Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. XVI.: The Concern of the Legislator in the Propagation of the Species. - Complete Works, vol. 2 The Spirit of Laws
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
CHAP. XVI.: The Concern of the Legislator in the Propagation of the Species. - Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, Complete Works, vol. 2 The Spirit of Laws 
The Complete Works of M. de Montesquieu (London: T. Evans, 1777), 4 vols. Vol. 2.
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
The Concern of the Legislator in the Propagation of the Species.
REGULATIONS on the number of citizens depend greatly on circumstances. There are countries, in which nature does all; the legislator then has nothing to do. What need is there of inducing men by laws to propagation, when a fruitful climate yields a sufficient number of inhabitants? Sometimes the climate is more favourable than the soil; the people multiply, and are destroyed by famine: this is the case of China. Hence a father sells his daughters, and exposes his children. In Tonquin* , the same causes produce the same effects; so we need not, like the Arabian travellers mentioned by Renaudot, search for the origin of this in their sentiments† on the metempsychosis.
For the same reason, the religion of the isle of Formosa‡ does not suffer the women to bring their children into the world, till they are thirty-five years of age; the priestess before this age, by bruising the belly, procures abortion.
[* ]Dampiere’s Voyages, vol. ii.
[† ]Ibid. p. 167.
[‡ ]See the collection of voyages that contributed to the establishment of the East-India company, vol. i. part 1. page 182, and 188.