Reference > Quotations > John Bartlett, comp. > Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. > 6122. Rufus Choate
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John Bartlett (1820–1905).  Familiar Quotations, 10th ed.  1919.
 
 
NUMBER:6122
AUTHOR:Rufus Choate (1799–1859)
QUOTATION:  Its constitution the glittering and sounding generalities 1 of natural right which make up the Declaration of Independence.
ATTRIBUTION:Letter to the Maine Whig Committee, 1856.
 
Note 1.
Six years earlier, Choate gave a lecture in Providence a review of which, by Franklin J. Dickman, appeared in the Journal of December 14, 1849. Unless Choate used the words “glittering generalities,” and Dickman made reference to them, it would seem as if Dickman must have the credit of originating the catchword. He wrote:
  “We fear that the glittering generalities of the speaker have left an impression more delightful than permanent.” [back]
 

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