Reference > Quotations > S. Austin Allibone, comp. > Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay
S. Austin Allibone, comp.  Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay.  1880.
  When you have a mind to divert your fancy, consider the various good qualities of your acquaintances. As the enterprising vigour of this man, the modesty of another, the honour and integrity of a third, the liberality of a fourth, the vivacity and cheerfulness of a fifth, and so on; for there’s nothing so entertaining as a lively image of the virtues and the advantages of those we converse with.
  I cannot name this gentleman [John Howard] without remarking that his labours and writings have done much to open the eyes and hearts of mankind. He has visited all Europe,—not to survey the sumptuousness of palaces or the stateliness of temples, not to make accurate measurements of the remains of ancient grandeur nor to form a scale of the curiosity of modern art, not to collect medals or collate manuscripts,—but to dive into the depths of dungeons, to plunge into the infection of hospitals, to survey the mansions of sorrow and pain, to take the gauge and dimensions of misery, depression, and contempt, to remember the forgotten, to attend to the neglected, to visit the forsaken, and to compare and collate the distresses of all men in all countries. His plan is original, and it is as full of genius as it is of humanity. It was a voyage of discovery—a circumnavigation of charity. Already the benefit of his labour is felt more or less in every country; I hope he will anticipate his final reward by seeing all its effects fully realized in his own. He will receive, not by retail, but in gross, the reward of those who visit the prisoner; and he has so forestalled and monopolized this branch of charity, that there will be, I trust, little room to merit by such acts of benevolence hereafter.
Edmund Burke: Speech at Bristol previous to the Election, 1780.    
  Gentlemen, I have had my day. I can never sufficiently express my gratitude to you for having set me in a place wherein I could lend the slightest help to great and laudable designs. If I have had my share in any measure giving quiet to private property and private conscience,—if by my vote I have aided in securing to families the best possession, peace,—if I have joined in reconciling kings to their subjects, and subjects to their prince,—if I have assisted to loosen the foreign holdings of the citizen, and taught him to look for his protection to the laws of his country, and for his comfort to the good will of his countrymen,—if I have thus taken my part with the best of men in the best of their actions. I can shut the book. I might wish to read a page or two more, but this is enough for my measure. I have not lived in vain.
Edmund Burke: Speech at Bristol previous to the Election, 1780.    
  This sympathetic revenge, which is condemned by clamorous imbecility, is so far from being a vice, that it is the greatest of all possible virtues,—a virtue which the uncorrupted judgment of mankind has in all ages exalted to the rank of heroism. To give up all the repose and pleasures of life, to pass sleepless nights and laborious days, and, what is ten times more irksome to an ingenuous mind, to offer one’s self to calumny and all its herd of hissing tongues and poisoned fangs, in order to free the world from fraudulent prevaricators, from cruel oppressors, from robbers and tyrants, has, I say, the test of heroic virtue, and well deserves such a distinction.
Edmund Burke: Impeachment of W. Hastings.    
  True humanity consists not in a squeamish ear; it consists not in starting or shrinking at tales of misery, but in a disposition of heart to relieve it. True humanity appertains rather to the mind than to the nerves, and prompts men to use real and active endeavours to execute the actions which it suggests.
Charles James Fox.    
  You might have traversed the Roman empire in the zenith of its power, from the Euphrates to the Atlantic, without meeting with a single charitable asylum for the sick. Monuments of pride, of ambition, of vindictive wrath, were to be found in abundance; but not one legible record of commiseration for the poor. It was reserved for the religion whose basis is humility, and whose element is devotion, to proclaim with authority, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”
Robert Hall: On the Art of Healing.    

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