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both shall be applied to them, as it shall be found fitting and convenient.” This was needful in the 17th century, that the privy council in the 19th century should allow examination by the oaths of witnesses alone. It was needful-sad necessity--that a race of doubters should arise, that a whole nation should cut itself loose from religion, in order that men might feel that faith is better than skepticism, that government cannot safely divorce itself from religion, and, it may be, in order that the same people might some time return to a firmer, wiser belief of the truth.
History is the chart of the deliberative orator. It reveals to him the quicksands and rocks where the hopes of empires have been wrecked. It reveals the sources of prosperity, the sources of misfortune. To him who can read it, it offers the suggestions of two hundred generations. It bids us beware of the follies of dead nations. To every individual it offers, somewhere among its records, encouragement to great and good deeds. Would the orator rouse the patriotic self-devotion of his countrymen History tells him, that among the granite mountains of a small European confederacy, a man was found, who, in a perilous contest, dared to make a path for his comrades, by gathering “a sheaf of Austrian lances" into his own bosom; that, in virtue of this generous self-sacrifice, the name of Arnold of Winkelried has become famous the world over; and that for this, and other deeds like it, Switzerland is a larger country than Russia. Would he speak of the permanency and life of truth? He reads how the sun went down on Egypt and the East, and men slept, while it arose on awakening nations in Italy and England; he reads the oft-told story, how the philosopher recanted with tears, and the world moved still. Would he tell of the direful effects of oppression ? He recollects how the pent-up elements lay simmering together for a thousand years, till they burst off the incumbent mass, and overwhelmed nations. Would he show that revolutions are not productive of evil alone? He recollects that sometimes the new order of things has at last proved better than the old; that the volcano is a safeguard against the more destructive earthquake; and that over the lava torrent there spreads
many mistakes, and that the same error, after a larger or smaller cycle, returns again, like the forgotten fashions of our fathers.
I said that the study of history, in giving the knowledge of right principles, is congenial with the study of mental philosophy. It is chiefly valuable indeed, as a record of the actions of human thoughts and human passions. It would be of no great worth, if it did not cast light into the dimness of the future, as well as irradiate the past. Events which history relates, do but embody the ideas which produced them. Changes in society are not made by chance : men do not move in revolutions, as boys make bonfires, to dance about the smoke and flame. Whenever a great sect has arisen, whenever a great revolution has been produced, it has been at the command of opinions prevailing in the community.* “ At the commencement of the French Revolution, in the remotest villages, every tongue was employed in echoing and enforcing the almost geometrical abstractions of the physiocratic politicians and economists. The public roads were crowded with armed enthusiasts, disputing on the inalienable sovereignty of the people, the imprescriptible laws of the pure reason, and the universal constitution, which, as rising out of the nature and rights of man as man, all nations alike were under the obligation of adopting.”
Man acts according to his belief. He believes in alchemy; and, with haggard visage and wasted sinews, toils in dark caverns, in the vain hope of transmuting the worthless into the precious metals. He believes in a fountain which gives perpetual youth; and straightway—such is the record of history, embarks for unexplored lands, searches with an energy which commands respect in spite of the folly, and pushes on his rugged pilgrimage with an enterprise worthy of the best cause. He believes in the insufficiency of his own judgment in matters of religion, in the divinely appointed supremacy of the priesthood, and, for centuries, commits his conscience and his faith to his spiritual advisers. He believes that the Bible is the only and sufficient rule of faith and practice, that he may and must examine it, and immediately he produces the reformation.
The subject upon which I have just touched, in its connection with the duty and discipline of a great orator, is, in itself, too ample a theme for this occasion. I leave it, with these hints, and pass to notice the last study which I am allowed to
Coleridge's Statesman's Manual.
suggest,—the study of poetry. I might perhaps more truly say of art ;-for painting, statuary, architecture and music cultivate those emotions which the orator needs, and are themselves governed by the same principles which govern him. Other studies may be peculiarly appropriate to different professions. The preacher feels his need of mental philosophy; the political speaker, his need of history; but all need the discipline and emotion produced by, poetry. Knowledge is vain ; of little avail profound investigation, the soundest judgment, the most subtle logic, if there be wanting a power to vivify the cumbrous mass of knowledge, to give a present reality to the past, and to abstractions, a body and a shape
The materials of the orator are, in many respects, those of the poet,—their objects are different. Both seek the language of strong feeling ; both avoid the terms of abstract science; both paint to the bodily eye; both demand the aid of the emotions; both aim at strong impressions. Beyond this, they differ. The poet seeks to please, and instructs only that he may please : the orator seeks to convince, and pleases only that he may convince or persuade. The poet does not give a labored dissertation on the effect of a use of supernatural agencies and deep mystery in poetry and on the power of a sense of guilt, but he tells you a story of the ancient mariner,—the skinny hand,—the glittering eye,—the islands of ice,—the slimy sea, the dying men,—the living man whose curse it was to live, the only living soul on the wide, wide sea,—the splitting, sinking ship,—the painful pilgrimage. The orator does not speak of unjust legislation, but of the Boston Port Bill. He does not tell you of the powerful foe, the skilful, unfriendly prince; but of Hyder Ali and his army hanging, for a while, like a cloud upon the declivity of the mountains, before it pours down its torrent of devastation and wo into the smiling Carnatic.
