- He that hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune; for they are impediments to great enterprises, either of virtue or mischief.
Essays (1625) ‘Of Marriage and the Single Life’; see Lucan 1561–1626 English lawyer, courtier, philosopher, and essayist:
- The worst families are those in which the members never really speak their minds to one another; they maintain an atmosphere of unreality, and everyone always lives in an atmosphere of suppressed ill-feeling.
The English Constitution (ed. 2, 1872) introduction 1826–77 English economist and essayist:
- I have never understood this liking for war. It panders to instincts already catered for within the scope of any respectable domestic establishment.
Forty Years On (1969) act 1 1934– English dramatist and actor:
- We begin our public affections in our families. No cold relation is a zealous citizen.
Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790) 1729–97 Irish-born Whig politician and man of letters:
- [It is] time to turn our attention to pressing challenges like…how to make American families more like the Waltons and a little bit less like the Simpsons. 1924– American Republican statesman, 41st President 1989–93: speech, Neenah, Wisconsin, 27 July 1992
- Having one child makes you a parent; having two you are a referee.
Independent 16 September 1989 1939–2013 English broadcaster and writer: in
- I am the family face;
Flesh perishes, I live on,
Projecting trait and trace
Through time to times anon,
And leaping from place to place
1840–1928 English novelist and poet: ‘Heredity’ (1917)
- Far from being the basis of the good society, the family, with its narrow privacy and tawdry secrets, is the source of all our discontents.
Listener 30 November 1967 1910–89 English anthropologist: BBC Reith Lectures, 1967, in
- One would be in less danger
From the wiles of the stranger
If one's own kin and kith
Were more fun to be with.
1902–71 American humorist: ‘Family Court’ (1931)
- There is a proverb often quoted by young married couples in China, both Nationalist and Indo—
‘When grandparents enter door, discipline fly out window.’
1902–71 American humorist: ‘Whose Baby?—A Brief Introduction To Grandparents’ (1962)
- For there is no friend like a sister
In calm or stormy weather.
1830–94 English poet: ‘Goblin Market’ (1862)
- The family—that dear octopus from whose tentacles we never quite escape.
Dear Octopus (1938) 1896–1990 English novelist and dramatist:
- I detest collaterals. Blood may be thicker than water, but it is also a great deal nastier.
Some Experiences of an Irish R.M. (1899) 1858–1949 and 1862–1915 Irish writers:
- Family!…the home of all social evil, a charitable institution for comfortable women, an anchorage for house-fathers, and a hell for children.
The Son of a Servant (1886) 1849–1912 Swedish dramatist and novelist:
- If a man's character is to be abused, say what you will, there's nobody like a relation to do the business.
Vanity Fair (1847–8) ch. 19 1811–63 English novelist:
- All happy families resemble one another, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
Anna Karenina (1875–7) pt. 1, ch. 1 (tr. A. and L. Maude) 1828–1910 Russian novelist:
- Relations are simply a tedious pack of people, who haven't got the remotest knowledge of how to live, nor the smallest instinct about when to die.
The Importance of Being Earnest (1899) act 1 1854–1900 Irish dramatist and poet:
- It is no use telling me that there are bad aunts and good aunts. At the core, they are all alike. Sooner or later, out pops the cloven hoof.
The Code of the Woosters (1938) ch. 2 1881–1975 English writer; an American citizen from 1955: