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Quotes for
Edward Rutledge (Character)
from 1776 (1972)

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1776 (1972)
Edward Rutledge: [In the final vote for Independence, Rutledge wants the slavery clause removed from the Declaration, or else he will vote against independence] Well, Mr. Adams?
John Adams: Well, Mr. Rutledge.
Edward Rutledge: [stands] Mr. Adams, you must believe that I *will* do what I promised to do.
John Adams: [stands and approaches him] What is it you want, Rutledge?
Edward Rutledge: Remove the offending passage from your Declaration.
John Adams: If we did that, we would be guilty of what we ourselves are rebelling against.
Edward Rutledge: Nevertheless... remove it, or South Carolina will bury, now and forever, your dream of independence.
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: John? I beg you consider what you're doing.
John Adams: Mark me, Franklin... if we give in on this issue, posterity will never forgive us.
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: That's probably true, but we won't hear a thing, we'll be long gone. Besides, what would posterity think we were? Demi-gods? We're men, no more no less, trying to get a nation started against greater odds than a more generous God would have allowed. First things first, John. Independence; America. If we don't secure that, what difference will the rest make?
John Adams: [long pause] Jefferson, say something.
Thomas Jefferson: What else is there to do?
John Adams: Well, man, you're the one that wrote it.
Thomas Jefferson: I *wrote* ALL of it, Mr. Adams.
[stands and goes to the Declaration, crosses out the clause]
John Adams: [snatches the paper from Jefferson and takes it to Rutledge] There you are, Rutlege, you have your slavery; little good may it do you, now VOTE, damn you!
Edward Rutledge: [takes the paper] Mr. President, the fair colony of South Carolina...
[looks at Adams]
Edward Rutledge: ... says yea.

Edward Rutledge: Mr. Adams, perhaps you could clear up something for me. After we have achieved independence, who do you propose would govern in South Carolina?
John Adams: The people, of course.
Edward Rutledge: Which people, sir? The people of South Carolina, or the people of Massachusetts?
Hopkins: Ah, why don't you admit it, Neddy? You're against independence now and you always will be.
Col. Thomas McKean: [heavy sigh] Aye.
Edward Rutledge: Now, gentlemen, you refuse to understand us. We desire independence, yes. For South Carolina. That is our country. And as such, we don't wish to belong to anyone. Not to England, and not to you.
John Adams: We intend to have one nation, Rutledge.
Edward Rutledge: A nation of sovereign states, Mr. Adams. United for our mutual protection, but... separate for our individual pursuits. Now, that is what we have understood it to be. And that is what we will support.
[Adams starts to speak]
Edward Rutledge: As soon as everyone supports it.
James Wilson: [standing up] Well, there you are, Mr. Adams. You must see that we need time. Time to make certain who we are and where we stand in regard to one another. For if we do not determine the nature of the beast before we set it free, it will end by consuming us all.
John Adams: For once in your life, Wilson... take a chance. I say the time is now. It may never come again.

Edward Rutledge: Enter Delaware, tria juncti in uno.
Col. Thomas McKean: Speak plain, Rutledge. Ya Know I can't follow a word of your damn French.
Edward Rutledge: It's Latin, Colonel McKean, a tribute to the eternal peace and harmony of the Delaware delegation.
Col. Thomas McKean: What're ya sayin', man? Ya know perfectly well neither Rodney nor I can stand the sight of this louse!

