"Once or twice, however, while I lived at the pond, I found myself ranging the woods, like a half-starved hound, with a strange abandonment, seeking some kind of venison which I might devour, and no morsel could have been too savage for me. The wildest scenes had become unaccountably familiar. I found in myself, and still find, an instinct toward a higher, or, as it is named, spiritual life, as do most men, and another toward a primitive rank and savage one, and I reverence them both. I love the wild not less than the good."
"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."