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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.'

Grant to the words 'positive' and 'negative' the comprehensive meaning here given to them, and let the distinction between the two classes be clearly made in the preparatory analysis, and it will be vastly easier to understand and teach this most complicated and difficult part of elocution, the right use of the rising and falling slides.

For, then, the one simple principle which follows will take the place, and preclude the use of, all the usual perplexing rules, with their many suicidal exceptions.


Positive ideas should have the 'falling' slide; Negative ideas should have the 'rising' slide.

Examples for the rising and falling slides.

"The war must go on. We must fight it through. And if the war must go dn, why put off longer the declaration of independence? That measure will strengthen us. It will give us character abroad.

"The cause will raise up armies; the cause will create navies. The people, the people, if we are true to them, will carry us, and will carry themselves, gloriously thr6ugh this struggle. Sir, the declaration will inspire the people with increased courage. Instead of a long and bloody war for restoration of privileges, for redress of grievances, for chartered immunities, held under a British king, set before them the glorious object of entire independence, and it will breathe into them »new the breath of Me.

"Through the thick gloom of the present, I see the brightness of the future, as the sun in heaven. We shall make this a glorious, an immortal day. When we are in our graves, our children will honor it. They will celebrate it with thanksgiving, with festivity, with bonfires, and illuminations. On its annual return, they will shed tears, copious, gushing tears, not of subjection and slavery, not of agony and distress, but of exultation, of gratitude, and of joy."


Questions, like other ideas, are negative, or positive, or compound, having one negative and one positive idea.


The direct question for information affirms nothing. Hence it is read with the rising slide, not because it may be answered by yes or no, but because it is in its nature negative.

The answer is positive, and, for that reason, is read with the falling slide.

"Do you see that beautiful star?" "Yes;" "Is n't it splendid?"

The speaker is positive, in the last question, that his friend will agree with him. This, and all such, must be read, therefore, with the falling slide.

"I said an elder soldier, not a better.
Did I say better?"

"He hath brought many captives home to Rome,
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill;
Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?"

"You all did see, that on the Liipercal,
I thrice presented him a kingly crown;
Which he did thrice refuse. Was this ambition?"

"Tell me, ye who tread the sods of yon sacred height, is Warren dead? Can you not still see him, not pale and prostrate, the blood of his gallant heart pouring out of his ghastly wound, but moving resplendent over the field of honor, with the rose of heaven upon his cheek, and the fire of liberty in his eye?

"But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year?"

This reading, with the falling slide on "year," changes the sense, as it makes one idea positive, and the answer must be "next week," or "next year." But both ideas are negative in Henry's speech; both must have the rising slide, then, according to the principle.

"Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house?"

"Is this a time to be gloomy and sad,

When our mother Nature laughs around;
When even the deep blue heavens look glad,

And gladness breathes from the blossoming ground?"

"' Will you ride, in the carriage, or on horseback?' 'I prefer to walk.'"

"' Will you read to us, a piece of prdse, or pdetry?' 'Allow me to sing instead.'"

"Will you study music, or French?"

All the ideas are negative in the last questions. Change the sense, and make one idea positive in each question, and we have one falling slide in each.

"Will you ride in the carriage, or on horseback?"

"Will you read to us a piece of prdse, or poetry?"

"Will you study music, or French?"


"When are you going to Europe?"

The prominent idea in this, is not the real interrogative, the idea of time in "when," but the positive idea, "You are going to Europe." Hence this, and all such questions must be read with the falling slide.

But if the interrogative is made the prominent and emphatic idea, (as when, the answer not being heard, the question is repeated,) the rising slide must be given.

"When are you going to Europe?"

"Why is the Forum crowded? What means this stir in Rome?"


The address also is positive or negative. It is negative, and read with the rising slide or suspension of the voice, when it is only formal and unemphatic, as "Friends, I come not here to talk."

When emphatic it is positive and demands the falling slide, as in the respectful opening address to any deliberative body or public assembly. "Mr. President," "Ladies and Gentle, men."


"Tell me, man of military science, in how many months were the Pilgrims all swept off by the thirty savage tribes, enumerated within the early limits of New England? Tell me, politician, how long did this shadow of a colony, on which your conventions and treaties had not smiled, languish on the distant coast? Student of history, compare for me the baffled projects, the abandoned adventures of other times, and find a paralle? of this."

"Was it the winter's storm beating upon the houseless heads of women and children; was it hard labor and spare meals;— was it disease, — was it the tomahawk, — was it the deep malady of a blighted hope, a ruined enterprise, and a broken

d heart, aching in its last moments at the recollection of the loved, and left beyond the sea; was it some or all of these united that hurried this forsaken company to their melancholy fate?"

These questions must be read with the 'falling' slide, to give the idea positively that each one of the enumerated causes was sufficient to produce the supposed result. The surprise is thus made all the greater in the next sentence, which must be read as an earnest negative with the long 'rising' slide.

"And is it possible that neither of these causes, that not all combined, were able to blast this bud of hope? Is it possible that from a beginning so feeble, so frail, so worthy not so much of admiration as of pity, there has gone forth a progress so steady, a growth so wonderful, an expansion so ample, a reality so important, a promise yet to be fulfilled, so glorious!"

When surprise thus deepens into astonishment, as it frequently does in its climax, the interrogative form should be changed to the exclamatory, which demands the falling slide.

"Partakers in every peril, in the glory shall we not be permitted to participate? And shall we be told as a requital that we are estranged from the noble country for whose salvation our life-blood was poured out!"


When ideas are contrasted in couples, the rising and falling slides must be contrasted in reading them. Contrasted slides may also sometimes be used for greater variety or melody.


1. "Sink or swim, live or die, survive or perish, I give my hand and heart to this vote."

"But, whatever may be dur fate, be assured, be assured that this declaration will stand. It may cost treasure, and it may cost blood; but it will stand, and it will richly compensate for both."

"Suppose that you see, at once, all the hours of the day

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