Henry Adams, aka Henry Brooks Adams

Henry
Adams, aka Henry Brooks Adams
1838
1918

American Journalist, Historian, Academic and Novelist

Author Quotes

I think fish is nice, but then I think that rain is wet, so who am I to judge?

It is a rare mind indeed that can render the hitherto non-existent blindingly obvious. The cry 'I could have thought of that' is a very popular and misleading one, for the fact is that they didn't, and a very significant and revealing fact it is too.

One friend in a life is much, two are many, three are hardly possible.

That the American, by temperament, worked to excess, was true; work and whiskey were his stimulants; work was a form of vice; but he never cared much for money or power after he earned them.

All taxation is an evil, but heavy taxes, indiscriminately levied on every everything are one of the greatest curses that can afflict a people

Double standards are inspiration to men of letters, but they are apt to be fatal to politicians.

Had Grant been a Congressman one would have been on one?s guard, for one knew the type. One never expected from a Congressman more than good intentions and public spirit. Newspaper-men as a rule had no great respect for the lower House; Senators had less; and Cabinet officers had none at all. Indeed, one day when Adams was pleading with a Cabinet officer for patience and tact in dealing with Representatives, the Secretary impatiently broke out: ?You can?t use tact with a Congressman! A Congressman is a hog! You must take a stick and hit him on the snout!?

I want to be advertised and the easiest way is to do something obnoxious and do it well.

It is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it... anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.

One friend in a lifetime is much, two are many, three are hardly possible. Friendship needs a certain parallelism of life, a community of thought, a rivalry of aim.

The American President resembles the commander of a ship at sea. He must have a helm to grasp, a course to steer, a port to seek.

Although the Senate is much given to admiring in its members a superiority less obvious or quite invisible to outsiders, one Senator seldom proclaims his own inferiority to another, and still more seldom likes to be told of it.

Even in America, the Indian summer of life should be a little sunny and a little sad, like the season, and infinite in wealth and depth of tone - but never hustled.

He had often noticed that six months' oblivion amounts to newspaper-death, and that resurrection is rare. Nothing is easier, if a man wants it, than rest, profound as the grave.

I would rather starve and rot and keep the privilege of speaking the truth as I see it, than of holding all the offices that capital has to give from the presidency down.

It is impossible to underrate human intelligence - beginning with one's own.

One had heard and read a great deal about death, and even seen a little of it, and knew by heart the thousand commonplaces of religion and poetry which seemed to deaden one's senses and veil the horror. Society being immortal, could put on immortality at will. Adams being mortal, felt only the mortality. Death took features altogether new to him, in these rich and sensuous surroundings. Nature enjoyed it, played with it, the horror added to her charm, she liked the torture, and smothered her victim with caresses. Never had one seen her so winning. The hot Italian summer brooded outside, over the market-place and the picturesque peasants, and, in the singular color of the Tuscan atmosphere, the hills and vineyards of the Apennines seemed bursting with mid-summer blood. The sick-room itself glowed with the Italian joy of life; friends filled it; no harsh northern lights pierced the soft shadows; even the dying women shared the sense of the Italian summer, the soft, velvet air, the humor, the courage, the sensual fullness of Nature and man. She faced death, as women mostly do, bravely and even gaily, racked slowly to unconsciousness, but yielding only to violence, as a soldier sabred in battle. For many thousands of years, on these hills and plains, Nature had gone on sabring men and women with the same air of sensual pleasure.

The difference is slight, to the influence of an author, whether he is read by five hundred readers, or by five hundred thousand; if he can select the five hundred, he reaches the five hundred thousand.

Young men have a passion for regarding their elders as senile.

The work of internal government has become the task of controlling the thousands of fifth-rate men

The mind resorts to reason for want of training.

The chief wonder of education is that it does not ruin everybody concerned with it, teachers and students.

Seneca closed the vast circle of his knowledge by learning that a friend in power was a friend lost.

Religious minds prefer skepticism. The true saint is a profound skeptic; a total disbeliever in human reason, who has more than once joined hands on this ground with someone who were at best sinners.

For after all, man knows mighty little, and may some day learn enough of his own ignorance to fall down again and pray.

Author Picture
First Name
Henry
Last Name
Adams, aka Henry Brooks Adams
Birth Date
1838
Death Date
1918
Bio

American Journalist, Historian, Academic and Novelist