be resumed in the 
courts of Justice, at the close of a vacation of some weeks, 


and the voice shall not have been exercised during that inter- 
val of time, except in the usual colloquial exchanges of life, 
it will inevitably experience that sensible decline in its gen- 
eral powers which will be realized bjrthe human body when* 
it is suddenly summoned to perform the highest exhibitions 
of celerity in motion, after a long period of total inactivity. 

To secure for the exercise of reading a regularity and cer- 
tainty which will be utterly beyond the reach of every ordi- 
nary contingency, a student in elocution should deposit his 
favorite author or book of speeches on a table or chair by 
his bed-side when he retires to rest, to be within reach of his 
hand when he awakes with the light of returning day. And 
when he shall have removed from his eyelids the leaden clogs 
imposed by the slumbers which have just passed away, he 
should read in a tone of voice a little louder than that of 
ordinary conversation about five pages. When this duty 
shall have been performed, he will have placed the measure 
of improvement derivable from that particular exercise be- 
yond the inroads of business, the calls of pleasure, and the 
various accidents which may possibly consume his time dur- 
ing the day. 

But it is not sufficient for the ends of improvement, that a 
speaker or student should barely pass through the formula 
of reading a certain number of pages. To satisfy the exalted 
aim he has in view, in adopting this mode of discipline, he 
should read methodically, intelligently, and cautiously. He 
should, before he commences this exercise on each returning 
morning or day, as the case may be, determine in his mind to 
blend with the exercise before him that which is his favorite 
mode or style of enunciation, and which he intends to adopt 
as his habitual mode of delivery in speaking, on the broad 
theatre of life. By thus daily practicing in privacy, what he 
may regard as the most accomplished and admirable of all 
modes of delivery, he may ultimately succeed in reducing 
that particular style of delivery so effectualLy and penna- 


mently into his possession, when speaking amidst the divers- 
ified business engagements of the world, that nothing will 
«eyer it from the aggregate of his accomplishments. 

It has been heretofore affirmed, in the course of these 
commentaries, that a speaker can call up and fix in his mind 
his favorite mode of speaking a speech, when he is at the 
point of commencing an argument, just as a practical vocalist 
may be competent to bring up from the resources of liis 
musical knowledge, when he is about to commence a hymn 
or song, that particular tune which he prefers singing in con- 
nection with the song or hymn before him. But that degree 
of accuracy and promptness, in regulating and in controlling 
sounds, which may enable a person to determine mentally 
the particular style in which he shall deliver a speech or sing 
a hymn which is before him ; and which will not only qual- 
ify him to select this mode mentally, but will also empower 
him to transfer it to the exercise of speaking or singing, when 
he commences either, requires long and persevering practice 
either in a speaker or singer. And to render this faculty a 
personal appendage of a speaker, so as to hang constantly at 
his side, that he may use it with the same degree of facility 
that he uses his pocket knife, there is no species of discipline 
so simple, attainable, and effective, as that of daily reading. 

When a student, on commencing his daily exercise in 
reading, shall have fixed in his mind the particular style of 
delivery in which he shall read the pages before him, he 
should then, commence reading at an elevation of the voice 
scarcely above that level of sound which may be regarded 
as audible or intelligible to persons sitting in the same room. 
From this starting point he should gradually raise the voice 
until it shall attain that compass of sound which usually 
characterizes an animated conversation in the well-regulated 
circles of society. When the voice shall reach this pitch of 
elevation, the student should keep it there until the close of 
his lesson, with such occasional elevations or depressions as 


may be demanded by the character and nature of the partic- 
ular production he may be engaged in reading. - 

The student should also yield the most devout share of at- 
tention in prosecuting this exercise to accentuation and em- 
phasis. With an imperfect jexecution of this branch of a 
speaker or reader's duties, the most elegant and spirited 
production which ever dropped from a human pen, may de- 
scend in futile sounds upon the car of a hearer. With a 
total absence of these grand essentials to agreeable and in- 
telligent reading or speaking, the best and most intellectual 
productions on«earth are converted into the most unmitigated 
nonsense. But ^m the practical and masterly blending of 
these sterling accompaniments with reading and speaking, 
there flows a degree of power at times which moves both 
assemblies and nations of men with the power of an earth- 

In the preceding views presented in this chapter, the quan- 
tity of matter contained in five ordinary pages was prescribed 
for the morning exercise of the student in reading, not for 
the purpose of arbitrarily tying him down to that sp^ific 
amount, but because of the great convenience connected with 
the operation conducted in that particular shape. Five pages 
is a lesson in reading sufficiently extended to afford a bene- 
ficial exercise to the voice, and not so long as to conflict with 
the performance of other duties. The morning has been 
suggested as the most eligible period for t^ing the opening 
lesson of the day, because the voice is in a condition in the 
morning, from the repose of the previous night, to be 
more easily moulded and tuned to the will of its possessor, 
than at any other portion of the day ; because it will then 
be apt to retain through the day the particular intonation 
which it yields under the influence of exercise at that time, 
because a pupil will be more apt to enjoy the morning 
free from all external interruption and intrusion, than any 
other part of the day ; and because when an exercise shall be 


taken early in the morning, a benefit is thus secured for the 
student on that particular day, which cannot be taken away 
from him by subsequent incidents which may happen in it. 
He is neither confined by the views presented in this chapter 
to a lesson of five pages, nor is he restricted exclusively to 
reading in the morning. He may read in addition to his 
morning exercise, iA any portion of the day he pleases, and 
he may read as many pages as he pleases. But let him be 
sure not to permit the day to close, when he can avoid it, 
without taking a lesson of some length. 



A FREQUENT adoptiou of the practice of reading in a tone 
of voice so low as to be scarcely audible to those who 
may be sitting in tlie same room with the person engaged 
in reading, is strongly commended to the attention of a pupil 
in elocution, from the peculiar efficacy of this exercise in 
qualifying the human voice for the utterance of those sounds 
in public speaking which may be characterized by an unusual 
degree of softness and delicacy. 

The adaptation of this particular exercise to the production 
of the effect just ascribed to it, may be realized in the supe- 
rior expertness in picking up and handling very minute ob- 
jects, which is acquired by persons whose daily business 
renders it necessary for them oflen to remove such objects 
of traffic from one place to another, in a store or workshop, 
by the application of the fingers. Persons whose sense of 
touch has been sharp^ied by constantly picking up small 
and minute particles of any substance, will pick up such 


particles from the surface of a counter or table, with the 
same degree of celerity with which a half-fomished fowl 
will pick up a grain of com from the floor, whilst unprao* 
ticed fingers may make several blundering eiforts to ac- 
complish the same object, and fail at last. A person whose 
vision has been constantly trained in the prosecution of 
any scientific or mechanical pursuit, to the discovery and 
inspection of grains of any chemical or metallic substance, 
which may be scarcely visible to the naked eye, will possess 
an incalculable advantage over eyes unpracticed in the same 
way in searching for small objects in the common routine 
of human pursuits. 

The voice which has been patiently and perseveringly 
practiced in reading on a key which is but a few degrees 
raised above the level of an ordinary whisper, or at ^.rthest, 
to a pitch of sound which may be regarded as being vocal in 
its character only so far as to be distinctly audible to the 
reader himself, will acquire, in uttering sofl, gentle, and del- 
icate sounds and tones in speaking, an indefinite advantage 
over a voice undisciplined in a similar manner. The voice 
in being regularly trained to the enunciation of scarcely au- 
dible sounds, will acquire the same promptness in articulating 
such sounds, when it becomes necessary for the voice to pro- 
duce them again, which is attained in picking up minute ob- 
jects by fingers habitually practiced in handling objects of 
the kind, s>t as may be reached in the search for almost im- 
palpable objects, by a vision which has been long accustomed 
to the examination and observation of such objects. 

It will be almost impracticable for a voice which has been 
accustomed .exclusively to the enunciation of loud sounds, to 
descend to those of a soft and delicate character, when such 
intonations may be required in speaking. And the destitu- 
tion of this Cicultywill frequently prove a serious impedi- 
ment to the growth and perfection of a speaker's usefulness, 
influence and success. For it often becomes necessary, merely 


fer the purpose of guarding against the blight of monotony 
in the delivery of a speech, to descend to a very low key. 
It is almost invariably requisite that a speakeir should pitch 
his voice on a very moderate key in the conmiencement of 
a speech, to the end that he may by the gradual expansion 
of the voice, as the speech progresses, be enabled when he 
reaches the merits of his subject, to command just that spe- 
cific measure of sound which is proper and no more. It is 
very frequently demanded of a speaker, to let his voice de- 
scend to a level of sound which is scarcely audible to his 
hearers, when he is giving vent to very peculiar emotions, 
or indulging in the expression of some particular sentiment. 
And it is apparent to the most inexperienced observers of 
the business of public speaking, that to give the required 
effect to many sentences which occur in arguments and 
speeches, it is imperative upon the speaker to let his voice 
descend at the dose of such sentences. 



It is very far from being a problem, the solution of whidbi 
has been so dear as to place the matter beyond all cavil^ 
that there is any precise class of gestures which a speaker 
should use in performing the duty of speaking, to the exclu- 
sion of all others. Any motion of the person or hand, whidi 
is free, full and flexible, and made in such a manner as to 
correspond with an idea or sentiment which has been ex- 
pressed at the time, will serve in some degree to augment 
the attraction of the speaker. 

The great impediment to completeness which one should 


guard against in making a gesture,- is that broken, cramped, 
and restricted way of gesticulating, which gives to the arm 
of the speaker the appearance of being regulated in its mo- 
tions by a string or wire, that is pulled by some invisible 
agent. The elbow looks in these cases as if it might be 
pinioned to the side of the person speaking, for his arm, in 
the process of gesticulation, is never moved in advance of 
the person, with an easy and extended sweep ; but in its ac- 
tion presents the appearance of being fettered or clogged, 
and each of its motions will appear to be by jerks and out 
of time, similar to the motions of a dancer who does not 
move in unison with the music, or like the stroke of a paddle 
aimed at a ball, in any game where such an article is used, 
after the ball has passed. 

. The gestures which we have just described may, in the 
case of an unpracticed speaker, result from inexperience or 
diffidence. For when the liiiibs and person of a speaker have 
not been trained and disciplined in the graces of motion, he 
will not, in every instance, spontaneously contract a &cile 
and graceful mode of action at the commencement of his 
career as a speaker. And if a speaker, at the threshold 
of life, should be afflicted by a large stock of timidity, 
his action and movements, both id speaking and in social 
intercourse with strangers, where he may not be perfectly at 
easef will be cramped and restricted by his feelings of sel^ 

But the obvious source of imperfect and labored gesticula- 
tion in speaking, may be usually recognized in the want of 
flexibility and softness in the voice of the speaker himself at 
^the time. Every one who speaks will be enabled to collect 
a sufficient fund of knowledge, from his past experience, to 
assure him that whenever he has spoken at any time with 
the voice in proper tune, that he has been able to gesticulate 
with perfect ease, and that when, on the contrary, the voice 
has been harsh, contracted, or unyielding in any of its oi^ans. 



that the gestures have been labored, broken, and ungrace- 
fal. This perpetual sympathy which eidsts between the 
organs of speech and the organs of motion, if they may 
be so denominated, reveals the imperious necessity of sub- 
jecting the voice to such a constant discipline, if it should 
require it, as will tend to preserve complete harmony be- 
tween the exertion of the organs of speech and the action of 
the hands. » 

In regard to the precise motions which a speaker ttiust 
execute with his hand whilst he is speaking, it may be safely 
said that any full or extended motion of the arm or hand 
which he chooses to indulge, will be, in some degree, an 
auxiliary to the work in which he is engaged. 

When a speaker is commencing a speech, he may fold, 
his arms across his breast, and keep them in that condition 
until an increasing animation, inspired by the subject, may 
dictate the act of changing th^ir position by moving them 
forward in gesticulation. The precaution of folding the 
arms across the breast, has been suggested at the beginning 
of a speech, because a speaker frequently feels ill at ease 
then from the fiwt of his arms dangling loose at his sides 
without any employment. Any other posture which may 
serve to place the hands and arms at ease, will answer as 
well as folding them together, such as holding a book or 
paper in the hand, or keeping the hands themselves folded 
together in front of the speaker. 

One mode of using the hands in the article of speaking, by 
some persons, is to keep both arms extended beyond the 
person during the delivery of an entire address or speech, 
keeping both hands moving slightly upwards and downwards, 
or both inclining to the right or the left, as inclination or 
propriety may prompt. In this gesture the elbow may rest 
on the side, or it may project an inch or two beyond the side, 
with each arm extending in a straight line beyond the person, 
except when moved upwards or downwards, or turned to the 


right or the left, as has just been suggested. This mode of 
using the hands, when executed with skill, is a mode of ges- 
ticulation which presents the blended advantages of grace 
and dignity both. 

There is another mode of gesticulating which has presented 
itself with peculiar attraction in the persons of some speakers 
of very high distinction. It is one which is exceedingly sim- 
ple in its character, and may be acquired with perfect ease. 
It is left to the speaking world to adopt or reject it, as their 
interest or pleasure may dictate. This gesture is compre- 
hended in the act of keeping the left arm extended from the 
elbow beyond the person, with the palm of the left hand 
uppermost and exposed, and keeping the right hand moving 
gently upwards and downwards across the palm of the left 
hand, sometimes a little elevated above, and sometimes 
brought in contact with it, except when both hands are 
temporarily sepi^rated to make some more emphatic ges- 

A very effective gesture may also be produced by closing 
all the fingers on each band except the front finger, and after 
the left arm shall be extended beyond tiie person from the 
elbow, then to bring the front finger of the right hand imme- 
diately across the same finger of the left hand. This gesture 
is adopted for the purpose of invoking a specific degree of 
attention in behalf of any particular foct or principle which 
the speaker may be submitting at the time. The speaker 
should bring it up quickly, too, and not resort to it in a 
drowsy manner, for it is intended to be an animating ges- 
ture, and it is one which is usually adopted when the speaker 
becomes somewhat fired by his subject. 

There is another gesture which may be practiced with 
considerable effect, when the speaker wishes to draw an 
emphatic degree of attention to any special principle x)r fact, 
and that is the act of bringing the front finger of the right 
hand, with the rest folded up, in contact with the table 


befi>re him, and to touch and retouch the table with this fin- 
ger, in order to specify and single out, especially, the point 
he may be enforcing at the time. 

There is another gesture which is adopted by distinguished 
reasoners, occasionally, for the purpose of calling a pointed 
share of attention to any pending proposition, and that is to 
bring ihe front finger to a perpendicular across the lips of 
the speaker, while he is discoursing. This is a &vorlte ges- 
ture of Bishop Timon of the Catholic Church. 

It is not uncommon with some speakers to run the left 
hand under the right breast of the vest, and to keep it there 
during the greater portion of an argument, whilst they keep 
the right hand, at the same time, const^tly engnged in 
gesticulation. This mode of disposing of the hands^ may 
be well enough at any time, but the chief grace w^ch com- 
mends it to the use of the student is derivable purely from 
the special share of beauty with which this passage of action 
may be conducted by any particular speaker. 

Another way in which the hands may be disposed of, dur- 
ing the delivery of a speech or argument, is, afler bring- 
ing the elbow of the left arm to an angle with the person, 
to rest the inner portion of the thumb of the left hand upon 
the left hip, and to gesticulate with the right hand. This 
mode of action may be at times resorted to, and so may 
that of putting both hands in that position which is called 
'^ akimbo ;'' but in usual acceptation these modes of action 
are strongly objectionable, if indulged habitually, for they 
present the impression of vanity, bravado, and a redundant 
stock of self-esteem on the part of the speaker. 

Another gesture frequently resorted to, especially by nerv- 
ous speakers, when they become considerably excited in a dis- 
cussion, is to keep the right hand elevated all the time, with the 
palm downwards, and the hand constantly preserved in a trem- 
ulous n>otion, like the fluttering of a leaf agitated by a breeze. 
There is nothing to be particularly commended or condemn- 


ed in this gesture, for though it may indicate ammation and 
energy, it is destitute of grace and ease. 

Another mode of conducting the process of gesticulation 
by some speakers, is^ to keep each hand alternately in mo- 
tion during the business of speaking, and sometimes both at 
the same time. This method of action, when executed with 
entire ease, is about as perfect as any which may be acquir- 
ed by a speaker, because neither hand seems to be paralyzed 
or bound to tJbie side of the speaker, all the time he is speak- 
ing, from the fact of beii^ idle. Both hands, from the &ct of 
being alternately used in the work of gesticulating, become 
trained in such a way as to execute their work with an equal 
degree of expertness, said that in the proper place; and 
when they are both employed in the work of making ges- 
tures, the action of the speaker will be proportionally more 
animated and effective. 

Another source from which a speaker occasionally derives 
a vast accession to. the* effect of his delivery, is, firom holding 
a paper connected with his subject in his hand, or a book of 
authorities before him, and by gracefully pointing to and 
reading from the paper, or book, as the case may be. This 
exercise arms the speaker with the weight derived from a 
printed and solemn authority to support him, and gives him 
for the time what may be termed an air of erudition ; 
but the chief attraction derived from it is the &ct of inter- 
spersing the act of speaking with a legitimate sort of variety, 
every instance of whidi rdieves to some extent the exercise 
in which he is engaged. 

But the matter of gesticulation and of action at large must 
be regulated so much by the subject which is in the progress 
of discussion, by the occasion, and by the sentiment intend- 
ed to be enforced by any given gesture, that it must always 
prove a difficult task to classify gestures so as to give them 
a personal identity which will enable a reader unerringly to 


recognize them, from the accuracy of delineation containfed 
in any written description. 

The student will acquire infinitely more knowledge in re- 
lation to the graces and the sterner properties of action from 
an intelligent observation of the most finished speakers of 
his time, than from any arbitrary rules compiled on the sub- 
ject. He may take the mode of action which he has imper- 
ceptibly blended with the business of speaking himself, and 
add to his treasury of graces other attractive qualities and pas- 
sages which he may have noticed in the best models within 
the sphere of his observation ; or he may adopt for his mod- 
el the style of some highly-approved master in action, and 
graft upon the style thus selected effective passages from the 
gesticulation of other patterns, as they occur to his observa- 

It may be regarded as a safe proposition, in concluding this 
chapter, that a speaker should never hammer the benches be- 
fore him with his fist, nor should he beat out the unoffending 
brains of the books against the tables, because he has been 
unable to beat into his own brains the contents of the books. 
George McDuffie used to indulge in this method of yielding 
peculiar force to his views of a subject ; and it is also said 
th^t he used to stamp with his feet at a terrible rate. But 
there was a muscular power of thought and a volcanic fervor 
of imagination in McDuffie's composition which disarmed 
these deformities of action and of manner in him of their usual 
revolting tendency. This tempestous sort of manner appears 
very contemptible though in a speaker who possesses neithei 
heat nor vigor. 




Ths Acuity of pronouncing with punctilious and graceful 
accuracy, is- a resource to a public speaker which cannot be 
too highly appreciated. It lends a charm to public discourse 
which is just as conspicuous as that engaging quality in a 
musician, which enables him to yield each note in a musical 
composition in full melody, time, and measure. In point of 
influence, the blandishments which are thrown around lan- 
guage by the art of pronunciation, are infinitely more en- 
during than the most enchanting strains of music which ever 
descended upon the human ear. 

The simple fact of pronpimcing words with such a faint 
approximation to correctness, as to avoid -animadversion, 
does not form a point for repose at which a speaker should 
suspend his exertions in search of improvement. A d^ree 
of accuracy of the kind just mentioned, ought rather to con- 
stitute a level from which he should ascend to loftier grades 
of excellence. And though it may not be the destiny of frail 
and feeble humanity to reach perfection, it should certainly be 
the unceasing aspiration of a speaker to approach and deserve 
that lofty elevation. 

The person whose life may be devoted in a large degree 
to the business of public speaking, should cease to speculate 
concerning the advantages of a finished pronunciation, when 
he reflects that Lord Chatham, in whose memory Britain 
glories as the most radiant ornament of her past history, 
kept a dictionary constantly within his reach, for two im- 
portant purposes ; the one of which was to ensure to every 
word he uttered in debate, a pronunciation of incontestable 
accuracy, and the other bf which was to enable him to select 



those words which would best express the idea which he 
wished to convey. It is scarcely necessary to observe that 
Lord Chatham stands on the extended path of centuries, al- 
most without a rival, in both the music and the electric 
power of his language. 

But the public speaker is not only enlightened in the art 
of pronunciation, by the &ithful counsels which flow from 
the best dictionaries on that subject, he has within his 
reach the most gifted and accomplished scholars of the age, 
whose voices in the management of words, distil the classic 
music whidi charmed Athens in the perfection of hex cul- 
ture, and Rome in the palmy periods of her renown. He has 
before him the crowning graces in the department of pro- 
nunciation, winch embellish the oratory of the most finished 
speakers that his country may boast. He is provided in 
rich profusion with decisive opinions on this subject, which 
are securely treasured up in the printed wisdom of the world. 
_And in addition to these bright and faithful auxiliaries to 
the illumination of his judgment, and to the per&cticxi of his 
taste, he has at command his own ooncepti(His of music ftnd 
measure to assist him in clearing his pronunciation of every 
asperity and defect. 

It may be justly affirmed of a correct and graoeful pro- 
nimciation, that it is certain to ensure a grateful and flatter- 
ing reception to solid reasoning, dothed in the garniture <^ 
elegant diction. But it wins its way to loftier achievements 
than this on the field of intellectual aspiration, it is al- 
most certain to invest with the deceptive glarQX>f ^tificial 
beauty, matter of an indifferent and ephemeral diaracter. It 
is frequently affirmed of distinguished speakers, that they 
possess the &culty of making very poor matter sound hand- 

It rarely happens that an orator of abounding attractions 
presents himself before an audience in the delivery ^f a 
speech, without engaging a marked share of attention on ap- 


count of the inimitable beauty with which he pronounces 
some particular words. After the delivery of a speech has 
been closed by a speaker of extended celebrity, we frequently 
hear the exclamation, — Oh how delectably he pronounced 
some specified word. How did he manage to invest it with 
so much beauty 1 Because he yielded his patient devotions 
to the particular word, and to all the elements of the Eng- 
lish language. O how delightfully a certain musician soimded 
the softer notes in his performance. By what means did he 
succeed in distilling such delicious melodies from his instru- 
ment? The question may be answered by affirming that 
the musician was enabled to draw the bewitching melodies 
from his lips or his instrument, by the same process by 
which the accomplished speaker is enabled to deliver his 
words in a dress of graceful music, to the ears of an audi- 
ence, by having repeated the notes of enchantment over and 
over, without limitation, in the solitude of retirement. 

A speaker of merited celebrity might deliver speeches 
wherever the English language is used as a medium of 
thought, and his pronunciation would be honored with the 
most grateful applause at every locality which would resound 
with his voice. For a marked superiority in the art of pro- 
nimciation, is one of the chief sinews of an orator's power. 
He speaks with effect, because he pronounces well, and it 
may be almost as appropriately said, that be pronounces 
well, because he speaks with effect. 

There are certain words which are articulated in such 
tremulous and delicious tones of beauty, by> some accom- 
plished speakers, that the sound of these words, instead of 
&ding from the memory of the hearer, continues to linger 
upon the ear, even to the gates of death. But those special 
words which descend upon the ear like strains of the richest 
music, may be appropriately compared to the brighter tints 
upon a cheek of uimiingled beauty. These particular words 
engage the admiratiQO of ft listener, not because tbe greftt 


mass of language uttered by a finished speaker is imperfectly 
sounded, but because the striking words ascend some per- 
ceptible shades higher in the scale of excellence, than the 
other elements which compose the structure of language with 
which they are blended. 

Each word which entered into the composition of a dis- 
course delivered by a classic and polished speaker, might be 
taken singly, and scanned as units in connection wiA the 
most approved standards of -pronunciation, and the fact would 
be explicitly revealed, that these words had been, without 
exception, pronounced with a share of skill and accuracy 
which would have reflected lustre on any ordinary speaker. 

It often happens that persons in the very maturity of their 
experience, by listening to the more finishe'd masters of the 
English language, are inducted into the art of pronouncing 
words so as to yield a musical enunciation, which they had 
loathed through life, from an inability to sound them in a 
smooth and grateful manner. Many of the proper names, 
both in biblical and profane history, produce an exceedii^ly 
uncouth and repulsive sound when they drop from the lips 
of a novice. But these words are as completely divested of 
every shade of asperity, when they emanate from classic lips, 
as the diamond when delivered from its native excrescences 
by the polish of the artist. 

As an accurate pronunciation appears to constitute one of 
the most engaging ornaments of the business of speaking, the 
votary of that ostensible art will not be likely to devote too 
large an expenditure of time to its acquisition. He should 
not only <5onsult the most authoritative dictionaries on this 
subject, but he should converse with men of classic taste and 
discrimination in the construction of language. He should 
yield a 3incere and fervent measure of devotion to the most 
elegant and accomplished speakers who may come within the 
sphere of his observation. And he should exercise himself, 
in his more retired moments, in sounding words in a variety 


of modes, just as a person devoted to music sounds his notes 
in different ways, to ascertain by practice which method of 
sounding will, yield the sweetest melody. 



A VERY classic and elegant writer has remarked that words 
in just articulation, " are delivered from the lips, as beautiful 
coins newly issued from the mint, deeply and accurately im- 
pressed, perfectly finished, neatly struck by the proper or- 
gans, distinct, sharp, in due proportion, and of proper 

An attempt to improve on a delineation possessing so much 
graphic beauty as that which has been quoted in the preced- 
ing lines, may possibly involve an useless consumption of 
time. It may be observed, however, that the contrast which 
is exhibited between a perfect and a defective articulation of 
language, is equally as glaring as that which is presented 
between the sound of two bells, the one of which gives out 
clear and glassy tones, and the other confused and lumbering 
notes. And for the purpose of presenting an illustration of 
the difference which exists between perfect and imperfect 
articulation, which will keep them perfectly distinct from 
each other in the contemplation of a speaker, it may be said 
that the line of distinction between the two modes of execu- 
tion is as broadly marked as that which exists between two 
pictures, the one of which presents every person, object and 
plant, in a state of clear and beautiful definition, whilst the 
other yields its representations to the eye in a jumble of 


Another chapter in these commentaries has been distinclilj 
appropriated to the subject of pronunciation. And it may 
be justly remarked in this connection, that the faculties of pro- 
nunciation and articulation are so intimately blended in the 
offices which they perform in the business of speaking, that 
it requires a share of acute discrimination to preserve with 
perfect uniformity the boundaries between them with the 
requisite measure of distinctness. 

The difference which exists between the pronunciation and 
the articulation of words, consists in this : a speaker may 
possess a very intelligent apprehension of the pronunciation 
of words, and he may yery perspicuously show this to his 
hearers by marking in some degree the proper points fox 
accentuation whidi occur in the words, which he utters. But 
if there be any natural or acquired defect in the organs of 
speech, for instance, if the voice be exceedingly unmanage- 
able, or if the palate should be gone, a person in this condi- 
tion, although he may indicate by a very feeble and imper- 
fect accentuation of words, that he possesses a due apprehen- 
sion of the necessity of that quality in speaking, yet he 
cannot, owing to his poverty in the blessing of sound, give 
out the different syllables in the words which he utters with 
a distinct intonation, he cannot yield to each syllable and 
letter in the composition of a word that due degree of 
weight which will maxk with distinctness and precision 
the divisions which exist in them, just as the transient 
pauses which occur between the notes delivered &om a bell 
of a glassy intonation repeats the distinct existence of each 
sound whldi &lls from it upon the ear. It may be said of a 
person whose voice does not come to the aid of his under- 
standing in the pronunciation of words, that he is a correct 
pronouncer, but not a perfect or just articulator, just as it 
may be said of a performer on the violin, who is a perfect 
master of the science, but not of the sounds of music, that 
he is a correct but not a distinct musician. 


To yield words in a discourse -with every atom of sound 
which may be due to them in a measure of proper distribu- 
tion amongst the letters and syllables, is the province of 
articulation. The speaker who understands pronunciation 
very perfectly, may execute that portion of his duties with 
a sufficient share of aoouracy, to indicate that he is skilled in 
scholastic leamipg. And a musician may pass through an 
i^tire composition in musio^ in such a way as to convince 
evexj person in his presence, that he is a perfect master in 
the science of music But from a defect of the ear, he may 
not produce thp difierent notes in the composition, in such a 
full and distinct measure of sound, as to communicate a 
lively sense of entertainment to the audience* 

It requires the acute and practiced ear, as well as the dis- 
cerning mind, in the application of musical science to the 
entertainment oi mankind, to deliver out the notes of music 
in the perfection of their distinctness and sweetness. And 
it requires the fivsulties of a disciplined and tuneful voice, as 
well as the mental acumen imparted by classic culture, to 
givd out words in speaking with the proper distribution of 
sound which should be yielded to them. The intimate union 
which exists between pronunciation and articulation in the 
business of speaking, has been very distinctly affirmed in a 
previous portion of this chapter. Indeed it may be appro- 
priately said that the one of these Acuities merely presents 
a different phase of the other, carried to the most extended 
limit of its excellence. A person who v/ery clearly appre- 
hends the office of pronimciation, but whp possesses a voice 
exceedingly deficient in volume and in modulation, may con- 
vince every person who hears him speak, that he knows how 
to pronounce, by recognizing the points of accentuation in 
the progress of speaking. But he may yield this accentua- 
tion with such a limited measure of sound, as to excite the 
attention of his audience in a very feeble manner. The faqt 
of giving the accentuation even in a feeble and superficial 


manner, shows that the understanding of the speaker is right 
on the subject. The fact of giving the accentuation faintly 
and imperfectly, shows that the voice of the- speaker is de- 
ficient either in strength or in culture. 

The delivery of a speaker who articulates clearly and 
justly, is neither marred by an imperfect apprehension of 
the words he utters, nor by the inappropriate distribution of 
the measure of sound amongst these words. A speaker 
who articulates finely, not only discloses the fact that he 
understands the component elements in the language which 
he delivers, by giving these elements and divisions a faint 
recognition in the sounds of his voice, as he progresses 
in delivering a speech. He pays a full measure of hom- 
age to them. He speaks each word in a discourse as 
distinctly separate from every other word in it, as each shot 
which descends from a shot-tower is distinct from every 
other shot which falls from the same starting point. He 
marks the boundaries between the different syllables in a 
word, when he speaks it, just as explicitly as a smith marks 
the limits between each link in a chain, when he forges tliem 
in succession. And he assigns to every letter which deter- 
mines the sound of a word, a locality in the utterance of that 
word, which is just as ostensible in its place, as the eye is in 
the human face. 

For the sake of rendering the difference between pronun- 
ciation and articulation so broad as not to aflford the pupil in 
elocution the slightest shade of hesitancy in discriminating 
between the two operations, it may be affirmed that pro- 
nunciation in relation to the quality of accuracy in sounding 
words, may be compared to an individual who shows clearly 
enough his recognition of an acquaintance by a nod scarcely 
perceptible, or by a formal and frigid shake of the hand. 
This shows that he has a just conception of the prevalent forms 
of social civility, whilst at the same time he reduces these 
forms to a practice which is warmed by a very faint spirit of 


cordiality. Articulation may be said to resemble a person 
who not only manifests his recollection of a friend when he 
meets him, but who also practically demonstrates that recol- 
lection by a countenance beaming with animation, by a saluti- 
ation warmed by the glow of affection, and by a grasp of jthe 
hand strengthened by the joys of reunion. 

It was' said of President Jefferson, that he would dispense 
the compliments of a dinner party with so much elegance 
and address, that each of the guests he entertained at the 
time would retire from his hospitable mansion with the flat- 
tering conviction that he had borne away the prize compli- 
ment of the occasion. And if a speaker should articulate the 
words delivered by him with perfect distinctness and £iccu- 
racy, his hearers may leave him with the belief upon their 
minds that each word he spoke was marked by a special 
beauty of sound. 

But it has not been designed, in the preceding remarks, to 
d^reeiate the value of an accurate pronunciation of words. 
That quality in speaking is an essential which is so imperi- 
ously demanded, that without it a speaker must progress in 
his business with an execution as blundering and graceless as 
that which is yielded in the exercise of dancing by a person 
incurably crippled in his limbs. But whilst pronunciation 
marks the points of accentuation in 'words, articulation, sim- 
ilar to a faithful auxiliary, distinctly reveals these points to 
the ear by applying to them the property of sound in a 
proper measure of clearness and Ailness. It may be justly 
remarked, that the inseparable union of these two accom- 
plishments is essential to give el^ance and eiect to language 
which is spoken, the one to mark the points of division in 
words, and the other to give those boundaries the proper 




A RBCUBSSNOB to the magical efifect which has been fre- 
quently exerted on an audience by accomplished vocalists, in 
displaying a beautifiil and tremulous cadence of the voice, 
will enable ttie pupil to appredate properly the peculiar 
efficacy of this quality when blended with the delivery of an 
enlightened advocate. It is the fact, appai^ently, of permit- 
ting the voice to die. away and retire into the depths of the 
throat, so as to be scarcely audible, which produces this spe- 
cies of intonation. It is usually possessed, in the highest 
degree of perfection, by celebrated singers and tragedians, 
because their voices are usually subjected to the most rigid, 
painful, and persevering culture, for the purpose of producing 
this sound equally with others which render tJie voice at- 

But this accomplishment of the voice is not confined to 
professional voQ^sts or to dramatists. It asserts its pres- 
ence, in a very attractive degree, in the delivery of skilful 
orators. And as it is chiefly the fruit of culture, it may be 
as ext^sively appropriated by speakers as by the dramatic 
corps. This proposition derives confirmation aaad support 
from the &ct that almost every voice of music or of tragedy 
which has delighted the world on the theatrical boards, has 
been the product of incalculable toil and vigilance. And it 
is also sustained by the great advances to perfection, in this 
peculiar intonation, which has been exhibited by those public 
speakers in this country who have devoted a liberal share <^ 
attention to the matter. 

The voices of some persons have been adapted by nature 
to the easy acquisition of this element in vocal beauty. 


And it is highly probable that those who possess an original 
determination of the voice to the production of such sounds, 
are just as unconscious of the property as those who have 
had the faculty of ventriloquism slumbering ia their consti- 
stutions until the meridian of life before they discovered it. 

But even where nature has furnished the basis for this 
desirable acquisition, in blessing some of her children with a 
voice of rare flezibility and tunefulness, it cannot be rendered 
in a high degree attractive without the application of the 
most assiduous attention and labor. For it is not sufficient 
that persons should be endowed with a lai^e fund of eonsti- 
tutional melody. It is also rendered incumbent upon them 
to regulate and discipline their natural jstock of sweet sounds, 
in such a manner as will enable them to dispose of it cor* 
rectly, and to distribute it in a ^proper measure to the world. 

It is incontestably true, tben, that the vocal &culty about 
which we are now discoursing, is, without m exception to the 
contrary, the result of acquired skill and art. It is even 
thus where nature has given the noblest elements for its cre- 
ation. The proposition is pre-eminently true where the 
voice has presented obstacles to the attainment of this pecu- 
liar beauty. 

But the invincible &ct that a quality of the voice possess- 
ing such rare attractions for mankind, may be attained by 
persevering exertion, extends a measure of encouragement 
which should be highly exhilarating to a student in elocution. 
For it clearly reveals to him the proposition that his power 
of &scination as a public speaker, is a subject which is to a 
great extent under his own control, that it is a matt^ of vo- 

The mode by which this accomplishment m»y be acquired, 
may prove somewhat difficult to define. But it may be as- 
sumed, as a starting point, in commendng a duty of such 
va3t importan(3e, that when the faculty of producing the deep- 
er ton^ of the voice shall be once acquired by a speaker, 


that he is then provided with practical evidence that the prin- 
cipal barrier to the creation of those tremulous and beauti- 
ful cadences to which we have been referring, has been re- 
moved from his voice. For as it is impossible to yield this 
cadence without the power of producing the deeper tones of 
. voice, the converse of the proposition may be assumed as 
true, that when assisted by the power of producing the deep 
tones, a speaker will find it an easy enterprise to command 
in speaking that cadence which is so agreeable. 

From the preceding reflections, it will appear that, with 
the view of attaining the quality of sound which forms the 
subject of this chapter, the pupil should devote a patient de- 
gree of attention to the object of deepening the tones of the 
voice. After he has secured this essential preliminary, he 
should then observe with unwavering fidelity the delivery 
of the most celebrated speakers and tragedians within his 
reach, in order to become familiar with the varied tones of 
beauty which may be yielded by their voices. And he will 
not only be enabled, by the adoption of this course, to recog- 
nize and identify the beautiful and tremulous cadence of jbhe 
voice to which we have referred, so as to know distinctly 
what it is, and in what it consists, but he will also ascertain 
by what agencies and exertions it is formed. 

When a speaker has practically informed himself by an 
intelligent observation of the most distinguished masters of 
the voice, what the quality of cadence really is, how it is 
produced, and what sort of additional beauty he really wishes 
to engrafl upon his voice, he should keep the desired passage 
of sound continually in contemplation, and practise it unfail- 
ingly whenever suitable opportunities shall be presented to 
him. If he shall resolutely determine to pursue the sugges- 
tions here submitted, he may summon to his aid in speaking 
the rare and beautiful quality of cadence with as in&Uible 
certainty as he can acquire the accurate knowledge of any \ 

branch of scholastic learning whidi may engage his &ncy. 



And the faculty of producing this note of the voice in per- 
fection, merits the most fervent aspirations of a public speaker, 
as well on account of the inimitable passages of beauty which 
it enables him often to interweave with the process of deliv- 
ery, as for the splendid conquests which it may enable him 
to achieve on the field of discussion. The act of causing the 
voice apparently to melt and sink away in the distance, 
whilst its sounds may be so distinctly articulated to the ear 
as to define and preserve their distinctive character, and to 
make them intelligibly known to the hearer, is an attainment 
which i]>vests a vocalist or a tragedian with high powers of 
attraction ; but to the delivery of a cultivated and gifted 
reasoner, it lends a charm of invincible power. 



. One of the .most copious springs from which a speaker 
derives his available supplies of influence and strength, is 
the art of giving the proper emphasis to the words which 
he utters in a discourse. Anil this accomplishment in a 
speaker is as distinctly felt by an audience in casting its 
appreciation of a discourse, as that creative facultj^is felt in 
a painter which enables him to mingle together, in a felicitous 
proportion, the lights and shades which are blended in the 
formation of a magnificent picture. When destitute of the 
competency to give a proper emphasis to the words which 
he utters, a speaker will not only be subject to tthe passive 
injury of not being properly appreciated, but he encounters 
the painful penalty of being positively misapprehended in 
his remarks on*a subject. 
Those who may be &miliar with dramatic exhibitions ean 


very justly apprehend how an actor that imperfectly com- 
prehends his part, may, by adopting a wrong train of ex- 
pressions and gestures, united with a blundering emphasis, 
succeed not only in veiling the nature of the character which 
it is his duty to personate from the conception of his audience, 
but how also he may positively transmute that character into 
an individuality utterly at variance with that which he has 
been appointed to represent. 

The 'extremity of imperfection which has been alluded to, 
the public speaker seldom or never reaches. But it often 
happens that a cause of transcendent merit meets with incal- 
culable injury from the total absence of that dramatic skill 
in an advocate which would enable him to marshal his words 
in such a manner, in delivering an argument, as to make 
each word produce its proper effect. 

It has sometimes happened, that a word emphasised with 
masterly skill and address, has decided the fate of an em- 
pire. And it is a proposition utterly beyond the reach of 
controversy, that the dextrous dispositicm of a single word 
in a discourse has frequently taken captive the heart of beau- 
ty, and disposed of highly-important measures. These con- 
clusions are not derived merely from the pages of history, 
nor from the voice of a floating tradition, but they are found- 
ed upon the solid basis of past observation. 

When we hearken to the conversations of legislators and 
jurors, who explicitly confess to the impeachment of having 
been borne away by an argument transcendentally powerful 
in its character, what is the explanation that they usually af* 
ford concerning their tame surrender to the witcheries of 
eloquence ? The declaration generally is, '* O, the speaker 
drew such a Mdeous picture of the wrongs received by the 
prisoner, we were compelled to acquit him." " The statesman 
expatiated with such irresistible power on the frightful evils 
with which some particular measure was fraught, that we 
were compelled to vote against it." Another stateisman drew 


a fidd of such perfect encfaantment, out of a difierent measure, 
by applying to it the creative wand of his imagination, that 
his audience really believed that they had the scene of magic 
practically revealed to them, and slided into the snare of the 
orator with as much docility and meekness as a bevy of part- 
ri^es would glide into the net of a fowler. 

