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in literal and express terms ; ortion of marriage could not exist; that it were incontestibly made out families would become domestic by inference from the chapter and brothels ; and the world would verse referred to, it is denied to be hasten to antediluvian corruption. decisive. For the Levitical code If we use strong language, our auas a system, has ceased to be of thor's is still stronger; and what force. It is obligatory on us, our we are endeavouring to do is to author avers, so far only as it agrees give the substance of his argument. with our circumstances. In other Viewed in this light, the whole words, if the reason of a particular ground of the prohibition is resolvMosaic precept exists at the pres- ed simply into a matter of general ent day, the precept itself is bind- expediency: and the prohibition it. ing; otherwise, it is among the self may be stated, as our authot things that have passed away. And states it, in another form, thus ; this is to be determined by common “ You shall not marry those with sense ;--which is, in effect, to settle whom you are destined to hold connothing by the authority of the Mo- stant, tender, and familiar intersaic code, but to make that code course,"—whether they are relaitself subject to the decisions of ted to you by blood or not. The human judgment.
objection arises solely from the deOur author, then, professes not to gree of intimacy which, from the regard at all the Mosaic law of in- structure of human society, will cest, be its decisions what they necessarily subsist between the permay, touching the Jews; but he sons prohibited. Consanguinity is looks “at the reason of that code, not the ground of the prohibition, and of every law of incest that an- and has nothing to do with the matswers the design of its institution.” ter, except as it is the occasion of Within certain degrees of affinity bringing the persons forbidden to marriage is not permitted. Why? marry, into that dangerous freedom Because of the necessary intimacy of intercourse which renders the of such relations, and the conse- prohibition necessary. “It is not,” quent danger to their morals, with- says the author, “the consanguiniout the prohibition. If the male ty, but its effects,—the opportuniand female members of a family, ties and temptations which flow dwelling together in the most fa- from it, that the legislator has miliar manner, were to regard each exclusively in his eye. Nothing other in the light of future wed- therefore is more absurd than that lock, improprieties would be the minute comparison of degrees of consequence ; and the only way to proximity, that careful balancing guard against the evil is to make and discrimination between the them sacred to each other. The shades of blood relationship, by very thought of crime must be shut which many set about determining out from their bosoms by making questions of this sort, as if there marriage itself, between them, an was a charm in blood, or other bodutter abomination. This then is ily secretions. I grant, consanthe reason of the law of incest. It guinity is a most useful guide to us, is designed to protect the purity of in framing our prohibitions ; for families ; and it thus becomes the this plain reason, that persons thus great safeguard of the institution of connected may be fairly presumed marriage, and the great preserver to live in a state of familiarity. It of general chastity. “ It is an ex. is a sign of the presence of those evils pedient for guarding against a spe. which we wish to guard against,cies of criminality which would de- and ought to be consulted. But it stroy society in its fountains." is not the evil itself, and therefore Without this expedient, the institu, if the form and habits of society give full reason to believe that the the case of a half-sister by the fadanger exists without the usual ther's side, circumstances were difsign, the law, in all such cases, ferent. She lived in the retireshould be vigorously applied.” Con- ment of a separate apartment, or a sequently, if the form of society separate tent; and in respect to were supposed to be changed, the freedom of intercourse, she was no law must undergo a corresponding more to her half-brother by another modification. If for example, fam. woman than a cousin, or a comles were composed of persons un- mon acquaintance. Therefore they related by blood, living together might marry. from childhood, by a mutual ar- Apply now the principle to the rangement of parents ; or if they particular case under considerawere so many domestic corpora- tion. A man may not marry his tions, formed by a public distribu- wife's sister. Why? Because, says tion of the people according to a one, I find such a connexion forprinciple which should bring stran- bidden in the Bible, between those gers together, and separaie near who sustain to each other a prerelations,-then the law of incest cisely similar relation, and hence I would apply to the families thus ar- infer its unlawfulness in the prestificially formed, while the separa- ent case.
But this, says “ Domes. ted children of the same parents ticus,” is not the proper answer ; might without impropriety, be uni- for sameness of relation does not, ted in wedlock. This is the prin- fundamentally, concern the case. ciple of the author's reasoning ; It is not a question of blood, but of and “it is curious to observe,” he intercourse. We are to look, then, remarks, "how the codes of differ- at the degree of intimacy which, ent nationis recognise this principle as society is constituted, is likely almost instinctively;"--of which he to subsist between the husband and gives a number of examples. One sister-in-law. This is shown to be is sufficient for the purpose of illus- unrestrained. When a man enters tration.
