Montesquieu

In warm coun­tries, the aqueous part of the blood is lar­gely dis­si­pa­ted through pers­pi­ra­tion1 ; the­re­fore equi­va­lent liquid must be sub­sti­tu­ted. Water is excel­lent for this pur­pose ; strong liquids would coa­gu­late the glo­bu­les of the blood2 that remain after the dis­si­pa­tion of the aqueous part.

In cold coun­tries, lit­tle of the aqueous part of the blood is exha­la­ted through pers­pi­ra­tion ; it remains in great abun­dance. Spirituous liquids can the­re­fore be used without the blood coa­gu­la­ting. The body has no want of humours ; there strong liquids that give move­ment to the blood can be appro­priate.

The law of Mohammed which for­bids the drin­king of wine is thus a law of the Arabian cli­mate, and before Mohammed water was the com­mon beve­rage of the Arabs. The law3 which for­bade the Carthaginians to drink wine was also a law of the cli­mate ; indeed the cli­mate of these two coun­tries is about the same.

Such a law would not be good in cold coun­tries, where the cli­mate seems to impel peo­ple to a cer­tain natio­nal ine­bria­tion very dif­fe­rent from that of the per­son. Inebriation is esta­bli­shed eve­ryw­here in the world in pro­por­tion to the cold­ness and humi­dity of the cli­mate. Go from the equa­tor to our pole and you will see ine­bria­tion increase with the degrees of lati­tude. Go from the same equa­tor to the oppo­site pole and you will find ine­bria­tion going sou­th­ward,4 just as on this side it had gone nor­th­ward.

It is natu­ral that where wine is contrary to the cli­mate, and conse­quently to health, its excess should be more seve­rely puni­shed than in coun­tries where ine­bria­tion has few harm­ful effects for the per­son, few for society, and where it does not make men mad but only dim-wit­ted. Thus the laws5 which have puni­shed a drun­ken man both for the infrac­tion he was com­mit­ting and for drun­ken­ness were appli­ca­ble only to the ine­bria­tion of the per­son, and not to natio­nal ine­bria­tion. A German drinks by cus­tom, a Spaniard by choice.

In warm cli­ma­tes, the sla­ck­ness of the fibers pro­du­ces a great loss of fluids, but the solid parts dis­si­pate less. The fibers which have only a very weak acti­vity and lit­tle force do not wear out ; lit­tle nutri­tive juice is nee­ded to res­tore them, thus peo­ple eat very lit­tle.

It is the dif­fe­rent needs in the dif­fe­rent cli­ma­tes which have brought about the dif­fe­rent man­ners of living, and these dif­fe­rent man­ners of living have brought about various kinds of laws. In a nation where men are in close com­mu­ni­ca­tion, cer­tain laws are cal­led for ; others are cal­led for among a peo­ple who do not com­mu­ni­cate.

Mr. Bernier, travelling from Lahore to Kashmir, wrote : “My body is a sieve ; scarcely have I drunk a pint of water than I see it coming like dew from all my members down to the tip of my fingers ; I drink ten pints a day, and it does me no harm.” (Bernier, Travels in the Mogul Empire, vol II, p.261.)

In the blood there are red globules, fibrous parts, white globules, and water in which all those things swim.

Plato, book II of Laws ; Aristotle, Œconomica ; Eusebius, Præparationes evangelicæ, book XII, ch. xvii.

We can see this in the Hottentots and the peoples at the tip of Chile who are farthest south.

As did Pittacus, according to Aristote, Politics, book II, ch. iii. He lived in a climate where inebriation is not a national vice.