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CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
C.N. Douglas, comp.  Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical.  1917.
 
Burke
 
        Teach me, O lark! with thee to greatly rise,
To exalt my soul and lift it to the skies.
  1
  A disposition to preserve, and an ability to improve, taken together, would be my standard of a statesman.  2
  A great deal of the furniture of ancient tyranny is torn to rags; the rest is entirely out of fashion.  3
  A great revolution has happened—a revolution made, not by chopping and changing of power in any of the existing states, but by the appearance of a new state, of a new species, in a new part of the globe. It has made as great a change in all the relations and balances and gravitations of power as the appearance of a new planet would in the system of the solar world.  4
  A jealous lover lights his torch from the firebrand of the fiend.  5
  A speculative despair is unpardonable where it is our duty to act.  6
  A true artist should put a generous deceit on the spectators, and effect the noblest designs by easy methods.  7
  A wise and salutary neglect.  8
  Alas, the incertitude of the law!  9
  All government, indeed every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue, every prudent act, is founded on compromise and barter.  10
  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.  11
  An appearance of delicacy, and even of fragility, is almost essential to beauty.  12
  An enlightened self-interest, which, when well understood, they tell us will identify with an interest more enlarged and public.  13
  An entire life of solitude contradicts the purpose of our being, since death itself is scarcely an idea of more terror.  14
  An extreme rigor is sure to arm everything against it, and at length to relax into a supine neglect.  15
  And having looked to government for bread, on the very first scarcity they will turn and bite the hand that fed them.  16
  As those things which engage us merely by their novelty cannot attach us for any length of time, curiosity is the most superficial of all the affections.  17
  As to great and commanding talents, they are the gift of Providence in some way unknown to us. They rise where they are least expected. They fail when everything seems disposed to produce them, or at least to call them forth.  18
  Bad laws are the worst sort of tyranny.  19
  Because half a dozen grasshoppers under a fern make the field ring with their importunate chink, whilst thousands of great cattle, reposing 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.  20
 
 
  Better to be despised for too anxious apprehensions than ruined by too confident a security.  21
  But the concessions of the weak are the concessions of fear.  22
  By looking into physical causes our minds are opened and enlarged; and in this pursuit, whether we take or whether we lose the game, the chase is certainly of service.  23
  By the disposition of a stupendous wisdom, moulding together the great mysterious incorporation of the human race, the whole, at one time, is never old, or middle-aged, or young; but, in a condition of unchangeable constancy, moves on through the varied tenor of perpetual decay, fall, renovation, and progression.  24
  Chapter of accidents.  25
  Contempt is not a thing to be despised. It may be borne with a calm and equal mind, but no man, by lifting his head high, can pretend that he does not perceive the scorns that are poured down on him from above.  26
  Crimes lead one into another; they who are capable of being forgers are capable of being incendiaries.  27
  Curiosity is the most superficial of all the affections; it changes its object perpetually; it has an appetite which is very sharp, but very easily satisfied, and it has always an appearance of giddiness, restlessness and anxiety.  28
  Custom reconciles to everything.  29
  Delusion and weakness produce not one mischief the less, because they are universal.  30
  Despots govern by terror. They know that he who fears God fears nothing else; and therefore they eradicate from the mind, through their Voltaire, their Helvetius, and the rest of that infamous gang, that only sort of fear which generates true courage.  31
  Difficulty is a severe instructor, set over us by the supreme ordinance of a paternal guardian and legislator, who knows us better than we know ourselves, as He loves us better too. He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper.  32
  Early and provident fear is the mother of safety.  33
  Education is the cheap defence of nations.  34
  Example is the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other.  35
  Expense, and great expense, may be an essential part in true economy. If parsimony were to be considered as one of the kinds of that virtue, there is, however, another and a higher economy. Economy is a distinctive virtue, and consists not in saving, but in selection.  36
  Facts are to the mind the same thing as food to the body. On the due digestion of facts depends the strength and wisdom of the one, just as vigour and health depend on the other. The wisest in council, the ablest in debate, and the most agreeable in the commerce of life, is that man who has assimilated to his understanding the greatest number of facts.  37
  Falsehood and delusion are allowed in no case whatever; but, as in the exercise of all the virtues, there is an economy of truth. It is a sort of temperance, by which a man speaks truth with measure, that he may speak it the longer.  38
