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greatest difference imaginable in the two cases. A man, through habit, becomes so perfectly master of a speech of thirty or forty lines, which will not take him three minutes to repeat, that he hath no anxiety about recollecting the words : his whole attention is to the sentiment. The case must be very different, when the memory is charged with a discourse, which will take thirty minutes to deliver.
Besides, it must be observed, there is a great difference between speaking an oration and repeating it. In the former case, the orator may by premeditation have made himself master of the argument; he may have arranged his matter in his own mind, but as to the expression, trusts to that fluency and command of language which by application and practice have become habitual to him. It is impossible, that any speech on any motion in the house of commons, except the first speech, should be gotten by heart. For every following one, if pertinent, must necessarily have a reference to what was said on the argument before. In like manner it is only the first pleading in a cause at the bar, which can have the advantage of such preparation. Whether those, who open the cause or question, always avail themselves of this power, and previously commit to memory every sentence they utter, I know not. But we do not find, that these speeches have generally a remarkable superiority in point of elocution, over those which follow, as it is certain, they can have no superiority at all in point of pronunciation. Several of Cicero's best orations were on the defensive side, and therefore could not have been composed verbatim before they were spoken. And the most celebrated oration of Demosthenes, that
which at the time had the most wonderful effect upon his auditory, and raised to the highest pitch the reputation of the speaker, the oration Wepu sebave, was an answer to Æschines's accusation; and such an answer as it was absolutely impossible should have been, either in words or method, prepared before hearing his adversary. So close is the respect it has, not only to the sentiments, but to the very expressions that had been used against him. And the two parties were at the time such rivals and enemies as to exclude the most distant suspicion of concert. It deserves our notice, that instances of all the faults in pronunciation above enumerated, except the last, are to be found both in the senate and at the bar; particularly the two extremes of violence and monotony. And these are easily accounted for. The one is a common consequence of strong passions, where there is neither the taste nor the judgment that are necessary for managing them. The other generally prevails where there is a total want both of taste and of feeling. It is remarkable, that the only other fault mentioned, the canting pronunciation, is hardly ever found but in the pulpit. Nay, what would at first appear incredible, I have known ministers whose sing-song manner in preaching was a perfect soporific to the audience, pronounce their speeches in the general assembly with great propriety and energy. The only account I can make of this difference is, that in the two former cases, in the senate and at the bar, the speeches are almost always spoken. Committing the whole, word for word, to memory, is, I believe, very rarely attempted. Now the general assembly partakes. of the nature both of a senate and court of judicature. Sermons, on the contrary, are more generally repeated. They are very few who trust to a talent of speaking ex. tempore in the pulpit. Now when once the attention, as was hinted already, loses hold of the thought, and is wholly occupied in tracing the series of the words, the speaker insensibly, to relieve himself from the difficulty of keeping up his voice at the same stretch, falls into a kind of tune, which, without any regard to the sense of what is said, returns as regularly, as if it were played on an instrument. One thing further may be urged in favour of reading, and it is of some consequence, that it always requires some preparation. A discourse must be written before it can be read. When a man who does not read, gets over, through custom, all apprehension about the opinion of his hearers, or respect for their judgment, there is some danger, that laziness may prompt him to speak without any preparation, and consequently to become careless what he says. But to return, the sum of what has been offered, is not that reading a discourse is universally preferable to repeating it. By no means.
By no means. But only that if the latter way admits of higher excellence, the former is more attainable and less hazardous.
It is to be regretted that the training of young men, who are intended for public speakers, to read and speak properly and gracefully is so much and so universally neglected in latter times. The ancients both of Greece and of Rome, sensible of the importance of this article in educating their youth for the forum and for the senate, were remarkably attentive to it; and it must be owned their success in this way was correspondent to their care. For however much we moderns appear to have surpassed them in some, and equalled them perhaps in all other arts, our inferiority in regard to eloquence will hardly bear a dispute. It is not possible however, that so great a defect in modern education should be supplied by a few cursory directions, which is all that your leisure and the prosecution of the other and still more important branches of my plan will here give scope for. To attain a mastery in the art of speaking would require much study, improved by exercise and corrected by conversation. But though we cannot do all that we would, let us not for this think ourselves excused from doing what we can.
The first thing then I would advise the young preacher at his setting out, in regard to the management of · his voice, is cautiously to avoid beginning on too high a clef. His natural tone of speaking in conversation is that which will always succeed best with him, in which, if properly managed, he will be best heard, be able to hold out longest, and have most command of his voice in pronouncing. Let it be observed, that in conversing (according as the company is large or small) we can speak louder or softer, without altering the tone. Our aim therefore ought to be, to articulate the words distinctly, and to give such a forcible emission to the breath in pronouncing, as makes the voice reach farther without raising it to a higher key. Every man's voice has naturally a certain compass, above which it cannot rise, and below which it cannot sink. The ordinary tone, on which we converse, is nearly about the middle of that compass. When we make that therefore, as it were, the key-note of our discourse, we have the power with ease of both elevating and depressing the voice, in uttering particular words, just as the sense requires, that they be uttered emphatically or otherwise. When we recommend the ordinary tone
of the voice in conversation, as that on which we ought in public to attempt to speak, we would not be understood to recommend an insipid monotony; we only mean to signify, that this should serve as the foundation note, on which the general tenour of the discourse should run. On the contrary, it being one of the best preservatives against that egregious fault in speaking, by giving the voice the greatest latitude both in rising and falling with facility, is one reason that I so earnestly recommend it. Every body must be sensible, that when the voice is at an unnatural stretch, it can give no emphasis to any word whatever without squeaking; so that the speaker, for the ease of his own lungs, is forced to take refuge, either in a tiresome monotony or a drowsy cant. Besides, it deserves to be remarked, that most men, when earnest in conversation on an affecting subject, naturally, without any study, give their voice the proper inflections which the import of what is said requires. When, therefore, we speak in public, if we ourselves enter seriously into the subject, and are as it were interested in it, we shall without any effort, being taught by nature and assisted by habit, give such an emphasis to the words which require it, and such cadence to the sentences, as in conversing on serious and moving subjects we never fail to employ. Whereas if we speak on a forced key, we cannot have the same assistance either from nature or habit.
A second direction I would give, is to be very careful in proceeding in your discourse, to preserve in the general tenour of it the same key on which you began. Many, who begin right, insensibly raise their voice as they advance, till at last they come to speak in a tone