Montesquieu
 

VIII.9 To what extent the nobility is prone to defend the throne

The English nobi­lity buried itself with Charles I under the debris of the throne ; and before that, when Philip II utte­red the word liberty to French ears, the crown was always sup­por­ted by the nobi­lity that holds to the honor of obeying a king but consi­ders it a supreme infamy to share autho­rity with the peo­ple.

We have seen the House of Austria work tire­lessly to oppress the Hungarian nobi­lity, una­ware how valua­ble it would some­day find it. It was see­king among these peo­ples money that was not there, and fai­led to see the men who were. When so many prin­ces sha­red its sta­tes amongst them­sel­ves, all the fixed and inac­tive pie­ces of its monar­chy, so to speak, fell in on each other. The only life was in that nobi­lity that became angry, for­got eve­ry­thing in order to fight, and belie­ved that its glory requi­red it to perish and to for­give.