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Lord Salisbury
1830 - 1903

a.k.a. Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquis of Salisbury, British Prime Minister (1885, 1886-1892, 1895-1902), leader of the British Conservative Party for 24 years, former leader of the British House of Lords, and former Chancellor of Oxford University (1870-1874)

The perils of change are so great, the promise of the most hopeful theories is so often deceptive, that it is frequently the wiser part to uphold the existing state of things, if it can be done, even though, in point of argument, it should be utterly indefensible.

c. 1890 - quoted in A Question of Leadership, by P.Clarke, Harmondsworth : Penguin, 1991