Except for those of the Freshman class who have already found interest in this activity the announcement that the class will form a debating club tonight may be of little interest. Yet there is not a man in the class to whom lasting benefit may not accrue merely by his being present one night a week at the meetings of this organization.
Away from College it is often painfully brought home to the average undergraduate that of the great questions of the day he has only a general knowledge. Seldom or never does he find time or inclination to read the newspapers carefully. But the most vital of these questions, which he would find treated piecemeal in the newspapers are discussed in their entirety in a class debating club. This good with two others--ease in expressing one's thoughts in public and a correct habit of thought in examining live questions--are easily within the reach of even those who see in themselves no promise as great debaters or who have no such ambition.
To those of the class in whom there is promise of University debating material no word of appeal should be necessary. Every year it is becoming increasingly difficult to sustain Harvard's reputation in debating. During past years superior debating methods, supplementing the efficient and enthusiastic work of the debaters, has aided materially in securing an almost unbroken line of victories over Yale and Princeton. But other colleges are coming to adopt methods which have hitherto been used solely by Harvard, and, as was shown last year, it is becoming harder and harder to win. If the University is to hold its place in debating, it is necessary that an unusually large number of men try for the University debates, for the best teams are picked from the largest fields. And it should be borne in mind, especially by Freshmen and Sophomores, that class and club debates, rightly conducted, are the best of training for University debates, and should be entered with energy and enthusiasm.