That the Laws Given by the Legislator Ought to Be in
Relation to the Principle of Government
1. Idea of this Book. That the laws of
education should relate to the principle of each government has been shown
in the preceding book. Now the same may be said of those which the
legislator gives to the whole society. The relation of laws to this
principle strengthens the several springs of government; and this
principle derives thence, in its turn, a new degree of vigour. And thus it
is in mechanics, that action is always followed by reaction.
Our design is, to examine this relation in each government, beginning
with the republican state, the principle of which is virtue.
2. What is meant by Virtue in a political State.
Virtue in a republic is a most simple thing: it is a love of the republic;
it is a sensation, and not a consequence of acquired knowledge: a
sensation that may be felt by the meanest as well as by the highest person
in the state. When the common people adopt good maxims, they adhere to
them more steadily than those whom we call gentlemen. It is very rarely
that corruption commences with the former: nay, they frequently derive
from their imperfect light a stronger attachment to the established laws
The love of our country is conducive to a purity of morals, and the
latter is again conducive to the former. The less we are able to satisfy
our private passions, the more we abandon ourselves to those of a general
nature. How comes it that monks are so fond of their order? It is owing to
the very cause that renders the order insupportable. Their rule debars
them from all those things by which the ordinary passions are fed; there
remains therefore only this passion for the very rule that torments them.
The more austere it is, that is, the more it curbs their inclinations, the
more force it givfes to the only passion left them.
3. What is meant by a Love of the Republic in a
Democracy. A love of the republic in a democracy is a love of the
democracy; as the latter is that of equality.
A love of the democracy is likewise that of frugality. Since every
individual ought here to enjoy the same happiness and the same advantages,
they should consequently taste the same pleasures and form the same hopes,
which cannot be expected but from a general frugality.
The love of equality in a democracy limits ambition to the sole desire,
to the sole happiness, of doing greater services to our country than the
rest of our fellow-citizens. They cannot all render her equal services,
but they all ought to serve her with equal alacrity. At our coming into
the world, we contract an immense debt to our country, which we can never
Hence distinctions here arise from the principle of equality, even when
it seems to be removed by signal services or superior abilities.
The love of frugality limits the desire of having to the study of
procuring necessaries to our family, and superfluities to our country.
Riches give a power which a citizen cannot use for himself, for then he
would be no longer equal. They likewise procure pleasures which he ought
not to enjoy, because these would be also repugnant to the equality.
Thus well-regulated democracies, by establishing domestic frugality,
made way at the same time for public expenses, as was the case at Rome and
Athens, when magnificence and profusion arose from the very fund of
frugality. And as religion commands us to have pure and unspotted hands
when we make our offerings to the gods, the laws required a frugality of
life to enable them to be liberal to our country.
The good sense and happiness of individuals depend greatly upon the
mediocrity of their abilities and fortunes. Therefore, as a republic,
where the laws have placed many in a middling station, is composed of wise
men, it will be wisely governed; as it is composed of happy men, it will
be extremely happy.
4. In what Manner the Love of Equality and
Frugality is inspired. The love of equality and of a frugal economy is
greatly excited by equality and frugality themselves, in societies where
both these virtues are established by law.
In monarchies and despotic governments, nobody aims at equality; this
does not so much as enter their thoughts; they all aspire to superiority.
People of the very lowest condition desire to emerge from their obscurity,
only to lord it over their fellow-subjects.
It is the same with respect to frugality. To love it, we must practise
and enjoy it. It is not those who are enervated by pleasure that are fond
of a frugal life; were this natural and common, Alcibiades would never
have been the admiration of the universe. Neither is it those who envy or
admire the luxury of the great; people that have present to their view
none but rich men, or men miserable like themselves, detest their wretched
condition, without loving or knowing the real term or point of misery.
A true maxim it is, therefore, that in order to love equality and
frugality in a republic, these virtues must have been previously
established by law.
5. In what Manner the Laws establish Equality in
a Democracy. Some ancient legislators, as Lycurgus and Romulus, made
an equal division of lands. A settlement of this kind can never take place
except upon the foundation of a new republic; or when the old one is so
corrupt, and the minds of the people are so disposed, that the poor think
themselves obliged to demand, and the rich obliged to consent to a remedy
of this nature.
If the legislator, in making a division of this kind, does not enact
laws at the same time to support it, he forms only a temporary
constitution; inequality will break in where the laws have not precluded
it, and the republic will be utterly undone.
Hence for the preservation of this equality it is absolutely necessary
there should be some regulation in respect to women's dowries, donations,
successions, testamentary settlements, and all other forms of contracting.
For were we once allowed to dispose of our property to whom and how we
pleased, the will of each individual would disturb the order of the
Solon, by permitting the Athenians, upon failure of issue1
to leave their estates to whom they pleased, acted contrary to the ancient
laws, by which the estates were ordered to continue in the family of the
testator;2 and even contrary to his
own laws, for by abolishing debts he had aimed at equality.
The law which prohibited people having two inheritances3
was extremely well adapted for a democracy. It derived its origin from the
equal distribution of lands and portions made to each citizen. The law
would not permit a single man to possess more than a single portion.
From the same source arose those laws by which the next relative was
ordered to marry the heiress. This law was given to the Jews after the
like distribution. Plato,4 who
grounds his laws on this division, made the same regulation which had been
received as a law by the Athenians.
At Athens there was a law whose spirit, in my opinion, has not been
hitherto rightly understood. It was lawful to marry a sister only by the
father's side, but it was not permitted to espouse a sister by the same
venter.5 This custom was originally
owing to republics, whose spirit would not permit that two portions of
land, and consequently two inheritances, should devolve on the same
person. A man who married his sister only by the father's side could
inherit but one estate, namely, that of his father; but by espousing his
sister by the same venter, it might happen that this sister's father,
having no male issue, might leave her his estate, and consequently the
brother who married her might be possessed of two.
Little will it avail to object to what Philo says,6
that although the Athenians were allowed to marry a sister by the father's
side, and not by the mother's, yet the contrary practice prevailed among
the Lacedæmonians, who were permitted to espouse a sister by the
mother's side, and not by the father's. For I find in Strabo7
that at Sparta, whenever a woman was married to her brother she had half
his portion for her dowry. Plain is it that this second law was made in
order to prevent the bad consequences of the former. That the estate
belonging to the sister's family might not devolve on the brother's, they
gave half the brother's estate to the sister for her dowry.
Seneca8 speaking of Silanus, who
had married his sister, says that the permission was limited at Athens,
but general at Alexandria. In a monarchical government there was very
little concern about any such thing as a division of estates.
