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chapter six: On the Duties of Enlightened Men after Violent Revolutions - Benjamin Constant, Principles of Politics Applicable to All Governments 
Principles of Politics Applicable to a all Governments, trans. Dennis O’Keeffe, ed. Etienne Hofmann, Introduction by Nicholas Capaldi (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2003).
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On the Duties of Enlightened Men after Violent Revolutions
One might believe that when revolutions calm down, a time of compensation or at least of rest begins for humanity’s friends. Sometimes, however, fate reserves for them one last and painful ordeal.
The people, weary of an oppression operating in the name of freedom, seem to ask, in order to resign themselves almost joyfully to a new oppression, only for a different name for this oppression. It is enough to tell the people straightforwardly that it is not in the name of freedom that they are being trampled underfoot. What a strange reversal of ideas. All the laws have been violated by an unlimited government, and it is not the laws that are invoked but a government of the same unlimited character. A boundless despotism has weighed hard on everyone, and the cry is not for freedom but for another despotism. All the rages which during the violence of revolutions proved so fatal are reproduced under other forms. Fear and vanity formerly travestied the party spirit in its implacable furies; their insane manifestations now surpass the most abject servility. The pride which survives everything scores another success in the baseness in which fear seeks refuge. Cupidity seems openly to sacrifice its opprobrium as a guarantee to tyranny. The new power is fortified by everything remembered. It inherits all the criminal theories. It thinks itself justified by everything which has happened before it. It parades its contempt for men and its scorn for reason. It fortifies itself on all the attacks and all the mistakes by the very people it has just repressed or punished. It is no longer subject to the brake of public opinion, which sometimes contains established despotism. It is absolutely without the purity of intention, the disinterestedness, the good faith which characterize the  blind masses in the midst of their fury. Around it there gather every ignoble desire, every deft calculation, and every refined degradation. To its feet there hastens false argument, to astonish it with its zeal and surpass it in its cries, obscuring all ideas and calling the voice which would contradict it sedition. Intelligence comes to offer its services, intelligence which, separated from conscience, is the vilest of instruments. The apostates of all opinions gather swiftly, conserving from their former opinions only the habit of culpable methods. Crafty turncoats, famous in the annals of vice, slip into place; their quick dexterity carries them from yesterday’s to today’s prosperity, so that at all times they blight everything good, belittle everything elevated, and insult everything noble. Mediocre talents, joined with subaltern natures, set themselves up in the name of power as guardians of thought. They declare what questions the human mind may ponder. They allow it to frolic, subordinately, however, in the narrow enclosure they have conceded it. Anathema on its head, though, if it should ever break out of that enclosure, or scorn puerile subjects, or not abjure its celestial origin. Religion is no more than a vile instrument of government and reasoning only a cowardly commentary of power. The weirdest doctrines are arrogantly advanced. The prejudices of all the ages and the injustices of all countries are brought together as materials of the new social order. People go back to distant centuries and traverse faraway countries to put together from a thousand scattered parts a truly complete servitude which can be laid down as a model. The dishonored word flies from one mouth to another, never leaving from any real source, never carrying conviction anywhere, a tiresome sound, lazy and ridiculous, which leaves neither truth nor justice with any expression which is not soiled. Such was the reign of Charles II, the result of thirty years of civil wars, a forever shameful one, where we saw all the excesses of madness succeeded by all those of degradation.
Such a state is more disastrous than the most stormy revolution. One can at times detest the seditious Roman tribunes, but one is dejected by the contempt one experiences for the Senate under the Caesars.  One may find Charles I’s enemies hard and guilty, but a profound disgust seizes us for Cromwell’s creatures. When the ignorant parts of society commit crimes, the enlightened classes stay blameless; and since the natural thrust of things sooner or later puts power back in their hands, they can easily restore a public opinion which is misled rather than corrupted. When these classes themselves, however, disavowing their ancient principles, shed their habitual decency and permit themselves execrable examples, what hope remains? Where can one find in the nation a germ of honor, an element of virtue? Everything is only mire and blood and dust. A cruel destiny, in all eras, for the friends of freedom. Unrecognized, suspected, surrounded by men incapable of believing in impartiality, courage, disinterested conviction, distressed in turn by the feeling of indignation when these oppressors are at their strongest and by that of pity when they have become victims, they have always wandered the earth, the butt of all parties, isolated in the midst of generations sometimes raging and sometimes depraved.
It is on them, however, that the hope of the human race rests. We owe to them that great correspondence across the centuries, which gives evidence in ineffaceable letters against the sophisms which all the tyrants renew. Owing to this correspondence Socrates has survived the persecutions of a blind populace. Brutus and Cicero are not entirely dead under the proscriptions of the infamous Octavian. Lucan and Seneca were able to defy Nero’s henchman, Boethius the prisons and the sword under Theodoric. Their example has done good long after their deaths. Let their successors not lose courage. The same rewards await them in a distant future, but one brilliant in glory. When they are no more, the truths they have repeated in vain will be listened to. No effort is wasted on that road where the nature of things necessarily leads men. It is a matter only of knowing how to struggle long-term, perhaps all one’s life.
Let them therefore raise their voices anew. Let them not abjure their principles. They have nothing to reproach themselves with. They have need neither of expiation nor disavowal. They possess intact the treasure of a pure reputation. Let them dare to avow the love of generous ideas. These do not cast on them an accusatory light.
 To no avail do the weariness of nations, the anxiety of leaders, the servility of political instruments form an artificial assent which people call public opinion. It is absolutely not this. Men never cut themselves off from freedom. To say that they do is to say that they love humiliation, suffering, destitution, and poverty. To represent them as absorbed in their domestic feelings and individual economic decisions is to paint them, by a crude contradiction, as both putting an excessive price on their possessions and none at all on the lasting nature of these. For security is nothing else but the lasting of things. To say that men can cut themselves off from freedom is to claim that they resign themselves painlessly to being oppressed, incarcerated, separated from what they love, interrupted in their work, deprived of their goods, harassed in their opinions and their most secret thoughts, and dragged into prisons and to the scaffold. Since security is instituted against these things, it is to be preserved from these scourges that we invoke freedom. It is these scourges the people fear, curse, and detest. Wherever and under whatever name they encounter them, they take fright and recoil. What they abhorred in what their oppressors called freedom was not freedom, but slavery; but if slavery were presented under its true names, its true forms, is it credible that they would detest it less?
However active the inquisition may be, with whatever care its precautions multiply, enlightened men always retain a thousand ways of making themselves heard. Despotism is to be feared only when it has choked reason in its infancy. Then the former can stop the progress of the latter and keep the human race in a long imbecility. When reason gets on the march, however, it is invincible. Its supporters may perish, but it survives and triumphs. There exists only a moment to proscribe it with advantage. Once this has passed, all efforts are in vain. The intellectual struggle is engaged, thought is separated from power, truth dawns in every mind.
After the inestimable advantage of being the citizen of a free country, no situation is perhaps sweeter than being the courageous commentator of a subjugated yet enlightened nation. Times when despotism, disdaining a hypocrisy it deems pointless, decks itself in its true colours and insolently deploys banners known for ages are not without compensations.  How much better it is to suffer from the oppression of one’s enemies than to blush from the excesses of one’s allies. The defenders of freedom encounter then the agreement of the best part of the human race. They plead a noble cause openly to people and are seconded by the wishes of all men of good will. Persecution followed by glory is largely recompensed. He who succumbs confidently bequeaths to his contemporaries the care of defending his memory and completing his work.
Missionaries of truth, if the road is cut off, redouble in zeal and effort. Let light penetrate everywhere; if it is obscured, let it reappear; if it is repelled, let it come back. Let it reproduce, multiply, and transform itself. Let it be as indefatigable as persecution. Let some march bravely while others slip adroitly into place. Let the truth spread, sometimes resounding and sometimes repeated very low. Let all rational endeavors combine, let all hopes revive, let everybody work, serve, and wait. “There is no prescription for useful ideas,” said a famous man.18 Courage can come back after despondency, light after ignorance, ardor for the public good after the sleep of indifference.
Despotism, immorality, and injustice are things so against nature that all it takes is an incident, an effort, a brave voice to pull man back out of that abyss. He comes back to morality by way of the misfortune which results from a general forgetting of morality. He comes back to freedom because of the oppression made to weigh on him by all power he has neglected to limit. No nation’s cause is hopeless. What could be more savage than England during the civil wars of Charles I and his Parliament?19 What could be more degraded than that same England during the reign of Charles II? And yet, forty years after having offered the world horrible examples of savagery, twenty years after having given it shameful examples of license and  baseness, England regained its place among the wise, virtuous, and free peoples, and has kept it.
Additions to the Work Entitled Principles of Politics Applicable to All Governments
Exposition of the Subject
The Purpose of the Work1
This work, started long ago, has continued under several successive governments in France. Measures are recalled and censured in it which no longer apply. So are others, however, which still obtain, and consequently I do not think people will believe that I have sought to please today’s government by attacking yesterday’s. I have followed the principles,2 independently of circumstances, and I have not deliberately turned aside either for praise or blame. So many errors which seemed to have become dead letters, so many sophisms one might have thought discredited, so many iniquitous practices apparently dead and gone, have reappeared, sometimes under the same names, sometimes with new ones, that I have come to think that I must speak out against these things, whether past or present, equally strongly. So many truths one might have considered universally recognized have been called into question or even put aside, without our being deigned a word of explanation or excuse, that I thought I must not enunciate a single truth, however obvious it might appear, without bringing to mind the evidence for it. My purpose has been to compose an elementary work. A work of this kind, on the fundamental principles of politics, has seemed to me to be lacking in all the literatures I know.
 This work originally contained two parts, constitutional institutions and the rights of individuals, in other words, the means of public security and the principles of freedom. Since the first are contestable and the second incontestable, I thought I should present the latter separately.
I have therefore removed from my work everything on the forms of government. I had treated the full extent of this subject. The division of citizens into governors and governed, political powers, executive power and its exclusiveness, whether temporary or for the lifetime of the person in whom it is vested, the dangers of this exclusiveness in the election of the Head of State, the mode of election established in France, the tendency to military government of elective exclusiveness, the complexity of executive power, the objections which the history of so many ancient republics as well as modern revolutions furnishes against that complexity, the abuses natural to executive power, however it is composed, the guarantees against these abuses, the limitation of controls on the law of peace and of war, the right to resist taxes, the independence of the judiciary, accountability, the organization of the armed forces, the legislative power, abuses thereof, safeguards instituted or to be instituted against these abuses, the unlimited power which gives the executive exclusive initiative, the division into two chambers, the veto, the dissolution of legislative assemblies, popular election, in other words, and the advantages found only therein, the two systems substituted successively in France for popular elections, the formal description of a constitution in which all powers would be elective and all the rights of citizens recognized, the weak aspects of this constitution and the means of remedying these, such have been my research preoccupations. A generation must feel young and think forcefully, however, to involve itself with such discussions. In the amphitheater in Constantinople, amid the factions of the blues and the greens,3 they would have been out of place. They would have brought out the suspicions of the former and wearied the frivolity of the latter.
 When political questions have caused long agitation and numerous misfortunes, there is established in many minds a conviction that on everything connected with government reasoning is valueless. The errors of theorizing seem much more tiresome than abuses of practice. Since they are indeed more unlimited and incalculable in their results, the attempts of faulty theorizing have a disadvantage from which such abuses are free. A man bends to institutions he finds established, as to the rules of physical nature. He arranges, according to their very faults, his interests, his economic reckoning, and the planning of his life. All his relationships, hopes, means of employment, and happiness are organized around that which exists. During revolutions, however, since everything changes at every instant, men no longer know where they stand. They are forced by their own needs, and often also by the way they are threatened by government, to behave as if that which has just appeared must always subsist; and predicting nevertheless the next changes, they possess neither the individual independence which ought to result from the absence of security, nor security, the only compensation for the sacrifice of freedom.
It is therefore not surprising that after repeated revolutions, any idea of improvement, even abstract and separated from any particular application, is odious and inconvenient and that the aversion it inspires extends to everything which seems to indicate the possibility of a change, even in the most indirect way. It is quite understandable, moreover, that those with the reins of government favor this natural disposition. Even if we attribute to the governors the purest of intentions, they are bound to reserve for themselves the privilege of meditating on the good they want to do; or if they entrust this delicate task to some of the subordinate collaborators surrounding them, this can only be in part. They are happy to see that submissive and flexible minds are undertaking to indicate to them some of the detail needed for achieving their purpose or, better still, to make available to them by minor innovations the means government thinks it has discovered. The independent thinker, however, who claims to grasp at a glance the overall picture, which the governing group allow people to concern themselves with at the very most only in bits, and then functionally and without passing judgment, the philosopher who goes back to the first principles of power and of social organization, even when he isolates himself from present things, and fixing on his memories or his hopes, wishes only to speak with regard to the future or pronounce only on  the past, seems to them nevertheless a presumptuous rhetorician, a tiresome observer, a dangerous sophist.
In this way the fatigue of the people combines with the anxiety of its leaders to circumscribe the domain of thought on all sides. It has been said that under the monarchy there was an intermediary class, the nobility, who conserved some independence but only insofar as this decorated and consolidated submission. Similarly, in the state of things we are describing, there forms an intermediary class which demands from reason only what is necessary to limit its sway. Educated men, but without power, elegant subalterns, who take style as the purpose and some restrained and secondary ideas as the means, set themselves up as organs of opinion, the supervisors of thought. They raise an altar to literature, in contravention of philosophy. They declare on which questions human intelligence may exercise itself. They allow it to frolic but subordinately and with circumspection, in the space they have granted it. Anathema on it, however, if it transgresses that space, if, not abjuring its celestial origin, it gives itself over to forbidden speculations, if it dares to think that its noblest destiny is not in the ingenious decoration of frivolous subjects, adroit adulatory praise, and sonorous declamation on unimportant subjects, but that heaven and its own nature have made of it an eternal tribunal, where everything is examined, weighed, and in the last resort judged.
When an inopportune mind wishes to launch itself thoughtlessly from abstract theory to violent practice and, trusting to its own perhaps incomplete and defective speculations, destroy and change everything, madness is probably present and crime even more so. Only perfidiously, however, could immobile, solitary thought be compared with solitary action or reckless advice. Action is for the moment; thought’s judgments are for centuries. It bequeaths future generations both the truths it has been able to uncover and the mistakes which seemed to it truths. Time, in its eternal progression, gathers and separates them.
In Athens, a citizen who deposited on the altar an olive branch surrounded with sacred little bands could freely explain himself on matters political.
I might be accused rather of dealing with obvious things and establishing inapplicable principles. Men who have renounced reason and morality find all one says in this direction so many paradoxes or commonplaces; and since truths are disagreeable to them, above all in their consequences, what constantly happens is that they disdain any initial assertion as not needing demonstration and protest against the second and the third as unsustainable and paradoxical,  although the latter may obviously be the necessary and immediate conclusions of the former.
Stupidity is singularly fond of repeating axioms which give it the appearance of profundity, while tyranny is highly adroit in seizing upon stupidity’s axioms. Hence it arises that propositions whose absurdity astonishes us when they are analyzed slip into a thousand minds, are repeated by a thousand tongues, while men who want to agree are continually reduced to demonstrating the obvious.
I have quoted a lot in my book and mainly from living authors, or those recently dead, or from men whose very name is authoritative, such as Adam Smith, Montesquieu, and Filangieri. I have made a point of affirming that often I was only reproducing, with softened expression, opinions to be found in the most moderate of writers.
One habitual ruse of the enemies of freedom and enlightenment is to affirm that their ignoble doctrine is universally adopted, that principles on which rest the dignity of the human race are abandoned by unanimous agreement, and that it is unfashionable and almost in bad taste to profess them, thinking taken very seriously in France. I have tried to prove to them that this so-called unanimity is a lie.
An example more imposing still than the theories of even the most estimable writers has, it is true, come to the rescue of my principles, precisely while I was laboring to expound them. It is the conduct of the American government, such as it was pronounced by the President of the United States on his installation and such as it has been for the last ten years.4
“Although the will of the majority,” said Mr. Jefferson, on 4 March 1801, “must prevail in all cases, that will, to be legitimate, must be reasonable. The minority possess equal rights which equal law must protect. To violate these rights would be an oppression. It is sometimes said that man must not be entrusted with his own self-government. But then how could one entrust to him the government of others? Or have angels perhaps been found, in the form of kings, to govern us? To prevent men from doing each other mutual harm and to leave them otherwise full freedom to manage themselves in the efforts of their work and in their progress toward improvement, that is the sole purpose of a good government. Equal and right justice for all men, whatever  their condition or their belief, religious or political, peace, trade, straightforwardness with other nations, without insidious alliances with any, the maintenance of the governments of the individual States in all their rights, as the most convenient administration for our domestic interests and the most certain bulwark against antirepublican tendencies, the conservation of the federal government, in its full constitutional vigor, as the guarantee of our peace within and our security without, scrupulous attention to the right of election by the people, a sweet and sure correction of abuses, which otherwise the sword or revolutions destroy, when no peaceful remedy has been prepared, an unreserved acceptance of the decisions of the majority, a well-disciplined militia, our best safeguard in time of peace and during the first moments of a war, until regular troops can back it up, the supremacy of the civil over the military authority, economy in public expenditure, in order that the working class be taxed only lightly, faithful settlement of our debts and an inviolable respect for public confidence, the dissemination of education and an appeal to public rationality, against all abuses of whatever sort, religious freedom, press freedom, freedom of persons under the protection of habeus corpus and trial by juries impartially chosen, such are the essential principles of our government. The watches of the night of our wise men and the blood of our heroes have been consecrated to their triumph. This is the profession of our political faith, the educational text of the citizens, the touchstone by which we can appreciate the services of those in whom we put our confidence; and if we deviated from these principles in moments of error and alarm, we would have to hasten to retrace our steps and regain the path which alone leads to peace, freedom, and security.”5
These principles, put into practice with so much success in a huge, flourishing republic, are those which I have tried to establish in this book, and I have devoted myself to this task with all the more zeal and confidence in that having some time carried out legislative functions in the State which they named the French Republic,  I find myself free again6 without having done a thing or expressed an opinion, which forces me to alter in the slightest detail the intellectual system which I believe to be the only true or useful one, and the only one worthy of good men.
Notes Referring to the Original Chapter
1. Extremes do not only touch but also follow each other. “Everything which tends to restrain kings,” said M. de Clermont-Tonnerre, “is received with delight, because people remember the abuses of royalty. Perhaps there will come a time when everything which tends to restrain the rights of the people will be received in the same fanatical spirit, because the dangers of anarchy will be no loss strongly felt.” II, 232.7
2. the first conquest of our century. Order of the day of His Majesty the Emperor in the Moniteur of 22 January 1806: “There is no censorship at all in France. Every citizen in France can publish such books as he judges suitable, provided he accepts accountability. No work may be suppressed, no author may be prosecuted save by the courts or following a decree by His Majesty where the text would threaten the first prerogatives of public security and interest. We would be falling again into a strange situation, if a simple clerk could arrogate to himself the right to prevent the publication of a book or force an author to retract from or add anything to it. Freedom of thought is the first conquest of the century. The Emperor wishes it conserved,” etc.8
Rousseau’s First Principle on the Origin of Political Authority
1. the world knows only two kinds of power.  There is force, the illegitimate kind. “A town,” said Louis XIV, speaking of Genoa, “formerly subject to my ancestors and which had no other rights of sovereignty than those it drew from its rebellion.” Mémoires I, 24. If republics, formerly subject to monarchies, have no other rights of sovereignty than their rebellion, then kings could well have no other rights than their usurpation.
Rousseau’s Second Principle on the Scope of Political Authority
1. the general will must exercise unlimited authority over individual existence. “The voice of the greatest number,” (says Rousseau), “always obliges everyone else. This is a consequence of the contract itself. One may ask how a man can be free and forced to comply with wills which are not his own. How can those opposing be free and subject to laws to which they did not consent? The question is badly put. The citizen consents to all the laws, even to those passed in spite of him and even those which punish him if he dares to break one of them. The constant will of all the members of the State is the general will. When a law is proposed in the people’s assembly, what is asked of them is not precisely whether they approve of the proposition or reject it, but whether or not it conforms to the general will which is their own. Each one giving his vote gives his opinion thereon, and from the counting of votes the declaration of the general will is derived. Therefore when the contrary opinion to mine is carried, this means only that I was in error and that what I had estimated to be the general will was not such. If my minority opinion had carried, I would have done something other than I had wished. It is then that I would not have been free.”9 Rousseau merely pushes the theory back here and expresses it in other words. How does it arise that the declaration of the majority makes the general will clear to the eyes of the minority? It makes clear only that that will is of the majority. What should have been said is that the society has agreed that when a determination is necessary, the will of the majority constitutes law. Then, although it may not be true that when a minority obeys an opinion contrary to its own,  it is all the freer for it, although it may be still less true that an individual, whose individual opinion had prevailed, would not be free and would be doing something other than his will, in the very act of doing it, it is conceivable that each person submits to the sacrifice, because others agree to submit to it. This, however, can be only when a resolution is needed. Otherwise the sacrifice has no purpose.
Rousseau’s Arguments for Boundless Political Authority
1. He (Rousseau) forgets that all the preserving qualities which he confers on the abstract being he calls sovereignty are born in the fact that this being is made up of all the separate individuals without exception. Jean-Jacques’s system and all the reasoning it rests on are forgetful of reality, a terrible, vicious flaw. Man is counted in it as some numerical value. When the words all or everyone are spoken, we are led to believe that the discussion is of units or collections of units, which differ not at all among themselves and cannot change their nature. It is taken as shown that none of these figures can encroach on another. These figures being moral beings, however, the result of the bringing together of ten of these figures is not directly proportional to their numerical value, but proportional to the moral value of each one of them. This means that just adding them together one does not get the modified sum of their respective strengths, but only the tenfold multiplication of the individual force of one of them.
The Consequences of Rousseau’s Theory
1. They ask it from the owner of political authority, the people. “The people’s name is a forged signature to justify its leaders.” Bentham.
 Chapter 8:
Hobbes’s Opinion Reproduced
1. This was no longer a man, this was a people. One sees how easily Rousseau’s system leads to the most absolute despotism. Furthermore, we have remarked already that the supporters of this kind of government had avidly seized on it. Men, by uniting, says M. Ferrand, have surrendered, at a word from the general will, all the forces of individual will. Préface de l’esprit de l’histoire.10 Does not this sentence seem to be from Rousseau?
Note that M. Ferrand and others never stop reproaching freedom’s friends for losing themselves in abstractions. When, however, they speak to us of the general will personified and of the sovereign who is no longer a man but a people, can we say they avoid them?
On the Inconsistency with Which Rousseau Has Been Reproached
1. He (Rousseau) has declared that sovereignty cannot be alienated, nor represented, nor delegated. “Sovereignty,” he says, “cannot be represented politically, for the same reason it cannot be alienated. It consists in the general will, and the will is not amenable to representation. It is the same or it is different. There is no in between.”11 This idea of Rousseau arises because he has never defined either the nature or above all the limits of the general will. If we call the will of the members of a society on all things the general will, doubtless it cannot be represented; but if we call the general will only the will of the members of society on those things which society makes common to them, it can be represented, that is to say that a smaller association can be made with the same purpose and can make its decisions according to the same interests as the larger.  “The people’s deputies,” he continues, “are not and cannot be its representatives; they are only its commissioners; they cannot conclude anything definitively.”12 It would be just as right to say, however, that the majority cannot conclude anything definitively; since the majority is only the representative of the whole and one is aware of the absurdities this system leads to. “Any law,” he says, finally, “which the people personally have not ratified is null; it is not a law.”13 Rousseau does not explain, however, how the ratification of the majority binds the minority. The power of the majority is explained only by considering it as representing everybody.
On the Principles to Replace Received Ideas on the Extent of Political Authority
On the Limitation of Political Authority
1. When this government is extended to purposes outside its competence, it becomes illegitimate. Under Pericles the sale of five thousand citizens, because they had been born to foreign mothers, was tyrannical. The institutions under Lycurgus concerned with the private lives of citizens were tyrannical. Our laws on the mercantile system are tyrannical. See Smith IV, chapters 1–8.14 Peter I’s law that his subjects should cut off their beards was tyrannical. Finally, any law which prescribes to someone what he must do for his own utility is tyrannical. The law can decide between one man and another and between a man and society. Any law, however, which regulates the conduct of a man in relation to himself, and only himself, is tyrannical. All these tyrannical laws are nonetheless justified in Rousseau’s theory.15 
2. Even if it were the whole nation, except for the man it is harassing, it would be no more legitimate for that. “Pellitur a populo victus Cato; tristior ille est qui vicit, fascesque pudet rapuisse Catoni. Namque hoc dedecus est populi, morumque ruina. Non homo pulsus erat: sed in uno victa potestas, romanumque decus.” Petronius.16 (Cato, defeated, is driven out by the people. Less fortunate is that man who defeated him, and is ashamed to have seized the symbols of authority from Cato. For this is the dishonor of the people and the ruin of morals. It was not a man who was driven out, but in one man was the power and honor of Rome defeated.)
On the Rights of the Majority
1. than that of the smallest of minorities. Law has been defined as the expression of the majority will.17 This definition is very faulty and very dangerous, in that it appears to give the general will unlimited power. It should be added: on those things where the general will has a right to will.
2. fixed principles from which the majority never deviates. With the system of unlimited rights of the numerical majority, one would be poised to make the whole world one people. For how would a notional territorial line change that right? If thirty thousand neighbors do not want the same thing as a nation of thirty million, by what right do they resist? And if we granted them the right to resist, how would a city already an enclave not have the right to become a neighbor again? 
3. They represented it [the majority] as a real person. It is never fundamentally the majority who oppress. People steal its name and then use the arms it has supplied. The interest of the majority is never to oppress. The sum of misfortunes which exists in a society extends more or less to all members and increases when there is injustice. To harm an individual or class is to harm the whole.
On the Insignificance of the Way Government is Organized When Political Power Is Not Limited.
1. there are things about which the legislature has no right to make laws. There are unalterable principles, of which the whole nation is guardian, that the nation itself cannot infringe, and which are not numbered in the mass of opinions which it submits to those it charges with exerting its will. The reason is simple, namely that the nation itself has no right to a will contrary to these principles.
On the Principle of Utility Substituted for the Idea of Individual Rights
Bentham says that if the supporter of utility found an action in the catalogue of virtues which resulted in more pain than pleasure, he would expunge it from this catalogue. I, 5.18 This is remarkable, in that he says elsewhere19 that it is bad to speak of natural rights, because each man wants to judge them according to his individual judgment. But is this not what he makes the supporter of utility do? In all systems one has to come back to individual judgment.
If one wants to judge according to conscience, says Bentham, I, 31, one will not be able to distinguish between an enlightened conscience and a  blind one.20 If, however, one wishes to judge according to the principle of utility, neither will one distinguish good and bad calculations on this basis. “In the immense variety of ideas on natural laws,” says Bentham, Principles of Legislation, Ch. 13, “won’t every person find reasons to resist human laws?”21 He will find the same, however, in the principle of utility, applied in his way.
On Arguments and Hypotheses in Favor of the Extension of Political Authority
On the Extension of Political Authority beyond Its Necessary Minimum, on the Grounds of Utility
1. writers of all persuasions. “All government is instituted for men’s happiness. Therefore everything which can assure their happiness must be a part of government.” Ferrand, Esprit de l’histoire, I, 107.22
2. In some respects Montesquieu. Bentham in his Principles of legislation, Ch. 12, entitled On the limits which separate morality from legislation, begins with a false proposition. “Morality,” he says, “is the art of directing men’s actions in such a way as to produce the greatest possible sum of happiness. Legislation has precisely the same end.”23 It is through confounding thus the purpose of legislation and that of morality that we have given legislation the growth which has become so disastrous. Bentham feels it himself, for he says a little further on that the means of legislation are very different, and its jurisdiction much more extensive than that of morality, that there are acts useful to the community which the law must not require and harmful acts  that it must not forbid.24 He concludes with this obvious maxim: “Do not make the power of the laws intervene except to stop men hurting each other.”25 The definition he begins with, however, is equally inexact. The purpose of legislation is far more to safeguard men against the evil they might do themselves than to procure for them the greatest sum of possible happiness. The definition of morality and legislation seems to me to be that the first indicates to men how they might be happy, in rendering their fellows happy, and that the second preserves them from what might, on the part of their fellows, prevent them from making themselves happy, without hurting others. The singular thing here is that Bentham joins two definitions which contradict each other and which I oppose equally. For he says elsewhere that any law is a necessary evil.26
3. in this theoretical system political authority has absolutely no limits nor can have. Why is judicial power the least dangerous of all the powers? Because its nature is perfectly understood. People know it is essentially rigorous, that it is indispensable, but that the good it produces is only the absence of ill. Furthermore, it is not easily extended beyond its limits and when people have wanted to abuse it, they have had to distort it and turn it into a political power instead of a judicial one. Those holding other powers have not wished to be confined to such narrow limits. Consequently they have tried to deceive people over the nature of their duties. Instead of presenting themselves as guardians of public order, that is to say, as a sort of political constabulary, they have posed as the fathers of the people. They have benefited from being surrounded by affection, or telling themselves this, rather than mistrust, and have been able to abuse their powers much more easily.
 4. Nothing simpler than the questions on which these functions call governments to pronounce.27 “In the system of natural freedom,” says Smith, IV, 9, V, 1, “the sovereign has only three duties to fulfill, three duties in truth of great importance, but clear, simple, and within the grasp of an ordinary mind. The first is the duty to defend the society from any act of violence or invasion on the part of other independent societies; the second is the duty to protect, as far as possible, each member of the society against the injustice and oppression of any other member, that is to say, the duty to establish a proper administration of justice; and the third of setting up and maintaining certain public works and institutions which the private interest of an individual or group of individuals would never get around to setting up or maintaining because the profit would never reimburse the expenditure of an individual or group of individuals, although with regard to a whole society this profit more than reimburses the expense.”28
Are Governors Necessarily Less Liable to Error Than the Governed?
