you prevent crimes? Let liberty be attended with knowledge. As knowledge extends, the disadvantages which attend it diminish, and the advantages increase. A daring impostor, who is always a man of some genius, is adored by the ignorant populace, and despised by men of understanding. Knowledge facilitates the comparison of objects, by shewing them in different points of view. When the clouds of ignorance are dispelled by the radiance of knowledge, authority trembles, but the force of the laws remains immoveable. Men of enlightened understanding must necessarily approve those useful conventions, which are the foundation of public safety; they compare, with the highest satisfaction, the inconsiderable portion of liberty of which they are deprived, with the sum total sacrificed by others for their security; observing that they have only given up the pernicious liberty of injuring their fellow-creatures, they bless the throne, and the laws upon which it is established.
These contradictions between the laws of families, and the fundamental laws of a state, are the source of many others between public and private morality, which produce a perpetual conflict in the mind. Domestic morality inspires submission and fear: the other, courage and liberty. That instructs a man to confine his beneficence to a small number of persons, not of his own choice; this, to extend it to all mankind: that commands a continual sacrifice of himself to a vain idol, called the which is often no real good to any one of those who compose it; this teaches him to consider his own advanatge without offending the laws, or excites him to sacrifice himself for the good of his country by rewarding him beforehand with the fanaticism it inspires. Such contradictions are the reason, that men neglect the pursuit of virtue, which they can hardly distinguish midst the obscurity and confusion of natural and moral objects. How frequently are men, upon a retrospection of their actions, astonished to find themselves dishonest.
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There is this difference between a state of society and a state of nature, that a savage does no more mischief to another than is necessary to procure some benefit to himself; but a man in society is sometimes tempted, from a fault in the laws, to injure another, without any prospect of advantage. The tyrant inspires his vassals with fear and servility, which rebound upon him with double force, and are the cause of his torment. Fear, the more private and domestic it is, the less dangerous is it to him who makes it the instrument of his happiness; but the more it is public, and the greater number of people it affects, the greater is the probability that some mad, desperate or designing person will seduce others to his party, by flattering expectations; and this will be the more easily accomplished, as the danger of the enterprize will be divided amongst a great number, because the value the unhappy set upon their existence is less, as their misery is greater.