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F. E. Smith (1872 – 1930)


British Conservative statesman and lawyer of the early 20th century.
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F. E. Smith
An MP had been elected as a Unionist candidate, but when Parliament re-assembled, he had immediately "crossed the floor" without seeking re-election.
Smith said:"He entered the House not on the crest of a wave, but rather by means of an opportune dive. Everyone in the House must appreciate his presence, for there could be no greater compliment paid to it than that he should be in our midst, when his heart is far away. And it should be obvious to all who know the honourable gentleman's scrupulous sense of honour, that his one desire at present is to be amongst his constituents, who are understood to be at least as anxious to meet him."
Smith quotes
Judge: What do you suppose I am on the bench for?
Smith: It is not for me, Your Honour, to attempt to fathom the inscrutable workings of Providence.
Smith
I have always placed my highest and most permanent hopes upon the eternity of the Communal situation.




We have the highest authority for believing that the meek shall inherit the earth; though I have never found any particular corroboration of this aphorism in the records of Somerset House.
Nature has no cure for this sort of madness, though I have known a legacy from a rich relative work wonders.
F. E. Smith quotes
Judge: I've listened to you for an hour and I'm none wiser.
Smith: None the wiser, perhaps, my lord but certainly better informed.
F. E. Smith
We are asked to permit a hundred men to go round to the house of a man who wishes to exercise the common law right in this country to sell his labour where and when he chooses, and to 'advise' him or 'peacefully persuade' him not to work. If peaceful persuasion is the real object, why are a hundred men required to do it? ... Every honest man knows why trade unions insist on the right to a strong numerical picket. It is because they rely for their objects neither on peacefulness nor persuasion. Those whom they picket cannot be peacefully persuaded. They understand with great precision their own objects, and their own interests, and they are not in the least likely to be persuaded by the representatives of trade unions, with different objects and different interests. But, though arguments may never persuade them, numbers may easily intimidate them. And it is just because argument has failed, and intimidation has succeeded, that the Labour Party insists upon its right to picket unlimited in respect of numbers.
Politically, economically and philosophically the motive of self-interest not only is but must...and ought to be the mainspring of human conduct...For as long a time as the records of history have been preserved human societies passed through a ceaseless process of evolution and adjustment. This process has sometimes been pacific, but more often it has resulted from warlike disturbance. The strength of different nations, measured in terms of arms, varies from century to century. The world continues to offer glittering prizes to those who have stout hearts and sharp swords; it is therefore extremely improbable that the experience of future ages will differ in any material respect from that which has happened since the twilight of the human race ... it is for us who, in our history have proved ourselves a martial ... people ... to maintain in our own hands the adequate means for our own protection and ... to march with heads erect and bright eyes along the road of our imperial destiny.
Smith
It would be possible to say without exaggeration that the miners' leaders were the stupidest men in England if we had not frequent occasion to meet the owners.
Churchill has spent the best years of his life preparing impromptu remarks.
F. E. Smith
Judge: You are extremely offensive, young man!
Smith: As a matter of fact we both are; and the only difference between us is that I am trying to be, and you can't help it.




F. E. Smith quotes
The greater the political progress made by the Hindus, the greater, in my judgement, will be the Moslem discontent and antagonism. All the conferences in the world cannot bridge over the unbridgeable, and between those two countries lies a chasm which cannot be crossed by the resources of modern political engineering.
F. E. Smith
The Conservative Party is the parent of trade unionism, just as it is the author of the Factory Acts. At every stage in the history of the nineteenth century it is to Toryism that trade unionism has looked for help and support against the oppressions of the Manchester School of liberalism, which cared nothing for the interests of the state, and regarded men as brute beasts whose labour could be bought and sold at the cheapest price, irrespective of all other considerations.
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