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Edward Gibbon
1737 - 1794

English historian, author of The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776-88)


... the appellation of hereties has always been applied to the less numerous party.

1788 - from The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
... the discretion of the judge is the first engine of tyranny.

1788 - from The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
A people who still remembered that their ancestors had been the masters of the world would have applauded, with conscious pride, the representation of ancient freedom, if they had not long since been accustomed to prefer the solid assurance of bread to the unsubstantial visions of liberty and greatness.

1788 - from Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Chapter 29
In the end more than they wanted freedom, they wanted security. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free.

1788 - from Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
The incapacity of a weak and distracted government may often assume the appearance and produce the effects of a treasonable correspondence with the public enemy.

1788 - from Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Chapter 31
Whenever the offence inspires less horror than the punishment, the rigor of penal law is obliged to give way to the common feelings of mankind.

1788 - from Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
The possession and the enjoyment of property are the pledges which bind a civilised people to an improved country.

1788 - from Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Chapter 9