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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index D > Benjamin Disraeli Quotes

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Benjamin Disraeli
(21 Dec 1804 - 19 Apr 1881)

English Prime Minister and novelist who was twice the prime minister of Britain (1868 and 1874-80). He modernized the Conservative Party and was driven by ideals of democracy, social reform and the expansion of the British Empire. Disraeli wrote his first novel, a political satire, in 1824, and wrote other political and social novels throughout his life. In 1876 Disraeli became a member of the House of Lords as the 1st (and only) Earl of Beaconsfield.

Science Quotes by Benjamin Disraeli (32 quotes)

A nation has a fixed quantity of invention, and it will make itself felt.
— Benjamin Disraeli
Endymion (1880), 195.
Science quotes on:  |  Invention (318)

A university should be a place of light, of liberty, and of learning.
— Benjamin Disraeli
Speech (11 Mar 1873) in the House of Commons, on University Education (Ireland) Bill, HC Deb 11 March 1873 vol 214 cc1814.
Science quotes on:  |  Learn (281)  |  Liberty (25)  |  Light (345)  |  Place (174)  |  University (80)

As a general rule, the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information.
— Benjamin Disraeli
Endymion (1880), 156.
Science quotes on:  |  Information (121)  |  Success (248)

Books are fatal: they are the curse of the human race. Nine-tenths of existing books are nonsense, and the clever books are the refutation of that nonsense. The greatest misfortune that ever befell man was the invention of printing.
— Benjamin Disraeli
In Lothair (1879), Chap. 29, 137.
Science quotes on:  |  Befall (2)  |  Book (257)  |  Clever (18)  |  Curse (15)  |  Exist (147)  |  Fatal (12)  |  Great (524)  |  Human Race (69)  |  Invention (318)  |  Misfortune (8)  |  Nonsense (40)  |  Print (17)  |  Refutation (12)

How much has happened in these fifty years—a period more remarkable than any, I will venture to say, in the annals of mankind. I am not thinking of the rise and fall of Empires, the change of dynasties, the establishment of Governments. I am thinking of those revolutions of science which have had much more effect than any political causes, which have changed the position and prospects of mankind more than all the conquests and all the codes and all the legislators that ever lived.
— Benjamin Disraeli
Banquet speech, Glasgow. In Nature (27 Nov 1873), 9, 71.
Science quotes on:  |  Annal (3)  |  Cause (283)  |  Change (363)  |  Code (14)  |  Conquest (19)  |  Dynasty (7)  |  Effect (165)  |  Empire (14)  |  Establishment (34)  |  Fall (119)  |  Government (93)  |  Legislator (4)  |  Mankind (241)  |  Politics (95)  |  Position (75)  |  Prospect (22)  |  Revolution (69)  |  Rise (70)  |  Science (2043)  |  Thinking (231)

I would paint what has not been unhappily called the psychological character.
— Benjamin Disraeli
Science quotes on:  |  Character (115)  |  Paint (21)  |  Psychology (143)  |  Unhappy (8)

It is a vulgar belief that our astronomical knowledge dates only from the recent century when it was rescued from the monks who imprisoned Galileo; but Hipparchus … who among other achievements discovered the precession of the eqinoxes, ranks with the Newtons and the Keplers; and Copernicus, the modern father of our celestial science, avows himself, in his famous work, as only the champion of Pythagoras, whose system he enforces and illustrates. Even the most modish schemes of the day on the origin of things, which captivate as much by their novelty as their truth, may find their precursors in ancient sages, and after a careful analysis of the blended elements of imagination and induction which charaterise the new theories, they will be found mainly to rest on the atom of Epicurus and the monad of Thales. Scientific, like spiritual truth, has ever from the beginning been descending from heaven to man.
— Benjamin Disraeli
Lothair (1879), preface, xvii.
Science quotes on:  |  Astronomy (203)  |  Atom (280)  |  Nicolaus Copernicus (48)  |  Epicurus (6)  |  Galileo Galilei (121)  |  Hipparchus (3)  |  Imagination (268)  |  Imprison (10)  |  Johannes Kepler (90)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (327)  |  Pythagoras (34)  |  Thales (9)  |  Theory (690)

