part of the nation; the emperor was killed or destroyed by a usurper,
who founded a family, the third or fourth successor of which went and
shut himself up in the very same palace.
8. Of public Continency. So many are the imperfections that attend the
loss of virtue in women, and so greatly are their minds depraved when
this principal guard is removed, that in a popular state public
incontinency may be considered as the last of miseries, and as a certain
forerunner of a change in the constitution.
Hence it is that the sage legislators of republican states have ever
required of women a particular gravity of manners. They have proscribed
not only vice, but the very appearance of it. They have banished even
all commerce of gallantry -- a commerce that produces idleness, that
renders the women corrupters, even before they are corrupted, that gives
a value to trifles, and debases things of importance: a commerce, in
fine, that makes people act entirely by the maxims of ridicule, in which
the women are so perfectly skilled.
9. Of the Condition or State of Women in different Governments. In
monarchies women are subject to very little restraint, because as the
distinction of ranks calls them to court, there they assume a spirit of
liberty, which is almost the only one tolerated in that place. Each
courtier avails himself of their charms and passions, in order to
advance his fortune: and as their weakness admits not of pride, but of
vanity, luxury constantly attends them.
In despotic governments women do not introduce, but are themselves an
object of, luxury. They must be in a state of the most rigorous
servitude. Every one follows the spirit of the government, and adopts in
his own family the customs he sees elsewhere established. As the laws
are very severe and executed on the spot, they are afraid lest the
liberty of women should expose them to danger. Their quarrels,
indiscretions, repugnancies, jealousies, piques, and that art, in fine,
which little souls have of interesting great ones, would be attended
there with fatal consequences.