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Defects of Character.
versation of her sex, when she was the most facetious, it would allwayes end in a chearfull composedness the most becomeing in the world, for she was the tenderest Creature living of taking advantage of anothers Imperfections ; nothing could be more humble and full of Compassion, nothing more disposed to all offices of kindness. In a word, what perfections were scatered amongst others of her sex, seem'd here to be united, and she went every day improveing, shineing brighter, and ascending still in vertue."
- pp. 121, 122.
This is written in the partial language of warm friendship, and is hardly warranted by strict truth. Mrs. Godolphin naturally possessed a lively and amiable disposition, a gentle and confiding nature, a generous heart, and a fund of wit and genial humor; but she afterwards became of a more reserved and somewhat sombre character, she lost her confidence in those whom she loved, and, in general, acquired a more ascetic tone. It was shown in our July number that the defects in Dr. Payson's character grew out of the ungenial system of theology which he advocated ; in precisely the same manner, as we believe, is this change in Mrs. Godolphin to be ascribed to the ungenial system in which she was educated. Dr. Payson was a strict Calvinist of the old school ; Mrs. Godolphin was a rigid Episcopalian, fashioned a good deal after the pattern of Archbishop Laud and the High Churchmen of those days, – but with this difference, that she entertained a cordial dislike of the Roman Catholic relig. ion, which Laud did not. This system dimmed the natural graces of her character, but could not wholly obscure them. It made her far less happy than she would otherwise have been. It deprived her of many innocent joys, and threw over her whole life that form of despondency which too often embitters the domestic life of estimable persons. For a long time it prevented her from marrying one whom she dearly loved, and who she knew was every way worthy of her, and made her grieve over imaginary sins. Instead of that calm, trusting, submissive faith, which is best suited to the growth of religious principles in the soul, it produced a feverish and unnatural state of excitement. It gave to many of her acts a tinge of singularity, and of monkish austerity. It probably caused her early death, by her rigcrous observance of the Church fasts; and through life it frequently made her miserable and unhappy “ Seldome or rarely,' says Mr. Evelyn,
VOL. XLIII. - 4th S. VOL. VIII. NO. III. 31
" came I to waite on her, (if she were not in company) but I found her in her little oratorie, and some tymes all in feares,” etc.* Writing to Mr. Evelyn, she gives utterance to these words, which seem to us to indicate the struggle going on in her heart between her gentle affections and her morbid fear of some imaginary sin :
• The Lord help me, dear freind, I know not what to determine ; sometymes I think one thing, sometymes another ; one day I fancy noe life soe pure as the vnmarryed, another day I think it less exemplarye, and that the marryed life has more oppertunity of exerciseing Charity ; and then againe that 'tis full of solicitude and worldlyness, soe as what I shall doe, I know not.” 1 Indeed, nearly all her letters, and her whole course of life for three or four years previous to her marriage, and just before her last sickness, show the existence of this nervous state of mind.
A tendency to gloom, then, as we conceive, growing out of a harsh, unyielding creed and a formal religion, was the chief defect in her character, and the source of nearly all her other defects. This explains many things in her life for which it would otherwise be difficult to account. Yet the editor boasts that “ she was a true daughter of the Church of England. Puritanism did not contract her soul into moroseness ; nor did she go to Rome to learn the habits of piety.” ] We shall not stop to argue this point. It is sufficient for us to allude to Mrs. Hutchinson for a vindication of Puritanism from the charge implied in the editor's sneer, — that it contracted the soul into moroseness. So great is our admiration of that noble woman, that we cannot allow this opportunity to pass without bestowing upon her that meed of praise which she so richly deserves. Her natural character seems to have been much like Mrs. Godolphin's. She, too, possessed a generous heart, great beauty, a keen wit, and all worthy affections. She was fond of reading, and early filled her mind with priceless treasures. “ It pleased God, says she, “ that, through the good instructions of my mother, and the sermons she carried me to, I was convinced that the knowledge of God was the most excellent study, and accordingly applied myself to it, and to practise as I was taught.” $
* p. 25.
+ p. 37. f'Memoirs of Colonel Hutchinson (5th edition), p. 18.
Introduction, p. xv.
Abolition of Capital Punishment.
Her faith was founded on the everlasting truths contained in the Bible, and not on a religion of forms and ceremonies. She lived in scenes equally trying as those through which Mrs. Godolphin passed, but never did despondency sadden her heart with its chilling influence, — not even when her husband was languishing and dying in a distant prison, and her tender cares could not soothe his last hour. When she had shed her last tear over his lifeless body, she sat down and wrote those admirable Memoirs for the use of her children, that they might cherish and imitate their father's virtues. Mrs. Hutchinson's faith exalted her in the hour of trial ; Mrs. Godolphin's faith degraded her when trouble or doubt came. But though we cannot bestow on Margaret Godolphin that high degree of admiration which the noble life, Christian character, and rare intellect of Lucy Hutchinson claim, still we find in a careful survey of her life much to honor and admire. May those who cannot emulate the proud preëminence of Mrs. Hutchinson at least strive to keep themselves, like Mrs. Godolphin, “ unspotted from the world."
