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“ Your very bad enunciation, my son, gives me real concern ; and I congratulate both you and myself, that I was informed of it (as I hope) in time to prevent it; and shall ever think myself, as hereafter you will, I am sure, think yourself, infinitely obliged to your friend, for informing me of it. If this ungraceful and disagreeable manner of speaking had, either by your negligence or mine, become habitual to you, as in a couple of years more it would have been, what a figure would you have made in company, or in a public assembly! Who would have liked you in the one, or have attended to you in the other?
“ Read what CICERO and QUINTILIAN say of enunciation, and see what a stress they lay upon the gracefulness of it: nay, Cicero goes further, and even maintains, that a good figure is necessary for an orator ; and particularly, that he must not be vastus, that is overgrown and clumsy. He shews by it, that he knew mankind well, and knew the powers of an agreeable figure and a graceful
Men are much oftener led by their hearts than by their understandings. The way to the heart is, through the senses : please their
eyes and their ears, and the work is half done. I have frequently known a man's fortune decided for ever by his first address. If it is pleasing, people are hurried involuntarily into a persuasion, that he has a merit, which possibly he has not ; as, on the other hand, if it is ungraceful, they are immediately prejudiced against him, and unwilling to allow him the merit which, it may be, he has. Nor is this sentiment so unjust and unreasonable, as at first it may seem ; for, if a man has parts, he must know of how much consequence it is to him to have a graceful manner of speaking, and a genteel and pleasing address, and he will cultivate and improve them to the utmost. What is the constant and just observation, as to all actors upon the stage? Is it not, that those who have the best sense always speak the best,
though they may happen not to have the best voices. They will speak plainly, distinctly, and with a proper emphasis, be their voices ever so bad. Had Roscius spoken quick, thick, and ungracefully, I will answer for it that CICERO would not have thought him worth the oration which he made in his favor. Words were given us to communicate our ideas by ; and there must be something inconceivably absurd, in uttering them in such a manner, as that either people cannot understand them, or will not desire' to understand them. I tell you truly and sincerely, that I shall judge of your parts by your speaking gracefully or ungracefully. If you have parts, you will never be at rest till you have brought yourself to a habit of speaking most gracefully ; for I aver, that it is in your power. You will desire your tutor, that you may read aloud to him, every day; and that he will interrupt and correct you, every time that you read too fast, do not observe the proper stops, or lay a wrong emphasis. You will take care to open your teeth when you speak ; to articulate every word distinctly; and to beg of any friend you speak to, to remind and stop you, if ever you fall into the rapid and unintelligible mutter. You will even read aloud to yourself, and tune your utterance to your own ear; and read at first much slower than you need to do, in order to correct that shameful habit of speaking faster than you ought. In short, you will make it your business, your study, and your pleasure, to speak well, if you think right. Therefore, what I have said, is more than sufficient, if you have sense ; and ten times more would not be sufficient, if you have not : so here I rest it."
" How charming is divine philosophy!
THERE is not any part of learning so little understood, and of course so much neglected, as the art of thinking, of judging, of reasoning, though the only foundation of all valuable knowledge. Such neglect must have been owing to the harsh, tedious, intricate method in which it has been taught, as well as to the frivolous and frequently pernicious purposes to which it had been applied. The general opinion entertained of its language is evident from a common phrase, in the mouth of almost every body, after hearing any thing which he did not understand, “ It was all logic to me," that is to say, it was all unintelligible jargon ; and indeed the prevalence of such an idea may be easily accounted for by whoever will take the trouble to read a few pages of the technical gibberish made use of by the followers, admirers, and interpreters of ARISTOTLE. One would almost suppose, that his treatise on this subject had been dictated by some evil Genius, to put a stop to the progress of the human understanding, and to divert it from useful pursuits to ostentatious and pedantic subtilties.
But though such a perverse method of teaching Logic rendered it at once the most difficult and the most useless of all attainments, we are not thence to conclude that the study is in its own nature either perplexing or unimportant. Let us take away the barbarous terms, the uncouth
phrases, the numberless and puzzling intricacies in which it has been involved : let us bring it back from idle researches and from the fallacies of sophistry to its proper object and its end, the improvement of the mental powers, the discovery and communication of truth : in a word, let us confine our attention to the principles on which it is founded, and to the simplicity of the lessons arising out of them; and we shall soon be convinced, that no art or science is plainer or easier, and that its facility can only be equalled by the pleasure and advantage which it never fails to afford.
What then is Logic? I have already intimated that it is the art of thinking, of judging, of reasoning: it is the agreeable exercise of the mind in acquiring wisdom and knowledge with the greatest expedition and exactness : it inculcates and gradually brings on a habit of clearness and precision in our ideas, of accuracy in our judgments or opinions, and of fair and just inferences in our arguments: it not only precludes error in every thing that can be brought within the natural grasp of the understanding, but marks the true line between demonstration, or argumentative evidence, and probability. Though its rules seem wholly directed to the improvement and proper employment of our reason, yet it thereby regulates the exertions of our other faculties, and determines their real value. Without the aid of sound logic, the stores of the memory become mere lumber ; the most brilliant fancy is a gay, sparkling, but delusive meteor ; and the productions of genius itself are only amusing trifles.
But it may be said that what is here so highly praised and recommended as an art, must be the gift of Nature alone ; that the reasoning faculty must be born with us ; and that it is improvable solely by practice and experience, not by formal rules, or an idle parade of learning. The same argument might be urged with equal force against every branch of education, or against the theory of every
art or science, in all which instruction will be of little service without natural capacity or talents, and these without the aid of instruction will often make an astonishing proficiency. The question however is not, how far unassisted nature may go in extraordinary cases, but whether a clear explanation of the principles of any art or science, and a course of practical exercises adapted to such theory, will not accelerate the progress of the mind in that pursuit, and conduct it not only sooner, but with greater ease and certainty, to the highest pitch of attainable perfection. Do we not know this to be the case in
other object of study ; and can we suppose that the distinguishing faculty of man, his reason, is less susceptible of benefit from judicious precepts than any of his inferior endowments ? May we not apply to the Understanding what AKENSIDE says of Taste, and what may be said of all faculties and accomplishments, that, though Heaven must sow the early seeds of future excellence, “ Yet, in vain,
“ Without fair culture's kind parental aid,
“ Or yield the harvest promis'd in its spring." It must be acknowledged, at the same time, that the power of reasoning correctly is of such importance on every occasion, and errors in judgment may often prove so fatal and inseparable, that kind Nature has left that faculty less dependent upon artificial education than any other. She enters upon her own course of lessons almost at our birth. The love even of food does not long precede a manifest desire of information, and proper efforts to acquire it. The organs of sense begin to exert themselves ; and it is remarkable that those, through the medium of which we acquire the greatest number and the most immediately useful of our ideas, are first called into play. The sight takes the lead, then the touch, next the