Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. XXV.: Of the Manner of governing in Monarchies. - Complete Works, vol. 1 The Spirit of Laws
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
CHAP. XXV.: Of the Manner of governing 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.
About Liberty Fund:
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
Of the Manner of governing in Monarchies.
THE royal authority is a spring that ought to move with the greatest freedom and ease. The Chinese boast of one of their emperors, who governed, they say, like the heavens; that is, by his example.
There are some cases in which a sovereign ought to exert the full extent of his power, and others in which he should reduce it within narrower limits. The sublimity of administration consists in knowing the proper degree of power which should be exerted on different occasions.
The whole felicity of monarchies consists in the opinion which the subjects entertain of the lenity of the government. A weak minister is ever ready to remind us of our slavery. But, granting even that we are slaves, he should endeavour to conceal our misery from us. All he can say or write is, that the prince is uneasy, that he is surprised, and that he will redress all grievances. There is a certain ease in commanding: the prince ought only to encourage, and let the laws menace* .
[* ]Nerva, says Tacitus, increased the ease of government.