S. Austin Allibone, comp. Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay. 1880.
Those who have been once intoxicated with power, and have derived any kind of emolument from it, even though but for one year, never can willingly abandon it. They may be distressed in the midst of all their power; but they will never look to anything but power for their relief. When did distresses ever oblige a prince to abdicate his authority? And what effect will it have upon those who are made to believe themselves a people of princes?
Edmund Burke: Letter to a Member of the National Assembly, 1791.
Power is that glorious attribute of God Almighty which furnishes the rest of His perfections. Tis His omnipotence that makes His wisdom and goodness effectual, and succeed to the length of His will. Thus, His decrees are immutable, and His counsels stand; this secures His prerogative, and guards the sovereignty of His being; twas His power which made His ideas fruitful, and struck the world out of His thought. Twas this which answered the model of the creation, gave birth to time and nature, and brought them forth at His first call: thus, He spake the word, and they were made; He commanded, and they were created. Tis the divine power which is the basis of all things; which continues the vigour of the second causes, and keeps the sun and moon in repair. This holds everything constant to appointment, and true to the first plan: thus the revolutions of the seasons, the support of animals, the perpetuity of species, is carried on and maintained. Without this, things would soon riot, and ramble out of distinction; the succours of life would be cut off, and nature drop into decay. Omniscience and goodness without a correspondent power would be strangely short of satisfaction: to know everything without being able to supply defects and remedy disorders, must prove an unpleasant speculation; to see so many noble schemes languish in the mind and prove abortive, to see the most consummate wisdom, the most generous temper, fettered and disarmed, must be a grievance: but when omnipotence comes into the notion, the grandeur is perfect and the pleasure entire.
Power will intoxicate the best hearts, as wine the strongest heads. No man is wise enough, nor good enough, to be trusted with unlimited power; for, whatever qualifications he may have evinced to entitle him to the possession of so dangerous a privilege, yet when possessed, others can no longer answer for him, because he can no longer answer for himself.