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MONTESQUIEU


536


MONTESQUIEU


but merely against the condition of requiring in- terest. It was not admitted that the use of the in- terest to maintiiin the charity justified the usury, since a good end coidd not justify evil means, and it was held that lending money at interest was in- trinsically bad, money being unfruitful by its nature, and since Christ expressly forbids the practice (Luke, vi, 33). The term interest was not readily admitted by the friends of the montcs, who replied that there were in reality two contracts between the montes and the borrower: one that of the loan, which should be gnituitou.s, the other implying the custody of the object puwiiecl, therefore, the use of space and personal responsibility, which should not be gratuitous; and it was precisely on account of these two conditions that interest was charged. The loan, therefore, was regarded merely as a con- ditio sine qua non, and not as a direct cause of the interest. On the other hand, even the adversaries of the montes admitted that the damnum emergens or the lucrum cessans were legitimate titles upon which to require interest; and these two principles may be applied to the mons pietatis. Many other objections to w^hich it was easy to reply were ad- duced, and in these disputations the friends of the montes were victorious. Only at Fsenza, in 1494, was the defender of the montes unable to answer the objections of the August inian Bariano, who is the author of a work entitled "De Monte Impietatis". It was among the Dominicans, however, that the montes found a greater number of antagonists, nota- bly the young Tommaso de Vio, who became Car- dinal Csetano. It cannot be said that the order as a whole was opposed to these institutions, for several of its members favoured the establishment of the montes as has been seen in the case of Monte- rubbiano, and as was the case at Florence, where Savonarola (1495) reopened the montes which had been established in 1484. Meanwhile other Domini- cans, e. g. Annio da Viterbo and Domenico da Imola, wrote juridieial opinions in favour of the montes, but the writer who most exerted himself in their defence was the Franciscan Bernardino de Bustis (Defensorium Montis Pietatis). The legal and theological faculties of the universities, as well as individual jurists, gave opinions favourable to the montes. The popes had approved of several of these institutions that appealed to the Holy See, either for its sanction, in general, or for special concessions; Holzapfel (10 sq.) refers to sixteen of these acts, an- terior to the Bull "Inter multiplicis" of Leo X (4 May, 1515). By this Bull the pope and the Lateran Coun- cil, which took up the case of the montes in its tenth session, declared the institutions in question in no way illicit or sinful, but on the contrary meritorious, and that whosoever preached or wrote against them in the future, incurred excommunication. This Bull also provided that montes established thereafter should obtain the .\postolic approbation. The Bishop of Trani was the only member of the council who spoke against the montes, and Cardinal Ca;tano, general of the Dominicans, who was absent at that session, subsequently abandoned his position on the subject of these establishments.

The question of moral right having been deter- mined in their favour, the montes pietatis spread rapidly, especially in Italy, where, in 1896 there were .550 of them, with a combined capital of nearly 72,000,000 lire. Outside of Italy the first mons pietatis to be established was at Ypres in Belgium, (1534) but the instit\ition did not develop in that country until 1618, when the Lombards were for- bidden to receive objects in pawn; since 1848 the law has transformed the montes into municipal es- tablishments. In France the first mons pietatis appeared at Avignon, then a papal possession (1.577); the next at Beaucaire (1583); and in 1626, an ordi-


nance prescribed the creation of montes pietatis in all tlie cities that might need them. However, they were not merely charitable institutions, because they were bound to lend money to all applicants, whether in need or not, while not infretiuently the rate of interest was high. They were reorganized by the law of 1851, with the special feature that their directors be appointed by the Government. In Germany and in Austria the monies pietatis were introduced at the end of the tirtccnth century. At present they are municipal estalilishments — although some of them belong to the Government — and their net profits are applied to the account of public charities. The first mons pietatis in Spain was created in 1702 at Madrid. In England this form of charity never obtained a foothold, on the contrary it was held in aversion on account of its connexion with the papacy; an attempt to establish such an institution at London in 1797 failed in less than twenty years, through default on the part of its managers.

The aversion in which montes pietatis are held by many, even in our own day, leads to the question of the advantages and of the defects of these institu- tions; it is held that they promote carelessness in con- tracting debts, that they destroy love for labour, incite to theft, are often the cause of financial ruin, and, lastly, that they are contrary to the principle of free competition. On the other hand, they are a neces- sity; for without them the needy would be expo.sed either to the extortions of private lenders or to ruin, into which they might be plunged by some misfortune from which a momentary loan might save them. Their disadvantages are undeniable, but disadvan- tages are common to all human contrivances. For the rest the montes pietatis, besides the relief that they brought to the poor, exerted great influence upon the ideas concerning interest on loans; for the rigid views of the theologians of the Middle Ages in that connexion underwent a first modification, which pre- pared the way for a generalization of the principle that moderate interest might justly be charged, and also the mere existence of the montes pietatis com- pelled private speculators to reduce their rates of in- terest from the usurious rates that had hitherto pre- vailed.

Holzapfel, Die Anfange der Montes Pietatis (Munich, 1903); Ar.voult, Avantages el inconvinients des Monts de PiHi (Namur, 1831); Beyerlink, Magnum Theatrum vita humanee, Mons Pie- tatis (Lyons, 1656) ; Blaize, Des Monts de Piilt etc. (Paris, 1856) ; Cbretti, Storia dei Monti di Field (Padua, 1752), Fr. tr. (Padua, 1772) ; DE Besse, Le bienheureux Bernardin de Feltre et son ceuvre (Tours and Paris, 1902); Funk, Gesch. des kirchl. Zinsverbots (Tubingen, 1876) ; Jannet, Le cridit populaire et les bangues en Italic du XV' au XVIII' siide (Paris, 1885); Manassei, Barnabb da Terni e i suoi Monti di Pietd in Bull. Storia Patria per I' Umbria, VIII, fasc. iii (Perugia, 1902); Scalvanti, /( Mons Pietatis di Perugia (Perugia, 1892) ; Idem, /( Mons Pietatis di Gubbio (Peru- gia 1896) ; Vanlaer, Les Monts de Piite en France (Lille, 1895) ; Tamilia, II Sacro Monte di Pieti di Roma (Rome, 1900) ; Wad- ding, Annates Minorum, XIII-XVI passim.

U. Benigni.

Montesquieu, Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de, French writer and publicist, b. in the Chateau de la Brede near Bordeaux, 18 January, 1689; d. at Paris, 10 February, 1755. His family was of noble rank; his grandfather. President of the Bor- deaux Parliament, his father, a member of the royal bodyguard, and his mother, Marie de Penel, who died when he was eleven, traced her ancestry to an old Eng- lish family. Young Charles de la Brdde, as he was then known, was sent to the Oratorian College at Juilly (1700-11), where he received a wholly literary and classical education in which religion held but a minor place. When, at twenty-five years of age he returned home, after having been called to the bar, he received from his paternal uncle the style and title of Baron de Montesquieu, by which he was afterwards known, and became councillor of the Bordeaux Par- liament. He married a Protestant, Jeanne Lartigue,