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Samuel Johnson

1709-1784. British man of letters, one of the outstanding figures of 18th-century England.

Books by Samuel Johnson

Excellence in any department can be attained only by the labor of a lifetime; it is not to be purchased at a lesser price.

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Treating your adversary with respect is giving him an advantage to which he is not entitled.

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Attention and respect give pleasure, however late, or however useless. But they are not useless, when they are late, it is reasonable to rejoice, as the day declines, to find that it has been spent with the approbation of mankind.

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A mere literary man is a dull man; a man who is solely a man of business is a selfish man; but when literature and commerce are united, they make a respectable man.

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Pride is seldom delicate; it will please itself with very mean advantages.

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And then, Sir, there is this consideration, that if the abuse be enormous, nature will rise up, and claiming her original rights, overturn a corrupt political system.

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The highest panegyric, therefore, that private virtue can receive, is the praise of servants.

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It was his peculiar happiness that he scarcely ever found a stranger whom he did not leave a friend; but it must likewise be added, that he had not often a friend long without obliging him to become a stranger.

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He that is already corrupt is naturally suspicious, and he that becomes suspicious will quickly become corrupt.

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If a man could say nothing against a character but what he can prove, history could not be written.

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