Excellent was that law which, in order to maintain this division of
lands in a democracy, ordained that a father who had several children
should pitch upon one of them to inherit his portion,9
and leave the others to be adopted, to the end that the numbers of
citizens might always be kept upon an equality with that of the divisions.
Phaleas of Chalcedon10 contrived
a very extraordinary method of rendering all fortunes equal, in a republic
where there was the greatest inequality. This was that the rich should
give fortunes with their daughters to the poor, but receive none
themselves; and that the poor should receive money for their daughters,
instead of giving them fortunes. But I do not remember that a regulation
of this kind ever took place in any republic. It lays the citizens under
such hard and oppressive conditions as would make them detest the very
equality which they designed to establish. It is proper sometimes that the
laws should not seem to tend so directly to the end they propose.
Though real equality be the very soul of a democracy, it is so difficult
to establish that an extreme exactness in this respect would not be always
convenient. Sufficient is it to establish a census11
which shall reduce or fix the differences to a certain point: it is
afterwards the business of particular laws to level, as it were, the
inequalities, by the duties laid upon the rich, and by the ease afforded
to the poor. It is moderate riches alone that can give or suffer this sort
of compensation; for as to men of overgrown estates, everything which does
not contribute to advance their power and honour is considered by them as
All inequality in democracies ought to be derived from the nature of the
government, and even from the principle of equality. For example, it may
be apprehended that people who are obliged to live by their labour would
be too much impoverished by a public employment, or neglect the duties
attending it; that artisans would grow insolent, and that too great a
number of freemen would overpower the ancient citizens. In this case the
equality12 in a democracy may be
suppressed for the good of the state. But this is only an apparent
equality; for a man ruined by a public employment would be in a worse
condition than his fellow-citizens; and this same man, being obliged to
neglect his duty, would reduce the rest to a worse condition than himself,
and so on.
6. In what Manner the Laws ought to maintain
Frugality in a Democracy. It is not sufficient in a well-regulated
democracy that the divisions of land be equal; they ought also to be
small, as was customary among the Romans. "God forbid," said
Curius to his soldiers,13 "that
a citizen should look upon that as a small piece of land which is
sufficient to maintain him."
As equality of fortunes supports frugality, so the latter maintains the
former. These things, though in themselves different, are of such a nature
as to be unable to subsist separately; they reciprocally act upon each
other; if one withdraws itself from a democracy, the other surely follows
True is it that when a democracy is founded on commerce, private people
may acquire vast riches without a corruption of morals.
This is because the spirit of commerce is naturally attended with that
of frugality, economy, moderation, labour, prudence, tranquillity, order,
and rule. So long as this spirit subsists, the riches it produces have no
bad effect. The mischief is, when excessive wealth destroys the spirit of
commerce, then it is that the inconveniences of inequality begin to be
In order to support this spirit, commerce should be carried on by the
principal citizens; this should be their sole aim and study; this the
chief object of the laws: and these very laws, by dividing the estates of
individuals in proportion to the increase of commerce, should set every
poor citizen so far at his ease as to be able to work like the rest, and
every wealthy citizen in such a mediocrity as to be obliged to take some
pains either in preserving or acquiring a fortune.
It is an excellent law in a trading republic to make an equal division
of the paternal estate among the children. The consequence of this is that
how great soever a fortune the father has made, his children, being not so
rich as he, are induced to avoid luxury, and to work as he has done. I
speak here only of trading republics; as to those that have no commerce,
the legislator must pursue quite different measures.14
In Greece there were two sorts of republics: the one military, like
Sparta; the other commercial, as Athens. In the former, the citizens were
obliged to be idle; in the latter, endeavours were used to inspire them
with the love of industry and labour. Solon made idleness a crime, and
insisted that each citizen should give an account of his manner of getting
a livelihood. And, indeed, in a well-regulated democracy, where people's
expenses should extend only to what is necessary, every one ought to have
it; for how should their wants be otherwise supplied?
7. Other Methods of favouring the Principle of
Democracy. An equal division of lands cannot be established in all
democracies. There are some circumstances in which a regulation of this
nature would be impracticable, dangerous, and even subversive of the
constitution. We are not always obliged to proceed to extremes. If it
appears that this division of lands, which was designed to preserve the
people's morals, does not suit the democracy, recourse must be had to
If a permanent body be established to serve as a rule and pattern of
manners; a senate, to which years, virtue, gravity, and eminent services
procure admittance; the senators, by being exposed to public view like the
statues of the gods, must naturally inspire every family with sentiments
Above all, this senate must steadily adhere to the ancient institutions,
and mind that the people and the magistrates never swerve from them.
The preservation of the ancient customs is a very considerable point in
respect to manners. Since a corrupt people seldom perform any memorable
actions, seldom establish societies, build cities, or enact laws; on the
contrary, since most institutions are derived from people whose manners
are plain and simple, to keep up the ancient customs is the way to
preserve the original purity of morals.
Besides, if by some revolution the state has happened to assume a new
form, this seldom can be effected without infinite pains and labour, and
hardly ever by idle and debauched persons. Even those who had been the
instruments of the revolution were desirous it should be relished, which
is difficult to compass without good laws. Hence it is that ancient
institutions generally tend to reform the people's manners, and those of
modern date to corrupt them. In the course of a long administration, the
descent to vice is insensible; but there is no reascending to virtue
without making the most generous efforts.
It has been questioned whether the members of the senate we are speaking
of ought to be for life or only chosen for a time. Doubtless they ought to
be for life, as was the custom at Rome,15
at Sparta,16 and even at Athens.
For we must not confound the senate at Athens, which was a body that
changed every three months, with the Areopagus, whose members, as standing
patterns, were established for life.
Let this be therefore a general maxim; that in a senate designed to be a
rule, and the depository, as it were, of manners, the members ought to be
chosen for life: in a senate intended for the administration of affairs,
the members may be changed.
The spirit, says Aristotle, waxes old as well as the body. This
reflection holds good only in regard to a single magistrate, but cannot be
applied to a senatorial assembly.
At Athens, besides the Areopagus, there were guardians of the public
morals, as well as of the laws.17
At Sparta, all the old men were censors. At Rome, the censorship was
committed to two particular magistrates. As the senate watched over the
people, the censors were to have an eye over the people and the senate.
Their office was to reform the corruptions of the republic, to stigmatise
indolence, to censure neglects, and to correct mistakes; as to flagrant
crimes, these were left to the punishment of the laws.
That Roman law which required the accusations in cases of adultery to be
public was admirably well calculated for preserving the purity of morals;
it intimidated married women, as well as those who were to watch over
Nothing contributes more to the preservation of morals than an extreme
subordination of the young to the old. Thus they are both restrained, the
former by their respect for those of advanced age, and the latter by their
regard for themselves.
