Reference > Quotations > S. Austin Allibone, comp. > Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay
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S. Austin Allibone, comp.  Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay.  1880.
 
Maxims
 
  A maxim is a conclusion upon observation of matters of fact, and is merely speculative; a “principle” carries knowledge within itself, and is prospective.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  1
 
  He that will improve every matter of fact into a maxim will abound in contrary observations, that can be of no other use but to perplex and pudder him.
John Locke.    
  2
 
  Where we use words of a loose and wandering signification, hence follows mistake and error, which those maxims brought as proofs to establish propositions wherein the words stand for undetermined ideas, do by their authority confirm and rivet.
John Locke.    
  3
 
  If speculative maxims have not an active universal assent from all mankind, practical principles come short of an universal reception.
John Locke.    
  4
 
  Every man who has seen the world knows that nothing is so useless as a general maxim. If it be very moral and very true, it may serve for a copy to a charity-boy. If, like those of Rochefoucault, it be sparkling and whimsical, it may make an excellent motto for an essay. But few indeed of the wise apothegms which have been uttered, from the time of the Seven Sages of Greece to that of Poor Richard, have prevented a single foolish action. We give the highest and the most peculiar praise to the precepts of Machiavelli when we say that they may frequently be of real use in regulating conduct, not so much because they are more just or more profound than those which might be culled from other authors, as because they can be more readily applied to the problems of real life.
Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay: Machiavelli, March, 1827.    
  5
 
  Maxims are the condensed good sense of nations.
Sir James Mackintosh.    
  6
 
 
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