O Lord my God, hearken unto me, and instruct me; that I may administer Judgment unto thy People; as thy sacred Laws direct - to judge with Righteousness!
THE INSTRUCTIONS TO THE COMMISSIONERS FOR COMPOSING A NEW CODE OF LAWS
1. The Christian Law teaches us to do mutual Good to one another, as much as possibly we can.
2. Laying this down as a fundamental Rule prescribed, by that Religion, which has taken, or ought to take Root in the Hearts of the whole People; we cannot but suppose, that every honest Man in the Community is, or will be, desirous of seeing his native Country at the very Summit of Happiness, Glory, Safety, and Tranquillity.
3. And that every Individual Citizen in particular must wish to see himself protected by Laws, which should not distress him in his Circumstances, but, on the Contrary, should defend him from all Attempts of others, that are repugnant to this fundamental Rule.
4. In order therefore to proceed to a speedy Execution of what We expect from such a general Wish, We, fixing the Foundation upon the above first-mentioned Rule, ought to begin with an Inquiry into the natural Situation of this Empire.
5. For those Laws have the greatest Conformity with Nature, whose particular Regulations are best adapted to the Situation and Circumstances of the People, for whom they are instituted.
This natural Situation is described in the three following Chapters.
6. Russia is an European State.
7. This is clearly demonstrated by the following Observations: The Alterations which Peter the Great undertook in Russia succeeded with the greater Ease, because the Manners, which prevailed at that Time, and had been introduced amongst us by a Mixture of different Nations, and the Conquest of foreign Territories, were quite unsuitable to the Climate. Peter the First, by introducing the Manners and Customs of Europe among the European People in his Dominions, found at that Time such Means as even he himself was not sanguine enough to expect.
8. The Possessions of the Russian Empire extend upon the terrestrial Globe to 32 Degrees of Latitude, and to 165 of Longitude.
9. The Sovereign is absolute; for there is no other authority but that which centers in his single Person, that can act with a Vigour proportionate to the Extent of such a vast Dominion.
10. The Extent of the Dominion requires an absolute Power to be vested in that Person who rules over it. It is expedient so to be, that the quick Dispatch of Affairs, sent from distant Parts, might make ample Amends for the Delay occasioned by the Distance of the Places.
11. Every other Form of Government whatsoever would not only have been prejudicial to Russia, but would even have proved its entire Ruin.
12. Another Reason is; That it is better to be subject to the Laws under one Master, than to be subservient to many.
13. What is the true End of Monarchy? Not to deprive People of their natural Liberty; but to correct their Actions, in order to attain the supreme Good.
14. The Form of Government, therefore, which best attains this End, and at the same Time sets less Bounds than others to natural Liberty, is that which coincides with the Views and Purposes of rational Creatures, and answers the End, upon which we ought to fix a steadfast Eye in the Regulations of civil Polity.
15. The Intention and the End of Monarchy, is the Glory of the Citizens, of the State, and of the Sovereign.
16. But, from this Glory, a Sense of Liberty arises in a People governed by a Monarch; which may produce in these States as much Energy in transacting the most important Affairs, and may contribute as much to the Happiness of the Subjects, as even Liberty itself.
17. Of the Safety of the Institutions of Monarchy.
18. The intermediate Powers, subordinate to, and depending upon the supreme Power, form the essential Part of monarchical Government.
19. I have said, that the intermediate Powers, subordinate and depending, proceed from the supreme Power; as in the very Nature of the Thing the Sovereign is the Source of all imperial and civil Power.
20. The Laws, which form the Foundation of the State, send out certain Courts of Judicature, through which, as through smaller Streams, the Power of the Government is poured out, and diffused.
21. The Laws allow these Courts of Judicature to remonstrate, that such or such an Injunction is unconstitutional, and prejudicial, obscure, and impossible to be carried into Execution; and direct, beforehand, to which Injunction one ought to pay Obedience, and in what Manner one ought to conform to it. These Laws undoubtedly constitute the firm and immoveable Basis of every State.
22. There must be a political Body, to whom the Care and strict Execution of these Laws ought to be confided.
23. This Care, and strict Execution of the Laws, can be nowhere so properly fixed as in certain Courts of Judicature, which announce to the People the newly-made Laws, and revive those, which are forgotten, or obsolete.
24. And it is the Duty of these Courts of Judicature to examine carefully those Laws which they receive from the Sovereign, and to remonstrate, if they find any Thing in them repugnant to the fundamental Constitution of the State, &c. which has been already remarked above in the third Chapter, and twenty-first Article.
25. But if they find nothing in them of that Nautre, they enter them in the Code of Laws already established in the State, and publish them to the whole Body of the People.
26. In Russia the Senate is the political Body, to which the Care and due Execution of the Laws is confided.
27. All other Courts of Judicature may, and ought to remonstrate with the same Propriety, to the Senate, and even to the Sovereign himself, as was already mentioned above.
28. Should any One inquire, wherein the Care and due Execution of the Laws consists? I answer, That the Care, and due Execution of the Laws, produces particular Instructions; in consequence of which, the before-mentioned Courts of Judicature, instituted to the End that, by their Care, the Will of the Sovereign might be obeyed in a Manner conformable to the fundamental Laws and Constitution of the State, are obliged to act, in the Discharge of their Duty, according to the Rules prescribed.
29. These Instructions will prevent the People from transgressing the Injunctions of the Sovereign with impunity; but, at the same Time, will protect them from the Insults, and ungovernable Passions of others.
30. For, on the one Hand, they justify the Penalties prepared for those who transgress the Laws; and, on the other, they confirm the Justice of that Refusal to enter Laws repugnant to the good Order of the State, amongst those which are already approved of, or to act by those Laws in the Administration of Justice, and the general Business of the whole Body of the People.
31. Of the Situation of the People in general.
32. It is the greatest Happiness for a Man to be so circumstanced, that, if his Passions should prompt him to be mischievous, he should still think it more for his Interest not to give Way to them.
33. The Laws ought to be so framed, as to secure the Safety of every Citizen as much as possible.
34. The Equality of the Citizens consists in this; that they should all be subject to the same Laws.
35. This Equality requires Institutions so well adapted, as to prevent the Rich from oppressing those who are not so wealthy as themselves, and converting all the Charges and Employments intrusted to them as Magistrates only, to their own private Emolument.
36. General or political Liberty does not consist in that licentious Notion, That a Man may do whatever he pleases.
37. In a State or Assemblage of People that live together in a Community, where there are Laws, Liberty can only consist in doing that which every One ought to do, and not to be constrained to do that which One ought not to do.
38. A Man ought to form in his own Mind an exact and clear Idea of what Liberty is. Liberty is the Right of doing whatsoever the Laws allow: And if any one Citizen could do what the Laws forbid, there would be no more Liberty; because others would have an equal Power of doing the same.
39. The political Liberty of a Citizen is the Peace of Mind arising from the Consciousness, that every Individual enjoys his peculiar Safety; and in order that the People might attain this Liberty, the Laws ought to be so framed, that no one Citizen should stand in Fear of another; but that all of them should stand in Fear of the same Laws.
40. Of Laws in general.
4I. Nothing ought to be forbidden by the Laws, but what may be prejudicial, either to every Individual in particular, or to the whole Community in general.