It is remarkable that when great discoveries are effected, their simplicity always seems to detract from their originality: on these occasions we are reminded of the egg of Columbus!
— Benjamin Disraeli
Curiosities of Literature (1824), Vol. 3, 277-278.
Science quotes on:  |  Detract (2)  |  Discovery (676)  |  Originality (18)  |  Simplicity (146)

Knowledge must be gained by ourselves. Mankind may supply us with facts; but the results, even if they agree with previous ones, must be the work of our own minds.
— Benjamin Disraeli
The Young Duke (1831), 163-4.
Science quotes on:  |  Fact (725)  |  Knowledge (1293)

Man is not the creature of circumstances, circumstances are the creatures of man. We are free agents, and man is more powerful than matter.
— Benjamin Disraeli
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Agent (32)  |  Circumstance (66)  |  Creature (154)  |  Free (90)  |  Matter (340)  |  Powerful (66)

Men moralise among ruins.
— Benjamin Disraeli
Science quotes on:  |  Archaeology (48)  |  Ruin (25)

Modern science has vindicated the natural equality of man.
— Benjamin Disraeli
Sybil: Or, the Two Nations (1907), 263
Science quotes on:  |  Equality (21)  |  Man (373)

Nature is stronger than education.
— Benjamin Disraeli
Contarini Fleming (1853), 59.
Science quotes on:  |  Education (333)  |  Nature (1211)

No one for a moment can pretend that printing is so great a discovery as writing, or algebra as a language.
— Benjamin Disraeli
Lothair (1879), preface, xvii.
Science quotes on:  |  Algebra (92)  |  Printing (13)

Scientific, like spiritual truth, has ever from the beginning been descending from heaven to man.
— Benjamin Disraeli
In James Wood, Dictionary of Quotations from Ancient and Modern, English and Foreign Sources (1893), 383:6.
Science quotes on:  |  Truth (914)

Seeing much, suffering much, and studying much are the three pillars of learning.
— Benjamin Disraeli
In Hialmer Day Gould, New Practical Spelling (1905), 14.
Science quotes on:  |  Learn (281)  |  Pillar (9)  |  See (369)  |  Study (461)  |  Suffer (40)

Success is the child of audacity.
— Benjamin Disraeli
The Wonderous Tale of Alroy: The Rise of Iskander (1833), Vol. 2, 149.
Science quotes on:  |  Success (248)

The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but reveal to them their own.
— Benjamin Disraeli
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Good (345)  |  Great (524)  |  Reveal (50)  |  Riches (12)  |  Share (49)

The pursuit of science leads only to the insoluble.
— Benjamin Disraeli
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Insoluble (15)  |  Lead (158)  |  Pursuit (76)  |  Science (2043)

The question is this: Is man an ape or an angel? I, my lord, am on the side of the angels.
[Debating Darwin's Origin of Species.]
— Benjamin Disraeli
Speech at the Diocesan Conference, Oxford (1864), chaired by Bishop Wilberforce. Quoted in James Anthony Froude, Lord Beaconsfield (4th ed. 1890), 176.
Science quotes on:  |  Angel (30)  |  Ape (42)  |  Evolution (533)  |  Man (373)  |  Origin Of Species (42)

The secret of success is constancy to purpose.
— Benjamin Disraeli
Speech (24 Jun 1872) at banquet of the National Union of Conservative and Constitutional Associations, Crystal Palace, London, as quoted in 'Mr. Disraeli at Sydenham', The Times (25 Jun 1872), 8.
Science quotes on:  |  Constancy (6)  |  Purpose (193)  |  Secret (130)  |  Success (248)

The world is devoted to physical science, because it believes theses discoveries will increase its capacity of luxury and self-indulgence. But the pursuit of science only leads to the insoluble.
— Benjamin Disraeli
In Lothair (1879), 70.
Science quotes on:  |  Solution (211)

