I owe to this country my labour, which is my all; and I owe to it ten times more industry, if ten times more I could exert. After all I shall be an unprofitable servant . — Economical Reform (II. 380).
To be attached to the subdivision, to love the little platoon we belong to in society, is the first principle (the germ as it were) of public affections. It is the first link in the series by which we proceed towards a love to our country, and to mankind. The interest of that portion of social arrangement is a trust in the hands of all those who compose it; and as none but bad men would justify it in abuse, none but traitors would barter it away for their own personal advantage. — Reflections (IV. 50).
No man ever was attached by a sense of pride, partiality, or real affection to a description of square measurements. He never will glory in belonging to the chequer No. 71, or to any other badge-ticket. We begin our public affections in our families. No cold relation is a zealous citizen. We pass on to our neighbourhoods, and our habitual provincial connexions. These are inns and resting-places. Such divisions of our country as have been formed by habit, and not by a sudden jerk of authority, were so many little images of the great country in which the heart found something which it could fill. The love to the whole is not extinguished by this subordinate partiality. — Reflections (IV. 218).
Mine was to support with unrelaxing vigilance every right, every privilege, every franchise, in this my adopted, my dearer, and more comprehensive country; and not only to preserve those rights in this chief seat of empire, but in every nation, in every land, in every climate, language, and religion, in the vast domain that is still under the protection, and the larger that was once under the protection, of the British crown — Noble Lord (VI. 60).
Whilst our heart is whole, it will find means, or make them. The heart of the citizen is a perennial spring of energy to the state. — Regicide Peace (VI. 90).
I certainly have very warm good wishes for the place of my birth. But the sphere of my duties is my true country. — Bristol, 1780 (III. 9).
But speaking of things in their ordinary course, in a country of monopoly, there can be no patriotism. There may be party spirit — but public spirit there can be none. — Letter to Richard Burke.
Examine history; consult present experience; and you will find, that far the greater part of the quarrels between several nations had scarce any other occasion than that these nations were differ-out combinations of people and called by different names; to an Englishman, the name of a Frenchman, a Spaniard, an Italian, much more a Turk, or a Tartar, raises of course ideas of hatred and contempt. If you would inspire this compatriot of ours with pity or regard for one of these, would you not hide that distinction? You would not pray him to compassionate the poor Frenchman or the unhappy German. Far from it; you would speak of him as a foreigner, an accident to which all are liable. You would represent him as a man, one partaking with us of the same common nature and subject to the same law. There is something so averse from our nature in these artificial political distinctions, that we need no other trumpet to kindle us to war and destruction. But there is something so benign and healing in the general voice of humanity, that maugre all our regulations to prevent it, the simple name of man applied properly never fails to work a salutary effect. — Natural Society (II 22).
I know that it is but too natural for us to see our own certain ruin in the possible prosperity of other people. It is hard to persuade us that everything which is got by another is not taken from ourselves. But it is fit that we should get the better of these suggestions, which come from what is not the best and soundest part of our nature, and that we should form to ourselves a way of thinking, more rational, more just, and more religious. — Letter to Bristol ( II. 298).