Page images

dissolution of society itself, dates from May 5th, 1789, when the States-General met to construct a new constitution. 3. (Consequence.) It caused the downfall of the French monarchy, the annihilation of the nobility, and the execution of the king and queen, and eventually plunged all Europe into a war, from the effects of which it can be scarcely said to have yet recovered.

The learner is to write paragraphs constructed as the above model, consisting of, 1. The Cause; 2. The Event or Fact (expressed in the propositions given); and 3. The Effects.

Propositions (Facts), the Causes and Effects to be

added. 1. The poor man died last week. 2. The house became bankrupt. 3. The troops marched into the defile. 4. He acquired a perfect knowledge of the language. 5. The armies met at Waterloo. 6. Columbus discovered a new world. 7. He became heir to a large estate. 8. The king was extremely angry. 9. Our friends fell into misfortunes. 10. The civil war in England broke out in 1642. 11. Louis XIV. ravaged the Palatinate. 12. The law was passed early in the session. 13. The husband contracted habits of intemperance. 14. The vessel had not her complement of men. 15. The building was destroyed by fire. 16. The clerk was discharged from his office. 17. My uncle returned from India.

18. The Americans succeeded in establishing their

independence. 19. Napoleon became Emperor of France in 1804. 20. He remonstrated seriously with his friends.


In many cases we form our conclusions from experience. Here we argue upon the natural principle of inferring that what has uniformly happened under certain circumstances, will, under similar circumstances, happen again. Thus, if we have occasion to observe that habits of extravagance and excessive expenditure are a frequent cause of ruin, we may fairly conclude that this line of conduct, in any particular case, will produce the same result. Experience may be gained from various sources, such as personal observation, reading, conversation, &c. As a general rule, experience can be gained only by age, and therefore the young can hardly expect to have the same advantages in this respect as the more advanced in life.

In the following model, this form of reasoning is adopted :



Eloquence has a powerful Given proposition

influence. Eloquence has a powerful influence. This truth is attested by the history of all ages, both ancient and modern. It is well known that Philip of Macedon was more afraid of the thunder of Demosthenes' eloquence than of the whole collective power of the Athenian people. And there are persons still living who remember and feel the wonderful sway that a Pitt or a Fox wielded over his audience. Who that has listened to the glowing words of an excited orator, and the insinuating tones of his voice, or seen his graceful and expressive gestures, and the earnestness of his convictions, has not felt the difficulty — not to say impossibility - of resisting such a fascinating

influence !

[ocr errors]

The propositions in the following list are to be supported by arguments drawn from experience, as in the above model.

Propositions to be proved by Experience. 1. It is wrong to irritate an angry man. 2. There can be no success without application. 3. No one becomes suddenly wicked. 4. We should be prepared for the worst. 5. A wise man is never surprised. 6. The tongue kills more than the sword. 7. Recreation is necessary. 8. Excessive indulgence is pernicious. 9. Much knowledge is gained from books. 10. Music is a delightful art. 11. Ambition is a natural principle. 12. Rumour has a thousand tongues. 13. Industry is better than brilliant talents. 14. Curiosity is an inherent principle in human

nature. 15. Kindness begets kindness. 16. Pride will have a fall, 17. Virtue is its own reward,

18. Experience is the best master. 19. Novelty produces great pleasure. 20. There is nothing dearer to us than our country.


History is an inexhaustible storehouse of example; and cases drawn from this source are frequently quoted in proof of general propositions. There is scarcely a virtue or vice incidental to human nature of which history does not furnish us with many examples. Thus, in illustration of the nobleness of generosity, we might cite Alexander the Great's behaviour to the mother and wife of Darius, or King Richard's forgiveness of his brother John. Again, to show the fatal consequences of unrestrained passion, we might quote the case of Henry the Second's exclamation against Becket, or the circumstances of the death of Valentinian the First. Of course, the more extensive our historical reading, the greater the number of examples we shall have to refer to; but a tolerable knowledge of English history alone will furnish cases applicable to a very great variety of subjects.

In the following model, the proofs are drawn from history:



... {

Given proposition

A civil war generally leads

to despotism. A civil war generally leads to despotism. This would seem to be a natural consequence of intestine division. One of the contending parties gains the upper hand, and establishes a despotic power over the other. The quarrels of Athens and Sparta eventually led to the subjugation of Greece by the Romans; the civil wars of Rome were followed by the establishment of an empire; and in modern times, the horrors of the French Revolution ended in the absolute power of Napoleon the First.

This form of argument is to be applied to the following :

Propositions to be illustrated or proved by historical



1. Be not daunted by difficulties. 2. Unity is strength. 3. Perseverance will at length succeed. 4. Take time by the forelock. 5. Bad examples are infectious. 6. Occupation keeps both body and mind healthy. 7. What great events from trivial causes spring!' 8. Honesty is the best policy. 9. Trivial actions betray the real character. 10. None are completely happy. 11. Resist the first temptations to evil. 12. Necessity is the mother of invention. 13. “A soft answer turneth away wrath.' 14. “Too much familiarity breeds contempt.' 15. The fine arts assist civilisation. 16. Luxury is destructive of liberty. 17. Learning tends to virtue. 18. Climate affects national character. 19. There's no art to know the mind's construction in

the face.' 20. Nothing is impossible to a strong will.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »