Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. XII.: Of natural Modesty. - Complete Works, vol. 1 The Spirit of Laws
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CHAP. XII.: Of natural Modesty. - 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 natural Modesty.
ALL nations are equally agreed in fixing contempt and ignominy on the incontinence of women. Nature has dictated this to all: she has established the attack, and she has established too the resistance; and, having implanted desires in both, she has given to the one boldness, and to the other shame. To individuals she has granted a long succession of years to attend to their preservation; but, to continue the species, she has granted only a moment.
It is, then, far from being true, that to be incontinent is to follow the laws of nature: on the contrary, it is a violation of these laws, which can be observed only by behaving with modesty and discretion.
Besides, it is natural for intelligent beings to feel their imperfections: nature has therefore fixed shame in our minds, a shame of our imperfections.
When, therefore, the physical power of certain climates violates the natural law of the two sexes, and that of intelligent beings, it belongs to the legislature to make civil laws, with a view of opposing the nature of the climate and re-establishing the primitive laws.