“The National Assembly must throw open a magazine of light. It must show man the proper character of man; and the nearer it can bring him to that standard, the stronger the National Assembly becomes.
In contemplating the French Constitution, we see in it a rational order of things. The principles harmonize with the forms, and both with their origin. It may perhaps be said as an excuse for bad forms, that they are nothing more than forms; but his is a mistake. Forms grow out of principles, and operate to continue the principles they grow from. It is impossible to practice a bad form on any thing but a bad principle. It cannot be ingrafted on a good one; and wherever the forms in any government (or leadership) are bad, it is a certain indication that the principles are bad also.”
“There is a single idea, which , if it strikes rightly upon the mind, either in a legal or a religious sense, will prevent any man, or any body of men, or any government, from going wrong on the subject of religion; which is, that before any human institutions of government were known in the world, there existed, if I may so express it, a compact between God and man, from the beginning of time; and that as the relation and condition which man in his individual person stands in toward his Maker cannot be change, or any ways altered by any human laws or human authority, that religious devotion, which is a part of this compact, cannot so much as be made a subject of human laws; and that all laws must conform themselves to this prior existing compact, and not assume to make the compact conform to the laws, which, besides being human, are subsequent thereto. The first act of man, when he looked around and saw himself a creature which he did not make, and a world furnished for his reception, must have been devotion; and devotion must ever continue sacred to every individual man, as it appears right to him; and governments do mischief by interfering.”
From The Universal Rights of Conscience and Universal Rights of Citizenship……“The President of the National Assembly does not ask the King to grant to the Assembly liberty of speech, as is the case with the English House of Commons. The constitutional dignity of the National Assembly cannot debase itself. Speech is, in the first place, one of the natural rights of man always retained; and with respect to the National Assembly, the use of it is their duty, and the nation is their authority.”
“Every community has a right to demand of all its agents, an account of their conduct.”
“Men are born, and always continue, free, and equal in respect of their rights. Civil distinctions, therefore, can be founded only on public utility.”
“The law ought to impose no other penalties but such as are absolutely and evidently necessary: and no one ought to be punished, but in virtue of a law promulgated before the offense, and legally applied.”
“That Archimedes said of the mechanical powers, may be applied to reason and liberty: “Had we,” said he, “a place to stand upon, we might raise the world.”