Fence Quotes (7 quotes)
Against Diseases here, the strongest Fence,
Is the defensive Virtue, Abstinence.
In Poor Richard's Almanack (1742).
By profession a biologist, [Thomas Henry Huxley] covered in fact the whole field of the exact sciences, and then bulged through its four fences. Absolutely nothing was uninteresting to him. His curiosity ranged from music to theology and from philosophy to history. He didn't simply know something about everything; he knew a great deal about everything.
'Thomas Henry Huxley.' In the Baltimore Evening Sun (4 May 1925). Reprinted in A Second Mencken Chrestomathy: A New Selection from the Writings of America's Legendary Editor, Critic, and Wit (2006), 157.
Don't ever take a fence down until you know the reason why it was put up.
In a personal notebook (1945-46). Discussed in Hugh Rawson and Margaret Miner, The Oxford Dictionary of American Quotations (2005), 201, as possibly being a very brief paraphrase of a verse by Robert Frost from 'The Wall' (1914) (See Robert Frost quotations page on this site). Elsewhere, it has been suggested to be a summary paraphrase of a much longer passage in G.K. Chesterton, The Thing (1929). (See G.K. Chesterton quotations on this site.) Meanwhile, many collections of quotations incorrectly attribute the short quote as worded above directly to either Robert Frost or G.K. Chesterton.
In India we have clear evidence that administrative statistics had reached a high state of organization before 300 B.C. In the Arthasastra of Kautilya
the duties of the Gopa, the village accountant, [include] by setting up boundaries to villages, by numbering plots of grounds as cultivated, uncultivated, plains, wet lands, gardens, vegetable gardens, fences (vαta), forests altars, temples of gods, irrigation works, cremation grounds, feeding houses (sattra), places where water is freely supplied to travellers (prapα), places of pilgrimage, pasture grounds and roads, and thereby fixing the boundaries of various villages, of fields, of forests, and of roads, he shall register gifts, sales, charities, and remission of taxes regarding fields.
Editorial, introducing the new statistics journal of the Indian Statistical Institute, Sankhayā (1933), 1, No. 1. Also reprinted in Sankhyā: The Indian Journal of Statistics (Feb 2003), 65, No. 1, viii.
Those who take refuge behind theological barbed wire fences, quite often wish they could have more freedom of thought, but fear the change to the great ocean of truth as they would a cold bath.
Quoted in Dr. D. M. Brooks, The Necessity of Atheism (1933), 341.
We are like tenant farmers chopping down the fence around our house for fuel when we should be using Natures inexhaustible sources of energy sun, wind and tide. ... I'd put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don't have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.
Edison in conversation Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone (1931), quoted as a recollection of the author, in James Newton, Uncommon Friends: Life with Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, Alexis Carrel & Charles Lindbergh (1987), 31. The quote is not cited from a print source. However, in the introduction the author said he kept a diary in which I noted times and places, key phrases, and vivid impressions. He also relied on publications by and about my friends, which jogged my memory.” Webmaster has found no earlier record of this quote, and thus suggests the author may have the gist of what Edison said, but is not quoting the exact words uttered by Edison, although quote marks are used to state what Edison said.
[Consider] a fence or gate erected across a road] The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, I don't see the use of this; let us clear it away. To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: If you don't see the use of it, I certainly won't let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.
In The Thing (1929). Excerpt in Gilbert Keith Chesterton and Alvaro De Silva (ed.), Brave New Family: G.K. Chesterton on Men and Women, Children, Sex, Divorce (1990), 53. Note: This passage may be the source which John F. Kennedy had in mind when he wrote in his personal notebook, Don't ever take a fence down until you know the reason why it was put up. (see John F. Kennedy quotes on this site). The words in that terse paraphrase are those of Kennedy, and are neither those of Chesterton, or, as often attributed, Robert Frost (q.v.).