The care for posterity was every where visible
Since the sanctity of the marriage-bed is the safeguard of families, and can alone interest the father in the welfare and instruction of his offspring, its purity was protected by the penalty of death; a penalty which was inexorably enforced against the guilty wife and her paramour.1
If in this respect the laws were more severe, in another they were more lenient, than modern manners approve.
The girl whom youth and affection betrayed into weakness, was censured, pitied, and forgiven; the law compelled the seducer of innocence to marry the person who had imposed every obligation by the concession of every right.
The law implies an extremely pure community; in no other would it find a place in the statute-book; in no other would public opinion tolerate the rule.
Yet it need not have surprised the countrymen of Raleigh
, or the subjects of the grand-children of Clarendon
The benevolence of the early Puritans appears from other examples.
Their thoughts were always fixed on posterity.
Domestic discipline was highly valued; but if the law was severe against the undutiful child, it was also severe against a faithless parent.
The slave-trade was forbidden under penalty of death.
The earliest laws, till 1654, did not permit any man's person to be kept in prison for debt, except when there was an appearance of some estate which the debtor would not produce.3
—Even the brute creation was not forgotten; and cruelty towards animals was a civil offence.—The sympathies of the colonists were wide; a regard for Protestant Germany
is as old as emigration; and, during the thirty years war, the whole