Frases de George William Curtis

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George William Curtis

Data de nascimento: 24. Fevereiro 1824
Data de falecimento: 31. Agosto 1892

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Citações George William Curtis

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„It was true; so we turned to and licked ourselves“

— George William Curtis
Context: European Toryism has long regarded us as a vulgar young giant sprawling and spitting over a continent, whose limbs were indeed too loose and ungainly to be very effective, but who might yet one day make trouble and require to be thrashed into decency and order. When Horace Greeley was in Paris, he was one morning looking with an American friend at the pictures in the gallery of the Louvre and talking of this country. 'The fact is', said Mister Greeley, 'that what we need is a darned good licking'. An Englishman who stood by and heard the conversation smiled eagerly, as if he knew a nation that would like to administer the castigation. 'Yes, sir', said he, complacently, rubbing his hands with appetite and joining in the conversation, 'that is just what you do want'. 'But the difficulty is', continued Mister Greeley to his friend as if he had heard nothing, 'the difficulty is that there's no nation in the world that can lick us'. It was true; so we turned to and licked ourselves. And it seems to me that a young giant who for the sake of order and humanity scourges himself at home, is not very likely wantonly to insult and outrage his neighbors. Indeed, measured by his neighbors who go marauding in India or China or Mexico, and through whose slippery neutral fingers a dozen privateers escape to sweep his commerce from the sea, he is an orderly and honorable citizen of the world. The British Tory mind did not believe that any popular government could subdue so formidable a rebellion. Mister Gladstone is not a Tory, but even he said, 'Great Britain could not do it, sir', and what Great Britain could not do he did not believe could be done. Perhaps he would have thought differently could he have heard what a friend of mine did when the Massachusetts Sixth Regiment passed through New York on its way to Washington. It was the first sign of war that New York had seen, and as Broadway stared gloomily at the soldiers steadily marching, my friend stepped into the street and, walking by the side of one of the ranks, asked the soldier nearest him from what part of the State he came. The soldier, solely intent upon stepping in time, made his reply in measure with the drum-beat, 'From Bunker Hill; from Bunker Hill; from Bunker Hill'.

„I believe, the Constitution of the United States, in its essential spirit and intention, recognizes the essential manhood of Dred Scott“

— George William Curtis
Context: Our fathers, therefore, were fully alive to the scope of their words and their work; and thus, as I believe, the Constitution of the United States, in its essential spirit and intention, recognizes the essential manhood of Dred Scott as absolutely as it does that of the President, of the Chief Justice, or of any Senator of the United States. I think I have not unfairly stated the spirit of the age, the sentiments of the fathers, and the original doctrine of this government upon the question of slavery. The system was recognized by law, but it was considered an evil which Time was surely removing. And, as if to put this question at rest forever, to show that the framers of this government did not look forward to a continuance of slavery, Mr. Stephens of Georgia, the most sagacious of the living slavery leaders, says, in June of this year, 'The leading public men of the South, in our early history, were almost all against it. Jefferson was against it. This I freely admit, when the authority of their names is cited. It was a question which they did not, and perhaps could not, thoroughly understand at that time'.

„I believe these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Do you believe it? If aye, let us go into the battle, and God speed the right“

— George William Curtis
Context: Such is the present aspect of the slavery question. For myself, I believe that the faith in which the government was founded still survives. I believe that the spirit of despotism which now says to the country, 'I will rule or ruin', will hear the imperial voice of the conscience of the American people, recognizing that justice and prosperity walk hand in hand, saying, 'You will do neither'. I believe that God did not hide this continent through all time as the spot whereon a nation should be planted upon the only principle that can render a nation as permanent as the race, to suffer the experiment to fail within a century. I believe these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Do you believe it? If aye, let us go into the battle, and God speed the right.

