Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

William Cobbett

English Journalist, Political Writer, Agriculturalist and Author

"All men seek the society of those who think and act somewhat like themselves."

"It is not the greatness of a man's means that makes him independent, so much as the smallness of his wants."

"It is by attempting to reach the top at a single leap that so much misery is produced in the world."

"Poverty is, except where there is an actual want of food an raiment, a thing much more imaginary than real. The shame of poverty - the shame of being though poor - it is a great and fatal weakness, though arising in this country, from the fashion of the times themselves."

"A full belly to the laborer was, in my opinion, the foundation of public morals and the only source of real public peace."

"All is vulgar, all clumsy, all dull, all torpid inanity."

"Another great evil arising from this desire to be thought rich or rather, from the desire not to be thought poor, is the destructive thing which has been honored by the name of speculation but which ought to be called Gambling."

"As to politics, we were like the rest of the country people in England; that is to say, we neither knew nor thought anything about the matter."

"As to the power which money gives, it is that of brute force, it is the power of the bludgeon and the bayonet, and of the bribed press, tongue and pen."

"Be you in what line of life you may, it will be amongst your misfortunes if you have not time properly to attend to pecuniary (monetary) matters. Want of attention to these matters has impeded the progress of science and of genius itself."

"But I do not remember ever having seen a newspaper in the house; and, most certainly, that privation did not render us less industrious, happy, or free."

"But what is to be the fate of the great wen of all? The monster, called, by the silly coxcombs of the press, the metropolis of the empire?"

"For, however roguish a man may be, he always loves to deal with an honest man."

"Free yourself from the slavery of tea and coffee and other slopkettles."

"From a very early age I had imbibed the opinion that it was every man's duty to do all that lay in his power to leave his country as good as he had found it."

"Give me, Lord, neither poverty nor riches."

"Good government is known from bad government by this infallible test: that under the former the laboring people are well fed and well clothed, and under the latter, they are badly fed and badly clothed."

"Grammar, perfectly understood, enables us not only to express our meaning fully and clearly, but so to express it as to enable us to defy the ingenuity of man to give to our words any other meaning than that which we ourselves intend them to express."

"Happiness, or misery, is in the mind. It is the mind that lives."

"However roguish a man may be, he always loves to deal with an honest man."

"I began my editorial career with the presidency of Mr. Adams, and my principal object was to render his administration all the assistance in my power. I flattered myself with the hope of accompanying him through [his] voyage, and of partaking in a trifling degree, of the glory of the enterprise; but he suddenly tacked about, and I could follow him no longer. I therefore waited for the first opportunity to haul down my sails."

"I defy you to agitate any fellow with a full stomach."

"I set out as a sort of self-dependent politician. My opinions were my own. I dashed at all prejudices. I scorned to follow anybody in matter of opinion... All were, therefore, offended at my presumption, as they deemed it."

"I view the tea-drinking as a destroyer of health, an enfeebler of the frame, an engender of effeminacy and laziness, a debaucher of youth, and maker of misery for old age."

"I was a countryman and a father before I was a writer on political subjects... Born and bred up in the sweet air myself, I was re solved that [my children] should be bred up in it too."

"I would have these good people to recollect, that the laws of this country hold out to foreigners an offer of all that liberty of the press which Americans enjoy, and that, if this liberty be abridged, by whatever means it may be done, the laws and the constitution, and all together, is a mere cheat; a snare to catch the credulous and enthusiastic of every other nation; a downright imposition on the world."

"It is no small mischief to a boy, that many of the best years of his life should be devoted to the learning of what can never be of any real use to any human being. His mind is necessarily rendered frivolous and superficial by the long habit of attaching importance to words instead of things; to sound instead of sense."

"It was every man's duty to do all that lay in his power to leave his country as good as he had found it."

"Men fail much oftener from want of perseverance than from want of talent."

"Men of integrity are generally pretty obstinate, in adhering to an opinion once adopted."

"Never esteem men on account of their riches or their station. Respect goodness, find it where you may."

"Nothing is so well calculated to produce a death-like torpor in the country as an extended system of taxation and a great national debt."

"Nouns of number, or multitude, such as Mob, Parliament, Rabble, House of Commons, Regiment, Court of King's Bench, Den of Thieves and the like."

"Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Canada are the horns, the head, the neck, the shins, and the hoof of the ox, and the United States are the ribs, the sirloin, the kidneys, and the rest of the body."

"Perhaps there are none more lazy, or more truly ignorant, than your everlasting readers."

"Please your eye and plague your heart."

"Sit down to write what you have thought, and not to think about what you shall write."

"The Christian religion, then, is not an affair of preaching, or prating, or ranting, but of taking care of the bodies as well as the souls of people; not an affair of belief and of faith and of professions, but an affair of doing good, and especially to those who are in want; not an affair of fire and brimstone, but an affair of bacon and bread, beer and a bed."

"The power which money gives is that of brute force; it is the power of the bludgeon and the bayonet."

"The smallness of our desires may contribute reasonably to our wealth."

"The tendency of taxation is to create a class of persons who do not labor, to take from those who do labor the produce of that labor, and to give it to those who do not labor."

"The very hirelings of the press, whose trade it is to buoy up the spirits of the people. have uttered falsehoods so long, they have played off so many tricks, that their budget seems, at last, to be quite empty."

"To be poor and independent is very nearly an impossibility"

"To suppose such a thing possible as a society, in which men, who are able and willing to work, cannot support their families, and ought, with a great part of the women, to be compelled to lead a life of celibacy, for fear of having children to be starved to suppose such a thing possible is monstrous."

"Women are a sisterhood. They make common cause in behalf of the sex and, indeed, this is natural enough, when we consider the vast power that the law gives us over them."

"You never know what you can do till you try."