Page images
PDF
EPUB

Of the relation which eloquence bears to logic and to grammar.

enumerated, which address the understanding the imagination, and the pas ions, conviction, though not the end, ought ever to accompany the accomplishment of the end. It is never formally proposed as an end, where there are not supposed to be previous doubts or errors to conquer. But when due attention is not paid to it, by a proper management of the subject, doubts, disbelief, and mistake, will be raised by the discourse itself, where there were none before, and these will not fail to obstruct the speaker's end, whatever it be. In explanatory discourses, which are of all kinds the simplest, there is a certain precision of manner which ought to pervade the whole, and which, though not in the form of argument, is not the less satisfactory, since it carries internal evidence along with it. In harangues pathetic or panegyrical, in order that the hearers may be moved or pleased, it is of great consequence to impress them with the belief of the reality of the subject. Nay, even in those performances where truth, in regard to the individual facts related, is neither sought nor expected, as in some sorts of poetry, and in romance, truth still is an object to the mind, the general truths regarding character, manners, and incidents. When these are preserved, the piece may be justly denominated true, considered as a picture of life; though false, considered as a narrative of particular events. And even these untrue events must be counterfeits of truth, and bear its image; for in cases wherein the proposed end can be rendered consistent with unbelief, it cannot be ren

Of the relation which eloquence bears to logic and to grammar.

dered compatible with incredibility. Thus, in order to satisfy the mind, in most cases, truth, and in every case, what bears the semblance of truth, must be presented to it. This holds equally, whatever be the declared aim of the speaker. I need scarcely add, that to prove a particular point, it is often occasionally necessary, in every sort of discourse, as a subordinate end conducive to the advancement of the principal. If then it is the business of logic to evince the truth, to convince an auditory, which is the province of eloquence, is but a particular application of the logician's art. As logic therefore forges the arms which eloquence teacheth us to wield, we must first have recourse to the former, that, being made acquainted with the materials of which her weapons and armour are severally made, we may know their respective strength and temper, and when and how each is to be used.

Now, if it be by the sense or soul of the discourse that rhetoric holds of logic, or the art of thinking and reasoning, it is by the expression or body of the discourse, that she holds of grammar, or the art of conveying our thoughts, in the words of a particular language. The observation of one analogy naturally suggests another. As the soul is of heavenly extraction, and the body of earthly, so the sense of the discourse ought to have its source in the invariable nature of truth and right; whereas the expression can derive its energy only from the arbitrary conventions of men, sources as unlike, or rather as widely diffe

Of the relation which eloquence bears to logic and to grammar.

rent, as the breath of the Almighty and the dust of the earth. In every region of the globe, we may soon discover, that people feel and argue much in the same manner, but the speech of one nation is quite unintelligible to another. The art of the logician is accordingly, in some sense, universal, the art of the grammarian is always particular and local. The rules of argumentation laid down by Aristotle, in his Analytics, are of as much use for the discovery of truth in Britain or in China, as they were in Greece , but Priscian's rules of inflection and construction, can assist us in learning no language but Latin. In propriety there cannot be such a thing as an universal grammar, unless there were such a thing as an universal language. The term hath sometimes, indeed, been applied to a collection of observations on the

similar analogies that have been discovered in all

tongues, ancient and modern, known to the authors

of such collections. I do not mention this liberty in the use of the term with a view to censure it. In the

application of technical or learned words, an author hath greater scope, than in the application of those

which are in more frequent use, and is only then

thought censurable, when he exposeth himself to be

misunderstood. But it is to my purpose to observe, that as such collections convey the knowledge of no

tongue whatever, the name grammar, when applied to them, is used in a sense quite different from that which it has in the common acceptation ; perhaps as

different, though the subject be language, as when it is applied to a system of geography.

Of the relation which eloquence hears to logic and to grammar.

Now the grammatical art hath its completion in syntax; the oratorical, as far as the body or expression is concerned, in style. Syntax regards only the composition of many words into one sentence; style, at the same time that it attends to this, regards further, the composition of many sentences into one discourse. Nor is this the only difference; the grammarian, with respect to what the two arts have in common, the structure of sentences, requires only purity; that is, that the words employed belong to the language, and that they be construed in the manner, and used in the signification, which custom hath rendered necessary for conveying the sense. The orator requires also beauty and strength. The highest aim of the former, is the lowest aim of the latter ; where grammar ends, eloquence begins.

THUS the grammarian's department bears much the same relation to the orator's, which the art of the mason bears to that of the architect. There is, however, one difference, that well deserves our notice. . As in architecture it is not necessary that he who designs, should execute his own plans, he may be an excellent artist in this way, who would handle very aukwardly the hammer and the trowel. But it is alike incumbent on the orator, to design and to execute. He must therefore be master of the language he speaks or writes, and must be capable of adding to grammatic purity, those higher qualities of elocution, which will render his discourse graceful and energetic.

Sect. I. Of intuitive evidence.

So much for the connexion that subsists between rhetoric and these parent arts, logic and grammar.

CHAP V.

Of the different sources of Evidence, and the different subjects to which they are respectively adapted.

LoGICAL truth consisteth in the conformity of our conception to their archetypes in the nature of things. This conformity is perceived by the mind, either inmediately on a bare attention to the ideas under review, or mediately by a comparison of these with other related ideas. Evidence of the former kind is called intuitive; of the latter, deductive.

SECT. I.-Of Intuitive Evidence.
PART I....Mathematical axioms.

OF intuitive evidence there are different sorts. One is that which results purely from intellection *. Of

* I have here adopted the term intellection rather than perception, because, though not so usual, it is both more apposite, and less equivocal. Perception is employed alike to denote every immediate object of thought, or whatever is apprehended by the mind, our sensations themselves, and those qualities in body, suggested by our sensations, the ideas of these upon reflection, whether remembered

« PreviousContinue »