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


He who reforms, God assists.


Reform, like charity, must begin at home.


Force is no remedy.

John Bright.

Each year one vicious habit rooted out, in time might make the worst man good.


Sin, that amends, is but patched with virtue.


  • The oyster-women lock’d their fish up,
  • And trudged away to cry, No Bishop.
  • Butler.

    Whatever you dislike in another person take care to correct in yourself.


    Many hope that the tree will be felled who hope to gather chips by the fall.


  • My desolation does begin to make
  • A better life.
  • Shakespeare.

  • All zeal for a reform, that gives offence
  • To peace and charity, is mere pretence.
  • Cowper.

  • But ’tis the talent of our English nation,
  • Still to be plotting some new reformation.
  • Dryden.

    Bad men excuse their faults; good men will leave them.

    Ben Jonson.

    Long is the way and hard, that out of hell leads up to light.


    The best reformers the world has ever seen are those who have commenced on themselves.

    H. W. Shaw.

    Necessity reforms the poor, and satiety reforms the rich.


    He who reforms himself has done more toward reforming the public than a crowd of noisy, impotent patriots.


    It is easier to enrich ourselves with a thousand virtues than to correct ourselves of a single fault.

    La Bruyère.

    Public reformers had need first practice on their own hearts that which they purpose to try on others.

    Charles I.

    I’ll have no more beggars. Fools shall have wealth, and the learned shall live by his wits. I’ll have no more bankrupts.

    Geo. Chapman.

    Time yet serves, wherein you may redeem your tarnished honors, and restore yourselves into the good thoughts of the world again.


    Attempts at reform, when they fail, strengthen despotism; as he that struggles, tightens those cords he does not succeed in breaking.


    Reform is a work of time; a national taste, however wrong it may be, cannot be totally changed at once.

    Sir J. Reynolds.

    Conscious remorse and anguish must be felt, to curb desire, to break the stubborn will, and work a second nature in the soul.


    It is my great desire to reform my subjects, and yet I am ashamed to confess that I am unable to reform myself.

    Peter the Great.

    They say, best men are moulded out of faults, and, for the most, become much more the better for being a little bad!


    In regard of our deliverance past, and our danger present and to come, let us look up to God, and every man reform his own ways.


    Men and nations can only be reformed in their youth; they become incorrigible as they grow old.


    Like bright metal on a sullen ground, my reformation, glittering over my fault, shall show more goodly and attract more eyes than that which hath no foil to set it off.


    Charles Fox said that restorations were the most bloody of all revolutions; and he might have added that reformations are the best mode of preventing the necessity of either.


    What lasting progress was ever made in social reformation, except when every step was insured by appeals to the understanding and the will?

    Wm. Matthews.

    The discontent with the existing order of things pervaded the atmosphere, wherever the conditions were favorable, long before Columbus, seeding the back door of Asia, found himself knocking at the front door of America.


    We are reformers in spring and summer; in autumn and winter we stand by the old,—reformers in the morning, conservatives at night. Reform is affirmative, conservatism is negative; conservatism goes for comfort, reform for truth.


    He that has energy enough in his constitution to root out a vice should go a little further, and try to plant a virtue in its place; otherwise he will have his labor to renew. A strong soil that has produced weeds may be made to produce wheat with far less difficulty than it would cost to make it produce nothing.


    Reform, like charity, must begin at home. Once well at home, how will it radiate outwards, irrepressible, into all that we touch and handle, speak and work,—kindling ever new light by incalculable contagion; spreading, in geometric ratio, far and wide; doing good only, wherever it spreads, and not evil.


  • He bought a Bible of the new translation,
  • And in his life he show’d great reformation;
  • He walk’d mannerly and talk’d meekly;
  • He heard three lectures and two sermons weekly;
  • He vow’d to shun all companions unruly,
  • And in his speech he used no oath but “truly;”
  • And zealously to keep the Sabbath’s rest.
  • Sir John Harrington.

    Reform is a good replete with paradox; it is a cathartic which our political quacks, like our medical, recommend to others, but will not take themselves; it is admired by all who cannot effect it, and abused by all who can; it is thought pregnant with danger, for all time that is present, but would have been extremely profitable for that which is past, and will be highly salutary for that which is to come.