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Bowring, brought about a total change in the whole system of taxation in Siam; it uprooted a great number of privileges and monopolies which had not only been long established, but which were advantageously held by the most influential nobles and the highest functionaries in the State.
The commission to consider and agree on the Treaty was composed of the First Regent, and his brother the Second Regent of the kingdom. Besides these, the King nominated the acting Prime Minister, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs. The influence of the two latter members, and the indomitable perseverance of the Prime Minister, brought the negotiations to a happy issue; notwithstanding that the two Somdetches, the highest functionaries in the State, had long been the nominal rulers in Siam. The Somdetches defeated Mr. Craufurd's mission in 1822, and Sir James Brooke's in 1851. They were the main cause of the want of success of Captain Burney's Treaty, and of the failure of the Americans, Roberts and Ballestier. In a matter in which these able men failed, Sir John Bowring, by his patient energy-by his adroitness, tact, and discretion, completely succeeded, clearly proving that he does not merit the reproaches which have been so unsparingly cast upon him, as a man eaten up with vanity, and quite destitute of discretion or judgment. So satisfied was the King of Siam with the conduct of Sir John Bowring, that he offered this monomaniac-as he is deemed by Lord Derby-two elephants of any age or size he would prefer, and also two ponies from the royal stables; but as the Plenipotentiary had no means of conveying them from Bangkok, he was obliged gratefully to decline these royal marks of favour. Sir John, however, willingly accepted from the King a bunch of hairs from the tails of white elephants-sacred animals, which had been the cherished possession of this monarch's ancestors. From the personal journal of Sir John, kept between March the 24th and April the 25th, 1855, one may see how anxious the Plenipotentiary was for the conclusion of this Treaty, and how earnest were his endeavours that it should be a complete and perfect work. The volumes of which we have endeavoured to give an analysis, are highly interesting and instructive, and are written in a pleasing and perspicuous style. There is, however, little original matter in them, unless in reference to the Mission and the Treaty. Sir John Bowring has drawn largely on French, Spanish, and Portuguese sources, and has somewhat mercilessly laid under contribution the Lettres Edifiantes and Pallegoix. Nevertheless, the work is most valuable; and full justice has been done to the
subject by the liberal publishers, who have produced a perfect marvel of a book, with fac-similes of seals, curious handwritings, and emblazoned images of the white elephant, and other things sacred to the Siamese.
ART. VII.-Select British Eloquence; embracing the best Speeches entire of the most Eminent Orators of Great Britain for the last Two Centuries. Edited, with Notes, by CHAUNCEY A. GOODRICH, D.D., Professor in Yale College, Newhaven, Connecticut, United States. London: Low. 1852.
Orator fit; Poeta nascitur, is the old saying. We take the liberty of not agreeing with it. We believe that a speaker may be made that any one, with due practice and culture, may learn to speak fluently and correctly before an audience; just as any one, with due practice and culture of a different kind, may learn to write verses. The Greeks and Romans, with whom the faculty of public speaking was almost a necessity of effective citizenship, had, as an important part of their apparatus for the education of young men, a highly perfect system of rhetorical training, by means of which they could positively undertake to impart the required accomplishment in a given time. In Britain, without any such organized system, but by the mere use of the miscellaneous opportunities of practice which our manners and institutions afford, we contrive to have among us and to keep up from year to year a certain number of persons, variously distributed through society, who can and do speak for the rest. We have lawyers, clergymen, country-magistrates, directors of public companies, members of civic corporations, and the like, who can. get up without unnecessary trepidation before a considerable body of people, assembled whether for business or festivity, and acquit themselves satisfactorily in a series of connected, agreeable, and well-delivered sentences. In America, according to all accounts, the faculty of public speaking, as being more in requisition for the purposes of citizenship, is still more widely diffused. Nor is the faculty, in this degree to which it may be attained by all, a thing to be despised. Call it only tongue-fence,' and, even under this metaphor, Aristotle himself will supply an argument for it. If it is disgraceful,' says Aristotle, not to be able to protect yourself by your bodily force, it surely, at least, is equally
disgraceful not to be able to protect yourself by the use of that power of speech which is more characteristically and peculiarly the endowment of man.' But while so far it may be admitted that the power of public speaking may be acquired by practice, and also that it is very proper to acquire it, nothing can be more certain than that this universally-attainable power of public speaking is distinct from what we recognise as oratory. In the former sense, we may say Orator fit, just as we may say Poeta fit, if we choose to distinguish as Poeta a man who can write verses; but, in the other and higher sense, Orator nascitur is quite as true as Poeta nascitur, when the term Poeta is correspondingly enhanced in meaning. In other words, there is a constitutional peculiarity fitting some men to be orators, and without which no amount of practice will make men orators; just as there is a constitutional peculiarity fitting men to be poets, and without which, though a man were to versify till doomsday, he would never become a poet. Practice may make men speakers: it may even make them fluent and graceful speakers; but the 'orator' is a rare being, and, whenever such a star comes out, there is recognisable in him a certain gift or peculiarity distinguishing him at once from the hundreds of contemporary gentlemen who speak with ease, and which, though practice and education have developed and perfected it, is yet clearly inborn and structural.
