The love of study, a passion which derives fresh vigor from enjoyment, supplies each day and hour with a perpetual source of independent and rational pleasure.
The various modes of worship which prevailed in the Roman world were all considered by the people as equally true, by the philosophers as equally false, and by the magistrate as equally useful.
It was scarcely possible that the eyes of contemporaries should discover in the public felicity the latent causes of decay and corruption. This long peace, and the uniform government of the Romans, introduced a slow and secret poison into the vitals of the empire. The minds of men were gradually reduced to the same level, the fire of genius was extinguished, and even the military spirit evaporated. The natives of Europe were brave and robust. Spain, Gaul, Britain, and Illyricum, supplied the legions with excellent soldiers, and constituted the real strength of the monarchy. Their personal valour remained, but they no longer possessed that public courage which is nourished by the love of independence, the sense of national honour, the presence of danger, and the habit of command. They received laws and governors from the will of their sovereign, and trusted for their defence to a mercenary army. The posterity of their boldest leaders was contented with the rank of citizens and subjects. The most aspiring spirits resorted to the court or standard of the emperors; and the deserted provinces, deprived of political strength or union, insensibly sunk into the languid indifference of private life.
A false modesty is the meanest species of pride.
Every man who rises above the common level has received two educations: the first from his teachers; the second, more personal and important, from himself.
A heart to resolve, a head to contrive, and a hand to execute.
Let us read with method, and propose to ourselves an end to what our studies may point. The use of reading is to aid us in thinking.
Corruption, the most infallible symptom of constitutional liberty.
In old age the consolation of hope is reserved for the tenderness of parents, who commence a new life in their children, the faith of enthusiasts, who sing hallelujahs above the clouds; and the vanity of authors, who presume the immortality of their name and writings.
The pathetic almost always consists in the detail of little events.
I sighed as a lover, I obeyed as a son.
I was never less alone than when by myself.
Fanaticism obliterates the feelings of humanity.
The principles of a free constitution are irrecoverably lost, when the legislative power is nominated by the executive.
If I may speak of myself, my happy hours have far exceeded, and far exceed, the scanty numbers of the Caliph of Spain; and I shall not scruple to add, that many of them are due to the pleasing labor of composing my history.
Beauty is an outward gift which is seldom despised, except by those to whom it has been refused.
If we are more affected by the ruin of a palace than by the conflagration of a cottage, our humanity must have formed a very erroneous estimate of the miseries of human life.
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- E. V. Lucas English Author
- B. H. Liddell Hart English Military Journalist, Historian
- James Anthony Froude British Historian
- C. Northcote Parkinson British Historian
- Daniel J. Boorstin American Historian
- Francesco Guicciardini Italian Historian
- James Truslow Adams American Historian
- Jacques Barzun French-born American Historian
- James Harvey Robinson American Historian
- Alfred Whitney Griswold American Historian