Montesquieu

If a monar­chy can act long before aggran­di­ze­ment has wea­ke­ned it, it will become fear­some, and its strength will last as long as it is pres­sed by neigh­bo­ring monar­chies.

It must the­re­fore conquer only while it remains within the limits natu­ral to its govern­ment. Prudence would have it halt as soon as it exceeds those limits.

In this sort of conquest things must be left as they were found : the same courts, the same laws, the same cus­toms, the same pri­vi­le­ges ; nothing must be chan­ged except the army and the name of the sove­reign.

When the monar­chy has exten­ded its boun­da­ries by the conquest of some neigh­bo­ring pro­vin­ces, it must treat them with great leniency.

In a monar­chy which has long stri­ven to conquer, the pro­vin­ces of its for­mer domain will ordi­na­rily be very down­trod­den. They must have to suf­fer both the new and for­mer abu­ses, and depo­pu­la­tion by a vast capi­tal that sucks up eve­ry­thing. Now if, after conque­ring in the vici­nity of this domain, the conque­red peo­ples were trea­ted the same as its for­mer sub­jects, the state would be undone ; the tri­bu­tes which the conque­red pro­vin­ces would send to the capi­tal would no lon­ger return to them ; the bor­der­lands would be rui­ned, and conse­quently wea­ker ; the peo­ples would be hos­tile ; the sub­sis­tence of the armies that must remain there and act would be more pre­ca­rious.

Such is the neces­sary state of a conque­ring monar­chy : hor­ren­dous luxury in the capi­tal, poverty in the more dis­tant pro­vin­ces, and abun­dance in the out­lying parts. It is like our pla­net : there is fire in the cen­ter, gree­nery on the sur­face, and an arid, cold and ste­rile land in bet­ween.