Until then I had thought each book spoke of the things, human or divine, that lie outside books. Now I realized that not infrequently books speak of books: it is as if they spoke among themselves. In the light of this reflection, the library seemed all the more disturbing to me. It was then the place of a long, centuries-old murmuring, an imperceptible dialogue between one parchment and another, a living thing, a receptacle of powers not to be ruled by a human mind, a treasure of secrets emanated by many minds, surviving the death of those who had produced them or had been their conveyors.
When liberty is mentioned, we must always be careful to observe whether it is not really the assertion of private interests which is thereby designated.[Man muß, wenn von Freiheit gesprochen wird, immer wohl achtgeben, ob es nicht eigentlich Privatinteressen sind, von denen gesprochen wird.]
To renounce one’s liberty is to renounce one’s quality as a man, the rights and also the duties of humanity.[Renoncer à sa liberté c’est renoncer à sa qualité d’homme, aux droits de l’humanité, même à ses devoirs.]
Liberty, however, had been a useless gift to me, had I not, as I awakened to reason, at the same time awakened to revenge.
The liberty of the individual is no gift of civilization. It was greatest before there was any civilization, though then, it is true, it had for the most part no value, since the individual was scarcely in a position to defend it.[Die individuelle Freiheit ist kein Kulturgut. Sie war am größten vor jeder Kultur, allerdings damals meist ohne Wert, weil das Individuum kaum imstande war, sie zu verteidigen.]
Liberty is to be subserv’d whatever occurs; that is nothing that is quell’d by one or two failures, or any number of failures, or by the indifference or ingratitude of the people, or by any unfaithfulness…