Front Page Titles (by Subject) chapter iii: Duty of Parents and Children - The Whole Duty of Man According to the Law of Nature
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chapter iii: Duty of Parents and Children - Samuel von Pufendorf, The Whole Duty of Man According to the Law of Nature 
The Whole Duty of Man According to the Law of Nature, trans. Andrew Tooke, ed. Ian Hunter and David Saunders, with Two Discourses and a Commentary by Jean Barbeyrac, trans. David Saunders (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2003).
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Duty of Parents and Children
I.Paternal Authority. L. N. N. l. 6. c. 2.From Matrimony proceeds Posterity,13 which is subjected to the Paternal Power,* the most Ancient and the most Sacred Kind of Authority, whereby Children are obliged to reverence their Parents, to obey their Commands, and to acknowledge their Pre-eminence.
II. Its Foundation Twofold.The Authority of Parents over their Children, hath its chief Foundation on a Twofold Cause.
First, Because the Law of Nature it self, when Man was made a Sociable Creature, injoin’d to Parents the Care of their Children; and lest they should herein be negligent, Nature implanted in them a most tender Affection for their Issue. Now that this Care may be rightly managed, it is requisite that they have a Power of ordering the Actions of their Children for their Good; because these, as yet, understand not, for want of Discretion, how to govern themselves.
Next, This Authority is also grounded on the tacit Consent of their Offspring. For it may fairly be presum’d, that if an Infant, at the Time of its Birth, had the Use of its Reason, and saw that its Life could not be preserv’d without the Care of the Parents, to which must be join’d a Power over it self, it would readily consent to the same, and desire for it self a comfortable Education from them. And this Power is actually in the Parents, then when they breed and nurse up the Child, and form him as well as they can, that he may become a fit Member of Human Society.
III.Which Parent has greater Right. L. N. N. l. 6. c. 2. §4.But whereas the Mother concurs no less than the Father to the Generation of Children, and so the Offspring is common to both, it may be inquir’d, Which hath the greatest Right thereto? Concerning which Point we are to distinguish: For if the Issue were begotten not in Matrimony, the same shall be rather the Mother’s, because here the Father cannot be known, except the Mother discover him. Among those also who live in a State of Natural Liberty, and above Laws, it may be agreed, that the Mother’s Claim shall be preferr’d to that of the Father. But in Communities,14 which have their Formation from Men, the Matrimonial Contract regularly commencing on the Man’s Side, and he becoming the Head of the Family, the Father’s Right shall take Place, so as though the Child is to pay the Mother all Reverence and Gratitude, yet is it not obliged to obey her, when she bids that to be done which is contrary to the just Commands of the Father. Yet upon the Father’s Decease, his Authority over his Child, especially if not of Age, seems to devolve upon the Mother, and if she marry again, it passes to the Step-Father, he being esteemed to succeed to the Trust and Care of a Natural Father. And he who shall allow liberal Education to an Orphan or a forsaken Child, shall have a Right to exact filial Obedience from the same.
IV.Paternal Authority distinguish’d. L. N. N. l. 6. c. 2. §6.But that we may handle more accurately the Power of Parents over their Children, we must distinguish, first, between Patriarchs, or Chiefs of independent Families; and such as are Members of a Community; 15 and then betwixt the Power of a Father, as Father, and his Power as Head of his Family. And whereas it is injoyn’d by Nature to a Father as such, That he bring up his Children well, in order to render ’em fit Members of Human Society, so long as ’till they can take Care of themselves; hence he has so much Power given him over them, as is necessary for this End; which therefore by no means extends it self so as to give the Parents Liberty to destroy their unborn Offspring, or to cast away or kill it when it is born. For though it is true, the Issue is of the Substance of the Parents, yet it is placed in a Human State equal to themselves, and capable of receiving Injuries from them. Neither also does this Authority vest them with the Exercise of a Power of Life and Death, upon Occasion of any Fault, but only allows them to give moderate Chastisement; since the Age we speak of is too tender to admit of such heinous Crimes as are to be punished with Death. But if a Child shall stubbornly spurn at all Instruction, and become hopeless of Amendment, the Father may turn him out of his own House, and abdicate or renounce him.
V.Childhood. L. N. N. l. 6. c. 2. §7.Moreover, This Power, thus nicely taken, may be considered according to the diverse Age of Children. For in their early Years, when their Reason is come to no Maturity, all their Actions are subject to the Direction of their Parents. During which Time, if any Estate fall to the young Person, it ought to be put into the Possession, and under the Administration of the Father, so that the Property be still reserved to the Child; tho’ it may be reasonable enough that the Profits arising therefrom should be the Father’s till the other arrive at Manhood. So also any Advantage or Profit that can be made by the Labour of a Son, ought to accrew to the Parent; since with the Latter lies all the Care of maintaining and of educating the Former.
VI.Manhood. L. N. N. l. 6. c. 2. §11.When Children are come to Man’s Estate, when they are indued with a competent Share of Discretion, and yet continue themselves a Part of the Father’s Family, then the Power which the Father hath comes differently to be considered, either as he is a Father, or as Head of the Family. And since in the former Case he makes his End to be the Education and Government of his Children, it is plain, That when they are of ripe Years, they are to be obedient to the Authority of their Parents, as wiser than themselves. And whosoever expects to be maintain’d upon what his Father has, and afterwards to succeed to the Possession of the same, is obliged to accommodate himself to the Methods of his Paternal Household; the Management whereof ought to be in his Father’s Power.
