« AnteriorContinua »
"THE Tartars," says the Spirit of Laws, "who may legally wed their daughters, never espouse their mothers.
It is not known of what Tartars our author speaks, who cites too much at random: we know not at present of any people, from the Crimea to the frontiers of China, who are in the habit of espousing their daughters. Moreover, if it be allowed for the father to marry his daughter, why may not a son wed his mother?
Montesquieu cites an author named Priscus Panetes, a sophist who lived in the time of Attila. This author says, that Attila married with his daughter Esca, according to the manner of the Scythians. This Priscus has never been printed, but remains in manuscript in the library of the Vatican; and Jornandes alone makes mention of it. It is not allowable to quote the legislation of a people on such authority. No one knows this Esca, or ever heard of her marriage with her father Attila.
I confess I have never believed that the Persians espoused their daughters, although in the time of the Caesars the Romans accused them of it, to render them odious. It might be that some Persian prince committed incest, and the turpitude of an individual was imputed to the whole nation.
Quidquid delirant reges, plectuntur Achivi.
HORACE, book i. epistle ii. 14.
When doting monarchs urge
I believe that the ancient Persians were permitted to marry with their sisters, just as much as I believe it of the Athenians, the Egyptians, and even of the Jews. From the above it might be concluded, that it was
never prevented its distribution to courtiers, nor its dissipation in a vile purchase of their political assistance, for sinister purposes.French Ed.
common for children to marry with their fathers or mothers; whereas even the marriage of cousins is forbidden among the Guebres at this day, who are held to maintain the doctrines of their forefathers as scrupulously as the Jews.
You will tell me, that everything is contradictory in this world; that it was forbidden by the Jewish law to marry two sisters, which was deemed a very indecent act, and yet Jacob married Rachael during the life of her elder sister Leah; and that this Rachael is evidently a type of the Roman catholic and apostolic church. You are doubtless right, but that prevents not an individual who sleeps with two sisters in Europe from being grievously censured. As to powerful and dignified princes, they may take the sisters of their wives for the good of their states, and even their own sisters by the same father and mother, if they think proper.
It is a far worse affair to have a commerce with a gossip or godmother, which was deemed an unpardonable offence by the capitularies of Charlemagne, being called a spiritual incest.
One Andovere, who is called queen of France, because she was the wife of a certain Chilperic, who reigned over Soissons, was stigmatised by ecclesiastical justice, censured, degraded, and divorced, for having borne her own child to the baptismal font. It was a mortal sin, a sacrilege, a spiritual incest; and she thereby forfeited her marriage-bed and crown. This apparently contradicts what I have just observed, that everything in the way of love is permitted to the great, but then I spoke of present times, and not those of Andovere.
As to carnal incest, read the advocate Voglan, who would absolutely have any two cousins burned who fall into a weakness of this kind. The advocate Voglan is rigorous-the unmerciful Celt!*
* Part viii. title iii. 119.
HAVE there ever been incubi and succubi? Our learned jurisconsults and demonologists admit both the one and the other.
It is pretended that Satan, always on the alert, inspires young ladies and gentlemen with heated dreams, and by a sort of double process produces extraordinary consequences, which in point of fact led to the birth of so many heroes and demigods in ancient times.
The devil took a great deal of superfluous trouble: he had only to leave the young people alone, and the world will be sufficiently supplied with heroes without any assistance from him.
An idea may be formed of incubi by the explanation of the great Delrio, of Boguets, and other writers learned in sorcery; but they fail in their account of succubi. A female might pretend to believe that she had communicated with and was pregnant by a god, the explication of Delrio being very favourable to the assumption. The devil in this case acts the part of an incubus, but his performances as a succubus are more inconceivable. The gods and goddesses of antiquity acted much more nobly and decorously: Jupiter in person, was the incubus of Alcmena and Semele; Thetis in person, the succubus of Peleus, and Venus of Anchises, without having recourse to the various contrivances of our extraordinary demonism.
Let us simply observe, that the gods frequently disguised themselves, in their pursuit of our girls, sometimes as an eagle, sometimes as a pigeon, a swan, a horse, a shower of gold; but the goddesses assumed no disguise they had only to show themselves, to please. It must however be presumed, that whatever shapes the gods assumed to steal a march, they consummated their loves in the form of men.
As to the new manner of rendering girls pregnant by the ministry of the devil, it is not to be doubted, for the Sorbonne decided the point in the
"Per tales artes et ritus impios et invocationes demonum, nullus unquam sequatur effectus ministerio demonum, error.'
"It is an error to believe, that these magic arts and invocations of the devils are without effect."
This decision has never been revoked. Thus we are bound to believe in succubi and incubi, because our teachers have always believed in them.
There have been many other sages in this science, as well as the Sorbonne. Bodin, in his book concerning sorcerers, dedicated to Christopher de Thou, first president of the parliament of Paris, relates that John Hervilier, a native of Verberie, was condemned by that parliament to be burned alive for having prostituted his daughter to the devil, a great black man, whose caresses were attended with a sensation of cold which appears to be very uncongenial to his nature; but our jurisprudence has always admitted the fact, and the prodigious number of sorcerers which it has burnt in consequence will always remain a proof of its
The celebrated Picus of Mirandola (a prince never lies)+ says, he knew an old man of the age of eighty years who had slept half his life with a female devil, and another of seventy who enjoyed a similar felicity. Both were buried at Rome, but nothing is said of the fate of their children.
Thus is the existence of incubi and succubi demonstrated.
It is impossible, at least, to prove to the contrary; for if we are called upon to believe that devils can enter our bodies, who can prevent them from taking kindred liberties with our wives and our daughters. And if there be demons, there are probably demonesses; for to be consistent, if the demons beget children on our females, it must follow that we effect the same thing on the demonesses.
* In libro de premotione.
Never has there been a more universal empire than that of the devil. What has dethroned him?-Reason.
WHO will give me a clear idea of infinity? I have never had an idea of it which was not excessively confused-possibly because I am a finite being.
What is that which is eternally going on without advancing always reckoning without a sum total-dividing eternally without arriving at an indivisible particle?
It might seem as if the notion of infinity formed the bottom of the bucket of the Danaïdes.
Nevertheless, it is impossible that infinity should not An infinite duration is demonstrable.
The commencement of existence is absurd; for nothing cannot originate something. When an atom exists, we must necessarily conclude that it has existed from all eternity; and hence an infinite duration rigorously demonstrated. But what is an infinite past? -an infinitude which I arrest in imagination whenever I please. Behold! I exclaim, an infinity passed away; let us proceed to another. I distinguish between two eternities, the one before, the other behind me.*
When however I reflect upon my words, I perceive that I have absurdly pronounced the words "one eternity has passed away, and I am entering into another."
For at the moment that I thus talk, eternity endures, and the tide of time flows, Duration is not separable; and as something has ever been, something must ever be.
The infinite in duration then is linked to an uninterrupted chain. This infinite perpetuates itself, even at the instant that I say it is passed. Time begins and ends with me, but duration is infinite.
The infinite is here quickly formed without, how
"Oh, life! thou weak-built isthmus which dost proudly rise "Up betwixt two eternities!"