Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. V.: Other Differences. - Complete Works, vol. 2 The Spirit of Laws
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CHAP. V.: Other Differences. - 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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COMMERCE is sometimes destroyed by conquerors, sometimes cramped by monarchs; it traverses the earth, flies from the places where it is oppressed, and stays where it has liberty to breathe: it reigns at present where nothing was formerly to be seen but desarts, seas, and rocks; and where it once reigned, there are only desarts.
To see Colchis in its present situation, which is no more than a vast forest, where the people are every day decreasing, and only defend their liberty to sell themselves by piece-meal to the Turks and Persians; one could never imagine, that this country had ever, in the time of the Romans, been full of cities, where commerce convened all the nations of the world. We find no monument of these sacts in the country itself; there are no traces of them, except in* Pliny and † Strabo.
The history of commerce, is that of the communication of people. Their numerous defeats, and the flux and reflux of populations and devastations, here form the most extraordinary events.
[* ]Lib. vi.
[† ]Lib. ii.