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Lucifer Whole No. 716

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Text below

strong-minded woman called Mrs. Weldon appeared upon the scene and insisted that her husband should be compelled not only to provide for her, but to live with her and discharge his conjugal duties. Great was the consternation among the masculine portion of the community. With the utmost possible speed a bill was introduced and rushed through both houses of parliament, abolishing imprisonment for refusal to discharge conjugal duties.

There now remained only one resource for a deserted husband, to sieze his wife's person and made her live with him by force. This was the device that suggested itself to the immortal Mr. Jackson of Clitheroe. That gentleman had a wife to whom he was bound for life, and who yet refused to live with him or spend a single night in his company. Accordingly, he seized her as she was coming out of church, carried her off to a house, and determined to her there. But her friends applied for habeas corpus to have her set at liberty. The first court decided in favor of the husband, but the Court of appeal unanimously overruled the decisions and set Mrs. Jackson at liberty. The dictum of the Lord Chancellor was that "No English subject, be he husband or otherwise, has the right to imprison any other English subject." And the Master of Rolls, Lord Esher, said, "According to the law of England a man has no more right over the personal liberty of his wife than over that of any other woman."

On reading over the above remarks it occurs to me that it might be answered that they are only strictly trie of the freedom of women. It might be said that, although the state can not directly interfere with the sexual freedom of men in England, still it does so indirectly by rendering them liable to be sued by the aggrieved party in civil action for damages. In the case of adultery, the man may have to pay indignant husband. Where a man gets an unmarried woman with child, he may in certain cases have to pay damages to her father or employer for causing the loss of her services. All that is true, and is a good example of what Chavannes would call the "incoherence of transition." But, after all, this civil liability is a very trivial matter compared with the punishment of adultery and fornication as crimes. In England the free lover is liable at worst it have to pay some money to the aggrieved party. In America he can be persecuted by every Puritan, every blackmailer, and every person who has a private quarrel with him. In England he can be sued once and that ends the matter. In America he can be continually persecuted so long as the cohabitation continues. In England, he has only to deal with the ordinary citizen, who is rarely mean enough to try to make money out of the love affairs of his wife or daughter. In American he has to deal with Comstock & Co., who are mean enough for anything.

I may also be reminded that a man can be criminally prosecuted in England for fornication with a girl under sixteen. That, however, is based on the assumption that a girl less than that age is not fully responsible, and cannot be left to act for herself in a matter involving such terrible social consequences at the present time. I myself believe in an age of consent for children of both sexes, on the ground that it is a great injury to a child to excite its sexual emotions before it is physically ripe. Whether or not sixteen is too high an age in a country which lies entirely to the north of the 50th parallel, is a question to be determined by physiologists.

Letter from Lillian.

LONDON, June 8.-It seems that it will be necessary for me to remain here until I hear from New York again. The agent here did not indorse my ticket properly , so the explanation has to be sent and the ticket sent back. I shall 'probably not sail from here till June 30.

Mr. Bedborough's case came up for hearing yesterday, and was continued to next Monday. He was released under $5,000 bonds. The case is arousing a great deal of interest, an d I believe good will come of it, though, of course, such things are not desirable. The League can get on without the advertising. Influential men are coming to the rescue with their names and money. Among others, Herbert Burrows, Edward Carpenter, and Robert Buchanan are on the executive committee of the defense. George Bernard Shaw has sent $50, and from the record of the few days since the committee was organized a very strong defense will be made. All are united for freedom of publication, no matter how they may differ regard to opinions. The executive committee was elected at 16 John street Monday night. There were present Herbert Burrows, John Turner, H. M. Kelley, Edith Lanchester, Oswald and Gladys Dawson, Amy Morant, W. Barnard, William Platt, and many others, whose names you would not recognize. Of course, you recognize Mr. Burrows as a prominent Socialist. I think the outlook is quite hopeful.

Last Sunday Mr. Barnard spoke in the Athenaeum Hall on "Herbert Spencer and Anarchism." He made use of the Bedborough case, incidentally, and contrasted it with the Bryant and May case, concerning which there is so much talk just at present. After his lecture there was a meeting to organize the defense committee and a very good start made. The hall was full, and great interest was displayed.

I am getting quite a "lot" of experience with English law and police methods. I do not like it, but I do like the way the people take hold and fight it. I doubt if in America we could organize so quickly and strongly against police encroachments


Ruled by the Tomb.

A Discussion of Free Thought and Free Love.


"The world for the most part is ruled by the tomb, and the living are tyrannized over by the dead. Old ideas, long after the, conditions under which they were produced have passed away, often persist ID surviving Many are disposed to worship the ancient, to follow the old paths, without inquiring selves.


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