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´╗┐Title: Plain Facts for Old and Young
Author: Kellogg, John Harvey, 1852-1943
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Plain Facts for Old and Young" ***

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[Illustration: The Sanitarium at Battle Creek, Mich.]

[Frontispiece: Yours truly, J. H. Kellogg]






Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1879, by
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington, D.C.



The publishers of this work offer no apology for presenting it to the
reading public, since the wide prevalence of the evils which it exposes
is sufficient warrant for its publication. The subjects with which it
deals are of vital consequence to the human race; and it is of the utmost
importance that every effort should be made to dispel the gross
ignorance which almost universally prevails, by the wide diffusion,
in a proper manner, of information of the character contained in this

This book has been written not for the young only, nor for any single
class of persons, but for all who are old enough to be capable of
understanding and appreciating it. The prime object of its preparation
has been to call attention to the great prevalence of sexual excesses
of all kinds, and the heinous crimes resulting from some forms of sexual
transgression, and to point out the terrible results which inevitably
follow the violation of sexual law.

In order to make more clear and comprehensible the teachings of nature
respecting the laws regulating the sexual function, and the evils
resulting from their violation, it has seemed necessary to preface the
practical part of the subject by a concise description of the anatomy
of reproduction. In this portion of the work especial pains has been
taken to avoid anything like indelicacy of expression, yet it has not
been deemed advisable to sacrifice perspicuity of ideas to any prudish
notions of modesty. It is hoped that the reader will bear in mind that
the language of science is always chaste in itself, and that it is only
through a corrupt imagination that it becomes invested with impurity.
The author has constantly endeavored to impart information in the most
straightforward, simple, and concise manner.

The work should be judiciously circulated, and to secure this the
publishers will take care to place it in the hands of agents competent
to introduce it with discretion; yet it may be read without injury by
any one who is sufficiently mature to understand it. Great care has
been taken to exclude from its pages those accounts of the habits of
vicious persons, and descriptions of the mechanical accessories of vice,
with which many works upon sexual subjects abound.

The first editions of the work were issued with no little anxiety on
the part of both author and publishers as to how it would be received
by the reading public. It was anticipated that no little adverse
criticism, and perhaps severe condemnation, would be pronounced by many
whose education and general mode of thought had been such as to unfit
them to appreciate it; but it was hoped that persons of more thoughtful
and unbiased minds would receive the work kindly, and would readily
co-operate with the publishers in its circulation. This anticipation
has been more than realized. Wherever the book has been introduced,
it has met with a warm reception; and of the several thousand persons
into whose hands the work has been placed, hundreds have gratefully
acknowledged the benefit which they have received from its perusal,
and it is hoped that a large proportion have been greatly benefited.

The cordial reception which the work has met from the press everywhere
has undoubtedly contributed in great measure to its popularity. The
demand for the work has exhausted several editions in rapid succession,
and has seemed to require its preparation in the greatly enlarged and
in every way improved form in which it now appears. The addition of
two whole chapters for the purpose of bringing the subject directly
before the minds of boys and girls in a proper manner, adds greatly
to the interest and value of the work, as there seemed to be a slight
deficiency in this particular in the former editions.

J. H. K.
_October, 1879_.


INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  15


Living beings--Animals and vegetables--Life force--Reproduction--
Spontaneous generation--Simplest form of generation--Hermaphrodism--
Sex in plants--Sex in animals--Other sexual differences--Men and women
differ in form--Modern mania for female pedestrianism--3,000 quarter
miles in 3,000 quarter hours--A female walking-match--The male and
female brain--Vital organs of man and woman--Woman less muscular,
more enduring--A pathological difference--Why a woman does not
breathe like a man--The reproductive elements--Sexual organs of plants--
Polygamous flowers--The female organ of flowers--Sexual organs of
animals--The spermatozoon--The ovum--Fecundation--Fecundation in
flowers--Union of the ovum and zoosperm--Curious modes of
reproduction--Human beings are developed buds--Fecundation in
hermaphrodites--Development--Unprotected development--Partial
protection of the ovum--Development in the higher animals and in man--
The uterus--Uterine gestation--The primitive trace--Curious relations to
lower animals--Simplicity of early structures--The stages of growth--
Duration of gestation--Uterine life--How the unborn infant breathes--
Parturition--Changes in the child at birth--Nursing--Anatomy of the
reproductive organs--Male organs--The prostate gland--Female organs--
Puberty--Influence of diet on puberty--Brunettes naturally precocious--
Remarkable precocity--Premature development occasions early decay--
Early puberty a cause for anxiety--Changes which occur at puberty--
Menstruation--Nature of menstruation--A critical period--Important
hints--Menorrhagia--Dysmenorrhoea--Amenorrhoea and chlorosis--
Hysteria--Prevention better than cure--Extra-uterine pregnancy--Twins--
Monsters--Hybrids--Law of sex--Heredity--Ante-natal influences--Law
universal--A source of crime--Circumcision--Castration  . . . . . . . 25


Sexual precocity--Astonishing ignorance--Inherited passion--Various
causes of sexual precocity--Senile sexuality--Marriage--Time to
marry--Application of the law of heredity--Early marriage--Mutual
adaptation--Disparity of age--Courtship--Long Courtships--
Flirtation--Youthful flirtations--Polygamy--Polyandry--Divorce--
Who may not marry--Do not be in a hurry. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116


Mental unchastity--Amativeness--Unchaste conversation--Causes of
unchastity--Early causes--Diet vs. chastity--Clerical lapses--Tobacco
and vice--Bad books--Idleness--Dress and sensuality--How young women
fall--Fashion and vice--Reform in dress needed--Round dances--Physical
causes of unchastity--Constipation--Intestinal worms--Local
uncleanness--Irritation of the bladder--Modern modes of life . . . . 174


Continence not injurious--Does not produce impotence--Difficulty of
continence--Helps to continence--The will--Diet--Exercise--Bathing--
Religion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 205


Object of the reproductive functions--Results of excesses--Effects
upon husbands--Testimony of a French physician--Continence of
trainers--A cause of throat disease--A cause of consumption--Effects
on wives--The greatest cause of uterine disease--Legalized murder--
Indulgence during menstruation--Effects upon offspring--Indulgence
during pregnancy--Effect upon the character--A selfish objection--
Brutes and savages more considerate--What may be done--Early
moderation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 216


Conjugal onanism--"Male continence"--Shaker views--Moral bearings of
the question--Unconsidered murders--The charge disputed--Difficulties--
Woman's rights--What to do--A compromise . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250


Not a modern crime--Causes of the crime--The nature of the crime--
Instruments of crime--Results of this unnatural crime--An unwelcome
child--The remedy--Murder by proxy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 271


Unchastity of the ancients--Causes of the "social evil"--Libidinous
blood--Gluttony--Precocious sexuality--Man's lewdness--Fashion--Lack of
early training--Sentimental literature--Poverty--Ignorance--Disease--
Results of licentiousness--Thousands of victims--Effects of vice
ineradicable--The only hope--Hereditary effects of venereal disease--
Man the only transgressor--Origin of the foul disease--Cure of the
"social evil"--Prevention the only cure--Early training--Teach
self-control--Mental culture--Early associations . . . . . . . . . . 284


Alarming prevalence of the vice--Testimony of eminent authors--Not a
modern vice--Victims of all ages--Unsuspected rottenness--Causes of
the habit--Evil associations--Corruption in schools--Wicked nurses--Not
an uncommon case--The instructor in vice--Local disease--An
illustrative case--Other physical causes--Influence of stimulants--
Signs of self-abuse--Suspicious signs--General debility--Early symptoms
of consumption--Premature and defective development--Sudden change in
disposition--Lassitude--Sleeplessness--Failure of mental capacity--
Fickleness--Untrustworthiness--Love of solitude--Bashfulness--Unnatural
boldness--Mock piety--Confusion of ideas--Round shoulders--Weak backs--
Pains in the limbs--Stiffness of the joints--Paralysis--Gait--Bad
positions--Lack of development of the breasts--Capricious appetite--
Eating clay--The use of tobacco--Unnatural paleness--Acne--Biting the
finger nails--Palpitation of the heart--Hysteria--Chlorosis--Epileptic
fits--Wetting the bed--Unchastity of speech--Positive signs--Results of
secret vice--Effects in males--Local effects--Urethral irritation--
Stricture--Enlarged prostate--Urinary diseases--Priapism--Piles--
Prolapsus of rectum--Extension of irritation--Atrophy--Varicocele--
Nocturnal emissions--Exciting causes--Are occasional emissions
necessary or harmless?--Emissions not necessary to health--Eminent
testimony--Diurnal emissions--Cause of diurnal emissions--Internal
emissions--An important caution--Impotence--General effects--General
debility--Consumption--Dyspepsia--Heart-disease--Throat affections--
Nervous diseases--Epilepsy--Failure of special senses--Spinal
irritation--Insanity--A victim's mental condition pictured--Effects in
females--Local effects--Leucorrhoea--Uterine disease--Cancer of the
womb--Sterility--Atrophy of mammae--Pruritis--General effects--A
common cause of hysteria--Effects upon offspring--Treatment of
self-abuse and its effects--Prevention of secret vice--Cultivate
chastity--Timely warning--Curative treatment of the effects of
self-abuse--Cure of the habit--How may a person help himself?--Hopeful
courage--General regimen and treatment--Mental and moral treatment--
Exercise--Never overeat--Eat but twice a day--Discard all stimulating
food--Stimulating drinks--Sleeping--Dreams--Can dreams be controlled?--
Bathing--Improvement of general health--Prostitution as a remedy--
Marriage--Local treatment--Cool sitz bath--Ascending douche--Abdominal
bandage--Wet compress--Hot and cold applications to the spine--Local
fomentations--Local cold bathing--Enemata--Electricity--Internal
applications--Use of electricity--Circumcision--Impotence--Varicocele--
Drugs--Rings--Quacks--Closing advice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 315


Who are boys?--What are boys for?--Boys the hope of the world--Man the
masterpiece--How a noble character is ruined--The marvelous human
machine--The two objects of human existence--The nutritive apparatus--
The moving apparatus--The thinking and feeling apparatus--The purifying
apparatus--The reproductive apparatus--How a noble character and a sound
body must be formed--The downhill road--Self-abuse--A dreadful sin--
Self-murderers--What makes boys dwarfs--Scrawny and hollow-eyed boys--
Old boys--What makes idiots--Young dyspeptics--The race ruined by boys--
Cases illustrating the effects of self-abuse--Two young wrecks--A
prodigal youth--Barely escaped--A lost soul--The results of one
transgression--A hospital case--An old offender--The sad end of a young
victim--From bad to worse--An indignant father--Disgusted with life--Bad
company--Bad language--Bad books--Vile pictures--Evil thoughts--
Influence of other bad habits--Closing advice to boys and young men. 419


Girlhood--How to develop beauty and loveliness--The human form divine--A
wonderful process--Human buds--How beauty is marred--A beauty-destroying
vice--Terrible effects of secret vice--Remote effects--Causes which lead
girls astray--Vicious companions--Whom to avoid--Sentimental books--
Various causes--Modesty woman's safeguard--A few sad cases--A pitiful
case--A mind dethroned--A penitent victim--A ruined girl--The danger of
boarding-schools--A desperate case--A last word--A few words to boys and
girls  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 470


Books almost without number have been written upon the subject treated
in this work. Unfortunately, most of these works are utterly unreliable,
being filled with gross misrepresentations and exaggerations, and
being designed as advertising mediums for ignorant and unscrupulous
charlatans, or worse than worthless patent nostrums. To add to their
power for evil, many of them abound with pictorial illustrations which
are in no way conducive to virtue or morality, but rather stimulate
the animal propensities and excite lewd imaginations. Books of this
character are usually widely circulated; and their pernicious
influence is fully as great as that of works of a more grossly obscene
character. In most of the few instances in which the evident motive
of the author is not of an unworthy character, the manner of presenting
the subject is unfortunately such that it more frequently than
otherwise has a strong tendency in a direction exactly the opposite
of that intended and desired. The writer of this work has endeavored
to avoid the latter evil by adopting a style of presentation quite
different from that generally pursued. Instead of restricting the
reader's attention rigidly to the sexual function in man, his mind is
diverted by frequent references to corresponding functions in lower
animals and in the vegetable kingdom. By this means, not only is an
additional fund of information imparted, but the sexual function in
man is divested of its sensuality. It is viewed as a fact of natural
history, and is associated with the innocence of animal life and the
chaste loveliness of flowers. Thus the subject comes to be regarded
from a purely physiological standpoint, and is liberated from the gross
animal instinct which is the active cause of sensuality.

There are so many well-meaning individuals who object to the agitation
of this subject in any manner whatever, that it may be profitable to
consider in this connection some of the principal objections which are
urged against imparting information on sexual subjects, especially
against giving knowledge to the young.

I. _Sexual matters improper to be spoken of to the young._

This objection is often raised, it being urged that these matters are
_too delicate_ to be even suggested to children; that they ought to
be kept in total ignorance of all sexual matters and relations until
nature indicates that they are fit to receive them. It is doubtless
true that children raised in a perfectly natural way would have no
sexual thoughts until puberty, at least, and it would be better if it
might be so; but from facts pointed out in succeeding portions of this
work, it is certain that at the present time children nearly always
do have some vague ideas of sexual relations long before puberty, and
often at a very early age. It is thus apparent that by speaking to
children of sexual matters in a proper manner, a new subject is not
introduced to them, but it is merely presenting to them in a true light
a subject of which they already have vague ideas; and thus, by
satisfying a natural curiosity, they are saved from supplying by their
imaginations distorted images and exaggerated conceptions, and from
seeking to obtain the desired information from evil sources whence they
would derive untold injury.

What reason is there that the subject of the sexual functions should
be treated with such maudlin secrecy? Why should the function of
generation be regarded as something low and beastly, unfit to be spoken
of by decent people on decent occasions? We can conceive of no answer
except the worse than beastly use to which the function has been so
generally put by man. There is nothing about the sexual organism which
makes it less pure than the lungs or the stomach. "Unto the pure all
things are pure," may have been written especially for our times, when
there is such a vast amount of mock modesty; when so much pretense of
virtue covers such a world of iniquity and vice. The young lady who
goes into a spasm of virtuous hysterics upon hearing the word "leg,"
is perhaps just the one who at home riots her imagination in voluptuous
French novels, if she commits no grosser breach of chastity. The parents
who are the most opposed to imparting information to the young are often
those who have themselves indulged in sexual excesses. In the minds
of such persons the sexual organs and functions, and everything even
remotely connected with them, are associated only with ideas of lust
and gross sensuality. No wonder that they wish to keep such topics in
the dark. With such thoughts they cannot well bear the scrutiny of

Sexual subjects are not, of course, proper subjects for conversation
at all times, or at any time in a spirit of levity and flippancy.

II. _Knowledge is dangerous._

Very true, knowledge is dangerous, but ignorance is more dangerous
still; or, rather, partial knowledge is more dangerous than a more
complete understanding of facts. Children, young people, will not grow
up in innocent ignorance. If, in obedience to custom, they are not
encouraged to inquire of their parents about the mysteries of life,
they will seek to satisfy their curiosity by appealing to older or
better informed companions. They will eagerly read any book which
promises any hint on the mysterious subject, and will embrace every
opportunity, proper or improper--and most likely to be the latter--of
obtaining the coveted information. Knowledge obtained in this
uncertain and irregular way must of necessity be very unreliable. Many
times--generally, in fact--it is of a most corrupting character, and
the clandestine manner in which it is obtained is itself corrupting
and demoralizing. A child ought to be taught to expect all such
information from its parents, and it ought not to be disappointed.

Again, while it is true that knowledge is dangerous, it is equally true
that this dangerous knowledge will be gained sometime, at any rate;
and as it must come, better let it be imparted by the parent, who can
administer proper warnings and cautions along with it, than by any other
individual. Thus may the child be shielded from injury to which he would
otherwise be certainly exposed.

III. _Young people should be left to find out these things for

If human beings received much of their knowledge through instinct, as
animals do, this might be a proper course; but man gets his knowledge
largely by instruction. Young people will get their first knowledge
of sexual matters mostly by instruction from some source. How much
better, then, as we have already shown, to let them obtain this
knowledge from the most natural and most reliable source!

The following paragraph from Dr. Ware is to the point:--

"But putting aside the question whether we ought to hide this subject
wholly from the young if we could, the truth, it is to be feared, is
that we cannot if we would. Admitting it to be desirable, every man
of experience in life will pronounce it to be impracticable. If, then,
we cannot prevent the minds of children from being engaged in some way
on this subject, may it not be better to forestall evil impressions
by implanting good ones, or at least to mingle such good ones with the
evil as the nature of the case admits? Let us be at least as wise as
the crafty enemy of man, and cast in a little wheat with his tares;
and among the most effectual methods of doing this is to impart to the
young just and religious views of the nature and purposes of the
relation which the Creator has established between the two sexes."

_When Shall Information Be Given?_--It is a matter of some difficulty
to decide the exact age at which information on sexual subjects should
be given to the young. It may be adopted as a safe rule, however, that
a certain amount of knowledge should be imparted as soon as there is
manifested a curiosity in this direction. If there is reason to believe
that the mind of the child is exercised in this direction, even though
he may have made no particular inquiries, information should not be

_How to Impart Proper Knowledge._--No little skill may be displayed
in introducing these subjects to the mind of the young person in such
a way as to avoid arousing his passions and creating sexual excitement.
Perhaps the general plan followed in the first portion of this work
will be found a very pleasant and successful method if studied
thoroughly and well executed.

All information should not be given at once. First obtain the child's
confidence, and assure him by candor and unreserve that you will give
him all needed information; then, as he encounters difficulties, he
will resort for explanation where he knows he will receive satisfaction.
When the little one questions, answer truthfully and carefully.

The following paragraph by Dr. Wilkinson is suggestive:--

"When we are little boys and girls, our first inquiries about our
_whence_ are answered by the authoritative dogma of the 'silver spade;'
we were dug up with that implement. By degrees the fact comes forth.
The public, however, remains for ages in the silver-spade condition
of mind with regard to the science of the fact; and the doctors foster
it by telling us that the whole subject is a medical property.... There
is nothing wrong in the knowing; and, though the passions might be
stimulated in the first moments by such information, yet in the second
instance they will be calmed by it; and, ceasing to be inflamed by the
additional goad of curiosity and imagination, they will cool down under
the hydropathic influences of science. Well-stated knowledge did never
yet contribute to human inflammation; and we much question whether the
whole theory of the silver spade be not a mistake; and whether children
should not be told the truth from the first; that before desire and
imagination are born, the young mind may receive, in its cool innocency,
a knowledge of the future objects of powers and faculties which are
to be subject afterward to such strong excitements."

