Front Page Titles (by Subject) chapter xi: The Duty of Supreme Governours - The Whole Duty of Man According to the Law of Nature
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chapter xi: The Duty of Supreme Governours - Samuel von Pufendorf, The Whole Duty of Man According to the Law of Nature 
The Whole Duty of Man According to the Law of Nature, trans. Andrew Tooke, ed. Ian Hunter and David Saunders, with Two Discourses and a Commentary by Jean Barbeyrac, trans. David Saunders (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2003).
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The Duty of Supreme Governours
I.L. N. N. 1. 7. c. 9.If we consider what is the End and Nature of Communities, and what the Parts of Government, it will be easie from thence to pass a Judgment upon the Rules and Precepts, in the Observance of which, consists the Office of a Prince.52
II.Their proper Studies and Conversation. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 9. §2.Before all Things, it is requisite, That he apply himself, with the utmost Diligence, to the Study of whatever may conduce to give him a perfect Comprehension of the Affairs belonging to a Person in his Station: because no Man can manage a Place to his Honour, which he does not rightly understand. He is therefore to be sequestred from those remote and foreign Studies, which make nothing to this Purpose: He must abridge himself in the Use of Pleasures and vain Pastimes, that would divert his Attention from this Mark and End.
And for his more familiar Friends, instead of Parasites and Triflers, or such as are accomplished in nothing but Vanities, (whose Company ought utterly to be rejected;) let him make Choice of Men of Probity and Sense, experienced in Business, and skilful in the Ways of the World; being assured, that ’till he does thoroughly understand, as well the Condition of his own State, as the Disposition of the People under him, he will never be able to apply the general Maxims of State Prudence, to the Cases that will occur in Government, in such a Manner as they ought. More especially, let him study to be excellent in Virtues, that are of the greatest Use and Lustre in the Exercise of his vast Charge;53 and so compose the Manners, and all the Actions of his Life, that they may be answerable to the Height of his Glory.
III.The Publick Good, the Supreme Law. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 9. §3.The most General Rule to be observed by Governours, is this; The Good of the Publick is the Supreme Law of all.54 Because, in conferring the Government upon them, what is there else intended, but to secure the common End for which Societies were constituted in the Beginning? From whence they ought to conclude, That whatsoever is not expedient for the Publick to be done, ought not to be accounted expedient for themselves.
IV.Laws, Discipline, and Religion. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 9. §5.And it being necessary, in order to preserve a People at Peace with one another, that the Wills and Affections of them should be disposed and regulated, according as it is most proper for the publick Good; there ought to be some suitable Laws for the Purpose prescribed by Princes, and also a publick Discipline established with so much Strictness, that so, Custom, as well as Fear of Punishment, may be able to keep Men close to the Practice of their several Duties. * To which End it is convenient to take Care, that the Christian Religion, after the most pure and most uncorrupt Way, be profess’d by the Subjects of every Realm or Community; and that no Tenets be publickly taught in the Schools, that are contrariant to the Designs of Government.
V.The Laws plain and few.It will conduce to the Advancement of the same End, that in the Affairs which are wont to be most frequently negociated between Subject and Subject, the Laws which are prescribed be clear and plain; and no more in Number than will promote the Good of the Republick and its Members. For, considering that Men use to deliberate upon the Things they ought, or ought not to do, more by the Strength of their Natural Reason, than their Understanding in the Laws; whenever the Laws do so abound in Number, as not easily to be retained in Memory; or are so particular in their Matter, as to prohibit Things which are not prohibited by the Light of Reason; it must certainly come to pass, That innocent Persons, who have not had the least ill Intention to transgress the Laws, will be many times unwittingly hamper’d by them, as by Snares, to their unreasonable Prejudice, against the very End of Societies and Government.
VI.And duly executed. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 9. §6.Yet it is in vain for Princes to make Laws, and at the same time suffer the Violation of them to pass with Impunity. They must therefore cause them to be put in Execution, both for every honest Person to injoy his Rights without Vexation, Evasions, or Delays; and also for every Malefactor to receive the Punishment due to the Quality of his Crime, according to the Intention and Malice in the committing it. They are not to extend their Pardons to any without sufficient Reason. For it is an unjust Practice, which tends greatly to irritate the Minds of People against the Government, not to use Equality (all Circumstances considered) towards Persons that are Equal in their Deservings.