Nothing gives a greater force to the law than a perfect subordination
between the citizens and the magistrate. "The great difference which
Lycurgus established between Sparta and the other cities," says
Xenophon,18 "consists chiefly
in the obedience the citizens show to their laws; they run when the
magistrate calls them. But at Athens a rich man would be highly displeased
to be thought dependent on the magistrate."
Paternal authority is likewise of great use towards the preservation of
morals. We have already observed that in a republic there is not so
coercive a force as in other governments. The laws must therefore
endeavour to supply this defect by some means or other; and this is done
by paternal authority.
Fathers at Rome had the power of life and death over their children.19
At Sparta, every father had a right to correct another man's child.
Paternal authority ended at Rome together with the republic. In
monarchies, where such a purity of morals is not required, they are
controlled by no other authority than that of the magistrates.
The Roman laws, which accustomed young people to dependence, established
a long minority. Perhaps we are mistaken in conforming to this custom;
there is no necessity for so much constraint in monarchies.
This very subordination in a republic might make it necessary for the
father to continue in the possession of his children's fortune during
life, as was the custom at Rome. But this is not agreeable to the spirit
8. In what Manner the Laws should relate to the
Principle of Government in an Aristocracy. If the people are virtuous
in an aristocracy, they enjoy very nearly the same happiness as in a
popular government, and the state grows powerful. But as a great share of
virtue is very rare where men's fortunes are so unequal, the laws must
tend as much as possible to infuse a spirit of moderation, and endeavour
to re-establish that equality which was necessarily removed by the
The spirit of moderation is what we call virtue in an aristocracy; it
supplies the place of the spirit of equality in a popular state.
As the pomp and splendour with which kings are surrounded form a part of
their power, so modesty and simplicity of manners constitute the strength
of an aristocratic nobility.20 When
they affect no distinction, when they mix with the people, dress like
them, and with them share all their pleasures, the people are apt to
forget their subjection and weakness.
Every government has its nature and principle. An aristocracy must not
therefore assume the nature and principle of monarchy; which would be the
case were the nobles to be invested with personal privileges distinct from
those of their body; privileges ought to be for the senate, and simple
respect for the senators.
In aristocratic governments there are two principal sources of disorder:
excessive inequality between the governors and the governed; and the same
inequality between the different members of the body that governs. From
these two inequalities, hatreds and jealousies arise, which the laws ought
ever to prevent or repress.
The first inequality is chiefly when the privileges of the nobility are
honourable only as they are ignominious to the people. Such was the law at
Rome by which the patricians were forbidden to marry plebeians;21
a law that had no other effect than to render the patricians on the one
side more haughty, and on the other more odious. The reader may see what
advantages the tribunes derived thence in their harangues.
This inequality occurs likewise when the condition of the citizens
differs with regard to taxes, which may happen in four different ways:
when the nobles assume the privilege of paying none; when they commit
frauds to exempt themselves;22 when
they engross the public money, under pretence of rewards or appointments
for their respective employments; in fine, when they render the common
people tributary, and divide among their own body the profits arising from
the several subsidies. This last case is very rare; an aristocracy so
instituted would be the most intolerable of all governments.
While Rome inclined towards aristocracy, she avoided all these
inconveniences. The magistrates never received any emoluments from their
office. The chief men of the republic were taxed like the rest, nay, more
heavily; and sometimes the taxes fell upon them alone. In fine, far from
sharing among themselves the revenues of the state, all they could draw
from the public treasure, and all the wealth that fortune flung into their
laps, they bestowed freely on the people, to be excused from accepting
It is a fundamental maxim that largesses are pernicious to the people in
a democracy, but salutary in an aristocratic government. The former make
them forget they are citizens, the latter bring them to a sense of it. If
the revenues of the state are not distributed among the people, they must
be convinced at least of their being well administered: to feast their
eyes with the public treasure is with them the same thing almost as
enjoying it. The golden chain displayed at Venice, the riches exhibited at
Rome in public triumphs, the treasures preserved in the temple of Saturn,
were in reality the wealth of the people.
It is a very essential point in an aristocracy that the nobles
themselves should not levy the taxes. The first order of the state in Rome
never concerned themselves with it; the levying of the taxes was committed
to the second, and even this in process of time was attended with great
inconveniences. In an aristocracy of this kind, where the nobles levied
the taxes, the private people would be all at the discretion of persons in
public employments; and there would be no such thing as a superior
tribunal to check their power. The members appointed to remove the abuses
would rather enjoy them. The nobles would be like the princes of despotic
governments, who confiscate whatever estates they please.
Soon would the profits hence arising be considered as a patrimony, which
avarice would enlarge at pleasure. The farms would be lowered, and the
public revenues reduced to nothing. This is the reason that some
governments, without having ever received any remarkable shock, have
dwindled away to such a degree as not only their neighbours, but even
their own subjects, have been surprised at it.
The laws should likewise forbid the nobles all kinds of commerce:
merchants of such unbounded credit would monopolise all to themselves.
Commerce is a profession of people who are upon an equality; hence among
despotic states the most miserable are those in which the prince applies
himself to trade.
The laws of Venice debar24 the
nobles from commerce, by which they might even innocently acquire
The laws ought to employ the most effectual means for making the nobles
do justice to the people. If they have not established a tribune, they
ought to be a tribune themselves.
Every sort of asylum in opposition to the execution of the laws destroys
aristocracy, and is soon succeeded by tyranny. They ought always to
mortify the lust of dominion. There should be either a temporary or
perpetual magistrate to keep the nobles in awe, as the Ephori at Sparta
and the State Inquisitors at Venice — magistrates subject to no
formalities. This sort of government stands in need of the strongest
springs: thus a mouth of stone25 is
open to every informer at Venice — a mouth to which one would be apt
to give the appellation of tyranny.
These arbitrary magistrates in an aristocracy bear some analogy to the
censorship in democracies, which of its own nature is equally independent.
And, indeed, the censors ought to be subject to no inquiry in relation to
their conduct during their office; they should meet with a thorough
confidence, and never be discouraged. In this respect the practice of the
Romans deserved admiration; magistrates of all denominations were
accountable for their administration,26
except the censors.27
There are two very pernicious things in an aristocracy — excess
either of poverty, or of wealth in the nobility. To prevent their poverty,
it is necessary, above all things, to oblige them to pay their debts in
time. To moderate the excess of wealth, prudent and gradual regulations
should be made; but no confiscations, no agrarian laws, no expunging of
debts; these are productive of infinite mischief.