„I know how subtle, elusive, apparently ineradicable, is the spirit of caste.“

— George William Curtis
Context: I know how subtle, elusive, apparently ineradicable, is the spirit of caste. But I remember that the English lords six centuries ago tore out the teeth of the Jew Isaac of York in the dungeon under the castle; and today he lives proudly in the castle, and the same lords come respectfully to his daughter's marriage, while the most brilliant Tory in the British Parliament proposes her health, and the Lord Chief Justice of England leads the hip-hip-hurrah at the wedding breakfast. Caste is very strong, but I remember that five years ago there were good men among us who said. If white hands can't win this fight let it be lost. I have seen the same men agreeing that black hands had even more at stake in it than we, giving them muskets, bidding them Godspeed in the Good Fight, and welcoming them with honor as they returned. Caste is very strong, but I remember that six years ago there was a Tennessee slave-holder, born in North Carolina, who had always acted with the slave interest, and was then earnestly endeavoring to elect John C. Breckenridge President of the United States. We have all seen that same man four years afterwards, while Tennessee quivered with civil war, standing beneath the autumn stars and saying, 'Colored men of Tennessee, humble and unworthy as I am, if no better shall be found I will indeed be your Moses and lead you through the Red Sea of war and bondage to a fairer future of liberty and peace. I speak now as one who feels the world his country and all who love equal rights his friends'. So said Andrew Johnson, God and his country listening. God and his country watching, Andrew Johnson will keep his word.

„We thought we could and we tried it. The breath of our national nostrils was equal rights. The jewel of our soul was fair play for all men. But, selecting one class of our population, we denied to them every natural right and sought to extinguish their very humanity. Resistance was hopeless, but they protested silently by still wearing the form of man, of which we could not deprive them. Planting both feet upon the prostrate and helpless, men as much as we, we politely invited the world to contemplate the prosperity of the United States“

— George William Curtis
Context: We thought we could and we tried it. The breath of our national nostrils was equal rights. The jewel of our soul was fair play for all men. But, selecting one class of our population, we denied to them every natural right and sought to extinguish their very humanity. Resistance was hopeless, but they protested silently by still wearing the form of man, of which we could not deprive them. Planting both feet upon the prostrate and helpless, men as much as we, we politely invited the world to contemplate the prosperity of the United States. Forests falling, factories humming, gold glittering in every man's pocket! Above all, would the world please to take notice that it was a land of liberty, and that we offered a happy home to the oppressed of every clime? 'A wise and sensible man was John Rutledge of South Carolina', smiled the complacent country, smoothing its full pockets, 'morals have nothing to do with politics'. 'Good', mutters the ostrich, as he buries his head in the sand, 'now nobody sees me'.

„Our fathers did not say it, because they did not mean it. They were men who meant what they said, and who said what they meant, and meaning all men, they said all men. They were patriots asserting a principle and ready to die for it, not politicians pettifogging for the presidency“

— George William Curtis
Context: The principle of our Revolution, as defined by its leaders with sublime simplicity, was, that as Liberty is a natural right of man, every man has consequent equal rights in society, subject indeed to limitation, but not to annihilation. 'But', cries Mister Douglas, in his Memphis speech last November. I quote his words,. It would have been very easy to say this. Our fathers did not say it, because they did not mean it. They were men who meant what they said, and who said what they meant, and meaning all men, they said all men. They were patriots asserting a principle and ready to die for it, not politicians pettifogging for the presidency.

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„I think I have not unfairly stated the spirit of the age, the sentiments of the fathers, and the original doctrine of this government upon the question of slavery. The system was recognized by law, but it was considered an evil which Time was surely removing“

— George William Curtis
Context: Our fathers, therefore, were fully alive to the scope of their words and their work; and thus, as I believe, the Constitution of the United States, in its essential spirit and intention, recognizes the essential manhood of Dred Scott as absolutely as it does that of the President, of the Chief Justice, or of any Senator of the United States. I think I have not unfairly stated the spirit of the age, the sentiments of the fathers, and the original doctrine of this government upon the question of slavery. The system was recognized by law, but it was considered an evil which Time was surely removing. And, as if to put this question at rest forever, to show that the framers of this government did not look forward to a continuance of slavery, Mr. Stephens of Georgia, the most sagacious of the living slavery leaders, says, in June of this year, 'The leading public men of the South, in our early history, were almost all against it. Jefferson was against it. This I freely admit, when the authority of their names is cited. It was a question which they did not, and perhaps could not, thoroughly understand at that time'.

