Imagens das páginas

the members to follow each other without delay or reluctance. The average attendance has not been equal to the wishes or expectations of your Committee, who take this opportunity to urge upon their brother-members the indispensableness of regular attendance, in order to the success of the Society. The opinion often held of the non-importance of individual presence at the meetings, being as likely to be entertained by one member as another, may occasion a great deficiency in the numbers ; as a wide-spread and influential notion of the evil effects of a participation in political affairs would seriously damage the commonwealth. Regular attendance is of great moment; the warmth and excitement alone of numbers would create a feast, and defy disappointment. There are, doubtless, causes in operation to mar the general attendance ; and your Committee, possibly, in the following general observations may, by inference, reach them.

And, first, it may not, perhaps, be amiss briefly to allude to the object and advantages of Discussion Societies. To elicit truth, abstract and concrete, is their primary aim. To enable their members to impart clearly, copiously, and forcibly, truth thus acquired, is, though secondarily, an object of no ordinary magnitude to be aimed at by such societies. The advantages are personal and relative. So far as the personal advantages are concerned-the mind is strengthened, chastened, and expanded; it can take in a larger measure of knowledge at a draught, and regard, with a more extended survey, and a deeper penetration, the complicate relations of things. The universe, though still affording room for wonder, will present, as it becomes better known, ampler fields for admiration ; and if the mind, by such a discipline, be not able to see to the end of things, or completely to trace the motives and influences which traverse each other in a thousand directions, it may yet perceive, that their tendency is towards a centre, and may be able satisfactorily to account for many phenomena, over which the majority brood in silent and unintelligent awe. Such are some of the personal advantages of a Discussion Society. The relative benefits find, in every vanquished prejudice, every refuted error, every overthrown system of superstition, and every fallen advocate of tyranny, an efficient exponent of its mighty agency. Discussion, oral and written, has applied to every moral magazine a spark of its fire, and despotisms, spiritual, political, and social, have fallen before a succession of shocks. Discussion has gone through the earth with an iron mace and beaten down every barrier to the progress of civilization : it has cleared the soil of the rubbish which ages had accumulated, and left a firm foundation for the erection of institutions, civil, political, and religious, which appear destined to survive all things but the final dissolution and the wreck of worlds. These are some of the relative advantages of discussion ; and for these will we yet contend, as God shall help us.

By what means, then, your Committee ask, may discussion be caried to its highest point of perfection; and what are the obstructions to as successful a display of the powers of oratory as was made by the Greeks and Romans of olden, and many of the French and English of modern time? Abstractedly from the artificial circumstances, which are too often supposed to be necessary to greatness, what is there in the young men of our day-what is there among ourselves, to necessitate the belief that the era of great men is fled ; and whose is the faint heart, and where is the feeble hand, to subscribe to the lament, Ichabod, the glory is departed !' Now, or never, is the time to estimate words and actions upon their abstract merits, and not by the false and lurid glare of circumstances, which the lapse of time only has rendered venerable. The mind is what it ever was: but if it have suffered from a redundancy of ephemeral literature, or from other accidental influences, let it feel that it can and ought to shake off the green withs by which it is bound, and controul the circumstances into which it is cast-not succumb to them. The literature of the present day is not the only pabulum upon which it can subsist. As lighter stratifications in geology are superposed on the heavier and more substantial, so the literature of the present day may be but an impondurable deposit on that of the last and preceding centuries : and as the geologist is compelled to penetrate a series of formations ere he can reach the solid granite, so every generation multiplies the mental strata, and increases the difficulty of reaching the productions of bygone times. The following query may, however, be advanced in the shape of objection :- Wherefore, if the mind is what it ever was, is the literature of the past more substantial and profound than that of the present ?' In reply it is urged, that every age is fruitful of that which is worthless, and of that which is valuable;—the corrosive influence of time, acting upon both, consumes the worthless, and the valuable is then grouped and consolidated. Thus every age may be erroneously estimated : the present may be denominated extra-superficial, and the past may be regarded as extra-profound. The truth, however, is, that there is little reason for perturbation respecting the present : blocks of solid material will be found wherewith to build its monuments, when the light and ephemeral have perished in the common grave.


Having briefly endeavoured to shew, that no substantial difficulty to oratorical greatness exists in the peculiarities of our times, your Committee would close their succinct address, by calling the attention of their brother-members to one or two of the principal elements of success.

Considering that every department of mental activity is crowded with names of distinction, great excellence in more than one undertaking, can hardly be expected. Hence, if one woull be conspicuous as an orator, his attention must be incessantly devoted to the essentials of oratory, which are by no means numerous. Beside a familiarity with the verbiage and construction of our language, nothing but a knowledge of the connection and dependance of ideas, an acquaintance with the rules of rhetoric, and a thorough intimacy with the subject in debate, is necessary : practice will perform the rest. What is more than this, though valuable in other, and, perhaps, important respects, is absolutely unessential to oratory. As didactic authorities in the departments just alluded to, your Committee would refer to Bishop Lowth, Dr. Geo. Campbell, and Bishop Whately; and for perfect specimens in practice of philology, logic and rhetoric, your Committee would direct attention to the matchless compositions of Chillingworth, Bishop Taylor, Robert Hall, and the author of The Wealth of Nasions. Much is said of the necessity of a knowledge of some other language, more especially of one of the cognate languages. Certainly conversance with those great and matchless productions, in their vernacular, which have conferred renown upon Greece and Rome, is a matter not to be lightly estimated; but the reasons upon which an acquaintance with such languages is urged, lose much of their force, when constant practice in English composition is known to produce the same result. The advantage referred to, is a copia verborum, which the habit of writing will supply to any extent. The practice of opening discussions, which necessitates preparation, would be found highly conducive to a copious supply of words.

