Quotations by Burke, Edmund


I am not one of those who think that the people are never in the wrong. They have been so, frequently and outrageously, both in other countries and in this. But I do say, that in all disputes between them and their rulers, the presumption is at least upon a par in favour of the people.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
‘”Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents” (23 Apr 1770)
Added on 25-Aug-08 | Last updated 25-Aug-08
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

To tax and to please, no more than to love and be wise, is not given to men.

burke-tax-please-love-wise-wist_info-quote

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
“American Taxation,” speech, House of Commons (19 Apr 1774)
Added on 26-Sep-16 | Last updated 26-Sep-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

Peace implies reconciliation.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
“Conciliation with America,” speech, House of Commons (22 Mar 1775)
Added on 2-Feb-12 | Last updated 2-Feb-12
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

Tyrants seldom want pretexts.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
“Letter to a Member of the National Assembly” (1791)

Full text.

Added on 15-Sep-08 | Last updated 15-Sep-08
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

I know many have been taught to think that moderation, in a case like this, is a sort of treason.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
“Letter to the Sheriffs of Bristol on the Affairs of America” (1777)
Added on 20-Oct-08 | Last updated 20-Oct-08
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

The use of force alone is temporary. It may subdue for a moment; but it does not remove the necessity of subduing again; and a nation is not governed which is perpetually to be conquered.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
“On Conciliation with America” (speech) (22 Mar 1775)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 19-Apr-10
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

Make the Revolution a parent of settlement, and not a nursery of future revolutions.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
“Reflections on the Revolution in France” (1790)
Added on 29-Sep-08 | Last updated 29-Sep-08
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

It is an advantage to all narrow wisdom and narrow morals that their maxims have a plausible air; and, on a cursory view, appear equal to first principles. They are light and portable. They are as current as copper coin; and about as valuable. They serve equally the first capacities and the lowest; and they are, at least, as useful to the worst men as to the best. Of this stamp is the cant of not man, but measures; a sort of charm by which many people get loose from every honourable engagement.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
“Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents” (1770)
Added on 16-Apr-14 | Last updated 16-Apr-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

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) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
“Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents” (23 Apr 1770)

May be the origin of the attributed (but never located in Burke's works): "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."See also Mill.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 28-Mar-11
Link to this post | 3 comments
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

To complain of the age we live in, to murmur at the present possessors of power, to lament for the past, to conceive extravagant hopes of the future, are the common dispositions of the greatest part of mankind.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
“Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents” (23 Apr 1770)
Added on 6-May-08 | Last updated 7-Jul-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

Justice is itself the great standing policy of civil society; and any eminent departure from it, under any circumstances, lies under the suspicion of being no policy at all.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
“Reflections on the Revolution in France” (1790)
Added on 27-Nov-07 | Last updated 27-Nov-07
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

Nobody makes a greater mistake then he who does nothing because he could only do a little.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

Never despair; but if you do, work on in despair.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

Is it in destroying and pulling down that skill is displayed? The shallowest understanding, the rudest hand, is more than equal to that task.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
(Attributed)
Added on 21-Feb-13 | Last updated 21-Feb-13
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

If an idiot were to tell you the same story every day for a year, you would end by believing it.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
(Attributed)

Cited in J.F. Boyes, Lacon in Council (1865). Also attributed to Horace Mann.
Added on 6-Feb-15 | Last updated 6-Feb-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

The elevation of the mind ought to be the principal end of all our studies.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
A Philosophical Inquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful, 1.19 (1756)
Added on 11-Dec-14 | Last updated 11-Dec-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
A Philosophical Inquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful, 2.2 (1756)
Added on 30-Mar-10 | Last updated 30-Mar-10
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

Custom reconciles us to everything.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
A Philosophical Inquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful, 4.19 (1756)
Added on 28-Aug-09 | Last updated 28-Aug-09
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

All Empires have been cemented in blood.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
A Vindication of Natural Society (1756)
Added on 24-Nov-09 | Last updated 24-Nov-09
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

It is hard to say whether the doctors of law or divinity have made the greater advances in the lucrative business of mystery.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
A Vindication of Natural Society (1756)
Added on 2-Aug-12 | Last updated 2-Aug-12
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

We are indebted for all our Miseries to our Distrust of that Guide which Providence thought sufficient for our Condition, our own Natural Reason, which rejecting both in Human and Divine things, we have given our Necks to the Yoke of Political and Theological Slavery.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
A Vindication of Natural Society (1756)
Added on 18-Jan-13 | Last updated 18-Jan-13
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

The whole Business of the Poor is to administer to the Idleness, Folly, and Luxury of the Rich; and that of the Rich, in return, to find the best Methods of confirming the Slavery and increasing the Burdens of the Poor.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
A Vindication of Natural Society (1756)
Added on 18-Jul-13 | Last updated 18-Jul-13
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

