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Wendell Phillips, Theodore C. Pease, Speeches, Lectures and Letters of Wendell Phillips: Volume 2, Capital punishment (1855) (search)
ave common schools; we are a people with a high moral tone; we have a homogeneous population; it is easy to get a living here, and poverty, therefore, does not drive to crime, as in some other places,--our circumstances are all favorable to morality. We are in a better condition to try such an experiment than Michigan, far better than Belgium, Tuscany, or Russia; yet they tried it and were successful, and why will not we try it also? All the great lights of jurisprudence are on our side,--Franklin, Livingston, Rush, Lafayette, Beccaria, Grotius, -I might mention forty eminent names, all throwing their testimony against the gallows. Lafayette said, I shall demand the abolition of the penalty of death, until you show me the infallibility of human testimony. He thought it was enough to discredit the gallows, that men might be hung by mistake. There have been two or three scores of such cases in the history of jurisprudence. Now, with all this experience on our side, with the fact
Wendell Phillips, Theodore C. Pease, Speeches, Lectures and Letters of Wendell Phillips: Volume 2, The foundation of the labor movement (1871) (search)
ce the idea that a man could own land, and leave it to his children, would be ridiculous. I have not quite come to that. But then, you know there is a reason for it; he is a radical, and I have always been a conservative. There is a curious thing underlies lands. We are not quite certain that we have got the best system. Secretary Boutwell may be right. Seventy years ago a man offered to a relative of mine all the land between Federal Street and Hawley Street, between Milk Street and Franklin, for thirty-three hundred dollars. He came to him day after day, urging him to purchase; and the answer was, I am not rich enough to have a cow-pasture at that price, and I could n't use it for anything else, --that tract of land which to-day, gentlemen, as you know, would sell for three million dollars. Now, labor goes about, like Socrates, asking questions. We don't assume anything. When we were little boys, and did our sums on the slate, and the answer came out wrong, we did n't break
Wendell Phillips, Theodore C. Pease, Speeches, Lectures and Letters of Wendell Phillips: Volume 2, The scholar in a republic (1881). (search)
ainst the narrowest limits. The first generation of Puritans — though Lowell does let Cromwell call them a small colony of pinched fanatics --included some men, indeed not a few, worthy to walk close to Roger Williams and Sir Harry Vane,--the two men deepest in thought and bravest in speech of all who spoke English in their day, and equal to any in practical statesmanship. Sir Harry Vane, in my judgment the noblest human being who ever walked the streets of yonder city,--I do not forget Franklin or Sam Adams, Washington or Fayette, Garrison or John Brown, -but Vane dwells an arrow's flight above them all, and his touch consecrated the continent to measureless toleration of opinion and entire equality of rights. We are told we can find in Plato all the intellectual life of Europe for two thousand years; so you can find in Vane the pure gold of two hundred and fifty years of American civilization, with no particle of its dross. Plato would have welcomed him to the Academy, and Fene
Wendell Phillips, Theodore C. Pease, Speeches, Lectures and Letters of Wendell Phillips: Volume 2, The lost arts (1838). (search)
is celebrated lock from an ancient Egyptian pattern. De Tocqueville says there was no social question that was not discussed to rags in Egypt. Well, say you, Franklin invented the lightning-rod. I have no doubt he did; but years before his invention, and before muskets were invented, the old soldiers on guard on the towers us; and if a spark passed between them and the spear-head, they ran and bore the warning of the state and condition of affairs. After that you will admit that Benjamin Franklin was not the only one that knew of the presence of electricity, and the advantages derived from its use. Solomon's Temple, you will find, was situated on an exposed point of the hill; the temple was so lofty that it was often in peril, and was guarded by a system exactly like that of Benjamin Franklin. Well, I may tell you a little of ancient manufactures. The Duchess of Burgundy took a necklace from the neck of a mummy, and wore it to a ball given at the Tuileries; and everybody s
Wendell Phillips, Theodore C. Pease, Speeches, Lectures and Letters of Wendell Phillips: Volume 2, Daniel O'Connell (1875.) (search)
helpless. O'Connell lifted her to a fixed and permanent place in English affairs,--no suppliant, but a conqueror dictating her terms. This is the proper standpoint from which to look at O'Connell's work. This is the consideration that ranks him, not with founders of States, like Alexander, Caesar, Bismarck, Napoleon, and William the Silent, but with men who, without arms, by force of reason, have revolutionized their times,--with Luther, Jefferson, Mazzini, Samuel Adams, Garrison, and Franklin. I know some men will sneer at this claim,--those who have never looked at him except through the spectacles of English critics, who despised him as an Irishman and a Catholic, until they came to hate him as a conqueror. As Grattan said of Kirwan, The curse of Swift was upon him, to have been born an Irishman and a man of genius, and to have used his gifts for his country's good. Mark what measure of success attended the able men who preceded him, in circumstances as favorable as his, pe
Wendell Phillips, Theodore C. Pease, Speeches, Lectures and Letters of Wendell Phillips: Volume 2, Abraham Lincoln (1865). (search)
in any deed which needed his actual sanction, if his sympathy had limits,recollect he was human, and that he welcomed light more than most men, was more honest than his fellows, and with a truth to his own convictions such as few politicians achieve. With all his shortcomings, we point proudly to him as the natural growth of democratic institutions. [Applause.] Coming time will put him in that galaxy of Americans which makes our history the day-star of the nations,--Washington, Hamilton, Franklin, Jefferson, and Jay. History will add his name to the bright list, with a more loving claim on our gratitude than either of them. No one of those was called to die for his cause. For him, when the nation needed to be raised to its last dread duty, we were prepared for it by the baptism of his blood. What shall we say as to the punishment of rebels? The air is thick with threats of vengeance. I admire the motive which prompts these; but let us remember no cause, however infamous, was