  Fear is the mother of safety.  39
  Fellowship in treason is a bad ground of confidence.  40
  Flattery corrupts both the receiver and the giver; and adulation is not of more service to the people than to kings.  41
  Flattery is no more than what raises in a man’s mind an idea of a preference which he has not.  42
  For my part, I am convinced that the method of teaching which approaches most nearly to the method of investigation is incomparably the best; since, not content with serving up a few barren and lifeless truths, it leads to the stock on which they grew.  43
  Fraud is the ready minister of injustice.  44
  Frugality is founded on the principle that all riches have limits.  45
  Futurity is the great concern of mankind.  46
  General rebellions and revolts of a whole people never were encouraged, now or at any time. They are always provoked.  47
  Genuine simplicity of heart is a healing and cementing principle.  48
  God has sometimes converted wickedness into madness; and it is to the credit of human reason that men who are not in some degree mad are never capable of being in the highest degree wicked.  49
  Good order is the foundation of all good things.  50
  Government is a contrivance of human wisdom to provide for human wants.  51
  Great men are never sufficiently shown but in struggles.  52
  Greater mischief happens often from folly, meanness, and vanity than from the greater sins of avarice and ambition.  53
  Guilt was never a rational thing: it distorts all the faculties of the human mind, it perverts them, it leaves a man no longer in the free use of his reason, it puts him into confusion.  54
  He that accuses all mankind of corruption ought to remember that he is sure to convict only one.  55
  He that borrows the aid of an equal understanding doubles his own; he that uses that of a superior elevates his own to the stature of that he contemplates.  56
  He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper.  57
  He who calls in the aid of an equal understanding doubles his own; and he who profits by a superior understanding raises his powers to a level with the height of the superior understanding he unites with.  58
  His enthusiasm kindles as he advances; and when he arrives at his peroration it is in full blaze.  59
  Humanity cannot be degraded by humiliation.  60
  Hypocrisy is no cheap vice; nor can our natural temper be masked for many years together.  61
  I am convinced that we have a degree of delight, and that no small one, in the real misfortunes and pains of others.  62
  I cannot help concurring with the opinion that an absolute democracy, no more than absolute monarchy, is to be reckoned among the legitimate forms of government.  63
  I consider how little man is, yet, in his own mind, how great. He is lord and master of all things, yet scarce can command anything.  64
  I despair of ever receiving the same degree of pleasure from the most exalted performances of genius which I felt in childhood from pieces which my present judgment regards as trifling and contemptible.  65
  I do not contend against the advantages of distrust. In the world we live in, it is but too necessary. Some of old called it the very sinews of discretion.  66
  I do not hesitate to say that the road to eminence and power, from an obscure condition, ought not to be made too easy, nor a thing too much of course. If rare merit be the rarest of all things, it ought to pass through some sort of probation. The temple of honor ought to be seated on an eminence. If it be open through virtue, let it be remembered, too, that virtue is never tried but by some difficulty and some struggle.  67
  I know of nothing sublime which is not some modification of power.  68
  I own that there is a haughtiness and fierceness in human nature which will cause innumerable broils, place men in what situation you please.  69
  I would rather sleep in the southern corner of a little country churchyard than in the tomb of the Capulets.  70
  If an idiot were to tell you the same story every day for a year, you would end by believing him.  71
  If any ask me what a free government is, I answer that, for any particular purpose, it is what the people think so.  72
  If anything in my conversation has merited your regard, I think it must be the openness and freedom with which I commonly express my sentiments. You are too wise a man not to know that such freedom is not without its use.  73
  If I might venture to appeal to what is so much out of fashion at Paris, I mean to experience, I should tell you that in my course I have known and, according to my measure, have co-operated with great men; and 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.  74
  If the prudence of reserve and decorum dictates silence in some circumstances, in others prudence of a higher order may justify us in speaking our thoughts.  75
  If we command our wealth, we shall be rich and free; if our wealth commands us, we are poor indeed. We are bought by the enemy with the treasure in our own coffers.  76
  If you can be well without health, you can be happy without virtue.  77
  In a free country every man thinks he has a concern in all public matters,—that he has a right to form and a right to deliver an opinion on them. This it is that fills countries with men of ability in all stations.  78
