Quotation by Rutherford Birchard Hayes

Is there anything in which the people of this age and country differ more from those of other lands and former times than in this—their ability to preserve order and protect rights without the aid of government? ... We are realizing the paradox, "that country is governed best which is governed least." I no longer fear lynch law. Let the people be intelligent and good, and I am not sure but their impulsive, instinctive verdicts and sentences and executions, unchecked by the rules and technicalities of law, are more likely to be according to substantial justice than the decisions of courts and juries.
Rutherford Birchard Hayes (1822–1893), U.S. president. Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes: Nineteenth President of the United States, vol. I, p. 373, ed. Charles Richard Williams, The Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society, 5 vols. (1922-1926), Diary (July 23, 1851).

This reaction to vigilantism in California reflects Hayes's extreme faith in the people.
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