"I learn immediately from any speaker how much he has already lived, through the poverty or the splendor of his speech. Life lies behind us as the quarry from whence we get tiles and copestones for the masonry of today. This is the way to learn grammar. Colleges and books only copy the language which the field and the work-yard made."
"The spirit only can teach. Not any profane man, not any sensual, not any liar, not any slave can teach, but only he can give, whohas; he only can create, who is. The man on whom the soul descends, through whom the soul speaks, alone can teach. Courage, piety, love, wisdom, can teach; and every man can open his door to these angels, and they shall bring him the gift of tongues. But the man who aims to speak as books enable, as synods use, as the fashion guides, and as interest commands, babbles. Let him hush."
"I look on trade and every mechanical craft as education also. But let me discriminate what is precious herein. There is in each ofthese works an act of invention, an intellectual step, or short series of steps taken; that act or step is the spiritual act; all the rest is mere repetition of the same a thousand times."
"It is contended that those who have been bred at Eton, Harrow, Rugby, and Westminster, that the public sentiment within each of those schools is high-toned and manly; that, in their playgrounds, courage is universally admired, meanness despised, manly feelings and generous conduct are encouraged: that an unwritten code of honor deals to the spoiled child of rank, and to the child of upstart wealth an even-handed justice, purges their nonsense out of both, and does all that can be done to make them gentlemen."
"Man is endogenous, and education is his unfolding. The aid we have from others is mechanical, compared with the discoveries of nature in us. What is thus learned is delightful in the doing, and the effect remains."
"[T]he most artful method [of courtship] would be this, to tell her that what she doth not possess is useless and contemptible, that weakness and imperfection is the perfection of a woman, that I am stark mad in love with ignorance; and thus shall I allure her by calling her [a] fool."
"I loved reading, and had a great desire of attaining knowledge; but whenever I asked questions of any kind whatsoever, I was always told, "such things were not proper for girls of my age to know."... For "Miss must not enquire too far into things, it would turn her brain; she had better mind her needlework, and such things as were useful for women; reading and poring on books would never get me a husband."
"But this fully answered John's purpose toward Betty, for as she did not understand, she highly admired him; and he concluded by again repeating that learning was a fine thing for a man but 'twas both useless and blameworthy for a woman either to write or read."
"Miss C_____ is ... remarkably neat in her person and is uncommonly diligent in every part of useful economy.... She hath indeed under her father's tuition acquired ... a large share of real learning of almost all the living and dead languages. Nor was the leisure which she found for such acquirements produced by neglecting anything necessary or useful for the family, but by the most assiduous industry."
"Little miss is taught by her mamma that she must never speak before she is spoken to. On this she sits bridling up her head, looking from one to the other, in hopes of being called to and addressed by the name of pretty miss.... But if this should not happen and no one should take any notice of her, she is ready to cry at the neglect. But should there be another miss in the room caressed and taken notice of whilst she is thus overlooked, it will be impossible for her to contain her tears, and blubbering is the word."
"Miss C_____'s father," says Betty, "had much better have bred his daughter a housewife, and then, mayhap, she might have got hera husband, which with all her fine learning she has not yet been able to do. And no wonder, for what man would be plagued with a slattern?"
"The female part of the Cry (who had many of them often experienced a joyful self- approbation on being told by their admirers thatall their perfection lay in folly and that to prove their wisdom they must shun, as poison, every offered instruction for fear of becoming disagreeable to their lovers) now felt rolling in their bosoms the highest anger and disdain. Not against their adorers for so preposterous a method of flattery, much less against themselves for receiving and being pleased with such absurd adulation: but all their indignation was pointed against Portia for daring to bring into open light the true meaning of such paradoxical stuff."
"I know not whether it would be too bold an assertion to say that candor makes capacity.... But in order to try the truth of any observation relating to the mind, the easiest method is to illustrate it by outward objects. If, for instance, a man was to sweat and labor all the days of his life to fill a chest which was already full, the absurdity of his vain endeavor would be glaring. In the same manner, when the human mind is filled and stuffed with notions brought thither by fallacious inclinations, there is no room for truth to enter: candor being banished, passions alone bear the sway."
"The hardiest skeptic who has seen a horse broken, a pointer trained, or has visited a menagerie or the exhibition of the Industrious Fleas, will not deny the validity of education. "A boy," says Plato, "is the most vicious of all beasts;" and in the same spirit the old English poet Gascoigne says, "A boy is better unborn than untaught."
"We shall one day learn to supersede politics by education. What we call our root-and-branch reforms of slavery, war, gambling, intemperance, is only medicating the symptoms. We must begin higher up, namely, in Education."
"The great object of Education should be commensurate with the object of life. It should be a moral one; to teach self-trust: to inspire the youthful man with an interest in himself; with a curiosity touching his own nature; to acquaint him with the resources of his mind, and to teach him that there is all his strength, and to inflame him with a piety towards the Grand Mind in which he lives. Thus would education conspire with the Divine Providence."