John Quincy Adams Quotes (55 Quotes)


    Conclude not from all this that I have renounced the Christian religion.... Far from it. I see in every page something to recommend Christianity in its purity, and something to discredit its corruptions.... The ten commandments and the sermon on the mount contain my religion.

    You ask, how has it happened that all Europe has acted on the principle, 'that Power was Right'. Power always sincerely, conscientiously, de tres bon foi, believes itself right. Power must never be trusted without a check.

    Arms in the hands of citizens may be used at individual discretion ... in private self-defense.

    Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air.

    The rich, the well-born, and the able, acquire an influence among the people that will soon be too much for simple honesty and plain sense, in a house of representatives. The most illustrious of them must, therefore, be separated from the mass, and placed by themselves in a senate this is, to all honest and useful intents, an ostracism.


    All men profess honesty as long as they can. To believe all men honest would be folly. To believe none so is something worse.

    In charity to all mankind, bearing no malice or ill-will to any human being, and even compassionating those who hold in bondage their fellow-men, not knowing what they do.

    My History of the Jesuits is in four volumes. This society has been a greater calamity to mankind than the French Revolution, or Napoleon's despotism or ideology. It has obstructed progress of reformation and the improvement of the human mind in society much longer and more fatally.

    Be not intimidated, therefore, by any terrors, from publishing with the utmost freedom whatever can be warranted by the laws of your country nor suffer yourselves to be wheedled out of your liberty by any pretenses of politeness, delicacy, or decency. These, as they are often used, are but three different names for hypocrisy, chicanery, and cowardice.

    But none of the means of information are more sacred, or have been cherished with more tenderness and care by the settlers of America, than the press. Care has been taken that the art of printing should be encouraged, and that it should be easy and cheap and safe for any person to communicate his thoughts to the public. And you, Messieurs printers, whatever the tyrants of the earth may say of your paper, have done important service to your country by your readiness and freedom in publishing the speculations of the curious. The stale, impudent insinuations of slander and sedition with which the gormandizers of power have endeavored to discredit your paper are so much the more to your honor for the jaws of power are always opened to devour, and her arm is always stretched out, if possible, to destroy the freedom of thinking, speaking, and writing.

    'Mr. Jefferson has reason to reflect upon himself. How he will get rid of his remorse in his retirement, I know not. He must know that he leaves the government infinitely worse than he found it, and that from his own error or ignorance.'


    So great is my veneration for the Bible, that the earlier my children begin to read it the more confident will be my hopes that they will prove useful citizens to their country and respectable members of society.

    Had I been chosen President again, I am certain I could not have lived another year.

    This hand, to tyrants ever sworn the foe, For Freedom only deals the deadly blow Then sheathes in calm repose the vengeful blade, For gentle peace in Freedom's hallowed shade.

    Let the pulpit resound with the doctrines and sentiments of religious liberty. Let us hear the dangers of thralldom to our consciences from ignorance, extreme poverty, and dependence in short, from civil and political slavery. Let us see delineated before us the true map of man. Let us hear the dignity of his nature, and the noble rank he holds among the works of Godthat consenting to slavery is a sacrilegious breach of trust, as offensive in the sight of God as it is derogatory from our own honor or interest or happinessand that God Almighty has promulgated from heaven liberty, peace, and goodwill to man.

    My history of the Jesuits is not elegantly written, but is supported by unquestionable authorities, is very particular and very horrible. Their restoration is indeed 'a step toward darkness,' cruelty, perfidy, despotism, death and I wish we were out of danger of bigotry and Jesuitism.

    Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.

    In every society where property exists there will ever be a struggle between rich and poor. Mixed in one assembly, equal laws can never be expected they will either be made by the member to plunder the few who are rich, or by the influence to fleece the many who are poor.

    In what light soever we regard the Bible, whether with reference to revelation, to history, or to morality, it is an invaluable and inexhaustible mine of knowledge and virtue.

    The proposition that the people are the best keepers of their own liberties is not true. They are the worst conceivable, they are no keepers at all they can neither judge, act, think, or will, as a political body.

    As to the history of the revolution, my ideas may be peculiar perhaps singular. What do we mean by the revolution The war That was no part of the revolution it was only an effect and consequence of it. The revolution was in the minds of the people, and this was effected from 1760 to 1775, in the course of fifteen years, before a drop of blood was shed at Lexington.

    La molesse est douce, et sa suite est cruelle. Idleness is sweet, and its consequences are cruel.

    I request that they may be considered in confidence, until the members of Congress are fully possessed of their contents, and shall have had opportunity to deliberate on the consequences of their publication after which time, I submit them to your wisdom.

    Can free government possible exist with the Roman Catholic religion.

    I do not like the late resurrection of the Jesuits.... If ever any congregation of men could merit eternal perdition on earth, and in hell, according to these historians, though, like Pascal, true Catholics, it is this company of Loyolas.


    THE WANTS OF MAN Man wants but little here below, Nor wants that little long. Tis not with me exactly so, But tis so in the song. My wants are many, and if told Would muster many a score And were each wish a mint of gold, I still should long for more. from Oliver Goldsmiths Hermit.

    Nip the shoots of arbitrary power in the bud, is the only maxim which can ever preserve the liberties of any people.

    Set before us the conduct of our own British ancestors, who defended for us the inherent rights of mankind against foreign and domestic tyrants and usurpers, against arbitrary kings and cruel priests in short against the gates of earth and hell.


    More John Quincy Adams Quotations (Based on Topics)


    Man - Law & Regulation - Liberty & Freedom - Mankind - America - Power - People - Government - Revolution - Time - Society & Civilization - Christianity - Sense & Perception - Religions & Spirituality - Principle - Danger & Risk - War & Peace - Mind - Nature - View All John Quincy Adams Quotations

    Related Authors


    John F. Kennedy - Abraham Lincoln - William Howard Taft - Lyndon B. Johnson - James A. Garfield - Herbert Hoover - George H. W. Bush - Dwight D. Eisenhower - Calvin Coolidge - Andrew Johnson


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