The Spirit of Laws (1751)
Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu
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 and customs.
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 discharge.
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 fundamental law.
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 Lacedmonians, 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 an injury.
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 it.
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 felt.
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 other methods.
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 of virtue.
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 their conduct.
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 of monarchy.
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 constitution.
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 public honours.23
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 exorbitant wealth.
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 in aristocracies.29
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 principle.
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 fidelity?
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 civil wars.
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 glory.
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 and greatness.
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 no more.
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 states.
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 them.
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 prince.
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 avoid.
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 their prince.
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 succession.
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 dissolution.
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 another.
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 fifteen.44
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 estate.
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 remedies.
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 despotic states.
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 necessary subsistence.47
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 government.
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 life.
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 degrading itself.
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 forgotten.
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 employments.
Plato62 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 censors.
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 manners.
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 against them.
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 qu pertinent ad prceptar Decalogi.
7. Book x.
8. Athenis dimidium licet, Alexandri totum. — Seneca, De Morte Claudii.
9. Plato has a law of this kind. Laws, v.
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. Lacedm., 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. Lacedm., 8.
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. 63.
25. The informers throw their scrolls into it.
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 Logist, who made all the magistrates accountable for their conduct, gave no account themselves.
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 nobility.
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 Ottoman empire.
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 Csaribus.
59. Augustus deprived the senators, proconsuls, and governors of the privilege of wearing arms. — Dio, xxxiii.
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.