John Jay Chapman

John Jay

American Lawyer, Author, Essayist, Critic

Author Quotes

It is just as impossible to help reform by conciliating prejudice as it is by buying votes. Prejudice is the enemy. Whoever is not for you is against you.

You can get assent to almost any proposition so long as you are not going to do anything about it.

It is three and a half hours long, four characters wide and a cesspool deep.

Nothing is more injurious to the character and to the intellect than the suppression of generous emotion.

One need not mind stealing, but one must cry out at people whose minds are so befuddled that they do not know theft when they see it.

Our goodness comes solely from thinking on goodness; our wickedness from thinking on wickedness. We too are the victims of our own contemplation.

A magazine or a newspaper is a shop. Each is an experiment and represents a new focus, a new ratio between commerce and intellect.

People get so in the habit of worry that if you save them from drowning and put them on a bank to dry in the sun with hot chocolate and muffins they wonder whether they are catching cold.

A political organization is a transferable commodity. You could not find a better way of killing virtue than by packing it into one of these contraptions which some gang of thieves is sure to find useful.

People who love soft methods and hate iniquity forget this, -- that reform consists in taking a bone from a dog. Philosophy will not do it.

A vision of truth which does not call upon us to get out of our armchair - why, this is the desideratum of mankind.

The fact that a man is to vote forces him to think. You may preach to a congregation by the year and not affect its thought because it is not called upon for definite action. But throw your subject into a campaign and it becomes a challenge.

All language is personal; we cannot hand our faith to one another. This has always been true. Even in the Middle Ages when faith was theoretically uniform it was always practically individual.

The present in New York is so powerful that the past is lost.

As for boredom ... I notice that it leaves me as soon as I am doing something that has got to be done.

The reason for the slow progress of the world seems to lie in a single fact. Every man is born under the yoke, and grows up beneath the oppressions of his age.

Benevolence alone will not make a teacher, nor will learning alone do it. The gift of teaching is a peculiar talent, and implies a need and a craving in the teacher himself.

There are lots of people who cannot think seriously without injuring their minds.

Every generation is a secret society and has incommunicable enthusiasms, tastes, and interests which are a mystery both to its predecessors and to posterity.

Too much agreement kills the chat.

Everybody in America is soft, and hates conflict. The cure for this, both in politics and social life, is the same - hardihood. Give them raw truth.

Virtue is not malicious.

He that is one man's slave is free from none.

We cannot hand our faith to one another... Even in the Middle Ages, when faith was theoretically uniform, it was always practically individual.

I want to find someone on the earth so intelligent that he welcomes opinions which he condemns.

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John Jay
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American Lawyer, Author, Essayist, Critic