Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.
Fisher Ames (17581808)
The House is composed of very good men, not shining, but honest and reasonably well-informed, and in time they will be found to improve, and not to be much inferior in eloquence, science, and dignity, to the British Commons. They are patriotic enough, and I believe there are more stupid (as well as more shining) people in the latter, in proportion.
FISHER AMES, letter to George Richard Minot, May 27, 1789.Works of Fisher Ames, ed. Seth Ames, vol. 1, p. 45 (1854).
Ames was a Federalist Representative from Massachusetts at the first Congress, which met in New York City. Representative Hale Boggs quoted Ames at the end of the first session of the 89th Congress: You know, Mr. Speaker, a long time ago there was a congressman here from the great State of Massachusetts. His name was Fisher Ames. Speaking of the Congress which met in 1789 he wrote a letter to his constituents and this is what he said about his colleagues who served in the Congress of 1789 in describing them. He said: On the whole they were very good men, not shining, but honest and reasonably well informed. I believe it is a very apt description because we come from the people and we are of the people, and, thank God, we have a system that makes that possible.Congressional Record, October 22, 1965, vol. 111, p. 28566.