The great use, therefore, of a system of action like the present, is, that a boy will never be embarrassed for want of knowing what to do with his legs and arms; nor will he bestow that attention on his action, which ought to be directed to his pronunciation: he will always be in a position which will not disgrace his figure; and when this gesture is easy to him, it may serve as a ground-work to something more perfect: he may either, by his own genius or his master’s instructions, build some other action upon it, which may in time give it additional force and variety.
Thus, what seemed either unworthy the attention, or too difficult for the execution of others, the author of the present publication hits ventured to attempt. A conviction of the necessity of leaching some system of action, and the abundant success of the present system in one of the most respectable academies near London, has determined him to publish it, for the use of such seminaries as make English pronunciation a part of their discipline.
It may not be useless to observe, that boys should be classed in this, as in every other kind of instruction, according to their abilities. That a class should not consist of more than ten; that about eight or ten lines of some speech, should be read first by the teacher, then by the boy who reads best; and then by the rest in order, all having a book of the same kind, and all reading the same portion. This portion they must be ordered to get by heart against the next lesson; and then the first boy must speak it, standing at some distance from the rest; in the manner directed in the plates; the second boy must succeed him, and so on till they have all spoken. After which another portion may be read to them, which they must read and speak in the same manner as before. When they have gone through a speech in this manner by portions, the two or three first boys may be ordered, against the next lesson, to speak the whole speech; the next lesson two or three more, and so on to the rest. This will excite emulation, and give the teacher an opportunity of ranking them according to their merits.
Rules for expressing with Propriety, the principal Passions and Humours which occur in Reading or public Speaking.
Every part of the human frame contributes to express the passions and emotions of the mind, and to shew, in general, its present state. The head is sometimes erected, sometimes hung down, sometimes drawn suddenly back with an air of disdain, sometimes shews by a nod, a particular person or object; gives assent or denial, by different motions; threatens by one sort of movement, approves by another, and expresses suspicion by a third.