The laws ought to abolish the right of primogeniture among the nobles28
to the end that by a continual division of the inheritances their fortunes
may be always upon a level.
There should be no substitutions, no powers of redemption, no rights of
Majorasgo, or adoption. The contrivances for perpetuating the
grandeur of families in monarchical governments ought never to be employed
When the laws have compassed the equality of families, the next thing is
to preserve a proper harmony and union among them. The quarrels of the
nobility ought to be quickly decided; otherwise the contests of
individuals become those of families. Arbiters may terminate, or even
prevent, the rise ot disputes.
In fine, the laws must not favour the distinctions raised by vanity
among families, under pretence that they are more noble or ancient than
others. Pretences of this nature ought to be ranked among the weaknesses
of private persons.
We have only to cast an eye upon Sparta; there we may see how the Ephori
contrived to check the foibles of the kings, as well as those of the
nobility and common people.
9. In what Manner the Laws are in relation to
their Principle in Monarchies. As honour is the principle of a
monarchical government, the laws ought to be in relation to this
They should endeavour to support the nobility, in respect to whom honour
may be, in some measure, deemed both child and parent.
They should render the nobility hereditary, not as a boundary between
the power of the prince and the weakness of the people, but as the link
which connects them both.
In this government, substitutions which preserve the estates of families
undivided are extremely useful, though in others not so proper.
Here the power of redemption is of service, as it restores to noble
families the lands that had been alienated by the prodigality of a parent.
The land of the nobility ought to have privileges as well as their
persons. The monarch's dignity is inseparable from that of his kingdom;
and-the dignity of the nobleman from that of his fief.
All these privileges must be peculiar to the nobility, and
incommunicable to the people, unless we intend to act contrary to the
principle of government, and to diminish the power of the nobles together
with that of the people.
Substitutions are a restraint to commerce, the power of redemption
produces an infinite number of processes; every estate in land that is
sold throughout the kingdom is in some measure without an owner for the
space of a year. Privileges annexed to fiefs give a power very burdensome
to those governments which tolerate them. These are the inconveniences of
nobility — inconveniences, however, that vanish when confronted with
its general utility: but when these privileges are communicated to the
people, every principle of government is wantonly violated.
In monarchies a person may leave the bulk of his estate to one of his
children — a permission improper in any other government.
The laws ought to favour all kinds of commerce30
consistent with the constitution, to the end that the subjects may,
without ruining themselves, be able to satisfy the continual cravings of
the prince and his court.
They should establish some regulation that the manner of collecting the
taxes may not be more burdensome than the taxes themselves.
The weight of duties produces labour, labour weariness, and weariness
the spirit of indolence.
10. Of the Expedition peculiar to the Executive
Power in Monarchies. Great is the advantage which a monarchical
government has over a republic: as the state is conducted by a single
person, the executive power is thereby enabled to act with greater
expedition. But as this expedition may degenerate into rapidity, the laws
should use some contrivance to slacken it. They ought not only to favour
the nature of each constitution, but likewise to remedy the abuses that
might result from this very nature.
Cardinal Richelieu31 advises
monarchs to permit no such things as societies or communities that raise
difficulties upon every trifle. If this man's heart had not been bewitched
with the love of despotic power, still these arbitrary notions would have
filled his head.
The bodies entrusted with the deposition of the laws are never more
obedient than when they proceed slowly, and use that reflection in the
prince's affairs which can scarcely be expected from the ignorance of a
court, or from the precipitation of its councils.32
What would have become of the finest monarchy in the world if the
magistrates, by their delays, their complaints, and entreaties, had not
checked the rapidity even of their princes' virtues, when these monarchs,
consulting only the generous impulse of their minds, would fain have given
a boundless reward to services performed with an unlimited courage and
11. Of the Excellence of a Monarchical
Government. Monarchy has a great advantage over a despotic government.
As it naturally requires there should be several orders or ranks of
subjects, the state is more permanent, the constitution more steady, and
the person of him who governs more secure.
Cicero is of opinion that the establishing of the tribunes preserved the
republic. "And indeed," says he, "the violence of a
headless people is more terrible. A chief or head is sensible that the
affair depends upon himself, and therefore he thinks; but the people in
their impetuosity are ignorant of the danger into which they hurry
themselves." This reflection may be applied to a despotic government,
which is a people without tribunes; and to a monarchy, where the people
have some sort of tribunes.
Accordingly it is observable that in the commotions of a despotic
government, the people, hurried away by their passions, are apt to push
things as far as they can go. The disorders they commit are all extreme;
whereas in monarchies matters are seldom carried to excess. The chiefs are
apprehensive on their own account; they are afraid of being abandoned, and
the intermediate dependent powers do not choose that the populace should
have too much the upper hand. It rarely happens that the states of the
kingdom are entirely corrupted: the prince adheres to these; and the
seditious, who have neither will nor hopes to subvert the government, have
neither power nor will to dethrone the prince.
In these circumstances men of prudence and authority interfere; moderate
measures are first proposed, then complied with, and things at length are
redressed; the laws resume their vigour, and command submission.
Thus all our histories are full of civil wars without revolutions, while
the histories of despotic governments abound with revolutions without
The writers of the history of the civil wars of some countries, even
those who fomented them, sufficiently demonstrate the little foundation
princes have to suspect the authority with which they invest particular
bodies of men; since, even under the unhappy circumstance of their errors,
they sighed only after the laws and their duty; and restrained, more than
they were capable of inflaming, the impetuosity of the revolted.33
Cardinal Richelieu, reflecting perhaps that he had too much reduced the
states of the kingdom, has recourse to the virtues of the prince and of
his ministers for the support34 of
government: but he requires so many things, that indeed there is none but
an angel capable of such attention, such resolution and knowledge; and
scarcely can we flatter ourselves that we shall ever see such a prince and
ministers while monarchy subsists.
As people who live under a good government are happier than those who
without rule or leaders wander about the forests, so monarchs who live
under the fundamental laws of their country are far happier than despotic
princes who have nothing to regulate, neither their own passions nor those
of their subjects.
12. The same Subject continued. Let us not
look for magnanimity in despotic governments; the prince cannot impart a
greatness which he has not himself; with him there is no such thing as
It is in monarchies that we behold the subjects encircling the throne,
and cheered by the irradiancy of the sovereign; there it is that each
person filling, as it were, a larger space, is capable of exercising those
virtues which adorn the soul, not with independence, but with true dignity
13. An Idea of Despotic Power. When the
savages of Louisiana are desirous of fruit, they cut the tree to the root,
and gather the fruit.35 This is an
emblem of despotic government.
