Niagara-Falls! By what mysterious power is it that millions and millions, are drawn from all parts of the world, to gaze upon Niagara Falls? There is no mystery about the thing itself. Every effect is just as any intelligent man knowing the causes, would anticipate, without it. If the water moving onward in a great river, reaches a point where there is a perpendicular jog, of a hundred feet in descent, in the bottom of the river, - it is plain the water will have a violent and continuous plunge at that point. ……… But still there is more. It calls up the indefinite past. When Columbus first sought this continent - when Christ suffered on the cross - when Moses led Israel through the Red-Sea - nay, even, when Adam first came from the hand of his Maker - then as now, Niagara was roaring here. The eyes of that species of extinct giants, whose bones fill the mounds of America, have gazed on Niagara, as ours do now. Cotemporary with the whole race of men, and older than the first man, Niagara is strong, and fresh to-day as ten thousand years ago. The Mammoth and Mastadon - now so long dead, that fragments of their monstrous bones, alone testify, that they ever lived, have gazed on Niagara. In that long-long time, never still for a single moment. Never dried, never froze, never slept, never rested.
Abraham Lincoln, Fragment on Niagara Falls, September 1848?
Slowly I turn. :p
The wishes of the people, seldom founded in deep disquisitions, or resulting from other reasonings than their present feeling, may not intirely accord with our true policy and interest.
George Washington, letter to John Banister, April 21, 1778
Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprize every expanded prospect.
James Madison, letter to William Bradford, April 1, 1774
But the Good particular Men may do separately, in relieving the Sick, is small, compared with what they may do collectively, or by a joint Endeavor and Interest. Hence the Erecting of Hospitals or Infirmaries by Subscription, for the Reception, Entertainment, and Cure of the Sick Poor, has been found by Experience exceedingly beneficial, as they turn out annually great Numbers of Patients perfectly cured, who might otherwise have been lost to their Families, and to Society. Hence Infirmaries spread more and more in Europe, new Ones being continually erected in large Cities and populous Towns, where generally the most skilful Physicians and Surgeons inhabit.
Benjamin Franklin, Appeal for the Hospital, August 15, 1751
Just as collective action in health care can still do much good.
The rugged face of society, chequered with the extremes of affluence and of want, proves that some extraordinary violence has been committed upon it, and calls on justice for redress. The great mass of the poor, in all countries, are become an hereditary race, and it is next to impossible for them to get out of that state themselves. It ought also to be observed, that this mass increases in all the countries that are called civilized. More persons fall annually into it, than get out of it.
Thomas Paine, Agrarian Justice, 1797
I wish Paine was around today.
It is now become a Maxim with some, who are even Men of Merit, that the World esteems a Man in Proportion as he esteems himself, and are generally disposed to allow him, to be what he pretends to be.
John Adams, letter to James Warren, December 2, 1778
I hold it, therefore, certain, that to open the doors of truth, and to fortify the habit of testing everything by reason, are the most effectual manacles we can rivet on the hands of our successors to prevent their manacling the people with their own consent.
Thomas Jefferson, letter to Judge John Tyler, June 28, 1804
Test things by reason. Texas Republican platform take note.
Never was I a witness to such a scene of lewdness as about Ramapough particularly at the very venerable Mrs. Sydmon’s. I should certainly have thought had I staid there much longer that all the virtue of the fair sex was centered in our Camp Ladies & should very possibly have begun to think of choosing one of them as a Partner for life.
John Marshall, letter to Thomas Posey, September 1, 1779
'Tis a Shame that your Family is an Honour to you! You ought to be an Honour to your Family.
Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1750
A University with sectarian professorships, becomes, of course, a Sectarian Monopoly: with professorships of rival sects, it would be an Arena of Theological Gladiators. Without any such professorships, it may incur for a time at least, the imputation of irreligious tendencies, if not designs. The last difficulty was thought more manageable than either of the others.
James Madison, letter to Edward Everett, March 19, 1823