I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.
I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just…that it may become probable by supernatural interference! The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest.
It is the great parent of science and of virtue: and that a nation will be great in both, always in proportion as it is free.
I sincerely… believe… in the general existence of moral instinct. I think it the brightest gem with which the human character is studded, and the want of it as more degrading than the most hideous of the bodily deformities.
Morals were too essential to the happiness of man, to be risked on the uncertain combinations of the head. Nature laid their foundation, therefore, in sentiment, not in science.
I never will, by any word or act, bow to the shrine of intolerance or admit a right of inquiry into the religious opinions of others.
I know no safe depositary of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.
I have often thought that nothing would do more extensive good at small expense than the establishment of a small circulating library in every county, to consist of a few well-chosen books, to be lent to the people of the country under regulations as would secure their safe return in due time.
I have never been able to conceive how any rational being could propose happiness to himself from the exercise of power over others.
I had rather be shut up in a very modest cottage with my books, my family and a few old friends, dining on simple bacon, and letting the world roll on as it liked, than to occupy the most splendid post, which any human power can give.