Wide World of Quotes > Edmund Burke Quotes


Edmund Burke
Irish-born Whig politician in English Parliament and man of letters
(1792-97)



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Tyrants seldom want pretexts.
-- Letter to a Member of the National Assembly (1791)

Between craft and credulity, the voice of reason is stifled.
-- Letter to the Sheriffs of Bristol (1777)

Among a people generally corrupt, liberty cannot long exist.
-- Letter to the Sheriffs of Bristol (1777)

I do not know the method of drawing up an indictment against an whole people.
-- On Conciliation with America (1775)

It is not, what a lawyer tells me that I may do; but what humanity, reason, and justice, tells me I ought to do.
-- On Conciliation with America (1775)

Whenever our neighbour's house is on fire, it cannot be amiss for the engine's to play a little on our own.
-- Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790)

The age of chivalry is gone. -- That of sophisters, economists and calculators, has succeeded; and the glory of Europe is extinguished for ever.
-- Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790)

In the groves of their academy, at the end of every vista, you see nothing but the gallows.
-- Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790)

A perfect democracy is therefore the most shameless thing in the world.
-- Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents (1770)

When bad men combine, the good must associate: else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.
-- Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents (1770)

NOTE: "It is necessary only for good men to do nothing for evil to triumph", a quote somewhat similar in its meaning to the above, is often attributed to Edmund Burke in error, the latter quote being found nowhere in the works of Burke. See this page and this page.


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The selection of the above quotes and the writing of the accompanying notes was performed by the author David Paul Wagner.

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