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We have no wish, however, to see the foundation of the marriage laws disturbed. What is established, and inflicts no wrong on social virtue and happiness, though we may justly question the rectitude of its principle, we would not alter for the mere sake of change. Taking Br. Wood's three divisions of the law of marriage between near kindred, we would restrict any anticipated legislation on the subject to the last. "The • law of nature forbids it in the ascending and descending line; “the law of nations between brothers and sisters, and the civil ' and positive laws, where there is any other prohibition.' Courts Christian, and all the canonical trumpery of Rome, we pray to be thoroughly rid of. Popes and archbishops have never proved themselves to be the friends of the human race. Those laws certainly ought to be rescinded which make in “Scotland marriages good, the children legitimate; and in • England the husband a felon, children bastards, and the wife
an outcast, unless, indeed, she survive; and those which give “ her his personal estate by the mouth of the same judge, half • lawyer, half ecclesiastic, who a week before would have an'nulled the marriage, and for the good of her soul sentenced her to do a white-sheet penance in the face of the church.'*
Sir William Follet, on the 24th of August, 1835, stated that he considered Marriages by affinity ought to be allowed beyond “the second degree of affinity, and that a man ought to be
allowed to marry the niece of a deceased wife.' It appears, too, from Mr. Poulter's speech on the 20th of August, that Dr. Lushington promised that in the next session a bill should be 'introduced for making certain marriages in future good and ' valid; for the clause in question (that in Lord Lyndhurst's 'Act) distinctly and finally condemned, to all intents and pur. poses, all such marriages as absolutely null and void.' Dr. Lushington has never yet redeemed this promise, but is waiting, we suppose, as he said on the 24th of August, 1835, 'till they 'had time to consider it in all its bearings on society. A good object, doubtless, but one, it would seem, somewhat lustral in its requirement of time.
* The Present State of the Law as to Marriages Abroad, &c., p. 34. + The following case is disgraceful to the court in which justice was refused, and loudly calls upon Ďr. Lushington and Sir William Follet to redeem their pledge without a moment's further delay.
19th June, 1840.
Before Sir Herbert Jeuner. In the Goods of Theodosia Rice, deceased. In 1836, Jevan Happer, Esq., intermarried with Henrietta Rice, spinster, one of the daughters of the Rev. Richard Rice, of Farringdon, Berks, Clerk. VOL, IX.
The marriages which we wish to see established on the broad principle of law, have long proved sources of domestic happiness, and laid the foundation of many a virtuous family. Indeed, we have direct evidence of the kind daily accumulating upon us; and how much more numerous and extensive benefits would they confer if they were rendered as legal as they are moral, as consonant with the law of the land as they are agreeable to the law of God.
Mr. Dwight's work is crowded with fallacies. The petitio principii is the basis on which most of its sophistries are founded. He lays down the law with all the infallibility of Archbishop Parker, and maintains in their length and breadth all the prohibitory degrees, to which his table demands implicit obedience. From the eighteenth and twentieth chapters of Leviticus, with the help of the archbishop, and by a parity of reason, the prohibitions by implication are nearly as many as those that are literally expressed. His law of incest embraces lineals first, and collaterals afterwards. He divides them into triads, and in each triad the first is a relative by the individual's own eonsanguinity; the second by the individual's own affinity; the third by the consanguinity of the married partner. “The law," he tells us with complacency, has thus a beautiful and truly mathematical ‘simplicity.' The following sentence is not a little amusing. It reminds us of a certain Doctor, who gave so many demons and a half to each of the swine who ran violently down a steep place into the sea and were drowned. “Brother and sister,
both of the whole and of the half blood, are expressly forbid'den to marry. A conscientious man will of course consider the
same rule as extending to all other collateral relatives by con'sanguinity and affinity, on the ground that he cannot consent to “incur half of the guilt of incest. The pamphlets from which we have given copious extracts, fully justify us, we think, in
She died in January, 1838. In April following he married (in Scotland) with Theodosia Rice, spinster, the sister of his first wife.
Prior to this second marriage, viz., 29th of January, 1838, the said Theodosia made her will, and bequeathed the whole of her property to her intended husband, and appointed him sole executor. And also, prior to the said second marriage, and in contemplation thereof, executed a deed, dated 7th April, 1838, and thereby vested the whole of her property in trustees, subject to her appointment by deed or will. Subsequent to the second marriage she made a will, dated 20th May, 1838, and gave the whole of her property to her said husband, and appointed him sole executor.
She died 22nd April, 1840.
Motion to the court for probate of the first will, and to be allowed to designate the deceased as 'spinster' or 'single' woman, the latter as most proper.
Court refused to make any order, and left it to the executor to find his own way.
coming to the following conclusions; while the course of argument we have pursued places the institution of marriage on its right basis, and points out to legislatures the great principles on which it ought to be regulated.
1. That no restriction, particularly on moral subjects, should be imposed or continued contrary to the feelings and opinions of the educated portion of the community.
•2. That the bare fact of a law being habitually infringed without loss of reputation, is a ground for reconsidering and (unless counterbalancing advantages can be shown) repealing it.
3. That the supposed law forbidding a man to marry his deceased wife's sister, is constantly infringed by persons who notwithstanding continue to fill the same position in society.
•4. That it is enjoined neither by religion nor morality, and has been deemed at variance with both by individuals of virtue and learning, as well as by many enlightened Christian communities.
