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date: 23 June 2024

Benjamin Disraeli 1804–81
British Tory statesman and novelist; Prime Minister 1868, 1874–80 

  1. Though I sit down now, the time will come when you will hear me.
    maiden speech in the House of Commons, 7 December 1837
  2. The Continent will [not] suffer England to be the workshop of the world.
    speech, House of Commons, 15 March 1838
  3. A Conservative Government is an organized hypocrisy.
    speech, House of Commons, 17 March 1845
  4. Justice is truth in action.
    speech, House of Commons, 11 February 1851
  5. Finality is not the language of politics.
    speech, House of Commons, 28 February 1859
  6. It was a melancholy day for human nature when that stupid Lord Anson, after beating about for three years, found himself again at Greenwich. The circumnavigation of our globe was accomplished, but the illimitable was annihilated and a fatal blow [dealt] to all imagination.
    written 1860, in Reminiscences (ed. H. and M. Swartz, 1975)
  7. He seems to think that posterity is a pack-horse, always ready to be loaded.
    speech, 3 June 1862; attributed
  8. Is man an ape or an angel? Now I am on the side of the angels.
    speech at Oxford, 25 November 1864; see Wilberforce
  9. Assassination has never changed the history of the world.
    speech, House of Commons, 1 May 1865
  10. Change is inevitable in a progressive country. Change is constant.
    speech at Edinburgh, 29 October 1867, in Times 30 October 1867
  11. There can be no economy where there is no efficiency.
    Address to his Constituents, 1 October 1868, in Times 3 October 1868
  12. You behold a range of exhausted volcanoes.
    of the Treasury Bench
    speech at Manchester, 3 April 1872
  13. Increased means and increased leisure are the two civilizers of man.
    speech at Manchester, 3 April 1872, in Times 4 April 1872
  14. A University should be a place of light, of liberty, and of learning.
    speech, House of Commons, 11 March 1873
  15. Upon the education of the people of this country the fate of this country depends.
    speech, House of Commons, 15 June 1874
  16. Cosmopolitan critics, men who are the friends of every country save their own.
    speech at Guildhall, 9 November 1877; see Canning
  17. Lord Salisbury and myself have brought you back peace—but a peace I hope with honour.
    speech on returning from the Congress of Berlin, 16 July 1878; see Chamberlain, Russell
  18. A sophistical rhetorician, inebriated with the exuberance of his own verbosity.
    in Times 29 July 1878
  19. I will not go down to posterity talking bad grammar.
    while correcting proofs of his last Parliamentary speech, 31 March 1881
    Robert Blake Disraeli (1966)
  20. No Government can be long secure without a formidable Opposition.
    Coningsby (1844) bk. 2, ch. 1
  21. Youth is a blunder; Manhood a struggle; Old Age a regret.
    Coningsby (1844) bk. 3, ch. 1
  22. It seems to me a barren thing this Conservatism—an unhappy cross-breed, the mule of politics that engenders nothing.
    Coningsby (1844) bk. 3, ch. 5; see Power
  23. With words we govern men.
    Contarini Fleming (1832) pt. 1, ch. 21
  24. Read no history: nothing but biography, for that is life without theory.
    Contarini Fleming (1832) pt. 1, ch. 23; see Emerson
  25. His Christianity was muscular.
    Endymion (1880) ch. 14
  26. As for our majority…one is enough.
    Endymion (1880) ch. 64; now often associated with Churchill
  27. ‘Sensible men are all of the same religion.’ ‘And pray what is that?’…‘Sensible men never tell.’
    Endymion (1880) ch. 81; see Shaftesbury
  28. The magic of first love is our ignorance that it can ever end.
    Henrietta Temple (1837)
  29. Time is the great physician.
    Henrietta Temple (1837)
  30. I have always thought that every woman should marry, and no man.
    Lothair (1870)
  31. You know who the critics are? The men who have failed in literature and art.
    Lothair (1870) ch. 35
  32. To be conscious that you are ignorant is a great step to knowledge.
    Sybil (1845) bk. 1, ch. 5
  33. ‘Two nations; between whom there is no intercourse and no sympathy; who are as ignorant of each other's habits, thoughts, and feelings, as if they were dwellers in different zones, or inhabitants of different planets; who are formed by a different breeding, are fed by a different food, are ordered by different manners, and are not governed by the same laws.’ ‘You speak of—’ said Egremont, hesitatingly, ‘the rich and the poor.
    Sybil (1845) bk. 2, ch. 5; see Foster
  34. Mr Kremlin himself was distinguished for ignorance, for he had only one idea,—and that was wrong.
    Sybil (1845) bk. 4, ch. 5; see Johnson
  35. The Youth of a Nation are the trustees of Posterity.
    Sybil (1845) bk. 6, ch. 13
  36. To do nothing and get something, formed a boy's ideal of a manly career.
    Sybil (1845)
  37. The East is a career.
    Tancred (1847) bk. 2, ch. 14
  38. The European talks of progress because by an ingenious application of some scientific acquirements he has established a society which has mistaken comfort for civilization.
    Tancred (1847) bk. 3, ch. 7
  39. Experience is the child of Thought, and Thought is the child of Action. We cannot learn men from books.
    Vivian Grey (1826) bk. 5, ch. 1
  40. All power is a trust.
    Vivian Grey (1826) bk. 6, ch. 7; see Dryden
  41. Like all great travellers…I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.
    Vivian Grey (1826–27) bk. 8, ch. 4
  42. Damn your principles! Stick to your party.
    attributed to Disraeli and believed to have been said to Edward Bulwer-Lytton
    E. Latham Famous Sayings and their Authors (1904)
  43. Everyone likes flattery; and when you come to Royalty you should lay it on with a trowel.
    to Matthew Arnold
    G. W. E. Russell Collections and Recollections (1898) ch. 23
  44. If Gladstone fell into the Thames, that would be misfortune; and if anybody pulled him out, that, I suppose, would be a calamity.
    Leon Harris The Fine Art of Political Wit (1965)
  45. I have climbed to the top of the greasy pole.
    on becoming Prime Minister
    W. Monypenny and G. Buckle Life of Benjamin Disraeli vol. 4 (1916) ch. 16
  46. I never deny; I never contradict; I sometimes forget.
    said to Lord Esher of his relations with Queen Victoria
    Elizabeth Longford Victoria R. I (1964) ch. 27
  47. Never complain and never explain.
    J. Morley Life of William Ewart Gladstone (1903) vol. 1; see Fisher
  48. Pray remember, Mr Dean, no dogma, no Dean.
    W. Monypenny and G. Buckle Life of Benjamin Disraeli vol. 4 (1916)
  49. There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.
    attributed to Disraeli in Mark Twain Autobiography (1924) vol. 1; anonymous versions of this occur earlier, e.g. in Economic Journal June 1892
  50. When I want to read a novel, I write one.
    W. Monypenny and G. Buckle Life of Benjamin Disraeli vol. 6 (1920) ch. 17