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John Bartlett (1820–1905). Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. 1919.

Page 599

Rufus Choate. (1799–1859) (continued)
      We join ourselves to no party that does not carry the flag and keep step to the music of the Union.
          Letter to the Whig Convention, Worcester, Oct. 1, 1855.
      Its constitution the glittering and sounding generalities 1 of natural right which make up the Declaration of Independence.
          Letter to the Maine Whig Committee, 1856.
      The courage of New England was the “courage of Conscience.” It did not rise to that insane and awful passion, the love of war for itself.
          Address at Ipswich Centennial, 1834.
Thomas Noel. (1799–1861)
    Rattle his bones over the stones!
He ’s only a pauper, whom nobody owns!
          The Pauper’s Ride.
    By the waters of Life we sat together,
  Hand in hand, in the golden days
Of the beautiful early summer weather,
  When skies were purple and breath was praise.
          An old Man’s Idyll.
Thomas Babington, Lord Macaulay. (1800–1859)
      That is the best government which desires to make the people happy, and knows how to make them happy.
          On Mitford’s History of Greece. 1824.
Note 1.
Six years earlier, Choate gave a lecture in Providence a review of which, by Franklin J. Dickman, appeared in the Journal of December 14, 1849. Unless Choate used the words “glittering generalities,” and Dickman made reference to them, it would seem as if Dickman must have the credit of originating the catchword. He wrote:
  “We fear that the glittering generalities of the speaker have left an impression more delightful than permanent.” [back]