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How to Master the Spoken Word Designed as a Self-Instructor for all who would Excel in the Art of Public Speaking

How to Master the Spoken Word
Designed as a Self-Instructor for all who would Excel in
the Art of Public Speaking
Title: How to Master the Spoken Word Designed as a Self-Instructor for all who would Excel in the Art of Public Speaking
Release Date: 2018-08-30
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
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Designed as a Self-Instructor for all who
would Excel in the Art of Public Speaking




author of “the power ofspeech,” “speech
making,” “the lawrence readerand speaker”


(A. C. McClurg & Co. logo)





A. C. McClurg & Co.

Published March, 1913





As a mark of appreciation and affection
I dedicate this book

                                          “Give me that man
That is not passion’s slave, and I will wear him
In my heart’s care, ay, in my heart of heart,
As I do thee”



[p. i]


This work aims to show how to breathe correctly,produce voice properly, put the meaning intowords by aid of inflection, emphasis, and the tones of thevoice; how to improve the memory, acquire fluency ofspeech, control an audience, construct speeches, and inevery way become competent to think on one’s feet andexpress thought vocally in an entertaining, convincing,and moving manner. It is intended as a text-book toaid in making students proficient in the art of vocal expression.It aims to cover the field exhaustively, dealingin a comprehensive manner with all subjects pertainingto the construction and the delivery of speeches.

There are so many books treating of the subject oforatory that there would appear scant room for another,but as they all treat mainly of the way to speak, andonly give general instructions as to how to speak, thereis, in the author’s opinion, a wide field for a book thatexplicitly shows not only what a person shouldemploy in order to become a ready and effective speakerbut also gives specific instructions as the employmentof those means.

This book is intended to take the place of the livingteacher wherever the services of a thoroughly competent[p. ii]one cannot be secured, or where the student desires towork in the privacy of his own room, and the aim of theauthor is to make it more practical and of greater valuethan any of the so-called “Personal CorrespondenceCourses” now being exploited, and for which exorbitantfees are charged. It may, however, be used to equaladvantage by the teacher in the class room as a text-book.

No vague instructions such as, “speak in a clear ringingvoice,” “use expressive language,” “mean what yousay,” etc., will be given; but in their place will be founddirections as to how to gain a good voice, how to acquirethe power of explaining by the tones of the voice themeaning of the spoken words, how to secure a deliverythat will carry conviction to the listener, and how to constructspeeches. In short, this book aims not only to tellthe essentials of oratory but also to show the way inwhich they may be acquired. It contains the completecourse in oratorical training as given in the LawrenceSchool of New York. Finally, the book is presented asa vade mecum that will pilot the would-be orator tosuccess.

Edwin G. Lawrence.


[p. iii]


Vital are the questions now confronting man theworld over; but particularly are those questionsimportant to Americans, because the United States ofAmerica is looked upon as the pioneer country of theworld in all matters pertaining to man’s emancipationfrom the injustice of ages, and that young country isexpected to blaze a trail through the unsolved realm ofprogress along which the older nations may travel till theyreach the plain of universal justice and liberty.

Among the problems now confronting the people arethose of finance, labor, religion, conservation of naturalresources, and civic justice. The questions are here,but where are the orators capable of making those questionsclear to the masses? Where are the men to solvethose problems? Some there are who are nobly respondingto the demands of the times, but they are too fewsuccessfully to grapple with the task.

It is claimed that this is the age of the printing-pressand that the necessity for orators no longer exists. Thisis surely not a valid claim. The newspaper is doing itswork, and in many cases is doing it nobly, but it cannever take the place of the human voice. An article maybe printed in a paper having a circulation running intothe hundreds of thousands, and yet the article will be[p. iv]read by only a small percentage of those into whosehands the paper falls; and out of this percentage astill smaller percentage will be influenced by the printedword. The speaker, on the other hand, addresses anaudience of only a few thousand, but of that number,if the speaker is deserving of the name, he will influencea majority. Suppose he convinces and persuades onlyone hundred, the one hundred are so thoroughly broughtinto accord with the speaker that they go out into theworld and, by word of mouth, bring ten times their numberto the same way of thinking. By this means allgreat movements have flourished. John the Baptist, withthe spoken word, prepared the way and made straightthe path; Jesus of Nazareth taught by spoken symbolsonly; Paul of Tarsus carried Christianity into Greeceand Rome by means of speech; Peter the Hermit enthusedthe Crusaders by his spoken utterances; MartinLuther brought about a reformation by his speech beforethe Diet of Worms; Patrick Henry aroused his countrymenby his eloquence; Daniel O’Connell accomplishedCatholic emancipation in Great Britain by means of presentingthe cause of religious liberty to friend and foein the shape of the spoken word; Daniel Webster expoundedthe Constitution orally; William Lloyd Garrison,Wendell Phillips and Abraham Lincoln pleadedfor the enslaved negro by word of mouth; and La Follette,Bryan, and Roosevelt are expressing the thoughtsof the people of today by means of man’s greatest attribute—speech.