Show me an absurdity in Religion, I will undertake to show you a hundred in Political Laws and Institutions.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
A Vindication of Natural Society (1756)
Added on 11-Oct-13 | Last updated 11-Oct-13
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

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, but 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.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
Letters on a Regicide Peace, Letter 1 (1796)
    (Source)
Added on 7-Sep-17 | Last updated 7-Sep-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

Example is the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
Letters on a Regicide Peace, Vol. 5, Letter 1 (1796)
Added on 28-Sep-16 | Last updated 28-Sep-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

There is, however, a limit at which forbearance ceases to be a virtue.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
Observations on a Late Publication, “The Present State of the Nation” (1769)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 7-Jul-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
On the Sublime and Beautiful, Part II, Sec. 2 (1756)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

Custom reconciles us to everything.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
On the Sublime and the Beautiful, Sect. xviii. vol. i. (1756)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

A State without the means of some change is without the means of its conservation.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

All persons possessing any portion of power ought to be strongly and awfully impressed with an idea that they act in trust.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

Our patience will achieve more than our force.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

In a democracy, the majority of the citizens is capable of exercising the most cruel oppressions upon the minority.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790)
Added on 5-Oct-09 | Last updated 5-Oct-09
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790)

Full text.
Added on 18-Nov-09 | Last updated 18-Nov-09
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

Eloquence may exist without a proportionable degree of wisdom.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790)

Full text.
Added on 7-Jan-10 | Last updated 7-Jan-10
Link to this post | 2 comments
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

Flattery corrupts both the receiver and the giver.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790)
Added on 7-Jun-10 | Last updated 7-Jun-10
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

All persons possessing any portion of power ought to be strongly and awfully impressed with an idea that they act in trust.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790)
Added on 23-Jul-12 | Last updated 23-Jul-12
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790)
Added on 8-May-13 | Last updated 8-May-13
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

A brave people will certainly prefer liberty, accompanied by virtuous poverty, to a depraved and wealthy servitude.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790)
Added on 22-Jul-15 | Last updated 22-Jul-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

People crushed by law have no hopes but from power. If laws are their enemies, they will be enemies to laws; and those, who have much to hope and nothing to lose, will always be dangerous, more or less.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
Letter to Charles James Fox (8 Oct 1777)
Added on 8-Sep-08 | Last updated 8-Sep-08
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

A very great part of the mischiefs that vex this world arises from words.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
Letter to Richard Burke (c. 1795)
Added on 5-Jan-10 | Last updated 5-Jan-10
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

The true danger is when liberty is nibbled away, for expedients, and by parts.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
Letter to the Sheriffs of Bristol (3 Apr 1777)
Added on 4-Dec-07 | Last updated 4-Dec-07
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

He that accuses all mankind of corruption ought to remember that he is sure to convict only one.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
Letter to the Sheriffs of Bristol (3 Apr 1777)
Added on 7-Feb-13 | Last updated 7-Feb-13
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

Religious persecution may shield itself under the guise of a mistaken and over-zealous piety.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
Speech (18 Feb 1788)

Quoted in E. A. Bond (ed.), Speeches ... in the Trial of Warren Hastings, vol. 1 (1859)
Added on 18-Aug-08 | Last updated 7-Jul-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

I did not obey your instructions. No. I conformed to the instructions of truth and Nature, and maintained your interest, against your opinions, with a constancy that became me. A representative worthy of you ought to be a person of stability. I am to look, indeed, to your opinions, — but to such opinions as you and I must have five years hence. I was not to look to the flash of the day. I knew that you chose me, in my place, along with others, to be a pillar of the state, and not a weathercock on the top of the edifice, exalted for my levity and versatility, and of no use but to indicate the shiftings of every fashionable gale.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
Speech at Bristol, previous to the election (6 Sep 1780)
Added on 3-Dec-07 | Last updated 3-Dec-07
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

All government, indeed every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue, and every prudent act, is founded on compromise and barter.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
Speech on Conciliation with America (22 Mar 1775)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

Certainly, Gentlemen, it ought to be the happiness and glory of a representative to live in the strictest union, the closest correspondence, and the most unreserved communication with his constituents. Their wishes ought to have great weight with him; their opinions high respect; their business unremitted attention. It is his duty to sacrifice his repose, his pleasure, his satisfactions, to theirs, — and above all, ever, and in all cases, to prefer their interest to his own.

But his unbiased opinion, his mature judgment, his enlightened conscience, he ought not to sacrifice to you, to any man, or to any set of men living. These he does not derive from your pleasure, — no, nor from the law and the Constitution. They are a trust from Providence, for the abuse of which he is deeply answerable. 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.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
Speech to the electors of Bristol (3 Nov 1774)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 19-Mar-10
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Burke, Edmund

The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
Speech, Buckinghamshire (1784)
Added on 29-Jul-15 | Last updated 29-Jul-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Burke, Edmund