Quotes on Accuracy
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250. Accuracy
Next morning, while we were at breakfast, Johnson gave a very earnest recommendation of what he himself practised with the utmost conscientiousness: I mean a strict attention to truth, even in the most minute particulars. "Accustom your children (said he,) constantly to this; if a thing happened at one window, and they, when relating it, say that it happened at another, do not let it pass, but instantly check them; you do not know where deviation from truth will end." Boswell: "It may come to the door: and when once an account is at all varied in one circumstance, it may by degrees be varied so as to be totally different from what really happened." Our lively hostess [Hester Thrale], whose fancy was impatient of the rein, fidgeted at this, and ventured to say, "Nay, this is too much. If Mr. Johnson should forbid me to drink tea, I would comply, as I should feel the restraint only twice a day; but little variations in narrative must happen a thousand times a day, if one is not perpetually watching." Johnson: "Well, Madam, you ought to be perpetually watching. It is more from carelessness about truth than from intentional lying, that there is so much falsehood in the world."
Boswell: Life

313. Accuracy
"Of the caution necessary in adjusting narratives there is no end. Some tell what they do not know, that they may not seem ignorant, and others from mere indifference about truth. All truth is not, indeed, of equal importance; but, if little violations are allowed, every violation will in time be thought little; and a writer should keep himself vigilantly on his guard against the first temptations to negligence or supineness."
Johnson: Letter to Dr. Charles Burney

332. Accuracy; Writing
"I advised Chambers, and would advise every young man beginning to compose, to do it as fast as he can, to get a habit of having his mind to start promptly; it is so much more difficult to improve in speed than in accuracy."
Boswell: Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides

382. Accuracy; Travel Writing
"He who has not made the experiment, or who is not accustomed to require rigorous accuracy from himself, will scarcely believe how much a few hours take from certainty of knowledge, and distinctness of imagery; how the succession of objects will be broken, how separate parts will be confused, and how many particular features and discriminations will be compressed and conglobated into one gross and general idea.
To this dilatory notation must be imputed the false relations of travellers, where there is no imaginable motive to deceive. They trusted to memory, what cannot be trusted safely to the eye, and told by guess what a few hours before they had known with certainty."
Johnson: Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland

998. Accuracy; Writing
"In all pointed sentences, some degree of accuracy must be sacrificed to conciseness."
Johnson: The Bravery of the English Common Soldier

1,046. Accuracy; Imagination; Painting
"To paint things as they are requires a minute attention, and employs the memory rather than the fancy."
Johnson: Milton (Lives of the Poets)

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