MONTESQUIEU, Charles de Secondat Quotes
(1689-1755), French philosopher
I never listen to calumnies; because, if they are untrue, I run the risk of being deceived; and if they are true, of hating persons not worth thinking about.
The less men think, the more they talk.
The love of democracy is that of equality.
When the savages wish to have fruit they cut down the tree and gather it.—That is exactly a despotic government.
There are bad examples that are worse than crimes; and more states have perished from the violation of morality than from the violation of law.
There is no one, says another, whom fortune does not visit once in his life; but when she does not find him ready to receive her, she walks in at the door, and flies out at the window.
Countries are well cultivated, not as they are fertile, but as they are free.
The culminating point of administration is to know well how much power, great or small, we ought to use in all circumstances.
If one only wished to be happy, this could be easily accomplished; but we wish to be happier than other people, and this is always difficult, for we believe others to be happier than they are.
True happiness renders men kind and sensible; and that happiness is always shared with others.
Nature is just toward men. It recompenses them for their sufferings; it renders them laborious, because to the greatest toils it attaches the greatest rewards.
Law should be like death, which spares no one.
We should never create by law what can be accomplished by morality.
Liberty is the right to do what the laws allow; and if a citizen could do what they forbid, it would be no longer liberty, because others would have the same powers.
A nation may lose its liberties in a day, and not miss them in a century.
Those who have few affairs to attend to are great speakers.—The less men think the more they talk.
The morality of the gospel is the noblest gift ever bestowed by God on man.
What too many orators want in depth, they give you in length.
The sacred books of the ancient Persians say: If you would be holy instruct your children, because all the good acts they perform will be imputed to you.
Passions makes us feel, but never see clearly.
The love of country produces good manners; and good manners, love of country.—The less we satisfy our individual passions, the more we leave to our general.
The spirit of politeness is a desire to bring about by our words and manners, that others may be pleased with us and with themselves.
Raillery is a mode of speaking in favor of one's wit against one's good nature.
The love of reading enables a man to exchange the wearisome hours of life, which come to everyone, for hours of delight.
The pious man and the atheist always talk of religion; the one of what he loves, and the other of what he fears.
Republics come to an end by luxurious habits; monarchies by poverty.
I never listen to calumnies, because, if they are untrue, I run the risk of being deceived, and if they are true, of hating persons not worth thinking about.
I have ever held it a maxim, never to do through another what it was possible for me to do myself.
Slavery is contrary to the fundamental law of all societies.
Man is a social animal, formed to please and enjoy in society.
In most things success depends on knowing how long it takes to succeed.
Those who have but little business to attend to, are great talkers. The less men think, the more they talk.
As the general rule in constitutional states liberty is a compensation for the heaviness of taxation, and in despotic states the equivalent for liberty is the lightness of taxation.
Vanity is as advantageous to a government, as pride is dangerous.
The life of states is like that of men. The latter have the right of killing in self-defence; the former to make wars for their own preservation.