History's HEROES? 1802 - 1876

Harriet Martineau

Views and opinions
You had better live your best and act your best and think your best today; for today is the sure preparation for tomorrow and all the other tomorrows that follow
Harriet Martineau
I well remember when Harriet Martineau came among us in the heroic days of the contest with slavery, and I honoured her for the noble courage with which she uttered God’s truth when the pulpit was dumb, and did openly a Christian’s work for the American slave, when priest and Levite often walked by throwing stones and curses as they went. I recall her words when she wrote of “the great cause in which you work and endure”. Whatever questionings may have disturbed her faith, she held fast to the golden rule, to which the American church did such dishonour when it failed to stand, as Bishop Wilberforce said “between the living and the dead, and stay the plague” giving by its faithlessness and cowardice an impulse to unbelief, and invoking upon our land a bloody retribution. Had Miss Martineau done nothing more for humanity than what she did in America, we might well remember it with gratitude, and honor what was divine in her brave example. Let me add this simple tribute to her memory. Believe me and always faithfully yours
John Jay, The New York Times, published December 25th, 1883
We do not believe in immortality because we can prove it, but we try to prove it because we cannot help believing it
Harriet Martineau
Men who pass most comfortably through this world are those who possess good digestions and hard hearts
Harriet Martineau
A soul preoccupied with great ideas best performs small duties
Harriet Martineau
For my own part, I had rather suffer any inconvenience from having to work occasionally in chambers and kitchen ... than witness the subservience in which the menial class is held in Europe
Harriet Martineau
But for that loss of money, we might have lived on in the ordinary provincial method of ladies with small means, sewing, and economizing, and growing narrower each year: whereas, by being thrown, while it was yet time, on our own resources, we have worked hard and usefully, won friends, reputation and independence, seen the world abundantly, abroad and at home, and, in short, have truly lived instead of vegetated
Harriet Martineau - Talking about the time when the family were left nearly destitute, 1850s
An extraordinary woman who found us all strangers and left us all friends
Author Catherine Maria Sedgwick 1835
What office is there which involves more responsibility, which requires more qualifications, and which ought, therefore, to be more honorable, than that of teaching?
Harriet Martineau

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Of posthumous fame I have not the slightest expectation or desire. To be useful in my day and generation is enough for me
Harriet Martineau

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I have been requested by a friend present to say something ... if only a word ... to express my sympathy in the object of this meeting. I had supposed that my presence here would be understood as showing my sympathy with you. But as I am requested to speak, I will say what I have said throughout the whole South, in every family where I have been, that I consider slavery to be inconsistent with the law of God, and incompatible with the course of his providence. I should certainly say no less at the North than at the South concerning this utter abomination - and I now declare that in your principles I fully agree
Harriet Martineau, at the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society, November 1835
The sum and substance of female education in America, as in England, is training women to consider marriage as the sole object in life, and to pretend that they do not think so
Harriet Martineau
It is my deliberate opinion that the one essential requisite of human welfare in all ways is scientific knowledge of human nature
Harriet Martineau
Any one must see at a glance that if men and women marry those whom they do not love, they must love those whom they do not marry
Harriet Martineau
...leave it to the other women to make skirts and darn stockings, and you devote yourself to this
James Martineau, her brother, on discovering she had written the article 'On Female Education', 1823
We expected an elegant, talented, good woman. We did not expect, in addition to all this, a lively, playful, childlike, simplicity-breathing, loving creature, whose moral qualities, as much outshine her intellect as these last do those of the ordinary run of mankind...I do not think a woman ever lived who had such power to inspire others with affection
The host that Harriet was staying with in Charleston, South Carolina, 1835

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The best happiness in the world is found in strenuous exertion on a right principle
Harriet Martineau 1829
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