Henry David Thoreau quote about evil from Walden - There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root
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There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root
 Henry David Thoreau, Walden (1854). copy citation

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Author Henry David Thoreau
Source Walden
Topic evil root effectiveness
Date 1854
Language English
Reference
Note
Weblink https://www.gutenberg.org/files/205/205-h/205-h.htm

Context

“I was wont to pity the clumsy Irish laborers who cut ice on the pond, in such mean and ragged clothes, while I shivered in my more tidy and somewhat more fashionable garments, till, one bitter cold day, one who had slipped into the water came to my house to warm him, and I saw him strip off three pairs of pants and two pairs of stockings ere he got down to the skin, though they were dirty and ragged enough, it is true, and that he could afford to refuse the extra garments which I offered him, he had so many intra ones. This ducking was the very thing he needed. Then I began to pity myself, and I saw that it would be a greater charity to bestow on me a flannel shirt than a whole slop-shop on him. There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root, and it may be that he who bestows the largest amount of time and money on the needy is doing the most by his mode of life to produce that misery which he strives in vain to relieve. It is the pious slave-breeder devoting the proceeds of every tenth slave to buy a Sunday's liberty for the rest. Some show their kindness to the poor by employing them in their kitchens. Would they not be kinder if they employed themselves there?” source

Meaning and analysis

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