当前位置: 首页 » 大师研究» 休谟 » 休谟:OF CIVIL LIBERTY
大师研究导航
哈贝马斯
韦伯
马克思
卢曼
萨维尼
罗尔斯
卢梭
德沃金
柏拉图
波斯纳
拉德布鲁赫
康德
凯尔森
庞德
卢埃林
哈特
边沁
亚里斯多德
霍布斯
卡多佐
诺奇克
富勒
哈耶克
穆勒
奥斯丁
尼采
耶林
黑格尔
休谟
霍姆斯
马基雅维里
洛克
阿奎纳
福柯
狄骥
布迪厄
施特劳斯
施密特
拉兹
萨默斯
阿列克西
弗兰克
布莱克斯通
菲尼斯
昂格尔
托克维尔
吉登斯
丹宁
戴雪
兰代尔
梅特兰
柯克
福柯

休谟:OF CIVIL LIBERTY

添加时间:2005-12-31 11:03    浏览次数: 4449 次
OF CIVIL LIBERTY

David Hume

Rendered into HTML and text by Jon Roland Editing and additional notes based
on that of Eugene F. Miller

THOSE who employ their pens on political subjects, free from party-rage, and
party-prejudices, cultivate a science, which, of all others, contributes
most to public utility, and even to the private satisfaction of those who
addict themselves to the study of it. I am apt, however, to entertain a
suspicion, that the world is still too young to fix many general truths in
politics, which will remain true to the latest posterity. We have not as yet
had experience of three thousand years; so that not only the art of
reasoning is still imperfect in this science, as in all others, but we even
want sufficient materials upon which we can reason. It is not fully known,
what degree of refinement, either in virtue or vice, human nature is
susceptible of; nor what may be expected of mankind from any great
revolution in their education, customs, or principles. MACHIAVEL was
certainly a great genius; but having confined his study to the furious and
tyrannical governments of ancient times, or to the little disorderly
principalities of ITALY, his reasonings especially upon monarchical
government, have been found extremely defective; and there scarcely is any
maxim in his prince, which subsequent experience has not entirely refuted. A
weak prince,[1] says he, is incapable of receiving good counsel; for if he
consult with several, he will not be able to choose among their different
counsels. If he abandon himself to one, that minister may, perhaps, have
capacity; but he will not long be a minister: He will be sure to dispossess
his master, and place himself and his family upon the throne. I mention
this, among many instances of the errors of that politician, proceeding, in
a great measure, from his having lived in too early an age of the world, to
be a good judge of political truth. Almost all the princes of EUROPE are at
present governed by their ministers; and have been so for near two
centuries; and yet no such event has ever happened, or can possibly happen.
SEJANUS might project dethroning the C芐ARS; but FLEURY,[2] though ever so
vicious, could not, while in his senses, entertain the least hopes of
dispossessing the BOURBONS.

Trade was never esteemed an affair of state till the last century; and there
scarcely is any ancient writer on politics, who has made mention of it.[3]
Even the ITALIANS have kept a profound silence with regard to it, though it
has now engaged the chief attention, as well of ministers of state, as of
speculative reasoners. The great opulence, grandeur, and military
atchievements of the two maritime powers[4] seem first to have instructed
mankind in the importance of an extensive commerce.

Having, therefore, intended in this essay to make a full comparison of civil
liberty and absolute government, and to show the great advantages of the
former above the latter; I began to entertain a suspicion, that no man in
this age was sufficiently qualified for such an undertaking; and that
whatever any one should advance on that head would, in all probability, be
refuted by further experience, and be rejected by posterity. Such mighty
revolutions have happened in human affairs, and so many events have arisen
contrary to the expectation of the ancients, that they are sufficient to
beget the suspicion of still further changes.

It had been observed by the ancients, that all the arts and sciences arose
among free nations; and, that the PERSIANS and EGYPTIANS, notwithstanding
their ease, opulence, and luxury, made but faint efforts towards a relish in
those finer pleasures, which were carried to such perfection by the GREEKS,
amidst continual wars, attended with poverty, and the greatest simplicity of
life and manners. It had also been observed, that, when the GREEKS lost
their liberty, though they increased mightily in riches, by means of the
conquests of ALEXANDER; yet the arts, from that moment, declined among them,
and have never since been able to raise their head in that climate. Learning
was transplanted to ROME, the only free nation at that time in the universe;
and having met with so favourable a soil, it made prodigious shoots for
above a century; till the decay of liberty produced also the decay of
letters, and spread a total barbarism over the world. From these two
experiments, of which each was double in its kind, and shewed the fall of
learning in absolute governments, as well as its rise in popular ones,
LONGINUS thought himself sufficiently justified, in asserting, that the arts
and sciences could never flourish, but in a free government:[5] And in this
opinion, he has been followed by several eminent writers[6] in our own
country, who either confined their view merely to ancient facts, or
entertained too great a partiality in favour of that form of government,
established amongst us.