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.
— Benjamin Disraeli
Attributed to Disraeli in Mark Twain's Autobiography (1924), Vol. 1, 246. However, this attribution is the only reference that Disraeli made this statement.
Science quotes on:  |  Statistics (147)

Time is precious, but truth is more precious than time.
— Benjamin Disraeli
Speech to the Royal and Central Bucks Agricultural Association, Aylesbury (21 Sep 1865). Wit and wisdom of Benjamin Disraeli, collected from his writings and speeches (1881), 356.
Science quotes on:  |  Truth (914)

Upon the education of the people of this country the fate of this country depends.
— Benjamin Disraeli
Speech (15 Jun 1874), in the House of Commons, Motion for a Select Committee, HC Deb 15 June 1874 vol 219 cc1618.
Science quotes on:  |  Country (144)  |  Depend (87)  |  Education (333)  |  Fate (46)  |  People (388)

What are the most brilliant of our chymical discoveries compared with the invention of fire and the metals?
— Benjamin Disraeli
Lothair (1879), preface, xvii.
Science quotes on:  |  Chemistry (250)  |  Fire (132)  |  Metal (41)

What Art was to the ancient world, Science is to the modern: the distinctive faculty. In the minds of men the useful has succeeded to the beautiful. Instead of the city of the Violet Crown, a Lancashire village has expanded into a mighty region of factories and warehouses. Yet, rightly understood, Manchester is as great a human exploit; as Athens.
— Benjamin Disraeli
In Coningsby: Or The New Generation (1844), Vol. 2, Book 4, Ch.1, 2.
Science quotes on:  |  Science And Art (181)

What Art was to the ancient world, Science is to the modern: the distinctive faculty. In the minds of men the useful has succeeded to the beautiful. … There are great truths to tell, if we had either the courage to announce them or the temper to receive them.
— Benjamin Disraeli
In Coningsby: or the New Generation (1844), Vol. 2, Book 4, Chap. 1, 2.
Science quotes on:  |  Ancient World (3)  |  Announce (9)  |  Beautiful (138)  |  Courage (55)  |  Distinctive (14)  |  Faculty (65)  |  Great (524)  |  Mind (743)  |  Modern (159)  |  Receive (59)  |  Science (2043)  |  Science And Art (181)  |  Succeed (26)  |  Tell (110)  |  Temper (9)  |  Truth (914)  |  Useful (98)

What is the question now placed before society with a glib assurance the most astounding? The question is this—Is man an ape or an angel? My Lord Bishop, I am on the side of the angels. … I repudiate with indignation and abhorrence those new fangled theories.
— Benjamin Disraeli
From Speech (25 Nov 1864) at Oxford Diocesan Conference, collected in Cornelius Brown (ed.), An Appreciative Life of the Earl of Beaconsfield (1881), Vol. 2, 58.
Science quotes on:  |  Evolution (533)

What is wanted in architecture, as in so many things, is a man. ... One suggestion might be made—no profession in England has done its duty until it has furnished a victim. ... Even our boasted navy never achieved a great victory until we shot an admiral. Suppose an architect were hanged? Terror has its inspiration, as well as competition.
— Benjamin Disraeli
Tancred: Or, The New Crusade (1907), 112.
Science quotes on:  |  Architecture (43)

Why should one say that the machine does not live? It breathes, for its breath forms the atmosphere of some towns.
— Benjamin Disraeli
In Coningsby: Or The New Generation (1844), Vol. 2, Book 4, Ch.1, 7.
Science quotes on:  |  Air Pollution (9)  |  Atmosphere (79)  |  Breathe (36)  |  Life (1124)  |  Machine (157)  |  Town (27)

You know, all is development. The principle is perpetually going on. First, there was nothing, then there was something; then—I forget the next—I think there were shells, then fishes; then we came—let me see—did we come next? Never mind that; we came at last. And at the next change there will be something very superior to us—something with wings. Ah! That's it: we were fishes, and I believe we shall be crows.
— Benjamin Disraeli
Tancred: or, The New Crusade (1847), 124.
Science quotes on:  |  Evolution (533)


Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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