Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Stanley Baldwin, 1st Earl of Bewdley

English Politician, three times Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

"I am not struck so much by the diversity of testimony as by the many-sidedness of truth."

"War would end if the dead could return."

"Fires can't be made with dead embers, nor can enthusiasm be stirred by spiritless men. Enthusiasm in our daily work lightens effort and turns even labor into pleasant tasks."

"A lot of hard-faced men who look as if they had done well out of the war."

"A statesman wants courage and a statesman wants vision; but believe me, after six months' experience, he wants first, second, third and all the time - patience."

"A platitude is simply a truth repeated till people get tired of hearing it."

"I am a man of peace. I am longing and working and praying for peace, but I will not surrender the safety and security of the British constitution. You placed me in power eighteen months ago by the largest majority accorded to any party for many, many years. Have I done anything to forfeit that confidence? Cannot you trust me to ensure a square deal to secure even justice between man and man?"

"I am one of those who would rather sink with faith than swim without it."

"I knew that I had been chosen as God's instrument for the work of the healing of the nation."

"A woman who pretends to laugh at love is like a child who sings at night when he is afraid"

"England totally disarmed and an easy prey to hostile forces! Can you think of anything more likely to excite cupidity and hostile intention? We should sink to the level of a fifth rate Power, our Colonies would be stripped from us, our commerce would decline, famine and unemployment would stalk the land. ... I share your longing for peace. God forbid that it should be again disturbed! The constant and undivided effort of the Government is for its preservation. But I have yet to learn that the cause of peace can be served by rendering our country impotent."

"Do not fear or misunderstand when the Government say they are looking to our defenses. I give you my word that there will be no great armaments."

"I would rather trust a woman's instinct than a man's reason."

"If I did not believe that our work was done in the faith and hope that at some day, it may be a million years hence, the Kingdom of God will spread over the whole world, I would have no hope, I could do no work, and I would give my office over this morning to anyone who would take it."

"If I did not feel . . . and hope that someday - perhaps millions of years hence - the Kingdom of God would overspread the whole world . . . then I would give my office over this morning to anyone who would take it."

"In none of these countries [Russia, Italy and Germany] was it possible to make to the people such an appeal as went home to the heart of our people, an appeal based on Christianity or ethics ... The whole outlook in the dictator countries was so completely different from ours that for a long time people here could not understand how it was possible for these nations not to respond to the same kind of appeal as that to which our people responded. But they were beginning to realize it now...The only argument which appealed to the dictators was that of force."

"It is no ready-made article; it has grown through the centuries as native to our country and people as the oak, ash, or thorn. It has given her people freedom and taught them the difference between freedom and license. That is the Constitution that is threatened to-day, not quite openly yet, by the Socialist Party in their conference, tendenciously by sketching a course of action which if it takes place means the destruction of the Constitution. You may dispute that as much as you like, but in effect taking away the executive power of the House of Commons is the way every tyranny starts. It is proletarian Hitlerism and nothing else, and it can be nothing else. I want you to realize it in time."

"It is not the case that Germany is rapidly approaching equality with us. Her real strength is not fifty per cent. of our strength in Europe to-day."

"Just as the results of inebriety are most painful to the habitually sober, and just as the greatest saints have often been the greatest sinners, so, when the first class brain does something stupid, the stupidity of that occasion is colossal."

"I should like to make an observation to right honorable and honorable Gentlemen opposite. It is that I do not think they will help to produce the atmosphere in Europe which is so desirable by issuing papers that have been issued by the National Council of Labor, headed 'Hit Hitler'."

"I would rather be an opportunist and float than go to the bottom with my principles round my neck."

"I think it well ... for the man in the street to realize that there is no power on earth that can protect him from being bombed. Whatever people may tell him, the bomber will always get through. The only defense is offence, which means that you will have to kill women and children more quickly than the enemy if you want to save yourselves."

"Let us never forget this: since the day of the air, the old frontiers are gone. When you think of the defense of England you no longer think of the chalk cliffs of Dover; you think of the Rhine. That is where our frontier lies."

"Magna Carta is the Law: Let the King look out."

