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As the mother herself owes obedience to the father, her authority must submit to his. In a competition, therefore, of commands, the father is to be obeyed. In case of the death of either, the authority, as well as duty, of both parents devolves upon the survivor.

These rights, always following the duty, belong likewise to guardians ; and so much of them, as is delegated by the parents or guardians, belongs to tutors, school-masters, &c.

From this principle, “ that the rights of pa“ rents result from their duty,” it follows, that parents have no natural right over the lives of their children, as was absurdly allowed to Roman fathers; nor any to exercise unprofitable feverities; nor to command the commission of crimes : for these rights can never be wanted for the purposes of a parent's duty.

Nor, for the same reason, have parents any right to sell their children into slavery. Upon which, by the way, we may observe, that the children of slaves are not, by the law of nature, born slaves ; for, as the master's right is derived to him through the parent, it can never be greater than the parent's own. ,

Hence also it appears, that parents not only pervert, but exceed their juft authority, when they VOL. I.

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consult their own ambition, interest, or prejudice, at the manifest expence of their children's happiness. Of which abuse of parental power, the following are instances : the shutting up of daughters and younger sons in nunneries and monafteries, in order to preserve entire the estate and dignity of the family; or the using of any arts, either of kindness or unkindness, to induce them to make choice of this way of life themselves; or, in countries where the clergy are prohibited from marriage, putting sons into the church for the fame end, who are never likely either to do or receive any good in it, fufficient to compensate for this sacrifice; the urging of children to marriages, from which they are averse, with the view of exalting or enriching the family, or for the sake of connecting estates, parties, or interests; or the opposing of a marriage, in which the child would probably find his happiness, from a motive of pride or avarice, of family hoftility or personal pique.


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I HE Duty of Children may be considered,
I. During childhood.

II. After they have attained to manhood, but continue in their father's family.

III. After they have attained to manhood, and have left their father's family.

I. During childhood.

Children must be supposed to have attained to some degree of discretion before they are capable of any duty. There is an interval of eight or nine years, between the dawning and the maturity of reason, in which it is necessary to subject the inclination of children to many restraints, and direct their application to many employments, of the tendency and use of which they cannot judge; for which cause, the submission of children during this period must be ready and įmplicit, with an exception, however, of any B b 2




manifest crime, which may be commanded him.

II. After they have attained to manhood, but continue in their father's family.

If children, when they are grown up, voluntarily continue members of their father's family, they are bound, beside the general duty of gratitude to their parents, to observe such regulations of the family as the father shall appoint; contribute their labour to its support, if required; and confine themselves to such expences as he shall allow. The obligation would be the same, if they were admitted into any other family, or received support from any other hand.

III. After they have attained to manhood, and have left their father's family.

In this state of the relation, the duty to parents is simply the duty of gratitude; not differeilt in kind, from that which we owe to any other benefactor ; in degree, just so much exceeding other obligations, by how much a parent has been a greater benefactor than any other friend. The services and attentions, by which filial gratitude may be testified, can be comprised within no enumeration. It will shew itself in compliances with the will of the parents, however contrary to the child's own taste or judg


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ment, provided it be neither criminal, nor totally inconsistent with his happiness; in a constant endeavour to promote their enjoyments, prevent their wishes, and soften their anxieties, in small matters as well as in great; in assisting them in their business ; in contributing to their support, ease, or better accommodation, when their circumstances require it; in affording them our company, in preference to more amusing engagements ; in waiting upon their fickness or decrepitude ; in bearing with the infirmities of their health or temper, with the peevishness and complaints, the unfashionable, negligent, austere manners, and offensive habits, which often attend upon advanced years; for where must old age find indulgence, if it do not meet with it in the piety and partiality of children ?

The most serious contentions between parents and their children, are those commonly, which relate to marriage, or to the choice of a profeffion.

A parent has, in no case, a right to destroy his child's happiness. If it be true therefore, that there exist such personal and exclusive attachments between individuals of different sexes, that the possession of a particular man or woman in marriage be really necessary to the child's


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