Chapter 22

Infanticide and Healthcare Policy

March 27, 2020

THE Roman policy was very good in respect to abortion.

Dionysius Halicarnasseus says that Romulus made the citizens educate:

  • all their male children
  • the eldest of their daughters.

If the infants were deformed and monstrous, he permitted killing them after showing them to 5 of their nearest neighbours.

Romulus did not allow killing any infant under 3 years old. He thus reconciled the law that gave to fathers the right of life and death over their children.

The law which obliged the citizens to marry and to educate all their children was in force in the 277th year of Rome. Custom had restrained the law of Romulus which permitted them to kill their younger daughters.

We have no knowledge of what

The law of the twelve tables was made in Rome in 301. Cicero says that after the creation of that law:

  • the monstrous infant was stifled
  • the non-monstrous infant was preserved

Thus, the law of the twelve tables made no change in the preceding institutions.

Tacitus says that

“The Germans never kill their children. They rely on the best manners, while we rely on the best laws.

The Romans therefore had laws against abortion but did not follow them.

We cannot find any Roman law that allowed abortion.

Towards the decline of the republic;

  • luxury robbed the people of their freedom
  • inequality led to poverty
  • the father believed that all was lost when he gave to his family who was distinct from his property.

These led to the abuse of abortion.

Chapter 23: The State of the World after the Fall of the Romans

THE regulations made by the Romans to increase the number of their citizens, had their effect, while the republic, in the full vigour of her constitution, had nothing to repair but the losses she sustained by her courage, by her intrepidity, by her firmness, her love of glory, and of virtue. But soon the wisest laws could not re-establish what a dying republic, what a general anarchy, what a military government, what a rigid empire, what a proud despotic power, what [152] a feeble monarchy, what a stupid, weak, and superstitious court had successively pulled down. It might indeed be said, that they conquered the world only to weaken it, and to deliver it up defenceless to barbarians. The Gothic nations, the Getes, the Saracens, and Tartars, by turns harrassed them= and soon the barbarians had none to destroy but barbarians. Thus, in fabulous times, after the inundations and the deluge, there arose out of the earth armed men, who exterminated one another.

Chapter 24= The Changes in Europe’s Population

IN the state Europe was in, one would not imagine it possible for it to be retrieved; especially when under Charlemain it formed only one vast empire. But by the nature of government at that time, it became divided into an infinite number of petty sovereignties; and as the lord or sovereign, who resided in his village, or city, was neither great, rich, powerful, nor even safe, but by the number of his subjects; every one employed himself with a singular attention to make his little country flourish. This succeeded in such a manner, that notwithstanding the irregularities of government, the want of that knowledge which has since been acquired in commerce, and the numerous wars and disorders incessantly arising, most countries of Europe were better peopled in those days, than they are even at present.

I have not time to treat fully of this subject. But I shall cite the prodigious armies engaged in the crusades, composed of men of all countries, Puffendorf* [153] says, that in the reign of Charles IX. there were in France twenty millions of men.

It is the perpetual re-union of many little states that has produced this diminution. Formerly, every village of France was a capital; there is at present only one large one= every part of the state was a center of power; at present, all has a relation to one center; and this center is, in some measure, the state itself.

Chapter 25= continued

EUROPE, it is true, has for these two ages past greatly increased its navigation= this has both procured and deprived it of inhabitants. Holland sends every year a great number of mariners to the Indies; of whom not above two thirds return= the rest either perish or settle in the Indies. The same thing must happen to every other nation concerned in that trade.

We must not judge of Europe as of a particular state engaged alone in an extensive navigation. This state would increase in people, because all the neighbouring nations would endeavour to have a share in this commerce; and mariners would arrive from all parts. Europe, separated from the rest of the world by religion†, by vast seas and desarts, cannot be repaired in this manner.

Chapter 26= Consequences

FROM all this we may conclude, that Europe is at present in a condition to require laws to be made [154] in favour of the propagation of the human species. The politics of the ancient Greeks incessantly complain of the inconveniencies attending a republic, from the excessive number of citizens; but the politics of this age call upon us to take proper means to increase ours.

Chapter 27= the French Law to encourage Population Growth

LEWIS XIV. appointed* particular pensions to those who had ten children, and much larger to such as had twelve. But it is not sufficient to reward prodigies. In order to communicate a general spirit, which leads to the propagation of the species, it is necessary for us to establish, like the Romans, general rewards, or general penalties.