When the philosophy of the most miraculous conquests 
of oratory is critically analyzed, it will be found inclosed, in 
many instances, in the simple power of giving a superior 
emphasis to words in a discourse. This proposition is forti- 
fied in' a very high d^ee by the tame appearance which is 
often presented in print by speeches which in their delivery 
inspired the populace with phrenzy. By pointing to the flag 
of the nation at times with dramatic skill, the orator touches 
a vein of enthusiasm in his audience whidi places them as 
emphatically under his control as would be a piece of melt- 
ing wax in the hands of an artist. By pointing to an obnox- 
ious individual, with a skilful command of the music of 
sound, an orator may consign that individual to hopeless 



It is the impression with many speakers that i^o decided 
efiect can ever be produced on an audience, unless it should 
be addressed in a vehement and declamatory strain. But 
nothing can be &rther from the reality. For whatever is 
most in a^Scordance with nature in the pursuits of life, is 
alone qualified to produce any permanent good or solid sat- 
isfitction. And as walking is that exercise in the motions of 
tlie body which is most consistent with nature, because it is 


that application of the functions of man which is constantly 
and universally ministering to the wants and the pleasures 
of life, so the conversational mode of speaking is the style 
which corresponds in the highest degree with the tastes and 
feelings of a large majority of our race. It is that style of 
speaking in which an individual insinuates himself into the 
affections of both sexes in the private walks of life. It is 
that style of speaking by which the most important business 
transactions of life are usually conducted and perfected. It 
is that style of speaking in which the most momentous political 
negotiations are commenced and prosecuted to their close 
by the representatives of different nations. It is the style in 
which the members of every household, within the wide do- 
main of rational nature, are endeared to each other ; and 
it may be safely affirmed to be the grand circulating medi- 
ium of our race throughout the world. 

It is not a strained inference, then, to assume from the 
foregoing premises, that the hearts of an audience can be 
more successfully reached, and the strings of popular sym- 
pathy more powerfully touched, by the conversational style 
in public speaking, than by any other. If the attention of 
any individual in society cannot be a^rrested by an acquaint- 
ance who submits to him any matter of business or distress 
in a very earnest conversational appeal, it is not unnatural 
to suppose that the heart of the person addressed is widely 
estranged from the person addressing him, or that his feel- 
ings of sympathy are inclosed in a shield of impenetrable 

Even in the dramatic exhibitions of the world, it is very 
observable what an indefinite advantage the actor who con- 
ducts his part in a smooth and facile strain of animated con- 
versation, possesses over the most cultivated performer who 
is constantly ranting on the topmost key of his voice. It is 
equally apparent with what celerity a celebrated actor en- 
gages the attention of his audience, when he descends from 


the heights of boisterous rant and declamation to the calm 
level of ordinary conversation. 

When a speaker is declaiming to an audience of any de- 
scription, the most finished and convincing argument in a 
strain of loud and vehement declamation, he is regarded by 
those whom he addresses as one who is playing a part, he is 
as distinct from the audience as the magician when exhibit- 
ing his mysteries in the field of ledgerdemam, and as the 
clown jfL the circus, who has temporarily foregone his orig- 
inal identity. A speaker of this description may command 
the admiration of an audience, by the splendor of his oratorical 
flights, by the vigor of his argumentation, and by the dramatic 
skill of his gestures. But he rarely sways their sympathies 
and affections. They view^him whilst he is engaged in address- 
ing them, as if he was a different being from themselves, as 
if he was making a speech instead of talking to them upon a 
matter in which they possessed a common interest with him. 
Let a speaker of this description be succeeded by one of 
respectable powers and attainments, who addresses them in 
the familiar strain of persuasive and animated conversation, 
and the change in favor of the conversational speaker will 
prove so glaring as almost to be incredible. Why is this 
so ? Why it is a result which flows from the nature and 
constitution of man. The conversational speaker addresses 
them in that style which commands their attention at the 
festive board, at the fireside, in the fields of labor, on the 
public highways, and in all the simpler duties and pleasures 
of life. He talks to them as they have been accustomed to 
be talked to, and as they have been accustomed to talk to 
their fellow-beings, and they feel as if they would like to take 
a part in the conversation with him. 

The conversational speaker simplifies the business of speak- 
ing to his hearers so as to bring a matter home to every-day 
sympathies, just as a writer remarkable for the simple beau- 
ties of his style, endears himself to those who road his produo- 



tions, because the readers feel that the writer belongs to the 
same race with themselves. And as persons who read the 
works of a writer characterized by great simplicity of style, 
are apt to imagine that they could have written the works 
they may be engaged in reading themselves, so the hearers 
of an accomplished conversational debater will be apt to 
imagine that they could speak like him themselves. < 

The renowned Archbishop Tillotson, who has left imper- 
ishable memorials of his name and excellence behind^hun, in, 
his sermons as well as in the traditional reports of his moral 
purity and loveliness, which have descended to posterity on 
more than a million of voices, regarded it as the highest com- 
pliment that had ever been paid to him as a pulpit orator, 
when, on descending from the pulpit at the close of his dis- 
course on a Sabbath morning, he overheard some country- 
men who came down to London to hear him, ask a city man 
with evident surprise, '' is that your great Archbishop, why 
he talks just like one of us !'' 

The most successful speakers from the sacred desk, in 
legislative assemblies, on the hustings, and before courts and 
juries, will all be found in the colloquial department. And 
it is not intended to be affirmed in advancing this idea, that 
there are no speakers who are highly declamatory in their 
style of speaking, who succeed in engaging the admiration 
of the world. This proposition would be broadly and intel- 
ligibly overruled by the experience both of ancient and mod- 
em times. The page of history is adorned by the names of 
many speakers who have acquired imperishable &me both 
in the earlier ages of the world and in those which are more 
recent by the force of a vehement elocution. But the prin- 
ciple which is designed to be presented in this treatise, is 
that the highest degree of utility and effect is only to be at- 
tained in the conversational style. 

The clergyman who Sabbath after Sabbath dispenses both 
the promises and the threats of the gospel through the me- 


dium of a florid, theatrical, and declamatory elocution, may 
number in his train more noisy and enthusiastic admirers. 
But the quiet grace and simplicity of the conversational min- 
ister, will command more converts to the faith which he 
professes, and will also win for him a larger measure of si- 
lent and profound affection. The declamatory speaker before 
a jury, may have a larger number of those who are listening 
in the court-house to talk about his speech after it is finished, 
than the conversational speaker. But the lawyer or advo- 
cate who addresses a jury in the conversational style, will 
be most successful in fixing the attention of the jury, and 
will carry the most verdicts. 



The conversational style in speaking recommends itself to 
the speaker, not only from its superior efficacy to all other 
modes in engaging the attention of those he is addressing, 
but also on aqcount of the vast abridgement of the speaker's 
labors which it admits, and the power it affords him of ex- 
plaining with perspicuity and minuteness every proposition 
which he may choose to support or oppose. When a public 
speaker is engaged in addressing an assembly of any descrip- 
tion, in a strain of vehement declamation, the labor involved 
in this manner of speaking is so intense that it causes him to 
shufille over his propositions very loosely and superficially, 
without taking time to indulge in any nice passages of rea- 
. soning on any point, or to yield attention to particulars. 

The conversational reasoner, on the contrary, having the 


perfect command of his voice, can proceed at a degree of 
celerity regulated by his own pleasure, and, whether he is 
speaking fast or slow, will be enabled to press into his service 
every &ct and authority which he may remember, and may 
also reason minutely upon them, because he will be speaking 
perfectly at ease, and free from that intensity of exertion 
which will be an unfailing concomitant of any speaker whose 
habit it is to address an assembly at the topmost pitch of his 

When we speak of the colloquial style in public speaking, 
we do not enjoin that monotonous and drawling sort of enun- 
ciation in which the speaker can be hardly heard by his 
audience. A great deal of prosy nonsense, ignorance, and 
fustian are frequently delivered in that style, by a speaker 
who has not the enthusiasm to be excited to a pitch of anima- 
tion, or from his inexperience in the business of speaking, 
cannot muster up the confidence to speak with much spirit, 
for fear of losing the path which he may have previously 
chalked out in the deliberations of the closet. ' ' 

When the conversational mode of speaking is referred to, 
we mean that the speaker should commence his remarks in 
that simple and familiar manner, and with the same compass 
of voice which he would adopt in pres^ting his views to a 
friend or to a company of friends 'in the social circles of life. 
When he has advanced a short way in speaking, or shall 
become interested in the subject about which he may be dis- 
coursing, his feelings will gradually contract a glow from the 
exercise, and his voice will be also gradually expanded in its 
volume. And when the voice of the speaker is raised to the 
highest pitch which it commonly assumes in rational and 
well-regulated conversations, then he will be at that level 
of the voice at which he will do himself most justice and 
prove most agreeable to his audience. 

There are many persons who will not find it very difficult 
to adopt the conversational mode in speaking, from the fact 


of their voices possessing that uniform and equable flow 
of sound which corresponds with the usual colloquial exer- 
cises of social life. But, in a great majority of cases, those 
whose business it is to address their fellow-beings, have 
voices which take so many shifting keys, in the act of com- 
mencing a speech, or they have trained their voices so long 
in the declamatory mode, that it will require 'a patient and 
persevering use of various exercises, to enable them to com- 
mand at pleasure what is here termed the conversational 

One of the most successful modes by which to blend this 
mode of speaking with the style of a speaker, as a constant 
habit, is to resort daily to some retired locality either in the 
forests or fields, and having previously provided some book 
of speeches, which has 'been selected with reference to the 
shortness of itrf sentences and the smoothness of its language, 
to declaim a portion of some speech remarknble for the 
brevity of it* sentences and the animation of its language, at 
the highest pitch of the speaker's voice. This exercise gives 
tension or expansion to the voice, frees it of its asperities, 
clears it of its hoarseness, increases its depth of tone, and 
improves its melody of sound. 

After he has exercised his voice in declaiming upon a 
sharp or elevated key, let him pause some fifteen or twenty 
minutes, or at least for a sufficient space of time to afford 
the vocal functicais rest. Then let him take up the speech or 
address which he has previously spoken on a high key, and 
read it over, deliberately and careftilly, on a low key of the 
voice, and he will find with what remarkable facility he can 
go through a performance in the usual style of reading, imme- 
diately after the voice has been subjected to the previous 
severe training. 

But declamation on an elevated key of the human voice is 
not the only preparatory training which will tune the voice 
for reading with facility. The student, by previously exerr 


cising his voice in singing some favorite hymn or song, will 
discover that, with an interval of rest between the two exer- 
cises, he can read a few pages in a book of any description, 
with an ease which he can rarely attain independent of such 
previous exercise in singing. 



The benefit of acquiring a fixed style or mode of intonation 
in speaking, and of rendering that style a personal accom- 
plishment, has been heretofore presented to the attention of 
the pupil, in the course of these numbers. 

And without aiming to trench or infringe in the remotest 
degree, on the force of previous sugge»tions, it may be proper 
to state to the student, in addition to that admonition, that 
it will prove an exceedingly valuable attainment to acquire 
various modes of delivery. 

For instance, he may hear an accomplished orator who 
\ enunciates in the conversational style, and he may, by per- 
persevering exertion, transfer that particular style of deliv- 
ery to his possession. 

He may then be captivated by some admirable speak- 
er, who delivers his views in the didactic style, and he 
may acquire that mode of speaking, without interfering in 
the slightest degree with the first style which has been men- 

He may then hear a finished orator in the declama- 
tory style, and reduce that method of delivery into his pos- 

And he may, with proper care and perseverance, intro 
duce into the cabinet of his' personal accomplishments, all 


the captivating modes of deliv0iy which shall be presented 
to his attention. 

It would require more time to obtain the mastery over 
^he whole circle of modes, than it would to acquire one of 
them. But it is just as much within the range of practica- 
bility to obtain them all as to obtain one. 

Just as it is as practicable to s«lve fifty problems in 
mathematics as it is to solve one, if the student only has the 
time at command. 

And as practicable to learn a hundred tunes in music as 
one, on the same principle. 

The advantage of acquiring different modes of delivery 
may be recognized in the capacity with which this acquisi- 
tion endows a speaker, of choosing at pleasure a mode of 
delivery on diflferent occasions, to suit the audience he may 
be addressing, or to correspond with the spirit of the times 
or the circumstances in connection with which the address 
may be made, or witlf the character and quality of the niat- 
ter he may be about to deliver. The acquisition of each 
new mode of speaking too, as it successfully arises, will 
tend to improve and perfect every mode that a speak- 
er may have previously acquired ; just as a dancer, is im- 
proved in every previous step he has learned by the exercise 
which he passed through in acquiring each successive new 
step or evolution. 

These different styles or modes of enunciation are to 
the matter of which a speech is composed, in the hands of a 
speaker, just what tunes are to the verses of which a hymn 
or song is composed, in the hands of a vocalist. 

And as the vocalist may fix in his mind the tune he is 
to sing in connection with a given hymn, when the hymn it- 
self shall have been specified ; so a speaker, wjien a speech 
has been arranged in his mind, or a subject may be present- 
ed to him at a meeting, which he shall debate, he may fix in 


his mind the style or intonatioir of voice he shall blend with 
the delivery of the coming' speech. 

A speaker having at command various modes of speaking, 
may blend in one speech every style of oratory, just as va- 
rious temperatures of the atmosphere may, in a fickle cli- 
mate, be experienced in one brief hour. 



It is a matter of incalculable importance to a speaker, 
that his voice should be pitched on a proper key at the com- 
mencement of a speech. On the certainty of his attaining this 
preliminary object, his success and convenience in the effoft 
then in progress, will be both suspended in a very high de- 
gree. If the key he chooses shall be too high, his voice and 
gestures will be conducted with painful exertion and grace- 
less irregularity through, the whole course of the perform- 
ance ; for there is a mysterious sympathy existing between 
the voice and the limbs in the process of speaking, which 
will not permit the latter to move with perfect ease and flex- 
ibility, when the former is acting or sounding out of tune. 
If the voice should be placed on a key too low, it will yield 
sounds distressingly monotonous and deficient in music, 
through the whole course of a speech. And this defect the 
speaker will not be adequate to correct, no matter how loudly 
he may sound his voice, until he shall have effected a transi- 
tion to the right and natural key, which will attest its pres- 
ence to the speaker, whenever he shall become competent to 
speak with perfect flexibility of voice and gesture. 

In the selection of a pitch for the voice, whan the speaker is 


commencing a speech, he should be regulated very much by 
the position he occupies in relation to the assembly he is en- 
gaged in addressing. If his position should be near the chair 
of the presiding officer when he conmiences addressing any 
assembly, he should speak loud enough at the beginning of 
his remarks to be heard by persons at the centre of the 
hall. If he should be standing at the centre of the hall, he 
should commence his remarks at that pitch of the voice which 
will cause him to be heard distinctly at the extremities of the 
hall. If he should occupy a posation within four or five feet 
of a jury, at the opening of an address to a body of that 
kind, he should commence his remarks so as to be distinctly 
audible to them, and not louder, for his proximity to the 
persons he is addressing will render it ungraceful, unbecom- 
ing and injurious to his cause to speak louder at first than 
has been suggested, for he may enlarge the compass of his 
voice gradually as he advances in his address. If a speaker 
should be eng^ed in addressing a multitude in the open air, 
he should commence speaking precisely with that degree of 
loudness which would characterize his voice in opening a con- 
versation with a person about the distance of ten paces from 
him. An(J he should permit his voice afterwards to swell in 
its compass, so gradually that it will have attained its acme, 
or what jnay be termed the ultimate limit of its volume, 
when he shall have spoken about fifteen minutes. 

To ensure the possession of the proper and natural pitch 
of the voice at the commencement of a speech, and its con- 
tinued or unbroken retention through the whole progress of 
an effort, requires not only the application of a habitual pre- 
vious discipline to the voice, but a vigilant attention of the 
speaker to its progressive enlargement as he advances in his 
remarks. For there is in every human constitution, except 
those of the most frigid and impervious mould, a degree of 
fervor and,excitableness which will be inevitably provoked^ 
into circulation and action by that peculiar sort of influence 


which is exerted on the temperament by the labor of speak- 
ing. This sort of caloric in the system of man, when it 
rises too rapidly and is expended too freely, communicates 
the same jarring impetus to the human machine which a re- 
dundant application of steam usually imparts to machinery 
in the mechanical world. When this impetuous fervency of 
feeling rises so high as to get the upper hand of a person, 
when he is speaking, it is certain to produce a painful vehem- 
ence and celerity in the matter of delivery, and a marked 
irregularity and precipitation in the work of gesticulation. 

The discipline which has been prescribed in- the course of 
these commentaries, will conduce much to correct the ten- 
dency of speakers to overleap the bounds of a discreet and 
weD-regulated animation in delivering a speech.. But pre- 
vious discipline will not be sufficient in every instance to 
ward off the impediment to effective speaking which has been 
just deprecated. To repress this tendency to redundant ex- 
citation in speaking, and to keep it in tame subordination to 
the dictates of interest and convenience,' the speaker will be 
frequently compelled to exert the same rigid control over his 
feelings, when speaking, that he would be called upon to 
exert in keeping down an enraged mastiff that* might be 
chained in his presence. 

The best models for imitation in the speaking world, al- 
most without an exception, have sanctified by their example 
the practice of commencing a speech on the conversational 
key, and of permitting the voice to extend in its compass as 
they progressed in their remarks, in such a way that it gen- 
erally attained the pitch of a highly-animated conversation 
about the time when they had occupied the floor about fi^ 
teen minutes. 

To assure the command of the voice throughout the deliv- 
ery of an entire speech, a speaker should not only commence 
his remarks in a very moderate tone of voice, but he should 
proceed very slowly at the beginning of a speech. He 


should permit brief pauses to intervene between the earliest 
sentences in the composition of his speech, and take his own 
time in the labor of expressing his views. He will thus 
blend in salutary and beautiful imion two advantages which 
shine with a conspicuous and graceful measure of lustre, in 
the character of a speaker : he will exhibit a spectacle of dig- 
nified composure and serenity to the eye of the world, and 
he will be enabled to deliver a calm, well-considered and in- 
telligent survey of the subject before him to those he may 
be addressing. 



Thb imitative Acuities of the human race exist in a much 
stronger degree of perfection than the prevailing views of the 
world on this subject would induce us to believe. And it is 
by a specific measure of attention yielded to particular facts 
which frequently occur, that will demonstrate this proposi- 
tion to every intelligent and unprejudiced mind in the most 
luminous and satisfactory manner. 

The readiness with which children at a very early age wiD 
imitate anything grotesque or peculiar, either in the voices 
or manners of occasional visitors to the house of their pa- 
rents, has been observable to almost every person. And 
the imitation is conducted with such a punctilious degree of 
fidelity and accuracy at times, on the part of the juvenile 
copyist, as to prove a prolific source of blended wonder and 
amusement to those who behold the exhibition. 

Those who are ^miliar with the habits i^d characteristics 


of the African race, will possess a vivid recollection of the 
surprising shrewdness they usually exhibit in detecting those 
passages in the manners and conversations of persons who visit 
their owners, which may be impressed in a high degree with 
an awkward, provincial, or outlandish tinge. And their in- 
credible expertness in imitating peculiarities in voice, man- 
ner, and motion of the preceding description, has often 
yielded an abundant harvest of merriment to persons of whose 
observation the benighted copyists were utterly unconscious 
at the time. 

There is nothing which excites the spirit of imitation in 
the breast of any person in connection with the prevailing 
manners, voices, and enunciations of the times. For these 
are so much in accordance with nature and daily experience, 
as to pass without observation. It is only what digresses 
from the usual path of human observation at either of these 
points, that provokes into action the spirit of mimicry. And 
it is singular to what heights of perfection the faculty of imi- 
tation is carried when any person presents himself to the 
world, either in high life or low life^ who is distinguished by 
any marked peculiarities of manner, voice, or motion. Every 
person of this description is almost as certain to be honored 
with a mimic in his wake, as every solid body is sure to have 
its. accompanying shadow, and the personation is executed 
with such perfect fidelity at times, that persons in an adjoin- 
ing room have supposed the person thus burlesqued to be 
present, when perhaps he was more than a hundred miles 
distant from the scene. 

The corrollary which may be safely deduced from the 
foregoing observations, is that inasmuch as the spirit of imi- 
tation is aroused into successful operation by the presentation 
of anything singular in the voice, manner, or motions of a 
person, simply because such singularity is a digression from 
tfce ordinary pale of human manners and observation ; that 
the same spirit of imitation, if its possessor chose to apply it 


in that way, might be successfully exerted in copying the 
Toice and manners of any person in society who might be 
prominent for no peculiarity. 

It may be safely affirmed too, that all mankind possess 
the faculty of imitation to some extent, and that every hu- 
man being who may not be encumbered with an unusual 
share of dulness, may push this i^ulty, by the force of 
persevering exertion, to a degree of accuracy &r beyond the 
limit of present estimation. This proposition is abundantly 
fortified by the facility with which the bulk of our race glide 
into the daily performance- of the great catalogue of duties 
which are essential to the common business and intercourse 
of lifer The only solid reason which can be assigned for the 
fact that some persons stand prominently revealed to the 
world as accomplished mimics, is that from a mirthful turn 
of feeling, or by some casual combination of circumstances, 
they have been determined to the work of commencing the 
imitation of some peculiar individual, aad having commenced 
the work and received some compensatory recognition of 
their talents in the encouragement and plaudits of their com- 
panions and friends, they have been stimulated to cultivate 
and extend the faculty until it acquired for them some degree 
of celebrity. If they could infase into the feelings of their ac- 
quaintances the same degree of amusement by the act of im- 
itating men who possess no peculiarity, they would attain the 
same degree of success which marks their labors when taking 
off the manners of. the odd and the curious. The evanescent 
distinction, or rather notoriety which is won by this exercise, 
is the grand incentive which conducts the accomplishment to 
a full growth and expansion. 

In the further prosecution of this subject, it may be sug- 
gested that there is a great number of persons who fmd 
themselves involuntarily gliding into the imperfections of 
enunciation, which cling to ministers of the Gospel, whose 
preaching they are destined &equently to hear. They appa- 


rently catch by absorption at times, the nasal twang, the 
drawling monotony of voice, and sometimes the vociferous 
rant of the preacher under whose ministrations they usually 
or even occasionally sit. This assimilation to an imperfect 
speaker is not in all cases permanent ; it prevails in patches, 
or to a partial extent, and is usually checked and repressed by 
a judicious speaker, whenever he observes its presence in the 
style of his own enunciation, put the fact serves to show 
the susceptibility of human nature to contract any prominent 
trait in the manners or habits of those with whom it may be 
frequently brought in contact. 

It has often been the experience of persons who have par- 
ticipated in the duties of deliberative assemblies, to find, at 
the* close of months after the expiration of their labors, that 
their own elocution at the bar or on the hustings, presented 
very legible traces of the style and intonation of some speak- 
er, whose voice had frequently descended on their ears, in 
the business of legislation. And in this case they were not 
the defects of the particular speaker which were involunta- 
rily imbibed ; they were the valuable properties in the de- 
livery of some distinguished debater, which silently, but per- 
haps too transiently, insinuated themselves into the enuncia- 
tion of the persons, who recognized the similarity with some 
degree of surprise. 

It may be thought by the reader that an exceedingly ex- 
cursi^ range has been assumed in this chapter, but the pro- 
position which it has been designed to establish, is one of 
incalculable importance to the student of elocution, and no 
expenditure of words can be considered too extravagant, 
which would serve to imbue the juvenile mind with a practi- 
cal and available &ith in the soundness and validity of the 
views here presented. 

The object in introducing so many examples from human 
life, on the subject of the imitative faculties of mankind, has 
been to illustrate the capability which exists in every human 


being, endowed with a respectable quickness of apprehen- 
sion, of transferring to his own person any prominent pecu- 
liarity which exists in the manners, motions, and voice of 
another, whether that peculiarity be stamped with the graces 
of excellence, or marred by the tamt of deformity. 

It may be alleged as an objection to the foregoing propo- 
sition, that the defective peculiarities of our race are much 
easier of acquisition, than the adorning excellences of their 
characters. This objection is fortified in some degree by a 
theory coeval with the origin of man, and which proclaims 
that every human possession which is copimended to our 
love and admiration by great intrinsic value, appeals to labor 
and time to secure its perfection. 

It is the assistance of this very theory which we invoke, 
in order to render effective and beneficent the proposition 
which has been feebly presented in this chapter. The young 
aspirant for the utility and glory of eloquence is earnestly 
and affectionately invited to encounter the most irksome and 
persevering toils in the precious enterprise of plucking from 
the example of others and rendering them his own, those 
shining graces and qualities which illuminate and guide the 
counsels of peaceful wisdom. But ib is cheering to be assur- 
ed that labor can win for a human being, these almost divine 
accomplishments. ^ 

It will occur to every intelligent reader, that those who 
have enrolled themselves amongst the wonders of the era in 
which they prospered, in the character of artists, sculptors, 
and painters, have perfected themselves in these much-ad- 
mired accomplishments, not merely by the habit of observing 
the beautiful and perfect passages in celebrated paintings and 
statuary, in a blended form or taken as a whole, but it is 
also an incontestible proposition, that the most renowned 
painters and sculptors have habitually indulged themselves 
in the practice of singling out the most attractive traits in 
e^h work of art, and of transferring those particular pass- 


ages or features to a work or production of their own crea- 
tion, when occasion or opportunity would pernciit it. 

The faithful pen of history has imparted to us the intelli- 
gence that many of the most finished models in oratory, who 
who have charmed admiring assemblies and countries with 
their eloquence, were eager in the desire to imbibe improve- 
ment from every living fountain; that they extracted some 
endowment of personal grace and motion from every finished 
speaker or actor who displayed his powers in their presence, 
and that they also caught solne effective tone of music from 
every superior voice which was employed in executing any 
intellectual mission in their hearing. 

It is said of William Pinkney, who occupied the top- 
most round on the ladder of forensic celebrity in this coun- 
try, that when representing the United States at the courts 
of foreign governments, he worshipped, with the impassion- 
ed spirit of pilgrim devotion, at every shrine which. pre- 
sented to his colossal and ardent intellect the &intest as- 
surance of improvement in oratory. He was a constant 
and vigilant observer of the most finished speakers, both in 
the Parliament and in the courts of justice in Britain, as has 
been revealed to us in his personal correspondence. And 
the voice of tradition informs us that when stationed at the 
court of Naples, that he observed the most finished specimens 
of statuary with the enthusiasm of an antiquary, for the pur- 
pose of snatching from these works of art any special grace 
of attitude or posture which engaged his admiration, for the 
purpose of engrafting them on his own manner in speaking. 

And the vot£U*y of eloquence should not be palsied when 
success shall not attend his earliest attempts to command the 
brighter graces in speaking which captivate his heart. Un- 
faltering perseverance in reaching after any coveted beauty, 
in the style or manner of a finished orator, will ultimately 
place it within his grasp, as surely as he may be able to 
aspire to its acquisition. And he recognizes the most cheer- 


ing guarantees for the verity of this propositi(Mi, in the broad 
and incontrovertible feet that time and labor have never 
yet failed to achieve for an intelligent mind any earthly prize 
which the universal sentiment of mankind had not tacitly 
inscribed upon the record of impossibilities. 



As a lady who has been endowed by nature with but a 
frugal share of personal bieauty, will enhance her attractions 
for the evening by joining a dancing assembly with court- 
ly elegance and grace, so a speaker of barely respectable en- 
dowments, may magnify his influence and fascination as a 
debater, by opening an argument with an appropriate meas- 
,ure of deliberation and self-possession. 

And a speaker should never adopt a hurried manner in 
opening a speech, but in one instance, and that is when he 
takes spme concluding remark of the speaker who has last 
preceded him, and commences his own argument with a re- 
ply to such concluding sentence. In this solitary instance, he 
may begin his argument by the time the opposite speaker 
has touched his seat, and whilst the replying speaker is 
scarcely erect in rising from his own. If an apt reply to the 
concluding remark, or indeed to any important remark of an 
adverse speaker, shall be made under the circumstances just 
specified, the opening remarks of the replying speaker will 
not only be appreciated for their own intrinsic value, but 
they will secure a favorable reception for the sequel of the 


Under all other circumstances, except those just pointed 
out, » debater should open an argument with a degree of 
deliberation and serene self-possession which indicate that 
he is perfectly at home on the intellectual ground over whidli 
he is about to tread. It is desirable that a speaker should 
not only appear to be at home, but that he should really feel 
himself to be so ; but if he may not be adequate to the re- 
ality, he should certainly affect by his manner to be perfect- 
ly at ease, both in commencing and in prosecuting an argu- 
ment. For selJ^possession in performing all the duties of 
life, especially those of a high and responsible ch^acter, is a 
draft upon the admiration of the world, which wil Inever be 
dishonored. And even if an afifectation of ease and self-pos- 
session by a speaker should be skilfully executed, it will tell 
as loudly for him with his audience as the reality itself, for 
they will not be able to discriminate between the genuine coin 
and the counterfeit, if the latter should be adroitly assumed. 

During the progress of an argument, a speaker should 
uniformly proceed at a deliberate and measured pace, and 
should never permit himself to slide into a hurried manner. 

There have been occasionally eminent debaters who posted 
with lightning celerity through an argument, and there was 
one of that description whose colossal powers both illumin- 
ated and adorned the highest legislative counsels (of this 
country) for a series of years.* But debaters who are so 
largely endowed by nature and cultivation as the one to whom 
we have just referred, nfey secure an ascent to glory by a 
measure of giant strength which will tread under foot all de- 
fects of manner. But even debaters of the loftiest reach of 
intellect will receive a vastly higher estimate as speakers, if 
their delivery is commended to the public taste by a maimer 
which is easy and deliberate, instead of being hurried. For 
the direct tendency of a rapid enunciation is to produce the 
impression with an audience that the speaker is diffident of 

* The Lamented Calhoun. 


his own powers, or wishes to hurry through a very onerous 
task, or that his mind has been imperfectly disciplined by 
education, or that he is compelled to proceed at a rapid rate 
because his mind is not provided with a prgper amount of 
ballast to hold it to a dignified and steady pace in debate. 



In deciding a proposition of the character which is indicat- 
ed by the head prefixed to this chapter, the business of 
speaking must be considered with reference to the present 
condition of the world. During more remote periods in 
the history of our race, and even within the limits of the 
present century, when the faculty of effective and polished 
speaking was confined to comparatively few persons, there 
was no conve'htional or prescribed limit annexed to the space 
of time which might be comprehended within the limits of 
a speech. Unless the speaker should be addressing some 
tribunal or body, the legal term of whose duration was ex- 
ceedingly brief, or some meeting or assembly which would 
dissolve imder the infhience of rules drawn from considera- 
tions ah inveniento, the day it convened, he -anight con- 
tinue to speak from day to day for an endless succession of 
days, making the verbal blast of one day serve only as a 
starting point for a prodigal expenditure of windy rhetoric 
on the next. It is true that a web of loquacity woven out to 
such an interminable length, would naturally impair the 
reputation of any particular speaker for brevity in his dis- 
courses, and would inspire his audience with some bodings 
of fatigue when he arose to address them ; but still his lib- 
erty on the subject of speakinipr was as broad as the air. He 


was restricted by no rule in relation to the matter, except 
such as were necessarily provided in consonance with the brief 
span of time within which certain tribunals or bodies were 
confined, or which might flow from the immemorial usages 
connected with certain meetings of the people, which were 
dictated by mere conveniencer 

But the world within the last twenty years even, has 
•passed through the process of a radical and entire revolution 
on this subject. From the more extended and minute cir- 
culation of the benefits of education, from an iadefinite 
multiplication of the facilities for rapid and enlarged inter- 
course with mankind, and from the stimulating influence ex- 
erted by the spirit of the American Government upon the 
ambition and energies of man, the faculties of those within 
the sphere of its influence have been roused to an intensity 
of exertion on all subjects, unprecedented in the annals of 
our race. Whilst the transfusion of a new and electric ele- 
ment into the mental and moral constitution of the American 
people has prompted them. to explore every track of science, 
and to labor in every field of enterprise, they harve not proved 
insensible to the alluring rewards which cluster upon the 
path of oratorical renown. 

Facility in speech being recognized as the potent and uni- 
versal lever which elevates the ambitious to consideration in 
neighborhoods, counties, districts, States, and even on the 
broader and more imposing theatre of national contention, 
speakers have sprung up in a" degree of profusion fer beyond 
the demand of the popular wants in this Confederacy. Every 
neighborhood and county cross road, now presents its lora- 
torical champions ; every jolthead who has sipped even 
sparingly of Latin and Greek, at a mushroom university, 
thinks he incurs immortal infamy unless he enters the arena 
and becomes a speaker. Every coxcomb who has learned 
to write a joining hand so as to be legible, at a country school, 
or t6 calculate the cost of a load of pumpkins, on an ordmary 


slate, thinks he will gaiu a crown as un&ding as the stars, . 
by seeing his name registered in some village two-penny 
sheet, as the orator in chief of some piny woods' conyention. 
Every member of a legislafeive assembly, no matter how 
freely his constituents would pardon him for the omission of 
such labors, believes he will go down to posterity with a 
mark upon his forehead as broad as the brand of Cain, if he 
does not publish three or four columns of unmeaning and 
vapid verbosity in the metropolitan organ of his party for 
home consumption. The truth is, that speaking may soon 
become almost a universal attribute — ^things are rapidly 
verging to that point, when every human being will become 
his own speaker, and when th^ number of those who speak 
will swarm like the locusts of Egypt. 

Wh^i it is glaringly evident that^ the supply of public 
speakers, in this country at least, has greatly overpassed the 
demand for labor and talent of that description, it must oc- 
cur to every rational mind that some precautions must be 
adopted to seciire to every interest a full and intelligible 
hearing before the different tribunals which dispose of the 
most cherished interests of life. 

In the popular branch of Congress, the time allowed to 
each speaker on the floor is one hour, and this amount 
will be abridged in the course of time, as the House of 
Representatives augments in point of numbers, until it will 
be reduced to half an hour. The Supreme Court of the 
United States allows two hours for the argument of a cause, 
except in cases where special application shall be made for 
an enlargement of the time allotted to the counsel. These 
restrictions have been imposed upon the original freedom of 
debate, from the entirely changed character of the United 
States on the subject of speaking. And though this inno- 
vation on the ancient latitude of debate was regarded with 
some degree of odium and distrust at its early introduction, 
it cannot be doubted that the necessities of the country will 


gradually cause this abridgment of the liberty of debate to 
insinuate itself into every deliberative assembly, and per- 
haps court of justice in the land. 

It may be safely suggested te the judicious and intelligent 
student, that half an hour is the eligible and golden measure 
which should regulate the consumption of time in making a 
speech or argument, and this from a due consideration both 
of what is demanded by the daily increasing number of 
speakers, which in a few years will not admit of more than 
this amount of time being enjoyed by a single speaker, and 
also from a calm survey of what is enjoined by the interests 
of the speaker himself. An hour is usually a very unobjec- 
tionable length for a speech if it should be well employed, 
but in a short time this space will not be extended "to speak- 
ers, from the supervening force of circumstances already 
mentioned. And in addition to this inducement to the hab- 
itual abbreviation of speeches, half-hour arguments, when 
pressed by luminous and vigorous minds, have proved the 
most effective in the annals of debate. They present plainly 
and forcibly the points disclosed and the arguments and 
facts by which these points are fortified — ^they are not di- 
luted in point of strength by the admixture of a large share 
of useless and inappropriate verbiage, and the body addressed 
is sure not to be wearied by an address of this length in such 
a manner as to become disgusted with the speaker, and to 
depreciate his arguments. By selecting this particular space 
of time too, for the habitual delivery of an argument, a 
speaker will greatly narrow the field of his own labors, and 
improve the quality of his intellectual wares. When there is 
no definite length prescribed for a speech in the speaker's 
own mind, he is apt to be reaching after quantity rather than 
excellence, and he will cram every sort of lumber into an 
argument which presents the faintest approximation to rea- 
soning. When, on the contrary, his time for discussing a 
question is short, a speaker will concentrate his attention on 



what is available in the matter of his defence, to the exclu- 
sion of everything in the shape of trash and tinsel. 

It has been said of the celebrated Chancellor of England, 
Lord Somers, that he once delivered a speech in the House 
of Peers in the space of seven minutes, which was so replete 
with sense, wisdom, and intelligence, that the debate was 
closed on his resuming his seat, every one being satisfied 
that so wise a counsellor had embodied in his address all the 
information which was essential to the proper elucidation of 
the question theii under consideration. The illustrious char- 
acter of the speaker, it is highly probable, abridged the 
debate more effectually than the flood of light which was 
reflected by him within so brief a space on the field of dis- 
cussion. For it would appear that a complex question, 
which was to be determined by the force of reasoning, and 
not by the application of any decisive fact or authority, could 
not be perspicuously presented in all its bearings, Avithin the 
brief space which has been attributed to the venerable Lord 
Chancellor. For the very fact of rendering the points in- 
volved in an important question intelligible to an audience, 
requires that these points should receive that measure of 
extension, from the application of language and reasoning to 
them, that the precious metals requir^ from the appliances 
of the mint when they are in the process of being impressed 
with those devices which may qualify them to act as a con- 
venient circulating medium. The points embraced in a 
complex question sometimes require the same spreading out, 
under the influence of the reasoning faculties, which the scenes 
in a historical or sentimental picture require from the brush 
of the artist, to make them perfectly comprehensible to intel- 
ligent observation. 




To fix with absolute precision, by the application of a pre- 
scribed code of regulations, what a speaker's manner should 
be in the opening of an address, would be about as difficult 
an undertaking as an attempt to engrafl on the person of a 
youth, through the medium of theoretic principles, the grace- , 
ful and polished sel^possession of the accomplished citizen of 
the world. So much depends in the acquisition of personal 
accomplishments, on the union of close and devout observer 
tion with instruction flowing from the experience of others, 
that it is impossible to accomplish, in a written treatise, much 
beyond the fact of pointing out to the student captivating 
graces to be won, and repulsive defects to be shunned, in the 
persons of prominent living actors* upon the public stage. 

It is a fact which is everywhere accessible to intelligent 
observation, however, that there are various passages in the 
delivery, movements, and manners of certain speakers, which 
paint upon the surface of the mind and memory vivid and 
enduring images of the most grateful character, whenever 
they are presented. In the very act of rising from his seat, 
one speaker will communicate a &scinating charm to an 
assembly by the grace of his manner. Another sends a 
thrill of delight through a multitude by the first sound 
which drops from his voice, so intelligent is the intonation it 
emits. A tlurd will excite glowing expectations in the 
breast of an audience, by the classic sort of method with 
which he arranges his papers preparatory to participating in 
debate ; and a fourth will invest the chair of the presiding 
officer in a deliberative body, which is usually a seat of bar- 
ren formalities, with the most engaging el^ancies of life. 


One of the most powerful and accomplished debaters of 
modem times, Daniel Webster,, has pronounced eloquence 
itsfelf to be /'action, god-like action." And in opening his 
celebrated speech in reply to that brilliant and graceful or- 
nament of every attribute of his countrymen which may be 
considered glorious and ennobling, Robert Y. Hayne, in the 
debate which arose on Footers resolutions, it is said that he 
yielded to his audience, in his own demeanor, a practical ex- 
emplification of the touching power of action. On the 21st 
of January, 1829, when the orders of the day were taken up 
by the senate, several speeches having been then made on 
the resolutions in question, by Messrs. Webster, Hayne, and 
Benton, Mr. Chambers of Maryland rose and expressed a 
hope " that the senate would postpone the discussion until 
Monday, as Mr. Webster, who had taken part in it, had un- 
avoidable engagements out of the senate, and could not con- 
veniently attend that day." Mr. Hayne rose and said, " (kat 
sorriething had fallen from ike gentleman from Massackuseiis 
which had created sensations from which he would desire at 
once to relieve himself— the gentleman had (referring to an 
unanswered speech of Mr. Webster, made a few days pre- 
viously) discharged his weapon, and he (Mr. H.) wished for 
an opportunity to return thejire,^^ Mr. Webster remarked 
*^ that he was ready to receive it, and wished the discussion to 
proceed,''^ Mr. Hayne then took the floor, and spoke at 
length. After which, Mr. Webster rose, and delivered that 
reply which has acquired such an unlimited celebrity in the 
reading world. And it has been sai8 by gentlemen of great 
elevation of character and position, who were observer's of 
the debate referred to, that Mr. Webster's acceptance of Mr. 
Hayne's implied challenge to continue the debate at once, 
exhibited an air of miyestic authority which might have 
served as a rebuke even to royalty itself 

Elegant and graceful action may gild over some of the 
darkest and most repulsive duties of human life, as it cer- 



tdnly veils from detection the hideous mien of some of the 
most fiendish actions. John Randolph, m speaking of the 
great suavity and courtesy of Sir John Bayley, one of the 
judges of the King's Bench in England, gave as an illustra- 
tion of his graceful demeanor, that some gentleman observ- 
ed *' that Sir John was so supremely graceful in the discharge 
of his judicial duties, that it must be a luxury even to be 
sentenced to death by him." And a bailiff is somewhere 
commended for the charming politeness with which he could 
conduct a prisoner to jail ; and a sheriff for the soothing as- 
siduity and tenderness with which he would adjust the hang- 
man's knot on the neck of a convict. 

