Reference > Quotations > S.A. Bent, comp. > Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men
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S.A. Bent, comp.  Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men.  1887.
 
Wendell Phillips
 
        [An American orator and reformer; born in Boston, Nov. 29, 1811; educated at Harvard College; abandoned the profession of the law, being unwilling to act under an oath to support the Constitution of the United States; president for many years of the American Anti-Slavery Society; after the Civil War, devoted himself to other social reforms; died Feb. 2, 1884.]
  1
 
Every step of progress the world has made has been from scaffold to scaffold, and from stake to stake.
          Speech for woman’s rights, at Worcester, Mass., Oct. 15, 1851.
  2
 
What the Puritans gave the world was not thought, but action.
          Speech at the dinner of the Pilgrim Society at Plymouth, Mass., Dec. 21, 1855. He also said on the same occasion, “Neither do I acknowledge the right of Plymouth to the whole rock. No, the rock underlies all America: it only crops out here.” And again: “There is a class among us so conservative that they are afraid the roof will come down if you sweep off the cobwebs.” Also: “There is a pedigree of the body, and a pedigree of the mind.” He said in New York, Jan. 21, 1863, “Give it only the fulcrum of Plymouth Rock, an idea will upheave the continent.”
  3
 
Revolutions are not made, they come.
          Speech to the Anti-Slavery Society, Boston, Jan. 28, 1852. He also said in this speech, “There is no Canaan in politics.”
  4
 
Our self-made men are the glory of our institutions.
          Speech in Boston, Dec. 21, 1860.
  5
 
You can always get the truth from an American statesman after he has turned seventy, or given up all hope of the Presidency.
          Speech on the election of Lincoln, Nov. 7, 1860.
  6
 
Civilization dwarfs political machinery.
          Ibid.
  When Infinite Wisdom established the rules of right and honesty, he saw to it that justice should be always the highest expediency.
  Difference of religion breeds more quarrels than difference of politics.—Ibid.
  7
 
You must stand afar off to judge St. Peter’s.
          Speech in Boston, Feb. 17, 1861. Northcote once said, “Great objects can only be seen at a distance.” Phillips also said in this speech, “All that is valuable in the United States Constitution is one thousand years old;” and again, “Revolutions never go backward.”
  “War and Niagara thunder to a music of their own.” (In Boston, April 21, 1861.)
  8
 
One, on God’s side, is a majority.
          Speech in Brooklyn, on John Brown, Nov. 1, 1859, in which he said, “Insurrection of thought always precedes insurrection of arms;” and again, “Every man meets his Waterloo at last,” or, as elsewhere, “Every man has his Moscow.”
  9
 
Whether in chains or in laurels, liberty knows nothing but victories.
          Ibid.
  He said in a speech in Boston, Oct. 4, 1859, “Give to the masses nothing to do, and they will topple down thrones, and cut throats: give them the government here, and they will make pulpits useless, and colleges an impertinence;” and again, “Books, churches, governments, are what we make them.”
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