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WRITING, READING, AND SPEAKING.
INTRODUCTORY. You have asked me for hints to help you in your studies of the Art of Oratory. I readily comply with your request, and I will endeavour to throw together my thoughts upon it in a shape that may possibly be useful to others also. It is a subject in which I have taken much interest and on which I hope to be enabled to convey to you some suggestions not to be found in existing treatises.
But I must take the liberty to change its name. I do not like the title-oratory—it has a pretentious sound. We do not think or talk of a man as an Orator unless he excels in the art; we look upon an oration as something higher and grander than a speech. If a man were to call himself “an orator,” we should call him conceited; but he might call himself “a speaker" without reproach to his modesty. So, if I were to profess to give you hints for the study of oratory, I should be reasonably met by the
objection that I am not myself “an orator," and therefore have no right to appear as a teacher of oratory. But by the requirements of my Profession I am compelled to be
a speaker"-an indifferent one, I know—and therefore I may venture, without incurring the charge of presumption, to impart to others so much as I may chance to have learned about the art of speaking.
But Speaking is only one form in which the mind expresses its thoughts. There are two other accomplishments, so intimately allied with the Art of Speaking, that I could not treat fully and satisfactorily of the one, without treating more or less of the others. I propose, therefore, to enlarge the main subject, and, embracing the allied Arts of Writing, Reading; and Speaking, to treat of each separately, but with more particular reference to the connection of the Arts of Composition and of Reading with the Art of Speaking.
And this title, indeed, exactly expresses my design. I contemplate nothing more than to convey to you the lessons taught to me by personal experience, as well as by reading and reflection, relating to the arts which enable a man publicly to give utterance to his own thoughts and the thoughts of others, so that his audience may hearken to him with pleasure and understand him without difficulty.
Writing is a necessary part of education for all, and Reading ought to be so. Oratory is the business of the Bar and of the Church : it is only the accomplishment of other callings. Unless you are content to subside into the chamber counsel, or to sit for ever briefless in the courts, you must learn to think aloud, to clothe your thoughts in appropriate language, and so to utter them that your audience may listen to you willingly. To do