"The finance of the country is ultimately associated with the liberties of the country. It is a powerful leverage by which the English liberty has been gradually acquired. If the House of Commons by any possibility loses the power of control of the grants of public money, depend upon it, your very liberty will be worth very little in comparison."
William Gladstone to the House of Common's,
Update, somebody has come back to me on this with the following,
I was fascinated by your Gladstonian "thought of the day". I presume that in the context of the late 18th C, he was referring to the perennial fights between the Commons and Lords over the purse strings, which were ultimately only resolved by the 1906 Liberal electoral landslide and threat to overwhelm the Lords with Liberal peerages.
But there are similar - diametrically opposed quotes:
"The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."
attibuted to Alexis de Tocqueville
"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy."
attibuted to a Scottish peer, Lord Woodhouselee (Alexander Fraser Tytler)