But what would these writers have said, to the instances of modern ROME and
of FLORENCE? Of which the former carried to perfection all the finer arts of
sculpture, painting, and music, as well as poetry, though it groaned under
tyranny, and under the tyranny of priests: While the latter made its chief
progress in the arts and sciences, after it began to lose its liberty by the
usurpation of the family of MEDICI. ARIOSTO, TASSO, GALILEO, more than
RAPHAEL, and MICHAEL ANGELO, were not born in republics.[7] And though the
LOMBARD school was famous as well as the ROMAN, yet the VENETIANS have had
the smallest share in its honours, and seem rather inferior to the other
ITALIANS, in their genius for the arts and sciences. RUBENS established his
school at ANTWERP, not at AMSTERDAM: DRESDEN, not HAMBURGH, is the centre of
politeness in GERMANY.[8]

But the most eminent instance of the flourishing of learning in absolute
governments, is that of FRANCE, which scarcely ever enjoyed any established
liberty, and yet has carried the arts and sciences as near perfection as any
other nation. The ENGLISH are, perhaps, greater philosophers;d the ITALIANS
better painters and musicians; the ROMANS were greater orators: But the
FRENCH are the only people, except the GREEKS, who have been at once
philosophers, poets, orators, historians, painters, architects, sculptors,
and musicians. With regard to the stage, they have excelled even the GREEKS,
who far excelled the ENGLISH. And, in common life, they have, in a great
measure, perfected that art, the most useful and agreeable of any, l''Art de
Vivre, the art of society and conversation.

If we consider the state of the sciences and polite arts in our own country,
HORACE''S observation, with regard to the ROMANS, may, in a great measure, be
applied to the BRITISH.

  -- Sed in longum tamen 鎣um
  Manserunt, hodieque manent vestigia ruris.[9]

The elegance and propriety of style have been very much neglected among us.
We have no dictionary of our language, and scarcely a tolerable grammar. The
first polite prose we have, was writ by a man who is still alive.[10] As to
SPRAT, LOCKE and, even TEMPLE, they knew too little of the rules of art to
be esteemed elegant writers.[11] The prose of BACON,

HARRINGTON, and MILTON,[12] is altogether stiff and pedantic; though their
sense be excellent. Men, in this country, have been so much occupied in the
great disputes of Religion, Politics, and Philosophy, that they had no
relish for the seemingly minute observations of grammar and criticism. And
though this turn of thinking must have considerably improved our sense and
our talent of reasoning; it must be confessed, that, even in those sciences
above-mentioned, we have not any standard-book, which we can transmit to
posterity: And the utmost we have to boast of, are a few essays towards a
more just philosophy; which, indeed, promise well, but have not, as yet,
reached any degree of perfection.

It has become an established opinion, that commerce can never flourish but
in a free government; and this opinion seems to be founded on a longer and
larger experience than the foregoing, with regard to the arts and sciences.
If we trace commerce in its progress through TYRE, ATHENS, SYRACUSE,
CARTHAGE, VENICE, FLORENCE, GENOA, ANTWERP, HOLLAND, ENGLAND, &c. we shall
always find it to have fixed its seat in free governments. The three
greatest trading towns now in Europe, are LONDON, AMSTERDAM, and HAM-BURGH;
all free cities, and protestant cities; that is, enjoying a double liberty.
It must, however, be observed, that the great jealousy entertained of late,
with regard to the commerce of FRANCE, seems to prove, that this maxim is no
more certain and infallible than the foregoing, and that the subjects of an
absolute prince may become our rivals in commerce, as well as in learning.

Durst I deliver my opinion in an affair of so much uncertainty, I would
assert, that, notwithstanding the efforts of the FRENCH, there is something
hurtful to commerce inherent in the very nature of absolute government, and
inseparable from it: Though the reason I should assign for this opinion, is
somewhat different from that which is commonly insisted on. Private property
seems to me almost as secure in a civilized EUROPEAN monarchy, as in a
republic; nor is danger much apprehended in such a government, from the
violence of the sovereign; more than we commonly dread harm from thunder, or
earthquakes, or any accident the most unusual and extraordinary. Avarice,
the spur of industry, is so obstinate a passion, and works its way through
so many real dangers and difficulties, that it is not likely to be scared by
an imaginary danger, which is so small, that it scarcely admits of
calculation. Commerce, therefore, in my opinion, is apt to decay in absolute
governments, not because it is there less secure, but because it is less
honourable. A subordination of ranks is absolutely necessary to the support
of monarchy. Birth, titles, and place, must be honoured above industry and
riches. And while these notions prevail, all the considerable traders will
be tempted to throw up their commerce, in order to purchase some of those
employments, to which privileges and honours are annexed.

