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Thomas Henry Huxley
1825 - 1895

Esteemed British scientist of the Victorian era. Huxley was a pioneer (against religious autocrats such as Bishop Wilberforce and other clergy of his time) of the probing, non-dogmatic science practice that produced the scientific explosion of the 20th century. Credited with coining the word "agnostic", Huxley defied long-standing dogma and sought to explain the world with provable facts. Though best remembered for his controversial support for Darwinian theory (he famously called himself "Darwin's bulldog") he contributed to the teaching and exploration of many frontiers of science. Author of Man's Place in Nature (1863) and others.

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Selections from the Essays (1948)
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... the ideal of the ethical man is to limit his freedom of action to a sphere in which he does not interfere with the freedom of others; he seeks the common weal as much as his own; and, indeed, as an essential part of his own welfare. ... He tries to escape from his place in the animal kingdom, founded on the free development of the principle of non-moral evolution, and to establish a kingdom of Man, governed upon the principle of moral evolution. For society not only has a moral end, but in its perfection, social life, is embodied morality.

1894 - from Collected Essays IX: Evolution and Ethics, and Other Essays
It is enough for all the practical purposes of human existence if we find that our trust in the representations of consciousness is verified by results...

1893 - from Collected Essays I: Method and Results
Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not; it is the first lesson that ought to be learned...

1893 - from Collected Essays III: Science and Education
No slavery can be abolished without a double emancipation, and the master will benefit by freedom more than the freed man.

1893 - from Collected Essays III: Science and Education
In an ideal University, ... the force of living example should fire the student with a noble ambition to emulate the learning of learned men, and to follow m the footsteps of the explorers of new fields of knowledge. And the very air he breathes should be charged with that enthusiasm for truth, that fanaticism of veracity, which is a greater possession than much learning; a nobler gift than the power of increasing knowledge, by so much greater and nobler than these, as the moral nature of man is greater than the intellectual; for veracity is the heart of morality.

1893 - from Collected Essays III: Science and Education
That State action always has been more or less misdirected, and always will be so, is, I believe, perfectly true.

1894 - from Collected Essays IX: Evolution and Ethics, and Other Essays
The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, skepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin.

1893 - from Collected Essays I: Method and Results
Fact I know; and Law I know; but what is this Necessity, save an empty shadow of my own mind's throwing?

1893 - from Collected Essays I: Method and Results
Patience and tenacity of purpose are worth more than twice their weight of cleverness.

1893 - from Collected Essays III: Science and Education
Our sole chance of succeeding in a competition, which must constantly become more and more severe, is that our people shall not only have the knowledge and the skill which are required, but that they shall have the will and the energy and the honesty, without which neither knowledge nor skill can be of any permanent avail.

1893 - from Collected Essays III: Science and Education
All artificial education ought to be an anticipation of natural education.

1893 - from Collected Essays III: Science and Education
There is no sea more dangerous than the ocean of practical politics–none in which there is more need of good pilotage and of a single, unfaltering purpose when the waves rise high.

1893 - from Collected Essays I: Method and Results
The very existence of society depends on the fact that every member of it tacitly admits that he is not the exclusive possessor of himself, and that he admits the claim of the polity of which he forms a part, to act, to some extent, as his master.

1893 - from Collected Essays I: Method and Results
It is not a question whether one order of study or another should predominate. It is a question of what topics of education you shall elect which will combine all the needful elements in such due proportion as to give the greatest amount of food, support, and encouragement to those faculties which enable us to appreciate truth, and to profit by those sources of innocent happiness which are open to us, and, at the same time, to avoid that which is bad, and coarse, and ugly, and keep clear of the multitude of pitfalls and dangers which beset those who break through the natural or moral laws.

1893 - from Collected Essays III: Science and Education
The saying that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing is, to my mind, a very dangerous adage. ... if a little knowledge is dangerous, where is the man who has so much as to be out of danger?

1893 - from Collected Essays III: Science and Education
Next to being right in this world, the best of all things is to be clearly and definitely wrong, because you will come out somewhere. If you go buzzing about between right and wrong, vibrating and fluctuating, you come out nowhere; but if you are absolutely and thoroughly and persistently wrong, you must some of these days, have the extreme good fortune of knocking your head against a fact, and that sets you all straight again.

1893 - from Collected Essays III: Science and Education
Truth is great, certainly, but, considering her greatness, it is curious what a long time she is apt to take about prevailing.