1. less impartial than the governed. It is a mistake to take it that there is a huge gulf between those who lay down and those who accept the law. Their respective educations are always in a certain ratio and do not shift much. Nature grants no privilege to any individual. No one runs ahead of his country and era by much, and those who do so most are perhaps the least proper to dominate them.
2. It is not the same with the numberless functions, etc. The marquis de Mirabeau,  in the first book of his L’ami des hommes,29 establishes a very accurate distinction between positive and speculative laws. According to him, positive laws limit themselves to maintenance; speculative ones extend to guidance. He does not draw extensive consequences from this distinction. His purpose was not to fix the limits of government functions, and although in the rest of his book he may constantly be led by the force of things to restrain these functions de facto, he nevertheless admits their legitimacy in law and strives only to indicate how they may be at their most useful and advantageous. We whose purpose is different will adopt the same distinction, but in order to follow up all it results in. When the government punishes a harmful action, when it penalizes the violation of a contractual undertaking, when it builds or repairs roads or canals, it fulfills a positive function. When it comes down hard on an action which is not harmful on the grounds that it could lead indirectly to one that is, when it imposes on individuals certain rules of conduct which are not a necessary part of the work to which they are contracted, when it harasses the management of property or the carrying out of work, when it seeks to dominate public opinion, either by punishments or rewards, or by seizing control of education, it arrogates to itself a speculative function, since it is basing itself on calculations, on suppositions, on hypothetical cases, in short, on speculations. Government in its positive functions does not act in a spontaneous way. It reacts in response to facts, to antecedent actions, which have taken place independently of its will. In its speculative function it does not have to react against facts or acts already performed, but to foresee future actions. It acts spontaneously therefore. Its action is the product of its own will.
The positive functions of government are of an extremely simple nature, and in their exercise its action is neither equivocal nor complicated. Its speculative functions are of a different nature. They have no factual base, not being exercises over factual things. They start from a supposition, a presumption. They can vary, extend, and become infinitely complicated. Positive functions often let government stay motionless. Speculative functions never let it do so. Its hand, which at times prevents, at times controls, at times creates, at times repairs, can  sometimes be invisible, but never stay inactive. Its action taking its source from its will, it must necessarily reason, suppose, guess. This indicates clearly how difficult it is in so many respects to draw the limits of speculative functions. Sometimes government places barriers of its own choosing just short of criminal activity, with a view to then establishing penalties against the overturning of these barriers. Sometimes it has recourse to prohibitive measures, against actions which, neutral in themselves, seem to it nevertheless dangerous in their indirect consequences. Sometimes it builds up coercive laws to compel men to do what seems useful to it. At other times it extends its scope to what people believe. On yet further occasions it modifies or limits the tenure of property, arbitrarily regulating its forms and deciding on, ordering, or prohibiting its transmission. It subjects the work of production to numerous impediments, encouraging it on one side, restraining it on another. Actions, conversations, writings, mistakes, truths, religious ideas, philosophical systems, moral attachments, inner feelings, uses, habits, customs and manners, institutions, all that is vaguest in man’s imagination, most independent in his nature, everything there belongs to the government domain. It enfolds our existence on all sides, takes hold of our first years, surveys and restrains our least movements, sanctifies or combats the most uncertain of our conjectures, modifies or directs our most fugitive impressions.
The difference, then, between speculative and positive functions is that the latter have fixed boundaries, rather than the unlimited ones the former have, once they are accepted.
The law or governmental action, according to which the government might send citizens to the frontiers to defend these when they are attacked, would be a law or positive government action, since obviously its purpose would be to repel an aggression committed and prevent the native territory being invaded. The law or government action according to which the government might oblige citizens to carry the war into the country of another nation, which it suspected of considering an attack, would be a law or action of a speculating government, since that government would not be acting on a factual basis, against some committed action, but following a speculation, against a presumed one. So, in the first case, government authority would be limited, since the government could not take action against a fact, if there were no such fact. In the second, on the contrary, government authority would be limitless, speculation always being at the government’s discretion.
Another difference between positive and speculative functions is that when the government limits itself to the former,  it cannot make mistakes; but when it arrogates the latter to itself, it exposes itself to error of every kind.
When government passes a law against assassination or theft, since its severity is directed only against determinate actions, it cannot go astray. If, however, government makes laws against the decay of trade or the stagnation of industry, it runs the risk of taking for means of encouragement things which are not such. A law against theft or assassination can be more or less perfect and therefore more or less attain its purpose. It is impossible, however, that it will work completely against this purpose. A law to encourage trade can destroy it. A law to favor production can run counter to it.
There is therefore in the speculative functions of government a double drawback. Not being susceptible to limitation, they lay themselves open to arbitrariness. Obliging government to act on suppositions, they multiply the chances of mistakes.
Are Governmental Mistakes Less Dangerous Than Those of Individuals?
1. freely set himself straight. Nature has given our errors two great correctives, personal interest and experience. If personal interest makes mistakes, the very losses incurred will enlighten it. What our interests have undergone will put them on a far more secure track than prohibitions could. The man with a vested interest will not have seen proof that prohibitions are necessary. For him their value exists only in the foreboding of governments. Individual interest will never see them as safeguards, only as obstacles.
2. it is better to run the natural risk of individual mistakes. “Everything man does for himself,” says Godwin, Political Justice, VI, Ch. 8,30 “is a good. Everything his fellow citizens or country do for him, against his consent, is an ill.” Godwin is right, and it is an ill in several respects. First, there is a violation of each person’s rights. Justice prefers that every man be judge of what constitutes his own happiness. When you strike a blow against this individual prerogative, even if you are right a thousand times over  in the individual case, you are spurning a general principle, which cannot be upturned without the widest and most serious consequences. Secondly, however, it is very doubtful whether, even in the individual circumstance, you are likely to be right. You are subject to error every bit as much as the man whose interest you claim to know better than he himself. On this matter you are much more liable to error than he, for he is very much better acquainted with the overall details of his existence than you who perceive only one side of it, you to whom that one-sided and incomplete awareness can suggest very wrong notions. Thirdly and finally, nothing is beneficial save by consequence, persistence, and agreement and unless it lasts. Now, what you do for a man, against his will, he will undo. Whatever work you have built up at the expense of part of his freedom, with the remainder of that freedom, he will try to destroy it. There will therefore be no cohesion, no continuity, no persistence: instead there will be struggle. If you are right and the violence you are doing the man really is in his interest, do you know what the result will be? It is that you will separate him from his interests and he will not be wrong to separate himself from them. For the interest of his independence is much more important to his happiness than the individual interest in whose name you are claiming to subjugate him. If he gave in to you in this case, in which you are right, you would demand the same submission in another case in which perhaps you would be wrong. It is therefore in his lasting interest to resist you, even when you are acting in his interest of the moment.
On the Nature of the Means Political Authority Can Use on the Grounds of Utility
1. calmly set out again to make what they called laws. We have seen better still. We have seen our legislative assemblies forget the laws they have passed and pass them a second time.
On the Proliferation of the Laws
Natural Causes of the Proliferation of the Laws
The laws have been defined as the expression of the general will. This is  a very false definition. The laws are the declaration of men’s relations between themselves. From the moment society exists, it establishes certain relations between men. These relations are true to their nature, for if they were not true to their nature, they would not become established. These laws are nothing other than these relationships observed and voiced. They are not the cause of these relationships, which on the contrary are anterior to them; on the contrary, they declare that these relationships exist. They are the declaration of a fact. They create, determine, and institute nothing, except forms and procedures such as to guarantee that which existed before their institution. It follows that no man, no fraction of society, nor even the whole society can, properly speaking and in an absolute sense, attribute to itself the right to make laws. The laws being only the expression of relations which exist between men and these relations being determined by their nature, to make a new law is only a new declaration of what existed previously.
The law is not in the gift of the legislator. It is not his spontaneous work. The legislator is to social order what the physician is to nature. Newton himself was able only to observe it and tell us the laws he recognized or thought he recognized. He did not to all appearances delude himself that he was the creator of these laws.
One thing excuses governments for the proliferation of the laws. This, that everybody solicits them to this end. Does a man think up a new project? Soon he is asking the government for it. Men who most favor freedom are not free from this error. The economists, etc.
The Idea Which Usually Develops about the Effects Which the Proliferation of the Laws Has and the Falsity of That Idea
The complicated institutions of government and legislation have created such a number of artificial relations between men that there is no longer room for their true nature. Their moral existence, their will, their judgment find themselves choking under their civil, political, and legal existence, an existence if not opposite to the former, at least totally modified. There has been done for the entire life of man what constitutions did for  primary assemblies.31 Reports have been drafted in advance, in which only the name and the date have been left blank and on the basis of which the human race resigns itself docilely to modeling all its actions. Men today have nothing in their own right. In the case of the inner life, there are positive religious dogmas. For external activity there is the law; with the result that when law or religion collapse, men no longer have any guidance and no longer know what they must do.
I read in the Declaration of Rights that no man is a good person if he does not strictly and rigorously observe the laws.32 Does this mean that if I am a good son, a good husband, a good father, a good friend,33 but I forget or I break one of the thirty-two thousand laws which compose our code, I will not be a good man? I perceive in this doctrine a morality every bit as artificial as that of the fakirs of India, who attach virtue or crime to the observance or nonobservance of practices with no value or danger.
That the Principal Benefit Which Supporters of Democratic Government Are Looking for in the Proliferation of the Laws Does Not Exist
The more a government measure is contrary to justice and reason, the more it entails disorder and violence, and then the need for the measure is justified in terms of this disorder and violence. If, on the grounds that most crimes are committed on the highways and that by forcing citizens to stay at home in their houses we would prevent these crimes, the law told them not to leave their homes and put guards everywhere to arrest the lawbreakers, the citizens, condemned either to neglect the looking after of their interests and to interrupt their reciprocal dealings or to disobey the law, would probably take the second course. The guards would come forward to arrest them and they would put up some resistance. Brawls, threats, fighting on the  highways would multiply more than ever and the legislator would conclude from this the necessity of the law which was the initial cause of all these calamities. He would take the effect for the cause: this is the history of many laws.
Often, when the execution of a law meets a thousand obstacles, people imagine these obstacles could be lifted by a new law. This new law is eluded in turn. This is remedied by a third law. You go on like this to infinity. If after you are worn out with fruitless attempts you go back to the first law, fertile source of so many secondary laws, and try to repeal it, you will for the most part see that everything would go better for it, and you would succeed by this repeal, not only in freeing yourself from a bad law, but from a whole series of laws necessary to assure, even imperfectly, the carrying out of your first law.
“You have never in your life,” says the Abbé Galiani, p. 250, “bound anything, whether with string or with thread, without giving it one twist too many or making one extra knot. It is in our instinct, whether we are small or great, always to go beyond the natural measure, following the force of our intention.”34 I conclude from this that one should bind things as lightly as possible.
After the earthquake at Lisbon,35 the marquis de Pombal, in order to prevent the people leaving en masse, set up a cordon of cavalry on the banks of the Tagus and had the roads leading out into the country guarded by large detachments of infantry. No quake occurred, and so these precautions had no inconvenient consequences. If it had been repeated, however, it is clear that the obstacles put in the way of the people’s flight would have increased the despair and unhappiness, since one would have had to battle against the soldiers as well as the elements.
On the Corruption Which the Proliferation of the Laws Causes among the Agents of the Government
Even when the government stays strictly within the limits prescribed by its purposes, it always more or less corrupts the instruments it uses. To corrupt is to substitute for moral considerations, which would decide for us if they were the only ones to make themselves heard, considerations of another kind.  Any addition to, any change in, the motives which must determine men’s conduct, any threat, any promise, be it of pecuniary recompense, or of power, is a form of corruption. Now, this form of corruption is inseparable from government, within whatever narrow limits you enclose it. It needs agents who, sometimes, function without thought and obey without conviction. These agents are necessarily corrupted. If, along with the natural functions with which it is invested, the government adds functions which do not belong to it, such as, for example, influencing the opinions and outlook of the governed, the corruption of its agents will increase indefinitely. When the government is only an instrument of repression, punishing crimes people have been able to commit, its agents have only little latitude. They are in the inevitably wrong and unhappy situation of obeying without being convinced, and for motives of a quite different nature from conviction. Nothing is left to their arbitrary decision, however. In everything which is not purely repression, though, the solitary barrier having once been breached, despotism no longer finds anything to slow down its march. There results from this a much wider terrain for the corruption of agents. This corruption is aggravated further by the contempt it arouses. The natural feeling that the government should leave citizens free in the occupational, wealth-seeking, and moral part of their lives is so strong that the very men who have not adopted this political view look on the agents of the other approach with nothing but aversion and disdain. Now, this contempt tends to corrupt them more and more. In this way, through its wrong measures, the government, in order to achieve a good which it does not attain, and which it is not in its capacity to attain, creates a real ill. Its true purpose is not to do good but to prevent ill and to do so by way of penal laws. It corrupts in this case only a very small number of those who carry out these laws, and the dealings of these men with society being neither frequent nor complicated and always hostile, the corruption penetrates the social body less. Whereas when the government wants to do positive good, since it corrupts its agents in the same way and since there are more of them, and their dealings with society are more frequent, more various, and less hostile, the harm is much greater.
Coercive laws, intended to force the governed to such and such an action, have one further drawback than prohibitive laws, intended only to forbid such and such an action to the governed. The absence of action is more difficult to determine than the action itself. Against this negative crime a more constant, positive, and inquisitorial surveillance is called for.
 In cases where coercive laws were absolutely necessary, rewards should be attached to obedience rather than punishments attached to transgression. Since the State cannot be lavish with rewards, however, there should at the same time be as few as possible laws of this kind.
Another Drawback of the Proliferation of the Laws
There were excesses in our old institutions. There are still more in our present ones. Most of the time it is a matter not of adding to them, but reducing them. I deliver you from a ferocious animal, said Voltaire, and you ask me what I am putting in its place.36 This witticism could be applied to many laws. Let us guard against concluding, from the host of laws which have been established, that a host of laws is necessary to public order. Let us consider which laws would seem indispensable to us if the idea of the laws came up for the first time.
On Arbitrary Measures
On Arbitrary Measures and Why People Have Always Protested Less about Them Than about Attacks on Property
It is in Ch. 15 of Livre XXVI of The Spirit of the Laws that Montesquieu establishes principles much more favorable to property than to freedom. Examining his arguments carefully, however, we see that they apply with as much force to freedom as to property. “It is,” he says, “a paralogism to say that the individual good must yield to the public good. That holds only in the cases where it is a question of the authority of the city, that is to say, the freedom of the citizen. This does not hold in cases where the ownership of goods is at stake, because the public good is always that each person invariably keeps the property which the civil laws bestow on him.” How is it, however, that Montesquieu has not felt that the public good was always also that each person keeps his legitimate freedom? Why is it untoward that, on the grounds of the public good, blows should be struck at property? It is because a single attack of this kind takes away from all  property all guarantee and because the whole system of property is destroyed. It is the same, however, with freedom. “Let us take it as a maxim,” he continues, “that when it is a question of the public good, the public good is never that one should deprive an individual of his goods nor even that one should take away the least portion of them.”37 We can say as much for freedom, and experience shows it.
On the Grounds for Arbitrary Measures and the Prerogative of Preventing Crimes
1. government suspicions. The need to prevent crimes is sometimes only a pretext for government idleness, its members sometimes preferring to enchain us than to survey us. They must learn, however, that government is painstaking work and that it is to us, the governed, that peace and freedom belong, while the portion of the governors is enthrallment, anxiety, and work. Governments too often mistake public security and individual safety. Legislators and magistrates in all countries, the peace of the State depends on the sacrifice of your peace. If you must be spared all alarm, freed from all solicitude, released from every care, your work has lost its whole point, and what will you have left then? Prestige and power. No, this is not what your portion is. The society which raises you to the post you occupy commits you thereby to an indefatigable watchfulness. It is to you to watch the sky and the winds, to avoid rocks, to steer the ship and hold the rudder unremittingly. It is not right to leave the passengers to their anxieties, in order to give the pilot a chance to sleep.
2. Of being nuanced infinitely. [Constant’s whole sentence is: “The exemplary nuances here are infinite.”] At a time of trouble, it may be legitimate and wise to order the citizens to carry some means of identification or to provide themselves with some such from the public authorities. If this requirement bore on one individual class only, however, it would be supremely unjust.
Sometimes the legislators, to palliate the injustices they commit, under the pretext of preventing crime or providing for public safety, resort to a subterfuge as odious  as it is illusory. They seem to pity those they hurt, to groan themselves under their harassment, and seek to make amends for this by tokens of esteem and interest. This, however, is to deprive the oppressed of their last remaining support. When a citizen is pursued by a powerful man, if it is a matter of taking his life, his reputation, or his property, it is to be hoped that hearts will be moved and that he will find defenders. When the victim is adorned with flowers, however, when he is seemingly honored, when it is claimed that injustice adds to his glory, the path of the crime is made smooth. This is not a punishment, those who want the ruin of an innocent tell you, this is a precaution, which becomes almost a triumph for the person who is its object. Ostracism transported to modern times.
As prohibitive laws are much more favorable to the encroachments of authority than are the penal laws, government is pleased to exaggerate the small influence of the latter in order to have wider recourse to the former.
On the Effect of Arbitrary Measures in Terms of Moral Life, Industry, and the Duration of Governments
1. When there is no security, there is no moral life. Despotism is hurtful in that it prevents any long-term reckoning of the world. Now, moral life especially needs this kind of reckoning. The moment perhaps favors vice; time alone favors virtue.
2. of production. The large-scale enterprises of merchants are always necessarily intertwined with public affairs. In monarchies, however, public affairs are most of the time as suspect to merchants as they seem to them secure in republican States.
Despotism in favor of virtue is infinitely more dangerous than despotism in favor of crime. When scoundrels violate due process at the expense of honest men, one knows that this is one crime more. The very violation of due process makes you pay particular attention to it. You learn uncomplainingly and through misfortune to regard such process as sacred, as protecting and conserving the social order. When good men violate due process at the expense of scoundrels, however, the people no longer know where they stand. Due process and the law appear to them like obstacles in the way of justice. They somehow get used to these things and put together some sort of theory of an equitable  despotism, which is the overthrow of any kind of thinking, because in the body politic, only due process is stable and resistant to men. The foundations themselves, that is, justice and virtue, can be disfigured. Their names are at the mercy of whoever wants to use them. A feature of all political parties is that they do not hate despotism as such, the first thing in need of hate in a free society, but only this or that despotic act, which seems contrary to their purposes and interests. Once talk of circumstances is allowed, circumstances can always be invoked against principles. Factions march from one circumstance to another, constantly outside the law, sometimes with pure intentions, sometimes with perfidious projects, eternally asking for large-scale measures, in the name of the people, of freedom, of justice. In everything public well-being demands, there are two ways of proceeding, the one legal and the other arbitrary. The first is the only one permissible and always in the long run the one the government finds itself the better for. As long as arbitrary government is considered only as something simply to be snatched from one’s enemy so one can put it to use, that enemy will strive in his turn to seize it, and the struggle will be forever, because arbitrary measures are inexhaustible.
In republics, all arbitrary measures, all formulae intended to serve as a pretext for oppression, rebound on their authors. I find a striking example of this in the Acts of the Constituent Assembly and I will use to recount it the words of one of its members: Clermont-Tonnerre, IV, 90: The National Assembly wanted to declare absolute freedom of religious opinion. The Catholic priests, the supporters of the dominant religion, forced the Assembly to modify this principle by adding this sentence: provided that the manifestation of religious opinion does not threaten public order. Soon this same dominant religion was cruelly abused by this obscure and vague sentence, whose adoption its influence had secured. The overardent friends of the Revolution took advantage of the redraft they had opposed to crush, against all reason, those who had wrung it out of them.38
 The ancients believed that places soiled by crimes had to undergo an expiation; and my belief is that land sullied by an act of despotism needs, for purification, a resounding punishment of the guilty person. Every time in any country I see a citizen arbitrarily incarcerated without seeing shortly afterward the hireling who arrested him and the jailer who received him, and the politician, whoever it was, who violated due process, dragged into the same prisons, I will say: this nation does not know how to be free, nor wish to be so, nor merit it, having not yet learned the first notions of freedom.
If it were given to man to invert, just once, the order of the seasons, whatever advantage he might derive from this privilege in a particular circumstance, he would nonetheless experience as a result an incalculable disadvantage, in that subsequently he would no longer be able to rely on the unvarying regularity and uniform sequence which serve as a base for his working activities.
On the Influence of Arbitrary Rule on the Governors Themselves
By giving themselves the prerogative of prevention, governments so multiply their duties that their responsibility becomes endless. Their respect for the most solemn treaties, their consideration for individual freedom, can be considered criminal.
On Coups d’Etat
On the Admiration for Coups d’Etat
1. cannot legitimate in individuals. Men in coming together merely put in common what each of them before possessed in isolation. A thousand individuals who link up, in that linking up give a guarantee and some force to the previous rights they had, but do not create for themselves any new rights. The rights of the majority are only the aggregation of the rights of each one. Nations are only aggregations of individuals. Their rights are only the joining up of individual rights. So what could this public morality be which some wish to oppose to private morality? Public morality consists only in the aggregation of individual duties and rights. Now, injustice, not being anyone’s right, cannot be the right of all. How could individuals acquire by coming together rights which they did not have in isolation?
2. which you wish to seize. The Triumvirs, says M. Ferrand, I, 392,39 “agreed to withdraw from a republic whose loss had become inevitable those who insisted on wishing to defend it.” Approval of banishments.
On Freedom of Thought
On Freedom of Thought
1. praiseworthy tolerance. Each man, says M. Ferrand, must have the freedom to think what he pleases, but not to propagate his opinions if they are dangerous, just as he is permitted to have some poison in his closet but not to distribute it nor to make use of it.40 Among the sentences which prove the extent to which men are the dupes of words, this one, which has been repeated by many a writer, is one of the most remarkable. We find it anew in the preambles of edicts, in all the sweet-talking discussions of tolerance  which were employed to try to slow its development. It is a fact that enlightened men believed for some time that they should be obliged to those in government for this alleged indulgence. The government made it meritorious on their part that they allowed us to think what seemed reasonable to us! But how could they stop us doing so? By what means did they penetrate the secret of our thoughts, that we had been forbidden to express? They claimed our gratitude and imposed a shameful silence on us and did us all the harm they could. They said they respected our independence of thought. Yes, just as long as they did not know what it was, just as long as it stayed silent and sterile, locked up inside us, deprived of all expression, bereft of all social communication, of that fertile source of accuracy and perfecting. Man has a need, however, to express his thought. Thought itself is something real only when it is expressed. What could government do against thought it knew nothing of? It is insolent scorn on tyranny’s part that it should claim to grant as a favor something it cannot refuse.
On the Expression of Thought
1. speech and writing. Independently of speech and the press, individuals have another way of expressing their opinions, that is to say, coming together to discuss them. All our memories rebel against the exercise of that faculty, one so dangerous when it is abused. I will most assuredly not excuse those wild and monstrous gatherings which flung the nation into excesses of all kinds. I know only one circumstance which justifies meetings of opinion between unsophisticated individuals: this is the need to speak up for oppressed individuals. A sort of contagious courage forces the weak to appear strong. An assembly, in moments of danger, is normally directed by the bravest. Esprit de corps makes up for the lack of a sense of justice, and usurpation by a minority cannot take place. In all other circumstances, however, the groups which citizens arrange between themselves to discuss their opinions are more harmful than useful. They are mostly controlled by so-called reformers who substitute themselves for current thinking and the public will. They are a small minority who want control in the name of everybody. These men surround their theories with a force quite other than truth. They set up within the associations they dominate a sort of government, which has all the  weight of proper government, without any of its advantages. Government by clubs is the most degrading tyranny, the most inhuman and the coarsest. Should we conclude that the government has the right to ban these associations, to limit the number of members, to forbid the discussion of certain dangerous questions? All laws of this kind are evaded or arbitrary. They require moreover the resources of corruption, since one section of society has to be degraded in order to spy on and denounce the other. Now, any time when, in the case of any objective whatsoever, it is impossible to make a law which is at once precise and feasible and does not need corrupt agents, this objective neither demands nor admits of law. Another remedy must be looked for, and this remedy is freedom. Let government not forbid associations; let it maintain, however, true freedom. Let it defend the freedom of individuals against associations seeking to stifle it. These associations, in losing all means of doing harm, would soon lose all their importance. If the individuals who get together harm the safety of those not forming part of their association, let the government come down hard on these disturbers of peace and order, not as members of a society or sect, but as disturbers. It would be easy to prove that during the French Revolution, the clubs acquired their monstrous power only because right from the start, in order to group citizens under their banners against their will, they used forceful means which the government should have punished. A penal law carried out, for there would have been no need to make any, penal laws existed already, would have been of more value than any number of prohibitive laws. It would have been more certain in effect and more easy of execution. Since, however, prohibitory laws are more favorable to encroachments by government and to its idleness than penal laws are, it likes to overstress how little influence the former have, and to make wide use of the latter. People suppose that political questions are more likely to stir up human passions than are questions of any other sort. This is an error. The intrinsic importance of a question has less impact on the ardor with which men become agitated than that which they attach to themselves. Party bias has less to do with understanding the thing in dispute than with the commitments pride has assumed, the sacrifices people have made, the dangers they run, the allies who surround them, and the enemies they are fighting. In the amphitheater of Constantinople, there was murder over the chariot races and the colors blue and green, just as bitter as murder on the crossroads of Paris in the name of religion and liberty.41 People sought  lettres de cachet against gluckistes and piccinistes,42 as they did against Jansenists and Atheists. So regard associations like individuals. Ignore them if they are peaceful. Be harsh with them if they trouble the peace. Punish acts. Leave the rest to freedom. But know how to ensure and guarantee it. You will find it, essentially and infallibly, a healing force.
2. from unthinking enthusiasm. I admit for an instant that certain books may corrupt manners or shake the principles of morality. Men should be taught to preserve themselves from these dangers by their own efforts and reason and through defending themselves. If all you do is force to one side corrupting ideas and dangerous sophisms, men will find themselves unprepared when they meet them and will let themselves be disarmed or perverted much more quickly. Children, whose head we have always wrapped for fear they might fall over and hurt it, fall one day when their head is not wrapped, and they crack it. If it is in the interests of one individual to spread bad maxims, it will be in the interests of a thousand others to refute them.
3. the instruction servitude gives. The sudden achievement of freedom intoxicates slaves. The enjoyment of freedom forms men worthy of possessing it.
It is absurd to wish to conceal truths contrary to the established constitution. The established order being reversible, the less men have reflected on the errors it contains and the less they are prepared for the order which must replace it, the more disorder and misfortune will there be in its overthrow and the sequences thereof.
“A people assured of its rights enjoys them in calm and peace. If it misuses them, it is because it mistrusts them. Its haste is the effect of its fear.” Bentham, III, 190.
4. the exaggeration which defies its laws. “Under the Ancien Régime in France, it was enough that a book on moral science was published in Paris to inspire an unfavorable prejudice.” Bentham, III, 178. The true censorship is that of an enlightened public, which withers dangerous opinions and encourages useful discoveries. The audacity of a lampoon, in a free society, will not save it from general contempt. By a contradiction easy to explain, however, the public’s indulgence in this respect is always proportionate to the severity of the government. Bentham, III, 20. 
Continuation of the Same Subject
1. about China. The press in China is as free ostensibly as in England, that is to say that each person may be by occupation a printer. The expeditious way, however, in which in this country any type of fraud is punished, without the formality of any juridical institution, is enough to stop the freedom of the press. The printer, seller, reader of any written thing which offends the government are equally liable to be punished by a caning. The publication of a work containing reflections on the conduct of the government or its principal agents would be followed by the certain death of the author and publisher. So nothing appears on government and politics except in the Peking Gazette. M. de Pauw observes in his Recherches that China is governed entirely by the birch whip and the bamboo cane.43 To these two things he should have added the annual calendar and the imperial gazette. For these are two instruments of constant use in the government’s hands. This gazette serves to spread to all corners of the empire praise of the virtues and fatherly affection of the sovereign, who occupies the throne. It takes the form of a small pamphlet. It is published every two days. The missionaries claimed that the punishment for a lie inserted in this gazette would be immediate execution. It is famous, however, for descriptions of battles which have never been joined and for announcing victories which have never been won. The missionaries explained themselves badly. They meant only that the editor of the gazette would be punished if he took it upon himself to insert some article which had not been sent to him by the government. 
Continuation of the Same Subject
1. All man’s faculties go together. “As for the evil which can result from censorship, it is impossible to evaluate, since it is impossible to say where it stops. It is nothing less than the danger of stopping all human intellectual progress in all occupations. If that had been true just of men in official positions, what would the result have been today? Religion, law, medicine, morality, all would still be in darkness.” Bentham, III, 22–23.
2. must perish and fall. Governments would like men to be pliant so that they will obey them and brave so that they will defend them, ignorant so they will never hold any opinion of their own, and enlightened so they will be skillful instruments. This combination of opposed and incompatible things can never last long however.
3. changes of scene. The observation that when a government, putting obstacles in the way of thought, prevents its subjects from being busy on their own account, it must itself keep them busy and therefore it must do extraordinary things, is circumstantial. Governments which obstruct individual activity also have the option of doing nothing and remaining inactive, by forcing the nation to remain thus. This is what they often do. Then they and the nation become stupefied.
Caesar, once he had taken away the Romans’ freedom and thereby their one and only pastime, had to announce to them the war against the Parthians. Louis XIV, having succeeded in making the yoke of government heavier, threw France into a series of wars, caused the devastation of the Palatinate, and turned Europe upside down, just to give sustenance to the anxiety of a newly enslaved nation. Nothing is more natural. Under this kind of administration, the government puts itself in the place of the nation. The talk is no longer of the nation, as in free States, but of the government. Now, in such circumstances, the government must constantly prepare what to have discussed. Members of the government find themselves vis-à-vis the governed, in some degree in the situation of favorites vis-à-vis the king, though their connections may otherwise be very different. Louvois pushed Louis XIV into a disastrous undertaking, so as to take away from him any time to think about the behavior of his ministers. Governments which  take away from the governed the legitimate exercise of their various talents must use gigantic undertakings to keep them in a state of continual stupefaction.
