Scottish Judge, Advocate, Philosopher, Writer and Agricultural Improver
"An infallible way to make your child miserable is to satisfy all his demands. Passion swells by gratification; and the impossibility of satisfying every one of his wishes will oblige you to stop short at last after he has become headstrong."
"Great wants proceed from great wealth; but they are undutiful children, for they sink wealth down to poverty."
"Men are guided less by conscience than by glory; and yet the shortest way to glory is to be guided by conscience."
"No man ever did a designed injury to another, but at the same time he did a greater to himself."
"Nothing so uncertain as general reputation. A man injures me from humor, passion, or interest; hates me because he has injured me; and speaks ill of me because he hates me."
"Resentment is, in every stage of the passion, painful, but it is not disagreeable, unless in excess; pity is always painful, yet always agreeable; vanity, on the contrary, is always pleasant, yet always disagreeable."
"Ridicule, which chiefly arises from pride, a selfish passion, is but at best a gross pleasure, too rough an entertainment for those who are highly polished and refined."
"We part more easily with what we possess, than with our expectations of what we wish for; because expectation always goes beyond enjoyment."
"When you descant on the faults of others, consider whether you be not guilty of the same. To gain knowledge of ourselves, the best way is to convert the imperfections of others into a mirror for discovering our own."
"A rich man cannot enjoy a sound mind nor a sound body without exercise and abstinence; and yet these are truly the worst ingredients of poverty. "
"The difficulty is not that great to die for a friend, the hard part is finding a friend worth dying for. "
"Custom is the great leveller. It corrects the inequality of fortune by lessening equally the pleasures of the prince and the pains of the peasant."
"Genius is allied to a warm and inflammable constitution, delicacy of taste to calmness and sedateness. Hence it is common to find genius in one who is a prey to every passion; but seldom delicacy of taste. Upon a man possessed of this blessing, the moral duties, no less than the fine arts, make a deep impression, and counterbalance every irregular desire; at the same time, a temper calm and sedate is not easily moved, even by a strong temptation."
"Logic is the art of thinking well: the mind, like the body, requires to be trained before it can use its power in the most advantageous way."