Category Archives: Quotations

Rev. C.T. Vivian (1924-2020), American minister, author, and civil rights leader. (65 Quotes).

President Barack Obama delivers the 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom to Cordy Tindell “C.T.” Vivian, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House, Nov. 20, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)/ Public Domain.

Rev. C.T. Vivian died on July 17, 2020 at 95 years old. Rev. Vivian was born in Boonville, Missouri, and migrated as a child with his mother to Macomb, Illinois. Rev. Vivian grew up to attend Western Illinois University (WIU) in Macomb, Illinois, where he worked as the sports editor for the student newspaper. In 1987, decades after attending the university, Rev. Vivian received an honorary doctorate from WIU.

Rev. Vivian’s career as an activist began in Peoria, Illinois, where, in 1947, he participated in sit-in demonstrations to successfully integrate Barton’s Cafeteria. Soon after, he served with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther KIng, Jr. and joined Dr. King’s executive staff. In that capacity, Rev. VIvian served as the national director of affiliates for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).

In the mid1960’s Rev. Vivian organized and directed efforts to re-evaluate activist networks and goals and the ideology and practice of Black Power, as well as the role of Christian faith among its participants.

In 1965, Rev. C.T. Vivian became Director of Fellowships and Internships of the Urban Training Center (UTC) for Christian Mission in Chicago. Founded with a grant from the Ford Foundation in 1963 to train African American Christian pastors and organizers—Rev. Jesse Jackson was among the first 19 men trained under Rev. Vivian’s program at the UTC in its first year—the organization considered new dimensions to protest movements in Chicago concerned with Black power, Black identity and Black unity.

By means of lectures, readings, discussions and nonviolent training exercises such as “the Plunge” where participants had to survive on their own for seven days without access to housing, food, or other resources, the organization existed to help its participants to seek ways to take power from structures which affect their lives particularly on the West and South Sides of Chicago. 

In 1970, following the assassination of Dr. King in 1968, Rev. Vivian became the first of Dr. King’s staff to write a book based on his experiences in the civil rights movement. Rev. Vivian’s book was entitled Black Power and the American Myth.

Rev. Vivian eventually became director of the Urban Theological Institute at Atlanta’s Interdenominational Theological Center, a consortium of African-American seminaries. He was also board chair of Capitol City Bank, a minority-owned bank founded in 1995 that focused on loans for underserved areas. With eight branches in metro Atlanta, Capitol City Bank closed in 2015.

Through the C.T. Vivian Leadership Institute founded in 2008, Rev. Vivian continued to do the kind of work he did in Chicago in the 1960’s which was facilitating mainly youth who were seeking discerned strategies for their material and spiritual goals. On behalf of at-risk youth and college graduates, Rev. Vivian fostered innovative leadership for their career development in the 21st century. In 2012, Rev. Vivian returned to serve as interim President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and, in 2013, President Obama awarded Rev. Vivian the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