Since I am upon this head, of the alterations which time has produced, or
may produce in politics, I must observe, that all kinds of government, free
and absolute, seem to have undergone, in modern times, a great change for
the better, with regard both to foreign and domestic management. The balance
of power is a secret in politics, fully known only to the present age; and I
must add, that the internal POLICE of states has also received great
improvements within the last century. We are informed by SALLUST, that
CATILINE''S army was much augmented by the accession of the highwaymen about
ROME;[13] though I believe, that all of that profession, who are at present
dispersed over EUROPE, would not amount to a regiment. In CICERO''S pleadings
for MILO, I find this argument, among others, made use of to prove, that his
client had not assassinated CLODIUS. Had MILO, said he, intended to have
killed CLODIUS, he had not attacked him in the daytime, and at such a
distance from the city: He had way-laid him at night, near the suburbs,
where it might have been pretended, that he was killed by robbers; and the
frequency of the accident would have favoured the deceit. This is a
surprizing proof of the loose police of ROME, and of the number and force of
these robbers; since CLODIUS14 was at that time attended by thirty slaves,
who were compleatly armed, and sufficiently accustomed to blood and danger
in the frequent tumults excited by that seditious tribune.

But though all kinds of government be improved in modern times, yet
monarchical government seems to have made the greatest advances towards
perfection. It may now be affirmed of civilized monarchies, what was
formerly said in praise of republics alone, that they are a government of
Laws, not of Men. They are found susceptible of order, method, and
constancy, to a surprizing degree. Property is there secure; industry
encouraged; the arts flourish; and the prince lives secure among his
subjects, like a father among his children. There are perhaps, and have been
for two centuries, near two hundred absolute princes, great and small, in
EUROPE; and allowing twenty years to each reign, we may suppose, that there
have been in the whole two thousand monarchs or tyrants, as the GREEKS would
have called them: Yet of these there has not been one, not even PHILIP II.
of SPAIN, so bad as TIBERIUS, CALIGULA, NERO, or DOMITIAN,[15] who were four
in twelve amongst the ROMAN emperors. It must, however, be confessed, that,
though monarchical governments have approached nearer to popular ones, in
gentleness and stability; they are still inferior. Our modern education and
customs instil more humanity and moderation than the ancient; but have not
as yet been able to overcome entirely the disadvantages of that form of
government.

But here I must beg leave to advance a conjecture, which seems probable, but
which posterity alone can fully judge of.

I am apt to think, that, in monarchical governments there is a source of
improvement, and in popular governments a source of degeneracy, which in
time will bring these species of civil polity still nearer an equality. The
greatest abuses, which arise in FRANCE, the most perfect model of pure
monarchy, proceed not from the number or weight of the taxes, beyond what
are to be met with in free countries; but from the expensive, unequal,
arbitrary, and intricate method of levying them, by which the industry of
the poor, especially of the peasants and farmers, is, in a great measure,
discouraged, and agriculture rendered a beggarly and slavish employment. But
to whose advantage do these abuses tend? If to that of the nobility, they
might be esteemed inherent in that form of government; since the nobility
are the true supports of monarchy; and it is natural their interest should
be more consulted, in such a constitution, than that of the people. But the
nobility are, in reality, the chief losers by this oppression; since it
ruins their estates, and beggars their tenants. The only gainers by it are
the Finan鏸ers, a race of men rather odious to the nobility and the whole
kingdom. If a prince or minister, therefore, should arise, endowed with
sufficient discernment to know his own and the public interest, and with
sufficient force of mind to break through ancient customs, we might expect
to see these abuses remedied; in which case, the difference between that
absolute government and our free one, would not appear so considerable as at
present.

The source of degeneracy, which may be remarked in free governments,
consists in the practice of contracting debt, and mortgaging the public
revenues, by which taxes may, in time, become altogether intolerable, and
all the property of the state be brought into the hands of the public. This
practice is of modern date. The ATHENIANS, though governed by a republic,
paid near two hundred per Cent. for those sums of money, which any emergence
made it necessary for them to borrow; as we learn from XENOPHON.[16] Among
the moderns, the DUTCH first introduced the practice of borrowing great sums
at low interest, and have well nigh ruined themselves by it. Absolute
princes have also contracted debt; but as an absolute prince may make a
bankruptcy when he pleases, his people can never be oppressed by his debts.
In popular governments, the people, and chiefly those who have the highest
offices, being commonly the public creditors, it is difficult for the state
to make use of this remedy, which, however it may sometimes be necessary, is
always cruel and barbarous. This, therefore seems to be an inconvenience,
which nearly threatens all free governments; especially our own, at the
present juncture of affairs. And what a strong motive is this, to encrease
our frugality of public money; lest for want of it, we be reduced, by the
multiplicity of taxes, or what is worse, by our public impotence and
inability for defence, to curse our very liberty, and wish ourselves in the
same state of servitude with all the nations that surround us?



