“The guy who invented poker was bright, but the guy who invented the chip was a genius.”
— Julius "Big Julie" Weintraub
“The dangers of a concentration of all power in the general government of a confederacy so vast as ours are too obvious to be disregarded.”
— Franklin Pierce
“Old minds are like old horses; you must exercise them if you wish to keep them in working order.”
— John Adams
“I dined at the Cocoa Tree….That respectable body affords every evening a sight truly English. Twenty or thirty of the first men in the kingdom….supping at little tables….upon a bit of cold meat, or a Sandwich.”
— The first written record of the word "sandwich" appeared in Edward Gibbons (1737-1794), English author, scholar, and historian, journal on November 24, 1762. Gibbon recorded his surprise at seeing scores of the noblest and wealthiest in the land, seated in a noisy coffee-room, at little tables covered by small napkins, supping off cold meat or sandwiches, and finishing with strong punch.
November 4“Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination nor both together go to the making of genius. Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius.”
— Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (January 27, 1756 – December 5, 1791)
John Hancock became very popular in Massachusetts, especially after British officials seized his sloop Liberty in 1768 and charged him with smuggling. Although the charges against Hancock were eventually dropped, Professor Peter Andreas, author of “Smuggler Nation: How Illicit Trade Made America” explains:
“It is perhaps appropriate that the first signer of the Declaration of Independence was Boston’s most well-known merchant-smuggler, John Hancock.”
— John Hancock (January 23, 1737 – October 8, 1793)
“Every man is said to have his peculiar ambition. Whether it be true or not, I can say for one that I have no other so great as that of being truly esteemed of my fellow men, by rendering myself worthy of their esteem. How far I shall succeed in gratifying this ambition, is yet to be developed.”
— Abraham Lincoln's First Political Announcement, March 9, 1832
“Good people, I request your prayers for the salvation of my departing soul. Let my example teach you to shun the bad ways I have followed. Keep good company, and mind the word of God. Lord have mercy on me. Jesus look down with pity on me. Christ have mercy on my poor soul!”
— Last words of Londoner John Austin before he was publicly hanged in 1783
“Too much of anything is bad, but too much of good whiskey is barely enough.”
— Mark Twain
“Great ambition is the passion of a great character. Those endowed with it may perform very good or very bad acts. All depends on the principles which direct them.”
— Napoleon Bonaparte, (Aug 15, 1769-May 5, 1821)
“[Fastnet Rock lighthouse] has witnessed excitement, and tragedy. The Titanic sailed past on her maiden voyage to New York in 1912. On May 4th 1915 its keepers, probably peering out from the elegant balcony on the seventh floor, saw a German submarine cheekily surface to buy the morning’s catch from a local Irish fishing boat. According to Éamon Lankford, a local historian who wrote “Fastnet Rock” in 2004, they warned the Royal Navy, but to no avail. The same day, the U-boat sunk the Lusitania, killing 1,200 civilians on their way from America.” Read more here.
— "Light on a lonely rock" published Dec 18, 2008, The Economist
“If you would be happy for a lifetime, grow Chrysanthemums.”
— Chinese philosopher
“All pain is per se and especially in excess, destructive and ultimately fatal in its nature and effects.”
— Scottish obstetrician James Young Simpson, (1811 – 1870)
“Are you still living? Or has the mob of Paris mistaken the head of a monopolizer of knowledge for a monopolizer of corn, and paraded it about the streets upon a pole. Great part of the news we have had from Paris, for near a year past, has been very afflicting.
“I sincerely wish and pray it may all end well and happy, both for the King and the nation. The voice of Philosophy I apprehend can hardly be heard among those tumults. If any thing material in that way had occurred, I am persuaded you would have acquainted me with it. However, pray let me hear from you … a year’s silence between friends must needs give uneasiness.
“Our new Constitution is now established, everything seems to promise it will be durable; but, in this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes.”
— A letter from Ben Franklin to French scientist Jean-Baptiste Le Roy, November 13, 1789
“The time will come when people will travel in stages moved by steam engines from one city to another, almost as fast as birds can fly, 15 or 20 miles an hour…. A carriage will start from Washington in the morning, the passengers will breakfast at Baltimore, dine at Philadelphia, and sup in New York the same day…. Engines will drive boats 10 or 12 miles an hour, and there will be hundreds of steamers running on the Mississippi, as predicted years ago.”
— Oliver Evans, American inventor, engineer and businessman, who was a pioneer in the fields of automation, materials handling and steam power (1755-1819)
“One great object of the Constitution was to restrain majorities from oppressing minorities or encroaching upon their just rights.”
— James K. Polk
“So many people in this country have a dual loyalty. They have loyalty to America, but they also are determined to have their parade up Fifth Avenue once a year… a Cuban parade or a Puerto Rican parade – many other countries. So they really don’t forget.”
— Tom Wolfe, March 2, 1931
Will of George Wythe Randolph (Monticello) — I George W Randolph of the State of Virginia do make & publish this as my last Will hereby revoking all former Wills made by me at any time:
• 1st I wish my just debts paid
• 2nd I give to my wife for life the silver plate given me by my brother Jefferson and my sister Mrs Coolidge and at her death I give the same to my nephew Thomas Jefferson Randolph Jrif he then survives, otherwise I give it to his eldest Surviving Son.
• 3rd The residue of my Estate I give to my wife in fee simple, but I request that at her death she will leave one half of what may then remain or its equivalent in value, to my neice Mary B Randolph if she then survives. should my said neice be not then surviving I request my wife to bequeath the Said half to such of my blood relations as may stand most in need of it and may best deserve the same.
• 4th It is not my intention by the foregoing clause to prevent my wife from making and changing the investments of the Estate at pleasure or to make her responsible for casual losses and diminutions thereof.
