whatever is necessary to its existence and operation, is the natural right of infants.
But it is obvious that a governing power, existing some where, is indispensably necessary in the case of the child; that is, a power must exist sufficiently potent to control the spontaneous volitions of the will, or, in the circumstances of its position, it will probably extinguish its own liberty, by the law of habit.
Government, then,--absolute government,--is necessary to the existence and operation of the endowment of humanity in the state of infancy; and therefore absolute government is the natural right of the infant
. Hence all civil governments have exercised (so far as the will and physical condition are concerned) an absolute despotism over the child, and have recognized the parent, or some one appointed in the place of the parent, as the agent of its functions in this respect.
Not to accord to the infant this extreme form of control, would be a practical denial of its natural rights.
Therefore this extreme form of despotism, so far from being a curse, is the natural right of infants — the good to which they are entitled by nature.
And again, the civil government accords to the child a progressive modification of this form of government under given circumstances.
It requires its agent to relax the stringency of this control, and to extend a privilege of self-control,