A speaker unquestionably possesses graces of manner and 
of delivery which may be in some degree innate or peculiar 
to himself; but that he may add to and enlarge the field of 
his attractions, by an intelligent and persevering observation 
of the action of his fellow beings, is a proposition so simple 
in its character as to dispense with the labors of a pains-tak- 
ing demonstration. 

A speaker in commencmg an argument, should never take 
his position at a point too remote from his audience. If he 
is addressing a jury, he should never get at a distance great- 
er than five feet from it, if he may command a choice of po- 
sitions. In a deliberative or popular assembly, he should 
take his position about the centre of the audience he may 
be addressing, or by all means at that point in the space oc- 
cupied by his audience which will afford its members the 
fairest opportimity of observing and hearing him, and which 
at the same time will yield to him the best means pf speak- 
ing to the assembly as if he was addressing each individual 
in it. 

The benefit which a speaker derives from being near the 
body to which his remarks may be addressed, and particu- 
larly a jury, is that sympathy which flows from their seeing 
him, hearing him distinctly, and in possessing the power of 


marking with precision the particular gesture and expression 
of countenance which accompanies each idea or proposition 
he presents for their oonsideitetion. 

If a person should take his position at the door of the house 
in which he may be discoursing, having an audience in his rear, 
to whom he never turns his face in speaking, but keeps his face 
towards persons outside of the house, all the time occupied 
by the speaking, that portion of the assembly in the house, 
without including the remotest suspicion of a slight being of- 
fered to them by the speaker, will not be as much influenced 
or affected by the remarks delivered by him, as that portion 
of his audience which were located in fi1)nt of him. And 
why not 1 Because they were destitute of that measure of 
sympathy with the speaker; in conducting the business of 
speaking; which emanates from the great natural appliances 
which most successfully touch the strings of human sympa- 
thy, the expressions of the countenance and the action of the 
person and hands. But that portion of the audience in the 
house, which never saw the fiice of the speaker, would be 
much more actively influenced by his remarks than would 
be a number of hearers outside of the house, who could dis- 
tinctly- hear every remark uttered by the speaker, but who 
could not get a glimpse of his person at all. 

As a general proposition, a speaker should not commence 
the business of speaking immediately on rising from his seat, 
but should take sufficient time to survey his audience, and to 
collect his ideas with every appearance of the calmest self 
possession and of respectful but easy confidence. After a 
few preliminary moments thus occupied, he should com- 
mence his remarks in a moderate tone of voice, and in such 
a way as to introduce the subject before him directly to tl\e 
attentioii of his audience. He should also take due care to 
begin his remarks with the briefest sentences within the reach 
of his powers. For no circumstance is better calculated to 
throw a speaker out of an easy stylfe of enunciation than a 


long sentencer at the very opening of an argument. It in- 
quires a great expenditure of breath to speak one of these 
sentences through, where it is so long before a pause is 
reached. And independent of the irksomeness of the opera- 
tion connected with the delivery of such sentences, it i& diffi- 
cult in speaking, as it is in singing, to blend any particular 
measure of music or intonation with the speaking of them. 
And if the measure or music of the speaker should be wrong 
at the commencement of the speech, as it will be difficult to 
rectify it when he has once gotten under way, his style of 
speaking will be apt to continue erroneous through the whdb 

An exceedingly graceful and convenient way of eommene- 
ing an argument to a jury or to an assembly of any descrip- 
tion, where the speaker follows immediately after a debater 
on the opposite side of the question, is to take some propou 
sition of the speaker who has just concluded, and to make 
some remarks on that in the very act of rising. This forms 
one of the most simple and agreeable methods of opening aa 
argument which is known to the speaking world, for it at 
once introduces the speaker and the subject to the jury or 
audience in a very practical and easy manner, without the 
vapid circumlocution which is usually embraced in an exor- 
dium. And in taking up at the start, and in the very act of 
rising, some proposition of the preceding speaker^ the one 
who is engaged in answering the other naay remark by way 
of commencing, " that he entirely concurs with the gentle- 
man on the opposite side in the opinion that the case is a 
plain one, but not plain for the benefit of the gentlemfui and 
his client." Or he may express a concurrence with the pre- 
ceding counsel or speaker, in any propositioii or affirmation 
he may choose, but deny the application of the ^M'opositioa 
for the benefit of the opposing speaker and his side. 

Another convenient way of opening an ai^ument, is to 
commence it just at the very point where the preoedk^ 


Speaker leaves it, bj selecting some &ct which conflicts with 
the principles and propositions urged by the opposing coun- 
sel, and that in the very act of rising. Or the speaker who 
follows immediately after another, may with iniinite benefit 
to his own side of a question, observe (if the anecdote or in- 
cident be a good one) that the gentleman on the opposite 
side, or his client, reminded one very forcibly of some very 
apposite and ludicrous incident or anecdote, which may be 
then stated by the replying speaker. All these modes of 
commencing an argument, a speech, or address, have been 
dictated by an observation of the great benefit which has 
frequently resulted from a resort to them by debaters. They 
are easy and &miliar in their nature, and are calculated to 
arouse a jury from a state of torpor, lethargy, or indiffer^ce, 
and to pkce tiiem at once in the kindest and most friendly 
relations towards the speaker. 



There is no duty which devolves on a speaker who may 
be ambitious of acquiring a felicitous and graceful enuncia- 
tion, which requires a more accurate fulfilment, than the 
choice of the speeches which he is to read or declaim in his 
daily exercises. Whilst a comprehensive system of discip- 
line might prescribe on this subject a recourse to the pro- 
ductions of all, or at least a large number of finished perform- 
ers in oratory, for the purpose of attaining &cUity in de- 
livering speeches marked by every variety of style, yet a 
regard to the structure of our nature, which is dictated by 


the faithful counsels of experience, loudly warn the student 
against the adoption of any such course. 

Every human being, when he is engaged in reading purely 
for the acquisition of knowledge, should certainly read the 
books within his reach, which contain the most precious 
lessons of wisdom, the most just and vigorous thoughts, and 
the profoundest and most rational views of human nature, 
without a predominating regard to the peculiar style or phrase- 
ology of the works. 

But when the student is exploring a work in quest of an 
entirely different object — when he is paying his devotions to 
an author for the purpose of contracting a particular mode 
of expression, or of grafting upon his person a particular 
style of enunciation, he should choose with the most punc- 
tilious accuracy, that work which extends to him the bright- 
est assurance of accomplishing the desired object. 

If a book of speeches, addresses, or essays, containing 
sentences of great length, should be placed in the hands of a 
beginner in the art of elocution, for the purpose of being 
daily read aloud or declaimed by him, they would inevitably 
exert a discouraging or damping influence over his ardor in 
the pursuit of improvement, from the intrinsic and inherent 
difficulty of delivering them. 

The same pernicious influence will be exerted over the en- 
ergies and industry of a pupil in elocution by placing in his 
hands speeches for declamation, which are stamped with in- 
vincible obstacles to a facile and smooth enunciation, which 
paralyzes the strength and revolts the taste of the early vo- 
tary of science or of classic literature, when at the very 
threshold of his researches, a work exceedingly difficult of 
acquisition is given him to study. His heart falters and his 
industry flags from the vivid apprehension with which he be- 
comes inspired of never being competent to accomplish the 
enterprise in which he has just embarked. 

For the purpose, then, of avertmg a difficulty which would 


be so startling to the young mind when entering on a fresh 
path of labor, a book of speeches should be placed in the 
hands of a student at the commencement of his labors, dis- 
tinguished for the brevity of its sentences, and for the smooth 
flow of the language it contains. Speeches, addresses, or 
essays of this kind can be read with the expenditure of 
much less labor, by the most practised reader or declaimer, 
than productions characterized by the lumbering length of 
their sentences ; and as a necessary result of this £ict, they 
can be spoken or declaimed with vastly greater facility by 
inexperienced speakers. 

The juvenile performer will find it greatly to his interest 
to read and declaim speeches of the preceding description, 
because it should be his chief aim when laboring to improve 
himself in elocution, to master and to reduce into his perma- 
nent possession some very desirable and accomplished mode 
of delivery, which may have been previously commended to 
his attrition by a judicious counsellor, or which had been 
adopted by himself under the influence of a high admiration 
for it. The accomplishment of this object will be attended 
with incalculable difficulties, if the works of a writer or 
speaker should be assigned him for daily declamation, in 
which the sentences should be marked by unusual length, 
and in which the language might be deficient ii> smoothness 
and flexibility. 

Every citizen of this country who may have enjoyed the 
benefits of a collegiate or academic career, in which the ex- 
ercise of declamation was included as a branch of youthful 
discipline, will recur with pleasing emotions to the easy and 
flowing sentences which were contained in the speeches de- 
livered by Lord Giatham, Lord Mansfield, Lord Erskine, 
and William Pitt, whilst the speeches of Burke and Sheri- 
dan, though adorned by the most precious properties of 
thought and language, are rendered too stiff for easy decla- 
mation fVom the length of their sentences. 


The speeches of George Canning, Lord Lyndhurst, and of T. 
B. Maeaulay, are commended to the consideration of a pupil 
in elocution for the smoothness of their language and the neat- 
ness of their sentences, whilst those of Lord Brougham, though 
impressed with an herculean energy of thought, and enriched 
by the wealth of universal acquisition, are difficult to declaim 
or read, owing to the inordinate length of their sentences and 
the prevailing stiffiiess and hardness of their language. 

When the student explores the American field of debate, 
in search of speeches suited to disciplinary declamation, he 
will realize a rich vein of eloquence which immediately suc- 
ceeded the American Revolution, and which may be said to 
have been quickened into life by the warm breath of that mem- 
orable period. From this source, a spBaker who is desirous 
of adding fresh resources of music to his voice, by exercises 
in declamation, may select speeches remarkable both for the 
fervency of their language and the brevity of their sentences. 

The speeches delivered about the time to which we have 
just referred, by that imperishable ornament of the eloquence 
of Virginia, Patrick Henry, occupy a conspicuous place among 
the intellectual memorials of the past. They are uniformly 
pervaded by an impassioned glow, by a strength and point 
of language, and by a convenient structure of the sentences, 
which fit them for easy declamation. It is true that the 
language of that celebrated man, like his character, is marked 
by a massive solidity, which renders the words which were 
used by him too ponderous in many instances for easy de- 
clamation. But this impediment may be vanquished where 
it occurs, by a frequent repetition of the particular sentences. 

The speeches of Fisher Ames are also characterized by a 
felicity and smoothness of expression, and by a well-tempered 
animation, which adapt them, in a very peculiar degree, to 
the exercise of being declaimed. They are perhaps smoother 
and more flexible in their diction than those of Patrick Henry, 
though greatly inferior in strength. 


^ • 

The speeches of William B. Giles ave also stamped in a 
very remarkable degree with the impress of those remark- 
able traits which figured so prominently in his intellectual 
composition. They are distinguished for versatile thought, 
fertile invention, ingenious reasoning, quick repartee, and for 
great sprightliness of diction. 

There were other eminent statesmen who adorned the coun- 
cils of the nati(»i at the period which we have mentioned, 
and whose names perhaps fill a much more extended circle 
of celebrity than those which have been just submitted ; but 
their speeches have not been introduced into a circulation so 
ext^isive, and they may not be so easily commanded by a 
speaker who is seeking the best productions for the exercise 
of the voice. 

In deseeding to more recent times, the speaker will find 
that a large proportion of the speeches of the late Mr. Web- 
ster are admirably adapted to the business of declamation, 
especially those which were addressed to popular meetings^ 
These are distinguished for a brevity of sentence and a vivid- 
ness of spirit which could not be legitimately communicated 
to many grave and abstruse questions, to grapple with which 
SDOoessfully, required the heavier metal and munitiohs of 
reasoning. There are many of his congressional speeches too 
which may be very appropriately and easily declaimed by 
those who are seeking the improvement of their voice and 
manner by preliminary declamation. What is usually known 
as his speech on Foote's resolutions, may be regarded as be- 
ing particularly suited to those exercises in reading and re- 
citation which are practiced by public speakers for the im- 
provement of the voice. But there are portions of that 
speech which may be declaimed by a pupil with infinitely 
greater returns of b^iefit than the speech would yield in 
that exercise, considered as a whole. The speaker or pupil 
will be enabled to make the proper selections from this 
speech by referring to those pages or paragraphs in it which 



may be pervaded hy the largest share of animation, united 
with short sentences, with the frequent recurrence of in- 
terrogatories, and with the happiest combinations of soft and 
manageable words. The speech of Mr. Webster, delivered 
in the prosecution of John F. Knapp for the murder of Jo- 
seph White, is very finely adapted to the business of declam- 

The speeches of the late Mr. Calhoun, though in all the 
highest properties of thought and reasoning, they possess an 
intrinsic value which should endear them to the people of 
America, far beyond the purest and largest returns of gold 
which they have received from their newly-acquired fields of 
enterprize in the West, yet these productions, like the pr^ 
cious metal to which we have referred, are distinguished for 
their weight as well as for their value. That eminent states- 
man and almost matchless logician, estimated language, as he 
observed in one of his early congressional speeches, '^purely 
as a scaffolding for thought.''^ He seemed to scorn everything 
which approached figurative ornament or verbal decoration, 
and adopted that species of language, both in regard to the 
words and the mass of its integral elements, in its single and 
in its blended terms, which promised to convey bis ideas 
most forcibly and perspicuously to his audience. Hence the 
speeches of Mr. Calhoun, similar to those of Lord Brougham, 
and those of many other intelligences which stand like py- 
ramids upon the plane of this world's history, are defideiit 
in that brevity of sentence and smoothness of language whi(^ 
would .fit them for the exercise of disciplinary declamation. 

Many of the speeches of the late Mr. Clay may be very 
appropriately and beneficially adopted for the exercise of de- 
clamation by those who are seeking improvement in the field 
of popular eloquence. But with one or two exceptions, it 
may be very truthfully observed, that the speeches delivered 
by this eminent and gifted man during the pr<^ess of the 
war with Great Britain, ^er© marked by a gushing fervency 


of spirit, by an ethereal flow of patriotic sentiment, by a mu- 
sical structure of sentence, and by an impassioned glow of 
language, which would offer to the pupil in elocution a much 
more alluring field of selection than the speeches which were 
delivered in the more mature and advanced periods of his 
public life. The speech which he delivered in the Senate, in 
1841, on the subject of Mr. Tyler's veto of the Bill proposing 
to re-charter the Bank of the United States, was regarded at 
the time it fell from his lips as infinitely surpassing (in point 
of pure and impassioned eloquence) every other effort whidb 
had been made by Mr. Clay since the period of the war dis- 
cussions. And that speech would furnish a very suitable ex- 
ercise for a pupil in docution. 

The speeches of the late Mr. Hayne of South Carolina, 
may be classed amongst the most eligible specimens of elo- 
quence, in the business of declamatory discipline, which have 
ever emanated from the National Councils of America. They 
breathe throughout an elevation of sentiment, a purity of 
feeling, a perfection of principle, a grandeur of aim, a quench- 
less soul of patriotism, and an utter isolation from all the 
tainting and sordid passions of life, which impart a glow of 
inspiration to every susceptible heart. But when these 
speeches are declaimed by one who has made any pro- 
ficiency in that embellishing art, the moral and intellectual 
ingredients which are blended in the composition of these 
speeches, will be found to be immensely enhanced in point 
of influence by the simple beauties of language in which 
their sentimentality and reasoning is dothed. The fre- 
quent declamation of these speeches on the collegiate stages 
of the United States, very clearly attests the high estimation 
in which these inimitable memorials of departed excellence 
are held by cultivated worshippers at the shrine of eloquence. 
For no matter how exalted the sense of morality may be, 
which pervades a speedi of *any description, and no matter 
how uniformly solid its intellectual merits may be the am- 


bition of the young candidate for oratorical renown runs too 
high, in the matter of selecting speeches for declamation, to 
permit him to yield an attention to their moral and intellec5- 
tual properties, so close and concentrated in its character as 
to avert his attention from those elements in a production, 
-which might commend it to his regard as a suitable exercise 
for the production of an agreeable and musical enunciation. 

The speeches of the late George McDuffie, as productions 
suited to the exercise of declamation, may be regarded as 
being rarely surpassed in this country, or on any other theatre 
where the blessing of speech may be prized in a special de- 
gree. They are distinguished for a nervous boldness of 
language, for an impetuous fervency of spirit, an intensity of 
devotion to the matter about which he was speaking, and by 
tlie compendious form of the sentences, which gives them a 
peculiar adaptation to efl^tive declamation. 

The speeches delivered by Edward Everett in the Congress 
of the United States which have been published, also present 
a very appropriate field for the selection of exercises for 
declamation. The language contained in them is distin- 
guished for its classic polish and smoothness, whilst the sen- 
tences are unsurpassed in point of neatness. 

But if the pupil in elocution shall venture on theological 
ground, in search of productions for declamation, there is 
nothing which has feUen either from the lips or the pen of 
man which will be likely to surpass the sermons which were 
delivered by the late Doctor Channing, of Massachusetts. 
There is about these sermons a tempered animation, a brevity 
of sentence, and a classic felicity, purity, and softness of lan- 
guage, which entitles them to the most devout and impas- 
sioned regard of a speaker who may be seeking the correc- 
tion of his voice in delivery by the practice of declamation. 




Onb of the most powerful auxiliaries in training the human 
mind for conducting a discussion with skill, regularity, and 
. success, will be recc^nized in the constant practice of observ- 
ing, with a scrutinizing degree of attention, speakers of ever j 
description, as they are progressing in the delivery of an 
argument, speech, essay, or address. This exercise of the 
mental powers, with a juvenile candidate for the benefits and 
the honors of eloquence, will be found to rank next, in point 
of efficacy and importance, to the discipline involved in the 
actual labor of preparing a speech or argument. 

The course here enjoined was a favorite resort with the 
celebrated William Pitt, and he acknowledged its charming 
efficacy in developing the irresistible powers ad a debater, 
which he manifested even at a very early period of his life, 
in the Parliament of Great Britain. It was his daily habit, 
during his hours of leisure, to sit in the gallery of the House 
of Commons, to note down in his mind the points assumed 
by the different speakers of celebrity, to examine in silence 
the validity of these points, and also to reflect on the methods 
by which they might be improved, and how they might be 

It is rare that we find a person endowed with a tempera- 
ment so stolid and apathetic as to be perfectly impervious 
to the reception of some small degree of pleasure from lis- 
tening to an able and animated argument. But it is not the 
listless and superficial attention to an intellectual perform- 
ance^ which yields to the student a return of rich benefits 


and blessings. He must habituate himself to the practice 
of yielding to an argument as it unfolds itself in its various 
divisions, that measure of abstract and concentrated attention 
which, an enthusiastic aspirant to perfection in any mechan- 
ical art or pursuit, gives to an accomplished artizan or me- 
chanic, as he adds one part to another in perfecting the whole 
p£ any useful and complex piece of machinery. 

With an attention of this description given to the argu- 
ment of a luminous and enlightened speaker, one would be 
at a loss to determine why a pupil for advancement in the 
accomplishment of debating, should not be benefited to an. 
Extent corresponding with that which is derived by students 
in any of the professional departments from an intelligent 
and uniform attention to the lectures of their respective pro- 
fessors or preceptors. 

When a susceptible pupil shall have received the benefit 
of this species of discipline from a devout and patient atten- 
tion to speakers in the pulpit, at the bar, and in delibera- 
tive assemblies ; when he participates in conflicts with the 
master minds of his country, on the various theatres of itt- 
tellectual contention; he will possess the same advantage 
over the young debater whose feculties have not been pre- 
viously practiced in this way, which the person who has long 
received instruction from an expert swordsman, will possess 
over an untutored son of the forest in any grave contention 
in which the sword may be appealed to as an arbiter. 




It is a principle in the process of reasoning which may be 
legibly revealed to an intellect in the perfection of its matu- 
rity, but which may readily elude the observation of a writer 
or speaker of limited experience, that when a debater shall 
once have accomplished the preliminary point of writing 
down perspicuously on paper the premises on any given 
subject which he is about to elucidate, and even one sound 
argument ; that he is then prepared to progress in reasoning 
on that subject until he reaches its close, just as a vessel is 
ready for being wafled with perfect fecility over the sur£ioe 
of a smooth sea, when her canvas is fully unfurled and pro^ 
pelled by btisk and propitious breezes." When a speaker 
shall have perfected one link in the diain of reasoning, 
which is to be developed in the discussion of any particular 
subject, he may then rapidly complete other links in suc- 
cession, until he has finished his web of reasoning. After / 
this incipient step is adopted, the debater may safely lay 
aside his paper until some future day, if the exigencies of 
some approaching occasion shall not demand a more speedy 
arrangement of his thoughts. For a brief statement x>f the 
' premises, and one pertment and just view, lucidly drawn off 
on^any specific subject, are seminal principles which contain 
all the hidden germs of reasoning on that subject, just as the 
acorn contains within its contracted hull the oak in the in- 
tegrity of its parts. 

The philosophy contained in the proposition just affirmed, 
has a very close affinity with a principle which discloses itself 
y^ dearly in operations in mathematical or arithmetical 


science, where, if one branch of a problem or sufn Is cor- 
rectly disposed of by a student, he can easily subject the 
subsequent divisions in either, to the control of his uader- 
standing. This principle, too, is very closely assimilated to 
a fact which discloses itself in musical exercises, in which, if 
a beginner should succeed in sounding one note which enters 
into the composition of a tune, with perfect accuracy, he can 
then easily progress in acquiring in succession the kindred 
notes which enter into the formation of the same tune. 

Some degree of minuteness and particularity hare been 
used in the explanation of the principle which has been pre- 
sented in this chapter, from a desire to demonstrate to the 
student in a lucid manner, the incalculable convenience 
which flows from once securing a &ir start or beginning in 
the work of reasoning on any given subject. The accom- 
plishment of this object secures a vast abridgment of labor, 
for when the student shall have succeeded in expanding the 
premises of any selected subject, and one idea legitimately 
connected with it, he has a broad aperture provided, through 
which he may intelligently survey the whole compass of that 
subject, just in the same manner that he can command a per- 
fect survey of the whole space enclosed by a blank wall, 
when an ample gate at the entrance of the enclosure is thrown 
open to his view. 

It is then a matter of incalculable moment to a writer or 
speaker to secure one good ailment or idea on any subject 
which he may have under deliberation, and to write the ar- 
gument or idea thus produced, immediately and perspicu- 
ously off on paper. For other arguments and ideas will 
continue to come within the reach of his intellectual vision 
on the same subject, if he continues to reflect on it, as 
naturally as it is when he looks in at the window or door 
of a room to see a friend who is setting in that chamber, 
to perceive at the same time the chair in which that 
friend is sitting, the table before which he is seated, and 


eycry other visible object within the bounds of the cham- 

There is an invisible chann connected with the birth of 
one Ml, healthy, and perfect view of a subject, which com- 
municates a surprising degree of fecundity to tiie mind of a 
reasoner. His thoughts may be rambling over the theme 
before him, like a shipwrecked mariner over a dark and 
dreary waste, without a gleam of light to cheer the heart, 
and without a patdi of verdure to refresh the eye. But 
once let the light of one clear view of the subject beam upon 
the mind, and the mists of darkness will vanish before the 
luminous rays thus let in, like the shades of night before the 
dawning radiance of the rising sun, and the light will con- 
tinue to grow brighter and clearer, under the influence of 
reflection, until he may survey the subject in all its relations 
and bearings. 



There is some peculiarity connected with the manner of 
every one who participates in the labor of speaking, which 
clearly indicates to intelligent observation when he is verging 
to the dose of his remarks. And when an intimation of 
this kind is once given to his audience by a speaker, as they 
will prove as exacting as death in expecting a rigid share of 
fidelity to it on his part, he should never disappoint them by 
taking a fresh start in the business of speaking, should a new 
idea occur to his mind or an omitted &ct rise to his. recol* 


lection. For unless he should be a speaker of unoomnum 
^iscination, who has only consumed a moiety of that space 
which is usually occupied by speakers distinguished for the 
moderate length of their discourses, his audience will cer- 
tainly look for his conclusion with some degree of impa- 
tience, when he has once manifested to them an intention to 
close. And an addendum which he may annex to a dis- 
course, or argument which may be predicated on freshly- 
discovered lights, will not only be labor lost, but it will be 
calculated to invest with dark hues, in the mind of an audi- 
ence, the anterior part of die argument or discourse, which, 
but for the afler-piece, might have left a fine impression. 

The body of men which is addressed by any person is im- 
pressed with the belief that it has rights as well as the speak- 
er ; and when he has once prescribed, by his manner, where 
the terminus of his discourse shall be located, his hearers will 
regard that indication as a tacitspecification on his part of the 
amount of time they shall expend with him in the capacity 
of listeners. And if he shall blaze up, like a half^tinguished 
flame, after having reached what his audience would suppose 
to be his closing point, they will regard this commencement 
de novo as a gratuitous enlargement of authority on his part. 
A person who, as an act of grace and accommodation, 
authorizes another to draw upon him for a sum of money 
which has been previously specified to the drawee by the 
drawer himself, will feel somewhat irritated at finding that 
double the amount of what was originally requested by the 
drawer himself is finally inserted in the draft actually drawn. 
An audience will consider a fresh start on the part of the 
speaker, after he has once indicated that his discourse is coming 
to a dose, an innovation on the original implied contract, exist- 
ing between him and his hearers, pretty much after the same 
&shion with the hypothetical case between the drawer and the 
drawee. They will view it as an attempt to shoot two balls 
at one load out of a gun which was made for chambering one. 


The proposition has all the truth of an axiom, that every 
advocate or speaker who habitually indulges in annexing 
addendas, postscripts, codicils, or after-thoughts, to speeches 
already concluded, or starts as it were on a newly-discovered 
trail, when his argument has previously given symptoms of 
a dying struggle, will certainly disarm of its power the par- 
ticular argument in which the enlargement of original bound- 
aries ensues, and an habitual practice of the kind will shed 
an incurable blight on his influence and aoceptanoy. 



It should prove an inflexible rule of action with every 
speaker, when a subject is presented to his attention, in the 
discussion of which he must necessarily participate at any 
future day, to fix at once in his rfiind the prominent points 
that will naturally and legitimately arise in the progress of 
the coming debate. 

The most compendious and convenient mode by which to 
accomplish this object, is after ^having maturely considered 
the facts blended with the case or proposition to be debated, 
to note down in the smallest conceivable number of words, 
the leading points which must inevitably pertain to his side 
of the question. These points may be inscribed on the page 
of a commonplace book, or the speaker may take one-half 
of a sheet of paper, and having folded it in such a manner as 
to assume the form of an entire sheet, he may inscribe his 
heads for debate for the sake of convenience on each of its 
outer sides. 


These beads, as they are noted down in order, should be 
marked with the figures 1, 2, 3, 4, and so on in succession, or 
they may have prefixed to them the different letters of the al-» 
phabet, commencing with A, to denote the order in which he 
intends to discuss them. These heads or points will usually 
be imprinted upon the mind and memory of an experienced 
speaker by the time the ink used in writing them is dry upon 
the sur&ce of the paper. But for the purpose of placing this 
matter beyond aU contingency or doubt, he should concentrate 
his powers of thought on each of these heads in succession, im- 
mediately after they have been noted down, until he shall be 
satisfied that they are perfectly fixed in his memory. And he 
should continue to glance at them and to reflect on them for 
the purpose of rendering them femiliar to his mind, until the 
question in which he is interested shall be finally disposed o£ 

These heads or points noted down, are to a debater what 
stage-houses or mile-posts on a public highway are to a trav- 
eller. They serve to give some conception of distance, prog- 
ress, and termination. If a traveller should once pass along 
a public road, at the end of successive divisions of which 
houses occurred, at which the horses were changed, or at 
which he stopped to take some refreshment himself; when 
he might go over the same road again, his apprehraision of 
the progress he was making would be greatly assisted by the 
presentation, as he was prosecuting his journey, of the same 
houses at which he formerly stopped. If, on the contrary, 
the road, instead of being enlivened at each of its sides by 
dwellings of any description, should present in this respect a 
cheerless blank, a person who had once travelled over it 
would be presented with no memorials to fix its identity in his 
mind ; and when he passed over it a second time, he would 
possess but an obscure perception both of the identity of the 
country through which he had formerly passed, and of the 
progress he would be making at the time. 

Thus it is with the points comprehended in a subject set 


apart for debate^ "which are noted down in regular order, 
even on a small slip of paper ; they serve as relief points to 
^ndicate the space over which a debater is to travel, what he 
is to do at each division of his journey, and when he is to 
consummate it. These points in reality constitute the case or 
subject itself in its broadest latitude, and no speaker who 
cherishes a just regard for his reputation, should ever omit 
the making them. For notwithstanding he may study pro- 
foundly and laboriously authors which may have a bearing 
on the subject on which the notes have been taken ; and al- 
though he may write closely and voluminously on the sub- 
ject, independent of the notes ; yet the authorities which he 
collects from the books, and the views which he has copi- 
ously written out on the subject ; should be arranged in such 
a manner in his mind and memory, as to be used in the de- 
livery of them under those heads to which the authorities 
and writ^ten arguments bear a particular relation, and with 
which they may correspond in nature arid in character. 

But the student or speaker will be far from the point of 
having completed the labors devolving upon him, in noting 
down on paper the leading points connected with a subject. 
He must revolve these heads over and over again in his mind, 
with the view of collecting the best resources, in the shape 
of ^ts and arguments, with which to fortify his points when 
he shall reach them in regular succession. If he has at com^ 
mand any amusing incident, any historical fact, or any appo- 
site fragment of poetry, which has an application to the 
subject, he should so arrange the incident, &ct, or quotation 
in his mind as to be able to bring it to bear under its appro- 
priate head. 

In addition to these preliminary cautions, he should earn- 
estly reflect on the species of artillery with which his adver- 
sary will probably assail the points on which he "bases the 
security of his cause, and he should provide a corps of reserve, 
with which he may either destroy his opponent by antidpap 


tion, or with •which he may come back at any time, in the 
event of his having the privilege of a reply. 

And it also devolves on a judicious speaker, in addition to^ 
noting down his own leading points or propositions, to write 
down very briefly the points which may be in all probability 
assumed by an opposing counsel or debater. Those points 
he should be prepared to weaken or overthrow by arguments 
advanced in anticipation of their coming up, or by replying 
to them when once they shall have been regularly argued. 

The process of noting down on a slip of paper the points 
or propositions which must legitimately arise in the discussion 
of any question which is to be debated, is very diflerent from 
what is usually denominated a lawyer's brief, though it may 
accomplish in effect the same objects. What is commonly 
termed a brief, comprehends in a succinct form all the author- 
ities which a lawyer intends to bring to bear on the points 
involved in hie cause, together with a compendious presenta- 
tion of his own views annexed to each of the authorities and 
points. The process of noting down the heads of a discourse 
or argument, here suggested, is much more simple in its 
character, for only the heads or points are written down in 
succession themselves, in as few words as a due regard to 
perspicuity will permit. The process is so very brief, that 
one word is sometimes used to express the nature or charac- 
ter of a single head. 



For the purpose of securing an ample supply of materials 
to be used in an approaching debate, the speaker can rarely 
resort to a more useful or prolific expedient than that of 


previously writing out copious notes on the subject which is 
to be discussed. This preliminary exercise clears that rub- 
bish from a question which obscures its aspect when first 
presented for consideration, familiarizes the mind with both 
its proximate and remote bearings, and places the speaker in 
possession of an adequate fund of original views with which 
to fortify his own side of a subject. 

It has been frequently ui^ed as an invincible objection to 
this practice, that it grafts upon the intellect of him who 
imbibes it a slavish dependence upon written memorials ; 
and that when he has once slided, into the habit of writing 
out a discourse or argument, that he can never afterwards 
dispense with his written fortifications, or make what is 
usually termed an off-hand or extempore speech. This prop- 
osition receives a triumphant, refutation from the most en- 
lightened experience which illumines the path of modem 
research,'and from the authority of the most illustrious intel- 
lects which beam in splendor from the shades of the past. It 
might be as appropriately alleged that a person who had 
learned to swim by the use of corks or buoys could never 
afterwards dispense with the assistance of these artificial aids. 

It is somewhat a hackneyed usage to reap counsel in a 
matter of intellectual exploration, from the most distinguish- 
ed actors in the drama of antiquity. But the early wor- 
shippers at the classic shrines of Rome and Greece are &- 
miliar with the fact, that those who stood at the apex of the 
pyramid of renown in those celebrated fields of human ac- 
tion, as orators and writers, not only explicitly ascribed their 
eminence and success to the early adoption of the discipline 
now under consideration, but also earnestly enjoined it on 
their successors in the race of glory. These sages, too, pros- 
ecuted this discipline not merely as an appliance which 
would serve to impart strength to the pinions of the juvenile 
orator in his earliest flight, but they commended it as a per* 


ennial Gfpring from whioh the speaker may imbibe health, 
vigor, and power even to the gates of death. 

It is unnecessary to mention names, but it is a matter of 
authentic tradition that many of those who reached a colos- 
sal elevation as debaters in this country, not only drew the 
elements of their power from this resource at the commence- 
ment of their labors as speakers, but even to the dose of 
their career as public or professional men. 

It is not true that a servile adherence to this practice 
through life, flows as a necessary result from the feet of writ- 
ing out an argument at length, at the commencement of one's 
labojs as a speaker. The adoption of this preliminary cau- 
tion by a speaker, when his faculties are yet untrained by 
the labors of debate, puts him fully in possession of the sub- 
ject, and he will not enter the arena of contention destitute 
of arms for the conflict. But when he shall have frequently 
repeated this mode of framing a speech or argument, he will 
be enabled to discard his ink and paper entirely, if he chooses, 
and he may rely with security upon the acquired creativeness 
and promptitude of his own mind, amidst the sternest exi- 
gencies of debate. For when the intellectual faculties have 
been trained for a considerable time, by the severities of the 
discipline which is involved in the act of writing^out an ai> 
gument methodically and closely, the mind will silently con- 
tract the mode of thinking in such a way as to frame and 
elaborate the whole of an argument, internally and invisibly, 
without a resort to written memorials. This is the infallible 
and inevitable result of the discipline in question, and the 
love of ease and repose will soon reveal to a student the par- 
ticular point at which he may safely secure his independence 
of this support. 

At the commencement of public or professional life, when 
the young mind has not been much practised in the trials of 
controversial skill, it may require a liberal expenditure of 
labor and thought to commit previously-written arguments 


to memory, and to render them completely available in d^ 
bate. But the necessity for this labor and reflection will 
gradually wear away under the influence of practice, until 
it totally disappears. And it is the acknowledged experience 
of debaters of extended celebrity, who have devoted them- 
selves to this mode of preparation through life, that the act 
of treasuring up in remembrance a written speech required 
no application of thought whatever, inasmuch as the written 
production would imprint itself on the tablets of the memo- 
ry by the time it was fairly written out on the surfece of the 

But independent of the invaluable assistance derived from 
this auxiliary to a speaker, as a purveyor and conservator of 
sound views and cogent arguments, to meet the exigencies 
of any particular occasion, it may be regarded as an exercise 
of almost incalculable importance, from the salutary discipline 
which it yields to the mental faculties. In every instance in 
which a speaker writes out methodically and at length any 
production whatever, which is the fruit of close and severe 
thought, he eflects infinitely more in training his mind to reg- 
ularity and closeness of thought, and to reasoning in connec- 
tion, than he would accomplish by devoting the space of 
time to a satisi&ctory solution of the most abstruse problem 
in mathematical science. The habits of thought are as se- 
verely taxed in the one case as in the other, with this advan- 
tage superadded to the practice of writing, if it should be 
properly conducted, that it accelerates the approaches of him 
who labors in that way to a perfection in practical reasoning, 
which is at once applicable to the highest duties of hfe ; 
whereas the other exerdse, though highly beneficial in its in- 
fluence, is speculative in its character^ pointing to invisible 
and perhaps remote results. 

In addition to the beneficent results flowing from this dig^• 
ciplme, which have been already suggested, it blends with 
the intellectual treasures of the stiid^t an aooomplishm^t 


of immense power and value, which is collateral to the pro- 
fession in which he labors, and which may be exerted for the 
benefit of his fame and for the good of his race, on every 
field of human exertion. 



There is a class of speakers who consider it obligatory 
upon them to reply to everything which has been advancted by 
an opponent who may have preceded them in debate. They 
consequently take up the positions advanced by an adversa- 
ry, without the slightest shade of discrimination, the weak 
as well as the strong, and make a Quixotic effort to see what 
wild havoc they can produce amongst them. This very com* 
prehensive performance of duty is dictated by the stimulus 
of two very frivolous motives — ^the desire to appear expert 
in the matter of making a replication, combined with the 
ambition to exhibit an uncommon fertility of resources in 
the exercfise of speech-making ; for the work of replying to 
everything which is said by a competitor in debate, will en- 
able a speaker who has not one original idea of his own to 
advance on a subject, to weave out a speech of interminable 

This mode of conducting a discussion is productive of 
some very serious and visible disadvantages. It gives an 
undue and irksome degree of extension to a speech, which 
includes in its limits so much irrelevant lumber. It produces 
in the mind of the assembly which is addressed, from the 
multiplication of unnecessary points and impertinent issues^ 


an obscure and confused conception of the grounds of the 
speaker's defence, who adopts this very injudicious and ex- 
ceptionable course ; and by fixing the attention of the speaker 
almost exclusively, on the points assumed in the argument 
of his opponent, it leaves the available positions which ought 
to be pressed on his own side of a question, unfortified and 
completely exposed. 

This course of conduct in a debater bears a very strong 
similitude to the military policy of a general who would 
visit fire and sword upon the country of the enemy, whilst 
he left his own encampment without a single gun to defend 
it ; or it may be compared to a wanton system of butchery 
by a commander, who, on capturing a city of the enemy, 
puts to the sword both women and children, both the sick 
and the disabled. 

A large proportion of the positions assumed by an adver- 
sary in debate, may be permitted to stand untouched and 
unmolested by a speaker on the opposite side, who succeeds 
him in the discussion, without injury to the cause of the lat- 
ter. TTie most of the points taken in debate are perfectly 
indifferent and harmless, and the labor expended in assailing 
them, is worse than a useless consumption of time. 

It should be the chief aim of a debater tgibrtify the prom- 
inent positions pertaining to his own side of a cause, in such 
a manner as to render them impregnable, and to select two 
or three of the most plausible points assumed by his oppo- 
nent, and to attack them with brevity, point, and spirit, and 
to close his case. 




It was the uniform practice of Lord Erskine, in arguing a 
case to a jury, to seize what he conceived to be the strong 
point in the cause, and to bring all his resources of thought 
and of argument to bear upon that particular pomt, to the 
almost entire exclusion of everything else. The example of 
a jurist of such high and merited celebrity, addresses itself 
to the judgment with a very impressive share of weight, the 
more particularly as it has been said that he rarely lost a 
client who confided a cause to his care. But the justness of 
the course pursued by him in this respect, considered as a 
universal practice, may be justly questioned ; for men are so 
organized, both / in their moral and mental constitutions, as 
to be conducted to the point of conviction by processes and 
influences widely variant in their nature. On conferring 
with a jury subsequent to the rendition of a verdict in Courts 
we will find that some of its members have been determined 
to the conclusion which they reached, by one feet or point 
which arose in the trial of the cause, and another portion of 
the panel by other drcumstances, perhaps differing widely 
from each other, whilst a third division of the same body 
may profess to have, been influenced by the force of feots 
which were not presented for the consideration of the jury, 
either by the court or the counsel employed. This is pre- 
eminently the case with those who constitute the voters in 
deliberative and popular assemblies — ^the judgment and feel- 
ings of one part of such assemblies will be borne away by one 
consideration, and another part by influences and &cts as 
widely opposed to each other as the poles. 


