Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. I.: Of feudal Laws. - Complete Works, vol. 2 The Spirit of Laws
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CHAP. I.: Of feudal Laws. - 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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Of feudal Laws.
I SHOULD think my work imperfect, were I to pass over in silence an event which never again, perhaps, will happen; were I not to speak of those laws which suddenly appeared over all Europe, without being connected with any of the former institutions; of those laws which have done infinite good and infinite mischief; which have suffered rights to remain when the demesne has been ceded; which by vesting several with different kinds of seignory over the same things or persons, have diminished the weight of the whole seignory; which have established different limits in empires of too great an extent; which have been productive of rule with a bias to anarchy, and of anarchy with a tendency to order and harmony.
This would require a particular work to itself; but considering the nature of the present undertaking, the reader will here meet rather with a general survey, than with a complete treatise of those laws.
The feudal laws form a very beautiful prospect. A venerable old* oak raises its losty head to the skies; the eye sees from afar its spreading leaves: upon drawing nearer, it perceives the trunk, but does not discern the root; the ground must be dug up to discover it.