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justly says, “invenire primum fuit ESTQUE PRAECIPUUM.” It is in invention that the mind of the learner is most easily interested; most capable of sensible improvement. It is next to impossible to awaken a hearty interest in mere style independent of the thought; as the futile attempts to teach the art of composition as a mere thing of verbal expression have proved. Composing when thus taught must necessarily be regarded as a drudgery and be shunned instinctively with strong aversion. It is otherwise when the thought is the main thing regarded. There is to every mind a pure and elevated pleasure in inventing. There is a pleasure in expressing thoughts that have sprung into being from one's own creative intellect; of embodying them in appropriate forms of language. How different are the feelings with which a school boy contemplates the task of writing a composition which must contain so many words, whatever be true of the ideas, and the work of writing a letter to express some conviction of his own mind, some wish, some intelligence? It cannot be questioned that it is to the exclusion of invention from our systems of rhetoric that the neglect into which the art has fallen is chiefly to be ascribed. The prejudices against it are also mainly to be attributed to this defective and incorrect view of the art. *
* It is worthy of note that the most popular system of rhetoric now in use in the English language, that of Dr. Whately, owes nearly all its excellence and its reputation as an original work to the circumstance that it embraces, in the First Part, a brief and imperfect view of this branch of the Science.
FIRST GENERAL DIVISION.
OF THE NATURE AND PARTS OF INVENTION.
§ 42. Rhetorical Invention is the art of supplying the requisite thought in kind and form for discourse.
§ 43. It embraces Invention Proper or the mere supply of the thought, and Arrangement or Disposition.
The propriety of regarding arrangement as a part of the process of invention may be seen from several points of view.
In the first place, the principle of division that has been adopted, by which rhetoric is regarded as embracing the two priuciples of invention or the supply of thought, and of the expression of thought in language or style, at once compels
to this treatnient of arrangement.
The two elements of thought and verbal expression are both essential elements, and are the only elements of discourse. It would be unphilosophical to introduce another principle of division, which would be necessary in order to admit disposition or arrange ment as a distinct constituent part of the art of rhetoric.
Again, the process of invention cannot proceed but by order or method; and the very supply of the thought must therefore include à more or less definite regard to the ar rangement. It becomes necessary, thus, to treat of arrange ment or disposition, so far as it can be distinctly treated of as a subordinate and constituent part of invention.
The same observations, obviously, are applicable to method in style.
§ 44. The process of invention is applied either to the general theme or topic of the discourse, or to the particular thoughts by means of which that general theme is presented to the mind addressed for the purpose of accomplishing the object of the discourse.
§ 45. The general theme or topic of discourse is sometimes given or furnished in a more or less definite form to the speaker or writer; sometimes is wholly left to his free choice,
In the eloquence of the bar and of the Senate, the topics of discussion are determined beforehand for the most part to the speaker. Even here, however, there is much room for the exercise of invention. The particular theme proposed is to be taken up into the mind of the speaker; it is to be shaped to his habit of thought; it is to be defined and determined so as best to meet his particular purpose in discussing it; it is to be suited to the particular circumstances in which he speaks and to the mode in which he shall determine to
handle it. The same question will thus be stated in very different forms by different speakers; and no small degree of oratorical skill is often displayed in the mode of conceiving and presenting the particular subject of debate. The same observations are applicable to every species of discourse or composition where the subject is proposed to the speaker or writer.
Where the subject is left to the frec choice of the speaker, there is room for a still higher display of inventive power. It is with the orator or writer as with the sculptor or painter. The subject itself shows the genius of the artist. The subject is left thus free to a considerable extent in the eloquence of the pulpit, as well as in most occasional addresses, in essays and other compositions.
§ 46. The particular subordinate thoughts by which the general theme is developed and presented to the mind addressed, while they must all lie in the field of the general theme and must likewise consist with the object of the discourse, are, with these limitations, open to the choice of the speaker.
As a rational discourse necessarily implies a unity, this unity must be in the singleness of the theme and of the obo ject of the discourse, ( 56 ). Accordingly all thoughts introduced must stand in a subordinate relation to this single theme, and, also, to this single object. Hence the principle, which admits of no exception in rational discourse, that no thoughts oe introduced that do not both consist with the theme and the object and, also, tend to develop the one and accomplish the other.
While, thus, the subordinate and developing thoughts must all be found in the field of the one general theme, and of these only such can be taken as consist with the object of
the discourse; within these limits there is free range for invention. The fullness and richness of these subordinate thoughts will display the richness of mental furniture possessed by the speaker, the control he has over this stock of thought, and the fertility generally of his faculties of invention. The selection out of this stock will exhibit the sound. ness and promptness of his judgment and the power he has of steadily pursuing his object.
OF THE GENERAL THEME OF A DISCOURSE.
§ 47. The process of invention as applied to the general theme of discourse consists in the selection of the theme and in the determination of the particular form in which it is to be discussed.
In the very use of the expression “the theme,”—a singular and not a plural term-is indicated the necessity of singleness in the theme. It seems to border on absurdity to speak of the themes of a discourse. · Discourse can hardly with propriety be called one which has more than one general theme. The unity of a discourse, in which, indeed, lies its very life, requires that there be but one thought to which every other shall be subordinate and subservient, utterly forbids the introduction of two or more co-ordinate thoughts.
In the singleness of the theme, lies the first and broadest principle of unity. As will be exhibited in the proper place, the broader unity determined by the singleness of the theme will be narrowed by the particular object in the dis