“A remembrance of the grandeur of the Principles”

From speechwriter Neil Hrab, Vital Speeches‘ unofficial but hard-working correspondent of rhetoric history, comes a Feb. 23, 1874 speech by Rev. Marinus Willett, delivered to the Society of the Cincinnati, in New York.

It begins:

We are assembled to celebrate the Birthday of the great Leader of the American armies in hte struggle which terminated in our National Independence.

It seems appropriate to this occasion to call to remembrance the grandeur of the Principles then, for hte first time in the history of the world, incorporated into the Government of a People.

I propose, therefore, as the subject of this Addres, briefly to vindicate the Institution of this Society, to consider its Intention and examine its Principles, and to inquire what these Principles demand of us in the present condition of affairs …

Speechwriters assigned to do likewise today would do well to look back at Marinus’ little masterpiece.

“Archaic diction aside,” Hrab recommends, “some stirring words here!”

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