42. All Actions, which comprehend nothing of this Nature, are in nowise cognizable by the Laws; which are made only with the View of procuring the greatest possible Advantage and Tranquillity to the People, who live under their Protection.
43. To preserve Laws from being violated, they ought to be so good, and so well furnished with all Expedients, tending to procure the greatest possible Good to the People; that every Individual might be fully convinced, that it was his Interest, as well as Duty, to preserve those Laws inviolable.
44. And this is the most exalted Pitch of Perfection which we ought to labor to attain to.
45. Many Things rule over Mankind. Religion, the Climate, Laws, the Maxims received from Government, the Example of past Ages, Manners, and Customs.
46. Hence results a general Sense in the People, similar to these Causes.
47. For Instance, Nature and Climate domineer almost alone over the savage People.
48. Customs govern the Chinese.
49. The Laws tyrannise with savage Ferocity over the Japanese.
50. Manners heretofore took the Lead amongst the Lacedemonians.
51. Maxims of Government, and their ancient Manners bore the Sway at Rome.
52. The different Characters of Nations are blended with Virtues and Vices, with good and bad Qualities.
53. That Composition, or Admixture, might be pronounced happy, from which many and great Blessings spring; though we frequently cannot even conjecture the Cause, from whence they should issue.
54. To prove this, I here produce in Evidence different Examples of different Facts. The Spaniards were at all Times remarkably eminent for their Good Faith. History furnishes us with remarkable Instances of their Fidelity in keeping a Pledge intrusted to their Care: They frequently submitted to Death, rather than betray their Trust, and they still retain this Fidelity, for which they were formerly so renowned. All Nations, who trade in Cadiz intrust their Fortunes to the Spaniards; and, hitherto, have had no Reason to repent of their Confidence. But this amazing Quality, blended with their Laziness, forms such a strange Medly, as produces Effects prejudicial to themselves. The other European Nations carry on all that Trade, before their very Eyes, which belongs properly to their Monarchy only.
55. The Character of the Chinese is of a different Complexion, and forms a Contrast which is the very Reverse of that of the Spaniards. The Precariousness of their Lives (arising from the very Nature of their Soil and Climate) produces in them an Activity almost inconceivable; and so immoderate a Fondness for Gain, that no trading Nation can trust them. This known Perfidy of theirs, has preserved to them the sole Trade of Japan. Not one of the European Merchants durst ever venture to engage in the Japan Trade under their Names, though they might have done it with great Ease through their maritime Provinces.
56. By what I have here advanced, I meant not, in the least, to abridge that infinite Distance which must ever subsist between Vices and Virtues. God forbid! My Intention was only to show, that all the political Vices are not moral Vices; and that all the moral Vices are not political Ones. This Distinction ought to be known and carefully attended to, that in making the Laws nothing may be introduced in them which is contrary to the general Sense of a Nation.
57. The Legislation ought to adapt its Laws to the general Sense of a Nation. We do nothing so well as what we do freely and uncontrolled, and following the natural Bent of our own Inclinations.
58. In order to introduce better Laws, it is essentially necessary to prepare the Minds of the People for their Reception. But that it may never be pleaded in Excuse, that it is impose carry even the most useful Affairs into Execution, because the Minds of the People are not yet prepared for it; you must, in that Case, take the Trouble upon yourselves to prepare them; and, by these Means, you will already have done a great Part of the Work.
59. Laws are the peculiar and distinct Institutions of the Legislator; but Manners and Customs are the Institutions of the whole Body of the People.
60. Consequently, if there should be a Necessity for making great Alterations amongst the People for their greater Benefit, that must be corrected by Laws, which has been instituted by Laws, and that must be amended by Custom, which has been introduced by Custom; and it is extreme bad Policy to alter that by Law, which ought to be altered by Custom.
61. There are Means of preventing the Growth of Crimes, and these are the Punishments inflicted by the Laws. At the same Time there are Means for introducing an Alteration in Customs, and these are Examples.
62. Besides, the more a People have an Intercourse with one another, the more easy it is for them to introduce a change in their Customs.
63. In a Word, every Punishment, which is not inflicted through Necessity, is tyrannical. The Law has not its Source merely from Power. Things indifferent in their Nature, do come under the Cognizance of the Laws.
66. All laws which aim at the extremity of rigor, may be evaded. It is moderation which rules a people, and not excess of severity.
67. Civil liberty flourishes when the laws deduce every punishment from the peculiar nature of every crime. The application of punishment ought not to proceed from the arbitrary will or mere caprice of the Legislator, but from the nature of the crime....
68. Crimes are divisible into four classes: against religion, against manners [morality], against the peace, against the security of the citizens....
74. I include under the first class of crimes [only] a direct and immediate attack upon religion, such as sacrilege, distinctly and clearly defined by law.... In order that the punishment for the crime of sacrilege might flow from the nature of the thing, it ought to consist in depriving the offender of those benefits to which we are entitled by religion; for instance, by expulsion from the churches, exclusion from the society of the faithful for a limited time, or for ever....
76. In the second class of crimes are included those which are contrary to good manners.
77. Such [include] the corruption of the purity of morals in general, either public or private; that is, every procedure contrary to the rules which show in what manner we ought to enjoy the external conveniences given to man by Nature for his necessities, interest, and satisfaction. The punishments of these crimes ought to flow also from the nature of the thing [offense]: deprivation of those advantages which Society has attached to purity of morals, [for example,] monetary penalties, shame, or dishonor ... expulsion from the city and the community; in a word, all the punishments which at judicial discretion are sufficient to repress the presumption and disorderly behavior of both sexes. In fact, these offenses do not spring so much from badness of heart as from a certain forgetfulness or mean opinion of one's self. To this class belong only the crimes which are prejudicial to manners, and not those which at the same time violate public security, such as carrying off by force and rape; for these are crimes of the fourth class.
78. The crimes of the third class are those which violate the peace and tranquillity of the citizens. The punishments for them ought also to flow from the very nature of the crime, as for instance, imprisonment, banishment, corrections, and the like which reclaim these turbulent people and bring them back to the established order. Crimes against the peace I confine to those things only which consist in a simple breach of the civil polity.
79. The penalties due to crimes of the fourth class are peculiarly and emphatically termed Capital Punishments. They are a kind of retaliation by which Society deprives that citizen of his security who has deprived, or would deprive, another of it. The punishment is taken from the nature of the thing, deduced from Reason, and the sources of Good and Evil. A citizen deserves death when he has violated the public security so far as to have taken away, or attempted to take away, the life of another. Capital punishment is the remedy for a distempered society. If public security is violated with respect to property, reasons may be produced to prove that the offender ought not in such a case suffer capital punishment; but that it seems better and more comfortable to Nature that crimes against the public security with respect to property should be punished by deprivation of property. And this ought inevitably to have been done, if the wealth of everyone had been common, or equal. But as those who have no property are always most ready to invade the property of others, to remedy this defect corporal punishment was obliged to be substituted for pecuniary. What I have here mentioned is drawn from the nature of things, and conduces to the protection of the liberty of the citizens....
80. Of Punishments.
81. The Love of our Country, Shame, and the Dread of public Censure, are Motives which restrain, and may deter Mankind from the Commission of a Number of Crimes.
