William Godwin quotes

  • If he who employs coercion against me could mould me to his purposes by argument, no doubt he would. He pretends to punish me because his argument is strong; but he really punishes me because his argument is weak.
    -- William Godwin

    #Strong #Doubt #Purpose

  • He that loves reading has everything within his reach.
    -- William Godwin

    #Reading #Book #Love Of Reading

  • Revolution is engendered by an indignation with tyranny, yet is itself pregnant with tyranny.
    -- William Godwin

    #Revolution #Tyranny #Pregnant

  • Whenever government assumes to deliver us from the trouble of thinking for ourselves, the only consequences it produces are those of torpor and imbecility.
    -- William Godwin

    #Thinking #Government #Assuming

  • Above all we should not forget that government is an evil, a usurpation upon the private judgement and individual conscience of mankind.
    -- William Godwin

    #Government #Evil #Judgement

  • As long as parents and teachers in general shall fall under the established rule, it is clear that politics and modes of government will educate and infect us all. They poison our minds, before we can resist, or so much as suspect their malignity. Like the barbarous directors of the Eastern seraglios, they deprive us of our vitality, and fit us for their despicable employment from the cradle.
    -- William Godwin

    #Teacher #Fall #Government

  • Government will not fail to employ education, to strengthen its hands and perpetuate its institutions.
    -- William Godwin

    #School #Hands #Government

  • The cause of justice is the cause of humanity. Its advocates should overflow with universal good will. We should love this cause, for it conduces to the general happiness of mankind.
    -- William Godwin

    #Love #Happiness #Justice

  • As the true object of education is not to render the pupil the mere copy of his preceptor, it is rather to be rejoiced in, than lamented, that various reading should lead him into new trains of thinking.
    -- William Godwin

    #Reading #Thinking #Should

  • The great model of the affection of love in human beings is the sentiment which subsists between parents and children.
    -- William Godwin

    #Children #Parent #Sentimental

  • The philosophy of the wisest man that ever existed, is mainly derived from the act of introspection.
    -- William Godwin

    #Philosophy #Men #Introspection

  • One of the prerogatives by which man is eminently distinguished from all other living beings inhabiting this globe of earth, consists in the gift of reason.
    -- William Godwin

    #Men #Earth #Reason

  • The most desirable mode of education, is that which is careful that all the acquisitions of the pupil shall be preceded and accompanied by desire . . . The boy, like the man, studies because he desires it. He proceeds upon a plan of is own invention, or by which, by adopting, he has made his own. Everything bespeaks independence and inequality.
    -- William Godwin

    #Boys #Men #Independence

  • We cannot perform our tasks to the best of our power, unless we think well of our own capacity.
    -- William Godwin

    #Thinking #Tasks #Capacity

  • My thoughts will be taken up with the future or the past, with what is to come or what has been. Of the present there is necessarily no image.
    -- William Godwin

    #Taken #Past #My Thoughts

  • It is probable that there is no one thing that it is of eminent importance for a child to learn.
    -- William Godwin

    #Children #Importance

  • God himself has no right to be a tyrant.
    -- William Godwin

    #Tyrants

  • Let us not, in the eagerness of our haste to educate, forget all the ends of education.
    -- William Godwin

    #Education #Haste #Forget

  • Power is not happiness.
    -- William Godwin

    #Evil #Good And Evil

  • The proper method for hastening the decay of error is by teaching every man to think for himself.
    -- William Godwin

    #Teaching #Men #Thinking

  • It is probable that there is no one thing that it is of eminent importance for a child to learn. The true object of juvenile education, is to provide, against the age of five and twenty, a mind well regulated, active, and prepared to learn. Whatever will inspire habits of industry and observation, will sufficiently answer this purpose.
    -- William Godwin

    #Children #Inspire #Mind

  • Study with desire is real activity; without desire it is but the semblance and mockery of activity.
    -- William Godwin

    #Real #Desire #Study

  • Duty is that mode of action on the part of the individual which constitutes the best possible application of his capacity to the general benefit.
    -- William Godwin

    #Benefits #Action #Individual

  • Hereditary wealth is in reality a premium paid to idleness.
    -- William Godwin

    #Reality #Wealth #Premium

  • Literature, taken in all its bearings, forms the grand line of demarcation between the human and the animal kingdoms.
    -- William Godwin

    #Taken #Animal #Literature

  • In a well-written book we are presented with the maturest reflections, or the happiest flights of a mind of uncommon excellence. It is impossible that we can be much accustomed to such companions without attaining some resemblance to them.
    -- William Godwin

