Our fathers founded the first secular government that was ever founded in this world. Recollect that. The first secular government - the first government that said every church has exactly the same rights and no more; every religion has the same rights, and no more.
Nature is filled with tendencies and obstructions. Extremes beget limitations, even as a river by its own swiftness creates obstructions for itself.
So far as I am concerned, I think more of reasons than of reputations, more of principles than of persons, more of nature than of names, more of facts than of faiths.
There is a quiet about the life of a farmer, and the hope of a serene old age, that no other business or profession can promise.
The great man who gives a true transcript of his mind fascinates and instructs. Most writers suppress individuality. They wish to please the public.
Voltaire lighted a torch and gave to others the sacred flame. The light still shines and will as long as man loves liberty and seeks for truth.
When men are prosperous, they are in love with life. Nature grows beautiful, the arts begin to flourish, there is work for painter and sculptor, the poet is born, the stage is erected - and this life with which men are in love is represented in a thousand forms.
If I owe Smith ten dollars and God forgives me, that doesn't pay Smith.
Every religion in the world has denounced every other religion as a fraud. That proves to me that they all tell the truth - about others.
The religion that has to be supported by law is without value, not only, but a fraud and a curse. The religious argument that has to be supported by a musket is hardly worth making.
When the will defies fear, when duty throws the gauntlet down to fate, when honor scorns to compromise with death - that is heroism.
In every age in which books have been produced, the governing class, the respectable, have been opposed to the works of real genius.
How poor this world would be without its graves, without the memories of its mighty dead. Only the voiceless speak forever.
The great poet is a great artist. He is painter and sculptor. The greatest pictures and statues have been painted and chiseled with words. They outlast all others.
If the guardians of society, the protectors of 'young persons,' could have had their way, we should have known nothing of Byron or Shelley. The voices that thrill the world would now be silent.
It has been said that a man of genius should select his ancestors with great care - and yet there does not seem to be as much in heredity as most people think. The children of the great are often small.
You need not go back four thousand years for heroines. The world is filled with them today. They do not belong to any nation, nor to any religion, nor exclusively to any race. Wherever woman is found, they are found.
Shakespeare pursued the highway of the right. He did not seek to put his characters in a position where it was right to do wrong.
In our era, the road to holiness necessarily passes through the world of action.
As long as the people persist in voting for or against men on account of their religious views, just so long will hypocrisy hold place and power.