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It is the nature of man to overrate present evil and to underrate present good; to long for what he has not, and to be dissatisfied with what he has.
—  Thomas Babington
Temple was a man of the world amongst men of letters, a man of letters amongst men of the world.
—  Thomas Babington
Free trade, one of the greatest blessings which a government can confer on a people, is in almost every country unpopular.
—  Thomas Babington
That is the best government which desires to make the people happy, and knows how to make them happy.
—  Thomas Babington
We see no reason for thinking that the opinions of the magistrate on speculative questions are more likely to be right than those of any other man. None of the modes by which a magistrate is appointed, popular election, the accident of the lot, or the accident of birth, affords, as far as we can perceive, much security for his being wiser than any of his neighbors. The chance of his being wiser than all his neighbors together is still smaller.
—  Thomas Babington
The Puritan hated bear-baiting, not because it gave pain to the bear, but because it gave pleasure to the spectators.
—  Thomas Babington
It is possible to be below flattery as well as above it.
—  Thomas Babington
That wonderful book, while it obtains admiration from the most fastidious critics, is loved by those who are too simple to admire it.
—  Thomas Babington
Out of his surname they have coined an epithet for a knave, and out of his Christian name a synonym for the Devil.
—  Thomas Babington
In order that he might rob a neighbour whom he had promised to defend, black men fought on the coast of Coromandel and red men scalped each other by the great lakes of North America.
—  Thomas Babington
The Life of Johnson is assuredly a great, a very great work. Homer is not more decidedly the first of heroic poets. Shakespeare is not more decidedly the first of dramatists, Demosthenes is not more decidedly the first of orators, than Boswell is the first of biographers. He has no second.
—  Thomas Babington
I have not the Chancellor's encyclopedic mind. He is indeed a kind of semi-Solomon. He half knows everything, from the cedar to the hyssop.
—  Thomas Babington
Re: Robert Montgomery's Poems His writing bears the same relation to poetry which a Turkey carpet bears to a picture. There are colours in the Turkey carpet out of which a picture might be made. There are words in Mr. Montgomery's writing which, when disposed in certain orders and combinations, have made, and will make again, good poetry. But, as they now stand, they seem to be put together on principle in such a manner as to give no image of anything in the heavens above, or in the earth beneath, or in the waters under the earth.
—  Thomas Babington
In that temple of silence and reconciliation where the enmities of twenty generations lie buried, in the great Abbey which has during many ages afforded a quiet resting-place to those whose minds and bodies have been shattered by the contentions of the Great Hall.
—  Thomas Babington
The highest intellects, like the tops of mountains, are the first to catch and to reflect the dawn.
—  Thomas Babington
Many politicians lay 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.
—  Thomas Babington
The conformation of his mind was such that whatever was little seemed to him great, and whatever was great seemed to him little.
—  Thomas Babington
We know no spectacle so ridiculous as the British public in one of its periodic fits of morality.
—  Thomas Babington
The measure of a man's real character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.
—  Thomas Babington
He had a head which statuaries loved to copy, and a foot the deformity of which the beggars in the streets mimicked.
—  Thomas Babington
The business of everybody is the business of nobody.
—  Thomas Babington
An acre in Middlesex is better than a principality in Utopia.
—  Thomas Babington
His imagination resembled the wings of an ostrich. It enabled him to run, though not to soar.
—  Thomas Babington
I shall cheerfully bear the reproach of having descended below the dignity of history.
—  Thomas Babington
Every generation enjoys the use of a vast hoard bequeathed to it by antiquity, and transmits that hoard, augmented by fresh acquisitions, to future ages.
—  Thomas Babington
A man possessed of splendid talents, which he often abused, and of a sound judgment, the admonitions of which he often neglected; a man who succeeded only in an inferior department of his art, but who in that department succeeded pre-eminently.
—  Thomas Babington
Our rulers will best promote the improvement of the nation by strictly confining themselves to their own legitimate duties, by leaving capital to find its most lucrative course, commodities their fair price, industry and intelligence their natural reward, idleness and folly their natural punishment, by maintaining peace, by defending property, by diminishing the price of law, and by observing strict economy in every department of the state. Let the Government do this: the People will assuredly do the rest.
—  Thomas Babington
The history of nations, in the sense in which I use the word, is often best studied in works not professedly historical.
—  Thomas Babington
We hardly know an instance of the strength and weakness of human nature so striking and so grotesque as the character of this haughty, vigilant, resolute, sagacious blue-stocking, half Mithridates and half Trissotin, bearing up against a world in arms, with an ounce of poison in one pocket and a quire of bad verses in the other.
—  Thomas Babington
Men are never so likely to settle a question rightly as when they discuss it freely.
—  Thomas Babington
We hold that the most wonderful and splendid proof of genius is a great poem produced in a civilized age.
—  Thomas Babington

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