The experience of hundreds in the circulation of this work has proven
beyond all chance for question the truth of the foregoing remarks, and
often in a most striking manner. Scores of persons have written us,
"I would give all I possess in this world could I have had a copy of
'Plain Facts' placed in my hands when I was a lad," or, "Words cannot
express the gratitude I would now feel had some kind friend imparted
to me the invaluable information which this book contains; it would
have saved me a life of wretchedness."

We have had the satisfaction of knowing in numerous instances that the
virtue and happiness of whole families have been secured by the timely
warnings of danger which parents have obtained from this work. We are
glad to be able to feel that it is now thoroughly demonstrated that
intelligent persons who have given this subject thought universally
approve of the objects of the work and the manner of presenting the
subject adopted in it. Those who at first question the propriety of
discussing the subject so freely and thoroughly as is here done, lose
their prejudice entirely upon giving the work a careful perusal. In
numerous instances it has occurred that those who were most decided
in their denunciations have become the most zealous and efficient
agents in its circulation after becoming more fully acquainted with


Life, in its great diversity of forms, has ever been a subject of the
deepest interest to rational beings. Poets have sung of its joys and
sorrows, its brilliant phantasies and harsh realities. Philosophers
have spent their lives in vain attempts to solve its mysteries; and
some have held and thought that life was nothing more than a stupendous
farce, a delusion of the senses. Moralists have sought to impress
mankind with the truth that "life is real," and teeming with grave
responsibilities. Physiologists have busied themselves in observing
the phenomena of life, and learning, therefrom, its laws. The subject
is certainly an interesting one, and none could be more worthy of the
most careful attention.

Living Beings.--Man possesses life in common with other beings almost
infinite in number and variety. The hugest beast that roams the forest
or plows the main is no more a living creature than the smallest insect
or microscopic animalculum. The "big tree" of California and the tiny
blade of grass which waves at its foot are alike imbued with life. All
nature teems with life. The practiced eye detects multitudes of living
forms at every glance.

The universe of life presents the most marvelous manifestations of the
infinite power and wisdom of the Creator to be found in all his works.
The student of biology sees life in myriad forms which are unnoticed
by the casual observer. The microscope reveals whole worlds of life
that were unknown before the discovery of this wonderful aid to human
vision,--whole tribes of living organisms, each of which, though
insignificant in size, possesses organs as perfect and as useful to
it in its sphere as do animals of greater magnitude. Under a powerful
magnifying glass, a drop of water from a stagnant pool is found to be
peopled with curious animated forms; slime from a damp rock, or a speck
of green scum from the surface of a pond, presents a museum of living
wonders. Through this instrument the student of nature learns that life
in its lowest form is represented by a mere atom of living matter, an
insignificant speck of trembling jelly, transparent and structureless,
having no organs of locomotion, yet able to move in any direction; no
nerves or organs of sense, yet possessing a high degree of sensibility;
no mouth, teeth, nor organs of digestion, yet capable of taking food,
growing, developing, producing other individuals like itself, becoming
aged, infirm, and dying,--such is the life history of a living creature
at the lower extreme of the scale of animated being. As we rise higher
in the scale, we find similar little atoms of life associated together
in a single individual, each doing its proper share of the work
necessary to maintain the life of the individual as a whole, yet
retaining at the same time its own individual life.

As we ascend to still higher forms, we find this association of minute
living creatures resulting in the production of forms of increasing
complicity. As the structure of the individual becomes more complex
and its functions more varied, the greater is the number of separate,
yet associated, organisms to do the work.

In man, at the very summit of the scale of animate existence, we find
the most delicate and wonderfully intricate living mechanism of all.
In him, as in lower, intermediate forms of life, the life of the
individual is but a summary of the lives of all numberless minute
organisms of which his body is composed. The individual life is but
the aggregate life of all the millions of distinct individuals which
are associated together in the human organism.

Animals and Vegetables.--The first classification of living creatures
separates them into two great kingdoms, animals and vegetables.
Although it is very easy to define the general characteristics of each
of these classes, it is impossible to fix upon any single peculiarity
which will be applicable in every case. Most vegetable organisms remain
stationary, while some possess organs of locomotion, and swim about
in the water in a manner much resembling the movements of certain
animals. Most vegetables obtain their nutriment from the earth and the
air, while animals subsist on living matter. A few plants seem to take
organic matter for food, some even catching and killing small insects.

It is found impossible to draw the precise line between animals and
vegetables, for the reason just mentioned. The two kingdoms blend so
intimately that in some cases it is impossible to tell whether a certain
microscopic speck of life is an animal or a vegetable. But since these
doubtful creatures are usually so minute that several millions of them
can exist in a single drop of water, it is usually of no practical
importance whether they are animal or vegetable, or sometimes one and
sometimes the other, as they have been supposed to be by some

All living creatures are _organized_ beings. Most possess a structure
and an organism more or less complicated; but some of the lowest forms
are merely little masses of a transparent, homogeneous jelly, known
as protoplasm. Some of the smallest of these are so minute that one
hundred millions of them could occupy the space of a cube one-thousandth
of an inch on each side; yet each one runs its course of life as regularly
as man himself, performing its proper functions even more perfectly,

Life Force.--To every thinking mind the question often recurs, What
makes the fragrant flower so different from the dead soil from which
it grows? the trilling bird, so vastly superior to the inert atmosphere
in which it flies? What subtle power paints the rose, and tunes the
merry songster's voice? To explain this mystery, philosophers of olden
time supposed the existence of a certain peculiar force which is called
life, or vital force, or vitality. This supposition does nothing more
than furnish a name for a thing unknown, and the very existence of which
may fairly be doubted. In fact, any attempt to find a place for such
a force, to understand its origin, or harmonize its existence with that
of other well-known forces, is unsuccessful; and the theory of a
peculiar vital force, a presiding entity present in every living thing,
vanishes into thin air to give place to the more rational view of the
most advanced modern scientists, that vital force, so-called, is only
a manifestation of the ordinary forces of nature acting through a
peculiar arrangement of matter. In other words, life depends, not upon
a peculiar force, but upon a peculiar arrangement of matter, or
organization. It is simply a peculiar manifestation of the force
possessed by atoms exhibited through a peculiar arrangement of atoms
and molecules. This arrangement is what is known as organization; and
bodies which possess it are known as organized or living bodies. The
term life may be understood as referring to the phenomena which result
from organization.

That life results from organization, not organization from life, is
more consonant with the accepted and established facts of science than
the contrary view. We might adduce numerous facts and arguments in
support of this view of the nature of life, but will not do so here,
as we have considered the subject at some length elsewhere.[1]

[Footnote 1: See "Science and the Bible," pp. 36-46.]

_Nutrition_ and _reproduction_ are the two great functions of life,
being common not only to all animals, but to both animals and plants,
to all classes of living creatures. The object of the first, is the
development and maintenance of the individual existence; the second
has for its end the production of new individuals, or the preservation
of the race. Nutrition is a purely selfish process; reproduction is
purely unselfish in its object; though the human species--unlike the
lower animals, which, while less intelligent, are far more true to
nature--too often pervert its functions to the most grossly selfish

The subject of nutrition is an important one, and well worthy the
attention of every person who values life. The general disregard of
this subject is undoubtedly the cause of a very large share of the ills
to which human flesh is heir; but our limited space forbids its
consideration here, and we shall confine our attention to reproduction.


As before remarked, reproduction is a function common to all animals
and to all plants. Every organized being has the power to reproduce
itself, or to produce, or aid in producing, other individuals like
itself. It is by means of this function that plants and animals increase
or multiply.

When we consider the great diversity of characters illustrated in
animal and vegetable life, and the infinite variety of conditions and
circumstances under which organized creatures exist, it is not
surprising that modes of reproduction should also present great
diversity both in general character and in detail. We shall find it
both interesting and instructive to consider some of the many different
modes of reproduction, or generation, observed in different classes
of living beings, previous to entering upon the specific study of
reproduction in man. Before doing thus, however, let us give brief
attention to a theoretical form of generation, which cannot be called
reproduction, known as

Spontaneous Generation.--By this term is meant the supposed formation
of living creatures directly from dead matter without the intervention
of other living organisms. The theory is, in substance, an old one.
The ancients supposed that the frogs and other small reptiles so
abundant in the vicinity of slimy pools and stagnant marshes, were
generated spontaneously from the mud and slime in which they lived.
This theory was, of course, abandoned when the natural history of
reptiles became known.

For several thousand years the belief was still held that maggots found
in decaying meat were produced spontaneously; but it was discovered,
centuries ago, that maggots are not formed if the flesh is protected
from flies, since they are the larvae, or young, of a species of this
insect. A relic of the ancient belief in spontaneous generation is still
found in the supposition that horse-hair snakes, so-called, are really
formed from the hairs of horses. This belief is quite common, but
science long ago exposed its falsity.

When the microscope was discovered it revealed a whole new world of
infinitesimal beings which were at first supposed to be of spontaneous
origin; but careful scientific investigation has shown that even these
mere specks of life are not independent of parentage. M. Pasteur and,
more recently, Prof. Tyndall, with many other distinguished scientists,
have demonstrated this fact beyond all reasonable chance for question.

It is, then, an established law that _every living organism originates
with some previously existing living being or beings_.

It may be queried, If it be true that life is but a manifestation of
the ordinary forces of matter,--which are common to both dead and living
matter,--being dependent upon arrangement, then why may it not be that
dead matter may, through the action of molecular laws, and without the
intervention of any living existence, assume those peculiar forms of
arrangement necessary to constitute life, as supposed by the advocates
of the theory in question? It is true that some who recognize the fact
that life is the result of organization maintain the doctrine of
_spontaneous generation_; that is, the production of life without any
agency other than the recognized forces of nature being brought about
simply by a fortuitous combination of atoms. Although this doctrine
cannot be said to be inconsistent with the theory of life presented,
yet it is by no means a legitimate or necessary result of it; and
observation proves its falsity.

The testimony of all nature, as almost universally admitted by
scientific men, is that life originated through a creative act by the
first Great Cause, who gave to certain bodies the requisite arrangement
or organization to enable them to perform certain functions, and
delegated to them the power to transmit the same to other matter, and
thus to perpetuate life. The Creator alone has the power to originate
life. Man, with all his wisdom and attainments, cannot discover the
secret of organization. He may become familiar with its phenomena, but
he cannot unravel, further, the mystery of life. The power of organizing
is possessed only by the lower class of living or organized bodies,
those known as vegetable organisms or plants. A grain of wheat, a kernel
of corn, a potato, when placed under favorable conditions, takes the
inert, lifeless particles of matter which lie about it in the earth
and air, and organizes them into living substances like itself.

To man and animals the Creator delegated the power to form their own
peculiar structures from the vitalized tissues of plants. Thus, both
animal and vegetable life is preserved without the necessity of
continued acts of creative power, each plant and each animal possessing
the power not only to preserve its own life, but also to aid, at least,
in the perpetuation of the species. The record of creation in Genesis
harmonizes perfectly with this view, it being represented that God
formed (organized or arranged) man, animals, and vegetable productions
from the earth.

Simplest Form of Generation.--Deep down beneath the waters of the ocean,
covering its bottom in certain localities, is found a curious slime,
which, under the microscope, is seen to be composed of minute rounded
masses of gelatinous matter, or protoplasm. By watching these little
bodies intently for a few minutes, the observer will discover that each
is a living creature capable of moving, growing, and assuming a variety
of shapes. Continued observation will reveal the fact that these little
creatures multiply; and a more careful scrutiny will enable him to see
_how_ they increase. Each divides into two equal parts so nearly alike
that they cannot be distinguished apart. In this case the process of
generation is simply the production of two similar individuals from

A small quantity of slime taken from the surface of a stone near the
bottom of an old well, or on the seaside, when placed under the
microscope, will sometimes be found to contain large numbers of small,
round, living bodies. Careful watching will show that they also
multiply by division; but before the division occurs, two cells unite
to form one by a process called _conjugation_. Then, by the division
of this cell, instead of only two cells, a large number of small cells
are formed, each of which may be considered as a bud formed upon the
body of the parent cell and then separated from it to become by growth
an individual like its parent, and, like it, to produce its kind. In
this case, we have new individuals formed by the union of two
individuals which are to all appearance entirely similar in every

Sex.--Rising higher in the scale of being, we find that, with rare
exceptions, reproduction is the result of the union of two dissimilar
elements. These elements do not, in higher organisms, as in lower forms
of life, constitute the individuals, but are produced by them; and being
unlike, they are produced by special organs, each adapted to the
formation of one kind of elements. The two classes of organs usually
exist in separate individuals, thus giving rise to distinctions of
_sex_; an individual possessing organs which form one kind of elements
being called a male, and one possessing organs for the formation of
the other kind of elements, a female. The sexual differences between
individuals of the same species are not, however, confined to the sexual
organs. In most classes of plants and animals, other sexual differences
are very great. In some of the lower orders of animals, and in many
species of plants, the male and female individuals are so much unlike
that for a long time after they were well known, no sexual relation
was discovered.

Hermaphrodism.--An individual possessing both male and female organs
of reproduction is called an _hermaphrodite_. Such a combination is
very rare among higher animals; but it is by no means uncommon among
plants and the lower forms of animal life. The snail, the oyster, the
earth-worm, and the common tape-worm, are examples of true
hermaphrodites. So-called human hermaphrodites are usually
individuals in whom the sexual organs are abnormally developed so that
they resemble those of the opposite sex, though they really have but
one sex, which can usually be determined with certainty. Only a very
few cases have been observed in which both male and female organs were

There is now living in Germany an individual who bears the name of a
woman; but learned physicians have decided that the person is as much
man as woman, having the organs of both sexes. What is still more curious,
this person has the feelings of both sexes, having loved at first a
man, and afterward a woman. There have been observed, also, a very few
instances of individuals in whom the sexual organs of neither sex were
present. It thus appears that a person may be of both sexes or of no
sex at all.

Sex in Plants.--To one unacquainted with the mysteries of plant life
and growth, the idea of attaching sexuality to plants seems very
extraordinary; but the botanist recognizes the fact that the
distinctions of sex are as clearly maintained in the vegetable as in
the animal kingdom. The sexual organs of the higher orders of plants
are flowers. That part of the flower which produces seeds answers to
the female; another part, which is incapable of forming seeds, answers
to the male. The fertile and sterile flowers are sometimes produced
on separate plants. Very frequently, they are produced upon separate
parts of the same plant, as in the oak, walnut, and many other forest
trees, and Indian corn. In the latter plant, so familiar to every one,
the "tassel" contains the male flowers, and the part known as the
"silk," with the portion to which it is attached--which becomes the
ear--the female or fertile flowers. In a large number of species, the
male and female organs are combined in a single flower, making a true

Sex in Animals.--As previously remarked, individuals of opposite sex
usually differ much more than in the character of their sexual organs
only. Among higher animals, the male is usually larger, stronger, and
of coarser structure than the female. The same contrast is observed
in their mental characters. With lower animals, especially insects,
the opposite is often observed. The female spider is many times larger
than the male. The male ant is small in size when compared with the
female. Nevertheless, in all classes of animals the difference in the
structure and the functions of the sexual organs is the chief
distinguishing character. These differences are not so great, however,
as they might at first appear. The male and female organs of
reproduction in man and other animals, which seem so dissimilar, when
studied in the light shed upon this subject by the science of embryology,
are found to be wonderfully alike in structure, differing far more in
appearance than in reality, and being little more than modifications
of one general plan. Every organ to be found in the one sex has an
analogue in the other which is complete in every particular,
corresponding in function, in structure, and usually in position.

Other Sexual Differences.--In this country there is between five and
six inches difference in height and about twenty pounds difference in
weight between the average man and the average woman, the average man
being about five feet, eight inches in height, and weighing one hundred
and forty-five pounds; while the average woman is five feet, two or
two and one-half inches in height, and weighs one hundred and
twenty-five pounds. The relation of the sexes in height and weight
varies in degree in different countries, but is never changed. The
average height and weight of American men and women is considerably
above that of the average human being.

Men and Women Differ in Form.--The differences in form are so marked
that it is possible for the skilled anatomist to determine the sex of
a human being who has been dead for ages, by an examination of the
skeleton alone. In man, the shoulders are broad, the hips narrow, and
the limbs nearly straight with the body. In woman, the shoulders are
narrow and usually rounded, and set farther back, the collar-bone being
longer and less curved, giving the chest greater prominence; while the
hips are broad.

The consequence of these differences is that woman is generally less
graceful and naturally less skillful in the use of the extremities than
man, and hence less fitted for athletic sports and feats requiring great
dexterity. A girl throws a stone awkwardly, less from want of practice
than from a natural peculiarity of physical structure. A woman walks
less gracefully than a man, owing to the greater relative breadth of
her hips, requiring a motion of the body together with that of the limbs.
In consequence of this peculiarity, a woman is less fitted for walking
long distances.

Modern Mania for Female Pedestrianism.--Nothing could be much more
inhuman than the exhibitions made in satisfying the mania for female
pedestrianism which has recently arisen. Not long since, in walking
down one of the principal streets of Boston, we passed, in going a
distance of thirty rods, three illuminated placards announcing to the
public that in as many different public halls four female pedestrians
were exhibiting their walking talents for the gratification of the
crowds of bawdy loafers and jockeys who congregated to criticize their
several "points," and bet on their walking capacity, as though they
were horses on a race-course or hounds on a fox hunt.

3,000 Quarter Miles in 3,000 Quarter Hours.--We visited the halls and
ascertained that two of these misguided women were attempting the feat
of walking respectively 2,700 and 3,000 quarter miles in an equal number
of successive quarter hours. This would require almost incessant
exertion for nearly twenty-eight days in one case, and for more than
thirty-one days in the other, without at any time a period of unbroken
rest longer than ten minutes. Such a procedure, in the light of
physiology, is a greater inhumanity than the most merciless Boston
teamster would inflict upon his dumb brutes. Why does not Mr. Bergh
exercise his function in such cases? We did not wonder that the poor
women looked pale and suffering, and trudged along with a limping gait.

A Female Walking Match.--At another hall we found two women engaged
in a "walking match." The hall was so crowded with spectators--with
very few exceptions of the male sex--that it was with difficulty the
narrow track could be kept clear.

The sixty hours for which the walk was to be continued had nearly expired,
and the excitement grew more intense each moment. One of the walkers,
who was a few miles in advance, strode on at a pace almost marvelous,
constantly stimulated to greater efforts by the coarse shouts of the
masculine audience, who evidently took the same sort of interest in
the proceeding that they would in a dog race or a cock fight. The other
was pale and spiritless, and it seemed with difficulty that she dragged
herself along to keep upon the track until the last. At times she seemed
to be almost fainting, as the result of the long-continued excitement
and fatigue; but she managed to keep going until nine minutes before
the slow moving clock had measured off the sixty hours, when she became
too ill to be longer able to stand, and was carried off the track.