If the orator be a philosopher, he must for the time divest himself of the habits which long reflection bas induced, and, clad like a little child, be content carefully to lead the blind in the path to wisdom. He must unweave the splendid and
metaphysical poet may be a poet to the few“ smitten with the love of song;" the metaphysical orator may please and instruct the metaphysician; but to the majority, both will speak in an unknown tongue.
Poetry cultivates the imagination. The province of the imagination is not to separate truth from error, but “to render all objects instinct with the inspired breath of human passion.” It does not demand if things be true independently, but if they be true in their relation to other things. It does not discover, but enliven. It melts together, into one burning mass, the discordant materials thrown into its crucible. Like the colored light of sunset, it bathes in its own hue whatever it touches. Discarding technical rules, as from its nature averse to them, it adapts means to varying circumstances, and seizing upon the hearts of the audience, in aid of belief or in spite of belief, binds them in willing captivity. It annihilates space and time, brings the distant near, draws together the past and the future into the present. It warms the heart of the orator. He then speaks because he feels, not in order that he may feel. The influence flows from within, outward,—not from without, inward. It tears the orator from considerations of himself, bears him above himself, above rule, criticism, apology, audience, every thing but the subject. The orator stands like an enchanter, in the midst of spirits that are too mighty for him. He alone could evoke them from the dark abyss; but even he is but half their master. He alone can demand the secrets of futurity; but then he can speak only the words that they give him. He inspires others only as he is inspired himself.
Logic is necessary for that severe form of speech, which carries power in its front, and, by its calmness, and repression of earth-born passions, seems to belong to a higher sphere. It must form the bone and muscle of an extended discourse. Imagination clothes the skeleton with beauty, breathes health into the rigid muscles, lights up the eye, loosens the tongue, excites that rapid and vehement declamation, which makes the speaker to be forgotten, the subject and the subject only to be thought of, betrays no presence of art, because in fact art is swallowed up in the whirlpool of excited feeling. Besides, there are truths with which logic has no concern; “truths which wake to per
but not the best. The irrefragable Doctor, with his chains of inductions, his corollaries, dilemmas, and other cunning logical diagrams and apparatus, will cast you a beautiful horoscope, and speak you reasonable things; nevertheless, the stolen jewel, which you wanted him to find you, is not forthcoming, Often by some winged word-winged as the thunderbolt is of a Luther, a Napoleon, a Goethe, shall we see the difficulty split asunder, and its secret laid bare; while the Irrefragable, with all his logical roots, hews at it, and hovers round it, and finds it on all sides too hard for him.”
Poetry not only offers us the language of emotion, but produces emotion, and emotion elicits thought. It has been well remarked of the great English dramatist, that he has been true to nature, in placing the “ greater number of his profoundest maxims and general truths, both political and moral, not in the mouths of men at ease, but of men under the influence of passion, when the mighty thoughts overmaster and become the tyrants of the mind which has brought them forth.” Then the mind rushes, by intuition, upon the truth; scorns subtle and useless distinctions; disregards entirely the husk, seizes and appropriates the kernel. Emotion in the speaker produces emotion in the hearer. You must feel, you must sympathize with him. Your mind darts, with the speaker's, right through the textures which cover up the subject, and grasps the heart of it. How deadening are the words of some passionless men. Like a dull mass of inert matter, their lifeless thought stretches across the path of your spirit. Different, indeed, are the words of another, to whom has been given some spark of ethereal fire. His words become to you a law of life. They start your sluggish spirit from its dull equilibrium, and its living wheels shall thenceforth move whithersoever the spirit that is in them moves. Rarely has been found that combination of qualities necessary to the greatest orator,—dignity, enthusiasm, wit, the power of sarcasm, the power of soothing, philosophy which does not despise imagination, imagination which does not spurn