4. silent wastes. There are, I know, men so fixated on the need for power, so devoured by a bitter, somber egotism, that even this picture will not shock them. Thought must die, so that they can dominate,44 and were arts, science, and letters to die with thought, they would happily strip the human race of all the dignity of its nature, to perpetuate their hold over that wretched, mutilated species. One might think some genie of evil had cast them onto earth from some unknown planet, when it gave them a man’s face, for the ruin of humanity.
Thought is a human need like all the others. It is impossible to bid this need be silent by asking men to settle for a different one. All man’s needs want to be satisfied.
On Religious Freedom
Why Religion Was So Often Attacked by the Men of the Enlightenment
1. revolt against its commands. Need of freedom of conscience, making the most delicate of women emigrate to an uncivilized land, where they perished, for lack of food. Recherches sur les Etats-Unis, I, 34.45
On Civil Intolerance
1. without government permission. The Lutherans and the Calvinists got together in Strasbourg. “This gathering required government approval,  without which Protestant communities are not allowed to change their teachings.” Journal des Débats, 6 thermidor an X [25 July 1802].
On the Proliferation of Sects
M. Hume gives rather ingenious reasons for religions being salaried, but then they should all be so. Smith, V, 1.46
On the Utilitarian Case for Religion
Bentham, following his single principle, that of utility, wishes to submit religion to the calculus. Does he not feel, though, that he is undermining it at its very core, by presenting it as useful, rather than presenting it as divine? I would add that he is degrading it. I would add further that he is presupposing one lot of men judging religion and imposing it on another lot. For the rest his principles are good, such as nonintervention by government in religious matters. Bentham, III, 134.47
Another Effect of the Axiom That the People Must Have a Religion
Those who defend religion today defend it as a prop of despotism.
On Tolerance when Government Gets Involved
The Interim [Edict] of Charles V48 is one of the most agreeable  examples, not-withstanding the consequences, of all those which history offers us of tolerance on the part of government.
Government is in error, furthermore, when, dazzled by the chimera of a pointless and impossible harmony, it wishes to reconcile different beliefs. The least dissimilarities, unnoticed as long as government does not interfere, become germs of discord if it does. Frederick William, the father of Frederick the Great, astonished at not seeing the same discipline rule the religion of his subjects as ruled his barracks, wished one day to reconcile the Lutherans and the Reformed church. He extracted from their respective doctrines what caused their disagreements and ordered them to be in agreement. Until then these two sects had lived separately but in a perfect understanding. Condemned to union, they immediately began a bitter war, attacking each other and resisting the government. On the death of Frederick William, Frederick II ascended the throne. He set all opinion free. The two sects battled, without drawing his attention; they talked without being heard. Soon they lost hope of success and the vexation of fear. They fell silent. The differences subsisted and the dissensions were pacified.
On the question of belief there is only one principle: complete freedom. Any time people want to depart from this, they fall into more or less shocking absurdities, but always equally dangerous ones, because all of them stand together and one necessarily harks back to the others. The idea of granting tolerance to already existing opinions and refusing it to those which might come to birth starts from the presupposition that believing or not believing is an effect of the will. According to this principle, one thinks oneself singularly human in lending oneself to the weaknesses which habit has made necessary and justified in prohibiting any novel deviation. It is forgotten that the essence of the human spirit is to go forward, to follow the chain of its ideas, to draw the consequences of these principles, and that these consequences being as proven for that human spirit as the principles from which it draws them, it is an absurdity to accept the latter while outlawing the former. This is to claim to tolerate the cause provided it does not produce an effect. This outlook, however, so absurd when it is spelled out, has been followed by several philosophers, so difficult is it to disengage oneself from prejudices and so strongly do the very prejudices one has conquered leave a false orientation in the mind which has shaken them off.  Complete intolerance is less inconsistent than this type of softened intolerance. If government has rights over public opinion, why should it not exercise its rights over ancient error as much as on the novel kind? If government has no such rights, why should it claim to have them over the future and not the past? Is it because it would seem to it easier to exercise its rights over the future? Vain hope. The need to draw consequences is no less imperative than that of believing what seems to us proven. The mind cannot condemn the premises it has agreed to sterility, and the tyranny which wishes to prevent it going from ideas to ideas is every bit as vexatious and against nature as that which orders it to abjure the ideas it has adopted. Governments founded on prejudices and yet hugely ambitious in recent years for philosophical glory have avidly adopted the approach I am fighting against here. It was indeed particularly convenient for them. To give to the people a little piece of the truth while detaching from truth the quality which makes it victorious, that is, extension and conquest, this would have been at once to the advantage of error and the honor of enlightenment. Truth, however, does not admit of such mutilation. However it is divided and fragmented, its smallest fraction carries within itself an aptitude for conquest. It enlarges, it develops, it brings its consequences on, forms its army, and you will see it ranged in battle, when you still think its sparse elements are in the isolation to which you are pleased to condemn it.
On Legal Safeguards
On the Independence of the Courts
1. its immovable members. From the fact that in Athens the people as a whole pronounced judgments, M. de Montesquieu concludes that in republics the power to judge must be revocable at pleasure.49 One might note, however, that then it is the whole people who do the judging and, given that, also note that each republic is in a single town and has no more than twenty thousand citizens. When this writer appears not to  wish that the power of judges be permanent, Esprit des lois, XI, 6, he speaks less of judges than of juries. This is made clear by this sentence: “judges ought to belong to the same circle as the accused and his peers.”50 Elsewhere he recognizes that judicial power submitted to the people is so dangerous that the Roman legislators permitted the accused to go into exile before the trial, I, 59.51 Judges could be temporary among the ancients but cannot be so now, our more complicated social relationships being such as to permit a thousand late but sure acts of vengeance against an independent judge who has reverted to ordinary citizenship. It is good that legislative power depends on the people. It is good that judicial power does not.
2. the sale of offices.52 Under a despotic monarchy, the sale of offices, as a further guarantee of fixed tenure, was good. The choices of the monarch would surely not have been better. A distinction must be made among the functions of French courts, between those functions connected with legislation, courts always being challenged over these, and those connected with the administration of justice. The first would have been better discharged by an assembly appointed by the nation. It is a good thing, however, that the latter were removed from government remit. This was a shelter against despotism.
3. l’esprit de corps in the judiciary. Esprit de corps is one of the best barriers against servility toward government or factions, in a nation in which everybody lets himself get dragged along by the dominant opinion. Nobody dares to hold an opinion against everybody else’s. Esprit de corps, on the contrary, acts as a shield, and individuals who want to resist the dominant opinion, reassured by that ally, link up with it. An irremovable body of judges is necessary so that a judge, when he judges according to his conscience, is not afraid of offending the government under which he may soon find himself an ordinary citizen again. In a nation which on the one hand is used to despotism and finds it rather convenient for its natural impatience and on the other carries to extremes all the views it has seized upon, the independence of the courts is the sole thing which can make that nation lose the habit  of despotism and endow it with principles it cannot abuse. The claims laid against despotism by courts, being always founded on facts, carry with them a conviction and a weight of which theories separated from facts are not capable.
4. that no judgment is without appeal. “The maxim which says that the criminal shall have no appeal is the most absurd ever to enter the mind of man. He who has lost his case, in the first instance, by some trivial law, may appeal to a higher court, while he who has been unjustly condemned to be burned alive by nine municipal magistrates cannot appeal. Now if imbecility itself came to dictate our laws, it would not say anything worse or more horrible than that. For the result of it is that a trivial law is a more important object than the honor and life of a man consigned to the most cruel torments.” De Pauw, Recherches sur les Grecs, II, 6.
5. the institution of the jury system. The main arguments of one author who has attacked the jury system (Gach, president of a court of first instance in the Department of the Lot)53 rest on the lack of zeal, and the carelessness, ignorance, and frivolity in France. He does not indict the jury system but the nation. It must be remembered, however, that if his arguments are sound, we would have to renounce the jury system in France. We surely know, however, that an institution may at first seem little suited to a nation, because of lack of familiarity, and yet become suitable, if the institution is intrinsically good, because the nation gets used to it and acquires the capacity it was lacking.54 It would be repugnant to me to think a nation careless of the first of its interests, the administration of justice and the protection afforded to innocence accused. The French, says Gach, will never be well-informed nor determined enough  to fulfill the purposes for which juries were instituted. Such is our indifference to everything connected with public administration, such is the power of egotism and individual interest, the tepidness, the absence of public spirit, that the law establishing trial by jury cannot be carried out.55 But who does not feel that what we need is a public spirit to overcome this tepidness and this egotism? This public spirit would be created by the habit of justice and freedom. Is it to be thought it would exist among the English without the overall pattern of their political institutions? Where the institution of the jury is constantly suspended, however, the freedom of the courts violated, the accused arraigned before commissions, this spirit cannot come to birth. People indict the setting up of juries. It is the way they are undermined which should be indicted. Gach invokes twelve years’ experience.56 Twelve years of revolutions! The jury, he says, will not be able, as the spirit of the institution requires, to separate its inner conviction from documentary evidence, the evidence of witnesses and other evidence, things which are not necessary when conviction exists and insufficient when it does not.57 But this is chicanery. There is no principle for separating these things. On the contrary, these are the elements of conviction. The spirit of the institution is solely to the effect that the jury not be bound according to a numerical or legal calculation, but by the impression which the overall mix of objects produced in documentary evidence, witnesses’ evidence, and other evidence has given it. Now, the enlightenment of simple good sense is enough for a jury to know and be able to declare whether, after having heard the witnesses, read through the details of objects, and compared the evidence, it is convinced or not.
If juries, he continues, find a law too severe, they will absolve the accused and declare the circumstance not in keeping with their conscience. He considers the case of a man accused of giving shelter to his brother and thereby incurring the death penalty.58 This example, for me, far from militating against the jury as an institution, constitutes its greatest praise. It shows that this institution puts  obstacles in the way of laws contrary to humanity, justice, and morality. We are men before we are jurors. So, far from blaming the juror who, in this case, pronounced contrary to his conscience and thus failed in his duty as a juror, I would praise him for fulfilling his duty as a man and running in a way within his power, to the help of a man ready to be condemned to death for an action which is not a crime. The example given by Gach does not prove that there should not be juries. It proves that there should not be laws which pronounce a death penalty against a man for giving shelter to his brother. With this type of reasoning, the objection militates against any judicial organization, since one could invent laws so atrocious that no judge, with a jury or not, replaceable or permanent, would wish to apply them.
There is a good definition of the jury: “It is,” says Lauze de Péret (De la garantie individuelle), “the reason of the guilty party, in his normal state of innocence, who stands in judge of that same reason, led astray for the moment by the crime.”59
The jury judges morally, the judge materially. The jury judges in the way the good sense of every individual would judge, as the good sense of the accused himself would judge, if he were not partial because his own case is involved. The judge pronounces according to the laws dictated by the common interest of the society.
When punishments are excessive, says Gach, or seem so to juries, they will absolve the guilty person, although they will be totally convinced as to his crime. I reply that this is the fault of the punishments and not of the juries.60 Punishments must not be excessive, and if they seem excessive to juries, this is because they are so, since jurors have no interest in finding them such. It will be said that this is to submit punishments to constant revision by juries. I reply, however, that only in extreme cases will juries resolve to stray from their functions. For, I repeat once more, they are as citizens interested for the sake of public safety in not so straying. Now, in extreme cases, that is to say, when they find themselves between the sense of justice and humanity and the letter of the law, it is not an evil if they so deviate. There should not be a law which so repels the humanity of the common man that juries, selected from within a nation, cannot make up their minds to agree to the application of that law; and the establishment  of permanent judges, whom habituation would reconcile to so barbarous a law, far from an advantage, would be an evil.
People say that juries will fail in their duty, at some time out of fear, at another out of mercy. If it is out of fear, the fault belongs to civil administration’s being too negligent. If it is a matter of pity, it is too harsh a law which is at fault.
Several objections against the institution of juries, drawn from their irresolution, from their susceptibility to seduction, could, apart from a few things, apply to judges. If we consider a country in which judges were sometimes harassed and slighted by the government and sometimes abandoned by that same government to the vengeance of the families or accomplices of accused persons, as juries were during the French Revolution, is it to be believed that judges would be much firmer and less shakeable than juries?
The drawbacks of the jury system are all on the side of indulgence. Those of the judges are on the side of severity.
“If there is no country,” says Gach, “where the arts and sciences are cultivated with more success than they are in France by a small number of privileged intelligences, no more is there anywhere the mass of the nation wallows in a more profound ignorance of everything connected with the laws and public administration.”61 Why is this so? It is because there has always been in the sanctuary of the laws and in public administration a great deal of arbitrariness, and the nature of government distanced French people from these things, and because, to draw closer more precisely to the subject we are dealing with, the formal understanding of criminal trials in France was restricted, and this raised a barrier between justice and the citizens. Change all these things and you will see the national character lose that frivolity and break out of that ignorance, which are only the result of all the bad institutions and which some people cite as a reason for perpetuating them. A people does not remain indifferent to what touches its freedom, its security, its honor, and its life, when it is allowed to get involved in it. When it is indifferent to these great things, it is because it has been forcibly kept from them. The jury system is in this respect all the more necessary to the French people in that the nation seems temporarily not fit for it. It would find in it not only the general advantages inherent in this institution, but also the particular advantage of rebuilding its moral education. 
1. do not lose all their rights. When individuals disrupt the security of society through criminal activity, they lose some of their rights, which this society has the authority to restrain, in order to stop them hurting it. Normally, however, this principle is pushed much too far. The guilty man, separated from his fellow citizens, handed over to the jailers, then to the executioners, seems a being apart, whom nature spurns, whom public pity forsakes, and whom humanity repudiates. I am talking here only of a convicted felon, for it is obvious that short of an overthrow of all justice, the accused, not yet tried, retains all the rights compatible with the measures necessary for his not escaping his trial. The criminal, however, even when convicted, is not stripped of all his rights. One he has is to demand that his trial be public, because human actions are made up of a host of nuances which law cannot grasp. Even when the guilty person is given a punishment, if his action is attenuated by some of these nuances which legal justice could not take into account, public opinion ought to compensate him for this. In the second place, he has the right that the punishment he undergoes is not revolting to human nature and is not open to arbitrary aggravation by the whim of those carrying it out.
2. all experimentation with torture. People believe too much in frightful tortures. In Athens the death of condemned people was very sweet, since each chose the manner of his own death. There was no more crime there than elsewhere.
3. life sentences. I am always fearful that once life sentences are accepted, one or other of the numerous prisons whose establishment would be necessary might not sooner or later turn itself into a State prison, a metamorphosis all the easier in that almost everywhere, for plausible reasons of public safety, only government permission can open the entrance to these lugubrious habitations. I do not like citizens getting used to passing coldly by a prison without asking who it is who is locked up in it, without finding out whether anyone there is a languishing victim of some illegal act, without being able to get in so as to convince himself with his own eyes that the wretchedness of the detainees is not at all aggravated by the harshness or greed of their guards. 
4. happiness in debasement. Indelible branding has the same drawback as public works. It prevents any return to virtue and it points to criminals happy in their shame. Bentham allows it for counterfeiters, because in branding the latter it does not remove from them their means of subsistence. “Despised as knaves,” he says, “they will still be employed as people of talent.”62 But will this not be a very immoral thing, to show people known knaves, employed as people of talent? And if, as is probable, they get used to their shame, what spectacle is more corrupting than satisfaction in opprobrium?
5. the establishment of colonies. Bentham makes a rather strong objection to the establishment of colonies. Deportation is a good thing, he says, for those without resources in their own country. For it is nothing else than a free passage to the place of deportation for him who has committed a crime. II, 426.63 There is a means of preventing this drawback. This would be to have the deportation preceded by some positive punishment, such as a more or less long imprisonment. This precaution would deter someone tempted to commit a crime in order to get to a new country. The punishment must be separated from the new abode, however. The guilty party must begin his new career without being pursued by society. The good fortune of which the guilty partake in their new refuge would not have a demoralizing effect, like that sometimes experienced by those condemned to public works. The people would not witness this, and they would have proof of the punishment previously undergone by the criminal.
Say in this chapter that punishments must be varied and refer to Bentham’s work.64
Speak in this chapter of the right which those who have been unjustly detained, or condemned, in a word, have suffered from the errors of the law, to be compensated at public expense.
On the Action of Government with Regard to Property
On the Status Property Should Occupy in Political Institutions
1. by treating it with disfavor. What I say of property, that once it exists, it has to be given power, I say of all institutions; in countries where there is a nobility, that nobility must be given strong legal authority. If we do not want to give it such, all aristocratic distinctions must be abolished. In a word, one must will what one wants. The nobility, in the condition it was in in France, immediately before the Revolution, was an absurd and dangerous institution, precisely because it offended without having powers of containment.
2. or annihilated. “Woe,” says Ganilh, II, 251, “to governments which separate power from wealth!” He adds: “and wealth from freedom!” Indeed, what is needed is that everybody be in a position to acquire some wealth and that those who possess it be entrusted with conserving it.
3. should comprise proprietors. Can nonproprietors, people will say, be represented by proprietors? In the same way as the represented by the representatives. For representatives, by becoming such, cease in many respects to be in the same situation as the represented.
On Examples Drawn from Antiquity
1. Examples drawn from antiquity. Cicero, De officiis, Livre II, ch. 21, edition d’Olivet, III, 359, quotes this sentence from the Tribune Philippe; non esse in civitate duo millia hominum qui rem haberent.65 And he reproaches him with a criminal action in having held such a discussion with the people, because he was inclined to the sharing of wealth. But if in the year 649 , the era of the Tribunate of Lucius Marcus Philippus, there were in the immensity of the Roman realm  only two thousand citizen proprietors, had not property, rather than being a blessing granted by society, become an intolerable abuse, and out of respect for the people, should not a pointless respect for property be abjured? No; but the organization of property needed correcting, being very defective in Rome. Palliatives had been tried. Laws against deeds of trust and entailments and those which gave an equal part to all the sons and daughters tended to divide landed properties. The aristocracy, however, tended to bring them together. This was not the vice of property but of aristocracy.
Among the ancients, where property was not familiar and mobile, political rights could not attach to proprietors alone without injustice. In modern times the opposite obtains.
Among the ancients, the poor were always indebted to the rich. In modern times it is usually the rich who are indebted to the poor. It is important to examine the outcomes of this difference. One of the most striking is that relations between proprietors and nonproprietors are utterly different in the two cases. Among the ancients, the rich demanded from the poor what the latter did not have, money, and that demand requiring for its satisfaction violence, and usually not being satisfied despite this violence, there resulted continual hatred and opposition between these two classes. In modern times the rich demand from the poor what the poor can always supply, labor, and the result is a much greater mutual accord. This could be identified as a reason property could not serve as the basis of political rights in antiquity and can in modern times.
That Territorial Property Alone Brings Together All the Advantages of Property
1. business property. Agriculture has a further advantage over business which I have not mentioned.  It demands much more intelligence and makes much more use of it than jobs in industry do. Smith, I, 10, 264. See Mirabeau, Ami des hommes, on the difference between the farming groups and the artisans, I, 54 and following.
On Property in Public Funds
A certain disadvantage of the use of public debt is that it facilitates the undertaking of war, because instead of providing for the expenditure it demands, by taxes which will always be more or less difficult to control and a heavy burden, we defray it by borrowings which are easy to get hold of, on account of the inducements which go with them and the burden of which weighs only in a partial and remote way on the people. Smith, V, 3.66
“It has been said that a public debt attached to the government’s fate all the creditors of the State, and that these creditors, linked with its good fortune and bad alike, became its natural supports. This is very true; but this means of self-preservation, applying to a bad order of things as to a good, is in every respect as dangerous to a nation as it can be useful.” Say, V.67
“The growth of public debt distorts the public spirit by multiplying in some nations the number of people who have an interest contrary to the common interest. The rentiers want, above everything, all the wealth of the royal treasury, and since the weight of taxes is the easiest source of this, taxpayers and the people above all who make up the biggest part of these and have no money to lend, find today in the very bosom of the State an opposing faction whose influence grows every day. The growth of public debt increases the power of government by accustoming a large part of the nation to fear above everything the slightest shaking in the works of government or the slightest change in its practices. Administration of Finances, II, 378–379.
 This is a remarkable effect of complexity in the political organization of the government machinery. The natural interest of any nation is to pay the fewest contributions possible. The creation of a public debt means that the interest of a large part of the nation is in the growth of taxation.
The contradiction is apparent. The credit which on the one hand weakens government power on the other hand fortifies it.
On the Amount of Landed Property Which Society Has the Right to Insist upon for the Exercise of Political Rights
1. is to swallow small ones. If the rich alone can be powerful, the powerful will become richer every day.
That Owners Have No Interest in Abusing Power vis-à-vis Nonowners
1. no longer form a distinct class. It is because the different classes of society are mingling that all political power can be put in the hands of the property owners. If they formed an exclusive class they would pass unjust laws because they would become exclusive in outlook. This is what has happened in Europe across several centuries. Owners have for a long time, for example, wanted to limit the duration of leases the better to conserve the properties in their possession. They fancied that a lease agreed by their predecessors ought not to prevent them, year after long year, from enjoying the full value of their lands. Greed, however, always perceives things badly. The proprietors did not foresee how such a rule would erect obstacles to all improvement and thereby harm their true interests in the long run.
2. their most faithful supports. What, however, if owners formed an interest for rendering landed property inalienable? It would be as governors, not as owners, that they would perform this tyrannical act; and let it not be said that this is to evade the objection by verbal trickery. It is so true that this would be in their governmental capacity, that if you supposed government to be in the hands  of nonowners, these governors would be just as able to form an interest to make the functions of government inalienable. Secondly, if the countries in which owners adopted such a resolution contained rich nonlandowners, the latter would leave the country and the disadvantages of the resolution would fall back on landowners. If this country contained only poor nonlandowners, even when landowners did not adopt such a resolution, the acquisition of landed property would be closed to nonproprietors, who would have no means of acquiring it.
On Laws Which Favor the Accumulation of Property in the Same Hands
1. of entailments. Entailments, says Smith, III, 2,68 were invented to perpetuate a state of affairs which was in itself a great calamity, I mean the distribution among a very small number of conquerors of an enormous area of lands, and which as a result were inevitably for the most part uncultivated. Given this state of affairs, entailments were reasonable. There was no public justice. Force was the only guarantee against spoliation. Force was located only in sizeable property which provided a certain number of vassals sufficient for the holder’s self-defense. To make properties smaller was to lay them open to invasion by neighbors. Entailments therefore had a reasonable purpose in the given situation, although the situation itself was a vicious one. Entailments, however, as is the way with most human institutions, have outlasted this purpose.
Entailments, insofar as they favor the perpetuation of immense indivisible properties, are unfavorable to farming. A very considerable landowner necessarily neglects a large part of his property. One has only to compare, says Smith, III, 2, the large estates which have remained in the same families without interruption since the times of feudal anarchy, with the possessions of small owners nearby, to judge without any other argument how unfavorable to cultivation overlarge properties are. Properties are like States. Properties which are too small are disadvantageous because the owner is too poor to cultivate them well. Those which are too large, however,  are just as disastrous because the owner has neither the interest nor the time to survey all the parts of them equally. Entailments tie down individuals and generations without taking into consideration the changes which may arise in the condition of either.
On Laws Which Enforce the Wider Spreading of Property
1. to strengthen paternal power. Some have wanted paternal power fortified in institutional ways, and they have sought to underpin it, as with all impracticable ideas, by ancient example. Among the ancients the scope of paternal power, against which other philosophers have widely inveighed, was not a disadvantage. Nor is the legal diminution of that power, one which so many moralists eloquently deplore today, a very great evil. The reconciliation of these two apparently contradictory claims lies in the differences between the ancients and us. See Book XVI.
It is not to be doubted nevertheless that the revolutionary shake-up took the diminution of paternal power too far. To remedy this abuse, however, we do not need to establish institutions but to destroy some. Do away with your laws forbidding wills, greater freedom granted to fathers will reestablish their power. Remove the obstacles and the drawbacks will disappear. It is by interfering with everything that you pile these up, and then you complain about them and think you can remedy by even more laws the inconveniences which occur only because there are too many laws already. All the good things about paternal power derive from its being purely natural and moral. If you incorporated it into law, you would destroy its nature. It is not necessary for laws to combat it, but it is necessary that they do not interfere with it. It exists independently of law and must continue thus. To undermine it is unjust. To wish to add to it is pointless, and everything which is pointless becomes disastrous when legislated. Otherwise do not intrude the crudities of government into the delicacy and independence of nature. What you think you are sanctioning, you are corrupting. You are spoiling what you are trying to improve.  Paternal power is necessarily arbitrary. Such power is good when it is in the nature of things. It would be disastrous if it existed by law. Paternal power offers us an example of what I constantly say, that usually the abolition of a law would produce a number of advantages which seem mutually quite alien, and for each one of which separately, a host of laws are made which again have their particular drawbacks. The abolition of all entailments on the one hand, and perfect freedom to make wills on the other, that is to say two legal excisions, would produce at once the reestablishment of paternal power and a more equal distribution of wealth. These are advantages which it is believed one can get to by positive laws, but such outcomes one arrives at only imperfectly and pays for in multiple inconveniences, while the absence of two positive laws would produce them much more securely at the same time as it would, by delivering individual freedom and therefore taking away from men certain reasons for violating the law, be just for that reason a very great good.
The Consequences of Attacks on Property by the Government69
We are not speaking here of confiscations and other political attacks on property. One cannot consider such violence as routine practice for ordered government. These acts are of the nature of coups d’Etat and all arbitrary measures whose consequences we have examined above. It is therefore against coups d’Etat and against arbitrary measures that we need to take a stand. Confiscations are only one part of these and an inseparable part. When men’s life and freedom are not respected, how could their property be so?
The spoliation which occupies us in this chapter is that which governments allow themselves, to reduce their debts or increase their resources sometimes on the pretext of necessity, sometimes of justice, but always claiming the interest of the State. For just as the zealous apostles of the people’s sovereignty think that public freedom gains from the constraints put  on individual freedom, our financiers today believe that the State enriches itself by the ruin of individuals.
These attacks on property are divided into two classes.
In the first, I put part or total bankruptcies, reductions in national debt, either in capital or interest, the payment of these debts in instruments of a lower value than their nominal value, the debasement of money, fiscal retainers, delayed payments, etc.
I put in the second category the acts of government against men who have dealt with government departments in order to supply them with the wherewithal for their military and civil activity, retrospective laws or measures against the newly rich, chambres ardentes,71 the cancellation of contracts, concessions and sales made by the State to individuals.
There has been recourse to a great variety of names to designate these things. “The obscurities of language,” remarks an English author (Bentham, I, 348), “have served financiers in deceiving the simple. They have said, for example, a retainer and not a theft.”
It is rather curious to note that the same artifice has served legislators who have made manifestly unjust laws. The émigrés during the French Revolution were punished by death and the confiscation of their goods. When the wish was to treat deported people the same way, that is to say, men who had been forced to leave their country, while others were being punished for having left it, it was said bluntly that they belonged among the émigrés, which drove the word out of use and extended the thing.72 Just as all injustices have a deep similarity between themselves, so there is also analogy in the language of all injustices.
 Once a national debt exists, there is only one way to soften its harmful effects, and that is to respect it scrupulously. One gives it in this way a stability which assimilates it, as far as its nature permits, to the other forms of property.
One cannot accept as a means of diminishing the bad effects of public debts that of not paying them. This would be to want to fight an inevitable evil by a pointless and even larger one. Bad faith can never be a remedy for anything. Far from attaining the desired purpose, one would add to the immoral consequences of a property which gives its possessors different interests from the nation of which they are a part, the even more disastrous consequences of uncertainty and arbitrariness. Arbitrary government and uncertainty are the prime causes of what has been called agiotage [gambling]. It never develops more forcibly and actively than when the State is in violation of its agreements. All the citizens are in such circumstances forced to seek in the risks of speculation some compensation for the losses which the government has made them undergo.
Any distinction between creditors, between credits, any enquiry into the transactions of individuals, any research of the route public bills of exchange have followed, of the hands they have passed through till their maturity date, is criminal mismanagement. A government contracts debts and in payment gives government paper to those to whom it owes money. These are forced to sell the instruments it has given them. On what pretext would it proceed from this sale to query the value of these instruments? The more it questions the value, the more they will lose. It will rely on this new depreciation in order that they cash in at a price even lower. This double progression reacting on itself will soon reduce credit to zero and individuals to ruin.
The original creditor has been able to make of his claim what he wanted. If he sold his credit, the fault is not in him, whose need has forced him to this, but in the State which paid him only in promissory notes which he has found himself forced to sell. If he has sold his credit at a giveaway price, the fault is not in the purchaser who has bought it with unfavorable prospects; the fault is again with the State which has created these unfavorable prospects, since the credit sold would not have fallen to a giveaway price if the State had not inspired mistrust.
Setting it so that a note loses value as it passes to a second hand in any circumstances the government is not in a position to know, since these circumstances are free and independent variables, you cause circulation, which has always been regarded  as a means of wealth, into a cause of impoverishment. How can one justify this policy which refuses creditors what they are owed and discredits what it has given them? On what basis can the courts condemn the debtor, a creditor himself of a bankrupt government? Well then! Dragged off to a prison stripped of what belonged to me because I have been unable to clear the debts I have contracted on public trust, I will pass in front of the palace whence emanated these thieving laws. On the one side sits the government which robbed me, on the other the judges who punish me for having been robbed.
Any nominal payment is criminal mismanagement. Any issuing of paper which cannot be at will converted into specie, any alteration in the value of money, are false acts. The governments which have recourse to these guilty expedients are nothing but forgers armed with public power.73 The government which pays a citizen in false values forces him into payments of like nature. In order not to enervate economic exchanges and render them impossible, it is obliged to legitimate all such operations. By creating the need for some people to behave in this way, it furnishes everybody with the excuse. Egotism, far more subtle, more adroit, more prompt, and more diversified than government, rushes forward at the given signal. It confounds all precautionary measures by the speed and complexity of its frauds. When corruption has the justification of necessity, it knows no more limits. If the government wants to establish a difference between its transactions and those of individuals, the injustice of it is only the more scandalous.
