Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Daniel Webster

American Statesman, Orator, Senator from Massachusetts

"Accuracy and diligence are much more necessary to a lawyer than great comprehension of mind, or brilliancy of talent."

"A conscience void of offense, before God and man, is an inheritance for eternity."

"Educate your children of self-control, to the habit of holding passion and prejudice and evil tendencies subject to an upright and reasoning will, and you have done much to abolish misery from their future lives and crimes from society."

"Confidence is a thing not to be produced by compulsion. Men cannot be forced into trust."

"Employment gives health, sobriety, and morals. Constant employment and well-paid labor produce in a country like ours, general prosperity, content and cheerfulness."

"If we work upon marble, it will perish; if we work upon bronze, time will efface it; if we build temples, they will crumble into dust; but if we work upon immortal souls, if we imbue them with just principles of action, with fear of wrong and love of right, we engrave on those tables something which no time can obliterate, and which will brighten and brighten through all eternity."

"He that has a "spirit of detail" will do better in life than many who figured beyond him in the university. Such an one is minute and particular. He adjusts trifles; and these trifles compose most of the business and happiness of life. Great events happen seldom, and affect few; trifles happen every moment to everybody; and though one occurrence of them adds little to the happiness or misery of life, yet the sum total of their continual repetition is of the highest consequence."

"Falsehoods not only disagree with truths, but usually quarrel among themselves."

"Knowledge does not comprise all which is contained in the large term of education. The feelings are to be disciplined; the passions are to be restrained; true and worthy motives are to be inspired; a profound religious feeling is to be instilled, and pure morality inculcated under all circumstances. All this is comprised in education."

"There may be, and there often is, indeed, a regard for ancestry which nourishes only weak pride; as there is also a care for posterity, which only disguises an habitual avarice, or hides the workings of a low and groveling vanity. But there is also a moral and philosophical respect for our ancestors, which elevates the character and improves the heart."

"There is no evil that we cannot either face or fly from but the consciousness of duty disregarded. A sense of duty pursues us ever."

"We are too much inclined to underrate the power of moral influence, the influence of public opinion, and the influence of the principles to which great men - the lights of the world, and of the present age - have given their sanction."

"Employment gives health, sobriety, and morals. Constant employment and well-paid labor produce, in a country like ours, general prosperity, content, and cheerfulness. Thus happy have we seen the country."

"If we work upon marble, it will perish; if we work upon brass, time will efface it; if we rear temples they will crumble into dust; but if we work upon immortal minds, if we imbue them with principles with the just fear of God and love of our fellowmen, we engrave on those tablets something which will brighten to all eternity."

"Knowledge does not comprise all which is contained in the large term of education. The feelings are to be disciplined, the passions are to be restrained; true and worthy motives are to be inspired; a profound religious feeling is to be instilled, and pure morality inculcated under all circumstances. All this is comprised in education."

"Knowledge is the only fountain, both of the love and the principles of human liberty."

"Man is a special being, and if left to himself, in an isolated condition, would be one of the weakest creatures; but associated with his kind, he works wonders."

"One may live as a conqueror, a king, or a magistrate; but he must die as a man."

"If you divorce capital from labor, capital is hoarded, and labor starves."

"Integrity of life is fame’s best friend."

"Real goodness does not attach itself merely to this life - it points to another world. Political or professional reputation cannot last forever, but a conscience void of offense before God and man is an inheritance for eternity."

"The bed of death brings every human being to his pure individuality, to the intense contemplation of that deepest and most solemn of all relations - the relation between the creature and his Creator."

"The Bible is a book of faith, and a book of doctrine, and a book of morals, and a book of religion, of special revelation from God; but it is also a book which teaches man his own individual responsibility, his own dignity, and his equality with his fellow man."

"The criminal law is not founded on the principle of vengeance; it uses evil only as a means of preventing greater evil."

"The farmers are the founders of civilization and prosperity."

"The law is made to protect the innocent by punishing the guilty."

"The most important thought I ever had was that of my individual responsibility to God."

"The world is governed more by appearances than by realities, so that it is fully as necessary to seem to know something as to know it."

"There is always room at the top."

"Mind is the great lever of all things; human thought is the process by which human ends are ultimately answered."

"There is nothing so powerful as truth - and often nothing so strange."

"Truth is always congruous and agrees with itself; every truth in the universe agrees with all others."

"The world is governed more by appearance than realities so that it is fully as necessary to seem to know something as to know it."

"There's always room at the top."

"Mind is the greatest lever of all things."

"A sense of duty pursues us ever. It is omnipresent, like the Deity."