ENTERED ACCORDING TO ACT OF CONGRESS, IN THE YEAR 1865, BY
JOHN D. PHILBRICK,
IN THE CLERK'S OFFICE
OF THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS.
STEREOTYPED AND PRINTED BY
H. O. HOUGHTON AND COMPANY.
The design of this book is twofold,—to meet the present demand for new selections suited to the spirit of the hour, and also to furnish a choice collection of standard pieces for elocutionary exercises on which time has set its lasting seal. In the execution of this design no pains have been spared in selecting and preparing the best pieces, both new and old.
The extracts from recent productions, numbering about one hundred, by more than fifty different authors, are now for the first time presented in a Speaker. They are for the most part the eloquent utterances of our best orators and poets, inspired by the present national crisis, and are therefore "all compact of the passing hour," breathing "the fine sweet spirit of nationality,—the nationality of America." They give expression to the emotions excited, the hopes inspired, and the duties imposed by this stormy and perilous period. They afford brilliant illustrations of the statesmanship of the crisis. Sumner exposes the origin and mainspring of the rebellion, Douglass strips off its pretext, Everett paints its crime, Boutwell boldly proclaims its remedy in emancipation, and Banks pronounces a benediction on the first act of reconstruction on the solid basis of freedom to all. They furnish also an epitome of the convict of arms. Bryant utters the rallying cry to the people, Whittier responds in the united voice of the North, Holmes sounds the grand charge, Pierpont gives the command "Forward!" Longfellow and Boker immortalize the unconquerable heroism of our braves on sea and land, and Andrew and Beecher speak in tender accents the gratitude of loyal hearts to our fallen heroes.
These new pieces will for a time receive the preference over old ones, and some of them will survive the period which called them forth. But to insure for the work, if possible, a permanent value as a Standard Speaker for students of common schools, higher seminaries and colleges, the greater part of the selections, nearly three hundred in number, have been chosen from those of acknowledged excellence, and of unquestionable merit as exercises for recitation and declamation. This department comprises every variety of style necessary in elocutionary culture.
Another important feature of the collection is the introduction of those masterpieces of oratory—long excluded from books of this class, though now rendered appropriate by the new phase of public opinion,which advocate the inalienable rights of man, and denounce the crime of human bondage. Aware of the deep and lasting power which pieces used for declamation exert in moulding the ideas and opinions of the young, it has been my aim to admit only such productions as inculcate the noblest and purest sentiments, teaching patriotism, loyalty, and justice, and bring the youthful heart with ambition to be useful, and with heroic devotion to duty.
The text of the extracts has been made to conform to that of the most authentic editions of the works of their authors. Some pieces which have heretofore been presented in a mutilated form, are here restored to their original completeness. Where compression or abridgment has been necessary, it has been executed with caution, and with strict regard to the sentiments and ideas of the authors. Fully convinced that elaborate treatises on elocution more appropriately form separate publications, nothing of the kind has been included in this volume. A summary of practical suggestions to teachers and students was thought to form a more useful introduction. For the sake of artistic beauty in the page, as well as for the convenience of the student, the notes and explanatory remarks necessary for the proper understanding of the pieces, have been thrown together at the end of the volume, and so arranged that reference to them can be easily made.
This work, the preparation of which has been a recreation rather than a labor—an agreeable diversion from the daily routine of a laborious office,—is the embodiment of the experience and observation of twenty-five years, with reference to this description of literature. It originated in a desire to contribute something to the furtherance of the right education of the young men of my country, and the extent to which it promotes this object, will in my estimation, be the measure of its success.
Boston, July 4, 1864.
INTRODUCTORY REMARKS ON DECLAMATION.
It is not my purpose to present here a theory of elocution, or a systematic treatise on the art of speaking. My object will be accomplished if I succeed in furnishing a summary of practical suggestions and hints on the subject of declamation which shall prove useful both to student and to such teachers as have not made the study of elocution a specialty.
That a correct and impressive elocution is a desirable attainment, few will venture to deny. In my judgment it is the crowning grace of a liberal education. To the highest success in those professions which involve public speaking, it is, of course, indispensable. No person, whatever is to be his destination in life, who aspires to a respectable education and to mingle in good society, can afford to dispense with this accomplishment. If a young man means to succeed in life and attain distinction and influence, he should spare no pains in the cultivation of the faculty of speech. The culture of his vocal organs should keep pace with the culture of his mental powers. While acquiring a knowledge of literature and science, he should also form the habit of speaking his vernacular with propriety, grace, ease, and elegance, sparing no effort to acquire what has been aptly called "the music of the phrase; that clear, flowing, and decided sound of the whole sentence, which embraces both tone and accent, and which is only to be learned from the precept and example of an accomplished teacher."
As a means of acquiring an appropriate, effective, and graceful elocution for the purposes of conversation, reading, and public speaking, the exercise of declamation, when properly conducted, cannot be too highly valued. It must be confessed, however that the practice of declaiming as managed in some institutions, is comparatively useless, if not positively injurious. Hence arises the prejudice against it which exists in some quarters. And it is not surprising that the results of declamation should be unsatisfactory, considering the defective methods of conducting it, which are still prevalent in not a few places. What can be expected of declamation which consists in repeating on the stage a few pieces,—injudiciously selected and imperfectly committed,—without previous or accompanying vocal training? The remarks of Dr. Rush, on this topic, though made more than a quarter of a century ago, are still to some extent applicable. "Go to some, may I say all, of our colleges and universities, and observe how the art of speaking is not taught. See a boy of but fifteen treats sent upon the stage, pale and choking with apprehension, in an attempt to do that, without instruction, which he came purposely to learn; and furnishing amusement to his classmates, by a pardonable awkwardness, which should be punished in the person of his pretending but neglectful preceptor with little less than scourging. Then visit a conservatory of music; observe there the orderly tasks, the masterly discipline, the unwearied superintendence and the incessant toil to produce accomplishment of voice; and afterward do not be surprised that the pulpit, the senate, the bar, and the chair of the medical professorship are filled with such abominable drawlers, mouthers, mumblers, clutterers, squeakers, chanters, and mongers in monotony; nor that the schools of singing are constantly sending abroad those great instances of vocal wonder, who draw forth the intelligent curiosity and produce the crowning delight and approbation of the prince and the sage."
This eminent writer's great work on the Philosophy of the Human Voice has done much to correct the evil which he so graphically described. There are now some schools and colleges to be found in which elocution is taught with much skill and success. Among the disciples of Dr. Rush who have most successfully cultivated the art of elocution in America, the foremost place belongs to Professor William Russell, whose valuable and protracted labors in this department of education, both as an author and a practical instructor, merit the highest commendation.
As the first of my recommendations, I would, at the outset, strenuously insist on the importance of systematic vocal culture, which implies the training of the ear to perceive the various qualities and modifications of vocal expression, and the training of the voice to produce them. All the different functions of the voice employed in speech should be analytically exemplified by the teacher, and practised by the pupil, in the reading or recitation of short passages in which they are well illustrated, such as may be found in any good manual of elocution. This kind of teaching is to elocution what practice upon the scale is to music, and what the practice of the eye upon the harmony and contrast of colors is to painting.
This course of training naturally divides itself into two departments:—first that which is mechanical; and, secondly, that which relates to the expression of thought and emotion.
I. THAT WHICH IS MECHANICAL.
BREATHING. The human voice is a musical instrument, an organ of exquisite contrivance and adaptation of parts. Breath being the material of its sound, vocal training should begin with the function of breathing. Vigorous respiration is as essential to good elocution as it is to good health. To secure this it is necessary, in the first place, to attend to the posture, taking care to give the utmost freedom, expansion, and capacity to the chest, and then to exercise and develop all the muscles employed in respiration, so that they may be habitually used with energy and power, both in the inhalation and expulsion of the breath. Whenever the voice is to be used in speaking, reading, singing, or animated conversation, the pupil should be required to assume the proper position, and to bring into exercise the whole muscular apparatus of the vocal organs, including the muscles of the abdomen, of the back, of the ribs, and of the chest. Elocutionary exercises, especially that of declamation, thus practised with a due regard to the function of breathing, become highly beneficial in a hygienic point of view, imparting health and vigor to the whole physical system. The want of this kind of training is the cause of much of the bronchial disease with which clergymen and other public speakers are afflicted. In the excellent work on Elocution, by Russell and Murdock, the following exercises in breathing are prescribed and explained:—"Attitude of the body and position of the organs; deep breathing; diffusive or tranquil breathing; expulsive or forcible breathing; explosive or abrupt breathing; sighing; sobbing; gasping; and panting."
