But it was not sufficient only to establish this deposite; it was also necessary to defend it from the usurpation of each individual, who will always endeavour to take away from the mass, not only his own portion, but to encroach on that of others.
But it was not sufficient only to establish this deposite; it was also necessary to defend it from the usurpation of each individual, who will always endeavour to take away from the mass, not only his own portion, but to encroach on that of others.Some motives, therefore, that strike the senses, were necessary to prevent the despotism of each individual from plunging society into its former chaos.In political arithmetic, it is necessary to substitute a calculation of probabilities, to mathematical exactness.
Neither the power of eloquence, nor the sublimest truths, are sufficient to restrain, for any length of time, those passions, which are excited by the lively impressions of present objects.
Every punishment, which does not arise from absolute necessity, says the great Montesquieu, is tyrannical. .) Thus it ws necessity that forced men to give up a part of their liberty; it is certain then, that every individual would chuse to put into the public stock the smallest portion possible; as much only as was sufficient to engage others to defend it.
By this knowledge, commerce is animated, and there has sprung up a spirit of emulation, and industry, worthy of rational beings.
These are the produce of this enlightened age; but the cruelty of punishments, and the irregularity of proceeding in criminal cases, so principal a part of the legislation, and so much neglected throughout Europe, has hardly ever been called in question.
Can the groans of a tortured wretch recall the time past, or reverse the crime he has committed? .) The course of my ideas has carried me, away from my subject, to the elucidation of which I now return.
The end of punishment, therefore, is no other, than to prevent the criminal from doing further injury to society, and to prevent others from committing the like offence. .) The more immediately after the commission of a crime, a punishment is inflicted, the more just and useful it will be. .) An immediate punishment is more useful; because the smaller the interval of time between the punishment and the crime, the stronger and more lasting will be the association of the two ideas of Crime and Punishment; so that they may be considered, one as the cause, and the other as the unavoidable and necessary effect. Crimes are more effectually prevented by the certainty, than the severity of punishment.
The legislator acts, in this case, like a skilful architect, who endeavors to counteract the force of gravity, by combining the circumstances which may contribute to the strength of his edifice. Even amongst the motives which incite men to acts of religion, the invisible legislator has ordained rewards and punishments.
From a partial distribution of these, will arise that contradiction, so little observed, because so common; I mean, that of punishing by the laws, the crimes which the laws have occasioned. .) From the foregoing considerations it is evident, that the intent of punishments, is not to torment a sensible being, nor to undo a crime already committed.
Errors, accumulated through many centuries, have never been exposed by ascending to general principles; nor has the force of acknowledged truths been ever opposed to the unbounded licentiousness of ill-directed power, which has continually produced so many authorized examples of the most unfeeling barbarity.
Surely, the groans of the weak, sacrificed to the cruel ignorance, and indolence of the powerful; the barbarous torments lavished, and multiplied with useless severity, for crimes either not proved, or in their nature impossible; the filth and horrors of a prison, increased by the most cruel tormentor of the miserable, uncertainty, ought to have roused the attention of those whose business is to direct the opinions of mankind.