Montesquieu

It is unrea­so­na­ble and unna­tu­ral for women to be heads of the house, as had been esta­bli­shed among the Egyptians, but not for them to govern an empire. In the first case, their state of weak­ness does not allow them pree­mi­nence ; in the second, their very weak­ness ordi­na­rily endows them with more sen­si­ti­vity and mode­ra­tion, which can make for a good govern­ment, rather than hard and fierce vir­tues.

In the Indies they do very nicely with govern­ment by women, and it is esta­bli­shed that if the males do not come from a mother of the same blood, it is the daugh­ters whose mother is of royal blood who suc­ceed.1 They are assi­gned a cer­tain num­ber of per­sons to help them bear the weight of the govern­ment. If to that we add the exam­ple of Muscovy and of England, we will see that they are suc­ceed equally well in mode­rate and des­po­tic govern­ments.

Lettres édifiantes et curieuses, 14th volume.