A spirit of innovation is generally the result of a selfish temper and confined views. People will not look forward to posterity, who never look backward to their ancestors.
— Edmund Burke
The tyranny of a multitude is a multiplied tyranny.
But the age of chivalry is gone. That of sophisters, economists, and calculators has succeeded; and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever.
To innovate is not to reform.
Whenever our neighbour's house is on fire, it cannot be amiss for the engines to play a little on our own.
Hypocrisy can afford to be magnificent in its promises, for never intending to go beyond promise, it costs nothing.
Religious persecution may shield itself under the guise of a mistaken and over-zealous piety.
The arrogance of age must submit to be taught by youth.
Education is the cheap defense of nations.
The most important of all revolutions, a revolution in sentiments, manners and moral opinions.
Custom reconciles us to everything.
It is not what a lawyer tells me I may do; but what humanity, reason, and justice tell me I ought to do.
If you can be well without health, you may be happy without virtue.
Kings will be tyrants from policy, when subjects are rebels from principle.
Magnanimity in politics is not seldom the truest wisdom; and a great empire and little minds go ill together.
I have never yet seen any plan which has not been mended by the observations of those who were much inferior in understanding to the person who took the lead in the business.
To make us love our country, our country ought to be lovely.
Superstition is the religion of feeble minds.
But what is liberty without wisdom, and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without tuition or restraint.
Nothing turns out to be so oppressive and unjust as a feeble government.
Nobility is a graceful ornament to the civil order. It is the Corinthian capital of polished society.
It is the interest of the commercial world that wealth should be found everywhere.
In a democracy, the majority of the citizens is capable of exercising the most cruel oppressions upon the minority.
Poetry is the art of substantiating shadows, and of lending existence to nothing.
Free trade is not based on utility but on justice.
Facts are to the mind what food is to the body.
Whilst shame keeps its watch, virtue is not wholly extinguished in the heart; nor will moderation be utterly exiled from the minds of tyrants.
All government, indeed every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue, and every prudent act, is founded on compromise and barter.
He that struggles with us strengthens our nerves, and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper.
What ever disunites man from God, also disunites man from man.
To tax and to please, no more than to love and to be wise, is not given to men.
Circumstances give in reality to every political principle its distinguishing color and discriminating effect. The circumstances are what render every civil and political scheme beneficial or noxious to mankind.
By gnawing through a dike, even a rat may drown a nation.
The true danger is when liberty is nibbled away, for expedience, and by parts.
Beauty in distress is much the most affecting beauty.
Justice is itself the great standing policy of civil society; and any eminent departure from it, under any circumstances, lies under the suspicion of being no policy at all.
The march of the human mind is slow.
People will not look forward to posterity, who never look backward to their ancestors.
It is, generally, in the season of prosperity that men discover their real temper, principles, and designs.
All human laws are, properly speaking, only declaratory; they have no power over the substance of original justice.
The first and simplest emotion which we discover in the human mind, is curiosity.
The greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse.
I venture to say no war can be long carried on against the will of the people.
The effect of liberty to individuals is that they may do what they please: we ought to see what it will please them to do, before we risk congratulations.
You can never plan the future by the past.
One that confounds good and evil is an enemy to good.
Tyrants seldom want pretexts.
Slavery is a weed that grows on every soil.
A disposition to preserve, and an ability to improve, taken together, would be my standard of a statesman.
If the people are happy, united, wealthy, and powerful, we presume the rest. We conclude that to be good from whence good is derived.