Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. XXIII.: Of Spies in Monarchies. - Complete Works, vol. 1 The Spirit of Laws
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CHAP. XXIII.: Of Spies in Monarchies. - Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, Complete Works, vol. 1 The Spirit of Laws 
The Complete Works of M. de Montesquieu (London: T. Evans, 1777), 4 vols. Vol. 1.
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Of Spies in Monarchies.
SHOULD I be asked whether there is any necessity for spies in monarchies, my answer would be, that the usual practice of good princes is not to employ them. When a man obeys the laws, he has discharged his duty to his prince: he ought at least to have his own house for an asylum, and the rest of his conduct should be exempt from inquiry. The trade of a spy might perhaps be tolerable were it practised by honest men; but the necessary infamy of the person is sufficient to make us judge of the infamy of the thing. A prince ought to act towards his subjects with candour, frankness, and confidence. He that has so much disquiet, suspicion, and fear, is an actor embarrassed in playing his part. When he finds that the laws are generally observed and respected, he may judge himself safe. The behaviour of the public answers for that of every individual. Let him not be afraid: he cannot imagine how natural it is for his people to love him. And how should they do otherwise than love him, since he is the source of almost all bounties and favours; punishments being generally charged to the account of the laws? He never shews himself to his people but with a serene countenance: they have even a share of his glory, and they are protected by his power. A proof of his being beloved is, that his subjects have a confidence in him: what the minister refuses, they imagine the prince would have granted. Even under public calamities they do not accuse his person: they are apt to complain of his being misinformed or beset by corrupt men: Did the prince but know, say the people: these words are a kind of invocation, and a proof of the confidence they have in his person.