A nation’s creditors are only a part of that nation. When taxes are imposed to pay the interest on the national debt, the matter weighs on the whole nation. After all, the State’s creditors, as taxpayers, pay their share of these taxes. By a State bankruptcy, on the contrary, the debt is thrown on the creditors alone. This is therefore to conclude that since a burden is too heavy for a whole nation, it will be carried more easily by a quarter or an eighth of it.
Any enforced reduction in repayment is government default. You have dealt with individuals according to conditions you have freely offered. They have fulfilled these conditions. They have lent you their funds, which they have withdrawn from branches of production which offered them positive returns. You owe them everything you have promised them. The fulfillment of your promises is the legitimate indemnity of the sacrifices they have made and the risks they have run. If you regret having suggested onerous conditions, the  fault is yours and in no way theirs, since all they have done is accept them. The fault for this is doubly yours, since it is your earlier breaches of trust above all which have made your conditions onerous. If you had inspired full confidence, you would have obtained better conditions.
If you reduce the debt by a quarter, who will prevent you reducing it by a third, by nine-tenths, by the whole lot? What guarantees will you be able to give to your creditors or to yourself? Whatever one does, the first step makes the second one easier. If strict principles had held you to the fulfillment of your promises, you could have cast about for funds in an ordered and economic way. You, however, have sought yours in fraud. You have regarded it as acceptable that they are at your disposal, they absolve you from all work, privation, and effort. You come back to them constantly, since you no longer have any sense of integrity to hold you back.
Such is the blindness of governments when they abandon the paths of justice, as it is of those who have deluded themselves that by reducing their debt through an act of government, they would rally credit which seemed to be flagging. They have set off from a badly understood principle which they have badly applied. They have thought that the less they owed, the more confidence they would inspire, because they would be better placed to pay their debts. They have confused, however, the effect of a legitimate release and the effect of a default. It is not enough that a debtor can fulfill his commitments; he must further want to, and there must be means to hold him to it. Now, government which takes advantage of its authority to annul part of its debt proves that it lacks the will to pay. Its creditors cannot constrain it thereto. What do its resources matter therefore?
A public debt is not like commodities of basic necessity and ongoing need. The fewer there are of these commodities, the more valuable they are. They have intrinsic value, and their relative value grows with their scarcity. The value of a debt, on the contrary, depends only on the reliability of the debtor. Once this reliability is shaken, value is destroyed. You can reduce the debt in vain, to half, a quarter, or an eighth. What is left of it is only all the more discredited. Nobody needs nor wants a debt which does not get paid. When it comes to individuals, the power to fulfill their commitments is the main condition, because the law is stronger than they. When it is a question of governments, however, the principal condition is will.
There is another kind of default in relation to which governments seem to conduct themselves with even less scruple. Involved in useless ventures, maybe through ambition, or imprudence, or indiscreet activity, they contract with merchants  for the supplies necessary for these enterprises. The terms they get are disadvantageous. This has to be. The interests of a government can never be defended with as much zeal as private interests. This fate is common to all transactions where the parties cannot look after themselves, and it is an inevitable one. In this situation the government takes a dislike to certain men who have merely taken advantage of the profit inherent in their situation. It encourages harangues and calumnies against them. It exaggerates its own losses, this is to say its own ineptitude, and because it has been ignorant and inept, it believes it has the right to be violent and unjust. It cancels its deals, it delays or refuses the payments it has promised. It takes general measures which, to reach a few suspects, without proper investigation, surround a whole class. To palliate this iniquity, it needs to represent these measures as hitting only those at the head of the enterprises from which their incomes are being removed. The hostility of the people is worked up against certain odious or tarnished names. The men who are plundered, however, are not isolated. They have not done everything on their own. They have used artisans and manufacturers who have given them real value and service. It is on the latter that the plundering, which seems to be being carried out only against the former, comes to fall. These same people, who, always credulous, applaud the destruction of a few fortunes, allegedly immense ones, which therefore irritate them, do not work out that all this wealth, based on works whose instrument they had been, tended to reflect back even on them, while the destruction of this wealth took away from them themselves the payment for their own work.
Governments always have a more or less great need for the men who deal with them. A government cannot buy with cash transactions as an individual can. It must either pay in advance, which is impracticable; or what it needs must be supplied to it on credit. If it ill-treats the suppliers, what happens? Honest men withdraw, not wishing to work in a business enfeebled from the start. Only rogues come forward and, foreseeing that they will not be paid properly, they take the question of payment into their own hands. A government is too slow, too encumbered, too lumbering in its movements, to follow the nimble decision making and rapid maneuvers of individual interest. We have seen governments wanting to vie with individuals in corruption, but the corruption of the latter was always more skillful. The only effective course for government is loyalty.
The first effect of disfavor cast on a branch of trade is to drive away from it all the traders whom greed does not seduce. The first effect of a despotic system is to inspire in all good men the desire not to encounter this despotism  and to avoid transactions which could connect them with this terrible power.
In all countries, economies founded on the violation of public trust have unfailingly met their punishment in the transactions which have followed. The returns to wickedness, despite its arbitrary withholdings and its violent laws, are always paid a hundredfold more than the returns to honesty would be.
Governments lose all credit by enforced reductions of public debt. They unsettle the value of their credit by evaluating it according to the loss it experiences. In this case their own negotiations become ruinous. By changing the value of money, they lose as creditors of the taxpayer and in their purchases what they gain as debtors.74 By treating suppliers unjustly, they make honest people withdraw, and they find only rogues with whom to deal.75 Lastly, by destroying credit, they range against them all the creditors of the State, and from this come revolutions.
In England the State’s undertakings have always been sacred since 1688. So the State’s creditors are one of the classes most interested in preserving the government. In France under the monarchy, violations of public trust having been frequent, the creditors of the State, at the first announcement of a deficit, showed themselves eager for a revolution. “Each man believed he saw his safety in taking away from the sovereign the administration of finance and locating it in a national council.” Bentham, Principes du Code civil.76
Despotism with regard to property is soon followed by despotism with regard to persons. This is first because despotism is contagious and secondly because the violation of property naturally provokes resistance. In this case the government deals severely with the oppressed person who resists, and because it wanted to seize his property from him, it is led to aim a blow at his freedom.
Add that by throwing men into uncertainty about what they own, you provoke them to encroach upon what they do not own. Without security, the economy becomes a matter of trickery, and moderation, imprudence. When everything can be taken away, one must grab as much as possible, because that gives one more chance of retaining something  from the spoliation.77 When everything can be taken away, as much as possible must be spent, because everything spent is so much snatched away from despotism.78
“Kings,” says Louis XIV in his Memoirs, “are absolute lords and have naturally the full and free disposition of all their subjects’ goods.”79 When kings regard themselves as absolute lords of all their subjects possess, however, the subjects hide what they possess or dissipate it. If they hide it, this is how much is lost to agriculture, trade, industry, and to prosperity of all kinds. If they lavish it on frivolous, coarse, or unproductive pleasures, this again is so much deflected from worthwhile uses and efficacious economic decisions. Louis XIV believed he was saying something favorable to the wealth of kings. He was really saying something which would be bound to ruin kings by ruining nations.
To Be Done. Conclusions from the Above Considerations
In order to sum up the principles which must guide the action of government on property, I will say that government must constrain property when there is an obvious need for public safety.80 This prerogative distinguishes its jurisdiction over property from its jurisdiction over persons, for it would not have the right to make an attempt on the life of a single innocent, even if this were for the safety of a whole nation. In all the cases, however, in which public safety is not threatened, government must guarantee property and leave it free.
On Various Types of Taxes
1. the price cannot rise. Commodities or merchandise do not rise in price solely because they cost more on account of their scarcity. Ordinarily, when an output costs more to produce than its market value, or at least when it costs such a lot and has so feeble a market price that profit is nil or very little, producers turn away from this production and concentrate on another more profitable one. If, however, they could not turn aside from this production, they would have to continue to concentrate on it even at a loss, and the output remaining at the same level, the price would not increase. Little by little, doubtless, the number of producers would diminish, and output being smaller, its price would rise because of its scarcity. If this production, however, were of a fundamental necessity, this would be a new misfortune. Argument against the land tax. First of all, it ruins the farmers, who, being able to produce only the same output and being able to ruin themselves only the more swiftly if they do not produce it, cannot like manufacturers make production scarcer in order to make it dearer. Next, it ruins agriculture, and before equilibrium between the costs and the value of commodities can be established, the people suffer from dearth.
On all occasions when the producer cannot diminish his workforce nor his output, the tax weighs heavily on him. The case here is that of an owner of land.
2. revoltingly iniquitous. For the financial drawbacks of the tax on patents, see Sismondi, Législation de commerce, II, 89 and following.
3. as to the third. “Fraud is the defect of the tax on consumption (indirect tax). Injustice is the defect of the tax on rent (direct tax).”Canard, Principes d’économie politique.81 
How Taxation Becomes Contrary to Individual Rights
1. as the lottery. What governments believe they gain in money by the lottery tax, they lose and more, even in money, by the harm this tax does to production and by the crimes which it makes the working class commit, crimes which, leaving aside moral considerations and envisaging them only in fiscal terms, are an expense for the State.
That Taxes Bearing on Capital Are Contrary to Individual Rights
1. encroach upon capital. See on the effect of consumption of capital by nations, Sismondi, I, 4.82 “If the expenditures of the three productive classes exceed their incomes, the nation must inevitably impoverish itself.” Sismondi, I, 94 and following.83
2. The State which taxes capital. Government economy is what most favors a country’s prosperity, because it leaves more capital at the working disposal of individuals.
That the Interest of the State in Matters of Taxation Is Consistent with Individual Rights
1. Several of the mines in Peru. From 1736 the tax on mines in Peru had been reduced from a fifth to a tenth. Smith, I, 11.84
 Chapter 8:
An Incontestable Axiom
1. Levying always produces an ill. The first general effect of a tax is to diminish the seller’s profit by reducing consumption in the areas of production taxed. What follows is that those who cultivated these areas abandon them to take up more lucrative ones. They increase the competition in these and consequently reduce the profits. Therefore the tax has an influence on all the sources of rent. Before the tax is spread over all of them, however, and the burden of the taxed branch is shared between all the others, in such a way as to produce equilibrium, there operates a more or less lasting friction, which makes the tax disastrous. “Any old tax is good, any new tax pernicious.” Canard, Principes d’économie poltitique.85
2. the most deplorable. “Republics die from luxury,” says Montesquieu, “monarchies from poverty.”86 He concludes from this that economy is suitable for republics and luxury for monarchies. A singular conclusion: for what does the observation itself, on which he bases this conclusion, mean? That republics enrich themselves by prudent economy and monarchies ruin themselves by luxury.
The Drawback of Excessive Taxation
1. any pointless tax is a theft. “What the well-being of the State demands, obviously enough, is decisiveness and a characteristic touch of inspiration. The taxes appropriate to this public well-being, of which a sovereign is judge and guardian, are proof of justice. What exceeds this measured proportion ceases to be legitimate. There is therefore no other difference between individual excesses and those of the sovereign, if only because the injustice of the former comes from simple ideas which each person can easily distinguish, while the latter, being linked to government complexities, whose extent is as vast as it is involved, no one can judge  other than by conjecture. . . .87 It is a violation of the most sacred trust to use the sacrifices of the people on careless largesse, on pointless expenditures and undertakings foreign to the good of the State. . . .88 The unreasonable extent of taxation is moreover a constant source of ills and vexations.” Administration des finances, I, Ch. 2.89
A Further Drawback of Excessive Taxation
Excessive taxation is often excused by the alleged necessity of encircling governments with an aura of magnificence. The claim is that to inspire men with respect for their institutions we must bedazzle them with the brilliance of those who hold power. This axiom is equally false in republics and monarchies. In the latter, the unassuming stance of the monarch, being voluntary and thereby meritorious, produces a much deeper impression than the display of a wealth extorted from the governed. Frederick II [the Great] and Charles XII inspired more real respect in this regard than Louis XIV. Ostentation is even less necessary in republics. It is possible that an aristocracy requires that the opulence of the governing class impress the people. This opulence, however, must belong by heredity to this class and must not be raised from daily taxation, a source at once ignoble and odious. As to elected governments, ostentation there produces none of the effects attributed to it. What is done with the avowed purpose of striking, dazzling, or seducing inevitably fails in this purpose. No personal veneration results from trappings which themselves have nothing personal about them. This borrowed magnificence is like our actors’ makeup. Pomp has influence on the nation as spectator, when it is brought into the government by the individual and not when it is so to speak conferred on him, in his governmental capacity. The advantageous effects we expect from ostentation are made up of memories, habits,  and traditional reverence. Governments which do not have these supports must renounce these means. If pomp is pointless, however, there is an elegance of form proper to governments; this elegance chimes with the greatest simplicity, just as the most brutal vulgarity goes with display and ostentation. This formal elegance commands true respect. It is the slow and sure effect of education and of life’s whole experience. It is the guarantee of justice, its consequences far more important than one might think. Vulgar men can be moved; but for each occasion when they will be, how many occasions will there be when they remain insensitive and brutal? We should not forget, moreover, that to move vulgar spirits will require an intensification of the sounds and symptoms of grief. Now, as to silent but profound grief, they will not even notice it. How many timid or delicate impressions will recoil before their loathsome and wild persons? How many innocents will there be whose offended pride will freeze the tongue and strangle speech?
Vulgarity and violence are the two greatest scourges in men with power. They put an insurmountable barrier between them and everything noble, enlightened, delicate, and profound in human nature. Vulgar men, irascible men, even when their intentions are pure, are responsible for all the good that they are not asked to do and all the ill which is done without people daring to complain.
An author famous for his writings on how to relieve the burdens of the downtrodden poor, M. de Rumford, says in his memoirs on poorhouses and workhouse prisons, that care of physical needs contributes much to the moral improvement of men, and that he has often observed the most rapid change in criminals themselves, when purer air, better clothes, and healthier food had lifted them, so to speak, into another world. The absence of physical care, he says, creates a sorrow, a malaise which puts the soul into an irritable frame and throws something convulsive and wildly disordered into feelings and actions.90
Here I am speaking as much of the coarseness of appearance and of that irascibility which powerful men wish to use as a resource so that they will not have to apologize for it as a vice. These things throw our being into a kind of convulsive agitation, which chokes all the  sweeter feelings. Man has an influence on himself by his voice, his gestures, his discourse, and just as his inner sensations act on the behavior he adopts, so these adoptions react on his inner life. At some stages of our Revolution, people fell into the most ridiculous contradictions. They had wanted to clothe the government with magnificence and sanctify the vulgarity of its membership. It had not been grasped that what was good in popular institutions was simplicity, the absence of pointless pomp and of an ostentation humiliating to the poor man, and what was good in aristocratic institutions was the elegance of the mores, the loftiness of spirit, and the delicacy of feeling, results all of an education whose provision wealth had permitted. There had been brought together the drawbacks of two systems, stupid ostentation combined with ferocious brutality.
On Government Jurisdiction over Economic Activity and Population
It is proven that the economy flourishes only under freedom; but if the contrary were demonstrated, the restrictions put on freedom on the pretext of special support for production have consequences so disastrous for general contentment and for morality that it would be better to let the economy languish than attack freedom.
On Privileges and Prohibitions
1. Thus we have three real losses. Here is a fourth one of them. Manufactures which, by keeping going thanks to privileges, diverting funds from those which do not need privileges to sustain themselves, cause the latter to deteriorate owing to shortage of sufficient funds. Sismondi, Législation de commerce, II, 53.
2. combinations which make up for this. Of two things one must occur, either a commerce cannot take place without a state-supported company, and then the company has nothing to fear from the competition  of individual firms, or if the company has something to fear from this, then the trade can be conducted without a privileged company, in which case a company of this kind is an injustice.
3. will enlighten all the citizens. It is obvious that each individual in his particular position is far better placed to judge the type of activity his capital can most advantageously set to work than any politico or legislator will be able to do for him. Smith, IV, 2.91
4. it ruins itself. Commercial companies have this disadvantage, that their directors are like governments. Governments soon develop an interest different from that of the governed. The directors of these companies soon have an interest different from that of the company.
5. bankruptcy. A very remarkable example of the unfortunate effects of state-supported companies is the history of French trade with the Indies, from 1664 to 1719. The company, created in 1664, had an exclusive monopoly. By 1708 it had lost close to twenty million. During this time, merchants from St. Malo engaged in interloping, beset with all the difficulties and dangers of smuggling. They profited by it. In 1708 these traders had the idea of buying the privileges of the company which impeded them and became themselves a privileged company. Their profits ended immediately and within eleven years they took the losses of the Company of the Indies, whose monopoly they had acquired, to thirty million. Savary, Dictionnaire de Commerce, IV, p. 1075.92
6. wardenships. Apprenticeships prevent individuals from following this or that trade. Guild masters and wardenships are organizations which determine their own numbers and the conditions of admission.
7. the most iniquitous. When one of the conditions of apprenticeship is paying to be accepted into the trade, this is the height of injustice. For it is to keep from work those who have most need for work.
8. the most absurd. The result of fixing the number of people  working in each trade is that it is more likely than not that this number will not be proportionate to the needs of consumers. This is because there can be too many or too few. If there are too many, the men in this trade, being unable to take up another since the guild masters in any other would drive them away, work at a loss or do not work and fall into poverty. If there are too few, the price of the labor rises, agreeably to the greed of these workers.
9. the surest spur to such perfecting. A singular pretension of government, which, as Sismondi says, II, 285, wants to teach manufacturers their craft and consumers to know their taste!93
10. to appraise their merits. I exempt from full freedom of trade professions which touch on public safety, architects, because an unsound house affects all citizens, pharmacists, doctors, lawyers.
11. the price of the goods. Apprenticeships are oppressive from the consumers’ viewpoint because by diminishing the numbers of workers, they increase the labor costs. Therefore they harass the poor man and cost the rich one a surcharge.
12. the English towns. England, despite its system of prohibitions, has always tended to liberalize production. Apprenticeships have been restricted to existing trades since the statute of Elizabeth which established them, and the courts have welcomed the most subtle distinctions tending to remove from these statutes as many trades as possible. For example, you have to have had an apprenticeship to make carts but not to make carriages. Blackstone.94
 13. no corporation. Notice how freedom, as the simple absence of law, brings order to everything. Combinations of individuals practicing the same trade are mostly a conspiracy against the public. Shall we conclude from this that these combinations should be forbidden by prohibitive laws? Not at all. By forbidding them the government condemns itself to much bother, to surveillance, to punishments which would entail grave drawbacks. Just let government refuse to sanction these combinations. Let it not recognize any right to restrict the number of men in this or that job. Just doing this will deprive combinations of any purpose. If twenty persons in a particular trade wish to combine to push up the price of their work to too high a level, others will come forward to do the job at a lower price.
14. the rigging of daily wages. See on the efforts of guild masters to lower and workmen to raise the daily wages and of the impotence of government intervention in this regard, Smith, I, 132–159, Garnier’s translation.95 The rigging of the daily wage is the sacrifice of the larger party to the smaller.
15. the national wealth. It is to be remarked that at the same time that French manufacturers demand [import] prohibitions to support their manufactures, they all complain of the lack of capital. (See the Statistics from the départements published by the government.)96 This proves that there is not enough capital for the existing businesses. Now, if they abandoned prohibitions and if free admission of foreign products were to cause the abandonment of part of the industry, the capital would relocate in the direction of the remaining parts. It would no longer be consumed feeding failing manufactures, and truly viable manufactures would gain thereby, as well as the whole body of consumers.
16. and perfect itself. The prohibitions on products of foreign manufacture tend to extinguish emulation by indigenous products. “What is the point,” says Sismondi, II, 163, “of seeking  to do better when the government has undertaken to find buyers for the very persons who do the worst?”
17. this greater value. One would think, to see the precautions which governments take against the exportation of specie, that people export it at a loss, simply to play tricks on them.
18. must remain free. “All the times when we chide a nation about the means for fulfilling its obligations, it is as if, in order to increase the credit of a merchant, we forbade him to pay his debts.” Sismondi, I, 200.
19. It will not be exported unprofitably. To justify the precautions taken against the exportation of specie, people greatly exaggerate the fantasies, foolish expenses, and prodigality of individuals. These things, however, make up only an infinitely small part of the total expenditure; and to prevent this very small ill, a much worse one is done, and there is even incurred, by way of payment for spies and legal proceedings, a much greater expense.
The fantasies which lead to the unproductive flight of specie are expenses particular to the rich. Now, the rich man will always have ways of getting his specie out, since he will always be able to pay the smuggling premium.
The supporters of bans on the export of specie say quite correctly that specie, in facilitating exchange and accelerating circulation, creates commerce. Are they not forgetting, however, that commerce creates money, that is to say, brings back specie? They write always as if the purpose of those who demand freedom for the exportation of specie were to drive out everything which is in the country, and they expound very well the benefits of specie and the drawbacks of its disappearance. See Ferrier, Du gouvernement, pp. 13–18.97 Permitted exportation, however, is not forced exportation. The logic of the defenders of prohibitions is to suppose that all dangerous and injurious things would be done as soon as they were not forbidden. They assert this very complacently, and then they fully demonstrate the evil which will result from it, for example, in the case of specie. They do not examine whether even when its leaving is not prohibited, specie would, indeed, leave. They give themselves over to a pathetic picture of the evils  a country would experience if it were deprived of all its specie. This is a logical ruse which deceives much of the world. You affirm one thing; you demonstrate from it a second thing, which is incontestable; and you conclude from the obviousness of the second assertion the truth of the first, although there is no connection between the two. “If France,” says Ferrier, “saw herself losing every year just twenty million, at the end of fifty years, her specie would be reduced by half.” Manufactures would fall, etc. The second assertion is true, doubtless, once one has admitted the first. The difficulty is that the first is not true and can never be true. This is a thing which happens frequently in all disputes. One of the combatants wittingly changes the question, and the other one, not noticing that the question has changed, lets himself be drawn into following his adversary and battling on a false terrain. The opponents of free exportation, instead of proving that exportation set free would cause all the specie to leave, have assumed the thing proven and then demonstrated the bad effects of its leaving. Then their antagonists, instead of proving that free exportation drives out only the superfluous specie, have been pushed by the heat of the discussion to combat everything their opponents said and begun to maintain that all the specie’s leaving would not be a bad thing. See Smith.98 Thus sophisms by one group set the logic of the opposing group.
To judge this question sanely, one must set off from two principles. First, on all the occasions a people have too little specie, it will not exit, even if exportation is allowed. Secondly, all the times there is too much specie, it will be impossible to prevent its exit, even if exportation is forbidden.
20. piled up law after law. Contradictory measures by governments. They strictly forbid exportation of specie, and they create paper money whose natural and inevitable effect is to expel the specie from their country. See Smith,99 Sismondi,100 and Say.101
21. of a middleman class. A law which everywhere and always has been judged extremely useful is that which forbids any hand to intervene between the farmer and the urban consumer. Is it not obvious, however, that the manufacturer  is always distracted from his work by the sale of output, that he can produce more and better output if some capitalist takes care of sales? Why make an exception in this respect of agriculture? If the peasant has to take his commodities to town, he necessarily loses considerable time. He spends what he gets for his products on luxurious town living. The men get drunk and the women corrupted. This way of things depraves and ruins the country people. Mirabeau, Monarchie prussienne, I, 169.102
22. competition. “As soon as a branch of commerce or any specialized work is of use to the public, this will be all the more true when competition is more freely and generally established in it.” Smith, II, Ch. 2.103 The principle of competition applies to everything. “The establishment of several banks issuing promissory notes is better,” observes Say, II, Ch. 15,104 “than the establishment of one. Then each establishment of this kind seeks to merit the favor of the public by offering it the best conditions and the soundest security.”
23. that the minimum is missing. Whoever carefully examines the dearths and famines which have afflicted some part of Europe, during the course of this century and the two preceding ones, on a number of which we have very precise data, will find that no dearth has ever arisen through any coming together of domestic sellers of wheat nor of any other cause than a real scarcity of wheat, perhaps caused sometimes and in a particular place by the ravages of war, but in by far the largest number of cases, by bad years, while a famine has never derived from any other cause than by violent measures of government and by improper means used by government to try to remedy the difficulties of high prices. The trade in wheat, without restrictions, harassment, or limits, which is the most efficacious safeguard against the misfortunes of a famine, is also the best palliative for the dire consequences of scarcity. “For there are no remedies against the consequences of real starvation. They can be alleviated only.” Smith, IV, Ch. 5.105 He shows very clearly in the same  chapter that the more you put discredit on the wheat trade and the more you surround it with dangers, by causing those who devote themselves to this trade to be looked on as monopolists, the more you cause those who devote themselves to this trade, despite the discredit and the dangers, to want to be compensated for this by large profits. The people then find themselves in years of scarcity in the hands of unscrupulous men, who get revenge for the people’s disdain by taking advantage of their distress.
24. to forbid producing. The Maremma of Tuscany produced four times more wheat than was necessary for feeding its inhabitants, before exportation was forbidden. The grand dukes of the House of Medici prohibited it, and the lands remained uncultivated. Sismondi, II, 128.106 The exportation of wool is severely forbidden in England. What has the result been? That the number of rams has diminished and that wool has become more rare and of lower quality. The first fact was established by a Parliamentary inquiry in 1802. The second all English people recognize. Sismondi, II, 35.107
25. a habitual calamity. See some excellent ideas in Bentham, Principes du Code civil, Ch. 4,108 on the intervention of laws regarding subsistence.
26. when it comes to the means of carrying it out. On grain legislation, in the Bibliothèque de l’homme publique, XII, pp. 110 and following.109 “Any commodity, without exception, must be traded freely if one wants it in abundance. It is enough to harass and restrict its sale to cause its cultivation to be neglected and to make it rare.”110 Permission to certain individuals to export does more harm than good, since without bestowing more freedom it adds uncertainty to irritation. Thus it is false reasoning to conclude from the harm permission to individuals causes that general freedom would be harmful too. When exportation is forbidden, what happens? Wheat becomes dirt cheap; during that year it is squandered, and  in the following years very little and poor quality is grown and there is famine. If people do not want a general system and rely on the prudence of the government, the government’s committing the least error results in the greatest inconvenience, and not only that, but individual interest, which is the best and only guarantee of supplies, knowing it can be thwarted at each second by the arbitrariness, the whim, or the mistakes of the government, loses its assurance and thereby its dynamism. It puts its cunning in the service of fraud rather than in useful economic calculation. First, because its calculation can be unexpectedly hampered. Secondly, because on all the occasions when fraud is possible, there is more to gain by it than from any other financial operation, p. 111. The disadvantages of warehouses, pp. 119–120, 178. Laws against monopolies. Sequence of measures which harass people and are always useless, pp. 148–164. The excellent edict of 1774, p. 192. The need to take precautions on account of the people’s prejudices, pp. 205–211. Excellent report presented to the Assembly of Notables on the commerce in grain. Prohibitions encourage sudden exportation at rock-bottom prices, because they get lifted precisely when grain is cheap, p. 222. To the price of wheat maintained at a modest level by the government there must be added the expenses of the measures necessary to keep it at that level. For nothing is as dear as vexations. Now, these expenses fall back on taxpayers, p. 228. The prohibition on exporting is an indication of shortage, which has the infallible effect of raising prices, p. 234.111
27. and the most convenient. See Smith on the effects of prohibitions with regard to exportation of and cornering in grains, III, 2.112
28. the question of the rate of interest. The law must not guarantee usurious rates. At the same time, however, it must grant an assured guarantee to legal rates. For if it does not protect legal rates against all risk, the difficulty of getting oneself paid these rates would cause a resurgence of usury. By firmly guaranteeing legal rates and not usurious ones, the law reconciles everybody. Lenders will prefer legitimate profit, if it is safe, to a larger profit which is precarious. If, on the contrary, no profit is assured, lenders will seek, risks being equal, the largest  profit. N.B.: I do not know if all this is fair and does not contradict my principles. Perhaps the best and the simplest is for the law to guarantee all rates of interest however high they may be. Then the security will generate competition and this by itself will bring rates down.
29. failed against it. Frederick William, father of Frederick the Great, was violently prejudiced against the Jews. He harassed them in a thousand ways. He also had to give them privileges, to compensate them for his harassments. He allowed them, for example, exclusive right to lend at usurious rates, because they did not enjoy as much security for the funds they lent as Christians did. A singular arrangement, according to which he authorized the villainy of the former because he had left them defenseless before the villainy of the latter.
30. must not be fixed. Rising interest rates are not always the sign of a bad financial situation. Rates can rise when the scale of capital employed becomes greater, through a more extensive market or a new commerce opening up to a nation. The lowering of interest rates is therefore like falling profits. Such a fall is a sign, sometimes of prosperity, sometimes of the opposite, Sismondi, I, 78. The rate of interest has not fallen in America, despite the rapid growth of public wealth, because the need for capital grows, through the progress of industry, at the same time and even faster than the stock of capital. The rise and fall of interest rates and the rise and fall of profit levels, being sometimes a sign of prosperity and sometimes of the opposite, cannot serve as a rule for steering government measures. N.B.: This is contrary to note 28 above.
31. It causes the flight. In Italy, many rich people have scruples about lending at interest. What is the result? That they hide their specie. This fact is proved by the extreme credulity with which the public adopts all the stories of the discovery of treasure. Sismondi, I, 144. Thus the fruit of the religious teaching which forbids lending at interest is only the vanishing of a supply of funds which would have stimulated industry. We ask who gains from this religious teaching.
 32. in Athens. Freedom of trade was always full and complete in Athens. There was no monopoly or exclusive privilege. Neither was there any law against usury. Those, however, who demanded excessively high interest rates were scorned by public opinion. De Pauw, I, 372.
