Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1762)

As, before putting up a large building, the architect surveys and sounds the site to see if it will bear the weight, the wise legislator does not begin by laying down laws good in themselves, but by investigating the fitness of the people, for which they are destined, to receive them.

The Social Contract (Book II, Chapter 8) / Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library (http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/RouSoci.html)