If therefore a people will not be free; if they have not virtue enough to maintain their liberty against a presumptuous invader, they deserve no pity, and are to be treated with contempt and ignominy.
Had not Caesar seen that Rome was ready to stoop, he would not have dared to make himself the master of that once brave people. He was indeed, as a great writer observes, a smooth and subtle tyrant, who led them gently into slavery, 'and on his brow, wore daring vice deluding virtue smil'd.”
By pretending to be the peoples' greatest friend, he gain'd the ascendency over them.
By beguiling arts, hypocrisy and flattery, which are even more fatal than the sword, he obtain'd that supreme power which his ambitious soul had long thirsted for. The people were finally prevail'd upon to consent to their own ruin.
By the force of perswasion [sic], or rather by cajoling arts and tricks always made use of by men who have ambitious views, they enacted their Lex Regia; whereby Quod placuit principi legis habuit vigor em; that is, the will and pleasure of the Prince had the force of law.
His minions had taken infinite pains to paint to their imaginations the god-like virtues of Caesar. They first persuaded them to believe that he was a deity, and then to sacrifice to him those Rights and Liberties which their ancestors had so long maintained, with unexampled bravery, and with blood & treasure. By this act they fixed a precedent fatal to all posterity.
Remind you of anybody? With the exception of the rather flowery language, this could have been written today. It certainly applies.
Hat tip: William D. Bailey and his excellent Founder's Blog. I might not have read the words of the honorable Samuel Adams otherwise, as incendiary as it could be perceived in light of current events.