Henry Brooks Adams

From Quotes
Do not keep the alabaster boxes of your love and tenderness sealed up until your friends are dead. Fill their lives with sweetness, speak cheering words while their ears can hear, and while their hearts can be thrilled and made happier by them. George
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A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.

Henry Brooks Adams (1838-02-16 - 1918-03-27) was a U.S. historian, journalist, novelist and educator. He was the great-grandson of John Adams, grandson of John Quincy Adams and son of Charles Francis Adams, Sr.

Sourced

  • For reasons which many persons thought ridiculous, Mrs. Lightfoot Lee decided to pass the winter in Washington.
    • Democracy (1880), ch. I
  • A period of about twelve years measured the beat of the pendulum. After the Declaration of Independence, twelve years had been needed to create an efficient Constitution; another twelve years of energy brought a reaction against the government then created; a third period of twelve years was ending in a sweep toward still greater energy; and already a child could calculate the result of a few more such returns.
    • A History of the United States of America During the First Administration of James Madison (1890), vol. II, ch. VI: Meeting of the Twelfth Congress (New York, Scribner's, 1921), p. 123

The Education of Henry Adams (1907)

  • Accident counts for much in companionship as in marriage.
    • Ch. 4
  • Women have, commonly, a very positive moral sense; that which they will, is right; that which they reject, is wrong; and their will, in most cases, ends by settling the moral.
    • Ch. 6
  • All experience is an arch, to build upon.
    • Ch. 6
  • Only on the edge of the grave can man conclude anything.
    • Ch. 6
  • Although the Senate is much given to admiring in its members a superiority less obvious or quite invisible to outsiders, one Senator seldom proclaims his own inferiority to another, and still more seldom likes to be told of it.
    • Ch. 7
  • Friends are born, not made.
    • Ch. 7
  • A friend in power is a friend lost.
    • Ch. 7
  • The effect of power and publicity on all men is the aggravation of self, a sort of tumor that ends by killing the victim's sympathies.
    • Ch. 10
  • Young men have a passion for regarding their elders as senile.
    • Ch. 11
  • Knowledge of human nature is the beginning and end of political education.
    • Ch. 12
  • These questions of taste, of feeling, of inheritance, need no settlement. Every one carries his own inch-rule of taste, and amuses himself by applying it, triumphantly, wherever he travels.
    • Ch. 12
  • Intimates are predestined.
    • Ch. 13
  • Chaos often breeds life, when order breeds habit.
    • Ch. 13
  • At best, the renewal of broken relations is a nervous matter.
    • Ch. 13
  • Sumner's mind had reached the calm of water which receives and reflects images without absorbing them; it contained nothing but itself.
    • Ch. 13
  • The difference is slight, to the influence of an author, whether he is read by five hundred readers, or by five hundred thousand; if he can select the five hundred, he reaches the five hundred thousand.
    • Ch. 17
  • A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.
    • Ch. 20
  • One friend in a lifetime is much, two are many, three are hardly possible. Friendship needs a certain parallelism of life, a community of thought, a rivalry of aim.
    • Ch. 20
  • What one knows is, in youth, of little moment; they know enough who know how to learn.
    • Ch. 21
  • He had often noticed that six months' oblivion amounts to newspaper-death, and that resurrection is rare. Nothing is easier, if a man wants it, than rest, profound as the grave.
    • Ch. 22
  • Morality is a private and costly luxury.
    • Ch. 22
  • Practical politics consists in ignoring facts.
    • Ch. 22
  • Nothing in education is so astonishing as the amount of ignorance it accumulates in the form of inert facts.
    • Ch. 25
  • Power when wielded by abnormal energy is the most serious of facts.
    • Ch. 28
  • Those who seek education in the paths of duty are always deceived by the illusion that power in the hands of friends is an advantage to them.
    • Ch. 28
  • Modern politics is, at bottom, a struggle not of men but of forces.
    • Ch. 28
  • We combat obstacles in order to get repose, and, when got, the repose is insupportable.
    • Ch. 29
  • Simplicity is the most deceitful mistress that ever betrayed man.
    • Ch. 30
  • No one means all he says, and yet very few say all they mean, for words are slippery and thought is viscous.
    • Ch. 31
  • Even in America, the Indian Summer of life should be a little sunny and a little sad, like the season, and infinite in wealth and depth of tone— but never hustled.
    • Ch. 35

Unsourced

  • Absolute liberty is absence of restraint; responsibility is restraint; therefore, the ideally free individual is responsible to himself.
  • Everyone carries his own inch-rule of taste, and amuses himself by applying it, triumphantly, wherever he travels.
  • Henry James chews more than he bites off.
  • I have written too much history to have faith in it; and if anyone thinks I'm wrong, I am inclined to agree with him.
  • It is impossible to underrate human intelligence— beginning with one's own.
  • Man is an imperceptible atom always trying to become one with God.
  • No historian can take part with— or against— the forces he has to study. To him even the extinction of the human race should merely be a fact to be grouped with other vital statistics.
  • No man likes to have his intelligence or good faith questioned, especially if he has doubts about it himself.
  • No man, however strong, can serve ten years as schoolmaster, priest, or Senator, and remain fit for anything else.
  • Philosophy: unintelligible answers to insoluble problems.
  • Politics, as a practice, whatever its professions, has always been the systematic organization of hatreds.
  • The woman who is known only through a man is known wrong.
  • The work of internal government has become the task of controlling the thousands of fifth-rate men.
  • There is no such thing as an underestimate of average intelligence.

Misattributed

  • Never esteem anything as of advantage to you that will make you break your word or lose your self-respect.

External links

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