The cheers for the winner were as vigorous as though a rebel fort had
been captured, a million people emancipated from slavery, or some great
and noble deed of honor or daring had been done; but no one thought
of the injury which had been done the contestant. We turned away in

The ancient Greeks and Romans amused themselves with witnessing the
gladiatorial contests of their male slaves; but it was left for
civilized America to introduce woman into the "ring" and make her show
her paces on the race-course. An ungraceful figure she cuts, and a
repulsive spectacle she presents; and worst of all is the havoc which
she makes with her health. At the very time that these four female
pedestrians were making their disgraceful exhibit in Boston, in another
part of the same city lay a helpless invalid who was once as noted a
"female walkist" as any of them, made hopelessly ill by the same
disregard of the plainest laws of nature.

The Male and the Female Brain.--But there are other important physical
differences to which we must call attention. Man possesses a larger
brain than woman, but she makes up the deficiency in size by superior
fineness in quality. The female brain differs from the masculine organ
of mentality in other particulars so marked that one who has given the
subject attention can determine with perfect ease the probable sex of
the owner of almost any skull which might be presented to him. This
difference in the conformation of the skull is undoubtedly due to a
difference in mental character, which, in turn, depends upon a
difference in cerebral development. Faculties which are generally
largely developed in one are usually smaller in the other, and the

Vital Organs of Man and Woman.--The anatomist also observes an
interesting difference in the size of the various vital organs. For
example, while a woman has a heart proportionally smaller than the same
organ in man, she has a larger liver. Thus, while less well fitted for
severe physical exertion by less circulatory power, she has superior
excretory powers.

Woman Less Muscular, More Enduring.--This peculiarity of structure is
perfectly harmonious with the fact which experience has established
so often as to make the matter no longer a question, that woman is less
fitted for severe muscular exertion than man, but possesses in a
superior degree the quality known as endurance. With a less robust frame,
a more delicately organized constitution, she will endure for months
what would kill a robust man in as many weeks. More perfect elimination
of the wastes of the body secures a higher grade of vitality. On no
other hypothesis could we account for the marvelous endurance of the
feminine part of the civilized portion of the human race, ground down
under the heel of fashion for ages, "stayed," "corseted," "laced," and
thereby distorted and deformed in a manner that would be fatal to almost
any member of the masculine sex.

A Pathological Difference.--Most physiologists mention another
particular in which woman differs materially from man; viz, in
naturally employing, in respiration, chiefly the upper part of the
lungs, while man breathes chiefly with the lower part of the lungs.
For several years we have carefully studied this question, and we have
been unable to find any physiological or anatomical reason sufficient
to account for this fact, if it be such.

Why a Woman Does not Breathe Like a Man.--It is undoubtedly true that
most women do breathe almost exclusively with the upper part of the
chest; but whether this is a _natural_ peculiarity, or an acquired,
unnatural, and depraved one, is a question which we are decidedly
inclined to answer in harmony with the latter supposition, basing our
conclusion on the following undeniable facts:--

1. In childhood, and until about the age of puberty, respiration in
the boy and the girl is exactly the same.

2. Although there is a change in the mode of respiration in most females,
usually soon after the period of puberty, marked by increased
intercostal respiration and diminished abdominal or deep respiration,
this change can be accounted for on other than physiological grounds.

3. We believe the cause of this modification of respiration is the
change in dress which is usually made about that time. The young girl
is now becoming a woman, and must acquire the art of lacing, wearing
a corset, "stays," and sundry other contrivances by means of which to
produce a "fine form" by distorting and destroying all natural grace
and beauty in the "form divine."

4. We have met a number of ladies whose good fortune and good sense
had delivered them from the distorting influence of corset-wearing and
tight-lacing, and we have invariably observed that they are as capable
of deep respiration as men, and practice it as naturally.

We are thoroughly convinced that this so-called physiological
difference between man and woman is really a pathological rather than
a natural difference, and is due to the evils of fashionable dress,
which we have exposed at some length in another work exclusively devoted
to that subject.[2] In short, we believe that the only reason why women
do not, under ordinary circumstances, breathe as do men, is simply
_because they can not_ breathe naturally.

[Footnote 2: "Evils of Fashionable Dress, and How to Dress

The Reproductive Elements.--As has been previously observed, in all
except the very lowest forms of life, two elements are necessary to
the production of a new individual, or a reproduction of the species--a
male element and a female element. The special organs by means of which
these elements are produced, brought together, and developed into the
new individual in a more or less perfect state, are termed _sexual
organs_, as we have already seen. As an introduction to the specific
study of the sexual organs in the human species, let us briefly consider

Sexual Organs of Plants.--As already remarked, flowers are the sexual
organs of plants. Nothing is more interesting in the natural world than
the wonderful beauty, diversity, and perfect adaptability to various
conditions and functions, which we see in the sexual parts of plants.
An exceedingly interesting line of study, which has occupied the
attention of many naturalists, is the wonderful perfection displayed
in the adaptability of the male and female parts of plants to each other.
Without burdening the reader with unnecessary technicalities of detail,
we will briefly notice the principal parts of vegetable sexual organs
as illustrated in flowers.

Complete flowers are made up of four parts, two of which, the _stamen_
and _pistil_, are essential, while the other two, the calyx and corolla,
are accessory.

The _calyx_ is that part which surrounds the flower at its outer and
lower part. It varies greatly in form and color, but is most frequently
of a green or greenish color.

Just within the calyx is the _corolla_, which usually forms the most
attractive, showy, and beautiful part of the flower. The beautifully
colored petals of the rose, geranium, dahlia, and other similar flowers,
form their corollas.

Vegetable Husbands.--Within the cup formed by the calyx and corolla
are placed the _stamens_ and _pistils_ of the flower, the first being
the male organs proper, and the second the female organs of the flower.

The stamen is composed of a stem or filament, at the summit of which
are placed two little sacks called the _anther_, which contain a fine,
microscopic dust, the _pollen_, which contains the male reproductive
element of the flower. This part of the plant corresponds to the male
organ of reproduction in animals. A stamen has been called, not inaptly,
a vegetable husband. Some flowers have many stamens, or vegetable
husbands, which reminds us of the custom in Thibet and some other
Eastern countries which allows a woman to have several husbands.

Polygamous Flowers.--The great naturalist, Linnaeus, whose name was
immortalized by his careful study and classification of organized life,
made the number of stamens possessed by various flowers the basis of
a systematic classification.

For example, a flower having but one stamen was classed as _monandria_,
which means, literally, one husband; one having two stamens was
classified as _diandria_; flowers having a large number of male organs
were termed _polyandria_, or many husbands.

The Female Organ of Flowers.--The _pistil_ occupies the very center
of the flower. It produces and contains in a cell, the female element,
termed the _ovule_. It is surmounted by the _style_ and the _stigma_.

A series of plants in which the sexual organs are not visible to the
eye are termed _cryptogamia_, which means literally, hidden marriages.

As we proceed to study the anatomy of the human sexual apparatus we
shall be constantly struck with the remarkable correspondence between
animals and vegetables in the structure and functions of the sexual

Sexual Organs of Animals.--The male reproductive element is called a
_spermatozoon_ or _zoosperm_. The female element is called an _ovum_,
literally, an egg.

The Spermatozoon.--The male reproductive element of animals is formed
by an organ called the _testis_, or _testicle_, of which each male
possesses two. They are elastic, glandular bodies, and are formed
within the cavity of the abdomen, near the kidneys, but usually pass
out of the abdominal cavity and descend to their permanent position
before birth. The opening in the abdominal wall is usually completely
closed in a short time; but occasionally it remains open, giving rise
to congenital hernia, an accident in which a loop of intestine follows
the testicle down into the scrotum, either completely or partially.
In a few animals, as in the porcupine, the opening is never fully closed,
and the testis remains in the cavity of the body most of the time,
passing out only at certain periods. We also occasionally meet cases
of human beings in which the testes have never descended from their
place in the abdominal cavity, giving the individuals the appearance
of eunuchs. This condition, however, though an abnormal one, does not
in any way interfere with the function of the organs, as those who happen
to possess it often imagine. We have also met with cases in which the
organs were movable, and could readily be pressed up into the abdominal
cavity, through the unclosed inguinal cavity, which afforded them a
passage downward in the process of development.

As before remarked, these peculiarities do not affect the functions
of the organs in any appreciable degree, although they not infrequently
give rise to some apprehension on the part of those subject to them.
The left testicle is sometimes a little smaller than the right, another
fact which is seized upon by quacks as a means of exciting the fears
of young men who have been addicted to bad habits, although the
peculiarity is generally without important significance.

The testicles are connected with the urinary passage by means of two
ducts which terminate near the base of the bladder, at which point they
connect with the urethra. We need not dwell at further length upon the
structure of the testicles, as this subject receives fuller attention

Human spermatozoa are about 1/600 of an inch in length. Those of
reptiles are very much larger. One of the remarkable features of these
minute elements is their peculiar movements. While alive, the
filamentous tail is in constant action in a manner strongly resembling
the movements of the caudal appendage of a tadpole. This wonderful
property led the earlier observers to believe that they were true
animalcula. But they are not to be regarded as such, though one can
scarcely make himself believe otherwise while watching their lively
evolutions, and apparent volitionary movement from one point to

Spermatozoa originate in the testis as cells, which are filled with
granules. After a time, each granule acquires a long appendage, and
then the cell has become converted into a bundle of small zoosperms.
Development still continues, until finally the thin pellicle on the
outside of the bundle is ruptured, thus liberating the young
spermatozoa, which speedily complete their full development. The
spermatozoon is pure protoplasm, which is the basis of all life, and
its power of spontaneous motion is due to this fact.

In man, the formation of spermatozoa continues with greater or less
rapidity from puberty to old age, though at the two extremes of
existence they are imperfectly developed. When not discharged from the
body, they are said to be absorbed. Some physiologists claim that they
are composed of a substance identical with nerve tissue, and that by
absorption they play a very important part in the development and
maintenance of the nervous system.

It is asserted by good authorities that the reproductive element in
man is not so well developed as to be really fit for the reproduction
of the species before the age of twenty-four or twenty-five. After the
age of forty-five or fifty, the reproductive elements deteriorate in
quality, and become again unfitted for vigorous procreation.

The fully developed zoosperms are suspended in a transparent,
gelatinous fluid, which, mingled with the secretion of the prostate
gland and other fluids which it meets during its expulsion from the
body, constitutes the _semen_.

The Ovum.--The female element of generation, the ovum, is produced by
an organ called the _ovary_, of which there are two in each individual.
In size and form, the ovary closely resembles the testicle. Like the
latter organ, also, it is formed within the body early in the process
of development; but instead of passing outward and downward, as does
the testicle, it remains within the abdominal cavity, suspended in
place by ligaments. It is connected with a duct which receives the ovum
as it is discharged, and conveys it to the uterus.

The human ovum varies in size from 1/240 to 1/120 of an inch in diameter,
and consists of a single cell. Ova are not formed in such large numbers
as zoosperms. As a general rule, in the human female, a single ovum
is developed and discharged once in about four weeks, during the period
of sexual activity.

Fecundation.--It is often asked, and the question has elicited some
discussion, Which is the principal reproductive element; the zoosperm,
or the ovum? The ancients supposed the male element to be the essential
element, being simply nourished and developed by the female; but modern
research in biological science does not sustain this view. Probably
neither one enjoys especial preeminence; for neither can undergo
complete development without the other. In very rare cases, the ovum
has been observed to undergo a certain amount of development of itself;
but a perfect individual can be produced only by the union of the two
kinds of elements, which process is known as _fecundation_. The instant
this union occurs, the life of a new individual begins. All the changes
which result between that moment and the birth of the individual are
those of development only. Indeed, the same existence continues from
the instant of the union of the two elements, not only until birth,
but through growth, the attainment of maturity, the decline of life,
and even until death.

It is interesting to observe the different methods by which fecundation
is effected, both in plants and animals, for this is a process common
to both.

Fecundation in Flowers.--The great naturalist, Linnaeus, was the first
to explain the reproductive process in plants. He tells us that "the
flower forms the theater of their amours; the calyx is to be considered
as the nuptial bed; the corolla constitutes the curtains; the anthers
are the testes; the pollen, the fecundating fluid; the stigma of the
pistil, the external genital aperture; the style, the vagina, or the
conductor of the prolific seed; the ovary of the plant, the womb; the
reciprocal action of the stamens on the pistil, the accessory process
of fecundation."

Thus marvelous is the analogy between the reproductive organs and their
functions in plants and animals. Through this one vital process we may
trace a close relation between all the forms of life, from the humblest
plant, or even the mere specks of life which form the green scum upon
a stagnant pool, to man, the masterpiece of creation, the highest of
all animated creatures. In all the realm of Nature there can be found
no more remarkable evidences of the infinite skill and wisdom of the
Creator of all things.

In many instances the action of plants seems almost to be prompted by
intelligence. At the proper moment, the corolla contracts in such a
way as to bring the stamens nearer to the stigma, or in contact with
it, so as to insure fecundation. In some aquatic plants the flowers
elevate themselves above the surface of water while the process of
fecundation is effected; submerging themselves again immediately

Other very curious changes occur in flowers of different species during
the reproductive act. The stigma is observed to become moistened, and
even to become distinctly odorous. Often, too, it becomes intensely
congested with the juices of the plant, and sometimes even acquires
an uncommon and most remarkable degree of contractility. This is the
case with the stigma of the tulip and one variety of sensitive plant,
and is in these plants observed to occur not only after the application
of the pollen to the stigma, but when excited by any other means of
stimulation. The flowers of some plants, during and after fecundation,
also show an increase of heat, in some cases so marked as to be readily
detected with the thermometer. This is said to be the case with the
_arum_ of Italy.

In some plants in which the pistil is longer than the stamens, thus
elevating the stigma above the anthers, the female organ is often
observed to bend over and depress itself so as to come within reach
of the anthers.

In most instances the fecundation of flowers is chiefly effected
through a purely mechanical process, though in these cases also we see
a wonderful adaptation of parts to conditions.

When the male and female parts of flowers are situated on different
plants, as is the case in the willow, the poplar, the melon vine, and
many other species, the pollen of the male flower is wafted by the wind
or gentle breeze to the stigma of the female flower, which will usually
be found at no very great distance, although fertilization may take
place in this way at very considerable distances. Bees, moths, and many
other species of insects, serve a very important purpose in this work,
transporting the fertilizing dust upon their wings, antennae,
sucking-tubes, and feet. Small birds, and even the humble snail, which
would scarcely be credited with any useful function, are also very
serviceable in the same direction. The part performed by insects in
the reproductive process of many plants is so great that they have been
very poetically termed "the marriage priests of flowers."

Nature provides for thorough fecundation in these cases by placing the
plants which bear the male and the female flowers near each other. This
fact accounts for the unproductiveness of certain varieties of
strawberries unless mixed with plants of some other variety, it being
well known to nursery-men that some varieties produce only the female
parts of flowers.

Modes of Fecundation in Animals.--The modes by which fecundation is
effected in animals are still more various and wonderful than in plants.
In some of the lower animals, as in most fish and reptiles, both elements
are discharged from the bodies of the parents before coming in contact,
there being no contact of the two individuals. In this class of animals
the process is almost wholly analogous to fecundation in those plants
in which the male and female flowers are on different plants or
different parts of the same plant. In the female fish, a large number
of ova are developed at a certain season of the year known as the
spawning season. Sometimes the number reaches many thousands. At the
same time, the testicles of the male fish, which are contained within
the abdominal cavity, become distended with developed zoosperms. When
the female seeks a place to deposit her eggs, the male closely follows;
and as she drops them upon the gravelly bottom, he discharges upon them
the zoosperms by which they are fecundated. The process is analogous
to some species of frogs. When the female is about to deposit her eggs,
the male mounts upon her back and rides about until the eggs are all
deposited, discharging upon them the fertilizing spermatozoa as they
are laid by the female.

In higher orders of animals, fecundation takes place within the
generative organs of the female by contact between the male and the
female organs. To effect this, there are necessitated certain accessory
organs, the _penis_ in the male and the _vagina_ in the female.

Nothing in all the range of nature is more remarkable than the
adaptation of the two varieties of sexual organs in each species. This
necessary provision is both a powerful means of securing the
perpetuation of the species, and an almost impassable barrier against

The act of union, or sexual congress, is called _coitus_ or _copulation_.
It is accompanied by a peculiar nervous spasm due to excitement of
special nerves principally located in the _penis_ in the male, and in
an extremely sensitive organ, the _clitoris_, in the female. The
nervous action referred to is more exhausting to the system than any
other to which it is subject.

Union of the Ovum and Zoosperm.--The zoosperms not only come in contact
with the ovum, but penetrate the thin membrane which incloses its
contents, and enter its interior, where they disappear, becoming united
with its substance. In the ova of certain fishes, small openings have
been observed through which the spermatozoa find entrance. Whether such
openings exist in human ova is an undecided question; but it is probable
that they do.

Curious Modes of Reproduction.--A peculiar kind of reproduction is
observed in a variety of polyp, a curious animal which very much
resembles a shrub in appearance. It attaches itself to some solid object,
and then, as it grows, sends out little protuberances resembling buds.
Some of these separate and fall off, swimming about as separate animals.
These never become like the parent polyp; but they lay eggs, which hatch,
and become stationary polyps like their grandparent, and in their turn
throw off buds to form swimming polyps. In this case we have two kinds
of generation combined, alternating with each other.

Plant-lice afford a curious illustration of a similar generation. Males
and females unite and produce eggs. The creatures produced by the
hatching of eggs are neither males nor perfect females. They are
_imperfect females_. They are all alike, so that no sexual union occurs.
Instead of laying eggs, they produce live young like themselves, which
appear to be developed from internal buds similar to the external buds
of the polyp. After this method of reproduction has continued for eight
or ten generations, a few perfect individuals appear, and the first
process is repeated.

The common honey-bee affords another illustration like the last. A
virgin queen sometimes lays eggs, which always produce males, or drones.
After union with a male, she lays eggs in the royal cells which become
perfect females like herself. She also seems to have the power to lay,
at will, unfecundated eggs, from which drones are produced.

Human Beings Are Developed Buds.--It has been very aptly suggested by
an eminent physiologist that the ovum and zoosperm may be correctly
considered as internal buds. Thus it would appear that generation is
universally a process of budding. A child is but a compound bud, an
offshoot from its parents. This idea is not a mere fancy, but has a
scientific basis. As all the exquisite details of the most beautiful
flower are in essence contained within the tiny bud which first makes
its appearance, so is the developed human being, the full-grown man
or woman, virtually contained within the tiny cell called the ovum after
it has been impregnated or fecundated by the zoosperms. In short, men
and women are blossoms in a strictly scientific sense.

