Severity of breaking laws when such lawbreaking is "tacitly approved" by the lawmaker
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If an action is "tacitly approved" by the lawmaker, even though against the law, it is less severe.
Those facts which the law expressly condemneth, but the lawmaker by other manifest signs of his will tacitly approveth, are less crimes than the same facts condemned both by the law and lawmaker. For seeing the will of the lawmaker is a law, there appear in this case two contradictory laws; which would totally excuse, if men were bound to take notice of the sovereigns approbation, by other arguments than are expressed by his command. But because there are punishments consequent, not only to the transgression of his law, but also to the observing of it he is in part a cause of the transgression, and therefore cannot reasonably impute the whole crime to the delinquent. For example, the law condemneth duels; the punishment is made capital: on the contrary part, he that refuseth duel is subject to contempt and scorn, without remedy; and sometimes by the sovereign himself thought unworthy to have any charge or preferment in war: if thereupon he accept duel, considering all men lawfully endeavour to obtain the good opinion of them that have the sovereign power, he ought not in reason to be rigorously punished, seeing part of the fault may be discharged on the punisher: which I say, not as wishing liberty of private revenges, or any other kind of disobedience, but a care in governors not to countenance anything obliquely which directly they forbid. The examples of princes, to those that see them, are, and ever have been, more potent to govern their actions than the laws themselves. And though it be our duty to do, not what they do, but what they say; yet will that duty never be performed till it please God to give men an extraordinary and supernatural grace to follow that precept.
Hobbes, Lev XXVII 35