restricted access Dialogue Between the Prince of ****and His Confidant, on Certain Essential Elements of Public Administration
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783 DIALOGUE Between the Prince of **** and His Confidant, on Certain Essential Elements of Public Administration Translated by Kenneth Goodwin It was the day of the crowning of the Prince of ****, who had been named as Successor to the Throne. The Count of ****, the Prince’s Confidant, entered the bedroom early in the morning. He found that the Prince had risen, and seeing that he appeared to be very busy, remained a little distance away. When the Prince looked up, the Count began to address him thus: the count. This is the loveliest day of my life and a very happy one for the **** [people of this country]. You, my Prince, are going to reign over them. the prince. Ah! My dear Count, thankHeaventhattodaywillbereally happy for the ****! It will nevertheless be dreadful for me. the count. How so? You seem to fear something that most men regard as the greatest good fortune, being in a position almost above humanity [la Condition humaine]. the prince. The crown is scarcely a benefit destined for the particular advantage of its possessor. I consider it a burden, as difficult an office as it is important. the count. Ah, my dear Prince! (Allowmetousethisexpression;nothing is more fitting.) Since you have such an idea of Royalty, I am certain that you will fulfill its functions perfectly. the prince. If the task was less daunting, I would risk promising myself that. But who could cope in dealing withsomanyimportantmatters 784 additional essays that are so varied and so complicated? I believe, however, that I can categorize them under two general headings, the Glory of the Supreme Being and the Happiness of the Nation. There you have the twin objects of my actions and my cares. They are the great ends for every just government. the count. You could make this fine aim a great deal simpler since both goals are intertwined and are dependent upon each other. In all your steps in the short term, choose the one that pleases you more. Be constant to it and, being an enlightened Prince, you will achieve your other goal. the prince. What you’ve just said, my dear Count, is all very well, and at first sight seems very reasonable. However, I still have something of a problem. I have been told so often that we must sacrifice everything to the Glory of God, that the goods of this world are not those recommended to us by our Religion. the count. The desire to please God must without any doubt be the great motivation which animates every intelligent Being, and this motivation should be reflected in our deeds. This is what I call “glorifying God.” But this Supreme Being has no need of men. He demands nothing from us for himself, and if he gives us our Laws, it is as an infinitely good and wise Father and for our own good. It would be very easy to demonstrate that for every thinking Being without exception, the paths of sound Religion [saine Religion] and those of real happiness are one and the same. Practicing Virtue is the art of making oneself happy. But now, let us speak about the State, of the Nation as a whole. You understand that Religion can flourish, spread, and be fully effective among men only in the kindly shade of peace, safety, and good order, which in turn can be derived only from the establishmentof awell-governedCivil Society. the prince. All this is certain. If men used to live without Laws, or without any form of Government, each living in his own small world, reasonand experienceshowusequallythatReligionwasnotabletomake itself heard, be studied, enjoyed, or practiced, in the midst of suchawful confusion. the prince and his confidant 785 the count. You see then that Religion is very much interested in the prosperity of the State and that you will serve it extremely well by working to encourage this prosperity. Can you conceive of anything more agreeable to the Common Father of all men than to procure the happiness of an infinite number of His Creatures, by maintaining and securing an Establishment under whose shade men can cultivate their Souls, improve their Morals, enlighten themselves, understand their Maker, and serve him by helping their brothers. Allow me in this regard to quote the words of a Pagan Philosopher: Nihil est enim illi principi Deo, qui omnem hunc mundum regit, quod quidem in terris fiat, acceptus, quim concilia catusque hominum jure sociati, qui Civitates appellantur.1 CICERO spoke thus in...


Subject Headings

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