Art of Public Speaking

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The Art of Public Speaking

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Transcribers note: Chapter XIV contains phonetic representation
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The Art of Public Speaking















Copyright 1915





Table of Contents
THINGS TO THINK OF FIRST–A FOREWORD                           IX
CHAPTER II–THE SIN OF MONOTONY                                10
CHAPTER VI–PAUSE AND POWER                                    55
CHAPTER IX–FORCE                                              87
CHAPTER X–FEELING AND ENTHUSIASM                             101
CHAPTER XII–THE VOICE                                        125
CHAPTER XIII–VOICE CHARM                                     134
CHAPTER XV–THE TRUTH ABOUT GESTURE                           156
CHAPTER XVI–METHODS OF DELIVERY                              171
CHAPTER XXI–INFLUENCING BY NARRATION                         249
CHAPTER XXV–INFLUENCING THE CROWD                            308
CHAPTER XXVI–RIDING THE WINGED HORSE                         321
CHAPTER XXVII–GROWING A VOCABULARY                           334
CHAPTER XXVIII–MEMORY TRAINING                               343



=Things to Think of First=


The efficiency of a book is like that of a man, in one important
respect: its attitude toward its subject is the first source of its
power. A book may be full of good ideas well expressed, but if its
writer views his subject from the wrong angle even his excellent advice
may prove to be ineffective.

This book stands or falls by its authors’ attitude toward its subject.
If the best way to teach oneself or others to speak effectively in
public is to fill the mind with rules, and to set up fixed standards for
the interpretation of thought, the utterance of language, the making of
gestures, and all the rest, then this book will be limited in value to
such stray ideas throughout its pages as may prove helpful to the
reader–as an effort to enforce a group of principles it must be
reckoned a failure, because it is then untrue.

It is of some importance, therefore, to those who take up this volume
with open mind that they should see clearly at the out-start what is the
thought that at once underlies and is builded through this structure. In
plain words it is this:

Training in public speaking is not a matter of externals–primarily; it
is not a matter of imitation–fundamentally; it is not a matter of
conformity to standards–at all. Public speaking is public utterance,
public issuance, of the man himself; therefore the first thing both in
time and in importance is that the man should be and think and feel
things that are worthy of being given forth. Unless there be something
of value within, no tricks of training can ever make of the talker
anything more than a machine–albeit a highly perfected machine–for the
delivery of other men’s goods. So self-development is fundamental in our

The second principle lies close to the first: The man must enthrone his
will to rule over his thought, his feelings, and all his physical
powers, so that the outer self may give perfect, unhampered expression
to the inner. It is futile, we assert, to lay down systems of rules for
voice culture, intonation, gesture, and what not, unless these two
principles of having something to say and making the will sovereign have
at least begun to make themselves felt in the life.

The third principle will, we surmise, arouse no dispute: No one can
learn _how_ to speak who does not first speak as best he can. That may
seem like a vicious circle in statement, but it will bear examination.

Many teachers have begun with the _how_. Vain effort! It is an ancient
truism that we learn to do by doing. The first thing for the beginner in
public speaking is to speak–not to study voice and gesture and the
rest. Once he has spoken he can improve himself by self-observation or
according to the criticisms of those who hear.

But how shall he be able to criticise himself? Simply by finding out
three things: What are the qualities which by common consent go to make
up an effective speaker; by what means at least some of these qualities
may be acquired; and what wrong habits of speech in himself work against
his acquiring and using the qualities which he finds to be good.

Experience, then, is not only the best teacher, but the first and the
last. But experience must be a dual thing–the experience of others must
be used to supplement, correct and justify our own experience; in this
way we shall become our own best critics only after we have trained
ourselves in self-knowledge, the knowledge of what other minds think,
and in the ability to judge ourselves by the standards we have come to
believe are right. “If I ought,” said Kant, “I can.”

An examination of the contents of this volume will show how consistently
these articles of faith have been declared, expounded, and illustrated.
The student is urged to begin to speak at once of what he knows. Then he
is given simple suggestions for self-control, with gradually increasing
emphasis upon the power of the inner man over the outer. Next, the way
to the rich storehouses of material is pointed out. And finally, all the
while he is urged to speak, _speak_, _SPEAK_ as he is applying to his own
methods, in his own _personal_ way, the principles he has gathered from
his own experience and observation and the recorded experiences of

So now at the very first let it be as clear as light that methods are
secondary matters; that the full mind, the warm heart, the dominant will
are primary–and not only primary but paramount; for unless it be a full
being that uses the methods it will be like dressing a wooden image in
the clothes of a man.

JANUARY 1, 1915.


Sense never fails to give them that have it, Words enough to
make them understood. It too often happens in some
conversations, as in Apothecary Shops, that those Pots that are
Empty, or have Things of small Value in them, are as gaudily
Dress’d as those that are full of precious Drugs.

They that soar too high, often fall hard, making a low and level
Dwelling preferable. The tallest Trees are most in the Power of
the Winds, and Ambitious Men of the Blasts of Fortune. Buildings
have need of a good Foundation, that lie so much exposed to the




There is a strange sensation often experienced in the presence
of an audience. It may proceed from the gaze of the many eyes
that turn upon the speaker, especially if he permits himself to
steadily return that gaze. Most speakers have been conscious of
this in a nameless thrill, a real something, pervading the
atmosphere, tangible, evanescent, indescribable. All writers
have borne testimony to the power of a speaker’s eye in
impressing an audience. This influence which we are now
considering is the reverse of that picture–the power _their_
eyes may exert upon him, especially before he begins to speak:
after the inward fires of oratory are fanned into flame the eyes
of the audience lose all terror.

–WILLIAM PITTENGER, _Extempore Speech_.

Students of public speaking continually ask, “How can I overcome
self-consciousness and the fear that paralyzes me before an audience?”

Did you ever notice in looking from a train window that some horses feed
near the track and never even pause to look up at the thundering cars,
while just ahead at the next railroad crossing a farmer’s wife will be
nervously trying to quiet her scared horse as the train goes by?

How would you cure a horse that is afraid of cars–graze him in a
back-woods lot where he would never see steam-engines or automobiles, or
drive or pasture him where he would frequently see the machines?

Apply horse-sense to ridding yourself of self-consciousness and fear:
face an audience as frequently as you can, and you will soon stop
shying. You can never attain freedom from stage-fright by reading a
treatise. A book may give you excellent suggestions on how best to
conduct yourself in the water, but sooner or later you must get wet,
perhaps even strangle and be “half scared to death.” There are a great
many “wetless” bathing suits worn at the seashore, but no one ever
learns to swim in them. To plunge is the only way.

Practise, _practise_, _PRACTISE_ in speaking before an audience will tend
to remove all fear of audiences, just as practise in swimming will lead
to confidence and facility in the water. You must learn to speak by

The Apostle Paul tells us that every man must work out his own
salvation. All we can do here is to offer you suggestions as to how best
to prepare for your plunge. The real plunge no one can take for you. A
doctor may prescribe, but _you_ must take the medicine.

Do not be disheartened if at first you suffer from stage-fright. Dan
Patch was more susceptible to suffering than a superannuated dray horse
would be. It never hurts a fool to appear before an audience, for his
capacity is not a capacity for feeling. A blow that would kill a
civilized man soon heals on a savage. The higher we go in the scale of
life, the greater is the capacity for suffering.

For one reason or another, some master-speakers never entirely overcome
stage-fright, but it will pay you to spare no pains to conquer it.
Daniel Webster failed in his first appearance and had to take his seat
without finishing his speech because he was nervous. Gladstone was often
troubled with self-consciousness in the beginning of an address.
Beecher was always perturbed before talking in public.

Blacksmiths sometimes twist a rope tight around the nose of a horse, and
by thus inflicting a little pain they distract his attention from the
shoeing process. One way to get air out of a glass is to pour in water.

_Be Absorbed by Your Subject_

Apply the blacksmith’s homely principle when you are speaking. If you
feel deeply about your subject you will be able to think of little else.
Concentration is a process of distraction from less important matters.
It is too late to think about the cut of your coat when once you are
upon the platform, so centre your interest on what you are about to
say–fill your mind with your speech-material and, like the infilling
water in the glass, it will drive out your unsubstantial fears.

Self-consciousness is undue consciousness of self, and, for the purpose
of delivery, self is secondary to your subject, not only in the opinion
of the audience, but, if you are wise, in your own. To hold any other
view is to regard yourself as an exhibit instead of as a messenger with
a message worth delivering. Do you remember Elbert Hubbard’s tremendous
little tract, “A Message to Garcia”? The youth subordinated himself to
the message he bore. So must you, by all the determination you can
muster. It is sheer egotism to fill your mind with thoughts of self when
a greater thing is there–_TRUTH_. Say this to yourself sternly, and
shame your self-consciousness into quiescence. If the theater caught
fire you could rush to the stage and shout directions to the audience
without any self-consciousness, for the importance of what you were
saying would drive all fear-thoughts out of your mind.

Far worse than self-consciousness through fear of doing poorly is
self-consciousness through assumption of doing well. The first sign of
greatness is when a man does not attempt to look and act great. Before
you can call yourself a man at all, Kipling assures us, you must “not
look too good nor talk too wise.”

Nothing advertises itself so thoroughly as conceit. One may be so full
of self as to be empty. Voltaire said, “We must conceal self-love.” But
that can not be done. You know this to be true, for you have recognized
overweening self-love in others. If you have it, others are seeing it in
you. There are things in this world bigger than self, and in working for
them self will be forgotten, or–what is better–remembered only so as
to help us win toward higher things.

_Have Something to Say_

The trouble with many speakers is that they go before an audience with
their minds a blank. It is no wonder that nature, abhorring a vacuum,
fills them with the nearest thing handy, which generally happens to be,
“I wonder if I am doing this right! How does my hair look? I know I
shall fail.” Their prophetic souls are sure to be right.

It is not enough to be absorbed by your subject–to acquire
self-confidence you must have something in which to be confident. If you
go before an audience without any preparation, or previous knowledge of
your subject, you ought to be self-conscious–you ought to be ashamed to
steal the time of your audience. Prepare yourself. Know what you are
going to talk about, and, in general, how you are going to say it. Have
the first few sentences worked out completely so that you may not be
troubled in the beginning to find words. Know your subject better than
your hearers know it, and you have nothing to fear.

_After Preparing for Success, Expect It_

Let your bearing be modestly confident, but most of all be modestly
confident within. Over-confidence is bad, but to tolerate premonitions
of failure is worse, for a bold man may win attention by his very
bearing, while a rabbit-hearted coward invites disaster.

Humility is not the personal discount that we must offer in the presence
of others–against this old interpretation there has been a most healthy
modern reaction. True humility any man who thoroughly knows himself must
feel; but it is not a humility that assumes a worm-like meekness; it is
rather a strong, vibrant prayer for greater power for service–a prayer
that Uriah Heep could never have uttered.

Washington Irving once introduced Charles Dickens at a dinner given in
the latter’s honor. In the middle of his speech Irving hesitated, became
embarrassed, and sat down awkwardly. Turning to a friend beside him he
remarked, “There, I told you I would fail, and I did.”

If you believe you will fail, there is no hope for you. You will.

Rid yourself of this I-am-a-poor-worm-in-the-dust idea. You are a god,
with infinite capabilities. “All things are ready if the mind be so.”
The eagle looks the cloudless sun in the face.

_Assume Mastery Over Your Audience_

In public speech, as in electricity, there is a positive and a negative
force. Either you or your audience are going to possess the positive
factor. If you assume it you can almost invariably make it yours. If you
assume the negative you are sure to be negative. Assuming a virtue or a
vice vitalizes it. Summon all your power of self-direction, and remember
that though your audience is infinitely more important than you, the
truth is more important than both of you, because it is eternal. If your
mind falters in its leadership the sword will drop from your hands. Your
assumption of being able to instruct or lead or inspire a multitude or
even a small group of people may appall you as being colossal
impudence–as indeed it may be; but having once essayed to speak, be
courageous. _BE_ courageous–it lies within you to be what you will.
_MAKE_ yourself be calm and confident.

Reflect that your audience will not hurt you. If Beecher in Liverpool
had spoken behind a wire screen he would have invited the audience to
throw the over-ripe missiles with which they were loaded; but he was a
man, confronted his hostile hearers fearlessly–and won them.

In facing your audience, pause a moment and look them over–a hundred
chances to one they want you to succeed, for what man is so foolish as
to spend his time, perhaps his money, in the hope that you will waste
his investment by talking dully?

_Concluding Hints_

Do not make haste to begin–haste shows lack of control.

Do not apologize. It ought not to be necessary; and if it is, it will
not help. Go straight ahead.

Take a deep breath, relax, and begin in a quiet conversational tone as
though you were speaking to one large friend. You will not find it half
so bad as you imagined; really, it is like taking a cold plunge: after
you are in, the water is fine. In fact, having spoken a few times you
will even anticipate the plunge with exhilaration. To stand before an
audience and make them think your thoughts after you is one of the
greatest pleasures you can ever know. Instead of fearing it, you ought
to be as anxious as the fox hounds straining at their leashes, or the
race horses tugging at their reins.

So cast out fear, for fear is cowardly–when it is not mastered. The
bravest know fear, but they do not yield to it. Face your audience
pluckily–if your knees quake, _MAKE_ them stop. In your audience lies
some victory for you and the cause you represent. Go win it. Suppose
Charles Martell had been afraid to hammer the Saracen at Tours; suppose
Columbus had feared to venture out into the unknown West; suppose our
forefathers had been too timid to oppose the tyranny of George the
Third; suppose that any man who ever did anything worth while had been a
coward! The world owes its progress to the men who have dared, and you
must dare to speak the effective word that is in your heart to
speak–for often it requires courage to utter a single sentence. But
remember that men erect no monuments and weave no laurels for those who
fear to do what they can.

Is all this unsympathetic, do you say?

Man, what you need is not sympathy, but a push. No one doubts that
temperament and nerves and illness and even praiseworthy modesty may,
singly or combined, cause the speaker’s cheek to blanch before an
audience, but neither can any one doubt that coddling will magnify this
weakness. The victory lies in a fearless frame of mind. Prof. Walter
Dill Scott says: “Success or failure in business is caused more by
mental attitude even than by mental capacity.” Banish the fear-attitude;
acquire the confident attitude. And remember that the only way to
acquire it is–_to acquire it_.

In this foundation chapter we have tried to strike the tone of much that
is to follow. Many of these ideas will be amplified and enforced in a
more specific way; but through all these chapters on an art which Mr.
Gladstone believed to be more powerful than the public press, the note
of _justifiable self-confidence_ must sound again and again.


1. What is the cause of self-consciousness?

2. Why are animals free from it?

3. What is your observation regarding self-consciousness in children?

4. Why are you free from it under the stress of unusual excitement?

5. How does moderate excitement affect you?

6. What are the two fundamental requisites for the acquiring of
self-confidence? Which is the more important?

7. What effect does confidence on the part of the speaker have on the

8. Write out a two-minute speech on “Confidence and Cowardice.”

9. What effect do habits of thought have on confidence? In this
connection read the chapter on “Right Thinking and Personality.”

10. Write out very briefly any experience you may have had involving the
teachings of this chapter.

11. Give a three-minute talk on “Stage-Fright,” including a (kindly)
imitation of two or more victims.



One day Ennui was born from Uniformity.


Our English has changed with the years so that many words now connote
more than they did originally. This is true of the word _monotonous_.
From “having but one tone,” it has come to mean more broadly, “lack of

The monotonous speaker not only drones along in the same volume and
pitch of tone but uses always the same emphasis, the same speed, the
same thoughts–or dispenses with thought altogether.

Monotony, the cardinal and most common sin of the public speaker, is not
a transgression–it is rather a sin of omission, for it consists in
living up to the confession of the Prayer Book: “We have left undone
those things we ought to have done.”

Emerson says, “The virtue of art lies in detachment, in sequestering one
object from the embarrassing variety.” That is just what the monotonous
speaker fails to do–he does _not_ detach one thought or phrase from
another, they are all expressed in the same manner.

To tell you that your speech is monotonous may mean very little to you,
so let us look at the nature–and the curse–of monotony in other
spheres of life, then we shall appreciate more fully how it will blight
an otherwise good speech.

If the Victrola in the adjoining apartment grinds out just three
selections over and over again, it is pretty safe to assume that your
neighbor has no other records. If a speaker uses only a few of his
powers, it points very plainly to the fact that the rest of his powers
are not developed. Monotony reveals our limitations.

In its effect on its victim, monotony is actually deadly–it will drive
the bloom from the cheek and the lustre from the eye as quickly as sin,
and often leads to viciousness. The worst punishment that human
ingenuity has ever been able to invent is extreme monotony–solitary
confinement. Lay a marble on the table and do nothing eighteen hours of
the day but change that marble from one point to another and back again,
and you will go insane if you continue long enough.

So this thing that shortens life, and is used as the most cruel of
punishments in our prisons, is the thing that will destroy all the life
and force of a speech. Avoid it as you would shun a deadly dull bore.
The “idle rich” can have half-a-dozen homes, command all the varieties
of foods gathered from the four corners of the earth, and sail for
Africa or Alaska at their pleasure; but the poverty-stricken man must
walk or take a street car–he does not have the choice of yacht, auto,
or special train. He must spend the most of his life in labor and be
content with the staples of the food-market. Monotony is poverty,
whether in speech or in life. Strive to increase the variety of your
speech as the business man labors to augment his wealth.

Bird-songs, forest glens, and mountains are not monotonous–it is the
long rows of brown-stone fronts and the miles of paved streets that are
so terribly same. Nature in her wealth gives us endless variety; man
with his limitations is often monotonous. Get back to nature in your
methods of speech-making.

The power of variety lies in its pleasure-giving quality. The great
truths of the world have often been couched in fascinating stories–“Les
Miserables,” for instance. If you wish to teach or influence men, you
must please them, first or last. Strike the same note on the piano over
and over again. This will give you some idea of the displeasing, jarring
effect monotony has on the ear. The dictionary defines “monotonous” as
being synonymous with “wearisome.” That is putting it mildly. It is
maddening. The department-store prince does not disgust the public by
playing only the one tune, “Come Buy My Wares!” He gives recitals on a
$125,000 organ, and the pleased people naturally slip into a buying

_How to Conquer Monotony_

We obviate monotony in dress by replenishing our wardrobes. We avoid
monotony in speech by multiplying our powers of speech. We multiply our
powers of speech by increasing our tools.

The carpenter has special implements with which to construct the several
parts of a building. The organist has certain keys and stops which he
manipulates to produce his harmonies and effects. In like manner the
speaker has certain instruments and tools at his command by which he
builds his argument, plays on the feelings, and guides the beliefs of
his audience. To give you a conception of these instruments, and
practical help in learning to use them, are the purposes of the
immediately following chapters.

Why did not the Children of Israel whirl through the desert in
limousines, and why did not Noah have moving-picture entertainments and
talking machines on the Ark? The laws that enable us to operate an
automobile, produce moving-pictures, or music on the Victrola, would
have worked just as well then as they do today. It was ignorance of law
that for ages deprived humanity of our modern conveniences. Many
speakers still use ox-cart methods in their speech instead of employing
automobile or overland-express methods. They are ignorant of laws that
make for efficiency in speaking. Just to the extent that you regard and
use the laws that we are about to examine and learn how to use will you
have efficiency and force in your speaking; and just to the extent that
you disregard them will your speaking be feeble and ineffective. We
cannot impress too thoroughly upon you the necessity for a real working
mastery of these principles. They are the very foundations of successful
speaking. “Get your principles right,” said Napoleon, “and the rest is a
matter of detail.”

It is useless to shoe a dead horse, and all the sound principles in
Christendom will never make a live speech out of a dead one. So let it
be understood that public speaking is not a matter of mastering a few
dead rules; the most important law of public speech is the necessity for
truth, force, feeling, and life. Forget all else, but not this.

When you have mastered the mechanics of speech outlined in the next few
chapters you will no longer be troubled with monotony. The complete
knowledge of these principles and the ability to apply them will give
you great variety in your powers of expression. But they cannot be
mastered and applied by thinking or reading about them–you must
practise, _practise_, _PRACTISE_. If no one else will listen to you,
listen to yourself–you must always be your own best critic, and the
severest one of all.

The technical principles that we lay down in the following chapters are
not arbitrary creations of our own. They are all founded on the
practices that good speakers and actors adopt–either naturally and
unconsciously or under instruction–in getting their effects.

It is useless to warn the student that he must be natural. To be natural
may be to be monotonous. The little strawberry up in the arctics with a
few tiny seeds and an acid tang is a natural berry, but it is not to be
compared with the improved variety that we enjoy here. The dwarfed oak
on the rocky hillside is natural, but a poor thing compared with the
beautiful tree found in the rich, moist bottom lands. Be natural–but
improve your natural gifts until you have approached the ideal, for we
must strive after idealized nature, in fruit, tree, and speech.


1. What are the causes of monotony?

2. Cite some instances in nature.

3. Cite instances in man’s daily life.

4. Describe some of the effects of monotony in both cases.

5. Read aloud some speech without paying particular attention to its
meaning or force.

6. Now repeat it after you have thoroughly assimilated its matter and
spirit. What difference do you notice in its rendition?

7. Why is monotony one of the worst as well as one of the most common
faults of speakers?



In a word, the principle of emphasis…is followed best, not
by remembering particular rules, but by being full of a
particular feeling.

–C.S. BALDWIN, _Writing and Speaking_.

The gun that scatters too much does not bag the birds. The same
principle applies to speech. The speaker that fires his force and
emphasis at random into a sentence will not get results. Not every word
is of special importance–therefore only certain words demand emphasis.

You say Massa_CHU_setts and Minne_AP_olis, you do not emphasize each
syllable alike, but hit the accented syllable with force and hurry over
the unimportant ones. Now why do you not apply this principle in
speaking a sentence? To some extent you do, in ordinary speech; but do
you in public discourse? It is there that monotony caused by lack of
emphasis is so painfully apparent.

So far as emphasis is concerned, you may consider the average sentence
as just one big word, with the important word as the accented syllable.
Note the following:

“Destiny is not a matter of chance. It is a matter of choice.”

You might as well say _MASS-A-CHU-SETTS_, emphasizing every syllable
equally, as to lay equal stress on each word in the foregoing sentences.

Speak it aloud and see. Of course you will want to emphasize _destiny_,
for it is the principal idea in your declaration, and you will put some
emphasis on _not_, else your hearers may think you are affirming that
destiny _is_ a matter of chance. By all means you must emphasize
_chance_, for it is one of the two big ideas in the statement.

Another reason why _chance_ takes emphasis is that it is contrasted with
_choice_ in the next sentence. Obviously, the author has contrasted
these ideas purposely, so that they might be more emphatic, and here we
see that contrast is one of the very first devices to gain emphasis.

As a public speaker you can assist this emphasis of contrast with your
voice. If you say, “My horse is not _black_,” what color immediately
comes into mind? White, naturally, for that is the opposite of black. If
you wish to bring out the thought that destiny is a matter of choice,
you can do so more effectively by first saying that “_DESTINY_ is _NOT_
a matter of _CHANCE_.” Is not the color of the horse impressed upon us
more emphatically when you say, “My horse is _NOT BLACK_. He is _WHITE_”
than it would be by hearing you assert merely that your horse is white?

In the second sentence of the statement there is only one important
word–_choice_. It is the one word that positively defines the quality
of the subject being discussed, and the author of those lines desired to
bring it out emphatically, as he has shown by contrasting it with
another idea. These lines, then, would read like this:

“_DESTINY_ is _NOT_ a matter of _CHANCE_. It is a matter of _CHOICE_.”
Now read this over, striking the words in capitals with a great deal of

In almost every sentence there are a few _MOUNTAIN PEAK WORDS_ that
represent the big, important ideas. When you pick up the evening paper
you can tell at a glance which are the important news articles. Thanks
to the editor, he does not tell about a “hold up” in Hong Kong in the
same sized type as he uses to report the death of five firemen in your
home city. Size of type is his device to show emphasis in bold relief.
He brings out sometimes even in red headlines the striking news of the

It would be a boon to speech-making if speakers would conserve the
attention of their audiences in the same way and emphasize only the
words representing the important ideas. The average speaker will deliver
the foregoing line on destiny with about the same amount of emphasis on
each word. Instead of saying, “It is a matter of _CHOICE_,” he will
deliver it, “It is a matter of choice,” or “_IT IS A MATTER OF
CHOICE_”–both equally bad.

Charles Dana, the famous editor of _The New York Sun_, told one of his
reporters that if he went up the street and saw a dog bite a man, to pay
no attention to it. _The Sun_ could not afford to waste the time and
attention of its readers on such unimportant happenings. “But,” said Mr.
Dana, “if you see a man bite a dog, hurry back to the office and write
the story.” Of course that is news; that is unusual.

Now the speaker who says “_IT IS A MATTER OF CHOICE_” is putting too
much emphasis upon things that are of no more importance to metropolitan
readers than a dog bite, and when he fails to emphasize “choice” he is
like the reporter who “passes up” the man’s biting a dog. The ideal
speaker makes his big words stand out like mountain peaks; his
unimportant words are submerged like stream-beds. His big thoughts stand
like huge oaks; his ideas of no especial value are merely like the grass
around the tree.

From all this we may deduce this important principle: _EMPHASIS_ is a
matter of _CONTRAST_ and _COMPARISON_.

Recently the _New York American_ featured an editorial by Arthur
Brisbane. Note the following, printed in the same type as given here.

=We do not know what the President THOUGHT when he got that message, or
what the elephant thinks when he sees the mouse, but we do know what the
President DID.=

The words _THOUGHT_ and _DID_ immediately catch the reader’s attention
because they are different from the others, not especially because they
are larger. If all the rest of the words in this sentence were made ten
times as large as they are, and _DID_ and _THOUGHT_ were kept at their
present size, they would still be emphatic, because different.

Take the following from Robert Chambers’ novel, “The Business of Life.”
The words _you_, _had_, _would_, are all emphatic, because they have been
made different.

He looked at her in angry astonishment.

“Well, what do _you_ call it if it isn’t cowardice–to slink off
and marry a defenseless girl like that!”

“Did you expect me to give you a chance to destroy me and poison
Jacqueline’s mind? If I _had_ been guilty of the thing with
which you charge me, what I have done _would_ have been
cowardly. Otherwise, it is justified.”

A Fifth Avenue bus would attract attention up at Minisink Ford, New
York, while one of the ox teams that frequently pass there would attract
attention on Fifth Avenue. To make a word emphatic, deliver it
differently from the manner in which the words surrounding it are
delivered. If you have been talking loudly, utter the emphatic word in a
concentrated whisper–and you have intense emphasis. If you have been
going fast, go very slow on the emphatic word. If you have been talking
on a low pitch, jump to a high one on the emphatic word. If you have
been talking on a high pitch, take a low one on your emphatic ideas.
Read the chapters on “Inflection,” “Feeling,” “Pause,” “Change of
Pitch,” “Change of Tempo.” Each of these will explain in detail how to
get emphasis through the use of a certain principle.

In this chapter, however, we are considering only one form of emphasis:
that of applying force to the important word and subordinating the
unimportant words. Do not forget: this is one of the main methods that
you must continually employ in getting your effects.

Let us not confound loudness with emphasis. To yell is not a sign of
earnestness, intelligence, or feeling. The kind of force that we want
applied to the emphatic word is not entirely physical. True, the
emphatic word may be spoken more loudly, or it may be spoken more
softly, but the _real_ quality desired is intensity, earnestness. It
must come from within, outward.

Last night a speaker said: “The curse of this country is not a lack of
education. It’s politics.” He emphasized _curse, lack, education,
politics_. The other words were hurried over and thus given no
comparative importance at all. The word _politics_ was flamed out with
great feeling as he slapped his hands together indignantly. His emphasis
was both correct and powerful. He concentrated all our attention on the
words that meant something, instead of holding it up on such words as
_of this_, _a_, _of_, _It’s_.

What would you think of a guide who agreed to show New York to a
stranger and then took up his time by visiting Chinese laundries and
boot-blacking “parlors” on the side streets? There is only one excuse
for a speaker’s asking the attention of his audience: He must have
either truth or entertainment for them. If he wearies their attention
with trifles they will have neither vivacity nor desire left when he
reaches words of Wall-Street and skyscraper importance. You do not dwell
on these small words in your everyday conversation, because you are not
a conversational bore. Apply the correct method of everyday speech to
the platform. As we have noted elsewhere, public speaking is very much
like conversation enlarged.

Sometimes, for big emphasis, it is advisable to lay stress on every
single syllable in a word, as _absolutely_ in the following sentence:

I ab-so-lute-ly refuse to grant your demand.

Now and then this principle should be applied to an emphatic sentence by
stressing each word. It is a good device for exciting special
attention, and it furnishes a pleasing variety. Patrick Henry’s notable
climax could be delivered in that manner very effectively:
“Give–me–liberty–or–give–me–death.” The italicized part of the
following might also be delivered with this every-word emphasis. Of
course, there are many ways of delivering it; this is only one of several
good interpretations that might be chosen.

Knowing the price we must pay, the sacrifice we must make, the
burdens we must carry, the assaults we must endure–knowing full
well the cost–yet we enlist, and we enlist for the war. For we
know the justice of our cause, and _we know, too, its certain

–_From “Pass Prosperity Around,”_ by ALBERT J. BEVERIDGE,
_before the Chicago National Convention of the Progressive Party_.

Strongly emphasizing a single word has a tendency to suggest its
antithesis. Notice how the meaning changes by merely putting the
emphasis on different words in the following sentence. The parenthetical
expressions would really not be needed to supplement the emphatic words.

_I_ intended to buy a house this Spring (even if you did not).

I _INTENDED_ to buy a house this Spring (but something

I intended to _BUY_ a house this Spring (instead of renting as

I intended to buy a _HOUSE_ this Spring (and not an automobile).

I intended to buy a house _THIS_ Spring (instead of next

I intended to buy a house this _SPRING_ (instead of in the

When a great battle is reported in the papers, they do not keep
emphasizing the same facts over and over again. They try to get new
information, or a “new slant.” The news that takes an important place in
the morning edition will be relegated to a small space in the late
afternoon edition. We are interested in new ideas and new facts. This
principle has a very important bearing in determining your emphasis. Do
not emphasize the same idea over and over again unless you desire to lay
extra stress on it; Senator Thurston desired to put the maximum amount
of emphasis on “force” in his speech on page 50. Note how force is
emphasized repeatedly. As a general rule, however, the new idea, the
“new slant,” whether in a newspaper report of a battle or a speaker’s
enunciation of his ideas, is emphatic.

In the following selection, “larger” is emphatic, for it is the new
idea. All men have eyes, but this man asks for a _LARGER_ eye.

This man with the larger eye says he will discover, not rivers or safety
appliances for aeroplanes, but _NEW STARS_ and _SUNS_. “New stars and
suns” are hardly as emphatic as the word “larger.” Why? Because we
expect an astronomer to discover heavenly bodies rather than cooking
recipes. The words, “Republic needs” in the next sentence, are emphatic;
they introduce a new and important idea. Republics have always needed
men, but the author says they need _NEW_ men. “New” is emphatic because
it introduces a new idea. In like manner, “soil,” “grain,” “tools,” are
also emphatic.

The most emphatic words are italicized in this selection. Are there any
others you would emphasize? Why?

The old astronomer said, “Give me a _larger_ eye, and I will
discover _new stars_ and _suns_.” That is what the _republic
needs_ today–_new men_–men who are _wise_ toward the _soil_,
toward the _grains_, toward the _tools_. If God would only raise
up for the people two or three men like _Watt_, _Fulton_ and
_McCormick_, they would be _worth more_ to the _State_ than that
_treasure box_ named _California_ or _Mexico_. And the _real
supremacy_ of man is based upon his _capacity_ for _education_.
Man is _unique_ in the _length_ of his _childhood_, which means
the _period_ of _plasticity_ and _education_. The childhood of a
_moth_, the distance that stands between the hatching of the
_robin_ and its _maturity_, represent a _few hours_ or a _few
weeks_, but _twenty years_ for growth stands between _man’s_
cradle and his citizenship. This protracted childhood makes it
possible to hand over to the boy all the _accumulated stores
achieved_ by _races_ and _civilizations_ through _thousands_ of


You must understand that there are no steel-riveted rules of emphasis.
It is not always possible to designate which word must, and which must
not be emphasized. One speaker will put one interpretation on a speech,
another speaker will use different emphasis to bring out a different
interpretation. No one can say that one interpretation is right and the
other wrong. This principle must be borne in mind in all our marked
exercises. Here your own intelligence must guide–and greatly to your


1. What is emphasis?

2. Describe one method of destroying monotony of thought-presentation.

3. What relation does this have to the use of the voice?

4. Which words should be emphasized, which subordinated, in a sentence?

5. Read the selections on pages 50, 51, 52, 53 and 54, devoting special
attention to emphasizing the important words or phrases and
subordinating the unimportant ones. Read again, changing emphasis
slightly. What is the effect?

6. Read some sentence repeatedly, emphasizing a different word each
time, and show how the meaning is changed, as is done on page 22.

7. What is the effect of a lack of emphasis?

8. Read the selections on pages 30 and 48, emphasizing every word. What
is the effect on the emphasis?

9. When is it permissible to emphasize every single word in a sentence?

10. Note the emphasis and subordination in some conversation or speech
you have heard. Were they well made? Why? Can you suggest any

11. From a newspaper or a magazine, clip a report of an address, or a
biographical eulogy. Mark the passage for emphasis and bring it with you
to class.

12. In the following passage, would you make any changes in the author’s
markings for emphasis? Where? Why? Bear in mind that not all words
marked require the same _degree_ of emphasis–_in a wide variety of
emphasis, and in nice shading of the gradations, lie the excellence of
emphatic speech_.

I would call him _Napoleon_, but Napoleon made his way to empire
over _broken oaths_ and through a _sea_ of _blood_. This man
_never_ broke his word. “No Retaliation” was his great motto and
the rule of his life; and the last words uttered to his son in
France were these: “My boy, you will one day go back to Santo
Domingo; _forget_ that _France murdered your father_.” I would
call him _Cromwell_, but Cromwell was _only_ a _soldier_, and
the state he founded _went down_ with him into his grave. I
would call him _Washington_, but the great Virginian _held
slaves_. This man _risked_ his _empire_ rather than _permit_ the
slave-trade in the _humblest village_ of his dominions.

You think me a fanatic to-night, for you read history, _not_
with your _eyes_, but with your _prejudices_. But fifty years
hence, when _Truth_ gets a hearing, the Muse of History will put
_Phocion_ for the _Greek_, and _Brutus_ for the _Roman_,
_Hampden_ for _England_, _Lafayette_ for _France_, choose
_Washington_ as the bright, consummate flower of our _earlier_
civilization, and _John Brown_ the ripe fruit of our _noonday_,
then, dipping her pen in the sunlight, will write in the clear
blue, above them all, the name of the _soldier_, the
_statesman_, the _martyr_, _TOUSSAINT L’OUVERTURE_.

–WENDELL PHILLIPS, _Toussaint l’Ouverture_.

Practise on the following selections for emphasis: Beecher’s “Abraham
Lincoln,” page 76; Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Speech,” page 50; Seward’s
“Irrepressible Conflict,” page 67; and Bryan’s “Prince of Peace,” page



Speech is simply a modified form of singing: the principal
difference being in the fact that in singing the vowel sounds
are prolonged and the intervals are short, whereas in speech the
words are uttered in what may be called “staccato” tones, the
vowels not being specially prolonged and the intervals between
the words being more distinct. The fact that in singing we have
a larger range of tones does not properly distinguish it from
ordinary speech. In speech we have likewise a variation of
tones, and even in ordinary conversation there is a difference
of from three to six semi-tones, as I have found in my
investigations, and in some persons the range is as high as one

–WILLIAM SCHEPPEGRELL, _Popular Science Monthly_.

By pitch, as everyone knows, we mean the relative position of a vocal
tone–as, high, medium, low, or any variation between. In public speech
we apply it not only to a single utterance, as an exclamation or a
monosyllable (_Oh!_ or _the_) but to any group of syllables, words, and
even sentences that may be spoken in a single tone. This distinction it
is important to keep in mind, for the efficient speaker not only changes
the pitch of successive syllables (see Chapter VII, “Efficiency through
Inflection”), but gives a different pitch to different parts, or
word-groups, of successive sentences. It is this phase of the subject
which we are considering in this chapter.

_Every Change in the Thought Demands a Change in the Voice-Pitch_

Whether the speaker follows the rule consciously, unconsciously, or
subconsciously, this is the logical basis upon which all good voice
variation is made, yet this law is violated more often than any other by
_public_ speakers. A criminal may disregard a law of the state without
detection and punishment, but the speaker who violates this regulation
suffers its penalty at once in his loss of effectiveness, while his
innocent hearers must endure the monotony–for monotony is not only a
sin of the perpetrator, as we have shown, but a plague on the victims as

Change of pitch is a stumbling block for almost all beginners, and for
many experienced speakers also. This is especially true when the words
of the speech have been memorized.

If you wish to hear how pitch-monotony sounds, strike the same note on
the piano over and over again. You have in your speaking voice a range
of pitch from high to low, with a great many shades between the
extremes. With all these notes available there is no excuse for
offending the ears and taste of your audience by continually using the
one note. True, the reiteration of the same tone in music–as in pedal
point on an organ composition–may be made the foundation of beauty, for
the harmony weaving about that one basic tone produces a consistent,
insistent quality not felt in pure variety of chord sequences. In like
manner the intoning voice in a ritual may–though it rarely
does–possess a solemn beauty. But the public speaker should shun the
monotone as he would a pestilence.

_Continual Change of Pitch is Nature’s Highest Method_

In our search for the principles of efficiency we must continually go
back to nature. Listen–really listen–to the birds sing. Which of these
feathered tribes are most pleasing in their vocal efforts: those whose
voices, though sweet, have little or no range, or those that, like the
canary, the lark, and the nightingale, not only possess a considerable
range but utter their notes in continual variety of combinations? Even a
sweet-toned chirp, when reiterated without change, may grow maddening to
the enforced listener.

The little child seldom speaks in a monotonous pitch. Observe the
conversations of little folk that you hear on the street or in the home,
and note the continual changes of pitch. The unconscious speech of most
adults is likewise full of pleasing variations.

Imagine someone speaking the following, and consider if the effect would
not be just about as indicated. Remember, we are not now discussing the
inflection of single words, but the general pitch in which phrases are

(High pitch) “I’d like to leave for my vacation tomorrow,–(lower)
still, I have so much to do. (Higher) Yet I suppose if I wait until I
have time I’ll never go.”

Repeat this, first in the pitches indicated, and then all in the one
pitch, as many speakers would. Observe the difference in naturalness of

The following exercise should be spoken in a purely conversational
tone, with numerous changes of pitch. Practise it until your delivery
would cause a stranger in the next room to think you were discussing an
actual incident with a friend, instead of delivering a memorized
monologue. If you are in doubt about the effect you have secured, repeat
it to a friend and ask him if it sounds like memorized words. If it
does, it is wrong.


Jack, I hear you’ve gone and done it.–Yes, I know; most fellows
will; went and tried it once myself, sir, though you see I’m
single still. And you met her–did you tell me–down at Newport,
last July, and resolved to ask the question at a _soirée_? So
did I.

I suppose you left the ball-room, with its music and its light;
for they say love’s flame is brightest in the darkness of the
night. Well, you walked along together, overhead the starlit
sky; and I’ll bet–old man, confess it–you were frightened. So
was I.

So you strolled along the terrace, saw the summer moonlight pour
all its radiance on the waters, as they rippled on the shore,
till at length you gathered courage, when you saw that none was
nigh–did you draw her close and tell her that you loved her? So
did I.

Well, I needn’t ask you further, and I’m sure I wish you joy.
Think I’ll wander down and see you when you’re married–eh, my
boy? When the honeymoon is over and you’re settled down, we’ll
try–What? the deuce you say! Rejected–you rejected? So was


The necessity for changing pitch is so self-evident that it should be
grasped and applied immediately. However, it requires patient drill to
free yourself from monotony of pitch.

In natural conversation you think of an idea first, and then find words
to express it. In memorized speeches you are liable to speak the words,
and then think what they mean–and many speakers seem to trouble very
little even about that. Is it any wonder that reversing the process
should reverse the result? Get back to nature in your methods of

Read the following selection in a nonchalant manner, never pausing to
think what the words really mean. Try it again, carefully studying the
thought you have assimilated. Believe the idea, desire to express it
effectively, and imagine an audience before you. Look them earnestly in
the face and repeat this truth. If you follow directions, you will note
that you have made many changes of pitch after several readings.

It is not work that kills men; it is worry. Work is healthy; you
can hardly put more upon a man than he can bear. Worry is rust
upon the blade. It is not the revolution that destroys the
machinery but the friction.


_Change of Pitch Produces Emphasis_

This is a highly important statement. Variety in pitch maintains the
hearer’s interest, but one of the surest ways to compel attention–to
secure unusual emphasis–is to change the pitch of your voice suddenly
and in a marked degree. A great contrast always arouses attention. White
shows whiter against black; a cannon roars louder in the Sahara silence
than in the Chicago hurly burly–these are simple illustrations of the
power of contrast.

“What is Congress going to do next?
(High pitch)                      |
| I do not know.”
(Low pitch)

By such sudden change of pitch during a sermon Dr. Newell Dwight Hillis
recently achieved great emphasis and suggested the gravity of the
question he had raised.

The foregoing order of pitch-change might be reversed with equally good
effect, though with a slight change in seriousness–either method
produces emphasis when used intelligently, that is, with a common-sense
appreciation of the sort of emphasis to be attained.

In attempting these contrasts of pitch it is important to avoid
unpleasant extremes. Most speakers pitch their voices too high. One of
the secrets of Mr. Bryan’s eloquence is his low, bell-like voice.
Shakespeare said that a soft, gentle, low voice was “an excellent thing
in woman;” it is no less so in man, for a voice need not be blatant to
be powerful,–and _must_ not be, to be pleasing.

In closing, let us emphasize anew the importance of using variety of
pitch. You sing up and down the scale, first touching one note and then
another above or below it. Do likewise in speaking.

Thought and individual taste must generally be your guide as to where to
use a low, a moderate, or a high pitch.


1. Name two methods of destroying monotony and gaining force in

2. Why is a continual change of pitch necessary in speaking?

3. Notice your habitual tones in speaking. Are they too high to be

4. Do we express the following thoughts and emotions in a low or a high
pitch? Which may be expressed in either high or low pitch? Excitement.
Victory. Defeat. Sorrow. Love. Earnestness. Fear.

5. How would you naturally vary the pitch in introducing an explanatory
or parenthetical expression like the following:

He started–_that is, he made preparations to start_–on
September third.

6. Speak the following lines with as marked variations in pitch as your
interpretation of the sense may dictate. Try each line in two different
ways. Which, in each instance, is the more effective–and why?

What have I to gain from you? Nothing.

To engage our nation in such a compact would be an infamy.

Note: In the foregoing sentence, experiment as to where the
change in pitch would better be made.

Once the flowers distilled their fragrance here, but now see the
devastations of war.

He had reckoned without one prime factor–his conscience.

7. Make a diagram of a conversation you have heard, showing where high
and low pitches were used. Were these changes in pitch advisable? Why or
why not?

8. Read the selections on pages 34, 35, 36, 37 and 38, paying careful
attention to the changes in pitch. Reread, substituting low pitch for
high, and vice versa.

_Selections for Practise_

Note: In the following selections, those passages that may best be
delivered in a moderate pitch are printed in ordinary (roman) type.
Those which may be rendered in a high pitch–do not make the mistake of
raising the voice too high–are printed _in italics_. Those which might
well be spoken in a low pitch are printed in _CAPITALS_.

These arrangements, however, are merely suggestive–we cannot make it
strong enough that you must use your own judgment in interpreting a
selection. Before doing so, however, it is well to practise these
passages as they are marked.

_Yes, all men labor. RUFUS CHOATE AND DANIEL WEBSTER_ labor, say
the critics. But every man who reads of the labor question knows
that it means the movement of the men that earn their living
with their hands; _THAT ARE EMPLOYED, AND PAID WAGES: are
gathered under roofs of factories, sent out on farms, sent out
on ships, gathered on the walls._ In popular acceptation, the
working class means the men that work with their hands, for
wages, so many hours a day, employed by great capitalists; that
work for everybody else. Why do we move for this class? “_Why_,”
asks a critic, “_don’t you move FOR ALL WORKINGMEN?” BECAUSE,
MEXICAN CLAIMS, there is no need of anybody’s moving for him.
MAKING ONE ARGUMENT TO A JURY, there is no need of moving for
him, or for the men that work with their brains_,–that do
highly disciplined and skilled labor, invent, and write books.
The reason why the Labor movement confines itself to a single
class is because that class of work _DOES NOT GET PAID, does not
get protection. MENTAL LABOR is adequately paid_, and _MORE THAN
according to the supply and demand_.

_IF A MAN FAILS AS A MINISTER, why, he becomes a railway
conductor. IF THAT DOESN’T SUIT HIM, he goes West, and becomes
governor of a territory. AND IF HE FINDS HIMSELF INCAPABLE OF
EITHER OF THESE POSITIONS, he comes home, and gets to be a city
editor_. He varies his occupation as he pleases, and doesn’t
BUSINESS,–they are the men whose inadequate protection, whose
unfair share of the general product, claims a movement in their


WELL THE COST–yet we enlist, and we enlist for the war. FOR WE
KNOW THE JUSTICE OF OUR CAUSE, and we know, too, its certain

NOT RELUCTANTLY THEN, but eagerly_, not with _faint hearts BUT
STRONG, do we now advance upon the enemies of the people. FOR
THE CALL THAT COMES TO US is the call that came to our fathers_.
As they responded so shall we.

“_HE HATH SOUNDED FORTH A TRUMPET that shall never call retreat.
HE IS SIFTING OUT THE HEARTS OF MEN before His judgment seat.
Our God is marching on_.”


Remember that two sentences, or two parts of the same sentence, which
contain changes of thought, cannot possibly be given effectively in the
same key. Let us repeat, every big change of thought requires a big
change of pitch. What the beginning student will think are big changes
of pitch will be monotonously alike. Learn to speak some thoughts in a
very high tone–others in a _very_, _very_ low tone. _DEVELOP RANGE._ It
is almost impossible to use too much of it.

PRESS NEW ENGLAND’S HISTORIC SOIL and my eyes to the knowledge
of her beauty and her thrift._ Here within touch of Plymouth
Rock and Bunker Hill–_WHERE WEBSTER THUNDERED and Longfellow
OF AMERICAN LETTERS and almost of American liberty,_ I hasten to
make the obeisance that every American owes New England when
first he stands uncovered in her mighty presence. _Strange
apparition!_ This stern and unique figure–carved from the ocean
and the wilderness–its majesty kindling and growing amid the
storms of winter and of wars–until at last the gloom was
workers rested at its base_–while startled kings and emperors
gazed and marveled that from the rude touch of this handful cast
on a bleak and unknown shore should have come the _embodied
genius of human government AND THE PERFECTED MODEL OF HUMAN
LIBERTY!_ God bless the memory of those immortal workers, and
prosper the fortunes of their living sons–and perpetuate the
inspiration of their handiwork….

Far to the South, Mr. President, separated from this section by
a line–_once defined in irrepressible difference, once traced
in fratricidal blood, AND NOW, THANK GOD, BUT A VANISHING
SHADOW–lies the fairest and richest domain of this earth. It is
the home of a brave and hospitable people. THERE IS CENTERED ALL
fertile soil_ yields to the husbandman every product of the
temperate zone.

There, by night _the cotton whitens beneath the stars,_ and by
same field the clover steals the fragrance of the wind, and
tobacco catches the quick aroma of the rains. _THERE ARE
primeval;_ and rivers that, _tumbling or loitering, run wanton to
the sea._ Of the three essential items of all industries–cotton,
iron and wood–that region has easy control. _IN COTTON, a fixed
monopoly–IN IRON, proven supremacy–IN TIMBER, the
reserve supply of the Republic._ From this assured and
permanent advantage, against which artificial conditions cannot
much longer prevail, has grown an amazing system of industries.
Not maintained by human contrivance of tariff or capital, afar
off from the fullest and cheapest source of supply, but resting
in divine assurance, within touch of field and mine and forest–not
set amid costly farms from which competition has driven the
farmer in despair, but amid cheap and sunny lands, rich with
agriculture, to which neither season nor soil has set a limit–this
system of industries is mounting to a splendor that shall dazzle
and illumine the world. _THAT, SIR, is the picture and the promise
yet but fit setting in its material excellence for the loyal and
gentle quality of its citizenship._

This hour little needs the _LOYALTY THAT IS LOYAL TO ONE SECTION
and yet holds the other in enduring suspicion and estrangement._
Give us the _broad_ and _perfect loyalty that loves and trusts
GEORGIA_ alike with _Massachusetts_–that knows no _SOUTH_, no
_North_, no _EAST_, no _West_, but _endears with equal and
patriotic love_ every foot of our soil, every State of our

of us to-night to lose in patriotic consecration WHATEVER

uplifting force of the American idea is under every throne on
earth. _France, Brazil–THESE ARE OUR VICTORIES. To redeem the
earth from kingcraft and oppression–THIS IS OUR MISSION! AND WE
SHALL NOT FAIL._ God has sown in our soil the seed of His
millennial harvest, and He will not lay the sickle to the
ripening crop until His full and perfect day has come. _OUR
HISTORY, SIR, has been a constant and expanding miracle, FROM
PLYMOUTH ROCK AND JAMESTOWN,_ all the way–aye, even from the
hour when from the voiceless and traceless ocean a new world
rose to the sight of the inspired sailor. As we approach the
fourth centennial of that stupendous day–when the old world
will come to _marvel_ and to _learn_ amid our gathered
treasures–let us resolve to crown the miracles of our past with
the spectacle of a Republic, _compact, united INDISSOLUBLE IN
THE BONDS OF LOVE_–loving from the Lakes to the Gulf–the
wounds of war healed in every heart as on every hill, _serene
GLORY, blazing out the path and making clear the way up which
all the nations of the earth, must come in God’s appointed

–HENRY W. GRADY, _The Race Problem_.

_ … I WOULD CALL HIM NAPOLEON_, but Napoleon made his way to
empire _over broken oaths and through a sea of blood._ This man
never broke his word. “No Retaliation” was his great motto and
FRANCE WERE THESE: “My boy, you will one day go back to Santo
Domingo; forget that France murdered your father.” I WOULD CALL
HIM CROMWELL,_ but Cromwell _was only a soldier, and the state
he founded went down with him into his grave. I WOULD CALL HIM
WASHINGTON,_ but the great Virginian _held slaves. THIS MAN
RISKED HIS EMPIRE rather than permit the slave-trade in the
humblest village of his dominions._

_YOU THINK ME A FANATIC TO-NIGHT,_ for you read history, _not
with your eyes, BUT WITH YOUR PREJUDICES._ But fifty years
hence, when Truth gets a hearing, the Muse of History will put
_PHOCION for the Greek,_ and _BRUTUS for the Roman, HAMPDEN for
England, LAFAYETTE for France,_ choose _WASHINGTON as the
bright, consummate flower of our EARLIER civilization, AND JOHN
BROWN the ripe fruit of our NOONDAY,_ then, dipping her pen in
the sunlight, will write in the clear blue, above them all, the

–Wendell Phillips, _Toussaint l’Ouverture_.

Drill on the following selections for change of pitch: Beecher’s
“Abraham Lincoln,” p. 76; Seward’s “Irrepressible Conflict,” p. 67;
Everett’s “History of Liberty,” p. 78; Grady’s “The Race Problem,” p.
36; and Beveridge’s “Pass Prosperity Around,” p. 470.



Hear how he clears the points o’ Faith
Wi’ rattlin’ an’ thumpin’!
Now meekly calm, now wild in wrath,
He’s stampin’ an’ he’s jumpin’.

–ROBERT BURNS, _Holy Fair_.

The Latins have bequeathed to us a word that has no precise equivalent
in our tongue, therefore we have accepted it, body unchanged–it is the
word _tempo_, and means _rate of movement_, as measured by the time
consumed in executing that movement.

Thus far its use has been largely limited to the vocal and musical arts,
but it would not be surprising to hear tempo applied to more concrete
matters, for it perfectly illustrates the real meaning of the word to
say that an ox-cart moves in slow tempo, an express train in a fast
tempo. Our guns that fire six hundred times a minute, shoot at a fast
tempo; the old muzzle loader that required three minutes to load, shot
at a slow tempo. Every musician understands this principle: it requires
longer to sing a half note than it does an eighth note.

Now tempo is a tremendously important element in good platform work, for
when a speaker delivers a whole address at very nearly the same rate of
speed he is depriving himself of one of his chief means of emphasis and
power. The baseball pitcher, the bowler in cricket, the tennis server,
all know the value of change of pace–change of tempo–in delivering
their ball, and so must the public speaker observe its power.

_Change of Tempo Lends Naturalness to the Delivery_

Naturalness, or at least seeming naturalness, as was explained in the
chapter on “Monotony,” is greatly to be desired, and a continual change
of tempo will go a long way towards establishing it. Mr. Howard Lindsay,
Stage Manager for Miss Margaret Anglin, recently said to the present
writer that change of pace was one of the most effective tools of the
actor. While it must be admitted that the stilted mouthings of many
actors indicate cloudy mirrors, still the public speaker would do well
to study the actor’s use of tempo.

There is, however, a more fundamental and effective source at which to
study naturalness–a trait which, once lost, is shy of recapture: that
source is the common conversation of any well-bred circle. _This_ is the
standard we strive to reach on both stage and platform–with certain
differences, of course, which will appear as we go on. If speaker and
actor were to reproduce with absolute fidelity every variation of
utterance–every whisper, grunt, pause, silence, and explosion–of
conversation as we find it typically in everyday life, much of the
interest would leave the public utterance. Naturalness in public address
is something more than faithful reproduction of nature–it is the
reproduction of those _typical_ parts of nature’s work which are truly
representative of the whole.

The realistic story-writer understands this in writing dialogue, and we
must take it into account in seeking for naturalness through change of

Suppose you speak the first of the following sentences in a slow tempo,
the second quickly, observing how natural is the effect. Then speak both
with the same rapidity and note the difference.

I can’t recall what I did with my knife. Oh, now I remember I
gave it to Mary.

We see here that a change of tempo often occurs in the same
sentence–for tempo applies not only to single words, groups of words,
and groups of sentences, but to the major parts of a public speech as


1. In the following, speak the words “long, long while” very slowly; the
rest of the sentence is spoken in moderately rapid tempo.

When you and I behind the Veil are past,
Oh but the long, long while the world shall last,
Which of our coming and departure heeds,
As the seven seas should heed a pebble cast.

Note: In the following selections the passages that should be given a
fast tempo are in italics; those that should be given in a slow tempo
are in small capitals. Practise these selections, and then try others,
changing from fast to slow tempo on different parts, carefully noting
the effect.

_to_ DO ANYTHING _but is first of all in_ RIGHT EARNEST _about
it–what I call_ A SINCERE _man. I should say_ SINCERITY, _a_
_of a man in any way_ HEROIC. _Not the sincerity that_ CALLS
_itself sincere. Ah no. That is a very poor matter indeed_–A
_mainly. The_ GREAT MAN’S SINCERITY _is of a kind he_ CANNOT

3. TRUE WORTH _is in_ BEING–NOT SEEMING–_in doing each day
that goes by_ SOME LITTLE GOOD, _not in_ DREAMING _of_ GREAT
THINGS _to do by and by. For whatever men say in their_
BLINDNESS, _and in spite of the_ FOLLIES _of_ YOUTH, _there is
nothing so_ KINGLY _as_ KINDNESS, _and nothing so_ ROYAL _as_

4. To get a natural effect, where would you use slow and where fast
tempo in the following?


See him there, cold and gray,
Watch him as he tries to play;
No, he doesn’t know the way–
He began to learn too late.
She’s a grim old hag, is Fate,
For she let him have his pile,
Smiling to herself the while,
Knowing what the cost would be,
When he’d found the Golden Key.
Multimillionaire is he,
Many times more rich than we;
But at that I wouldn’t trade
With the bargain that he made.
Came here many years ago,
Not a person did he know;
Had the money-hunger bad–
Mad for money, piggish mad;
Didn’t let a joy divert him,
Didn’t let a sorrow hurt him,
Let his friends and kin desert him,
While he planned and plugged and hurried
On his quest for gold and power.
Every single wakeful hour
With a money thought he’d dower;
All the while as he grew older,
And grew bolder, he grew colder.
And he thought that some day
He would take the time to play;
But, say–he was wrong.
Life’s a song;
In the spring
Youth can sing and can fling;
But joys wing
When we’re older,
Like birds when it’s colder.
The roses were red as he went rushing by,
And glorious tapestries hung in the sky,
And the clover was waving
‘Neath honey-bees’ slaving;
A bird over there
Roundelayed a soft air;
But the man couldn’t spare
Time for gathering flowers,
Or resting in bowers,
Or gazing at skies
That gladdened the eyes.
So he kept on and swept on
Through mean, sordid years.
Now he’s up to his ears
In the choicest of stocks.
He owns endless blocks
Of houses and shops,
And the stream never stops
Pouring into his banks.
I suppose that he ranks
Pretty near to the top.
What I have wouldn’t sop
His ambition one tittle;
And yet with my little
I don’t care to trade
With the bargain he made.
Just watch him to-day–
See him trying to play.
He’s come back for blue skies.
But they’re in a new guise–
Winter’s here, all is gray,
The birds are away,
The meadows are brown,
The leaves lie aground,
And the gay brook that wound
With a swirling and whirling
Of waters, is furling
Its bosom in ice.
And he hasn’t the price,
With all of his gold,
To buy what he sold.
He knows now the cost
Of the spring-time he lost,
Of the flowers he tossed
From his way,
And, say,
He’d pay
Any price if the day
Could be made not so gray.
_He can’t play._

–HERBERT KAUFMAN. Used by permission of _Everybody’s Magazine_.

_Change of Tempo Prevents Monotony_

The canary in the cage before the window is adding to the beauty and
charm of his singing by a continual change of tempo. If King Solomon had
been an orator he undoubtedly would have gathered wisdom from the song
of the wild birds as well as from the bees. Imagine a song written with
but quarter notes. Imagine an auto with only one speed.


1. Note the change of tempo indicated in the following, and how it gives
a pleasing variety. Read it aloud. (Fast tempo is indicated by italics,
slow by small capitals.)

_And he thought that some day he would take the time to play;
THE BIRDS _when it’s_ COLDER. _The roses were red as he went
rushing by, and glorious tapestries hung in the sky._

2. Turn to “Fools Gold,” on Page 42, and deliver it in an unvaried
tempo: note how monotonous is the result. This poem requires a great
many changes of tempo, and is an excellent one for practise.

3. Use the changes of tempo indicated in the following, noting how they
prevent monotony. Where no change of tempo is indicated, use a moderate
speed. Too much of variety would really be a return to monotony.


“A MOB KILLS THE WRONG MAN” _was flashed in a newspaper headline
lately. The mob is an_ IRRESPONSIBLE, UNTHINKING MASS. _It
always destroys_ BUT NEVER CONSTRUCTS. _It criticises_ BUT NEVER

_Utter a great truth_ AND THE MOB WILL HATE YOU. _See how it
condemned_ DANTE _to_ EXILE. _Encounter the dangers of the
unknown world for its benefit_, AND THE MOB WILL DECLARE YOU
CRAZY. _It ridiculed_ COLUMBUS, _and for discovering a new

_Write a poem to thrill human hearts with pleasure_, AND THE MOB
THROUGH THE STREETS. _Invent a machine to save labor_ AND THE
MOB WILL DECLARE YOU ITS ENEMY. _Less than a hundred years ago a
furious rabble smashed Thimonier’s invention, the sewing

_and the mob will call you a fool_. A MOB LINED THE SHORES OF
FOLLY,” _as they called his little steamboat._

Emerson says: “A mob is a society of bodies voluntarily
bereaving themselves of reason and traversing its work. The mob
is man voluntarily descended to the nature of the beast. _Its
fit hour of activity_ is NIGHT. ITS ACTIONS ARE INSANE, _like
its whole constitution. It persecutes a principle_–IT WOULD
WHIP A RIGHT. It would tar and feather justice by inflicting
fire and outrage upon the house and persons of those who have

The mob spirit stalks abroad in our land today. Every week gives
a fresh victim to its malignant cry for blood. There were 48
persons killed by mobs in the United States in 1913; 64 in 1912,
and 71 in 1911. Among the 48 last year were a woman and a child.
Two victims were proven innocent after their death.

SOCRATES PUT TO DEATH _and he was sentenced to the hemlock cup._
POPULAR MOB _and all Europe plunged into the Holy Land to kill
and mangle the heathen. In the seventeenth century a demagog
appealed to the ignorance of men_ AND TWENTY PEOPLE WERE
thousand years ago the mob yelled_, “_RELEASE UNTO US

–_From an Editorial by D.C. in “Leslie’s Weekly,” by permission._

_Present-day business_ is as unlike OLD-TIME BUSINESS as the
OLD-TIME OX-CART is unlike the _present-day locomotive._
INVENTION has made the _whole world over again. The railroad,
telegraph, telephone_ have bound the people of MODERN NATIONS
into FAMILIES. _To do the business of these closely knit
millions in every modern country_ GREAT BUSINESS CONCERNS CAME
INTO BEING. _What we call big business is the_ CHILD OF THE
ECONOMIC PROGRESS OF MANKIND. _So warfare to destroy big
business_ is FOOLISH BECAUSE IT CAN NOT SUCCEED _and wicked_
BECAUSE IT OUGHT NOT TO SUCCEED. _Warfare to destroy big
business does not hurt big business, which always comes out on


_Change of Tempo Produces Emphasis_

Any big change of tempo is emphatic and will catch the attention. You
may scarcely be conscious that a passenger train is moving when it is
flying over the rails at ninety miles an hour, but if it slows down very
suddenly to a ten-mile gait your attention will be drawn to it very
decidedly. You may forget that you are listening to music as you dine,
but let the orchestra either increase or diminish its tempo in a very
marked degree and your attention will be arrested at once.

This same principle will procure emphasis in a speech. If you have a
point that you want to bring home to your audience forcefully, make a
sudden and great change of tempo, and they will be powerless to keep
from paying attention to that point. Recently the present writer saw a
play in which these lines were spoken:

“I don’t want you to forget what I said. I want you to remember it the
longest day you–I don’t care if you’ve got six guns.” The part up to
the dash was delivered in a very slow tempo, the remainder was named out
at lightning speed, as the character who was spoken to drew a revolver.
The effect was so emphatic that the lines are remembered six months
afterwards, while most of the play has faded from memory. The student
who has powers of observation will see this principle applied by all our
best actors in their efforts to get emphasis where emphasis is due. But
remember that the emotion in the matter must warrant the intensity in
the manner, or the effect will be ridiculous. Too many public speakers
are impressive over nothing.

Thought rather than rules must govern you while practising change of
pace. It is often a matter of no consequence which part of a sentence is
spoken slowly and which is given in fast tempo. The main thing to be
desired is the change itself. For example, in the selection, “The Mob,”
on page 46, note the last paragraph. Reverse the instructions given,
delivering everything that is marked for slow tempo, quickly; and
everything that is marked for quick tempo, slowly. You will note that
the force or meaning of the passage has not been destroyed.

However, many passages cannot be changed to a slow tempo without
destroying their force. Instances: The Patrick Henry speech on page 110,
and the following passage from Whittier’s “Barefoot Boy.”

O for boyhood’s time of June, crowding years in one brief moon,
when all things I heard or saw, me, their master, waited for. I
was rich in flowers and trees, humming-birds and honey-bees; for
my sport the squirrel played; plied the snouted mole his spade;
for my taste the blackberry cone purpled over hedge and stone;
laughed the brook for my delight through the day and through the
night, whispering at the garden wall, talked with me from fall
to fall; mine the sand-rimmed pickerel pond; mine the walnut
slopes beyond; mine, an bending orchard trees, apples of
Hesperides! Still, as my horizon grew, larger grew my riches,
too; all the world I saw or knew seemed a complex Chinese toy,
fashioned for a barefoot boy!


Be careful in regulating your tempo not to get your movement too fast.
This is a common fault with amateur speakers. Mrs. Siddons rule was,
“Take time.” A hundred years ago there was used in medical circles a
preparation known as “the shot gun remedy;” it was a mixture of about
fifty different ingredients, and was given to the patient in the hope
that at least one of them would prove efficacious! That seems a rather
poor scheme for medical practice, but it is good to use “shot gun” tempo
for most speeches, as it gives a variety. Tempo, like diet, is best when


1. Define tempo.

2. What words come from the same root?

3. What is meant by a change of tempo?

4. What effects are gained by it?

5. Name three methods of destroying monotony and gaining force in

6. Note the changes of tempo in a conversation or speech that you hear.
Were they well made? Why? Illustrate.

7. Read selections on pages 34, 35, 36, 37, and 38, paying careful
attention to change of tempo.

8. As a rule, excitement, joy, or intense anger take a fast tempo, while
sorrow, and sentiments of great dignity or solemnity tend to a slow
tempo. Try to deliver Lincoln’s Gettysburg speech (page 50), in a fast
tempo, or Patrick Henry’s speech (page 110), in a slow tempo, and note
how ridiculous the effect will be.

Practise the following selections, noting carefully where the tempo may
be changed to advantage. Experiment, making numerous changes. Which one
do you like best?


Fourscore and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth upon
this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated
to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are
engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation–or
any nation so conceived and so dedicated–can long endure.

We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We are met to
dedicate a portion of it as the final resting-place of those who
have given their lives that that nation might live. It is
altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot
consecrate, we cannot hallow, this ground. The brave men, living
and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our
power to add or to detract. The world will very little note nor
long remember what we say here; but it can never forget what
they did here.

It is for us, the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the
unfinished work they have thus far so nobly carried on. It is
rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining
before us: that from these honored dead we take increased
devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full
measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead
shall not have died in vain; that the nation shall, under God,
have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people,
by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.



[This deliberative oration was delivered by Senator Thurston in
the United States Senate on March 24, 1898. It is recorded in
full in the _Congressional Record_ of that date. Mrs. Thurston
died in Cuba. As a dying request she urged her husband, who was
investigating affairs in the island, to do his utmost to induce
the United States to intervene–hence this oration.]

Mr. President, I am here by command of silent lips to speak once
and for all upon the Cuban situation. I shall endeavor to be
honest, conservative, and just. I have no purpose to stir the
public passion to any action not necessary and imperative to
meet the duties and necessities of American responsibility,
Christian humanity, and national honor. I would shirk this task
if I could, but I dare not. I cannot satisfy my conscience
except by speaking, and speaking now.

I went to Cuba firmly believing that the condition of affairs
there had been greatly exaggerated by the press, and my own
efforts were directed in the first instance to the attempted
exposure of these supposed exaggerations. There has undoubtedly
been much sensationalism in the journalism of the time, but as
to the condition of affairs in Cuba, there has been no
exaggeration, because exaggeration has been impossible.

Under the inhuman policy of Weyler not less than four hundred
thousand self-supporting, simple, peaceable, defenseless country
people were driven from their homes in the agricultural portions
of the Spanish provinces to the cities, and imprisoned upon the
barren waste outside the residence portions of these cities and
within the lines of intrenchment established a little way
beyond. Their humble homes were burned, their fields laid waste,
their implements of husbandry destroyed, their live stock and
food supplies for the most part confiscated. Most of the people
were old men, women, and children. They were thus placed in
hopeless imprisonment, without shelter or food. There was no
work for them in the cities to which they were driven. They were
left with nothing to depend upon except the scanty charity of
the inhabitants of the cities and with slow starvation their
inevitable fate….

The pictures in the American newspapers of the starving
reconcentrados are true. They can all be duplicated by the
thousands. I never before saw, and please God I may never again
see, so deplorable a sight as the reconcentrados in the suburbs
of Matanzas. I can never forget to my dying day the hopeless
anguish in their despairing eyes. Huddled about their little
bark huts, they raised no voice of appeal to us for alms as we
went among them….

Men, women, and children stand silent, famishing with hunger.
Their only appeal comes from their sad eyes, through which one
looks as through an open window into their agonizing souls.

The government of Spain has not appropriated and will not
appropriate one dollar to save these people. They are now being
attended and nursed and administered to by the charity of the
United States. Think of the spectacle! We are feeding these
citizens of Spain; we are nursing their sick; we are saving such
as can be saved, and yet there are those who still say it is
right for us to send food, but we must keep hands off. I say
that the time has come when muskets ought to go with the food.

We asked the governor if he knew of any relief for these people
except through the charity of the United States. He did not. We
asked him, “When do you think the time will come that these
people can be placed in a position of self-support?” He replied
to us, with deep feeling, “Only the good God or the great
government of the United States will answer that question.” I
hope and believe that the good God by the great government of
the United States will answer that question.

I shall refer to these horrible things no further. They are
there. God pity me, I have seen them; they will remain in my
mind forever–and this is almost the twentieth century. Christ
died nineteen hundred years ago, and Spain is a Christian
nation. She has set up more crosses in more lands, beneath more
skies, and under them has butchered more people than all the
other nations of the earth combined. Europe may tolerate her
existence as long as the people of the Old World wish. God grant
that before another Christmas morning the last vestige of
Spanish tyranny and oppression will have vanished from the
Western Hemisphere!…

The time for action has come. No greater reason for it can exist
to-morrow than exists to-day. Every hour’s delay only adds
another chapter to the awful story of misery and death. Only one
power can intervene–the United States of America. Ours is the
one great nation in the world, the mother of American republics.
She holds a position of trust and responsibility toward the
peoples and affairs of the whole Western Hemisphere. It was her
glorious example which inspired the patriots of Cuba to raise
the flag of liberty in her eternal hills. We cannot refuse to
accept this responsibility which the God of the universe has
placed upon us as the one great power in the New World. We must
act! What shall our action be?

Against the intervention of the United States in this holy cause
there is but one voice of dissent; that voice is the voice of
the money-changers. They fear war! Not because of any Christian
or ennobling sentiment against war and in favor of peace, but
because they fear that a declaration of war, or the intervention
which might result in war, would have a depressing effect upon
the stock market. Let them go. They do not represent American
sentiment; they do not represent American patriotism. Let them
take their chances as they can. Their weal or woe is of but
little importance to the liberty-loving people of the United
States. They will not do the fighting; their blood will not
flow; they will keep on dealing in options on human life. Let
the men whose loyalty is to the dollar stand aside while the men
whose loyalty is to the flag come to the front.

Mr. President, there is only one action possible, if any is
taken; that is, intervention for the independence of the island.
But we cannot intervene and save Cuba without the exercise of
force, and force means war; war means blood. The lowly Nazarene
on the shores of Galilee preached the divine doctrine of love,
“Peace on earth, good will toward men.” Not peace on earth at
the expense of liberty and humanity. Not good will toward men
who despoil, enslave, degrade, and starve to death their
fellow-men. I believe in the doctrine of Christ. I believe in
the doctrine of peace; but, Mr. President, men must have liberty
before there can come abiding peace.

Intervention means force. Force means war. War means blood. But
it will be God’s force. When has a battle for humanity and
liberty ever been won except by force? What barricade of wrong,
injustice, and oppression has ever been carried except by force?

Force compelled the signature of unwilling royalty to the great
Magna Charta; force put life into the Declaration of
Independence and made effective the Emancipation Proclamation;
force beat with naked hands upon the iron gateway of the Bastile
and made reprisal in one awful hour for centuries of kingly
crime; force waved the flag of revolution over Bunker Hill and
marked the snows of Valley Forge with blood-stained feet; force
held the broken line of Shiloh, climbed the flame-swept hill at
Chattanooga, and stormed the clouds on Lookout Heights; force
marched with Sherman to the sea, rode with Sheridan in the
valley of the Shenandoah, and gave Grant victory at Appomattox;
force saved the Union, kept the stars in the flag, made
“niggers” men. The time for God’s force has come again. Let the
impassioned lips of American patriots once more take up the

“In the beauty of the lilies, Christ was born across the sea.
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me;
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free.
While God is marching on.”

Others may hesitate, others may procrastinate, others may plead
for further diplomatic negotiation, which means delay; but for
me, I am ready to act now, and for my action I am ready to
answer to my conscience, my country, and my God.




The true business of the literary artist is to plait or weave
his meaning, involving it around itself; so that each sentence,
by successive phrases, shall first come into a kind of knot, and
then, after a moment of suspended meaning, solve and clear

–GEORGE SAINTSBURY, on _English Prose Style_, in _Miscellaneous

… pause … has a distinctive value, expressed in silence; in
other words, while the voice is waiting, the music of the
movement is going on … To manage it, with its delicacies and
compensations, requires that same fineness of ear on which we
must depend for all faultless prose rhythm. When there is no
compensation, when the pause is inadvertent … there is a sense
of jolting and lack, as if some pin or fastening had fallen out.

–JOHN FRANKLIN GENUNG, _The Working Principles of Rhetoric_.

Pause, in public speech, is not mere silence–it is silence made
designedly eloquent.

When a man says: “I-uh-it is with profound-ah-pleasure that-er-I have
been permitted to speak to you tonight and-uh-uh-I should say-er”–that
is not pausing; that is stumbling. It is conceivable that a speaker may
be effective in spite of stumbling–but never because of it.

On the other hand, one of the most important means of developing power
in public speaking is to pause either before or after, or both before
and after, an important word or phrase. No one who would be a forceful
speaker can afford to neglect this principle–one of the most
significant that has ever been inferred from listening to great orators.
Study this potential device until you have absorbed and assimilated it.

It would seem that this principle of rhetorical pause ought to be easily
grasped and applied, but a long experience in training both college men
and maturer speakers has demonstrated that the device is no more readily
understood by the average man when it is first explained to him than if
it were spoken in Hindoostani. Perhaps this is because we do not eagerly
devour the fruit of experience when it is impressively set before us on
the platter of authority; we like to pluck fruit for ourselves–it not
only tastes better, but we never forget that tree! Fortunately, this is
no difficult task, in this instance, for the trees stand thick all about

One man is pleading the cause of another:

“This man, my friends, has made this wonderful sacrifice–for
you and me.”

Did not the pause surprisingly enhance the power of this statement? See
how he gathered up reserve force and impressiveness to deliver the words
“for you and me.” Repeat this passage without making a pause. Did it
lose in effectiveness?

Naturally enough, during a premeditated pause of this kind the mind of
the speaker is concentrated on the thought to which he is about to give
expression. He will not dare to allow his thoughts to wander for an
instant–he will rather supremely center his thought and his emotion
upon the sacrifice whose service, sweetness and divinity he is
enforcing by his appeal.

_Concentration_, then, is the big word here–no pause without it can
perfectly hit the mark.

Efficient pausing accomplishes one or all of four results:

_1. Pause Enables the Mind of the Speaker to Gather His Forces Before
Delivering the Final Volley_

It is often dangerous to rush into battle without pausing for
preparation or waiting for recruits. Consider Custer’s massacre as an

You can light a match by holding it beneath a lens and concentrating the
sun’s rays. You would not expect the match to flame if you jerked the
lens back and forth quickly. Pause, and the lens gathers the heat. Your
thoughts will not set fire to the minds of your hearers unless you pause
to gather the force that comes by a second or two of concentration.
Maple trees and gas wells are rarely tapped continually; when a stronger
flow is wanted, a pause is made, nature has time to gather her reserve
forces, and when the tree or the well is reopened, a stronger flow is
the result.

Use the same common sense with your mind. If you would make a thought
particularly effective, pause just before its utterance, concentrate
your mind-energies, and then give it expression with renewed vigor.
Carlyle was right: “Speak not, I passionately entreat thee, till thy
thought has silently matured itself. Out of silence comes thy strength.
Speech is silvern, Silence is golden; Speech is human, Silence is

Silence has been called the father of speech. It should be. Too many of
our public speeches have no fathers. They ramble along without pause or
break. Like Tennyson’s brook, they run on forever. Listen to little
children, the policeman on the corner, the family conversation around
the table, and see how many pauses they naturally use, for they are
unconscious of effects. When we get before an audience, we throw most of
our natural methods of expression to the wind, and strive after
artificial effects. Get back to the methods of nature–and pause.

_2. Pause Prepares the Mind of the Auditor to Receive Your

Herbert Spencer said that all the universe is in motion. So it
is–and all perfect motion is rhythm. Part of rhythm is rest.
Rest follows activity all through nature. Instances: day and night;
spring–summer–autumn–winter; a period of rest between breaths; an
instant of complete rest between heart beats. Pause, and give the
attention-powers of your audience a rest. What you say after such
a silence will then have a great deal more effect.

When your country cousins come to town, the noise of a passing car will
awaken them, though it seldom affects a seasoned city dweller. By the
continual passing of cars his attention-power has become deadened. In
one who visits the city but seldom, attention-value is insistent. To him
the noise comes after a long pause; hence its power. To you, dweller in
the city, there is no pause; hence the low attention-value. After riding
on a train several hours you will become so accustomed to its roar that
it will lose its attention-value, unless the train should stop for a
while and start again. If you attempt to listen to a clock-tick that is
so far away that you can barely hear it, you will find that at times you
are unable to distinguish it, but in a few moments the sound becomes
distinct again. Your mind will pause for rest whether you desire it to
do so or not.

The attention of your audience will act in quite the same way. Recognize
this law and prepare for it–by pausing. Let it be repeated: the thought
that follows a pause is much more dynamic than if no pause had occurred.
What is said to you of a night will not have the same effect on your
mind as if it had been uttered in the morning when your attention had
been lately refreshed by the pause of sleep. We are told on the first
page of the Bible that even the Creative Energy of God rested on the
“seventh day.” You may be sure, then, that the frail finite mind of your
audience will likewise demand rest. Observe nature, study her laws, and
obey them in your speaking.

_3. Pause Creates Effective Suspense_

Suspense is responsible for a great share of our interest in life; it
will be the same with your speech. A play or a novel is often robbed of
much of its interest if you know the plot beforehand. We like to keep
guessing as to the outcome. The ability to create suspense is part of
woman’s power to hold the other sex. The circus acrobat employs this
principle when he fails purposely in several attempts to perform a
feat, and then achieves it. Even the deliberate manner in which he
arranges the preliminaries increases our expectation–we like to be kept
waiting. In the last act of the play, “Polly of the Circus,” there is a
circus scene in which a little dog turns a backward somersault on the
back of a running pony. One night when he hesitated and had to be coaxed
and worked with a long time before he would perform his feat he got a
great deal more applause than when he did his trick at once. We not only
like to wait but we appreciate what we wait for. If fish bite too
readily the sport soon ceases to be a sport.

It is this same principle of suspense that holds you in a Sherlock
Holmes story–you wait to see how the mystery is solved, and if it is
solved too soon you throw down the tale unfinished. Wilkie Collins’
receipt for fiction writing well applies to public speech: “Make ’em
laugh; make ’em weep; make ’em wait.” Above all else make them wait; if
they will not do that you may be sure they will neither laugh nor weep.

Thus pause is a valuable instrument in the hands of a trained speaker to
arouse and maintain suspense. We once heard Mr. Bryan say in a speech:
“It was my privilege to hear”–and he paused, while the audience
wondered for a second whom it was his privilege to hear–“the great
evangelist”–and he paused again; we knew a little more about the man he
had heard, but still wondered to which evangelist he referred; and then
he concluded: “Dwight L. Moody.” Mr. Bryan paused slightly again and
continued: “I came to regard him”–here he paused again and held the
audience in a brief moment of suspense as to how he had regarded Mr.
Moody, then continued–“as the greatest preacher of his day.” Let the
dashes illustrate pauses and we have the following:

“It was my privilege to hear–the great evangelist–Dwight L.
Moody.–I came to regard him–as the greatest preacher of his

The unskilled speaker would have rattled this off with neither pause nor
suspense, and the sentences would have fallen flat upon the audience. It
is precisely the application of these small things that makes much of
the difference between the successful and the unsuccessful speaker.

_4. Pausing After An Important Idea Gives it Time to Penetrate_

Any Missouri farmer will tell you that a rain that falls too fast will
run off into the creeks and do the crops but little good. A story is
told of a country deacon praying for rain in this manner: “Lord, don’t
send us any chunk floater. Just give us a good old drizzle-drazzle.” A
speech, like a rain, will not do anybody much good if it comes too fast
to soak in. The farmer’s wife follows this same principle in doing her
washing when she puts the clothes in water–and pauses for several hours
that the water may soak in. The physician puts cocaine on your
turbinates–and pauses to let it take hold before he removes them. Why
do we use this principle everywhere except in the communication of
ideas? If you have given the audience a big idea, pause for a second or
two and let them turn it over. See what effect it has. After the smoke
clears away you may have to fire another 14-inch shell on the same
subject before you demolish the citadel of error that you are trying to
destroy. Take time. Don’t let your speech resemble those tourists who
try “to do” New York in a day. They spend fifteen minutes looking at the
masterpieces in the Metropolitan Museum of Arts, ten minutes in the
Museum of Natural History, take a peep into the Aquarium, hurry across
the Brooklyn Bridge, rush up to the Zoo, and back by Grant’s Tomb–and
call that “Seeing New York.” If you hasten by your important points
without pausing, your audience will have just about as adequate an idea
of what you have tried to convey.

Take time, you have just as much of it as our richest multimillionaire.
Your audience will wait for you. It is a sign of smallness to hurry. The
great redwood trees of California had burst through the soil five
hundred years before Socrates drank his cup of hemlock poison, and are
only in their prime today. Nature shames us with our petty haste.
Silence is one of the most eloquent things in the world. Master it, and
use it through pause.

*       *       *       *       *

In the following selections dashes have been inserted where pauses may
be used effectively. Naturally, you may omit some of these and insert
others without going wrong–one speaker would interpret a passage in one
way, one in another; it is largely a matter of personal preference. A
dozen great actors have played Hamlet well, and yet each has played the
part differently. Which comes the nearest to perfection is a question
of opinion. You will succeed best by daring to follow your own
course–if you are individual enough to blaze an original trail.

A moment’s halt–a momentary taste of being from the well amid
the waste–and lo! the phantom caravan has reached–the nothing
it set out from–Oh make haste!

The worldly hope men set their hearts upon–turns ashes–or it
prospers;–and anon like snow upon the desert’s dusty
face–lighting a little hour or two–is gone.

The bird of time has but a little way to flutter,–and the bird
is on the wing.

You will note that the punctuation marks have nothing to do with the
pausing. You may run by a period very quickly and make a long pause
where there is no kind of punctuation. Thought is greater than
punctuation. It must guide you in your pauses.

A book of verses underneath the bough,–a jug of wine, a loaf of
bread–and thou beside me singing in the
wilderness–Oh–wilderness were paradise enow.

You must not confuse the pause for emphasis with the natural pauses that
come through taking breath and phrasing. For example, note the pauses
indicated in this selection from Byron:

But _hush!_–_hark!_–that deep sound breaks in once more,
And _nearer!_–_clearer!_–_deadlier_ than before.
_Arm_, ARM!–it is–it is the cannon’s opening roar!

It is not necessary to dwell at length upon these obvious distinctions.
You will observe that in natural conversation our words are gathered
into clusters or phrases, and we often pause to take breath between
them. So in public speech, breathe naturally and do not talk until you
must gasp for breath; nor until the audience is equally winded.

A serious word of caution must here be uttered: do not overwork the
pause. To do so will make your speech heavy and stilted. And do not
think that pause can transmute commonplace thoughts into great and
dignified utterance. A grand manner combined with insignificant ideas is
like harnessing a Hambletonian with an ass. You remember the farcical
old school declamation, “A Midnight Murder,” that proceeded in grandiose
manner to a thrilling climax, and ended–“and relentlessly murdered–a

The pause, dramatically handled, always drew a laugh from the tolerant
hearers. This is all very well in farce, but such anti-climax becomes
painful when the speaker falls from the sublime to the ridiculous quite
unintentionally. The pause, to be effective in some other manner than in
that of the boomerang, must precede or follow a thought that is really
worth while, or at least an idea whose bearing upon the rest of the
speech is important.

William Pittenger relates in his volume, “Extempore Speech,” an instance
of the unconsciously farcical use of the pause by a really great
American statesman and orator. “He had visited Niagara Falls and was to
make an oration at Buffalo the same day, but, unfortunately, he sat too
long over the wine after dinner. When he arose to speak, the oratorical
instinct struggled with difficulties, as he declared, ‘Gentlemen, I have
been to look upon your mag–mag–magnificent cataract, one hundred–and
forty–seven–feet high! Gentlemen, Greece and Rome in their palmiest
days never had a cataract one hundred–and forty–seven–feet high!'”


1. Name four methods for destroying monotony and gaining power in

2. What are the four special effects of pause?

3. Note the pauses in a conversation, play, or speech. Were they the
best that could have been used? Illustrate.

4. Read aloud selections on pages 50-54, paying special attention to

5. Read the following without making any pauses. Reread correctly and
note the difference:

Soon the night will pass; and when, of the Sentinel on the
ramparts of Liberty the anxious ask: | “Watchman, what of the
night?” his answer will be | “Lo, the morn appeareth.”

Knowing the price we must pay, | the sacrifice | we must make, |
the burdens | we must carry, | the assaults | we must endure, |
knowing full well the cost, | yet we enlist, and we enlist | for
the war. | For we know the justice of our cause, | and we know,
too, its certain triumph. |

Not reluctantly, then, | but eagerly, | not with faint hearts, |
but strong, do we now advance upon the enemies of the people. |
For the call that comes to us is the call that came to our
fathers. | As they responded, so shall we.

