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his hands, as he thought he had succeeded in poising it on the peak. Sisyphus underwent this sentence because he had led a dishonest life, man would have had to undergo a similar doom for not having led a social life.
Society is the theatre, obligatory for the emancipation and development of the creative power in man. To reject social life is to deprive ourselves of the power of profiting by the experience of the past and the present.
That we may be able to profit by the experience of others, we are endowed with an instinct adapted to the purpose of drawing us into the company of our fellows;—this is the social instinct.
This instinct is not peculiar to man, it is met with in the animals, the ant, the bee, and the beaver; but it is in the human race alone that it takes a character of organization, Among most animals, after the first year, the parents and their offspring separate.
The members of the human family separate also, but only that they may mingle with other men and form new families, which may agglomerate, and constitute in final synthesis the state.
Social organizations are the product of two ideas, the idea of right and the idea of authority; the former, man may possess and exercise in isolation, the latter can only assume function in society. In democracies and republics the idea of right prevails; in theocracies and despotisms that of authority dominates.
In considering the right of man, we have had to treat him as an unit, but the state of separation is not that of the primitive existence of men. On the contrary, the first man alone could have risen into being outside of all social relations; every other man has been born in the bosom of a family, and therefore finds himself in the midst of a society already shaped; and, being unable to grow up with
out assistance, the association has maintained itself, and the ideas of those educated in it have been moulded by the organization.
Rousseau and those following him, who placed the origin of human society in a convention, started from premisses not conformable to reality. A convention, whether general, like that which is understood under the denomination of a social contract, or particular, such as that resulting from individual necessities, is an act by which begins an union of individuals separated heretofore as to the object upon which they contract. It follows that every society which commences by a convention, presupposes the anterior separation of its members. But this supposition is inadmissible, as from the moment of birth, every man is attached by numerous links to his fellows.
The family being the first society possible for man, it is important for us to examine the relations existing in it, for therein will be discovered the original idea of authority unaltered, untricked out and gilded as it reigns on every throne.
A sentiment of a peculiar nature, and the need of mutual assistance unite man and woman. In soul, as in body, man differs from the woman; the mental constitution, the physical organs of the one, appeal to and suppose the other. “ One of the laws which concur to form the first societies,” elegantly says Montesquieu,“ has its principle in the charm the sexes inspire by their differences, and in that mutual prayer which they are ever addressing to one another.” 1
The more intense this sentiment is, the more exclusive it becomes. This constitutes the distinctive character of the conjugal union, which is lost in polygamy. From this union issues a being deprived of all resources, of all
1 Montesquieu : Esprit des Lois.
means of existence, and which would infallibly perish, if a natural instinct did not bid the authors of its days render to it the requisite assistance. Without the child, the domestic circle is destitute of a centre, it is widowed of its future. With the arrival of a child the love of the husband for her who has borne it augments, and transforming itself, becomes less passionate but more solid. The man feels himself in conscience bound to protect two frailties, and the obligation is his delight.
The cares lavished by the mother on her infant awaken its filial piety, the superior physical and intellectual power of the father impress on it reverence. It grows up feeling its dependence, and is attached to those on whom it depends by gratitude, respect, and love.
The need for reciprocal assistance makes the utility of the union more apparent as the child emerges from infancy, and it assists the father in the field, or the mother at the hearth.
All these motives woven together constitute that "family tie” which is so strong as to bind the family into a solid mass, which rejoices or suffers as one; and which has led to the mistake of confounding the child with the parent in the exaction of retribution, as, for instance, when a family is banished to Siberia because the father has committed a political crime.
In following the natural formation of the primitive family, we cannot escape the conviction that the relations which manifest themselves are not the product of man's free choice, but are a consequence of the nature of things.
In the family, from the first, the idea of authority has appeared. Protection and order are requisites of the family; and these cannot exist without recognition of an authority.
Of authority there are two sorts, the authority of right, and the authority of force. The latter is tyranny, the other is defined by Suarez to be “the person, whether natural or moral, in whom reside all the faculties necessary for assuring to the community tranquillity and prosperity.” In the family this is the prerogative of the father. Consequently it is he who protects from assaults without, and maintains discipline within, and thus ensures order and peace.
On what title does this authority of the father repose ? By what right is it exercised ?
When the father of a family provides by the sweat of his brow objects necessary for existence, those objects are his own by right of appropriation. If he gives them to his children, either his right over those objects is broken, and they become the property of the children who assimilate them, or the right persists. For instance: I sold the copyright of a small book for £25. The MS. was my own, being the product of my toil. With that sum, which I take as the equivalent of my work, I clothe my baby and pay the doctor and the nurse for having brought her into the world. Has my right ceased, when the £25 was appropriated by the baby? Is it not transformed into authority equal in amount?
If the objects continue to belong to the father of the family, though transformed by the operations of nature into an integral part of the body of the child, he exercises authority over the child by virtue of his right over the substances of which the child is composed; and in this case there are no limits to its extension,
If at any time the idea of right were to take an unlimited development in the social relations, and were to exclude the idea of liberty, the right of the father over those dependent on him would arrive at the degree of power attained by the Romans and almost every nation at a primitive epoch of their social existence; and he would be entitled to expose his child to death or to sell it into slavery.
1 De Legibus.
The relation of husband to wife would also be different. For the female child would be valued at what it cost the father; and the suitor, by indemnifying the parent, would purchase of him his right; and in fact, the price paid for a wife among the Tartars and Indians has no other signification than this, of being the equivalent of the objects she has consuined; and the husband is supposed to purchase the rights those objects represented to the father, and to transfer them to himself.
It was precisely under the influence of these ideas that the first social relations were formed, and once established, they have been continued in the same conditions. The interest of men placed at the head of society, the necessity for order and stability, have concurred to perpetuate them, and authority is taken to be something very different from what it was at the outset.
Authority is indeed nothing other than a transformation of the idea of right of appropriation extended to persons, a prolongation over individuals of the idea of property.
If right be, as has been assumed, a dogmatic verity, authority is a verity also. We shall now inquire within what limits it is justifiable.
The father exercises his right by virtue of his being a completely-developed man; he exercises it over the child because it is as yet in an undeveloped state, and its rights, or, at least, some of them, are as yet in abeyance. The right to live exists in the child from the moment of conception; but it would be absurd to talk of violating the right of liberty of worship and of expressing its opinion, in a sucking child. It has no such rights as yet, for it has