Words of Wisdom: August

  • August 1

    “America was indebted to immigration for her settlement and prosperity. That part of America which had encouraged them most had advanced most rapidly in population, agriculture and the arts.”

    — James Madison, 4th President of the US

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  • August 2

    From 1790 to 1840, the US census records provide the name of the head of household, and lists the number of people in the household and also number of slaves owned depending on the year of the census.

    — census.gov

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  • August 3

    “Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white, on a blue field, representing a new constellation.”

    — The first official US flag was flown during battle on August 3, 1777, at Fort Schuyler. The Continental Congress adopted this resolution on June 14, 1777.

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  • August 4

    “I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent.”

    — Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Francis Hopkinson, March 13, 1789

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  • August 5

    “A right result at this time will be worth more to the world than ten times the men and ten times the money. The evidence reaching us from the country leaves no doubt that the material for the work is abundant, and that it needs only the hand of legislation to give it legal sanction and the hand of the Executive to give it practical shape and efficiency. One of the greatest perplexities of the Government is to avoid receiving troops faster than it can provide for them. In a word, the people will save their Government if the Government itself will do its part only indifferently well.” Read more here.

    — from President Abraham Lincoln's 4th Message to Congress (July 4, 1861)

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  • August 6

    “We are happy to believe — indeed, we have very good evidence to the fact — the Administration in Washington notwithstanding appearances, stand ready to inaugurate and carry out a policy towards slavery which will most certainly eventuate in breaking down slavery in all the rebel States, just as soon as the people require it.”

    — Frederick Douglass, August 1861

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  • August 7

    “… The General ever desirous to cherish virtuous ambition in his soldiers, as well as to foster and encourage every species of Military merit directs whenever any singularly meritorious action is performed, the author of it shall be permitted to wear on his facings, over his left breast, the figure of a heart in purple cloth or silk edged with narrow lace or binding.”

    — George Washington, on the granting of the Badge of Military Merit, August 7, 1782. It award later became known as the Purple Heart.

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  • August 8

    “Institutions must be subordinate, and the Government must be supreme.”

    — Andrew Johnson, vice president under Abraham Lincoln, who became the 17th President 1865-1869

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  • August 9

    “At eight a.m. being a little to windward of the entrance of the Harbor, bore away, and run in east-north-east between the breakers, having from five to seven fathoms of water. When we were over the bar, we found this to be a large river of fresh water, up which we steered. At one p.m. came to with the small bower, in ten fathoms, black and white sand. The entrance between the bars bore west-south-west distant ten miles; the north side of the river a half mile distant from the ship; the south side of the same two and a half miles distance; a village on the north side of the river west by north, distant three-quarters of a mile. Vast numbers of natives came alongside; people employed in pumping the salt water out of our watercasks, in order to fill with fresh, while the ship floated in. So ends.”

    — Merchant sea captain Robert Gray (born May 10, 1755 to summer 1806), from the ship's log as Gray located a safe channel across the treacherous bar, he made his way into the fresh waters of the Columbia River; May 11, 1792

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  • August 10

    “It is in his knowledge that man has found his greatness and his happiness, the high superiority which he holds over the other animals who inhabit the earth with him, and consequently no ignorance is probably without loss to him, no error without evil.”

    — James Smithson, the British scientist who gave $500,000 to the US to create the Smithsonian Institution. An Act of Congress was signed by President James K. Polk on Aug. 10, 1846, which established it as a trust to be administered by a Board of Regents and a Secretary of the Smithsonian.

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  • August 11

    “It seems strange that a man of sense should be so zealous in the cause of nonsense.”

    — Boston Minister John Carroll, the first bishop of the United States

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  • August 12

    “Bearing in mind that it is from the vitality of the atmospheric particles that all the mischief arises, it appears that all that is requisite is to dress the wound with some material capable of killing these septic germs, provided that any substance can be found reliable for this purpose, yet not too potent as a caustic. In the course of the year 1864 I was much struck with an account of the remarkable effects produced by carbolic acid upon the sewage of the town of Carlisle, the admixture of a very small proportion not only preventing all odour from the lands irrigated with the refuse material, but, as it was stated, destroying the entozoa which usually infest cattle fed upon such pastures.”

    — English surgeon and medical scientist Lord Joseph Lister (April 5, 1827— Feb. 10, 1912)

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  • August 13

    “Courage! I have shown it for years; think you I shall lose it at the moment when my sufferings are to end?”

