Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Firmness

"With endless patience you shall carry out your duty, and your firmness shall be tempered with tenderness for your people. Neither anger nor fury shall lodge in your mind, and all your words and actions shall be marked with calm deliberation. In all your deliberations in the Council, in your efforts at lawmaking, in all your official acts, self-interest shall be cast into oblivion. Cast not away the warnings of any others, if they should chide you for any error or wrong you may do, but return to the way of the Great Law, which is just and right. Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people and have always in view not only the present but also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the earth - the unborn of the future Nation." - Constitution of the Five Nations NULL

"Duty performed gives clearness and firmness to faith, and faith thus strengthened through duty becomes the more assured and satisfying soul." - Tyron Edwards

"Firmness in adherence to truth and duty is generally most decided when most intelligent and conscientious, and is sometimes mistaken for obstinacy by those who do not comprehend its nature and motive." - Tyron Edwards

"Deliberate with caution, but act with decision; and yield graciously, or oppose with firmness." - Charles Hole

"Obstinacy is the strength of the weak. Firmness founded upon principle, upon the truth and right, order and law, duty and generosity, is the obstinacy of sages." - Johann Kaspar Lavater

"With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphans - to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations." - Abraham Lincoln

"Firmness or stiffness of the mind is not from adherence to truth, but submission to prejudice." - John Locke

"Unity gives strength and firmness to the humblest." - Publius Syrus

"Marriage is not a union merely between two creatures - it is a union between two spirits; and the intention of that bond is to perfect the nature of both, by supplementing their deficiencies with the force of contrast, giving to each sex those excellencies in which it is naturally deficient; to the one, strength of character and firmness of moral will; to the other, sympathy, meekness, tenderness; and just so solemn and glorious as these ends are for which the union was intended, just so terrible are the consequences if it be perverted and abused; for there is no earthly relationship which has so much power to ennoble and exalt." -

"Duty performed gives clearness and firmness to faith, and faith becomes the more assured and satisfying to the soul." - Tyron Edwards

"That which is called firmness in a king is called obstinacy in a donkey." - Thomas Erskine, Lord Erskine, 1st Baron Erskine

"Nothing can be more touching than to behold a soft and tender female, who had been all weakness and dependence, and alive to every trivial roughness while treading the prosperous paths of life, suddenly rising by mental force to be the comforter and supporter of her husband under misfortune, and abiding with unshrinking firmness the bitterest blast of adversity." - Washington Irving

"Deliberate with caution, but act with decision (and promptness); and yield with graciousness, or oppose with firmness." - Charles Caleb Colton

"Deliberate with caution, but act with decision; and yield with graciousness, or oppose with firmness." - Charles Caleb Colton

"It is only persons of firmness that can have real gentleness. Those who appear gentle are, in general, only a weak character, which easily changes into asperity." - François de La Rochefoucauld, François VI, Duc de La Rochefoucauld, Prince de Marcillac, Francois A. F. Rochefoucauld-Liancourt

"Obstinacy, sir, is certainly a great vice; and in the changeful state of political affairs it is frequently the cause of great mischief. It happens, however, very unfortunately, that almost the whole line of the great and masculine virtues - constancy, gravity, magnanimity, fortitude, fidelity, and firmness - are closely allied to this disagreeable quality, of which you have so jut an abhorrence; and in their excess all these virtues very easily fall into it." - Edmund Burke

"When I find any officer that answers me with firmness, intelligence, and clearness, I set him down in my list for making use of his service on proper occasions." - Frederick II, `Frederick the Great’ NULL

"I hope I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an “honest man.”" - George Washington

"The greatest firmness is the greatest mercy." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"Firmness of purpose is one of the most necessary sinews of character and one of the best instruments of success. Without it, genius wastes its efforts in a maze of inconsistencies." - Lord Chesterfield, Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield

"Judge of thine improvement, not by what thou speakest or writest, but by the firmness of thy mind, and the government of thy passions and affections." - Thomas Fuller

"There is nothing more to be esteemed than a manly firmness and decision of character. I like a person who knows his own mind and sticks to it; who sees at once what is to be done in given circumstances and does it." - William Hazlitt

