Chapter 11: the foe to eloquence
It is a curious fact that the greatest foe to eloquence, just now, is that same enterprising daily press which at first did so much to promote it. It is not merely that the press secures a better-informed community, although this has been sometimes thought to be less favorable to good public speaking than a more ignorant body of hearers.
A Southern justice of the Supreme Court once told the present writer that there could be no really good oratory in a well-educated region; it could only be developed where the mass of people depended almost wholly on the orator for instruction.
This opinion is probably not well founded; it is probable that the better education simply shifts the grade of the oratory, and does not impair it. Demosthenes
did not address an ignorant public, but one highly trained.
Nevertheless, on the