Quotes

Quotes - Burke


The writers against religion, whilst they oppose every system, are wisely careful never to set up any of their own.

Edmund Burke

"War," says Machiavel, "ought to be the only study of a prince;" and by a prince he means every sort of state, however constituted. "He ought," says this great political doctor, "to consider peace only as a breathing-time, which gives him leisure to contrive, and furnishes ability to execute military plans." A meditation on the conduct of political societies made old Hobbes imagine that war was the state of nature.

Edmund Burke

I am convinced that we have a degree of delight, and that no small one, in the real misfortunes and pains of others.

Edmund Burke

Custom reconciles us to everything.

Edmund Burke

There is, however, a limit at which forbearance ceases to be a virtue.

Edmund Burke

The wisdom of our ancestors.

Edmund Burke

Illustrious predecessor.

Edmund Burke

In such a strait the wisest may well be perplexed and the boldest staggered.

Edmund Burke

When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.

Edmund Burke

Of this stamp is the cant of, Not men, but measures.

Edmund Burke

The concessions of the weak are the concessions of fear.

Edmund Burke

There is America, which at this day serves for little more than to amuse you with stories of savage men and uncouth manners, yet shall, before you taste of death, show itself equal to the whole of that commerce which now attracts the envy of the world.

Edmund Burke

Fiction lags after truth, invention is unfruitful, and imagination cold and barren.

Edmund Burke

A people who are still, as it were, but in the gristle, and not yet hardened into the bone of manhood.

Edmund Burke

A wise and salutary neglect.

Edmund Burke

My vigour relents,--I pardon something to the spirit of liberty.

Edmund Burke

The religion most prevalent in our northern colonies is a refinement on the principles of resistance: it is the dissidence of dissent, and the protestantism of the Protestant religion.

Edmund Burke

I do not know the method of drawing up an indictment against a whole people.

Edmund Burke

The march of the human mind is slow.

Edmund Burke

All government,--indeed, every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue and every prudent act,--is founded on compromise and barter.

Edmund Burke

The worthy gentleman who has been snatched from us at the moment of the election, and in the middle of the contest, whilst his desires were as warm and his hopes as eager as ours, has feelingly told us what shadows we are, and what shadows we pursue.

Edmund Burke

They made and recorded a sort of institute and digest of anarchy, called the Rights of Man.

Edmund Burke

People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors.

Edmund Burke

You had that action and counteraction which, in the natural and in the political world, from the reciprocal struggle of discordant powers draws out the harmony of the universe.

Edmund Burke

It is now sixteen or seventeen years since I saw the Queen of France, then the Dauphiness, at Versailles; and surely never lighted on this orb, which she hardly seemed to touch, a more delightful vision. I saw her just above the horizon, decorating and cheering the elevated sphere she just began to move in,--glittering like the morning star full of life and splendour and joy.... Little did I dream that I should have lived to see such disasters fallen upon her in a nation of gallant men,--in a nation of men of honour and of cavaliers. I thought ten thousand swords must have leaped from their scabbards to avenge even a look that threatened her with insult. But the age of chivalry is gone; that of sophisters, economists, and calculators has succeeded.

Edmund Burke

The unbought grace of life, the cheap defence of nations, the nurse of manly sentiment and heroic enterprise is gone.

Edmund Burke

That chastity of honour which felt a stain like a wound.

Edmund Burke

Vice itself lost half its evil by losing all its grossness.

Edmund Burke

Kings will be tyrants from policy, when subjects are rebels from principle.

Edmund Burke

Learning will be cast into the mire and trodden down under the hoofs of a swinish multitude.

Edmund Burke

Because half-a-dozen grasshoppers under a fern make the field ring with their importunate chink, whilst thousands of great cattle, reposed beneath the shadow of the British oak, chew the cud and are silent, pray do not imagine that those who make the noise are the only inhabitants of the field; that of course they are many in number; or that, after all, they are other than the little shrivelled, meagre, hopping, though loud and troublesome insects of the hour.

