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.
 
Authority
 
  Most of our fellow-subjects are guided either by the prejudice of education, or by a deference to the judgment of those who, perhaps, in their own hearts, disapprove the opinions which they industriously spread among the multitude.
Joseph Addison.    
  1
 
  The practice of all ages and all countries hath been to do honour to those who are invested with public authority.
Francis Atterbury.    
  2
 
  Three means to fortify belief are experience, reason, and authority: of these the more potent is authority; for belief upon reason, or experience, will stagger.
Francis Bacon.    
  3
 
  With regard to authority, it is the greatest weakness to attribute infinite credit to particular authors, and to refuse his own judgment to Time, the author of all authors, and therefore of all authority.
Francis Bacon.    
  4
 
  The vices of authority are chiefly four: delays, corruption, roughness, and facility. For delays give easy access; keep times appointed; go through with that which is in hand, and interlace not business but of necessity. For corruption doth not only bind thine own hands or thy servants from taking, but bind the hands of suitors also from offering: for integrity used doth the one; but integrity professed, and with a manifest detestation of bribery, doth the other; and avoid not only the fault, but the suspicion. Whosoever is found variable, and changeth manifestly without manifest cause, giveth suspicion of corruption: therefore, always, when thou changest thine opinion or course, profess it plainly, and declare it, together with the reasons that move thee to change, and do not think to steal it. A servant or a favourite, if he be inward, and no other apparent cause of esteem, is commonly thought but a by-way to close corruption. For roughness, it is a needless cause of discontent: severity breedeth fear, but roughness breedeth hate. Even reproofs from authority ought to be grave, and not taunting. As for facility, it is worse than bribery; for bribes come but now and then; but if importunity or idle respects lead a man, he shall never be without; as Solomon saith, “To respect persons it is not good, for such a man will transgress for a piece of bread.”
Francis Bacon: Essay XI., Of Great Place.    
  5
 
  An argument from authority is but a weaker kind of proof; it being but a topical probation, and an inartificial argument, depending on naked asseveration.  6
 
  Reasons of things are rather to be taken by weight than tale.
Jeremy Collier.    
  7
 
  With respect to the authority of great names, it should be remembered that he alone deserves to have any weight or influence with posterity, who has shown himself superior to the particular and predominant error of his own times; who, like the peak of Teneriffe, has hailed the intellectual sun before its beams have reached the horizon of common minds; who, standing, like Socrates, on the apex of wisdom, has removed from his eyes all film of earthly dross, and has foreseen a purer law, a nobler system, a brighter order of things; in short, a promised land! which, like Moses on the top of Pisgah, he is permitted to survey, and anticipate for others, without being himself allowed either to enter or to enjoy.
Charles Caleb Colton: Lacon.    
  8
 
  Mankind are apt to be strongly prejudiced in favour of whatever is countenanced by antiquity, enforced by authority, and recommended by custom. The pleasure of acquiescing in the decision of others is by most men so much preferred to the toil and hazard of inquiry, and so few are either able or disposed to examine for themselves, that the voice of law will generally be taken for the dictates of justice.
Robert Hall: Fragment, On Village Preaching.    
  9
 
  By a man’s authority we are to understand the force which his word hath for the assurance of another’s mind that buildeth on it.
Richard Hooker.    
  10
 
  For men to be tied, and led by authority, as it were with a kind of captivity of judgment; and though there be reason to the contrary, not to listen unto it.
Richard Hooker.    
  11
 
  Number may serve your purpose with the ignorant, who measure by tale, and not by weight.
Richard Hooker.    
  12
 
  The reason why the simpler sort are moved with authority, is the conscience of their own ignorance.
Richard Hooker.    
  13
 
  Whoever backs his tenets with authorities thinks he ought to carry the cause, and is ready to style it impudence in any one who shall stand out.
John Locke.    
  14
 
  The constraint of receiving and holding opinions by authority was rightly called imposition.
John Locke.    
  15
 
 
 
  We cannot expect that any one should readily quit his own opinion and embrace ours, with a blind resignation to an authority which the understanding acknowledges not.
John Locke.    
  16
 
  It is conceit rather than understanding if it must be under the restraint of receiving and holding opinions by the authority of anything but their own perceived evidence.
John Locke.    
  17
 
  If the opinions of others whom we think well of be a ground of assent, men have reason to be Heathens in Japan, Mahometans in Turkey, Papists in Spain, and Protestants in England.
John Locke.    
  18
 
  There is nothing sooner overthrows a weak head than opinion of authority; like too strong a liquor for a frail glass.
Sir Philip Sidney.    
  19
 
  An evil mind in authority doth not follow the sway of the desires already within it, but frames to itself new diseases not before thought of.
Sir Philip Sidney.    
  20
 
  Authority is by nothing so much strengthened and confirmed as by custom; for no man easily distrusts the things which he and all men have been always bred up to.
Sir William Temple.    
  21
 
  Ten thousand things there are which we believe merely upon the authority or credit of those who have spoken or written of them.
Dr. Isaac Watts.    
  22
 
  The will of our Maker, whether discovered by reason or revelation, carries the highest authority with it; a conformity or non-conformity to it determine their actions to be morally good or evil.
Dr. Isaac Watts: Logic.    
  23
 
 
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