American politician and diplomat (1807-1886)
It is so very easy and so very pleasant, too, to read only books which lead to nothing, light and interesting books, and the more the better, that it is almost as difficult to wean ourselves from it as from the habit of chewing tobacco to excess, or of smoking the whole time, or of depending for stimulus upon tea or coffee or spirits.
CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS, American Library Journal, 1876
In this country ... men seem to live for action as long as they can and sink into apathy when they retire.
CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS, diary, Apr. 15, 1836
It would be superfluous in me to point out to your Lordship that this is war.
CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS, dispatch to John Russell, Sep. 5, 1863
All equally see in the convulsion in America an era in the history of the world, out of which must come in the end a general recognition of the right of mankind to the produce of their labor and the pursuit of happiness.
CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS, letter to his son, Charles Francis Adams, Jr., from Mount Felix, Walton on Thames, England, Dec. 25, 1862
The American experiment is the most tremendous and far reaching engine of social change which has ever either blessed or cursed mankind.
CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS, attributed, Peter's Quotations: Ideas for Our Times
More than all, and above all, [George] Washington was master of himself. If there be one quality more than another in his character which may exercise a useful control over the men of the present hour, it is the total disregard of self when in the most elevated positions for influence and example.
CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS, attributed, Washington's Birthday: Its History, Observance, Spirit, and Significance as Related in Prose and Verse