33. Public scrutiny will moderate them. “Usury has constantly been awoken when the wish was to limit the rate of interest or abolish it entirely. The fiercer the measures were and the more severely were they carried out, the more the price of money rose. This was the result of the natural process of things. The more risks the lender ran, the more he needed to be compensated by a high insurance premium. In Rome, during all the time of the Republic, the rate of interest was enormous. The debtors, who were the plebeians, constantly menaced their creditors, the patricians. Mahomet forbade the rate of interest.” What happens? In Muslim countries money is lent usuriously. The lender indemnifies himself for the use of the capital he parts with and again for the danger of the contravention. The same thing happened in Christian countries, above all in relation to the Jews. Say, Livre IV, Ch. 14.113
1. “The production encouraged mostly by a system of prohibitions is that which serves to benefit rich and powerful people. That which brings advantages to the poor and needy is almost always neglected or crushed.” See Smith, IV, 8.114
2. Governments formerly had the policy of blocking the invention or the establishment of machines which economize on labor. Montesquieu approves of them.115 This was on the pretext  that these machines reduced a number of workers to inactivity and poverty. Following the invention of the machine-made stockings frame, the intendants of several provinces inveighed against a discovery which they said would reduce fifty thousand individuals to beggary. The inventor was forbidden to profit from his secret or to communicate it. They even made sure he was put in the Bastille. What happened? On his release he took refuge in England, the English turned his discovery to profit, and ten years afterward France was obliged to procure it with much more expense and difficulty. Since that time, industry of that type has multiplied its products. The poor have benefited, because they are now better clothed, and beggary, far from increasing, has diminished. Say.116
On the General Effect of Prohibitions
1. men preparing for every kind of crime. “There are always many inconveniences from the unnecessary imposing of laws contrary to individual interest and easy to infringe in secret, since this is a way of enticing men to free themselves by degrees from the burden of their conscience. To forbid what one cannot prevent and to expose citizens to continual inquisition, to attach grave punishments to crimes which one can never recognize and yet can always suspect, is to weaken the respect due to the law.” Administration des finances, III, 55–56. “All the times we forbid a thing naturally permitted or necessary, we simply make dishonest people out of those who do it.” Esprit des lois, XXI, 20.
 2. artificial crimes. Can a country whose law forbids alike theft, murder, the sale or purchase of such and such a material and such and such a commodity, have any just ideas on moral good or evil?
3. to consider criminal. “Such a smuggler,” says Smith, V, 2,117 “doubtless guilty of breaking the laws of his country, nevertheless often finds he is incapable of violating those of natural justice. He was born to be in every way an excellent citizen, if the laws of his country had not taken it upon themselves to make criminal actions which in no way at all receive this character from nature.”
4. in North America. The bad effect of government action on production is seen in the influence of commercial regulations in Georgia. Pictet, Tableau des Etats-Unis, II, 308.118
1. The Tartars, on their arrival in China, noticed that there were many disadvantages for agriculture in the irregularity of Cantons which were overpopulated, those underpopulated, and those totally unpopulated. They thought seaborne commerce was the source of the trouble, since it drew to the coast families from landlocked provinces where the fields were left fallow. They had the idea of forbidding seaborne commerce and in six provinces of demolishing houses less than three leagues from the sea, and forcing the inhabitants to withdraw deeper into the country. What happened? These people built no houses at all and waited in holes dug in the earth till the Tartar prohibitions fell into disuse. For the least enlightened men have a singular instinct, a prescience which warns them that everything excessive passes away. Indeed, the Tartars relaxed the ban on fishing and seaborne commerce. These families, persecuted so that they would cultivate the soil and who, instead of cultivating it, dug holes in it so they could live in them, left their holes and set themselves up again on the coasts. De Pauw. Egyptians and Chinese.119 
2. Regulations were passed in France to keep watch on the conservation of woods belonging to individuals, so they could not cut them down without permission. The result of these regulations was that individuals feared to plant trees which they had no right to cut down. Steuart, Political Economy, I, 146.120
On Things Which Push Governments in This Mistaken Direction
1. about the business outlook. Men in public administration who are guided by the business outlook think the measures which enrich merchants or manufacturers, and quickly to boot, also increase the national wealth. They do not reflect that the wealth of these merchants or manufacturers is formed only at the expense of other individuals in the nation. People do not believe the nation is likely to be enriched when a man who has a gaming house makes a large fortune at the expense of many individuals. The nation is no more enriched when a manufacturer, by virtue of a monopoly, acquires an immense fortune at the expense of many individuals. See Sismondi, Législation du commerce, II, 115 and following.121 The interest of merchants and leading manufacturers is always opposed to that of the public. Consequently, any proposals coming from this group as to law or the regulation of commerce must be received only with extreme suspicion. Smith, I, 11.122 Transplantation of the economic decision making of a particular interest group to the administration of public affairs. An individual would gain a lot from being able to make counterfeit money with impunity. Governments have believed they would gain comparably from so doing.
2. large roads. Smith points out on this occasion, I, 11,123 that the roads were opened and that from  this time these petitioners, despite their fears, saw their rents increase and their cultivation improve.
On the Supports Offered by Government
1. A regime of subsidies: See for the absurdity of subsidies the example of the one granted by the English government for the transport of grain in Ireland. Tableau de la Grande Bretagne, I, 305, 333, 338, 351–352.124
2. of constraint and harshness. A provincial intendant in France, with a view to encouraging the production of honey and the work of the bees, demanded statements of the number of hives kept in his province. In a few days all the hives were destroyed. Administration des finances, tome not given, p. 238.125
3. from their natural usage. “Any system which seeks, either by special subsidies to attract to a particular type of industry a larger amount of society’s capital than would naturally make its way there, or by special obstacles forcibly to deflect an amount of capital from a particular industry, in which it would otherwise seek employment, is a system truly subversive of the purpose it espouses as its first and last objective. Very far from accelerating society’s progress toward opulence and real growth, it retards it. Very far from increasing, it diminishes the real value of the annual output of land and of the work of society.” Smith, IV, 9.126
4. will not bring the same zeal. One could regard as a subsidy the practice whereby workers in Persia are paid by the court, even when they are not working or are ill. Since people are always disposed to praise the government, Chardin bestows eulogies on this practice, Voyages de Perse, II, p. 19.127 One can consider  from the same point of view the practice in Siam whereby those who excel at their work are employed for six years by the court. La Loubère, Relation de Siam, Tome I, Partie II.128
On the Equilibrium of Production
1. A people’s first need is to subsist. The Chinese missionaries attribute the famines so frequent in China to the distillation of rice. Who does not feel, however, that in a country where grain is short, it would be more useful to sell it than to distill it, since there would be more need for bread to eat than for spirit to drink. De Pauw, Egyptians and Chinese, I, 80.
2. the marquis de Mirabeau. See the Ami des hommes for supports for agriculture, I, pp. 44–54.
Final Example(s) of the Adverse Effects of Government Intervention
1. Only by not acting. In his Mémoires, Livre XIX,129 Sully regards the proliferation of edicts and regulations in relation to commerce and industry, as a direct obstacle to the prosperity of the State. See Garnier’s observations in his  Preface to Smith, on the nonintervention of the government in industry, xxii–xxiii.130 It is the same with men as it is with flocks of sheep. It has been remarked that flocks of sheep prospered particularly in enclosed meadows because they were allowed to pasture freely there and they were troubled by neither the shepherd nor his dog. “Such is the misfortune of France,” says Sismondi, I, 166, “that she always borrows from each theory of political economy whatever is most ruinous in it. Following the political economists she crushed the countryside with the land tax. Following the mercantilists she shackled commerce with her customs houses and impoverished consumers. Following the disciples of Law, she dissipated public wealth twice over along with that of the capitalists, first by the creation of banknotes and then by promissory notes.”131
Conclusions from the Above Reflectionsa
“The regulations of commerce,” says Smith, IV, 7,132 “have this double drawback, that not only do they cause the birth of very dangerous ills in the state of the body politic, but furthermore these ills are such that it is often difficult to cure them without occasioning, at least for a while, even greater ills.” “When we consider closely,” says Say, I, 35,133 “the harm which the regulatory system causes when it is set up, and the evils to which one can be exposed in abolishing it, we are naturally led to this reflection: if it is so difficult to give freedom to industry, how much more reserved ought we to be when it is a matter of taking it away?”
On Government Measures in Relation to Population
1. see Mirabeau, l’Ami des hommes, I, p. 33, on the monastic institutions. Ibid., p. 38, why the condition of Protestant States is better than that of Catholic States.
 2. All detailed legislation. See Mirabeau, Ami des hommes, I, 39.
From What Point of View War Can Be Considered As Having Advantages
1. now only a scourge. The new way of making war, the development of arms and artillery, have lessened the good effects of war. Modern courage has the character of indifference. Gone is that élan, that will, that pleasure in the development of the physical and moral faculties which hand-to-hand combat produced. See Mirabeau, l’Ami des hommes, on necessary wars and wars undertaken through the fantasy of governments, I, 27–29.134
2. limitless power. The prompt establishment of boundless power is the remedy which can, in these cases (those of extremely large States), prevent breakup: a new misfortune on top of enlargement. Esprit des lois, VIII, 17.
Let government not get this wrong. It would search in vain to the ends of the earth after glory, tribute money, empire, and the world’s wealth. All it would earn is astonishment. Without morality and freedom, success is only a meteor, which gives life to nothing in its path. People scarcely raise their heads to contemplate it for an instant, before each person continues on his way, silent and cheerless, striving to flee from despotism, misfortune, and death. 
On the Mode of Forming and Maintaining Armies
One of the functions of government being to repel foreign invasions, it follows that governments have a right to demand of individuals that they contribute to the national defense. It is impossible to restrict this right within precise limits. Its extent depends entirely on the attacks to which the society finds itself exposed. Governments can set themselves certain statutory limitations in this respect for the convenience of the citizens and the greatest possible facility in the organization of the armed forces. For example, they can fix the age before and after which no military service can be demanded, decide on the necessary exemptions from such service, and establish due processes to ensure that their laws in this regard will not be disobeyed. None of these rules, however, can be regarded as absolute. For a rule of this nature to be absolute, one would need the enemy’s consent, since the robustness of the defense must always be proportionate to the violence of the aggression. One can never therefore affirm that any citizen or class whatsoever will not be obliged to contribute to that defense, since one can never affirm that the contribution of everyone will not be required. What has brought into people’s minds the idea of absolute and irrevocable dispensation or exemptions is that governments have often taken their defensive measures hugely beyond what was necessary, because they had the ulterior motive of turning them into means of attack. So individuals, unable to put limits on the warlike disposition of their governors, have sought at least to protect themselves from some of the consequences of this mania, by supposing that there could be between them and the government certain undertakings in virtue of which it would forgo using them in war. Governments for their part have encouraged this idea, seeing in this never more than very limited renunciation the authorization for them to deploy, as their fancy took them, all those not covered by it. In reality, however, an absolute dispensation is an absurd thing. It is to promise a man that he will be exempt from defending his country, that is, from defending himself, if an enemy comes to attack it. Governments have very clearly sensed this absurdity. They have taken advantage of it in order to say to those without absolute dispensation that they could not refuse to participate in any venture, however faraway or pointless. When the danger came close to their borders, however, they knew very well to tell these bearers of so-called irrevocable dispensations that it was part of their duty as well as in their interest to fight. Doubtless the application of this principle varies according to the extent and circumstances of a country.  In a very large realm, it is almost impossible that all the citizens should ever be reduced to taking up arms. The principle exists notwithstanding that, however. In this way the state of the modern world restrains or modifies this principle. The need to fight scarcely bears on any save the group particularly dedicated for more or less of the time to military service. The dwellers in towns, the artisans, the bourgeois, the farmers in the countryside, in a word, all those not formally enrolled, are not held to any resistance toward the enemy.
On Government Action on Enlightenment
On Government in Support of Truth
1. for finding it. The claim governments make for the control of public intellectual life becomes supremely ridiculous under representative institutions, where opinions, being publicly discussed, come deprived of all mystique. No opinion in this case can be imposed with that fearsome solemnity, born of the union of force and mystery, which accompanied the promulgation of the Zend-Avesta135 and the Koran. “It is far from being the case,” says Bentham,136 “that as much intellect, careful reckoning, and prudence have been employed to defend society as to attack it or to prevent crimes rather than commit them.” What Bentham says springs from the fact that individuals are always more reflective and adroit than governments. It is an error to assume a huge gulf between those who dictate the laws and those who receive them. Their respective degrees of enlightenment are always in a certain ratio, and they do not diverge. Nature grants no privileges to any individual. No one gets far ahead of his time and place, and those who do are perhaps the least proper to dominate them.
2. of any government whatever. Political despotism, whether it follows or violates the rules of justice, is,  says Aristotle, the overthrow of all law.137 I will likewise say that the influence of government on thought, whether in the particular circumstances it is exercised in a manner consistent with truth and reason, or contrary to them, is nevertheless in principle the overthrow of all reason and truth. One cannot put the truth to use if one does not know whence it comes, and how and by what chain of reasoning it derives. Dialogues sur le commerce des blés, 162.138
3. belittled our own judgment. He who, to uphold the authority of an opinion, uses force rather than reasoning may have pure intentions but really causes the greatest of evils. “To summon up in defense of the truth any help other than the facts is the most foolish of errors. He who accepts the truest proposition under the influence of government is not accepting a truth but a lie. He does not understand the proposition, for to understand it would be to grasp the force of the argument which accompanies it, the meaning of all its terms, and their respective compatibility. What he is accepting is what is convenient for submission to usurpation and injustice.” Godwin, Political Justice.139
The history of the introduction of Greek philosophy in Rome is a remarkable example of the impotence of government  either against truth or error. There was much truth but also error in the philosophy brought to the Romans by the Athenian embassy.140 On the one hand, the progress of enlightenment had driven the Greek philosophers into rejecting absurd fables, to lifting themselves up to more refined religious notions, to separating morality from vulgar polytheism and placing its principles and its security in the heart and reasoning of man. On the other hand, in the schools of several philosophers, the abuse of a subtle dialectic had unsettled the natural and incontestable principles of justice, submitted everything to interest groups, and in this way sapped the dynamic of all action and stripped virtue itself of what is most noble and pure in it. First of all, the Senate took up Greek philosophy en bloc, an initial mistake which the government could not avoid committing, since it is part neither of its business nor its power to devote itself to the in-depth analysis of any viewpoint whose surface features are all it can ever grasp. The Senate, having taken philosophy en bloc, suffered more for ill than good. This was bound to be so. The sophistry of Carneades, which, glorifying a contemptible flair for impartially attacking directly opposite opinions, spoke in public, sometimes for, sometimes against, justice, should have inspired very critical safeguards against this hitherto unknown intellection. As a result, the Senate banned all Greek philosophy, a second and doubly unfortunate mistake. For in the first place, the Senate was banning, on appearances it had misunderstood, the thing which alone, at a time of moral corruption, could call Romans back to the love of freedom, truth, and virtue. Cato, who decided on the ban on Greek philosophy, did not know that a century after him, this same philosophy, better studied and understood, would be the sole refuge of his grandson against the treasons of fortune and the haughty clemency of Caesar. In the second place, the stern measures taken by the Senate against Greek philosophy served only to prepare for it a triumph whose very delaying made it all the more complete. The representatives from Athens were sent back precipitately to their country. Stern edicts against all foreign doctrines were frequently renewed. Pointless efforts! The impetus had been triggered. It could not be stopped by government means.
Now let us suppose that the Senate of Rome had intervened neither for nor against Greek philosophy. The enlightened men of this capital of the world would have examined the new  doctrine impartially. They would have separated the truths it contained from the sophisms which had been introduced by means of these truths. It was, to be sure, not difficult to show that the arguments of Carneades against justice were only wretched quibbles. It was not difficult to reawaken in the heart of Roman youth the indelible feelings which are in the heart of all men, and to raise the indignation of these still youthful minds against an exposition which, consisting entirely in equivocation and chicanery, ought by the simplest analysis soon to find itself covered with ridicule and scorn. This analysis, however, could not be the work of government, which ought only to render it possible by leaving discussion free. For discussion, when it is banned, takes place nonetheless, but imperfectly, with confusion, intense emotion, resentment, and violence. Some would like to replace this discussion by edicts and soldiers. These means are convenient and seem sure. They have the air of bringing everything together, ease, brevity, dignity. They have only one fault: they never work. The young Romans kept all the more obstinately in their memory the discourses of the Sophists, whose persons it seemed to them had been unjustly driven out. They regarded the dialectic of Carneades, less as an opinion needing examination than as a good in need of defense, since they were threatened with having it snatched from them. The study of Greek philosophy was no longer a matter of simple speculation, but of what seemed far more precious still, at a stage of life when the mind is endowed with all the forces of resistance, a matter of triumph over government. The enlightened men of riper age, reduced to choosing between the abandonment of all philosophical study or disobedience to the government, were forced to the latter course by the enjoyment of letters, a passion which grows every day because its enjoyment is of itself. The former followed philosophy into its Athenian exile; the latter sent their children there. And philosophy, returning later from its banishment, had all the more influence, in that it arrived from afar and had been acquired with more difficulty.
The Aristotelian metaphysics was anathematized by this fearsome power, which made passions and thoughts and sovereigns and subjects bend under its yoke. It was against the ashes of a philosopher dead for twenty centuries that the Council of Paris, under Philip the Fair, directed its thunderbolts, and this dumb dust emerged victorious from the combat. The metaphysics of the preceptor of Alexander was more than ever adopted in the schools; it became the object of a religious veneration. It had its apostles, its martyrs, its missionaries, and the theologians themselves bent the dogmas of Christianity, in order to reconcile them with the maxims  of the peripatetics, so irresistible is public opinion in its progressive advance, and so far is power, civil, religious, and political, forced in spite of itself to follow that advance, happy in order to save appearances, to sanction what it wanted to forbid, and to put itself at the head of the movement it had initially claimed to be stopping.
The Interim of Charles V is a memorable example of the ideas governments contrive for themselves as regards their authority on public opinion. The Interim, as we know, was an order to believe provisionally such and such dogmas, until it was decided which dogmas one should believe. It is an idea which can be conceived by governments only in a state of drunkenness, that of telling man to believe as true for a while that which one announces can be declared false later.
On Government Protection of Enlightenment
1. in the widest sense of that expression. Human faculties can be divided into two classes, those whose purpose is to satisfy needs or to procure present enjoyment, and those which lead to future improvement. Agriculture, commerce, the exact and natural sciences must be placed in the first class; the second takes in morality, the knowledge of earlier opinions and facts, everything which tends to establish relations between us and the past generations or to prepare such relations between us and the generations to follow. We can call the first faculties work faculties, the second intellectual faculties.
2. almost all encourage them. We have seen men who cultivated the sciences, indifferent to the situation of their fellow citizens and their country, continuing their studies with the same composure in the midst of the most bloody proscriptions and under the most degrading despotism, and indiscriminately permitting diverse tyrannies to make use of their discoveries or to take pride in their success. Considered from this point of view, the arts and sciences are truly only a kind of work of a more difficult nature, of a more extensive use than that of the manufacturer and artisan, but nevertheless separated from the great purpose of,  and no less foreign to, what good minds understand particularly by philosophy. Doubtless, even then scientists serve philosophy by their results, but we cannot attribute to those who devote themselves in this way any merit. It occurs in spite of them or without their knowing. Insofar as there is any within them, they make science into a vulgar trade, which provides only nourishment for curiosity and an instrument for government, of whatever kind it may be. Once it gets involved in protecting them, power tends to give them their direction.
3. the agreed sphere. The hope of favors from government leads men committed to science to choose compliantly the subject of their research according to the fantasy of the powers of the moment. They deny themselves the leisure they need. They no longer believe themselves accountable for their own time, to themselves, to the public, to posterity, but to their patrons and protectors. They hasten to publish conjectures which are still uncertain, as though they were definitive findings; they put forward as discovery that which is not such, or which is worse still, they recoil before the truths to which the sequence of reasoning and experiment leads them, if these truths get too close to certain opinions which are in disfavor. All their faculties are vitiated by the intrusion of motives foreign to the nature of their study and to the love of what is true and to freedom of thought.
4. persecution is the more valuable. How much brilliance persecution promotes. Socrates, before falling victim to the anger of the Athenians, was so obscure that when Aristophanes cast him in the open-air theater in The Clouds, delegates of the allied towns, who were at the opening performance, went home very disgruntled that they had been occupied for such a long time with the spectacle of a man called Socrates, in whom they took no interest. Elien, Histoires Diverses, II, 13.141
Governments which claim to favor enlightenment fasten haphazardly on the viewpoints which they protect. Sometimes, by charlatanry or gracious condescension, they submit themselves to a vain show of discussion; but to them reasoning is just superfluous politesse. Their mulishness guarantees them the obedience of all who surround them. Look at Frederick the Great disputing with the philosophers, Frederick the Great, of all men the most fit to relinquish power. Intellection constitutes his avant-garde; but you are aware, behind it, of the force, almost shameful, of his complacency, and of the despotism which sees itself as infallibly right.
 No one wants the influence of enlightenment more than I; but it is precisely because I want it, because I prefer it to any other sort of approach, that I do not want a distorted version. It is in order to conserve in all its vigor the domination of the whole of the educated class that I reject, with revulsion, its subordination to a small section of itself, often the less enlightened part. I would hope to prevent the free, gradual, and peaceful activity of all from being slowed down, and even halted, by privileges granted to the few.
To listen to the writers on government policy for education, one would think that we have only to tear open a veil, to make a long-concealed light shine.
The Athenians had a tribunal for assessing plays. Never did any tribunal pronounce more absurd judgments. This was the tribunal which crowned the tragedies of Dionysius the Elder, who had been accused of letting himself be suborned. De Pauw, Recherches sur les Grecs, I, 145, 184–187.142 Elien, Histoires Diverses, II, 8.143 Diodore de Sicile, XVII. Quintilian.144
There are two parts to the existence of man in society, the one he holds in common, which he makes dependent on other people, and the other, which he keeps private and independent. I call the first social existence, the second, individual existence. Man has obviously more means for perfecting his individual existence than his social existence. For he is obliged to adjust the latter to the faculties of the majority of his fellows, and cannot thus go beyond the common ground, whereas he is free to take his individual existence to whatever degree of improvement his faculties allow him. The result is what we have said more than once, that when it is necessary to submit the individual to society, society’s way of thinking, that is to say, the common way of thinking, however imperfect it may be, must prevail sovereignly. In all other cases, however, individual ways of thinking must stay free. It is not that individual abilities cannot come together to act with more force or perseverance. It is necessary, though, that they come together freely, that they are not forced to mingle and place themselves by contract on a common basis. Any time  they come together, there is on both sides some curtailment of faculties. Any transaction between individual minds to form a collective one takes place at the expense of the more perfect ones.
On the Upholding of Morality
1. attributed to it. The government by its wrong measures or its so-called promotion of morality does as much harm to morality as to freedom. It substitutes for subtle motives and the instinct for good, which drive our decent actions, motives which deprive these actions of any morality or merit, just as in the case of opinions, it substitutes for the chain of reasoning which should lead us to the truth by way of conviction, reasons which, not belonging to rational argument or to evidence, lead us to believe that the truth has all the disadvantages of error. For the perfection of the species it perverts individuals, just as for the happiness of the species it oppresses them.
See Mirabeau, The Friend of Men. On the prerogative of the sovereign on the affections, I, 9. On the efforts of governments to lead men to frugality by honor and by example, p. 22.
In China the law has sought to regulate everything. In the event, however, it has regulated only manners. It has not regulated moral behavior. The people there are overwhelmed with constraints and lost in corruption.
Morality, like sentiment, like affection, belongs uniquely to individual human resilience. The individual pronounces according to a thousand nuances, a thousand ramifications, a thousand subtleties which it is impossible to determine precisely and therefore to submit to collective authority. The true judge of morality is the heart of man, and the executor of its judgments is opinion, free and hence individual opinion, separated from government and in no way distorted by its association with power. There is an important distinction which must not be misunderstood. Since most actions opposed to morality also upset public order, society must repress these actions. This is not, however, because of their intrinsic merit or demerit. It is because they are contrary to the purpose of the public security for which political government was instituted. We must be wary of confusing two absolutely different things, the aversion which an action invokes in the individual being insofar as it is immoral, and the severity which the political body  exercises against that action insofar as it is perturbative. When an immoral action is at the same time contrary to social order, it should be envisaged in two ways: as immoral such that public opinion stigmatizes it; as contrary to order such that government represses it. These are two different tribunals whose competences are, and must forever remain, distinct. They do so remain; for we see every day force being exercised and public opinion refusing to ratify its judgments. The edict on duels, says M. Ferrand, gave new life to the viewpoint it was intended to destroy, IV, 333.145 This distinction, however, must still be recognized in theory, so that it can never be obscured in practice. If we confused these two things, we would give to the collective body a necessarily boundless jurisdiction over moral life, since for all the issues on which the collective body pronounces, there exists no higher body which can quash its decisions. Because we have not sanctified this distinction in a sufficiently formal way, there has come about some kind of notion of a liaison between morality and the collective authority, a liaison which, being purely artificial and arbitrary, is not amenable to definition and renders morality, which is at once the holiest of individual properties and the most unchangeable rule of this universe, a protean thing, modifiable by government, at the mercy of institutions, and able to vary in each country, in each century, under each government.
Coercive laws, which under various penalties would enforce actions commanded by morality, such as gratitude, would have this bad effect, that they would substitute motives of fear for natural ones.
When government interferes only to maintain justice, dangerous feelings moderate and sociable ones are developed. From the single principle of equality flow all the forms of improvement. Once the rights of all are guaranteed, that is to say, once individuals are prevented from using violence against each other, the result is that the sole means of happiness is the exercise of virtue. If governments would content themselves with guaranteeing the rights of everybody, riches would no longer be anything save means of physical enjoyment and not of oppression, privilege, or superiority over other men. Now, physical pleasures being necessarily very limited, the rich would soon wish to draw from their opulence another advantage. They would use it to gain the affection of their fellows, since this opulence would no longer  enable them to dominate the latter. This use of wealth would have led to all the social virtues without the intervention of government. It is the same with all those questions over which governments arrogate to themselves a moral influence.
Bentham, I, 101, gives a very good example of the bad effects of intervention by government, aimed at repressing certain vices.146
On the Contribution of Government to Education
1. a body of doctrine. From the fact that an idea is useful as an individual one, one should not always conclude that it would be equally so were it to be established as a dominant or collective one. Mirabeau said: there exist no national truths.147 I say: there exist no governmental truths. Thought in its nature is one and individual. It is impossible to make a collective being of it. It can be tortured, choked, or killed. But its nature does not change.
2. active and independent. It is necessary to arrange as far as possible that the teachers need a lot of pupils, that is to say, to distinguish themselves by their work and their knowledge. The only way of attaining this purpose is not to give them a salary sufficient for their ease, but only such that an accident, or illness, or some circumstance which took away their pupils from them for a while, would not reduce them to poverty. To wish to replace this dependence, which teachers must have on the public, by making them dependent on an alien authority, such as that of the government or some of its agents, is a bad measure in several respects. First, there are other ways of pleasing that authority than by zeal, activity, and knowledge. Secondly, that authority does not have the necessary enlightenment. It can be exercised capriciously and insolently, and it is in the nature of power that it often is exercised thus. . . . “Everything which obliges or commits a number of students to remain in a college or a university independently of the merit  or reputation of the masters,” such as on the one hand the necessity of taking certain degrees, which can be conferred only in certain places, and on the other scholarships and aid granted to poor students, have the effect of lessening the zeal and reducing the need for knowledge on the part of the masters privileged thus under any arrangement whatever. . . .148 What has happened in relation to government has happened rather generally in relation to education. Most public establishments have the appearance of having been set up not for the benefit of the scholars but for the convenience of the masters. Smith, V, I.149
3. human knowledge. All the fine establishments in America are private, the great hospital in Philadelphia, the reform school, the libraries, the canals, the bridges, the schools known as academies, the charitable pharmacies, the marine societies, the locks on the waterways, the high roads. Pictet, Tableau des Etats-Unis.150
“Morality must be learned everywhere and taught nowhere.” Say, V, 8.151
Is a candidate required to prove himself? The proper thing to do is not to consult the professors, who are judges and partial, who must find everything which comes from their school good, and everything which does not come from it bad. . . . We have to determine the candidate’s merit and not the place where he studied nor the time he studied there; since the demand that a certain course be taken in a designated place is to displace another course which could be a better one. To prescribe a certain course of study is to proscribe any other more expeditious possibility.152
It is impossible, people will say, for the government not to control educational establishments which it funds or where it pays the salaries. It is impossible  to separate instruction entirely from education. Instruction itself would suffer, since lacunae would necessarily result. Yes, but then the government must allow individuals the right to set up private schools and all parents the right to choose between government-managed education and education managed by private individuals.
Garnier, in his Notes on Smith,153 shows very clearly that the government when it offers free education, other than of the elementary sort, deflects the manual workers of society in a detrimental and worthless way from their natural occupations. See also Smith’s observations on the drawbacks of scholarships, I, 10.154
You can teach facts by rote, but reasoning never.
“The natural arrangement of education, leaving the choice, the manner, and the burden of education to the parents, can be compared to a series of experiences, whose purpose is the perfecting of the general intellect. Everything advances and develops through this emulation of individuals, through this difference between ideas and between minds, in a word, through the variety of individual stimuli. But if everything were thrown into a single mold, if teaching were to assume everywhere the character of legal government, errors would perpetuate themselves, and there would be no more progress.” Bentham, II, 200–201.
