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, and the
law of the land, we know where to apply for its folution ; but, as to
One of the chief reasons afligned by the present editor for publishing the substance of the Duke of Clarence's Speeches, is the zeal which his Royal Highness displayed 6 for the fair fex." Now as the Bill only applied to such of the sex as should violate their marriage vow, we cannot conceive that zeal for adulteresses conititutes any strong ground of recommendation to public favour or notice. It is impossible for any man to express more strongly than his Royal Highness is here made to express, his detestation of the crime of adultery, in the abAract, or to entertain more just ideas than he is here made to entertain, of its most pernicious" effects on Society. He represents the adulterer as 6 an insidious and designing villain," as one who was and “ever would be held in disgrace and abhorrence by an enlightened and civilized society," (P. 32. But we are wholly at a loss to reconcile this correct defcription with the appellation bestowed on the same offender in another place, where he is represented as a “man of bonour !” (p. 8.) The test of his honour, however, it seems, is his subsequent marriage with the adulteress. A fingular mode truly of effacing a crime by a continued enjoyment of the fruits of it! It will not be denied, that the loss of a mother to her family, of a wife to her husband, is much more severely felt than the loss of property Yet what would any man say to a thief who, having robbed him of his property, repelled the imputation of dishonesty, by an allegation of the good use which he made of it?
We here find another species of honourable man of which we before had no idea. “The husmand who, by suing for pecuniary damages,
obtained a'verdiet, was considered not as a very honourable man, if,
of marriage. We have heard of another man of the world who con-
endeavour to have a law enacted for the removal of all restraints upon
But the strangest of all the strange things which the editor has not
marriage of the royal family without the previous consent of the King;
We could point out many other reprehenfible passages in this pam-
the power of life and death to a husband over his wife, is juftly re. presented as a most insufferable and terrible tyranny ; but we are told, forsooth, that such tyranny is not greater than the prohibition to an adulterefs to marry the adulterer ! The reason assigned for this infer. ence is of a piece with the inference itself. “ For what woman of Spirit would not sooner die, than live a long life of infamy and frorn, for, perhaps, one guilty step?" This is another precept of the fashionable morality which our men of the world, it seems, wish to inculcate -- If you cannot continue to possess the object of your adulterous passion, commit suicide to evince your spirit. Reduced into plain language, the advice to the adulterefs here implied, is li. terally this--- You have riked the loss of your soul by the commis, fion of one heinous fim, act, therefore, consistently; and, instead of seeking to atone for your crime by a life of penitence and prayer, commit a ftill greater fin, and rulh, unbidden, into the presence of an offended God. It is not possible that any member of the House should have uttered a sentiment so totally repugnant to every princi. ple of religion.
The passage quoted from an admitable sermon, preached by the Bishop of Rochester (in April 1795) at that excellent charity, the Magdalen, can be deemed applicable only by those whose minds are so perverted as to consider the state of a penitent prostitute who has forsaken her vicious habits, as the same with that of an exulting adultrefs who seeks to reap the fruits of her crime, by securing for life those gratifications which led her to commit it.
The motive assigned by the Duke of Clarence for his opposition to the Bill in general is the beít that could actuate his minda convic. tion that initead of diminishing, it would tend to increase, the fin of adultery. But not one argument have we found in the pamphlet that tends to eftablish this point. The motive for objecting to that parç of the Bill which renders adultery a misdemeanous, is of a very different description. But we have not room to expose its folly and its fallacy.
No methodical arrangement whatever has been adopted in this compilation, which seems to have been collected, at different times, from the Newspapers of the day.
ART. XXIII. Substances of the Speeches of Lord Auckland in the
House of Lords, May 16 and 23, 1800; in Support of the Bill for the Punisbment, and more effectual Prevention of the Crime of
Adultery. 8vo. Pp. 38. Is. Wright. THOUGH the public are indebted to Lord Auckland for the recent introduction of this falutary bill, his Lordship modestly disclaims the original merit of the measure. Thirty years before, he obferves, a similar bill was introduced into the House of Lords by the Duke of Athol, which pafled that House unanimoufly, but was negatived in the Commons; in 1779 it was again brought forward by the Bishop of Durham, and was again pafled unanimously in the
Upper and negatived in the Lower Honse. Lord Auckland, therefore, very naturally expresses his surprise at the present display of " a great schism and diversity of opinions respecting a question dependant on the evident and immutable principles of justice, morality, and religion.”
After shewing that the proper object of divorce bills is to relieve the injured husband only; his Lordship, most justly, infers, that “ it cannot be reconciled to the dictates of justice, morality, or religion, that an adulterer and an adultress shall be deemed entitled to a special interference of the legislature in their favour, and to a suspension of the ordinary course of law, in order to enable them to complete a contract founded in turpitude: in other words, that a woman who has violated a folemn vow, inade by a folemn appeal to her Creator, shall be authorized by you to exhibit a mockery of .. Heaven, by a new profanation of the same ceremony with the convicted partner of her crime."
The noble Lord proceeds to examine the objections to the bill in a strain of nervous and animated eloquence, reprobating, with be-.. coming severity, the new morality of the times, and shewing not only the extreme futility but the pernicious tendency of the arguments opposed to the measure. In answer to those who had contended that the prohibition to marry the adulteress would encrease the criminal boldness of the adulterer, his Lordship makes some very pertinent and judicious reflections on " that anonialous fort of honour which is here adduced, that non-descript plant in the pleasure-garden of modern morality.” Heartily concurring, as we do, with the sentiments of the noble Lord, we shall extract this paffage.
" But I cannot comprehend the fort of honour which would be influenced by the obligation contended for, and yet would proceed coolly and deliberately to debauch a married woman; to entail a sense of thame on her innocent children; to deprive them of their natural protection ; to give offence and disgust to society; to rob a friend of his happiness; and to destroy the fair pride and domestic peace of a whole family .I cannot comprehend this strange casuistry, this sophistry of sin, as applied either to the woman, to whom the noble Lords will to secure the means of deriving benefit from her crime; or to her feducer, who is to be discouraged by the implied obligation which I have thus analyzed. In favour of such doctrines I cannot, with my incompetent knowledge of the world, frame any argument which would not tend to bewilder my own understanding, and the understanding of others, in a vain endeavour to palliate vice and to countenance the vicious. It is a sort of threatening letter in behalf of crime, when we are informed, that, unless the feduced and seducer shall be permitted to have their vices of the precile colour and tint which they prefer; we must expect them to commit vices of a deeper dye and enormity. We cannot compromise with wickedness; all morality would be thrown off is hinges, if such arguments could be used with effect; they are of a nature to undermine the whole fabric of justice with respect to every crime that can be committed.”.