1894 - from Collected Essays VII: Man's Place in Nature
There are men ... to whom the satisfaction of throwing down a triumphant fallacy is as great as that which attends the discovery of a new truth; who feel better satisfied with the government of the world, when they have been helping Providence by knocking an imposture on the head; and who care even more for freedom of thought than for mere advance of knowledge. These man are the Carnots who organise victory for truth, and they are, at least, as important as the generals who visibly fight her battles in the field.

1893 - from Collected Essays III: Science and Education
... every man who has any regard to his own happiness and welfare, will find his best reward in the practice of every moral duty.

1894 - from Collected Essays VI: Hume, With Helps to the Study of Berkeley
The doctrine that all men are, in any sense, or have been, at any time, free and equal, is an utterly baseless fiction.

1893 - from Collected Essays I: Method and Results
There is another fallacy which appears to me to pervade the so-called "ethics of evolution." It is the notion that because, on the whole, animals and plants have advanced in perfection of organization by means of the struggle for existence and the consequent "survival of the fittest"; therefore men in society, men as ethical beings, must look to the same process to help them towards perfection. I suspect that this fallacy has arisen out of the unfortunate ambiguity of the phrase "survival of the fittest." "Fittest" has a connotation of "best" and about "best" there hangs a moral flavour. In cosmic nature, however, what is "fittest" depends upon the conditions.

1894 - from Collected Essays IX: Evolution and Ethics, and Other Essays
The individuals of a species are like the crew of a foundered ship, and none but good swimmers have a chance of reaching the land.

1893 - from Collected Essays II: Darwiniana
Those who take honours in Nature's university, who learn the laws which govern men and things and obey them, are the really great and successful men in this world. The great mass of mankind are the "Poll," who pick up just enough to get through without much discredit.

1893 - from Collected Essays III: Science and Education
... [man should be] content to follow reason and fact in singleness and honesty of purpose, wherever they may lead, in the sure faith that a hell of honest men will, to him, be more endurable than a paradise full of angelic shams

1893 - from Collected Essays II: Darwiniana
In whichever way we look at the matter, morality is based on feeling, not on reason; though reason alone is competent to trace out the effects of our actions and thereby dictate conduct. Justice is founded on the love of one's neighbour; and goodness is a kind of beauty. The moral law, like the laws of physical nature, rests in the long run upon instinctive intuitions, and is neither more nor less "innate" and "necessary" than they are.

1894 - from Collected Essays VI: Hume, With Helps to the Study of Berkeley
There is not throughout Nature a law of wider application than this, that a body impelled by two forces takes the direction of their resultant.

1893 - from Collected Essays II: Darwiniana
What would become of the garden if the gardener treated all the weeds and slugs and birds and trespassers as he would like to be treated if he were in their place?

1894 - from Collected Essays IX: Evolution and Ethics, and Other Essays
The only question which any wise man can ask himself, and which any honest man will ask himself is whether a doctrine is true or false.

1893 - from Collected Essays I: Method and Results
I take it that the good of mankind means the attainment, by every man, of all the happiness which he can enjoy without diminishing the happiness of his fellow men.

1893 - from Collected Essays I: Method and Results
Who shall count the host of weaker men whose sense of truth has been destroyed in the effort to harmonize impossibilities...

1893 - from Collected Essays II: Darwiniana
It is the customary fate of new truths to begin as heresies and to end as superstitions.

1880 - from The Coming of Age of The Origin of Species
All truth, in the long run, is only common sense clarified.

1893 - from Collected Essays III: Science and Education
Logical consequences are the scarecrows of fools and the beacons of wise men.

1893 - from Collected Essays I: Method and Results
Science commits suicide when it adopts a creed.

1893 - from Collected Essays II: Darwiniana
There is but one right, and the possibilities of wrong are infinite.

1893 - from Collected Essays III: Science and Education
The struggle for existence holds as much in the intellectual as in the physical world. A theory is a species of thinking, and its right to exist is coextensive with its power of resisting extinction by its rivals.

1893 - from Collected Essays II: Darwiniana
Irrationally held truths may be more harmful than reasoned errors.

There is no falsity so gross that honest men ... anxious to promote a good cause, will not lend themselves to it without any clear consciousness of the moral bearings of what they are doing.