PHOTO: CC BY-SA 4.0

The United States began with a struggle for civil rights. The specific issue – taxation without representation – was merely a focus for the larger question of whether or not a dominant majority would continue to exploit a subject minority. The American colonists decided that this oppression was not tolerable.
America was born as a revolutionary nation.
The question always before the Black man was: What must I do to be free?
Freedom was conceived of in commercial terms, and indeed there was cause for this..Yet the fact is that when ordinary Black people began to move it was not an economic force that moved them. They sought dignity, not dollars; manhood, not money; pride, not prosperity.
It was Martin Luther King who removed the Black struggle from the economic realm and placed it in the moral and spiritual context.
As a nation, America had steadfastly refused to accept the humanity of its Black minority. It had perpetrated an endless series of horrors more ghastly than most of its citizens could imagine or believe
Racism began as rationalization. It began as a justification of the white man’s injustice to the Black. The greed that brought Black men into slavery was not alone enough to make the institution bearable to the white conscience.
White Americans had to become racists or John Browns…There were many more whites of John Brown’s persuasion than is commonly known. The annals of Southern history document the executions of scores of whites accused of fomenting Black revolt.
Today bigotry most often shows itself as blind indifference and willful ignorance rather than as racist activism.
When Martin Luther King emerged, he raised the issues from the pragmatic to the sublime.
During the time of slavery abolitionists were accused of violence for merely ADVOCATING an end to slavery, while the steady falling of the overseer’s lash went unquestioned as a necessary fact of life.
White America has accepted the brutality of enforced poverty, the violence of economic and social discrimination, the viciousness of personal intolerance, as social facts.
The Blacks who were brought to this country as slaves were systematically stripped of all cultural ties…Nor were they allowed to develop new institutions to replace the old. They were not permitted to read or write.
Blacks were permitted nothing by which to mark themselves as human. They had neither legal nor moral rights. They were property, not people.
Although the Constitution had been amended to declare him a citizen, the Black was neither considered to be, nor treated as, a man.
Even the Black church, which has been the closest thing in most communities to be a truly independent Black institution, has largely failed to deal with the facts of Black America. The church has taught that Blacks were human. But that they would only enjoy its privileges after death.
Blacks had to come to see themselves as masters of their own fate, masters of their secular destiny as well as their spiritual destiny.
These facts — (of economic discrimination, infant mortality rate, malnutrition) and all the others which describe the Black condition — we knew well. Our problem was to make the rest of the nation understand them.
Among other models of social action was the American Revolution itself.
When white people find filth in the streets of their neighborhood they quite properly call city hall and complain, and it is removed. But when the same whites (and warped Blacks) find filth in the ghetto streets, they call for a clean-up campaign by ghetto residents.
In 1964, the Small Business Administration reviewed its past ten years and reported that it had made seven loans to Blacks during that time –seven in ten years. This record is typical of most banks, savings and loans companies, and other financial institutions, which provide the capital that allows people to enter the commercial world.
As Gunnar Myrdal pointed out in his classic study AN AMERICAN DILEMMA, this country does not have a Negro problem, it has a white problem. Changing the white majority, their attitudes and their institutions, is basic to any solution to “racial strife.”
We saw that the failure to admit Blacks to the society had created a permanent ambivalence within the nation, an ambivalence which warped everything that the nation did. Even the simple facts of history had been so twisted that it was impossible for most Americans to understand what happened to their land or why they had arrived at the crisis they were facing.
The first permanent non-Indian settlers in what is now the United States were not whites seeking religious freedom but Blacks seeking physical freedom. These people came here as slaves with an ill-fated Spanish colonial venture. They rebelled and sought refuge with the Indians. The Spanish left and the Blacks remained. This took place more than a hundred years before the landing of the Mayflower.
Of major importance is the fact that at the time of the Revolutionary War the entire American economy was sustained by slavery. Slaves were held in every colony.
For Blacks were not the only ones oppressed by slavery. Whites were also brutalized by their inability to escape from slavery. In the South this was especially clear. A police state was created and the entire population lived in terror of a slave uprising.
Millions of Americans suffered from misplaced hatreds. The classic example is the poor white Southerner who has been pitted against Blacks by the powerful men who exploit them both.
Most of the antislavery agitation in the United States came from poor whites in the South. These people saw that slavery kept THEM in bondage by allowing planters to control all the best land and manipulate the markets to their own advantage.
John Calhoun voiced the typical slaveholder’s view when he said freedom for whites was impossible without the enslavement of Blacks.
In the Dred Scott decision of 1857…the Supreme Court explained that the phrase “the people of the United States” in the Constitution was never meant to include Blacks.
Congress…created the Freedmen’s Bureau, an agency designed to make the ex-slaves participants in the national economy. Much good work was done by the Bureau.
In the Fifteenth Amendment, the government officially forbade the denial of voting rights because of “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” And having done this, the government washed its hands of the whole matter.
One reactionary Supreme Court decision interpreted the Fourteenth Amendment as having granted the privilege of national citizenship, but not necessarily state citizenship. This gave Blacks rights such as access to seaports, but left questions of education, suffrage, and employment up to the states.
During the 1890s, two to three Blacks were lynched every week – week after week, year after year.
During the Jim Crow mania, states, counties, towns, and cities vied with one another in passing repressive legislation, running all the way from the silly to the insane. This was the period which the “separate but equal” doctrine was taking shape.
The Civil Rights Act of 1965 was intended partly to enforce the Fifteenth Amendment, because no more than a tiny fraction of the Black population had ever actually been allowed to vote.
Ironically, it is America’s firm commitment to equalitarian ideals which makes the race question so intense.
What began as a Negro rights movement and became a civil rights movement would have to become a human rights movement encompassing the entire nation. It would not be enough even for the nation to change its attitudes toward Black people – we saw that the nation would have to change its attitude toward itself as well. White people as individuals and as a group would have to examine and redefine themselves, their past, and their future just as Blacks were doing.
Almost every public pronouncement concerning the condition of Blacks insisted that their situation was rapidly improving. But since Blacks were invisible to the white world, these questionable statements went unverified.
Some of our leaders recommended movement through education…Others to industrial occupations…still other leaders counseled violence. Throughout the history of America we fought many times. Before emancipation there were over 250 slave conspiracies and revolts.
To all who accepted it, nonviolence offered new power. It pitted calm courage against frantic fear. It set the action of love against the reaction of hate.
Nonviolence was a method which at once began to end the old and create the new.
The Birmingham campaign of 1963 was the first large-scale test of the new method (of nonviolence). It was titled “Project C” – C for CONFRONTATION.
When it became clear that we would not be crushed, official Birmingham accepted our demands—(1) desegregation of all public facilities, (2) hiring and upgrading of workers without discrimination, (3) the release of all jailed demonstrators, (4) the establishment of a permanent biracial committee to keep communications open between Blacks and whites.
Our movement depended on mass support; the mobilization of our people was our principal weapon.
We were continually warned about “backlash”—which is what white people do when Black people fail to “stay in their place.”
We were continually told by whites and fearful Blacks alike that we were fomenting discord, creating racial strife, mounting reaction and bigotry.

Introductory text:

White liberals also touted the success gained through legal action. But important as court battles have been, they failed to make any basic change in the lives of most Blacks.
Ten years after the school desegregation cases of 1954, only 2.14% of the nearly 3 million Black children in Southern schools have been affected and were receiving anything like a desegregated education.
As this protest reached massive proportions it became clear that those Americans who were not coming to realize the justice of the Black demands were closing their minds more permanently and more desperately to justice.
Massive opposition was stirring. White citizens’ councils were forming throughout the South. In the Northern cities, the names were different but the motives were the same whether they came under the heading of parents’ and taxpayers’ groups, homeowners’ associations, or community school councils.
Our accomplishments often bewildered us as much as our defeats.
It was not until the riots began that we understood the extent of our failure. The message from the streets was that hundreds of years of Black appeals for justice would now give way to action.
When there is no justice for ALL, then there is no justice at all. Some may be favored, but none are safe.
Genuine integration can never become a reality until both parties can live together as equals; and that will not happen until each sees the other as human, until each holds the same values upon which the entire culture can grow.
Integration is dead. The concept and the experience, insofar as they were tried, have both failed because of the powerful racism of this society. Blacks, in response, have realized that they must develop their own distinctive culture.
Black organizations that have organized around welfare have almost universally called for the abolishment of that system.
Who then really WANTS the welfare system? Who profits by it? Who perpetuates it? It is, of course, the people who RUN the system.
It is those who ADMINISTER welfare who get the most money, not the recipients; it is the administrators who are most truly ON welfare. This point should always be remembered when they try to speak for the Black community.
The collapse of the integration model has led to many social experiments ranging from Black capitalism to the African revival. There has been a headlong search for new sources of identity.
Within Black communities, therefore, the cry is no longer for integrated education, but for community control. It means Black control of Black schools, just as whites have always controlled their schools.
In a few cases there have even been beginning attempts at coalition between bigots and Blacks in opposition to the white liberals who refuse to give up the rubric of integration.
Some segments of the Black movement are concerning themselves specifically with the creation and re-creation of Black culture. Others have found inspiration in such international movements as socialism.
The only sanity seems to lie in a new form of segregation which will hopefully, in time, bring a new demand for integration – the integration of whites into the re-created culture that the Black minority has begun to achieve.

Introductory biographical text:

Most brief, educationally distinct citations come from C.T. Vivian’s Black Power and the American Myth.

Quotations: the Wisdom of the Heart. (14 Quotes).

Can you walk on water? You have done no better than a piece of straw. Can you fly in the air? You have done no better than a bluebottle. Conquer your heart; then you may become somebody. Abdullah Ansari of Herat (1006-1088), quoted in Aldous Huxley, The Perennial Philosophy, 1945.

A spiritual master and the “Sage of Herat,” Abdullah Ansari of Herat was a Muslim Sufi saint.

