Montesquieu

It is a conse­quence of poly­gamy that in sen­sual and weal­thy nations a man should have a great many wives. Their sepa­ra­tion from men and their enclo­sure fol­low natu­rally from this large num­ber. Domestic order so requi­res ; an insol­vent deb­tor seeks to shel­ter him­self from the pur­suits of his cre­di­tors. There are such cli­ma­tes where the phy­si­cal has such force that the moral can do almost nothing. Leave a man with a woman : temp­ta­tions will be trans­gres­sions, the attack cer­tain, the resis­tance nil ; in those coun­tries, ins­tead of pre­cepts, it is bolts that are nee­ded.

A clas­si­cal Chinese book regards being alone in an iso­la­ted apart­ment with a woman without doing her vio­lence as a pro­digy of vir­tue.1

“To come upon a forgotten treasure which one can take, or a beautiful woman alone in an isolated apartment ; to hear the voice of one’s enemy who is about to perish if one does not save him : an admirable touchstone.” (Translation of a Chinese work on morality which one can see in Father du Halde, vol. III, p. 151.)