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Register of People, Places and Opinions.” As an orator she had singularly fine powers, being a mistress of sarcasm, pathos and wit, and possessing excellent judgment and faculty of logical analysis, combined with that dramatic fervor of eloquence which is necessary to successful oratory.
WHY COLORED MEN SHOULD ENLIST [At a meeting held at Philadelphia in 1863, to promote the enlistment of colored men in the army, speeches were made by Judge Kelley and Frederick Douglass. But the oratorical feature of the occasion was the stirring appeal of Anna Dickinson. The warrant for the enthusiasm it aroused is evident in the following extract from her speech.]
True, through the past we have advocated the use of the black man. For what end ? To save ourselves. We wanted them as shields, as barriers, as walls of defence. We would not even say to them, fight beside us. We would put them in the front—their brains contracted, their souls dwarfed, their manhood stunted-mass them together ; let them die ! That will cover and protect us. Now we hear the voice of the people, solemn and sorrowful, saying, “We have wronged you enough ; you have suffered enough; we ask no more at your hands; we stand aside, and let you fight for your own manhood, your future, your race.” AngloAfricans, we need you ; yet it is not because of this need that I ask you to go into the ranks of the regiments forming to fight in this war. My cheeks would crimson with shame, while my lips put the request that could be answered, “Your soldiers ? why don't you give us the same bounty, and the same pay as the rest?” I have no reply to that. But for yourselves; because, after ages of watching and agony, your day is breaking; because your hour is come; because you hold the hammer which, upheld or falling, decides your destiny for woe or weal; because you have reached the point from which you must sink, generation after generation, century after century, into deeper depths, into more absolute degradation; or mount to the heights of glory and fame.]
The cause needs you. This is not our war, not a war for territory ; not a war for martial power, for mere victory; it is a war of the races, of the ages; the Stars and Stripes is the people's flag of the world ; the world must be gathered under its folds, the black man beside the white.
Thirteen dollars a month and bounty are good ; liberty is better. Ten dollars a month and no bounty is bad, slavery is worse. The two alternatives are before you ; you make your own future. The to-be will, in a little while, do you justice. Soldiers will be proud to welcome as comrades, as brothers, the black men of Port Hudson and Milliken's
Bend. Congress, next winter, will look out through the fog and mist of Washington, and will see how, when Pennsylvania was invaded and Philadelphia threatened, while white men haggled over bounty and double pay to defend their own city, their own homes, with the tread of armed rebels almost heard in their streets ; black men, without bounty, without pay, without rights or the promise of any, rushed to the beleaguered capital, and were first in their offers of life or of death. Congress will say, These men are soldiers ; we will pay them as such ; these men are marvels of loyalty, self-sacrifice, courage; we will give them a chance of promotion.” History will write; “Behold the unselfish heroes; the eager martyrs of this war.”
You hesitate because you have not all. Your brothers and sisters of the South cry out, “Come to help us, we have nothing." Father ! you hesitate to send your boy to death ; the slave father turns his face of dumb entreaty to you, to save his boy from the death in life; the bondage that crushes soul and body together. Shall your son go to his aid ? Mother! you look with pride at the manly face and figure, growing and strengthening beside you! He is yours; your own. God gave him to you. From the lacerated hearts, the wrung souls, of other mothers, comes the wail, “My child, my child ; give me back my child !” The slavemaster heeds not; the Government is tardy; mother ! the prayer comes to you; will you falter ?
Young man, rejoicing in the hope, the courage, the will, the thews and muscles of young manhood ; the red glare of this war falls on the faces and figures of other young men, distorted with suffering, writhing in agony, wrenching their manacles and chains, shouting with despairing voices to you for help-shall it be withheld ?
The slaves will be freed—with or without you. The conscience and heart of the people have decreed that./ Xerxes scourging the Hellespont, Canute commanding the waves to roll back, are but types of that folly which stands up and says to this majestic wave of public opinion, Thus far." The black man will be a citizen only by stamping his right to it in blood. Now or never ! You have not homes !-gain them. You have not liberty !--gain it. You have not a fag !--gain it. You have not a country !-be written down in history as the race who made one for themselves, and saved one for another.
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 occasions, 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 proper occasion. 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 branch ; 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
CHAUNCEY M. DEPEW
chronology. To change it to New Style ten days need to be added, making the date December 21st. But through some mistate in counting, “Forefather's Day" is usually kept on December 22d in New England, and the Society holds its anniversary on the same date elsewhere. Its meetings have long been favorite occasions for humorous speeches by orators of note, in which the Pilgrims and Puritans are made the victims of many witty and satirical allusions. We select an example from Depew's remarks at the sixth annual festival of the New England Society of Pennsylvania, at Philadelphia, December 22, 1886. He responded to the toast: “The New Netherlanders; the Pilgrim Fathers of Manhattan."]
It is a most extraordinary thing that one should come from New York to Philadelphia for the purpose of attending a New England dinner. is a most extraordinary thing that a New England dinner should be held in Philadelphia. Your chairman to night spoke of the hard condition of the Puritans who landed on Plymouth Rock. Let me say that if the Puritans had come up the Delaware, landed here and begun life with terrapin and canvassback duck, there never would have been any Puritan story to be retailed from year to year at Forefather's dinners. If William Penn had ever contemplated that around his festive board would sit those Puritans with whom he was familiar in England, he would have exclaimed : “Let all the savages on the continent come, but not them.”
It is one of the pleasing peculiarities of the Puritan mind, evinced in the admirable address of Mr. Curtis here to-night (and when you have heard Mr. Curtis you have heard the best that a New Englander, who has been educated in New York, can do) that when they erect a monument in Philadelphia or New York to the Pilgrim or Puritan, they say: "See how these people respect the man whom they profess to revile." But they paid for them and built the monuments themselves! The only New Englanders of Philadelphia whom I have met are the officials of the Pennsylvania Railroad. When I dine with them, enjoy their hospitality, revel in that glorious sociability which is their characteristic and charm, I think that they are Dutchmen. When I meet them in business, and am impressed with their desire to possess the earth, I think that they came over in the “ Mayflower."
There is no part of the world to-night, whether it be in the Arctic zone, or under the equatorial sun, or in monarchies, or in despotisms, or among the Fiji Islanders, where the New Englanders are not gathered for the purpose of celebrating and feasting upon Forefather's Day. But there is this peculiarity about the New Englander, that, if he cannot find anybody to quarrel with, he gets up a controversy with himself, inside of himself. We who expect to eat this dinner annually—and to take the consequences-went along peacefully for years with the understanding that the 22nd of December was the day, when it suddenly broke out that the New