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mates and prompts to deeds of self-sacrifice, of
valor, of devotion, and of death itself, — that is
public virtue; that is the noblest, the sublimestof
all public virtues!

"Rather Be Right than President » — Sir, I
had rather be right than President. — (To Sena-
tor W. C. Preston of South Carolina, 1839.)

Clayton, John M. (American, 1796-1856.)

Taking Advantage of Weakness — I never
have been, and I am not now, willing to acquire
one acre of ground from Mexico,, or any other
nation under heaven, by conquest or robbery.
I hold that, in all our transactions with the
other nations of the world, the great principle
ought to be maintained by us that (< Honesty is
the best policy, M and that an honorable repu-
tation is of more value to a country than land
or money. I hold that any attempt on our
part, merely because we happen to possess
superior strength, to compel a weaker nation
to cede to us all that we choose to demand as
indemnity, while we at the same time admit
that we ask for more than she owes us, is
nothing else but robbery. — (1848.)

Clemens, Jeremiah ( American, 1814-1865.)

« Manifest Destiny » — Let us set about con-
vincing the world that we are (( a power upon
earth. n Let us rob Spain of Cuba, England of
Canada, and Mexico of her remaining posses-
sions, and this continent will be too small a
theatre upon which to enact the bloody drama
of American progress ! Like the Prophet of the
East, who carried the sword in one hand and
the Koran in the other, American armies will
be sent forth to proclaim freedom to the serf ;
but if he happen to love the land in which he
was born, and exhibit some manly attachment



to the institutions with which he is familiar,
his own lifeblood will saturate the soil, and his
wife and children be driven forth as houseless
wanderers, in proof of our tender considera-
tion for the rights of humanity. Sir, this is a
species of progress with which Satan himself
might fall in love.

Mr. President, there are in this connection
still other lights in which the question before
us may be presented. Look at America as she
now is, prosperous in all things, splendid, mag-
nificent, rich in her agriculture, rich in her com-
merce, rich in arts and sciences, rich in learn-
ing, rich in individual freedom, richer still in
the proud prerogative of bending the knee to
none but the God who made us, and of wor-
shiping even in his temples according to the
forms which conscience, not the law, has pre-
scribed. Gaze upon that picture until your
soul has drunk in all its beauty, all its glory,
and then let me paint for you that which is
offered as a substitute. Look upon a land
where war has become a passion, and blood a
welcome visitant ; where every avenue to genius
is closed save that which leads through a field
of strife ; where the widow and the orphan
mingle unavailing tears for the husband and
the father; where literature has become a mock-
ery, and religion a reproach ; upon a people,
strong, indeed, but terrible in their strength,
with the tiger's outward beauty and the tiger's
inward fierceness ; upon a people correctly de-
scribed by the poet when he said : —

« Religion, blushing, veils her sacred fires,
And unawares morality expires ;
Nor public flame, nor private, dares to shine,
Nor human spark is left, nor glimpse divine.
1,0 ! thy dread empire, Chaos, is restored,
Light dies before thy uncreating word ;
Thy hand, great Anarch, lets the curtain fall,
And universal darkness buries all."

— (U. S. Senate. 1853.)

Foreign War and Domestic Despotism —
The senator from Michigan was right when he
said that our fears were to be found at home.
I do fear ourselves. Commit our people once
to unnecessary foreign wars, — let victory encour-
age the military spirit, already too prevalent
among them, — and Roman history will have no
chapter bloody enough to be transmitted to
posterity side by side with ours. In a brief
period we shall have re-enacted, on a grander
scale, the same scenes which marked her
decline. The veteran soldier, who has followed
a victorious leader from clime to clime, will for-
get his love of country in his love for his com-
mander ; and the bayonets you send abroad to
conquer a kingdom will be brought back to
destroy the rights of the citizen, and prop the
throne of an emperor.

Cleon (Greece, (?) —422 B. C.)

Democracies and Their « Subjects »— Upon
many other occasions my own experience hath
convinced me that a democracy is incapable of
ruling over others.



376



CELEBRATED PASSAGES



Cleveland, Grcver (American, 1837 -.)

Communism of Capital — Communism is a
hateful thing and a menace to peace and organ-
ized government. But the communism of com-
bined wealth and capital, the outgrowth of
overweening cupidity and selfishness, which as-
siduously undermines the justice and integrity of
free institutions, is not less dangerous than the
communism of oppressed poverty and toil,
which, exasperated by injustice and discontent,
attacks with wild disorder the citadel of misrule.
—(1888.)

