Whenever our neighbour's house is on fire, it cannot be amiss for the engines to play a little on our own.
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 which may be soon turned into complaints.
Society is a partnership of the dead, the living and the unborn.
We must all obey the great law of change. It is the most powerful law of nature, and the means perhaps of its conservation. All we can do, and that human wisdom can do, is to provide that the change shall proceed by insensible degrees. This has all the benefits which may be in change, without any of the inconveniences of mutation.
To give freedom is still more easy. It is not necessary to guide; it only requires to let go the rein. But to form a free government; that is, to temper together these opposite elements of liberty and restraint in one work, requires much thought, deep reflection, a sagacious, powerful, and combining mind.
I cannot conceive how any man can have brought himself to consider his country as nothing but carte blanche, upon which he may scribble whatever he pleases.