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of ordinary brain-work the difficulty is not so much that one's actual power of thinking is inadequate to the problems proposed as that one cannot use that power aright, cannot focus one's object steadily or gaze on it long. Hypnotism may not supply one with mental lenses of higher power, but in its artificial attention we have at least the rudiment of a machinery like that which holds firm the astronomer's telescope and sweeps it round with the moving heavens, as compared with the rough and shifting adjustments of a spy-glass held in the hand.

These speculations, especially where they point to moral progress as attainable by physiological artifice, will seem to many of my readers venturesome and unreal. And in these days of conflicting dogmas and impracticable utopias Science, better aware than either priest or demagogue of how little man can truly know, is tempted to confine herself to his material benefit, which can be made certain, and to let his moral progress—which is a speculative hope-alone. Yet, now that Science is herself becoming the substance of so many creeds, the lode-star of so many aspirations, it is important that she should not in any direction even appear to be either timid or cynical. Her humble missionaries at least need not show themselves too solicitous about possible failure, but should rather esteem it as dereliction of duty were some attempt not made to carry her illumination over the whole realm and mystery of man.

Especially, indeed, is it to be desired that biology should shownot indeed a moralising bias, but-a moral care. There has been a natural tendency to insist with a certain disillusionising tenacity on the low beginnings of our race.

When eminent but ill-instructed personages in Church or State have declared themselves, with many flourishes, on the side of the Angel,' there has been a grim satisfaction in proving that Science at any rate is 'on the side of the Ape. But the victory of Science is won. She has dealt hard measure to man's tradition and his self-conceit; let her now show herself ready to sympathise with such of his aspirations as are still legitimate, to offer such prospects as the nature of things will allow. Nay, let her teach the world that the word evolution is the very formula and symbol of hope.

But here my paper must close. I will conclude it with a single reflection which may somewhat meet the fears of those who dislike any tamperings with our personality, who dread that this invading analysis may steal their very self away. All living things, it is said, strive towards their maximum of pleasure. In what hours, then, and under what conditions, do we find that human beings have attained to their intensest joy? Do not our thoughts in answer turn instinctively to scenes and moments when all personal preoccupation, all care for individual interest, is lost in the sense of spiritual union, whether with one beloved soul, or with a mighty nation, or with the whole

world and creatures of God'? We think of Dante with Beatrice, of Nelson at Trafalgar, of S. Francis on the Umbrian hill. And surely here, as in Galahad's cry of. If I lose myself I find myself,' we have a hint that much, very much, of what we are wont to regard as an integral part of us may drop away, and yet leave us with a consciousness of our own being which is more vivid and purer than before. This web of habits and appetencies, of lusts and fears, is not, perhaps, the ultimate manifestation of what in truth we are. It is the cloak which our rude forefathers have woven themselves against the cosmic storm ; but we are already learning to shift and refashion it as our gentler weather needs, and if perchance it slip from us in the sunshine then something more ancient and more glorious is for a moment guessed within.

FREDERIC W. H. MYERS.

SISTERS-IN-LAW.

From time to time during the last five-and-forty years efforts have been made to alter the marriage law of England in the matter of the prohibited degrees. It is not surprising that many persons are tired of the discussion. Rather than listen to any further arguments they will vote for the change which is so persistently demanded, and hope to be troubled with it no more. I wish to point out that the Bill advocated by Lord Bramwell in the House of Lords, and more recently in this Review, will not, if enacted, fulfil their desire. It will be but the beginning of troubles to those whose chief anxiety is to lead a quiet life. It will unsettle the whole law of marriage and decide nothing. Its inherent unreason is a fatal defect.

For ny present purpose it is not necessary to enter into the theological argument. It seems, indeed, but yesterday that a theological treatment of the question was generally deprecated. Speakers in Parliament a few years since disclaimed all intention of defending or attacking the law on that side. Nor would any one have expected that the Scriptural controversy should be revived under the auspices of a veteran lawyer who is careful to remind the world that he knows no more of theology than of astrology. Divines, perhaps, will remark, from their point of view, that their own science is not so easily set aside as lawyers or astrologers suppose. It has an awkward way of reappearing after it has been declared to be dead and buried by general consent. Even when polemics slumber, popular literature has a curious tendency to clothe itself in theological language, and to adapt Scriptural phraseology to its own use. An attentive reader of the Parliamentary debates of the late brief session could not fail to notice that there was hardly one speech of importance in which illustrations from Bible history, or adaptations of Scriptural language, did not occur. Men do not so easily unlearn even that which they repudiate, or wholly throw off the authority they have resolved to dethrone. Be this as it may, Lord Bramwell certainly devotes half his article to the theology of which he speaks so lightly. It would be foreign to my immediate purpose to follow him on this track. It is sufficient to reassert the facts that marriage between persons near of kin is prohibited in the Scripture, and that no distinction between relationship by affinity or consanguinity, is there to be found.

same.

