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James Wood, comp. Dictionary of Quotations. 1899.


A lazy man is necessarily a bad man; an idle, is necessarily a demoralised population.

Brute force holds communities together as an iron nail, if a little rusted with age, binds pieces of wood; but intelligence binds like a screw, which must be gently turned, not driven.

Empires are only sandhills in the hour-glass of Time; they crumble spontaneously by the process of their own growth.

Every movement in the skies or upon the earth proclaims to us that the universe is under government.

In the confidence of youth man imagines that very much is under his control; in the disappointment of old age, very little.

Man is the maker of expedients, but not of laws. In his solicitude as to his approaching lot, he has neither time nor desire to raise his eyes to the heavens to watch and record their phenomena; no leisure to look upon himself and consider what and where he is. In the imperious demand for a present support, he dare not venture on speculative attempts at ameliorating his state; he is doomed to be a helpless, isolated, spell-bound savage, or, if not isolated, the companion of other savages as careworn as himself.

Nations are only transitional forms of humanity; they must undergo obliteration, as do the transitional forms offered by the animal series. There is no more an immortality for them than there is an immobility for an embryo or any one of the manifold forms passed through in its progress of development.

Nations, like individuals, are born, proceed through a predestined growth, and die. One comes to its end at an early period and in an untimely way; another, not until it has gained maturity. One is cut off by feebleness in its infancy, another is destroyed by civil disease, another commits political suicide, another lingers in old age. But for every one there is an orderly way of progress to its final term, whatever that term may be.

Over the events of life we may have a control, but none whatever over the law of its progress.

Society is ever under the imperious necessity of moving onward in legal forms, nor can such forms be evaded without the most serious disasters forthwith ensuing.

The laws of nature never vary; in their application they never hesitate, nor are wanting.

There is not in national life any real epoch, because there is nothing in reality abrupt. Events, however great or sudden, are consequences of preparations long ago made.

To bring nations to surrender themselves to new ideas is not the affair of a day.

To taste of human flesh is less criminal in the eyes of God than to stifle human thought.

Truth reaches her full action by degrees, and not at once.