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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index M > Charles Mackay Quotes

Charles Mackay
(27 Mar 1814 - 24 Dec 1889)

Scottish journalist and author whose notable book, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (1814), analyses three great outbreaks of mass-investment delusions: the Mississippi Scheme, the South Sea Bubble and the Dutch tulipmania, making it a classic for financial market insights.

Science Quotes by Charles Mackay (17 quotes)

An enthusiastic philosopher, of whose name we are not informed, had constructed a very satisfactory theory on some subject or other, and was not a little proud of it. “But the facts, my dear fellow,” said his friend, “the facts do not agree with your theory.”—“Don't they?” replied the philosopher, shrugging his shoulders, “then, tant pis pour les faits;”—so much the worse for the facts!
— Charles Mackay
From Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions (1841), Vol. 3, 313, footnote.
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Blessings on Science! When the earth seem’d old,
When Faith grew doting, and the Reason cold,
Twas she discover’d that the world was young,
And taught a language to its lisping tongue:
’Twas she disclosed a future to its view,
And made old knowledge pale before the new.
— Charles Mackay
From poem, 'Railways' (1846), collected in The Poetical Works of Charles Mackay: Now for the First Time Collected Complete in One Volume (1876), 214.
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Blessings on Science, and her handmaid Steam!
They make Utopia only half a dream.
— Charles Mackay
From poem, 'Railways' (1846), collected in The Poetical Works of Charles Mackay: Now for the First Time Collected Complete in One Volume (1876), 214.
Science quotes on:  |  Blessing (24)  |  Blessings (16)  |  Dream (209)  |  Half (56)  |  Handmaid (6)  |  Science (3880)  |  Steam (80)  |  Utopia (5)

During seasons of great pestilence men have often believed the prophecies of crazed fanatics, that the end of the world was come. Credulity is always greatest in times of calamity. Prophecies of all sorts are rife on such occasions, and are readily believed, whether for good or evil.
— Charles Mackay
From Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions (1841), Vol. 1, 170.
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Gather, ye nations, gather!
From forge, and mine, and mill!
Come, Science and Invention;
Come, Industry and Skill!…

Gather, ye nations, gather!
Let ancient discord cease,
And Earth, with myriad voices,
Awake the song of Peace!
— Charles Mackay
From poem, 'The Festival of Labour' (1851), collected in The Poetical Works of Charles Mackay: Now for the First Time Collected Complete in One Volume (1876), 539. Written for the opening of the Great Exhibition.
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Injury was aggravated by insult, and insult was embittered by pleasantry.
— Charles Mackay
From Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions (1841), Vol. 1, 135.
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Lay down your rails, ye nations, near and far—
Yoke your full trains to Steam’s triumphal car;
Link town to town; unite in iron bands
The long-estranged and oft-embattled lands.
— Charles Mackay
From poem, 'Railways' (1846), collected in The Poetical Works of Charles Mackay: Now for the First Time Collected Complete in One Volume (1876), 214.
Science quotes on:  |  Car (71)  |  Down (455)  |  Iron (96)  |  Land (115)  |  Lay (2)  |  Link (43)  |  Long (789)  |  Nation (194)  |  Rail (4)  |  Railroad (32)  |  Steam (80)  |  Town (27)  |  Train (114)  |  Triumph (73)  |  Unite (42)  |  Yoke (2)

Let us not, in the pride of our superior knowledge, turn with contempt from the follies of our predecessors. The study of the errors into which great minds have fallen in the pursuit of truth can never be uninstructive.
— Charles Mackay
From Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions (1841), Vol. 3, 3.
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Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.
— Charles Mackay
From Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions (1841), Vol. 1, 3.
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Of all the offspring of Time, Error is the most ancient, and is so old and familiar an acquaintance, that Truth, when discovered, comes upon most of us like an intruder, and meets the intruder’s welcome.
— Charles Mackay
From Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions (1841), Vol. 1, 314.
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Old King Coal was a merry old soul:
“I’ll move the world,” quoth he;
“My England’s high, and rich, and great,
But greater she shall be !”
And he call’d for the pick, and he call’d for the spade,
And he call’d for his miners bold;
“ And it’s dig,” he said, “in the deep, deep earth;
You’ll find my treasures better worth
Than mines of Indian gold!”

Old King Coal was a merry old soul,
Yet not content was he;
And he said, “I’ve found what I’ve desired,
Though ’tis but one of three.”
And he call’d for water, he call’d for fire,
For smiths and workmen true:
“Come, build me engines great and strong ;
We’ll have,” quoth he, “a change ere long;
We’ll try what Steam can do.”

