Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. XVIII.: Of the Power of Superstition. - Complete Works, vol. 1 The Spirit of Laws
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CHAP. XVIII.: Of the Power of Superstition. - 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 Power of Superstition.
IF what travellers tell us be true, the constitution of a nation of Louisiana, called the Natches, is an exception to this. Their* chief disposes of the goods of all his subjects, and obliges them to work and toil according to his pleasure. He has a power like that of the Grand Signior, and they cannot even refuse him their heads. When the presumptive heir enters into the world, they devote all the sucking children to his service during life. One would imagine that this is the great Sesostris. He is treated in his cottage with as much ceremony as an emperor of Japan or China.
The prejudices of superstition are superior to all others, and have the strongest influence on the human mind. Thus, though the savage nations have naturally no knowledge of despotic tyranny, still they feel the weight of it. They adore the sun; and, if their chief had not imagined that he was the brother of this glorious luminary, they would have thought him a wretch like themselves.
[* ]Edifying Letters, 20th collection.