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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year one thousand eight hundred and fisty-two, by
CHAUNCEY A. Goodrich,
in the Office of the Clerk of the District Court of the District of Connecticut
Mr. Hume has somewhere remarked, that "he who would teach eloquence must do it chiefly by examples.” The author of this volume was forcibly struck with this remark in early life; and in entering on the office of Professor of Rhetoric in Yale College, more than thirty years ago, besides the ordinary instructions in that department, he took Demosthenes' Oration for the Crown as a text-book in the Senior Class, making it the basis of a course of informal lectures on the principles of oratory. Modern eloquence came next, and he endeavored, in a distinct course, to show the leading characteristics of the great orators of our own language, and the best mode of study. ing them to advantage. His object in both courses was, not only to awaken in the minds of the class that love of genuine eloquence which is the surest pledge of success, but to aid them in catching the spirit of the authors read, and, by analyzing passages selected for the purpose, to initiate the pupil in those higher principles which (whether they were conscious of it or not) have always guided the great masters of the art, till he should learn the unwritten rules of oratory, which operate by a kind of instinct upon the mind, and are far more important than any that are found in the books.
Such is the origin of this volume, which contains the matter of the second course of lectures mentioned above, cast into another form, in connection with the speeches of the great British orators of the first and second class. A distinct volume would be necessary for American eloquence, if the lectures on that subject should ever be published.
The speeches selected are those which, by the general suffrage of the English public, are regarded as the master-pieces of their respective authors. They are in almost every instance given entire, because the object is to have each of them studied as a complete system of thought. Detached passages of extraordinary force and beauty may be useful as exercises in elocution; but, if dwelt upon exclusively as models of style, they are sure to vitiate the taste. It is like taking all one's nutriment from highly-seasoned food and stimulating drinks.
As to the orators chosen, CHATHAM, BURKE, Fox, and Pitt stand, by universal consent, at the head of our eloquence, and to these Ersking may be added as the greatest of our forensic orators. Every thing, however imperfect, from a man like CHATHAM is of interest to the student in oratory, and therefore all his speeches are here inserted, including eight never before published in this country. All of Burke's speeches which he prepared for the press have also found a place, except that on Economical Reform, which, relating to mere matters of English finance, has less interest for an American. In room of this, the reader will find the most striking passages in his works on the French Revolution, so that this volume contains nearly every thing which most persons can have any desire to study in the pages of Mr. Burke. Six of Fox's great speeches are next given, and three of Pitt's, with copious extracts from the early efforts of the latter; together with nine of Erskine's ablest arguments, being those on which his reputation mainly rests. Among the orators of the second class, the reader will find in this volume four speeches of Lord MANSFIELD; two of Mr. GRATTAN's, with his invectives against Flood and Corry; Mr. SHERIDAN's celebrated speech against Hast.
ings; three of Mr. Curran's; Sir James MACKINTOSH s famous speech for Peltier; four of Mr. CANNING'S; and five of Lord BROUGHAM's, including his instructive discourse on the study of eloquence in the Greek orators. Some of the most finished letters of Junius are given in their proper place, with remarks on his style as an admirable model of condensation, elegance, and force. In the first fifty pages will be found nearly all the celebrated speeches before the days of Lord Chatham, from Sir Robert WALPOLE, Lord CHESTERFIELD, Mr. PULTENEY, Lord BELHAVEN, Sir John Digby, the Earl of STRAFFORD, and Sir John Eliot. The selections in this volume extend through a period of two hundred years, and embrace a very large proportion of the most powerful eloquence of Great Britain.
The following are the aids afforded for the study of these speeches :
(1.) A memoir of each orator, designed to show his early training in eloquence, the leading events of his public life, the peculiar cast of his genius, and the distinctive characteristics of his oratory. It ought to be said, in justice to the author, that these sketches were completed in every essential particular, long before the publication of Lord Brougham's work upon
(2.) A historical introduction to each of the speeches, explaining minutely the circumstances of the case, the state of parties, and the exact point at issue, being intended to place the reader in the midst of the scene as an actual spectator of the contest. These introductions, with the memoirs just mentioned, form a slight but continuous thread of political history, embracing the most important topics discussed in the British Parliament for more than a century.
(3.) An analysis of the longer speeches in side-notes, giving the divisions and subdivisions of thought, and thus enabling the reader to perceive at once the connection and bearing of the several parts.
(4.) A large body of explanatory notes, bringing out minuter facts or relations of the parties, without a knowledge of which many passages lose all their force and application.
(5.) Critical notes, as specimens of the kind of analysis which the author has been accustomed to apply to the several parts of an oration, and which every student in oratory should be continually making out for himself.
(6.) Translations of the passages quoted from the ancient and foreign languages, with the poetry rendered into English verse. The passages are usually traced to their sources, and the train of thought given as it appears in the original, without a knowledge of which most quotations have but little force or beauty. For the same reason, the classical and other allusions are traced out and explained.
(7.) A concluding statement of the way in which the question was decided, with occasional remarks upon its merits, or the results produced by the decision.
Great compression has been used in preparing this volume, that all who are interested in the study of eloquence may be able to possess it. Each
. page contains the matter of three ordinary octavo pages in Pica type ; and the whole work has in it one sixth more than Chapman's Select Speeches, or Willison's American Eloquence, in five octavo volumes each.
