Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. III.: Of sumptuary Laws in an Aristocracy. - Complete Works, vol. 1 The Spirit of Laws
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CHAP. III.: Of sumptuary Laws in an Aristocracy. - Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, Complete Works, vol. 1 The Spirit of Laws 
The Complete Works of M. de Montesquieu (London: T. Evans, 1777), 4 vols. Vol. 1.
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Of sumptuary Laws in an Aristocracy.
THERE is this inconvenience in an ill-constituted aristocracy, that the wealth centers in the nobility, and yet they are not allowed to spend; for, as luxury is contrary to the spirit of moderation, it must be banished from thence. This government comprehends, therefore, only people who are extremely poor, and cannot acquire; and people who are vastly rich, and cannot spend.
In Venice they are compelled by the laws to moderation. They are so habituated to parsimony, that none but courtezans can make them part with their money. Such is the method made use of for the support of industry: the most contemptible of women may be profuse without danger, whilst those who contribute to their extravagance consume their days in the greatest obscurity.
Admirable, in this respect, were the institutions of the principal republics of Greece. The rich employed their money in festivals, musical choruses, chariots, horse-races, and chargeable offices. Wealth was therefore as burthensome there as poverty.