VII.Patriarchs Power abridged. L. N. N. l. 6. c. 2. §6.Patriarchs, or Heads of independent Families, before they join’d in Communities,16 acted in many Cases after the manner of Princes, in their Houses. So that their Progeny, who continued a Part of their Families, paid the highest Veneration to their Authority. But afterward, this Family-Royalty (as well as some other private Rights) was moderated for the Benefit and Order of Communities; and in some Places more, in others less of Power was left to Parents. Hence we see that, in some Governments, Fathers have in Criminal Cases a Power of Life and Death over their Children; but in most it is not allowed, either for fear Parents should abuse this Prerogative to the Detriment of the Publick, or to the unjust Oppression of those so subjected; or, lest thro’ the Tenderness of Paternal Affection, many Vices should pass unpunished, which might break forth one time or other into publick Mischiefs; or else, that Fathers might not be under a Necessity of pronouncing sad and ungrateful Sentences.
VIII.17 Marriage with Parents Consent. L. N. N. l. 6. c. 2. §14.And as the Father ought not to turn his Child out of his Family, while he stands in Need of Education and Assistance from him, without the most weighty Reasons; so also ought not the Son or Daughter leave the Parent’s House without his Consent. Now whereas Children frequently leave their Father’s Family on Occasion of Matrimony; and since it much concerns Parents what Persons their Children are married to, and from whom they are to expect Grand-Children; hence it is a Part of filial Duty, herein to comply with the Will of the Parents, and not to marry without their Consent. But if any do actually contract Matrimony against their Liking, and consummate the same, such Marriage seems not to be void by the Law of Nature, especially if they intend to be no longer burthensome to their Parents, and that for the rest their Condition be not scandalous. So that if in any Country such Marriages are accounted null and void, it proceeds from the Municipal Laws of the Place.
IX.Piety ever due to Parents. L. N. N. l. 6. c. 2. §12.But when a Son or Daughter have left their Father’s House, and either have set up a new Family of their own, or joined to another; the Paternal Authority indeed ceases, but Piety and Observance is for ever due, as being founded in the Merits of the Parents, whom Children can never or very seldom be supposed to requite. Now these Merits do not consist in this only, That a Parent is to his Child the Author of Life, without which no Good can be injoyed; but that they bestow also a chargeable and painful Education upon them, that so they may become useful Parts of Human Society; and very often lay up somewhat for them, in order to make their Lives more easie and comfortable.
X.Education intrusted. L. N. N. l. 6. c. 2. §6.And yet, though the Education of Children be a Duty laid upon Parents by Nature it self, it hinders not but that, either in Case of Necessity, or for the Benefit of the Children, the Care thereof may by them be intrusted with another; so still that the Parent reserve to himself the Oversight of the Person deputed. Hence it is, that a Father may not only commit his Son to the Tutorage of proper Teachers; but he may give him to another Man to adopt him, if he perceives it will be advantagious to him. And if he have no other Way to maintain him, rather than he should die for Want, he may hire him out for Wages, or sell him into some tolerable Servitude, reserving still a Liberty of redeeming him, as soon as either himself shall be able to be at the Charge, or any of his Kindred shall be willing to do it. But if any Parent shall inhumanly expose and forsake their Child, he who shall take it up and educate it, shall have the Fatherly Authority over it; so that the Foster Child shall be bound to pay filial Obedience to his Educator.
XI.Duty of Parents.The Duty of Parents consists chiefly in this, That they maintain their Children handsomly, and that they so form their Bodies and Minds by a skilful and wise Education, as that they may become fit and useful Members of Human and Civil Society, Men of Probity, Wisdom, and good Temper. So that they may apply themselves to some fit and honest Way of Living, by which they may, as their Genius and Opportunity shall offer, raise and increase their Fortunes.
XII.Duty of Children.On the other Hand, ’tis the Duty of Children to honour their Parents, that is, to give them Reverence, not only in outward Shew, but much more with a hearty Respect, as the Authors not only of their Lives, but of many other invaluable Benefits to ’em; to obey ’em; to be assistant to ’em to their utmost, especially if they are Aged, or in Want; not to undertake any Business of Moment, without paying a Deference to their Advice and Opinion; and, lastly, To bear with Patience their Moroseness, and any other their Infirmities, if any such be.
[*] Grotius de Jure Belli & Pacis, l. 2. c. 5. §1, &c.
[14.]Again, in Pufendorf this is “state” (civitas) and in Barbeyrac Sociétez Civiles.
[15.]Tooke’s “Members of a Community” evades the political force of Pufendorf’s original “who have submitted to the state” (qui in civitatem subierunt).
[16.]Again, Pufendorf’s term is “states” (civitates).
In Pufendorf’s original text, as in Tooke’s first edition, this was section X. The English editors have followed Barbeyrac in their reordering of this and the following two sections, locating Pufendorf’s original section VIII (on the piety due to parents) as the present section IX, and Pufendorf’s original section IX (on education) as the present section X.