Fecundation in Hermaphrodites.--The process of fecundation in
hermaphrodite animals is very peculiar. In some cases, as in the snail,
the union of two individuals is usually necessary, though each
possesses both kinds of organs. In other cases, as in the tape-worm,
the oyster, and numerous other mollusks, a single individual has the
power to fertilize its own ova, thus being wholly independent. Human
hermaphrodites are usually so deformed that fecundation is not effected,
which is a fortunate safeguard against the multiplication of such

Development.--After the union of the two elements, known as fecundation
or _conception_, if the conditions are favorable, development occurs,
and the little germ is in due process of time developed into an
individual which is an exact counterpart of its parents. During this
developmental process, the embryonic being is variously treated by
different classes of animals.

Unprotected Development.--Most fishes and reptiles discharge their ova
before fecundation, or soon after, and pay no further attention to them.
The fish deposits its eggs in a little hollow scooped out in the gravelly
bed of a stream, or sows them broadcast upon the waters. The turtle
buries its eggs in the sand, and leaves them to be hatched by the sun.
The ostrich disposes of her eggs in the same way. Many other species
of animals pay no regard to the protection of the germs which are
destined, if placed under favorable conditions, to become individuals
like themselves.

Partial Protection of the Ovum.--There are some exceptions, however,
to this general rule among fishes and reptiles. Even fishes manifest
a degree of parental solicitude in certain cases. The male of a species
of South American fish gathers up the eggs after fecundation has taken
place, and carries them in his mouth until they are hatched. Another
male fish carries the eggs of his mate in a little pouch upon the lower
and posterior part of his body.

Certain species of frogs carry their eggs wound about their legs; others
suspend them from the abdomen. Another variety carries its young upon
its back. Prof. Wyman describes a "swamp toad" which patiently takes
the eggs of his mate, one by one, and fastens them upon her back,
observing great regularity in arrangement. These several devices are
evidently for the purpose of protecting, in some degree, the young
individual during the helpless stage of its existence.

Development in the Higher Animals and Man.--Higher animals are less
prolific, and their development is a more complicated process; hence,
their young need greater protection, and, for this reason, the ova,
instead of being discharged from the body of the female after
fecundation, are retained.[3] As we have seen that a suitable
receptacle is sometimes provided outside of the body, so now a
receptacle is needed, and is provided in the interior of the body of
the female. This receptacle is called

[Footnote 3: Curious examples of internal development sometimes occur
in animals which usually deposit eggs. Snakes have been known to produce
both eggs and living young at the same time. At the annual meeting of
the American Society for the Advancement of Science, at Detroit, Mich.,
in August, 1875, we had the pleasure of examining a specimen, exhibited
by Prof. Wilder, of a chick which had undergone a considerable degree
of development within the ovary of the hen. It had a head, a rudimentary
brain, and internal viscera, but no feathers nor limbs. It was, in fact,
an egg hatched before it had been laid. The anomaly excited much
interest at that time and since among biologists.]

The Uterus.--This is a hollow, pear-shaped organ, located in the median
line, just behind the bladder, between it and the rectum. It is
supported in place by various ligaments and by the juxtaposition of
other organs. Its larger end is directed upward, and communicates upon
each side with a very narrow tube which is prolonged outward on either
side until it nearly touches the ovary of the same side. Its lower and
smaller end fills the internal extremity of the passage previously
described as the vagina. When an ovum is matured, it escapes from the
ovary into the narrow tube referred to, called the _Fallopian tube_,
and passes down into the cavity of the uterus. If fecundation does not
occur, it is expelled or absorbed after six to twelve or fourteen days.
If copulation occurs, however, zoosperms are brought into the cavity
of the uterus, and, coming in contact with the ovum, fecundate it. This
is _conception_. When the natural process is allowed to proceed,
development occurs.

Uterine Gestation.--This is the term applied to the process last
referred to. We shall not attempt to describe in detail this most
wonderful and intricate of all living processes; but will sketch only
the chief points, leaving the reader who would obtain a more complete
knowledge of the subject to consult any one of the numerous
physiological and obstetrical works which deal with it in a very
exhaustive manner.

As soon as the ovum is impregnated by the male element, it begins a
process of symmetrical division. The first division produces two cells
out of the single one which first existed. By the next division, four
segments are produced; then eight, sixteen, etc. While this process
is going on, the ovum becomes adherent to the internal wall of the uterus,
and is soon enveloped by its mucous membrane, which grows up about and
incloses it.

The Primitive Trace.--When the process of segmentation has advanced
to a certain point, the cells are aggregated together in a compact layer
at the surface. Soon a straight line appears upon this layer, which
is called the _primitive trace_. This delicate line becomes the basis
for the spinal column; and upon and about it the whole individual is
developed by an intricate process of folding, dividing, and
reduplication of the layer of cells. One end of the line becomes the
head, and the other becomes the tail. Even man has a caudal appendage
at an early stage of his existence. After a further lapse of time, little
excrescences, buds, or "pads," appear in the proper positions to
represent the arms and legs. After further development the ends split
up into fingers and toes, and by the continued development of the parts,
perfect arms and legs are formed.

Curious Relation to Lower Animals.--It is a very remarkable fact that
in the lower animals we have numerous examples in which the permanent
condition of the individual is the same as some one of the stages through
which man passes in the process of development. The same author
previously quoted makes the following interesting statements:--

"The webbed feet of the seal and ornithorhynchus typify the period when
the hands and feet of the human embryo are as yet only partly subdivided
into fingers and toes. Indeed, it is not uncommon for the 'web' to
persist to some extent between the toes of adults; and occasionally
children are born with two or more fingers or toes united to their tips.

"With the seal and the walrus, the limbs are protruded but little beyond
the wrist and ankle. With the ordinary quadrupeds, the knee and elbow
are visible. The cats, the lemurs, and the monkeys form a series in
which the limbs are successively freed from the trunk, and in the
highest apes they are capable of nearly the same movements as the human
arm and leg, which, in their development, passed through all these

Simplicity of Early Structures.--The first structures formed are
exceedingly simple in form. It is only by slow degrees that the great
complicity which characterizes many organs is finally attained. For
example, the heart is at first only a straight tube. By enlargement
and the formation of longitudinal and transverse partitions, the fully
developed organ is finally produced. The stomach and intestines are
also at first but a simple straight tube. The stomach and large
intestine are formed by dilatation; and by a growth of the tube in length
while the ends are confined, the small intestines are formed. The other
internal organs are successively developed by similar processes.

The Stages of Growth.--At first insignificant in size--a simple cell,
the embryonic human being steadily increases in size, gradually
approximating more and more closely to the human form, until, at the
end of about nine calendar months or ten lunar months, the new
individual is prepared to enter the world and begin a more independent
course of life. The following condensation of a summary quoted by Dr.
Austin Flint, Jr., will give an idea of the size of the developing being
at different periods, and the rate of progress:--

At the end of the third week, the embryon is a little less than
one-fourth of an inch in length.

At the end of the seventh week, it is three-fourths of an inch long.
The liver, lungs, and other internal organs are partially formed.

At the eighth week, it is about one inch in length. It begins to look
some like a human being, but it is impossible to determine the sex.

At the third month, the embryon has attained the length of two to two
and one-half inches. Its weight is about one ounce.

At the end of the fourth month, the embryon is called a fetus. It is
from four to five inches long, and weighs five ounces.

At the fifth month, the fetus is nearly a foot long, and weighs about
half a pound.

At the sixth month, the average length of the fetus is about thirteen
inches, and its weight one and a half to two pounds. If born, life could
continue a few minutes.

At the seventh month, the fetus is from fourteen to fifteen inches long,
and weighs two to three pounds. It is now viable (may live if born).

At the eighth month, the length of the fetus is from fifteen to sixteen
inches, and its weight from three to four pounds.

At the ninth month, the fetus is about seventeen inches long, and weighs
from five to six pounds.

At birth, the infant weighs a little more than seven pounds, the usual
range being from four to ten pounds, though these limits are sometimes

Duration of Gestation.--The length of time required for the development
of a human being is usually reckoned as about forty weeks. A more precise
statement places it at about two hundred and seventy-eight days. This
limit is often varied from. Cases have occurred in which a much longer
time has been required, and numberless cases have occurred in which
human beings have been born several weeks before the expiration of the
usual time, as stated. There is some uncertainty respecting the exact
length of the period of gestation, which grows out of the difficulty
of determining, in many cases, the exact time when conception takes

Uterine Life.--The uterine life of the new individual begins with the
impregnation of the ovum, which occurs the instant it is brought in
contact with the zoosperms of the male. While in the uterus, the young
life is supported wholly by the mother. She is obliged to provide not
only for her own sustenance, but for the maintenance of her child. And
she must not only eat for it, but breathe for it as well, since it
requires a constant and adequate supply of oxygen before birth as much
as afterward.

How the Unborn Infant Breathes.--Oxygen and nutriment are both supplied
to it through the medium of an organ called the _placenta_, which is
a spongy growth composed almost entirely of blood-vessels, and is
developed upon the inner wall of the uterus, at the point at which the
ovum attaches itself after fecundation. The growing fetus is connected
with this vascular organ by means of a sort of cable, called the
_umbilical cord_. The cord is almost entirely composed of blood-vessels
which convey the blood of the fetus to the placenta and return it again.
The fetal blood does not mix with that of the mother, but receives oxygen
and nourishment from it by absorption through the thin walls which alone
separate it from the mother's blood.

The umbilical cord contains no nerves, as there is no nervous connection
between the mother and the child. The only way in which the child can
be influenced by the mother is through the medium of the blood, to
changes in which it is very susceptible, as we shall see more clearly

The cord is attached to the body of the child at the point called the
_navel_, being cut off at birth by the _accoucheur_. With the placenta,
it is expelled soon after the birth of the child, and constitutes the
shapeless mass familiarly known as the _after-birth_, by the retention
of which the most serious trouble is occasionally caused.

Parturition.--At the end of the period of development, the young being
is forcibly expelled from the laboratory of nature in which it has been
formed. In other words, it is born; and this process is termed
_parturition_. Though, at first thought, such an act would seem an utter
impossibility, yet it is a very admirable illustration of nature's
adaptation of means to ends. During the months of gestation, while the
uterus has been enlarging to accommodate its daily increasing contents,
the generative passages have also been increasing in size and becoming
soft and distensible, so that a seeming impossibility is in due time
accomplished without physical damage, though possibly not without
intense suffering. However, it is a most gratifying fact that modern
medical science may do much to mitigate the pains of childbirth. It
is possible, by a proper course of preparation for the expected event,
to greatly lessen the suffering usually undergone; and some ladies
assert that they have thus avoided real pain altogether. Although the
curse pronounced upon the feminine part of the race, in consequence
of the sin of Eve, implies suffering in the parturient act, yet there
is no doubt that the greater share of the daughters of Eve are, through
the perverting and degenerating influences of wrong habits and
especially of modern civilization, compelled to suffer many times more
than their maternal ancestor. We have sufficient evidence of this in
the fact that among barbarian women, who are generally less perverted
physically than civilized women, childbirth is regarded with very
little apprehension, since it occasions little pain or inconvenience.
The same is true of many women among the lower laboring classes. In
short, while it is true that more or less suffering must always
accompany the parturient act, yet the excessive pain usually attendant
upon the process is the result of causes which can in many cases be
removed by proper management beforehand and at the time of confinement.

After being relieved of its contents, the uterus and other organs
rapidly return to nearly their original size.

Changes in the Child at Birth.--In the system of the child a wonderful
change occurs at the moment of its expulsion into the outer world. For
the first time, its lungs are filled with air. For the first time they
receive the full tide of blood. The whole course of the circulation
is changed, and an entirely new process begins. It is surprising in
how short a space of time changes so marvelous can be wrought.

Nursing.--The process of development is not fully complete at birth.
The young life is not yet prepared to support itself; hence, still
further provision is necessary for it. It requires prepared food suited
to its condition. This is provided by the _mammae_, or breasts, of the
female, which are glands for secreting milk. The fully developed gland
is peculiar to the female; but a few instances have been known in which
it has been sufficiently developed to become functionally active in
men, as well as in young girls, though it is usually inactive even in
women until near the close of gestation. It is a curious fact that the
breasts of a new-born child occasionally contain milk.

The first product of the mammae is not the proper milk secretion, but
is a yellowish fluid called _colostrum _. The true milk secretion begins
two or three days after delivery.

The lacteal secretion is influenced in a very remarkable manner by the
mental conditions of the mother. By sudden emotions of grief or anger,
it has been known to undergo such changes as to produce in the child
a fit of indigestion, vomiting, diarrhea, and even convulsions and
death. Any medicine taken by the mother finds its way into the milk,
and often affects the delicate system of the infant more than herself.
This fact should be a warning to those nursing mothers who use
stimulants. Cases are not uncommon in which delicate infants are kept
in a state of intoxication for weeks by the use of alcoholic drinks
by the mother. The popular notion that lager-beer, ale, wine, or alcohol
in any other form, is in any degree necessary or beneficial to a nursing
woman is a great error which cannot be too often noticed and condemned.
Not only is the mother injured, instead of being benefited by such a
practice, but great injury, sometimes life-long in its consequences,
is inflicted upon the babe at her breast who takes the intoxicating
poison at second hand, and is influenced in a fourfold degree from its
feebleness and great susceptibility.


Having now considered the functions and somewhat of the structures of
the principal organs of reproduction, we may obtain a more definite
idea of the relation of the several organs of each class by a connected
review of the anatomy of the parts.

Male Organs.--As previously stated, the external organs of generation
in the male are the _penis_ and the _testicles_, the latter being
contained in a pouch called the _scrotum_. The penis is the organ of
urination as well as copulation. Its structure is cellular, and it
contains a vast number of minute coils of blood-vessels which become
turgid with blood under the influence of sexual excitement, producing
distention and erection of the organ. A canal passes through its entire
length, called the _urethra_, which conveys both the urine and the
seminal fluid. The organ is protected by a loose covering of integument
which folds over the end. This fold is called the _foreskin_ or

The fluid formed by each testicle is conveyed by the _vas deferens_,
a curved tube about two feet in length, to the base of the bladder.
Here the vas deferens joins with another duct which communicates with
an elongated pouch, the _vesicula seminalis_, which lies close upon
the under side of the bladder. The single tube thus formed, the
_ejaculatory duct_, conveys the seminal fluid to the urethra, from
which it is discharged.

As the production of seminal fluid is more or less constant in man and
some animals, while its discharge is intermittent, the vesiculae
seminales serve as reservoirs for the fluid, preserving it until
required, or allowing it to undergo absorption. Some claim that the
zoosperms are matured in these organs. They always contain seminal
fluid after the age of puberty. During coition, their contents are
forcibly expelled by a spasmodic contraction of the muscles which
surround them and the ducts leading from them.

The Prostate Gland.--Surrounding the ejaculatory ducts and their
openings into the urethra at the base of the bladder is the _prostate
gland_, which produces a peculiar secretion which forms a considerable
portion of the seminal fluid, being mingled with the secretion of the
testes during its ejaculation. This gland sometimes becomes the seat
of somewhat serious disease. In old age it usually becomes somewhat
indurated, and often to such an extent as to seriously affect the health
and comfort of the individual by interference with urination and by
occasioning pain.

Anterior to this organ, in the urethra, is a curious little pouch, the
_utriculus_, which corresponds to the vagina and uterus in the female.
Just in front of the prostate gland are two small bodies known as
Cowper's glands. They secrete a fluid which combines with the seminal

Female Organs.--The _ovaries_, _uterus_, or _womb_, _Fallopian tubes_,
and _vagina_ have already been described in part. The external organs
of the female are included in the term _vulva_ or _pudenda_. The most
superficial parts are the _labia_, two thick folds of integument. Just
within these are two thinner folds, the _labia minora_ or _nymphae_.
These, together with the _clitoris_, situated just above, are extremely
sensitive organs, being the chief seat of sexual sense in the female.
At the lower part is the opening to the vagina, which in the virgin
is usually partially guarded by a thin membrane, the _hymen_. This is
not always a reliable test of virginity, however, as commonly regarded,
since it may be destroyed by disease or accident, and may exist even
after the occurrence of pregnancy.

The vagina extends from the vulva to the lower end of the uterus, which
it incloses, passing between the bladder and the rectum. The lower
extremity of the uterus presents a small opening which leads into its
interior. Upon either side, at its upper and larger end, is a minute
opening, the mouth of the Fallopian tube. The latter organs extend from
the uterus outward nearly to the ovaries, toward which they present
a number of small filaments, one of which is in contact with each ovary.
These filaments, together with the interior of the tubes, are covered
with a peculiar kind of cells, upon which are minute cilia, or hairs,
in constant motion. Very curiously, they all move in the same direction,
toward the cavity of the uterus. When an ovum escapes from the ovary
in connection with menstruation, it is by these delicate hairs
propelled along a filament of tissue to the Fallopian tube, and thence
by the same means is conveyed to the uterus. It may come in contact
with the zoosperms at any point between the ovary and the lower orifice
of the uterus, and thus undergo fecundation.

Puberty.--For a certain period after birth, the sexual organs remain
in a partially developed condition. This period varies in duration with
different animals; in some cases being very brief, in others,
comprising several years. Upon the attainment of a certain age, the
individual becomes sexually perfect, and is then capable of the
generative act. This period is called puberty. In man, puberty commonly
occurs between the ages of ten and fifteen years, varying considerably
in different climates. In this country, and in other countries of about
the same latitude, puberty usually occurs at the age of fourteen or
fourteen and one-half years in females, and a few months later in males.
In cooler climates, as in Norway and Siberia, the change is delayed
to the age of eighteen or nineteen years. In tropical climates it is
hastened, occurring as early as nine or ten years. In warm climates
it is no uncommon thing for a girl to be a mother at twelve; and it
is stated that one of the wives of Mahomet was a mother at ten.

Other causes besides climate tend to hasten the occurrence of this
change, as habits, temperament, constitutional tendency, education,
and idiosyncrasy.

Habits of vigorous physical exercise tend to delay the access of puberty.
For this reason, together with others, country boys and girls generally
mature later than those living in the city by several months, and even
a year or two. Anything that tends to excite the emotions hastens
puberty. The excitements of city life, parties, balls, theaters, even
the competition of students in school, and the various causes of
excitement to the nervous system which occur in city life, have a
tendency to hasten the occurrence of the change which awakens the sexual
activities of the system into life. Hence, these influences cannot but
be considered prejudicial to the best interests of the individual,
mentally, morally, and physically, since it is in every way desirable
that a change which arouses the passions and gives to them greater
intensity should be delayed rather than hastened.

