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Of the qualities of Style strictly rhetorical,
PURITY, of which I have treated at some length in the two preceding chapters, may justly be denominated grammatical truth. It consisteth in the conformity of the expression to the sentiment which the speaker or the writer intends to convey by it, as moral truth consisteth in the conformity of the sentiment intended to be conveyed, to the sentiment actually entertained by the speaker or the writer; and logical truth, as was hinted above, in the conformity of the sentiment to the nature of things. The opposite to logical truth, is properly error; to moral truth, a lie ; VOL. II.
Of the qualities of style strictly rhetorical.
to grammatical truth, a blunder. Now the only standard by which the conformity implied in grammatic truth must be ascertained in every language, is, as hath been evinced already *, reputable, national, and present use, in that language.
But it is with the expression as with the sentiment, it is not enough to the orator that both be true. A sentence may be a just exhibition, according to the rules of the language, of the thought intended to be conveyed by it, and may therefore, to a mere grammarian, be unexceptionable; which to an orator may appear extremely faulty. It may, nevertheless, be obscure, it may be languid, it may be inelegant, it may be flat, it may be unmusical. It is not ultimately the justness either of the thought or of the expression, which is the aim of the orator; but it is a certain effect:to be produced in the hearers. This effect as he purposeth to produce in them by the use of language, which he makes the instrument of conveying his sentiments into their minds, he must take care in the first place that his style be perspicuous, that so he may be sure of being understood. If he would not only inform the understanding, but please the imagination, he must add the charms of vivacity and elegance, corresponding to the two sources from which, as was observed in the beginning of this work †, the merit of an address of this kind results. By vivacity,
* Vol. I. Book II. Chap. I. +Ib. Book I. Chap. I.