“I will never concur in upholding domestic slavery. It is the curse of heaven on the States where it prevails.”
“The proudest empire in Europe is but a bauble compared to what America will be, must be, in the course of two centuries, perhaps one!”
He wrote to his mother:
“There is one Comforter who weighs our Minutes and Numbers our Days.”
“Providence has kindly interfered so far for our preservation.”
“I look forward serenely to the course of events, confident that the Fountain of supreme wisdom and virtue will provide for the happiness of his creatures...
Whenever the present storm subsides, I shall rush with eagerness into the bosom of private life, but while it continues, and while my country calls for the exertion of that little share of abilities, which it has pleased God to bestow on me, I hold it my indispensable duty to give myself to her.”
“I hope in God, my dear Sir, that you may long continue to preside.”
“It will be time enough for you to have a successor, when it shall please God to call you from this world's theater.”
“His bounty is as unbounded as His power! Confiding in the one, be resigned to the other; and accepting with gratitude what it may please Him to give, surrender with respectful obedience what He shall think proper to take away. O God! Thy will be done.”
“Guerre, famine, peste (war, famine, pestilence).” Furthermore, Morris declared: I pray God the prediction be not fully accomplished.”
“The signal victories of Russia (over Napoleon) demand our thanks to Almighty God, by whose Providence they are ordered.”
“...This ground of hope in the kindness of that Being, who is to all his creatures an indulgent father...
O God! It is thy wisdom which hath ordained, and thy hand which heavily hath inflicted this blow, consistent most surely with those just decrees, which we may not presume to measure, nor ever dare to know, but yet we know, for we feel, that thy mercy will season to those, who suffer them, the sharpness of these affections. Yes, we feel! And it is this consciousness, which, precious and paramount to all reasoning, has diffused through the whole human race, and impressed in the heart of each individual, the same conviction of his own existence, and the existence of God. Yes, we feel! And it is in the strict accordance between our finest feelings, and the principles of the religion we profess, that this stands demonstrated by their evidence to be of divine origin.”
“The Almighty will work out his wise ends by means of human folly.”
“I descend towards the grave full of gratitude to the Giver of all good.”
“If instead of a simple error, an opinion is ventured in his presence offensive to religion, good morals, or sound political principles, it is no longer a regard for truth alone, it is the passion of virtue, the ardor for justice, the love of humanity, which inflames his generous soul...
The idea of a Deity is always present, the habit of contemplating him in his works, of imitating his goodness, of submitting to his will, with that calm resignation which arises from a belief that God can will nothing but what is good; such is the fountain from which his soul derives a confidence full of serenity, a boundless charity, and a hope...”
“How can we hope for public peace and national prosperity, if the faith of governments so solemnly pledged can be so suddenly violated? If private property can be so lightly infringed? Destroy this prop, which once gave us support, and where will you turn in the hour of distress? To whom will you look for succor? By what promises or vows can you hope to obtain confidence? This hour of distress will come. It comes to all, and the moment of affliction is known to Him alone, whose divine providence exalts or depresses states and kingdoms. Not by the blind dictates of arbitrary will. Not by a tyrannous and despotic mandate. But in proportion to their obedience or disobedience of his just and holy laws. It is he who commands us that we abstain from wrong. It is he who tells you, “do unto others as ye would that they should do unto you.”
“...to which I reply, in the language of the Holy Writ, thou shalt not do evil that good may come of it.”The point here one should understand is that Gouverneur Morris recognized special revelation – the inspired Word of God – which a deist would deny.
“There is always a counter-current in human affairs, which opposes alike both good and evil. Thus the good we hope is seldom obtained, and the evil we fear is rarely realized.”
“It is the fashion with those discontented creatures called Federalists, to say that our President [Jefferson] is not a Christian; yet they must acknowledge that, in true Christian meekness, when smitten on one cheek he turns the other, and buy his late appointment of Monroe has taken special care that a stone which the builders rejected should become the first of the corner. These are his works; and for his faith, it is not a grain of mustard' but the full size of a pumpkin, so that while men of mustard-seed faith can only move mountains, he finds no difficulty in swallowing them. He believes, for instance, in the perfectability of man, the wisdom of mobs, and moderation of Jacobins. He believes in payment of debts by diminution of revenue, in defense of territory by reduction of armies, and in vindication of rights by the appointment of ambassadors.”
“They [the French] want an American constitution, with the exception of a King instead of a President, without reflecting they that have not American citizens to support that constitution.”
“The materials for a revolution in this country [France] are very indifferent. Everybody agrees that there is an utter prostration of morals; but this general proposition can never convey to an American mind the degree of depravity. It is not by any figure of rhetoric, or force of language, that the idea can be communicated. A hundred anecdotes, and a hundred thousand examples, are required to show the extreme rottenness of every member. There are men and women who are greatly and eminently virtuous. I have the pleasure to number many in my acquaintance; but they stand forward from a background deeply and darkly shaded. It is however, from such crumbling matter, that the great edifice of freedom is to be erected here. Perhaps, like the stratum of rock, which is spread under the whole surface of their country, it may be hardened when exposed to the air; but it seems quite as likely that it will fall and crush the builders.
...there is one fatal principle which pervades all ranks. It is a perfect indifference to the violation of engagements. Inconstancy is so mingled in the blood, marrow, and very essence of this people, that when a man of high rank and importance laughs to day at what he seriously asserted yesterday, it is considered as in the natural order of things. Consistency is a phenomen. Judge, then, what would be the value of association, should such a thing be proposed, and even adopted. The great mass of the common people have no religion but their priests, no law but their superiors, no morals but their interest. These are the creatures who, led by drunken curates, are now in the high road a la liberte, and the first use they make of it is to from insurrections everywhere for the want of bread.”
“The open contempt of religion, also, cannot but be offensive to all sober minded men.”
“Since I have been in this country, I have seen the worship of many idols, but little of the true God.”
“...the tranquility and liberty of nations can only be sustained upon the basis of justice.”
“The true object of a great statesman is to give to any particular nation the kind of laws which is suitable to them, and the best constitution which they are capable of.”
“The engine by which a giddy population can be most easily wrought on to do mischief, is their hatred of the rich.”
“...in free governments the laws being supreme, and the only supreme, there arises from that circumstances a spirit of order, and a confidence in those laws for the redress of all injuries, public and private, The sword of justice is placed in the hands of a constitutional magistrate and each individual trembles at the idea of wresting it from his grasp, lest the point shall be turned upon his own bosom, or that of his friend. In despotic governments the people, habituated to behold everything bending beneath the weight of power, never possess that power for a moment without abusing it. Slaves, driven to despair, take arms, execute vast vengeance, and then sink back to their former condition of slaves. In such societies the patriot, the melancholy patriot, sides with the despot, because anything is better than a wild and bloody confusion. Those, therefore, who form the sublime and godlike idea of rescuing their fellow creatures from a slavery, they have long groaned under, must begin by instruction, and proceed by slow degrees, must content themselves with planting the tree, from which posterity is to gather the fruit.”
“Those who are charged with the important duties of administering justice, should, if possible, depend only on God.”
“Religion is the only solid basis of good morals; therefore education should teach the precepts of religion, and the duties of man toward God.
These duties are, internally, love and adoration: externally, devotion and obedience; therefore provision should be made for maintaining divine worship as well as education.
But each one has a right to entire liberty as to religious opinions, for religion is the relation between God and man; therefore it is not within the reach of human authority.”