    #Book #Reflection #Mind

  • He has no right to his life when his duty calls him to resign it. Other men are bound ... to deprive him of life or liberty, if that should appear in any case to be indispensably necessary to prevent a greater evil.
    -- William Godwin

    #Men #Evil #Atheism

  • There is no sphere in which a human being can be supposed to act where one mode of reasoning will not, in every given instance, be more reasonable than any other mode. That mode the being is bound by every principle of justice to pursue.
    -- William Godwin

    #Justice #Atheism #Spheres

  • By right, as the word is employed in this subject, has always been understood discretion, that is, a full and complete power of either doing a thing or omitting it, without the person's becoming liable to animadversion or censure from another, that is, in other words, without his incurring any degree of turpitude or guilt. Now in this sense I affirm that man has no rights, no discretionary power whatever.
    -- William Godwin

    #Men #Rights #Guilt

  • The real or supposed rights of man are of two kinds, active and passive; the right in certain cases to do as we list; and the right we possess to the forbearance or assistance of other men. The first of these a just philosophy will probably induce us universally to explode.
    -- William Godwin

    #Real #Philosophy #Men

  • Revolution is engendered by an indignation with tyranny, yet is itself pregnant with tyranny.... An attempt to scrutinize men's thoughts and punish their opinions is of all kinds of despotism the most odious: yet this is peculiarly character of a period of revolution.... There is no period more at war with the existence of liberty.
    -- William Godwin

    #War #Character #Men

  • Obey; this may be right; but beware of reverence.... Government is nothing but regulated force; force is its appropriate claim upon your attention. It is the business of individuals to persuade; the tendency of concentrated strength, is only to give consistency and permanence to an influence more compendious than persuasion.
    -- William Godwin

    #Government #Giving #Consistency

  • A celebrated north country apostle, who, after Calvin had damned ninety-nine in a hundred of mankind, had contrived a scheme for damning ninety-nine in a hundred of the followers of Calvin.
    -- William Godwin

    #Country #Atheism #Followers

  • All education is despotism. It is perhaps impossible for the young to be conducted without introducing in many cases the tyranny implicit in obedience. Go there; do that; read; write; rise; lie down - will perhaps forever be the language addressed to youth by age.
    -- William Godwin

    #Lying #Writing #Forever

  • Revolutions are the produce of passion, not of sober and tranquil reason.
    -- William Godwin

    #Passion #Revolution #Quiet

  • What can be more clear and sound in explanation, than the love of a parent to his child?
    -- William Godwin

    #Children #Parent #Sound

  • If ever there was a book calculated to make a man in love with its author, this appears to me to be the book,
    -- William Godwin

    #Book #Men

  • Everything understood by the term co-operation is in some sense an evil.
    -- William Godwin

    #Evil #Operations #Term

  • Every man has a certain sphere of discretion which he has a right to expect shall not be infringed by his neighbours. This right flows from the very nature of man.
    -- William Godwin

    #Men #Flow #Spheres

  • Invisible things are the only realities; invisible things alone are the things that shall remain.
    -- William Godwin

    #Reality #Invisible

  • He that revels in a well-chosen library has inumerable dishes, and all of admirable flavor.
    -- William Godwin

    #Library #Flavor #Dishes

  • The subtleties of mathematics defecate the grossness of our apprehension, and supply the elements of a sounder and severer logic.
    -- William Godwin

    #Statistics #Elements #Logic

  • Of Belief Human mathematics, so to speak, like the length of life, are subject to the doctrine of chances.
    -- William Godwin

    #Statistics #Doctrine #Belief

  • Self-respect to be nourished in the mind of the pupil, is one of the most valuable results of a well conducted education.
    -- William Godwin

    #Self #Mind #Statistics

  • Books gratify and excite our curiosity in innumerable ways.
    -- William Godwin

    #Book #Curiosity #Way

  • Books are the depositary of everything that is most honourable to man.
    -- William Godwin

    #Book #Men #Lovers

  • My mind was bursting with depression and anguish. I muttered imprecations and murmuring as I passed along. I was full of loathing and abhorrence of life, and all that life carries in its train.
    -- William Godwin

    #Depression #Mind #Loathing

  • Government can have no more than two legitimate purposes - the suppression of injustice against individuals within the community, and the common defense against external invasion.
    -- William Godwin

    #Two #Government #Community

  • Make men wise, and by that very operation you make them free. Civil liberty follows as a consequence of this; no usurped power can stand against the artillery of opinion.
    -- William Godwin

