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S.A. Bent, comp. Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men. 1887.

François Guizot

  • [French statesman and historian; born at Nîmes, Oct. 4, 1787; educated at Geneva; settled in Paris, 1805, and became the leader of the so-called Doctrinaires; councillor of state, 1817; lecturer on history at the Sorbonne; deputy, 1830; minister of the interior, of public instruction, and of foreign affairs, under Louis Philippe, until the revolution of 1848 drove him into retirement; died 1874.]
  • Your anger will not reach the level of my contempt!

  • In a speech defending his foreign policy in 1842, Guizot was answering the charge that he had subordinated the interests of France to the influence of England, when a scene occurred in the Chamber, and he was apostrophized in vehement language by the members of the opposition. Looking down upon them from the tribune with his habitual coldness of manner, he remarked, when the storm had spent itself, “Vos colères n’atteindront pas à la hauteur de mon dédain!”
  • France marches at the head of civilization (La France marche à la tête de la civilisation).

  • An expression which has been developed from one of the opening sentences of Guizot’s lectures on the Civilization of Europe: “I cannot but regard France as the centre, as the focus, of the civilization of Europe. It would be going too far to say that she has always been, upon every occasion, in advance of other nations;… but it must still be allowed, that, whenever France has set forward in the career of civilization, she has sprung forth with new vigor, and has soon come up with, or passed by, all her rivals.”