Corruption, like a cancer … eats faster and faster every hour. The revenue creates pensioners, and the pensioners urge for more revenue. The people grow less steady, spirited, and virtuous, the seekers more numerous and more corrupt, and every day increases the circles of their dependents and expectants, until virtue, integrity, public spirit, simplicity, and frugality become the objects of ridicule and scorn, and vanity, luxury, floppery, selfishness, meanness, and downright venality swallow up the whole of society.
The more corrupt the state, the more it legislates.
Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a law breaker, it breeds contempt for the law.
A nation can survive its fools and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague.
We have the best Congress that money can buy.
[T]here is a degree of depravity in mankind which requires a certain degree of circumspection and distrust.
When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe.