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facts may be to the American moralist, they furnish a fair sample of the moral sense of the French, and correspond with every other evidence on the point. Of crimes committed against the person, one-sixth are rapes. The crime, second in frequency among young men, is rape upon adults; that first among old men, rapes upon children. It is an amazing fact, that in a thousand crimes between the ages of 70 and 80, nearly one-third (318) are rapes upon children ; while between the ages of 60 and 70, the number is but 166; and between the ages of 50 and 60, 88. We forbear comment.
The influence of the circumstances which we have detailed on the condition and character of the French female population, may readily be apprehended. Woman is but an article for gayety and dissipation, indulged, cherished, and even adored, but only from the motives we mention. No sentiments more dignified associate with her character. There are personal exceptions, of course, to the assertion. We speak of the community in general; and every man that knows the character of French society in the metropolis, and who has looked at the interior of it, will certify to our remarks. The disadvantages of the system of illicit contracts which we have described, chiefly fall to the lot of the woman. She has none of the claims on the man which the obligations of marriage confer. If she is able to depend upon him for support, yet it is but a precapious dependance, liable to fail in any moment of caprice, and the cases in which she can derive a support from him are extremely few; for these unhallowed liaisons originate, altogether, in the indisposition of the man to bear the pecuniary burden of a married life. The substitution of concubinage, therefore, for matrimony, is only an expedient to preclude from the helplessness of woman the provisions which the institution of marriage was designed to secure to her, and a retention of them by her paramour. Hence, instead of being employed in the retired and domestic offices which properly pertain to her character, the scenes which nature designed should be illuminated and gladdened by her benignity and smiles, she is found in almost every mode of occupation to which her feebler strength will admit her. In the cafés, the restaurants, and shops of all kinds, from the highest to the lowest, she is found at the counter, endeavoring to make up the deficiency in the stinted means of subsistence which she derives from the source mentioned, The absence of all dishonorable associations from her mode of life, while it, no doubt, promotes licentiousness, saves her, perhaps, from that utter abandonment of character which, in communities of more fastidious taste, is inseparable from such a life; for, in France, neither self-respect, nor the respect of society, depends upon moral considerations. Hence the vulgarities of the vice may be more observable in the metropolis of Great Britain than in that of France. A man cannot walk in the streets of London, after dark, without being insulted by half-starved victims of prostitution; while, in Paris, a comparative degree of refinement is thrown over the iniquity. In London, the demarcations of virtuous life are well discriminated, and vice stands by itself undisguised. Stamped with reprobacy by the moral sentiment, if not the moral practice of the community, and dependent on its own audacity, it throws off the last restraint. But in Paris it is exempt from associations of reproach ; it retains an air of pride which cannot stoop to the degradation to which the superiority of virtue in other communities reduces it. In Paris dissoluteness is the moral element in which the community have their being. It is common to all. There is no discrimination of moral character which gives to the victim of vice her rank, and places that rank in a position where the last decencies of life abandon her. Hence it is true, though paradoxical, that the greater apparent amount of corruption in London than in Paris only indicates a less general prevalency of licentiousness in the former than in the latter place. In the one place it is vice barefaced, unadorned with a single air of decency ; in the other, it is vice proud in the complacency of self-respect, not defying public opinion in its abandonment, but leading it, servile, in its train.
But though female dissoluteness presents not the same aspects of utter perversion in Paris that it usually does elsewhere, yet its effects are equally, if not more profound and fatal on the moral habits of its victims. In the committals in France the females are as one to three, while in England they are as one to five. We have mentioned already that thirty-five crimes in a hundred against the person arise from adultery, and all committed by women-not the effects of jealousy on the part of the offended husband, but committed by the woman-the effects on her moral character of her preceding crime. “The difference,” says a discriminating writer, “between the crimes of the male and female in France seems not to be caused by the superior innocence, but the greater weakness of the female ; for exactly as a woman's facility for committing crime increases, her criminality also increases, and becomes the more remarkable, where one would have hoped to find it least so, viz., beneath her master's, her father's, or her husband's roof. Twofifths of the thefts by females are domestic thefts, whereas only onefifth of the thefts by males are of this description. The woman is guilty of every third parricide, and of half of the crimes by poison." Infanticide is the most common crime among females, and murder the next! One hundred premeditated murders are perpetrated by women to every forty-nine which are unpremeditated.