  Instead of casting away all our old prejudices, we cherish them to a very considerable degree, and, to take more shame to ourselves, we cherish them because they are prejudices; and the longer they have lasted and the more generally they have prevailed, the more we cherish them. We are afraid to put men to live and trade each on his own private stock of reason; because we suspect that this stock in each man is small, and that the individuals would do better to avail themselves of the general bank and capital of nations and of ages.  79
  Is it in destroying and pulling down that skill is displayed? The shallowest understanding, the rudest hand, is more than equal to that task.  80
  It becomes extremely hard to disentangle our idea of the cause from the effect by which we know it.  81
  It is by bribing, not so often by being bribed, that wicked politicians bring ruin on mankind. Avarice is a rival to the pursuits of many.  82
  It is by imitation, far more than by precept, that we learn everything; and what we learn thus, we acquire not only more effectually, but more pleasantly.  83
  It is by sympathy we enter into the concerns of others, that we are moved as they are moved, and are never suffered to be indifferent spectators of almost anything which men can do or suffer. For sympathy may be considered as a sort of substitution, by which we are put into the place of another man, and affected in many respects as he is affected.  84
  It is for the most part in our skill in manners, and in the observations of time and place and of decency in general, that what is called taste by way of distinction consists; and which is in reality no other than a more refined judgment.  85
  It is in the relaxation of security, it is in the expansion of prosperity, it is in the hour of dilation of the heart, and of its softening into festivity and pleasure that the real character of men is discerned.  86
  It is known that the taste—whatever it is—is improved exactly as we improve our judgment, by extending our knowledge, by a steady attention to our object, and by frequent exercise.  87
  It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free: their passions forge their letters.  88
  It is the nature of tyranny and rapacity never to learn moderation from the ill-success of first oppressions; on the contrary, all oppressors, all men thinking highly of the methods dictated by their nature, attribute the frustration of their desires to the want of sufficient rigor.  89
  It is undoubtedly true, though it may seem paradoxical,—but, in general, those who are habitually employed in finding and displaying faults are unqualified for the work of reformation.  90
  It is very rare, indeed, for men to be wrong in their feelings concerning public misconduct; as rare to be right in their speculations upon the cause of it. I have constantly observed that the generality of people are fifty years, at least, behind in their politics.  91
  Kings will be tyrants from policy, when subjects are rebels from principle.  92
  Laws are commanded to hold their tongues among arms; and tribunals fall to the ground with the peace they are no longer able to uphold.  93
  Liberty must be limited in order to be enjoyed.  94
  Liberty, without wisdom, is license.  95
  Magnificence is likewise a source of the sublime. A great profusion of things which are splendid or valuable in themselves is magnificent. The starry heaven, though it occurs so very frequently to our view, never fails to excite an idea of grandeur.  96
  Man is an animal that cooks his victuals.  97
  Manners are of more importance than laws. Upon them, in a great measure, the laws depend. The law touches us but here and there, and now and then. Manners are what vex or soothe, corrupt or purify, exalt or debase, barbarize or refine us, by a constant, steady, uniform, insensible operation, like that of the air we breathe in. They give their whole form and color to our lives. According to their quality, they aid morals; they supply them or they totally destroy them.  98
  Many of the greatest tyrants on the records of history have begun their reigns in the fairest manner. But the truth is, this unnatural power corrupts both the heart and the understanding.  99
  Men are as much blinded by the extremes of misery as by the extremes of prosperity.  100
  Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites.  101
  Men love to hear of their power, but have an extreme disrelish to be told their duty.  102
  Men want to be reminded, who do not want to be taught; because those original ideas of rectitude to which the mind is compelled to assent when they are proposed, are not always as present to us as they ought to be.  103
  Men who undertake considerable things, even in a regular way, ought to give us ground to presume ability.  104
  Next to love, sympathy is the divinest passion of the human heart.  105
  No man can mortgage his injustice as a pawn for his fidelity.  106
  No sound ought to be heard in the church but the healing voice of Christian charity.  107
  Nothing is so rash as fear; and the counsels of pusillanimity very rarely put off, whilst they are always sure to aggravate, the evils from which they would fly.  108
  Nothing ought to be more weighed than the nature of books recommended by public authority. So recommended, they soon form the character of the age.  109
  Nothing so effectually deadens the taste of the sublime as that which is light and radiant.  110
  Nothing tends so much to the corruption of science as to suffer it to stagnate.  111
  Nothing, indeed, but the possession of some power can with any certainty discover what at the bottom is the true character of any man.  112
