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the very stones of Rome to rise and mutiny :" he pointed to the “Persian abodes, the glittering temples” of oppression and luxury, with prophetic exultation; and, like another Helen, had almost fired another Troy! The lightning of national indignation flashed from his eye; the workings of the popular mind were seen labouring in his bosom: it writhed and swelled with its rank“ fraught of aspics' tongues,” and the poison frothed over at his lips. Thus qualified, he “ wielded at will the fierce democracy, and fulmin'd over" an area of souls, of no mean circumference. He who might be said to have “ roared you in the ears of the groundlings an 'twere any lion, aggravates his voice” on paper, “ like any sucking-dove.” It is not merely that the same individual cannot sit down quietly in his closet, and produce the same, or a correspondent effect--that what he delivers over to the compositor is tame, and trite, and tedious—that he cannot by any means, as it were, create a soul under the ribs of death"but sit down yourself, and read one of these very popular and electrical effusions (for they have been published) and you would not believe it to be the same! The thunder-and-lightning mixture of the orator turns out a mere drab-coloured suit in the person of the prose-writer. We wonder at the change, and think there must be some mistake, some leger-de-main trick played off upon us, by which what before appeared so fine now appears to be so worthless. The deception took place before; now it is removed. « Bottom! thou art translated !" might be placed as a motto under most collections of printed speeches that I have had the good fortune to meet with, whether originally addressed to the people, the senate, or the bar. Burke's and Windham's form an exception : Mr. Coleridge's Conciones ad Populum do not, any more than Mr. Thelwall's Tribune. What we read is the same : what we hear and see is different," the selfsame words, but not to the self-same tune.” The orator's vehemence of gesture, the loudness of the voice, the speaking eye, the conscious attitude, the inexplicable dumb shew and noise,all “ those brave sublunary things that made his raptures clear,—are no longer there, and without these he is nothing;-his “fire and air” turn to puddle and ditch-water, and the God of eloquence and of our idolatry sinks into a common mortal, or an image of lead, with a few labels, nicknames, and party watch-words stuck in his mouth. The truth is, that these always made up the stock of his intellectual wealth; but a certain exaggeration and extravagance of manner covered the nakedness, and swelled out the emptiness of the matter : the sympathy of angry multitudes with an impassioned theatrical declaimer supplied the place of argument or wit ; while the physical animation and ardour of the speaker evaporated in “sound and fury, signifying nothing,” and leaving no trace behind it. A popular speaker (such as I have been here describing) is like a vulgar actor off the stagetake away his cue, and he has nothing to say for

, himself. Or he is so accustomed to the intoxication of popular applause, that without that stimulus he has no motive or power of exertion left-neither imagination, understanding, liveliliness, common sense, words or ideas he is fairly cleared out; and in the intervals of sober reason, is the dullest and most imbecil of all mortals.

An orator can hardly get beyond commonplaces : if he does, he gets beyond his hearers. The most successful speakers, even in the House of Commons, have not been the best scholars or the finest writers-neither those who took the most profound views of their subject, nor who adorned it with the most original fancy, or the richest combinations of language. Those speeches that in general told best at the time, are not now readable. What were the materials of which they were chiefly composed ? An imposing detail of passing events, a formal display of official documents, an appeal to established maximns, an echo of popular clamour, some worn-out metaphor newly vamped-up, some hackneyed argument used for the hundredth, nay thousandth time, to fall in with the interests, the passions, or prejudices of listening and devoted admirers;-—some truth or falsehood, repeated as the Shibboleth of party time out of mind, which gathers strength from sympathy as it spreads, because it is understood or assented to by the million, and finds, in the increased action of the minds of numbers, the weight and force of an instinct. A COMMON-PLACE does not leave the mind “sceptical, puzzled, and undecided in the moment of action :"_" it gives a body to opinion, and a permanence to fugitive belief.” It operates mechanically, and opens an instantaneous and infallible communication between the hearer and speaker. A set of cantphrases, arranged in sounding sentences, and pronounced " with good emphasis and discretion,” keep the gross and irritable humours of an audience in constant fermentation ; and levy no tax on the understanding. To give a reason for any thing is to breed a doubt of it, which doubt you may not remove in the sequel; either



because your reason may not be a good one, or because the person to whom it is addressed may not be able to comprehend it, or because others may not be able to comprehend it. He who offers to go into the grounds of an acknowledged axiom, risks the unanimity of the company “ by most admired disorder,” as he who digs to the foundation of a building to shew its solidity, risks its falling. But a common-place is enshrined in its own unquestioned evidence, and constitutes its own immortal basis. Nature, it has been said, abhors a vacuum; and the House of Commons, it might be said, hates every thing but a common-place !-Mr. Burke did not often shock the prejudices of the House : he endeavoured to account for them, to “ lay the flattering unction" of philosophy “ to their souls.” They could not endure him. Yet he did not attempt this by dry argument alone : he called to his aid the flowers of poetical fiction, and strewed the most dazzling colours of language over the Standing Orders of the House. It was a double offence to them-an aggravation of the encroachments of his genius. They would rather “ hear a cat mew or an axle-tree grate,” than hear a man talk philosophy by the hour —

Not harsh and crabbed, as dull fools suppose,
But musical as is Apollo's lute,

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