„And suddenly, in a moment smitten by the avenging storm of fire, choking and struggling in the thick clouds and blood of war, for four years we have desperately wrestled for life, and kneeling among the dear and mangled bodies of our first-born and best-beloved, we have acknowledged that even Yankees cannot shake the throne of God, that he has created men with equal rights, and that morals and politics, which his right hand has joined together, not the shrewdest head nor the basest heart, nor the most prosperous nation nor the most insolent and popular party, nor sneers nor falsehoods, nor mean men nor wicked laws can put asunder“

— George William Curtis
Context: And suddenly, in a moment smitten by the avenging storm of fire, choking and struggling in the thick clouds and blood of war, for four years we have desperately wrestled for life, and kneeling among the dear and mangled bodies of our first-born and best-beloved, we have acknowledged that even Yankees cannot shake the throne of God, that he has created men with equal rights, and that morals and politics, which his right hand has joined together, not the shrewdest head nor the basest heart, nor the most prosperous nation nor the most insolent and popular party, nor sneers nor falsehoods, nor mean men nor wicked laws can put asunder. Ah, fathers, mothers, lovers, whose darlings come no more, you whose sad voices ask, 'What have we gained? what have we gained?' how can your aching hearts believe it, but this war of four years, so full of doubt and anguish, was infinitely nobler and more glorious than the thirty years of peace before it. Four years more of such peace would have slain the very soul of the nation; and because the country was still strong enough to tear off that fair and fatal robe of compromise, because she bared her bosom and bravely endured the sharp torture of the knife, to-day the cancer is cut away, and she stands erect, though bleeding, and thanks God for health renewed.

„Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Illinois, Michigan, Iowa, California, Minnesota, Oregon, Kansas, Ohio, Wisconsin, Missouri, and West Virginia, which forbid an entire class of their citizens to vote upon equal qualifications with others. And why? Because the party of hostility to human rights, which is 'conservative' in this growing, aspiring, expanding country, exactly as sheet-iron swaddling-clothes are conservative of a new-born babe, pursued by the pitiless logic of the sublime American principle and driven from one absurdity to another, now claims that ours is 'a white man's government'. Oh, no! Gentlemen, you may wish to make it so, but it was not made so. The false history of Judge Taney was promptly corrected from Judge Taney's bench by Justice Curtis“

— George William Curtis
Context: But the spirit of caste, if naturally more malignant in a region where personal slavery has been abolished against the will of the dominant class, is not confined to it. We are apt to draw the line geographically, but it will not run so. They may be sad goats on the other side of the line, but we sheep may find an occasional speck in our virtuous wool. 'Caste must be maintained', say the governors and legislatures of Mississippi and Louisiana and Alabama and North and South Carolina and Georgia.' 'Amen', says Connecticut, 'that is a political wooden nutmeg for this market'. 'Amen', says New York, which prefers to pour political power into a foreign white whiskey-skin rather than into a native sound and serviceable vessel of a darker hue. 'Amen', says Indiana, which asks her colored children to fight and die for her upon the battle-field, and refuses by her laws to permit the survivors to return to their homes. 'Amen', say Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Illinois, Michigan, Iowa, California, Minnesota, Oregon, Kansas, Ohio, Wisconsin, Missouri, and West Virginia, which forbid an entire class of their citizens to vote upon equal qualifications with others. And why? Because the party of hostility to human rights, which is 'conservative' in this growing, aspiring, expanding country, exactly as sheet-iron swaddling-clothes are conservative of a new-born babe, pursued by the pitiless logic of the sublime American principle and driven from one absurdity to another, now claims that ours is 'a white man's government'. Oh, no! Gentlemen, you may wish to make it so, but it was not made so. The false history of Judge Taney was promptly corrected from Judge Taney's bench by Justice Curtis.

