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2'he work now offered to the Public is an enlargement and improvement, by the addition of much original matter, of the Author's previous publication, entitled " A Plain System of Elocution," which ran through two editions, but which is now so much improved upon as to induce the Author to change its name. The alterations and additions made to that System are the result of reflection, study, and of the experience gathered from an extensive practice as an instructor. The Author has great pleasure in acknow. ledging the valuable suggestions which he has received and adopted, from his father, John VANDENHOFF, Esq., Pro fessor of Elocution at the Royal Academy of Music in London. To Dr. Rush's Treatise on the Voice, the Author has had recourse for light on many of the niceties of the elementary sounds of our language; and gladly takes this opportunity of offering his humble tribute to the masterly analysis of the voice, its functions and capabilities, contained in that philosophical and eloquent work.
He takes this occasion also to renew his acknowledg.
ments to those families and heads of academies who have encouraged his attempt to awaken greater attention to this essential branch of education, and who do him the honor to approve of his system of instruction.*
The numerous classes of elegant and accomplished ladies who have read with him, in the houses of families of the highest standing and respectability, prove that a just appreciation is entertained of this art as an indispensable female acquirement: and the attention and improvement of his pupils have made his task one of pleasure and self. gratulation. The correct and elegant enunciation of her native tongue, and a graceful style of reading the language of its prose writers and poets, cannot be too assiduously cultivated by a lady: the accomplishment is peculiarly feminine, and its possession is a distinctive mark of high breeding and good education. If the Author's exertions shall be deemed to have facilitated its acquirement, he will be proud indeed.
New York, May, 1846.
* See Testimonials.
ART OF ELOCUTION
The value of ELOCUTION; particularly to the Orator--Elocution
a necessary part of Oratory-Sketch of an Orator—"Can Elocution be taught?”—Answer to the Right Reverend Dr. Whately's (Archbishop of Dublin) objections to a System of, Elocution—the arguments in his Elements of Rhetoric comes batted by his arguments in his Elements of Logic-Advice to the Student.
ELOCUTION, as its derivation (eloquor) indicates, is the art of speaking, or delivering language; and it embraces every principle and constituent of utterance, from the arti. culation of the simplest elementary sounds of language, up to the highest expression of which the human voice is capable in speech.
Of the importance, if not the necessity, of such an art to a perfect system of education, one would think there could not be two opinions. We must all speak; it must therefore be desirable to speak with propriety and force; as much so as regards the utterance of our language as its grammatical accuracy. And though any language, however meagre and
however mean, and any utterance, however imperfect and inelegant, (so that it be barely intelligible,) are sufficient
any of the commonest purposes of speech, yet something higher is surely necessary even to the ordinary conversation of the gentleman and the man of education.
But most of us are called upon occasionally in public, even though we may not belong to any of the learned professions, to express our opinions, to state our views, to offer our advice, or to justify some course we may have pursued in relation to affairs in which others beside ourselves are interested; and on such occasions, the advantage of a natural, elegant, and easy delivery cannot but be felt in securing the ready attention and favor of the audience.
To him who desires to make a figure in the Pulpit, in the Senate, or at the Bar, a good delivery, a nervous and elegant style of Elocution, are as essential, almost, as force of argument and grace of language. How many a good story is marred in the telling: how many a good sermon is lost in the preaching : how many a good speech, excellent in matter, argument, arrangement, language, falls listless on the ear, from the apathetic, inelegant, and powerless manner of the speaker! Elocution is indeed a part of oratory, essential to its perfection. He who would touch the heart, “and wield at will the fierce democracie,” must ha
“wit, and words, and worth, Action and utterance, and the power of speech, To stir men's blood !"
Thus, “doubly armed," the orator rises calm in the confidence of his strength. In vain the angry shout, in vain the discordant tumult of a hostile and prejudiced assembly :
6 illum Non civium ardor prava jubentium Mente quatit solidâ."
He stands unmoved amid the storm. He speaks, and “his big manly voice" goes forth, like the trumpet's sound, above all the tumult. He is by turns patient or indignant, bold or yielding, as it suits his purpose: he exhorts, he threat. ens, he supplicates, he persuades. The storm is hushedthe waves subside ; he has stretched his wand over the troubled waters, and the tempest is at rest. And now all hang breathless on his lips ;-he warms, he glows, he is on fire : his hearers are carried away with him; they follow him in all his windings, through every change of feeling and passion. He bears down every obstacle; his friends he animates with his enthusiasm, he lashes his opponents with his satire,-he withers them with his scorn, he crushes, he annihilates them with his terrible, his resistless pow.
And now "Io! Io! Triumphe !” Acclamations of delight rend the air ; he is crowned with garlands, he is borne in triumph to his home, the hero of the day ; achieving a bloodless victory, a stainless triumph-nobler than was ever won by conquest and the sword—the victory of mind over mind, the triumph of the intellect of one man over the understandings and the hearts of thousands.