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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to www.million-books.com where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: THE ETHICAL TI1EOEY OF RHETORIC AND ELOQUENCE. The proper product of Rhetoric is Eloquence, and the purpose of a rhetorical education is to produce an eloquent thinker, and an eloquent writer or speaker. So far as it comes short of this, therefore, Rhetoric comes short of its true end. Hence it becomes important to inquire, first of all, into the essential nature of Eloquence itself ; and, particularly, to define it in such a manner as to detect all false products, and preclude all specious methods and models. For nothing exerts a more injurious influence upon the taste, the studies, and the mental habits of an educated man than a false idea of Eloquence. All educated men desire to be eloquent, and at times make greater or less effort to be so. An eloquent man is, universally, an object of admiration and of imitation. The idea of Eloquence is, consequently, one that exerts a highly formative and modifying influence upon both individual and national culture. When an educated man has been seized by this idea, when he has become possessed with the desire and the aim to influence public opinion by free and fluent speech, how wonderfully are all his thoughts, and feelings, and acquirements pressed into the service of it. If he has the true idea, he almost invariably becomes eloquent; if he has the false idea, he invariably becomes over-ornamented, and glittering, and degenerates into inflation, and bombast, ' so energetic and influential is the idea itself, whether truly or falsely apprehended. It enters the mind with an interest and influence peculiar to itself, and works there with all the potency of a plastic principle. The thought of becoming a philosopher, or a poet, or an artist, or a man of science, when once formed, indeed exerts a controlling influence upon the whole in...
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