In conclusion, the author may be permitted to say, that while he has aimed to produce a volume worthy of lying at all times on the table of every one engaged in speaking or writing for the public, he has hoped it might prove peculiarly useful to men of his own profession ; since nothing is more desirable, at the present day, than a larger infusion into our sacred eloquence of the freedom, boldness, and strength which distinguish our secular oratory.
Sept. 1st, 1852.
CON TEN T S.
His early life, 1 ; elected to the House at the opening of
leader of the Opposition, 54-5; comparison between
him and Lord Mansfield, 55; gains a complete ascend.
ancy in the House, 56; unites with Mr. Pelham, and is
made Paymaster of the Forces, ib.; exhibition of dig.
interestedness, 56-7; on the death of Pelham comes out
against Newcastle, his successor, 58; attack on Mans-
ignation, 60; dismissed soon after, and all England in
Straford, ib.; changes sides and comes out against the
is raised into the House of Lorda, 67 ; his loss of health
and inability to administer the government, 68; resigns
against the Graston ministry, 69 ; it falls before him, ib.;
ces of Lord Belhaven's speech against it, ib.
Speech in favor of Inquiring into the conduct of Sir
SPEECH On the Septennial Act....
SPEECH against the Quartering of British Soldiers on the
SPEECH in favor of an immediate Removal of the British
ib.; his general unpopularity, ib.; his death, ib. SPEECH against a Motion for adjourning Parliament, De-
cember 11th, 1777..
LAST SPEECH upon America, with the circumstances of
his Death ..
His birth, 45 ; early love of polite literature, ib. ; elegance
of his manners, ib.; his acuteness and wit as a public
His birth, 143; descended from the Stormont family, which
adhered to the Stuarts, ib.; sent early to the Westmin-
ster school, ib.; his great proficiency, ib. ; removed to
Oxford, ib.; his studies in rhetoric, ib.; commences the
study of the law, ib. ; laborious training in extempora-
neous speaking, ib.; historical studies, 144; practice in
elocution, ib. ; a favorite of Pope, ib.; extent of his
His birth and early sufferings from the gout, 52; his ed- business as a lawyer, ib.; made Solicitor General, ib. ;
acation at Eaton, ib.; his conversational powers, ib. ; comparison between him and the elder Pitt, ib.; made
as Chief Justice at the age of eighty-three, ib.; his death, Sheridan, 230; writes his Reflections on the Revolu.
its errors, ib.; its excellences, 231-32 ; his separation
REMARKS on the foregoing speech with the American ar.
granted him, 235; his Letter to a Noble Lord on the
SPEECH in the case of Allan Evans, Esq.
155 ib.; characteristics of his genius and eloquence, 237–40
SPEECH previous to the Bristol Election
His Letters have taken a permanent place in our elo-SPEECH on the East India Bill of Mr. Fox
ating ideas without expressing them in form, 164-5; DETACHED SENTIMENTS AND MAXIMS.
end of two years, 384; prevails, ib. ; opposed by Mr.
voted to the cause of Emancipation, ib. ; his death, ib.;
ESTIMATE OF Junius by Mr. Burke and Dr. Johnson. 204 Byron's lines thereon, ib.; indolence and effroniery as
a speaker, 402; his wit and humor, ib.; habits of intem.
His birth and delicate constitution, 206; educated at a and character as an orator, ib.
Quaker school in Ballitore, ib.; early training, ib.; re Speech against Warren Hastings when impeached be.
ib.; produces habits of dissipation, 438; eminence in
classical literature, ib.; distinction at Eaton and Oxford,
ib.; early extravagance, 439; enters Parliament, ib.;
first a Tory and in office under Lord North, 440; turn.
ed out abruptly, ib. ; joins the Whigs as a pupil of
Burke, 441; his labors to form himself as a debater,
maiden speech, highly praised by Lord Chatham, ib. ;
443; becomes head of the Whig party, ib.; is made Sec-
goes out with Lord Rockingham, and becomes leader
retary of State under Lord Rockingham, 441; disap-
pointed in not becoming Prime Minister on the death
North, 445 ; drives out the ministry and becomes Sec-
retary of State, ib.; his East India Bill, 446; speech in
in the Lords, ib. ; his speech against secret influence,
member of Parliament," 216; speech at Bristol previ.
448; displaced and Mr. Pitt made Prime Minister, ib.;
ous to the election, 216-17; declines the polls, and re-
unsuccessful efforts to drive Pitt from power, ib. ; West-
minster election, 449; Mr. Fox's speech on the subject,
of the American war, “shearing the wolf," 217-218;
450; decision of the House in his favor. ib. i derange-
after the fall of Lord North, comes in with Lord Rock
ment of the king, ib.; Mr. Fox asserts the right of the
Prince of Wales to the Regency, 451; King recovers,
432; Mr. Fox's speech against Mr. Pitt for arming against
Russia. 453 ; his Libe'l bill, ib. ; his views of the French
Revolution, 134; his speech on Mr. Pitt's rejection of
Bonaparte's overtures for peace, 458; comes in under
Lord Grenville as Secretary of Foreign Afairs, 439; his
death, personal appearance, 460; characteristics of his
seven years, 224; reasons for the acquittal of Hastings Speech on Secret Influence
225; King becomes deranged, 26; his ground respect SPEECH on the Westminster Scrutiny
ing a Regeney, ib.; his unpopularity and abusive treat Sporch on the Russian Armament
ment in the house, ib. i his early jealousy of the French 'Speech on Parliamentary Reform
Revolution, 297 ; reasons, 20; his first collision Speech on the Rejection of Bonaparte's Overtures for
. . .