Experience has proved that the respiratory organs are susceptible of a high degree of development, and it is well known that the strength of the voice depends on the capacity, health, and action of those organs. It is therefore of paramount importance that elocutionary culture should be based on the mechanical function of respiration. And while the elocutionist trains his pupils in such breathing exercises as are above named, he is at the same time giving the very best part of physical education; for the amount of vital power, as well as the amount of vocal power, depends upon the health and vigor of the respiratory process. Few are aware how much may be effected by these exercises, judiciously practiced, in those constitutions where the chest is narrow, indicating a tendency to pulmonary disease. In all such cases, regularly repeated deep inspirations are of the highest value. It should be observed that these exercises are best performed in the open air, or, at least, in a well-ventilated room, the windows being open for the time. But no directions however wise or minute, can supersede the necessity of a competent teacher in this branch of physical and vocal training, and I cannot dismiss this topic without expressing my high appreciation of the value of the labors of that great master of the science of vocal culture, Prof. Lewis B. Monroe, of Boston, who is probably unsurpassed in this, or any other country, as a practical teacher of the mechanism and physiology of speech. Already the benefit of his instruction in this department of education is widely felt, and I omit no opportunity to advise teachers to avail themselves of a longer or shorter course of his admirable training. For if there is any accomplishment which a teacher should be unwilling to forego, it is that, of skill in elocution.
ARTICULATION. A good articulation consists in giving to each letter its appropriate sound, and to each syllable and word an accurate, forcible, and distinct utterance, according to an approved standard of pronunciation.
This is what constitutes the basis of all good delivery. It has been well said that good articulation is to the ear what a fair hand or a clear type is to the eye. Austin's often-quoted description of a good articulation must not be omitted here. "In just articulation, the words are not to be hurried over, nor precipitated syllable over syllable; nor as it were melted together into a mass of confusion. They should be neither abridged nor prolonged, nor swallowed, nor forced; they should not be trailed, nor drawled, nor let to slip out carelessly, so as to drop unfinished. They are to be delivered out from the lips as beautiful coins newly issued from the mint, deeply and accurately impressed, perfectly finished, neatly struck by the proper organs, distinct, in due succession, and of due weight." Good articulation is not only necessary to the speaker, as a condition of being heard and understood, but it is a positive beauty of delivery, for the elementary sounds of speech, when properly uttered, are in themselves both agreeable and impressive. For the attainment of this desirable accomplishment, three classes of exercises are necessary. 1. Upon the separate elementary sounds of the language, both vowels and consonants; 2. Upon their various combinations, both such as constitute syllables and such as do not, and especially the more difficult combinations of consonants; and, 3. Upon words; spelling them by sounds, that is, uttering the elementary sounds separately, and then the whole word.
Respecting these exercises, Dr. Rush observes:—"When the elements are pronounced singly, they may receive a concentration of organic effort, which gives them a clearness of sound, and a definiteness of outline, if I may so speak, at their extremes, that make a fine preparation for a distinct and forcible pronunciation of the compounds of speech." By elementary sounds is here meant the forty-two sounds of the language which are represented by the twenty-six letters of the alphabet. They are represented in the following
TABLE OF ELEMENTARY SOUNDS.
1. e, eve. 7. a, arm. 13. o, move. 2. i, in. 8. a, all. 14. u, full. 3. a, ale. 9, o, on. 15. u, tune. 4. e, end. 10. e, err. 16. i, isle. 5. a, air. 11. o, own. 17. oi, oil. 6. a, and. 12. u, un. 18. ou, our.
1. p, rope. 9. th, bath. 17. ch, etch. 2. b, robe. 10. th, bath. 18. dg,(j) edge. 3. f, safe. 11. s, buss. 19. sh, rash. 4. v, save. 12. z, buzz. 20. g,(zh) rouge. 5. m, seem. 13. l, feel. 21. k, rack. 6. w, way. 14. r, fear. 22. g, rag. 7. t, feet. 15. n, seen. 23. ng, sing. 8. d, feed. 16. y, yea. 24. h, hay.
Pronounce the word eve, for example, slowly and distinctly, observing the sounds which compose the word, and the movements of the organs in producing them. Then enunciate singly the sound which the letter standing on the left has in the word. When a distinct idea of each sound has been acquired, the practice on the separate elements may be continued without pronouncing the words. I have heard these sounds given with distinctness by children five or six years of age. Indeed they should always be taught with the alphabet.
The next step in articulation proceeds with the combinations of the elementary sounds. The most common combinations of consonantal sounds in pairs are those represented in the following
TABLE OF COMBINED CONSONANTS.
pl lf zm zn kr vd rth bl lv mp ln pr zd nth fl lt mf rn rp gd thz vl ld mt nt rb bz thr tl ls md nd rf vz thn dl lz mz ns rv dz lch sl lk pn nz rt gz rch zl lg fn pr rd nk nch kl lm vn br rz ks ndg(j) gl ln tn fr rk kt shr lp rm dn tr rg st ndg lb sm sn dr bd sp ndz
When the simpler combinations have become familiar, the more difficult, consisting of three or four consonants, should be practised upon. Finally, words should be pronounced simply as words, giving attention solely to the articulation. Not that the first steps are expected to be perfect before the succeeding ones are attempted, but that attention should be given to only one thing at a time, a grand maxim in education, when rightly understood. These exercises should be commenced with the first steps in reading, and continued until the articulation is perfected, and the student has acquired facility as well as precision, grace as well as force, and distinctness and ease have been united and permanently secured.
I would not be understood to affirm that the mode here pointed out is the only one by which a good articulation can be acquired. If a child is brought up among persons whose articulation is good, and if, from the earliest years, he is trained to speak with deliberation and distinctness, he will in most cases have a good articulation for conversational purposes, without special drilling on the elements.
II. THAT WHICH RELATES TO THE EXPRESSION OF THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS, INCLUDING THE QUALITIES AND MANAGEMENT OF THE VOICE.
This branch of vocal gymnastics comprises, first the appropriate discipline of the voice for its formation and development, by strengthening it, by extending its compass, and by improving its quality so as to render it full, sonorous, and agreeable; and, secondly, the training of the voice in those modifications which are used in the expressions of thought and feeling, including all that variety of management which appears in the delivery of a good speaker.
STRENGTH. To secure the requisite strength of voice should be our first aim in a course of vocal culture. So important was this element of elocutionary training considered by the Athenians, that they had a class of teachers who were wholly devoted to it as a specialty. The zeal and perseverance of Demosthenes in correcting the natural deficiencies of his voice, have passed into a proverb. How he was accustomed to run up the steepest hills, and to declaim on the sea-shore, when the waves were violently agitated, in order to acquire strength of voice and force of utterance is known to every school-boy.
If strength of voice is of paramount importance to the speaker, it is also an element which is very susceptible of cultivation. Professor Russell says,—"The fact is familiar to instructors in elocution, that persons commencing practice [in vocal gymnastics] with a very weak and inadequate voice, attain, in a few weeks, a perfect command of the utmost degrees of force." As has already been intimated, the strength of the voice depends directly upon the condition and use of the respiratory organs, including the larynx, and indirectly upon the general health and vigor of the whole physical system. The volume of breath which can be inhaled, and the force with which it can be expelled determine the degree of energy with which vocal sounds are uttered. This fact affords a clear indication of the proper mode of developing the strength of the voice. It is evident that the exercises which have for their object the strengthening of the voice, should also be adapted to develop and perfect the process of breathing. The student should be frequently trained in set exercises in loud exclamations, pronouncing with great force the separate vowel sounds, single words, and whole sentences, and at the same time taking care to bring into vigorous action, all the muscular apparatus of respiration. Shouting, calling, and loud vociferation, in the open air, both while standing, and while walking or running, are, with due caution, effective means of acquiring vigor of utterance. Children when at play are instinctively given to vociferation, which should be permitted, whenever practicable. One of the most remarkable examples of the extent to which the power of voice may be developed, is that of the Rev. Mr. Whitefield, the celebrated itinerant preacher. Having listened to his preaching in the open air, in Philadelphia, on a certain occasion, Dr. Franklin found by computation, that he might well be heard by more than thirty thousand auditors. It is said that the habit of speaking gave to the utterance of Garrick so wonderful an energy, that even his under-key was distinctly audible to ten thousand people. Dr. Porter sums up this matter thus :—"The public speaker needs a powerful voice; the quantity of voice which he can employ, at least can employ with safety, depends on his strength of lungs; and this again depends on a sound state of general health. If he neglects this, all other precautions will be useless."
