Leviathan

by: Thomas Hobbes

Book II, Chapters 25–31

1

For the passions of men, which asunder are moderate, as the heat of one brand; in assembly are like many brands that inflame one another (especially when they blow one another with orations) to the setting of the Commonwealth on fire, under pretence of counselling it.

2

A crime is a sin consisting in the committing by deed or word of that which the law forbiddeth, or the omission of what it hath commanded. So that every crime is a sin; but not every sin a crime.

3

Again, there is sometimes in a Commonwealth a disease which resembleth the pleurisy; and that is when the treasure of the Commonwealth, flowing out of its due course, is gathered together in too much abundance in one or a few private men, by monopolies or by farm of the public revenues; in the same manner as the blood in a pleurisy, getting into the membrane of the breast, breedeth there an inflammation, accompanied with a fever and painful stitches.

4

The safety of the people requireth further, from him or them that have the sovereign power, that justice be equally administered to all degrees of people; that is, that as well the rich and mighty, as poor and obscure persons, may be righted of the injuries done them; so as the great may have no greater hope of impunity, when they do violence, dishonour, or any injury to the meaner sort, than when one of these does the like to one of them: for in this consisteth equity; to which, as being a precept of the law of nature, a sovereign is as much subject as any of the meanest of his people.

5

Unnecessary laws are not good laws, but traps for money which, where the right of sovereign power is acknowledged, are superfluous; and where it is not acknowledged, insufficient to defend the people.