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Thomas B. Macaulay

1800-1859. Baron Macaulay. English politician, essayist, poet, and historian best known for his History of England, 5 vol. (1849–61).

Books by Thomas B. Macaulay

The measure of a man's real character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.

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The real security of Christianity is to be found in its benevolent morality, in its exquisite adaptation to the human heart, in the facility with which its scheme accommodates itself to the capacity of every human intellect, in the consolation which it bears to the house of mourning, in the light with which it brightens the great mystery of the grave.

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Language, the machine of the poet, is best fitted for his purpose in its rudest state. Nations, like individuals, first perceive, and then abstract. They advance from particular images to general terms. Hence the vocabulary of an enlightened society is philosophical, that of a half-civilized people is poetical.

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Turn where we may, within, around, the voice of great events is proclaiming to us, Reform, that you may preserve!

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

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Generalization is necessary to the advancement of knowledge; but particularly is indispensable to the creations of the imagination. In proportion as men know more and think more they look less at individuals and more at classes. They therefore make better theories and worse poems.

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In Plato's opinion, man was made for philosophy; in Bacon's opinion, philosophy was made for man.

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History, is made up of the bad actions of extraordinary men and woman. All the most noted destroyers and deceivers of our species, all the founders of arbitrary governments and false religions have been extraordinary people; and nine tenths of the calamities that have befallen the human race had no other origin than the union of high intelligence with low desires.

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And how can man die better than facing fearful odds, for the ashes of his fathers, and the temples of his Gods?

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The object of oratory alone in not truth, but persuasion.

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