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humour are discriminated, which are the chief consid-
erations here. His design leads him to consider rather
those particulars wherein they all agree, than those
wherein they differ. He treats of ludicrous objects
and ludicrous writing, with a view to account for the
superior copiousness and refinement of modern ridicule.
When philosophical acuteness is happily united with so
great richness of fancy and mastery in language, the
obscurity in which a subject was formerly involved
vanishes entirely, and a reader unacquainted with all
other theories and hypotheses, can hardly be persua-
ded that there was ever any difficulty in the question.
But there is reason to think that the world will soon be
favoured with an opportunity of judging for itself in re-
gard to the merits of that performance.

One reason, though not the only one which the au-
thor has for mentioning the manner wherein the com-
position of this work has been conducted, and the time
it has taken, is not to enhance its value with the pub-`
lic, but to apologize in some measure for that inequal-
ity in the execution and the style, with which he is
afraid it will be thought chargeable. It is his purpose
in this work, on the one hand, to exhibit, he does not
say a correct map, but a tolerable sketch of the human
mind; and, aided by the lights which the poet and the
orator so amply furnish, to disclose its secret move-
ments, tracing its principal channels of perception and
action, as near as possible, to their source: and, on the
other hand, from the science of human nature, to as-
certain, with greater precision, the radical principles
of that art, whose object it is, by the use of language,
to operate on the soul of the hearer, in the way of in-
forming, convincing, pleasing, moving, or persuading.
In the prosecution of a design so extensive there are

two extremes to be shunned. One is, too much abstraction in investigating causes; the other, too much minuteness in specifying effects. By the first, the perspicuity of a performance may be endangered; by the second, its dignity may be sacrificed. The author does not flatter himself so far as to imagine that he hath succeeded perfectly in his endeavours to avoid either extreme. In a work of this kind, it is impossible that everything should be alike perspicuous to every reader, or that all the parts should be equally elevated. Variety in this respect, as well as in others, is perhaps, on the whole, more pleasing and more instructive than too scrupulous a uniformity. To the eye the interchange of hill and dale beautifies the prospect; and to the ear there is no music in monotony. The author can truly say, that he has endeavoured, as much as he could, in the most abstruse questions, to avoid obscurity; and in regard to such of his remarks as may be thought too minute and particular, if just, they will not, he hopes, on a re-examination, be deemed of no consequence. Those may serve to illustrate a general observation, which are scarcely worth notice as subjects either of censure or of praise. Nor is there anything in this book which, in his opinion, will create even the smallest difficulty to persons accustomed to inquire into the faculties of the mind. Indeed, the much greater part of it will, he is persuaded, be level to the capacity of all those readers (not, perhaps, the most numerous class) who think reflection of some use in reading, and who do not read merely with the intention of killing time.

He begs leave to add, that though his subject be Eloquence, yet, as the nature of his work is didactical, wherein the understanding only is addressed, the style

in general admits no higher qualities than purity and perspicuity. These were, therefore, his highest aim. The best ornaments out of place are not only unbecoming, but offensive. Nor can anything be farther from his thoughts than to pretend to an exemption from such positive faults in expression, as, on the article of elocution, he hath so freely criticised in the best English authors. He is entirely sensible that an impropriety or other negligence in style will escape the notice of the writer, which hardly escapes that of anybody else. Next to the purpose of illustrating the principles and canons which he here submits to the judgment of the public, the two following motives weighed most with the author in inducing him to use so much freedom in regard to the writings of those for whom he has the highest veneration. One is, to show that we ought in writing, as in other things, carefully to beware of implicit attachment and servile imitation, even when they seem to be claimed by the most celebrated names. The other is, to evince that we are in danger of doing great injustice to a work by deciding hastily on its merit from a collection of such oversights. If the critic be rigorous in marking whatever is amiss in this way, what author may abide the trial? But though such slips are not to be regarded as the sole or even principal test of demerit in literary productions, they ought not to be altogether overlooked. Whatever is faulty in any degree it were better to avoid. And there are consequences regarding the language in general, as well as the success of particular works, which should preserve verbal criticism from being considered as beneath the attention of any author. An author, so far from having reason to be offended, is doubtless obliged to the man who, free from captious petulance, candidly points out his errors, of what kind soever they be.

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CHAP. I. Eloquence in the largest Acceptance defined, its more general Forms exhibited, with their different Objects, Ends, and Characters CHAP. II. Of Wit, Humour, and Ridicule

SECT. I. Of Wit...

which they are respectively adapted SECT. I. Of Intuitive Evidence.....

Part I. Mathematical Axioms

Part II. Consciousness ......................
Part III. Common Sense.....

1. Experience

2. Analogy

3. Testimony

4. Calculations of Chances


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SECT. II. Of Humour

SECT. III. Of Ridicule..

CHAP. III. The Doctrine of the preceding Chapter defended ........................................
SECT. I. Aristotle's Account of the Ridiculous explained.
SECT. II. Hobbes's Account of Laughter examined .........
CHAP. IV. Of the Relation which Eloquence bears to Logic and to Grammar.. 54
CHAP. V. Of the different Sources of Evidence, and the different Subjects to

Part II. The Nature and Origin of Experience.

Part III. The Subdivisions of Moral Reasoning

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SECT. II. Of Deductive Evidence..

Part I. Division of the Subject into Scientific and Moral, with the principal
Distinctions between them

ers as Men in general....

SECT. I. As endowed with Understanding.
SECT. II. As endowed with Imagination..
SECT. III. As endowed with Memory
SECT. IV. As endowed with Passions

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Part III. Importance

Part IV. Proximity of Time...........

Part V. Connexion of Place....

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Part IV. The Superiority of Scientific Evidence re-examined.
CHAP. VI. Of the Nature and Use of the scholastic Art of Syllogizing..
CHAP. VII. Of the Consideration which the Speaker ought to have of the Hear-


SECT. II. In regard to the Persons addressed

SECT. III. In regard to the Subject

SECT. IV. In regard to the Occasion.................



SECT. V. The Circumstances that are chiefly instrumental in operating on

the Passions ..... Part I. Probability.


Part II. Plausibility.



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.. 108


Part VI. Relation to the Persons concerned.....

Part VII. Interest in the Consequences....

SECT. VI. Other Passions, as well as Moral Sentiments, useful Auxiliaries... 112


SECT. VII. How an unfavourable Passion must be calmed... CHAP. VIII. Of the Consideration which the Speaker ought to have of the Hear

ers as such Men in particular


.. 110

.... 111



CHAP. IX. Of the Consideration which the Speaker ought to have of himself. 118 CHAP. X. The different Kinds of public Speaking in use among the Moderns, compared with a View to their different Advantages in respect of Eloquence 121 SECT. I. In regard to the Speaker........

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