“Though the name of liberty delights the ear, and tickles the fond pride of man, it is a jewel much oftener the play-thing of his imagination than a possession of real stability; it may be acquired to-day in all the triumph of independent feelings, but perhaps to-morrow the world may be convinced, that mankind knows not how to make a proper use of this prize, generally bartered away in a short time as nothing but a useless bauble [trinket] to the first officious master who will take the burden from the mind, by laying another on the shoulders of ten-fold weight.”
— Mercy Otis Warren, 1805; from “History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution”
I first came across this quote in a lecture given by Brad Birzer back in 2011 called The Meaning of Liberty During the American Founding. I have provided an audio copy of that lecture, with some accompanying notes. Click on the link.