O F L A W S. 77
of wealth, prudent and infenfible regulations fhould B K be made; but no confifcations, no agrarian laws, Ch 3 no expunging of debts, thefe are things that are productive of infinite mifchief.
The laws ought to abolilh the right of primo geniture among the nobles *, to the end that by a continual divifion of the inheritances their fortunes may be always upon a level.
There mould be no fubftitutions, no powers of
demption, no rights of Majorafgo, or adoption. The contrivances for perpetuating the grandeur of families in monarchical governments, ought never to be employed in -f- ariftocracies.
After the laws have compafied the equality of families, the next thing they have to do, is to pre- ferve a proper harmony and union amongft them. The quarrels of the nobility ought to be quickly decided , otherwife the contefts of individuals be come thofe of families. Arbiters may terminate, or even prevent the rife of difputes.
In fine, the laws muft not favour the diftinctions raifed by vanity among families, under pretence that they are more noble or ancient ; pretences of this nature ought to be ranked among the weak- nefTes of private perfons.
We have only to caft our eyes on Sparta ; there we may fee how the Ephori contrived to check the foibles of the kings, as well as thofe of the nobility and of the common people.
- It is fo pra&ifed at Venice, Amclot de la HouJJaye t p. 30, &
f The main defign of fome ariftocracies Teems to be lefs the
fupport of the ftate than of what they call their nobility.