Edmund Burke

In their nomination to office they will not appoint to the exercise of authority as to a pitiful job, but as to a holy function.

Edmund Burke

The men of England,--the men, I mean, of light and leading in England.

Edmund Burke

He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper.

Edmund Burke

To execute laws is a royal office; to execute orders is not to be a king. However, a political executive magistracy, though merely such, is a great trust.

Edmund Burke

You can never plan the future by the past.

Edmund Burke

The cold neutrality of an impartial judge.

Edmund Burke

And having looked to Government for bread, on the very first scarcity they will turn and bite the hand that fed them.

Edmund Burke

All men that are ruined, are ruined on the side of their natural propensities.

Edmund Burke

All those instances to be found in history, whether real or fabulous, of a doubtful public spirit, at which morality is perplexed, reason is staggered, and from which affrighted Nature recoils, are their chosen and almost sole examples for the instruction of their youth.

Edmund Burke

Example is the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other.

Edmund Burke

Early and provident fear is the mother of safety.

Edmund Burke

There never was a bad man that had ability for good service.

Edmund Burke

The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion.

Edmund Burke

I would rather sleep in the southern corner of a little country churchyard than in the tomb of the Capulets.

Edmund Burke

It has all the contortions of the sibyl without the inspiration.

Edmund Burke

He was not merely a chip of the old block, but the old block itself.

Edmund Burke

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

Edmund Burke

The most favourable laws can do very little towards the happiness of people when the disposition of the ruling power is adverse to them.

Edmund Burke

He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves, and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper.

Edmund Burke

The true danger is when liberty is nibbled away, for expedients, and by parts.

Edmund Burke

Men who undertake considerable things, even in a regular way, ought to give us ground to presume ability.

Edmund Burke

Chapter of accidents.

Edmund Burke

Dignity belongs to the conquered.

Kenneth Burke

Politics and the pulpit are terms that have little agreement.

Edmund Burke

A people who are still, as it were, but in the gristle, and not yet hardened into the bone of manhood.

Edmund Burke

Young man, there is America--which at this day serves for little more than to amuse you with stories of savage men and uncouth manners; yet shall, before you taste of death, show itself equal to the whole that commerce which now attracts the envy of the world.

Edmund Burke

People will not look forward to posterity, who never look backward to their ancestors.

Edmund Burke

The power of perpetuating our property in our families is one of the most valuable and interesting circumstances belonging to it, and that which tends most to the perpetuation of society itself. It makes our weakness subservient to our virtue; it grafts benevolence even upon avarice. The possession of family wealth and of the distinction which attends hereditary possessions (as most concerned in it,) are the natural securities for this transmission.

Edmund Burke

Some decent regulated pre-eminence, some preference (not exclusive appropriation) given to birth, is neither unnatural, nor unjust, nor impolite.

Edmund Burke

We must not always judge of the generality of the opinion by the noise of the acclamation.

Edmund Burke

Writers, especially when they act in a body and with one direction, have great influence on the public mind.

Edmund Burke

When we speak of the commerce with our colonies, fiction lags after truth, invention is unfruitful, and imagination cold and barren.

Edmund Burke

He was not merely a chip of the old Block, but the old Block itself.

Edmund Burke

All men that are ruined, are ruined on the side of their natural propensities.

Edmund Burke

No sound ought to be heard in the church but the healing voice of Christian charity.

Edmund Burke

That chastity of honour which felt a stain like a wound.

Edmund Burke

It has all the contortions of the sibyl without the inspiration.

Edmund Burke

All government, indeed every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue, and every prudent act, is founded on compromise and barter.

Edmund Burke

The coming of the printing press must have seemed as if it would turn the world upside down in the way it spread and, above all, democratized knowledge. Provide you could pay and read, what was on the shelves in the new bookshops was yours for the taking. The speed with which printing presses and their operators fanned out across Europe is extraordinary. From the single Mainz press of 1457, it took only twenty-three years to establish presses in 110 towns: 50 in Ita!0 in Germany, 9 in France, 8 in Spain, 8 in Holland, 4 in England, and so on.

