James Otis possessed it. After Webster's death there was no American speaker who could hold an audience like him.
Matthew Arnold, in his better days, said that Burke's oratory was too rich and overloaded.
This is true, but it is equally true that Burke is the only orator of the eighteenth century that still continues to be reaBurke is the only orator of the eighteenth century that still continues to be read.
He had a faulty delivery and an ungainly figure, but if he emptied the benches in the House of Commons he secured a larger audience in coming generations.
The material of his speeches is of such a vital quality that it possesses a value wholly apart from the time and occasion of its delivery.
Much the same is true of Sumner, who would have had decidedly the advantage of Burke so far as personal impressiveness is concerned.
His Phi Beta Kappa address of 1845 is so rich in material that it is even more interesting to read now than when it was first delivered, and his remarks on Allston in that oration might be considered to advantage by every art crit