Montesquieu

The father’s natu­ral obli­ga­tion to feed his chil­dren brought about the ins­ti­tu­tion of mar­riage, which desi­gna­tes who must ful­fill that obli­ga­tion. The peo­ples1 of whom Pomponius Mela speaks2 deter­mi­ned it only by resem­blance.

Among orga­ni­zed poli­ties, the father is the man whom the laws, through the cere­mony of mar­riage, have decla­red neces­sa­rily to be such,3 because they find in him the per­son they are see­king.

This obli­ga­tion, among ani­mals, is such that the mother can usually suf­fice ; it is much more exten­sive in humans : their chil­dren have rea­son, but it comes to them only by sta­ges ; it is not enough to feed them, they must also be gui­ded ; they could already live, and they can­not govern them­sel­ves.

Illicit conjunc­tions contri­bute lit­tle to the pro­pa­ga­tion of the spe­cies. The father, who has the natu­ral obli­ga­tion to feed and raise the chil­dren, is not fixed in place at that point ; and the mother, who is left with the obli­ga­tion, encoun­ters a thou­sand obs­ta­cles from shame, remorse, the inhi­bi­tion of her sex, the rigor of the laws ; most often she lacks means.

Women who have sub­jec­ted them­sel­ves to public pros­ti­tu­tion can­not have the conve­nience of rai­sing their chil­dren. The strains of such edu­ca­tion are even incom­pa­ti­ble with their condi­tion, and they are too cor­rupt to have the confi­dence of the law.

It fol­lows from all this that public conti­nence is natu­rally lin­ked to the pro­pa­ga­tion of the spe­cies.

The Garamantes.

Book I, ch. iii.

Pater est quem Nuptiæ demonstrant.