Miscellaneous Quotations
"No food is so bitter as the bread of dependence, and no ascent so painful as the staircase of a patron." --Thomas Babington Macaulay, "Dante."

"The primal compact and bond of society [is] not graven on stone, nor sealed with wax, nor put down on parchment, nor set forth in any express form of words by men when of old they came together; but implied in the very act that they so came together, pre-supposed in all subsequent law, not to be repealed by any authority, not invalidated by being omitted in any code; inasmuch as from thence are all codes and all authority." --Thomas Babington Macaulay, "A Conversation Touching the Great Civil War."

"No power which is not limited by laws can ever be protected by them. Small, therefore, is the wisdom of those who would fly to servitude as if it were a refuge from commotion; for anarchy is the sure consequence of tyranny. That governments may be safe, nations must be free. Their passions must have an outlet provided, lest they make one." --Thomas Babington Macaulay, "A Conversation Touching the Great Civil War."

"Where the people is most closely restrained, there it gives the greatest shocks to peace and order; therefore would I say to all kings, let your demagogues lead crowds, lest they lead armies; let them bluster, lest they massacre; a little turbulence is, as it were, the rainbow of the state; it shows indeed that there is a passing shower; but it is a pledge that there shall be no deluge." --Thomas Babington Macaulay, "A Conversation Touching the Great Civil War."

"It is not by turning over libraries, but by repeatedly perusing and intently contemplating a few great models, that the mind is best disciplined... To the mind, I believe, it will be found more nutritious to digest a page than to devour a volume." --Thomas Babington Macaulay, "On the Athenian Orators."

"States have always been lest governed by men who have taken a wide view of public affairs, and who have rather a general acquaintance with many sciences than a perfect mastery of one." --Thomas Babington Macaulay, "On the Athenian Orators."

"Good government, like a good coat, is that which fits the body for which it is designed." --Thomas Babington Macaulay, "On Mitford's History of Greece."

"That is the best government which desires to make the people happy, and knows how to make them happy." --Thomas Babington Macaulay, "On Mitford's History of Greece."

"The happiest state of society is that in which supreme power resides in the whole body of a well-informed people." --Thomas Babington Macaulay, "On Mitford's History of Greece."

"Oligarchy, wherever it has existed, has always stunted the growth of genius." --Thomas Babington Macaulay, "On Mitford's History of Greece."

"All wise statesmen have agreed to consider the prosperity or adversity of nations as made up of the happiness or misery of individuals, and to reject as chimerical all notions of a public interest of the community, distinct from the interest of the component parts." --Thomas Babington Macaulay, "On Mitford's History of Greece."

"There is no more hazardous enterprise than that of bearing the torch of truth into those dark and infected recesses in which no light has ever shone." --Thomas Babington Macaulay, "Milton."

"The great principle, that societies and laws exist only for the purpose of increasing the sum of private happiness, is not recognized with sufficient clearness." --Thomas Babington Macaulay, "Machiavelli."

"Logic has its illusions as well as rhetoric: a fallacy may lurk in a syllogism as well as in a metaphor." --Thomas Babington Macaulay, "Mill's Essay on Government."

"The feeling of patriotism, when society is in a healthful state, springs up, by a natural and inevitable association, in the minds of citizens who know that they owe all their comforts and pleasures to the bond which unites them in one community." --Thomas Babington Macaulay, "Civil Disabilities of the Jews."

"A life of action, if it is to be useful, must be a life of compromise. But speculation admits of no compromise. A public man is often under the necessity of consenting to measures which he dislikes, lest he should endanger the success of measures which he thinks of vital importance." --Thomas Babington Macaulay, "War of the Succession in Spain."

"As Milton has said, error is but opinion in the making." --Thomas Babington Macaulay, "Horace Walpole."

"That honesty is the best policy is a maxim which we firmly believe to be generally correct, even with respect to the temporal interests of individuals; but with respect to societies, the rule is subject to still fewer exceptions, and that for this reason, that the life of societies is longer than the life of individuals. It is possible to mention men who have owed great worldly prosperity to breaches of private faith; but we doubt whether it be possible to mention a state which has on the whole been a gainer by a breach of public faith." --Thomas Babington Macaulay, "Lord Clive."

"The greatest advantage which a government can possess is to be the one trustworthy government in the midst of governments which nobody can trust." --Thomas Babington Macaulay, "Lord Clive."

"It is evident that many great and useful objects can be attained in this world only by cooperation. It is equally evident that there cannot be efficient co-operation, if men proceed on the principle that they must not co-operate for one object unless they agree about other objects." --Thomas Babington Macaulay, "Gladstone on Church and State."

"Johnson... had learned, both from his own observation and from literary history, in which he was deeply read, that the place of books in the public estimation is fixed, not by what is written about them, but by what is written in them; and that an author whose works are likely to live is very unwise if he stoops to wrangle with detractors whose works are certain to die." --Thomas Babington Macaulay, "Samuel Johnson."

"The greatest men must fail when they attempt to do that for which they are unfit." --Thomas Babington Macaulay, "Samuel Johnson."

"No man is fit to govern great societies who hesitates about disobliging the few who have access to him for the sake of the many whom he will never see." --Thomas Babington Macaulay, "Charles II."


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