The Outcome of Preceding Discussion Relative to the Action of Government
The Outcome of the Preceding Discussion
1. less bad and more good. Everything in nature has its disadvantages, but the institutions consistent with nature have the advantage that since nature is essentially conservative, it has ensured that these disadvantages will not be without remedy, whereas in institutions contrary to nature,  since the conserving force is not there, the disadvantages which they entail are often irreparable. Thus by requiring that each man be charged with looking after his own interests, nature has without doubt exposed the human race to two very great evils. Strong feeling and false reckoning are such that individuals often acquit themselves very badly in the task entrusted to them. If, however, fearful of the danger attaching to this natural arrangement, we have the idea of charging one man to watch over the interests of another, or of several others, what is the result of this artificial institution? First of all, the same disadvantages arise as from the natural institution, since the same passions, the same erroneous reckonings, can be found in the person who has been entrusted with interests which are not his own. The natural institution, however, carried its own remedy. Every man suffers from the errors he commits in his own affairs and does not delay in putting things right. The artificial institution, by contrast, is without remedy. The man who, against nature’s wish, decides for another, does not suffer in the least from the errors he commits. They bear upon other people. They do not enlighten him at all; he does not put them right therefore. Moreover, what would be implied if he gained from it? A further risk. He whom you have deprived of the right of looking after his interests will perhaps resist the man you have put in his place, and both will find themselves the worse for it. On all occasions when that which is natural, that is to say just, that is to say conforming with equality (equality, justice, nature: it is the same thing), seems to you to entail disadvantages and you do not know their remedy, trust in experience, which will straightaway show them to you, unless you have brought, which happens almost always, something artificial to the natural institution, and then it is usually this addition which is creating the disadvantages or blocking the restorative power of action. Whenever an institution which is against nature is suggested to you and you do not see its disadvantageous side, it is only experience which you are lacking. The disadvantage exists and will soon develop.
2. in the name of rendering it happy. “It is absurd to reason on men’s happiness other than in terms of their own desires and sensations. It is absurd to wish to demonstrate in a set of calculations that a man is fortunate, when he thinks himself unfortunate.”155 Bentham’s argument against slavery, but which applies to everything. Government has been defined as the institution aimed at creating the happiness of men. There is a great difference between guaranteeing the happiness individuals create for themselves, or create between themselves, and taking over their role in the construction of their happiness. It is almost always  by claiming to do it that governments cease to do so.
The ordinary goings-on of governments: they begin by doing harm. They notice this. Instead of stopping the harm they have done, by warding off the cause, and returning to a salutary inaction, they build up various types of counteractivities and produce, inadequately and painfully, through two opposing pressures, what would have existed naturally, but more completely and less painfully, from freedom alone.
Further Thoughts on the Preceding Chapter
1. frequent relations between the diverse classes. It is a disadvantage for any mode of election if the electors and the elected are separated. See Smith on the advantageous influence of popular election in giving rise to some consideration for the lower class of farmers.156
On Ideas of Stability
1. disproportionate with the rest of things. We find fault with innovators for making laws of opposite outlook to existing public opinion, and we are right. They prefer the future, or what they call the future, to the present, and they have no right to do this. The law, however, which perpetuates itself when it is no longer the  expression of national sentiment, makes a mistake of the same kind, with the sole difference that it is before the past which it wants the present to bow. Now, time plays no part in it. Past public opinion no longer exists; it cannot motivate laws. No more does future public opinion exist; perhaps it never will. It too cannot motivate laws. Present public opinion is the only one which really exists.
2. And what would novelty have produced more unfortunate? China is a precise example of a nation where everything has been rendered static. So our new political writers go into ecstasies about or on Chinese institutions, institutions which have had the result, however, of China having been constantly conquered by foreigners less numerous than the Chinese. To make the Chinese static it has been necessary to destroy in them the energy which would have served to defend them.
At the moment when certain institutions were established, since they were proportionate to the condition of morals and received opinions, or rather that they were the actual effect of these opinions and morals, they had a relative utility and goodness. These advantages have lessened to the extent that the human spirit and institutions have become modified. Governments often think they do great good by reestablishing institutions in what they call their purity. This purity, however, turns out to be precisely the thing most contrary to contemporary ideas and the most liable in consequence to do harm. From this difference between institutions which are static and ideas which are progressive, there results the bulk of the contradictions and false arguments of governments and writers. They see that in a certain period a certain institution was useful, and they imagine that if now it is harmful, this is because it has degenerated. It is precisely the opposite. The institution has stayed the same, but the ideas have changed and the cause of the evil to which you want to bring a solution or remedy is not in the degeneration of the former but in the imbalance between the two. Government connections with the law are a matter on which it is very important to come to some agreement. Two types of imperfections must be distinguished in the laws, one their opposition to morality, the other their imbalance with regard to current ideas. A law can be at variance with morality through the effect of ignorance and universal barbarism. This, then, is the misfortune of the age. A law can be at variance with morality through the effect of error or of the specific corruption of a government. Then it is the crime of the lawmaker.  Antiquity offers us an example of the first kind of imperfection, in the tolerance of ancient philosophers for slavery. Modern times supply us with examples of the second, in the unjust decrees which were enacted during our Revolution. In this latter case the evil is much more incalculable than in the former. The legislator puts himself not only in opposition to morality, but to public opinion. Not only does he outrage the former, but he oppresses the latter. He fights simultaneously against what ought to be the case and against what is. From this there follows an important truth. It is that no anterior example can legitimate an injustice. This injustice was excusable when the human spirit had not recognized it as such, only as an inevitable misfortune. With the enlightening of the human spirit, the excuse ceases and the government which prolongs or renews the injustice renders itself guilty of a double outrage.
The laws which bear the impress of general intellectual imperfection are in balance with the period for which they exist. More perfect laws would clash with ideas. According to this reckoning, the needs of the people not being the origin of their laws, and their authors acting spontaneously and fallibly, the people find themselves exposed to all the drawbacks attached to the imbalance of laws with ideas and to all those whose provenance may be in the mistakes of lawmakers.
On Premature Ameliorations
At all times when improvements are the natural and real product of the general will, this is to say, of what are felt to be the needs of everybody, expressed through the freedom of the press, the sole faithful and independent interpreter of public opinion, these improvements have at least a relative worth. When, however, the government makes itself judge, it looks for that relative worth in its own ponderings, its own opinions, in its own enlightenment, and the improvements, which are supposed to be acquiring the highest degree of perfection possible, are sometimes contrary to the general wishes and not in line with current ideas, and sometimes contrary to the eternal and universal principles of morality. Governments which arrogate to themselves the right to improvement are, when they are corrupt, hypocrites, and even when they are well-intentioned, wholesale gamblers with the system, to whose multiform errors the people find themselves  constantly sacrificed. The laws which bear the impress of general intellectual imperfection are in harmony with the time for which they exist. More perfect laws would clash with the ideas.
There are improvements which, taken abstractly, are incontestable. As long as the nation does not want them, however, this is because it does not need them, and time alone, and free expression of individual opinion, through the press, can make it want them. Government must not even be accorded the right to promote these improvements. This would be to attribute to it a function which belongs only to enlightened individuals. Now, government cannot be composed of such individuals, and enlightened individuals, moreover, have useful power by way of public opinion, only because they do not possess formal power.
“Oh hammer-blow reformers, you are the most unfortunate of gardeners.” Mirabeau, The Friend of Men, I, 78.
I often say we should respect the habits of peoples, yet at the same time I propose many things which seem contrary to these habits. It must be observed, however, that I propose only negative things. This is to say that I counsel governments not to exert their authority in favor of such and such a set of restrictions, which they believe in their interest to maintain. By no longer exerting their authority in this direction, they do not hurt existing practices at all. They permit each person to continue to do freely what formerly they commanded him to do. It can happen that for a long while the acquired habit may be the stronger. Bit by bit, however, if it is contrary to the real interest of individuals, they will free themselves from it, one after the other, and the good will be accomplished without any great shock. Imagine a herd whose owner had, for a long time and by misjudgment, kept it on arid, sterile soil, surrounding it with a fence. If to have it transported to a better pasture you have it taken out by force, by exciting the dogs against it and frightening it with shouts, you may well find that several of the beasts will be wounded hurling themselves outside and even that the fright may be so great that many scatter and get lost. Just take down the fence, however, and leave the flock in peace. It will stay some time on the land where it is used to pasturing; but bit by bit, it will spread out all around, and after some time and imperceptible movement it will arrive in the fertile meadow where you want to transport it.
People always give great praise to statesmen who work for the future. Is it truly necessary, however, is it really natural, that in the matter of government men work for the future, that is to say, for generations who do not exist yet  and of whose condition, ideas, dispositions, and circumstances one is in ignorance?
Charlemagne is always praised to us as a great legislator, and to prove it they tell us that his monarchy fell only when his laws fell. The talent of a legislator, however, would have lain in making laws which did not fall. The praises given to all these legislative talents are like those accorded to constitutions, by its being said that they would work perfectly if everyone were willing to obey them, as if the art of constitutions were not by definition to get oneself obeyed by everybody.
Greece owes the brilliance of her annals more to the progressive way in which she civilized herself than to any circumstances unique to her. Greeks were left by happy chance to the sure and slow movement of domestic civilization. The foreign colonies which came there carrying the seeds of some arts were not strong enough to conquer, nor refined enough to corrupt, nor informed enough to enlighten. The leaders of these colonies were ordinarily either criminals fleeing the punishment menacing them in their own country, or ambitious people driven out by enemy factions. Wandering at random, they were blown by the winds onto some unknown shore. They found there inhabitants who, constantly exposed to incursions by neighboring nations, and to seeing themselves carried off along with their beasts and wives, had conceived an invincible hatred against all foreigners. The newcomers were bound to add to this hatred by the violence necessary for their subsistence and for their safety. Thus the early days were spent in continual stress on both sides and reciprocal massacres. Established finally on a small territory, the new colonists found that all that surrounded them were numerous and untamed hordes, whom they could conquer but not subdue and to whose incursions they were frequently exposed. As to their original homeland, the emigrants could not, given the reasons which had forced them to abandon it, keep up any relationship with it. On the contrary, it often happened that their compatriots were their most mortal enemies. Thus it is easy to see that the civilization of Greece must not be attributed to the colonies which established themselves there. It was time alone which civilized the Greeks, and this slower way is also the best of all ways.
One can reduce the other ways to three, civilization by conquerors, civilization by the conquered, and last, civilization by tyrants. The Americans furnish us with an example of the first, the barbarians of the north and the Chinese with one of the second, and the Russians with a case of the third.
 When it is the conquerors who take on the education of the conquered, they begin by degrading their pupils. Their interest of the moment does not demand that they make men of them, but slaves. It is therefore to form humble and hardworking slaves, deft and docile machines, that these teachers, with power to hand, strive successfully. It is only after eight or ten generations that the sad remains of the indigenous peoples, their community reduced to a hundredth part of the numbers of their ancestors, begin to mingle with their oppressors, and to civilize themselves imperfectly, through the imitation of their corrupted mores and through the adoption of their erroneous opinions.
When, on the contrary, subjugated peoples civilize their masters, they enervate them without softening them, and they degrade them without policing them. The vices of luxury come to join with the ferocity of barbarism, and from this mixture are born the most dire effects. In the history of these peoples, the rapine, the violence, the devastation which characterize the uncivilized man, are accompanied by the cowardice, the weakness, the shameful pleasures of man, corrupted by a long abuse of civilization.
Lastly, when a despot wants to police his slaves, he thinks he need only wish this. Accustomed to seeing them tremble and grovel at the least sign, he thinks they will enlighten themselves similarly. To hasten their progress, he conceives of no other expedients than those of tyranny. He believes that, in this way, he is preparing his peoples for enlightenment, freedom’s very daughter. He wants his subjects to learn, think, and see only as he does, and he gets irritated equally by nostalgia for the old mores and by the censure of new institutions. What are the results of these mad efforts? Let us cast a glance on that vast empire whose rapid progress people often vaunt. We will see there the great, prizing above everything else servile imitation in the practices of their neighbors; the sciences in the hands of foreigners who, obscure in their own country, come to seek wealth and renown in a nation they despise; and the people reduced to a condition of slavery, with no inkling that they are supposed to be undergoing enlightenment.
Those who make law by means of the lash seem to me like chickens which, bored with sitting, break their eggs in order to make them hatch.
When you set up an institution without the popular consciousness being ready for it, this institution, however good it may be in principle, is not an organization, but a mechanism.
 “We do nothing better than what we do freely and by following our natural talents.” The Spirit of the Laws, XIX, 5.
What we say about speculative functions, etc., in the Additions to Ch. 1, Book III, must be placed in this chapter.
On a False Way of Reasoning
Diverse and almost constant causes of error. First, confusion of ideas. Secondly, the effect taken for the cause. Thirdly, negative effects advanced as proofs of positive assertions. Fourthly, interest placed on the commitment to the purpose, without examination of the means. Fifthly, because of instead of despite.
On Political Authority in the Ancient World
The First Difference between the Social State of the Ancients and That of Modern Times
1. within very narrow limits. “The citizens,” says Sismondi, IV, 370, “find consolation for the loss of their liberty in the acquisition or sharing of a large power. This compensation exists only in a State where the citizens are few in number and where consequently the chance of coming to supreme power is large enough or close enough to mitigate the daily sacrifice which each citizen makes of his rights to this power. Thus in the republics of Antiquity there was no civil liberty. The citizen had seen himself as a slave of the nation of which he was a part. He gave himself over entirely to the decisions of the sovereign, without challenging the legislator’s right to control all his actions, to constrain his will in everything. On the other hand, however, he was himself in turn this sovereign and this legislator. He knew the value of his suffrage in a nation small enough that each citizen could be a power, and he felt that it was to himself as sovereign that as a subject he sacrificed his civil freedom.157 One senses  how illusory such a compensation would be” in a country which counted millions of active citizens.158
The Third Difference between the Ancients and the Moderns
1. Ignorance of the compass. “Men, not knowing the use of the compass, were scared of losing sight of the coast, and given the state of imperfection in the art of shipbuilding, they did not dare to abandon themselves to the impetuous waves of the ocean. To traverse the Pillars of Hercules, that is to say, to navigate beyond the Straits of Gibraltar, was for long regarded in Antiquity as the most daring and astonishing enterprise. The Phoenicians and the Carthaginians, the most skillful navigators and the most knowledgeable shipbuilders in these ancient times, did not even attempt this passage until very late, and they were for a long time the only people who dared do it.” Smith, Wealth of Nations, I, 3.159
2. his interests and his fate bound up. “Modern nations which are complete and able to exist by themselves remain almost in the same condition when their governments are overthrown.” Say, IV, Ch. 12.160
3. They move their assets far away. When a citizen found only savages outside his country, and thus only death or deprivation of all human society were the consequences of expatriation, the fatherland to which one owed life and all the goods which make it precious could demand many more sacrifices than today, when a citizen, leaving his country, finds everywhere almost the same mores, the same physical commodities, and in many respects the same moral ideas. When Cicero said: “Pro qua patria mori, et cui nos totos dedere et in qua nostra omnia ponere et quasi consecrare debemus,”161  it was the case that the fatherland contained then everything a man held dear, and that to lose his fatherland was to lose his wife, his children, his friends, all his affections, all his possessions. The time of patriotism has passed. To be able to demand sacrifices from us, the fatherland must be dear to us, and to be dear to us, it must not strip us of all that we love. Now, what do we love in our fatherland? Freedom, security, public safety, the ownership of our goods, the possibility of rest, activity, glory, and a host of rights of all kinds. The word “fatherland” brings into our imagination much more the coming together of all these enjoyments than the topographical idea of a particular country. If it is suggested to us that we sacrifice all these enjoyments to the fatherland, this is to suggest that we sacrifice to the fatherland, the fatherland itself. This is to want to make us dupes of words. This applies equally to society. There are only individuals in society. Society means all individuals. Now, to sacrifice the happiness of all individuals to society, that is to say, to all individuals, is that not a contradiction in terms?
4. a stranger or an enemy. Hatred of strangers among the ancients, in the midst of the greatest civilization. Nations, says the jurist Pomponius, Leg V O de captivis, with whom we have no friendship, no hospitality, no alliance, are not our enemies. However, if one thing which belongs to us falls into their power, they are its proprietors. Free men become their slaves, and they are in the same situation with respect to us.162
Among the ancients, individuals were often fed or drew their resources from the wealth of the public. Among the moderns, the wealth of the public is made up of the wealth of individuals.
The spoils of the vanquished and the ransoms of prisoners were the sole funds allocated by the Spartans to public needs.
 “It is in following absurd ideas drawn from the mores of the Romans, that Valerius Maximus and Juvenal spoke of Demosthenes as if he had been the son of a blacksmith, who lived only by the labor of his hands. On the contrary, this was a most illustrious citizen and most distinguished by his wealth.”163 His father had possessed two manufacturing plants, where he worked fifty-two slaves. Demosthenes in his first address against his tutor Aphobes. The noblest families of Attica had factories themselves. Pauw, Philosophical Dissertations on the Greeks, I, 68.164
Montesquieu remarks in The Spirit of the Laws, XX, 2, that commerce unites nations but does not similarly unite individuals,165 from which it results that nations being united, they mingle, that is to say that there is no patriotism, and the individuals not being united, they are no longer anything but traders, that is to say, they are no longer citizens.
The spirit of the ancients was so uncommercial that Aristotle numbered brigandage among the means of acquisition.
“Today lands are discovered by sea voyages. In former times, seas were discovered by land voyages.” Montesquieu, The Spirit of the Laws, XXI, 9.
The Result of These Differences between the Ancients and the Moderns
1. are intolerable. Even when the spirit of the age did not incline toward civil liberty, the size of societies would make that freedom necessary. Laws on mores, celibacy, and idleness are impossible in a large state, and it would be vexing beyond measure to carry them out, if they were tried.
 2. as the guarantee of the latter. It would be less absurd today to want to turn slaves into Spartans than to create Spartans by means of freedom. In former times, where there was freedom, people bore privation; today, everywhere there are privations, one would need slavery to get people to resign themselves to these. The people who most value the good things life has to offer, including its physical pleasures, are at the same time the only free people in Europe. Among the ancients, the enlightened class placed more importance on mores than on political freedom and the common people more importance on political freedom than on individual freedom. With us it is only, on the one hand, thinkers and, on the other, the common folk who place importance on political freedom. Say why.
Among the ancients the function of the citizen prosecutor was honorable. All citizens took this function upon themselves and sought to distinguish themselves in the accusation and pursuit of guilty people. With us the function of the prosecutor is odious. A man would be dishonored if he took on the function today without an official appointment. That is to say that among the ancients, public interest went before individual safety and freedom, while with us, individual safety and freedom go before the public interest.
Modern Imitators of the Republics of Antiquity
1. After Rousseau. In his treatise on the government of Poland, J.-J. Rousseau brings out very shrewdly the obstacles which confront the introduction of new mores and habits in a nation and even the danger of starting up a struggle against these mores and habits.166 Unfortunately,  only his absolute principles have been taken up, his Spartan fanaticism, everything which was unworkable and tyrannical in his theories, and in this way, his most enthusiastic supporters and admirers, fixing on only what was defective about him, have managed to make him of all our writers the most fertile in false notions, in vague principles, and the one most dangerous for freedom.
2. institutions into habits. In enlightened times, observes Mr. Gibbon in his Miscellaneous Works,167 men rarely run the risk of establishing customs recommendable only by their purpose and usefulness. The people who respectfully follow the wisdom of their ancestors, will despise that of their contemporaries and consider such institutions only from the point of view which would give rise to ridicule. For an institution to be efficacious, its author must be God or time. It could well be with institutions as with ghosts. No one has seen one, but everybody has among his ancestors someone who has seen one.
3. shame diminishes and honor withers. Bentham has included in his penal code168 offenses against honor and reparations for these offenses. He has brought to this enumeration his characteristic penetration. His actual chapter on this subject, however, is a proof of the impossibility of doing anything by law which belongs solely to the domain of public opinion. He wants the man who thinks himself insulted to be able to force the alleged offender to declare that he had no intention of being scornful of him. The question, however, cannot be resolved before a court because the very supposition is humiliating. The response would not be, as Bentham supposes, a simple disclaimer, even in the case in which the intention to insult had not existed in the first place, because the disclaimer, being open to the charge of duress, is such that any man of honor would refuse it. Finally, the reparation laid down by the court could well be shameful for the defendant, but it would in no sense be honorable for the plaintiff. Public opinion must be left to itself with its drawbacks and advantages.
The ancients, having less need of individual freedom than we, attached the highest importance to laws about social mores. We give a comparable importance to constitutional mechanisms.
Among the Greeks and the Romans, the poor and the rich really formed two classes, of which one was composed of creditors, the other of debtors, and the inadequacy of the means of trade and production prevented these two classes from mixing. This meant that among the ancients insurrections were much more genuine than in our case. Now, that which is true is in all cases less violent than that which is artificial. An artificial insurrection, independently of the violence of an insurrection, has the further violence necessary to produce it; and moreover, calculation is much more immoral than nature. I have seen during the Revolution men who had organized artificial insurrections, suggesting massacres, to give the insurrection, they said, a popular or national air. When I see the blind confidence which many moderns have accorded the assertions of the ancients on the power of institutions and the series of conclusions they draw from some fact often reported as a vague rumor or contained without explanation in a single line, I am reminded of the traveler who, having seen an Arab prince who, having nothing better to do, whittled a stick with his knife, concluded from this that the thing was a fundamental and very wise institution of this State, namely that all men, including princes, learned a trade.
The ancients accepted their institutions as improvements. We struggle against ours as if they were imposed by conquest.
On the True Principles of Freedom
On the Inviolability of the True Principles of Freedom
1. a singular error. “There has been a confusion,” says Montesquieu, XI, 2, “between the power of the people and the freedom of the people.” By an error of the same kind, Bentham regards as indirect means of government many things which are only the absence of all government intervention. He observes, for  example, III, 7, that the rivalry between the Catholic and Protestant churches has contributed a lot to the reform of papal abuses; that free competition is the best way of lowering either the prices of goods or the rate of interest. It is, however, a complete abuse of vocabulary to call these things indirect means of government.
Final Thoughts on Civil Freedom and Political Freedom
1. is something superfluous. In everything relating to man, we have to distinguish two things, the purpose and the means. In human societies, happiness is the purpose and security the means. Security is therefore not a good in itself. On the contrary, it has a number of drawbacks; but since it is the necessary means for achieving the purpose, we have to resign ourselves to its drawbacks. In private affairs, where the formalities we observe entail costs, delays, discussions, as well as in public affairs, where the authorization accorded to government restrains individual freedom, it would assuredly be more convenient to put our trust in the good faith and wisdom of each person. Public security is necessary, however, because the adverse results even of the perversity of a small number would be greater for all than that which results from formal prescriptions and agreed restrictions. Public security, though it is not an absolute good, is therefore a relative good, since it is of greater value than the evil it prevents. Two consequences flow from this. First, the security having to be complete and certain, in order to render it such we have to make all the indispensable sacrifices, but things must not go beyond that; since if it is right to endure necessary inconveniences, it is folly to add to them anything superfluous. Secondly, any system in which the disadvantages of security exceed the strict minimum is essentially vicious. Let us apply these principles to the political institution. We recognize its necessity, so we must accord it everything needed to make it secure. Everything it needs, I stress, but nothing that it does not need, such as what is demanded under various pretexts by the holders of various powers, ambitious delegates who never think their prerogatives sufficient either in intensity or extent.
2. are scarcely necessary. “In surrounding the sovereign with the necessity of being just, it will impose on the subject the obligation  to submit.” Ferrand, I, 146.
3. excesses will reach their peak. The interest of a despot is never the same as that of his subjects. One single man clothed with despotic power has no means of governing according to his fantasy other than by brutalizing all those he governs. As long as we are not reduced to the level of simple machines, the possessor of power is threatened. Instruments reason. Agents have scruples. Those who have none pretend in order to raise their political price. Moreover, you cannot buy everybody. The despot is rich only from what he takes from his subjects. Now, those he buys want him to give them more than they had. Therefore to enrich some he must plunder others, either directly by taking their goods or indirectly by taxing them. The result of this is that, short of the brutalizing of everybody, there are always two classes under despotism who are not devoted to the government, the one which has been stripped of everything and is disgruntled, and that which without being plundered is not enriched. This one keeps its independence, and independence is as troublesome for despotism as disgruntlement.
4. a brilliant reign, during which France drained itself in continual wars, toward the end of which three million French people were persecuted, banished, treated with the most revolting barbarism, and after this reign, a long reign in which the most excessive corruption developed in which France lost her foreign reputation, in which the finances fell into irreparable disorder, in which all the elements of trouble, discontent, and overthrow accumulated to the point when the best-intentioned prince could not put them right, and then the most bloody of revolutions. Truly a fine outcome for the cruelties of Louis XI and Richelieu.
5. the French monarchy was overthrown. The following passage is curious to reread in the Mémoires of Louis XIV, when we reproach him with what happened seventy-four years after his death to his grandson. After having painted what he calls the wretchedness of kings who are not absolute,169 he continues thus: “But I have spent too long on a reflection which will seem to you pointless or which can at most help you to recognize the wretchedness of our neighbors, since it applies all the time in the State where you are to reign after me.  You will find no authority which is not honored to hold its origin and character from you, no administrative body whose opinions dare to deviate from terms of respect, no company which does not believe itself obliged to put its principal greatness in the good of serving you, and its sole security in its humble submission.” Mémoires, I, 62–63.170 How difficult absolute monarchy is to maintain in a large State. Clovis established an absolute monarchy. Under his successors it divided and fragmented. The great lords became sovereign and Clovis’s line ended by being deprived of a royal authority, already virtually nullified. Charlemagne reestablished it. It disappeared again under Louis the Debonair, and the feudal system, one of the most opposed to monarchy as we understand it, rose on its ruins. A new revolution put Hugues Capet on the throne, but royal authority did not revive. It did not reestablish itself positively until the reign of Louis XIII, and a hundred fifty years later the monarchy fell.
6. Apologists for despotism. Do you want to judge despotism in relation to the different classes? For educated men think of the death of Traseus171 and Seneca, for the common folk think of the burning of Rome and the devastation of the provinces, for the emperors themselves, of the death of Nero and that of Vitellius.
It is not true that despotism protects us against anarchy. We think it does only because for a long time our Europe has not seen a real despotism. But let us turn our gaze on the Roman empire after Constantine. We find that the legions were constantly in revolt, with generals proclaiming themselves emperors and nineteen pretenders to the crown simultaneously raising the flag of rebellion. Without going back to ancient history, let us look at the sort of spectacle presented by the territories ruled by the sultan.
When a violent revolution overthrows a despotic government, moderate men and men of peace judge despotism more favorably, first, because present ills make us forget past ones; secondly, because in centralized states revolutions are sometimes caused by government weakness, and that weakness, although fatal in its consequences, nevertheless gives to the governed temporary rights which they come to regard  as the inherent advantages of absolute power while they are only the effects of its weakness and steps to its destruction.
If human wickedness is an argument against individual freedom, it is an even stronger one against despotism. The fact is, despotism is simply the freedom of the few against everybody else. Those governing have all the temptations and therefore all the vices of private men and power to boot.
A man can write good tragedies without being acquainted with the rules of dramatic art. If his tragedies are good, however, this is because he will have observed the rules without being aware of them. Similarly, a prince may make his people happy although in the constitution of the State there are no guarantees thereof. If this prince makes his people happy, however, it is because he conducts himself as if there were political guarantees in the constitution of the State. These examples prove the worthlessness neither of rules of art nor of political guarantees. They prove that one may act sometimes by instinct in ways consistent with these. From the very fact, however, that in acting thus one does well, it can be inferred that it would be better were these things known and established in advance. Political freedom is an art like all the others. Now, an art, as Laharpe puts it very well, Course in Literature, II, 252, is only the outcome of experience reduced to method. The purpose of this art is to spare those who follow us the whole road those who have preceded us followed, and which would have to be retrodden if we did not have guides.172
Apologia for Despotism by Louis XIV
“If we wanted,” says Louis XIV, I, 271, “to deprive ourselves of all things as soon as they might bring us any ill, we would soon be deprived, not only of everything which makes our greatness and our convenience, but also of everything which is most necessary to our subsistence. The foods which nature chooses for the nourishment of man serve sometimes to choke him. The most salutary remedies  are infinitely harmful when they are badly managed. The most prudent laws often bring to birth new abuses, and religion, which ought to be only the object of our profoundest reverence, is itself liable to suffer the most terrible profanities from the world, and yet there is no one who would dare to conclude from all this that it would be better to go without meat, cures, laws, and religion.” Do not these arguments apply to freedom with as much force as to all these things?
On the Duties of Individuals to Political Authority
Difficulties with Regard to the Question of Resistance
Governments which have their origin in the national will, or what they name such, find themselves in an embarrassing situation with regard to resistance. If they declare that resistance is always a crime, they recognize that they have participated in this crime and have inherited its outcomes. If they affirm the legitimacy of resistance, they authorize it against their own acts, once they are unjust or illegal.
On Obedience to the Law
1. If the law created offenses. Those who claim that it is the law alone that creates offenses enter a vicious circle on this question: why is it an offense to disobey the law?
2. which he denies elsewhere. When we find, says Bentham, I, 5,173 in the list of offenses some neutral action, some neutral action, some innocent pleasure, we must not hesitate to transfer this alleged offense to the class of legitimate acts, to grant our pity to alleged criminals and reserve our indignation for the so-called virtuous who persecute them.
 3. retroactivity. Most bad laws are made only to serve a purpose demanding a retroactive effect. Almost all the laws which passionate feelings and factions produce would be void if they were not retroactive.
4. decorates with the name of law. Laws like those which wanted to force the French to leave their parents and children, separated from their country by political opinions, to perish of poverty and hunger in distant climes, raised against themselves all honest and generous sentiment. These impious laws are always evaded while they are extant, and repudiated with horror at the first moment of calm and freedom.
5. to a law he believes wicked. Ambitious or greedy men who want to be executors of bad laws say that in accepting power their aim is only to do as much good as possible; this means that they are ready to do all the wickedness they are commanded to do.
The Law of Solon: each citizen will be allowed to cut off the life not only of a tyrant and his accomplices but even of a magistrate who maintains his office after the destruction of democracy. Andocides, On Mysteries,174 Travels of Anacharsis, Introduction, p. 120: a good law against instruments.175
“To say that there is nothing just nor unjust save what positive laws ordain or forbid is to say that before any circle was drawn the radii were not all equal.” The Spirit of the Laws, I, 1.
