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C.N. Douglas, comp.  Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical.  1917.
 
Daniel Webster
 
  A man who is not ashamed of himself need not be ashamed of his early condition.  1
  A power which has dotted over the surface of the whole globe with her possessions and military posts, whose morning drum-beat, following the sun, and keeping company with the hours, circles the earth with one continuous and unbroken strain of the martial airs of England.  2
  A solemn and religious regard to spiritual and eternal things is an indispensable element of all true greatness.  3
  A well-employed and prosperous community can buy and consume. An ill-employed community cannot buy and consume. This is the solution of the whole matter; and the whole science of political economy has not one truth of half so much importance as this.  4
  America has furnished to the world the character of Washington! And if our American institutions had done nothing else, that alone would have entitled them to the respect of mankind.  5
  An eminent lawyer cannot be a dishonest man. Tell me a man is dishonest, and I will answer he is no lawyer. He cannot be, because he is careless and reckless of justice; the law is not in his heart, is not the standard and rule of his conduct.  6
  Bonaparte asked Mme. de Staël in what manner he could best promote the happiness of France. Her reply is full of political wisdom. She said, “Instruct the mothers of the French people.”  7
  But I say to you, and to our whole country, and to all the crowned heads and aristocratic powers and feudal systems that exist, that it is to self-government—the great principle of popular representation and administration—the system that lets in all to participate in the counsels that are to assign the good or evil to all—that we may owe what we are and what we hope to be.  8
  Employment gives health, sobriety, and morals. Constant employment and well-paid labor produce, in a country like ours, general prosperity, content, and cheerfulness. Thus happy have we seen the country.  9
  Every breeze wafts intelligence from country to country, every wave rolls it, all give it forth, and all in turn receive it. There is a vast commerce of ideas, there are marts and exchanges for intellectual discoveries, and a wonderful fellowship of those individual intelligences which make up the mind and opinion of the age.  10
  Every unpunished murder takes away something from the security of every man’s life.  11
  Every want, not of a low kind, physical as well as moral, which the human breast feels, and which brutes do not feel, and cannot feel, raises man by so much in the scale of existence, and is a clear proof, and a direct instance, of the favor of God toward his so much favored human offspring.  12
  Failure is more frequently from want of energy than want of capital.  13
  Falsehoods not only disagree with truths, but usually quarrel among themselves.  14
  God grants liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it.  15
  Great authorities are arguments.  16
  He smote the rock of the national resources, and abundant streams of revenue gushed forth. He touched the dead corpse of Public Credit, and it sprung upon its feet.  17
  Heaven’s gates are not so highly arched as princes’ palaces; they that enter there must go upon their knees.  18
  I have read it through many times; I now make a practice of going through it once a year. It is a book of all others for lawyers, as well as divines; and I pity the man who cannot find in it a rich supply of thought and rule for conduct.  19
  I was born an American; I live an American; I shall die an American!  20
 