The facts just submitted present to the mind as broadly 
as a pyramid in the sun, the imperious necessity which de- 
volves on every debater, of pressing into the service of the 
proposition before him every resource in the shape either of 
reasons or &ct8 which may justly pertain to it. What is 
denominated the strong point in a cause or proposition, 
should be allotted a measure of space in a discussion com- 
mensurate with its importance — ^it should be, in truth, the 
axis around which the nodnor points in the question should 
be made to revolve ; but a speaker should never omit the 
smallest circumstance which may possibly tell for the side 
he is advocating ; but, on the contrary, should adopt for his 
guiding star, in conducting a discussion, the celebrated ob- 
servation of Napoleon Bonaparte respecting himself, " that 
he never felt acquitted, after an action had terminated, if he 
was sensible of having omitted any resource of defence which 
was dearly within his reach." 

But whether the prominent point in a cause or proposition 
should be presented in the middle of an argument, supported 
on each of its sides by propositions of inferior strength, like 
the centre of an army with the two wings auxiliary to its 
support, or whether it should occupy the position of a corps 
de reserve, or rear guard, coming up at the last of the fight, 
is a question which cannot be so easily determined. The 
object here aimed at will be to present a double aspect of 
the case, that is, the advantages and disadvantages resulting 
from each mode of discussing a proposition, and leave the 
matter to the choice of the speaker himself. 

If a debater or advocate, in the early stages of his address 
to a jury or legislative assembly, shall have presented the 
subordinate points in his proposition with a superior share 
of iogeniuity and power, he will have thus made a lodgment 
in the hearts and minds of his audience, which will cause the 
strong point to be more highly appreciated when that is 
reached ; and if he should touch the leading point itself with 


a herculean degree of power, a more welcome reception will 
be apt to be secured for such other points as he may choose 
to present in the closing portion of his argument. The prop- 
osition last affirmed, is founded on the philosophy of our 
nature, for it is an exceedingly obvious principle in the con- 
stitution of man, that when a pre-existing prejudice is removed 
from his breiast, or his sympathies are strongly enlisted, by 
the relation of circumstances which weigh strongly in favor 
of an individual or a doctrine, that his Mth will then be 
placed Iq a condition to yield an assent more readily than it 
would have previously rendered to anything plausible which 
may be advanced in favor of the individual or doctrine in 

The sense of the foregoing proposition, when reduced to 
its simplest elements, is this ; that if a speaker in the opening 
part of an address, shall prepossess the feelings of his audi- 
ence by the masterly discussion of preliminary points of sub- 
ordinate strength, that a more easy access to its judgment 
will be provided for the strong point when that shall be 
brought up ; and that then if the stroiog point itself should 
be urged with such effective ability as to weaken or destroy 
prejudices or adverse opinions previously formed, that an 
easy credence will probably be yielded to propositions and 
arguments subsequently submitted. 

A question is frequently ai^ed with a Vastly effective 
degree of power, by presenting the pomts involved in it in 
a succession or order to be regulated by the comparative 
strength of these points, reserving the strongest of all for the 
conclusion of the argument. If a series of propositions should 
be presented in succession to an audience, each flowing from 
one leading question, and each augmenting in force and in- 
fluence, as it arose in its order of succession, it must be nat- 
urally presumed that the last of this series when reached, 
if argued with signal perspicuity and force, will descend upon 
the mind with a decisive degree of weight. 


We' feel somewliat inclined to prefer the mode of discuss- 
ing a question which has been last submitted for the consid- 
eration of the pupil. For the obvious reason, that if he 
should marshal the points disclosed in his argument, in such 
a way as to present each with a very perceptible increase of 
force as it arises, he can hardly &il to inspire convictions fa- 
vorable to his own side of a question, by the time he shall 
have properly disposed of the last and most potential point 
of all. 

But it may sometimes happen that time and circumstances 
will not admit of either of the preceding comprehensive 
modes of debating a question. A court or deliberative as- 
sembly may be approaching the close of its labors, or a jury 
may be rendered weary and impatient by the protracted na- 
ture of the discussion. In either of these cases a speaker, 
let the theatre of his labors be what it may ; should seize the 
strongest point in the subject before him at once, and having 
pressed it with all the resources within his reach, and in the 
most animated style, should drop the subject. 

To demonstrate clearly to the mind of the speaker the 
magical influence which is exerted at times by presenting 
points or propositions in the order of their strength, we will 
appeal to a living exemplification of the matter. It frequently 
happens in the courts of criminal jurisdiction, that two or 
more persons are charged with a murder in one indictment, 
and that they are tried without a severance in the defence. 
Now if the counsel for the prosecution, in presenting his ai* 
gument to the jury, shall argue the evidence applicable to 
the case of that prisoner who ought evidently to be acquitted 
(from a deficiency of proof ), with such marked ability as to 
inspire the mind of the jury with even a slight suspicion of 
his guilt, when he reaches the evidence applicable to the most 
guilty culprit, the mind of the jury will be in the most aus- 
picious of all conditions to pronounce his conviction from 
the effect of comparison. 


So it is in the def^ice of a number of prisoners. If the 
counsel in the defence shall in the first part of his argument 
take up the evidence applicable to the case of the guiltiest 
client, and succeed in raising in the minds of the jury even 
a bare doubt of his guilt, the proo& adduced against those 
on trial whose guilt has been made least apparent, may be 
blown away in many instances by the vacant breath of 



Thkrb are many judicious thinkers who regard it as a be- 
neficent precaution in every writer who is about to present 
his views to the world in any document or production, wheth- 
er of transient or enduring importance, to adopt some pi^o- 
cess by which to provoke the powers of thought into spirited 
and productive action. For fervency of feeling and fertility 
of invention, though they may exist in a latent form in the 
intellectual constitution of their possessor, will not uniformly 
yield la spontaneous tribute to his demands. To secure a 
copious harvest from these precious properties, they must be 
frequently stimulated by appliances congenial to the nature 
of the mind. 

There are many, who, for the purpose of securing the 
possession of their best thoughts on any subject on which 
they are to write, will lock themselves up in a chamber to 
the exclusion of all company, and will reflect intensely upon 
the matter under consideration, until they have painted on 
the tablets of the mind a complete outlme or diagram of it, 
in all its bearings and relations. They then emerge from 
their state of seclusion, and write out their views at some 


sabsequent ^riod. There are others who retire to the 
shades of some' sequestered spot, where they may revolve 
a subject in their minds, free from every species of interrup- 
tion. There is another class of thinkers who take a seat at 
a table with paper and ink before them, and who note down 
as they arise in their minds, the brightest and most valuable 
thoughts which occur to them on a subject, and who, after 
having perfected a skeleton of the subject in this mode^ will 
then commence the secondary labor oif embodying their 
views in suitable language. 

It is said to have been the usual practice of Alexander 
Hamilton, who was one of the most original and prolific 
thinkers who has enlightened the world in modem times, 
when he had an important subject imder deliberation, to 
concentrate his thoughts upon it in the silence of night, then 
to retire to rest, and immediately on awaking from sleep, to 
inscribe his views on paper. Apart from the encouragement 
which is pres^ited for the adoption of this mode of proce- 
dure in an example so attractive and impressive as that of 
Hamilton, there is a sort of invisible charm or magical in- 
fluence associated with nocturnal meditation on a subject, 
which powerfully commends it to the young mind. This 
species of mental labor may be assimilated to the act of 
sowing seeds which are to vegetate during the indulgence of 
sleep, and to exhibit with the light of the morning sun, the 
plant ^ly developed both in its stem and leaves. Those 
who have had difficult exercises assigned them to be com- 
mitted to memory during the period of juvenile instruction, 
will remember with delight how vividly some portion of an 
author was painted on the page of memory in the morning, 
which they had carefully studied on the preceding night. 
The success connected with this specific mode of reflection 
may be traced to the prin(Aple or &ct that the last thoughts 
which hang on the mind, previous to a temporary suspen- 
^on of the functions of nature, ^ill b^ the first to visit it 



when that suspension shall have been removed. The repose 
of sleep may be regarded in the light of an Isthmus interve- 
ning between two seasons of labor, and the images or ob- 
jects which were most carefully observed and cultivated on 
the commencing side of that Isthmus, will certainly be the 
first to accost the memory at its terminating boundary.. 

With the view of rousing the mind to a spirit of invention 
and a free flow of diction in the investigation of any partic- 
ular subject, no method is preferable to the act of reading, 
preparatory to commencing a production of any kind, an au- 
thor, the pages of which breath throughout a glowing spirit 
of invention. If any one had in contemplation the act of 
writing an essay or address on any branch of religious duty, 
it would be a difficult matter for him to give his days and 
nights to the gorgeous pages of Chalmers, without catching ^ 
in some small degree the fervid spirit of inspiration by which 
they are pervaded. If he should be engaged in writing an 
essay on any topic of a literary nature, it would be difficult 
for a writer to refrain from contracting some portion of the 
classic elegance which beams in every line of Chamiing, and 
of Washington Irving, if he should previously read their in- 
imitable works. And if any production of a political ten- 
dency should be contemplated, it would be almost imprac- 
ticable for the writer to yield a liberal share of attention to 
the numbers of the Federalist, or to Say, or to Montesquieu, 
without imparting some hues of the coloring of those works 
to his own composition. 

But the author from which a student may seek the spirit 
of invention, or inspiration, ^n this way, should possess a di- 
rect relation, in regard to the subjects which it treats, to the 
topic on which he is about to write. For the benefit which 
he must reap from the perusal of any particular work, in 
prosecuting the labors of an intellectual production, will be 
proportioned to the closeness of the relation which exists be- 
tween that work and the subject which he may be investigating. 


And if the student should not be able to command an au- 
thor identical in principles and in theory with the views which 
he designs presenting in his own production, let him procure 
some book which bears the nearest imaginable affinities with 
the subject which he intends to elucidate. For instance, he 
may. be on the point of writing a speech or essay on some 
political topic, concerning which not a single word may be 
uttered in the numbers of the Federalist. But inasmuch as 
political topics are treated at large in those papers, and that 
with a measure of unrivalled strength and spirit, he will by 
the careM study of these papers be enabled to augment his 
own intellectual power in discussing any question which may 
Ml legitimately within the department of politics. 

After the student shall have yielded his reflections to an 
appropriate author, in the mode heretofore pointed out, the 
next question to be disposed o^ is the manner in which he 
shall render these preliminary devotions available in the 
matter of preparing a production of any kind. On this 
branch of the subject, we have only to suggest to him, that 
whenever he finds his mind teeming with the subject which 
he is engaged in studying, let him take his seat and com- 
mence the labor of writing out his views on that subject, 
until he shall have exhausted the supply of materials he has 
in possession at the time. For when the fervor of invention 
shall have once deserted him, it may not return to him again 
in the eioiberance of its vein. 




Thxrs ore very few intellectual habits which a worshipper 
at the shrine of eloquence may contract, which will yield a 
larger return of %iprovement to his style both in writing 
and in speaking, than the constant practice of observing, with 
the most fixed and deliberate attention, those passages in the 
authors which he reads whidi are ^rendered attractive eitiier 
by their peculiar strength, brilliancy, wit, perspicuity, smooth- 
ness, elegance, or for the luminous and practical exposition 
they afford of the principles and character of man. 

This was a practice to which Richard Brinsley Sheridan 
perseveringly and tenaciously adhered during a large portion 
of his eventful life, as was abundantly attested by an exam- 
ination of the works which he was in the habit of perusing. 
It has been affirmed, by those who possessed the &irest op- 
portunities of knowing his intellectual habits, that every pas- 
sage in the authors which he read which was stamped by any 
peculiar excellence, was marked where it occurred in the page 
of the book. And though he was unquestionably endowed 
by nature in her bepeficence with a fine intellect and a pro- 
lific imagination ; yet he has bequeathed to his country shin- 
ing and imperishable memorials to demonstrate the magical 
influence which was exerted over his mental productions by 
this practice ; in the almost matchless gorgeousness of his 
eloquence, in his unfailing promptness in apposite and beau- 
tiful quotations, and in the electric flashes of wit which so 
frequently communicated an unspeakable charm both to the 
social circles and to the legislative counsels of Britain. 

To the fertilizing influence of this practice, too, many of 


those whose names cluster around the apex of the pjramid of 
American renown, were indebted in a high degree for the splen- 
dor of their diction and the pungency of their wit. - Amongst 
these may be appropriately numbered, William Pinkney, 
William Wirt, John Bandolph, and Daniel Webster, the fame 
of whom is co-extensive with the surface of the globe. When 
living, their conversation, from abounding in dassic embel- 
lishments of the most exquisite beauty and fimsh, gave con- 
clusive evidence that they had appealed to the practice now 
under consideration, in the work of magnifying their intelleo- 
tual resources ; and they left behind them, on their departure 
from the world, indelible traces of its effect in the unsur- 
passed brilliancy of their political and forensic efforts. 

A reference has been made to the preceding illustrious 
names for the purpose of afR>rding to the pupil some shin- 
ing proo& of the immense practical benefit which may be 
derived from a persevering use of the particular appliance 
which has been suggested in diis chapter. But its use and 
application is enjoined and enforc^ by an intelligent obser- 
vation of the nature and structure of the intellect of man. 
That human being must be afflicted with a hopeless and in- 
curable imperviousness of mind, who can yield his days and 
his nights to any book conspicuous for the superlative ex- 
cell^ice of its language, without imbibing some traces of the 
spirit and the language of the author. 

Works which glitter with the gems of human thought in 
every page and line, like those of Gibbon, Burke, Hume, 
Chalmers, Channing, and Macaulay, cannot be perused by 
one endowed with a susceptible mmd, without the style of 
the reader contracting in some degree the glow and the tinge 
of classic elegance which breathes in every passage of these 
caskets of classic treasure. So powerful and palpable is the 
influence wielded by the perusal of such authors over the 
style and language of some readers endowed with an exuber- 
ant flow of &ncy, that they are compelled to abstain from 


the study of such works entirely, and to tie themselves 
down to writers of a sterner and less gorgeous character, 
otherwise their productions would teetn with the flowers of 
fancy without being commended to a sufficient extent by any 
of the solid and available fruits of mental culture. 

If, then, the bare perusal of authors highly imaginative 
in their character, is calculated to enrich the human fancy, 
and prompt it too frequently to ethereal flights, how vast- 
ly greater in point of specific influence and value, must 
be the daily habit of plucking the purest and most precious 
gems fi*om such authors as Bacon, Milton, Dryden and 
Shakspeare, and depositing them for safe keeping in the 
mental treasury of the student. 

This judicious and discriminating choice of the brightest 
portions of an author, is widely variant too in its results 
firom that promiscuous absorption of all the gorgeous proper- 
ties of a writer which has been referred to in the preceding 
lines. It is similar to the process by which an alchemist 
separates the particles o£ pure ore from the mass of worth- 
less tinsel with which it is incorporated, or like taking the 
nutritious pulp of any species of fruit whilst the exterior 
coating or husk is discarded. 

But the precious and crowning benefit which flows from the 
preceding practice, consists m the fact of storing the memory 
with a rich supply of beautiful expressions, which serve as 
models from which the mind of the pupil may spontaneously 
create and cast off rare and captivating images of its own. 
It is not exclusively for the purpose of being used in the 
character of quotations in writing and speaking, that the col- 
lation of sentences of rare excellence from various autho;rs is 
advised. They supply a very precious treasure of orna- 
mental decorations regarded as quotations. But that is not 
their principal value. When these expressions are thrown 
into the cabmet of an inventive mind, they become incor- 
porated with its native and acquired resources, in such a 


manner as to form a part of its essence. When the person 
who treasures them up may be engaged in speaking or writ- 
ing at a period long subsequent to that at which he collated 
the expressions, they will fall from his lips or his pen in a cos- 
tume so perfectly new, that he will not know that the intellec- 
tual property of another is entering as an integral portion into 
the composition of his own intellectual creations. Without 
having aimed at any such blending of separatef intellectual 
emanations, he will find on a cool survey of some of his 
most beautiful expressions, both in speaking and in writing, 
after they have been given to the world, that he has merely 
united some new beauty with a gem of thought which had 
been long previously thrown into circulation by some other 
writer or speaker. 

In instances of the preceding description, the speaker or 
orator is only entitled to a right of property in the images 
of rare beauty which he exhibits in a discourse, on the same 
principle precisely with that on which a person receives a 
patent from the government for having added a fresh im- 
provement to a machine which had long previously been in 
operation. But it discloses a high quality of mental com- 
bination in a speaker whose mind may be competent to 
throw out compound gems of thought in the structure, of 
which fragmentary portions of foreign gems are distinctly 
visible. One of the principal charms of this particular men- 
tal process, consists in the &ct of the person who thus draws 
on the resources of others not being conscious of the &ct 
when he is engaged in it. And probably he may never be 
apprized of his obligations to another intellect, for some of 
the Tnost beautiful mental creations which sparkle in the cas- 
ket of his spoken and written productions, until he shall have 
critically analyzed them and traced them to their source. 
It is highly probable, too, that the world may never recog- 
nize in this case a re-enactment of that legal sort of admix- 
ture which is sometimes referred to in the law books, where 


the goods of one individual are so intermingled with those of 
another, that they cannot be apportioned to their respective 
owners. It is fortunate, too, for the compounder of intel- 
lectual commodities, that he does not, like a jumbler in 
law, incur an entire forfeiture of his portion of the goods, in 
consequence of their being mixed with those of another. 

Whilst alluding to the intellectual creaticms, in which the 
elegant expressions of some other person may be involun- 
t«Oy and unconsciously blended with the frame-work of a 
speech, when it is in the progress of being delivered by a 
speaker, it may be appropriately suggested that some of the 
most celebrated oratorical productions which are now extant in 
the world, are visibly marked with the traces of that mingled 
or compound beauty, concerning which we are now discours- 
ing. And it may so happen that a person will subject some 
of these productions to repeated perusals, and arise from each 
successive perusal with a fresh glow of admiration for some 
highly sentimental and glittering figures which they contain, 
without the faintest suspicion that these ornamental beauties 
are invested with the smallest share of borrowed lustre. 
And perhaps, at last, when this splendid union of separate 
beauties is detected by the eye of a reader, he will be in- 
debted for the discovery to a perusal of the works of Shak- 
speare, of Milton, of Dryden, or those of some other re- 
nowned genius, in whi(^ some shining particles of the ex- 
pression he. originally admired in a speech of recent times, 
will broadly assert their presence. 

But the practice of collating rich and beautiful expressions 
from the authors he reads, may be tributary to the improve- 
ment of a speaker, not only in the fact of supplying him with 
choice materials which may be advantageously blended with 
his own creations. The rare expressions which he thus col- 
lects, will serve as models or types from which he may form, 
in rapid succession and in rich profusion, splendid creations 
of his own. If a painter who is animated with a passionate 


devotion to floral beauties, should pass through a vale which 
was robed in beautiful flowers, he might contract images of 
beauty from the flowers which then charmed him, which 
would arise in new forms of beauty on the surface of the can- 
vas adorned by his pencil at the termination of years after- 
wards. An artist catches some of his choicest conceptions of 
that beauty which graces the productions of his chisel, from 
observations of statuary which float amongst the dreamy 
shadows which have long passed away. 

Thus it is witl^ the speaker or writer who may be blessed 
in possessing a cabinet which is well supplied with the 
brighter mental creations which have been charming the 
world through a series of years. Each of these glittering 
passages will probably serve as a model or image, in the 
mind of the person who treasures them up, to suggest the 
formation of other charming expressions, which may add to 
the elevation of his own &me, and enhance the resources of 
his country's entertainment 



When a person has no special or desirable object before 
him which is to be accomplished in a short time, if it should 
be his inclination to fret and get angry, he may indulge in 
thart vein according to the measure of his lai^est desires ; for 
he will have the whole term of his existence before him as a 
season in which to cool, and he will not incur any loss or 
inconvenience which will flow as a necessary consequence 
from the particular flush of irritation. 

But if an applicant should be seeking an office from any 


appointing power, or if he should be courting a bright and 
benignant glance from the eye of beauty, or if he should 
be soliciting the interest of a voter in any pending election, 
. he should refrain from the slightest exhibition of ill-temper, 
as cautiously as he would from drinking a beverage which 
he knew to be strongly impregnated with arsenic. For the 
persons at whose hands a favor is sought, from the very 
nature of man, will scrutinize the person who seeks the &vor 
with a more jealous and critical eye than they would if he 
had no object to accomplish with them. They become much 
more accessible to distorted views of slight passages in the 
demeanor and person of the applicant, which may not be 
positively agreeable, than they ever were before; and it 
becomes one. in this situation, if he has not determined to 
acquire the coveted object, according to the most approved 
Bonapartean method, by force of arms, or to adopt the expe- 
dient which is sometimes resorted to by despairing lovers 
and lasses, that of proud disdain ; to carry about him, in their 
fullest measure of perfection, all the fascinations of manner, 
appearance, and disposition which he may be able to muster. 
It is thus with one who may be engaged in addressing a 
jury, or any assembly upon whose suffrages an important 
decision may be suspended. Because persons in this situa- 
tion, from the very fact of holding a specific measure of 
power, in which the person addressing them is interested, 
are temporarily inflated with the pride of power, or infected 
with what may be termed a punctilious or exacting spirit. 
They have at the time the appetite of a famished wolf for all 
the fascinations which the speaker can pour out before them, 
merely because they are the dispensers and he the applicant 
for a favor. Or it may be that they are peculiarly sensitive 
to any apparent withholding of incense and &scination on the 
part of the speaker, because it is the custom of the country 
to play the courtier on such occasions, and they may con- 
ceive that they are grossly slighted when there is any lurking 


suspicion afloat that they are not honored with the same 
gales of perfume which have feasted the senses of all otl\jBr 
persons and voters. 

That sagacious observer, as well as accomplished actor, 
Julius Caosar, made it one of the inflexible rules of his per- 
sonal code never to be angry, for he knew how like a malig- 
nant star the baleful spirit of anger shone upon all the pre- 
cious enterprises of life. And it has been remarked by Lord 
Chesterfield, that the illustrious Duke of Marlborough had 
been more indebted for his unrivalled success in life to the 
commanding elegance of his person and the winning grace of 
his manner^, than to any other qualities he possessed. It 
might, perhaps, seem to be a very broad and extravagant 
assumption, to aflBrm that these renowned captains, whose 
mere attempts were the precursors of accomplishment, had 
been much reinforced by the insinuating graces of mere good 
humor, in capturing a besieged city or in vanquishing an 
opposing army. But the universal cultivation and preserva- 
tion of the spirit of suavity and courtesy, may have in the 
first instance raised them to that eminence of promotion 
which invested them with the opportunity of taking cities 
and of defeating armies. But there are two propositions 
which, if the pen of history has been faithful to its sacred 
trust, are incontrovertibly true, and these are, that each of 
these celebrated men were unsurpassed in courtesy and good 
temper, and that they also enjoyed a measure of success in 
all their enterprises which has been seldom reached by the 
strength of any human arm. 

In relation to the preservation of good humor by speakers, 
when engaged in delivering an argument or address, it will 
occur to every observer of the active scenes of life, with 
what a gracious welcome an advocate or politician, who may 
be indiflerent in other respects, but who presents himself be- 
fore the body he may be addressing with perfect good humor, 
is universally received. A ju'ijy or popular assembly will 


not only yield to a speaker of this description a very evident 
share of their attention, but they also indicate by their good- 
natured smiles that they are willing to meet him more than 
half way to gratify his wishes. And if they should not be 
borne away by the charge of a judge, or by some circum- 
stance which exerts an imperative control over their judg- 
ments, the jury will yield their verdict, and the popular as- 
sembly will render their votes to the good-humored speaker. 
It is observable, too, how quickly an assembly of any de- 
scription contracts the dark hues which are painted on tiie 
sur&ce of the manners and character of a speaker, who ex- 
hibits either anger or a peevish humor when he rises to 
speak. They feel almost as adverse to his interests and 
wishes as if he was angry with them, and instead of indulg- 
ing any wish to oblige him, they feel a disposition to puni^ 
him for his implied aggression on good manners and good 
feelings, by sternly withholding the benefit he seeks. Advo- 
cates and politicians of this description may succeed, but 
tiieir success will prove the fruit of accident, perseverance, 
or of some peculiar impediment in the opposing side; it 
will not certainly be tiie legitimate or necessary result of 
tiieir displays of bad temper, for these are calculated to dark- 
en the prospects of success in all the enterprises of life, 
which possess any claims to intrinsic value. • 



It has-been the frequent experience of beginners in oratory 
to be embarrassed at the very threshold of their public ca^ 
reer, by a signal failure in their earliest attempts to mingle 


in debate/ But so far from being depressed or paralyzed bj 
an incident apparently so discouraging in its character, the 
young heart should extract an exhilaratmg influence ^m 
that soothing declaration of an ancient sage, ^ that it is more 
glorious to rise with grace, than not to have &llen at all." 
When such an occurrence shall not, like a chilling frost, com- 
municate a freezing influence to the fervid blood which flows 
l^ough the veins of young ambition, it will serve as a pas- 
sage of shade at the entrance of the great expanse of life, to 
enhance, by tbe efiect of contrast, the splendor of its subse- 
quent brightness, or as a superficial execresence or dimple 
on the cheek of some lovely feir one, serves to improve the 
bloom of her surrounding beauty. 

If it was the necessary or even the usual result of a fail- 
ure in early attempts, to quench the glow of ambition in the 
bosom of the young candidate for renown, some of the most 
radiant names which shine on the catalogue of the world's 
benefactors would have been doomed to everlasting obscur- 
ity. For the forensic and professional records of every en- 
lightened nation on earth abound in memorials to show how 
often the brightest ornaments of our race, in arms, in art, 
and in civil polity, stumbled in passing through the porch of 
entry to the temple of fame. It is in many instances the di- 
rect tendency of beneficent intellectual endowments to inspire 
such an eager and intense desire for absolute perfection in 
execution, as to prevent and suppress any performance at all ; 
just as an exquisite performer in music may have all his ca* 
pabilities palsied, in the very outset of a performance, by a 
&ilure to produce some note or tone, in a favorite piece of 
music, in that perfection of elegance and sweetness which he 
had long anticipated with delight. 

It would present an anomalous feature in the intellectual 
economy of our race, if the divine property of genius should 
prove inadequate to the task of improving upon its early 
miscarriage, when persevering stu^ndity has rarely ever fliile4 


to cover the shame of its first ignoble efforts by ultimate 
success. There is a sterling share of efficacy associated with 
an unshrinking spirit of hardihood and a brazen front, which 
enables mediocrity to pass unscathed over the most mortify- 
ing^ failures in early efforts at oratory. And it is certain, 
that should a speaker of moderate endowments, instead of 
quailing under the disheartening influence of an early feilure, 
keep straightforwai'd in his course, without exhibiting the 
slightest apparent sensibility to the ridicule and sneers which 
may be supposed to flow as a legitimate consequence from 
an explosive attempt at an oratorical display in the presence 
of the world, that the public itself will become tired of a 
contest with a determined spirit, and will ground its arms 
of opposition to his success. With how much greater cer- 
tainty will liberal attainments and well-directed genius or 
talent be enabled to overcome an early &ilure in speaking T 



To deliver the concluding speech in a discussion, is the 
prize of ambition to which every advocate aspires. And 
where this desire is prompted by any other considerations 
than those of utility to a particular principle or cause, it 
cannot be regarded as the fruit of an elevated or sound am- 
bition. It is right that a speaker should covet the concluding 
speech in a debate, when, from his superior adroitness in 
making a reply, and from his larger experience in covering 
the weak points which may be presented on his side of a 
question, he will be enabled to render the most effective ser- 
vice for the side he advocates, in that particular position. 


But a debater should never contend for the concludmg 
speech for the gratification of feelings of personal vanity, 
such as desiring to appear to the bystanders as the speaker 
in chief of the occasion, unless it be his dear right from pri- 
ority of appointment, or from some special authority his 
client may have vested in him on that particular subject. 
But even in the case of being entitled to the concluding place 
in a discussion, from the technical right of the earliest ap- 
pointment, a counsellor or speaker, if guided by the dictates 
of even a moderate share of ^risdom, will surrender the 
post to abler and more experienced counsel. For a juvenile 
or inefficient debater, particularly at the bar, will cover him- 
self with a merited share of derision, by affecting to lead 
abler and wiser men. 

The only personal advantages which an advocate derives 
fr<Jm the concluding speech at the bar, may be summed up 
in very few words. If he enjoys but an imperfect acquaint- 
ance with the merits of a cause from the facjb of having been 
but recently employed in it, he will be enabled to have his 
path blazed in advance of him, both by the light emanating 
from the counsel associated with him, and those opposed to 
him. His power of argumentation wiU be impelled into 
vigorous motion, by hearing the arguments on the opposite 
side, for every one of these, as it makes its appearance, will 
suggest what may be said in reply to it. He will have the 
credit of filling up every chasm in the defence on his sida 
which may have been omitted by associate counsel who pre- 
ceded him. He will be afforded an opportunity of expend- 
ing his resources of wit and repartee, if he should j>ossess 
them, on the opposite counsel. If he should surpass his 
brethren who are associated witih him, in the work of making 
a reply, it will enable him to display his powers in that ex- 
ercise of talent to some advantage ; and this point in the debate 
will cause the gaping outsiders, who know nothing of these 
things, to believe that the concluding speaker has been placed 


at that particular point because he is the great man of his 

The advantages which result to a cause from placing any 
particular speaker at the concluding point in a debate, are 
referable purely to his quickness of apprehension in discov- 
ering the weak points of an adversary, his power and address 
in assailing such points, his dexterity in repairing the intrin- 
sic flaws of his cause, and in filling up such dbasms as have been 
produced in the defence by the oversight of associate coun- 
sel, and to his general agreeableness and ability as a speaker. 

There are a few very glaring disadvantages which may ac- 
crue to a speaker from the fact of reserving his resources for 
the conclusion of a debate. In most cases, he will find himself 
anticipated in all his favorite points by the speakers who 
precede him, and in repeating the arguments previously used 
by them, he will present himself in the attitude of a copyisty 
though his arguments may be the creations of his own inge- 
nuity. If he should succeed immediately, in the progress of 
a discussion, a speaker of superior ability, whose positions he 
may not be able to shake or overturn, he will be temporarily 
injured by the contrast. He will be held responsible, by those 
interested in the issues of the cause on his side, for every 
omission on his part to use the materials of defence before 
him. And if the cause is a complex one, involving a great 
variety of principles, a mass of conflicting testimony, and a 
number of speeches to answer, his powers of attention will 
be painfully taxed in the work of separating the pure ore 
from the dross, in the elements of defence and assault, which 
may be spread before him. 

Although the opening speech in a cause is in most in- 
stances shunned, like the fang of a deadly serpent, by all 
ambitious members of the bar, yet it is a locality in debate 
which may not be entirely destitute of attraction to a mind 
of comprehensive grasp. A mind of the preceding descrip- 
tion, exerted in all its vigor on the elements of a cause, iii 


advance of all other speakers, will be apt to leaye traces in 
its progress which cannot be obliterated by adverse counsel, 
and having pre-occupied the ground, will frequently have ex- 
hausted all the best defences and points disclosed by a case 
before the debate reaches the concluding counsel on the 
same side. He will thus make impressions for his own side 
of a question by speaking first, which his adversaries will 
not be competent to effece ; and he will present the counsel 
associated with him in the light of copyists, in pressing into 
their service precisely the same arguments and points which 
he may have already totally exhausted. 

If, in the trial of a cause, the argument should be opened 
on one side and concluded on that side, and two or more 
counsel on the opposite side, of such cause should present 
their arguments to the jury, between the counsel on that 
side which had both the opening and the conclusion, the 
counsel among that number which argues in the central posi- 
tion, who opens on his side, will possess the advantage of both 
an opening speech, and of a concluding one, in some respects. 
The opening counsel of the two or three who argue in the 
middle and between two speakers on the opposite side, will 
have the advantage of anticipating his associates in all their 
available points of defence, and he will have, equally with 
those who succeed him on his side, the benefit of replying to 
the positions which may have been assumed by the opening 
counsel on the adverse side of the question. 

The question has been frequently propounded, without any 
satisfactory or positive solution, as to which formed the most 
eligible position in a controversy where there were but two 
contestants. This question must be settled with a due re- 
gard to the relative ability of two antagonists in debate. If 
there are but two speeches to be made on any given occasion, 
and one of the speakers is endowed with but moderate pow- 
ers, a prudent opponent 'would decide that a speaker of such 
moderate abilities should precede him in debate, for the ob- 



vious reason that a feeble speaker will make no impression 
which a gifted one will find it difficult to destroy ; whilst the 
latter, in destroying the positions of his adversary, will be 
presented with an open and fair field in which to exert his 
owTi reasoning faculties, without any sort of obstruction. 

If, however, there are but two contestants in any given 
case, and they should both prove to be men of extraotdinary 
endowments in debate, a prudent debater would, in most 
cases, concede the concluding speech to an opponent of ex- 
traordinary ability, where there are but two speeches to be 
made. Because, if a speaker of the character just mention- 
ed should engrave upon the mind of a jury, or any other as- 
sembly, the first impressions which are made concerning a 
cause or question, it will be very difficult for a conclusion of 
the most masterly ability completely to remove impressions 
thus early and powerfully imprinted. 

In deliberative assemblies, a speaker may glean lai^e sup- 
plies of information and of reasoning both, from other speak- 
ers, by postponing his remarks until towards the close of a 
pending discussion. But he may also lose in this way by 
having all the grounds or positions which he might wish to 
take when he debates the question himself, previously assum- 
ed by others. And in addition to this disadvantage resulting 
from the practice of reserving one's remarks until late in a 
debate, the debate itself may be entirely divested of its 
power to interest the attention long before it reaches a pro- 
crastinating speaker. And if the interest connected with the 
question under discussion should unfortunately evaporate be- 
fore it reaches him who speaks at or near its concluding point, 
all his efforts to gain an appreciating attention from his au- 
dience^will be futile and vain. In a deliberative assembly, 
a participation in debate about midway in its progress will 
prove in most cases the most eligible point for a speaker, be- 
cause, when he shall appear on the stage as a participant at 
that point, he will then have been able to observe the question 


at issue in all its bearings and relations, from the course pur- 
sued by the speakers on both sides of the subject, and in ad- 
dition to this, he will not at this point of the debate have 
lost the ear of the body he is connected with, for the matter 
in debate will about this time have reached the acme of its 

The man in the reply usually thinks he must reply to 
everything which has been said by the speakers adverse to 
himself^ no matter how minute and innoxious the particles 
of proposition may be. And this course he indulges in from 
the united force of vanity and weakness. Considerations of 
personal vanity stimulate him to reply to every proposition 
of an adversary, for the sake of acquiring the reputation of 
being expert in a reply. Imperfection of ability prompts 
him to this course, because with the assistance of the pegs 
or pins to hang arguments upon, which are presented to view 
in the points presented by opposing counsel, he may appear 
to be making a respectable argument ; without such aids he 
would not even enjoy the benefit of appearing to make a 
tolerable argument. 

But this device of weakness and vanity should be studious- 
ly and sedulously avoided by every speaker who fe^ls any 
concern for the success of his cause, or any regard for his own 
convenience. For by promiscuously answering all the posi 
tions of an adversary, the speaker will conceal the meritori- 
ous and available points in his cause, by burying them be- 
neath a mass of rubbish of his own creation, and will ren- 
der his own labors much more irksome and fatiguing by un- 
necessarily magnifying their amount. 

A speaker should reply to as few points of an adversary 
as possible, and these points should be selected with master- 
ly discretion. For by noticing everything which has been 
said by an opponent, the impression may be imparted to the 
minds of those in whose opinions a speaker is interested, that 
a great deal may be said on the opposite side ; and that it 


yields a large supply of materials for defence. And another 
objection to this indiscriminate mode of replying to argu- 
ments already made, may be found in the fact that in thus 
multiplying the opposing points which he is to touch, a 
speaker must inevitably have his attention diyerted from the 
points of intrinsic strength on his own side, in such a way that 
he will touch them but feebly. 

A speaker may at times acquire some appearance of 
strength for a cause which is utterly destitute of intrinsic re- 
sources of virtue and merit itself, by declaiming terribly on 
the defects and demerits of an adversary's cause, but this is 
a work which must be conducted with great address and ex- 
pertness to insure its success. 



The introduction of an amusing anecdote or incident at 
the opening, and even at other points of a discourse durmg 
the progress of its delivery, may produce a felicitous effect 
in placing the opposing counsel or his client, and perhaps 
both, in a ludicrous position. Or it may have a tendency 
to inspire a jury or an audience with prepossessions in &vor 
of the speaker himself, just as a pleasant remark by one on 
being introduced to a stranger, disarms the latter at once of 
all reserve, and gives an animating touch to his social and 
colloquial qualijbies. 

Those who have enjoyed the benefit of an enlai^ed con- 
verse with the world, have experienced the genial and charm- 
ing influence of a single kind or spicy remark uttered to them 
by a stranger, in relation to whom they had maintained an 


icy deportment at the same table for weeks, and to whom 
they had, perhaps, resolved never to speak a stngle word. 
Thus it is with an amusing anecdote drawn from the familiar 
scenes of life, when appropriately introduced into an address, 
speech, or ailment. It presents the speaker in the light of 
an acquaintance to the body he is addressing, the wall of 
separation between him and his hearers is removed, and 
they feel as if they could afford to join with him in the re- 
creations of a &miliar old-&shioned conversation. 

The relation of an anecdote, too, at the commencement of 
a speech, has the effect of placing the speaker himself at ease, 
especially if he should be encumbered with an unusual 
amount of diffidence ; for when he succeeds in eliciting symp- 
toms of pleasure and of mirthfulness from those to whom he 
is speaking, at the very threshold of his observations, these 
lively sensations, by the process of reflection, are ti-ansfused 
into his own bosom, and he proceeds through the whole tenor 
of his disGonrse with a light heart and with an easy and 
elastic pace. An exhibition of amusement thus produced, is 
calculated to enliven the path of the most assured speaker ; 
but on the breast of one who is in some degree paralyzed by 
timidity, it pours the same measure of relief which is im- 
parted to the feelings of an urchin who whistles or sings 
when passing at night through the solitude of a thicket which 
he imagines to be infested with ghosts and hobgoblins. 
When the little fellow discovers that he is not immediately 
captured by evil spirits, afler having indulged himself in a 
bravado so presumptuous as that of having rendered the 
woods vocal widi his own music, or shrill with his own breath, 
his heart becomes lighted up with the warm flushes of hero- 
ism, and proceeding with a light tread, he tacitly bids the 
dreaded fiends to advance at their peril. The diffident 
speaker becomes emboldened pretty much after the same 
&shion, when, instead of being coldly repulsed by an au- , 
audience, for a display of so much impudence as he im- 


agines to be embraced in the narration of a joke, he feels 
himself hctoored by a benevolent smile or by electric peals 
of laughter. He becomes at once inspired with the con- 
fident assurance, that if he has been able to pass unscathed 
through such a perilous attempt as that, he is competent to 
stand all other dangers which beset his path on the occasion. 
The caution which has been adopted in explaining this prin- 
ciple in our nature, . as applicable to speakers, may be re- 
garded as culpable particularity ; but having frequently 
observed the value of this expedient toxlebaters of shrinking 
modesty, it has been thought that no expenditure of words 
could be too extravagant, which might serve to portray its 
effect to the young and inexperienced. 

The chief end to be accomplished by the use of anecdotes, 
in tlieir application to the opposing counsel or his client, is 
to divest the defence they have presented of their cause of its 
gravity and* solidity, by the effect of a ludicrous image. If 
the positions assumed and the ailments made by counsel 
are covered with ridicule, they will prove like shots dis- 
charged from a fowling-piece, which have merely penetrated 
the surface of the skin, and which may be easily extracted. 
If the counsel himself should be temporarily thrown into a 
droll or grotesque position, by the relation of an apposite and 
felicitous anecdote, what he has said will contract in some 
degree the hues of that drollery, and it will form a difficult 
task for the body which has been addressed, to regard, with 
proper seriousness, the strongest points submitted by him. 
If the client should become the victim of derision, the whole 
merits of his cause will frequently catch a taint from the 
&rcical levity which surrounds his own person, and it will be 
difficult for the jury to believe, during the time, " that any 
gdod thing can emanate from Nazareth." Ridicule was an 
efficient and sometimes a deadly weapon in the hands of the 
ancient Greeks, when they wished to blast an obnoxioas 
individual ; and its Vitality, in its application to prominent 


and hated persons, was experienced during the progress of 
the French Revolution. 

