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contenting themselves with making provision for their subsistence, desert half their duty.
3. A reasonable provision for the happiness of a child, in respect of outward condition, requires three things a situation suited to his habits and reasonable expectation; a competent provision for the exigencies of that situation; and a probable security for his virtue.
The first two articles will vary with the condition of the parent. A situation somewhat approaching in rank and condition to the parent's own; or, where that is not practicable, similar to what other parents of like condition provide for their children; bounds the reasonable, as well as (generally speaking) the actual expectations of the child, and therefore contains the extent of the parent's obligation.
Hence, a peasant satisfies his duty who sends out his children, properly instructed for their occupation, to husbandry or to any branch of manufacture. Clergymen, lawyers, physicians, officers in the army or navy, gentlemen possessing lerate fortunes of inheritance, or exercising trade in a large or liberal way, are required by the same rule to provide their sons with learned professions, commissions in the army or navy, places in public offices, or reputable branches of merchandise. Providing a child with a situation includes a competent supply for the expenses of that situation, until the profits of it enable the child to support himself. Noblemen and gentlemen of high rank and fortune may be bound to transmit an inheritance to the representatives of their family, sufficient for their support without the aid of a trade or profession, to which there is little hope that a youth, who has been flattered with other expectations, will apply himself with diligence or success. In these parts of the world, public opinion has assorted the members of the community into four or five general classes, each class comprising a great variety of employments and professions, the choice of which must be committed to the private discretion of the parent.* All that
*The health and virtue of a child's future life are considerations so superior to all others, that whatever is likely to
can be expected from parents as a duty, and therefore the only rule which a moralist can deliver upon the subject is, that they endeavour to preserve their children in the class in which they are born, that is to say, in which others of similar expectations are accustomed to be placed; and that they be careful to confine their hopes and habits of indulgence to objects which will continue to be attainable.
It is an ill judged thrift, in some rich parents, to bring up their sons to mean employments, for the sake of saving the charge of a more expensive education: for these sons, when they become masters of their liberty and fortune, will hardly continue in oc
have the smallest influence upon these, deserves the parent's attention. In respect of health, agriculture, and all the active, rural, and out of door employments are to be preferred to manufactures and sedentary occupations. In respect of virtue, a course of dealings in which the advantage is mutual, in which the profit on one side is connected with the benefit of the other (which is the case in trade, and all serviceable art or labour,) is more favourable to the moral character than callings in which one man's gain is another man's loss; in which what you acquire is acquired without equivalent, and parted with in distress: as in gaming, and whatever partakes of gaming, and in the predatory profits of war. The following distinctions also deserve notice :-A business, like a retail trade, in which the profits are small and frequent, and accruing from the employment, furnishes a moderate and constant engagement to the mind, and, so far, suits better with the general disposition of mankind than professions which are supported by fixed salaries, as stations in the church, army, navy, revenue, public offices, &c. or wherein the profits are made in large sums, by a few great concerns, or fortunate adventures; as in many branches of wholesale and foreign merchandise, in which the occupation is neither so constant, nor the activity so kept alive by immediate encouragement. For security, manual arts exceed merchandise, and such as supply the wants of mankind are better than those which minister to their pleasure. Situations which promise an early settlement in marriage are on many accounts to be chosen before those which require a longer waiting for a larger establishment.
cupations by which they think themselves degraded, and are seldom qualified for any thing better.
An attention, in the first place, to the exigencies of the children's respective conditions in the world; and a regard, in the second place, to their reasonable expectations, always postponing the expectations to the exigencies, when both cannot be satisfied; ought to guide parents in the disposal of their fortunes after their death. And these exigencies and expectations must be measured by the standard which custom has established: for there is a certain appearance, attendance, establishment, and mode of living, which custom has annexed to the several ranks and orders of civil life (and which compose what is called decency,) together with a certain society, and particular pleasures, belonging to each class: and a young person who is withheld from sharing in these for want of fortune, can scarcely be said to have a fair chance for happiness; the indignity and mortification of such a seclusion being what few tempers can bear, or bear with contentment. And as to the second consideration, of what a child may reasonably expect from his parent, he will expect what he sees all or most others in similar circumstances receive; and we can hardly call expectations unreasonable, which it is impossible to
By virtue of this rule, a parent is justified in making a difference between his children, according as they stand in greater or less need of the assistance of his fortune, in consequence of the difference of their age or sex, or of the situations in which they are placed, or the various success which they have met with..
