Leopold II

Quote Topics Cited
… people are far from acting generally according to the dictates of their interests, but oftener in consequence of their passions, though it may even prove injurious to their interests. Human Nature
… when the one side says black and the other white, when the opposite political characters are treated by their respective antagonists as rogues, fools, blockheads, wretches, and all the other names in which the English political dictionary is so very rich, one stands like the ass, between two bundles of hay, considerably embarrassed which ought to be chosen.... Political Parties & Machines
A constitutional king must learn to stoop. Miscellaneous
A new reign is always a time of hope; everybody is disposed to see something for his own wishes and prospects. The policy of a new Sovereign must therefore be to act in such a manner as to hurt as little as possible the amour-propre [public love] of people, to let circumstances and the force of things bring about the disappointments which no human power could prevent coming sooner or later… Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
Discretion--humble as it seems, it has often brought about successes in which talent failed and genius did not succeed. Discretion in the great affairs of the world does wonders, and safety depends frequently and is chiefly derived from it.... Management & Managing Government
Haute politique … to which we all must bend. I was as anxious to send you to the Congo as you were to go but the existence of the State was at stake. Policy & Policy Making
Health is the first and most important gift of Providence; without it we are poor, miserable creatures, though the whole earth were our property. Health, Healthcare & Medicine
I do not want to miss a good chance of getting us a slice of this magnificent African cake Expansionism, Colonialism & Imperialism
I’m sure if I quite openly charged Stanley with the task of taking possession in my name of some parts of Africa, the English will stop me. If I ask their advice they will stop me just the same. So I think I’ll just give Stanley some job of exploration which would offend no one, and will give us the bases and headquarters we can take over later. Expansionism, Colonialism & Imperialism ;Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
It is necessary to put down the horrible abuses. These abuses must end or I will retire from the Congo. I will not allow myself to be spattered with blood or mud; it is necessary that these villainies cease. Expansionism, Colonialism & Imperialism
Nothing is so great and clear a proof of unfitness for greater and nobler actions, than a mind which is seriously occupied with trifles. Detriments & Qualifications ;Public Office: Benefits
Party spirit is in England an incurable disease. Political Parties & Machines
Persons in high situations must particularly guard themselves against selfishness and vanity. An individual in a high and important situation will easily see a great many persons eager to please the first, and to flatter and encourage the last. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
The British should leave Egypt and … as the price of that policy and the favor England would thereby win from France, you should be able, without spending a shilling or losing a man, to annex China to the Indian Empire. Expansionism, Colonialism & Imperialism
The current is with us. Expansionism, Colonialism & Imperialism
The firmness that you displayed at the beginning of your reign will be for your quiet of the utmost importance. People must come to the opinion it is of no use intriguing, because when her mind is once made up, and she thinks a thing right, no earthly power will make her change. Leaders & Leadership
The position of what is generally called great people has of late become extremely difficult. They are more attacked and calumniated, and judged with less indulgence than private individuals. What they have lost in this way, they have not by any means regained in any other. Ever since the revolution of 1790 they are much less secure than they used to be, and the transition from sovereign power to absolute want has been as frequent as sudden. Power
The State machine breaks often down in consequence of mistakes made forty and fifty years ago … Management & Managing Government
To learn to know oneself, to judge oneself with truth and impartiality, must be the great objects of one's exertion; they are only attainable by constant and cool self-examination. Human Nature
To open to civilization the only part of our globe where it has yet to penetrate, to pierce the darkness which envelops whole populations, it is I dare to say, a crusade… Expansionism, Colonialism & Imperialism
To see the difficulties of the task without shrinking from them or feeling alarm, and to meet them with courage, is the way to succeed. I have often seen that the confidence of success has been the cause of the success itself… Leaders & Leadership
What my country needs is a safety valve for her surplus energies …. Establishing a Belgian colony in Africa will not only develop our country’s commercial interests but to raise the morale of the army and raise the merchant navy which we lack …. It is time that Belgium takes her part in the great work of civilization, following in the footsteps of England. Expansionism, Colonialism & Imperialism
Whenever a question is of some importance, it should not be decided on the day when it is submitted to you. Whenever it is not an urgent one, I make it a rule not to let any question be forced upon my immediate decision; … And even when in my mind I am disposed to accede, still I always keep the papers with me some little time before I return them. Management & Managing Government
You never can say too much in praise of your country and its inhabitants. Two nations in Europe are really almost ridiculous in their own exaggerated praises of themselves; these are the English and the French. Nationalism & Treason ;Citizenship & Patriotism