Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Acquaintance

"Moderation, which consists in an indifference about little things, and in a prudent and well-proportioned zeal about things of importance, can proceed from nothing but true knowledge, which has its foundation in self-acquaintance." - William Pitt, Lord Chatham or Lord William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, aka The Elder Pitt and The Great Commander

"Vanity is a strong temptation to lying; it makes people magnify their merit, over flourish their family, and tell strange stories of their interest and acquaintance." - Jeremy Collier

"Population, when unchecked, increases in a geometrical ratio. Subsistence increases only in an arithmetical ratio. A slight acquaintance with numbers will show the immensity of the first power in comparison to the second. By that law of our nature which makes food necessary to the life of man, the effects of these two unequal powers must be kept equal. This implies a strong and constantly operating check on population from the difficulty of subsistence. This difficulty must fall somewhere and must necessarily be severely felt by a large portion of mankind." - Thomas Malthus, fully Thomas Robert Malthus

"A sincere acquaintance with ourselves teaches us humility; and from humility springs that benevolence which compassionates the transgressors we condemn, and prevents the punishments we inflict from themselves partaking of crime, in being rather the wreaking of revenge than the chastisements of virtue." - Jane Porter

"With the gain of knowledge, connect the habit of imparting it. This increases mental wealth by putting it in circulation; and it enhances the value of our knowledge to ourselves, not only in its depth, confirmation and readiness for use, but in that acquaintance with human nature, that self-command, and that reaction of moral training upon ourselves, which are above all price." - Lydia Sigourney, fully Lydia Huntley Sigourney, née Lydia Howard Huntley

"Vanity is a strong temptation to lying; it makes people magnify their merit, over-flourish their family, and tell strange stories of their interest and acquaintance." - Jeremy Collier

"Hope is a pleasant acquaintance, but an unsafe friend. Hope is not the man for your banker, though he may do for a traveling companion." - Thomas Haliburton, fully Thomas Chandler Haliburton, pseudonym "Sam Slick"

"Education: To be at home in all lands and ages; to count Nature as a familiar acquaintance and Art an intimate friend; to gain a standard for the appreciation of other men's work and the criticism of one's own; to carry the keys of the world's library in one's pocket, and feel its resources behind one in whatever task he undertakes; to make hosts of friends among the men of one's own age who are the leaders in all walks of life; to lose oneself in general enthusiasms and co-operate with others for common ends." - William De Witt Hyde

"Money may be the husk of many things, but not the kernel. It brings you food, but not appetite; medicine, but not health; acquaintance, but not friends; servants, but not loyalty; days of joy, but not peace or happiness." -

"Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an acquaintance, or a stranger." -

"Self-knowledge is that acquaintance with ourselves which shows us what we are, and what we ought to be, in order to our living comfortably and usefully here, and happily thereafter." - John M. Mason, fully John Mitchell Mason

"What we commonly call friendships are nothing but acquaintance and familiarities, either occasionally contracted or upon some design, by means of which there happens some little intercourse between our souls." - Michel de Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

"The power of population is infinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man. Population, when unchecked, increases at a geometrical ratio. Subsistence only increases in an arithmetical ratio. A slight acquaintance with numbers will show the immensity of the first power in comparison of the second." - Thomas Malthus, fully Thomas Robert Malthus

"Revolution is a bitter thing, mixed with filth and blood, not as lovely or perfect as the poets think. It is eminently down to earth, involving many humble, tiresome tasks, not so romantic as the poets think… So it is easy for all who have romantic dreams about revolution to become disillusioned on closer acquaintance, when a revolution is actually carried out." - Lu Xun, or Lu Hsün, pen name of Zhou Shuren

"Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an acquaintance, or a stranger." - Franklin P. Jones

"Experience: The wisdom that enables us to recognize in an undesirable old acquaintance the folly that we have already embraced." - Ambrose Gwinett Bierce

"What is meant by a "knowledge of the world" is simply an acquaintance with the infirmities of men." - Charles Dickens, fully Charles John Huffam Dickens

"Moderation is the inseparable companion of wisdom, but with it genius has not even a nodding acquaintance." - Charles Caleb Colton

"No man can promise himself even fifty years of life, but any man may, if he please, live in the proportion of fifty years in forty - let him rise early, that he may have the day before him, and let him make the most of the day, by determining to expend it on two sorts of acquaintance only - those by whom something may be got, and those from whom something may be learnt." - Charles Caleb Colton

"Religion has treated knowledge sometimes as an enemy, sometimes as an hostage; often as a captive and more often as a child; but knowledge has become of age, and religion must either renounce her acquaintance, or introduce her as a companion and respect her as a friend." - Charles Caleb Colton

"A slender acquaintance with the world must convince every man that actions, not words, are the true [criteria] of the attachment of his friends." - George Washington