On account of the few lucrative employments which are left to the female sex, and by consequence the little opportunity they have of adding to their income, daughters ought to be the particular objects of a parent's care and foresight; and as an option of marriage, from which they can reasonably expect happiness, is not presented to every woman who deserves it, especially in times in which a licentious celibacy is in fashion with the men, a father should endeavour
to enable his daughters to lead a single life with independence and decorum, even though he subtract more for that purpose from the portions of his sons than is agreeable to modern usage, or than they expect.
But when the exigencies of their several situations are provided for, and not before, a parent ought to admit the second consideration, the satisfaction of his children's expectations; and upon that principle, to prefer the eldest son to the rest, and sons to daughters; which constitutes the right, and the whole right, of primogeniture, as well as the only reason for the preference of one sex to the otner. The preference, indeed, of the first-born has one public good effect, that if the estate were divided equally amongst the sons, it would probably make them all idle; whereas, by the present rule of descent, it makes only one so; which is the less evil of the two. And it must further be observed on the part of the sons, that if the rest of the community make it a rule to prefer sons to daughters, an individual of that community ought to guide himself by the same rule, upon principles of mere equality. For, as the son suffers by the rule, in the fortune he may expect in marriage, it is but reasonable that he should receive the advantage of it in his own inheritance. Indeed, whatever the rule be, as to the preference of one sex to the other, marriage restores the equality. And as money is generally more convertible to profit, and more likely to promote industry, in the hands of men than of women, the custom of this country may properly be complied with when it does not interfere with the weightier reason explained in the last paragraph.
The point of the children's actual expectations, together with the expediency of subjecting the illicit commerce of the sexes to every discouragement which it can receive, makes the difference between the claims of legitimate children and of bastards. But neither reason will in any case justify the leaving of bastards to the world without provision, education, or profession; or, what is more cruel, without the means of continuing in the situation to which the parent has
introduced them; which last is, to leave them to inevitable misery.
After the first requisite, namely, a provision for the xigencies of his situation, is satisfied, a parent may diminish a child's portion, in order to punish any flagrant crime, or to punish contumacy and want of filial duty in instances not otherwise criminal: for a child who is conscious of bad behaviour, or of contempt of his parent's will and happiness, cannot reasonably expect the same instances of his munificence.
A child's vices may be of that sort, and his vicious habits so incorrigible, as to afford much the same reason for believing that he will waste or misemploy the fortune put into his power, as if he were mad or idiotish; in which case a parent may treat him as a madman or an idiot; that is, may deem it sufficient to provide for his support, by an annuity equal to his wants and innocent enjoyments, and which he may be restrained from alienating. This seems to be the only case in which a disinherison, nearly absolute, is justifiable.
Let not a father hope to excuse an inofficious disposition of his fortune, by alleging, that " every man do what he will with his own." may "" All the truth which this expression contains is, that his discretion is under no control of law; and that his will, however capricious, will be valid. This by no means absolves his conscience from the obligations of a parent, or imports that he may neglect, without injustice, the several wants and expectations of his family, in order to gratify a whim or pique, or indulge a preference founded in no reasonable distinction of merit or situation. Although in his intercourse with his family, and in the lesser endearments of domestic life, a parent may not always resist his partiality to a favourite child (which, however, should be both avoided and concealed, as oftentimes productive of lasting jealousies and discontents;) yet, when he sits down to make his will, these tendernesses must give place to more manly deliberations.
A father of a family is bound to adjust his economy with a view to these demands upon his fortune; and