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than in that of oratory. Demosthenes and Cicero controlled Athenis and Rome by the irresistible force of their eloquence. The passions of their hearers were in their hands, and were guided merely at their discretion. Yet, if we examine their orations, free from those prejudices which we imbibed at school, we shall find nothing in them calculated to transport, dissolve, and sweep along an audience of the present day. We will discover, indeed, the justice of the trite criticism, that Demosthenes is precise and earnest, that Cicero is copious and diffusive. But we shall be struck with the difference between the ch acter of their orations, and that of our modern orations which have been most highly celebrated. Curran and Erskine are, at the present day, what Cicero and Demosthenes were to the ancient world--the models of eloquence. Yet compare the most applauded harangues of 'the Grecian and Roman orators, with the defences of Stock'dale and of. Rowan; and you will scarcely be able to persuade yourself that the fame of these men was built on the approbation of a race of beings whose judgment and pas. sions were uniform throughout every age. Demosthenes is said to have rejected with disdain every species of ornament. Cicero is pronounced to have been florid: yet it will be found, on inspection, that there is scarcely an instance in any of his orations of an extended figure. His words are metaphorical; but he presents to the fancy no image in all the beautiful attitudes of which it may be susceptibie. This was not the taste of Rome. Even in the time of Pliny the younger, when the city had advanced in refinements and in luxuries, such remained the austerity of the popular taste on literary subjects, that this orator thought it necessary to defend the boldness of a figure, which, at this day, would scarcely inake an impression in common conversation.

Such, however, is not the taste of the present day. We demand the animation of tropes and figures. Such too is the taste of untutored nature. Ossian, who wrote only from the force of native genius, warmed by the rude magnificence

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of the scenery around him, is all alive with the boldest me. taphor. Such has always been the oriental style. Such, at this day, is the style of the Indian orator.

Curran and Erskine are remarkable instances of the success of this style. We think, however, that there is a strong distinction between the characters of their minds. Curran appears to have more fancy; Erskine more judgment. Cur. ran awakens all our passions; Erskine gives conviction to the understanding. When we read the defence of Rowan, we tremble with expectation, we glow with resentment, we shudder with horror, we melt with pity, or are wafted to the seventh Heaven on the wings of admiration. While we read the defence of Stockdale,* our judgment yields at every step; every paragraph is a strong, an indissoluble link in the chain of conviction ; and when the argument closes we pronounce, almost involuntarily, "not guilty." Not that Erskine is destitute of imagination and pathos. He possesses a very high portion of both, and the exertion is always successful. His description of the trial of Warren Hastings, before the British parliament--the crowded brilliant gallerythe masterly exertions of the speakers-the death-like silence and intense sympathy of the audience, form a picture so lively, so strongly drawn, that the whole scene passes immediately before us, and we feel all the agitation of an original spectator. When he speaks of the rigours practised by Hastings in Bengal, and introduces the Indian prince remonstrating against the lawless foot of British depredation," he gives an example of that species of the sublime, arising from sentiment, which is unsurpassed. But Erskine seems generally more anxious to carry his point than to encircle his

argument with a blaze of glory. Judgment is the ruling faculty of his mind. Curran, on the contrary, luxuriates in all the richness of fancy, and his argument is often lost amid the efful

* It would appear, that this writer had not seen some of Mr. Erskine's most celebrated speeches, viz. on the trials of the Dean of St. Asaph, Lord George Gordon, Hardy & Co. &c.

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gence of his genius. In a word, Erskine is more the logician and man of business. Curran is more the orator and the poet.

Passing to our own country is it not astonishing that in a republic, the genial element of oratory, we have not a single example of the higher order of eloquence? In Virgi." nia, we have several logicians, but not an orator. Yet the people, having before them no superior instance, have been pleased to bind the laurel aroand the brow of let us suppose a character, and call him Sulpitius. Sulpitius is neither a logician nor an orator. He wants that clear and vigorous penetration which is necessary to distinguish the strong points of a subject, and to arrange them to advantage. Hence that heterogeneous chaos, that prolixity and confusion, which characterize all the offspring of Sulpitius's brain, and which leave the hearer without one strong impression. As an orator he is equally unfortunate. His imagination is jejune in the extreme. 'Take any one splendid paragraph from the speeches of Curran or Erskine, mark in them the genuine effusion of creative genius! Mark how the figures rise spontaneously from the subject! Observe how they are embellished with all the ornament of unlaboured thought and language, and with what swelling energy they are supported throughout! Compare with these the issue of Sulpitius's mind. The watery, sickly figure just makes its appearance in order to show that it has no business there; and being deserted in the moment of its birth, it sinks and dies in its own weakness; while the impotent genius of Sulpitius, unnerved by the effort, drops, in all the majesty of bathos, into a style, not merely plain, but feeble, cold, and languid ; a few moments recruit his imagination, and he travails with some new figure, which, like its predecessor, is doomed to be strangled or forsaken at its birth. A tissue of abortions like these, constitute Sulpitius's title to the name of an orator. Let me warn the youthful candidate for oratorial glory, to beware of considering Sulpitius as having attained the summit of oratory, and of adopting him as his model. In spite

of the popular prejudice in his favour, he has not even the mechanical qualities of an orator. ' His person is good, and his gesture is easy ; but his attitudes are frequently awkward, and his delivery often interrupted. Fluency is not his property. You are forced constantly to perceive that he is hunting musical words—and, being some times thrown out in the chase, he manifests his embarrassment by stammering and rolling his eyes with perplexity to the ceiling.

I have been led to this analysis of the character of the supposed SULPITIUS, for the benefit of such of our youth as aim at the character of eloquence. It is my wish to show them, that if they desire to excel, they must look to something beyond the achievements of this speaker. Let them study the defences of Curran and Erskine-let them endeavour to catch, their spirit. When they shall have done this, the citizens of America will hear, applaud, and imitate.

** It is not correct to blame Virginia for want of orators of the higher class, whilst we recollect the brilliant talents of PATRICK Henry. But even at present, in all our courts, we find a number of very respectable speakers ; and, in congress, Virginian eloquence generally conducts the vanguard. Some of her speakers in that body, have borne the same share in the opinion of the republic, which the tenth legion bore in the confidence of Julius Cæsar. Our country is young ; but it has done wonders in its time; and if it can preserve its republican forms, there is no doubt, in due time, it will emulate, if not surpass, whatever we have heard of Greek or Roman oratory.

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IN the latter end of December, 1792, Mr. Rowan was arrested by virtue of Mr. Justice Downes's warrant, on a charge of distributing a seditious paper. Mr. Downes haying assured Mr. Rowan, that the examinations, upon which the warrant was grounded, would be returned to the clerk of the crown, and that they would, he supposed, be in course by him laid before the next term grand jury, Mr. Rowan, instead of going to gaol, in pursuance of his own opinion, followed the advice of his law friends, and gave bail for his appearance in the king's bench, to answer such. charges as should be there made against him. During the succeeding Hilary term, Mr. Rowan daily attended in the king's bench, and on the last day of that term finding that no examinations had been laid before the grand jury, against him, he applied, by counsel, to the court, that the examinations should be forthwith returned, particularly, as Mr. Attorney-General had, in the course of the term, filed two informations, ex officio, against him, the one for the same alleged offence of distributing a seditious paper, and the other for a seditious conspiracy; whereupon Mr. Justice Downes, who was on the bench, having asserted that he had on the first day of the term, returned the examinations to the clerk of the crown, and the clerk of the crown having said, that from the multiplicity of the examinations returned to him on the first day of the term, and even on that day, he had not time to look them Vol. I.


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