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affirm, that to be the author of a good style, you must not only read observingly the productions of the most eminent writers, but also labour diligently, and be patient. Some time ago, it was not an uncommon occurrence for the essayist to inform us, that the paper he was about to read, was written within an hour of meeting. I am glad that we have no such announcements now; for such compositions were not the product of great mental toil, but of unlaboured impulse. True, they sometimes read sinoothly, and were well received; yet they seldom produced any salutary effects; for they contained but little philosophy, being upon subjects of a much lighter nature than those ably-written papers which have not only borne the marks of study, carefulness, and anxiety, but have been instrumental in removing ignorance, prejudice, and error. I hold, therefore, that the most thoughtful productions are the more valuable ones; and that his style is the best who writes the clearest, and by his paper effects the most good.
Aim at perspicuity. Endeavour to comprehend your subject in all its bearings, ere you begin to write upon it; then decide how to treat it, and arrange your ideas accordingly. By thus methodising your thoughts, many advantages will accrue : among others, clearness of conception ; this is one of the essentials to perspicuity--the other is clearness of expression; for however clearly we conceive of the subject ourselves, it is frequently very difficult to place it unambiguously before others. Our thoughts when dressed in words, do not always resemble “the city set on a hill, which cannot be hid,” but rather the “candle when placed under a bushel.” Obscurity is the antithesis of perspicuity; therefore it should be our endeavour to avoid the one and cherish the other. The youth whose language is so limited that he finds it hard to "clothe his ideas in the suitable garments of speech," must beware lest for the sake of novelty he makes use of unsuitable words. Better that he use stock phrases,' than thus mystify his meaning.
"I will shew thee one of the world's sorrows," says Tupper-and it is; “those who stand impotent of woris, travailing with unborn thoughts." From experience I know that it is exceedingly painful to sit thinking for a few words to express an idea; the want of one frequently distresses the mind, and causes confused expression. There is a remedy for this enl. A few days since, I was reading that little periodical (which I am sure all young writers should possess), “The Popular Lecturer," and in it I found Les
H. Grindon stating that he knew a lady who, finding herself not so well acquainted with the English language as she could wish to be, kept a dictionary in her pocket, and a pencil and a slip of paper, and she learned a few difficult words every day, while waiting for dinner; until at the end of twelve months she had accomplished the task of learning every word in the dictionary. Let some of our spare moments be spent in looking into our lexicons; and we shall soon increase our stock of language, and be able to write with less hesitancy and perhaps with le obscurity.
You must not infer from what I have just advanceil, that the verbose writer does not require discipline and correction; for such a one is in peculiar danger of displaying more words than wisdom, and is very liable to pay more attention to ornament, than to conciseness ard perspicuity. Hence in the language of an old writer, I would remind such, that“ discourse should always be obvious, even to the most negligent reacler, so that the sense should strike his mind just as the light of the sun does our eyes, though they are not looking upwards to it. We must study not only that every hearer or reader may understand us, but that it shall be impossible for him not to understand us." To accomplish this, the verbose writer will have to exercise self-denial, and discontinue using two words where one will suffice. In this class I have listened to essays in which it was impossible to understand what the writer was aiming at, in consequence of the profusion of words employed. Write thus, and it is the opinion of our poet Garbett, that
“You'll have but the 'sorry' satisfaction
Of leaving us in gloomy stupefaction ;
Shall shew we're little wiser for your pains.” Verbosity, like the tree of many branches, must be subjected to the pruning knife of improvement, and be deprived of all those shoots of fancy which weaken the argument, hide the meaning, and perplex the reader. Ye who have language at your command, abuse not the precious gift; use not more than requisite ; let us not have to look with a microscopic eye at every expression. Aim at perspicuity,—for it is the most important element in original composition. Endeavour to make your productions resemble those waters which, though deep, are also beautifully clear. To conclude: let me express the hope that something has been said which will stimulate to greater exertions. Compare this year's papers with those of last year; and if they do not bear the impress of improvement, search out the cause, and having found it, go to your work with greater intensity of purpose. Endeavour to feel that you can much excel what you have already written. Commence your undertakings with these feelings; and I can, without a prophet's inspiration, with certainty predict that “your labour will not be in vain.”
Note.--Notwithstanding the seemingly small number of Essayists, a passage in the Socialist Annual Report, reveals the fact that no less than 89 original Compositions were real during the past Year.
SOCIAL POSITION OF THE WORKING
THOMAS DICKINS, ESQ., J.P.
To the Heb. Canon Jurnford, Rector of Middleton. REV, AND DEAR SIR,
Permit me to dedicate to you my Lecture “On the Social Position of the Working Classes ;” which I should not have ventured to place before the public for perusal, had not you and the meeting to whom it was addressed, unanimously requested me to do so.
I solicit this permission, because I desire to express in a permanent form my respect for your public and private cha racter ;-a respect founded on the experience of many years and shared, as I believe, by almost all your parishioners.
I have likewise to request you will kindly receive as a con. tribution towards an extension of the National School of your parish, the entire proceeds (which I have directed my booksellers to place at your disposal) of the sale of this my first publication.
I am, Rev. and dear Sir,
THOMAS DICKINS. WIDDLETOS,
FRIENDS AND NEIGHBOURS AMONG THE WORKING
CLASSES, I am about to offer for your consideration some comments upon your present, and some suggestions relative to your future, social position in Society; for the amelioration of which, I shall propose two or three plans which, in my opinion, will assist the development we must all desire.
Having for a long period resided in this neighbourhood, and had much intercourse with you which lias almost invariably been of an agreeable nature to me, I have, trusting to our acquaintanceship, relied upon a welcome reception this evening. I shall not presume to dictate to or to censure you-but shall speak my mind plainly-give a "gradely” tale, with the hope my remarks will be estimated as emanations of a desire to act a friendly part towards you.
I have likewise been much influenced by the admonitions from that eminently good and learned man, Judge Talfourd, whose last address was replete with reflections so benevolent and so wise, that reference to them, and to the occasion, cannot be irrelerant or unwelcome to you. For he was an example most worthy of our imitation,--as a judge, he tempered justice with merey; as a gentleman, he blended dignity with affability; as a man of the world, he was accurate and observing; as a man of feeling, he was charitable and sympathising: and, as if the crowning act of his public life should be in conformity with and illustrative of his opinions and his practice,--as if his spirit, so soon then to appear before its Maker, inspired him to breathe forth peace and good-will to all men,-he, on his last circuit at Stafford, and at the conclusion of his judicial duties, made the following observations, after alluding to the increase of crime in the neighbourhood :