[I]t is the greatest absurdity to suppose it in the power of one, or of any number of men, at the entering into society to renounce their essential natural rights, or the means of preserving those rights, when the grand end of civil government, from the very nature of its institution, is for the support, protection, and defence of those very rights; the principal of which, as is before observed, are life, liberty, and property. If men, through fear, fraud, or mistake, should in terms renounce or give up an essential natural right, the eternal law of reason and the grand end of society would absolutely vacate such renunciation. The right of freedom being the gift of God Almighty, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave.
Stain not the glory of your worthy ancestors, but like them resolve never to part with your birthright; be wise in your deliberations, and determined in your exertions for the preservation of your liberties. Fllow not the dictates of passion, but enlist yourselves under the sacred banner of reason; use every method in your power to secure your rights.
And it is undeniably true that the greatest and most important right of a British subject is that he shall be governed by no laws but those to which he, either in person or by his representatives, hath given his consent; and this, I will venture to assert, is the great basis of British freedom; it is interwoven with the Constitution, and whenever this is lost, the Constitution must be destroyed.
Without Thomas Jefferson and his Declaration of Independence, there would have been no American revolution that announced universal principles of liberty. Without his participation by the side of the unforgettable Marquis de Lafayette, there would have been no French proclamation of The Rights of Man. Without his brilliant negotiation of the Louisiana treaty, there would be no United States of America. Without Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, there would have been no Virginia Statute on Religious Freedom, and no basis for the most precious clause of our most prized element of our imperishable Bill of Rights - the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.