Influence of Diet on Puberty.--The dietary has a not unimportant
influence in this respect. Stimulating food, such as pepper, vinegar,
mustard, spices, and condiments generally, together with tea and coffee,
and an excess of animal food, have a clearly appreciable influence in
inducing the premature occurrence of puberty. On this account, if on
no other, should these articles be prohibited to children and youth,
or used very sparingly. Those who advocate the large use of meat by
children and youth have not studied this matter closely in all its
bearings. While it is true that children and growing youth require an
abundance of the nitrogenous elements of food which are found
abundantly in beefsteak, mutton, fish, and other varieties of animal
food, it is also true that in taking those articles of food they take
along with the nutrient elements properties of a stimulating character,
which exert a decidedly detrimental influence upon the susceptible
systems of children and youth. At the same time, it is possible to obtain
the same desirable nitrogenous elements in oatmeal, unbolted wheat
flour, peas, beans, and other vegetable productions, which are wholly
free from injurious properties. We are positive from numerous
observations on this subject, that a cool, unstimulating, vegetable
or farinaceous diet would deter the development of the sexual organism
for several months, and perhaps for a year or two.

While it might not be in all cases desirable to do this, it would at
least be wise to adopt such measures in cases in which the child is
unavoidably exposed to influences which have a tendency to hasten the

It is important to add in this connection a word of caution against
the adoption of a dietary too abstemious in character. It is necessary
that an abundance of good, wholesome food, rich in the elements of
nutrition, should be taken regularly. There is no doubt that many young
ladies have induced conditions of serious disease by actual starvation
of the system. A young woman who attempts to live on strong tea or coffee,
fine-flour bread, and sweet cake, is as certainly starving herself as
though she were purposely attempting to commit suicide by means of
starvation, and with as much certainty of the same result.

Brunettes Naturally Precocious.--It has been observed that in girls
the occurrence of puberty is earlier in brunettes than in blondes; and
in general it makes its appearance earlier in persons of a nervous or
nervo-bilious temperament than in persons of a lymphatic temperament
or phlegmatic nature.

Certain nationalities and families are marked by the earlier occurrence
of puberty than in others. In Jews, the change is commonly a year or
two in advance of other nationalities in this country. It also occurs
somewhat sooner in negroes and creoles than in white persons, the
African race seeming to retain something of the precocity occasioned
by the tropical influence of its native clime.

Remarkable Precocity.--Cases occasionally occur in which puberty makes
its appearance at the age of three or four years. Indeed, a case has
been reported in this country in which a female child possessed all
the characteristics which are usually developed at puberty, from birth.
In this case the regular periodical changes began at birth.

Premature Development Occasions Early Decay.--A fact which is of too
great importance to allow to pass unnoticed, is that whatever occasions
early or premature sexual development, also occasions premature decay.
Females in whom puberty occurs at the age of ten or twelve, by the time
their age is doubled, are shriveled and wrinkled with age. At the time
when they should be in their prime of health and beauty, they are
prematurely old and broken. Those women who mature late retain their
beauty and their strength many years after their precocious sisters
have become old, decrepit, and broken down. Thus, the matrons of thirty
and forty years in colder climates are much more attractive in
appearance than the maidens of sixteen; while quite the reverse is true
in this and other countries where sexual development is unduly

Early Puberty a Cause for Anxiety.--The unnaturally early appearance
of puberty is a just cause for apprehension, since it usually indicates
an inherent weakness of the constitution. When there are reasons for
fearing its occurrence, active measures should be taken to occasion
delay if possible. We call especial attention to this point, since there
are many who erroneously suppose the early occurrence of puberty to
be a sign of superior vigor.

Changes which Occur at Puberty.--The changes which occur in the two
sexes at this period have been thus described:--

"In both sexes, hair grows on the skin covering the _symphysis pubis_,
around the sexual organs, and in the axillae (armpits). In man, the
chest and shoulders broaden, the larynx enlarges, and the voice becomes
lower in pitch from the elongation of the vocal cords; hair grows upon
the chin, upper lip, and cheeks, and often exists upon the general
surface of the body more abundantly than in woman." The sexual organs
undergo enlargement, and are more frequently excited. The testicles
first begin the secretion of the seminal fluid.

"In woman, the pelvis and abdomen enlarge, but the whole frame remains
more slender, the muscles and joints less prominent, the limbs more
rounded and tapering [than in the male]. Locally, both external and
internal organs undergo a considerable and rapid enlargement. The
mammae enlarge, the ovarian vesicles become dilated, and there is
established a periodical discharge of one or more ova, accompanied,
in most cases, by a sanguineous fluid from the cavity of the uterus."

These changes, so varied and extraordinary, often occur within a very
short space of time; and as they are liable to serious derangement,
especially in the female, great care should be taken to secure for the
individual the most favorable conditions until they are successfully
effected. It is, however, a fact deserving of mention, that many of
the ills which are developed at this particular period are quite as
much the result of previous indiscretions and mismanagement as of any
immediate cause. A few suggestions with regard to the proper treatment
of individuals at this age may be in place.

1. Do not allow the boy or girl to be overworked, either mentally or
physically. Great and important changes are occurring within the body,
and nature should not be overtaxed.

2. Keep the mind occupied. While excessive labor should be avoided,
idleness should be as carefully shunned. Some light, useful employment
or harmless amusement--better some kind of work--should keep the mind
fully occupied with wholesome subjects.

3. Abundant exercise out-of-doors is essential for both sexes. Sunshine
and fresh air are as necessary to the development of a human being as
for the expanding of a flower bud.

4. Watch carefully the associations of the youth. This should be done
at all times, but especially just at the critical period in question,
when the general physical disturbances occurring in the system react
upon the mind and make it peculiarly susceptible to influences,
especially those of an evil character.

5. None too much care can be exercised at this important epoch of human
life, provided it is properly applied; but nothing could be more
disastrous in its consequences than a weak solicitude which panders
to every whim and gratifies every perverted appetite. _Such_ care is
a fatal error.

Menstruation.--The functional changes which occur in the female are
much more marked than those of the male. As already intimated, the
periodical development and discharge of an ovum by the female, which
occurs after puberty, is accompanied by the discharge of a bloody fluid,
which is known as the _flowers_, _menses_, or _catamenia_. The
accompanying symptoms together are termed the process of
_menstruation_, or _being unwell_. This usually occurs, in the human
female, once in about four weeks. In special cases, the interval may
be a week less or a week longer; or the variation may be even greater.
Dalton describes the process as follows:--

"When the expected period is about to come on, the female is affected
by a certain degree of discomfort and lassitude, a sense of weight in
the pelvis, and more or less disinclination to society. These symptoms
are in some cases slightly pronounced, in others more troublesome. An
unusual discharge of vaginal mucus then begins to take place, which
soon becomes yellowish or rusty brown in color, from the admixture of
a certain proportion of blood; and by the second or third day, the
discharge has the appearance of nearly pure blood. The unpleasant
sensations which were at first manifest, then usually subside; and the
discharge, after continuing for a certain period, begins to grow more
scanty. Its color changes from a pure red to a brownish or rusty tinge,
until it finally disappears altogether, and the female returns to her
ordinary condition."

The menstrual function continues active from puberty to about the
forty-fifth year, or during the period of fertility. When it finally
disappears, the woman is no longer capable of bearing children. The
time of disappearance is termed the "change of life," or _menopause_.
Exceptional cases occur in which this period is greatly hastened,
arriving as early as the thirty-fifth year, or even earlier. Instances
have also been observed in which menstruation continued as late as the
sixtieth year, and even later; but such cases are very rare; and if
procreation occurs, the progeny is feeble and senile.

With rare exceptions, the function is suspended during pregnancy, and
usually, also, during the period of nursing.

Nature of Menstruation.--There has been a great amount of speculation
concerning the cause and nature of the menstrual process. No entirely
satisfactory conclusions have been reached, however, except that it
is usually accompanied by the maturation and expulsion from the ovary
of an ovum, which is termed ovulation. But menstruation may occur
without ovulation, and, _vice versa_.

Menstruation is not peculiar to the human female, being represented
in the higher animals by what is familiarly termed the "rut." This is
not usually a bloody discharge, however, as in the human female, though
such a discharge has been observed in the monkey.

It has been quite satisfactorily settled that the discharge of the ovum
from the ovary generally takes place about the time of the cessation
of the flow. Immediately after the discharge, the sexual desires of
the female are more intense than at other times. This fact is
particularly manifest in lower animals. The following remark by Prof.
Dalton is especially significant to those who care to appreciate its

"It is a remarkable fact, in this connection, that the female of these
[domestic] animals will allow the approaches of the male only during
and immediately after the oestrual period [rut]; that is, just when
the egg is recently discharged, and ready for impregnation. At other
times, when sexual intercourse would be necessarily fruitless, the
instinct of the animal leads her to avoid it; and the concourse of the
sexes is accordingly made to correspond in time with the maturity of
the egg and its aptitude for fecundation."

The amount of fluid lost during the menstrual flow varies greatly with
different individuals. It is estimated at from three ounces to half
a pint. In cases of deranged function, it may be much greater than this.
It is not all blood, however, a considerable portion being mucus. It
is rather difficult to understand why the discharge of so considerable
a quantity of blood is required. There is no benefit derived from a
very copious discharge, as some suppose. Facts seem to indicate that
in general those enjoy the best health who lose but small quantities
of blood in this manner.

A Critical Period.--As the first occurrence of menstruation is a very
critical period in the life of a female, and as each recurrence of the
function renders her especially susceptible to morbid influences, and
liable to serious derangements, a few hints respecting the proper care
of an individual at these periods may be acceptable.

Important Hints.--1. Avoid taking cold. To do this, it is necessary
to avoid exposure; not that a person must be constantly confined in
a warm room, for such a course would be the surest way in which to
increase the susceptibility to cold. Nothing will disturb the menstrual
process more quickly than a sudden chilling of the body when in a state
of perspiration, or after confinement in a warm room, by exposure,
without sufficient protection, to cold air. A daily bath and daily
exercise in the open air are the best known means of preventing colds.

2. Intense mental excitement, as well as severe physical labor, is to
be sedulously avoided during this period. At the time of its first
occurrence, special care should be observed in this direction. Intense
study, a fit of anger, sudden grief, or even great merriment, will
sometimes arrest the process prematurely. The feeling of _malaise_
which usually accompanies the discharge is by nature intended as a
warning that rest and quiet are required; and the hint should be
followed. Every endeavor should be made to keep the individual
comfortable, calm, and cheerful. Feelings of apprehension arising from
a continual watching of symptoms are very depressing, and should be
avoided by occupying the mind in some agreeable manner not demanding
severe effort, either mental or physical.

There is no doubt that many young women have permanently injured their
constitutions while at school by excessive mental taxation during the
catamenial period, to which they were prompted by ambition to excel,
or were compelled by the "cramming" system too generally pursued in
our schools, and particularly in young ladies' seminaries. It is not
to be supposed, however, that the moderate amount of sound study
required by a correct system of teaching would be injurious to a healthy
young woman at any time, and we have no doubt that a very large share
of the injury which has been attributed to over-study during the
catamenia has been induced by other causes, such as improper dress,
exposure to taking cold, keeping late hours, and improper diet.

If there is any class of persons deserving of pity it is that large
class of girls and young women who are in every large city employed
as clerks, seamstresses, flower makers, and in other taxing and
confining occupations. In order to keep their situations they are
required to be on hand daily, being allowed no opportunity for rest
at the menstrual period. In many cases, too, they are compelled to
remain upon their feet all day behind a counter, or at a work table,
even at periods when a recumbent position is actually demanded by nature.
There should be less delicacy in relation to this subject on the part
of young women, and more consideration on the part of employers. Here
is a field for philanthropic effort which is well worthy of the best
efforts of any person of influence who will engage in it.

Custom of Indian Women.--The ease with which Indian women perform the
parturient act is proverbial. They suffer scarcely at all from the pains
of childbirth; and without doubt one reason of this is the preservation
of their sexual health by rest during the menstrual period. At those
seasons they invariably absent themselves from the lodge, and enjoy
absolute rest. We may readily suppose, from the nature of some of the
Mosaic laws, that a custom somewhat similar prevailed among the ancient
Hebrew women. If the hardy women of the forest are benefited by rest,
certainly our more delicate females may be thus benefited. All need
a degree of rest; with some it should be absolute.

The reckless manner in which some young women treat themselves at the
menstrual period, is quite appalling to one who is acquainted with the
painful and inveterate character of the evils which arise from such
abuse. It is no uncommon thing for young ladies to attend balls, visit
skating rinks, and otherwise expose themselves to the influences in
every way the best calculated to do them the most harm at this particular
period, observing not the slightest precaution. Such recklessness is
really criminal; and the sad consequences of physical transgression
are sure to follow. A young lady who allows herself to get wet or chilled,
or gets the feet wet, just prior to or during menstruation, runs the
risk of imposing upon herself life-long injury. Mothers should look
carefully after their daughters at these periods, and impress upon them
the importance of special care.

3. A third hint, which is applicable to both sexes and at all times,
is the necessity of attending promptly to the demands of nature for
relief of the bowels and bladder. School-girls are often very negligent
in this respect; and we have seen the most distressing cases of disease
which were entirely attributable to this disregard of the promptings
of nature. Obstinate constipation and chronic irritation of the bladder
are common effects. When constipation results, purgatives in the shape
of pills, salts, or "pleasant purgative pellets," are resorted to with
the certain result of producing only temporary relief, and permanent

To escape these evil consequences, do this: 1. Establish a regular habit
of relieving the bowels daily at a certain hour; 2. Discard laxative
and cathartic drugs of every kind; 3. To aid in securing a regular
movement of the bowels, make a liberal use of oatmeal, wheat-meal, fruit,
and vegetables, avoiding fine-flour bread, sweetmeats, and condiments;
4. Take daily exercise, as much as possible short of fatigue; if
necessarily confined indoors, counteract the constipating influence
of sedentary habits by kneading and percussing the bowels with the hands
several minutes each day; 5. Never resist the calls of nature a single
moment, if possible to avoid it. In this case, as in numerous others,
"delay is dangerous." Ladies who desire a sweet breath--and what lady
does not--should remember that retained feces are one of the most
frequent causes of foul breath. The foul odors which ought to pass out
through the bowels find their way into the blood and escape at the lungs.
A medical man whose sense of smell is delicate soon learns to know a
constipated person by the breath. As one says, "What is more offensive
than the breath of a costive child?"

Boerhaave, a famous old Dutch physician, left to his heirs an elegantly
bound volume in which, he claimed, were written all the secrets of the
science of physic. After his death, the wonderful book was opened, when
it was found to contain only the following sentence:--

"Keep the head cool, the feet warm, and the bowels open."

An old Scotch physician once gave the following advice to Sir Astley
Cooper for the preservation of health:--

"Keep in the fear of the Lord, and your bowels open."

4. Perhaps nothing tends more directly to the production of menstrual
derangements--as well as uterine diseases of every sort--than
fashionable modes of dress. We have not space here to give to the subject
the attention it deserves; it will be found treated of in works devoted
to the subject of dress exclusively. Some of the most glaring evils

(1) Unequal distribution of clothing. The trunk, especially the abdomen
and pelvis, is covered with numerous layers of clothing, an extra amount
being caused by the overlapping of the upper and lower garments. Very
frequently, the amount of clothing upon these, the most vital parts,
is excessive. At the same time, the limbs are sometimes almost in a
state of nudity. A single cotton garment, or at most one of thin flannel,
is the only protection afforded to the limbs beneath the skirts, which
often serve no better purpose than to collect cold air and retain it
in contact with the limbs. A thin stocking is the only protection for
the ankles, and a thin shoe is the only additional covering afforded
the feet. Under such circumstances, it is no wonder that a woman catches
cold if she only steps out-of-doors on a chilly or damp day.

(2) Another glaring fault is in the manner of suspending the skirts.
Instead of being fastened to a waist or suspended so as to give them
support from the shoulders, they are hung upon the hips, being drawn
tight at the waist to secure support. By this means, the organs of the
pelvis are pressed down out of place. The uterus becomes congested,
and painful menstrual derangements ensue.

(3) Tight lacing, or compressing the waist with a corset, is a barbarous
practice which produces the same results as the one last mentioned.
Reform in all of these particulars is an imperative necessity for every
woman who desires to secure or retain sexual health.

It is of the greatest importance that careful attention should be given
to the proper establishment of the menstrual function at the outset
of a woman's life of sexual activity. The first two years will be quite
likely to have a deciding influence respecting her health during her
whole future life. If a woman can get through the first two years after
puberty without acquiring any serious uterine or ovarian disease, she
will stand a good chance of enjoying a good degree of sexual health
during the balance of her life. The foundation of a great share of the
many thousands of cases of uterine disease is laid during this period.

At this early period the daughter is usually too young to appreciate
the importance of observing slight deviations from the standard of
health, even if she were able to recognize them. Hence it is a duty
which no mother should neglect, to inquire into the exact frequency
of the periods, the amount and character of the discharge, and other
points necessary to ascertain whether or not there is any deviation
from the natural condition of health. If there is pain, it is a certain
evidence of something seriously wrong. If there is irregularity in any
particular, it is a matter well deserving of serious attention.

Menorrhagia.--This condition is that in which there is a too profuse
discharge of blood. The system is weakened by the loss, and, so much
so, in many cases, that the individual does not recover her accustomed
strength before the occurrence of the next period, when she becomes
weakened still more. By a continuance of this periodical loss, the
person may be reduced to a state of almost utter helplessness. A deathly
pallor of the countenance, extreme emaciation, loss of strength, and
general debility mark the effects of the constant drain upon the system.
Thousands of young women continue to suffer in this way year after year,
until their constitutions are almost hopelessly wrecked, being
deterred by false notions of modesty or delicacy from consulting a
proper medical adviser and finding relief.

The observance of a few simple precautions, and the application of
proper remedies, will check the unnatural loss in most of these cases
very promptly. In the first place, absolute rest, chiefly in a supine
position, must be observed not only during the menstrual period, but
for a few days previous to its commencement. If this does not restrain
the flow, then cool and even cold compresses may be applied to the lower
part of the abdomen and to the small of the back. In severe cases no
harm will come from the use of an ice-compress, made by inclosing
pounded ice between the folds of a towel. Great care must be taken to
make the hands, arms, feet, and limbs thoroughly warm by the application
of warm bottles and woolen blankets. These measures will scarcely fail
to accomplish the desired end, if employed thoroughly and judiciously.
It may be well to add just here that the popular fear of using cold
in such cases is groundless. No harm can come so long as the extremities
are kept warm, and the circulation well balanced. The patient must not
be made chilly, however. It is also of importance that the patient be
kept mentally quiet as well as physically so.

Much good will result from these simple measures at the time of the
period; but a radical cure can only be effected by removing the cause
of the difficulty. The patient's general health must be improved, and
local congestion must be removed. This will be accomplished by
attention to general hygiene, gentle exercise out-of-doors between the
periods, abundance of good food, tonic baths and other necessary
treatment if there is derangement of the digestive organs, and daily
hip baths with a local douche. The hip bath should be taken in water
of a temperature of 92 degrees at the beginning. After five minutes
the temperature may be lowered 5 degrees. After five minutes more, it
may be lowered a few degrees more. By taking a warm foot bath at 95
degrees or 100 degrees at the same time, quite a cool bath may be endured
without chilling. The bath should be continued 15 minutes to 30 minutes,
according to the strength of the patient. A shorter bath than this will
do little good, as the sedative effect will not be obtained.

The douche may be taken at the same time with the bath, or before, as
is most convenient. The fountain or syphon syringe should be employed,
and the water used should range from 95 degrees to 105 degrees, as best
suits the sensations of the patient, being cooled a little toward the
last. In general, the hot  douche, of a temperature from 100 degrees
to 115 degrees, or even 120 degrees, is not only more agreeable, but
much more beneficial.

By these simple remedies alone we have successfully treated scores of
cases of this sort. In some cases other remedies may be required, and
in nearly all, accessory remedies can be employed to advantage; but
the measures described are the main features of the most successful
mode of treatment.

Dysmenorrhoea.--This condition is that in which there is more or less
pain and difficulty in connection with the menstrual process. The
causes are various, as congestion of the uterus, malformation, and
displacement or distortion of the organ. Some of these conditions
require the attention of a skilled physician to remedy; but all will
be palliated more or less by a course of treatment similar to that
described for the previous condition. A warm sitz or hip bath just at
the beginning of the period will often give almost magical relief. The
application of fomentations over the lower part of the abdomen, and
the corresponding portion of the spine, or of hot bags, bottles, etc.,
in the same localities, is a measure of great utility. The patient
should be covered warm in bed, should keep quiet, and great care should
be used to keep the extremities well warmed. The use of electricity
is a very valuable aid in numerous cases, but this requires the services
of a physician, who should always be employed in severe cases when
within reach.

In many cases of this form of disease the suffering is so great that
the constant dread of its periodical repetition becomes a source of
great unhappiness, and casts a gloom over the life of an individual
who would otherwise be as happy as could be desired.

Amenorrhoea and Chlorosis.--These are serious disorders which require
prompt and vigorous attention. They depend less frequently on disorder
of the sexual organs themselves than upon some disorder of the general
system. They usually demand the attention of a competent physician,
and require a more accurate description of their nature and of proper
modes of treatment than we have space to give here.

Hysteria.--From the most remote ages of medical history this disease
has been regarded as intimately connected with morbid states of the
female organs of generation, especially the uterus. That it is not
exclusively produced by causes of this kind is evidenced by the fact
that men also sometimes suffer from this curious malady. The phases
which it assumes are so numerous that we shall not attempt an accurate
description of it; neither is this required, as there are few who are
not familiar with its peculiar manifestations. It simulates almost
every disease. Even consumption and other formidable maladies have been
so completely simulated by this disorder as to deceive physicians of
long experience. We have met cases in which young ladies were supposed
to be in the last stages of pulmonary disease, were apparently gasping
almost their last breath, panting, coughing, and experiencing the usual
symptoms which accompany tuberculous disease of the lungs, when, upon
making a thorough physical examination of the chest, we could find no
evidence of pulmonary disease. In one case we incurred the everlasting
displeasure of a young lady by disclosing the real state of affairs;
but we were repaid in seeing an immediate disappearance of the symptoms,
and complete recovery within six weeks, although the young woman had
been considered hopelessly ill by her friends and physicians for six
months, and was tenderly watched over, petted, and mourned by friends
as one who must soon fall a victim to fell disease.

The foundation of this disease is almost always laid in some
indiscretion by means of which disease of the uterus is induced, and
the most careful attention to this part of the organism is required.
It should not be treated as a trivial matter which is wholly the result
of a diseased imagination, and requires only mental treatment, since
it is a real malady, dependent upon morbid states of the system. It
requires substantial and thorough treatment as much as rheumatism,
dyspepsia, or any other of the numerous diseases to which humanity is

Prevention Better than Cure.--We might mention numerous other diseased
conditions which grow out of inattention to the laws of health relating
to the sexual organism; but to dwell longer upon this part of the subject
would be to depart from the plan of this work, and we must forbear.
This whole class of maladies is noted for obstinacy in great numbers
of cases when the morbid conditions have existed for a long time. In
addition it should be remarked that some of the most inveterate
disorders of the nervous system originate in this same manner. The
thousands of ladies who are suffering with spinal irritation, organic
disease of the spine and other nervous disorders, are witnesses to this
fact. It is apparent, then, that prevention of these serious maladies
by attention to sexual hygiene, especially to the hygiene of
menstruation at the first establishment of that function, is a matter
of gravest importance. In fact, attention to hygiene is about all that
is required. With this, drugs will be rarely required; without, they
will be utterly useless.

Extra-Uterine Pregnancy.--Sometimes the ovum becomes fecundated
before reaching the uterus, and, instead of passing onward into that
organ as usual, remains in its position in the Fallopian tube or even
on the surface of the ovary. Occasionally an ovum falls into the cavity
of the abdomen instead of passing into the tube. Even in this situation
it may be fecundated. Impregnated ova thus left in abnormal positions,
undergo a greater or lesser degree of development. They commonly result
in the death of the mother.

Twins.--The human female usually matures but one ovum at each menstrual
period, the two ovaries acting alternately. Occasionally two ova are
matured at once. If fecundation occurs, the result will be a development
of two embryos at the same time. In rare cases, three or even four ova
are matured at once, and by fecundation produce a corresponding number
of embryos. As many as five children have been born alive at one birth,
but have not lived more than a few minutes.

The occurrence of multiple pregnancies may be explained by the
supposition that ova matured subsequent to the first fecundation are
also fecundated.

In lower animals, the uterus is often divided into two long segments
which afford room for the development of a number of young at once.
Some ancient writers make most absurd statements with regard to the
fecundity of females. One declares that the simultaneous birth of seven
or eight infants by the same mother was an ordinary occurrence with
Egyptian women! Other statements still more extravagant are made by
writers. For example: A traveler in the seventeenth century wrote that
he saw, in the year 1630, in a church near the Hague, a tablet on which
was an inscription stating that a certain noted countess gave birth
at once, in the year 1276, to 365 infants, who were all baptized and
christened, the males being all called John, and the females, Elizabeth.
They all died on the day of their birth, with their mother, according
to the account, and were buried in the church, where a tablet was erected
to their memory.

Monsters.--Defects and abnormalities in the development of the embryon
produce all degrees of deviation from the typical human form. Excessive
development may result in an extra finger or toe, or in the production
of some peculiar excrescence. Deficiency of development may produce
all degrees of abnormality from the simple harelip to the most frightful
deficiency, as the absence of a limb, or even of a head. It is in this
manner that those unfortunate individuals known as hermaphrodites are
formed. An excessive development of some parts of the female generative
organs gives them a great degree of similarity to the external organs
of the male. A deficient development of the male organs renders them
very similar in form to those of the female. Redundant development of
the sexual organism sometimes results in the development of both kinds
of organs in the same individual in a state more or less complete. Cases
have occurred in which it has become necessary, for legal purposes,
to decide respecting the sex of an individual suffering from defective
development, and it has sometimes been exceedingly difficult to decide
in a given case whether the individual was male or female.

Such curious cases as the Carolina twins and Chang and Eng were formerly
supposed to be the result of the union of two separate individuals.
It is now believed that they are developed from a single ovum. It has
been observed that the primitive trace--described in a previous
section--sometimes undergoes partial division longitudinally. If it
splits a little at the anterior end, the individual will have a single
body with two heads. If a partial division occurs at each end, the
resulting being will possess two heads and two pairs of legs joined
to a single body. More complete division produces a single trunk with
two heads, two pairs of arms, and two pairs of legs, as in the case
of the Carolina twins. Still more complete division may result in the
formation of two perfect individuals almost entirely independent of
each other, physiologically, but united by a narrow band, as in the
remarkable Siamese twins, Chang and Eng.

In a curious case reported not a great while ago, a partially developed
infant was amputated from the cheek of a child some time after birth.

The precise cause of these strange modifications of development is as
yet, in great degree, a mystery.

Hybrids.--It is a well-known law of biology that no progeny result from
union of animals of different species. Different varieties of the same
species may in some cases form a fertile union, the result of which
is a cross between its two parents, possessing some of the qualities
of each. The mule is the product of such a union between the horse and
the ass. A curious fact is that the offspring of such unions are
themselves sterile almost without exception. The reason of this is that
they do not produce mature elements of generation. In the mule, the
zoosperms are either entirely absent or else very imperfectly
developed; hence the fact that a colt having a mule for its sire is
one of the rarest of curiosities, though a few instances have been
reported. This is a wise law of nature to preserve the purity of species.

Law of Sex.--If there is a law by which the sex of the developing embryon
is determined, it probably has not yet been discovered. The influence
of the will, the predominant vitality of one or the other of the parents,
and the period at which conception occurs, have all been supposed to
be the determining cause. A German physician some time since advanced
the theory that the two testicles and ovaries produce elements of
different sexual character, the right testicle forming zoosperms
capable of producing only males, and the right ovary producing ova with
the same peculiarity. The left testis and the left ovary he supposed
to form the female elements. He claimed to have proved his theory by
experiments upon animals. Even if true, this theory will not be made
of practical importance. It is, in fact, nothing more than a revival
of an old theory held by physicians who flourished more than two
thousand years ago.

More recently another German physician has advanced the theory that
the sex may be controlled at will by observing the time of fecundation.
He asserts that when fecundation occurs shortly after menstruation,
the result will be a female; but if impregnation occurs later in the
month, and prior to the three or four days preceding the next menstrual
period, a male will almost certainly be produced. This theory was
proposed by Prof. Thury of the academy of Geneva, who claims to have
thoroughly tested it in a great variety of ways, and always with an
affirmative result. Dr. Heitzman, of New York, an instructor in
pathological histology, and an eminent physiologist, informs us that
he has thoroughly tested this theory, and finds it to be entirely
reliable. There are numerous facts which seem to corroborate the truth
of this theory, and future investigations may give to it the dignity
of an established physiological fact.

Heredity.--The phenomena of heredity are among the most interesting
of biological studies. It is a matter of common observation that a child
looks like its parents. It even happens that a child resembles an uncle
or a grandparent more nearly than either parent. The same peculiarities
are often seen in animals.

The cause of this resemblance of offspring to parents and ancestors
has been made a subject of careful study by scientific men. We shall
present the most recent theory adopted, which, although it be but a
theory, presents such an array of facts in its support, and explains
the phenomena in question so admirably, that it must be regarded as
something more than a plausible hypothesis. It is the conception of
one of the most distinguished scientists of the age. The theory is known
as the doctrine of _pangenesis_, and is essentially as follows:--

It is a fact well known to physiologists that every part of the living
body is made up of cellular elements which have the power to reproduce
themselves in the individual, thus repairing the damage resulting from
waste and injury. Each cell produces cells like itself. It is further
known that there are found in the body numerous central points of growth.
In every group of cells is found a central cell from which the others
originated, and which determines the form of their growth. Every minute
structure possesses such a center. A simple proof of this fact is found
in the experiment in which the spur of a cock was grafted upon the ear
of an ox. It lived in this novel situation eight years, attaining the
length of nine inches, and nearly a pound in weight. A tooth has been
made to grow upon the comb of a cock in a similar manner. The tail of
a pig survived the operation of transplanting from its proper position
to the back of the animal, and retained its sensibility. Numerous other
similar illustrations might be given.

The doctrine of pangenesis supposes that these centers of nutrition
form and throw off not only cells like themselves, but very minute
granules, called gemmules, each of which is capable, under suitable
circumstances, of developing into a cell like its parent.

These minute granules are scattered through the system in great numbers.
The essential organs of generation, the testicles in the male and the
ovaries in the female, perform the task of collecting these gemmules
and forming them into sets, each of which constitutes a reproductive
element, and contains, in rudimentary form, a representative of every
part of the individual, including the most minute peculiarities. Even
more than this: It is supposed that each ovum and each zoosperm contains
not only the gemmules necessary to reproduce the individuals who
produced them, but also a number of gemmules which have been transmitted
from the individuals' ancestors.

If this theory be true,--and we can see no sound objection to it,--it
is easy to understand all the problems of heredity. The gemmules must
be very small indeed, but it may be suggested that the molecules of
matter are smaller still, so this fact is no objection to the theory.

It will be seen, then, that each spermatozoon, or zoosperm, actually
contains, in an embryonic condition, every organ and tissue of the
individual producing it. The same is true of the ovum. In other words,
the reproductive elements are complete representatives, in miniature,
of the parents, and contain all the elements for producing an offspring
possessing the same peculiarities as the parents. Various modifying
circumstances sufficiently explain the dissimilarities between
parents and children.

This theory is strikingly confirmed by the fact, previously mentioned,
that in certain cases the ovum alone, a single reproductive element,
may undergo a degree of development approaching very near to completion.
It is supposed that fecundation is chiefly necessary to give to the
gemmules the requisite amount of nourishment to insure development.

As we shall see hereafter, this matter has a very important bearing
upon several practical questions.

Ante-Natal Influences.--There can be no manner of doubt that many
circumstances which it is entirely within the power of the parents to
supply, exert a powerful influence in molding both the mental and the
physical characteristics of offspring. By carefully availing himself
of the controlling power given him by a knowledge of this fact, the
stock-raiser is enabled to produce almost any required quality in his
young animals. Pigeon fanciers show wonderful skill in thus producing
most curious modifications in birds. The laws of heredity and
development are carefully studied and applied in the production of
superior horses, cows, dogs, and pigeons; but an application of the
same principles to the improvement of the human race is rarely thought
of. Human beings are generated in as haphazard and reckless a manner
as weeds are sown by the wind. No account is taken of the possible
influence which may be exerted upon the future destiny of the new being
by the physical or mental condition of parents at the moment when the
germ of life is planted, or by the mental and physical conditions and
surroundings of the mother while the young life is developing. Indeed,
the assertion of a modern writer that the poor of our great cities
virtually "spawn children," with as little thought of influences and
consequences as the fish that sow their eggs broadcast upon the waters,
is not so great an exaggeration as it might at first sight appear to

Law Universal.--Men and women are constantly prone to forget that the
domain of law is universal. Nothing comes by chance. The revolutions
of the planets, studied by the aid of the telescope, and the gyrations
of the atoms, seen only by the eye of science, are alike examples of
the controlling influence of law. Notwithstanding this sad ignorance
and disregard of this vitally important subject, the effects of law
are only too clearly manifested in the crowds of wretched human beings
with which the world is thronged. An old writer sagely remarks, "It
is the greatest part of our felicity to be well born;" nevertheless,
it is the sad misfortune of by far the greater portion of humanity to
be deprived of this inestimable "felicity."

A Source of Crime.--Who can tell how many of the liars, thieves,
drunkards, murderers, and prostitutes of our day are less responsible
for their crimes against themselves, against society, and against
Heaven, than those who were instrumental in bringing them into the
world? Almost every village has its boy "who was born drunk," a
staggering, simpering, idiotic representative of a drunken father,
beastly intoxicated at the very moment when he should have been most

An interesting study of this question has recently been made by Mr.
Dugdale, a member of the Prison Association of the State of New York.
When visiting the various jails of the State, he found in one six persons
detained for crimes of various character, between all of whom there
was a family relation. Upon further inquiry, he found that of the same
family there were twenty-nine relatives in the vicinity, seventeen of
whom were criminals. Still further investigation developed the
following facts:--

Within seventy-five years, a family of 1200 persons have sprung from
five sisters, several of whom were illegitimate, and three of whom were
known to be unchaste, and who married men whose father was an idle,
thriftless hunter, a hard drinker, and licentious.

Of this family, the history of but 709 was traced. Of these, the facts
set forth in the following incomplete summary were found to be true:--

  Paupers, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 280
  Years of pauperism,  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 798
  Criminals, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 140
  Years of infamy, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 750
  Thieves, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  60
  Murderers, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
  Prostitutes and adulteresses,  . . . . . . . . . . . 165
  Illegitimate children, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  91
  No. of persons contaminated by syphilitic disease, . 480
  Cost to the State in various ways, . . . . .  $1,308,000

Without doubt a complete summary would make this showing still more
appalling, since of the 709 whose histories were traced, it was in many
instances impossible to determine whether the individuals were guilty
of crime or unchastity or not, even where there were grounds for
suspicion. Such cases were not included in the summary.

No amount of argument on this question could be so conclusive as are
these simple facts concerning the "Juke" family. It is certainly high
time that our legislators began to awaken to this subject, and consider
whether it would be an unprofitable experiment to make some attempt
to prevent the multiplication of criminals in this manner. We are not
prepared to offer a plan for securing such an end; but it is very clearly
important that something should be done in this direction.

It is an established physiological fact that the character of offspring
is influenced by the mental as well as the physical conditions of the
parents at the moment of the performance of the generative act. In view
of this fact, how many parents can regard the precocious--or even
mature--manifestations of sexual depravity in their children without
painful smitings of conscience at seeing the legitimate results of
their own sensuality? By debasing the reproductive function to an act
of selfish animal indulgence, they imprinted upon their children an
almost irresistible tendency to vice. Viewing the matter from this
stand-point, what wonder that licentiousness is rife! that true
chastity is among the rarest of virtues!

Prof. O. W. Holmes remarks on this subject: "There are people who think
that everything may be done if the doctor, be he educator or physician,
be only called in season. No doubt; but _in season_ would often be a
hundred or two years before the child was born, and people never send
so early as that." "Each of us is only the footing up of a double column
of figures that goes back to the first pair. Every unit tells, and some
of them are _plus_ and some _minus_. If the columns don't add up right,
it is commonly because we can't make out all of the figures."

It cannot be doubted that the throngs of deaf, blind, crippled, idiotic
unfortunates who were "born so," together with a still larger class
of dwarfed, diseased, and constitutionally weak individuals, are the
lamentable results of the violation of some sexual law on the part of
their progenitors.

If parents would stop a moment to consider the momentous
responsibilities involved in the act of bringing into existence a human
being; if they would reflect that the qualities imparted to the new
being will affect its character to all eternity; if they would recall
the fact that they are about to produce a mirror in which will be
reflected their own characters divested of all the flimsy fabrics which
deceive their fellow-men, revealing even the secret imaginings of their
hearts,--there would surely be far less of sin, disease, and misery
born into the world than at the preset day; but we dare not hope for
such a reform. To effect it, would require such a revolution in the
customs of society, such a radical reform in the habits and characters
of individuals, as nothing short of a temporal millennium would be able
to effect.

It is quite probable that some writers have greatly exaggerated the
possible results which may be attained by proper attention to the laws
under consideration. All cannot be equally beautiful; every child
cannot be a genius; the influence of six thousand years of transgression
cannot be effaced in a single generation; but persevering,
conscientious efforts to comply with every requirement of health,
purity, morality, and the laws of nature, will accomplish wonders in
securing healthy children with good dispositions, brilliant intellects,
and beautiful bodies.

