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did also the British and American orators of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but the public speakers of the twentieth century sadly neglect this most important part of the speaker's art. Dr. Arthur T. Hadley, President of Yale University, is an able and learned man whose compositions are chaste and effective but whose delivery mars the force of his matter. He looks down on the floor immediately in front of him, instead of sweeping his glance over his audience, awkwardly swings his arms, and speaks his lines as though he were wound up and compelled to utter his matter within a given time. This is said with all respect to the famous educator, but his style of delivery should be avoided. Educators, more than most professional men, should be entertaining and convincing speakers, but, as a rule, they are woefully deficient in the qualities necessary to the making of orators. They, of all men, should set an example to the generation that is soon to take up the duties of life, and if college presidents improved their delivery, a long step would be taken toward making them oratorical beacons for the guidance of their students.
William J. Bryan, one of the best orators, if not the best, of today, owes his success mainly to his delivery. It is not so much what he says but how he says it that makes him a successful speaker. He possesses a rich, strong, and flexible voice that adds greatly to the effectiveness of his matter, and his speeches invariably sound better than they read. He will hold an audience absolutely in hand, sway it at his will, and force it against its
inclination momentarily to agree with him, even though, after mature deliberation, his reasoning may be disputed and his conclusions rejected. Mr. Bryan's power lies not in the beauty or force of his composition but in his mastery over the spoken word.
Theodore Roosevelt, contrary to the views of many, is, in the opinion of the author, an orator. He is not merely a speaker, because his speeches possess him as much as he possesses his speeches. He impresses an audience by his sincerity, convinces it by his reasoning, and persuades it by his earnestness. His matter reads as well as it sounds, thus demonstrating his ability as a rhetorician, his manner is graceful and forceful, and the general feeling, after listening to one of his addresses, is that a master has spoken. The author has heard Mr. Roosevelt many times during the past twenty years, and the improvement in his delivery is marked. There was a time when everything was sacrificed to force, he would snap his jaws and try to drive the voice through his clenched teeth, but now his enunciation is clear, his articulation accurate, his gestures expressive, and his entire delivery delightful. This shows the good that is to be derived from a speaker considering his manner as well as his matter.
Joseph H. Choate and W. Bourke Cockran are excellent examples of effective speakers of a decade or so ago, the former having been most alluring and convincing in both his matter and his manner, and the latter entrancing and powerful in diction and delivery.
Forensic oratory has almost ceased to exist, while pulpit oratory is rarely to be found. This is a sad state of affairs, and requires immediate attention if the art of all arts is to be saved from extinction. The two essentials most missing in our public speakers are constructive skill and effective delivery - some lacking in one and some in the other and the author asserts that great orators will not arise until both these essentials are found in the one man. Two thousand years ago Cicero, discoursing on oratory, said:
And why need I add any remarks of delivery itself, which is to be ordered by action of body, by gesture, by look, and by modulation and variation of the voice, the great power of which, alone and in itself, the comparatively trivial art of actors and the stage proves; on which though all bestow their utmost labor to form their look, voice, and gesture, who knows not how few there are, and have ever been, to whom we can attend with patience ? In those arts in which it is not indispensable usefulness that is sought, but liberal amusement for the mind, how nicely, how almost fast diously, do we judge? For there are no suits or controversies which can force men, though they may tolerate indifferent orators in the forum, to endure also bad actors upon the stage. The orator, therefore, must take the most studious precaution not merely to satisfy those whom he necessarily must satisfy, but to seem worthy of admiration to those who are at liberty to judge disinterestedly.
How many modern orators measure up to this standard set by the ancient master? The author knows of
How is one to obtain an effective delivery?
By close observation, hard study, and diligent practice. The student should observe his delivery, note the defects in breathing, voice production, articulation, inflection, and emphasis, and correct them; he should be sure to understand all he aims to explain, see all he desires others to see, and believe all he aims to make others believe. No speaker whose delivery is poor will be able to hold, convince, and persuade an audience, and unless he can do these three things he should refrain from speaking, as no man possesses a valid commission publicly to address his fellows unless he has a message to communicate and knows how to deliver it.
EXAMPLES OF MODERN ORATORY
LIBERTY OR DEATH * (1775) No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the house. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful of those gentlemen, if, entertaining as I do, opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve. This is no time for ceremony. The question before the house is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of
* Delivered in the Virginia Convention, on a resolution to put the commonwealth into a state of defense, March 23, 1775.
freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfil the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offence, I should consider myself as guilty of treason toward my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.
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 into 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 their 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