If I was wrong in yielding to persuasion once, remember that it was to persuasion exerted on the side of safety, not of risk. When I yielded, I thought it was to duty; but no duty could be called in aid here. In marrying a man indifferent to me, all risk would have been incurred and all duty violated.
Anne makes this statement to Captain Wentworth in Chapter 23. She explains to him the reason behind her initial decision, eight years ago, to break their engagement. The various uses of persuasion is one of the main themes of the novel, but in this passage Anne rationally justifies its use. She concludes that it was correct of her to yield to persuasion by Lady Russell because she had a duty to her rank and to "safety." What is notable about this passage is the cool rationality which Anne employs. Though Austen writes about marriages, her novels are not entirely about "romance." Passion must be tempered by reason and practicality if a marriage is to be successful.