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HIS work having been undertaken
principally with the design of assisting the Students at Warrington in acquiring a just and graceful Elocution, I feel a peculiar propriety in addressing it to you, as a public acknowledgment of the steady support which you have given to this Institution, and the important services which you have rendered it.
In this Seminary, which was at first established, and has been uniformly con. ducted, on the extensive plan of providing a ! proper course of Instruction for
young men I in the most useful branches of Science and Literature, you have seen many respectable characters formed, who are now filling up their stations in society with reputation to Į
themselves, and advantage to the Public. And, while the same great object continues to be pursued, by faithful endeavours to cultivate the understandings of youth, and by a steady attention to discipline, it is hoped, that you will have the satisfaction to observe the same effects produced, and that the scene will be realized, which OUR Poetess has so beautifully described :
When this, this little group
With fincere Respect and Gratitude,
UCH declamation has been employed to convince the world of a very plain
truth, that to be able to speak well is an ornamental and useful accomplishment. Without the laboured panegyrics of ancient or modern orators, the importance of a good elocution is sufficiently obvious. Every one will acknowledge it to be of some consequence, that what a man has hourly occasion to do, fhould be done well. Every private company, and almost every public assembly affords opportunities of remarking the difference between a just and graceful, and a faulty and unnatural elocution ; and there are few persons who do not daily experience the advantages of the former, or the inconveniences of the latter. The great difficulty is not to prove that
it is a desirable thing to be able to read and speak with propriety, but to point out a practicable and easy method by which this accomplishment may be acquired.
Follow Nature, is certainly the fundamental law of Oratory, without a regard to which, all other rules will only produceaffected declamation, not just elocution. And some accurate observers, judging, perhaps, from a few unlucky specimens of modern eloquence, have concluded that this is the only law which ought to be prescribed; that all artificial rules are useless; and that good sense, and a cultivated taste, are the only requisites to form a good public speaker. But it is true in the art of fpeaking, as well as in the art of living, that general precepts are of little use till they are unfolded, and applied to particular cases. To observe the various ways by which nature expresses the several perceptions, emotions and passions of the human mind, and to distinguish these from the mere effect of arbitrary custom or falfe taste : to discover and correct those tones, and habits of fpeaking, which are gross deviations from nature, and as far as they prevail must destroy all propriety and grace of utterance: and o make choice of such a course of practical lela