82. The greatest Punishment for a bad Action, under a mild Administration, will be for the Party to be convinced of it. The civil Laws will there correct Vice with the more Ease, and will not be under a Necessity of employing more rigorous Means.
83. In these Governments, the Legislature will apply itself more to prevent Crimes than to punish them, and should take more Care to instil Good Manners into the Minds of the Citizens, by proper Regulations, than to dispirit them by the Terror of corporal and capital Punishments.
84. In a Word, whatever is termed Punishment in the Law is, in Fact, nothing but Pain and Suffering.
85. Experience teaches us that, in those Countries where Punishments are mild, they operate with the same Efficacy upon the Minds of the Citizens as the most severe in other Places.
86. If a sensible Injury should accrue to a State from some popular Commotion, a violent Administration will be at once for a sudden Remedy, and instead of recurring to the ancient Laws, will inflict some terrible Punishment, in order to crush the growing Evil on the Spot. The Imagination of the People is affected at the Time of this greater Punishment, just as it would have been affected by the least; and when the Dread of this Punishment gradually wears off, it will be compelled to introduce a severer Punishment upon all Occasions.
87. The People ought not to be driven on by violent Methods, but we ought to make Use of the Means which Nature has given us, with the utmost Care and Caution, in order to conduct them to the End we propose.
88. Examine with Attention the Cause of all Licentiousness; and you will find that it proceeds from the Neglect of punishing Crimes, not from the Mildness of Punishments.
95. Of the administration of Justice in general.
96. Good Laws keep strictly a just Medium: They do not always inflict pecuniary, nor always subject Malefactors to corporal Punishment.
97. All Punishments by which the human Body might be maimed ought to be abolished.
119. The Laws which condemn Man upon the Deposition of one Evidence only are destructive to Liberty.
120. Two Witnesses are absolutely necessary in order to form a right Judgment: For an Accuser, who affirms, and the Party accuses, who denies the Fact, make the Evidence on both Sides equal; for that Reason a Third is required in order to convict the Defendant; unless other clear collateral Proofs should fix the Credibility of the Evidence in favour of one of them.
123. The Usage of Torture is contrary to all the Dictates of Nature and Reason; even Mankind itself cries out against it, and demands loudly the total Abolition of it. We see, at this very Time, a People greatly renowned for the Excellence of their civil Polity, who reject it without any sensible Inconveniencies. It is, therefore, by no Means necessary by its Nature…
155. If the Laws are not exactly and clearly defined, and understood Word by Word; if it be not the sole Office as a Judge to distinguish, and lay down clearly what Action is comformable to the Laws, and what is repugnant to them: If the Rule of just and unjust, which ought to govern alike the ignorant Clown and the enlightened Scholar, be not a simple Question of Matter of Fact for the Judges; then the Situation of the Citizen will be exposed to strange Accidents.
156. By making the penal Laws always clearly intelligible, Word by Word, every one may calculate truly and know exactly the Inconveniences of a bad Action; a Knowledge which is absolutely necessary for restraining People from committing it; and the People may enjoy Security with respect both to their Persons and Property; which ought ever to remain so, because this is the main Scope and Object of the Laws, and without which the Community would be dissolved.
158. The Laws ought to be written in the common vernacular Tongue; and the Code, which contains all the Laws, ought to be esteemed as a Book of the utmost Use, which should be purchased at as small a Price as the Catechism. If the Case were otherwise, and the Citizen should be ignorant of the Consequences of his own Actions, and what concerns his Person and Liberty, be will then depend upon some few of the People who have taken upon themselves the Care of preserving and explaining them. Crimes will be less frequent in proportion as the Code of Laws is more universally read, and comprehended by the People. And, for this Reason, it must be ordained, That, in all the Schools, Children should be taught to read alternately out of the Church Books and out of those which contain the Laws....
193. The Torture of the Rack is a Cruelty established and made use of by many Nations, and is applied to the Party accused during the Course of his Trial, either to extort from him a Confession of his Guilt, or in order to clear up some Contradictions in which, he had involved himself during his Examination, or to compel him to discover his Accomplices, or in order to discover other Crimes, of which, though he is not accused, yet he may perhaps be guilty.
194. (1) No Man ought to be looked upon as guilty before he has received his judicial Sentence; nor can the Laws deprive him of their Protection before it is proved that he has forfeited all Right to it. What Right therefore can Power give to any to inflict Punishment upon a Citizen at a Time when it is yet dubious whether he is innocent or guilty? Whether the Crime be known or unknown, it is not very difficult to gain a thorough Knowledge of the Affair by duly weighing all the Circumstances. If the Crime be known, the Criminal ought not to suffer any Punishment but what the Law ordains; consequently the Rack is quite unnecessary. If the Crime be not known, the Rack ought not to be applied to the Party accused; for this Reason, That the Innocent ought not to be tortured; and, in the Eye of the law, every Person is innocent whose Crime is not yet proved. It is undoubtedly extremely necessary that no Crime, after it has been proved, should remain unpunished. The Party accused on the Rack, whilst in the Agonies of Torture, is not Master enough of himself to be able to declare the Truth. Can we give more Credit to a Man when be is light-headed in a Fever, than when he enjoys the free Use of his Reason in a State of Health? The Sensation of Pain may arise to such a Height that, after having subdued the whole Soul, it will leave her no longer the Liberty of producing any proper Act of the Will, except that of taking the shortest instantaneous Method, in the very twinkling of an Eye, as it were, of getting rid of her Torment. In such an Extremity, even an innocent Person will roar out that he is guilty, only to gain some Respite from his Tortures. Thus the very same Expedient, which is made use of to distinguish the Innocent from the Guilty, will take away the whole Difference between them; and the Judges will be as uncertain whether they have an innocent or a guilty Person before them, as they were before the Beginning of this partial Way of Examination. The Rack, therefore, is a sure Method of condemning an innocent Person of a weakly Constitution, and of acquitting a wicked Wretch, who depends upon the Robustness of his Frame.
195. (2) The Rack is likewise made use of to oblige the Party accused to clear up (as they term it) the Contradictions in which he has involved himself in the Course of his Examination; as if the Dread of Punishment, the Uncertainty and Anxiety in determining what to say, and even gross Ignorance itself, common to both Innocent and Guilty, could not lead a timorous Innocent, and a Delinquent who seeks to hide his Villanies, into Contradictions; and as if Contradictions, which are so common to Man even in a State of Ease and Tranquillity, would not increase in that Perturbation of Soul, when he is plunged entirely in Reflections of how to escape the Danger he is threatened with.
196. (3) To make use of the Rack for discovering whether the Party accused has not committed other Crimes, besides that which he has been convicted of, is a certain Expedient to screen every Crime from its proper Punishment: For a judge will always be discovering new Ones. Finally, this Method of Proceeding will be founded upon the following Way of reasoning: Thou art guilty of one Crime, therefore, perhaps, thou hast committed an Hundred others: According to the Laws, thou wilt be tortured and tormented; not only because thou art guilty, but even because thou mayest be still more guilty.
