Lord Macaulay Quotes

Most popular Lord Macaulay Quotes

Language, the machine of the poet.

language poets

Knowledge advances by steps, and not by leaps.

knowledge

The object of oratory is not truth, but persuasion.
— Lord Macaulay

oratory persuasion

A page digested is better than a volume hurriedly read.
— Lord Macaulay
The object of oratory alone is not truth, but persuasion.

oratory

An acre in Middlesex is better than a principality in Utopia.

utopia

Politeness has been well defined as benevolence in small things.
— Lord Macaulay
The highest proof of virtue is to possess boundless power without abusing it.
— Lord Macaulay
He had a wonderful talent for packing thought close, and rendering it portable.
Men are never so likely to settle a question rightly as when they discuss it freely.
— Lord Macaulay
The measure of a man's character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.
— Lord Macaulay

character

Perhaps no person can be a poet, or even enjoy poetry, without a certain unsoundness of mind.

poets

His imagination resembled the wings of an ostrich.  It enabled him to run, though not to soar.

imagination insulting

The business of the dramatist is to keep out of sight and let nothing appear but his characters.
— Lord Macaulay

theater

I would rather be a poor man in a garret with plenty of books than a king who did not love reading.
— Lord Macaulay

reading

That is the best government which desires to make the people happy, and knows how to make them happy.
— Lord Macaulay
One who, in an enlightened and literary society, aspires to be a great poet, must first become a little child.
— Lord Macaulay
The Puritan hated bear-bating, not because it gave pain to the bear, but because it gave pleasure to the spectators.

pleasure

The world will ever bow to those who hold principle above policy, truth above diplomacy, and right above consistency.
— Lord Macaulay
The puritan hated bear baiting, not because it gave pain to the bear, but because it gave pleasure to the spectators.
— Lord Macaulay

pleasure

Generalization is necessary to the advancement of knowledge; but particularity is indispensable to the creations of the imagination.
— Lord Macaulay

imagination

By poetry we mean the art of employing words in such a manner as to produce an illusion on the imagination, the art of doing by means of words what the painter does by means of colors.

poetry

Biographers, translators, editors—all, in short, who employ themselves in illustrating the lives or the writings of others, are peculiarly exposed to the Lues Boswelliana, or disease of admiration.

biography

To punish a man because we infer from the nature of some doctrine which he holds, or from the conduct of other persons who hold the same doctrines with him, that he will commit a crime, is persecution; and is, in every case, foolish and wicked.

persecution

Many politicians are in the habit of laying it down as a self-evident proposition that no people ought to be free till they are fit to use their freedom. The maxim is worthy of the fool in the old story who resolved not to go into the water till he had learned to swim.
— Lord Macaulay

freedom

Many politicians of our time are in the habit of laying down as self-evident the proposition that no people ought to be free until they are fit to use their freedom. The maxim is worthy of the fool in the old story, who had resolved not to go in the water until he had learnt to swim. If men are to wait for liberty until they become wise and good in slavery, they may indeed wait for ever.
— Lord Macaulay

freedom slavery

The doctrine which, from the very first origin of religious dissensions, has been held by all bigots of all sects, when condensed into a few words and stripped of rhetorical disguise, is simply this: I am in the right, and you are in the wrong. When you are the stronger, you ought to tolerate me, for it is your duty to tolerate truth; but when I am the stronger, I shall persecute you, for it is my duty to persecute error.

bigotry