14. In what Manner the Laws are in relation to
the Principles of Despotic Government. The principle of despotic
government is fear; but a timid, ignorant, and faint-spirited people have
no occasion for a great number of laws.
Everything ought to depend here on two or three ideas; hence there is no
necessity that any new notions should be added. When we want to break a
horse, we take care not to let him change his master, his lesson, or his
pace. Thus an impression is made on his brain by two or three motions, and
If a prince is shut up in a seraglio, he cannot leave his voluptuous
abode without alarming those who keep him confined. Thev will not bear
that his person and power should pass into other hands. He seldom
therefore wages war in person, and hardly ventures to entrust the command
to his generals.
A prince of this stamp, unaccustomed to resistance in his palace, is
enraged to see his will opposed by armed force; hence he is generally
governed by wrath or vengeance. Besides, he can have no notion of true
glory. War therefore is carried on under such a government in its full
natural fury, and less extent is given to the law of nations than in other
Such a prince has so many imperfections that they are afraid to expose
his natural stupidity to public view. He is concealed in his palace, and
the people are ignorant of his situation. It is lucky for him that the
inhabitants of those countries need only the name of a prince to govern
When Charles XII was at Bender, he met with some opposition from the
senate of Sweden; upon which he wrote word home that he would send one of
his boots to command them. This boot would have governed like a despotic
If the prince is a prisoner, he is supposed to be dead, and another
mounts the throne. The treaties made by the prisoner are void, his
successor will not ratify them; and indeed, as he is the law, the state,
and the prince: when he is no longer a prince, he is nothing: were he not
therefore deemed to be deceased, the state would be subverted.
One thing which chiefly determined the Turks to conclude a separate
peace with Peter I was the Muscovites telling the Vizir that in Sweden
another prince had been placed upon the throne.36
The preservation of the state is only the preservation of the prince, or
rather of the palace where he is confined. Whatever does not directly
menace this palace or the capital makes no impression on ignorant, proud,
and prejudiced minds; and as for the concatenation of events, they are
unable to trace, to foresee, or even to conceive it. Politics, with its
several springs and laws, must here be very much limited; the political
government is as simple as the civil.37
The whole is reduced to reconciling the political and civil
administration to the domestic government, the officers of state to those
of the seraglio.
Such a state is happiest when it can look upon itself as the only one in
the world, when it is environed with deserts, and separated from those
people whom they call Barbarians. Since it cannot depend on the militia,
it is proper it should destroy a part of itself.
As fear is the principle of despotic government, its end is
tranquillity; but this tranquillity cannot be called a peace: no, it is
only the silence of those towns which the enemy is ready to invade.
Since strength does not lie in the state, but in the army that founded
it, in order to defend the state the army must be preserved, how
formidable soever to the prince. How, then, can we reconcile the security
of the government to that of the prince's person?
Observe how industriously the Russian government endeavours to temper
its arbitrary power, which it finds more burdensome than the people
themselves. They have broken their numerous guards, mitigated criminal
punishments, erected tribunals, entered into a knowledge of the laws, and
instructed the people. But there are particular causes that will probably
once more involve them in the very misery which they now endeavour to
In those states religion has more influence than anywhere else; it is
fear added to fear. In Mahomedan countries, it is partly from their
religion that the people derive the surprising veneration they have for
It is religion that amends in some measure the Turkish constitution. The
subjects, who have no attachment of honour to the glory and grandeur of
the state, are connected with it by the force and principle of religion.
Of all despotic governments there is none that labours more under its
own weight than that wherein the prince declares himself proprietor of all
the lands, and heir to all his subjects. Hence the neglect of agriculture
arises; and if the prince intermeddles likewise in trade, all manner of
industry is ruined.
Under this sort of government, nothing is repaired or improved.38
Houses are built only for the necessity of habitation; there is no digging
of ditches or planting of trees; everything is drawn from, but nothing
restored to, the earth; the ground lies untilled, and the whole country
becomes a desert.
Is it to be imagined that the laws which abolish the property of land
and the succession of estates will diminish the avarice and cupidity of
the great? By no means. They will rather stimulate this cupidity and
avarice. The great men will be prompted to use a thousand oppressive
methods, imagining they have no other property than the gold and silver
which they are able to seize upon by violence, or to conceal.
To prevent, therefore, the utter ruin of the state, the avidity of the
prince ought to be moderated by some established custom. Thus, in Turkey,
the sovereign is satisfied with the right of three per cent on the value
of inheritances.39 But as he gives
the greatest part of the lands to his soldiery, and disposes of them as he
pleases; as he seizes on all the inheritances of the officers of the
empire at their decease; as he has the property of the possessions of
those who die without issue, and the daughters have only the usufruct; it
thence follows that the greatest part of the estates of the country are
held in a precarious manner.
By the laws of Bantam,40 the king
seizes on the whole inheritance, even wife, children, and habitation. In
order to elude the cruelest part of this law, they are obliged to marry
their children at eight, nine, or ten years of age, and sometimes younger,
to the end that they may not be a wretched part of the father's
In countries where there are no fundamental laws, the succession to the
empire cannot be fixed. The crown is then elective, and the right of
electing is in the prince, who names a successor either of his own or of
some other family. In vain would it be to establish here the succession of
the eldest son; the prince might always choose another. The successor is
declared by the prince himself, or by a civil war. Hence a despotic state
is, upon another account, more liable than a monarchical government to
As every prince of the royal family is held equally capable of being
chosen, hence it follows that the prince who ascends the throne
immediately strangles his brothers, as in Turkey; or puts out their eyes,
as in Persia; or bereaves them of their understanding, as in the Mogul's
country; or if these precautions are not used, as in Morocco, the vacancy
of the throne is always attended with the horrors of a civil war.
By the constitution of Russia41
the Czar may choose whom he has a mind for his successor, whether of his
own or of a strange family. Such a settlement produces a thousand
revolutions, and renders the throne as tottering as the succession is
arbitrary. The right of succession being one of those things which are of
most importance to the people to know, the best is that which most
sensibly strikes them. Such as a certain order of birth. A settlement of
this kind puts a stop to intrigues, and stifles ambition; the mind of a
weak prince is no longer enslaved, nor is he made to speak his will as he
is just expiring.
When the succession is established by a fundamental law, only one prince
is the successor, and his brothers have neither a real nor apparent right
to dispute the crown with him. They can neither pretend to nor take any
advantage of the will of a father. There is then no more occasion to
confine or kill the king's brother than any other subject.
But in despotic governments, where the prince's brothers are equally his
slaves and his rivals, prudence requires that their persons be secured;
especially in Mahomedan countries, where religion considers victory or
success as a divine decision in their favour; so that they have no such
thing as a monarch de jure, but only de facto.
