Edward Gibbon Quotes

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Edward Gibbon

Portrait, oil on canvas, of Edward Gibbon by Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723–1792)
Member of Parliament for Lymington
In office
1781–1784
Preceded by Samuel Salt
Edward Eliot
Succeeded by Samuel Salt
Wilbraham Tollemache
Member of Parliament for Liskeard
In office
1774–1780
Preceded by Harry Burrard
Thomas Dummer
Succeeded by Harry Burrard
William Manning
Personal details
Born 8 May 1737
Putney, Surrey, England
Died 16 January 1794(1794-01-16) (aged 56)
London, England
Nationality British
Political party Whig
Alma mater Magdalen College, Oxford

Books are those faithful mirrors that reflect to our mind the minds of sages and heroes.
Edward Gibbon
Our work is the presentation of our capabilities.
The principles of a free constitution are irrecoverably lost, when the legislative power is nominated by the executive.
Edward Gibbon
I never make the mistake of arguing with people for whose opinions I have no respect.
Edward Gibbon
The winds and the waves are always on the side of the ablest navigators.
The style of an author should be the image of his mind, but the choice and command of language is the fruit of exercise.
Edward Gibbon
Our sympathy is cold to the relation of distant misery.
Beauty is an outward gift which is seldom despised, except by those to whom it has been refused.
Edward Gibbon
My early and invincible love of reading I would not exchange for all the riches of India.
Edward Gibbon
I understand by this passion the union of desire, friendship, and tenderness, which is inflamed by a single female, which prefers her to the rest of her sex, and which seeks her possession as the supreme or the sole happiness of our being.
Edward Gibbon

Fanaticism obliterates the feelings of humanity.
Of the various forms of government which have prevailed in the world, an hereditary monarchy seems to present the fairest scope for ridicule.
Edward Gibbon
I am indeed rich, since my income is superior to my expenses, and my expense is equal to my wishes.
Edward Gibbon
Conversation enriches the understanding, but solitude is the school of genius.
Edward Gibbon
The end comes when we no longer talk with ourselves. It is the end of genuine thinking and the beginning of the final loneliness.
Edward Gibbon
I was never less alone than when by myself.
The author himself is the best judge of his own performance; none has so deeply meditated on the subject; none is so sincerely interested in the event.
Edward Gibbon
The pathetic almost always consists in the detail of little events.
All that is human must retrograde if it does not advance.
Every man who rises above the common level has received two educations: the first from his teachers; the second, more personal and important, from himself.
Edward Gibbon
Hope, the best comfort of our imperfect condition.
My English text is chaste, and all licentious passages are left in the decent obscurity of a learned language.
Edward Gibbon
The various modes of worship which prevailed in the Roman world were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosopher as equally false; and by the magistrate as equally useful.
Edward Gibbon
Let us read with method, and propose to ourselves an end to which our studies may point. The use of reading is to aid us in thinking.
Edward Gibbon
We improve ourselves by victories over ourselves. There must be contest, and we must win.
Edward Gibbon
Fanaticism obliterates the feelings of humanity.
Style is the image of character.
History is indeed little more than the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortunes of mankind.
Edward Gibbon
The laws of probability, so true in general, so fallacious in particular.
Unprovided with original learning, unformed in the habits of thinking, unskilled in the arts of composition, I resolved to write a book.
Edward Gibbon
Corruption, the most infallible symptom of constitutional liberty.
History is little more than the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortunes of mankind.
Edward Gibbon
But the power of instruction is seldom of much efficacy, except in those happy dispositions where it is almost superfluous.
Edward Gibbon
Their poverty secured their freedom, since our desires and our possessions are the strongest fetters of despotism.
Edward Gibbon
In every deed of mischief he had a heart to resolve, a head to contrive, and a hand to execute.
Edward Gibbon
It has always been my practice to cast a long paragraph in a single mould, to try it by my ear, to deposit it in my memory, but to suspend the action of the pen till I had given the last polish to my work.
Edward Gibbon
Revenge is profitable, gratitude is expensive.
The courage of a soldier is found to be the cheapest and most common quality of human nature.
Edward Gibbon