The awakening of the spirit is accomplished because the heart has first died. When a human being can let his or her heart die, then the primordial spirit wakes to life. To kill the heart does not mean to let it dry and wither away, but it means that it is undivided and gathered into one. The Secret of the Golden Flower, a Chinese Book of Life.

The Secret of the Golden Flower is a Chinese Taoist book about Neiden, or inner alchemy. It provides an array of physical, mental, and spiritual practices that Taoist initiates use to prolong life.

The text is attributed to Chinese scholar and poet Lü Dongbin (796 CE-1016 CE) of the late Tang dynasty which ruled from 618 to 907.  

I was sleeping, but my heart was awake./The sound of my lover knocking!/“Open to me, my sister, my friend,/my dove, my perfect one!/For my head is wet with dew,/my hair, with the moisture of the night.” Song of Solomon (Song of Songs) 5:2.

The Song of Songs, also known as Song of Solomon, or Canticle of Canticles, is a book of the Old Testament. The Song of Songs is unique within the Hebrew Bible: it shows no interest in Law or Covenant or the God of Israel, nor does it teach or explore wisdom but celebrates sexual love, giving “the voices of two lovers, praising each other, yearning for each other, proffering invitations to enjoy.” The two are in harmony, each desiring the other and rejoicing in sexual intimacy. The women of Jerusalem form a chorus to the lovers, functioning as an audience whose participation in the lovers’ erotic encounters facilitates the participation of the reader.

Jewish tradition reads it at Passover as an allegory of the relationship between God and Israel. Christianity interprets it as an allegory of Christ and his bride, the Church.

The entire Universe is condensed in the body, and the entire body in the Heart. Thus the Heart is the nucleus of the whole Universe. Sri Ramana Maharshi (1879-1950).

Ramana Maharshi was an Indian Hindu sage and jivanmukta (liberated being).

As I stood there it seems to me that the gentle lady seemed to be coming towards me to open my breast and write within, there in my heart, placed so as to suffer, her beautiful name, in letters of gold, so that it might never escape. Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375), Amorosa visione, 1343.

Giovanni Boccaccio together with Dante Alighieri (c. 1265–1321) and Petrarch (1304- 1374) is part of the so-called “Three Crowns” of Italian literature of the fourteenth century. He was a versatile writer who put together different literary genres and trends and making them into original works. His creative activity was characterized by experimentation.

Boccaccio’s most notable work is The Decameron, a collection of short stories or tales begun in 1349 and completed in 1353. Ranging from the tragic to erotic, the 100 tales are told during the Black Death by a group of three young men and seven young women who are sheltering in a villa outside Florence to escape it. Boccaccio revised The Decameron in the early 1570’s, after likely having conceived the series of novellas after an epidemic in 1348. The Amorosa Visione was a fifty-canto allegorical poem.

It isn’t enough for your heart to break because everybody’s heart is broken now. Allen Ginsburg (1926-1997), Indian Journals (1970).

Allan Ginsburg was a poet and writer. Starting in the 1940’s, Ginsburg was a member of the Beat Generation along with Jack Kerouac (1922-1969) and William S. Burroughs (1914-1997). Ginsburg opposed militarism, capitalism, and sexual repression. His views on drugs, hostility to the government, and an openness to Far Eastern religions and philosophy were countercultural.

Ginsburg’s Indian Journals: March 1962 – May 1963 is a travel journal during Ginsberg’s journey in India with partner Peter Orlovsky.

The heart is the monarch of the body. Tikunei haZohar, chapter 13.

Tikunei haZohar is a main text of the Kabbalah which is a method, discipline, and school of thought in Jewish mysticism.

The light of splendor shines in the middle of the night. Who can see it? A heart which has eyes and watches. Angelus Silesius (1624-1677).

Angelus Silesius was born Johann Scheffler in Breslau, the capital of Silesia. Raised a Lutheran, he changed his name when he became a Catholic in 1653. He became a Franciscan Catholic priest in 1661. During this time, Silesius began publishing polemical essays against Protestantism as well as religious mystical poetry.

That sun of the intellectual world, that inner eye of the heart…Richard of Saint-Victor (1110-1173), medieval mystic.

Richard of Saint-Victor was one of the founders of medieval Christian mysticism. A Scottish philosopher and theologian, Richard was a member of a religious order (or “canon regular”). From 1162 to 1173 he was the superior of the famous Augustinian Abbey of Saint Victor in Paris, a richly endowed monastery and school.

The abbey and school of Saint Victor was an international center of piety and learning. During the first (though less famous) Renaissance of the 12th century, the monastery and school attracted many famous scholars, students, and retreatants, such as Peter Abelard (1079-1142), Hugh of St. Victor (1096-1141), Peter Lombard (1096-1160), Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) and Thomas Becket (1119-1170). 

I know of no restorative of heart, body, and soul more effective against hopelessness than the restoration of the Earth. Barry Lopez (1945-2020), nature writer.

Barry Lopez  was an American writer of both fiction and nonfiction. His extensive nature writing is known for its humanitarian and environmental concerns. Lopez won the National Book Award for Nonfiction for Artic Dreams (1986) and Of Wolves and Men (1978) was a National Book Award finalist.

“Dear Lord we beg but one boon more: Peace in the hearts of all (persons) living, peace in the whole world…” Joseph Auslander (1897-1965), U.S. Poet Laureate.

Joseph Auslander was an American poet who was appointed as the first Poet Laureate to the Library of Congress in 1937 and served until 1943.

I’d like to know what it is that catches the imagination like a strange touch on the very heart, the very spiritual being of prenatal memories, that persist with reference to earth-places, like little streams bordered by willows, like fields of yellow wheat, like hills with the summoning sky above them against which may stand an old corncrib? Why should such common things stir down where there is no explanation in the heart? Edgar Lee Masters (1868-1950), U.S. poet.

Edgar Lee Masters grew up in Sangamon County in Central Illinois. In Chicago he built a successful law practice, and for eight years he was the partner of Clarence Darrow. At 30 years old, in 1898, Masters published A Book of Verses, his first collection of poetry.

His Spoon River Anthology, a collection of monologues from the dead in an Illinois graveyard, was published in 1915. It was wildly successful and is one of American literature’s most popular books of poetry. Masters was friends with other Illinois poets such as Carl Sandburg and Vachel Lindsay. 

For where your treasure is there your heart will be also. Gospel of Luke 12:34.

One of the sayings of Jesus on trust in God. In talking about the Kingdom of God, Jesus develops it in terms of one’s own death. He keeps its ideal positive and demanding.