But there is yet another use of anecdotes which is com- 
mended, perhaps, by a lai^er yield of practical good, and sanc- 
tified by a purer morality, than any appropriation of them 
which has been thus &r submitted. They serve, when related 
occasionally during the delivery of a protracted discourse of 
any description, to disarm it of its monotony and tedious- 
ness, and to refresh the wearied attention of an audience. 
They answer, in this aspect of their use, the same purpose 
which is accomplished by relief posts along a lengthened and 
dreary frontier. When the audience have been enlivened by 
one or two amusing anecdotes in an argument, they will be 
looking ahead, with pleasurable anticipation, for other con- 
tributions of a similar character. 

But there are certain rules to be applied to the introduo- 
tion of anecdotes, of such stem obligation, that Ihey should 
never be relaxed. They never should be of such a character 
as to invade the sanctity of religion, the precepts of sound 
morality, or the decencies of life. For, independent of the 
prohibition of such anecdotes by the dictates of true pro- 
priety, they are most explicitly proscribed by the personal 
interest of the speaker himself. For the fact of interweaving 
with a public address of any kind, an anecdote impregnated 
with smut, immorality, or irreligion, will certainly, to some 
extent, reflect an injury on his own reputation, and this no 
matter how vociferous the shouts of merriment he produces 
at the time.' 

There are other rules connected with the use of anecdotes, 
which pertain more particularly to considerations of success. 
The speaker should submit an anecdote with the most im- 
perturbable good humor, and he should never be lured into 
an extravagant use of them, except perhaps on the hustings ; 
when he has struck a mirthful vein in a promiscuous assem- 
bly, towards the conclusion of his address, when the appetite 


of the audience may be insatiable in its demand for nutri- 
ment of that kind ; when no ill consequence will be apt to 
result from an overcharge of that sort of ammunition ; when, 
too, in addition to these considerations, the speaker may be 
enabled by a recourse of the sort to overwhelm an opponent, 
or relieve himself from the crushing weight of some pre- 
existing prejudice, by putting his audience into a fine state 
of feeling towards him. 

Many persons cautiously abstain from the introduction of 
anecdotes into a discourse, because, as they allege themselves, 
they possess no turn for that sort of embellishment. There 
may be exhibited in this exercise, as therp is in all others 
pertaining to the condition of man, very broad shades of 
difference in the respective talents of individuals. But every 
person who can intelligibly relate a simple fact, can also re- 
late an anecdote, if he only remembers the facts embraced in 
it. Those who have reached unrivalled success in this depart- 
ment by practice, were not experts in the business when they 
first commenced, and have been stimulated to a more ex- 
tended reach of improvement than they originally possessed, 
by the rewards of merriment which were meted out to their 
earliest efforts. 

The speaker should studiously guard against ushering in 
his anecdotes with too much pomp and parade of manner ; 
for the feelings of the audience may be chilled by an icy 
shower in the shape " of a terrible to do," in advance of the 
arrival of the anecdote. The most successful mode by which 
to secure a graceful reception for an anecdote, is to take due 
precautions in the first place, that it shall apply to the sub- 
ject, and in the next place, that it shall be submitted in the 
simplest manner. And if a speaker should be diffident of 
his powers in this respect, he has only to interweave his an- 
ecdote carelessly as he proceeds with the thread of his dis- 
course, and if it should prove spicy in its character, it will 
provoke feelings of mirthfulness in an audience, without re- 


gard to the deficiency of manner ; and if it does not inspire 
merriment, it will pass for a part of the speech, and not re- 
coil on the speaker, inasmuch as he has not previously her- 
alded its coming by fixing his feet and by making his bow. 



There is a clog in the shape of diffidence which encum- 
bers the young energies of life, to as great an extent as the 
movements of a convict are cramped by a ball and chiun 
appended to his person. But the juvenile aspirant to ora- 
torical renown should cast aside this blighting principle 
from his composition, just with the same degree of im- 
petuous determination that he would hurl a viper from his 
bosom. It will never contribute the most inconsiderable 
pebble to the elevation of his pyramid of personal renown, 
whilst it will meet him like a grim spectre, at the entrance 
of every field of exertion or enterprise he intends to explore, 
wit^ the pipture of dark bodings in its grasp, of defeat, dis- 
appointment, mortification, and disaster. 

Every passing acquaintance professes to cherish the most 
amiable and tender sympathies with the young attorney 
whose diffidence pins him to his seat, or if he rises to speak, 
which causes his utterance to filter and stick in his throat. 
But no kind messenger of comfort strays across his path to 
dry up, by" the application of sanative words, this copious 
spring of disaster which perpetually flows in his bosom; 
and no good Samaritan intervenes to remove a single imped- 
iment which this doleful defect drops upon his professional 



This sensation of diffidence is inspired, not so much by an 
under estimate of his own capabilities, by a debater, as it is by 
an over estimate of what is due in the shape of perfect execu- 
tion to the world. As the timid hare apprehends the tread of 
an enemy in the sound of every rustling leaf, so the diffident 
young speaker imagines a stem and inexorable critic in every 
auditor, the glance of whose eye he chances to meet, when in 
the act of commencing a speech. But if intelligent youth, in 
pluming its early wings for oratorical flights, could only be 
apprized of the fact, it is in nine instances out of ten, much 
better qualified to meet the world in an exhibition of the 
reasoning faculties, than the world is to meet it And a dis- 
play of confidence by a speaker at the commencement of an 
effi>rt, if it should be fortified only by a few grains of intel- 
ligence, will put the critical propensities of his audience to 
flight, and will reduce his hearers to that pliancy of disposi- 
tion which may enable him to lead them captive at his will. 

If one who is constitutionally pusillanimous can cause a 
perennial spring of heroism to rise in his bosom, by resolute- 
ly meeting every peril which arises to his view in the jour- 
ney of life ; and if the individual whose bosom from infancy 
to manhood has been vividly tortured by the fear of ghosts, 
hobgoblins and fiends, can so effectually vanquish this defect 
of character; by marching up to every grim-looking death's- 
head which he spies in the distance, in moon-light travel, 
as to be able to sleep with composure in grave-yards and 
diamel-houses ; most certainly the intelligent but bashful 
young speaker will be competent to triumph over ike 
principle of diffidence in his own constitution ; when he 
sees how much of mediocrity there is which not only passes 
with impunity in its efforts before the public, but also 
flourishes in the complacent sunshine of its favor ; when he - 
discovers, in addition to this, how small a portion of wisdom 
it requires to propel the ordinary machinery of life in its 


Persons, into the business of whose life, speaking must 
necessarily enter as a lai^ component element, should 
make it a duty of imperative obligation, never to be re 
strained from speaking hy the influence of diffidence, when 
they shall feel it incumbent upon them to take part in 
a discussion. They should give vent to the expression of 
their views on such occasions, even if they should experience 
all the nervous sensibility, in rising to speak, which they 
would feel if they were in the act of applying a match to the 
world that would blow it into atoms. This inordinate di^ 
fidence must be vanquished by a speaker in the commence- 
ment of life, for the act of being silenced and kept back 
by this principle, at length becomes habitual, and the priva- 
tions in the shape of usefulness and fame to which a speaker 
may be subjected by its supervening force, whilst it does en- 
dure, are of too grave a character to be lightly encountered. 
The practice of overcoming it after frequent repetitions, be- 
comes habitual, like every other adventure long persisted in, 
and it will become so much a matter-of-course with a speak- 
er to repress this feeling, after he has often slighted its damp- 
ing admonitions, that he will eventually wonder that he ever 
should have yielded to it. 



The world is so greatly addicted to reasoning by the whole- 
sale measure at the present stage of its history, that any ex- 
pedient which promises to narrow the field of inquiry in de- 
bate, to strip the process of reasoning of all superfluous drap- 
ery, and to reduce it to its essential propertieS| will be received 

228 THB BE19:EFIT of one DEOISiyE FACT; 

by the speaking portion of mankind Hke an uninvited guest 
at a feast, with a chilling and repulsive coldness. Every at- 
tempt to contract the area of discussion, similar to the legis- 
lative guards which have been recently thrown around the 
freedom of traffic in the matter of spirituous liquors, is de* 
nounoed by the venders of windy rhetoric as a positive en- 
croadmient on the freedom of the citizen. Every debater 
of superficial education or feeble powers, cheii^es an unre- 
stricted latitude in debate as his most precious privilege. 
Because, to such speakers, a long and verbose speech, similar 
to the fancy-colored kerchief which trails from the pocket of 
a country buck, constitutes their proudest badge of distinc- 
tion. If the privilege of vociferating empty and insipid ver- 
bosity for five hours at a stretch, should be abstracted from 
such men, they would be deprived of their only certain lad- 
der of promotion. For these tedious and senseless exhibitions 
of loquacity, similar to the foam on the fountain and the froth 
on the syllabub, exert a powerful share of fascination over 
superficial and illiterate minds. For the sound and the stuff 
present themselves in unmeasured quantities to the view, and 
it is a matter of but little concern to the unreflecting crowd, 
whether under this gay and bubbling surface there be any 
sound nutriment or healthful liquid or not. It would conse- 
quently prove as severe a measure of retrenchment to windy 
orators, to engraft any restriction upon the usages of the times 
which would bring interminable speeches into disrepute, as 
it would be to snatch from the grasp of a noisy urchin his 
&vorite rattle, and to cast it in the depths of the sea. 

But all judicious and practical men, in an age which is ever 
on the wing in search of utility, will hail with delight the 
advent of any improvement which may gild the prospects 
of the future with the auspicious hope of expelling forever, 
from human society, that perpetual and insatiate absorbent 
of time, the mania loquendu For speeches of indefinite length 
stand in the same relation to the business of the world with 


copper and other base metals which encumber its circulating 
medium. It requires such an extended volume of such mat- 
ter to effect any beneficent object, that these speeches, like 
the coins in question, should be driven to take their position 
exclusively at the rear of the oyster-carts and other ignoble 
stands for business. 

There is one mode of approaching a subject under dis- 
cussion, which commends itself to the favor of the passing 
age, not only from the immense saving of time which it 
secures to the hearers of speeches, but also from the vast 
economy in the expenditure of labor which it effects for those 
whose business it is to make speeches. The method of 
debating, to which reference has been made, is that of rea- 
soning by the introduction of a single fact or principle, which 
may be decisive of the fate of a measure, either in securing 
its adoption or produdng its defeat. This mode of reasoning 
has been sanctified by the example of the principal architect 
of the temple of American freedom, and by that of Benjamin 
Franklin, one of the great apostles of liberty, whose fame 
shines in the same constellation with that of Washington, and 
who was guiding his country to safety in the counsels of peace- 
ful wisdom by his experience, whilst the Father of his Country 
was conducting her forces to victory and glory by his heroism 
and discretion in the field. Washington spote but seldom in 
the convention which adopted the Federal Constitution, as will 
appear by consulting the journal of that body, but when he 
did rise from his seat, it was almost universally to state some 
decisive fact or principle which bore immediately upon the 
subject, and he was certain to exert a formidable influence 
on the &te of the question pending before the house, by 
the pertinent character of the fact or prmciple adduced by 
him, as well as by the unrivalled weight of his character. 
Franklin generally reasoned by the introduction of practical 
principles and examples drawn firom the ample records of 


nature and from the great volume of life, and he frequently- 
put to flight a bevy of prolix speakers. 

If any member of a legislative asseiiably, opposed to some 
oonmiercial measure th&t might be under discussion in the 
house to which he belonged, should produce a passage of 
political history which would prove, with incontrovertible 
clearness, that tbe same measure, when adopted on a former 
occasion, had scattered bankruptcy and ruin in its train, 
wherever it had been acted on, it would prove exceedingly 
difficult for the supporters of such a measure to overcome 
the effect of this authority against it. 

If a candidate before the people for some highly-attractive 
station, should proclaim from tlie hustings the prodigious sac- 
rifices he had made fbr his country during the last war with 
Britain, or with Mexico, the charm of his vaunted services 
would vanish into mist and vapor, if an opponent should 
reply to him by the production of resolutions which had been 
offered by the boasting member at some public meeting 
years before, strongly condemnatory of either of the wars in 

If the payee of a note of hand, should institute suit against 
the ostensible drawer of the note, for the amount purporting 
to be due on the face of the instrument, it would interpose 
an unsuperable bar to the recovery of the claim, if' the de- 
fendant should produce positive proof that he was in a for- 
eign country concurrently with the date of the note. 

Facts like the preceding stand immovable to the sternest 
pressure which may be brought to bear upon them by the 
resources of argument and eloquence. The only way of 
obtaining relief from the influence of such facts, is to intro- 
duce countervailing testimony to disprove them, for they 
cannot be reasoned down. 

This mode of arguing a question, suits beyond all others 
a modest attorney or legislator, who entertains an invincible 
aversion to making speeches, for whilst it saves him the phys- 


ical exertion and the trial of sensibility incident to the de- 
livery of a long argument, it at the same time raiders the 
person who adduces such facts more formidable in debate, 
if it should be his fortune to submit them with frequency, 
than the most eloquent and elaborate speakers. 

It is not in the discussion of every question that facts. of 
such crushing weight can be produced. But research and 
perseverance will enable a statesman or an attorney to pro- 
duce them much oflener than is generally apprehended. 
And all that the legislator or lawyer has to do, in submitting 
such fact to a court or a deliberative assembly, is simply to 
introduce the feet, and to propound the inquiry, " if this fe,ct 
be true, how can the gentleman's doctrines or proposition 
prevail 1" The fact itself, fortified by this simple question, 
will ordinarily produce an effect which it would require oceans 
of ink and ages of ingenious reasoning to destroy. 



It may prove an available resource to a debater on many 
occasions, to keep in reserve until some very suitable point 
for its disclosure shall be reached in the progress of his ar> 
gument, any .very startling or important feet which may be 
in his possession, unknown to his opponents, and which may 
possibly have a direct tendency to settle the question in con- 
troversy directly against them. 

A controversialist in any department of life, whether it 
be in Politics, Law, Science, or Literature, will in most cases 
be enabled to determine with a very near approach to accu- 
racy, the aui^iclous moment in the speech he is delivering, 


for popping upon his adversary a fact or circumstance, the 
force of which cannot be easily counteracted. 

In a trial at law, a receipt for the specific sum concerning 
which the suit on trial was instituted, some fact which is ut- 
terly inconsistent with a date which constitutes the main 
hinge of the opposite party's case, or any passage of inform- 
ati<m, the sudden revelation of which may take an adversary 
by surprise, or impart to the matter in controversy an en 
tirely new complexion in the estimation of a Court and Jury, 
are specimens of the controversial tact to which we have re 
ferred in the commencement of this chapter. 

In every species of discussion which is known to mankind, 
whether it pertains to politics, literature, or general science, 
a debater may with peculiar advantage to his cause, preserve 
until the audience shall be completely ripe for its reception, 
any fact which may be perfectly inconsistent with the propo- 
sitions, doctrines, or principles affirmed by an opponent. 

It may serve his interests to approach the delivery of the 
momentous fact with the stealthy tread of one of the feline 
race, and watching the feelings of the body to whom his re- 
marks are addressed, together with the peculiar adaptation 
of some particular point or passage in his argument to the 
discharge of the shot which he wishes to be fatal, he should 
let it descend on his adversary like a thunderbolt &'om a se- 
rene and clear sky. 

If a debater should have in his possession any historical 
fact of incontestible authenticity, the production ' of which 
may be absolutely fatal to his adversary's assumptions, he 
may in the course of his remarks submit such opposing &ct 
to his audience, with the simple interrogatory, How can the 
gentleman's proposition be valid if the fact in question be 
true 1 And if the fact thus introduced be not utterly dis- 
proved, it will stand against all opposing assaults, like an 
immovable rock in the ocean when lashed by the surround- 
ing billows. 


If a debater should obtain a passage of personal history in 
the life of his opponent which is utterly antagonistic to the 
positions assumed and the professions made by him in the 
course of the debate then in progress, he may very quietly 
and carelessly in the course of his remarks, bring the piece 
of history in question to the notice of his audience, prefacing 
the introduction of the matter at the same time with the in- 
timation of a doubt as to the identity of his opponent then 
before the assembly, with the one associated with the per- 
sonal inddent submitted. 



A LARGB proportion of professional men, in the morning 
of their career at the bar, conceive it to be an act fraught 
with chivalry and daring, to load with opprobrious epithets 
and abuse clients and witne^^es on the opposite side to them- 
selves. This is a mistaken and perverted view of qualities 
and effects. This practice wears the semblance of intrepidity, 
because, in the act of abusing a rational being endowed with 
the usual share of sensibility and resentment, an advocate is 
sure to incur the anger and hatred of the object of his abuse. 
Apd these emotions of the human heart, when fortified by 
the power to requite retribution, and a parity of rank with 
the ofiending individual, may by possibility produce some 
mischief to him. But in the case now under consideration, 
the resemblance to heroism and daring, is purely a counterfeit 

The suitor or witness possesses no privileges withm the 


oirole t>f the bar as a speaker, and here there is a glarmg dis- 
parity presented in the respective conditions of the aggressive 
attorney and the aggrieved suitor. But even if suitors and 
witnesses should be clothed with every privilege of speaking 
within the bar which pertains to a licensed practitioner, it 
would be a privilege perfectly barren pf useful results to them 
in resenting the abuse of a member of the bar — ^for not having 
been regularly bred and trained to the practice of speaking, 
there are but few suitors or witnesses who could use the 
privilege of speaking with much advantage to themselves in 
retorting on an attorney. 

There is another consideration, too, whidi has a powerful 
tendency to deter suitors and witnesses, especially those of 
a moderate share of elevation and influence in society, from 
resenting the abuse heaped upon them in the trial of a cause, 
by advocates and attorneys. Parties bearing this relation 
to an attorney, are sure to imbibe the impression, in some 
degree of strength, that the lawyer inflicts this gross aggress- 
ion on the rights of his fellow men, under the robe of his 
office ; in other words, they think his abuse has been offi- 
cially applied to them. And this consideration is sure to 
repress wrath, except in those volcanic bosoms from which 
the flame of resentment bursts ^rth like an impetuous tor- 
rent, sweeping before it in its progress every impediment 
and mound of opposition which may be interposed either by 
law or usage. 

Adopting the preceding views of the subject as being cor- 
rect, the practice of assailing suitors and witnesses with bitter 
asperity, so far from constituting a brave or a chivalrous act, 
verges very strongly to the opposite property of cowardice, 
for it is a responsibility assumed for the purpose of acquiring 
the reputation of intrepidity, when, in most cases, there is no 
real peril encountered. But whether an advocate indulges 
himself in a vein of abuse, from a desire to earn a character for 
bravery on cheap and easy terms, or whether he adopts this 


unworthy expedient^ as a lure to suitors who may be stimu- 
lated to employ him in the management of their business, 
with the hope of procuring a suitable vehicle through which 
to convey their malice to the objects of their hatred, merits 
the severest reprehension. 

For humanity is a virtue which is imperiously enjoined, 
not only by the precepts of our eternal system of &ith, but 
which is also explicitly prescribed by every sound system of 
social ethics. And its application has not been limited, by 
these high depositories of human duty, to rational nature, but 
its extension to the brute creation has not only been sternly 
enjoined, but the injunction is supported in many enlightened 
nations by the severest penal enactments. 

But if cruelty and ruggedness shall be practiced on that 
theatre of action where intelligence and gentleness might, 
naturally be expected to reign supreme, what are we to 
expect amidst the rougher and less cultivated pursuits of 
life 1 For when we speak of cruelty, we do not confine our 
remarks to those exhibitions of the vice which are executed 
through the medium of torture, stripes, and burning plough- 
shares ; but we also refer to that butchery of human feelings 
which may be perfected through the use of brutal and fero- 
cious language, and unkind upd demoniac looks. 

And the -evil results of this revolting practice, do not 
terminate in the infliction of pain on the feelings of helpless 
and defenceless suitors. By long perseverance in it, a mind 
constitutionally kind and gentle will contract an artificial 
tendency to coarseness, harshness, and cruelty. 

286 MUJJBvm m dkbate to febsons. 



It is a proposition which is fortified by the best experience 
of the world, that a person engaged in addressing a jury or 
any other assembly of persons, should never designate by 
name, any particular individual in the assembly to which 
he is speaking, and direct his remarks personally to him. 
This expedient is fi;^quently adopted for the purpose of en- 
grossing, through the medium of personal vanity, the good 
opinion of the person thus made the subject of special atten- 
tion, and also his influence over his associates. For it is 
supposed that the self-esteem of the person thus singled out 
from amongst his fellows, will be so much soothed by the 
transient distinction he thus enjoys, that he will be willing to 
go even to the gates of death to oblige the lawyer or politi- 
cian who thus flatters him. But the attempt to which we have 
referred, is founded almost universally on a gross misconcep- 
tion of the principles of human nature. The -person who 
receives this very ephemeral and worthless badge of distinc- 
tion, although not by any means wounded by it, will sup- 
pose that he has received no more than his just deserts or 
dues in being thus addressed, and will not feel disposed to 
make any large surrender of convenience to the speaker who 
has paid him the compliment. But there is another circum- 
stance in addition to this, which will prevent him from man- 
ifesting his devotion to the complimentary speaker at the 
time his devotion is wanted, and in the particular way in 
which it is wanted. He has become a marked man by the 
very complimentary notice which was intended to buy him ; 


his liberty of action is fettered and circumscribed by the 
verbal pittance which was intended as a trap to extract gold* 
en opinions from him. The complimented voter or juror 
cannot display much enthusiasm in supporting the speaker 
who has catered to his vanity in this way, without having 
the act of support ascribed by his brother jurors and voters 
to the specific matter of homage. Persons thus situated are 
frequently sneered at and ridiculed by their associates for giv- 
ing their verdict or suffrage to the person who has thus made 
them the subject of adulation. 

But whilst the person specially addressed on a jury or in 
any promiscuous assembly may not be surely won by the 
act of being singled out by the speaker, yet the remnant of 
the body to which the designated individual belongs, will 
in almost every instance be alienated to some extent from 
the speaker. . If the juror or voter who happens to be thus 
selected as a mark of temporary distinction should be above 
his fellows in influence and in prominence, they will feel 
themselves a little hurt and aggrieved at the speaker for 
holding up to the public view and rendering jnore conspicu- 
ous that very superiority of a neighbor, in the &vor and good 
things of the world, which has perhaps, previous to their 
getting on a jury, annoyed them at every step they took in 
the daily walks and intercourse of life. If the person singled 
out by a speaker should enjoy a parity of rank and fortune 
with his associates, having nothing more and nothing less to 
boast of in the way of fortune, talent, or distinction than 
they, why then they will fire up in some degree, because the 
speaker has committed an act of positive injustice in fixing 
a temporary badge of distinction on their brother instead of 
them. If the person on a jury or in an assembly who is 
addressed in the mode referred to in the preceding lines, 
should be greatly inferior to his neighbors in point of re- 
spectability, they will consider the speaker himself as stupid 
as an oyster, in annexing so false an appreciation to an un- 


deserving man, or as unprincipled as a knave in meting oiit 
to him the meed of personal homage, in direct contradiction 
to his own better knowledge, whilst the poor fellow himself 
acquires temporarily a comfortless and unenviable celebrity, 
which mak€» him the subject of sneers and derision for hav- 
ing had timelessly and injudiciously thrust upon him an honor 
which he did not covet. 

The preceding practice, considered in any conceivable light, 
can effect no good for the advocate or speaker who resorts to 
it, and it is sure to militate against his cause in some slight 
degree on every occasion. Perhaps a punctilious regard to 
truth may require one exception to be reserved, where this 
designation of persons will not injure the cause of an advo- 
cate or the popularity of a speaker, and that is, where he 
addresses himself to some venerable j&ther in Israel, who, 
by tacit consent, is raised several cubits above every person 
in the society in which he moves, and is the recipient of uni- 
versal homage. 

It is not a safe or legitimate procedure, either to address 
adulatory observations to members of juries or popular 
assemblies, according to the countries they emanate from. 
If there should be a large proportion of Irish or Germans on 
any particular jury, or in any given popular assembly, it is 
the fruit of a very low and grovelling ingenuity to discourse 
eulogies on the excellent traits of the German or Irish na- 
tions, in order to catch the few individuals whose opinions 
may be a matter of interest at the time. And the expedient 
is attended with this peculiar disadvantage, that whilst from 
the grossness and staleness of its character, it rarely ever 
wins for the speaker the favor of the persons who are courted 
at the time, it is sure to repel from him the esteem and kind 
regards of persons on a jury who may not belong to either of 
' the nations which may have been referred to. There was an 
orator of unsurpassed celebrity in this country, whose speeches, 
from the commencement to the dose of his public career, are 


blazoned over with high-wrought encomiums on the Ger- 
mans and the Irish, and yet the music never charmed, for the 
proportion of either of these nations is small indeed that ever 
darkened a slip of paper with his name in exerting the right 
of suffrage. 

But however injudicious it may be in a speaker to address 
individuals by name, on a jury or in a popular assembly, 
with a view of engaging their partialities in his behalf yet he 
may study the predilections and antipathies of men, and 
shape his discourses in such a way as to insinuate a predilec- 
tion in behalf of himself into the breast of every member of 
a jury invisibly to the world. Being previously apprized of 
some practice, theory, or principle, that an individual in the 
assembly before him cherishes a profound devotion to, he 
may applaud that particular principle, theory, or practice, in 
such a dexterous manner, as to make the votary of them his 
own impassioned friend, without offending the complacency 
or taste of any one else. If he knows, on the other hand, 
any particular subject to which any person in the assem- 
bly he is addressing indulges a very lively antipathy, he 
may take occasion to express, in the course of his remarks, 
if he may do so without infringing his moral integrity, a 
lively abhorrence to the subject in question. He may take 
occasion to eulogize, m glowing terms, qualities of character 
in which certain persons before him are known to abound, 
without seeming to have the remotest reference -at the time 
to the persons who possess those qualities. In addition to 
^his, he may speak slightly and disparagingly of properties 
of mind or character in which he is certain that other persons 
in an assembly before him are known to be deficient, and 
may build up such persons in their own esteem, by hold- 
ing up for the public admiration high endowments of char- 
acter, to which these persons may possess some slight pre- 
tension, without being martyrs in support of the particular 
excellence. These keys in the human machine must be 


touched under the control of a sound morality on the part 
of the speaker, and always with a due regard to the relation 
which things may bear to each other. 

Whilst speaking of the possibility of rendering available, 
for one's own benefit or advancement, the antipathies of other 
parties, it may not be regarded as a culpable departure from 
the path of our present explorations, to introduce an illustra- 
tion of the ready use which may be made of this principle, 
drawn from the page of practical life. There was a politician 
in one of the Western States, more noted for his expertness 
as an electioneerer than for his wisdom as an ardiitect of 
laws. He had two neighbors who were bitter and implaca- 
ble foes. Whilst an election was pendmg, in which every 
individual vote enjoyed a high appreciation in the estimation 
of the expert electioneerer, (owing to the closeness of the 
contest,) one of these neighbors came to his house. The first 
had not been there very long, before the other neighbor, to 
whom he was so odious (and whose vote was yet trembling 
in doubt) was seen approaching the house in the distance. 
" Now," said the artful electioneerer, to the neighbor who 
was sitting with him in the piazza, " you are my friend, and 
it is very doubtful whether Mr. B , who is now com- 
ing to the house, will vote for me or not. But as he hates 
you very much, if, just as he is getting pretty near the house, 
and in hearing, you will let me take you by the collar and 
kick you out of the house, it will make him my everlastmg 
friend." The first neighbor did as he was bidden, and the 
prize was accordingly secured. 




A MusioiAK, when discoursing the divinest melodies from 
an instrument, cannot draw a large share of the attention of 
his auditors to the machine itself, without abating the charm 
which the music has shed upon their feelings ; neither can 
the gorgeous tints in pictures and flowers be held up to the 
admiration of the persons who survey them, with a perse- 
vering share of success, without impairing a higher sense of 
enjoyfnent which might be derived from a due concentration 
of the attention on the fragrance emitted by the flower, and 
the perfection of th« centiment or resemblance conveyed by 
the picture. 

Thus it is with the frequent introduction of the speaker him- 
self upon the stage, when he is engaged in addressiug an au- 
dience. He cannot indulge in allusions to himself, in the pr<ih 
gress of an intellectual performance, without detracting from' 
the weight of what he says. He must appear to be spoken 
through, and not make his own person the star of attraction 
by discoursing about himselfl If he does, he disparages the 
subject about which he is speaking. An instrument derives 
some degree of sacredness in the estimation of those who 
behold it, from a vivid association constantly preserved in 
the mind between the material frame of the instrument and 
the delicious notes which it breathes when controlled by a 
master's hand. So it is with an orator of celebrity, a charm 
for the popular mind hangs upon his person wherever he 
may present himself. For the glory of the effect produced 
is traced back to him as the cause wherever he appears. But 
ibis result is realized when he appears in the character of a 



man. When he appears before his fellow-beings as ah ora- 
tor, he must keep his individuality off the stage as much as 
possible. Because, except in the case of an address which 
is made in vindication of the speaker's own character, or 
which may be purely personal to him, on any other ground, 
whenever he dips into his own personal concerns, or makes 
free reference to his own person, the discourse he is making 
at the time will assume the badge of frivolity, and be di- 
vested of its intellectual influence. Instead of the subject be- 
ing grasped with tenacious attention by his hearers, the speak- 
er in his every-day capacity and identity is presented to their 
minds, and they feel as if they were assembled to converse 
with him about the last quadrille, the last entertainment at 
the theatre, or a late joyous fishing excursion, instead of be- 
ing enlightened by sage instructions reflected from his mind. 

A celebrated cotemporary of Lord Chatham once remark- 
ed, that he never observed that great man when speaking, but 
he was struck with the fact, '' how much greater the man was 
than the orator." This was truly an enviable compliment, 
paid by intelligent lips, to the exalted personal character of the 
prince of modem eloquence. But the phrase in which the com- 
mendation was expressed, shows that it was paid to Lord 
Chatham utterly abstracted from the work he was thwi per- 
forming. But 1^ at the time the sentiment here expressed 
was inspired. Lord Chatham, instead of keeping his own per- 
son in the background of contemplation, and his subject at a 
front view to his auditors, had burst from behind the scenes 
and commenced talking familiarly about his own concerns, a 
letting down of the augustness of the scene would have oc- 
curred with the celerity of lightning, and his auditors would 
have felt that they were addressed by an ordinary piece of 

A tendency to egotism impairs the appreciation of one's 
social qualities in the daily intercourse of life ; but it inflicts 
a much more perceptible injury on the mfluence of a person, 


^hen blended in a glaring manner with a performance of 
any of the intellectual duties of life. For, apart from the 
fiM5t that the revelation of personal vanity, in very broad 
lines, in the character of any individual, inspires strong pre- 
possessions against him, wherever it makes its appearance, 
there is yet another feeling incorporated with frail human- 
ity, which prohibits the indulgence of egotism in a speaker. 
And this is that imperishable and unquenchable spirit of sel£ 
esteem which glows in the breast of every respectable hu- 
man being, and which causes him to rebel and revolt when- 
ever and wherever a member of our race attempts obvious- 
ly to grasp more than his appropriate share of honor and 



It is not unfrequently the case that persons who are partici- 
pating in debate, become flushed with irritation, and render 
ill-natured and splenetic replies to questions which may be 
propounded to them by a debater on the opposite side of a 
question to themselves. This is exceedingly impolitic. If a 
speaker cannot preserve his composure, when such interroga- 
tories are put to him, he ought to refrain from any replica- 
tion to them whatever. For a mere ebullition of bad-temper, 
without being armed with the property of superior wit or 
repartee, places the speaker himself in a disadvantageous point 
of view before his audience, and sheds an enervating influ- 
ence on his cause. And an angry reply, seasoned with the 
spiciest degree of wit, whilst it may extend the circle of the 
debater's fame, simply as a wit, and magnify the tierrors of 


his name to those who come in contact with him in public 
or professional life, yet such replies impart a dark hue to the 
estimate of his disposition in the public mind ; he makes 
many personal enemies of the most implacable character ; 
infuses the same dread into the society in which he moves, 
which is created by the presence of some animal of untame- 
able ferocity, and is certain to produce invindble prepossess- 
ions against his cause. 

It is by no means a novel or anomalous doctrine, that 
splendid reputations are formed by the presentation of auspic- 
ious opportunities. It is an incontestible proposition, that 
repeated interrogatories, propounded to a debater whilst he 
is in the act of speaking, are so many occasions whidi 
may be crowned with solid and enduring benefits to him, 
should he conduct himself under such circumstances with a 
proper share of tact and address. 

Every reply rendered by a speaker on such occasions, 
which may be marked by the blandishments of a graceful 
amiableness, or brightened by a spirit of benevolent and 
playful humor, communicates a charm to the popular mind 
which does infinitely more for the speaker and his cause than 
the most brilliant flashes of ill-natured wit. 

The preceding reprobation of replies, on the part of a de- 
bater, which are impregnated with asperity and anger, has 
been designed chiefly to apply to the habitual indulgence in 
a practice of the sort. For grossly offensive questions put 
to a speaker by any one, may merit the most &tal bolt in 
the shape of a replication, and a pertinacious persistence in 
impertinent questions, may also justify the pouring out of a 
vindictive retribution. 




It is a duty of high obligation on every citizen of the 
country when engaged in the delivery of a public address of 
any description, to avoid giving pain to any body of men. 
This is a duty dictated by the imperishable principles of mor- 
ality, which should certainly preside in full force and suprem- 
acy over the actions of every intelligent being. But a faith- 
fiil observance of this duty is encouraged by considerations 
which address themselves much more directly to the person- 
al and temporal interests of a speaker, than those derived 
from either the published or the traditional systems of moral 
ethics which prevail in society. He is stimulated to the rigid 
performance of this duty by a very persuasive appeal which 
it addresses to his own durable comfort and acceptancy 
amongst his fellow beings. 

It is not an act which will be likely to prove exceedingly 
productive of benefits to a speaker, to indulge in the gross 
and wanton abuse of any single individual when delivering 
a public address. For he will thus be certain to produce a 
jarring string in the composition of the person who may be 
touched by his shot, which perhaps may never be composed 
during the life of the wounded party. 

But the act of wounding the feelings of an entire class of 
men is attended with indefinitely greater disadvantages. 
For these^bodies of nien when compacted together by the 
bonds of religion, of politics, of profession, of country, of 
trade, of States, or of counties, will be competent to the 
work of inflicting a very serious annoyance, both in their in- 
dividual and aggregate character, upon an individual who 
may thus become obnoxious to them. 


And notwithstanding many integral members of these 
bodies may be hateful to each other in their individual ca- 
pacity, yet when wounded in their associate character, the 
sting which is thus imparted, will arouse them in such a 
manner as to cause every personal interest and animosity to 
merge at once in a general grievance, and will band them 
together by the firmest bonds of union in visiting retribution 
upon a ruthless invader of the general hive. 

If a speaker in the course of an address should take occasion 
to speak contemptuously of any denomination of Christians^ 
of any nation of people, of any party in politics, of any- 
mechanical occupation, or of any professional pursuit, he 
will most certainly let fly a shaft which^will pierce to the 
quick the sensibilities of the mass of persons which may 
be united by any of these ties. And it will require all the 
soothing appliances which the offending speaker may be en- 
abled to collect, blended with a long application of the leni- 
ent hand of time, to assuage the pangs of injury which are 
thus conveyed. 

In the previous strain of remarks presented in this chap- 
ter, reference has been made exclusively to wanton and un- 
justified assaults upon persons in their aggregate capacity- 
remark^ which may be dictated by the personal, political, or 
professional spleen of the speaker. But animosities may be 
infused into the bosom of societies of men, by a speaker in 
the discharge of his duties, when he may be as guiltless of 
any intention to communicate pain, or to give offence, as a 
mouldering tenant of the tomb. This may be effected in 
the discharge either of political, professional, or personal du- 
ties, by a speaker. He may animadvert with peculiar as^ 
perity and bitterness in the course of a public address, upon 
a particular individual for the exhibition of some princi- 
ple, or the adoption of some particular practice which may 
be, not only openly ratified by .the opinion of some sect of 
Christians, some body of mechanics, some nation of people. 


or some party in politics, but which has also been enthusi- 
astically supported and daily sanctified by the practice of 
that party. 

The offence here would be very innocently given, but the 
attack upon a particular principle which may be cherished 
by any particular body of men, will be recognized as a cor- 
porate wrong, and will send a vibration of revengeful feeling 
through the whole body, which will be acutely felt in its ex- 
tremest and remotest nerves. 

A wise and intelligent speaker may be enabled to conduct 
an argument or address with a degree of prudence and dis- 
cretion which will prevent a mass of persons from regarding 
the denunciation of a prmciple in its individual manifestation 
as an impeachment of the entire body. A speaker blessed 
with a respectable share of discrimination and address, may 
preserve his personal independence in the perfection of its 
integrity, in dischai^ng his duties, without imparting offence 
even by implication to any body of men who may be iden- 
tified with the obnoxious principle against which he shall be 
declaiming. He may visit the fullest reprehension on the 
individual o£fence which may comprehend in its moral com- 
position the principle which is cherished by any particular 
class of men. But he may adopt the precaution, at the same 
time, to reserve the body itself out of the pale of the general 
anathema. It would appear, on a superficial contemplation 
of the matter, to be an impracticable attempt to shield the 
feelings of an oppressive dealer in money from injury, where 
the business of exacting an exorbitant percentage on loans 
might be denounced, and it would seem equally difficult to 
deliver an argument which would waft very fragrant incense 
to the senses of a Mussulman, that would present an explicit 
and harsh condemnation of the principles of the Koran. But 
such achievements constantly grace the political and profess- 
ional reputations of a large number of persons who ascend 
the rostrum. They immolate the individual depository 


of the principle, and give hife bones to the dogs, whilst they 
bum incense in a supply of grateful and redundant profu- 
sion, at the shrine of the nation or the party to which he be- 



A BRIEF exposition has been afforded, in another portion 
of these commentaries, of those exercises which may be judi- 
ciously adopted by a speaker or writer, for the-discipline of 
the mental faculties, when the preparation of an intellectual 
production might be under consideration. And in extension 
of the suggestions which were then imparted to the speaker 
or pupil, it may be here added, that fragments of wisdom, 
collated from the best sources of human experience, justify 
the conviction that the study of a portion of Euclid's Ele- 
ments, as a preliminary measure to the preparation of an 
argument or essay, is an invaluable auxiliary. This propo- 
sition is based upon the solemnly-4eclared opinions of men 
of the most exalted professional eminence who have now 
passed from the public stage.* 

But the advantages blended with an habitual resort to 
the discipline afforded by Euclid, are attested by the nar 
ture of the exercise itself Geometrical science has been 
justly pronounced the perfection of logic, and the train 
of reasoning is there presented in a state of such pure ab- 
straction from all extraneous matter, and all superfluous 
verbiage, each link in the chain of geometrical ratiocination 
is so perfectly consecutive in its character, is so dependent 
on precedent links and propositions, that the mind of a rei^ 
soner, by studying one of these propositions closely, previous 

* GoYernor Iredell and the late Gavins Hogg Esq. of North Carolina. 


to the investigation of any abstruse question in legal or polit- 
ical science, is prepared for the work of searching after the 
pure ore of truth. The mind of a reasoner, by this prelim- 
inary training, is narrowed down to a specific point in an 
inquiry, instead of rambling over the indefinite field of specu- 
lative reasoning. It has a measure of ballast imparted to it, 
which renders it firm and stable in its operations, instead of 
being inflated with that passion for ethereal soaring which 
is frequently created by the perusal of highly-imaginative 

The great anchor of confidence which a reasoning mibd 
eagerly covets when approaching the investigation of any 
complex and important question, is the ability to tie down 
the faculties to some specific or isolated pouit, and to retain 
them there until the light of truth shall beaiii in splendor 
upon the dark and chaotic concave which is shadowed forth 
to the mental contemplation anterior to the process of severe 
reflection. This potent auxiliary is supplied by an intense 
application of the powCTS of thought to Euclid's propositions. 

No definite amount of the exercise now under considera- 
tion has ever been prescribed. The only object in resorting 
to this discipline, is that of putting the faculties in tune for 
reasoning in consecutive order or in continued series. And 
the speaker or pupil will have performed this duty when he 
shall have achieved this object, whether he has read one 
proposition in Euclid or more. 

