All the public business in Congress now connects itself with intrigues, and there is great danger that the whole government will degenerate into a struggle of cabals.
Journal entry (January 1819).
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.John Quincy AdamsEpitaph for John Adams (1829), inscribed on one of the portals of the United First Parish Church Unitarian (Church of the Presidents), Quincy
The highest, the transcendent glory of the American Revolution was this — it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the precepts of Christianity.John Quincy AdamsLetter to an autograph collector (27 April 1837), published in The Historical Magazine (July 1860, pg. 193-194); this became slightly misquoted by John Wingate Thornton in The Pulpit of The American Revolution (1860): "The highest glory of the American Revolution, said John Quincy Adams, was this: it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity".
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.John Quincy AdamsLetter 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".
The great problem of legislation is, so to organize the civil government of a community ... that in the operation of human institutions upon social action, self-love and social may be made the same.John Quincy Adams"Society and Civilization" in the American Review (July 1845).
To furnish the means of acquiring knowledge is ... the greatest benefit that can be conferred upon mankind. It prolongs life itself and enlarges the sphere of existence.John Quincy AdamsReport on the establishment of the Smithsonian Institution (c. 1846).
All men profess honesty as long as they can. To believe all men honest would be folly. To believe none so is something worse.John Quincy AdamsLetter to William Eustis (22 June 1809), published in Writings of John Quincy, Adams (1914), The Macmillan company.
Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.John Quincy AdamsAs quoted in Pocket Patriot : Quotes From American Heroes (2005) edited by Kelly Nickell
If this bill passes … as it will be the right of all, so it will be the duty of some, to prepare definitely for a separation, amicably if they can, violently if they must.John Quincy AdamsSpeech, In Congress. Jan. 14, 1811, against the admission of Louisiana to the Union. Quoted by Henry Clay in Congress (1813), "Peaceably if we can, forcibly if we must."
My wants are many, and, if told,Would muster many a score;And were each wish a mint of gold,I still would want for more.John Quincy AdamsThe Wants of Man, stanza 1, published in The Quincy Patriot (25 September 1841).
We know the redemption must come. The time and the manner of its coming we know not: It may come in peace, or it may come in blood; but whether in peace or in blood, LET IT COME.John Quincy AdamsRemarks to "the colored people of Pittsburge, Pennsylvania" in 1843, as quoted in History of the Rebellion : Its Authors and Causes (1864) by Joshua Reed Giddings; Alabama Representative Dellet quoted the speech in the House of Representatives and added "though it cost the blood of thousands of white men?" Adams replied Though it cost the blood of millions of white men, let it come. Let justice be done, though the heavens fall. Miller, William Lee (1995). Arguing About Slavery. John Quincy Adams and the Great Battle in the United States Congress. Vintage Books. p. 469. ISBN 0-3945-6922-9.
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