There is a far greater incentive to ambition in countries where the
princes of the blood are sensible that if they do not ascend the throne
they must be either imprisoned or put to death, than among us, where they
are placed in such a station as may satisfy, if not their ambition, at
least their moderate desires.
The princes of despotic governments have ever perverted the use of
marriage. They generally take a great many wives, especially in that part
of the world where absolute power is in some measure naturalised, namely,
Asia. Hence they come to have such a multitude of children that they can
hardly have any great affection for them, nor the children for one
The reigning family resembles the state; it is too weak itself, and its
head too powerful; it seems very numerous and extensive, and yet is
suddenly extinct. Artaxerxes42 put
all his children to death for conspiring against him.
It is not at all probable that fifty children would conspire against
their father, and much less that this conspiracy would be owing to his
having refused to resign his concubine to his eldest son. It is more
natural to believe that the whole was an intrigue of those oriental
seraglios, where fraud, treachery, and deceit reign in silence and
darkness; and where an old prince, grown every day more infirm, is the
first prisoner of the palace.
After what has been said, one would imagine that human nature should
perpetually rise up against despotism. But notwithstanding the love of
liberty, so natural to mankind, notwithstanding their innate detestation
of force and violence, most nations are subject to this very government.
This is easily accounted for. To form a moderate government, it is
necessary to combine the several powers; to regulate, temper, and set them
in motion; to give, as it were, ballast to one, in order to enable it to
counterpoise the other. This is a masterpiece of legislation; rarely
produced by hazard, and seldom attained by prudence. On the contrary, a
despotic government offers itself, as it were, at first sight; it is
uniform throughout; and as passions only are requisite to establish it,
this is what every capacity may reach.
15. The same Subject continued. In warm
climates, where despotic power generally prevails, the passions disclose
themselves earlier, and are sooner extinguished;43
the understanding is sooner ripened; they are less in danger of
squandering their fortunes; there is less facility of distinguishing
themselves in the world; less communication between young people, who are
confined at home; they marry much earlier, and consequently may be sooner
of age than in our European climates. In Turkey they are of age at
They have no such thing as a cession of goods; in a government where
there is no fixed property, people depend rather on the person than on his
The cession of goods is naturally admitted in moderate governments,45
but especially in republics, because of the greater confidence usually
placed in the probity of the citizens, and the lenity and moderation
arising from a form of government which every subject seems to nave
preferred to all others.
Had the legislators of the Roman republic established the cession of
goods,46 they never would have been
exposed to so many seditions and civil discords; neither would they have
experienced the danger of the evils, nor the inconvenience of the
Poverty and the precariousness of property in a despotic state render
usury natural, each person raising the value of his money in proportion to
the danger he sees in lending it. Misery therefore pours from all parts
into those unhappy countries; they are bereft of everything, even of the
resource of borrowing.
Hence it is that a merchant under this government is unable to carry on
an extensive commerce; he lives from hand to mouth; and were he to
encumber himself with a large quantity of merchandise, he would lose more
by the exorbitant interest he must give for money than he could possibly
get by the goods. Hence they have no laws here relating to commerce; they
are all reduced to what is called the bare police.
A government cannot be unjust without having hands to exercise its
injustice. Now, it is impossible but that these hands will be grasping for
themselves. The embezzling of the public money is therefore natural in
As this is a common crime under such a government, confiscations are
very useful. By these the people are eased; the money drawn by this method
being a considerable tribute which could hardly be raised on the exhausted
subject: neither is there in those countries any one family which the
prince would be glad to preserve.
In moderate governments it is quite a different thing. Confiscations
would render property uncertain, would strip innocent children, would
destroy a whole family, instead of punishing a single criminal. In
republics they would be attended with the mischief of subverting equality,
which is the very soul of this government, by depriving a citizen of his
There is a Roman law48 against
confiscations, except in the case of crimen majestatis, or high
treason of the most heinous nature. It would be a prudent thing to follow
the spirit of this law, and to limit confiscations to particular crimes.
In countries where a local custom has rendered real estates alienable,
Bodin very justly observes that confiscations should extend only to such
as are purchased or acquired.49
16. Of the Communication of Power. In a
despotic government the power is communicated entire to the person
entrusted with it. The vizir himself is the despotic prince; and each
particular officer is the vizir. In monarchies the power is less
immediately applied, being tempered by the monarch as he gives it.50
He makes such a distribution of his authority as never to communicate a
part of it without reserving a greater share to himself.
Hence in monarchies the governors of towns are not so dependent on the
governor of the province as not to be still more so on the prince; and the
private officers or military bodies are not so far subject to their
general as not to owe still a greater subjection to their sovereign.
In most monarchies it has been wisely regulated that those who have an
extensive command should not belong to any military corps; so that as they
have no authority but through the prince's pleasure, and as they may be
employed or not, they are in some measure in the service, and in some
measure out of it.
This is incompatible with a despotic government. For if those who are
not actually employed were still invested with privileges and titles, the
consequence must be that there would be men in the state who might be said
to be great of themselves; a thing directly opposite to the nature of this
Were the governor of a town independent of the pasha, expedients would
be daily necessary to make them agree; which is highly absurd in a
despotic state. Besides, if a particular governor should refuse to obey,
how could the other answer for his province with his head?
In this kind of government, authority must ever be wavering; nor is that
of the lowest magistrate more steady than that of the despotic prince.
Under moderate governments, the law is prudent in all its parts, and
perfectly well known, so that even the pettiest magistrates are capable of
following it. But in a despotic state, where the prince's will is the law,
though the prince were wise, yet how could the magistrate follow a will he
does not know? He must certainly follow his own.
Again, as the law is only the prince's will, and as the prince can only
will what he knows, the consequence is that there are an infinite number
of people who must will for him, and make their wills keep pace with his.
In fine, as the law is the momentary will of the prince, it is necessary
that those who will for him should follow his sudden manner of willing.
17. Of Presents. It is a received custom in
despotic countries never to address any superior whomsoever, not excepting
their kings, without making them a present. The Mogul51
never receives the petitions of his subjects if they come with empty
hands. These princes spoil even their own favours.
But thus it must ever be in a government where no man is a citizen;
where they have all a notion that a superior is under no obligation to an
inferior; where men imagine themselves bound by no other tie than the
chastisements inflicted by one party upon another; where, in fine, there
is very little to do, and where the people have seldom an occasion of
presenting themselves before the great, of offering their petitions, and
much less their complaints.
In a republic, presents are odious, because virtue stands in no need of
them. In monarchies, honour is a much stronger incentive than presents.
