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date: 24 February 2024

Thomas Carlyle 1795–1881
Scottish historian and political philosopher 

  1. A witty statesman said, you might prove anything by figures.
    Chartism (1839)
  2. The foul sluggard's comfort: ‘It will last my time.’
    Critical and Miscellaneous Essays (1838) ‘Count Cagliostro. Flight Last’
  3. Experience is the best of schoolmasters, only the school fees are heavy.
    Critical and Miscellaneous Essays (1838) ‘Goethe's Helena’
  4. History is the essence of innumerable biographies.
    Critical and Miscellaneous Essays (1838) ‘On History’
  5. A well-written Life is almost as rare as a well-spent one.
    Critical and Miscellaneous Essays (1838) ‘Jean Paul Friedrich Richter’
  6. Under all speech that is good for anything there lies a silence that is better. Silence is deep as Eternity; speech is shallow as Time.
    Critical and Miscellaneous Essays (1838) ‘Sir Walter Scott’
  7. To the very last he [Napoleon] had a kind of idea; that, namely, of La carrière ouverte aux talents, The tools to him that can handle them.
    Critical and Miscellaneous Essays (1838) ‘Sir Walter Scott’; see Napoleon I
  8. The three great elements of modern civilization, Gunpowder, Printing, and the Protestant Religion.
    Critical and Miscellaneous Essays (1838) ‘The State of German Literature’; see Bacon
  9. ‘Genius’ (which means transcendent capacity of taking trouble, first of all).
    History of Frederick the Great (1858–65) bk. 4, ch. 3; see Buffon
  10. A whiff of grapeshot.
    History of the French Revolution (1837) vol. 1, bk. 5, ch. 3
  11. History a distillation of rumour.
    History of the French Revolution (1837) vol. 1, bk. 7, ch. 5
  12. France was long a despotism tempered by epigrams.
    History of the French Revolution (1837) vol. 3, bk. 7, ch. 7
  13. A Parliament speaking through reporters to Buncombe and the twenty-seven millions mostly fools.
    Latter-Day Pamphlets (1850) ‘Parliaments’; see Walker
  14. The Dismal Science.
    on political economy
    Latter-Day Pamphlets (1850) ‘The Present Time’
  15. The true University of these days is a collection of books.
    On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic (1841) ‘The Hero as Man of Letters’
  16. One life; a little gleam of time between two eternities.
    On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic (1841) ‘The Hero as Man of Letters’
  17. Adversity is sometimes hard upon a man; but for one man who can stand prosperity, there are a hundred that will stand adversity.
    On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic (1841)
  18. Captains of industry.
    Past and Present (1843) bk. 4, ch. 4 (title)
  19. Man is a tool-using animal…Without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.
    Sartor Resartus (1834) bk. 1, ch. 5
  20. The end of man is an action and not a thought, though it were the noblest.
    Sartor Resartus (1834)
  21. The everlasting No.
    Sartor Resartus (1834) bk. 2, ch. 7 (title)
  22. A good book is the purest essence of a human soul.
    speech in support of the London Library, 24 June 1840, in F. Harrison Carlyle and the London Library (1907)
  23. Gad! she'd better!
    on hearing that Margaret Fuller ‘accept[ed] the universe’
    William James Varieties of Religious Experience (1902) lecture 2
  24. If Jesus Christ were to come to-day, people would not even crucify him. They would ask him to dinner, and hear what he had to say, and make fun of it.
    D. A. Wilson Carlyle at his Zenith (1927)