at 3年前 ca 论法的精神经典语录 pv 1950 by 名著
Of the Simplicity of Civil Laws in different Governments.
Monarchies do not permit of so great a simplicity of laws as despotic governments. For in monarchies there must be courts of judicature; these must give their decisions; the decisions must be preserved and learned, that we may judge in the same manner to-day as yesterday, and that the lives and property of the citizens may be as certain and fixed as the very constitution of the state.
In monarchies, the administration of justice, which decides not only in whatever belongs to life and property, but likewise to honour, demands very scrupulous inquiries. The delicacy of the judge increases in proportion to the increase of his trust, and of the importance of the interests on which he determines.
We must not, therefore, be surprised to find so many rules, restrictions, and extensions in the laws of those countries — rules that multiply the particular cases, and seem to make of reason itself an art.
The difference of rank, birth, and condition established in monarchical governments is frequently attended with distinctions in the nature of property; and the laws relating to the constitution of this government may augment the number of these distinctions. Hence, among us goods are divided into real estates, purchases, dowries, paraphernalia, paternal and maternal inheritances; movables of different kinds; estates held in fee-simple, or in tail; acquired by descent or conveyance; allodial, or held by soccage; ground rents; or annuities. Each sort of goods is subject to particular rules, which must be complied with in the disposal of them. These things must needs diminish the simplicity of the laws.
In our governments the fiefs have become hereditary. It was necessary that the nobility should have a fixed property, that is, the fief should have a certain consistency, to the end that the proprietor might be always in a capacity of serving the prince. This must have been productive of great varieties; for instance, there are countries where fiefs could not be divided among the brothers; in others, the younger brothers may be allowed a more generous subsistence.
The monarch who knows each of his provinces may establish different laws, or tolerate different customs. But as the despotic prince knows nothing, and can attend to nothing, he must take general measures, and govern by a rigid and inflexible will, which throughout his whole dominions produces the same effect; in short, everything bends under his feet.
In proportion as the decisions of the courts of judicature are multiplied in monarchies, the law is loaded with decrees that sometimes contradict one another; either because succeeding judges are of a different way of thinking, or because the same causes are sometimes well, and at other times ill, defended; or, in fine, by reason of an infinite number of abuses, to which all human regulations are liable. This is a necessary evil, which the legislator redresses from time to time, as contrary even to the spirit of moderate governments. For when people are obliged to have recourse to courts of judicature, this should come from the nature of the constitution, and not from the contradiction or uncertainty of the law.
In governments where there are necessary distinctions of persons, there must likewise be privileges. This also diminishes the simplicity, and creates a thousand exceptions.
One of the privileges least burdensome to society, and especially to him who confers it, is that of pleading in one court in preference to another. Here new difficulties arise, when it becomes a question before which court we shall plead.
Far different is the case of the people under despotic governments. In those countries I can see nothing that the legislator is able to decree, or the magistrate to judge. As the lands belong to the prince, it follows that there are scarcely any civil laws in regard to landed property. From the right the sovereign has to successions, it follows, likewise, that there are none relating to inheritances. The monopolies established by the prince for himself in some countries render all sorts of commercial laws quite useless. The marriages which they usually contract with female slaves are the cause that there are scarcely any civil laws relating to dowries, or to the particular advantage of married women. From the prodigious multitude of slaves, it follows, likewise, that there are very few who have any such thing as a will of their own, and of course are answerable for their conduct before a judge. Most moral actions that are only in consequence of a father's, a husband's, or a master's will, are regulated by them, and not by the magistrates.
I forgot to observe that as what we call honour is a thing hardly known in those countries, the several difficulties relating to this article, though of such importance with us, are with them quite out of the question. Despotic power is self-sufficient; round it there is an absolute vacuum. Hence it is that when travellers favour us with the description of countries where arbitrary sway prevails, they seldom make mention of civil laws.1
All occasions, therefore, of wrangling and law-suits are here removed. And to this in part is it owing that litigious people in those countries are so roughly handled. As the injustice of their demand is neither screened, palliated, nor protected by an infinite number of laws, of course it is immediately discovered.
1. In Mazulipatam it could never be found out that there was such a thing as a written law. See the Collection of Voyages that Contributed to the Establishment of the East India Company, iv., part I, p. 391. The Indians are regulated in their decisions by certain customs. The Vedan and such books do not contain civil laws, but religious precepts. See Edifying Letters, coll. xiv.