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complaint was that because the prevailing early summer styles call for elaborate lace effects in trimming, the demand for certain kinds of lace has been almost unprecedented, with the result that the clerks have been overcrowded with work, and "extras," have had to be employed. This would account for delays in serving our customers, but would not of course explain or excuse incivilities of any kind. We feel that perhaps you have somewhat overstated your grievance, so far as this department is concerned, but if you can make a specific complaint against any one clerk, we shall investigate further.
We should regret losing your patronage and goodwill, and trust that you will find our explanation satisfactory.
Very truly yours,
George M. Brown,
G. H. T.
In this quotation from Patrick Henry we have an example of persuasive composition which we shall do well to study:
We have, sir, an extensive country, without population. What can be a more obvious policy than that this country ought to be peopled? People, sir, form the strength and constitute the wealth of a nation. I want to see our vast forests filled up by some process a little more speedy than the ordinary course of nature. I wish to see these States rapidly ascending to that rank which their natural advantages authorize them to hold among the nations of the earth. Cast your eye, sir, over this extensive country observe the salubrity of your climate; the variety and fertility of your soil — and see that soil intersected in every quarter by bold, navigable streams, flowing to the east and to the west, as if the finger of Heaven were marking out the course of your settlements, inviting you to enterprise, and pointing the way to wealth. Sir, you are destined, at some time or other, to become a great agricultural and commercial people; the only question is, whether you choose to reach this point by slow gradations, and at some distant period- lingering on through a long and sickly minority subjected meanwhile to the machinations, insults, and oppressions of enemies foreign and domestic, without sufficient strength to resist and chastise them or whether you choose rather to rush at
once, as it were, to the full enjoyment of those high destinies, and be able to cope, single-handed, with the proudest oppressor of the old world.
635. Write a letter with the object of persuading a friend to join you for two weeks in August at a camp in the mountains.
636. Write to your father or guardian a letter which shall virtually be an argument for increasing your monthly allowance of spending money.
637. Write a short argumentative theme on one of the two following questions: (1) Should every high-school girl study either dressmaking or cooking? (2) Should every high-school boy study manual training?
638. Write a theme setting forth some of the reasons why every pupil should attend the school contests in athletics, declamation, and debate.
639. Refer to the argumentative editorial on "Electrifying our Railroads on page 332, and write one on "A New Bridge," " A New Street," or a similar subject.
185. Debates. The form of argumentation which is of most practical value to young persons is debating. As an exercise in self-control it is as good as football. The necessity of getting our opponent's point of view is the best possible preparation for dealing with men and women; and if this last advantage were the only one to gain from debating, it alone would be worth all the cost. The acquirement of this ability is itself an education.
186. Terms used in Debate. Certain terms are used in connection with formal debating which may need brief explanation.
1. The proposition is the statement of the subject of the debate. 2. The affirmative side is the one which attempts to prove that the proposition is true.
3. The negative side attempts to show that the proposition is not true.
4. Colleagues are debaters on the same side.
5. Opponents are debaters on opposite sides.
6. Evidence is the material used in the proof.
7. Burden of proof is the task of proving, which rests on the affirmative throughout, although the term is applied in a slightly modified sense to the obligation of either side.
8. Refutation is the argument which aims directly to disprove the opponents' statements.
9. Rebuttal has practically the same meaning as refutation, but is often applied to the final summary of each side.
187. Framing the Proposition. In a debate much depends on the wording of the question, or proposition. In every case the statement should be perfectly clear, and so framed that no advantage shall be given to either side. Suppose, for example, we are to try to determine whether freshmen should be excluded from high-school teams. We may state the proposition formally in this way:
Resolved, That freshmen should not be excluded from all highschool teams.
To prevent confusion, however, it will be better to avoid the negative form, and say:
Resolved, That freshmen should be excluded from all high-school teams.
Then the affirmative side will have something to build up, and the work of the negative side will be to tear down this structure, whatever it may be. The affirmative undertakes to prove something. The negative must not only prove its side of the case, but must also show that the affirmative
has failed to prove what it has undertaken. If the affirmative presents a chain of arguments, the negative has merely to show that one link in the chain will not hold. The burden of proof rests with the affirmative side.
In order that the time set for debating may not be spent in deciding what the debate is to be about, any doubtful term that is, any ambiguous word or expression - should be carefully defined. If possible, the speakers should meet and agree on the meaning of terms beforehand; but if that is impossible, they must fight it out in the debate. Whenever a speaker uses an ambiguous term, he should state what he understands it to mean.
640. State each of the following so that it may serve as the proposition for a debate. Avoid all ambiguity of expression.
1. The power of the federal government over the state governments.
2. The annexation of Cuba by the United States.
3. Woman's suffrage.
4. Immigration to the United States.
5. Is Rowena or Rebecca the real heroine of "Ivanhoe"?
6. How much pocket money should a high-school student have each week?
7. The works of Hawthorne and Scott compared for descriptions of real life.
8. The character of Judge Pyncheon in "The House of the Seven Gables" as a description of a possible person.
9. Cooper's knowledge of real Indian life, as shown in "The Last of the Mohicans."
10. Which is worse, slang or bad manners?
II. The "Ancient Mariner" compared in interest with the "Vision of Sir Launfal."
12. Should a man always offer his seat in a street car to a woman? 13. A boy's right to hunt and fish for sport.
14. The value of an athletic association for the girls of a high school. 15. Should high-school students work for spending money during the school term?
16. The relative value of a school paper and an athletic association. 17. The relative value of a good library and a good workshop.
18. Is it honest for a student to receive aid in school work from fellow-students?
19. The great value of oral compositions.
20. Should a student spend as much time in athletic exercise as in study?
21. Music as a part of a high-school curriculum.
188. The Finding of Material. Aside from the aid you may be fortunate enough to get from friends, you will need practice in handling library catalogues and tables of contents. You should know where to find, and how to use, records of public debates. You should have access to The Congressional Record, standard histories, periodicals, and some of the best daily papers. Poole's "Index to Periodical Literature" is an invaluable aid in consulting magazines and will be found in most libraries. If you are to have weight as speakers, you must not only quote recognized authorities but be careful to take references and quotations at first hand, if possible, and to quote them accurately. Your audience has a right to expect you to tell definitely the source of your citation. It is not enough, for example, to attribute something to Webster; you should add the name of the speech. In general, you are to give information enough to enable any one to verify your quotations with ease. If, as you take notes, you jot down the references to your sources, you will not be embarrassed afterward by wondering who your authority was.
1 This is now published under the title "Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature."