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EDMUND BURKE
Irish orator and statesman
(1729 - 1797)
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To prove that the Americans ought not to be free, we are obliged to deprecate the value of freedom itself.
      - [Freedom]

To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting.
      - [Reading]

Toleration is good for all, or it is good for none.
      - [Tolerance]

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.
      - [Idleness]

True humility--the basis of the Christian system--is the low but deep and firm foundation of all virtues.
      - [Humility]

True religion is the foundation of society. When that is once shaken by contempt, the whole fabric cannot be stable nor lasting.
      - [Religion]

Turbulent, discontented men of quality, in proportion as they are puffed up with personal pride and arrogance, generally despise their own order.
      - [Aristocracy]

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.
      - [Solitude]

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.
      - [Virtue]

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.
      - [War]

War never leaves, where it found a nation.
      - [War]

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 nature 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.
      - [War]

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.
      - [Reason]

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.
      - [Civilization]

What shadows we are, and what shadows we pursue!
      - [Fools]

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.
      - [Antiquity]

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

Whenever government abandons law, it proclaims anarchy.
      - [States]

While shame keeps its watch, virtue is not wholly extinguished from the heart.
      - [Shame]

Whilst shame keeps its watch, virtue is not wholly extinguished in the heart.
      - [Shame]

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.
      - [Vice]

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.
      - [Superstition]

Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.
      - [Government]

So then because some towns in England are not represented, America is to have no representative at all. They are "our children"; but when children ask for bread we are not to give a stone.
      - vol. II, p. 74,
        in a speech on American taxation
        [Government]

The writers against religion, whilst they oppose every system, are wisely careful never to set up any of their own.
      - A Vindication of Natural Society--Preface
         (vol. I, p. 7) [Religion]


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