restricted access Chapter XV - Of the Glory of a Nation
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chapter xv 203 placed in this happy situation, either by keeping up its own strength equal or even superior to that of its neighbours,—or by preventingtheir rising to a predominantand formidablepower.Butwecannotshewhere, in what cases, and by what means, a state may justly set bounds to the power of another: it is necessary first to explain the duties of a nation towards others, in order to combine them afterwards with its duties towards itself. For the present we shall only observe that a nation, while it obeys the dictates of prudence and wise policy in this instance, ought never to lose sight of the maxims of justice. chapter xv Of the Glory of a Nation. The glory of a nation is intimately connected with its power, andindeed forms a considerable part of it. It is this brilliant advantage thatprocures it the esteem of other nations, and renders it respectable to its neighbours . A nation whose reputation is well established,—especially one whose glory is illustrious,—is courted by all sovereigns: they desire its friendship, and are afraid of offending it. Its friends, and thosewhowish to become so, favour its enterprises, and those who envy its prosperity are afraid to shew their ill-will. It is then of great advantage to a nation to establish its reputationand glory: hence this becomes one of the most important of the duties it owes to itself. True glory consists in the favourable opinion of men of wisdom and discernment: it is acquired by the virtues or good qualities of the head and the heart, and by great actions which are the fruits of those virtues. A nation may have a two-fold claim to it—first, by what it does in its national character, by the conduct of those who have the administration of its affairs, and are invested with its authority and government ,—and, secondly, by the merit of the individuals of whom the nation is composed. A prince, a sovereign of whatever kind, being bound to exert every effort for the good of the nation, is doubtless obliged to extend its glory,§186. Advantages of glory.§187. Duty of the nation. How true glory is acquired.§188. Duty of the prince. 204 book i: nations in themselves as far as lies in his power. We have seen that his duty is to labour after the perfection of the state, and of the people who are subject to him: by that means he will make them merit a good reputation and glory. He ought always to have this object in view in every thing he undertakes, and in the use he makes of his power. Let him, in all his actions, display justice, moderation, and greatness of soul: and he will thus acquire for himself and his people a name respected by the universe, and not less useful than glorious. The glory of Henry IV.66 saved France: in the deplorable state in which he found affairs, his virtues gave animation to the loyal part of his subjects, and encouraged foreign nations to lend him their assistance, and to enter into an alliance with him against the ambitious Spaniards. In his circumstances, a weak prince of little estimation would have been abandoned by all the world; people wouldhave been afraid of being involved in his ruin. Besides the virtues which constitute the glory of princes as well as of private persons, there is a dignity and decorum that particularly belong to the supreme rank, and which a sovereign ought to observe with the greatest care. He cannot neglect them without degrading himself, and casting a stain upon the state. Every thing that emanates from thethrone ought to bear the character of purity, nobleness, and greatness. What an idea do we conceive of a people, when we see their sovereign display in his public acts a meanness of sentiment,bywhichaprivatepersonwould think himself disgraced! All the majesty of the nation resides in the person of the prince:—what then must become of it if he prostitutes it, or suffers it to be prostituted by those who speak and act in his name? The minister who puts into his master’s mouth a language unworthy of him, deserves to be turned out of office with every mark of ignominy. The reputation of individuals is, by a common and natural mode of speaking and thinking, made to reflect on the whole nation. In general we attribute a virtue or a vice to a people, when that...


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  • International law.
  • War (International law).
  • Natural law.
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