There is a Latin maxim that a man must be born a poet, or he cannot make one--"Poeta nascitur non est." This is equally true as to the orator. A man must be born an orator, or he will never become one. Learning and culture may greatly improve eloquence, as they did in the case of William Pinckney of Maryland, and Hugh S. Legare, of South Carolina. They may also beautify and ornament poetry, as they did in Milton, who possessed all learning and culture. We know nothing of Homer, the greatest of all poets. He may have been learned and accomplished in his day and time for what we know.
Patrick Henry was a born orator. He has the reputation of having been the greatest of all our Revolutionary orators, and they were many and eloquent and great. He never had much learning or culture. In early youth his education was defective, and throughout life he was lazy and idle. Jefferson says his associates were overseers, and rough, ignorant men. How he acquired his agreeable manners and pleasing address was a mystery to him. But it should not have been more of a mystery than his eloquence. Both were Nature's gifts, born with him. Very often, in the humblest walks of life, we meet with manners and address which would do honor to a prince. They are natural, like honesty and nobility of character. Some men are born clowns and fools, and never can become anything else. So, too, there are some who are born rascals and rogues, and never can change their nature. Education and association may disguise bad qualities, but they will occasionally peep out. In other words, Nature will, in the end, assert herself.