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he enters into a controversy with A. Gellius, in order to prove that Aristotle's Rhetoric was not published till after Demosthenes had spoken, at least, his most considerable orations. Nothing can be more childish. Such Orators as Cicero and Demosthenes derived their knowledge of the human passions, and their power of moving them, from higher sources than any treatise of Rhetoric. One French Critic has indeed departed from the common track; and, after bestowing on Cicero those just praises to which the consent of so many ages shews him to be entitled, concludes, however, with giving the palm to Demosthenes. This is Fenelon, the famous Archbishop of Cambray, and Author of Telemachus; himself surely no enemy to all the graces and flowers of Composition. It is in his Reflections on Rhetoric and Poetry, that he gives this judgment; a small tract, commonly published along with his Dialogues on Eloquence. These dialogues and


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As his expressions are remarkably happy and beautiful, the passage here referred to deserves to be inserted." Je ne crains << pas dire, que Demosthene me paroit supérieur à Cicéron. Je proteste que person n'admire plus Cicéron que je fais. Il ❝embellit tout ce qu'il touche. It fait honneur à la parole. Il "fait des mots ce qu'un autre n'en sauroit faire. Il a je ne sai "combien de sortes d'esprits. Il est même court, et vehement, "touts les fois qu'il vent l'estre; contre Catiline, contre Verres, "contre Antoine. Mais on remarque quelque parure dan son "discours. L'art y est marveilleux; mais on l'entrevoit. L'ora"teur en pensant au salut de la république, ne s'oublie pas, et ne se laisse pas oublier. Demosthene paroit sortir de soi, et ne "voir que la patrie. Il ne cherche point le beau ; il le fait, sans



y penser. Il est au-dessus de l'admiration. Il se sert de la "parole, comme un homme modeste de son habit, pour se couvrir. "Il tonne; il foudroye. C'est un torrent qui entraine tout. On

reflections are particularly worthy of perusal, as containing, I think, the justest ideas on the subject that are to be met with in any modern critical writer.


The reign of Eloquence, among the Romans, was very short. After the age of Cicero, it languished, or rather expired; and we have no reason to wonder at this being the case. For not only was liberty entirely extinguished, but arbitrary power felt in its heaviest and most oppressive weight; Providence having, in its wrath, delivered over the Roman Empire to a succession of some of the most execrable tyrants that ever disgraced and scourged the human Under their government, it was naturally to be expected that taste would be corrupted, and genius discouraged. Some of the ornamental arts, less intimately connected with liberty, continued for a while, to prevail; but for that masculine Eloquence, which had exercised itself in the senate, and in the public affairs, there was no longer any place. The change which was produced on Eloquence, by the nature of the government, and the state of the public manners, is beautifully described in the Dialogue de Causis corruptæ Eloquentiæ, which is attributed by some to Tacitus, by others to Quinctilian. Luxury, effeminacy, and flattery overwhelmed all. The Forum, where so many great affairs had been transacted, was

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ne peut le critiquer, parcequ'on est saisi. On pense aux choses qu'il dit, et non à ses paroles. On le perd de vue. On n'est "occupé que de Philippe qui envahit tout. Je suis charmé de

ces deux orateurs: mais j'avoue que je suis moins touché de "l'art infini, et de la magnifique eloquence de Cicéron, que de la "rapide simplicité de Demosthene."


now become a desert. Private causes were still pleaded; but the Public was no longer interested; nor any general attention drawn to what passed there: "Unus inter hæc, et alter, dicenti, assistit ; "et res velut in solitudine agitur. Oratori autem "clamore plausuque opus est, et velut quodam "theatro, qualia quotidie antiquis oratoribus contin"gebant; cum tot ac tam nobiles forum coarctarent ; "cum clientelæ, & tribus, & municipiorum legationes, periclitantibus assisterent; cum in plerisque judiciis "crederet populus Romanus sua interesse quid judi"caretur."*


