Our judgment ripens; our imagination decays. We cannot at once enjoy the flowers of the Spring of life and the fruits of its Autumn.
How it chanced that a man who reasoned on his premises so ably, should assume his premises so foolishly, is one of the great mysteries of human nature.
As freedom is the only safeguard of governments, so are order and moderation generally necessary to preserve freedom.
Men of great conversational powers almost universally practise a sort of lively sophistry and exaggeration which deceives for the moment both themselves and their auditors.
Mere negation, mere Epicurean infidelity, as Lord Bacon most justly observes, has never disturbed the peace of the world. It furnishes no motive for action; it inspires no enthusiasm; it has no missionaries, no crusades, no martyrs.
The effective strength of sects is not to be ascertained merely by counting heads.
This is the highest miracle of genius, that things which are not should be as though they were, that the imaginations of one mind should become the personal recollections of another.
The study of the properties of numbers, Plato tells us, habituates the mind to the contemplation of pure truth, and raises us above the material universe. He would have his disciples apply themselves to this study, not that they may be able to buy or sell, not that they may qualify themselves to be
The impenetrable stupidity of Prince George (son-in-law of James II) served his turn. It was his habit, when any news was told him, to exclaim, "Est il possible?"-"Is it possible?"
Turn where we may, within, around, the voice of great events is proclaiming to us, Reform, that you may preserve!
The end of government is the happiness of the people.
Only imagine a man acting for one single day on the supposition that all his neighbors believe all that they profess, and act up to all that they believe!
Language is the machine of the poet.
How well Horatius kept the bridge In the brave days of old.
Men are never so likely to settle a question rightly as when they discuss it freely.
This is the best book ever written by any man on the wrong side of a question of which he is profoundly ignorant.
But the time will come when New England will be as thickly peopled as old England. Wages will be as low, and will fluctuate as much with you as with us. You will have your Manchesters and Birminghams; and, in those Manchesters and Birminghams, hundreds of thousands of artisans will assuredly be some
I have not the smallest doubt that, if we had a purely democratic government here, the effect would be the same. Either the poor would plunder the rich, and civilisation would perish; or order and property would be saved by a strong military government, and liberty would perish.
Every political sect has its esoteric and its exoteric school--its abstract doctrines for the initiated; its visible symbols, its imposing forms, its mythological fables, for the vulgar.
The English doctrine that all power is a trust for the public good.
Boswell is the first of biographers.
We must succumb to the general influence of the times. No man can be of the tenth century, if he would; be must be a man of the nineteenth century.
No particular man is necessary to the state. We may depend on it that, if we provide the country with popular institutions, those institutions will provide it with great men.
Man is so inconsistent a creature that it is impossible to reason from his beliefs to his conduct, or from one part of his belief to another.
He who, in an enlightened and literary society, aspires to be a great poet, must first become a little child. He must take to pieces the whole web of his mind. He must unlearn much of that knowledge which has perhaps constituted hitherto his chief title to superiority. His very talents will be a hin
The history of nations, in the sense in which I use the word, is often best studied in works not professedly historical.
Even Holland and Spain have been positively, though not relatively, advancing.
As civilization advances, poetry almost necessarily declines.
There is no country in Europe which is so easy to over-run as Spain; there is no country which it is more difficult to conquer.
He was a rake among scholars, and a scholar among rakes.