1893 - from Collected Essays V: Science and Christian Tradition
I think it must be obvious to every one that, whether we consider the internal or the external interests of society, it is desirable they should be in the hands of those who are endowed with the largest share of energy, of industry, of intellectual capacity, of tenacity of purpose, while they are not devoid of sympathetic humanity; and, in so far as the struggle for the means of enjoyment tends to place such men in possession of wealth and influence, it is a process which tends to the good of society.

1894 - from Collected Essays IX: Evolution and Ethics, and Other Essays
What is the purpose of primary intellectual education? I apprehend that its first object is to train the young in the use of those tools wherewith men extract knowledge from the ever-shifting succession of phenomena which pass before their eyes; and that its second object is to inform them of the fundamental laws which have been found by experience to govern the course of things, so that they may not be turned out into the world naked, defenceless, and a prey to the events they might control.

1894 - from Collected Essays VIII: Discourses, Biological and Geological
Education promises peace by teaching men the realities of life and the obligations which are involved in the every existence of society; it promotes intellectual development, not only by training the individual intellect, but by sifting out from the masses of ordinary or inferior capacities, those who are competent to increase the general welfare by occupying higher positions; and, lastly, it promotes morality and refinement, by teaching men to discipline themselves, and by leading them to see that the highest, as it is the only permanent, content is to be attained, not by grovelling in the rank and steaming valleys of sense, but by continual striving towards those high peaks, where, resting in eternal calm, reason discerns the undefined but bright ideal of the highest Good–'a cloud by day, a pillar of fire by night.'

1893 - from Collected Essays I: Method and Results
The practice of that which is ethically best–what we call goodness or virtue–involves a course of conduct which, in all respects, is opposed to that which leads to success in the cosmic struggle for existence. In place of ruthless self-assertion it demands self-restraint; in place of thrusting aside, or treading down, all competitors, it requires that the individual shall not merely respect, but shall help his fellows; its influence is directed, not so much to the survival of the fittest, as to the fitting of as many as possible to survive. It repudiates the gladiatorial theory of existence. It demands that each man who enters into the enjoyment of the advantages of a polity shall be mindful of his debt to those who have laboriously constructed it; and shall take heed that no act of his weakens the fabric in which he has been permitted to live. Laws and moral precepts are directed to the end of curbing the cosmic process and reminding the individual of his duty to the community, to the protection and influence of which he owes, if not existence itself, at least the life of something better than a brutal savage.

1894 - from Collected Essays IX: Evolution and Ethics, and Other Essays
Whatever practical people may say, this world is, after all, absolutely governed by ideas, and very often by the wildest and most hypothetical ideas. It is a matter of the very greatest importance that our theories of things, and even of things that seem a long way apart from our daily lives, should be as far as possible true, and as far as possible removed from error.

1893 - from Collected Essays III: Science and Education
From very low forms up to the highest - in the animal no less than in the vegetable kingdom - the process of life presents the same appearance of cyclical evolution. Nay, we have but to cast our eyes over the rest of the world and cyclical change presents itself on all sides. It meets us in the water that flows to the sea and returns to the springs; in the heavenly bodies that wax and wane, go and return to their places; in the inexorable sequence of the ages of man's life; in that successive rise, apogee, and fall of dynasties and of states which is the most prominent topic of civil history.

1894 - from Collected Essays IX: Evolution and Ethics, and Other Essays
The foundation of morality is to ... give up pretending to believe that for which there is no evidence, and repeating unintelligible propositions about things beyond the possibilities of knowledge.

The man of science has learned to believe in justification, not by faith, but by verification.

1893 - from Collected Essays I: Method and Results
The higher the state of civilization, the more completely do the actions of one member of the social body influence all the rest, and the less possible is it for any one man to do a wrong thing without interfering, more or less, with the freedom of all his fellow-citizens.

1893 - from Collected Essays I: Method and Results
The first-recorded judicial murder of a scientific thinker was compassed and effected, not by a despot, nor by priests, but was brought about by eloquent demagogues, to whom, of all men, thorough searchings of the intellect are most dangerous and therefore most hateful.

1894 - from Collected Essays VI: Hume, With Helps to the Study of Berkeley
I protest that if some great Power would agree to make me always think what is true and do what is right, on condition of being turned into a sort of clock and wound up every morning before I got out of bed, I should instantly close with the offer.