Another invaluable auxiliary to the reflective faculties, is 
the study of what has usually been denominated the intel-v 
lectual system of arithmetic. The founder and original in- 
troducer of that system, we believe, was Pestallozzi ; and it 
has firequently received a titular appellation correspondent 
with the name of its author. But others have followed in 
his train, and have presented plans of mental arithmetic to 
the world which have been simplified to such an extent as to 
square with the accelerated advances of the age in the march 



of improvement. Colburn prepared a work of the kindy 
which was honored with a large share of acceptancy at the 
period of its introduction. And the process of rigid thought 
which was cultivated in connection with the study of that 
work, may be regarded as an inestimable source of power 
to a reasoner. For in perusing a chapter in that work which 
may be marked by any complexity, the mental Acuities are 
kept on what may be teimed a stretch, until every sum 
or proposition in the chapter shall be completely solved or 
worked out by the head, without an appeal either to the hand 
or the pencil. It may be regarded as almost impossible for 
a mind, which possesses any share of innate power, any grasp 
of thought, to devote itself for the space of half an hour in- 
tensely to the perusal of intellectual arithmetic, without find- 
ing the reasoning powers perceptibly strengthened at the 
dose of the labor. 

It is the fact of dispensing with all artificial or material 
props to the mind and memory, which constitutes the spring 
of efficacy in this exercise. It is like compelling a traveller 
to estimate his progress in a journey, by a vigilant observa- 
tion of the native features of the country through'^hich he 
may be passing, instead of falling back upon the assistance 
of mile-marks. And when the mind shall be thus inducted 
into a logical frame or spirit, this condition of mind may be 
transferred and appropriated to other subjects of thought eo- 
tirely distinct from the arithmetic ; just as when the temper 
is thrown into an irascible state by a provocation received 
from one person, it may not be regarded as a very difficult 
operation to apply the feeling of irritation thus inspired to 
other individuds who may cross the path of the provoked 
party at the time, and who may be perfectly guiltless of all 
ofience towards him. , 




The proposition has a prcTalence as extensive as the do- 
main of letters, that the principle of poetic inspiration is a 
beneficent endowment of nature, isolated in its essence, and 
having but few affinities with any other distinguishing quality 
of the mind or imagination. The same theory also has been 
so habituallj^ applied to the property of wit by a large pro- 
portion of mankind, as to receive that tacit sort of acquies- 
cence which is yielded to ^an axiom. 

With the origin of poetical gifts we have nothing to do in 
this connection, but we feel very great sincerity in express- 
ing an entire dissent from the application of the foregoing 
theory to the principle of wit. That some members of the 
family of man may be more fevorably organized by provi- 
dence fbr the felicitous and ample display of this quality than 
others, it would be a futile attempt to deny. Human beings 
occupy precisely the same situation in regard to this sub- 
ject, that they do in relation to all the other faculties and func- 
tions which pertain to the organization of the intellectual sys- 
tem. One person may display an unusual fecility in the ac- 
quisition of mathematical science. Another may exhibit 
more promptness in the apprehension of philosophical veri- 
ties. Another may astonish the world by his expertness in 
translating the pages of recondite literature. Whilst a third 
appears to possess no organ of perception for the beauties 
which bloom and perfect in the foregoing fields of intellectual 
exploration, but gives his heart in the plenitude and ^rven- 
cy of its devotion, to the province of mechanics, But that 


either of these fields of acquisition is hopelessly barred to the 
entrance of those candidates for intellectual renown, who vasy 
exlubit an original obtuscness of intellect in regard to the 
particular subject of mental speculation, included in any one 
field, is a proposition which cannot be maintained. By the 
use of persevering labor, minds of the most unpromising 
early developments in reference to some particular subjects, 
may possibly grasp with distinguishing success and thrilling 
delight, the most precious treasures which are attainable 
within those piurticular tracts of thought. 

The property of wit may, with a very ample measure of 
justice, be included within the range of the proposition a£- 
firmed in the preceding paragraph. Persons who may have 
never exhibited the fointest gleam or scintillation to attest 
its presence in their mental composition, by yielding a heart- 
felt devotion to a few disciplinary measures, may enrol 
their names amongst the most formidable wits of the 
period in which they live. Some of those orators who 
have instructed and charmed the world by the splendid &»• 
cinations of their eloquence, were once almost incurable 
sceptics on the subject of their possessiijg in their intel- 
lectual organization the minutest ingredient of eloquence, 
and in their earliest advent on the public stage were harshly 
repftlsed by hissing crowds, in consequence of their appa- 
rently nonsensical and incoherent babblings. Many of those 
who have discoursed the divinest melodies to enraptured as- 
semblies, in the department of music, were actually terrified 
at the grating dissonance and discord of their earliest per- 

If a student should be desirous of registering his name 
amongst the wits of his country, he will be infsdlibly" grati- 
fied in having his aspirations crowned with success by sub- 
mitting to the essential expenditure of toil and pains. 

When he is engaged in perusing an author which abounds 
iu striking passages of wit, let him note each passage as it 


presents itself to his mind, and having dwelt upon it fop 
some time, let him survey it in all its varied bearings and 
relations, to see in what respect it might be improved ; and 
if the witticism has been perpetrated at the expense of any 
particular individual, let him see what reply could have 
been aptly made to it by the individual whose feelings may 
have been punctured by letting it off. 

But the most successful and productive manner in which 
the attention of a student can be exercised in this sphere of 
discipline, is to watch the progress of discussions in the halls 
of legislation, in the courts of justice, and on the hustings, 
and when an effective witticism or pungent retort falls from 
the lips of any speaker in his hearing, he should take it right 
up, and scan it in his mind, with the view of satisfying him- 
self as to the most appropriate and happy replication which 
might have been given to it by the person upon whose shoul- 
ders the squib has descended. 

The student may also profit in this sphere of mental ex- 
ertion, by observing the course of conversatioQs in the spright- 
ly and cultivated circles of life, and whenever a fragment of 
spicy repartee or a well-timed and appropriate retort, or a 
witty expression, drops from the lips of any one present, he 
should subject it at once to the searching operations of his 
mental crucible, with the desire to test its genuineness, to as- 
certain in what respect the particular effiision might be improv- 
ed, and what reply might have been effectively given to it. 

Even when the student has been the subject of a witty or 
cutting remark himself, and the occasion for visiting retri- 
bution on the author of the witticism has passed by without 
any retort from the injured party, yet he may nevertheless 
turn this failure to his future advantage, in taking up the shot 
which hit him, and after having examined it at his leisure ; by 
settling in his mind the most suitable reply which might 
have been given to it at the time the squib was discharged. 

These exercises, though silent in their progress, and unob* 


served by the world, train the human mind for the exhibition 
of that species of mental adroitness which has been the sub- 
ject of this chapter, as infiillibly as shooting habitually at a 
mark trains the hand and the eye of a practitioner for shootr- 
ing successfully at living objects. 



It frequently happens that questions may be propounded 
with a singular share of advantage by a speaker, whilst pro- 
gressing in the delivery of an argument, to an opponent in 
debate, or to persons sympathizing with that opponent in 
opinion and in feeling. 

But the speaker, previous to putting a question of this 
kind to an opposing party of any description, should be per- 
fectly convinced that the interrogated party will not yield an 
answer adverse to the propounder's interests. For such an 
answer will recoil upon his person with all the stunning 
&tality of a rebounding shot. 

The way in which this passage of policy is to be conduct- 
ed is very simple in its character, and only requires the ap- 
plication of some nice observation and acute sagacity on the 
part of a debater to know when to adopt it. In politics and 
in law, the party who is principally interested in a pending 
controversy may be supposed to have performed some act 
which, in the event of its being known to the world, would 
exert a blasting influence on the prospective interests of such 
party. It may be also presumed, without at all straining 


the belief to take in the proposition, that the parties chiefly 
concerned in a pending political or legal controversy may be 
possessed of some information which, in the event of its be- 
ing promulgated, would crush their hopes of success in the 

It is unnecessary to define the mode in which a process of 
this description should be conducted by an advocate, when 
managing a cause, for this is a matter of daily repetition in 
court. But whilst we concede to debaters on other fields of 
discussion as large and enlightened an acquaintance with the 
matter under consideration as their most graspii% desires 
would demand, we do not regard that as a superfluous ex- 
penditure of time and of language which may be employed 
in explaining an operation whidi may be productive of very 
conspicuous and enduring advantages-to the young and inex- 
perienced in debate. 

When a candidate for any public situation shall be im« 
pressed with the conviction that an opponent has been con- 
nected with some public enterprise, measure, or principle 
which is exceedingly obnoxious to the public taste and fiincy, 
as he progresses in his argument, when he reaches an eligible 
point for domg so, he has only to propound the question to 
his opponent, whether or not he has ever been a supporter 
of such measure, enterprise, or principle, or whether he has 
been openly or covertly interested in or identified with it. 
This question may be presented with all that placidity, good 
humor, and grace which marks the intercourse of the most 
elegant and courtly persons in the social exchanges of life. 

If in a question of the kind supposed, the opposing candi- 
date should answer in the affirmative, when chained with 
some act or identity which may be considered a digression 
fix)m the path of sound political principles or pure morals, 
then, of course, the interrogator has secured his object, in 
casting an effectual blight on the interests of his opponent. 
If the question propounded should convey the charge of a 


dereliction of duty or nonfeasance, in not giving support to 
some wholesome and just enterprise or measure, of coui^e 
if the interrogated candidate or member admits that he did 
not yield to the measure or enterprise in question his support, 
the answer may be fatal to his prospect^, if the matter con- 
cerning which the interrogatory was propounded was ItselTa 
thing of any intrinsic importance, and concerning which the 
public feelings were greatly enlisted. 

But the benefit usually sought in propounding questions to 
opponents, either in deliberative bodies or in discussions be- 
fore popular assemblies, does not consist in extracting sub- 
stantial and responsive answers from opposing candidates or 
their friends, which will exert a deadly influence over their 
interests. The object sought is not so much a specific answer 
of any sort, but to get them to floundering and fluttering to 
avoid coming to the point, or 'to sit with sealed lips under 
the interrogatory. 

If a question shall be propounded in a deliberative assem- 
bly to the advocate of some measure before that body, which 
conveys the charge of having been implicated in some other 
measure or identified with some particular principle which 
may be exceedingly odious to the Legislature or to the peo- 
ple, or to both, then, if the interrogated member should yield 
no answer, it may be assumed to be a confession of the charge 
conveyed ; and if he should flounder, and wince, and yield a 
very incoherent answer, it will injure his cause to a still 
greater extent. 

There are two principles at work, in a case of this sort, to 
render these interrogatories in a high degree operative for 
the production of injury to the person to whom the interrog- 
atories may be propounded. Whenever a question shall be 
propounded by a dexterous debater, with a good deal of 
dramatic skill and in a very portentous manner, the infor- 
mation whi6h is sought by the question or the charge which it 
conveys, contracts a fictitious valuation and importance from 


the way in which it is frequently propounded ; for an audience 
will suppose that the question would not be put if it should not 
be considered by the debater who asks the question a matter 
of very great importance. And if an answer is t-otAlly with- 
held^ or a bungling and incoherent one given, the persons 
who may be present will immediately attach additional 
importance to the matter, simply because the information 
is not given. And in addition to the foregoing inference, 
the persons who compose an assembly where a scene like 
that just mentioned occurs, take a refusal to answer, or an 
imperfect answer, equivalent to a confession — ^for why, say 
they, does the man refuse to answer if he be not guilty 1 

The expediency of asking questions to an opponent in de- 
bate, is based upon the same species of policy precisely, 
which dictates the act of pressing questions upon a witness, 
which the attorney propounding the questions well knows, 
anterior to asking them, that the witness will refuse to an- 
swer. It matters but little, as &r as^ the cause of the 
attorney propounding the question is involved, whether a 
witness thus refusing to answer, is restrained from giving an 
answer by a tacit knowledge on his part, that a truthful an- 
swer will be fatal to the party to whose success he may be 
devoted, or whether he is prevented from giving an answer 
by the-4nterposition of the Court, which may instruct him 
not to yield an answer, on the ground of personal privilege, 
or because an answer might injuriously afiect his own per- 
sonal interests. The proper object of inquiry i^ regard to 
the matter, with 'every one who may be desirous to ana- 
lyze the moral ingredients comprehended in* the act of keep- 
ing in reserve any information which may be sought, is to 
this effect ; Why should the party refuse to answer the ques- 
tion propounded, unless he is aware that a just and true an- 
swer will be fatal to the interests of his friend, or fatal to his* 
own character 1 Under such circumstances, a refusal to an- 

258 QussnoNB to opposing debatjsbs. 

swer is equivalent to an answer fevorable to the interests of 
the party asking the question. 

The same unfavorable inference attaches directly to a re- 
spondent in equity, who refuses to answer a question which 
is propounded to him in a bill of complaint, because itjs be- 
lieved that he would have no objection to answering an in- 
terrogatory respectfully propounded, and which suggested 
no species of criminality on the part of Jbhe respondent, un- 
less he knew that a true response to the question would ex- 
ert a blasting influence over his own interests. 

This is the object sought when a skilful debater, either in 
a deliberative assembly, or in a popular meeting, or on the 
hustings, propounds a question to an opponent, or one sym- 
pathizing with that opponent The speaker asking the ques- 
tion may not entertain the &intest expectation of receiving 
an answer. But he asks the question with the view of put- 
ting his adversary to some extent in a suspicious attitude. 
And notwithstanding the specific question propounded may 
not of itself and independent of assisting circumstances, 
come with a crushing degree of weight on' the interests of 
the party interrogated, in any aspect of the case. Yet, as a 
combination of very minute circumstances of a suspicious 
character, may exert a blighting influence over the interests of 
a party, in a case where one isolated fact might eflect nothing, 
an expert debater in politics may regard it as the supreme 
point of wisdom and policy to cru$h an adversary by caus- 
ing an avalanche of minute particles of odium to descend 
upon his person, when each of the facts or particles in the 
combination, taken separately, would be as light and harm- 
less as the dew-drop which descends on the mountain sum* 




Mak is so oonstitated by nature that his taste becomes 
immediately revolted whenever the supply of any object of 
gratification passes beyond the limit of the natural demands 
of his appetite. Even the most delicious and captivating 
strains of mudc, when presented to the ear day after day in 
long succession, under the modification of one isolated time, 
will at length fatigue the patience of the hearer. It is ex- 
ceedingly difficult to define the exact boundary at which su^ 
ficiency becomes complete and satiety commences. But the 
principle is as broadly revealed in humanity as the faculty 
of reason itself, that interest and inclination lag when any 
indulgence shared by the senses passes beyond the limit of 

In no exhibition or recreation which is tributary to the 
rational enjoyment of man, does this principle assert its pres- 
ence more visibly than in connection with an undue frequency 
of participation in debate by any particular individual. A 
voice of eloquence, which may touch the feelings of a delib- 
erative assembly at its opening scenes, simOar to a wand of 
magic, will, when frequently sounded in its hearing, &I1 not 
only in futile and unheeded strains to the earth, but will also, 
in the course of time, if unduly pressed upon the attention 
of anj^ body of men, assume the grating harshness of the 
screech of some bird of ill-omen. 

The most profound and varied attainments, the most en- 
lightened and comprehensive e:q>erience, the most insinuating 
blandishments of manner, the most matchless sweetness of 
tone in utterance, and the mo^ lovely and immaculate purity 


of life, all united in the person of one particular speaker, will 
not secure a grateful reception for his remarks when he sliall 
have already appeared with a proverbial degree of frequency 
on the floor of a deliberative assembly. 

TRie speaker himself will usually have his perceptive facul- 
ties so completely obscured by the measure of homage which 
was paid to his earliest efforts by his hearers, as not to ol>- 
serve the dawning symptoms of their disinclination to hear 
him when he rises. But his disinterested fellow-members 
will notice the budding evidences of discontent and impa- 
tience excited by the sound of his voice when thrust upon the 
house with undue frequency, with as much certainty as a prac- 
ticed physician will detect an eruption which may be thrown 
out upon the surface of the skin by any familiar disease. 

The first indications of the declining acceptancy of any 
particular speaker which will present themselves to the view 
of intelligent observation, may be recognized when he arises 
to speak, in the scarcely audible buzz, shuffling, and restless- 
ness which wHl seem to pervade the entire body of which he 
is a member. This is merely in the green tree of his decay; 
when the leaves of his popularity assume a sere and yellow 
hue, the members will begin to abandon their seats in groups, 
and when the dry leaf of his decline makes its appearance, 
his advocacy of any measure will prove as &tal to its pros- 
pects as the poison of the asp to animal life. 

This repugnance to hearing any one speaker with unusual 
frequency, is founded upon two principles which are very 
broadly and palpably interwoven with -the nature of man. 
The first is the disposition to revolt at an over-expanded sup- 
ply of any earthly gratification which may be minisHred to 
the taste ; and the second is that almost universal distaste 
which is inspired by the disclosure of a disposition in any 
person to grasp a lion's share of any privilege, benefit, or 
emolument, in the use and enjoyment of which others are 
entitled to an equal dividend with himself. 


And whilst even a patriarchal sanctity and weight of char- 
acter will rarely secure to a legislator a gratifying possession 
of the floor, when he has occupied it with inappropriate fre- 
quency already, it may safely be alleged that those who are 
regarded as the plainer members of a deliberative assembly 
usually conceive that they can pay no higher compliment to 
a fellow member than to say of him, '' that he never speaks 
except when his business calls him to do so." And it is 
equally certain that the member of any business assembly 
cannot select a path which leads with more in&IHble certain- 
ty to the hearts of his associates, than a sparing use of the 
privileges of debate. 

It may so happen in the course of legislative service, that 
a member may be summoned from some peculiar position 
he holds to address the house with uncommon frequency. 
He may occupy the post of Chairman to some committee 
to whose care and management a large portion of the busi- 
ness of the house may be coniided. In this connection, it 
may necessarily devolve upon him to explain and defend the 
action of his committee on particular subjects. But he 
should take especial pains to perform this duty in few words 
and in a business-like manner. 

It may be regarded as an almost impracticable task to 
specify the number of times in which a member may be in- 
dulged in appearing upon the floor, when no special obliga- 
tion may render it obligatory upon him to participate in the 
discussions^^ of the house. On this spabject a speaker must 
himself exert a large share of wise discretion. It may be 
suggested, however, that three regular set speeches is about 
the maximum of a member's privilege during any one ses- 
sion. He may at the same time properly indulge in pointed 
suggestions, and in brief discussions on points of order and 
of business. 




A STATESMAN who onco Constituted one of the brightest 
political stars that ever shone in the firmament of Amer- 
ica, being asked by a friend how he managed to be so per- 
fectly at home on every measure which was debated in Con- 
gress, replied, ^^ because I universaUy make it a duty of in- 
dispensable obligation, to inform myself thoroughly concern- 
ing every measure of the slightest importance, which has the 
least complexity about it, on which I shall be called to vote.'' 
The adoption and faithful observance of the foregoing i^le 
of practice, would light up in the varied counsels of this 
country many resplendent' luminaries which, from a tame 
surrender to the charms of indolent repose, may never cast 
even a twinkling beam on the sphere of the public service. 

A large proportion of those who are chosen to fill seats in 
the legislative assemblies of the United States, are perfectly 
content to give their judgments and their consciences in 
charge to associates in counsel, whom they may esteem to 
be more experienced, enlightened, or industrious* than them- 
selves. They depute others to think for them, in deciding 
on the course they shall pursue in voting on any measure 
of a dubious character, that may be pending in the body to 
which they belong. 

They can peruse with patient industry and attention the 
most ponderous volumes of history, which shed light upon 
the manners, customs, and policy of nations which lived and 
flourished in the night of past ages, but they are unable to 
yield a few transient moments to the consideration of meas- 


ures which are closely associated with the glory and pros- 
perity of their own country. They can devour with ecstatio 
sensations of delight mountains in the shape of fiction, whidi 
are as light as the foam which floats upon the sur&ce of 
the waters, but they do not in many instances possess the 
industry and research to deyote a few hours daily to the in- 
vestigation of authors, an acquaintance with which might en- 
rol them amongst the brightest bene&ctOrs of their country, 
and which would probably light up the pathway which would 
conduct them to a height of imperishable glory. 

Every member of a deliberative assembly, who may 
not possess the insensibility of a* stone to what is passing 
aroupd him, must necessarily be apprized of the measures 
which will naturally be disposed of during the term for 
which he shall be elected. And it will cost him but a small 
expenditure of labor to devote an interval of meditation daily 
to measures of the most critical importance, on which it will 
be his duty to vote, and to note down in a commonplace 
book, separately and distinctly, the result of his reflections 
on each. He should carefully read the authors within his 
reach, or those portions of them which may apply in a spe- 
cial manner to the measures on which he is to act in future ; 
and he should be careful to dassjfy and arrange any estab- 
lished principles or incontestable authorities he may collate 
from the authors he reads, in such a manner as to correspond 
with the order in which he may marshal for discussion the 
different branches or divisions of the subjects on which he 
shall either speak op vote. He should make it his business 
to ascertain the assailable points of a measure as well as 
those which are indisputably valid and tenable, and should 
provide himself, where he is £ivorable to any particular 
measure, with resources of defence which will enable him to 
repel with efficiency the thrusts which may b.e made at the 
vulnerable parts of his argument by an opposing member. 
By adopting the course here suggested, a speaker may ren- 


der services of durable importance to his country.. He will 
store his intellectual treasury with information of incalcula- 
ble value, and he may earn for himself a reputation which 
will survive the granite walls which may reverberate with. 
the sound of his voice. 



When it shall once become evident to the world that any 
member of a legislative assembly is induced to participate 
in debate merely to earn the applause of the gallery, no mat- 
ter how potent the fasdnations of his eloquence may be, this 
discovery at once impairs his influence as a legislator, and 
imparts a tinge of levity and frivolity to his reputation as a 
public man. He stands revealed to the public eye with the 
same badges of imputed vanity clinging to his character, 
which cluster upon the person of a city belle who perpetually 
glitters in jewels and silks to attract the admiring gaze of 
the thoughtless thousands that throng the most frequented 
thoroughfares of a large commercial emporium. As the 
fragrant incense of that admiration which is inspiced by the 
belle, as she passes along the streets arrayed in the splendors 
of oriental life, is wafted to her senses, blended with a large 
admixture of ridicule and sneer, so the trumpet which sounds 
to the world the praises of the gallery-worshipping orator^ 
uniformly sends abroad a mingled strain of applause and 

When any member of human society, it matters not 
what his vocation may be, inscribes upon his daily walk of 
life .in characters as legible as if it was written in sunbeams^ 


a fervid aspiration to popular admiration, the soothing ap- 
pliance will be administered in frugal supplies as certainly 
as the light of parting day is succeeded by the shadows of 
twilight. And even when the sparing contribution is ren- 
dered, it almost invariably comes scented by some ingre- 
dient which renders it nauseating to the taste of the recipient. 
There seems to be an inherent propensity in the human race, 
to withhold golden opinions from those who obviously covet 
them with a spirit of impassioned devotion. The more espe- 
cially is mankind disposed to deny the gilded lure to those 
who are willing to convert the gravest duties of life into in- 
struments of service to their own childish personal vanity. 

The contrast which is presented between the usual de- 
meanor of a sensible and discreet legislator, and that of the 
gallery-worshipping orator, is too glaring to have eluded the 
observation of any sagacious and attentive observer of de- 
liberative assemblies. The former, when about to partici- 
pate in the discussions of the house, glides into the perform- 
ance of the duty as quietly and as free from observation, as 
it may be practicable for him to do. The latter, when about 
to deliver a speech, sits as restlessly on his seat as a nervous 
culprit in the criminal's dock. He at one time adjusts his 
cravat, at another he trails his fingers through his hair, he 
paces the aisles of the house with as much vivid concern 
painted upon his countenance and manner as if some mighty 
and crushing calamity was suspended oyer his head. His 
eyes are directed first to the gallery and then to the floor, to 
ascertain whether there be a fair prospect of having a bril- 
liant array of visitors to grace the advent of his coming 
speech ; and when the hour arrives for the assumption of his 
place on the floor, the chances greatly preponderate in favor 
of his proposing a motion to the house to -postpone the de- 
bate until a future day, if the gallery does not present to his 
view a blazing front of the most fescinating beauties of the 
city. If such a speaker should discourse with the ravishing 


266 sEBEKirr on bxcitikg ocx^asiokb. 

eloquence of a seraph, he might engross a munificent harvest 
of the world's admiration, but he never could engage a large 
portion of its enduring and solid esteem, he never could 
secure for his name and reputation a welcome and fond 
abode in the hearts of his countrymen. 



The speaker who iis adequate to the preservation of un- 
mingled serenity and composure, in the act of addressing aa 
assembly which is itself thrown into a state of tumult by 
heat and excitement, considered in the light of a broad and 
attractive mark to public admiration, stands next in rank to 
a soldier who, with the most undisturbed calmness, performs 
prodigies of valor amidst the din, smoke, and carnage of the 

And in proportion as those who recognize this coolness in 
a speaker, may be overcome on such occasions by a nervous 
sensibility themselves, in the same proportion will their ad- 
miration of his self possession glow with intensity. For it 
is not the natural course of things, when a multitudinous 
body of men is agitated and torn by a conflict of the fierce 
and impetuous passions, for any portion of those united with 
it by the bonds of duty, or who are observing its proceedings 
from the pure impulses of curiosity, to remain like statues, 
completely impervious to the surrounding heat. 

A display of coolness in one who may be speaking, when 
the body which he is addressing is itself calm as a sunmier's 


evening, does not attract much observation or inure percept* 
ibly to the advantage of a debater. For it is a spectacle of 
daily occurrence, to witness self-possession when there is no 
supervening cause to disturb it. It is the sell^ntrol whidi 
enables a speaker to maintain the equal balance of his feel- 
ings under the stem pressure of surrounding elements of com- 
motion, which supplies the food for public admiration. For 
the world is certain to imagine that there is some inherent 
property of excellence in the composition of such speakers, 
which renders them vastly superior to the bulk of mankind. 

The influence exerted by this coolness commands a higher 
class of benefits, however, than that of causing the esteem 
and respect of the world to centre upon the person of a col- 
lected speaker. It frequently lulls the waves of commotion 
into a quiet state of repose in emergencies of incalculable 
interest to the country. For the voice of a debater of this 
description strikes an assembly tossed by the billows of pas- 
sion, with a force which may at times be entirely dispropor- 
tioned to the intrinsic value of what he utters in the way of 
instruction and aipiment. The most commonplace truths 
delivered to an excited assembly with a degree of imposing 
coolness, will descend upon its ear with the gravity and 
weight of the sagest counsels of wisdom, if the speaker him- 
self should possess an ordinary share of respectability. 

Such'exhibitions of coolness reflect still greater lustre upon 
the reputation of a speaker, when he maintains his equilibrium 
under the pressure of an assault made upon him in debate, 
which may be marked by a singular degree of asperity and 
personal bitterness. The world regards a calm and collected 
manner in replying to assaults of a fierce and pungent char- 
acter, as nearly allied to heroism. 

The speaker, too, who disciplines his feelings in such a way 
as uniformly to sustain this admirable degree of coolness on 
exciting occasions, will not only possess the advantage of ap- 
nearing to be cool, but what is preferable to appearances, he 


will be actually and intrinsically as he seems to be. And 
his entire freedom from heat and excitement will enable him 
to survey minutely the whole surface of the ground of de- 
bate which is spread before him. He will thus be competent 
to impart judicious counsel to the house of which he is a mem- 
ber, at points which the body itself may have entirely over- 
looked, from the intensity of its heat. He will also perceive 
with perfect clearness the vulnerable points which have been 
assumed in debate by speakers opposed to his views of the 
subject under discussion, and he may descend upon them if 
he possesses even an ordinary share of intellectual power, 
with the irresistible power of an avalanche. 

The question may be propounded, '^ is this self-possession 
attainable by men of an unusual degree of nervous irrita- 
bility f There is nothing more certain than that it is at- 
tainable by every human being who possesses' the share of 
reason and mental power which has been appropriated to the 
great mass of mankind. Persons who were constitutionally 
cowards of the most hopeless stamp, have been converted 
into heroes at times by the effect of discipline accidentally 
thrown upon them, and at others, by a determined resolution 
on their part, to encounter with firmness every peril and 
emergency which might cross their pathway in the journey 
of life. It may be regarded as a far more practicable at- 
tempt to brace a person's nerves' to meet in a collected man- 
ner heat and excitement which produce showers of words, 
than to replenish a deficient supply of courage in such a man- 
ner as to be enabled to &ce enemies in battle, whose wrath 
rains bomb-shells and bullets. There is one encouraging cir- 
cumstance which should stimulate every speaker of peculiar 
nervous sensibilities to make an effort to overcome his con- 
stitutional tendencies in this respect, and this is, that no 
speaker has ever been mortified by a failure, in an enterprise 
of the kind, who has perseveringly endeavored to acquire 
coolness and self-possession in debate. 




It may constitute the perfection of wisdom and discretion 
on the part of a student in elocution, to yield his fervid de- 
votions, both by day and by night, to authors which are ut- 
terly foreign to the profession of which he is a member, 
when the object he seeks is that of becoming thoroughly 
imbued with some peculiar excellencies of style which they 

The illustrious Earl of Chatham, with the fervent and sel^ 
devoting spirit of a votary at some saintly shrine, yielded 
his devotions to the sermons of Doctor Isaac Barrow, be- 
cause they abounded in words distinguished for their electric 
strength and energy. Whether the great Colossus of British 
eloquence derived his magic powers in debate from the rev- 
erential homage which he paid to this author or not, it is cer- 
tain that he distanced all other men who flourished in his 
era, in the matchless felicity, fervor, and force of his lan- 

The voice of tradition has conveyed to times more recent 
than those in which he figured upon the stage, that Lord 
Mansfield was a warm admirer of the writings of Chilling- 
worth, from the acute and methodical system of logic which 
they presented, and that he enjoined the reading of that 
work most earnestly on all beginners in the legal profession, 
concerning whose interest he cherished any spirited share of 

The advice has been given by Doctor Samuel Johnson, 
who was generally revered as the brightest ornament which 
adorned the literature of England in the eighteenth century^ 


^that a person who might be anxious to acquire an easy and 
flowing style in writing, should yield his days and nights to 
the pi^es of the Spectator." 

That eminent expounder of the Gospel, Doctor Chaliaers, 
from the lofty strain of panegyric on the writings of Edmund 
Burke with which his prolific pen continually teemed, blend* 
ed with the vivid resemblance which is presented in his own 
writings to the philosophic productions of the great Com- 
moner, both in solidity and gorgeousness, must have given 
no stinted share of his time and attention to the pages of 
that engaging ornament of British eloquence and learning. 

There are conclusive memorials scattered in profusion 
over the bright expanse which is adorned by me speeches of 
Daniel Webster, to attest the fact, that in ihe path of his 
literary labors and researches, he drank ym copiously the 
spirit of Milton, Dryden, and Shakspea^ > 

Whether President Jefferson imbibed fronl^frequent pe- 
rusal of the works of Livy, the compendious brevity of the 
speeches which he acquired the reputation of having made in 
his professional and public career, or whether it was the na- 
tive tendency of his intellect and taste to make such speeches, 
independent of any impulse derived from the influence of 
particular authors, the proposition is undoubtedly true, that 
he warmly eulogized the speeches of Livy as appropriate 
models for debaters, from their uncommon briefixeSs. 

John C. Calhoun was a fervent admirer of the works of 
that great light of Theology, Jonathan Edwards, on account 
of the extreme severity and closeness of his logic. And 
there is a traditional report abroad, that in the early portion 
of his public career, he made these works his pole star in 
the style of debating. 

There was an intellectual star which shone with a con- 
spicuous share of splendor in the revolutionary service of 
America, both in the sphere of belligerent strife, and in the 
counsels of peaceful deliberation, which is reputecL to have 


drawn a large proportion of its brightness from a constant 
devotion to the pages of Bolingbroke. That star was General 
William R. Davie, and his own flowing and lofty style in 
speaking, gave confirmation to the rumor. 

There was another ornament of the revolution, whose tal- 
ents and learning reflected an attractive measure of lustre 
upon the highest judicial tribunal of this country, and who was 
an ardent and unceasing votltry of the writings of Jonathan 
Swift. And the remarkable acumen, point, and brevity of 
his own style as a debater, shows that he did not employ his 
time in that species of devotion, without the production of 
a decided and visible eflect.* 

John Randolph, who conclusively showed both in his 
speeches and writmgs, that he was as thoroughly imbued 
with the spirit of the English classics as any person who fig- 
ured on the political stage of America in his day, expressed 
the opinion in one of his excursive speeches, once delivered 
on the floor of Congress, that Gil Bias, Roderick Random, 
and Fielding's works, contained a laiger supply of the philos- 
ophy of human nature, than the whole mass of current litera- 
ture besides. And there was one who, when living, reflected 
an uncommon share of lustre, both on the path of letters and 
jurisprudence, that aflirmed in a literary production of some 
celebrity, that Milton's Paradise Lost, Shakspeare's works, 
and Don Quixote, would reward a student for a faithful de- 
votion to them, with a larger return of -precious benefits, than 
would the perusal of countless volumes of mediocre literaturcf 

These examples have not been introduced for the purpose 
of arbitrarily bmding down the student to the insertion of 
these works in his code of disciplinary reading, but to show 
that the practice of selecting certain authors with a view to 
specific mental adaptations possessed by them, has been sanc- 
tioned by the authority of some of the brightest names which 
shine in the pages of human history. 

* Judge Moore, of North Carolina, f Judge Murphy, of North Carolina. 


And whilst it must be conceded that the precedkig authors 
might at all times prove highly efficacious in producing the 
desired result at those intellectual points at which they have 
been hitherto applied, when the mind of a student might be 
inspired with a firm conviction of their importance. Yet so 
much depends in the choice of works for the creation of any 
particular mental quality or function, upon the congeniality 
of the style and spirit of the works themselves to the taste 
and feelings of the reader of them, that a very broad field 
of discretion must be left, in the choice of these disciplinary 
authors, to the enlightened experience and judgment of the 
student himself. 

The same principle sometimes presents itself in the 
literary experience of a human being, which occurs at times, 
in the physical history of our race, thiat a literary work 
which may prove a charming antidote to the mental in- 
firmities or defects of one reader, may prove the pernicious 
bane of the intellectual interests of another. In this as- 
pect of the case, it may be the judicious course to ap- 
ply the same rule in the work of admonition and suggestion 
here, that might be adopted by a conscientious locksmith, 
when applied to for a key to unlock a door by a person who 
may have incurred the misfortune of losing his own. That is, 
to give him a huge bunch suited to the opening of every va- 
riety of locks, and to instruct him to try them all in success- 
ion until he found one that would open the door, and that 
would be in&llibly the right key. Different authors are 
here adduced, which have been used by a portion of the 
most celebrated men in modem times for the production 
of specific mental results, and the discretion is reserved to 
the student of selecting those particular works which he will 
find on an intelligent inspection to be best suited to his taste. 

That class of pupils who may cherish a higher degree of 
admiration for bold and confident assertion, than for a 
conscientious and salutary degree of caution in an adviser, 


ihay regard the su^estions presented in the preceding lin&s 
as being impressed with the brand of a very indefinite 
character. But if a diseased individual should apply for a 
remedy to a physician who had no acquaintance with his 
constitutional peculiarities, and under whose supervision the 
patient was not going to remain even a single hour ; the 
physician could not be blamed for indefiniteness in his in- 
structions, in delivering to ike ^plioant a list of all the in- 
nocent remedies which had proved successful in curing such 
diseases in the published cases; and in leaving it to the 
discretion of the patient himself to try them all in suo- 
cession until he should strike upon the right one. The 
same rule has been applied here in suggesting those par- 
ticular works to the student in elocution, which have here- 
tofore administered strength and regularity to mental opera- 
tions, and in leaving him, on a fair experiment of the mat- 
ter, to determine which author is best adapted to the pro- 
duction of a desired result. 

And the proposition is here respectfully but confidently 
advanced, that a sagacious and intelligent reader of literary 
works, can by the assistance of even a slender stock of expe- 
rience in matters of the kind, decide with as infiiilible cer- 
tainty what authors will prove most conducive to the aug- 
mentation of his intellectual power and fertility, as a person 
of acute perceptions and close observation can pronounce 
what articles of food shall best correspond with his physical 
health and constitution. 

It is only necessary that tlie student should read a suffi- 
cient number of pages in any particular author, to procure a 
taste of the spirit which pervades its pages, to enable him to 
apprehend with clearness whether it will enhance the vigor 
and fertility of his mind or not. 

It may usually be assumed as a rational inference, when a 
student is found engaged in preparing himself for entering so 
ostensible a department of the broad field of practical life as 


that of public speaking, that he has described as the course 
of his preliminary reading, that entire circle of ancient his- 
torical literature, which has been generally prescribed to en- 
lightened students as a porch of entry to either of the liberal 
professions. And if not the whole circle, that he has acquired a 
respectable knowledge of those historical works which every 
substantial farmer puts into the hands of his children when 
diey attain the age of fifteen years. 

For tibe sake of preserving prominently in the remem- 
brance certain authors which will be derided by the vapor- 
ing pretenders to an exquisite degree of taste and refinement^ 
because these works have become hackneyed and profaned 
as they will naturally suppose by vulgar use ; it is deemed 
proper to suggest that too large a share of attention cannot 
be assigned by the student to Bollin's History and Plutarch's 
Lives, on the field of ancient history, and to Hume's History 
of England, Robertson's History of Scotland, and Voltaire's 
Life of Charles Xllth, among modem historians and authors 
of celebrity. The information conveyed by these works is 
exceedingly predious in its character, but it is not so much 
on account of the value possessed by the literary lore con- 
tained in them that they are commended to the attention of 
the student, for that might probably be extracted as abun- 
dantly from the leaves of other authors. It is for the rich 
spirit of philosophy which is imbibed from the pages of 
some of these authors, and the deep tincture of classic 
elegance, which is imparted by others amongst them, that 
this selection of very familiar works has been made to the 

There have been so many pens which have become nimble 
in sounding the praises of '' Gibbon's History of the Decline 
and Fall of the Roman Empire," that it seems to constitute 
almost a profanation of literary sanctity, to dissent from the 
proposition, that this eloquent embodiment of historical truth 
oppstltutes one of the best authors to place in the hands of a 


Student for penisal. But its style is ornamented with such 
a cumbrous weight of magnificence, that it is almost impos- 
sible for a student of any ordinary share of susceptibility, 
to pass over its glittering pages without finding his own 
phrase marked for a considerable time by a redundant flor* 
idity of verbiage. The juvenile reader passes from page to 
page of this splendid work, with the same feelings that he 
would pass through an extended grove, painted with beautiful 
flowers, robed in refreshing verdure, and scented with fra- 
grant odors, but at the terminus of which he finds that he has 
gathered no solid nutriment to compensate him for his ram- 
bles. And independent of its prodigal display of decoration, 
it presents in its incidents, its scenes, its nomenclature, and 
its characters, such a mournful transition from that splendid 
era in which Rome was an exuberant spring of glory in learn- 
ing, in eloquence, in arms, and in arts, that the student must 
inevitably turn with the languor of unrewarded expectation, 
from an expanse which is decked with so much bloom, but 
which yields such a stinted supply of fruit. 

There is no class of authors which, from the great variety 
of interestmg subjects disposed of in them, and from the 
sprightly and racy manner in which they are written, which 
may be more eminently calculated to enrich the social casket 
of the student with a copi6us supply of colloquial embellish- 
ments, or to communicate a high seasoning to his style in 
speaking and writing, than the most approved and celebrated 
works in natural history. In this very inviting catalogue may 
be included Buffon, Cuvier, Goldsmith, Godman, Audubon, 
and Willson, a perusal of either of which, in addition to the 
fine literary culture they afibrd, will certainly charm away 
the languor and tediousness of the dullest hour. 

There is another class of authors which a student in elocu- 
tion should read with a share of true and sincere devo- 
tion. The works to which reference is made, are the stand- 
ard works in political economy. He should study these 


with peculiar care, regardless of the political bearing anfl 
complexion of their doctrinal tenets on particular topics; 
for they shed a broader and clearer blaze of light upon 
varied topics of a political nature which enter into the 
aggregate of human business, and they imbue the human 
mind with a more astonishing versatility of thought and 
power, in discussing subjects of a political nature, than the 
whole range of human literature besides. It is almost im- 
possible for a mind in any degree susceptible, to give its 
thoughts to the best works of this description, without receiv- 
ing from, their influence an admirable training for the duties 
and discussions of political life. We refer to the most ap- 
proved authors which have enlightened the world on the 
subject of political economy, among which may be included 
the works of Adam Smith, Say, and Wayland. 

