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Entered, according to act of Congress, in the year 1832, by FLAgg & Gould, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.
Though for many years after I began to investigate the principles of rhetorical delivery, I had no intention of writing any thing on the subject for publication, I was at last drawn into this measure, gradually and almost unavoidably. The bad habits in elocution, acquired by many educated young men, and confirmed, with little regard to consequences, as they passed from one stage of education to another, it was easy to see must become at once equally conspicuous and injurious, so soon as they should pass from academical life into a public profession in which good speaking is a prime instrument of usefulness. The last Seminary too which had them in charge, would, by a misapprehension not very unnatural, be made responsible, not merely for its own proportion, but for the whole of these defects. The only remedy for habits thus firmly established, obviously must lie in a patient, elementary process, adapted to form new habits. After a sufficient experiment to satisfy me that Walker's elements, as a text book, could not answer this purpose, I prepared a course of Lectures on the subject. One of these, “on Vocal Inflections,” I consented to print, at the request and for the use of the Theological Students, to whom it had been read; but without any intention that it should be published. The pamphlet, however, went abroad, and led to applications from respectable gentlemen, connected with colleges and other literary institutions, that I would prepare a book of the same description, to be used in this department of a liberal education. Accordingly I did prepare the “ANALYsis of RHEToRICAL DELIvERY.”
The preparation of that work, my own use of it as a Teacher, and the testimony of others, who had used it, con
vinced me, soon after its publication, that the chief principles it contains may be understood and applied by pupils much younger than those I had originally contemplated. Teachers of Academies and High Schools, who professed to have derived much assistance from the ANALysis, urged me to prepare a cheaper book, on the same plan, adapted to the use of their pupils. This I promised to do, should health and engagements permit; but the execution has been delayed, as involving a sacrifice of the time which I earnestly wished to devote to the more appropriate and sacred duties of my of. fice; and had not one branch of these duties rendered me necessarily familiar with the general subject of this volume, the purpose must have been relinquished. I have been the more cheerful, however, in this undertaking, from a full conviction that whatever is accomplished on this subject in classical schools, is a clear gain to professional education for the pulpit. To no possible case, more than to this, is the maxim applicable, “Prevention is easier than cure.” Faults which almost defy correction, might easily have been avoided by skill and pains in forming the early habits. I am aware that there is already an ample supply of books, which furnish excellent reading lessons, without professing to n give any instruction in the art of reading. But the want of an elementary book, for common use, in which the principles of this art should be laid down, with Rhetorical Exercises, selected expressly to illustrate these principles, has been extensively felt as a great deficiency. The RHEToRICAL READER is intended to supply this deficiency. The first third of . its matter, is an abridgement of the ANALysis, though with . new discussion and elucidation of some important principles, which will be found chiefly under the articles, Reading,Emphatic Inflection, — Quantity, - and Compass of Voice. In respect to about two thirds of its contents, the book is new; including the original matter just mentioned, and a
new selection of exercises for Part II. This selection has been made with much care and from an extensive range of writers, British and American. In making it, regard has been paid, first to the moral sentiment of the pieces, as suited to make a safe and useful impression on the young; next to that rhetorical execution which may elevate their taste; and finally, to such variety and vivacity, in the subjects and kinds of composition, as may sustain an undiminished interest throughout. To attain brevity in each Exercise, the connexion of the writer has sometimes been broken by omissions longer or shorter, without notice; the mention of which fact in this manner, I hope may be sufficient, without further apology. A word of explanation is necessary on another point. It was my intention to include in the Exercises, Part II. a greater proportion of extracts from the Bible, than I have done in Part I.; both because I think it furnishes many of the best iessons for rhetorical reading; and because the book which, more than all others, is adapted to promote the sanctification and salvation of the young, has been too much neglected in all departments of education. But as I wished to make this selection, not for the young merely, but also with a special view to those who are called to read the Bible as heads of families, or still more publicly, as preachers of the gospel, sufficient room for it could not be found in the present volume. I therefore concluded to defer this part of my plan, with the hope that I may compile a separate collection of Biblic AL ExERc1sEs, of perhaps 150 pages, to which a rhetorical notation will be applied, and which may be a proper sequel both to the ANALysis, and RHEToRICAL READER. Should this little book be found useful in advancing the interests of Christian Education, the best wishes of its author
will be answered. E. PORTER.
Andover, May 1831.
REMARKS TO TEACHERS.
To those who may use this book, I have thought it proper to make the following preparatory suggestions. 1. In a large number of those who are to be taught reading and speaking, the first difficulty to be encountered arises from bad habits previously contracted. The most ready way to overcome these, is to go directly into the analysis of vocal sounds, as they occur in conversation. But to change a settled habit, even in trifles, often requires perseverance for a long time; of course it is not the work of a moment, to transform a heavy, uniform movement of voice, into one that is easy, discriminating, and forcible. This is to be accomlished, not by a few irresolute, partial attempts, but by a steadiness of purpose, and of effort, corresponding with the importance of the end to be achieved. Nor should it seem strange if, in this process of transformation, the subject of it should at first, appear somewhat artificial and constrained in manner. More or less of this inconvenience is unavoidable, in all important changes of habit. The young pupil in chirography never can become an elegant penman, till his bad habit of holding the pen is broken up; though for a time the change .*. made him write worse than before. In respect to Elocution, as well as every other art, the case may be in some measure similar. But let the new manner become so familiar, as to have in its favor the advantages of habit, and the difficulty ceases. 2. The pupil should learn the distinction of inflections, by reading the familiar examples under one rule, occasionally turning to the Exercises, when more examples are necessary; and the Teacher's voice should set him right whenever he makes a mistake. In the same manner, he should go through all the rules successively. If he acquires the habit of giving too great or too little extent to his slides of voice, he should be carefully corrected, according to the suggestions given, p. 27 and 110.-After getting the command of the voice, the great point to be steadily kept in view, is to apply the principles of emphasis and inflection, just as nature