1893 - from Collected Essays I: Method and Results
Our sensations, our pleasures, our pains, and the relations of these, make up the sum total of the elements of positive, unquestionable knowledge. We call a large section of these sensations and their relations matter and motion; the rest we term mind and thinking; and experience shows that there is a certain constant order of succession between some of the former and some of the latter.

1894 - from Collected Essays VI: Hume, With Helps to the Study of Berkeley
The 'Law of Nature' is not a command to do, or to refrain from doing, anything. It contains, in reality, nothing but a statement of that which a given being tends to do under the circumstances of its existence; and which, in the case of a living and sensitive being, it is necessitated to do, if it is to escape certain kinds of disability, pain, and ultimate dissolution.

1893 - from Collected Essays I: Method and Results
The scientific spirit is of more value than its products, and irrationally held truths may be more harmful than reasoned errors.

1893 - from Collected Essays II: Darwiniana
The only freedom I care about is the freedom to do right; the freedom to do wrong I am ready to part with on the cheapest terms to anyone who will take it of me.

1893 - from Collected Essays I: Method and Results
You know that among the Bees, it depends on the kind of cell in which the egg is deposited, and the quantity and quality of food which is supplied to the grub, whether it shall turn out a busy little worker or a big idle queen. And, in the human hive, the cells of the endowed larvae are always tending to enlarge, and their food to improve, until we get queens, beautiful to behold, but which gather no honey and build no comb.

1893 - from Collected Essays III: Science and Education
Every belief is the product of two factors: the first is the state of mind to which the evidence in favour of that belief is presented; and the second is the logical cogency of the evidence itself.

1893 - from Collected Essays II: Darwiniana
Our thoughts may be delusive, but they cannot be fictitious. As thoughts, they are real and existent and the cleverest deceiver cannot make them otherwise.

1893 - from Collected Essays I: Method and Results
All these operations of reading, writing, and ciphering are intellectual tools, whose use should, before all things, be learned, and learned thoroughly; so that the youth may be enabled to make his life that which it ought to be, a continual progress in learning and in wisdom.

1894 - from Collected Essays VIII: Discourses, Biological and Geological
Probably none of the political delusions which have sprung from the "natural rights" doctrine has been more mischievous than the assertion that all men have a natural right to freedom, and that those who willingly submit to any restriction of this freedom beyond the point determined by the deductions of a priori philosophers, deserve the title of slaves. But to my mind, this delusion is incomprehensible except as the result of the error of confounding natural with moral rights.

1893 - from Collected Essays I: Method and Results
Two thousand five hundred years ago the value of civilization was as apparent as it is now; then, as now, it was obvious that only in the garden of an orderly polity can the finest fruits humanity is capable of bearing be produced. But it had also become evident that the blessings of culture were not unmixed. The garden was apt to turn into a hothouse. The stimulation of the senses, the pampering of the emotions, endlessly multiplied the sources of pleasure. The constant widening of the intellectual field indefinitely extended the range of that especially human faculty of looking before and after, which adds to the fleeting present those old and new worlds of the past and the future, wherein men dwell the more the higher their culture. But that very sharpening of the sense and that subtle refinement of emotion, which brought such a wealth of pleasures, were fatally attended by a proportional enlargement of the capacity for suffering; and the divine faculty of imagination, while it created new heavens and new earths, provided them with the corresponding hells of futile regret for the past and morbid anxiety for the future.

1894 - from Collected Essays IX: Evolution and Ethics, and Other Essays
Accuracy is the foundation of everything else.

1893 - from Collected Essays III: Science and Education
Mankind, in general, care very little for forms of government or ideal considerations of any sort; and nothing really stirs the great multitude to break with custom and incur the manifest perils of revolt except the belief that misery in this world, or damnation in the next, or both, are threatened by the continuance of the state of things in which they have been brought up. But when they do attain that conviction, society becomes as unstable as a package of dynamite, and a very small matter will produce the explosion which sends it back to the chaos of savagery.

1894 - from Collected Essays IX: Evolution and Ethics, and Other Essays
'Learn what is true, in order to do what is right,' is the summing up of the whole duty of man, for all who are unable to satisfy their mental hunger with the east wind of authority.

1893 - from Collected Essays I: Method and Results
The only medicine for suffering, crime, and all the woes of mankind, is wisdom.

1893 - from Collected Essays III: Science and Education
We live in a world which is full of misery and ignorance, and the plain duty of each of us is to try to make the little corner he can influence somewhat less miserable and somewhat less ignorant than it was before he entered it.