1. and directs these means. “Nothing appears more surprising to those who consider human affairs with a philosophical eye than the ease with which the great number is governed by the small and the implicit submission with which men  subordinate their feelings and their passions to those of their leaders. When we seek out, however, by what means this miracle is effected, we find that, since strength is always on the side of the governed, the governors never have any support save public opinion. It is therefore on public opinion alone that all government rests, and this maxim extends to the most despotic and to the most military as well as to the most popular and the freest. The sultans of Egypt and the Roman emperors might well have been able to drive their unarmed subjects before them like brute beasts; but when it came to their Praetorians or their Mamelukes, they had to act according to their views and interests.” Hume, Essays, IV, 27.176 “Opinion is of two kinds, interested opinion, and opinion as to justice. The latter has always had much more influence than vested interest. This can easily be shown by the attachments all nations have to their ancient governments and even to the names which have received the sanction of Antiquity. Whatever unfavorable judgment we come to on the human race, it has always been profligate of its blood and its treasure, for what it thought was the maintenance of public justice. Probably at a first glance no proposition could seem more vitiated by the facts. Men, having joined a faction, violate shamelessly and remorselessly all the virtues of morality and justice in order to serve that faction; and yet, when a faction is securely grounded, people rest on the principles of law. It is then that men show the greatest perseverance and the greatest devotion to these principles.” Ibid.177
When arbitrary governments oppress citizens, friends of freedom sometimes confuse the right of resistance with the right to mount a revolution. There is nevertheless a great difference, and this difference is very important. Resistance, properly called, tends simply to repulse oppression,178 while the purpose of revolutions is to organize government under new forms. These two things are absolutely distinct. Resistance is a positive, individual, imprescriptible right which is subordinate only to considerations arising from utility, the chance of success, the danger of upset, and the comparison of the ill which it can entail with the one it wishes to prevent. To make a revolution, however, is never a right; it is a power with which one is accidentally cloaked.  The evils of revolutions establish nothing against the legitimacy of resistance; the legitimacy of resistance establishes nothing in favor of revolutions. It has to be said, though, that since resistance often leads to revolutions, this danger must form part of the reckoning of the oppressed and encourage them either to tolerate the evil they suffer or to do what they can so that the resistance they put up does not entail excessively violent shocks and fatal upheavals. Revolutions and resistance, by nature distinct, are subject to totally different rules. An isolated man, a minority, has the right to resist. At all times when individuals are oppressed, it matters not whether they are a majority or a minority in society. In their respect the guarantee has been violated. If we rejected this opinion as disruptive, we would fall first of all into all the pitfalls of giving the majority endless power, since if majority acceptance could legitimate the oppression of the minority, there is all the more reason the positive will of the majority could have this result. Secondly, to permit resistance only when most people are repressed would be, regardless of the injustice of these arrangements, in fact to forbid resistance in all cases. The trick of governments which oppress citizens is to keep them separated from each other and to make communications difficult and coming together dangerous. Then oppression by the majority can never be identified. In sum, the nature of political guarantee is such that it cannot be violated in the case even of one person without its being destroyed for everybody. In matters of despotism, one single victim represents the whole collectivity. I do not speak here only of right. When it comes to its execution, it is clear that we have to bring circumstances into account. The exercise of our most obvious prerogatives must be subordinated to considerations of utility. Ill-considered recourse to force, even against the most outrageous encroachment, is fatal and must therefore be condemned. The man who, threatened with an arbitrary arrest, stirred up his village, would be guilty not for resisting but for his wild enterprise and the ills it could entail. If a minority or even a single man, however, has the right to resist, no minority of any sort ever has the right to stage a revolution.
From the absence of this distinction a great confusion of ideas has resulted. When today some unfortunate persecuted person uses the means still available to him to protest against despotism or evade it, he is not seen as a man under attack defending himself, but as aggressively ambitious; and oppressed people who invoke the help of the law are regarded as factions which infringe it. As happens commonly, the two opposing groups  have seized on this confusion to take advantage of it. Oppressive governments have asked for nothing better than the depiction, as future usurpers, of those who resisted present usurpation; and those aspiring to tyranny have been quick to call themselves victims in order to legitimate their rebellions.
Resistance is legitimate anytime it is founded on justice, because justice is the same for everybody, for one person as for thirty million. A revolution is legitimate, however, just as it is useful, only when it is consistent with universal sentiment. This is because new institutions can be salutary and stable, in a word, free, only when they are desired by the whole society in which they are being introduced. The surest way for a government to gain the goodwill of public opinion is to leave it free. It is only ever tyranny which alienates the opinion of the majority; for the majority has nothing to gain from opposition to government. Therefore the less tyranny we have, the less risk will there be of the alienation of public opinion.
The Duties of Enlightened Men during Revolutions
1. Therefore there is always a duty to fulfill. It is in persuading ourselves that it is useless to struggle against the violence of extraordinary situations, that we make them, indeed, irresistible. Each person says to himself: even if I fulfilled my duty, others would not fulfill theirs, and I would sacrifice myself fruitlessly. This reasoning results indeed in no one’s doing what he should. If on the contrary each man said to himself: even if other people did not fulfill their duty, I wish to fulfill mine, it would turn out that everybody would do as he ought. We create the impossibility of the good by resigning ourselves to this impossibility.
2. would bring it back down and it would collapse. The public spirit is the fruit of time. It forms through a long sequence of acquired ideas, sensations experienced, successive modifications, which are independent of men and are transmitted and modified again from one generation to another. The public spirit of 1789 was the result, not only of the writings of the eighteenth century, but of what our fathers had suffered under Louis XIV, our ancestors under Louis XIII. The public spirit is the heritage of the experiences of the nation, which adds to this heritage, its experiences of every day. To say that the public spirit must be re-created is to say that we must take the place of time, and this  usurpation at least is beyond the usurpers’ power. The assemblies and political clubs have exactly that pretension, wishing to replace with superficialities what they are lacking in depth. They put themselves in the place of the people to make them say what they do not say. They take upon themselves the question, the answer, and even the praise which it seems to them their own opinion merits. There is always a public spirit, that is to say, a public will. Men can never be indifferent to their own fate nor lose interest in their futures. When governments do the opposite of what the people want, however, the latter grow weary of expressing it, and since a nation cannot, even through terror, be forced to tell itself lies, they say that the public spirit is asleep, holding themselves the while ready to choke it, if ever it should allow the suspicion that it is awake.
Enlightenment gets men to perceive a way forward from existing institutions; the disturbance revolutions cause either puts out the light or overreaches it.
The first device of the United Provinces after their uprising: a vessel without mast or sails, in the midst of the waves, with these words: incertum quo fata ferant.179
The French revolutionaries have wanted, like Medea, to rejuvenate the old man in a bath of blood and the old man got out of the bath, as that had to be so, a thousand times older than before.
A revolution interrupts all inquiry and abstract reflection, all those patient works of the mind to which the human race owes its progress. Such works require security; their needs embrace the future. How shall one commit oneself to them when nothing guarantees a peaceful philosopher a day of life, an hour of tranquillity? Enlightenment requires impartiality and detachment. How does one stay impartial amid stirred-up passions, disinterested when all interests are compromised?
Against what abuses are revolutions directed? Against the subservience of public opinion. Are not opinions a thousand times more subservient, however, during and long after a revolution? Is not every word, every gesture, every outpouring of friendship, every cry of unhappiness attributed with a fearful influence? Has there ever been a revolution in which the discussion of the prevailing viewpoint has been allowed? You complain about attempts by the government to dominate thought, and is not such domination the very stuff of revolutions? You intend to make men free, and your method is to influence  by fear! You inveigh against usurping governments, and you organize a government a thousand times more usurping in its principles and more terrible in its measures! Is slavery then a means of leading men to freedom? Is terror an education calculated to make them brave, independent, and magnanimous?
Revolutions make the power of the majority terrible; whereas in ordinary times the majority and the minority are day-to-day variable things, revolutions turn them, in a lasting way, into different parties of slaves and masters, oppressed and oppressors.
Popular factions treat public opinion with all the more contempt in that the leaders of these factions call themselves the people and therefore public opinion.
The wider the realm of education is, the less violent revolutions are. The more prejudices and vague notions subsist, the bitterer the struggle and the more doubtful success. A year of delay is a year gained. During this year, new truths can be discovered or truths formerly known but still locked up in a small number of heads can be more completely clarified or more universally spread. A few more of the facts can win over a thousand opponents.
When truths which are still within the grasp of only a few people are introduced violently and excessively into political institutions which must rest on general agreement, many men who rightly find fault with this dangerous haste are inclined to carry over their disapproval onto the truths which are its purpose. This disposition is natural; but it is out of place and can become disastrous. It is always by a false reckoning that one devotes oneself to a bad cause, whatever the reason for this effort. We must start from the proclaimed truth even if it is inconvenient. When this truth is cast unprepared into a working politics which should comprise only recognized truths, we ought, rather than striving in vain to restrain it, since it does not compromise, to surround it instead as quickly as possible with the factual backing it has not yet acquired. The impatient and impetuous men who have arrived at this truth only by instinct do not know how to give it this factual backup. By condemning oneself to defending error, one discredits reason and moderation itself. These two very precious things feel the effect of being used to support principles which are not perfectly and rigorously true, and the element of false reasoning to which they are linked reflects on them and weakens them. Anyway, some enlightened men do not take this approach. There are some who cleave to the principles right through the turbulence and dangers. The elite  of the nation is divided. This very small minority finds itself split again. Equally respected names provide patronage to the two extreme parties, to the one which wants to retain the mistake as much as to the one which carries truth beyond limits. Disorder increases and is prolonged by the very fact that conscientious men are disunited on the means of repressing it.
There are times when all the harshnesses of freedom are of use to despotism.
Continuation of the Same Subject
1. in sybaritic voluptuousness. Revolutions destroy the equilibrium between obligations and sacrifices. What is in settled times only a simple straightforward duty becomes a courageous effort, a heroic act of devotion. In a storm, which threatens with death anyone who does not grasp hold of a plank, a raging egotism seizes each person. Each unfortunate soul struggling against the waves is afraid that one of his fellow unfortunates, attaching himself to him, may drag him to the depths of the sea. Likewise, in the imminent dangers of political convulsions, men untie themselves from everything which formerly united them. They are frightened that a friendly hand may slow them down as it rests on them. They separate themselves off in order to defend themselves the more easily. Wealth becomes the sole means of independence, the cardinal happiness, the unique hope of safety. People flatter themselves that their wealth is appeasing tyranny or that they are disarming its agents. Prestige is no longer sought. There exists neither glory for the powerful nor interest for the victim. Wealth is precious when it comes to leaving a country or when one fears a public crisis every day or a personal banishment. It is more sensible to ransom your life than to prove your innocence, to come to terms with the greed of your judges rather than convincing them at the level of justice. It is no longer a question of arguments but of motives, nor of truth, but of calculation. The absence of security detaches one at once from all sympathy for the sorrows of others and from all confidence in one’s own existence. Tenderness is stoically repudiated; people hurl themselves into sybaritic voluptuousness.
The oath sworn by the inhabitants of one of the Philippines: this is true, as it is true that one man never kills another.
 Those who spoke of religious freedom were called fanatics. Those who spoke of persecutions were called philosophers. Lacretelle.
Political fanaticism struggles more over the cause than over the effect.
Let the friends of freedom never forget that if crime or persecution penetrate their army, it is freedom which will bear the judgment and, sooner or later, the innocent will bear the punishment of the guilty whom they thought were their allies.
Unhappiness consists less in the actual suffering which injustice causes its victims than in the contagious passions which it excites: vengeance, terror, foul lying, culpable expectation, shameful calculation. Injustice invokes these passions which hasten to her voice. They draft their cries of fury as legal decisions. They clothe their rage with abstract forms. Persecutors and persecuted, all of them thrash around hating each other, and suffering. He whom chance preserves from personal grief is diminished by the sight of the crime or consumed with indignation; and such is the condition of this nation whose general happiness was the sole concern of your vast conceits, and legitimated your outrages.
To have an opinion triumph, it is not enough to have it adopted blindly; it must be adopted in such a way that its very adoption turns upon itself. This is the case with fanaticism for freedom.
Suffering no longer figures in the reckoning of our discussion nor in our laws. At the time of the project for the deportation of the nobility,180 no one pleaded the case as to the physical and moral pain with which this measure would strike down the proscribed caste. In the execution of the laws on conscription,181 the unhappiness of old men losing at a stroke the last objects of their affections and the last resource of their wretched old age was treated with utter disdain; and even those who argued against the atrocious law of hostages182 did not cite the suffering of the victims except as a secondary consideration. Any interest in the adversaries seemed to the party men a treason. Pity seemed seditious and sympathy conspiratorial.
The blood which revolutions spill is not the worst evil they cause. An earthquake which engulfs a hundred thousand individuals at a stroke is appalling only because of the sorrow  of those who survive. When man perishes by the hand of man, however, death has very different and far more terrible effects. The depravity of murderers, the anguish of victims, the regret, the indignation, the rage of those who are robbed of the dearest objects of their affections, the resentments which pile up, the mistrust which spreads, the vengeance-seeking which erupts, the breaking of bonds, the punishments which call forth further punishments, such are the real misfortunes.
When it is an enraged people who are threatening the property and persons of the citizens, the latter can have recourse to the law, but when the law itself becomes the instrument of proscription, all is lost.
If you drag the people far from the moral order in order to achieve a purpose, how will you restore morality to the people, when the purpose is achieved?
On the Duties of Enlightened Men after Violent Revolutions
1. mediocre talents. Thus Swift paints the Lilliputians for us, as they come running from all sides, surrounding Gulliver in their thousands as he sleeps on the ground, and taking advantage of his sleep to tie him up.
2. all the excesses of degradation. Certain men who reason soundly on a thousand questions do so badly on one particular and sometimes very important one. This disparity in their faculties and the way their logic suddenly abandons them thus are quite astonishing. The key to this unfortunate enigma is not in their intelligence but in their character. Their sophisms do not derive from errors but from a fact. Some circumstance has distorted their judgment, damaging some vital sensibility. On that day they were weak, cowardly maybe, and cowardice made them cruel. This memory haunts them, and their whole stance is only a generalized excuse, which we cannot understand as long as we do not know the circumstance.
A maxim of certain men: a revolution is a town taken by assault. Fools kill, wise men plunder.
3. never cut themselves off from freedom. It is never right to claim that the people’s wish is for despotism. They can be dropping with fatigue and want to rest  awhile, just as the exhausted traveler can fall asleep in a wood although it is infested with brigands. This temporary stupor, however, cannot be taken for a stable condition.
“Most of the nations of Europe are still governed by moral rules. If, however, through long abuse of power or large-scale conquest, despotism established itself to a certain degree, there would be no moral rules nor moral climate left intact; and in that beautiful part of the world, human nature would suffer for a while the insults it already gets in the other three parts.” The Spirit of the Laws, Livre VIII, Ch. 8.
In some countries some people do not begin to pity the oppressed until they see that the latter have a chance of becoming oppressors.
If the soldier’s mission is perilous, who would dare say that the friend of freedom’s mission is without danger? The soldier fights in the open fields. He is filled with warlike audacity. He gives and receives honorable wounds. He dies covered with laurels. Who will tally the number of peaceful and selfless men, however, who, from the depth of their retirement, want to enlighten the world, and who, seized by tyrannies of all kinds, have died slowly in dungeons or at the stake? Only intellectual activity is always independent whatever the circumstances. Its nature is to survey the objects it is evaluating and to generalize on what it observes. Individuals count for nothing to intellectual activity, which is neither seduced by nor fears them. It takes up again across the centuries, despite revolutions and over the tombs of generations swallowed up by time, the great task of the search for truth. The courage of generals and the suppleness of ministers can serve tyranny and freedom alike. Thinking alone is unyielding. Never can despotism make it into an instrument, and hence arises the hatred which all tyrants bestow on it.
So redouble your efforts, eloquent, brave writers. Study the old elements of which human nature is composed. You will find everywhere morality and freedom in everything which at all times produced true emotions, in the characters which have served as the model for heroes, in the feelings which have served as an inspiration for eloquence, in everything which since the beginning of the world bound nations to their leaders and the esteem of posterity to the memories of past centuries. You will find these principles everywhere, serving some people with an ideal model, marking out for others the road to glory, and always gaining universal assent. And say all this well to government lest it gets it wrong. See page 493, above, Book XIII, Chapter 1, Addition.
 What do perfidious interpretations and absurd objections matter to us? Do we not know that the men who attack us are of a different kind, speaking a different language from us? Of these, some were born just the way we see them. The others got that way by relentless work. They have broken with their own hands, by what they have striven successfully to do to themselves, everything in them that was noble and sensitive. They have acquired a degradation far better calculated and far more complete than those which nature alone had the responsibility for degrading. Between them and us there is nothing in common. We must pass through that ignoble rabble just as Captain Cook’s little troop crossed, amid the screams of the savages, the newly discovered islands. These courageous navigators have perished. Civilization, however, benefits from their conquests, and a grateful Europe deplores their loss.
No, never does a whole people become unworthy of freedom, never does a whole people give up on it. Amid times of the most profound degradation, when the impossibility of success forces even the bravest to inaction, there remain spirits which suffer and seethe in silence. Joy of a friend of liberty in Rome, during the election of the emperor. Tacitus.
Your sycophants can bring you in homage their cold irony against courage and virtue. You can ban courage and virtue from your presence. You will not banish them from the earth nor even from your empire. The hatred of oppression has been transmitted from age to age, under Dionysius of Syracuse, under Augustus, Domitian, under Louis XI and Charles IX.
There are beings to whom the spirit of evil seems to have said: I need you to frustrate everything which is good, to bring low everything which is high, to wither everything which is noble, and I endow you with a cold smile, an impassive look, skillful silence, and bitter irony.
The moral, philosophical, and literary system of the nineteenth century. A great revolution has taken place. It has had its effects, but it has also had its causes. To conserve the effects, that is to say, the power and the wealth that have been gained, to destroy the causes, that is to say, the principles. To seduce weak heads by the appearance of rational arguments, frivolous minds by elegance and luxury.
A Few Additional Points
 There is nothing more revolting than the laws of England relating to the settlement of the poor in the parishes. These laws, by obliging each parish to look after its poor, have at first the appearance of benevolence. Their effect, however, is that no poor person, or more precisely, poor man, having only his work for subsistence, can leave one parish to set up in another without the consent of the latter, a consent which he never obtains, an initial blow to individual freedom and a very serious blow, since such a man as cannot earn his living by the type of work he has adopted in the parish where he is domiciled is prevented from going to another where he would earn it more easily. The second result is that the poor rate in each parish, falling on all the individuals of that parish, leads everybody to be interested in opposing the moving in of a poor man or even one who, having only his work to support him, would be impoverished by illness or lack of employment. Hence there is persecution and harassment against the poor working man who tries to change his residence, a persecution demoralizing for those who carry it out, and cruel for him on whom it falls. Smith, I, 10.183 As harassment always rebounds on its authors, the result of these contraints is often that one parish has a surplus of labor while another is in deficit. In this case the price of a day’s labor rises to an excessive level, and this increase is a burden to the same proprietors who, for fear of seeing the costs of maintaining the poor fall on them, are opposed to the setting up of individual workmen in their parish. Thus from society’s having intervened to ensure the subsistence of the poor, work has become difficult for them and they have been subjected to a number of vexations.
A bad decision by governments: when a town is poor, they believe that by setting up some establishment there, not on the basis of commerce or of industry but of luxury, they will enrich it. It is thus when it comes to reviving the poor towns of France or Holland, and the talk is of setting up bishoprics and law courts there, that is to say, men who consume without producing. See on this error and on the effect of these measures, Smith, II, Ch. 3.184
Great nations are never impoverished through the prodigality and bad conduct of individuals, but sometimes very much so by  those of their government. Smith III, 3,185 and the reflections which follow on the system of luxuries and prices.
A State enriching itself only by productive consumption, the question is decided against luxury. See, on the disadvantages of unproductive consumption, Sismondi, I, 4. “The more the propertied classes maintain unproductive workers, the less they can maintain productive ones,” Sismondi, I, 4, 117.186
If regulations are suppressed, said an apologist for prohibitions in the middle of the last century, sovereigns are no more than great men distinguished by a certain glamour, but marked by no utility. I understand. Rules are not made for the benefit of the governed, but so that those in government will not seem useless!
A government which wishes to seize hold of public opinion in order to control it is like Salmoneus who wanted to hurl a thunderbolt.187 He made a great noise with his brass chariot and scared the passers-by with his flaming torches. One fine day the thunderbolt came out of the clouds and consumed him.
Et cum singulorum error publicum fecerit, singulorum errorem facit publicus. Seneca, Epistulae, 81.188 With this difference, that in the first case there is less force.
“The need to study the countries of modern Europe in all respects, and the possibility of achieving a deep knowledge of their affairs, has always seemed to me to derive from one of the greatest ills of humanity. Indeed, if the ambition and greed of all governments just on their own force them to inform themselves carefully of their respective strengths, the motive which leads them at least in general to strive to know down to the most minute details that which concerns their own domains is neither more reasonable nor of a different nature; and if to avoid ruffling too vigorously men and their doings, I concede that there are a number of administrators in whom  the mania for surveying everything in their country springs from a purer source, from the sincere desire the better to fulfill their duties, would I have any less the right to conclude from all this that their inquisitive activity is a great evil which derives from that other murderous sickness of wanting to overgovern? When those who rule empires hold to good principles, there are two concerns only: maintaining external peace by a good system of defense, and conserving domestic order through the exact, impartial, and unvarying administration of justice. Everything else will be left to individual effort, whose irresistible influence, bringing about a greater sum of access to various rights for each citizen, will unfailingly produce a larger quantity of public happiness. No sovereign, no minister, no committee, can on his own know the business of a thousand men, and each individual sees his own very well in general.” Mirabeau, Prussian Monarchy, Introduction.189
Mistakes in legislation are a thousand times more disastrous than all other calamities. The implication is that we must reduce as far as possible the chance of these mistakes. Now, if the only purposes of the government are preservation and public safety, the chance of mistakes will be considerably reduced. There are just a few simple means for achieving public security and preservation. For the improvement of happiness, there are complicated and countless ones. If the government gets the former wrong, its error is only negative, as also are the consequences of this error. It does not do all it should, it does not attain in everything the purpose it ought to, but the bad that faults of this nature entail is reparable. This is an ill whose effect ceases with its cause. If, on the contrary, the government gets its attempts at improvement wrong (and as I said, there are a thousand times more chances of making mistakes following this course), its errors are prolonged, men adapt to them, habits form, interests gather around this corrupt nexus, and when the mistake is recognized, it is almost as dangerous to destroy it as to let it continue. In this way mistakes of this second kind produce ills whose intensity and duration are incalculable. Not only do they entail ills qua authorized mistakes, they entail even more of them when they are recognized. Government often hesitates to destroy them. In that case, vacillating and indecisive, it acts very uncertainly, making despotism bear down on all the citizens. Finally, new problems appear even when the government has made  its mind up. Decisions are reversed, the agreed links are torn apart, customary behavior is offended, and public trust is shaken.
“Compare the effects in governments which obstruct the publication of thought and those which give it free rein. You have on one side Spain, Portugal, Italy. You have on the other England, Holland, and North America. Where is there more decency and happiness? In which of these is more crime committed? In which is society more gentle?” Bentham, III, 20.
“What is a censor? It is an interested judge, an unrivalled judge, an arbitrary one who conducts clandestine proceedings, condemns without hearing, and decides without appeal.” Bentham, III, 22.
Between the lawmaker and the member of government, when one or the other exceeds his prerogative, there is this difference, that the legislator has a ferocious pride and the minister a puerile vanity. The one wants to be obeyed rather than flattered, because flattery coming from many people will convince him less of his merit than obedience would. The other likes to be flattered more than he wishes to be obeyed, because to dispense with obedience after having demanded it would seem to him a second proof of power.
The lawmaker’s clumsiness, says Bentham, often itself creates an opposition between the natural and the political sanction, III, 24.190 He therefore admits that there are natural sanctions.
One can say in general of all banks, as much of deposit banks as of those which issue bills, for whose value they are supposed to have the cash, what Say says, Livre II, Ch. 14,191 of deposit banks only. “It has been called into question whether such a thing could survive in a State whose government was without responsibility or limits. Only public opinion can decide on a question of that sort. Everyone may have an opinion, but no one is obliged to disclose it.”
Ganilh shows manifestly, in his digression on public credit, II, 224–251,192 that this essential and so to speak unique agent  is incompatible with absolute power.
Banks, said Montesquieu, are incompatible with pure monarchy. This is to say, in other words, that credit is incompatible with arbitrary power.
The same men who, touchy zealots of independence, when they struggle against the government, believe they cannot check its powers sufficiently, exhaust themselves in multiplying and enlarging them, when from being opponents of governments they become its inheritors. It is in the writings of the most austere reformers, the most implacable enemies of existing institutions, that one finds the most absolute principles on the jurisdiction of political authority.
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[G. [Refers to page 422.]]It was proposed in the Long Parliament to deport and have sold in Algiers the nobles with their families, not excluding pregnant women, on whose behalf some members protested. Parliamentary Register.24
[1. ]M. Patrice Thompson has published this addition to Book I, Ch. 1 in his book La religion de Benjamin Constant: Les pouvoirs de l’image, Pisa, Paccini, 1978, Annexe II, pp. 552–557. Hofmann admits that the whole passage reads like an introduction to Principles of Politics, but he has preferred to keep it as an addition in the way that Constant presented it.
[2. ][“Principles,” as in the title of the work. Translator’s note]
[3. ]The blues and greens were originally the respective colors of the charioteers who competed for the prize in the races in the hippodromes of Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire, above all in the sixth and seventh centuries; the two rival factions which disturbed the Empire at that period were also designated by the same device, the aristocrats standing up for the blues and the people for the greens. This historical allusion was common in Constant’s time, when it evoked the profound and irremediable antagonism between those who supported the Revolution and those who supported monarchical reaction. Bentham, without referring to the history of his own time, speaks of it in order to denounce the futility of political hates: “Have we not seen the citizens of Rome and Constantinople divide themselves into implacable factions on behalf of actors, charioteers, and gladiators? And to give importance to these shameful quarrels, did they not pretend that the success of the Greens or the Blues presaged plenty or famine, the victories or reverses of the Empire?” Op. cit., t. I, p. 15.
[4. ]This brief introduction to the quotation from Jefferson which follows makes it apparent that the drafting took place in 1810.
[5. ]Jefferson’s First Inaugural Address, 4 March 1801, the whole text of which can be found in the complete edition by Henry Steele Commager, Documents of American History, New York, F. S. Crofts, 1947, pp. 186–187. In the Lausanne manuscript of the Additions, Jefferson’s text is in English.
[6. ]Constant was a Tribune from January 1800 to January 1802.
[7. ]Stanislas-Marie de Clermont-Tonnerre, Opinion sur une motion de M. Mirabeau, combattue par M. Barnave, in: Recueil des opinions . . . , op. cit., t. II, p. 232.
[8. ]On the direct causes of this curious proclamation, which must have surprised Constant greatly, see Gustave Le Poittevin, La liberté de la presse depuis la Révolution, 1789–1815, Geneva, Slatkine-Mégariotis Reprints, 1975, pp. 159–161 (Reprint de l’éd. Paris, 1901).
[9. ]Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Du contract social, Livre IV, Ch. 2, éd. cit., pp. 440–441.
[10. ]“[Men] have not been able to join up and enjoy the benefit of civil liberty, without renouncing the fatal prerogatives of savage freedom, without submitting, at a word from the general will, all the forces of each individual will.” Antoine Ferrand, op. cit., 1803 edition, Préface, pp. xxi–xxii.
[11. ]Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Du contrat social, Livre III, Ch. 15, éd. cit., p. 429.
[12. ]Ibid., pp. 429–430.
[13. ]Ibid., p. 430.
[14. ]Adam Smith, op. cit., t. III, pp. 1–503.
[15. ]The examples supplied in this note 1 of Ch. 1 come from Jean-Charles-Léonard Sismondi, Recherches sur les constitutions . . . , op. cit., p. 112.
[16. ]Petronius, Satiricon, CXIX, vers. 45–49. In place of hoc dedecus est populi the text has hoc dedocoris populo. The French text, translated from the Latin by Alfred Ernout, Paris, Les Belles Lettres, 1922, p. 137, runs in English: “Cato was beaten and repulsed by the people. His conqueror, more humiliated than he, blushed to have carried off the fasces [rods of authority] of a Cato, for, and this is what shows the infamy of the citizens and the ruin of manners, this is not a man excluded from power, rather in him it is the power and honor of Rome which fall.”
[17. ]This in any case is the formulation of Article 6 of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, of 26 August 1789.
[18. ]Jeremy Bentham, op. cit. The exact text is: “If the supporter of the principle of utility should find, in the banal catalogue of the virtues, an action which led to more pain than pleasure, he would not hesitate to regard that alleged virtue as a vice.”
[19. ]See, for example, ibid., t. I, p. 11. “Since each man having the same right as another to lay down his feeling as a rule for all feelings, there would no longer be a common measure nor universal court to which one could appeal over it.” See also ibid., p. 133.
[20. ]The exact text says: “For if one judges everything by feeling, there is no longer any way of distinguishing between the injunctions of an enlightened conscience and those of a blind one.”
[21. ]Ibid., p. 137.
[22. ]Antoine Ferrand, op. cit., 2e éd. (1803). The correct citation is: “All government must be instituted for the happiness of the men who are subject to it. . . .”
[23. ]Jeremy Bentham, op. cit., t. I, p. 98.
[24. ]It is worth citing the whole paragraph to which Constant refers: “But although these two arts (morality and legislation), or two sciences, may have the same purpose, they differ greatly as to their extent. All actions, be they public or private, belong to morality. This is a guide which can lead the individual, as if by the hand, in all the details of his life, in all his relations with his fellows. Legislation cannot, and if it could it ought not to, exercise a continual and direct intervention on men’s conduct. Morality prescribes to every individual the doing of all that is advantageous to the community, his personal advantage included. But there are many acts useful to the community which law must not command. There are likewise many harmful acts which it should not forbid, although morality does. Legislation, in a word, has just the same core as morality, but not the same circumference.” Ibid., pp. 98–99.
