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Ought parents to be compelled by law to give their children (unless sickness prevents) a certain amount of literary education?

Ought the printing and sale of bad books to be forbidden by law?

Which was the greater man, Washington or Napoleon?

Which did the most for his country, Franklin or Washington?

Have wars been productive of greater good or evil? Is the civilized preferable to the savage state?

Ought the right of suffrage in a republic to be limited by an educational provision?

Are newspapers, on the whole, productive of good

or evil?

Is a hilly and mountainous country preferable to one that is level?

Have we reason to expect as great improvements in the useful arts during the next hundred years as during the past hundred ?

Was Demosthenes the greater orator, or Webster? Is the sense of sight of more value to man than the sense of hearing?

Do savage nations possess a full right to the soil? Is the world advancing in mental and moral charac

ter?

Which should the Government encourage, commerce or manufactures?

ADVICE ON INVENTION.

CHAPTER VI.

343

INVENTION IN MISCELLANEOUS PRODUCTIONS.

43. General Principles.— THE general principles of Invention will be easily seen from what has already been stated. To invent addresses, essays, criticisms, letters, dialogues, tales, poems, select the best models and study them, gather material, arrange, reject, modify, and improve it, until a satisfactory outline is made, and then patiently complete the work. Practice alone makes perfect.

44. Invention in Style.-This also should be sedulously cultivated. No one should be contented with a fair mastery of one style. His own most natural and efficient style will be improved by attempting many others. Let the writer who finds all his sentences. short and crispy, by sheer resolution write some long and periodic sentences. Let the writer who finds the use of metaphors unnatural, seek out comparisons and invent metaphors, however tedious the effort.

45. How Invention is acquired.-The art of Inven tion can not be learned from a text-book. Science teaches only how to use material already existing. The student who forms the habit of reading with his pencil in hand, and who frequently expresses what thoughts he has on paper, will not long need to study the art of Invention. Severe study and abundant prac

tice, with the special object of self-improvement, are indispensable to the highest success; but in the business of actual life, when writing and speaking cease to be an end, but are employed as a means, then one must be able to forget himself, to forget rule (except so far as not outrageously to violate it), and aim only to accomplish his main purpose.

46. Whately's Advice. - Dr. Whately has well remarked:

"The safest rule is, never, during the act of composition, to study elegance, or think about it at all. Let an author study the best models—mark their beauties of style and dwell upon them, that he may insensibly catch the habit of expressing himself with elegance; and when he has completed any composition, he may revise it, and cautiously alter any passage that is awkward and harsh, as well as those that are feeble and obscure; but let him never, while writing, think of any beauties of style, but content himself with such as may come spontaneously."

The secret of efficient speaking is, first, to have somcthing to say, and second, to express it fully and exactly.

47. Bolingbroke's Opinion. -Though the sentiment has already been expressed, we give the opinion of Bolingbroke, who illustrated in his own life the power of eloquence. "Eloquence," he says, "has charms to lead mankind, and gives a nobler superiority than power, that every dunce may use, or fraud, that every knave may employ. But eloquence must flow like a tream that is fed by an abundant spring, and not spout

345

forth like a frothy water on some gaudy day, and remain dry the rest of the year. The famous orators of Greece and Rome were the statesmen and ministers of those commonwealths. The nature of their governments, and the humor of those ages, made elaborate orations necessary. They harangued oftener than they debated; and the ars dicendi required more study and more exercise of mind, and of body too, among them, than are necessary among us. But as much pains as they took in learning how to stream of eloquence, they took more to foundation from which it flowed."

SUBJECTS FOR INVENTION.

conduct the enlarge the

48. Milton's Opinion.-We add a few weighty words from Milton:

"True eloquence I find to be none but the serious and hearty love of truth; and that whose mind soever is fully possessed with a fervent desire to know good things, and with the dearest charity to infuse the knowledge of these things into others, when such a man would speak, his words, like so many nimble and airy servitors, trip about him at command, and in wellordered files, as he would wish, fall aptly into their own places."

49. Examples for Practice.—We subjoin a few subjects, simply as specimens, to write upon. Whatever subject be chosen, if, instead of the vain attempt to write at once, without thought, suitable efforts be made to collect information, an interest will be aroused which will make it comparatively easy to write.

Letter to a Friend describing a severe Snow storm.
Letter describing a severe Drought.

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