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"Chriftians, and especially in great and illuftrious families, &c.'
There is much good fenfe in what Bucer fays, not only as tending to give a scriptural and proper idea of concubinage, but also as pointing out a convenient medium between men of family and fortune being obliged to match with inferior women whom they may happen to take, fo as to put them upon a footing with themselves and families, and the liberty of abandoning them to prostitution and ruin.
This hint of Bucer's, with respect to Chriftians, feems to have been taken in some parts of Germany; where we are told of wives of a fort of fecond degree, which they call lefthanded wives; these are indeed taken with more ceremony, but, in other refpects, differ little in their fituation from the antient concubines. See Chambers, Tit. HAND-and
Dr. Alexander, Hift. Wom. vol. ii. p. 267, writes thus concerning this cuftom in Pruffia "Though their code of laws feems in gene
ral to be as reasonable, and as confiftent "with found policy as any in Europe, yet "we ftill find in it an allowance given for "" a fpecies of that concubinage which has long "fince been expelled from almost all the "western world. A man may there marry "what is called a left-handed wife, to whom "he is married for life, and by the common ceremony the only difference is, the "bridegroom gives her his left hand instead of his right-but with this exprefs agree"ment,
"ment, that neither the nor her children "fhall live in the house of her husband, nor "fhall take his name, nor bear his arms, nor claim any dower or donation ufually "claimed by every other wife, nor difpofe of any part of his property, exert any autho"rity over his fervants, nor fucceed to his "eftates or his titles; but shall be con"tented with what was agreed on for their "fubfiftence during his life, and with what "he fhall give them at his death. This
privilege, however, is always in the power "of the king to deny, and is feldom granted 66 to any but fuch of the nobility as are left "with large families, and, from the smallness "of their fortunes, cannot afford to marry "another legal wife, and rear up another family of the fame rank with them"felves."
There are certainly in the above very strong traces of the antient concubinage, which was allowed and practifed under the divine law. If fuch a cuftom as this prevailed among us, and was inforced on men of rank and fashion, who are now turned loofe on the lower order of females, and debauch them at free coft, without being under the leaft refponfibility towards them-it would not only prove a happy check to the most mischievous licentioufnefs in many inftances, but be also a means of preventing the utter ruin of thousands, who, under the prefent fyftem of things, are feduced, abandoned, and deftroyed, without any remedy whatsoever, or almost any poffibility of efcape.
END OF THE FIRST VOLUME.