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Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.

NUMBER: 1054
AUTHOR: John Philpot Curran (1750–1817)
QUOTATION: It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.
ATTRIBUTION: JOHN PHILPOT CURRAN, “Election of Lord Mayor of Dublin,” speech before the Privy Council, July 10, 1790.—The Speeches of the Right Honorable John Philpot Curran, ed. Thomas Davis, pp. 94–95 (1847).

An early use of the words “eternal vigilance.” Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, at least, lists this as the source of “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty” (15th ed., p. 397, footnote 8, 1980). But see also No. 1073.