Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. XXI.: How the Laws ought to have a Relation to Manners and Customs. - Complete Works, vol. 1 The Spirit of Laws
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CHAP. XXI.: How the Laws ought to have a Relation to Manners and Customs. - 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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How the Laws ought to have a Relation to Manners and Customs.
IT is only singular institutions which thus confound laws, manners, and customs, things naturally distinct and separate: but, though they are in themselves different, there is nevertheless a great relation between them.
Solon being asked if the laws he had given to the Athenians were the best, he replied, “I have given them the best they were able to bear.” A fine expression, that ought to be perfectly understood by all legislators! When divine Wisdom said to the Jews, “I have given you precepts which are not good,” this signified that they had only a relative goodness; which is the sponge that wipes out all the difficulties in the law of Moses.