C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.


One crime is everything; two nothing.

Madame Deluzy.

Responsibility prevents crimes.


Crimes generally punish themselves.

Oliver Goldsmith.

For all guilt is avenged on earth.


Fear follows crime, and is its punishment.


Every crime destroys more Edens than our own.


Those who are themselves incapable of great crimes are ever backward to suspect others.

La Rochefoucauld.

Purposelessness is the fruitful mother of crime.

Charles H. Parkhurst.

No crime has been without a precedent.


Well does Heaven have care that no man secures happiness by crime.


Most people fancy themselves innocent of those crimes of which they cannot be convicted.


  • How oft the sight of means to do ill deeds
  • Makes ill deeds done.
  • Shakespeare.

    He who does not prevent a crime when he can, encourages it.


    One crime is concealed by the commission of another.


    Society prepares the crime; the criminal commits it.


    Crime succeeds by sudden despatch; honest counsels gain vigor by delay.


  • For he that but conceives a crime in thought,
  • Contracts the danger of an actual fault.
  • Creech.

    If poverty is the mother of crimes, want of sense is the father.

    La Bruyère.

    He who overlooks one crime invites the commission of another.


    Whoever commits a crime strengthens his enemy.

    Daniel O’Connell.

    Crimes sometimes shock us too much; vices almost always too little.


    Those magistrates who can prevent crime, and do not, in effect encourage it.


    Most crimes are sanctioned in some form or other when they take grand names.


    A man who has no excuse for crime is indeed defenseless!


    Every crime will bring remorse to the man who committed it.


    For whoever meditates a crime is guilty of the deed.


    To be at peace in crime! ah, who can thus flatter himself?


    You are not to do evil that good may come of it.

    Law Maxim.

    Many commit the same crimes with a very different result. One bears a cross for his crime; another a crown.


    Crimes lead one into another; they who are capable of being forgers are capable of being incendiaries.


    No matter how you seem to fatten on a crime, that can never be good for the bee which is bad for the hive.


    There are crimes which become innocent, and even glorious through their splendor, number and excess.

    La Rochefoucauld.

  • Between the acting of a dreadful thing
  • And the first motion, all the interim is
  • Like a phantasma, or a hideous dream.
  • Shakespeare.

  • But many a crime deemed innocent on earth
  • Is registered in heaven; and these no doubt
  • Have each their record, with a curse annex’d.
  • Cowper.

  • Foul deeds will rise,
  • Though all the earth o’erwhelm them, to men’s eyes.
  • Shakespeare.

    The perfection of a thing consists in its essence; there are perfect criminals, as there are men of perfect probity.

    La Roche.

  • Man’s crimes are his worst enemies, following,
  • Like shadows, till they drive his steps into
  • The pit he dug.
  • Creon.

    Where have you ever found that man who stopped short after the perpetration of a single crime?


    For the credit of virtue we must admit that the greatest misfortunes of men are those into which they fall through their crimes.

    La Rochefoucauld.

    It is supposable that, in the eyes of angels, a struggle down a dark lane and a battle of Leipsic differ in nothing but excess of wickedness.


    We want a state of things in which crime will not pay, a state of things which allows every man the largest liberty compatible with the liberty of every other man.


  • ’Tis no sin love’s fruits to steal;
  • But the sweet thefts to reveal;
  • To be taken, to be seen,
  • These have crimes accounted been.
  • Ben Jonson.

  • Every crime
  • Has, in the moment of its perpetration,
  • Its own avenging angel dark misgiving,
  • An ominous sinking at the inmost heart.
  • Coleridge.

    The contagion of crime is like that of the plague. Criminals collected together corrupt each other; they are worse than ever when at the termination of their punishment they re-enter society.


    There is no den in the wide world to hide a rogue. Commit a crime, and the earth is made of glass. Commit a crime, and it seems as if a coat of snow fell on the ground, such as reveals in the woods the track of every partridge and fox, and squirrel and mole.


    We are easily shocked by crimes which appear at once in their full magnitude; but the gradual growth of our wickedness, endeared by interest and palliated by all the artifices of self-deceit, gives us time to form distinctions in our favor.

    Dr. Johnson.

    Small crimes always precede great crimes. Whoever has been able to transgress the limits set by law may afterwards violate the most sacred rights; crime, like virtue, has its degrees, and never have we seen timid innocence pass suddenly to extreme licentiousness.


    Of all the adult male criminals in London, not two in a hundred have entered upon a course of crime who have lived an honest life up to the age of twenty; almost all who enter upon a course of crime do so between the ages of eight and sixteen.

    Earl of Shaftesbury.

  • If little faults, proceeding on distemper,
  • Shall not be wink’d at, how shall we stretch our eye
  • When capital crimes, chew’d, swallow’d, and digested,
  • Appear before us?
  • Shakespeare.

  • Oh how will crime engender crime! throw guilt
  • Upon the soul, and like a stone cast on
  • The troubled waters of a lake,
  • ’Twill form in circles round succeeding round,
  • Each wider than the first.
  • Colman the Younger.