Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. XX.: Of the Farmers of the Revenues. - Complete Works, vol. 1 The Spirit of Laws
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CHAP. XX.: Of the Farmers of the Revenues. - 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 the Farmers of the Revenues.
WHEN the lucrative profession of a farmer of the revenue becomes likewise a post of honour, the state is ruined. It may do well enough in despotic governments, where this employment is oftentimes exercised by the governors themselves. But it is by no means proper in a republic; since a custom of the like nature destroyed that of Rome. Nor is it better in monarchies; nothing being more opposite to the spirit of this government. All the other orders of the state are dissatisfied; honour loses its whole value; the gradual and natural means of distinction are no longer respected; and the very principle of the government is subverted.
It is true, indeed, that scandalous fortunes were raised in former times; but this was one of the calamities of the fifty years war. These riches were then considered as ridiculous; now we admire them.
Every profession has its particular lot: that of the tax-gatherers is wealth; and wealth is its own reward. Glory and honour fall to the share of that nobility who are sensible of no other happiness. Respect and esteem are for those ministers and magistrates whose whole life is a continued series of labour, and who watch day and night over the welfare of the empire.
OF LAWS AS RELATIVE TO THE NATURE OF THE CLIMATE.