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panegyric cn virtue, with which I shall conclude the present Chapter :
“ I find myself existing upon a little spot, surrounded every way by an immense unknown expansion. Where am I? What sort of place do I inhabit ?Is it exactly accommodated, in every instance, to my convenience ? Is there no excess of cold, none of heat, to offend me? Am I never annoyed by animals either of my own kind, or a different? Is every thing subservient to me, as though I had ordered all myself?-No.-Nothing like it--the farthest from it possible. The world appears not then originally made for the private convenience of me alone ?-It does
“ But is it not possible so to accommodate it, by my own particular industry ? - If to accommodate man and beast, heaven and earth; if this be beyond me, 'tis not possible.- What consequence then follows ? Or can there be any other than this._ If I seek an interest of my own, detached from that of others; I seek an interest which is chimerical and can never have existence. How then must I determine ? have I no interest at all ? - If I have not, I am a fool for staying here. 'Tis a smoaky house, and the sooner out of it the better. --But why no interest ? -Can I be contented with none, but one separate and detached ?Is a social interest joined with others such an absurdity, as not to be admitted ? The bee, the beaver, and the tribes of herding animals, are enough to convince me, that the thing is, somewhere at least, possible. How then am I assured, that 'tis not equally true of man !-Admit it; and what follows ?--If so, then honor and justice are my interest—then the whole train of moral virtues are my interest; without some portion of which, not even thieves can maintain society.
« But farther still—I stop not here I pursue cial interest, as far as I can trace my several relations. I pass from my own flock, my own neighbourhood, my own nation, to the whole race of mankind, as dispersed throughout the earth.-Am I not related to them all, by the mutual aids of commerce ; by the general intercourse of arts and letters ; by that common nature, of which we all participate ?-Again-I must have food and clothing.Without a proper genial warmth, I instantly perish.Am I not related in this view to the very earth itself? To the distant sun from whose beams I derive vigour ? To that stupendous course and order of the infinite host of heaven, by which the times and seasons ever uniformly pass on ?- Were this order once confounded, I could not probably survive a moment; so absolutely do I depend on this common general welfare
“ What then have I to do, but to enlarge virtue into piety? Not only honor and justice, and what I owe to man, is my interest ; but gratitude also, acquiescence, resignation, adoration, and all I owe to this great polity, and its greater governor, our common Parent. « But if all these moral and divine habits be
interest, I need not surely seek for a better. I have an interest compatible with the spot on which I live-I have an interest which may exist, without altering the plan of Providence, without mending or marring the general order of events.-I can bear whatever happens with warlike magnanimity; can be contented; and fully happy in the good which I possess ; and can pass through this tur- . bid, this fickle, fleeting period, without bewailings, or envyings, or murmurings, or complaints.”
PART THE FIRST.
SPECIMENS OF POPULAR ELOQUENCE.
To the general rules of persuasion already laid down it may be proper to add, for the guidance of the young Orator, a few hints respecting the perspicuity and diffuseness, when he has to speak before a large body or numerous meeting of the people. He cannot want to be told that perspicuity of style is the most essential requisite, as without it the very purpose of speech would be defeated. But though the first object, upon all occasions, is to convey our ideas clearly and fully to the minds of others, yet the importance, or rather the necessity of doing so is increased, when we are addressing a popular assembly, and have no right to expect that our hearers will give themselves any trouble to guess at our confused meaning, or that all of them have quickness and sagacity enough to catch at every little glimpse in the general ohscurity of a long harangue, We must therefore, in such cases, take especial care not only that every hearer may understand us, but that it shall be impossible for him not to understand us;—that our meaning may strike the dullest or the most careless ;-that, to borrow the simile of
QUINTILIAN, the perspicuity of our language may rush upon the mind, as the light of the sun does upon
eye, even when not directed towards it.
I would not have the young Orator, however, under. rate too much the intellect or capacity of his audience, and thence deem it necessary to enter into tiresome details and frivolous illustrations. He is allowed to be more diffuse in an assembly of the people than in either house of parliament, or in courts of law; but his copiousness must not proceed to redundancy, and he must not forget in the ardor of amplification that too much is more offensive than too little. I am not now speaking of those noisy and conceited babblers, who seem to mistake loquaciousness for eloquence, and to consider volubility of tongue and intrepidity of face as the only requisite in a public speaker-I am for restraining the luxuriance even of real genius, and for subjecting the vehemence of passion itself to the controul of reason. The popular speaker will sometimes spread out his matter, but always in order to exhibit a more distinct and more comprehensive view of the subject, or to present an important truth in a variety of the most striking lights. He will never stoop to a vulgar strain; buť he knows that the true sublime is perfectly compatible with simplicity. His ideas and sentiments seem to arise out of each other, and to follow in so clear and natural an order, as very much contributes to increase the strength as well as lustre of the whole ; and all his words, though uttered with the greatest fluency, shew his happy choice and masterly command of the
, plainest, yet strongest expressions in the language.
General Elections are the grand scenes for the display and exertion of popular oratory, and it would be easy to fili many volumes with a collection of speeches delivered on such occasions. But very few of them can be selected