But in a despotic government, where there is neither honour nor virtue,
people cannot be determined to act but through hope of the conveniences of
It is in conformity with republican ideas that Plato52
ordered those who received presents for doing their duty to be punished
with death. "They must not take presents," says he, "neither
for good nor for evil actions."
A very bad law was that among the Romans53
which gave the magistrates leave to accept small presents54
provided they did not exceed one hundred crowns in the whole year. They
who receive nothing expect nothing; they who receive a little soon covet
more, till at length their desires swell to an exorbitant height.
Besides, it is much easier to convict a man who knows himself obliged to
accept no present at all, and yet will accept something, than a person who
takes more when he ought to take less, and who always finds pretexts,
excuses, and plausible reasons in justification of his conduct.
18. Of Rewards conferred by the Sovereign. In
despotic governments, where, as we have already observed, the principal
motive of action is the hope of the conveniences of life, the prince who
confers rewards has nothing to bestow but money. In monarchies, where
honour alone predominates, the prince's rewards would consist only of
marks of distinction, if the distinctions established by honour were not
attended with luxury, which necessarily brings on its wants: the prince
therefore is obliged to confer such honours as lead to wealth. But in a
republic where virtue reigns — a motive self-sufficient, and which
excludes all others — the recompenses of the state consist only of
public attestations of this virtue.
It is a general rule that great rewards in monarchies and republics are
a sign of their decline; because they are a proof of their principles
being corrupted, and that the idea of honour has no longer the same force
in a monarchy, nor the title of citizen the same weight in a republic.
The very worst Roman emperors were those who were most profuse in their
largesses; for example, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Otho, Vitellius,
Commodus, Heliogabalus, and Caracalla. The best, as Augustus, Vespasian,
Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius, and Pertinax, were economists. Under good
emperors the state resumed its principles; all other treasures were
supplied by that of honour.
19. New Consequences of the Principles of the
three Governments. I cannot conclude this book without making some
applications of my three principles.
1st Question.] It is a question whether
the laws ought to oblige a subject to accept a public employment. My
opinion is that they ought in a republic, but not in a monarchical
government. In the former, public employments are attestations of virtue,
depositions with which a citizen is entrusted by his country, for whose
sake alone he ought to live, to act, and to think, consequently lie cannot
refuse them.55 In the latter,
public offices are testimonials of honour; now such is the capriciousness
of honour that it chooses to accept none of these testimonies but when and
in what manner it pleases.
The late King of Sardinia56
inflicted punishments on his subjects who refused the dignities and public
offices of the state. In this he unknowingly followed republican ideas:
but his method of governing in other respects sufficiently proves that
this was not his intention.
2nd Question.] Secondly, it is questioned
whether a subject should be obliged to accept a post in the army inferior
to that which he held before. Among the Romans it was usual to see a
captain serve the next year under his lieutenant.57
This is because virtue in republics requires a continual sacrifice of our
persons and of our repugnances for the good of the state. But in
monarchies, honour, true or false, will never bear with what it calls
In despotic governments, where honour, posts, and
ranks are equally abused, they indiscriminately make a prince a scullion,
and a scullion a prince.
3rd Question.] Thirdly, it may be
inquired, whether civil and military employments should be conferred on
the same person. In republics I think they should be joined, but in
monarchies separated. In the former it would be extremely dangerous to
make the profession of arms a particular state, distinct from that of
civil functions; and in the latter, no less dangerous would it be to
confer these two employments on the same person.
In republics a person takes up arms only with a
view to defend his country and its laws; it is because he is a citizen he
makes himself for a while a soldier. Were these two distinct states, the
person who under arms thinks himself a citizen would soon be made sensible
he is only a soldier.
In monarchies, they whose condition engages them
in the profession of arms have nothing but glory, or at least honour or
fortune, in view. To men, therefore, like these, the prince should never
give any civil employments; on the contrary, they ought to be checked by
the civil magistrate, that the same persons may not have at the same time
the confidence of the people and the power to abuse it.58
We have only to cast an eye on a nation that may
be justly called a republic, disguised under the form of monarchy, and we
shall see how jealous they are of making a separate order of the
profession of arms, and how the military state is constantly allied with
that of the citizen, and even sometimes of the magistrate, to the end that
these qualities may be a pledge for their country, which should never be
The division of civil and military employments,
made by the Romans after the extinction of the republic, was not an
arbitrary thing. It was a consequence of the change which happened in the
constitution of Rome; it was natural to a monarchical government; and what
was only commenced under Augustus59
succeeding emperors60 were obliged
to finish, in order to temper the military government.
Procopius, therefore, the competitor of Valens the
emperor, was very much to blame when, conferring the pro-consular dignity61
upon Hormisdas, a prince of the blood royal of Persia, he restored to this
magistracy the military command of which it had been formerly possessed;
unless indeed he had very particular reasons for so doing. A person that
aspires to the sovereignty concerns himself less about what is serviceable
to the state than what is likely to promote his own interest.
4th Question.] Fourthly, it is a question
whether public employments should be sold. They ought not, I think, in
despotic governments, where the subjects must be instantaneously placed or
displaced by the prince.
But in monarchies this custom is not at all
improper, by reason it is an inducement to engage in that as a family
employment which would not be undertaken through a motive of virtue; it
fixes likewise every one in his duty, and renders the several orders of
the kingdom more permanent. Suidas very justly observes that Anastasius
had changed the empire into a kind of aristocracy, by selling all public
cannot bear with this prostitution: "This is exactly," says he, "as
if a person were to be made a mariner or pilot of a ship for his money. Is
it possible that this rule should be bad in every other employment of
life, and hold good only in the administration of a republic?" But
Plato speaks of a republic founded on virtue, and we of a monarchy. Now,
in monarchies (where, though there were no such thing as a regular sale of
public offices, still the indigence and avidity of the courtier would
equally prompt him to expose them to sale) chance will furnish better
subjects than the prince's choice. In short, the method of attaining to
honours through riches inspires and cherishes industry,63
a thing extremely wanting in this kind of government.
5th Question.] The fifth question is in
what kind of government censors are necessary. My answer is, that they are
necessary in a republic, where the principle of government is virtue. We
must not imagine that criminal actions only are destructive of virtue; it
is destroyed also by omissions, by neglects, by a certain coolness in the
love of our country, by bad examples, and by the seeds of corruption:
whatever does not openly violate but elude the laws, does not subvert but
weaken them, ought to fall under the inquiry and correction of the
We are surprised at the punishment of the
Areopagite for killing a sparrow which, to escape the pursuit of a hawk,
had taken shelter in his bosom. Surprised we are also that an Areopagite
should put his son to death for putting out the eyes of a little bird. But
let us reflect that the question here does not relate to a criminal
sentence, but to a judgment concerning manners in a republic founded on
In monarchies there should be no censors; the
former are founded on honour, and the nature of honour is to have the
whole world for its censor. Every man who fails in this article is subject
to the reproaches even of those who are void of honour.
