George Bancroft


American Historian and Statesman, U.S. Secretary of the Navy, Prominent in promoting Secondary Education

Author Quotes

At the foot of every page in the annals of nations may be written, "God reigns." Events as they pass away proclaim their original; and if you will but listen reverently, you may hear the receding centuries, as they roll into the dim distances of departed time, perpetually chanting "Te Deum Laudamus," with all the choral voices of the countless congregations of the age.

Style is the gossamer on which the seeds of truth float through the world.

Truth is not exciting enough to those who depend on the characters and lives of their neighbors for all their amusement.

Where the people possess no authority, their rights obtain no respect.

The exact measure of the progress of civilization is the degree in which the intelligence of the common mind has prevailed over wealth and brute force.

If reason is a universal faculty, the decision of the common mind is the nearest criterion of truth.

Avarice is the vice of declining years.

Beauty is but the sensible image of the Infinite. Like truth and justice it lives within us; like virtue and the moral law it is a companion of the soul.

Ennui is the desire of activity without the fit means of gratifying the desire.

Sedition is bred in the lap of luxury and its chosen emissaries are the beggared spendthrift and the impoverished libertine.

So grasping is dishonesty, that it is no respecter of persons; it will cheat friends as well as foes; and were it possible, would cheat even God Himself.

The best government rests on the people, and not on the few, on persons and not on property, on the free development of public opinion and not on authority.

Beauty, like truth and justice, lives within us; like virtue, and like moral law, it is a companion of the soul.

Conscience is the mirror of our souls, which represents the errors of our lives in their full shape.

Falsehood and death are synonymous.

The prejudices of ignorance are more easily removed than the prejudices of interest; the first are all blindly adopted, the second willfully preferred.

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American Historian and Statesman, U.S. Secretary of the Navy, Prominent in promoting Secondary Education