Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Henry Thomas Buckle

Major Figure in the Positivist Movement in historical scholarship

"In reference to our moral conduct, there is not a single principle now known to the most cultivated Europeans which was not likewise known to the ancients."

"It is an undoubted fact that an overwhelming majority of religious persecutors have been men of the purest intentions, of the most admirable and unsullied morals… Such men as these are not bad, they are only ignorant; ignorant of the nature of truth, ignorant of the consequences of their own acts."

"The great enemy of knowledge is not error, but inertness. All that we want is discussion; and then we are sure to do well, no matter what our blunders may be. One error conflicts with another, each destroys its opponent, and truth is evolved."

"The doctrine of Chance in the eternal world corresponds to that of Free Will in the internal."

"Men are made uneasy; they flinch; they cannot bear the sudden light; a general restlessness supervenes; the face of society is disturbed, or perhaps convulsed; old interests and old beliefs have been destroyed before new ones have been created. These symptoms are the precursors of revolution; they have preceded all the great changes through which the world has passed."

"Society prepares the crime, the criminal commits it."

"The faculty of art is to change events; the faculty of science is to foresee them. The phenomena with which we deal are controlled by art; they are predicted by science. "