  Obstinacy, sir, is certainly a great vice; and in the changeful state of political affairs it is frequently the cause of great mischief. It happens, however, very unfortunately, that almost the whole line of the great and masculine virtues—constancy, gravity, magnanimity, fortitude, fidelity, and firmness—are closely allied to this disagreeable quality, of which you have so just an abhorrence; and in their excess all these virtues very easily fall into it.  113
  Of all things, wisdom is the most terrified with epidemical fanaticism, because, of all enemies, it is that against which she is the least able to furnish any kind of resource.  114
  One source of the sublime is infinity.  115
  Oppression makes wise men mad; but the distemper is still the madness of the wise, which is better than the sobriety of fools.  116
  Our manners, our civilization, and all the good things connected with manners and civilization, have, in this European world of ours, depended for ages upon two principles: I mean the spirit of a gentleman, and the spirit of religion.  117
  Over-taxation cost England her colonies of North America.  118
  People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors.  119
  Pleasure of every kind quickly satisfies.  120
  Poetry is the art of substituting shadows, and of lending existence to nothing.  121
  Power, in whatever hands, is rarely guilty of too strict limitations on itself.  122
  Prudence is a quality incompatible with vice, and can never be effectively enlisted in its cause.  123
  Prudence is not only the first in rank of the virtues political and moral, but she is the director and regulator, the standard of them all.  124
  Queen of arts, and daughter of heaven.  125
  Refined policy ever has been the parent of confusion, and ever will be so as long as the world endures. Plain good intention, which is as easily discovered at the first view as fraud is surely detected at last, is of no mean force in the government of mankind.  126
  Religion is among the most powerful causes of enthusiasm.  127
  Religion is for the man in humble life, and to raise his nature, and to put him in mind of a state in which the privileges of opulence will cease, when he will be equal by nature, and may be more than equal by virtue.  128
  Religion is the basis of civil society, and the source of all good and of all comfort.  129
  Religion, to have any force upon men’s understandings,—indeed, to exist at all,—must be supposed paramount to law, and independent for its substance upon any human institution, else it would be the absurdest thing in the world, an acknowledged cheat.  130
  Responsibility prevents crimes.  131
  Restraint of discipline, emulation, examples of virtue and of justice, form the education of the world.  132
  Sallust is indisputably one of the best historians among the Romans, both for the purity of his language and the elegance of his style.  133
  She is not made to be the admiration of everybody, but the happiness of one.  134
  Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without.  135
  Society is, indeed, a contract.  *  *  *  It is a partnership in all science; a partnership in all art, a partnership in every virtue, and in all perfection. As the ends of such a partnership cannot be obtained in many generations, it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.  136
  Some decent, regulated pre-eminence, some preference (not exclusive appropriation) given to birth, is neither unnatural nor unjust nor impolitic.  137
  Suppose, however, that something like moderation were visible in this political sermon, yet politics and the pulpit are terms that have little agreement.  138
  Surely the church is a place where one day’s truce ought to be allowed to the dissensions and animosities of mankind.  139
  Taste and elegance, though they are reckoned only among the smaller and secondary morals, yet are of no mean importance in the regulations of life. A moral taste is not of force to turn vice into virtue; but it recommends virtue with something like the blandishments of pleasure, and it infinitely abates the evils of vice.  140
  Taxing is an easy business. Any projector can contrive new impositions, any bungler can add to the old; but to is altogether wise to have no other bounds to your impositions than the patience of those who are to bear them?  141
  Thank God, men that are greatly guilty are never wise.  142
  That cardinal virtue, temperance.  143
  That chastity of honor that felt a stain like a wound.  144
  That great chain of causes, which, linking one to another, even to the throne of God Himself, can never be unraveled by any industry of ours.  145
  That, of course, they are many in number, or that, after all, they are, other than the little, shriveled, meagre, hopping, though loud and troublesome, insects of the hour.  146
  The age of chivalry has gone, and one of calculators and economists has succeeded.  147
  The blood of man should never be shed but to redeem the blood of man. It is well shed for our family, for our friends, for our God, for our country, for our kind. The rest is vanity; the rest is crime.  148
  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.  149
  The cause of a wrong taste is a defect of judgment.  150
  The cold neutrality of an impartial judge.  151
  The concessions of the weak are the concessions of fear.  152
  The esteem of wise and good men is the greatest of all temporal encouragements to virtue; and it is a mark of an abandoned spirit to have no regard to it.  153
  The first and simplest emotion which we discover in the human mind is curiosity.  154
