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William Hazlitt
1778 - 1830

Irish-English journalist, parliamentary reporter, and essayist, unabashedly radical and a Whig supporter, who wrote for several major London papers.


The evils of popular government appear greater than they are; there is compensation for them in the spirit and energy it awakens.

quoted in "Thoughts on the business of life", Forbes magazine, Jun. 15, 1998
The right of property is reducible to this simple principle, that one man has not a right to the produce of another's labour, but each man has a right to the benefit of his own exertions and the use of his natural and inalienable powers, unless for a supposed equivalent and by mutual consent. Personal liberty and property therefore rest upon the same foundation. ... The circle of personal security and right, then, is not an imaginary and arbitrary line fixed by law ... but is real and inherent in the nature of things, and by itself the foundation of law and justice.

1824 - from "Project for a New Theory of Civil and Criminal Legislation"
We find many things to which the prohibition of them constitutes the only temptation.

... society, when out of order, which it is whenever the interests of the many are regularly and outrageously sacrificed to those of the few, must be repaired, and either a reform or a revolution cleanse its corruptions and renew its elasticity.

1824 - from "Project for a New Theory of Civil and Criminal Legislation"
The surest hindrance of success is to have too high a standard of refinement in our own minds, or too high an opinion of the judgment of the public.

To great evils we submit; we resent little provocations.

Feb. 1822 - from "On Great and Little Things"
The ballot is only useful as a screen from arbitrary power.

1824 - from "Project for a New Theory of Civil and Criminal Legislation"
The love of liberty is the love of others; the love of power is the love of ourselves.

1819 - from an essay in The Times of London
He who has the greatest power put into his hands will only become the more impatient of any restraint in the use of it.

1823 - from "On the Spirit of Monarchy"
The power rests with the multitude, but let them beware how the exercise of it turns against their own rights! It is not the idol but the worshippers that are to be dreaded, and who, by degrading one of their fellows, render themselves liable to be branded with the same indignities.

1824 - from "Project for a New Theory of Civil and Criminal Legislation"
Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps; for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are and what they ought to be.

... it is reason, not the will of another, that gives the law.

1824 - from "Project for a New Theory of Civil and Criminal Legislation"
Prosperity is a great teacher; adversity is a greater. Possession pampers the mind; privation trains and strengthens it.