James E. Burke

There ought to be a system of manners in every nation which a well-formed mind would be disposed to relish. To make us love our country, our country ought to be lovely.

Edmund Burke

The first and simplest emotion which we discover in the human mind, is curiosity.

Edmund Burke

I am convinced that we have a degree of delight, and that no small one, in the real misfortunes and pains of others.

Edmund Burke

A perfect democracy is therefore the most shameless thing in the world.

Edmund Burke

The unbought grace of life, the cheap defence of nations, the nurse of manly sentiment and heroic enterprise, is gone!

Edmund Burke

The men of England--the men, I mean of light and leading in England.

Edmund Burke

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

Edmund Burke

Example is the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other.

Edmund Burke

Illustrious Predecessor.

Edmund Burke

Early and provident fear is the mother of safety.

Edmund Burke

No man can mortgage his injustice as a pawn for his fidelity.

Edmund Burke

You can never plan the future by the past.

Edmund Burke

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

Edmund Burke

All government--indeed, every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue and every prudent act--is founded on compromise and barter.

Edmund Burke

And having looked to Government for bread, on the very first scarcity they will turn and bite the hand that fed them.

Edmund Burke

When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.

Edmund Burke

Government is a contrivance of human wisdom to provide for human wants. Men have a right that these wants should be provided for by this wisdom.

Edmund Burke

I would rather sleep in the southern corner of a little country churchyard, than in the tombs of the Capulets.

Edmund Burke

The cold neutrality of an impartial judge.

Edmund Burke

It is the function of a judge not to make but to declare the law, according to the golden mete-wand of the law and not by the crooked cord of discretion.

Edmund Burke

Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.

Edmund Burke

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.

Edmund Burke

It looks to me to be narrow and pedantic to apply the ordinary ideas of criminal justice to this great public contest. I do not know the method of drawing up an indictment against a whole people.

Edmund Burke

Whenever a separation is made between liberty and justice, neither, in my opinion, is safe.

Edmund Burke

There was an ancient Roman lawyer, of great fame in the history of Roman jurisprudence, whom they called Cui Bono, from his having first introduced into judicial proceedings the argument, "What end or object could the party have had in the act with which he is accused."

Edmund Burke

I do not know the method of drawing up an indictment against an whole people.

Edmund Burke

A good parson once said that where mystery begins religion ends. Cannot I say, as truly at least, of human laws, that where mystery begins, justice ends?

Edmund Burke

Learning will be cast into the mire and trodden down under the hoofs of a swinish multitude.

Edmund Burke

In all forms of government the people is the true legislator.

Edmund Burke

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.

Edmund Burke

The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion.

Edmund Burke

My vigour relents. I pardon something to the spirit of liberty.

Edmund Burke

There ought to be system of manners in every nation which a well-formed mind would be disposed to relish. To make us love our country, our country ought to be lovely.

Edmund Burke

Resolved to die in the last dyke of prevarication.

Edmund Burke

She is not made to be the admiration of all, but the happiness of one.

Edmund Burke

The march of the human mind is slow.

Edmund Burke

It is hard to say whether the doctors of law or divinity have made the greater advances in the lucrative business of mystery.

Edmund Burke

He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves, and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper. •Edmund Burke Which fiddle-strings is weakness to expredge my nerves this night!

Edmund Burke

He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves, and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper.

Edmund Burke

Some degree of novelty must be one of the materials in almost every instrument which works upon the mind; and curiosity blends itself, more or less, with all our pleasures.

Edmund Burke

Some degree of novelty must be one of the materials in almost every instrument which works upon the mind; and curiosity blends itself, more or less, with all our pleasures.

Edmund Burke

They defend their errors as if they were defending their inheritance.

Edmund Burke

The age of chivalry is gone.--That of sophisters, economists and calculators has succeeded.

Edmund Burke

There is however a limit at which forbearance ceases to be a virtue.