If the common sentiments recognized by all enlightened communities respecting the influence of woman on the social institutions of society be correct, we may estimate, from the preceding observations, the present social condition of France; we may judge of her fitness for that advanced state of political improvement to which she has been so enthusiastically aspiring, for which she has expended her best blood, and offered up hecatombs of her children, but all in vain. Political progress depends on social progress. The hearts and the homes of the French must be purified before their cabinets and legislatures. They have forgotten that the restraints of just government are but the public applications of the restraints of individual vice that public vices are but the collective form of personal vices. They have exemplified the sentiment of their own Montesquieu, that no free government can exist unless based on the virtue of the people; while her domestic institutions are almost disorganized, while moral sentiment is almost extinct from the public mind, while patriotism itself has no domestic or individual sympathies to strengthen it, or next to none, but depends on jealousy for a competing power or a poetical sentiment of
national glory, connected, perhaps, with the name of a tyrant who was born a plebeian, ruled a despot, and died a captive, while these are her circumstances, the considerate friends of liberty will still hope that the hand of power may hold in check the elements of anarchy, and prevent the name of freedom from being disgraced by an association with the horrors of political dissolution. Truly did Lafayette declare to the people of Paris, from the window of the Hotel de Ville, when presenting Louis Philip to them, that “he was the best republic for France.” It was an oracular sentence. The veteran soldier dissented from the subsequent policy of the king as oppressive, but the sentiment was correct, and would have fallen from the lips of any wise man standing where he stood, for he looked down upon the memorable Place de Grave, the scene of revolutionary horrors, the place of execution, every stone in the street of which had been saturated with blood,
[To be continued.]
Art. II.-DEMONSTRATION OF THE BEING OF A GOD,
FROM A SINGLE LAW IN THE PHENOMENA OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM.
RY GERSHOM F. cox, UF PORTLAND.
Preliminary Remarks. The force of argument is often lost on an individual, because the principles on which it is founded are not perfectly understood. This is particularly true of those arguments called a priori, or proofs drawn from the necessity that such a being as God is, must exist. While most acknowledge that such a glorious being as God is must exist, but very few persons engaged in the common pursuits of life can see the mode by which the conclusion is arrived at. And the learned would be surprised, did they take pains to inquire into the fact, to see how many men of understanding there are, who do not even know the meaning of such a term! A priori and a posteriori are to them terms of an unknown language, and only serve to encumber their thinking powers. Were the words omitted, and were we told, in reference to the last, that proofs could be drawn “ from the works of God” of his existence, it would be plain even to a child.
Another preliminary remark we wish to make is, that where writers have descended into particulars, and have made their thoughts intelligible even to the common reader, they have still connected the question with so many facts that lie hidden from common observation, that the impression made upon the mind is either very slight or indistinct. This is true of many arguments drawn from the structure of the human frame, or anatomy. The profound researches of men who have explored the heights and depths of this science are of unknown importance; and so far from complaining of them, we would acknowledge that they have done for science what it now seems that science could not do without. Yet it is equally true that their arguments, to the young and com. mon reader, have produced but little effect.
The following remarks are intended to furnish common minds with a single proof-such as sophistry cannot overturn-of the existence of a supreme and UNORIGINATED BEING. And we judge it particularly necessary to give such an article at the present time, because the age in which we live is almost any thing but one of patient and continued thought. There is a rustling over life's surface which looks more like a hurricane in a wilderness among fallen leaves, than the tranquil field where MIND has been contemplating its own existence, and deducing from it the existence of the august Being whom we adore.
