A most sad occurrence to a near neighbor of ours, a young man who had visited the city and returned home to die from a nameless disease so shocked me that when I went there to live, solicitation from lewd women had no temptation for me. I was not so safe however from the corrupting influence of my own sex. And I shall never cease to remember with gratitude the salutary influence derived from the lectures of Sylvester Graham, given to young men on sexual abuse.
From the present standpoint of later investigations, I suppose his science is now hardly considered up to date; but he was a pioneer in this work and made possible the simplification of physiology, and its special application to matters before veiled in mystery to the  common mind. The misfortune of a neighbor's daughter to have a child without a husband, and the obloquy heaped upon mother and child by otherwise kindly disposed persons, excited my childish wonder. The mother's after life was orderly and exemplary and the daughter was beautiful and amiable, and they became in time restored to the respect and confidence of the same people who had at first scorned and ostracised them.
After my removal to
I should also mention Mrs. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and Mrs. Lillie Devercan Blake, Victoria Woodhull and others, identified with Woman Suffrage, who also manifested an interest in questions purely industrial and economical.
Soon after the close of the war, Miss Anthony, Mrs. Stanton, with Parker Pillsbury as editor, commenced the publication of "The Revolution," a radical paper advocating mainly Woman Suffrage, but admitting papers in other subjects. I commenced a series of articles on money and finance which were received in a friendly spirit and published. At Miss Anthony's invitation, I addressed a meeting of the working girls' association in Elizabeth street, on economies as they affected the legal status of Woman, and on the injustice of laws, which discriminates against one half of mankind. Mrs. Stanton particularly has taken advanced ground on the labor, land and other subjects of economic significance. I have not felt called upon to note any recollections of the woman's rights agitation, since it is a political rather than an industrial and social one; but from early youth, when my mother insisted on a voice in school meetings and the Misses Thompsons of Sekonk, refused to pay taxes, because they were not allowed to vote, I have never had any doubt as to the equality of rights of the sexes. I have since changed my ideas as to the justice of voting for either man or woman; doubting the wisdom of determining questions of rights and duties by a show of hands, or a game of ballot box stuffing. And there are more ways than one to play it. Even could a majority of all be honestly obtained, why should their will be given domination over the minority to tax them without their consent, and enforce protection which they do not desire!
I often met Mrs. Blake at Peace meetings, and also at other reform meetings. She ever expressed much interest in economic subjects, though always giving precedence to the suffrage question.
With Mrs. Woodhull I became acquainted at meetings of the International Working Men's Association. She organized a section  which met in her parlors, in
After eighteen years of married life with her talented and genial English husband, whom in widowhood she now mourns, there should be no occasion to refer to the early discussion of the proprieties of her advocacy of mooted social theories. She has published for five years "The Humanitarian," a magazine of great merit on all the lines the name indicates.
Having necessarily referred to a number of persons friends of reform in labor and economic relations who have advocated also greater freedom in the marriage relation, and the wisdom of divorces in cases where great hardship or incompatibility existed, I hope I may be pardoned for digressing somewhat from the lines of pure reminiscence to discuss the question of the sex relationship at least in so far as to inquire what is the direction to which the present agitation is tending!
With my present views of government, there would only be courts of equity, as to matters of personal interests and relations. No laws of master and slave, of landlord and tenant, of creditor and debtor of husband and wife, of superior and inferior; but only of persons, equal before the tribunal. And with real jury trials where ever penalties or damages were involved; the law as well as fact being submitted to their judgments, and equal freedom and equal justice to constitute the standard, by which all decisions should be tested.
In 1853 the Spiritualists held meetings in Dodsworth Hall. The first lease was taken in my name. Lectures were continued there for many years. T. L. Harris, S. B. Brittan, Dr. and Mrs. Hallock, Judge Edmonds, and many other popular speakers were employed. Mrs.  Emma Hardinge Britton, Louise Kellogg, and her mother and father sang and played for them. There were also conferences, where short speeches were made and discussions took place. I often spoke in these, but usually insisted that we should apply our spirituality in equalizing conditions and compensations here, and give the human spirit opportunity of harmonious development in this life.
There occasionally arose the question as to how far "free love" might be discussed. Judge Edmonds was for keeping the respectability of our undertaking untarnished, and reminded us that "order is Heaven's first law." To which it was replied that Heaven was abundantly able to take care of its laws and that to restrict freedom of investigation "might happly find us fighting against God."
It was remarked by some that those most intolerant of free discussion, had characters for chastity which would suffer most by close investigation. The advocates of the broader social freedom were evidently honest and while unguarded and even fanatical in expression, led no double life.
