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ESSAY ON ELOCUTION,
FOR THE USE OF SCHOOLS
BY SAMUEL KIRKHAM,
The manner of speaking is as important as the matter.-CHESTERFIELD.
THIRD EDITION, ENLARGED AND IMPROVED.
STEREOTYPBD BY F. P. RIPLEY.
ENTERED, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1835, by SAMUEL KIRKHAM, in the
Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Southern District of New York.
The first of the following notices, is from the pen of N. R. SMITH, A. M., one of the greatest masters of Elocution now living: the second is from Mr. KENT, 12 able pro. fessor in the University of Upper Canada.
Mr. Samuel Kirkham of Baltimore, known to many of our citizens as the author of a popular English Grammar, has published “An Essay on Elocution, designed for the use of schools and private learners.” After a careful perusal of this work, I am de. cidedly of opinion, that it is the only successful attempt of the kind. The rules are copious, and the author's explanations and illustrations are happily adapted to the comprehension of learners. No school should be without this book, and it ought to find a place in the library of every gentleman who values the attainment of a just and forcible elocution.
Pittsburg Mercury, April 18, 1834. The Essay now before us, needs not depend on any former work of its author for a borrowed reputation : it has intrinsick merits of its own. It lays down principles clearly and concisely. It presents the reader with many new and judicious selections both in prose and poetry ; and altogether evinces great industry, combined with taste and ingenuity.
Courier of Upper Canada, York, Oct. 12, 1833. Of the talent and judgment of Mr. Kirkham, we have already had occasion to speak in terms of honest praise. His work on Elocution raises hin still higher in our esti mation, for we find it (and we have perused it attentively, and with the utmost pleasure) one highly calculated to mend the manners, and correct the taste, of a certain barbarous class of readers and declaimers that, at present, infest almost every rank in so. ciety. Besides this, the book would be of great utility in schools-such a one as has long been wanted; and we are glad to see it forthcoming. In his selections, th: author has displayed his usual tact and ability. It abounds in beautiful extracts, and judicious illusirations and remarks.
Baltimore Visiter, July, 1833. We think Mr. Kirkham's Elocution worthy of publick patronage, and, have no doubt that, were it introluced into our academies, it would be found a most valuable book, both to the teacher and pupil. The familiar and forcible style of Mr. Kirkham, so justly admired in his work on Grammar, is fully preserved in his work before us.
Eastern Shore Whig, March 18, 1834. Mr. Kirkham has performed a very acceptable service to teachers, by presenting them with this “Essay.” The selections are remarkably judicious; the arrangement, good; the rules, simple and perspicuous. National Intelligencer, July 7, 1834.
No part of education, equally important, is so generally neglected as Elocution; and this neglect arises principally from the want of some suitable book on the subject. In my opinion, Mr. Kirkham's Essay is a work every way calculated to supply this want, and is far better adapted to the use of schools and private learners, than any other system with which I am acquainted.
S. CAVERNO. Lewistown Academy, N. Y. Oct. 7, 1833. Mr. B. F. Winchester :-Sir, I have examined the "Essay on Elocution" by Samuel Kirkham.-It clearly explains and illustrates the principles of the science, and, with diligence on the part of the student, cannot fail to answer the end designed. I could wish that the last chapter of parl first, might be read by etery clergyman in the world.
Respectfully, yours, (Rev.) 8. G. WINCHESTER. Philadelphia, July 22, 1834.
Mr. Kirkham: Dear Sir, In the course of thirty years' experience in teaching Eng. lish Grammar and Reading in this city, no event of the kind has so highly gratified me, as the opportunity you have afforded' me of exainining your English Grammar and treatise on Elocution. I most heartily acknowledge, that, upon a careful and thorough perusal of them, I find that every facility which I have so often needed, but never before found, is exactly furnished;—principles are clearly and concisely laid down, and very happily adapted to the comprehension of the learner. Thoroughly convinced of their utility, I shall lose no time in introdncing them both into my school.
NATHANIEL WEBB Hartjord, Conn. Aug. 20. 1834.
48 X 11 5 2
A PREFACE is to the reader, what a fence is to a horse, when it obstructs his progress to a field of sprouting herbage, which he considere himself justifiable to enter by leaping over the barrier. The reader wades through a long preface with as much reluctance, as he would pass through the ordeal of a ceremonious introduction to a large assemblage of guests, when invited to dine with a stranger. This repugnance to preface-reading, doubtless, arises out of the fact, that prefaces are generally dull, and often but the prelude to a still duller book.
To the author, a preface is considered as privileged ground. Upon this arena, he deems himself at liberty to act without restraint-to iyrannise over the time and patience of his reader, by giving a loose rein to his fancy, and by pursuing a course as wayward and foreign to the subject before him as either his pedantry or his vanity may dictate. In the after pages of his work, he considers himself under obligation occasionally to cast a sidelong glance at the subject he is professing to discuss, and to pay some little respect to the laws of unity, and to a systematick arrangement of his thoughts. We cannot, therefore, but admire this bountiful provision secured to him by the power of custom, by which provision he is allowed, after having toiled through the tedious task of manufacturing a ponderous volume, here to throw off the shackles, and revel over this licensed corner of his field, and become as familiar, and egotistical, and inane, as his conscience and common sense will permit. But it might be well for some writers (myself included, undoubtedly) to consider that custom is a fickle dame, and that reason is not always found in alliance with her.
On this subject, however, custom has not been so parsimonious as to confine her liberality exclusively to the author. If she has granted him the privilege of being dull and prolix in his preface, she has as obligingly favoured the reader with the privilege of escaping from his prefatory dulness and prolixity, by skipping over them, and by commencing at the proper beginning of his book. And now, with becoming candour, 1 announce to my very gentle reader, that if he begins to grow weary of my own prosing, I shall not deem it unkind or uncourteous in him, should'he avail himself of his privilege by breaking off at the close of this sentence, and by turning over to the pages which follow this my prelusive disemboguement; for, on the score of prolixity, I do not hold myself bound, under cover of my privilege, to show him any mercy. I have on hand a bundle of disorderly and incoherent ideas, which are quite clamorous to be released from bondage; and being very conscientious, and compassionate withal, I seldom have the hardihood to turn a deaf ear to the cries of the distressed. It is, therefore, altogether for the prirpose of fulfilling a moral duty, that I give these fugitives their freedom, and allot them a place in this, the most suitable, part of my work.
Prefaces generally open with a stupid apology for the sin of boring the publick with another book. But a book should be its own and its only apologist. If it is well written, and its subject is important, it needs no apology; but if the reverse-if its manufacturer has arrogated to himself the dignity and responsibility of authorship, without considering