  The grave is a common treasury, to which we must all be taken.  155
  The great chain of causes, which, linking one to another, even to the throne of God Himself, can never be unraveled by any industry of ours.  156
  The introduction of Christianity, which, under whatever form, always confers such inestimable benefits on mankind, soon made a sensible change in these rude and fierce manners.  157
  The march of the human mind is slow.  158
  The moment you abate anything from the full rights of men each to govern himself, and suffer any artificial positive limitation upon those rights, from that moment the whole organization of government becomes a consideration of convenience.  159
  The more accurately we search into the human mind, the stronger traces we everywhere find of His wisdom who made it.  160
  The nerve that never relaxes, the eye that never blenches, the thought that never wanders—these are the masters of victory.  161
  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 occasions to reckon them. This gives them the advantage of a sort of infinity.  162
  The only kind of sublimity which a painter or sculptor should aim at is to express by certain proportions and positions of limbs and features that strength and dignity of mind, and vigor and activity of body, which enables men to conceive and execute great actions.  163
  The only liberty that is valuable is a liberty connected with order; that not only exists along with order and virtue, but which cannot exist at all without them. It inheres in good and steady government, as in its substance and vital principle.  164
  The parties are the gamesters; but government keeps the table, and is sure to be the winner in the end.  165
  The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion.  166
  The perfection of conversation is not to play a regular sonata, but, like the Æolian harp, to await the inspiration of the passing breeze.  167
  The person who grieves suffers his passion to grow upon him; he indulges it, he loves it; but this never happens in the case of actual pain, which no man ever willingly endured for any considerable time.  168
  The poorest being that crawls on earth, contending to save itself from injustice and oppression, is an object respectable in the eyes of God and man.  169
  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 the 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.  170
  The pride of men will not often suffer reason to have any scope until it can be no longer of service.  171
  The source of all good and of all comfort.  172
  The starry heaven, though it occurs very frequently to our view, never fails to excite an idea of grandeur. This cannot be owing to anything in the stars themselves, separately considered. 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 occasions, to reckon them. This gives them the advantage of a sort of infinity.  173
  The tribunal of conscience exists independent of edicts and decrees.  174
  The true way to mourn the dead is to take care of the living who belong to them.  175
  The truly sublime is always easy, and always natural.  176
  The unbought grace of life, the cheap defence of nations, the nurse of manly sentiment and heroic enterprise, is gone!  177
  The very name of a politician, a statesman, is sure to cause terror and hatred; it has always connected with it the ideas of treachery, cruelty, fraud, and tyranny.  178
  The writers against religion, whilst they oppose every system, are wisely careful never to set up any of their own.  179
  There are cases in which a man would be ashamed not to have been imposed upon. There is a confidence necessary to human intercourse, and without which men are often more injured by their own suspicions than they would be by the perfidy of others.  180
  There are circumstances in which despair does not imply inactivity.  181
  There are some men formed with feelings so blunt that they can hardly be said to be awake during the whole course of their lives.  182
  There is a courageous wisdom; there is also a false, reptile prudence, the result not of caution, but of fear.  183
  There is a time when the hoary head of inveterate abuse will neither draw reverence nor obtain protection.  184
  There is a wide difference between admiration and love. The sublime, which is the cause of the former, always dwells on great objects and terrible; the latter on small ones and pleasing; we submit to what we admire, but we love what submits to us: in one case we are forced, in the other we are flattered, into compliance.  185
  There is but one law for all; namely, that law which governs all law,—the law of our Creator, the law of humanity, justice, equity; the law of nature and of nations.  186
  There is, however, a limit at which forbearance ceases to be a virtue.  187
  There ought to be a system of manners in every nation which a well-informed mind would be disposed to relish. To make us love our country, our country ought to be lovely.  188
  This minority is great and formidable. I do not know whether if I aimed at the total overthrow of a kingdom, I should wish to be encumbered with a large body of partisans.  189
  Those who attempt to level never equalize. In all societies consisting of various descriptions of citizens, some descriptions must be uppermost. The levelers, therefore, only change and pervert the natural order of things; they load the edifice of society by setting up in the air what the solidity of the structure requires to be on the ground.  190
