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whole life. This plan of education was even carried to excess; and instruction in the mere learning of the profession was almost wholly overlooked. The study of a few weeks was thought sufficient for the acquisition of a competent knowledge of law, while many years in succession was devoted to oratory. And it may, perhaps, be said with safety, that if a gentleman, instead of devoting seven years to the study of various branches of knowledge, and no time whatever to improvement in eloquence, should employ one year in acquiring the habit of speaking in public, and six months in informing himself in the most necessary points of learning, he would begin the practice with far more satisfaction to himself and a much better chance of success, than he does at present. In reality, however, it is not necessary or desirable that any yaluable department of science, which is now attended to, should be omitted ; but only that instruction in eloquence should be superadded to the rest ; and that the manly and really useful discipline of declaiming extempore, should be substituted, in the higher institutions, for the present practice of recitation. To learn to speak with effect in public, is the precise object of education with two thirds of our professional men, and with all who frequent our colleges, as far as they may wish or expect to take a part in the government of the country. All other studies are subsidiary to this. And yet at present the subsidiary studies alone are pursued, and the principal object, in the accomplishment of which they are to aid, is entirely overlooked.

We have followed out this train of thought somewhat farther than was necessary for our immediate object, which was, merely to state with distinctness the proper idea of an orator, with a view to a more correct estimate of the character of Mirabeau. If the principles here advanced are correct, the greatest orator is not the one who can bequeath to after ages the best collection of written speeches, but the one who can make the strongest impression, by the use of the noblest means, upon the most enlightened audience. An excellent writer of speeches may be a very indifferent orator, or may not speak at all. Burke, for example, was not heard with pleasure, and in the proper sense of the term, was no orator; although his written speeches are perhaps the choicest specimens in existence, in this form of philosophy and fine writing Isocrates never spoke in public. On the other

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hand, Demosthenes and Cicero united the talents of writing and speaking. Their orations, as reported by themselves, are perfect models of the art; and it is known historically that their eloquence produced the strongest impression on their hearers. But even when the same individual combines, in as high a degree as these illustrious characters, the two distinct powers, we are not at liberty to estimate his talent as an orator by his merit as a writer; and in this case, as in every other, we can only judge of his eloquence by the historical and traditional accounts we have of its effects.

Thus, no adequate memorial can ever be preserved of excellence, however consummate, of this delightful art, and we must be content to know that great orators have existed without pretending to judge, except as far as we are guided by mere description, of the kind and degree of their powers. If this consideration is in some respects unpleasant, it is at the same time agreeable to reflect, that we are not obliged to doubt the exactness of the historical and traditional accounts that have come down to us of the great effects produced by the eloquence of former orators, because they have left no written speeches of proportional value. The reputation of Patrick Henry, for example, rests wholly on tradition ; but we are not therefore to regard it as unmerited. It is only necessary, in order to estimate it fairly, to strip the accounts we have of it, of all manifest exaggeration and then to take into view the character of the hearers he was in the habit of addressing, and the means he employed to produce effect. The conclusion would probably be, that he was at least equal, if not superior to any orator of modern times.

