Statesmanship

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Statesmanship is the practice of a Statesman, usually a politician or other notable public figure who has had a long and respected career in politics or government at the national and international level. As a term of respect, it is usually left to supporters or commentators to use the term. When politicians retire, they are often referred to as elder statesmen. Statesmanship also conveys a quality of leadership that organically brings people together and of eldership, a spirit of caring for others and for the whole

Sourced[edit]

  • When statesmen forsake their own private conscience for the sake of their public duties … they lead their country by a short route to chaos.
    • Robert Bolt, A Man for All Seasons (1968), act I, p. 12. Sir Thomas More is speaking. Ellipses in original.
  • It is strange so great a statesman should
    Be so sublime a poet.
  • But a good patriot, and a true politician, always considers how he shall make the most of the existing materials of his country. A disposition, to preserve, and an ability to improve, taken together, would be my standard of a statesman. Everything else is vulgar in the conception, perilous in the execution.
    • Edmund Burke, "Reflections on the Revolution in France," 1790, The Works of the Right Honorable Edmund Burke (1899), vol. 3, p. 440.
  • La cordiale entente qui existe entre le gouvernement français et celui de la Grande-Bretagne.
    • The cordial agreement which exists between the governments of France and Great Britain.
    • Le Charivari (Jan. 6, 1844). Review of a Speech by Guizot.
  • Si l'on n'a pas de meilleurs moyen de sèduction a lui offrir, l'entente cordiale nous paraît fort compromise.
    • If one has no better method of enticement to offer, the cordial agreement seems to us to be the best compromise.
    • Le Charivari, Volume XV. No. 3, p. 4. (1846), referring to the ambassador of Morocco, then in Paris.
  • No statesman e'er will find it worth his pains
    To tax our labours and excise our brains.
  • The people of the two nations [French and English] must be brought into mutual dependence by the supply of each other's wants. There is no other way of counteracting the antagonism of language and race. It is God's own method of producing an entente cordiale, and no other plan is worth a farthing.
    • Richard Cobden, letter to M. Michel Chevalier (Sept., 1859). "Entente cordiale," used by Queen Victoria to Lord John Russell (Sept. 7, 1848). Littré (Dict.) dates its use to speech in The Chamber of Deputies, 1840–41. Phrase in a letter written by the Dutch Governor-General at Batavia to the Bewinikebbers (directors) at Amsterdam (Dec. 15, 1657). See Notes and Queries (Sept. 11, 1909), p. 216. Early examples given in Stanford Dictionary. Cobden probably first user to make the phrase popular. Quoted also by Lord Aberdeen. Phrase appeared in the Foreign Quarterly Review (Oct., 1844). Used by Louis Philippe in a speech from the throne (Jan., 1843), to express friendly relations between France and England.
  • I have the courage of my opinions, but I have not the temerity to give a political blank cheque to Lord Salisbury.
  • Gli ambasciadori sono l'occhio e l'orecchio degli stati.
  • Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations—entangling alliances with none.
  • A great statesman is he who knows when to depart from traditions, as well as when to adhere to them.
    • John Stuart Mill, Considerations on Representative Government (1861), chapter 5, p. 93.
  • Who would not praise Patricio's high desert,
    His hand unstain'd, his uncorrupted heart,
    His comprehensive head? all interests weigh'd,
    All Europe sav'd, yet Britain not betray'd.
  • If you wish to preserve your secret wrap it up in frankness.
  • And lives to clutch the golden keys,
    To mould a mighty state's decrees,
    And shape the whisper of the throne.
  • Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation?—Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground?—Why by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humour or caprice?
  • 'Tis our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances, with any portion of the foreign world—so far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it.
  • Statesmen have to bend to the collective will of their peoples or be broken.
    • Attributed to Woodrow Wilson. Reported as unverified in Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989).
  • Legatus est vir bonus peregre missus ad mentiendem rei publicæ causæ.
    • An ambassador is an honest man sent to lie abroad for the commonwealth.
    • Henry Wotton, in the autograph album of Christopher Fleckamore (1604). Eight years later Jasper Scioppius published it with malicious intent. Wotton apologized, but insisted on the double meaning of lie as a jest. A leiger is an ambassador. So used by Samuel Butler, Hudibras (1678), Part II, III, 139. Also by Thomas Fuller, The Holy State and the Profane State (1642), p. 306.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations[edit]

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 752-53.
  • Spheres of influence.
    • Version of Earl Granville's phrase. "Spheres of action," found in his letter to Count Münster, April 29, 1885. Hertslet's Map of Africa by Treaty, p. 596. Translation May 7, 1885. See also phrase used in Convention between Great Britain and France, Aug. 10, 1889, in same, p. 562.
  • Learn to think continentally.
    • Alexander Hamilton. Paraphrase of his words in a Speech to his American fellow countrymen.
  • Nursed by stern men with empires in their brains.
  • Statesman, yet friend to truth; of soul sincere,
    In action faithful, and in honour clear;
    Who broke no promise, serv'd no private end,
    Who gain'd no title, and who lost no friend;
    Ennobled by himself, by all approv'd,
    And prais'd, unenvy'd, by the Muse he lov'd.
  • It is well indeed for our land that we of this generation have learned to think nationally.
  • And statesmen at her council met
    Who knew the seasons when to take
    Occasion by the hand, and make
    The bounds of freedom wider yet.
  • Why don't you show us a statesman who can rise up to the emergency, and cave in the emergency's head.
  • Tell the truth, and so puzzle and confound your adversaries.

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