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CHAPTER III: Of the duties that ought to be observed in a society of parents and children. - Johann Gottlieb Heineccius, A Methodical System of Universal Law: Or, the Laws of Nature and Nations 
A Methodical System of Universal Law: Or, the Laws of Nature and Nations, with Supplements and a Discourse by George Turnbull. Translated from the Latin by George Turnbull, edited with an Introduction by Thomas Albert and Peter Schröder (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2008).
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Of the duties that ought to be observed in a society of parents and children.
Connection.By the conjunction of which we have been treating in the preceding chapter, children are procreated, who abide in society with their parents till they themselves form new families, and go from under their parents authority. For tho’ children, when they come into the world, can neither expresly nor tacitely consent to this society; yet, because society may arise from presumed consent, if, by the nature of the thing, we may judge one to have consented (§16), and the condition of infants requires that they should live in society with others, (§16); there is no reason why we may not assert, that parents and children consent in the same end and means, and consequently that there is a society between parents and children (§13).
The end of this society is the convenient education of children.Because infants, nay, young boys and girls, are not capable of judging how they ought to direct their actions and conduct, God, who willed their existence, is justly understood to have committed the care of such to others. And since he hath implanted not only in men, but in brutes, an ardent affection to stimulate them to this duty (§26), and men contract marriage for the sake of procreation and education, or ought to have those ends solely in their view in forming this society (§ eod.); the consequence is, that this duty is principally incumbent on the parents; and therefore that there is no other end of the society between parents and children, but convenient and proper education of children.*
This end cannot be gained, unless the parents have a certain power.Education being the end of this society (§51); since it cannot be carried on without directing the actions of children, the consequence is, that parents have a right and power to direct their children’s actions; they have therefore power over their children, and thus this society is unequal and rectoreal. But as the duties of every society must be deduced from its end (§14); so this parental power must be estimated by its end; and therefore it is a right or power competent to parents, to do every thing, without which the actions of children cannot be so directed, as that the end of this society may be obtained.†
It belongs to both parents.Since the duty of education is incumbent upon both parents (§51), the consequence is, that this power must be common to both parents; and therefore, by the law of nations, this power cannot belong to the father only, as the Roman law affirms; yet, since regularly the father, as husband, has the prerogative in the conjugal society (§44), it is plain, that when parents disagree, greater regard ought to be had to the father’s than to the mother’s will, unless the father command something manifestly base and hurtful to his children: For to such things, as being morally impossible, neither mother nor children can be obliged.
It passes to grandfathers, grandmothers, tutors, nurses, preceptors, adepters.Besides, because the duty of education, whence the parental power takes its rise, is sometimes undertaken, upon the death of the parents, by grandfathers and grandmothers, or other relatives, through affection; sometimes it is committed by the parents themselves to others, whom they judge more fit for the charge; sometimes a stranger desires a parent would devolve that care upon him; it therefore follows, that this power, as far as it consists in the right of directing the actions of children, is, in these cases, devolved upon grandfathers, relations, pedagogues, and those who adopt* children, or take them under their care; and therefore all such persons may exercise the parental power as far as the education undertaken by them requires.
Parents have the power of commanding, forbiding, chastising.Since this power consists in the right of doing every thing necessary to obtain the end of the society above defined (§52); it is obvious, that parents have a right to prescribe to their children what they ought to do, and to prohibit what they ought not to do; and not only to chide and reprove the stubborn and disobedient, but to chastise them, as the circumstances of the case may require; and to use other severer methods to reduce them into good order and due obedience; provided it be done prudently, and with proper regard to age, the dignity of the family, and other circumstances.*
Whether it extends to the power of life and death?Hence it is plain, that the end of this society does not require the power of life and death over children; unless, perhaps, in a state of nature, where parents preside over a large and diffused family as its heads; and in this case they exercise such power rather as princes and magistrates than as parents.* Whence again we infer, that the law of nature does not approve of the antient rigid power of the Romans, which was afterwards disapproved of even by them; and therefore Justinian justly affirms, §2. Inst. de patri. potest. “That no other people ever exercised such a power over children as the Romans did.”
