Of the Corruption of the Principles of the Three
1. General Idea of this Book. The corruption
of this government generally begins with that of the principles.
2. Of the Corruption of the Principles of
Democracy. The principle of democracy is corrupted not only when the
spirit of equality is extinct, but likewise when they fall into a spirit
of extreme equality, and when each citizen would fain be upon a level with
those whom he has chosen to command him. Then the people, incapable of
bearing the very power they have delegated, want to manage everything
themselves, to debate for the senate, to execute for the magistrate, and
to decide for the judges.
When this is the case, virtue can no longer subsist in the republic. The
people are desirous of exercising the functions of the magistrates, who
cease to be revered. The deliberations of the senate are slighted; all
respect is then laid aside for the senators, and consequently for old age.
If there is no more respect for old age, there will be none presently for
parents; deference to husbands will be likewise thrown off, and submission
to masters. This licence will soon become general, and the trouble of
command be as fatiguing as that of obedience. Wives, children, slaves will
shake off all subjection. No longer will there be any such thing as
manners, order, or virtue.
We find in Xenophon's Banquet a very lively description of a
republic in which the people abused their equality. Each guest gives in
his turn the reason why he is satisfied. "Content I am," says
Chamides, "because of my poverty. When I was rich, I was obliged to
pay my court to informers, knowing I was more liable to be hurt by them
than capable of doing them harm. The republic constantly demanded some new
tax of me; and I could not decline paying. Since I have grown poor, I have
acquired authority; nobody threatens me; I rather threaten others. I can
go or stay where I please. The rich already rise from their seats and give
me the way. I am a king, I was before a slave: I paid taxes to the
republic, now it maintains me: I am no longer afraid of losing: but I hope
The people fall into this misfortune when those in whom they confide,
desirous of concealing their own corruption, endeavour to corrupt them. To
disguise their own ambition, they speak to them only of the grandeur of
the state; to conceal their own avarice, they incessantly flatter theirs.
The corruption will increase among the corruptors, and likewise among
those who are already corrupted. The people will divide the public money
among themselves, and, having added the administration of affairs to their
indolence, will be for blending their poverty with the amusements of
luxury. But with their indolence and luxury, nothing but the public
treasure will be able to satisfy their demands.
We must not be surprised to see their suffrages given for money. It is
impossible to make great largesses to the people without great extortion:
and to compass this, the state must be subverted. The greater the
advantages they seem to derive from their liberty, the nearer they
approach towards the critical moment of losing it. Petty tyrants arise who
have all the vices of a single tyrant. The small remains of liberty soon
become insupportable; a single tyrant starts up, and the people are
stripped of everything, even of the profits of their corruption.
Democracy has, therefore, two excesses to avoid — the spirit of
inequality, which leads to aristocracy or monarchy, and the spirit of
extreme equality, which leads to despotic power, as the latter is
completed by conquest.
True it is that those who corrupted the Greek republics did not always
become tyrants. This was because they had a greater passion for eloquence
than for the military art. Besides there reigned an implacable hatred in
the breasts of the Greeks against those who subverted a republican
government; and for this reason anarchy degenerated into annihilation,
instead of being changed into tyranny.
But Syracuse being situated in the midst of a great number of petty
states, whose government had been changed from oligarchy to tyranny,1
and being governed by a senate2
scarcely ever mentioned in history, underwent such miseries as are the
consequence of a more than ordinary corruption. This city, ever a prey to
licentiousness3 or oppression,
equally labouring under the sudden and alternate succession of liberty and
servitude, and notwithstanding her external strength, constantly
determined to a revolution by the least foreign power — this city, I
say, had in her bosom an immense multitude of people, whose fate it was to
have always this cruel alternative, either of choosing a tyrant to govern
them, or of acting the tyrant themselves.
3. Of the Spirit of extreme Equality. As
distant as heaven is from earth, so is the true spirit of equality from
that of extreme equality. The former does not imply that everybody should
command, or that no one should be commanded, but that we obey or command
our equals. It endeavours not to shake off the authority of a master, but
that its masters should be none but its equals.
