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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.]
  • 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.
  • 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.”
  • 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.”
  • Our self-made men are the glory of our institutions.

  • Speech in Boston, Dec. 21, 1860.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.)
  • 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.”
  • 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.”