Page:Montesquieu - The spirit of laws.djvu/411
O F L A W S. 359
is no more. Thefe women ought then to be in a ftate BOOK of dependance -, for reafon cannot procure in old char. 2. age, that empire, which even youth and beauty could not give. It is therefore extremely natural that in thefe places, a man, when no law oppofes it, mould leave one wife to take another, and that polygamy mould be introduced.
In temperate climates, where the charms of wo men are beft preferved, where they arrive later at maturity, and have children at a more advanced feafon of life, the old age of their hufbands in fume degree follows theirs , and as they have more rea fon and knowledge at the time of marriage, if it be only on account of their having continued longer in life, it muft naturally introduce a kind of equa lity between the two fexes, and, in confequence of this, the law of having only one wife.
In cold countries the almoft neceiTary cuftom of drinking ftrong liquors, eflablimes intemperance amongft men. Women, who, in this refpecft, have a natural reftraint, becaufe they are always oh the defenfivc, have therefore the advantage of reafon over them.
Nature, which has diftinguifhed men by their rea fon and bodily ftrength, has fet no other bounds to their power than thofe of this ftrength and reafon. It has given charms to women, and ordained that their afcendant over man (hall end with thefe charms : But in hot countries, thefe are found only at the beginning, and never in the progrefs of life.
Thus the law which permits only one wife, is phyfically conformable to the climate of Europe, and not to that of Afia. This is the reafon why
Mahometanifm was eftablimed with iuch facility
A a 4 in