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BY THE TRANSLATOR.
'HE name of the Abbé MAURY hath become
so distinguished, not only in France, but also in this and other countries of Europe, that his literary productions will, probably, attract a degree of attention corresponding with that, which his public character and conduct have excited.
As a member of the Constituting National Assembly, it was his lot to step forward at an epoch, which will for ever remain memorablin the annals of France.
In the midst of those contests and recriminations, which prevailed among the different orders of which that assembly was composed, the Abbé MAURY stood forth as the champion of the Church, and of Aristocracy. His eloquence and abilities elevated him to distinguished importance amongst his brethren, while his undaunted spirit acquired fresh energy from the number, the abilities, and the attacks of his opponents : thus though repeatedly foiled, yet like an expiring hero in the field of battle he was determined not to yield, but with his latest breath.
His zeal and talents shone conspicuous in this crisis of public affairs ; and we are informed, that he hath since received from the hands of his Holiness at Rome, the reward of a strenuous defence of a tottering church.
But not only hath the Senate borne witness to his abilities: the Press, also, superadds its testimony in various literary productions.
Eloquence, the subject of that work, which is here presented in an English dress, appears to have occupied his maturest tho'ts; and the justice and enlargement of his ideas upon this subject mark the success, with which he has pursued it.
To boast of his attaining to originality of thought on a subject, which hath been so frequently and so ably discussed, would, doubtless, be presumptuous : to insinuate that he has written a complete system, would be to contradict his own professions; but, to acknowledge, that he has thrown out a variety of useful hints, and that in his manner of discussion, he is lively and interesting, is no more than to pay him that tribute, to which his merit may justly lay claim.
The following Dissertation is only one of several, which M. MAURY hath given to the public. There are also collected in one volume the Panegyrics of S. Louis and of Fenelon; Pa. flections on the Sermons of Bossuet; and the Panegyric of S. Austin.
In these he has discovered the talents of an Orator,particularly in that species of the art styled Panegyric, to which the French have ever shewn more attachment than the English*.
In the work now offered to the public, and which seems the most material for a young speaker to peruse, the Abbé has described those rules, and suggested those observations, by which he appears to have been guided in his own compositions.
In confirmation of the good opinion, which the translator has conceived of M. MAURY's performance, he transcribes, with pleasure, the remarks of the MonthLY REVIEWERS on those discourses, of which the following translation constitutes the first:
« The first of these discourses relates to various parts of the Eloquence of the Pulpit, and does
great honour to the taste, judgment, and feelings ' of the ingenious author. His reflections on. CICERO, DEMOSTHENES, Bossuet, FENELON, BOURDALOUE, SAURIN, BRIDAINE, &c. are
* A late publication hath since appeared, and been attributed to the Abbé, consisting, chiefly, of speeches delivered by him in the National Assembly.
! sensible and solid ; and his precepts and rules
are every way adapted to form the taste of a 'young Orator to that affecting simplicity, which • disdains all frivolous ornaments, and has no
other object in view than to touch and to per(suade.
“This discourse is followed by two Orations that were delivered before the French Academy in honour of St. Louis, and Fenelon; another ' in honour of St. Augustine, delivered in the General Assembly of the French Clergy; and a piece entitled, Reflections on the Sermons of * Bossuet last published. All these are excellent (in their kinds.'*
The testimony of an eminent literary character now living, were liberty allowed to transcribe it, and mention his name, would add strength to the foregoing observations.
The Editor feels constrained to apologize for the he has taken. He began at first to peruse and translate the Abbé MAURY's performance
on the Eloquence of the Pulpit and the Bar,' in the course of his private studies, and merely with a view to his personal improvement.
Some elucidations from English authors naturally occurred to his mind, which he has accor
* Monthly Review, vol. Iyii, p. 309.
dingly annexed. But it was not till afterwards, and in compliance with the wish of those, whose judgment he respects, that he thought of submitting the whole to public view. He cannot be insensible that imperfections may discover themselves to the eye of rigid criticism ; while at the same time, he would indulge a hope, that the time and pains employed will render this translation of the Abbé's sentiments not wholly unacceptable to the young student and reader, for whose use it is principally designed.
It will appear on perusal, that the Abbé MauRY's predilection for French Preachers and Orators gives a tincture of severity to his censures on the English ; and that in one or two instances, his zeal for the Romish Church embitters his language with regard to the conduct and writings of some Protestants.
Every man hath his partialities. For the prejudices of education, country, connexions, great allowances must, and by every liberal mind, will be made. This is an age of free inquiry; and in proportion as this spirit prevails, we shall say with
Free liberty must, therefore, be allowed to every reader to judge for himself what degree of