1893 - from Collected Essays I: Method and Results
Of moral purpose I see no trace in Nature. That is an article of exclusively human manufacture -- and very much to our credit.

Moralists of all ages and of all faiths, attending only to the relations of men towards one another in an ideal society, have agreed upon the "golden rule," "Do as you would be done by." In other words, let sympathy be your guide; put yourself in the place of the man towards whom your action is directed; and do to him what you would like to have done to yourself under the circumstances. However much one may admire the generosity of such a rule of conduct; however confident one may be that average men may be thoroughly depended upon not to carry it out to its full logical consequences; it is nevertheless desirable to recognise the fact that these consequences are incompatible with the existence of a civil state, under any circumstances of this world which have obtained, or, so far as one can see, are likely to come to pass.

1894 - from Collected Essays IX: Evolution and Ethics, and Other Essays
The great end of life is not knowledge, but action. What men need is, as much knowledge as they can assimilate and organise into a basis for action; give them more and it may become injurious.

1893 - from Collected Essays III: Science and Education
Individualism, pushed to anarchy, in the family is as ill-founded theoretically and as mischievous practically as it is in the State; while extreme regimentation is a certain means of either destroying self-reliance or of maddening to rebellion.

1893 - from Collected Essays I: Method and Results
I am as strongly convinced as the most pronounced individualist can be, that it is desirable that every man should be free to act in every way which does not limit the corresponding freedom of his fellowman. But I fail to connect that great induction of political science with the practical corollary which is frequently drawn from it: that the State - that is, the people in their corporate capacity - has no business to meddle with anything but the administration of justice and external defence. It appears to me that the amount of freedom which incorporate society may fitly leave to its members is not a fixed quantity, to be determined a priori by deduction from the fiction called 'natural rights'; but that it must be determined by, and vary with, circumstances. I conceive it to be demonstrable that the higher and the more complex the organization of the social body, the more closely is the life of each member bound up with that of the whole; and the larger becomes the category of acts which cease to be merely self-regarding, and which interfere with the freedom of others more or less seriously.

1894 - from Collected Essays IX: Evolution and Ethics, and Other Essays
My experience of the world is that things left to themselves don't get right.

1893 - from Collected Essays III: Science and Education
In matters of the intellect, follow your reason as far as it will take you, without regard to any other consideration. ... In matters of the intellect do not pretend that conclusions are certain which are not demonstrated or demonstrable.

1893 - from Collected Essays V: Science and Christian Tradition
Practical life is ... a sum, in which your duty multiplied into your capacity, and divided by your circumstances, gives you the fourth term in the proportion, which is your deserts, with great accuracy.

1893 - from Collected Essays III: Science and Education
Time, whose tooth gnaws away everything else, is powerless against truth.

1893 - from Collected Essays I: Method and Results
Intelligence, knowledge, and skill are undoubtedly conditions of success; but of what avail are they likely to be unless they are backed up by honesty, energy, goodwill, and all the physical and moral faculties that go to the making of manhood, and unless they are stimulated by hope of such reward as men may fairly look to?

1894 - from Collected Essays IX: Evolution and Ethics, and Other Essays
The only people, scientific or other, who never make mistakes are those who do nothing.

1893 - from Collected Essays V: Science and Christian Tradition
The life, the fortune, and the happiness of every one of us, and, more or less, of those who are connected with us, do depend upon our knowing something of the rules of a game infinitely more difficult and complicated than chess. It is a game which has been played for untold ages, every man and woman of us being one of the two players in a game of his or her own. The chessboard is the world, the pieces are the phenomena of the universe, the rules of the game are what we call the laws of Nature. The player on the other side is hidden from us. We know that his play is always fair, just and patient. But also we know, to our cost, that he never overlooks a mistake, or makes the smallest allowance for ignorance. To the man who plays well, the highest stakes are paid, with that sort of overflowing generosity with which the strong shows delight in strength. And one who plays ill is checkmated–without haste, but without remorse.

1893 - from Collected Essays III: Science and Education
Of all the senseless babble I have ever had the occasion to read, the demonstrations of these philosophers who undertake to tell us all about the nature of God would be the worst, if they were not surpassed by the still greater absurdities of the philosophers who try to prove that there is no God.

