Our liberty has already been paid for, but may have to be purchased again
Let it be know that British liberties are not the grants of princes or parliaments. . . that many of our rights are inherent and essential, agreed on as maxims and established as preliminaries even before Parliament existed. . .
Be it remembered that liberty must at all hazards be supported. We have a right to it, derived from our Maker. But if we have not, our fathers have earned and bought it for us at the expense of their ease, their estates, their pleasure, and their blood.
This was written by John Adams, the future second President of the United States, when he was thirty. His essay, A Dissertation on the Canon and the Feudal Law, began appearing in the Gazette in 1765. It immediately struck a chord with Brits in America, and with me today, as I think about the EU.