Lectures on Rhetoric and Oratory: Delivered to the Classes of Senior and Junior Sophisters in Harvard University, Volume 1

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Hilliard and Metcalf, 1810 - Oratory - 160 pages

Before becoming President of the United States, John Quincy Adams was a Harvard professor of language, rhetoric and oratory, with this book comprising his lectures.

Published in 1810 when Quincy Adams was in his forties, this work is a collection which demonstrates the breadth of knowledge which he passed to students eager to learn about the arts of speaking. The early lectures cover the basic principles of oratory and eloquence in the context of public speaking, and the origins of rhetoric as a celebrated art form in ancient Greece and Rome. It is clear that the author possesses an intense knowledge of the subject and its professional application.

Later on in the text are more specific lectures, such as the importance of perfecting oratory for the courtroom, and the personal qualities a good speaker should cultivate. Keeping tight control of one's emotions when speaking or debating with others, and delivering compelling lectures from the church pulpit, are also discussed at length. Although this material is well over 200 years old with much of the language archaic by modern standards, the ideas and principles espoused by Quincy Adams remain both relevant and important to students and those working in fields where speech is vital.


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Page 272 - But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man, for he knew what was in man.
Page 63 - On the other side up rose Belial, in act more graceful and humane; A fairer person lost not Heaven; he seemed For dignity composed and high exploit: But all was false and hollow; though his tongue Dropt manna, and could make the worse appear The better reason, to perplex and dash Maturest counsels...
Page 195 - He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the Lord.
Page 420 - Between the acting of a dreadful thing And the first motion, all the interim is Like a phantasma, or a hideous dream : The genius, and the mortal instruments, Are then in council; and the state of man, Like to a little kingdom, suffers then The nature of an insurrection.
Page 16 - And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and he said, Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well. And also behold, he cometh forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart.
Page ii - Co. of the said district, have deposited in this office the title of a book, the right whereof they claim as proprietors, in the words following, to wit : " Tadeuskund, the Last King of the Lenape. An Historical Tale." In conformity to the Act of the Congress of the United States...
Page 336 - Try all things, hold fast by that which is good;" it is the foundation of the Reformation, which simply illustrated the axiom that every man should be able to give a reason for the faith that is in him; it is the great principle of Descartes; it is the fundamental axiom of modern science.
Page 176 - And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
Page 262 - Love thyself last: cherish those hearts that hate thee; Corruption wins not more than honesty. Still in thy right hand carry gentle peace, To silence envious tongues. Be just, and fear not. Let all the ends thou aim'st at be thy country's, Thy God's, and truth's; then if thou fall'st, O Cromwell, Thou fall'st a blessed martyr!
Page 166 - The poet's eye, in a fine frenzy rolling, Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven; And , as imagination bodies forth The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen Turns them to shape , and gives to airy nothing A local habitation and a name.

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