Page images
[ocr errors]

children ; which it was impossible he should do by virtue of any paternal authority over one who was not his child, but by virtue of that executive power of the law of nature, which, as a man, he had a right to : and he alone could punish him in his family, where the respect of his children had laid by the exercise of such a power, to give way to the dignity and authority they were willing fhould remain in him, above the rest of his family. 11 §. 75. Thus it was easy, and almost natural for children, by a tacit, and scarce avoidable consent, to make way for the father's authority and government. They had been accustomed in their childhood to follow his direction, and to refer their little differences to him; and when they were men, who fitter to rule them? Their little properties, and less covetousness, seldom afforded greater controversies; and when


should arise, where could they have a fitter umpire than he, by whose care they had every one been sustained and brought up, and who had a tenderness for them all? It is no wonder that they made no distinction betwixt minority and full age; nor looked after one and twenty, or any other

age that might make them the free dilposers of themselves and fortunes, when they could have no desire to be out of their pupilage: the government they had been under, during it, continued still to be more their protection than restraint; and they could no where find a greater security to their peace, liberties, and fortunes, than in the rule of a father.


§. 76. Thus the natural fathers of families, by an insensible change, became the politic monarchs of them too : and as they chanced to live long, and leave able and worthy heirs, for several successions, or otherwise ; so they laid the foundations of hereditary, or elective kingdoms, under several constitutions and mannors, according as chance, contrivance, or occasions happened to mould them. But if princes have their titles in their fathers right, and it be a sufficient proof of the natural right of fathers to political authority, because they commonly were those in whose hands we find, de facto, the exercise of government: I say, if this argument be good, it will as strongly prove, that all princes, nay princes only, ought to be priests, since it is as certain, that in the beginning, the father of the family was priest, as that he was ruler n his own houshold.

[ocr errors]

Of Political or Civil Society.

a creature, that in his own judgComent, it was not good for him to be abne,




him under strong obligations of necefsity, convenience, and inclination to drive him into society, as well as fitted him with understanding and language to continue and enjoy it. The first society was between man and wife, which gave beginning to that between parents and children ; to which, in time, that between master and fervant came to be added : and though all these might, and commonly did meet together, and make up but one family, wherein the master or mistress of it had some sort of rule proper to a family; each of these, or all together, came short of political society, as we shall fee, if we consider the different ends, ties, and bounds of each of these."

$. 78. Conjugal society is made by a voluntary compact between man and woman; and tho' it confist chiefly in such a communion and right in one another's bodies as is necefsary to its chief end, procreation ; yet it draws with it mutual support and assistance, and a communion of interests too, as necessary not only to unite their care and affection, but also necessary to their common off-spring, who have a right to be nourished, and maintained by them, till they are able to provide for themselves.

S. 79. For the end of conjun&tion, between male and female, being not barely procreation, but the continuation of the species; this conjunction betwixt male and female ought to last, even after procreation, so long as is necessary to the nourishment and support of the young ones, who are to be sustained by those that got them, till they are able to shift and provide for themselves. This rule, which the infinite wise maker hath fet to the works of his hands, we find the inferior creatures steadily obey. In those viviparous animals which feed on grass, the conjunction between male and female lasts no longer than the very act of copulation ; because the teať of the dam being sufficient to nourith the young, till it be able to feed on grass, the male only begets, but concerns not himself for the female or young, to whose sustenance he can contribute nothing. But in beasts of prey the conjunction lasts longer : because the dam not being able well to subfist herself, and nourish her numerous off-spring by her own prey alone, a more laborious, as well as more dangerous way of living, than by feeding on grass, the assistance of the male is necessary to the maintenance of their common family, which cannot subsist till they are able to prey for themselves, but by the joint care of male and female. The same is to be observed in all birds, (except some domestic ones, where plenty of food excuses the cock from feeding, and taking care of the young brood) whose young needing food in the nest, the cock and hen continue mates, till the young are able


S 4


to use their wing, and provide for themselves.

$. 80. And herein I think lies the chief, if not the only reason, why the male and female in mankind are tied to a longer conjunction than other creatures, viz. because the female is capable of conceiving, and de facto is

commonly with child again, and brings forth too a new birth, long before the former is sout of a dependency for fupport on his

parents help, and able to shift for himself, and has all the assistance is due to him from his parents : whereby the father, who is bound to take care for those he hath begot, is under

an obligation to continue in conjugal society o with the fame' woman longer than other | creatures, whose young being able to subsist

of themselves, before the time of procreation returns again, the conjugal bond diffolves of itself, and they are at liberty, till Hymen at his usual anniversary season fummons them again to chuse new mates. Wherein one

cannot but admire the wisdom of the great į Creator, who having given to man foresight, and an ability to lay up for the future, as well as to supply the present necessity,

hath made it necessary, that society of man : and wife should be more lasting, than of male

and female amongst other creatures; that so their industry might be encouraged, and their interest better united, to make provision and lay up goods for their common iffue, which


[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »