of the Laws.
"As soon as man enters into a state
of society he loses the sense of his weakness; equality
ceases, and then commences the state of war."1a
"There are two sources of corruptions
-- one when the people do not observe the laws; the other when
they are corrupted by the laws: an incurable evil,
because it is in the very remedy itself."1b
"Great is the superiority which
one fellow-subject has already over another, by lending
him money, which the latter borrows in order to spend, and, of
course, has no longer in his possession. . .
At Athens and Rome it was at first permitted to sell such
debtors as were insolvent. Solon redressed this abuse at
Athens . . . But the decemvirs did not reform the same custom at
Rome . . .
Often did those cruel laws against debtors throw the
Roman republic into danger. . .
Since that time creditors were oftener prosecuted by debtors
for having violated the laws against usury than the latter
were sued for refusing to pay them."1c
"Sir William Petty, in his calculations,
supposes that a man in England is worth what he would sell for
at Algiers [sixty pounds sterling]. This can be true only with
respect to England. There are countries where a man is worth
nothing; there are others where he is worth less than
" . . . [I]nsomuch that among the
Germans, contrary to the practice of all other nations,
was administered in order to protect the criminal against
the party injured."1e
The Spirit of the Laws,
Vols. 1-2. [The Hafner Library of Classics.]
The Spirit of the Laws.
[Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought.]
de Montesquieu (Charles Louis de Secondat, 1689-1755). The
Spirit of the Laws, Vols. 1-2. Translated by Thomas
Nugent, with an Introduction by Franz Neumann. New York, NY:
Hafner Press, A Division of the Free Press, 1949.
a Vol. I, Book I: On Laws in General, at 5.
b Vol. I, Book VI: Consequences of the Principles of
Different Governments with Respect to the Simplicity of Civil and
Criminal Laws, the Form of Judgments, and the Inflicting of
Punishment, at 85.
c Vol. 1, Book XII: On the Laws that Form Political
Liberty, in Relation to the Subject, at 200-201.
d Vol. II, Book XXIII: On Laws in the Relation they
Bear to the Number of Inhabitants, at 11.
e Vol. II, Book XXX: Theory of the Feudal Laws Among
the Franks in the Relation they Bear to the Establishment of the
Monarchy, at 200.