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PRESUMING then , that the acquisition of the art of speaking , like all other
practical arts , may be facilitated by rules , I proceed to lay before my readers , in
a plain didactic form , such rules respecing elocution , as appear best adapted to
speakers often suffer their words to drop from their lips with such a faint and
feeble utterance , that they appear neither to understand or feel what they say
themselves , nor to have any desire that it should be understood or felt by their
It is in the power of emphasis to make long and complex sentences appear
intelligible and perspicuous . But for this purpose it is necessary , that the reader
should be perfectly acquainted with the exact construction and full meaning of
Without pauses , the sense must always appear confused and obscure , and
often be misunderstood ; and the spirit and energy of the piece must be wholly
lost . In executing this part of the office of a speaker , it will by no means be
sufficient to ...
... in this art in private , cannot easily persuade himself , when he appears before
the public , to consider the business he has to perform in any other light , than as
a See Dean Swift's advice on this lead in his Letter to a young Clergymán .
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This reader was initially published as a British reader, and then imported to America. According to Henry W. Simon, it was first published in America in Philadelphia in 1799. He was unaware of this second American printing. There is also another printing -- from New York in 1812 -- of which he too was unaware. Thus far, these are the only three American printings of which I am aware. In a visit to the Harvard archives, I noticed in their records that the Institute of 1770, an early literary society there, often read aloud from Enfield in their meetings in the 1770s and 1780s (though this would have been a British version of the text, not the American one depicted here).