„The white soul of my race naturally loves the man, of whatever race or color, who bravely fights and gloriously dies for equal rights, and instinctively loathes every man who, saved by the blood of such heroes, deems himself made of choicer clay“

— George William Curtis
Context: A white man's government? Well, I am a white man, I believe. Will anybody undertake to teach me what are the antipathies and loathings of white men? What mean whites may or may not like is of small importance. But the generous soul of my race, which has led the van in the great march of liberty and civilization, and whose lofty path is marked by the broken chains of every form of slavery, has an instinctive hatred of injustice, of exclusive privilege, of arrogance, ignorance, and baseness, and an instinctive love of honor, magnanimity and justice. The white soul of my race naturally loves the man, of whatever race or color, who bravely fights and gloriously dies for equal rights, and instinctively loathes every man who, saved by the blood of such heroes, deems himself made of choicer clay. The spirit of caste asks us to believe the outraged race inferior. Inferior? Inferior in what? In sagacity? In fidelity? In nobility of soul? In the prime qualities of manhood? And who are asked to believe this? We? We, hot, panting, exhausted from a fight for our national life in a part of the country where every white face was probably that of an enemy, and every colored face was surely that of a friend. We are asked to say it, whose brothers and sons, escaping from horrible pens of torture and death hundreds of miles from our lines, made their way through swamps and forests, safe from hungry bloodhounds and fiercer men, back to our homes and hearts, only because the men whom in our triumphant fortune we are asked to betray, in our darkest hour of misfortune risked their lives to save ours.

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„What advantages has the 'Good Fight of Man' gained in the war? We have shown, first, that a popular government, under which the poorest and the most ignorant of every race but one are equal voters with the richest and most intelligent, is the most powerful and flexible in history. It is proved to be neither violent nor cruel nor impatient, but fixed in purpose, faithful to its own officers, tolerant of vast expense, of enormous losses, of torturing delays, and strongest at the very points where fatal weakness was most suspected“

— George William Curtis
Context: What is our reckoning, then? How far are we towards Cathay? What advantages has the 'Good Fight of Man' gained in the war? We have shown, first, that a popular government, under which the poorest and the most ignorant of every race but one are equal voters with the richest and most intelligent, is the most powerful and flexible in history. It is proved to be neither violent nor cruel nor impatient, but fixed in purpose, faithful to its own officers, tolerant of vast expense, of enormous losses, of torturing delays, and strongest at the very points where fatal weakness was most suspected. 'If you put a million of men under arms you will inevitably end in a military despotism', said Europe. 'The re-absorption of an army is the most perilous problem of any nation'. And within six months of the surrender of Lee an English gentleman, Sir Morton Peto, found himself in a huge business office in Chicago, surrounded by scores of clerks quietly engaged with merchandise and ledgers. 'Did you go on so during the war?' he asked. 'Oh, no, Sir Morton. That young man was a corporal, that was a lieutenant, that was a major, that was a colonel. Twenty-seven of us were officers in the army'. 'Indeed!', said the English gentleman. And all Europe, looking across the sea at the same spectacle, magnified by hundreds of thousands, of citizens quietly re-engaged in their various pursuits, echoes the astonished exclamation, 'Indeed!' for it sees that a million of men were in arms for the very purpose of returning to their offices and warehouses to sell their merchandise and post their ledgers in tranquility. Yes, the great army that for four years shook this continent was only the Yankee constable going his rounds.

„On Palm Sunday, at Appomattox Court House, the spirit of feudalism, of aristocracy, of injustice in this country, surrendered, in the person of Robert E. Lee, the Virginian slave-holder, to the spirit of the Declaration of Independence and of equal rights, in the person of Ulysses S. Grant, the Illinois tanner. So closed this great campaign in the 'Good Fight of Liberty'. So the Army of the Potomac, often baffled, struck an immortal blow, and gave the right hand of heroic fellowship to their brethren of the West. So the silent captain, when all his lieutenants had secured their separate fame, put on the crown of victory and ended civil war. As fought the Lieutenant-General of the United States, so fight the United States themselves, in the 'Good Fight of Man'. With Grant's tenacity, his patience, his promptness, his tranquil faith, let us assault the new front of the old enemy. We, too, must push through the enemy's Wilderness, holding every point we gain. We, too, must charge at daybreak upon his Spottsylvania Heights. We, too, must flank his angry lines and push them steadily back. We, too, must fling ourselves against the baffling flames of Cold Harbor. We, too, outwitting him by night, must throw our whole force across swamp and river, and stand entrenched before his capital. And we, too, at last, on some soft, auspicious day of spring, loosening all our shining lines, and bursting with wild battle music and universal shout of victory over the last desperate defense, must occupy the very citadel of caste, force the old enemy to final and unconditional surrender, and bring Boston and Charleston to sing Te Deum together for the triumphant equal rights of man“

