Page:Montesquieu - The spirit of laws.djvu/175
OF LAWS. 123
It often happens that a legiflator defirous of re- BOOK: forming an evil, thinks of nothing but of this refor- CJia 12 mation ; his eyes are open only to this object, and fhut to its inconveniencies. When the evil is re- drefifed, there is nothing more feen but the feverity of the legiflator , yet there (till remains an evil in the date that has fprung from this feverity ; the minds of the people are corrupted, and become ha bituated to defpotic power.
Lyfander ( ; ) having obtained a victory over the ( b ) Xe- Athenians, the prifoners were ordered to be tried in J 1 .??* 1 confequence of an accufation brought againlt the Athenians of having thrown all the captives of two gallies down a precipice, and of having refolvcd in full afTembly to cut off the hands of thofe whom they mould chance to make prifoners. The Athe nians were therefore all mafiacred, except Adyn: who had oppofed this decree. Lvfjvder reproached Philocles, before he was put to death, with having depraved the people s minds and given leiTons of cruelty to all Greece.
" The Argives, fays Plutarch ( c ), having put ff- ( c )Mc- ce teen hundred of their citizens to death, the At he- f !
,, . i i r -r r T who art
mans ordered Jacnfces of expiation, that it might mtrufled " pleafe tbs Gods to turn the hearts of the Athenians >7 -" v/
L<. r r j ,; 7 A > direftion
jrom Jo cruel a thought. O f ftate
There are two forts of corruption ; one when affairs. the people do not obferve the laws ; the other when they are corrupted by the laws ; an incurable evil, becaufe it is in the very remedy itfelf.