Here the censors would be spoiled by the very
people whom they ought to correct: they could not prevail against the
corruption of a monarchy; the corruption rather would be too strong
Hence it is obvious that there ought to be no
censors in despotic governments. The example of China seems to derogate
from this rule; but we shall see, in the course of this work, the
particular reasons of that institution.
1. Plutarch, Solon.
3. Philolaus of Corinth made a law at
Athens that the number of the portions of land and that of inheritances
should be always the same. — Aristotle, Politics, ii. 7, 12.
4. Laws, xi.
5. Cornelius Nepos, preface. This
custom began in the earliest times. Thus Abraham says of Sarah, "She
is my sister, my father's daughter, but not my mother's." The same
reasons occasioned the establishing the same law among different nations.
6. De specialibus legibus quæ
pertinent ad præceptar Decalogi.
7. Book x.
8. Athenis dimidium licet,
Alexandriæ totum. — Seneca, De Morte Claudii.
9. Plato has a law of this kind. Laws,
10. Aristotle. ii. 7.
11. Solon made four classes: the
first, of those who had an income of 500 minas either in corn or liquid
fruits; the second, of those who had 300, and were able to keep a horse;
the third, of such as had only 200; the fourth, of all those who lived by
their manual labour. — Plutarch, Solon.
12. Solon excludes from public
employments all those of the fourth class.
13. They insisted upon a larger
division of the conquered lands. — Plutarch, Lives of the ancient
Kings and Commanders.
14. In these, the portions or
fortunes of women ought to be very much limited.
15. The magistrates there were
annual, and the senators for life.
16. Lycurgus, says Xenophon, De
Repub. Lacedæm., 10. § 1, 2, ordained that the senators
should be chosen from amongst the old men, to the end that they might not
be neglected in the decline of life; thus by making them judges of the
courage of young people, he rendered the old age of the former more
honourable than the strength and vigour of the latter.
17. Even the Areopagus itself was
subject to their censure.
18. De Repub. Lacedæm.,
19. We may see in the Roman History
how useful this power was to the republic. I shall give an instance even
in the time of its greatest corruption. Aulus Fulvius was set out on his
journey in order to join Catiline; his father called him back, and put him
to death. — Sallust, De Bello Catil., xxxiv.
20. In our days the Venetians, who in
many respects may be said to have a very wise government, decided a
dispute between a noble Venetian and a gentleman of Terra Firma in respect
to precedency in a church, by declaring that out of Venice a noble
Venetian had no pre-eminence over any other citizen.
21. It was inserted by the decemvirs
in the two last tables. See Dionysius Helicarnassus, x.
22. As in some aristocracies in our
time; nothing is more prejudicial to the government.
23. See in Strabo, xiv., in what
manner the Rhodians behaved in this respect.
24. Amelot de la Houssaye, Of the
Government of Venice, part III. The Claudian law forbade the senators
to have any ship at sea that held above forty bushels. — Livy, xxi.
25. The informers throw their scrolls
26. See Livy, xlix. A censor could
not be troubled even by a censor; each made his remark without taking the
opinion of his colleague; and when it otherwise happened, the censorship
was in a manner abolished.
27. At Athens the Logistæ,
who made all the magistrates accountable for their conduct, gave no
28. It is so practised at Venice. —
Amelot de la Houssaye, pp. 30, 31.
29. The main design of some
aristocracies seems to be less the support of the state than of their
30. It is tolerated only in the
common people. See Leg. 3, Cod. de comm. et mercatoribus,
which is full of good sense.
31. Testament polit.
32. Barbaris cunctatio servilis,
statim exequi regium videtur. — Tacitus, Annals., v. 32.
33. Memoirs of Cardinal de Retz,
and other histories.
34. Testament polit.
35. Edifying Letters, coll.
ii, p. 315.
36. Continuation of Pufendorf, Introduction
to the History of Europe, in the article on Sweden, 10.
37. According to Sir John Chardin,
there is no council of state in Persia.
38. See Ricaut, State of the
Ottoman Empire, p. 196.
39. See concerning the inheritances
of the Turks, Ancient and Modern Sparta. See also Ricaut on the
40. Collection of Voyages that
Contributed to the Establishment of the East India Company, i. The law
of Pegu is less cruel; if there happen to be children, the king succeeds
only to two-thirds. Ibid., iii, p. 1.
41. See the different constitutions,
especially that of 1722.
42. See Justin.
43. See the book of laws as relative
to the nature of the climate. Book xiv, below.
44. Laquilletiere, Ancient and
Modern Sparta, p. 463.
45. The same may be said of
compositions in regard to fair bankrupts.
46. There was no such establishment
made till the Julian law, De Cessione bonorum; which preserved
them from prison and from an ignominious division of their goods. —
Cod., ii. tit. 12.
47 They seem to have been too fond of
confiscations in the republic of Athens.
48. Authentica bona damnatorum. —
Cod. de bon. proscript. seu damn.
49. De la Republique, v. 3.
50. Ut esse Phoebi dulcius lumen
solet Jamjam cadentis — Seneca, Troas, V. i. 1.
51. Collection of Voyages that
Contributed to the Establishment of the East India Company, i, p. 80.
52. Laws, xii.
53. Leg. 6, § 2; Dig.
ad leg. Jul. repet.
55. Plato, in his Republic,
viii, ranks these refusals among the marks of the corruption of a
republic. In his Laws, vi, he orders them to be punished by a
fine; at Venice they are punished with banishment.
56. Victor Amadeus.
57. Some centurions having appealed
to the people for the employments which they had before enjoyed, "It
is just, my comrades," said a centurion, "that you should look
upon every post as honourable in which you have an opportunity of
defending the republic." — Livy, dec. 5, xlii, 34.
58. Ne imperium ad optimos
nobilium transferretur, Senatum militia vetuit Gallienus, etiam adire
exercitum. — Aurelius Victor, De Cæsaribus.
59. Augustus deprived the senators,
proconsuls, and governors of the privilege of wearing arms. — Dio,
60. Constantine. See Zozimus, ii.
61. Ammianus Marcellinus, xxvi, Et
Civilia, more veterum, et bella recturo.
62. Republic, viii.
63. We see the laziness of Spain,
where all public employments are given away.
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