• Liberty, next to religion has been the motive of good deeds and the common pretext of crime, from the sowing of the seed at Athens, 2,460 years ago, until the ripened harvest was gathered by men of our race. It is the delicate fruit of a mature civilization; and scarcely a century has passed since nations, that knew the meaning of the term, resolved to be free. In every age its progress has been beset by its natural enemies, by ignorance and superstition, by lust of conquest and by love of ease, by the strong man's craving for power, and the poor man's craving for food.

    "The History of Freedom in Antiquity". Lord Acton's opening statement of his speech on February 28, 1877; later quoted in "The History of Freedom and Other Essays" edited by John Neville Figgis and Reginald Vere Laurence, 1907.