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CHAP. VII.

of the Consideration which the Speaker ought to have of

the Hearers, as men in general.

Rhetoric, as was observed already, not only considers the subject, but also the hearers and the speaker*. The hearers must be considered in a twofold view, as men in general, and as such men in particular.

As men in general, it must be allowed there are cer tain principles in our nature, which, when properly addressed and managed, give no inconsiderable aid to reason in promoting belief. Nor is it just to conclude from this concession, as some have hastily done, that oratory may be defined, “ The art of deception." The use of such helps will be found, on a stricter examination, to be in most cases quite legitimate, and even necessary, if we would give reason herself that influence which is certainly her due. In order to evince the truth considered by itself, conclusive arguments alone are requisite; but in order to convince me by these arguments, it is moreover requisite that they be understood, that they be attended to, that they be remembered by me ; and in order to persuade me by them, to any particular action or conduct, it is further requisite, that by interesting me in the subject, they may, as it were, be felt. It is not therefore the understanding alone that is here concerned. If the orator would prove successful, it is necessary that he engage in his service all these different powers of the mind, the imagination, the memory, and the passions: These are not the supplanters of reason, or even rivals in her sway; they are her handmaids, by whose ministry she is enabled to usher truth into the heart, and procure it there a favourable reception. As handmaids they are liable to be seduced by sophistry in the gard of reason, and sometimes are made ignorantly to lend their aid in the introduction of falsehood. But their service is not on this account to be be dispensed with; there is even

Chap. IV.

a necessity of employing it founded on our nature. Our eyes and hands and feet will give us the saine assistance in doing mischiet as in doing good; but it would not therefore be better for the world, that all mankind were blind and lame. Arms are not to be laid aside by honest men, because carried by assassins and ruffians; they are to be used the rather for this very reason.

Nor are those mental powers of which eloquence so much avails herself, like the art of war or other human arts, perfectly indifferent to good and evil, and only beneficial as they are rightly employed. On the contrary, they are by nature, as will perhaps appear afterwards more friendly to truth than to falsehood, and more easily retained in the cause of virtue, than in that of vice*

SECTION I.-Men considered as endowed with Understanding

But to descend to particulars; the first thing to be studied by the speaker is, that his arguments may be understood. If they be unintelligible, the cause must be either in the sense or in the expression. It lies in the sense, if the mediums of proof be such as the hearers are unacquainted with; that is, if the ideas introduced be either without the sphere of their knowledge, or too abstract for their apprehension and habits of thinking. It

• “ Notandum est enim, affectus ipsos ad bonum apparens semper ferri, atque “ hac ex parte aliquid habere cum ratione commune ; verum illud interest ; quod * affectus intuentur præcipue bonum in præsentia ; ratio prospiciens in longum, etiam " futurum, et in summa. Ideoque cum quæ in præsentia obversentur, impleant phantasiam fortius, succumbit plerumque ratio et subjugatur. Sed postquam

eloquentia et suasionum vi effectum sit, ut futura et remota constituantur et " conspiciantur tanquam præsentia, tum demum abeunte in partes rationis phan. “tasia, ratio fit superior. Concludamus igitur, non deberi magis vitio verti * Rhetoricæ, quod deteriorem partem cohonestare sciat ; quam Dialecticæ, quod "sophismata concinnare doceat. Quis enim nescit, contrariorum eandem ratio.

nema esse, licet usu opponantur ?” De Aug. Sci. L. vi. c. 3. Τα υποκειμενα πραγμαία εκ ομοιως εχει αλλ' αιει τ' αληθη και τα βελτιω τη φυσει ευσυλλογισιπγα και πιθανότερα, ως απλως ειπειν.--ι δ' ότι μεγαλα βλαψεις αν

ó

χρώμενος άδικως τη τοιαύτη δυναμει των λογων, τετο τι κοινον έσι καλα παντων των αγαθών, πλην αρετης, και μάλιστα κατα των χρησιμωτάθων, οιον ισχν©, υγιειας, πλατε, τρατηγιας: τοικίοις

yace

ey τις υφιλησεις τα μεγιστά, χρωμενα δικαιως. και Bielany adimus. Aris. Rhet. L. i. c. 1.

lies in the sense likewise, if the train of reasoning (though no unusual ideas should be introduced) be longer, or more complex, or more intricate, than they are accustomed to. But as the fitness of the arguments in these respects, depends on the capacity, education, and attainments of the hearers, which in different orders of men are different, this properly belongs to the consideration

vhich the speaker ought to have of his audience, not as n.en in general, but as such men in particular. The obscurity which ariseth from the expression will come in course to be considered in the sequel. SECTION II.-Men considered as endowed with Imagina

tion.

