George Savile, 1st Marquess of Halifax

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George Savile, 1st Marquess of Halifax (November 11, 1633 - April 5, 1695) was an English statesman, writer, and politician.


  • Children and fools want everything, because they want wit to distinguish; there is no stronger evidence of a crazy understanding than the making too large a catalogue of things unneccesary.
    • Advice to a Daughter (1688)

Political, Moral, and Miscellaneous Reflections (1750)

  • A man that should call every thing by its right Name, would hardly pass the Streets without being knock'd down as a common Enemy.
  • Popularity is a crime from the moment it is sought; it is only a virtue where men have it whether they will or no.
  • Misspending a man's time is a kind of self-homicide.
  • Men are not hanged for stealing horses, but that horses may not be stolen.


  • A husband without faults is a dangerous observer.
  • A man may dwell so long upon a thought that it may take him prisoner.
  • A man who is a master of patience is master of everything else.
  • A prince who will not undergo the difficulty of understanding must undergo the danger of trusting.
  • A princely mind will undo a private family.
  • A very great memory often forgotteth how much time is lost by repeating things of no use.
  • Education is what remains when we have forgotten all that we have been taught.
  • Every single act either weakeneth or improveth our credit with other men; and as a habit of being just to our word will confirm, so a habit of too freely dispensing with it must necessarily destroy it.
  • He that leaveth nothing to chance will do few things ill, but he will do very few things.
  • Hope is generally a wrong guide, though it is good company along the way.
  • If the laws could speak for themselves, they would complain of the lawyers in the first place.
  • In this Age, when it is said of a man, "He knows how to live," it may be implied he is not very honest.
  • In your clothes avoid too much gaudiness; do not value yourself upon an embroidered gown; and remember that a reasonable word, or an obliging look, will gain you more respect than all your fine trappings.
  • It is a general mistake to to think the men we like are good for every thing, and those we do not, good for nothing.
  • Laws are generally not understood by three sorts of persons, viz, by those who make them, by those who execute them, and by those who suffer if they break them.
  • Love is a passion that hath friends in the garrison.
  • Malice is of a low stature, but it hath very long arms.
  • Many men swallow the being cheated, but no man can ever endure to chew it.
  • Men who borrow their opinions can never repay their debts.
  • Most men make little use of their speech than to give evidence against their own understanding.
  • No man is so much a fool as not to have wit enough sometimes to be a knave; nor any so cunning a knave as not to have the weakness sometimes to play the fool.
  • Nothing has an uglier look to us than reason, when it is not on our side.
  • Nothing would more contribute to make a man wise than to have always an enemy in his view.
  • Our nature hardly allows us to have enough of anything without having too much.
  • Some men's memory is like a box where a man should mingle his jewels with his old shoes.
  • The best party is but a kind of conspiracy against the rest of the nation.
  • The best qualification of a prophet is to have a good memory.
  • The best way to suppose what may come, is to remember what is past.
  • The invisible thing called a Good Name is made up of the breath of numbers that speak well of you.
  • The people are never so perfectly backed, but that they will kick and fling if not stroked at seasonable times.
  • The sight of a drunkard is a better sermon against that vice than the best that was ever preached on that subject.
  • The vanity of teaching doth oft tempt a man to forget that he is a blockhead.
  • There is reason to think the most celebrated philosophers would have been bunglers at business; but the reason is because they despised it.
  • They who are of the opinion that money will do everything, may very well be suspected to do everything for money.
  • When the people contend for their liberty, they seldom get anything by their victory but new masters.

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