“IN a late charge to the Grand Jury, Chief Justice Parker, of New Hampshire, noticed the fact that, although three-fourths of the crimes that had been committed were a few years ago attributed to intemperance, yet the extensive reform that has taken place in regard to spirit drinking has not checked the prevalence of crime. He thought crime to be on the increase; and among all the causes that operate to cause the increase, he gave the first place to a prevailing neglect of family government. He alluded to the change which had taken place in society, from the rigid discipline of the past generation to the laxity which now dispenses with the exercise of parental authority, and expressed the opinion that this was the opposite extreme, which was productive of the greatest social evils. Such an opinion from such a source, is entitled to the serious attention of those who allow their children to go loose into the world.” – Vermont Chronicle.
So far as human governments are designed for the suppression of crime, we believe with Judge Parker, that the government which God has vested in parents, is by far the most important, and when duly exercised, the most effectual. And for this very reason have we protested against the efforts which are being made throughout the land, to take the children of our country from the control of their parents, and place them directly or indirectly under the control of an ever aspiring clergy. Under whatever pretence, whether of educating, religionizing, or moralizing them, the rights which God has vested in parents, should be regarded as too sacred to be violated under any ordinary circumstances. Next to, but not before the parents’ authority, comes that of the public magistrate; his business is to punish crime of a secular nature, and to be a terror to evil doers; to protect the people in the full enjoyment of their social, civil and religious rights, from all encroachments upon their rights by others. But when human legislatures or earthly magistrates so far transcend their proper sphere, as to attempt to manufacture consciences, to revise, magnify, or abridge, or enforce the laws of God, or in any way, or to any extent interfere with the rights of conscience, or even abridge the natural rights which God has endowed his creatures with, they may always look with a certainty for an increase instead of a decrease of crime. If our legislatures and magistrates would have their authority respected by the people, they must take care not to infringe the people’s rights.
Notwithstanding the self-evident position of Judge Parker, the correctness of whose remarks we think cannot be doubted, efforts are now being made to place the 700,000 children of our state indirectly under the government of a set of Prussian school officers, whose whole power is made to centre in a board of five trustees, two of which are reverend doctors of divinity; and the arguments used for this transfer of authority from the parents to the priesthood, is that they may be moralized and christianized by this unnatural and anti-christian arrangement.
New Vernon, N.Y.,
May 1, 1845
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 2
Pages 553 – 555