Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.
Edward Everett Hale (18221909)
Do you pray for the Senators, Dr. Hale? someone asked the chaplain. No, I look at the Senators and pray for the country.
EDWARD EVERETT HALE, Senate chaplain.Van Wyck Brooks, New England: Indian Summer, 18651915, p. 418, footnote (1940).
The celebrated anecdote is not so unambiguous as it appears . There is no reason to doubt the authenticity of Hales reply, but it should be understood within a framework of respect for the senators as well as concern for the country. He knew every one of them personally and regarded them, as he said in his preface to Prayers in The Senate (1904), as intelligent men, in very close daily intimacy with each other, in the discharge of a common duty of the greatest importance.John R. Adams, Edward Everett Hale, pp. 100101 (1977).