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it; but I cannot forbear contesting the truth of this writer's assertions, and declaring that he seems to me to be a Lilliputian about the body of a Gulliver.
It has been said of Demosthenes, “that he has been deservedly styled the prince of orators. His orations are strongly animated, and full of the impetuosity and ardor of public spirit. His composition is not distinguished by ornament and splendor. Negligent of the lesser graces, he seems to have aimed at the sublime, which lies in sentiment. His action and pronunciation are said to be uncommonly vehement and ardent. The Archbishop of Cambray gives him the preference to Cicero; against whom he makes the objection of too much ornament. According, therefore to this author, if William Pinkney was not an orator, it follows that Demosthenes was none; because their style of eloquence seems to have been alike in almost every particular, except that Pinkney aimed at ornament, of which Demosthenes had none and Cicero too much. If speeches, characterized by stupendous strength, and turbulent declamation, and convincing argument, are neither “persuasive, nor dignified, nor natural,” then was not Demosthenes persuasive, nor dignified, nor natural, and of course he was no orator according to this definition. If ornament be a fault in Mr. Pinkney, he had it in common with Cicero; but perhaps the author may say that Cicero attained what Pinkney only aimed at. Hear him then again on the subject of ornament, so passionately loved by Mr. Pinkney. “Bring him in contact with a truly poetical mind, and his argument resembles a battery of colored fire-works, giving out incessant brightness and reverberation. It would seem then that ornament is not a common trait of his eloquence, but a glitter which is effected by attrition against poetical minds. It is then that he draws upon the inexhaustible stores of beauty laid up in his mind, gathered from the writings of Shakspeare and others, and retained by the force of a powerful memory: He has no fancy of his own, but uses the fancy of others. Then surely he is far superior to Demosthenes, whose eloquence was thought to border on the hard
and dry; alike impetuous, vehement, stupendous and convincing with him, and superadding a relish for the beauties of poetry; not aiming at any ornament of his own, but contented with what suggested itself in illustration of his argument from the pen of others. Then how is he feeble in ornament? But again ; if there be nothing of dignity or nature in Pinkney's reasoning, how is it discovered that his mind is “adamant clamped with iron,” (a poor conception, and suiting the ideas of a blacksmith better than a belles-lettres scholar-for the iron adds nothing to our thoughts of the strength of adamant;) that it is “a collossal pile of granite, over which the thunders of heaven might roll,” &c., &c. It is useless to quote the rest of the unmeaning fustian of the sentence. After all this avowal of stupendous strength of argument, we are told in a subsequent paragraph, that say what we will of Mr. Pinkney's argument, he the author, never saw him yet—no never, pursue his argument steadily for ten minutes at a time. Then how can it be so overwhelming and convincing ? Nothing lessens so much the force of argument as a perpetual aberration from the subject. Again; “God never meant him for an orator, he has no property of mind or body,” &c., &c. Not to say any thing of the presumption and impiety of determining for God, I would ask what are the bodily properties of an orator? This writer has not condescended to define them, although he dwells at large upon such as he thinks cast discredit upon
Mr. Pinkney. It is scarcely necessary to observe that Demosthenes was ungraceful in figure and action; and that not only orators, but very wise and learned men have been repulsive in their persons, their features, and their manners also. Though Cæsar and Cicero were exempt from defect in this respect, as far as I remember, Demosthenes stuttered-Socrates was bald and flat nosed-Antony a rough soldier-Lord Chatham's eloquence was forcible, but uniform and ungraceful_Fox was a fop of Bond street, and wore high-heeled morocco shoes. Mr. Pinkney therefore may, without reproach, be a "thick, stout man, with a red fat English face,” and Mr. Fox will keep him in
countenance as a fashionable man. The facetious Peter Pindar has said, that
Love hates your large fat lubberly fellows,
Panting and blowing like a blacksmith's bellows; but I never heard that oratory did.
