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Daniel Defoe (1660-1731)

British novelist, pamphleteer, and journalist

Necessity makes an honest man a knave.

DANIEL DEFOE, Serious Reflections of Robinson Crusoe

Nature has left this tincture in the blood,
That all men would be tyrants if they could.

DANIEL DEFOE, The Kentish Petition

For I cannot think that GOD Almighty ever made them [women] so delicate, so glorious creatures; and furnished them with such charms, so agreeable and so delightful to mankind; with souls capable of the same accomplishments with men: and all, to be only Stewards of our Houses, Cooks, and Slaves.

DANIEL DEFOE, The Education of Women

The soul is placed in the body like a rough diamond; and must be polished, or the lustre of it will never appear.

DANIEL DEFOE, The Education of Women

The best of men cannot suspend their fate:
The good die early, and the bad die late.

DANIEL DEFOE, Character of the late Dr. S. Annesley

Wherever God erects a house of prayer,
The Devil always builds a chapel there;
And 'twill be found, upon examination,
The latter has the largest congregation.

DANIEL DEFOE, The True-Born Englishman

And of all plagues with which mankind are curst,
Ecclesiastic tyranny's the worst.

DANIEL DEFOE, The True-Born Englishman

Justice is always violent to the party offending, for every man is innocent in his own eyes.

DANIEL DEFOE, Shortest Way with Dissenters

It is better to have a lion at the head of an army of sheep than a sheep at the head of an army of lions.


No man of common sense will value a woman the less, for not giving herself up at the first attack, or for not accepting his proposal without enquiring into his person or character; on the contrary, he must think her the weakest of all creatures in the world, as the rate of men now goes; in short, he must have a very contemptible opinion of her capacities, nay, even of her understanding, that having but one cast for her life, shall cast that life away at once, and make matrimony like death, be a leap in the dark.

DANIEL DEFOE, Moll Flanders

Reason, it is true, is DICTATOR in the Society of Mankind; from her there ought to lie no Appeal; But here we want a Pope in our Philosophy, to be the infallible Judge of what is or is not Reason.

DANIEL DEFOE, An Essay upon Publick Credit

Fear of danger is ten thousand times more terrifying than danger itself.

DANIEL DEFOE, The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe

We loved the doctrine for the teacher's sake.

DANIEL DEFOE, The Character of the Late Dr. S. Annesly

A rich man is an honest man--no thanks to him; for he would be a double knave, to cheat mankind when he had no need of it: he has no occasion to press upon his integrity, nor so much as to touch upon the borders of dishonesty.

DANIEL DEFOE, Robinson Crusoe

Pride, the first peer and president of Hell.

DANIEL DEFOE, The True-Born Englishman

All our discontents about what we want appeared to me to spring from the want of thankfulness for what we have.

DANIEL DEFOE, Robinson Crusoe

He that is rich is wise,
And all men learned poverty despise.

DANIEL DEFOE, A System of Magic

So possible is it for us to roll ourselves up in wickedness, till we grow invulnerable by conscience; and that sentinel, once dozed, sleeps fast, not to be awakened while the tide of pleasure continues to flow or till something dark and dreadful brings us to ourselves again.


No man commits evil for the sake of it; even the Devil himself has some farther design in sinning, than barely the wicked part of it.

DANIEL DEFOE, Robinson Crusoe

She is always married too soon, who gets a bad husband, and she is never married too late, who gets a good one.

DANIEL DEFOE, Moll Flanders

For sudden Joys, like Griefs, confound at first.

DANIEL DEFOE, Robinson Crusoe

When kings the sword of justice first lay down,
They are no kings, though they possess the crown.
Titles are shadows, crowns are empty things,
The good of subjects is the end of kings.

DANIEL DEFOE, The True-Born Englishman

Today we love what tomorrow we hate; today we seek what tomorrow we shun; today we desire what tomorrow we fear; nay, even tremble at the apprehensions of.

DANIEL DEFOE, Robinson Crusoe

I saw the Cloud, though I did not foresee the Storm.

DANIEL DEFOE, Moll Flanders

He that hath truth on his side is a fool as well as a coward if he is afraid to own it because of other mens's opinions.

DANIEL DEFOE, The History of the Union Between England and Scotland

How little repining there would be among mankind at any condition of life, if people would rather compare their condition with those that were worse, in order to be thankful, than be always comparing them with those which are better, to assist their murmurings and complaining

DANIEL DEFOE, Robinson Crusoe

As for women that do not think their own safety worth their thought, that impatient of their present state, resolve as they call it to take the first good Christian that comes; that runs into matrimony, as a horse rushes into battle; I can say nothing to them, but this, that they are a sort of ladies that are to be pray'd for among the rest of distemper'd people; and to me they look like people that venture their whole estates in a lottery where there is a hundred thousand blanks to one prize.

DANIEL DEFOE, Moll Flanders

Never, ladies, marry a fool. Any husband rather than a fool. With some other husband you may be unhappy, but with a fool you will be miserable.


How strange a checker-work of Providence is the life of man!

DANIEL DEFOE, Robinson Crusoe

A woman well bred and well taught, furnished with the additional accomplishments of knowledge and behaviour, is a creature without comparison. Her society is the emblem of sublimer enjoyments, her person is angelic, and her conversation heavenly. She is all softness and sweetness, peace, love, wit, and delight. She is every way suitable to the sublimest wish, and the man that has such a one to his portion, has nothing to do but to rejoice in her, and be thankful.

DANIEL DEFOE, The Education of Women

It is men of desperate fortunes on the one hand, or of aspiring, superior fortunes on the other, who go abroad upon adventures, to rise by enterprise, and make themselves famous in undertakings of a nature out of the common road.

DANIEL DE FOE, The Life and Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe of York

We never see the true state of our condition till it is illustrated to us by its contraries, nor know how to value what we enjoy, but by the want of it.

DANIEL DEFOE, Robinson Crusoe


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