COMPASS. When a person is engaged in earnest conversation, his voice spontaneously adopts a certain key or pitch. This is called the natural or middle key, and it varies in different persons. Pitt's voice, it is said, was a full tenor, and Fox's a treble. When a speaker is incapable of loud and forcible utterance on both high and low notes, his voice is said to be wanting in compass. Webster's voice was remarkable for the extent of its compass, ranging with the utmost ease, from the highest to the lowest notes, required by a spirited and diversified delivery; and such was said to be the versatility of Whitefield's vocal power, that he could imitate the tones of a female, or the infant voice, at one time, and at another, strike his hearers with awe, by the thunder of his under-key.
The want of compass is more frequently the result of bad habits of speaking and imperfect training than of incapacity of the vocal organs. Mr. Murdock, the well-known actor and elocutionist, tells us that, by appropriate vocal training, he gained, within the space of some months, to such an extent, in power and depth of voice, as to add to its previous range a full octave; and this improvement was made at a period after he supposed himself nearly broken down in health and voice, by over-exertion on the stage.
A command of the low notes is essential to the fullest effect of impressive eloquence. The strongest and deepest emotions can be expressed only by a full, deep-toned utterance. Speaking on one key, with only slight variations, either above or below it, is perhaps the most common, and, at the same time, the most injurious fault both of declaimers and of public speakers.
As a means of acquiring compass of voice, the student should pronounce with great force the vowel sounds on both the highest and lowest notes he can reach. This elementary drill should be followed by practice in reading and declaiming selections requiring the extreme notes of the compass. For practice on the low notes, passages should be selected expressing deep solemnity, awe, horror, melancholy, or deep grief. The following fine simile affords an excellent example for practice on the low notes:—
"So when an angel, by divine command, With rising tempests shakes a guilty land, Such as of late o'er pale Brittania passed, Calm and serene he drives the furious blast; And, pleased th' Almighty's orders to perform, Rides in the whirlwind and directs the storm."
The development of the top of the voice requires practice upon passages expressing brisk, gay, and joyous emotions, and the extremes of pain, fear, and grief. The following examples may serve as illustrations:
Last came Joy's ecstatic trial: He, with viny crown advancing, First to the lively pipe his hand addressed: But soon he saw the brisk, awakening viol, Whose sweet entrancing voice he loved the best. They would have thought, who heard the strain, They saw, in Temp's vale, her native maids, Amidst the festal-sounding shades, To some unlearned minstrel dancing; While, as his flying fingers kissed the strings, Love framed with Mirth a gay fantastic round. Strike—till the last armed foe expires; Strike—for your altars and your fires; Strike—for the green graves of your sires,— God.—and your native land!
QUALITY. A voice may possess the properties we have considered, strength and compass, and yet be very far from perfection. It may be neither loud, nor round, nor clear, nor full, nor sweet. While on the other hand, it may be hollow, or aspirated, or guttural, or nasal, or possibly it may be afflicted with a combination of these faults. As one of the most important conditions of success in the cultivation of the voice, it is necessary that the student should acquire a distinct conception of the qualities and characteristics of a good voice, as a standard, a beau-ideal, which he may strive to reach. This must be derived mainly from the illustrations of the teacher, or from listening to the speaking of an accomplished orator. No mere description is adequate to convey it to the learner without the aid of the living voice. And yet, such a quaint and charming description of both the negative and positive qualities of a good voice, as the following, from a colloquy between Professor Wilson and the Ettrick Shepherd, is worth studying:—
NORTH. (Professor Wilson)
"James, I love to hear your voice. An Esquimaux would feel himself getting civilized under it for there's sense in the very sound. A man's character speaks in his voice, even more than in his words. These he may utter by rote, but his 'voice is the man for a' that,' and betrays or divulges his peculiar nature. Do you like my voice, James? I hope you do."
Shepherd. (James Hogg.)
"I wad ha'e kent it, Mr. North, on the tower o' Babel, on the day o' the great hubbub. I think Socrates maun ha'e had just sic a voice—ye canna weel ca 't sweet, for it is ower intellectual for that—ye canna ca 't saft, for even in its aigh notes there's a sort o' birr, a sort o' dirl that betokens power—ye canna ca 't hairsh, for angry as ye may be at times, it's aye in tune frae the fineness o' your ear for music—ye canna ca 't sherp, for it's aye sae nat'ral—and flett it cud never be, gin you were even gi'en ower by the doctors. It's maist the only voice I ever heard, that I can say is at ance persuawsive and commanding—you micht fear 't, but you maun love 't; and there's no a voice in all his Majesty's dominions, better framed by nature to hold communion with friend or foe."
The quality of voice to which I would here call special attention is called pure tone, which in its perfection, accompanied with strength and compass, comprises nearly all the requisites of a good voice. "True utterance and pure tone," says Professor Russell, "employ the whole apparatus of voice, in one consentaneous act, combining in one perfect sphere of sound, if it may be so expressed, the depth of effect produced by the resonance of the chest, the force and firmness imparted by the due compression of the throat, the clear, ringing property, caused by the due proportion of nasal effect, and the softening and sweetening influence of the head and mouth."
The orotund quality which is so effective in impassioned utterance, and in the expression of deep, forcible, and sublime emotions, is nothing more than pure tone increased in extent of volume, and in intensity of force. This modification of pure tone is very full, very rounds very smooth, and very highly resonant or ringing. It is what Dr. Rush regarded as the highest perfection of speech-voice, and as the natural language of the highest species of emotion. Volume and energy are its distinguishing characteristics. The piece from Webster on page 160, is a good illustration of its use.
In cultivating purity of tone, it is necessary, in the first place, to ascertain the elements of impurity, and their causes and remedies. To this negative process must be added the positive, namely—attention to the due and proportionate development of all the vocal organs. Depth is increased by the expansion of the pharynx; roundness and volume are promoted by the enlargement of the oral cavity, especially its back part; and smoothness is the result of the free vibration of the vocal chords, while resonance is produced by the proper expansion of the chest.
MODULATION. This has reference, not to the qualities of the voice itself, but to its management in delivery. It includes those modifications and variations which are requisite for the expression of thoughts and feelings, and are therefore denominated by some elocutionists, the elements of expression, in distinction from the elements of utterance, which we have already considered under the preceding heads. The principal expressive modifications of the voice, are pitch, force, rate, pause, and infection. The voice should be exercised on these elements separately, till each can be produced in all its varieties and degrees. The middle pitch, or key-note, is that of common discourse, but by practice it may be rendered effective in public speaking. Neglect to cultivate and develop the power of speaking on this key, often leads speakers to adopt the high, shouting note, which is heard so commonly, and with so much disapprobation, at exhibitions of declamation. Every one can speak on a high key, although without training few can do it pleasingly; but command over the low notes of the voice is a rare accomplishment, and an unequivocal characteristic of the finished speaker. It is well to pay some attention to the very high and very low notes, not so much for their own utility in public speaking as for the purpose of giving strength and firmness to the notes which are intermediate between the natural pitch and either extreme, and which are designated as simply high and low, without any qualifying term. After accustoming the ear and voice to the different notes, the student should learn to make sudden transitions from one key to another.
FORCE. The principal degrees of force requiring attention, are three: the moderate, the declamatory, and the impassioned. The degrees lower than moderate are, the suppressed and the subdued; and those higher than impassioned are, shouting and calling. But these are not very important in practical delivery.
RATE has reference to the kinds of movement in delivery, including the rapid, the moderate, and the slow. Mrs. Siddon's primary rule for good reading was, "Take Time." Excessive rapidity of utterance is, undoubtedly, a very prevalent fault, both in speaking and in conversation. Deliberate speech is usually a characteristic of culture and good-breeding. This excellence is greatly promoted by giving due quantity, or prolongation of sound, to the vowels.
PAUSES. Besides the pauses required by the syntactical structure of the sentence, and denoted by grammatical punctuation, there are the pauses of passion, and the pauses at the termination of the clusters into which words are grouped in good speaking.
The pauses of emotion occur in impassioned delivery. They usually consist in lengthening the stops indicated by the punctuation marks, especially those of the points of exclamation and interrogation, and the dash. Pauses of this description constitute one of the most importent of the elements of emphatic expression, and yet they are, by many speakers, altogether neglected, or so abridged as to destroy their effect. The young student is particularly apt to disregard them.
The pauses which mark the grouping of words according to the sense, and afford rests for taking breath, should generally be introduced before the nominative, if it consists of several words, or if it is one important word; before and after an intermediate clause; before the relative; before and after clauses introduced by prepositions; before conjunctions; and before the infinitive mood, if any words intervene betwixt it and the word governing it.
INFLECTIONS. The two chief inflections or slides are the raising and the falling. The voice, when properly managed, usually rises or falls on each emphatic syllable. These upward and downward movements of the voice are what we mean by inflections. The student should practice on them till he can inflect with ease and in a full sonorous voice. Persons who are deficient in tune do not readily perceive the difference between the rising slide and loudness of voice, or the falling and softness. It is a very useful exercise to pronounce the long vowel sounds giving to each first the rising then the falling slide. The prolongation of these sounds is most profitably connected with the slides, the voice being thus strengthened in its whole range of compass, and, at the same time, accustomed to utter the musical sounds of speech with due quantity. In inflecting the vowels, the voice, in order to rise, begins low; and, in order to fall, it begins high.