"When firmness is sufficient, rashness is unnecessary. " - Napoleon Bonaparte, Napoleon I

"I have observed in the House of Morgan a largeness, nobility and firmness of character the like of which is very scarce indeed. I can only smile when I read the attempts to find something discreditable in the transactions of J.P. Morgan & Co. Not a hundred of such investigations will ever uncover anything which an unprejudiced judge would not consider honorable, fair, decent and in every way conforming to the high ideals and ethical standards of business. I would be willing to stake my life on it." - Nikola Tesla

"God know that a mother need fortitude and courage and tolerance and flexibility and patience and firmness and nearly every other brave aspect of the human soul." - Phyllis McGinley

"God knows that a mother needs fortitude and courage and tolerance and flexibility and patience and firmness and nearly every other brave aspect of the human soul. But because I happen to be a parent of almost fiercely maternal nature, I praise casualness . It seems to me the rarest of virtues. It is useful enough when children are small. It is important to the point of necessity when they are adolescents." - Phyllis McGinley

"Work at ridding yourself of the esteem you have had up to now for the glitter and sparkle of virtue and the vain applause of the world, which Our Lord so assiduously avoided and so often recommends us to shun, and that you labor in earnest to acquire true and solid virtues." - Saint Vincent de Paul

"Money and time are the heaviest burdens of life, and the unhappiest of all mortals are those who have more of either than they know how to use." - Samuel Johnson, aka Doctor Johnson

"Whatever things a man gives up, by those he cannot suffer pain." - Thiruvalluvar NULL

"Our children will be as wise as we are and will establish in the fullness of time those things not yet ripe for establishment." - Thomas Jefferson

"The art and mystery of banks... is established on the principle that 'private debts are a public blessing.' That the evidences of those private debts, called bank notes, become active capital, and aliment the whole commerce, manufactures, and agriculture of the United States. Here are a set of people, for instance, who have bestowed on us the great blessing of running in our debt about two hundred millions of dollars, without our knowing who they are, where they are, or what property they have to pay this debt when called on; nay, who have made us so sensible of the blessings of letting them run in our debt, that we have exempted them by law from the repayment of these debts beyond a give proportion (generally estimated at one-third). And to fill up the measure of blessing, instead of paying, they receive an interest on what they owe from those to whom they owe; for all the notes, or evidences of what they owe, which we see in circulation, have been lent to somebody on an interest which is levied again on us through the medium of commerce. And they are so ready still to deal out their liberalities to us, that they are now willing to let themselves run in our debt ninety millions more, on our paying them the same premium of six or eight per cent interest, and on the same legal exemption from the repayment of more than thirty millions of the debt, when it shall be called for." - Thomas Jefferson

"The first object of human association [is] the full improvement of their condition." - Thomas Jefferson

"The peculiar happiness of our blessed system is that in differences of opinion between these different sets of servants, the appeal is to neither, but to their employers peaceably assembled by their representatives in convention. This is more rational than the jus fortioris, or the canon's mouth, the ultima et sola ratio regum." - Thomas Jefferson

"There is scarcely any part of science, or anything in nature, which those imposters and blasphemers of science, called priests, as well Christians as Jews, have not, at some time or other, perverted, or sought to pervert to the purpose of superstition and falsehood." - Thomas Paine

"We must fight against the old habit of regarding the measure of labor and the means of production from the point of view of the slave whose sole aim is to lighten the burden of labor or to obtain at least some little bit from the bourgeoisie." - Vladimir Lenin, fully Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

"Her life was a tissue of vanity and deceit." - Virginia Woolf, nee Stephen, fully Adeline Virginia Woolf

