Front Page Titles (by Subject) Book XXIX: Of the Manner in which Laws Should Be Composed. - A Commentary and Review of Montesquieu's 'Spirit of Laws'
Book XXIX: Of the Manner in which Laws Should Be Composed. - Antoine Louis Claude, Comte Destutt de Tracy, A Commentary and Review of Montesquieu’s ’Spirit of Laws’ 
A Commentary and Review of Montesquieu’s ’Spirit of Laws’: To which are annexed, Observations on the Thirty First Book by the late M. Condorcet; and Two Letters of Helvetius, on the Merits of the same Work, trans. Thomas Jefferson (Philadelphia: William Duane, 1811).
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- The Author,: to His Fellow Citizens of the United States of America.
- A Commentary and Review of the Spirit of Laws: Preliminary Observations
- Book I: Of Laws In General
- Book II: Of Laws Originating Directly From the Nature of the Government.
- Book III: Of the Principles of the Three Forms of Government.
- Book IV: The Laws Relating to Education, Should Be Congenial With the Principles of the Government.
- Book V: Laws Formed By the Legislature Should Be Consistent With the Principles of the Government.
- Book VI: Consequences of the Principles of Different Governments, In Relation to the Simplicity of Civil and Criminal Laws, the Forms of Juridical Proceedings, and the Apportionment of Punishments.
- Book VII: Consequences of the Different Principles of the Three Forms of Government, Relative to Sumptuary Laws, to Luxury, and to the Condition of Women.
- Book VIII: Of the Corruption of the Principle In Each of the Three Forms of Government.
- Book IX: Of Laws Relative to the Defensive Force.
- Book X: Of Laws Relative to the Offensive Force.
- Book XI: Of the Laws Which Establish Public Liberty, In Relation to the Constitution.
- Book XII: Of Laws That Establish Political Liberty In Relation to the Citizen.
- A Review.: On the Twelve First Books of the Spirit of Laws.
- Book XIII: Of the Relation Which Taxes, and the Amount of the Public Revenue, Have to Public Liberty.
- Book XIV: Of Laws In Relation to Climate.
- Book Xv the Manner In Which the Laws of Civil Slavery Relate to the Climate.
- Book Xvi How the Laws of Domestic Slavery Relate to the Climate.
- Book Xvii How the Laws of Political Servitude Relate to the Climate.
- Book XVIII: Of Laws In Relation to the Nature of the Soil.
- Book XIX: Of Laws In Relation to the Principles Which Form the General Dispositions, Morals, and Manners of a Nation.
- Book XX: Of Laws In Relation to Commerce, Considered In Its Nature and Different Forms.
- Book Xxi of Laws In Relation to Commerce, Considered With Reference to the Revolutions It Has Undergone.
- Book XXII: Of Laws In Relation to the Use of Money.
- Book XXIII: Of Laws In Relation to Population
- Book XXIV: Of Laws In Relation to a Religious Establishment, Its Practical Operation, and Doctrines.
- Book Xxv of Laws In Relation to a Religions Establishment, and Its Effects On External Policy.
- Book XXVI: Of Laws In Relation to the Nature of Things Upon Which They Decide.
- Book XXVII: Of the Origin and Revolutions of the Roman Laws On Succession.
- Book Xxviii of the Origin and Revolutions of Civil Law Among the Franks.
- Book XXIX: Of the Manner In Which Laws Should Be Composed.
- Book XXX: Theory of the Feudal Laws Among the Franks, Relative to the Establishment of Monarchy.
- Book Xxxi Theory of Feudal Laws, Relative to the Revolutions of Monarchy.
- Observations On the Twenty-ninth Book of the Spirit of Laws, By M. Condorcet By M Condorcet
- Book XXIX.: On the Manner of Forming Laws.
- Chap. I…. of the Spirit of the Legislator.
- Chap. Ii…. Continuation of the Same Subject.
- Chap. Iii…. That Laws Which Appear to Deviate From the Intentions of the Legislator, Are Often Conformable Thereto.
- Chap. Iv…. of Laws Which Clash With the Views of the Legislator.
- Chap. V…. Continuation of the Sane Subject.
- Chap. Vi…. Laws Which Appear to Be the Same Have Not Uniformly the Same Effect.
- Chap. Vii…. Continuation of the Same Subject. the Necessity of Composing Laws In a Proper Manner.
- Chap. Viii…. Laws Which Appear the Same Have Not Always Been Established On the Same Motives.
- Chap. Ix…. the Greek and Roman Laws Punished Suicide From Different Motives.
- Chap. X…. Laws Which Appear Contradictory, Sometimes Originate In the Same Spirit.
- Chap. Xi…. How Shall We Be Able to Compare and Judge Between Two Laws.
- Chap. Xii…. Laws Which Appear the Same, Are Sometimes Really Different.
- Chap. Xiii…. We Should Not Separate the Laws From the Purposes For Which They Were Established: of the Roman Laws Against Theft.
- Chap. Xiv…. Laws Should Not Be Separated From the Circumstances In Which They Were Established.
- Chap. Xv…. It Is Sometimes Proper That the Law Shall Correct Itself.
- Chap. Xvi…. Matters to Be Observed In Composing Laws.
- Chap. Xvii…. Bad Manner of Enacting Laws.
- Chap. Xviii…. of Ideas of Uniformity.
- Chap. Xix…. of Legislators.
- Letters of Helvetius, Addressed to President Montesquieu and M. Saurin, On Perusing the Manuscript of the Spirit of Laws
- Letter I.: Letter of Helvetius to President Montesquieu
- Letter II.: Helvetius to A. M. Saurin.
Of the Manner in which Laws Should Be Composed.
[There is nothing instructive here, excepting what arises out of the manner in which Condorcet has criticised this book, or rather new modeled it.]
This title, alike vague, requires some explanation to be well understood, as well as several others on which we have already made the same remark. The author, in this book proposes to prove that the laws should be clear and precise, worded with dignity and simplicity; not couched in the style and manner of dissertation; and particularly when motives are assigned for their enactment, that they should not support themselves by ridiculous reasons; laws too frequently contain clauses that are calculated to produce effects directly contrary to the intentions of the legislator; that they should he in harmony with each other; that several laws often mutually correct and support each other, and that to appreciate their effects correctly, they should be judged collectively, and not each one particularly and separately; that the legislator should not lose sight of the nature of the object they enact on one side, nor decide by motives contrary thereto on the other. In this much the book is comprised; the subject is already treated of in the twenty-seventh, and in other respects it approaches the sixth and eleventh books.
The author also shews that to form a proper estimate of a law, the circumstances in which it was enacted are to be taken into view; this has been already said and proved elsewhere. He also recommends that the laws should always be enacted in a general manner, and not given as prescriptions for particular facts. In a word he recommends it to legislators to divest themselves of their prejudices. No one will be inclined to differ from him on all these points. Indeed we might not be well satisfied with the divers examples nor with some of the reasons which he employs to prove things to be evident; some of them may deserve to be subjected to criticism: but as no information of any importance would result therefrom, I shall say nothing. It is not sufficient to be in the right when not opposed to great men, but when we undertake to contradict them it is always necessary not to be in the wrong.
I am in possession of a criticism on this book of the spirit of laws, written by the greatest philosopher in modern times, Condorcet; it has never been published, and probably never was intended for publication. I shall venture to insert it here, and we shall see with what strength Montesquieu is refuted, and with what a superiority of views he retouches his work; it may be also perceived, that if my capacity be inferior, the severity of my investigation is at least equal.