[p. v]Therefore, if any would take part in the glorious workof advancing the progress of the world, let him fit himselfto discuss by word of mouth the great problems nowconfronting humanity.



Faith cometh by hearing.

St. Paul, RomansX:17

It is not enough to speak, but to speak true.


Mend your speech a little
Lest it may mar your fortunes.


The power of utterance should be included by all intheir plans of self-culture.

William ElleryChanning

He is an orator that can make me think as he thinksand feel as he feels.

Daniel Webster

A vessel is known by its sound whether it be cracked ornot; so men are proved by their speeches, whether theybe wise or foolish.


I advocate in its full intent and for every reason ofhumanity, of patriotism, of religion, a more thoroughculture of oratory.

Henry Ward Beecher

[p. vi]Eloquence has a client which, before all, it must saveor make triumph. It matters little whether this client bea man, a people, or an idea.

Victor Cousin

It is to this early speaking practice in the great art ofall arts, oratory, that I am indebted for the primary andleading impulses that stimulated me forward.

Henry Clay

Ninety-nine men in every hundred in the crowded professionswill probably never rise above mediocrity becausethe training of the voice is entirely neglected andconsidered of no importance.

William E. Gladstone

He who does not use a gift, loses it; the man whodoes not use his voice or limbs, loses power over them,and becomes disqualified for the state of life to which heis called.

Cardinal Newman

I recognize but one mental acquisition as an essentialpart of the education of a lady or gentleman, namely, anaccurate and refined use of the mother-tongue.

Charles W. Eliot

Extemporaneous speaking should be practiced andcultivated. It is the lawyer’s avenue to the public. Howeverable and faithful he may be in other respects, peopleare slow to bring him business if he cannot make aspeech.

Abraham Lincoln

[p. vii]The cultivated voice is like an orchestra. It rangeshigh, intermediate or low, unconsciously to him who usesit, and men listen, unaware that they have been bewitchedout of their weariness by the charms of a voice not artificial,but made by assiduous training to be his secondnature.

Henry Ward Beecher

Men forget what they read; some do not read at all.They do not, however, forget when they are told by a vigorousspeaker who means what he says.

John Oliver Hobbes (Mrs.Craigie)

For who can suppose amid the great multitude ofstudents, the utmost abundance of masters, the mosteminent geniuses among men, the infinite variety ofcauses, the most ample rewards offered to eloquence,there is any other reason to be found for the small numberof orators than the incredible magnitude and difficultyof the art?



[p. ix]


  The Value of Eloquence
I The Making of Oratory
II How to Construct and Deliver Orations
III Construction
IV Composition
V Paraphrasing
VI A Series of Practical Hows
VII The Grecian Orators
VIII The Latin Orators
IX The Modern Orators
X Lesson Talks
  Guide to the study of the Book
  List of Orations


[p. 1]

How to Master the Spoken Word



the means employed by greatorators

The question is often asked, How can I become apublic speaker? This might be aptly answered byputting another question, How did other men becomepublic speakers? because by a careful study of the meansthey employed, others may become equally proficient.From the beginning of oratory down to the present dayorators have made their effects in composition and deliveryby the selfsame means, and if men of today willapply themselves to a mastery of those means with perseveranceand intelligence equal to that of the men of thepast, there is no reason why they should not meet withequal proficiency.

Let us go back to Gorgias, the Greek rhetorician andteacher of oratory, who was born about the year 483b. c., and study the manner of his workmanship.

In his speech “The Encomium on Helen,” he arrangeshis words in masterly style, making use of all the formsof construction that we possess at this time. He employs[p. 2]the series, the contrasts (single, double, and triple),the conditional, the negative, the positive, and, in fact,all the known forms of arranging words so as to makethem best express the orator’s meaning. Here is aneffective concluding series he uses: “A city is adornedby good citizenship, the body by beauty, the soul bywisdom, acts by virtue, and speech by truthfulness,” andhe follows this sentence with the following one: “Butthe opposites of these virtues are a disgrace.” Note howeffective he makes the first thought by immediately contrastingit with one that rivets the attention to the gracesof good citizenship, beauty, wisdom, virtue, and truthfulness,by stating that the reverse of these things are disgraces.Then follows a

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