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of the present Age, who observes what paffes among us; and speaks of the Abuses that reign in our own Days ? Now you liave heard the Sentiments of this wife Heathen : what do you say of that Eloquence which tends only to please, and give pretty. Descriptions; when (as he says) we ought to cauterize, and cut to the Quick; and earnestly endeavour to cure People's Minds by the Bitterness of Remedies, and the Severity of an abstemious Diet? I appeal to your own Judgment in this Cafe: if you were fick, wou'd you be pleas’d with à Physician, who in the Extremity of your Illness shou'd waste his Time, and ámuse you with explaining to you somne fine Hypothesis in an elegant Stile ; instead of inaking pertinent Inquiries into the Cause, and Symptoins of your Disteinper; and prescribing suitable Remedies. Or, in a Trial at Law, where your Estate, or your Life were at stake, what would you think of your Lawyer, if he shou'd play the Wit in your Defence, and fill his Pleading with Flowers of Rhetorick and quaint Turns, instead of arguing with Gravity, Strength of Reason, and
disgust the best Things, if they coine found and unadorn'd: they are in open defiance againft Reafon ; profeffing not to hold much Correspondence with that ; but with it's slaves, the Paffrons : they give the Mind a Morion too changeable and bewitching, to consist with right Practice.
Bp. SPRAT's Hift. of the Royal Society, p. 111, 112,
Earnestness, to gain your Cause? Our natural Love of Life, and Well-being, shows us plainly the Absurdity of false Oratory, and of the unseasonable Ostentation of it, in such Cases as I have now mentioned: but we are so strangely unconceru'd about Religion, and the moral Conduct of Life, that we do not observe the same Ridicule in careless, vain-glorious Orators; who yet ought to be the spiritual Physicians and Censors of the People. Indeed the Sentiments of SoCRATES on this Subject ought to make us asham’d.
B. I perceive clearly enough that, according to your Reasoning, Orators ought to be the Defenders of the Laws, and Instructors of the People to teach them true Wisdom and Virtue. But ainong the Romans the Rhetorick of the Bar was otherwise employ’d.
A. That was certainly the End of it. For, when Orators had not occasion to represent in their Discourses, the general Wants of the Republick : they were oblig'd to protect Innocence, and the Rights of particular Persons. And it was on this Account that their Profession was so inuch honour'd; and that Tully gives us such a * lofty Character of a true Orator. B. B. Let us hear then how Orators ought to speak. I long to know your Thoughts on this point: seeing you deny the finical, florid manner of ISOCRATES, which is so much adınir'd and iinitated by others.
* Neque verò mihi quidquam præstabilius videtur, quam pofse dicendo tenere Hominum cæcus, mentes al
A. Instead of giving you my own 0pinion, I shall go on to lay before you the Rules that the Antients give us : but I shall only touch upon the chief Points : For, I suppose, you don't expect that I should enter into an endless Detail of the Precepts of Rhetorick. There are but too many
must have read in those Books where they are copiously explain'd. It will be enough if we consider the most important Rules. Plato in his Phædrus Thews us, that the greatest Fault of Rhetoricians is their studying the Art of Perswasion, before they have learn't, (from the Principles of
licere, voluntates conpellere quo velit; unde autem velit, deducere. Hæc una res in omni libero populo, maximeque in pacatis tranquillisque civitatibus præcipuè semper floruit
, semperque dominata est. Quid enim eft aut tam admirabile, quam ex infinita multitudine hominum existere unum, qui id quod omnibus Naturâ fit datum, vel folus, vel cum paucis facere possit? tam potens, tamque magnificum, quam populi motus, Judicum religiones, Senatus gravitatem, unius oratione converti? ac ne plura, quæ sunt penè innumerabia lia, consecter, comprehendam brevi ; fic enim ftatuo, perfecti Oratoris moderatione, & fapientia, non solum ipfius Dignitatem, fed & privatorum plurimorum, & niverfe Reipublicæ falutem maximè contineri —
Csc. de Orat, lib. j. S. 8.
true Philosophy,) what those things are of which they ought to perswade Men. He wou'd have Çrators begin with the Study of Mankind in general; and then apply themselves to the Knowledge of the particular Genius and Manners, of those whom they may have Occasion to instruct and perswade. So that they ought first of all to know the Nature of Man, his chief End, and his true Intereft; the Parts of which he is compos’d, his Mind, and his Body; and the true Way to inake hin happy: They ought likewise to understand his Pallions, the Disorders they are subject to, and the Art of governing thein; how they may be usefully rais'd, and enploy'd on what is truly good; and, in fine, the proper Rules to make him live in Peace, and become entirely fociable. After this general Study, coines that which is particular. Orators ought to know the Laws and Custoins of their Country; and how far they are agreeable to the Genius and Temper of the People;, what are the Manners of the several Ranks and Conditions among 'em; their different Ways of Education, the coinınon Prejudices, and separate Interests that prevail in the prefent Age, and the inost proper Way to instruct and reforın the People. You see, Şir, this Knowledge comprehends all the folid Parts of Philosophy and Politicks,
So that PLATO ineant to shew us, that none but a Philosopher can be a true Orator. And 'tis in this Sense we must understand all he says in his GORGIAS, against the Rhetoricians ; I mean, that Set of Men who made Profession of talking finely, and perswading others : without endeavouring to know, froin folid Philosophy, what one ought to teach them. In fhort, according to PLATO, the true Art of Oratory consists in understanding those ufeful Trutlis of which we ought to convince People ; and the Art of moving their Passions, in order to Perfwasion. * CICERO fays almost the very same thinge. He seems, at first, to think that an Orator fhrou'd know every thing; becaufe that he
may have occafion tò fpeak on all sorts of Subjects; and (as SOCRATES obferv'd before him) + a Man can never talk well on a Point of which he is not intirely
* Ac mea quidem sententia nemo poterit effe omni laude cumulatus Oitator, nisi erit omnium rerum magnarum, atque artium scientiam consecutus. De Orat. lib. i. §. 6. Oratorem plenum atque perfectum efle eum dicam, qui de omnibus rebus poflit variè copioféque di cere. Ibid. S. 13. Verum enim oratori quæ sunt in hoz minum vita, quandoquidem in ea versetur orator, atque ea est ei fubjecta materies, OMNI A quæsita, audita, lecta, disputata, tractata, agitata effe debent. Lib. iij.
† Etenim ex rerum cognitione efflorescat, & redundet oportet
Oratio : quæ, nisi subest res ab Oratore percepta, & cognita, inanem quandam habet elocutionem, & penè puerilem. De Orai. lib. j. 5. 6.