comparisons will show you the difference in the manner, and disturb the habit of throwing your thoughts into the peculiar form of written composition, which otherwise might become unmanageable.





But the practice of writing a speech must be pursued with this caution, that you guard yourself against acquiring the mannerism that belongs to it, and which very little experience will teach you to detect in any speaker who has written his speech and recites it from memory. Both thoughts and words, in written discourse, unconsciously, and in spite even of your efforts to prevent it, array themselves in different order from that which they fall into when spoken. By recommending to you the practice of composition with the pen, I do not therefore design to encourage the writing of speeches. There is indeed no error against which I would more emphatically warn you; but unless you can compose rapidly with the pen, you will not compose fluently from the lips; you may, indeed, talk sound sense, but you will talk it so badly that it will be a pain to listen to you.

The object of oratory is to influence your audience by convincing or persuading them; by satisfying their judgments or kindling and attracting their sympathies. Your

purpose is not, or ought not to be, to astonish them by ingenuity, or to gratify their tastes by your art. You appeal to their reason, or to their feelings, or to both, with intent to induce them to share your convictions or your emotions. Hence the presence

of earnestness on your part is necessary to your success. The mere appearance of conviction—an obvious sincerity of belief in the cause you are advocating—will often make more converts than the most unanswerable arguments; and such is the sympathy of human feelings, that the presence of real emotion in you is sure to command the feelings of your hearers; while the absence of it, or the show of it only, however well acted, will as certainly fail to carry an audience along with you. Thus mind is moved by mind ; thus feelings are stirred by feelings. The orator must never forget the poet's truth,

That we have all of us one human heart. There are vast variances of intellect, in all degrees, from Shakespeare to an idiot. The intelligence of your audience varies immensely, the best certainly being not the most numerous. Taste, fancy, perception and comprehension are as unlike in different persons as their features, and the full possession of them is as rare as beauty. But the emotions are nearly the same in all of us, of what class or training soever. Education cannot create nor neglect destroy them. Your most convincing appeals to the reason will be understood by few; the brightest pictures of your fancy will call up the like pictures only with the select of your listeners ; your wit will be appreciated but by the most refined ; and your most exquisite language will be understood by those alone whose tastes have been cultivated like your But your emotions will find an echo in every breast, even the rudest ; you will touch them simply by the force of sympathy. The just and the right will bring down applause, even from those who seldom do right or practise justice. Generous sentiments will be welcomed with hearty cheers ; righteous indignation will make the most sluggish bosom heave, and the dullest eye flash. If you doubt this, go to any public assembly and mark what most wins the ear and stirs the heart. Enter a theatre, and note what the galleries are the first to perceive and the heartiest to applaud. Not the wit, nor the wisdom, nor the loftiest flights of poetry ; but the generous sentiment, the noble deed, the true word, the honest indignation.


Think of this when you find your audience cold and unsympathising. Be then assured that the fault is in yourself; that


have not measured them aright; that they are not of intelligence sufficiently large and lofty for the height of your great argument. But bethink you also that they are men, and, if they have not minds, they assuredly have hearts. Cease to talk to the intellect and appeal to the feelings, and you will certainly succeed-if to succeed be your

ambition. And that is the purpose of speaking. The object of oratory is to move your audience. If you desire to persuade the distant or the future, you appeal to them • through the pen and the printing press. If you strive after both effects, you will probably fail in both, for the manner of address is different.

You will never carry an audience with you by a spoken essay ; you will never captivate a reader by a printed oration. The utmost that can be said of a recited discourse is, “How very clever! The utmost you can say of an oration you read is, “ How that would have moved me if I had heard it!”

Have, then, these maxims ever before you :

That the one purpose of oratory is to persuade your audience.

That an appeal to the sentiments and feelings of a mixed audience is always more effective than an appeal to their reason.

That to kindle emotions in your hearers you must yourself be moved. But

you must not begin your practice of written composition by writing speeches. Begin with a plain narrative in the plainest words. Eschew fine writing. Do not think it necessary to adopt a new language because you have a pen in your hand and paper before you. The fit words will come when you have clear thoughts and they have learned to flow freely. Take courageand it does require some courage at first—to call a spade by its proper name, “a spade ; that name will give a more correct idea of the thing you wished to say than any possible periphrasis. By way of beginning, relate some incident you may have witnessed ; resolve to describe it precisely as you saw it, and as you would have told it to a friend in the street, with no more effort as to the manner of telling it. You will be surprised to find how difficult this is. Nevertheless go on ; say something. Do it as well as you can. Having done it, read it aloud. You will doubtless be ashamed of the senseless jumble. But you may spare your blushes ; you have failed in common with many of unquestioned capacity. In truth, the thing you have been striving to do is the most difficult achievement in composition--the last to which experience attains. To say


have to say in few but simple words is the highest accomplishment of the art. Be not therefore disheartened; correct

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