VII.Penalties. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 9. §7.And as nothing ought to be Enacted under a Penalty, without the Consideration of some Profit to the Common-wealth, so in the fixing of Penalties proportionably to that End, it is fitting to observe a Moderation; with Care, that the Damage thence arising to the Subject on the one Hand, exceed not the Advantage that redounds to the Common-wealth on the other. In fine, to render Penalties effectual in obtaining the End intended by them, it is clear they should still be magnified to such a Degree, as, by their Severity, to out-weigh the contrary Gain and Pleasure, that is possible to proceed from chusing the Crime.
VIII.Injuries. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 9. §8.Moreover, inasmuch as the Design of People, in incorporating together in a Common-wealth, is their Security from Harms and Violence; it is the Duty of the supreme Magistrate to prohibit any Injury of one Subject to another so much the more severely, because, by their constant Cohabitation in the same Place, they have the fairer Opportunities to do them or to resent them: Remembring, that no Distinctions of Quality or Honour derive the least Pretence to the Greater to insult over the Less at their Pleasure. Neither has any Subject whatsoever the Liberty to seek his Satisfaction for the Injuries, he presumes are done him, in the Way of a private Revenge. For the Design of Government is destroyed by such a Proceeding as this.
IX.Ministers of State and Judges. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 9. §9.And although there is no one Prince, how ingenious soever in Business, that is able in his own Person to manage all the Affairs of a Nation of any considerable Extent, but he must have Ministers to participate with him in his Cares and Counsels; Yet as these Ministers borrow their Authority, in every Thing they do, from Him; so the Praise or Dispraise of their Actions returns finally upon Him also. For which Reason, and because according to the Quality of Ministers, Business is done either well or ill, there lies an Obligation upon a Prince to advance honest and fit Persons to Offices of Trust in the Government, and upon Occasion to examine into the Proceedings of the same; and as he finds them deserving, to reward or punish them accordingly, for an Example to others to understand, that there is no less Fidelity and Diligence to be used in managing the publick Business, than one would practise in any private Affair that relates to himself. So when wicked People are incouraged to put their Inclinations in Practice, upon the Hopes of escaping very easily unpunish’d under Judges that are subject to Corruption; it is a Prince’s Duty to animadvert severely upon such Judges, as Favourers of Vice, against the Safety of the Subject, and Quiet of the Nation.55 And though the Dispatching of the ordinary Affairs may be committed to the Ministers Care; yet a Prince is never to refuse to lend his Ear with Patience, when his Subjects present him with their Complaints and Addresses.
X.Of Taxes and Duties. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 9. §10.For Taxes and the like Duties, to which Subjects are upon no other Account obliged, than as they are necessary to support the publick Charge in Peace and War; it deserves to be the Care of Princes not to extort more, than either the Necessities or signal Advantages of the Nation56 require; and so to alleviate and soften them in the Ways and Means of laying them upon the Subject, that every one may find their Weight as little offensive as it can possibly be; being charged upon Particulars in a fair and equitable Proportion, without favouring of one Person, to deceive or oppress another. And let not the Money that is so rais’d be consumed by Princes in Luxury and Vanities, or thrown away in Gifts and needless Ostentation; but laid out upon the Occasions of the Nation; always foreseeing, that their Expences be made to answer to their Revenue; and in case of any Failure in the latter, so to order Things, that by prudent Frugality and retrenching unnecessary Expences, the Publick may not suffer Damage for want of a sufficient Treasure.
XI.Interest of the Subject to be advanced by Princes. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 9. §11.It is true, Princes have no Obligation upon them to find Maintenance for their Subjects, otherwise than Charity directs them to a particular Care of those, for whom it is impossible to subsist of themselves by Reason of some Calamity undeserved. Yet because the Money, that is necessary for the Conservation of the Publick, must be raised out of the Subjects Estates, in whose Wealth and Happiness the Strength of a Nation does consist; it therefore concerns Princes to use their best Endeavours, that the Fortunes of their Subjects improve and flourish; as particularly, by giving Orders, how the Products of the Earth and Water may be received in the most plentiful Measure; and that Men employ their Industry in improving such Matters as are of their own Growth, and never hire foreign Hands for those Works which they can conveniently perform themselves. That all Mechanick Arts and Merchandise, and in Maritime Places, Navigation be incouraged, as of great Consequence to the Commonwealth. That Idleness be banished from amongst them, and Frugality be restored by Sumptuary Laws, contrived on Purpose to avoid superfluous Expences; especially those, which occasion the transporting of Riches out of the Kingdom. Whereof, if the Prince is pleased to set an Example in his own Person, it is likely to prove of greater Force than all the Laws beside.
