In Joseph Addison’s play Cato Cato is asked what it would take for him to be Caesar’s “friend” - his answer is that Caesar would have to first “disband his legions” and then “restore the commonwealth to liberty” (1713)

In Act II Scene II of Addison’s play, Decius, the Ambassador from Caesar, asks Cato what it would take for Cato to be Caesar’s "friend" as Caesar began using his military successes to pave the way to his political conquest of Rome:

James Bryce tries to explain to a European audience why “great men” are no longer elected to America’s highest public office (1888)

In a chapter entitled "Why Great Men Are Not Chosen Presidents" in his book The American Commonwealth Viscount Bryce explores this question at some length:

Andrew Fletcher believed that too many people were deceived by the “ancient terms and outwards forms” of their government but had in fact lost their ancient liberties (1698)

In a discourse about the dangers to liberty of standing armies Fletcher makes an interesting point about how easily deluded people can become about the gradual loss of traditional liberties:

Thomas Hobbes sings a hymn of praise for Reason as “the pace”, scientific knowledge is “the way”, and the benefit of mankind is “the end” (1651)

In the first part called "Of Man" in his great work of political philosophy Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes explores the nature of speech and imagination, reason and science, virtue and manners, in an effort to establish the foundation of his theory of the laws of nature. Concerning science and reason he concludes:

Auberon Herbert discusses the “essence of government” when the veneer of elections are stripped away (1894)

Herbert argues in this essay written in 1894 that the true nature of government is the exercise of coercion and, once the veneer of elections and parliamentary oratory is stripped away, its purer essence is revealed:

Thomas Jefferson boasts about having reduced the size of government and eliminated a number of “vexatious” taxes (1805)

In Jefferson’s Second Inaugural Address of March 4, 1805 he boasted of having reduced the size and cost of government enough to eliminate a number of "vexatious" internal taxes which he feared might grow in number and eventually be applied to other goods:

Vicesimus Knox tries to persuade an English nobleman that some did not come into the world with “saddles on their backs and bridles in their mouths” and some others like him came “ready booted and spurred to ride the rest to death” (1793)

In the preface to a series of letters written to a young English nobleman in 1793, Vicesimus Knox declares his own love of liberty and explains how the next generation of English aristocrats might reconcile true liberty and peace with their social station, and so avoid what was happening to the aristocracy in France:

Ambroise Clément draws the distinction between two different kinds of charity: true voluntary charity and coerced government “charity” which is really a tax (1852)

In the wake of the tsunamis which detroyed so many lives in south Asia both governments and private individuals have donated funds to help in the relief work. A French classical liberal from the mid-19thC ponders the difference between the two types of charitable giving:

Voltaire lampooned the excessively optimistic Leibnitzian philosophers in his philosophic tale Candide by exposing his characters to one disaster after another, like a tsunami in Lisbon, to show that this was not “the best of all possible worlds”

In 1755 an earthquake and tsunami hit the city of Lisbon, at that time the 4th largest city in Europe. Voltaire used the event in his philosophic tale Candide to argue that this is not the best of all possible worlds:

Frederick Millar is upset that especially at Christmas time the bad effects of the letter-carrying monopoly of the Post Office are felt by the public (1891)

In a collection of essays edited by Thomas Mackay over 100 years ago there is this interesting attack on the evils of the government monopoly Post Office at Christmas-time:

During the American Revolution Thomas Paine penned a patriotic song called “Hail Great Republic” which is to be sung to the tune of Rule Britannia (of course!) (1776)

Paine is well known for having penned a number of patriotic songs during the period of the American Revolution such as "The Liberty Tree", "The Boston Patriotic Song", and the one which is our quote of the week - "Hail Great Republic" (which is to be sung to the tune of "Rule Britannia").

As if in answer to Erasmus' prayer, Spencer does become a Philosopher of the Kitchen arguing that “if there is a wrong in respect of the taking of food (and drink) there must also be a right” (1897)

In The Principles of Ethics Spencer has a section in which he has something to say about the ethics of nutrition and the preference of many to denounce the excess swallowing of liquids rather than of solids:

Erasmus argues that Philosophizing is all very well but there is also a need for there to be a Philosopher of the Kitchen (1518)

Erasmus discusses the merits of feasting with two friends, Austin and Christian. After some witty repartee Austin concludes that Christian is a true "Philosopher of the Kitchen":

Wolowski and Levasseur argue that Property is “the fruit of human liberty” and that Violence and Conquest have done much to disturb this natural order (1884)

One of the many articles translated from the French which appeared in Lalor’s Cyclopedia in 1884. This one is a spirited defence of the natural right to property:

David Hume argued that Individual Liberty emerged slowly out of the “violent system of government” which had earlier prevailed in Europe (1778)

In one of the last sections he wrote in the multi-volume History of England, Hume steps back to survey the entire sweep of English constitutional development. One of the key factors in leading to the creation of English liberty was the ending of serfdom:

James Bryce believed that the Founders intended that the American President would be “a reduced and improved copy of the English king” (1885)

Bryce discusses the office of President and the manner of his election in a Chapter on "The President":

Ludwig von Mises laments the passing of the Age of Limited Warfare and the coming of Mass Destruction in the Age of Statism and Conquest (1949)

Published in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, Mises’ magnum opus, Human Action (1949) contained a chapter on "The Economics of War" in which he laments the killing of innocents:

Voltaire notes that where Commerce and Toleration predominate, a Multiplicity of Faiths can live together in Peace and Happiness (1764)

In his Philosophical Dictionary Voltaire makes a connection between economic prosperity and religious toleration in England:

Thomas Gordon believes that bigoted Princes are subject to the “blind control” of other “Directors and Masters” who work behind the scenes (1737)

Thomas Gordon, one of the co-authors of Cato’s Letters, introduced his multi-volume translation of the works of Tacitus with a number of Discourses supposedly on Tacitus but which he also used to criticize the behavior of the contemporary British government:

Shakespeare farewells his lover in a Sonnet using many mercantile and legal metaphors (1609)

This sonnet is striking for its use of mercantile and legal metaphors, perhaps drawing upon Shakespeare’s own experience as an entrepreneur:

Samuel warns his people that if they desire a King they will inevitably have conscription, requisitioning of their property, and taxation (7th century BC)

The prophet Samuel tells the people of Israel what lies in store for them if they have their wish granted that a King rule over them:

The Prophet Isaiah urges the people to “beat their swords into plowshares” and learn war no more (700s BC)

The Gospels draw heavily on the Book of Isaiah for a utopic view of the world. The famous "swords to plowshares" quote (Isaiah 2:4) is but one of its famous proclamations:

The Psalmist laments that he lives in a Society which “hateth peace” and cries out “I am for peace: but when I speak they are for war” (1000 BC)

One of the 150 poems, songs, and prayers from the Old Testament’s Book of Psalms:

Voltaire on the Benefits which Trade and Economic Abundance bring to People living in the Present Age (1736)

Voltaire’s poem celebrating the fact that he was living in an age of developing commerce and markets:

John Taylor on how a “sound freedom of property” can destroy the threat to Liberty posed by “an adoration of military fame” and oppressive governments (1820)

In 1820 John Taylor was concerned that the promise of the American constitution, to radically limit the power of the central state, was being undermined by interventionist economic policies: