George Bancroft

George
Bancroft
1800
1891

American Historian and Statesman, U.S. Secretary of the Navy, Prominent in promoting Secondary Education

Author Quotes

Dishonesty is so grasping it would deceive God himself, were it possible.

The glory of God is not contingent on man's good will, but all existence subserves his purposes. The system of the universe is as a celestial poem, whose beauty is from all eternity, and must not be marred by human interpolations. Things proceed as they were ordered, in their nice, and well-adjusted, and perfect harmony; so that as the hand of the skillful artist gathers music from the harp-strings, history calls it forth from the well-tuned chords of time. Not that this harmony can be heard during the tumult of action. Philosophy comes after events, and gives the reason of them, and describes the nature of their results. The great mind of collective man may, one day, so improve in self-consciousness as to interpret the present and foretell the future; but as yet, the end of what is now happening, though we ourselves partake in it, seems to fall out by chance. All is nevertheless one whole; individuals, families, peoples, the race, march in accord with the Divine will; and when any part of the destiny of humanity is fulfilled, we see the ways of Providence vindicated. The antagonisms of imperfect matter and the perfect idea, of liberty and necessary law, become reconciled. What seemed irrational confusion, appears as the web woven by light, liberty and love.But this is not perceived till a great act in the drama of life is finished. The prayer of the patriarch, when he desired to behold the Divinity face to face, was denied; but he was able to catch a glimpse of Jehovah, after He had passed by; and so it fares with our search for Him in the wrestlings of the world. It is when the hour of conflict is over, that history comes to a right understanding of the strife, and is ready to exclaim: "Lo! God is here, and we knew it not."

Truth is not exciting enough to those who depend on the characters and lives of their neighbors for all their amusement.

Where the people possess no authority, their rights obtain no respect.

The exact measure of the progress of civilization is the degree in which the intelligence of the common mind has prevailed over wealth and brute force.

If reason is a universal faculty, the decision of the common mind is the nearest criterion of truth.

Avarice is the vice of declining years.

Beauty is but the sensible image of the Infinite. Like truth and justice it lives within us; like virtue and the moral law it is a companion of the soul.

Ennui is the desire of activity without the fit means of gratifying the desire.

Sedition is bred in the lap of luxury and its chosen emissaries are the beggared spendthrift and the impoverished libertine.

So grasping is dishonesty, that it is no respecter of persons; it will cheat friends as well as foes; and were it possible, would cheat even God Himself.

The best government rests on the people, and not on the few, on persons and not on property, on the free development of public opinion and not on authority.

Beauty, like truth and justice, lives within us; like virtue, and like moral law, it is a companion of the soul.

Conscience is the mirror of our souls, which represents the errors of our lives in their full shape.

Falsehood and death are synonymous.

The prejudices of ignorance are more easily removed than the prejudices of interest; the first are all blindly adopted, the second willfully preferred.

Author Picture
First Name
George
Last Name
Bancroft
Birth Date
1800
Death Date
1891
Bio

American Historian and Statesman, U.S. Secretary of the Navy, Prominent in promoting Secondary Education