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sary that the people should be judged by laws, and the great
men by the caprice of the prince, that the lives of the lowest
subjects should be safe, and the bashaw's head always in
danger/' Obedience in a despotism must be unlimited, and
rendered in a spirit of fear ; everything but religion will be
made to yield to the despot's will; then a higher fear coun-
teracts the fear of him. Honor cannot be a principle of des-
potism, for it implies distinction of ranks, and all are on a
level under a despot; he will, if he can, break up a hereditary
nobility and have no distinctions save official ones. " Honor
glories in contempt of life," but the prince expects to terrify
by having life and death in his hands. Honor has fixed
principles which counteract the mere caprice of a tyrant.
Honor, we might add, adheres on principle to truth, but fear
leads to falsehood and to dissimulation. " As for virtue,"
says Montesquieu, " it is not necessary there, and honor there
would be dangerous."
To this account of despotism, pure and absolute, there is
little, on the whole, to object. It controls by the meanest
principles of our nature—it teaches universal falsehood and
distrust. In the end it awakens dread in the tyrant's own
heart, makes him resort to cruelty, and then fills him with
The principle of monarchy is honor, according to our
author, but he is not careful to give an exact notion of what
he intends by the word. It is a quality which resides in men
of rank and of a noble descent. It aspires to preferments
and titles, and is therefore associated with this form of gov-
ernment. Ambition, which is pernicious in a republic, has
some good effects in a monarchy. " It may be called the
prejudice of every person and rank, and is capable of inspir-
ing the most glorious actions, and when joined with the force
of the laws, may lead us to the end of government as well as
virtue itself." " In monarchies policy makes people do great
things with as little virtue as is necessary," In well regulated
monarchies almost all are good subjects, and very few, good
men, The courtiers of his time Montesquieu speaks of in