    — Queen Maria Antonia Josepha Johanna (November 2, 1755 – October 16, 1793), born an Archduchess of Austria, was Dauphine of France from 1770 to 1774 and Queen of France and Navarre from 1774 to 1792. She was the fifteenth and penultimate child of Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor and Empress Maria Theresa.

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  • August 14

    “Taxation without representation is tyranny.”

    — James Otis, a leader in the independence movement in Boston, uttered these words as trouble rose with England in the 1760s and 1770s. His sentiment spread far and wide in the colonies as calls for independence grew louder.

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  • August 15

    “The practice of medicine includes dentistry and dentistry is the practice of a special branch of medicine, as is ophthalmology. It may be going too far to say that all dentists should be doctors of medicine, but certainly all dentists should know much about the practice of medicine as a whole; and, conversely, all physicians should know more about dentistry, its importance and possibilities.”

    — Dr. Charles Mayo, 1928 presentation to the American Dental Association

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  • August 16

    “Brethren, arise, arise! Strike for your lives and liberties. Now is the day and the hour. Let every slave throughout the land do this, and the days of slavery are numbered. You cannot be more oppressed than you have been — you cannot suffer greater cruelties than you have already. Rather die freemen than live to be slaves. Remember that you are FOUR MILLIONS!”

    — Henry Highland Garnet, leading abolitionist, and clergyman

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  • August 17

    “The fear of meeting the opposition of envy, or the illiberality of ignorance is, no doubt, the frequent cause of preventing many ingenious men from ushering opinions into the world which deviate from common practice. Hence for want of energy, the young idea is shackled with timidity and a useful thought is buried in the impenetrable gloom of eternal oblivion.”

    — Engineer and inventor Robert Fulton, "A Treatise on the Improvement of Canal Navigation" (1796)

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  • August 18

    “After a duration of a thousand years, the power of astrology broke down when, with Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo, the progress of astronomy overthrew the false hypothesis upon which the entire structure rested, namely the geocentric system of the universe. The fact that the earth revolves in space intervened to upset the complicated play of planetary influences, and the silent stars, related to the unfathomable depths of the sky, no longer made their prophetic voices audible to mankind. Celestial mechanics and spectrum analysis finally robbed them of their mysterious prestige.”

    — Franz Cumont, translated by J.B. Baker, "Astrology and Religion Among the Greeks and Romans"

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  • August 19

    Philadelphia Aug. 30. 1791.
    Sir,
    I thank you sincerely for your letter of the 19th. instant and for the Almanac it contained. no body wishes more than I do to see such proofs as you exhibit, that nature has given to our black brethren, talents equal to those of the other colours of men, & that the appearance of a want of them is owing merely to the degraded condition of their existence both in Africa & America. I can add with truth that no body wishes more ardently to see a good system commenced for raising the condition both of their body & mind to what it ought to be, as fast as the imbecillity of their present existence, and other circumstance which cannot be neglected, will admit. I have taken the liberty of sending your almanac to Monsieur de Condorcet, Secretary of the Academy of sciences at Paris, and member of the Philanthropic society because I considered it as a document to which your whole colour had a right for their justification against the doubts which have been entertained of them. I am with great esteem, Sir,
    Your most obedt. humble servt.
    Th. Jefferson

    — Thomas Jefferson's reply to Benjamin Banneker's letter of Aug. 19, 1791. Without directly responding to Banneker's accusation, Jefferson replied to Banneker's letter in a series of nuanced statements that expressed his interest in the advancement of the equality of America's black population.

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  • August 20

    “Legislation can neither be wise nor just which seeks the welfare of a single interest at the expense and to the injury of many and varied interests.”

    — Andrew Johnson, the 17th US President (1865 to 1869). He vice president at the time of President Abraham Lincoln's assassination.

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  • August 21

    “I was not addicted to stealing in my youth, nor have ever been; yet such was the confidence of the Negroes in the neighborhood, even at this early period of my life, in my superior judgment, that they would often carry me with them when they were going on any roguery, to plan for them.”

    — Nat Turner

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  • August 22

    “Anyone’s life truly lived consists of work, sunshine, exercise, soap, plenty of fresh air, and a happy contented spirit.”

