On the Duties of Citizens
1. The duty of citizens is either general or particular. The former arises
from the common obligation, by virtue of which they are subject to the civil
authority. The latter arises from a particular office and function, which has
been laid upon individuals by the supreme authority.
2. The general duty of citizens has regard to the rulers of the state, or to
the entire state, or to their fellow-citizens.
3. To the rulers of the state a citizen owes respect, loyalty and obedience.
This implies that one acquiesce in the present regime, and have no thoughts of
revolution; that one refrain from attaching himself to any other, or admiring
and respecting him; that one have a good and honorable opinion of the rulers
and their acts, and express himself accordingly.
4. A good citizen's duty towards the whole state is to have nothing dearer
than its welfare and safety, to offer his life, property, and fortunes freely
for its preservation; to exert all the strength of his mind and industry to add
to its fame and promote its interests.
5. As regards his fellow-citizens, it is the duty of the citizen to live
friendly and peaceably with them, to show himself obliging and good-natured,
and not to make trouble by peevishness or obstinacy ; not to envy the
advantages of the others, or to deprive them of the same.
6. Particular duties either permeate the whole state, or they concern
themselves with a part merely. In regard to all of these there is this general
precept: a man should not seek or undertake any duty in the state, for which he
knows that he is unfit.
7. Those who by their counsel assist the rulers of states, should turn the
eye of their mind to every part of it; whatever shall seem to the interest of
the state, they must declare with skill and fidelity, without bias or unworthy
motives; in all their counsels they must have the welfare of the state as their
aim, not their own wealth of power: they are not to humor the evil inclinations
of princes by flattery; but to abstain from factions and unlawful gatherings;
not to conceal anything that ought to be said, not to reveal anything that
should be kept in confidence; to show themselves inaccessible to corruption by
foreigners; not to postpone public business for private business or pleasures.
8. Those who are publicly appointed to perform the rites of religion must do
so with dignity and attention, set forth true dogmas concerning the worship of
God, show themselves to the people a conspicuous example of their own teaching,
and not rob their office of dignity, their teaching of weight, by moral
9. Those who are publicly commanded to instil knowledge of various kinds
into the minds of the citizens, must teach nothing false or pernicious; but so
impart the truth that their hearers may assent, not from the mere habit of the
lecture-room, so much as because they have perceived the substantial reasons
therefor. They must avoid all teachings tending to disturb civil society, and
hold all human knowledge vain, if no advantage flows from it for the life of
man and citizen.
10. Those in charge of the administration of justice must give easy access
to all, and protect the common people from oppression on the part of the more
powerful. They must render the same justice to the poor and lowly, as to the
powerful and influential; and not drag suits out beyond what is necessary. They
should abstain from corruption, use diligence in the hearing of cases, set
aside every passion that corrupts honest judgment; and in doing right they
should fear no one.
11. Those intrusted with the command of the army are to train the soldiers
with diligence and in due time, and strengthen them to endure the hardships of
the service; they must keep military discipline intact; they are not rashly to
expose the soldiers to slaughter by the enemy, but to provide grain and pay as
promptly as they can, and not make away with any of it. They must see that the
soldiers are always loyal to the state, and must never gain their favor against
12. Soldiers on their part are to be content with their pay, to abstain from plundering and
annoying the peasants, to undergo hardships for the defense of the state
willingly and actively, not to invite dangers recklessly, nor avoid them
through cowardice, to show bravery against the enemy, not against their
comrades, to defend manfully the post assigned, to prefer an honorable death to
a shameful flight and life.
13. Those whose services the state employs in foreign countries, should be
careful and circumspect, skilled in distinguishing the unreal from the real,
the true from the fictitious, very tenacious of secrets, persistent in the
interest of their state as against corruption in any form.
14. Those who have charge of gathering or disbursing the resources of the
state must avoid all needless harshness, and not add any burden for their own
profit, or out of petulance or ill-will. They are not to retain any public
moneys, and must satisfy without unnecessary delay the creditors of the state.
15. The duration of the citizens' particular duty is, so long as they fill
the office from which the duty springs; and when they leave the same, the
latter too expires. In the same way the general duty lasts as long as they are
citizens. But they cease to be citizens, if they leave with the express or
tacit consent of the state, and fix the abiding-place of their fortunes
elsewhere; or if for some crime they are exiled and deprived of the right of
citizenship; or if they have been overpowered by the enemy, and compelled to
submit to the rule of the victor.
Glory to God Alone
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