Front Page Titles (by Subject) SECT. II.: The fatal Tendency of public Corruption. The Public sometimes served by encouraging private Corruption. Other Means of Corruption, beside that of Money. Corruption sometimes practised by such who rail at it; in some Instances, by good Men, who - The Works of Sallust (Gordon's Discourses, Cicero's Orations against Catiline)
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SECT. II.: The fatal Tendency of public Corruption. The Public sometimes served by encouraging private Corruption. Other Means of Corruption, beside that of Money. Corruption sometimes practised by such who rail at it; in some Instances, by good Men, who - Gaius Sallustius Crispus (Sallust), The Works of Sallust (Gordon’s Discourses, Cicero’s Orations against Catiline) 
The Works of Sallust, translated into English with Political Discourses upon that Author. To which is added, a translation of Cicero’s Four Orations against Catiline (London: R. Ware, 1744).
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The fatal Tendency of public Corruption. The Public sometimes served by encouraging private Corruption. Other Means of Corruption, beside that of Money. Corruption sometimes practised by such who rail at it; in some Instances, by good Men, who hate it.
BY all that I have said in the foregoing Section, I mean only to introduce a Discourse upon Corruption, which is the Subject I purpose to pursue; an interesting Subject, since, by Corruption, every thing is changed, and, at last, consumed. Even War and Violence do not bring Ruin with more Certainty, nor, indeed, with so much Certainty: For Violence may be resisted and bassled; but Corruption, by continually wasting and weakening the Parts, must, without a Cure, infallibly, at last, destroy the Whole. Corruption, moreover, invites Violence; since such is the Nature of Man, that there are ever too many ready to seize and usurp whatever is destitute of Defence; and thus tempts their Ambition, or Avarice, with a Prospect of Success. This World, which has been so full of Revolutions ever since the Beginning of it, at least, since the Beginning of Records, would, perhaps, have afforded very few, had the several States in it been administered with constant Virtue and Probity, had the Magistrates done their Duty with Capacity, Vigilance, and Vigour.
This is the Method, these the Qualifications, for rendering a State prosperous and secure: And where these are wanting in any State, that State will certainly grow impotent and contemptible; and thence the Prey of some bold domestic Traitor, or of some foreign Invader. Nations the most populous and rich, when debased by Corruption, have never proved a Match for a People, however small and poor a People, who still possessed their primirive Integrity and Spirit. Happy is that Nation, where the Government is so formed, as to admit no Corruption! A Happiness, I doubt, not be hoped for; and, therefore, happy is that People, who, though they be in a good measure corrupt, yet preserve their civil Liberties long, as some such People have done; those of Athens, and some others: Yet, even there, Liberty was daily declining, according to the Progress of Corruption, and always sure to be utterly lost at last.
No doubt, there is great Analogy between private Morals and the Morals of a State; and, consequently, between public and private Corruption; yet they are far from being universally the same; since sometimes the Public is helped, and even saved, by encouraging private Acts of Dishonesty; such as bribing secret or public Enemies with Money, or (which is the same thing) with Promises, to betray their Trust, and to discover the Secrets of their Country or Party, contrary to their Honour, and, perhaps, their Oath. If this be a great Breach upon private Conscience, and private Morals, to encourage Perjury and Falshood, it would be a greater Breach of public Conscience and Morals, to risque the State, or any great public Advantage, for want of it; and, in the Casuistry of a State, the greater Good cancels the smaller Evil: Nor does he who practises it, sin, though he make others sin. It is immoral and cruel, causlesly to take away the Life of a single Citizen; but it is justifiable, to expose many thousand Lives for the Defence of the Public, and the Whole; because the Care of the Whole, which is better than a Part, is the Business and Duty of Governors, who would be unworthy of that Character, if, out of a false Tenderness for Blood, they should venture All, rather than Some. It is the same with Ministers who hire Spies; that is, People to lye and cheat for them, and bribe foreign Ministers and Generals to betray Counsels and Armies to them. Without such Practices they could not serve their Country as they ought; and what is their Duty cannot be a Crime, nor omitted without a Crime.
The same Reasoning holds, when applied to the secret and subdolous means of frustrating domestic Traitors and Treason; namely, the Hiring some to betray the rest, and misleading them all, by fair Speeches, and false Appearances: How, else, are any hostile Designs from Abroad, or any close Conspiracy at Home, to be detected and prevented? What other Part had Cicero to take with the dreadful Conspiracy of Catiline? Was he ever blamed by any Man of Candour or Honesty, for gaining over one of the Conspirators, by great Promises, and great Sums of Money, to betray the rest; or for persuading the Allobrogian Deputies to express a violent Passion for the Conspiracy, and to promise copiously to the Conspirators? Or was he ever censured for bribing Antonius, his Collegue, with a Government better than that which he kept to Himself, in order to secure to the State a Man very corrupt, and otherwise wavering, or rather inclining to dangerous Courses? For this, too, is the Duty of Governors, when public Men will not do their Duty to the Public, or are, perhaps, disposed to betray their Trust, and the Public too, and yet cannot be removed or secured, to apply even to their worst Passions, and hire them to be honest, since they value not Honesty, and love Hire.
