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.
— Walter Bagehot
A family on the throne is an interesting idea. It brings down the pride of sovereignty to the level of petty life.
The reason why so few good books are written is that so few people who can write know anything.
Nothing is more unpleasant than a virtuous person with a mean mind.
The real essence of work is concentrated energy.
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.
A schoolmaster should have an atmosphere of awe, and walk wonderingly, as if he was amazed at being himself.
A great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.
Men who do not make advances to women are apt to become victims to women who make advances to them.
The whole history of civilization is strewn with creeds and institutions which were invaluable at first, and deadly afterwards.
An ambassador is not simply an agent; he is also a spectacle.
The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.
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.
Honor sinks where commerce long prevails.
An inability to stay quiet is one of the conspicuous failings of mankind.
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.
You may talk of the tyranny of Nero and Tiberius; but the real tyranny is the tyranny of your next-door neighbor.
Progress would not have been the rarity it is if the early food had not been the late poison.
A man's mother is his misfortune, but his wife is his fault.
What impresses men is not mind, but the result of mind.
The reason that there are so few good books written is that so few people who write know anything.
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 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.
We must not let daylight in upon the magic.
It is often said that men are ruled by their imaginations; but it would be truer to say they are governed by the weakness of their imaginations.
Conquest is the missionary of valor, and the hard impact of military virtues beats meanness out of the world.
No real English gentleman, in his secret soul, was ever sorry for the death of a political economist.
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.
The cure for admiring the House of Lords is to go and look at it.
Woman absent is woman dead.
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.
No great work has ever been produced except after a long interval of still and musing meditation.
The greatest mistake is trying to be more agreeable than you can be.
Life is a school of probability.
So long as war is the main business of nations, temporary despotism - despotism during the campaign - is indispensable.
Writers like teeth are divided into incisors and grinders.
A constitutional statesman is in general a man of common opinions and uncommon abilities.
In every particular state of the world, those nations which are strongest tend to prevail over the others; and in certain marked peculiarities the strongest tend to be the best.
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.
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.
One of the greatest pains to human nature is the pain of a new idea.
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.
A Parliament is nothing less than a big meeting of more or less idle people.
It is good to be without vices, but it is not good to be without temptations.
Poverty is an anomaly to rich people; it is very difficult to make out why people who want dinner do not ring the bell.