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[ Also see Bankruptcy Banks Beggary Borrowing Credit Finance Insolvency Money Obligation Promises Stewardship ]

Debt is the secret foe of thrift, as vice and idleness are its open enemies.
      - James H. Aughey

I hold every man a debtor to his profession; from the which as men of course do seek to receive countenance and profit, so ought they of duty to endeavor themselves, by way of amends, to be a help and ornament thereunto.
      - Francis Bacon, Maxims of the Law (preface)

The man who never has money enough to pay his debts has too much of something else.
      - James Lendall Basford

We can pay our debts to the past by putting the future in debt to ourselves.
      - John Buchan, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir

Debt is to man what the serpent is to the bird; its eye fascinates, its breath poisons, its coil crushes sinew and bone, its jaw is the pitiless grave.
      - Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton

Man hazards the condition and loses the virtues of freeman, in proportion as he accustoms his thoughts to view without anguish or shame his lapse into the bondage of debtor.
      - Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton

Never, be argued out of your soul, never be argued out of your honor, and never be argued into believing that soul and honor do not run a terrible risk if you limp into life with the load of a debt on your shoulders.
      - Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton

Debt haunts the mind; a conversation about justice troubles it; the sight of a creditor fills it with confusion; even the sanctuary is not a place of refuge. The borrower is servant to the lender. Independence, so essential to the virtues and pleasures of a man, can only be maintained by setting bounds to our desires, and owing no man anything. A habit of boundless expense undermines and destroys the virtues even in the mind where they seem to dwell. It becomes difficult and at last impossible to pay punctually.
      - Chartery,
        first part of quotation about debt, see "When a man of sensibility . . ."

When a man of sensibility thinks of the low rate at which his word must henceforth pass, he is little in his own eyes; but difficulties prompt him to study deceiving as an art, and at last he lies to his creditors without a blush. How desolate and how woeful does his mind appear, how that the fence of truth is broken down! Friendship is next dissolved. He felt it once; he now insinuates himself by means of professions and sentiments which were once sincere. He seizes the moment of unsuspecting affection to ensnare the friends of his youth, borrowing money which he never will pay, and binding them for debts which they must hereafter answer. At this rate he sells the virtuous pleasures of loving and being beloved. He swallows up the provisions of aged parents, and the portion of sisters and brethren. The loss of truth is followed by the loss of humanity. His calls are still importunate. He proceeds to fraud and walks on precipices. Ingenuity, which in a better cause might have illustrated his name, is exerted to evade the law, to deceive the world, to cover poverty with the appearance of wealth, to sow unobserved the seeds of fraud.
      - Chartery,
        second part of quotation about debt, see " Debt haunts the mind . . ."

A man who owes a little can clear it off in a very little time, and, if he is a prudent man, will; whereas a man, who by long negligence, owes a great deal, despairs of ever being able to pay, and therefore never looks into his accounts at all.
      - 4th Earl of Chesterfield, Philip Dormer Stanhope

I owe you one.
      - George Colman ("The Younger"),
        The Poor Gentleman (act I, 2)

A public debt is a kind of anchor in the storm; but if the anchor be too heavy for the vessel, she will be sunk by that very weight which was intended for her preservation.
      - Charles Caleb Colton

Anticipated rents, and bills unpaid,
  Force many a shining youth into the shade,
    Not to redeem his time, but his estate,
      And play the fool, but at the cheaper rate.
      - William Cowper, Retirement (l. 559)

Paying of debts is, next to the grace of God, the best means in the world to deliver you from a thousand temptations to sin and vanity.
      - Patrick Delany

Debt is a prolific mother of folly and of crime.
      - Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield

A man in debt is so far a slave.
      - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Debt, grinding debt, whose iron face the widow, the orphan, and the sons of genius fear and hate; debt, which consumes so much time, which so cripples and disheartens a great spirit with cares that seem so base, is a preceptor whose lessons cannot be foregone, and is needed most by those who suffer from it most.
      - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wilt thou seal up the avenues of ill?
  Pay every debt as if God wrote the bill!
      - Ralph Waldo Emerson, Suum Cuique

Creditors have better memories than debtors; and creditors are a superstitious sect, great observers of set days and times.
      - Benjamin Franklin

Industry pays debts, while despair increaseth them.
      - Benjamin Franklin

Rather go to bed supperless than rise in debt.
      - Benjamin Franklin

To the generous mind the heaviest debt is that of gratitude, when it is not in our power to repay it.
      - Benjamin Franklin

Lose not thy own for want of asking for it; it will get thee no thanks.
      - Thomas Fuller (1)

Run not into debt, either for wares sold or money borrowed; be content to want things that are not of absolute necessity, rather than to run up the score.
      - Sir Matthew Hale

A national debt, if it is not excessive, will be to us a national blessing.
      - Alexander Hamilton,
        in a letter to Robert Morris

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