— George William Curtis
Context: Yes, yes, caste is a glacier, cold, towering, apparently as eternal as the sea itself. But at last that glittering mountain of ice touches the edge of the Gulf Stream. Down come pinnacle and peak, frosty spire and shining cliff. Like a living monster of shifting hues, a huge chameleon of the sea, the vast mass silently rolls and plunges and shrinks, and at last utterly disappears in that inexorable warmth of water. So with us the glacier has touched the Gulf Stream. On Palm Sunday, at Appomattox Court House, the spirit of feudalism, of aristocracy, of injustice in this country, surrendered, in the person of Robert E. Lee, the Virginian slave-holder, to the spirit of the Declaration of Independence and of equal rights, in the person of Ulysses S. Grant, the Illinois tanner. So closed this great campaign in the 'Good Fight of Liberty'. So the Army of the Potomac, often baffled, struck an immortal blow, and gave the right hand of heroic fellowship to their brethren of the West. So the silent captain, when all his lieutenants had secured their separate fame, put on the crown of victory and ended civil war. As fought the Lieutenant-General of the United States, so fight the United States themselves, in the 'Good Fight of Man'. With Grant's tenacity, his patience, his promptness, his tranquil faith, let us assault the new front of the old enemy. We, too, must push through the enemy's Wilderness, holding every point we gain. We, too, must charge at daybreak upon his Spottsylvania Heights. We, too, must flank his angry lines and push them steadily back. We, too, must fling ourselves against the baffling flames of Cold Harbor. We, too, outwitting him by night, must throw our whole force across swamp and river, and stand entrenched before his capital. And we, too, at last, on some soft, auspicious day of spring, loosening all our shining lines, and bursting with wild battle music and universal shout of victory over the last desperate defense, must occupy the very citadel of caste, force the old enemy to final and unconditional surrender, and bring Boston and Charleston to sing Te Deum together for the triumphant equal rights of man.

„The country was divided between the Whig and Democratic organizations. The Democratic Party then, as now, was in open alliance with slavery, in a conspiracy against the Constitution and the peace of the country.“

— George William Curtis
Context: The country was divided between the Whig and Democratic organizations. The Democratic Party then, as now, was in open alliance with slavery, in a conspiracy against the Constitution and the peace of the country. Of that there was no hope; and when the Whig party at Baltimore with fabulous fatuity dodged the question, the great Whig party, newly painted and repaired, with all its guns burnished, its drums beating and colors flying, went down in a moment clean out of sight, like the Royal George at Spithead, and of all that stately craft there remain but a few ancient mariners drifting half-drowned in the water, and sputtering with winking eyes that the ship had better try another voyage.

„Come! Come! Brothers of my race, whether at the north or south, these things which we all execrate and abhor were the work of men of our own color. Let us clasp hands in speechless shame, and confess that manhood in America is to be measured not by the color of the skin, but by the quality of the soul“

— George William Curtis
Context: Inferior race? Was it they who carved the skulls of our boys into drinking-cups and their bones into trinkets? Was it they who starved and froze our brothers into idiocy and madness at Andersonville and Belle-Isle? Was it they who hunted our darlings with bloodhounds, or hung faithful Union men before the very eyes of their wives and children? Come! Come! Brothers of my race, whether at the north or south, these things which we all execrate and abhor were the work of men of our own color. Let us clasp hands in speechless shame, and confess that manhood in America is to be measured not by the color of the skin, but by the quality of the soul.

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