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lowest animal and the highest attribute of man. They are both endųed with the fundamental principles of oratory. The animal, addressing Balaam in scripture, has evinced nothing miraculous, but has only delivered himself in a more artific cial set of signs, than could others of his species. If we reo sort to the author to explain our difficulty, I am apprehensive he will not be intelligible. “For man alone it is reserved " to use systems of communicative signs, in which native e « motion is lost in artifice; in which the senses have each a
various series of artificial signs ; in which the signs become « in an eminent degree the auxiliaries of complex thought ; « in which refinement, abstraction, varied combination, are “ carried to the utmost pitch, at which human ingenuity can « conceive them to arrive ; in the use of which the native "powers of the individual and of the species are multiplied « more than a hundred fold.” One cannot sufficiently ad. mire the affectation of an author, who is willing to extend a theory into extravagance rather, than confine it within the limits of common sense. All men have nearly the same conception of eloquence, although few have analyzed its principles ; in like manner all know what is intended by music, although few can practise it, or describe its rules. How absurd then is it literally to ascribe eloquence to an animal, incapable either of motion or sound! The writer, wishing to ascend very learnedly to the elements of the art, and discovering, that there could be no gnatory, unless there were design and apprehension, resolved to, define it, as being constituted of those two principles. He is therefore proud of hailing the whole animal creation with the title of eloquence, an
and of presenting them a character never before recognized. Elated with his new system, he carries it into the region of " the ridiculous.” “ The barkings of the shepherd's dog," says he “ acquire both in the artifice of their composition " and in their design a resemblance to the artificial speech, " and to the premeditated eloquence of man. The eloquence « of brutes in general, if in compass of design it be extreme* ly narrow and imperfect, is in impressiveness and clearnete “ of communication more than equal to that, which is ordi
narily exercised by man in a refined state of social life."! Why the ingenious author did not philosophize on the poetic style of Mr. Harvey, and attribute the power of moral per. suasion to shrubs and flowers, it is difficult to determine. He seems however sufficiently to admire his invention, and with some complacency adds, “ that rhetoricians, philosophers, “and whoever else commonly speak of eloquence, rarely de“scend to this subtilty of generalization respecting its ele
The author proceeds to divide the progress of eloquence from its original state to its highest advancement into four æras.
The first gave merely an inartificial expression of the strong emotions of nature. The second delighted in the exercise of art. It produced gestures, having no reference to the emotions of native feeling, fantastic modulations of voice, alliterations, rhymes, and awkward formalities of barbarous expression. The third, presenting a contrast to the two former periods, sought merely to instruct without the aid of metaphor. The fourth was the period of Roman and Grecian eloquence. This seems at least not a very natural progress of any species of art. That eloquence in its several stages of improvement should present a series of contrasts, that, naked at its birth, it should be presently overburdened with barbarous ornaments, then appear in quakerish simplicity, and last of all combine the attractions of beauty, and grace, is a theory of the imagination, unsupported by history. The power of persuasion, which we mean by eloquence, must have gradually increased with the improvement
of knowledge and of language. Before complex terms became in use communication of thought was restricted ; and before the science of human nature was cultivated the topics and refinements of eloquence were few. Social intertercourse had not unveiled the secret emotions of the heart; and, as its prominent passions only were exercised, they only were addressed by the orator. The state of nations, rising from barbarism to refinement, has been aptly compared to
that of a child, growing to manhood. The child for want of langnage indicates his wishes by looks and gestures ; at length he appropriates names to individual objects, and by increasing observation is capable of speaking in abstract terms, Figures of speech and allusions to natural objects, which characterize the early writings of all nations, were not the expedient of affectation, but the resort of necessity. They were not used for the mere purpose of decorating style, until language became complete ; when men, not content with mak. ing their expressions perspicuous, sought to render them beautiful. It is remarked by Quintillian, that figures, which were at first the invention of necessity, became at length the decoration of thought.
Mr. Heron proceeds to compose the circumstances of society, in which eloquence flourished in the ancient and modern times. He very justly remarks, that all the peculiarities of the situation and government of Athens were promotive of eloquence. Those commotions, which filled peaceable minds with dismay, fired the ambitious with the prospect of rising to distinction. Power, the direction of the public energies and the public will, was the reward of oratory., People thronged in their assemblies, and freely surrendered themselves to the orator to be charmed and guided at his pleasure. The love of glory elated the genius of Greece, and it is not surprising, that the same country, which produced generals so heroic, should have produced orators so impressive.
Our author however considers the invention of printing, as countervailing in favor of what he stiles written eloquence all the advantages of the ancients. Printing enlarged the sphere of literature; distant nations became allied in the cause of learning, and by the dispersion of books became mutually serviceable in the great confederacy of letters. Still he confesses, that occasions of general interest and alarm, such as the reformation of religion occasions, which must have excited the greatest efforts of oral and written eloquence, did not produce any specimens to be compared with the ancients. He describes the clergy of France, Italy, and England, as being a worthy class of men, too happy in the possession of their benefices to disturb themselves with the agi, tations of powerful speaking. But he contends, that at times when great national questions were debated, and the magnis tude of the subjects excited general anxiety, the British pare liament have exhibited eloquence, not unworthy the Greek or Roman name. It is honorable to British literature, that so many illustrious speakers are recorded as early, as the civil war ; that both in England and Scotland at the union of those countries, that in the competition of parties in the reign of Queen Aune, that previous to the resignation of Sir Rob ert Walpole, and during the American revolution, there were so many ambitious rivals in manly eloquence. Yet it is a just observation, made by Mr. Hume, that the circumstance of there being so many orators of nearly the same estimation proves, that no one of them approximated to the pers fection of the art. In Rome there were many contemporary orators of different grades, but Cicero was beyond competition. When Demosthenes, declaimed, people collected from the remotest parts of Greece to witness the wonderful powe ers of that man. But the prime minister of England has never attracted so much curiosity, as a favorite comedian ; and the citizens of London have sauntered under the windows of parliament, while the fate of nations was deciding over their heads.
The journal of a tour into the Territory Northwest of the Alleghany
Mountains ; made in the spring of the year 1803 ; with a geographical and historical account of the state of Ohio. lustrated with original maps and views. By THADDEUS MASON HARRIS A. M. S. H. S. Boston, Manning out Loring, 1805, PP. 270.
No description of books has multiplied more with
in a few years, than books of travels ; and from no descrip tion of men are we more liable to impositions, than from the writers of travels. Foreigners, who have taken a glarce of our country, passed rapidly through a few of its states in stage coaches, and seen some of its principal towns, have returned to their ignorant countrymen, and told them about as much truth concerning its soil, its inhabitants, and their occupations, as the author of Gulliver's travels haš told his readers of a minor race of men and their whimsical pursuits.
But the itinerary of every observing and honest traveller is valuable, because it opens a new source of information to the historian and the geographer. He deserves our gratitude, who publishes his own observations, and such, as are derived from reputable characters, which extend the knowledge of our own or a foreign country. He deserves more gratitude, than almost any other description of authors, because his views are very unaspiring. He must relate some things, which will be thought trifling. His highest ambition is gratified by gaining the confidence of his readers, and telling them something new, or something more concerning things, with which they were but partially acquainted.
The information, given us in Mr. Harris' tour, is the result of " a journey for his health.” His work consists,