into the marriage connexion he beAmong the eastern nations the comes identified with the family of marriage of a sister by the mother's his wife. He visits the home of side was regarded as incestuous, her sisters with all the freedom of while such a connexion with a sis- one belonging to the their own doter by the father's side was not so mestic circle. His house is equally regarded. This latter relation Sa- familiar to them. They enter it at rah sustained to Abraham :-she all times without restraint or cerewas the daughter of his father, but mony, and for months and weeks not the daughter of his mother. together are its
most familiar The explanation given is the follow. guests. But this is not all. In ing. The women among those na- thousands of instances they actutions (as is still the case where po- ally become members of his family, lygamy prevails) had their separate Bereavement or adversity has de apartments, each living with her prived them of a parental home, own children. Between the son and they have come to him for proand daughter of the same mother, tection. They spend their days in therefore, there was the intimacy of quietness beneath his roof. They family intercourse, and hence they become identified with the wife might not marry. If they were but herself in all the offices and intera half-brother and sister, that is, if ests of the domestic circle. They either was the child of the former are her assistants in health, her at husband, it did not alter the case, tendants in sickness, the nursingsince it did not remove them from mothers of her children. And on the same domestic circle. But in all this scene of affection and con
fidence the shadows of suspicion ing no time to examine or digest never fall. But why is it thus ? them we shall let them stand as What is it in the first place, can per
they are; since queries and sug. suade the wife to receive into the fam- gestions may be safely made in ily, a stranger to her husband, of whose haste, while theories and opinions unconquerable virtue to say the least demand maturity of reflection. she has no proof, induces her to put In the first place then, our que: this stranger at once on a footing of ries have respect to the ground perfect familiarity, repose in her un- taken by the author in reference limited confidence, leave the house to
to the Bible. If the Bible be closher sole direction for weeks and months, ed on the subject, argument, we while she is lying on her sick bed, confident that all is going well on each apprehend, will be fruitless. The side of her,-the thought never cros
deductions of philosophy will not sing her imagination, that her husband bind the consciences of men, nor (the man perhaps whom she suspects control their practice. Every one of weekly visiting a brothel) may seize will be his own judge in the case. the opportunity for executing an infa- Let us therefore look at the passage mous design?--What is it in the next in Scripture which is denied to conplace, enables the sister-in-law to throw
tain the alleged prohibition. In the herself with confidence in this new circle,—to become domesticated in it, it forbidden a man to marry his
xviii. chapter of Leviticus we find -to feel pure and happy and affectionate,--to love all, and to love more and grand-daughter, his aunt, his daughmore, till her very soul is melted into ter-in-law, &c. But nothing is said the souls of those around her?—What concerning a woman's marrying her lastly, enables the husband, no matter grand-son, her uncle, or her son-inhow young and fair the object that is law. Were connexions of this latcontinually flitting before hiin, employ: ter class, then, lawful, according to ed in offices of kindness, to regard the Jewish code ? Our author anher with love indeed, but with the love of Plato's disembodied spirits, -as pure; leads to this conclusion. Indeed he
swers, yes. At least, his principle as fervent, and as seraphic? Talk not to me of a natural sense of propriety. says expressly (p. 23,) that a niece It is idle. The true Guardian Genius might marry her uncle, while such is the Law of Incest, which unknown a connexion between a nephew and to the parties themselves, is watching aunt was positively forbidden. And and casting its ampie shield about the philosophical reason which he them, in their sleeping and waking, gives, for this apparent inconsisten. in their eating and drinking --in their public walks, -and in the darkest re
cy, is, that according to Jewish treats of the family mansion. Abolish manners, there was not the same this law; expel this household god : degree of intimacy to be guarded Let it be publickly and distinctly un- against in the one case as in the derstood that the body of a sister-in- other. law, is no more than any other female But others are not prepared to body, and to do this, you need only let the parties understand that after the go along with him in his exegetical death of the present 'wife they may
conclusions respecting the Jewish
code. For however correct his marry; what will follow ?--pp. 32-33.
theory may be, abstractly considerWe have now endeavoured to ed, it does not properly enter into exhibit, correctly we hope, though a critical examination of the code in very briefly, our author's theory of question ; because, though the thethe law of incest, and its applica-ory may be just, in a philosophical tion to the case under considera- view of the subject, it does not aftion. In running hastily over his fect the reason which is actually pamphlet, we have noted down assigned for the prohibitions spequeries and suggestions miscellane- cified in the Levitical law. The ously, as they occurred to us. Hav- reason there assigned is ncarness
of kindred. There might be an- in the divine mind for instituting
questhis affinity—not the degree of in- tioned whether the theory does not timacy which might pertain to such exclude it.
