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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index E > Edward Everett Quotes

Edward Everett
(11 Apr 1794 - 15 Jan 1865)

American politician, theologian and orator who was the 15th Governor of Massachusetts, and later in Congress as a senator for Massachusetts. He was a well-regarded speaker, though his two-hour oration at Gettysburg (19 Nov 1863) has for ever been eclipsed by the famous address by President Abraham Lincoln. Everett previously had run against Lincoln in 1860, for the vice-presidential nomination on the Constitutional Union ticket.

Science Quotes by Edward Everett (10 quotes)

A large part of the training of the engineer, civil and military, as far as preparatory studies are concerned; of the builder of every fabric of wood or stone or metal designed to stand upon the earth, or bridge the stream, or resist or float upon the wave; of the surveyor who lays out a building lot in a city, or runs a boundary line between powerful governments across a continent; of the geographer, navigator, hydrographer, and astronomer,—must be derived from the mathematics.
— Edward Everett
In 'Academical Education', Orations and Speeches on Various Occasions (1870), Vol. 3, 513.
Science quotes on:  |  Across (32)  |  Astronomer (68)  |  Boundary (38)  |  Bridge (30)  |  Build (117)  |  Builder (12)  |  City (48)  |  Civil Engineer (3)  |  Continent (52)  |  Derive (33)  |  Design (115)  |  Earth (638)  |  Education (347)  |  Engineer (97)  |  Float (21)  |  Geographer (6)  |  Government (93)  |  Hydrographer (3)  |  Line (90)  |  Mathematics (1205)  |  Metal (41)  |  Military Engineer (2)  |  Navigator (8)  |  Preparatory (3)  |  Resist (15)  |  Stand (108)  |  Stone (76)  |  Stream (40)  |  Study (476)  |  Surveyor (4)  |  Training (66)  |  Wave (68)  |  Wood (49)

Although with the majority of those who study and practice in these capacities [engineers, builders, surveyors, geographers, navigators, hydrographers, astronomers], secondhand acquirements, trite formulas, and appropriate tables are sufficient for ordinary purposes, yet these trite formulas and familiar rules were originally or gradually deduced from the profound investigations of the most gifted minds, from the dawn of science to the present day. … The further developments of the science, with its possible applications to larger purposes of human utility and grander theoretical generalizations, is an achievement reserved for a few of the choicest spirits, touched from time to time by Heaven to these highest issues. The intellectual world is filled with latent and undiscovered truth as the material world is filled with latent electricity.
— Edward Everett
In Orations and Speeches, Vol. 3 (1870), 513.
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Does it seem all but incredible to you that intelligence should travel for two thousand miles, along those slender copper lines, far down in the all but fathomless Atlantic; never before penetrated … save when some foundering vessel has plunged with her hapless company to the eternal silence and darkness of the abyss? Does it seem … but a miracle … that the thoughts of living men … should burn over the cold, green bones of men and women, whose hearts, once as warm as ours, burst as the eternal gulfs closed and roared over them centuries ago?
— Edward Everett
A tribute to the Atlantic telegraph cable by Edward Everett, one of the topics included in his inauguration address at the Washington University of St. Louis (22 Apr 1857). In Orations and Speeches on Various Occasions: Volume 3 (1870), 509-511.
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Education is a better safeguard of liberty than a standing army. If we retrench the wages of the schoolmaster, we must raise those of the recruiting sergeant.
— Edward Everett
Given as a column-end filler in The Farmer's Cabinet, and American Herd Book (15 Mar 1839), Vol. 3, No. 8, 247. This is the earliest occurrence yet found by the editor. If you know the primary source, please contact the Webmaster.
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In the pure mathematics we contemplate absolute truths which existed in the divine mind before the morning stars sang together, and which will continue to exist there when the last of their radiant host shall have fallen from heaven.
— Edward Everett
From Address (22 Apr 1857) for Inauguration of Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, collected in 'Academical Education', Orations and Speeches on Various Occasions (1870), Vol. 3, 514. This is seen misattributed to Eric Temple Bell, who only quoted it, attributing it to Everett, in for example, Mathematics: Queen and Servant of Sciences (1938), 20.
Science quotes on:  |  Absolute (98)  |  Contemplate (17)  |  Divine (61)  |  Exist (148)  |  Fall (120)  |  Heaven (153)  |  Host (16)  |  Mind (760)  |  Morning (43)  |  Pure Mathematics (65)  |  Radiant (10)  |  Sing (25)  |  Star (336)  |  Truth (928)

