Sydney Smith

Quote Topics Cited
Daniel Webster struck me much like a steam-engine in trousers. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
Every law which originated in ignorance and malice, and gratifies the passions from whence it sprang, we call the wisdom of our ancestors: when such laws are repealed, they will be cruelty and madness; Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
Have the courage to be ignorant of a great number of things, in order to avoid the calamity of being ignorant of everything. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
Heaven never helps the men who will not act. Management & Managing Government
In order to do any thing in this world worth doing, we must not stand shivering on the bank thinking of the cold and the danger, but jump in and scramble through as well as we can. Human Nature
In the four quarters of the globe, who reads an American book? Or goes to an American play? or looks at an American picture or statue? What does the world yet owe to American physicians or surgeons? What new substances have their chemists discovered? Or what old ones have they advanced? What new constellations have been discovered by the telescopes of Americans? Who drinks out of American glasses? Or eats from American plates? Or wears American coats or gowns? or sleeps in American blankets? Finally, under which of the old tyrannical governments of Europe is every sixth man a slave, whom his fellow-creatures may buy and sell and torture? Compliments, Insults & Rebukes ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
It is a very wise rule … to acquire early a correct notion of your own peculiar constitution of mind, and to become well acquainted with … your idiosyncrasy Human Nature
It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little. Management & Managing Government
Minorities…are almost always in the right. Minorities & Women
Preaching has become a byword for long and dull conversation of any kind; and whoever wishes to imply, in any piece of writing, the absence of everything agreeable and inviting, calls it a sermon. Oratory, Discussion & Debate
The history of the world shows us that men are not to be counted by their numbers, but by the fire and vigor of their passions Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
The moment the very name of Ireland is mentioned, the English seem to bid adieu to common feeling, common prudence, and common sense, and to act with the barbarity of tyrants, and the fantasy of idiots. Expansionism, Colonialism & Imperialism
A comfortable house is a great source of happiness. It ranks immediately after health and a good conscience. Health, Healthcare & Medicine ;Happiness & Unhappiness
A great deal of talent is lost to the world for want of a little courage. Every day sends to their graves obscure men whose timidity prevented them from making a first effort.
Among the smaller duties of life I hardly know any one more important than that of not praising where praise is not due. Life
As the French say, there are three sexes - men, women, and clergymen. Women
Bishop Berkeley destroyed this world in one volume octavo; and nothing remained, after his time, but mind; which experienced a similar fate from the hand of Mr. Hume in 1737. Time
Correspondences are like small clothes before the invention of suspenders; it is impossible to keep them up.
Do not try to push your way through to the front ranks of your profession; do not run after distinctions and rewards; but do your utmost to find an entry into the world of beauty.
Errors, to be dangerous, must have a great deal of truth mingled with them. It is only from this alliance that they can ever obtain an extensive circulation. Truth
Find fault when you must find fault in private, and if possible sometime after the offense, rather than at the time. Time
Great men hallow a whole people, and lift up all who live in their time. Time
I have, alas, only one illusion left, and that is the Archbishop of Canterbury.
I look upon Switzerland as an inferior sort of Scotland.
I never read a book before previewing it; it prejudices a man so.
In composing, as a general rule, run your pen through every other word you have written; you have no idea what vigor it will give your style.
It is safest to be moderately base - to be flexible in shame, and to be always ready for what is generous, good, and just, when anything is to be gained by virtue.
It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little - do what you can.
It resembles a pair of shears, so joined that they cannot be separated, often moving in opposite directions, yet always punishing anyone who comes between them.
Let the Dean and Canons lay their heads together and the thing will be done.
Life is to be fortified by many friendships. To love and to be loved is the greatest happiness of existence. Life ;Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Happiness & Unhappiness
Live always in the best company when you read.
Madam, I have been looking for a person who disliked gravy all my life; let us swear eternal friendship. Life ;Friendship
Manners are like the shadows of virtues, they are the momentary display of those qualities which our fellow creatures love and respect. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Respect
Marriage resembles a pair of shears, so joined that they cannot be separated; often moving in opposite directions, yet always punishing anyone who comes between them. Families, Children & Parenting
Never give way to melancholy; resist it steadily, for the habit will encroach.
Never talk for half a minute without pausing and giving others a chance to join in.
No man can ever end with being superior who will not begin with being inferior.
Poverty us no disgrace to a man, but it is confoundedly inconvenient.
Science is his forte, and omniscience his foible. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Solitude cherishes great virtues and destroys little ones.
The object of preaching is to constantly remind mankind of what they keep forgetting; not to supply the intellect, but to fortify the feebleness of human resolutions.
The thing about performance, even if it's only an illusion, is that it is a celebration of the fact that we do contain within ourselves infinite possibilities.
To business that we love we rise bedtime, and go to't with delight. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Business, Commerce & Finance
To do anything in this world worth doing, we must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in, and scramble through as well as we can.
What a pity it is that we have no amusements in England but vice and religion! Religion & God
What would life be without arithmetic, but a scene of horrors? Life
What you don't know would make a great book.
Whatever you are by nature, keep to it; never desert your line of talent. Be what nature intended you for, and you will succeed. Nature