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Quote of the Week: Samuel Coleridge, “Letters on the Spaniards”

samuel taylor coleridgeThat there is an individual spirit that breaths through a whole people, is participated in by all, though not by all alike; a spirit which gives a colour and character to their virtues and vices, so that the same actions … are yet not the same in a Spaniard as they would be in a Frenchman, I hold for an undeniable truth, without the admission of which all history would be riddle. I hold likewise that the difference of nations, their relative grandeur and meanness, all, in short, which they are or do … all in which they preserve as a nation, through successive generations of changing individuals, are the result of this spirit.

▪ Samuel Coleridge, “Letters on the Spaniards” (1810) republished in R. J. White in The British Political Tradition vol IV “The Conservative Tradition” (Nicholas Kaye, 1950) extract from pages 47 through to 48. Ellipses in the work of R. J. White.

SydneyTrads is the internet portal and communication page of the Sydney Traditionalist Forum, an association of individuals who form part of the Australian paleoconservative, “traditionalist conservative” and “independent right”.
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One comment on “Quote of the Week: Samuel Coleridge, “Letters on the Spaniards”

  1. KM
    11 August 2014

    Great quote. The full version (without ellipses) by the way, is:

    But that there is an invisible spirit that breathes through a whole people, and is participated by all, though not by all alike; a spirit which gives a color and character both to their virtues and vices, so that the same action, such I mean as are expressed by the same words, are yet not the same in a Spaniard as they would be in a Frenchman, I hold for an undeniable truth, without the admission of which all history would be a riddle. I hold likewise that the difference of nations, their relative grandeur and meanness, all, in short, which they are or do,—(not indeed at one particular time, under the accidental influence of a single great man, as the Carthaginians under the great Xantippus, and afterwards under their own Hannibal,) but all in which they persevere, as a nation, through .successions of changing individuals, are the result of this spirit. – Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Essays on his own times (London, William Pickering 1850) Vol II pp 668 to 9.

    This gives it a more classical context, but it remains so relevant today. Proof enough that the human spirit and Man’s nature have not really changed at all.

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This entry was posted on 4 August 2014 by in Quotes and tagged , , , , .

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