[25. ]Ibid., p. 103.
[26. ]Hofmann was unable to find this definition by Bentham.
[27. ][N.B.: This commentary should have been included under Additions, Book III, Ch. 3. In Hofmann’s text it appears as point 4, Ch. 1. It is not clear whether the error is from Constant or Hofmann or both. Translator’s note]
[28. ]Adam Smith, op. cit., t. III, p. 557.
[29. ]Hofmann could not find the distinction in the place indicated by Constant.
[30. ]Benjamin Constant, De la justice politique, op. cit., p. 270.
[31. ][Assemblies of citizens, voted in, and acting as an electoral college. Translator’s note]
[32. ]“Nobody is a man of goodwill if he is not a frank and religious observer of the laws.” Article 5 of the Duties enumerated in the Déclaration des droits et des devoirs de l’homme et du citoyen, put at the head of the Constitution, 5 fructidor an III (22 August 1795).
[33. ]A reference to Article 4 of the same Déclaration: “Nobody is a good citizen if he is not a good son, a good father, a good brother, a good friend, and a good husband.”
[34. ]Ferdinando Galiani, Dialogues . . . , op. cit., pp. 249–250.
[35. ]Which ravaged the city in 1755.
[36. ]Hofmann could not find this quotation, which might come, as so often with the “words” of Voltaire, from an oral source.
[37. ]Montesquieu, De l’esprit des lois, Livre XXVI, Ch. 15.
[38. ]Stanislas-Marie de Clermont-Tonnerre, Réflexions sur le fanatisme, in: Recueil des opinions, op. cit., t. IV, p. 90.
[39. ]L’esprit de l’histoire, 2e éd, t. I, p. 392.
[40. ]Hofmann could not find this sentence in L’esprit de l’histoire.
[42. ]The rival supporters of the operas by Gluck and Piccini in the late eighteenth century.
[43. ]Cornelius de Pauw, Recherches philosophiques sur les Egyptiens et les Chinois, Berlin, G.-J. Decker, 1773, t. II, p. 332: “This government resorts mainly to the birch and the baton.”
[45. ]Hofmann was unable to find this reference in the work of Cornelius de Pauw.
[46. ]Adam Smith, op. cit., t. IV, pp. 199–202, in which he cites a passage in Hume’s History of England.
[47. ]Constant is criticizing here the whole of Ch. 18 of the fourth part of the Principes du code pénal: pp. 134–137, entitled Emploie du mobile de la religion.
[48. ]The Interim of Augsburg was an edict proclaimed on 15 May 1548, provisionally regulating conflicts between Protestants and Catholics.
[49. ]Montesquieu, De l’esprit des lois, Livre XI, Ch. 6, where in particular this passage occurs: “The power to judge must not be lodged in a permanent Senate, but exercised by persons drawn from the body of the people.”
[50. ]The exact sentence is: “The judges should be of the same social condition as the accused and his peers.”
[51. ]In Livre XII he evokes “an Athenian and Roman law which permitted the accused to retire before the judgment.” The reference to t. I, p. 59, probably means that Constant is referring to the 1749 Amsterdam edition of L’esprit des lois.
[52. ][Under the ancien regime, not only were many administrative positions in the government apparatus hereditary, but as a complement to this, their holders could also sell them. Translator’s note]
[53. ]The man named Gach, first name unknown, wrote a brochure entitled Des vices de l’institution du jury en France, Paris, Petit, an XIII (1804). Perhaps it is this work Constant invokes in his letter of 19 April 1806 to Prosper de Barante (published in the Revue de deux mondes, t. XXXIV, 1906, p. 242). He would not have been able to read it in this case until after redrafting his Book IX of Principes de politique, and that would explain why he speaks of Gach only in the Additions and not in the text.
[55. ]Hofmann holds that Constant has been imprecise. The proper text is: “Juries will never be well-informed enough nor determined enough to fulfill the intentions, the principal object of the jury system [. . .] Such is our indifference to everything connected with public administration; such among us is the power of egotism and individual interest, the tepidness, or rather the absence of public spirit, that the new law which will establish trial by jury will not be carried out in its most essential particulars.” Gach, op. cit., pp. 10–11.
[56. ]“I have for my part the strongest of all authorities, that of the facts, of the experience of twelve years.” Ibid., p. 12.
[57. ]Constant is not quoting but summarizing Gach’s book, pp. 38–39.
[58. ]Constant is not quoting but summarizing. Ibid., pp. 40–41.
[59. ]P.-J. Lauze de Péret, Traité de la garantie individuelle et des diverses preuves en matière criminelle, Paris, Impr. de Caillot, 1805, p. iv.
[60. ]Constant does not quote but summarizes Gach’s book, op. cit., p. 42.
[61. ]Gach, op. cit., p. 90.
[62. ]Jeremy Bentham, op. cit., t. II, p. 421.
[63. ]Constant does not quote, as one might think, but rather interprets Bentham’s thought in this place.
[64. ]This is above all the Third Part of the Principes du code pénal, entitled Des peines, op. cit., t. II, pp. 380–434.
[65. ]“There are not in the city two thousand people who have any property.” Cicero, Les devoirs, II.21.73. Text edited and translated by Maurice Testard, Paris, Les Belles Lettres, 1970, t. II, p. 55.
[66. ]Adam Smith, op. cit., t. IV, pp. 490–491.
[67. ]Jean-Baptiste Say, op. cit., t. II, p. 523.
[68. ]Adam Smith, op. cit., Livre III, Ch. 2, t. II, pp. 413–421.
[69. ][This is new material. There is no Ch. 17 in the original Book X. Translator’s note.]
[70. ]A large part of this “material” comes from Constant’s discourse before the Tribunat on 28 ventôse an IX (19 March 1801) on the public debt, published in Archives parlementaires . . . , op. cit., t. II, pp. 652–660.
[71. ][The name given to the extraordinary commissions under the ancien régime, authorized to punish the condemned by burning. Translator’s note]
[72. ]Constant is referring to the laws which followed the coup d’Etat of 18 fructidor an V, and which reactivated those of the Terror. See on this subject the extensive treatment by Georges Lefebvre, Le Directoire, Paris, A. Colin, 1971, Ch. 8, pp. 87–96. See also Jacques Godechot, Les institutions . . . , op. cit., pp. 454–456.
[76. ]Jeremy Bentham, op. cit., t. II, p. 79.
[79. ]Mémoires de Louis XIV, op. cit., t. I, p. 156. The original text says: “All the goods possessed, as much by the people of the church as by laymen, to be used at any time as by wise stewards, this is to say, according to the general need of the State.”
[81. ]Nicolas-François Canard, Principes d’économie politique, Paris, F. Buisson, 1801, p. 175.
[82. ][Hofmann says the reference is almost certainly wrong. Translator’s note]
[83. ]This time the figures do refer to the tome and pages of Sismondi.
[84. ]Adam Smith, op. cit., t. I, pp. 354–355.
[85. ]Nicolas-François Canard, op. cit., p. 197.
[86. ]De l’esprit des lois, Livre XII, Ch. 4. Jean-Baptiste Say, op. cit., t. II. p. 380, criticizes this same quotation from Montesquieu by saying: “A constant truth which proves that frugality enriches States and prodigality ruins them. If prodigality ruins monarchies, however, it could not be suitable for them, since it is not suitable for any State to become dependent and poor.”
[87. ]Jacques Necker, op. cit., t. I, p. 43.
[88. ]Ibid., p. 47.
[89. ]Ibid., p. 48; the fuller text reads: “Until now I have looked at the unreasonable extent of taxation only in terms of justice; one can also identify in this extent a constant source of ills and vexations.”
[90. ]Hofmann believes this reference is to Benjamin, comte de Rumford, Essais politiques, économiques et philosophiques, t. I, Geneva, G.-J. Manget, 1799, pp. 44–45 and 97–99.
[91. ]Adam Smith, op. cit., t. III, pp. 52–60. Constant does not give an exact reference.
[92. ]Jacques Savary des Bruslons, Dictionnaire universel de commerce, Geneva, Cramer et Cl. Philibert, 1750, t. IV, col. 1075–1097, s.v. Compagnie des Indes. Constant found this information in Sismondi, De la richesse commerciale . . . , op. cit., t. II, pp. 309–310 and n. 2.
[93. ]This is not a quotation, but an interpretation of the following text: “This first law on corporations was backed up by a host of regulations on how artisans must work, on the qualities their work must have, and on the visits of the judges to whom it is fitting to subject them. As if the consumers for whom the work is intended, and who buy only what suits them, were not the best of all judges for the inspection of the goods.” Jean-Charles-Léonard Sismondi, op. cit., t. II, pp. 284–285.
[94. ]Hofmann was unable to find anything on carts and carriages in the six-volume French version of Blackstone’s commentaries, Paris, Bossange, 1822–1823, though it has a detailed index.
[95. ]Contrary to his usual practice, Constant refers here to the tome and the pages of the work by Adam Smith cited. In his normal referencing this would be Livre I, Ch. 8.
[96. ]The reference and the example very probably come from Jean-Charles-Léonard Sismondi, op. cit., Livre III, Ch. 2, t. II, pp. 156–220.
[97. ]François-Louis-Auguste Ferrier, Du gouvernement considéré dans ses rapports avec le commerce, Paris, A. Egron, an XIII (1805). The pages indicated by Constant correspond to Ch. 2 De l’argent, considéré comme moyen d’échange—En quel sens il est richesse pour le pays.
[98. ]Adam Smith, op. cit., Livre IV, Ch. 1 Du exportation du numéraire, t. III, pp. 3–52.
[100. ]Jean-Charles-Léonard Sismondi, op. cit., Livre I, Ch. 5 Du numéraire, t. I, pp. 136–137.
[101. ]Jean-Baptiste Say, op. cit., Livre II, Ch. 17 Du papier monnaie, t. II, pp. 42–52.
[102. ]Honoré-Gabriel Riqueti, comte de Mirabeau, De la monarchie prussienne sous Frédéric le Grand, London, 1788, t. I, pp. 167–168.
[103. ]Adam Smith, op. cit., t. II, p. 310.
[104. ]Jean-Baptiste Say, op. cit., t. II, p. 21.
[105. ]Adam Smith, op. cit., t. III, p. 215.
[106. ]Constant does not quote but summarizes the argument of these pages, pp. 128–129.
[107. ]Constant should have said pp. 133–135.
[108. ]Jeremy Bentham, op. cit., t. II, pp. 13–14.
[109. ]Marquis de Condorcet, De la législation des grains depuis 1692. Analyse historique à laquelle on a donné la forme d’un rapport à l’Assemblée nationale, in Bibliothèque de l’homme public, Paris, Buisson, 1790, t. XII, pp. 105–243.
[110. ]Ibid., p. 20. Only this sentence is a quotation. What follows it is a summary of pp. 110–111.
[111. ]Constant’s three last references do not correspond perfectly to Condorcet’s text, although one cannot be sure to which passages they would relate better.
[112. ]This second chapter of Livre III is called Comment l’agriculture fut découragée en Europe après la chute de l’empire romain, op. cit., t. II, pp. 413–439.
[113. ]Jean-Baptiste Say, op. cit., Livre IV, Ch. 14, t. II, pp. 279–280. [Hofmann points out that Constant’s quote is accurate at the beginning but later drops into paraphrase. Translator’s note]
[114. ]Adam Smith, op. cit., t. III, p. 465.
[115. ]Montesquieu, De l’esprit des lois, Livre XXIII, Ch: 15, where he says, for example: “These machines, whose purpose is to compress skill, are not always a good thing. If a product is at a middling price, which suits the buyer and the workman who made it equally well, machines which would simplify production, that is to say diminish the number of workers, would be pernicious.”
[116. ]Jean-Baptiste Say, op. cit., Livre I, Ch. 7, t. I, p. 36. There is a total confusion as to the invention of the machine-made stockings. It was an Englishman, William Lee, who invented machine-made stockings, at the end of the sixteenth century. The circumstances surrounding this discovery have remained obscure, and the legend has somewhat modified the facts. What is certain, however, is that William Lee, faced with his compatriots’ lack of interest in his machine, emigrated to France, perhaps invited by Henry IV, who had promised to bestow certain privileges upon him. The assassination of the king in 1610 called everything into question. We do not know whether William Lee died wretched in France or returned to England. In any case, his frame was repatriated and the stocking industry flourished in that country in the middle of the seventeenth century. Finally, in 1656, Louis XIV decided to establish a stocking industry in his castle in Madrid. He entrusted this duty to Jean Andret, who brought back the secret from England. For more details, see L’histoire générale des techniques, published under the direction of Maurice Dumas, t. II Les premières étapes du machinisme, Paris, PUF, 1965, pp. 236–249.
[117. ]Adam Smith, op. cit., t. IV, pp. 440–441.
[118. ]Charles Pictet de Rochemont, Tableau de la situation actuelle des Etats-Unis d’Amérique, Paris, Du Pont, 1795. Constant’s reference is not faithful.
[119. ]Cornelius de Pauw, Recherches philosophiques sur les Egyptiens . . . , op. cit., t. I, pp. 81–82.
[120. ]James Steuart, An inquiry into the principles of political economy, being an essay on the science of domestic policy in free societies, J. Williams and R. Moncrieffe, 1770, t. I, p. 146.
[121. ]Jean-Charles-Léonard Sismondi, op. cit., t. II, pp. 115–118.
[122. ]Adam Smith, op. cit., t. II, pp. 163–165.
[123. ]Ibid., t. I, pp. 307–308.
[124. ]The author of the Tableau de la Grande Bretagne, quoted earlier, Alexandre-Balthazar de Paule, baron de Baert-Duholant.
[125. ]Hofmann did not manage to locate this anecdote in Necker’s work.
[126. ]Adam Smith, op. cit., t. III, p. 556.
[127. ]Voyages de M. le chevalier [Jean] Chardin en Perse et autres lieux de l’Orient, Amsterdam, J.-L. de Lorme, 1711. Hofmann could not find the reference. Constant got it from Cornelius de Pauw, Recherches philosophiques sur les Egyptiens . . . , op. cit., t. I, p. 277.
[128. ]Simon de la Loubère, Du royaume de Siam, Amsterdam, A. Wolfgang, 1691, t. I, Deuxième Partie, pp. 212–213. The example and the reference are supplied by de Pauw, ibid., and Hofmann notes that Constant repeats the latter’s error. The Siamese had to serve six months a year at court and not six years.
[129. ]Mémoires de Maximilien de Béthune, duc de Sully, Liège, F.-J. Desoer, 1788, t. V, pp. 219–220. The sentence which Constant presents is word for word from Jean-Baptiste Say, op. cit., t. I, pp. 321–322.
[130. ]The Roman numerals refer to Garnier’s Preface to Adam Smith, op. cit., t. I.
[131. ][Assignats or promissory notes were issued by the Revolutionary governments. Translator’s Note]
[132. ]Adam Smith, op. cit., t. III, p. 384.
[133. ]Jean-Baptiste Say, op. cit., Livre I, Ch. 35, t. I, p. 292.
[134. ]Victor Riqueti, marquis de Mirabeau, L’ami des hommes . . . , op. cit.; in the places indicated by Constant, one finds the idea that wars do not particularly cut down populations, but are especially fatal on account of the physical damage they entail.
[135. ][The Zend-Avesta are the sacred writings of the Parsees, usually attributed to Zoroaster. Translator’s note]
[136. ]Hofmann has not been able to locate this remark by Bentham.
[137. ]Perhaps Constant is referring to Politics, I. III. 4: “Certain people think there is a science, that of the power of the master, and that it is the same for the head of the family, the master, the statesman and the king, as we said at the beginning. For others the denomination of master is against nature: it is only in virtue of the law that one is a slave and the other free; in nature there is no difference; consequently such authority is not just, since it is violence.” Aristotle, Politique, translated by Jean Aubonnet, Paris, Les Belles Lettres, 1960, t. I, pp. 16–17.
[138. ]Ferdinando Galiani, op. cit., p. 162: “A truth that pure chance brings to birth like a mushroom in a meadow is no good for anything. We do not know how to use it if we do not know where it comes from, how and by what chain of reasoning it derives. A truth outside its intellectual ancestry is as harmful as error.”
[139. ]William Godwin, Enquiry Concerning Political Justice . . . , op. cit. (1793 edition), t. II, pp. 551–552.
[140. ][This was a temporary and not a permanent embassy, a three-man visit in 153 , including Carneades, the head of the Academy founded in Athens by Plato. Carneades outraged Roman opinion by delivering two speeches on successive days, for and against justice. Translator’s note]
[141. ]Histoires diverses d’Elien, translated from the Greek with commentary, Paris, Moutard, 1772, p. 60.
[142. ]Hofmann says that the first page (p. 145) of Cornelius de Pauw cited carries no reference to the judgment of theatrical pieces.
[143. ]Histoires diverses d’Elien, op. cit., p. 49.
[144. ]Hofmann was unable to locate the references to theatrical judgments in Diodorus Siculus or Quintilian.
[145. ]Antoine Ferrand, op. cit., (2e éd. of 1803) t. I, p. 333.
[146. ]The example Bentham chose is drunkenness and fornication. He concludes by saying: “Instead of having suppressed a vice, the law will have sown some new and more dangerous ones.”
[147. ]Constant quotes (accurately) the comte rather than the marquis de Mirabeau; Hofmann could not find the sentence in question in the sizeable work of the famous orator.
[148. ]Adam Smith, op. cit., Livre V, Ch. 1, t. IV, p. 146.
[149. ]Adam Smith, op. cit., t. IV, p. 149, “The discipline of colleges and universities in general is not instituted for the advantage of the scholars, but for the interest, or to put it better, for the convenience, of the masters.”
[150. ]Charles Pictet de Rochemont, op. cit., t. II, pp. 90–100.
[151. ]Jean-Baptiste Say, op. cit., t. II, p. 438.
[152. ]Adam Smith, op. cit., Livre V, Ch. 1, Art. 2, De la dépense qu’exigent les institutions pour l’éducation de la jeunesse. Constant does not cite or summarize, but refers to the whole body of this Article 2, t. IV, pp. 146 and following, especially.
[153. ]Germain Garnier, Notes du traducteur, in: Adam Smith, op. cit., t. V, pp. 1–10, Note I, entitled: How far should government get involved in education?
[154. ]Adam Smith, op. cit., t. I, p. 271.
[155. ]Jeremy Bentham, op. cit., t. II, p. 181.
[156. ]Constant refers to the following passage: “One encouragement, however, which is far more important than all the rest, is that in England the peasant class enjoys all the security, independence, and regard which the law can procure for it.” Adam Smith, op. cit., Livre III, Ch. 4, t. II, p. 485. Nowhere else did Hofmann find any reference to the regard which comes with popular election. Elsewhere Smith has suggested that voting by shepherds is associated with social unrest. Livre V, Ch. 1, t. IV, pp. 239–240.
[157. ]Jean-Charles-Léonard Sismondi, Histoire des républiques italiennes du moyen-âge, Paris, H. Nicolle, 1809, t. IV, p. 369.
[158. ]Ibid., p. 370.
[159. ]Adam Smith, op. cit., t. I, p. 42.
[160. ]Jean-Baptiste Say, op. cit., p. 264.
[161. ]Cicero, De legibus, II, 2, 5. [It is for the fatherland that we must die, to it we must wholly devote ourselves, in it we must place and consecrate, so to speak, everything which is ours. Translator’s note]
[162. ]Sextus Pomponius, Ad Q. Mucium, Liber XXXVII, De captivis et de pos liminio. The title means, “Concerning prisoners of war and the right to reclaim their former status.” The text runs: “For if we have neither friendship nor mutual hospitality nor a treaty made for the purpose of friendship with some nation, the latter are, to be sure, not at war with us, but that which comes to them from our property becomes theirs, and a free man of ours, taken prisoner by them, becomes their slave too; and it is the same if something comes to us from them.” Otto Lenel, Palingenesis iuris civilis, Leipzig, 1889, t. II, col. 77.
[163. ]Cornelius de Pauw, op. cit., t. I, p. 68.
[164. ]Ibid., pp. 67–68. Constant is summarizing, rather than citing.
[165. ]Here is what Montesquieu says in the indicated place: “But if the spirit of commerce unites the nations, it does not unite individuals in the same way. We see that in the countries which are driven only by the spirit of commerce, there is traffic in all human actions and all the moral virtues: the littlest things, those that humanity demands, are made and exchanged there for money.”
[166. ]Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Considérations sur le gouvernement de Pologne et sur sa réformation projetée, published for the first time in the Collection complète des oeuvres de Jean-Jacques Rousseau, citoyen de Genève, Geneva, 1782, t. I, pp. 418–539. Constant is probably referring to this passage called Application: “But a great nation which has never mingled with its neighbors must because of this have many mores which are singular to it and which perhaps are degraded day by day by the general momentum in Europe for adopting the tastes and mores of the French. The ancient usages should be maintained and reestablished and suitable ones be introduced, which are proper to the Poles. These usages, if they were neutral or even bad in certain respects, provided they were not essentially so, will always have the advantage of enhancing the affection of the Poles for their country and of giving them a natural repugnance for mingling with strangers. I regard as good fortune their having the appearance of individuality. Guard this advantage with care.” In Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Oeuvres complètes, éd. cit., t. III, p. 962.
[167. ]Hofmann could not find this passage in Gibbon’s Miscellaneous Works.
[168. ]Jeremy Bentham, op. cit., t. II, pp. 335–351, in Ch. 14 De la satisfaction honoraire, and pp. 352–358, in Ch. 15 Remèdes aux délits contre l’honneur.
[170. ]Mémoires de Louis XIV, op. cit., t. I, pp. 62–63.
[171. ][Constant probably means Thrasea Paetus, stoic philosopher and senator, who was condemned by Nero in 66 and took his own life. Translator’s note]
[172. ]Jean-François Laharpe, Lycée ou cours de littérature ancienne et moderne, Paris, H. Agasse, an VII (1799), t. II, p. 252.
[173. ]Jeremy Bentham, op. cit., t. I, p. 5.
[174. ]Andocides, Sur les mystères, I, 96–98, in Discours, text edited and translated by Georges Dalmeyda, Paris, Les Belles Lettres, 1930, pp. 47–48.
[175. ]Jean-Jacques Barthélémy, Voyage du jeune Anacharsis en Grèce, Paris, Venice, J. Storti, 1790, t. I, p. 120. [Presumably Constant means “instruments of justice.” Translator’s note]
[176. ]David Hume, Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects, Basil, J.-J. Tourneisen, new ed. 1793, t. I., pp. 27–28. Constant’s translation is very close to the original text.
[177. ]Ibid., pp. 28–29, passim.
[179. ][“Unsure whither the fates are carrying us.” Constant gives no attribution for the Latin, but it is in Virgil, Aeneid, III, 7. Virgil has described how Aeneas and his companions after the siege of Troy wander about and land on the coast of Africa, where Dido, the queen of Carthage, invites them all to dinner. Aeneas then narrates the earlier events to her, and in this passage a large band of survivors gather under his leadership, build ships, and set sail without knowing where they are going. Translator’s note]
[180. ]This proposition was first made by Boulay de la Meurthe, 3 vendémiaire an VI (24 September 1797), after the coup d’Etat of 18 fructidor. See Georges Lefebvre, La France sous le Directoire (1795–1799), Paris, Editions sociales, 1977, p. 453.
[181. ]References to the mass levy proposed by Jourdan on 9 messidor an VII (27 June 1799). Compare ibid., p. 673.
[182. ]The law of hostages was adopted 22–24 messidor an VII (10–12 July 1799); see ibid., p. 676.
[183. ]Adam Smith, op. cit., t. I, pp. 283–285.
[184. ]Ibid., t. II, pp. 336–351.
[185. ]Constant draws the moral lesson from Ch. 3 Comment les villes se formèrent et s’agrandierent après la chute de l’Empire romain. Ibid., t. II, pp. 439–462.
[186. ]This is the tome, chapter, and page of Sismondi’s book.
[187. ][Salmoneus, King of Elis, in the Peloponnese. Translator’s note]
[188. ]Seneca, Lettres à Lucilius, 81, 29. The exact text is “et cum singulorum error publicum fecerit. . . . ” (The error of individuals has made the general mistake; today the general mistake makes that of individuals.) [Seneca is talking about the things which Stoic philosophers used to despise—wealth, honor, power, etc., and he writes more fully as follows: “For they are not praised because they are desirable, but they are desired because they have been praised, and when the mistaken belief of individuals has caused a general one, the general one causes the mistaken belief of individuals.” The French text is from the translation by Henri Noblot, Paris, Les Belles Lettres, 1965, p. 100: “L’erreur des particuliers a fait l’erreur generale; aujourd’hui l’erreur generale fait celle des particuliers.” Translator’s note]
[189. ]Honoré-Gabriel Riqueti, comte de Mirabeau, op. cit., t. I, p. aIV.
[190. ]Here is the text by Bentham: “The means we are going to present are such as will end in several cases this internal discord, diminish this tension between motives, which often exist only through the clumsiness of the lawmaker, by the clash he has created himself between the natural and the political sanction, between the moral sanction and the religious one.”
[191. ]Jean-Baptiste Say, op. cit., t. I, pp. 16–17.
[192. ]Charles Ganilh, op. cit., t. II, pp. 224–251.
[A. [Refers to page 452.]]What can one imagine more frivolous than the differences between colors on racehorses? This difference, however, created the bitterest factions in the Greek empire, the Prasini and the Veneti, who did not suspend their animosity until after they had caused the downfall of that unfortunate government. Hume, Essays, VIII, p. 54.193
[B. [Refers to page 455.]]“In a free nation, it is often an unimportant matter whether individuals reason well or badly. It is enough that they reason. . . . Likewise, under a despotic government, it is equally pernicious whether one reasons well or badly. It is enough that such thinking is taking place at all for the very basis of government to be scandalized.” Esprit des lois, Livre XIX, 27.
[ C. [Refers to page 460.]]I say this only of fixed and legal institutions, not of mores and practices which law cannot change.
[E. [Refers to page 474.]]There are arguments by Montesquieu such as one can hardly conceive he has allowed himself: this is above all when he deals with production, trade, or money. “The Roman Republic,” he says, “was not in a position to settle its debts. It made some copper money. It gained on its creditors by 50 percent. This operation gave a great shock to a State which needed as little upset as possible. The purpose was to free the Republic from its creditors. The purpose was not to free up the citizens among themselves. That required a second operation. It was ordered that the penny [denarius], which had till then been worth only six as,195 should now be worth sixteen. The result was that while the republic’s creditors lost a half, the creditors of individuals lost only a fifth.” Esprit des lois, Livre XXII, Ch. 11. But with what did the creditors of the Republic pay their own creditors?
[F. [Refers to page 474.]]On the injustice of revocations, annulments of treaties, etc., see Ganilh, I, 303.
[G. [Refers to page 474.]]Men get used to regaining quickly that which can be taken from them quickly. They strive to regain by cunning what has been taken from them by violence.
[H. [Refers to page 474.]]“In such an order of things,” says Bentham, Principes du Code Civil, Ch. 11, “there would be only one wise course for the governed, that of prodigality. There would be only one mad course, that of economy.”196 See Ch. 9 and 10 of the same work.
[ I. [Refers to page 475.]]The valley of Chamonix is protected from avalanches only by woods belonging to a host of individuals. If these woods were cut down, the valley of Chamonix would be covered with snow as another valley called “white path” [sic] was for the same reason. The ownership of these woods, however, being spread between a crowd of poor individuals, each one of these individuals must be all the more tempted to cut down his section of the wood in that the cutting down of this section would do no harm in isolation. It is clear that in such a case the government must intervene to counterbalance this individual tendency and that it has the right to restrain the free disposal of individual property. I do not know, however, whether it would be the duty of society to compensate the owners. Whatever the case, however, it is clear that this right derives from a local circumstance. It is the same with diverse restrictions of several kinds which it would take too long to talk about.
[K. [Refers to page 521.]]Hence it follows that the best constitutions are those in which the powers are combined in such a way that one can resist the branch of government which is oppressive, without resisting the whole government.
[G. [Refers to page 422.]]It was proposed in the Long Parliament to deport and have sold in Algiers the nobles with their families, not excluding pregnant women, on whose behalf some members protested. Parliamentary Register.24
[A. [Refers to page 452.]]What can one imagine more frivolous than the differences between colors on racehorses? This difference, however, created the bitterest factions in the Greek empire, the Prasini and the Veneti, who did not suspend their animosity until after they had caused the downfall of that unfortunate government. Hume, Essays, VIII, p. 54.193
[E. [Refers to page 474.]]There are arguments by Montesquieu such as one can hardly conceive he has allowed himself: this is above all when he deals with production, trade, or money. “The Roman Republic,” he says, “was not in a position to settle its debts. It made some copper money. It gained on its creditors by 50 percent. This operation gave a great shock to a State which needed as little upset as possible. The purpose was to free the Republic from its creditors. The purpose was not to free up the citizens among themselves. That required a second operation. It was ordered that the penny [denarius], which had till then been worth only six as,195 should now be worth sixteen. The result was that while the republic’s creditors lost a half, the creditors of individuals lost only a fifth.” Esprit des lois, Livre XXII, Ch. 11. But with what did the creditors of the Republic pay their own creditors?
[H. [Refers to page 474.]]“In such an order of things,” says Bentham, Principes du Code Civil, Ch. 11, “there would be only one wise course for the governed, that of prodigality. There would be only one mad course, that of economy.”196 See Ch. 9 and 10 of the same work.
Jacques Necker, op. cit., t. I, p. 77 (error in Constant’s numbering).
Hofmann could not establish this reference.
David Hume, Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects, Basil, J.-J. Tourneisen, 1793, t. I, p. 54.
Jean-Baptiste Say, op. cit., t. I, pp. 449–465.
[This was a Roman copper coin, originally twelve ounces, reduced by successive deliberate government devaluations to only half an ounce by the early second century Translator’s note]
Jeremy Bentham, op. cit., t. II, p. 49.
Mémoires de Louis XIV, op. cit., t. I, p. 60.