"Nine times out of ten, the best that can happen to a young man is to be tossed overboard and compelled to sink or swim for himself. In all my acquaintance I never knew a man to be drowned who was worth saving." - James A. Garfield

"Moderation is the inseparable companion of wisdom, but with it genius has not even a nodding acquaintance." - James Bryant Conant

"Our admiration of a famous man lessens upon our nearer acquaintance with him; and we seldom hear of a celebrated person without a catalogue of some notorious weaknesses and infirmities." - Joseph Addison

"A slender acquaintance with the world must convince every man, that actions, not words, are the true criterion of the attachment of his friends, and that the most liberal professions of good will are very far from being the surest marks of it. I should be happy that my own experience had afforded fewer examples of the little dependence to be placed upon them." - George Washington

"There is no such thing as educational value in the abstract. The notion that some subjects and methods and that acquaintance with certain facts and truths possess educational value in and of themselves is the reason why traditional education reduced the material of education so largely to a diet of predigested materials." - John Dewey

"Be able to cite three good qualities of every relative or acquaintance that you dislike." - Marilyn vos Savant, born Marilyn Mach

"It's your world, but I make my way in it. At fifteen, no, I couldn't stand up to you. The age of illusions, when we know nothing, we hope for everything; we're wandering in a mist ... And the half of the world that's never had any use for us, suddenly is besieging us. You need us, you adore us, you're suffering for us. You want everything--except to know what we think. You look deep in our eyes--and put your hand up our dress. You call us, Pretty thing. That confuses us. The most beautiful woman, the highest ranked, lives half dazzled by constant attention, half stifled by obvious contempt. We think all we're good for is pleasing you--till one day, long acquaintance with you dispels the last mist. In a clear light, we suddenly see you as you are--and generally we start preferring ourselves. At thirty, I could finally say no--or really say yes. That's when you begin backing away from us. Now I'm full-grown. I pursue my happiness the same as any man. " - Pierre Beaumarchais, fully Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais

"Those whose acquaintance with scientific research is derived chiefly from its practical results easily develop a completely false notion of the mentality of the men who, surrounded by a skeptical world, have shown the way to kindred spirits scattered wide through the world and through the centuries. Only one who has devoted his life to similar ends can have a vivid realization of what has inspired these men and given them the strength to remain true to their purpose in spite of countless failures. It is cosmic religious feeling that gives a man such strength. A contemporary has said, not unjustly, that in this materialistic age of ours the serious scientific workers are the only profoundly religious people." - Albert Einstein

"Better not read books in which you make acquaintance of the devil." - Reinhold Niebuhr, fully Karl Paul Reinhold Niebuhr

"It is proper to observe, that even in this sense of our country, that love of it which is our duty, does not imply any conviction of the superior value of it to other countries, or any particular preference of its laws and constitution of government. Were this implied, the love of their country would be the duty of only a very small part of mankind; for there are few countries that enjoy the advantage of laws and governments which deserve to be preferred. To found, therefore, this duty on such a preference, would be to found it on error and delusion. It is however a common delusion. There is the same partiality in countries, to themselves, that there is in individuals. All our attachments should be accompanied, as far as possible, with right opinions. We are too apt to confine wisdom and virtue within the circle of our own acquaintance and party. Our friends, our country, and, in short, everything related to us, we are disposed to overvalue. A wise man will guard himself against this delusion. He will study to think of all things as they are, and not suffer any partial effections to blind his understanding. In other families there may be as much worth as in our own. In other circles of friends there may be as much wisdom; and in other countries as much of all that deserves esteem; but, notwithstanding this, our obligation to love our own families, friends, and country, and to seek, in the first place, their good, will remain the same." - Richard Price

"Our ancestors are very good kind of folks; but they are the last people I should choose to have a visiting acquaintance with." - Richard Brinsley Sheridan

"Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot and days of auld lang syne? For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne, we'll take a cup of kindness yet, for auld lang syne." - Robert Burns, aka Rabbie Burns, Scotland's favourite son, the Ploughman Poet, Robden of Solway Firth, the Bard of Ayrshire and in Scotland as simply The Bard

"If then we have angels, let us be sober, as though we were in the presence of tutors; for there is a demon present also." - John Chrysostom, fully Saint John Chrysostom

"Admiration must be kept up by the novelty that at first produced it; and how much soever is given, there must always be the impression that more remains." - Samuel Johnson, aka Doctor Johnson

"I never desire to converse with a man who has written more than he has read." - Samuel Johnson, aka Doctor Johnson

"If a man's wits be wandering, let him study the mathematics; for in demonstrations, if his wit be called away ever so little, he must begin again." - Samuel Johnson, aka Doctor Johnson

