Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. XIII.: Of the civil Law of those Nations who do not cultivate the Earth. - Complete Works, vol. 1 The Spirit of Laws
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
CHAP. XIII.: Of the civil Law of those Nations who do not cultivate the Earth. - 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.
About Liberty Fund:
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
Of the civil Law of those Nations who do not cultivate the Earth.
THE division of lands is what principally increases the civil code. Amongst nations where they have not made this division there are very few civil laws.
The institutions of these people may be called manners rather than laws.
Amongst such nations as these, the old men, who remember things past, have great authority: they cannot there be distinguished by wealth, but by wisdom and valour.
These people wander and disperse themselves in pasture grounds or in forests. Marriage cannot there have the security which it has amongst us, where it is fixed by the habitation, and where the wife continues in one house: they may, then, more easily change their wives, possess many, and sometimes mix indifferently, like brutes.
Nations of herdsmen and shepherds cannot leave their cattle, which are their subsistence; neither can they separate themselves from their wives, who look after them. All this ought, then, to go together; especially, as, living generally in a flat open country, where there are few places of considerable strength, their wives, their children, their flocks, may become the prey of their enemies.
Their laws regulate the division of plunder, and have, like our Salique laws, a particular attention to theft.