SIMILAR BOOKS BY CATEGORY
LINK FROM YOUR SITE
James G. Blaine
34 pages (2008/1899); 201KB downloadWOWIO Books
; ISBN: WOWIO-00479
President James A. Garfield died on September 19, 1881 as a result of assassination; James G. Blaine delivered the speech presented in this selection in the Hall of the House of Representatives on February 27, 1882.
The “great strength [of James G. Blaine] lies in his naturalness and in his perfect control of himself. In his studied efforts he strains after effect seldomer than almost any other man in American history who has exercised great power over popular assemblies. Burke goes from one climax to another in rapid succession, regardless of the risk of bathos. Blaine rises steadily to his final climax as if it were part of his nature to increase his strength at every step of his progress. He described himself and his own naturalness of method in saying of Garfield: ‘He never did so well but that it seemed he could easily have done better.’ Whether he rises with the first impetus of his subject, or circles with easy grace and assured wing-sweep after having risen, we see that what he does is essentially part of his nature.
“It is said that Whitfield once preached to an audience of sailors in New York City and described the wreck of a vessel on a lee shore with such effect that at the climax the entire audience rose to its feet crying, ‘The long boat—take to the long boat!’ Blaine had something of the same faculty of compelling his audience to forget him, to lose sight of his individuality, to cease to hear his voice, and to become wholly engrossed in the subject itself. This and his intense nervous energy, so controlled that it does not display itself in passion, show in his greatest oratorical efforts as the probable secret of what was called his ‘magnetism.’ In his oration over Garfield he sinks himself wholly in the character of the man he eulogizes, and without once confessing himself voices his own deepest nature in defining the intellectual and moral nature of his friend. The rapid flow of its limpid sentences make the oration over Garfield a model for all who hate exaggeration and love above everything else the simplicity of that continuous and sustained statement which feels no need of tropes and metaphors. Mr. Blaine’s great strength is the purity of his English, the power of sustained effort, the ability to keep the end in view from the beginning, and the power to make every subordinate part fit into the whole. Lacking this faculty, the greatest orator of England, forgetting in his own strength the weakness of his audiences, made almost as great a reputation for emptying the benches before the close of his speeches as he did for the genius which filled them at his openings. But Blaine never failed to control the attention of his audience. The expectation he excited at the beginning he knew how to sustain to the close, gratifying it finally in such bursts of poetry as that which forms the climax of the oration over Garfield.
“Henry Clay was the model on whom Blaine formed himself. His admiration for the great Kentuckian shaped his political course in early life and remained strong in his maturity. His admirers loved to call him ‘a second Clay,’ and it is not at all improbable that when the passage of time has been great enough to make possible the true perspective of history, the best examples of Blaine’s eloquence will be ranked with those of Clay as powerful factors in changing the general trend of American oratory from the mere imitation of the Latin style to the development of the Anglo-Saxon.”—David J. Brewer