“He hath sounded forth a trumpet | that shall never call retreat,
He is sifting out the hearts of men | before His judgment seat.
Oh, be swift | our souls to answer Him, | be jubilant our feet,
Our God | is marching on.”

–ALBERT J. BEVERIDGE, _From his speech as temporary chairman of
Progressive National Convention, Chicago, 1912_.

6. Bring out the contrasting ideas in the following by using the pause:

Contrast now the circumstances of your life and mine, gently and
with temper, Æschines; and then ask these people whose fortune
they would each of them prefer. You taught reading, I went to
school: you performed initiations, I received them: you danced
in the chorus, I furnished it: you were assembly-clerk, I was a
speaker: you acted third parts, I heard you: you broke down, and
I hissed: you have worked as a statesman for the enemy, I for my
country. I pass by the rest; but this very day I am on my
probation for a crown, and am acknowledged to be innocent of all
offence; while you are already judged to be a pettifogger, and
the question is, whether you shall continue that trade, or at
once be silenced by not getting a fifth part of the votes. A
happy fortune, do you see, you have enjoyed, that you should
denounce mine as miserable!


7. After careful study and practice, mark the pauses in the following:

The past rises before me like a dream. Again we are in the
great struggle for national life. We hear the sounds of
preparation–the music of the boisterous drums, the silver
voices of heroic bugles. We see thousands of assemblages, and
hear the appeals of orators; we see the pale cheeks of women and
the flushed faces of men; and in those assemblages we see all
the dead whose dust we have covered with flowers. We lose sight
of them no more. We are with them when they enlist in the great
army of freedom. We see them part from those they love. Some are
walking for the last time in quiet woody places with the maiden
they adore. We hear the whisperings and the sweet vows of
eternal love as they lingeringly part forever. Others are
bending over cradles, kissing babies that are asleep. Some are
receiving the blessings of old men. Some are parting from those
who hold them and press them to their hearts again and again,
and say nothing; and some are talking with wives, and
endeavoring with brave words spoken in the old tones to drive
from their hearts the awful fear. We see them part. We see the
wife standing in the door, with the babe in her arms–standing
in the sunlight sobbing; at the turn of the road a hand
waves–she answers by holding high in her loving hands the
child. He is gone–and forever.

–ROBERT J. INGERSOLL, _to the Soldiers of Indianapolis_.

8. Where would you pause in the following selections? Try pausing in
different places and note the effect it gives.

The moving finger writes; and having writ moves on: nor all your
piety nor wit shall lure it back to cancel half a line, nor all
your tears wash out a word of it.

The history of womankind is a story of abuse. For ages men beat,
sold, and abused their wives and daughters like cattle. The
Spartan mother that gave birth to one of her own sex disgraced
herself; the girl babies were often deserted in the mountains to
starve; China bound and deformed their feet; Turkey veiled their
faces; America denied them equal educational advantages with
men. Most of the world still refuses them the right to
participate in the government and everywhere women bear the
brunt of an unequal standard of morality.

But the women are on the march. They are walking upward to the
sunlit plains where the thinking people rule. China has ceased
binding their feet. In the shadow of the Harem Turkey has opened
a school for girls. America has given the women equal
educational advantages, and America, we believe, will
enfranchise them.

We can do little to help and not much to hinder this great
movement. The thinking people have put their O.K. upon it. It is
moving forward to its goal just as surely as this old earth is
swinging from the grip of winter toward the spring’s blossoms
and the summer’s harvest.[1]

9. Read aloud the following address, paying careful attention to pause
wherever the emphasis may thereby be heightened.


… At last, the Republican party has appeared. It avows, now,
as the Republican party of 1800 did, in one word, its faith and
its works, “Equal and exact justice to all men.” Even when it
first entered the field, only half organized, it struck a blow
which only just failed to secure complete and triumphant
victory. In this, its second campaign, it has already won
advantages which render that triumph now both easy and certain.
The secret of its assured success lies in that very
characteristic which, in the mouth of scoffers, constitutes its
great and lasting imbecility and reproach. It lies in the fact
that it is a party of one idea; but that is a noble one–an idea
that fills and expands all generous souls; the idea of equality
of all men before human tribunals and human laws, as they all
are equal before the Divine tribunal and Divine laws.

I know, and you know, that a revolution has begun. I know, and
all the world knows, that revolutions never go backward. Twenty
senators and a hundred representatives proclaim boldly in
Congress to-day sentiments and opinions and principles of
freedom which hardly so many men, even in this free State, dared
to utter in their own homes twenty years ago. While the
government of the United States, under the conduct of the
Democratic party, has been all that time surrendering one plain
and castle after another to slavery, the people of the United
States have been no less steadily and perseveringly gathering
together the forces with which to recover back again all the
fields and all the castles which have been lost, and to confound
and overthrow, by one decisive blow, the betrayers of the
Constitution and freedom forever.



[Footnote 1: From an editorial by D.C. in _Leslie’s Weekly_, June 4,
1914. Used by permission.]



How soft the music of those village bells,
Falling at intervals upon the ear
In cadence sweet; now dying all away,
Now pealing loud again, and louder still,
Clear and sonorous, as the gale comes on!
With easy force it opens all the cells
Where Memory slept.


Herbert Spencer remarked that “Cadence”–by which he meant the
modulation of the tones of the voice in speaking–“is the running
commentary of the emotions upon the propositions of the intellect.” How
true this is will appear when we reflect that the little upward and
downward shadings of the voice tell more truly what we mean than our
words. The expressiveness of language is literally multiplied by this
subtle power to shade the vocal tones, and this voice-shading we call

The change of pitch _within_ a word is even more important, because more
delicate, than the change of pitch from phrase to phrase. Indeed, one
cannot be practised without the other. The bare words are only so many
bricks–inflection will make of them a pavement, a garage, or a
cathedral. It is the power of inflection to change the meaning of words
that gave birth to the old saying: “It is not so much what you say, as
how you say it.”

Mrs. Jameson, the Shakespearean commentator, has given us a penetrating
example of the effect of inflection; “In her impersonation of the part
of Lady Macbeth, Mrs. Siddons adopted successively three different
intonations in giving the words ‘We fail.’ At first a quick contemptuous
interrogation–‘We fail?’ Afterwards, with the note of admiration–‘We
fail,’ an accent of indignant astonishment laying the principal emphasis
on the word ‘we’–‘_we_ fail.’ Lastly, she fixed on what I am convinced
is the true reading–_We fail_–with the simple period, modulating the
voice to a deep, low, resolute tone which settles the issue at once as
though she had said: ‘If we fail, why then we fail, and all is over.'”

This most expressive element of our speech is the last to be mastered in
attaining to naturalness in speaking a foreign language, and its correct
use is the main element in a natural, flexible utterance of our native
tongue. Without varied inflections speech becomes wooden and monotonous.

There are but two kinds of inflection, the rising and the falling, yet
these two may be so shaded or so combined that they are capable of
producing as many varieties of modulation as maybe illustrated by either
one or two lines, straight or curved, thus:

[Illustration of each line]

Sharp rising

Long rising


Long falling

Sharp falling

Sharp rising and falling

Sharp falling and rising


These may be varied indefinitely, and serve merely to illustrate what
wide varieties of combination may be effected by these two simple
inflections of the voice.

It is impossible to tabulate the various inflections which serve to
express various shades of thought and feeling. A few suggestions are
offered here, together with abundant exercises for practise, but the
only real way to master inflection is to observe, experiment, and

For example, take the common sentence, “Oh, he’s all right.” Note how a
rising inflection may be made to express faint praise, or polite doubt,
or uncertainty of opinion. Then note how the same words, spoken with a
generally falling inflection may denote certainty, or good-natured
approval, or enthusiastic praise, and so on.

In general, then, we find that a bending upward of the voice will
suggest doubt and uncertainty, while a decided falling inflection will
suggest that you are certain of your ground.

Students dislike to be told that their speeches are “not so bad,” spoken
with a rising inflection. To enunciate these words with a long falling
inflection would indorse the speech rather heartily.

Say good-bye to an imaginary person whom you expect to see again
tomorrow; then to a dear friend you never expect to meet again. Note the
difference in inflection.

“I have had a delightful time,” when spoken at the termination of a
formal tea by a frivolous woman takes altogether different inflection
than the same words spoken between lovers who have enjoyed themselves.
Mimic the two characters in repeating this and observe the difference.

Note how light and short the inflections are in the following brief
quotation from “Anthony the Absolute,” by Samuel Mervin.

_At Sea–March 28th_.

This evening I told Sir Robert What’s His Name he was a fool.

I was quite right in this. He is.

Every evening since the ship left Vancouver he has presided over
the round table in the middle of the smoking-room. There he sips
his coffee and liqueur, and holds forth on every subject known
to the mind of man. Each subject is _his_ subject. He is an
elderly person, with a bad face and a drooping left eyelid.

They tell me that he is in the British Service–a judge
somewhere down in Malaysia, where they drink more than is good
for them.

Deliver the two following selections with great earnestness, and note
how the inflections differ from the foregoing. Then reread these
selections in a light, superficial manner, noting that the change of
attitude is expressed through a change of inflection.

When I read a sublime fact in Plutarch, or an unselfish deed in
a line of poetry, or thrill beneath some heroic legend, it is no
longer fairyland–I have seen it matched.


Thought is deeper than all speech,
Feeling deeper than all thought;
Souls to souls can never teach
What unto themselves was taught.


It must be made perfectly clear that inflection deals mostly in subtle,
delicate shading _within single words_, and is not by any means
accomplished by a general rise or fall in the voice in speaking a
sentence. Yet certain sentences may be effectively delivered with just
such inflection. Try this sentence in several ways, making no
modulation until you come to the last two syllables, as indicated,

And yet I told him dis-
(high)          |  tinctly.

And yet I told him dis- |   (high)

Now try this sentence by inflecting the important words so as to bring
out various shades of meaning. The first forms, illustrated above, show
change of pitch _within a single word_; the forms you will work out for
yourself should show a number of such inflections throughout the

One of the chief means of securing emphasis is to employ a long falling
inflection on the emphatic words–that is, to let the voice fall to a
lower pitch on an _interior_ vowel sound in a word. Try it on the words
“every,” “eleemosynary,” and “destroy.”

Use long falling inflections on the italicized words in the following
selection, noting their emphatic power. Are there any other words here
that long falling inflections would help to make expressive?


This, sir, is my case. It is the case not merely of that humble
institution; it is the case of _every_ college in our land. It
is _more_; it is the case of _every eleemosynary_ institution
throughout our country–of _all_ those great charities founded
by the piety of our ancestors to alleviate human misery and
scatter blessings along the pathway of life. Sir, you may
_destroy_ this little institution–it is _weak_, it is in your
hands. I know it is one of the lesser lights in the literary
horizon of our country. You may put it out. But if you do you
must carry through your work; you must extinguish, one after
another, _all_ those great lights of science which, for more
than a century, have thrown their radiance over our land!

It is, sir, as I have said, a small college, and yet–there are
those who _love_ it!

Sir, I know not how others may feel, but as for myself when I
see my alma mater surrounded, like Cæsar in the senate house,
by those who are reiterating _stab_ after _stab_, I would not
for this right hand have her turn to me and say, And _thou,
too_, my son!


Be careful not to over-inflect. Too much modulation produces an
unpleasant effect of artificiality, like a mature matron trying to be
kittenish. It is a short step between true expression and unintentional
burlesque. Scrutinize your own tones. Take a single expression like “Oh,
no!” or “Oh, I see,” or “Indeed,” and by patient self-examination see
how many shades of meaning may be expressed by inflection. This sort of
common-sense practise will do you more good than a book of rules. _But
don’t forget to listen to your own voice._


1. In your own words define (a) cadence, (b) modulation, (c) inflection,
(d) emphasis.

2. Name five ways of destroying monotony and gaining effectiveness in

3. What states of mind does falling inflection signify? Make as full a
list as you can.

4. Do the same for the rising inflection.

5. How does the voice bend in expressing (_a_) surprise? (_b_) shame?
(_c_) hate? (_d_) formality? (_e_) excitement?

6. Reread some sentence several times and by using different inflections
change the meaning with each reading.

7. Note the inflections employed in some speech or conversation. Were
they the best that could be used to bring out the meaning? Criticise and

8. Render the following passages:

Has the gentleman done? Has he completely done?

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

9. Invent an indirect question and show how it would naturally be

10. Does a direct question always require a rising inflection?

11. Illustrate how the complete ending of an expression or of a speech
is indicated by inflection.

12. Do the same for incompleteness of idea.

13. Illustrate (_a_) trembling, (_b_) hesitation, and (_c_) doubt by
means of inflection.

14. Show how contrast may be expressed.

15. Try the effects of both rising and falling inflections on the
italicized words in the following sentences. State your preference.

Gentlemen, I am _persuaded_, nay, I am _resolved_ to speak.

It is sown a _natural_ body; it is raised a _spiritual_ body.


In the following selections secure emphasis by means of long falling
inflections rather than loudness.

Repeat these selections, attempting to put into practise all the
technical principles that we have thus far had; emphasizing important
words, subordinating unimportant words, variety of pitch, changing
tempo, pause, and inflection. If these principles are applied you will
have no trouble with monotony.

Constant practise will give great facility in the use of inflection and
will render the voice itself flexible.


We charge him with having broken his coronation oath; and we are
told that he kept his marriage vow! We accuse him of having
given up his people to the merciless inflictions of the most
hot-headed and hard-hearted of prelates; and the defence is,
that he took his little son on his knee and kissed him! We
censure him for having violated the articles of the Petition of
Right, after having, for good and valuable consideration,
promised to observe them; and we are informed that he was
accustomed to hear prayers at six o’clock in the morning! It is
to such considerations as these, together with his Vandyke
dress, his handsome face, and his peaked beard, that he owes, we
verily believe, most of his popularity with the present



We needed not that he should put on paper that he believed in
slavery, who, with treason, with murder, with cruelty infernal,
hovered around that majestic man to destroy his life. He was
himself but the long sting with which slavery struck at liberty;
and he carried the poison that belonged to slavery. As long as
this nation lasts, it will never be forgotten that we have one
martyred President–never! Never, while time lasts, while
heaven lasts, while hell rocks and groans, will it be forgotten
that slavery, by its minions, slew him, and in slaying him made
manifest its whole nature and tendency.

But another thing for us to remember is that this blow was aimed
at the life of the government and of the nation. Lincoln was
slain; America was meant. The man was cast down; the government
was smitten at. It was the President who was killed. It was
national life, breathing freedom and meaning beneficence, that
was sought. He, the man of Illinois, the private man, divested
of robes and the insignia of authority, representing nothing but
his personal self, might have been hated; but that would not
have called forth the murderer’s blow. It was because he stood
in the place of government, representing government and a
government that represented right and liberty, that he was
singled out.

This, then, is a crime against universal government. It is not a
blow at the foundations of our government, more than at the
foundations of the English government, of the French government,
of every compact and well-organized government. It was a crime
against mankind. The whole world will repudiate and stigmatize
it as a deed without a shade of redeeming light….

The blow, however, has signally failed. The cause is not
stricken; it is strengthened. This nation has dissolved,–but in
tears only. It stands, four-square, more solid, to-day, than any
pyramid in Egypt. This people are neither wasted, nor daunted,
nor disordered. Men hate slavery and love liberty with stronger
hate and love to-day than ever before. The Government is not
weakened, it is made stronger….

And now the martyr is moving in triumphal march, mightier than
when alive. The nation rises up at every stage of his coming.
Cities and states are his pall-bearers, and the cannon beats the
hours with solemn progression. Dead–dead–dead–he yet
speaketh! Is Washington dead? Is Hampden dead? Is David dead? Is
any man dead that ever was fit to live? Disenthralled of flesh,
and risen to the unobstructed sphere where passion never comes,
he begins his illimitable work. His life now is grafted upon the
Infinite, and will be fruitful as no earthly life can be. Pass
on, thou that hast overcome! Your sorrows O people, are his
peace! Your bells, and bands, and muffled drums sound triumph in
his ear. Wail and weep here; God makes it echo joy and triumph
there. Pass on, victor!

Four years ago, O Illinois, we took from your midst an untried
man, and from among the people; we return him to you a mighty
conqueror. Not thine any more, but the nation’s; not ours, but
the world’s. Give him place, ye prairies! In the midst of this
great Continent his dust shall rest, a sacred treasure to
myriads who shall make pilgrimage to that shrine to kindle anew
their zeal and patriotism. Ye winds, that move over the mighty
places of the West, chant his requiem! Ye people, behold a
martyr, whose blood, as so many inarticulate words, pleads for
fidelity, for law, for liberty!



The event which we commemorate is all-important, not merely in
our own annals, but in those of the world. The sententious
English poet has declared that “the proper study of mankind is
man,” and of all inquiries of a temporal nature, the history of
our fellow-beings is unquestionably among the most interesting.
But not all the chapters of human history are alike important.
The annals of our race have been filled up with incidents which
concern not, or at least ought not to concern, the great company
of mankind. History, as it has often been written, is the
genealogy of princes, the field-book of conquerors; and the
fortunes of our fellow-men have been treated only so far as they
have been affected by the influence of the great masters and
destroyers of our race. Such history is, I will not say a
worthless study, for it is necessary for us to know the dark
side as well as the bright side of our condition. But it is a
melancholy study which fills the bosom of the philanthropist and
the friend of liberty with sorrow.

But the history of liberty–the history of men struggling to be
free–the history of men who have acquired and are exercising
their freedom–the history of those great movements in the
world, by which liberty has been established and perpetuated,
forms a subject which we cannot contemplate too closely. This is
the real history of man, of the human family, of rational
immortal beings….

The trial of adversity was theirs; the trial of prosperity is
ours. Let us meet it as men who know their duty and prize their
blessings. Our position is the most enviable, the most
responsible, which men can fill. If this generation does its
duty, the cause of constitutional freedom is safe. If we
fail–if we fail–not only do we defraud our children of the
inheritance which we received from our fathers, but we blast the
hopes of the friends of liberty throughout our continent,
throughout Europe, throughout the world, to the end of time.

History is not without her examples of hard-fought fields, where
the banner of liberty has floated triumphantly on the wildest
storm of battle. She is without her examples of a people by whom
the dear-bought treasure has been wisely employed and safely
handed down. The eyes of the world are turned for that example
to us….

Let us, then, as we assemble on the birthday of the nation, as
we gather upon the green turf, once wet with precious blood–let
us devote ourselves to the sacred cause of constitutional
liberty! Let us abjure the interests and passions which divide
the great family of American freemen! Let the rage of party
spirit sleep to-day! Let us resolve that our children shall have
cause to bless the memory of their fathers, as we have cause to
bless the memory of ours!




Attention is the microscope of the mental eye. Its power may be
high or low; its field of view narrow or broad. When high power
is used attention is confined within very circumscribed limits,
but its action is exceedingly intense and absorbing. It sees but
few things, but these few are observed “through and through” …
Mental energy and activity, whether of perception or of thought,
thus concentrated, act like the sun’s rays concentrated by the
burning glass. The object is illumined, heated, set on fire.
Impressions are so deep that they can never be effaced.
Attention of this sort is the prime condition of the most
productive mental labor.

–DANIEL PUTNAM, _Psychology_.

Try to rub the top of your head forward and backward at the same time
that you are patting your chest. Unless your powers of coördination are
well developed you will find it confusing, if not impossible. The brain
needs special training before it can do two or more things efficiently
at the same instant. It may seem like splitting a hair between its north
and northwest corner, but some psychologists argue that _no_ brain can
think two distinct thoughts, absolutely simultaneously–that what seems
to be simultaneous is really very rapid rotation from the first thought
to the second and back again, just as in the above-cited experiment the
attention must shift from one hand to the other until one or the other
movement becomes partly or wholly automatic.

Whatever is the psychological truth of this contention it is undeniable
that the mind measurably loses grip on one idea the moment the attention
is projected decidedly ahead to a second or a third idea.

A fault in public speakers that is as pernicious as it is common is that
they try to think of the succeeding sentence while still uttering the
former, and in this way their concentration trails off; in consequence,
they start their sentences strongly and end them weakly. In a
well-prepared written speech the emphatic word usually comes at one end
of the sentence. But an emphatic word needs emphatic expression, and
this is precisely what it does not get when concentration flags by
leaping too soon to that which is next to be uttered. Concentrate all
your mental energies on the present sentence. Remember that the mind of
your audience follows yours very closely, and if you withdraw your
attention from what you are saying to what you are going to say, your
audience will also withdraw theirs. They may not do so consciously and
deliberately, but they will surely cease to give importance to the
things that you yourself slight. It is fatal to either the actor or the
speaker to cross his bridges too soon.

Of course, all this is not to say that in the natural pauses of your
speech you are not to take swift forward surveys–they are as important
as the forward look in driving a motor car; the caution is of quite
another sort: _while speaking one sentence do not think of the sentence
to follow_. Let it come from its proper source–within yourself. You
cannot deliver a broadside without concentrated force–that is what
produces the explosion. In preparation you store and concentrate thought
and feeling; in the pauses during delivery you swiftly look ahead and
gather yourself for effective attack; during the moments of actual
speech, _SPEAK–DON’T ANTICIPATE_. Divide your attention and you divide
your power.

This matter of the effect of the inner man upon the outer needs a
further word here, particularly as touching concentration.

“What do you read, my lord?” Hamlet replied, “Words. Words. Words.” That
is a world-old trouble. The mechanical calling of words is not
expression, by a long stretch. Did you ever notice how hollow a
memorized speech usually sounds? You have listened to the ranting,
mechanical cadence of inefficient actors, lawyers and preachers. Their
trouble is a mental one–they are not concentratedly thinking thoughts
that cause words to issue with sincerity and conviction, but are merely
enunciating word-sounds mechanically. Painful experience alike to
audience and to speaker! A parrot is equally eloquent. Again let
Shakespeare instruct us, this tune in the insincere prayer of the King,
Hamlet’s uncle. He laments thus pointedly:

My words fly up, my thoughts remain below:
Words without thoughts never to heaven go.

The truth is, that as a speaker your words must be born again every time
they are spoken, then they will not suffer in their utterance, even
though perforce committed to memory and repeated, like Dr. Russell
Conwell’s lecture, “Acres of Diamonds,” five thousand times. Such
speeches lose nothing by repetition for the perfectly patent reason
that they arise from concentrated thought and feeling and not a mere
necessity for saying something–which usually means anything, and that,
in turn, is tantamount to nothing. If the thought beneath your words is
warm, fresh, spontaneous, a part of your _self_, your utterance will
have breath and life. Words are only a result. Do not try to get the
result without stimulating the cause.

Do you ask _how_ to concentrate? Think of the word itself, and of its
philological brother, _concentric_. Think of how a lens gathers and
concenters the rays of light within a given circle. It centers them by a
process of withdrawal. It may seem like a harsh saying, but the man who
cannot concentrate is either weak of will, a nervous wreck, or has never
learned what will-power is good for.

You must concentrate by resolutely withdrawing your attention from
everything else. If you concentrate your thought on a pain which may be
afflicting you, that pain will grow more intense. “Count your blessings”
and they will multiply. Center your thought on your strokes and your
tennis play will gradually improve. To concentrate is simply to attend
to one thing, and attend to nothing else. If you find that you cannot do
that, there is something wrong–attend to that first. Remove the cause
and the symptom will disappear. Read the chapter on “Will Power.”
Cultivate your will by willing and then doing, at all costs.
Concentrate–and you will win.


1. Select from any source several sentences suitable for speaking aloud;
deliver them first in the manner condemned in this chapter, and second
with due regard for emphasis toward the close of each sentence.

2. Put into about one hundred words your impression of the effect

3. Tell of any peculiar methods you may have observed or heard of by
which speakers have sought to aid their powers of concentration, such as
looking fixedly at a blank spot in the ceiling, or twisting a watch

4. What effect do such habits have on the audience?

5. What relation does pause bear to concentration?

6. Tell why concentration naturally helps a speaker to change pitch,
tempo, and emphasis.

7. Read the following selection through to get its meaning and spirit
clearly in your mind. Then read it aloud, concentrating solely on the
thought that you are expressing–do not trouble about the sentence or
thought that is coming. Half the troubles of mankind arise from
anticipating trials that never occur. Avoid this in speaking. Make the
end of your sentences just as strong as the beginning. _CONCENTRATE._


The last of the savage instincts is war. The cave man’s club
made law and procured food. Might decreed right. Warriors were

In Nazareth a carpenter laid down the saw and preached the
brotherhood of man. Twelve centuries afterwards his followers
marched to the Holy Land to destroy all who differed with them
in the worship of the God of Love. Triumphantly they wrote “In
Solomon’s Porch and in his temple our men rode in the blood of
the Saracens up to the knees of their horses.”

History is an appalling tale of war. In the seventeenth century
Germany, France, Sweden, and Spain warred for thirty years. At
Magdeburg 30,000 out of 36,000 were killed regardless of sex or
age. In Germany schools were closed for a third of a century,
homes burned, women outraged, towns demolished, and the untilled
land became a wilderness.

Two-thirds of Germany’s property was destroyed and 18,000,000 of
her citizens were killed, because men quarrelled about the way
to glorify “The Prince of Peace.” Marching through rain and
snow, sleeping on the ground, eating stale food or starving,
contracting diseases and facing guns that fire six hundred times
a minute, for fifty cents a day–this is the soldier’s life.

At the window sits the widowed mother crying. Little children
with tearful faces pressed against the pane watch and wait.
Their means of livelihood, their home, their happiness is gone.
Fatherless children, broken-hearted women, sick, disabled and
dead men–this is the wage of war.

We spend more money preparing men to kill each other than we do
in teaching them to live. We spend more money building one
battleship than in the annual maintenance of all our state
universities. The financial loss resulting from destroying one
another’s homes in the civil war would have built 15,000,000
houses, each costing $2,000. We pray for love but prepare for
hate. We preach peace but equip for war.

Were half the power that fills the world with terror,
Were half the wealth bestowed on camp and court
Given to redeem this world from error,
There would be no need of arsenal and fort.

War only defers a question. No issue will ever really be settled
until it is settled rightly. Like rival “gun gangs” in a back
alley, the nations of the world, through the bloody ages, have
fought over their differences. Denver cannot fight Chicago and
Iowa cannot fight Ohio. Why should Germany be permitted to fight
France, or Bulgaria fight Turkey?

When mankind rises above creeds, colors and countries, when we
are citizens, not of a nation, but of the world, the armies and
navies of the earth will constitute an international police
force to preserve the peace and the dove will take the eagle’s

Our differences will be settled by an international court with
the power to enforce its mandates. In times of peace prepare for
peace. The wages of war are the wages of sin, and the “wages of
sin is death.”

–_Editorial by D.C., Leslie’s Weekly; used by permission._



However, ’tis expedient to be wary:
Indifference, certes, don’t produce distress;
And rash enthusiasm in good society
Were nothing but a moral inebriety.

–BYRON, _Don Juan_.

You have attended plays that seemed fair, yet they did not move you,
grip you. In theatrical parlance, they failed to “get over,” which means
that their message did not get over the foot-lights to the audience.
There was no punch, no jab to them–they had no force.

Of course, all this spells disaster, in big letters, not only in a stage
production but in any platform effort. Every such presentation exists
solely for the audience, and if it fails to hit them–and the expression
is a good one–it has no excuse for living; nor will it live long.

_What is Force?_

Some of our most obvious words open up secret meanings under scrutiny,
and this is one of them.

To begin with, we must recognize the distinction between inner and outer
force. The one is cause, the other effect. The one is spiritual, the
other physical. In this important particular, animate force differs from
inanimate force–the power of man, coming from within and expressing
itself outwardly, is of another sort from the force of Shimose powder,
which awaits some influence from without to explode it. However
susceptive to outside stimuli, the true source of power in man lies
within himself. This may seem like “mere psychology,” but it has an
intensely practical bearing on public speaking, as will appear.

Not only must we discern the difference between human force and mere
physical force, but we must not confuse its real essence with some of
the things that may–and may not–accompany it. For example, loudness is
not force, though force at times may be attended by noise. Mere roaring
never made a good speech, yet there are moments–moments, mind you, not
minutes–when big voice power may be used with tremendous effect.

Nor is violent motion force–yet force may result in violent motion.
Hamlet counseled the players:

Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus; but use
all gently; for in the very torrent, tempest, and (as I may say)
whirlwind of your passion, you must acquire and beget a
temperance, that may give it smoothness. Oh, it offends me to
the soul, to hear a robustious periwig-pated fellow tear a
passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the
groundlings[2]; who, for the most part, are capable of nothing
but inexplicable dumb show, and noise. I would have such a
fellow whipped for o’er-doing Termagant; it out-herods Herod.
Pray you avoid it.

Be not too tame, neither, but let your discretion be your tutor:
suit the action to the word, the word to the action; with this
special observance, that you o’erstep not the modesty of nature;
for anything so overdone is from the purpose of playing, whose
end, both at the first, and now, was, and is, to hold, as
’twere, the mirror up to Nature, to show Virtue her own feature,
Scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his
form and pressure. Now, this overdone, or come tardy off, though
it make the unskillful laugh, cannot but make the judicious
grieve; the censure of the which one must, in your allowance,
o’erweigh a whole theater of others. Oh, there be players that I
have seen play–and heard others praise, and that highly–not to
speak it profanely, that, neither having the accent of
Christians, nor the gait of Christian, pagan, or man, have so
strutted and bellowed that I have thought some of Nature’s
journeymen had made men, and not made them well, they imitated
humanity so abominably.[3]

Force is both a cause and an effect. Inner force, which must precede
outer force, is a combination of four elements, acting progressively.
First of all, _force arises from conviction_. You must be convinced of
the truth, or the importance, or the meaning, of what you are about to
say before you can give it forceful delivery. It must lay strong hold
upon your convictions before it can grip your audience. Conviction

_The Saturday Evening Post_ in an article on “England’s T.R.”–Winston
Spencer Churchill–attributed much of Churchill’s and Roosevelt’s public
platform success to their forceful delivery. No matter what is in hand,
these men make themselves believe for the time being that that one thing
is the most important on earth. Hence they speak to their audiences in a
Do-this-or-you-_PERISH_ manner.

That kind of speaking wins, and it is that virile, strenuous, aggressive
attitude which both distinguishes and maintains the platform careers of
our greatest leaders.

But let us look a little closer at the origins of inner force. How does
conviction affect the man who feels it? We have answered the inquiry in
the very question itself–he _feels_ it: _Conviction produces emotional
tension_. Study the pictures of Theodore Roosevelt and of Billy Sunday
in action–_action_ is the word. Note the tension of their jaw muscles,
the taut lines of sinews in their entire bodies when reaching a climax
of force. Moral and physical force are alike in being both preceded and
accompanied by in-_tens_-ity–tension–tightness of the cords of power.

It is this tautness of the bow-string, this knotting of the muscles,
this contraction before the spring, that makes an audience
_feel_–almost see–the reserve power in a speaker. In some really
wonderful way it is more what a speaker does _not_ say and do that
reveals the dynamo within. _Anything_ may come from such stored-up force
once it is let loose; and that keeps an audience alert, hanging on the
lips of a speaker for his next word. After all, it is all a question of
manhood, for a stuffed doll has neither convictions nor emotional
tension. If you are upholstered with sawdust, keep off the platform, for
your own speech will puncture you.

Growing out of this conviction-tension comes _resolve to make the
audience share that conviction-tension_. Purpose is the backbone of
force; without it speech is flabby–it may glitter, but it is the
iridescence of the spineless jellyfish. You must hold fast to your
resolve if you would hold fast to your audience.

Finally, all this conviction-tension-purpose is lifeless and useless
unless it results in _propulsion_. You remember how Young in his
wonderful “Night Thoughts” delineates the man who

Pushes his prudent purpose to resolve,
Resolves, and re-resolves, and dies the same.

Let not your force “die a-borning,”–bring it to full life in its
conviction, emotional tension, resolve, and propulsive power.

_Can Force be Acquired?_

Yes, if the acquirer has any such capacities as we have just outlined.
How to acquire this vital factor is suggested in its very analysis: Live
with your subject until you are convinced of its importance.

If your message does not of itself arouse you to tension, _PULL_
yourself together. When a man faces the necessity of leaping across a
crevasse he does not wait for inspiration, he _wills_ his muscles into
tensity for the spring–it is not without purpose that our English
language uses the same word to depict a mighty though delicate steel
contrivance and a quick leap through the air. Then resolve–and let it
all end in actual _punch_.

This truth is worth reiteration: The man within is the final factor. He
must supply the fuel. The audience, or even the man himself, may add the
match–it matters little which, only so that there be fire. However
skillfully your engine is constructed, however well it works, you will
have no force if the fire has gone out under the boiler. It matters
little how well you have mastered poise, pause, modulation, and tempo,
if your speech lacks fire it is dead. Neither a dead engine nor a dead
speech will move anybody.

Four factors of force are measurably within your control, and in that
far may be acquired: _ideas_, _feeling about the subject_, _wording_, and
_delivery_. Each of these is more or less fully discussed in this
volume, except wording, which really requires a fuller rhetorical study
than can here be ventured. It is, however, of the utmost importance that
you should be aware of precisely how wording bears upon force in a
sentence. Study “The Working Principles of Rhetoric,” by John Franklin
Genung, or the rhetorical treatises of Adams Sherman Hill, of Charles
Sears Baldwin, or any others whose names may easily be learned from any

Here are a few suggestions on the use of words to attain force:

_Choice of Words_

PLAIN words are more forceful than words less commonly used–_juggle_
has more vigor than _prestidigitate_.

SHORT words are stronger than long words–_end_ has more directness than

SAXON words are usually more forceful than Latinistic words–for force,
use _wars against_ rather than _militate against_.

SPECIFIC words are stronger than general words–_pressman_ is more
definite than _printer_.

CONNOTATIVE words, those that suggest more than they say, have more
power than ordinary words–“She _let_ herself be married” expresses more
than “She _married_.”

EPITHETS, figuratively descriptive words, are more effective than direct
names–“Go tell that _old fox_,” has more “punch” than “Go tell that
_sly fellow_.” ONOMATOPOETIC words, words that convey the sense by the
sound, are more powerful than other words–_crash_ is more effective
than _cataclysm_.

_Arrangement of words_

Cut out modifiers.

Cut out connectives.

Begin with words that demand attention.

“End with words that deserve distinction,” says Prof. Barrett Wendell.

Set strong ideas over against weaker ones, so as to gain strength by the

Avoid elaborate sentence structure–short sentences are stronger than
long ones.

Cut out every useless word, so as to give prominence to the really
important ones.

Let each sentence be a condensed battering ram, swinging to its final
blow on the attention.

A familiar, homely idiom, if not worn by much use, is more effective
than a highly formal, scholarly expression.

Consider well the relative value of different positions in the sentence
so that you may give the prominent place to ideas you wish to emphasize.

“But,” says someone, “is it not more honest to depend the inherent
interest in a subject, its native truth, clearness and sincerity of
presentation, and beauty of utterance, to win your audience? Why not
charm men instead of capturing them by assault?”

_Why Use Force?_

There is much truth in such an appeal, but not all the truth.
Clearness, persuasion, beauty, simple statement of truth, are all
essential–indeed, they are all definite parts of a forceful
presentment of a subject, without being the only parts. Strong
meat may not be as attractive as ices, but all depends on the
appetite and the stage of the meal.

You can not deliver an aggressive message with caressing little strokes.
No! Jab it in with hard, swift solar plexus punches. You cannot strike
fire from flint or from an audience with love taps. Say to a crowded
theatre in a lackadaisical manner: “It seems to me that the house is on
fire,” and your announcement may be greeted with a laugh. If you flash
out the words: “The house’s on fire!” they will crush one another in
getting to the exits.

The spirit and the language of force are definite with conviction. No
immortal speech in literature contains such expressions as “it seems to
me,” “I should judge,” “in my opinion,” “I suppose,” “perhaps it is
true.” The speeches that will live have been delivered by men ablaze
with the courage of their convictions, who uttered their words as
eternal truth. Of Jesus it was said that “the common people heard Him
gladly.” Why? “He taught them as one having _AUTHORITY_.” An audience
will never be moved by what “seems” to you to be truth or what in your
“humble opinion” may be so. If you honestly can, assert convictions as
your conclusions. Be sure you are right before you speak your speech,
then utter your thoughts as though they were a Gibraltar of
unimpeachable _truth_. Deliver them with the iron hand and confidence of
a Cromwell. Assert them with the fire of _authority_. Pronounce them as
an _ultimatum_. If you cannot speak with conviction, be silent.

What force did that young minister have who, fearing to be too dogmatic,
thus exhorted his hearers: “My friends–as I assume that you are–it
appears to be my duty to tell you that if you do not repent, so to
speak, forsake your sins, as it were, and turn to righteousness, if I
may so express it, you will be lost, in a measure”?

Effective speech must reflect the era. This is not a rose water age, and
a tepid, half-hearted speech will not win. This is the century of trip
hammers, of overland expresses that dash under cities and through
mountain tunnels, and you must instill this spirit into your speech if
you would move a popular audience. From a front seat listen to a
first-class company present a modern Broadway drama–not a comedy, but a
gripping, thrilling drama. Do not become absorbed in the story; reserve
all your attention for the technique and the force of the acting. There
is a kick and a crash as well as an infinitely subtle intensity in the
big, climax-speeches that suggest this lesson: the same well-calculated,
restrained, delicately shaded force would simply _rivet_ your ideas in
the minds of your audience. An air-gun will rattle bird-shot against a
window pane–it takes a rifle to wing a bullet through plate glass and
the oaken walls beyond.

_When to Use Force_

An audience is unlike the kingdom of heaven–the violent do not always
take it by force. There are times when beauty and serenity should be the
only bells in your chime. Force is only one of the great extremes of
contrast–use neither it nor quiet utterance to the exclusion of other
tones: be various, and in variety find even greater force than you could
attain by attempting its constant use. If you are reading an essay on
the beauties of the dawn, talking about the dainty bloom of a
honey-suckle, or explaining the mechanism of a gas engine, a vigorous
style of delivery is entirely out of place. But when you are appealing
to wills and consciences for immediate action, forceful delivery wins.
In such cases, consider the minds of your audience as so many safes that
have been locked and the keys lost. Do not try to figure out the
combinations. Pour a little nitro glycerine into the cracks and light
the fuse. As these lines are being written a contractor down the street
is clearing away the rocks with dynamite to lay the foundations for a
great building. When you want to get action, do not fear to use

The final argument for the effectiveness of force in public speech is
the fact that everything must be enlarged for the purposes of the
platform–that is why so few speeches read well in the reports on the
morning after: statements appear crude and exaggerated because they are
unaccompanied by the forceful delivery of a glowing speaker before an
audience heated to attentive enthusiasm. So in preparing your speech you
must not err on the side of mild statement–your audience will
inevitably tone down your words in the cold grey of afterthought. When
Phidias was criticised for the rough, bold outlines of a figure he had
submitted in competition, he smiled and asked that his statue and the
one wrought by his rival should be set upon the column for which the
sculpture was destined. When this was done all the exaggerations and
crudities, toned by distances, melted into exquisite grace of line and
form. Each speech must be a special study in suitability and proportion.

Omit the thunder of delivery, if you will, but like Wendell Phillips put
“silent lightning” into your speech. Make your thoughts breathe and your
words burn. Birrell said: “Emerson writes like an electrical cat
emitting sparks and shocks in every sentence.” Go thou and speak
likewise. Get the “big stick” into your delivery–be forceful.


1. Illustrate, by repeating a sentence from memory, what is meant by
employing force in speaking.

2. Which in your opinion is the most important of the technical
principles of speaking that you have studied so far? Why?

3. What is the effect of too much force in a speech? Too little?

4. Note some uninteresting conversation or ineffective speech, and tell
why it failed.

5. Suggest how it might be improved.

6. Why do speeches have to be spoken with more force than do

7. Read aloud the selection on page 84, using the technical principles
outlined in chapters III to VIII, but neglect to put any force behind
the interpretation. What is the result?

8. Reread several times, doing your best to achieve force.

9. Which parts of the selection on page 84 require the most force?

10. Write a five-minute speech not only discussing the errors of those
who exaggerate and those who minimize the use of force, but by imitation
show their weaknesses. Do not burlesque, but closely imitate.

11. Give a list of ten themes for public addresses, saying which seem
most likely to require the frequent use of force in delivery.

12. In your own opinion, do speakers usually err from the use of too
much or too little force?

13. Define (a) bombast; (b) bathos; (c) sentimentality; (d) squeamish.

14. Say how the foregoing words describe weaknesses in public speech.

15. Recast in twentieth-century English “Hamlet’s Directions to the
Players,” page 88.

16. Memorize the following extracts from Wendell Phillips’ speeches, and
deliver them with the of Wendell Phillips’ “silent lightning” delivery.

We are for a revolution! We say in behalf of these hunted
lyings, whom God created, and who law-abiding Webster and
Winthrop have sworn shall not find shelter in Massachusetts,–we
say that they may make their little motions, and pass their
little laws in Washington, but that Faneuil Hall repeals them in
the name of humanity and the old Bay State!

*       *       *       *       *

My advice to workingmen is this:

If you want power in this country; if you want to make
yourselves felt; if you do not want your children to wait long
years before they have the bread on the table they ought to
have, the leisure in their lives they ought to have, the
opportunities in life they ought to have; if you don’t want to
wait yourselves,–write on your banner, so that every political
trimmer can read it, so that every politician, no matter how
short-sighted he may be, can read it, “_WE NEVER FORGET!_ If you
launch the arrow of sarcasm at labor, _WE NEVER FORGET!_ If
there is a division in Congress, and you throw your vote in the
wrong scale, _WE NEVER FORGET!_ You may go down on your knees,
and say, ‘I am sorry I did the act’–but we will say ‘_IT WILL
NEVER!_'” So that a man in taking up the labor question will
know he is dealing with a hair-trigger pistol, and will say, “I
am to be true to justice and to man; otherwise I am a dead

*       *       *       *       *

In Russia there is no press, no debate, no explanation of what
government does, no remonstrance allowed, no agitation of public
issues. Dead silence, like that which reigns at the summit of
Mont Blanc, freezes the whole empire, long ago described as “a
despotism tempered by assassination.” Meanwhile, such despotism
has unsettled the brains of the ruling family, as unbridled
power doubtless made some of the twelve Cæsars insane; a madman,
sporting with the lives and comfort of a hundred millions of
men. The young girl whispers in her mother’s ear, under a ceiled
roof, her pity for a brother knouted and dragged half dead into
exile for his opinions. The next week she is stripped naked and
flogged to death in the public square. No inquiry, no
explanation, no trial, no protest, one dead uniform silence, the
law of the tyrant. Where is there ground for any hope of
peaceful change? No, no! in such a land dynamite and the dagger
are the necessary and proper substitutes for Faneuil Hall.
Anything that will make the madman quake in his bedchamber, and
rouse his victims into reckless and desperate resistance. This
is the only view an American, the child of 1620 and 1776, can
take of Nihilism. Any other unsettles and perplexes the ethics
of our civilization.

Born within sight of Bunker Hill–son of Harvard, whose first
pledge was “Truth,” citizen of a republic based on the claim
that no government is rightful unless resting on the consent of
the people, and which assumes to lead in asserting the rights of
humanity–I at least can say nothing else and nothing less–no
not if every tile on Cambridge roofs were a devil hooting my

For practise on forceful selections, use “The Irrepressible Conflict,”
page 67; “Abraham Lincoln,” page 76, “Pass Prosperity Around,” page 470;
“A Plea for Cuba,” page 50.


[Footnote 2: Those who sat in the pit or the parquet.]

[Footnote 3: _Hamlet_, Act III, Scene 2.]



Enthusiasm is that secret and harmonious spirit that hovers over
the production of genius.

–ISAAC DISRAELI, _Literary Character_.

If you are addressing a body of scientists on such a subject as the
veins in a butterfly’s wings, or on road structure, naturally your theme
will not arouse much feeling in either you or your audience. These are
purely mental subjects. But if you want men to vote for a measure that
will abolish child labor, or if you would inspire them to take up arms
for freedom, you must strike straight at their feelings. We lie on soft
beds, sit near the radiator on a cold day, eat cherry pie, and devote
our attention to one of the opposite sex, not because we have reasoned
out that it is the right thing to do, but because it feels right. No one
but a dyspeptic chooses his diet from a chart. Our feelings dictate what
we shall eat and generally how we shall act. Man is a feeling animal,
hence the public speaker’s ability to arouse men to action depends
almost wholly on his ability to touch their emotions.

Negro mothers on the auction-block seeing their children sold away from
them into slavery have flamed out some of America’s most stirring
speeches. True, the mother did not have any knowledge of the technique
of speaking, but she had something greater than all technique, more
effective than reason: feeling. The great speeches of the world have
not been delivered on tariff reductions or post-office appropriations.
The speeches that will live have been charged with emotional force.
Prosperity and peace are poor developers of eloquence. When great wrongs
are to be righted, when the public heart is flaming with passion, that
is the occasion for memorable speaking. Patrick Henry made an immortal
address, for in an epochal crisis he pleaded for liberty. He had roused
himself to the point where he could honestly and passionately exclaim,
“Give me liberty or give me death.” His fame would have been different
had he lived to-day and argued for the recall of judges.

_The Power of Enthusiasm_

Political parties hire bands, and pay for applause–they argue that, for
vote-getting, to stir up enthusiasm is more effective than reasoning.
How far they are right depends on the hearers, but there can be no doubt
about the contagious nature of enthusiasm. A watch manufacturer in New
York tried out two series of watch advertisements; one argued the
superior construction, workmanship, durability, and guarantee offered
with the watch; the other was headed, “A Watch to be Proud of,” and
dwelt upon the pleasure and pride of ownership. The latter series sold
twice as many as the former. A salesman for a locomotive works informed
the writer that in selling railroad engines emotional appeal was
stronger than an argument based on mechanical excellence.

Illustrations without number might be cited to show that in all our
actions we are emotional beings. The speaker who would speak efficiently
must develop the power to arouse feeling.

Webster, great debater that he was, knew that the real secret of a
speaker’s power was an emotional one. He eloquently says of eloquence:

“Affected passion, intense expression, the pomp of declamation,
all may aspire after it; they cannot reach it. It comes, if it
come at all, like the outbreak of a fountain from the earth, or
the bursting forth of volcanic fires, with spontaneous,
original, native force.

“The graces taught in the schools, the costly ornaments and
studied contrivances of speech, shock and disgust men, when
their own lives, and the fate of their wives, their children,
and their country hang on the decision of the hour. Then words
have lost their power, rhetoric is in vain, and all elaborate
oratory contemptible. Even genius itself then feels rebuked and
subdued, as in the presence of higher qualities. Then patriotism
is eloquent, then self-devotion is eloquent. The clear
conception outrunning the deductions of logic, the high purpose,
the firm resolve, the dauntless spirit, speaking on the tongue,
beaming from the eye, informing every feature, and urging the
whole man onward, right onward to his subject–this, this is
eloquence; or rather, it is something greater and higher than
all eloquence; it is action, noble, sublime, godlike action.”

When traveling through the Northwest some time ago, one of the present
writers strolled up a village street after dinner and noticed a crowd
listening to a “faker” speaking on a corner from a goods-box.
Remembering Emerson’s advice about learning something from every man we
meet, the observer stopped to listen to this speaker’s appeal. He was
selling a hair tonic, which he claimed to have discovered in Arizona. He
removed his hat to show what this remedy had done for him, washed his
face in it to demonstrate that it was as harmless as water, and enlarged
on its merits in such an enthusiastic manner that the half-dollars
poured in on him in a silver flood. When he had supplied the audience
with hair tonic, he asked why a greater proportion of men than women
were bald. No one knew. He explained that it was because women wore
thinner-soled shoes, and so made a good electrical connection with
mother earth, while men wore thick, dry-soled shoes that did not
transmit the earth’s electricity to the body. Men’s hair, not having a
proper amount of electrical food, died and fell out. Of course he had a
remedy–a little copper plate that should be nailed on the bottom of the
shoe. He pictured in enthusiastic and vivid terms the desirability of
escaping baldness–and paid tributes to his copper plates. Strange as it
may seem when the story is told in cold print, the speaker’s enthusiasm
had swept his audience with him, and they crushed around his stand with
outstretched “quarters” in their anxiety to be the possessors of these
magical plates!

Emerson’s suggestion had been well taken–the observer had seen again
the wonderful, persuasive power of enthusiasm!

Enthusiasm sent millions crusading into the Holy Land to redeem it from
the Saracens. Enthusiasm plunged Europe into a thirty years’ war over
religion. Enthusiasm sent three small ships plying the unknown sea to
the shores of a new world. When Napoleon’s army were worn out and
discouraged in their ascent of the Alps, the Little Corporal stopped
them and ordered the bands to play the Marseillaise. Under its
soul-stirring strains there were no Alps.

Listen! Emerson said: “Nothing great was ever achieved without
enthusiasm.” Carlyle declared that “Every great movement in the annals
of history has been the triumph of enthusiasm.” It is as contagious as
measles. Eloquence is half inspiration. Sweep your audience with you in
a pulsation of enthusiasm. Let yourself go. “A man,” said Oliver
Cromwell, “never rises so high as when he knows not whither he is

_How are We to Acquire and Develop Enthusiasm?_

It is not to be slipped on like a smoking jacket. A book cannot furnish
you with it. It is a growth–an effect. But an effect of what? Let us

Emerson wrote: “A painter told me that nobody could draw a tree without
in some sort becoming a tree; or draw a child by studying the outlines
of his form merely,–but, by watching for a time his motion and plays,
the painter enters his nature, and then can draw him at will in every
attitude. So Roos ‘entered into the inmost nature of his sheep.’ I knew
a draughtsman employed in a public survey, who found that he could not
sketch the rocks until their geological structure was first explained to

When Sarah Bernhardt plays a difficult role she frequently will speak to
no one from four o’clock in the afternoon until after the performance.
From the hour of four she lives her character. Booth, it is reported,
would not permit anyone to speak to him between the acts of his
Shakesperean r√¥les, for he was Macbeth then–not Booth. Dante, exiled
from his beloved Florence, condemned to death, lived in caves, half
starved; then Dante wrote out his heart in “The Divine Comedy.” Bunyan
entered into the spirit of his “Pilgrim’s Progress” so thoroughly that
he fell down on the floor of Bedford jail and wept for joy. Turner, who
lived in a garret, arose before daybreak and walked over the hills nine
miles to see the sun rise on the ocean, that he might catch the spirit
of its wonderful beauty. Wendell Phillips’ sentences were full of
“silent lightning” because he bore in his heart the sorrow of five
million slaves.

There is only one way to get feeling into your speaking–and whatever
else you forget, forget not this: _You must actually ENTER INTO_ the
character you impersonate, the cause you advocate, the case you
argue–enter into it so deeply that it clothes you, enthralls you,
possesses you wholly. Then you are, in the true meaning of the word, in
_sympathy_ with your subject, for its feeling is your feeling, you “feel
with” it, and therefore your enthusiasm is both genuine and contagious.
The Carpenter who spoke as “never man spake” uttered words born out of a
passion of love for humanity–he had entered into humanity, and thus
became Man.

But we must not look upon the foregoing words as a facile prescription
for decocting a feeling which may then be ladled out to a complacent
audience in quantities to suit the need of the moment. Genuine feeling
in a speech is bone and blood of the speech itself and not something
that may be added to it or substracted at will. In the ideal address
theme, speaker and audience become one, fused by the emotion and thought
of the hour.

_The Need of Sympathy for Humanity_

It is impossible to lay too much stress on the necessity for the
speaker’s having a broad and deep tenderness for human nature. One of
Victor Hugo’s biographers attributes his power as an orator and writer
to his wide sympathies and profound religious feelings. Recently we
heard the editor of _Collier’s Weekly_ speak on short-story writing, and
he so often emphasized the necessity for this broad love for humanity,
this truly religious feeling, that he apologized twice for delivering a
sermon. Few if any of the immortal speeches were ever delivered for a
selfish or a narrow cause–they were born out of a passionate desire to
help humanity; instances, Paul’s address to the Athenians on Mars Hill,
Lincoln’s Gettysburg speech, The Sermon on the Mount, Henry’s address
before the Virginia Convention of Delegates.

The seal and sign of greatness is a desire to serve others.
Self-preservation is the first law of life, but self-abnegation is the
first law of greatness–and of art. Selfishness is the fundamental cause
of all sin, it is the thing that all great religions, all worthy
philosophies, have struck at. Out of a heart of real sympathy and love
come the speeches that move humanity.

Former United States Senator Albert J. Beveridge in an introduction to
one of the volumes of “Modern Eloquence,” says: “The profoundest feeling
among the masses, the most influential element in their character, is
the religious element. It is as instinctive and elemental as the law of
self-preservation. It informs the whole intellect and personality of the
people. And he who would greatly influence the people by uttering their
unformed thoughts must have this great and unanalyzable bond of sympathy
with them.”

When the men of Ulster armed themselves to oppose the passage of the
Home Rule Act, one of the present writers assigned to a hundred men
“Home Rule” as the topic for an address to be prepared by each. Among
this group were some brilliant speakers, several of them experienced
lawyers and political campaigners. Some of their addresses showed a
remarkable knowledge and grasp of the subject; others were clothed in
the most attractive phrases. But a clerk, without a great deal of
education and experience, arose and told how he spent his boyhood days
in Ulster, how his mother while holding him on her lap had pictured to
him Ulster’s deeds of valor. He spoke of a picture in his uncle’s home
that showed the men of Ulster conquering a tyrant and marching on to
victory. His voice quivered, and with a hand pointing upward he declared
that if the men of Ulster went to war they would not go alone–a great
God would go with them.

The speech thrilled and electrified the audience. It thrills yet as we
recall it. The high-sounding phrases, the historical knowledge, the
philosophical treatment, of the other speakers largely failed to arouse
any deep interest, while the genuine conviction and feeling of the
modest clerk, speaking on a subject that lay deep in his heart, not
only electrified his audience but won their personal sympathy for the
cause he advocated.

As Webster said, it is of no use to try to pretend to sympathy or
feelings. It cannot be done successfully. “Nature is forever putting a
premium on reality.” What is false is soon detected as such. The
thoughts and feelings that create and mould the speech in the study must
be born again when the speech is delivered from the platform. Do not let
your words say one thing, and your voice and attitude another. There is
no room here for half-hearted, nonchalant methods of delivery. Sincerity
is the very soul of eloquence. Carlyle was right: “No Mirabeau,
Napoleon, Burns, Cromwell, no man adequate to do anything, but is first
of all in right earnest about it; what I call a sincere man. I should
say sincerity, a great, deep, genuine sincerity, is the first
characteristic of all men in any way heroic. Not the sincerity that
calls itself sincere; ah no, that is a very poor matter indeed; a
shallow braggart, conscious sincerity, oftenest self-conceit mainly. The
great man’s sincerity is of the kind he cannot speak of–is not
conscious of.”


It is one thing to convince the would-be speaker that he ought to put
feeling into his speeches; often it is quite another thing for him to do
it. The average speaker is afraid to let himself go, and continually
suppresses his emotions. When you put enough feeling into your speeches
they will sound overdone to you, unless you are an experienced speaker.
They will sound too strong, if you are not used to enlarging for
platform or stage, for the delineation of the emotions must be enlarged
for public delivery.

1. Study the following speech, going back in your imagination to the
time and circumstances that brought it forth. Make it not a memorized
historical document, but feel the emotions that gave it birth. The
speech is only an effect; live over in your own heart the causes that
produced it and try to deliver it at white heat. It is not possible for
you to put too much real feeling into it, though of course it would be
quite easy to rant and fill it with false emotion. This speech,
according to Thomas Jefferson, started the ball of the Revolution
rolling. Men were then willing to go out and die for liberty.



Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions
of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth,
and listen to the song of that siren, till she transforms us to
beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and
arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the
number of those who, having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear
not, the things which so nearly concern our temporal salvation?
For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am
willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to
provide for it.

I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided; and that is the
lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future
but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what
there has been in the conduct of the British Ministry for the
last ten years to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have
been pleased to solace themselves and the House? Is it that
insidious smile with which our petition has been lately
received? Trust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your
feet. Suffer not yourselves to be “betrayed with a kiss”! Ask
yourselves, how this gracious reception of our petition comports
with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and
darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of
love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to
be reconciled, that force must be called in to win back our
love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the
implements of war and subjugation, the last “arguments” to which
kings resort.

I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its
purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlemen assign
any other possible motive for it? Has Great Britain any enemy in
this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of
navies and armies? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us;
they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and
to rivet upon us those chains which the British Ministry have
been so long forging. And what have we to oppose to them? Shall
we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten
years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing.
We have held the subject up in every light of which it is
capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to
entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which
have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir,
deceive ourselves longer. Sir, we have done everything that
could be done, to avert the storm which is now coming on. We
have petitioned, we have remonstrated, we have supplicated, we
have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored
its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the Ministry
and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our
remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our
supplications have been disregarded, and we have been spurned
with contempt from the foot of the throne. In vain, after these
things, may we indulge in the fond hope of peace and
reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish
to be free, if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable
privileges for which we have been so long contending; if we mean
not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been
so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to
abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be
obtained, we must fight; I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An
appeal to arms, and to the God of Hosts, is all that is left us!

They tell us, sir, that we are weak–“unable to cope with so
formidable an adversary”! But when shall we be stronger? Will it
be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are
totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in
every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and
inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance, by
lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of
hope, until our enemies have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are
not weak, if we make a proper use of those means which the God
of Nature hath placed in our power. Three millions of people,
armed in the holy cause of Liberty, and in such a country as
that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our
enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our
battles alone. There is a just Power who presides over the
destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our
battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it
is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have
no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too
late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat, but in
submission and slavery. Our chains are forged. Their clanking
may be heard on the plains of Boston. The war is inevitable; and
let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come! It is in vain, sir,
to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry “Peace, peace!” but
there is no peace! The war is actually begun! The next gale that
sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of
resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why
stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would
they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be
purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it,
Almighty Powers!–I know not what course others may take; but as
for me, give me liberty or give me death!

2. Live over in your imagination all the solemnity and sorrow that
Lincoln felt at the Gettysburg cemetery. The feeling in this speech is
very deep, but it is quieter and more subdued than the preceding one.
The purpose of Henry’s address was to get action; Lincoln’s speech was
meant only to dedicate the last resting place of those who had acted.
Read it over and over (see page 50) until it burns in your soul. Then
commit it and repeat it for emotional expression.

3. Beecher’s speech on Lincoln, page 76; Thurston’s speech on “A Plea
for Cuba,” page 50; and the following selection, are recommended for
practise in developing feeling in delivery.

A living force that brings to itself all the resources of
imagination, all the inspirations of feeling, all that is
influential in body, in voice, in eye, in gesture, in posture,
in the whole animated man, is in strict analogy with the divine
thought and the divine arrangement; and there is no
misconstruction more utterly untrue and fatal than this: that
oratory is an artificial thing, which deals with baubles and
trifles, for the sake of making bubbles of pleasure for
transient effect on mercurial audiences. So far from that, it is
the consecration of the whole man to the noblest purposes to
which one can address himself–the education and inspiration of
his fellow men by all that there is in learning, by all that
there is in thought, by all that there is in feeling, by all
that there is in all of them, sent home through the channels of
taste and of beauty.


4. What in your opinion are the relative values of thought and feeling
in a speech?

5. Could we dispense with either?

6. What kinds of selections or occasions require much feeling and
enthusiasm? Which require little?

7. Invent a list of ten subjects for speeches, saying which would give
most room for pure thought and which for feeling.

8. Prepare and deliver a ten-minute speech denouncing the (imaginary)
unfeeling plea of an attorney; he may be either the counsel for the
defense or the prosecuting attorney, and the accused may be assumed to
be either guilty or innocent, at your option.

9. Is feeling more important than the technical principles expounded in
chapters III to VII? Why?

10. Analyze the secret of some effective speech or speaker. To what is
the success due?

11. Give an example from your own observation of the effect of feeling
and enthusiasm on listeners.

12. Memorize Carlyle’s and Emerson’s remarks on enthusiasm.

13. Deliver Patrick Henry’s address, page 110, and Thurston’s speech,
page 50, without show of feeling or enthusiasm. What is the result?

14. Repeat, with all the feeling these selections demand. What is the

15. What steps do you intend to take to develop the power of enthusiasm
and feeling in speaking?

16. Write and deliver a five-minute speech ridiculing a speaker who uses
bombast, pomposity and over-enthusiasm. Imitate him.



Animis opibusque parati–Ready in mind and resources.

–_Motto of South Carolina_.

In omnibus negotiis prius quam aggrediare, adhibenda est
pr√¶paratio diligens–In all matters before beginning a diligent
preparation should be made.

–CICERO, _De Officiis_.

Take your dictionary and look up the words that contain the Latin stem
_flu_–the results will be suggestive.

At first blush it would seem that fluency consists in a ready, easy use
of words. Not so–the flowing quality of speech is much more, for it is
a composite effect, with each of its prior conditions deserving of
careful notice.

_The Sources of Fluency_

Speaking broadly, fluency is almost entirely a matter of preparation.
Certainly, native gifts figure largely here, as in every art, but even
natural facility is dependent on the very same laws of preparation that
hold good for the man of supposedly small native endowment. Let this
encourage you if, like Moses, you are prone to complain that you are not
a ready speaker.

Have you ever stopped to analyze that expression, “a ready speaker?”
Readiness, in its prime sense, is preparedness, and they are most ready
who are best prepared. Quick firing depends more on the alert finger
than on the hair trigger. Your fluency will be in direct ratio to two
important conditions: your knowledge of what you are going to say, and
your being accustomed to telling what you know to an audience. This
gives us the second great element of fluency–to preparation must be
added the ease that arises from practise; of which more presently.

_Knowledge is Essential_

Mr. Bryan is a most fluent speaker when he speaks on political problems,
tendencies of the time, and questions of morals. It is to be supposed,
however, that he would not be so fluent in speaking on the bird life of
the Florida Everglades. Mr. John Burroughs might be at his best on this
last subject, yet entirely lost in talking about international law. Do
not expect to speak fluently on a subject that you know little or
nothing about. Ctesiphon boasted that he could speak all day (a sin in
itself) on any subject that an audience would suggest. He was banished
by the Spartans.

But preparation goes beyond the getting of the facts in the case you are
to present: it includes also the ability to think and arrange your
thoughts, a full and precise vocabulary, an easy manner of speech and
breathing, absence of self-consciousness, and the several other
characteristics of efficient delivery that have deserved special
attention in other parts of this book rather than in this chapter.

Preparation may be either general or specific; usually it should be
both. A life-time of reading, of companionship with stirring thoughts,
of wrestling with the problems of life–this constitutes a general
preparation of inestimable worth. Out of a well-stored mind, and–richer
still–a broad experience, and–best of all–a warmly sympathetic heart,
the speaker will have to draw much material that no _immediate_ study
could provide. General preparation consists of all that a man has put
into himself, all that heredity and environment have instilled into him,
and–that other rich source of preparedness for speech–the friendship
of wise companions. When Schiller returned home after a visit with
Goethe a friend remarked: “I am amazed by the progress Schiller can make
within a single fortnight.” It was the progressive influence of a new
friendship. Proper friendships form one of the best means for the
formation of ideas and ideals, for they enable one to practise in giving
expression to thought. The speaker who would speak fluently before an
audience should learn to speak fluently and entertainingly with a
friend. Clarify your ideas by putting them in words; the talker gains as
much from his conversation as the listener. You sometimes begin to
converse on a subject thinking you have very little to say, but one idea
gives birth to another, and you are surprised to learn that the more you
give the more you have to give. This give-and-take of friendly
conversation develops mentality, and fluency in expression. Longfellow
said: “A single conversation across the table with a wise man is better
than ten years’ study of books,” and Holmes whimsically yet none the
less truthfully declared that half the time he talked to find out what
he thought. But that method must not be applied on the platform!

After all this enrichment of life by storage, must come the special
preparation for the particular speech. This is of so definite a sort
that it warrants separate chapter-treatment later.


But preparation must also be of another sort than the gathering,
organizing, and shaping of materials–it must include _practise_, which,
like mental preparation, must be both general and special.

Do not feel surprised or discouraged if practise on the principles of
delivery herein laid down seems to retard your fluency. For a time, this
will be inevitable. While you are working for proper inflection, for
instance, inflection will be demanding your first thoughts, and the flow
of your speech, for the time being, will be secondary. This warning,
however, is strictly for the closet, for your practise at home. Do not
carry any thoughts of inflection with you to the platform. There you
must _think_ only of your subject. There is an absolute telepathy
between the audience and the speaker. If your thought goes to your
gesture, their thought will too. If your interest goes to the quality of
your voice, they will be regarding that instead of what your voice is

You have doubtless been adjured to “forget everything but your subject.”
This advice says either too much or too little. The truth is that while
on the platform you must not _forget_ a great many things that are not
in your subject, but you must not _think_ of them. Your attention must
consciously go only to your message, but subconsciously you will be
attending to the points of technique which have become more or less
_habitual by practise_.

A nice balance between these two kinds of attention is important.

You can no more escape this law than you can live without air: Your
platform gestures, your voice, your inflection, will all be just as good
as your _habit_ of gesture, voice, and inflection makes them–no better.
Even the thought of whether you are speaking fluently or not will have
the effect of marring your flow of speech.

Return to the opening chapter, on self-confidence, and again lay its
precepts to heart. Learn by rules to speak without thinking of rules. It
is not–or ought not to be–necessary for you to stop to think how to
say the alphabet correctly, as a matter of fact it is slightly more
difficult for you to repeat Z, Y, X than it is to say X, Y, Z–habit has
established the order. Just so you must master the laws of efficiency in
speaking until it is a second nature for you to speak correctly rather
than otherwise. A beginner at the piano has a great deal of trouble with
the mechanics of playing, but as time goes on his fingers become trained
and almost instinctively wander over the keys correctly. As an
inexperienced speaker you will find a great deal of difficulty at first
in putting principles into practise, for you will be scared, like the
young swimmer, and make some crude strokes, but if you persevere you
will “win out.”

Thus, to sum up, the vocabulary you have enlarged by study,[4] the ease
in speaking you have developed by practise, the economy of your
well-studied emphasis all will subconsciously come to your aid on the
platform. Then the habits you have formed will be earning you a splendid
dividend. The fluency of your speech will be at the speed of flow your
practise has made habitual.

But this means work. What good habit does not? No philosopher’s stone
that will act as a substitute for laborious practise has ever been
found. If it were, it would be thrown away, because it would kill our
greatest joy–the delight of acquisition. If public-speaking means to
you a fuller life, you will know no greater happiness than a well-spoken
speech. The time you have spent in gathering ideas and in private
practise of speaking you will find amply rewarded.


1. What advantages has the fluent speaker over the hesitating talker?

2. What influences, within and without the man himself, work against

3. Select from the daily paper some topic for an address and make a
three-minute address on it. Do your words come freely and your sentences
flow out rhythmically? Practise _on the same topic_ until they do.

4. Select some subject with which you are familiar and test your fluency
by speaking extemporaneously.

5. Take one of the sentiments given below and, following the advice
given on pages 118-119, construct a short speech beginning with the last
word in the sentence.

Machinery has created a new economic world.

The Socialist Party is a strenuous worker for peace.

He was a crushed and broken man when he left prison.

War must ultimately give way to world-wide arbitration.

The labor unions demand a more equal distribution of the wealth
that labor creates.

6. Put the sentiments of Mr. Bryan’s “Prince of Peace,” on page 448,
into your own words. Honestly criticise your own effort.

7. Take any of the following quotations and make a five-minute speech on
it without pausing to prepare. The first efforts may be very lame, but
if you want speed on a typewriter, a record for a hundred-yard dash, or
facility in speaking, you must practise, _practise_, _PRACTISE_.

There lives more faith in honest doubt,
Believe me, than in half the creeds.

–TENNYSON, _In Memoriam_.

Howe’er it be, it seems to me,
‘Tis only noble to be good.
Kind hearts are more than coronets,
And simple faith than Norman blood.

–TENNYSON, _Lady Clara Vere de Vere_.

‘Tis distance lends enchantment to the view
And robes the mountain in its azure hue.

–CAMPBELL, _Pleasures of Hope_.

His best companions, innocence and health,
And his best riches, ignorance of wealth.

–GOLDSMITH, _The Deserted Village_.

Beware of desperate steps! The darkest day,
Live till tomorrow, will have passed away.

–COWPER, _Needless Alarm_.

My country is the world, and my religion is to do good.

–PAINE, _Rights of Man_.

Trade it may help, society extend,
But lures the pirate, and corrupts the friend:
It raises armies in a nation’s aid,
But bribes a senate, and the land’s betray’d.

–POPE, _Moral Essays_.[5]

O God, that men should put an enemy in their mouths to steal
away their brains!

–SHAKESPEARE, _Othello_.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.

–HENLEY, _Invictus_.

The world is so full of a number of things,
I am sure we should all be happy as kings.

–STEVENSON, _A Child’s Garden of Verses_.

If your morals are dreary, depend upon it they are wrong.

–STEVENSON, _Essays_.

Every advantage has its tax. I learn to be content.

–EMERSON, _Essays_.

8. Make a two-minute speech on any of the following general subjects,
but you will find that your ideas will come more readily if you narrow
your subject by taking some specific phase of it. For instance, instead
of trying to speak on “Law” in general, take the proposition, “The Poor
Man Cannot Afford to Prosecute;” or instead of dwelling on “Leisure,”
show how modern speed is creating more leisure. In this way you may
expand this subject list indefinitely.


Woman’s Suffrage.
Initiative and Referendum.
A Larger Navy.
Foreign Immigration.
The Liquor Traffic.
Labor Unions.
Single Tax.
The Far East.
Child Labor.
The Theater.
Public Speaking.
The Most Dramatic Moment of My Life.
My Happiest Days.
Things Worth While.
What I Hope to Achieve.
My Greatest Desire.
What I Would Do with a Million Dollars.
Is Mankind Progressing?
Our Greatest Need.


[Footnote 4: See chapter on “Increasing the Vocabulary.”]

[Footnote 5: Money.]



Oh, there is something in that voice that reaches
The innermost recesses of my spirit!

–LONGFELLOW, _Christus_.

The dramatic critic of The London _Times_ once declared that acting is
nine-tenths voice work. Leaving the message aside, the same may justly
be said of public speaking. A rich, correctly-used voice is the greatest
physical factor of persuasiveness and power, often over-topping the
effects of reason.

But a good voice, well handled, is not only an effective possession for
the professional speaker, it is a mark of personal culture as well, and
even a distinct commercial asset. Gladstone, himself the possessor of a
deep, musical voice, has said: “Ninety men in every hundred in the
crowded professions will probably never rise above mediocrity because
the training of the voice is entirely neglected and considered of no
importance.” These are words worth pondering.

There are three fundamental requisites for a good voice:

_1. Ease_

Signor Bonci of the Metropolitan Opera Company says that the secret of
good voice is relaxation; and this is true, for relaxation is the basis
of ease. The air waves that produce voice result in a different kind of
tone when striking against relaxed muscles than when striking
constricted muscles. Try this for yourself. Contract the muscles of your
face and throat as you do in hate, and flame out “I hate you!” Now relax
as you do when thinking gentle, tender thoughts, and say, “I love you.”
How different the voice sounds.

In practising voice exercises, and in speaking, never force your tones.
Ease must be your watchword. The voice is a delicate instrument, and you
must not handle it with hammer and tongs. Don’t _make_ your voice
go–_let_ it go. Don’t work. Let the yoke of speech be easy and its
burden light.

Your throat should be free from strain during speech, therefore it is
necessary to avoid muscular contraction. The throat must act as a sort
of chimney or funnel for the voice, hence any unnatural constriction
will not only harm its tones but injure its health.

Nervousness and mental strain are common sources of mouth and throat
constriction, so make the battle for poise and self-confidence for which
we pleaded in the opening chapter.

But _how_ can I relax? you ask. By simply _willing_ to relax. Hold your
arm out straight from your shoulder. Now–withdraw all power and let it
fall. Practise relaxation of the muscles of the throat by letting your
neck and head fall forward. Roll the upper part of your body around,
with the waist line acting as a pivot. Let your head fall and roll
around as you shift the torso to different positions. Do not force your
head around–simply relax your neck and let gravity pull it around as
your body moves.

Again, let your head fall forward on your breast; raise your head,
letting your jaw hang. Relax until your jaw feels heavy, as though it
were a weight hung to your face. Remember, you must relax the jaw to
obtain command of it. It must be free and flexible for the moulding of
tone, and to let the tone pass out unobstructed.

The lips also must be made flexible, to aid in the moulding of clear and
beautiful tones. For flexibility of lips repeat the syllables,
_mo_–_me_. In saying _mo_, bring the lips up to resemble the shape of
the letter O. In repeating _me_ draw them back as you do in a grin.
Repeat this exercise rapidly, giving the lips as much exercise as

Try the following exercise in the same manner:


After this exercise has been mastered, the following will also be found
excellent for flexibility of lips:

Memorize these _sounds_ indicated (not the _expressions_) so that you
can repeat them rapidly.

| A as in  May. | E as in Met.  | U as in Use.
| A   ”    Ah.  | I   ”   Ice.  | Oi  ”   Oil.
| A   ”    At.  | I   ”   It.   | Ou  ”   Our.
| O   ”    No.  | O   ”   No.   | OO  ”   Ooze.
| A   ”    All. | OO  ”   Foot. | A   ”   Ah.
| E   ”    Eat. | OO  ”   Ooze. | E   ”   Eat.

All the activity of breathing must be centered, not in the throat, but
in the middle of the body–you must breathe from the diaphragm. Note the
way you breathe when lying flat on the back, undressed in bed. You will
observe that all the activity then centers around the diaphragm. This is
the natural and correct method of breathing. By constant watchfulness
make this your habitual manner, for it will enable you to relax more
perfectly the muscles of the throat.

The next fundamental requisite for good voice is

_2. Openness_

If the muscles of the throat are constricted, the tone passage partially
closed, and the mouth kept half-shut, how can you expect the tone to
come out bright and clear, or even to come out at all? Sound is a series
of waves, and if you make a prison of your mouth, holding the jaws and
lips rigidly, it will be very difficult for the tone to squeeze through,
and even when it does escape it will lack force and carrying power. Open
your mouth wide, relax all the organs of speech, and let the tone flow
out easily.

Start to yawn, but instead of yawning, speak while your throat is open.
Make this open-feeling habitual when speaking–we say _make_ because it
is a matter of resolution and of practise, if your vocal organs are
healthy. Your tone passages may be partly closed by enlarged tonsils,
adenoids, or enlarged turbinate bones of the nose. If so, a skilled
physician should be consulted.

The nose is an important tone passage and should be kept open and free
for perfect tones. What we call “talking through the nose” is not
talking through the nose, as you can easily demonstrate by holding your
nose as you talk. If you are bothered with nasal tones caused by
growths or swellings in the nasal passages, a slight, painless operation
will remove the obstruction. This is quite important, aside from voice,
for the general health will be much lowered if the lungs are continually
starved for air.

The final fundamental requisite for good voice is

_3. Forwardness_

A voice that is pitched back in the throat is dark, sombre, and
unattractive. The tone must be pitched forward, but do not _force_ it
forward. You will recall that our first principle was ease. _Think_ the
tone forward and out. Believe it is going forward, and allow it to flow
easily. You can tell whether you are placing your tone forward or not by
inhaling a deep breath and singing _ah_ with the mouth wide open, trying
to feel the little delicate sound waves strike the bony arch of the
mouth just above the front teeth. The sensation is so slight that you
will probably not be able to detect it at once, but persevere in your
practise, always thinking the tone forward, and you will be rewarded by
feeling your voice strike the roof of your mouth. A correct
forward-placing of the tone will do away with the dark, throaty tones
that are so unpleasant, inefficient, and harmful to the throat.

Close the lips, humming _ng_, _im_, or _an_. Think the tone forward. Do
you feel it strike the lips?

Hold the palm of your hand in front of your face and say vigorously
_crash, dash, whirl, buzz_. Can you feel the forward tones strike
against your hand? Practise until you can. Remember, the only way to
get your voice forward is to _put_ it forward.

_How to Develop the Carrying Power of the Voice_

It is not necessary to speak loudly in order to be heard at a distance.
It is necessary only to speak correctly. Edith Wynne Matthison’s voice
will carry in a whisper throughout a large theater. A paper rustling on
the stage of a large auditorium can be heard distinctly in the
furthermost seat in the gallery. If you will only use your voice
correctly, you will not have much difficulty in being heard. Of course
it is always well to address your speech to your furthest auditors; if
they get it, those nearer will have no trouble, but aside from this
obvious suggestion, you must observe these laws of voice production:

Remember to apply the principles of ease, openness and forwardness–they
are the prime factors in enabling your voice to be heard at a distance.

Do not gaze at the floor as you talk. This habit not only gives the
speaker an amateurish appearance but if the head is hung forward the
voice will be directed towards the ground instead of floating out over
the audience.

Voice is a series of air vibrations. To strengthen it two things are
necessary: more air or breath, and more vibration.

Breath is the very basis of voice. As a bullet with little powder behind
it will not have force and carrying power, so the voice that has little
breath behind it will be weak. Not only will deep breathing–breathing
from the diaphragm–give the voice a better support, but it will give
it a stronger resonance by improving the general health.

Usually, ill health means a weak voice, while abundant physical vitality
is shown through a strong, vibrant voice. Therefore anything that
improves the general vitality is an excellent voice strengthener,
provided you _use_ the voice properly. Authorities differ on most of the
rules of hygiene but on one point they all agree: vitality and longevity
are increased by deep breathing. Practise this until it becomes second
nature. Whenever you are speaking, take in deep breaths, but in such a
manner that the inhalations will be silent.

Do not try to speak too long without renewing your breath. Nature cares
for this pretty well unconsciously in conversation, and she will do the
same for you in platform speaking if you do not interfere with her

A certain very successful speaker developed voice carrying power by
running across country, practising his speeches as he went. The vigorous
exercise forced him to take deep breaths, and developed lung power. A
hard-fought basketball or tennis game is an efficient way of practising
deep breathing. When these methods are not convenient, we recommend the

Place your hands at your sides, on the waist line.

By trying to encompass your waist with your fingers and thumbs, force
all the air out of the lungs.

Take a deep breath. Remember, all the activity is to be centered in the
_middle_ of the body; do not raise the shoulders. As the breath is taken
your hands will be forced out.

Repeat the exercise, placing your hands on the small of the back and
forcing them out as you inhale.

Many methods for deep breathing have been given by various authorities.
Get the air into your lungs–that is the important thing.

The body acts as a sounding board for the voice just as the body of the
violin acts as a sounding board for its tones. You can increase its
vibrations by practise.

Place your finger on your lip and hum the musical scale, thinking and
placing the voice forward on the lips. Do you feel the lips vibrate?
After a little practise they will vibrate, giving a tickling sensation.

Repeat this exercise, throwing the humming sound into the nose. Hold the
upper part of the nose between the thumb and forefinger. Can you feel
the nose vibrate?

Placing the palm of your hand on top of your head, repeat this humming
exercise. Think the voice there as you hum in head tones. Can you feel
the vibration there?

Now place the palm of your hand on the back of your head, repeating the
foregoing process. Then try it on the chest. Always remember to think
your tone where you desire to feel the vibrations. The mere act of
thinking about any portion of your body will tend to make it vibrate.

Repeat the following, after a deep inhalation, endeavoring to feel all
portions of your body vibrate at the same time. When you have attained
this you will find that it is a pleasant sensation.

What ho, my jovial mates. Come on! We will frolic it like
fairies, frisking in the merry moonshine.

_Purity of Voice_

This quality is sometimes destroyed by wasting the breath. Carefully
control the breath, using only as much as is necessary for the
production of tone. Utilize all that you give out. Failure to do this
results in a breathy tone. Take in breath like a prodigal; in speaking,
give it out like a miser.

_Voice Suggestions_

Never attempt to force your voice when hoarse.

Do not drink cold water when speaking. The sudden shock to the heated
organs of speech will injure the voice.

Avoid pitching your voice too high–it will make it raspy. This is a
common fault. When you find your voice in too high a range, lower it. Do
not wait until you get to the platform to try this. Practise it in your
daily conversation. Repeat the alphabet, beginning A on the lowest scale
possible and going up a note on each succeeding letter, for the
development of range. A wide range will give you facility in making
numerous changes of pitch.

Do not form the habit of listening to your voice when speaking. You will
need your brain to think of what you are saying–reserve your
observation for private practise.


1. What are the prime requisites for good voice?

2. Tell why each one is necessary for good voice production.

3. Give some exercises for development of these conditions.

4. Why is range of voice desirable?

5. Tell how range of voice may be cultivated.

6. How much daily practise do you consider necessary for the proper
development of your voice?

7. How can resonance and carrying power be developed?

8. What are your voice faults?

9. How are you trying to correct them?



A cheerful temper joined with innocence will make beauty
attractive, knowledge delightful, and wit good-natured.

–JOSEPH ADDISON, _The Tattler_.

Poe said that “the tone of beauty is sadness,” but he was evidently
thinking from cause to effect, not contrariwise, for sadness is rarely a
producer of beauty–that is peculiarly the province of joy.

The exquisite beauty of a sunset is not exhilarating but tends to a sort
of melancholy that is not far from delight The haunting beauty of deep,
quiet music holds more than a tinge of sadness. The lovely minor
cadences of bird song at twilight are almost depressing.

The reason we are affected to sadness by certain forms of placid beauty
is twofold: movement is stimulating and joy-producing, while quietude
leads to reflection, and reflection in turn often brings out the tone of
regretful longing for that which is past; secondly, quiet beauty
produces a vague aspiration for the relatively unattainable, yet does
not stimulate to the tremendous effort necessary to make the dimly
desired state or object ours.

We must distinguish, for these reasons, between the sadness of beauty
and the joy of beauty. True, joy is a deep, inner thing and takes in
much more than the idea of bounding, sanguine spirits, for it includes a
certain active contentedness of heart. In this chapter, however the
word will have its optimistic, exuberant connotation–we are thinking
now of vivid, bright-eyed, laughing joy.

Musical, joyous tones constitute voice charm, a subtle magnetism that is
delightfully contagious. Now it might seem to the desultory reader that
to take the lancet and cut into this alluring voice quality would be to
dissect a butterfly wing and so destroy its charm. Yet how can we induce
an effect if we are not certain as to the cause?

_Nasal Resonance Produces the Bell-tones of the Voice_

The tone passages of the nose must be kept entirely free for the bright
tones of voice–and after our warning in the preceding chapter you will
not confuse what is popularly and erroneously called a “nasal” tone with
the true nasal quality, which is so well illustrated by the voice work
of trained French singers and speakers.

To develop nasal resonance sing the following, dwelling as long as
possible on the _ng_ sounds. Pitch the voice in the nasal cavity.
Practise both in high and low registers, and develop range–_with

Sing-song. Ding-dong. Hong-kong. Long-thong.

Practise in the falsetto voice develops a bright quality in the normal
speaking-voice. Try the following, and any other selections you choose,
in a falsetto voice. A man’s falsetto voice is extremely high and
womanish, so men should not practise in falsetto after the exercise
becomes tiresome.

She perfectly scorned the best of his clan, and declared the
ninth of any man, a perfectly vulgar fraction.

The actress Mary Anderson asked the poet Longfellow what she could do to
improve her voice. He replied, “Read aloud daily, joyous, lyric poetry.”

The joyous tones are the bright tones. Develop them by exercise.
Practise your voice exercises in an attitude of joy. Under the influence
of pleasure the body expands, the tone passages open, the action of
heart and lungs is accelerated, and all the primary conditions for good
tone are established.

More songs float out from the broken windows of the negro cabins in the
South than from the palatial homes on Fifth Avenue. Henry Ward Beecher
said the happiest days of his life were not when he had become an
international character, but when he was an unknown minister out in
Lawrenceville, Ohio, sweeping his own church, and working as a carpenter
to help pay the grocer. Happiness is largely an attitude of mind, of
viewing life from the right angle. The optimistic attitude can be
cultivated, and it will express itself in voice charm. A telephone
company recently placarded this motto in their booths: “The Voice with
the Smile Wins.” It does. Try it.

Reading joyous prose, or lyric poetry, will help put smile and joy of
soul into your voice. The following selections are excellent for

_REMEMBER_ that when you first practise these classics you are to give
sole attention to two things: a joyous attitude of heart and body, and
bright tones of voice. After these ends have been attained to your
satisfaction, carefully review the principles of public speaking laid
down in the preceding chapters and put them into practise as you read
these passages again and again. _It would be better to commit each
selection to memory._



Haste thee, Nymph, and bring with thee
Jest, and youthful Jollity,
Quips and Cranks and wanton Wiles,
Nods and Becks, and wreathèd Smiles,
Such as hang on Hebe’s cheek,
And love to live in dimple sleek,–
Sport that wrinkled Care derides,
And Laughter holding both his sides.

Come, and trip it as ye go
On the light fantastic toe;
And in thy right hand lead with thee
The mountain nymph, sweet Liberty:
And, if I give thee honor due,
Mirth, admit me of thy crew,
To live with her, and live with thee,
In unreprovèd pleasures free;

To hear the lark begin his flight,
And singing, startle the dull Night
From his watch-tower in the skies,
Till the dappled Dawn doth rise;
Then to come in spite of sorrow,
And at my window bid good-morrow
Through the sweetbrier, or the vine,
Or the twisted eglantine;
While the cock with lively din
Scatters the rear of darkness thin,
And to the stack, or the barn-door,
Stoutly struts his dames before;

Oft listening how the hounds and horn
Cheerly rouse the slumbering Morn,
From the side of some hoar hill,
Through the high wood echoing shrill;
Sometime walking, not unseen,
By hedge-row elms, on hillocks green,
Right against the eastern gate,
Where the great Sun begins his state,
Robed in flames and amber light,
The clouds in thousand liveries dight,
While the plowman near at hand
Whistles o’er the furrowed land,
And the milkmaid singing blithe,
And the mower whets his scythe,
And every shepherd tells his tale,
Under the hawthorn in the dale.


