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• there must die this year sixty of my hearers ; upon the same principle, in ten years there will remain no more of these eighteen hundred persons than
1270 In twenty years no more than
830 In thirty years
480 In forty years
230 In fifty years
70 • Thus my brethren, you perceive that society • is in one continual fluctuation.'
Yes, I shall be able, without doubt, to comprehend this scale of mortality, while ascertaining the combination of Saurin at leisure, in a book, wherein I can trace them at sight: but how shall I lay hold of these arithmetical deductions in a pulpit, where the rapidity of the delivery admits of no abstract mental operations ?
This singular calculation ought not, therefore, to find room in a sermon, solely intended to be preached in a church.
Besides, the strength which this reasoning appears to have at first sight is not sufficiently forcible to intimidate hardened sinners. Saurin acknowledges, that fifty years after the day where in he speaks, there will still remain upon the earth seventy of his hearers : now, however little we may know of the human heart, we apprehend, that there was not, perhaps, one individual of these eighteen hundred persons, who did not flat
ter himself with being of this small number, and, consequently, who did not regard death as still at too great a distance to hasten his conversion.
OF ENGLISH ELOQUENCE.
NFERIOR as Saurin is to our great masters, I
he is in the same proportion superior to English preachers.
Mr. Hume expressly acknowledges,* that England hath made less improvement in this kind of Eloquence, than in the other branches of literature. In fact, although this nation hath produced some eloquent writers, at the head of whom we ought to reckon the immortal RICHARDSONt; she
* Treatise upon Eloquence, chap. vii. t • The most moral of all our novel writers is RICHARD, 'SON; a writer of excellent intentions, and of very considerable capacity and genius.'—BLAIR’s Lectures, vol. ii. p. 309.
‘RICHARDSON, besides being a great genius, was a truly ' good man in all respects. He was pious, virtuous, exem
plary, benevolent, friendly, generous, and humane to an uncommon degree ;, glad of every opportunity of doing good soffices to his fellow-creatures in distress, and relieving many without their knowledge. His chief delight was
hath not, as yet, one single Orator who can do honour to his country in Europe. *
doing good. His three great works were entitled “Pa• mela, or Virtue rewarded ;' «The History of Clarissa • Harlowe ;' and · The History of Sir Charles Grandison ;' • Dr. Johnson styles him an author from whom the age bas * received great favours, who has enlarged the knowledge of human nature, and taught the passions to move at the command of virtue.' Mr. Sherlock, the traveller, observes • that Richardson is admirable for erery species of deli
cacy; for delicacy of wit, sentiment, language, action, every thing.' His genius was immense. His views were grand. His soul was noble, and his heart was excellent. • He formed a plan that embraced all human nature. His object was to benefit mankind. His knowledge of the
world shewed him that happiness was to be attained by man, only in proportion as he practised virtue.'
Mr. Richardson's reputation is far from being confined to his own country. He has been read in many of the languages, and known to most of the nations in Europe, and has been greatly admired, notwithstanding every dissimilitude of manners, or even disadvantage of translation. 'I consider him,' says Dr. Young, “as a truly great natural genius; as great and super-eminent in his way, as was Shakspeare and Milton in theirs.'-New Biographical Dictionary. See Appendix.
* Mr. Hume, in his Essays, (to which M. Maury probably refers) remarks, that if our vation be superior to the • ancients in philosophy, we are still, notwithstanding all our • refinements, much inferior in Eloquence. In ancient times,
no work of genius was thought to require so great parts, ' and capacity, as the speaking in public ; and some eminent • writers have pronounced the talents, even of a great poet, . or philosopher, to be of an inferior nature to those requi.
site for such an undertaking. Greece and Rome produced
In this celebrated Island, we sometimes discover amongst its inhabitants rhetorical strokes;
each of them, but one accomplished Orator; and what. ever praises the other celebrated speakers might merit, they were still esteemed much inferior to these great models of eloquence.
• Of all the polite and learned nations, Britain alone pos. sesses a popular government, or admits into the legislature such numerous assemblies as can be supposed to lie under “the dominion of Eloquence. But what has Britain to boast in this particular?
• In enumerating the great men who have done honour to our country, we exult in our poets and philosophers; but what Orators are ever mentioned? or where are the monuments of their genius to be met with ; There are found, • indeed, in our history, the names of several who directed *the resolutions of our parliament: but neither themselves
nor others have taken the pains to preserve their speeches : and the authority which they possessed seems to have been owing to their experience, wisdom, or power, more than to their talents for Oratory, At present, (Mr. Hume 'first published his Essays about the year 1742] there are * above half a dozen speakers in the two houses, who, in the * judgment of the public, bave reached very near the same 'pitch of Eloquence ; and no one pretends to give any one the preference to the rest. This seems to me a certain proof that none of them have attained much beyond a me. . diocrity in their art, and that the species of Eloquence, * which they aspire to, gives no exercise to the sublimer • faculties of the mind, but may be reached by ordinary ta• lents, and a slight application. , A hundred cabinet makers in London can work a table, or a chair, equally well ; 'but no one poet can write verses with such spirit and ele'gance as Mr. Pope.'--HUME's Essays, vol. i. Ess. xii. p. 110-120.
but they know not the art, properly so called, of Eloquence; and it would even seem, that they do not considerit of much value.
In a similar strain with the foregoing remarks, the judicious and acute Mr. Knox animadverts on the present state of Parliamentary Eloquence, when, speaking first of the upper house, he says, that it would be difficult to name a . single peer who has attracted notice or admiration for the
classical elegance of his matter or his language. Of all 'the speeches spoken in the house, how few have ever been • collected and preserved in libraries, as models of classical • elegance ? Passion and personal animosity have, indeed, . produced many invectives, which gratify the spleen of ' party, and are for the tiine extolled beyond all the produc. * tions of preceding ingenuity. But is there extant a single
volume of speeches, by the most famous among the OraStors of the upper house, which can be produced as a clas. • sical book, or stand in competition with the Orations of • Cicero ? I regret that the fury of party, and the meanness
of servitude, have, for the most part, excluded that true taste, true grace, and true spirit, which is necessary to • form a classical Orator, from the barrangues of an assem. • bly, which may be deemed the most august in Europe.'
• The House of Commons has always been esteemed a very distinguished theatre of modern Eloquence. And there indeed, notwithstanding the same impediments · which prevail among the peers, it is easy to produce many
splendid examples. But, though we join in the applause • of common fame, yet let us ask, where are to be found
the volumes of oratorical elegance ? Have the speeches · which bave gained the praise of admiring kingdoms, been sno where collected and recorded ? Do we lock them up in
our book-cases, and put them into the hands of our chil. dren as models for imitation, as lessons to form their 'young minds, and raise a succession of orators and patri.