It is on this last point that the whole subject at present really turns. In England no one openly denies that it is necessary to put some restrictions on the general liberty to contract marriage, even apart from any Scriptural or ecclesiastical rule; or that nearness of relationship between the parties to the proposed marriage constitutes a valid impediment. But what degree of nearness? This is the point in dispute. I am assuming that the idea of nearness includes the notion of degrees in nearness; although, to hear some persons talk on this subject, one might think that all relationships were the

As they attach no particular meaning to the words they use, argument with them is impossible. Rational men will allow that ail who are related to one another are more nearly or more distantly related :

: parents more nearly related to children than uncles and aunts to their nephews and pieces. They will hardly deny that kinsfolk related in the same degree must all be equally allowed, or forbidden, to intermarry; and that permission to marry given to the nearly related, and denied to those more distantly related, would be an arbitrary indulgence to the one, an intolerable wrong to the other. These positions have not been, to my knowledge, disputed in the abstract by any one.

But it is exactly with these positions that the law, in the proposed form, would be in direct conflict. The man would be allowed to marry two or more sisters; the woman forbidden to marry two brothers. Marriage with a wife's sister would be lawful; marriage with her niece absolutely contrary to law. Further, the only reason for prohibiting half the marriages named in the Table of Degrees would cease to exist. Marriage with a wife's near kinswomen is forbidden now because they are the wife's kinswomen, and for no other reason.

Remove that reason, and they would be forbidden for no reason at all. Could it be expected that the persons subject to these disabilities would contentedly bear them? Once declare it lawful and right for a man to marry a near kinswoman of his wife, and it is inevitable that, if his affections were set on any other of her kinsfolk, he should feel himself the victim of a senseless tyranny, were he not allowed to gratify those affections with the sanction of the law. I am unable to think of any rational answer to the protest which such flagrant inequality would call forth.

Two answers, indeed, have been attempted, but they are mutually destructive. On the one hand, it is said that further relaxations would be so shocking that no one would ask for them; on the other, that as soon as they were asked for, they would be granted without demur. Taking the former line of argument, Lord Bramwell has urged that it is very foolish not to do a right thing because you may be asked thereafter to do a wrong one--forgetting, apparently, that the wrong' thing would cease to be wrong in Parliamentary and legal eyes in the event of his Bill becoming law. The wrong,

indeed, would be on the other side. It would be wrong to withhold the permission, which you had granted in one case, from others whose plea for it rested on the same grounds. It may be right, or it may be wrong, to marry your wife's near kinswoman; it cannot be right and wrong at the same time. It cannot be right to favour a particular case by exceptional treatment, or to draw lots for indulgences among those whose status of affinity is the same. It is not a question of being asked, as Lord Bramwell says, to do a wrong thing, but of being asked to do that which your own line of action has compelled you to acknowledge to be right.

From the larger part of the supporters of the Bill, however, we have a different and contradictory reply. They freely admit that the principle of it requires the abolition of all prohibitions of marriage between persons related by affinity, and profess themselves quite ready to promote that abolition at the proper time. Lord John Russell said as much in Parliament long ago; Lord Granville says it quite frankly and simply now. With the good-natured pleasantry which makes him so agreeable an opponent he said, when the Bill was moved in the House of Lords, 'I dote upon my wife's relations, but they are not my relations.' His argument was, that he ought to be free to marry any one of them without let or hindrance from the law.

It is natural to ask, if this be so, why the Bill does not include all the kindred whom the majority of its supporters admit to be within the scope of its principle. An alteration of a very few words would make it consistent with itself and with the arguments used in support of it. What hinders the alteration from being made? The answer to this question has more policy than honesty on its face. Shortly stated it is, “One thing at a time. This is a world of expediency and compromise. We cannot '-say the advocates of the Bill—' persuade the great body of our countrymen that it is right to allow all these marriages, but there is a certain sentiment in favour of one of them. Kindly grant a privilegium for that one, then we shall have the lever we require for further action; we shall be able to show that the principle has been conceded, and that the rest must follow. Truly this reasoning assumes a simplicity of character among those to whom it is addressed which can hardly be imputed without some disparagement of their understanding.

* Only just this little Bill, this innocent little Bill,' they entreat us to pass; then aside to their friends and allies, “You shall soon be set at liberty to marry all your wives' relations, if we can only just carry this little Bill. Don't mention for the world—those nieces, and brothers' widows, and all the rest, while we have this Bill in hand; but you shall soon see that we have done your business for you as effectually as if the whole list had been enumerated in our Act. Let it not be thought I am imputing

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