more from Baron de Montesquieu

Single Idea 19959

[catalogued under 25. Society / E. State Functions / 1. The Law / b. Natural law]

Full Idea

The relations of equity precede the positive laws that establish them. It is right to conform to laws in a society; intelligent beings should be grateful for benefits; we remain dependent on those who create us; an injury merits the same in return.

Gist of Idea

Prior to positive laws there is natural equity, of obedience, gratitude, dependence and merit


Baron de Montesquieu (The Spirit of the Laws (rev. 1757) [1748], 01.01)

Book Reference

Montesquieu,Baron de: 'Selected Political Writings', ed/tr. Richter,Melvin [Hackett 1990], p.110

A Reaction

[the examples are compressed] A nice statement of the idea of natural law. It doesn't follow that because an injury merits retaliation, that it should be implemented (just that no one can complain if it happens).