Top Quotes from Charles de Secondat

There is no greater tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of the law and in the name of justice.

Charles de Secondat

Religious wars are not caused by the fact that there is more than one religion, but by the spirit of intolerance… the spread of which can only be regarded as the total eclipse of human reason.

Charles de Secondat

But constant experience shows us that every man invested with power is apt to abuse it, and to carry his authority as far as it will go.

Charles de Secondat

Society is the union of men and not the men themselves.

Charles de Secondat

You have to study a great deal to know a little.

Charles de Secondat

In bodies moved, the motion is received, increased, diminished, or lost, according to the relations of the quantity of matter and velocity; each diversity is uniformity, each change is constancy.

Charles de Secondat

Not to be loved is a misfortune, but it is an insult to be loved no longer.

Charles de Secondat

People here argue about religion interminably, but it appears that they are competing at the same time to see who can be the least devout.

Charles de Secondat

Although born in a prosperous realm, we did not believe that its boundaries should limit our knowledge, and that the lore of the East should alone enlighten us.

Charles de Secondat

Life was given to me as a favor, so I may abandon it when it is one no longer.

Charles de Secondat

The state of slavery is in its own nature bad.

Charles de Secondat

The object of war is victory; that of victory is conquest; and that of conquest preservation.

Charles de Secondat

Raillery is a mode of speaking in favor of one’s wit at the expense of one’s better nature.

Charles de Secondat

Do you think that God will punish them for not practicing a religion which he did not reveal to them?

Charles de Secondat

A man should be mourned at his birth, not at his death.

Charles de Secondat

There are only two cases in which war is just: first, in order to resist the aggression of an enemy, and second, in order to help an ally who has been attacked.

Charles de Secondat

There is only one thing that can form a bond between men, and that is gratitude… we cannot give someone else greater power over us than we have ourselves.

Charles de Secondat

I have read descriptions of Paradise that would make any sensible person stop wanting to go there.

Charles de Secondat

Republics end through luxury; monarchies through poverty.

Charles de Secondat

The deterioration of a government begins almost always by the decay of its principles.

Charles de Secondat

Liberty is the right of doing whatever the laws permit.

Charles de Secondat

When the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person, or in the same body of magistrates, there can be no liberty; because apprehensions may arise, lest the same monarch or senate should enact tyrannical laws, to execute them in a tyrannical manner.

Charles de Secondat

Slavery, properly so called, is the establishment of a right which gives to one man such a power over another as renders him absolute master of his life and fortune.

Charles de Secondat

Weak minds exaggerate too much the wrong done to the Africans.

Charles de Secondat

Men, who are rogues individually, are in the mass very honorable people.

Charles de Secondat

The success of most things depends upon knowing how long it will take to succeed.

Charles de Secondat

I have always observed that to succeed in the world one should appear like a fool but be wise.

Charles de Secondat

If I knew of something that could serve my nation but would ruin another, I would not propose it to my prince, for I am first a man and only then a Frenchman… because I am necessarily a man, and only accidentally am I French.

Charles de Secondat

Happy the people whose annals are tiresome.

Charles de Secondat

Power ought to serve as a check to power.

Charles de Secondat

They who assert that a blind fatality produced the various effects we behold in this world talk very absurdly; for can anything be more unreasonable than to pretend that a blind fatality could be productive of intelligent beings?

Charles de Secondat

Thus the creation, which seems an arbitrary act, supposes laws as invariable as those of the fatality of the Atheists. It would be absurd to say that the Creator might govern the world without those rules, since without them it could not subsist.

Charles de Secondat

Man, as a physical being, is like other bodies governed by invariable laws.

Charles de Secondat

Each particular society begins to feel its strength, whence arises a state of war between different nations.

Charles de Secondat

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.

Charles de Secondat

The law of nations is naturally founded on this principle, that different nations ought in time of peace to do one another all the good they can, and in time of war as little injury as possible, without prejudicing their real interests.

Charles de Secondat

Law in general is human reason, inasmuch as it governs all the inhabitants of the earth: the political and civil laws of each nation ought to be only the particular cases in which human reason is applied.

Charles de Secondat

There are three species of government: republican, monarchical, and despotic.

Charles de Secondat

When the body of the people is possessed of the supreme power, it is called a democracy.

Charles de Secondat