Quotes of the Day for 15 September 2006 – James Fenimore Cooper
James Cooper was born at Burlington, New Jersey on this day in 1789. His father was an ambitious judge who made a fortune in land development, and married another fortune. William Cooper packed up his family to move to his new project, Cooperstown, New York. James was sent to Yale at age thirteen, where he was expelled for his pranks in his junior year. He went to sea, first as a merchant seaman, then in the Navy. On his father's death, his newfound financial independence allowed him to leave the Navy and take up the life of the gentleman farmer. Disgusted with the book he was reading, he told his wife he could write better. She suggested he prove it, and though his first book was a failure, he became America's first novelist. He added Fenimore, his mother's maiden name, to his in 1826, the same year Last of the Mohicans was released.
Candor is a proof of both a just frame of mind, and of a good tone of breeding. It is a quality that belongs equally to the honest man and to the gentleman.
The common faults of American language are an ambition of effect, a want of simplicity, and a turgid abuse of terms.
It is a misfortune that necessity has induced men to accord greater license to this formidable engine, in order to obtain liberty, than can be borne with less important objects in view; for the press, like fire, is an excellent servant, but a terrible master.
Liberty is not a matter of words, but a positive and important condition of society. Its greatest safeguard after placing its foundations in a popular base, is in the checks and balances imposed on the public servants.
The tendency of democracies is, in all things, to mediocrity.
- All from James Fenimore Cooper, 1789 - 1851
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