In the schools of the declaimers, the corruption of Eloquence was completed. Imaginary and fantastic subjects, such as had no reference to real life or business, were made the themes of declamation; and all manner of false and affected ornaments were brought into vogue: "Pace vestra liceat dixisse," says Petronius Arbiter, to the declaimers of his time, " primi ❝omnem eloquentiam perdidistis. Levibus enim ac "inanibus sonis ludibria quædam excitando, effecistis "ut corpus orationis enervaretur atque caderet. Et ❝ideo ego existimo adolescentulos in scholis stultis"simos fieri, quia nihil ex iis, quæ in usu habemus, "aut audiunt, aut vident; sed piratas cum catenis

*The Courts of Judicature are, at present, so unfrequented, "that the orator seems to stand alone, and talk to bare walls. "But Eloquence rejoices in the bursts of loud applause, and "exults in a full audience; such as used to press round the "ancient Orators, when the Forum stood crowded with nobles; "when a numerous retinue of clients, when foreign ambassadors, "when tribes, and whole cities assisted at the debate; and when, "in many trials, the Roman people understood themselves to be "concerned in the event."

"in littore stantes; et tyrannos edicta scribentes "quibus imperent filiis ut patrum suorum capita "præcidant; sed responsa, in pestilentia data, ut "virgines tres aut plures immolentur; sed mellitos "verborum globulos, et omnia quasi papavere, et "sesamo sparsa. Qui inter hæc nutriuntur, non "magis sapere possunt, quam bene olere qui in "culina habitant."* In the hands of the Greek rhetoricians, the manly and sensible eloquence of their first noted speakers degenerated, as I formerly shewed, into subtility and sophistry; in the hands of the Roman declaimers, it passed into the quaint and affected; into point and antithesis. This corrupt manner begins to appear in the writings of Seneca ; and shews itself also in the famous panegyric of Pliny the younger, on Trajan, which may be considered as the last effort of Roman oratory. Though the author was a man of genius, yet it is deficient in nature and ease. We see, throughout the whole, a

* "With your permission, I must be allowed to say, that you "have been the first destroyers of all true Eloquence. For by "those mock subjects, on which you employ your empty and "unmeaning compositions, you have enervated and overthrown all "that is manly and substantial in Oratory. I cannot but conclude, "that the youth whom you educate, must be totally perverted in "your schools, by hearing and seeing nothing which has any "affinity to real life, or human affairs; but stories of pirates stand❝ing on the shore, provided with chains for loading their captives, "and of tyrants issuing their edicts, by which children are com"manded to cut off the heads of their parents; but responses "given by oracles in the time of pestilence, that several virgins "must be sacrificed; but glittering ornaments of phrase, and a style "highly spiced, if we may say so, with affected conceits. They "who are educated in the midst of such studies, can no more "acquire a good taste, than they can smell sweet who dwell per "petually in a kitchen.




perpetual attempt to depart from the ordinary way of thinking, and to support a forced elevation.

In the decline of the Roman Empire, the introduction of Christianity gave rise to a new species of Eloquence, in the apologies, sermons, and pastoral writings of the Fathers of the Church. Among the Latin Fathers, Lactantius and Minutius Felix are the most remarkable for purity of Style; and, in a later age, the famous St. Augustine possesses a considerable share of sprightliness and strength. But none of the Fathers afford any just models of Eloquence. Their Language, as soon as we descend to the third or fourth century, becomes harsh; and they are, in general, infected with the taste of that age, a love of swoln and strained thoughts, and of the play of words. Among the Greek fathers, the most distinguished, by far, for his oratorial merit, is St. Chrysostome. His Language is pure; his Style highly figured. He is copious, smooth, and sometimes pathetic. But he retains, at the same time, much of that character which has been always attributed to the Asiatic Eloquence, diffuse and redundant to a great degree, and often overwrought and tumid. He may be read, however, with advantage, for the Eloquence of the pulpit, as being freer from false ornaments than the Latin Fathers.

As there is nothing more that occurs to me deserving particular attention in the middle age, I pass now to the state of Eloquence in modern times. Here, it must be confessed, that in no European nation, Public Speaking has been considered as so great an object, or been cultivated with so much care, as in Greece or Rome. Its reputation has never been so high; its effects have never been so considerable;

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