Walter Bagehot

Walter
Bagehot
1826
1877

English Economist, Critic, Businessman, Essayist, Social Darwinist and Journalist who wrote extensively about Literature, Government and Economic Affairs

Author Quotes

Life is not a set campaign, but an irregular work, and the main forces in it are not overt resolutions, but latent and half-involuntary promptings

Speak of the gods as they are.

The mystic reverence, the religious allegiance, which are essential to a true monarchy, are imaginative sentiments that no legislature can manufacture in any people.

Writers like teeth are divided into incisors and grinders.

A severe though not unfriendly critic of our institutions said that the cure for admiring the House of Lords was to go and look at it.

History is strewn with the wrecks of nations which have gained a little progressiveness at the cost of a great deal of hard manliness, and have thus prepared themselves for destruction as soon as the movements of the world gave a chance for it.

Men who do not make advances to women are apt to become victims to women who make advances to them.

The apparent rulers of the English nation are like the imposing personages of a splendid procession: it is by them the mob are influenced; it is they whom the spectators cheer. The real rulers are secreted in second-rate carriages; no one cares for them or asks after them, but they are obeyed implicitly and unconsciously by reason of the splendor of those who eclipsed and preceded them.

The name ‘London Banker’ had especially a charmed value. He was supposed to represent, and often did represent, a certain union of pecuniary sagacity and educated refinement which was scarcely to be found in any other part of society.

You may talk of the tyranny of Nero and Tiberius; but the real tyranny is the tyranny of your next-door neighbor... Public opinion is a permeating influence, and it exacts obedience to itself; it requires us to think other men's thoughts, to speak other men's words, to follow other men's habits.

A slight daily unconscious luxury is hardly ever wanting to the dwellers in civilization; like the gentle air of a genial climate, it is a perpetual minute enjoyment.

Honor sinks where commerce long prevails.

Money is economic power.

The beginning of civilization is marked by an intense legality; that legality is the very condition of its existence, the bond which ties it together; but that legality - that tendency to impose a settled customary yoke upon all men and all actions -

The notion of a farseeing and despotic statesman, who can lay down plans for ages yet unborn, is a fancy generated by the pride of the human intellect to which facts give no support.

All the best stories in the world are but one story in reality - the story of escape. It is the only thing which interests us all and at all times, how to escape.

I started out by believing God for a newer car than the one I was driving. I started out believing God for a nicer apartment than I had. Then I moved up.

Most men of business think Anyhow this system will probably last my time. It has gone on a long time, and is likely to go on still.

The being without an opinion is so painful to human nature that most people will leap to a hasty opinion rather than undergo it.

The purse strings tie us to our kind.

All the inducements of early society tend to foster immediate action; all its penalties fall on the man who pauses; the traditional wisdom of those times was never weary of inculcating that delays are dangerous, and that the sluggish man — the man who roasteth not that which he took in hunting — will not prosper on the earth, and indeed will very soon perish out of it. And in consequence an inability to stay quiet, an irritable desire to act directly, is one of the most conspicuous failings of mankind.

I wish the art of benefiting men had kept pace with the art of destroying them; for though war has become slow, philanthropy has remained hasty. The most melancholy of human reflections, perhaps, is that, on the whole, it is a question whether the, benevolence of mankind does most good or harm. Great good, no doubt, philanthropy does, but then it also does great evil. It augments so much vice, it multiplies so much suffering, it brings to life such great populations to suffer and to be vicious, that it is open to argument whether it be or be not an evil to the world, and this is entirely because excellent people fancy that they can do much by rapid action — that they will most benefit the world when they most relieve their own feelings; that as soon as an evil is seen something ought to be done to stay and prevent it.

Nations touch at their summits.

The best history is but like the art of Rembrandt; it casts a vivid light on certain selected causes, on those which were best and greatest; it leaves all the rest in shadow and unseen.

The real essence of work is concentrated energy.

Author Picture
First Name
Walter
Last Name
Bagehot
Birth Date
1826
Death Date
1877
Bio

English Economist, Critic, Businessman, Essayist, Social Darwinist and Journalist who wrote extensively about Literature, Government and Economic Affairs