Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. VIII.: Of the Separation of Women from Men. - Complete Works, vol. 1 The Spirit of Laws
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CHAP. VIII.: Of the Separation of Women from Men. - 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 the Separation of Women from Men.
THE prodigious number of wives, possessed by those who live in rich and voluptuous countries, is a consequence of the law of polygamy: their separation from men and their close confinement naturally follow from the greatness of this number. Domestic order renders this necessary: thus an insolvent debtor seeks to conceal himself from the pursuit of his creditors. There are climates where the impulses of nature have such force that morality has almost none. If a man be left with a woman, the temptation and the fall will be the same thing; the attack certain, the resistance none. In these countries, instead of precepts, they have recourse to bolts and bars.
One of the Chinese classic authors considers the man as a prodigy of virtue, who, finding a woman alone, in a distant apartment, can forbear making use of force.∥
[∥ ]“It is an admirable touch-stone, to find by one’s self a treasure, and to know the right owner; or to see a beautiful woman in a lonely apartment; or to hear the cries of an enemy, who must perish without our assistance.” Translation of a Chinese piece of morality, which may be seen in Du Halde, vol. iii. p. 151.