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Diligence is steadfast application, assiduousness and industry — the virtue of hard work rather than the sin of careless sloth.


  • Diligence is the mother of good fortune, and idleness — its opposite — never brought a man to the goal of any of his best wishes.
  • The more opportunities there are in a Society for some persons to live upon the toil of others, and the less those others may enjoy the fruits of their work themselves, the more is diligence killed, the former become insolent, the latter despairing, and both negligent.
  • To rank the effort above the prize may be called love.
  • I say to you: Make perfect your will.
    I say: Take no thought of the harvest,
    But only of proper sowing.
  • The leading rule for the lawyer, as for the man of every other calling, is diligence. Leave nothing for to-morrow which can be done to-day. Never let your correspondence fall behind. Whatever piece of business you have in hand, before stopping, do all the labor pertaining to it which can then be done.
    • Abraham Lincoln, Fragment, Notes for a Law Lecture (1 July 1850), cited in Abraham Lincoln: Complete Works, Comprising his Speeches, Letters, State Papers, and Miscellaneous Writings, Vol. 2 (1894)
  • The plans of the diligent surely lead to success, but all who are hasty surely head for poverty.

Diligence in the law[edit]

  • It is a reasonable presumption that a man who sleeps upon his rights has not got much right.
    • Bowen, L.J., Ex parte Hall; In re Wood (1883), L. R. 23 C. D. 653; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 72.
  • The using of legal diligence is always favoured and shall never turn to the disadvantage of the creditor. The maxim Vigilantibus et non dormientibus succurrunt jura is one of those that we learn on our earliest attendance in Westminster Hall.
    • Heath, J., Cox v. Morgan (1801), 1 Bos. & Pull. 412; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 72.
  • Vigilantibus non dormientibus jura subveniunt: Laws come to the assistance of the vigilant, not of the sleepy.
    • Wing, 692; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 72.

See also[edit]

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