Charles Caleb Colton

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Charles Caleb Colton (1780–1832) was a British author, clergyman, and art collector.

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Lacon (1851)[edit]

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  • Discretion has been termed the better part of valour, and it is more certain, that diffidence is the better part of knowledge.
    • Preface, p. iv
  • If we can advance any propositions that are both true and new, these are indisputably our own, by right of discovery; and if we can repeat what is old more briefly and brightly than others, this also becomes our own, by right of conquest.
    • Preface, p. vii
  • We should have a glorious conflagration, if all who cannot put fire into their works would only consent to put their works into the fire.
    • Preface, pp. vii-viii
  • ... put on the livery of the best master only to serve the worst.
    • Preface, p. ix
  • With books, as with companions, it is of more consequence to know which to avoid, than which to choose; for good books are as scarce as good companions.
    • Preface, p. x
  • His ears, indeed, have had a very easy time of it, but their inactivity has been dearly purchased at the expense of his tongue.
    • Preface, p. xii
  • It is almost as difficult to make a man unlearn his errors as his knowledge. Mal-information is more hopeless than non-information; for error is always more busy than ignorance. Ignorance is a blank sheet, on which we may write; but error is a scribbled one, on which we must first erase. Ignorance is contented to stand still with her back to the truth; but error is more presumptuous, and proceeds in the same direction. Ignorance has no light, but error follows a false one. The consequence is, that error, when she retraces her footsteps, has further to go, before she can arrive at the truth, than ignorance.
    • Lacon, vol. I (1820) #1.
  • From the preponderance of talent, we may always infer the soundness and vigour of the commonwealth; but from the preponderance of riches, its dotage and degeneration.
    • vol. 1 (1820), # 8
  • Many a man may thank his talent for his rank, but no man has ever been able to return the compliment by thanking his rank for his talent.
    • Lacon, vol. 1 (1820), # 8
  • Instead of exhibiting talent in the hope that the world would forgive their eccentricities, they have exhibited only their eccentricities, in the hope that the world would give them credit for talent.
    • Lacon, vol. 1 (1820), #16
  • Many ... begin to make converts from motives of charity, but continue to do so from motives of pride. … Charity is contented with exhortation and example, but pride is not to be so easily satisfied. ... Whenever we find ourselves more inclined to persecute than persuade, we may then be certain that our zeal has more of pride in it than of charity.
    • Lacon, vol. 1 (1820), #17
  • Men will wrangle for religion, write for it, fight for it, die for it; anything but live for it.
    • Lacon, vol. I (1820) # 25.
  • No man can purchase his virtue too dear, for it is the only thing whose value must ever increase with the price it has cost us.
    • Lacon, vol. 1 (1820), #26
  • He that sympathizes in all the happiness of others, perhaps himself enjoys the safest happiness.
    • Lacon, vol. 1 (1820), #33
  • None are so fond of secrets as those who do not mean to keep them; such persons covet secrets as a spendthrift covets money, for the purpose of circulation.
    • Lacon, vol. I (1820) # 40.
  • Pedantry prides herself on being wrong by rules; while common sense is contented to be right, without them.
    • vol. 1 (1820), #48
  • Wit may do very well for a mistress, but [I] should prefer reason for a wife.
    • vol. 1 (1820), #71
  • When you have nothing to say, say nothing; a weak defense strengthens your opponent, and silence is less injurious than a bad reply.
    • Lacon, vol. I (1820), # 183.
  • We ask advice, but we mean approbation.
    • Lacon, vol. I (1820), # 190.
  • Imitation is the sincerest of flattery.
    • Lacon, vol. I (1820), # 217.
  • It is always safe to learn, even from our enemies, seldom safe to venture to instruct, even our friends.
    • Lacon, vol. I (1820), # 286.
  • Examinations are formidable even to the best prepared, for the greatest fool may ask more than the wisest man can answer.
    • Lacon, vol. I (1820), # 322.
Emma Goldman's headstone on Waldheim Cemetery in Forest Park, Illinois
Liberty will not descend to a people, a people must raise themselves to liberty
  • Applause is the spur of noble minds, the end and aim of weak ones.
    • Lacon, vol. I (1820), # 324.
  • If you would be known, and not know, vegetate in a village; If you would know, and not be known, live in a city.
    • Lacon, vol. I (1820), # 334.
  • The debt which cancels all others.
    • Lacon, vol. II (1822), # 66.
  • Drunkenness is the vice of a good constitution or of a bad memory—of a constitution so treacherously good that it never bends till it breaks; or of a memory that recollects the pleasures of getting intoxicated, but forgets the pains of getting sober.
    • Lacon, vol. II (1823), # 38.
  • Friendship often ends in love; but love in friendship—never.
    • Lacon, vol. II (1822), # 83.
  • Many books require no thought from those who read them, and for a very simple reason; they made no such demand upon those who wrote them.
    • Lacon, vol. I (1825), # 248.
  • Liberty will not descend to a people, a people must raise themselves to liberty; it is a blessing that must be earned before it can be enjoyed.
As an inscription over the arched entrance to the bureaucratic offices on the north side of Rajpath in New Delhi, constructed between 1912 and 1931.

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