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attaining to perfect maturity without external aid. Drop an acorn into the ground, and it will in due time become a healthy oak without either pruning or training. The insect passes through its several transformations unhelped, and arrives at its final form possessed of every needful capacity and instinct. No coercion is needed to make the young bird or quadruped adopt the habits proper to its future life: its character like its body, spontaneously assumes complete fitness for the part it has to play in the world. How happens it, then, that the human mind alone tends to develop itself wrongly? Must there not be some exceptional cause for this? Manifestly: and if so a true theory of education must recognize this cause.
It is an indisputable fact that the moral constitution which fitted man for his original predatory state, differs from the one needed to fit him for this social state to which multiplication of the race has led. In a foregoing part of our inquiry it was shown that adaptation is effecting a transition from the one constitution to the other. Living then, as we do, the midst of this transition, we must expect to find traits of nature which are explicable only on the hypothesis that humanity is at present partially adapted to both these states, and not completely to either-has only in a degree lost the dispositions needed for savage life, and has but imperfectly acquired those needed for social life. The anomaly just specified is one of these. Those respects in which a child requires restraint are the respects in which he is taking after the aboriginal man. The selfish squabbles of the nursery, the persecutions of the play-ground, the lyings and petty thefts, the rough treatment of inferior creatures, the propensity to destroy-all these imply that tendency to pursue gratification at the expense of other beings, which qualified man for the wilderness, and which disqualifies him for civilized life.
We have seen, however, that the instincts of the savage must decrease from inactivity, while the sentiments called forth by the social state must grow by exercise. These modi
fications will continue until our desires are brought into conformity with our circumstances. When that ultimate state in which morality shall have become organic is arrived at, this anomaly in the development of the child's character will have disappeared. The young human being will no longer be an exception in Nature, but will spontaneously unfold into a form fitted for the requirements of after-life.
And here we are naturally led to remark once more the necessary incongruity between the perfect law and the imperfect man. Whatsoever of Utopianism there may seem to be in the foregoing doctrines, is due not to any error in them but to faults in ourselves. A partial impracticability must not perplex us-must, on the contrary, be expected. Just in proportion to our distance below the purely moral state, must be our difficulty in acting up to the moral law, either in the treatment of children or in anything else.
Meanwhile let it be remarked that the main obstacle to the right conduct of education lies rather in the parent than in the child. It is not that the child is insensible to influences higher than that of force, but that the parent is not virtuous enough to use them. Fathers and mothers who enlarge on the trouble which filial misbehaviour entails upon them, strangely assume that all the blame is due to the evil propensities of their offspring and none to their own. Though on their knees they confess to being miserable sinners, yet to hear their complaints of undutiful sons and daughters you might suppose that they were themselves immaculate. They forget that the faults of their children are reproductions of their own faults. They do not recognize in these muchscolded, often-beaten little ones so many looking-glasses wherein they may see reflected their own selfishness. It would astonish them to assert that they behave as improperly to their children as their children do to them. Yet a little candid self-analysis would show them that half their commands are issued more for their own convenience or gratification than for corrective purposes. Uncover its roots, and the theory of coercive education will be found to grow not out of man's love of his offspring but out of his love of dominion. Let any one who doubts this listen to that common reprimand—“How dare you disobey me?” and then consider what the emphasis means. No no, moral-force education is widely practicable even now, if parents were civilized enough to use it.
But of course the obstacle is in a measure reciprocal. Even the best samples of childhood as we now know it will be occasionally unmanageable by suasion; and when inferior natures have to be dealt with, the difficulty of doing without coercion must be proportionably great. Nevertheless patience, self-denial, a sufficient insight into youthful emotions, and a due sympathy with them, added to a little ingenuity in the choice of means, will usually accomplish far more than is supposed.
[NOTE.—These fragments of a chapter do not directly touch the question of the Rights of Children. A revised conception of these rights, duly qualified by recognition of the claims of parents, will be found in The Principles of Ethics, Part IV:-Justice.]
THERE have been books written to prove that the monarch’s will should be the subject's absolute law; and if instead of monarch we read legislature, we have the expediency-theory. It merely modifies “divine right of kings” into divine right of majorities. It is despotism democratized. Between that old eastern régime under which the citizen was the private property of his ruler, having no rights at all, and that final régime under which his rights will be entire and inviolable, there comes this intermediate state in which he is allowed to possess rights, but only by sufferance of parliament. Thus the expediency-philosophy falls naturally into its place as a phenomenon attending our progress from past slavery to future freedom.
The self-importance of a Malvolio is sufficiently ludicrous; but we must go far beyond it to parallel the presumption of legislatures. Some steward who construed his stewardship into proprietorship, would more fitly illustrate it. Were such an one to argue that the estate he was appointed to manage had been virtually resigned into his possession—that to secure the advantages of his administration its owner had given up all title to it—that he now lived on it only by his (the steward's) sufferance—and that he was in future to receive no emoluments from it, except at his (the steward's) good pleasure—then should we have an appropriate travesty upon the behaviour of governments to nations; then should we have a doctrine analogous to this fashionable one, which teaches how men on becoming members of a community, give up their natural rights for the sake of certain social advantages. Disciples of Hobbes and Bentham will doubtless protest against such an interpretation of it. Let us submit them to a cross-examination.
"Your hypothesis that, when they entered into the social state, men surrendered their original freedom, implies that they entered into such state voluntarily, does it not?”
“Then they must have considered the social state preferable to that under which they had previously lived ?""
“Greater security for life, for property, and for the things that minister to happiness.”
Exactly. To get more happiness: that must have been the object. If they had expected to get more unhappiness, they would not have willingly made the change, would they?”
Does not happiness consist in the due satisfaction of all the desires ? in the due exercise of all the faculties?
“ And this exercise of the faculties is impossible without freedom of action. The desires cannot be satisfied without liberty to pursue and use the objects of them."
“Now it is this freedom to exercise the faculties within specific limits, which we signify by the term rights,' is it not?”
“ It is.”
“Well, then, summing up your answers, it seems that, by your hypothesis, man entered the social state voluntarily: which means that he entered it for the sake of obtaining