Workhouse Aid Society." A well-intentioned medium for supplying the London workhouses with literature. As a radical he worked hard for the right of free speech in connection with the Trafalgar Square-he was present in the Square on " bloody Sunday"-and he followed Linnell to his grave in the procession led by Annie Besant, William Morris n W. T. Stead.
Mr. Bedborough's interest in the sex question dates from his earliest youth. His mother was a woman of fine imagination. His father was incapable of appreciating any art but music. Literature was a sealed book to him. Not withstanding his possession of a vast theologica library. Mr. Bedborough is very reticent in all his allusions to his father, but reading between the lines it is easy to see that his parents' union was far from perfect. A youngest son, his mother's confident, he understood with love and reverence the inner history of a beautiful later after and accomplished Treasurer of the Legitimation League, an event occurred which definitely dated George Bedborough's as to sundry other horrors of state government. One of his brothers married a singularly beautiful woman of whose ancestry he was ignorant. Discovering when too late, and after three children bad been born, that her stock was tainted with insanity, he endeavored to minimise the potential evils as far as possible. The law refused to help him, until one day without warning she murdered one little darling and was tried and convicted for manslaughter. Her trial was a farce. Suggestions that she had inherited the insanity of her grandparents were laughed to scorn in this age of Darwinism, and she was sentenced to a long term of imprisonment. She was subjected to the horrors of a convict life for some weeks before the doctors would admit their mistake, and she is now living in the prison lunatic asylum, hopelessly insane.
Mr. Bedborough joined the Legitimation League, but showed little interest in it until Edith Lanchester was incarcerated in a Lunatic Asylum for daring to think freely on the question of marriage. He at once suggested that the League should take action. Public meetings were organized, public opinion stirred, the press was forced to realize that a great wrong had been perpetrated, and finally the release of Edith Lanchester was secured. The work of rescue was followed by a deputation to the Royal Commission of Lunacy, who consented to hear the case in favor of a . prosecution by them against Dr. Blandford who certified to the lunacy of that most sane and brave woman. The case in favor of prosecution was left in the hands of Herbert Burrows, Amy Morant* and George Bedborough, whose speeches before the Commissioners are now historical.
Mr. Bedborough told me his favorite pastime (how can such a busy man find leisure?) is the theatre. He has done considerable work as a dramatic critic. He regards the theatre as the most promising field for the growth of ideas. He hates didactic plays, however, and believes in the much abused phrase "Art for art's sake." He is a member of the Playgoers' Club, and holds founder's shares in the Independent Theatre.
He has a unique library, including many volumes of plays dramatic criticism, etc., as well as what he humorously describes as his tool chest-a collection of boos on marriage, sex and anthropology.
A prophet honored in his own country, a pioneer with a gift of humor, an organizer without enemies, the youngest and smartest editor in old England, a living paradox, he must carve a name for himself in the annals of his country. He is the most dramatic figure in the ranks of advanced thought. May he long remained so.
"To only have conceived.
Planned your lire at works: apart from progress,
Surpasses little work achieved."
*This lady is also known as a delightful poet, whose chief fault is that she publishes too little.
Mrs. Jackson of Clitheroe.
R. B. KERR.
When Mrs. Jackson of Clitheroe died about three months ago I noticed that Lucifer did not take any note of the fact. It would be a great pity, however, if such an event were allowed in the history of the emancipation of women.
Mrs. Jackson was indeed a great historical character. To put it briefly, it was she who won the last battle in the campaign which made free love the law of England? "What? What?" Lady Henry Somerset and Mr. Stead will cry when they read these lines; "free love the law of respectable, God fearing England?" Strange to say, it is the fact. The essence of free love is that one shall be free to give one's person to whomsoever one wills and to withhold it from whomsoever one wills. Such freedom every man and woman in England has today, so far as members of the opposite sex are concerned.
At this point some of my American readers will be on the What!" living all our lives in the land of the free, and the home of the brave? And yet we have seen young unmarried men and women sent tojal1 for peacefully cohabiting together without interfering with the liberty of others. We have seen married women and married men sent to jail for adultery. When a woman could no longer endure her husband, we have seen her taken back to him by the sheriff and compelled to live with him. Is it possible that there can be a country where such things are unknown? And is it possible that that country can inestimable blessings of a constitution declaring that all men powers from the consent of the governed?"
Not only is it true that there is such a country but it is true that no amount of reiteration can convince the-natives of that country that any English-speaking community can have such sex laws. As those of many of the United States. When I was last in England, my description of the state of sexual civilization in America created quite a sensation. Numbers of people sought my acquaintance for the purpose of hearing such wonders from my own lips. One very respectable lady, on being introduced to me, said, " How do you do, Mr. Kerr? I have been so anxious to make your acquaintance in order that you might tell me whether or not it is really true that people are punished in America for living together without being married?"
As I remarked above, the first condition of free love is the right to give one's person to whomsoever one wills. That is now a very old right in England, for it has existed continuously since 1660. Since then there has been no law in England against adultery or fornication. The reader will remember that for some years before 1660, England was a republic. Laws were passed against sexual and other freedom. But in 1660 the monarchy was restored, and with the monarchy came back sexual liberty. Since then the sexual liberty of the English people has been so unrestricted that even incest is legal, and there is nothing to prevent a man and his mother living if they were husband and wife.
In the second condition of free love, however, England has till lately lagged behind. In order to be quite free one must have the right, not only to give the person freely, but to withhold freely. That right was not supposed to exist in England until 1891, when Mrs. Jackson of Clitheroe finally established it.
In the early part of the century it was possible for a deserted spouse to get an order for restitution of conjugal rights, and have the deserter imprisoned until he or she gave in. But as a rule this procedure was only followed by deserted husbands, while deserted wives were content if their husbands gave them an allowance to live upon. At last, however, a