197. (4) Besides this, the Party accussed is tortured, to oblige him to discover his Accomplices. But when we have already proved that the Rack cannot be the proper Means for searching Out the truth, then how can it give any Assistance in discovering, the Accomplices in a Crime? It is undoubtedly extremely easy for him, who accuses himself, to accuse others. Besides, is it just to torture one Man for Crimes of others? Might not the Accomplices be discovered by examining the Witnesses who were produced against the Criminal, by a strict Inquiry into the Proofs alledged against him, and even by the Nature of the Fact itself, and the Circumstances which happened at the Time when the Crime was committed? In short, by all the Means which serve to prove the Delinquent guilty of the Crime he had committed ?. . .
209. Is the punishment of death really useful and necessary in a community for the preservation of peace and good order?
210. Proofs from fact demonstrate to us that the frequent use of capital punishment never mended the morals of a people.... The death of a citizen can only be useful and necessary in one case: which is, when, though he be deprived of liberty, yet he has such power by his connections as may enable him to raise disturbances dangerous to the public peace. This case can happen only when a People either loses or recovers their liberty, or in a time of anarchy, when the disorders themselves hold the place of laws. But in a reign of peace and tranquillity, under a Government established with the united wishes of a whole People, in a state well fortified against external enemies and protected within by strong supports, that is, by its own internal strength and virtuous sentiments rooted in the minds of the citizens, and where the whole power is lodged in the hands of a Monarch: in such a state there can be no necessity for taking away the life of a citizen....
220. A Punishment ought to be immediate, analogous to the Nature of the Crime and known to the Public.
221. The sooner the Punishment succeeds to the Commission of a Crime, the more useful and just it will be. Just; because it will spare the Malefactor the torturing and useless Anguish of Heart about the Uncertainty of his Destiny. Consequently the Decision of an Affair, in a Court of Judicature, ought to be finished in as little Time as possible. I have said before that Punishment immediately inflicted is most useful; the Reason is because the smaller the Interval of Time is which passes between the Crime and the Punishment, the more the Crime will be esteemed as a Motive to the Punishment, and the Punishment as an Effect of the Crime. Punishment must be certain and unavoidable.
222. The most certain Curb upon Crimes is not the Severity of the Punishment, but the absolute Conviction in the People that Delinquents will be inevitably punished.
223.The Certainty even of a small, but inevitable Punishment, will make a stronger impression on the Mind than, the Dread even of capital Punishment, connected with the Hopes of escaping it. As Punishments become more mild and moderate; Mercy and Pardon will be less necessary in Proportion, for the Laws themselves, at such a Time, are replete with the Spirit of Mercy.
224 .However extensive a State may be, every Part Of it must depend upon the Laws.
225. We must endeavour to exterminate Crimes in general, particularly those which are most injurious to the Community: Consequently, the Means made use of by the Laws to deter People from the Commission of every Kind of Crimes ought to be the most powerful, in proportion as the Crimes are more destructive to the Public Good, and in proportion to the Strength of the Temptation by which weak or bad Minds may be allured to the Commission of them. Consequently, there ought to be a fixed stated Proportion between Crimes and Punishments.
226. If there be two Crimes, which injure the Community unequally, and yet receive equal Punishment; then the unequal Distribution of the Punishment will produce this strange Contradiction, very little noticed by any one, though it frequently happens, that the Laws will punish Crimes which proceed from the Laws themselves.
227. If the same Punishment should be inflicted upon a Man for killing an Animal as for killing another Man, or for Forgery, the People will soon make no Difference between those Crimes....
239. (Q. 8) Which are the most efficacious Means of preventing Crimes?
240. It is better to prevent Crimes than to punish them.
241. To prevent Crimes is the Intention and the End of every good Legislation; which is nothing more than the Art of conducting People to the greatest Good, or to leave the least Evil possible amongst them, if it should prove impracticable to exterminate the whole.
242. If we forbid many Actions which are termed indifferent by the Moralists, we shall not prevent the Crimes of which they may be productive, but shall create still new Ones.
243. Would you prevent Crimes? Order it so, that the Laws might rather favour every Individual, than any particular Rank of Citizens, in the Community.
244. Order it so, that the People should fear the Laws, and nothing but the Laws.
245. Would you prevent Crimes? Order it so, that the Light of Knowledge may be diffused among the People.
246. A Book of good Laws is nothing but a Bar to prevent the Licentiousness of injurious Men from doing Mischief to their fellow Creatures.
247. There is yet another Expedient to prevent Crimes, which is by rewarding Virtue.
248. Finally, the most sure but, at the same Time, the most difficult Expedient to mend the Morals of the People, is a perfect System of Education....
250. A Society of Citizens, as well as every Thing else, requires a certain fixed Order: There ought to be some to govern, and others to obey.
251. And this is the Origin of every Kind of Subjection; which feels itself more or less alleviated, in Proportion to the Situation of the Subjects.
252. And, consequently, as the Law of Nature commands Us to take as much Care, as lies in Our Power, of the Prosperity of all the People; we are obliged to alleviate the Situation of the Subjects, as much as sound Reason will permit.
253. And therefore, to shun all Occasions of reducing People to a State of Slavery, except the utmost Necessity should inevitably oblige us to do it; in that Case, it ought not to be done for our own Benefit; but for the Interest of the State: Yet even that Case is extremely uncommon.
254. Of whatever Kind Subjection may be, the civil Laws ought to guard, on the one Hand, against the Abuse of Slavery, and, on the other, against the Dangers which may arise from it.
255. Unhappy is that Government, which is compelled to institute severe Laws.
256. Peter the Great ordained, in the Year 1722, that Persons who were insane in Mind, and those who tortured their Vassals, should be put under the Tutelage of Guardians. This Injunctions is executed with regard to the Objects of the first Part of it; the Reason why it is not put in Force with respect to the Objects of the last Part, is unknown.
257. In Sparta Slaves could not obtain the least Satisfaction in the Courts of Judicature: And the Extreme of their Unhappiness consisted in this, that they were not only the Slaves on one individual Citizen, but at the same Time of the whole Community.
258. Among the Romans, in Case of maiming a Slave, Regard was only paid to the Damage done by it to the Master. It was esteemed equal by them, whether a Wound was inflicted on a Beast, or on a Slave: Nothing was taken into Consideration, but only the Diminution in the Price of each: And even that turned to the Interest of the Master, not of the injured.
259. Among the Athenians, whoever treated a Slave with Cruelty, was punished with great Severity.
260. A great Number of Slaves ought not to be enfranchised all at once, nor by a general Law.
261. A Law may be productive of public Benefit, which gives some private Property to a Slave.
262. Let us finish all this, by repeating that fundamental Rule; that the government which most resembles that of Nature, is that, whose particular Disposition answers best to the Disposition of the People, for whom it is instituted.
263. However it is still highly necessary to prevent those Causes, which so frequently incited Slaves to rebel against their masters; but till these Causes are discovered; it is impossible to prevent the like accidents by Laws; though the Tranquillity, both of the one and of the other, depends upon it.
264. Of the Propagation of the human Species in a State.
265. Russia is not only greatly deficient in the number of her Inhabitants; but at the same Time, extends her Dominion over immense Tracts of Land; which are neither peopled nor improved. And therefore, in a Country so circumstanced, too much Encouragement can never be given to the Propagation of the human Species.