XII.Factions and Parties. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 9. §12.Farther, Since the internal Health and Strength of a Nation proceeds in a particular Manner from the Unity that is among the People; 57 and according as this happens to be more and more perfect, the Power of the Government diffuses it self through the whole Body with so much the greater Efficacy: It is for this Reason incumbent upon Princes, to hinder, as well the Growth of publick Factions, as of private Associations of particular Persons by Agreements amongst themselves. As also to see, that neither all, nor any of the Subjects, place a greater Dependance, or rely more for Defence and Succour on any other Person, within or without the Realm, under any Pretence whatsoever, whether Sacred or Civil,58 than on their lawful Sovereign, in whom alone, before others, all their Expectations ought to be reposed.
XIII.Of War and Peace with foreign Nations. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 9. §13.Lastly, Since the Peace of Nations in reference to one another depends upon no very great Certainties; it ought to be the Endeavour of Princes to incourage Valour and Military Studies in their Subjects; having all things, as Fortifications, Arms, Men, and Money (which is the Sinews of Civil Affairs) ready prepared, in case of any Attack from abroad, to repel it: Though not voluntarily to begin one upon another Nation, even after sufficient Cause of War given, unless when invited by a very safe Opportunity, and that the Publick be in a good Condition conveniently to go thro’ with the Undertaking. For the same Reason it is proper to observe and search into the Counsels and Proceedings of Neighbours with all Exactness, and to enter with them into Leagues and Alliances as prudently, as so great a Concern requires.
[52.]Pufendorf’s formulation is sharper and more “statist” than Tooke’s Whiggish rendering, as we can gather by comparing Silverthorne’s accurate translation of this sentence: “A clear account of the precepts that govern the office of the sovereign may be drawn from the nature and end of states and from consideration of the functions of sovereignty.” (Man & Citizen, p. 151)
[53.]Here Tooke fails to capture the meaning of Pufendorf’s original formulation, which is that rulers should cultivate the virtues required by large-scale administration (administratione maxime).
[54.]The original Latin formula—salus populi suprema lex est (the welfare of the people is the supreme law)—derives from classical Greek political thought. Pufendorf gives this traditional doctrine a new use by restricting the people’s welfare to their political security, setting aside all higher moral conceptions of the public good.
[*] See Dissertationes Academicae de Concord. Polit. cum Religione Christiana, Lib. II. Pag. 449. And also De Habitu Religionis Christianae ad Vitam Civilem: Especially Chapters 7, 47, 49. [The editors have added this footnote to two of Pufendorf’s larger discussions of the role of religion in civil life. At the center of these works lies Pufendorf’s insistence that because they serve different ends—security and salvation—the state and the church must not be combined to form a state church or a church state.]
[55.]Tooke’s use of “nation” corresponds to nothing in Pufendorf’s original passage, which speaks only of the “security of the citizens” (securitas civium). Tooke’s “nation” belongs with his earlier use of “true Patriot” as a republican euphemism for Pufendorf’s “good citizen.” The notion of the nation as the spiritual homeland of true patriots is fundamentally at odds with Pufendorf’s conception of the state as a territory governed by a sovereign authority in accordance with the end of security.
[56.]Having hit upon “nation” late in his translation, Tooke now proceeds to use it as one of the regular alternatives to Pufendorf’s “state” (civitas) and “government” (respublica). Tooke’s language thus becomes capable of insinuating a gap between the interests of the nation and those of the state or prince, in keeping with Whig politics but quite at odds with Pufendorf’s language and logic.
[57.]Tooke’s substitution of “nation” for Pufendorf’s “state” (civitas) and the “unity of the people” for Pufendorf’s “union of citizens” (unione civium) is indicative of the emergence of a political language quite incapable of carrying Pufendorf’s key distinctions between sovereignty and (form of ) government, state and society.
[58.]This warning principally concerned Catholic citizens, whose duties to a transterritorial religious and political power Pufendorf regarded as incompatible with their loyalty to the territorial state and its secular sovereign.