The sea, the sea, the open sea,
The blue, the fresh, the fever free;
Without a mark, without a bound,
It runneth the earth’s wide regions round;
It plays with the clouds, it mocks the skies,
Or like a cradled creature lies.
I’m on the sea, I’m on the sea,
I am where I would ever be,
With the blue above and the blue below,
And silence wheresoe’er I go.
If a storm should come and awake the deep,
What matter? I shall ride and sleep.

I love, oh! how I love to ride
On the fierce, foaming, bursting tide,
Where every mad wave drowns the moon,
And whistles aloft its tempest tune,
And tells how goeth the world below,
And why the southwest wind doth blow!
I never was on the dull, tame shore
But I loved the great sea more and more,
And backward flew to her billowy breast,
Like a bird that seeketh her mother’s nest,–
And a mother she was and is to me,
For I was born on the open sea.

The waves were white, and red the morn,
In the noisy hour when I was born;
The whale it whistled, the porpoise rolled,
And the dolphins bared their backs of gold;
And never was heard such an outcry wild,
As welcomed to life the ocean child.
I have lived, since then, in calm and strife,
Full fifty summers a rover’s life,
With wealth to spend, and a power to range,
But never have sought or sighed for change:
And death, whenever he comes to me,
Shall come on the wide, unbounded sea!


The sun does not shine for a few trees and flowers, but for the
wide world’s joy. The lonely pine upon the mountain-top waves
its sombre boughs, and cries, “Thou art my sun.” And the little
meadow violet lifts its cup of blue, and whispers with its
perfumed breath, “Thou art my sun.” And the grain in a thousand
fields rustles in the wind, and makes answer, “Thou art my sun.”
And so God sits effulgent in Heaven, not for a favored few, but
for the universe of life; and there is no creature so poor or so
low that he may not look up with child-like confidence and say,
“My Father! Thou art mine.”



Bird of the wilderness,
Blithesome and cumberless,
Sweet be thy matin o’er moorland and lea!
Emblem of happiness,
Blest is thy dwelling-place:
Oh, to abide in the desert with thee!

Wild is thy lay, and loud,
Far in the downy cloud,–
Love gives it energy; love gave it birth.
Where, on thy dewy wing
Where art thou journeying?
Thy lay is in heaven; thy love is on earth.

O’er fell and fountain sheen,
O’er moor and mountain green,
O’er the red streamer that heralds the day;
Over the cloudlet dim,
Over the rainbow’s rim,
Musical cherub, soar, singing, away!

Then, when the gloaming comes,
Low in the heather blooms,
Sweet will thy welcome and bed of love be!
Emblem of happiness,
Blest is thy dwelling-place.
Oh, to abide in the desert with thee!


In joyous conversation there is an elastic touch, a delicate stroke,
upon the central ideas, generally following a pause. This elastic touch
adds vivacity to the voice. If you try repeatedly, it can be sensed by
feeling the tongue strike the teeth. The entire absence of elastic touch
in the voice can be observed in the thick tongue of the intoxicated man.
Try to talk with the tongue lying still in the bottom of the mouth, and
you will obtain largely the same effect. Vivacity of utterance is gained
by using the tongue to strike off the emphatic idea with a decisive,
elastic touch.

Deliver the following with decisive strokes on the emphatic ideas.
Deliver it in a vivacious manner, noting the elastic touch-action of the
tongue. A flexible, responsive tongue is absolutely essential to good
voice work.


What have you done with that brilliant France which I left you?
I left you at peace, and I find you at war. I left you
victorious and I find you defeated. I left you the millions of
Italy, and I find only spoliation and poverty. What have you
done with the hundred thousand Frenchmen, my companions in
glory? They are dead!… This state of affairs cannot last long;
in less than three years it would plunge us into despotism.

Practise the following selection, for the development of elastic touch;
say it in a joyous spirit, using the exercise to develop voice charm in
_all_ the ways suggested in this chapter.


I come from haunts of coot and hern,
I make a sudden sally,
And sparkle out among the fern,
To bicker down a valley.

By thirty hills I hurry down,
Or slip between the ridges;
By twenty thorps, a little town,
And half a hundred bridges.

Till last by Philip’s farm I flow
To join the brimming river;
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on forever.

I chatter over stony ways,
In little sharps and trebles,
I bubble into eddying bays,
I babble on the pebbles.

With many a curve my banks I fret,
By many a field and fallow,
And many a fairy foreland set
With willow-weed and mallow.

I chatter, chatter, as I flow
To join the brimming river;
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on forever.

I wind about, and in and out,
With here a blossom sailing,
And here and there a lusty trout,
And here and there a grayling,

And here and there a foamy flake
Upon me, as I travel,
With many a silvery water-break
Above the golden gravel,

And draw them all along, and flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on forever.

I steal by lawns and grassy plots,
I slide by hazel covers,
I move the sweet forget-me-nots
That grow for happy lovers.

I slip, I slide, I gloom, I glance,
Among my skimming swallows;
I make the netted sunbeam dance
Against my sandy shallows,

I murmur under moon and stars
In brambly wildernesses,
I linger by my shingly bars,
I loiter round my cresses;

And out again I curve and flow
To join the brimming river;
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on forever.


The children at play on the street, glad from sheer physical vitality,
display a resonance and charm in their voices quite different from the
voices that float through the silent halls of the hospitals. A skilled
physician can tell much about his patient’s condition from the mere
sound of the voice. Failing health, or even physical weariness, tells
through the voice. It is always well to rest and be entirely refreshed
before attempting to deliver a public address. As to health, neither
scope nor space permits us to discuss here the laws of hygiene. There
are many excellent books on this subject. In the reign of the Roman
emperor Tiberius, one senator wrote to another: “To the wise, a word is

“The apparel oft proclaims the man;” the voice always does–it is one of
the greatest revealers of character. The superficial woman, the brutish
man, the reprobate, the person of culture, often discloses inner nature
in the voice, for even the cleverest dissembler cannot entirely prevent
its tones and qualities being affected by the slightest change of
thought or emotion. In anger it becomes high, harsh, and unpleasant; in
love low, soft, and melodious–the variations are as limitless as they
are fascinating to observe. Visit a theatrical hotel in a large city,
and listen to the buzz-saw voices of the chorus girls from some
burlesque “attraction.” The explanation is simple–buzz-saw lives.
Emerson said: “When a man lives with God his voice shall be as sweet as
the murmur of the brook or the rustle of the corn.” It is impossible to
think selfish thoughts and have either an attractive personality, a
lovely character, or a charming voice. If you want to possess voice
charm, cultivate a deep, sincere sympathy for mankind. Love will shine
out through your eyes and proclaim itself in your tones. One secret of
the sweetness of the canary’s song may be his freedom from tainted
thoughts. Your character beautifies or mars your voice. As a man
thinketh in his heart so is his voice.


1. Define (_a_) charm; (_b_) joy; (_c_) beauty.

2. Make a list of all the words related to _joy_.

3. Write a three-minute eulogy of “The Joyful Man.”

4. Deliver it without the use of notes. Have you carefully considered
all the qualities that go to make up voice-charm in its delivery?

5. Tell briefly in your own words what means may be employed to develop
a charming voice.

6. Discuss the effect of voice on character.

7. Discuss the effect of character on voice.

8. Analyze the voice charm of any speaker or singer you choose.

9. Analyze the defects of any given voice.

10. Make a short humorous speech imitating certain voice defects,
pointing out reasons.

11. Commit the following stanza and interpret each phase of delight
suggested or expressed by the poet.

An infant when it gazes on a light,
A child the moment when it drains the breast,
A devotee when soars the Host in sight,
An Arab with a stranger for a guest,
A sailor when the prize has struck in fight,
A miser filling his most hoarded chest,
Feel rapture; but not such true joy are reaping
As they who watch o’er what they love while sleeping.

–BYRON, _Don Juan_.



In man speaks God.

–HESIOD, _Words and Days_.

And endless are the modes of speech, and far
Extends from side to side the field of words.

–HOMER, _Iliad_.

In popular usage the terms “pronunciation,” “enunciation,” and
“articulation” are synonymous, but real pronunciation includes three
distinct processes, and may therefore be defined as, _the utterance of a
syllable or a group of syllables with regard to articulation,
accentuation, and enunciation_.

Distinct and precise utterance is one of the most important
considerations of public speech. How preposterous it is to hear a
speaker making sounds of “inarticulate earnestness” under the contented
delusion that he is telling something to his audience! Telling? Telling
means communicating, and how can he actually communicate without making
every word distinct?

Slovenly pronunciation results from either physical deformity or habit.
A surgeon or a surgeon dentist may correct a deformity, but your own
will, working by self-observation and resolution in drill, will break a
habit. All depends upon whether you think it worth while.

Defective speech is so widespread that freedom from it is the exception.
It is painfully common to hear public speakers mutilate the king’s
English. If they do not actually murder it, as Curran once said, they
often knock an _i_ out.

A Canadian clergyman, writing in the _Homiletic Review_, relates that in
his student days “a classmate who was an Englishman supplied a country
church for a Sunday. On the following Monday he conducted a missionary
meeting. In the course of his address he said some farmers thought they
were doing their duty toward missions when they gave their ‘hodds and
hends’ to the work, but the Lord required more. At the close of the
meeting a young woman seriously said to a friend: ‘I am sure the farmers
do well if they give their hogs and hens to missions. It is more than
most people can afford.'”

It is insufferable effrontery for any man to appear before an audience
who persists in driving the _h_ out of happiness, home and heaven, and,
to paraphrase Waldo Messaros, will not let it rest in hell. He who does
not show enough self-knowledge to see in himself such glaring faults,
nor enough self-mastery to correct them, has no business to instruct
others. If he _can_ do no better, he should be silent. If he _will_ do
no better, he should also be silent.

Barring incurable physical defects–and few are incurable nowadays–the
whole matter is one of will. The catalogue of those who have done the
impossible by faithful work is as inspiring as a roll-call of warriors.
“The less there is of you,” says Nathan Sheppard, “the more need for you
to make the most of what there is of you.”


Articulation is the forming and joining of the elementary sounds of
speech. It seems an appalling task to utter articulately the third-of-a
million words that go to make up our English vocabulary, but the way to
make a beginning is really simple: _learn to utter correctly, and with
easy change from one to the other, each of the forty-four elementary
sounds in our language_.

The reasons why articulation is so painfully slurred by a great many
public speakers are four: ignorance of the elemental sounds; failure to
discriminate between sounds nearly alike; a slovenly, lazy use of the
vocal organs; and a torpid will. Anyone who is still master of himself
will know how to handle each of these defects.

The vowel sounds are the most vexing source of errors, especially where
diphthongs are found. Who has not heard such errors as are hit off in
this inimitable verse by Oliver Wendell Holmes:

Learning condemns beyond the reach of hope
The careless lips that speak of s[)o]ap for s[=o]ap;
Her edict exiles from her fair abode
The clownish voice that utters r[)o]ad for r[=o]ad;
Less stern to him who calls his c[=o]at, a c[)o]at
And steers his b[=o]at believing it a b[)o]at.
She pardoned one, our classic city’s boast.
Who said at Cambridge, m[)o]st instead of m[=o]st,
But knit her brows and stamped her angry foot
To hear a Teacher call a r[=oo]t a r[)oo]t.

The foregoing examples are all monosyllables, but bad articulation is
frequently the result of joining sounds that do not belong together.
For example, no one finds it difficult to say _beauty_, but many persist
in pronouncing _duty_ as though it were spelled either _dooty_ or
_juty_. It is not only from untaught speakers that we hear such slovenly
articulations as _colyum_ for _column_, and _pritty_ for _pretty_, but
even great orators occasionally offend quite as unblushingly as less
noted mortals.

Nearly all such are errors of carelessness, not of pure ignorance–of
carelessness because the ear never tries to hear what the lips
articulate. It must be exasperating to a foreigner to find that the
elemental sound _ou_ gives him no hint for the pronunciation of _bough_,
_cough_, _rough_, _thorough_, and _through_, and we can well forgive
even a man of culture who occasionally loses his way amidst the
intricacies of English articulation, but there can be no excuse for the
slovenly utterance of the simple vowel sounds which form at once the
life and the beauty of our language. He who is too lazy to speak
distinctly should hold his tongue.

The consonant sounds occasion serious trouble only for those who do not
look with care at the spelling of words about to be pronounced. Nothing
but carelessness can account for saying _Jacop_, _Babtist_, _sevem_,
_alwus_, or _sadisfy_.

“He that hath yaws to yaw, let him yaw,” is the rendering which an
Anglophobiac clergyman gave of the familiar scripture, “He that hath
ears to hear, let him hear.” After hearing the name of Sir Humphry Davy
pronounced, a Frenchman who wished to write to the eminent Englishman
thus addressed the letter: “Serum Fridavi.”


Accentuation is the stressing of the proper syllables in words. This it
is that is popularly called _pronunciation_. For instance, we properly
say that a word is mispronounced when it is accented _in’-vite_instead
of _in-vite’_, though it is really an offense against only one form of

It is the work of a lifetime to learn the accents of a large vocabulary
and to keep pace with changing usage; but an alert ear, the study of
word-origins, and the dictionary habit, will prove to be mighty helpers
in a task that can never be finally completed.


Correct enunciation is the complete utterance of all the sounds of a
syllable or a word. Wrong articulation gives the wrong sound to the
vowel or vowels of a word or a syllable, as _doo_ for _dew_; or unites
two sounds improperly, as _hully_ for _wholly_. Wrong enunciation is the
_incomplete_ utterance of a syllable or a word, the sound omitted or
added being usually consonantal. To say _needcessity_ instead of
_necessity_ is a wrong articulation; to say _doin_ for _doing_ is
improper enunciation. The one articulates–that is, joints–two sounds
that should not be joined, and thus gives the word a positively wrong
sound; the other fails to touch all the sounds in the word, and _in that
particular way_ also sounds the word incorrectly.

“My tex’ may be foun’ in the fif’ and six’ verses of the secon’ chapter
of Titus; and the subjec’ of my discourse is ‘The Gover’ment of ar

What did this preacher do with his final consonants? This slovenly
dropping of essential sounds is as offensive as the common habit of
running words together so that they lose their individuality and
distinctness. _Lighten dark_, _uppen down_, _doncher know_,
_partic’lar_, _zamination_, are all too common to need comment.

Imperfect enunciation is due to lack of attention and to lazy lips. It
can be corrected by resolutely attending to the formation of syllables
as they are uttered. Flexible lips will enunciate difficult combinations
of sounds without slighting any of them, but such flexibility cannot be
attained except by habitually uttering words with distinctness and
accuracy. A daily exercise in enunciating a series of sounds will in a
short time give flexibility to the lips and alertness to the mind, so
that no word will be uttered without receiving its due complement of

Returning to our definition, we see that when the sounds of a word are
properly articulated, the right syllables accented, and full value given
to each sound in its enunciation, we have correct pronunciation. Perhaps
one word of caution is needed here, lest any one, anxious to bring out
clearly every sound, should overdo the matter and neglect the unity and
smoothness of pronunciation. Be careful not to bring syllables into so
much prominence as to make words seem long and angular. The joints must
be kept decently dressed.

Before delivery, do not fail to go over your manuscript and note every
sound that may possibly be mispronounced. Consult the dictionary and
make assurance doubly sure. If the arrangement of words is unfavorable
to clear enunciation, change either words or order and do not rest until
you can follow Hamlet’s directions to the players.


1. Practise repeating the following rapidly, paying particular attention
to the consonants.

“Foolish Flavius, flushing feverishly, fiercely found fault with
Flora’s frivolity.[7]”

Mary’s matchless mimicry makes much mischief.

Seated on shining shale she sells sea shells.

You youngsters yielded your youthful yule-tide yearnings

2. Sound the _l_ in each of the following words, repeated in sequence:

Blue black blinkers blocked Black Blondin’s eyes.

3. Do you say a _bloo_ sky or a _blue_ sky?

4. Compare the _u_ sound in _few_ and in _new_. Say each aloud, and
decide which is correct, _Noo York_, _New Yawk_, or _New York_?

5. Pay careful heed to the directions of this chapter in reading the
following, from Hamlet. After the interview with the ghost of his
father, Hamlet tells his friends Horatio and Marcellus that he intends
to act a part:

_Horatio_. O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!

_Hamlet_. And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
But come;
Here, as before, never, so help you mercy,
How strange or odd so’er I bear myself,–
As I perchance hereafter shall think meet
To put an antic disposition on,–
That you, at such times seeing me, never shall,
With arms encumber’d thus, or this head-shake,
Or by pronouncing of some doubtful phrase,
As “Well, well, we know,” or “We could, an if we would,”
Or “If we list to speak,” or “There be, an if there might,”
Or such ambiguous giving-out, to note
That you know aught of me: this not to do,
So grace and mercy at your most need help you,

–_Act I. Scene V._

6. Make a list of common errors of pronunciation, saying which are due
to faulty articulation, wrong accentuation, and incomplete enunciation.
In each case make the correction.

7. Criticise any speech you may have heard which displayed these faults.

8. Explain how the false shame of seeming to be too precise may hinder
us from cultivating perfect verbal utterance.

9. Over-precision is likewise a fault. To bring out any syllable unduly
is to caricature the word. Be _moderate_ in reading the following:


The enemies of the Republic call me tyrant! Were I such they
would grovel at my feet. I should gorge them with gold, I should
grant them immunity for their crimes, and they would be
grateful. Were I such, the kings we have vanquished, far from
denouncing Robespierre, would lend me their guilty support;
there would be a covenant between them and me. Tyranny must have
tools. But the enemies of tyranny,–whither does their path
tend? To the tomb, and to immortality! What tyrant is my
protector? To what faction do I belong? Yourselves! What
faction, since the beginning of the Revolution, has crushed and
annihilated so many detected traitors? You, the people,–our
principles–are that faction–a faction to which I am devoted,
and against which all the scoundrelism of the day is banded!

The confirmation of the Republic has been my object; and I know
that the Republic can be established only on the eternal basis
of morality. Against me, and against those who hold kindred
principles, the league is formed. My life? Oh! my life I abandon
without a regret! I have seen the past; and I foresee the
future. What friend of this country would wish to survive the
moment when he could no longer serve it,–when he could no
longer defend innocence against oppression? Wherefore should I
continue in an order of things, where intrigue eternally
triumphs over truth; where justice is mocked; where passions the
most abject, or fears the most absurd, over-ride the sacred
interests of humanity? In witnessing the multitude of vices
which the torrent of the Revolution has rolled in turbid
communion with its civic virtues, I confess that I have
sometimes feared that I should be sullied, in the eyes of
posterity, by the impure neighborhood of unprincipled men, who
had thrust themselves into association with the sincere friends
of humanity; and I rejoice that these conspirators against my
country have now, by their reckless rage, traced deep the line
of demarcation between themselves and all true men.

Question history, and learn how all the defenders of liberty, in
all times, have been overwhelmed by calumny. But their traducers
died also. The good and the bad disappear alike from the earth;
but in very different conditions. O Frenchmen! O my countrymen!
Let not your enemies, with their desolating doctrines, degrade
your souls, and enervate your virtues! No, Chaumette, no! Death
is not “an eternal sleep!” Citizens! efface from the tomb that
motto, graven by sacrilegious hands, which spreads over all
nature a funereal crape, takes from oppressed innocence its
support, and affronts the beneficent dispensation of death!
Inscribe rather thereon these words: “Death is the commencement
of immortality!” I leave to the oppressors of the People a
terrible testament, which I proclaim with the independence
befitting one whose career is so nearly ended; it is the awful
truth–“Thou shalt die!”


[Footnote 6: _School and College Speaker_, Mitchell.]

[Footnote 7: _School and College Speaker_, Mitchell.]



When Whitefield acted an old blind man advancing by slow steps
toward the edge of the precipice, Lord Chesterfield started up
and cried: “Good God, he is gone!”

–NATHAN SHEPPARD, _Before an Audience_.

Gesture is really a simple matter that requires observation and common
sense rather than a book of rules. Gesture is an outward expression of
an inward condition. It is merely an effect–the effect of a mental or
an emotional impulse struggling for expression through physical avenues.

You must not, however, begin at the wrong end: if you are troubled by
your gestures, or a lack of gestures, attend to the cause, not the
effect. It will not in the least help matters to tack on to your
delivery a few mechanical movements. If the tree in your front yard is
not growing to suit you, fertilize and water the soil and let the tree
have sunshine. Obviously it will not help your tree to nail on a few
branches. If your cistern is dry, wait until it rains; or bore a well.
Why plunge a pump into a dry hole?

The speaker whose thoughts and emotions are welling within him like a
mountain spring will not have much trouble to make gestures; it will be
merely a question of properly directing them. If his enthusiasm for his
subject is not such as to give him a natural impulse for dramatic
action, it will avail nothing to furnish him with a long list of rules.
He may tack on some movements, but they will look like the wilted
branches nailed to a tree to simulate life. Gestures must be born, not
built. A wooden horse may amuse the children, but it takes a live one to
go somewhere.

It is not only impossible to lay down definite rules on this subject,
but it would be silly to try, for everything depends on the speech, the
occasion, the personality and feelings of the speaker, and the attitude
of the audience. It is easy enough to forecast the result of multiplying
seven by six, but it is impossible to tell any man what kind of gestures
he will be impelled to use when he wishes to show his earnestness. We
may tell him that many speakers close the hand, with the exception of
the forefinger, and pointing that finger straight at the audience pour
out their thoughts like a volley; or that others stamp one foot for
emphasis; or that Mr. Bryan often slaps his hands together for great
force, holding one palm upward in an easy manner; or that Gladstone
would sometimes make a rush at the clerk’s table in Parliament and smite
it with his hand so forcefully that D’israeli once brought down the
house by grimly congratulating himself that such a barrier stood between
himself and “the honorable gentleman.”

All these things, and a bookful more, may we tell the speaker, but we
cannot know whether he can use these gestures or not, any more than we
can decide whether he could wear Mr. Bryan’s clothes. The best that can
be done on this subject is to offer a few practical suggestions, and let
personal good taste decide as to where effective dramatic action ends
and extravagant motion begins.

_Any Gesture That Merely Calls Attention to Itself Is Bad_

The purpose of a gesture is to carry your thought and feeling into the
minds and hearts of your hearers; this it does by emphasizing your
message, by interpreting it, by expressing it in action, by striking its
tone in either a physically descriptive, a suggestive, or a typical
gesture–and let it be remembered all the time that gesture includes
_all_ physical movement, from facial expression and the tossing of the
head to the expressive movements of hand and foot. A shifting of the
pose may be a most effective gesture.

What is true of gesture is true of all life. If the people on the street
turn around and watch your walk, your walk is more important than you
are–change it. If the attention of your audience is called to your
gestures, they are not convincing, because they _appear_ to be–what
they have a doubtful right to be in reality–studied. Have you ever seen
a speaker use such grotesque gesticulations that you were fascinated by
their frenzy of oddity, but could not follow his thought? Do not smother
ideas with gymnastics. Savonarola would rush down from the high pulpit
among the congregation in the _duomo_ at Florence and carry the fire of
conviction to his hearers; Billy Sunday slides to base on the platform
carpet in dramatizing one of his baseball illustrations. Yet in both
instances the message has somehow stood out bigger than the gesture–it
is chiefly in calm afterthought that men have remembered the _form_ of
dramatic expression. When Sir Henry Irving made his famous exit as
“Shylock” the last thing the audience saw was his pallid, avaricious
hand extended skinny and claw-like against the background. At the time,
every one was overwhelmed by the tremendous typical quality of this
gesture; now, we have time to think of its art, and discuss its
realistic power.

Only when gesture is subordinated to the absorbing importance of the
idea–a spontaneous, living expression of living truth–is it
justifiable at all; and when it is remembered for itself–as a piece of
unusual physical energy or as a poem of grace–it is a dead failure as
dramatic expression. There is a place for a unique style of walking–it
is the circus or the cake-walk; there is a place for surprisingly
rhythmical evolutions of arms and legs–it is on the dance floor or the
stage. Don’t let your agility and grace put your thoughts out of

One of the present writers took his first lessons in gesture from a
certain college president who knew far more about what had happened at
the Diet of Worms than he did about how to express himself in action.
His instructions were to start the movement on a certain word, continue
it on a precise curve, and unfold the fingers at the conclusion, ending
with the forefinger–just so. Plenty, and more than plenty, has been
published on this subject, giving just such silly directions. Gesture is
a thing of mentality and feeling–not a matter of geometry. Remember,
whenever a pair of shoes, a method of pronunciation, or a gesture calls
attention to itself, it is bad. When you have made really good gestures
in a good speech your hearers will not go away saying, “What beautiful
gestures he made!” but they will say, “I’ll vote for that measure.” “He
is right–I believe in that.”

_Gestures Should Be Born of the Moment_

The best actors and public speakers rarely know in advance what gestures
they are going to make. They make one gesture on certain words tonight,
and none at all tomorrow night at the same point–their various moods
and interpretations govern their gestures. It is all a matter of impulse
and intelligent feeling with them–don’t overlook that word
_intelligent_. Nature does not always provide the same kind of sunsets
or snow flakes, and the movements of a good speaker vary almost as much
as the creations of nature.

Now all this is not to say that you must not take some thought for your
gestures. If that were meant, why this chapter? When the sergeant
despairingly besought the recruit in the awkward squad to step out and
look at himself, he gave splendid advice–and worthy of personal
application. Particularly while you are in the learning days of public
speaking you must learn to criticise your own gestures. Recall them–see
where they were useless, crude, awkward, what not, and do better next
time. There is a vast deal of difference between being conscious of self
and being self-conscious.

It will require your nice discrimination in order to cultivate
spontaneous gestures and yet give due attention to practise. While you
depend upon the moment it is vital to remember that only a dramatic
genius can effectively accomplish such feats as we have related of
Whitefield, Savonarola, and others: and doubtless the first time they
were used they came in a burst of spontaneous feeling, yet Whitefield
declared that not until he had delivered a sermon forty times was its
delivery perfected. What spontaneity initiates let practise complete.
Every effective speaker and every vivid actor has observed, considered
and practised gesture until his dramatic actions are a sub-conscious
possession, just like his ability to pronounce correctly without
especially concentrating his thought. Every able platform man has
possessed himself of a dozen ways in which he might depict in gesture
any given emotion; in fact, the means for such expression are
endless–and this is precisely why it is both useless and harmful to
make a chart of gestures and enforce them as the ideals of what may be
used to express this or that feeling. Practise descriptive, suggestive,
and typical movements until they come as naturally as a good
articulation; and rarely forecast the gestures you will use at a given
moment: leave something to that moment.

_Avoid Monotony in Gesture_

Roast beef is an excellent dish, but it would be terrible as an
exclusive diet. No matter how effective one gesture is, do not overwork
it. Put variety in your actions. Monotony will destroy all beauty and
power. The pump handle makes one effective gesture, and on hot days that
one is very eloquent, but it has its limitations.

_Any Movement that is not Significant, Weakens_

Do not forget that. Restlessness is not expression. A great many useless
movements will only take the attention of the audience from what you are
saying. A widely-noted man introduced the speaker of the evening one
Sunday lately to a New York audience. The only thing remembered about
that introductory speech is that the speaker played nervously with the
covering of the table as he talked. We naturally watch moving objects. A
janitor putting down a window can take the attention of the hearers from
Mr. Roosevelt. By making a few movements at one side of the stage a
chorus girl may draw the interest of the spectators from a big scene
between the “leads.” When our forefathers lived in caves they had to
watch moving objects, for movements meant danger. We have not yet
overcome the habit. Advertisers have taken advantage of it–witness the
moving electric light signs in any city. A shrewd speaker will respect
this law and conserve the attention of his audience by eliminating all
unnecessary movements.

_Gesture Should either be Simultaneous with or Precede the Words–not
Follow Them_

Lady Macbeth says: “Bear welcome in your eye, your hand, your tongue.”
Reverse this order and you get comedy. Say, “There he goes,” pointing at
him after you have finished your words, and see if the result is not

_Do Not Make Short, Jerky Movements_

Some speakers seem to be imitating a waiter who has failed to get a tip.
Let your movements be easy, and from the shoulder, as a rule, rather
than from the elbow. But do not go to the other extreme and make too
many flowing motions–that savors of the lackadaisical.

Put a little “punch” and life into your gestures. You can not, however,
do this mechanically. The audience will detect it if you do. They may
not know just what is wrong, but the gesture will have a false
appearance to them.

_Facial Expression is Important_

Have you ever stopped in front of a Broadway theater and looked at the
photographs of the cast? Notice the row of chorus girls who are supposed
to be expressing fear. Their attitudes are so mechanical that the
attempt is ridiculous. Notice the picture of the “star” expressing the
same emotion: his muscles are drawn, his eyebrows lifted, he shrinks,
and fear shines through his eyes. That actor _felt_ fear when the
photograph was taken. The chorus girls felt that it was time for a
rarebit, and more nearly expressed that emotion than they did fear.
Incidentally, that is one reason why they _stay_ in the chorus.

The movements of the facial muscles may mean a great deal more than the
movements of the hand. The man who sits in a dejected heap with a look
of despair on his face is expressing his thoughts and feelings just as
effectively as the man who is waving his arms and shouting from the
back of a dray wagon. The eye has been called the window of the soul.
Through it shines the light of our thoughts and feelings.

_Do Not Use Too Much Gesture_

As a matter of fact, in the big crises of life we do not go through many
actions. When your closest friend dies you do not throw up your hands
and talk about your grief. You are more likely to sit and brood in
dry-eyed silence. The Hudson River does not make much noise on its way
to the sea–it is not half so loud as the little creek up in Bronx Park
that a bullfrog could leap across. The barking dog never tears your
trousers–at least they say he doesn’t. Do not fear the man who waves
his arms and shouts his anger, but the man who comes up quietly with
eyes flaming and face burning may knock you down. Fuss is not force.
Observe these principles in nature and practise them in your delivery.

The writer of this chapter once observed an instructor drilling a class
in gesture. They had come to the passage from Henry VIII in which the
humbled Cardinal says: “Farewell, a long farewell to all my greatness.”
It is one of the pathetic passages of literature. A man uttering such a
sentiment would be crushed, and the last thing on earth he would do
would be to make flamboyant movements. Yet this class had an
elocutionary manual before them that gave an appropriate gesture for
every occasion, from paying the gas bill to death-bed farewells. So they
were instructed to throw their arms out at full length on each side and
say: “Farewell, a long farewell to all my greatness.” Such a gesture
might possibly be used in an after-dinner speech at the convention of a
telephone company whose lines extended from the Atlantic to the Pacific,
but to think of Wolsey’s using that movement would suggest that his fate
was just.


The physical attitude to be taken before the audience really is included
in gesture. Just what that attitude should be depends, not on rules, but
on the spirit of the speech and the occasion. Senator La Follette stood
for three hours with his weight thrown on his forward foot as he leaned
out over the footlights, ran his fingers through his hair, and flamed
out a denunciation of the trusts. It was very effective. But imagine a
speaker taking that kind of position to discourse on the development of
road-making machinery. If you have a fiery, aggressive message, and will
let yourself go, nature will naturally pull your weight to your forward
foot. A man in a hot political argument or a street brawl never has to
stop to think upon which foot he should throw his weight. You may
sometimes place your weight on your back foot if you have a restful and
calm message–but don’t worry about it: just stand like a man who
genuinely feels what he is saying. Do not stand with your heels close
together, like a soldier or a butler. No more should you stand with them
wide apart like a traffic policeman. Use simple good manners and common

Here a word of caution is needed. We have advised you to allow your
gestures and postures to be spontaneous and not woodenly prepared
beforehand, but do not go to the extreme of ignoring the importance of
acquiring mastery of your physical movements. A muscular hand made
flexible by free movement, is far more likely to be an effective
instrument in gesture than a stiff, pudgy bunch of fingers. If your
shoulders are lithe and carried well, while your chest does not retreat
from association with your chin, the chances of using good
extemporaneous gestures are so much the better. Learn to keep the _back_
of your neck touching your collar, hold your chest high, and keep down
your waist measure.

So attention to strength, poise, flexibility, and grace of body are the
foundations of good gesture, for they are expressions of vitality, and
without vitality no speaker can enter the kingdom of power. When an
awkward giant like Abraham Lincoln rose to the sublimest heights of
oratory he did so because of the greatness of his soul–his very
ruggedness of spirit and artless honesty were properly expressed in his
gnarly body. The fire of character, of earnestness, and of message swept
his hearers before him when the tepid words of an insincere Apollo would
have left no effect. But be sure you are a second Lincoln before you
despise the handicap of physical awkwardness.

“Ty” Cobb has confided to the public that when he is in a batting slump
he even stands before a mirror, bat in hand, to observe the “swing” and
“follow through” of his batting form. If you would learn to stand well
before an audience, look at yourself in a mirror–but not too often.
Practise walking and standing before the mirror so as to conquer
awkwardness–not to cultivate a pose. Stand on the platform in the same
easy manner that you would use before guests in a drawing-room. If your
position is not graceful, make it so by dancing, gymnasium work, and _by
getting grace and poise in your mind_.

Do not continually hold the same position. Any big change of thought
necessitates a change of position. Be at home. There are no rules–it is
all a matter of taste. While on the platform forget that you have any
hands until you desire to use them–then remember them effectively.
Gravity will take care of them. Of course, if you want to put them
behind you, or fold them once in awhile, it is not going to ruin your
speech. Thought and feeling are the big things in speaking–not the
position of a foot or a hand. Simply _put_ your limbs where you want
them to be–you have a will, so do not neglect to use it.

Let us reiterate, do not despise practise. Your gestures and movements
may be spontaneous and still be wrong. No matter how natural they are,
it is possible to improve them.

It is impossible for anyone–even yourself–to criticise your gestures
until after they are made. You can’t prune a peach tree until it comes
up; therefore speak much, and observe your own speech. While you are
examining yourself, do not forget to study statuary and paintings to see
how the great portrayers of nature have made their subjects express
ideas through action. Notice the gestures of the best speakers and
actors. Observe the physical expression of life everywhere. The leaves
on the tree respond to the slightest breeze. The muscles of your face,
the light of your eyes, should respond to the slightest change of
feeling. Emerson says: “Every man that I meet is my superior in some
way. In that I learn of him.” Illiterate Italians make gestures so
wonderful and beautiful that Booth or Barrett might have sat at their
feet and been instructed. Open your eyes. Emerson says again: “We are
immersed in beauty, but our eyes have no clear vision.” Toss this book
to one side; go out and watch one child plead with another for a bite of
apple; see a street brawl; observe life in action. Do you want to know
how to express victory? Watch the victors’ hands go high on election
night. Do you want to plead a cause? Make a composite photograph of all
the pleaders in daily life you constantly see. Beg, borrow, and steal
the best you can get, _BUT DON’T GIVE IT OUT AS THEFT_. Assimilate it
until it becomes a part of you–then _let_ the expression come out.


1. From what source do you intend to study gesture?

2. What is the first requisite of good gestures? Why?

3. Why is it impossible to lay down steel-clad rules for gesturing?

4. Describe (_a_) a graceful gesture that you have observed; (_b_) a
forceful one; (_c_) an extravagant one; (_d_) an inappropriate one.

5. What gestures do you use for emphasis? Why?

6. How can grace of movement be acquired?

7. When in doubt about a gesture what would you do?

8. What, according to your observations before a mirror, are your faults
in gesturing?

9. How do you intend to correct them?

10. What are some of the gestures, if any, that you might use in
delivering Thurston’s speech, page 50; Grady’s speech, page 36? Be

11. Describe some particularly appropriate gesture that you have
observed. Why was it appropriate?

12. Cite at least three movements in nature that might well be imitated
in gesture.

13. What would you gather from the expressions: _descriptive_ gesture,
_suggestive_ gesture, and _typical_ gesture?

14. Select any elemental emotion, such as fear, and try, by picturing in
your mind at least five different situations that might call forth this
emotion, to express its several phases by gesture–including posture,
movement, and facial expression.

15. Do the same thing for such other emotions as you may select.

16. Select three passages from any source, only being sure that they are
suitable for public delivery, memorize each, and then devise gestures
suitable for each. Say why.

17. Criticise the gestures in any speech you have heard recently.

18. Practise flexible movement of the hand. What exercises did you find

19. Carefully observe some animal; then devise several typical gestures.

20. Write a brief dialogue between any two animals; read it aloud and
invent expressive gestures.

21. Deliver, with appropriate gestures, the quotation that heads this

22. Read aloud the following incident, using dramatic gestures:

When Voltaire was preparing a young actress to appear in one of
his tragedies, he tied her hands to her sides with pack thread
in order to check her tendency toward exuberant gesticulation.
Under this condition of compulsory immobility she commenced to
rehearse, and for some time she bore herself calmly enough; but
at last, completely carried away by her feelings, she burst her
bonds and flung up her arms. Alarmed at her supposed neglect of
his instructions, she began to apologize to the poet; he
smilingly reassured her, however; the gesture was _then_
admirable, because it was irrepressible.

–REDWAY, _The Actor’s Art_.

23. Render the following with suitable gestures:

One day, while preaching, Whitefield “suddenly assumed a
nautical air and manner that were irresistible with him,” and
broke forth in these words: “Well, my boys, we have a clear sky,
and are making fine headway over a smooth sea before a light
breeze, and we shall soon lose sight of land. But what means
this sudden lowering of the heavens, and that dark cloud arising
from beneath the western horizon? Hark! Don’t you hear distant
thunder? Don’t you see those flashes of lightning? There is a
storm gathering! Every man to his duty! The air is dark!–the
tempest rages!–our masts are gone!–the ship is on her beam
ends! What next?” At this a number of sailors in the
congregation, utterly swept away by the dramatic description,
leaped to their feet and cried: “The longboat!–take to the

–NATHAN SHEPPARD, _Before an Audience_.



The crown, the consummation, of the discourse is its delivery.
Toward it all preparation looks, for it the audience waits, by
it the speaker is judged…. All the forces of the orator’s life
converge in his oratory. The logical acuteness with which he
marshals the facts around his theme, the rhetorical facility
with which he orders his language, the control to which he has
attained in the use of his body as a single organ of expression,
whatever richness of acquisition and experience are his–these
all are now incidents; _the fact_ is the sending of his message
home to his hearers…. The hour of delivery is the “supreme,
inevitable hour” for the orator. It is this fact that makes lack
of adequate preparation such an impertinence. And it is this
that sends such thrills of indescribable joy through the
orator’s whole being when he has achieved a success–it is like
the mother forgetting her pangs for the joy of bringing a son
into the world.

–J.B.E., _How to Attract and Hold an Audience_.

There are four fundamental methods of delivering an address; all others
are modifications of one or more of these: reading from manuscript,
committing the written speech and speaking from memory, speaking from
notes, and extemporaneous speech. It is impossible to say which form of
delivery is best for all speakers in all circumstances–in deciding for
yourself you should consider the occasion, the nature of the audience,
the character of your subject, and your own limitations of time and
ability. However, it is worth while warning you not to be lenient in
self-exaction. Say to yourself courageously: What others can do, I can
attempt. A bold spirit conquers where others flinch, and a trying task
challenges pluck.

_Reading from Manuscript_

This method really deserves short shrift in a book on public speaking,
for, delude yourself as you may, public reading is not public speaking.
Yet there are so many who grasp this broken reed for support that we
must here discuss the “read speech”–apologetic misnomer as it is.

Certainly there are occasions–among them, the opening of Congress, the
presentation of a sore question before a deliberative body, or a
historical commemoration–when it may seem not alone to the “orator” but
to all those interested that the chief thing is to express certain
thoughts in precise language–in language that _must_ not be either
misunderstood or misquoted. At such times oratory is unhappily elbowed
to a back bench, the manuscript is solemnly withdrawn from the capacious
inner pocket of the new frock coat, and everyone settles himself
resignedly, with only a feeble flicker of hope that the so-called speech
may not be as long as it is thick. The words may be golden, but the
hearers’ (?) eyes are prone to be leaden, and in about one instance out
of a hundred does the perpetrator really deliver an impressive address.
His excuse is his apology–he is not to be blamed, as a rule, for some
one decreed that it would be dangerous to cut loose from manuscript
moorings and take his audience with him on a really delightful sail.

One great trouble on such “great occasions” is that the essayist–for
such he is–has been chosen not because of his speaking ability but
because his grandfather fought in a certain battle, or his constituents
sent him to Congress, or his gifts in some line of endeavor other than
speaking have distinguished him.

As well choose a surgeon from his ability to play golf. To be sure, it
always interests an audience to see a great man; because of his eminence
they are likely to listen to his words with respect, perhaps with
interest, even when droned from a manuscript. But how much more
effective such a deliverance would be if the papers were cast aside!

Nowhere is the read-address so common as in the pulpit–the pulpit, that
in these days least of all can afford to invite a handicap. Doubtless
many clergymen prefer finish to fervor–let them choose: they are rarely
men who sway the masses to acceptance of their message. What they gain
in precision and elegance of language they lose in force.

There are just four motives that can move a man to read his address or

1. Laziness is the commonest. Enough said. Even Heaven cannot make a
lazy man efficient.

2. A memory so defective that he really cannot speak without reading.
Alas, he is not speaking when he is reading, so his dilemma is
painful–and not to himself alone. But no man has a right to assume that
his memory is utterly bad until he has buckled down to memory
culture–and failed. A weak memory is oftener an excuse than a reason.

3. A genuine lack of time to do more than write the speech. There are
such instances–but they do not occur every week! The disposition of
your time allows more flexibility than you realize. Motive 3 too often
harnesses up with Motive 1.

4. A conviction that the speech is too important to risk forsaking the
manuscript. But, if it is vital that every word should be so precise,
the style so polished, and the thoughts so logical, that the preacher
must write the sermon entire, is not the message important enough to
warrant extra effort in perfecting its delivery? It is an insult to a
congregation and disrespectful to Almighty God to put the phrasing of a
message above the message itself. To reach the hearts of the hearers the
sermon must be delivered–it is only half delivered when the speaker
cannot utter it with original fire and force, when he merely repeats
words that were conceived hours or weeks before and hence are like
champagne that has lost its fizz. The reading preacher’s eyes are tied
down to his manuscript; he cannot give the audience the benefit of his
expression. How long would a play fill a theater if the actors held
their cue-books in hand and read their parts? Imagine Patrick Henry
reading his famous speech; Peter-the-Hermit, manuscript in hand,
exhorting the crusaders; Napoleon, constantly looking at his papers,
addressing the army at the Pyramids; or Jesus reading the Sermon on the
Mount! These speakers were so full of their subjects, their general
preparation had been so richly adequate, that there was no necessity for
a manuscript, either to refer to or to serve as “an outward and visible
sign” of their preparedness. No event was ever so dignified that it
required an _artificial_ attempt at speech making. Call an essay by its
right name, but never call it a speech. Perhaps the most dignified of
events is a supplication to the Creator. If you ever listened to the
reading of an original prayer you must have felt its superficiality.

Regardless of what the theories may be about manuscript delivery, the
fact remains that it does not work out with efficiency. _Avoid it
whenever at all possible._

_Committing the Written Speech and Speaking from Memory_

This method has certain points in its favor. If you have time and
leisure, it is possible to polish and rewrite your ideas until they are
expressed in clear, concise terms. Pope sometimes spent a whole day in
perfecting one couplet. Gibbon consumed twenty years gathering material
for and rewriting the “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.” Although
you cannot devote such painstaking preparation to a speech, you should
take time to eliminate useless words, crowd whole paragraphs into a
sentence and choose proper illustrations. Good speeches, like plays, are
not written; they are rewritten. The National Cash Register Company
follows this plan with their most efficient selling organization: they
require their salesmen to memorize verbatim a selling talk. They
maintain that there is one best way of putting their selling arguments,
and they insist that each salesman use this ideal way rather than employ
any haphazard phrases that may come into his mind at the moment.

The method of writing and committing has been adopted by many noted
speakers; Julius Cæsar, Robert Ingersoll, and, on some occasions,
Wendell Phillips, were distinguished examples. The wonderful effects
achieved by famous actors were, of course, accomplished through the
delivery of memorized lines.

The inexperienced speaker must be warned before attempting this method
of delivery that it is difficult and trying. It requires much skill to
make it efficient. The memorized lines of the young speaker will usually
_sound_ like memorized words, and repel.

If you want to hear an example, listen to a department store
demonstrator repeat her memorized lingo about the newest furniture
polish or breakfast food. It requires training to make a memorized
speech sound fresh and spontaneous, and, unless you have a fine native
memory, in each instance the finished product necessitates much labor.
Should you forget a part of your speech or miss a few words, you are
liable to be so confused that, like Mark Twain’s guide in Rome, you will
be compelled to repeat your lines from the beginning.

On the other hand, you may be so taken up with trying to recall your
written words that you will not abandon yourself to the spirit of your
address, and so fail to deliver it with that spontaneity which is so
vital to forceful delivery.

But do not let these difficulties frighten you. If committing seems best
to you, give it a faithful trial. Do not be deterred by its pitfalls,
but by resolute practise avoid them.

One of the best ways to rise superior to these difficulties is to do as
Dr. Wallace Radcliffe often does: commit without writing the speech,
making practically all the preparation mentally, without putting pen to
paper–a laborious but effective way of cultivating both mind and

You will find it excellent practise, both for memory and delivery, to
commit the specimen speeches found in this volume and declaim them, with
all attention to the principles we have put before you. William Ellery
Channing, himself a distinguished speaker, years ago had this to say of
practise in declamation:

“Is there not an amusement, having an affinity with the drama, which
might be usefully introduced among us? I mean, Recitation. A work of
genius, recited by a man of fine taste, enthusiasm, and powers of
elocution, is a very pure and high gratification. Were this art
cultivated and encouraged, great numbers, now insensible to the most
beautiful compositions, might be waked up to their excellence and

_Speaking from Notes_

The third, and the most popular method of delivery, is probably also the
best one for the beginner. Speaking from notes is not ideal delivery,
but we learn to swim in shallow water before going out beyond the ropes.

Make a definite plan for your discourse (for a fuller discussion see
Chapter XVIII) and set down the points somewhat in the fashion of a
lawyer’s brief, or a preacher’s outline. Here is a sample of very simple



Attention indispensable to the performance of any
great work. _Anecdote_.


1. From common observation.

2. From the lives of great men {Carlyle, Robert E. Lee.}


1. Reason.

2. Imagination.

3. Memory.

4. Will. _Anecdote_.


1. Involuntary attention.

2. Voluntary attention. _Examples_.


The consequences of inattention and of attention.

Few briefs would be so precise as this one, for with experience a
speaker learns to use little tricks to attract his eye–he may
underscore a catch-word heavily, draw a red circle around a pivotal
idea, enclose the key-word of an anecdote in a wavy-lined box, and so on
indefinitely. These points are worth remembering, for nothing so eludes
the swift-glancing eye of the speaker as the sameness of typewriting, or
even a regular pen-script. So unintentional a thing as a blot on the
page may help you to remember a big “point” in your brief–perhaps by
association of ideas.

An inexperienced speaker would probably require fuller notes than the
specimen given. Yet that way lies danger, for the complete manuscript is
but a short remove from the copious outline. Use as few notes as

They may be necessary for the time being, but do not fail to look upon
them as a necessary evil; and even when you lay them before you, refer
to them only when compelled to do so. Make your notes as full as you
please in preparation, but by all means condense them for platform use.

_Extemporaneous Speech_

Surely this is the ideal method of delivery. It is far and away the most
popular with the audience, and the favorite method of the most efficient

“Extemporaneous speech” has sometimes been made to mean unprepared
speech, and indeed it is too often precisely that; but in no such sense
do we recommend it strongly to speakers old and young. On the contrary,
to speak well without notes requires all the preparation which we
discussed so fully in the chapter on “Fluency,” while yet relying upon
the “inspiration of the hour” for some of your thoughts and much of your
language. You had better remember, however, that the most effective
inspiration of the hour is the inspiration you yourself bring to it,
bottled up in your spirit and ready to infuse itself into the audience.

If you extemporize you can get much closer to your audience. In a sense,
they appreciate the task you have before you and send out their
sympathy. Extemporize, and you will not have to stop and fumble around
amidst your notes–you can keep your eye afire with your message and
hold your audience with your very glance. You yourself will feel their
response as you read the effects of your warm, spontaneous words,
written on their countenances.

Sentences written out in the study are liable to be dead and cold when
resurrected before the audience. When you create as you speak you
conserve all the native fire of your thought. You can enlarge on one
point or omit another, just as the occasion or the mood of the audience
may demand. It is not possible for every speaker to use this, the most
difficult of all methods of delivery, and least of all can it be used
successfully without much practise, but it is the ideal towards which
all should strive.

One danger in this method is that you may be led aside from your subject
into by-paths. To avoid this peril, firmly stick to your mental outline.
Practise speaking from a memorized brief until you gain control. Join a
debating society–talk, _talk_, _TALK_, and always extemporize. You may
“make a fool of yourself” once or twice, but is that too great a price
to pay for success?

Notes, like crutches, are only a sign of weakness. Remember that the
power of your speech depends to some extent upon the view your audience
holds of you. General Grant’s words as president were more powerful than
his words as a Missouri farmer. If you would appear in the light of an
authority, be one. Make notes on your brain instead of on paper.

_Joint Methods of Delivery_

A modification of the second method has been adopted by many great
speakers, particularly lecturers who are compelled to speak on a wide
variety of subjects day after day; such speakers often commit their
addresses to memory but keep their manuscripts in flexible book form
before them, turning several pages at a time. They feel safer for having
a sheet-anchor to windward–but it is an anchor, nevertheless, and
hinders rapid, free sailing, though it drag never so lightly.

Other speakers throw out a still lighter anchor by keeping before them a
rather full outline of their written and committed speech.

Others again write and commit a few important parts of the address–the
introduction, the conclusion, some vital argument, some pat
illustration–and depend on the hour for the language of the rest. This
method is well adapted to speaking either with or without notes.

Some speakers read from manuscript the most important parts of their
speeches and utter the rest extemporaneously.

Thus, what we have called “joint methods of delivery” are open to much
personal variation. You must decide for yourself which is best for you,
for the occasion, for your subject, for your audience–for these four
factors all have their individual claims.

Whatever form you choose, do not be so weakly indifferent as to prefer
the easy way–choose the _best_ way, whatever it cost you in time and
effort. And of this be assured: only the practised speaker can hope to
gain _both_ conciseness of argument and conviction in manner, polish of
language and power in delivery, finish of style and fire in utterance.


1. Which in your judgment is the most suitable of delivery for you? Why?

2. What objections can you offer to, (_a_) memorizing the entire speech;
(_b_) reading from manuscript; (_c_) using notes; (_d_) speaking from
memorized outline or notes; (_e_e) any of the “joint methods”?

3. What is there to commend in delivering a speech in any of the
foregoing methods?

4. Can you suggest any combination of methods that you have found

5. What methods, according to your observation, do most successful
speakers use?

6. Select some topic from the list on page 123, narrow the theme so as
to make it specific (see page 122), and deliver a short address,
utilizing the four methods mentioned, in four different deliveries of
the speech.

7. Select one of the joint methods and apply it to the delivery of the
same address.

8. Which method do you prefer, and why?

9. From the list of subjects in the Appendix select a theme and deliver
a five-minute address without notes, but make careful preparation
without putting your thoughts on paper.

NOTE: It is earnestly hoped that instructors will not pass this stage of
the work without requiring of their students much practise in the
delivery of original speeches, in the manner that seems, after some
experiment, to be best suited to the student’s gifts. Students who are
studying alone should be equally exacting in demand upon themselves.
One point is most important: It is easy to learn to read a speech,
therefore it is much more urgent that the pupil should have much
practise in speaking from notes and speaking without notes. At this
stage, pay more attention to manner than to matter–the succeeding
chapters take up the composition of the address. Be particularly
insistent upon _frequent_ and _thorough_ review of the principles of
delivery discussed in the preceding chapters.



Providence is always on the side of the last reserve.


So mightiest powers by deepest calms are fed,
And sleep, how oft, in things that gentlest be!

–BARRY CORNWALL, _The Sea in Calm_.

What would happen if you should overdraw your bank account? As a rule
the check would be protested; but if you were on friendly terms with the
bank, your check might be honored, and you would be called upon to make
good the overdraft.

Nature has no such favorites, therefore extends no credits. She is as
relentless as a gasoline tank–when the “gas” is all used the machine
stops. It is as reckless for a speaker to risk going before an audience
without having something in reserve as it is for the motorist to essay a
long journey in the wilds without enough gasoline in sight.

But in what does a speaker’s reserve power consist? In a well-founded
reliance on his general and particular grasp of his subject; in the
quality of being alert and resourceful in thought–particularly in the
ability to think while on his feet; and in that self-possession which
makes one the captain of all his own forces, bodily and mental.

The first of these elements, adequate preparation, and the last,
self-reliance, were discussed fully in the chapters on “Self-Confidence”
and “Fluency,” so they will be touched only incidentally here; besides,
the next chapter will take up specific methods of preparation for public
speaking. Therefore the central theme of this chapter is the second of
the elements of reserve power–Thought.

_The Mental Storehouse_

An empty mind, like an empty larder, may be a serious matter or not–all
will depend on the available resources. If there is no food in the
cupboard the housewife does not nervously rattle the empty dishes; she
telephones the grocer. If you have no ideas, do not rattle your empty
_ers_ and _ahs_, but _get_ some ideas, and don’t speak until you do get

This, however, is not being what the old New England housekeeper used to
call “forehanded.” The real solution of the problem of what to do with
an empty head is never to let it become empty. In the artesian wells of
Dakota the water rushes to the surface and leaps a score of feet above
the ground. The secret of this exuberant flow is of course the great
supply below, crowding to get out.

What is the use of stopping to prime a mental pump when you can fill
your life with the resources for an artesian well? It is not enough to
have merely enough; you must have more than enough. Then the pressure of
your mass of thought and feeling will maintain your flow of speech and
give you the confidence and poise that denote reserve power. To be away
from home with only the exact return fare leaves a great deal to

Reserve power is magnetic. It does not consist in giving the idea that
you are holding something in reserve, but rather in the suggestion that
the audience is getting the cream of your observation, reading,
experience, feeling, thought. To have reserve power, therefore, you must
have enough milk of material on hand to supply sufficient cream.

But how shall we get the milk? There are two ways: the one is
first-hand–from the cow; the other is second-hand–from the milkman.

_The Seeing Eye_

Some sage has said: “For a thousand men who can speak, there is only one
who can think; for a thousand men who can think, there is only one who
can see.” To see and to think is to get your milk from your own cow.

When the one man in a million who can see comes along, we call him
Master. Old Mr. Holbrook, of “Cranford,” asked his guest what color
ash-buds were in March; she confessed she did not know, to which the old
gentleman answered: “I knew you didn’t. No more did I–an old fool that
I am!–till this young man comes and tells me. ‘Black as ash-buds in
March.’ And I’ve lived all my life in the country. More shame for me not
to know. Black; they are jet-black, madam.”

“This young man” referred to by Mr. Holbrook was Tennyson.

Henry Ward Beecher said: “I do not believe that I have ever met a man
on the street that I did not get from him some element for a sermon. I
never see anything in nature which does not work towards that for which
I give the strength of my life. The material for my sermons is all the
time following me and swarming up around me.”

Instead of saying only one man in a million can see, it would strike
nearer the truth to say that none of us sees with perfect understanding
more than a fraction of what passes before our eyes, yet this faculty of
acute and accurate observation is so important that no man ambitious to
lead can neglect it. The next time you are in a car, look at those who
sit opposite you and see what you can discover of their habits,
occupations, ideals, nationalities, environments, education, and so on.
You may not see a great deal the first time, but practise will reveal
astonishing results. Transmute every incident of your day into a subject
for a speech or an illustration. Translate all that you see into terms
of speech. When you can describe all that you have seen in definite
words, you are seeing clearly. You are becoming the millionth man.

De Maupassant’s description of an author should also fit the
public-speaker: “His eye is like a suction pump, absorbing everything;
like a pickpocket’s hand, always at work. Nothing escapes him. He is
constantly collecting material, gathering-up glances, gestures,
intentions, everything that goes on in his presence–the slightest look,
the least act, the merest trifle.” De Maupassant was himself a millionth
man, a Master.

“Ruskin took a common rock-crystal and saw hidden within its stolid
heart lessons which have not yet ceased to move men’s lives. Beecher
stood for hours before the window of a jewelry store thinking out
analogies between jewels and the souls of men. Gough saw in a single
drop of water enough truth wherewith to quench the thirst of five
thousand souls. Thoreau sat so still in the shadowy woods that birds and
insects came and opened up their secret lives to his eye. Emerson
observed the soul of a man so long that at length he could say, ‘I
cannot hear what you say, for seeing what you are.’ Preyer for three
years studied the life of his babe and so became an authority upon the
child mind. Observation! Most men are blind. There are a thousand times
as many hidden truths and undiscovered facts about us to-day as have
made discoverers famous–facts waiting for some one to ‘pluck out the
heart of their mystery.’ But so long as men go about the search with
eyes that see not, so long will these hidden pearls lie in their shells.
Not an orator but who could more effectively point and feather his
shafts were he to search nature rather than libraries. Too few can see
‘sermons in stones’ and ‘books in the running brooks,’ because they are
so used to seeing merely sermons in books and only stones in running
brooks. Sir Philip Sidney had a saying, ‘Look in thy heart and write;’
Massillon explained his astute knowledge of the human heart by saying,
‘I learned it by studying myself;’ Byron says of John Locke that ‘all
his knowledge of the human understanding was derived from studying his
own mind.’ Since multiform nature is all about us, originality ought not
to be so rare.”[8]

_The Thinking Mind_

Thinking is doing mental arithmetic with facts. Add this fact to that
and you reach a certain conclusion. Subtract this truth from another and
you have a definite result. Multiply this fact by another and have a
precise product. See how many times this occurrence happens in that
space of time and you have reached a calculable dividend. In
thought-processes you perform every known problem of arithmetic and
algebra. That is why mathematics are such excellent mental gymnastics.
But by the same token, thinking is work. Thinking takes energy. Thinking
requires time, and patience, and broad information, and clearheadedness.
Beyond a miserable little surface-scratching, few people really think at
all–only one in a thousand, according to the pundit already quoted. So
long as the present system of education prevails and children are taught
through the ear rather than through the eye, so long as they are
expected to remember thoughts of others rather than think for
themselves, this proportion will continue–one man in a million will be
able to see, and one in a thousand to think.

But, however thought-less a mind has been, there is promise of better
things so soon as the mind detects its own lack of thought-power. The
first step is to stop regarding thought as “the magic of the mind,” to
use Byron’s expression, and see it as thought truly is–_a weighing of
ideas and a placing of them in relationships to each other_. Ponder this
definition and see if you have learned to think efficiently.

Habitual thinking is just that–a habit. Habit comes of doing a thing
repeatedly. The lower habits are acquired easily, the higher ones
require deeper grooves if they are to persist. So we find that the
thought-habit comes only with resolute practise; yet no effort will
yield richer dividends. Persist in practise, and whereas you have been
able to think only an inch-deep into a subject, you will soon find that
you can penetrate it a foot.

Perhaps this homely metaphor will suggest how to begin the practise of
consecutive thinking, by which we mean _welding a number of separate
thought-links into a chain that will hold_. Take one link at a time, see
that each naturally belongs with the ones you link to it, and remember
that a single missing link means _no chain_.

Thinking is the most fascinating and exhilarating of all mental
exercises. Once realize that your opinion on a subject does not
represent the choice you have made between what Dr. Cerebrum has written
and Professor Cerebellum has said, but is the result of your own
earnestly-applied brain-energy, and you will gain a confidence in your
ability to speak on that subject that nothing will be able to shake.
Your thought will have given you both power and reserve power.

Someone has condensed the relation of thought to knowledge in these
pungent, homely lines:

“Don’t give me the man who thinks he thinks,
Don’t give me the man who thinks he knows,
But give me the man who knows he thinks,
And I have the man who knows he knows!”

_Reading As a Stimulus to Thought_

No matter how dry the cow, however, nor how poor our ability to milk,
there is still the milkman–we can read what others have seen and felt
and thought. Often, indeed, such records will kindle within us that
pre-essential and vital spark, the _desire_ to be a thinker.

The following selection is taken from one of Dr. Newell Dwight Hillis’s
lectures, as given in “A Man’s Value to Society.” Dr. Hillis is a most
fluent speaker–he never refers to notes. He has reserve power. His mind
is a veritable treasure-house of facts and ideas. See how he draws from
a knowledge of fifteen different general or special subjects: geology,
plant life, Palestine, chemistry, Eskimos, mythology, literature, The
Nile, history, law, wit, evolution, religion, biography, and
electricity. Surely, it needs no sage to discover that the secret of
this man’s reserve power is the old secret of our artesian well whose
abundance surges from unseen depths.


Each Kingsley approaches a stone as a jeweler approaches a casket to
unlock the hidden gems. Geikie causes the bit of hard coal to unroll
the juicy bud, the thick odorous leaves, the pungent boughs, until
the bit of carbon enlarges into the beauty of a tropic forest. That
little book of Grant Allen’s called “How Plants Grow” exhibits trees
and shrubs as eating, drinking and marrying. We see certain date
groves in Palestine, and other date groves in the desert a hundred
miles away, and the pollen of the one carried upon the trade winds
to the branches of the other. We see the tree with its strange
system of water-works, pumping the sap up through pipes and mains;
we see the chemical laboratory in the branches mixing flavor for the
orange in one bough, mixing the juices of the pineapple in another;
we behold the tree as a mother making each infant acorn ready
against the long winter, rolling it in swaths soft and warm as wool
blankets, wrapping it around with garments impervious to the rain,
and finally slipping the infant acorn into a sleeping bag, like
those the Eskimos gave Dr. Kane.

At length we come to feel that the Greeks were not far wrong in
thinking each tree had a dryad in it, animating it, protecting it
against destruction, dying when the tree withered. Some Faraday
shows us that each drop of water is a sheath for electric forces
sufficient to charge 800,000 Leyden jars, or drive an engine from
Liverpool to London. Some Sir William Thomson tells us how
hydrogen gas will chew up a large iron spike as a child’s molars
will chew off the end of a stick of candy. Thus each new book
opens up some new and hitherto unexplored realm of nature. Thus
books fulfill for us the legend of the wondrous glass that showed
its owner all things distant and all things hidden. Through books
our world becomes as “a bud from the bower of God’s beauty; the
sun as a spark from the light of His wisdom; the sky as a bubble
on the sea of His Power.” Therefore Mrs. Browning’s words, “No
child can be called fatherless who has God and his mother; no
youth can be called friendless who has God and the companionship
of good books.”

Books also advantage us in that they exhibit the unity of
progress, the solidarity of the race, and the continuity of
history. Authors lead us back along the pathway of law, of
liberty or religion, and set us down in front of the great man in
whose brain the principle had its rise. As the discoverer leads
us from the mouth of the Nile back to the headwaters of Nyanza,
so books exhibit great ideas and institutions, as they move
forward, ever widening and deepening, like some Nile feeding many
civilizations. For all the reforms of to-day go back to some
reform of yesterday. Man’s art goes back to Athens and Thebes.
Man’s laws go back to Blackstone and Justinian. Man’s reapers and
plows go back to the savage scratching the ground with his forked
stick, drawn by the wild bullock. The heroes of liberty march
forward in a solid column. Lincoln grasps the hand of Washington.
Washington received his weapons at the hands of Hampden and
Cromwell. The great Puritans lock hands with Luther and

The unbroken procession brings us at length to Him whose Sermon
on the Mount was the very charter of liberty. It puts us under a
divine spell to perceive that we are all coworkers with the great
men, and yet single threads in the warp and woof of civilization.
And when books have related us to our own age, and related all
the epochs to God, whose providence is the gulf stream of
history, these teachers go on to stimulate us to new and greater
achievements. Alone, man is an unlighted candle. The mind needs
some book to kindle its faculties. Before Byron began to write he
used to give half an hour to reading some favorite passage. The
thought of some great writer never failed to kindle Byron into a
creative glow, even as a match lights the kindlings upon the
grate. In these burning, luminous moods Byron’s mind did its best
work. The true book stimulates the mind as no wine can ever
quicken the blood. It is reading that brings us to our best, and
rouses each faculty to its most vigorous life.

We recognize this as pure cream, and if it seems at first to have its
secondary source in the friendly milkman, let us not forget that the
theme is “The Uses of Books and Reading.” Dr. Hillis both sees and

It is fashionable just now to decry the value of reading. We read, we
are told, to avoid the necessity of thinking for ourselves. Books are
for the mentally lazy.

Though this is only a half-truth, the element of truth it contains
is large enough to make us pause. Put yourself through a good
old Presbyterian soul-searching self-examination, and if
reading-from-thought-laziness is one of your sins, confess it. No one
can shrive you of it–but yourself. Do penance for it by using your
own brains, for it is a transgression that dwarfs the growth of thought
and destroys mental freedom. At first the penance will be trying–but
at the last you will be glad in it.

Reading should entertain, give information, or stimulate thought. Here,
however, we are chiefly concerned with information, and stimulation of

What shall I read for information?

The ample page of knowledge, as Grey tells us, is “rich with the spoils
of time,” and these are ours for the price of a theatre ticket. You may
command Socrates and Marcus Aurelius to sit beside you and discourse of
their choicest, hear Lincoln at Gettysburg and Pericles at Athens, storm
the Bastile with Hugo, and wander through Paradise with Dante. You may
explore darkest Africa with Stanley, penetrate the human heart with
Shakespeare, chat with Carlyle about heroes, and delve with the Apostle
Paul into the mysteries of faith. The general knowledge and the
inspiring ideas that men have collected through ages of toil and
experiment are yours for the asking. The Sage of Chelsea was right: “The
true university of these days is a collection of books.”

To master a worth-while book is to master much else besides; few of us,
however, make perfect conquest of a volume without first owning it
physically. To read a borrowed book may be a joy, but to assign your own
book a place of its own on your own shelves–be they few or many–to
love the book and feel of its worn cover, to thumb it over slowly, page
by page, to pencil its margins in agreement or in protest, to smile or
thrill with its remembered pungencies–no mere book borrower could ever
sense all that delight.

The reader who possesses books in this double sense finds also that his
books possess him, and the volumes which most firmly grip his life are
likely to be those it has cost him some sacrifice to own. These
lightly-come-by titles, which Mr. Fatpurse selects, perhaps by proxy,
can scarcely play the guide, philosopher and friend in crucial moments
as do the books–long coveted, joyously attained–that are welcomed into
the lives, and not merely the libraries, of us others who are at once
poorer and richer.

So it is scarcely too much to say that of all the many ways in which an
owned–a mastered–book is like to a human friend, the truest ways are
these: A friend is worth making sacrifices for, both to gain and to
keep; and our loves go out most dearly to those into whose inmost lives
we have sincerely entered.

When you have not the advantage of the test of time by which to judge
books, investigate as thoroughly as possible the authority of the books
you read. Much that is printed and passes current is counterfeit. “I
read it in a book” is to many a sufficient warranty of truth, but not to
the thinker. “What book?” asks the careful mind. “Who wrote it? What
does he know about the subject and what right has he to speak on it? Who
recognizes him as authority? With what other recognized authorities does
he agree or disagree?” Being caught trying to pass counterfeit money,
even unintentionally, is an unpleasant situation. Beware lest you
circulate spurious coin.

Above all, seek reading that makes you use your own brains. Such reading
must be alive with fresh points of view, packed with special knowledge,
and deal with subjects of vital interest. Do not confine your reading to
what you already know you will agree with. Opposition wakes one up. The
other road may be the better, but you will never know it unless you
“give it the once over.” Do not do all your thinking and investigating
in front of given “Q.E.D.’s;” merely assembling reasons to fill in
between your theorem and what you want to prove will get you nowhere.
Approach each subject with an open mind and–once sure that you have
thought it out thoroughly and honestly–have the courage to abide by the
decision of your own thought. But don’t brag about it afterward.

No book on public speaking will enable you to discourse on the tariff if
you know nothing about the tariff. Knowing more about it than the other
man will be your only hope for making the other man listen to you.

Take a group of men discussing a governmental policy of which some one
says: “It is socialistic.” That will commend the policy to Mr. A., who
believes in socialism, but condemn it to Mr. B., who does not. It may be
that neither had considered the policy beyond noticing that its
surface-color was socialistic. The chances are, furthermore, that
neither Mr. A. nor Mr. B. has a definite idea of what socialism really
is, for as Robert Louis Stevenson says, “Man lives not by bread alone
but chiefly by catch words.” If you are of this group of men, and have
observed this proposed government policy, and investigated it, and
thought about it, what you have to say cannot fail to command their
respect and approval, for you will have shown them that you possess a
grasp of your subject and–to adopt an exceedingly expressive bit of
slang–_then_ some.


1. Robert Houdin trained his son to give one swift glance at a shop
window in passing and be able to report accurately a surprising number
of its contents. Try this several times on different windows and report
the result.

2. What effect does reserve power have on an audience?

3. What are the best methods for acquiring reserve power?

4. What is the danger of too much reading?

5. Analyze some speech that you have read or heard and notice how much
real information there is in it. Compare it with Dr. Hillis’s speech on
“Brave Little Belgium,” page 394.

6. Write out a three-minute speech on any subject you choose. How much
information, and what new ideas, does it contain? Compare your speech
with the extract on page 191 from Dr. Hillis’s “The Uses of Books and

7. Have you ever read a book on the practise of thinking? If so, give
your impressions of its value.

NOTE: There are a number of excellent books on the subject of thought
and the management of thought. The following are recommended as being
especially helpful: “Thinking and Learning to Think,” Nathan C.
Schaeffer; “Talks to Students on the Art of Study,” Cramer; “As a Man
Thinketh,” Allen.

8. Define (_a_) logic; (_b_) mental philosophy (or mental science);
(_c_) psychology; (_d_) abstract.


[Footnote 8: _How to Attract and Hold an Audience_, J. Berg Esenwein.]

[Footnote 9: Used by permission.]



Suit your topics to your strength,
And ponder well your subject, and its length;
Nor lift your load, before you’re quite aware
What weight your shoulders will, or will not, bear.

–BYRON, _Hints from Horace_.

Look to this day, for it is life–the very life of life. In its
brief course lie all the verities and realities of your
existence: the bliss of growth, the glory of action, the
splendor of beauty. For yesterday is already a dream and
tomorrow is only a vision; but today, well lived, makes every
yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of
hope. Look well, therefore, to this day. Such is the salutation
of the dawn.

–_From the Sanskrit_.

In the chapter preceding we have seen the influence of “Thought and
Reserve Power” on general preparedness for public speech. But
preparation consists in something more definite than the cultivation of
thought-power, whether from original or from borrowed sources–it
involves a _specifically_ acquisitive attitude of the whole life. If you
would become a full soul you must constantly take in and assimilate, for
in that way only may you hope to give out that which is worth the
hearing; but do not confuse the acquisition of general information with
the mastery of specific knowledge. Information consists of a fact or a
group of facts; knowledge is _organized_ information–knowledge knows a
fact in relation to other facts.

Now the important thing here is that you should set all your faculties
to take in the things about you with the particular object of
correlating them and storing them for use in public speech. You must
hear with the speaker’s ear, see with the speaker’s eye, and choose
books and companions and sights and sounds with the speaker’s purpose in
view. At the same time, be ready to receive unplanned-for knowledge. One
of the fascinating elements in your life as a public speaker will be the
conscious growth in power that casual daily experiences bring. If your
eyes are alert you will be constantly discovering facts, illustrations,
and ideas without having set out in search of them. These all may be
turned to account on the platform; even the leaden events of hum-drum
daily life may be melted into bullets for future battles.

_Conservation of Time in Preparation_

But, you say, I have so little time for preparation–my mind must be
absorbed by other matters. Daniel Webster never let an opportunity pass
to gather material for his speeches. When he was a boy working in a
sawmill he read out of a book in one hand and busied himself at some
mechanical task with the other. In youth Patrick Henry roamed the fields
and woods in solitude for days at a time unconsciously gathering
material and impressions for his later service as a speaker. Dr. Russell
H. Conwell, the man who, the late Charles A. Dana said, had addressed
more hearers than any living man, used to memorize long passages from
Milton while tending the boiling syrup-pans in the silent New England
woods at night. The modern employer would discharge a Webster of today
for inattention to duty, and doubtless he would be justified, and
Patrick Henry seemed only an idle chap even in those easy-going days;
but the truth remains: those who take in power and have the purpose to
use it efficiently will some day win to the place in which that
stored-up power will revolve great wheels of influence.

Napoleon said that quarter hours decide the destinies of nations. How
many quarter hours do we let drift by aimlessly! Robert Louis Stevenson
conserved _all_ his time; _every_ experience became capital for his
work–for capital may be defined as “the results of labor stored up to
assist future production.” He continually tried to put into suitable
language the scenes and actions that were in evidence about him. Emerson
says: “Tomorrow will be like today. Life wastes itself whilst we are
preparing to live.”

Why wait for a more convenient season for this broad, general
preparation? The fifteen minutes that we spend on the car could be
profitably turned into speech-capital.

Procure a cheap edition of modern speeches, and by cutting out a few
pages each day, and reading them during the idle minute here and there,
note how soon you can make yourself familiar with the world’s best
speeches. If you do not wish to mutilate your book, take it with
you–most of the epoch-making books are now printed in small volumes.
The daily waste of natural gas in the Oklahoma fields is equal to ten
thousand tons of coal. Only about three per cent of the power of the
coal that enters the furnace ever diffuses itself from your electric
bulb as light–the other ninety-seven per cent is wasted. Yet these
wastes are no larger, nor more to be lamented than the tremendous waste
of time which, if conserved would increase the speaker’s powers to their
_nth_ degree. Scientists are making three ears of corn grow where one
grew before; efficiency engineers are eliminating useless motions and
products from our factories: catch the spirit of the age and apply
efficiency to the use of the most valuable asset you possess–time. What
do you do mentally with the time you spend in dressing or in shaving?
Take some subject and concentrate your energies on it for a week by
utilizing just the spare moments that would otherwise be wasted. You
will be amazed at the result. One passage a day from the Book of Books,
one golden ingot from some master mind, one fully-possessed thought of
your own might thus be added to the treasury of your life. Do not waste
your time in ways that profit you nothing. Fill “the unforgiving minute”
with “sixty seconds’ worth of distance run” and on the platform you will
be immeasurably the gainer.

Let no word of this, however, seem to decry the value of recreation.
Nothing is more vital to a worker than rest–yet nothing is so vitiating
to the shirker. Be sure that your recreation re-creates. A pause in the
midst of labors gathers strength for new effort. The mistake is to pause
too long, or to fill your pauses with ideas that make life flabby.

_Choosing a Subject_

Subject and materials tremendously influence each other.

“This arises from the fact that there are two distinct ways in which a
subject may be chosen: by arbitrary choice, or by development from
thought and reading.

“Arbitrary choice … of one subject from among a number involves so
many important considerations that no speaker ever fails to appreciate
the tone of satisfaction in him who triumphantly announces: ‘I have a

“‘Do give me a subject!’ How often the weary school teacher hears that
cry. Then a list of themes is suggested, gone over, considered, and, in
most instances, rejected, because the teacher can know but imperfectly
what is in the pupil’s mind. To suggest a subject in this way is like
trying to discover the street on which a lost child lives, by naming
over a number of streets until one strikes the little one’s ear as
sounding familiar.

“Choice by development is a very different process. It does not ask,
What shall I say? It turns the mind in upon itself and asks, What do I
think? Thus, the subject may be said to choose itself, for in the
process of thought or of reading one theme rises into prominence and
becomes a living germ, soon to grow into the discourse. He who has not
learned to reflect is not really acquainted with his own thoughts;
hence, his thoughts are not productive. Habits of reading and reflection
will supply the speaker’s mind with an abundance of subjects of which he
already knows something from the very reading and reflection which gave
birth to his theme. This is not a paradox, but sober truth.

“It must be already apparent that the choice of a subject by development
savors more of collection than of conscious selection. The subject
‘pops into the mind.’ … In the intellect of the trained thinker it
concentrates–by a process which we have seen to be induction–the facts
and truths of which he has been reading and thinking. This is most often
a gradual process. The scattered ideas may be but vaguely connected at
first, but more and more they concentrate and take on a single form
until at length one strong idea seems to grasp the soul with
irresistible force, and to cry aloud, ‘Arise, I am your _theme_!
Henceforth, until you transmute me by the alchemy of your inward fire
into vital speech, you shall know no rest!’ Happy, then, is that
speaker, for he has found a subject that grips him.

“Of course, experienced speakers use both methods of selection. Even a
reading and reflective man is sometimes compelled to hunt for a theme
from Dan to Beersheba, and then the task of gathering materials becomes
a serious one. But even in such a case there is a sense in which the
selection comes by development, because no careful speaker settles upon
a theme which does not represent at least some matured thought.”[10]

_Deciding on the Subject Matter_

Even when your theme has been chosen for you by someone else, there
remains to you a considerable field for choice of subject matter. The
same considerations, in fact, that would govern you in choosing a theme
must guide in the selection of the material. Ask yourself–or someone
else–such questions as these:

What is the precise nature of the occasion? How large an audience may be
expected? From what walks of life do they come? What is their probable
attitude toward the theme? Who else will speak? Do I speak first, last,
or where, on the program? What are the other speakers going to talk
about? What is the nature of the auditorium? Is there a desk? Could the
subject be more effectively handled if somewhat modified? Precisely how
much time am I to fill?

It is evident that many speech-misfits of subject, speaker, occasion and
place are due to failure to ask just such pertinent questions. _What_
should be said, by _whom_, and _in what circumstances_, constitute
ninety per cent of efficiency in public address. No matter who asks you,
refuse to be a square peg in a round hole.

_Questions of Proportion_

Proportion in a speech is attained by a nice adjustment of time. How
fully you may treat your subject it is not always for you to say. Let
ten minutes mean neither nine nor eleven–though better nine than
eleven, at all events. You wouldn’t steal a man’s watch; no more should
you steal the time of the succeeding speaker, or that of the audience.
There is no need to overstep time-limits if you make your preparation
adequate and divide your subject so as to give each thought its due
proportion of attention–and no more. Blessed is the man that maketh
short speeches, for he shall be invited to speak again.

Another matter of prime importance is, what part of your address
demands the most emphasis. This once decided, you will know where to
place that pivotal section so as to give it the greatest strategic
value, and what degree of preparation must be given to that central
thought so that the vital part may not be submerged by non-essentials.
Many a speaker has awakened to find that he has burnt up eight minutes
of a ten-minute speech in merely getting up steam. That is like spending
eighty percent of your building-money on the vestibule of the house.

The same sense of proportion must tell you to stop precisely when you
are through–and it is to be hoped that you will discover the arrival of
that period before your audience does.

_Tapping Original Sources_

The surest way to give life to speech-material is to gather your facts
at first hand. Your words come with the weight of authority when you can
say, “I have examined the employment rolls of every mill in this
district and find that thirty-two per cent of the children employed are
under the legal age.” No citation of authorities can equal that. You
must adopt the methods of the reporter and find out the facts underlying
your argument or appeal. To do so may prove laborious, but it should not
be irksome, for the great world of fact teems with interest, and over
and above all is the sense of power that will come to you from original
investigation. To see and feel the facts you are discussing will react
upon you much more powerfully than if you were to secure the facts at
second hand.

Live an active life among people who are doing worth-while things, keep
eyes and ears and mind and heart open to absorb truth, and then tell of
the things you know, as if you know them. The world will listen, for the
world loves nothing so much as real life.

_How to Use a Library_

Unsuspected treasures lie in the smallest library. Even when the owner
has read every last page of his books it is only in rare instances that
he has full indexes to all of them, either in his mind or on paper, so
as to make available the vast number of varied subjects touched upon or
treated in volumes whose titles would never suggest such topics.

For this reason it is a good thing to take an odd hour now and then to
browse. Take down one volume after another and look over its table of
contents and its index. (It is a reproach to any author of a serious
book not to have provided a full index, with cross references.) Then
glance over the pages, making notes, mental or physical, of material
that looks interesting and usable. Most libraries contain volumes that
the owner is “going to read some day.” A familiarity with even the
contents of such books on your own shelves will enable you to refer to
them when you want help. Writings read long ago should be treated in the
same way–in every chapter some surprise lurks to delight you.

In looking up a subject do not be discouraged if you do not find it
indexed or outlined in the table of contents–you are pretty sure to
discover some material under a related title.

Suppose you set to work somewhat in this way to gather references on
“Thinking:” First you look over your book titles, and there is
Schaeffer’s “Thinking and Learning to Think.” Near it is Kramer’s “Talks
to Students on the Art of Study”–that seems likely to provide some
material, and it does. Naturally you think next of your book on
psychology, and there is help there. If you have a volume on the human
intellect you will have already turned to it. Suddenly you remember your
encyclopedia and your dictionary of quotations–and now material fairly
rains upon you; the problem is what _not_ to use. In the encyclopedia
you turn to every reference that includes or touches or even suggests
“thinking;” and in the dictionary of quotations you do the same. The
latter volume you find peculiarly helpful because it suggests several
volumes to you that are on your own shelves–you never would have
thought to look in them for references on this subject. Even fiction
will supply help, but especially books of essays and biography. Be aware
of your own resources.

To make a general index to your library does away with the necessity for
indexing individual volumes that are not already indexed.

To begin with, keep a note-book by you; or small cards and paper
cuttings in your pocket and on your desk will serve as well. The same
note-book that records the impressions of your own experiences and
thoughts will be enriched by the ideas of others.

To be sure, this note-book habit means labor, but remember that more
speeches have been spoiled by half-hearted preparation than by lack of
talent. Laziness is an own-brother to Over-confidence, and both are your
inveterate enemies, though they pretend to be soothing friends.

Conserve your material by indexing every good idea on cards, thus:



Progress of S., Env. 16
S. a fallacy, 96/210
General article on S., Howells’, Dec. 1913
“Socialism and the Franchise,” Forbes
“Socialism in Ancient Life,” Original Ms.,
Env. 102


On the card illustrated above, clippings are indexed by giving the
number of the envelope in which they are filed. The envelopes may be of
any size desired and kept in any convenient receptacle. On the foregoing
example, “Progress of S., Envelope 16,” will represent a clipping, filed
in Envelope 16, which is, of course, numbered arbitrarily.

The fractions refer to books in your library–the numerator being the
book-number, the denominator referring to the page. Thus, “S. a fallacy,
96/210,” refers to page 210 of volume 96 in your library. By some
arbitrary sign–say red ink–you may even index a reference in a public
library book.

If you preserve your magazines, important articles may be indexed by
month and year. An entire volume on a subject may be indicated like the
imaginary book by “Forbes.” If you clip the articles, it is better to
index them according to the envelope system.

Your own writings and notes may be filed in envelopes with the clippings
or in a separate series.

Another good indexing system combines the library index with the
“scrap,” or clipping, system by making the outside of the envelope serve
the same purpose as the card for the indexing of books, magazines,
clippings and manuscripts, the latter two classes of material being
enclosed in the envelopes that index them, and all filed alphabetically.

When your cards accumulate so as to make ready reference difficult under
a single alphabet, you may subdivide each letter by subordinate guide
cards marked by the vowels, A, E, I, O, U. Thus, “Antiquities” would be
filed under _i_ in A, because A begins the word, and the second letter,
_n_, comes after the vowel _i_ in the alphabet, but before _o_. In the
same manner, “Beecher” would be filed under _e_ in B; and “Hydrogen”
would come under _u_ in H.

_Outlining the Address_

No one can advise you how to prepare the notes for an address. Some
speakers get the best results while walking out and ruminating, jotting
down notes as they pause in their walk. Others never put pen to paper
until the whole speech has been thought out. The great majority,
however, will take notes, classify their notes, write a hasty first
draft, and then revise the speech. Try each of these methods and choose
the one that is best–_for you_. Do not allow any man to force you to
work in _his_ way; but do not neglect to consider his way, for it may be
better than your own.

For those who make notes and with their aid write out the speech, these
suggestions may prove helpful:

After having read and thought enough, classify your notes by setting
down the big, central thoughts of your material on separate cards or
slips of paper. These will stand in the same relation to your subject as
chapters do to a book.

Then arrange these main ideas or heads in such an order that they will
lead effectively to the result you have in mind, so that the speech may
rise in argument, in interest, in power, by piling one fact or appeal
upon another until the climax–the highest point of influence on your
audience–has been reached.

Next group all your ideas, facts, anecdotes, and illustrations under the
foregoing main heads, each where it naturally belongs.

You now have a skeleton or outline of your address that in its polished
form might serve either as the brief, or manuscript notes, for the
speech or as the guide-outline which you will expand into the written
address, if written it is to be.

Imagine each of the main ideas in the brief on page 213 as being
separate; then picture your mind as sorting them out and placing them in
order; finally, conceive of how you would fill in the facts and examples
under each head, giving special prominence to those you wish to
emphasize and subduing those of less moment. In the end, you have the
outline complete. The simplest form of outline–not very suitable for
use on the platform, however–is the following:


What prosperity means.–The real tests of prosperity.–Its basis in the
soil.–American agricultural progress.–New interest in
farming.–Enormous value of our agricultural products.–Reciprocal
effect on trade.–Foreign countries affected.–Effects of our new
internal economy–the regulation of banking and “big business”–on
prosperity.–Effects of our revised attitude toward foreign markets,
including our merchant marine.–Summary.

