The Quote Garden

 I dig old books.

 Est. 1998

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Quotations about Integrity,
Character, Principle, Honor,
Behavior, Doing the Right Thing

Don't lose your grip upon your conscience. God put it in your breast to act as sentinel over your weaknesses. ~Minna Thomas Antrim (1861–1950), Don'ts for Girls, 1902

The influence of money, of politics, is trivial, compared to the influence of man in his integrity. ~Charles F. Raymond, "You, Sir, Are a Magician," Cheer Up, 1909

Never rob your character to enrich your pocket. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897

It is not to know what to do, but strength to do it, knowing. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "A Soul's Faring: LXXVIII," A Soul's Faring, 1921

The two biggest little words in the English language are the two little words "do right." ~Bob Jones, Sr. (1883–1968)

Whatever you do, do right, my boy;
      Whatever you do, do right.
The reward you'll have's delight, my boy;
      The reward you'll have's delight.
~Sara L. Vickers Oberholtzer, "A Fragment," Souvenirs of Occasions, 1892

Sin is a queer thing. It isn't the breaking of divine commandments. It is the breaking of one's own integrity. ~D. H. Lawrence, "Hawthorne's 'Blithedale Romance,'" Studies in Classic American Literature, 1923

The world is becoming more complicated every day, my fellow citizens. No man ought to be foolish enough to think that he understands it all. And, therefore, I am glad that there are some simple things in the world. One of the simple things is principle. Honesty is a perfectly simple thing. ~Woodrow Wilson, Presidential Address at Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1914 July 4th

Never mind the value of Granddad's dollar in today's money. What about the value of Granddad's word in today's morals? ~Robert Brault,, 2019

How others treat me is their path; how I react is mine. ~Wayne Dyer (1940–2015)

I hate mankind, for I think myself one of the best of them, and I know how bad I am. ~Joseph Baretti, 1766, quoted by James Boswell

Transcend political correctness and strive for human righteousness. ~Anthony J. D'Angelo, The College Blue Book, 1995,

Wisdom is knowing what should be done next. Virtue is doing it. ~David Starr Jordan, "The Social Order," notes from an unpublished lecture, in The Care and Culture of Men, 1896

One does evil enough when one does nothing good. ~German proverb

There is no pillow so soft as a clear conscience. ~French proverb

Do not repeat anything you will not sign your name to. ~Author unknown

Have you yet come across one of the new favourite patent elastic reversible consciences? I have many. ~Charles Searle, Look Here!, 1885

The trouble with an elastic conscience is that it is apt to fly back and sting you. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1906, George Horace Lorimer, editor

Hold integrity sacred. ~"Alphabetical Aphorisms," in The Myrtle, 1884 January 26th

Character is higher than intellect. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Don't pose as a saint, but be a girl of principle, and your light will shine clearly. ~Minna Thomas Antrim (1861–1950), Don'ts for Girls, 1902

Every job is a self-portrait of the person who does it. Autograph your work with excellence. ~Ted Key

Laws control the lesser man. Right conduct controls the greater one. ~Chinese proverb

He who doeth evil steals from his own soul. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897

A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval. ~Mark Twain, "What Is Man?"

If we are ever in doubt what to do, it is a good rule to ask ourselves what we shall wish on the morrow that we had done. ~John Lubbock, "The Happiness of Duty," 1887

I confess I cannot read without squirming those passages in "Great Expectations" where every visitor greeted the small boy by ruffling his hair, and I think most of us can remember without any difficulty and with a flush of joy those extremely rare cases in our own childhood when some grown-up visitor treated us with real, instead of with mock, respect. It is perhaps the final test of a gentleman — his attitude toward children. ~William Lyon Phelps, "Charles Dickens: The Man Who Cheers Us All Up," The Century Magazine, January 1912

Harder even than speaking truth to power is speaking truth to comfort. ~Robert Brault,, 2019

There is one thing more important than anything else, and that is that within there should be a citadel which none can assail, a fortress that can not be carried by assault, that is proof against any kind of attack; and that is the citadel of self-respect.... A man has to live with himself, and he should see to it that he is always in good company. ~Charles E. Hughes (1862–1948), "A Lay Sermon to Young Americans" (address to members of the Young Men's Christian Association of New York, revised by Mr Hughes for publication in Putnam's Monthly, October 1907)

To condone a public injustice is simply to take your place in the line of eventual victims. ~Robert Brault,

He hadn't the timber, the character fiber to stand up and do the thing he knew to be right... The world is full of these jelly-fish people who have not lime enough in their backbone to stand erect, to do the right thing. ~Orison Swett Marden, Making Life a Masterpiece, 1916

If we strengthen not the weary, if we right no wrong,
      If we crush not false with iron hand,
      Bind not truth with golden band,
Give no courage to the doubting, to no loss our gain—
Our strength, our power, is in vain.
~Josephine Butterfield Walcott (1840–1906), "In Vain," 1871

