Thus hope, aided by imagination, makes one man a hero, another a somnambulist, and a third a lunatic; while it renders them all enthusiasts.

-James Fitzjames Stephen
James Fitzjames Stephen

To try to make men equal by altering social arrangements is like trying to make the cards of equal value by shuffling the pack.

James Fitzjames Stephen
Power and courtly influence form an intoxicating draught even when raised to the lips of an ascetic and a saint.
James Fitzjames Stephen

Parliamentary government is simply a mild and disguised form of compulsion. We agree to try strength by counting heads instead of breaking heads, but the principle is exactly the same... The minority gives way not because it is convinced that it is wrong, but because it is convinced that it is a minority.

James Fitzjames Stephen
Used with due abstinence, hope acts as a healthful tonic; intemperately indulged, as an enervating opiate. The visions of future triumph, which at first animate exertion, if dwelt upon too intently, will usurp the place of the stern reality; and, noble objects will be contemplated, not for their own inherent worth, but on account of the day-dreams they engender. Thus hope, aided by imagination, makes one man a hero, another a somnambulist, and a third a lunatic; while it renders them all enthusiasts.
James Fitzjames Stephen

To try to regulate the internal affairs of a family, the relations of love or friendship, or many other things of the same sort, by law or by the coercion of public opinion, is like trying to pull an eyelash out of a man's eye with a pair of tongs. They may put out the eye, but they will never get hold of the eyelash

James Fitzjames Stephen
Originally consists in thinking for yourself, and not in thinking unlike other people.
James Fitzjames Stephen

A well-judging man will open his trunk-line of study in such a direction that, while habitually adhering to it, he may enjoy a ready access to such other fields of knowledge as are most nearly related to it.

James Fitzjames Stephen
Persuasion, indeed, is a kind of force. It consists in showing a person the consequences of his actions. It is, in a word, force applied through the mind.
James Fitzjames Stephen

Wisdom may be the ultimate arbiter, but is seldom the immediate agent in human affairs.

James Fitzjames Stephen
To me this question whether liberty is a good or a bad thing appears as irrational as the question whether fire is a good or a bad thing. It is both good and bad according to time, place, and circumstance, and a complete answer to the question, In what cases is liberty good and in what cases is it bad? would involve not merely a universal history of mankind, but a complete solution of the problems which such a history would offer.