The human heart is local and finite, it has roots; and if the intellect radiates from it, according to its strength, to greater and greater distances, the reports, if they are to be gathered up at all, must be gathered up at that center. George Santayana (1863-1952), The Philosophy of Travel.

George Santayana was a Spanish-American philosopher, poet, and humanist who made important contributions to aesthetics, speculative philosophy, and literary criticism.  A one-time professor of philosophy at Harvard University, Santayana was well known for his aphorisms. Attributed to Santayana is the famous aphorism: “”Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” In The Philosophy of Travel (published in The Virginia Quarterly Review in Winter 1964), Santayana speculates on the human capacity for locomotion as the source and definition of our intelligence.

Quotations: Kim Tschang-Yuel (1929-2021). (1 Quote).

I lived with the seriousness of someone who has caught a tiger by the tail. Once you have caught hold of a tiger’s tail, you have to follow it all the way to the end, on pain of being eaten alive. Kim Tschang-Yuel (1929-2021), painter of water drops.

From an interview with critic and curator Michel Enrici published in 2018 and cited in The New York Times, “Kim Tschang-Yeul, 91, Dies; Painted Water Drops Swollen With Meaning,” updated January 19, 2021.

Kim Tschang-yeul (December 24, 1929–January 5, 2021) was a French-Korean artist known for his abstract paintings of water droplets.

PHOTO: “Tschang Yeul Kim” by rocor is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

Quotations: President Watching. (14 Quotes).

The advent of the new president changed everything. The Roosevelts transformed the White House as completely as the swift march of public thoughts and events had changed the country. No longer did the Executive Mansion resemble a medieval castle besieged by the forces of progress. The drawbridges were figuratively let down, and the moats drained of their timeworn prejudices. The archers of reaction withdrew from their turrets, and the victorious New Deal army took over the battlements.” George Abell and Evelyn Gordon, Let Them Eat Caviar, Dodge Publishing Co., New York, 1937.

“Even that son of a bitch looks impressive in that getup!” Alice Roosevelt Longworth (1884-1980), at the White House after visiting President Warren Harding in the Oval Office. Quoted in Katherine Graham’s Washington, Knopf, 2002.

Alice Roosevelt was President Teddy Roosevelt’s oldest child and the only child of Roosevelt and his first wife, Alice Hathaway Lee, who died in childbirth. Alice grew up to be an independent, unconventional and outspoken “first daughter” and was an important figure in the women’s movement in the first half of the 20th century.

Alice Longworth was perfectly realistic about Harding—and didn’t like the Republican president very much. Sen. Brandegee of Connecticut, a member of Harding’s own inner circle, called the former newspaper owner of The Marion Star, Senator from Ohio, and 29th U.S. President, “no world-beater, but he’s the best of the second-raters.”

[The Wilsons] finally settled on a house in the 2300 block of S Street, Northwest, and purchased it…[W]e rode by everyday, and the President was eager as a bridegroom about getting back to private life. He seemed to gain new strength as he shed the idea of responsibility and assumed the freedom of a civilian. But he did not forget his dreams.” Colonel Edmund W. Starling, Starling of the White House…as told to Thomas Sugrue…, Simon & Schuster.

Colonel Edmund William Starling (1875-1944) was chief of the Secret Service detail in the White House from 1914 to 1943. In his thirty years of service at the White House he was responsible for the personal safety of five President of the United States—Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Starling idolized Woodrow Wilson. His first exposure to Wilson left him “in a daze.” Born in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, the posthumous book is based on over 11,000 personal letters Starling wrote over the decades, mostly to his mother back home. Starling’s ashes are buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

SOURCES: http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/ewstarling.htm; https://hoptownchronicle.org/hopkinsville-native-edmund-w-starling-protected-five-presidents-as-a-secret-service-agent/

“As Senate majority leader, I participated in many private conferences with President Franklin D. Roosevelt….Usually we would talk in his bedroom at the White House, and the President, wrapped in his cherished gray bathrobe, which he clung to year after year….would interrupt work on a pile of papers and puff at a cigarette through his long ivory holder as we exchanged views.” Alben W. Barkley (1877-1956), That Reminds Me, 1954.

Senator Barkley (later Vice President Barkley under President Harry S. Truman) describes an almost iconic FDR- one can almost imagine a bespectacled 32nd president smoking a cigarette from a long cigarette (in this instance, ivory) holder and jauntily thrusting his chin forward.

Alben W. Barkley, Democrat of Kentucky, was one of the most prominent American politicians of the first half of the 20th Century. Barkley hoped expectantly to someday be the U.S. President–or at least his party’s sometime presidential nominee, particularly in 1952. The longtime majority leader of the U.S. Senate had to settle, however, for being a one-term vice-president in the executive branch. After Truman chose Barkley to be his running mate in 1948 and that ticket triumphed in one of American history’s most astounding upsets, Alben Barkley became a popular national figure known everywhere as “The Veep.” Like his Kentucky forebear Abraham Lincoln, Vice President Barkley was a noted story-teller and often started his sentence with, “And that reminds me…” 

“It was all gone now-the life-affirming, life-enhancing zest, the brilliance, the wit, the cool commitment, the steady purpose….[President Kennedy] had so little time: it was as if Jackson had died before the nullification controversy and the Bank War, as if Lincoln had been killed six months after Gettysburg or Franklin Roosevelt at the end of 1935 or Truman before the Marshall Plan.” Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. (1917-2007) on the death of JFK. From A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House, Houghton Mifflin, 1965.

Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. was an American historian who resigned from Harvard and was appointed Special Assistant to the President in the Kennedy Administration in January 1961. Per Kennedy’s desire, Schlesinger served as a sort of ad hoc roving reporter and troubleshooter on behalf of the president. In February 1961, Schlesinger was told of the plans for what developed into the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion in April 1961 and wrote a memorandum to the president telling him that he opposed the action. During the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962 Schlesinger aided United Nations ambassador Adlai Stevenson on his presentation to the world body on behalf of the Kennedy Administration’s ultimately successful efforts to peacefully remove Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba. On November 22, 1963, Schlesinger had flown to New York for a luncheon with Washington Post owner Katharine Graham and the editors of her magazine, Newsweek. As they still sipped pre-luncheon libations and amiably talked about upcoming college football games that weekend, a young man in shirtsleeves suddenly entered the gathering. He tentatively announced to the group that, as Schlesinger relates in A Thousand Days, “the President has been shot in the head in Texas.”