This is not the proper place to describe in detail a plan to be pursued;
but the few hints given, if rightly appreciated, may enable those
interested in the subject to plan for themselves a proper course. In
concluding the subject, we may summarize its chief points as follows,
for the purpose of impressing them more fully upon the mind:--

1. If a child is begotten in lust, its lower passions will as certainly
be abnormally developed as peas will produce peas, or potatoes produce
potatoes. If the child does not become a rake or a prostitute, it will
be because of uncommonly fortunate surroundings, or a miracle of divine
grace. But even then, what terrible struggles with sin and vice, with
foul thoughts and lewd imaginations--the product of a naturally
abnormal mind--must such an individual suffer! If he is unsuccessful
in the conflict, is he alone to blame? Society, his fellow-men, will
censure him alone; but He who knoweth all the secrets of human life
will pass a more lenient judgment on the erring one, and mete out
punishment where it most belongs.

2. The same remarks apply with equal force to the transmission of other
qualities. If the interest of the parents is only for self, with no
thought for the well-being of the one whose destiny is in their hands,
they can expect naught but a selfish character, a sordid, greedy
disposition, in the child.

3. The influence of the father is, at the outset, as great as that of
the mother. The unhappy or immoral thoughts of one alone at the critical
moment when life is imparted, may fix for eternity a foul blot upon
a character yet unformed.

4. If during gestation the mother is fretful, complaining, and
exacting; if she requires to be petted and waited upon; if she gratifies
every idle whim and indulges every depraved desire and perverted
appetite--as thousands of mothers do--the result will surely be a
peevish, fretful child, that will develop into a morose and irritable
man or woman, imperious, unthankful, disobedient, willful, gluttonous,
and vicious.

If such undesirable results would be avoided, the following suggestions
should be regarded:--

1. For the beginning of a new life, select the most favorable time,
which will be when the bodily health is at its height; when the mind
is free from care and anxiety; when the heart is joyous, cheerful, and
filled with hope, love, high aspirations, pure and beautiful thoughts.
If, as one writer says, it is the duty of every human pair engaging
in the reproductive act to bring into existence the most perfect
specimen of the race of which they are capable, then it becomes a
monstrous crime to enter into relations which may produce a contrary
result. This may be a truth hard to accept, but who is prepared to
dispute it on logical or moral grounds?

2. If a child has been properly conceived, the duty then devolves upon
the mother to secure its proper development. Is beauty desired, let
the mother be surrounded with beautiful objects; and let her mind dwell
upon such objects. If an active mind and brilliant intellect are
required, the mother should devote considerable time to study and
mental labor of a pleasant nature. The moral nature should be carefully
cultivated, to insure a lovely disposition. No angry words or unhappy
feelings should be tolerated. Purity of heart and life should be
maintained. The husband should do his part by supplying favorable
surroundings, suggesting cheerful thoughts, and aiding mental culture.

3. After birth, the mother still possesses a molding influence upon
the development of her child through the lacteal secretion. Every
mother knows how speedily the child will suffer if nursed when she is
exhausted by physical labor or when suffering from nervous excitement,
as anger or grief. These facts show the influence which the mental
states of the mother exert upon the child even when the act of nursing
is the only physical bond between them.

It would be a happy day for the race which should witness the recognition
of the fact that infants, even human beings in embryo, possess rights
which are as sacred as those of adult human beings.

Circumcision.--The fold of integument called the prepuce, which has
been previously described, has upon its inner surface a large number
of glands which produce a peculiar secretion. Under certain
circumstances, and from inattention to personal cleanliness, this
secretion may accumulate, and then often becomes the cause of
irritation and serious disease. To prevent such disorders, and to
insure cleanliness, the Jewish law required the removal of the prepuce,
which constituted the rite of circumcision. The same practice is
followed by several modern nations dwelling in tropical climates; and
it can scarcely be doubted that it is a very salutary one, and has
contributed very materially to the maintenance of that proverbial
national health for which the Jews are celebrated. Eminent physicians
have expressed the opinion that the practice would be a salutary one
for all men. The maintenance of scrupulous cleanliness, by daily
cleansing, is at least an imperative duty.

In some countries, females are also circumcised by removal of the
nymphae. The object is the same as that of circumcision in the male.
The same evils result from inattention to local cleanliness, and the
same measure of prevention, daily cleansing, is necessitated by a
similar secretion. Local cleanliness is greatly neglected by both sexes.
Daily washing should begin with infancy and continue through life, and
will prevent much disease.

Castration.--This operation consists in the removal of the testes of
the male. It does not at once obliterate the sexual sense, especially
if performed after puberty, but of course renders the individual
impotent, or incapable of reproduction. Persons upon whom it has been
performed are called eunuchs. It was a very common custom in ancient
times, being usually prompted by the jealousy of rulers, who allowed
no males but eunuchs to associate with their wives and concubines. The
effect upon the male is to render him effeminate in appearance and weak
in mind. If performed before puberty, the growth of the beard is scanty,
and the voice never acquires that deepness of tone natural to the
masculine voice.

An analogous operation, termed _spaying_, is performed upon females,
consisting in the removal of the ovaries; effects similar to those in
the male, _sterility_ without entire immediate loss of sexual sense,
being the usual result. Spaying is much more rarely performed than
castration. Both operations are now quite rare, seldom being resorted
to except in surgical cases. Castration is still practiced in some
Eastern countries.


Just in proportion as the perpetuation of the race is more important
than the existence of any single individual, the organs of reproduction
may in a certain sense be said to rank higher than any other organs
of the human frame, since to them is intrusted the important duty of
performing that most marvelous of all vital processes, the production
of human beings. That this high rank in the vital economy is recognized
by nature, is shown by the fact that she has attached to the abuse of
the generative function the most terrible penalties which can be
inflicted upon a living being. The power of abuse seems to be almost
exclusively confined to man; hence, we find him the only one of all
living creatures subject to the awful penalties of sexual

The _use_ of the reproductive function is perhaps the highest physical
act of which man is capable; its _abuse_ is certainly one of the most
grievous outrages against nature which it is possible for him to
perpetrate. No observing person can doubt that the sexual relations
of men and women determine in a great degree their happiness or misery
in life. This subject, then, deserves due attention and careful
consideration. It is of no use to scout it; for it will inevitably
obtrude itself upon us, no matter now sedulously we attempt to avoid
it. It can be rightly considered only with the most perfect candor,
with the mind unbiased by passion, and prayerfully anxious to know and
_do_ what is right.

In the following paragraphs of this section are considered some of the
evils out of which grows much of the sexual suffering of men and women:--

Sexual Precocity.--There are two periods in human life when the sexual
instincts should be totally dormant; and they are so when nature is
not perverted. The first is the period reaching from infancy to puberty.
The second is the period reached in advanced age.

If raised strictly in accordance with natural law, children would have
no sexual notions or feelings before the occurrence of puberty. No
prurient speculation about sexual matters would enter their heads.
Until that period, the reproductive system should lie dormant in its
undeveloped state. No other feeling should be exhibited between the
sexes than that brotherly and sisterly affection which is so admirable
and becoming.

Fortunate, indeed, would it be for humanity if this natural state always
existed; but it is a lamentable fact that it is rarely seen in modern
homes. Not infrequently, evidences of sexual passion are manifested
before the child has hardly learned to walk. It has been suggested that
this precocity is nothing remarkable or unnatural, since it is often
seen in little lambs and other young animals. To this it is only
necessary to reply that the development of the sexual instincts
perfectly corresponds with the longevity of the animal; if short-lived,
like the sheep, only a short period intervenes between birth and the
attainment of the sexual appetite and virility. If the animal is
intended for long life, as is the case with man, these manifestations
are delayed until a much later period, or should be. Certain insects
perform the sexual act as soon as they acquire their perfect form; but
they perish as soon as the act is completed.

Astonishing Ignorance.--It is astonishing how ignorant and indifferent
the majority of people are upon this subject. A friend related to us
an incident which fairly illustrates the terrible apathy which prevails
among parents. While teaching a country school, he learned that a large
number of children, boys and girls, of ages varying from eight to twelve
and fourteen years, were in the habit of collecting together in barns
and other secluded places, and in a state of nudity imitating the "Black
Crook" with all possible additional nastiness. Horrified at such a
monstrous evil, he hastened to inform the parents of the corruption
in their midst. Imagine his astonishment when he was met with an
indifferent laugh and the response, "Pooh! it's only natural; perfectly
harmless; _just like little pigs!_" As though pigs were models for human

It is not pleasant to consider what must have been the moral status
of parents who could hold such views; and it is no wonder that they
should produce such children. Doubtless they learned, too late, that
those "natural" manifestations were the outgrowth of incipient vices,
planted and fostered by themselves, which in later years destroyed
shame and gave loose rein to lust.

Often the manifestation of sexual precocity is less gross, but almost
equally fraught with danger, nevertheless. Dr. Acton, a distinguished
English surgeon whom we shall frequently quote, makes the following
excellent remarks upon this subject:--

"Slight signs are sufficient to indicate when a boy has this unfortunate
tendency. He shows marked preferences. You will see him single out one
girl, and evidently derive an unusual pleasure (for a boy) in her
society. His _penchant_ does not take the ordinary form of a boy's good
nature, but little attentions that are generally reserved for a later
period prove that his feeling is different, and sadly premature. He
may be apparently healthy, and fond of playing with other boys; still
there are slight, but ominous, indications of propensities fraught with
danger to himself. His play with the girl is different from his play
with his brothers. His kindness to her is a little too ardent. He follows
her, he does not know why. He fondles her with a tenderness painfully
suggestive of a vague dawning of passion. No one can find fault with
him. He does nothing wrong. Parents and friends are delighted at his
gentleness and politeness, and not a little amused at the early
flirtation. If they were wise, they would rather feel profound anxiety;
and he would be an unfaithful or unwise medical friend who did not,
if an opportunity occurred, warn them that such a boy, unsuspicious
and innocent as he is, ought to be carefully watched and removed from
every influence calculated to foster his abnormal propensities.

"The premature development of the sexual inclination is not alone
repugnant to all we associate with the term childhood, but is also
fraught with danger to dawning manhood. On the judicious treatment of
a case such as has been sketched, it probably depends whether the
dangerous propensity shall be so kept in check as to preserve the boy's
health and innocence, or whether one more shattered constitution and
wounded conscience shall be added to the victims of sexual precocity
and careless training. It ought not to be forgotten that in such cases
a quasi-sexual power often accompanies these premature sexual
inclinations. Few, perhaps, except medical men, know how early in life
a mere infant may experience erections. Frequently it may be noticed
that a little child, on being taken out of bed in the morning, cannot
make water at once. It would be well if it were recognized by parents
and nurses that this often depends upon a more or less complete

We have been not more disgusted than shocked to see parents, whose
intelligence ought to teach them better, not only winking at, but
actually encouraging, these premature manifestations of passion in
their children. They may yet learn, by bitter experience, the folly
of their course, unless they make the discovery in time to avert the
calamitous results which threaten the future of their children, by
careful reformatory training.

Inherited Passion.--It is important to inquire the cause of this
precocity. Said a father of our acquaintance, when remonstrated with
for encouraging his infant son in a ridiculous flirtation, "I did just
so when I was of his age." In this case the cause was evident. The child
was only acting out the disposition bequeathed him by his parent. How
often do the secret follies of parents stand out in bold relief in their
children. Such a legacy is nothing to be proud of.

We again quote from Dr. Acton some observations on the causes of this
disorder,--for a grave disorder it is,--as follows:--

"I should specify _hereditary_ predisposition as by no means the least
common.... I believe that, as in body and mind, so also in the passions,
the sins of the father are frequently visited on the children. No man
or woman, I am sure, can have habitually indulged the sexual passions ...
without, at least, running the risk of finding that a disposition to
follow a similar career has been inherited by the offspring. It is in
this way only that we can explain the early and apparently almost
irresistible propensity in generation after generation indulging
similar habits and feelings."

Various Causes of Sexual Precocity.--Another very powerful
predisposing cause of sexual precocity will be alluded to under the
head of "Marital Excesses." The irritation caused by worms in the rectum,
by local irritation or uncleanliness, or by irritation of the bladder,
are exciting causes which are not infrequent. The latter cause is
indicated by another symptom, the frequent wetting of the bed at night.
Such a symptom doubly demands immediate attention.

The juvenile parties so common now-a-days, at which little ones of both
sexes, of ages varying from four or five years to ten or twelve, with
wonderful precocity and truthfulness imitate the conduct of their
elders at fashionable dinners, cannot be too much deprecated. Such
associations of the sexes have a strong tendency to develop prematurely
the distinctive peculiarities of the sexes. This is well evidenced by
the fact that on such occasions one of the most common and popular
entertainments is sham marriages. Parents greatly err in encouraging
or allowing their children to engage in amusements of so dangerous a
character. They are productive of no good, and are almost without
exception productive of positive and serious injury.

Modern modes of life, improper clothing, the forcing system of cramming
in schools, the immodest example of older persons, and especially the
irritating, stimulating articles of diet which are daily set before
children, as well as older people, undoubtedly have a powerful
influence in stimulating the development of the sexual passions. This
subject is again referred to under the heading, "Chastity."

Obscene books and papers, lewd pictures, and evil communications are
telling causes which will be further noticed elsewhere.

Senile Sexuality.--As with childhood, old age is a period in which the
reproductive functions are quiescent unless unnaturally stimulated.
Sexual life begins with puberty, and, in the female, ends at about the
age of forty-five years, the period known as the _menopause_, or _turn
of life_. At this period, according to the plainest indications of
nature, all functional activity should cease. If this law is
disregarded, disease, premature decay, possibly local degenerations,
will be sure to result. Nature cannot be abused with impunity.

The generative power of the male is retained somewhat longer than that
of the female, and by stimulation may be indulged at quite an advanced
age, but only at the expense of shortening life, and running the risk
of sudden death. Says Parise, "One of the most important pieces of
information which a man in years can attain is 'to learn to become old
betimes,' if he wishes to attain old age. Cicero, we are told, was asked
if he still indulged in the pleasures of love. 'Heaven forbid,' replied
he, 'I have forsworn it as I would a savage and a furious master.'"

Some learned physicians place the proper limit of man's functional
activity at fifty years, if he would not render himself guilty of
shortening his days by sensuality. Other reasons for this course will
appear hereafter.

When the passions have been indulged, and their diminishing vigor
stimulated, a horrid disease, _satyriasis_, not infrequently seizes
upon the imprudent individual, and drives him to the perpetration of
the most loathsome crimes and excesses. Passions cultivated and
encouraged by gratification through life will thus sometimes assert
a total supremacy in old age.

Marriage.--The scope and plan of this work will allow of but the
briefest possible consideration of this subject upon which volumes have
been written, much to no purpose other than the multiplication of books.
We shall devote no space to consideration of the origin of the
institution, its expediency, or varied relations, as these topics are
foreign to the character of this work.

The primary object of marriage was, undoubtedly, the preservation of
the race, though there are other objects which, under special
circumstances, may become paramount even to this. These latter we
cannot consider, as only the relations of the reproductive functions
in marriage come properly within our province.

The first physiological question to be considered is concerning the
proper age for marriage.

Time to Marry.--Physiology fixes with accuracy the earliest period at
which marriage is admissible. This period is that at which the body
attains complete development, which is not before twenty in the female,
and twenty-four in the male. Even though the growth may be completed
before these ages, ossification of the bones is not fully effected,
so that development is incomplete.

Among most modern nations, the civil laws fixing the earliest date of
marriage seem to have been made without any reference to physiology,
or with the mistaken notion that puberty and nubility are identical.
It is interesting to note the different ages established by different
nations for the entrance of the married state. The degenerating Romans
fixed the ages of legal marriage at thirteen for females, and fifteen
for males. The Grecian legislator, Lycurgus, placed the ages at
seventeen for the female, and thirty-seven for the male. Plato fixed
the ages at twenty and thirty years. In Prussia, the respective ages
are fifteen and nineteen; in Austria, sixteen and twenty; in France,
sixteen and eighteen, respectively.

Says Mayer, "In general, it may be established that the normal epoch
for marriage is the twentieth year for women, and the twenty-fourth
for men."

Application of the Law of Heredity.--A moment's consideration of the
physiology of heredity will disclose a sufficient reason why marriage
should be deferred until the development of the body is wholly complete.
The matrimonial relation implies reproduction. Reproduction is
effected through the union of the ovum with the zoosperm. These elements,
as we have already seen, are complete representatives of the
individuals producing them, being composed--as supposed--of minute
gemmules which are destined to be developed into cells and organs in
the new being, each preserving its resemblance to the cell within the
parent which produced it. The perfection of the new being, then, must
be largely dependent on the integrity and perfection of the sexual
elements. If the body is still incomplete, the reproductive elements
must also be incomplete; and, in consequence, the progeny must be
equally immature.

Early Marriage.--The preceding paragraph contains a sufficient reason
for condemning early marriage; that is, marriage before the ages
mentioned. It is probable that even the ages of twenty and twenty-four
are too early for those persons whose development is uncommonly slow.
But there are other cogent reasons for discountenancing early marriages,
also drawn from the physiology of reproduction, to say nothing of the
many reasons which might be urged on other grounds.

1. During the development of the body, all its energies are required
in perfecting the various tissues and organs. There is no material to
be spared for any foreign purpose.

2. The reproductive act is the most exhaustive of all vital acts. Its
effect upon an undeveloped person is to retard growth, weaken the
constitution, and dwarf the intellect.

3. The effects upon the female are even worse than those upon the male;
for, in addition to the exhaustion of nervous energy, she is compelled
to endure the burdens and pains of child-bearing when utterly
unprepared for such a task, to say nothing of her unfitness for the
other duties of a mother. With so many girl-mothers in the land, is
it any wonder that there are so many thousands of unfortunate
individuals who never seem to get beyond childhood in their
development? Many a man at forty years is as childish in mind, and as
immature in judgment, as a well-developed lad of eighteen would be.
They are like withered fruit plucked before it was ripe; they can never
become like the mellow and luscious fruit allowed to mature properly.
They are unalterably molded; and the saddest fact of all is that they
will give to their children the same imperfections; and the children
will transmit them to another generation, and so the evil will go on
increasing, unless checked by extinction.

Mutual Adaptation.--Another question of very great importance is that
of the mutual adaptation of the individuals. To this question we can
devote but a very brief consideration, and that will be more of the
nature of criticism than of a set of formal rules for governing
matrimonial alliances.

A writer of some note, whose work on this and kindred subjects has had
quite an extensive circulation, advocates with great emphasis the
theory that parties contemplating marriage should in all cases select
for partners individuals as nearly like themselves as possible. Exact
duplicates would, in his opinion, make the most perfect union
attainable. To make his theory practicable, he is obliged to fall back
upon phrenology; and directs that a man seeking a wife, or a woman
seeking a husband, should obtain a phrenological chart of his head and
then send it around until a counterpart is found. If the circle of one's
acquaintance is so fortunate as to contain no one cursed with the same
propensities or idiosyncrasies as himself, the newspapers are to be
brought into requisition as a medium of advertising.

