Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery

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Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery, (7 May 184721 May 1929) was a British Liberal statesman and Prime Minister, also known as Archibald Primrose (1847–1851) and Lord Dalmeny (1851–1868).


  • Few speeches which have produced an electrical effect on an audience can bear the colorless photography of a printed record.
    • Life of Pitt, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • It is beginning to be hinted that we are a nation of amateurs.
    • Rectorial Address, Glasgow (November 16, 1900), reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • The nation which is satisfied is lost. The nation which is not progressive is retrograding. "Rest and be thankful" is a motto which spells decay. The new world seems to possess more of this quality in its crude state, at any rate, than the old. In individuals it sometimes seems to be carried to excess. I do not by this mean the revolutions which periodically ravage the Southern and Central American Republics. I think more of the restless enterprise of the United States, with the devouring anxiety to improve existing machinery and existing methods, and the apparent impossibility of accumulating any fortune, however gigantic, which shall satisfy or be sufficient to allow of leisure and repose. There the disdain of finality, the anxiety for improving on the best seems almost a disease; but in Great Britain we can afford to catch the complaint, at any rate in a mitigated form, and give in exchange some of our own self-complacency, for complacency is a fatal gift. "What was good enough for my father is good enough for me" is a treasured English axiom which, if strictly carried out, would have kept us to wooden ploughs and water clocks. In these days we need to be inoculated with some of the nervous energy of the Americans.
    • Address as President of the Birmingham and Midland Institute (15 October, 1901).
    • 'Lord Rosebery On National Culture', The Times (16 October, 1901), p. 4.


  • There are two supreme pleasures in life. One is ideal, the other real. The ideal is when a man receives the seals of office from his Sovereign. The real pleasure comes when he hands them back.

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