The object of oratory alone in not truth, but persuasion.— Thomas Babington Macaulay
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The measure of a man's real character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.
A good constitution is infinitely better than the best despot.
And how can man die better than facing fearful odds, for the ashes of his fathers, and the temples of his Gods?
The best portraits are those in which there is a slight mixture of caricature.
Nothing is so galling to a people not broken in from birth as a paternal, or, in other words, a meddling government, a government which tells them what to read, and say, and eat, and drink and wear.
Perhaps no person can be a poet, or even enjoy poetry, without a certain unsoundness of mind.
We know no spectacle so ridiculous as the British public in one of its periodical fits of morality.
There were gentlemen and there were seamen in the navy of Charles the Second.
But the seamen were not gentlemen; and the gentlemen were not seamen.
Turn where we may, within, around, the voice of great events is proclaiming to us, Reform, that you may preserve!
And to say that society ought to be governed by the opinion of the wisest and best, though true, is useless. Whose opinion is to decide who are the wisest and best?
The effect of violent dislike between groups has always created an indifference to the welfare and honor of the state.
Logicians may reason about abstractions.
But the great mass of men must have images. The strong tendency of the multitude in all ages and nations to idolatry can be explained on no other principle.
Generalization is necessary to the advancement of knowledge;
but particularly is indispensable to the creations of the imagination. In proportion as men know more and think more they look less at individuals and more at classes. They therefore make better theories and worse poems.
A church is disaffected when it is persecuted, quiet when it is tolerated, and actively loyal when it is favored and cherished.
There is surely no contradiction in saying that a certain section of the community may be quite competent to protect the persons and property of the rest, yet quite unfit to direct our opinions, or to superintend our private habits.
He was a rake among scholars, and a scholar among rakes.
He had a wonderful talent for packing thought close, and rendering it portable.
In Plato's opinion, man was made for philosophy; in Bacon's opinion, philosophy was made for man.
Your Constitution is all sail and no anchor.
She thoroughly understands what no other Church has ever understood, how to deal with enthusiasts.
We must judge a government by its general tendencies and not by its happy accidents.
Many politicians lay it down as a self-evident proposition, that no people ought to be free till they are fit to use their freedom. The maxim is worthy of the fool in the old story, who resolved not to go into the water till he had learned to swim.
The real security of Christianity is to be found in its benevolent morality, in its exquisite adaptation to the human heart, in the facility with which its scheme accommodates itself to the capacity of every human intellect, in the consolation which it bears to the house of mourning, in the light with which it brightens the great mystery of the grave.
Those who compare the age in which their lot has fallen with a golden age which exists only in imagination, may talk of degeneracy and decay; but no man who is correctly informed as to the past, will be disposed to take a morose or desponding view of the present.
The reluctant obedience of distant provinces generally costs more than it The Territory is worth. Empires which branch out widely are often more flourishing for a little timely pruning.
Men are never so likely to settle a question rightly as when they discuss it freely.
None of the modes by which a magistrate is appointed, popular election, the accident of the lot, or the accident of birth, affords, as far as we can perceive, much security for his being wiser than any of his neighbours.
A few more days, and this essay will follow the Defensio Populi to the dust and silence of the upper shelf... For a month or two it will occupy a few minutes of chat in every drawing-room, and a few columns in every magazine; and it will then be withdrawn, to make room for the forthcoming novelties.
It is impossible for us, with our limited means, to attempt to educate the body of the people. We must at present do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of persons, Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals, and in intellect. To that class we may leave it to refine the vernacular dialects of the country, to enrich those dialects with terms of science borrowed from the Western nomenclature, and to render them by degrees fit vehicles for conveying knowledge to the great mass of the population.
If any person had told the Parliament which met in terror and perplexity after the crash of 1720 that in 1830 the wealth of England would surpass all their wildest dreams, that the annual revenue would equal the principal of that debt which they considered an intolerable burden, that for one man of
The puritan hated bear baiting, not because it gave pain to the bear, but because it gave pleasure to the spectators.
The maxim, that governments ought to train the people in the way in which they should go, sounds well. But is there any reason for believing that a government is more likely to lead the people in the right way than the people to fall into the right way of themselves?
The highest proof of virtue is to possess boundless power without abusing it.
Language, the machine of the poet, is best fitted for his purpose in its rudest state. Nations, like individuals, first perceive, and then abstract. They advance from particular images to general terms. Hence the vocabulary of an enlightened society is philosophical, that of a half-civilized people is poetical.
Our rulers will best promote the improvement of the nation by strictly confining themselves to their own legitimate duties, by leaving capital to find its most lucrative course, commodities their fair price, industry and intelligence their natural reward, idleness and folly their natural punishment, by maintaining peace, by defending property, by diminishing the price of law, and by observing strict economy in every department of the state. Let the Government do this: the People will assuredly do the rest.
Persecution produced its natural effect on them. It found them a sect; it made them a faction.
To punish a man because we infer from the nature of some doctrine which he holds, or from the conduct of other persons who hold the same doctrines with him, that he will commit a crime, is persecution, and is, in every case, foolish and wicked.
And she (the Roman Catholic Church) may still exist in undiminished vigor, when some traveller from New Zealand shall, in the midst of a vast solitude, take his stand on a broken arch of London Bridge to sketch the ruins of St. Paul's.
Every generation enjoys the use of a vast hoard bequeathed to it by antiquity, and transmits that hoard, augmented by fresh acquisitions, to future ages.
History, is made up of the bad actions of extraordinary men and woman.
All the most noted destroyers and deceivers of our species, all the founders of arbitrary governments and false religions have been extraordinary people; and nine tenths of the calamities that have befallen the human race had no other origin than the union of high intelligence with low desires.
American democracy must be a failure because it places the supreme authority in the hands of the poorest and most ignorant part of the society.
Charles V. said that a man who knew four languages was worth four men; and Alexander the Great so valued learning, that he used to say he was more indebted to Aristotle for giving him knowledge that, than his father Philip for giving him life.
Then out spake brave Horatius,The Captain of the Gate:To every man upon this earthDeath cometh soon or late.And how can man die betterThan facing fearful odds,For the ashes of his fathers,And the temples of his Gods.
From the poetry of Lord Byron they drew a system of ethics compounded of misanthropy and voluptuousness--a system in which the two great commandments were to hate your neighbor and to love your neighbor's wife.
Nothing is so galling to a people not broken in from the birth as a paternal, or in other words a meddling government, a government which tells them what to read and say and eat and drink and wear.
To punish a man because he has committed a crime, or because he is believed, though unjustly, to have committed a crime, is not persecution. To punish a man, because we infer from the nature of some doctrine which he holds, or from the conduct of other persons who hold the same doctrines with him, that he will commit a crime, is persecution, and is, in every case, foolish and wicked.