The great object of all knowledge is to enlarge and purify the soul, to fill the mind with noble contemplations, to furnish a refined pleasure, and to lead our feeble reason from the works of nature up to its great Author and Sustainer. Considering this as the ultimate end of science, no branch of it can surely claim precedence of Astronomy. No other science furnishes such a palpable embodiment of the abstractions which lie at the foundation of our intellectual system; the great ideas of time, and space, and extension, and magnitude, and number, and motion, and power. How grand the conception of the ages on ages required for several of the secular equations of the solar system; of distances from which the light of a fixed star would not reach us in twenty millions of years, of magnitudes compared with which the earth is but a foot-ball; of starry hosts—suns like our own—numberless as the sands on the shore; of worlds and systems shooting through the infinite spaces.
— Edward Everett
Oration at Inauguration of the Dudley Astronomical Observatory, Albany (28 Jul 1856). Text published as The Uses of Astronomy (1856), 36.
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The great truths with which it [mathematics] deals, are clothed with austere grandeur, far above all purposes of immediate convenience or profit. It is in them that our limited understandings approach nearest to the conception of that absolute and infinite, towards which in most other things they aspire in vain. In the pure mathematics we contemplate absolute truths, which existed in the divine mind before the morning stars sang together, and which will continue to exist there, when the last of their radiant host shall have fallen from heaven. They existed not merely in metaphysical possibility, but in the actual contemplation of the supreme reason. The pen of inspiration, ranging all nature and life for imagery to set forth the Creator’s power and wisdom, finds them best symbolized in the skill of the surveyor. "He meted out heaven as with a span;" and an ancient sage, neither falsely nor irreverently, ventured to say, that “God is a geometer”.
— Edward Everett
In Orations and Speeches (1870), Vol. 3, 614.
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The highest mathematical principles may be involved in the production of the simplest mechanical result.
— Edward Everett
In 'Academical Education', Orations and Speeches on Various Occasions (1870), Vol. 3, 513. This is seen misattributed to Eric Temple Bell, but he only quoted it, attributing it to Everett, in for example, Mathematics: Queen and Servant of Sciences (1938), 20.
Science quotes on:  |  Engineering (141)  |  Higher (37)  |  Involve (48)  |  Mathematics (1205)  |  Mechanical (50)  |  Principle (292)  |  Production (117)  |  Result (389)  |  Simple (178)

Truth travels down from the heights of philosophy to the humblest walks of life, and up from the simplest perceptions of an awakened intellect to the discoveries which almost change the face of the world. At every stage of its progress it is genial, luminous, creative. When first struck out by some distinguished and fortunate genius, it may address itself only to a few minds of kindred power. It exists then only in the highest forms of science; it corrects former systems, and authorizes new generalizations. Discussion, controversy begins; more truth is elicited, more errors exploded, more doubts cleared up, more phenomena drawn into the circle, unexpected connexions of kindred sciences are traced, and in each step of the progress, the number rapidly grows of those who are prepared to comprehend and carry on some branches of the investigation,— till, in the lapse of time, every order of intellect has been kindled, from that of the sublime discoverer to the practical machinist; and every department of knowledge been enlarged, from the most abstruse and transcendental theory to the daily arts of life.
— Edward Everett
In An Address Delivered Before the Literary Societies of Amherst College (25 Aug 1835), 16-17.
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We receive it as a fact, that some minds are so constituted as absolutely to require for their nurture the severe logic of the abstract sciences; that rigorous sequence of ideas which leads from the premises to the conclusion, by a path, arduous and narrow, it may be, and which the youthful reason may find it hard to mount, but where it cannot stray; and on which, if it move at all, it must move onward and upward… . Even for intellects of a different character, whose natural aptitude is for moral evidence and those relations of ideas which are perceived and appreciated by taste, the study of the exact sciences may be recommended as the best protection against the errors into which they are most likely to fall. Although the study of language is in many respects no mean exercise in logic, yet it must be admitted that an eminently practical mind is hardly to be formed without mathematical training.
— Edward Everett
In Orations and Speeches (1870), Vol. 8, 510.
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Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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- 90 -
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- 70 -
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