Illustration by Dwig from
We have an insanity plea that would have saved Cain.
Really, what we want now, is not laws against crime, but a law against
If we only had some God in the country's laws, instead of being in such
a sweat to get him into the Constitution, it would be better all around.
Those people .... early stricken of God, intellectually -- the departmental
interpreters of the laws in Washington ... can always be depended on to
take any reasonably good law and interpret the common sense all out of
You see, he knew his own laws just as other people so often know the laws: by words, not by effects. They take a meaning, and get to be very vivid, when you come to apply them to yourself.
- A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
It would not be possible for Noah to do in our day what he was permitted to
do in his own ... The inspector would come and examine the Ark, and make all
sorts of objections.
- "About All Kinds of Ships," 1892
...the administration of the law can never go lax where every individual sees
to it that it grows not lax in his own case, or in cases which fall under his
- Mark Twain's Notebook
The laws of Nature take precedence of all human laws. The purpose of all human
laws is one -- to defeat the laws of Nature. This is the case among all the
nations, both civilized and savage. It is a grotesquerie, but when the human
race is not grotesque it is because it is asleep and losing its opportunity.
- Autobiographical dictation, 18 June 1906. Published in Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 2 (2013)
The laws of Nature -- that is to say the laws of God -- plainly made every
human being a law unto himself, we must steadfastly refuse to obey those laws,
and we must as steadfastly stand by the conventions which ignore them, since
the statutes furnish us peace, fairly good government, and stability, and therefore
are better for us than the laws of God, which would soon plunge us into confusion
and disorder and anarchy, if we should adopt them.
- Autobiographical dictation, 13 January 1908. Published in Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 3 (University of California Press, 2015)
In this topsy-turvy, crazy, illogical world, Man has made laws for himself.
He has fenced himself round with them, mainly with the idea of keeping communities
together, and gain for the strongest. No woman was consulted in the making of
laws. And nine-tenths of the people who are daily obeying -- or fighting against
-- Nature's laws, have no real opinion. Opinion means deduction, after weighing
the matter, and deep thought upon it. They simply echo feeling, because for
generations forbears have laid something down as an axiom. They do not investigate
or weigh for themselves. The axiom of the forbears was, 'It is immoral to follow
God's law, unless bound by man's law and a wedding ring.'
- quoted in Mark Twain on Three Weeks, Elinor Glyn
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