Friday, February 24, 2012

Quotes/Observations apropos of nothing

If you know English history you will have heard of Lord Palmerston, a prime minister and active participant in 19th century foreign affairs.  Writing shortly after his death in 1865, Walter Bagehot makes this interesting observation:

He was not a common man, but a common man might have been cut out of him.  He had in him all that a common man has, and something more.  And he did not at all despise, as some philosophers teach people to do, the common part of his mind.  He was profoundly aware that the common mass of plain sense is the great administrative agency of the world and that if you keep yourself in sympathy with this you will win, and if not you fail.”

And for those who are naturally late risers and wish affairs were conducted on a different clock, a glimpse into a better world:

“When I was a young man, the Duke of Wellington made an appointment with me at half-past seven in the morning, and some one asked me, why, Palmerston, how will you keep that engagement?  Oh, I said of course, the easiest thing in the world.  I shall keep it the last thing before I go to bed.”

Bagehot’s Historical Essays, (page 216 & 217)

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