Considered the most influential orator in the House of Commons, Burke stands out in history, for, as a member of the British Parliament, he defended the rights of the American colonies and strongly opposed the slave trade.
In "A Letter to a Member of the National Assembly," 1791, Edmund Burke wrote:
"What is liberty without wisdom and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without restraint.
Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites; in proportion as they are disposed to listen to the counsels of the wise and good in preference to the flattery of knaves."
Edmund Burke continued:
"Society cannot exist, unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters."