Quotes by Sydney Smith

  • Minorities are almost always in the right.


    Argument

  • I look upon Switzerland as a sort of inferior Scotland.


    Switzerland

  • A man might sit down and as systematically and successfully to the study of wit as he might be to the study of mathematics. By giving up only six hours a day to being witty, he should come on prodigiously before mid-summer.


    Wit

  • He has occasional flashes of silence that make his conversation perfectly delightful.


    Conversation, Talk

  • Deserves to be preached to death by wild curates.


    Religion

  • It requires a surgical operation to get a joke well into a Scotch understanding. Their only idea of wit, is laughing immoderately at stated intervals.


    Scotsmen

  • That knuckle end of England-that land of Calvin, oatcakes and sulphur.


    Scotland

  • Nothing can be more disgusting than an oratorio. How absurd to see 500 people fiddling like madmen about Israelites in the Red Sea.


    Music

  • Among the smaller duties of life I hardly know one more important than that of not praising where praise is not due.


    Praise

  • My definition of marriage. It resembles a pair of shears so joined that they cannot be separated often moving in opposite directions, yet always punishing anyone who comes between them.


    Marriage

  • No furniture is so charming as books.


    Books

  • My idea of heaven is eating pate de foie gras to the sound of trumpets.


    Heaven

  • Serenely full, the epicure would say, fate cannot harm me, I have dined today.


    Food

  • What a pity it is that we have no amusements in England except vice and religion.


    England

  • What two ideas are more inseparable than beer and Britannia?


    English

  • Science is his forte and omniscience his foible.
    [on the Master of Trinity College Cambridge]


    Dislike

  • Let the Dean and Cannons lay their heads together and it will be done.
    [on the proposal to surround St Paul’s with a wooden pavement]


    Dislike

  • Daniel Webster struck me much like a steam engine in trousers.


    Descriptions

  • Daniel Webster struck me much like a steam engine in trousers.


    Descriptions

  • He is like a book in breeches.
    [of Lord Macaulay]


    Descriptions

  • I never read a book before reviewing it; it prejudices a man so.


    Criticism