Whether parents have the power of selling, of hurting delinquents, and of acquiring by their children?Much less then have parents, by the law of nature, a right to expose their children to sale, of inflicting hurtful punishments upon them for faults, and of acquiring to themselves all that comes to their children, tho’ all these things were approved of by the antient Roman laws. For none of these things is of such a nature, that the end of society cannot be obtained without it (§52). But since this power consists in directing the actions of children (§52), parents cannot be refused the right of commanding certain work from their children, suitable to their condition, and of making gain by their labor; nor of administrating what comes to their children by the favour of men, or of providence.*
The foundation of the duties of parents to their children.We have said enough of the power of parents. As to their duties, they are very obvious. For they are easily deducible from the end of this society. Education is the end of this society, and therefore it is self-evident, that parents are obliged to every thing without which this end cannot be obtained, and to avoid every thing contrary to it (§24). But it is worth while to give a full view or idea of education, that thereby the duties, both of parents and children, may the more clearly and certainly appear.
Of education, wherein it consists.The natural affection implanted in parents, inculcates, as we have already observed (§26) the obligation of parents to educate their children. Now, the love which parents owe to their children, is a love of benevolence (l. 1. §85), which consists in delighting to preserve and encrease, to the utmost of our power, the happiness of an inferior and more imperfect being (ibid.); the consequence from which is, that parents are not only bound to take care of the conservation of their children, but likewise to lay themselves out to promote their happiness to the utmost of their power. And in this does education consist, by which nothing else is understood but the care of parents to preserve their children, and to make them as perfect and happy as they can.*
It is the duty of parents to preserve the health, soundness, &c.If parents be obliged to the preservation of their children (§59), the consequence is, that they are not only bound to provide for them all the necessaries of life;†i.e. cloaths and food, according to their condition of life, but likewise to take care of their health, and to preserve their bodies sound and intire in all their members, as much as that lies in their power; and therefore to keep them from gluttony, luxury, lasciviousness, and all the other vices which tend to enervate, weaken, or hurt their bodies; and, on this account, not rashly to leave them to themselves, or without some guardian.
What is contrary to this duty.To this duty are directly contrary, endeavours to bring about abortion, exposing infants, abdicating and disinheriting them without a just cause;* de-nying them necessary sustenance, and other such crimes, repugnant to the end of this society. They chiefly are very blameable, nay, unworthy of the name of parents, who abandoning their children, or, by their carelesness about them, are the cause of their receiving any hurt in any of their senses, organs or members; this impiety of the parents is so much the more detestable, that the soundness of their senses, and the integrity of their members, belong not only to the preservation, but to the happiness of children.
The understanding of children ought to be improved.Since parents are obliged to promote the perfection and happiness of their children to the utmost of their power (§59), to which belongs the cultivation of their understandings, in order to render them capable of distinguishing true good from evil (l. 1. §146), it is certainly the duty of pa-rents to instil early into the minds of their children the principles of wisdom, and the knowledge of divine and human things, or to commit them to the care of proper masters to be polished and informed by them, and to save no expence in instructing and improving them, within their power, and agreeable to their rank. Whence we also conclude, that parents are obliged to give due pains to find out the genius of their children, that they may choose for them a kind of life suitable to their genius, rank, and other circumstances; and that being chosen, to exert themselves to the utmost for qualifying them to act their part on the stage of life with applause.*
Their will or temper ought to be rightly framed.Since the will or temper is the seat of that love by which we perceive true good or happiness, parents do nothing, whatever care they may take about perfecting the understanding of their children, if they neglect the formation of their will or temper. Parents, who take not proper pains and methods to inspire early into their minds the love of piety and virtue, but train them up to vice, if not to gross and manifest vices, yet to cunning, avarice, ambition, luxury, and other such vices, by representing these vices to their minds under the false shew of prudence, frugality, spirit, taste, and elegance. Parents, in fine, who set a pattern of wickedness before their children, and sadly corrupt their minds by a continued course of vitious example.*
Above all the mind is to be recalled from the pursuit of pleasure.Nothing is so flattering to youth as pleasure and ease; and therefore parents ought to take care not to educate their children too softly and delicately; not to suffer them to become languid and indolent, to dissolve in ease and laziness; not to breed them up to luxury and high living; but to inure them to hardship, to bear heat and cold, and to content themselves with homely fair, with whatever is at hand. For while the children of peasants are thus bred up to work, and to homely diet, do we not see how they surpass the youth of higher birth in health and vigour?*
And from bad companions.Nothing so much depraves youth as bad company; and therefore parents ought to be watchful that their children do not associate themselves with corrupt companions, but with their equals, and such as are well educated. For tender minds are prone to imitation,† and easily moulded into any shape by example, but averse to admonition; and the danger of their being corrupted is so much the greater, that they are so little capable of distinguishing flatterers and parasites from true friends, corrupt from good masters, or inducements to vice from wholesome precepts.
