Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Montesquieu, Charles, Baron de (1689-1755), a French author, was born at the castle of Breda, near Bordeaux. He was studious in youth, and at the age of twenty had begun to amass materials for his great work, Esprit des Lois. Having inherited property from his uncle, he lectured on history at the Academy of Bordeaux, and tried to introduce the study of natural science. In 1721 appeared his Lettres Persanes, which gave great offence in some quarters by their original, lively, and at times irreverent, satire. He was admitted to the Academy in 1728, and then he started to travel and study the institutions of Germany, Italy, Hungary, Switzerland, Holland, and England, where he resided two years. In 1734 appeared his Causes de la Grandeur et de la Bccadence des Romaiiis, and in 1748 his Esprit des Lois, which embodied his political studies. He treats of society from the democratic, the despotic, and the monarchical points of view; of the effects of rewards and punishments; of the influence of religion, education, commerce, climate, and physical surroundings. His work has been described as a code of natural law, and himself a legislator for humanity. His Lettres Familicres appeared in 1767, and his CEuvres Posthumes in 1798. There are many editions of his works, one of the best being that published in Paris (7 vols., 1875-79). Montesquieu was of amiable private character, and stories are told of his unostentatious generosity.