Another department of literature which is calculated to re- 
quite a student for its perusal with rich and varied supplies 
of ornamental and useful instruction, comprehends the ablest 
and most enlightened works in medical science, the more es- 
pecially those which have been devoted to physiology and 
medical jurisprudence. It cannot be expected from the stu- 
dent of a profession altogether distinct from that of medical 
science, to study the whole circle of medical authors ; but he 
may very profitably yield a portion of his leisure moments 
to the most instructive and celebrated works in that inter- 
esting field of science, under the guidance and instruction of a 
practical and enlightened member of the medical profession. 

Within the circle of clerical literature, it may redound 
largely to the benefit of a student in elocution, to read the 
sermons of Dr. Robert South, on account of the massive 
solidity and strength of the language which they contain, as 
well as for the muscular power and robustness of intellect 
which is displayed in every argument and thought he ad- 
vances. He should read with delight the sermons of Arch- 
bishop Tillotson, on account of the beautiful simplicity and 


perspicuity of his style. The sermons of Dr. Thomas Chal- 
mers merit a large share of his devotions, owing both to the 
almost unfathomable depth of his researches on topics of 
theological and general science, and the luminous elegance 
with which he imparts the fruit of his speculations to the 
world. On the American side of the Atlantic, there is 
scarcely any production which has emanated from the pen 
of man, the perusal of which would communicate brighter 
hues of elegance, or a more gracefilil and attractive finish, in 
the shape of ornament to the style of a gifted speaker or 
writer, than the theological and miscellaneous works of the 
late Dr. Channing. 

When authors which pertain to the department of legal 
science are submitted to the consideration of the student of 
elocution in this chapter, it is not with the view of enhancing 
his attainments as a lawyer that these works are commend- 
ed to his thoughts, but with the desire to augment the rich- 
ness, beauty, and strength of his style as a speaker and 
writer. And it may not prove an idle expenditure of labor 
and thought, in this connection, to suggest that, in the region 
of natural and political law, no writers will reward him 
more richly for a few hours of reflection occasionally de- 
voted to them, than* will Grotius, PufTendorf, and Selden. 

Amidst the more recent treasures of legal lore, the trea- 
tise written by Sir William Jones on the doctrine of bail- 
ments, is a clear, beautiful, and refreshing spring of instruc- 
tion on the subject to which it is devoted, and will be apt to 
requite a careful attention to its pages, with some very pre- 
cious gems both of thought and expression. The treatise 
of Judge Story, of this country, on the same Bubject, is 
hardly surpassed in point of beauty and elegance by the 
work of the great English Jurist, and will amply repay a 
student for its perusal, both inits contributions to the cabi- 
net of his thoughts and language. The productions also of 
the same accomplished Jurist, the one of which has been de- 


voted to an exposition of the Federal Constitution, and the 
other to a consideration of the conflicts which occur between 
the laws of different States, will also form highly judicious 
elements in a course of reading which may be adopted by 
a student in elocution.. The Ck)mmentaries of Chancellor 
Kent have presented some of the most complex and useful 
topics comprehended within the boundaries of legal science, 
in a style so familiar, luminous, and instructive, that they 
cannot be considerately read without leaving in their train 
benefits of rare value for the use and enjoyment of a suscep- 
tible mind. The Commentaries of Sir William Blackstone 
have heretofore chiefly attracted the attention of the reading 
world almost exclusively as a profesfflonal work. But there 
is scarcely any author within the comprehensive drde of 
English literature which deserves to be more highly prized 
by a student in elocution, for the quiet and graceful beauty 
which breathes in every page which it contains, than this cele- 
brated production. They are worth &r more as a model 
of style in composition than the productions of his bitter 
and memorable assailant, Junius, which have been so lib- 
erally, enthusiastically, and varioudy applauded by man- 

It is impossible to enumerate all the authors whidi a stu- 
dent may peruse, with the experience of large and conspicu- 
ous returns of advantage to himself. All that can be attained 
in a work of this description, is to suggest a few of those 
which have received the^ approving stamp of the best experi- 
^ice of the world — ^works which he cannot fail to read with- 
out reaping at least some partial degree of service from them ; 
and to leave to his own discretion such other works as may 
be commended to his homage by their acknowledged intrinsic 
value. It would constitute a culpable omission of duty, if 
this chapter should be brought to a close without pressing 
upon his attention, as an American citizen, in the most fervent 
and earnest manner, the numbers of the Federalist. They 


will enlighteQ him in regard to the institutions of his country ; 
they will be calculated to impart to his style, both in writing 
and speaking, a large accession of fervency and vigor ; and 
they will certainly have a t^idency to imbue his mind with 
very intense powers of thought on all subjects of a political 
nature. Locke's essays will also constitute a highly valuable 
disdpline for his intellectual powers, in writing or speaking 
on political topics of the most elevated grade, as well as a 
very rich repository of instruction in metaphysical and polit- 
ical science. A large portion of the philosophical and literary 
works of the celebrated Lord Bacon will, firom their uncom- 
mon originality and richness, have a very direct tendency to 
invigorate and adorn, in a very high degree, the language 
and thoughts of an intelligent and considerate reader of them* 


THE nmiODUOnON of BIBUOAL quotations into SBOULAB 8PER0HES. 

Thebb is no field of literary exploration which is enriched 
with such a precious and abundant harvest of beautiful and in- 
structive allusions and illustrations as the sacred pages of di- 
vine revelation. And these gems of thought are not found in 
scattered patches in the grand repository of human duty, like 
solitary pearls upon a bleak and sterile coast ; but the whole 
path of revelation, &om the early dawn of creation down to the 
closing sentence of the Bibl^, is luminous with these resplen- 
dent passages of wisdom ; which shed a glory on the depart- 
ment of letters, which is only surpassed by the enduring and 
priceless benefits whidi they convey to our Mien race, for its 
deliverance from ruin and for its guidance to felicity. The 
beautiful in the Bible is not monotonous in its character from 


being applicable alone to some particnlar interest or conoem 
within the range of human duty. Endowed with a universality 
of elegance, and an unfathomable profundity of richness, it may 
be used as successfully to impart a fragrance to every page 
of classic literature, as it is to pour the radiance of unerrii^ 
wisdom on the darkened understanding. The beautiful pass- 
ages have not lost their zest, like withered flowers, from the 
long and hackneyed use of them in the way of quotation ; par- 
taking, in some degree, of the ever-freshening and ever-reno- 
vating happiness which flows from the &ithfiil service of their 
author, these passages may be applied by different writers, 
to subjects differing as widely as the poles, with some new 
apparition of beauty arising to the view in every successive use 
of them. 

As an embellishment to true eloquence, no. extract from 
the choicest page of secular literature, can approximate in 
point of elegance and effect a happy selection from the 
Scriptures, when appropriately introduced and applied. The 
works of Shakspeare have constituted a standing and ex- 
haustless treasury, from which pure gold has been drawn to 
gild with brighter beams of attraction both the dull and the 
attractive page. But it forms the glory of Shakspeare, that 
the productions of his prolific pen rank next to the Holy 
Scriptures in point of beauty and originality of thought, 
with a chasm intervening between the merits of the two, as 
wide as that between the heavens and the earth. The con- 
ceptions of Milton are drawn directly from the opening scene 
of revelation, and the very gorgeousness of his* drapery only 
serves to disclose the necessity which exists in all human im- 
itations of celestial sublimity for artificial appliances to supply 
the place of that uncreated fervor which glows in every syl- 
lable of the Bible, 

But whilst an intelligent survey of the Scriptures will 
extort from the most reluctant lips the spontaneous con- 
fession, that in whatever is sublime in conception, grand in 


imageiy, luminous in thought, and beautiRil in language, it 
surpasses indefinitely the most precious treasures amongst 
the printed wisdom of the world, yet these sacred maxims 
of wisdom are not to be desecrated by an application of them 
to the furtherance of a frivolous sentiment, or to the accom- 
plishment of light and commonplace objects. The author- 
ity and beauty of quotations from the Scriptures should be 
invoked in illustration of a noble and virtuous sentimentality, 
or to fortify a high and pure morality. It not only detracts 
from the solemnity of these holy truths, to drag them down 
from their high mission, to be mixed up with the petty pur- 
suits of life, but it also sheds a blighting contempt on the 
enterprise of the writer or speaker who may prove so pre- 
sumptuous as to profane sacred things by draggling them in 
the trail of his own puny aspirations. 

Many of the most eminent speakers and writers both liv- 
ing and dead, whose fame graces the history of this country, 
frequently enhanced the power and the beauty of their pro- 
ductions by the felicitous introduction of Scripture quota- 
tions. Amongst these, John Quincy Adams, John Eandolph, 
and Sergeant S. Prentiss, are now remembered to have held 
a very conspicuous rank. 

But though the pure and ample field of divine revelation 
is open to the secular speaker and writer for the purposes of 
embellishment and illustration, it will be conforming to the 
principles of sound taste, that speakers and writers of the 
character referred to, should not wield the truths of the Gos- 
pel with ministerial authority. That is, they should not use 
these truths (in matters of temporal speaking and writmg) 
in persuading their hearers to religion by the attraction of 
the promises of the Gospel, nor should they endeavor to de- 
ter men from vice and iniquity by parading before their 
mind]^ the penal terrors of the divine law. They would be 
thus usurping a duty which pertains exclusively to the sacred 
desk, and whilst the practice would bring no accession of 


strength to the causeof religion, it almost unfidlingly attracts 
invidious remarks to the speaker or Writer who indidges him- 
self in this habit. 



The act of interspersing a speech or argument with frag- 
mentary portions of Latin and Greek, except where the pro- 
duction may be delivered in the presence of an audience 
distinguished for its literary culture, involves a very broad 
infraction both of the code of just taste and of sound breeding. 
The act in question comprehends a violation of good taste, 
because it is the invariable resort of superficial smatterers, 
who, having never drank from the pure original fountains of 
classic erudition, take sedulous care to collate a few stale 
and worn out scraps from the rudimental authors in the law, 
and ring them in the ears of the ignorant ; just as men on 
the borrow in the pecuniary market collect a few silver 
pence, and jingle them on the exchanges, to create the im- 
pression with the bystanders, that they are men of a milUon, 

An indulgence in quotations from the ancient classics, ex- 
cept in the instance already reserved, conveys an implied 
assumption from the speaker to his hearers, that he is him- 
self enriched with the classic gems of every age, and that they 
an ignorant set of boobies, must sit with gaping mouths and 
greedy throats, and be stuffed by him with recondite lore, 
just as starving pigeons are crammed with ^d by the ma- 
ternal bill. 

A passage from the andent classics nicely interwoven with 


the web of a disoourse which is spoken before an enlightened 
audience that may be presumed to know something about 
Latin and Greek, as well as the speaker, and which is in- 
troduced without parade or ostentation, may serve both as 
a graceful and instructive ornament. But the gross pro&- 
nation of the sanctity of chsiical learning, of which fustian 
speakers are constantly guilty in introducing their rectus in 
curiamSj coram non jwUees^ res ad/udicakUy and other with- 
ered flowers plucked from the rudimental expounders of the 
law, before illiterate juries in the courts, and before promis- 
cuous assemblies from, the hustings ; is sufficient to loathe the 
almost impalpable particles of delicacy which cling to the 
intellectual constitution of a drayman or a chimney sweep. 
This practice has now taken up its refuge, so exclusively, 
however, amongst the rear-guard of the profession, that it is 
almost unnecessary to brand it with reprehension. 

But there is another defective trait found amongst speakers 
which frequently casts a blur upon some of the most finished 
productions which bless and adorn our country by their pres- 
ence. The imperfection to which reference is now made, is the 
habitual tendency of a large number of American speakers to 
be eternally dipping into the history of Greece and Rome in 
the delivery of an intellectual production. A &ct of very 
decisive weight on any subject, or a very novel and beauti- 
ful illustration drawn from the leaves of these ancient repos- 
itories of human wisdom, will never descend with grating 
harshness on the ear of refinement. But the continual 
thrumming on these hackneyed strings of oratorical music is 
so exclusively the perquisite of Sophomorio orators and of 
graduates from provincial schools, that a tingling sensation 
is invariably produced in the cultivated ear, whenever an al- 
lusion of the kind now under consideration may be intro- 
duced by a speaker, when the allusion itself is unblessed by 
the charm of novelty, or by the vividness of its applica* 


The habit of taxing the histories of Greece and Rome for 
supplies in the shape of embellishment, is an expedient of 
superficial speakers, to coyer the shallowness of their classi- 
cal education. They have never enjoyed an opportunity of 
raising that mystic veil which hides from common observar 
tion the genuine treasures of Grecian and Roman literature, 
and they are prone to circulate Mat imitations of these pre- 
cious coins, similar to shop-keepers in provincial towns, re- 
mote from the metropolis, who, not being able to procure 
the shadows of greatness cast in marble, are contented with 
busts composed of stucco, plaster of Paris, and other frail 
and perishable materials. 

Whilst speakers of profound and varied acquisition in the 
realms of ancient lore, repair at once to the, unadulterated 
pages* of Homer, Xenophon, and Longinus, amongst the 
Greeks, and of Cicero, Horace, and Virgil amongst the Ro- 
mans, those who have taken their Academic degree on 
closing the lids of Corderi and Viri Romse, draw their orna- 
mental gilding from Gibbon, Rollin, Plutarch, and works of 
that description. Works, it must be acknowledged, of tran- 
scendent merit in their place, but not sufficient for imparting 
the consecrating touch of classic learning to every vaporing 
orator who draws beauty or inspiration from their much-ad- 
mired and instructive pages. 



Thb proposition that a speaker can accomplish but little by 
his powers of eloquence, unaided by the advantage of a fine 
person, is codval with the business of speaking itself. That 


a tall, eomixuuidixig, and symmetrical form, assisted by the 
graces of manner and the elegancies of motion, may earn for 
the possessor of these personal advantages an abstract or 
specalative appreciation of the most extravagant kind in the 
sphere of courtly &j^on and romaxitic taste, we do not pre- 
tend to deny. But that there is any necessary determination 
to success which is blended with the possession of an attract- 
ive person, we regard as an assumption which is exceedingly 

As &r as public speaking is identified with the proposition 
under consideration, our past observation induces us to be- 
lieve that the sympathies of mankind generally take very 
much the same direction, where two persons are contro- 
verting a point in debate with each other, the one of whom 
may be lofty, and the other diminutive in stature, that it 
generally assumes when a large man and a small one are 
engaged in a personal combat. The good wishes of the spec- 
tators almost universally cluster around the person of the 
petit cluunpion. A lai^e proportion of mankind, where 
there is no supervening circumstance blended with their lives 
to determine them to a contrary state of feeling, generally 
sympathize with those who present no prominent personal 
traits superior to their own. Those who exhibit persons 
eminently endowed with elevation, grace, and beauty, are 
in that enviable condition, as &r as attractions purely per-- 
sonal are considered, that the mass of mankind may not 
hope even to approximate them — ^to reach their level would 
be an impracticable attempt. 

Persons, on thecontrary, whomay be diminutive and ungain- 
ly in person, present no characteristics in the matter of appear- 
ance to excite envy in the bosoms of their neighbors ; and if 
such persons should aspire to any object whidi requires the 
application of intellectual power to command its possession, the 
world Will be apt to prove exceedingly quick in its impulses 
to yield them a mimificent appreciation of their merits. If 


an aspirant to renown, in any department of human excel- 
lence, has a &ce and form which exdte commiseration rather 
than envy, his personal appearance does not inflict a wound 
on the sell^teem of his neighbors wherever he meets them. 
An aspirant of a commanding and beautiful person, does im- 
part a sort of standing rebuke to his acquaintances of indi^ 
ferent appearance wherever he meets them. A large portion 
of mankind cannot endure or tolerate those perfections of 
person or diaracter, which no art, perseverance, or address, 
which they may employ, will enable them to conunand. 

The preceding strain of remark, then, must invincibly con- 
duct every contemplative mind to the conclusion that the 
public speaker, and every person else, who covets tiie golden 
prizes which hang on popular opinion, presents a barrier to the 
genial flow of the popular kindness towards him, on every 
occasion in which he shall exhibit the ostensible advantages 
of a fine person to the gaze of tiie multitude. The self-es- 
teem of mankind, does not enjoy a free circulation when a 
person of this description is about — his elegancies of per- 
son, like a chilling frost, freezes up their personal compla- 
cency in its channels. 

This is far from being true in its application to a speaker 
who presents^to the eye of the world a dwarfish person and 
an indiflerent face. Mankind are well apprized of the fact, 
that a contrast injurious or humiliating to them can never be 
instituted between the personal endowments of such a man 
and their own. They feel so much at ease in regard to an 
individual of very inferior personal endowments, as fer as 
that question is involved, that they can afford to be liberal 
and gracious with him at every other point at which he thirsts 
for applause or caresses. If he exhibits respectable powers 
in speaking, in the character of a candidate for public favor, 
they are willing to vote for him in opposition to an opponent 
who is rendered odious by a loffcy and engaging peri^n. If 
he be a legislator, the members are willing to vote for his 

A HKS FSB80K. 287 

measure, in defiance of the fine reasoning of an opposing 
member who has committed the unpardonable sin of being 
handsome. If he is advocating a cause before a jury, they 
will decide agreeably to his wishes, to mortify an opposing 
advocate, who daOy wounds their self-esteem by the hateful 
exhibition in their presence of a person more gracefid, beau- 
tiful and attractive than theirs. 

For the purpose of testing the proposition before us, by a 
resort to the practical realities of life, let us inquire who it 
is that brings into intense play the sympathies of the popiv 
lace, when a fight is in progress on a public square, between 
two antagonists, the one of whom is gigantic in his propor- 
tions, and the other very small ? Why, experience with her 
truthful and unerring voice proclaims that it is the diminu- 
tive combatant. Who is it that inspires the multitude with 
a phrenzied share of enthusiasm, when a discussion is advanc- 
ing on the hustings between a large and a diminutive de- 
bater 1 Both experience and the intuitive perceptions of 
nature point us to the petit gentleman as the engrossing 
mark of the public interest and favor. Which advocate is 
it that engages the fervent wishes of the people for his suo* 
cess, when a law case is in the progress of discussion in a 
Court of Justice, where a counsellor of commanding frame 
is on one side, and a second edition of LiUiput is on the 
other ? A stem regard to the universal voice of precedent 
on the subject, would compel a jury who might be sworn 
and empanelled to try the question, to decide that it would 
be the badly-grown attorney who would bear away the palm, 
so &r as the popular feeling would carry him forward to the 
point of success. 

And it is not merely in pugilistic encounters, in contests 
for elective honors, and in trials of strength before the legis- 
lative assemblies of the country, that the petit competitor is 
fortified by the best feelings of the people, to the exclusion 
of his lofly and commanding rival. Where the heart of 

288 THE EiTscrr of possessing 

beauty is to be won, ^e petit suitor is almost certain to bear 
away the alluring prize over the shoulders of his tall and 
imposing rivkl. 

The public theory affirms that the diminutive lover is hate- 
ful to the gentler sex. Public practice and experience pro- 
claim that the more minute aspirant almost universally de- 
feats a stately and ostensible rival. It may be proba- 
ble, that the small aspirant in these adventures supplies in 
tenacity of pdrpose and in the spirit of perseverance what 
he lacks in the matter of grace and in elevation of figure. 
It is true to the letter, however, that the records of experience 
distinctly reveal the fact, that in a large proportion of the 
cases in which tall men and small men are brought into 
competition, for the attainment of any valuable object, that 
the small ones prevail. 

What are the revelations of experience on the field of 
debate itself? John Wilkes, whose name and eloc^ution botfi 
communicated an invincible charm to the populace of Lon- 
don, was remarkable for a face which was hideous in its 
character, and it has never been affirmed that he was blessed 
in a stature beyond the level of mediocrity. He said him- 
self, " that he could recognize the difference only of half an 
hour between his own face and that of the handsomest man 
in England." 

We have never seen any extraordinary elevation of person 
claimed for Mirabeau, and universal report declares that his 
face was amongst the ugliest that ever came from Nature's 
mould. Yet his voice was the soul of inspiration to the Na- 
tional Assembly of France in the most turbulent periods of 
her history. And when he happened to be absent from the 
deliberations of that celebrated council on any occasion when 
it was thrown into tumult and uproar, he would iname- 
diately exclaim, " let them only get a sight of my boar's- 
fece once, and they wiU become as quiet as doves." 

John Philpot Curran, who was the pride and glory of Ire- 


land in eloquence, in letters, and in the romance of chivalry, 
was not only ugly in face and diminutive in person, but he 
was encumbered with the extremity of malformation in his 
limbs, and was without the Biintest lineament or shadow of 
grace or beauty atiout his person except that imputed sort of 
grace which beamed upon his mortal vestments from an in- 
tellect and soul that arose above their earthly prison, and 
panted for an union with immortality. Yet with all this 
poverty of personal grace, with the presence of all these 
personal deformities, did any person ever indulge the belief 
that the tallest and most elegant advocate in Ireland could 
come within beat of drum of Curran in any contest which 
might be in progress before the people or the juries of Ire- 

Napoleon Bonaparte is said to have been in stature about 
five feet seven inches. Yet there was a majesty intrinsic to 
his person which humbled and overawed the proudest poten- 
tates of Europe, when they were standing in his presence. 
And one of the noblest and most finished specimens of 
Nature's workmanship which this country ever produced, 
in point of commanding' elegance and elevation, being Min- 
ister to the Court of St. Cloud, when Bonaparte was first 
Consul, on his return to this country, remarked, "that 
he felt that he was a man of some note while he con- 
tinued in the United States, but though he was nearly a foot 
taller (being about six feet three inches in stature himself) 
than Bonaparte, yet that he felt as if he had dwindled into 
the insignificance of a pigmy, on being introduced to that re- 
markable personal^e." * 

Dunning, a celebrated advocate, who figured in the palm- 
iest and most flourishing era of the eloquence of England, 
is said to have been diminutive, ungainly, and very ungrace- 
ful in his personal appearance. Yet it has never been alleged 
that he ever had a verdict carried oyer his head amidst the 
contests of the bar, by the attractions of any competitor 



who was blessed with a more loAy and engaging person thaa 
his own. 

Three statesmen, who have impressed their names and 
memory on this countrjr, in traoes so indelible as only to be 
surpassed in celebrity by the architect of the temple of our 
country's freedom, were each diminutive in person. We 
refer to Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and Aaron 
Burr. Yet it is said of Alexander Hamilton, by his political 
adversaries, that there was an unaffected majesty and dignity 
al)out his person, which would form a rebuke to imperial 
royalty itsel£ Doctor Samuel Johnson remarked, concern- 
ing Edmund Burke, ^' that the lines of greatness were so 
l^bly inscribed on his person, that a passenger could not 
take shelter from a shower of rain under a gateway with 
him, even for a few moments, without making the discovery 
that he was an extraordinary man." Such, precisely, was 
Aaron Burr, at the meridian of his &me and popularity, and 
such was he in the wane and waste of his political £>rtunes, 
when drinking the cup of bitterness to its very dregs. The 
most towering intellect of America could not be brought 
even transiently into juxtaposition to him, without catching 
by intuition the fact that he was in the presence oi one who 
belonged to the royal lineage of nature ; and the eagle glance 
of his eye could not be reflected upon the vision: of the rudest 
peasant or boor throughout this wide-spread land, without 
communicating the lightning flash of conviction to his mind, 
that there was passing in review before him an image of 
&ded grandeur, like that which Milton pronounced to be 
" the excess of brightness ohscured,^^ ^Tames Madison was not 
only diminutive in person, but his most impassioned friends 
and admirers affirm that he was not peculiarly blessed in 
the graces of manner; yet was it the still small voice of rea- 
son, conveyed by his tongue to the councils of his country, 
amidst the most convulsing agitations which marked the 
progress of our government and free institutions to a state 

A FINE PEESOir. 291 

of consummation, which unfailingly hushed the waves of tu- 
mult into a calm. 

Many of those who, when living, were the brightest orna- 
ments of our country's fame and character, and whose mem- 
ories, now that they are dead, constitute the choicest treasures 
in the casket of our national renown, were very small men. 

Alfred Moore,* whose learning, talents, and integrity, re- 
flected lustre on the most exalted bench of judicature in this 
country, about the commencement of the present century, is 
said to have been a gentleman of diminutive stature. Yet in 
the stem strifes of the bar it was his destiny to contend with 
many who were giants in person as well as giants in mind. 
But it has never been alleged that he did not tower to a su^ 
flcient elevation, by the force of his genius, eloquence, and 
acquirements, to attain the loftiest eminence which was occu- 
pied by the noblest of his rivals and cotemporaries. 

John Sergeant was diminutive in person, yet the force of 
his intellect, the vigor and skill he exerted in debate, and the 
saintly purity of his moral character, invested his voice with 
a charm in the councils of his coimtry, which was never 
broken or dispelled by the giant arm of those debaters he 
encountered, who rose in height greatly above the medioc- 
rity of human altitude. 

The late John Stanly, of North C5arolina, was hardly above 
five feet six inches in height, yet a lai^e proportion of the 
most towering debaters, both in person and in intellect, who 
acted on the public stage during the period in which he fig- 
ured, are known to have deferred to his thrilling trump in dis- 
cussion. And a gentleman whose mind has been munificently 
adorned by the learning of every age, on once hearing Mr. 
Stanly deliver a speech in the Legislature of North Carolina, 
which was replete with the ridiest decorations of a classic 
diction, commended by the most exquisite and insinuat- 

• Hon. Alfred Moore, of North Carolina, formerly one of the Judges 
of the Supreme Court of the United States. 


ing graces of a finished manner^ and aided by the most elegant 
blandishments of a courtly and polished exterior, observed, 
*^ that Mr. Stanly came upon the stage as a i^eaker, and 
made his exit from it with infinitely more grace than any 
orator he had ever seen." 

It will not be denied that when a debater, blessed in like 
possession of an elegant and commanding person, is discours- 
ing in the presence of an assembly of persons, that the ad- 
vantages of his person may attract to him a very special share 
of attention. But the attention which a speaker thus en- 
gages is not yielded to what he says, it is given to what he 
looks. The admiration whidi is attracted to a speaker is not 
extracted from the heart of an audience by any additional 
weight, persuasiveness^ fascination, or power, which is com- 
municated to his oratory by the accomplishment of a grace- 
ful and commanding exterior ; the tribute of admiration is 
yielded to his personal appearance, considered abstractly from 
his speaking entirely. The same measure of admiration 
might have been paid to him if he had kept his tongue 
still, and had been simply observed by an assembly of 
persons, walking through the aisles of a deliberative hall, 
just as persons would admire a beautiful race- horse in 
coursing his way majestically through the streets of a town. 
And their admiration would be excited in a similar de- 
gree by observing the same engaging animal posting his 
way with the speed of thought over a race-course. But the 
spectators would not be so perfectly blinded by the symmet- 
rical beauty and elegance of the race-horse, as to be beguiled 
into the belief, when seeing him on a race-path with a shabby 
and diminutive one splitting the wind a great distance ahead 
of him, that the latter was beatmg the small one. 

It may be truly said that those attractions of person which 
draw a special share of attention to a speaker when he is dis- 
coursing, usually emanate from graces and blandishments 
which are thrown around his person by the cultivation of the 


intellect. For if you strip a very elegant and beautiful 
speaker of the blessing of intelligence and of that finish 
which art throws around the manner, and reduce him to that 
appearance of awkwardness and ignorance which is generally 
manifested by illiterate and ignorant speakers, so far from 
the beauty of such a speaker operating as a stimulus to ad- 
miration, it will make him an object of decided commisera- 
tion. And it is very certain that a speaker of the most di- 
minutive and ungainly form, whose elocution breathes the 
soul of eloquence, and whose manner in speaking is adorned 
with the graces of art will attract an attention to his ac- 
quired graces, which entirely excludes the perception of his 
personal defects and deformities. 

We believe that speakers and all other conspicuous and 
responsible actors on the public stage, are appreciated in their 
professional characters, for the positive amount of good which 
they may be competent to perform. And we also cherish the 
opinion that deformities of person by being contrasted with 
the transcendent powers of a speaker^s intellect, may inure 
very greatly to his advantage in the public estimation of 
him. We think the truth of the preceding proposition is 
fully realized in some of the examples which have been pre- 
sented in this chapiter, and we also believe that attestations 
of its truthfulness are continually unfolding themselves to the 
public view in every successive year which is added to the 
history of the world. 




It is an encouraging fact in the philosophy of the human &ce 
divine, that there are many coimtenances which possess the 
capability of imbibing a degree of expressiveness from the re- 
flections of a mirror, which they never reciprocate by defining 
beautiful images on the bright sur&ce of the mirror in return. 
And there is no solid reason why this should not be so. The 
most fescinating expressions of loveliness which play upon 
the cheek of female beauty, are often ^transplanted from the 
transient shadow of sweetness which is painted upon the sur- 
&ce of a looking glass. And if a soul of celestial sweetness 
may be transftised into the countenance of a female, so as to 
become habitual, by practicing fine expressions of &ce' beifore 
a mirror, it would seem inexplicable why a speaker might 
not 'extend the catalogue of his graces, both in reference to 
the action of the person and the expressions of the counte- 
nance, by frequently speaking before a mirror. 

Any person who is fond of performing on an instrument 
of any description, may acquire a tune he &ncies simply by 
a close observation of its notes when some other individual 
shall be playing it. One who delights in dancing, catdies a 
graceful step from giving a few moments of attention to an- 
other who practices that step in the mazes of a dancing party* 
Another who becomes favorably impressed with the elegant 
carriage of an acquaintance, can, by practice, make the move- 
ments his own which he so much admires. Successful com- 
edians, by persevering attention to properties of the kind, 
become so expert as to be able habitually to command all 
the droll expressions of countenance, voice, or maimer, which 


they observe in persons who are circulating around^ them. 
And these acquisitions are made in most instances, too, with- 
out an appeal to the mirror. 

It would appear exceedingly strange that a person should 
not be competent to paint more vividly upon his countenance, 
before a mirror, those engaging expressions which a large 
proportion of both sexes very frequently command, without 
any appeal whatever to glassy aids. 

It is by the recognition of a beautiful expression or a grace- 
ful movement, clearly and specifically defined in the &ce or 
person of another, that the type or model of the desirable 
quality is provided, iBrom a sincere devotion to which the 
person observing it will be enabled to acquire it and make 
it his own. Without having enjoyed the privilege of observ- 
ing an image, a charming expression of countenance, or a grace- 
ful movement of the person, revealed to him in some form 
or embodiment, an actor or speaker could no more be com- 
petent to interweave such floating expressions and grades with 
his own countenance or person, than an artist would be ade- 
quate to the task of inseating in a picture tints and beauties 
which he had never conceived by the sight of the eye, and a 
description of which had been merely communicated to him 
verbally by some acquaintance of his. ' - 

The great feature of efficiency in the practice of speaking 
before a mirror, consists not in the simple capacity to indulge 
in a fascinating expression of the countenance, or to execute a 
graceful gesture of the hands in front of it, but in the power of 
maintaining the expression or gesture in a perfect condition 
some moments after either shall have been brought into being. 
For the mere &ct of execution would effect nothing without 
an adjunct of some sort to sustain it in being. The desired 
gesture or expression without the benefit of some intelligible 
medium of observation through which to observe them, 
might vanish in the very act of being made, like the foam 
on the fountain or the ripple on the sur&ce of the water. 


But when the expression or gesture is distinctly surveyed 
in an accurate and faitj;iful mirror, the speaker knows by the 
report of his own vision what degree of exertion and what 
sort of exertion to adopt, in order to sustain the expression 
or movement in being for a due length of time. 

A person who has acquired a respectable knowledge of 
actions and expressions of the countencmoe, can benefit a 
practitioner in elocution very considerably, by supervising 
the expressions of his countenance and the action of his 
hands when he is speaking, and by imparting to him faithful 
counsels in regard to the correctness of eicery movement he 
makes, just as it may be -made. By a vigilant and faithful 
superintendence of this sort, some of the most efficient speak- 
ers and successful dramatists known to the world, have been 

If a speaker shall have acquired any conceptions of ex- 
pression, time, and motion, which may even fiuntly approxi- 
mate correctness, why may he not, by practising expression, 
gesticulation, and time before a mirror, so habituate himself 
to the production of each of these properties in the proper 
measure, before a mirror, as to be enabled to execute them 
with &cility, in the course of time, without the aid of the 

It is said in the Bible, that a man looks in a glass and 
straightway forgets what kind of man he is. But if the im- 
age, defined on his memory by the glass, disappears imme- 
diately on his leaving, it is a very different thing with any 
determination which has been communicated to his charac- 
ter and manners by any course of action and expression long 
practised before the glass. This may adhere to him like 
the complexion of his skin or the color of his hair. 

But the best evidence of the advantages which may be 
derived ^m the habit of practising before a mirror, may be 
recognized in the fact, that a very respectable proportion of 
those who delight and edify the world in the capacity of 


speakers, haTe magnified their influence in the exerdse of 
that aocomplishment hy practising before a mirror. ^ This 
&ct in the history of any particular speaker, may but seldom 
reach the general treasury of human information. When a 
knowledge of this peculiar mode of exercise, in connectitm 
with any person devoted to speaking, obtains currency, it is 
generally introduced to the world through the medium of 
some person who enjoys a constant communion of fnendship 
with the speaker, or who may accidentally discover the prac- 

Without assuming to decide that the discipline imposed 
upon a speaker by habitually practising before a mirror, is 
at all essential to his perfection in oratory, the opinion may 
be safely advanced, that the practice may be adopted with the 
promise of deriving very considerable advantages from it. 
Persons who take much pleasure in mimicking the peculiar ex- 
pressions efface which they see sometimes exhibited by their 
acquaintances and neighbors, by habitually indulging them- 
selves in these particular expressions, contrary to their design, 
sometimes have them so inlaid and blended in their own coun- 
tenances that they are never able to obtain a deliverance from 
them afterwards. If a person, by simply imitating the move- 
ments and expressions of countenance of another, without 
any chart to guide him to correctness in the operation, can 
succeed so effectually as to blend the expressions which he 
copies permanently with his own countenance^; it would seem 
not to be very unnatural or credulous to believe that a 
speaker, by continually repeating before a mirror the pro- 
duction of certain expressions in his own countenance ; and 
certain motions with his own hands, could succeed at length 
in producing these motions and expressions a;t pleasure. If 
these expressions and motions shall be produced in great 
frequency before a mirror, the muscles about the face 
will contract a mechanical tendency towards producing the 
same expressions and gestures on other ooc^ions. They 



may perhaps make their appearance spontaQeously, and when 
the speaker may not desire their presence. 

And if a speaker is characterized by an expression of 
countenance which is repulsive, gloomy, or indicative of an- 
ger or ill-nature, there can be no better method adopted for 
the removal of these unprepossessing expressions than prac- 
tising before a mirror. For if a speaker shall, in declaim- 
ing before a mirror, discipline his countenance to a frequent 
expression of joy and benevolence, these expressions will, 
in the course of time, mechanically preside over his &ce 
when engaged in the business of speaking. 



It was once remarked by an enlightened expounder of the 
Gospel, who has long since passed from the theatre of his 
earthly labors to a brighter scene of existence, " that there 
was no duty assigned" to man which was performed by him 
with a measure of reluctance so utterly disproportioned to 
the amount of labor involved in it as that of prayer." The 
same propositioh may be justly affirmed in relation to the 
exercise of writing, for the labor involved in it is neither op- 
pressive nor irksome, and yet the repugnance to its perform- 
ance in most cases, is without any visible bounds. 

A disrelish for that species of labor which is intimately 
blended with the most important duties and precious inter- 
ests of man, it should be the unceasing ambition of every 
person to vanquish, who may covet the accomplishment of 
expressing himself with accuracy and neatness, both in speech 
and in writing, And there is no corrective for the repug- 


nanoe in question, which may be resorted to with a larger 
measure of success or efficacy, than the daily practice of 
writing down on paper a person's thoughts on some subject 
which may have previously engrossed a portion of his re- 
flections. No member of human society who possesses the 
feculty of writing, it matters not what his pursuit in life 
may be, should permit a day to elapse without subjecting his 
mind to this discipline; and an essay which may cover a 
half sheet of ordinary letter-paper, will accomplish the ob- 
jects here aimed at, as well as one which may occupy a 
larger number of pages. 

A frequent indulgence in the act of composing is not 
pressed upon the attention of the pupil simply for the pur- 
pose of placing securely within his grasp, the faculty of un- 
usual expertness in writing. Even the consummation of that 
object would be of itself no trifling achievement. But im- 
portant as would be the attainment of that point, it is in- 
definitely surpassed in intrinsic value, by that permanent 
habituation to mental labor, that prompt and lucid* arrange- 
ment of thought, and that admirable precision and perspicu- 
ity of expression, which almost uniformly flow as legitimate 
fruits from the daily practice of composition to a susceptible 

By the constant expenditure of thought which is inevitably 
produced by the practice of intelligent writing, the human 
mind is accelerated in the flow of its thoughts, just in the 
same way that the human heart when long practiced in yield- 
ing its devotion to the alleviation of human suffering in the 
social sphere within which it throbs, is ready to cast its char- 
ities upon every other circle in which it may be startled by 
the wail of misery. 

The principle of aversion to labor of every description 
will be vastly^ diminished by a daily participation in the 
practice of composition. Business in its varied forms will 
be more punctually and methodically performed. The in- 


terests of society will be more efficiently advocated either 
in speaking or in writing, by the votary of this practice, than 
they otherwise would have been. Many precious thoughts 
may glitter in the literary pages of the country, which might 
have been otherwise consigned to hopeless oblivion ; and the 
general powers of the intellect will be vastly augmented. 

As intellectual discipline is the object principally sought 
in adopting the exercise of composing as a daily practice, it 
matters little what the subject may be, on which the student 
may write an essay, so it be an innocent topic. And let 
him not plead in bar to the performance of this duty the 
usual plea of sloth, the want of opportimities,^ for these are 
never exhausted except by those disabilities which are im- 
posed by disease or by the blighting calamities which occa- 
sionally descend like lightning on those who may be endeared 
to the heart by the ties of friendship or kindred blood. A 
determined mind will be enabled to snatch an opportunity 
for writing a brief essay on some ^miliar subject, even 
amidst the whiz, din, and bustle of steamboat travel, or at 
the stopping points on a stage road. A very small fraction 
of the time which may be devoted so some trashy author or 
expended in very unproductive conversation on board of a 
steamboat, would be sufficient for the composition of an 
essay which would preserve unbroken the chain of the stu- 
dent's mental discipline, and perhaps draw forth from his 
mind a flow of precious thoughts which he might not be 
willing perhaps to exchange for the wealth of the East. 




The creative influence of the principle of competition has 
been broadly revealed in the varied fields of human aspira- 
tion and adventure in every age of the world. It is that 
spring of life and of energy from which young and fervid am- 
bition draws»its strength and support, in a line of transmis- 
sion just as direct as that which conveys the nutriment of 
life from the maternal bosom to the lips of feeble and con- 
Ming infancy. When this spring is drained of its inspiring 
draughts, the soaring heart of early ambition languishes and 
withers like the verdant leaf of spring under the influence 
of a nipping frost Without the stimulus of rivalship to ex- 
cite him in the path of glory, the arms of a soldier become 
as impotent and harmless as the birchen rods which may be 
'wielded by some antique governor of a nursery. 

Without the incentive provided by rivalship, the arm of 
heroism becomes relaxed, the tongue of the orator becomes 
stifl^ the ethereal aspiration of the statesman is quenched, the 
enterprise of commerce is chOled, the ingenuity of mechan- 
ism is blunted, the fields of agriculture become waste, the 
searching vision of science becomes dim, and the inspiration 
of literature becomes extinct. But in the extended cata- 
logue of human aspirations, which may be paralyzed or ex- 
tinguished by an absence of the spirit of rivalship, there is 
not one which parries the symptoms of its &tality so visibly 
pidnted upon its progress, as the thirst for oratorical renown. 
It matters but little how enchanting the opening prospects of 
a beginner in oratory may be. It matters not how rapidly 
his intellectual powers may be expanding. It matters not 


how fervid the appeals addressed to his pride from the voice 
of kindred or social affection, may be : whenever the spur 
of competition is withdrawn from that field in which a ju- 
venile speaker is destined to lahor ; from that moment he is 
doomed to decline in his advancement and to verge towards 
a changeless mediocrity in the department of eloquence. 

