论法的精神 (君主政体的性质与相关法律)

at 4年前  ca 论法的精神经典语录  pv 1097  by 名著  

Of the Relation of Laws to the Nature of Monarchical Government.


The intermediate, subordinate, and dependent powers constitute the nature of monarchical government; I mean of that in which a single person governs by fundamental laws.


I said the intermediate, subordinate, and dependent powers. And indeed, in monarchies the prince is the source of all power, political and civil.


These fundamental laws necessarily suppose the intermediate channels through which the power flows: for if there be only the momentary and capricious will of a single person to govern the state, nothing can be fixed, and of course there is no fundamental law.


The most natural intermediate and subordinate power is that of the nobility. This in some measure seems to be essential to a monarchy, whose fundamental maxim is: no monarch, no nobility; no nobility, no monarch; but there may be a despotic prince.



There are men who have endeavoured in some countries in Europe to suppress the jurisdiction of the nobility, not perceiving that they were driving at the very thing that was done by the parliament of England. Abolish the privileges of the lords, the clergy and cities in a monarchy, and you will soon have a popular state, or else a despotic government.



The courts of a considerable kingdom in Europe have, for many ages, been striking at the patrimonial jurisdiction of the lords and clergy. We do not pretend to censure these sage magistrates; but we leave it to the public to judge how far this may alter the constitution.

Patrimonial:祖传的  censure:严厉批评;指责


Far am I from being prejudiced in favour of the privileges of the clergy; however, I should be glad if their jurisdiction were once fixed. The question is not whether their jurisdiction was justly established; but whether it be really established; whether it constitutes a part of the laws of the country, and is in every respect in relation to those laws: whether between two powers acknowledged independent, the conditions ought not to be reciprocal; and whether it be not equally the duty of a good subject to defend the prerogative of the prince, and to maintain the limits which from time immemorial have been prescribed to his authority.

Prerogative:特权,君权   immemorial:远古的  prescribe(人、法律、规则)规定,指定  Prejudice:有成见的;偏爱的        reciprocal:互相关联的事物


Though the ecclesiastic power be so dangerous in a republic, yet it is extremely proper in a monarchy, especially of the absolute kind.

What would become of Spain and Portugal, since the subversion of their laws, were it not for this only barrier against the incursions of arbitrary power? A barrier ever useful when there is no other: for since a despotic government is productive of the most dreadful calamities to human nature, the very evil that restrains it is beneficial to the subject.

Ecclesiastic:(基督教的)牧师,神职人员   subversion :(对政府或政治体系的)颠覆,暗中破坏incursion:侵犯   calamity:灾难;灾祸; 祸患  restrain:抑制;限制



In the same manner as the ocean, threatening to overflow the whole earth, is stopped by weeds and pebbles that lie scattered along the shore, so monarchs, whose power seems unbounded, are restrained by the smallest obstacles, and suffer their natural pride to be subdued by supplication and prayer.

Subdued:制服的,被抑制的       supplication:恳求;祈愿;哀求



The English, to favour their liberty, have abolished all the intermediate powers of which their monarchy was composed. They have a great deal of reason to be jealous of this liberty; were they ever to be so unhappy as to lose it, they would be one of the most servile nations upon earth.




Mr. Law, through ignorance both of a republican and monarchical constitution, was one of the greatest promoters of absolute power ever known in Europe. Besides the violent and extraordinary changes owing to his direction, he would fain suppress all the intermediate ranks, and abolish the political communities. He was dissolving the monarchy by his chimerical reimbursements, and seemed as if he even wanted to redeem the constitution.

chimerical:不真实的,奇异的        reimbursement:补偿;赔偿


 论法的精神 (君主政体的性质与相关法律)



It is not enough to have intermediate powers in a monarchy; there must be also a depositary of the laws. This depositary can only be the judges of the supreme courts of justice, who promulgate the new laws, and revive the obsolete.

Depositary:保管人;受托人;受托公司;存放处  promulgate:颁布(法令、新法律等)obsolete:过时的;废弃的;淘汰的


The natural ignorance of the nobility, their indolence and contempt of civil government, require that there should be a body invested with the power of reviving and executing the laws, which would be otherwise buried in oblivion.

Indolence:懒惰     oblivion:被遗忘的状态


The prince's council are not a proper depositary. They are naturally the depositary of the momentary will of the prince, and not of the fundamental laws.

Besides, the prince's council is continually changing; it is neither permanent nor numerous; neither has it a sufficient share of the confidence of the people; consequently it is incapable of setting them right in difficult conjunctures, or of reducing them to proper obedience.

Conjuncture: 危机   枢密院:早在诺曼王朝时代,便已有一王室机构向君主提供建议,该机构主要由权贵、教士和重要官员所组成。此机构原本分别就立法、行政和司法事务向君主提供意见。但到了后来,不少机构拥有相类似的权力:法院取得了司法权,而国会则得到了王国至高无上的立法权。然而,枢密院仍保留了相当的权力,包括在原讼法庭和上诉法庭听取法律纠纷。此外,除了向国会咨询外,君主经咨询枢密院而设立的法例,也是被认为有效的。而君主的枢密院并不是一个合适的法律监察机构。就性质而言,枢密院主要是监督君王随意的行为。更何况君主的枢密院频繁地更换,不具有常设性;其成员不多,在人民中也缺乏足够的信任度,因此在非常时期它既不能引导人民,也不能让人民顺从。

Despotic governments, where there are no fundamental laws, have no such kind of depositary. Hence it is that religion has generally so much influence in those countries, because it forms a kind of permanent depositary; and if this cannot be said of religion, it may of the customs that are respected instead of laws.


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