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iTlHE endowments, both natural and acquired, essen-*- tial to the formation of a finished debater, are rare and various. Few, accordingly, ever reach the highest distinction in deliberative oratory.
But, by reasonable study and practice, every person of ordinary ability may easily acquire such skill in debating, as will enable him to acquit himself decently, if not handsomely, in a public assembly. This being the case, it becomes the interest, because it is the duty, of every American youth to prepare himself, as best he can, to figure advantageously in deliberative bodies.
In so doing, however, some guidance seems necessary; for, as he that travels, in foreign lands, without a guide, is apt to travel to very little purpose, so he that labors to become a good debater, without suitable direction, is most likely to miss the aim of his best endeavors. He ought, at least, definitely to ascertain what defects he is to cure, what errors he should avoid.
To give this information, to be, in short, a sort of friendly guide to the principles and practice of debating in public, the following pages are designed. They assume that the young debater ought to know what is peculiar to the line of speaking, in which he wishes to excel, and that in order to understand that, one way (among many) is to consider the relations which it sustains to the several other great branches of public eloquence.
Accordingly, the question is raised,—" What is a good debater?1'' and, by way of answer, the special province of deliberative eloquence is carefully marked out, and the chief qualifications for an able deliberative orator given in detail.
But, as among the qualifications set down as necessary to success in debating, extemporaneous speaking is particularly specified, because it is of the highest importance, the section next in order is devoted exclusively to that subject.
The young debater may, however, be seriously embarrassed by a want of acquaintance with those rules of order which are in general use in deliberative assemblies. Hence, a large portion of the work is occupied with a course of instruction, in the form of question and answer, designed to render him familiar with what is aptly called the common code of Parliamentary law.
But, when well provided in all other respects, there is a particular duty implied and involved in the very act of undertaking publicly to discuss a question, in the performance of which some aid or advice may be necessary. That duty is to study how best to treat the question; and, therefore, under the caption, "Management of a Question" the student will find some directions that may prove both, timely and serviceable.
To gratify those who might expect to find in the book the form of a debate in full, two questions have been proposed and formally discussed. This has been done, moreover, under the impression that some idea of the modes of attack and defense, usual in debate, some notion of the modus operandi in general, might be better conveyed in this way than in any other.
The full debates are followed by a series of skeleton or outline debates; that is, questions with a summary of arguments, or rather considerations on both sides, designed merely to intimate certain lines of thought, that may be varied and extended by the reader's own reflections.
Next, in order, follows a series of questions, with references, under each, to authorities or sources of information on the matters, concerning which they challenge dispute.
After these, is inserted an extensive list of debatable questions, in respect to which the reader is left to act as an independent reasoner: thinking and consulting as his judgment and intelligence may direct.
To serve the convenience of those who may, perhaps, for the first time, be appointed to draft Eules and Eegulations for a Debating or Literary Society, the last Section of the work is devoted to the presentation of two different forms of a Constitution and By-Laws, suitable for such an association.
WHAT IS A GOOD DEBATEE?
rpO estimate the importance of being a good debater, -*- or ascertain the qualifications essential to that character, it is necessary briefly to consider the aim and scope of deliberative eloquence.
All public speaking, except that of the pulpit,* considered in reference to its aim, falls under one or other of these three ancient divisions,—Demonstrative+Judicial, or Deliberative.
The demonstrative has its place where great events or great persons are to be celebrated. It employs, upon occasion, the language of invective, but its particular province is elaborate eulogy. Its appropriate times are the memorable anniversaries, the days of great public solemnity, the extraordinary occasions, whatever their name or their nature, whereon men meet to mingle and express their common sympathies. It is expected to display the riches of rhetoric, and to exert every force and every fascination of oratory. Its strong appeal is to the heart. Its purpose is the praise of virtue or the reprobation of vice.
* Pulpit eloquence is here excepted, because it does not properly fall under any one of these three heads, but, in reality, embraces the leading features of them all.
f The term demonstrative (from the Latin demonstro, to show or point out clearly), is here used, as among the Latin rhetoricians, to signify what is showy, or abounding in show or ornament, i. e. laudatory, glorifying.
The judicial is that which is engaged in the litigation of causes, in the adjustment of disputed rights, in the determination of guilt or innocence. Its scene is the court-house. It is, in style, clear, direct, and logical. It deals in law and evidence, sifts and weighs testimony, and labors every way to convince the understanding. In short, its appeal is to the head, its aim the administration of justice.
The deliberative is that which is employed where propositions, after being duly discussed, are finally to be adopted or rejected, according to the pleasure of the assembly. It differs from the demonstrative and the judicial, both in the end which it seeks, and the means which it employs for the attainment of that end.
The demonstrative, as before intimated, begins and ends in display. It abounds in ornament; it awakens emotion; it delights the imagination; it exhibits the virtues of its subject, but no less exhibits the resources of rhetoric and the talents of the orator. But here its mission closes. It looks to no definite resulting action in the body addressed.
The judicial, unlike the demonstrative, avoids every appearance of show, or endeavor. It relies upon facts, evidence, positive statute; counts little upon appeals to the emotional nature; but demands a verdict, not