Quotation by Francis Joseph Grund

In Europe, a man of genius is almost privileged. If he be a poet or an artist, allowances are made for the extravagance of his fancy, or the peculiarity of his appetites. If he be a statesman, his individual wanderings are forgotten for the general good he bestows on the nation; if he be a soldier, the wounds he may inflict on virtue and unguarded innocence are pardoned for the sake of those he may have received in defending his country; and even the clergy have their offenses excused, in consideration of the morals which they promote by their spiritual functions. No such compensation takes place in the United States. Private virtue overtops the highest qualifications of the mind, and is indispensable to the progress even of the most acknowledged talents. This, in many instances, clips the wings of genius, by substituting a decent mediocrity in the place of brilliant but vicious talents.
Francis Joseph Grund (1798–1863), Austrian-born U.S journalist. The Americans in Their Moral, Social, and Political Relations (1837).
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