 
  If the true spark of religious and civil liberty be kindled, it will burn. Human agency cannot extinguish it. Like the earth’s central fire, it may be smothered for a time; the ocean may overwhelm it; mountains may press it down; but its inherent and unconquerable force will heave both the ocean and the land, and at some time or other, in some place or other, the volcano will break out and flame up to heaven.  21
  If there be any thing in my style of thought to be commended, the credit is due to my kind parents in instilling into my mind an early love of the Scriptures.  22
  If we work upon marble, it will perish; if we work upon brass, time will efface it; if we rear temples, they will crumble into dust; but if we work upon immortal minds, if we imbue them with principles, with the just fear of God and love of our fellow-men, we engrave on those tablets something which will brighten to all eternity.  23
  Inconsistencies of opinion, arising from changes of circumstances, are often justifiable.  24
  Independence now and independency forever.  25
  Instinct is animal strength.  26
  It is by the promulgation of sound morals in the community, and more especially by the training and instruction of the young, that woman performs her part towards the preservation of free government.  27
  It is only shallow-minded pretenders who either make distinguished origin a matter of personal merit, or obscure origin a matter of personal reproach. Taunt and scoffing at the humble condition of early life affect nobody in America but those who are foolish enough to indulge in them, and they are generally sufficiently punished by the published rebuke. A man who is not ashamed of himself need not be ashamed of his early condition.  28
  It is the glorious prerogative of the empire of knowledge, that what it gains it never loses. On the contrary, it increases by the multiple of its own power: all its ends become means; all its attainments help to new conquests.  29
  It is to that union we owe our safety at home, and our consideration and dignity abroad. It is to that union that we are chiefly indebted for whatever makes us most proud of our country. That union we reached only by the discipline of our virtues in the severe school of adversity. It had its origin in the necessities of its disordered finance, prostrate commerce, and ruined credit. Under its benign influences these great interests immediately awoke, as from the dead, and sprang forth with newness of life. Every year of its duration has teemed with fresh fruits of its utility and its blessings; and although our territory has stretched out wider and wider, and our population spread farther and farther, they have not outrun its protection or its benefits. It has been to us all a copious fountain of national, social, and personal happiness.  30
  Keep cool; anger is not argument.  31
  Knowledge is the only fountain, both of the love and the principles of human liberty.  32
  Knowledge, in truth, is the great sun in the firmament. Life and power are scattered with all its beams.  33
  Labor in this country is independent and proud. It has not to ask the patronage of capital, but capital solicits the aid of labor.  34
  Labor is one of the great elements of society,—the great substantial interest on which we all stand.  35
  Let it rise! let it rise, till it meet the sun in his coming; let the earliest light of the morning gild it, and the parting day linger and play on its summit.  36
  Let our object be our country, our whole country, and nothing but our country. And, by the blessing of God, may that country itself become a vast and splendid monument, not of oppression and terror, but of wisdom, of peace, and of liberty, upon which the world may gaze with admiration forever!  37
  Let us never forget that the cultivation of the earth is the most important labor of man. Man may be civilized in some degree without great progress in manufactures and with little commerce with his distant neighbors. But without the cultivation of the earth, he is, in all countries, a savage. Until he gives up the chase, and fixes himself in some place, and seeks a living from the earth, he is a roaming barbarian. When tillage begins, other arts follow. The farmers, therefore, are the founders of civilization.  38
  Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable.  39
  Literature becomes free institutions. It is the graceful ornament of civil liberty, and a happy restraint on the asperities which political controversies sometimes occasion.  40
  Mind is the great leveller of all things; human thought is the process by which human ends are alternately answered.  41
  Monuments and eulogy belong to the dead.  42
  Nothing is more deceptive or more dangerous than the pretence of a desire to simplify government. The simplest governments are despotisms; the next simplest, limited monarchies; but al republics, all governments of law, must impose numerous limitations and qualifications of authority, and give many positive and many qualified rights.  43
  Nothing will ruin the country if the people themselves will undertake its safety; and nothing can save it if they leave that safety in any hands but their own.  44
  One country, one constitution, one destiny.  45
  One may live as a conquerer, a king, or a magistrate; but he must die as a man.  46
  Our government has been tried in peace, and it has been tried in war, and has proved itself fit for both. It has been assailed from without, and it has successfully resisted the shock; it has been disturbed within, and it has effectually quieted the disturbance. It can stand trial, it can stand assail, it can stand adversity, it can stand everything but the marring of its own beauty and the weakening of its own strength. It can stand everything but the effects of our own rashness and our own folly. It can stand everything but disorganization, disunion and nullification.  47
  Philosophical argument, especially that drawn from the vastness of the universe, in comparison with the insignificance of this globe, has sometimes shaken my reason for the faith that is in me; but my heart has always assured and reassured me that the gospel of Jesus Christ must be a divine reality. The Sermon on the Mount cannot merely be a human production. This belief enters into the very depth of my conscience.  48
  Real goodness does not attach itself merely to this life; it points to another world.  49
  Religion is the tie that connects man with his Creator, and holds him to His throne.  50
  Thank God, I—I also—am an American!  51
  The bed of death brings every human being to his pure individuality; to the intense contemplation of that deepest and most solemn of all relations, the relation between the creature and his Creator.  52
  The Bible is a book of faith, and a book of doctrine, and a book of morals, and a book of religion, of special revelation from God; but it is also a book which teaches man his own individual responsibility, his own dignity, and his equality with his fellow man.  53
  The farmers are the founders of civilization.  54
  The greatest of all warriors that went to the siege of Troy had not the pre-eminence because Nature had given him strength and he carried the largest bow, but because self-discipline had taught him how to bend it.  55
  The law, it has honored us, may we honor it.  56
  The longer I live the more highly do I estimate the Christian Sabbath, and the more grateful do I feel towards those who impress its importance on the community.  57
  The man is free who is protected from injury.  58
  The most fruitful and elevating influence I have ever seemed to meet has been my impression of obligation to God.  59
  The people’s government, made for the people, made by the people, and answerable to the people.  60
  The protection of American labor against the injurious competition of foreign labor, so far, at least, as respects general handicraft productions, is known historically to have been one end designed to be obtained by establishing the Constitution; and this object, and the constitutional power to accomplish it, ought never in any degree to be surrendered or compromised.  61
  There has ever been, and will always be, two dominant parties in politics, and this is indirectly an advantage to the general interests of the country.  62
  There is no evil which we cannot face or fly from but the consciousness of duty disregarded.  63
  There is no refuge from confession but suicide; and suicide is confession.  64
  There is something among men more capable of shaking despotic power than lightning, whirlwind, or earthquake; that is, the threatened indignation of the whole civilized world.  65
  There may be, and there often is, indeed, a regard for ancestry which nourishes only a weak pride; as there is also a care for posterity, which only disguises an habitual avarice, or hides the workings of a low and groveling vanity. But there is also a moral and philosophical respect for our ancestors, which elevates the character and improves the heart.  66
  Venerable men! you have come down to us from a former generation. Heaven has bounteously lengthened out your lives, that you might behold this joyous day.  67
  We wish that whoever in all coming time shall turn his eye hither, may behold that the place is not undistinguished where the first great battle of the Revolution was fought. We wish that this structure may proclaim the magnitude and importance of that event, to every class, in every age. We wish that infancy may learn the purpose of its erection from maternal lips, and that weary and withered age may behold it, and be solaced by the recollections it suggests. We wish that labor may look up here, and be proud, in the midst of its toil. We wish that, in those days of disaster, which, as they come on all nations, must be expected to come on us also, desponding patriotism may turn its eyes hitherward, and be assured that the foundations of our national power still stand strong. We wish that this column, rising toward heaven among the pointed spires of so many temples dedicated to God, may contribute also to produce in all minds a pious feeling of dependence and gratitude. We wish, finally, that the last object on the sight of him who leaves his native shore, and the first to gladden his who revisits it, may be something which shall remind him of the liberty and the glory of his country. Let it rise till it meets the sun in his coming; let the earliest light of the morning gild it, and parting day linger and play on its summit.  68
  Whatever government is not a government of laws is a despotism, let it be called what it may.  69
  Whatever makes men good Christians, makes them good citizens.  70
  When my eyes shall be turned to behold, for the last time, the sun in heaven, may I not see him shining on the broken and dishonored fragments of a once glorious Union; on States dissevered, discordant, belligerent; on a land rent with civil feuds, or drenched, it may be, in fraternal blood!  71
 
 
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