The rising and falling slides combined form the circumflex, or wave, which is a very impressive and significant modification of the voice. It is chiefly used in sarcasm, raillery, irony, wit, and humor. It well deserves careful study and practice.
THE MONOTONE, is the repetition of nearly the same tone on successive syllables, resembling the repeated strokes of the bell. This element belongs to very grave delivery, especially where emotions of awe, sublimity, grandeur, and vastness are expressed, and is peculiarly adapted to devotional exercises. The following example well illustrates its use:
"He bowed the heavens also, and came down; and darkness was under his feet,—And he rode upon a cherub and did fly; yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind. He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies."
In practical delivery, the elements of expression are never used independently of each other, two or three being always combined, even in the utterance of the shortest passage. The perfection of vocal training, therefore, requires a command, not merely of each individual modification of the voice, but of all their numerous combinations. The following example requires the union of declamatory force, low pitch, slow rate, monotone, and orotund quality:—
"High on a throne of royal state, which far Outshone the wealth of Ormus. and of Ind, Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand, Showers on her kings barbaric pearl and gold, Satan exalted sat."
What has been said thus far, relates wholly to preparatory training in the elements of elocution. I have dwelt upon this theoretical department of my subject, because of its transcendent importance. But I do not mean to imply, in anything that has been presented, that the pupil should be confined exclusively to this disciplinary drill, for a long period, without attempting practical exercises in reading and declamation. On the contrary, I would recommend that this practice on the vocal and expressive elements be carried forward together with practice in speaking pieces. Exercises in vocal gymnastics, such as I have now indicated, should be commenced with the first stages of education, and continued, with gradations adapted to the age and progress of the pupil, through the whole course of instruction, whether longer or shorter. The value of thorough elementary training is well illustrated by the following anecdote respecting the education of the ear and the singing voice:—
"Porpora, one of the most illustrious masters of Italy, having conceived a friendship for a young pupil, exacted from him the promise that he would persevere with constancy in the course which he should mark out for him. The master then noted upon a single page of ruled paper, the diatonic and chromatic scales, ascending and descending; the intervals of third, fourth, fifth, &c. This eternal page occupied master and pupil until the sixth year, when the master added some lessons in articulation and declamation. At the end of this year, the pupil, who still supposed himself in the elements, was much surprised when Porpora said to him, 'Go, my son, you have nothing more to learn; you are the first singer of Italy, and of the world.' The master had spoken the truth, for this singer was Caffarelli, the greatest singer of the eighteenth century."
This term is used here, not in its limited and technical meaning, but in its largest sense, as a convenient one to denote the practical application of the principles of vocal culture which I have recommended. We will suppose the student to be thoroughly trained in enunciation, that his utterance is distinct and his pronunciation is correct, and that his voice is fully developed and well modulated. The question now arises, How is he to be guided in the right use of his powers of speech in the delivery of a given piece? On this point there is a wide difference of opinion among writers on elocution. On the one hand there are those who contend that, in the delivery of every sentence, the application of emphasis, pause, pitch, inflection, &c., should be governed by definite rules. In accordance with this theory, they have formed complex systems of elocutionary rules, for the guidance of pupils in reading aloud and in declamation. On the other hand, there are authorities of eminence, who regard all specific rules for the management of the voice in speaking as not merely useless, but positively injurious. Most prominent among the latter class is Archbishop Whately who, in speaking of the method of teaching expressive delivery by rules, says:—"Such a plan not only directs us into a circuitous and difficult path, towards an object which may be reached by a shorter and straighter, but also in most instances completely fails of that very object, and even produces oftener than not, effects the very reverse of what was designed." Reprobating very emphatically all systematic attention to elocution as an art, this eminent author advocates what he calls the natural manner of speaking, for the attainment of which he prescribes the rule, "not only to pay no studied attention to the voice, but studiously to withdraw the thoughts from it, and to dwell as intently as possible on the sense, trusting to nature to suggest spontaneously the proper emphasis and tones."
The true course seems to me to lie midway between these two opposite extremes. While it is useless to attempt to reduce to exact system all the modifications of voice to be employed in the delivery of both plain and allegorical language, still there are many important elocutionary rules and principles which are eminently useful for the guidance of the student. Because Walker fell into the error of attempting to carry his principles too far, and perplexed the student with an endless list of rules, it does not follow that all rules should be disregarded. His rules for inflections are, no doubt, too complex and artificial for ordinary instruction in elocution, but those found in the works of Dr. Porter and Professor Russell are calculated to afford important aid; and Professor Mark Bailey, in his Introduction to "Hillard's Sixth Reader," has still further simplified the subject. The following principles which he lays down for regulating the inflections are at once comprehensive and practical.
"The 'rising' and 'falling' slides separate the great mass of ideas into two distinct classes; the first comprising all the subordinate, or incomplete, or, as we prefer to name them, the negative ideas; the second comprising all the principal, or complete, or, as we call them, the positive ideas.
"The most important parts of what is spoken or written, are those which affirm something positively, such as the facts and truths asserted, the principles, sentiments, and actions enjoined, with the illustrations, and reasons, and appeals, which enforce them. All these may properly be grouped into one class, because they all should have the same kind of slide in reading. This class we call 'positive ideas.'
"So all the other ideas which do not affirm or enjoin anything positively, which are circumstantial and incomplete, or in open contrast with the positive, all these ideas may be properly grouped into another single class because they all should have the same kind of slide. This class we call 'negative ideas.'
"Positive ideas should have the falling slide; Negative ideas should have the rising slide.
"All sincere and earnest, or, in other words, all upright and downright ideas demand the straight, or upright and downright slides.
"All ideas which are not sincere or earnest, but are used in jest, or irony, in ridicule, sarcasm, or mockery, in insinuation or double-meaning, demand the crooked or circumflex slides."
These rules taken in connection with the accompanying brief but clear and precise explanation of the meaning attached to the words positive and negative, constitute the most admirable generalization that I have met with in elocutionary works of more recent date than that of Dr. Rush. And, indeed, Professor Bailey's whole treatment of that part of elocution now under consideration, is the best illustration I can name of the middle course which I recommend. Avoiding alike the ultra "artificial" system of Walker and the ultra "natural" system of Whately, he combines in his instruction the excellencies of both, without their faults. He is both philosophical in his theory, and practical in its application. He attempts only what is practicable. He insists on analysis, but his analysis is at once simple and comprehensive. He classes the different kinds of composition with respect to the emotions, as follows,—1. Unemotional; 2. Bold; 3. Animated or joyous; 4. Subdued or pathetic; 5. Noble; 6. Grave; 7. Ludicrous or sarcastic, 8. Impassioned,—and then indicates the modifications of voice appropriate for each.
Now such a course of training based on such principles, especially if pursued under a competent instructor, cannot fail to be highly beneficial. Experience has proved it. Whately is evidently in error in wholly proscribing attention to the voice in speaking. In learning to dance, the pupil must pay attention to the motions of his limbs, but when practice has made the movements familiar, his mind is withdrawn from them. They then become natural. Just so will the student of elocution. In his disciplinary exercises he must attend to his voice. He must become accustomed to the correct application of tones and inflections in the delivery of passages which illustrate them. But when he comes to practical delivery, then the mind should be withdrawn from the manner of utterance, and concentrated intensely upon the matter,—the thoughts and feelings to be expressed. In private rehearsals, the management of the voice will be a very prominent object of attention. Declamation is a sort of transition stage, or intermediate exercise between private rehearsal and practical delivery at the bar, in the pulpit, or on the platform, and will require more or less attention to the voice, in proportion to the progress already made by the pupil. Judicious practice will gradually carry him to that point where he will wholly cease to think of his manner, and become entirely absorbed in his subject. He then becomes natural. But even the most accomplished orator must occasionally give some thought to his voice. When he rises to address an audience in a new place he must consider the circumstances,—the capacity of the apartment, the nature and temper of his auditors, &c., and pitch his voice accordingly. In other words, the speaker must on all occasions give a general attention to his voice,—sufficient, at least, to adapt it to the requirements of the position in which he is placed, modifying it in the progress of the discourse, as the necessity of the case demands. If the matter of his discourse is very familiar, the skilful speaker may greatly augment the effectiveness of his delivery by more particular attention to the manner, while he will seem wholly absorbed in the spirit and sense of what he utters.
The limited space allotted to this introduction will not permit a full discussion of this topic, and I must content myself with presenting a few general observations concerning it.