266. The Peasants generally have twelve, fifteen, and even twenty Children by one Marriage; but it rarely happens, that one Fourth of these ever attains to the Age of Maturity. There must therefore be some Fault, either in their Feeding, in their Way of Living, or Method of Education, which occasions this prodigious Loss, and disappoints the Hopes of the Empire. How flourishing would the State of this Empire be, if we could but ward off, or prevent this fatal Evil by proper Regulations!
267. You must add too to this, that two Hundred Years are now elapsed, since a Disease unknown to our Ancestors was imported from America, and hurried on the Destruction of the human Race. This Disease spreads wide its mournful and destructive Effects in many of our Provinces. The utmost Care ought to be taken of the Health of the Citizens. It would be highly prudent, therefore, to stop the Progress of this Disease by the Laws.
268. Those of Moses may serve here for an Example. [Leviticus. chap. XIII.]
269. It seems too, that the Method of exacting their Revenues, newly invented y the Lords, diminished both the Inhabitants, and the Spirit of Agriculture in Russia. Almost all the Villages are heavily taxed. The Lords, who seldom or never reside in their Villages, lay an Impost on every Head of one, two, and even five Rubles, without the least Regard to the Means by which their Peasants may be able to raise this Money.
270. It is highly necessary that the Law should prescribe a Rule to the Lords, for a more judicious Method of raising their Revenues; and oblige them to levy such a Tax, as tends least to separate the Peasant from his House and Family; this would be the Means by which Agriculture would become more extensive, and Population be more increased in the Empire.
271. Even now some Husbandmen do not see their Houses for fifteen Years together, and yet pay the Tax annually to their respective Lords; which they procure in Towns at a vast Distance from their Families, and wander over the whole Empire for that Purpose.
272. The more happily a People live under a Government, the more easily the Number of the Inhabitants increases.
273. Countries, which abound with Meadow and Pasture Lands, are generally very thinly peopled; the Reason is, that few can find Employment in those Places: But arable Lands are much more populous; because they furnish Employment for a much greater Number of People.
274. Wherever the Inhabitants can enjoy the Conveniences of Life, there Population will certainly increase.
275. But a Country, which is so overwhelmed with Taxes, that the People, with all their Care and Industry, can with the utmost Difficulty find Means for procuring a bare Subsistance, will, in length of Time, be deserted by its Inhabitants.
276. Where a People is poor for no other Reason, but because they live under oppressive Laws, and esteem their Lands not so much a Fund for their Maintenance, as a Pretence for their Oppression; in such Places, the Inhabitants cannot increase. They have not the Means of Subsistence sufficient for themselves, how then can they think of yielding a Part of it to their Offspring? They are not able to take Care of themselves, even in their own Illness; how then can they bring up, and look after Creatures, which are in a State of continual Illness, that is, Infancy? They bury their Money in the Earth, and are afraid to let it circulate; and they fear to appear rich, because their Wealth might expose them to Persecution and Oppression.
277. The Ease of asserting, and the Incapacity for thoroughly examining an Affair, have induced many to affirm, That the poorer the Subjects live, the more numerous their Families will be; and the heavier the Taxes are, the more readily they will find the Means of paying them. These are two Sophisms, which ever did, and ever will bring Destruction upon Monarchies.
278. The Evil is almost incurable, when the Depopulation of the Country has been of long standing, from some internal Defect in the Constitution, and a bad Administration. The People drop off there by an imperceptible and almost habitual Malady. Born in Languor and Misery, under the Oppression, or false Maxims adopted by Government, they see themselves destroyed frequently, without perceiving the Causes of their Destruction.
279. In order to re-establish a State stripped in such a Manner of its Inhabitants, it will be in vain to expect Assistance from the Children, which may be born in future. This Hope is totally over: People in their Desert have neither Courage nor Industry. Lands, which might feed a whole People, can scarce yield Food for a single Family. The common People in those Parts have no Share even in that, which is the Cause of their Misery; that is, the Lands which lie fallow and uncultivated, with which the Country abounds; either some of the principal Citizens, or the Sovereign, insensibly engross the whole Extent of these desert Countries. The ruined Families have left their Oppressors the whole for Pastures, and the laborious Man has nothing.
280. In such Circumstances, the same Method ought to be followed through the whole Extent of that Country, which the Romans practiced in one Part of theirs. To do, in a Scarcity of Inhabitants, what they did in a Superfluity of them, to divide the Lands amongst the Families which had none, and to enable them to cultivate and improve them. This Division ought to be made without Loss of Time, as soon as ever one Man would undertake it on those Terms, that not a Moment might be lost before the Work is begun.
281. Julius Caesar gave Premiums to those who had many Children. The Laws of Augustus were more forcible. He imposed Penalties upon those who refused to marry, and increased the Premiums of those who married, and also of those who had Children. But these Laws are not consistent with those of our orthodox Religion.
282. In some Countries particular Privileges are granted to married Persons: For Instance, that the Overseers, and petty justices in Villages, must be elected out of the married People only. Unmarried Persons, and those who have no Children, are neither qualified to transact public Business, nor to preside in the Village Courts. He who has the most Children, takes the highest Place in that Court; and that Peasant, who has more than five Sons, is exempt from all Taxes.
283. Among the Romans, unmarried People were excluded from receiving Legacies bequeathed by the Last Wills of Strangers; and married Persons, who had no Children, were entitled only to a Half.
284. The Benefits which a Husband and Wife are able to leave reciprocally by Will to each other, were limited by Law. If they had Children by one another, they could bequeath each other their whole Substance; but, if they had none, they only inherit the tenth Part after the Death of either, in consideration of their Marriage. And if they had Children by a former Marriage, they were allowed to bequeath each other as many tenth Parts as they had Children.
285. If a Husband absented himself from his Wife, upon any other Account than that of the public Service, he was not allowed to inherit her Effects.
286. In some Countries, a certain Pension is appointed for those who have ten Children; and a larger for those who had twelve. But the Point does not consist in rewarding Fecundity only in married People; their Lives ought also to be made as easy as possible; that is, the Careful and Industrious ought to enjoy the Means of supporting themselves and their Families.
287. Temperance in the People conduces greatly to Population.
288. It is generally ordained by the Law, that Fathers should unite their Children in Marriage. But what Advantage will arise from this, if Oppression and Avarice should, in an illegal Manner, usurp the Authority of a Father? Fathers ought rather to be encouraged to unite their Children in Marriage, and not to be debarred the Power of marrying their Children according to their own Judgment.
289. With regard to Marriages, it would be highly necessary, and of great Importance, to define once clearly and with Certainty, the Degree of Consanguinity in which Matrimony is allowed, and the Degree in which it is forbid.
290. There are Countries where the Law [in case of Want of Inhabitants] gives the Freedom of Citizens to Foreigners; or those who are illegitimate, or born only from a Mother who is a Citizen: But when they have acquired a sufficient Number of Inhabitants by these Means, they admit them no longer.
291. The Savages of Canada burn their Prisoners of War; but if they have any vacant Huts, with which they can accommodate the Prisoners, they incorporate them with their own Nation.
292. There are People who, after the Conquest of other Nations, unite in Marriage with the Conquered: Thus they attach the conquered People to themselves, and increase their Numbers.
