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recitation of words which (let him be as earnest as he may) can never truly represent his own ideas and thoughts. But Delivery is not the whole Art of Speech. A speaker must have a subject, and must know how to arrange his ideas upon it, before he can speak with effect; hence, the course of instruction is evidently, — first Knowledge, then Style, and lastly Delivery
This argument is the basis of the plan which the Author has attempted to develope in his book. He has written, first, some Complete Debates. He could not expect that young minds would be immediately and intuitively ready to discuss, without instruction or model, the questions, however simple, which might be placed before them; hence he has composed complete speeches, which, without pretending to perfection in either thought or style, may still serve to awaken thought, to establish principle, and to convey general information. These debates are made to turn upon questions which involve at once practical, moral, and speculative truth, and are meant to tend at the same time to inquiry, and conviction.
Next follow some Outlines of Debates, with ample references to the most accessible sources of information on each particular topic. The Author presumes that, after practising, for a time, the recitation of the complete discussions, the minds of the students will be in some measure prepared to supply information and thought, and will need to be exercised mainly in the arrangement of their ideas. He has therefore noted some of the chief arguments that may be used on either side, and has thus left the scholar to clothe the ideas in language, and to methodise the thoughts he has formed. The questions which these Outlines are intended to discuss, are of similar nature to the subjects of the complete debates, in order that the learner may not be led into altogether new and strange fields of study.
Lastly, the Author has annexed a mere list of Questions for Discussion, simply attaching to them such brief notes as they may require to explain their meaning, and such references as may lead the debater to the readiest sources of information on the subjects to which they pertain. In the first division of the book he presents Ideas, Arrangements, and Words ; in the second he preeents Ideas only; and in the third, he gives merely the Subjects. The questions are such as will serve to test the progress of the student; for almost all the leading principles and ideas required for their discussion are evolved in the earlier portions of the Work: and the mannm in which the scholar adopts and uses them will serve to show how far the prior exercises have been of service and advantage to him.
It may perhaps be imagined that the subjects selected for debate are of too difficult a character for school-boys. In reply, it might suffice to say that, whilst the Work is chiefly meant for school use, it is also intended for Debating Societies generally: it may be as well, however, to add that the majority of these questions have been discussed by school-boys under the Author's own observation; and that singular success and pleasure have attended the debates. Some years since, the Author introduced his plan into several first-rate educational establishments in Town, and it is the decided success of his experiment which alone has led him to publish this book.
One word as to the Book itself. The Author has sought not merely to open enquiry, but to educe results. He has endeavoured to take advantage of every possible opportunity for enforcing true and useful principles; and, without aiming at the pedantic introduction of either metaphysics or philosophy, has humbly ventured to open many mines of thought both in mental and in moral science.
RULES OF DEBATE.
At the first general meeting of members for the establishment of the class, the title of the society should be resolved upon, the laws of debate agreed to, and a secretary elected, whose duty it will be to keep minutes of the proceedings.
General meetings should be held half-yearly, to confirm, amend, or extend the laws, and to elect or re-elect the secretary.
At the ordinary meetings, after the election of the Chairman from amongst the members, the secretary should read the minutes of the previous meeting. When they have been confirmed, the Chairman should call upon the gentleman who has undertaken to open the debate, to address the meeting.
It is then usual for the seconder to speak; and afterwards the other members, at their pleasure. When all who wish to speak have spoken, the
Chairman calls on the opener for his reply; after which the question is put from the chair, and decided by a show of hands. This done, the question to be discussed at the next meeting is proposed, seconded, and agreed upon. The class then adjourns.
No member is allowed to speak twice, except the opener in reply, or any one in explanation.
The opener has no right to introduce fresh arguments into his reply: he can only refer to what has gone before.
The Chairman cannot speak unless he quits the chair; nor can he vote unless the numbers be equal in which case he gives the casting vote.
It will be found advisable to limit each speaker to a particular time, say ten minutes : the opener may be allowed fifteen minutes.
If all who wish to speak cannot do so on one occasion, the debate may be adjourned until the next meeting; the mover of the adjournment, or the seconder, in the mover's absence, re-opening the discussion.