  Those who quit their proper character to assume what does not belong to them are, for the greater part, ignorant both of the character they leave and of the character they assume.  191
  Though ugliness be the opposite of beauty, it is not the opposite to proportion and fitness; for it is possible that a thing may be very ugly with any proportions, and with a perfect fitness for any use.  192
  To be struck with His power, it is only necessary to open our eyes.  193
  To execute laws is a royal office; to execute orders is a not to be a king. However, a political executive magistracy, though merely such, is a great trust.  194
  To govern according to the sense, and agreeably to the interests of the people is a great and glorious object of government. This object cannot be obtained but through the medium of popular election, and popular election is a mighty evil.  195
  To prove that the Americans ought not to be free, we are obliged to deprecate the value of freedom itself.  196
  To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting.  197
  Too much idleness, I have observed, fills up a man’s time more completely and leaves him less his own master, than any sort of employment whatsoever.  198
  True humility—the basis of the Christian system—is the low but deep and firm foundation of all virtues.  199
  True religion is the foundation of society. When that is once shaken by contempt, the whole fabric cannot be stable nor lasting.  200
  Turbulent, discontented men of quality, in proportion as they are puffed up with personal pride and arrogance, generally despise their own order.  201
  Unsociable humors are contracted in solitude, which will, in the end, not fail of corrupting the understanding as well as the manners, and of utterly disqualifying a man for the satisfactions and duties of life. Men must be taken as they are, and we neither make them or ourselves better by flying from or quarreling with them.  202
  Vice itself lost half its evil by losing all its grossness.  203
  Virtue will catch as well as vice by contact; and the public stock of honest manly principle will daily accumulate. We are not too nicely to scrutinize motives as long as action is irreproachable. It is enough (and for a worthy man perhaps too much) to deal out its infamy to convicted guilt and declared apostasy.  204
  War is the matter which fills all history; and consequently the only, or almost the only, view in which we can see the external of political society is in a hostile shape; and the only actions to which we have always seen, and still see, all of them intent, are such as tend to the destruction of one another.  205
  War never leaves, where it found a nation.  206
  “War,” says Machiavelli, “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.  207
  War suspends the rules of moral obligation, and what is long suspended is in danger of being totally abrogated. Civil wars strike deepest of all into the manners of the people. They vitiate their politics; they corrupt their morals; they pervert even the natural taste and relish of equity and justice. By teaching us to consider our fellow-citizens in a hostile light, the whole body of our nation becomes gradually less dear to us. The very names of affection and kindred, which were the bond of charity, whilst we agreed, become new incentives to hatred and rage, when the communion of our country is dissolved.  208
  We are afraid to put men to live and trade each on his own private stock of reason; because we suspect that this stock in each man is small, and that the individuals would do better to avail themselves of the general bank and capital of nations and of ages.  209
  We are but too apt to consider things in the state in which we find them, without sufficiently adverting to the causes by which they have been produced, and possibly may be upheld. Nothing is more certain than that our manners, our civilization, and all the good things which are connected with civilization, have, in this European world of ours, depended for ages upon two principles, and were indeed the result of both combined. I mean the spirit of a gentleman and the spirit of religion. The nobility and the clergy, the one by profession, the other by patronage, kept learning in existence even in the midst of arms and confusion. Learning paid back what it received to nobility and priesthood, and paid it back with usury by enlarging their ideas and furnishing their minds.  210
  What shadows we are, and what shadows we pursue.  211
  When ancient opinions and rules of life are taken away, the loss cannot possibly be estimated. From that moment we have no compass to govern us; nor can we know distinctly to what port to steer.  212
  When bad men combine, the good must associate, else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.  213
  Whenever government abandons law, it proclaims anarchy.  214
  While shame keeps its watch, virtue is not wholly extinguished from the heart.  215
  Whilst shame keeps its watch, virtue is not wholly extinguished in the heart.  216
  Wise men will apply their remedies to vices, not to names; to the causes of evil which are permanent, not the occasional organs by which they act, and the transitory modes in which they appear.  217
  You can never plan the future by the past.  218
  You will not think it unnatural that those who have an object depending, which strongly engages their hopes and fears, should be somewhat inclining to superstition.  219
  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 of that commerce which now attracts the envy of the world.  220
 
 
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