"She now remembered what she had been going to say about Mrs. Ramsay. She did not know how she would have put it; but it would have been something critical. She had been annoyed the other night by some highhandedness. Looking along the level of Mr. Bankes’s glance at her, she thought that no woman could worship another woman in the way he worshipped; they could only seek shelter under the shade which Mr. Bankes extended over them both. Looking along his beam she added to it her different ray, thinking that she was unquestionably the loveliest of people (bowed over her book); the best perhaps; but also, different too from the perfect shape which one saw there. ‘But why different, and how different?’ she asked herself, scraping her palette of all those mounds of blue and green which seemed to her like clods with no life in them now, yet she vowed, she would inspire them, force them to move, flow, do her bidding tomorrow. How did she differ? What was the spirit in her, the essential thing, by which, had you found a crumpled glove in the corner of a sofa, you would have known it, from its twisted finger, hers indisputably? She was like a bird for speed, an arrow for directness. She was willful; she was commanding (of course, Lily reminded herself, I am thinking of her relations with women, and I am much younger, an insignificant person, living off the Brompton Road). She opened bedroom windows. She shut doors. (So she tried to start the tune of Mrs. Ramsay in her head.) Arriving late at night, with a light tap on one’s bedroom door, wrapped in an old fur coat (for the setting of her beauty was always that—hasty, but apt), she would enact again whatever it might be—Charles Tansley losing his umbrella; Mr. Carmichael snuffling and sniffing; Mr. Bankes saying, The vegetable salts are lost. All this she would adroitly shape; even maliciously twist; and, moving over to the window, in pretense that she must go,—it was dawn, she could see the sun rising,—half turn back, more intimately, but still always laughing, insist that she must, Minta must, they all must marry, since in the whole world whatever laurels might be tossed to her (but Mrs. Ramsay cared not a fig for her painting), or triumphs won by her (probably Mrs. Ramsay had had her share of those), and here she saddened, darkened, and came back to her chair, there could be no disputing this: an unmarried woman (she lightly took her hand for a moment), an unmarried woman has missed the best of life. The house seemed full of children sleeping and Mrs. Ramsay listening; shaded lights and regular breathing." - Virginia Woolf, nee Stephen, fully Adeline Virginia Woolf

"Duty performed is a moral tonic; if neglected, the tone and strength of both mind and heart are weakened, and the spiritual health undermined." - Tryon Edwards

"Strange that men, from age to age, should consent to hold their lives at the breath of another, merely that each in his turn may have a power of acting the tyrant according to the law! Oh, God! give me poverty! Shower upon me all the imaginary hardships of human life! I will receive them with all thankfulness. Turn me a prey to the wild beasts of the desert, so I be never again the victim of man, dressed in the gore-dripping robes of authority! Suffer me at least to call life, the pursuits of life, my own! Let me hold it at the mercy of the elements, of the hunger of the beasts, or the revenge of barbarians, but not of the cold-blooded prudence of monopolists and kings!" - William Godwin

"Everyone knows on any given day that there are energies slumbering in him which the incitements of that day do not call fourth. … Compared with what we ought to be, we are only half awake. Our fires are damped, our drafts are checked. We are making use of only a small part of our possible mental and physical resources. … Stating the thing broadly, the human individual thus lives fare within his limits he possesses powers of various sorts he habitually fails to use." - William James

"We can all call to mind movements which have begun as pure upsurges of fresh spiritual vitality, breaking through and revolting against the hardened structure of the older body, and claiming, in the name of the Spirit, liberty from outward forms and institutions. And we have seen how rapidly they develop their own forms, their own structures of thought, of language, and of organization. It would surely be a very unbiblical view of human nature and history to think -- as we so often, in our pagan way, do -- that this is just an example of the tendency of all things to slide down from a golden age to an age of iron, to identify the spiritual with the disembodied, and to regard visible structure as equivalent to sin. We must rather recognize here a testimony to the fact that Christianity is, in its very heart and essence, not a disembodied spirituality, but life in a visible fellowship, a life which makes such total claim upon us, and so engages our total powers, that nothing less than the closest and most binding association of men with one another can serve its purpose." - William Law

"Now the wives of the husband’s elder brothers and his younger sister are equal in status; while they may be no bond of affection, they have become close relatives by duty. Now a pure and gentle, modest and obedient person will by adhering to duty be able to create a deep friendship and to extend affection to obtain their help. As a result, her excellence and beauty will be brilliantly displayed, her faults and defects will be concealed and hidden, her parent-in-law will cherish and commend her, her husband and master will laud and praise her, and her reputation will shine in town and village, its great glory extending to her father and mother… This is the root of glory or dishonor, the basis of fame or infamy. Of course you have to be circumspect!" - Ban Zhao, courtesy name Huiban