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agony of mind the most insupportable can induce a woman to forget her nature, and the pity which even a stranger would show to a helpless and imploring infant. It is true, that all are not urged to this extremity; but if any are, it affords an indication of how much all suffer from the same
What shall we say to the authors of such mischief?
2. The loss which a woman sustains by the ruin of her reputation, almost exceeds computation. Every person's happiness depends in part upon the respect and reception which they meet with in the world, and it is no inconsiderable mortification even to the firmest tempers, to be rejected from the society of their equals, or received there with neglect and disdain. But this is not all, nor the worst. By a rule of life, which is not easy to blame, and which it is impossible to alter, a woman loses with her chastity the chance of marrying at all, or in any manner equal to the hopes she had been ac. customed to entertain. Now marriage, whatever it be to a man, is that from which every woman expects her chief happiness. And this is still more irue in low life, of which condition the women are who are most exposed to solicitations of this sort. Add to this, that where a woman's maintenance depends upon her character (as it does, in a great measure with those who are to support themselves by service,) little sometimes is left to the forsaken sufferer, but to starve for want of employment, or to have recourse to prostitution for food and rai
3. As a woman collects her virtue into this point, the loss of her chastity is generally the destructione of her moral principle'; and this consequence is to be apprehended, whether the criminal intercourse be discovered or not.
II. The injury to the family may be understood, by the application of that infallible rule,“ of doing to others what we would that others should do unto us."-Let a father or a brother say, for what consideration they would suffer this injury to a daughter or a sister , and whether any, or even & ļotal, loss of fortune, could create equal affliction and distress. And when they reflect upon this,
let them distinguish, if they can, between a robbes ry, committed upon their property by fraud or forgery, and by the ruin of their happiness by the treachery of a seducer.
III. The public at large lose the benefit of the woman's service in her proper place and destination, as a wife and parent. This, to the whole community, may be little ; but it is often more than all the good which the seducer does to the commu. nity can recompense. Moreover, prostitution is supplied by seduction ; and in proportion to the danger there is of the woman's betaking herself, after her first sacrifice, to a life of public lewdness, the seducer is answerable for the multiplied evils to which his crime gives birth.
Upon the whole, if we pursue the effects of se. duction through the complicated misery which it occasions, and if it be right to estimate crimes by the mischief they knowingly produce, it will appear something more than mere invective to assert, that not one half of the crimes, for which men suffer death by the laws of England, are so flagi. tious as this.*
Adultery. A NEW sufferer is introduced, the injured hus. band, who receives a wound in his sensibility and affections, the most painful and incurable that human nature knows. In all other respects, adultery on the part of the man who solicits the chastity of a married woman, includes the crime of seduction, and is attended with the same misehief.
The infidelity of the woman is aggravated by cruelty to her children, who are generally involved
* Yet the law has provided to punishment for this offence begond a pecuniary satisfaction to the injured family; and this can poly be come at by one of the quaintest fictions in the world : by the father's bringing his action against the seducer, for the longi hn dangler's service, during her pregnancy and nurturing.
in their parents' shame, and always made unhappy by their quarrel.
If it be said that these consequences are charge. able not so much upon the crime, as the discovery, we answer, first, that the crime could not be discovered unless it were committed, and that the commission is never secure from discovery; and, secondly, that if we excuse adulterous connexions, whenever they can hope to escape detection, which is the conclusion to which this argument conducts us, we leave the husband no other security for his wife's chastity, than in her want of opportunity or temptation ; which would probably either deter men from marrying, or render marriage a state of súch jealousy and alarm to the husband, as must end in the slavery and confinement of the wife.
The vow, by which married persons mutually, engage their fidelity,“ is witnessed before God, and accompanied with circumstances of solemnity and religion, which approach to the nature of an oath. The married offender therefore incurs a crime little short of perjury, and the seduction of a married woman is little less than subornation of perjury ;-and this guilt is independent of the discovery
All behaviour which is designed, or which knowingly tends, to captivate the affection of a married woman, is a barbarous intrusion upon the peace and virtue of a family, though it fall short of adultery.
The usual and only apology for adultery is, the prior transgression of the other party. There are degrees, no doubt, in this, as in other crimes : and so far as the bad effects of adultery are anticipated by the conduct of the husband or wife who offends first, the guilt of the second offender is less. But this falls very far short of a justification ; unless it could be shown that the obligation of the marriage vow depends upon the condition of reciprocal fidelity; for which construction there appears no foundation, either in expediency, or in the terms of tho promise, or in the design of the legislature which prescribed the marriage rite. Moreover, the rule contended for by this plea has a manifest tenden
cy to multiply the offence, but none to reclaim the offender.
The way of considering the offence of one party as a provocation to the other, and the other as only retaliating the injury by repeating the crime, is a childish trifling with words.
“Thou shalt not commit adultery," was an interdict delivered by God himself. By the Jewish law, adultery was capital to both parties in the crime : “ Even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and adulteress shall surely be put to death.” Levit. xx. 10. Which passages prove, that the Divine Legislator placed a great difference between adultery and fornication. And with this agree the Christian Scriptures; for, in almost all the catalogues they have left us of crimes and criminals, they enumerate “fornication, adultery, whoremongers, adulterers,” (Matthew xv. 19. 1 Cor. vi. 9. Gal. v, 9. Heb. xiii. 4. ;) by which mention of both, they show that they did not consider them as the same; but that the crime of adultery was, in their apprehension, distinct from, and accumulated upon, that of fornication.
The history of the woman taken in adultery, re. corded in the eighth chapter of St. John's Gospel, has been thought by some to give countenance to that crime. As Christ told the woman,
“ Neither do I condemn thee,” we must believe, is said, that he deemed her eonduct either not criminal, or not a crime, however, of the heinous nature which we represent it to be. A more attentive examination of the case will, I think, convince us, that from it nothing can be concluded as to Christ's opinion concerning adultery, either one way or the other. The transaction is thus related : “ Early in the morning Jesus came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him: and he sat down and taught them. And the Scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery: and when they had set her in the midst, they say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act: now Moses, in the law commanded that such should be stoned; but what sayest thou ? This they said tempting him, that they might have to acouse bim. But desus stooped down, and with
his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lift up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin amongst you, let him first cast a stone at her; and again he stooped down and wrote on the ground: and they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last; and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lift up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers ? hath no man condemned thee? She said unto him, No man, Lord. And he said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee ; go, and sin no more."
“ This they said tempting him, that they might have to accuse him;" to draw him, that is, into an exercise of judicial authority, that they might have to accuse him before the Roman governor, of usurp
ing, or interineddling with the civil government.* This was their design; and Christ's behaviour
throughout the whole affair proceeded from a know2 ledge of this design, and a determination to defeat
it. He gives them at first a cold and sullen reception, well suited to the insidious intention with which they came : “He stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard
“ When they continued asking him," they teased him to speak, he dismissed them X rebuke, which the impertinent malice of
cand, as well as the secret character of born into them, deserved : “ He that is without sin that one w
his sin) among you, let him first cast a for, if to ond;
This had its effect, Stung with the five or more
disappointed of their aim, they stole
one, and left Jesus and the woman * The Roman
then follows the conversation, which of brothers and si the narrative most material to our prelish law, there is “ Jesus said unto her, Woman, aiece.
uose thine accusers ? hath no man conThis equal ee? She said, No man, Lord. And
unto her, Neither do I condemn thee : ereabouts :: gute by war in no more." Now, when Christ asked the
anan, Hath no man condemned thee ?” he. of certainly spoke, and was understood by the woman
eeds that of fe