Page:Montesquieu - The spirit of laws.djvu/276
224 T H E S P I R I T
BOOK upon fee!ng it once corrupted, would no longer ex- Chap 6 P e( -t anv gd from its laws ; and of courfe they would either become defperate or fall into a (late of indolence.
The legislative body fhould not afiemble of it- felf. For a body is fuppofed to have no will but when it is afiembled ; and befides were it not to aflemble unanimoufly, it would be impofiible to determine which was really the legiflative body, the part aflembled, or the other. And if it had a right to prorogue itfelf, it might happen never to be prorogued ; which would be extremely dan gerous in cafe it mould ever attempt to incroach on the executive power. Befides there are feafons, fome of which are more proper than others, for af- fembling the legiflative body : it is fit therefore that the executive power fhould regulate the time of con vening as well as the duration of thofe aflemblies, according to the circumflances and exigencies of flate known to itfelf.
Were the executive power not to have a right of putting a flop to the encroachments of the legiflative body, the latter would become defporic ; for as it might arrogate to itfelf what authority it pleafed, it would foon deflroy all the other powers.
But it is not proper on the other hand that the iegiflative power fhould have a right to flop the ex ecutive. For as the execution has its natural limits, it is uftlefs to confine it ; befides the executive power is generally employed in momentary operati ons. The power therefore of the Roman tribunes was faulty, as it put a flop not only to the legifla- tion, but likewife to the execution itfelf; which was attended with infinite mifchiefs.