Hoyt & Roberts, comps. Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations. 1922.


A day, an hour, of virtuous liberty
Is worth a whole eternity in bondage.
Addison—Cato. Act II. Sc. 1.

L’arbre de la liberté ne croit qu’arrosé par le sang des tyrans.
The tree of liberty grows only when watered by the blood of tyrants.
Barére—Speech in the Convention Nationale. (1792).

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.
Burke—Reflections on the Revolution in France.

My vigour relents. I pardon something to the spirit of liberty.
Burke—Speech on the Conciliation of America. Vol. II. P. 118.

The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion.
Burke—Speech at a County Meeting at Bucks. (1784).

Liberty’s in every blow!
Let us do or die.
Burns—Bruce to His Men at Bannockburn.

Eternal Spirit of the chainless Mind!
Brightest in dungeons, Liberty! thou art,
For there thy habitation is the heart—
The heart which love of thee alone can bind;
And when thy sons to fetters are consign’d—
To fetters and damp vault’s dayless gloom,
Their country conquers with their martyrdom.
Byron—Sonnet. Introductory to Prisoner of Chillon.

When Liberty from Greece withdrew,
And o’er the Adriatic flew,
To where the Tiber pours his urn,
She struck the rude Tarpeian rock;
Sparks were kindled by the shock—
Again thy fires began to burn.
Henry F. Cary—Power of Eloquence.

Yes, while I stood and gazed, my temples bare,
And shot my being through earth, sea, and air,
Possessing all things with intensest love,
O Liberty! my spirit felt thee there.
Coleridge—France. An Ode. V.

Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty.
II Corinthians. III. 17.

’Tis liberty alone that gives the flower
Of fleeting life its lustre and perfume;
And we are weeds without it.
Cowper—The Task. Bk. V. L. 446.

Then liberty, like day,
Breaks on the soul, and by a flash from Heaven
Fires all the faculties with glorious joy.
Cowper—The Task. Bk. V. L. 882.

The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance.
John Philpot Curran—Speech. July 10, 1790.

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.
John Philpot Curran—Speech. Dublin. (1808).

Rendre l’homme infâme, et le laisser libre, est une absurdité qui peuple nos forêts d’assassins.
To brand man with infamy, and let him free, is an absurdity that peoples our forests with assassins.

The love of liberty with life is given,
And life itself the inferior gift of Heaven.
Dryden—Palamon and Arcite. Bk. II. L. 291.

The sun of liberty is set; you must light up the candle of industry and economy.
Benj. Franklin. In Correspondence.

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
Benj. Franklin—Motto to Historical Review of Pennsylvania.

Where liberty dwells, there is my country.
Benj. Franklin.

Give me liberty, or give me death.
Patrick Henry—Speech. March, 1775.

The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time.
Thomas Jefferson—Summary View of the Rights of British America.

As so often before, liberty has been wounded in the house of its friends. Liberty in the wild and freakish hands of fanatics has once more, as frequently in the past, proved the effective helpmate of autocracy and the twin-brother of tyranny.
Otto Kahn—Speech at University of Wisconsin. Jan. 14, 1918.

The deadliest foe of democracy is not autocracy but liberty frenzied. Liberty is not foolproof. For its beneficent working it demands self-restraint, a sane and clear recognition of the practical and attainable, and of the fact that there are laws of nature which are beyond our power to change.
Otto Kahn—Speech at University of Wisconsin. Jan. 14, 1918.

Libertas, inquit, populi quem regna coercent,
Libertate perit.
The liberty of the people, he says, whom power restrains unduly, perishes through liberty.
Lucanus—Pharsalia. Bk. III. 146.

License they mean when they cry, Liberty!
For who loves that, must first be wise and good.
Milton—On the Detraction which followed upon my Writing Certain Treatises.

Justly thou abhorr’st
That son, who on the quiet state of men
Such trouble brought, affecting to subdue
Rational liberty; yet know withal,
Since thy original lapse, true liberty
Is lost.
Milton—Paradise Lost. Bk. XII. L. 79.

Oh! if there be, on this earthly sphere,
A boon, an offering Heaven holds dear,
’Tis the last libation Liberty draws
From the heart that bleeds and breaks in her cause!
Moore—Lalla Rookh. Paradise and the Peri. St. 11.

Give me again my hollow tree
A crust of bread, and liberty!
Pope—Imitations of Horace. Bk. II. Satire VI. L. 220.

O liberté! que de crimes on commêt dans ton nom!
O liberty! how many crimes are committed in thy name!
Madame Roland—Memoirs. Appendix. The actual expression used is said to have been “O liberté, comme on t’a jouée!”—“O Liberty, how thou hast been played with!” Spoken as she stood before a statue of Liberty.

That treacherous phantom which men call Liberty.
Ruskin—Seven Lamps of Architecture. Ch. VIII. Sect. XXI.

I must have liberty
Withal, as large a charter as the wind,
To blow on whom I please.
As You Like It. Act II. Sc. 7. L. 47.

Why, headstrong liberty is lash’d with woe;
There’s nothing, situate under heaven’s eye
But hath his bound, in earth, in sea, in sky.
Comedy of Errors. Act II. Sc. 1. L. 15.

So every bondman in his own hand bears
The power to cancel his captivity.
Julius Cæsar. Act I. Sc. 3. L. 101.

Deep in the frozen regions of the north,
A goddess violated brought thee forth,
Immortal Liberty!
Smollett—Ode to Independence. L. 5.

Behold! in Liberty’s unclouded blaze
We lift our heads, a race of other days.
Charles Sprague—Centennial Ode. St. 22.

Libertatem natura etiam mutis animalibus datam.
Liberty is given by nature even to mute animals.
Tacitus—Annales. IV. 17.

Eloquentia, alumna licentiæ, quam stulti libertatem vocabant.
[That form of] eloquence, the foster-child of licence, which fools call liberty.
Tacitus—Dialogus de Oratoribus. 46.

If the true spark of religious and civil liberty be kindled, it will burn.
Daniel Webster—Address. Charlestown, Mass. June 17, 1825. Bunker Hill Monument.

On the light of Liberty you saw arise the light of Peace, like
“another morn,
Risen on mid-noon;”
and the sky on which you closed your eye was cloudless.
Daniel Webster—Speeches. The Bunker Hill Monument. (1825).

God grants liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it.
Daniel Webster—Speech. June 3, 1834.

Liberty exists in proportion to wholesome restraint.
Daniel Webster—Speech at the Charleston Bar Dinner. May 10, 1847.

I shall defer my visit to Faneuil Hall, the cradle of American liberty, until its doors shall fly open, on golden hinges, to lovers of Union as well as of Liberty.
Daniel Webster—Letter. April, 1851. When refused the use of the Hall after his speech on the Compromise Measures. (March 7, 1850). The Aldermen reversed their decision. Mr. Webster began his speech: “This is Faneuil Hall—Open!”