Quotations From EDMUND BURKE


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  • To be attached to the subdivision, to love the little platoon we belong to in society, is the first principle (the germ as it were) of public affections. It is the first link in the series by which we proceed toward a love to our country and to mankind.
    Edmund Burke (1729-1797), Irish Protestant political writer. Reflections on the Revolution in France, p. 41, ed. Pocock (1790).

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  • The cold neutrality of an impartial judge.
    Edmund Burke (1729-1797), Irish philosopher, statesman. To His Constituents, "Translator's Preface," J.P. Brissot (1794).

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  • And having looked to government for bread, on the very first scarcity they will turn and bite the hand that fed them. To avoid that evil, government will redouble the causes of it; and then it will become inveterate and incurable.
    Edmund Burke (1729-1797), Irish philosopher, statesman. Works, vol. 5 (Nov. 1795). Cautioning against the "attempt to feed the people out of the hands of the magistrates."

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  • It is the interest of the commercial world that wealth should be found everywhere.
    Edmund Burke (1729-1797), Irish philosopher, statesman. Letter, April 23, 1778, to Samuel Span Esq. Works, vol. 2 (1865).

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  • We must soften into a credulity below the milkiness of infancy to think all men virtuous. We must be tainted with a malignity truly diabolical, to believe all the world to be equally wicked and corrupt.
    Edmund Burke (1729-1797), Irish philosopher, politician. Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents (1770).

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  • Magnanimity in politics is not seldom the truest wisdom; and a great empire and little minds go ill together.
    Edmund Burke (1729-1797), Irish philosopher, statesman. Speech, March 22, 1775, House of Commons, London. Speech on Conciliation with America: The Thirteen Resolutions, Works, vol. 2 (1899).

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  • Nothing is so fatal to religion as indifference which is, at least, half infidelity.
    Edmund Burke (1729-1797), Irish philosopher, statesman. letter, Jan. 29, 1795. The Writings and Speeches of Edmund Burke, vol. 9, ed. Paul Langford (1991).
  • Under the pressure of the cares and sorrows of our mortal condition, men have at all times, and in all countries, called in some physical aid to their moral consolations—wine, beer, opium, brandy, or tobacco.
    Edmund Burke (1729-1797), Irish philosopher, statesman. Thoughts and Details on Scarcity, vol. 5, Works (Nov. 1795).
  • When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.
    Edmund Burke (1729-1797), Irish philosopher, statesman. Speech, April 23, 1770. Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents, repr. In Works, vol. 1 (1865). Arguing the need for political parties.
  • To innovate is not to reform.
    Edmund Burke (1729-1797), Irish philosopher, statesman. Letter to a Noble Lord (1796), repr. In Works, vol. 5 (1899).
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