Marriage Index
Van Deusen/Kosinski Collection

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PAGE 104

with their married sister - their former affection is not interrupted by the introduction of a new relative. This is proper. It is consistent with the most rigid rules of morality. It is founded upon the indisputable presumption, that the sister of the wife is now also become the sister of the husband, and he is her brother. No suspicion of indecency can arise in her mind, nor any imputation of indelicacy upon the part of the public. She may come, remain, or go, in all the safety of innocency, under the broad shield of the divine law, and the universal consent and approbation of society. But let it be once adopted, let practice establish the detestable principle, that the sister, after the death of the wife, may become not at all related to the husband; that she may be to him a stranger, and as much the legitimate object of marriage as any other woman, and her frequent and familiar visits must cease. She can no more come to his house, or be oftener seen in the company of her brother in law, than she may frequent the house or be familiar in the company of any other married man. The affection intercourse of the sisters is at an end.

PAGE 105

As it respects himself and the unhappy victim of his incestuous cohabitation - is it not indecent to persuade her to an act, which could she have foreseen, would, from principles of delicacy, have prevented the familiar intercourse, in which, as a sister, she had innocently indulged? - Nay, is it not cruel, to render the woman, who had placed confidence in him as a brother, a partaker with him, in the fearful risks and alarming consequences of such a connection? - Is there not an ample choice among strangers? Is it not one of the great objects of marriage to enlarge the domestic circle, and cement families bu new relations? And is not that great end frustrated, by the contracted, indelicate, and indecent selection of a sister in law? Habita est ratio rectissima charitatis, ut non in paucitate coarctaretur, sed latius atque numeriosius propinquitatibus crebris vinculum sociale diffundertur. Aug. de civit. 15, 16.

"Let us study the beautiful and the venerable, as well as what is true and just, in actions, and pursue every thing which shall, as such, approve itself to our consciences; every thing in which there shall be virtue and praise. Let us always in this view, endeavor


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