William Hazlitt

William Hazlitt
Portrait by John Hazlitt

Courtesy of the website of the Maidstone Museum & Bentlif Art Gallery, Maidstone

There is not a more mean, stupid, dastardly, pitiful, selfish, spiteful, envious, ungrateful animal than the Public. {…} The idea of what the public will think prevents the public from ever thinking at all, and acts as a spell on the exercise of private judgment, so that in short the public ear is at the mercy of the first impudent pretender who chooses to fill it with noisy assertions, or false surmises, or secret whispers.

– William Hazlitt, “On Living to one’s-⁠self”