Lord Chancellor Thurlow, being once int'errc^ted by an 
honest and simple-hearted father, as to the best means of 
making a lawyer of his son, the Lord Chancellor replied, 
" Let your son, in the first place, spend his own estate, then 
let him get married and spend his wife's estate, and he will 
be certain to make a lawyer !" The philosophy contained 
in the reply of the Lord Chancellor was, that a be^nner in 
the legal profession required a vigorous application of the spur 
of necessity to his energies to impel him to that regularly- 
sustained and persevering exertion, which alone would make 
him eminent in his profession, and that the spur in question 
could never be supplied so long as young members of the 
bar i^ould be surrounded with an affluence of means. 

The philosophy contained in the advice of Lord Thurlow, 
is highly applicable to cases where fame, and not money may 
be the coveted prize of a young man's ambition. If he may 
be prosecuting his professional labors in a place in which he 
at once takes a position greatly more elevated as a speaker 
than that of his brethren of the bar who move in the same 
circle with himself, his ambition to rise higher in the scale 
of excellence as a speaker will be very apt to languish and 
decay, from the want of that sustaining nutriment which will 
be imfailingly supplied by the spirit of competition. If he 
can, at the very starting point, master and subdue his-fellow 
members in the contentions of debate, there is no necessity 
acting upon his energies to propel him forward, except the 
abstract fondness for excellence, and that is rather too specu- 
lative in its character to induce a very liberal yield of prac- 
tical fruit. Why is this so ? Simply because there is noth* 


ing in the accomplishments of those who move around him 
to warm his pride of intellect into brisk circulation. He is 
superior to them all, at the very commencement, in all those 
aggrandizing traits of character which chiefly attract the at- 
tention of the worid, and there is no person within his reach 
in the department of speaking whose level as a public speak- 
er he has either to reach or to pass beyond. He will be in 
the same condition within the narrow domain of his ambi- 
tion, that Alexander the Great was in, on the expanded field 
of his aspirations, when " he grieved at having no more king- 
doms to conquer." He is esteemed more highly for his 
powers as a speaker than other young men'who come in con- 
tact with him, and he^will suppose that he has nothing to 
. contend for. He will 'conceive that the summit of glory in 
the little circle in which he lives and moves is the acme of 
glory throughout the world. The approbation which descends 
from the lips of the hoary fathers there, will have a solid 
value and a precision of accuracy which it will possess no- 
where else beneath the stars. The applayse of the venerable 
matrons will distil a soothing influence into the heart, which 
the same gratification could impart nowhere else, and the 
note of praise from the lips of virgin beauty will insinuate 
a music into the heart which could be afforded nowhere else 
under the sun. 

Let other aspirants to renown, in the department of foren- 
sic eloquence, be located in the same circle with the young 
speaker whom we have just supposed, and- if the latter 
should possess any latent or intrinsic powers to be unfold- 
ed, these will certainly receive an abiding impulse from the 
constant action of the spirit of competition, which will quick- 
en them into a state of active progression. He may not, 
agreeably to Lord Thurlow's requisition (to make a lawyer), 
have expended his money, but the star of his intellectual 
ascendency has set for a term in that circle within which his 
pride and his hopes were accustomed to centre, and with 


that ascendency bis soothing self-complacency has vanished 
like the transient dews of the morning. 

Let a young aspirant to oratorical fame be placed at a lo* 
cality where he will be hailed as the cbief orator of a large 
tract of comitry. Let him be freed from the presence of 
every speaker who would constitute an irksome competitor 
to bim on the theatre of disputation, and let him be con- 
stantly soothed by the approving smile of age, and charmed 
by the touching smile of beauty, and his beart will be full-^ 
bis ambition will be lulled into a state of serene and quiet 
repose — ^he is presented witb no fresh fields for conquest, and 
be would not exchange his bright and blushing honors for 
the diadem and the purple. 

A distinguished citizen of the United States once remark- . 
ed, '^ that great men were made by great occasions." There 
is nothing more true than that observation, and it included 
within its sweep the identical principle which we are now en- 
deavoring to enforce. For the occasions to which the re- 
mark before us referred, were those collisions between gifted 
men which bring into full exercise and play the faculties of 
the mind ; which impose upon the mental energies that sort 
of pressure which causes the innate principle of power, where 
it has a residence in any particular system, to expand and to 
reach an elastic sort of force which it never would attain - 
without pressure. What destiny would Napoleon Bonaparte 
ever have reached in the obscure shades of Corsica ? What 
height of elevation would Lord Mansfield ever have attain- 
ed had he remained amongst the romantic hills of Scotland 1 
What degree of space would Patrick Henry have ever earned 
in the world's estimation, had he remained in some obscure 
provincial village or neighborhood, where a thrilling blast 
from the trump of keen competition would never have been 
heard, to spur him onward in the path of exertion 1 

There is scarcely an instance recorded in the annals of de- 
bate, where a speaker of acknowledged celebrity, commenced 


and ended life in a part of the world where his energies could 
not receive a rousing impulse firom the contact of powerful 
competition in the contentions of political or forensic strife. 
A fresh traveller in the walks of professional life, without com- 
petition, has no stem necessity imposed upon him to force 
him into the labors of acquisition ; he has nothing to do to 
keep himself from being crushed by the incumbent weight 
of a superior mental force — ^he has no contentions with supe- 
rior minds to engage in, which will sharpen and develop his 
powers of thought and of debate — he is precisely in the same 
condition with a swordsman, who may be destitute of the 
benefit of an opponent to contend with, who would both pre- 
serve the previous acquisitions of the man of steel, and ex- 
tend the circle of his improvement in future. In such a sit- 
uation, the progress of a speaker towards perfection must 
be inevitably suspended, like that of every other votary of 
intelleotual duties, who has nothing but the abstract love of 
excellence to spur him onward. 

The question may be asl^ed, what course is a young man 
to adopt, who happens to be located in a part of the world 
in which he cannot receive the reviving touch of rivalry or 
competition to develop his powers as a debater 1 The answer 
is, let him seek some locality in which he will find competi- 
tors worthy of his steel. Let him repair to some place 
where he will become perfected in the art of speaking, as 
swordsmen are rendered expert in the sword exercise, by a 
constant tension of the fitculties in struggles with able intel- 





There is in the morning of life a prevailing predilection 
for poetical decorations amongst speakers and essayists of 
every description, who possess either an exuberant &ncy, or 
a taste for elegant literature. This is an innocent partiality 
wherever found, and it may be rendered, by receiving a meas- 
ure of discreet indulgence, not only highly improving to the 
ornamental department of composition and speaking, but it 
may also serve to augment the utility and efficiency of the 
strictly practical duties of a public speaker. 

A poetical fragment, rich in the philosophy of life, may 
secure a welcome abode in the mind of an audience- for un- 
pleasant propositions, just as the leaden messengers of death, 
which whistle on every breeze during an action, are fre- 
quently disarmed of their terrific influence by the animating 
strains of some national air. The sweet and touching inspir- 
ation of the poet takes that place in the mind of the audi- 
ence which may have been previously devoted to the occu- 
pancy of truths excessively nauseating in their character, and 
when the spectral influences which hang upon the voice of 
the speaker are once expelled by the soothing charm of poetic 
music, they never again return in the plenitude of their su- 
premacy. ^ 

How oflen has a string of sympathy been successfully 
touched in the hearts of an audience, by the introduction of 
a beautifiil poetical passage, when they had been previously 
muttering the bitterest maledictions against the speaker, or 
praying for a speedy close to his address ! How frequently 
are irksome and tedious arguments stripped of every repul- 
sive feature, by being closed with the breath of poetic inspir- 


ation, just as the dying notes of the swan, agreeably to &.bu- 
lous tradition, are said to be its sweetest ! 

If the poetical quotation at the close of a speech be rich 
in language, replete with sense, warm with the spirit of ro- 
mance, and highly colored with that philosophy oi nature 
which is certain to find a magnetic reciprocation in every 
human breast, the speaker and his speech will be all forgot- 
ten in the beauties of the music. 

What a large number of the speeches which have been de- 
livered on the varied stages of life, have completely faded 
from the memory, with the exception of some poetical deco- 
ration, which charmed the dosing sentence. If, when a speech 
or address of any description inay be in progress, the speaker 
shall blend with his discourse a sweet note of music, drawn 
from the inspiration of some poet who may be dear to the 
hearts of his audience, and who may also abound in sym- 
pathies with breathing flesh, the poetical passage will distil a 
sort of moral perfume both upon the speech, the speaker, and 
the occasion. The audience will, under such circumstances; 
feel greatly indebted to the speaker for freshening up in 
their minds and memories an image of a favorite poet, or a 
favorite image of a poet, ^vfliich is perhaps rapidly fading 
from their recollection. 

There is something infinitely dear to some hearts in the pro- 
ductions of particular poets. In some instances, the poem is 
endeared by touching as^ociaticHis connected with the charac- 
ter and life of the ipoet, which are vividly brought up from 
the scenes of the past, along with the passage which may be 
quoted by the speaker. On other occasions, the tenderness 
breathed by the fragment itself touches the heart of an audi- 
ence. We find, on consulting the experience of acquaintances, 
in some other instances, that their hearts have been tenderly 
affected by a poetical quotation, when brought to their atten- 
tion, in speaking or in conversation, by a recurrence to the 
tender emotions which were \mparted to their breasts on 


first hearing the works of the authpr of the particular frag- 
ment read in their hearing early in life. They are not touch- 
ed so much by the tenderness of the particular passage, as 
by its calling up to the memory, by its introduction, a woric 
which had been endeared long, since for some engaging fea- 
tures. Just as if a lovely member of the soft^ sex should 
present an ardent admirer of hers a beautiful flower on 
'some occasion, accompanied with a most bewitching express- 
ion of the countenance ; the .same admirer could not beholfl 
one of the same'dass of flowers, at a period of time greatly 
removed from that at which the incident occurred, without 
having that scene painted afresh upon the tablets of the 
heart, in all its power of effect. 

When a speaker is exceedingly felicitous in the choice of 
a poetical quotation, it may serve not only to embellish and 
adorn, but it may also augment the practical properties of 
his argument. If a speaker shall succeed in gracing his ar- 
gument with one of those poetical diamonds which compre- 
hends tiie very essence of the philosophy of life, the very per- 
fection of that deep and searching penetration into the springs 
of human action which is possessed bysome minds, it is very 
certain that a poetical passagS of that description will de- 
scend upon the feelings and probably the judgments of an 
audience with more decisive weight than the most consum- 
mate argument. Because poetical quotations of tiie class to 
which we refer, may be regarded as truth in its spiritualized 
form. They present truth and reason to the mind, disen- 
cumbered of the material dogs and appendages, in the shape 
of language, through which ideas are generally conveyed to 
mankind. The hearer of a speech, under such circumstances, 
is not reduced as usual to the labor of reflecting and of ex- 
amining the validity of the proposition which shall be pre- 
sented to his mind. For the thought comes to him, in its 
poetical or spiritualized garb, with all the £>rce and authority 
of an axiom. 


But A speaker should use a very soand and enlightened 
discretion in the use of poetical quotations. For the intro- 
ductibn of poetical quotations which are utterly inappropri- 
ate to the occasion on which they are used, and inapplicable 
also to the subject presented at the time, will be received 
with the same degree of contempt which usually marks the 
use of unseasonable decorations of dress. 

And the speaker should also vigilantly guard against the 
introduction of poetical quotations into an aipmieht or ad- 
dress which have become stale and hacknl^ed by the long 
use of them in the speaking world. With an intelligent au- 
dience, quotations of this description produce very much the 
same sensations, when brought to its attention, which is usu- 
ally produced in an intelligent congregation of persons by 
seeing one suddenly appear amongst them who wished to 
assume the air and port of a fine gentleman,, and who was 
yet arrayed in the cast-off finery of some neighbor. 



The impression very extensively prevails that every hu- 
man being is rendered the architect of his fame and fortunes 
in life, from the force of some innate spring of energy which 
rises in his own system to propel him forward to ennobling 
and beneficent actions. That an individual is usually elevat- 
ed in the scale of public consideration by the application of 
a well-directed energy to the business of life, is an indisput- 
able proposition. But this energy itself must receive a 
creative touch from some influence or other to start it into 
life. For without an impetus of some kind to infuse into 
it vigor and animation, the most precious fund of energy 


that a beneficent providence ever bestowed on man, may 
slumber in the system of its possessor in a state of supine in- 
action : just as the richest treasures of the Oriental world m&y 
rust in the vault of a capitalist, from the absence of enter- 
prises to attract them into circulation. The impulse which 
warms the energies of a human being into successful circu- 
lation, and action, is generally imparted by some circum- 
stance or incident which may not, in reference to the person 
moved by it, have been in any degree the subject of volition 
or control. And there is no accomplishment or endowment 
of man which is more largely influenced in its origin and 
progress by the contact of casual influences and circumstance 
than the faculty of public speaking. 

Similar to a combustible train, which Idazes into an explo- 
sion by the application of a flame to it, the principle of 
eloquence has the breath of life frequently infused into it by 
some incident of which the person affected never dreamed 
before its application to his fortunes. The glow of ambition 
is excited in the bosom of one person who ascends to orator- 
ical renown, by casually hearing some display of eloquence 
in early life, at a popular meeting. Another is impelled to 
the cultivation of his oratorical powers by witnessing some 
powerful exhibition of forensic skill and eloquence, and oth- 
ers are fired with the thirst for oratorical fame, amidst the 
contentions of a juvenile debating society. 

But the circumstance which lends the most potent of all 
incentives to the passion for oratorical &me, is the cir- 
cumstance of living in a place which has acquired celebrity 
by possessing within its precincts a lai^e number of persons 
distinguished for their eloquence. This fact of residence ex- 
erts an important share of influence over the aspirations and 
energies of a young speaker in three 'aspects of the case ; he 
observes a practical exhibition of the consideration which is 
earned by the possession of speaking talents of a high order, 
he distinctly perceives the certainty with which perseverance 


may adiieye for an individual the most precious acquisitions, 
and he also plainly recognizes the impassable gulf which will 
ever continue to intervene between him and the eloquent 
men who move in the same society with himself, unless he 
puts in requisition the enei^es of a giant and the patience of 
a martyr to earn the honors of that accomplishment. 

And the spirit which is thus imparted to a place by the ap- 
pearance of one resplendent light in it, appears in many in- 
stances to be transmitted through successive generations of 
men, raising up in its progress bright and benignant stars in 
thei intellectual firmament, until its life-giving inspiration 
shall be finally quenched by some invisible influence. 

There is scarcely a State in the American Union in which 
the systems of political and social organization have assum- 
ed a compact form under the maturing influence of time, but 
is distinguished in the presentation of localities conspicuous 
for the great number of gifted speakers which reside in 
them. Persons endowed with an ardent and susceptible 
mind, who may have been bom and reared in places thus 
distinguished, are fired with ambition at the very porch 
of life, by beholding so many shining examples before 
them. And they adopt* the conviction, that a principle of 
fidelity to the character of their native scene — a reverence 
for the sanctity of parental aflection, and a stem principle 
of devotion to their own characters, enjoins upon them the 
duty of earning a conspicuous place for themselves in the 
world's estimation. 

The philosophy which is comprehended in the proposi- 
tion which we are now entertaining, is familiarly presented 
in various phases and divisions of life. The scion of some 
house distinguished for its revolutionary honors, conceives 
that the fame of his fainily will be tarnished in his person, 
unless courage and chivalry shall shine as conspicuous ingre- 
dients in the formation of his character, and he seizes the 
lance and becomes the Quixotic champion of every local 


quarrel. A stripling who feeds his father's iBocks at ihe foot 
of some obseare and rural hill, deserts his cherished parsoity 
seises some tattered volume, dimbs with persevering pace 
the steep of dassic renown, and becomes the scholar of his 
country, on hearing the report, as it is wAfted upon the breeze, 
that a young neighbor and assodate has home away tiie 
prize hoDcn* at some ndghboring university. Hie soldier is 
inspired with the soul of heroic daring, by hearing a starring 
note of the lion-hearted bravery which has been exhibited on 
some sanguinary fidd of strife by a companion of earlier 
years. The statesman is frequently elevated to that point 
where he may inteDigibly read his history both in the ^ eyes 
and in the acts of a nation," by hearing a frequent recitatioa 
of the splendid conquests which have been acquired in rapid 
succession on the field <^ national debate by some friend of 
early life. And the individual who day by day comits his 
glittering millions in the solitude of the doset, was i^urred 
on perhaps to liie very pinnade of wealth by the vivid im- 
age which was daily painted before his vision (^ the lordly 
affltlence that had been suddenly readied by some fellow- 
laborer or school-companion. 

Hie blast of the trumpet of &mb which spreads abroad 
the aggrandisement of some distant stranger, usually ^s in 
unheeded sounds upon the human ear. It is the proximity 
in point of origin, the identity in point of early assodaticm 
of him who obtains a prize in the field of enterprise or am- 
bition, which kindles in the young heart, not that fdl spirit 
which draped angds down, but that ethereal and unqu^ich- 
able glow which plumes the wing of ambition for immortal- 
ity. Persons may hear the reported success of strangers, 
day after day, without being roused from a sjtate of serene 
repose. But let the sudden ascension to &me of some young 
friend be announced, and the pulse of ambition is at once 
quick^ied into a restless state of activity, and the torpid 
fiiculties are propdled into vigorous aad animated play, just 


as the limbs of a cripple are rendered nimble and elastic by 
the magic touch of some wonderful deliverer in the healing 

It was one of the maxims of the French philosopher 
Rochefoucault, that the self-esteem of an individual was en- 
hanced bj the misfortunes of his friend. The morality 
proclaimed by the maxim of the Frenchman is very hideous 
in its aspect, but agreeably to opinions of our race, which 
prevail to a very great extent, and which are fortified both 
by superior experience and attainments, this declaration has 
some grains of truth intermingled with it. 

It would be exceedingly difficult to credit the monstrous 
proposition that the heart of a human being could be rejoiced 
by the crushing calamities of a friend. But we do believe 
that the heart must possess a celestial purity of mould which 
is not inflamed with a feverish thirst for the glories of suc- 
cess, much more than it is expanded by the raptures of joy, 
by the report of a neighbor's sudden or special aggrandize- 
ment. The feeling usually communicated to the human 
heart \>y the sudden ascent of a neighbor to affluence or 
fame, if translated into good current English, would read 
thus : " Oh, I would it were otherwise^ " / would it were 
myself rather than Ae." " I must go and do something to dis- 
tinguish myself likewise, or I shall soon lose all caste and con- 
sideration am/ongst my neighbors,'^'* And the most charming 
relief which flits before the imagination of one whose bosom 
heaves with emotions similar to those just specified, is the 
hope of being able to go and do likewise. 

The influence which may be exerted on the ambition and 
energies of a beginner in life by the &ct of being bom and 
raised in a place that abounds in eloquent men, is widely 
difierent from that impetus which is frequently imparted to 
slumbering enei^es of mind by the fact of a debater being 
frequently or constantly brought into collision with men 
of sterling metal on the various theatres of intellectual 



contention. Competition, in the sense of the term last 
mentioned, may develop the mental powers of a speaker, 
and perfect his attractions, should it meet him on any thea- 
tre of contention afforded by the civilized world ; it might 
stimulate him to successful exertion, should it be brought to 
bear on him in England or France, Germany, 'Australia, or 
any other place which might be infinitely distant and remote 
from the scene of his birth. This last is a competition which 
arises from the necessities of the case. The speaker cannot 
be properly appreciated in the intellectual scale, or ascend to 
a lofby eminence as an orator, whilst others are doing better 
than himself, and eclipsing him by their superior radiance. 
By this sort of competition, a professional man is compelled 
to exert himself or to sink under the pressure of opposing 
mental forces. 

But a person whose earliest vision is greeted by the light 
of day, in a place where the luxuries of eloquence abound 
in a measure of affluent abimdance, and whose ear drinks in 
as its earliest entertainment the music of eloquence, may 
have his heart fired by the glow of ambition, before he shall 
be released from the tender supervision of the nursery. U 
is the spirit of the place which penetrates the heart of a 
speaker and conducts his Acuities to perfection in the case 
last mentioned. He drinks in the spirit of emulation from 
the mother's breast. He catches it from every note of 
praise bestowed on the dty orator which salutes his ear. 
His bosom glows at every pageant in which the oratory of 
his native place gives its music to the world. And as he 
pr<^esses towards manhood, the desire to become an ora- 
tor of celebrity gradually fastens itself upon his heart so 
firmly and tenaciously, that when he reaches maturity, he 
will find himself placed among the prominent speakers of 
his country, from the acquired or habitual force of feeling 
whidh will have driven him invincibly and irresistibly in that 
spedal direction. 




There are many young men, endowed with fine talents 
and blessed with a liberal education, who imbibe the impress- 
ion at the commencement of life, that they are casting away 
golden opportunities unless they ascend in the character of 
speakers erery stage which may present itself to the view. 
On one occasion, we find a speaker of the preceding descrip- 
tion deliyermg a lecture before a literary association ; at an- 
other, he is contending for the palm of zeal with Father 
Matthew, in the cause of temperance, by addressing all the 
temperance societies within his reach. Then again we see 
him on the Masonic stage, addressing that accepted fraternity 
on the sanatiye principles which pertain to its organization ; 
he then pays a quota of his respects to a Bible society, by 
discoursing on the precious beauties which are inclosed with- 
in the lids of the Holy Scriptures. The sunday-school does 
not escape his observation either, and we see him frequently 
enlightening the managers of that invaluable institution, to- 
gether with their juvenile subjects, on the inappreciable ben- 
efits which they ^oy ; and he reaches perhaps the supreme 
point of his earthly bliss and glory when he addresses some 
county political meeting on the respective merits of two can- 
didates for promotion. 

A person of the character just presented, addresses every 
meeting at which he may be especially invited to speak, and 
he woidd consider himself guilty of a flagrant act of infidelity 
to his own &me and honor, should he fail to make a profuse 
display of his powers, whether invited or uninvited, at eVery 
public meeting which may assemble within his readi. Such 
a speaker will suppose that he is renderipg acceptable ser- 


vice to his Creator, that he is imparting choice entertainment 
to his neighbors, that he is elevating the standard of his 
country's glory, and that he is decking his own brow with 
laurels as unfading as the amaranth, by discoursing on every 
rostrum which is sufficiently stable to support the weight of 
his person. 

In the vernal season of life, when each sound that falls on 
the ear breathes the music of hope, and when every open- 
ing prospect is arrayed in the bloom of coming felicity, the 
heart of the young speaker beats with a quickened pulsation 
of joy at every approaching opportunity of making a speech, 
which smiles in the distance, vainly imagining that the circle 
of his fame will be extended as the number of his speeches 
shall be multiplied. But this is a frothy and ephemeral bliss 
which tantalizes his bosom, — ^which mantles high in its in- 
ception, — which sparkles and expires, leaving a painful void 
in its transit. For it is an inflexible law of nature, that 
there is no earthly entertainment which may be ministered 
to the human taste too often or in a measure of unbounded 
profusion, without bringing the particular species of enter- 
tainment into contempt. Henry IV. of England, in the mem- 
orable rebuke which Shakspeare represents him as having 
given to Prince Henry, on the debasement of his person by 
vulgar association, and by constant exhibition, has vividly 
prefigured the principle which we here affirm to exist in con- 
nection with public speaking. The King says to the Prince : 

" By being eeldom Been, I could not stir, 
But like a comet, I was wondered at ; 
.....*. Not an eye, 
But is weary of thy common sight." 

The preceding fragment, which presents within very nar- 
row*limits so much of the simple philosophy of life, has been 
distilled from the lips of a royal &ther of England by the 
monarch of the poetical world. But the existence of that 


principle of decay which adheres to personal advantages or 
accomplishments, too much used, did not die with the fourth 
Henry of England ; it yet lives in all its original force anH 
vigor, and clings to all earthly possessions. 

The tendency of human accomplishnjents to depreciate, 
when displayed in a measure of prodigal liberality, is figured 
out in the rapid decline of attractions which is realized in the 
most interesting of all ear(My objects, a female arrayed in 
the blended charms of beauty, grace, and loveliness, by fre- 
quenting without any visible limitation the two-penny par- 
ties which occur in the circle within which she moves. 

We also observe the perceptible decline which occurs in 
the value of the precious metals, when a sudden augmenta- 
tion of the amount in circulation occurs, in any particular 
State or community. 

And we reooginze the foregoing principle, too, in the entire 
evaporation of the sweets of music, which at first broke upon 
the ear like celestial harmony, after it has been yielded gra- 
tuitously, and unsought for days in succession at the comers 
of the public squares and exchanges of a city. 

It is the nature of every blessing and comfort of life which 
may be obtained without an equivalent, and without an effort 
to acquire its possession on the part of a recipient, to be held 
in cheap estimation. And if the bloom of beauty, the pre- 
ciousness of gold, the glare of royalty, and the sweetness of * 
music, are each diminished in their power to interest by be- 
ing extended in a measure of superfluous fulness, it cannot 
be expected that oratory will experience an immunity from 
the conamon doom which is pronounced on all sublunary ac- 
complishments in their gratuitous extension and excessive 

The charm fedes from the hero of innumerable bloody 
and victorious fields, when the external badges of military 
life, the lace, the epaulettes, and the plumes, are continually 
floating before the public vision. And yet military glory is 


one of the most coveted possessions to which human ambi- 
tion may aspire, and it is the most aggrandizing and attraoi' 
tive of all earthly ornaments, when once acquired. 

And on contemplating this question, the public speaker 
will be compelled tp decide on it, as it shall be presented to 
him in connection with the nature of man. He has either 
to remodel the nature of man in such a way as to incorpo- 
rate with his constitution an enlargement of the affections, 
susceptibilities^ appetites, and powers of endurance, or he 
has to limit the stock of oratory which he throws into circu- 
lation, to an amount sanctioned by the public taste and in- 

The charms of oratorical entertainment will depreciate in 
regard to any particular person when he shall yield a super- 
fluous supply of this entertainment to any single assembly 
on some particular occasion, and it depreciates vastly, cer- 
tainly, visibly, rapidly, and constantly, by being dealt out 
with improvident frequency, either in large or in limited con- 
tributions to the people at large, at the varied points for as- 

The elocution of any particular speaker, to be highly esti- 
mated, must be obtained with some expenditure of efibrt by 
the assemblies who are to be instructed or entertained by it. 
The world will not,"and it cannot enjoy eloquence even of the 
most elevated grade of excellence, when it shall be thrust 
upon it, and it is certain to become satiated by its too fre- 
quent and liberal use, even when the commodity shall be de- 
manded or invited. 

Because oratorical powers of the highest order, judi 
qiously and sparingly used, have blessed their possessor 
with almost divine honors, the young speaker, anterior to 
the maturation of his practical experience, thinks that the 
oftener he , speaks, the more rapidly his fame will extend. 
But he will discover, to Ids intense mortification, «fter he 
shall have been discoursing to the different associations, dubs, 


and public meetings, which assemble within the circle of his 
sympathies, that an intimation that he is to speak at some 
particular place at a specified time, instead of operating as 
an engaging lure to attract the multitude to hear him in the 
majesty of its strength, wiU serve to keep them away as ef- 
fectually as the death-heads and men of straw hung around a 
corn-field, usually serve to stay the approach of marauding 



It has been frequently insisted, both by students and pro- 
fessional men, that luxurious living and ample feeding do not 
operate as a clog to intellectual operations. The principle 
embraced in this proposition has been adopted as a shield or 
cover by which to protect appetite and inclination from a 
surrender of any of their liberties. And it approximates 
very closely in its nature and character two refiiges which 
are habitually sought by a large proportion of our race, to 
protect them from public reprehension and from self-con- 
demnation. The one of these refuges may be found in the 
habitual proneness of every youth who is indolent at col- 
lege or at school, to fall back on any instance of early idle- 
ness he may find among the celebrated men of the world, 
and there to content himself in a soft and serene repose. 
The other refuge to which we have referred, is the practice 
so prevalent among the votaries -of intemperance, of endea- 
voring to mitigate the enormity of their own excesses, by ap- 
pealing to the authority of illustrious names which were en- 
rolled on the catalogue of the intemperate. 

But these expedients of a licentious taste are all as delu- 


sive as the maniac's vision, and must inevitably terminate, at 
some period or other, in landing those who adopt them, in 
the most dreary and unproductive wastes of life. So broad 
and glaring is the truth that a free indulgence in the pleasures 
of the table is utterly at variance with the successful pros- 
ecution of' intellectual pursuits, that men habitually luxuri- 
ous, who are jealous of their fame, will greatly contract the 
circle of their indulgence in food, when preparing a produc- 
tion which requires profound research and intense thought, 
or when about to engage in any intellectual labor of a con- 
troversial nature. With any prospective duty of a high in- 
tellectual character in contemplation, men who are habitually 
temperate in the use of food, grow abstemious, whilst free 
livers, under the same circumstances, become temperate as 
long as the duty is suspended over them. 

The most superficial thinkers are aware of the almost in- 
vincible disinclination to mental labor, which is induced by 
a hearty meal at any hour of the day. Books are thrown 
aside as useless incumbrances upon ease and pleasure, or if 
they should be taken up, the student passes through them 
with a leaden heaviness of reflection, and with a lifeless and 
reluctant pace. 

But even should the inclination to labor survive, in more 
than its wonted intensity, the influence of a hearty repast, it 
will be to a great extent an unproductive labor, the powers 
of thought under such circumstances will be usually feeble 
and sluggish, the perceptive faculties dim and obtuse, and 
the whole system of the mental faculties torpid and lethargic. 

Every person who may be at all conversant with the use 
of books, will remember with what incredible alacrity and 
lightness of mind they have commenced the performance of 
any intellectual labor, at a late hour of the night, which ap- 
peared to them invincibly repulsive during the previous day, 
whilst the mind was clogged by the stupefying influence of a 
hearty meal. 


It will also be remembered, too, by most persons, with 
how much yivacitj of thought and feeling they have been 
enabled to resume any duty requiring a profound application 
of thought, under the weight of which they had staggered on 
the previous day, from a free devotion to the pleasures of 
the table. 

There have been celebrated generals who ascribed the 
loss of a victory to an immoderate indulgence in the use 
of food immediately before going into action ; and though 
habitually sparing in his meals, we think Napoleon Bonaparte 
was amongst that number. And we doubt not there have 
})een many victories lost by this supervening impediment to 
dear and judicious thought, both on the field of martial strife 
and in the counsels of peaceful wisdom. 

There are many persons who are as cautious in getting 
themselves in proper tune for any trial of intellectual strength 
in which they feel a special degree of interest, as a man of 
the turf usually is in training a courser of high metal for a 
race,' on the issue of which thousands may be suspended. 
Men of this description relinquish the use of every gross or 
rich article of food, for days and sometimes weeks previous 
to the ostensible public performance of the duty before them, 
and confine themselves rigidly to the lightest articles of sus- 
tenance, and that in small quantities. And this previous 
surrender of all substantial food, is dictated by the blended 
consideration of securing the treasures of vigorous and ac- 
tive thought, bpth during the process of preparation and in 
the hour of performance. 

But a total or partial abstinence from every rich or luxu- 
rious article of subsistence, not only confers a very signal 
benefit on a public speaker in promoting the strength of his 
reflective and inventive powers, and in heightening the acute- 
ness of his perceptive fiunilties, but it also improves in a 
very visible degree his vocal fiufctions or powers of deKvery. 
Every speaker who addresses a jury or a popular assembly 



immediately after partaking of a hearty dimier, will find 
that his voice has been somewhat contracted in its compass, 
and that it will be also deficient in flexibility and melody. 
Hiese injurious effects are wrought in the. voice by that ful- 
ness and repletion of the glands and vessels about the throat 
and mouth which is produced by the stimulating influence 
of food. 

If the duty of addressing a jury or other assembly should 
devolve on a speaker after dinner, and he is aware that this 
duty is in reserve for him, he may be enabled to preserve 
his mental and physical system both in tone for the occasion 
by indulging in a very sparing use of food. And he should 
also be careful to re&ain from every article of gross food at 
at any hour of the day on which he is to speak, for the reason 
already assigned, that the mental operations are not only 
clogged by participating in rich food immediately before 
speaking, but the powers of delivery will also be impaired 
by the same cause. 

The safest course for a student in any department of life 
to pursue on this subject, is to live sparingly as the daily 
habit of his life, and he will always be in tune for intellec- 
tual investigations. And when he is summoned by his posi- 
tion in life to make an argument, or to prepare a production 
on any subject of vital moment to his own interests, or to 
the interests of others, he will not find it necessary to make 
any considerable surrender of comfort or convenience by a 
large reduction of his daily allowance of food. 

And wh^st on this subject it may be proper to state, that 
one who habitually lives bountifrdly has no just conception 
of the smallness of the quantity that a human being can live 
comfortably upon, when he adopts the resolution of limiting 
the amount of his daily supplies. And the capability of 
man to live comfortably on an amount of food small in com- 
parison with that which is now daily consumed by the bulk 
of our race, is not only revealed in the disciplinary treat- 


ment prescribed by physicians, but also in the very limited 
supply of food which is daily consumed by many of the ar- 
dent votaries of science and literature. 



The use of tobacco has become so pervasive in its charac- 
ter, as to lull almost into a state of quiet repose the spirit of 
speculation as to the extent of its baneful influence upon the 
varied interests of mankind. The specific amount of injury 
which is reflected by the use of this noxious weed on the 
health of its votaries, is a question which is not embraced 
within the province of this treatise. But it does fall within 
the pale of our present reflections to consider, to a brief ex- 
tent, the amount of detriment which is communicated by the 
use of tobacco, to the powers of a public speaker. 

And in elucidating this proposition, the mind may be ac- 
celerated in its progress to a just conclusion, without appeal- 
ing to the pages of medical research. That noble and benefi- 
cent science pours a flood of light on this path of exploration, 
which holds up to observation as conspicuously as the bright- 
ness of a star, the various injuries which are visited upon the 
interests of our race by the use of tobacco. And in *hat 
enlightened classification the pernicious effect of this practice 
upon the human voice is included. But entirely independent 
of the learned deductions of the medical profession on this 
subject, we possess ian infallible guide to accuracy of judg- 
ment, in the experience of public speakers who have habit- 
ually used tobacco in some of its varied forms, and also in 
the plain .iiiid legible results which must necessarily flow 


from pre-existing causes. Each of these auxiliaries to the 
spirit of inquiry affirm in characters of living and impressive 
light, that the voice suffers as much from the use of tobacco, 
as any other function of the human system. 

And it is perfectly natural that the result should be so. 
For the voice is as dependent for its fulness, flexibility and 
sweetness, upon the preservation of the glands and minute 
vessels connected with the mouth and throat in their natural 
and healthful state, as is the faculty of digestion dependent 
for the punctual and ^thful execution of its trust, upon 
keeping the organs about the stomach in a soimd and regu- 
lar condition. 

The organs of speech, comprehending the mouth and 
throat with their varied machinery, receive those supplies of 
moisture, which are calculated to soften the harshness of the 
voice, and to give it the power of easy expansion, from an 
almost countless number of minute vessels or nerves which 
serve as conductors for the saliva. If these vessels are so 
stimulated by the process of chewing or smoking, as to ex- 
haust in a given time, or even to consume a disproportionate 
share of those fluids, which are as essential to the facile 
movements of the vocal functions, as oil is to the motions 
of a mechanical machine, it must be perfectly evident to the 
reflecting mind, that the human voice cannot be as perfect 
and tuneable with its supply of moisture cut off or partially 
curtailed, as it would be with all its natural aids in full per- 
fection. The voice is injured either by the smoking of a 
cigttr, or by indulging in a chew of tobacco immediately 
precedent to the delivery of a speech ; for the surplus of 
moisture or saliva, which would greatly assist the vocal or- 
gans in performing a specific amount of labor, will be pre- 
viously drawn off by the stimulating influence of the pipe or 
the chew, and expended entirely in vain. But long persever- 
ance, either in the practice of chewing, smoking, or snuffing, 
is calculated to impart an injury to the voice, which is more 


permanent in its character than the simple act of taking one 
chew, one cigar, or one pinch of snufF. The injurious influ- 
.ence exerted by one brief indulgence in this "way, will be 
apt to expire with the act which gave it birth, whilst persist- 
ing in either of these forms of its use for a considerable length 
of time, not only deranges the application of the saliva^ but 
it blunts the delicacy of the nerves and vessels about the 
throat, in such a way, by keeping them constantly stimulated, 
as to require a total surrender of the use of tobacco, imited 
with the curative efficacy of time, to restore the voice to its 
original state. 

There was an orator in this country, whose &me is co-ex- 
tensive with the surfiice of the globe, who possessed a voice 
in speaking which was the perfection of music, and who yet 
was a habitual and prodigal taker of snuff. But his voice 
was originally so fine, and was so finely cultivated, that it 
preserved its silver tones in despite of a supervening encum- 
brance, just as some men of unusually robust constitutions, 
retain their health, vigor, and elasticity of frame, in defiance 
of the daily free use of stimulating liquids. 

It is almost the certain tendency of smoking, chewing, or 
snuffing, to render the voice hoarse, husky, and difficult of 
modulation. And for the purpose of subjecting the truth of 
this proposition to a &ir test, let a speaker who is in the 
habit of chewing or smoking, forego the luxury of his cigar 
or his chew, on the morning in which he . is to deliver a 
speech, and he will discover a perceptible improvement in 
the sound and intonations of his voice, even from the influ- 
ence of that brief respite. 




A BB80RT to stimulatiiig liquids, with the view of exhilar- 
ating the feelings and wanning the imagination, as a prepar- 
atory process to suooessful speaking, should be avoided like 
the fimg of a viper. For even if the presence of so perilous 
an ally should be palpably beneficial to a speaker in the im- 
provement of his oratorical powers, he will be greatly injui^ 
ed when he may not be able to command this auxiliary, in 
the affecting contrast which will be presented between his at- 
tractions then as a speaker, and when he has imbibed inspir- 
ation from the sparkling divinity. He will be as much inoon^ 
moded, too, by his inability to grasp this baneM quiver of 
strength when he is about to speak, as a lame man would be 
at the loss of his crutches when about to start on a cruise of 
pleasure, in which he might feel the liveliest interest ; or as 
a person of imperfect vision would feel at the abstraction of 
his spectacles when an illegible manuscript might be placed 
in his hands. 

Another ill-consequence of momentous magnitude almost 
invariably flows from a servile dependence on so noxious a 
resource in the intellectual performances of life, and that is 
the deadening influence which is exerted over the reputation 
of a speaker by the suspicion that he is incompetent to act 
with success in the pure domain of intellect, without appeal- 
ing to the most appalling appliance of vice. But inconceiv- 
ably the most startling evil among the hated brood which 
springs from the practice now under consideration, may be 
recognized in the &ct, that when a vice which pleads with 


the eloquence of original &scination to some minds, shall he 
commended to its votary hy the additional charm of utility, it 
will most certainly seize his affections with a grasp so unrelent- 
ing and invincible, that nothing short of the power of Omnipo- 
tence can break it. Let the sparkling beverage be recom- 
mended to the lips of its already impassioned votary by the 
strong superadded merit of having delivered him from the 
clutches of some irksome disease, and it will prove miracu- 
lous if he is not placed utterly beyond the reach of moral 
persuasion and friendly restraint to save him. 

But eloquence bears a glitter about it which shines more 
brightly and attractively to the human heart than even the 
return of blooming health to the cheek blanched with dis- 
ease, and an advocate or speaker of any description who 
shall be allured to even the occasional use of intoxicating 
drinks, with the hope of grasping the prize of eloquence 
through its aid, will never search for any returning path to 
the temple of sobriety and virtue. 

The path of human experience, both in this country and 
Britain, is strewed with mournful wr^s, in verification of 
the propositions which have been affirmed in this chapter. 
And if there be* an instance on record that serves to demon- 
strate that there ever was a speaker who habitually resorted 
to stimulants to improve his elocution, who possessed any 
extraordinary degree of power and fascination independent of 
that aid ; or that there ever was a speaker who was visibly 
improved in speaking by a recourse to stimulants, that ever 
was totally and completely reclaimed from the dominion 
of intemperance, then we are prepared to confess the revela- 
tion of a feet which has been entirely without the pale of 
our observation. 




^ X* 

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