By way of proof, take the fact of the evident difference between men as speakers, when they first begin in that line. Some lucky fellows take wing at once, almost to their own surprise; on their very first attempt to propose a toast or to return thanks, they seem to float into a known element. They, of course, flutter a little, as newly fledged birds will; but somehow, from the very first, everybody sees that they can fly. There are others, and very clever men too, whom it is a perfect misery to all merciful men to see get upon their legs. They flop about; they look idiotic; everything whirls through their brain; they clutch some one notion or phrase like a post, and cannot be torn away from it; sense and grammar equally give way; if they enter on a sentence, they never come out of it, but are seen floundering in a detritus of verbs, nouns, and pronouns, with an accursed which clinging to them for damages, and refusing to let them go. Worst of all, they are so bereft of their wits that they cannot even sit down. Very able men, as we have said, may be in this predicament. There are men who can express themselves excellently in writing, or who are even very good talkers over a table, who cannot speak six consecutive words with ease when they assume the perpendicular before an audience. On the other hand, there are men who have no power in writing, and who are extremely dry in conversation,
Great Orators Rare.
who can yet address a crowd expertly and with eloquence. Sir David Wilkie, they say, sat in ordinary company like a dry piece of red cheese, saying nothing but 'railly,' in answer to any remark addressed to him; but he could lecture, or make a speech at a meeting of artists. We do not hear that the late Sir Robert Peel was brilliant in social talk. How many a rich and brilliant talker, on the one hand, becomes a stick when he rises to speak! In short, writing, conversation, and public speaking, are three distinct arts. A man may excel in one and be poor in the other two; or he may excel in two and be poor in the third; and very rarely is a man found celebrated, as Burke was, in all the three.
Cicero, in his De Oratore, has remarked on the rarity of the oratorical faculty in its highest degree, and on the frequent absence of that faculty, even in an ordinary degree, in men otherwise of consummate intellect and genius. He writes as follows :—
'Often, as I review in thought the greatest of mankind, and those endowed with the highest abilities, it has appeared to me worthy of inquiry what was the cause that a greater number of persons have been admirable in every other pursuit than in speaking. For which way soever you direct your view in thought and contemplation, you will see numbers excellent in every species, not only of the humble, but even of the highest arts. Who, indeed, is there that, if he would measure the qualifications of illustrious men either by the usefulness or the magnitude of their actions, would not prefer a general to an orator? Yet, who doubts that we can produce, from this city alone, almost innumerable excellent commanders, while we can number scarcely a few eminent in speaking? There have been many also in our own memory, and more in that of our fathers and even of our forefathers, who had abilities to rule and govern affairs of state by their counsel and wisdom; while for a long period no tolerable orators were found, or scarcely one in every age. But, lest any one should think that the art of speaking may more justly be compared with other pursuits than those of a general or a senator, let him turn his thoughts to the particular sciences. It does not escape your observation that what the Greeks call philosophy is esteemed by the most learned men the originator, as it were, and parent of all the arts which merit praise; yet, in philosophy, it is difficult to enumerate how many distinguished men there have been, and of how great knowledge, variety and comprehensiveness in their studies-men who have not confined their labours to one province separately, but have embraced whatever they could master, either by scientific investigations, or by processes of reasoning. Who, again, is ignorant in how great obscurity of matter, in how abtruse, manifold, and subtle an art, they who are called mathematicians are engaged? Yet in that pursuit so many men have arrived at excellence, that not one seems to have applied himself to the science in earnest without attaining in it whatever he desired. Or, who has ever devoted himself wholly to music; who has ever given himself up to the learning which
they profess who call themselves grammarians without compassing the whole substance and matter of those sciences, though almost boundless? Of all those, however, who have engaged in the most liberal pursuits and departments of such sciences, I think I may truly say that a smaller number of eminent poets have arisen, than of men distinguished in any other branch of literature; and yet, in the whole multitude of the learned, among whom there rarely appears one of the highest excellence, there will be found, if you will but make a careful review of our own list and that of the Greeks, far fewer good orators than good poets.'
In thus asserting that, up to his time, the world had produced a greater number of first-rate generals, statesmen, philosophers, mathematicians, musicians, grammarians, and even poets, than of first-rate orators, it is evident that Cicero must have had a very high ideal of first-rate oratory in his mind. In our loose mode of talking, we should hardly say as much respecting our own time and country. Certainly, if common rumour is correct, we are not quite so well off for generals as for orators. And though, if a correct census were taken, we might still show a larger number of splendid men of business, profound mathematicians, admirable musicians, and learned grammarians, than of great public speakers, we fancy that few would admit that orators are rarer phenomena among us than philosophers and poets. Probably, however, if Cicero were among us, he would rectify our language a little. If we showed him our orators, he would probably say that that was not the kind of article he meant at all; that he never denied that such persons could be produced in abundance; that they had plenty of them in Rome, and that, in maintaining that there were fewer great orators than great philosophers and great poets, he had had a rather peculiar and fastidious fancy as to what a great orator was. After this explanation, we might see some reason to agree with him. We might remember, for example, that Greece, which had Plato and Aristotle among her philosophers, and Homer and Æschylus and Sophocles among her poets, had but one Demosthenes; and, going over our own list of great men, we might find the proportions of our absolutely first-rate men in the three departments not very different. It is plain, at least, that in Cicero's time it was not of the poet' that they talked as the tip-top of nature's productions (a mode of speaking which seems to have come in with Wordsworth), but rather of the orator.' 'The philosopher,' too, poor fellow! has had his day; and it might be worth while for some enterprising innovator to set up the historian.'
Cicero's definition of a great orator, though it serves very well to illustrate his own assertion, that orators must always neces