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THOMAS BABINGTON MACAULAY
English author, historian, statesman and poet
(1800 - 1859)
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Many politicians are in the habit of laying it down as a self-evident proposition, that no people ought to be free till they are fit to use their freedom. The maxim is worthy of the fool in the old story, who resolved not to go into the water till he had learned to swim.
      - [Freedom]

Men are never so likely to settle a question rightly as when they discuss it freely.
      - [Discussion]

Men naturally sympathize with the calamities of individuals; but they are inclined to look on a fallen party with contempt rather than with pity.
      - [Politics]

Mere negation, mere Epicurean infidelity, as Lord Bacon most justly observes, has never disturbed the peace of the world. It furnishes no motive for action; it inspires no enthusiasm; it has no missionaries, no crusades, no martyrs.
      - [Infidelity]

Nothing is so useless as a general maxim.
      - [Maxims]

Office of itself does much to equalize politicians. It by no means brings all characters to a level; but it does bring high characters down and low characters up towards a common standard.
      - [Office]

Only imagine a man acting for one single day on the supposition that all his neighbors believe all that they profess, and act up to all that they believe!
      - [Inconsistency]

Our estimate of a character always depends much on the manner in which that character affects our own interests and passions.
      - [Prejudice]

People who take no pride in the noble achievements of remote ancestors will never achieve anything worthy to be remembered with pride by remote descendants.
      - [Ancestry]

Politeness has been well defined as benevolence in small things.
      - [Politeness]

Popularity is power.
      - [Popularity]

Power, safely defied, touches its downfall.
      - [Power]

Propriety of thought and propriety of diction are commonly found together. Obscurity and affectation are the two greatest faults of style. Obscurity of expression generally springs from confusion of ideas; and the same wish to dazzle, at any cost, which produces affectation in the manner of a writer, is likely to produce sophistry in his reasonings.
      - [Style]

Queen Mary had a way of interrupting tattle about elopements, duels, and play debts, by asking the tattlers, very quietly yet significantly, whether they had ever read her favorite sermon--Dr. Tillotson on Evil Speaking.
      - [Scandal]

Satire is, indeed, the only sort of composition in which the Latin poets whose works have come down to us were not mere imitators of foreign models; and it is therefore the sort of composition in which they have never been excelled.
      - [Satire]

Scotland by no means escaped the fate ordained for every country which is connected, but not incorporated, with another country of greater resources.
      - [States]

Sense can support herself handsomely in most countries on some eighteen pence a day; but for fantasy, planets and solar systems, will not suffice.
      - [Economy]

Shakespeare has had neither equal nor second.
      - [Shakespeare]

Sir Anthony Absolute, two or years before Evelina appeared, spoke the sense of the great body of sober fathers and husbands when he pronounced the circulating library an evergreen tree of diabolical knowledge.
      - [Novels]

So true it is, that nature has caprices which art cannot imitate.
      - [Nature]

The art of making much show with little substance.
      - [Conceit]

The ascendency of the sacerdotal order was long the ascendency which naturally and properly belonged to intellectual superiority.
      - [Clergymen]

The business of the dramatist is to keep himself out of sight, and to let nothing appear but his characters. As soon as he attracts notice to his personal feelings, the illusion is broken.
      - [Drama]

The desire of posthumous fame and the dread of posthumous reproach and execration are feelings from the influence of which scarcely any man is perfectly free, and which in many men are powerful and constant motives of action.
      - [Fame]

The doctrine which, from the very first origin of religious dissensions, has been held by bigots of all sects, when condensed into a few words and stripped of rhetorical disguise, is simply this: I am in the right, and you are in the wrong. When you are the stronger, you ought to tolerate me, for it is your duty to tolerate truth; but when I am the stronger, I shall persecute you, for it is my duty to persecute error.
      - [Bigotry]


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