It is long ere we discover how rich we are. Our history, we are sure, is quite tame: we have nothing to write, nothing to infer. But our wiser years still run back to the despised recollections of childhood, and always we are fishing up some wonderful article out of that pond; until, by and by, we begin to suspect that the biography of the one foolish person we know is, in reality, nothing less than the miniature paraphrase of the hundred volumes of the Universal History.
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- There is properly no history; only biography.
- The history of persecution is a history of endeavors to cheat nature, to make water run up hill, to twist a rope of sand.
- All those writers who write about their childhood! Gentle God, if I wrote about mine you wouldn’t sit in the same room with me.
- Leave this hypocritical prating about the masses. Masses are rude, lame, unmade, pernicious in their demands and influence, and need not to be flattered, but to be schooled. I wish not to concede anything to them, but to tame, drill, divide, and break them up, and draw individuals out of them.
- Great geniuses have the shortest biographies.
- Truth, naked, unblushing truth, the first virtue of all serious history, must be the sole recommendation of this personal narrative.