In the state of nature, indeed, all men are born equal, but they cannot
continue in this equality. Society makes them lose it, and they recover it
only by the protection of the laws.
Such is the difference between a well-regulated democracy and one that
is not so, that in the former men are equal only as citizens, but in the
latter they are equal also as magistrates, as senators, as judges, as
fathers, as husbands, or as masters.
The natural place of virtue is near to liberty; but it is not nearer to
excessive liberty than to servitude.
4. Particular Cause of the Corruption of the
People. Great success, especially when chiefly owing to the people,
intoxicates them to such a degree that it is impossible to contain them
within bounds. Jealous of their magistrates, they soon became jealous
likewise of the magistracy; enemies to those who govern, they soon prove
enemies also to the constitution. Thus it was that the victory over the
Persians in the straits of Salamis corrupted the republic of Athens;4
and thus the defeat of the Athenians ruined the republic of Syracuse.5
Marseilles never experienced those great transitions from lowness to
grandeur; this was owing to the prudent conduct of that republic, which
always preserved her principles.
5. Of the Corruption of the Principle of
Aristocracy. Aristocracy is corrupted if the power of the nobles
becomes arbitrary: when this is the case, there can no longer be any
virtue either in the governors or the governed.
If the reigning families observe the laws, it is a monarchy with several
monarchs, and in its own nature one of the most excellent; for almost all
these monarchs are tied down by the laws. But when they do not observe
them, it is a despotic state swayed by a great many despotic princes.
In the latter case, the republic consists only in the nobles. The body
governing is the republic; and the body governed is the despotic state;
which forms two of the most heterogeneous bodies in the world.
The extremity of corruption is when the power of the nobles becomes
hereditary;6 for then they can
hardly have any moderation. If they are only a few, their power is
greater, but their security less: if they are a larger number, their power
is less, and their security greater, insomuch that power goes on
increasing, and security diminishing, up to the very despotic prince who
is encircled with excess of power and danger.
The great number, therefore, of nobles in an hereditary aristocracy
renders the government less violent: but as there is less virtue, they
fall into a spirit of supineness and negligence, by which the state loses
all its strength and activity.7
An aristocracy may maintain the full vigour of its constitution if the
laws be such as are apt to render the nobles more sensible of the perils
and fatigues than of the pleasure of command: and if the government be in
such a situation as to have something to dread, while security shelters
under its protection, and uncertainty threatens from abroad.
As a certain kind of confidence forms the glory and stability of
monarchies, republics, on the contrary, must have something to apprehend.8
A fear of the Persians supported the laws of Greece. Carthage and Rome
were alarmed, and strengthened by each other. Strange, that the greater
security those states enjoyed, the more, like stagnated waters, they were
subject to corruption!
6. Of the Corruption of the Principle of
Monarchy. As democracies are subverted when the people despoil the
senate, the magistrates, the judges of their functions, so monarchies are
corrupted when the prince insensibly deprives societies or cities of their
privileges. In the former case the multitude usurp the power, in the
latter it is usurped by a single person.
"The destruction of the dynasties of Tsin and Soui," says a
Chinese author, "was owing to this: the princes, instead of confining
themselves, like their ancestors, to a general inspection, the only one
worthy of a sovereign, wanted to govern everything immediately by
themselves."9 The Chinese
author gives us in this instance the cause of the corruption of almost all
Monarchy is destroyed when a prince thinks he shows a greater exertion
of power in changing than in conforming to the order of things; when he
deprives some of his subjects of their hereditary employments to bestow
them arbitrarily upon others; and when he is fonder of being guided by
fancy than judgment.
Again, it is destroyed when the prince, directing everything entirely to
himself, calls the state to his capital, the capital to his court, and the
court to his own person.
It is destroyed, in fine, when the prince mistakes his authority, his
situation and the love of his people, and when he is not fully persuaded
that a monarch ought to think himself secure, as a despotic prince ought
to think himself in danger.
7. The same Subject continued. The principle
of monarchy is corrupted when the first dignities are marks of the first
servitude, when the great men are deprived of public respect, and rendered
the low tools of arbitrary power.
It is still more corrupted when honour is set up in contradiction to
honours, and when men are capable of being loaded at the very same time
with infamy10 and with dignities.