293. Of handicraft Trades, and Commerce.
294. There can be neither skillful Handicraftsmen, nor a firmly-established Commerce, where Agriculture is neglected, or carried on with Supineness and Negligence.
295. Agriculture can never flourish there, where no Persons have any Property of their own.
296. This is founded upon a very simple Rule: Every Man will take more Care of his own Property, than of that which belongs to another; and will not exert his utmost Endeavours upon that, which he has Reason to fear another may deprive him of.
297. Agriculture is the most laborious Employment a Man can undertake. The more the Climate induces a Man to shun this Trouble, the more the Laws ought to animate him to it.
298. In China, the Emperor Bogdo-Chan is informed annually of that Husbandman, who has distinguished himself most in his Profession, and makes him a Mandarine of the Eighth Order. That Sovereign begins every Year to open the Ground with a Plough, with his own Hands, and with the most magnificent Ceremonies.
299. It would not be improper to give a Premium to those Husbandmen, who bring their Fields into better Order than others.
300. And to the Handicraftsmen, who distinguished themselves most by their Care and Skill.
301. This Regulation will produce a Progress in the Arts, in all Parts of the Country. It was of Service, even in our own Times, in establishing very important Manufactories.
302. There are Countries, where a Treatise of Agriculture, published by the Government, is lodged in every Church, from which the Peasant may be able to get the better of his Difficulties, and draw proper Advantage from the Instructions it contains.
303. There are Nations inclined to Laziness. In order to exterminate Laziness in the Inhabitants, arising from the Climate, such Laws are to be made, as should deprive those, who refuse to work, of the Means of Subsistence.
304. All Nations inclined to Laziness are arrogant in their Behavior; for they who do not work esteem themselves, in some Measure, Rulers over those who labor.
305. Nations who have given themselves up to Idleness, are generally proud: We might turn the Effect against the Cause from which it proceeds, and destroy Laziness by Pride itself.
306. For Government may be as strongly supported by Ambition, as it may be endangered by Pride. In asserting this, we need only represent to ourselves, on the one Hand, the innumerable Benefits which result from Ambition; such as, Industry, Arts, and Sciences, Politeness, Taste, &c.; and, on the other, the infinite Number of Evils arising from Pride, in some Nations; such as Laziness, Poverty, Disregard for every thing; the Destruction of Nations, who accidentally fall into their Power, and afterwards the Ruin of themselves.
307. As Pride induces some to shun Labor, so Ambition impels others to excel all the rest in Workmanship.
308. View every Nation with Attention, and you will find, that arrogant Pride and Laziness, most commonly, go Hand in Hand together.
309. The People of Achim are haughty and lazy: Such amongst them as have no Slaves of their own, hire one, if it be only to carry a small Bag of Rice a hundred Paces. They would look upon it as a Disgrace, if they should carry it themselves.
310. The Women in India think it a Scandal to learn to read: This Business, they say, belongs to the female Slaves, who chant the Hymns in their Temples.
311. A Man is not poor, because he has nothing; but because he will do no Work. He who has no Estate, but will work, may live as well as he, who has an annual Income of a Hundred Rubles, but will do no Work.
312. A Tradesman who has taught his Children his Art, has given them such an Estate, as increases in proportion to their Number.
313. Agriculture is the first and principal Labor, which ought to be encouraged in the People: The next is, the manufacturing our own Produce.
314. Machines, which serve to shorten Labor in the mechanic Arts, are not always useful. If a Piece of Work, wrought with the Hands, can be afforded at a Price, equally advantageous to the Merchant and the Manufacturer; in this Case, Machines which shorten Labor, that is, which diminish the Number of Workmen, will be greatly prejudicial to a populous Country.
315. Yet, we ought to distinguish between what we manufacture for our Home-consumption, and what we manufacture for Exportation into foreign Countries.
316. Too much Use cannot be made of this Kind of Machines in our Manufactures, which we export to other Nations; who do, or may receive the same Kind of Goods, from our Neighbors, or other People; especially those who are in the same Situation with ourselves.
317. Commerce flies from Places where it meets oppression, and settles where it with Protection.
318. The Athenians did not carry on that extensive Commerce, which might have been expected from the Labor of Slaves, the great Number of their Seamen, the Power which they had over the States of Greece, and, what exceeded all, the excellent Regulations of Solon.
319. In many Countries, where all the Taxes are farmed, the Collection of the Royal Revenues ruins Commerce, not only by its Inequality, Oppression, and extreme Exactions, but also by the Difficulties it occasions, and the Formalities it requires.
320. In other Places, where the Duties or Customs are collected upon the good Faith of the Importers, there is a wide Difference in respect of their Convenience for Traffic. One Word in Writing transacts the greatest Business. The Merchant is under no Necessity of losing Time in Attendance; nor obliged to employ Clerks, on purpose to remove the Difficulties started by the Financiers, or be compelled to submit to them.
321. The Liberty of Trading does not consist in a Permission to Merchants of doing whatever they please; this would be rather the Slavery of Commerce: What cramps the Trader, does not cramp the Trade. In free Countries the Merchant meets with innumerable Obstacles; but in despotic Governments he is not near so much thwarted by the Laws. England prohibits the Exportation of its Wool; she has ordained Coals to be imported to the Capital by Sea; she has prohibited the Exportation of Horses fit for Stallions; she obliges Ships, which Trade from her Plantations in America into Europe, to anchor first in England. By these, and such like Prohibitions, she cramps the Merchant; but it is for the Benefit of Commerce.
322. Wherever there is Trade, there are Custom-houses also.
323. The Object of Trade, is the Exportation and Importation of Goods, for the Advantage of the State: The Object of the Custom-houses, is a certain Duty, exacted from the same Exportation and Importation of Goods, for the Advantage likewise of the State; for this Reason a State ought to preserve an exact Impartiality between the Custom-house and the Trade, and to make such proper Regulations, that these two might never clash with each other: Then the People will enjoy there free Liberty of Commerce.
324. England has no Tariff, or fixed Book of Rates with other Nations: Her Tariff changes, as we may say, at every Session of Parliament, by the particular Duties, which she lays on, or takes off.
Strongly jealous of the Trade which is carried on in Her Country, She rarely engages herself in Treaties with other States, and depends on no Laws, but Her own.
325. Some Countries have made Laws, perfectly well calculated to humble those States, which carry on the Commerce of Oeconomy. They are forbidden to import any Commodities, except what are Raw, and not manufactured; and even those must be the Growth of their own Country; and they are prohibited from trading thither in any Vessels, but what are constructed in that Country, from whence they come.
326. The State, which imposes these Laws, ought to be in a Condition to carry on the Trade itself with Ease, and without the Assistance of others; otherwise it would, at least, do equal Injury to itself. It is better to be concerned in Trade with such a Nation, as exacts little, and which the Necessity of Trade renders in some Measure attached to us: With such a People, who from their extensive Views, or Traffic, know where to dispose of their superfluous Merchandise; who are rich, and can take off a great Stock of Commodities; and who will pay for them in ready Money; who, if we may express ourselves in this Manner, are necessitated even by Interest to be honest; who are pacific from Principle; who aim at Profit, but not at Conquests. It is better, I say, to be concerned with such a Nation, than with others, who are always our Rivals, and will grant us none of these Advantages.