    #Wise #Men #Liberty

  • Whenever truth stands in the mind unaccompanied by the evidence upon which it depends, it cannot properly be said to be apprehended at all.
    -- William Godwin

    #Science #Mind #Said

  • It is absurd to expect the inclinations and wishes of two human beings to coincide, through any long period of time. To oblige them to act and live together is to subject them to some inevitable potion of thwarting, bickering, and unhappiness.
    -- William Godwin

    #Two #Long #Together

  • Learning is the ally, not the adversary of genius... he who reads in a proper spirit, can scarcely read too much.
    -- William Godwin

    #Genius #Too Much #Allies

  • The execution of any thing considerable implies in the first place previous persevering meditation.
    -- William Godwin

    #Meditation #Execution #Firsts

  • Our judgment will always suspect those weapons that can be used with equal prospect of success on both sides.
    -- William Godwin

    #Peace #Weapons #Sides

  • Perseverance is an active principle, and cannot continue to operate but under the influence of desire.
    -- William Godwin

    #Perseverance #Desire #Principles

  • I shall attempt to prove two things: first, that the actions and dispositions of mankind are the offspring of circumstances and events, and not of any original determination that they bring into the world; and, secondly, that the great stream of our voluntary actions essentially depends, not upon the direct and immediate impulses of sense, but upon the decisions of the understanding.
    -- William Godwin

    #Determination #Two #Decision

  • The lessons of their early youth regulated the conduct of their riper years.
    -- William Godwin

    #Years #Lessons #Youth

  • Power is not happiness. Security and peace are more to be desired than a man at which nations tremble.
    -- William Godwin

    #Power #Men #Security

  • But the watchful care of the parent is endless. The youth is never free from the danger of grating interference.
    -- William Godwin

    #Parent #Care #Youth

  • There must be room for the imagination to exercise its powers; we must conceive and apprehend a thousand things which we do not actually witness.
    -- William Godwin

    #Workout #Exercise #Imagination

  • What indeed is life, unless so far as it is enjoyed? It does not merit the name.
    -- William Godwin

    #Names #Merit #Doe

  • The diligent scholar is he that loves himself, and desires to have reason to applaud and love himself.
    -- William Godwin

    #Desire #And Love #Reason

  • If there be such a thing as truth, it must infallibly be struck out by the collision of mind with mind.
    -- William Godwin

    #Mind #Collision

  • Perfectibility is one of the most unequivocal characteristics of the human species.
    -- William Godwin

    #Unequivocal #Characteristics #Species

  • If admiration were not generally deemed the exclusive property of the rich, and contempt the constant lackey of poverty, the love of gain would cease to be an universal problem.
    -- William Godwin

    #Gains #Poverty #Admiration

  • Justice is the sum of all moral duty.
    -- William Godwin

    #Justice #Moral #Duty

  • The first duty of man is to take none of the principles of conduct upon trust; to do nothing without a clear and individual conviction that it is right to be done.
    -- William Godwin

    #Men #Done #Firsts

  • We are so curiously made that one atom put in the wrong place in our original structure will often make us unhappy for life.
    -- William Godwin

    #Unhappy #Body #Atoms

  • There can be no passion, and by consequence no love, where there is not imagination.
    -- William Godwin

    #Passion #Imagination #Consequence

  • In cases where every thing is understood, and measured, and reduced to rule, love is out of the question.
    -- William Godwin

    #Love Is #Cases #Understood

  • The proper method for hastening the decay of error, is not, by brute force, or by regulation which is one of the classes of force, to endeavour to reduce men to intellectual uniformity; but on the contrary by teaching every man to think for himself.
    -- William Godwin

    #Teaching #Men #Thinking

  • To conceive that compulsion and punishment are the proper means of reformation is the sentiment of a barbarian.
    -- William Godwin

    #Mean #Punishment #Barbarians

  • No man must encroach upon my province, nor I upon his. He may advise me, moderately and without pertinaciousness, but he must not expect to dictate to me. He may censure me freely and without reserve; but he should remember that I am to act by my deliberation and not his. I ought to exercise my talents for the benefit of others; but that exercise must be the fruit of my own conviction; no man must attempt to press me into the service.
    -- William Godwin

    #Exercise #Men #Benefits

  • Man is the only creature we know, that, when the term of his natural life is ended, leaves the memory of himself behind him.
    -- William Godwin

    #Memories #Men #Life Is