Reference > Quotations > James Wood, comp. > Dictionary of Quotations
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James Wood, comp.  Dictionary of Quotations.  1899.
 
Montesquieu
 
  Ce qui manque aux orateurs en profondeur, / Ils vous le donnant en longueur—What orators want in depth, they make up to you in length.  1
  Ce sont toujours les aventuriers qui font de grandes choses, et non pas les souverains des grandes empires—It is always adventurers who do great things, not the sovereigns of great empires.  2
  Countries are well cultivated, not as they are fertile, but as they are free.  3
  Happy the people whose annals are blank in History’s book.  4
  I have ever held it as a maxim never to do that through another which it was possible for me to execute myself.  5
  Il a plus que personne l’esprit que tout le monde a—He has more than any other the mind which every one has.  6
  Il n’y a point de plus cruelle tyrannie que celle que l’on exerce à l’ombre des lois et avec les couleurs de la justice—There is no crueller tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of law and in the name of justice.  7
  Il n’y a rien de si puissant qu’une république où l’on observe les lois, non pas par crainte, non pas par raison, mais par passion—There is no commonwealth so powerful as one in which the laws are observed not from a principle of fear or reason, but passion.  8
  In constitutional states, liberty is a compensation for heaviness of taxation; in despotic ones, lightness of taxation is a compensation for liberty.  9
  J’ai en toujours pour principe de ne faire jamais par autrui ce que je pouvais faire par moimême—I have ever held it as a maxim never to do that through another which it was possible for me to do myself.  10
  J’ai toujours vu que, pour réussir dans le monde, il fallait avoir l’air fou et être sage—I have always observed that to succeed in the world a man must seem simple but be wise.  11
  Kleine Geschenke erhalten die Freundschaft—Little gifts keep friendship green.  12
  L’atrocité des lois en empêche l’exécution—The severity of the laws prevents the execution of them.  13
  L’esprit de modération doit être celui du législateur—A legislator should be animated by the spirit of moderation.  14
  La corruption de chaque gouvernement commence presque toujours par celle des principes—The decay of every government almost always dates from the decay of the principles on which it is founded.  15
  La nature est juste envers les hommes—Nature is just to men.  16
  Laws should be like death, which spares no one.  17
  Laws undertake to punish only overt acts.  18
  Le citoyen peut périr, et l’homme rester—The citizen may perish and man remain.  19
  Les grands seigneurs ont des plaisirs, le peuple a de la joie—High people have pleasures, common people have joy.  20
 
 
  Les hommes extrêmement heureux et les hommes extrêmement malheureux, sont également portés à la dureté—Men extremely happy and men extremely unhappy are alike prone to become hard-hearted.  21
  Les hommes fripons en détail sont en gros de très honnêtes gens—Men who are knaves severally are in the mass highly honourable people.  22
  Les mœurs du prince contribuent autant à la liberté que les lois—The manners of the prince conduce as much to liberty as the laws.  23
  Les républiques finissent par le luxe; les monarchies par la pauvreté—Luxury ruins republics; poverty, monarchies.  24
  Liberty is the right of doing whatever the laws permit.  25
  Men, who are knaves individually, are in the mass very honourable people.  26
  Nature is just towards men. It recompenses them for their sufferings; it renders them laborious, because to the greatest toils it attaches the greatest rewards.  27
  People who have little to do are great talkers. The less they think the more they talk, and so women talk more than men. A nation where women determine the fashion is always talkative.  28
  Political liberty is to be found only in moderate governments.  29
  Poverty of soul is irreparable.  30
  Public affairs ought to progress quickly or slowly, but the people have always too much action or too little. Sometimes with their hundred thousand arms they will overthrow everything, and sometimes with their hundred thousand feet they will crawl along like insects.  31
  Quand les sauvages de la Louisiane veuleut avoir du fruit, ils coupent l’arbre au pied et cueillent le fruit; voilà le gouvernement despotique—When the savages of Louisiana want fruit, they cut down the tree by the root to obtain it. Such is despotic government.  32
  Republics end with luxury; monarchies, with poverty.  33
  Success in the majority of circumstances depends on knowing how long it takes to succeed.  34
  Talent is a gift which God has imparted in secret, and which we reveal without knowing it.  35
  The laws undertake to punish only overt acts.  36
  The less men think the more they talk.  37
  The love of country produces good manners, and good manners also love of country. The less we satisfy our particular passions, the more we leave to our general.  38
  The severity of laws impedes their execution.  39
  The spirit of moderation should be the spirit of a lawgiver.  40
  This is how I define talent; it is a gift God has given us in secret, which we reveal without knowing it.  41
  Unhappy lot of man! Hardly has the mind attained maturity, when the body begins to pine away.  42
  Virtue is necessary to a republic.  43
  We wish to be happier than other people; and this is almost always difficult, for we believe others to be happier than they are.  44
 
 
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