Children owe their parents a love of reverence and obedience.The duties of children to their parents are easily deducible from the state and right of parents, and from the end of the society we are now considering. For since parents have the right of directing the actions of their children, hence it is plain, that they ought to be regarded by their children as superior and more perfect than them; and consequently that they ought to be loved by them with a love of reverence and obedience* (l. 1. §85); whence it follows, that children ought to pay all reverence and obedience to their parents (l. 1. §86), such reverence and obedience as is due to their perfection and superiority (l. 1. §87).
Veneration is due to parents.Because parents ought to be revered with a respect suitable to their perfection (§66), none can doubt but children are bound to prefer their parents before all others, to speak honourably to them, and of them; yea, to take care not so much as to shew disrespect by any look. And tho’ it may happen, that one of the parents, or both, may not have the perfections requisite to beget veneration (l. 1. §87),* yet it is the duty of a good child to overlook these imperfections, and rather to bear injuries from them with patience, than to omit any thing which nature itself requires of children.
As likewise filial fear.Since parents have power or right to direct their childrens actions, and to curb and correct them, (§55), the consequence is, that parents ought not only to be loved and revered, but feared. From this mixture of love and fear arises filial fear (l. 1. §131);† and therefore we cannot choose but con-clude from hence, that good children will only have this filial fear of their parents; and thus they will not be so much afraid of the pain, the castigation and reprehension of their parents will give themselves, as of provoking their parents indignation against them by their vices.
As also obedience.But because obedience is likewise due to parents, (§66), children cannot escape reproof and chastisement, if they do not readily and cheerfully obey their parents commands; and the morosity and severity of parents does not authorize children to withdraw their obedience. Yet, because right reason teaches us, that the greater the perfection and excellence of a being is, the greater veneration and obedience is due to that being (l. 1. §87),* the consequence is, that if parents command any thing that is base and immoral, or contrary to the divine will, and to the laws of the country, more regard is to be had to the divine will and the laws, than to the commands of parents.
How parental power is dissolved.Moreover, since the necessity of the parents right to direct childrens actions is the sole genuine foundation of parental power (§52), none can question but that end being gained, the means must cease; and therefore the parental power does not continue till death, but expires then, when male-children are come to such maturity of years and judgment, that they are capable of directing themselves, and can make a new family, or when daughters and grand-daughters marry, and go out of their father’s or grandfather’s house into other families; so that the law of nature does not approve that rigour of the old Roman law, which placed children, with their wives and children, under the father’s power, till fathers or grandfathers, of their own free accord, emancipated and dismissed them.*
Parental power being dissolved, love ought not to cease.But when the parental power is dissolved (§70), that love which nature hath implanted in the breasts of parents towards their children ought not to cease. And therefore it is the duty of parents to delight in the welfare and happiness of their children, even after they are separated from them, and out of their family; to assist them with their counsel and their wealth to the utmost of their power, and to be no less beneficent to them than to those which are still in their family; and, in fine, to do all they can to promote their happiness: Whence it is also evident, why emancipated children ought to succeed to intestate parents as well as those who are not.†
Whether it be in the power of the parents and children to dissolve the parental power at their pleasure.Hence we also conclude, that it is not in the power of parents, at their will and pleasure, to dismiss children, of whatever age, from their family, nor to retain adult children under their power so long as they please; but yet, that children are not excusable in deserting parents against their will, and in refusing to submit to their authority. For as it is unjust in parents to omit any thing without which the end of this society cannot be attained (§24); so children cannot, without injustice, shake off their parents authority; because what one would not have done to himself, he ought not to do to others (l. 1. §88).