Obviously, this very simple outline is capable of considerable expansion
under each head by the addition of facts, arguments, inferences and

Here is an outline arranged with more regard for argument:


I. FACT AS CAUSE: Many immigrants are practically paupers.
(Proofs involving statistics or statements of authorities.)

II. FACT AS EFFECT: They sooner or later fill our alms-houses
and become public charges. (Proofs involving statistics or
statements of authorities.)

III. FACT AS CAUSE: Some of them are criminals. (Examples of
recent cases.)

IV. FACT AS EFFECT: They reënforce the criminal classes.
(Effects on our civic life.)

V. FACT AS CAUSE: Many of them know nothing of the duties of
free citizenship. (Examples.)

VI.FACT AS EFFECT: Such immigrants recruit the worst element in
our politics. (Proofs.)

A more highly ordered grouping of topics and subtopics is shown in the


I. INTRODUCTION: Why the subject is timely. Influences
operative against this contention today.


1. First practical discovery by a Christian explorer. Columbus
worshiped God on the new soil.

2. The Cavaliers.

3. The French Catholic settlers.

4. The Huguenots.

5. The Puritans.


1. Christian character of Washington.

2. Other Christian patriots.

3. The Church in our Revolutionary struggle. Muhlenberg.

ATTITUDE. Examples of dealings with foreign nations show
Christian magnanimity. Returning the Chinese Indemnity;
fostering the Red Cross; attitude toward Belgium.


1. The use of the Bible in public ways, oaths, etc.

2. The Bible in our schools.

3. Christian chaplains minister to our law-making bodies, to our
army, and to our navy.

4. The Christian Sabbath is officially and generally recognized.

5. The Christian family and the Christian system of morality are
at the basis of our laws.

CHRISTIANITY. Charities, education, etc., have Christian


VIII. CONCLUSION: The attitude which may reasonably be
expected of all good citizens toward questions touching the
preservation of our standing as a Christian nation.

_Writing and Revision_

After the outline has been perfected comes the time to write the speech,
if write it you must. Then, whatever you do, write it at white heat,
with not _too_ much thought of anything but the strong, appealing
expression of your ideas.

The final stage is the paring down, the re-vision–the seeing again, as
the word implies–when all the parts of the speech must be impartially
scrutinized for clearness, precision, force, effectiveness, suitability,
proportion, logical climax; and in all this you must _imagine yourself
to be before your audience_, for a speech is not an essay and what will
convince and arouse in the one will not prevail in the other.

_The Title_

Often last of all will come that which in a sense is first of all–the
title, the name by which the speech is known. Sometimes it will be the
simple theme of the address, as “The New Americanism,” by Henry
Watterson; or it may be a bit of symbolism typifying the spirit of the
address, as “Acres of Diamonds,” by Russell H. Conwell; or it may be a
fine phrase taken from the body of the address, as “Pass Prosperity
Around,” by Albert J. Beveridge. All in all, from whatever motive it be
chosen, let the title be fresh, short, suited to the subject, and likely
to excite interest.


1. Define (_a_) introduction; (_b_) climax; (_c_) peroration.

2. If a thirty-minute speech would require three hours for specific
preparation, would you expect to be able to do equal justice to a speech
one-third as long in one-third the time for preparation? Give reasons.

3. Relate briefly any personal experience you may have had in conserving
time for reading and thought.

4. In the manner of a reporter or investigator, go out and get
first-hand information on some subject of interest to the public.
Arrange the results of your research in the form of an outline, or

5. From a private or a public library gather enough authoritative
material on one of the following questions to build an outline for a
twenty-minute address. Take one definite side of the question, (_a_)
“The Housing of the Poor;” (_b_) “The Commission Form of Government for
Cities as a Remedy for Political Graft;” (_c_) “The Test of Woman’s
Suffrage in the West;” (_d_) “Present Trends of Public Taste in
Reading;” (_e_) “Municipal Art;” (_f_) “Is the Theatre Becoming more
Elevated in Tone?” (_g_) “The Effects of the Magazine on Literature;”
(_h_) “Does Modern Life Destroy Ideals?” (_i_) “Is Competition ‘the Life
of Trade?'” (_j_) “Baseball is too Absorbing to be a Wholesome National
Game;” (_k_) “Summer Baseball and Amateur Standing;” (_l_) “Does College
Training Unfit a Woman for Domestic Life?” (_m_) “Does Woman’s
Competition with Man in Business Dull the Spirit of Chivalry?” (_n_)
“Are Elective Studies Suited to High School Courses?” (_o_) “Does the
Modern College Prepare Men for Preeminent Leadership?” (_p_) “The
Y.M.C.A. in Its Relation to the Labor Problem;” (_q_) “Public Speaking
as Training in Citizenship.”

6. Construct the outline, examining it carefully for interest,
convincing character, proportion, and climax of arrangement.

NOTE:–This exercise should be repeated until the student shows facility
in synthetic arrangement.

7. Deliver the address, if possible before an audience.

8. Make a three-hundred word report on the results, as best you are able
to estimate them.

9. Tell something of the benefits of using a periodical (or cumulative)

10. Give a number of quotations, suitable for a speaker’s use, that you
have memorized in off moments.

11. In the manner of the outline on page 213, analyze the address on
pages 78-79, “The History of Liberty.”

12. Give an outline analysis, from notes or memory, of an address or
sermon to which you have listened for this purpose.

13. Criticise the address from a structural point of view.

14. Invent titles for any five of the themes in Exercise 5.

15. Criticise the titles of any five chapters of this book, suggesting
better ones.

16. Criticise the title of any lecture or address of which you know.


[Footnote 10: _How to Attract and Hold an Audience_, J. Berg Esenwein.]

[Footnote 11: Adapted from _Competition-Rhetoric_, Scott and Denny, p.



Speak not at all, in any wise, till you have somewhat to speak;
care not for the reward of your speaking, but simply and with
undivided mind for the truth of your speaking.

–THOMAS CARLYLE, Essay on _Biography_.

A complete discussion of the rhetorical structure of public speeches
requires a fuller treatise than can be undertaken in a work of this
nature, yet in this chapter, and in the succeeding ones on
“Description,” “Narration,” “Argument,” and “Pleading,” the underlying
principles are given and explained as fully as need be for a working
knowledge, and adequate book references are given for those who would
perfect themselves in rhetorical art.

_The Nature of Exposition_

In the word “expose”–_to lay bare, to uncover, to show the true
inwardness of_–we see the foundation-idea of “Exposition.” It is the
clear and precise setting forth of what the subject really is–it is

Exposition does not draw a picture, for that would be description. To
tell in exact terms what the automobile is, to name its characteristic
parts and explain their workings, would be exposition; so would an
explanation of the nature of “fear.” But to create a mental image of a
particular automobile, with its glistening body, graceful lines, and
great speed, would be description; and so would a picturing of fear
acting on the emotions of a child at night. Exposition and description
often intermingle and overlap, but fundamentally they are distinct.
Their differences will be touched upon again in the chapter on

Exposition furthermore does not include an account of how events
happened–that is narration. When Peary lectured on his polar
discoveries he explained the instruments used for determining latitude
and longitude–that was exposition. In picturing his equipment he used
description. In telling of his adventures day by day he employed
narration. In supporting some of his contentions he used argument. Yet
he mingled all these forms throughout the lecture.

Neither does exposition deal with reasons and inferences–that is the
field of argument. A series of connected statements intended to convince
a prospective buyer that one automobile is better than another, or
proofs that the appeal to fear is a wrong method of discipline, would
not be exposition. The plain facts as set forth in expository speaking
or writing are nearly always the basis of argument, yet the processes
are not one. True, the statement of a single significant fact without
the addition of one other word may be convincing, but a moment’s thought
will show that the inference, which completes a chain of reasoning, is
made in the mind of the hearer and presupposes other facts held in

In like manner, it is obvious that the field of persuasion is not open
to exposition, for exposition is entirely an intellectual process, with
no emotional element.

_The Importance of Exposition_

The importance of exposition in public speech is precisely the
importance of setting forth a matter so plainly that it cannot be

“To master the process of exposition is to become a clear
thinker. ‘I know, when you do not ask me,'[13] replied a
gentleman upon being requested to define a highly complex idea.
Now some large concepts defy explicit definition; but no mind
should take refuge behind such exceptions, for where definition
fails, other forms succeed. Sometimes we feel confident that we
have perfect mastery of an idea, but when the time comes to
express it, the clearness becomes a haze. Exposition, then, is
the test of clear understanding. To speak effectively you must
be able to see your subject clearly and comprehensively, and to
make your audience see it as you do.”[14]

There are pitfalls on both sides of this path. To explain too little
will leave your audience in doubt as to what you mean. It is useless to
argue a question if it is not perfectly clear just what is meant by the
question. Have you never come to a blind lane in conversation by finding
that you were talking of one aspect of a matter while your friend was
thinking of another? If two do not agree in their definitions of a
Musician, it is useless to dispute over a certain man’s right to claim
the title.

On the other side of the path lies the abyss of tediously explaining too
much. That offends because it impresses the hearers that you either do
not respect their intelligence or are trying to blow a breeze into a
tornado. Carefully estimate the probable knowledge of your audience,
both in general and of the particular point you are explaining. In
trying to simplify, it is fatal to “sillify.” To explain more than is
needed for the purposes of your argument or appeal is to waste energy
all around. In your efforts to be explicit do not press exposition to
the extent of dulness–the confines are not far distant and you may
arrive before you know it.

_Some Purposes of Exposition_

From what has been said it ought to be clear that, primarily, exposition
weaves a cord of understanding between you and your audience. It lays,
furthermore, a foundation of fact on which to build later statements,
arguments, and appeals. In scientific and purely “information” speeches
exposition may exist by itself and for itself, as in a lecture on
biology, or on psychology; but in the vast majority of cases it is used
to accompany and prepare the way for the other forms of discourse.

Clearness, precision, accuracy, unity, truth, and necessity–these must
be the _constant_ standards by which you test the efficiency of your
expositions, and, indeed, that of every explanatory statement. This
dictum should be written on your brain in letters most plain. And let
this apply not alone to the _purposes_ of exposition but in equal
measure to your use of the

_Methods of Exposition_

The various ways along which a speaker may proceed in exposition are
likely to touch each other now and then, and even when they do not meet
and actually overlap they run so nearly parallel that the roads are
sometimes distinct rather in theory than in any more practical respect.

=Definition=, the primary expository method, is a statement of precise
limits.[15] Obviously, here the greatest care must be exercised that the
terms of definition should not themselves demand too much definition;
that the language should be concise and clear; and that the definition
should neither exclude nor include too much. The following is a simple

To expound is to set forth the nature, the significance, the
characteristics, and the bearing of an idea or a group of ideas.

–ARLO BATES, _Talks on Writing English_.

=Contrast and Antithesis= are often used effectively to amplify
definition, as in this sentence, which immediately follows the
above-cited definition:

Exposition therefore differs from Description in that it deals
directly with the meaning or intent of its subject instead of
with its appearance.

This antithesis forms an expansion of the definition, and as such it
might have been still further extended. In fact, this is a frequent
practise in public speech, where the minds of the hearers often ask for
reiteration and expanded statement to help them grasp a subject in its
several aspects. This is the very heart of exposition–to amplify and
clarify all the terms by which a matter is defined.

=Example= is another method of amplifying a definition or of expounding
an idea more fully. The following sentences immediately succeed Mr.
Bates’s definition and contrast just quoted:

A good deal which we are accustomed inexactly to call
description is really exposition. Suppose that your small boy
wishes to know how an engine works, and should say: “Please
describe the steam-engine to me.” If you insist on taking his
words literally–and are willing to run the risk of his
indignation at being wilfully misunderstood–you will to the
best of your ability picture to him this familiarly wonderful
machine. If you explain it to him, you are not describing but
expounding it.

The chief value of example is that it makes clear the unknown by
referring the mind to the known. Readiness of mind to make illuminating,
apt comparisons for the sake of clearness is one of the speaker’s chief
resources on the platform–it is the greatest of all teaching gifts. It
is a gift, moreover, that responds to cultivation. Read the three
extracts from Arlo Bates as their author delivered them, as one passage,
and see how they melt into one, each part supplementing the other most

=Analogy=, which calls attention to similar relationships in objects not
otherwise similar, is one of the most useful methods of exposition. The
following striking specimen is from Beecher’s Liverpool speech:

A savage is a man of one story, and that one story a cellar.
When a man begins to be civilized he raises another story. When
you christianize and civilize the man, you put story upon story,
for you develop faculty after faculty; and you have to supply
every story with your productions.

=Discarding= is a less common form of platform explanation. It consists
in clearing away associated ideas so that the attention may be centered
on the main thought to be discussed. Really, it is a negative factor in
exposition though a most important one, for it is fundamental to the
consideration of an intricately related matter that subordinate and side
questions should be set aside in order to bring out the main issue. Here
is an example of the method:

I cannot allow myself to be led aside from the only issue before
this jury. It is not pertinent to consider that this prisoner is
the husband of a heartbroken woman and that his babes will go
through the world under the shadow of the law’s extremest
penalty worked upon their father. We must forget the venerable
father and the mother whom Heaven in pity took before she
learned of her son’s disgrace. What have these matters of heart,
what have the blenched faces of his friends, what have the
prisoner’s long and honorable career to say before this bar when
you are sworn to weigh only the direct evidence before you? The
one and only question for you to decide on the evidence is
whether this man did with revengeful intent commit the murder
that every impartial witness has solemnly laid at his door.

=Classification= assigns a subject to its class. By an allowable extension
of the definition it may be said to assign it also to its order, genus,
and species. Classification is useful in public speech in narrowing the
issue to a desired phase. It is equally valuable for showing a thing in
its relation to other things, or in correlation. Classification is
closely akin to Definition and Division.

This question of the liquor traffic, sirs, takes its place
beside the grave moral issues of all times. Whatever be its
economic significance–and who is there to question
it–whatever vital bearing it has upon our political system–and
is there one who will deny it?–the question of the licensed
saloon must quickly be settled as the world in its advancement
has settled the questions of constitutional government for the
masses, of the opium traffic, of the serf, and of the slave–not
as matters of economic and political expediency but as questions
of right and wrong.

=Analysis= separates a subject into its essential parts. This it may do by
various principles; for example, analysis may follow the order of time
(geologic eras), order of place (geographic facts), logical order (a
sermon outline), order of increasing interest, or procession to a climax
(a lecture on 20th century poets); and so on. A classic example of
analytical exposition is the following:

In philosophy the contemplations of man do either penetrate unto
God, or are circumferred to nature, or are reflected or reverted
upon himself. Out of which several inquiries there do arise
three knowledges: divine philosophy, natural philosophy, and
human philosophy or humanity. For all things are marked and
stamped with this triple character, of the power of God, the
difference of nature, and the use of man.

–LORD BACON, _The Advancement of Learning_.[16]

=Division= differs only from analysis in that analysis follows the
inherent divisions of a subject, as illustrated in the foregoing
passage, while division arbitrarily separates the subject for
convenience of treatment, as in the following none-too-logical example:

For civil history, it is of three kinds; not unfitly to be
compared with the three kinds of pictures or images. For of
pictures or images, we see some are unfinished, some are
perfect, and some are defaced. So of histories we may find three
kinds, memorials, perfect histories, and antiquities; for
memorials are history unfinished, or the first or rough drafts
of history; and antiquities are history defaced, or some
remnants of history which have casually escaped the shipwreck of

–LORD BACON, _The Advancement of Learning_.[16A]

=Generalization= states a broad principle, or a general truth, derived
from examination of a considerable number of individual facts. This
synthetic exposition is not the same as argumentative generalization,
which supports a general contention by citing instances in proof.
Observe how Holmes begins with one fact, and by adding another and
another reaches a complete whole. This is one of the most effective
devices in the public speaker’s repertory.

Take a hollow cylinder, the bottom closed while the top remains
open, and pour in water to the height of a few inches. Next
cover the water with a flat plate or piston, which fits the
interior of the cylinder perfectly; then apply heat to the
water, and we shall witness the following phenomena. After the
lapse of some minutes the water will begin to boil, and the
steam accumulating at the upper surface will make room for
itself by raising the piston slightly. As the boiling continues,
more and more steam will be formed, and raise the piston higher
and higher, till all the water is boiled away, and nothing but
steam is left in the cylinder. Now this machine, consisting of
cylinder, piston, water, and fire, is the steam-engine in its
most elementary form. For a steam-engine may be defined as an
apparatus for doing work by means of heat applied to water; and
since raising such a weight as the piston is a form of doing
work, this apparatus, clumsy and inconvenient though it may be,
answers the definition precisely.[17]

=Reference to Experience= is one of the most vital principles in
exposition–as in every other form of discourse.

“Reference to experience, as here used, means reference to the known.
The known is that which the listener has seen, heard, read, felt,
believed or done, and which still exists in his consciousness–his stock
of knowledge. It embraces all those thoughts, feelings and happenings
which are to him real. Reference to Experience, then, means _coming into
the listener’s life_.[18]

The vast results obtained by science are won by no mystical
faculties, by no mental processes, other than those which are
practised by every one of us in the humblest and meanest affairs
of life. A detective policeman discovers a burglar from the
marks made by his shoe, by a mental process identical with that
by which Cuvier restored the extinct animals of Montmartre from
fragments of their bones. Nor does that process of induction and
deduction by which a lady, finding a stain of a particular kind
upon her dress, concludes that somebody has upset the inkstand
thereon, differ in any way from that by which Adams and
Leverrier discovered a new planet. The man of science, in fact,
simply uses with scrupulous exactness the methods which we all
habitually, and at every moment, use carelessly.


Do you set down your name in the scroll of youth, that are
written down old with all the characters of age? Have you not a
moist eye? a dry hand? a yellow cheek? a white beard? a
decreasing leg? an increasing belly? is not your voice broken?
your wind short? your chin double? your wit single? and every
part about you blasted with antiquity? and will you yet call
yourself young? Fie, fie, fie, Sir John!

–SHAKESPEARE, _The Merry Wives of Windsor_.

Finally, in preparing expository material ask yourself these questions
regarding your subject:

What is it, and what is it not?
What is it like, and unlike?
What are its causes, and effects?
How shall it be divided?
With what subjects is it correlated?
What experiences does it recall?
What examples illustrate it?


1. What would be the effect of adhering to any one of the forms of
discourse in a public address?

2. Have you ever heard such an address?

3. Invent a series of examples illustrative of the distinctions made on
pages 232 and 233.

4. Make a list of ten subjects that might be treated largely, if not
entirely, by exposition.

5. Name the six standards by which expository writing should be tried.

6. Define any one of the following: (_a_) storage battery; (_b_) “a free
hand;” (_c_) sail boat; (_d_) “The Big Stick;” (_e_) nonsense; (_f_) “a
good sport;” (_g_) short-story; (_h_) novel; (_i_) newspaper; (_j_)
politician; (_k_) jealousy; (_l_) truth; (_m_) matinée girl; (_n_)
college honor system; (_o_) modish; (_p_) slum; (_q_) settlement work;
(_r_) forensic.

7. Amplify the definition by antithesis.

8. Invent two examples to illustrate the definition (question 6).

9. Invent two analogies for the same subject (question 6).

10. Make a short speech based on one of the following: (_a_) wages and
salary; (_b_) master and man; (_c_) war and peace; (_d_) home and the
boarding house; (_e_) struggle and victory; (_f_) ignorance and

11. Make a ten-minute speech on any of the topics named in question 6,
using all the methods of exposition already named.

12. Explain what is meant by discarding topics collateral and
subordinate to a subject.

13. Rewrite the jury-speech on page 224.

14. Define correlation.

15. Write an example of “classification,” on any political, social,
economic, or moral issue of the day.

16. Make a brief analytical statement of Henry W. Grady’s “The Race
Problem,” page 36.

17. By what analytical principle did you proceed? (See page 225.)

18. Write a short, carefully generalized speech from a large amount of
data on one of the following subjects: (_a_) The servant girl problem;
(_b_) cats; (_c_) the baseball craze; (_d_) reform administrations;
(_e_) sewing societies; (_f_) coeducation; (_g_) the traveling salesman.

19. Observe this passage from Newton’s “Effective Speaking:”

“That man is a cynic. He sees goodness nowhere. He sneers at
virtue, sneers at love; to him the maiden plighting her troth is
an artful schemer, and he sees even in the mother’s kiss nothing
but an empty conventionality.”

Write, commit and deliver two similar passages based on your choice from
this list: (_a_) “the egotist;” (_b_) “the sensualist;” (_c_) “the
hypocrite;” (_d_) “the timid man;” (_e_) “the joker;” (_f_) “the flirt;”
(_g_) “the ungrateful woman;” (_h_) “the mournful man.” In both cases
use the principle of “Reference to Experience.”

20. Write a passage on any of the foregoing characters in imitation of
the style of Shakespeare’s characterization of Sir John Falstaff, page


[Footnote 12: Argumentation will be outlined fully in subsequent

[Footnote 13: _The Working Principles of Rhetoric_, J.F. Genung.]

[Footnote 14: _How to Attract and Hold an Audience_, J. Berg Esenwein.]

[Footnote 15: On the various types of definition see any college manual
of Rhetoric.]

[Footnote 16: Quoted in _The Working Principles of Rhetoric_, J.F.

[Footnote 16A: Quoted in _The Working Principles of Rhetoric_, J.F.

[Footnote 17: G.C.V. Holmes, quoted in _Specimens of Exposition_, H.

[Footnote 18: _Effective Speaking_, Arthur Edward Phillips. This work
covers the preparation of public speech in a very helpful way.]



The groves of Eden vanish’d now so long,
Live in description, and look green in song.

–ALEXANDER POPE, _Windsor Forest_.

The moment our discourse rises above the ground-line of familiar
facts, and is inflamed with passion or exalted thought, it
clothes itself in images. A man conversing in earnest, if he
watch his intellectual processes, will find that always a
material image, more or less luminous, arises in his mind,
contemporaneous with every thought, which furnishes the vestment
of the thought…. This imagery is spontaneous. It is the
blending of experience with the present action of the mind. It
is proper creation.


Like other valuable resources in public speaking, description loses its
power when carried to an extreme. Over-ornamentation makes the subject
ridiculous. A dust-cloth is a very useful thing, but why embroider it?
Whether description shall be restrained within its proper and important
limits, or be encouraged to run riot, is the personal choice that comes
before every speaker, for man’s earliest literary tendency is to depict.

_The Nature of Description_

To describe is to call up a picture in the mind of the hearer. “In
talking of description we naturally speak of portraying, delineating,
coloring, and all the devices of the picture painter. To describe is to
visualize, hence we must look at description as a pictorial process,
whether the writer deals with material or with spiritual objects.”[19]

If you were asked to describe the rapid-fire gun you might go about it
in either of two ways: give a cold technical account of its mechanism,
in whole and in detail, or else describe it as a terrible engine of
slaughter, dwelling upon its effects rather than upon its structure.

The former of these processes is exposition, the latter is true
description. Exposition deals more with the _general_, while description
must deal with the _particular_. Exposition elucidates _ideas_,
description treats of _things_. Exposition deals with the _abstract_,
description with the _concrete_. Exposition is concerned with the
_internal_, description with the _external_. Exposition is
_enumerative_, description _literary_. Exposition is _intellectual_,
description _sensory_. Exposition is _impersonal_, description

If description is a visualizing process for the hearer, it is first of
all such for the speaker–he cannot describe what he has never seen,
either physically or in fancy. It is this personal quality–this
question of the personal eye which sees the things later to be
described–that makes description so interesting in public speech. Given
a speaker of personality, and we are interested in his personal
view–his view adds to the natural interest of the scene, and may even
be the sole source of that interest to his auditors.

The seeing eye has been praised in an earlier chapter (on “Subject and
Preparation”) and the imagination will be treated in a subsequent one
(on “Riding the Winged Horse”), but here we must consider the
_picturing mind_: the mind that forms the double habit of seeing things
clearly–for we see more with the mind than we do with the physical
eye–and then of re-imaging these things for the purpose of getting them
before the minds’ eyes of the hearers. No habit is more useful than that
of visualizing clearly the object, the scene, the situation, the action,
the person, about to be described. Unless that primary process is
carried out clearly, the picture will be blurred for the

In a work of this nature we are concerned with the rhetorical analysis
of description, and with its methods, only so far as may be needed for
the practical purposes of the speaker.[20] The following grouping,
therefore, will not be regarded as complete, nor will it here be
necessary to add more than a word of explanation:

_Description for Public Speakers_

Objects    { Still
” ”      { In motion

Scenes     { Still
” ”      { Including action

Situations { Preceding change
” ”      { During change
” ”      { After change

Actions    { Mental
” ”      { Physical

Persons    { Internal
” ”      { External

Some of the foregoing processes will overlap, in certain instances, and
all are more likely to be found in combination than singly.

When description is intended solely to give accurate information–as to
delineate the appearance, not the technical construction, of the latest
Zeppelin airship–it is called “scientific description,” and is akin to
exposition. When it is intended to present a free picture for the
purpose of making a vivid impression, it is called “artistic
description.” With both of these the public speaker has to deal, but
more frequently with the latter form. Rhetoricians make still further

_Methods of Description_

In public speaking, _description should be mainly by suggestion_, not
only because suggestive description is so much more compact and
time-saving but because it is so vivid. Suggestive expressions connote
more than they literally say–they suggest ideas and pictures to the
mind of the hearer which supplement the direct words of the speaker.
When Dickens, in his “Christmas Carol,” says: “In came Mrs. Fezziwig,
one vast substantial smile,” our minds complete the picture so deftly
begun–a much more effective process than that of a minutely detailed
description because it leaves a unified, vivid impression, and that is
what we need. Here is a present-day bit of suggestion: “General Trinkle
was a gnarly oak of a man–rough, solid, and safe; you always knew where
to find him.” Dickens presents Miss Peecher as: “A little pin-cushion, a
little housewife, a little book, a little work-box, a little set of
tables and weights and measures, and a little woman all in one.” In his
“Knickerbocker’s” “History of New York,” Irving portrays Wouter van
Twiller as “a robustious beer-barrel, standing on skids.”

Whatever forms of description you neglect, be sure to master the art of

_Description may be by simple hint._ Lowell notes a happy instance of
this sort of picturing by intimation when he says of Chaucer: “Sometimes
he describes amply by the merest hint, as where the Friar, before
setting himself down, drives away the cat. We know without need of more
words that he has chosen the snuggest corner.”

_Description may depict a thing by its effects._ “When the spectator’s
eye is dazzled, and he shades it,” says Mozley in his “Essays,” “we form
the idea of a splendid object; when his face turns pale, of a horrible
one; from his quick wonder and admiration we form the idea of great
beauty; from his silent awe, of great majesty.”

_Brief description may be by epithet._ “Blue-eyed,” “white-armed,”
“laughter-loving,” are now conventional compounds, but they were fresh
enough when Homer first conjoined them. The centuries have not yet
improved upon “Wheels round, brazen, eight-spoked,” or “Shields smooth,
beautiful, brazen, well-hammered.” Observe the effective use of epithet
in Will Levington Comfort’s “The Fighting Death,” when he speaks of
soldiers in a Philippine skirmish as being “leeched against a rock.”

_Description uses figures of speech._ Any advanced rhetoric will discuss
their forms and give examples for guidance.[21] This matter is most
important, be assured. A brilliant yet carefully restrained figurative
style, a style marked by brief, pungent, witty, and humorous comparisons
and characterizations, is a wonderful resource for all kinds of platform

_Description may be direct._ This statement is plain enough without
exposition. Use your own judgment as to whether in picturing you had
better proceed from a general view to the details, or first give the
details and thus build up the general picture, but by all means BE

Note the vivid compactness of these delineations from Washington
Irving’s “Knickerbocker:”

He was a short, square, brawny old gentleman, with a double
chin, a mastiff mouth, and a broad copper nose, which was
supposed in those days to have acquired its fiery hue from the
constant neighborhood of his tobacco pipe.

He was exactly five feet six inches in height, and six feet five
inches in circumference. His head was a perfect sphere, and of
such stupendous dimensions, that Dame Nature, with all her sex’s
ingenuity, would have been puzzled to construct a neck capable
of supporting it; wherefore she wisely declined the attempt, and
settled it firmly on the top of his backbone, just between the
shoulders. His body was of an oblong form, particularly
capacious at bottom; which was wisely ordered by Providence,
seeing that he was a man of sedentary habits, and very averse to
the idle labor of walking.

The foregoing is too long for the platform, but it is so good-humored,
so full of delightful exaggeration, that it may well serve as a model
of humorous character picturing, for here one inevitably sees the inner
man in the outer.

Direct description for platform use may be made vivid by the _sparing_
use of the “historical present.” The following dramatic passage,
accompanied by the most lively action, has lingered in the mind for
thirty years after hearing Dr. T. De Witt Talmage lecture on “Big
Blunders.” The crack of the bat sounds clear even today:

Get ready the bats and take your positions. Now, give us the
ball. Too low. Don’t strike. Too high. Don’t strike. There it
comes like lightning. Strike! Away it soars! Higher! Higher!
Run! Another base! Faster! Faster! Good! All around at one

Observe the remarkable way in which the lecturer fused speaker,
audience, spectators, and players into one excited, ecstatic whole–just
as you have found yourself starting forward in your seat at the delivery
of the ball with “three on and two down” in the ninth inning. Notice,
too, how–perhaps unconsciously–Talmage painted the scene in Homer’s
characteristic style: not as having already happened, but as happening
before your eyes.

If you have attended many travel talks you must have been impressed by
the painful extremes to which the lecturers go–with a few notable
exceptions, their language is either over-ornate or crude. If you would
learn the power of words to make scenery, yes, even houses, palpitate
with poetry and human appeal, read Lafcadio Hearn, Robert Louis
Stevenson, Pierre Loti, and Edmondo De Amicis.

Blue-distant, a mountain of carven stone appeared before
them,–the Temple, lifting to heaven its wilderness of chiseled
pinnacles, flinging to the sky the golden spray of its

–LAFCADIO HEARN, _Chinese Ghosts_.

The stars were clear, colored, and jewel-like, but not frosty. A
faint silvery vapour stood for the Milky Way. All around me the
black fir-points stood upright and stock-still. By the whiteness
of the pack-saddle I could see Modestine walking round and round
at the length of her tether; I could hear her steadily munching
at the sward; but there was not another sound save the
indescribable quiet talk of the runnel over the stones.

–ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON, _Travels with a Donkey_.

It was full autumn now, late autumn–with the nightfalls gloomy,
and all things growing dark early in the old cottage, and all
the Breton land looking sombre, too. The very days seemed but
twilight; immeasurable clouds, slowly passing, would suddenly
bring darkness at broad noon. The wind moaned constantly–it was
like the sound of a great cathedral organ at a distance, but
playing profane airs, or despairing dirges; at other times it
would come close to the door, and lift up a howl like wild

–PIERRE LOTI, _An Iceland Fisherman_.

I see the great refectory,[22] where a battalion might have
drilled; I see the long tables, the five hundred heads bent
above the plates, the rapid motion of five hundred forks, of a
thousand hands, and sixteen thousand teeth; the swarm of
servants running here and there, called to, scolded, hurried, on
every side at once; I hear the clatter of dishes, the deafening
noise, the voices choked with food crying out: “Bread–bread!”
and I feel once more the formidable appetite, the herculean
strength of jaw, the exuberant life and spirits of those far-off

–EDMONDO DE AMICIS, _College Friends_.

_Suggestions for the Use of Description_

Decide, on beginning a description, what point of view you wish your
hearers to take. One cannot see either a mountain or a man on all sides
at once. Establish a view-point, and do not shift without giving notice.

Choose an attitude toward your subject–shall it be idealized?
caricatured? ridiculed? exaggerated? defended? or described impartially?

Be sure of your mood, too, for it will color the subject to be
described. Melancholy will make a rose-garden look gray.

Adopt an order in which you will proceed–do not shift backward and
forward from near to far, remote to close in time, general to
particular, large to small, important to unimportant, concrete to
abstract, physical to mental; but follow your chosen order. Scattered
and shifting observations produce hazy impressions just as a moving
camera spoils the time-exposure.

Do not go into needless minutiæ. Some details identify a thing with its
class, while other details differentiate it from its class. Choose only
the significant, suggestive characteristics and bring those out with
terse vividness. Learn a lesson from the few strokes used by the poster

In determining what to describe and what merely to name, seek to read
the knowledge of your audience. The difference to them between the
unknown and the known is a vital one also to you.

Relentlessly cut out all ideas and words not necessary to produce the
effect you desire. Each element in a mental picture either helps or
hinders. Be sure they do not hinder, for they cannot be passively
present in any discourse.

Interruptions of the description to make side-remarks are as powerful to
destroy unity as are scattered descriptive phrases. The only visual
impression that can be effective is one that is unified.

In describing, try to call up the emotions you felt when first you saw
the scene, and then try to reproduce those emotions in your hearers.
Description is primarily emotional in its appeal; nothing can be more
deadly dull than a cold, unemotional outline, while nothing leaves a
warmer impression than a glowing, spirited description.

Give a swift and vivid general view at the close of the portrayal. First
and final impressions remain the longest. The mind may be trained to
take in the characteristic points of a subject, so as to view in a
single scene, action, experience, or character, a unified impression of
the whole. To describe a thing as a whole you must first see it as a
whole. Master that art and you have mastered description to the last



I went to Washington the other day, and I stood on the Capitol
Hill; my heart beat quick as I looked at the towering marble of
my country’s Capitol and the mist gathered in my eyes as I
thought of its tremendous significance, and the armies and the
treasury, and the judges and the President, and the Congress and
the courts, and all that was gathered there. And I felt that the
sun in all its course could not look down on a better sight than
that majestic home of a republic that had taught the world its
best lessons of liberty. And I felt that if honor and wisdom and
justice abided therein, the world would at last owe to that
great house in which the ark of the covenant of my country is
lodged, its final uplifting and its regeneration.

Two days afterward, I went to visit a friend in the country, a
modest man, with a quiet country home. It was just a simple,
unpretentious house, set about with big trees, encircled in
meadow and field rich with the promise of harvest. The fragrance
of the pink and hollyhock in the front yard was mingled with the
aroma of the orchard and of the gardens, and resonant with the
cluck of poultry and the hum of bees.

Inside was quiet, cleanliness, thrift, and comfort. There was
the old clock that had welcomed, in steady measure, every
newcomer to the family, that had ticked the solemn requiem of
the dead, and had kept company with the watcher at the bedside.
There were the big, restful beds and the old, open fireplace,
and the old family Bible, thumbed with the fingers of hands long
since still, and wet with the tears of eyes long since closed,
holding the simple annals of the family and the heart and the
conscience of the home.

Outside, there stood my friend, the master, a simple, upright
man, with no mortgage on his roof, no lien on his growing crops,
master of his land and master of himself. There was his old
father, an aged, trembling man, but happy in the heart and home
of his son. And as they started to their home, the hands of the
old man went down on the young man’s shoulder, laying there the
unspeakable blessing of the honored and grateful father and
ennobling it with the knighthood of the fifth commandment.

And as they reached the door the old mother came with the sunset
falling fair on her face, and lighting up her deep, patient
eyes, while her lips, trembling with the rich music of her
heart, bade her husband and son welcome to their home. Beyond
was the housewife, busy with her household cares, clean of heart
and conscience, the buckler and helpmeet of her husband. Down
the lane came the children, trooping home after the cows,
seeking as truant birds do the quiet of their home nest.

And I saw the night come down on that house, falling gently as
the wings of the unseen dove. And the old man–while a startled
bird called from the forest, and the trees were shrill with the
cricket’s cry, and the stars were swarming in the sky–got the
family around him, and, taking the old Bible from the table,
called them to their knees, the little baby hiding in the folds
of its mother’s dress, while he closed the record of that
simple day by calling down God’s benediction on that family and
that home. And while I gazed, the vision of that marble Capitol
faded. Forgotten were its treasures and its majesty and I said,
“Oh, surely here in the homes of the people are lodged at last
the strength and the responsibility of this government, the hope
and the promise of this republic.”



One thing in life calls for another; there is a fitness in
events and places. The sight of a pleasant arbor puts it in our
mind to sit there. One place suggests work, another idleness, a
third early rising and long rambles in the dew. The effect of
night, of any flowing water, of lighted cities, of the peep of
day, of ships, of the open ocean, calls up in the mind an army
of anonymous desires and pleasures. Something, we feel, should
happen; we know not what, yet we proceed in quest of it. And
many of the happiest hours in life fleet by us in this vain
attendance on the genius of the place and moment. It is thus
that tracts of young fir, and low rocks that reach into deep
soundings, particularly delight and torture me. Something must
have happened in such places, and perhaps ages back, to members
of my race; and when I was a child I tried to invent appropriate
games for them, as I still try, just as vainly, to fit them with
the proper story. Some places speak distinctly. Certain dank
gardens cry aloud for a murder; certain old houses demand to be
haunted; certain coasts are set aside for shipwreck. Other spots
again seem to abide their destiny, suggestive and impenetrable,
“miching mallecho.” The inn at Burford Bridge, with its arbours
and green garden and silent, eddying river–though it is known
already as the place where Keats wrote some of his _Endymion_
and Nelson parted from his Emma–still seems to wait the coming
of the appropriate legend. Within these ivied walls, behind
these old green shutters, some further business smoulders,
waiting for its hour. The old Hawes Inn at the Queen’s ferry
makes a similar call upon my fancy. There it stands, apart from
the town, beside the pier, in a climate of its own, half inland,
half marine–in front, the ferry bubbling with the tide and the
guard-ship swinging to her anchor; behind, the old garden with
the trees. Americans seek it already for the sake of Lovel and
Oldbuck, who dined there at the beginning of the _Antiquary_.
But you need not tell me–that is not all; there is some story,
unrecorded or not yet complete, which must express the meaning
of that inn more fully…. I have lived both at the Hawes and
Burford in a perpetual flutter, on the heel, as it seemed, of
some adventure that should justify the place; but though the
feeling had me to bed at night and called me again at morning in
one unbroken round of pleasure and suspense, nothing befell me
in either worth remark. The man or the hour had not yet come;
but some day, I think, a boat shall put off from the Queen’s
ferry, fraught with a dear cargo, and some frosty night a
horseman, on a tragic errand, rattle with his whip upon the
green shutters at the inn at Burford.

–R.L. STEVENSON, _A Gossip on Romance_.


Clang! Clang! Clang! the fire-bells! Bing! Bing! Bing! the
alarm! In an instant quiet turns to uproar–an outburst of
noise, excitement, clamor–bedlam broke loose; Bing! Bing! Bing!
Rattle, clash and clatter. Open fly the doors; brave men mount
their boxes. Bing! Bing! Bing! They’re off! The horses tear down
the street like mad. Bing! Bing! Bing! goes the gong!

“Get out of the track! The engines are coming! For God’s sake,
snatch that child from the road!”

On, on, wildly, resolutely, madly fly the steeds. Bing! Bing!
the gong. Away dash the horses on the wings of fevered fury. On
whirls the machine, down streets, around corners, up this avenue
and across that one, out into the very bowels of darkness,
whiffing, wheezing, shooting a million sparks from the stack,
paving the path of startled night with a galaxy of stars. Over
the house-tops to the north, a volcanic burst of flame shoots
out, belching with blinding effect. The sky is ablaze. A
tenement house is burning. Five hundred souls are in peril.
Merciful Heaven! Spare the victims! Are the engines coming? Yes,
here they are, dashing down the street. Look! the horses ride
upon the wind; eyes bulging like balls of fire; nostrils wide
open. A palpitating billow of fire, rolling, plunging, bounding
rising, falling, swelling, heaving, and with mad passion
bursting its red-hot sides asunder, reaching out its arms,
encircling, squeezing, grabbing up, swallowing everything before
it with the hot, greedy mouth of an appalling monster.

How the horses dash around the corner! Animal instinct say you?
Aye, more. Brute reason.

“Up the ladders, men!”

The towering building is buried in bloated banks of savage,
biting elements. Forked tongues dart out and in, dodge here and
there, up and down, and wind their cutting edges around every
object. A crash, a dull, explosive sound, and a puff of smoke
leaps out. At the highest point upon the roof stands a dark
figure in a desperate strait, the hands making frantic gestures,
the arms swinging wildly–and then the body shoots off into
frightful space, plunging upon the pavement with a revolting
thud. The man’s arm strikes a bystander as he darts down. The
crowd shudders, sways, and utters a low murmur of pity and
horror. The faint-hearted lookers-on hide their faces. One woman
swoons away.

“Poor fellow! Dead!” exclaims a laborer, as he looks upon the
man’s body.

“Aye, Joe, and I knew him well, too! He lived next door to me,
five flights back. He leaves a widowed mother and two wee bits
of orphans. I helped him bury his wife a fortnight ago. Ah, Joe!
but it’s hard lines for the orphans.”

A ghastly hour moves on, dragging its regiment of panic in its
trail and leaving crimson blotches of cruelty along the path of

“Are they all out, firemen?”

“Aye, aye, sir!”

“No, they’re not! There’s a woman in the top window holding a
child in her arms–over yonder in the right-hand corner! The
ladders, there! A hundred pounds to the man who makes the

A dozen start. One man more supple than the others, and reckless
in his bravery, clambers to the top rung of the ladder.

“Too short!” he cries. “Hoist another!”

Up it goes. He mounts to the window, fastens the rope, lashes
mother and babe, swings them off into ugly emptiness, and lets
them down to be rescued by his comrades.

“Bravo, fireman!” shouts the crowd.

A crash breaks through the uproar of crackling timbers.

“Look alive, up there! Great God! The roof has fallen!”

The walls sway, rock, and tumble in with a deafening roar. The
spectators cease to breathe. The cold truth reveals itself. The
fireman has been carried into the seething furnace. An old
woman, bent with the weight of age, rushes through the fire
line, shrieking, raving, and wringing her hands and opening her
heart of grief.

“Poor John! He was all I had! And a brave lad he was, too! But
he’s gone now. He lost his own life in savin’ two more, and
now–now he’s there, away in there!” she repeats, pointing to
the cruel oven.

The engines do their work. The flames die out. An eerie gloom
hangs over the ruins like a formidable, blackened pall.

And the noon of night is passed.



1. Write two paragraphs on one of these: the race horse, the motor boat,
golfing, tennis; let the first be pure exposition and the second pure

2. Select your own theme and do the same in two short extemporaneous

3. Deliver a short original address in the over-ornamented style.

4. (_a_) Point out its defects; (_b_) recast it in a more effective
style; (_c_) show how the one surpasses the other.

5. Make a list of ten subjects which lend themselves to description in
the style you prefer.

6. Deliver a two-minute speech on any one of them, using chiefly, but
not solely, description.

7. For one minute, look at any object, scene, action, picture, or
person you choose, take two minutes to arrange your thoughts, and then
deliver a short description–all without making written notes.

8. In what sense is description more _personal_ than exposition?

9. Explain the difference between a scientific and an artistic

10. In the style of Dickens and Irving (pages 234, 235), write five
separate sentences describing five characters by means of
suggestion–one sentence to each.

11. Describe a character by means of a hint, after the manner of Chaucer
(p. 235).

12. Read aloud the following with special attention to gesture:

His very throat was moral. You saw a good deal of it. You looked
over a very low fence of white cravat (whereof no man had ever
beheld the tie, for he fastened it behind), and there it lay, a
valley between two jutting heights of collar, serene and
whiskerless before you. It seemed to say, on the part of Mr.
Pecksniff, “There is no deception, ladies and gentlemen, all is
peace, a holy calm pervades me.” So did his hair, just grizzled
with an iron gray, which was all brushed off his forehead, and
stood bolt upright, or slightly drooped in kindred action with
his heavy eyelids. So did his person, which was sleek though
free from corpulency. So did his manner, which was soft and
oily. In a word, even his plain black suit, and state of
widower, and dangling double eye-glass, all tended to the same
purpose, and cried aloud, “Behold the moral Pecksniff!”

–CHARLES DICKENS, _Martin Chuzzlewit_.

13. Which of the following do you prefer, and why?

She was a blooming lass of fresh eighteen, plump as a partridge,
ripe and melting and rosy-cheeked as one of her father’s


She was a splendidly feminine girl, as wholesome as a November
pippin, and no more mysterious than a window-pane.


Small, shining, neat, methodical, and buxom was Miss Peecher;
cherry-cheeked and tuneful of voice.


14. Invent five epithets, and apply them as you choose (p. 235).

15. (_a_) Make a list of five figures of speech; (_b_) define them;
(_c_) give an example–preferably original–under each.

16. Pick out the figures of speech in the address by Grady, on page 240.

17. Invent an original figure to take the place of any one in Grady’s

18. What sort of figures do you find in the selection from Stevenson, on
page 242?

19. What methods of description does he seem to prefer?

20. Write and deliver, without notes and with descriptive gestures, a
description in imitation of any of the authors quoted in this chapter.

21. Reëxamine one of your past speeches and improve the descriptive
work. Report on what faults you found to exist.

22. Deliver an extemporaneous speech describing any dramatic scene in
the style of “Midnight in London.”

23. Describe an event in your favorite sport in the style of Dr.
Talmage. Be careful to make the delivery effective.

24. Criticise, favorably or unfavorably, the descriptions of any travel
talk you may have heard recently.

25. Deliver a brief original travel talk, as though you were showing

26. Recast the talk and deliver it “without pictures.”


[Footnote 19: _Writing the Short-Story_, J. Berg Esenwein.]

[Footnote 20: For fuller treatment of Description see Genung’s _Working
Principles of Rhetoric_, Albright’s _Descriptive Writing_, Bates’ _Talks
on Writing English_, first and second series, and any advanced

[Footnote 21: See also _The Art of Versification_, J. Berg Esenwein and
Mary Eleanor Roberts, pp. 28-35; and _Writing the Short-Story_, J. Berg
Esenwein, pp. 152-162; 231-240.]

[Footnote 22: In the Military College of Modena.]

[Footnote 23: This figure of speech is known as “Vision.”]



The art of narration is the art of writing in hooks and eyes.
The principle consists in making the appropriate thought follow
the appropriate thought, the proper fact the proper fact; in
first preparing the mind for what is to come, and then letting
it come.

–WALTER BAGEHOT, _Literary Studies_.

Our very speech is curiously historical. Most men, you may
observe, speak only to narrate; not in imparting what they have
thought, which indeed were often a very small matter, but in
exhibiting what they have undergone or seen, which is a quite
unlimited one, do talkers dilate. Cut us off from Narrative, how
would the stream of conversation, even among the wisest,
languish into detached handfuls, and among the foolish utterly
evaporate! Thus, as we do nothing but enact History, we say
little but recite it.

–THOMAS CARLYLE, _On History_.

Only a small segment of the great field of narration offers its
resources to the public speaker, and that includes the anecdote,
biographical facts, and the narration of events in general.

Narration–more easily defined than mastered–is the recital of an
incident, or a group of facts and occurrences, in such a manner as to
produce a desired effect.

The laws of narration are few, but its successful practise involves more
of art than would at first appear–so much, indeed, that we cannot even
touch upon its technique here, but must content ourselves with an
examination of a few examples of narration as used in public speech.

In a preliminary way, notice how radically the public speaker’s use of
narrative differs from that of the story-writer in the more limited
scope, absence of extended dialogue and character drawing, and freedom
from elaboration of detail, which characterize platform narrative. On
the other hand, there are several similarities of method: the frequent
combination of narration with exposition, description, argumentation,
and pleading; the care exercised in the arrangement of material so as to
produce a strong effect at the close (climax); the very general practise
of concealing the “point” (d√©nouement) of a story until the effective
moment; and the careful suppression of needless, and therefore hurtful,

So we see that, whether for magazine or platform, the art of narration
involves far more than the recital of annals; the succession of events
recorded requires a _plan_ in order to bring them out with real effect.

It will be noticed, too, that the literary style in platform narration
is likely to be either less polished and more vigorously dramatic than
in that intended for publication, or else more fervid and elevated in
tone. In this latter respect, however, the best platform speaking of
today differs from the models of the preceding generation, wherein a
highly dignified, and sometimes pompous, style was thought the only
fitting dress for a public deliverance. Great, noble and stirring as
these older masters were in their lofty and impassioned eloquence, we
are sometimes oppressed when we read their sounding periods for any
great length of time–even allowing for all that we lose by missing the
speaker’s presence, voice, and fire. So let us model our platform
narration, as our other forms of speech, upon the effective addresses of
the moderns, without lessening our admiration for the older school.

_The Anecdote_

An anecdote is a short narrative of a single event, told as being
striking enough to bring out a point. The keener the point, the more
condensed the form, and the more suddenly the application strikes the
hearer, the better the story.

To regard an anecdote as an illustration–an interpretive picture–will
help to hold us to its true purpose, for a purposeless story is of all
offenses on the platform the most asinine. A perfectly capital joke will
fall flat when it is dragged in by the nape without evident bearing on
the subject under discussion. On the other hand, an apposite anecdote
has saved many a speech from failure.

“There is no finer opportunity for the display of tact than in the
introduction of witty or humorous stories into a discourse. Wit is keen
and like a rapier, piercing deeply, sometimes even to the heart. Humor
is good-natured, and does not wound. Wit is founded upon the sudden
discovery of an unsuspected relation existing between two ideas. Humor
deals with things out of relation–with the incongruous. It was wit in
Douglass Jerrold to retort upon the scowl of a stranger whose shoulder
he had familiarly slapped, mistaking him for a friend: ‘I beg your
pardon, I thought I knew you–but I’m glad I don’t.’ It was humor in the
Southern orator, John Wise, to liken the pleasure of spending an
evening with a Puritan girl to that of sitting on a block of ice in
winter, cracking hailstones between his teeth.”[24]

The foregoing quotation has been introduced chiefly to illustrate the
first and simplest form of anecdote–the single sentence embodying a
pungent saying.

Another simple form is that which conveys its meaning without need of
“application,” as the old preachers used to say. George Ade has quoted
this one as the best joke he ever heard:

Two solemn-looking gentlemen were riding together in a railway
carriage. One gentleman said to the other: “Is your wife
entertaining this summer?” Whereupon the other gentleman
replied: “Not very.”

Other anecdotes need harnessing to the particular truth the speaker
wishes to carry along in his talk. Sometimes the application is made
before the story is told and the audience is prepared to make the
comparison, point by point, as the illustration is told. Henry W. Grady
used this method in one of the anecdotes he told while delivering his
great extemporaneous address, “The New South.”

Age does not endow all things with strength and virtue, nor are
all new things to be despised. The shoemaker who put over his
door, “John Smith’s shop, founded 1760,” was more than matched
by his young rival across the street who hung out this sign:
“Bill Jones. Established 1886. No old stock kept in this shop.”

In two anecdotes, told also in “The New South,” Mr. Grady illustrated
another way of enforcing the application: in both instances he split
the idea he wished to drive home, bringing in part before and part after
the recital of the story. The fact that the speaker misquoted the words
of Genesis in which the Ark is described did not seem to detract from
the burlesque humor of the story.

I bespeak the utmost stretch of your courtesy tonight. I am not
troubled about those from whom I come. You remember the man
whose wife sent him to a neighbor with a pitcher of milk, who,
tripping on the top step, fell, with such casual interruptions
as the landings afforded, into the basement, and, while picking
himself up, had the pleasure of hearing his wife call out:

“John, did you break the pitcher?

“No, I didn’t,” said John, “but I be dinged if I don’t.”

So, while those who call to me from behind may inspire me with
energy, if not with courage, I ask an indulgent hearing from
you. I beg that you will bring your full faith in American
fairness and frankness to judgment upon what I shall say. There
was an old preacher once who told some boys of the Bible lesson
he was going to read in the morning. The boys, finding the
place, glued together the connecting pages. The next morning he
read on the bottom of one page: “When Noah was one hundred and
twenty years old he took unto himself a wife, who was”–then
turning the page–“one hundred and forty cubits long, forty
cubits wide, built of gopher wood, and covered with pitch inside
and out.” He was naturally puzzled at this. He read it again,
verified it, and then said, “My friends, this is the first time
I ever met this in the Bible, but I accept it as an evidence of
the assertion that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.” If I
could get you to hold such faith to-night, I could proceed
cheerfully to the task I otherwise approach with a sense of

Now and then a speaker will plunge without introduction into an
anecdote, leaving the application to follow. The following illustrates
this method:

A large, slew-footed darky was leaning against the corner of the
railroad station in a Texas town when the noon whistle in the
canning factory blew and the hands hurried out, bearing their
grub buckets. The darky listened, with his head on one side
until the rocketing echo had quite died away. Then he heaved a
deep sigh and remarked to himself:

“Dar she go. Dinner time for some folks–but jes’ 12 o’clock fur

That is the situation in thousands of American factories, large
and small, today. And why? etc., etc.

Doubtless the most frequent platform use of the anecdote is in the
pulpit. The sermon “illustration,” however, is not always strictly
narrative in form, but tends to extended comparison, as the following
from Dr. Alexander Maclaren:

Men will stand as Indian fakirs do, with their arms above their
heads until they stiffen there. They will perch themselves upon
pillars like Simeon Stylites, for years, till the birds build
their nests in their hair. They will measure all the distance
from Cape Comorin to Juggernaut’s temple with their bodies along
the dusty road. They will wear hair shirts and scourge
themselves. They will fast and deny themselves. They will build
cathedrals and endow churches. They will do as many of you do,
labor by fits and starts all thru your lives at the endless task
of making yourselves ready for heaven, and winning it by
obedience and by righteousness. They will do all these things
and do them gladly, rather than listen to the humbling message
that says, “You do not need to do anything–wash.” Is it your
washing, or the water, that will clean you? Wash and be clean!
Naaman’s cleaning was only a test of his obedience, and a token
that it was God who cleansed him. There was no power in Jordan’s
waters to take away the taint of leprosy. Our cleansing is in
that blood of Jesus Christ that has the power to take away all
sin, and to make the foulest amongst us pure and clean.

One final word must be said about the introduction to the anecdote. A
clumsy, inappropriate introduction is fatal, whereas a single apt or
witty sentence will kindle interest and prepare a favorable hearing. The
following extreme illustration, by the English humorist, Captain Harry
Graham, well satirizes the stumbling manner:

The best story that I ever heard was one that I was told once in
the fall of 1905 (or it may have been 1906), when I was visiting
Boston–at least, I think it was Boston; it may have been
Washington (my memory is so bad).

I happened to run across a most amusing man whose name I
forget–Williams or Wilson or Wilkins; some name like that–and
he told me this story while we were waiting for a trolley car.

I can still remember how heartily I laughed at the time; and
again, that evening, after I had gone to bed, how I laughed
myself to sleep recalling the humor of this incredibly humorous
story. It was really quite extraordinarily funny. In fact, I can
truthfully affirm that it is quite the most amusing story I have
ever had the privilege of hearing. Unfortunately, I’ve forgotten

_Biographical Facts_

Public speaking has much to do with personalities; naturally, therefore,
the narration of a series of biographical details, including anecdotes
among the recital of interesting facts, plays a large part in the
eulogy, the memorial address, the political speech, the sermon, the
lecture, and other platform deliverances. Whole addresses may be made up
of such biographical details, such as a sermon on “Moses,” or a lecture
on “Lee.”

The following example is in itself an expanded anecdote, forming a link
in a chain:


The peculiar sublimity of the Roman mind does not express
itself, nor is it at all to be sought, in their poetry. Poetry,
according to the Roman ideal of it, was not an adequate organ
for the grander movements of the national mind. Roman sublimity
must be looked for in Roman acts, and in Roman sayings. Where,
again, will you find a more adequate expression of the Roman
majesty, than in the saying of Trajan–_Imperatorem oportere
stantem mori_–that C√¶sar ought to die standing; a speech of
imperatorial grandeur! Implying that he, who was “the foremost
man of all this world,”–and, in regard to all other nations,
the representative of his own,–should express its
characteristic virtue in his farewell act–should die _in
procinctu_–and should meet the last enemy as the first, with a
Roman countenance and in a soldier’s attitude. If this had an
imperatorial–what follows had a consular majesty, and is almost
the grandest story upon record.

Marius, the man who rose to be seven times consul, was in a
dungeon, and a slave was sent in with commission to put him to
death. These were the persons,–the two extremities of exalted
and forlorn humanity, its vanward and its rearward man, a Roman
consul and an abject slave. But their natural relations to each
other were, by the caprice of fortune, monstrously inverted: the
consul was in chains; the slave was for a moment the arbiter of
his fate. By what spells, what magic, did Marius reinstate
himself in his natural prerogatives? By what marvels drawn from
heaven or from earth, did he, in the twinkling of an eye, again
invest himself with the purple, and place between himself and
his assassin a host of shadowy lictors? By the mere blank
supremacy of great minds over weak ones. He _fascinated_ the
slave, as a rattlesnake does a bird. Standing “like Teneriffe,”
he smote him with his eye, and said, “_Tune, homo, audes
occidere C. Marium?_”–“Dost thou, fellow, presume to kill Caius
Marius?” Whereat, the reptile, quaking under the voice, nor
daring to affront the consular eye, sank gently to the
ground–turned round upon his hands and feet–and, crawling out
of the prison like any other vermin, left Marius standing in
solitude as steadfast and immovable as the capitol.


Here is a similar example, prefaced by a general historical statement
and concluding with autobiographical details:


One raw morning in spring–it will be eighty years the 19th day
of this month–Hancock and Adams, the Moses and Aaron of that
Great Deliverance, were both at Lexington; they also had
“obstructed an officer” with brave words. British soldiers, a
thousand strong, came to seize them and carry them over sea for
trial, and so nip the bud of Freedom auspiciously opening in
that early spring. The town militia came together before
daylight, “for training.” A great, tall man, with a large head
and a high, wide brow, their captain,–one who had “seen
service,”–marshalled them into line, numbering but seventy, and
bade “every man load his piece with powder and ball. I will
order the first man shot that runs away,” said he, when some
faltered. “Don’t fire unless fired upon, but if they want to
have a war, let it begin here.”

Gentlemen, you know what followed; those farmers and mechanics
“fired the shot heard round the world.” A little monument covers
the bones of such as before had pledged their fortune and their
sacred honor to the Freedom of America, and that day gave it
also their lives. I was born in that little town, and bred up
amid the memories of that day. When a boy, my mother lifted me
up, one Sunday, in her religious, patriotic arms, and held me
while I read the first monumental line I ever saw–“Sacred to
Liberty and the Rights of Mankind.”

Since then I have studied the memorial marbles of Greece and
Rome, in many an ancient town; nay, on Egyptian obelisks have
read what was written before the Eternal raised up Moses to lead
Israel out of Egypt; but no chiseled stone has ever stirred me
to such emotion as these rustic names of men who fell “In the
Sacred Cause of God and their Country.”

Gentlemen, the Spirit of Liberty, the Love of Justice, were
early fanned into a flame in my boyish heart. That monument
covers the bones of my own kinsfolk; it was their blood which
reddened the long, green grass at Lexington. It was my own name
which stands chiseled on that stone; the tall captain who
marshalled his fellow farmers and mechanics into stern array,
and spoke such brave and dangerous words as opened the war of
American Independence,–the last to leave the field,–was my
father’s father. I learned to read out of his Bible, and with a
musket he that day captured from the foe, I learned another
religious lesson, that “Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to
God.” I keep them both “Sacred to Liberty and the Rights of
Mankind,” to use them both “In the Sacred Cause of God and my


_Narration of Events in General_

In this wider, emancipated narration we find much mingling of other
forms of discourse, greatly to the advantage of the speech, for this
truth cannot be too strongly emphasized: The efficient speaker cuts
loose from form for the sake of a big, free effect. The present analyses
are for no other purpose than to _acquaint_ you with form–do not allow
any such models to hang as a weight about your neck.

The following pure narration of events, from George William Curtis’s
“Paul Revere’s Ride,” varies the biographical recital in other parts of
his famous oration:

That evening, at ten o’clock, eight hundred British troops,
under Lieutenant-Colonel Smith, took boat at the foot of the
Common and crossed to the Cambridge shore. Gage thought his
secret had been kept, but Lord Percy, who had heard the people
say on the Common that the troops would miss their aim,
undeceived him. Gage instantly ordered that no one should leave
the town. But as the troops crossed the river, Ebenezer Dorr,
with a message to Hancock and Adams, was riding over the Neck to
Roxbury, and Paul Revere was rowing over the river to
Charlestown, having agreed with his friend, Robert Newman, to
show lanterns from the belfry of the Old North Church–“One if
by land, and two if by sea”–as a signal of the march of the

The following, from the same oration, beautifully mingles description
with narration:

It was a brilliant night. The winter had been unusually mild,
and the spring very forward. The hills were already green. The
early grain waved in the fields, and the air was sweet with the
blossoming orchards. Already the robins whistled, the bluebirds
sang, and the benediction of peace rested upon the landscape.
Under the cloudless moon the soldiers silently marched, and Paul
Revere swiftly rode, galloping through Medford and West
Cambridge, rousing every house as he went spurring for Lexington
and Hancock and Adams, and evading the British patrols who had
been sent out to stop the news.

In the succeeding extract from another of Mr. Curtis’s addresses, we
have a free use of allegory as illustration:


There is a modern English picture which the genius of Hawthorne
might have inspired. The painter calls it, “How they met
themselves.” A man and a woman, haggard and weary, wandering
lost in a somber wood, suddenly meet the shadowy figures of a
youth and a maid. Some mysterious fascination fixes the gaze and
stills the hearts of the wanderers, and their amazement deepens
into awe as they gradually recognize themselves as once they
were; the soft bloom of youth upon their rounded cheeks, the
dewy light of hope in their trusting eyes, exulting confidence
in their springing step, themselves blithe and radiant with the
glory of the dawn. Today, and here, we meet ourselves. Not to
these familiar scenes alone–yonder college-green with its
reverend traditions; the halcyon cove of the Seekonk, upon which
the memory of Roger Williams broods like a bird of calm; the
historic bay, beating forever with the muffled oars of Barton
and of Abraham Whipple; here, the humming city of the living;
there, the peaceful city of the dead;–not to these only or
chiefly do we return, but to ourselves as we once were. It is
not the smiling freshmen of the year, it is your own beardless
and unwrinkled faces, that are looking from the windows of
University Hall and of Hope College. Under the trees upon the
hill it is yourselves whom you see walking, full of hopes and
dreams, glowing with conscious power, and “nourishing a youth
sublime;” and in this familiar temple, which surely has never
echoed with eloquence so fervid and inspiring as that of your
commencement orations, it is not yonder youths in the galleries
who, as they fondly believe, are whispering to yonder maids; it
is your younger selves who, in the days that are no more, are
murmuring to the fairest mothers and grandmothers of those

Happy the worn and weary man and woman in the picture could they
have felt their older eyes still glistening with that earlier
light, and their hearts yet beating with undiminished sympathy
and aspiration. Happy we, brethren, whatever may have been
achieved, whatever left undone, if, returning to the home of our
earlier years, we bring with us the illimitable hope, the
unchilled resolution, the inextinguishable faith of youth.



1. Clip from any source ten anecdotes and state what truths they may be
used to illustrate.

2. Deliver five of these in your own language, without making any

3. From the ten, deliver one so as to make the application before
telling the anecdote.

4. Deliver another so as to split the application.

5. Deliver another so as to make the application after the narration.

6. Deliver another in such a way as to make a specific application

7. Give three ways of introducing an anecdote, by saying where you heard
it, etc.

8. Deliver an illustration that is not strictly an anecdote, in the
style of Curtis’s speech on page 259.

9. Deliver an address on any public character, using the forms
illustrated in this chapter.

10. Deliver an address on some historical event in the same manner.

11. Explain how the sympathies and viewpoint of the speaker will color
an anecdote, a biography, or a historical account.

12. Illustrate how the same anecdote, or a section of a historical
address, may be given two different effects by personal prejudice.

13. What would be the effect of shifting the viewpoint in the midst of a

14. What is the danger of using too much humor in an address? Too much


[Footnote 24: _How to Attract and Hold an Audience_, J. Berg Esenwein.]



Sometimes the feeling that a given way of looking at things is
undoubtedly correct prevents the mind from thinking at all….
In view of the hindrances which certain kinds or degrees of
feeling throw into the way of thinking, it might be inferred
that the thinker must suppress the element of feeling in the
inner life. No greater mistake could be made. If the Creator
endowed man with the power to think, to feel, and to will, these
several activities of the mind are not designed to be in
conflict, and so long as any one of them is not perverted or
allowed to run to excess, it necessarily aids and strengthens
the others in their normal functions.

–NATHAN C. SCHAEFFER, _Thinking and Learning to Think_.

When we weigh, compare, and decide upon the value of any given ideas, we
reason; when an idea produces in us an opinion or an action, without
first being subjected to deliberation, we are moved by suggestion.

Man was formerly thought to be a reasoning animal, basing his actions on
the conclusions of natural logic. It was supposed that before forming an
opinion or deciding on a course of conduct he weighed at least some of
the reasons for and against the matter, and performed a more or less
simple process of reasoning. But modern research has shown that quite
the opposite is true. Most of our opinions and actions are not based
upon conscious reasoning, but are the result of suggestion. In fact,
some authorities declare that an act of pure reasoning is very rare in
the average mind. Momentous decisions are made, far-reaching actions
are determined upon, primarily by the force of suggestion.

Notice that word “primarily,” for simple thought, and even mature
reasoning, often follows a suggestion accepted in the mind, and the
thinker fondly supposes that his conclusion is from first to last based
on cold logic.

_The Basis of Suggestion_

We must think of suggestion both as an effect and as a cause. Considered
as an effect, or objectively, there must be something in the hearer that
predisposes him to receive suggestion; considered as a cause, or
subjectively, there must be some methods by which the speaker can move
upon that particularly susceptible attitude of the hearer. How to do
this honestly and fairly is our problem–to do it dishonestly and
trickily, to use suggestion to bring about conviction and action without
a basis of right and truth and in a bad cause, is to assume the terrible
responsibility that must fall on the champion of error. Jesus scorned
not to use suggestion so that he might move men to their benefit, but
every vicious trickster has adopted the same means to reach base ends.
Therefore honest men will examine well into their motives and into the
truth of their cause, before seeking to influence men by suggestion.

Three fundamental conditions make us all susceptive to suggestion:

_We naturally respect authority._ In every mind this is only a question
of degree, ranging from the subject who is easily hypnotized to the
stubborn mind that fortifies itself the more strongly with every
assault upon its opinion. The latter type is almost immune to

One of the singular things about suggestion is that it is rarely a fixed
quantity. The mind that is receptive to the authority of a certain
person may prove inflexible to another; moods and environments that
produce hypnosis readily in one instance may be entirely inoperative in
another; and some minds can scarcely ever be thus moved. We do know,
however, that the feeling of the subject that authority–influence,
power, domination, control, whatever you wish to call it–lies in the
person of the suggester, is the basis of all suggestion.

The extreme force of this influence is demonstrated in hypnotism. The
hypnotic subject is told that he is in the water; he accepts the
statement as true and makes swimming motions. He is told that a band is
marching down the street, playing “The Star Spangled Banner;” he
declares he hears the music, arises and stands with head bared.

In the same way some speakers are able to achieve a modified hypnotic
effect upon their audiences. The hearers will applaud measures and ideas
which, after individual reflection, they will repudiate unless such
reflection brings the conviction that the first impression is correct.

A second important principle is that _our feelings, thoughts and wills
tend to follow the line of least resistance_. Once open the mind to the
sway of one feeling and it requires a greater power of feeling, thought,
or will–or even all three–to unseat it. Our feelings influence our
judgments and volitions much more than we care to admit. So true is this
that it is a superhuman task to get an audience to reason fairly on a
subject on which it feels deeply, and when this result is accomplished
the success becomes noteworthy, as in the case of Henry Ward Beecher’s
Liverpool speech. Emotional ideas once accepted are soon cherished, and
finally become our very inmost selves. Attitudes based on feelings alone
are prejudices.

What is true of our feelings, in this respect, applies to our ideas: All
thoughts that enter the mind tend to be accepted as truth unless a
stronger and contradictory thought arises.

The speaker skilled in moving men to action manages to dominate the
minds of his audience with his thoughts by subtly prohibiting the
entertaining of ideas hostile to his own. Most of us are captured by the
latest strong attack, and if we can be induced to act while under the
stress of that last insistent thought, we lose sight of counter
influences. The fact is that almost all our decisions–if they involve
thought at all–are of this sort: At the moment of decision the course
of action then under contemplation usurps the attention, and conflicting
ideas are dropped out of consideration.

The head of a large publishing house remarked only recently that ninety
per cent of the people who bought books by subscription never read them.
They buy because the salesman presents his wares so skillfully that
every consideration but the attractiveness of the book drops out of the
mind, and that thought prompts action. _Every_ idea that enters the
mind will result in action unless a contradictory thought arises to
prohibit it. Think of singing the musical scale and it will result in
your singing it unless the counter-thought of its futility or absurdity
inhibits your action. If you bandage and “doctor” a horse’s foot, he
will go lame. You cannot think of swallowing, without the muscles used
in that process being affected. You cannot think of saying “hello,”
without a slight movement of the muscles of speech. To warn children
that they should not put beans up their noses is the surest method of
getting them to do it. Every thought called up in the mind of your
audience will work either for or against you. Thoughts are not dead
matter; they radiate dynamic energy–the thoughts all tend to pass into
action. “Thought is another name for fate.” Dominate your hearers’
thoughts, allay all contradictory ideas, and you will sway them as you

Volitions as well as feelings and thoughts tend to follow the line of
least resistance. That is what makes habit. Suggest to a man that it is
impossible to change his mind and in most cases it becomes more
difficult to do so–the exception is the man who naturally jumps to the
contrary. Counter suggestion is the only way to reach him. Suggest
subtly and persistently that the opinions of those in the audience who
are opposed to your views are changing, and it requires an effort of the
will–in fact, a summoning of the forces of feeling, thought and
will–to stem the tide of change that has subconsciously set in.

But, not only are we moved by authority, and tend toward channels of
least resistance: _We are all influenced by our environments_. It is
difficult to rise above the sway of a crowd–its enthusiasms and its
fears are contagious because they are suggestive. What so many feel, we
say to ourselves, must have some basis in truth. Ten times ten makes
more than one hundred. Set ten men to speaking to ten audiences of ten
men each, and compare the aggregate power of those ten speakers with
that of one man addressing one hundred men. The ten speakers may be more
logically convincing than the single orator, but the chances are
strongly in favor of the one man’s reaching a greater total effect, for
the hundred men will radiate conviction and resolution as ten small
groups could not. We all know the truism about the enthusiasm of
numbers. (See the chapter on “Influencing the Crowd.”)

Environment controls us unless the contrary is strongly suggested. A
gloomy day, in a drab room, sparsely tenanted by listeners, invites
platform disaster. Everyone feels it in the air. But let the speaker
walk squarely up to the issue and suggest by all his feeling, manner and
words that this is going to be a great gathering in every vital sense,
and see how the suggestive power of environment recedes before the
advance of a more potent suggestion–if such the speaker is able to make

Now these three factors–respect for authority, tendency to follow lines
of least resistance, and susceptibility to environment–all help to
bring the auditor into a state of mind favorable to suggestive
influences, but they also react on the speaker, and now we must consider
those personally causative, or subjective, forces which enable him to
use suggestion effectively.

_How the Speaker Can Make Suggestion Effective_

We have seen that under the influence of authoritative suggestion the
audience is inclined to accept the speaker’s assertion without argument
and criticism. But the audience is not in this state of mind unless it
has implicit confidence in the speaker. If they lack faith in him,
question his motives or knowledge, or even object to his manner they
will not be moved by his most logical conclusion and will fail to give
him a just hearing. _It is all a matter of their confidence in him._
Whether the speaker finds it already in the warm, expectant look of his
hearers, or must win to it against opposition or coldness, he must gain
that one great vantage point before his suggestions take on power in the
hearts of his listeners. Confidence is the mother of Conviction.

Note in the opening of Henry W. Grady’s after-dinner speech how he
attempted to secure the confidence of his audience. He created a
receptive atmosphere by a humorous story; expressed his desire to speak
with earnestness and sincerity; acknowledged “the vast interests
involved;” deprecated his “untried arm,” and professed his humility.
Would not such an introduction give you confidence in the speaker,
unless you were strongly opposed to him? And even then, would it not
partly disarm your antagonism?

Mr. President:–Bidden by your invitation to a discussion of the
race problem–forbidden by occasion to make a political
speech–I appreciate, in trying to reconcile orders with
propriety, the perplexity of the little maid, who, bidden to
learn to swim, was yet adjured, “Now, go, my darling; hang your
clothes on a hickory limb, and don’t go near the water.”

The stoutest apostle of the Church, they say, is the missionary,
and the missionary, wherever he unfurls his flag, will never
find himself in deeper need of unction and address than I,
bidden tonight to plant the standard of a Southern Democrat in
Boston’s banquet hall, and to discuss the problem of the races
in the home of Phillips and of Sumner. But, Mr. President, if a
purpose to speak in perfect frankness and sincerity; if earnest
understanding of the vast interests involved; if a consecrating
sense of what disaster may follow further misunderstanding and
estrangement; if these may be counted to steady undisciplined
speech and to strengthen an untried arm–then, sir, I shall find
the courage to proceed.

Note also Mr. Bryan’s attempt to secure the confidence of his audience
in the following introduction to his “Cross of Gold” speech delivered
before the National Democratic Convention in Chicago, 1896. He asserts
his own inability to oppose the “distinguished gentleman;” he maintains
the holiness of his cause; and he declares that he will speak in the
interest of humanity–well knowing that humanity is likely to have
confidence in the champion of their rights. This introduction completely
dominated the audience, and the speech made Mr. Bryan famous.

Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen of the Convention: I would be
presumptuous indeed to present myself against the distinguished
gentlemen to whom you have listened if this were a mere
measuring of abilities; but this is not a contest between
persons. The humblest citizen in all the land, when clad in the
armor of a righteous cause, is stronger than all the hosts of
error. I come to speak to you in defense of a cause as holy as
the cause of liberty–the cause of humanity.

Some speakers are able to beget confidence by their very manner, while
others can not.

_To secure confidence, be confident._ How can you expect others to
accept a message in which you lack, or seem to lack, faith yourself?
Confidence is as contagious as disease. Napoleon rebuked an officer for
using the word “impossible” in his presence. The speaker who will
entertain no idea of defeat begets in his hearers the idea of his
victory. Lady Macbeth was so confident of success that Macbeth changed
his mind about undertaking the assassination. Columbus was so certain in
his mission that Queen Isabella pawned her jewels to finance his
expedition. Assert your message with implicit assurance, and your own
belief will act as so much gunpowder to drive it home.

Advertisers have long utilized this principle. “The machine you will
eventually buy,” “Ask the man who owns one,” “Has the strength of
Gibraltar,” are publicity slogans so full of confidence that they give
birth to confidence in the mind of the reader.

It should–but may not!–go without saying that confidence must have a
solid ground of merit or there will be a ridiculous crash. It is all
very well for the “spellbinder” to claim all the precincts–the official
count is just ahead. The reaction against over-confidence and
over-suggestion ought to warn those whose chief asset is mere bluff.

A short time ago a speaker arose in a public-speaking club and asserted
that grass would spring from wood-ashes sprinkled over the soil, without
the aid of seed. This idea was greeted with a laugh, but the speaker was
so sure of his position that he reiterated the statement forcefully
several times and cited his own personal experience as proof. One of
the most intelligent men in the audience, who at first had derided the
idea, at length came to believe in it. When asked the reason for his
sudden change of attitude, he replied: “Because the speaker is so
confident.” In fact, he was so confident that it took a letter from the
U.S. Department of Agriculture to dislodge his error.

If by a speaker’s confidence, intelligent men can be made to believe
such preposterous theories as this where will the power of self-reliance
cease when plausible propositions are under consideration, advanced with
all the power of convincing speech?

Note the utter assurance in these selections:

I know not what course others may take, but as for me give me
liberty or give me death.


I ne’er will ask ye quarter, and I ne’er will be your slave;
But I’ll swim the sea of slaughter, till I sink beneath its wave.


Come one, come all. This rock shall fly
From its firm base as soon as I.



Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever Gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud;
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.


_Authority is a factor in suggestion._ We generally accept as truth, and
without criticism, the words of an authority. When he speaks,
contradictory ideas rarely arise in the mind to inhibit the action he
suggests. A judge of the Supreme Court has the power of his words
multiplied by the virtue of his position. The ideas of the U.S.
Commissioner of Immigration on his subject are much more effective and
powerful than those of a soap manufacturer, though the latter may be an
able economist.

This principle also has been used in advertising. We are told that the
physicians to two Kings have recommended Sanatogen. We are informed that
the largest bank in America, Tiffany and Co., and The State, War, and
Navy Departments, all use the Encyclopedia Britannica. The shrewd
promoter gives stock in his company to influential bankers or business
men in the community in order that he may use their examples as a
selling argument.

If you wish to influence your audience through suggestion, if you would
have your statements accepted without criticism or argument, you should
appear in the light of an authority–and _be_ one. Ignorance and
credulity will remain unchanged unless the suggestion of authority be
followed promptly by facts. Don’t claim authority unless you carry your
license in your pocket. Let reason support the position that suggestion
has assumed.

Advertising will help to establish your reputation–it is “up to you” to
maintain it. One speaker found that his reputation as a magazine writer
was a splendid asset as a speaker. Mr. Bryan’s publicity, gained by
three nominations for the presidency and his position as Secretary of
State, helps him to command large sums as a speaker. But–back of it
all, he _is_ a great speaker. Newspaper announcements, all kinds of
advertising, formality, impressive introductions, all have a capital
effect on the attitude of the audience. But how ridiculous are all these
if a toy pistol is advertised as a sixteen-inch gun!

Note how authority is used in the following to support the strength of
the speaker’s appeal:

Professor Alfred Russell Wallace has just celebrated his 90th
birthday. Sharing with Charles Darwin the honor of discovering
evolution, Professor Wallace has lately received many and signal
honors from scientific societies. At the dinner given him in
London his address was largely made up of reminiscences. He
reviewed the progress of civilization during the last century
and made a series of brilliant and startling contrasts between
the England of 1813 and the world of 1913. He affirmed that our
progress is only seeming and not real. Professor Wallace insists
that the painters, the sculptors, the architects of Athens and
Rome were so superior to the modern men that the very fragments
of their marbles and temples are the despair of the present day
artists. He tells us that man has improved his telescope and
spectacles, but that he is losing his eyesight; that man is
improving his looms, but stiffening his fingers; improving his
automobile and his locomotive, but losing his legs; improving
his foods, but losing his digestion. He adds that the modern
white slave traffic, orphan asylums, and tenement house life in
factory towns, make a black page in the history of the twentieth

Professor Wallace’s views are reinforced by the report of the
commission of Parliament on the causes of the deterioration of
the factory-class people. In our own country Professor Jordan
warns us against war, intemperance, overworking, underfeeding of
poor children, and disturbs our contentment with his “Harvest of
Blood.” Professor Jenks is more pessimistic. He thinks that the
pace, the climate, and the stress of city life, have broken down
the Puritan stock, that in another century our old families will
be extinct, and that the flood of immigration means a Niagara of
muddy waters fouling the pure springs of American life. In his
address in New Haven Professor Kellogg calls the roll of the
signs of race degeneracy and tells us that this deterioration
even indicates a trend toward race extinction.


From every side come warnings to the American people. Our
medical journals are filled with danger signals; new books and
magazines, fresh from the press, tell us plainly that our people
are fronting a social crisis. Mr. Jefferson, who was once
regarded as good Democratic authority, seems to have differed in
opinion from the gentleman who has addressed us on the part of
the minority. Those who are opposed to this proposition tell us
that the issue of paper money is a function of the bank, and
that the government ought to go out of the banking business. I
stand with Jefferson rather than with them, and tell them, as he
did, that the issue of money is a function of government, and
that the banks ought to go out of the governing business.


Authority is the great weapon against doubt, but even its force can
rarely prevail against prejudice and persistent wrong-headedness. If any
speaker has been able to forge a sword that is warranted to piece such
armor, let him bless humanity by sharing his secret with his platform
brethren everywhere, for thus far he is alone in his glory.

There is a middle-ground between the suggestion of authority and the
confession of weakness that offers a wide range for tact in the speaker.
No one can advise you when to throw your “hat in the ring” and say
defiantly at the outstart, “Gentlemen, I am here to fight!” Theodore
Roosevelt can do that–Beecher would have been mobbed if he had begun in
that style at Liverpool. It is for your own tact to decide whether you
will use the disarming grace of Henry W. Grady’s introduction just
quoted (even the time-worn joke was ingenuous and seemed to say,
“Gentlemen, I come to you with no carefully-palmed coins”), or whether
the solemn gravity of Mr. Bryan before the Convention will prove to be
more effective. Only be sure that your opening attitude is well thought
out, and if it change as you warm up to your subject, let not the change
lay you open to a revulsion of feeling in your audience.

_Example is a powerful means of suggestion._ As we saw while thinking of
environment in its effects on an audience, we do, without the usual
amount of hesitation and criticism, what others are doing. Paris wears
certain hats and gowns; the rest of the world imitates. The child mimics
the actions, accents and intonations of the parent. Were a child never
to hear anyone speak, he would never acquire the power of speech, unless
under most arduous training, and even then only imperfectly. One of the
biggest department stores in the United States spends fortunes on one
advertising slogan: “Everybody is going to the big store.” That makes
everybody want to go.

You can reinforce the power of your message by showing that it has been
widely accepted. Political organizations subsidize applause to create
the impression that their speakers’ ideas are warmly received and
approved by the audience. The advocates of the commission-form of
government of cities, the champions of votes for women, reserve as their
strongest arguments the fact that a number of cities and states have
already successfully accepted their plans. Advertisements use the
testimonial for its power of suggestion.

Observe how this principle has been applied in the following selections,
and utilize it on every occasion possible in your attempts to influence
through suggestion:

The war is actually begun. The next gale that sweeps from the
North will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms. Our
brethren are already in the field. Why stand ye here idle?


With a zeal approaching the zeal which inspired the Crusaders
who followed Peter the Hermit, our silver Democrats went forth
from victory unto victory until they are now assembled, not to
discuss, not to debate, but to enter up the judgment already
rendered by the plain people of this country. In this contest
brother has been arrayed against brother, father against son.
The warmest ties of love, acquaintance, and association have
been disregarded; old leaders have been cast aside when they
refused to give expression to the sentiments of those whom they
would lead, and new leaders have sprung up to give direction to
this cause of truth. Thus has the contest been waged, and we
have assembled here under as binding and solemn instructions as
were ever imposed upon representatives of the people.


_Figurative and indirect language has suggestive force_, because it does
not make statements that can be directly disputed. It arouses no
contradictory ideas in the minds of the audience, thereby fulfilling one
of the basic requisites of suggestion. By _implying_ a conclusion in
indirect or figurative language it is often asserted most forcefully.

Note that in the following Mr. Bryan did not say that Mr. McKinley would
be defeated. He implied it in a much more effective manner:

Mr. McKinley was nominated at St. Louis upon a platform which
declared for the maintenance of the gold standard until it can
be changed into bimetallism by international agreement. Mr.
McKinley was the most popular man among the Republicans, and
three months ago everybody in the Republican party prophesied
his election. How is it today? Why, the man who was once pleased
to think that he looked like Napoleon–that man shudders today
when he remembers that he was nominated on the anniversary of
the battle of Waterloo. Not only that, but as he listens he can
hear with ever-increasing distinctness the sound of the waves as
they beat upon the lonely shores of St. Helena.

Had Thomas Carlyle said: “A false man cannot found a religion,” his
words would have been neither so suggestive nor so powerful, nor so long
remembered as his implication in these striking words:

A false man found a religion? Why, a false man cannot build a
brick house! If he does not know and follow truly the properties
of mortar, burnt clay, and what else he works in, it is no house
that he makes, but a rubbish heap. It will not stand for twelve
centuries, to lodge a hundred and eighty millions; it will fall
straightway. A man must conform himself to Nature’s laws, be
verily in communion with Nature and the truth of things, or
Nature will answer him, No, not at all!

Observe how the picture that Webster draws here is much more emphatic
and forceful than any mere assertion could be:

Sir, I know not how others may feel, but as for myself when I
see my _alma mater_ surrounded, like Cæsar in the senate house,
by those who are reiterating stab after stab, I would not for
this right hand have her turn to me and say, “And thou, too, my


A speech should be built on sound logical foundations, and no man should
dare to speak in behalf of a fallacy. Arguing a subject, however, will
necessarily arouse contradictory ideas in the mind of your audience.
When immediate action or persuasion is desired, suggestion is more
efficacious than argument–when both are judiciously mixed, the effect
is irresistible.


1. Make an outline, or brief, of the contents of this chapter.

2. Revise the introduction to any of your written addresses, with the
teachings of this chapter in mind.

3. Give two original examples of the power of suggestion as you have
observed it in each of these fields: (_a_) advertising; (=b=) politics;
(_c_) public sentiment.

