We are, heart and soul, friends to the freedom of the press. It is however, the prostituted companion of liberty, and somehow or other, we know not how, its efficient auxiliary. It follows the substance like its shade; but while a man walks erect, he may observe, that his shadow is almost always in the dirt. It corrupts, it deceives, it inflames. It strips virtue of her honours, and lends to faction its wildfire and its poisoned arms, and in the end is its own enemy and the usurper’s ally. It would be easy to enlarge on its evils. They are in England, they are here, they are everywhere. It is a precious pest and a necessary mischief, and there would be no liberty without it.
——Fisher Ames, Review of the Present State of the British Constitution.
Some one has observed, that mankind respect most and reward best, first those who murder and destroy them; secondly those who blind their understandings and cheat them; thirdly those who amuse them; last and least, those who endeavour to instruct and benefit them. In this class must be included authors and projectors; appellations that associate in their common acceptation, a portion of pity mixed with contempt.
——The Analectic Magazine, in a review of a Life of Robert Fulton, September, 1817.
The cheap test of what is called a run now-a-days is no evidence of a flourishing profession. A certain class of people must go to the theatre to fill in their evenings; and, above all, it must be remembered that the London theatres are the theatres for the kingdom, and that the audiences are changing every night. The manager is catering for England, Ireland, and Scotland, and a sprinkling from the Continent. This is another result of a fatal centralisation, and, it may be added, of the “sensation” system now in fashion. These costly spectacles will not pay unless exhibited for so many hundred nights. Sight is a much more costly sense than hearing; the eye is more extravagant than the ear, as any manager knows; but no manager has discovered as yet,—none at least have had the courage to act on the discovery,—that the mind is the cheapest of all to entertain.
——“P.F.” in the Saint Pauls Magazine, November, 1867.
As we sow, we reap. Let the reader go into the children’s side of any prison in England, or, I grieve to add, of many workhouses, and judge whether those are monsters who disgrace our streets, people our hulks and penitentiaries, and overcrowd our penal colonies, or are creatures whom we have deliberately suffered to be bred for misery and ruin.
——Charles Dickens, Preface to Martin Chuzzlewit.
Among those who anticipated the sentence [against the followers of John Chrysostom] by flight was an old maid named Nicarete, who deserves mention as a curious figure of the time. She was a philanthropist who devoted her means to works of charity, and always went about with a chest of drugs, which she used to dispense gratis, and which pious rumour said were always effectual. She reminds us of charitable ladies of modern times who distribute tracts, have a craze for homoeopathy, and hang on the lips of some favourite clergyman.
—Bury, History of the Later Roman Empire