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Quotations From EDMUND BURKE

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  • Ambition can creep as well as soar.
    Edmund Burke (1729-1797), Irish philosopher, statesman. Letters on a Regicide Peace, letter 3 (1797), repr. In Works, vol. 5 (1899).

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  • Manners are of more importance than laws.... 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.
    Edmund Burke (1729-1797), Irish philosopher, statesman. Letters on a Regicide Peace, letter 1 (1796).

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  • It is the nature of all greatness not to be exact.
    Edmund Burke (1729-1797), Irish philosopher, statesman. Speech, April 19, 1774, House of Commons, London. First Speech on Conciliation with America: American Taxation, Works, vol. 2 (1899).

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  • A good parson once said that where mystery begins religion ends. Cannot I say, as truly at least, of human laws, that where mystery begins justice ends?
    Edmund Burke (1729-1797), Irish philosopher, statesman. A Vindication of Natural Society (1756), repr. In Works, vol. 1 (1865).

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  • The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
    Edmund Burke (1729-1797), Irish philosopher, statesman. Attributed. Ascribed in various forms to Burke, though never found in his writings. Possibly it is a distillation of the words found in Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents (1770): see Burke on alliances.

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  • Mere parsimony is not economy.... Expense, and great expense, may be an essential part in true economy.
    Edmund Burke (1729-1797), Irish philosopher, statesman. A Letter to a Noble Lord (1796), repr. In Works, vol. 5 (1899).
  • The arrogance of age must submit to be taught by youth.
    Edmund Burke (1729-1797), Irish philosopher, statesman. Letter, July 29, 1782, to author Fanny Burney.
  • The true danger is when liberty is nibbled away, for expedience, and by parts.
    Edmund Burke (1729-1797), Irish philosopher, statesman. Letter, April 3, 1777, to the sheriffs of Bristol.
  • They defend their errors as if they were defending their inheritance.
    Edmund Burke (1729-1797), Irish philosopher, statesman. speech, Feb. 11, 1780, to the House of Commons.
  • An event has happened, upon which it is difficult to speak, and impossible to be silent.
    Edmund Burke (1729-1797), Irish philosopher, statesman. Speech, May 5, 1789, Westminster Hall, London, at the impeachment of Warren Hastings.
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