In 1853 an organization was formed and held sociables in
During that summer, many of the wives and daughters of members were absent from the city on usual vacation. Partners for the men who remained were scarce. To remedy this a plan was devised which proved disastrous in the end. It was to charge single men not only the same admission fee as for a couple, but double the price. While this considerably reduced the number of single tickets sold, it reduced also the disparity between the numbers of the respective sexes. But such men as were attracted merely to the dance, and were vexed at the double charge, began to invite any woman they could induce to go without reference to character. Some even went to the street and picked up a companion from the demimonde.  Recognizing the women of the street, the police thought they were going to a house of assignation, and supposed they had discovered a place where they could levy blackmail, or gain some cheap notoriety by posing as guardians of the public morals. Accordingly the place was raided. A few were arrested, though nothing improper was found or reported. But the action effectually broke up the association.
Through some business transaction in fruit, I became acquainted with some members of the Oneida Community, and with some of their publications. And when they commenced the publication of "The American Socialist" I subscribed for it, and became a contributor to its columns. I combated their claim that they had solved the labor problem. They said they were paying their employes about the same amount annually that they appropriated to their own use and thought that a fair division, the number of employes being nearly the same as the members of the community. I showed that the number of the former, only embraced the working force and that they had children and dependants which more than doubled the total. And that as far as the labor question was concerned the community was simply a corporation building up a large plant and pocketing profits from the joint production, in which the wage-workers had no share.
For a layman to attempt the discussion of a subject involving such intricate questions of Physiological Science and such complex problems of social ethics, may be deemed presumptuous; but the observation and reflection of a long life, may enable me at least to attract the attention of those capable of doing it better justice. My apology is its real importance, and the importunate demand for light and wise counsel upon a matter, so closely related to the progress and happiness of the human race. With the theories of the Oneida Community or its practices in the relation of the sexes I can speak with little confidence. The field was new, the forces were subtle and under pressure of personal passions and public prejudices. That mistakes and disaster should attend it might have been foreseen. The facts of chemistry are sometimes discovered and often verified by serious and fatal explosions. Shall we therefore close the laboratory and prohibit the use of the crucible? No principle  involved in the improvement of human conditions but has its obverse side. Love, the prime factor in social life, is not an exception. It becomes in all of its forms either "a savor of life into life, or of death unto death," according as it is allowed its normal manifestation, and wisdom is exercised in apprehending and conforming to its complicated relations.
As stated by Shelley: "The whole of human science is comprised in one question: How can the advantages of intellect and civilization be reconciled with liberty and the pure pleasures of natural life?"
It is altogether impossible, it seems to me to formulate a system to be universally observed, even if such uniformity were desirable. The whole matter is subject to the great law of evolution and involves peoples and individuals in every stage of development. The eldest form of government known to history, is the Matriarchate, in which if monogamy or polygamy existed polyandry was the prevailing form. It exists in several countries to-day, and traces of it can now be found on every continent, and they are distinctly intimated in the history of many races who claim monogamic marriage to be a divine institution, revealed especially to them. (see Gen. XXXVIII, Deut. XXV,) Monogamy instead of being of Jewish or of Christian derivation, as contended by the Church, was of pagan institution and to which the Jew and Christian were compelled to conform. Its purest form, embracing the home, and the development of its nobler affections, was of German or Scandinavian origin.
The existence of sex and the mutual attraction observed in its manifestations constitute the paramount interest of human life. And it is for this reason that ecclesiastic and the civil ruler, have in attempting to guard it against the abuses and misdirections of ignorance, seized upon it as a sure means of perpetuating and extending their authority and power. They have invested marriage with forms of law and sacrament of religion, which so far from proving a guide and safe-guard to the weaker and unwary, has resulted through suppression of the natural impulses, which they have decreed to be vile and unclean, and the denial of opportunity for scientific investigation, in the vilest and most filthy abuses of the sex nature, and which the severest penal laws and sanctimonious denunciations,  have not only failed utterly to remove, but have incalculably increased and perpetuated them far beyond what would have proved their normal limitation. Their pretentious legal sanctification of the passion, has not elevated but degraded it.
To remedy these results, mainly due as they exist to arbitrary repression and forceful invasion of personal rights and responsibility, more law of similar character is now demanded. Vice Societies are organized and incorporated to supersede the spy and detective work of the criminal law; heedless of the lessons of the past, and of the failure so patent, of its repressive force, even with its terrible death penalties for adultery and bastardy.
