A few final quotations from Emerson’s journals.

Emerson again. Still relevant as ever.

April, 1858:

“Because our education is defective, because we are superficial and ill-read, we are forced to make the most of that position, of ignorance. Hence America is a vast know-nothing party, and we disparage books, and cry up intuition…. [D]enouncing libraries and severe culture and magnifying the mother-wit swagger of bright boys from the country colleges, we have even come so far as to deceive everybody, except ourselves, into an admiration of un-learning and inspiration, forsooth.”

February, 1858:

“Felton told of [scientist Louis] Agazzi, that when someone applied to him to read lectures, or some other paying employment, he answered, ‘I can’t waste my time earning money.’”

October, 1862:

“George Francis Train said in a public speech in New York, ‘Slavery is a divine institution.’ ‘So is hell,’ exclaimed an old man in the crowd.”

July (?), 1865:

“I think it a singular and marked result that the War has established a conviction in so many minds that the right will get done; has established a chronic hope for a chronic despair.”

Autumn, 1868:

“In the perplexity in which the literary public now stands with regard to university education … the one safe investment which all can agree to increase is the library.”

May, 1869:

“God had infinite time to give us; but how did He give it? In one immense tract of a lazy millennium? No, but He cut it up into neat succession of new mornings, and, with each, therefore, a new idea, new inventions, and new applications.”


“One thing is certain: the religions are obsolete when the reforms do not proceed from them.”


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