Staff Member on LOA
"Think More Than You Speak"
An amusing story is told of Ulysses S. Grant. One day during his Presidency he came into the room where his Cabinet was assembling, quietly laughing to himself. "I have just read," said he, "one of the best anecdotes I have ever met. It was that John Adams, after he had been President, was one day taking a party out to dinner at his home in Quincy, when one of his guests noticed a portrait over the door and said, 'You have a fine portrait of Washington there, Mr. Adams.' 'Yes,' was the reply, 'and that old wooden head made his fortune by keeping his mouth shut.'"
And Grant laughed again with uncommon enjoyment. It is a great thing to know when to keep still. As we look back over our lives there are comparatively few times when we regret having not spoken, but a great many of us have numerous reminiscences of trouble and sorrow that have come from unguarded and ill-advised speech. It is important to do a great deal more thinking than speaking.