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Talk:Walter Bagehot


Wikiquote no longer allows unsourced quotations, and they are in process of being removed from our pages (see Wikiquote:Limits on quotations); but if you can provide a reliable, precise and verifiable source for any quote on this list please move it to Walter Bagehot. --Antiquary 17:56, 18 June 2009 (UTC)

  • A Parliament is nothing less than a big meeting of more or less idle people.
  • A princely marriage is the brilliant edition of a universal fact, and, as such, it rivets mankind.
  • A schoolmaster should have an atmosphere of awe, and walk wonderingly, as if he was amazed at being himself.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. [Multiple attributions, but most commonly (according to Google) attributed to A.C. Benson]
  • An ambassador is not simply an agent; he is also a spectacle.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Conquest is the missionary of valor, and the hard impact of military virtues beats meanness out of the world.
  • 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.
  • History is strewn with the wrecks of nations which have gained a little progressiveness at the cost of a great deal of hard manliness, and have thus prepared themselves for destruction as soon as the movements of the world gave a chance for it.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Men who do not make advances to women are apt to become victims to women who make advances to them.
  • No real English gentleman, in his secret soul, was ever sorry for the death of a political economist.
  • Open-mindedness should not be fostered because, as Scripture teaches, Truth is great and will prevail, nor because, as Milton suggests, Truth will always win in a free and open encounter. It should be fostered for its own sake.
  • Poverty is an anomaly to rich people; it is very difficult to make out why people who want dinner do not ring the bell.
  • So long as war is the main business of nations, temporary despotism - despotism during the campaign - is indispensable.
  • The being without an opinion is so painful to human nature that most people will leap to a hasty opinion rather than undergo it.
  • 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 greatest mistake is trying to be more agreeable than you can be.
  • The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.
  • The habit of common and continuous speech is a symptom of mental deficiency.
  • 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 whole history of civilization is strewn with creeds and institutions which were invaluable at first, and deadly afterwards.
  • We must not let daylight in upon the magic.
  • What impresses men is not mind, but the result of mind.
  • Woman absent is woman dead.
  • Writers, like teeth, are divided into incisors and grinders.
  • To illustrate a principle, you must exaggerate much and you must omit much.


Links to WikisourceEdit

I note that there are broken links to Wikisource, e.g., which appears to work if changed to . Since I am not sure what the best approach is – update here or redirect there – I am reluctant to change this. PJTraill (talk) 10:52, 25 June 2015 (UTC)

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