Public trust is a concept that relates back to the origins of democratic government and its seminal idea that within the public lies the true power and future of a society; therefore, whatever trust the public places in its officials must be respected. One of the reasons that bribery is regarded as a notorious evil is that it contributes to a culture of political corruption in which the public trust is eroded. Other issues related to political corruption or betrayal of public trust are lobbying, special interest groups and the public cartel.
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations 
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 817-18.
- All government is a trust. Every branch of government is a trust, and immemorially acknowledged to be so.
- All persons possessing any portion of power ought to be strongly and awfully impressed with an idea that they act in trust, and that they are to account for their conduct in that trust to the one great Master, Author, and Founder of society.
- Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France.
- To execute laws is a royal office; to execute orders is not to be a king. However, a political executive magistracy, though merely such, is a great trust.
- Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France.
- The very essence of a free government consists in considering offices as public trusts, bestowed for the good of the country, and not for the benefit of an individual or a party.
- John C. Calhoun, speech (July 13, 1835).
- Government is a trust, and the officers of the government are trustees; and both the trust and the trustees are created for the benefit of the people.
- Henry Clay, speech at Lexington (May 16, 1829).
- Public officers are the servants and agents of the people, to execute laws which the people have made and within the limits of a constitution which they have established.
- Grover Cleveland, Letter of Acceptance as Candidate for Governor (Oct. 7, 1882). See W. O. Stoddard's Life of Cleveland, Chapter IX.
- Your every voter, as surely as your chief magistrate, under the same high sanction, though in a different sphere, exercises a public trust.
- Grover Cleveland, Inaugural Address (March 4, 1885). See also speech in accepting the nomination to the Mayoralty of Buffalo. First Message as Mayor. Reply to the committee appointed by the National Democratic Convention to inform him of his nomination to the Presidency, July 28, 1884.
- The appointing power of the Pope is treated as a public trust, and not as a personal perquisite.
- All power is a trust; that we are accountable for its exercise; that from the people and for the people all springs, and all must exist.
- Benjamin Disraeli, Vivian Grey, Book VI, Chapter VII.
- Public office is a public trust, the authority and opportunities of which must be used as absolutely as the public moneys for the public benefit, and not for the purposes of any individual or party.
- Dorman B. Eaton, The "Spoils" System and Civil Service Reform, Chapter III. The Merit System.
- If you use your office as you would a private trust, and the moneys as trust funds, if you faithfully perform your duty, we, the people, may put you in the Presidential chair.
- Hon. R. P. Flower, on the night of Mr. Cleveland's election as Governor of New York.
- It is not fit the public trusts should be lodged in the hands of any till they are first proved and found fit for the business they are to be entrusted with.
- Matthew Henry, Commentaries, Timothy, III.
- When a man assumes a public trust, he should consider himself as public property.
- Thomas Jefferson, to Baron Humboldt, reported in Rayner's Life of Jefferson, p. 356.
- The English doctrine that all power is a trust for the public good.
- Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1st Baron Macaulay, Essay on Horace Walpole (1833).
- The phrase "public office is a public trust," has of late become common property.
- Charles Sumner, speech in the United States Senate (May 31, 1872). According to Col. John S. Wolf, of Champaign, it originated in a decision of Justice Samuel D. Lockwood, of the Illinois Supreme Court, prior to 1840. He served from 1825 to 1848. Washington Star, May 5, 1891, assigns it to Thomas M. Cooley. See Constitutional Law (Pub. 1880), pg. 303. Charles James Fox. (1788). Sydney Smith in Edinburgh Review. (1825). Webster—Bunker Hill Address. (1825). President Andrew Johnson's Message. (1867). Abram S. Hewitt—Speech. (1883). Daniel S. Lamont. Motto of Pamphlet. (1884).
The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904) 
- Quotes reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 214-5.
- We are not to assume that public officers will do anything unjust or tyrannical.
- Willes, J., Booking v. Jones (1870), L. R. 6 Com. PL Ca. 35.
- A servant of the Crown ought not to be placed at a disadvantage in comparison with other subjects.
- Field, J., Hennessy v. Wright (1888), L. R. 21 Q. B. D. 513.
- If public officers will infringe men's rights, they ought to pay greater damages than other men, to deter and hinder other officers from the like offences.
- Holt, C.J., Ashby v. White (1703), 2 Raym. 956.
- We are bound to assume that the Crown in the exercise of its grace and favour, will be guided solely by constitutional considerations, by regard to merit, loyalty, and public services.
- Coleridge, J., Brownlow v. Egerton (1854), 23 L. J. Rep. (N. S.) Eq. 372.
- If the confidential communications made by servants of the Crown to each other, by superiors to inferiors, or by inferiors to superiors, in the discharge of their duty to the Crown, were liable to be made public in a Court of justice at the instance of any suitor who thought proper to say "fiat justitia mat caelum," an order for discovery might involve the country in a war.
- Field, J., Hennessy v. Wright (1888), L. R. 21 Q. B. D. 512. This was an action for libel by a Colonial Governor against The Times for publishing articles alleging that members of the Council of Government of Mauritius had charged him with sending to the Colonial Office garbled reports of their speeches.
- It is the principle of the common law, that an officer ought not to take money for doing his duty.
- Wilmot, J., Stotesbury v. Smith (1759), 2 Burr. Part IV., p. 928.
- It is proved that in passing . . . accounts, the accountant took his fees, while others did the business, which I fear is too often the case of public officers.
- Lord Mansfield, R. v. Bembridge (1783), 22 How. St. Tr. 152.
- It is a disparagement of the Government, who put an ill man into office.
- Holt, C.J., Regina v. Langley (1703), 2 Raym. 1029.
- If a man accepts an office of trust and confidence, concerning the public, especially when it is attended with profit, he is answerable to the King for his execution of that office.
- Lord Mansfield, R. v. Bembridge (1783), 22 How. St. Tr. 155.
- The Crown cannot ever be prejudiced by the misconduct or negligence of any of its officers.
- Pollock, C.B., Reg. v. Renton (1848), 2 Exch. Rep. 220.
- Men of honour will do their duty and will abide the consequences.
- Eyre, B., Sutton v. Johnstone (1786), 1 T. R. 504.