Old King Coal was a merry old soul:
“’Tis fairly done,” quoth he,
When he saw the myriad wheels at work
O’er all the land and sea.
They spared the bones and strength of men,
They hammer’d, wove, and spun;
There was nought too great, too mean, or small,
The giant Steam had power for all;—
His task was never done.
— Charles Mackay
From song, 'Old King Coal' (1846), collected in The Poetical Works of Charles Mackay: Now for the First Time Collected Complete in One Volume (1876), 565. To the melody of 'Old King Cole'.
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The weeping philosopher too often impairs his eyesight by his woe, and becomes unable from his tears to see the remedies for the evils which he deplores. Thus it will often be found that the man of no tears is the truest philanthropist, as he is the best physician who wears a cheerful face, even in the worst of cases.
— Charles Mackay
From Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions (1841), Vol. 1, 323.
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Three causes especially have excited the discontent of mankind; and, by impelling us to seek remedies for the irremediable, have bewildered us in a maze of madness and error. These are death, toil, and the ignorance of the future.
— Charles Mackay
From Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions (2nd ed., 1852), Vol. 1, 93.
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Truth … and if mine eyes
Can bear its blaze, and trace its symmetries,
Measure its distance, and its advent wait,
I am no prophet—I but calculate.
— Charles Mackay
From poem, 'The Prospects of the Future', collected in The Poetical Works of Charles Mackay: Now for the First Time Collected Complete in One Volume (1876), 447.
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We all pay an involuntary homage to antiquity – a “blind homage,” as Bacon calls it in his “Novum Organum,” which tends greatly to the obstruction of truth. To the great majority of mortal eyes, Time sanctifies everything that he does not destroy. The mere fact of anything being spared by the great foe makes it a favourite with us, who are sure to fall his victims.
— Charles Mackay
From Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions (1841), Vol. 1, 314.
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We find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds upon one object, and go mad in its pursuit; that millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion, and run after it, till their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first.
— Charles Mackay
From Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions (1841), Vol. 1, 1.
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When [alchemist] Augurello applied to him [Pope Leo X] for a reward, the pope, with great ceremony and much apparent kindness and cordiality, drew an empty purse from his pocket, and presented it to the alchymist, saying, that since he was able to make gold, the most appropriate present that could be made him, was a purse to put it in.
— Charles Mackay
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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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- 100 -
Sophie Germain
Gertrude Elion
Ernest Rutherford
James Chadwick
Marcel Proust
William Harvey
Johann Goethe
John Keynes
Carl Gauss
Paul Feyerabend
- 90 -
Antoine Lavoisier
Lise Meitner
Charles Babbage
Ibn Khaldun
Euclid
Ralph Emerson
Robert Bunsen
Frederick Banting
Andre Ampere
Winston Churchill
- 80 -
John Locke
Bronislaw Malinowski
Bible
Thomas Huxley
Alessandro Volta
Erwin Schrodinger
Wilhelm Roentgen
Louis Pasteur
Bertrand Russell
Jean Lamarck
- 70 -
Samuel Morse
John Wheeler
Nicolaus Copernicus
Robert Fulton
Pierre Laplace
Humphry Davy
Thomas Edison
Lord Kelvin
Theodore Roosevelt
Carolus Linnaeus
- 60 -
Francis Galton
Linus Pauling
Immanuel Kant
Martin Fischer
Robert Boyle
Karl Popper
Paul Dirac
Avicenna
James Watson
William Shakespeare
- 50 -
Stephen Hawking
Niels Bohr
Nikola Tesla
Rachel Carson
Max Planck
Henry Adams
Richard Dawkins
Werner Heisenberg
Alfred Wegener
John Dalton
- 40 -
Pierre Fermat
Edward Wilson
Johannes Kepler
Gustave Eiffel
Giordano Bruno
JJ Thomson
Thomas Kuhn
Leonardo DaVinci
Archimedes
David Hume
- 30 -
Andreas Vesalius
Rudolf Virchow
Richard Feynman
James Hutton
Alexander Fleming
Emile Durkheim
Benjamin Franklin
Robert Oppenheimer
Robert Hooke
Charles Kettering
- 20 -
Carl Sagan
James Maxwell
Marie Curie
Rene Descartes
Francis Crick
Hippocrates
Michael Faraday
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Francis Bacon
Galileo Galilei
- 10 -
Aristotle
John Watson
Rosalind Franklin
Michio Kaku
Isaac Asimov
Charles Darwin
Sigmund Freud
Albert Einstein
Florence Nightingale
Isaac Newton


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