Front Page Titles (by Subject) Chapter 1: Of the Public Use of Marriage Institutions - The Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy
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Chapter 1: Of the Public Use of Marriage Institutions - William Paley, The Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy 
The Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy, Foreword by D.L. Le Mahieu (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2002).
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Of the Public Use of Marriage Institutions
The public use of marriage institutions consists in their promoting the following beneficial effects.
1. The private comfort of individuals, especially of the female sex. It may be true, that all are not interested in this reason; nevertheless, it is a reason to all for abstaining from any conduct which tends in its general consequence to obstruct marriage; for whatever promotes the happiness of the majority, is binding upon the whole.
2. The production of the greatest number of healthy children, their better education, and the making of due provision for their settlement in life.
3. The peace of human society, in cutting off a principal source of contention, by assigning one or more women to one man, and protecting his exclusive right by sanctions of morality and law.
4. The better government of society, by distributing the community into separate families, and appointing over each the authority of a master of a family, which has more actual influence than all civil authority put together.
5. The same end, in the additional security which the state receives for the good behaviour of its citizens, from the solicitude they feel for the welfare of their children, and from their being confined to permanent habitations.
6. The encouragement of industry.
Some ancient nations appear to have been more sensible of the importance of marriage institutions than we are. The Spartans obliged their citizens to marry by penalties, and the Romans encouraged theirs by the jus trium liberorum. A man who had no child, was entitled by the Roman law only to one half of any legacy that should be left him, that is, at the most, could only receive one half of the testator’s fortune.