« PreviousContinue »
PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.
The following selections have been accumulating upon the Compiler's hands for several years, and are those, chiefly, which from time to time, in the course of his practice as a teacher of elocution, have elicited his preference, as exercises for his own pupils. Some of them, he is aware, have appeared in the volumes of previous compilers; this, however, he considers no defect, since each selection has been adopted with scrupulous regard to its "spirit and appliancy.” It will be found, perhaps, that sufficient freshness is thrown over the volume, by the numerous pieces which have never before appeared in print, for the same purpose. His object has been to bring together a full collection of short, eloquent, and pertinent extracts, with studious solicitude for the advancement of the art. He trusts he has succeeded. He believes such a work to be cecidedly wanted, and without any invidious reference, to what may appear to hir, the defects of similar publications, ventures to commend his own to the consideration of the teaching public. He flatters himself it will be found to merit their patronage. It is, doubtless, the most copious and various collection of recitations in the United States, and,-may he be permitted to ad?,- noto inferior to any; in every higher respect. The eloquent and classical writers of the day have afforded abundant and beautiful materials, and some specimens have been drawn from “the golden sources of antiquity.” It is, perhaps, unnecessary to add, that the paramount interests of morality have not been lost sight of.
Great pains have been taken to distribute through the book, numerous pieces, suitable for the recitations of very young students. This, the Com. piler conceives, is an addition of no trifling importance. The school-books on this point are altogether at fault; the idea, indeed, seems to have been entirely misunderstood or overlooked. The culture of Delivery, however, can nardly be commenced too early. It is while the organs of the voice, and the limbs are yet flexible ;-while the taste is yet unvitiated, that the first lessons of elocution should be imparted ;—it is then (if the expression may be allowed) that her beautiful incantations should begin ; it is then the seeds, intended to produce the garland of the orator, should be sown. The ancients understood this fact well. “They began their toils with the very first rudiments of education, and with the first spark of reason.” What was the result?—To this one circumstance, possibly, more than to any other-not excepting even their extreme and incessant labor—is to be imputed the existence and diffusion of that wonderful oratory, which will be considered throughout all time, the highest glory of Greece and Rome.
The plates are designed not merely as embellishments. It is believed they may be studied with advantage. The Poetical Gestures are selected from Austin's Chironomia; the Frontispiece from Henry Siddons, on Gesture.
The orthography will be found, generally, to agree with the improvements of that illustrious American Lexicographer, Doctor Webster.
The typographical execution of tne work, it is presumed, will scarcely fall short of that of the best printed school-books of this country.
With these remarks the United States Speaker is respectfully and cheerfully submitted to the decision of an impartial public.
J. E. L. New Haven, March, 1833.
The United States Speaker has now assumed a permanent form. The decided favor extended to the first and second editions, and the rapidly intreasing demand for the work, have stimulated both tne publisher and the compilet to use every means in their power to render the present, stereotype edition, as perfect as possible. It is presented to its patrons in the confident belief that they will find it greatly improved over the farmer impressions. Some of the longěř dialogues, being considered by teachers, who use the work, as more suitable for exhibitions, than for purely elocution exercises, have been withdrawn, and the space so gained, is occupied with a variety of prose and poetical selections not to be found in any similar publication. The dialogues so withdrawn, will appear in a work composed exclusively of dialogues; it is already in a state of considerable forwardness, and will soon be put to press.
The compiler avails himself of this opportunity to acknowledge his indebtedness to those gentlemen from whom he has had the honor to receive such flattering testimonials in commendation of his work.
J. E. L. New Haven, November, 1835.
SPECIMENS OF AMERICAN ELOQUENCE.