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RUGBY.—The annual festival of the Band of Hope took place on the 10th inst. The members with their friends formed a procession, and paraded the town, accompanied by two temperance bands. On the 16th the annual meeting was held in the Town Hall, and the report of the past year was read, from which it appeared that there are nearly 500 staunch teetotallers belonging to this Band of Hope.
WEST BROMWICH.-On the 15th and 16th instant, Mr. Burns gave two attractive lectures before large audiences. The first was on “London after Midnight" the second, “A Six Years' Spree.” The latter is said to have been a brilliant affair. The platform was occupied by the Garibaldi life-boat crew, attired in their red shirts and sashes, in company with a band of music. These men are all reformed characters; they are the Tubal Cains of the black country.”
GREENWICH.— The Band of Hope here has been celebrating its annual festival. Every thing likely to make the occasion a happy one, was provided for the young people by their kind friends. A good tea was provided, and the day terminated in singing, all returning home with increased love for their Band of Hope.
LONDON.-The Rev. B. W. Bucke, M.A., preacher at the Magdalen, and chaplain to the Marquis of Westmeath, preached a most eloquent sermon, on behalf of the Bands of Hope connected with the City of London Temperance Association, on Sunday, July 28th, in the parish church of St. Botolph, Aldersgate, kindly lent for the occasion by the rector, the Rev.W. C. F. Webber, M.A. In the exposition of the text, “Be thou faith
, ful unto death,” the rev. gentleman dilated on the difficulties and encouragements connected with preaching and practising the principles of true Temperance at the present day, and then beautifully led his hearers on to a higher platform, and urged the experience and enjoyment of those higher truths of the Gospel, without which none can enter the kingdom of God. The congregation was large and attentive.
The FITZROY BAND of HOPE selected Erith as their place of excursion this year, and on Wednesday, July 31st, the members of the Society with their friends visited this place; all passed off very happily, and the children reached their respective homes soon after nine o'clock.
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BAND OF HOPE RECORD.
PUBLIC SPEAKING. The substance of a Paper read before a Conference of Advocates in London.
By the Rev. G. W. McCREE. In an age of freedom, philanthrophy, and religious activities, the power of the public speaker is immense, and whoever desires to play a useful, conspicnous, and honourable part, must carefully cultivate oratory as an art. Few men are born orators. To speak fluently, to sway hearers by argument, to charm them by word-painting, to excite them to action, and to lead them in a great enterprise, requires peculiar gifts, careful culture, and long-continued preparation. We do not despise “rough diamonds," but prefer to see them polished. And why not have them polished ? We cultivate our grounds, our trees, our flowers. We train our dogs, horses, and oxen. We apprentice our children to trades. Why should our public speakers ask us to take them " in the rough ?” Surely inaccuracy, awkwardness, stammering, repetition, noise, and failure, are not so many virtues which we are bound to admire. Nay, they are defects which may
be remedied. Allow me to refer with great plainness of speech 10 some pre-requisities of good, sensible, popular oratory; and if 1 shall succeed in furnishing one useful hint to any young man present, I shall be glad, and amply repaid for the trouble of writing this paper.
The public speaker, then, should endeavour to thoroughly understand his subject. Whether he speaks on politics, temperance, science, or religion, let bim master his theme. Has he nothing to say? Then let him hold his peace. Is he going to mumble, to chatter, to weary us with aimless talk ? I pray him to withhold his infliction. Fulness of knowledge is essential to golden speech. Hear Lord Brougham on law, Lord Shaftesbury on Ragged Schools, Richard Cobden on free trade, Dr. Livingstone on Africa, John Bright on India, George Thompson on Slavery, Paxton Hood on Poetry, Henry Vincent on Cromwell, or Samuel Bowly, Dr. Lees, Newman Hall, or John B. Gough on temperance, and you hear men who have studied their various themes. We ask, then, for experience, knowledge, competence. Give us these as the foundation of good, instructive, and popular speaking. Read, think, compare things that differ, look through and round your subject-master it-and I will venture to predict success.
I would suggest elaborate preparation. When I was a boy I occupied a place on the temperance platform. I always wrote my speeches. In later
years I have written some of my speeches two and three times. Many of my sermons have been written three times. The sermons I preach to my congregation of working people in Seven Dials are as carefully written as those I have preached in Exeter Hall and St. James's Hall
. Why do I reveal these personal facts ? Because I wish you to know that I have proved the value of pen, ink, and paper. Because I believe that unprepared speeches have lowered the dignity, and dimin
ished the usefulness of the temperance platform. Because I hold that an audience of thinking persons should have better fare than rambling addresses and incoherent lectures. And, finally, because our meetings are being attended by increasing numbers of intelligent persons, and if we wish to retain them we must have a higher style of advocacy.
It is said—“The Rev. Charles Spurgeon does not write his sermons; Mr. J. B. Gough does not write his orations.” It may be so. But in the first place, few men have their incomparable genius for pubļic speaking; in the second place, with rigid preparation their sermons and orations would contain fewer blemishes; and, in the third place, all the experience of ancient and modern orators proves that preparation is the parent of grace, power, and fame.
The temperance speaker has to deal with the physiological, statistical, moral, domestic, national, and religious aspects of his great theme. History, science, philosophy, poetry, religion—all await his command. Can he marshal them well without previous thought, arrangement, and composition? It is impossib?e. Let him read, think, determine his course, write, master all he has prepared, and then let him face his audience like a man, and proclaim the truth that is in him. Such a speaker will rarely fail in achieving an honourable name as an advocate, and thousands will hail his appearance on the platform.
