A great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.— Walter Bagehot
The most interesting Walter Bagehot quotes that are easy to memorize and remember
You may talk of the tyranny of Nero and Tiberius;
but the real tyranny is the tyranny of your next-door neighbor.
The Sovereign has, under a constitutional monarchy such as ours, three rights -- the right to be consulted, the right to encourage, the right to warn. And a king of great sense and sagacity would want no others.
A severe though not unfriendly critic of our institutions said that the cure for admiring the House of Lords was to go and look at it.
The greatest please in life is doing what people say you cannot do.
The best reason why Monarchy is a strong government is, that it is an intelligible government. The mass of mankind understand it, and they hardly anywhere in the world understand any other.
Progress would not have been the rarity it is if the early food had not been the late poison.
One of the greatest pains to human nature is the pain of a new idea.
Royalty is a government in which the attention of the nation is concentrated on one person doing interesting actions.
The caucus is a sort of representative meeting which sits voting and voting till they have cut out all the known men against whom much is to be said, and agreed on some unknown man against whom there is nothing known, and therefore nothing to be alleged.
A Parliament is nothing less than a big meeting of more or less idle people.
Poverty is an anomaly to rich people;
it is very difficult to make out why people who want dinner do not ring the bell.
An inability to stay quiet is one of the most conspicuous failings of mankind.
An inability to stay quiet is one of the conspicuous failings of mankind.
Writers like teeth are divided into incisors and grinders.
The real essence of work is concentrated energy - people who really have that in a superior degree by nature are independent of the forms and habits and artifices by which less able and less active people are kept up to their labors.
A schoolmaster should have an atmosphere of awe, and walk wonderingly, as if he was amazed at being himself.
A cabinet is a combining committee, a hyphen which joins, a buckle which fastens, the legislative part of the state to the executive part of the state. In its origin it belongs to the one, in its functions it belongs to the other.
The being without an opinion is so painful to human nature that most people will leap to a hasty opinion rather than undergo it.
An influential member of parliament has not only to pay much money to become such, and to give time and labour, he has also to sacrifice his mind too - at least all the characteristics part of it that which is original and most his own.
We think of Euclid as of fine ice; we admire Newton as we admire the peak of Teneriffe. Even the intensest labors, the most remote triumphs of the abstract intellect, seem to carry us into a region different from our own-to be in a terra incognita of pure reasoning, to cast a chill on human glory.
Dullness in matters of government is a good sign, and not a bad one - in particular, dullness in parliamentary government is a test of its excellence, an indication of its success.
An ambassador is not simply an agent; he is also a spectacle.
Strong beliefs win strong men, and then make them stronger.
Conquest is the missionary of valor, and the hard impact of military virtues beats meanness out of the world.
A slight daily unconscious luxury is hardly ever wanting to the dwellers in civilization; like the gentle air of a genial climate, it is a perpetual minute enjoyment.
The characteristic danger of great nations, like the Romans or the English which have a long history of continuous creation, is that they may at last fail from not comprehending the great institutions which they have created
The real essence of work is concentrated energy.
The mystic reverence, the religious allegiance, which are essential to a true monarchy, are imaginative sentiments that no legislature can manufacture in any people.
A family on the throne is an interesting idea.
It brings down the pride of sovereignty to the level of petty life.
The characteristic merit of the English constitutions is, that its dignified parts are very complicated and somewhat imposing, very old and rather venerable, while its efficient part, at least when in great and critical action, is decidedly simple and modern.
An element of exaggeration clings to the popular judgment: great vices are made greater, great virtues greater also; interesting incidents are made more interesting, softer legends more soft.
The business of banking ought to be simple.
If it is hard it is wrong. The only securities which a banker, using money that he may be asked at short notice to repay, ought to touch, are those which are easily saleable and easily intelligible.
The habit of common and continuous speech is a symptom of mental deficiency.
It proceeds from not knowing what is going on in other people's minds.
A princely marriage is the brilliant edition of a universal fact, and, as such, it rivets mankind.
So long as war is the main business of nations, temporary despotism - despotism during the campaign - is indispensable.
So long as there are earnest believers in the world, they will always wish to punish opinions, even if their judgment tells them it is unwise and their conscience that it is wrong.
A constitutional statesman is in general a man of common opinions and uncommon abilities.
Men who do not make advances to women are apt to become victims to women who make advances to them.
A man's mother is his misfortune, but his wife is his fault.
Public opinion is a permeating influence, and it exacts obedience to itself;
it requires us to drink other men's thoughts, to speak other men's words, to follow other men's habits.
It is good to be without vices, but it is not good to be without temptations.
Women--one half the human race at least--care fifty times more for a marriage than a ministry.
The best history is but like the art of Rembrandt;
it casts a vivid light on certain selected causes, on those which were best and greatest; it leaves all the rest in shadow and unseen.
Money is economic power.
The most intellectual of men are moved quite as much by the circumstances which they are used to as by their own will. The active voluntary part of a man is very small, and if it were not economized by a sleepy kind of habit, its results would be null.
The most melancholy of human reflections, perhaps, is that, on the whole, it is a question whether the benevolence of mankind does most good or harm.
In early times every sort of advantage tends to become a military advantage;
such is the best way, then, to keep it alive. But the Jewish advantage never did so; beginning in religion, contrary to a thousand analogies, it remained religious.
All the best stories in the world are but one story in reality - the story of escape. It is the only thing which interests us all and at all times, how to escape.
No real English gentleman, in his secret soul, was ever sorry for the death of a political economist.