In the next breath we hear that “Mr. Pinkney has a continual appearance of natural superciliousness and affected courtesy." Continual—and yet afterwards, his manner is exceedingly arrogant and unpropitiating; and his deportment has been already described as “brutal, arrogant, full of sound and fury, accompanied by the rude and violent gestures of a vulgar-fellow.” One moment he is a giant, not only metaphorically, but in sober truth, if we may judge from his stentorian lungs, which have caused the author's whole system to jar—and from those violent gesticulations, which indicate uncommon personal strength; the next, he turns out to be only five feet ten, and a petit maitre, and affectedly courtly and conciliatory; and yet anothing could make a gentleman of him; he can neither look, act, speak, sit, nor talk like one." Notwithstanding all this scurrility and abuse of Mr. Pinkney's person, the author is not yet exhausted, but lavishes more upon his intellect. “The physical powers of Mr. Pinkney, he says, "are to my notion, strictly correspondent with his intellectual ones, both are solid, strong and substantial, but without grace, dignity or loftiness." Loftiness! the same man who has such prodigious elevation and amplitude of mind,” “and both have a dash of fat English dandyism." I confess myself wholly at a loss to comprehend what the fat dandyism of the intellectual power is.
A man's mind might, by a forced metaphor, be said to be dandyish, perhaps ; but a fat mind is a solecism in words wholly inadmissible, I think. “His style of eloquence,” it is added, “is a most disagreeable and unnatural compound of the worst faults of the worst speakers." "He is said to resemble Lord Erskine as he was in the day of his power: it is a libel on Erskine, who was himself a libel on the reputation of his country as a speaker.” “The language of Mr. Pink
ney does resemble that of Lord Erskine; his reasoning is about as forcible.” If the term style here be the manner of speaking appropriate to particular characters, I have shown that the censure, is equally applicable to Demosthenes, the prince of orators, who, in addition to his vehemence, was so ungraceful in his motions, that it was necessary for him to practice with a naked sword hanging over his shoulder; and therefore to compare Demosthenes to Lord Erskine is a libel on Lord Erskine, himself a libel on his country, as a speaker and argal as Shakspeare says, Demosthenes is inferior to English orators. If, again, the word style means the manner of writing with regard to language, these sentences would involve a contradiction, and Mr. Pinkney is alike and unlike Lord Erskine at the same time! Yet why do I talk of Demosthenes? In the following sentences the author admits that Mr. P. copied too closely after Cicero and Demosthenes, “He desired to be eloquent; he thought of Demosthenes and Cicero, and his heart swelled with ambition." He remembered not that he was to be a lawyer, and that Demosthenes and Cicero were declaimers. He who should look to move a body of Americans in a court of justice by the best thundering of Demosthenes, would only make himself ridiculous.” Very true; and this may certainly prove that Mr. Pinkney might have been a greater lawyer, by bending the whole force of his mind to that one pursuit; but it has nothing to do with the premises. The ground is here changed; this is not the point to be proved—not the quod erat demonstrandum. The point to be proved is not the propriety of displaying eloquence before a jury, but that William Pinkney was never meant by God for an orator; that he has no property of mind or body to make one. This is assuredly the scope of the extracts. Had Mr. P. not aimed at ornament, his ashes might have passed undisturbed by the author, who allows that he was decidedly the greatest lawyer in America, but is very angry that he was not the greatest in the world. In spite of all this, however, Pinkney, “pursued his way like a conqueror, and had well nigh established himself as the high priest of eloquence in America.” Why, what a stupid, blind, misjudging race we must be, to think of choosing a man
for our high-priest of eloquence, whom God never i meant for an orator, and who had no property, not one,
of mind or body, for his business and never to awaken from our folly until this writer tore the urim and thummim from his breast. “The giant,” he says, "is gone down like a giant to the household of death," and there should at least have escaped the imputation of baseness which deserved shooting. How giants die,
pretend not to know; but imagine such giants die pretty much like other people; and it seems to me perfectly ridiculous to talk of a man's dying like a giant. At that awful hour, the littleness of the greatest genius is a subject of melancholy reflection. I will only add that I know nothing of this writer. If his object was to guard us against the mischievous effects of a false
taste in eloquence, he cannot be angry with me for i wishing to guard against the equally bad effects of a
false taste in criticism.
ETYMOLOGY. The inventor of a new word must never flatter himself that he has secured the public adoption, for he must lie in the grave before he can enter the Dictionary.-D’Israeli.
MR. EDITOR.-I am an odd old fellow, and fond of etymology, and frequently amuse myself with tracing to their roots, words in familiar use. Having been confoundedly puzzled of late by the term caucus, which is in every body's mouth, and not being able to satisfy myself as to its origin, I have determined to have recourse to you, and will be infinitely obliged to you or any of your readers for a solution of the difficulty. If it be true as D’Israeli says, that the inventor of a new word cannot be secure of its adoption by the public, for he must lie in the grave before he can enter the dictionary-the man who made the aforesaid word must be still living, though at a very advanced age. I rather suppose, however, that D’Israeli is mistaken, and that