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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1869, by
ELDREDGE & BROTHER, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the
Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
is not our purpose to apologize for adding another
to the numerous “Speakers” extant, so many of which possess undoubted merit.
The subject presents a wide field; and we believe that there is room for them, and for this in which are collated standard selections that have acquired a reputation either for their intrinsic worth or for their fitness to exemplify the principles forming the basis of true elocution.
Arguments are not now needed to show that great advantages may — rather must — result from the thorough mastery of an art which has done so much to perpetuate the virtues of individuals, to establish the renown of nations, and to extend the blessings of civilization and Christianity. Such knowledge is absolutely essential to ensure success in those professions that involve public speaking; and especially is it important in this favored land of ours, in which almost every one is, at some period of life, called upon to take part in public affairs, or to discuss questions of great local or national interest, and in which the man possessed of the power of eloquence, has open before him almost numberless avenues to influence, distinction, and fame.
In the hope that the selections here presented may subserve the purposes for which they have been arranged, and, at the same time, tend to instruct the mind, improve the taste, and cultivate the heart, we submit them to the student, the teacher, and the amateur, asking a full appreciation of aught that is good in them, and a charitable criticism of all that is faulty.
PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 25, 1869.
HILE the best instructors agree that Nature furnishes the
basis of all true eloquence, and that they are the most accomplished and most effective speakers who observe her laws, yet it must be conceded that Art can do much to guide and control the faculties which she has conferred on man: hence, although we do not present, or attempt to present a system of elocution, yet we believe that a few concise, practical suggestions upon the subject may be of importance to the pupil, in preventing erroneous modes of utterance, and in assisting him to acquire a proper and natural style of delivery.
We would, however, warn him at the outset not to commit the grave error of supposing that any directions, or any set of rules, can supply the place either of careful, constant drill, in accordance with fixed principles, or the instructions of the living teacher, whose example is needed to influence the imitative powers of the learner.
In order to simplify the subject as much as possible, attention is asked to but four particulars, upon which all elocutionary rules depend - ARTICULATION, EMPHASIS, MODULATION, DELIVERY.
Articulation is the distinct utterance of the elements of spoken or vocal language.
It is effected by the proper action of the vocal organs, which, with the muscles of the mouth, not only secure distinctness of enunciation, but also add very materially to the expressiveness of the face.
It is impossible to give too much attention to this particular; for words or phrases not clearly and fully received by the ear, can not affect the judgment or influence the feelings. A public speaker, with but a moderate volume of voice, is better understood and is more effective, if he articulates correctly, than one who vociferates without knowledge or discretion.
Distinctness of articulation may be acquired by drill: 1. Upon separate vowel and consonant sounds. 2. Upon combined vowel and consonant sounds. 3. Upon words: the elementary sounds separately, and then the whole word. 4. Upon words in sentences, avoiding the union of the sound of one word with that of another.
Vowels and Difficult Consonant combinations. 1. Clime, club; glad, glen; spleen, split; crew, crow; drop, drub; three, threw; shred, shrub; scrip, scroll; squaw, squib; twang, twig.
2. Reefs, fifes; pelf, wolf; whelm, film; yolk, sulk; false, else; quilt, bolt; valve, shelve; cask, frisk; chasm, schism; hives, loves.