Montesquieu
 

XVI.11 On domestic servitude, independent of polygamy

It is not only the plu­ra­lity of wives that requi­res their confi­ne­ment in cer­tain pla­ces in the Orient : it is the cli­mate. If you read the hor­rors, cri­mes, trea­chery, vil­lai­nies, poi­sons, and mur­ders cau­sed by the free­dom of women in Goa and in the Portuguese set­tle­ments in the Indies where the reli­gion allows only one wife, and com­pare them to the inno­cence and purity of the morals of the women of Turkey, of Persia, of the Mogul empire, and of China and Japan, you will see clearly that it is often just as neces­sary to sepa­rate them from men when a man has but one wife as when he has seve­ral.

It is the cli­mate that must deter­mine things. What good would it be to confine the women in our nor­thern coun­tries, where their morals are natu­rally sound, all their pas­sions are calm, sub­dued, and unre­fi­ned, where love has such contro­led sway over the heart that the sim­plest struc­ture suf­fi­ces to guide them ?

It is a bles­sing to live in these cli­mes which allow us to com­mu­ni­cate, where the most attrac­tive sex seems to enhance society, and where the women, res­tric­ting them­sel­ves to the plea­su­res of a sin­gle man, still serve the enter­tain­ment of all.