I am certain that nothing has done so much to destroy the juridical safeguards of individual freedom as the striving after this mirage of social justice.
Most people fancy themselves innocent of those crimes of which they cannot be convicted.
They took away my money, my family, and my security. Why couldn't they destroy my ideas? We will question them in court tomorrow as we trigger The Revolution of all revolutions!
I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.
I have paid no poll-tax for six years. I was put into a jail once on this account, for one night; and, as I stood considering the walls of solid stone, I could not help being struck with the foolishness of that institution which treated me as if I were mere flesh and blood and bones, to be locked up...I saw that, if there was a wall of stone between me and my townsmen, there was a still more difficult one to climb or break through, before they could get to be as free as I was.
Kill a man, and you are an assassin. Kill millions of men, and you are a conqueror. Kill everyone, and you are a God.
What restrains us from killing is partly fear of punishment, partly moral scruple, and partly what may be described as a sense of humor.
The English laws punish vice; the Chinese laws do more, they reward virtue.
It is better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer.
The worst of prison life, he thought, was not being able to close his door.
The perfection of a thing consists in its essence; there are perfect criminals, as there are men of perfect probity.
Nor cell, nor chain, nor dungeon speaks to the murderer like the voice of solitude.
A Sunday school is a prison in which children do penance for the evil conscience of their parents.
It is safer that a bad man should not be accused, than that he should be acquitted.
Fear can be like a prison. It is, however, a self made prison. Many are imprisoned by fear. No one else can liberate them from this prison. Others may inspire them but they must liberate themselves.
No written law has been more binding than unwritten custom supported by popular opinion.