The little child, in the unconscious freedom of childhood, before his actions and manners have been modified by the restraints of artificial life, affords the best model of gesture. His instinct prompts him to that visible expression of his thoughts and feelings
"Which we are toiling all our lives to find."
And it may be assumed as a general fact that external expression, unless repressed by habit or design, usually corresponds with internal emotion. The great desideratum in gesture is to make the visible expression in delivery harmonize with the audible, or, as Shakspeare has it, to "suit the action to the word, and the word to the action."
Professor Russell, in his excellent analysis of this subject says, "The true speaker must have a true manner; and of the five great attributes of genuine expression in attitude and action, TRUTH stands first, followed by FIRMNESS, FORCE, FREEDOM, and PROPRIETY. GRACE, which is sometimes added as a sixth, is, in all true manly eloquence, but another name for the symmetry which flows from appropriateness; and, in masculine expression, should never be a distinct object of attention."
In order to speak well, the orator must be able to stand well, that is, he should assume a firm but easy and graceful attitude, the weight of the body resting principally on one foot. The distance between the feet should be such as to give both firmness and freedom to the position One foot should be in advance of the other, the toes being turned outward. The attitude should vary with the thoughts and emotions expressed. Unemotional thoughts require an attitude of repose, the body resting on the retired foot. Bold and impassioned language requires the reverse of this. The body is thrown forward, resting on the foot advanced. In turning from side to side, the toes should be kept apart and the heels together.
The principal feature of bodily action consists in the proper use of the hands. "Have not," says Quintilion, "our hand's the power of exciting, of restraining, of beseeching, of testifying approbation, admiration, and shame? Do they not, in pointing out places and persons, discharge the duty of adverbs and pronouns? So amidst the great diversity of tongues-pervading all nations and peoples, the language of the hands appears to be a language common to all men." We stretch forth and clasp the hands when we importunately entreat, sue, beseech, supplicate, or ask mercy. To put forth the right hand spread open is the gesture of bounty, liberality, and a free heart; and thus we reward, and bestow gifts. Placing with vehemence the right fist in the left palm is a gesture commonly used to mock, chide, insult, reproach, and rebuke. To beckon with the raised hand is a universal sign of craving audience and entreating a favorable silence. To wave the hand from us, the palm outward, is the gesture of repulsion, aversion, dismissal. To shake the fist at one signifies anger and defiance and threatening. The hands are clasped or wrung in deep sorrow, and outstretched with the palms inward to indicate welcoming, approving, and receiving. In shame, the hand is placed before the eyes; in earnestness and ardor, the hands reach forward; in joy, they are thrown up, widely apart; in exultation and triumph, the right hand is waved above the head.
"In the rhetorical actions of the hand, the happy medium ought to be observed; for the action of the hand should be full of dignity and magnanimous resolution, making it a liberal index of the mind." A French writer admirably remarks that we should move the arms because we are animated, but not try to appear animated by moving the arms.
The countenance, especially the eye, should be made to speak as well as the tongue. It is said of Chatham, that such was the power of his eye, that he very often cowed down an antagonist in the midst of his speech, and threw him into confusion. It is through the eye, scarcely less than through the tones of voice, that intercourse of soul is carried on between the speaker and hearers. To secure this intercourse the speaker should let his soul beam from his eye. Nor should he fail to look at his hearers, if he would have his hearers look at him. Among the faults to be avoided in the management of the eye, Dr. Porter notices particularly that unmeaning look which the eye "bent on vacuity" has, resembling the inexpressive glare of the glass eye of a wax figure; that indefinite sweep of the eye which ranges from one side to the other of an assembly, resting nowhere; and that tremulous, roving cast of the eye, and winking of the eyelid, which is in direct contrast to an open, collected, manly expression of the face.
Among the faults of action to be noticed are:—1. Want of action; 2. Want of expression of countenance; 3. A stiff, or a careless, attitude; 4. Want of appropriateness; 5. Excess of motions of the hands and arms; 6. Too great violence of action; 7. Too great complexity; 8. A mechanical uniformity; 9. Tardiness, the action following the utterances when it should accompany it, or slightly precede it.
It must not be supposed that it is necessary for the pupil to receive training in a technical system of gesticulation before he commences his exercises in declamation. If the student designs to qualify himself to be a professor of elocution, he will need to study the laws of gesture in "Austin's Chironomia," and be instructed in their application by a skillful teacher. But this course is neither practicable nor necessary for the mass of students. Instruction in this department should generally be of a negative nature, and occupy itself mainly in the correction of faults. When the pupil commences his exercises in declamation, the less said about action the better. Freedom is the first thing to be secured, and, to attain this end, few directions should be given and few criticisms be made, at the outset. When the speaker has acquired some confidence, and freedom of action, his faults may be gradually pointed out, and his attention called to some general principles of gesture, such as have been presented respecting the language of the hands. Pupils should be taught to observe accurately the action of accomplished orators, not with the view to imitating their peculiarities, but to learn their method of producing effect by means of attitude and gesture.
Declamation should be attended to in all grades of educational institutions, from the primary school to the college, and every pupil should be required to take his turn in the performance of the exercise. It would be highly beneficial, if well taught. The reason why so many teachers have no taste for it, is because they have not taken pains to qualify themselves to teach it. Want of time is sometimes offered as an excuse for neglecting it. But if a part of the time which is devoted to teaching reading, were appropriately to declamation, the progress in reading itself would be more rapid, to say nothing of other advantages which would result from this course. I cannot too earnestly urge upon every teacher the importance of qualifying himself for teaching well both reading and declamation, There is no accomplishment which more effectively promotes the success of the teacher than that of elocutionary culture,—a good voice skillfully managed in conversation and in teaching. Without special attention to the subject, teachers are apt to acquire certain characteristic faults of voice, such as nasality, sharpness, harshness, and thinness of tone, of which they are quite unconscious. Whereas, by constant attention to the manner of using the voice, since they are in constant practice, it might be perfected in its modulation. For want of culture in the elocutionary art, many teachers are greatly deceived, thinking their pupils read and declaim well when they do not.
In the management of declamation much care should be taken in the selection of the pieces. It is best for the pupil, in the first place, after proper advice, to exercise his own taste in the selection of his piece, which should then be submitted to the teacher for approval. If the selection is very appropriate, the pupil should be commended and told why the piece is considered suitable. If the selection presented is not suitable, the pupil should be informed on what ground it is objected to, so as to aid his judgment in another attempt. If the pupil has made proper effort without success, he should be assisted by the teacher. It is very important that the selection should be suited to the capacity and progress of the pupil. Beginners should take simple pieces, and not be allowed, as is sometimes the case, to murder a passage from Paradise Lost, or Macbeth. Sometimes a fault is committed on the part of the teacher, by permitting a pupil to confine his selections to one favorite class. I have observed in certain schools, that one particular boy would always appear in a comic piece, another in a tragic, and so on. It would be better for the teacher to require each pupil to speak a variety of pieces, so as to secure a more general and comprehensive culture than would result from practice on a single class of selections.
The choice of the piece should be determined upon a considerable period previous to the day appointed for the public performance of the stage, so as to afford ample time for preparation. The piece should be accurately committed to memory, without the variation of a syllable. It should be made familiar, so that in the delivery no effort will be required in recalling it. The young pupil should be instructed in the best method of learning his piece. It will generally be found best to take one sentence at a time. The teacher's chief work consists in attending to individual private rehearsals. The rehearsal should be a drill. The piece should be analyzed more or less minutely, the allusions and difficult points being explained. It should be the first aim to make the pupil understand it, not only in its general spirit and scope, but in its particular ideas. His attention should then be turned to the emotions which it expresses. Let it be remembered that the paramount object should be to make the pupil understand the meaning and feel the spirit of the piece. If he is timid and diffident he should be encouraged. Tell him that even Daniel Webster could not make a declamation at the first attempt; but that he did not despair; he did not cease his efforts; he persevered and succeeded.
After the rehearsal, the pupil should have time to practice by himself and apply and confirm the instruction received from his teacher. It must be impressed upon his mind that if he would attain excellence he must practice, practice, practice. He must be made to understand that the repetition of a piece three or four times is no adequate preparation, and that it is necessary to go over with it twenty, thirty, or fifty times, if he would excel, and take a high rank.
When the declamation takes place, excepting on public occasions, the criticisms ought to be made immediately after the performance of each speaker. The faults of the diffident should be mildly criticized. It is very important to call attention to points of special excellence in any performance. It should be remembered that judicious commendation is a most powerful stimulant to exertion.