To the eradication of these evils, several movements have been inaugurated. The White Cross, the Social Purity advocates, seek to reform mankind with worthy aims, but with some loose philosophy and mistake of facts, which need revision. One mistake or oversight, into which nearly all writers on these questions have fallen, seem to have been made, by failing to distinguish between parental and conjugal love. Malthus treats overpopulation, as a product of the indulgence of the passions of mankind, confounding sex attraction with desire for offspring, when in fact they have but remote relation to each other. It may be true, that in the primitive state with men, as still with animals, the sexual impulse serves merely "as a spur to propagation; " but as the race or individual advances, the connubial love develops a bond of mutual helpfulness and of enduring attachment, promotive of moral and spiritual growth. To ignore this fact leaves the human love on the same plane with the animal. Simple desire for offspring can have little to do with our present legal marriage. It does have a great influence over both men and women married or single, and affects their character to the extent it exists. But love of a fine establishment, of convenience and of social distinction, oftener than desire for children, or even the sexual impulse, is the ruling motive of the society woman, in the selection of a husband. Many couples could be found who have married with a mutual understanding that they were not to have children, at least for a number of years Andrew Combe is said to have predetermined that matter, because, with all his great love for  the woman he married, he was unwilling to transmit his defects of constitution to posterity. The purity advocates do not apply expressly the same rule to the legally married and to the legally unmarried. But purity is a principle not a creation of legislation. And yet even our medical writers speak of the same thing as pure or impure according to its place within or without the legal sanction, considering neither the health or cleanliness bodily or mentally of the parties. With this reckless disregard of the truth of things, the same act, which in the legally unmarried, is made debauchery, licentiousness and even rape, is pure and orderly, when according to the New Jersey Justice, no more force is used than is necessary to induce submission, on the part of the legal wife. The movement advocated by Alpha of which the late Dr. Caroline Winslow was a trusted leader, would exclude all intercourse except when children were mutually desired. This would of course prohibit all forced intercourse even to the legally married; but this to the average man and woman would not be regarded as marriage at all, since that is quite generally deemed to be a license to do what, without a license, is impurity, indecency and even crime. Diana, a pamphlet published by Mrs. Eliza Burns, undertakes to show that lovers may largely enjoy interchanges of affection, without proceeding to beget children, or to adopt the vulgar contracepts or any other of the devices to prevent conception, used largely now by married and unmarried people as well. Diana appears to complement Alpha.
"Karezza" by Miss Stockam, is still more explicit than Diana and shows, that very great intimacy may be enjoyed between the sexes, without the great exhaustion of nervous force, and waste of vitality, which attends reproduction, and that the intimacy so controlled, as to the married at least, becomes promotive of health and happiness and of exaltation of the moral nature. The point at which all these movements fail as efficient measures of reform, is that they only instruct the married as to how the sex nature may be orderly developed, without the atrophy of disuse or dangers of abuse.
The unmarried require knowledge as well. They may avail themselves of the knowledge conveyed to the married. But it will be only under the strain of a sense that such intimacy is wrong or thought to be wrong, and must he kept from the knowledge of all others. In  time they may learn that the body is clean, when it is kept so as is the mind, when it is kept free from prurient imaginings and squeamish prudery. Mutual love alone sanctifies embraces and caresses. What that "has cleansed call not thou common or unclean!" Only Judas betrays with a kiss.
Proper knowledge and discipline would encourage earlier marriages for those who were unprepared to assume the responsibilities of rearing offspring, and so tide over the periods of greater impulse to yield to temptation and unchaste indulgence.
The existing fearful conditions, a conservative Church and an invasive State have been increased and perpetuated in their efforts to correct the evils arising from the ignorance and superstition themselves have fostered. Any salutory reform must begin with the enlightenment of the child, for long before either sex has reached adolescence certain habits may be formed and the mischief for life be done. The ill-regulated intercourse of the sexes, in or out of marriage, is but a small part of the unfortunate inheritance transmitted to us from past misdirection largely due to the separation of the sexes in early life; to monastic institutions; to a double and equivocal standard of morals; subjection of one sex to the other personally and economically, and to woman's social ostracism for an offense she had never been intelligently guarded against, and into which she may have been led by untimely yielding to natural impulse, or to hypnotic seduction. To these causes is due the desperate state in which many find themselves as to their sex life. Marriage has become, to them a failure, and life not worth living, to untold numbers married and single
Trials like those of Oscar Wilde and D. W. Corbett, give us occasional glimpses into the hidden vices which thrive under unnatural repression of sex attraction and the denial of scientific knowledge of life in its most intricate relations. Polygamy was responsible for this form. But can any one assure me that similar abuses of the sexual functions are not true as to the other sex?
