Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.

James Boswell

Scottish Lawyer, Man of Letters, Biographer of Samuel Johnson

"A gentleman who had been very unhappy I marriage, married immediately after his wife died: Johnson said, it was the triumph of hope over experience."

"All censure of a man’s self is oblique praise."

"Courage is a quality so necessay for maintaining virtue, that it is always respected, even when it is associated with vice."

"Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth, and every other man has a right to knock him down for it."

"Happiness consists in the multiplicity of agreeable consciousness. A peasant has not capacity for having equal happiness with a philosopher."

"I have discovered that we may be in some degree whatever character we choose. Besides, practice forms a man to anything."

"It is a conscience very ill informed that violates the rights of one man, for the convenience of another."

"Pity is not natural to man. Children are always cruel. Savages are always cruel. Pity is acquired and improved by the cultivation of reason."

"There is no passion so distressing as fear, which gives us great pain and makes us appear contemptible in our own eyes to the last degree. Fear is in almost all cases a wretched instrument of government, and ought in particular never to be employed against any order of men who have the smallest pretensions to independency."

"True great genius is always accompanied with good sense."

"A rank soil, nay, a dunghill, will produce beautiful flowers."

"All theory is against the freedom of the will; all experience for it."

"There is nothing worth the wear of winning, but laughter and the love of friends. "