327. It would be still more injurious to a State; if, in order to sell its Commodities, it should confine itself to one upon this weak Pretense, that it will take off all our Goods at a fixed Price certain.
328. The true Maxim is, not to exclude any People from trading with us, without very important Reasons.
329. In many Countries Banks are established with good Success; which, by their Credit, have created such new Signs of Valuation, as have increased the Circulation. But, in order to establish the Credit of such Institutions under a monarchical Government, these Banks ought to be annexed to such charitable Foundations, as are esteemed sacred, and independent of the Government; and which have a Grant by Letters Patent, with which no Person can, or ought to interfere; such, for Instance, as Hospitals, Orphan-Houses, &c. that all Persons might be persuaded, and firmly trust, that the Sovereign will never violate the sacred character of those Places; nor incur the Guilt of Sacrilege, by seizing their Money.
330. One of the best Writers upon Laws gives us his Sentiments in the following Words. People, incited by what they see practiced in some Dominions, imagine, that it would be expedient to have Laws, which should encourage the Nobility to engage in Commerce. This would be the Means of ruining the Nobility, without the least Advantage to Commerce. The Practice indeed is extremely wise in those Countries, where Merchants, though not ennobled, are yet capable of attaining the Rank of Nobility; they have the Hopes of obtaining that Rank, without laboring under the Inconveniencies, which actually attend it. They have not a more certain Method of rising above their present Profession, than by carrying it on with the utmost Assiduity, or meeting with such Success, as is generally accompanied with an affluent Fortune. It is repugnant to the true Spirit of Trade, that the Nobility should engage in it under a monarchical Government. It would be fatal to the Cities, as the Emperors Honorius and Theodosius affirm; and would destroy the Facility of buying and selling between the Merchants and the Plebeians. It is equally contrary to the Spirit of monarchical Government, for the Nobility to engage in Trade. The Custom allowed to the Nobility, in some Countries, of engaging in Trade, is one of the Means, which contributed most to weaken the Monarchical Government.
331. There are People, however, of a different Opinion; who judge, that such Noblemen may be permitted to Trade, as are not actually in the Service of the Government; but still with this Restriction, that they conform themselves, in every Thing, to the Laws of Commerce.
332. Theophilus seeing a Ship freighted with Merchandise for his Consort Theodora, ordered it to be bumt. I am an Emperor, said he to her, and thou makest me a Master of a Vessel; which Way shall poor People be able to earn a Livelihood, if we turn Traders? He might have added, "Who will be able to restrain us, if we turn Monopolists? Who can compel us to make good our Contracts? The Courtiers, following our Example, will do the same; they will be more rapacious, and more unjust than we are. The People confide in our Justice, but not in our Opulence: The great Number of Taxes, which reduce them to Misery, are convincing Proofs of our own Necessities."
333. When the Portuguese and Spaniards lorded it over the East-Indies, Trade there produced such lucrative Branches, that their Sovereigns thought proper to seize upon them themselves. This destructive Measure ruined their Settlements in that Part of the World. The Viceroy of Goa granted exclusive Privileges to different Persons. No one can ever confide in such Sort of People; the Trade was ruined by the continual Change of the Parties, to whom it was entrusted. No one gave himself the least Concern about such a Kind of Trade; nor cared in how ruinous a Condition he left it to his Successor. The Profit centered in few hands, and was not sufficiently diffused.
334. Solon made a Law at Athens, that the Person of a Debtor should not be arrested for Debts on civil Contracts. This Law is very useful for the common domestic Affairs of the Citizens; but We ought not to follow it in Affairs relative to Commerce. For as Merchants are frequently obliged to entrust large Sums of Money for very short Times, to give them, and to receive them back; the Debtor ought in justice to be always punctual to the Time appointed for the Payment; which implies a Power of arresting his Person. In Disputes arising from common civil Contracts among the Citizens, the Law ought not to allow the Arrest of the Person; because it sets a greater Value upon the Liberty of one Citizen. than the private Interests of another. But in commercial Contracts, the Law ought to set a greater Value upon the Interest of the whole Community, than upon the Liberty of a private Citizen. Yet this does by no Means exclude such Restrictions and Limitations, as Humanity and good Policy require.
335. That Law at Geneva is highly praise-worthy, which includes all the Children of those who lived or died insolvent from the Magistracy, and even from a Seat in the great Council; unless they discharged the Debts contracted by their Parents. The happy Effect resulting from this Law produces a general Confidence for the Merchants, for the Magistrates, and for the City itself. The particular Credit of every Individual has, in that Place, the same Force as the united Credit of the Public.
336. The Rhodians extended this Law much father. Amongst them a Son could not possibly avoid the Payment of his Father's Debts, even though he should relinquish all Right to his paternal Inheritance. This Law of Rhodes was calculated for a State founded in, and supported by Commerce. The very Nature, therefore, of their Constitution seems to have required this Exception to be annexed to the Law, for the Encouragement of Commerce, That all Debts contracted by the Father, after the Son had commenced Trader upon his own Account, should not affect, or deprive him of what Property he had acquired after that Period of Time. A Merchant ought always to know thoroughly the Extent of his Contracts, and to conduct himself so, as never to exceed his capital Stock.
337. Xenophon is of Opinion, "that a Premium should be allowed to such of the Prefects of Trade, as terminated soonest all Processes relating to Commerce." He seems to have foreseen the Necessity of the Consular Jurisdiction.
338. Affairs relating to Trade will hardly admit of the Delay occasioned by judicial Formalities. They are Actions produced every Day in Commerce, from which others of the same Nature must every Day invariably follow. They ought therefore to be every Day decided. The Case is quite different with respect to temporal Affairs, which chiefly influence future Events, and which happen but rarely. We generally marry but once; we do not make our Wills, or bequeath Gifts every Day, and we can be of Age but once.
339. Plato affirms, that in a City which carries on no Commerce by Sea, there is no Occasion for Half the Number of civil Laws; which is extremely right. A maritime Trade introduces People of various Nations into the same Place; a great Number of Contracts, different Kinds of Commodities, and different Methods of Gain: Consequently, in a trading City, there are fewer Judges, and more Laws.
340. The Law, which confiscates the Effects of any Stranger to the Sovereign's Use in whose Territories he happens to die, and deprives the right Heir of his Inheritance; and the Law, which appropriates to the Sovereign, or his Subjects, the Cargo of a Ship wrecked upon their Coasts, are alike ill-judged and inhuman.
341. The Grand Charter, or Magna Charta of England, forbids the Seizure of the Lands or Revenues of a Debtor, if his moveable or personal Effects are sufficient to discharge his Debts, and he is willing to resign them to his Creditors; In such a Case, all his Effects are valued as ready Money. This Charter does not prevent the Lands and Revenues of an Englishman from being valued as ready Money, in the same Manner as his personal Effects. The Intention of this Prohibition was to protect the Debtor from the Hardships he might be exposed to from the Severity of his Creditors. Justice becomes Oppression, when strained so far beyond the Bounds of Equity, in Seizures for Debts, as to deprive the Debtor of that Security, which Man has a Right to demand; and if one Species of Wealth is alone sufficient for the Payment of his Debts, there is no absolute Necessity for seizing another. And as Lands and Revenues are seized for the Payment of Debts, where no other Effects remain sufficient to satisfy the Creditors, it should seem, that they ought not to be excluded from the Number of those Signs, which are valued as ready Money.
