Page:Montesquieu - The spirit of laws.djvu/202

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j 5 o - THE SPIRIT

BOOK W omen. The cenfors had not an eye over them but

VII Chap 10 as over l ^ e re ^ f tae republic. The inftitution of

the domeftic tribunal * fupplied the magiftracy eftablifhed among the Greeks -)-.

The hufband fummoned the wife s relations, and tried her in their prefence J. This tribunal pre- ferved the morals of the republic , and at the fame time thefe very morals maintained this tribunal. For it decided not only in refpecl: to the violation of the laws, but alto of morals , now in order to judge of the violation of morals, morals are requifite.

The penalties inflicted by this tribunal, ought to be, and actually were, arbitrary : for all that relates to manners, and to the rules of modefty, can hardly becompri/.ed under one code of laws. It iseafy indeed to regulate by laws what we owe to others ; but it is very difficult to comprize all we owe to ourfelves.

The domeftic tribunal infpecled the general con duct of women : but there was one crime, which befide the animadvert! on of this tribunal, was like- wiie fubjecl to a public accufation. This was adul tery -, whether that in a republic io great a violation of morals inrerelled the government ; or whether the wife s immorality might render the hufband s

Romnlu- ini ; .tu:oil thi- trib irwl, as appears from Dionyfms }f,i!ira;i;air. bonk 2 . p,

f See in I. P. y, hook 39, flu ufl- :li;ir ade of this tribu

nal at the time of the confpin< v of the Bacch.m : the> gave

lite name of confpiracy againil the republic to afTrmhlies in which the morals of \vomen and young people uere debauched.

| It appears from D:t,>nj\ ILduam lib. z. that Romuk inftitution was, that in ordinary cafes the huitmid ihould fit as judge in prefence of the wife s relations, but that in grievous crimes he mould determine in conjunction with five of them. Hence Ulfian, lit. 6. 9, 12, & 13, diftinguifhes in rcfpecT. to the different judgments of manners, between thofe which he calls important, and thofe which are left fo, graviores, k-viores.

fufpecled ;

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