To be a truly useful speaker, there must be individuality in language and manner. We must not be eccentric. We must not aim at the grotesque, the obtrusive, the odd. Nor must we imitate any one. Every man has his forte, and that is a “tower of strength." Some men are naturally mild, others sarcastic, others excitable, others witty, others logical, and others brilliant. Yes, and others are dullards and fools. Now, let every man know his own powers, study his characteristics, comprehend his possibilities, choose his “ line of things," and resolve to be himself and no other man. Develope the better part of yourselfextirpate the weeds and faults of your mind and manner. Do not be a crooked thorn, a rotten stump, a desolate marsh, a gaudy flower, but a noble, lofty, fruit-bearing tree. Do not be a parrot repeating the sayings of others, a monkey imitating the gait and tones and looks of others, but a man of sense, of independent thought, of fearless speech, and words like silver purified by fire. Do not offend by an arrogant assumption of originality, but fascinate by a modest self-respect. Beware of the pretensious. The Teacher who spake as never man spake was “meek and lowly in heart."
Accuracy in grammar and pronunciation is evidently essential to agreeable speech. Few speakers are faultless in either grammar or pro. nunciation; but a little care, attention to finished orators, and the study of suitable works, will soon purge our common speech from vulgar errors. I would advise reference to Walker's Dictionary, Allen and Cornwall's Grammar, and a useful little book entitled “The Grammatical Omnibus," in which there is an amount of good sense, apt example, and simple instruction, which young men will find invaluable. Go and listen to Mr. Noel, or Dr. Cumming, or Dr. Lees, or George Thompson, or W.J. Fox, or any other able speaker, and mark their words. How musical they are! How they thrill all hearers! How they ring through vast halls! How entrancing it is to listen to them! Be as much like such men as you can. Take a leader from the Times, a paragraph from the orations of Mr. Gough, a page of the Task by Cowper, a hymn by Dr. Watts, or any of the selected pieces in a book on elocution, and having ascertained the correct pronunciation of every word, begin to repeat them until your tongue and lips roll them out like the tones of a bell-clear and full and sonorous, and in a short time your addresses will have a fresh charm. The aid of a competent friend or teacher of elocution will be found of the utmost use. I had the tuition of the finest elocutionist I ever knew, and I consider the lessons he gave me were of the greatest value. I have also read to, and recited before, intelligent friends, and allowed them to criticise every look, tone, gesture, and movement, and although they made me feel my defects, yet their kind remarks were the means, I hope, of correcting some of my obvious and glaring faults. I recommend you to expose yourself to similar discipline. It will try your temper, perhaps, but you must not rebel. Take your flogging, put on your coat, and mend your ways.
One word bere-conceal your art. Do not obtrude it on the audience. Keep the machinery—the preparation—the workshop—the study-out of sight. Let your art be lost in your naturalness. The less your art is seen the better.
Long speeches are the bane of the senate, the lecture-hall, and the temperance platform. And our speeches are growing longer. Every man wants to exhaust his matter. Very good, but I don't want you to exhaust me. Can you speak well for twenty minutes ? Try, and then sit down. A short, telling, instructive address is worth any number of wire-drawn stupidities. “Oh!” cries some one, " I must have an evening—a whole evening to myself.” Indeed! Who are you? Are you Demosthenes ? or Whitfield ? or Chalmers ? or Wilberforce? Can you speak ably for an hour? Can you interest an audience for that time, or are you a mere talking machine, a wind-bag, a repeater of loose, noisy, tedious words ? Do the people want you to speak an hour? They may—they may not. Consider! Are you full of facts, wisdom, energy? Can you bring out of your treasury things new and old ? An hour! Say half-an-hour. Try that. Do that well, and keep to it for some time to come. Depend upon it, short speeches, brief lectures, condensed orations, are what we want. Give us thoughts.facts-arguments in a few words bright with beauty, and precious as pearls, and you will never weary an audience.
There is one thing to which special attention must be given-I refer to the modulation of the voice. You must diligently practise the rising and the falling inflexions. Hour after hour may be profitably spent on these important laws of speech. The well-trained voice rises and falls, and swells and rings, and whispers and thunders, and seems to die away in the distance like music and song. Some men are bawlers. They begin bawling, they continue bawling, they finish bawling. Some men are mumblers. They do not open either teeth or lips, and hence their words are lost. Some men are jumpers. They pass from word to word and sentence to sentence in the kangaroo-style. Some men are pom pous, and then every word is pronounced like a thump on a kettle-drum. Not a few imitate some prosy curate, and you have an address which is wonderfully adapted to promote soundness of sleep. But others determine to be simple, honest, audible, earnest, and persuasive, and they are men whose services may well be coveted by our societies.
There is one more condition of acceptable, dignified, and useful public speaking which I wish to mention-blameless character.
The public speaker-especially the advocate of freedom, political reform, total abstinence, and religion-should be a man whose daily life is pure
and noble. “ Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles ? Even so every good tiee bringeth forth good fruit, but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.” “ Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? Thou that preachest a man should not steal—dost thou steal ? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery?” Nay, it must not be so. The public speaker should take heed to his life. It should be adorned by all that is honourable, virtuous, benevolent, and christian. Such men we know. Let us hold them in high and constant honour. Their talents, zeal, patriotism, and goodness deserve our admiration and love. They have stood in the front of many a battle. The peace, welfare, riches, progress, and regeneration of the world—under God-are in their hands. Let cowards, extortioners, profligates, drunkards, and scoffers stand aside- let them retire from the senate, the tribune, the platform, and the pulpit, and let the good and great be our public teachers. We long for the day when every movement shall have a band of leaders who shall be at once its heroes, martyrs, saints and orators—when every public speaker shall be a man of God-a man filled with goodness and truth.
By KATE PYER.
'Twere wisdom all should learn ;
Such truth you will not spurn,
Which teach while they amuse ;
Which youths like us should use.
As bravery forsooth-
By many an ardent youth.