It is corrupted when the prince changes his justice into severity; when
he puts, like the Roman emperors, a Medusa's head on his breast;11
and when he assumes that menacing and terrible air which Commodus ordered
to be given to his statues.12
Again, it is corrupted when mean and abject souls grow vain of the pomp
attending their servitude, and imagine that the motive which induces them
to be entirely devoted to their prince exempts them from all duty to their
But if it be true (and indeed the experience of all ages has shown it)
that in proportion as the power of the monarch becomes boundless and
immense, his security diminishes, is the corrupting of this power, and the
altering of its very nature, a less crime than that of high treason
against the prince?
8. Danger of the Corruption of the Principle of
monarchical Government. The danger is not when the state passes from
one moderate to another moderate government, as from a republic to a
monarchy, or from a monarchy to a republic; but when it is precipitated
from a moderate to a despotic government.
Most of the European nations are still governed by the principles of
morality. But if from a long abuse of power or the fury of conquest,
despotic sway should prevail to a certain degree, neither morals nor
climate would be able to withstand its baleful influence: and then human
nature would be exposed, for some time at least, even in this beautiful
part of the world, to the insults with which she has been abused in the
9. How ready the Nobility are to defend the
Throne. The English nobility buried themselves with Charles the First
under the ruins of the throne; and before that time, when Philip the
Second endeavoured to tempt the French with the allurement of liberty, the
crown was constantly supported by a nobility who think it an honour to
obey a king, but consider it as the lowest disgrace to share the power
with the people.
The house of Austria has ever used her endeavours to oppress the
Hungarian nobility; little thinking how serviceable that very nobility
would be one day to her. She would fain have drained their country of
money, of which they had no plenty; but took no notice of the men, with
whom it abounded. When princes combined to dismember her dominions, the
several parts of that monarchy fell motionless, as it were one upon
another. No life was then to be seen but in those very nobles, who,
resenting the affronts offered to the sovereign, and forgetting the
injuries done to themselves, took up arms to avenge her cause, and
considered it the highest glory bravely to die and to forgive.
10. Of the Corruption of the Principle of
despotic Government. The principle of despotic government is subject
to a continual corruption, because it is even in its nature corrupt. Other
governments are destroyed by particular accidents, which do violence to
the principles of each constitution; this is ruined by its own intrinsic
imperfections, when some accidental causes do not prevent the corrupting
of its principles. It maintains itself therefore only when circumstances,
drawn from the climate, religion, situation, or genius of the people,
oblige it to conform to order, and to admit of some rule. By these things
its nature is forced without being changed; its ferocity remains; and it
is made tame and tractable only for a time.
11. Natural Effects of the Goodness and
Corruption of the Principles of Government. When once the principles
of government are corrupted, the very best laws become bad, and turn
against the state: but when the principles are sound, even bad laws have
the same effect as good; the force of the principle draws everything to
The inhabitants of Crete used a very singular method to keep the
principal magistrates dependent on the laws, which was that of
Insurrection. Part of the citizens rose up in arms,13
put the magistrates to flight, and obliged them to return to a private
life. This was supposed to be done in consequence of the law. One would
have imagined that an institution of this nature, which established
sedition to hinder the abuse of power, would have subverted any republic
whatsoever; and yet it did not subvert that of Crete. The reason is this.14
When the ancients would cite a people that had the strongest affection
for their country, they were sure to mention the inhabitants of Crete: "Our
Country," said Plato,15 "a
name so dear to the Cretans." They called it by a name which
signifies the love of a mother for her children.16
Now the love of our country sets everything right.
The laws of Poland have likewise their Insurrection: but the
inconveniences thence arising plainly show that the people of Crete alone
were capable of using such a remedy with success.