These remarks, into which your Committee, in resigning their unworthy stewardship, have been almost insensibly led, are preferred for the benefit, chiefly, of those gentlemen whore efforts in debate have as yet been but few. With the principal part of the observations, they are aware the majority of members are already familiar, and upon the minds of such, therefore, they will operate merely as a refresher ; but upon the minds of their less experienced coadjutors, they would fain hope to produce some good result. None but remarks of a general character being aimed at, they must leave their application to individual discretion ; at the same time trust. ing, that what has been offered may, in some slight measure, be found useful to help the embryo aspirant, according to his inclination, to the pulpit, the forum, or the senate, where, in the hearing of his fellow-countrymen, as the portentous aspect of the times threatens shortly to demand, he may announce those truths which, severally, are adapted to illustrate and recommend the claims of the injured, the prayer of tbe oppressed, and the perfections of that Being, who imparts loveliness is to all that is fair, subordinates to himself all that is great, and sits enthroned on the riches of the universe."

Mr. FREDERIC Rowron and Mr. D. GOODWILL were unanimously elected Honorary members. The following were the officers elected for the ensuing half-year:

Treasurer-Mr. Joseph SNELGAR.

Secretaries--Messrs. R. SMITH and MARCH. Committee-Messrs. Walls, GATHERER, SCRiven and LEON. SouthwARK LITERARY Institution, Borough ROAD.-The Fourth Public Quarterly Meeting of the Elocution Class of this Society, took place on Thursday, February 23rd, 1843, J. H. Parry, Esq., being in the Chair. A Poetical Address (written for the occasion) was very effectively recited by Mr. J. Mitchell Izard. The following Recitations were then delivered.

Mr. NOTTINGHAM . . Mary, Queen of Scots . . H. G. Bell. Mr. POINTING , . The Confession . . . S. Lover.

Mr. HAYDON . . . Highland Mary . . . Burns.
Messrs. HODGSON, POINTING A Scene from the “ Critic".
and Fellows

. . S.
Mr. E. Rowton . . . The Isles of Greece . . Byron.
Mr. Smith . . Extract from “She Stoops to Conquer ” Goldsmith.
Messrs. Pointing and Scene from “ The Iron Chest"

Colman. . s Mr. NottingHAM. . The “Swarry" at Bath . Dickens. Mr. HAYDON . . . Marcellus to the Mob . . Shakspere. Messrs. BoUSFIELD, Wood-Scene from “Richelieu" MAN and LAMB .

. Bulwer. Mr. E. Rowton . . The Temperance Meeting . Dickens.

Great credit was due to the reciters, one and all, for the taste and elocutionary excellence displayed on the occasion. Mr. Nottingham was exceedingly successful in both his performances ; so also was Mr. E. Rowton, whose recitation of the “ Temperance Meeting” was received with tre mendous applause. Mr. Haydon likewise, was exceedingly effective in his two efforts; his “Highland Mary” was a very chaste and affecting recitation. To Mr. Pointing, indeed to all, great praise was due, and it is but justice to say-great praise was given.

Thanks were duly moved to the Chairman, who duly and most eloquently acknowledged the compliment, and the meeting separated.

Crosby Hall LITERARY AND SCIENTIFIC INSTITUTION. We are most happy to record the continued prosperity of this well-conducted Society; the liberality and taste of the management are proverbial, and will we trust meet with proportionate success.

The Elocution Class held a Public Meeting on Tuesday the 28th February. A very excellent bill of fare was provided, and a large number of guests were assembled to feast on the intellectual banquet provided for them. An Address, written we are informed by Mr. AVERY, whose exertions on behalf of the Class are most strenuous, was very humourously recited by Mr. Bax. To this succeeded several well delivered recitations, "both grave and gay," “ lively and severe," in which Messrs. WHITTLE, Bax, FolkARD, W. RowTON, Hatch, Keys, W. AVERY, HAMILTON, MUSSABINI, and LYNDALL acquitted themselves most honourably, and gave great satisfaction to their audience.