You do not wake up one morning a bad person. It happens by a thousand tiny surrenders of self-respect to self-interest. ~Robert Brault,

With the same zeal that I seek freedom I will avoid trespassing. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Life, 1912

We grow with years more fragile in body, but morally stouter, and can throw off the chill of a bad conscience almost at once. ~Logan Pearsall Smith, 1929

Better keep yourself clean and bright: you are the window through which you must see the world. ~Bernard Shaw

Your word can never be as good as your bond, because your memory can never be as trustworthy as your honor. ~Bernard Shaw

The deepest, purest, sweetest happiness, the peace which passeth all understanding, the joy that is unspeakable, comes from no outward state, it depends on no earthly condition. It springs from the simple, bare consciousness of rectitude in the soul. God has made every man the guardian of his own happiness by making him the keeper of his own conscience. Only be at peace with that clear, calm voice which whispers duty in the soul, and there is no power on earth that can make you miserable. ~Daniel March, "Man Wonderfully Made," Our Father's House, or the Unwritten Word, 1869

There is a point where the evil condoned by otherwise good people begins to strain the meaning of otherwise. ~Robert Brault,, 2019

Character is doing the right thing even when it costs more than you want to pay. ~Michael Josephson,

It matters not what you are thought to be, but what you are. ~Publilius Syrus, 1st century BCE, from the Latin by D. Lyman, 1856

I am,
a king,
because I know how
to rule myself.
~Pietro Aretino, 1537

Ride not on the devil's back to avoid walking in the mud. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897

One advantage of doing the right thing is that you don't usually have to wait your turn. ~Robert Brault,

Doing the right thing doesn't always guarantee a happy ending. ~Being Erica, "Til Death," 2009, teleplay by Jana Sinyor  [S1, E6, Dr. Tom]

What a pity that we can not accomplish our salvation as easily as our damnation. ~J. De Finod

I have fancied myself a rebel, but at every critical moment of my life, I have been exactly the child my parents raised. ~Robert Brault,

People who fight fire with fire end up with only the ashes of their own integrity. ~Michael Josephson,

No one of good character leaves behind a wasted life — whether they die in obscurity or renown.... Your character is what you are to yourself, not what you pretend to be to yourself or others. Although human beings often attempt self-delusion, we cannot forever hide the truth about ourselves from ourselves. It will make itself known to us by means of our conscience despite our most strenuous effort to suppress it. ~John McCain, 1996

God looks at the clean hands, not the full ones. ~Publilius Syrus, 1st century BCE, from the Latin by D. Lyman, 1856

I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to. ~Author unknown

Conscience:  the inner voice which warns us that someone may be looking. ~H. L. Mencken, A Little Book in C Major, 1916

The reputation of a thousand years may be determined by the conduct of one hour. ~Japanese proverb

It is a joy to curse a wrong. ~Adolf Wolff (1883–1944), "The Proem," Songs, Sighs and Curses, 1913

There is an ongoing battle between conscience and self-interest in which, at some point, we have to take sides. ~Robert Brault, assured, Sir, that no motive could induce me at this time to make this declaration so gratuitously, were it not founded in sacred truth, and I will add further that I never did, or countenanced, in public life, a single act inconsistent with the strictest good faith, having never believed there was one code of morality for a public, & another for a private man. ~Thomas Jefferson, letter to Valentín de Foronda, 1809

A good conscience never utters mere lip-prayers. ~Publilius Syrus, 1st century BCE, from the Latin by D. Lyman, 1856

It's discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit. ~Noël Coward, Blithe Spirit: An Improbable Farce in Three Acts, 1941

There can never be an overplus of honorable actions. ~Publilius Syrus, 1st century BCE, from the Latin by D. Lyman, 1856

Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either — but right through every human heart — and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. ~Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn

How great a matter is it to deserve praise, though we do not receive it! ~Publilius Syrus, 1st century BCE, from the Latin by D. Lyman, 1856

It is a mistake to suppose that every man who succeeds in keeping out of jail is going to get into Heaven. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1904, George Horace Lorimer, editor

Men are not punished for their sins, but by them. ~Elbert Hubbard, 1899

One of the "lost arts" is that of minding one's own business. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

Sometimes, to do the right thing, we must keep a promise we never made. ~Robert Brault,

Often confession is owning up when you are sure to be caught. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1906, George Horace Lorimer, editor

Round and round the race-course of sin
Satan follows those who follow him.
~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897

Values are good things only if they are good values. ~Michael Josephson,

It's impossible to be loyal to your family, your friends, your country, and your principles, all at the same time. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1963

There is only one way to achieve happiness on this terrestrial ball,
And that is to have either a clear conscience, or none at all.
~Ogden Nash (1902–1971), "Inter-Office Memorandum"

Consequences are unpitying. Our deeds carry their terrible consequences, quite apart from any fluctuations that went before—consequences that are hardly ever confined to ourselves. And it is best to fix our minds on that certainty, instead of considering what may be the elements of excuse for us. ~George Eliot, Adam Bede

