The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
But what is liberty without wisdom, and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without tuition or restraint.
When the leaders choose to make themselves bidders at an auction of popularity, their talents, in the construction of the state, will be of no service. They will become flatterers instead of legislators; the instruments, not the guides, of the people.
Justice is itself the great standing policy of civil society; and any eminent departure from it, under any circumstances, lies under the suspicion of being no policy at all.
Hypocrisy can afford to be magnificent in its promises, for never intending to go beyond promise, it costs nothing.
Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.
The first and simplest emotion which we discover in the human mind, is curiosity.
He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper.
Our patience will achieve more than our force.
Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinion.
To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting.
The effect of liberty to individuals is that they may do what they please: we ought to see what it will please them to do, before we risk congratulations.
Whilst shame keeps its watch, virtue is not wholly extinguished in the heart; nor will moderation be utterly exiled from the minds of tyrants.
All government, indeed every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue, and every prudent act, is founded on compromise and barter.
You can never plan the future by the past.
In a democracy, the majority of the citizens is capable of exercising the most cruel oppressions upon the minority.
Flattery corrupts both the receiver and the giver.
Nothing turns out to be so oppressive and unjust as a feeble government.
Society can overlook murder, adultery or swindling; it never forgives preaching of a new gospel.
Slavery is a weed that grows on every soil.
It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for its welfare.
Among a people generally corrupt liberty cannot long exist.
A disposition to preserve, and an ability to improve, taken together, would be my standard of a statesman.
Kings will be tyrants from policy, when subjects are rebels from principle.
Education is the cheap defense of nations.
Religion is essentially the art and the theory of the remaking of man. Man is not a finished creation.
To innovate is not to reform.
Toleration is good for all, or it is good for none.
Example is the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other.
To tax and to please, no more than to love and to be wise, is not given to men.
The person who grieves suffers his passion to grow upon him; he indulges it, he loves it; but this never happens in the case of actual pain, which no man ever willingly endured for any considerable time.
I have never yet seen any plan which has not been mended by the observations of those who were much inferior in understanding to the person who took the lead in the business.
The march of the human mind is slow.
The greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse.
It is not what a lawyer tells me I may do; but what humanity, reason, and justice tell me I ought to do.
If we command our wealth, we shall be rich and free; if our wealth commands us, we are poor indeed.
One that confounds good and evil is an enemy to good.
There is but one law for all, namely that law which governs all law, the law of our Creator, the law of humanity, justice, equity – the law of nature and of nations.
It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.
The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion.
Never Up Nobility is a graceful ornament to the civil order. It is the Corinthian capital of polished society.
Good order is the foundation of all things.
The arrogance of age must submit to be taught by youth.
Free trade is not based on utility but on justice.
In effect, to follow, not to force the public inclination; to give a direction, a form, a technical dress, and a specific sanction, to the general sense of the community, is the true end of legislature.
But the age of chivalry is gone. That of sophisters, economists, and calculators has succeeded; and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever.
The most important of all revolutions, a revolution in sentiments, manners and moral opinions.
Ambition can creep as well as soar.