The gymnic exercises established among the Greeks had the same
dependence on the goodness of the principle of government. "It was
the Lacedæmonians and Cretans," said Plato,17
"that opened those celebrated academies which gave them so eminent a
rank in the world. Modesty at first was alarmed; but it yielded to the
public utility." In Plato's time these institutions were admirable:18
as they bore a relation to a very important object, which was the military
art. But when virtue fled from Greece, the military art was destroyed by
these institutions; people appeared then on the arena, not for
improvement, but for debauch.19
Plutarch informs us20 that the
Romans in his time were of opinion that those games had been the principal
cause of the slavery into which the Greeks had fallen. On the contrary, it
was the slavery of the Greeks that corrupted those exercises. In
Plutarch's time,21 their fighting
naked in the parks, and their wrestling, infected the young people with a
spirit of cowardice, inclined them to infamous passions, and made them
mere dancers. But under Epaminondas the exercise of wrestling made the
Thebans win the famous battle of Leuctra.22
There are very few laws which are not good, while the state retains its
principles: here I may apply what Epicurus said of riches. "It is not
the liquor, but the vessel that is corrupted."
12. The same Subject continued. In Rome the
judges were chosen at first from the order of senators. This privilege the
Gracchi transferred to the knights; Drusus gave it to the senators and
knights; Sulla to the senators only: Cotta to the senators, knights, and
public treasurers; Cæsar excluded the latter; Antony made decuries
of senators, knights, and centurions.
When once a republic is corrupted, there is no possibility of remedying
any of the growing evils, but by removing the corruption and restoring its
lost principles; every other correction is either useless or a new evil.
While Rome preserved her principles entire, the judicial power might
without any abuse be lodged in the hands of senators; but as soon as this
city became corrupt, to whatsoever body that power was transferred,
whether to the senate, to the knights, to the treasurers, to two of those
bodies, to all three together, or to any other, matters still went wrong.
The knights had no more virtue than the senate, the treasurers no more
than the knights, and these as little as the centurions.
After the people of Rome had obtained the privilege of sharing the
magistracy with the patricians, it was natural to think that their
flatterers would immediately become arbiters of the government. But no
such thing ever happened. — It was observable that the very people
who had rendered the plebeians capable of public offices ever fixed their
choice upon the patricians. Because they were virtuous, they were
magnanimous; and because they were free, they had a contempt of power.
But when their morals were corrupted, the more power they were possessed
of, the less prudent was their conduct, till at length, upon becoming
their own tyrants and slaves, they lost the strength of liberty to fall
into the weakness and impotency of licentiousness.
13. The Effect of an Oath among virtuous People.
There is no nation, says Livy,23
that has been longer uncorrupted than the Romans; no nation where
moderation and poverty have been longer respected.
Such was the influence of an oath among those people that nothing bound
them more strongly to the laws. They often did more for the observance of
an oath than they would ever have performed for the thirst of glory or for
the love of their country.
When Quintus Cincinnatus, the consul, wanted to raise an army in the
city against the Æqui and the Volsci, the tribunes opposed him. "Well,"
said he, "let all those who have taken an oath to the consul of the
preceding year march under my banner."24
In vain did the tribunes cry out that this oath was no longer binding, and
that when they took it Quintus was but a private person: the people were
more religious than those who pretended to direct them; they would not
listen to the distinctions or equivocations of the tribunes.
When the same people thought of retiring to the Sacred Mount, they felt
some remorse from the oath they had taken to the consuls, that they would
follow them into the field.25 They
entered then into a design of killing the consuls; but dropped it when
they were given to understand that their oath would still be binding. Now
it is easy to judge of the notion they entertained of the violation of an
oath from the crime they intended to commit.
After the battle of Cannæ, the people were seized with such a
panic that they would fain have retired to Sicily. But Scipio having
prevailed upon them to swear they would not stir from Rome, the fear of
violating this oath surpassed all other apprehensions. Rome was a ship
held by two anchors, religion and morality, in the midst of a furious
14. How the smallest Change of the Constitution
is attended with the Ruin of its Principles. Aristotle mentions the
city of Carthage as a well-regulated republic. Polybius tells us26
that there was this inconvenience at Carthage in the second Punic war,
that the senate had lost almost all its authority. We are informed by Livy
that when Hannibal returned to Carthage he found that the magistrates and
the principal citizens had abused their power, and converted the public
revenues to their private emolument. The virtue, therefore, of the
magistrates, and the authority of the senate, both fell at the same time;
and all was owing to the same cause.