4. Give original examples of suggestive speech, illustrating two of the
principles set forth in this chapter.

5. What reasons can you give that disprove the general contention of
this chapter?

6. What reasons not already given seem to you to support it?

7. What effect do his own suggestions have on the speaker himself?

8. Can suggestion arise from the audience? If so, show how.

9. Select two instances of suggestion in the speeches found in the

10. Change any two passages in the same, or other, speeches so as to use
suggestion more effectively.

11. Deliver those passages in the revised form.

12. Choosing your own subject, prepare and deliver a short speech
largely in the suggestive style.



Common sense is the common sense of mankind. It is the product
of common observation and experience. It is modest, plain, and
unsophisticated. It sees with everybody’s eyes, and hears with
everybody’s ears. It has no capricious distinctions, no
perplexities, and no mysteries. It never equivocates, and never
trifles. Its language is always intelligible. It is known by
clearness of speech and singleness of purpose.

–GEORGE JACOB HOLYOAKE, _Public Speaking and Debate_.

The very name of logic is awesome to most young speakers, but so soon as
they come to realize that its processes, even when most intricate, are
merely technical statements of the truths enforced by common sense, it
will lose its terrors. In fact, logic[25] is a fascinating subject, well
worth the public speaker’s study, for it explains the principles that
govern the use of argument and proof.

Argumentation is the process of producing conviction by means of
reasoning. Other ways of producing conviction there are, notably
suggestion, as we have just shown, but no means is so high, so worthy of
respect, as the adducing of sound reasons in support of a contention.

Since more than one side of a subject must be considered before we can
claim to have deliberated upon it fairly, we ought to think of
argumentation under two aspects: building up an argument, and tearing
down an argument; that is, you must not only examine into the stability
of your structure of argument so that it may both support the
proposition you intend to probe and yet be so sound that it cannot be
overthrown by opponents, but you must also be so keen to detect defects
in argument that you will be able to demolish the weaker arguments of
those who argue against you.

We can consider argumentation only generally, leaving minute and
technical discussions to such excellent works as George P. Baker’s “The
Principles of Argumentation,” and George Jacob Holyoake’s “Public
Speaking and Debate.” Any good college rhetoric also will give help on
the subject, especially the works of John Franklin Genung and Adams
Sherman Hill. The student is urged to familiarize himself with at least
one of these texts.

The following series of questions will, it is hoped, serve a triple
purpose: that of suggesting the forms of proof together with the ways in
which they may be used; that of helping the speaker to test the strength
of his arguments; and that of enabling the speaker to attack his
opponent’s arguments with both keenness and justice.



1. _Is it clearly stated?_

(_a_) Do the terms of statement mean the same to each
disputant? (For example, the meaning of the term “gentleman” may not
be mutually agreed upon.)

(_b_) Is confusion likely to arise as to its purpose?

2. _Is it fairly stated?_

(_a_) Does it include enough?

(_b_) Does it include too much?

(_c_) Is it stated so as to contain a trap?

3. _Is it a debatable question?_

4. _What is the pivotal point in the whole question?_

5. _What are the subordinate points?_


1. _The witnesses as to facts_

(_a_) Is each witness impartial? What is his relation to the
subject at issue?

(_b_) Is he mentally competent?

(_c_) Is he morally credible?

(_d_) Is he in a position to know the facts? Is he an

(_e_) Is he a willing witness?

(_f_) Is his testimony contradicted?

(_g_) Is his testimony corroborated?

(_h_) Is his testimony contrary to well-known facts or general

(_i_) Is it probable?

2. _The authorities cited as evidence_

(_a_) Is the authority well-recognized as such?

(_b_) What constitutes him an authority?

(_c_) Is his interest in the case an impartial one?

(_d_) Does he state his opinion positively and clearly?

(_e_) Are the non-personal authorities cited (books, etc.)
reliable and unprejudiced?

3. _The facts adduced as evidence_

(_a_) Are they sufficient in number to constitute proof?

(_b_) Are they weighty enough in character?

(_c_) Are they in harmony with reason?

(_d_) Are they mutually harmonious or contradictory?

(_e_) Are they admitted, doubted, or disputed?

4. _The principles adduced as evidence_

(_a_) Are they axiomatic?

(_b_) Are they truths of general experience?

(_c_) Are they truths of special experience?

(_d_) Are they truths arrived at by experiment?
Were such experiments special or general?
Were the experiments authoritative and conclusive?


1. _Inductions_

(_a_) Are the facts numerous enough to warrant accepting the
generalization as being conclusive?

(_b_) Do the facts agree _only_ when considered in the
light of this explanation as a conclusion?

(_c_) Have you overlooked any contradictory facts?

(_d_) Are the contradictory facts sufficiently explained when
this inference is accepted as true?

(_e_) Are all contrary positions shown to be relatively

(_f_) Have you accepted mere opinions as facts?

2. _Deductions_

(_a_) Is the law or general principle a well-established one?

(_b_) Does the law or principle clearly include the fact you
wish to deduce from it, or have you strained the inference?

(_c_) Does the importance of the law or principle warrant so
important an inference?

(_d_) Can the deduction be shown to prove too much?

3. _Parallel cases_

(_a_) Are the cases parallel at enough points to warrant an
inference of similar cause or effect?

(_b_) Are the cases parallel at the vital point at issue?

(_c_) Has the parallelism been strained?

(_d_) Are there no other parallels that would point to a
stronger contrary conclusion?

4. _Inferences_

(_a_) Are the antecedent conditions such as would make the
allegation probable? (Character and opportunities of the accused, for

(_b_) Are the signs that point to the inference either clear
or numerous enough to warrant its acceptance as fact?

(_c_) Are the signs cumulative, and agreeable one with the other?

(_d_) Could the signs be made to point to a contrary conclusion?

5. _Syllogisms_

(_a_) Have any steps been omitted in the syllogisms?
(Such as in a syllogism _in enthymeme_.) If so, test any such by
filling out the syllogisms.

(_b_) Have you been guilty of stating a conclusion that really
does not follow? (A _non sequitur_.)

(_c_) Can your syllogism be reduced to an absurdity?
(_Reductio ad absurdum._)


1. Show why an unsupported assertion is not an argument.

2. Illustrate how an irrelevant fact may be made to seem to support an

3. What inferences may justly be made from the following?

During the Boer War it was found that the average Englishman did
not measure up to the standards of recruiting and the average
soldier in the field manifested a low plane of vitality and
endurance. Parliament, alarmed by the disastrous consequences,
instituted an investigation. The commission appointed brought in
a finding that alcoholic poisoning was the great cause of the
national degeneracy. The investigations of the commission have
been supplemented by investigations of scientific bodies and
individual scientists, all arriving at the same conclusion. As a
consequence, the British Government has placarded the streets
of a hundred cities with billboards setting forth the
destructive and degenerating nature of alcohol and appealing to
the people in the name of the nation to desist from drinking
alcoholic beverages. Under efforts directed by the Government
the British Army is fast becoming an army of total abstainers.

The Governments of continental Europe followed the lead of the
British Government. The French Government has placarded France
with appeals to the people, attributing the decline of the birth
rate and increase in the death rate to the widespread use of
alcoholic beverages. The experience of the German Government has
been the same. The German Emperor has clearly stated that
leadership in war and in peace will be held by the nation that
roots out alcohol. He has undertaken to eliminate even the
drinking of beer, so far as possible, from the German Army and

–RICHMOND PEARSON HOBSON, _Before the U.S. Congress_.

4. Since the burden of proof lies on him who attacks a position, or
argues for a change in affairs, how would his opponent be likely to
conduct his own part of a debate?

5. Define (_a_) syllogism; (_b_) rebuttal; (_c_) “begging the question;”
(_d_) premise; (_e_) rejoinder; (_f_) sur-rejoinder; (_g_) dilemma;
(_h_) induction; (_i_) deduction; (_j_) _a priori_; (_k_) _a
posteriori_; (_l_) inference.

6. Criticise this reasoning:

Men ought not to smoke tobacco, because to do so is contrary to
best medical opinion. My physician has expressly condemned the
practise, and is a medical authority in this country.

7. Criticise this reasoning:

Men ought not to swear profanely, because it is wrong. It is
wrong for the reason that it is contrary to the Moral Law, and
it is contrary to the Moral Law because it is contrary to the
Scriptures. It is contrary to the Scriptures because it is
contrary to the will of God, and we know it is contrary to
God’s will because it is wrong.

8. Criticise this syllogism:

MAJOR PREMISE: All men who have no cares are happy.
MINOR PREMISE: Slovenly men are careless.
CONCLUSION: Therefore, slovenly men are happy.

9. Criticise the following major, or foundation, premises:

All is not gold that glitters.

All cold may be expelled by fire.

10. Criticise the following fallacy (_non sequitur_):

MAJOR PREMISE: All strong men admire strength.
MINOR PREMISE: This man is not strong.
CONCLUSION: Therefore this man does not admire strength.

11. Criticise these statements:

Sleep is beneficial on account of its soporific qualities.

Fiske’s histories are authentic because they contain accurate
accounts of American history, and we know that they are true
accounts for otherwise they would not be contained in these
authentic works.

12. What do you understand from the terms “reasoning from effect to
cause” and “from cause to effect?” Give examples.

13. What principle did Richmond Pearson Hobson employ in the following?

What is the police power of the States? The police power of the
Federal Government or the State–any sovereign State–has been
defined. Take the definition given by Blackstone, which is:

The due regulation and domestic order of the Kingdom,
whereby the inhabitants of a State, like members
of a well-governed family, are bound to conform their
general behavior to the rules of propriety, of neighborhood
and good manners, and to be decent, industrious,
and inoffensive in their respective stations.

Would this amendment interfere with any State carrying on the
promotion of its domestic order?

Or you can take the definition in another form, in which it is
given by Mr. Tiedeman, when he says:

The object of government is to impose that degree of
restraint upon human actions which is necessary to a
uniform, reasonable enjoyment of private rights. The
power of the government to impose this restraint is
called the police power.

Judge Cooley says of the liquor traffic:

The business of manufacturing and selling liquor is one
that affects the public interests in many ways and leads
to many disorders. It has a tendency to increase
pauperism and crime. It renders a large force of peace
officers essential, and it adds to the expense of the
courts and of nearly all branches of civil administration.

Justice Bradley, of the United States Supreme Court, says:

Licenses may be properly required in the pursuit of
many professions and avocations, which require peculiar
skill and training or supervision for the public welfare.
The profession or avocation is open to all alike who will
prepare themselves with the requisite qualifications or
give the requisite security for preserving public order.
This is in harmony with the general proposition that the
ordinary pursuits of life, forming the greater per cent of
the industrial pursuits, are and ought to be free and
open to all, subject only to such general regulations,
applying equally to all, as the general good may demand.

All such regulations are entirely competent for the
legislature to make and are in no sense an abridgment
of the equal rights of citizens. But a license to do that
which is odious and against common right is necessarily
an outrage upon the equal rights of citizens.

14. What method did Jesus employ in the following:

Ye are the salt of the earth; but if the salt have lost his
savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for
nothing but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

Behold the fowls of the air; for they sow not, neither do they
reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth
them. Are ye not much better than they?

And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the
field; how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin; And
yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not
arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass
of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the
oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he
give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a
serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts
unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in
heaven give good things to them that ask him?

15. Make five original syllogisms[26] on the following models:

MAJOR PREMISE: He who administers arsenic gives poison.
MINOR PREMISE: The prisoner administered arsenic to the victim.
CONCLUSION: Therefore the prisoner is a poisoner.

MAJOR PREMISE: All dogs are quadrupeds.
MINOR PREMISE: This animal is a biped.
CONCLUSION: Therefore this animal is not a dog.

16. Prepare either the positive or the negative side of the following
question for debate: _The recall of judges should be adopted as a
national principle_.

17. Is this question debatable? _Benedict Arnold was a gentleman._ Give
reasons for your answer.

18. Criticise any street or dinner-table argument you have heard

19. Test the reasoning of any of the speeches given in this volume.

20. Make a short speech arguing in favor of instruction in public
speaking in the public evening schools.

21. (_a_) Clip a newspaper editorial in which the reasoning is weak.
(_b_) Criticise it. (_c_) Correct it.

22. Make a list of three subjects for debate, selected from the monthly

23. Do the same from the newspapers.

24. Choosing your own question and side, prepare a brief suitable for a
ten-minute debating argument. The following models of briefs may help


RESOLVED: _That armed intervention is not justifiable on the part of any
nation to collect, on behalf of private individuals, financial claims
against any American nation._[27]


First speaker–Chafee

Armed intervention for collection of private claims from any American
nation is not justifiable, for

1. _It is wrong in principle_, because

(_a_) It violates the fundamental principles of international law for a
very slight cause

(_b_) It is contrary to the proper function of the State, and

(_c_) It is contrary to justice, since claims are exaggerated.

Second speaker–Hurley

2. _It is disastrous in its results_, because

(_a_) It incurs danger of grave international complications

(_b_) It tends to increase the burden of debt in the South American

(_c_) It encourages a waste of the world’s capital, and

(_d_) It disturbs peace and stability in South America.

Third speaker–Bruce

3. _It is unnecessary to collect in this way_, because

(_a_) Peaceful methods have succeeded

(_b_) If these should fail, claims should be settled by The Hague

(_c_) The fault has always been with European States when force has
been used, and

(_d_) In any case, force should not be used, for it counteracts the
movement towards peace.


First speaker–Branch

Armed intervention for the collection of private financial claims
against some American States is justifiable, for

1. _When other means of collection have failed, armed intervention
against any nation is essentially proper_, because

(_a_) Justice should always be secured

(_b_) Non-enforcement of payment puts a premium on dishonesty

(_c_) Intervention for this purpose is sanctioned by the best
international authority

(_d_) Danger of undue collection is slight and can be avoided
entirely by submission of claims to The Hague Tribunal before

Second speaker–Stone

2. _Armed intervention is necessary to secure justice in tropical
America_, for

(_a_) The governments of this section constantly repudiate just debts

(_b_) They insist that the final decision about claims shall rest with
their own corrupt courts

(_c_) They refuse to arbitrate sometimes.

Third speaker–Dennett

3. _Armed intervention is beneficial in its results_, because

(_a_) It inspires responsibility

(_b_) In administering custom houses it removes temptation to

(_c_) It gives confidence to desirable capital.

Among others, the following books were used in the preparation of the

N. “The Monroe Doctrine,” by T.B. Edgington. Chapters 22-28.

“Digest of International Law,” by J.B. Moore. Report of Penfield of
proceedings before Hague Tribunal in 1903.

“Statesman’s Year Book” (for statistics).

A. Minister Drago’s appeal to the United States, in Foreign Relations of
United States, 1903.

President Roosevelt’s Message, 1905, pp. 33-37.

And articles in the following magazines (among many others):

“Journal of Political Economy,” December, 1906.

“Atlantic Monthly,” October, 1906.

“North American Review,” Vol. 183, p. 602.

All of these contain material valuable for both sides, except those
marked “N” and “A,” which are useful only for the negative and
affirmative, respectively.

NOTE:–Practise in debating is most helpful to the public speaker, but
if possible each debate should be under the supervision of some person
whose word will be respected, so that the debaters might show regard for
courtesy, accuracy, effective reasoning, and the necessity for careful
preparation. The Appendix contains a list of questions for debate.

25. Are the following points well considered?


A. Does not strike at the root of the evil

1. _Fortunes not a menace in themselves_ A fortune of $500,000 may
be a greater social evil than one of $500,000,000

2. _Danger of wealth depends on its wrong accumulation and use_

3. _Inheritance tax will not prevent rebates, monopoly,
discrimination, bribery, etc._

4. _Laws aimed at unjust accumulation and use of wealth furnish the
true remedy._

B. It would be evaded

1. _Low rates are evaded_

2. _Rate must be high to result in distribution of great fortunes._

26. Class exercises: Mock Trial for (_a_) some serious political
offense; (_b_) a burlesque offense.


[Footnote 25: McCosh’s _Logic_ is a helpful volume, and not too
technical for the beginner. A brief digest of logical principles as
applied to public speaking is contained in _How to Attract and Hold an
Audience_, by J. Berg Esenwein.]

[Footnote 26: For those who would make a further study of the syllogism
the following rules are given: 1. In a syllogism there should be only
three terms. 2. Of these three only one can be the middle term. 3. One
premise must be affirmative. 4. The conclusion must be negative if
either premise is negative. 5. To prove a negative, one of the premises
must be negative.

_Summary of Regulating Principles_: 1. Terms which agree with the same
thing agree with each other; and when only one of two terms agrees with
a third term, the two terms disagree with each other. 2. “Whatever is
affirmed of a class may be affirmed of all the members of that class,”
and “Whatever is denied of a class may be denied of all the members of
that class.”]

[Footnote 27: All the speakers were from Brown University. The
affirmative briefs were used in debate with the Dartmouth College team,
and the negative briefs were used in debate with the Williams College
team. From _The Speaker_, by permission.]



She hath prosperous art
When she will play with reason and discourse,
And well she can persuade.

–SHAKESPEARE, _Measure for Measure_.

Him we call an artist who shall play on an assembly of men as a
master on the keys of a piano,–who seeing the people furious,
shall soften and compose them, shall draw them, when he will, to
laughter and to tears. Bring him to his audience, and, be they
who they may,–coarse or refined, pleased or displeased, sulky
or savage, with their opinions in the keeping of a confessor or
with their opinions in their bank safes,–he will have them
pleased and humored as he chooses; and they shall carry and
execute what he bids them.

–RALPH WALDO EMERSON, Essay on _Eloquence_.

More good and more ill have been effected by persuasion than by any
other form of speech. _It is an attempt to influence by means of appeal
to some particular interest held important by the hearer._ Its motive
may be high or low, fair or unfair, honest or dishonest, calm or
passionate, and hence its scope is unparalleled in public speaking.

This “instilment of conviction,” to use Matthew Arnold’s expression, is
naturally a complex process in that it usually includes argumentation
and often employs suggestion, as the next chapter will illustrate. In
fact, there is little public speaking worthy of the name that is not in
some part persuasive, for men rarely speak solely to alter men’s
opinions–the ulterior purpose is almost always action.

The nature of persuasion is not solely intellectual, but is largely
emotional. It uses every principle of public speaking, and every “form
of discourse,” to use a rhetorician’s expression, but argument
supplemented by special appeal is its peculiar quality. This we may best
see by examining

_The Methods of Persuasion_

High-minded speakers often seek to move their hearers to action by an
appeal to their highest motives, such as love of liberty. Senator Hoar,
in pleading for action on the Philippine question, used this method:

What has been the practical statesmanship which comes from your
ideals and your sentimentalities? You have wasted nearly six
hundred millions of treasure. You have sacrificed nearly ten
thousand American lives–the flower of our youth. You have
devastated provinces. You have slain uncounted thousands of the
people you desire to benefit. You have established
reconcentration camps. Your generals are coming home from their
harvest bringing sheaves with them, in the shape of other
thousands of sick and wounded and insane to drag out miserable
lives, wrecked in body and mind. You make the American flag in
the eyes of a numerous people the emblem of sacrilege in
Christian churches, and of the burning of human dwellings, and
of the horror of the water torture. Your practical statesmanship
which disdains to take George Washington and Abraham Lincoln or
the soldiers of the Revolution or of the Civil War as models,
has looked in some cases to Spain for your example. I
believe–nay, I know–that in general our officers and soldiers
are humane. But in some cases they have carried on your warfare
with a mixture of American ingenuity and Castilian cruelty.

Your practical statesmanship has succeeded in converting a
people who three years ago were ready to kiss the hem of the
garment of the American and to welcome him as a liberator, who
thronged after your men, when they landed on those islands, with
benediction and gratitude, into sullen and irreconcilable
enemies, possessed of a hatred which centuries cannot eradicate.

Mr. President, this is the eternal law of human nature. You may
struggle against it, you may try to escape it, you may persuade
yourself that your intentions are benevolent, that your yoke
will be easy and your burden will be light, but it will assert
itself again. Government without the consent of the
governed–authority which heaven never gave–can only be
supported by means which heaven never can sanction.

The American people have got this one question to answer. They
may answer it now; they can take ten years, or twenty years, or
a generation, or a century to think of it. But will not down.
They must answer it in the end: Can you lawfully buy with money,
or get by brute force of arms, the right to hold in subjugation
an unwilling people, and to impose on them such constitution as
you, and not they, think best for them?

Senator Hoar then went on to make another sort of appeal–the appeal to
fact and experience:

We have answered this question a good many times in the past.
The fathers answered it in 1776, and founded the Republic upon
their answer, which has been the corner-stone. John Quincy Adams
and James Monroe answered it again in the Monroe Doctrine, which
John Quincy Adams declared was only the doctrine of the consent
of the governed. The Republican party answered it when it took
possession of the force of government at the beginning of the
most brilliant period in all legislative history. Abraham
Lincoln answered it when, on that fatal journey to Washington in
1861, he announced that as the doctrine of his political creed,
and declared, with prophetic vision, that he was ready to be
assassinated for it if need be. You answered it again yourselves
when you said that Cuba, who had no more title than the people
of the Philippine Islands had to their independence, of right
ought to be free and independent.


Appeal to the things that man holds dear is another potent form of

Joseph Story, in his great Salem speech (1828) used this method most

I call upon you, fathers, by the shades of your ancestors–by
the dear ashes which repose in this precious soil–by all you
are, and all you hope to be–resist every object of disunion,
resist every encroachment upon your liberties, resist every
attempt to fetter your consciences, or smother your public
schools, or extinguish your system of public instruction.

I call upon you, mothers, by that which never fails in woman,
the love of your offspring; teach them, as they climb your
knees, or lean on your bosoms, the blessings of liberty. Swear
them at the altar, as with their baptismal vows, to be true to
their country, and never to forget or forsake her.

I call upon you, young men, to remember whose sons you are;
whose inheritance you possess. Life can never be too short,
which brings nothing but disgrace and oppression. Death never
comes too soon, if necessary in defence of the liberties of your

I call upon you, old men, for your counsels, and your prayers,
and your benedictions. May not your gray hairs go down in sorrow
to the grave, with the recollection that you have lived in vain.
May not your last sun sink in the west upon a nation of slaves.

No; I read in the destiny of my country far better hopes, far
brighter visions. We, who are now assembled here, must soon be
gathered to the congregation of other days. The time of our
departure is at hand, to make way for our children upon the
theatre of life. May God speed them and theirs. May he who, at
the distance of another century, shall stand here to celebrate
this day, still look round upon a free, happy, and virtuous
people. May he have reason to exult as we do. May he, with all
the enthusiasm of truth as well as of poetry, exclaim, that here
is still his country.


The appeal to prejudice is effective–though not often, if ever,
justifiable; yet so long as special pleading endures this sort of
persuasion will be resorted to. Rudyard Kipling uses this method–as
have many others on both sides–in discussing the great European war.
Mingled with the appeal to prejudice, Mr. Kipling uses the appeal to
self-interest; though not the highest, it is a powerful motive in all
our lives. Notice how at the last the pleader sweeps on to the highest
ground he can take. This is a notable example of progressive appeal,
beginning with a low motive and ending with a high one in such a way as
to carry all the force of prejudice yet gain all the value of patriotic

Through no fault nor wish of ours we are at war with Germany,
the power which owes its existence to three well-thought-out
wars; the power which, for the last twenty years, has devoted
itself to organizing and preparing for this war; the power which
is now fighting to conquer the civilized world.

For the last two generations the Germans in their books,
lectures, speeches and schools have been carefully taught that
nothing less than this world-conquest was the object of their
preparations and their sacrifices. They have prepared carefully
and sacrificed greatly.

We must have men and men and men, if we, with our allies, are to
check the onrush of organized barbarism.

Have no illusions. We are dealing with a strong and
magnificently equipped enemy, whose avowed aim is our complete
destruction. The violation of Belgium, the attack on France and
the defense against Russia, are only steps by the way. The
German’s real objective, as she always has told us, is England,
and England’s wealth, trade and worldwide possessions.

If you assume, for an instant, that the attack will be
successful, England will not be reduced, as some people say, to
the rank of a second rate power, but we shall cease to exist as
a nation. We shall become an outlying province of Germany, to be
administered with that severity German safety and interest

We are against such a fate. We enter into a new life in which
all the facts of war that we had put behind or forgotten for the
last hundred years, have returned to the front and test us as
they tested our fathers. It will be a long and a hard road,
beset with difficulties and discouragements, but we tread it
together and we will tread it together to the end.

Our petty social divisions and barriers have been swept away at
the outset of our mighty struggle. All the interests of our life
of six weeks ago are dead. We have but one interest now, and
that touches the naked heart of every man in this island and in
the empire.

If we are to win the right for ourselves and for freedom to
exist on earth, every man must offer himself for that service
and that sacrifice.

From these examples it will be seen that the particular way in which the
speakers appealed to their hearers was _by coming close home to their
interests, and by themselves showing emotion_–two very important
principles which you must keep constantly in mind.

To accomplish the former requires a deep knowledge of human motive in
general and an understanding of the particular audience addressed. What
are the motives that arouse men to action? Think of them earnestly, set
them down on the tablets of your mind, study how to appeal to them
worthily. Then, what motives would be likely to appeal to _your_
hearers? What are their ideals and interests in life? A mistake in your
estimate may cost you your case. To appeal to pride in appearance would
make one set of men merely laugh–to try to arouse sympathy for the Jews
in Palestine would be wasted effort among others. Study your audience,
feel your way, and when you have once raised a spark, fan it into a
flame by every honest resource you possess.

The larger your audience the more sure you are to find a universal basis
of appeal. A small audience of bachelors will not grow excited over the
importance of furniture insurance; most men can be roused to the defense
of the freedom of the press.

Patent medicine advertisement usually begins by talking about your
pains–they begin on your interests. If they first discussed the size
and rating of their establishment, or the efficacy of their remedy, you
would never read the “ad.” If they can make you think you have nervous
troubles you will even plead for a remedy–they will not have to try to
sell it.

The patent medicine men are pleading–asking you to invest your money in
their commodity–yet they do not appear to be doing so. They get over on
your side of the fence, and arouse a desire for their nostrums by
appealing to your own interests.

Recently a book-salesman entered an attorney’s office in New York and
inquired: “Do you want to buy a book?” Had the lawyer wanted a book he
would probably have bought one without waiting for a book-salesman to
call. The solicitor made the same mistake as the representative who made
his approach with: “I want to sell you a sewing machine.” They both
talked only in terms of their own interests.

The successful pleader must convert his arguments into terms of his
hearers’ advantage. Mankind are still selfish, are interested in what
will serve them. Expunge from your address your own personal concern
and present your appeal in terms of the general good, and to do this you
need not be insincere, for you had better not plead any cause that is
_not_ for the hearers’ good. Notice how Senator Thurston in his plea for
intervention in Cuba and Mr. Bryan in his “Cross of Gold” speech
constituted themselves the apostles of humanity.

_Exhortation_ is a highly impassioned form of appeal frequently used by
the pulpit in efforts to arouse men to a sense of duty and induce them
to decide their personal courses, and by counsel in seeking to influence
a jury. The great preachers, like the great jury-lawyers, have always
been masters of persuasion.

Notice the difference among these four exhortations, and analyze the
motives appealed to:

Revenge! About! Seek! Burn! Fire! Kill! Slay! Let not a traitor

–SHAKESPEARE, _Julius C√¶sar_.

Strike–till the last armed foe expires,
Strike–for your altars and your fires,
Strike–for the green graves of your sires,
God–and your native land!

–FITZ-GREENE HALLECK, _Marco Bozzaris_.

Believe, gentlemen, if it were not for those children, he would
not come here to-day to seek such remuneration; if it were not
that, by your verdict, you may prevent those little innocent
defrauded wretches from becoming wandering beggars, as well as
orphans on the face of this earth. Oh, I know I need not ask
this verdict from your mercy; I need not extort it from your
compassion; I will receive it from your justice. I do conjure
you, not as fathers, but as husbands:–not as husbands, but as
citizens:–not as citizens, but as men:–not as men, but as
Christians:–by all your obligations, public, private, moral,
and religious; by the hearth profaned; by the home desolated; by
the canons of the living God foully spurned;–save, oh: save
your firesides from the contagion, your country from the crime,
and perhaps thousands, yet unborn, from the shame, and sin, and
sorrow of this example!

–CHARLES PHILLIPS, _Appeal to the jury in behalf of Guthrie._

So I appeal from the men in silken hose who danced to music made
by slaves and called it freedom, from the men in bell-crown hats
who led Hester Prynne to her shame and called it religion, to
that Americanism which reaches forth its arms to smite wrong
with reason and truth, secure in the power of both. I appeal
from the patriarchs of New England to the poets of New England;
from Endicott to Lowell; from Winthrop to Longfellow; from
Norton to Holmes; and I appeal in the name and by the rights of
that common citizenship–of that common origin, back of both the
Puritan and the Cavalier, to which all of us owe our being. Let
the dead past, consecrated by the blood of its martyrs, not by
its savage hatreds, darkened alike by kingcraft and
priestcraft–let the dead past bury its dead. Let the present
and the future ring with the song of the singers. Blessed be the
lessons they teach, the laws they make. Blessed be the eye to
see, the light to reveal. Blessed be tolerance, sitting ever on
the right hand of God to guide the way with loving word, as
blessed be all that brings us nearer the goal of true religion,
true republicanism, and true patriotism, distrust of watchwords
and labels, shams and heroes, belief in our country and
ourselves. It was not Cotton Mather, but John Greenleaf
Whittier, who cried:

Dear God and Father of us all,
Forgive our faith in cruel lies,
Forgive the blindness that denies.

Cast down our idols–overturn
Our Bloody altars–make us see
Thyself in Thy humanity!

–HENRY WATTERSON, _Puritan and Cavalier_.

Goethe, on being reproached for not having written war songs against
the French, replied, “In my poetry I have never shammed. How could I
have written songs of hate without hatred?” Neither is it possible
to plead with full efficiency for a cause for which you do not feel
deeply. Feeling is contagious as belief is contagious. The speaker
who pleads with real feeling for his own convictions will instill
his feelings into his listeners. Sincerity, force, enthusiasm, and
above all, feeling–these are the qualities that move multitudes
and make appeals irresistible. They are of far greater importance
than technical principles of delivery, grace of gesture, or polished
enunciation–important as all these elements must doubtless be
considered. _Base_ your appeal on reason, but do not end in the
basement–let the building rise, full of deep emotion and noble


1. (_a_) What elements of appeal do you find in the following? (_b_) Is it
too florid? (_c_) Is this style equally powerful today? (_d_) Are the
sentences too long and involved for clearness and force?

Oh, gentlemen, am I this day only the counsel of my client? No,
no; I am the advocate of humanity–of yourselves–your
homes–your wives–your families–your little children. I am
glad that this case exhibits such atrocity; unmarked as it is by
any mitigatory feature, it may stop the frightful advance of
this calamity; it will be met now, and marked with vengeance. If
it be not, farewell to the virtues of your country; farewell to
all confidence between man and man; farewell to that
unsuspicious and reciprocal tenderness, without which marriage
is but a consecrated curse. If oaths are to be violated, laws
disregarded, friendship betrayed, humanity trampled, national
and individual honor stained, and if a jury of fathers and of
husbands will give such miscreancy a passport to their homes,
and wives, and daughters,–farewell to all that yet remains of
Ireland! But I will not cast such a doubt upon the character of
my country. Against the sneer of the foe, and the skepticism of
the foreigner, I will still point to the domestic virtues, that
no perfidy could barter, and no bribery can purchase, that with
a Roman usage, at once embellish and consecrate households,
giving to the society of the hearth all the purity of the altar;
that lingering alike in the palace and the cottage, are still to
be found scattered over this land–the relic of what she
was–the source perhaps of what she may be–the lone, the
stately, and magnificent memorials, that rearing their majesty
amid surrounding ruins, serve at once as the landmarks of the
departed glory, and the models by which the future may be

Preserve those virtues with a vestal fidelity; mark this day, by
your verdict, your horror of their profanation; and believe me,
when the hand which records that verdict shall be dust, and the
tongue that asks it, traceless in the grave, many a happy home
will bless its consequences, and many a mother teach her little
child to hate the impious treason of adultery.


2. Analyze and criticise the forms of appeal used in the selections from
Hoar, Story, and Kipling.

3. What is the type of persuasion used by Senator Thurston (page 50)?

4. Cite two examples each, from selections in this volume, in which
speakers sought to be persuasive by securing the hearers’ (_a_) sympathy
for themselves; (_b_) sympathy with their subjects; (_c_) self-pity.

5. Make a short address using persuasion.

6. What other methods of persuasion than those here mentioned can you

7. Is it easier to persuade men to change their course of conduct than
to persuade them to continue in a given course? Give examples to support
your belief.

8. In how far are we justified in making an appeal to self-interest in
order to lead men to adopt a given course?

9. Does the merit of the course have any bearing on the merit of the
methods used?

10. Illustrate an unworthy method of using persuasion.

11. Deliver a short speech on the value of skill in persuasion.

12. Does effective persuasion always produce conviction?

13. Does conviction always result in action?

14. Is it fair for counsel to appeal to the emotions of a jury in a
murder trial?

15. Ought the judge use persuasion in making his charge?

16. Say how self-consciousness may hinder the power of persuasion in a

17. Is emotion without words ever persuasive? If so, illustrate.

18. Might gestures without words be persuasive? If so, illustrate.

19. Has posture in a speaker anything to do with persuasion? Discuss.

20. Has voice? Discuss.

21. Has manner? Discuss.

22. What effect does personal magnetism have in producing conviction?

23. Discuss the relation of persuasion to (_a_) description; (_b_)
narration; (_c_) exposition; (_d_) pure reason.

24. What is the effect of over-persuasion?

25. Make a short speech on the effect of the constant use of persuasion
on the sincerity of the speaker himself.

26. Show by example how a general statement is not as persuasive as a
concrete example illustrating the point being discussed.

27. Show by example how brevity is of value in persuasion.

28. Discuss the importance of avoiding an antagonistic attitude in

29. What is the most persuasive passage you have found in the selections
of this volume. On what do you base your decision?

30. Cite a persuasive passage from some other source. Read or recite it

31. Make a list of the emotional bases of appeal, grading them from low
to high, according to your estimate.

32. Would circumstances make any difference in such grading? If so, give

33. Deliver a short, passionate appeal to a jury, pleading for justice
to a poor widow.

34. Deliver a short appeal to men to give up some evil way.

35. Criticise the structure of the sentence beginning with the last line
of page 296.



Success in business, in the last analysis, turns upon touching
the imagination of crowds. The reason that preachers in this
present generation are less successful in getting people to want
goodness than business men are in getting them to want motorcars,
hats, and pianolas, is that business men as a class are more
close and desperate students of human nature, and have boned down
harder to the art of touching the imaginations of the crowds.


In the early part of July, 1914, a collection of Frenchmen in Paris, or
Germans in Berlin, was not a crowd in a psychological sense. Each
individual had his own special interests and needs, and there was no
powerful common idea to unify them. A group then represented only a
collection of individuals. A month later, any collection of Frenchmen or
Germans formed a crowd: Patriotism, hate, a common fear, a pervasive
grief, had unified the individuals.

The psychology of the crowd is far different from the psychology of the
personal members that compose it. The crowd is a distinct entity.
Individuals restrain and subdue many of their impulses at the dictates
of reason. The crowd never reasons. It only feels. As persons there is a
sense of responsibility attached to our actions which checks many of our
incitements, but the sense of responsibility is lost in the crowd
because of its numbers. The crowd is exceedingly suggestible and will
act upon the wildest and most extreme ideas. The crowd-mind is
primitive and will cheer plans and perform actions which its members
would utterly repudiate.

A mob is only a highly-wrought crowd. Ruskin’s description is fitting:
“You can talk a mob into anything; its feelings may be–usually are–on
the whole, generous and right, but it has no foundation for them, no
hold of them. You may tease or tickle it into anything at your pleasure.
It thinks by infection, for the most part, catching an opinion like a
cold, and there is nothing so little that it will not roar itself wild
about, when the fit is on, nothing so great but it will forget in an
hour when the fit is past.”[28]

History will show us how the crowd-mind works. The medieval mind was not
given to reasoning; the medieval man attached great weight to the
utterance of authority; his religion touched chiefly the emotions. These
conditions provided a rich soil for the propagation of the crowd-mind
when, in the eleventh century, flagellation, a voluntary self-scourging,
was preached by the monks. Substituting flagellation for reciting
penitential psalms was advocated by the reformers. A scale was drawn up,
making one thousand strokes equivalent to ten psalms, or fifteen
thousand to the entire psalter. This craze spread by leaps–and crowds.
Flagellant fraternities sprang up. Priests carrying banners led through
the streets great processions reciting prayers and whipping their bloody
bodies with leathern thongs fitted with four iron points. Pope Clement
denounced this practise and several of the leaders of these processions
had to be burned at the stake before the frenzy could be uprooted.

All western and central Europe was turned into a crowd by the preaching
of the crusaders, and millions of the followers of the Prince of Peace
rushed to the Holy Land to kill the heathen. Even the children started
on a crusade against the Saracens. The mob-spirit was so strong that
home affections and persuasion could not prevail against it and
thousands of mere babes died in their attempts to reach and redeem the
Sacred Sepulchre.

In the early part of the eighteenth century the South Sea Company was
formed in England. Britain became a speculative crowd. Stock in the
South Sea Company rose from 128-1/2 points in January to 550 in May, and
scored 1,000 in July. Five million shares were sold at this premium.
Speculation ran riot. Hundreds of companies were organized. One was
formed “for a wheel of perpetual motion.” Another never troubled to give
any reason at all for taking the cash of its subscribers–it merely
announced that it was organized “for a design which will hereafter be
promulgated.” Owners began to sell, the mob caught the suggestion, a
panic ensued, the South Sea Company stock fell 800 points in a few days,
and more than a billion dollars evaporated in this era of frenzied

The burning of the witches at Salem, the Klondike gold craze, and the
forty-eight people who were killed by mobs in the United States in 1913,
are examples familiar to us in America.

_The Crowd Must Have a Leader_

The leader of the crowd or mob is its determining factor. He becomes
self-hynoptized with the idea that unifies its members, his enthusiasm
is contagious–and so is theirs. The crowd acts as he suggests. The
great mass of people do not have any very sharply-drawn conclusions on
any subject outside of their own little spheres, but when they become a
crowd they are perfectly willing to accept ready-made, hand-me-down
opinions. They will follow a leader at all costs–in labor troubles they
often follow a leader in preference to obeying their government, in war
they will throw self-preservation to the bushes and follow a leader in
the face of guns that fire fourteen times a second. The mob becomes
shorn of will-power and blindly obedient to its dictator. The Russian
Government, recognizing the menace of the crowd-mind to its autocracy,
formerly prohibited public gatherings. History is full of similar

_How the Crowd is Created_

Today the crowd is as real a factor in our socialized life as are
magnates and monopolies. It is too complex a problem merely to damn or
praise it–it must be reckoned with, and mastered. The present problem
is how to get the most and the best out of the crowd-spirit, and the
public speaker finds this to be peculiarly his own question. His
influence is multiplied if he can only transmute his audience into a
crowd. His affirmations must be their conclusions.

This can be accomplished by unifying the minds and needs of the audience
and arousing their emotions. Their feelings, not their reason, must be
played upon–_it is “up to” him to do this nobly_. Argument has its
place on the platform, but even its potencies must subserve the
speaker’s plan of attack to _win possession_ of his audience.

Reread the chapter on “Feeling and Enthusiasm.” It is impossible to make
an audience a crowd without appealing to their emotions. Can you imagine
the average group becoming a crowd while hearing a lecture on Dry Fly
Fishing, or on Egyptian Art? On the other hand, it would not have
required world-famous eloquence to have turned any audience in Ulster,
in 1914, into a crowd by discussing the Home Rule Act. The crowd-spirit
depends largely on the subject used to fuse their individualities into
one glowing whole.

Note how Antony played upon the feelings of his hearers in the famous
funeral oration given by Shakespeare in “Julius C√¶sar.” From murmuring
units the men became a unit–a mob.

Friends, Romans, countrymen! Lend me your ears;
I come to bury Cæsar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones:
So let it be with Cæsar! The Noble Brutus
Hath told you Cæsar was ambitious.
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Cæsar answered it.
Here, under leave of Brutus, and the rest–
For Brutus is an honorable man,
So are they all, all honorable men–
Come I to speak in C√¶sar’s funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
But Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honorable man.
He hath brought many captives home to Rome,
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:
Did this in Cæsar seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, Cæsar hath wept;
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet Brutus says, he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honorable man.
You all did see, that, on the Lupercal,
I thrice presented him a kingly crown,
Which he did thrice refuse. Was this ambition?
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And sure, he is an honorable man.
I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know.
You all did love him once, not without cause;
What cause withholds you then to mourn for him?
Oh, judgment, thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason!–Bear with me;
My heart is in the coffin there with Cæsar,
And I must pause till it come back to me. [_Weeps._

_1 Plebeian._ Methinks there is much reason in his sayings.

_2 Ple._ If thou consider rightly of the matter,
Cæsar has had great wrong.

_3 Ple._ Has he, masters?
I fear there will a worse come in his place.

_4 Ple._ Mark’d ye his words? He would not take the crown;
Therefore, ’tis certain, he was not ambitious.

_1 Ple._ If it be found so, some will dear abide it.

_2 Ple._ Poor soul, his eyes are red as fire with weeping.

_3 Ple._ There’s not a nobler man in Rome than Antony.

_4 Ple._ Now mark him, he begins again to speak.

_Ant._ But yesterday, the word of Cæsar might
Have stood against the world: now lies he there,
And none so poor to do him reverence.
Oh, masters! if I were dispos’d to stir
Your hearts and minds to mutiny and rage,
I should do Brutus wrong, and Cassius wrong,
Who, you all know, are honorable men.
I will not do them wrong; I rather choose
To wrong the dead, to wrong myself, and you,
Than I will wrong such honorable men.
But here’s a parchment, with the seal of C√¶sar;
I found it in his closet; ’tis his will:
Let but the commons hear this testament–
Which, pardon me, I do not mean to read–
And they would go and kiss dead C√¶sar’s wounds,
And dip their napkins in his sacred blood;
Yea, beg a hair of him for memory,
And, dying, mention it within their wills,
Bequeathing it as a rich legacy
Unto their issue.

_4 Ple._ We’ll hear the will: Read it, Mark Antony.

_All._ The will! the will! we will hear C√¶sar’s will.

_Ant._ Have patience, gentle friends: I must not read it;
It is not meet you know how C√¶sar lov’d you.
You are not wood, you are not stones, but men;
And, being men, hearing the will of Cæsar,
It will inflame you, it will make you mad:
‘Tis good you know not that you are his heirs;
For if you should, oh, what would come of it!

_4 Ple._ Read the will; we’ll hear it, Antony!
You shall read us the will! C√¶sar’s will!

_Ant._ Will you be patient? Will you stay awhile?
I have o’ershot myself, to tell you of it.
I fear I wrong the honorable men
Whose daggers have stab’d C√¶sar; I do fear it.

_4 Ple._ They were traitors: Honorable men!

_All._ The will! the testament!

_2 Ple._ They were villains, murtherers! The will! Read the will!

_Ant._ You will compel me then to read the will?
Then, make a ring about the corpse of Cæsar,
And let me shew you him that made the will.
Shall I descend? And will you give me leave?

_All._ Come down.

_2 Ple._ Descend. [_He comes down from the Rostrum_.

_3 Ple._ You shall have leave.

_4 Ple._ A ring; stand round.

_1 Ple._ Stand from the hearse, stand from the body.

_2 Ple._ Room for Antony!–most noble Antony!

_Ant._ Nay, press not so upon me; stand far off.

_All._ Stand back! room! bear back!

_Ant._ If you have tears, prepare to shed them now;
You all do know this mantle: I remember
The first time ever Cæsar put it on;
‘Twas on a summer’s evening, in his tent,
That day he overcame the Nervii.
Look, in this place, ran Cassius’ dagger through:
See, what a rent the envious Casca made:
Through this, the well-beloved Brutus stab’d;
And as he pluck’d his cursed steel away,
Mark how the blood of C√¶sar follow’d it!–
As rushing out of doors, to be resolv’d
If Brutus so unkindly knock’d, or no;
For Brutus, as you know, was C√¶sar’s angel:
Judge, O you Gods, how C√¶sar lov’d him!
This was the most unkindest cut of all!
For when the noble Cæsar saw him stab,
Ingratitude, more strong than traitors’ arms,
Quite vanquish’d him: then burst his mighty heart;
And in his mantle muffling up his face,
Even at the base of Pompey’s statue,
Which all the while ran blood, great Cæsar fell.
Oh what a fall was there, my countrymen!
Then I and you, and all of us, fell down,
Whilst bloody treason flourish’d over us.
Oh! now you weep; and I perceive you feel
The dint of pity; these are gracious drops.
Kind souls! what, weep you, when you but behold
Our C√¶sar’s vesture wounded? Look you here!
Here is himself, mar’d, as you see, by traitors.

_1 Ple._ Oh, piteous spectacle!

_2 Ple._ Oh, noble Cæsar!

_3 Ple._ Oh, woful day!

_4 Ple._ Oh, traitors, villains!

_1 Ple._ Oh, most bloody sight!

_2 Ple._ We will be reveng’d!

_All._ Revenge; about–seek–burn–fire–kill–day!–Let not
a traitor live!

_Ant._ Stay, countrymen.

_1 Ple._ Peace there! Hear the noble Antony.

_2 Ple._ We’ll hear him, we’ll follow him, we’ll die with him.

_Ant._ Good friends, sweet friends, let me not stir you up
To such a sudden flood of mutiny:
They that have done this deed are honorable:
What private griefs they have, alas! I know not,
That made them do it; they are wise, and honorable,
And will, no doubt, with reasons answer you.
I come not, friends, to steal away your hearts;
I am no orator, as Brutus is;
But as you know me all, a plain blunt man,
That love my friend, and that they know full well
That gave me public leave to speak of him:
For I have neither wit, nor words, nor worth,
Action, nor utterance, nor the power of speech,
To stir men’s blood. I only speak right on:
I tell you that which you yourselves do know;
Show your sweet C√¶sar’s wounds, poor, poor, dumb mouths,
And bid them speak for me. But were I Brutus,
And Brutus Antony, there were an Antony
Would ruffle up your spirits, and put a tongue
In every wound of Cæsar, that should move
The stones of Rome to rise and mutiny.

_All._ We’ll mutiny!

_1 Ple._ We’ll burn the house of Brutus.

_3 Ple._ Away, then! Come, seek the conspirators.

_Ant._ Yet hear me, countrymen; yet hear me speak.

_All._ Peace, ho! Hear Antony, most noble Antony.

_Ant._ Why, friends, you go to do you know not what.
Wherein hath C√¶sar thus deserv’d your loves?
Alas! you know not!–I must tell you then.
You have forgot the will I told you of.

_Ple._ Most true;–the will!–let’s stay, and hear the will.

_Ant._ Here is the will, and under C√¶sar’s seal.
To every Roman citizen he gives,
To every several man, seventy-five drachmas.

_2 Ple._ Most noble C√¶sar!–we’ll revenge his death.

_3 Ple._ O royal Cæsar!

_Ant._ Hear me with patience.

_All._ Peace, ho!

_Ant._ Moreover, he hath left you all his walks,
His private arbours, and new-planted orchards,
On this side Tiber; he hath left them you,
And to your heirs forever, common pleasures,
To walk abroad, and recreate yourselves.
Here was a Cæsar! When comes such another?

_1 Ple._ Never, never!–Come, away, away!
We’ll burn his body in the holy place,
And with the brands fire the traitors’ houses.
Take up the body.

_2 Ple._ Go, fetch fire.

_3 Ple._ Pluck down benches.

_4 Ple._ Pluck down forms, windows, anything.
[_Exeunt Citizens, with the body._

_Ant._ Now let it work. Mischief, thou art afoot,
Take thou what course thou wilt!

To unify single, auditors into a crowd, express their common needs,
aspirations, dangers, and emotions, deliver your message so that the
interests of one shall appear to be the interests of all. The conviction
of one man is intensified in proportion as he finds others sharing his
belief–_and feeling_. Antony does not stop with telling the Roman
populace that C√¶sar fell–he makes the tragedy universal:

Then I, and you, and all of us fell down,
Whilst bloody treason flourished over us.

Applause, generally a sign of feeling, helps to unify an audience. The
nature of the crowd is illustrated by the contagion of applause.
Recently a throng in a New York moving-picture and vaudeville house had
been applauding several songs, and when an advertisement for tailored
skirts was thrown on the screen some one started the applause, and the
crowd, like sheep, blindly imitated–until someone saw the joke and
laughed; then the crowd again followed a leader and laughed at and
applauded its own stupidity.

Actors sometimes start applause for their lines by snapping their
fingers. Some one in the first few rows will mistake it for faint
applause, and the whole theatre will chime in.

An observant auditor will be interested in noticing the various devices
a monologist will use to get the first round of laughter and applause.
He works so hard because he knows an audience of units is an audience of
indifferent critics, but once get them to laughing together and each
single laugher sweeps a number of others with him, until the whole
theatre is aroar and the entertainer has scored. These are meretricious
schemes, to be sure, and do not savor in the least of inspiration, but
crowds have not changed in their nature in a thousand years and the one
law holds for the greatest preacher and the pettiest stump-speaker–you
must fuse your audience or they will not warm to your message. The
devices of the great orator may not be so obvious as those of the
vaudeville monologist, but the principle is the same: he tries to strike
some universal note that will have all his hearers feeling alike at the
same time.

The evangelist knows this when he has the soloist sing some touching
song just before the address. Or he will have the entire congregation
sing, and that is the psychology of “Now _every_body sing!” for he knows
that they who will not join in the song are as yet outside the crowd.
Many a time has the popular evangelist stopped in the middle of his
talk, when he felt that his hearers were units instead of a molten mass
(and a sensitive speaker can feel that condition most depressingly) and
suddenly demanded that everyone arise and sing, or repeat aloud a
familiar passage, or read in unison; or perhaps he has subtly left the
thread of his discourse to tell a story that, from long experience, he
knew would not fail to bring his hearers to a common feeling.

These things are important resources for the speaker, and happy is he
who uses them worthily and not as a despicable charlatan. The difference
between a demagogue and a leader is not so much a matter of method as of
principle. Even the most dignified speaker must recognize the eternal
laws of human nature. You are by no means urged to become a trickster on
the platform–far from it!–but don’t kill your speech with dignity. To
be icily correct is as silly as to rant. Do neither, but appeal to those
world-old elements in your audience that have been recognized by all
great speakers from Demosthenes to Sam Small, and see to it that you
never debase your powers by arousing your hearers unworthily.

It is as hard to kindle enthusiasm in a scattered audience as to build a
fire with scattered sticks. An audience to be converted into a crowd
must be made to appear as a crowd. This cannot be done when they are
widely scattered over a large seating space or when many empty benches
separate the speaker from his hearers. Have your audience seated
compactly. How many a preacher has bemoaned the enormous edifice over
which what would normally be a large congregation has scattered in
chilled and chilling solitude Sunday after Sunday! Bishop Brooks himself
could not have inspired a congregation of one thousand souls seated in
the vastness of St. Peter’s at Rome. In that colossal sanctuary it is
only on great occasions which bring out the multitudes that the service
is before the high altar–at other times the smaller side-chapels are

Universal ideas surcharged with feeling help to create the
crowd-atmosphere. Examples: liberty, character, righteousness, courage,
fraternity, altruism, country, and national heroes. George Cohan was
making psychology practical and profitable when he introduced the flag
and flag-songs into his musical comedies. Cromwell’s regiments prayed
before the battle and went into the fight singing hymns. The French
corps, singing the Marseillaise in 1914, charged the Germans as one man.
Such unifying devices arouse the feelings, make soldiers fanatical
mobs–and, alas, more efficient murderers.


[Footnote 28: _Sesame and Lilies_.]



To think, and to feel, constitute the two grand divisions of men
of genius–the men of reasoning and the men of imagination.

–ISAAC DISRAELI, _Literary Character of Men of Genius_.

And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.

–SHAKESPEARE, _Midsummer-Night’s Dream_.

It is common, among those who deal chiefly with life’s practicalities,
to think of imagination as having little value in comparison with direct
thinking. They smile with tolerance when Emerson says that “Science does
not know its debt to the imagination,” for these are the words of a
speculative essayist, a philosopher, a poet. But when Napoleon–the
indomitable welder of empires–declares that “The human race is governed
by its imagination,” the authoritative word commands their respect.

Be it remembered, the faculty of forming _mental images_ is as efficient
a cog as may be found in the whole mind-machine. True, it must fit into
that other vital cog, pure thought, but when it does so it may be
questioned which is the more productive of important results for the
happiness and well-being of man. This should become more apparent as we
go on.


Let us not seek for a definition, for a score of varying ones may be
found, but let us grasp this fact: By imagination we mean either the
faculty or the process of forming mental images.

The subject-matter of imagination may be really existent in nature, or
not at all real, or a combination of both; it may be physical or
spiritual, or both–the mental image is at once the most lawless and the
most law-abiding child that has ever been born of the mind.

First of all, as its name suggests, the process of imagination–for we
are thinking of it now as a process rather than as a faculty–is memory
at work. Therefore we must consider it primarily as

_1. Reproductive Imagination_

We see or hear or feel or taste or smell something and the sensation
passes away. Yet we are conscious of a greater or lesser ability to
reproduce such feelings at will. Two considerations, in general, will
govern the vividness of the image thus evoked–the strength of the
original impression, and the reproductive power of one mind as compared
with another. Yet every normal person will be able to evoke images with
some degree of clearness.

The fact that not all minds possess this imaging faculty in anything
like equal measure will have an important bearing on the public
speaker’s study of this question. No man who does not feel at least some
poetic impulses is likely to aspire seriously to be a poet, yet many
whose imaging faculties are so dormant as to seem actually dead do
aspire to be public speakers. To all such we say most earnestly: Awaken
your image-making gift, for even in the most coldly logical discourse it
is sure to prove of great service. It is important that you find out at
once just how full and how trustworthy is your imagination, for it is
capable of cultivation–as well as of abuse.

Francis Galton[29] says: “The French appear to possess the visualizing
faculty in a high degree. The peculiar ability they show in
pre-arranging ceremonials and fêtes of all kinds and their undoubted
genius for tactics and strategy show that they are able to foresee
effects with unusual clearness. Their ingenuity in all technical
contrivances is an additional testimony in the same direction, and so is
their singular clearness of expression. Their phrase _figurez-vous_, or
_picture to yourself_, seems to express their dominant mode of
perception. Our equivalent, of ‘image,’ is ambiguous.”

But individuals differ in this respect just as markedly as, for
instance, the Dutch do from the French. And this is true not only of
those who are classified by their friends as being respectively
imaginative or unimaginative, but of those whose gifts or habits are not
well known.

Let us take for experiment six of the best-known types of imaging and
see in practise how they arise in our own minds.

By all odds the most common type is, (a) _the visual image_. Children
who more readily recall things seen than things heard are called by
psychologists “eye-minded,” and most of us are bent in this direction.
Close your eyes now and re-call–the word thus hyphenated is more
suggestive–the scene around this morning’s breakfast table. Possibly
there was nothing striking in the situation and the image is therefore
not striking. Then image any notable table scene in your experience–how
vividly it stands forth, because at the time you felt the impression
strongly. Just then you may not have been conscious of how strongly the
scene was laying hold upon you, for often we are so intent upon what we
see that we give no particular thought to the fact that it is impressing
us. It may surprise you to learn how accurately you are able to image a
scene when a long time has elapsed between the conscious focussing of
your attention on the image and the time when you saw the original.

(b) _The auditory image_ is probably the next most vivid of our recalled
experiences. Here association is potent to suggest similarities. Close
out all the world beside and listen to the peculiar wood-against-wood
sound of the sharp thunder among rocky mountains–the crash of ball
against ten-pins may suggest it. Or image (the word is imperfect, for it
seems to suggest only the eye) the sound of tearing ropes when some
precious weight hangs in danger. Or recall the bay of a hound almost
upon you in pursuit–choose your own sound, and see how pleasantly or
terribly real it becomes when imaged in your brain.

(c) _The motor image_ is a close competitor with the auditory for second
place. Have you ever awakened in the night, every muscle taut and
striving, to feel your self straining against the opposing football
line that held like a stone-wall–or as firmly as the headboard of your
bed? Or voluntarily recall the movement of the boat when you cried
inwardly, “It’s all up with me!” The perilous lurch of a train, the
sudden sinking of an elevator, or the unexpected toppling of a
rocking-chair may serve as further experiments.

(d) _The gustatory image_ is common enough, as the idea of eating lemons
will testify. Sometimes the pleasurable recollection of a delightful
dinner will cause the mouth to water years afterward, or the “image” of
particularly atrocious medicine will wrinkle the nose long after it made
one day in boyhood wretched.

(e) _The olfactory image_ is even more delicate. Some there are who are
affected to illness by the memory of certain odors, while others
experience the most delectable sensations by the rise of pleasing
olfactory images.

(f) _The tactile image_, to name no others, is well nigh as potent. Do
you shudder at the thought of velvet rubbed by short-nailed finger tips?
Or were you ever “burned” by touching an ice-cold stove? Or, happier
memory, can you still feel the touch of a well-loved absent hand?

Be it remembered that few of these images are present in our minds
except in combination–the sight and sound of the crashing avalanche are
one; so are the flash and report of the huntman’s gun that came so near
“doing for us.”

Thus, imaging–especially conscious reproductive imagination–will
become a valuable part of our mental processes in proportion as we
direct and control it.

_2. Productive Imagination_

All of the foregoing examples, and doubtless also many of the
experiments you yourself may originate, are merely reproductive.
Pleasurable or horrific as these may be, they are far less important
than the images evoked by the productive imagination–though that does
not infer a separate faculty.

Recall, again for experiment, some scene whose beginning you once saw
enacted on a street corner but passed by before the dénouement was ready
to be disclosed. Recall it all–that far the image is reproductive. But
what followed? Let your fantasy roam at pleasure–the succeeding scenes
are productive, for you have more or less consciously invented the
unreal on the basis of the real.

And just here the fictionist, the poet, and the public speaker will see
the value of productive imagery. True, the feet of the idol you build
are on the ground, but its head pierces the clouds, it is a son of both
earth and heaven.

One fact it is important to note here: Imagery is a valuable mental
asset in proportion as it is controlled by the higher intellectual power
of pure reason. The untutored child of nature thinks largely in images
and therefore attaches to them undue importance. He readily confuses the
real with the unreal–to him they are of like value. But the man of
training readily distinguishes the one from the other and evaluates each
with some, if not with perfect, justice.

So we see that unrestrained imaging may produce a rudderless steamer,
while the trained faculty is the graceful sloop, skimming the seas at
her skipper’s will, her course steadied by the helm of reason and her
lightsome wings catching every air of heaven.

The game of chess, the war-lord’s tactical plan, the evolution of a
geometrical theorem, the devising of a great business campaign, the
elimination of waste in a factory, the dénouement of a powerful drama,
the overcoming of an economic obstacle, the scheme for a sublime poem,
and the convincing siege of an audience may–nay, indeed must–each be
conceived in an image and wrought to reality according to the plans and
specifications laid upon the trestle board by some modern imaginative
Hiram. The farmer who would be content with the seed he possesses would
have no harvest. Do not rest satisfied with the ability to recall
images, but cultivate your creative imagination by building “what might
be” upon the foundation of “what is.”


By this time you will have already made some general application of
these ideas to the art of the platform, but to several specific uses we
must now refer.

_1. Imaging in Speech-Preparation_

(a) _Set the image of your audience before you while you prepare._
Disappointment may lurk here, and you cannot be forearmed for every
emergency, but in the main you must meet your audience before you
actually do–image its probable mood and attitude toward the occasion,
the theme, and the speaker.

(b) _Conceive your speech as a whole while you are preparing its parts_,
else can you not see–image–how its parts shall be fitly framed

(c) _Image the language you will use_, so far as written or
extemporaneous speech may dictate. The habit of imaging will give you
choice of varied figures of speech, for remember that an address without
_fresh_ comparisons is like a garden without blooms. Do not be content
with the first hackneyed figure that comes flowing to your pen-point,
but dream on until the striking, the unusual, yet the vividly real
comparison points your thought like steel does the arrow-tip.

Note the freshness and effectiveness of the following description from
the opening of O. Henry’s story, “The Harbinger.”

Long before the springtide is felt in the dull bosom of the
yokel does the city man know that the grass-green goddess is
upon her throne. He sits at his breakfast eggs and toast, begirt
by stone walls, opens his morning paper and sees journalism
leave vernalism at the post.

For whereas Spring’s couriers were once the evidence of our
finer senses, now the Associated Press does the trick.

The warble of the first robin in Hackensack, the stirring of the
maple sap in Bennington, the budding of the pussy willows along
the main street in Syracuse, the first chirp of the blue bird,
the swan song of the blue point, the annual tornado in St.
Louis, the plaint of the peach pessimist from Pompton, N.J., the
regular visit of the tame wild goose with a broken leg to the
pond near Bilgewater Junction, the base attempt of the Drug
Trust to boost the price of quinine foiled in the House by
Congressman Jinks, the first tall poplar struck by lightning and
the usual stunned picknickers who had taken refuge, the first
crack of the ice jamb in the Allegheny River, the finding of a
violet in its mossy bed by the correspondent at Round
Corners–these are the advanced signs of the burgeoning season
that are wired into the wise city, while the farmer sees nothing
but winter upon his dreary fields.

But these be mere externals. The true harbinger is the heart.
When Strephon seeks his Chloe and Mike his Maggie, then only is
Spring arrived and the newspaper report of the five foot rattler
killed in Squire Pettregrew’s pasture confirmed.

A hackneyed writer would probably have said that the newspaper told the
city man about spring before the farmer could see any evidence of it,
but that the real harbinger of spring was love and that “In the Spring a
young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.”

_2. Imaging in Speech-Delivery_

When once the passion of speech is on you and you are “warmed
up”–perhaps by striking _till_ the iron is hot so that you may not fail
to strike _when_ it is hot–your mood will be one of vision.

Then (a) _Re-image past emotion_–of which more elsewhere. The actor
re-calls the old feelings every time he renders his telling lines.

(b) _Reconstruct in image the scenes you are to describe._

(c) _Image the objects in nature whose tone you are delineating_, so
that bearing and voice and movement (gesture) will picture forth the
whole convincingly. Instead of merely stating the fact that whiskey
ruins homes, the temperance speaker paints a drunkard coming home to
abuse his wife and strike his children. It is much more effective than
telling the truth in abstract terms. To depict the cruelness of war, do
not assert the fact abstractly–“War is cruel.” Show the soldier, an arm
swept away by a bursting shell, lying on the battlefield pleading for
water; show the children with tear-stained faces pressed against the
window pane praying for their dead father to return. Avoid general and
prosaic terms. Paint pictures. Evolve images for the imagination of your
audience to construct into pictures of their own.


You remember the American statesman who asserted that “the way to resume
is to resume”? The application is obvious. Beginning with the first
simple analyses of this chapter, test your own qualities of
image-making. One by one practise the several kinds of images; then
add–even invent–others in combination, for many images come to us in
complex form, like the combined noise and shoving and hot odor of a
cheering crowd.

After practising on reproductive imaging, turn to the productive,
beginning with the reproductive and adding productive features for the
sake of cultivating invention.

Frequently, allow your originating gifts full swing by weaving complete
imaginary fabrics–sights, sounds, scenes; all the fine world of fantasy
lies open to the journeyings of your winged steed.

In like manner train yourself in the use of figurative language. Learn
first to distinguish and then to use its varied forms. _When used with
restraint_, nothing can be more effective than the trope; but once let
extravagance creep in by the window, and power will flee by the door.

All in all, master your images–let not them master you.


1. Give original examples of each kind of reproductive imagination.

2. Build two of these into imaginary incidents for platform use, using
your productive, or creative, imagination.

3. Define (_a_) phantasy; (_b_) vision; (_c_) fantastic; (_d_)
phantasmagoria; (_e_) transmogrify; (_f_) recollection.

4. What is a “figure of speech”?

5. Define and give two examples of each of the following figures of
speech[30]. At least one of the examples under each type would better be
original. (_a_) simile; (_b_) metaphor; (_c_) metonymy; (_d_)
synecdoche; (_e_) apostrophe; (_f_) vision; (_g_) personification; (_h_)
hyperbole; (_i_) irony.

6. (_a_) What is an allegory? (_b_) Name one example. (_c_) How could a
short allegory be used as part of a public address?

7. Write a short fable[31] for use in a speech. Follow either the
ancient form (Æsop) or the modern (George Ade, Josephine Dodge Daskam).

8. What do you understand by “the historical present?” Illustrate how it
may be used (_ONLY_ occasionally) in a public address.

9. Recall some disturbance on the street, (_a_) Describe it as you would
on the platform; (_b_) imagine what preceded the disturbance; (_c_)
imagine what followed it; (_d_) connect the whole in a terse, dramatic
narration for the platform and deliver it with careful attention to all
that you have learned of the public speaker’s art.

10. Do the same with other incidents you have seen or heard of, or read
of in the newspapers.

NOTE: It is hoped that this exercise will be varied and expanded until
the pupil has gained considerable mastery of imaginative narration. (See
chapter on “Narration.”)

11. Experiments have proved that the majority of people think most
vividly in terms of visual images. However, some think more readily in
terms of auditory and motor images. It is a good plan to mix all kinds
of images in the course of your address for you will doubtless have all
kinds of hearers. This plan will serve to give variety and strengthen
your effects by appealing to the several senses of each hearer, as well
as interesting many different auditors. For exercise, (_a_) give several
original examples of compound images, and (_b_) construct brief
descriptions of the scenes imagined. For example, the falling of a
bridge in process of building.

12. Read the following observantly:

The strikers suffered bitter poverty last winter in New York.

Last winter a woman visiting the East Side of New York City saw
another woman coming out of a tenement house wringing her hands.
Upon inquiry the visitor found that a child had fainted in one
of the apartments. She entered, and saw the child ill and in
rags, while the father, a striker, was too poor to provide
medical help. A physician was called and said the child had
fainted from lack of food. The only food in the home was dried
fish. The visitor provided groceries for the family and ordered
the milkman to leave milk for them daily. A month later she
returned. The father of the family knelt down before her, and
calling her an angel said that she had saved their lives, for
the milk she had provided was all the food they had had.

In the two preceding paragraphs we have substantially the same story,
told twice. In the first paragraph we have a fact stated in general
terms. In the second, we have an outline picture of a specific
happening. Now expand this outline into a dramatic recital, drawing
freely upon your imagination.


[Footnote 29: _Inquiries into Human Faculty_.]

[Footnote 30: Consult any good rhetoric. An unabridged dictionary will
also be of help.]

[Footnote 31: For a full discussion of the form see, _The Art of
Story-Writing_, by J. Berg Esenwein and Mary D. Chambers.]



Boys flying kites haul in their white winged birds;
You can’t do that way when you’re flying words.
“Careful with fire,” is good advice we know,
“Careful with words,” is ten times doubly so.
Thoughts unexpressed many sometimes fall back dead;
But God Himself can’t kill them when they’re said.

–WILL CARLETON, _The First Settler’s Story_.

The term “vocabulary” has a special as well as a general meaning. True,
_all_ vocabularies are grounded in the everyday words of the language,
out of which grow the special vocabularies, but each such specialized
group possesses a number of words of peculiar value for its own objects.
These words may be used in other vocabularies also, but the fact that
they are suited to a unique order of expression marks them as of special
value to a particular craft or calling.

In this respect the public speaker differs not at all from the poet, the
novelist, the scientist, the traveler. He must add to his everyday
stock, words of value for the public presentation of thought. “A study
of the discourses of effective orators discloses the fact that they have
a fondness for words signifying power, largeness, speed, action, color,
light, and all their opposites. They frequently employ words expressive
of the various emotions. Descriptive words, adjectives used in _fresh_
relations with nouns, and apt epithets, are freely employed. Indeed,
the nature of public speech permits the use of mildly exaggerated words
which, by the time they have reached the hearer’s judgment, will leave
only a just impression.”[32]

_Form the Book-Note Habit_

To possess a word involves three things: To know its special and broader
meanings, to know its relation to other words, and to be able to use it.
When you see or hear a familiar word used in an unfamiliar sense, jot it
down, look it up, and master it. We have in mind a speaker of superior
attainments who acquired his vocabulary by noting all new words he heard
or read. These he mastered and _put into use_. Soon his vocabulary
became large, varied, and exact. Use a new word accurately five times
and it is yours. Professor Albert E. Hancock says: “An author’s
vocabulary is of two kinds, latent and dynamic: latent–those words he
understands; dynamic–those he can readily use. Every intelligent man
_knows_ all the words he needs, but he may not have them all ready for
active service. The problem of literary diction consists in turning the
latent into the dynamic.” Your dynamic vocabulary is the one you must
especially cultivate.

In his essay on “A College Magazine” in the volume, _Memories and
Portraits_, Stevenson shows how he rose from imitation to originality in
the use of words. He had particular reference to the formation of his
literary style, but words are the raw materials of style, and his
excellent example may well be followed judiciously by the public
speaker. Words _in their relations_ are vastly more important than words
considered singly.

Whenever I read a book or a passage that particularly pleased
me, in which a thing was said or an effect rendered with
propriety, in which there was either some conspicuous force or
some happy distinction in the style, I must sit down at once and
set myself to ape that quality. I was unsuccessful, and I knew
it; and tried again, and was again unsuccessful, and always
unsuccessful; but at least in these vain bouts I got some
practice in rhythm, in harmony, in construction and coördination
of parts.

I have thus played the sedulous ape to Hazlitt, to Lamb, to
Wordsworth, to Sir Thomas Browne, to Defoe, to Hawthorne, to

That, like it or not, is the way to learn to write; whether I
have profited or not, that is the way. It was the way Keats
learned, and there never was a finer temperament for literature
than Keats’.

It is the great point of these imitations that there still
shines beyond the student’s reach, his inimitable model. Let him
try as he please, he is still sure of failure; and it is an old
and very true saying that failure is the only highroad to

_Form the Reference-Book Habit_

Do not be content with your general knowledge of a word–press your
study until you have mastered its individual shades of meaning and
usage. Mere fluency is sure to become despicable, but accuracy never.
The dictionary contains the crystallized usage of intellectual giants.
No one who would write effectively dare despise its definitions and
discriminations. Think, for example, of the different meanings of
_mantle_, or _model_, or _quantity_. Any late edition of an unabridged
dictionary is good, and is worth making sacrifices to own.

Books of synonyms and antonyms–used cautiously, for there are few
_perfect_ synonyms in any language–will be found of great help.
Consider the shades of meanings among such word-groups as _thief,
peculator, defaulter, embezzler, burglar, yeggman, robber, bandit,
marauder, pirate_, and many more; or the distinctions among _Hebrew,
Jew, Israelite, and Semite_. Remember that no book of synonyms is
trustworthy unless used with a dictionary. “A Thesaurus of the English
Language,” by Dr. Francis A. March, is expensive, but full and
authoritative. Of smaller books of synonyms and antonyms there are

Study the connectives of English speech. Fernald’s book on this title is
a mine of gems. Unsuspected pitfalls lie in the loose use of _and, or,
for, while_, and a score of tricky little connectives.

Word derivations are rich in suggestiveness. Our English owes so much to
foreign tongues and has changed so much with the centuries that whole
addresses may grow out of a single root-idea hidden away in an ancient
word-origin. Translation, also, is excellent exercise in word-mastery
and consorts well with the study of derivations.

Phrase books that show the origins of familiar expressions will surprise
most of us by showing how carelessly everyday speech is used. Brewer’s
“A Dictionary of Phrase, and Fable,” Edwards’ “Words, Facts, and
Phrases,” and Thornton’s “An American Glossary,” are all good–the last,
an expensive work in three volumes.

A prefix or a suffix may essentially change the force of the stem, as
in _master-ful_ and _master-ly_, _contempt-ible_ and _contempt-uous,
envi-ous_ and _envi-able_. Thus to study words in groups, according to
their stems, prefixes, and suffixes is to gain a mastery over their
shades of meaning, and introduce us to other related words.

_Do not Favor one Set or Kind of Words more than Another_

“Sixty years and more ago, Lord Brougham, addressing the students of the
University of Glasgow, laid down the rule that the native (Anglo-Saxon)
part of our vocabulary was to be favored at the expense of that other
part which has come from the Latin and Greek. The rule was an impossible
one, and Lord Brougham himself never tried seriously to observe it; nor,
in truth, has any great writer made the attempt. Not only is our
language highly composite, but the component words have, in De Quincey’s
phrase, ‘happily coalesced.’ It is easy to jest at words in _-osity_ and
_-ation_, as ‘dictionary’ words, and the like. But even Lord Brougham
would have found it difficult to dispense with _pomposity_ and

The short, vigorous Anglo-Saxon will always be preferred for passages of
special thrust and force, just as the Latin will continue to furnish us
with flowing and smooth expressions; to mingle all sorts, however, will
give variety–and that is most to be desired.

_Discuss Words With Those Who Know Them_

Since the language of the platform follows closely the diction of
everyday speech, many useful words may be acquired in conversation with
cultivated men, and when such discussion takes the form of disputation
as to the meanings and usages of words, it will prove doubly valuable.
The development of word-power marches with the growth of individuality.

_Search Faithfully for the Right Word_

Books of reference are tripled in value when their owner has a passion
for getting the kernels out of their shells. Ten minutes a day will do
wonders for the nut-cracker. “I am growing so peevish about my writing,”
says Flaubert. “I am like a man whose ear is true, but who plays falsely
on the violin: his fingers refuse to reproduce precisely those sounds of
which he has the inward sense. Then the tears come rolling down from the
poor scraper’s eyes and the bow falls from his hand.”

The same brilliant Frenchman sent this sound advice to his pupil, Guy de
Maupassant: “Whatever may be the thing which one wishes to say, there is
but one word for expressing it, only one verb to animate it, only one
adjective to qualify it. It is essential to search for this word, for
this verb, for this adjective, until they are discovered, and to be
satisfied with nothing else.”

Walter Savage Landor once wrote: “I hate false words, and seek with
care, difficulty, and moroseness those that fit the thing.” So did
Sentimental Tommy, as related by James M. Barrie in his novel bearing
his hero’s name as a title. No wonder T. Sandys became an author and a

Tommy, with another lad, is writing an essay on “A Day in Church,” in
competition for a university scholarship. He gets on finely until he
pauses for lack of a word. For nearly an hour he searches for this
elusive thing, until suddenly he is told that the allotted time is up,
and he has lost! Barrie may tell the rest:

Essay! It was no more an essay than a twig is a tree, for the
gowk had stuck in the middle of his second page. Yes, stuck is
the right expression, as his chagrined teacher had to admit when
the boy was cross-examined. He had not been “up to some of his
tricks;” he had stuck, and his explanations, as you will admit,
merely emphasized his incapacity.

He had brought himself to public scorn for lack of a word. What
word? they asked testily; but even now he could not tell. He had
wanted a Scotch word that would signify how many people were in
church, and it was on the tip of his tongue, but would come no
farther. Puckle was nearly the word, but it did not mean so many
people as he meant. The hour had gone by just like winking; he
had forgotten all about time while searching his mind for the

*       *       *       *       *

The other five [examiners] were furious…. “You little tattie
doolie,” Cathro roared, “were there not a dozen words to wile
from if you had an ill-will to puckle? What ailed you at manzy,

“I thought of manzy,” replied Tommy, woefully, for he was
ashamed of himself, “but–but a manzy’s a swarm. It would mean
that the folk in the kirk were buzzing thegither like bees,
instead of sitting still.”

“Even if it does mean that,” said Mr. Duthie, with impatience,
“what was the need of being so particular? Surely the art of
essay-writing consists in using the first word that comes and
hurrying on.”

“That’s how I did,” said the proud McLauchlan [Tommy’s
successful competitor]….

“I see,” interposed Mr. Gloag, “that McLauchlan speaks of there
being a mask of people in the church. Mask is a fine Scotch

“I thought of mask,” whimpered Tommy, “but that would mean the
kirk was crammed, and I just meant it to be middling full.”

“Flow would have done,” suggested Mr. Lonimer.

“Flow’s but a handful,” said Tommy.

“Curran, then, you jackanapes!”

“Curran’s no enough.”

Mr. Lorrimer flung up his hands in despair.

“I wanted something between curran and mask,” said Tommy,
doggedly, yet almost at the crying.

Mr. Ogilvy, who had been hiding his admiration with difficulty,
spread a net for him. “You said you wanted a word that meant
middling full. Well, why did you not say middling full–or fell

“Yes, why not?” demanded the ministers, unconsciously caught in
the net.

“I wanted one word,” replied Tommy, unconsciously avoiding it.

“You jewel!” muttered Mr. Ogilvy under his breath, but Mr.
Cathro would have banged the boy’s head had not the ministers

“It is so easy, too, to find the right word,” said Mr. Gloag.

“It’s no; it’s difficult as to hit a squirrel,” cried Tommy, and
again Mr. Ogilvy nodded approval.

*       *       *       *       *

And then an odd thing happened. As they were preparing to leave
the school [Cathro having previously run Tommy out by the neck],
the door opened a little and there appeared in the aperture the
face of Tommy, tear-stained but excited. “I ken the word now,”
he cried, “it came to me a’ at once; it is hantle!”

Mr. Ogilvy … said in an ecstasy to himself, “He _had_ to think
of it till he got it–and he got it. The laddie is a genius!”


1. What is the derivation of the word _vocabulary_?

2. Briefly discuss any complete speech given in this volume, with
reference to (_a_) exactness, (_b_) variety, and (_c_) charm, in the use
of words.

3. Give original examples of the kinds of word-studies referred to on
pages 337 and 338.

4. Deliver a short talk on any subject, using at least five words which
have not been previously in your “dynamic” vocabulary.

5. Make a list of the unfamiliar words found in any address you may

6. Deliver a short extemporaneous speech giving your opinions on the
merits and demerits of the use of unusual words in public speaking.

7. Try to find an example of the over-use of unusual words in a speech.

8. Have you used reference books in word studies? If so, state with what

9. Find as many synonyms and antonyms as possible for each of the
following words: Excess, Rare, Severe, Beautiful, Clear, Happy,
Difference, Care, Skillful, Involve, Enmity, Profit, Absurd, Evident,
Faint, Friendly, Harmony, Hatred, Honest, Inherent.


[Footnote 32: _How to Attract and Hold an Audience_, J. Berg Esenwein.]

[Footnote 33: A book of synonyms and antonyms is in preparation for this
series, “The Writer’s Library.”]

[Footnote 34: _Composition and Rhetoric_, J.M. Hart.]



Lulled in the countless chambers of the brain,
Our thoughts are linked by many a hidden chain;
Awake but one, and lo! what myriads rise!
Each stamps its image as the other flies!

*       *       *       *       *

Hail, memory, hail! in thy exhaustless mine
From age to age unnumber’d treasures shine!
Thought and her shadowy brood thy call obey,
And Place and Time are subject to thy sway!

–SAMUEL ROGERS, _Pleasures of Memory_.

Many an orator, like Thackeray, has made the best part of his speech to
himself–on the way home from the lecture hall. Presence of mind–it
remained for Mark Twain to observe–is greatly promoted by absence of
body. A hole in the memory is no less a common complaint than a
distressing one.

Henry Ward Beecher was able to deliver one of the world’s greatest
addresses at Liverpool because of his excellent memory. In speaking of
the occasion Mr. Beecher said that all the events, arguments and appeals
that he had ever heard or read or written seemed to pass before his mind
as oratorical weapons, and standing there he had but to reach forth his
hand and “seize the weapons as they went smoking by.” Ben Jonson could
repeat all he had written. Scaliger memorized the Iliad in three weeks.
Locke says: “Without memory, man is a perpetual infant.” Quintilian and
Aristotle regarded it as a measure of genius.

Now all this is very good. We all agree that a reliable memory is an
invaluable possession for the speaker. We never dissent for a moment
when we are solemnly told that his memory should be a storehouse from
which at pleasure he can draw facts, fancies, and illustrations. But can
the memory be trained to act as the warder for all the truths that we
have gained from thinking, reading, and experience? And if so, how? Let
us see.

Twenty years ago a poor immigrant boy, employed as a dish washer in New
York, wandered into the Cooper Union and began to read a copy of Henry
George’s “Progress and Poverty.” His passion for knowledge was awakened,
and he became a habitual reader. But he found that he was not able to
remember what he read, so he began to train his naturally poor memory
until he became the world’s greatest memory expert. This man was the
late Mr. Felix Berol. Mr. Berol could tell the population of any town in
the world, of more than five thousand inhabitants. He could recall the
names of forty strangers who had just been introduced to him and was
able to tell which had been presented third, eighth, seventeenth, or in
any order. He knew the date of every important event in history, and
could not only recall an endless array of facts but could correlate them

To what extent Mr. Berol’s remarkable memory was natural and required
only attention, for its development, seems impossible to determine with
exactness, but the evidence clearly indicates that, however useless were
many of his memory feats, a highly retentive memory was developed where
before only “a good forgettery” existed.

The freak memory is not worth striving for, but a good working memory
decidedly is. Your power as a speaker will depend to a large extent upon
your ability to retain impressions and call them forth when occasion
demands, and that sort of memory is like muscle–it responds to

_What Not to Do_

It is sheer misdirected effort to begin to memorize by learning words by
rote, for that is beginning to build a pyramid at the apex. For years
our schools were cursed by this vicious system–vicious not only because
it is inefficient but for the more important reason that it hurts the
mind. True, some minds are natively endowed with a wonderful facility in
remembering strings of words, facts, and figures, but such are rarely
good reasoning minds; the normal person must belabor and force the
memory to acquire in this artificial way.

Again, it is hurtful to force the memory in hours of physical weakness
or mental weariness. Health is the basis of the best mental action and
the operation of memory is no exception.

Finally, do not become a slave to a system. Knowledge of a few simple
facts of mind and memory will set you to work at the right end of the
operation. Use these _principles_, whether included in a system or not,
but do not bind yourself to a method that tends to lay more stress on
the _way_ to remember than on the development of memory itself. It is
nothing short of ridiculous to memorize ten words in order to remember
one fact.

_The Natural Laws of Memory_

_Concentrated attention_ at the time when you wish to store the mind is
the first step in memorizing–and the most important one by far. You
forgot the fourth of the list of articles your wife asked you to bring
home chiefly because you allowed your attention to waver for an instant
when she was telling you. Attention may not be concentrated attention.
When a siphon is charged with gas it is sufficiently filled with the
carbonic acid vapor to make its influence felt; a mind charged with an
idea is charged to a degree sufficient to hold it. Too much charging
will make the siphon burst; too much attention to trifles leads to
insanity. Adequate attention, then, is the fundamental secret of

Generally we do not give a fact adequate attention when it does not seem
important. Almost everyone has seen how the seeds in an apple point, and
has memorized the date of Washington’s death. Most of us have–perhaps
wisely–forgotten both. The little nick in the bark of a tree is healed
over and obliterated in a season, but the gashes in the trees around
Gettysburg are still apparent after fifty years. Impressions that are
gathered lightly are soon obliterated. Only deep impressions can be
recalled at will. Henry Ward Beecher said: “One intense hour will do
more than dreamy years.” To memorize ideas and words, concentrate on
them until they are fixed firmly and deeply in your mind and accord to
them their true importance. LISTEN with the mind and you will remember.

How shall you concentrate? How would you increase the
fighting-effectiveness of a man-of-war? One vital way would be to
increase the size and number of its guns. To strengthen your memory,
increase both the number and the force of your mental impressions by
attending to them intensely. Loose, skimming reading, and drifting
habits of reading destroy memory power. However, as most books and
newspapers do not warrant any other kind of attention, it will not do
altogether to condemn this method of reading; but avoid it when you are
trying to memorize.

Environment has a strong influence upon concentration, until you have
learned to be alone in a crowd and undisturbed by clamor. When you set
out to memorize a fact or a speech, you may find the task easier away
from all sounds and moving objects. All impressions foreign to the one
you desire to fix in your mind must be eliminated.

The next great step in memorizing is to _pick out the essentials of the
subject_, arrange them in order, and dwell upon them intently. Think
clearly of each essential, one after the other. _Thinking_ a thing–not
allowing the mind to wander to non-essentials–is really memorizing.

_Association of ideas_ is universally recognized as an essential in
memory work; indeed, whole systems of memory training have been founded
on this principle.

Many speakers memorize only the outlines of their addresses, filling in
the words at the moment of speaking. Some have found it helpful to
remember an outline by associating the different points with objects in
the room. Speaking on “Peace,” you may wish to dwell on the cost the
cruelty, and the failure of war, and so lead to the justice of
arbitration. Before going on the platform if you will associate four
divisions of your outline with four objects in the room, this
association may help you to recall them. You may be prone to forget your
third point, but you remember that once when you were speaking the
electric lights failed, so arbitrarily the electric light globe will
help you to remember “failure.” Such associations, being unique, tend to
stick in the mind. While recently speaking on the six kinds of
imagination the present writer formed them into an acrostic–_visual_,
_auditory_, _motor_, _gustatory_, _olfactory_, and _tactile_, furnished
the nonsense word _vamgot_, but the six points were easily remembered.

In the same way that children are taught to remember the spelling of
teasing words–_separate_ comes from _separ_–and as an automobile
driver remembers that two C’s and then two H’s lead him into Castor
Road, Cottman Street, Haynes Street and Henry Street, so important
points in your address may be fixed in mind by arbitrary symbols
invented by yourself. The very work of devising the scheme is a memory
action. The psychological process is simple: it is one of noting
intently the steps by which a fact, or a truth, or even a word, has come
to you. Take advantage of this tendency of the mind to remember by

_Repetition_ is a powerful aid to memory. Thurlow Weed, the journalist
and political leader, was troubled because he so easily forgot the names
of persons he met from day to day. He corrected the weakness, relates
Professor William James, by forming the habit of attending carefully to
names he had heard during the day and then repeating them to his wife
every evening. Doubtless Mrs. Weed was heroically longsuffering, but the
device worked admirably.