The most difficult task in teaching declamation is to develop that indescribable fervor, that unaffected earnestness of manner which always captivates the hearers, and wins the highest marks at an exhibition for prizes. There will always be one speaker in a school who excels all the rest in this quality. The teacher should point out the peculiar excellence of this speaker, and show wherein it differs from loudness of voice, and violence of actions and affected passion. Let it be remembered that the perfection of declamation consists in delivering the piece as though it were real speaking. The speaker must "put himself in imagination, so completely into the situation of him whom he personages, and adopt for the moment, so perfectly, all the sentiments and views of that character, as to express himself exactly as such a person would have done, in the supposed situation." Give the speaker every other quality—let his enunciation, his modulation of voice, and his action be faultless, and yet without earnestness, real earnestness,—not the semblance of it, not boisterous vociferation, not convulsive gesticulation, but genuine emotion felt in the heart, carrying the conviction to the hearers that the sentiments uttered are real, the spontaneous, irrepressible outpouring of the thought and feeling of the speaker,—without this sovereign, crowning quality, he cannot be said to speak with eloquence. To bring out and develop this highest quality of delivery, requires the highest skill in the teacher. Unless the teacher possesses some degree of this quality himself he cannot develop it in his pupils.
The best immediate preparation for speaking is rest. I have often noticed that speakers at exhibitions have in many cases failed to do themselves justice from sheer exhaustion. A day or two of repose previous to speaking, enables the speaker to bring to the performance that vigor of the faculties which is indispensable to the highest success, Webster told the Senate, and truly, no doubt, that he slept soundly on the night previous to the delivery of his second speech on Foote's resolution, which is considered his greatest parliamentary effort. It is well for the speaker to remember what Mr. Everett said in allusion to this fact: "So the great Cond slept on the eve of the battle of Rocroi, so Alexander slept on the eve of the battle of Arbela, and so they awoke to deeds of immortal fame."
The best training cannot make good readers and good speakers of all pupils, but it can do much. And it is a fact worthy of observation that those who are most sceptical as to the possibilities of elocutionary culture, are invariably those who are themselves unskillful teachers in this branch.
RECITATION AND DECLAMATION
IN PROSE AND POETRY.
I. THE NOBLE PURPOSES OF ELOQUENCE.
If we consider the noble purposes to which Eloquence may be made subservient, we at once perceive its prodigious import ance to the best interests of mankind. The greatest masters of the art have concurred, upon the greatest occasions of its display, in pronouncing that its estimation depends on the virtuous and rational use made of it.
It is but reciting the common praises of the Art of Persuasion, to remind you how sacred truths may be most ardently promulgated at the altar—the cause of oppressed innocence be most woefully defended—the march of wicked rulers be most triumphantly resisted—defiance the most terrible be hurled at the oppressor's head. In great convulsions of public affairs, or in bringing about salutary changes, every one confesses how important an ally eloquence must be. But in peaceful times, when the progress of events is slow and even as the silent and unheeded pace of time, and the jars of a mighty tumult in foreign and domestic concerns can no longer be heard, then, too, she flourishes—protectress of liberty—patroness of improvement—guardian of all the blessings that can be showered upon the mass of human kind;—nor is her form ever seen but on ground consecrated to free institutions.
To me, calmly revolving these things, such pursuits seem far more noble objects of ambition than any upon which the vulgar herd of busy men lavish prodigal their restless exertions. To diffuse useful information, to further intellectual refinement, sure forerunner of moral improvement,—to hasten the coming of the bright day when the dawn of general knowledge shall chase away the lazy, lingering class, even from the base of the great social pyramid;—this indeed is a high calling, in which the most splendid talents and consummate virtue may well press onward, eager to bear a part. Lord Brougham.
ROLLA TO THE PERUVIANS.
My brave associates—partners of my toil, my feelings, and my fame! Can Rolla's words add vigor to the virtuous energies which inspire your hearts?—No! You have judged, as I have, the foulness of the crafty plea, by which these bold invaders would delude you. Your generous spirit has compared, as mine has, the motives which, in a war like this, can animate their minds and ours.
They, by a strange frenzy driven, fight for power, for plunder, and extended rule;—we, for our country, our altars, and our homes. They follow an adventurer whom they fear, and obey a power which they hate;—we serve a monarch whom we love,—a God whom we adore. Wherever they move in anger, desolation tracks their progress. Wherever they pause in amity, affliction mourns their friendship.
They boast they come but to improve our state, enlarge our thoughts, and free us from the yoke of error! Yes;—they will give enlightened freedom to our minds, who are themselves the slaves of passion, avarice, and pride. They offer us their protection! Yes, such protections as vultures give to lambs,—covering and devouring them! They call on us to barter all the good we have inherited and proved, for the desperate chance of something better, which they promise!
Be our plain answer this: The throne we honor is the People's choice,—the laws we reverence are our brave fathers' legacy,—the faith we follow teaches us to live in bonds of charity with all mankind, and die with hope of bliss beyond the grave. Tell your invaders this; and tell them too, we seek no change; and, least of all, such change as they would bring us! R. B. Sheridan.
INVECTIVE AGAINST WARREN HASTINGS.
If, my Lords, a stranger had at this time gone into the province of Oude, ignorant of what had happened since the death of Sujah Dowlah—that prince who with a savage heart had still great lines of character, and who, with all his ferocity in war, had, with a cultivating hand, preserved to his country the wealth which it derived from benignant skies and a prolific soil—if, ignorant of all that had happened in the short interval, and observing the wide and general devastation of fields unclothed and brown; of vegetation burned up and extinguished; of villages depopulated and in ruins; of temples unroofed and perishing; of reservoirs broken down and dry, this stranger should ask, "what has thus laid waste this beautiful and opulent land; what monstrous madness has ravaged with wide-spread war; what desolating foreign foe; what civil discords; what disputed succession; what religious zeal; what fabled monster has stalked abroad, and, with malice and mortal enmity to man, withered by the grasp of death every growth of nature and humanity, all means of delight, and each original, simple principle of bare existence?" the answer would have been, not one of these causes! No wars have ravaged these lands and depopulated these villages! No desolating foreign foe! No domestic broils! No disputed succession! No religious super-serviceable zeal! No poisonous monster! No affliction of Providence, which, while it scourged us, cut off the sources of resuscitation! No! This damp of death is the mere effusion of British amity! We sink under the pressure of their support! We writhe under their perfidious gripe! They have embraced us with their protecting arms, and lo! these are the fruits of their alliance!
What then, my Lords, shall we bear to be told that, under such circumstances, the exasperated feelings of a whole people, thus spurred on to clamor and resistance, were excited by the poor and feeble influence of the Begums? After hearing the description given by an eye-witness of the paroxysm of fever and delirium into which despair threw the natives when on the banks of the polluted Ganges, panting for breath, they tore more widely open the lips of their gaping wounds, to accelerate their dissolution; and while their blood was issuing, presented their ghastly eyes to heaven, breathing their last and fervent prayer that the dry earth might not be suffered to drink their blood, but that it might rise up to the throne of God, and rouse the eternal Providence to avenge the wrongs of their country,—will it be said that all this was brought about by the incantations of these Begums in their secluded Zenana; or that they could inspire this enthusiasm and this despair into the breasts of a people who felt no grievance, and had suffered no torture?
What motive, then, could have such influence in their bosom? What motive! That which nature, the common parent, plants in the bosom of man; and which, though it may be less active in the Indian than in the Englishman, is still congenial with, and makes a part of his being. That feeling which tells him that man was never made to be the property of man; but that, when in the pride and insolence of power, one human creature dares to tyrannize over another, it is a power usurped, and resistance is a duty. That principle which tells him that resistance to power usurped is not merely a duty which he owes to himself and to his neighbor, but a duty which he owes to his God, in asserting and maintaining the rank which he gave him in his creation—that God, who, where he gives the form of man, whatever may be the complexion, gives also the feelings and the rights of man. That principle which neither the rudeness of ignorance can stifle, nor the enervation of refinement extinguish! That principle which makes it base for a man to suffer when he ought to act; which, tending to preserve to the species the original designations of Providence, spurns at the arrogant distinctions of man, and indicates the independent quality of his race. R. B. Sheridan.
THE BIBLE THE BEST CLASSIC
The Bible is the only book which God has ever sent, and the only one he ever will send into the world. All other books are frail and transient as time, since they are only the registers of time; but the Bible is as durable as eternity, for its pages contain the records of eternity. All other books are weak and imperfect, like their author, man; but the Bible is a transcript of infinite power and perfection. Every other volume is limited in its usefulness and influence; but the Bible came forth conquering and to conquer,—rejoicing as a giant to run his course,—and like the sun, "there is nothing hid from the heat thereof." The Bible only, of all the myriads of books the world has seen, is equally important and interesting to all mankind. Its tidings, whether of peace or of woe, are the same to the poor, the ignorant, and the weak as to the rich, the wise, and the powerful.
