Montesquieu

All is lost when the tax far­mers’ lucra­tive pro­fes­sion fur­ther suc­ceeds through its wealth in beco­ming an hono­red pro­fes­sion. That may be fine in des­po­tic sta­tes, where often their job is a part of the func­tions of the gover­nors them­sel­ves. That is not fine in a repu­blic, and some­thing like that des­troyed the Roman repu­blic. It is not bet­ter in a monar­chy : nothing is more contrary to the spi­rit of that govern­ment. An aver­sion takes hold of all the other esta­tes ; honor loses all its consi­de­ra­tion, slow and natu­ral means of dis­tin­gui­shing one­self no lon­ger impress, and the govern­ment is stri­cken in its prin­ci­ple.

There were indeed scan­da­lous for­tu­nes in past times : that was one of the cala­mi­ties of fifty-year wars ; but that wealth was then consi­de­red ridi­cu­lous, whe­reas we admire it.

Every pro­fes­sion has its lot. The lot of those who col­lect tri­bu­tes is wealth, and the reward for that wealth is the wealth itself. Glory and honor are for that nobi­lity that nei­ther knows, nor sees, nor feels any true good except for honor and glory. Respect and consi­de­ra­tion are for those minis­ters and magis­tra­tes who, fin­ding nothing but work and then more work, keep watch night and day over the wel­fare of the empire.