Frequently the man higher up gets there by low-down methods. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1906, George Horace Lorimer, editor

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, not forgetting to leave others be as you would have them leave you be. ~Robert Brault,

CONSCIENCE  The fear of being found out. ~Charles Wayland Towne, The Foolish Dictionary, Executed by Gideon Wurdz, Master of Pholly, Doctor of Loquacious Lunacy, etc., 1904

God may forgive your sins, but your nervous system won't. ~Alfred Korzybski

You must question a code of ethics that never impedes your progress. ~Robert Brault,

What is right is often forgotten by what is convenient. ~Bodie Thoene, Warsaw Requiem, 1991, as quoted by The Reader's Digest, 1996

A man may be born a jackass; but it is his business if he makes himself a double one. ~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)

The glitter of sin
Is Satan's grin.
~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

A useful statute of limitations might be on how long you can just stand by and still be considered an innocent bystander. ~Robert Brault,

A good conscience is a foretaste of heaven. ~Josh Billings (Henry Wheeler Shaw, 1818–1885)  [spelling standardized —tg]

My dear Arnold, we all hope that you have before you a distinguished political career. You can't learn too soon that the most useful thing about a principle is that it can always be sacrificed to expediency. ~W. Somerset Maugham

We are sinners by nature, but much more so by practice. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), "Human Life," Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

You can't escape moral judgment through a legal loop hole. ~Michael Josephson,

Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to. ~Mark Twain

The universe seems bankrupt as soon as we begin to discuss the character of individuals. ~Henry David Thoreau

I shall not judge the ones I see in sin...
I shall not judge; for who am I to judge?!
For I, myself, am far from perfect, too!
So, God, I place each child of Thine in love;
For there is no one perfect, Lord, but you!
~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham, "I Shall Not Judge," 1940s

What is left when honor is lost? ~Publilius Syrus, 1st century BCE, from the Latin by D. Lyman, 1856

But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
~William Shakespeare, Henry V, c.1598  [IV, 3, Henry V]

What you allow, you encourage. ~Michael Josephson,

When you choose the lesser of two evils, always remember that it is still an evil. ~Max Lerner, "Politics and the Connective Tissue," 1945

There are loose screws in the character of some men which invite the immediate application of a large moral screwdriver. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

Have no fear of robbers or murderers. They are external dangers, petty dangers. We should fear ourselves. Prejudices are the real robbers; vices the real murders. The great dangers are within us. Why worry about what threatens our heads or purses? Let us think instead of what threatens our souls. ~Victor Hugo, Les Misérables, 1862, a new unabridged translation by Lee Fahnestock and Norman MacAfee, 1987, based on the classic Charles E. Wilbour translation

Conscience is what hurts when everything else feels so good. ~Author unknown, 1940s

Be careful of selfish motives. You can mistake them for principles and end up dying for them. ~Robert Brault,

I was so hungry. It was against my principles, but I find that principles have no real force except when one is well fed... ~Mark Twain

"They're certainly entitled to think that, and they're entitled to full respect for their opinions," said Atticus, "but before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience. ~Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, 1960

Each of you, for himself, by himself and on his own responsibility, must speak. And it is a solemn and weighty responsibility, and not lightly to be flung aside at the bullying of pulpit, press, government, or the empty catch-phrases of politicians. Each must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, and which course is patriotic and which isn't. You cannot shirk this and be a man. To decide it against your convictions is to be an unqualified and inexcusable traitor, both to yourself and to your country, let men label you as they may. If you alone of all the nation shall decide on way, and that way be the right way according to your convictions of the right, you have done your duty by yourself and by your country—hold up your head. ~Mark Twain

Whether you end up in heaven or hell, it's not God's plan it's your own. ~Cowboys & Aliens, 2011, written by Orci, Kurtzman, Lindelof, Fergus, & Ostby

The more things a man is ashamed of, the more respectable he is. ~Bernard Shaw

For us, it starts with One Rule: Use Good Judgment In All Situations. ~Nordstrom Code of Business Conduct and Ethics,

...integrity has no need of rules. ~Albert Camus, "The Absurd Man"

I'll tell you a big secret, my dear. Don't wait for the Last Judgment. It takes place every day. ~Albert Camus, The Fall, 1956, translated from French

If, when done, you'd wish none knew it,
      Don't do it!
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Secrets," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924

Take care that no one hates you justly. ~Publilius Syrus, 1st century BCE

It is curious — curious that physical courage should be so common in the world, and moral courage so rare. ~Mark Twain

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. ~Martin Luther King, Jr., 1958

Little boldness is needed to assail the opinions and practices of notoriously wicked men; but to rebuke great and good men for their conduct, and to impeach their discernment, is the highest effort of moral courage. ~William Lloyd Garrison, Thoughts on African Colonization, 1832

You ought to have fully and clearly in your own mind a good reason for everything you do, for everything you learn, for everything you eat, for everything you drink. ~Alice Price, 1883

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Last saved 2024 May 12 Sun 21:04 CDT