Every one knows the wonderful effects of the censorship among the
Romans. There was a time when it grew burdensome; but still it was
supported because there was more luxury than corruption. Claudius27
weakened its authority, by which means the corruption became greater than
the luxury, and the censorship dwindled away of itself.28
After various interruptions and resumptions, it was entirely laid aside,
till it became altogether useless, that is, till the reigns of Augustus
15. Sure Methods of preserving the three
Principles. I shall not be able to make myself rightly understood till
the reader has perused the four following chapters.
16. Distinctive Properties of a Republic. It
is natural for a republic to have only a small territory; otherwise it
cannot long subsist. In an extensive republic there are men of large
fortunes, and consequently of less moderation; there are trusts too
considerable to be placed in any single subject; he has interests of his
own; he soon begins to think that he may be happy and glorious, by
oppressing his fellow-citizens; and that he may raise himself to grandeur
on the ruins of his country.
In an extensive republic the public good is sacrificed to a thousand
private views; it is subordinate to exceptions, and depends on accidents.
In a small one, the interest of the public is more obvious, better
understood, and more within the reach of every citizen; abuses have less
extent, and of course are less protected.
The long duration of the republic of Sparta was owing to her having
continued in the same extent of territory after all her wars. The sole aim
of Sparta was liberty; and the sole advantage of her liberty, glory.
It was the spirit of the Greek republics to be as contented with their
territories as with their laws. Athens was first fired with ambition and
gave it to Lacedæmon; but it was an ambition rather of commanding a
free people than of governing slaves; rather of directing than of breaking
the union. All was lost upon the starting up of monarchy — a
government whose spirit is more turned to increase of dominion.
Excepting particular circumstances,29
it is difficult for any other than a republican government to subsist
longer in a single town. A prince of so petty a state would naturally
endeavour to oppress his subjects, because his power would be great, while
the means of enjoying it or of causing it to be respected would be
inconsiderable. The consequence is, he would trample upon his people. On
the other hand, such a prince might be easily crushed by a foreign or even
a domestic force; the people might any instant unite and rise up against
him. Now as soon as the sovereign of a single town is expelled, the
quarrel is over; but if he has many towns, it only begins.
17. Distinctive Properties of a Monarchy. A
monarchical state ought to be of moderate extent. Were it small, it would
form itself into a republic; were it very large, the nobility, possessed
of great estates, far from the eye of the prince, with a private court of
their own, and secure, moreover, from sudden executions by the laws and
manners of the country — such a nobility, I say, might throw off
their allegiance, having nothing to fear from too slow and too distant a
Thus Charlemagne had scarcely founded his empire when he was obliged to
divide it; whether the governors of the provinces refused to obey; or
whether, in order to keep them more under subjection, there was a
necessity of parcelling the empire into several kingdoms.
After the decease of Alexander his empire was divided. How was it
possible for those Greek and Macedonian chiefs, who were each of them free
and independent, or commanders at least of the victorious bands dispersed
throughout that vast extent of conquered land — how was it possible,
I say, for them to obey?
Attila's empire was dissolved soon after his death; such a number of
kings, who were no longer under restraint, could not resume their fetters.
The sudden establishment of unlimited power is a remedy, which in those
cases may prevent a dissolution: but how dreadful the remedy, which after
the enlargement of dominion opens a new scene of misery!
The rivers hasten to mingle their waters with the sea; and monarchies
lose themselves in despotic power.
18. Particular Case of the Spanish Monarchy.
Let not the example of Spain be produced against me, it rather proves what
I affirm. To preserve America she did what even despotic power itself does
not attempt: she destroyed the inhabitants. To preserve her colony, she
was obliged to keep it dependent even for its subsistence.
In the Netherlands, she essayed to render herself arbitrary; and as soon
as she abandoned the attempt, her perplexity increased. On the one hand
the Walloons would not be governed by Spaniards; and on the other, the
Spanish soldiers refused to submit to Walloon officers.30
In Italy she maintained her ground, merely by exhausting herself and by
enriching that country. For those who would have been pleased to have got
rid of the king of Spain were not in a humour to refuse his gold.
