Bribery, a form of corruption, is an act implying money or gift given that alters the behavior of the recipient. Bribery constitutes a crime and is defined by Black's Law Dictionary as the offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of any item of value to influence the actions of an official or other person in charge of a public or legal duty. The bribe is the gift bestowed to influence the recipient's conduct. It may be any money, good, right in action, property, preferment, privilege, emolument, object of value, advantage, or merely a promise or undertaking to induce or influence the action, vote, or influence of a person in an official or public capacity.
- When their lordships asked Bacon How many bribes he had taken He had at least the grace To get very red in the face.
- Edmund Clerihew Bentley, "Bacon", in Baseless Biography (1939), p. 6.
- 'Tis pleasant purchasing our fellow-creatures;
And all are to be sold, if you consider
Their passions, and are dext'rous; some by features
Are brought up, others by a warlike leader;
Some by a place—as tend their years or natures;
The most by ready cash—but all have prices,
From crowns to kicks, according to their vices.
- No abuse of power has so tarnished the corporate image or shown the need for government legislation as the numerous public revelations of wholesale political and foreign bribery that came to light during the 1970s. These revelations are one of the most sordid chapters in American corporate history. Investigations revealed widespread illegal corporate political contributions and extensive bribery of foreign government officials. When the bribes were large, they significantly distorted the corporation's actual financial picture, thus misleading company stockholders as well as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Internal Revenue Service. When U.S. corporations bribe officials of developing countries, they may help to undermine that country's political stability and in some cases contribute to the spread of anti-American feeling. A particularly serious situation develops when pharmaceutical corporations bribe health officials in other countries to obtain permission to sell dangerous drug products.
- Judges and senates have been bought for gold;
Esteem and love were never to be sold.
- Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man (1733-34), Epistle IV, line 187.
- His sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment.
- Tis gold
Which buys admittance; oft it doth; yea, and
Diana's rangers false themselves, yield up
Their deer to the stand o' the stealer: and 'tis gold
Which makes the true man kill'd and saves the thief;
Nay, sometimes hangs both thief and true man.
- There is gold for you.
Sell me your good report.
- What, shall one of us,
That struck the foremost man of all this world
But for supporting robbers, shall we now
Contaminate our fingers with base bribes?
- There is thy gold, worse poison to men's souls,
Doing more murders in this loathsome world,
Than these poor compounds that thou mayst not sell.
I sell thee poison, thou hast sold me none.
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 83-84.
- And ye sail walk in silk attire,
And siller hae to spare,
Gin ye'll consent to be his bride,
Nor think o' Donald mair.
- Susanna Blamhie, The Siller Crown.
- Flowery oratory he [Walpole] despised. He ascribed to the interested views of themselves or their relatives the declarations of pretended patriots, of whom he said, "All those men have their price."
- Coxe, Memoirs of Walpole, Volume IV, p. 369.
- A hoarseness caused by swallowing gold and silver.
- Demosthenes, bribed not to speak against Harpalus, he pretended to have lost his voice. Plutarch quotes the accusation as above. Also elsewhere refers to it as the "silver quinsey".
- Too poor for a bribe, and too proud to importune,
He had not the method of making a fortune.
- Thomas Gray, On His Own Character.
- But here more slow, where all are slaves to gold,
Where looks are merchandise, and smiles are sold.
- Samuel Johnson, London, line 177.
- Our supple tribes repress their patriot throats,
And ask no questions but the price of votes.
- Samuel Johnson, Vanity of Human Wishes, line 95.
- Alas! the small discredit of a bribe
Scarce hurts the lawyer, but undoes the scribe.
- Alexander Pope, Epilogue to Satire, Dialogue II, line 46.
- Auro pulsa fides, auro venalia jura,
Aurum lex sequitur, mox sine lege pudor.
- By gold all good faith has been banished; by gold our rights are abused; the law itself is influenced by gold, and soon there will be an end of every modest restraint.
- Propertius, Elegice, III. 13. 48.
- No mortal thing can bear so high a price,
But that with mortal thing it may be bought.
- Sir Walter Raleigh, Love the Only Price of Love.
- Every man has his price.
- Sir Robert Walpole, speech (Nov. or Dec, 1734), according to A. F. Robbins, in Gentleman's Mag. No, IV, Pp. 589-92. 641-4. Horace Walpole asserts it was attributed to Walpole by his enemies. See Letter, Aug. 26, 1785. Article in Notes and Queries, May 11, 1907. Pp. 367-8, asserts he said: "I know the price of every man in this house except three." See article in London Times March 15, 1907, Review of W. H. Craig's Life of Chesterfield. Phrase in The Bee, Vol, VII, p. 97, attributed to Sir W---m W---m (William Wyndham).
- Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder.
- George Washington, Moral Maxims, Virtue and Vice, The Trial of Virtue.