Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. XIV.: The Laws of Commerce concerning the Confiscation of Merchandises. - Complete Works, vol. 2 The Spirit of Laws
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CHAP. XIV.: The Laws of Commerce concerning the Confiscation of Merchandises. - 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 Laws of Commerce concerning the Confiscation of Merchandises.
THE Magna Charta of England forbids the seizing and confiscating, in case of war, the effects of foreign merchants, except by way of reprisals. It is an honour to the English nation, they have made this one of the articles of their liberty.
In the late war between Spain and England, the former made a * law, which punished with death those who brought English merchandises into the dominions of Spain; and the same penalty on those who carried Spanish merchandises into England. An ordinance like this cannot, I believe, find a precedent in any laws but those of Japan. It equally shocks humanity, the spirit of commerce, and the harmony which ought to subsist in the proportion of penalties; it confounds all our ideas, making that a crime against the state, which is only a violation of civil polity.
[* ]Published at Cadiz, in March 1740.