Quotes about Montesquieu
9 Sourced Quotes
Many a person who could not comprehend Rousseau, and would be puzzled by Montesquieu, could understand Paine as an open book. He wrote with a clarity, a sharpness of outline and exactness of speech that even a schoolboy should be able to grasp. There is nothing false, little that is subtle, and an impressive lack of the negative in Paine. He literally cried to his reader for a comprehending hour, and then filled that hour with such sagacious reasoning as we find surpassed nowhere else in American letters — seldom in any school of writing.
We may like well to know what is Plato's and what is Montesquieu's or Goethe's part, and what thought was always dear to the writer himself; but the worth of the sentences consists in their radiancy and equal aptitude to all intelligence. They fit all our facts like a charm. We respect ourselves the more that we know them.
It is scarcely necessary to describe this modern system of principles that still continues to govern human intercourse among the civilized peoples, or to attempt an exposition of its constituent articles. It is all to be had in exemplary form, ably incorporated in such familiar documents as the American Declaration of Independence, the French Declaration of the Rights of Man, and the American Constitution; and it is all to be found set forth with all the circumstance of philosophical and juristic scholarship in the best work of such writers as John Locke. Montesquieu. Adam Smith, or Blackstone.
There is no error so monstrous that it fails to find defenders among the ablest men. Imagine a congress of eminent celebrities, such as More, Bacon, Grotius, Pascal, Cromwell, Bossuet, Montesquieu, Jefferson, Napoleon, Pitt, etc. The result would be an Encyclopedia of Error.