“[George Washington’s] mind was great and powerful, without being of the very first order; his penetration strong, though not so acute as that of a Newton, Bacon, or Locke; and as far as he saw, no judgment was ever sounder. It was slow in operation, being little aided by invention or imagination, but sure in conclusion.” Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president, Letter, January 1814.

After returning from France where he served as Minister Plenipotentiary with John Adams and Benjamin Franklin in Paris in the mid-to-late 1780’s, Thomas Jefferson accepted President George Washington’s invitation to serve as the nation’s first Secretary of State in the early 1790’s. Jefferson eventually left Washington’s cabinet over his opposition to Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton’s promotion of a national debt and national bank in contrast to Jefferson’s vision of a minimalist federal government (see Joseph J. Ellis, American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson, Random House, 1998, pp. 221-222). Thomas Jefferson was elected the third president of the United States in 1800 and served two terms as president. In 1803 Jefferson transacted the Louisiana Purchase that doubled the size of the United States and in the process acquired the most fertile tract of land of its size on Earth.

“During the inaugural parade [President George H.W.] Bush kept darting in and out of his limousine…These pop-outs were much better received than the Jimmy Carter business of walking the whole parade route. We Americans like our populists in small doses and preferably from an elitist.” P.J. O’Rourke, PARLIAMENT OF WHORES, Atlantic Monthly Press, 1991.

The Bushes were a big family and family oriented. O’Rourke reported in his best-selling book that on the first night of Bush’s presidency 28 members of the Bush family spent it at the White House.

“Mr Jefferson has reason to reflect upon himself. How he will get rid of his Remorse in his Retirement I know not. He must know that he leaves the government infinitely worse than he found it and that from his own Error or Ignorance. I wish his Telescopes and Mathematical Instruments, however, may secure his Felicity. But If I have not mismeasured his Ambition, he will be uneasy, and the Sword will cutt away the Scabbard. As he has, however a good Taste for Letters and an ardent curiosity for Science, he may and I hope will find Amusement and consolation from them: for I have no resentment against him, though he has honoured and Salaried almost every Villain he could find who had been an Enemy to me.” Former president John Adams (1735-1826), at Quincy, letter to Benjamin Rush, April 18, 1808.

The punctuation and capitalization are Adams’ original. see– https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Adams/99-02-02-5238

John Adams (1735-1826), the second president of the United States, a Federalist, and Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), a Democratic-Republican, were fierce political rivals. Both lawyers—Adams from Massachusetts and Jefferson from Virginia—each were enlightened political liberals who served in the Continental Congress in Philadelphia as well as headed the committee that drafted the Declaration of Independence. Adams and jefferson also served together as ministers to France in the 1780’s. Into the 1790’s, as president (Adams) and vying to be (Jefferson), each served opposing visions for the direction of the new nation. At their extreme, the Federalists advocated to establish a strong Federal government that could alienate the individual rights of large groups. Jefferson’s vision of limited government included his advocacy in certain instances for state government to have the right to resist those federal laws that were injurious to local interest.

Jefferson’s narrow victory in the presidential election of 1800 made John Adams the nation’s first one-term president, and sent the New England patriarch into early retirement to Quincy, Massachusetts. For the next decade, John Adams harbored a barely hidden resentment of his political rival, if not enemy when measured by some of their florid rhetoric. Though these two sparring giants of the early republic eventually resumed civil correspondence—Adams and Jefferson stayed in contact until the day they died, both remarkably on the same day, July 4, 1826— Adams had been especially upset by the relentless propaganda campaign of Jefferson’s Republican party against him during the second president’s first term. The years-long libelous accusations described President Adams, in part, as narcissistic, incompetent, dangerous to democracy, unbalanced, and corrupt—all of which Jefferson had personally paid for and approved and which led to a premature and hasty departure of Adams as chief executive on March 4, 1801. (See Joseph J. Ellis, American Sphnix: The Character of Thomas Jefferson, Random House, 1998, pp. 281-82).

Also see- https://openendedsocialstudies.org/2018/09/25/adams-jefferson-and-two-visions-for-the-united-states/

“Isn’t it nice that Calvin is President? You know we never really had room before for a dog.” Grace Coolidge (1879-1957), First Lady of the U.S. (1923-1929), in 1927.

Grace Coolidge was the wife of the 30th President of the U.S., Calvin Coolidge. Throughout her husband’s career, whether as Governor of Massachusetts, Vice-President, or President, Grace Coolidge avoided politics. Though the young Grace broke off a marriage engagement to marry Coolidge, her mother advised against marrying this young man. Calvin Coolidge and Grace Coolidge married on October 4, 1905—and Calvin Coolidge never settled his differences with his mother-in-law who felt her daughter was completely responsible for his rising political fortunes. The Coolidges had two sons, John (1906–2000) and Calvin (1908–1924). After Calvin Coolidge, Jr. died of blood poisoning in July 1924, the Coolidges were inconsolable. The story is well-known: while playing lawn tennis with his brother, John, at the White House, the teenager developed a blister on one of his toes. Within the week, the 16-year-old was dead of a blood infection despite being admitted to Walter Reed Army Medical Center. (see- https://www.coolidgefoundation.org/blog/the-medical-context-of-calvin-jr-s-untimely-death/)

By 1921, the wife of Vice-President Coolidge entered Washington society and quickly became the most popular woman in the capital. In 1927 when Mrs. Coolidge made these remarks, the world that her husband was facing was in flux. In 1927, as France called to outlaw war, which was endorsed by the U.S, a Great Depression already began in Germany with its economic collapse on “Black Friday.” After President Coolidge called for a Naval Disarmament Conference, only a couple of global powers showed up.

The world seemed to be getting smaller in 1927. In May 1927 American Charles Lindbergh flew solo, nonstop, from New York to Paris and started the era of transatlantic air travel. Regular transatlantic telephone service also began in 1927. In the U.S., as the stock market boomed, much of it on shaky credit, lawyers and doctors earned around 3½ times more than a teacher or factory worker. Baltimore-born “Babe” Ruth hit a record 60 home runs in New York.

The first full-length sound motion picture, The Jazz Singer, opened in 1927. In Chicago there was an important art exhibition of Chinese Buddhist art of the Wei Dynasty. In 1927, Hemingway published Men without Women; Willa Cather published Death Comes for the Archbishop; and Thomas Mann published The Magic Mountain. That year’s Pulitzer Prize went to Thornton Wilder’s second novel, The Bridge of the San Luis Rey. It told the story of people who unexpectedly die together in a rope bridge collapse in Peru and the friar who witnessed the accident looking to figure out the possibly cosmic answers as to why.

