quotations about intentions
The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.
KARL MARX, Capital
A man's intentions should be allowed in some respects to plead for his actions.
GEORGE WASHINGTON, letter to the Speaker of the House of Burgesses, Dec. 1756
A man's intentions change with the wind. They change every time he combs his hair, every time he gets behind the wheel of his car, every time he sees a good-looking woman, every time he pushes on his sunglasses and thinks maybe he's the coolest guy on the planet.
THOMAS WILLIAM SIMPSON, The Hancock Boys
Perdition awaits at the end of a road constructed entirely from good intentions, the devil emerges from the details and hell abides in the small print.
IAIN M. BANKS, Transition
The difference between good and bad intentions is this: that good intentions are so very satisfactory in themselves, that it really seems a work of supererogation to carry them into execution; whereas evil ones have a restlessness that can only be satisfied by action.
LETITIA ELIZABETH LANDON, Romance and Reality
The plea of good intentions is not one that can be allowed to have much weight in passing historical judgment upon a man whose wrong-headedness and distorted way of looking at things produced, or helped to produce, such incalculable evil; there is a wide political applicability in the remark attributed to a famous Texan, to the effect that he might, in the end, pardon a man who shot him on purpose, but that he would surely never forgive one who did so accidentally.
THEODORE ROOSEVELT, American Statesman: Thomas Hart Benton
It is important to announce your intentions at top volume ... or your intentions will think you are ashamed of them.
CATHERYNNE M. VALENTE, The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two
For there's nothing we read of in torture's inventions,
Like a well-meaning dunce, with the best of intentions.
JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL, A Fable for Critics
Let not thy good intentions flatter thee to an evil action; what is essentially evil, no circumstance can make good.
FRANCIS QUARLES, Enchiridion
Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.
WILLIAM A. FOSTER, quoted in Igniting the Spirit at Work: Daily Reflections
The evil that is in the world almost always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding.
ALBERT CAMUS, The Plague
Intentions are a lot like seeds. You shove them into the ground, and every once in awhile, you water them. Largely, the seed does most of the work on its own. If, on one hand, you were digging the seed up several times a day to see what progress was being made, the seed would not take purchase in the soil. On the other hand, if you completely ignored it, giving no water or nourishment to the soil, the seed might not thrive.
MARY ANNE RADMACHER, 365 Bold interview, Mar. 20, 2013
Intentions are nice, but ultimately intentions don't really matter because they only exist inside you.
KELLY WILLIAMS BROWN, Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps
A good intention will no more make a truth, than a fair mark will make a good shot.
WILLIAM SPURSTOWE, The Wells of Salvation Opened
He knows he has good intentions, and he feels safe, and this very feeling of safety allows him to be quiet, and his good intentions are never performed, because he was so sure they would be.
F. D., "Good Intentions", The Home Monthly, 1862
Unity of intent is on the lips of many, but in the hearts of few.
FAUSTO CERCIGNANI, Simply Transcribed: Quotations from Writings by Fausto Cercignani
A good intention clothes itself with sudden power.
RALPH WALDO EMERSON, Essays
Motives do not concern me; they are a dangerous subject with which to deal.
J. KEKEWICH, Whelan v. Palmer, 1888
A gift consists not in what is done or given, but in the intention of the giver or doer.
SENECA, Moral Essays
Good intentions will never justify evil actions, nor will good actions every justify evil intentions.
EMPRESS EUGENIE, attributed, Day's Collacon