Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.

Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield

English Statesman, Novelist, Twice British Prime Minister

"More pernicious nonsense was never devised by man than treaties of commerce."

"No conjunction can possibly occur, however fearful, however tremendous it may appear, from which a man by his own energy may not extricate himself."

"The more you are talked about, the less powerful you are."

"The originality of a subject is in its treatment."

"The press is not only free; it is powerful. That power is ours. It is the proudest that man can enjoy. It was not granted by monarchs, it was not gained for us by aristocracies; but it sprang from the people, and, with an immortal instinct, it has always worked for people."

"Time is precious; but truth is more precious than time."

"Without tact you can learn nothing. Tact teaches you when to be silent. Inquirers who are always inquiring never learn anything."

"A great city whose image dwells on the memory of man is the type of some great idea. Rome represents conquest; faith hovers over Jerusalem; and Athens embodies the pre-eminent quality of the antique world-art."

"Age is frequently beautiful, wisdom appearing like an aftermath."

"Whenever you see a man who is successful in society, try to discover what makes him pleasing, and if possible adopt his system."

"As men advance in life, all passions resolve themselves in money. Love, ambition, even poetry, end in this."

"A man’s fate is his own temper; and according to that will be his opinion as to the particular manner in which the course of events is regulated. A consistent man believes in destiny, an capricious man in chance."

"Beauty and health are the chief sources of happiness."

"Enthusiasm is the breath of genius."

"In politics nothing is contemptible."

"Fear makes us feel our humanity."

"I do not believe such a quality as chance exists. Every incident that happens must be a link in a chain."

"Beauty can inspire miracles."

"One should conquer the world, not to enthrone a man, but an idea; for ideas exist forever."

"Patriotism depends as much on mutual suffering as on mutual success; and it is by that experience of all fortunes and all feelings that a great national character is created."

"Quit the world, and the world forgets you."

"That youthful fervor, which is sometimes called enthusiasm, but which is a heat of imagination subsequently discovered to be inconsistent with the experience of actual life."

"The magic of first love is the ignorance that it can ever end."

"Terror has its inspiration, as well as competition."

"Religion is civilization, the highest."

"Youth is a blunder; manhood a struggle; old age a regret."

"Religion should be the rule of life, not a casual incident of it."

"Opportunity is more powerful even than conquerors and prophets."

"Where we do not respect, we soon cease to love."

"Think ever that you are born to perform great duties."

"To be conscious that you are ignorant is a great step to knowledge."

"When men are pure, laws are useless; when men are corrupt, laws are broken."

"The profound thinker always suspects that he is superficial."

"Self-love is a principle of action; but among no class of human beings has nature so profusely distributed this principle of life and action as through the whole sensitive family of genius."

"The more extensive a man's knowledge of what has been done, the greater will be his power of knowing what to do."

"Proverbs were anterior to books, and formed the wisdom of the vulgar, and in the earliest ages were the unwritten laws of morality."

"Next to knowing when to seize an opportunity, the most important thing in life is to know when to forego an advantage."

"Man is only truly great when he acts from the passions; never irresistible but when he appeals to the imagination."

"Man is not the creature of circumstances, circumstances are the creatures of man. We are free agents, and man is more powerful than matter."

"Knowledge of mankind is knowledge of their passions."

"Life is always interesting when you have a purpose and live in its fulfillment."

"Little things effect little minds."

"Having the courage to live within one's means is respectability."

"Everything comes if a man will only wait."

"Circumstances are beyond the control of man; but his conduct is in his own power."

"Every man has a right to be conceited until he is successful."

"Destiny is our will, and our will is nature."

"Customs may not be as wise as laws, but they are always more popular."

"Despair is the conclusion of fools."

"Characters never change. Opinions alter, characters are only developed."