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effect. And there are none, however eminent for natural abilities, who may not derive from study and reflection the most essential aid in attaining to that self-command; that enlarged conception of the subject under discussion; that methodical view of its several parts and bearings; that manly copiousness of expression; that fund of brilliant and apposite imagery; without which the foundest reasoning may be devoid of perspicuity, of energy, and of grace, and fail to carry conviction to the breast even of the most unprejudiced audience. A frequent and contemplative perusal of the works of the ancient masters of oratory, and of those moderns who have been the most distinguished for convincing the understanding and interesting the passions; attention to their mode of arrangement, to their choice of arguments and illustrations, and to their skill in adapting the style as well as the matter of the discourse to the subject on which they spoke, and the persons whom they addressed: these are the methods to be pursued by the parliamentary speaker, if he seeks to tread in the steps of his illustrious predecessors ; much more if he aspires to produce impressions on his bearers


fimilar to the wonders wrought by eloquence in classic ages, and to equal the monuments of Grecian and Roman fame. But let him beware of being betrayed into an affectation of fyftem and a pedantic display of learning; let him not suffer the love of applause to occupy his breast instead of the desire to do good. Nor let his attainments in oratory, whatever they may be, lead him into the habit of prag

. matically obtruding his sentiments on the House at inopportune seasons; with more frequency than his situation justifies; or with greater prolixity than the subject under difcussion requires. Repeated instances have oc.curred of parliamentary speakers, who by inattention to these circumstances have given permanent disgust to their hearers ; have essentially lowered themselves in the public estimation; and have radically impaired their power of benefiting their country.

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It sometimes happens even in the Upper House of Parliament, though much inore frequently in the Lower, that a young man of abilities, soon after Ire has taken his seat, makes his entry on the stage of debate in a prepared


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considerable length. Yet, except under circumstances extremely peculiar, this method of proceeding must be pronounced injudicious; both as being little accordant with the ingenuous diffidence of youth, and calculated rather to procure to the speaker some premature and transient applause, than to pave the way for his attaining and

permanently enjoying the well-earned praise of elo quence. The imputation of vanity and presumption will almost inevitably attend him. And however disposed his hearers may be to make reasonable allowances for these failings, the impression which each of them produced will revive in their minds as often as the memory of the oration recurs. If he exhibits (and where is the young man who is not in danger of exhibiting ?) some deficiency of judgement or of information; he so far defeats the very purpose which he has in view. If he acquits himself according to his own fanguine withes, a large deduction from the credit which he expects will be secretly made by the audience, prone to ascribe no extraordinary merit to a formally premeditated and laboured harangue. If he opens the debate,





this defalcation will be carried to its utmost

If he rises at a later period, he has more than common good fortune, if his

arguments have not already been in some degree anticipated and refuted. Add to these considerations the envy and the consequent aversion likely to be excited by his success in the breasts of other members of the House, jealous of being outstripped or equalled by a youthful, and, as it should seem, a self-important and ambitious competitor. The elated orator in the mean time construes in their literal acceptation the hyperbolical compliments bestowed by the partiality of his friends, and the encouragement which he receives from the candour and liberality of the House, willing to cherish the first efforts of promising abilities. Hence he contracts an overweening opinion of himself; and a disdain, not easily subdued, of taking an unoftentatious part in those common discussions, which, while they present many opportunities of doing good, and the best opportunities of acquiring a real knowledge of business, afford little room for a brilliant display of talents and elocution. He fears that he shall degrade himself from what


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he deems the height of acknowledged reputation and pre-eminence, if he descends to the level of vulgar concerns, and takes a part in matters capable of being conducted by men of ordinary faculties and attainments. Or, conscious perhaps that by his outset he has raised expectations which he is unable, or too indolent, to answer; he scorns to occupy a rank in the scale of public admiration one step lower than that to which he originally laid claim, deserts the unalluring sphere of usefulness, and proudly sinks into permanent silence and inactivity. Whatever powers of language may be originally poffessed, it is with the art of public speaking as with all other human acquisitions : genuine excellence eludes our grasp, until it rewards the attention of experience and the persevering diligence of practice. Let not the impatience of youth strive in early spring to rival with forced and unripened imitations the glowing fruits of autumn. Instead of arrogantly ranging himself as an equal by the side of the leaders of the House, and challenging with rash defiance a contest with the veterans of oratory, let the new debater confine himself to familiar topics of discussion ; rising when he

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