Montesquieu

In England, young women often abuse the law to marry as they wish without consul­ting their parents. This cus­tom could per­haps be bet­ter tole­ra­ted there than elsew­here, for the rea­son that, monas­tic celi­bacy not having been ins­ti­tu­ted there by law, the only condi­tion young women can assume is that of mar­riage, and they can­not say no. In France, on the contrary, where mona­chism is ins­ti­tu­ted, young women always have the recourse of celi­bacy, and the law which orders them to await their fathers’ consent could be more appro­priate there. With this thought, the prac­tice of Italy and Spain would be the least rea­so­na­ble : mona­chism is ins­ti­tu­ted there, and they can marry without their fathers’ consent.