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Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.

NUMBER: 1540
AUTHOR: Henry David Thoreau (1817–62)
QUOTATION: Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. They are but improved means to an unimproved end,… We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate.
ATTRIBUTION: HENRY DAVID THOREAU, Walden, chapter 1, p. 67 (1966). Originally published in 1854.
SUBJECTS: Progress