After reading a passage you would remember, close the book, reflect, and
repeat the contents–aloud, if possible.

_Reading thoughtfully aloud_ has been found by many to be a helpful
memory practise.

_Write what you wish to remember._ This is simply one more way of
increasing the number and the strength of your mental impressions by
utilizing _all_ your avenues of impression. It will help to fix a speech
in your mind if you speak it aloud, listen to it, write it out, and look
at it intently. You have then impressed it on your mind by means of
vocal, auditory, muscular and visual impressions.

Some folk have peculiarly distinct auditory memories; they are able to
recall things heard much better than things seen. Others have the visual
memory; they are best able to recall sight-impressions. As you recall a
walk you have taken, are you able to remember better the sights or the
sounds? Find out what kinds of impressions your memory retains best, and
use them the most. To fix an idea in mind, use _every_ possible kind of

_Daily habit_ is a great memory cultivator. Learn a lesson from the
Marathon runner. Regular exercise, though never so little daily, will
strengthen your memory in a surprising measure. Try to describe in
detail the dress, looks and manner of the people you pass on the
street. Observe the room you are in, close your eyes, and describe its
contents. View closely the landscape, and write out a detailed
description of it. How much did you miss? Notice the contents of the
show windows on the street; how many features are you able to recall?
Continual practise in this feat may develop in you as remarkable
proficiency as it did in Robert Houdin and his son.

The daily memorizing of a beautiful passage in literature will not only
lend strength to the memory, but will store the mind with gems for
quotation. But whether by little or much add daily to your memory power
by practise.

_Memorize out of doors._ The buoyancy of the wood, the shore, or the
stormy night on deserted streets may freshen your mind as it does the
minds of countless others.

Lastly, _cast out fear_. Tell yourself that you _can_ and _will_ and
_do_ remember. By pure exercise of selfism assert your mastery. Be
obsessed with the fear of forgetting and you cannot remember. Practise
the reverse. Throw aside your manuscript crutches–you may tumble once
or twice, but what matters that, for you are going to learn to walk and
leap and run.

_Memorizing a Speech_

Now let us try to put into practise the foregoing suggestions. First,
reread this chapter, noting the nine ways by which memorizing may be

Then read over the following selection from Beecher, applying so many of
the suggestions as are practicable. Get the spirit of the selection
firmly in your mind. Make mental note of–write down, if you must–the
_succession_ of ideas. Now memorize the thought. Then memorize the
outline, the order in which the different ideas are expressed. Finally,
memorize the exact wording.

No, when you have done all this, with the most faithful attention to
directions, you will not find memorizing easy, unless you have
previously trained your memory, or it is naturally retentive. Only by
constant practise will memory become strong and only by continually
observing these same principles will it remain strong. You will,
however, have made a beginning, and that is no mean matter.


I do not suppose that if you were to go and look upon the
experiment of self-government in America you would have a very
high opinion of it. I have not either, if I just look upon the
surface of things. Why, men will say: “It stands to reason that
60,000,000 ignorant of law, ignorant of constitutional history,
ignorant of jurisprudence, of finance, and taxes and tariffs and
forms of currency–60,000,000 people that never studied these
things–are not fit to rule.” Your diplomacy is as complicated
as ours, and it is the most complicated on earth, for all things
grow in complexity as they develop toward a higher condition.
What fitness is there in these people? Well, it is not democracy
merely; it is a representative democracy. Our people do not vote
in mass for anything; they pick out captains of thought, they
pick out the men that do know, and they send them to the
Legislature to think for them, and then the people afterward
ratify or disallow them.

But when you come to the Legislature I am bound to confess that
the thing does not look very much more cheering on the outside.
Do they really select the best men? Yes; in times of danger they
do very generally, but in ordinary time, “kissing goes by
favor.” You know what the duty of a regular Republican-Democratic
legislator is. It is to get back again next winter. His second
duty is what? His second duty is to put himself under that
extraordinary providence that takes care of legislators’
salaries. The old miracle of the prophet and the meal and the
oil is outdone immeasurably in our days, for they go there poor
one year, and go home rich; in four years they become
moneylenders, all by a trust in that gracious providence that
takes care of legislators’ salaries. Their next duty after
that is to serve the party that sent them up, and then, if there
is anything left of them, it belongs to the commonwealth.
Someone has said very wisely, that if a man traveling wishes to
relish his dinner he had better not go into the kitchen to see
where it is cooked; if a man wishes to respect and obey the law,
he had better not go to the Legislature to see where that is


From a lecture delivered in Exeter Hall, London, 1886, when making
his last tour of Great Britain.

_In Case of Trouble_

But what are you to do if, notwithstanding all your efforts, you should
forget your points, and your mind, for the minute, becomes blank? This
is a deplorable condition that sometimes arises and must be dealt with.
Obviously, you can sit down and admit defeat. Such a consummation is
devoutly to be shunned.

Walking slowly across the platform may give you time to grip yourself,
compose your thoughts, and stave off disaster. Perhaps the surest and
most practical method is to begin a new sentence with your last
important word. This is not advocated as a method of composing a
speech–it is merely an extreme measure which may save you in tight
circumstances. It is like the fire department–the less you must use it
the better. If this method is followed very long you are likely to find
yourself talking about plum pudding or Chinese Gordon in the most
unexpected manner, so of course you will get back to your lines the
earliest moment that your feet have hit the platform.

Let us see how this plan works–obviously, your extemporized words will
lack somewhat of polish, but in such a pass crudity is better than

Now you have come to a dead wall after saying: “Joan of Arc fought for
liberty.” By this method you might get something like this:

“Liberty is a sacred privilege for which mankind always had to fight.
These struggles [Platitude–but push on] fill the pages of history.
History records the gradual triumph of the serf over the lord, the slave
over the master. The master has continually tried to usurp unlimited
powers. Power during the medieval ages accrued to the owner of the land
with a spear and a strong castle; but the strong castle and spear were
of little avail after the discovery of gunpowder. Gunpowder was the
greatest boon that liberty had ever known.”

Thus far you have linked one idea with another rather obviously, but you
are getting your second wind now and may venture to relax your grip on
the too-evident chain; and so you say:

“With gunpowder the humblest serf in all the land could put an end to
the life of the tyrannical baron behind the castle walls. The struggle
for liberty, with gunpowder as its aid, wrecked empires, and built up a
new era for all mankind.”

In a moment more you have gotten back to your outline and the day is

Practising exercises like the above will not only fortify you against
the death of your speech when your memory misses fire, but it will also
provide an excellent training for fluency in speaking. _Stock up with


1. Pick out and state briefly the nine helps to memorizing suggested in
this chapter.

2. Report on whatever success you may have had with any of the plans for
memory culture suggested in this chapter. Have any been less successful
than others?

3. Freely criticise any of the suggested methods.

4. Give an original example of memory by association of ideas.

5. List in order the chief ideas of any speech in this volume.

6. Repeat them from memory.

7. Expand them into a speech, using your own words.

8. Illustrate practically what would you do, if in the midst of a speech
on Progress, your memory failed you and you stopped suddenly on the
following sentence: “The last century saw marvelous progress in varied
lines of activity.”

9. How many quotations that fit well in the speaker’s tool chest can you
recall from memory?

10. Memorize the poem on page 42. How much time does it require?



Whatever crushes individuality is despotism, by whatever name it
may be called.

–JOHN STUART MILL, _On Liberty_.

Right thinking fits for complete living by developing the power
to appreciate the beautiful in nature and art, power to think
the true and to will the good, power to live the life of
thought, and faith, and hope, and love.

–N.C. SCHAEFFER, _Thinking and Learning to Think_.

The speaker’s most valuable possession is personality–that indefinable,
imponderable something which sums up what we are, and makes us different
from others; that distinctive force of self which operates appreciably
on those whose lives we touch. It is personality alone that makes us
long for higher things. Rob us of our sense of individual life, with its
gains and losses, its duties and joys, and we grovel. “Few human
creatures,” says John Stuart Mill, “would consent to be changed into any
of the lower animals for a promise of the fullest allowance of a beast’s
pleasures; no intelligent human being would consent to be a fool, no
instructed person would be an ignoramus, no person of feeling and
conscience would be selfish and base, even though he should be persuaded
that the fool, or the dunce, or the rascal is better satisfied with his
lot than they with theirs…. It is better to be a human being
dissatisfied than a pig satisfied, better to be a Socrates dissatisfied
than a fool satisfied. And if the fool or the pig is of a different
opinion, it is only because they know only their own side of the
question. The other party to the comparison knows both sides.”

Now it is precisely because the Socrates type of person lives on the
plan of right thinking and restrained feeling and willing that he
prefers his state to that of the animal. All that a man is, all his
happiness, his sorrow, his achievements, his failures, his magnetism,
his weakness, all are in an amazingly large measure the direct results
of his thinking. Thought and heart combine to produce _right_ thinking:
“As a man thinketh in his heart so is he.” As he does not think in his
heart so he can never become.

Since this is true, personality can be developed and its latent powers
brought out by careful cultivation. We have long since ceased to believe
that we are living in a realm of chance. So clear and exact are nature’s
laws that we forecast, scores of years in advance, the appearance of a
certain comet and foretell to the minute an eclipse of the Sun. And we
understand this law of cause and effect in all our material realms. We
do not plant potatoes and expect to pluck hyacinths. The law is
universal: it applies to our mental powers, to morality, to personality,
quite as much as to the heavenly bodies and the grain of the fields.
“Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap,” and nothing else.

Character has always been regarded as one of the chief factors of the
speaker’s power. Cato defined the orator as _vir bonus dicendi
peritus_–a good man skilled in speaking. Phillips Brooks says: “Nobody
can truly stand as a utterer before the world, unless he be profoundly
living and earnestly thinking.” “Character,” says Emerson, “is a
natural power, like light and heat, and all nature cooperates with it.
The reason why we feel one man’s presence, and do not feel another’s is
as simple as gravity. Truth is the summit of being: justice is the
application of it to affairs. All individual natures stand in a scale,
according to the purity of this element in them. The will of the pure
runs down into other natures, as water runs down from a higher into a
lower vessel. This natural force is no more to be withstood than any
other natural force…. Character is nature in the highest form.”

It is absolutely impossible for impure, bestial and selfish thoughts to
blossom into loving and altruistic habits. Thistle seeds bring forth
only the thistle. Contrariwise, it is entirely impossible for continual
altruistic, sympathetic, and serviceful thoughts to bring forth a low
and vicious character. Either thoughts or feelings precede and determine
all our actions. Actions develop into habits, habits constitute
character, and character determines destiny. Therefore to guard our
thoughts and control our feelings is to shape our destinies. The
syllogism is complete, and old as it is it is still true.

Since “character is nature in the highest form,” the development of
character must proceed on natural lines. The garden left to itself will
bring forth weeds and scrawny plants, but the flower-beds nurtured
carefully will blossom into fragrance and beauty.

As the student entering college largely determines his vocation by
choosing from the different courses of the curriculum, so do we choose
our characters by choosing our thoughts. We are steadily going up
toward that which we most wish for, or steadily sinking to the level of
our low desires. What we secretly cherish in our hearts is a symbol of
what we shall receive. Our trains of thoughts are hurrying us on to our
destiny. When you see the flag fluttering to the South, you know the
wind is coming from the North. When you see the straws and papers being
carried to the Northward you realize the wind is blowing out of the
South. It is just as easy to ascertain a man’s thoughts by observing the
tendency of his character.

Let it not be suspected for one moment that all this is merely a
preachment on the question of morals. It is that, but much more, for it
touches the whole man–his imaginative nature, his ability to control
his feelings, the mastery of his thinking faculties, and–perhaps most
largely–his power to will and to carry his volitions into effective

Right thinking constantly assumes that the will sits enthroned to
execute the dictates of mind, conscience and heart. _Never tolerate for
an instant the suggestion that your will is not absolutely efficient._
The way to will is to will–and the very first time you are tempted to
break a worthy resolution–and you will be, you may be certain of
that–_make your fight then and there_. You cannot afford to lose that
fight. You _must_ win it–don’t swerve for an instant, but keep that
resolution if it kills you. It will not, but you must fight just as
though life depended on the victory; and indeed your personality may
actually lie in the balances!

Your success or failure as a speaker will be determined very largely by
your thoughts and your mental attitude. The present writer had a student
of limited education enter one of his classes in public speaking. He
proved to be a very poor speaker; and the instructor could
conscientiously do little but point out faults. However, the young man
was warned not to be discouraged. With sorrow in his voice and the
essence of earnestness beaming from his eyes, he replied: “I will not be
discouraged! I want so badly to know how to speak!” It was warm, human,
and from the very heart. And he did keep on trying–and developed into a
creditable speaker.

There is no power under the stars that can defeat a man with that
attitude. He who down in the deeps of his heart earnestly longs to get
facility in speaking, and is willing to make the sacrifices necessary,
will reach his goal. “Ask and ye shall receive; seek and ye shall find;
knock and it shall be opened unto you,” is indeed applicable to those
who would acquire speech-power. You will not realize the prize that you
wish for languidly, but the goal that you start out to attain with the
spirit of the old guard that dies but never surrenders, you will surely

Your belief in your ability and your willingness to make sacrifices for
that belief, are the double index to your future achievements. Lincoln
had a dream of his possibilities as a speaker. He transmuted that dream
into life solely because he walked many miles to borrow books which he
read by the log-fire glow at night. He sacrificed much to realize his
vision. Livingstone had a great faith in his ability to serve the
benighted races of Africa. To actualize that faith he gave up all.
Leaving England for the interior of the Dark Continent he struck the
death blow to Europe’s profits from the slave trade. Joan of Arc had
great self-confidence, glorified by an infinite capacity for sacrifice.
She drove the English beyond the Loire, and stood beside Charles while
he was crowned.

These all realized their strongest desires. The law is universal. Desire
greatly, and you shall achieve; sacrifice much, and you shall obtain.

Stanton Davis Kirkham has beautifully expressed this thought: “You may
be keeping accounts, and presently you shall walk out of the door that
has for so long seemed to you the barrier of your ideals, and shall find
yourself before an audience–the pen still behind your ear, the ink
stains on your fingers–and then and there shall pour out the torrent of
your inspiration. You may be driving sheep, and you shall wander to the
city–bucolic and open-mouthed; shall wander under the intrepid guidance
of the spirit into the studio of the master, and after a time he shall
say, ‘I have nothing more to teach you.’ And now you have become the
master, who did so recently dream of great things while driving sheep.
You shall lay down the saw and the plane to take upon yourself the
regeneration of the world.”


1. What, in your own words, is personality?

2. How does personality in a speaker affect you as a listener?

3. In what ways does personality show itself in a speaker?

4. Deliver a short speech on “The Power of Will in the Public Speaker.”

5. Deliver a short address based on any sentence you choose from this



The perception of the ludicrous is a pledge of sanity.


And let him be sure to leave other men their turns to speak.

–FRANCIS BACON, Essay on _Civil and Moral Discourse_.

Perhaps the most brilliant, and certainly the most entertaining, of all
speeches are those delivered on after-dinner and other special
occasions. The air of well-fed content in the former, and of expectancy
well primed in the latter, furnishes an audience which, though not
readily won, is prepared for the best, while the speaker himself is
pretty sure to have been chosen for his gifts of oratory.

The first essential of good occasional speaking is to study the
occasion. Precisely what is the object of the meeting? How important is
the occasion to the audience? How large will the audience be? What sort
of people are they? How large is the auditorium? Who selects the
speakers’ themes? Who else is to speak? What are they to speak about?
Precisely how long am I to speak? Who speaks before I do and who

If you want to hit the nail on the head ask such questions as these.[35]
No occasional address can succeed unless it fits the occasion to a T.
Many prominent men have lost prestige because they were too careless or
too busy or too self-confident to respect the occasion and the audience
by learning the exact conditions under which they were to speak. Leaving
_too_ much to the moment is taking a long chance and generally means a
less effective speech, if not a failure.

Suitability is the big thing in an occasional speech. When Mark Twain
addressed the Army of the Tennessee in reunion at Chicago, in 1877, he
responded to the toast, “The Babies.” Two things in that after-dinner
speech are remarkable: the bright introduction, by which he subtly
_claimed_ the interest of all, and the humorous use of military terms

Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen: “The Babies.” Now, that’s something
like. We haven’t all had the good fortune to be ladies; we have
not all been generals, or poets, or statesmen; but when the
toast works down to the babies, we stand on common ground–for
we’ve all been babies. It is a shame that for a thousand years
the world’s banquets have utterly ignored the baby, as if he
didn’t amount to anything! If you, gentlemen, will stop and
think a minute–if you will go back fifty or a hundred years, to
your early married life, and recontemplate your first baby–you
will remember that he amounted to a good deal–and even
something over.

“As a vessel is known by the sound, whether it be cracked or not,” said
Demosthenes, “so men are proved by their speeches whether they be wise
or foolish.” Surely the occasional address furnishes a severe test of a
speaker’s wisdom. To be trivial on a serious occasion, to be funereal at
a banquet, to be long-winded ever–these are the marks of non-sense.
Some imprudent souls seem to select the most friendly of after-dinner
occasions for the explosion of a bomb-shell of dispute. Around the
dinner table it is the custom of even political enemies to bury their
hatchets anywhere rather than in some convenient skull. It is the height
of bad taste to raise questions that in hours consecrated to good-will
can only irritate.

Occasional speeches offer good chances for humor, particularly the funny
story, for humor with a genuine point is not trivial. But do not spin a
whole skein of humorous yarns with no more connection than the inane and
threadbare “And that reminds me.” An anecdote without bearing may be
funny but one less funny that fits theme and occasion is far preferable.
There is no way, short of sheer power of speech, that so surely leads to
the heart of an audience as rich, appropriate humor. The scattered
diners in a great banqueting hall, the after-dinner lethargy, the
anxiety over approaching last-train time, the over-full list of
over-full speakers–all throw out a challenge to the speaker to do his
best to win an interested hearing. And when success does come it is
usually due to a happy mixture of seriousness and humor, for humor alone
rarely scores so heavily as the two combined, while the utterly grave
speech _never_ does on such occasions.

If there is one place more than another where second-hand opinions and
platitudes are unwelcome it is in the after-dinner speech. Whether you
are toast-master or the last speaker to try to hold the waning crowd at
midnight, be as original as you can. How is it possible to summarize the
qualities that go to make up the good after-dinner speech, when we
remember the inimitable serious-drollery of Mark Twain, the sweet
southern eloquence of Henry W. Grady, the funereal gravity of the
humorous Charles Battell Loomis, the charm of Henry Van Dyke, the
geniality of F. Hopkinson Smith, and the all-round delightfulness of
Chauncey M. Depew? America is literally rich in such gladsome speakers,
who punctuate real sense with nonsense, and so make both effective.

Commemorative occasions, unveilings, commencements, dedications,
eulogies, and all the train of special public gatherings, offer rare
opportunities for the display of tact and good sense in handling
occasion, theme, and audience. When to be dignified and when colloquial,
when to soar and when to ramble arm in arm with your hearers, when to
flame and when to soothe, when to instruct and when to amuse–in a word,
the whole matter of APPROPRIATENESS must constantly be in mind lest you
write your speech on water.

Finally, remember the beatitude: Blessed is the man that maketh short
speeches, for he shall be invited to speak again.




The Rapidan suggests another scene to which allusion has often
been made since the war, but which, as illustrative also of the
spirit of both armies, I may be permitted to recall in this
connection. In the mellow twilight of an April day the two
armies were holding their dress parades on the opposite hills
bordering the river. At the close of the parade a magnificent
brass band of the Union army played with great spirit the
patriotic airs, “Hail Columbia,” and “Yankee Doodle.” Whereupon
the Federal troops responded with a patriotic shout. The same
band then played the soul-stirring strains of “Dixie,” to which
a mighty response came from ten thousand Southern troops. A few
moments later, when the stars had come out as witnesses and when
all nature was in harmony, there came from the same band the old
melody, “Home, Sweet Home.” As its familiar and pathetic notes
rolled over the water and thrilled through the spirits of the
soldiers, the hills reverberated with a thundering response from
the united voices of both armies. What was there in this old,
old music, to so touch the chords of sympathy, so thrill the
spirits and cause the frames of brave men to tremble with
emotion? It was the thought of home. To thousands, doubtless, it
was the thought of that Eternal Home to which the next battle
might be the gateway. To thousands of others it was the thought
of their dear earthly homes, where loved ones at that twilight
hour were bowing round the family altar, and asking God’s care
over the absent soldier boy.




Let me ask you to imagine that the contest, in which the United
States asserted their independence of Great Britain, had been
unsuccessful; that our armies, through treason or a league of
tyrants against us, had been broken and scattered; that the
great men who led them, and who swayed our councils–our
Washington, our Franklin, and the venerable president of the
American Congress–had been driven forth as exiles. If there had
existed at that day, in any part of the civilized world, a
powerful Republic, with institutions resting on the same
foundations of liberty which our own countrymen sought to
establish, would there have been in that Republic any
hospitality too cordial, any sympathy too deep, any zeal for
their glorious but unfortunate cause, too fervent or too active
to be shown toward these illustrious fugitives? Gentlemen, the
case I have supposed is before you. The Washingtons, the
Franklins, the Hancocks of Hungary, driven out by a far worse
tyranny than was ever endured here, are wanderers in foreign
lands. Some of them have sought a refuge in our country–one
sits with this company our guest to-night–and we must measure
the duty we owe them by the same standard which we would have
had history apply, if our ancestors had met with a fate like




When the excitement of party warfare presses dangerously near
our national safeguards, I would have the intelligent
conservatism of our universities and colleges warn the
contestants in impressive tones against the perils of a breach
impossible to repair.

When popular discontent and passion are stimulated by the arts
of designing partisans to a pitch perilously near to class
hatred or sectional anger, I would have our universities and
colleges sound the alarm in the name of American brotherhood and
fraternal dependence.

When the attempt is made to delude the people into the belief
that their suffrages can change the operation of national laws,
I would have our universities and colleges proclaim that those
laws are inexorable and far removed from political control.

When selfish interest seeks undue private benefits through
governmental aid, and public places are claimed as rewards of
party service, I would have our universities and colleges
persuade the people to a relinquishment of the demand for party
spoils and exhort them to a disinterested and patriotic love of
their government, whose unperverted operation secures to every
citizen his just share of the safety and prosperity it holds in
store for all.

I would have the influence of these institutions on the side of
religion and morality. I would have those they send out among
the people not ashamed to acknowledge God, and to proclaim His
interposition in the affairs of men, enjoining such obedience to
His laws as makes manifest the path of national perpetuity and

–GROVER CLEVELAND, delivered at the Princeton
Sesqui-Centennial, 1896.



Great in life, he was surpassingly great in death. For no cause,
in the very frenzy of wantonness and wickedness, by the red hand
of murder, he was thrust from the full tide of this world’s
interest, from its hopes, its aspirations, its victories, into
the visible presence of death–and he did not quail. Not alone
for the one short moment in which, stunned and dazed, he could
give up life, hardly aware of its relinquishment, but through
days of deadly languor, through weeks of agony, that was not
less agony because silently borne, with clear sight and calm
courage, he looked into his open grave. What blight and ruin met
his anguished eyes, whose lips may tell–what brilliant, broken
plans, what baffled, high ambitions, what sundering of strong,
warm, manhood’s friendships, what bitter rending of sweet
household ties! Behind him a proud, expectant nation, a great
host of sustaining friends, a cherished and happy mother,
wearing the full rich honors of her early toil and tears; the
wife of his youth, whose whole life lay in his; the little boys
not yet emerged from childhood’s day of frolic; the fair young
daughter; the sturdy sons just springing into closest
companionship, claiming every day and every day rewarding a
father’s love and care; and in his heart the eager, rejoicing
power to meet all demand. Before him, desolation and great
darkness! And his soul was not shaken. His countrymen were
thrilled with instant, profound and universal sympathy.
Masterful in his mortal weakness, he became the centre of a
nation’s love, enshrined in the prayers of a world. But all the
love and all the sympathy could not share with him his
suffering. He trod the wine press alone. With unfaltering front
he faced death. With unfailing tenderness he took leave of life.
Above the demoniac hiss of the assassin’s bullet he heard the
voice of God. With simple resignation he bowed to the Divine

–JAMES G. BLAINE, delivered at the memorial service held
by the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.



At the bottom of all true heroism is unselfishness. Its crowning
expression is sacrifice. The world is suspicious of vaunted
heroes. But when the true hero has come, and we know that here
he is in verity, ah! how the hearts of men leap forth to greet
him! how worshipfully we welcome God’s noblest work–the strong,
honest, fearless, upright man. In Robert Lee was such a hero
vouchsafed to us and to mankind, and whether we behold him
declining command of the federal army to fight the battles and
share the miseries of his own people; proclaiming on the heights
in front of Gettysburg that the fault of the disaster was his
own; leading charges in the crisis of combat; walking under the
yoke of conquest without a murmur of complaint; or refusing
fortune to come here and train the youth of his country in the
paths of duty,–he is ever the same meek, grand, self-sacrificing
spirit. Here he exhibited qualities not less worthy and heroic
than those displayed on the broad and open theater of
conflict, when the eyes of nations watched his every action.
Here in the calm repose of civil and domestic duties, and in
the trying routine of incessant tasks, he lived a life as high
as when, day by day, he marshalled and led his thin and
wasting lines, and slept by night upon the field that was to
be drenched again in blood upon the morrow. And now he has
vanished from us forever. And is this all that is left of
him–this handful of dust beneath the marble stone? No! the
ages answer as they rise from the gulfs of time, where lie the
wrecks of kingdoms and estates, holding up in their hands as
their only trophies, the names of those who have wrought for
man in the love and fear of God, and in love–unfearing for
their fellow-men. No! the present answers, bending by his
tomb. No! the future answers as the breath of the morning fans
its radiant brow, and its soul drinks in sweet inspirations
from the lovely life of Lee. No! methinks the very heavens
echo, as melt into their depths the words of reverent love
that voice the hearts of men to the tingling stars.

Come we then to-day in loyal love to sanctify our memories, to
purify our hopes, to make strong all good intent by communion
with the spirit of him who, being dead yet speaketh. Come,
child, in thy spotless innocence; come, woman, in thy purity;
come, youth, in thy prime; come, manhood, in thy strength; come,
age, in thy ripe wisdom; come, citizen; come, soldier; let us
strew the roses and lilies of June around his tomb, for he, like
them, exhaled in his life Nature’s beneficence, and the grave
has consecrated that life and given it to us all; let us crown
his tomb with the oak, the emblem of his strength, and with the
laurel the emblem of his glory, and let these guns, whose voices
he knew of old, awake the echoes of the mountains, that nature
herself may join in his solemn requiem. Come, for here he rests,

On this green bank, by this fair stream,
We set to-day a votive stone,
That memory may his deeds redeem?
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.

–JOHN WARWICK DANIEL, on the unveiling of Lee’s statue at
Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia, 1883.


1. Why should humor find a place in after-dinner speaking?

2. Briefly give your impressions of any notable after-dinner address
that you have heard.

3. Briefly outline an imaginary occasion of any sort and give three
subjects appropriate for addresses.

4. Deliver one such address, not to exceed ten minutes in length.

5. What proportion of emotional ideas do you find in the extracts given
in this chapter?

6. Humor was used in some of the foregoing addresses–in which others
would it have been inappropriate?

7. Prepare and deliver an after-dinner speech suited to one of the
following occasions, and be sure to use humor:

A lodge banquet.
A political party dinner.
A church men’s club dinner.
A civic association banquet.
A banquet in honor of a celebrity.
A woman’s club annual dinner.
A business men’s association dinner.
A manufacturers’ club dinner.
An alumni banquet.
An old home week barbecue.


[Footnote 35: See also page 205.]



In conversation avoid the extremes of forwardness and reserve.


Conversation is the laboratory and workshop of the student.

–EMERSON, _Essays: Circles_.

The father of W.E. Gladstone considered conversation to be both an art
and an accomplishment. Around the dinner table in his home some topic of
local or national interest, or some debated question, was constantly
being discussed. In this way a friendly rivalry for supremacy in
conversation arose among the family, and an incident observed in the
street, an idea gleaned from a book, a deduction from personal
experience, was carefully stored as material for the family exchange.
Thus his early years of practise in elegant conversation prepared the
younger Gladstone for his career as a leader and speaker.

There is a sense in which the ability to converse effectively is
efficient public speaking, for our conversation is often heard by many,
and occasionally decisions of great moment hinge upon the tone and
quality of what we say in private.

Indeed, conversation in the aggregate probably wields more power than
press and platform combined. Socrates taught his great truths, not from
public rostrums, but in personal converse. Men made pilgrimages to
Goethe’s library and Coleridge’s home to be charmed and instructed by
their speech, and the culture of many nations was immeasurably
influenced by the thoughts that streamed out from those rich

Most of the world-moving speeches are made in the course of
conversation. Conferences of diplomats, business-getting arguments,
decisions by boards of directors, considerations of corporate policy,
all of which influence the political, mercantile and economic maps of
the world, are usually the results of careful though informal
conversation, and the man whose opinions weigh in such crises is he who
has first carefully pondered the words of both antagonist and

However important it may be to attain self-control in light social
converse, or about the family table, it is undeniably vital to have
oneself perfectly in hand while taking part in a momentous conference.
Then the hints that we have given on poise, alertness, precision of
word, clearness of statement, and force of utterance, with respect to
public speech, are equally applicable to conversation.

The form of nervous egotism–for it is both–that suddenly ends in
flusters just when the vital words need to be uttered, is the sign of
coming defeat, for a conversation is often a contest. If you feel this
tendency embarrassing you, be sure to listen to Holmes’s advice:

And when you stick on conversational burs,
Don’t strew your pathway with those dreadful _urs_.

Here bring your will into action, for your trouble is a wandering
attention. You must _force_ your mind to persist along the chosen line
of conversation and resolutely refuse to be diverted by _any_ subject or
happening that may unexpectedly pop up to distract you. To fail here is
to lose effectiveness utterly.

Concentration is the keynote of conversational charm and efficiency. The
haphazard habit of expression that uses bird-shot when a bullet is
needed insures missing the game, for diplomacy of all sorts rests upon
the precise application of precise words, particularly–if one may
paraphrase Tallyrand–in those crises when language is no longer used to
conceal thought.

We may frequently gain new light on old subjects by looking at
word-derivations. Conversation signifies in the original a turn-about
exchange of ideas, yet most people seem to regard it as a monologue.
Bronson Alcott used to say that many could argue, but few converse.
The first thing to remember in conversation, then, is that
listening–respectful, sympathetic, alert listening–is not only due to
our fellow converser but due to ourselves. Many a reply loses its point
because the speaker is so much interested in what he is about to say
that it is really no reply at all but merely an irritating and
humiliating irrelevancy.

Self-expression is exhilarating. This explains the eternal impulse to
decorate totem poles and paint pictures, write poetry and expound
philosophy. One of the chief delights of conversation is the opportunity
it affords for self-expression. A good conversationalist who monopolizes
all the conversation, will be voted a bore because he denies others the
enjoyment of self-expression, while a mediocre talker who listens
interestedly may be considered a good conversationalist because he
permits his companions to please themselves through self-expression.
They are praised who please: they please who listen well.

The first step in remedying habits of confusion in manner, awkward
bearing, vagueness in thought, and lack of precision in utterance, is to
recognize your faults. If you are serenely unconscious of them, no
one–least of all yourself–can help you. But once diagnose your own
weaknesses, and you can overcome them by doing four things:

1. _WILL_ to overcome them, and keep on willing.

2. Hold yourself in hand by assuring yourself that you know precisely
what you ought to say. If you cannot do that, be quiet until you are
clear on this vital point.

3. Having thus assured yourself, cast out the fear of those who listen
to you–they are only human and will respect your words if you really
have something to say and say it briefly, simply, and clearly.

4. Have the courage to study the English language until you are master
of at least its simpler forms.

_Conversational Hints_

Choose some subject that will prove of general interest to the whole
group. Do not explain the mechanism of a gas engine at an afternoon tea
or the culture of hollyhocks at a stag party.

It is not considered good taste for a man to bare his arm in public and
show scars or deformities. It is equally bad form for him to flaunt his
own woes, or the deformity of some one else’s character. The public
demands plays and stories that end happily. All the world is seeking
happiness. They cannot long be interested in your ills and troubles.
George Cohan made himself a millionaire before he was thirty by writing
cheerful plays. One of his rules is generally applicable to
conversation: “Always leave them laughing when you say good bye.”

Dynamite the “I” out of your conversation. Not one man in nine hundred
and seven can talk about himself without being a bore. The man who can
perform that feat can achieve marvels without talking about himself, so
the eternal “I” is not permissible even in his talk.

If you habitually build your conversation around your own interests it
may prove very tiresome to your listener. He may be thinking of bird
dogs or dry fly fishing while you are discussing the fourth dimension,
or the merits of a cucumber lotion. The charming conversationalist is
prepared to talk in terms of his listener’s interest. If his listener
spends his spare time investigating Guernsey cattle or agitating social
reforms, the discriminating conversationalist shapes his remarks
accordingly. Richard Washburn Child says he knows a man of mediocre
ability who can charm men much abler than himself when he discusses
electric lighting. This same man probably would bore, and be bored, if
he were forced to converse about music or Madagascar.

Avoid platitudes and hackneyed phrases. If you meet a friend from Keokuk
on State Street or on Pike’s Peak, it is not necessary to observe: “How
small this world is after all!” This observation was doubtless made
prior to the formation of Pike’s Peak. “This old world is getting better
every day.” “Fanner’s wives do not have to work as hard as formerly.”
“It is not so much the high cost of living as the cost of high living.”
Such observations as these excite about the same degree of admiration as
is drawn out by the appearance of a 1903-model touring car. If you have
nothing fresh or interesting you can always remain silent. How would you
like to read a newspaper that flashed out in bold headlines “Nice
Weather We Are Having,” or daily gave columns to the same old material
you had been reading week after week?


1. Give a short speech describing the conversational bore.

2. In a few words give your idea of a charming converser.

3. What qualities of the orator should _not_ be used in conversation.

4. Give a short humorous delineation of the conversational “oracle.”

5. Give an account of your first day at observing conversation around

6. Give an account of one day’s effort to improve your own conversation.

7. Give a list of subjects you heard discussed during any recent period
you may select.

8. What is meant by “elastic touch” in conversation?

9. Make a list of “Bromides,” as Gellett Burgess calls those threadbare
expressions which “bore us to extinction”–itself a Bromide.

10. What causes a phrase to become hackneyed?

11. Define the words, (_a_) trite; (_b_) solecism; (_c_) colloquialism;
(_d_) slang; (_e_) vulgarism; (_f_) neologism.

12. What constitutes pretentious talk?




1. Has Labor Unionism justified its existence?

2. Should all church printing be brought out under the Union Label?

3. Is the Open Shop a benefit to the community?

4. Should arbitration of industrial disputes be made compulsory?

5. Is Profit-Sharing a solution of the wage problem?

6. Is a minimum wage law desirable?

7. Should the eight-hour day be made universal in America?

8. Should the state compensate those who sustain irreparable business
loss because of the enactment of laws prohibiting the manufacture and
sale of intoxicating drinks?

9. Should public utilities be owned by the municipality?

10. Should marginal trading in stocks be prohibited?

11. Should the national government establish a compulsory system of
old-age insurance by taxing the incomes of those to be benefited?

12. Would the triumph of socialistic principles result in deadening
personal ambition?

13. Is the Presidential System a better form of government for the
United States than the Parliamental System?

14. Should our legislation be shaped toward the gradual abandonment of
the protective tariff?

15. Should the government of the larger cities be vested solely in a
commission of not more than nine men elected by the voters at large?

16. Should national banks be permitted to issue, subject to tax and
government supervision, notes based on their general assets?

17. Should woman be given the ballot on the present basis of suffrage
for men?

18. Should the present basis of suffrage be restricted?

19. Is the hope of permanent world-peace a delusion?

20. Should the United States send a diplomatic representative to the

21. Should the Powers of the world substitute an international police
for national standing armies?

22. Should the United States maintain the Monroe Doctrine?

23. Should the Recall of Judges be adopted?

24. Should the Initiative and Referendum be adopted as a national

25. Is it desirable that the national government should own all
railroads operating in interstate territory?

26. Is it desirable that the national government should own interstate
telegraph and telephone systems?

27. Is the national prohibition of the liquor traffic an economic

28. Should the United States army and navy be greatly strengthened?

29. Should the same standards of altruism obtain in the relations of
nations as in those of individuals?

30. Should our government be more highly centralized?

31. Should the United States continue its policy of opposing the
combination of railroads?

32. In case of personal injury to a workman arising out of his
employment, should his employer be liable for adequate compensation and
be forbidden to set up as a defence a plea of contributory negligence on
the part of the workman, or the negligence of a fellow workman?

33. Should all corporations doing an interstate business be required to
take out a Federal license?

34. Should the amount of property that can be transferred by inheritance
be limited by law?

35. Should equal compensation for equal labor, between women and men,
universally prevail?

36. Does equal suffrage tend to lessen the interest of woman in her

37. Should the United States take advantage of the commercial and
industrial weakness of foreign nations, brought about by the war, by
trying to wrest from them their markets in Central and South America?

38. Should teachers of small children in the public schools be selected
from among mothers?

39. Should football be restricted to colleges, for the sake of physical

40. Should college students who receive compensation for playing summer
baseball be debarred from amateur standing?

41. Should daily school-hours and school vacations both be shortened?

42. Should home-study for pupils in grade schools be abolished and
longer school-hours substituted?

43. Should the honor system in examinations be adopted in public

44. Should all colleges adopt the self-government system for its

45. Should colleges be classified by national law and supervision, and
uniform entrance and graduation requirements maintained by each college
in a particular class?

46. Should ministers be required to spend a term of years in some trade,
business, or profession, before becoming pastors?

47. Is the Y.M.C.A. losing its spiritual power?

48. Is the church losing its hold on thinking people?

49. Are the people of the United States more devoted to religion than

50. Does the reading of magazines contribute to intellectual



With Source References for Material.

“The State,” Woodrow Wilson.

“The Popular Initiative and Referendum,” O.M. Barnes.

Article in _Independent_, 53: 2874; article in _North
American Review_, 178: 205.

Book of same title, M.M. Ballou.

Lecture by John Lord, in “Beacon Lights of History.”
NOTE: This set of books contains a vast store of
material for speeches.

Sermon by the Rev. Dr. Henry van Dyke, reported
in the _New York Tribune_, February 25, 1895.

Part III, Annual Report of the Secretary of Internal
Affairs, Pennsylvania, 1912.

“Americans or Aliens?” Howard B. Grose.

“The Drama Today,” Charlton Andrews.

“Curiosities of Popular Custom,” William S. Walsh.

“Old Age Deferred,” Arnold Lorand.

Article in _Century_, 28: 41.

“Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” R.L. Stevenson.

“The Panacea for Poverty,” Madison Peters.

“A Christian’s Habits,” Robert E. Speer.

“Jesus the Jew,” Harold Weinstock.

Article by J. Berg Esenwein in “The Theatre of
Science,” Robert Grau.

“Books and Reading,” R.C. Gage and Alfred

“The Technique of the Novel,” Charles F. Home.

Article in _Lippincott’s_, October, 1907.

“The Real Mexico,” Hamilton Fyfe.

Article in _Woman’s Home Companion_, December, 1914.

Article in _Literary Digest_, November 28, 1914.

“The Science of Happiness,” Jean Finot.

“The Job, the Man, and the Boss,” Katherine
Blackford and Arthur Newcomb.

Article in _Current Opinion_, November, 1914.

“A Young man’s Religion,” N. McGee Waters.

Article in _Current Opinion_, November, 1914.

Article in _Literary Digest_, November 28, 1914.

Article in _Literary Digest_, November 14, 1914.



With Occasional Hints on Treatment


The essence of truth-telling and lying. Lies that are not so
considered. The subtleties of distinctions required. Examples of
implied and acted lies.

Benefits that have arisen out of floods, fires, earthquakes, wars,

How the speed mania is born of a vain desire to enjoy a leisure
that never comes or, on the contrary, how the seeming haste of
the world has given men shorter hours off labor and more time for
rest, study, and pleasure.

Truths from the Epistles pertinent to the great cities of today.


How many men have been content until, losing all, they exerted their
best efforts to regain success, and succeeded more largely than



The cost of collecting funds for, and administering help to, the
needy. The weakness of organized philanthropy as compared with
the giving that gives itself.

The other side of the picture.

The true forces that hurtfully control too many newspapers are not
those of arbitrary governments but the corrupting influences of
moneyed and political interests, fear of the liquor power, and the
desire to please sensation-loving readers.


A study of the reasons underlying the movement.

In ridicule of the pessimist who is never surprised at seeing failure.

Value of direct training compared with the policy of laying broader
foundations for later building. How the two theories work out in
practise. Each plan can be especially applied in cases that seem to
need special treatment.

A humorous, yet serious, discussion of the flopping, wind-mill

Herbert Spencer’s theory as discussed in “The Data of Ethics.”

Economic perils in massed population. Show also the other side.
Signs of the problem’s being solved.

A comparison of the work of Galsworthy, Masefield and Kipling with
that of some earlier poets.


How men are coming to see the economic advantages of smaller

Its relation to morals and art. Its difficulties and its benefits.

Mordecai’s expression and its application to opportunities in modern
woman’s life.




How great men not only made momentous decisions but created means
to carry them out. A speech full of historical examples.




Revert to the original meaning of the word. Build the speech around
one man as the chief example.

Leadership and “cannon fodder”–a protest against war in its effect
on the common people.

A dispassionate examination of the claims of the British militant

The difference between the nude and the naked in art.

False patriotism and true, with examples of popularly-hated patriots.

An analysis of our present political system and the movement toward




A eulogy.

Should all men be compelled to contribute to the support of
universities and professional schools?

Is Eugenics a science? And is it practicable?

Is a strongly paternal government better for the masses than a much
larger freedom for the individual?

The tendency to swallow reviews instead of forming one’s own views.

A study of which form of aristocracy must eventually prevail, that
of blood or that of talent.

Based on many examples of what has been accomplished by those who
have not “let well-enough alone.”

A study of the relation of the apathetic voter to vicious government.




Destiny _vs._ choice.


Doubt not mere unbelief. True grounds for doubt. What doubt has led
to. Examples. The weakness of mere doubt. The attitude of the
wholesome doubter _versus_ that of the wholesale doubter.

A message from the life of Thomas Jefferson.

The dangers of specializing without first possessing broad
knowledge. The eye too close to one object. Balance is a vital
prerequisite for specialization.


What conditions in the history, temperament and environment of our
Southern people indicate a bright literary future.



In praise of the Sunday-school.

How the ever-new baby holds mankind in unselfish courses and saves
us all from going lastingly wrong.

His trials and problems.

A lesson from the bee.

Examples from history.

Horace Walpole’s cynical remark is not true now, nor was it true
even in his own corrupt era. Of what sort are the men who cannot
be bought? Examples.

Examples in American life.

There is a key for every lock. No difficulty so great, no truth so
obscure, no problem so involved, but that there is a key to fit the
lock. The search for the right key, the struggle to adjust it, the
vigilance to retain it–these are some of the problems of success.


Influence of the woman graduate of fifty years before on the college
girl who lives in the room once occupied by the distinguished
“old grad.”

The importance of weighing facts relatively.



A fair-minded examination of the uses and abuses of the political




























[Footnote 36: It must be remembered that the phrasing of the subject
will not necessarily serve for the title.]





Delivered in Plymouth Church, Brooklyn, N.Y., October 18, 1914. Used by

Long ago Plato made a distinction between the occasions of war and the
causes of war. The occasions of war lie upon the surface, and are known
and read of all men, while the causes of war are embedded in racial
antagonisms, in political and economic controversies. Narrative
historians portray the occasions of war; philosophic historians, the
secret and hidden causes. Thus the spark of fire that falls is the
occasion of an explosion, but the cause of the havoc is the relation
between charcoal, niter and saltpeter. The occasion of the Civil War was
the firing upon Fort Sumter. The cause was the collision between the
ideals of the Union presented by Daniel Webster and the secession taught
by Calhoun. The occasion of the American Revolution was the Stamp Tax;
the cause was the conviction on the part of our forefathers that men who
had freedom in worship carried also the capacity for self-government.
The occasion of the French Revolution was the purchase of a diamond
necklace for Queen Marie Antoinette at a time when the treasury was
exhausted; the cause of the revolution was feudalism. Not otherwise, the
occasion of the great conflict that is now shaking our earth was the
assassination of an Austrian boy and girl, but the cause is embedded in
racial antagonisms and economic competition.

As for Russia, the cause of the war was her desire to obtain the
Bosphorus–and an open seaport, which is the prize offered for her
attack upon Germany. As for Austria, the cause of the war is her fear of
the growing power of the Balkan States, and the progressive slicing away
of her territory. As for France, the cause of the war is the instinct of
self-preservation, that resists an invading host. As for Germany, the
cause is her deep-seated conviction that every country has a moral right
to the mouth of its greatest river; unable to compete with England, by
roundabout sea routes and a Kiel Canal, she wants to use the route that
nature digged for her through the mouth of the Rhine. As for England,
the motherland is fighting to recover her sense of security. During the
Napoleonic wars the second William Pitt explained the quadrupling of the
taxes, the increase of the navy, and the sending of an English army
against France, by the statement that justification of this proposed war
is the “Preservation of England’s sense of security.” Ten years ago
England lost her sense of security. Today she is not seeking to
preserve, but to recover, the lost sense of security. She proposes to do
this by destroying Germany’s ironclads, demobilizing her army, wiping
out her forts, and the partition of her provinces. The occasions of the
war vary, with the color of the paper–“white” and “gray” and
“blue”–but the causes of this war are embedded in racial antagonisms
and economic and political differences.


Tonight our study concerns little Belgium, her people, and their part in
this conflict. Be the reasons what they may, this little land stands in
the center of the stage and holds the limelight. Once more David, armed
with a sling, has gone up against ten Goliaths. It is an amazing
spectacle, this, one of the smallest of the States, battling with the
largest of the giants! Belgium has a standing army of 42,000 men, and
Germany, with three reserves, perhaps 7,000,000 or 8,000,000. Without
waiting for any assistance, this little Belgium band went up against
2,000,000. It is as if a honey bee had decided to attack an eagle come
to loot its honeycomb. It is as if an antelope had turned against a
lion. Belgium has but 11,000 square miles of land, less than the States
of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. Her population is
7,500,000, less than the single State of New York. You could put
twenty-two Belgiums in our single State of Texas. Much of her soil is
thin; her handicaps are heavy, but the industry of her people has turned
the whole land into one vast flower and vegetable garden. The soil of
Minnesota and the Dakotas is new soil, and yet our farmers there average
but fifteen bushels of wheat to the acre. Belgium’s soil has been used
for centuries, but it averages thirty-seven bushels of wheat to the
acre. If we grow twenty-four bushels of barley on an acre of ground,
Belgium grows fifty; she produces 300 bushels of potatoes, where the
Maine farmer harvests 90 bushels. Belgium’s average population per
square mile has risen to 645 people. If Americans practised intensive
farming; if the population of Texas were as dense as it is in
Belgium–100,000,000 of the United States, Canada and Central America
could all move to Texas, while if our entire country was as densely
populated as Belgium’s, everybody in the world could live comfortably
within the limits of our country.


And yet, little Belgium has no gold or silver mines, and all the
treasures of copper and zinc and lead and anthracite and oil have been
denied her. The gold is in the heart of her people. No other land holds
a race more prudent, industrious and thrifty! It is a land where
everybody works. In the winter when the sun does not rise until half
past seven, the Belgian cottages have lights in their windows at five,
and the people are ready for an eleven-hour day. As a rule all children
work after 12 years of age. The exquisite pointed lace that has made
Belgium famous, is wrought by women who fulfill the tasks of the
household fulfilled by American women, and then begins their task upon
the exquisite laces that have sent their name and fame throughout the
world. Their wages are low, their work hard, but their life is so
peaceful and prosperous that few Belgians ever emigrate to foreign
countries. Of late they have made their education compulsory, their
schools free. It is doubtful whether any other country has made a
greater success of their system of transportation. You will pay 50 cents
to journey some twenty odd miles out to Roslyn, on our Long Island
railroad, but in Belgium a commuter journeys twenty miles in to the
factory and back again every night and makes the six double daily
journeys at an entire cost of 37-1/2 cents per week, less than the
amount that you pay for the journey one way for a like distance in this
country. Out of this has come Belgium’s prosperity. She has the money to
buy goods from other countries, and she has the property to export to
foreign lands. Last year the United States, with its hundred millions of
people, imported less than $2,000,000,000, and exported $2,500,000,000.
If our people had been as prosperous per capita as Belgium, we would
have purchased from other countries $12,000,000,000 worth of goods and
exported $10,000,000,000.

So largely have we been dependent upon Belgium that many of the engines
used in digging the Panama Canal came from the Cockerill works that
produce two thousands of these engines every year in Liege. It is often
said that the Belgians have the best courts in existence. The Supreme
Court of Little Belgium has but one Justice. Without waiting for an
appeal, just as soon as a decision has been reached by a lower Court,
while the matters are still fresh in mind and all the witnesses and
facts readily obtainable, this Supreme Justice reviews all the
objections raised on either side and without a motion from anyone passes
on the decision of the inferior court. On the other hand, the lower
courts are open to an immediate settlement of disputes between the wage
earners, and newsboys and fishermen are almost daily seen going to the
judge for a decision regarding a dispute over five or ten cents. When
the judge has cross-questioned both sides, without the presence of
attorneys, or the necessity of serving a process, or raising a dollar
and a quarter, as here, the poorest of the poor have their wrongs
righted. It is said that not one decision out of one hundred is
appealed, thus calling for the existence of an attorney.

To all other institutions organized in the interest of the wage earner
has been added the national savings bank system, that makes loans to men
of small means, that enables the farmer and the working man to buy a
little garden and build a house, while at the same time insuring the
working man against accident and sickness. Belgium is a poor man’s
country, it has been said, because institutions have been administered
in the interest of the men of small affairs.


But the institutions of Belgium and the industrial prosperity of her
people alone are not equal to the explanation of her unique heroism.
Long ago, in his Commentaries, Julius Cæsar said that Gaul was inhabited
by three tribes, the Belg√¶, the Aquitani, the Celts, “of whom the Belg√¶
were the bravest.” History will show that Belgians have courage as their
native right, for only the brave could have survived. The southeastern
part of Belgium is a series of rock plains, and if these plains have
been her good fortune in times of peace, they have furnished the
battlefields of Western Europe for two thousand years. Northern France
and Western Germany are rough, jagged and wooded, but the Belgian plains
were ideal battlefields. For this reason the generals of Germany and of
France have usually met and struggled for the mastery on these wide
Belgian plains. On one of these grounds Julius Cæsar won the first
battle that is recorded. Then came King Clovis and the French, with
their campaigns; toward these plains also the Saracens were hurrying
when assaulted by Charles Martel. On the Belgian plains the Dutch
burghers and the Spanish armies, led by Bloody Alva, fought out their
battle. Hither, too, came Napoleon, and the great mound of Waterloo is
the monument to the Duke of Wellington’s victory. It was to the Belgian
plains, also, that the German general, last August, rushed his troops.
Every college and every city searches for some level spot of land where
the contest between opposing teams may be held, and for more than two
thousand years the Belgian plain has been the scene of the great battles
between the warring nations of Western Europe.

Now, out of all these collisions there has come a hardy race, inured to
peril, rich in fortitude, loyalty, patience, thrift, self-reliance and
persevering faith. For five hundred years the Belgian children and youth
have been brought up upon the deeds of noble renown, achieved by their
ancestors. If Julius C√¶sar were here today he would wear Belgium’s
bravery like a bright sword, girded to his thigh. And when this brave
little people, with a standing army of forty-two thousand men,
single-handed defied two millions of Germans, it tells us that Ajax has
come back once more to defy the god of lightnings.


Perhaps one or two chapters torn from the pages of Belgium history will
enable us to understand her present-day heroism, just as one golden
bough plucked from the forest will explain the richness of the autumn.
You remember that Venice was once the financial center of the world.
Then when the bankers lost confidence in the navy of Venice they put
their jewels and gold into saddle bags and moved the financial center of
the world to Nuremburg, because its walls were seven feet thick and
twenty feet high. Later, about 1500 A.D., the discovery of the New World
turned all the peoples into races of sea-going folk, and the English and
Dutch captains vied with the sailors of Spain and Portugal. No captains
were more prosperous than the mariners of Antwerp. In 1568 there were
500 marble mansions in this city on the Meuse. Belgium became a casket
filled with jewels. Then it was that Spain turned covetous eyes
northward. Sated with his pleasures, broken by indulgence and passion,
the Emperor Charles the Fifth resigned his gold and throne to his son,
King Philip. Finding his coffers depleted, Philip sent the Duke of Alva,
with 10,000 Spanish soldiers, out on a looting expedition. Their
approach filled Antwerp with consternation, for her merchants were busy
with commerce and not with war. The sack of Antwerp by the Spaniards
makes up a revolting page in history. Within three days 8,000 men, women
and children were massacred, and the Spanish soldiers, drunk with wine
and blood, hacked, drowned and burned like fiends that they were. The
Belgian historian tells us that 500 marble residences were reduced to
blackened ruins. One incident will make the event stand out. When the
Spaniards approached the city a wealthy burgher hastened the day of his
son’s marriage. During the ceremony the soldiers broke down the gate of
the city and crossed the threshold of the rich man’s house. When they
had stripped the guests of their purses and gems, unsatisfied, they
killed the bridegroom, slew the men, and carried the bride out into the
night. The next morning a young woman, crazed and half clad, was found
in the street, searching among the dead bodies. At last she found a
youth, whose head she lifted upon her knees, over which she crooned her
songs, as a young mother soothes her babe. A Spanish officer passing by,
humiliated by the spectacle, ordered a soldier to use his dagger and put
the girl out of her misery.


Having looted Antwerp, the treasure chest of Belgium, the Spaniards set
up the Inquisition as an organized means of securing property. It is a
strange fact that the Spaniard has excelled in cruelty as other nations
have excelled in art or science or invention. Spain’s cruelty to the
Moors and the rich Jews forms one of the blackest chapters in history.
Inquisitors became fiends. Moors were starved, tortured, burned, flung
in wells, Jewish bankers had their tongues thrust through little iron
rings; then the end of the tongue was seared that it might swell, and
the banker was led by a string in the ring through the streets of the
city. The women and the children were put on rafts that were pushed out
into the Mediterranean Sea. When the swollen corpses drifted ashore, the
plague broke out, and when that black plague spread over Spain it seemed
like the justice of outraged nature. The expulsion of the Moors was one
of the deadliest blows ever struck at science, commerce, art and
literature. The historian tracks Spain across the continents by a trail
of blood. Wherever Spain’s hand has fallen it has paralyzed. From the
days of Cortez, wherever her captains have given a pledge, the tongue
that spake has been mildewed with lies and treachery. The wildest beasts
are not in the jungle; man is the lion that rends, man is the leopard
that tears, man’s hate is the serpent that poisons, and the Spaniard
entered Belgium to turn a garden into a wilderness. Within one year,
1568, Antwerp, that began with 125,000 people, ended it with 50,000.
Many multitudes were put to death by the sword and stake, but many, many
thousands fled to England, to begin anew their lives as manufacturers
and mariners; and for years Belgium was one quaking peril, an inferno,
whose torturers were Spaniards. The visitor in Antwerp is still shown
the rack upon which they stretched the merchants that they might yield
up their hidden gold. The Painted Lady may be seen. Opening her arms,
she embraces the victim. The Spaniard, with his spear, forced the
merchant into the deadly embrace. As the iron arms concealed in velvet
folded together, one spike passed through each eye, another through the
mouth, another through the heart. The Painted Lady’s lips were poisoned,
so that a kiss was fatal. The dungeon whose sides were forced together
by screws, so that each day the victim saw his cell growing less and
less, and knew that soon he would be crushed to death, was another
instrument of torture. Literally thousands of innocent men and women
were burned alive in the market place.

There is no more piteous tragedy in history than the story of the
decline and ruin of this superbly prosperous, literary and artistic
country, and yet out of the ashes came new courage. Burned, broken, the
Belgians and the Dutch were not beaten. Pushed at last into Holland,
where they united their fortunes with the Dutch, they cut the dykes of
Holland, and let in the ocean, and clinging to the dykes with their
finger tips, fought their way back to the land; but no sooner had the
last of the Spaniards gone than out of their rags and poverty they
founded a university as a monument to the providence of God in
delivering them out of the hands of their enemies. For, the Sixteenth
Century, in the form of a brave knight, wears little Belgium and Holland
like a red rose upon his heart.


But some of you will say that the Belgian people must have been rebels
and guilty of some excess, and that had they remained quiescent, and not
fomented treason, that no such fate could have overtaken them at the
hands of Spain. Very well. I will take a youth who, at the beginning,
believed in Charles the Fifth, a man who was as true to his ideals as
the needle to the pole. One day the “Bloody Council” decreed the death
of Egmont and Horn. Immediately afterward, the Duke of Alva sent an
invitation to Egmont to be the guest of honor at a banquet in his own
house. A servant from the palace that night delivered to the Count a
slip of paper, containing a warning to take the fleetest horse and flee
the city, and from that moment not to eat or sleep without pistols at
his hand. To all this Egmont responded that no monster ever lived who
could, with an invitation of hospitality, trick a patriot. Like a brave
man, the Count went to the Duke’s palace. He found the guests assembled,
but when he had handed his hat and cloak to the servant, Alva gave a
sign, and from behind the curtains came Spanish musqueteers, who
demanded his sword. For instead of a banquet hall, the Count was taken
to a cellar, fitted up as a dungeon. Already Egmont had all but died for
his country. He had used his ships, his trade, his gold, for righting
the people’s wrongs. He was a man of a large family–a wife and eleven
children–and people loved him as to idolatry. But Alva was inexorable.
He had made up his mind that the merchants and burghers had still much
hidden gold, and if he killed their bravest and best, terror would fall
upon all alike, and that the gold he needed would be forthcoming. That
all the people might witness the scene, he took his prisoners to
Brussels and decided to behead them in the public square. In the evening
Egmont received the notice that his head would be chopped off the next
day. A scaffold was erected in the public square. That evening he wrote
a letter that is a marvel of restraint.

“Sire–I have learned this evening the sentence which your majesty has
been pleased to pronounce upon me. Although I have never had a thought,
and believe myself never to have done a deed, which would tend to the
prejudice of your service, or to the detriment of true religion,
nevertheless I take patience to bear that which it has pleased the good
God to permit. Therefore, I pray your majesty to have compassion on my
poor wife, my children and my servants, having regard to my past
service. In which hope I now commend myself to the mercy of God. From
Brussels, ready to die, this 5th of June, 1568.


Thus died a man who did as much probably for Holland as John Eliot for
England, or Lafayette for France, or Samuel Adams for this young


And now out of all this glorious past comes the woe of Belgium.
Desolation has come like the whirlwind, and destruction like a tornado.
But ninety days ago and Belgium was a hive of industry, and in the
fields were heard the harvest songs. Suddenly, Germany struck Belgium.
The whole world has but one voice, “Belgium has innocent hands.” She was
led like a lamb to the slaughter. When the lover of Germany is asked to
explain Germany’s breaking of her solemn treaty upon the neutrality of
Belgium, the German stands dumb and speechless. Merchants honor their
written obligations. True citizens consider their word as good as their
bond; Germany gave treaty, and in the presence of God and the civilized
world, entered into a solemn covenant with Belgium. To the end of time,
the German must expect this taunt, “as worthless as a German treaty.”
Scarcely less black the two or three known examples of cruelty wrought
upon nonresisting Belgians. In Brooklyn lives a Belgian woman. She
planned to return home in late July to visit a father who had suffered
paralysis, an aged mother and a sister who nursed both. When the Germans
decided to burn that village in Eastern Belgium, they did not wish to
burn alive this old and helpless man, so they bayonetted to death the
old man and woman, and the daughter that nursed them.

Let us judge not, that we be not judged. This is the one example of
atrocity that you and I might be able personally to prove. But every
loyal German in the country can make answer: “These soldiers were drunk
with wine and blood. Such an atrocity misrepresents Germany and her
soldiers. The breaking of Germany’s treaty with Belgium represents the
dishonor of a military ring, and not the perfidy of 68,000,000 of
people. We ask that judgment be postponed until all the facts are in.”
But, meanwhile, the man who loves his fellows, at midnight in his dreams
walks across the fields of broken Belgium. All through the night air
there comes the sob of Rachel, weeping for her children, because they
are not. In moods of bitterness, of doubt and despair the heart cries
out, “How could a just God permit such cruelty upon innocent Belgium?”
No man knows. “Clouds and darkness are round about God’s throne.” The
spirit of evil caused this war, but the Spirit of God may bring good out
of it, just as the summer can repair the ravages of winter. Meanwhile
the heart bleeds for Belgium. For Brussels, the third most beautiful
city in Europe! For Louvain, once rich with its libraries, cathedrals,
statues, paintings, missals, manuscripts–now a ruin. Alas! for the
ruined harvests and the smoking villages! Alas, for the Cathedral that
is a heap, and the library that is a ruin. Where the angel of happiness
was there stalk Famine and Death. Gone, the Land of Grotius! Perished
the paintings of Rubens! Ruined is Louvain. Where the wheat waved, now
the hillsides are billowy with graves. But let us believe that God
reigns. Perchance Belgium is slain like the Saviour, that militarism may
die like Satan. Without shedding of innocent blood there is no remission
of sins through tyranny and greed. There is no wine without the crushing
of the grapes from the tree of life. Soon Liberty, God’s dear child,
will stand within the scene and comfort the desolate. Falling upon the
great world’s altar stairs, in this hour when wisdom is ignorance, and
the strongest man clutches at dust and straw, let us believe with faith
victorious over tears, that some time God will gather broken-hearted
little Belgium into His arms and comfort her as a Father comforteth his
well-beloved child.




Eight years ago tonight, there stood where I am standing now a young
Georgian, who, not without reason, recognized the “significance” of his
presence here, and, in words whose eloquence I cannot hope to recall,
appealed from the New South to New England for a united country.

He is gone now. But, short as his life was, its heaven-born mission was
fulfilled; the dream of his childhood was realized; for he had been
appointed by God to carry a message of peace on earth, good will to men,
and, this done, he vanished from the sight of mortal eyes, even as the
dove from the ark.

Grady told us, and told us truly, of that typical American who, in Dr.
Talmage’s mind’s eye, was coming, but who, in Abraham Lincoln’s
actuality, had already come. In some recent studies into the career of
that man, I have encountered many startling confirmations of this
judgment; and from that rugged trunk, drawing its sustenance from
gnarled roots, interlocked with Cavalier sprays and Puritan branches
deep beneath the soil, shall spring, is springing, a shapely
tree–symmetric in all its parts–under whose sheltering boughs this
nation shall have the new birth of freedom Lincoln promised it, and
mankind the refuge which was sought by the forefathers when they fled
from oppression. Thank God, the ax, the gibbet, and the stake have had
their day. They have gone, let us hope, to keep company with the lost
arts. It has been demonstrated that great wrongs may be redressed and
great reforms be achieved without the shedding of one drop of human
blood; that vengeance does not purify, but brutalizes; and that
tolerance, which in private transactions is reckoned a virtue, becomes
in public affairs a dogma of the most far-seeing statesmanship.

So I appeal from the men in silken hose who danced to music made by
slaves–and called it freedom–from the men in bell-crowned hats, who
led _Hester Prynne_ to her shame–and called it religion–to that
Americanism which reaches forth its arms to smite wrong with reason and
truth, secure in the power of both. I appeal from the patriarchs of New
England to the poets of New England; from Endicott to Lowell; from
Winthrop to Longfellow; from Norton to Holmes; and I appeal in the name
and by the rights of that common citizenship–of that common
origin–back of both the Puritan and the Cavalier–to which all of us
owe our being. Let the dead past, consecrated by the blood of its
martyrs, not by its savage hatreds–darkened alike by kingcraft and
priestcraft–let the dead past bury its dead. Let the present and the
future ring with the song of the singers. Blessed be the lessons they
teach, the laws they make. Blessed be the eye to see, the light to
reveal. Blessed be Tolerance, sitting ever on the right hand of God to
guide the way with loving word, as blessed be all that brings us nearer
the goal of true religion, true Republicanism, and true patriotism,
distrust of watchwords and labels, shams and heroes, belief in our
country and ourselves. It was not Cotton Mather, but John Greenleaf
Whittier, who cried:–

“Dear God and Father of us all,
Forgive our faith in cruel lies,
Forgive the blindness that denies.

“Cast down our idols–overturn
Our bloody altars–make us see
Thyself in Thy humanity!”




Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, Pa., November 3, 1904.

What is so hard as a just estimate of the events of our own time? It is
only now, a century and a half later, that we really perceive that a
writer has something to say for himself when he calls Wolfe’s exploit at
Quebec the turning point in modern history. And to-day it is hard to
imagine any rational standard that would not make the American
Revolution–an insurrection of thirteen little colonies, with a
population of 3,000,000 scattered in a distant wilderness among
savages–a mightier event in many of its aspects than the volcanic
convulsion in France. Again, the upbuilding of your great West on this
continent is reckoned by some the most important world movement of the
last hundred years. But is it more important than the amazing, imposing
and perhaps disquieting apparition of Japan? One authority insists that
when Russia descended into the Far East and pushed her frontier on the
Pacific to the forty-third degree of latitude that was one of the most
far-reaching facts of modern history, tho it almost escaped the eyes of
Europe–all her perceptions then monopolized by affairs in the Levant.
Who can say? Many courses of the sun were needed before men could take
the full historic measures of Luther, Calvin, Knox; the measure of
Loyola, the Council of Trent, and all the counter-reformation. The
center of gravity is forever shifting, the political axis of the world
perpetually changing. But we are now far enough off to discern how
stupendous a thing was done when, after two cycles of bitter war, one
foreign, the other civil and intestine, Pitt and Washington, within a
span of less than a score of years, planted the foundations of the
American Republic.

What Forbes’s stockade at Fort Pitt has grown to be you know better than
I. The huge triumphs of Pittsburg in material production–iron, steel,
coke, glass, and all the rest of it–can only be told in colossal
figures that are almost as hard to realize in our minds as the figures
of astronomical distance or geologic time. It is not quite clear that
all the founders of the Commonwealth would have surveyed the wonderful
scene with the same exultation as their descendants. Some of them would
have denied that these great centers of industrial democracy either in
the Old World or in the New always stand for progress. Jefferson said,
“I view great cities as pestilential to the morals, the health, and the
liberties of man. I consider the class of artificers,” he went on, “as
the panders of vice, and the instrument by which the liberties of a
country are generally overthrown.” In England they reckon 70 per cent.
of our population as dwellers in towns. With you, I read that only 25
per cent. of the population live in groups so large as 4,000 persons. If
Jefferson was right our outlook would be dark. Let us hope that he was
wrong, and in fact toward the end of his time qualified his early view.
Franklin, at any rate, would, I feel sure, have reveled in it all.

That great man–a name in the forefront among the practical
intelligences of human history–once told a friend that when he dwelt
upon the rapid progress that mankind was making in politics, morals, and
the arts of living, and when he considered that each one improvement
always begets another, he felt assured that the future progress of the
race was likely to be quicker than it had ever been. He was never
wearied of foretelling inventions yet to come, and he wished he could
revisit the earth at the end of a century to see how mankind was getting
on. With all my heart I share his wish. Of all the men who have built up
great States, I do believe there is not one whose alacrity of sound
sense and single-eyed beneficence of aim could be more safely trusted
than Franklin to draw light from the clouds and pierce the economic and
political confusions of our time. We can imagine the amazement and
complacency of that shrewd benignant mind if he could watch all the
giant marvels of your mills and furnaces, and all the apparatus devised
by the wondrous inventive faculties of man; if he could have foreseen
that his experiments with the kite in his garden at Philadelphia, his
tubes, his Leyden jars would end in the electric appliances of
to-day–the largest electric plant in all the world on the site of Fort
Duquesne; if he could have heard of 5,000,000,000 of passengers carried
in the United States by electric motor power in a year; if he could have
realized all the rest of the magician’s tale of our time.

Still more would he have been astounded and elated could he have
foreseen, beyond all advances in material production, the unbroken
strength of that political structure which he had so grand a share in
rearing. Into this very region where we are this afternoon, swept wave
after wave of immigration; English from Virginia flowed over the border,
bringing English traits, literature, habits of mind; Scots, or
Scots-Irish, originally from Ulster, flowed in from Central
Pennsylvania; Catholics from Southern Ireland; new hosts from Southern
and East Central Europe. This is not the Fourth of July. But people of
every school would agree that it is no exuberance of rhetoric, it is
only sober truth to say that the persevering absorption and
incorporation of all this ceaseless torrent of heterogenous elements
into one united, stable, industrious, and pacific State is an
achievement that neither the Roman Empire nor the Roman Church, neither
Byzantine Empire nor Russian, not Charles the Great nor Charles the
Fifth nor Napoleon ever rivaled or approached.

We are usually apt to excuse the slower rate of liberal progress in our
Old World by contrasting the obstructive barriers of prejudice,
survival, solecism, anachronism, convention, institution, all so
obstinately rooted, even when the branches seem bare and broken, in an
old world, with the open and disengaged ground of the new. Yet in fact
your difficulties were at least as formidable as those of the older
civilizations into whose fruitful heritage you have entered. Unique was
the necessity of this gigantic task of incorporation, the assimilation
of people of divers faiths and race. A second difficulty was more
formidable still–how to erect and work a powerful and wealthy State on
such a system as to combine the centralized concert of a federal system
with local independence, and to unite collective energy with the
encouragement of individual freedom.

This last difficulty that you have so successfully up to now surmounted,
at the present hour confronts the mother country and deeply perplexes
her statesmen. Liberty and union have been called the twin ideas of
America. So, too, they are the twin ideals of all responsible men in
Great Britain; altho responsible men differ among themselves as to the
safest path on which to travel toward the common goal, and tho the
dividing ocean, in other ways so much our friend, interposes, for our
case of an island State, or rather for a group of island States,
obstacles from which a continental State like yours is happily
altogether free.

Nobody believes that no difficulties remain. Some of them are obvious.
But the common-sense, the mixture of patience and determination that has
conquered risks and mischiefs in the past, may be trusted with the

Strange and devious are the paths of history. Broad and shining channels
get mysteriously silted up. How many a time what seemed a glorious high
road proves no more than a mule track or mere cul-de-sac. Think of
Canning’s flashing boast, when he insisted on the recognition of the
Spanish republics in South America–that he had called a new world into
existence to redress the balance of the old. This is one of the
sayings–of which sort many another might be found–that make the
fortune of a rhetorician, yet stand ill the wear and tear of time and
circumstance. The new world that Canning called into existence has so
far turned out a scene of singular disenchantment.

Tho not without glimpses on occasion of that heroism and courage and
even wisdom that are the attributes of man almost at the worst, the tale
has been too much a tale of anarchy and disaster, still leaving a host
of perplexities for statesmen both in America and Europe. It has left
also to students of a philosophic turn of mind one of the most
interesting of all the problems to be found in the whole field of
social, ecclesiastical, religious, and racial movement. Why is it that
we do not find in the south as we find in the north of this hemisphere a
powerful federation–a great Spanish-American people stretching from the
Rio Grande to Cape Horn? To answer that question would be to shed a
flood of light upon many deep historic forces in the Old World, of
which, after all, these movements of the New are but a prolongation and
more manifest extension.

What more imposing phenomenon does history present to us than the rise
of Spanish power to the pinnacle of greatness and glory in the sixteenth
century? The Mohammedans, after centuries of fierce and stubborn war,
driven back; the whole peninsula brought under a single rule with a
single creed; enormous acquisitions from the Netherlands of Naples,
Sicily, the Canaries; France humbled, England menaced, settlements made
in Asia and Northern Africa–Spain in America become possessed of a vast
continent and of more than one archipelago of splendid islands. Yet
before a century was over the sovereign majesty of Spain underwent a
huge declension, the territory under her sway was contracted, the
fabulous wealth of the mines of the New World had been wasted,
agriculture and industry were ruined, her commerce passed into the hands
of her rivals.

Let me digress one further moment. We have a very sensible habit in the
island whence I come, when our country misses fire, to say as little as
we can, and sink the thing in patriotic oblivion. It is rather startling
to recall that less than a century ago England twice sent a military
force to seize what is now Argentina. Pride of race and hostile creed
vehemently resisting, proved too much for us. The two expeditions ended
in failure, and nothing remains for the historian of to-day but to
wonder what a difference it might have made to the temperate region of
South America if the fortune of war had gone the other way, if the
region of the Plata had become British, and a large British immigration
had followed. Do not think me guilty of the heinous crime of forgetting
the Monroe Doctrine. That momentous declaration was not made for a good
many years after our Gen. Whitelocke was repulsed at Buenos Ayres, tho
Mr. Sumner and other people have always held that it was Canning who
really first started the Monroe Doctrine, when he invited the United
States to join him against European intervention in South American

The day is at hand, we are told, when four-fifths of the human race will
trace their pedigree to English forefathers, as four-fifths of the white
people in the United States trace their pedigree to-day. By the end of
this century, they say, such nations as France and Germany, assuming
that they stand apart from fresh consolidations, will only be able to
claim the same relative position in the political world as Holland and
Switzerland. These musings of the moon do not take us far. The important
thing, as we all know, is not the exact fraction of the human race that
will speak English. The important thing is that those who speak English,
whether in old lands or new, shall strive in lofty, generous and
never-ceasing emulation with peoples of other tongues and other stock
for the political, social, and intellectual primacy among mankind. In
this noble strife for the service of our race we need never fear that
claimants for the prize will be too large a multitude.

As an able scholar of your own has said, Jefferson was here using the
old vernacular of English aspirations after a free, manly, and
well-ordered political life–a vernacular rich in stately tradition and
noble phrase, to be found in a score of a thousand of champions in many
camps–in Buchanan, Milton, Hooker, Locke, Jeremy Taylor, Roger
Williams, and many another humbler but not less strenuous pioneer and
confessor of freedom. Ah, do not fail to count up, and count up often,
what a different world it would have been but for that island in the
distant northern sea! These were the tributary fountains, that, as time
went on, swelled into the broad confluence of modern time. What was new
in 1776 was the transformation of thought into actual polity.

What is progress? It is best to be slow in the complex arts of politics
in their widest sense, and not to hurry to define. If you want a
platitude, there is nothing for supplying it like a definition. Or shall
we say that most definitions hang between platitude and paradox? There
are said, tho I have never counted, to be 10,000 definitions of
religion. There must be about as many of poetry. There can hardly be
fewer of liberty, or even of happiness.

I am not bold enough to try a definition. I will not try to gauge how
far the advance of moral forces has kept pace with that extension of
material forces in the world of which this continent, conspicuous before
all others, bears such astounding evidence. This, of course, is the
question of questions, because as an illustrious English writer–to
whom, by the way, I owe my friendship with your founder many long years
ago–as Matthew Arnold said in America here, it is moral ideas that at
bottom decide the standing or falling of states and nations. Without
opening this vast discussion at large, many a sign of progress is beyond
mistake. The practise of associated action–one of the master keys of
progress–is a new force in a hundred fields, and with immeasurable
diversity of forms. There is less acquiescence in triumphant wrong.
Toleration in religion has been called the best fruit of the last four
centuries, and in spite of a few bigoted survivals, even in our United
Kingdom, and some savage outbreaks of hatred, half religious, half
racial, on the Continent of Europe, this glorious gain of time may now
be taken as secured. Perhaps of all the contributions of America to
human civilization this is greatest. The reign of force is not yet over,
and at intervals it has its triumphant hours, but reason, justice,
humanity fight with success their long and steady battle for a wider

Of all the points of social advance, in my country at least, during the
last generation none is more marked than the change in the position of
women, in respect of rights of property, of education, of access to new
callings. As for the improvement of material well-being, and its
diffusion among those whose labor is a prime factor in its creation, we
might grow sated with the jubilant monotony of its figures, if we did
not take good care to remember, in the excellent words of the President
of Harvard, that those gains, like the prosperous working of your
institutions and the principles by which they are sustained, are in
essence moral contributions, “being principles of reason, enterprise,
courage, faith, and justice, over passion, selfishness, inertness,
timidity, and distrust.” It is the moral impulses that matter. Where
they are safe, all is safe.

When this and the like is said, nobody supposes that the last word has
been spoken as to the condition of the people either in America or
Europe. Republicanism is not itself a panacea for economic difficulties.
Of self it can neither stifle nor appease the accents of social
discontent. So long as it has no root in surveyed envy, this discontent
itself is a token of progress.

What, cries the skeptic, what has become of all the hopes of the time
when France stood upon the top of golden hours? Do not let us fear the
challenge. Much has come of them. And over the old hopes time has
brought a stratum of new.

Liberalism is sometimes suspected of being cold to these new hopes, and
you may often hear it said that Liberalism is already superseded by
Socialism. That a change is passing over party names in Europe is plain,
but you may be sure that no change in name will extinguish these
principles of society which are rooted in the nature of things, and are
accredited by their success. Twice America has saved liberalism in Great
Britain. The War for Independence in the eighteenth century was the
defeat of usurping power no less in England than here. The War for Union
in the nineteenth century gave the decisive impulse to a critical
extension of suffrage, and an era of popular reform in the mother
country. Any miscarriage of democracy here reacts against progress in
Great Britain.

If you seek the real meaning of most modern disparagement of popular or
parliamentary government, it is no more than this, that no politics will
suffice of themselves to make a nation’s soul. What could be more true?
Who says it will? But we may depend upon it that the soul will be best
kept alive in a nation where there is the highest proportion of those
who, in the phrase of an old worthy of the seventeenth century, think it
a part of a man’s religion to see to it that his country be well

Democracy, they tell us, is afflicted by mediocrity and by sterility.
But has not democracy in my country, as in yours, shown before now that
it well knows how to choose rulers neither mediocre nor sterile; men
more than the equals in unselfishness, in rectitude, in clear sight, in
force, of any absolutist statesman, that ever in times past bore the
scepter? If I live a few months, or it may be even a few weeks longer, I
hope to have seen something of three elections–one in Canada, one in
the United Kingdom, and the other here. With us, in respect of
leadership, and apart from height of social prestige, the personage
corresponding to the president is, as you know, the prime minister. Our
general election this time, owing to personal accident of the passing
hour, may not determine quite exactly who shall be the prime minister,
but it will determine the party from which the prime minister shall be
taken. On normal occasions our election of a prime minister is as direct
and personal as yours, and in choosing a member of Parliament people
were really for a whole generation choosing whether Disraeli or
Gladstone or Salisbury should be head of the government.

The one central difference between your system and ours is that the
American president is in for a fixed time, whereas the British prime
minister depends upon the support of the House of Commons. If he loses
that, his power may not endure a twelvemonth; if on the other hand, he
keeps it, he may hold office for a dozen years. There are not many more
interesting or important questions in political discussion than the
question whether our cabinet government or your presidential system of
government is the better. This is not the place to argue it.

Between 1868 and now–a period of thirty-six years–we have had eight
ministries. This would give an average life of four and a half years. Of
these eight governments five lasted over five years. Broadly speaking,
then, our executive governments have lasted about the length of your
fixed term. As for ministers swept away by a gust of passion, I can only
recall the overthrow of Lord Palmerston in 1858 for being thought too
subservient to France. For my own part, I have always thought that by
its free play, its comparative fluidity, its rapid flexibility of
adaptation, our cabinet system has most to say for itself.

Whether democracy will make for peace, we all have yet to see. So far
democracy has done little in Europe to protect us against the turbid
whirlpools of a military age. When the evils of rival states,
antagonistic races, territorial claims, and all the other formulas of
international conflict are felt to be unbearable and the curse becomes
too great to be any longer borne, a school of teachers will perhaps
arise to pick up again the thread of the best writers and wisest rulers
on the eve of the revolution. Movement in this region of human things
has not all been progressive. If we survey the European courts from the
end of the Seven Years’ War down to the French Revolution, we note the
marked growth of a distinctly international and pacific spirit. At no
era in the world’s history can we find so many European statesmen after
peace and the good government of which peace is the best ally. That
sentiment came to violent end when Napoleon arose to scourge the world.




The success of the Abolitionists and their allies, under the name of the
Republican party, has produced its logical results already. They have
for long years been sowing dragons’ teeth and have finally got a crop of
armed men. The Union, sir, is dissolved. That is an accomplished fact in
the path of this discussion that men may as well heed. One of your
confederates has already wisely, bravely, boldly confronted public
danger, and she is only ahead of many of her sisters because of her
greater facility for speedy action. The greater majority of those sister
States, under like circumstances, consider her cause as their cause; and
I charge you in their name to-day: “Touch not Saguntum.”[37] It is not
only their cause, but it is a cause which receives the sympathy and will
receive the support of tens and hundreds of honest patriot men in the
nonslaveholding States, who have hitherto maintained constitutional
rights, and who respect their oaths, abide by compacts, and love

And while this Congress, this Senate, and this House of Representatives
are debating the constitutionality and the expediency of seceding from
the Union, and while the perfidious authors of this mischief are
showering down denunciations upon a large portion of the patriotic men
of this country, those brave men are coolly and calmly voting what you
call revolution–aye, sir, doing better than that: arming to defend it.
They appealed to the Constitution, they appealed to justice, they
appealed to fraternity, until the Constitution, justice, and fraternity
were no longer listened to in the legislative halls of their country,
and then, sir, they prepared for the arbitrament of the sword; and now
you see the glittering bayonet, and you hear the tramp of armed men from
your capitol to the Rio Grande. It is a sight that gladdens the eyes and
cheers the hearts of other millions ready to second them. Inasmuch, sir,
as I have labored earnestly, honestly, sincerely, with these men to
avert this necessity so long as I deemed it possible, and inasmuch as I
heartily approve their present conduct of resistance, I deem it my duty
to state their case to the Senate, to the country, and to the civilized

Senators, my countrymen have demanded no new government; they have
demanded no new Constitution. Look to their records at home and here
from the beginning of this national strife until its consummation in the
disruption of the empire, and they have not demanded a single thing
except that you shall abide by the Constitution of the United States;
that constitutional rights shall be respected, and that justice shall be
done. Sirs, they have stood by your Constitution; they have stood by all
its requirements, they have performed all its duties unselfishly,
uncalculatingly, disinterestedly, until a party sprang up in this
country which endangered their social system–a party which they
arraign, and which they charge before the American people and all
mankind with having made proclamation of outlawry against four thousand
millions of their property in the Territories of the United States; with
having put them under the ban of the empire in all the States in which
their institutions exist outside the protection of federal laws; with
having aided and abetted insurrection from within and invasion from
without with the view of subverting those institutions, and desolating
their homes and their firesides. For these causes they have taken up

I have stated that the discontented States of this Union have demanded
nothing but clear, distinct, unequivocal, well-acknowledged
constitutional rights–rights affirmed by the highest judicial tribunals
of their country; rights older than the Constitution; rights which are
planted upon the immutable principles of natural justice; rights which
have been affirmed by the good and the wise of all countries, and of all
centuries. We demand no power to injure any man. We demand no right to
injure our confederate States. We demand no right to interfere with
their institutions, either by word or deed. We have no right to disturb
their peace, their tranquillity, their security. We have demanded of
them simply, solely–nothing else–to give us _equality, security and
tranquillity_. Give us these, and peace restores itself. Refuse them,
and take what you can get.

What do the rebels demand? First, “that the people of the United States
shall have an equal right to emigrate and settle in the present or any
future acquired Territories, with whatever property they may possess
(including slaves), and be securely protected in its peaceable enjoyment
until such Territory may be admitted as a State into the Union, with or
without slavery, as she may determine, on an equality with all existing
States.” That is our Territorial demand. We have fought for this
Territory when blood was its price. We have paid for it when gold was
its price. We have not proposed to exclude you, tho you have contributed
very little of blood or money. I refer especially to New England. We
demand only to go into those Territories upon terms of equality with
you, as equals in this great Confederacy, to enjoy the common property
of the whole Union, and receive the protection of the common government,
until the Territory is capable of coming into the Union as a sovereign
State, when it may fix its own institutions to suit itself.

The second proposition is, “that property in slaves shall be entitled to
the same protection from the government of the United States, in all of
its departments, everywhere, which the Constitution confers the power
upon it to extend to any other property, provided nothing herein
contained shall be construed to limit or restrain the right now
belonging to every State to prohibit, abolish, or establish and protect
slavery within its limits.” We demand of the common government to use
its granted powers to protect our property as well as yours. For this
protection we pay as much as you do. This very property is subject to
taxation. It has been taxed by you and sold by you for taxes.

The title to thousands and tens of thousands of slaves is derived from
the United States. We claim that the government, while the Constitution
recognizes our property for the purposes of taxation, shall give it the
same protection that it gives yours.

Ought it not to be so? You say no. Every one of you upon the committee
said no. Your senators say no. Your House of Representatives says no.
Throughout the length and breadth of your conspiracy against the
Constitution there is but one shout of no! This recognition of this
right is the price of my allegiance. Withhold it, and you do not get my
obedience. This is the philosophy of the armed men who have sprung up in
this country. Do you ask me to support a government that will tax my
property: that will plunder me; that will demand my blood, and will not
protect me? I would rather see the population of my native State laid
six feet beneath her sod than they should support for one hour such a
government. Protection is the price of obedience everywhere, in all
countries. It is the only thing that makes government respectable. Deny
it and you can not have free subjects or citizens; you may have slaves.