Condition, Not Theory — It is a condition
which confronts us — not a theory. — (Annual
message. 18S7.)

Innocuous Desuetude — After an existence of
nearly twenty years of almost innocuous desue-
tude, these laws are brought forth. — (Message.
March, 1886.)

Clinton, De Witt (American, 1769-1828.)

Law vs. War — What right have the rulers of
nations to unsheathe the sword of destruction,
and to let loose the demon of desolation upon
mankind whenever caprice or pride, ambition or
avarice, shall prescribe ? And are there no fixed
laws, founded in the nature of things, which or-
dain bounds to the fell spirit of revenge, the
mad fury of domination, and the insatiable thirst
of cupidity ?

Cobb, Howell (American, 1815-1868.)

The Citizen-Soldier — I trust you will never
desire to induce this government to create a
large standing army in time of peace as pre-
paratory to some future emergency which may
require it. The bulwark of the defense of our
country lies in the hearts and the spirit of the
American people. It is to the citizen-soldier,
and not the mercenary hireling, that the Ameri-
can people look for the defense of their rights
in an emergency.

Cobden, Richard (England, 1804-1865.)

Small States and Civilization — It may
seem Utopian ; but I don't feel sympathy for
a great nation, or for those who desire the
greatness of a people by the vast extension of
empire. What I like to see is the growth, de-
velopment, and elevation of the individual man.
But we have had great empires at all times, —
Syria, Persia, and the rest. What trace have
they left of the individual man ? Nebuchad-
nezzar, and the countless millions under his
sway,— there is no more trace of them than of
herds of buffaloes, or flocks of sheep. But look
at your little states; look at Greece, with its
small territories, some not larger than an Eng-
lish county ! Italy, over some of whose states a
man on horseback could ride in a day, — they
have left traces of individual man, where civili-
zation has flourished, and humanity has been
elevated. It may appear Utopian, but we can
never expect the individual elevated until a
practical and better code of moral law prevails
among nations, and until the small states obtain
justice at the hands of the great. — (1862.)



Armament Not Necessary — I sometimes
quote the United States of America ; and I
think in this matter of national defense, they set
us a very good example. Does anybody dare to
attack that nation ? There is not a more formi-
dable power, in every sense of the word, — al-
though you may talk of France and Russia, —
than the United States of America ; and there is
not a statesman with a head on his shoulders
who does not know it, and yet the policy of the
United States has been to keep a very small
amount of armed force in existence. At the
present moment, they have not a line-of-battle
ship afloat, notwithstanding the vast extension
of their commercial marine. — (From a speech
delivered in 1850.)

Coleridge, Samuel Taylor (England, 1772-
I834-)
Hissing Prejudices — I am not at all sur-
prised that when the red-hot prejudices of aris-
tocrats are suddenly plunged into the cool
element of reason they should go off with a
hiss. — (From a speech at Bristol.)

Conkling, Roscoe (American, 1829-1888.)

The Candidate from Appomattox — When
asked whence comes our candidate, we say
from Appomattox. Obeying instructions I
should never dare to disregard ; expressing,
also, my own firm conviction, I rise in behalf
of the State of New York to propose a nomi-
nation with which the country and the Repub-
lican party can grandly win. The election
before us will be the Austerlitz of American
politics. It will decide whether for years to
come the country will be (< Republican or Cos-
sack. B The need of the hour is a candi-
date who can carry the doubtful States, North
and South ; and believing that he more surely
than any other can carry New York against
any opponent, and carry not only the North,
but several States of the South, New York is
for Ulysses S. Grant. He alone of living
Republicans has carried New York as a presi
dential candidate. Once he carried it even
according to a Democratic count, and twice he
carried it by the people's vote, and he is stronger
now. The Republican party with its standard
in his hand is stronger now than in 1868 or
1872. Never defeated in war or in peace, his
name is the most illustrious borne by any living
man ; his services attest his greatness, and the
country knows them by heart. His fame was
born not alone of things written and said, but
of the arduous greatness of things done, and
dangers and emergencies will search in vain
in the future, as they have searched in vain in
the past, for any other on whom the nation
leans with such confidence and trust. — (Nomi-
nating Grant. 1880.)

Constant, Benjamin (France, 1767-1830.)

Censorship of the Press — Censors are to
thought what spies are to innocence ; they both
find their gains in guilt, and where it does not
exist they create it. Censors class themselves
as



Online LibraryUnknownThe handbook of oratory; a cyclopedia of authorities on oratory as an art and of celebrated passages from the best orations from the earliest period to the present time → online text (page 57 of 93)