1. [Hume mistranslates here. Machiavelli speaks of an "imprudent" prince,
not a "weak" prince. See Machiavelli, The Prince (1513), chap. 23.]

2. [Sejanus was prefect of the pr鎡orian guard under the emperor Tiberius,
and ruled Rome after Tiberius''s retirement to Capri (26 CE), but Tiberius
later had him arrested and put to death (31 CE). Cardinal Fleury was first
tutor and later chief minister of Louis XV of France, until his death in
1743.]

3. XENOPHON mentions it; but with a doubt if it be of any advantage to a
state. Ei de kai emporia ophelei ti polin, &c. XEN. HIERO. [Xenophon, Hiero
9.9: "If commerce also brings gain to a city" (Harvard Loeb edition,
translated by E. C. Marchant).] PLATO totally excludes it from his imaginary
republic. De legibus, lib. iv. [Plato (427-347 B.C.), Laws, bk. IV
(704d-705b).]

4. [England and the Netherlands.]

5. [Longinus (A D. 213?-273), On the Sublime, sec. 44. Raised the
possibility that writers and orators of genius are found only in democratic
or free governments, but went on to suggest, somewhat ironically, that the
corruption of genius in the present age is due not to political tyranny but
to the tyranny of the passions, especially love of wealth and its attendant
vices.]

6. Mr. ADDISON and LORD SHAFTESBURY. [See Joseph Addison (1672-1719), The
Taller, no. 161 (20 April, 1710); and Anthony Ashley Cooper, third earl of
Shaftesbury (1671-1713), Characteristics (1711), "Soliloquy," pt. 2, sec.
2.]

7. [The poets Ariosto (1474-1533) and Tasso (1544-92), the physicist Galileo
(1564- 1642), and the artists Raphael (1483-1520) and Michelangelo
(1475-1564) were born in various Italian principalities.]

8. [During the lifetime of the painter Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640),
Antwerp, in the southern Netherlands, was loyal to Catholicism and the
Spanish king. Dresden in the early eighteenth century was often dominated by
Frederick Augustus, Elector of Saxony, a Roman Catholic. Amsterdam and
Hamburg were free and Protestant cities.]

9. [Horace (65-8 B.C.), Epistles 2.1.160: ". . . yet for many a year lived
on, and still live on, traces of our rustic past" (Harvard Loeb edition,
translated by H. Rushton Fairclough).]

10. Dr. SWIFT. [Jonathan Swift (1667- 1745). His works include the satire
Gulliver''s Travels (1726).]

11. [Thomas Sprat (1635- 1713), first historian of the Royal Society. John
Locke (1632-1704) wrote Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690) and Two
Treatises of Government (1690). Sir William Temple (1628-99) was a prominent
essayist and historian.]

12. [John Milton (1608-74). Wrote several political essays in addition to
his works of poetry and prose, such as Areopagitica (1644) and Paradise Lost
(1667).]

13. [See Sallust (86-34? B.C.), The War with Catiline. Embittered by being
rejected for the office of consul, Catiline raised a private army and tried
unsuccessfully to capture the government of Rome.]

14. Vide Asc. Ped. in Orat. pro Milone [The Speech on Behalf of Milo].

15. [Philip II was king of Spain and the Spanish Empire from 1556 to 1598.
Tiberius was emperor of Rome from A.D. 14 to 37, Caligula from 37 to 41,
Nero from 54 to 68, and Domitian from 81 to 96.]

16. [Ktesin de ap oudenos an outo kalen ktesainto, osper aph ou an
protelesosin eis ten aphormen -- oi de ge pleistoi Athenaion pleiona
lepsontai kat eniauton e osa an eisenegkosin oi gar mnan protelesantes,
eggus duoin mnain prosodon exousi -- o dokei ton anthropinon asphalstaton te
kai polychroniotaton einai. XEN. POROI. Xenophon, Ways and Means 3.9-10:
"But no investment can yield them so fine a return as the money advanced by
them to form the capital fund. . . . But most of the Athenians will get over
a hundred per cent. in a year, for those who advance one mina will draw an
income of nearly two min? guaranteed by the state, which is to all
appearances the safest and most durable of human institutions" (Harvard Loeb
edition, translated by E. C. Marchant).]




上一篇:高全喜:休谟与现代自由主义(一...      下一篇:竺乾威:休谟、斯密和功利主义
发表评论 回到页顶
 
 
正来学堂版权所有 © 2009 沪ICP备042465号
地址:上海市杨浦区邯郸路220号光华楼东主楼28楼复旦大学社会科学高等研究院 邮编:200433
 E-mail:dengzhenglai@126.com