We have a word of earnest remonstrance, however, to offer to the Managers of this and all such Meetings, which we cannot refrain from urging. It is with reference to the choice of recitations. Amongst those delivered at this meeting was Monk Lewis's thrilling Poem, entitled “The Captive," which, as our readers perhaps know, describes the gradual progress of insanity in the mind, and ends by exhibiting the subject of the piece in the agonies of raving madness. Now we think that such a scene is most unfit for introduction before an audience, and we feel it our duty most firmly to protest against it. There are scenes and sorrows over which we should ever draw a veil; and most certainly the horrid ravings of wild insanity are things most unfit to be represented and assumed, and more especially to be repeated before an audience assembled for the purpose of being amused. That it was well recited, as it most certainly was, for Mr. Avery delivered it with most thrilling and harrowing power, is no excuse for it; it only makes it worse, for it leaves an effect on the mind of the hearers of the most painful and distressing kind. We trust that our remarks will be taken as they are meant, in a perfectly friendly and well-meaning spirit, and we do earnestly hope that on future occasions all such instances of morbid taste will be avoided.

Debo Music.

Songs &c., by Charles BLONDEL; Manby, Fleet Street.

No. 1. Hark from yonder Lone Retreat . . . . DUETT.
2. The Krakoviak .

3. The Death of the Oak .

4. We wont go Home till Morning . . . . Song.
5. The Miller of Cessford · · · ·

· ·

6. Little Queen Cole . . . . . . . . Song.

There is a freshness and simplicity about the productions of our friend Charles Blondel, that must always ensure popular approbation, and this fact must form our excuse, for the limited notice which our space compels us to give to the above-named compositions.

No. 1. Is a tasteful arrangement in a flat, of a melody by Beethoven, for

two voices—the effect is pleasing. 2. A very pretty Song, not inaptly arranged to the popular melody,

which forms its title. 3. This Ballad displays much originality of contrivance—the melody

is easy and flowing, and is admirably fitted to the character and expression of the words, which are themselves not unworthy a

complimentary notice. 4. The title of this Song would insinuate that it is none of the sombre

class of compositions, and we can assert that after forming its acquaintance, we can back it with our recommendation as being right jovial company, inculcative of sundry maxims in Bacchana

lian philosophy 5. Is a Song about

A Jolly young Miller of single degree

Stalwart and tall exceedingly." a young gentleman who deserves the acquaintance of our readers, were it only for the pretty music in which he is introduced to

notice. 6. The title page informs us that “this is a right grievous and doleful

ballad, but one which will natheless sound very facetious withal, unless the singer, he singeth it with befitting gravitie and decorum." Such was the style in which we endeavoured to execute this song with some difficulty we maintained a very solemn countenance, till we came to that part of the little Queene's historie when she calls for her singers three, and how

“ She liked the notes,

From the musical throats
Of Grisi and Persiani,
But the third one to wit,
She said couldn't sing a bit,

'Cause his name didn't end in an i." This exquisite « non sequitur" in the logic of the little lady fairly set us a laughing, and we could not regain our usual serenity, till the recollection of a like event in modern times, gave us a twitch on the other side of the face, and so caused an equilibrium. Our historical readers will do well to study this composition.


Vol. II.

MAY 1843.


STRAY THOUGHTS ON POETS AND POETRY.-No. 3. “ The love of GLORY is the last earthly covering of which the virtuous soul

disrobes itself before the consummation of its bliss.”—Plato. The whole race of Poets have been charged with weakness and folly, because a desire of Fame has ever been one of the most prominent features in their character. It cannot be denied that they do delight in the praises of men ; but whether this be a weakness and folly is another matter. For my own part I cannot sympathize with those who profess to despise Fame and to sneer at Glory; who tell us it is a crime to care for worldly considerations and worldly distinctions; and who pride themselves upon a total indifference to the opinions of mankind. Who are they who thus affect to think lightly of these things ? Alas! their name is Legion; it is the favourite theme of thousands to talk of the utter vanity of human life, and of the fleetingness and insignificance of earthly greatness, as if the Creator of the Human Family had only sent man into the world to eat, to sleep, and then to die. O! no. The awful superiority of our eternal to our temporal interests is fully manifest. This world is not our abiding home: we are here to prepare for an eternity, in comparison of which, time and its occupations are shadow. It is true that earth, and the things of earth, should be secondary to heaven and to hea. venly objects; but it does not therefore follow that what concerns man here is insignificant and contemptible. Man is not so despicable a creature, nor are the sympathies and affections of his heart unworthy of our most earnest consideration. The Almighty legislates over our temporal, as well as our spiritual concerns; he giveth his angels charge concerning lis. St. Paul says that the angels of heaven “ are all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to man.” If the meanest circumstance connected with our wellbeing has an interest in his eye, why should we pretend to view the greater and more important incidents of life with an impertinent contempt? The whole genius of the Christian Religion inculcates the doctrine of paying reverence to our superiors, and honour to those who are placed in authority over us. It is a sin tu despise mankind, or to think lightly of the good opinion of our fellow-creatures ; and he who so delights in scorning mortal sympathies, and in robbing man of his just importance, is indulging in a censorious spirit, “ which not enriches him, but makes us poor indeed." Let us rather encourage a love and a respect for what is noble and good in man, and then all that concerns him will be deemed sacred, and we shall feel joy in his progression.

Those in our own time, who profess these notions, are by no means the first to whom glory has been foolishness, and honour air: it is an old crotchet, for it has existed as long as that which it decries. L'ost


« AnteriorContinuar »