The obligations of children to parents after parental power is dissolved.As the love of parents ought not to be extinguished when parental power is dissolved (§71), so that love of veneration which children owe to their parents ought much less to cease with parental power; yea, since every one is bound to love his benefactor (which love is called gratitude) (§226); the consequence is, that children, after the parental power no longer takes place, are obliged to testify gratitude towards their parents every way; not merely by words, but to repay benefits by benefits; and therefore to undertake nothing of any moment, or that regards the honour of the family, (such as marriage) without their consent; nay, to supply them with the necessaries and conveniencies of life, if they want them. This kind of gratitude, tho’ it belongs to the duties of imperfect obligation, yet it is of such a peculiar nature, that civil laws may reduce children, unmindful of their filial duties, into good order* (l. 1. §227).
The mutual obligation of tutors and pupils.If parents die before children have arrived at a proper age to conduct themselves, the nature of the thing requires that their education should be committed to others, who are called tutors or guardians; and therefore guardianship is nothing else, but the power of directing the actions of children, and of managing their affairs and interests in room of their parents, till the children are come to such maturity of years and judgment, as to be fit to govern themselves* (§54). From which definition we may infer, that tutors have the same power with parents, if it be not circumscribed by the civil laws within narrower bounds; and are obliged to the same fidelity, and all the same duties as parents; and, in fine, that pupils or wards are no less obliged to veneration, gratitude and obedience, than children; and that this obligation is so much the more strict, that the benefit done them is greater, when performed not in consequence of any natural tie, but from pure benevolence.
[* ] For tho’ a man and woman may join together, not with a view to have children, but merely to satisfy their lust, yet they are not freed from this obligation, because they proposed another end to themselves. All impure conjunctions without marriage being repugnant to right reason (§34), it is no matter what end parents may really have had in their view; but we are solely to consider what end they ought to have had in view; nor is it in any one’s power to renounce the preceptive law, which appoints this end of copulation (l. 1. §13).
[† ] Hence then the origine of that power belonging to parents by the law of nature. God wills that children exist, i.e. that they be preserved and made happy (l. 1. §77): but they cannot be preserved and live happily without proper education (§51); and they cannot be properly educated unless their actions be directed: Therefore God wills that the actions of children be directed by those who educate children. But the right of directing the actions of children is power over children (§52): And therefore God wills that parents exercise power over their children. We therefore send Hobbes apacking, de cive, 9. 3. who derives paternal power from occupancy. Nor does Pufendorff’s way, (of the law of nature, &c. l. 6. c. 2. §4.) satisfy us, who derives it partly from the nature of social life, and partly from the presumed consent of children. For presumed consent to this society, which we likewise acknowledge can be inferred from no other principle than that we have now laid down.
[* ] Adoption therefore is not contrary to the law of nature, but for another reason than that upon which it is founded in the Roman law. For children being by that law under the power of the father, i.e. in domino juris quiritium, l. 1. D. de rei vind. Hence they inferred, that the father could alienate and sell his children, as well as the other things (mancipi) in his full possession and power. And thus adoptions were made by alienation and cession of right, as we have shewn on another occasion. Besides, men only, and not women, could adopt, except by a special indulgence from the prince to console them for the loss of their children, §10. Inst. l. 5. C. de adopt. because they could not have any person under their power. But we derive adoptions not from any dominion belonging to the father, or to both parents, but from the duty of education, and the power of directing the actions of children, necessary to that end; which duty, since sometimes it may be better performed by strangers, or at least as conveniently as by the parents themselves, there is no reason why they may not resign it to others, willing to undertake it, and thus give them their children in adoption. Nor is there any difference whether a man or a woman, a married or unmarried person adopt, because this adoption does not imitate nature, but only the duties of parents. And we have an example of this kind of adoption, not only among the Egyptians, Exod. ii. 10. but also among the Romans, among whom Lact. de mort. perseq.cap. 50. tells us, that Valeria Augusta, not on account of barrenness, but to console her for the loss of her children, adopted Candidianus.
