Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Manners

"Gentleness in the gait is what simplicity is in the dress. Violent gesture or quick movement inspires involuntary disrespect. One looks for a moment at a cascade; but one sits for hours, lost in thought, and gazing upon the still water of a lake. A deliberate gait, gentle manners, and a gracious tone of voice - all of which may be acquired - give a mediocre man an immense advantage over those vastly superior to him. To be bodily tranquil, to speak little, and to digest without effort are absolutely necessary to grandeur of mind or of presence, or to proper development of genius." - Honoré de Balzac

"Courtesy, kindness, sincerity, truthfulness, thoughtfulness and good manners translated into behavior reflect one's true character." - Harry F. Banks, real name possibly Harry Band

"Custom governs the world; it is the tyrant of our feelings and our manners and rules the world with the hand of a despot." - John Bartlett

"Fine manners are like personal beauty, a letter of credit everywhere." -

"Nothing, except what flows from the heart, can render even external manners truly pleasing." - Hugh Blair

"The prevailing manners of an age depend, more than we are aware of, or are willing to allow, on the conduct of the women: this is one of the principal things on which the great machine of human society turns." - Hugh Blair

"Ideals travel upward, manners downward." -

"Manners are stronger than laws." - Alexander Carlile

"In politeness, as in many other things connected with the formation of character, people in general begin outside, when they should begin inside; instead of beginning with the heart, and trusting that to form the manners, they begin with the manners, and trust the heart to chance influences." -

"Our inheritance of well-founded, slowly conceived codes of honor, morals and manners, the passionate convictions which so many hundreds of millions share together of the principles of freedom and justice, are far more precious to us than anything which scientific discoveries could bestow." -

"Many are the natures of men, various their manners of living, yet a straight path is always the right one; and lessons deeply taught lead man to paths of righteousness; reverence, I say, is wisdom and by its grace transfigures - so that we seek virtue with a right judgment. From all of this springs honor bringing ageless glory into Man’s life. Oh, a mighty quest is the hunting out of virtue." - Euripedes NULL

"Good manners may in Seven Words be found: Forget Yourself and think of Those Around." - Arthur Guiterman

"Under bad manners, as under graver faults, lies very commonly an overestimate of our special individuality, as distinguished form our generic humanity." - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

"Men are not blamed for such actions as they perform ignorantly and casually, whatever may be the consequences. Why? but because the principles of these actions are only momentary, and terminate in them alone. Men are less blamed for such actions as they perform hastily and unpremeditatedly than for such as proceed from deliberation. For what reason? but because a hasty temper, though a constant cause or principle in the mind, operates only by intervals, and infects not the whole character. Again, repentance wipes off every crime, if attended with a reformation of life and manners. How is this to be accounted for? but by asserting that actions render a person criminal merely a they are proofs of criminal principles in the mind." - David Hume

"Good breeding consists in having no particular mark of any profession, but a general elegance of manners." -

"Without sincerity, manners are mere apish bowing and scraping." - K'ang-Hsi NULL

"Praise, flattery, exaggerated manners, and fine, high-sounding words were no part of Lakota politeness. Excessive manners were put down as insincere, and the constant talker was considered rude and thoughtless. Conversation was never begun at once, or in a hurried manner. No one was quick with a question, no matter how important, and no one was pressed for an answer. A pause giving time for thought was the truly courteous way of beginning and conducting a conversation." - Chief Luther Standing Bear

"Self-respect is at the bottom of all good manners. They are the expression of discipline, of good-will, of respect for other people's rights and comfort and feelings." - Edward Sanford Martin

"The spirit of politeness is a desire to bring about by our words and manners, that others may be pleased with us and with themselves." - Baron de Montesquieu, fully Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu

"Spiritual strength and passion, when accompanied by bad manners, only provoke loathing." -

"The People have the right to the Truth as they have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is not right that they be exploited and deceived with false views of life, false characters, false sentiment, false morality, false history, false philosophy, false emotions, false heroism, false notions of self-sacrifice, false views of religion , of duty, of conduct and manners." - Benjamin Franklin "Frank" Norris

"True purity of taste is a quality of the mind; it is a feeling which can, with little difficulty, be acquired by the refinement of intelligence; whereas purity of manners is the result of wise habits, in which all the interests of the soul are mingled and in harmony with the progress of intelligence. That is why the harmony of good taste and of good manners is more common than the existence of taste without manners, or of manners without taste." - Pierre Louis Roederer

"The time which passes over our heads so imperceptibly makes the same gradual change in habits, manners and character as in personal appearance. At the revolution of every five years we find ourselves another and yet the same - there is a change of views and no less of the light in which we regard them; a change of motives as well as of action." -

"Good manners have much to do with the emotions. to make them ring true, one must feel them, not merely exhibit them." - Amy Vanderbilt

"The hardest job kids face today is learning good manners without seeing any." - Fred Astaire, born Frederick Austerlitz

"Good manners and good morals are sworn friends and fast allies." - Cyrus Augustus Bartol

"Serenity of manners is the zenith of beauty." - Frederika Bremer

"There are five tests of the evidence of education - correctness and precision in the use of the mother tongue; refined and gentle manners, the result of fixed habits of thought and action; sound standards of appreciation of beauty and of worth, and a character based on those standards; power and habit of reflection, efficiency or the power to do." - Nicholas Murray Butler

