Rufus Choate

American politician (1799-1859)

Rufus Choate (October 1, 1799July 13, 1859) was an American lawyer, Whig politician, and orator.

Neither irony nor sarcasm is argument.
The final end of government is not to exert restraint but to do good.

Quotes edit

  • We have built no national temples but the Capitol; we consult no common oracle but the Constitution.
    • "The Importance of Illustrating New-England History by a Series of Romances like the Waverley Novels", a lecture delivered at Salem, Massachusetts (1833).
  • The courage of New England was the "courage of conscience." It did not rise to that insane and awful passion, the love of war for itself.
    • Address at Ipswich Centennial (1834).
  • The final end of government is not to exert restraint but to do good.
    • Speech in the Senate (2 July 1841).
  • There was a state without king or nobles; there was a church without a bishop; there was a people governed by grave magistrates which it had selected, and by equal laws which it had framed.
    • Speech before the New England Society (22 December 1843)
    • Possibly related to :
The Americans equally detest the pageantry of a king and the supercilious hypocrisy of a bishop.
  • Junius, Letter xxxv (19 December 1769)
It established a religion without a prelate, a government without a king.
  • George Bancroft on Calvinism, in History of the United States (1834), Vol. III, Ch. vi.
Oh, we are weary pilgrims; to this wilderness we bring
A Church without a bishop, a State without a King
  • Anonymous poem "The Puritans' Mistake", published by Oliver Ditson (1844).
  • All that happens in the world of Nature or Man, — every war; every peace; every hour of prosperity; every hour of adversity; every election; every death ; every life; every success and every failure, — all change, — all permanence, — the perished leaf; the unutterable glory of stars, — all things speak truth to the thoughtful spirit.
    • "The Power of a State Developed by Mental Culture", an address to the Mercantile Library Association (18 November 1844), published in The Works of Rufus Choate : Memoir, Lectures and Addresses (1862), edited by Samuel Gilman Brown.
  • Happy is he who has laid up in his youth, and held fast in all fortune, a genuine and passionate love of reading.
    • Speech at the dedication of the Peabody Institute (29 September 1854).
  • We join ourselves to no party that does not carry the flag, and keep step to the music of the Union.
    • Letter to the Whig Convention, Worcester (1 October 1855).
  • Its constitution the glittering and sounding generalities of natural right which make up the Declaration of Independence.
    • Letter to the Maine Whig Committee (1856). Six years earlier, Choate gave a lecture in Providence which was reviewed by Franklin J. Dickman 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. Dickman wrote: "We fear that the glittering generalities of the speaker have left an impression more delightful than permanent". Reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • Neither irony nor sarcasm is argument.
    • As quoted in Dictionary of American Maxims‎ (1955) by David George Plotkin
    • Variant: Neither irony or sarcasm is argument.
      • As quoted in Lifetime Speaker's Encyclopedia (1962) edited by Jacob Morton Braude, p. 50.

External links edit

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