Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. V.: The Reason of a Law of Malabar. - Complete Works, vol. 1 The Spirit of Laws
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CHAP. V.: The Reason of a Law of Malabar. - 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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The Reason of a Law of Malabar.
IN the tribe of the Naires∥ , on the coast of Malabar, the men can have only one wife, while a woman, on the contrary, may have many husbands. The origin of this custom is not, I believe, difficult to discover. The Naires are the tribe of nobles, who who are the soldiers of all those nations. In Europe, soldiers are forbid to marry; in Malabar, where the climate requires greater indulgence, they are satisfied with rendering marriage as little burthensome to them as possible: they give one wife amongst many men; which consequently diminishes the attachment to a family and the cares of house-keeping, and leaves them in the free possession of a military spirit.
[∥ ]See Francis Pirard, c. 27. Edifying Letters, 3d and 10th collection, on the Malleami, on the coast of Malabar. This is considered as an abuse of the military prosession, as a woman, says Pirard, of the tribe of the Bramins, never would marry many husbands.