The loathsome diseases which have proved so destructive to the life and health of soldiers and sailors, and been communicated to trusting wives and helpless children, has unquestionably resulted from the abnormal separation of the sexes, not from natural intimacy and intercourse.  Sailors have been and still are separated for long intervals from any contact whatever with the opposite sex, and when in port only meet the lowest and most degraded. Only six out of a hundred of the British soldiers are allowed to marry. The rest must become ascetics, libertines, with almost a certainty of contracting disease, or abusers of themselves, which instead of incurring a specific disease destroys health of body and mind, begetting imbecility, idiocy and insanity. From these causes, our almshouses and asylums are largely peopled, not only with sailors and soldiers but with men and women who suffer in civil life.
I think few medical men will deny that they have patients of both sexes suffering from the consequences of the inversion of love and for the cure of which they prescribe marriage. Surely a disease which can be cured by the imparting of a little knowledge, would have been prevented by it.
In the existing condition of ignorance and prejudice it would not be practicable to withdraw the restraints now imposed by Church or State. "Martyrdom is the seed of the Church." It is of little value to science. Complete knowledge will lead to the choice of w hat is best, and those who will lead a true life will command respect and secure a following. To incite or encourage the ignorant and prejudiced, those who seek to own or destroy the one desired, to action upon matters or methods they cannot comprehend is to involve them in danger, do them a great wrong and at the same time to retard the triumph of the true principle of mutual and fraternal liberty. A strong sentiment is beginning to prevail among the equal rights women, and the advocates of chastity, that men and women should be mutually held to the same moral code. Many noble men favor the single standard. It does not appear what that may finally be. Whether that which male sentiment and male legislation has determined for woman, or that which it has indulgently allowed itself. Perhaps a compromise between the two. I think scarce a woman would be found to prescribe the narrow gauge for men, which they have allotted her, while herself claiming the broad license they have ever taken for themselves. Under the Hebrew law, the man; could have wives, and concubines unlimited. But adultery was punished by death. Adultery for the man meant only an offence  where the woman was another man's wife, his property. The woman could be divorced in a summary way, who did not "find favor in the eyes of her husband."
With the passing away of legal polygamy the treatment of woman became less oppressive; but virtual polygamy still exists among the most monogamic people. According to statements made by the purists, the houses of ill fame are patronized largely by married men in all countries prescribing monogamy. And of the married Christian statesmen who voted to kill Polygamy in
That the monogamic marriage for life is the highest ideal of marriage is I think generally conceded, although, the need of a law to make it more so appears an admission to the contrary. We do not need a law to make water run down hill, or the sun to rise at a particular hour. And we do not make a punishable offense of attempts to ascertain the truth in these respects. But we can never know whether the monogamic life union is the highest and best form of marriage until the despotic hand of the state and the dogmatic dicta of the church shall be withdrawn from the trial balance, and the interested parties left free to determine it for themselves. The pure monogamic marriage has never been generally observed in any Christian country. The question then is not what form shall be arbitrarily established, but simply will freedom or despotism secure the greatest number of life long, happy monogamic unions? Through conventional legalities, the failure is all too patent. Freedom will succeed better. To doubt this is to abandon the pretension, and deny the monogamic claim altogether. All those who would separate  but for the law, are already divorced as to any true marriage. In reviewing the several forces which have already appeared in this controversy, I wish merely to forecast the trend which the reform seems likely to take. Had my voice weight I would plead for freedom of investigation, and well ordered experimentation, under scientific conditions and tests, not only of this but of all subjects involving human well-being. As a matter of opinion I think that the lovemaking which becomes intelligent and in accord with the golden rule of "equal regard for others as for ourselves," marriage would not often prove the grave of love, but continue sweet, helpful and healthful to the end of life and the sex force cease to be either crucified or recklessly squandered in the early years, leaving life thereafter a blank and desolate barren to man and to woman, who desires the caresses of love long after the ability to bear children has lapsed It is the gentle hearing and fondling of the lover which wins and holds the affection of the true woman. It is only when the discovery is made that the husband cannot rise above what is low and animal in his love nature that there comes disappointment repulsion and disgust. When her love and intelligence is unable to lift and hold him to her level, submission becomes so humiliating and depressing that life is made a burden. But the tables are turned sometimes and the woman becomes the aggressive force. Unless the man can now lift her from the pool of sensuality this works a degeneracy as unfortunate as the other. She is not so constituted as to make physical force available, but by masterful will or hypnotic suggestion, she can work his ruin physically and mentally. There have been Antoninas in every age.