“The days of transition from Kennedy to Johnson were as hard on me as they were on anyone else–harder. I was losing a dog and gaining a President I didn’t know. Not only didn’t I know him, I didn’t think I wanted to know him. He wasn’t boyish or good-natured or quick-witted like Kennedy and I heard him cussing out the help when things weren’t done fast enough.” Traphes Bryant, Dog Days at the White House, 1975.

Traphes Bryant started out working at the White House as an electrician on the afternoon shift. That was in 1951. Bryant soon moved on to respond to other maintenance calls such as a broken White House elevator. In the 1950’s Bryant was already looking after the incumbents’ family pets, such as it was for the Trumans and Eisenhowers. That line of work became official for Traphes Bryant when John Kennedy became president in 1961. Kennedy asked Bryant to become the new presidential kennel keeper. The president liked how Bryant trained the dogs to meet the presidential helicopter that would often be seen in photographs and on film.

Though Kennedy himself was sometimes allergic to animals, First Lady Jackie Kennedy adored all sorts of animals. During the next 1000 days in office, the Kennedys kept several pets. At one point the first family, which included two small children, Caroline and John, Jr., had 9 dogs. The Kennedys also kept hamsters, horses, birds, a rabbit, and a cat. Some of the animals were gifts from foreign heads of state.

In 1961 Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev sent the Kennedys a mixed breed dog named Pushinka. The dog’s mother had been sent into orbit on Korabl-Sputnik 2 in 1960. Though a surprise, the Kennedys welcomed the canine gift. In fact, the Kennedys’ Welsh terrier, Charlie, not only had another companion but a new mate: Pushinka gave birth to four puppies fathered by Charlie. Kennedy called the litter, “the pupniks.”

Bryant was officially in charge of Pushinka’s and Charlie’s grooming, exercise, and diet—along with all the rest. Those special responsibilities for John Kennedy ended abruptly with his assassination on November 22, 1963.

see BRYANT, TRAPHES L.: ORAL HISTORY INTERVIEW – JFK #1, 5/13/1964; Traphes Bryant, Dog Days at the White House, 1975; Katherine Graham’s Washington, Knopf, 2002, pp. 542-43; https://www.facebook.com/WhiteHouseHistory/posts/traphes-bryant-pictured-here-had-been-a-white-house-electrician-since-1948-worki/3374666809225225/

I always thought [President Jimmy] Carter was great…That kind of brain power made him the smartest president we’ve had in my time. His failing was as a politician. He did not know how to organize the White House and how to get along with Congress. Carter promised he was not going to work with the bureaucracy in Washington. He would be the people’s president.. He did it — and it doesn’t work. [Carter] proved that. Conversations with Cronkite: Walter Cronkite and Don Carleton, University of Texas at Austin, 2010, p.320.

“In a way the criticism of Washington is extremely healthy. Because the idea of Thomas Jefferson was that to make the system work, Americans always had to be in a state of semi-revolution against the government. He would have been terrified to think that in 2001 Americans might be uncritical of Washington and let it steal their liberties.” Michael Beschloss, U.S. historian, quoted in “Why Do They Hate Washington?” by Sally Quinn, The Washington Post, April 12, 2001.

Just the day before, I’d joked about being the vice president when I addressed a group of newspapermen covering the Senate. One of them called me Mr. Vice President and I said, “Smile when you say that,” and I told them that the Senate was the greatest place in the world and that I wish I was still a senator. “I was getting along fine,” I said, “until I stuck out my neck too far and got too famous. And then they made me VP and now I can’t do anything.” But now I wasn’t the vice president any longer, and there was plenty to do.” Harry S. Truman, 33rd U.S. President, Where the Buck Stops: The Personal and Private Writings of Harry S. Truman, ed. Margaret Truman, 1989.

“Do you know who the patient is in the emergency room?” “Yes.” “Would you give me his name, please?” I said, “It’s Reagan. R-E-A-G-A-N.” I waited for a reaction. “First name?” “Ron.” “Address?” I said, “1600 Pennsylvania.” His pencil stopped in mid-scratch. He finally looked up. “You mean…?” I said, “Yes. You have the president of the United States in there.” Michael K. Deaver at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C. after the assassination attempt on President Reagan on March 30, 1981. From his Behind the Scenes, 1987.

After being shot at the Washington Hilton Hotel at 1919 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., in Washington, D.C. on Monday afternoon, March 30, 1981, following a speech there, President Reagan was transported in his presidential limousine—the president slammed to its floor by a Secret Service agent during the first split seconds of the shooting in a bid to save his life—and raced to George Washington University Hospital. At first it was believed that the president was unhurt, but within minutes, still on the way to the emergency room, Reagan coughed up blood from his lungs. At the hospital, the president walked on his own power about 15 yards into the emergency room. Once inside the hospital, Reagan slumped and was helped by Secret Service agents into a private room off the lobby. As the hospital’s trauma team assembled, it was still not clear whether Reagan had been hit or not in the hail of 6 bullets shot in quick succession by the would-be assassin’s .22 caliber gun (bullets had struck James Brady, Reagan’s Press Secretary, in the head above his left eye; Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy in the chest; and D.C. police officer Thomas Delahanty in the back of his neck ricocheting off his spine. All of them would receive medical attention and survive).

The doctors were just starting their examination of the president when a green smocked-hospital orderly with a clipboard approached Deaver looking for information on the new patient. It soon became clear that Reagan had, indeed, been hit in the assassination attempt. A fragment of a bullet had ricocheted off the limousine’s armored car door and entered the 70-year-old president below the armpit, traveled down his left side, bounced off a rib, punctured his lung, and stopped just inches from his heart.

Quotations: Archbishop Derek Worlock (1920-1990). (1 Quote).

Derek Worlock (February 4, 1920 – February 6. 1996) was an English priest in the Roman Catholic Church and the Archbishop of Liverpool.

Worlock was committed to collaboration with all his fellow Christians. Worlock co-authored the books Better Together and With Hope in our Hearts (1995) with the Anglican Bishop of Liverpool, David Sheppard. Worklock’s motto was Caritas Christi eluceat (“For the Shining Light of Christ”).