The second thing requisite is that his reasoning be attended to ; for this purpose the imagination must be engaged. Attention is prerequisite to every effect of speaking, and without some gratification in hearing, there will be no attention, at least of any continuance. Those qualities in ideas which principally gratify the fancy, are vivacity, beauty, sublimity, novelty. Nothing contributes more to vivacity than striking resemblances in the imagery, which convey, besides, an additional pleasure of their own.

But there is still a further end to be served by pleasing the imagination, than that of awakening and preserving the attention, however important this purpose alone ought to be accounted. I will not say with a late subtile metaphysican*, that “ Belief consisteth in the liveliness of our ideas." That this doctrine is erroneous, it would be quite foreign to my purpose to attempt here to evincet. Thus much however is indubitable, that belief commonly enlivens our ideas; and that lively ideas have a stronger influence than faint ideas to induce belief. But so far are these two from being coincident,

* The author of A Treatise of Human Nature, in 3 vols. + If one is desirous to see a refutation of this principle, let bim consult Reid's Inquiry, Ch. ü. Sect. 5.

that even this connection between them, though common, is not necessary. Vivacity of ideas is not always accompanied with faith, nor is faith always able to produce vivacity. The ideas raised in my mind by the Oedipus Tyrannus of Sophocles, or the Lear of Shakespear, are incomparably more lively than those excited by a cold but faithful historiographer. Yet I may give full credit to the languid narrative of the latter, though I believo not a single sentence in those tragedies. If a proof were asked of the greater vivacity in the one case than in the other (which by the way, must be finally determined by consciousness), let these effects serve for arguments. The ideas of the poet give greater pleasure, command closer attention, operate more strongly on the passions, and are longer remembered. If these be not sufficient evidences of greater vivacity, I own I have no apprehension of the meaning which that author affixes to the term. The connexion, however, that generally subsisteth between vivacity and belief will appear less marvellous, if we reflect that there is not so great a difference between argument and illustration as is usually imagined, The same ingenious writer says, concerning moral reasoning, that it is but a kind of comparison. The truth of this assertion any one will easily be convinced of, who considers the preceding observations on that subject.

Where then lies the difference between addressing the judgment, and addressing the fancy? and what hath given rise to the distinction between ratiocination and imagery? The following observations will serve for an answer to this query. It is evident, that though the mind receives a considerable pleasure from the discovery of resemblance, no pleasure is received when the resembiance is of such a nature as is familiar to every body, Such are those resemblances which result from the specific and generic qualitiesof ordinary objects. What gives the principal delight to the imagination, is the exhibition of a stronglikeness, which escapes the notice of the generality of people. The similitude of man to man, eagle to eagle, sea to sea, or in brief, of one individual to another individual of the same species, affects not the fancy in the least.

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What poet would ever think of comparing a combat between two of his heroes to a combat between other two? Yet nowhere else will he find so strong a resemblance. Indeed, to the faculty of imagination, this resemblance appears rather under the notion of identity; although it be the foundation of the strongest reasoning from experience. Again, the similarity of one species to another of the same genus, as of the lion to the tiger, of the alder to the oak, though this too be a considerable fund of argumentation, hardly strikes the fancy more than the preceding, inasmuch as the generical properties, whereof every species participates, are also obvious. But if from the experimental reasoning we descend to the analogical, we may be said to come upon a common to which reason and fancy have an equal claim. “A comparison," says Quintilian*, “ hath almost the effect of an example." But what are rhetorical comparisons, when brought to illustrate any point inculcated on the hearers, (what are they, I say) but arguments from analogy? In proof of this let us borrow an instance from the forementioned rhetorician, “ Would you be convinced of the necessity “ of education for the mind, consider of what importance “ culture is to the ground: the field which, cultivated, “ produceth a plentiful crop of useful fruits ; if neglect

ed, will be overrun with briars and brambles, and other “ useless or noxious weedst.” It would be no better than trifling to point out the argument couched in this passage. Now if comparison, which is the chief, hath so great an influence upon conviction, it is no wonder that all those other oratorical tropes and figures addressed to the imagination, which are more or less nearly related to comparison, should derive hence both light and efficacyf. Even antithesis implies comparison. Similé is a comparison in epitomés. "Metaphor is an allegory

Instit. lib. v. cap. 11. Proximas exempli vires habit similitudo. + Ibid. Ut si animum dicas excolendum, similitudine utaris terræ, quæ ne glecta sentes atque dumos, exculta fructus creat.

1 Præterea, nescio quomodo etiam credit facilius, quæ audienti jucunda sint, et voluptate ad fidem ducitur. Quint. I iv. c. 2.

Simile and comparison are in common language frequently confounded. The difference is this; Simile is no more than a comparison suggtsted in a word or

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