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"I feel certain that I may leave this public utterance of Mr. Bergh to your moral judgment without further comment of inine. I might have taken it as the text of my discourse on this occasion. In one sense it has been my text. My object has been to lay before you the general considerations which will lead you on to a just appreciation of this remarkable utterance. I want you to see that it is not accidental that the chief patron of the supposed rights of what is called the lower creation,' (to use Mr. Bergh's significant phrase) is also the patron of the whipping-post and the admirer of the bastinado, and of all those punishments which have been found to save society by destroying men. My purpose has been achieved if I have shown you that history justifies us in expecting just such an association of devotion to the comfort and the rights of the lower forms of life, with this contempt for the moral character and the moral welfare of the noblest form of sentient life known to this planet.
“ Ladies and gentlemen, I thank you once more for the honor you have done me.".
The meeting then adjourned.
THE ORATOR'S MANUAL ; designed as a Text-book for Schools and
Colleges, and for those who are obliged to study without an Instructor. By George L. Raymond, Professor of Oratory, Williams College. Pp. 342. Large 12mo. Chicago: S. C. Griggs & Co.
This is not a receipt for making orators; it is a treatise on Vocal Culture, Emphasis and Gesticulation. As a text-book it will answer its purpose. But for those “ who are obliged to study without an instructor” its success cannot be complete, because of the intrinsic difficulty in the way of representing sounds and inflections of the voice to the eye. Nor does the introduction of the musical scale remove the difficulty, for it is useless except to those who have some knowledge of music. Such subjects—at least the first two, vocal culture and emphasis can be correctly learned by direct oral instruction only. But the intrinsic difficulty is not the only one; the number of technical terms used would be discouraging to one obliged to study without an instructor. Indeed, the author seems to have forgotten this class, after the title page of his book, for nearly all the exercises imply and require the presence of an instructor. The chapter on Gesticulation is an exception. It admits of a clearer means of representation. The study of Gesture is often condemned as useless and artificial, and so it might be, it its only products were the awkward sawing of the air, which we commonly see, or the studied efforts of the mere elocutionist. The author's plan, however, is for such a study of the art as shall conceal the art, and make it automatic-a part of ourselves.
As a text-book, the work will no doubt be of great assistance to teachers. It presents the results of the author's experience, with “ the best that has been published or taught on the subjects of which it treats.” Supplemented by the guidance and assistance of an instructor, it cannot fail to produce—where there is no organic defect in the student, of course—a successful style of oratory, so far as Vocal Culture, Emphasis and Gesticulation conduce thereto.
It would seem, however, that even in a book which treats professedly only these subjeets, the author should have been at some pains to impress upon his readers that neither of these, nor all combined, is oratory ; but that its life and soul are in the theme itself, and in that intense earnestness which is begotten of a firm conviction of its truth. The temptations to a showy style of oratory are many. They may be guarded against in the class-room. The book, however, being intended for others than students of colleges, its value would have been enhanced if it had contained at least some general instruction as to the nature and true aim of oratory.
THE ART OF READING. By Erneste Legouvé, of the French Acad
emy. Translated, and illustrated with Copious Notes—mainly biographical—by Edward Roth, A. M. 16mo. Pp. 367. Claxton, Remsen & Haffelfinger.
An exceedingly interesting book, and in view of the attention that seems to have been drawn of late to reading, as a means of social entertainment, it is opportune. Its style is lively and piquant. The usual French characteristics-short, chopped sentences, exclamation points, interrogation points, dashesin abundance! It abounds in personal reminiscences, illustrations of the subject-matter. In fact, as the author himself observes, perhaps the best name for his work would be: “ Memoirs of a Reader.” Its principles and chief points are presented under forms of his own personal experience, and he endeavors to make them as vivid as possible by giving in detail all the circumstances to which they are indebted for their origin.
It is not a formal treatise, and yet it has a didactic purpose. “Read as you speak," says Girardin. "Certainly,” says Legouvé, “ Read as you speak-il only you speak well. Reading is an artas difficult as it is real, and as useful as it is difficult.” He demonstrates its utility by showing what it has accomplished in his hands, and if success is a criterion of merit, then a large share of merit must be accorded to him. The chapter in which he details the means he took for inducing Rachel to play the role of * Adrienne"—against which she had taken a prejudice—shows his wonderful power as a reader. And the means he took of teaching Ristori the French pronunciation were certainly ingenious and unique. It is all the more interesting for the manner in which it is told.
According to Legouvé—and he is undoubtedly right-the good reader must be a good critic. He must understand the meaning before he can reproduce it in speech. In order to do this, he must analyze, he must weigh, he must be a critic-a judge! This is the necessary work of the good public reader. Our eyes skim over a page, passing dozens of words unnoticed, and yet we correctly apprehend the meaning. But if we were to read the same passage to an audience, not a word could be passed by: each one must be heard. And not only so-due emphasis, and proper subordination of parts must be observed, otherwise the sense is not easily nor properly apprehended. All this requires thought, and judgment and skill. Hence there is an art in reading. Its elements, in addition to this critical faculty, are a flexible voice, a distinct articulation, and command of the breath-particularly the latter two. The book abounds in poetical hints to learners.
In the course of discussion, a compliment is paid to the American educational system, which makes reading one of the first elements, as well as a constant one, in the education of youth.