[* ] Grotius, of the rights of war and peace, 2. 5. 22. and Pufendorff of the law of nature, &c. 6. 2. 7. justly observe, that this power is greater over younger than more adult children. For since the father may do every thing that education, the end of this society, makes requisite (§52); because children of an imperfect understanding can hardly discern by themselves what is right, the very nature of the thing requires, that parents should direct their actions, and have a right to compel them to learn some useful art, as likewise to embrace the religion they themselves approve, and to chastise with the rod, or otherwise, the disobedient. But this a good father will not do to a more grown up child, who, his judgment being more ripe, ought to be induced to do what is right, rather by authority, and the weight of good arguments, than by severity and rigid command; nor ought he to force any thing upon such a child by way of command with respect to his future manner of life, against his will and inclinations. Thus, e.g. parents are right in forcing a boy against his will to attend the school; but it would be wrong to force one come to the years of discretion, to marry, or to follow a profession he does not like, &c. This we observe, in opposition to Zieglerus, who in his notes on Grotius, 2. 5. 2. thinks this distinction ought not to be admitted. [[Ziegler, In Hugonis Grotii De jure belli ac pacis libros, . . . notae.]]
[* ] This is plain, because that power of life and death was proper to the father, and not common to both parents, and extended even to wives and widow-daughters-in-law. We have an example of the latter in Judah, Gen. xxxviii. 24. who, when he found that his Daughter-in-law Tamar had play’d the harlot, ordered her to be brought forth and burnt. Thus kings, because they are in a state of nature, exercise this power over their wives, children, and their whole family; and this power fathers in ancient times exercised, not as fathers, but as sovereigns. Thus Philip of Macedon sat as judge between his sons, Liv. 40. 8. [[Livy, History of Rome 40.8. Thus Claudius Caesar punished Valeria Messalina his adulterous wife, Sueton. in Claud. cap. 26. Suetonius, “The Deified Claudius,” chap. 26 in Suetonius, vol. 2 not to mention more modern examples which have been examined by others. See Barbeyrac on Pufendorff, of the law of nature and nations, 6. 2. 10.]]
[* ] For since children themselves, while their judgment is imperfect, are subject to the direction of their parents; why may not their goods be likewise administred by them? But may this administration be gainful to them? I do not doubt of it. Whatever things children stand in need of, such as clothes, meat, lodging, the expence of education, &c. they have a right to demand them from their parents. They therefore do not stand in need of fruits or profits, whereas the parents often greatly want them for the support and education of their children. With what face then can children demand restitution of fruits or profits from their parents, whom they can never repay, if they would give up themselves and their all to them? Ismene says well in Sophocles, Oedip. Colon. v. 523.Patrem cura: nam parentum caussaEtsi quis laborat, laborum tamen non meminisse debet.
[[Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, in Sophocles: Antigone; The Women of Trachis; Philoctetes; Oedipus at Colonus, ll. 507–9 (not 523): “[S]tay here and guard our father; when one takes trouble for a parent, one must not remember that it is trouble!”
[* ] For what so great merit is there in begetting children, if care be not taken about their conservation? And what signifies it to have preserved them, if they are not so educated as to be rendered capable of true happiness? So Seneca of benefits, 3. 31. Ad bene vivendum minima est portio vivere, &c. [[“To live well, the smallest part is to live.” This exact phrase does not appear in Seneca’s On Benefits 3.31, though another phrase with a similar meaning (“Non est bonum vivere, sed bene vivere”) does: “It is not a blessing to live, but to live well” (Seneca, Moral Essays, vol. 3).]]
