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ON CLIMATE. - Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, Complete Works, vol. 4 Familiar Letters; Miscellaneous Pieces; The Temple of Gnidus; A Defence of the Spirit of Laws 
The Complete Works of M. de Montesquieu (London: T. Evans, 1777), 4 vols. Vol. 4.
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What the Author has said on the effects of different Climates is also another excellent topic of rhetoric. But all effects whatsoever have their causes: the climate and the other physical causes produce an infinite number of effects; and if the Author had said otherwise, he would have been considered as extremely stupid. The question is reduced to this: Whether, in countries placed at a great distance from each other, or whether in different climates, there are the marks of a national spirit. Now that there are such differences, is established by almost the universal consent of writers. As the impressions of this national spirit have a considerable influence on the dispositions of the heart, it cannot be at all questioned that certain dispositions of heart are more frequent in one country than another; and in proof of this, we have also the testimony of an infinite number of writers in all times and places. As these things are merely human, the Author has treated them in that light. He might indeed have added to them many questions debated in the schools, with respect to the humane and christian virtues; but it is not usual to croud these questions into books of natural philosophy, politics, and civil law. In a word, the climate may be the physical cause of producing various dispositions of mind; these dispositions may have an influence on human actions: but how does this give a shock to the throne of him who has created, or to the merits of him who has bought us?
If the Author has inquired what the magistrates of various countries might do, in order to conduct their several nations in a manner most proper, and most suitable to their respective characters, what harm has he done in this?
One may also reason on the local customs of religion. The Author had no business to consider them as either good or bad: he has only said, that there are climates where certain religious customs were more easily received, that is, the people in those climates were more easily accustomed to them, than the people in others. Of this it would be unnecessary to give examples; there are an hundred thousand.
I am very sensible, that religion is, in its own nature, independent of any physical effects whatsoever: that what is good in one country is good in another: and that it cannot be bad in one country, without being bad in all. But, as it is practised by men, and for men, there are places where a particular religion is more easily practised, either in part, or in the whole, in one certain country than in others, and in certain circumstances than in others. And whoever asserts the contrary must divest himself of common sense.
The Author has remarked, that the climate of the Indies has produced there a certain sweetness of manners. But, says the Critic, The women there burn themselves at the death of their husbands. There is but little philosophy in this objection. Is the Critic ignorant of the contradictions of the human mind, and how readily it can separate things the most closely united, and unite those that are the most widely separated. See the Author’s reflexions on this subject in book xiv. chap. 3.