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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1855, by
JAMES N. McELLIGOTT,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Southern District of
STBBHOTYPBD BY PRINTED BY
THOMAS B. SMITH, J. D. TORREY,
84 Beekman St. N. Y. 18 Spruce Street.
npHE aim of this work is not novelty, but utility. Its merit, therefore, if any it has, consists not in the development of new ideas and principles, but rather in working into shape, convenient for reference and for teaching, materials which, in some form or other, every one should have, who aspires to be a good debater.
That the youth of our country ought to be conversant with the principles and practice of public debate, that is, ought to be instructed in the arts of speaking and in the modes of proceeding proper to a deliberative assembly, will immediately appear, if we but consider the important interests, social, civil and religious, which often hang upon the decisions of bodies of this nature. The time has come, when public speaking, not that alone which is the result of careful premeditation, but that, especially, which, in order to defend truth in the moment of her danger, must itself be the offspring of the moment, can be no otherwise considered than as a necessary preparation for the active duties of life.
To those, therefore, who feel the force of this sentiment, to all, in short, who, for any cause, deem it wise to fit and furnish themselves for effective service in public discussion, this volume is offered; not as exhausting the subject, or introducing everything that might be desired in the case, but as affording important, if not essential, aid.
To those instructors who hold, with the author, that debates, oral or written, or both, are quite legitimate scholastic exercises, and better calculated than most other exercises in speaking and writing, to awaken interest and secure proficiency, this work is commended as a suitable text-book, wherewith the subject may be brought up in regular recitations, and the precepts inculcated immediately reduced to practice.
To those, finally, who have passed the precincts of youth, and have had, or are anxious to have, some practical skill in doing what is requisite to be done in deliberative assemblies, the author ventures to tender the following pages, as containing such hints, and suggestions, and instructions, respecting the qualifications of a good debater, and the rules of order in the transaction of business, as may render it, perchance, a valuable book of reference.
Such is the design of the present publication. Its plan, which may be discovered at a glance, is perfectly simple; for it aspires to no higher office than that of being a plain, though reliable guide in the matters, whereof it undertakes to speak.