1893 - from Collected Essays I: Method and Results
Physiology is yet in the most intimate relation with humanity, and by teaching us that law and order, and a definite scheme of development, regulate even the strangest and wildest manifestations of individual life, she prepares the student to look for a goal even amidst the erratic wanderings of mankind, and to believe that history offers something more than an entertaining chaos.

1893 - from Collected Essays III: Science and Education
... the future of the world lies in the hands of those who are able to carry the interpretation of nature a step further than their predecessors.

1893 - from Collected Essays III: Science and Education
The results of political changes are hardly ever those which their friends hope or their foes fear.

from Government
One of the oldest and most important elements in [social] systems is the conception of justice. Society is impossible unless those who are associated agree to observe certain rules of conduct towards one another; its stability depends on the steadiness with which they abide by that agreement; and, so far as they waver, that mutual trust which is the bond of society is weakened or destroyed. Wolves could not hunt in packs except for the real though unexpressed, understanding that they should not attack one another during the chase. The most rudimentary polity is a pack of men living under the like tacit, or expressed, understanding; and having made the very important advance upon wolf society, that they agree to use the force of the whole body against individuals who violate it and in favour of those who observe it.

1894 - from Collected Essays IX: Evolution and Ethics, and Other Essays
Ecclesiasticism in science is only unfaithfulness to truth.

1893 - from Collected Essays II: Darwiniana
That man, as a 'political animal,' is susceptible of a vast amount of improvement, by education, by instruction, and by the application of his intelligence to the adaptation of the conditions of life to his higher needs, I entertain not the slightest doubt. But, so long as he remains liable to error, intellectual or moral ... the prospect of attaining untroubled happiness, or of a state which can, even remotely, deserve the title of perfection, appears to me to be as misleading an illusion as ever was dangled before the eyes of poor humanity. And there have been many of them.

1894 - from Collected Essays IX: Evolution and Ethics, and Other Essays
That one should rejoice in the good man, forgive the bad man, and pity and help all men to the best of one's ability, is surely indisputable. It is the glory of Judaism and of Christianity to have proclaimed this truth, through all their aberrations. But the worship of a God who needs forgiveness and help, and deserves pity every hour of his existence, is no better than that of any other voluntarily selected fetish.

1893 - from Collected Essays V: Science and Christian Tradition
History warns us that it is the customary fate of new truths to begin as heresies and to end as superstitions.

1893 - from Collected Essays II: Darwiniana
There is no alleviation for the sufferings of mankind except veracity of thought and of action, and the resolute facing of the world as it is when the garment of make-believe by which pious hands have hidden its uglier features is stripped off.

1893 - from Collected Essays I: Method and Results
Proclaim human equality as loudly as you like. Witless will serve his brother.

1893 - from Collected Essays I: Method and Results
The development of exact natural knowledge in all its vast range, from physics to history and criticism, is the consequence of the working out, in this province, of the resolution to 'take nothing for truth without clear knowledge that it is such'; to consider all beliefs open to criticism; to regard the value of authority as neither greater nor less than as much as it can prove itself to be worth.

1894 - from Collected Essays VI: Hume, With Helps to the Study of Berkeley
You may develop the intellectual side of people as far as you like, and you may confer upon them all the skill that training and instruction can give; but, if there is not, underneath all that outside form and superficial polish, the firm fibre of healthy manhood and earnest desire to do well, your labour is absolutely in vain.

1893 - from Collected Essays III: Science and Education
My belief is that no human being, and no society composed of human beings, ever did, or ever will, come to much, unless their conduct was governed and guided by the love of some ethical ideal.

1893 - from Collected Essays III: Science and Education
Missionaries, whether of philosophy or of religion rarely make rapid way, unless their preachings fall in with the prepossessions of the multitude of shallow thinkers, or can be made to serve as a stalking-horse for the promotion of the practical aims of the still larger multitude, who do not profess to think much, but are quite certain they want a great deal.

1893 - from Collected Essays I: Method and Results
Material advancement has its share in moral and intellectual progress. Becky Sharp's [the opportunistic central character of W.M. Thackeray's Vanity Fair] acute remark that it is not difficult to be virtuous on ten thousand a year, has its application to nations; and it is futile to expect a hungry and squalid population to be anything but violent and gross.

1893 - from Collected Essays III: Science and Education
Ancient traditions, when tested by the severe processes of modern investigations, commonly enough fade away into mere dreams: but it is singular how often the dream turns out to have been a half-waking one, presaging a reality.

1894 - from Collected Essays VII: Man's Place in Nature