Stephen Decatur (1779–1820), U.S. naval commander. Toast given at Norfolk, April 1816. Quoted in Life of Stephen Decatur, ch. 14, Alexander Slidell MacKenzie (1846).
proposed at a banquet in Norfolk, Virginia to celebrate Decatur's victory over Algerian "Barbary pirates." The words were revived in a speech by Carl Schurz (1829-1906, German orator, later U.S. general and senator) to the U.S. Senate, Jan. 17, 1872: "Our country right or wrong. When right, to be kept right; when wrong, to be put right." See also Chesterton.