The translation itself is good. Mr. Roth has caught and reproduced the “esprit” of the original. Of the 367 pages contained in the book, 215 are taken up with notes by the translator. The preparation of notes is often a thankless task. They are seldom read by the casual reader, unless they are absolutely essential to the understanding of the text, though they be ever so careful and true. No one would wish to stop at the end of a sentence or a chapter, to read a biographical notice of Rachel, 16 pages long! They are interesting, however, in themselves, and are reliable as far as we have examined them. We are not willing, however, tu concede all that the compiler claims for them. To quote from his preface, "the reader will hardly deny that they convey as much reliable, interesting, peculiar, information on as great a variety of subjects as can be found compressed within the same space in any book published in any country.” This sounds arrogant, and is not justified by fact.
IRISH DISTRESS AND ITS REMEDIES. The Land Question. A visit
to Donegal and Connaught in the spring of 1880. By James H. Tuke, author of a visit to Connaught in 1837. Sixth edition, with map of Ireland. Pp. 120, 8vo. London: W. Ridgway.
Mr. Tuke bears an honored name among the English Friends. He has been identified with both the great efforts made by his own religious body to relieve Irish famine. In the winter of 1846-'47, when the Friends expended about a million of dollars in relief of Irish suffering, he accompanied the father of the present Secretary of State for Ireland in his visit to Connaught. He undertook a similar service during the spring of last year, and this pamphlet gives the results of his observations. So far as a mere description of what Ireland is can help us to an opinion, Mr. Tuke's pamphlet is of the highest and the greatest value. He looks on Ireland with friendly eyes, but with no desire, evidently, to make out a case for either side. Where he finds evidences of improvement since 1847, he chronicles them with pleasure. Where he finds the continuance of intense and painful misery, he feels it his duty to tell the English people of the woes they have to relieve if they are to govern Ireland justly, and give the country a fair chance. Mr. Tuke stands, therefore, in a judicial attitude towards the two parties to the Irish question. In the main his evidence is a justification of the present agitation, without saying anything of its methods. The perusal of his pamphlet is known to have secured votes in the House of Lords for Mr. Forster's bill to restrain evictions. It has done much to bring about the existing feeling in England that Irish Land Reform is a question of more or less sweeping measures, but that some great change must be had at once.
Mr. Tuke's authority ceases to weigh with us, when his functions as a witness as to the facts is changed into that of the expert who recommends remedies. He regards two changes as desirable (1) the creation of a peasant proprietorship, and (2) the transfer of a large part of the population of Western Ireland to some less unpropitious climate and more productive soil. On these two points he agrees with Mr. Parnell, except that Mr. Parnell would find new homes for the Connaught people in the grazing districts of Munster and Leinster, while Mr. Tuke would ship them to Canada.
Our author reviews with great candor the legislation of 1847 and 1870. He admits that he and his friends joined in the advocacy of the Encumbered Estates Act of the former year, and expected great results to follow the transfer of the land from the old and decayed families to new and substantial holders. But they left out of view the right of the tenant to secure a share of the land in this great process of transfer, which in ten years included more than a third of all Irish estates. Since 1849, when the court began its sittings, the relations of landlord and tenant have grown distinctly worse. It is the new owners who have, as a rule, proved the most unmerciful rackrenters and the most persistent non-residents, while the old have been generally merciful and popular. In 1847 English statesmen did not look back upon the history of Land Tenure in England, or they would have anticipated just such a result. It was the new owners, created by the consiscation of church lands at the Reformation, who drove the yeomanry of Eng. land to the verge of rebellion. A long continued possession of the soil, unless accompanied by non-residence, leads to the growth of personal relations between the landlord and his tenantry, which mollify the harshness of first occupancy.
The land-act of 1870 Mr. Tuke justly regards as going nearer to the nerve of the question. It did not assume that Ireland's only need was landlords who could spend money on their estates. It proceeded upon the supposition that right relations between landlord and tenant were still more important, and it enacted provisions to secure such relations. Mr. Tuke does not stop to explain why legislation should be needed to regulate what English political economy assumes to be self-regulative, and indeed incapable of such artificial adjustments as statutes furnish. He points out, also, that the Parliament which adopted the Bright Clauses of that Act, thereby declared that the creation of a peasant proprietorship in Ireland would be a proper and desirable thing. He regrets that these clauses have proved inoperative; and while he thinks that Ireland's chief need is farther legislation in the line of the Act of 1870, it is evidently in the line of these clauses that he thinks such legislation should move.
To all this we assent, with great qualifications. We cannot see, with Mr. Tuke and Mr. Parnell, that any land legislation, whether supplemented by schemes for the promotion of emigration or not, will suffice to effect a radical cure of Irish nisery. It is the absence of other employments which keeps the Irish cotter SO wretchedly poor. It is this which makes his holding unprofitable. The Donegal cotter, whom he found sitting at his empty loom, with his feet on the treadle, pulling the frame backwards and forwards, is the emblem of Ireland in her present situation. Fill the looms, which English rapacity rather than Irish landlords have emptied of warp and woof, and the Land Question will be far less difficult to settle.
We could wish that no American newspaper editor were allowed to write another word on the Irish Question, until he had passed an examination upon Mr. Tuke's excellent pamphlet. It would check the deluge of pharisaic, mockwise twaddle, which our Poloniuses of the daily and weekly press inflict upon a suffering public. For instance, The Alliance, a religious newspaper of Chicago, tells us, " If the Scotch people had been on Irish soil, we should never have heard of a famine or of exorbitant rents. An intelligent press would have discussed the differences [disagreements ?] between