    — American actress Lillie Langtry

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  • August 23

    “Gentlemen, I am very happy in having the honor of commanding so fine a band of men. I do not in the least doubt that you will behave like Englishmen and becomrth good Soldiers. If the enemy will not come out of their entrenchments, we must drive them out at all events. Otherwise, the town of Boston will be set on fire by them. I shall not desire one of you to go a step farther than where I go myself at your head. Remember, gentlemen, we have no recourse to any other resourses if we lose Boston but to go on board our ships, which will be very disagreeable to us all.”

    — British General William Howe, Commander-in-Chief of British during the American War of Independence

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  • August 24

    “It is done… the precious portrait placed in the hands of the gentlemen for safe keeping. And now, dear sister, I must leave this house or the retreating army will make me a prisoner in it by filling up the road I am directed to take.”

    — First Lady Dolley Madison

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  • August 25

    “A mind which has once imbibed a taste for scientific enquiry, and has learnt the habit of applying its principles readily to the cases which occur, has within itself an inexhaustible source of pure and exciting contemplations.”

    — Sir John Herschel, English polymath, mathematician, astronomer, chemist, inventor, and experimental photographer (March 7, 1792 — May 11, 1871)

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  • August 26

    Fascinating Fact: Gen. George Smith Patton was the grandfather of George Smith Patton III, the famous army commander of World War II. George and one of his two brothers would be killed in battle before the end of the Civil War.

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  • August 27

    “Some guns were fired to give notice that the departure of the balloon was near. … Means were used, I am told, to prevent the great balloon’s rising so high as might endanger its bursting. Several bags of sand were taken on board before the cord that held it down was cut, and the whole weight being then too much to be lifted, such a quantity was discharged as would permit its rising slowly. Thus it would sooner arrive at that region where it would be in equilibrio with the surrounding air, and by discharging more sand afterwards, it might go higher if desired. Between one and two o’clock, all eyes were gratified with seeing it rise majestically from above the trees, and ascend gradually above the buildings, a most beautiful spectacle. When it was about two hundred feet high, the brave adventurers held out and waved a little white pennant, on both sides of their car, to salute the spectators, who returned loud claps of applause. The wind was very little, so that the object though moving to the northward, continued long in view; and it was a great while before the admiring people began to disperse. The persons embarked were Mr. Charles, professor of experimental philosophy, and a zealous promoter of that science; and one of the Messrs Robert, the very ingenious constructors of the machine.”

    {While U.S. ambassador to France, writing about witnessing, from his carriage outside the garden of Tuileries, Paris, the first manned balloon ascent using hydrogen gas by Jacques Charles on the afternoon of 1 Dec 1783. A few days earlier, he had watched the first manned ascent in Montgolfier’s hot-air balloon, on 21 Nov 1783.}”

    ― Benjamin Franklin, writings while U.S. ambassador to France on witnessing from his carriage outside the garden of Tuileries, Paris, the first manned balloon ascent using hydrogen gas by Jacques Charles on the afternoon of 1 Dec 1783. A few days earlier, he had watched the first manned ascent in Montgolfier's hot-air balloon, on 21 Nov 1783.

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  • August 28

    “Each number will be furnished with from two to five original Engravings, many of them elegant, and illustrative of New Inventions, Scientific Principles, and Curious Works; and will contain, in high addition to the most interesting news of passing events, general notices of progress of Mechanical and other Scientific Improvements; American and Foreign. Improvements and Inventions; Catalogues of American Patents; Scientific Essays, illustrative of the principles of the sciences of Mechanics, Chemistry, and Architecture: useful information and instruction in various Arts and Trades; Curious Philosophical Experiments; Miscellaneous Intelligence, Music and Poetry.”

    August 28, 1845 — American painter and inventor Rufus M. Porter (May 1, 1792 - August 13, 1884) began publishing Scientific American magazine today.

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  • August 29

    “By information from the General Court, they are determined to call all those who appeared to stop the Court to condign punishment. Therefore I request you to assemble your men together, to see that they are well armed and equipped with sixty rounds each man, and to be ready to turn out at a minute’s warning: likewise to be properly organized with officers.”

    — Daniel Shay, in of a letter to his followers, November 1786

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  • August 30

    “A leader is someone who helps improve the lives of other people or improve the system they live under.”

    — 7th Governor of Texas Samuel "Sam" Houston (March 2, 1793 – July 26, 1863), an American politician and soldier, best known for his role in bringing Texas into the United States as a constituent state.

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  • August 31

    “William tell, William tell,
    Take your arrow, grip it well,
    There’s the apple– – aim for the middle– –
    Oh well … you just missed by a little.”

    ― Shel Silverstein, Falling Up

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