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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 49

The Common Law Defined by Judge Lewis

The Common Law Defined by Judge Lewis.

The rights of parents are strongly and clearly defined by Judge Ellis Lewis, in "Commonwealth vs. Armstrong, Lycoming County, Pa., August Session, 1842." The Judge, having sent his decision to Chancellor Kent, received in reply an approval of its correctness, and of the reasoning on which it was based. In this opinion Judge Lewis says: "The authority of the father results from his duties. He is charged with the duty of maintenance and education. . . . The term 'education' is not limited to the ordinary instruction of the child in the pursuits of literature: it comprehends a proper attention to the moral and religious sentiments of the child. In the discharge of this duty, it is the undoubted right of the father to designate such teachers either in morals, religion, or literature, as he shall deem best calculated to give correct instruction to his child." In sustainment of his opinion, the Judge quotes from Horry, Prof, of Moral Philosophy, from Dr. Adam Clarke, from Paley, and from Dr. Way land, who, in his Moral Philosophy, writes: "The right of the parent is to command,—the duty of the child is to obey. . . . The relation is established by our Creator. . . . The duty of parents is to educate their children in such a manner as they (the parents) believe will be most for their future happiness, both temporal and eternal. . . . With his duty in this respect no one has a right to interfere. . . . While he exercises his parental duties within their prescribed limits, he is, by the law of God, exempt page 8 from interference both from individuals and from society." After citing these authorities and various passages of the sacred Scriptures, the Judge goes on to say: "It is the duty of the parent to regulate the conscience of the child by proper attention to its education; and there is no security for the offspring during the tender years of its minority, but in obedience to the authority of its parents in all things not injurious to its health or morals."