The desire to serve others is the highest impulse of the human heart and the rewards of such service are beyond measure. If you wish to taste this, then just do it. Just take one step... You will see that the tyranny of self-concern, worry, and trivial pursuits can be released from your life with that single step. It doesn't really matter what you do, it only matters that you do it.
Those who are versed in the history of their country, in the history of the human race, must know that rigorous state prosecutions have always preceded the era of convulsion; and this era, I fear, will be accelerated by the folly and madness of our rulers. If the people are discontented, the proper mode of quieting their discontent is, not by instituting rigorous and sanguinary prosecutions, but by redressing their wrongs and conciliating their affections. Courts of justice, indeed, may be called in to the aid of ministerial vengeance; but if once the purity of their proceedings is suspected, they will cease to be objects of reverence to the nation; they will degenerate into empty and expensive pageantry, and become the partial instruments of vexatious oppression. Whatever may become of me, my principles will last forever. Individuals may perish; but truth is eternal. The rude blasts of tyranny may blow from every quarter; but freedom is that hardy plant which will survive the tempest and strike an everlasting root into the most unfavorable soil.
The bravest and best men of all times have perished in the struggles against tyranny and despotism, and free government has never secured even a feeble existence save at a most fearful cost. The experiment of republican government in our own country is similar to that of all others. Here, however, liberty has won her grandest triumphs. Here freedom is enthroned securely and is the unchallenged boon of every inhabitant. But we contemplate the cost of victory with mournful and pitying hearts.
I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. Unsuccessful rebellions, indeed, generally establish the encroachments on the rights of the people which have produced them. An observation of this truth should render honest republican governors so mild in the punishment of rebellions as not to discourage them too much. It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government.
I would recommend a free commerce both of matter and mind. I would let men enter their own churches with the same freedom as their own houses; and I would do it without a homily or graciousness or favor, for tyranny itself is to me a word less odious than toleration.