The law under cona relationship-was made the ground sideration was designed to perform of the prohibition respecting them, a most important and difficult office. the same affinity subsisting between It must be of sufficient power to the man and his wife's sister, crea- annihilate, within certain limits, ted the same reason for extending the one of the strongest propensities of prohibition to them. So in regard human nature, and must exercise to each of the other instances men- its control, unceasingly, universaltioned. A specific case was given ly, and over every description of and the reason assigned; its applica- moral character. Now is it probation to a parallel case was obvious, ble that the Father of the human and it was inexpedient to encumber family would leave so important an the code by needless repetitions. interest to the efficiency of human This we take to be a legitimate reason ? or even to the unaided auview of the subject. But admit- thority of his own positive injuncting that the prohibition under con- tions ? Reason alone would teach sideration is fairly shown to be con- a parent the duty of educating his tained in the Jewish code, it is de- offspring ; but in how great a pronied to be decisive, inasmuch as portion of instances would reason that code has become antiquated. secure obedience, even in view of The shortest answer we can frame a divine precept? It was necessato this objection, in our short time ry, therefore, to place within him a and space, is, that that code does more efficient motive, in those inat least contain such a record of the stinctive feelings which bind him to will of God on the subject as makes his kindred. For it cannot be deit applicable to all mankind. He nied, we think, that what is termenforces it on the Jews, by telling ed natural affection is a part of our them that he abhorred the nations original nature. Is it not then a which practised what was here for- very probable hypothesis, that with bidden. And however the prohibi- those mysterious ties of kindred tion of such marriages may be aver- which exist in every human bosom, red to have been ceremonial in re- the author of our nature has closespect to the Jews, it cannot be so ly associated certain other instinctconsidered in its application to the ive feelings in reference to the subgentiles.
ject we have been considering. Further, if relationship be in any And how do facts corroborate this sense the ground of the prohibitory hypothesis. How rare is transgreslaw, the law is equally extensive as sion of the kind alluded to. It is a the ties of kindred. But from this monstrous anomaly in crime—abour author dissents. He supposes, horred even by the lowest, as a as we understand him, that there wrong done to nature! But it will is no natural aversion in men to the be asked how this principle applies kind of connexions forbidden. to brothers and sisters in law ? " The only horror felt is generated There are no such ties of nature by the law.” But this conclusion between them. The relationship we think demands a query. As to is merely artificial.
Our answer the general reason which existed is, the instinctive feeling operates through the relative that is connect. But we cannot enlarge. Other ed by birth, with one or the other suggestions we had in mind, but of the parties. This feeling, thus having beforehand limited ourselves operating, seems to have been re- to a given space, we are compelled garded by the Jewish lawgiver ; to stop. We are already trenching and the fact accounts perhaps for on matter in type. Respecting the the peculiarity of his language. treatise of Domesticus we will say We regard this hypothesis as of in a word, that it is novel, ingenious, great practical importance. For if and able ; and that whoever reads men can once bring themselves to it will be strengthened in the opinview the prohibited connexions as ion that the marriage of a wife's sisonly the transgression of a general ter is not lawful. We regret that law of expediency, the crime will in a the language of the pamphlet had great measure lose it horribleness. not been more select and delicate.
LITERARY AND PHILOSOPHICAL INTELLIGENCE.
PROESSOR UPHAM, of Bowdoin Col that since the Report last made, the lege, translator of Jahn's Archaeology, acquisition of a Professor of Law has has in press a new work on Intellect- completed the number required for the ual Philosophy, intended as a text existing arrangement, and the matricubook for colleges and academies. lated students have increased to 177;
the state of the schools being. In the Twenty-five thousand dollars have school of Ancient Languages,90; Mathbeen obtained by subscription for the ematics, 98; Natural Philosophy, 43; purpose
of erecting a new college edi- Natural History, 45; Anatomy and fice, and endowing a Professorship at Medicine, 16; Moral Philosophy, 28 : Williams College. The edifice is to Law, (opened in July) 26 ; The next include a chapel, and rooms for recita- session will commence Feb. 1st, and tion, the library, cabinet, &c. Profess- terminate July 4th. All future sess. or Porter, of the University of Ver- ions will commence Aug. 20th, and mont, is elected to the Professorship. terminate July 4th; with one recess
from the 15th to the 31st of Decem
ber. The Rev. James Marsh, late Professor at Hampden Sidney, has been inaugurated as President of Vermont Kenyon College, Ohio, founded by University.
Bishop Chase, has commenced its
course of literary and theological inThe Rev. Francis Wayland, Pro
struction with thirty students. fesssor at Union College, has been elected to the Presidency of Brown discovered some important documents
Washington Irving is said to have University, and is expected to enter on the duties of that office in the Spring. after some discouragement, he is now
relative to his life of Columbus, which
prosecuting with fresh diligence. He Mr. Madison, successor to Mr. Jef
is attached to the family of Mr. Everferson as Rector of the University of ett, American minister at Madrid. Virginia, in his Annual Report states,
LIST OF NEW PUBLICATIONS.
Hough, Professor of Languages in A Sermon, delivered before the Ver- Middlebury College. Published by mont Colonization Society, at Mont request of the Society. Montpelier. pelier, October 18, 1826. By John A Sermon, preached before the Ver