In 1994 Archbishop Worlock was awarded the Freedom of the City of Liverpool award and appointed as a Companion of Honour in 1996. At his death that year, a memorial for him was planned. It was commissioned in 2005 and made possible through public donations. It was designed by British sculptor Stephen Broadbent (b. 1961). The memorial is situated at the halfway point of Liverpool’s Hope Street. Hope Street joins both the Anglican and Roman Catholic cathedrals. See it here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/newfolder/2535308455

The aim of the statue was to create a lasting memorial to the work of the two religious leaders—Catholic archbishop Worklock and Anglican Bishop David Sheppard— who aimed to heal their churches’ deep religious divisions and serve as a unifying force in Liverpool.

I am my brother’s keeper, and he’s sleeping pretty rough these days. London OBSERVER, December 16, 1990. (On the homeless).

Sheppard-Worlock Statue by Stephen Broadbent. Above: Catholic Archbishop Derek Worlock. Commissioned in 2005 and paid for with public donations, the statue sits halfway between the Catholic and Anglican cathedrals that are both situated on Hope Street in Liverpool. The statue memorializes the two religious leaders who worked together as a unifying force to heal religious divisions among their churches and in the city. Below: Anglican bishop David Sheppard.

Coat of Arms, Most Rev. Derek Worlock, Metropolitan Archbishop of Liverpool. It contains Worklock’s motto: Caritas Christi eluceat (“For the Shining Light of Christ”).

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File: Detail from the Sheppard-Worlock statue Liverpool. Anglican Bishop David Sheppard. Man vyi – Self-photographed. Own work, all rights released (Public domain)/

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Quotations: Chief Joseph (c.1840-1904), Nez Percé leader. (3 Quotes).

Somebody has got our horses. Reaction to violation of surrender treaty terms by U.S. Government.

“When the terms of surrender were violated by the government, [Chief] Joseph did not dig up the tomahawk and go on the warpath again…. He…. spoke with a straight tongue , and was a gentleman of his word. Nor did he blame [Maj. Gen. O. O.] Howard or [Col. Nelson A.] Miles for what his people suffered. He remarked only the above. (Quoted in Saga of Chief Joseph, H. A. Howard, University of Nebraska Press, 1978, p. 348.)

If you tie a horse to a stake, do you expect him to grow fat? If you pen an Indian up on a small spot of earth, and compel him to stay there, he will not be contented, nor will he grow and prosper. I have asked some of the great white chiefs where they get their authority to say to the Indian that he shall stay in one place, while he sees white men going where they please. They cannot tell me. Chief Joseph (c.1840-1904), Nez Percé, North American Review, Cedar Falls, Iowa, April 1879.

The gravesite of Chief Joseph. Photograph by author.

My son, never forget my dying words, this country holds your father’s body. Never sell the bones of your father and mother. Chief Joseph (c.1840-1904), Nez Percé. To his son on defending his homeland and people.

Quotations: Pope Saint John XXIII (Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli), 1881-1963. (2 Quotes).

One day John XXIII visited the Hospital of the Holy Spirit in Rome. Deeply stirred by the pope’s visit, the mother superior whose nuns administered the hospital, went up to introduce herself. “Most Holy Father,” she announced, “I am the Superior of the Holy Spirit!” “Well, I must say you’re lucky,” the pope said. “I’m only the Vicar of Jesus Christ!” Wit and Wisdom of Good Pope John, collected by Henri Fesquet.

“Giovanni, why don’t you sleep? Is it the Pope or the Holy Spirit who governs the church? It’s the Holy Spirit, no? Well, then, go to sleep, Giovanni!” Wit and Wisdom of Good Pope John, collected by Henri Fesquet.

Quotations: Henry Miller (1891-1980), U.S. Author. (4 Quotes).

Featured Image: Henry Miller, Paris. Photography by Brassaï, 1931.

We have two American flags always: one for the rich and one for the poor. When the rich fly it, it means that things are under control; when the poor fly it, it means danger, revolution, anarchy. The Air-Conditioned Nightmare (1945).

The world dies over and over again, but the skeleton always gets up and walks. The Wisdom of the Heart, “Uterine Hunger,” (1941).

Actually we are a vulgar, pushing mob whose passions are easily mobilized by demagogues, newspaper men, religious quacks, agitators and the like. To call this a society of free peoples is blasphemous. What have we to offer the world besides the superabundant loot which we recklessly plunder from the earth under the maniacal delusion that this insane activity represents progress and enlightenment? The Air-Conditioned Nightmare, Preface (1945) on the people of the U.S.

Perhaps I am still very much an American. That is to say, naïve, optimistic, gullible…In the eyes of a European, what am I but an American to the core, an American who exposes his Americanism like a sore. Like it or not, I am a product of this land of plenty, a believer in superabundance, a believer in miracles. Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymous Bosch (part 3), “Paradise Lost,” 1957.

Quotations: The Book of Joshua (Books of the Bible). (2 Quotes).

Feature Image: Joshua with Moses, stained glass panel, 15th century, Church of St. Lawrence, Nuremberg, Germany. 

The Book of Joshua is the sixth book in the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament. It is the first book of the Deuteronomistic history or the story of Israel from the conquest of Canaan to the Babylonian exile. It contains many different kinds of highly synthesized and edited literary materials. These include various etiologies (explanations of customs, institutions, landmarks, etc.) and battle narratives. These materials are thereby complex from a literary perspective.  

The Book of Joshua relates the military campaigns of the Israelites in central, southern and northern Canaan. It tells of the destruction of their enemies and the division of the land among the Twelve Tribes. These developments are conveyed by two set-pieces—the first by God commanding  the conquest of the land (Chapter 1) and, the second, by Joshua exhorting the people to a faithful observance of the Law revealed to Moses (Chapter 23).

Is the Book of Joshua of historical value? Clearly historical, the Israelites gained control of Canaan—and the book relates that it was accomplished by a series of battle victories which is not unreasonable to presume. The book’s broad narrative is generally to be founded on history.

The Book of Joshua also contains many creations of the popular imagination or folklore which makes the historical reliance on its details presented as fact in the narrative not indisputable. Where the meagerness of materials is present, however, the ancient compilers and editors did not elaborate based on broad or simple textual statements but moderated descriptions to the available details. Today’s modern archaeology, while able to provide insight into human activity in Canaan throughout this time period (13th century BCE and later), the historical quest to establish a clear, concrete connection to episodes mentioned in the Book of Joshua by this science can be hard to support.  

