"... too much attention is paid to dress by those who have neither the excuse of ample means nor of social claims.... The injury done by this state of things to the morals and the manners of our lower classes is incalculable."
"Innocence is lovely in the child, because in harmony with its nature; but our path in life is not backward but onward, and virtuecan never be the offspring of mere innocence. If we are to progress in the knowledge of good, we must also progress in the knowledge of evil. Every experience of evil brings its own temptation and according to the degree in which the evil is recognized and the temptations resisted, will be the value of the character into which the individual will develop."
"Women born at the turn of the century have been conditioned not to speak openly of their wedding nights. Of other nights in bed with other men they speak not at all. Today a woman having bedded with a great general feels free to tell us that in bed the general could not present arms. Women of my generation would have spared the great general the revelation of this failure."
"The man possessed of a dollar, feels himself to be not merely one hundred cents richer, but also one hundred cents better, than the man who is penniless; so on through all the gradations of earthly possessions--the estimate of our own moral and political importance swelling always in a ratio exactly proportionate to the growth of our purse."
"Let us enquire. Who, then, shall challenge the words? Why are they challenged. And by whom? By those who call themselves the guardians of morality, and who are the constituted guardians of religion. Enquiry, it seems, suits not them. They have drawn the line, beyond which human reason shall not pass--above which human virtue shall not aspire! All that is without their faith or above their rule, is immorality, is atheism, is--I know not what."
"It is not a man's duty, as a matter of course, to devote himself to the eradication of any, even the most enormous, wrong; he maystill properly have other concerns to engage him; but it is his duty, at least, to wash his hands of it, and, if he gives it no thought longer, not to give it practically his support."
"Even voting for the right is doing nothing for it. It is only expressing feebly your desire that it should prevail. A wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority."
"If there were one who lived wholly without the use of money, the State itself would hesitate to demand it of him. But the rich man--not to make any invidious comparison--is always sold to the institution which makes him rich.... Thus his moral ground is taken from under his feet."
"As for your friend, my prospective reader, I hope he ignores Fort Sumter, and "Old Abe," and all that; for that is just the most fatal, and, indeed, the only fatal weapon you can direct against evil ever; for, as long as you know of it, you are particeps criminis. What business have you, if you are an "angel of light," to be pondering over the deeds of darkness, reading the New York Herald, and the like."
"In a thousand apparently humble ways men busy themselves to make some right take the place of some wrong,--if it is only to make abetter paste blacking,--and they are themselves so much the better morally for it."
"Do what you know you ought to do. Why should we ever go abroad, even across the way, to ask a neighbor's advice? There is a nearerneighbor within us incessantly telling us how we should behave. But we wait for the neighbor without to tell us of some false, easier way."