We demand, in the next place, “that persons committing crimes against
slave property in one State, and fleeing to another, shall be delivered
up in the same manner as persons committing crimes against other
property, and that the laws of the State from which such persons flee
shall be the test of criminality.” That is another one of the demands of
an extremist and a rebel.

But the nonslaveholding States, treacherous to their oaths and compacts,
have steadily refused, if the criminal only stole a negro and that negro
was a slave, to deliver him up. It was refused twice on the requisition
of my own State as long as twenty-two years ago. It was refused by Kent
and by Fairfield, governors of Maine, and representing, I believe, each
of the then federal parties. We appealed then to fraternity, but we
submitted; and this constitutional right has been practically a dead
letter from that day to this. The next case came up between us and the
State of New York, when the present senior senator [Mr. Seward] was the
governor of that State; and he refused it. Why? He said it was not
against the laws of New York to steal a negro, and therefore he would
not comply with the demand. He made a similar refusal to Virginia. Yet
these are our confederates; these are our sister States! There is the
bargain; there is the compact. You have sworn to it. Both these
governors swore to it. The senator from New York swore to it. The
governor of Ohio swore to it when he was inaugurated. You can not bind
them by oaths. Yet they talk to us of treason; and I suppose they expect
to whip freemen into loving such brethren! They will have a good time in
doing it!

It is natural we should want this provision of the Constitution carried
out. The Constitution says slaves are property; the Supreme Court says
so; the Constitution says so. The theft of slaves is a crime; they are
a subject-matter of felonious asportation. By the text and letter of the
Constitution you agreed to give them up. You have sworn to do it, and
you have broken your oaths. Of course, those who have done so look out
for pretexts. Nobody expected them to do otherwise. I do not think I
ever saw a perjurer, however bald and naked, who could not invent some
pretext to palliate his crime, or who could not, for fifteen shillings,
hire an Old Bailey lawyer to invent some for him. Yet this requirement
of the Constitution is another one of the extreme demands of an
extremist and a rebel.

The next stipulation is that fugitive slaves shall be surrendered under
the provisions of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, without being entitled
either to a writ of habeas corpus, or trial by jury, or other similar
obstructions of legislation, in the State to which he may flee. Here is
the Constitution:

“No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws
thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law
or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor,
but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such
service or labor may be due.”

This language is plain, and everybody understood it the same way for the
first forty years of your government. In 1793, in Washington’s time, an
act was passed to carry out this provision. It was adopted unanimously
in the Senate of the United States, and nearly so in the House of
Representatives. Nobody then had invented pretexts to show that the
Constitution did not mean a negro slave. It was clear; it was plain. Not
only the federal courts, but all the local courts in all the States,
decided that this was a constitutional obligation. How is it now? The
North sought to evade it; following the instincts of their natural
character, they commenced with the fraudulent fiction that fugitives
were entitled to habeas corpus, entitled to trial by jury in the State
to which they fled. They pretended to believe that our fugitive slaves
were entitled to more rights than their white citizens; perhaps they
were right, they know one another better than I do. You may charge a
white man with treason, or felony, or other crime, and you do not
require any trial by jury before he is given up; there is nothing to
determine but that he is legally charged with a crime and that he fled,
and then he is to be delivered up upon demand. White people are
delivered up every day in this way; but not slaves. Slaves, black
people, you say, are entitled to trial by jury; and in this way schemes
have been invented to defeat your plain constitutional obligations.

Senators, the Constitution is a compact. It contains all our obligations
and the duties of the federal government. I am content and have ever
been content to sustain it. While I doubt its perfection, while I do not
believe it was a good compact, and while I never saw the day that I
would have voted for it as a proposition _de novo_, yet I am bound to it
by oath and by that common prudence which would induce men to abide by
established forms rather than to rush into unknown dangers. I have given
to it, and intend to give to it, unfaltering support and allegiance, but
I choose to put that allegiance on the true ground, not on the false
idea that anybody’s blood was shed for it. I say that the Constitution
is the whole compact. All the obligations, all the chains that fetter
the limbs of my people, are nominated in the bond, and they wisely
excluded any conclusion against them, by declaring that “the powers not
granted by the Constitution to the United States, or forbidden by it to
the States, belonged to the States respectively or the people.”

Now I will try it by that standard; I will subject it to that test. The
law of nature, the law of justice, would say–and it is so expounded by
the publicists–that equal rights in the common property shall be
enjoyed. Even in a monarchy the king can not prevent the subjects from
enjoying equality in the disposition of the public property. Even in a
despotic government this principle is recognized. It was the blood and
the money of the whole people (says the learned Grotius, and say all the
publicists) which acquired the public property, and therefore it is not
the property of the sovereign. This right of equality being, then,
according to justice and natural equity, a right belonging to all
States, when did we give it up? You say Congress has a right to pass
rules and regulations concerning the Territory and other property of the
United States. Very well. Does that exclude those whose blood and money
paid for it? Does “dispose of” mean to rob the rightful owners? You must
show a better title than that, or a better sword than we have.

What, then, will you take? You will take nothing but your own judgment;
that is, you will not only judge for yourselves, not only discard the
court, discard our construction, discard the practise of the government,
but you will drive us out, simply because you will it. Come and do it!
You have sapped the foundations of society; you have destroyed almost
all hope of peace. In a compact where there is no common arbiter, where
the parties finally decide for themselves, the sword alone at last
becomes the real, if not the constitutional, arbiter. Your party says
that you will not take the decision of the Supreme Court. You said so at
Chicago; you said so in committee; every man of you in both Houses says
so. What are you going to do? You say we shall submit to your
construction. We shall do it, if you can make us; but not otherwise, or
in any other manner. That is settled. You may call it secession, or you
may call it revolution; but there is a big fact standing before you,
ready to oppose you–that fact is, freemen with arms in their hands.




MY FELLOW CITIZENS:–No people on earth have more cause to be thankful
than ours, and this is said reverently, in no spirit of boastfulness in
our own strength, but with gratitude to the Giver of Good, Who has
blessed us with the conditions which have enabled us to achieve so large
a measure of well-being and happiness.

To us as a people it has been granted to lay the foundations of our
national life in a new continent. We are the heirs of the ages, and yet
we have had to pay few of the penalties which in old countries are
exacted by the dead hand of a bygone civilization. We have not been
obliged to fight for our existence against any alien race; and yet our
life has called for the vigor and effort without which the manlier and
hardier virtues wither away.

Under such conditions it would be our own fault if we failed, and the
success which we have had in the past, the success which we confidently
believe the future will bring, should cause in us no feeling of
vainglory, but rather a deep and abiding realization of all that life
has offered us; a full acknowledgment of the responsibility which is
ours; and a fixed determination to show that under a free government a
mighty people can thrive best, alike as regard the things of the body
and the things of the soul.

Much has been given to us, and much will rightfully be expected from us.
We have duties to others and duties to ourselves–and we can shirk
neither. We have become a great nation, forced by the fact of its
greatness into relation to the other nations of the earth, and we must
behave as beseems a people with such responsibilities.

Toward all other nations, large and small, our attitude must be one of
cordial and sincere friendship. We must show not only in our words but
in our deeds that we are earnestly desirous of securing their good will
by acting toward them in a spirit of just and generous recognition of
all their rights.

But justice and generosity in a nation, as in an individual, count most
when shown not by the weak but by the strong. While ever careful to
refrain from wronging others, we must be no less insistent that we are
not wronged ourselves. We wish peace; but we wish the peace of justice,
the peace of righteousness. We wish it because we think it is right, and
not because we are afraid. No weak nation that acts rightly and justly
should ever have cause to fear, and no strong power should ever be able
to single us out as a subject for insolent aggression.

Our relations with the other powers of the world are important; but
still more important are our relations among ourselves. Such growth in
wealth, in population, and in power, as a nation has seen during a
century and a quarter of its national life, is inevitably accompanied by
a like growth in the problems which are ever before every nation that
rises to greatness. Power invariably means both responsibility and
danger. Our forefathers faced certain perils which we have outgrown. We
now face other perils the very existence of which it was impossible that
they should foresee.

Modern life is both complex and intense, and the tremendous changes
wrought by the extraordinary industrial development of the half century
are felt in every fiber of our social and political being. Never before
have men tried so vast and formidable an experiment as that of
administering the affairs of a continent under the forms of a democratic
republic. The conditions which have told for our marvelous material
well-being, which have developed to a very high degree our energy,
self-reliance, and individual initiative, also have brought the care and
anxiety inseparable from the accumulation of great wealth in industrial

Upon the success of our experiment much depends–not only as regards our
own welfare, but as regards the welfare of mankind. If we fail, the
cause of free self-government throughout the world will rock to its
foundations, and therefore our responsibility is heavy, to ourselves, to
the world as it is to-day, and to the generations yet unborn.

There is no good reason why we should fear the future, but there is
every reason why we should face it seriously, neither hiding from
ourselves the gravity of the problems before us, nor fearing to approach
these problems with the unbending, unflinching purpose to solve them

Yet after all, tho the problems are new, tho the tasks set before us
differ from the tasks set before our fathers, who founded and preserved
this Republic, the spirit in which these tasks must be undertaken and
these problems faced, if our duty is to be well done, remains
essentially unchanged. We know that self-government is difficult. We
know that no people needs such high traits of character as that people
which seeks to govern its affairs aright through the freely expressed
will of the free men who compose it.

But we have faith that we shall not prove false to memories of the men
of the mighty past. They did their work; they left us the splendid
heritage we now enjoy. We in our turn have an assured confidence that we
shall be able to leave this heritage unwasted and enlarged to our
children’s children.

To do so, we must show, not merely in great crises, but in the everyday
affairs of life, the qualities of practical intelligence, of courage, of
hardihood, and endurance, and, above all, the power of devotion to a
lofty ideal, which made great the men who founded this Republic in the
days of Washington; which made great the men who preserved this Republic
in the days of Abraham Lincoln.



In our modern industrial civilization there are many and grave dangers
to counterbalance the splendors and the triumphs. It is not a good thing
to see cities grow at disproportionate speed relatively to the country;
for the small land owners, the men who own their little homes, and
therefore to a very large extent the men who till farms, the men of the
soil, have hitherto made the foundation of lasting national life in
every State; and, if the foundation becomes either too weak or too
narrow, the superstructure, no matter how attractive, is in imminent
danger of falling.

But far more important than the question of the occupation of our
citizens is the question of how their family life is conducted. No
matter what that occupation may be, as long as there is a real home and
as long as those who make up that home do their duty to one another, to
their neighbors and to the State, it is of minor consequence whether the
man’s trade is plied in the country or in the city, whether it calls for
the work of the hands or for the work of the head.

No piled-up wealth, no splendor of material growth, no brilliance of
artistic development, will permanently avail any people unless its home
life is healthy, unless the average man possesses honesty, courage,
common sense, and decency, unless he works hard and is willing at need
to fight hard; and unless the average woman is a good wife, a good
mother, able and willing to perform the first and greatest duty of
womanhood, able and willing to bear, and to bring up as they should be
brought up, healthy children, sound in body, mind, and character, and
numerous enough so that the race shall increase and not decrease.

There are certain old truths which will be true as long as this world
endures, and which no amount of progress can alter. One of these is the
truth that the primary duty of the husband is to be the home-maker, the
breadwinner for his wife and children, and that the primary duty of the
woman is to be the helpmate, the housewife, and mother. The woman
should have ample educational advantages; but save in exceptional cases
the man must be, and she need not be, and generally ought not to be,
trained for a lifelong career as the family breadwinner; and,
therefore, after a certain point, the training of the two must normally
be different because the duties of the two are normally different. This
does not mean inequality of function, but it does mean that normally
there must be dissimilarity of function. On the whole, I think the duty
of the woman the more important, the more difficult, and the more
honorable of the two; on the whole I respect the woman who does her duty
even more than I respect the man who does his.

No ordinary work done by a man is either as hard or as responsible as
the work of a woman who is bringing up a family of small children; for
upon her time and strength demands are made not only every hour of the
day but often every hour of the night. She may have to get up night
after night to take care of a sick child, and yet must by day continue
to do all her household duties as well; and if the family means are
scant she must usually enjoy even her rare holidays taking her whole
brood of children with her. The birth pangs make all men the debtors of
all women. Above all our sympathy and regard are due to the struggling
wives among those whom Abraham Lincoln called the plain people, and whom
he so loved and trusted; for the lives of these women are often led on
the lonely heights of quiet, self-sacrificing heroism.

Just as the happiest and most honorable and most useful task that can be
set any man is to earn enough for the support of his wife and family,
for the bringing up and starting in life of his children, so the most
important, the most honorable and desirable task which can be set any
woman is to be a good and wise mother in a home marked by self-respect
and mutual forbearance, by willingness to perform duty, and by refusal
to sink into self-indulgence or avoid that which entails effort and
self-sacrifice. Of course there are exceptional men and exceptional
women who can do and ought to do much more than this, who can lead and
ought to lead great careers of outside usefulness in addition to–not as
substitutes for–their home work; but I am not speaking of exceptions; I
am speaking of the primary duties, I am speaking of the average
citizens, the average men and women who make up the nation.

Inasmuch as I am speaking to an assemblage of mothers, I shall have
nothing whatever to say in praise of an easy life. Yours is the work
which is never ended. No mother has an easy time, the most mothers have
very hard times; and yet what true mother would barter her experience of
joy and sorrow in exchange for a life of cold selfishness, which insists
upon perpetual amusement and the avoidance of care, and which often
finds its fit dwelling place in some flat designed to furnish with the
least possible expenditure of effort the maximum of comfort and of
luxury, but in which there is literally no place for children?

The woman who is a good wife, a good mother, is entitled to our respect
as is no one else; but she is entitled to it only because, and so long
as, she is worthy of it. Effort and self-sacrifice are the law of worthy
life for the man as for the woman; tho neither the effort nor the
self-sacrifice may be the same for the one as for the other. I do not in
the least believe in the patient Griselda type of woman, in the woman
who submits to gross and long continued ill treatment, any more than I
believe in a man who tamely submits to wrongful aggression. No
wrong-doing is so abhorrent as wrong-doing by a man toward the wife and
the children who should arouse every tender feeling in his nature.
Selfishness toward them, lack of tenderness toward them, lack of
consideration for them, above all, brutality in any form toward them,
should arouse the heartiest scorn and indignation in every upright soul.

I believe in the woman keeping her self-respect just as I believe in the
man doing so. I believe in her rights just as much as I believe in the
man’s, and indeed a little more; and I regard marriage as a partnership,
in which each partner is in honor bound to think of the rights of the
other as well as of his or her own. But I think that the duties are even
more important than the rights; and in the long run I think that the
reward is ampler and greater for duty well done, than for the insistence
upon individual rights, necessary tho this, too, must often be. Your
duty is hard, your responsibility great; but greatest of all is your
reward. I do not pity you in the least. On the contrary, I feel respect
and admiration for you.

Into the woman’s keeping is committed the destiny of the generations to
come after us. In bringing up your children you mothers must remember
that while it is essential to be loving and tender it is no less
essential to be wise and firm. Foolishness and affection must not be
treated as interchangeable terms; and besides training your sons and
daughters in the softer and milder virtues, you must seek to give them
those stern and hardy qualities which in after life they will surely
need. Some children will go wrong in spite of the best training; and
some will go right even when their surroundings are most unfortunate;
nevertheless an immense amount depends upon the family training. If you
mothers through weakness bring up your sons to be selfish and to think
only of themselves, you will be responsible for much sadness among the
women who are to be their wives in the future. If you let your daughters
grow up idle, perhaps under the mistaken impression that as you
yourselves have had to work hard they shall know only enjoyment, you are
preparing them to be useless to others and burdens to themselves. Teach
boys and girls alike that they are not to look forward to lives spent in
avoiding difficulties, but to lives spent in overcoming difficulties.
Teach them that work, for themselves and also for others, is not curse
but a blessing; seek to make them happy, to make them enjoy life, but
seek also to make them face life with the steadfast resolution to wrest
success from labor and adversity, and to do their whole duty before God
and to man. Surely she who can thus train her sons and her daughters is
thrice fortunate among women.

There are many good people who are denied the supreme blessing of
children, and for these we have the respect and sympathy always due to
those who, from no fault of their own, are denied any of the other great
blessings of life. But the man or woman who deliberately foregoes these
blessings, whether from viciousness, coldness, shallow-heartedness,
self-indulgence, or mere failure to appreciate aright the difference
between the all-important and the unimportant,–why, such a creature
merits contempt as hearty as any visited upon the soldier who runs away
in battle, or upon the man who refuses to work for the support of those
dependent upon him, and who tho able-bodied is yet content to eat in
idleness the bread which others provide.

The existence of women of this type forms one of the most unpleasant and
unwholesome features of modern life. If any one is so dim of vision as
to fail to see what a thoroughly unlovely creature such a woman is I
wish they would read Judge Robert Grant’s novel “Unleavened Bread,”
ponder seriously the character of Selma, and think of the fate that
would surely overcome any nation which developed its average and typical
woman along such lines. Unfortunately it would be untrue to say that
this type exists only in American novels. That it also exists in
American life is made unpleasantly evident by the statistics as to the
dwindling families in some localities. It is made evident in equally
sinister fashion by the census statistics as to divorce, which are
fairly appalling; for easy divorce is now as it ever has been, a bane to
any nation, a curse to society, a menace to the home, an incitement to
married unhappiness and to immorality, an evil thing for men and a still
more hideous evil for women. These unpleasant tendencies in our American
life are made evident by articles such as those which I actually read
not long ago in a certain paper, where a clergyman was quoted, seemingly
with approval, as expressing the general American attitude when he said
that the ambition of any save a very rich man should be to rear two
children only, so as to give his children an opportunity “to taste a few
of the good things of life.”

This man, whose profession and calling should have made him a moral
teacher, actually set before others the ideal, not of training children
to do their duty, not of sending them forth with stout hearts and ready
minds to win triumphs for themselves and their country, not of allowing
them the opportunity, and giving them the privilege of making their own
place in the world, but, forsooth, of keeping the number of children so
limited that they might “taste a few good things!” The way to give a
child a fair chance in life is not to bring it up in luxury, but to see
that it has the kind of training that will give it strength of
character. Even apart from the vital question of national life, and
regarding only the individual interest of the children themselves,
happiness in the true sense is a hundredfold more apt to come to any
given member of a healthy family of healthy-minded children, well
brought up, well educated, but taught that they must shift for
themselves, must win their own way, and by their own exertions make
their own positions of usefulness, than it is apt to come to those whose
parents themselves have acted on and have trained their children to act
on, the selfish and sordid theory that the whole end of life is to
“taste a few good things.”

The intelligence of the remark is on a par with its morality; for the
most rudimentary mental process would have shown the speaker that if the
average family in which there are children contained but two children
the nation as a whole would decrease in population so rapidly that in
two or three generations it would very deservedly be on the point of
extinction, so that the people who had acted on this base and selfish
doctrine would be giving place to others with braver and more robust
ideals. Nor would such a result be in any way regrettable; for a race
that practised such doctrine–that is, a race that practised race
suicide–would thereby conclusively show that it was unfit to exist, and
that it had better give place to people who had not forgotten the
primary laws of their being.

To sum up, then, the whole matter is simple enough. If either a race or
an individual prefers the pleasure of more effortless ease, of
self-indulgence, to the infinitely deeper, the infinitely higher
pleasures that come to those who know the toil and the weariness, but
also the joy, of hard duty well done, why, that race or that individual
must inevitably in the end pay the penalty of leading a life both vapid
and ignoble. No man and no woman really worthy of the name can care for
the life spent solely or chiefly in the avoidance of risk and trouble
and labor. Save in exceptional cases the prizes worth having in life
must be paid for, and the life worth living must be a life of work for a
worthy end, and ordinarily of work more for others than for one’s self.

The woman’s task is not easy–no task worth doing is easy–but in doing
it, and when she has done it, there shall come to her the highest and
holiest joy known to mankind; and having done it, she shall have the
reward prophesied in Scripture; for her husband and her children, yes,
and all people who realize that her work lies at the foundation of all
national happiness and greatness, shall rise up and call her blessed.



From a speech opening the National Democratic Convention at Baltimore,
Md., June, 1912.

It is not the wild and cruel methods of revolution and violence that are
needed to correct the abuses incident to our Government as to all things
human. Neither material nor moral progress lies that way. We have made
our Government and our complicated institutions by appeals to reason,
seeking to educate all our people that, day after day, year after year,
century after century, they may see more clearly, act more justly,
become more and more attached to the fundamental ideas that underlie our
society. If we are to preserve undiminished the heritage bequeathed us,
and add to it those accretions without which society would perish, we
shall need all the powers that the school, the church, the court, the
deliberative assembly, and the quiet thought of our people can bring to

We are called upon to do battle against the unfaithful guardians of our
Constitution and liberties and the hordes of ignorance which are pushing
forward only to the ruin of our social and governmental fabric.

Too long has the country endured the offenses of the leaders of a party
which once knew greatness. Too long have we been blind to the bacchanal
of corruption. Too long have we listlessly watched the assembling of the
forces that threaten our country and our firesides.

The time has come when the salvation of the country demands the
restoration to place and power of men of high ideals who will wage
unceasing war against corruption in politics, who will enforce the law
against both rich and poor, and who will treat guilt as personal and
punish it accordingly.

What is our duty? To think alike as to men and measures? Impossible!
Even for our great party! There is not a reactionary among us. All
Democrats are Progressives. But it is inevitably human that we shall not
all agree that in a single highway is found the only road to progress,
or each make the same man of all our worthy candidates his first choice.

It is impossible, however, and it is our duty to put aside all
selfishness, to consent cheerfully that the majority shall speak for
each of us, and to march out of this convention shoulder to shoulder,
intoning the praises of our chosen leader–and that will be his due,
whichever of the honorable and able men now claiming our attention shall
be chosen.



At the National Democratic Convention, Baltimore, Maryland, June, 1912.

The New Jersey delegation is commissioned to represent the great cause
of Democracy and to offer you as its militant and triumphant leader a
scholar, not a charlatan; a statesman, not a doctrinaire; a profound
lawyer, not a splitter of legal hairs; a political economist, not an
egotistical theorist; a practical politician, who constructs, modifies,
restrains, without disturbance and destruction; a resistless debater and
consummate master of statement, not a mere sophist; a humanitarian, not
a defamer of characters and lives; a man whose mind is at once
cosmopolitan and composite of America; a gentleman of unpretentious
habits, with the fear of God in his heart and the love of mankind
exhibited in every act of his life; above all a public servant who has
been tried to the uttermost and never found wanting–matchless,
unconquerable, the ultimate Democrat, Woodrow Wilson.

New Jersey has reasons for her course. Let us not be deceived in our
premises. Campaigns of vilification, corruption and false pretence have
lost their usefulness. The evolution of national energy is towards a
more intelligent morality in politics and in all other relations. The
situation admits of no compromise. The temper and purpose of the
American public will tolerate no other view. The indifference of the
American people to politics has disappeared. Any platform and any
candidate not conforming to this vast social and commercial behest will
go down to ignominious defeat at the polls.

Men are known by what they say and do. They are known by those who hate
and oppose them. Many years ago Woodrow Wilson said, “No man is great
who thinks himself so, and no man is good who does not try to secure the
happiness and comfort of others.” This is the secret of his life. The
deeds of this moral and intellectual giant are known to all men. They
accord, not with the shams and false pretences of politics, but make
national harmony with the millions of patriots determined to correct the
wrongs of plutocracy and reestablish the maxims of American liberty in
all their regnant beauty and practical effectiveness. New Jersey loves
Woodrow Wilson not for the enemies he has made. New Jersey loves him for
what he is. New Jersey argues that Woodrow Wilson is the only candidate
who can not only make Democratic success a certainty, but secure the
electoral vote of almost every State in the Union.

New Jersey will indorse his nomination by a majority of 100,000 of her
liberated citizens. We are not building for a day, or even a generation,
but for all time. New Jersey believes that there is an omniscience in
national instinct. That instinct centers in Woodrow Wilson. He has been
in political life less than two years. He has had no organization; only
a practical ideal–the reestablishment of equal opportunity. Not his
deeds alone, not his immortal words alone, not his personality alone,
not his matchless powers alone, but all combined compel national faith
and confidence in him. Every crisis evolves its master. Time and
circumstance have evolved Woodrow Wilson. The North, the South, the
East, and the West unite in him. New Jersey appeals to this convention
to give the nation Woodrow Wilson, that he may open the gates of
opportunity to every man, woman, and child under our flag, by reforming
abuses, and thereby teaching them, in his matchless words, “to release
their energies intelligently, that peace, justice and prosperity may
reign.” New Jersey rejoices, through her freely chosen representatives,
to name for the presidency of the United States the Princeton
schoolmaster, Woodrow Wilson.



Delivered at the annual banquet of the Boston Merchants’ Association, at
Boston, Mass., December 12, 1889.

MR. PRESIDENT:–Bidden by your invitation to a discussion of the race
problem–forbidden by occasion to make a political speech–I appreciate,
in trying to reconcile orders with propriety, the perplexity of the
little maid, who, bidden to learn to swim, was yet adjured, “Now, go, my
darling; hang your clothes on a hickory limb, and don’t go near the

The stoutest apostle of the Church, they say, is the missionary, and the
missionary, wherever he unfurls his flag, will never find himself in
deeper need of unction and address than I, bidden to-night to plant the
standard of a Southern Democrat in Boston’s banquet hall, and to discuss
the problem of the races in the home of Phillips and of Sumner. But, Mr.
President, if a purpose to speak in perfect frankness and sincerity; if
earnest understanding of the vast interests involved; if a consecrating
sense of what disaster may follow further misunderstanding and
estrangement; if these may be counted upon to steady undisciplined
speech and to strengthen an untried arm–then, sir, I shall find the
courage to proceed.

Happy am I that this mission has brought my feet at last to press New
England’s historic soil and my eyes to the knowledge of her beauty and
her thrift. Here within touch of Plymouth Rock and Bunker Hill–where
Webster thundered and Longfellow sang, Emerson thought and Channing
preached–here, in the cradle of American letters and almost of American
liberty, I hasten to make the obeisance that every American owes New
England when first he stands uncovered in her mighty presence. Strange
apparition! This stern and unique figure–carved from the ocean and the
wilderness–its majesty kindling and growing amid the storms of winter
and of wars–until at last the gloom was broken, its beauty disclosed in
the sunshine, and the heroic workers rested at its base–while startled
kings and emperors gazed and marveled that from the rude touch of this
handful cast on a bleak and unknown shore should have come the embodied
genius of human government and the perfected model of human liberty! God
bless the memory of those immortal workers, and prosper the fortunes of
their living sons–and perpetuate the inspiration of their handiwork.

Two years ago, sir, I spoke some words in New York that caught the
attention of the North. As I stand here to reiterate, as I have done
everywhere, every word I then uttered–to declare that the sentiments I
then avowed were universally approved in the South–I realize that the
confidence begotten by that speech is largely responsible for my
presence here to-night. I should dishonor myself if I betrayed that
confidence by uttering one insincere word, or by withholding one
essential element of the truth. Apropos of this last, let me confess,
Mr. President, before the praise of New England has died on my lips,
that I believe the best product of her present life is the procession of
seventeen thousand Vermont Democrats that for twenty-two years,
undiminished by death, unrecruited by birth or conversion, have marched
over their rugged hills, cast their Democratic ballots and gone back
home to pray for their unregenerate neighbors, and awake to read the
record of twenty-six thousand Republican majority. May the God of the
helpless and the heroic help them, and may their sturdy tribe increase.

Far to the South, Mr. President, separated from this section by a
line–once defined in irrepressible difference, once traced in
fratricidal blood, and now, thank God, but a vanishing shadow–lies the
fairest and richest domain of this earth. It is the home of a brave and
hospitable people. There is centered all that can please or prosper
humankind. A perfect climate above a fertile soil yields to the
husbandman every product of the temperate zone. There, by night the
cotton whitens beneath the stars, and by day the wheat locks the
sunshine in its bearded sheaf. In the same field the clover steals the
fragrance of the wind, and tobacco catches the quick aroma of the rains.
There are mountains stored with exhaustless treasures; forests–vast and
primeval; and rivers that, tumbling or loitering, run wanton to the sea.
Of the three essential items of all industries–cotton, iron and
wood–that region has easy control. In cotton, a fixed monopoly–in
iron, proven supremacy–in timber, the reserve supply of the Republic.
From this assured and permanent advantage, against which artificial
conditions cannot much longer prevail, has grown an amazing system of
industries. Not maintained by human contrivance of tariff or capital,
afar off from the fullest and cheapest source of supply, but resting in
divine assurance, within touch of field and mine and forest–not set
amid costly farms from which competition has driven the farmer in
despair, but amid cheap and sunny lands, rich with agriculture, to which
neither season nor soil has set a limit–this system of industries is
mounting to a splendor that shall dazzle and illumine the world. That,
sir, is the picture and the promise of my home–a land better and fairer
than I have told you, and yet but fit setting in its material excellence
for the loyal and gentle quality of its citizenship. Against that, sir,
we have New England, recruiting the Republic from its sturdy loins,
shaking from its overcrowded hives new swarms of workers, and touching
this land all over with its energy and its courage. And yet–while in
the Eldorado of which I have told you but fifteen per cent of its lands
are cultivated, its mines scarcely touched, and its population so scant
that, were it set equidistant, the sound of the human voice could not be
heard from Virginia to Texas–while on the threshold of nearly every
house in New England stands a son, seeking, with troubled eyes, some new
land in which to carry his modest patrimony, the strange fact remains
that in 1880 the South had fewer northern-born citizens than she had in
1870–fewer in ’70 than in ’60. Why is this? Why is it, sir, though the
section line be now but a mist that the breath may dispel, fewer men of
the North have crossed it over to the South, than when it was crimson
with the best blood of the Republic, or even when the slaveholder stood
guard every inch of its way?

There can be but one answer. It is the very problem we are now to
consider. The key that opens that problem will unlock to the world the
fairest half of this Republic, and free the halted feet of thousands
whose eyes are already kindling with its beauty. Better than this, it
will open the hearts of brothers for thirty years estranged, and clasp
in lasting comradeship a million hands now withheld in doubt. Nothing,
sir, but this problem and the suspicions it breeds, hinders a clear
understanding and a perfect union. Nothing else stands between us and
such love as bound Georgia and Massachusetts at Valley Forge and
Yorktown, chastened by the sacrifices of Manassas and Gettysburg, and
illumined with the coming of better work and a nobler destiny than was
ever wrought with the sword or sought at the cannon’s mouth.

If this does not invite your patient hearing to-night–hear one thing
more. My people, your brothers in the South–brothers in blood, in
destiny, in all that is best in our past and future–are so beset with
this problem that their very existence depends on its right solution.
Nor are they wholly to blame for its presence. The slave-ships of the
Republic sailed from your ports, the slaves worked in our fields. You
will not defend the traffic, nor I the institution. But I do here
declare that in its wise and humane administration in lifting the slave
to heights of which he had not dreamed in his savage home, and giving
him a happiness he has not yet found in freedom, our fathers left their
sons a saving and excellent heritage. In the storm of war this
institution was lost. I thank God as heartily as you do that human
slavery is gone forever from American soil. But the freedman remains.
With him, a problem without precedent or parallel. Note its appalling
conditions. Two utterly dissimilar races on the same soil–with equal
political and civil rights–almost equal in numbers, but terribly
unequal in intelligence and responsibility–each pledged against
fusion–one for a century in servitude to the other, and freed at last
by a desolating war, the experiment sought by neither but approached by
both with doubt–these are the conditions. Under these, adverse at every
point, we are required to carry these two races in peace and honor to
the end.

Never, sir, has such a task been given to mortal stewardship. Never
before in this Republic has the white race divided on the rights of an
alien race. The red man was cut down as a weed because he hindered the
way of the American citizen. The yellow man was shut out of this
Republic because he is an alien, and inferior. The red man was owner of
the land–the yellow man was highly civilized and assimilable–but they
hindered both sections and are gone! But the black man, affecting but
one section, is clothed with every privilege of government and pinned to
the soil, and my people commanded to make good at any hazard, and at any
cost, his full and equal heirship of American privilege and prosperity.
It matters not that every other race has been routed or excluded without
rhyme or reason. It matters not that wherever the whites and the blacks
have touched, in any era or in any clime, there has been an
irreconcilable violence. It matters not that no two races, however
similar, have lived anywhere, at any time, on the same soil with equal
rights in peace! In spite of these things we are commanded to make good
this change of American policy which has not perhaps changed American
prejudice–to make certain here what has elsewhere been impossible
between whites and blacks–and to reverse, under the very worst
conditions, the universal verdict of racial history. And driven, sir, to
this superhuman task with an impatience that brooks no delay–a rigor
that accepts no excuse–and a suspicion that discourages frankness and
sincerity. We do not shrink from this trial. It is so interwoven with
our industrial fabric that we cannot disentangle it if we would–so
bound up in our honorable obligation to the world, that we would not if
we could. Can we solve it? The God who gave it into our hands, He alone
can know. But this the weakest and wisest of us do know: we cannot solve
it with less than your tolerant and patient sympathy–with less than the
knowledge that the blood that runs in your veins is our blood–and that,
when we have done our best, whether the issue be lost or won, we shall
feel your strong arms about us and hear the beating of your approving

The resolute, clear-headed, broad-minded men of the South–the men whose
genius made glorious every page of the first seventy years of American
history–whose courage and fortitude you tested in five years of the
fiercest war–whose energy has made bricks without straw and spread
splendor amid the ashes of their war-wasted homes–these men wear this
problem in their hearts and brains, by day and by night. They realize,
as you cannot, what this problem means–what they owe to this kindly and
dependent race–the measure of their debt to the world in whose despite
they defended and maintained slavery. And though their feet are hindered
in its undergrowth, and their march cumbered with its burdens, they have
lost neither the patience from which comes clearness, nor the faith from
which comes courage. Nor, sir, when in passionate moments is disclosed
to them that vague and awful shadow, with its lurid abysses and its
crimson stains, into which I pray God they may never go, are they struck
with more of apprehension than is needed to complete their consecration!

Such is the temper of my people. But what of the problem itself? Mr.
President, we need not go one step further unless you concede right here
that the people I speak for are as honest, as sensible and as just as
your people, seeking as earnestly as you would in their place to rightly
solve the problem that touches them at every vital point. If you insist
that they are ruffians, blindly striving with bludgeon and shotgun to
plunder and oppress a race, then I shall sacrifice my self-respect and
tax your patience in vain. But admit that they are men of common sense
and common honesty, wisely modifying an environment they cannot wholly
disregard–guiding and controlling as best they can the vicious and
irresponsible of either race–compensating error with frankness, and
retrieving in patience what they lost in passion–and conscious all the
time that wrong means ruin–admit this, and we may reach an
understanding to-night.

The President of the United States, in his late message to Congress,
discussing the plea that the South should be left to solve this problem,
asks: “Are they at work upon it? What solution do they offer? When will
the black man cast a free ballot? When will he have the civil rights
that are his?” I shall not here protest against a partisanry that, for
the first time in our history, in time of peace, has stamped with the
great seal of our government a stigma upon the people of a great and
loyal section; though I gratefully remember that the great dead
soldier, who held the helm of State for the eight stormiest years of
reconstruction, never found need for such a step; and though there is no
personal sacrifice I would not make to remove this cruel and unjust
imputation on my people from the archives of my country! But, sir,
backed by a record, on every page of which is progress, I venture to
make earnest and respectful answer to the questions that are asked. We
give to the world this year a crop of 7,500,000 bales of cotton, worth
$450,000,000, and its cash equivalent in grain, grasses and fruit. This
enormous crop could not have come from the hands of sullen and
discontented labor. It comes from peaceful fields, in which laughter and
gossip rise above the hum of industry, and contentment runs with the
singing plough. It is claimed that this ignorant labor is defrauded of
its just hire, I present the tax books of Georgia, which show that the
negro twenty-five years ago a slave, has in Georgia alone $10,000,000 of
assessed property, worth twice that much. Does not that record honor him
and vindicate his neighbors?

What people, penniless, illiterate, has done so well? For every
Afro-American agitator, stirring the strife in which alone he prospers,
I can show you a thousand negroes, happy in their cabin homes, tilling
their own land by day, and at night taking from the lips of their
children the helpful message their State sends them from the schoolhouse
door. And the schoolhouse itself bears testimony. In Georgia we added
last year $250,000 to the school fund, making a total of more than
$1,000,000–and this in the face of prejudice not yet conquered–of the
fact that the whites are assessed for $368,000,000, the blacks for
$10,000,000, and yet forty-nine per cent of the beneficiaries are black
children; and in the doubt of many wise men if education helps, or can
help, our problem. Charleston, with her taxable values cut half in two
since 1860, pays more in proportion for public schools than Boston.
Although it is easier to give much out of much than little out of
little, the South, with one-seventh of the taxable property of the
country, with relatively larger debt, having received only one-twelfth
as much of public lands, and having back of its tax books none of the
$500,000,000 of bonds that enrich the North–and though it pays annually
$26,000,000 to your section as pensions–yet gives nearly one-sixth to
the public school fund. The South since 1865 has spent $122,000,000 in
education, and this year is pledged to $32,000,000 more for State and
city schools, although the blacks, paying one-thirtieth of the taxes,
get nearly one-half of the fund. Go into our fields and see whites and
blacks working side by side. On our buildings in the same squad. In our
shops at the same forge. Often the blacks crowd the whites from work, or
lower wages by their greater need and simpler habits, and yet are
permitted, because we want to bar them from no avenue in which their
feet are fitted to tread. They could not there be elected orators of
white universities, as they have been here, but they do enter there a
hundred useful trades that are closed against them here. We hold it
better and wiser to tend the weeds in the garden than to water the
exotic in the window.

In the South there are negro lawyers, teachers, editors, dentists,
doctors, preachers, multiplying with the increasing ability of their
race to support them. In villages and towns they have their military
companies equipped from the armories of the State, their churches and
societies built and supported largely by their neighbors. What is the
testimony of the courts? In penal legislation we have steadily reduced
felonies to misdemeanors, and have led the world in mitigating
punishment for crime, that we might save, as far as possible, this
dependent race from its own weakness. In our penitentiary record sixty
per cent of the prosecutors are negroes, and in every court the negro
criminal strikes the colored juror, that white men may judge his case.

In the North, one negro in every 185 is in jail–in the South, only one
in 446. In the North the percentage of negro prisoners is six times as
great as that of native whites; in the South, only four times as great.
If prejudice wrongs him in Southern courts, the record shows it to be
deeper in Northern courts. I assert here, and a bar as intelligent and
upright as the bar of Massachusetts will solemnly indorse my assertion,
that in the Southern courts, from highest to lowest, pleading for life,
liberty or property, the negro has distinct advantage because he is a
negro, apt to be overreached, oppressed–and that this advantage reaches
from the juror in making his verdict to the judge in measuring his

Now, Mr. President, can it be seriously maintained that we are
terrorizing the people from whose willing hands comes every year
$1,000,000,000 of farm crops? Or have robbed a people who, twenty-five
years from unrewarded slavery, have amassed in one State $20,000,000 of
property? Or that we intend to oppress the people we are arming every
day? Or deceive them, when we are educating them to the utmost limit of
our ability? Or outlaw them, when we work side by side with them? Or
re-enslave them under legal forms, when for their benefit we have even
imprudently narrowed the limit of felonies and mitigated the severity of
law? My fellow-countrymen, as you yourselves may sometimes have to
appeal at the bar of human judgment for justice and for right, give to
my people to-night the fair and unanswerable conclusion of these
incontestable facts.

But it is claimed that under this fair seeming there is disorder and
violence. This I admit. And there will be until there is one ideal
community on earth after which we may pattern. But how widely is it
misjudged! It is hard to measure with exactness whatever touches the
negro. His helplessness, his isolation, his century of servitude,–these
dispose us to emphasize and magnify his wrongs. This disposition,
inflamed by prejudice and partisanry, has led to injustice and delusion.
Lawless men may ravage a county in Iowa and it is accepted as an
incident–in the South, a drunken row is declared to be the fixed habit
of the community. Regulators may whip vagabonds in Indiana by platoons
and it scarcely arrests attention–a chance collision in the South among
relatively the same classes is gravely accepted as evidence that one
race is destroying the other. We might as well claim that the Union was
ungrateful to the colored soldier who followed its flag because a Grand
Army post in Connecticut closed its doors to a negro veteran as for you
to give racial significance to every incident in the South, or to accept
exceptional grounds as the rule of our society. I am not one of those
who becloud American honor with the parade of the outrages of either
section, and belie American character by declaring them to be
significant and representative. I prefer to maintain that they are
neither, and stand for nothing but the passion and sin of our poor
fallen humanity. If society, like a machine, were no stronger than its
weakest part, I should despair of both sections. But, knowing that
society, sentient and responsible in every fiber, can mend and repair
until the whole has the strength of the best, I despair of neither.
These gentlemen who come with me here, knit into Georgia’s busy life as
they are, never saw, I dare assert, an outrage committed on a negro! And
if they did, no one of you would be swifter to prevent or punish. It is
through them, and the men and women who think with them–making
nine-tenths of every Southern community–that these two races have been
carried thus far with less of violence than would have been possible
anywhere else on earth. And in their fairness and courage and
steadfastness–more than in all the laws that can be passed, or all the
bayonets that can be mustered–is the hope of our future.

When will the blacks cast a free ballot? When ignorance anywhere is not
dominated by the will of the intelligent; when the laborer anywhere
casts a vote unhindered by his boss; when the vote of the poor anywhere
is not influenced by the power of the rich; when the strong and the
steadfast do not everywhere control the suffrage of the weak and
shiftless–then, and not till then, will the ballot of the negro be
free. The white people of the South are banded, Mr. President, not in
prejudice against the blacks–not in sectional estrangement–not in the
hope of political dominion–but in a deep and abiding necessity. Here is
this vast ignorant and purchasable vote–clannish, credulous, impulsive,
and passionate–tempting every art of the demagogue, but insensible to
the appeal of the stateman. Wrongly started, in that it was led into
alienation from its neighbor and taught to rely on the protection of an
outside force, it cannot be merged and lost in the two great parties
through logical currents, for it lacks political conviction and even
that information on which conviction must be based. It must remain a
faction–strong enough in every community to control on the slightest
division of the whites. Under that division it becomes the prey of the
cunning and unscrupulous of both parties. Its credulity is imposed upon,
its patience inflamed, its cupidity tempted, its impulses
misdirected–and even its superstition made to play its part in a
campaign in which every interest of society is jeopardized and every
approach to the ballot-box debauched. It is against such campaigns as
this–the folly and the bitterness and the danger of which every
Southern community has drunk deeply–that the white people of the South
are banded together. Just as you in Massachusetts would be banded if
300,000 men, not one in a hundred able to read his ballot–banded in
race instinct, holding against you the memory of a century of slavery,
taught by your late conquerors to distrust and oppose you, had already
travestied legislation from your State House, and in every species of
folly or villainy had wasted your substance and exhausted your credit.

But admitting the right of the whites to unite against this tremendous
menace, we are challenged with the smallness of our vote. This has long
been flippantly charged to be evidence and has now been solemnly and
officially declared to be proof of political turpitude and baseness on
our part. Let us see. Virginia–a state now under fierce assault for
this alleged crime–cast in 1888 seventy-five per cent of her vote;
Massachusetts, the State in which I speak, sixty per cent of her vote.
Was it suppression in Virginia and natural causes in Massachusetts? Last
month Virginia cast sixty-nine per cent of her vote; and Massachusetts,
fighting in every district, cast only forty-nine per cent of hers. If
Virginia is condemned because thirty-one per cent of her vote was
silent, how shall this State escape, in which fifty-one per cent was
dumb? Let us enlarge this comparison. The sixteen Southern States in ’88
cast sixty-seven per cent of their total vote–the six New England
States but sixty-three per cent of theirs. By what fair rule shall the
stigma be put upon one section while the other escapes? A congressional
election in New York last week, with the polling place in touch of every
voter, brought out only 6,000 votes of 28,000–and the lack of
opposition is assigned as the natural cause. In a district in my State,
in which an opposition speech has not been heard in ten years and the
polling places are miles apart–under the unfair reasoning of which my
section has been a constant victim–the small vote is charged to be
proof of forcible suppression. In Virginia an average majority of
12,000, unless hopeless division of the minority, was raised to 42,000;
in Iowa, in the same election, a majority of 32,000 was wiped out and
an opposition majority of 8,000 was established. The change of 40,000
votes in Iowa is accepted as political revolution–in Virginia an
increase of 30,000 on a safe majority is declared to be proof of
political fraud.

It is deplorable, sir, that in both sections a larger percentage of the
vote is not regularly cast, but more inexplicable that this should be so
in New England than in the South. What invites the negro to the
ballot-box? He knows that of all men it has promised him most and
yielded him least. His first appeal to suffrage was the promise of
“forty acres and a mule;” his second, the threat that Democratic success
meant his re-enslavement. Both have been proved false in his experience.
He looked for a home, and he got the Freedman’s Bank. He fought under
promise of the loaf, and in victory was denied the crumbs. Discouraged
and deceived, he has realized at last that his best friends are his
neighbors with whom his lot is cast, and whose prosperity is bound up in
his–and that he has gained nothing in politics to compensate the loss
of their confidence and sympathy, that is at last his best and enduring
hope. And so, without leaders or organization–and lacking the resolute
heroism of my party friends in Vermont that make their hopeless march
over the hills a high and inspiring pilgrimage–he shrewdly measures the
occasional agitator, balances his little account with politics, touches
up his mule, and jogs down the furrow, letting the mad world wag as it

The negro voter can never control in the South, and it would be well if
partisans at the North would understand this. I have seen the white
people of a State set about by black hosts until their fate seemed
sealed. But, sir, some brave men, banding them together, would rise as
Elisha rose in beleaguered Samaria, and, touching their eyes with faith,
bid them look abroad to see the very air “filled with the chariots of
Israel and the horsemen thereof.” If there is any human force that
cannot be withstood, it is the power of the banded intelligence and
responsibility of a free community. Against it, numbers and corruption
cannot prevail. It cannot be forbidden in the law, or divorced in force.
It is the inalienable right of every free community–the just and
righteous safeguard against an ignorant or corrupt suffrage. It is on
this, sir, that we rely in the South. Not the cowardly menace of mask or
shotgun, but the peaceful majesty of intelligence and responsibility,
massed and unified for the protection of its homes and the preservation
of its liberty. That, sir, is our reliance and our hope, and against it
all the powers of earth shall not prevail. It is just as certain that
Virginia would come back to the unchallenged control of her white
race–that before the moral and material power of her people once more
unified, opposition would crumble until its last desperate leader was
left alone, vainly striving to rally his disordered hosts–as that
night should fade in the kindling glory of the sun. You may pass force
bills, but they will not avail. You may surrender your own liberties to
federal election law; you may submit, in fear of a necessity that does
not exist, that the very form of this government may be changed; you may
invite federal interference with the New England town meeting, that has
been for a hundred years the guarantee of local government in America;
this old State–which holds in its charter the boast that it “is a free
and independent commonwealth”–may deliver its election machinery into
the hands of the government it helped to create–but never, sir, will a
single State of this Union, North or South, be delivered again to the
control of an ignorant and inferior race. We wrested our state
governments from negro supremacy when the Federal drumbeat rolled closer
to the ballot-box, and Federal bayonets hedged it deeper about than will
ever again be permitted in this free government. But, sir, though the
cannon of this Republic thundered in every voting district in the South,
we still should find in the mercy of God the means and the courage to
prevent its reestablishment.

I regret, sir, that my section, hindered with this problem, stands in
seeming estrangement to the North. If, sir, any man will point out to me
a path down which the white people of the South, divided, may walk in
peace and honor, I will take that path, though I take it alone–for at
its end, and nowhere else, I fear, is to be found the full prosperity of
my section and the full restoration of this Union. But, sir, if the
negro had not been enfranchised the South would have been divided and
the Republic united. His enfranchisement–against which I enter no
protest–holds the South united and compact. What solution, then, can we
offer for the problem? Time alone can disclose it to us. We simply
report progress, and ask your patience. If the problem be solved at
all–and I firmly believe it will, though nowhere else has it been–it
will be solved by the people most deeply bound in interest, most deeply
pledged in honor to its solution. I had rather see my people render back
this question rightly solved than to see them gather all the spoils over
which faction has contended since Cataline conspired and Cæsar fought.
Meantime we treat the negro fairly, measuring to him justice in the
fulness the strong should give to the weak, and leading him in the
steadfast ways of citizenship, that he may no longer be the prey of the
unscrupulous and the sport of the thoughtless. We open to him every
pursuit in which he can prosper, and seek to broaden his training and
capacity. We seek to hold his confidence and friendship–and to pin him
to the soil with ownership, that he may catch in the fire of his own
hearthstone that sense of responsibility the shiftless can never know.
And we gather him into that alliance of intelligence and responsibility
that, though it now runs close to racial lines, welcomes the
responsible and intelligent of any race. By this course, confirmed in
our judgment, and justified in the progress already made, we hope to
progress slowly but surely to the end.

The love we feel for that race, you cannot measure nor comprehend. As I
attest it here, the spirit of my old black mammy, from her home up
there, looks down to bless, and through the tumult of this night steals
the sweet music of her croonings as thirty years ago she held me in her
black arms and led me smiling to sleep. This scene vanishes as I speak,
and I catch a vision of an old Southern home with its lofty pillars and
its white pigeons fluttering down through the golden air. I see women
with strained and anxious faces, and children alert yet helpless. I see
night come down with its dangers and its apprehensions, and in a big
homely room I feel on my tired head the touch of loving hands–now worn
and wrinkled, but fairer to me yet than the hands of mortal woman, and
stronger yet to lead me than the hands of mortal man–as they lay a
mother’s blessing there, while at her knees–the truest altar I yet have
found–I thank God that she is safe in her sanctuary, because her
slaves, sentinel in the silent cabin, or guard at her chamber door, put
a black man’s loyalty between her and danger.

I catch another vision. The crisis of battle–a soldier, struck,
staggering, fallen. I see a slave, scuffing through the smoke, winding
his black arms about the fallen form, reckless of hurtling
death–bending his trusty face to catch the words that tremble on the
stricken lips, so wrestling meantime with agony that he would lay down
his life in his master’s stead. I see him by the weary bedside,
ministering with uncomplaining patience, praying with all his humble
heart that God will lift his master up, until death comes in mercy and
in honor to still the soldier’s agony and seal the soldier’s life. I see
him by the open grave–mute, motionless, uncovered, suffering for the
death of him who in life fought against his freedom. I see him, when the
mold is heaped and the great drama of his life is closed, turn away and
with downcast eyes and uncertain step start out into new and strange
fields, faltering, struggling, but moving on, until his shambling figure
is lost in the light of this better and brighter day. And from the grave
comes a voice, saying, “Follow him! put your arms about him in his need,
even as he put his about me. Be his friend as he was mine.” And out into
this new world–strange to me as to him, dazzling, bewildering both–I
follow! And may God forget my people–when they forget these!

Whatever the future may hold for them, whether they plod along in the
servitude from which they have never been lifted since the Cyrenian was
laid hold upon by the Roman soldiers, and made to bear the cross of the
fainting Christ–whether they find homes again in Africa, and thus
hasten the prophecy of the psalmist, who said, “And suddenly Ethiopia
shall hold out her hands unto God”–whether forever dislocated and
separate, they remain a weak people, beset by stronger, and exist, as
the Turk, who lives in the jealousy rather than in the conscience of
Europe–or whether in this miraculous Republic they break through the
caste of twenty centuries and, belying universal history, reach the full
stature of citizenship, and in peace maintain it–we shall give them
uttermost justice and abiding friendship. And whatever we do, into
whatever seeming estrangement we may be driven, nothing shall disturb
the love we bear this Republic, or mitigate our consecration to its
service. I stand here, Mr. President, to profess no new loyalty. When
General Lee, whose heart was the temple of our hopes, and whose arm was
clothed with our strength, renewed his allegiance to this Government at
Appomattox, he spoke from a heart too great to be false, and he spoke
for every honest man from Maryland to Texas. From that day to this
Hamilcar has nowhere in the South sworn young Hannibal to hatred and
vengeance, but everywhere to loyalty and to love. Witness the veteran
standing at the base of a Confederate monument, above the graves of his
comrades, his empty sleeve tossing in the April wind, adjuring the young
men about him to serve as earnest and loyal citizens the Government
against which their fathers fought. This message, delivered from that
sacred presence, has gone home to the hearts of my fellows! And, sir, I
declare here, if physical courage be always equal to human aspiration,
that they would die, sir, if need be, to restore this Republic their
fathers fought to dissolve.

Such, Mr. President, is this problem as we see it, such is the temper in
which we approach it, such the progress made. What do we ask of you?
First, patience; out of this alone can come perfect work. Second,
confidence; in this alone can you judge fairly. Third, sympathy; in this
you can help us best. Fourth, give us your sons as hostages. When you
plant your capital in millions, send your sons that they may know how
true are our hearts and may help to swell the Caucasian current until it
can carry without danger this black infusion. Fifth, loyalty to the
Republic–for there is sectionalism in loyalty as in estrangement. This
hour little needs the loyalty that is loyal to one section and yet holds
the other in enduring suspicion and estrangement. Give us the broad and
perfect loyalty that loves and trusts Georgia alike with
Massachusetts–that knows no South, no North, no East, no West, but
endears with equal and patriotic love every foot of our soil, every
State of our Union.

A mighty duty, sir, and a mighty inspiration impels every one of us
to-night to lose in patriotic consecration whatever estranges, whatever
divides. We, sir, are Americans–and we stand for human liberty! The
uplifting force of the American idea is under every throne on earth.
France, Brazil–these are our victories. To redeem the earth from
kingcraft and oppression–this is our mission! And we shall not fail.
God has sown in our soil the seed of His millennial harvest, and He will
not lay the sickle to the ripening crop until His full and perfect day
has come. Our history, sir, has been a constant and expanding miracle,
from Plymouth Rock and Jamestown, all the way–aye, even from the hour
when from the voiceless and traceless ocean a new world rose to the
sight of the inspired sailor. As we approach the fourth centennial of
that stupendous day–when the old world will come to marvel and to learn
amid our gathered treasures–let us resolve to crown the miracles of our
past with the spectacle of a Republic, compact, united, indissoluble in
the bonds of love–loving from the Lakes to the Gulf–the wounds of war
healed in every heart as on every hill, serene and resplendent at the
summit of human achievement and earthly glory, blazing out the path and
making clear the way up which all the nations of the earth must come in
God’s appointed time!



Delivered at the World’s Fair, Buffalo, N.Y., on September 5, 1901, the
day before he was assassinated.

I am glad again to be in the city of Buffalo and exchange greetings with
her people, to whose generous hospitality I am not a stranger, and with
whose good will I have been repeatedly and signally honored. To-day I
have additional satisfaction in meeting and giving welcome to the
foreign representatives assembled here, whose presence and participation
in this Exposition have contributed in so marked a degree to its
interest and success. To the commissioners of the Dominion of Canada and
the British Colonies, the French Colonies, the Republics of Mexico and
of Central and South America, and the commissioners of Cuba and Porto
Rico, who share with us in this undertaking, we give the hand of
fellowship and felicitate with them upon the triumphs of art, science,
education and manufacture which the old has bequeathed to the new

Expositions are the timekeepers of progress. They record the world’s
advancement. They stimulate the energy, enterprise and intellect of the
people, and quicken human genius. They go into the home. They broaden
and brighten the daily life of the people. They open mighty storehouses
of information to the student. Every exposition, great or small, has
helped to some onward step.

Comparison of ideas is always educational and, as such, instructs the
brain and hand of man. Friendly rivalry follows, which is the spur to
industrial improvement, the inspiration to useful invention and to high
endeavor in all departments of human activity. It exacts a study of the
wants, comforts, and even the whims of the people, and recognizes the
efficacy of high quality and low prices to win their favor. The quest
for trade is an incentive to men of business to devise, invent, improve
and economize in the cost of production. Business life, whether among
ourselves, or with other peoples, is ever a sharp struggle for success.
It will be none the less in the future.

Without competition we would be clinging to the clumsy and antiquated
process of farming and manufacture and the methods of business of long
ago, and the twentieth would be no further advanced than the eighteenth
century. But tho commercial competitors we are, commercial enemies we
must not be. The Pan-American Exposition has done its work thoroughly,
presenting in its exhibits evidences of the highest skill and
illustrating the progress of the human family in the Western Hemisphere.
This portion of the earth has no cause for humiliation for the part it
has performed in the march of civilization. It has not accomplished
everything; far from it. It has simply done its best, and without vanity
or boastfulness, and recognizing the manifold achievements of others it
invites the friendly rivalry of all the powers in the peaceful pursuits
of trade and commerce, and will cooperate with all in advancing the
highest and best interests of humanity. The wisdom and energy of all the
nations are none too great for the world work. The success of art,
science, industry and invention is an international asset and a common

After all, how near one to the other is every part of the world. Modern
inventions have brought into close relation widely separated peoples and
make them better acquainted. Geographic and political divisions will
continue to exist, but distances have been effaced. Swift ships and fast
trains are becoming cosmopolitan. They invade fields which a few years
ago were impenetrable. The world’s products are exchanged as never
before and with increasing transportation facilities come increasing
knowledge and larger trade. Prices are fixed with mathematical precision
by supply and demand. The world’s selling prices are regulated by market
and crop reports. We travel greater distances in a shorter space of time
and with more ease than was ever dreamed of by the fathers. Isolation is
no longer possible or desirable. The same important news is read, tho in
different languages, the same day in all Christendom.

The telegraph keeps us advised of what is occurring everywhere, and the
Press foreshadows, with more or less accuracy, the plans and purposes of
the nations. Market prices of products and of securities are hourly
known in every commercial mart, and the investments of the people extend
beyond their own national boundaries into the remotest parts of the
earth. Vast transactions are conducted and international exchanges are
made by the tick of the cable. Every event of interest is immediately
bulletined. The quick gathering and transmission of news, like rapid
transit, are of recent origin, and are only made possible by the genius
of the inventor and the courage of the investor. It took a special
messenger of the government, with every facility known at the time for
rapid travel, nineteen days to go from the City of Washington to New
Orleans with a message to General Jackson that the war with England had
ceased and a treaty of peace had been signed. How different now! We
reached General Miles, in Porto Rico, and he was able through the
military telegraph to stop his army on the firing line with the message
that the United States and Spain had signed a protocol suspending
hostilities. We knew almost instanter of the first shots fired at
Santiago, and the subsequent surrender of the Spanish forces was known
at Washington within less than an hour of its consummation. The first
ship of Cervera’s fleet had hardly emerged from that historic harbor
when the fact was flashed to our Capitol, and the swift destruction that
followed was announced immediately through the wonderful medium of

So accustomed are we to safe and easy communication with distant lands
that its temporary interruption, even in ordinary times, results in loss
and inconvenience. We shall never forget the days of anxious waiting and
suspense when no information was permitted to be sent from Pekin, and
the diplomatic representatives of the nations in China, cut off from all
communication, inside and outside of the walled capital, were surrounded
by an angry and misguided mob that threatened their lives; nor the joy
that thrilled the world when a single message from the government of the
United States brought through our minister the first news of the safety
of the besieged diplomats.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century there was not a mile of steam
railroad on the globe; now there are enough miles to make its circuit
many times. Then there was not a line of electric telegraph; now we have
a vast mileage traversing all lands and seas. God and man have linked
the nations together. No nation can longer be indifferent to any other.
And as we are brought more and more in touch with each other, the less
occasion is there for misunderstandings, and the stronger the
disposition, when we have differences, to adjust them in the court of
arbitration, which is the noblest forum for the settlement of
international disputes.

My fellow citizens, trade statistics indicate that this country is in a
state of unexampled prosperity. The figures are almost appalling. They
show that we are utilizing our fields and forests and mines, and that we
are furnishing profitable employment to the millions of workingmen
throughout the United States, bringing comfort and happiness to their
homes, and making it possible to lay by savings for old age and
disability. That all the people are participating in this great
prosperity is seen in every American community and shown by the enormous
and unprecedented deposits in our savings banks. Our duty in the care
and security of these deposits and their safe investment demands the
highest integrity and the best business capacity of those in charge of
these depositories of the people’s earnings.

We have a vast and intricate business, built up through years of toil
and struggle in which every part of the country has its stake, which
will not permit of either neglect or of undue selfishness. No narrow,
sordid policy will subserve it. The greatest skill and wisdom on the
part of manufacturers and producers will be required to hold and
increase it. Our industrial enterprises, which have grown to such great
proportions, affect the homes and occupations of the people and the
welfare of the country. Our capacity to produce has developed so
enormously and our products have so multiplied that the problem of more
markets requires our urgent and immediate attention. Only a broad and
enlightened policy will keep what we have. No other policy will get
more. In these times of marvelous business energy and gain we ought to
be looking to the future, strengthening the weak places in our
industrial and commercial systems, that we may be ready for any storm or

By sensible trade arrangements which will not interrupt our home
production we shall extend the outlets for our increasing surplus. A
system which provides a mutual exchange of commodities is manifestly
essential to the continued and healthful growth of our export trade. We
must not repose in the fancied security that we can forever sell
everything and buy little or nothing. If such a thing were possible it
would not be best for us or for those with whom we deal. We should take
from our customers such of their products as we can use without harm to
our industries and labor. Reciprocity is the natural outgrowth of our
wonderful industrial development under the domestic policy now firmly

What we produce beyond our domestic consumption must have a vent abroad.
The excess must be relieved through a foreign outlet, and we should sell
everywhere we can and buy wherever the buying will enlarge our sales and
productions, and thereby make a greater demand for home labor.

The period of exclusiveness is past. The expansion of our trade and
commerce is the pressing problem. Commercial wars are unprofitable. A
policy of good will and friendly trade relations will prevent reprisals.
Reciprocity treaties are in harmony with the spirit of the times;
measures of retaliation are not. If, perchance, some of our tariffs are
no longer needed for revenue or to encourage and protect our industries
at home, why should they not be employed to extend and promote our
markets abroad? Then, too, we have inadequate steamship service. New
lines of steamships have already been put in commission between the
Pacific coast ports of the United States and those on the western coasts
of Mexico and Central and South America. These should be followed up
with direct steamship lines between the western coast of the United
States and South American ports. One of the needs of the times is direct
commercial lines from our vast fields of production to the fields of
consumption that we have but barely touched. Next in advantage to having
the thing to sell is to have the conveyance to carry it to the buyer. We
must encourage our merchant marine. We must have more ships. They must
be under the American flag; built and manned and owned by Americans.
These will not only be profitable in a commercial sense; they will be
messengers of peace and amity wherever they go.

We must build the Isthmian canal, which will unite the two oceans and
give a straight line of water communication with the western coasts of
Central and South America and Mexico. The construction of a Pacific
cable can not be longer postponed. In the furtherance of these objects
of national interest and concern you are performing an important part.
This Exposition would have touched the heart of that American statesman
whose mind was ever alert and thought ever constant for a larger
commerce and a truer fraternity of the republics of the New World. His
broad American spirit is felt and manifested here. He needs no
identification to an assemblage of Americans anywhere, for the name of
Blaine is inseparably associated with the Pan-American movement which
finds here practical and substantial expression, and which we all hope
will be firmly advanced by the Pan-American Congress that assembles this
autumn in the capital of Mexico. The good work will go on. It can not be
stopped. Those buildings will disappear; this creation of art and beauty
and industry will perish from sight, but their influence will remain to
“make it live beyond its too short living with praises and
thanksgiving.” Who can tell the new thoughts that have been awakened,
the ambitions fired and the high achievements that will be wrought
through this Exposition?

Gentlemen, let us ever remember that our interest is in concord, not
conflict; and that our real eminence rests in the victories of peace,
not those of war. We hope that all who are represented here may be moved
to higher and nobler efforts for their own and the world’s good, and
that out of this city may come not only greater commerce and trade for
us all, but, more essential than these, relations of mutual respect,
confidence and friendship which will deepen and endure. Our earnest
prayer is that God will graciously vouchsafe prosperity, happiness and
peace to all our neighbors, and like blessings to all the peoples and
powers of earth.



From his memorial address at a joint session of the Senate and House of
Representatives on February 27, 1903.

For the third time the Congress of the United States are assembled to
commemorate the life and the death of a president slain by the hand of
an assassin. The attention of the future historian will be attracted to
the features which reappear with startling sameness in all three of
these awful crimes: the uselessness, the utter lack of consequence of
the act; the obscurity, the insignificance of the criminal; the
blamelessness–so far as in our sphere of existence the best of men may
be held blameless–of the victim. Not one of our murdered presidents had
an enemy in the world; they were all of such preeminent purity of life
that no pretext could be given for the attack of passional crime; they
were all men of democratic instincts, who could never have offended the
most jealous advocates of equity; they were of kindly and generous
nature, to whom wrong or injustice was impossible; of moderate fortune,
whose slender means nobody could envy. They were men of austere virtue,
of tender heart, of eminent abilities, which they had devoted with
single minds to the good of the Republic. If ever men walked before God
and man without blame, it was these three rulers of our people. The only
temptation to attack their lives offered was their gentle radiance–to
eyes hating the light, that was offense enough.

The stupid uselessness of such an infamy affronts the common sense of
the world. One can conceive how the death of a dictator may change the
political conditions of an empire; how the extinction of a narrowing
line of kings may bring in an alien dynasty. But in a well-ordered
Republic like ours the ruler may fall, but the State feels no tremor.
Our beloved and revered leader is gone–but the natural process of our
laws provides us a successor, identical in purpose and ideals, nourished
by the same teachings, inspired by the same principles, pledged by
tender affection as well as by high loyalty to carry to completion the
immense task committed to his hands, and to smite with iron severity
every manifestation of that hideous crime which his mild predecessor,
with his dying breath, forgave. The sayings of celestial wisdom have no
date; the words that reach us, over two thousand years, out of the
darkest hour of gloom the world has ever known, are true to life to-day:
“They know not what they do.” The blow struck at our dear friend and
ruler was as deadly as blind hate could make it; but the blow struck at
anarchy was deadlier still.

How many countries can join with us in the community of a kindred
sorrow! I will not speak of those distant regions where assassination
enters into the daily life of government. But among the nations bound to
us by the ties of familiar intercourse–who can forget that wise and
mild autocrat who had earned the proud title of the liberator? that
enlightened and magnanimous citizen whom France still mourns? that brave
and chivalrous king of Italy who only lived for his people? and, saddest
of all, that lovely and sorrowing empress, whose harmless life could
hardly have excited the animosity of a demon? Against that devilish
spirit nothing avails,–neither virtue nor patriotism, nor age nor
youth, nor conscience nor pity. We can not even say that education is a
sufficient safeguard against this baleful evil,–for most of the
wretches whose crimes have so shocked humanity in recent years were men
not unlettered, who have gone from the common schools, through murder to
the scaffold.

The life of William McKinley was, from his birth to his death, typically
American. There is no environment, I should say, anywhere else in the
world which could produce just such a character. He was born into that
way of life which elsewhere is called the middle class, but which in
this country is so nearly universal as to make of other classes an
almost negligible quantity. He was neither rich nor poor, neither proud
nor humble; he knew no hunger he was not sure of satisfying, no luxury
which could enervate mind or body. His parents were sober, God-fearing
people; intelligent and upright, without pretension and without
humility. He grew up in the company of boys like himself, wholesome,
honest, self-respecting. They looked down on nobody; they never felt it
possible they could be looked down upon. Their houses were the homes of
probity, piety, patriotism. They learned in the admirable school readers
of fifty years ago the lessons of heroic and splendid life which have
come down from the past. They read in their weekly newspapers the story
of the world’s progress, in which they were eager to take part, and of
the sins and wrongs of civilization with which they burned to do battle.
It was a serious and thoughtful time. The boys of that day felt dimly,
but deeply, that days of sharp struggle and high achievement were before
them. They looked at life with the wondering yet resolute eyes of a
young esquire in his vigil of arms. They felt a time was coming when to
them should be addressed the stern admonition of the Apostle, “Quit you
like men; be strong.”

The men who are living to-day and were young in 1860 will never forget
the glory and glamour that filled the earth and the sky when the long
twilight of doubt and uncertainty was ending and the time for action had
come. A speech by Abraham Lincoln was an event not only of high moral
significance, but of far-reaching importance; the drilling of a militia
company by Ellsworth attracted national attention; the fluttering of the
flag in the clear sky drew tears from the eyes of young men.
Patriotism, which had been a rhetorical expression, became a passionate
emotion, in which instinct, logic and feeling were fused. The country
was worth saving; it could be saved only by fire; no sacrifice was too
great; the young men of the country were ready for the sacrifice; come
weal, come woe, they were ready.

At seventeen years of age William McKinley heard this summons of his
country. He was the sort of youth to whom a military life in ordinary
times would possess no attractions. His nature was far different from
that of the ordinary soldier. He had other dreams of life, its prizes
and pleasures, than that of marches and battles. But to his mind there
was no choice or question. The banner floating in the morning breeze was
the beckoning gesture of his country. The thrilling notes of the trumpet
called him–him and none other–into the ranks. His portrait in his
first uniform is familiar to you all–the short, stocky figure; the
quiet, thoughtful face; the deep, dark eyes. It is the face of a lad who
could not stay at home when he thought he was needed in the field. He
was of the stuff of which good soldiers are made. Had he been ten years
older he would have entered at the head of a company and come out at the
head of a division. But he did what he could. He enlisted as a private;
he learned to obey. His serious, sensible ways, his prompt, alert
efficiency soon attracted the attention of his superiors. He was so
faithful in little things that they gave him more and more to do. He was
untiring in camp and on the march; swift, cool and fearless in fight. He
left the army with field rank when the war ended, brevetted by President
Lincoln for gallantry in battle.

In coming years when men seek to draw the moral of our great Civil War,
nothing will seem to them so admirable in all the history of our two
magnificent armies as the way in which the war came to a close. When the
Confederate army saw the time had come, they acknowledged the pitiless
logic of facts and ceased fighting. When the army of the Union saw it
was no longer needed, without a murmur or question, making no terms,
asking no return, in the flush of victory and fulness of might, it laid
down its arms and melted back into the mass of peaceful citizens. There
is no event since the nation was born which has so proved its solid
capacity for self-government. Both sections share equally in that crown
of glory. They had held a debate of incomparable importance and had
fought it out with equal energy. A conclusion had been reached–and it
is to the everlasting honor of both sides that they each knew when the
war was over and the hour of a lasting peace had struck. We may admire
the desperate daring of others who prefer annihilation to compromise,
but the palm of common sense, and, I will say, of enlightened
patriotism, belongs to the men like Grant and Lee, who knew when they
had fought enough for honor and for country.

So it came naturally about that in 1876–the beginning of the second
century of the Republic–he began, by an election to Congress, his
political career. Thereafter for fourteen years this chamber was his
home. I use the word advisedly. Nowhere in the world was he so in
harmony with his environment as here; nowhere else did his mind work
with such full consciousness of its powers. The air of debate was native
to him; here he drank delight of battle with his peers. In after days,
when he drove by this stately pile, or when on rare occasions his duty
called him here, he greeted his old haunts with the affectionate zest of
a child of the house; during all the last ten years of his life, filled
as they were with activity and glory, he never ceased to be homesick for
this hall. When he came to the presidency, there was not a day when his
congressional service was not of use to him. Probably no other president
has been in such full and cordial communion with Congress, if we may
except Lincoln alone. McKinley knew the legislative body thoroughly, its
composition, its methods, its habit of thought. He had the profoundest
respect for its authority and an inflexible belief in the ultimate
rectitude of its purposes. Our history shows how surely an executive
courts disaster and ruin by assuming an attitude of hostility or
distrust to the Legislature; and, on the other hand, McKinley’s frank
and sincere trust and confidence in Congress were repaid by prompt and
loyal support and coöperation. During his entire term of office this
mutual trust and regard–so essential to the public welfare–was never
shadowed by a single cloud.

When he came to the presidency he confronted a situation of the utmost
difficulty, which might well have appalled a man of less serene and
tranquil self-confidence. There had been a state of profound commercial
and industrial depression from which his friends had said his election
would relieve the country. Our relations with the outside world left
much to be desired. The feeling between the Northern and Southern
sections of the Union was lacking in the cordiality which was necessary
to the welfare of both. Hawaii had asked for annexation and had been
rejected by the preceding administration. There was a state of things in
the Caribbean which could not permanently endure. Our neighbor’s house
was on fire, and there were grave doubts as to our rights and duties in
the premises. A man either weak or rash, either irresolute or
headstrong, might have brought ruin on himself and incalculable harm to
the country.

The least desirable form of glory to a man of his habitual mood and
temper–that of successful war–was nevertheless conferred upon him by
uncontrollable events. He felt it must come; he deplored its necessity;
he strained almost to breaking his relations with his friends, in order,
first to prevent and then to postpone it to the latest possible moment.
But when the die was cast, he labored with the utmost energy and ardor,
and with an intelligence in military matters which showed how much of
the soldier still survived in the mature statesman, to push forward the
war to a decisive close. War was an anguish to him; he wanted it short
and conclusive. His merciful zeal communicated itself to his
subordinates, and the war, so long dreaded, whose consequences were so
momentous, ended in a hundred days.

Mr. McKinley was reelected by an overwhelming majority. There had been
little doubt of the result among well-informed people, but when it was
known, a profound feeling of relief and renewal of trust were evident
among the leaders of capital and industry, not only in this country, but
everywhere. They felt that the immediate future was secure, and that
trade and commerce might safely push forward in every field of effort
and enterprise.

He felt that the harvest time was come, to garner in the fruits of so
much planting and culture, and he was determined that nothing he might
do or say should be liable to the reproach of a personal interest. Let
us say frankly he was a party man; he believed the policies advocated by
him and his friends counted for much in the country’s progress and
prosperity. He hoped in his second term to accomplish substantial
results in the development and affirmation of those policies. I spent a
day with him shortly before he started on his fateful journey to
Buffalo. Never had I seen him higher in hope and patriotic confidence.
He was gratified to the heart that we had arranged a treaty which gave
us a free hand in the Isthmus. In fancy he saw the canal already built
and the argosies of the world passing through it in peace and amity. He
saw in the immense evolution of American trade the fulfilment of all his
dreams, the reward of all his labors. He was, I need not say, an ardent
protectionist, never more sincere and devoted than during those last
days of his life. He regarded reciprocity as the bulwark of
protection–not a breach, but a fulfilment of the law. The treaties
which for four years had been preparing under his personal supervision
he regarded as ancillary to the general scheme. He was opposed to any
revolutionary plan of change in the existing legislation; he was careful
to point out that everything he had done was in faithful compliance with
the law itself.

In that mood of high hope, of generous expectation, he went to Buffalo,
and there, on the threshold of eternity, he delivered that memorable
speech, worthy for its loftiness of tone, its blameless morality, its
breadth of view, to be regarded as his testament to the nation. Through
all his pride of country and his joy of its success runs the note of
solemn warning, as in Kipling’s noble hymn, “Lest We Forget.”

The next day sped the bolt of doom, and for a week after–in an agony of
dread, broken by illusive glimpses of hope that our prayers might be
answered–the nation waited for the end. Nothing in the glorious life
we saw gradually waning was more admirable and exemplary than its close.
The gentle humanity of his words when he saw his assailant in danger of
summary vengeance, “Do not let them hurt him;” his chivalrous care that
the news should be broken gently to his wife; the fine courtesy with
which he apologized for the damage which his death would bring to the
great Exhibition; and the heroic resignation of his final words, “It is
God’s way; His will, not ours, be done,” were all the instinctive
expressions of a nature so lofty and so pure that pride in its nobility
at once softened and enhanced the nation’s sense of loss. The Republic
grieved over such a son,–but is proud forever of having produced him.
After all, in spite of its tragic ending, his life was extraordinarily
happy. He had, all his days, troops of friends, the cheer of fame and
fruitful labor; and he became at last,

“On fortune’s crowning slope,
The pillar of a people’s hope,
The center of a world’s desire.”


I offer no apology for speaking upon a religious theme, for it is the
most universal of all themes. I am interested in the science of
government, but I am interested more in religion than in government. I
enjoy making a political speech–I have made a good many and shall make
more–but I would rather speak on religion than on politics. I commenced
speaking on the stump when I was only twenty, but I commenced speaking
in the church six years earlier–and I shall be in the church even after
I am put of politics. I feel sure of my ground when I make a political
speech, but I feel even more certain of my ground when I make a
religious speech. If I addrest you upon the subject of law I might
interest the lawyers; if I discust the science of medicine I might
interest the physicians; in like manner merchants might be interested in
comments on commerce, and farmers in matters pertaining to agriculture;
but no one of these subjects appeals to all. Even the science of
government, tho broader than any profession or occupation, does not
embrace the whole sum of life, and those who think upon it differ so
among themselves that I could not speak upon the subject so as to please
a part of the audience without displeasing others. While to me the
science of government is intensely absorbing, I recognize that the most
important things in life lie outside of the realm of government and that
more depends upon what the individual does for himself than upon what
the government does or can do for him. Men can be miserable under the
best government and they can be happy under the worst government.

Government affects but a part of the life which we live here and does
not deal at all with the life beyond, while religion touches the
infinite circle of existence as well as the small arc of that circle
which we spend on earth. No greater theme, therefore, can engage our
attention. If I discuss questions of government I must secure the
coöperation of a majority before I can put my ideas into practise, but
if, in speaking on religion, I can touch one human heart for good, I
have not spoken in vain no matter how large the majority may be against

Man is a religious being; the heart instinctively seeks for a God.
Whether he worships on the banks of the Ganges, prays with his face
upturned to the sun, kneels toward Mecca or, regarding all space as a
temple, communes with the Heavenly Father according to the Christian
creed, man is essentially devout.

There are honest doubters whose sincerity we recognize and respect, but
occasionally I find young men who think it smart to be skeptical; they
talk as if it were an evidence of larger intelligence to scoff at creeds
and to refuse to connect themselves with churches. They call themselves
“Liberal,” as if a Christian were narrow minded. Some go so far as to
assert that the “advanced thought of the world” has discarded the idea
that there is a God. To these young men I desire to address myself.

Even some older people profess to regard religion as a superstition,
pardonable in the ignorant but unworthy of the educated. Those who hold
this view look down with mild contempt upon such as give to religion a
definite place in their thoughts and lives. They assume an intellectual
superiority and often take little pains to conceal the assumption.
Tolstoy administers to the “cultured crowd” (the words quoted are his) a
severe rebuke when he declares that the religious sentiment rests not
upon a superstitious fear of the invisible forces of nature, but upon
man’s consciousness of his finiteness amid an infinite universe and of
his sinfulness; and this consciousness, the great philosopher adds, man
can never outgrow. Tolstoy is right; man recognizes how limited are his
own powers and how vast is the universe, and he leans upon the arm that
_is_ stronger than his. Man feels the weight of his sins and looks for
One who is sinless.

Religion has been defined by Tolstoy as the relation which man fixes
between himself and his God, and morality as the outward manifestation
of this inward relation. Every one, by the time he reaches maturity, has
fixt some relation between himself and God and no material change in
this relation can take place without a revolution in the man, for this
relation is the most potent influence that acts upon a human life.

Religion is the foundation of morality in the individual and in the
group of individuals. Materialists have attempted to build up a system
of morality upon the basis of enlightened self-interest. They would have
man figure out by mathematics that it pays him to abstain from
wrong-doing; they would even inject an element of selfishness into
altruism, but the moral system elaborated by the materialists has
several defects. First, its virtues are borrowed from moral systems
based upon religion. All those who are intelligent enough to discuss a
system of morality are so saturated with the morals derived from systems
resting upon religion that they cannot frame a system resting upon
reason alone. Second, as it rests upon argument rather than upon
authority, the young are not in a position to accept or reject. Our laws
do not permit a young man to dispose of real estate until he is
twenty-one. Why this restraint? Because his reason is not mature; and
yet a man’s life is largely moulded by the environment of his youth.
Third, one never knows just how much of his decision is due to reason
and how much is due to passion or to selfish interest. Passion can
dethrone the reason–we recognize this in our criminal laws. We also
recognize the bias of self-interest when we exclude from the jury every
man, no matter how reasonable or upright he may be, who has a pecuniary
interest in the result of the trial. And, fourth, one whose morality
rests upon a nice calculation of benefits to be secured spends time
figuring that he should spend in action. Those who keep a book account
of their good deeds seldom do enough good to justify keeping books. A
noble life cannot be built upon an arithmetic; it must be rather like
the spring that pours forth constantly of that which refreshes and

Morality is the power of endurance in man; and a religion which teaches
personal responsibility to God gives strength to morality. There is a
powerful restraining influence in the belief that an all-seeing eye
scrutinizes every thought and word and act of the individual.

There is wide difference between the man who is trying to conform his
life to a standard of morality about him and the man who seeks to make
his life approximate to a divine standard. The former attempts to live
up to the standard, if it is above him, and down to it, if it is below
him–and if he is doing right only when others are looking he is sure to
find a time when he thinks he is unobserved, and then he takes a
vacation and falls. One needs the inner strength which comes with the
conscious presence of a personal God. If those who are thus fortified
sometimes yield to temptation, how helpless and hopeless must those be
who rely upon their own strength alone!

There are difficulties to be encountered in religion, but there are
difficulties to be encountered everywhere. If Christians sometimes have
doubts and fears, unbelievers have more doubts and greater fears. I
passed through a period of skepticism when I was in college and I have
been glad ever since that I became a member of the church before I left
home for college, for it helped me during those trying days. And the
college days cover the dangerous period in the young man’s life; he is
just coming into possession of his powers, and feels stronger than he
ever feels afterward–and he thinks he knows more than he ever does

It was at this period that I became confused by the different theories
of creation. But I examined these theories and found that they all
assumed something to begin with. You can test this for yourselves.
The nebular hypothesis, for instance, assumes that matter and force
existed–matter in particles infinitely fine and each particle
separated from every other particle by space infinitely great.
Beginning with this assumption, force working on matter–according
to this hypothesis–created a universe. Well, I have a right to assume,
and I prefer to assume, a Designer back of the design–a Creator back
of the creation; and no matter how long you draw out the process of
creation, so long as God stands back of it you cannot shake my faith in
Jehovah. In Genesis it is written that, in the beginning, God created
the heavens and the earth, and I can stand on that proposition until I
find some theory of creation that goes farther back than “the beginning.”
We must begin with something–we must start somewhere–and the Christian
begins with God.

I do not carry the doctrine of evolution as far as some do; I am not yet
convinced that man is a lineal descendant of the lower animals. I do not
mean to find fault with you if you want to accept the theory; all I mean
to say is that while you may trace your ancestry back to the monkey if
you find pleasure or pride in doing so, you shall not connect me with
your family tree without more evidence than has yet been produced. I
object to the theory for several reasons. First, it is a dangerous
theory. If a man links himself in generations with the monkey, it then
becomes an important question whether he is going toward him or coming
from him–and I have seen them going in both directions. I do not know
of any argument that can be used to prove that man is an improved monkey
that may not be used just as well to prove that the monkey is a
degenerate man, and the latter theory is more plausible than the former.

It is true that man, in some physical characteristics resembles the
beast, but man has a mind as well as a body, and a soul as well as a
mind. The mind is greater than the body and the soul is greater than the
mind, and I object to having man’s pedigree traced on one-third of him
only–and that the lowest third. Fairbairn, in his “Philosophy of
Christianity,” lays down a sound proposition when he says that it is not
sufficient to explain man as an animal; that it is necessary to explain
man in history–and the Darwinian theory does not do this. The ape,
according to this theory, is older than man and yet the ape is still an
ape while man is the author of the marvelous civilization which we see
about us.

One does not escape from mystery, however, by accepting this theory, for
it does not explain the origin of life. When the follower of Darwin has
traced the germ of life back to the lowest form in which it appears–and
to follow him one must exercise more faith than religion calls for–he
finds that scientists differ. Those who reject the idea of creation are
divided into two schools, some believing that the first germ of life
came from another planet and others holding that it was the result of
spontaneous generation. Each school answers the arguments advanced by
the other, and as they cannot agree with each other, I am not compelled
to agree with either.

If I were compelled to accept one of these theories I would prefer the
first, for if we can chase the germ of life off this planet and get it
out into space we can guess the rest of the way and no one can
contradict us, but if we accept the doctrine of spontaneous generation
we cannot explain why spontaneous generation ceased to act after the
first germ was created.

Go back as far as we may, we cannot escape from the creative act, and it
is just as easy for me to believe that God created man _as he is_ as to
believe that, millions of years ago, He created a germ of life and
endowed it with power to develop into all that we see to-day. I object
to the Darwinian theory, until more conclusive proof is produced,
because I fear we shall lose the consciousness of God’s presence in our
daily life, if we must accept the theory that through all the ages no
spiritual force has touched the life of man or shaped the destiny of

But there is another objection. The Darwinian theory represents man as
reaching his present perfection by the operation of the law of hate–the
merciless law by which the strong crowd out and kill off the weak. If
this is the law of our development then, if there is any logic that can
bind the human mind, we shall turn backward toward the beast in
proportion as we substitute the law of love. I prefer to believe that
love rather than hatred is the law of development. How can hatred be the
law of development when nations have advanced in proportion as they have
departed from that law and adopted the law of love?

But, I repeat, while I do not accept the Darwinian theory I shall not
quarrel with you about it; I only refer to it to remind you that it does
not solve the mystery of life or explain human progress. I fear that
some have accepted it in the hope of escaping from the miracle, but why
should the miracle frighten us? And yet I am inclined to think that it
is one of the test questions with the Christian.

