S. Austin Allibone, comp. Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay. 1880.
Without attempting a formal definition of the word, I am inclined to consider rhetoric, when reduced to a system in books, as a body of rules derived from experience and observation, extending to all communications by language, and designed to make it efficient.
A chapter upon German rhetoric would be in the same ludicrous predicament as Von Troils chapter on the snakes of Iceland, which delivers its business in one summary sentence, announcing that snakes in Icelandthere are none.
Sir William Hamilton has said that Aristotles Rhetoric is the best ethology extant; meaning that it contains the best account of the passions and feelings of the human heart, and of the means of awakening and interesting them so as to produce persuasion or action.
They have been taught rhetoric, but never taught language; as if the names of the figures that embellished the discourse of those who understood the art of speaking were the very art and skill of speaking well.