MONTESQUIEU  Macroknow Library

The Spirit 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 HOBBES

"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 NADER AYOUB

"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."

"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 nothing."1d

" . . . [I]nsomuch that among the Germans, contrary to the practice of all other nations, justice was administered in order to protect the criminal against the party injured."1e

1 Baron 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.