Some time in the near future I will endeavor to write about the importance of learning to write well, the primary purpose in my own case of creating this blog; but before that I will give some quotes out of my collection which have struck me as being particularly interesting as well as elegant. I have made into italics those parts I deemed the most important.
Compared to this how mean and despicable were all the triumphs of Ceasar, “the world’s great master and his own.” How small, how diminutive is the ambition of that soul, which can be satisﬁed with the conquest of the world by force, or with a mastery over itself so partion, as to be only a composition with crime, a half-war forbearance from the extreme of guilt, compared with the sublime purposes of that mind, which not by the brutal and foul contest of arms, but by the soul-subduing power of eloquence and of virtue, conquers time, as well as space; not the world of one short lived generation, but the world of a hundred centuries; which masters, not only one nation of contemporaries, but endless ages-of civilized man, and undiscovered regions of the globe. These are the triumphs, which Ceasar, and men like Ceasar, never can obtain. They are reserved for more exalted conquerors. These are the palms of heroic peace. These are the everlasting laurels, destined for better uses, than to conceal the baldness of a Caesar, destined to be twined, as a never fading wreath, around the temples of Cicero.
Lectures on Rhetoric and Oratory by John Quincy Adams, Page 133-134, Vol. 1
To prove that the Americans ought not to be free, we are obliged to depreciate the value of Freedom itself; and we never seem to gain a paltry advantage over them in debate, without attacking some of those principles, or deriding some of those feelings, for which our ancestors have shed their blood.
On Moving His Resolutions for Conciliation with the Colonies by Edmund Burke, 1.3.46 OLL(Online Liberty Library)
Is it not the same virtue which does everything for us here in England? Do you imagine then, that it is the Land Tax Act which raises your revenue? that it is the annual vote in the Committee of Supply which gives you your army? or that it is the Mutiny Bill which inspires it with bravery and discipline? No! surely no! It is the love of the people; it is their attachment to their government, from the sense of the deep stake they have in such a glorious institution—which gives you your army and your navy, and infuses into both that liberal obedience, without which your army would be a base rabble, and your navy nothing but rotten timber.
On Moving His Resolutions for Conciliation with the Colonies by Edmund Burke, 1.3.143 OLL
You thought it necessary to take arms, to prevent him from tyrannizing at this rate: but was it your intent, that by preventing him [Marcus Antonius], we might sue to another [Augustus Caesar] who would suffer himself to be advanced into his place, or that the republic might be free and mistress of itself? as if our quarrel was not perhaps with slavery, but to the conditions of it.
The History of the Life of Marcus Tullius Cicero by Conyers Middleton, Page 287
For those creatures who have received the gift of reason from Nature have also received right reason, and therefore they have also received the gift of Law, which is right reason applied to command and prohibition. And if they have received Law, they have received Justice also. Now all men have received reason; therefore all men have received Justice. Consequently Socrates was right when he cursed, as he often did, the man who first separated utility from justice; for this separation, he complained, is the source of all mischief.
Loeb De Legibus, Page 333-335