"He spoke wistfully of a sudden leaving, a breaking of old ties, a flight into a strange world, ending in this dreary valley, and Ettie listened, her dark eyes gleaming with pity and with sympathy - those two qualities which may turn so rapidly and so naturally to love." - Arthur Conan Doyle, fully Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle

"Have a daily, inaccessible fixed period of study: I agree that this is a must. However, ministers must be accessible most of the time, so the inaccessibility factor would have to be carefully planned and not abused. Some would seclude themselves in private study to the neglect of their congregations, but a minister must have uninterrupted time for study. One’s time in the Word is as precious as one’s duty to a fellow saint." - Willard L. Sperry, fully Willard Learoyd Sperry

"As we sometimes find one thing while we are looking for another, so, if truth escaped me, happiness and contentment fell in my way." - Walter Savage Landor

"Luxury spreads its ample board before their eyes; but they are excluded from the banquet. Plenty revels over the fields; but they are starving in the midst of its abundance: the whole wilderness has blossomed into a garden; but they feel as reptiles that infest it." - Washington Irving

"For me a work of fiction exists only insofar as it affords me what I shall bluntly call aesthetic bliss, that is a sense of being somehow, somewhere, connected with other states of being where art curiosity, tenderness, kindness, ecstasy is the norm." - Vladimir Nabokov, fully Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov

"In fiction, where so much of personality is revealed, the absence of charm is a great lack, ... and her critics, who have been, of course, mostly of the opposite sex, have resented, half consciously perhaps, her deficiency in a quality which is held to be supremely desirable in women. George Eliot was not charming; she was not strongly feminine; she had none of those eccentricities and inequalities of temper which give to so many artists the endearing simplicity of children." - Virginia Woolf, nee Stephen, fully Adeline Virginia Woolf

"One feels even in the midst of the traffic, or waking at night, Clarissa was positive, a particular hush, or solemnity; an indescribable pause; a suspense before Big Ben strikes. There! Out it boomed. First a warning, musical; then the hour, irrevocable. The leaden circles dissolved in the air. Such fools we are, she thought, crossing Victoria Street. For Heaven only knows why one loves it so, how one sees it so, making it up, building it round one, tumbling it, creating it every moment afresh; but the veriest frumps, the most dejected of miseries sitting on doorsteps (drink their downfall) do the same; can't be dealt with, she felt positive, by Acts of Parliament for that very reason: they love life. In people's eyes, in the swing, tramp, and trudge; in the bellow and the uproar; the carriages, motor cars, omnibuses, vans, sandwich men shuffling and swinging; brass bands; barrel organs; in the triumph and the jingle and the strange high singing of some aeroplane overhead was what she loved; life; London; this moment in June." - Virginia Woolf, nee Stephen, fully Adeline Virginia Woolf

"AUFIDIUS: What is thy name? CORIOLANUS: A name unmusical to the Volscians’ ears, and harsh in sound to thine." -

"Anything you may hold firmly in your imagination can be yours." - William James

"To be contented,--what, indeed, is it? Is it not to be satisfied,--to hope for nothing, to aspire to nothing, to strive for nothing,--in short to rest in inglorious ease, doing nothing for your country, for your own or others' material, intellectual, or moral improvement, satisfied with the condition in which you or they are placed? Such a state of feeling may do very well where nature has fixed an inseparable and ascertained barrier,--a "thus far, shalt thou go and no farther,"--to our wishes, or where we are troubled by ills past remedy. In such cases it is the highest philosophy not to fret or grumble, when, by all our worrying and self-teasing, we cannot help ourselves a jot or tittle, but only aggravate and intensify an affliction that is incurable. To soothe the mind down into patience is then the only resource left us, and happy is he who has schooled himself thus to meet all reverses and disappointments. But in the ordinary circumstances of life this boasted virtue of contentment." - William Matthews

"Inclination is another word with which will is frequently confounded. Thus, when the apothecary says, in Romeo and Juliet,— “My poverty, but not my will, consents; Take this and drink it off; the work is done.” the word will is plainly used as synonymous with inclination; not in the strict logical sense, as the immediate antecedent of action. It is with the same latitude that the word is used in common conversation, when we think of doing a thing which duty prescribes, against one’s own will; or when we speak of doing a thing willingly or unwillingly." - Dugald Stewart

"There is not room for Death, nor atom that his might could render void: Thou - Thou art Being and Breath, and what Thou art may never be destroyed." - Emily Brontë, fully Emily Jane Brontë, aka pseudonym Ellis Bell

"Refuse to tolerate anything less than harmony. You can have prosperity no matter what your present circumstances may be. You can have health and physical fitness. You can have a happy and joyous life. You can have a good home of your own. You can have congenial friends and comrades. You can have a full, free, joyous life, independent and untrammeled. You can become your own master or your own mistress. But to do this you must definitely seize the rudder of your own destiny and steer boldly and firmly for the port that you intend to make." - Emmet Fox