342. The Proof of Gold, of Silver, and of Copper, in Coin, likewise the Impression and the intrinsic Value of the Coin, ought always to be regulated by one fixed Standard, which should never be varied upon any Occasion; for every Alteration in the Coin injures the Credit of the State. Nothing ought to be so much exempted from Alteration, as that which is the commonMeasure of every Thing. Commerce, in its very Nature, is extremely uncertain, and it is highly injurious to add a new Degree of Uncertainty to that, which arises from the very Nature of the Thing itself.
343. There are Laws in some Countries, which prohibit the Subjects to sell their Lands, lest they should transport the Purchase-money into foreign Countries. These Laws might be of use at that Time, when the Wealth of any Country was so circumstanced, that it could not be transported to another without the utmost Difficulty. But since, by the Invention of Letters of Exchange, Wealth is, in some Measure, no longer the sole Property of any particular Country, and can with so much Ease be transferred from one Country to another; that ought to be termed a bad Law, which does not permit the Owner to dispose of his Lands as he thinks proper, and the Situation of his Affairs requires, just as freely, as he can dispose of his Money. This Law is bad too for this Reason, that it gives the Preference, in point of Advantage, to the personal over the landed Estate; because it prevents Foreigners from settling in that Country; and, finally, because it may be easily eluded.
344. It ever happens, that whoever forbids that which Nature itself dictates, or unavoidable Necessity requires, such a one will do nothing more, than only reduce those who practice it to be dishonest.
345. In commercial Countries, where great Numbers depend entirely upon their Art, the State is frequently obliged to provide for the Necessities of the Ancient, the Infirm, and the Orphans. A well-regulated State draws a Fund for their Subsistence from the very Arts themselves; it gives Work to some in proportion to their Abilities; and it teaches others to work, which is itself an Employment.
346. An Alms bestowed on a Beggar in the Street, can never acquit a State of the Obligation it lies under, of affording all its Citizens a certain Support during Life; such as wholesome Food, proper Clothing, and a Way of Life not prejudicial to Health in general.
348. The Rules of Education are the fundamental Institutes which train us up to be Citizens.
349. Each particular Family ought to be governed upon the Plan of the great Family; which includes all the Particulars.
350. It is impossible to give a general education to a very numerous People, and to bring up all the Children in Houses regulated for that Purpose; and, for that Reason, it will be proper to establish some general Rules which may serve by Way of Advice to all Parents.
351. Every Parent is obliged to teach his Children the Fear of God as the Beginning of all Wisdom, and to inculcate into them all those Duties, which God demands from us in the ten Commandments, and our orthodox Eastern Greek Religion, in its Rules and Traditions.
352. Also to inculcate into them the Love of their Country, and to enure them to pay due Respect to the established civil Laws, and to reverence the Courts of Judicature in their Country, as those who, by the Appointment of God, watch over their Happiness in this World.
358. The Husbandmen, who cultivate the Lands to produce Food for People in every Rank of Life, live in Country Towns and Villages. This is their Lot.
359. The Burghers, who employ their Time in mechanick Trades, Commerce, Arts, and Sciences, inhabit the Cities.
360. Nobility is an Appellation of Honour, which distinguishes all those who are adorned with it from every other Person of inferior Rank.
361. As amongst Mankind there were some more virtuous than others ,
and who at the same Time distinguished themselves more eminently by their
merit, the People in ancient Times agreed to dignify the most virtuous,
and the most deserving, by this honorable Appellation, or Title, and determined
to invest them with many Privileges which are founded upon the Principal
Rules of Virtue and Honour above mentioned.
439. Of the Composition of the Laws
447. Every subject, according to the order and Place to which he belongs, is to be inserted separately in the Code of Laws -for instance, under judicial, military, commercial, civil, or the police, city or country affairs, etc. etc
448. Each law ought to be written in so clear a style as to be perfectly intelligible to everyone, and, at the same time, with great conciseness. For this reason explanations or interpretations are undoubtedly to be added (as occasion shall require) to enable judges to perceive more readily the force as well as use of the law…
449. But the utmost care and caution is to be observed in adding these explanations and interpretations, because they may sometimes rather darken than clear up the case; of which there are many instances [in the existing laws].
450. When exceptions, limitations, and modifications are not absolutely necessary in a law, in that case it is better not to insert them; for such particular details generally produce still more details.
451. If the Legislator desires to give his reason for making any particular law, that reason ought to be good and worthy of the law....
452. Laws ought not to be filled with subtile distinctions, to demonstrate the brilliance of the Legislator; they are made for people of moderate capacities as well as for those of genius. They are not a logical art, but the simple and plain reasoning of a father who takes care of his children and family.
453. Real candor and sincerity ought to be displayed in every part of the laws; and as they are made for the punishment of crimes, they ought consequently to include in themselves the greatest virtue and benevolence.
454. The style of the laws ought to be simple and concise: a plain direct expression will always be better understood than a studied one.
455. When the style of laws is tumid and inflated, they are looked upon only as a work of vanity and ostentation....
511. A Monarchy is destroyed when a Sovereign imagines that he displays his power more by changing the order of things than by adhering to it, and when he is more fond of his own imaginations than of his will, from which the laws proceed and have proceeded.
512. It is true there are cases where Power ought and can exert its full influence without any danger to the State. But there are cases also where it ought to act according to the limits prescribed by itself.
513. The supreme art of governing a State consists in the precise knowledge of that degree of power, whether great or small, which ought to be exerted according to the different exigencies of affairs. For in a Monarchy the prosperity of the State depends, in part, on a mild and condescending government.
514. In the best constructed machines, Art employs the least moment, force, and fewest wheels possible. This rule holds equally good in the administration of government; the most simple expedients are often the very best, and the most intricate the very worst.
515. There is a certain facility in this method of governing: It is better for the Sovereign to encourage, and for the Laws to threaten....
519. It is certain that a high opinion of the glory and power of the Sovereign would increase the strength of his administration; but a good opinion of his love of justice will increase it at least as much.
520. All this will never please those flatterers who are daily instilling this pernicious maxim into all the sovereigns on Earth, that Their people are created for them only. But We think, and esteem it Our glory to declare, that "We are created for Our people." And for this reason, We are obliged to speak of things just as they ought to be. For God forbid that after this legislation is finished any nation on Earth should be more just and, consequently, should flourish more than Russia. Otherwise, the intention of Our laws would be totally frustrated; an unhappiness which I do not wish to survive.
521. All the examples and customs of different nations which are introduced in this work [the Instruction] ought to produce no other effect than to cooperate in the choice of those means which may render the people of Russia, humanly speaking, the most happy in themselves of any people upon the Earth.
522. Nothing more remains now for the Commission to do but to compare every part of the laws with the rules of this Instruction.
Source: The Grand Instruction to the Commissioners Appointed to Frame
a New Code of Laws for the Russian Empire: Composed by Her Imperial Majesty
Catherine II. (London, 1768).