Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. XVIII.: That it is necessary to enquire, whether the Laws which seem contradictory, are of the same Class. - Complete Works, vol. 2 The Spirit of Laws
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CHAP. XVIII.: That it is necessary to enquire, whether the Laws which seem contradictory, are of the same Class. - 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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That it is necessary to enquire, whether the Laws which seem contradictory, are of the same Class.
AT Rome the husband was permitted to lend his wife to another. Plutarch tells us this∥ in express terms. We know that Cato lent his§ wife to Hortensius, and Cato was not a man to violate the laws of his country.
On the other hand, a husband who suffered his wife to be debauched, who did not bring her to justice, or who took her again after her* condemnation, was punished. These laws seem to contradict each other, and yet are not contradictory. The law which permitted a Roman to lend his wife, was visibly a Lacedæmonian institution, established with a view of giving the republic children of a good species, if I may be allowed the term: the other had in view the preservation of morals. The first was a law of politics, the second a civil law.
[∥ ]Plutarch in his comparison between Lycurgus and Numa.
[§ ]Plutarch life of Cato.
[* ]Leg. 11. sect. ult. ff. ad leg. Jul. de adulteriis.