Great Throughts Treasury

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

George Canning

English Statesman, Orator, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

"Active beneficence is a virtue of easier practice than forbearance after having conferred, or than thankfulness after having received a benefit. I know not, indeed, whether it be a greater and more difficult exercise of magnanimity for the one party to act as if he had forgotten, or for the other as if he constantly remembered the obligation."

"Indecision and delays are the parents of failure. "

"Man, only -- rash, refined, presumptuous man, Starts from his rank, and mars creation's plan."

"Give me the avowed, the erect, and manly foe, Bold I can meet, perhaps may turn the blow; But of all plagues, good Heaven, thy wrath can send, Save, save, oh save me from the candid friend!"

"I can prove anything by statistics except the truth. "

"A steady patriot of the world alone, the friend of every country but his own."

"A sudden thought strikes me, let us swear eternal friendship."

"Advice, however earnestly sought, however ardently solicited, if it does not coincide with a man’s own opinions, if it tends only to investigate the improprieties, to correct the criminal excesses of his conduct, to dissuade from a continuance and to recommend a reformation of his errors, seldom answers any other purpose than to put him out of humour with himself, and to alienate his affections from the adviser."

"And finds with keen, discriminating sight, black's not so black--nor white so very white."

"Away with the cant of "Measures not men!"--the idle supposition that it is the harness and not the horses that draw the chariot along. No Sir, if the comparison must be made, if the distinction must be taken, men are everything, measures comparatively nothing."

"But of all plagues, good Heaven, thy wrath can send, Save me, oh, save me, from the candid friend!"

"Here's to the pilot that weathered the storm."

"I called the New World into existence to redress the balance of the Old."

"I give thee sixpence! I will see thee damned first."

"If hush'd the loud whirlwind that ruffled the deep, the sky if no longer dark tempests deform; when our perils are past shall our gratitude sleep? No! Here's to the pilot that weather'd the storm!"

"In matter of commerce the fault of the Dutch is offering too little and asking too much. The French are with equal advantage content, so we clap on Dutch bottoms just twenty per cent."

"In matters of commerce the fault of the Dutch Is offering too little and asking too much. The French are"

"Intimately concerned as we are with the system of Europe, it does not follow that we are therefore called upon to mix ourselves on every occasion, with a restless and meddling activity, in the concerns of the nations which surround us."

"It is related of some French judge, who was remarked throughout his whole practice for the almost infallible justice of his decrees, that whenever any extraordinary case occurred the circumstances of which were so perplexed as to render him incapable of giving a decided opinion in favour of either side, with satisfaction to his own conscience, he was accustomed to retire to his closet, and refer it to the final decision of the die."

"Needy knife-grinder! whither are ye going? Rough is the road, your wheel is out of order; bleak blows the blast--your hat has got a hole in it. So have your breeches."

"No, here ’s to the pilot that weathered the storm!"

"Open, candid, and generous, his heart was the constant companion of his hand, and his tongue the artless index of his mind."

"Ovid, not content with catching the leading features of any scene or character, indulged himself in a thousand minutiæ of description, a thousand puerile prettinesses, which were in themselves uninteresting, and took off greatly from the effect of the whole; as the numberless suckers and straggling branches of a fruit tree, if permitted to shoot out unrestrained, while they are themselves barren and useless, diminish considerably the vigor of the parent stock. Ovid had more genius, but less judgment, than Virgil; Dryden more imagination, but less correctness, than Pope: had they not been deficient in these points, the former would certainly have equaled, the latter infinitely outshone, the merits of his countryman."

"Save, oh! save me from the candid friend."

"So down thy hill, romantic Ashbourn, glides the Derby dilly, carrying three INSIDES."

"Story! God bless you! I have none to tell, sir."

"The fool of vanity; for her alone he lives, loves, writes, and dies but to be known."

"There is nothing I know of so sublime as a fact."

"Whene'er with haggard eyes I view this dungeon that I'm rotting in, I think of those companions true who studied with me at the University of Gottingen."