My fortune somewhat resembled that of a person who should entertain an idea of committing suicide, and, altogether beyond his hopes, meet with the good hap to be murdered.
(Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864), U.S. author. "The Custom-House," introduction, The Scarlet Letter (1850).
Hawthorne was here relating the loss of his job as a customs surveyor in Salem, Massachusetts, as a result of political maneuvering; the blow was mitigated by his "previous weariness of office, and vague thoughts of resignation.")
One murder makes a villain, millions a hero. Numbers sanctify, my good fellow.
(Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977), British actor, screenwriter, director, and Orson Welles. Monsieur Henri Verdoux (Charles Chaplin), Monsieur Verdoux, said to a reporter (Herb Vigran) before Verdoux is led to the guillotine (1947).)
Under the rules of a society that cannot distinguish between profit and profiteering, between money defined as necessity and money defined as luxury, murder is occasionally obligatory and always permissible.
(Lewis H. Lapham (b. 1935), U.S. essayist, editor. Money and Class in America, ch. 4 (1988).)