Quote of the Day

From America’s Great Debate: Henry Clay, Stephen A. Douglas, and the Compromise That Preserved the Union (2012) by Fergus M. Bordewich comes this, spoken by Daniel Webster before the Senate on March 7, 1850:

In all such disputes, there will sometimes be found men with whom everything is absolute; absolutely right, or absolutely wrong. They deal with morals as with mathematics; and they think what is right may be distinguished from what is wrong with the precision of an algebraic equation. They have, therefore, none too much charity towards others who differ from them. They are apt, too, to think that nothing is good but what is perfect, and that there are no compromises or modifications to be made in consideration of difference of opinion or in deference to other men’s judgment. If their perspicacious judgment enables them to detect a spot on the face of the sun, they think that a good reason why the sun should be struck down from heaven. They prefer the chance of running into utter darkness to living in heavenly light, if that heavenly light be not absolutely without any imperfection.

To read the whole speech, and it really is a marvel, go here.
IMAGE: Daniel Webster by George P. A. Healy, 1853 (M. Christine Schwartz Collection)


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