Page:Montesquieu - The spirit of laws.djvu/101

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Book IV.
Chap. 5.
stant preference of public to private interest, it is the source of all the particular virtues; for they are nothing more than this very preference itself.

This love is peculiar to democracies. In these alone the government is intruded to private citizens. Now government is like every thing else: to preserve it, we must love it.

Has it ever been heard that kings were not fond of monarchy, or that despotic princes hated arbitrary power ?

Every thing therefore depends on establishing this love in a republic, and to inspire it, it ought to be the principal business of education: but the surest way of instilling it into children, is for parents to set them an example.

People have it generally in their power to communicate their ideas to their children; but they are still better able to transfuse their passions.

If it happens otherwise, it is because the impressions made at home are effaced by those they have received abroad.

It is not the young people that degenerate: they are not spoilt till those of maturer age are already sunk into corruption.

Of some Institutions among the Greeks.

THE ancient Greeks, convinced of the necessity that people who live under a popular government should be trained up to virtue, made very singular institutions in order to inspire it. Upon seeing in the life of Lycurgus the laws that legislator gave to the Lacedaemonians, I imagine I am reading

Vol. I.