Quotes from American notables

Quotes from American notables

This page contains a short list of excerpts from speeches, letters, etc., from American notables commenting on Kossuth. (Click on the underlined names for picture and brief biography)

Ambrose C. Kingsland (Mayor of New York City, 1851): "We have proclaimed to the world the inherent and indefeasable right of every nation to choose its own rulers and establish its own laws. Hungary asks us, by the voice of her most gifted and devoted son... the free exercise of that fundamental right... there is no aid... in so holy a cause that the people of the United States will not full grant".

Daniel Webster (Sec. of State, in rejecting the Russo-Austrian demand for Kossuth's extradition from Turkey): "If the blood of Kossuth is taken by an absolute, unqualified, unjustifiable violation of the national law, what will it appease ? What will it pacify ? ... it will return with awful retribution on the heads of those violators of national law and universal justice... if such an act take place, then thrones, and principalities, and powers, must look out for the consequences." Also, (Jan 5, 1852, welcoming Kossuth in Washington): "In Eastern Europe... and on the confines between Europe and Asia there is no political sun in the heavens...The country of which your guest is a native, is a remarkable exception... It ought to be known that Hungary stands out in all that respects free institutions, constitutional government and... love of liberty"

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (April 19, 1852, in a letter to Charles Sumner): " Every day brings a new speech by Kossuth - stirring and eloquent. All New York is ablaze with his words... Wonderful power of oratory." (April 30, 1852, in a letter to O.W. Holmes): " wonderful man! to speak so long and so well in a foreign tongue... We were stuck with his dignity ".

Gov. Boutwell (April 27, 1852, in front of the Massachusetts State House): "...the people of Massachusetts...welcome you... greet you as one who has nobly served and suffered in the cause of individual freedom and the rights of states...The moment is near when... your own Hungary (will) welcome you... - and we will welcome Hungary to the family of republican, constitutional, sovereign states".

Ralph Waldo Emerson May 11, 1852, in Concord MA, addressing Kossuth): "We only see in you the angel of freedom...The people of this town ..have been hungry to see the man whose extraordinary eloquence is seconded by...the solidity of his actions. ...man of freedom, you are also man of fate... you are elected by God..to your task..."

Horace Greeley : "of the many popular leaders who were upheaved by the great convulsions of 1848... the world has already definitely assigned the first rank to Louis Kossuth, advocate, deputy, finance minister, and finally governor of Hungary." (part of a three page essay by the founder of the New York "Tribune") and "when an Empire so formidable as the Austrian, ... by soliciting foreign aid... (admits that) it is unable to govern a neighbouring state, it plainly admits that its right to do so..has ceased to exist... Among orators, patriots, statesmen, exiles, he has - living or dead - no superior."

Theodore Roosevelt (addressing a Hungarian-American meeting in 1889): "if you bring into American life the spirit of the heroes of Hungary, you have done your share. There is nothing this country needs more than that there shall be put before its men and its future men - its boys and girls, too - the story of such lives as that of Kossuth".

Also Theodore Roosevelt: (Hungarian parlament, April 2, 1910) "There is no more illustrious history than the history of the Magyar nation... The whole civilized world is indebted to Magyarland for its historic deeds".

Thomas Edison (March 15, 1928, in a letter to the unveiling of the Kossuth statue on New York's Riverside Drive): "Recalls that, as a four year old, he saw Kossuth and "asked a Kossuth hat from his father". (As told by Loránt Hegedűs, biographer).

Sen. Robert Dole (March 15, 1990 at the dedication of the bronze bust in the US Capitol): "...nearly a century after his death, we remember... Kossuth... and celebrate... the democratic idea, to which he dedicated his life... I believe that Louis Kossuth - ...represented in this bust - will be be very much at home here. I am proud to be here today... this dedication... for more than a century he has inspired all those dedicated to freedom".

Rep. Richard Gephardt (March 15 1990, at US Capitol bust dedication): "We ... honor Lajos Kossuth, the father of Hungarian democracy... it took 150 years for his dreams to come true, but ... Hungarians are a patient people."

Pres. George Bush (in a letter at unveiling of bust March 15, 1990): "...the people of Hungary have served as a model... of all freedom loving men and women. We rejoice in the freedom imagined by Louis Kossuth finally being realized..."

Henry Clay (in sympathy with isolationism): "...if we involve ourselves in... European politics... and if... Hungary should go down... where would be the last hope... of freedom throughout the world?"

US Senator Chauncey M. Depew (New York): "There are few scattered moments in life... of significance... when sympathy touches the whole country... and and brings its inhabitants to their feet... Three of these happened in my lifetime: the surrender at Appomatox, the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the landing of Kossuth."

US Senator Charles Sumner (Lincoln's contemporary, anti-slavery advocate from Massachusetts):"I remember the landing of Kossuth. The admiration... enthusiasm... love of people... gathering force... during the voyage across the Atlantic... gave him an ovation which only two men had ever received - Washington and Lafayette."

William Cohen, US Secretary of Defense (July 10, 1997, before the Hungarian Parliament) :Almost 150 years ago, after Kossuth's brave effort to liberate Hungary wasbrutally crushed, the United States invited him to visit (...) (and) gave him a hero's welcome, with a100-gun salute (...) the Mayor of New York (...) called Kossuth "the champion of human progress and universal freedom." (...) guest of the President at the White House; (...) invited to (...) the US Congress, As (...) Longfellow said, "Every day brings a new speech by Kossuth -- stirring and eloquent." Kossuth clearly struck a chord in (...) America. And America (...) a chord in Kossuth's heart, As Kossuth said: "The Declaration of Independence cast a ray of consolation over the injured land whose chief is a wandering exile for having dared to imitate you."
Today, in a place of honor in the US Capitol, there stands a bronze bust of Kossuth.
Click here for the full speech by Cohen

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