It is a hopeful circumstance that the movements to which I have referred are chiefly under the direction of women. In the differentiation of refined intercourse and mating for life from the mere animal function of reproduction, woman must necessarily take the lead and by her higher spirituality and truer social instinct save her brother and herself from the falses and misdirections, ignorance and long established habits have imposed upon their affection for each other.
The result of happily united lives in equal freedom, and equal regard for each other's well being cannot fail to reproduce offspring  with healthful constitutions and noble natures. A marked advancement of the race may be anticipated from this source.
To show that woman has the higher appreciation of the principle of conjugal love, I will give an extract from an "Old Maid's" letter to a lady friend of mine, written nearly forty years ago.
"You want to know something of my heart life! As if old maids have any such or any hearts either! You believe it though! Well, if you had come to me in the Holidays you would have found me indulging in the painful luxury of reviewing the last ten years—of reading journals of that time—of perusing with tear-blinded eyes sweet letters dated long ago. Did I never relate to you the serious romance of my life? Never tell you that the gushing fountain of affection was first set flowing in 18— which keeps my heart warm yet, and beautifies every dry, dusty, withered thing I meet? But separation, followed by doubt and misgivings from opposition on the part of my friends, prevented our ever meeting again.
Necessity for actual exertion has sometimes dimmed my remembrances and blunted the keenness of my anguish—so saving me through these lonely years—for what purpose Supreme Wisdom only knows. I have loved if the special object has not been near. The "sweet waters of affectious spring" have been poured upon all about me, for I would not be selfish, and so lose the saving and sanctifying influence of love. Thank God! He has permitted me to taste it, though the sensuous draught is not for me. Yes! M! The living power of love has been mine. I see and feel how God can love his wayward, wandering children who have strayed. How love with self put aside, sanctifies, glorifies life, how even an old maid's inner life, aye! and outer too, can be made beautiful by love, how weak loving woman—strong in her weakness, learns, through her own passionate heart-beats, of the Infinite Law of Love upon which she leans, and of which through her own cravings she becomes conscious."
It may interest the reader to know that late in life when no probability of offspring remained, the writer of the above formed another, if less romantic attachment which proved happy and promotive of mutual and affectionate regard for more than thirty years.
Marriage may be distinguished as mutual, when of equals, or as  possessory when of superior and inferior. The latter may be divided into such as predetermine the owner and the owned, and such as leave the determination of the question to the parties after marriage It is conceivable that the mutual marriage may be orderly and helpful to both: that the possessory marriage, with the predetermined ownership may be orderly and helpful to the owner; but there seems little prospect of harmony while the struggle for mastery or ownership after marriage is going forward. When ultimately determined, however, the order of the militant type is realized, and ownership more or less complete becomes the status of the two in respect to each other. From this state arises, the jealous acrimonies, and antagonisms of married life, and the estrangements are unfaithfulness, so common in wedlock.
It is idle to think of rectifying these divergencies by restrictive laws and penal statutes. Larger liberty and the application of the Golden Rule only can bring those so circumstanced into apprecia- and antagonisms of married life, and the estrangements, and unfaithful natures.
The tendency to co-education of the sexes from the kindergarten to the university, in schools of industry and manual training, and to co-work in most fields of activity, is truly hopeful, as is participation in healthful sports. Where division of labor is not clearly indicated by peculiar faculties or special adaptability the industrial co-operation of the sexes is promising. That woman is swinging back to equality with man in the external realm there can be no doubt. In proportion as equal freedom is attained, in opportunity and environment will mutuality become the rule of social life and the warfare of the races and of the sexes cease, in their insane attempts to capture and own or to destroy each other. Notwithstanding the intimate relation of this subject to all that concerns human happiness, I do not regard it as the fundamental social issue. The industrial and economic questions underlie it. Man and woman can only attain their highest development under equal freedom. In slavery, the purest love can only engender slaves. In an environment, from which they can be evicted and expatriated, or the products of their labors taken without return there can be no exalted social life for either. Given economic independence woman could  not be forced to assume or remain in relations distasteful to her or suffer greatly from slighted affection, or unsuited companionship. Instances are occurring even now where women with wealth in their own name or with commanding talents in fields of literature, art and industry, have taken independent ground and successfully defied the ostracisms of conventional society retaining the respect of self and of friends. It is through her sense of financial dependence and inability to support herself, that the mercenary or servile spirit is developed in the frail woman and she sells herself for life for the prospect of a home and of relief from the toil and care; or temporarily, for the means to satisfy her fancied needs or real hunger. To make free the opportunities for remunerative employment, should prove the surest course to redeem both Man and Woman from the subjection and abuses they are mutually responsible for, and which coercion of law or terrors of superstition have in all the ages failed to remove.