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Raynal_Abee Quotes (1 quote)

“On doit etre etonné ([Abbé Raynal]says) que l'Amerique n’ait pas encore produit un bon poëte, un habile mathematicien, un homme de génie dans un seul art, ou une seule science.” …“America has not yet produced one good poet.” When we shall have existed as a people as long as the Greeks did before they produced a Homer, the Romans a Virgil, the French a Racine and Voltaire, the English a Shakespeare and Milton, should this reproach be still true, we will enquire from what unfriendly causes it has proceeded, that the other countries of Europe and quarters of the earth shall not have inscribed any name in the roll of poets. But neither has America produced “one able mathematician, one man of genius in a single art or a single science.” … In physics we have produced a [Benjamin] Franklin, than whom no one of the present age has made more important discoveries, nor has enriched philosophy with more, or more ingenious solutions of the phaenomena, of nature. … [The quadrant invented by Godfrey, an American also, and with the aid of which the European nations traverse the globe, is called Hadley’s quadrant.] … We have supposed Mr. [David] Rittenhouse second to no astronomer living: that in genius he must be the first, because he is self-taught. As an artist he has exhibited as great a proof of mechanical genius as the world has ever produced. … We therefore suppose, that this reproach is as unjust as it is unkind; and that, of the geniuses which adorn the present age, America contributes its full share. [Compared to the much larger populations of European countries.]
The reference given by Jefferson for the original reproach by Abbé Raynal, an ellipsis above, is “7. Hist. Philos. p. 92. ed. Maestricht. 1774”. The original remark written in French, translates as: “One must be amazed that America has not yet produced a good poet, an able mathematician, one man of genius in a single art, or a single science.” Jefferson uses parts of it in English, to introduce his rebuttal. From Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia (1787), 107-110. A footnote adds that: “In a later edition of the Abbé Raynal’s work, he has withdrawn his censure…”
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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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