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 depravity.

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 the state.

12. Soldiers on their part are to be content with their pay,[13] 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.

The End
Glory to God Alone

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