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LECTURE II. OBJECTIONS AGAINST ELOQUENCE CONSIDERED. WE have
hitherto considered the importance and utility of the oratorical
art, only with regard to its influence upon the private relations
of life; and pointed out the inducements, which recommend its
cultivation to the lawyer and the divine. These considerations have
their weight in all civilized countries, fevbred with the light of
the gospel, and enjoying a regular administration of government.
Under all the forms of polity, prevailing among the European
nations, considerable scope is allowed to the eloquence of the bar
and of the pulpit; under all, the inducements I have suggested for
coveting these splendid and useful talents must have their force.
There are others, which, if not exclusively applicable to our
native country, and our present state of society, are at least of
more than ordinary magnitude to us. But before I enter upon a
survey ofthese local and occasional objects, which give so much
adventitious cumulation to the arguments of universal application
in favor of eloquence, it may be proper to examine with candor the
objections, which often have been and still are occasionally urged
against it. These objections are three. First, that rhetoric is a
pedantic science, overcharged with scholastic subtleties, and
innumerable divisions and subdivisions, burdensome to the memory,
oppressive to genius, and never applicable to any valuable purpose
in the business of the world. Second, that it is a frivolous
science, substituting childish declamation instead of manly sense,
and adapted rather to the pageantry of a public festival, than to
the sober concerns of real life. And third, that it is a pernicious
science; the purpose of which is to mislead the judgment by
fascinating the imagination. That its tendencies ...
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|Country of origin:
John Quincy Adams
||246 x 189 x 4mm (L x W x T)
||Paperback - Trade
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