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ELEMENTS OF RHETORIC. • INTRODUCTION.§ 1. OF Rhetoric various definitions have been given by different writers; who, however, seem not so much to have disagreed in their conceptions of the nature of the same thing, Various definitions of Rltetoric. as to have had different things in view while they em~ ployed the same term. Not only the word Rhetoric itself, but also those used in defining it, have been taken in various senses; as may be observed with respect to the word" Art" in Cic. de Orat., where a discussion is intt·o~ duccd as to the applicability of that term to Rhetoric; manifestly turning on the different senses in which" Art" may bc understood. To enter into an examination of all the definitions that have been given, would lead to much uninteresting and uninstructive verbal controversy. It is sufficient to put the l'eader on his guard against the common errol' of supposing tllat a general term has some real object, properly corresponding to it, independent of our conceptions;that , consequently, some one definition in every case is to be found which will comprehend everything that is rightly designated by that term ;-and that all others must be erroneous: whereas, in fact, it will often happen, as in the INTRODUCTION. [91. present instance, that both the wider, and the more restricted sense of a term, will be alike sanctioned by use (the only competent authority), and that the consequence will be a corresponding variation in the definitions em~ ployed; none of which perhaps may be fairly chargeable with error, though none can be framed that will apply to every acceptation of the term. It is evident that in its primary signification, Rhetoric had reference to public Speaking alone, as its etymology implies. nut as most of the rules for Speaking are of course applicable equally to Writing, an extension of the term natnrally took place; and we find even Aristotle, the earliest systematic writer on the subject whose works have come down to us, including in his Treatise rules for such compositions as were not intended to be publicly recited*. And even as far as relates to Speeches, properly so called, he takes, in the same 'rreatise, at one time, a wider, and at another, a more restrioted view of the subject; including under the term Rhetoric, in the opening of his work, nothing beyond the finding of topics of Persuasion, as far as regards the matter of what is spoken; and afterwards embracing the consideration of Style, Arrangement, and Delivery. The invention of Printingt, by extending the sphere of operation of the Writer, has of course contributed to the extension of those tel'ms which, in their primary signification , had reference to Speaking alone. Many objects are now accomplished through the medium of the Press, which formerly came under the exclusive province of the Orator; '" Arilltot. Rhet. book iii. t 01' rather of Paper; for the invention of printing is too obvious not to have speedily followed, in a literary nation, the introdnction of a paper snfficiently cheap to make the nIt available. Indeed the seals of the ancients seem to have been a kind of stamps, with which they in fact printed their names. But the high price of books, caused by the dearness of paper, precluded the sale of copies except in so small a numoer that the lJrinting of them would have been more costly tban transcl'ibing. § 1.] INTRODUCTION, 8 and the qualifications requisite for success arc so much the same in both cases, that we apply the term "Eloquent" as readily to a Writer as to a Speaker; though, etymologically considered, it could only belong to the latter. Indeed "Eloquenee" is often attributed even to such compositions,-e. g. Historical worke,-as have in view an object entirely different from any that could he proposed by an Orator; because some part of the rules to be observed in Oratory, or rules analogous to these, are applicable to such compositions. Conformably to this view, therefore, some writers have spoken of Rhetoric as the Art of Composition, universally; 01', with the exclusion of Poetry alone, as embracing all Prose-composition. A still wider extension of the province of Rhetoric has been contended for by some of the ancient writers; who, thinldng it necessllry to include, as belonging to the Art, everything that could conduce to the attainment of the object proposed, introduced into their systems, Treatises on Law, Morals, Politics, &c., on the ground that a knowledge of...


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