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which is neces
cessary ?) any transference of the care of offspring would be an evil essentially aggravated.
The possible mischief of this natural constitution has been considered by the philosopher and the statesman from ancient times. Many of these boldly urged the prior rights of the state. They maintained that the children were its issue and property. They insisted on its custody and regulation of them. The parents were set aside. Patriotism was supposed to absorb instinctive affections. Father gave up his son, and even mother her daughter. The sages and jurisconsults of antiquity not only seem absolute in these opinions; they have been followed by some modern writers of no mean repute. A few specimens of those older, and then of these more recent, thinkers, may be adduced.
The prototype of these opinions is seen in the Institutions of Sparta. In the biography of Lycurgus, by Plutarch, we find sentiments of this kind formally declared as those on which he acted. “He resolved the whole matter of legislation into the bringing up of youth."* "He regarded the education of youth as the first and most excellent duty of the law-giver.”+ “He considered children not so much the property of their parents as of the state." I "Parents were not at
* «Τον γαρ ολον και πασης νομοθεσιας εργον εις την παιδειαν ανηψε.” * « Της δε παιδειας ην μεγισον ηγειτο του νομοθετου και καλλισον
Ουκ ιδιους πολεως."
ηγειτο των πατερων τους παιδας αλλα κοινους της
liberty to train up their children according to their own ideas.”* Agreeably with these rules, he placed marriage and gestation under the public care. The infants were committed to public nurses ; and after seven years of age, all were fed at public tables. The concubinage which was enjoined forbade propriety in offspring. The intercourse was so vilely promiscuous, that the boast was that there could be no adulterer. Lesche was a scene of unutterable grossness. The education of the youth was worthy of that brutal source. They were trained to suppress all the better emotions. Detection was taught to be the only crime. Valour was repaid by vice. Natural affection was scorned. And this national system of juvenile association is left on record with all its distinctive features, to prove that every system must be utterly wrong which makes light of the parental instinct and the natural law.
Plato, in his Republic, inculcates the same principle. He, like Lycurgus, speaks of marriage in its mere view of issue, and with no more delicacy than would become the breeding of the inferior animals as a source of gain. He allows the most unbridled sexual intercourse, if it be likely to produce hardy and handsome children. After a disgusting passage he proceeds:
“That their children be also common, so that the father shall not know his own son, nor the son recognise his own father. This is harder to be believed than the other as to possibility and usefulness. I do not
* Ουδε εξειν εκασω τρεφειν ουδε παιδευειν ως εβoυλετο τον υιον.”
believe that any will doubt the advantage of it, that it would be the greatest good for the women to be in common, and the children to be in common, if it could be accomplished.”* It is then proposed that magistrates shall be appointed to receive the children immediately on birth, and carry those of a well formed and noble descent to certain nurses dwelling in another quarter of the city. But they are to be authorised to bring the mothers of those children, whom they have not been permitted to see, in order to suckle them, ---still as if it were a business of stock and means of profit, ----while every art is to be employed that no one should know the babe which she has borne. The rude Lacedæmonian was not more ruthless of the deformed child than is this contemplative sage. It is asked,-- we shudder at the incestuous reason of the question,-“How shall fathers and mothers and other kindred distinguish each other? In no manner can they be known.” And this is he whom nations all but worship, the Divine Dreamer, the Celestial Seer! All invective, and not undeserved, is heaped upon the systems of modern infidelity: it is forgotten that their foulest dogmas first fell from his honeyed lips, that the metempsychosis of his spirit is among us in the most execrable licentiousness and disorganization, and that were he on the earth he would be the high priest of the orgies which every vir
* * Και τους παιδας αν κοινους, και μητε γονεα εκγονον ειδεναι τον αυτού, μητε παιδα, γονέα. Πολυ, εφη, τουτο εκεινου μειζον,”De Republica, lib. v.
tuous mind abhors and loathes. But the hideousness of the idol is lost to the votary in the marvel of its legend, the nimbus of its glory, and the distance of its shrine.
Xenophon, in his Institution of Cyrus, contrasts the laws of the Persians with those of other nations. “These laws appear to begin with a provident care of the public good; not at the point where most other governments begin; most other governments, giving to all the liberty of educating their children as they please. ... But these laws, taking things higher, are careful, from the beginning, to provide that their citizens shall not be such as to be capable of meddling with any action that is base and vile.” He then explains the four plans of public life. That of the boys was national instruction under elders. They spoke of going to learn justice rather than letters. They held courts among themselves for the accusation of any offence. Their curriculum was in no sense literary, but a training of the body to temperance and warfare, and of the mind to habits of modesty and obedience. The whole must be received with much allowance, since the history is often wholly unauthenticated, and the writing is rather that of a pleasing romanticism than of a grave and veracious chronicle. It is, however, valuable as the opinion of so profound and so good a man.
Aristotle supports the same opinion. "No man can doubt, but that the education of youth ought to be the principal care of every legislator; by the neg
lect of which great injury befalls the civil polity of states.”*
It may be thought that Grecian education was generally private. In the Dramatis Personæ of both tragedy and comedy, the pedagogue frequently appears. But he was the person who had care of the
of household, without regard to their education. He was the man-nurse of the family, and was often employed in taking the boys to school. The true schoolmasters were the Paidotribes and the Didascalos. The law of publicity was not as rigid in Athens as in Sparta, but opinion and custom were on its side. The Areopagus is supposed to have had something to do with its direction. The educating system of Rome little appears. The choice of its youth studied in Greece or Ionia. The commonalty seems to have been hardy, ignorant, wayward. Quinctilian f speaks of former times as better than his own. The picture he draws is very beautiful of what had been the domestic bringing up of youth, with its then reverse. “Quis enim ignorat et eloquentiam et ceteras artes descivisse ab istâ vetere gloriâ, non ino; piâ hominum sed desidia juventutis, et negligentiâ parentum et inscientiâ præcipientium, et oblivione moris
Politics, lib. viii. cap 1. «« Οτι μεν ουν νομοθετη μαλισα πραγμα τευτεον περι την των νέων παιδειαν, ουδεις αν αμφισβητησας και γαρ εν ταις πόλεσιν ου γιγνομενον τουτο, βλαπτει τας πολιτειας.”
+ It is still unsettled whether Quinctilian, or Tacitus, or a third party, be the author of De Oratoribus Dialogus. It generally passes as the composition of the first. Any author night be proud of so noble a composition.