Whatever tends to save or secure the Public, or to mend its Condition, is not Corruption; even though it may be effected by the Assistance of corrupt Men, and by Means that are called corrupt, and may be so in Him to whom they are applied, but cannot be so in Him that thus profitably applies them; because, by such Men, and such Means, he serves, nay, often saves, the State. It is Corruption, true and terrible Corruption, whatever is practised to save the Guilty and the Corrupt, (except where they have been the Instruments of public Good) to set some above the Law, to deprive others of its Protection, and to destroy the Force of the Laws. But it cannot be Corruption in a just Man, to hire a venal Man to do his Duty, and serve the Public, if nothing but Hire will induce him. If corrupt Men will not save nor serve their Country, without corrupt Motives, the just Ministers of the Public are not corrupt, but still just, in furnishing them with such Motives. He to whom they apply them is, indeed, corrupt; but though they hate Corruption, and corrupt Men, ever so much, yet, in Justice to their Country, they must procure Men to serve it how they can. It is great Pity, that this should ever be the Case; but I fear it is often so.
In all Events, none but virtuous, none but public-spirited Men are to be vested with such a tender Trust. A corrupt Man, employed in corrupt Measures, is more likely to apply them to hurt the State, than to save it; and what is continually hutting it, will, at last, destroy it. It is, indeed, a terrible Sign, when Men, especially public Men, refuse to serve or assist the State without private Considerations, which, upon such Occasions, are always sordid Considerations. Whoever will not act for the Public, when his Duty calls him to it, without a Reward, will be presumed ready to act against the Public for a Reward: And he who has the Distribution of such Rewards, is Master of all such venal Spirits, and consequently of the Public. Though even these venal Men may not at first mean to distress, much less to ruin their Country, yet an able Man, who has gained their Confidence; and purchased their Affections, may so far blind and engage them, that they will, they must, go all and the worst Lengths. Many of Cæsar’s Creatures, many of Cromwell’s, never dreamed of seeing the one Protector, or the other perpetual Dictator.
Corruption in a State is a Deviation from our Duty to the Public, upon private Motives. Nor are such Motives confined to Money, or Place, or Favour. Whoever prefers his Anger, or his Ambition, or his Hopes, or his Popularity, to his Duty to the Public, is as corrupt as he who postpones the Public to Gain; and Avarice, as distasteful and sordid a Passion as it is, does not more Hurt than other Passions with more pleasing Names, such as Liberality, Clemency, and the Love of Applause. Cæsar was not reckoned avaricious; Crassus was. But Cæsar corrupted Rome more by his Liberality, than Crassus did, or could, by Avarice; since Avarice only corrupts the Heart that entertains it, and therefore avaricious Men cannot be terrible to a State, otherwise than by plundering it, which they seldom have Credit enough to do. But, as Liberality is popular, the liberal Man is the most likely Man to rob his Country, as Cæsar actually did.
Sometimes Corruption is boldly charged upon others, by those who are themselves exceedingly corrupt. Thus Marius grew popular at Rome, by accusing the Patricians as corrupt, which, indeed, was true; and by railing at Corruption, for which there was ample Cause. But it ill suited his Mouth; for he himself proved as corrupt a Knave, as he did a bloody and a revengeful Savage, false, ungrateful, and void of Faith. He first railed at Bribery, and afterwards procured the Consulship, especially his latter Consulships, by Bribes; and, by Force of Bribing, kept Metellus, that excellent Person, Patriot, and Commander, from being Consul.
Catiline complained of Corruption in the Administration, at the very Time when he was corrupting all the Youth at Rome, with all his debauched and deluded Followers there, to destroy the Roman State. Indeed, most of the Traitors, and the greatest Incendiaries in Rome, professed Zeal and Concern for their Country, and charged the best Friends to it with Corruption, whilst they themselves were meditating Destruction to their Country, and all its best Friends. Nay, some of them, such as Titus Manlius, Spurius Cassius, and Spurius Mælius, even when they were doomed to die, as Enemies to their Country, appealed to the People, with notable Confidence, in the Style of their Patrons and Friends; as if they had been Victims only for the Sake of the Multitude, for whom they were preparing the Bitterest of all Calamities to a Roman, even Bondage!