C. C. S.
Art. IV. - ABOLITION OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT.*
The subject of capital punishment is likely to be thoroughly discussed. Throughout our own country especially, tracts, essays, sermons, reviews, legislative reports, are appearing, which show that the public mind is becoming aroused on a subject upon which hardly a word was said twenty years ago. Some of these publications, on both sides, have reached four or more editions, indicating apparently that action is about to be taken, after a more or less thorough examination of the proposed reform. One of our States, Michigan, has already swept the death-penalty from her statute-book, and her recent legislature has confirmed the act of the previous one, abolishing the penalty entirely. A new State like this we should hardly have expected would take the lead in mitigating the criminal code ; and we cannot but feel that the change is made under far more doubtful circumstances than exist in either New York or Pennsylvania, where the abolition has been eagerly looked for by its friends.
1. Report in Favor of the Abolition of the Punishment of Death by Law, made to the Legislature of the State of Nero York, April 14, 1841. By John L. O'Sullivan. New York. 1841. 8vo. pp. 168.
2. An Essay on the Ground and Reason of Punishment, with special Ref. erence to the Penalty of Death. By Tayler Lewis, Esq. And a Defence of Capital Punishment. By Rev. GEORGE B. CHEEVER, D. D. New York: Wiley & Putnam. 1847. 12mo. pp. 365.
3. Essays on the Punishment of Death. By CHARLES SPEAR. Eleventh Edition. Boston. 1845. 12mo. pp. 237.
4. Thoughts on the Death-Penalty. By CHARLES C. BURLEIGH. Second Edition. Philadelphia. 1847. 12mo. pp. 144.
5. Dissertation on Capital Punishment. By S. S. SCHMÜCKER, D. D. Third Edition. Philadelphia. 1845. 8vo. pp. 31.
6. Argument of Benjamin F. Porter, in Support of a Bill, introduced by him, in the House of Representatives of Alabama, to abrogate the Punishment of Death. Tuscaloosa. 1846. 8vo. pp. 20.
7. Argument of Eduard Liringston against Capital Punishment. Published by the New York State Society for the Abolition of Capital Punishment. New York. 1847. vo. Pp. 24.
It is because we believe the time has fully come when the penitentiary must be substituted for the gallows, because the question is frequently reduced to this, “Shall there be a modified punishment or no punishment at all ?" because (as we expect to show) the present law fails to secure the respect of the community, because some juries will sooner break their oaths than send a fellow-being to the gallows upon the usual circumstantial evidence, because such is the growing sense of the severity of this penalty that it suggests to able counsel the means of evading its infliction and turning loose on society desperate criminals, that we desire to examine the subject, first in regard to the Scriptural argument, and, secondly, as to the necessity, justice, and certainty of capital punishments.
Its defenders, whether from the pulpit or the press, rely mainly upon the support of the Scriptures. The widely circulated treatise by Dr. Schmücker, and the celebrated essays by Messrs. Lewis and Cheever, spend their chief strength upon the Bible argument. In this respect, the proposed reform has fared very much like the Antislavery and Peace movements, which have preceded and prepared the
way for it.
Now it is not a little remarkable that the single passage 1847.]
8. Third Annual Address before the New York State Society for the Aboli. tion of Capital Punishment. [By Hon. J. H. Titus.) February, 1847.
9. Report of Select Committee on the Abolition of Capital Punishment. State of New York. In Assembly, March 5, 1847. 8vo. pp. 121.
from Genesis, “Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed,” assumed by Dr. Cheever and all his party in this discussion to be a universal, everlasting law, most convenient for citation because of its comprehensive brevity, is never cited as a law, never appealed to, and never hinted at, in any case of murder through the whole Jewish history. Blood is repeatedly avenged by blood, but not because of this supposed edict, not with any avowed reference to any such command from Jehovah. The murderer receives what he had given, because such were the exigencies of a rude state of society and an imperfect civilization, such was the prompting of passions which no one thought of restraining, which it was even considered virtuous to gratify. Either this justice, or none, was to be exacted. And family pride, the fear of suffering high-handed outrage to pass with that impunity which tempts to crime, the absence of any other mode of restraining the hand of violence, the tie of kindred, which was thought to bind one to avenge a friend's wrongs, all demanded life for life.
So far was Genesis ix. 6 from being regarded as absolute authority (to say nothing of the cities of refuge provided by Moses for the manslayer), that very frequently the murderer escapes entirely, and no excuse is attempted for the violation of an “inviolable law” of God. Previously to this declaration, Cain and Lamech committed murders ; yet, instead of Jehovah's setting the example to human governments of taking life for life, Cain is expressly defended by him, and Lamech comforts his wives with the hope that he shall share the same Divine protection from any revenge which threatened the acknowledged homicide. And so he did, having the long life-lease of seven hundred and seventyseven years. Again, under the same covenant, and almost immediately upon the publication of this supposed edict, Simeon and Levi commit a deliberate massacre, aggravated by perjury and sacrilege. They induce the inhabitants of Shechem to receive the initiatory rite of circumcision, and, while disabled from defence by an act of religion, commenced in good faith, the whole people are swept off at one stroke. Where was this 66 universal law" then ? Was pious Jacob ignorant of its meaning ? or had he less readiness than Abraham to sacrifice his children to the will of Jehovah ? A severe reproof satisfied the patriarch's sense of justice. His dying curse remembered their frightful