Among the most remarkable of its attributes, is justice; for it looks with impartial eyes on kings and on slaves, on the hero and the soldier, on philosophers and peasants, on the eloquent and the dumb. From all, it exacts the same obedience to its commandments: to the good, it promises the fruits of his labors; to the evil, the reward of his hands. Nor are the purity and holiness, the wisdom, benevolence, and truth of the Scriptures less conspicuous than their justice. In sublimity and beauty, in the descriptive and pathetic, in dignity and simplicity of narrative, in power and comprehensiveness, in depth and variety of thought, in purity and elevation of sentiment, the most enthusiastic admirers of the heathen classics have conceded their inferiority to the Scriptures.
The Bible, indeed, is the only universal classic, the classic of all mankind, of every age and country of time and eternity; more humble and simple than the primer of a child, more grand and magnificent than the epic and the oration, the ode and the dramas when genius, with his chariot of fire, and his horses of ire, ascends in whirlwind into the heaven of his own invention. It is the best classic the world has ever seen, the noblest that has ever honored and dignified the language of mortals!
If you boast that the Aristotles and the Platos, and the Tullies of the classic age, "dipped their pens in intellect," the sacred authors dipped theirs in inspiration. If those were the "secretaries of nature," these were the secretaries of the very Author of nature. If Greece and Rome have gathered into their cabinet of curiosities the pearls of heathen poetry and eloquence, the diamonds of pagan history and philosophy, God himself has treasured up in the Scriptures, the poetry and eloquence, the philosophy and history of sacred law-givers, of prophets and apostles, of saints, evangelists, and martyrs. In vain you may seek for the pure and simple light of universal truth in the Augustan ages of antiquity. In the Bible only, is the poet's wish fulfilled,— "And like the sun be all one boundless eye." T. S. Grimk.
WHAT WE OWE TO THE SWORD.
To the question, "What have the People ever gained but by Revolution?" I answer, boldly, If by revolution be understood the law of the sword, Liberty has lost far more than she ever gained by it. The sword was the destroyer of the Lycian Confederacy and the Achan League. The sword alternately enslaved and disenthralled Thebes and Athens, Sparta, Syracuse, and Corinth. The sword of Rome conquered every other free State, and finished the murder of Liberty in the ancient world, by destroying herself. What but the sword, in modern times, annihilated the Republics of Italy, the Hanseatic Towns, and the primitive independence of Ireland, Wales, and Scotland? What but the sword partitioned Poland, assassinated the rising liberty of Spain, banished the Huguenots from France, and made Cromwell the master, not the servant, of the People? And what but the sword of Republican France destroyed the independence of half of Europe, deluged the continent with tears, devoured its millions upon millions, and closed the long catalogue of guilt, by founding and defending to the last, the most powerful, selfish, and insatiable of military despotisms?
The sword, indeed, delivered Greece from the Persian invader, expelled the Tarquins from Rome, emancipated Switzerland and Holland, restored the Prince to his throne, and brought Charles to the scaffold. And the sword redeemed the pledge of the Congress of '76 when they plighted to each other "their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor." And yet, what would the redemption of that pledge have availed towards the establishment of our present government, if the spirit of American institutions had not been both the birthright and the birth-blessing of the Colonies? The Indians, the French, the Spaniards, and even England herself, warred in vain against a people, born and bred in the household, at the domestic altar of Liberty herself They had never been slaves, for they were born free. The sword was a herald to proclaim their freedom, but it neither created nor preserved it. A century and a half had already beheld them free in infancy, free in youth, free in early manhood. Theirs was already the spirit of American institutions; the spirit of Christian freedom of a temperate, regulated freedom, of a rational civil obedience. For such a people the sword, the law of violence, did and could do nothing but sever the bonds which bound her colonial wards to their unnatural guardian. They redeemed their pledge, sword in hand; but the sword left them as it found them, unchanged in character, freemen in thought and in deed, instinct with the immortal spirit of American institutions. T. S Grimk.
DUTY OF LITERARY MEN TO THEIR COUNTRY.
We cannot honor our country with too deep a reverence; we cannot love her with an affection too pure and fervent; we cannot serve her with an energy of purpose or a faithfulness of zeal too steadfast and ardent. And what is our country? It is not the East, with her hills and her valleys, with her countless sails and the rocky ramparts of her shores. It is not the North, with her thousand villages, and her harvest-home, with her frontiers of the lake and the ocean. It is not the West, with her forrest-sea and her inland-isles, with her luxuriant expanses, clothed in the verdant corn, with her beautiful Ohio and her majestic Missouri. Nor is it yet the South, opulent in the mimic snow of the cotton, in the rich plantations of the rustling cane, and in the golden robes of the rice-field. What are these but the sister families of one greater, better, holier family,—our country?
I come not here to speak the dialect, or to give the counsels of the patriot-statesman. But I come, a patriot scholar, to vindicate the rights and to plead for the interests of American Literature. And be assured, that we cannot, as patriot-scholars, think too highly of that country, or sacrifice too much for her. And let us never forget, let us rather remember with a religious awe,—that the union of these States is indispensable to our literature, as it is to our national independence and civil liberties,—to our prosperity, happiness, and improvement.
If, indeed, we desire to behold a literature like that which has sculptured with so much energy of expression, which has painted so faithfully and vividly, the crimes, the vices, the follies of ancient and modern Europe;—if we desire that our land should furnish for the orator and the novelist, for the painter and the poet, age after age, the wild and romantic scenery of war; the glittering march of armies, and the revelry of the camp; the shrieks and blasphemies, and all the horrors of the battle-field; the desolation of the harvest, and the burning cottage; the storm, the sack, and the ruin of cities;—if we desire to unchain the furious passions of jealousy and selfishness, of hatred, revenge, and ambition, those lions that now sleep harmless in their den;—if we desire that the lake, the river, the ocean, should blush with the blood of brothers; that the winds should waft from the land to the sea, from the sea to the land, the roar and the smoke of battle, that the very mountain-tops should become altars for the sacrifice of brothers;—if we desire that these, and such as these,—the elements, to an incredible extent, of the literature of the Old World,—should be the elements of our literature; then, but then only, let us hurl from its pedestal the majestic statue of our Union, and scatter its fragments over all our land.
But, if we covet for our country the noblest, purest, loveliest literature the world has ever seen,—such a literature as shall honor God, and bless mankind,—a literature, whose smiles might play upon an angel's face, whose tears "would not stain an angel's cheek,"—then let us cling to the Union of these State's with a patriot's love, with a scholar's enthusiasm, with a Christian's hope.
In her heavenly character, as a holocaust self-sacrificed to God; at the height of her glory, as the ornament of a free, educated, peaceful Christian people, American Literature will find that THE INTELLECTUAL SPIRIT IS HER VERY TREE OF LIFE, AND THE UNION HER GARDEN OF PARADISE. T. S. Grimk.
AMERICA'S OBLIGATIONS TO ENGLAND.
The honorable member has asked—"And now will these Americans, children planted by our care, nourished up by our indulgence and protected by our arms,—will they grudge to attribute their mite?" They planted by your care! No; your oppressions planted them in America! They fled from your tyranny to a then uncultivated and inhospitable country, where they exposed themselves to almost all the hardships to which human nature is liable; and, among others, to the cruelties of a savage foe the most subtle, and I will take upon me to say the most formidable, of any people upon the face of the earth; and yet, actuated by principles of true English liberty our American brethren met all the hardships with pleasure, compared with those they steered in their own country from the hands of those that should have been their friends.
They nourished by your indulgence! They grew by your neglect of them! As soon as you began to care about them, that care was exercised in sending persons to rule them, in one department and another, who were, perhaps, the deputies of deputies to some members of this House, sent to spy out their liberties, to misrepresent their actions, and to prey upon them;—men whose behavior, on many occasions, has caused the blood of those sons of liberty to recoil within them; men promoted to the highest seats of justice,—some who, to my knowledge, were glad by going to a foreign country, to escape being brought to the bar of a court of justice in their own.
They protected by your arms! They have nobly taken up arms in your defence;—have exerted a valor, amid their constant and laborious industry, for the defence of a country whose frontier was drenched in blood, while its interior parts yielded all its little savings to your emolument. And, believe me,—remember I this day told you so,—that same spirit of freedom which actuated that people at first will accompany them still; but prudence forbids me to explain myself further.
Heaven knows I do not at this time speak from motives of party heat. What I deliver are the genuine sentiments of my heart. However superior to me, in general knowledge and experience, the respectable body of this House may be, yet I claim to know more of America than most of you, having seen that country and been conversant with its affairs. The people, I believe, are as truly loyal as any subjects the king has; but they are a people jealous of their liberties, and who, if those liberties should ever be violated, will vindicate them to the last drop of their blood. Isaac Barr.