19. Distinctive Properties of a despotic
Government. A large empire supposes a despotic authority in the person
who governs. It is necessary that the quickness of the prince's
resolutions should supply the distance of the places they are sent to;
that fear should prevent the remissness of the distant governor or
magistrate; that the law should be derived from a single person, and
should shift continually, according to the accidents which necessarily
multiply in a state in proportion to its extent.
20. Consequence of the preceding Chapters. If
it be, therefore, the natural property of small states to be governed as a
republic, of middling ones to be subject to a monarch, and of large
empires to be swayed by a despotic prince; the consequence is, that in
order to preserve the principles of the established government, the state
must be supported in the extent it has acquired, and that the spirit of
this state will alter in proportion as it contracts or extends its limits.
21. Of the Empire of China. Before I conclude
this book, I shall answer an objection that may be made to the foregoing
Our missionaries inform us that the government of the vast empire of
China is admirable, and that it has a proper mixture of fear, honour, and
virtue. Consequently I must have given an idle distinction in establishing
the principles of the three governments.
But I cannot conceive what this honour can be among a people who act
only through fear of being bastinadoed.31
Again, our merchants are far from giving us any such accounts of the
virtue so much talked of by the missionaries; we need only consult them in
relation to the robberies and extortions of the mandarins.32
I likewise appeal to another unexceptional witness, the great Lord Anson.
Besides, Father Perennin's letters concerning the emperor's proceedings
against some of the princes of the blood33
who had incurred his displeasure by their conversion, plainly show us a
settled plan of tyranny, and barbarities committed by rule, that is, in
We have likewise Monsieur de Mairan's, and the same Father Perennin's,
letters on the government of China. I find therefore that after a few
proper questions and answers the whole mystery is unfolded.
Might not our missionaries have been deceived by an appearance of order?
Might not they have been struck with that constant exercise of a single
person's will — an exercise by which they themselves are governed,
and which they are so pleased to find in the courts of the Indian princes;
because as they go thither only in order to introduce great changes, it is
much easier to persuade those princes that there are no bounds to their
power, than to convince the people that there are none to their
In fine, there is frequently some kind of truth even in errors
themselves. It may be owing to particular and, perhaps, very extraordinary
circumstances that the Chinese government is not so corrupt as one might
naturally expect. The climate and some other physical causes may, in that
country, have had so strong an influence on their morals as in some
measure to produce wonders.
The climate of China is surprisingly favourable to the propagation of
the human species.35 The women are
the most prolific in the whole world. The most barbarous tyranny can put
no stop to the progress of propagation. The prince cannot say there like
Pharaoh, "Let us deal wisely with them, lest they multiply." He
would be rather reduced to Nerotyranny, that mankind had all but one head.
In spite of tyranny, China by the force of its climate will be ever
populous, and triumph over the tyrannical oppressor.
China, like all other countries that live chiefly upon rice, is subject
to frequent famines. When the people are ready to starve, they disperse in
order to seek for nourishment; in consequence of which, gangs of robbers
are formed on every side. Most of them are extirpated in their very
infancy; others swell, and are likewise suppressed. And yet in so great a
number of such distant provinces, some band or other may happen to meet
with success. In that case they maintain their ground, strengthen their
party, form themselves into a military body, march up to the capital, and
place their leader on the throne.
From the very nature of things, a bad administration is here immediately
punished. The want of subsistence in so populous a country produces sudden
disorders. The reason why the redress of abuses in other countries is
attended with such difficulty is because their effects are not immediately
felt; the prince is not informed in so sudden and sensible a manner as in
The Emperor of China is not taught like our princes that if he governs
ill he will be less happy in the other life, less powerful and less
opulent in this. He knows that if his government be not just he will be
stripped both of empire and life.
As China grows every day more populous, notwithstanding the exposing of
children,36 the inhabitants are
incessantly employed in tilling the lands for their subsistence. This
requires a very extraordinary attention in the government. It is their
perpetual concern that every man should have it in his power to work,
without the apprehension of being deprived of the fruits of his labour.
Consequently this is not so much a civil as a domestic government.
