Walter Bagehot Quotes
131 Sourced Quotes
The apparent rulers of the English nation are like the most imposing personages of the a splendid procession; it is by them that the mob are influenced; it is they who the inspectors cheer. The real rulers are secreted in second hand carriages; no one cares for them or asks about them, but they are obeyed implicitly and unconsciously by reason of the splendour of those who eclipsed and preceded them.
We are startled to find a universe we did not expect.
Nine tenths of modern science is in this respect the same: it is the produce of men whom their contemporaries thought dreamers - who were laughed at for caring for what did not concern them - who, as the proverb went, 'walked into a well from looking at the stars' - who were believed to be useless, if anyone could be such.
The great difficulty which history records is not that of the first step, but that of the second step. What is most evident is not the difficulty of getting a fixed law, but getting out of a fixed law; not of cementing (as upon a former occasion I phrased it) a cake of custom, but of breaking the cake of custom; not of making the first preservative habit, but of breaking through it, and reaching something better.