[† ] To this class belongs chiefly suckling. For that the mother is obliged to this is evident, from the care of nature to furnish her with such plenty of milk, till the child’s stomach is fit to receive and digest more solid food. Those mothers are therefore truly neglectful of their natural duty, who either for their own ease and conveniency, or for the sake of preserving their shape, delegate this care to nurses, often of little worth, if not bad women, as the heathens themselves have acknowledged, and proved by many solid arguments. See Plutarch on education, p. 3. Aul. Gell. noct. Attic. 12. 1. [[Plutarch, “The Education of Children,” pp. 13–15, in Moralia: in Fourteen Volumes, vol. 1; Aulus Gellius, Attic Nights, vol. 2, pp. 353–55. But because necessity exeems one from the obligation of an affirmative law (l. 1. §114), mothers of a delicate constitution, or who have not milk, are not blameable if they give their child to a good nurse. But what care a mother ought to take in this matter, is elegantly described by Myia in a letter to Phyllis, apud Tom. Gale Opuscul. Mythol. Eth. & Physic. p. 750. Thomas Gale, Opuscula mythologica physica et ethica.]]
[* ] What difference is there betwixt murdering children and denying them necessary sustenance? l. 4. D. de agnos. & alend. lib. But those parents withhold necessary sustenance from their children, who abandon or desert them, or disinherit them without a cause: Nay, those laws are reprehensible which give so much indulgence to parents, as to allow them to treat their children as they please, or at least pay more regard to paternal power than to natural equity. For who can choose but blame the laws of the Tarquinians, which suffered the testament of Demaratus to hold good, “who not knowing that his daughter-in-law was pregnant, died without mentioning his grand-child in his testament; and thus the boy being born after his grandfather’s decease, to no share of his estate, was on account of his poverty called Egerius.” Liv. 1. 34. [[Livy, Early History of Rome, 72. And who, on the other hand, does not approve of Augustus, “who, by his decree appointed C. Tettius, an infant disinherited by his father, to inherit his father’s estate by his authority, as father of his country, because the father had acted most iniquously towards his lawful son, in depriving him of his right by his father,” Valer. Max. 7. 7. Valerius Maximus, Memorable Doings and Sayings, vol. 2, 175.]]
[* ] Since one and the same person often sustains several different characters, as Hertius has shewn in a dissertation on the subject [[Hertius (praeses) and Hasslocher (respondens), Dissertatio de uno homine, plures sustinente personas, education ought to be so modelled, that children may not only be fit for the way of life chosen for them, but likewise to act a becoming part in other characters. Hence, because children ought to be qualified not only to be good merchants or artizans, but likewise to be good citizens; the education of children ought to be accommodated to the state and form of the republic to which they belong, as Aristotle has wisely observed, Polit. 5. 9. adding this reason for it, “That the best laws are of little advantage, unless the subjects are early formed and instituted suitably to them (si leges sint populares populariter, sin oligarchicae, oligarchice), for if there be an unsuitable disposition to the frame of government in any one of the subjects, the state will feel it.”]]
[* ] Those are the fatal methods by which we may observe children of the best natural dispositions to be corrupted and ruined. For as none is so careless about his own reputation as to affect to shew his vices; and therefore every one endeavours to hide his crimes under some false semblance of prudence and virtue, so parents, for the most part, are not at so much pains to teach their children to live honestly and virtuously, as to teach them to deceive others by a counterfeit appearance of virtue and probity, i.e.Ut Curios simulent, & bacchanalia vivant.
[[This is a slightly inaccurate quotation from Juvenal, Satires, Satire 2, 1. 3: “[P]eople who imitate the Curii [i.e., representatives of traditional Roman virtue] but live like Bacchanals.”
To this end are all their precepts directed, and this is the lesson their example inculcates. Insomuch that when some children, through the goodness of their natural disposition, are in the way to virtue and real honour, their excellent turn of mind is depraved gradually by the bad example of their parents. For as those who travel in a dark night, are easily misled out of their right road by false lights; so the best dispositions are easily corrupted, if bad examples are continually seducing them; especially, if their parents themselves are by their practice perpetually shewing them the inutility of all the discipline bestowed upon them. How mindful ought parents to be of that important advice of Juvenal, Sat. 14. v. 44.Nil dictu foedum visuque haec limina tangat,Intra quae puer est, procul hinc, procul inde puellaeLenonum, & cantus pernoctantis parasiti.Maxima debetur puero reverentia. Si quidTurpe paras, nec tu pueri contemseris annos:Sed peccaturo obsistat tibi filius infans.
