"Conscious virtue is the only solid foundation of all happiness; for riches, power, rank, or whatever, in the common acceptation of the word, is supposed to constitute happiness, will never quiet, much less cure, the inward pangs of guilt."
"The New Year is the season in which custom seems more particularly to authorize civil and harmless lies, under the name of compliments. People reciprocally profess wishes which they seldom form and concern which they seldom feel."
"This is the day when people reciprocally offer, and receive, the kindest and the warmest wishes, though, in general, without meaning them on one side, or believing them on the other. They are formed by the head, in compliance with custom, though disavowed by the heart, in consequence of nature."
"In the course of the world, a man must very often put on an easy, frank countenance, upon very disagreeable occasions; he must seem pleased, when he is very much otherwise; he must be able to accost and receive with smiles, those whom he would much rather meet with swords."
"Patience is a most necessary qualification for business; many a man would rather you heard his story than granted his request. One must seem to hear the unreasonable demands of the petulant, unmoved, and the tedious details of the dull, untired. That is the least price that a man must pay for a high station."
"His breast was the seat of all those passions which degrade our nature, and disturb our reason. There they raged in a perpetual conflict; but avarice, the meanest of them all, generally triumphed, ruled absolutely, and in many instances, which I forbear to mention, most scandalously."
"We must not suppose that, because a man is a rational animal, he will, therefore, always act rationally; or, because he has such or such a predominant passion, that he will act invariably and consequentially in pursuit of it. No, we are complicated machines; and though we have one main spring that gives motion to the whole, we have an infinity of little wheels, which, in their turns, retard, precipitate, and sometime stop that motion."
"Spirit is now a very fashionable word: to act with Spirit, to speak with Spirit, means only to act rashly, and to talk indiscreetly. An able man shows his Spirit by gentle words and resolute actions; he is neither hot nor timid."
"Religion is by no means a proper subject of conversation in mixed company; it should only be treated among a very few people of learning, for mutual instruction. It is too awful and respectable a subject to become a familiar one."
"Civility, which is a disposition to accommodate and oblige others, is essentially the same in every country; but good breeding, as it is called, which is the manner of exerting that disposition, is different in almost every country, and merely local; and every man of sense imitates and conforms to that local good breeding of the place which he is at."
"I am grown old, and have possibly lost a great deal of that fire, which formerly made me love fire in others at any rate, and however attended with smoke: but now I must have all sense, and cannot, for the sake of five righteous lines, forgive a thousand absurd ones."
"What will you say, when I tell you truly, that I cannot possibly read our countryman Milton through. I acknowledge him to have most sublime passages, some prodigious flashes of light; but then you must acknowledge that light is often followed by darkness visible, to use his own expression."