The faine of Mirabeau also rests in a great measure on tradition and history. We have, it is true, a considerable number of publications of different degrees of importance and value from his pen; but though they all exhibit strong marks of talent, none of them belong to the class of finished and standard works, or justify completely the reputation which we know their author acquired in another field. Some of these, as the Translation of Tibullus and the Letters to Sophia, were written from merely pecuniary motives, and must be regarded as the attempts of an amateur to turn to account in time of need, the arts which he had studied as elegant accomplishments. The Essay on the Prussian Monarchy and the Secret History of the court of Berlin are rather valuable as repositories of rich and curious materials, than as literary productions. The various political pamphlets which were published by Mirabeau before the opening of the revolution, although some of them excited at the time very great attention, have also long, been forgotten. Among them was the one, entitled Considerations on the order of Cincinnatus ; intended to point out the inconsistency of this hereditary distinction with our republican institutions. The same view of this subject was also taken, as is well known, by our illustrious Franklin; and although no practical inconvenience has yet resulted from the establishment of the order, it can hardly be denied that it is in theory an offence against the principles of the government. It is easy to conceive that it may have excited strong alarms in the friends of liberty abroad and at home, at a time when the success of our political experiment was still uncertain, to see so important a body as the army exhibit a hankering after the European folly of hereditary rank. These several publications served to indicate the talents of their author, and to recommend him to the public attention ; but it was not till his appearance in the national assem. bly that the secret of his astonishing mental energy was fully revealed. From the first organization of that body till the day of bis death he was acknowledged as the undisputed leader of the popular party; and doubtless contributed much by the prodigious power of his eloquence to its final ascendency. If now, on the principles above stated, we attempt to judge of the degree of his talent as an orator by the impression he produced and the character of the audience upon which it was made, it can hardly be denied that his eloquence was of the very first class. The national assembly was one of the ablest and most enlightened bodies of men that ever existed; and it required of course an exhibition of the highest qualities of mind and character to produce effect upon it. The interests under discussion were the most important that could possibly engage the attention of an audience, and nothing but undoubted superiority could have secured the confidence of the popular party to the extent to which Mirabeau possessed it. His reported speeches however give but an indistinct notion of the character of his eloquence. Very few of them were prepared for publication by himself; and hardly any, even at the time of their delivery, could have possessed the qualities of an artificial and elaborate oration. In such a hurry of events there was no opportunity for working ten years in succession upon one speech; as Isocrates is said to have done ; nor was there much room to apprehend that orations would savor of the lamp, in an assembly where the most momentous questions were often proposed and decided without the intervention of a single night. To direct the storm of such deliberations required the highest degree of eloquence, understood in its proper sense, as the faculty of extemporizing with power and effect. It required not only a mental energy sufficient to grapple with and master the greatest questions in philosophy and politics, and an imagination rich enough to afford upon demand an unbounded flow of elegant and forcible words; but the moral qualities that were necessary for bringing these talents, at any moment, into immediate action, dauntless courage, and unshaken self-possession. The very début of Mirabeau in his legislative career, clearly proved that he had these latter qualities of a consummate orator, in at least as high perfection as the former. His famous reply to the master of the ceremonies, coming by order of the king to dissolve the Assembly, is one of the shortest orations on record, but it is far from being the one that affords the least conclusive evidence, in regard to the moral and intellectual qualities of its author ; Tell your master, that we were sent here by the people ; and that nothing but the bayonet shall compel us to separate.

At a time and in a country where the king was still a god, and the master of the ceremonies his high priest, it required a prodigious force of character to break at once, in this way, the charm of their ascendency; and it is no wonder that the person, who was guilty of such sacrilege, should have been regarded at court, as the incarnate spirit of evil; although this opinion is not quite so natural in a philosophical observer, like Madame de Stael.

Mirabeau had reached the age of forty before he commenced his career as an active politician. The maturity of thought and talent, supposed by this age, was probably favorable to his sucoess as an orator ; but the antecedent events of his life, while they tended to sharpen his intellect by exasperating his feelings, were unfortunately well fitted for the saine reason to give his efforts a dangerous direction. The natural ardor and extravagance of his character, led him in early youth into irregularities, not very unusual in young men of high birth and large expectations, but which, it is said, were repressed by his father, with a hardship, which had The pater

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but little tendency to conciliate so lofty a spirit. nal authority in the higher ranks of French society was, at that time, nearly as extensive as in ancient Rome. of rank could obtain at pleasure an order for the imprisonment of his children for an unlimited period ; and we are told that Mirabeau was deprived of his liberty seventeen times in this arbitrary way. He was confined three years in succession in the castle of Vincennes, and during this period he wrote, among other things, his essay on Lettres de Cachet, on the blank leaves of the books which were furnished him for reading. It is easy to conceive that under these circumstances he treated the subject with feeling, and in the French phrase, avec connoissance de cause ; and, also, that when it came to his turn to lead on the attack of the popular host upon the existing establishments, he did it with a good will, and in the spirit of revenge as well as justice. When, however, the revolution began to take an unfavorable turn, Mirabeau exhibited some symptoms of a disposition to relent in his pursuit of vengeance ; and on several occasions defeated the attempts of the demagogues in the assembly, without losing his ascendency over the popular party. certain that there existed at the close of his career an understanding between him and the court, brought about either by corruption, or by a real conviction in his mind, that the revolution had gone far enough, and that it was necessary for the public good, that he should throw the weight of his influence into the scale of government. 'I am dying;' he said upon his death bed, and the monarchy will perish with me.' It may be doubted whether even his influence, great as it was, would have been sufficient, at this period, to check the current of events; and very possibly it was only his untimely death, which prevented him from adding another to the victims of the guillotine. Yet it is difficult not to feel some regret that the experiment could not be tried; and it seems a strange fatality that the only man whose influence afforded the country any hope of deliverance, should have descended to the grave at the early age of forty-two, in the fulness of his strength, and the complete exercise of all his faculties. But the task which Providence had assigned him was to destroy and not to restore. He lived just long enough to complete the essential work of the revolution, and at the very moment of his death was employed in laying the axe at the

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