Juvenal, Satires, Satire 14, lines 44–49: “Don’t let any foul language or sight touch the threshold where there’s a father inside. Keep away, keep well away, you pimps’ girls and songs of the parasite who parties through the night! A child deserves the utmost respect. So if you’re planning something disgusting, you shouldn’t disregard his tender years. Rather, your baby soon should be a deterrent when you are on the point of doing something wrong.”
[* ] There is an excellent epistle to this purpose from Theanus to Eubules, apud Thom. Gale Opuscul. ethic. physic. & mytholog. p. 741. “It is not education, but a perversion and corruption of nature, when the mind is inflamed with the love of pleasure, and the body with lust.” Nor are the precepts of Plutarch, in his excellent treatise of education, less grave and serious.
[† ] How propense youth is to imitation, is plain from the many instances of those, who being bred up among the brutes, acquire their gestures, their voice and fierceness to such a degree, that they are hardly distinguishable from them. Instances of this sort are collected by Lambert Schaffnab. ad annum 1344. Hartknoch. de Polon lib. 1. cap. 2. p. 108. Bern. Connor. Evang. med. art. 115. p. 181. & de statu Polon. part. 1. ep. 6. p. 388. [[Hersfeld, Lamperti Monachis Hersfeldensis opera; Hartknoch, De republica Polonica libri duo; Connor, Evangelium medici seu medicina mystica. The work “de statu Polon.” is presumably Hagemeier’s Iuris publici Europaei de statu Regni Poloniae et imperii Moscovitici epistola VIII. In the Leipsick Acts 1707, p. 507. we are told of a deaf and dumb boy, who, by frequenting the church, begun to imitate all the motions and gestures of those he saw there, in such a serious-like manner, that the clergy could no longer doubt of his having some sense of religion: And yet, when he afterwards had learned to speak, it could not be found out in any way, that he had ever had any notion of religion. Acta eruditorum. This was one of the most influential learned journals published in the German territories; it appeared between 1682 and 1731. If such be the force of example and imitation, is it to be wondered at, that boys receive, as it were, a new nature from the society they frequent, and are by drinking Circe’s cup transformed into beasts.]]
[* ] Hence, all the ancients have acknowledged, that next to the love due to God, is that owing to parents. So Gellius Noct. Attic. 4. 13. to prove which, he quotes Cato, Massurius Sabinus & C. Caesar. [[Gellius, Attic Nights 5 (not 4).13, vol. 1. The golden verses of Pythagoras are yet more express to this purpose.Primum immortales Divos pro lege coluntoEt jusjurandum: heroas, clarum genus, inde.Daemones hinc, terris mixti, sua jura ferunto.Inde parentis honos sequitor; tum sanguinis ordo.
“First let the immortal gods be worshipped in accordance with the law, and oaths: then the heroes, that famous race, next let spirits which are mixed with earth bring their laws, then let the honour due to a parent follow; then the order of blood.” The verses are a Latin translation of the first four lines of the golden verses, which are in Greek (see Hierocles, Commentary on the Golden Verses).
In commenting upon which verses in his way, Hierocles observes, that in parents there is the image of God. And Simplicius ad Epictet. Enchirid. c. 37. p. 199. tells us, “That the more ancient Roman laws pay’d such veneration to parents, that they did not hesitate to call them (Deos) Gods: And out of reverence to this divine excellence, they called a father’s brothers (Thios) Divine, to shew the high respect they thought was due by children to parents.” Simplicius, On Epictetus’ Handbook, vol. 2, p. 56. This is a commentary on chap. 30 of Epictetus’ text.]]
[* ] For even bad parents are still parents, i.e. they are, as Simplicius, ibidem p. 198. justly calls them, the authors of our existence next to God: And this perfection alone ought to incite us to dutifulness and reverence to our parents. Epictet. Enchirid. c. 37. says, “But he is a bad father. Have you then no union by nature but with a good father? No sure, the union is with a father, as such. Do therefore your duty to him, and do not consider what he does, but how your own conduct will be agreeable to nature.” [[Epictetus, “The Manual,” chap. 30 of The Discourses as Reported by Arrian, the Manual, and Fragments, vol. 2.]]
