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Walter Bagehot Quotes


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The best reason why monarchy is a strong government is that it is an intelligible government: the mass of mankind understand it, and they hardly anywhere in the world understand any other.
 

The cure for admiring the House of Lords is to go and look at it.
 

The great difficulty which history records is not that of the first step, but that of the second step. What is most evident is not the difficulty of getting a fixed law, but getting out of a fixed law; not of cementing (as upon a former occasion I phrased it) a cake of custom, but of breaking the cake of custom; not of making the first preservative habit, but of breaking through it, and reaching something better.
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The greatest mistake is trying to be more agreeable than you can be.
 

The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.
[Life]
 

The habit of common and continuous speech is a symptom of mental deficiency. It proceeds from not knowing what is going on in other people's minds.
[Conversation]
 

The real essence of work is concentrated energy.
[Concentration]
 

The reason why so few good books are written is, that so few people that can write know anything. In general an author has always lived in a room, has read books, has cultivated science, is acquainted with the style and sentiments of the best authors, but he is out of the way of employing his own eyes and ears. He has nothing to hear and nothing to see. His life is a vacuum.
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The whole history of civilization is strewn with creeds and institutions which were invaluable at first, and deadly afterwards.
 

To a great experience one thing is essential - an experiencing nature.
[Experience]
 

We must not let daylight in upon the magic.
 

What impresses men is not mind, but the result of mind.
 

Whatever expenditure is sanctioned - even when it is sanctioned against the ministry's wish - the ministry must find the money. Accordingly, they have the strongest motive to oppose extra outlay.... The ministry is (so to speak) the breadwinner of the political family, and has to meet the cost of philanthropy and glory; just as the head of a family has to pay for the charities of his wife and the toilette of his daughters.
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Woman absent is woman dead.
 

Writers like teeth are divided into incisors and grinders.
 

You may talk of the tyranny of Nero and Tiberius; but the real tyranny is the tyranny of your next-door neighbor.
 


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