Front Page Titles (by Subject) Chap. XI.... How shall we be able to compare and judge between two laws. - A Commentary and Review of Montesquieu's 'Spirit of Laws'
Chap. XI…. How shall we be able to compare and judge between two laws. - 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.
Chap. XI.... How shall we be able to compare and judge between two laws.
For the principle asserted in this chapter to be true, a system of laws must be selected, in which there are some good and some bad; otherwise, it is more natural to judge of every law separately, to examine and discover whether it contains any thing repugnant to justice or to natural rights: if contrary thereto, it should be rejected; and in any case where it might have a local utility, it should be superseded by another law, calculated to produce the same utility, without violating justice.
In the example quoted, we should discover first, false testimony considered in itself as a crime, and false testimony considered only as an attempt against the life and honor of a citizen, and prove that it is only under this point of view that it is a crime: secondly, if I should be shewn that the law of France is not only not necessary, but that it is bad; not that it punishes as a capital crime and with death, the person who by false testimony has caused the death of an innocent person; but because it authorises the prosecution of any one, as a false witness, who, after an examination, should retract that to which, he had sworn, or whose false evidence should be discovered, so that consequently it is only a greater obstacle in the way of justification to an innocent person: thirdly, because it is difficult in England, to cause the death of an innocent person by false testimony; it does not follow, that we should not consider it as a capital crime, when ever it is committed.
So that not only the principle explained in this chapter is very uncertain, but the facts cited as illustrations, do not apply.
We cannot help being a little surprised that the disparity of fortune, the unjust and tyrannical refusal to admit justificatory facts in evidence, and the equivocal and perhaps too rigorous laws against false witnesses, should be held forth by Montesquieu, as forming a system of legislation, of which we should examine the whole: if this be intended as ridicule, it is not sufficiently pointed.