Christ cannot be separated from the miraculous; His birth, His
ministrations, and His resurrection, all involve the miraculous, and the
change which His religion works in the human heart is a continuing
miracle. Eliminate the miracles and Christ becomes merely a human being
and His gospel is stript of divine authority.

The miracle raises two questions: “Can God perform a miracle?” and,
“Would He want to?” The first is easy to answer. A God who can make a
world can do anything He wants to do with it. The power to perform
miracles is necessarily implied in the power to create. But would God
_want_ to perform a miracle?–this is the question which has given most
of the trouble. The more I have considered it the less inclined I am to
answer in the negative. To say that God _would not_ perform a miracle is
to assume a more intimate knowledge of God’s plans and purposes than I
can claim to have. I will not deny that God does perform a miracle or
may perform one merely because I do not know how or why He does it. I
find it so difficult to decide each day what God wants done now that I
am not presumptuous enough to attempt to declare what God might have
wanted to do thousands of years ago. The fact that we are constantly
learning of the existence of new forces suggests the possibility that
God may operate through forces yet unknown to us, and the mysteries with
which we deal every day warn me that faith is as necessary as sight. Who
would have credited a century ago the stories that are now told of the
wonder-working electricity? For ages man had known the lightning, but
only to fear it; now, this invisible current is generated by a man-made
machine, imprisoned in a man-made wire and made to do the bidding of
man. We are even able to dispense with the wire and hurl words through
space, and the X-ray has enabled us to look through substances which
were supposed, until recently, to exclude all light. The miracle is not
more mysterious than many of the things with which man now deals–it is
simply different. The miraculous birth of Christ is not more mysterious
than any other conception–it is simply unlike it; nor is the
resurrection of Christ more mysterious than the myriad resurrections
which mark each annual seed-time.

It is sometimes said that God could not suspend one of His laws without
stopping the universe, but do we not suspend or overcome the law of
gravitation every day? Every time we move a foot or lift a weight we
temporarily overcome one of the most universal of natural laws and yet
the world is not disturbed.

Science has taught us so many things that we are tempted to conclude
that we know everything, but there is really a great unknown which is
still unexplored and that which we have learned ought to increase our
reverence rather than our egotism. Science has disclosed some of the
machinery of the universe, but science has not yet revealed to us the
great secret–the secret of life. It is to be found in every blade of
grass, in every insect, in every bird and in every animal, as well as in
man. Six thousand years of recorded history and yet we know no more
about the secret of life than they knew in the beginning. We live, we
plan; we have our hopes, our fears; and yet in a moment a change may
come over anyone of us and this body will become a mass of lifeless
clay. What is it that, having, we live, and having not, we are as the
clod? The progress of the race and the civilization which we now behold
are the work of men and women who have not yet solved the mystery of
their own lives.

And our food, must we understand it before we eat it? If we refused to
eat anything until we could understand the mystery of its growth, we
would die of starvation. But mystery does not bother us in the
dining-room; it is only in the church that it is a stumbling block.

I was eating a piece of watermelon some months ago and was struck with
its beauty. I took some of the seeds and dried them and weighed them,
and found that it would require some five thousand seeds to weigh a
pound; and then I applied mathematics to that forty-pound melon. One of
these seeds, put into the ground, when warmed by the sun and moistened
by the rain, takes off its coat and goes to work; it gathers from
somewhere two hundred thousand times its own weight, and forcing this
raw material through a tiny stem, constructs a watermelon. It ornaments
the outside with a covering of green; inside the green it puts a layer
of white, and within the white a core of red, and all through the red it
scatters seeds, each one capable of continuing the work of reproduction.
Where does that little seed get its tremendous power? Where does it find
its coloring matter? How does it collect its flavoring extract? How does
it build a watermelon? Until you can explain a watermelon, do not be too
sure that you can set limits to the power of the Almighty and say just
what He would do or how He would do it. I cannot explain the watermelon,
but I eat it and enjoy it.

The egg is the most universal of foods and its use dates from the
beginning, but what is more mysterious than an egg? When an egg is fresh
it is an important article of merchandise; a hen can destroy its market
value in a week’s time, but in two weeks more she can bring forth from
it what man could not find in it. We eat eggs, but we cannot explain an

Water has been used from the birth of man; we learned after it had been
used for ages that it is merely a mixture of gases, but it is far more
important that we have water to drink than that we know that it is not

Everything that grows tells a like story of infinite power. Why should I
deny that a divine hand fed a multitude with a few loaves and fishes
when I see hundreds of millions fed every year by a hand which converts
the seeds scattered over the field into an abundant harvest? We know
that food can be multiplied in a few months’ time; shall we deny the
power of the Creator to eliminate the element of time, when we have gone
so far in eliminating the element of space? Who am I that I should
attempt to measure the arm of the Almighty with my puny arm, or to
measure the brain of the Infinite with my finite mind? Who am I that I
should attempt to put metes and bounds to the power of the Creator?

But there is something even more wonderful still–the mysterious change
that takes place in the human heart when the man begins to hate the
things he loved and to love the things he hated–the marvelous
transformation that takes place in the man who, before the change, would
have sacrificed a world for his own advancement but who, after the
change, would give his life for a principle and esteem it a privilege to
make sacrifice for his convictions! What greater miracle than this, that
converts a selfish, self-centered human being into a center from which
good influences flow out in every direction! And yet this miracle has
been wrought in the heart of each one of us–or may be wrought–and we
have seen it wrought in the hearts and lives of those about us. No,
living a life that is a mystery, and living in the midst of mystery and
miracles, I shall not allow either to deprive me of the benefits of the
Christian religion. If you ask me if I understand everything in the
Bible, I answer, no, but if we will try to live up to what we do
understand, we will be kept so busy doing good that we will not have
time to worry about the passages which we do not understand.

Some of those who question the miracle also question the theory of
atonement; they assert that it does not accord with their idea of
justice for one to die for all. Let each one bear his own sins and the
punishments due for them, they say. The doctrine of vicarious suffering
is not a new one; it is as old as the race. That one should suffer for
others is one of the most familiar of principles and we see the
principle illustrated every day of our lives. Take the family, for
instance; from the day the mother’s first child is born, for twenty or
thirty years her children are scarcely out of her waking thoughts. Her
life trembles in the balance at each child’s birth; she sacrifices for
them, she surrenders herself to them. Is it because she expects them to
pay her back? Fortunate for the parent and fortunate for the child if
the latter has an opportunity to repay in part the debt it owes. But no
child can compensate a parent for a parent’s care. In the course of
nature the debt is paid, not to the parent, but to the next generation,
and the next–each generation suffering, sacrificing for and
surrendering itself to the generation that follows. This is the law of
our lives.

Nor is this confined to the family. Every step in civilization has been
made possible by those who have been willing to sacrifice for posterity.
Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of conscience and free
government have all been won for the world by those who were willing to
labor unselfishly for their fellows. So well established is this
doctrine that we do not regard anyone as great unless he recognizes how
unimportant his life is in comparison with the problems with which he

I find proof that man was made in the image of his Creator in the fact
that, throughout the centuries, man has been willing to die, if
necessary, that blessings denied to him might be enjoyed by his
children, his children’s children and the world.

The seeming paradox: “He that saveth his life shall lose it and he that
loseth his life for my sake shall find it,” has an application wider
than that usually given to it; it is an epitome of history. Those who
live only for themselves live little lives, but those who stand ready to
give themselves for the advancement of things greater than themselves
find a larger life than the one they would have surrendered. Wendell
Phillips gave expression to the same idea when he said, “What imprudent
men the benefactors of the race have been. How prudently most men sink
into nameless graves, while now and then a few _forget_ themselves into
immortality.” We win immortality, not by remembering ourselves, but by
forgetting ourselves in devotion to things larger than ourselves.

Instead of being an unnatural plan, the plan of salvation is in perfect
harmony with human nature as we understand it. Sacrifice is the language
of love, and Christ, in suffering for the world, adopted the only means
of reaching the heart. This can be demonstrated not only by theory but
by experience, for the story of His life, His teachings, His sufferings
and His death has been translated into every language and everywhere it
has touched the heart.

But if I were going to present an argument in favor of the divinity of
Christ, I would not begin with miracles or mystery or with the theory of
atonement. I would begin as Carnegie Simpson does in his book entitled,
“The Fact of Christ.” Commencing with the undisputed fact that Christ
lived, he points out that one cannot contemplate this fact without
feeling that in some way it is related to those now living. He says that
one can read of Alexander, of Cæsar or of Napoleon, and not feel that it
is a matter of personal concern; but that when one reads that Christ
lived, and how He lived and how He died, he feels that somehow there is
a cord that stretches from that life to his. As he studies the character
of Christ he becomes conscious of certain virtues which stand out in
bold relief–His purity, His forgiving spirit, and His unfathomable
love. The author is correct, Christ presents an example of purity in
thought and life, and man, conscious of his own imperfections and
grieved over his shortcomings, finds inspiration in the fact that He
was tempted in all points like as we are, and yet without sin. I am not
sure but that each can find just here a way of determining for himself
whether he possesses the true spirit of a Christian. If the sinlessness
of Christ inspires within him an earnest desire to conform his life more
nearly to the perfect example, he is indeed a follower; if, on the other
hand, he resents the reproof which the purity of Christ offers, and
refuses to mend his ways, he has yet to be born again.

The most difficult of all the virtues to cultivate is the forgiving
spirit. Revenge seems to be natural with man; it is human to want to get
even with an enemy. It has even been popular to boast of vindictiveness;
it was once inscribed on a man’s monument that he had repaid both
friends and enemies more than he had received. This was not the spirit
of Christ. He taught forgiveness and in that incomparable prayer which
He left as model for our petitions, He made our willingness to forgive
the measure by which we may claim forgiveness. He not only taught
forgiveness but He exemplified His teachings in His life. When those who
persecuted Him brought Him to the most disgraceful of all deaths, His
spirit of forgiveness rose above His sufferings and He prayed, “Father,
forgive them, for they know not what they do!”

But love is the foundation of Christ’s creed. The world had known love
before; parents had loved their children, and children their parents;
husbands had loved their wives, and wives their husbands; and friend had
loved friend; but Jesus gave a new definition of love. His love was as
wide as the sea; its limits were so far-flung that even an enemy could
not travel beyond its bounds. Other teachers sought to regulate the
lives of their followers by rule and formula, but Christ’s plan was to
purify the heart and then to leave love to direct the footsteps.

What conclusion is to be drawn from the life, the teachings and the
death of this historic figure? Reared in a carpenter shop; with no
knowledge of literature, save Bible literature; with no acquaintance
with philosophers living or with the writings of sages dead, when only
about thirty years old He gathered disciples about Him, promulgated a
higher code of morals than the world had ever known before, and
proclaimed Himself the Messiah. He taught and performed miracles for a
few brief months and then was crucified; His disciples were scattered
and many of them put to death; His claims were disputed, His
resurrection denied and His followers persecuted; and yet from this
beginning His religion spread until hundreds of millions have taken His
name with reverence upon their lips and millions have been willing to
die rather than surrender the faith which He put into their hearts. How
shall we account for Him? Here is the greatest fact of history; here is
One who has with increasing power, for nineteen hundred years, moulded
the hearts, the thoughts and the lives of men, and He exerts more
influence to-day than ever before. “What think ye of Christ?” It is
easier to believe Him divine than to explain in any other way what he
said and did and was. And I have greater faith, even than before, since
I have visited the Orient and witnessed the successful contest which
Christianity is waging against the religions and philosophies of the

I was thinking a few years ago of the Christmas which was then
approaching and of Him in whose honor the day is celebrated. I recalled
the message, “Peace on earth, good will to men,” and then my thoughts
ran back to the prophecy uttered centuries before His birth, in which He
was described as the Prince of Peace. To reinforce my memory I re-read
the prophecy and I found immediately following a verse which I had
forgotten–a verse which declares that of the increase of His peace and
government there shall be no end, And, Isaiah adds, that He shall judge
His people with justice and with judgment. I had been reading of the
rise and fall of nations, and occasionally I had met a gloomy
philosopher who preached the doctrine that nations, like individuals,
must of necessity have their birth, their infancy, their maturity and
finally their decay and death. But here I read of a government that is
to be perpetual–a government of increasing peace and blessedness–the
government of the Prince of Peace–and it is to rest on justice. I have
thought of this prophecy many times during the last few years, and I
have selected this theme that I might present some of the reasons which
lead me to believe that Christ has fully earned the right to be called
The Prince of Peace–a title that will in the years to come be more and
more applied to Him. If he can bring peace to each individual heart, and
if His creed when applied will bring peace throughout the earth, who
will deny His right to be called the Prince of Peace?

All the world is in search of peace; every heart that ever beat has
sought for peace, and many have been the methods employed to secure it.
Some have thought to purchase it with riches and have labored to secure
wealth, hoping to find peace when they were able to go where they
pleased and buy what they liked. Of those who have endeavored to
purchase peace with money, the large majority have failed to secure the
money. But what has been the experience of those who have been eminently
successful in finance? They all tell the same story, viz., that they
spent the first half of their lives trying to get money from others and
the last half trying to keep others from getting their money, and that
they found peace in neither half. Some have even reached the point where
they find difficulty in getting people to accept their money; and I know
of no better indication of the ethical awakening in this country than
the increasing tendency to scrutinize the methods of money-making. I am
sanguine enough to believe that the time will yet come when
respectability will no longer be sold to great criminals by helping them
to spend their ill-gotten gains. A long step in advance will have been
taken when religious, educational and charitable institutions refuse to
condone conscienceless methods in business and leave the possessor of
illegitimate accumulations to learn how lonely life is when one prefers
money to morals.

Some have sought peace in social distinction, but whether they have been
within the charmed circle and fearful lest they might fall out, or
outside, and hopeful that they might get in, they have not found peace.
Some have thought, vain thought, to find peace in political prominence;
but whether office comes by birth, as in monarchies, or by election, as
in republics, it does not bring peace. An office is not considered a
high one if all can occupy it. Only when few in a generation can hope to
enjoy an honor do we call it a great honor. I am glad that our Heavenly
Father did not make the peace of the human heart to depend upon our
ability to buy it with money, secure it in society, or win it at the
polls, for in either case but few could have obtained it, but when He
made peace the reward of a conscience void of offense toward God and
man, He put it within the reach of all. The poor can secure it as easily
as the rich, the social outcasts as freely as the leader of society, and
the humblest citizen equally with those who wield political power.

To those who have grown gray in the Church, I need not speak of the
peace to be found in faith in God and trust in an overruling Providence.
Christ taught that our lives are precious in the sight of God, and poets
have taken up the thought and woven it into immortal verse. No
uninspired writer has exprest it more beautifully than William Cullen
Bryant in his Ode to a Waterfowl. After following the wanderings of the
bird of passage as it seeks first its southern and then its northern
home, he concludes:

Thou art gone; the abyss of heaven
Hath swallowed up thy form, but on my heart
Deeply hath sunk the lesson thou hast given,
And shall not soon depart.

He who, from zone to zone,
Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight,
In the long way that I must tread alone,
Will lead my steps aright.

Christ promoted peace by giving us assurance that a line of
communication can be established between the Father above and the child
below. And who will measure the consolations of the hour of prayer?

And immortality! Who will estimate the peace which a belief in a future
life has brought to the sorrowing hearts of the sons of men? You may
talk to the young about death ending all, for life is full and hope is
strong, but preach not this doctrine to the mother who stands by the
death-bed of her babe or to one who is within the shadow of a great
affliction. When I was a young man I wrote to Colonel Ingersoll and
asked him for his views on God and immortality. His secretary answered
that the great infidel was not at home, but enclosed a copy of a speech
of Col. Ingersoll’s which covered my question. I scanned it with
eagerness and found that he had exprest himself about as follows: “I do
not say that there is no God, I simply say I do not know. I do not say
that there is no life beyond the grave, I simply say I do not know.” And
from that day to this I have asked myself the question and have been
unable to answer it to my own satisfaction, how could anyone find
pleasure in taking from a human heart a living faith and substituting
therefor the cold and cheerless doctrine, “I do not know.”

Christ gave us proof of immortality and it was a welcome assurance,
altho it would hardly seem necessary that one should rise from the dead
to convince us that the grave is not the end. To every created thing God
has given a tongue that proclaims a future life.

If the Father deigns to touch with divine power the cold and pulseless
heart of the buried acorn and to make it burst forth from its prison
walls, will he leave neglected in the earth the soul of man, made in the
image of his Creator? If he stoops to give to the rose bush, whose
withered blossoms float upon the autumn breeze, the sweet assurance of
another springtime, will He refuse the words of hope to the sons of men
when the frosts of winter come? If matter, mute and inanimate, tho
changed by the forces of nature into a multitude of forms, can never
die, will the imperial spirit of man suffer annihilation when it has
paid a brief visit like a royal guest to this tenement of clay? No, I am
sure that He who, notwithstanding his apparent prodigality, created
nothing without a purpose, and wasted not a single atom in all his
creation, has made provision for a future life in which man’s universal
longing for immortality will find its realization. I am as sure that we
live again as I am sure that we live to-day.

In Cairo I secured a few grains of wheat that had slumbered for more
than thirty centuries in an Egyptian tomb. As I looked at them this
thought came into my mind: If one of those grains had been planted on
the banks of the Nile the year after it grew, and all its lineal
descendants had been planted and replanted from that time until now, its
progeny would to-day be sufficiently numerous to feed the teeming
millions of the world. An unbroken chain of life connects the earliest
grains of wheat with the grains that we sow and reap. There is in the
grain of wheat an invisible something which has power to discard the
body that we see, and from earth and air fashion a new body so much like
the old one that we cannot tell the one from the other. If this
invisible germ of life in the grain of wheat can thus pass unimpaired
through three thousand resurrections, I shall not doubt that my soul has
power to clothe itself with a body suited to its new existence when this
earthly frame has crumbled into dust.

A belief in immortality not only consoles the individual, but it exerts
a powerful influence in bringing peace between individuals. If one
actually thinks that man dies as the brute dies, he will yield more
easily to the temptation to do injustice to his neighbor when the
circumstances are such as to promise security from detection. But if one
really expects to meet again, and live eternally with, those whom he
knows to-day, he is restrained from evil deeds by the fear of endless
remorse. We do not know what rewards are in store for us or what
punishments may be reserved, but if there were no other it would be some
punishment for one who deliberately and consciously wrongs another to
have to live forever in the company of the person wronged and have his
littleness and selfishness laid bare. I repeat, a belief in immortality
must exert a powerful influence in establishing justice between men and
thus laying the foundation for peace.

Again, Christ deserves to be called The Prince of Peace because He has
given us a measure of greatness which promotes peace. When His disciples
quarreled among themselves as to which should be greatest in the Kingdom
of Heaven, He rebuked them and said: “Let him who would be chiefest
among you be the servant of all.” Service is the measure of greatness;
it always has been true; it is true to-day, and it always will be true,
that he is greatest who does the most of good. And how this old world
will be transformed when this standard of greatness becomes the
standard of every life! Nearly all of our controversies and combats grow
out of the fact that we are trying to get something from each
other–there will be peace when our aim is to do something for each
other. Our enmities and animosities arise largely from our efforts to
get as much as possible out of the world–there will be peace when our
endeavor is to put as much as possible into the world. The human measure
of a human life is its income; the divine measure of a life is its
outgo, its overflow–its contribution to the welfare of all.

Christ also led the way to peace by giving us a formula for the
propagation of truth. Not all of those who have really desired to do
good have employed the Christian method–not all Christians even. In the
history of the human race but two methods have been used. The first is
the forcible method, and it has been employed most frequently. A man has
an idea which he thinks is good; he tells his neighbors about it and
they do not like it. This makes him angry; he thinks it would be so
much better for them if they would like it, and, seizing a club, he
attempts to make them like it. But one trouble about this rule is that
it works both ways; when a man starts out to compel his neighbors to
think as he does, he generally finds them willing to accept the
challenge and they spend so much time in trying to coerce each other
that they have no time left to do each other good.

The other is the Bible plan–“Be not overcome of evil but overcome evil
with good.” And there is no other way of overcoming evil. I am not much
of a farmer–I get more credit for my farming than I deserve, and my
little farm receives more advertising than it is entitled to. But I am
farmer enough to know that if I cut down weeds they will spring up
again; and farmer enough to know that if I plant something there which
has more vitality than the weeds I shall not only get rid of the
constant cutting, but have the benefit of the crop besides.

In order that there might be no mistake in His plan of propagating the
truth, Christ went into detail and laid emphasis upon the value of
example–“So live that others seeing your good works may be constrained
to glorify your Father which is in Heaven.” There is no human influence
so potent for good as that which goes out from an upright life. A sermon
may be answered; the arguments presented in a speech may be disputed,
but no one can answer a Christian life–it is the unanswerable argument
in favor of our religion.

It may be a slow process–this conversion of the world by the silent
influence of a noble example–but it is the only sure one, and the
doctrine applies to nations as well as to individuals. The Gospel of the
Prince of Peace gives us the only hope that the world has–and it is an
increasing hope–of the substitution of reason for the arbitrament of
force in the settlement of international disputes. And our nation ought
not to wait for other nations–it ought to take the lead and prove its
faith in the omnipotence of truth.

But Christ has given us a platform so fundamental that it can be applied
successfully to all controversies. We are interested in platforms; we
attend conventions, sometimes traveling long distances; we have wordy
wars over the phraseology of various planks, and then we wage earnest
campaigns to secure the endorsement of these platforms at the polls. The
platform given to the world by The Prince of Peace is more far-reaching
and more comprehensive than any platform ever written by the convention
of any party in any country. When He condensed into one commandment
those of the ten which relate to man’s duty toward his fellows and
enjoined upon us the rule, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,” He
presented a plan for the solution of all the problems that now vex
society or may hereafter arise. Other remedies may palliate or postpone
the day of settlement, but this is all-sufficient and the
reconciliation which it effects is a permanent one.

My faith in the future–and I have faith–and my optimism–for I am an
optimist–my faith and my optimism rest upon the belief that Christ’s
teachings are being more studied to-day than ever before, and that with
this larger study will come a larger application of those teachings to
the everyday life of the world, and to the questions with which we deal.
In former times when men read that Christ came “to bring life and
immortality to light,” they placed the emphasis upon immortality; now
they are studying Christ’s relation to human life. People used to read
the Bible to find out what it said of Heaven; now they read it more to
find what light it throws upon the pathway of to-day. In former years
many thought to prepare themselves for future bliss by a life of
seclusion here; we are learning that to follow in the footsteps of the
Master we must go about doing good. Christ declared that He came that we
might have life and have it more abundantly. The world is learning that
Christ came not to narrow life, but to enlarge it–not to rob it of its
joy, but to fill it to overflowing with purpose, earnestness and

But this Prince of Peace promises not only peace but strength. Some have
thought His teachings fit only for the weak and the timid and unsuited
to men of vigor, energy and ambition. Nothing could be farther from the
truth. Only the man of faith can be courageous. Confident that he fights
on the side of Jehovah, he doubts not the success of his cause. What
matters it whether he shares in the shouts of triumph? If every word
spoken in behalf of truth has its influence and every deed done for the
right weighs in the final account, it is immaterial to the Christian
whether his eyes behold victory or whether he dies in the midst of the

“Yea, tho thou lie upon the dust,
When they who helped thee flee in fear,
Die full of hope and manly trust,
Like those who fell in battle here.

Another hand thy sword shall wield,
Another hand the standard wave,
Till from the trumpet’s mouth is pealed,
The blast of triumph o’er thy grave.”

Only those who _believe_ attempt the seemingly impossible, and, by
attempting, prove that one, with God, can chase a thousand and that two
can put ten thousand to flight. I can imagine that the early Christians
who were carried into the coliseum to make a spectacle for those more
savage than the beasts, were entreated by their doubting companions not
to endanger their lives. But, kneeling in the center of the arena, they
prayed and sang until they were devoured. How helpless they seemed, and,
measured by every human rule, how hopeless was their cause! And yet
within a few decades the power which they invoked proved mightier than
the legions of the emperor and the faith in which they died was
triumphant o’er all the land. It is said that those who went to mock at
their sufferings returned asking themselves, “What is it that can enter
into the heart of man and make him die as these die?” They were greater
conquerors in their death than they could have been had they purchased
life by a surrender of their faith.

What would have been the fate of the church if the early Christians had
had as little faith as many of our Christians of to-day? And if the
Christians of to-day had the faith of the martyrs, how long would it be
before the fulfilment of the prophecy that “every knee shall bow and
every tongue confess?”

I am glad that He, who is called the Prince of Peace–who can bring
peace to every troubled heart and whose teachings, exemplified in life,
will bring peace between man and man, between community and community,
between State and State, between nation and nation throughout the
world–I am glad that He brings courage as well as peace so that those
who follow Him may take up and each day bravely do the duties that to
that day fall.

As the Christian grows older he appreciates more and more the
completeness with which Christ satisfies the longings of the heart, and,
grateful for the peace which he enjoys and for the strength which he has
received, he repeats the words of the great scholar, Sir William Jones:

“Before thy mystic altar, heavenly truth,
I kneel in manhood, as I knelt in youth,
Thus let me kneel, till this dull form decay,
And life’s last shade be brightened by thy ray.”



Delivered at Dartmouth College, July 27, 1853.

Webster possessed the element of an impressive character, inspiring
regard, trust and admiration, not unmingled with love. It had, I think,
intrinsically a charm such as belongs only to a good, noble, and
beautiful nature. In its combination with so much fame, so much force of
will, and so much intellect, it filled and fascinated the imagination
and heart. It was affectionate in childhood and youth, and it was more
than ever so in the few last months of his long life. It is the
universal testimony that he gave to his parents, in largest measure,
honor, love, obedience; that he eagerly appropriated the first means
which he could command to relieve the father from the debts contracted
to educate his brother and himself; that he selected his first place of
professional practice that he might soothe the coming on of his old age.

Equally beautiful was his love of all his kindred and of all his
friends. When I hear him accused of selfishness, and a cold, bad nature,
I recall him lying sleepless all night, not without tears of boyhood,
conferring with Ezekiel how the darling desire of both hearts should be
compassed, and he, too, admitted to the precious privileges of
education; courageously pleading the cause of both brothers in the
morning; prevailing by the wise and discerning affection of the mother;
suspending his studies of the law, and registering deeds and teaching
school to earn the means, for both, of availing themselves of the
opportunity which the parental self-sacrifice had placed within their
reach; loving him through life, mourning him when dead, with a love and
a sorrow very wonderful, passing the sorrow of woman; I recall the
husband, the father of the living and of the early departed, the friend,
the counselor of many years, and my heart grows too full and liquid for
the refutation of words.

His affectionate nature, craving ever friendship, as well as the
presence of kindred blood, diffused itself through all his private life,
gave sincerity to all his hospitalities, kindness to his eye, warmth to
the pressure of his hand, made his greatness and genius unbend
themselves to the playfulness of childhood, flowed out in graceful
memories indulged of the past or the dead, of incidents when life was
young and promised to be happy,–gave generous sketches of his
rivals,–the high contention now hidden by the handful of earth,–hours
passed fifty years ago with great authors, recalled for the vernal
emotions which then they made to live and revel in the soul. And from
these conversations of friendship, no man–no man, old or young–went
away to remember one word of profaneness, one allusion of indelicacy,
one impure thought, one unbelieving suggestion, one doubt cast on the
reality of virtue, of patriotism, of enthusiasm, of the progress of
man,–one doubt cast on righteousness, or temperance, or judgment to

I have learned by evidence the most direct and satisfactory that in the
last months of his life, the whole affectionateness of his nature–his
consideration of others, his gentleness, his desire to make them happy
and to see them happy–seemed to come out in more and more beautiful and
habitual expressions than ever before. The long day’s public tasks were
felt to be done; the cares, the uncertainties, the mental conflicts of
high place, were ended; and he came home to recover himself for the few
years which he might still expect would be his before he should go hence
to be here no more. And there, I am assured and duly believe, no
unbecoming regrets pursued him; no discontent, as for injustice suffered
or expectations unfulfilled; no self-reproach for anything done or
anything omitted by himself; no irritation, no peevishness unworthy of
his noble nature; but instead, love and hope for his country, when she
became the subject of conversation, and for all around him, the dearest
and most indifferent, for all breathing things about him, the overflow
of the kindest heart growing in gentleness and benevolence–paternal,
patriarchal affections, seeming to become more natural, warm, and
communicative every hour. Softer and yet brighter grew the tints on the
sky of parting day; and the last lingering rays, more even than the
glories of noon, announced how divine was the source from which they
proceeded; how incapable to be quenched; how certain to rise on a
morning which no night should follow.

Such a character was made to be loved. It was loved. Those who knew and
saw it in its hour of calm–those who could repose on that soft
green–loved him. His plain neighbors loved him; and one said, when he
was laid in his grave, “How lonesome the world seems!” Educated young
men loved him. The ministers of the gospel, the general intelligence of
the country, the masses afar oft, loved him. True, they had not found in
his speeches, read by millions, so much adulation of the people; so much
of the music which robs the public reason of itself; so many phrases of
humanity and philanthropy; and some had told them he was lofty and
cold–solitary in his greatness; but every year they came nearer and
nearer to him, and as they came nearer, they loved him better; they
heard how tender the son had been, the husband, the brother, the father,
the friend, and neighbor; that he was plain, simple, natural, generous,
hospitable–the heart larger than the brain; that he loved little
children and reverenced God, the Scriptures, the Sabbath-day, the
Constitution, and the law–and their hearts clave unto him. More truly
of him than even of the great naval darling of England might it be said
that “his presence would set the church bells ringing, and give
schoolboys a holiday, would bring children from school and old men from
the chimney-corner, to gaze on him ere he died.” The great and
unavailing lamentations first revealed the deep place he had in the
hearts of his countrymen.

You are now to add to this his extraordinary power of influencing the
convictions of others by speech, and you have completed the survey of
the means of his greatness. And here, again I begin by admiring an
aggregate made up of excellences and triumphs, ordinarily deemed
incompatible. He spoke with consummate ability to the bench, and yet
exactly as, according to every sound canon of taste and ethics, the
bench ought to be addressed. He spoke with consummate ability to the
jury, and yet exactly as, according to every sound canon, that totally
different tribunal ought to be addressed. In the halls of Congress,
before the people assembled for political discussion in masses, before
audiences smaller and more select, assembled for some solemn
commemoration of the past or of the dead–in each of these, again, his
speech, of the first form of ability, was exactly adapted, also, to the
critical properties of the place; each achieved, when delivered, the
most instant and specific success of eloquence–some of them in a
splendid and remarkable degree; and yet, stranger still, when reduced to
writing, as they fell from his lips, they compose a body of reading in
many volumes–solid, clear, rich, and full of harmony–a classical and
permanent political literature.

And yet all these modes of his eloquence, exactly adapted each to its
stage and its end, were stamped with his image and superscription,
identified by characteristics incapable to be counterfeited and
impossible to be mistaken. The same high power of reason, intent in
every one to explore and display some truth; some truth of judicial, or
historical, or biographical fact; some truth of law, deduced by
construction, perhaps, or by illation; some truth of policy, for want
whereof a nation, generations, may be the worse–reason seeking and
unfolding truth; the same tone, in all, of deep earnestness, expressive
of strong desire that what he felt to be important should be accepted as
true, and spring up to action; the same transparent, plain, forcible,
and direct speech, conveying his exact thought to the mind–not
something less or more; the same sovereignty of form, of brow, and eye,
and tone, and manner–everywhere the intellectual king of men, standing
before you–that same marvelousness of qualities and results, residing,
I know not where, in words, in pictures, in the ordering of ideas,
infelicities indescribable, by means whereof, coming from his tongue,
all things seemed mended–truth seemed more true, probability more
plausible, greatness more grand, goodness more awful, every affection
more tender than when coming from other tongues–these are, in all, his

But sometimes it became individualized and discriminated even from
itself; sometimes place and circumstances, great interests at stake, a
stage, an audience fitted for the highest historic action, a crisis,
personal or national, upon him, stirred the depths of that emotional
nature, as the anger of the goddess stirs the sea on which the great
epic is beginning; strong passions themselves kindled to intensity,
quickened every faculty to a new life; the stimulated associations of
ideas brought all treasures of thought and knowledge within command; the
spell, which often held his imagination fast, dissolved, and she arose
and gave him to choose of her urn of gold; earnestness became vehemence,
the simple, perspicuous, measured and direct language became a headlong,
full, and burning tide of speech; the discourse of reason, wisdom,
gravity, and beauty changed to that superhuman, that rarest consummate
eloquence–grand, rapid, pathetic, terrible; the _aliquid immensum
infinitumque_ that Cicero might have recognized; the master triumph of
man in the rarest opportunity of his noble power.

Such elevation above himself, in congressional debate, was most
uncommon. Some such there were in the great discussions of executive
power following the removal of the deposits, which they who heard them
will never forget, and some which rest in the tradition of hearers only.
But there were other fields of oratory on which, under the influence of
more uncommon springs of inspiration, he exemplified, in still other
forms, an eloquence in which I do not know that he has had a superior
among men. Addressing masses by tens of thousands in the open air, on
the urgent political questions of the day, or designed to lead the
meditations of an hour devoted to the remembrance of some national era,
or of some incident marking the progress of the nation, and lifting him
up to a view of what is, and what is past, and some indistinct
revelation of the glory that lies in the future, or of some great
historical name, just borne by the nation to his tomb–we have learned
that then and there, at the base of Bunker Hill, before the corner-stone
was laid, and again when from the finished column the centuries looked
on him; in Faneuil Hall, mourning for those with whose spoken or written
eloquence of freedom its arches had so often resounded; on the Rock of
Plymouth; before the Capitol, of which there shall not be one stone left
on another before his memory shall have ceased to live–in such scenes,
unfettered by the laws of forensic or parliamentary debate, multitudes
uncounted lifting up their eyes to him; some great historical scenes of
America around; all symbols of her glory and art and power and fortune
there; voices of the past, not unheard; shapes beckoning from the
future, not unseen–sometimes that mighty intellect, borne upward to a
height and kindled to an illumination which we shall see no more,
wrought out, as it were, in an instant a picture of vision, warning,
prediction; the progress of the nation; the contrasts of its eras; the
heroic deaths; the motives to patriotism; the maxims and arts imperial
by which the glory has been gathered and may be heightened–wrought out,
in an instant, a picture to fade only when all record of our mind shall

In looking over the public remains of his oratory, it is striking to
remark how, even in that most sober and massive understanding and
nature, you see gathered and expressed the characteristic sentiments and
the passing time of our America. It is the strong old oak which ascends
before you; yet our soil, our heaven, are attested in it as perfectly as
if it were a flower that could grow in no other climate and in no other
hour of the year or day. Let me instance in one thing only. It is a
peculiarity of some schools of eloquence that they embody and utter,
not merely the individual genius and character of the speaker, but a
national consciousness–a national era, a mood, a hope, a dread, a
despair–in which you listen to the spoken history of the time. There is
an eloquence of an expiring nation, such as seems to sadden the glorious
speech of Demosthenes; such as breathes grand and gloomy from visions of
the prophets of the last days of Israel and Judah; such as gave a spell
to the expression of Grattan and of Kossuth–the sweetest, most
mournful, most awful of the words which man may utter, or which man may
hear–the eloquence of a perishing nation.

There is another eloquence, in which the national consciousness of a
young or renewed and vast strength, of trust in a dazzling certain and
limitless future, an inward glorying in victories yet to be won, sounds
out as by voice of clarion, challenging to contest for the highest prize
of earth; such as that in which the leader of Israel in its first days
holds up to the new nation the Land of Promise; such as that which in
the well-imagined speeches scattered by Livy over the history of the
“majestic series of victories” speaks the Roman consciousness of growing
aggrandizement which should subject the world; such as that through
which, at the tribunes of her revolution, in the bulletins of her rising
soldiers, France told to the world her dream of glory.

And of this kind somewhat is ours–cheerful, hopeful, trusting, as
befits youth and spring; the eloquence of a state beginning to ascend to
the first class of power, eminence, and consideration, and conscious of
itself. It is to no purpose that they tell you it is in bad taste; that
it partakes of arrogance and vanity; that a true national good breeding
would not know, or seem to know, whether the nation is old or young;
whether the tides of being are in their flow or ebb; whether these
coursers of the sun are sinking slowly to rest, wearied with a journey
of a thousand years, or just bounding from the Orient unbreathed. Higher
laws than those of taste determine the consciousness of nations. Higher
laws than those of taste determine the general forms of the expression
of that consciousness. Let the downward age of America find its orators
and poets and artists to erect its spirit, or grace and soothe its
dying; be it ours to go up with Webster to the Rock, the Monument, the
Capitol, and bid “the distant generations hail!”

Until the seventh day of March, 1850, I think it would have been
accorded to him by an almost universal acclaim, as general and as
expressive of profound and intelligent conviction and of enthusiasm,
love, and trust, as ever saluted conspicuous statesmanship, tried by
many crises of affairs in a great nation, agitated ever by parties, and
wholly free.



Delivered as Temporary Chairman of Progressive National Convention,
Chicago, Ill., June, 1911.

We stand for a nobler America. We stand for an undivided Nation. We
stand for a broader liberty, a fuller justice. We stand for a social
brotherhood as against savage individualism. We stand for an intelligent
coöperation instead of a reckless competition. We stand for mutual
helpfulness instead of mutual hatred. We stand for equal rights as a
fact of life instead of a catch-word of politics. We stand for the rule
of the people as a practical truth instead of a meaningless pretense. We
stand for a representative government that represents the people. We
battle for the actual rights of man.

To carry out our principles we have a plain program of constructive
reform. We mean to tear down only that which is wrong and out of date;
and where we tear down we mean to build what is right and fitted to the
times. We harken to the call of the present. We mean to make laws fit
conditions as they are and meet the needs of the people who are on earth
to-day. That we may do this we found a party through which all who
believe with us can work with us; or, rather, we declare our allegiance
to the party which the people themselves have founded.

For this party comes from the grass roots. It has grown from the soil of
the people’s hard necessities. It has the vitality of the people’s
strong convictions. The people have work to be done and our party is
here to do that work. Abuse will only strengthen it, ridicule only
hasten its growth, falsehood only speed its victory. For years this
party has been forming. Parties exist for the people; not the people for
parties. Yet for years the politicians have made the people do the work
of the parties instead of the parties doing the work of the people–and
the politicians own the parties. The people vote for one party and find
their hopes turned to ashes on their lips; and then to punish that
party, they vote for the other party. So it is that partisan victories
have come to be merely the people’s vengeance; and always the secret
powers have played their game.

Like other free people, most of us Americans are progressive or
reactionary, liberal or conservative. The neutrals do not count. Yet
to-day neither of the old parties is either wholly progressive or wholly
reactionary. Democratic politicians and office seekers say to
reactionary Democratic voters that the Democratic party is reactionary
enough to express reactionary views; and they say to progressive
Democrats that the Democratic party is progressive enough _to_ express
progressive views. At the same time, Republican politicians and office
seekers say the same thing about the Republican party to progressive and
reactionary Republican voters.

Sometimes in both Democratic and Republican States the progressives get
control of the party locally and then the reactionaries recapture the
same party in the same State; or this process is reversed. So there is
no nation-wide unity of principle in either party, no stability of
purpose, no clear-cut and sincere program of one party at frank and open
war with an equally clear-cut and sincere program of an opposing party.

This unintelligent tangle is seen in Congress. Republican and Democratic
Senators and Representatives, believing alike on broad measures
affecting the whole Republic, find it hard to vote together because of
the nominal difference of their party membership. When, sometimes, under
resistless conviction, they do vote together, we have this foolish
spectacle: legislators calling themselves Republicans and Democrats
support the same policy, the Democratic legislators declaring that that
policy is Democratic and Republican legislators declaring that it is
Republican; and at the very same time other Democratic and Republican
legislators oppose that very same policy, each of them declaring that it
is not Democratic or not Republican.

The condition makes it impossible most of the time, and hard at any
time, for the people’s legislators who believe in the same broad
policies to enact them into logical, comprehensive laws. It confuses the
public mind. It breeds suspicion and distrust. It enables such special
interests as seek unjust gain at the public expense to get what they
want. It creates and fosters the degrading boss system in American
politics through which these special interests work.

This boss system is unknown and impossible under any other free
government in the world. In its very nature it is hostile to general
welfare. Yet it has grown until it now is a controlling influence in
American public affairs. At the present moment notorious bosses are in
the saddle of both old parties in various important States which must be
carried to elect a President. This Black Horse Cavalry is the most
important force in the practical work of the Democratic and Republican
parties in the present campaign. Neither of the old parties’ nominees
for President can escape obligation to these old-party bosses or shake
their practical hold on many and powerful members of the National

Under this boss system, no matter which party wins, the people seldom
win; but the bosses almost always win. And they never work for the
people. They do not even work for the party to which they belong. They
work only for those anti-public interests whose political employees they
are. It is these interests that are the real victors in the end.

These special interests which suck the people’s substance are
bi-partisan. They use both parties. They are the invisible government
behind our visible government. Democratic and Republican bosses alike
are brother officers of this hidden power. No matter how fiercely they
pretend to fight one another before election, they work together after
election. And, acting so, this political conspiracy is able to delay,
mutilate or defeat sound and needed laws for the people’s welfare and
the prosperity of honest business and even to enact bad laws, hurtful to
the people’s welfare and oppressive to honest business.

It is this invisible government which is the real danger to American
institutions. Its crude work at Chicago in June, which the people were
able to see, was no more wicked than its skillful work everywhere and
always which the people are not able to see.

But an even more serious condition results from the unnatural alignment
of the old parties. To-day we Americans are politically shattered by
sectionalism. Through the two old parties the tragedy of our history is
continued; and one great geographical part of the Republic is separated
from other parts of the Republic by an illogical partisan solidarity.

The South has men and women as genuinely progressive and others as
genuinely reactionary as those in other parts of our country. Yet, for
well-known reasons, these sincere and honest southern progressives and
reactionaries vote together in a single party, which is neither
progressive nor reactionary. They vote a dead tradition and a local
fear, not a living conviction and a national faith. They vote not for
the Democratic party, but against the Republican party. They want to be
free from this condition; they can be free from it through the National
Progressive party.

For the problems which America faces to-day are economic and national.
They have to do with a more just distribution of prosperity. They
concern the living of the people; and therefore the more direct
government of the people by themselves.

They affect the South exactly as they affect the North, the East or the
West. It is an artificial and dangerous condition that prevents the
southern man and woman from acting with the northern man and woman who
believe the same thing. Yet just that is what the old parties do

Not only does this out-of-date partisanship cut our Nation into two
geographical sections; it also robs the Nation of a priceless asset of
thought in working out our national destiny. The South once was famous
for brilliant and constructive thinking on national problems, and to-day
the South has minds as brilliant and constructive as of old. But
southern intellect cannot freely and fully aid, in terms of politics,
the solving of the Nation’s problems. This is so because of a partisan
sectionalism which has nothing to do with those problems. Yet these
problems can be solved only in terms of politics.

The root of the wrongs which hurt the people is the fact that the
people’s government has been taken away from them–the invisible
government has usurped the people’s government. Their government must be
given back to the people. And so the first purpose of the Progressive
party is to make sure the rule of the people. The rule of the people
means that the people themselves shall nominate, as well as elect, all
candidates for office, including Senators and Presidents of the United
States. What profiteth it the people if they do only the electing while
the invisible government does the nominating?

The rule of the people means that when the people’s legislators make a
law which hurts the people, the people themselves may reject it. The
rule of the people means that when the people’s legislators refuse to
pass a law which the people need, the people themselves may pass it. The
rule of the people means that when the people’s employees do not do the
people’s work well and honestly, the people may discharge them exactly
as a business man discharges employees who do not do their work well and
honestly. The people’s officials are the people’s servants, not the
people’s masters.

We progressives believe in this rule of the people that the people
themselves may deal with their own destiny. Who knows the people’s needs
so well as the people themselves? Who so patient as the people? Who so
long suffering, who so just? Who so wise to solve their own problems?

Today these problems concern the living of the people. Yet in the
present stage of American development these problems should not exist in
this country. For, in all the world there is no land so rich as ours.
Our fields can feed hundreds of millions. We have more minerals than the
whole of Europe. Invention has made easy the turning of this vast
natural wealth into supplies for all the needs of man. One worker today
can produce more than twenty workers could produce a century ago.

The people living in this land of gold are the most daring and
resourceful on the globe. Coming from the hardiest stock of every nation
of the old world their very history in the new world has made Americans
a peculiar people in courage, initiative, love of justice and all the
elements of independent character.

And, compared with other peoples, we are very few in numbers. There are
only ninety millions of us, scattered over a continent. Germany has
sixty-five millions packed in a country very much smaller than Texas.
The population of Great Britain and Ireland could be set down in
California and still have more than enough room for the population of
Holland. If this country were as thickly peopled as Belgium there would
be more than twelve hundred million instead of only ninety million
persons within our borders.

So we have more than enough to supply every human being beneath the
flag. There ought not to be in this Republic a single day of bad
business, a single unemployed workingman, a single unfed child. American
business men should never know an hour of uncertainty, discouragement or
fear; American workingmen never a day of low wages, idleness or want.
Hunger should never walk in these thinly peopled gardens of plenty.

And yet in spite of all these favors which providence has showered upon
us, the living of the people is the problem of the hour. Hundreds of
thousands of hard-working Americans find it difficult to get enough to
live on. The average income of an American laborer is less than $500 a
year. With this he must furnish food, shelter and clothing for a family.

Women, whose nourishing and protection should be the first care of the
State, not only are driven into the mighty army of wage-earners, but are
forced to work under unfair and degrading conditions. The right of a
child to grow into a normal human being is sacred; and yet, while small
and poor countries, packed with people, have abolished child labor,
American mills, mines, factories and sweat-shops are destroying hundreds
of thousands of American children in body, mind and soul.

At the same time men have grasped fortunes in this country so great that
the human mind cannot comprehend their magnitude. These mountains of
wealth are far larger than even that lavish reward which no one would
deny to business risk or genius.

On the other hand, American business is uncertain and unsteady compared
with the business of other nations. American business men are the best
and bravest in the world, and yet our business conditions hamper their
energies and chill their courage. We have no permanency in business
affairs, no sure outlook upon the business future. This unsettled state
of American business prevents it from realizing for the people that
great and continuous prosperity which our country’s location, vast
wealth and small population justifies.

We mean to remedy these conditions. We mean not only to make prosperity
steady, but to give to the many who earn it a just share of that
prosperity instead of helping the few who do not earn it to take an
unjust share. The progressive motto is “Pass prosperity around.” To make
human living easier, to free the hands of honest business, to make trade
and commerce sound and steady, to protect womanhood, save childhood and
restore the dignity of manhood–these are the tasks we must do.

What, then, is the progressive answer to these questions? We are able to
give it specifically and concretely. The first work before us is the
revival of honest business. For business is nothing but the industrial
and trade activities of all the people. Men grow the products of the
field, cut ripe timber from the forest, dig metal from the mine, fashion
all for human use, carry them to the market place and exchange them
according to their mutual needs–and this is business.

With our vast advantages, contrasted with the vast disadvantages of
other nations, American business all the time should be the best and
steadiest in the world. But it is not. Germany, with shallow soil, no
mines, only a window on the seas and a population more than ten times as
dense as ours, yet has a sounder business, a steadier prosperity, a more
contented because better cared for people.

What, then, must we do to make American business better? We must do what
poorer nations have done. We must end the abuses of business by striking
down those abuses instead of striking down business itself. We must try
to make little business big and all business honest instead of striving
to make big business little and yet letting it remain dishonest.

Present-day business is as unlike old-time business as the old-time
ox-cart is unlike the present-day locomotive. Invention has made the
whole world over again. The railroad, telegraph, telephone have bound
the people of modern nations into families. To do the business of these
closely knit millions in every modern country great business concerns
came into being. What we call big business is the child of the economic
progress of mankind. So warfare to destroy big business is foolish
because it can not succeed and wicked because it ought not to succeed.
Warfare to destroy big business does not hurt big business, which always
comes out on top, so much as it hurts all other business which, in such
a warfare, never comes out on top.

With the growth of big business came business evils just as great. It is
these evils of big business that hurt the people and injure all other
business. One of these wrongs is over capitalization which taxes the
people’s very living. Another is the manipulation of prices to the
unsettlement of all normal business and to the people’s damage. Another
is interference in the making of the people’s laws and the running of
the people’s government in the unjust interest of evil business. Getting
laws that enable particular interests to rob the people, and even to
gather criminal riches from human health and life is still another.

An example of such laws is the infamous tobacco legislation of 1902,
which authorized the Tobacco Trust to continue to collect from the
people the Spanish War tax, amounting to a score of millions of dollars,
but to keep that tax instead of turning it over to the government, as it
had been doing. Another example is the shameful meat legislation, by
which the Beef Trust had the meat it sent abroad inspected by the
government so that foreign countries would take its product and yet was
permitted to sell diseased meat to our own people. It is incredible that
laws like these could ever get on the Nation’s statute books. The
invisible government put them there; and only the universal wrath of an
enraged people corrected them when, after years, the people discovered
the outrages.

It is to get just such laws as these and to prevent the passage of laws
to correct them, as well as to keep off the statute books general laws
which will end the general abuses of big business that these few
criminal interests corrupt our politics, invest in public officials and
keep in power in both parties that type of politicians and party
managers who debase American politics.

Behind rotten laws and preventing sound laws, stands the corrupt boss;
behind the corrupt boss stands the robber interest; and commanding these
powers of pillage stands bloated human greed. It is this conspiracy of
evil we must overthrow if we would get the honest laws we need. It is
this invisible government we must destroy if we would save American

Other nations have ended the very same business evils from which we
suffer by clearly defining business wrong-doing and then making it a
criminal offense, punishable by imprisonment. Yet these foreign nations
encourage big business itself and foster all honest business. But they
do not tolerate dishonest business, little or big.

What, then, shall we Americans do? Common sense and the experience of
the world says that we ought to keep the good big business does for us
and stop the wrongs that big business does to us. Yet we have done just
the other thing. We have struck at big business itself and have not even
aimed to strike at the evils of big business. Nearly twenty-five years
ago Congress passed a law to govern American business in the present
time which Parliament passed in the reign of King James to govern
English business in that time.

For a quarter of a century the courts have tried to make this law work.
Yet during this very time trusts grew greater in number and power than
in the whole history of the world before; and their evils flourished
unhindered and unchecked. These great business concerns grew because
natural laws made them grow and artificial law at war with natural law
could not stop their growth. But their evils grew faster than the trusts
themselves because avarice nourished those evils and no law of any kind
stopped avarice from nourishing them.

Nor is this the worst. Under the shifting interpretation of the Sherman
law, uncertainty and fear is chilling the energies of the great body of
honest American business men. As the Sherman law now stands, no two
business men can arrange their mutual affairs and be sure that they are
not law-breakers. This is the main hindrance to the immediate and
permanent revival of American business. If German or English business
men, with all their disadvantages compared with our advantages, were
manacled by our Sherman law, as it stands, they soon would be bankrupt.
Indeed, foreign business men declare that, if their countries had such a
law, so administered, they could not do business at all.

Even this is not all. By the decrees of our courts, under the Sherman
law, the two mightiest trusts on earth have actually been licensed, in
the practical outcome, to go on doing every wrong they ever committed.
Under the decrees of the courts the Oil and Tobacco Trusts still can
raise prices unjustly and already have done so. They still can issue
watered stock and surely will do so. They still can throttle other
business men and the United Cigar Stores Company now is doing so. They
still can corrupt our politics and this moment are indulging in that

The people are tired of this mock battle with criminal capital. They do
not want to hurt business, but they do want to get something done about
the trust question that amounts to something. What good does it do any
man to read in his morning paper that the courts have “dissolved” the
Oil Trust, and then read in his evening paper that he must thereafter
pay a higher price for his oil than ever before? What good does it do
the laborer who smokes his pipe to be told that the courts have
“dissolved” the Tobacco Trust and yet find that he must pay the same or
a higher price for the same short-weight package of tobacco? Yet all
this is the practical result of the suits against these two greatest
trusts in the world.

Such business chaos and legal paradoxes as American business suffers
from can be found nowhere else in the world. Rival nations do not fasten
legal ball and chain upon their business–no, they put wings on its
flying feet. Rival nations do not tell their business men that if they
go forward with legitimate enterprise the penitentiary may be their
goal. No! Rival nations tell their business men that so long as they do
honest business their governments will not hinder but will help them.

But these rival nations do tell their business men that if they do any
evil that our business men do, prison bars await them. These rival
nations do tell their business men that if they issue watered stock or
cheat the people in any way, prison cells will be their homes.

Just this is what all honest American business wants; just this is what
dishonest American business does not want; just this is what the
American people propose to have; just this the national Republican
platform of 1908 pledged the people that we would give them; and just
this important pledge the administration, elected on that platform,
repudiated as it repudiated the more immediate tariff pledge.

Both these reforms, so vital to honest American business, the
Progressive party will accomplish. Neither evil interests nor reckless
demagogues can swerve us from our purpose; for we are free from both and
fear neither.

We mean to put new business laws on our statute books which will tell
American business men what they can do and what they cannot do. We mean
to make our business laws clear instead of foggy–to make them plainly
state just what things are criminal and what are lawful. And we mean
that the penalty for things criminal shall be prison sentences that
actually punish the real offender, instead of money fines that hurt
nobody but the people, who must pay them in the end.

And then we mean to send the message forth to hundreds of thousands of
brilliant minds and brave hearts engaged in honest business, that they
are not criminals but honorable men in their work to make good business
in this Republic. Sure of victory, we even now say, “Go forward,
American business men, and know that behind you, supporting you,
encouraging you, are the power and approval of the greatest people under
the sun. Go forward, American business men, and feed full the fires
beneath American furnaces; and give employment to every American laborer
who asks for work. Go forward, American business men, and capture the
markets of the world for American trade; and know that on the wings of
your commerce you carry liberty throughout the world and to every
inhabitant thereof. Go forward, American business men, and realize that
in the time to come it shall be said of you, as it is said of the hand
that rounded Peter’s Dome, ‘he builded better than he knew.'”

The next great business reform we must have to steadily increase
American prosperity is to change the method of building our tariffs. The
tariff must be taken out of politics and treated as a business question
instead of as a political question. Heretofore, we have done just the
other thing. That is why American business is upset every few years by
unnecessary tariff upheavals and is weakened by uncertainty in the
periods between. The greatest need of business is certainty; but the
only thing certain about our tariff is uncertainty.

What, then, shall we do to make our tariff changes strengthen business
instead of weakening business? Rival protective tariff nations have
answered that question. Common sense has answered it. Next to our need
to make the Sherman law modern, understandable and just, our greatest
fiscal need is a genuine, permanent, non-partisan tariff commission.

Five years ago, when the fight for this great business measure was begun
in the Senate the bosses of both parties were against it. So, when the
last revision of the tariff was on and a tariff commission might have
been written into the tariff law, the administration would not aid this
reform. When two years later the administration supported it weakly, the
bi-partisan boss system killed it. There has not been and will not be
any sincere and honest effort by the old parties to get a tariff
commission. There has not been and will not be any sincere and honest
purpose by those parties to take the tariff out of politics.

For the tariff in politics is the excuse for those sham political
battles which give the spoilers their opportunity. The tariff in
politics is one of the invisible government’s methods of wringing
tribute from the people. Through the tariff in politics the
beneficiaries of tariff excesses are cared for, no matter which party is

Who has forgotten the tariff scandals that made President Cleveland
denounce the Wilson-Gorman bill as “a perfidy and a dishonor?” Who ever
can forget the brazen robberies forced into the Payne-Aldrich bill which
Mr. Taft defended as “the best ever made?” If everyone else forgets
these things the interests that profited by them never will forget them.
The bosses and lobbyists that grew rich by putting them through never
will forget them. That is why the invisible government and its agents
want to keep the old method of tariff building. For, though such tariff
“revisions” may make lean years for the people, they make fat years for
the powers of pillage and their agents.

So neither of the old parties can honestly carry out any tariff policies
which they pledge the people to carry out. But even if they could and
even if they were sincere, the old party platforms are in error on
tariff policy. The Democratic platform declares for free trade; but free
trade is wrong and ruinous. The Republican platform permits extortion;
but tariff extortion is robbery by law. The Progressive party is for
honest protection; and honest protection is right and a condition of
American prosperity.

A tariff high enough to give American producers the American market when
they make honest goods and sell them at honest prices but low enough
that when they sell dishonest goods at dishonest prices, foreign
competition can correct both evils; a tariff high enough to enable
American producers to pay our workingmen American wages and so arranged
that the workingmen will get such wages; a business tariff whose changes
will be so made as to reassure business instead of disturbing it–this
is the tariff and the method of its making in which the Progressive
party believes, for which it does battle and which it proposes to write
into the laws of the land.

The Payne-Aldrich tariff law must be revised immediately in accordance
to these principles. At the same time a genuine, permanent, non-partisan
tariff commission must be fixed in the law as firmly as the Interstate
Commerce Commission. Neither of the old parties can do this work. For
neither of the old parties believes in such a tariff; and, what is more
serious, special privilege is too thoroughly woven into the fiber of
both old parties to allow them to make such a tariff. The Progressive
party only is free from these influences. The Progressive party only
believes in the sincere enactment of a sound tariff policy. The
Progressive party only can change the tariff as it must be changed.

These are samples of the reforms in the laws of business that we intend
to put on the Nation’s statute books. But there are other questions as
important and pressing that we mean to answer by sound and humane laws.
Child labor in factories, mills, mines and sweat-shops must be ended
throughout the Republic. Such labor is a crime against childhood because
it prevents the growth of normal manhood and womanhood. It is a crime
against the Nation because it prevents the growth of a host of children
into strong, patriotic and intelligent citizens.

Only the Nation can stop this industrial vice. The States cannot stop
it. The States never stopped any national wrong–and child labor is a
national wrong. To leave it to the State alone is unjust to business;
for if some States stop it and other States do not, business men of the
former are at a disadvantage with the business men of the latter,
because they must sell in the same market goods made by manhood labor at
manhood wages in competition with goods made by childhood labor at
childhood wages. To leave it to the States is unjust to manhood labor;
for childhood labor in any State lowers manhood labor in every State,
because the product of childhood labor in any State competes with the
product of manhood labor in every State. Children workers at the looms
in South Carolina means bayonets at the breasts of men and women workers
in Massachusetts who strike for living wages. Let the States do what
they can, and more power to their arm; but let the Nation do what it
should and cleanse our flag from this stain.

Modern industrialism has changed the status of women. Women now are wage
earners in factories, stores and other places of toil. In hours of labor
and all the physical conditions of industrial effort they must compete
with men. And they must do it at lower wages than men receive–wages
which, in most cases, are not enough for these women workers to live on.

This is inhuman and indecent. It is unsocial and uneconomic. It is
immoral and unpatriotic. Toward women the Progressive party proclaims
the chivalry of the State. We propose to protect women wage-earners by
suitable laws, an example of which is the minimum wage for women
workers–a wage which shall be high enough to at least buy clothing,
food and shelter for the woman toiler.

The care of the aged is one of the most perplexing problems of modern
life. How is the workingman with less than five hundred dollars a year,
and with earning power waning as his own years advance, to provide for
aged parents or other relatives in addition to furnishing food, shelter
and clothing for his wife and children? What is to become of the family
of the laboring man whose strength has been sapped by excessive toil and
who has been thrown upon the industrial scrap heap? It is questions
like these we must answer if we are to justify free institutions. They
are questions to which the masses of people are chained as to a body of
death. And they are questions which other and poorer nations are

We progressives mean that America shall answer them. The Progressive
party is the helping hand to those whom a vicious industrialism has
maimed and crippled. We are for the conservation of our natural
resources; but even more we are for the conservation of human life. Our
forests, water power and minerals are valuable and must be saved from
the spoilers; but men, women and children are more valuable and they,
too, must be saved from the spoilers.

Because women, as much as men, are a part of our economic and social
life, women, as much as men, should have the voting power to solve all
economic and social problems. Votes for women are theirs as a matter of
natural right alone; votes for women should be theirs as a matter of
political wisdom also. As wage-earners, they should help to solve the
labor problem; as property owners they should help to solve the tax
problem; as wives and mothers they should help to solve all the problems
that concern the home. And that means all national problems; for the
Nation abides at the fireside.

If it is said that women cannot help defend the Nation in time of war
and therefore that they should not help to determine the Nation’s
destinies in time of peace, the answer is that women suffer and serve in
time of conflict as much as men who carry muskets. And the deeper answer
is that those who bear the Nation’s soldiers are as much the Nation’s
defenders as their sons.

Public spokesmen for the invisible government say that many of our
reforms are unconstitutional. The same kind of men said the same thing
of every effort the Nation has made to end national abuses. But in every
case, whether in the courts, at the ballot box, or on the battlefield,
the vitality of the Constitution was vindicated.

The Progressive party believes that the Constitution is a living thing,
growing with the people’s growth, strengthening with the people’s
strength, aiding the people in their struggle for life, liberty and the
pursuit of happiness, permitting the people to meet all their needs as
conditions change. The opposition believes that the Constitution is a
dead form, holding back the people’s growth, shackling the people’s
strength but giving a free hand to malign powers that prey upon the
people. The first words of the Constitution are “We the people,” and
they declare that the Constitution’s purpose is “to form a perfect Union
and to promote the general welfare.” To do just that is the very heart
of the progressive cause.

The Progressive party asserts anew the vitality of the Constitution. We
believe in the true doctrine of states’ rights, which forbids the Nation
from interfering with states’ affairs, and also forbids the states from
interfering with national affairs. The combined intelligence and
composite conscience of the American people is as irresistible as it is
righteous; and the Constitution does not prevent that force from working
out the general welfare.

From certain sources we hear preachments about the danger of our reforms
to American institutions. What is the purpose of American institutions?
Why was this Republic established? What does the flag stand for? What do
these things mean?

They mean that the people shall be free to correct human abuses.

They mean that men, women and children shall not be denied the
opportunity to grow stronger and nobler.

They mean that the people shall have the power to make our land each day
a better place to live in.

They mean the realities of liberty and not the academics of theory.

They mean the actual progress of the race in tangible items of daily
living and not the theoretics of barren disputation.

If they do not mean these things they are as sounding brass and tinkling

A Nation of strong, upright men and women; a Nation of wholesome homes,
realizing the best ideals; a Nation whose power is glorified by its
justice and whose justice is the conscience of scores of millions of
God-fearing people–that is the Nation the people need and want. And
that is the Nation they shall have.

For never doubt that we Americans will make good the real meaning of our
institutions. Never doubt that we will solve, in righteousness and
wisdom, every vexing problem. Never doubt that in the end, the hand from
above that leads us upward will prevail over the hand from below that
drags us downward. Never doubt that we are indeed a Nation whose God is
the Lord.

And, so, never doubt that a braver, fairer, cleaner America surely will
come; that a better and brighter life for all beneath the flag surely
will be achieved. Those who now scoff soon will pray. Those who now
doubt soon will believe.

Soon the night will pass; and when, to the Sentinel on the ramparts of
Liberty the anxious ask: “Watchman, what of the night?” his answer will
be “Lo, the morn appeareth.”

Knowing the price we must pay, the sacrifice we must make, the burdens
we must carry, the assaults we must endure–knowing full well the
cost–yet we enlist, and we enlist for the war. For we know the justice
of our cause, and we know, too, its certain triumph.

Not reluctantly then, but eagerly, not with faint hearts but strong, do
we now advance upon the enemies of the people. For the call that comes
to us is the call that came to our fathers. As they responded so shall

“He hath sounded forth a trumpet that shall never call retreat,
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat.
Oh, be swift our souls to answer Him, be jubilant our feet,
Our God is marching on.”



I am astonished that so many people should care to hear this story over
again. Indeed, this lecture has become a study in psychology; it often
breaks all rules of oratory, departs from the precepts of rhetoric, and
yet remains the most popular of any lecture I have delivered in the
forty-four years of my public life. I have sometimes studied for a year
upon a lecture and made careful research, and then presented the lecture
just once–never delivered it again. I put too much work on it. But this
had no work on it–thrown together perfectly at random, spoken offhand
without any special preparation, and it succeeds when the thing we
study, work over, adjust to a plan, is an entire failure.

The “Acres of Diamonds” which I have mentioned through so many years are
to be found in Philadelphia, and you are to find them. Many have found
them. And what man has done, man can do. I could not find anything
better to illustrate my thought than a story I have told over and over
again, and which is now found in books in nearly every library.

In 1870 we went down the Tigris River. We hired a guide at Bagdad to
show us Persepolis, Nineveh and Babylon, and the ancient countries of
Assyria as far as the Arabian Gulf. He was well acquainted with the
land, but he was one of those guides who love to entertain their
patrons; he was like a barber that tells you many stories in order to
keep your mind off the scratching and the scraping. He told me so many
stories that I grew tired of his telling them and I refused to
listen–looked away whenever he commenced; that made the guide quite
angry. I remember that toward evening he took his Turkish cap off his
head and swung it around in the air. The gesture I did not understand
and I did not dare look at him for fear I should become the victim of
another story. But, although I am not a woman, I did look, and the
instant I turned my eyes upon that worthy guide he was off again. Said
he, “I will tell you a story now which reserve for my particular
friends!” So then, counting myself a particular friend, I listened, and
I have always been glad I did.

He said there once lived not far from the River Indus an ancient Persian
by the name of Al Hafed. He said that Al Hafed owned a very large farm
with orchards, grain fields and gardens. He was a contented and wealthy
man–contented because he was wealthy, and wealthy because he was
contented. One day there visited this old farmer one of those ancient
Buddhist priests, and he sat down by Al Hafed’s fire and told that old
farmer how this world of ours was made. He said that this world was once
a mere bank of fog, which is scientifically true, and he said that the
Almighty thrust his finger into the bank of fog and then began slowly to
move his finger around and gradually to increase the speed of his finger
until at last he whirled that bank of fog into a solid ball of fire, and
it went rolling through the universe, burning its way through other
cosmic banks of fog, until it condensed the moisture without, and fell
in floods of rain upon the heated surface and cooled the outward crust.
Then the internal flames burst through the cooling crust and threw up
the mountains and made the hills of the valley of this wonderful world
of ours. If this internal melted mass burst out and copied very quickly
it became granite; that which cooled less quickly became silver; and
less quickly, gold; and after gold diamonds were made. Said the old
priest, “A diamond is a congealed drop of sunlight.”

This is a scientific truth also. You all know that a diamond is pure
carbon, actually deposited sunlight–and he said another thing I would
not forget: he declared that a diamond is the last and highest of God’s
mineral creations, as a woman is the last and highest of God’s animal
creations. I suppose that is the reason why the two have such a liking
for each other. And the old priest told Al Hafed that if he had a
handful of diamonds he could purchase a whole country, and with a mine
of diamonds he could place his children upon thrones through the
influence of their great wealth. Al Hafed heard all about diamonds and
how much they were worth, and went to his bed that night a poor man–not
that he had lost anything, but poor because he was discontented and
discontented because he thought he was poor. He said: “I want a mine of
diamonds!” So he lay awake all night, and early in the morning sought
out the priest. Now I know from experience that a priest when awakened
early in the morning is cross. He awoke that priest out of his dreams
and said to him, “Will you tell me where I can find diamonds?” The
priest said, “Diamonds? What do you want with diamonds?” “I want to be
immensely rich,” said Al Hafed, “but I don’t know where to go.” “Well,”
said the priest, “if you will find a river that runs over white sand
between high mountains, in those sands you will always see diamonds.”
“Do you really believe that there is such a river?” “Plenty of them,
plenty of them; all you have to do is just go and find them, then you
have them.” Al Hafed said, “I will go.” So he sold his farm, collected
his money at interest, left his family in charge of a neighbor, and away
he went in search of diamonds. He began very properly, to my mind, at
the Mountains of the Moon. Afterwards he went around into Palestine,
then wandered on into Europe, and at last when his money was all spent,
and he was in rags, wretchedness and poverty, he stood on the shore of
that bay in Barcelona, Spain, when a tidal wave came rolling through the
Pillars of Hercules and the poor afflicted, suffering man could not
resist the awful temptation to cast himself into that incoming tide, and
he sank beneath its foaming crest, never to rise in this life again.

When that old guide had told me that very sad story, he stopped the
camel I was riding and went back to fix the baggage on one of the other
camels, and I remember thinking to myself, “Why did he reserve that for
his _particular friends_?” There seemed to be no beginning, middle or
end–nothing to it. That was the first story I ever heard told or read
in which the hero was killed in the first chapter. I had but one chapter
of that story and the hero was dead. When the guide came back and took
up the halter of my camel again, he went right on with the same story.
He said that Al Hafed’s successor led his camel out into the garden to
drink, and as that camel put its nose down into the clear water of the
garden brook Al Hafed’s successor noticed a curious flash of light from
the sands of the shallow stream, and reaching in he pulled out a black
stone having an eye of light that reflected all the colors of the
rainbow, and he took that curious pebble into the house and left it on
the mantel, then went on his way and forgot all about it. A few days
after that, this same old priest who told Al Hafed how diamonds were
made, came in to visit his successor, when he saw that flash of light
from the mantel. He rushed up and said, “Here is a diamond–here is a
diamond! Has Al Hafed returned?” “No, no; Al Hafed has not returned and
that is not a diamond; that is nothing but a stone; we found it right
out here in our garden.” “But I know a diamond when I see it,” said he;
“that is a diamond!”

Then together they rushed to the garden and stirred up the white sands
with their fingers and found others more beautiful, more valuable
diamonds than the first, and thus, said the guide to me, were discovered
the diamond mines of Golconda, the most magnificent diamond mines in all
the history of mankind, exceeding the Kimberley in its value. The great
Kohinoor diamond in England’s crown jewels and the largest crown diamond
on earth in Russia’s crown jewels, which I had often hoped she would
have to sell before they had peace with Japan, came from that mine, and
when the old guide had called my attention to that wonderful discovery
he took his Turkish cap off his head again and swung it around in the
air to call my attention to the moral. Those Arab guides have a moral to
each story, though the stories are not always moral. He said, had Al
Hafed remained at home and dug in his own cellar or in his own garden,
instead of wretchedness, starvation, poverty and death in a strange
land, he would have had “acres of diamonds”–for every acre, yes, every
shovelful of that old farm afterwards revealed the gems which since have
decorated the crowns of monarchs. When he had given the moral to his
story, I saw why he had reserved this story for his “particular
friends.” I didn’t tell him I could see it; I was not going to tell that
old Arab that I could see it. For it was that mean old Arab’s way of
going around a thing, like a lawyer, and saying indirectly what he did
not dare say directly, that there was a certain young man that day
traveling down the Tigris River that might better be at home in America.
I didn’t tell him I could see it.

I told him his story reminded me of one, and I told it to him quick. I
told him about that man out in California, who, in 1847, owned a ranch
out there. He read that gold had been discovered in Southern California,
and he sold his ranch to Colonel Sutter and started off to hunt for
gold. Colonel Sutter put a mill on the little stream in that farm and
one day his little girl brought some wet sand from the raceway of the
mill into the house and placed it before the fire to dry, and as that
sand was falling through the little girl’s fingers a visitor saw the
first shining scales of real gold that were ever discovered in
California; and the man who wanted the gold had sold this ranch and gone
away, never to return. I delivered this lecture two years ago in
California, in the city that stands near that farm, and they told me
that the mine is not exhausted yet, and that a one-third owner of that
farm has been getting during these recent years twenty dollars of gold
every fifteen minutes of his life, sleeping or waking. Why, you and I
would enjoy an income like that!

But the best illustration that I have now of this thought was found here
in Pennsylvania. There was a man living in Pennsylvania who owned a farm
here and he did what I should do if I had a farm in Pennsylvania–he
sold it. But before he sold it he concluded to secure employment
collecting coal oil for his cousin in Canada. They first discovered coal
oil there. So this farmer in Pennsylvania decided that he would apply
for a position with his cousin in Canada. Now, you see, this farmer was
not altogether a foolish man. He did not leave his farm until he had
something else to do. Of all the simpletons the stars shine on there is
none more foolish than a man who leaves one job before he has obtained
another. And that has especial reference to gentlemen of my profession,
and has no reference to a man seeking a divorce. So I say this old
farmer did not leave one job until he had obtained another. He wrote to
Canada, but his cousin replied that he could not engage him because he
did not know anything about the oil business. “Well, then,” said he, “I
will understand it.” So he set himself at the study of the whole
subject. He began at the second day of the creation, he studied the
subject from the primitive vegetation to the coal oil stage, until he
knew all about it. Then he wrote to his cousin and said, “Now I
understand the oil business.” And his cousin replied to him, “All right,
then, come on.”

That man, by the record of the county, sold his farm for eight hundred
and thirty-three dollars–even money, “no cents.” He had scarcely gone
from that farm before the man who purchased it went out to arrange for
the watering the cattle and he found that the previous owner had
arranged the matter very nicely. There is a stream running down the
hillside there, and the previous owner had gone out and put a plank
across that stream at an angle, extending across the brook and down
edgewise a few inches under the surface of the water. The purpose of the
plank across that brook was to throw over to the other bank a
dreadful-looking scum through which the cattle would not put their noses
to drink above the plank, although they would drink the water on one
side below it. Thus that man who had gone to Canada had been himself
damming back for twenty-three years a flow of coal oil which the State
Geologist of Pennsylvania declared officially, as early as 1870, was
then worth to our State a hundred millions of dollars. The city of
Titusville now stands on that farm and those Pleasantville wells flow
on, and that farmer who had studied all about the formation of oil since
the second day of God’s creation clear down to the present time, sold
that farm for $833, no cents–again I say, “no sense.”

But I need another illustration, and I found that in Massachusetts, and
I am sorry I did, because that is my old State. This young man I mention
went out of the State to study–went down to Yale College and studied
Mines and Mining. They paid him fifteen dollars a week during his last
year for training students who were behind their classes in mineralogy,
out of hours, of course, while pursuing his own studies. But when he
graduated they raised his pay from fifteen dollars to forty-five dollars
and offered him a professorship. Then he went straight home to his
mother and said, “Mother, I won’t work for forty-five dollars a week.
What is forty-five dollars a week for a man with a brain like mine!
Mother, let’s go out to California and stake out gold claims and be
immensely rich.” “Now,” said his mother, “it is just as well to be happy
as it is to be rich.”

But as he was the only son he had his way–they always do; and they
sold out in Massachusetts and went to Wisconsin, where he went into the
employ of the Superior Copper Mining Company, and he was lost from sight
in the employ of that company at fifteen dollars a week again. He was
also to have an interest in any mines that he should discover for that
company. But I do not believe that he has ever discovered a mine–I do
not know anything about it, but I do not believe he has. I know he had
scarcely gone from the old homestead before the farmer who had bought
the homestead went out to dig potatoes, and as he was bringing them in
in a large basket through the front gateway, the ends of the stone wall
came so near together at the gate that the basket hugged very tight. So
he set the basket on the ground and pulled, first on one side and then
on the other side. Our farms in Massachusetts are mostly stone walls,
and the farmers have to be economical with their gateways in order to
have some place to put the stones. That basket hugged so tight there
that as he was hauling it through he noticed in the upper stone next the
gate a block of native silver, eight inches square; and this professor
of mines and mining and mineralogy, who would not work for forty-five
dollars a week, when he sold that homestead in Massachusetts, sat right
on that stone to make the bargain. He was brought up there; he had gone
back and forth by that piece of silver, rubbed it with his sleeve, and
it seemed to say, “Come now, now, now, here is a hundred thousand
dollars. Why not take me?” But he would not take it. There was no silver
in Newburyport; it was all away off–well, I don’t know where; he
didn’t, but somewhere else–and he was a professor of mineralogy.

I do not know of anything I would enjoy better than to take the whole
time to-night telling of blunders like that I have heard professors
make. Yet I wish I knew what that man is doing out there in Wisconsin. I
can imagine him out there, as he sits by his fireside, and he is saying
to his friends, “Do you know that man Conwell that lives in
Philadelphia?” “Oh, yes, I have heard of him.” “And do you know that man
Jones that lives in that city?” “Yes, I have heard of him.” And then he
begins to laugh and laugh and says to his friends, “They have done the
same thing I did, precisely.” And that spoils the whole joke, because
you and I have done it.

Ninety out of every hundred people here have made that mistake this very
day. I say you ought to be rich; you have no right to be poor. To live
in Philadelphia and not be rich is a misfortune, and it is doubly a
misfortune, because you could have been rich just as well as be poor.
Philadelphia furnishes so many opportunities. You ought to be rich. But
persons with certain religious prejudice will ask, “How can you spend
your time advising the rising generation to give their time to getting
money–dollars and cents–the commercial spirit?”

Yet I must say that you ought to spend time getting rich. You and I know
there are some things more valuable than money; of course, we do. Ah,
yes! By a heart made unspeakably sad by a grave on which the autumn
leaves now fall, I know there are some things higher and grander and
sublimer than money. Well does the man know, who has suffered, that
there are some things sweeter and holier and more sacred than gold.
Nevertheless, the man of common sense also knows that there is not any
one of those things that is not greatly enhanced by the use of money.
Money is power. Love is the grandest thing on God’s earth, but fortunate
the lover who has plenty of money. Money is power; money has powers; and
for a man to say, “I do not want money,” is to say, “I do not wish to do
any good to my fellowmen.” It is absurd thus to talk. It is absurd to
disconnect them. This is a wonderfully great life, and you ought to
spend your time getting money, because of the power there is in money.
And yet this religious prejudice is so great that some people think it
is a great honor to be one of God’s poor. I am looking in the faces of
people who think just that way. I heard a man once say in a prayer
meeting that he was thankful that he was one of God’s poor, and then I
silently wondered what his wife would say to that speech, as she took in
washing to support the man while he sat and smoked on the veranda. I
don’t want to see any more of that land of God’s poor. Now, when a man
could have been rich just as well, and he is now weak because he is
poor, he has done some great wrong; he has been untruthful to himself;
he has been unkind to his fellowmen. We ought to get rich if we can by
honorable and Christian methods, and these are the only methods that
sweep us quickly toward the goal of riches.

I remember, not many years ago a young theological student who came into
my office and said to me that he thought it was his duty to come in and
“labor with me.” I asked him what had happened, and he said: “I feel it
is my duty to come in and speak to you, sir, and say that the Holy
Scriptures declare that money is the root of all evil.” I asked him
where he found that saying, and he said he found it in the Bible. I
asked him whether he had made a new Bible, and he said, no, he had not
gotten a new Bible, that it was in the old Bible. “Well,” I said, “if it
is in my Bible, I never saw it. Will you please get the text-book and
let me see it?” He left the room and soon came stalking in with his
Bible open, with all the bigoted pride of the narrow sectarian, who
founds his creed on some misinterpretation of Scripture, and he put the
Bible down on the table before me and fairly squealed into my ear,
“There it is. You can read it for yourself.” I said to him, “Young man,
you will learn, when you get a little older, that you cannot trust
another denomination to read the Bible for you.” I said, “Now, you
belong to another denomination. Please read it to me, and remember that
you are taught in a school where emphasis is exegesis.” So he took the
Bible and read it: “The _love_ of money is the root of all evil.” Then
he had it right. The Great Book has come back into the esteem and love
of the people, and into the respect of the greatest minds of earth, and
now you can quote it and rest your life and your death on it without
more fear. So, when he quoted right from the Scriptures he quoted the
truth. “The love of money is the root of all evil.” Oh, that is it. It
is the worship of the means instead of the end, though you cannot reach
the end without the means. When a man makes an idol of the money instead
of the purposes for which it may be used, when he squeezes the dollar
until the eagle squeals, then it is made the root of all evil. Think, if
you only had the money, what you could do for your wife, your child, and
for your home and your city. Think how soon you could endow the Temple
College yonder if you only had the money and the disposition to give it;
and yet, my friend, people say you and I should not spend the time
getting rich. How inconsistent the whole thing is. We ought to be rich,
because money has power. I think the best thing for me to do is to
illustrate this, for if I say you ought to get rich, I ought, at least,
to suggest how it is done. We get a prejudice against rich men because
of the lies that are told about them. The lies that are told about Mr.
Rockefeller because he has two hundred million dollars–so many believe
them; yet how false is the representation of that man to the world. How
little we can tell what is true nowadays when newspapers try to sell
their papers entirely on some sensation! The way they lie about the rich
men is something terrible, and I do not know that there is anything to
illustrate this better than what the newspapers now say about the city
of Philadelphia. A young man came to me the other day and said, “If Mr.
Rockefeller, as you think, is a good man, why is it that everybody says
so much against him?” It is because he has gotten ahead of us; that is
the whole of it–just gotten ahead of us. Why is it Mr. Carnegie is
criticised so sharply by an envious world? Because he has gotten more
than we have. If a man knows more than I know, don’t I incline to
criticise somewhat his learning? Let a man stand in a pulpit and preach
to thousands, and if I have fifteen people in my church, and they’re all
asleep, don’t I criticise him? We always do that to the man who gets
ahead of us. Why, the man you are criticising has one hundred millions,
and you have fifty cents, and both of you have just what you are worth.
One of the richest men in this country came into my home and sat down in
my parlor and said: “Did you see all those lies about my family in the
paper?” “Certainly I did; I knew they were lies when I saw them.” “Why
do they lie about me the way they do?” “Well,” I said to him, “if you
will give me your check for one hundred millions, I will take all the
lies along with it.” “Well,” said he, “I don’t see any sense in their
thus talking about my family and myself. Conwell, tell me frankly, what
do you think the American people think of me?” “Well,” said I, “they
think you are the blackest-hearted villain that ever trod the soil!”
“But what can I do about it?” There is nothing he can do about it, and
yet he is one of the sweetest Christian men I ever knew. If you get a
hundred millions you will have the lies; you will be lied about, and you
can judge your success in any line by the lies that are told about you.
I say that you ought to be rich. But there are ever coming to me young
men who say, “I would like to go into business, but I cannot.” “Why
not?” “Because I have no capital to begin on.” Capital, capital to begin
on! What! young man! Living in Philadelphia and looking at this wealthy
generation, all of whom began as poor boys, and you want capital to
begin on? It is fortunate for you that you have no capital. I am glad
you have no money. I pity a rich man’s son. A rich man’s son in these
days of ours occupies a very difficult position. They are to be pitied.
A rich man’s son cannot know the very best things in human life. He
cannot. The statistics of Massachusetts show us that not one out of
seventeen rich men’s sons ever die rich. They are raised in luxury, they
die in poverty. Even if a rich man’s son retains his father’s money even
then he cannot know the best things of life.

A young man in our college yonder asked me to formulate for him what I
thought was the happiest hour in a man’s history, and I studied it long
and came back convinced that the happiest hour that any man ever sees in
any earthly matter is when a young man takes his bride over the
threshold of the door, for the first time, of the house he himself has
earned and built, when he turns to his bride and with an eloquence
greater than any language of mine, he sayeth to his wife, “My loved one,
I earned this home myself; I earned it all. It is all mine, and I divide
it with thee.” That is the grandest moment a human heart may ever see.
But a rich man’s son cannot know that. He goes into a finer mansion, it
may be, but he is obliged to go through the house and say, “Mother gave
me this, mother gave me that, my mother gave me that, my mother gave me
that,” until his wife wishes she had married his mother. Oh, I pity a
rich man’s son. I do. Until he gets so far along in his dudeism that he
gets his arms up like that and can’t get them down. Didn’t you ever see
any of them astray at Atlantic City? I saw one of these scarecrows once
and I never tire thinking about it. I was at Niagara Falls lecturing,
and after the lecture I went to the hotel, and when I went up to the
desk there stood there a millionaire’s son from New York. He was an
indescribable specimen of anthropologic potency. He carried a
gold-headed cane under his arm–more in its head than he had in his. I
do not believe I could describe the young man if I should try. But still
I must say that he wore an eye-glass he could not see through; patent
leather shoes he could not walk in, and pants he could not sit down
in–dressed like a grasshopper! Well, this human cricket came up to the
clerk’s desk just as I came in. He adjusted his unseeing eye-glass in
this wise and lisped to the clerk, because it’s “Hinglish, you know,” to
lisp: “Thir, thir, will you have the kindness to fuhnish me with thome
papah and thome envelopehs!” The clerk measured that man quick, and he
pulled out a drawer and took some envelopes and paper and cast them
across the counter and turned away to his books. You should have seen
that specimen of humanity when the paper and envelopes came across the
counter–he whose wants had always been anticipated by servants. He
adjusted his unseeing eye-glass and he yelled after that clerk: “Come
back here, thir, come right back here. Now, thir, will you order a
thervant to take that papah and thothe envelopes and carry them to
yondah dethk.” Oh, the poor miserable, contemptible American monkey! He
couldn’t carry paper and envelopes twenty feet. I suppose he could not
get his arms down. I have no pity for such travesties of human nature.
If you have no capital, I am glad of it. You don’t need capital; you
need common sense, not copper cents.

A.T. Stewart, the great princely merchant of New York, the richest man
in America in his time, was a poor boy; he had a dollar and a half and
went into the mercantile business. But he lost eighty-seven and a half
cents of his first dollar and a half because he bought some needles and
thread and buttons to sell, which people didn’t want.

Are you poor? It is because you are not wanted and are left on your own
hands. There was the great lesson. Apply it whichever way you will it
comes to every single person’s life, young or old. He did not know what
people needed, and consequently bought something they didn’t want and
had the goods left on his hands a dead loss. A.T. Stewart learned there
the great lesson of his mercantile life and said, “I will nev