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The Last Day
Dialogue on Loquacity
COLUMBIAN ORA TOR, &c.
GENERAL DIRECTIONS FOR SPEAKING; EXTRACTED FROM VARIOUS AUTHORS.
OF PRONUNCIATION IN GENERAL..
HE best judges among the ancients have reprefented Pronunciation, which they likewife called Action, as the principal part of an orator's province; from whence he is chiefly to expect fuccefs in the art of perfuafion. When Cicero, in the perfon of Craffus, has largely and elegantly difcourfed upon all the other parts of oratory, coming at laft to speak of this, he fays, "All the former have their effect as they are pronounced. It is the action alone which governs in speaking; without which the best orator is of no value; and is often defeated by one, in other refpects, much his inferiour." And he lets us know, that Demofthenes was of the fame opinion; who, when he was asked what was the principal thing in oratory, replied, Action ;. and being asked again a second and a third time, what was next confiderable, he ftill made the fame answer.
And, indeed, if he had not judged this highly neceffary for an orator, he would fcarcely have taken fo much pains in correcting those natural defects, under which he labored at first, in order to acquire it For he had both a weak voice, and likewife an impediment in his fpeech, fo that he could not pronounce diftinctly fome particular letters. The former of which defects he conquered, partly by speaking as loud as he could the fhore, when the fea roared and was boisterous; and partly, by pronouncing long periods as he walked up hill; both of which methods contributed to ftrengthen his voice. And he found means to render his pronunciation more clear and articulate, by the help of fome little ftones put under his tongue. Nor was he lefs careful in endeavoring to gain the habit of a becoming and decent gefture; for which purpose he used to pronounce his discourses alone before a large glafs. And because he had an ill cuftom of drawing up his shoulders when he spoke, to amend that, he ufed to place them under a fword, which hung over him with the point downward.
Such pains did this prince of the Grecian orators taketo remove those difficulties, which would have been fufficient to difcourage an inferiour, and less aspiring genius. And to how great a perfection he arrived in his action, under all these difadvantages, by his indefatigable diligence and application, is evident from the confeffion of his great adverfary and rival in oratory, Efchines; who, when he could not bear the difgrace of being worsted by Demofthenes in the caufe of Ctefiphon, retired to Rhodes. And being defired by the inhabitants, he recited to them his own oration upon that occafion; the next day they requefted of him to let them hear that of Demofthenes; which, having pronounced in a moft graceful manner, to the admiration of all who were prefent, "How much more (fays he) would you have wondered, if you had heard him speak it himself!"
We might add to these authorities the judgment of Quintilian; who fays, that "It is not of fo much mo