"The happy gift of being agreeable seems to consist not in one, but in an assemblage of talents tending to communicate delight; and how many are there, who, by easy manners, sweetness of temper, and a variety of other undefinable qualities, possess the power of pleasing without any visible effort, without the aids of wit, wisdom, or learning, nay, as it should seem in their defiance; and this without appearing even to know that they possess it." - Richard Cumberland, Bishop of Peterborough

"Socrates taught that true felicity is not to be derived from external possessions, but from wisdom, which consists in the knowledge and practice of virtue; that the cultivation of virtuous manners is necessarily attended with pleasure as well as profit; that the honest man alone is happy; and that it is absurd to attempt to separate things which are in nature so closely united as virtue and interest." - William Enfield, aka "The Enquirer"

"Live, if you wish, according to the manners of the past, but speak the language of the present." - Favorinus, aka Favorinus of Arelata NULL

"Savages we call them because their manners differ from ours." - Benjamin Franklin

"The society of women is the element of good manners." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"To reject wisdom because the person who communicates it is uncouth and his manners are inelegant, what is it but to throw away a pineapple and assign for a reason the roughness of its coat?" - George Horne

"The first quality of a good education is good manners - and some people flunk the course." - Hubert Humphrey, fully Hubert Horatio Humphrey

"Divisive forces are more powerful than those which make for union. Vested interests in language, philosophies of life, table manners, sexual habits, political, ecclesiastical and economic organizations are sufficiently powerful to block all attempts, by rational methods, to unite mankind for its own good. And there is nationalism. With the 57 varieties of tribal gods, nationalism is the religion of the 20th century. We may be Christians, Jews, Moslems, Hindus, Buddhists, Confucians or Atheists; but the fact remains that there is only one faith for which large masses of us are prepared to die and kill, and that faith is nationalism." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"Christianity is designed to refine and to soften; to take away the heart of stone, and to give us hearts of flesh; to polish off the rudeness and arrogances of our manners and tempers; and to make us blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke." -

"Laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times." - Thomas Jefferson

"Friends are often chosen for similitude of manners, and therefore each palliates the other’s failings because they are his own." -

"Worship is the earthly act by which we most distinctly recognize our personal immortality; men who think that they will be extinct a few years hence do not pray. In worship we spread out our insignificant life, which yet is the work of the Creator’s hands... before the Eternal and All-Merciful, that we may learn the manners of a higher sphere, and fit ourselves for companionship with saints and angels, and for the everlasting sight of the face of God." - Henry Parry Liddon

"There is a truism about manners that can be stated didactically: Each generation believes that the manners of the generation that follows it have gone to hell in a hand basket." - Russell Lynes, fully Joseph Russell Lynes, Jr.

"The institutions of a country depend in great measure on the nature of its soil and situation. Many of the wants of man are awakened or supplied by these circumstances. To these wants, manners, laws, and religion must shape and accommodate themselves. The division of land, and the rights attached to it, alter with the soil; the laws relating to its produce, with its fertility. The manners of its inhabitants are in various ways modified by its position. The religion of a miner is not the same as the faith of a shepherd, nor is the character of the ploughman so war-like as that of the hunter. The observant legislator follows the direction of all these various circumstances. the knowledge of the natural advantages or defects of a country thus form an essential part of political science and history." - Justus Möser

"The greatest business of a man is to improve his mind and govern his manners; all other projects and pursuits, whether in our power to compass or not, are only amusements." - Pliny the Younger, full name Casus Plinius Caecilius Secundus, born Gaius Caecilius or Gaius Caecilius Cilo NULL

"Commerce tends to wear off prejudices which maintain destruction and animosity between nations. It softens and polishes the manners of men. It unites them by one of the strongest of all ties - the desire of supplying their mutual wants. It disposes them to peace by establishing in every state an order of citizens bound by their interest to be the guardians of public tranquillity." -

"Amid the ruins which surround me I shall dare to say that revolutions are not what I most fear for coming generations?... It is believed by some that modern society will be always changing its aspect; for myself, I fear that it will ultimately be too invariably fixed in the same institutions, the same prejudices, the same manners, so that mankind will be stopped and circumscribed; that the mind will swing backwards and forwards forever without begetting fresh ideas; that man will waste his strength in bootless and solitary trifling, and, though in continual motion, that humanity will cease to advance." - Alexis de Tocqueville, fully Alexis-Charles-Henri Clérel de Tocqueville

"Laws are always unstable unless they are founded on the manners of a nation; and manners are the only durable and resisting power in a people." - Alexis de Tocqueville, fully Alexis-Charles-Henri Clérel de Tocqueville

"Example comes in by the eyes and ears, and slips insensibly into the heart, and so into the outward practice, by a kind of secret charm, transforming men’s minds and manners into his own likeness." - Daniel Cosgrove Waterland

"The eye observes only what the mind, the heart, and the imagination are gifted to see; and sight must be reinforced by insight before souls can be discerned as well as manners, ideas as well as objects, realities and relations as well as appearances and accidental connections." - Edwin Percy Whipple