65. That under these circumstances there is no hope of regaining for it the sanction due to a recognized precept of religion or a well. considered municipal regulation.
.6. That the feelings with which a man is supposed to contemplate his wife's sister cannot be beneficially affected by a bare law, unsupported by opinion, and liable to be evaded with impunity.
57. That there are many circumstances which afford a better chance of happiness in such unions than in any other.
*8. That the present uncertain state of the law imperatively requires the interposition of the legislature, and is likely to occasion a great deal of unhappiness and immorality.'
Art. II. Memoirs and Remains of the Reo, John Griffin, of Portsea.
By his Sons. 1 Vol. 8vo. Hamilton and Co. London.
THE lives of eminently good and useful men are the best I legacies of departed times. They are at once the patterns and the seeds of future goodness and greatness. The final issues and total amounts of their productiveness are not to be computed. They contain the best arguments for the truth and supply the best antidotes to error. They constitute the most valuable part of history, and present the best comments on divinity. In them we see both what is attainable by renovated human nature, and how to attain it. Their goodness which, in themselves, was in one view an effect, in their memoirs becomes a cause. Thus, in an emphatic sense, the good live their useful lives over again, and by their bright examples become the
supply the They contain of their productgreatness. Thatterns
moral progenitors and models of just as many more as they impress with noble sentiments, and rouse to holy emulation. Humanity, not to say religion, would sustain an infinite loss, if the memory of the just perished with them; and if the surviving generation could derive neither the love of virtue, nor the glow of magnanimity, nor the fire of zeal, from the example of men who have so nobly played their part in bygone days. Memory, therefore, is one of our choicest blessings. It were a sad case, were it true, as represented by the poet, in any other than a poetical sense
"The evil that men do lives after them ;
Both good and evil, as embodied in men's characters and actions, doubtless possesses a seminative energy; but it were confessedly a gloomy thought that the good should be less perennial. We believe it is not so, and cannot possibly be proved to be so. The progressive advance of good upon evil, however slow, and which we shall here assume to be undeniable, is a proof that evil has at least no advantage over it in respect of inherent vitality, whatever it may have in respect of the extraneous circumstances under which both are perpetuated in this strange and motley world. The Author of all goodness has impressed upon it the image of his own immortality, and destined it ultimately and for ever to shine forth in the rays of his own glory. It lives from age to age, and is renewed from generation to generation; though properly expressing ourselves, it is not to be estimated by generations; but is essentially a divine donation, constantly, though variously, imparted to all generations, in measures sufficient for the improvement, happiness, and usefulness of all.
When we speak of human generations, however, we are apt to associate with the terms the ideas of a complete departure and a complete renewal ; just as if all the men and women of one age passed away at once, and were succeeded by an entire race of children and novices : whereas the imperceptible abstractions and additions (we mean imperceptible only as it regards the universal family of mankind) leave the whole in possession of advantages for wisdom and virtue, nearly equal to those which would be afforded by the supposed protracted existence of each through the entire age of the whole race. The efflux and afflux may be illustrated by the perpetual change of particles which physiology informs us takes place in the human body; and which, though discoverable at once in particular parts, and, by experiment and inference, demonstrable of the whole, yet proceeds without our consciousness, and without impairing in the slightest degree our sense of identity through the entire period of our existence. The individual man is gone, but the entire race lives on, unconscious of his departure. Another has already taken his place, so that the whole body is still unimpaired, and, generally speaking, undiminished. But, moreover, it is to be observed, he has left behind him, in the influences he exerted while living, upon the minds of those who are to live after him, the entire sum of virtue and goodness he possessed. That has become as real a legacy, and has now as truly passed into other hands, as the money, the lands, or the chattels, if any, which he left to be distributed among survivors, Men no more take away the influence of their entire character when they die, than they do the houses they inhabited, or the ground on which they trod. Goodness, in this respect, is like nothing purely human–because it transcends in its nature and effects all other gifts conceded to men. It cannot perish like the fruits of genius, of science, and of art. It is not even subject to the accidents to which useful authorship is liable, in its entire decay and disappearance. Neither does it survive in a mere name or a shadow, a relic or a representation, but in its own peculiar and proper identity of goodness. It is an imperishable reality, surviving in human hearts when all else decays. It is that one thing pertaining to us which we both take with us and leave behind us—the only substantial benefit we bequeath to our race. It is, in short, the indissoluble bond which connects us with all the good of past and coming ages, and at the same time connects all the good of all ages with Him who is the exclusive and exhaustless fountain of being and blessedness. Hence the lives and memoirs of good men, and especially of such good men as have been active in the cause of religion and of human improvement, may be compared to nursery grounds and seed-beds, from which otherlands are to be planted and stocked. In this view we feel an unfeigned pleasure in recording the appearance of this interesting volume, and in presenting to our readers some specimens of its contents.
Mr. Griffin was one of the most devoted, active, and useful men of the last generation—a race of philanthropists and Christians, who created an entirely new era, marked by a movement so evidently in harmony with the designs and intentions of providence, that the lapse of years has but served to surround it with accumulating successes, and bear it onward towards a yet future, but predicted and glorious consummation.
The following extract will make our readers acquainted with the early life of Mr. Griffin.
John Griffin was born the 25th of April, 1769, at the beautiful little village of Wooburn, Buckinghamshire. His father was in