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FRANCIS JEFFREY, Esq.
I BEG leave to dedicate this Compilation to you. For the satisfaction of the inquisitive, I say that, respect for your character and opinions, the instruction and pleasure which I have derived from your Works, your attention to Education in general, and to Elocution in particular, your desire to give every literary subject a candid hearing, are the motives which have urged me to trespass upon your attention. Had it been a work of much greater importance than it really can pretend to be,
I should in so far have derived an additional plea*sure in subscribing myself,
Your most obedient Servant,
WHEN we began to think for ourselves on Elocution, we found Mr. Walker's rules not only unsatisfactory, but obviously contradictory. The longer we investigated, the more were we convinced of the truth of this opinion. We, therefore, abandoned them completely, but not without remembering that he stood alone in Elocution, and that his system of rules has been promulgated, so far as we know, by every teacher in the empire. This, however, did not appear to us a powerful, or an unanswerable argument. Our view of the subject, briefly stated in the Introduction, is the only motive that has induced us to publish the appended Collection. We leave the Introduction to speak for itself. But if the view which we have there given, is not founded on Nature, let it be given to the wind. It has no right to rear its head, and arrogate to itself the importance, in which its singularity appears even at first sight to envelope it, unless Nature and Truth step forward to advocate its cause. While expressing these sentiments, we
need not add, that we ourselves have not the key shadow of a doubt as to the truth of the system which we have endeavoured to explain. But to .. please those who disguise their vanity under dif fident terms, we hope, were it for nothing but the sake of abridging the labour of the studenti that our view is built upon the rock of Nature against which, all intellectual tempests however ! appalling, all the sneers, and the opprobrious.. epithets which envy or malice can devise, how-t. ever galling, will beat for ever in vain. In fine, . we hope that no unfortunate circumstances will prevent us from early exhibiting the subject in a more enlarged and favourable state. Eine · As to the extracts, it becomes us to say, that we have endeavoured to make them bear aš much as possible upon the present state of 80“ ciety and literature-to meet, and keep pace is with the exigencies of the times a circum- 1u stance, in our opinion, of the highest importance:. to the rising generation. We are yet sorry that I the duties of our profession have prevented us i, from doing this to our own satisfaction. The ai questions and exercises occasionally introducedc. at the end of the exercises, while an original, is is, we think, a very important feature of the 1: work; inasmuch as it promises to rivet the ata. tention of the pupil to the consideration of the subject—without which, nothing truly valuable :. i can ever be achieved. The notes and observations, not decidedly elocutionary, have the same', end in view--that of arresting the mind of their
pupil, and leading him to notice the beauties of his own language ;' which, unfortunately, is so much, and so générally neglected, by the res " mains of a mónkish and selfish system, which, we heartily trušt, the present dawn of literature will very speedily and for ever chase away." We have to remind those persons who may imagine that any of our observations, in favour of any authors deed or living, were designed to gratify some base or sinister motive, that they and their suspected motive are, in our estimation, equally despicable. .
Teachers, who may think proper to use the work in their higher classes of common reading, have önly to pass over the exercises.". In
In hastening to the conclusion of the preface,' we entreat all to notice the importance of the *• subject. When we say that there is no person or station which it cannot adorn, we assert, that woneitlier exaggerate on the one hand, nor diminish on the other. Need we remind any, that ideas the grandest, and the most sublime, clothed in language equally grand and captivating, are completely at the mercy of utterance?-remind any of the local and limited nature, of the utter inability of all written language to express the various tones, emotions, and states of the mind ? -remind those intellectual beings and fair forms, tinged with the mania of wielding gracefully their superior or inferior extremities—priding themselves on their dexterous and elegant chassez and pirouette, that it is a thousand times more be