On Freedom . . .
Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites,—in proportion as their love to justice is above their rapacity,—in proportion as their soundness and sobriety of understanding is above their vanity and presumption,—in proportion as they are more disposed to listen to the counsels of the wise and good, in preference to the flattery of knaves. Society cannot exist, unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.
" 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."
On reformers and revolutionaries . . .
"With them it is a sufficient motive to destroy an old scheme because it is old. As to the new one, they are in no sort of fear with regard to the duration of a new building run up in haste; because duration is no object to those who think little or nothing has been done before their time."
On education . . .
"Nothing ought to be more weighed than the nature of books recommended by public authority. So recommended, they soon form the character of the age."
On Christianity as a civilizing force . . .
" The introduction of Christianity, which, under whatever form, always confers such inestimable benefits on mankind, soon made a sensible change in these rude and fierce manners."
On the free market . . .
" The marketplace obliges men, whether they will or not, in pursuing their own selfish interests, to connect the general good with their own individual success."
"The moment that government appears at market, the principles of the market will be subverted."
On God . . .
" The more accurately we search into the human mind, the stronger traces we everywhere find of His wisdom who made it."
" 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."
On mourning . . .
" The true way to mourn the dead is to take care of the living who belong to them."
On welfare . . .
" To drive men from independence to live on alms, is itself great cruelty."
" Too much idleness, I have observed, fills up a man's time more completely and leaves him less his own master, than any sort of employment whatsoever."
On the necessity of religion . . .
" True religion is the foundation of society. When that is once shaken by contempt, the whole fabric cannot be stable nor lasting."
On Edmund Burke . . .
"He is done imparting wisdom for now."