« PreviousContinue »
FRANCES E. WILLARD
woman in the nation has done inore for the good of her fellows than Frances E. Willard, and her name should be honored in our memories.
SAFEGUARDS FOR WOMEN [Miss Willard's voice was often heard in telling appeals for the cause she had most at heart, and for its sister cause, woman suffrage, since she looked to the possession of the ballot by women as an efficient aid in promoting the cause of temper
From an address delivered in Philadelphia in 1876 we make the following characteristic selection.]
Longer ago than I shall tell, my father returned one night to the faroff Wisconsin home where I was reared, and, sitting by my mother's chair, with a child's attentive ear I listened to their words. He told us of the news that day had brought about Neal Dow, and the great fight for Prohibition down in Maine, and then he said: “I wonder if poor, rumcursed Wisconsin will ever get a law like that!” And mother rocked awhile in silence, in the dear old chair I love, and then she gently said : “Yes, Josiah, there'll be such a law all over the land some day, when women vote.''
My father had never heard her say as much before. He was a great conservative; so he looked tremendously astonished, and replied in his keen, sarcastic voice : “And pray, how will you arrange it so that women shall vote ?" Mother's chair went to and fro a little faster for a minute, and then, looking not into his face, but into the flickering flames of the grate, she slowly answered: “Well, I say to you, as the Apostle Paul said to his jailor : 'You have put us into prison, we being Romans, and you must come and take us out.'
That was a seed-thought in a girl's brain and heart. Years passed on, in which nothing more was said upon the dangerous theme. My brother grew to manhood, and soon after he was twenty-one years old he went with father to vote. Standing by the window, a girl of sixteen years, a girl of simple, homely fancies, not at all strong-minded, and altogether ignorant of the world, I looked out as they drove away, my father and brother, and as I looked I felt a strange ache in my heart, and tears sprang to my eyes. Turning to my sister Mary, who stood beside me, I saw that the dear little innocent seemed wonderfully sober, too. I said,
Don't you wish that we could go with them when we are old enough? Don't we love our country just as well as they do?'' and her little frightened voice piped out: “ Yes, of course we ought. Don't I know that; but you mustn't tell a soul--not mother, even ; we should be called strongminded."
In all the years since then, I have kept those things, and many others like them, and pondered them in my heart; but two years of struggle in
Speakers on Festive Occasions
MONG the various incitements to oratory, we
cannot neglect that of the social hall—the
banquet, or other occasion of high festivityin which those capable of "speaking on their feet” are often called upon to add to the enjoyment of the assembled guests. While ceremonial banquets are frequently made the occasion for sober pronouncements on topics of national interest, the after-dinner speech, as a rule, is of a light and amusing character. Even if the speaker has a lesson to teach, an opinion to promulgate, he seeks to interlard his serious sentences with sauce for laughter. The covert satire, the open jest, the merry anecdote are then much in evidence, and the most admired speaker on such an occasion is he who has the art of illuminating his moral with words of mirth, and is best capable of sharpening with wit or mellowing with humor the points of serious intent which he may desire to make. In the following selections of social oratory we have sought to conform to the ruling spirit of such occasio that of the light touch and the mirthful allusion. Oratory in its more famous examples appeals to the deeper strata of human thought. In the present section, therefore, we have confined our choice to speakers admired for mirth-provoking language, as a foil to the gravity and weight of much of the other material offered. While these, as a rule, cannot justly be classed among the world's great orators, they occupy a distinct and interesting place in the oratorial domain.
CHAUNCEY M. DEPEW (1834 -)
THE ORACLE OF HUMOR
S the pioneer in our list of social orators we cannot do better
than select one who ranks as the most famous of them all,
Chauncey M. Depew, a man whose unctious humor and rollicking anecdotes have probably set more men roaring with laughter than any other public speaker of the last years of the nineteenth century and the openning of the twentieth. Depew can be serious upon
He would scarcely, for instance, be guilty of a joke within the decorous Senate chamber.
Depew, a native of New York State, and a graduate of Yale, became a railroad lawyer, a railroad vice-president, and a railroad president in succession. Since 1885 he has controlled the destinies of the New York Central and the West Shore roads. His public duties have included the office of Secretary of State for New York, and of Minister to Japan. He refused a United States Senatorship offered him by the New York legislature in 1884, had the honor of receiving one hundred votes for the presidential nomination in the National Republican Convention of 1888, and in 1899 was elected to the Senate of the United States from New York. His rich gift of oratory has, doubtless much to do with his successes in the political field.
THE NEW NETHERLANDERS [The New England Society, an association founded in honor of the landing of the Pilgrims, has spread itself widely over the United States, wherever the sons of the Pilgrims and Puritans have migrated from their native soil. New York boasts a flourishing outgrowth from the parent society; Philadelphia has its representative brauch ; and various other cities, even as far south as New Orleans, are thus honored. The main public evidence of the existence of the Society is its annual banquet, given on the 22d of December. The Pilgrims, the date of whose landing is thus honored, set foot on Plymouth Rock on December 11th. But this date belongs to the old style
DEMOSTHENES THE GREEK AND CICERO THE ROMAN