Zitate John Quincy Adams
„In charity to all mankind, bearing no malice or ill will to any human being, and even compassionating those who hold in bondage their fellow men, not knowing what they do.“
Letter to A. Bronson (30 July 1838); a similar idea was later more famously expressed by Abraham Lincoln, "With malice towards none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right".
„Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.“
Independence Day address (1821)
Kontext: America, in the assembly of nations, since her admission among them, has invariably, though often fruitlessly, held forth to them the hand of honest friendship, of equal freedom, of generous reciprocity. She has uniformly spoken among them, though often to heedless and often to disdainful ears, the language of equal liberty, of equal justice, and of equal rights. She has, in the lapse of nearly half a century, without a single exception, respected the independence of other nations while asserting and maintaining her own. She has abstained from interference in the concerns of others, even when conflict has been for principles to which she clings, as to the last vital drop that visits the heart. She has seen that probably for centuries to come, all the contests of that Aceldama the European world, will be contests of inveterate power, and emerging right. Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force. The frontlet on her brows would no longer beam with the ineffable splendor of freedom and independence; but in its stead would soon be substituted an imperial diadem, flashing in false and tarnished lustre the murky radiance of dominion and power. She might become the dictatress of the world; she would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit.... Her glory is not dominion, but liberty. Her march is the march of the mind. She has a spear and a shield: but the motto upon her shield is, Freedom, Independence, Peace. This has been her Declaration: this has been, as far as her necessary intercourse with the rest of mankind would permit, her practice.
„Posterity: you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it.“
Attributed in The Rebirth of a Nation : With a Bill of Rights for America's Third Century (1978) by Robert S. Minor, p. 10; this is a paraphrase of a statement by his father John Adams in a letter to his mother Abigail Adams (27 April 1777): "Posterity! you will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom! I hope you will make a good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven that I ever took half the pains to preserve it".
Letter to William Eustis http://books.google.com/books?id=S088AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA319 (22 June 1809), published in Writings of John Quincy, Adams (1914), The Macmillan company.
Variante: All men profess honesty as long as they can. To believe all men honest would be folly. To believe none so is something worse.
„I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.“
„The first steps of the slaveholder to justify by argument the peculiar instutitions is to deny the self-evident truths of the Declaration of Independence. He denies that all men are created equal. He denies that he has inalienable rights.“
As quoted in letter to the citizens of the twelfth congressional district (29 June 1839), The Hingham Patriot, MA. As quoted in Thomas Huges Rare and Early Newspaper catalog, No. 141
Letter to the 12th Congressional District (1839)
„This house will bear witness to his piety; this town, his birthplace, to his munificence; history to his patriotism; posterity to the depth and compass of his mind.“
Epitaph for John Adams (1829), inscribed on one of the portals of the United First Parish Church Unitarian (Church of the Presidents), Quincy
„Why is it that, next to the birth day of the Saviour of the World, your most joyous and most venerated festival returns on this day? … Is it not that, in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birth-day of the Saviour? That it forms a leading event in the progress of the gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon earth? That it laid the corner stone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity, and gave to the world the first irrevocable pledge of the fulfilment of the prophecies, announced directly from Heaven at the birth of the Saviour and predicted by the greatest of the Hebrew prophets six hundred years before?“
Newburyport Oration (4 July 1837)
„Individual liberty is individual power, and as the power of a community is a mass compounded of individual powers, the nation which enjoys the most freedom must necessarily be in proportion to its numbers the most powerful nation.“
Letter to James Lloyd (1 October 1822)
„Respect for his ancestors excites, in the breast of man, interest in their history, attachment to their characters, concern for their errors, involuntary pride in their virtues. Love for his posterity spurs him to exertion for their support, stimulates him to virtue for their example, and fills him with the tenderest solicitude for their welfare. Man, therefore, was not made for himself alone. No; he was made for his country, by the obligations of the social compact: he was made for his species, by the Christian duties of universal charity: he was made for all ages past, by the sentiment of reverence for his forefathers; and he was made for all future times, by the impulse of affection for his progeny. Under the influence of these principles, "Existence sees him spurn her bounded reign." They redeem his nature from the subjection of time and space: he is no longer a "puny insect shivering at a breeze;" he is the glory of creation, formed to occupy all time and all extent: bounded, during his residence upon earth, only by the boundaries of the world, and destined to life and immortality in brighter regions, when the fabric of nature itself shall dissolve and perish.“
He here quotes statements made about William Shakespeare by Samuel Johnson, and then one made in reference to Timon by Alexander Pope in Moral Essays.
Oration at Plymouth (1802)
„When the principle of hereditary dominion shall be extinguished in all the institutions of France; when government shall no longer be considered as property transmissible from sire to son, but as a trust committed for a limited time, and then to return to the people whence it came; as a burdensome duty to be discharged, and not as a reward to be abused; when a claim, any claim, to political power by inheritance shall, in the estimation of the whole French people, be held as it now is by the whole people of the North American Union — then will be the time for contemplating the character of Lafayette, not merely in the events of his life, but in the full development of his intellectual conceptions, of his fervent aspirations, of the labors and perils and sacrifices of his long and eventful career upon earth; and thenceforward, till the hour when the trump of the Archangel shall sound to announce that Time shall be no more, the name of Lafayette shall stand enrolled upon the annals of our race, high on the list of the pure and disinterested benefactors of mankind.“
Oration on Lafayette (1834)
„I can never join with my voice in the toast which I see in the papers attributed to one of our gallant naval heroes. I cannot ask of heaven success, even for my country, in a cause where she should be in the wrong. Fiat justitia, pereat coelum. My toast would be, may our country always be successful, but whether successful or otherwise, always right.“
Letter to his father, John Adams (1 August 1816), referring to the popular phrase "My Country, Right or Wrong!" based upon Stephen Decatur's famous statement "Our Country! In her intercourse with foreign nations may she always be in the right, but our country, right or wrong." The Latin phrase is one that can be translated as : "Let justice be done though heaven should fall" or "though heaven perish".