"Never sought the office. I never planned out or schemed my life. I have but one idea, which was an idea that I inherited, and it was the idea of service — service to the people of this country. My father lived in the belief all his life ... It is a tradition; it is in our bones; and we have to do it. That service seemed to lead one by way of business and the county council into Parliament, and it has led one through various strange paths to where one is; but the ideal remains the same, because all my life I believed from my heart the words of Browning, All service ranks the same with God. It makes very little difference whether a man is driving a tramcar or sweeping streets or being Prime Minister, if he only brings to that service everything that is in him and performs it for the sake of mankind."

"Power without responsibility -- the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages."

"Since the day of the air, the old frontiers are gone. When you think of the defense of England you no longer think of the chalk cliffs of Dover; you think of the Rhine."

"So it has always been with tyrants among our own people: when the King was tyrant, let him look out. And it has always been the same, and will be the same, whether the tyrant be the Barons, whether the tyrant be the Church, whether he be demagogue or dictator — let them look out."

"Supposing I had gone to the country [in 1933], and said that Germany was re-arming, and that we must re-arm, does anybody think that this pacific democracy would have rallied to that cry at that moment? I cannot think of anything that would have made the loss of the election from my point of view more certain...we got from the country [in 1935], with a large majority, a mandate for doing a thing no one, twelve months earlier, would have believed possible."

"The attainment of an ideal is often the beginning of a disillusion"

"The bomber will always get through. The only defense is in offense, which means that you have to kill more women and children more quickly that the enemy if you want to save yourselves."

"The die-hard opinions of George III couched in the language of Edmund Burke."

"The greatest crime to our own people is to be afraid to tell the truth ... the old frontiers are gone. When you think of the defense of England you no longer think of the chalk cliffs of Dover; you think of the Rhine. That is where it lies."

"The Holy Bible is not only great but high explosive literature. It works in strange ways and no living man can tell or know how that book in its journeyings through the world has started an individual soul 10,000 different places into a new life, a new belief, a new conception and a new faith."

"The intelligent are to the intelligentsia what a gentleman is to a gent."

"The only defense is offense, which means that you have to kill more women and children more quickly than the enemy if you wish to save yourselves."

"The real need of the day is ... moral and spiritual rearmament ... God's Living Spirit can transcend conflicting political systems, can reconcile order and freedom, can rekindle true patriotism, can unite all citizens in the service of the nation, and all nations in the service of mankind."

"Then comes Winston with his hundred horsepower mind and what can I do?"

"There is no country ... where there are not somewhere lovers of freedom who look to this country to carry the torch and keep it burning bright until such time as they may again be able to light their extinguished torches at our flame. We owe it not only to our own people but to the world to preserve our soul for that."

"This country to-day [is] the last stronghold of freedom, standing like a rock in a tide that is threatened to submerge the world."

"To me, England is the country, and the country is England. And when I ask myself what I mean by England when I am abroad, England comes to me through my various senses — through the ear, through the eye and through certain imperishable scents ... The sounds of England, the tinkle of the hammer on the anvil in the country smithy, the corncrake on a dewy morning, the sound of the scythe against the whetstone, and the sight of a plough team coming over the brow of a hill, the sight that has been seen in England since England was a land ... the one eternal sight of England."

"True to our traditions, we have avoided all extremes. We have steered clear of fascism, communism, dictatorship, and we have shown the world that democratic government, constitutional methods and ordered liberty are not inconsistent with progress and prosperity."

"We none of us know what is going on in that strange man's mind. We all know the German desire as he has come out with in his book [Mein Kampf] to move East, and if he moves East, I shall not break my heart, but that is another thing. I do not believe he wants to move West, because West would be a very difficult programme for him ... If there is any fighting in Europe to be done, I should like to see the Bolsheviks and Nazis doing it."

"What the proprietorship of these papers is aiming at is power, and power without responsibility — the prerogative of the harlot through the ages."

"Whatever failures may have come to parliamentary government in countries which have not those traditions, and where it is not a natural growth, that is no proof that parliamentary government has failed."

"You will find in politics that you are much exposed to the attribution of false motive. Never complain and never explain."