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BRIGONNET


779


BRICONNET


favour of persons whose duty to the commonwealth binds them to act for the common good. Thus judges are bound, as servants of the commonweahh, to administer justice without fear or favour, and they are forbidden to take bribes from htigants or others. Similarly, regard for the public good should be the motive which influences those who appoint to public offices, or who have the placing of contracts for public works or institutions, or who are entrusted with the execution of the laws, or who elect repre- sentatives to seats in the legislature. They should appoint only worthy candidates who will serve the public well. If they neglect the common good, and seek private advantage from the exercise of the trust committed to them, they violate their duty to the commonwealth, and they make themselves accom- plices in all the evil which results from the incom- petence or the roguery of tho.se whom they elect. The general principle is obvious enough, but in the matter of details difficulties are encountered which cannot all be solved in the same way. An elector may say that as a rule there is very little to choose between the candidates for some public position or office, and that even if there were a difference in their moral character and capacity to serve the pub- lic, it is difficult for the ordinary voter to detect it. why should he not make a little money by promising to vote for the candidate who is ready to pay the highest price?

It may be that in this hypothesis no injustice is done by taking a bribe and that there is no obligation incurred of making restitution. Still the action is immoral, and rightly forbidden by law. A person who has a vote in the appointment to offices or in the election of representatives is under a serious re- sponsibility to use his power to the best of his ability. If he takes a bribe he renders himself practically incapable of e.xercising a discriminating judgment. He is bound to do what he can to make sure that the person for whom he votes is worthy of the post; but if he takes a bribe tliis blinds him, blunts his judgment, and makes him incapable of doing his duty. Besides, in questions of this kind, we must look at the general result of the action whose moral quality we are studying; the general result of the willingness of voters to sell their vote for money is that power and office are put in the hands of that portion of the moneyed class which is least worthy and most selfish.

Those who hold public offices to which patronage or power of any sort is attached are specially bound to use their power for the common good. They accepted office under the express or tacit condition that they would use their influence for the public benefit, not merely for their private emolument. If they sell the posts, offices, or favours of any kind, in their gift, for money or any lucrative consideration, they violate the express or tacit pledge which they gave on their assumption of office. There is more malice in such actions than in that of the venal elector who sells his vote for money. They also produce more direct and more immediate evils in the common- wealth. A man who has bought an office, or a post, or a contract for money will as a rule try to recoup him.self at the expense of the public. It is not likely that he will be an honourable or even an honest servant, and tlie disastrous consequences of his ap- pointment begin to show themselves at once. The evils are perhaps less, but they do not cease, if offices or favours are bestowed in consideration of money contributed to the funds of the political party. Power, influence, and even an external respectability are sometimes given to unscrupulous men whose only recommendation is the possession of wealth.

Moralists have devoted special attention to the question of bribery in connexion with the administra- tion of justice. The judge on his assumption of office undertakes to administer justice to all who come


before him, and in most countries binds himself by a special oath to do liis duty. He receives a salary for his services. If he accepts bribes from suitors or criminals he makes himself practically incapable of exercising an unbiased judgment, fails in the ex- ecution of his duty, and violates his oath. If he takes money for giving a sentence which is just, he com- mits a sin against justice and is bound to restore the bribe to him who gave it. For the judge is bound in justice to pronounce a just sentence apart from the bribe, and his action affords him no title to take pay- ment for what is due in justice without payment. If he takes a bribe for giving a sentence which is unjust, he will of course sin against justice on ac- count of the sentence, and will be bound to make reparation to the injured party for the wrong that he has suffered. Some moralists, however, refuse to impose on him the obligation of restoring the bribe, on the ground that something was given for it which indeed the judge had no right to give, but which, for all that, was worth the money to him who paid the bribe. The same principles are applicable to jurymen, arbitrators, and referees, who have ob- ligations similar to those of judges. Bribery under all the above aspects is in most countries forbidden by positive law and punished by severe penalties. Lugo, De justitid et jure (Pari.s, 1869), disp. xxxiv, dlsp. xxxvii. n. 123 .sqq.; Lf.hmkuhl, Theologia Moralis (Freiburg. 1898), I, 809, 810.

T. Slater. .

Briconnet, (1) Guill.^ume, a French Cardinal, b. at Tours, date of birth unknowai; d. at Narbonne, 14 December, 1.51-1. He was a younger son of Jean Brigonnet, Ijord of Varennes, in Touraine, Secretary to the king and Collector-general of Customs. Ap- pointed Superintendent of Finances for the Prov- ince of Languedoc under Louis XI, Guillaume Bri<;onnet discharged the duties of his office with such integrity and efficiency, and showed himself so devoted to the interests of Louis that that mon- arch recommended him to his successor. Charles VIII made him Secretary of the Treasury, raised him to the first place in the Council of State, and, according to the historian Guicciardini, would under- take nothing in the government of his kingdom without the advice of Brigonnet. Ludovico Sforza, called the iloor, wishing to dispossess his nephew of the Duchy of Milan, and finding himself opposed by Ferdinand, King of Naples, sent an embassy un- der the Count of Belgiojoso to Charles to induce the French king to assert his claims to the Kingdom of Naples as heir to the house of Anjou. Sforza promised to place all his troops at the king's service. Briconnet having shortly before this lost his wife, Raoulette dc Bcaune, by whom he had three sons, had entered the ecclesiastical state and been named Bishop of St.-Malo. To flatter his ambition the Milanese ambas.sadors assured him that the king's influence would raise him to the cardinalate. Bri- connet, thus won over to the Sforza interest, adroitly encouraged the warlike dispositions of his sovereign, triumphed over the opposition of the royal coimcil, of the Duke of Bourbon, and of Anne of France, the Duke's wife, influenced Charles to sign a secret treaty with Sforza, and assured the king of his ability to raise the funds necessary to carry on the war both on land and sea.

Pope Alexander VI, alarmed at the apparent dan- ger threatening Italy, promised the cardinal's hat to Briponnet if he could prevail upon Charles to abandon his enterpri.se; but Bri(,'oimet, realizing that he could not govern without Haltering the king's pa.ssion for concpiest, urged him on, and, notwith- standing the dilapidated state of the treasury, succeeded in meeting the expenses of the war. Accompanying Charles on his expedition, he provoked a mutiny in the French army, by his treachery in