The figure of Joshua in the role of significant military leader is integral to the narrative and found in the most ancient, original text (i.e., his role in the formation of the 12-tribe league at Shecham, Chapter 24), among other examples. All factors point to Joshua’s significant role in the conquest.  

In terms of the Book of Joshua’s religious aspects there are several layers of religious tradition that are held in common but with singular or special emphases. The book relates the conquest as an act of God. For man, the act of conquest or “holy war” was closely associated to an act of worship though that idea was based on an older, primitive religious practice that was not practiced at least by the time the Book of Joshua was completed in the mid6th century BCE. The Book of Joshua also conveys another religiously primitive idea–that of collective guilt (Chapter 7).

Religious tradition is expressed in the ideas of God’s covenant and that morality is based on obedience to the Law as part of their close personal relationship to God. In chapters 13 to 21 which were added later, the book expresses God’s fidelity to the Israelites to the point of restoration of total possession of the land although while in exile that idea would be a dream. The idea of a future Israel that is restored was further embellished religiously—such as the 12 tribes gathered to worship at the sanctuary and providing carefully for its tribal priests (Chapter 22).

Joshua’s speech ends the book with a warning about the future (Chapter 23) though the following and last chapter added later ends differently. In that last chapter the people of Israel proclaim their choice to serve God (Joshua 24:24) and that the choice of Israel to be in relationship with God is a free one (24:15). The narrative of the Book of Joshua closes with Joshua’s death at the age of 110 years old and his burial among the heritage of the descendants of Joseph (24: 29, 32).

SOURCE: The Jerome Biblical Commentary, edited by Raymond E. Brown, S.S., Joseph A Fitzmeyer, S.J., and Roland E. Murphy, O. Carm., Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1968.

Chapter 10.

12 It was then, when the LORD delivered up the Amorites to the Israelites, that Joshua prayed to the LORD, and said in the presence of Israel: Sun, stand still at Gibeon, Moon, in the valley of Aijalon! 13 The sun stood still, the moon stayed, while the nation took vengeance on its foes. Joshua 10:12-13.

24When they brought the five kings out to Joshua, he summoned all the army of Israel and said to the commanders of the soldiers who had marched with him, “Come forward and put your feet on the necks of these kings.” They came forward and put their feet upon their necks. 25Then Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid or dismayed, be firm and steadfast. This is what the LORD will do to all the enemies against whom you fight.” 26Thereupon Joshua struck and killed the kings, and hanged them on five trees, where they remained hanging until evening. Joshua 10: 24-26.

Quotations: Lord Byron (George Gordon), (English Romantic Poet, 1788-1824). (15 Quotes).

Featured Image: George Gordon (Lord Byron) by Richard Westall (1765-1836). National Portrait Gallery, London.

Lord Byron (George Gordon), 1788-1824, Letter to poet Thomas Moore, October 28, 1815. Byron’s Letters and Journals, vol. 4 (1973-81; edited by Leslie A. Marchand).

Lord Byron (George Gordon), 1788-1824, Byron’s Letters and Journals, vol. 8 (1973-81; edited by Leslie A. Marchand).

Out of chaos God made a world, and out of high passions comes a people. Lord Byron (George Gordon), 1788-1824, Byron was describing the early nationalist fervor in Italy for which the poet played an active role. Byron’s Letters and Journals, vol. 8 (1973-81; edited by Leslie A. Marchand).

I do detest everything that is not perfectly mutual. Lord Byron (George Gordon), 1788-1824, Letter, October 21, 1813. Byron’s Letters and Journals, vol. 3 (1973-81; edited by Leslie A. Marchand).

I only go out to get me a fresh appetite for being alone. Lord Byron (George Gordon), 1788-1824, Journal, December 12, 1813. Byron’s Letters and Journals, vol. 3 (1973-81; edited by Leslie A. Marchand).

Lord Byron (George Gordon), 1788-1824, Journal, March 22, 1814. Byron’s Letters and Journals, vol. 3 (1973-81; edited by Leslie A. Marchand).

In solitude, where we are LEAST alone. Lord Byron (George Gordon), 1788-1824, Childe Harold, canto 3, stanza 90.

Lord Byron (George Gordon), 1788-1824, Byron’s Letters and Journals, vol. 8 (1973-81; edited by Leslie A. Marchand).

Lord Byron (George Gordon), 1788-1824, Byron’s Letters and Journals, volume 9, edited by Leslie A. Marchand, 1979. The journal entry was written on Byron’s final journey to aid the Greek revolt.

If we must have a tyrant, let him at least be a gentleman who has been bred to the business, and let us fall by the axe and not by the butcher’s cleaver. Lord Byron (George Gordon), 1788-1824, Letter, February 21, 1820 to John Murray, publisher. Byron’s Letters and Journals, volume 7, edited by Leslie A. Marchand, 1973-1981.

Are we aware of our obligations to a mob? It is the mob that labour in your fields and serve in your houses–that man your navy, and recruit your army–that have enabled you to defy the world, and can also defy you when neglect and calamity have driven them to despair. You may call the people a mob; but do not forget that a mob too often speaks the sentiments of the people. Lord Byron (George Gordon), 1788-1824, First speech to the House of Lords, February 27, 1812 on the topic of Luddite machine-wreckers.

The French courage proceeds from vanity—the German from phlegm—the Turkish from fanaticism & opium—the Spanish from pride—the English from coolness—the Dutch from obstinacy—the Russian from insensibility—but the Italian from anger. Lord Byron (George Gordon), 1788-1824, Letter, August 31, 1820, to publisher John Murray. Published in Byron’s Letters and Journals, volume 7, ed. Leslie A. Marchand , 1973-1981.

It is by far the most elegant worship, hardly excepting the Greek mythology. What with incense, pictures, statues, altars, shrines, relics, and the real presence, confession, absolution, –there is something sensible to grasp at. Besides, it leaves no possibility of doubt; for those who swallow their Deity, really and truly, in transubstantiation, can hardly find any thing else otherwise than easy of digestion. Lord Byron (George Gordon), 1788-1824, Letter, March 8, 1822 to poet Thomas Moore. Byron explained that he was bringing up one of his own daughters, Allegra, a Catholic.

It is useless to tell one not to reason but to believe — you might as well tell a man not to wake but sleep. Lord Byron (George Gordon), 1788-1824, Detached Thoughts, no. 96, 1821-22.

I would rather…have a nod from an American, than a snuff box from an emperor. Lord Byron (George Gordon), 1788-1824, letter, June 8, 1822, to poet Thomas Moore.