[† ] What is said of the commands of magistrates by the apostles St. Peter and St. John (“Whether it is more just to obey God or you, do you yourselves judge, Acts iv. 19.” “Is it better to obey God or men, Acts v. 29.”) may be applied to the precepts of parents. For tho’ their authority be sacred, yet that of God is more such: Nor does the paternal authority extend so far as to free their children from the laws of the supreme magistrate (§23). Hierocles, in his commentary upon the golden verses of Pythagoras reasons thus: “If any order of parents be repugnant to the divine will, what else ought they to do to whom such a collision of laws happens, but to follow the same rule that ought to be observed in other cases, where there is a competition of duties? Two honest goods or pleasures being proposed, which cannot be both enjoyed, the greater ought to be preferred to the lesser. Thus, e.g. it is certainly duty to obey God; but it is also duty to obey our parents. If therefore both obligations concur and draw you the same way, it is a double and unexpected gain, and without controversy the greatest good. But if the divine law draw one way, and the will of parents another, in this disagreement of laws, it is best to follow the better will, and to neglect the will and command of parents in these cases, in which parents themselves do not obey God.”
[* ] [[See preceding note.]]
[* ] This flows from the paternal power, or the dominium juris Quiritium peculiar to the Romans. For time did not put an end to this dominion; nor could any one lose it without some deed of his own. Hence those imaginary sellings made use of in emancipations. For nothing appeared more consistent than that (res mancipi) things in full possession and dominion should be alienated by selling. See A. Corn. van Bynkershoek de jure occid. lib. cap. 1. p. 145. [[The work referred to concerns the right of the ancient Romans to kill and expose their children (Bynkershoek, Curae secundae de jure occidendi et exponendi liberos apud veteres Romanos). But this dominion over children, as res mancipi, being unknown to the law of nature (§54), this rigour we have above described, cannot belong to it.]]
[† ] Wherefore, in this matter, many nations seem to have departed from natural equity, in which married daughters, having got a certain patrimony by way of dowry, were obliged to content themselves with it, and were excluded from any farther share or succession to the paternal inheritance. This law was amongst the Hebrews founded on a very solid reason, because such was the frame of that republic, that every tribe had its lot, which could not pass to any other tribe, Num. xxvii. But the Syrian custom, of which we see an instance, Gen. xxxi. 14. & seq. was not equally commendable. See a curious dissertation by Jacob Perizonius, de lege voconia, p. 119. where there are several learned observations on this subject. [[Perizonius, Dissertationum trias. Much less still can we approve of the Roman law, which excluded emancipated sons from succession to the paternal inheritance, since the Praetor had a power to soften the rigour of it, and since Justinian entirely abrogated it, Novella 1. 118. For emancipation ought only to dissolve parental power, and not parental love, from which we have shewn that succession to intestates ought to be derived (l. 1. §295).]]
[* ] If what is told of the storks be true, that they provide for their aged parents, those brute creatures reproach children who neglect their duty to parents. “The storks (says Aelian. Hist. animal. 3. 23.) take tender care of their aged infirm parents: tho’ they be commanded to do this by no laws, yet they are led to it by the goodness of their nature.” [[Aelian, De natura animalium 3.23 (Aelian, On the characteristics of animals, bk. 3, chap. 23, p. 183). But shall not reason persuade men to what nature excites the very brutes?]]
[* ] How long children are to be held minors, the law of nature cannot determine, so different are the capacities, geniuses and dispositions of children, some becoming very early wise, and others continuing very long fools. But, because legislators in such cases attend to what ordinarily happens (§44), they have done well to fix a certain period to minority. But how various their determinations have been in this matter, is shewn by testimonies collected from the most ancient histories, in a dissertation of Jo. Petrus a Ludewig, de aetate legitima puberum & majorennium. [[Johann Peter von Ludewig (1668–1743), historian, philosopher, and professor of law at Halle. From 1721 he was chancellor of the University of Halle, and the relationship between Heineccius and Ludewig was not free of tension and competition. The work referred to here is his De aetate legitima puberum et maiorvm.]]