Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. X.: Of the Character of the Spaniards and Chinese. - Complete Works, vol. 1 The Spirit of Laws
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CHAP. X.: Of the Character of the Spaniards and Chinese. - 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 Character of the Spaniards and Chinese.
THE characters of the several nations are formed of virtues and vices, of good and bad qualities. From the happy mixture of these great advantages result, and frequently where it would be least expected; there are others from whence great evils arise, evils which one would not suspect.
The Spaniards have been, in all ages, famous for their honesty. Justin† mentions their fidelity in keeping whatever was entrusted to their care; they have frequently suffered death rather than reveal a secret. They have still the same fidelity for which they were formerly distinguished. All the nations who trade to Cadiz trust their forunes to the Spaniards, and have never yet repented it. But this admirable quality, joined to their indolence, forms a mixture from whence such effects result as to them are most pernicious. The rest of the European nations carry on, in their very sight, all the commerce of their monarchy.
The character of the Chinese is formed of another mixture, directly opposite to that of the Spaniards: the precariousness of their subsistence‡ inspires them with a prodigious activity, and such an excessive desire of gain, that no trading nation can confide in them∥ . This acknowledged infidelity has secured them the possession of the trade to Japan. No European merchant has ever dared to undertake it in their name, how easy soever it might be for them to do it from their maritime provinces in the North.
[† ]Lib. 43.
[‡ ]By the nature of the soil and climate.
[∥ ]Du Halde, vol. ii.