Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. XIX.: That a Prince ought not to engage himself in Commerce. - Complete Works, vol. 2 The Spirit of Laws
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CHAP. XIX.: That a Prince ought not to engage himself in Commerce. - Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, Complete Works, vol. 2 The Spirit of Laws 
The Complete Works of M. de Montesquieu (London: T. Evans, 1777), 4 vols. Vol. 2.
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That a Prince ought not to engage himself in Commerce.
THEOPHILUS† seeing a vessel laden with merchandises for his wife Theodora, ordered it to be burnt. “I am Emperor,” said he, “and you make me the master of a galley: By what means shall these poor men gain a livelihood, if we take their trade out of their hands?” He might have added, Who shall set bounds to us, if we monopolize all to ourselves? Who shall oblige us to fulfil our engagements? Our courtiers will follow our example; they will be more greedy, and more unjust than we: The people have some confidence in our justice; they will have none in our opulence: All these numerous duties, which are the cause of their wants, are certain proofs of ours.