Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. I.: Of Commerce. - Complete Works, vol. 2 The Spirit of Laws
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CHAP. I.: Of Commerce. - Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, Complete Works, vol. 2 The Spirit of Laws 
The Complete Works of M. de Montesquieu (London: T. Evans, 1777), 4 vols. Vol. 2.
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THE following subjects deserve to be treated in a more extensive manner than the nature of this work will permit. Fain would I glide down a gentle river; but I am carried away by a torrent.
Commerce is a cure for the most destructive prejudices; for it is almost a general rule, that whereever we find agreeable manners, there commerce flourishes; and that wherever there is commerce, there we meet with agreeable manners.
Let us not be astonished, then, if our manners are now less savage than formerly. Commerce has every where diffused a knowledge of the manners of all nations; these are compared one with another, and from this comparison arise the greatest advantages.
Commercial laws, it may be said, improve manners, for the same reason as they destroy them. They corrupt the purest morals* ; this was the subject of Plato’s complaints: and we every day see, that they polish and refine the most barbarous.
[* ]Cæsar said of the Gauls, that they were spoiled by the neighbourhood and the commerce of Marseilles; insomuch that they who formerly always conquered the Germans, were now become inferior to them. War of the Gauls, lib. 6.