We ought to remark, also, that the argument which we are about to adduce differs materially from those which rest upon the phenomena in nature that are not known. For instance, metaphysicians sometimes have attempted to demonstrate the particular agency of God, from the motion of the heart and circulation of the blood. The fact exists in the human system, that two ounces and a half of blood are expelled into the aorta at each pulsation ; "consequently, at least nine thousand six hundred ounces will be thrown into the aorta in an hour, which would amount to one thousand four hundred and forty pounds each day !" This is allowing eighty pulsations to the minute--a case of frequent occurrence-and which some have set down as the average beat. Now, although the wonderful design and contrivance manifest in this instance demonstrate the being of a God; yet it no more proves his direct agency than the growth of the merest vegetable in the world It is true, we are amazed at the power given to the heart, or blood, or something else; but a careful investigation will find us—should we adopt the opinion of direct agency here-in a dilemma quite as inexplicable, as though we were to ascribe to it the development of the lowest organized being, or the mere vegetable growth of matter. But the means by which we arrive at our result in the following argument is, from a known law of matter-one from which it never deviates. To make this still plainer, we may remark, that proofs may be drawn of the existence of God from two sources; namely, phenomena which are supposed to be above nature, and phenomena which are known to be contrary to nature. Proofs that are merely above nature may, or may not be equivocal; as, the appearance of any unknown phenomena in the heavens. But proofs which are contrary to the known laws of nature, cannot be. Many things may seem above nature, when they are only above our knowledge. The effects of a gun would seem as really above nature to an ignorant savage, as the appearance of a comet was once to the civilized world; and although art and science have demonstrated that there is no miracle in either case, the principle remains good that they both gave proof of an agent beyond the understanding of the savage in the first, and the more civilized in the second instance. And yet one is only an evidence of art, and the other of a regular law in nature. The principles on which this reasoning is built are good, but one error is made in the mode of conducting it. But when we see life starting from the cadaverous grave in the freshness of youth and beauty, there can be no collusion. In this last case, there is something not only above, but contrary to nature.
Did we put clay upon a man's eyes, which in the order of nature would put them out, and find that it restored in a moment sight to one born blind, we have ocular proof of a God. We can analyze clay, and ascertain all its elements, at least all necessary to our argument. If, therefore, it produces such a result, we know there must be a different hand operating in it from nature-one that is above the general law that holds that clay together; and inasmuch as the order of nature is the same in the clay as in the gun, we know where similar results concur, the hand must be above the law which controls this globe of light. It furnishes, therefore, indisputable evidence of a God.
Demonstration. The course I shall adopt in the following argument will be, to give, in the first place, a view of the solar system; and, secondly, the principles and reasonings on which the argument in favor of the being of a God rests.
By the solar system are meant those heavenly bodies that are controlled by the sun. It embraces the Sun itself, Mercury, Venus, the Earth, Moon, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn with its rings, and Herschell; Ceres, Pallas, Juno, and Vesta; together with various satellites, and the known, and, perhaps, some unknown comets. All that can be seen of these heavenly bodies with the unassisted eye is, the occasional comet, the sun, moon, and six larger planets. And of all the stars that glitter in the vault of heaven we know nothing, comparatively speaking, excepting these! Every star outside of the circle that embraces the solar or sun system is at a distance so immeasurable, that nothing scarcely can be known of them but their places; of their size, or distance from us, or from each other, or the laws that govern their motion, we know nothing. Indeed to us, excepting a very few, they seem to have no motion whatever and hence they are called fixed stars. But of the solar system we know much. Of this we can speak, in many respects, with as much certainty as of the simplest results in mathematics. And every problem, in reference to the phenomena of this system, is solved by this exact science. The sun, and the moon, and the planets have been measured- have been weighed, and their dis. tances from each other, and the distance of the planets from the earth and the sun, with the times and seasons of their various revolutions, have all been determined ! and all this upon principles so plain as to carry conviction to any mind capable of understand ing them.* I shall set down a few of the results to which astrono“
* The principles on which the distances of the planets are obtained, is precisely the same by which a surveyor on the margin of a river obtains its width without crossing it. Having measured the length of a base line, he takes the bearing of some one object from each end of it; and thus having the side and included angles of a triangle, the distance is obtained by a simple process in trigonometry. Any one, indeed, may demonstrate the principle by a common compass and chain. Let an individual take the bearing of any object; let it bear north, forty-five degrees east; then let him walk dưe east till the object bear north, forty-five degrees west; and the distance of the object from the centre of the base, or traveled line, will be just half its length. It should be observed, however, that the breadth of the earth is not of sufficient extent to furnish such a base line for the measurement of the distance of the sun. But at the celebrated transits of Venus, in 1761 and 1769, it was used to measure the distance of the Earth from Venus, and also of Venus from the Sun. With these elements the distances of all the planets have been obtained with an accuracy which was once supposed to be impossible.