"That excitement about Kossuth, consider how characteristic, but superficial, it was!--only another kind of politics or dancing. Men were making speeches to him all over the country, but each expressed only the thought, or the want of thought, of the multitude. No man stood on truth. They were merely banded together, as usual one leaning on another, and all together on nothing."
"I hardly know an intellectual man, even, who is so broad and truly liberal that you can think aloud in his society. Most with whomyou endeavor to talk soon come to a stand against some institution in which they appear to hold stock,--that is, some particular, not universal, way of viewing things. They will continually thrust their own low roof, with its narrow skylight, between you and the sky, when it is the unobstructed heavens you would view."
"In our science and philosophy, even, there is commonly no true and absolute account of things. The spirit of sect and bigotry hasplanted its hoof amid the stars. You have only to discuss the problem, whether the stars are inhabited or not, in order to discover it."
"In short, as a snow-drift is formed where there is a lull in the wind, so, one would say, where there is a lull of truth, an institution springs up. But the truth blows right on over it, nevertheless, and at length blows it down."
"Let us not underrate the value of a fact; it will one day flower in a truth. It is astonishing how few facts of importance are added in a century to the natural history of any animal. The natural history of man himself is still being gradually written."
"Whoever can discern truth has received his commission from a higher source than the chiefest justice in the world who can discernonly law. He finds himself constituted judge of the judge. Strange that it should be necessary to state such simple truths!"
"Knowledge, like matter, [my father] would affirm, was divisible in infinitum;Mthat the grains and scruples were as much a part ofit, as the gravitation of the whole world.--In a word, he would say, error was error,--no matter where it fell,--whether in a fraction,--or a pound,--'twas alike fatal to truth."
"So often has my judgment deceived me in my life, that I always suspect it, right or wrong,--at least I am seldom hot upon cold subjects. For all this, I reverence truth as much as any body; and ... if a man will but take me by the hand, and go quietly and search for it ... I'll go to the world's end with him:MBut I hate disputes."
"As for the herd of newspapers and magazines, I do not chance to know an editor in the country who will deliberately print anythingwhich he knows will ultimately and permanently reduce the number of his subscribers. They do not believe that it would be expedient. How then can they print truth?"
"Truth is his inspirer, and earnestness the polisher of his sentences. He could afford to lose his Sharp's rifles, while he retained his faculty of speech,--a Sharp's rifle of infinitely surer and longer range."
"He was a superior man. He did not value his bodily life in comparison with ideal things. He did not recognize unjust human laws, but resisted them as he was bid. For once we are lifted out of the trivialness and dust of politics into the region of truth and manhood."
"If there is nothing new on the earth, still the traveler always has a resource in the skies. They are constantly turning a new page to view. The wind sets the types on this blue ground, and the inquiring may always read a new truth there."