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support our opinion, the more likely are we to produce conviction on our reader's mind. By this form of reasoning, Mr. Aiken endeavours to show that wars were more frequent, destructive, and cruel before the invention of fire-arms. With this view, he cites examples of the wars among the states of Greece, those of Rome, the innumerable attacks of the northern barbarians on the Roman Empire, and the millions of human beings that fell in the Crusades.
The following model will illustrate this form of reasoning :
A literary age follows some
political struggle. It has been frequently remarked, that the period of the highest literary glory of civilised nations is generally found to follow close on some remarkable or portentous achievements in commerce or in war. Among the ancient Greeks, the combination of great literary names in the age of Pericles follows the defeat of the Persians. The Roman age of Augustus, when that mighty nation was resting from her conquests, produced the same galaxy of genius. In the same way, the famous literary age of Louis XIV. was certainly prepared, if not produced, by the religious wars of the Reformation, and after the national enthusiasm had been excited by the success of the French arms in Germany and Flanders. In our own case, a gigantic revolution had been accomplished. The intellect of England had been engaged in a violent struggle for religious liberty, and the nation now started on its race of poetical immortality.
Propositions to be illustrated by Example. 1. True genius is always accompanied by judgment. 2. All historians are in some degree prejudiced. 3. To gain fame, hard labour is indispensable. 4. Without sacrifice, there is no virtue. 5. The more we have, the more we desire. 6. Some labour is paid higher than other. 7. Some habits are injurious to bodily health. 8. Many advantages result from the invention of
machinery. 9. The favour of princes is not to be trusted. 10. Every language has its peculiar expressions. 11. Every relation of life has its duties. 12. Ancient Greece produced many great dramatists. 13. The results of some battles have been particularly
important. 14. The drama is an early form of literature. 15. All literary nations have had their fabulists. 16. Literature flourished in Queen Elizabeth's reign. 17. Napoleon was surrounded by a brilliant staff. 18. Several wars of succession took place in the 18th
century. 19. The library contains several classes of books. 20. Mary, Queen of Scots, was noted for her mis
We reason by interrogation when we ask questions, not for information, but to give force to our opinions, and thus impress them more deeply on others. This is done in several ways ; sometimes it makes an assertion more emphatic, as when we appeal to the feelings or common sense of others, to persuade them of a truth. Sometimes it removes an objection, or brings forward points of comparison, and thus shows the superiority of one thing over another. In such cases, the conclusion is not expressed, but is left to be drawn by the reader; so that though accomplished by different means, the effect is the same; as: Can we doubt that honesty is preferable to fraud or deceit? Would any man of common sense choose to live in continual fear of detection and its consequences rather than his days in the calm consciousness of rectitude ? Is it possible to conceive that one whose heart is not thoroughly depraved, or whose moral sense is not deeply corrupted, could deliberately make such a choice?
The following model may serve to illustrate this form of writing :
Given proposition ...
God directs and supports
Who continually supports and governs this stupendous system? Who preserves ten thousand times ten thousand worlds in perpetual harmony? Who enables them always to observe such time, and obey such laws, as are most exquisitely adapted for the perfection of the wondrous whole? They cannot preserve and direct themselves; for they were created, and must, therefore, be dependent. How then can they be so actuated and directed, but by the unceasing energy of the Great Supreme?
Propositions to be supported by Interrogation. 1. Waste not your affection in useless lamentations. 2. The Gospel provides a remedy for all human
evils. 3. The miser is devoid of all sympathy. 4. The life of man is a vain shadow. 5. The soldiers performed the part of gallant men. 6. No man is completely happy in this world. 7. Death is the season which brings our affections
to the test. 8. Reflection is the guide which leads to truth. 9. We should make the best use of our time. 10. Conversation is an agreeable mode of information. 11. No one can tell how long he may
live. 12. It is dangerous to trust even the best of men with
too much power. 13. These atrocities call for the most indignant repre
hension. 14. Money should not be withdrawn from circulation. 15. None have a juster right than the English to boast of their
progress. 16. Mathematical studies are essential to a good edu
cation. 17. By the power of language we are enabled to be
useful to others. 18. Knowledge is better than riches. 19. Education promotes the cause of religion. 20. History is a storehouse of universal knowledge.
As a further exercise in argument, the learner is required to write paragraphs on each of the following propositions, supporting them by several forms of argument, and explaining the forms he adopts for that purpose ; as :
Given proposition ....
Idle reports should not be
repeated. Idle reports should not be repeated; for they are then likely to seriously injure many a reputation. The act grows into a habit, and if the habit become confirmed, whose fair name will be secure from slander! As one drop of acid will affect a large quantity of water, so will a whole society become tainted by the idle talking of one thoughtless gossip.
Here the first proposition is maintained by showing the consequences or effects of idle talk.
The more serious consequences are then shown in the case of its becoming a habit, and the form of the argument is by exclamation. Lastly, the third form of support is by analogy. As the drop of acid is to the water, so is the idle talker to a whole community.
Let the following propositions be argued in various ways, as in the above example :Propositions to be maintained by several Arguments.
1. We think that this question should be reconsidered. 2. I believe this statement to be substantially correct. 3. This author's style is exceedingly admired. 4. The reign of Queen Anne was celebrated as a
literary age. 5. We must not dispute about tastes. 6. Hypocrisy is the homage which vice renders to
virtue. 7. The only things of which we need be ashamed,
are sin and ignorance.