by patri


Paulus Pontius, after Rubens

Engraving, 1632

1. Portrait of King Philip IV of Spain

Lettered below portrait, within frame:

“D. Philippo IV Avstrio Hispaniarvm Indiarvmq[ue] Regi Catholico / Svpra omnes retro principes potentissimo / pio felici patri patriæ. / Hanc suæ Maiestatis effigiem a se æri incisam dedicabat / Paulus Pontius Antuerpianus / D.N.M.Q.E. / Ao. MDCXXXII” and “P. Paul Rubbens / Pinxit” and “Cum priuilegio”.

2. Portrait of Élisabeth of France (Isabel de Borbón), Queen consort of Spain

Lettered below portrait, within frame:

“D. Elisabethæ Borboniæ Principi Serenissimæ / D. Philippi IV Hispaniarvm Indiarvmq[ue] Regi / Conivgi Incomparabili dedicabat / Paulus Pontius Sculptor / D.N.M.Q.E. / Ao. MDCXXXII” and “P. Paul Rubbens / Pinxit” and “Cum priuilegio”.

© The Trustees of the British Museum

Fragments on the Republican Institutions (Louis Antoine Saint-Just)

Translated by rbzpr

Credits and huge thanks to artifice-ou-nature for proofreading and advice.

Original:  Fragments sur les institutions républicaines

First Fragment


Institutions are the guarantee of the government of a free people against the corruption of mores, and the guarantee of the people and the citizen against the corruption of the government.

The object of institutions is to [instill] in the citizen, and even in children, legal and easy resistance to injustice; to force judges and youth to virtue; to give courage and frugality to men; to make them fair and sensitive; to bind them by brave and benevolent connections; to put these connections in harmony by submitting the least of the domestic relations and private life of the people to laws of authority; to provide unity in families, friendship among citizens; to replace all other interests with the public interest; to stifle criminal passions; to bring nature and innocence into the passion of all hearts, and to form a patrie.

Institutions are the guarantee of public liberty; they moralize the government and civil state; they repress jealousies, which produce factions; they establish the delicate distinction between truth and hypocrisy, innocence and crime; they institute the reign of justice.

Without institutions, the strength of a republic lies either in the merit of fragile mortals, or in precarious means.

Therefore, at all times, the policy of neighbours of a free people, if they were jealous of its prosperity, has sought to corrupt or to proscribe men so that their talents or virtues could be useful to their country.

Scipio was accused; he cleared himself by opposing his entire life to his accusers: he was murdered soon after. Thus died the Gracchi; thus Demosthenes died at the feet of the statue of the gods; and they killed Sidney, [and] Barneveldt; thus ended all who became redoubtable for  an incorruptible courage. Great men do not die in their beds.

This is why the man who sincerely reflected on the causes of decay of empires is convinced that their strength doesn’t lie not in their always [wanted], always [defeated] defenders, but in the immortal institutions, which are unreachable for and safe from the temerity of factions.

All the men I mentioned above had the misfortune to be born in countries without institutions. In vain they are supported by all the forces of heroism: the factions, triumphant for only one day, were thrown into the eternal night, despite virtuous years.

Among all the hearts that hear me, there are none, no doubt, that are not seized with a secret horror at the sight of these sad truths.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Another decoration from:

Peter Damian, Saint, 1007?-1072.   Vita et acta sanctissimi patris et patriarchae Romualdi, fundatoris Camaldulensium; latino idiomate ab Petro Damiani, ejusdem discipulo, composita, nunc denuò in lucem data … anno salutis reparatae M. DCC. XXIII. 1723.  Viennae Austriae, Typis Mariae Theresiae Voigtin, Viduae, 1726.