WEBSTER'S PLEA FOR DARTMOUTH COLLEGE.
The Supreme Court of the United States held its session that winter in a mean apartment of moderate size—the Capitol not having been built after its destruction in 1814. The audience, when the case came on, was therefore small, consisting chiefly of legal men, the lite of the profession throughout the country. Mr. Webster entered upon his argument in the calm tone of easy and dignified conversation. His matter was so completely at his command that he scarcely looked at his brief, but went on for more than four hours with a statement so luminous, and a chain of reasoning so easy to be understood, and yet approaching so nearly to absolute demonstration, that he seemed to carry with him every man of his audience without the slightest effort or weariness on either side. It was hardly eloquence, in the strict sense of the term; it was pure reason. Now and then, for a sentence or two, his eye flashed and his voice swelled into a bolder note, as he uttered some emphatic thought; but he instantly fell back into the tone of earnest conversation, which ran throughout the great body of his speech.
The argument ended. Mr. Webster stood for some moments silent before the court, while every eye was fixed intently upon him. At length, addressing the chief justice, Marshall, he proceeded thus:—
"This, Sir, is my case! It is the case, not merely of that humble institution, it is the case of every college in our land. It is more. It is the case of every eleemosynary institution throughout the country,—of all those great charities founded by the piety of our ancestors to alleviate human misery; and scatter blessings along the pathway of life. It is more! It is, in some sense, the case of every man among us who has property of which he may be stripped; for the question is simply this: Shall our State legislatures be allowed to take that which is not their own, to turn it from its original use, and apply it to such ends or purposes as they, in their discretion, shall see fit?
"Sir, you may destroy this little institution; it is weak; it is in your hands! I know it is one of the lesser lights in the literary horizon of our country. You may put it out. But if you do so, you must carry through your work! You must extinguish one after another, all those great lights of science which, for more than a century, have thrown their radiance over our land!
"It is, Sir, as I have said, a small college. And yet, there are those who love it——."
Here the feelings which he had thus far succeeded in keeping down, broke forth. His lips quivered; his firm cheeks trembled with emotion; his eyes were filled with tears, his voice choked, and he seemed struggling to the utmost simply to gain that mastery over himself which might save him from an unmanly burst of feeling. I will not attempt to give you the few broken words of tenderness in which he went on to speak of his attachment to the college. The whole seemed to be mingled throughout with the recollections of father, mother, brother, and all the trials and privations through which he had made his way into life. Every one saw that it was wholly unpremeditated, a pressure on his heart, which sought relief in words and tears.
The court-room during these two or three minutes presented an extraordinary spectacle. Chief Justice Marshall, with his tall and gaunt figure, bent over as if to catch the slightest whisper, the deep furrows of his cheek expanded with emotion, and eyes suffused with tears. Mr. Justice Washington at his side,—with his small and emaciated frame, and countenance more like marble than I ever saw on any other human being,—leaning forward with an eager, troubled look; and the remainder of the court, at the two extremities, pressing, as it were, toward a single point, while the audience below were wrapping themselves round in closer folds beneath the bench to catch each look and every movement of the speaker's face. If a painter could give us the scene on canvas,—those forms and countenances, and Daniel Webster as he then stood in the midst,—it would be one of the most touching pictures in the history of eloquence. One thing it taught me, that the pathetic depends not merely on the words uttered, but still more on the estimate we put upon him who utters them. There was not one among the strong-minded men of that assembly who could think it unmanly to weep, when he saw standing before him the man who had made such an argument, melted into the tenderness of a child.
Mr. Webster had now recovered his composure, and fixing his keen eye on the Chief Justice, said in that deep tone with which he sometimes thrilled the heart of an audience,—
"Sir, I know not how others feel, (glancing at the opponents of the college before him,) but, for myself when I see my Alma Mater surrounded, like Caesar in the senate-house, by those who are reiterating stab upon stab, I would not, for my right hand, have her turn to me, and say Et tu quoque, mi fili! And thou, too, my son!"
He sat down. There was a deathlike stillness throughout the room for some moments; every one seemed to be slowly recovering himself and coming gradually back to his ordinary range of thought and feeling. C. A. Goodrich.
THE FOUNDERS OF BOSTON.
On this occasion, it is proper to speak of the founders of Our city, and of their glory. Now in its true acceptation, the term glory expresses the splendor which emanates from virtue, in the act of producing general and permanent good. Right conceptions, then, of the glory of our ancestors, are to be obtained only by analyzing their virtues. These virtues, indeed, are not seen charactered in breathing bronze, or in living marble. Our ancestors have left no Corinthian temples on our hills, no Gothic cathedrals on our plains, no proud pyramid, no storied obelisk, in our cities. But mind is there. Sagacious enterprise is there. An active, vigorous, intelligent, moral population throng our cities, and predominate in our fields;—men, patient of labor, submissive to law, respectful to authority, regardful of right, faithful to liberty. These are the monuments of our ancestors. They stand immutable and immortal, in the social, moral, and intellectual condition of their descendants. They exist in the spirit which their precepts instilled, and their example implanted.
It was to this spot, during twelve successive years, that the real body of those just settlers emigrated. In this place, they either fixed permanently their abode, or took their departure from it, for the coast or the interior. Whatever honor devolves on this metropolis, from the events connected with its first settlement, is not solitary or exclusive; it is shared with Massachusetts; with New England; in some sense, with the whole United States. For what part of this wide empire, be it sea or shore, lake or river, mountain or valley, have the descendants of the first settlers of New England not traversed; what depth of forest not penetrated? what danger of nature or man not defied? Where is the cultivated field, in redeeming which from the wilderness, their vigor has not been displayed? Where, amid unsubdued nature, by the side of the first log-hut of the settler, does the school-house stand, and the church-spire rise, unless the sons of New England are there? Where does improvement advance, under the active energy of willing hearts and ready hands, prostrating the moss-covered monarch of the wood, and from their ashes, amid their charred roots, bidding the green sward and the waving harvest to unspring, and the spirit of the fathers of New England is not seen, hovering and shedding around the benign influences of sound, social, moral, and religious institutions, stronger and more enduring than knotted oak or tempered steel? The swelling tide of their descendants has spread upon our coasts, ascended our rivers, taken possession of our plains. Already it encircles our lakes. At this hour, the rushing noise of the advancing wave startles the wild beast in his lair among the prairies of the West. Soon it shall be seen climbing the Rocky Mountains, and, as it dashes over their cliffs, shall be hailed by the dwellers on the Pacific, as the harbinger of the coming blessings of safety, liberty, and truth. Pres. Quincy.
THE AMERICAN SAILOR.
Look to your history—that part of it which the world knows by heart,—and you will find on its brightest page the glorious achievements of the American sailor. Whatever his country has done to disgrace him, and break his spirit, he has never disgraced her;—he has always been ready to serve her; he always has served her faithfully and effectually. He has often been weighed in the balance, and never found wanting. The only fault ever found with him is, that he sometimes fights ahead of his orders. The world has no match for him, man for man; and he asks no odds, and he cares for no odds, when the cause of humanity or the glory of his country calls him to fight.
Who, in the darkest days of our Revolution, carried your flag into the very chops of the British Channel, bearded the lion in his den, and woke the echoes of old Albion's hills by the thunders of his cannon, and the shouts of his triumph? It was the American sailor. And the names of John Paul Jones, and the Bon Homme Richard, will go down the annals of time forever. Who struck the first blow that humbled the Barbary flag—which, for a hundred years, had been the terror of Christendom,—drove it from the Mediterranean, and put an end to the infamous tribute it had been accustomed to extort? It was the American sailor, and the name of Decatur and his gallant companions will be as lasting as monumental brass.
In the year 1812, when your arms on shore were covered by disaster,—when Winchester had been defeated, when the army of the Northwest had surrendered, and when the feeling of despondency hung like a cloud over the land,—who first relit the fires of national glory, and made the welkin ring with the shouts of victory? It was the American sailor. And the names of Hull and the Constitution will be remembered as long as we have left anything worth remembering.
The wand of British invincibility was broken when the flag of the Guerrire came down. That one event was worth more to the Republic than all the money which has ever been expended for the navy. Since that day the navy has had no stain upon its escutcheon, but has been cherished as your pride and glory. And the American sailor has established a reputation throughout the world,—in peace and in war, in storm and in battle,—for heroism and prowess unsurpassed. He shrinks from no danger, he dreads no foe, he yields to no superior. No shoals are too dangerous, no seas too boisterous, no climate too rigorous for him. The burning sun of the tropic cannot make him effeminate, nor can the eternal winter of the polar seas paralyze his energies. R. F. Stockton.