• 5th I appoint my Said Wife the Executrix of this will and exonerate her from giving security for its execution
Witness my hand and seal this fourteenth day of December in the Year One thousand eight hundred and Sixty Six
— The Will of George Wythe Randolph, December 14, 1866
“Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands. Remember all men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice, or representation.”
— Abigail Adams, (1744-1818) First Lady and advocate of women’s rights
Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
‘Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns!’ he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
‘Forward, the Light Brigade!’
Was there a man dismay’d?
Not tho’ the soldier knew
Someone had blunder’d:
Their’s not to make reply,
Their’s not to reason why,
Their’s but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley’d and thunder’d;
— From “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” by Alfred Tennyson
Drafted by James Madison, the first 10 amendments give the following rights to all United States citizens:
1. Freedom of religion, speech and assembly
2. Right to keep and bear arms for the purpose of a well-regulated militia
3. No forcible quartering of soldiers during peacetime
4. Freedom from unreasonable search and seizure
5. Right to a grand jury for capital crimes and due process. Protection from double jeopardy, self-incrimination and public confiscation of private property without “just compensation”
6. Right to “speedy and public” trial by jury and a competent defense
7. Right to trial by jury for monetary cases above $20
8. Protection against “excessive” bail or fines and “cruel and unusual” punishments
9. Rights not enumerated are “retained by the people”
10. Rights not given to the federal government or prohibited the state governments by the Constitution, “are reserved to the States… or to the people”
— The Bill of Rights, ratified by New Jersey legislators on Nov. 20, 1789 and officially adopted March 1, 1792
“As long as our government is administered for the good of the people, and is regulated by their will; as long as it secures to us the rights of persons and of property, liberty of conscience and of the press, it will be worth defending.”
— 7th US President, Andrew Jackson (March 15, 1767 – June 8, 1845)
“A democracy is a volcano which conceals the fiery materials of its own destruction. These will produce an eruption and carry desolation in their way.”
— Fisher Ames (April 9, 1758 – July 4, 1808) was a Representative in the United States Congress from the 1st Congressional District of Massachusetts. He was an important leader of the Federalists in the House, and was noted for his oratorical skill
“Man is not made for the State but the State for man and it derives its just powers only from the consent of the governed.”
— Thomas Jefferson
“A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.”
— English naturalist and geologist Charles Darwin (Feb. 12, 1809 – April 19, 1882)
“Washington’s triumphal entry into [Manhattan] was delayed as the last Union flags that still flew were torn down. British soldiers went to the pains of flying a Union flag in Battery Park and greasing the flagpole. (The spiteful lubrication was intended to make removing the flag exceptionally difficult and all but ensured that it would still be in view as their ships departed.) But as soon as British vessels raised sail, patriots did their all to remove it and replace it with the Stars and Stripes. Wooden cleats were quickly cut and nailed into the pole.”
— Grant Stoddard, on Evacuation Day, 1783
By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation:
“Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.” Click here to read more.
— Thanksgiving Proclamation Issued by President George Washington, at the request of Congress, on October 3, 1789
“The government is in the wrong, and this is the chief cause of the persevering opposition of the Indians, who have nobly defended their country against our attempt to enforce a fraudulent treaty. The natives used every means to avoid a war, but were forced into it by the tyranny of our government.”
— Journal entry by Major Ethan Allen Hitchcock on the Dade Massacre, 1835
What did the Treaty of Hopewell accomplish?
1. Indians to restore prisoners (who are U.S. citizens or their allies), slaves, and property.
2. Cherokees acknowledge protection provided by the United States.
3. Boundaries defined.
4. No citizen of United States shall settle on Indian lands and Indians may punish violators as they please.
5. Indians to deliver criminals who commit robbery, murder, or capital crimes.
6. Citizens of United States committing crimes against Indians to be punished.
7. Retaliation restrained.
8. United States to regulate trade.
9. Special provision for trade.
10. Cherokees to give notice of any known designs against United States by tribes or any person.
11. Peace and friendship perpetual.
— Terms of the Treaty of Hopewell, 1785
To avoid suspicion, George Washington instructed his spies to write seemingly banal letters between the lines of their secret messages, or to inscribe them “on the blank leaves of a pamphlet. . . a common pocket book, or on the blank leaves at each end of registers, almanacks, or any publication or book of small value.”
— Did you know that George Washington was a masterful spy?
Preamble to the Treaty of Paris
This document: “Declares the treaty to be “in the name of the most holy and undivided Trinity”, states the bona fidesof the signatories, and declares the intention of both parties to “forget all past misunderstandings and differences” and “secure to both perpetual peace and harmony.”
1. Acknowledging the United States (viz. the Colonies, with a list of all thirteen) to be free, sovereign and independent states, and that the British Crown and all heirs and successors relinquish claims to the Government, property, and territorial rights of the same, and every part thereof;
2. Establishing the boundaries between the United States and British North America;
3. Granting fishing rights to United States fishermen in the Grand Banks, off the coast of Newfoundlandand in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence;
4. Recognizing the lawful contracted debts to be paid to creditors on either side;
5. The Congress of the Confederation will “earnestly recommend” to state legislatures to recognize the rightful owners of all confiscated lands and “provide for the restitution of all estates, rights, and properties, which have been confiscated belonging to real British subjects” (Loyalists);
6. United States will prevent future confiscations of the property of Loyalists;
7. Prisoners of war on both sides are to be released; all property of the British army (including slaves) now in the United States is to remain and be forfeited;
8. Great Britain and the United States are each to be given perpetual access to the Mississippi River;
9. Territories captured by Americans subsequent to the treaty will be returned without compensation;
10. Ratification of the treaty is to occur within six months from its signing.
Eschatocol. “Done at Paris, this third day of September in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-three.”
— The Treaty of Paris