Such has been the origin of those regulations which have been so greatly
extolled. They wanted to make the laws reign in conjunction with despotic
power; but whatever is joined to the latter loses all its force. In vain
did this arbitrary sway, labouring under its own inconveniences, desire to
be fettered; it armed itself with its chains, and has become still more
China is therefore a despotic state, whose principle is fear. Perhaps in
the earliest dynasties, when the empire had not so large an extent, the
government might have deviated a little from this spirit; but the case is
otherwise at present.
1. See Plutarch in Timoleon
2. It was that of the Six Hundred, of
whom mention is made by Diodorus, xix. 5.
3. Upon the expulsions of the
tyrants, they made citizens of strangers and mercenary troops, which gave
rise to civil wars. — Aristotle, Politics, v. 3. The people
having been the cause of the victory over the Athenians, the republic was
changed. — Ibid., 4. The passion of two young magistrates,
one of whom carried off the other's boy, and in revenge the other
debauched his wife, was attended with a change in the form of this
republic. — Ibid.
6. The aristocracy is changed into an
7. Venice is one of those republics
that has enacted the best laws for correcting the inconveniences of an
8. Justin attributes the extinction
of Athenian virtue to the death of Epaminondas. Having no further
emulation, they spent their revenues in feasts, frequentius coenam,
quam castra visentes. Then it was that the Macedonians emerged from
obscurity, 9, 1. 6.
9. Compilation of works made under
the Mings, related by Father Du Halde, Description of China, ii,
10. During the reign of Tiberius
statues were erected to, and triumphal ornaments conferred on, informers;
which debased these honours to such a degree that those who had really
merited them disdained to accept them. Frag. of Dio, lviii. 14, taken from
the Extract of Virtues and Vices, by Constantine Porphyrogenitus.
See in Tacitus in what manner Nero, on the discovery and punishment of a
pretended conspiracy, bestowed triumphal ornaments on Petronius
Turpilianus, Nerva, and Tigellinus. — Annals, xiv. 72. See
likewise how the generals refused to serve, because they condemned the
military honours: pervulgatis triumphi insignibus — Ibid.,
11. In this state the prince knew
extremely well the principle of his government.
13. Aristotle, Politics, ii.
14. They always united immediately
against foreign enemies, which was called Syncretism. —
Plutarch Moralia, p. 88.
15. Republic, ix.
16. Plutarch, Whether a Man
Advanced in Years Ought to Meddle with Public Affairs.
17. Republic, v.
18. The Gymnic art was divided into
two parts, dancing and wrestling. In Crete they had the armed dances of
the Curetes; at Sparta they had those of Castor and Pollux; at Athens the
armed dances of Pallas, which were extremely proper for those that were
not yet of age for military service. Wrestling is the image of war, said
Plato Laws, vii. He commends antiquity for having established only
two dances, the pacific and the Pyrrhic. See how the latter dance was
applied to the military art, Plato, ibid.
19. Aut libidinosce. Ladæas
Lacedamonis palæstras. — Mutual, iv, 55.
20. Plutarch, in the treatise
entitled Questions Concerning the Affairs of the Romans, question
22. Plutarch, Table Propositions,
book ii, question 5.
23. Book i, pref.
24. Livy, iii. 20.
25. Ibid., 32.
26. About a hundred years after.
27. See xi,
28. See Dio, xxxviii, Cicero
in Plutarch, Cicero to Atticus, iv. 10, 15. Asconius on Cicero, De
29. As when a petty sovereign
supports himself between two great powers by means of their mutual
jealousy; but then he has only a precarious existence.
30. See M. Le Clerc, the History
of the United Provinces.
31. "It is the cudgel that
governs China," says Father Du Halde, Disc. de la Chine, ii,
32. Among others, De Lange's account.
33. Of the Family of Sourniama, Edifying
Letters, coll. xviii.
34. See in Father Du Halde how the
missionaries availed themselves of the authority of Canhi to silence the
mandarins, who constantly declared that by the laws of the country no
foreign worship could be established in the empire.
35. See Lettres persanes,
36. See the order of Tsongtou for
tilling the land, in the Edifying Letters, coll. xxi.
Next | Previous
| Text Version | Contents
| Liberty Library |