Reference > Quotations > C.N. Douglas, comp. > Forty Thousand Quotations > Primary Author Index
C.N. Douglas, comp.  Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical.  1917.
Thomas Paine
  A republic properly understood is a sovereignty of justice, in contradistinction to a sovereignty of will.  1
  A thing moderately good is not so good as it ought to be. Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice.  2
  A world of little cares is continually arising, which busy or affluent life knows nothing of, to open the first door to distress. Hunger is not among the postponable wants; and a day, even a few hours, in such a condition is often the crisis of a life of ruin.  3
  Action and care will in time wear down the strongest frame; but guilt and melancholy are poisons of quick despatch.  4
  All the religions known in the world are founded, so far as they relate to man or the unity of man, as being all of one degree. Whether in heaven or in hell, or in whatever state man may be supposed to exist hereafter, the good and the bad are the only distinctions.  5
  Calumny is a vice of curious constitution; trying to kill it keeps it alive; leave it to itself and it will die a natural death.  6
  Civilization, or that which is so called, has operated two ways to make one part of society more affluent and the other part more wretched than would have been the lot of either in a natural state.  7
  Commerce is no other than the traffic of two individuals, multiplied on a scale of number; and, by the same rule that Nature intended the intercourse of two, she intended that of all!  8
  Death is not the monarch of the dead, but of the dying. The moment he obtains a conquest, he loses a subject.  9
  Every religion is good that teaches man to be good.  10
  Evils, like poisons, have their uses, and there are diseases which no other remedy can reach.  11
  Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence.  12
  How impious is the title of sacred majesty applied to a worm, who, in the midst of his splendor, is crumbling into dust.  13
  Human nature is not of itself vicious.  14
  I believe that a man may write himself out of reputation when nobody else can do it.  15
  It is from our enemies that we often gain excellent maxims, and are frequently surprised into reason by their mistakes.  16
  It is not the nature of avarice to be satisfied with anything but money. Every passion that acts upon mankind has a peculiar mode of operation. Many of them are temporary and fluctuating; they admit of cessation and variety. But avarice is a fixed, uniform passion.  17
  Mutual fear is a principal link in the chain of mutual love.  18
  Mystery is the antagonist of truth. It is a fog of human invention, that obscures truth, and represents it in distortion.  19
  One of the strongest natural proofs of the folly of hereditary right in kings is, that Nature disapproves it; otherwise she would not so frequently turn it into ridicule by giving mankind an ass in place of a lion.  20
  Prejudice, like the spider, makes everywhere its home. It has neither taste nor choice of place, and all that it requires is room. If the one prepares her food by poisoning it to her palate and her use, the other does the same. Prejudice may be denominated the spider of the mind.  21
  Public credit is suspicion asleep.  22
  Reputation is what men and women think of us; character is what God and angels know of us.  23
  Suspicion and persecution are weeds of the same dunghill, and flourish best together.  24
  Tears may soothe the wounds they cannot heal.  25
  That in which every man is interested, is every man’s duty to support; and any burden which falls equally on all men, and from which every man is to receive an equal benefit, is consistent with the most perfect ideas of liberty.  26
  The animals to whom nature has given the faculty we call cunning know always when to use it, and use it wisely; but when man descends to cunning he blunders and betrays.  27
  The duty of man is not a wilderness of turnpike gates, through which he is to pass by tickets from one to the other. It is plain and simple, and consists but of two points—his duty to God, which every man must feel; and, with respect to his neighbor, to do as he would be done by.  28
  The more acquisitions the government makes abroad, the more taxes the people have to pay at home.  29
  The nearer any disease approaches to a crisis, the nearer it is to a cure. Danger and deliverance make their advances together; and it is only in the last push that one or the other takes the lead.  30
  The sublime and the ridiculous are often so nearly related that it is difficult to class them separately. One step above the sublime makes the ridiculous, and one step above the ridiculous makes the sublime again.  31
  There is a natural firmness in some minds, which cannot be unlocked by trifles, but which, when unlocked, discovers a cabinet of fortitude.  32
  There is something in corruption which, like a jaundiced eye, transfers the color of itself to the object it looks upon, and sees everything stained and impure.  33
  There is something in meanness which excites a species of resentment that never subsides, and something in cruelty which stirs up the heart to the highest agony of human hatred.  34
  These are the times that try men’s souls.  35
  Time makes more converts than reason.  36
  Titles do not count with posterity.  37
  Virtue is not hereditary.  38
  We feel something like respect for consistency even in error. We lament the virtue that is debauched into a vice; but the vice that affects a virtue becomes the more detestable.  39
  Whatever has a tendency to promote the civil intercourse of nations by an exchange of benefits is a subject as worthy of philosophy as of politics.  40
  When all other rights are taken away, the right of rebellion is made perfect.  41
  When the tongue or the pen is let loose in a frenzy of passion, it is the man, and not the subject, that becomes exhausted.  42
  Wrong cannot have a legal descendant.  43

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