[on the anti-slavery clause]
John Adams: That little paper there deals with freedom for Americans!
Edward Rutledge: Oh, really. Mr. Adams is now calling our black slaves "Americans!" Are they, now?
John Adams: Yes, they are. They are people, and they are here. If there's any other requirement, I haven't heard it.
Edward Rutledge: They are here, yes, but they are not people sir, they are property.
Thomas Jefferson: No, sir they are people who are being treated as property! I tell you, the rights of human nature are deeply wounded by this infamous practice!
Edward Rutledge: Then see to your own wounds Mr. Jefferson, for you are a practitioner are you not?
Thomas Jefferson: I have already resolved to release my slaves.
Edward Rutledge: Oh. Then I'm sorry, for you've also resolved the ruination of your own personal economy.
John Adams: Economy. Always economy. There's more to this than a filthy purse-string, Rutledge! It is an offense against man and God!
Hopkins: It's a stinking business, Eddie, a stinking business!
Edward Rutledge: Is it really now, Mr. Hopkins? Then what's that I smell floating down from the North? Could it be the aroma of hy-pocrisy? For who holds the other end of that filthy purse-string, Mr. Adams? Our northern brethren are feeling a bit tender toward our black slaves. They don't keep slaves! Oh, no. But they are willing to be considerable carriers of slaves to others. They're willin'! For the shillin'.

[sung]
Edward Rutledge: Molasses to rum/ to slaves/ Who sails the ships back to Boston/ laden with gold, see it gleam? Whose fortunes are made/ in the triangle trade/ hail slavery! The New England dream. Mr. Adams, I give you a toast: Hail Boston! Hail Charleston! Who stinketh... the most?

Edward Rutledge: Enter Delaware, tria juncta in uno.
Col. Thomas McKean: Speak plain, Rutledge. Ya Know I can't follow a word of your damn French.
Edward Rutledge: It's Latin, Colonel McKean, a tribute to the eternal peace and harmony of the Delaware delegation.
Col. Thomas McKean: What're ya sayin', man? Ya know perfectly well neither Rodney nor I can stand the sight of this louse!

Stephen Hopkins: [meeting Dr. Hall] Tell me, doctor, where does Georgia stand on the question of independence?
Edward Rutledge: [off screen] With South Carolina, of course.
Stephen Hopkins: Ha, ha, ha! Neddy, good morning. Neddy, come over here and shake the hand of Dr. Lyman Hall of Georgia. Dr. Hall, this here is Edward Rutledge from... whichever Carolina he says he's from. God knows I can't keep 'em straight.


"John Adams: Independence (#1.2)" (2008)
Edward Rutledge: Must you be so extreme, Dr. Franklin?
Benjamin Franklin: [Wryly] I'm an extreme moderate, Mr. Rutledge. I believe anybody not in favor of moderation and compromise ought to be castrated and that all this should be sent down to the... the Parliament for they seem to need - how should I put it? - stones.
[He smiles broadly]

John Adams: General Warren is fallen at Bunker Hill. Shot through the head. Bayoneted and stripped of his clothes. I knew him, gentlemen. He was my physician. The full measure of british atrocity is too terrible to relate. "400 patriots dead." Not professional soldiers, ordinary citizens of Massachusetts who willingly gave their lives to defend what was rightfully theirs. Their liberty. But they took with them more than 1,000 british soldiers and 100 of their officers. If this congress does not support the Massachusetts militia, it could very well dissolve, gentlemen! Should that happen... Should that happen, we will be left defenseless, gentlemen. I move that the congress adopt the Massachusetts militia immediately!
John Dickinson: You are asking us to form an army, Mr. Adams. A force acting not for a single colony, but all 13! Now there's not a man here present who does not mourn the loss of the brave men of Massachusetts. But it is at such times that caution must prevail. It may be weeks before our last petion reaches the King, many weeks more before we may hope for a reply. While we await answer, we must avoid any escalation of the hostilities between us.
John Adams: The situation is perilous! What is required now is one able man to build and to lead this new continental army.
Edward Rutledge: And who do you propose of the Massachusetts delegates should lead this force?
John Dickinson: Gentlemen, we move too quickly. We have not yet resolved the question of any continental army, much less who is to lead it.
John Adams: I have but one gentleman in mind, known to all of us. Mr. President, I propose as commander in chief our most honorable and esteemed delegate... The good gentleman from Virginia, Colonel George Washington.