Edmund Burke

Our patience will achieve more than our force.

Edmund Burke

The unbought grace of life, the cheap defence of nations, the nurse of manly sentiment and heroic enterprise, is gone!

Edmund Burke

By gnawing through a dike, even a rat may drown a nation.

Edmund Burke

The nerve that never relaxes, the eye that never blanches, the thought that never wanders, the purpose that never wavers - these are the masters of victory.

Edmund Burke

By gnawing through a dike, even a rat may drown a nation.

Edmund Burke

Poetry is the art of substantiating shadows, and of lending existence to nothing.

Edmund Burke

You had that action and counteraction which, in the natural and in the political world, from the reciprocal struggle of discordant powers draws out the harmony of the universe.

Edmund Burke

Of this stamp is the cant of, not men, but measures.

Edmund Burke

The balance of power.

Edmund Burke

I know of nothing sublime which is not some modification of power.

Edmund Burke

Turn over a new leaf.

Edmund Burke

The individual is foolish; the multitude, for the moment is foolish, when they act without deliberation; but the species is wise, and, when time is given to it, as a species it always acts right.

Edmund Burke

The tyranny of a multitude is a multiplied tyranny.

Edmund Burke

All persons possessing any portion of power ought to be strongly and awfully impressed with an idea that they act in trust, and that they are to account for their conduct in that trust to the one great Master, Author, and Founder of society.

Edmund Burke

To execute laws is a royal office; to execute orders is not to be a king. However, a political executive magistracy, though merely such, is a great trust.

Edmund Burke

The body of all true religion consists, to be sure, in obedience to the will of the Sovereign of the world, in a confidence in His declarations, and in imitation of His perfections.

Edmund Burke

But the religion most prevalent in our northern colonies is a refinement on the principle of resistance, it is the dissidence of dissent, and the protestantism of the Protestant religion.

Edmund Burke

The writers against religion, whilst they oppose every system, are wisely careful never to set up any of their own.

Edmund Burke

Religion is essentially the art and the theory of the remaking of man. Man is not a finished creation.

Edmund Burke

Make revolution a parent of settlement, and not a nursery of future revolutions.

Edmund Burke

They made and recorded a sort of institute and digest of anarchy, called the rights of man.

Edmund Burke

Better be despised for too anxious apprehensions, than ruined by too confident security.

Edmund Burke

The worthy gentleman [Mr. Coombe], who has been snatched from us at the moment of the election, and in the middle of the contest, while his desires were as warm, and his hopes as eager as ours, has feelingly told us, what shadows we are, and what shadows we pursue.

Edmund Burke

The number is certainly the cause. The apparent disorder augments the grandeur, for the appearance of care is highly contrary to our ideas of magnificence. Besides, the stars lie in such apparent confusion, as makes it impossible on ordinary occasion to reckon them. This gives them the advantage of a sort of infinity.

Edmund Burke

A disposition to preserve, and an ability to improve, taken together, would by my standard of a statesman.

Edmund Burke

Superstition is the religion of feeble minds.

Edmund Burke

To tax and to please, no more than to love and to be wise, is not given to men.

Edmund Burke

When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.

Edmund Burke

What ever disunites man from God, also disunites man from man.

Edmund Burke

Vice itself lost half its evil, by losing all its grossness.

Edmund Burke

The nerve that never relaxes, the eye that never blanches, the thought that never wanders, the purpose that never wavers - these are the masters of victory.

Edmund Burke

What shame keeps its watch, virtue is not wholly extinguished in the heart.

Edmund Burke

If you can be well without health, you may be happy without virtue.

Edmund Burke

I venture to say no war can be long carried on against the will of the people.

Edmund Burke

But the concessions of the weak are the concessions of fear.

Edmund Burke

If we command our wealth, we shall be rich and free. If our wealth commands us, we are poor indeed.

Edmund Burke

It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for its welfare.

Edmund Burke

A very great part of the mischiefs that vex this world arises from words.

Edmund Burke

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