If so strange a doctrine as this were advocated by an obscure individual
in some secluded hamlet, or found only in the musty volumes of some
forgotten author, it surely would be unworthy of notice; but coming
as it does from a quite popular writer, and being coupled with a great
amount of really valuable truth, it is sufficiently important to
deserve refutation. A brief glance at the practical working of the
theory will be a sufficient exposure of its falsity.

According to this rule, a man or woman of large combativeness should
select a partner equally inclined to antagonism; then we should
have--what? the elements of a happy, contented, harmonious life? No;
instead, either a speedy lawsuit for divorce, or a continual domestic
broil, the nearest approach to a mundane purgatory possible. The
selfish, close-fisted, miserly money-catcher must marry a woman
equally sordid and stingy. Then together they could hoard up, for moths
and rust to destroy, or for interested relatives to quarrel over, the
pictorial greenback and the glittering dollar, each scrimping the other
down to the finest point above starvation and freezing, and finally
dying, to be forgotten as soon as dead by their fellow-men, and sent
among the goats at the great assizes. A shiftless spendthrift must
choose for a helpmeet (?) an equally slovenly, thriftless wife. A man
with a crotchet should select a partner with the same morbid fancy.
A man whose whole mental composition gravitates behind his ears, must
find a mate with the same animal disposition. An individual whose mental
organization is sadly unbalanced, is advised to seek for a wife a woman
with the same deficiencies and abnormalities.

Any one can see at a glance the domestic disasters which such a plan
of proceeding would entail. Men and women of unbalanced temperaments
would become more unbalanced. An individual of erroneous tendencies,
instead of having the constant check of the example and admonitions
of a mate of opposite tendencies, would be, by constant example,
hastened onward in his sinful ways. Thus, to all but a very small
proportion of humanity, the married state would be one of infelicity
and degeneration.

And what would be the progeny of such unions? The peculiarities and
propensities of the parents, instead of being modified and perhaps
obliterated in the children by corresponding differences in character,
would be doubly exaggerated. The children of selfish parents would be
thieves; those of spendthrifts, beggars; those of crotchety parents,
monomaniacs; those born of sensual parents, beastly debauchees. A few
generations of such a degenerating process would either exterminate
the race or drive it back to Darwin's ancestral ape.

It must not be inferred, from our strictures upon the theory mentioned,
that we would advocate the opposite course, that is, the contraction
of marriage by individuals of wholly dissimilar tastes, aims, and
temperaments. Such alliances would doubtless be quite as wretched in
their results as those of an opposite character. It is with this as
with nearly all other subjects; the true course lies between the two
extremes. Parties who are negotiating a life partnership should be
careful to assure themselves that there exists a sufficient degree of
congeniality of temperament to make such close and continued
association agreeable.

Disparity of Age.--Both nature and custom seem to indicate that the
husband should be a little older than the wife. Several reasons might
be given for this; but we need not mention them. When, however, the
difference of ages reaches such an extreme as thirty, forty, even fifty
or more years, nature is abused, good taste is offended, and even
morality is shocked. Such ill-sorted alliances are disastrous to both
parties, and scarcely more to one than the other. An old man who forms
a union with a young girl scarce out of her teens--or even younger--can
scarcely have any very elevated motive for his action, and he certainly
exposes himself to the greatest risk of sudden death, while insuring
his premature decay. A king once characterized such a course as "the
pleasantest form of suicide." It is doubtless suicidal, but we suspect
there are some phases of such an unnatural union which are not very

One reason of the great danger of such marriages to the old is the
exhaustive effects of the sexual act. As previously noted, in some
animals it causes immediate death. Dr. Acton makes the following
pertinent remarks:--

"So serious, indeed, is the paroxysm of the nervous system produced
by the sexual spasm, that its immediate effect is not always unattended
with danger, and men with weak hearts have died in the act. Every now
and then we learn that men are found dead on the night of their wedding."

"However exceptional these cases are, they are warnings, and should
serve to show that an act which _may_ destroy the weak should not be
tampered with, even by the strong."

"There are old men who marry young wives, and who pay the penalty by
becoming martyrs to paralysis, softening of the brain, and driveling

Dr. Gardner quotes the Abbe Maury, as follows: "I hold as certain that
after fifty years of age a man of sense ought to renounce the pleasures
of love. Each time that he allows himself this gratification is _a
pellet of earth thrown upon his coffin_."

Dr. Gardner further says: "Alliances of this sort have taken place in
every epoch of humanity, from the time of the patriarchs to the present
day,--alliances repugnant to nature,--between men bordering on
decrepitude and poor young girls, who are sacrificed by their parents
for position, or who sell themselves for gold. There is in these
monstrous alliances something which we know not how to brand
sufficiently energetically, in considering the reciprocal relations
of the pair thus wrongfully united, and the lot of the children which
may result from them. Let us admit, for an instant, that the marriage
has been concluded with the full consent of the young girl, and that
no external pressure has been exerted upon her will--as is generally
the rule--it will none the less happen that reflection and experience
will tardily bring regrets, and the sharper as the evil will be without
remedy; but if compulsion, or what is often the same thing, _persuasion_,
had been employed to obtain the consent which the law demands, the
result would have been more prompt and vehement. From this moment the
common life becomes odious to the unhappy victim, and _culpable hopes_
will arise in her desolate heart, so heavy is the chain she carries.
In fact, the love of the old man becomes ridiculous and horrid to her,
and we cannot sufficiently sympathize with the unfortunate person whose
duty [?] it is to submit to it. If we think of it an instant, we shall
perceive a repulsion, such as is only inspired by the idea of incest....
So what do we oftenest observe? Either the woman violently breaks the
cursed bands, or she resigns herself to them; and then she seeks to
fill up the void in her soul by adulterous amours. Such is the somber
perspective of the sacrilegious unions which set at defiance the most
respectable instincts, the most noble desires, and the most legitimate
hopes. Such, too, are the terrible chastisements reserved for the
thoughtlessness or foolish pride of these dissolute gray-beards, who
prodigalize the last breath of their life in search of depraved

The parents, the perpetrators of such an outrage against nature, are
not the only sufferers. Look at the children which they bring into the
world! Let Dr. Gardner speak again:--

"Children, the issue of old men, are habitually marked by a serious
and sad air spread over their countenances, which is manifestly very
opposite to the infantile expression which so delights one in the little
children of the same age engendered under other conditions. As they
grow up, their features take on more and more the senile character;
so much so that every one remarks it, and the world regards it as a
natural thing. The old mothers pretend that it is an old head on young
shoulders. They predict an early death to these children, and the event
frequently justifies the horoscope. Our attention has for many years
been fixed upon this point, and we can affirm that the greater part
of the offspring of these connections are weak, torpid, lymphatic, if
not scrofulous, and do not promise a long career."

In old age the seminal fluid becomes greatly deteriorated. Even at the
best, its component elements could only represent decrepitude and
infirmity, degeneration and senility. In view of such facts, says Dr.

"We are, therefore, forced to the conclusion that the children of old
men have an inferior chance of life; and facts daily observed confirm
our deductions. Look but at the progeny of such marriages; what is its
value? As far as I have seen, it is the worst kind--spoilt childhood,
feeble and precocious youth, extravagant manhood, early and premature

Unions of an opposite character to those just considered, wherein a
young man marries a woman much older than himself, are more rare than
those of the other class. They are, perhaps, less deplorable in their
physical effects, but still highly reprehensible. They are seldom
prompted by pure motives, and can be productive of no good. Children
resulting from such unions are notably weak, unbalanced, and sorry
specimens of humanity.

We have scarcely referred to the domestic misery which may result from
these disgraceful unions. If a young girl is brought home by a widower
to preside over his grown-up daughters, perhaps old enough to be her
mother, all the elements are provided for such a domestic hell as could
only be equaled by circumstances precisely similar. If children are
born, neither father nor mother is fit to act the part of a parent to
them. The father, by reason of his age, is fitful, uncertain, and
childish; to-day too lenient, to-morrow too exacting. The mother is
pettish, childish, indulgent, impatient, and as unskilled in
government as unfit for motherhood. In the midst of all this misrule,
the child grows up undisciplined, uncultivated, unsubdued; a misery
to his parents, a disgrace to his friends, a dishonor to himself.

"What shall I do with him? and what will he do with me?" was the question
asked by a girl of eighteen whose parents were urging her to marry an
old man; and every young woman would do well to propound it under similar

Were we disposed to define more specifically the conditions necessary
to secure the most harmonious matrimonial unions, it would be useless
to do so; for unions of this sort never have been, and never will
be--with rare exceptions--formed in accordance with a prescribed
method independent of any emotional bias. Nor is it probable that such
a plan would result in remedying, in any appreciable degree, existing
evils. It is a fact too patent to be ignored that a very large share
of the unhappiness in the world arises from ill-mated marriages; but
it is also true that nearly the whole of this unhappiness might be
averted if the parties themselves would endeavor to lessen the
differences between them by mutual approximation.

Courtship.--We cannot well avoid devoting a few paragraphs to a part
of the subject so important as this, especially as it affords an
opportunity for pointing out some evils too patent and too perilous
to be ignored.

Courting, in the sense in which we use the word, is distinctly an
American custom. The social laws of other civilized countries are such
as to preclude the possibility of the almost unrestrained association
of the sexes in youth which we see in this country. We do not offer
this fact as an argument in favor of foreign social customs, by any
means, although in this one particular they often present great
advantages, since in the majority of instances other evils as great
or even greater are encouraged. We mention the fact simply for the
purpose of bringing into bold relief the evils of the characteristic
American looseness in this particular.

A French matron would be horrified at the idea of a young man asking
her daughter to accompany him alone on an evening ride, to a lecture,
concert, or other place of amusement, and much more should he ask the
privilege of sitting up all night in the parlor with the light turned
down, after the rest of the family had retired. Among respectable people
in France such liberties are not tolerated; and a young man who should
propose such things would be dismissed from the house instantly, and
would be regarded as unfit for association with virtuous people. If
a young man calls upon a young lady for the purpose of making her
acquaintance, he sees both her and her mother, or an aunt or older sister.
He never sees her alone. If he invites her to ride, or to accompany
him to an entertainment of any sort, he must always invite her lady
friend also; she goes along at any rate. There is afforded no chance
for solitary moonlight strolls or rides, nor any other of the similar
opportunities made so common by American courting customs. We are no
advocates of the formal modes of contracting matrimonial alliances
common among many nations, and illustrations of which we find at all
ages of the world. For example, among the ancient Assyrians it was a
custom to sell wives to the highest bidder, at auction, the sums
received for the handsomer one being given to the less favored ones
as a dowry, to secure a husband for every woman. The same custom
prevailed in Babylon in ancient times, and has been practiced in modern
times in Russia. At St. Petersburg, not many years ago, an annual sale
of wives was held on Whit Sunday, after the same plan followed by the

Among the early Jews it seems to have been the custom for parents to
select wives for their sons. In the case of Isaac, this important matter
was intrusted to an old and experienced servant, who was undoubtedly
considered much more competent to select a wife for the young man than
he was himself. The same custom has been handed down even to the present
time among some oriental nations. In many cases the parties are not
allowed to see each other until after the wedding ceremony is completed.
The Hungarians often betroth their children while they are yet in their
cradles, as did the Mexicans and Brazilians of the last century. In
some countries it has even been customary to betroth girls
conditionally before they were born. The primitive Moravians seem to
have adhered to the ancient Jewish custom in some degree, though making
the selection of a wife a matter of chance. The old people did all the
courting there was done, which was not much. When a young man desired
a wife, a helpmeet was selected for him by casting lots among the
marriageable young ladies of the community, and the young man was
obliged to abide by the decision, it being supposed that Providence
controlled the selection. We are not prepared to say that the young
man ran any greater risk of getting an uncongenial or undesirable life
companion by this mode of selection than by the more modern modes in
vogue among us.

As before remarked, we do not present these customs as illustrations
of what might be considered a proper mode of conducting the preliminary
steps of matrimonial alliances. On the contrary, we unhesitatingly
pronounce them decidedly objectionable on moral grounds if not on
others, and we can readily see that such unions must have been in many
cases exceedingly unsatisfactory.

In various other countries, marriage customs quite the opposite from
those described have been in vogue. In Irving's "Knickerbocker's
History of New York," a somewhat humorous account is given of a custom
which has prevailed in some parts of this country as well as others,
even within the memory of persons living at the present day, and is,
indeed, said to be not yet altogether obsolete in Finland. The author,
in dwelling upon the social customs of the early Dutch settlers of New
York, describes "a singular custom prevalent among them, commonly known
by the name of _bundling_,--a superstitious rite observed by the young
people of both sexes, with which they usually terminated their
festivities, and which was kept up with religious strictness by the
more bigoted part of the community. This ceremony was likewise, in those
primitive times, considered as an indispensable preliminary to
matrimony, their courtships commencing where ours usually finish,--by
which means they acquired that intimate acquaintance with each other's
good qualities before marriage, which has been pronounced by
philosophers the sure basis of a happy union. Thus early did this
cunning and ingenious people display a shrewdness of making a bargain,
which has ever since distinguished them."

"To this sagacious custom, therefore, do I chiefly attribute the
unparalleled increase of the Yanokie or Yankee race; for it is a certain
fact, well authenticated by court records and parish registers, that,
wherever the practice of bundling prevailed, there was an amazing
number of sturdy brats annually born into the State, without the license
of the law, or the benefit of clergy."

Long Courtships.--Chiefly for the reasons presented in the preceding
paragraphs, we are opposed to long courtships and long engagements.
They are productive of no good, and are not infrequently the occasion
of much evil. There may be circumstances which render a prolonged
engagement necessary and advisable; but, in general, they are to be

On the other hand, hasty marriages are still more to be deprecated,
especially when, as is too commonly the case, the probability is so
great that passion is the actuating motive far more than true love.
Marriage is a matter of most serious consequences, and deserving of
the most careful deliberation. Too often matrimony is entered upon
without any more substantial assurance of happiness as the result than
the individual has of securing a valuable prize who buys a ticket in
a lottery scheme. In the majority of cases, young people learn more
of each other's real character within six weeks after marriage than
they discovered during as many months of courting. To every young man
and woman we say, Look well before you leap; consider well, carefully,
and prayerfully. A leap in the dark is a fearful risk, and will be far
more likely to land you in a domestic purgatory than anywhere else.
Do not be dazzled by a handsome face, an agreeable address, a brilliant
or piquant manner. Choose, rather, modesty, simplicity, sincerity,
morality, qualities of heart and mind, rather than exterior

"It is folly," suggests a friend, "to give advice on these subjects,
for no one will follow advice on this point, no matter how sensible
and reasonable he may be on all other subjects. The emotions carry the
individual away, and the reason loses control." This is all too true,
in nearly all cases. We believe in affection. The emotions have their
part to act. We have no sympathy with the theories of those who will
have all marriages made by rule. But reason must be allowed a voice
in the matter; and although there may be a time when the overwhelming
force of the emotions may force the reason and judgment into the
background, there has been a time previous when the judgment might have
held control. Let every young man and woman be most scrupulously careful
how he allows emotional excitement to gain the ascendency. When once
reason is stifled, the individual is in a most precarious situation.
It is far better and easier to prevent the danger than to escape from

Flirtation.--We cannot find language sufficiently emphatic to express
proper condemnation of one of the most popular forms of amusement
indulged in at the present day in this country, under the guise of
innocent association of the sexes. By the majority of people,
flirtation is looked upon as harmless, if not useful, as some even
consider, claiming that the experience gained by such associations is
valuable to young persons, by making them familiar with the customs
of society and the ways of the world. We have not the slightest
hesitation in pronouncing flirtation as pernicious in the extreme. It
exerts a malign influence alike upon the mental, the moral, and the
physical constitution of those who indulge it. The young lady who has
become infatuated with a passion for flirting, courting the society
of young men simply for the pleasure derived from their attentions,
is educating herself in a school which will totally unfit her for the
enjoyment of domestic peace and happiness should she have all the
conditions necessary for such enjoyment other than those which she
herself must furnish. More than this, she is very likely laying the
foundation for lifelong disease by the dissipation, late hours, late
suppers, evening exposures, fashionable dressing, etc., the almost
certain accompaniments of the vice we are considering. She is surely
sacrificing a life of real true happiness for the transient
fascinations of unreal enjoyment, pernicious excitement.

It may be true, and undoubtedly is the case, that the greater share
of the guilt of flirtation lies at the door of the female sex; but there
do exist such detestable creatures as male flirts. In general, the male
flirt is a much less worthy character than the young lady who makes
a pastime of flirtation. He is something more than a flirt. In nine
cases out of ten, he is a rake as well. His object in flirting is to
gratify a mean propensity at the expense of those who are pure and
unsophisticated. He is skilled in the arts of fascination and intrigue.
Slowly he winds his coils about his victim, and before she is aware
of his real character, she has lost her own.

Such wretches ought to be punished in a purgatory by themselves, made
seven times hotter than for ordinary criminals. Society is full of these
lecherous villains. They insinuate themselves into the drawing-rooms
of the most respectable families; they are always on hand at social
gatherings of every sort. They haunt the ball-room, the theater, and
the church, when they can forward their infamous plans by seeming to
be pious. Not infrequently they are well supplied with a stock of pious
cant, which they employ on occasion to make an impression. They are
the sharks of society, and often seize in their voracious maws the
fairest and brightest ornaments of a community. The male flirt is a
monster. Every man ought to despise him; and every woman ought to spurn
him as a loathsome social leper.

Youthful Flirtations.--Flirting is not confined to young men and women.
The contagion extends to little boys and girls, whose heads ought to
be as empty of all thoughts of sexual relations as the vacuum of an
air-pump of air. The intimate association of young boys and girls in
our common schools, and, indeed, in the majority of educational
institutions, gives abundant opportunity for the fostering of this kind
of a spirit, so prejudicial to healthful mental and moral development.
Every educator who is alive to the objects and interests of his
profession knows too well the baneful influence of these premature and
pernicious tendencies. Many times has the teacher watched with a sad
heart the withering of all his hopes for the intellectual progress of
a naturally gifted scholar by this blighting influence. The most
dangerous period for boys and girls exposed to temptations of this sort
is that just following puberty, or between the ages of twelve and
eighteen or twenty. This period, a prominent educator in one of our
Western States once denominated, not inappropriately, "the agonizing
period of human puppyhood." If this critical period is once safely
passed, the individual is comparatively safe; but how many fail to pass
through the ordeal unseared!

The most painful phase of this subject is the tacit--even, in many cases,
active--encouragement which too many parents give their children in
this very direction, seemingly in utter ignorance of the enormity of
the evil which they are winking at or fostering. Parents need
enlightenment on this subject, and need to be aroused to the fact that
it is one of the most momentous questions that can arise in the rearing
and training of children.

Polygamy.--One hundred years ago the discussion of the public propriety
or impropriety of a plurality of wives would have been impossible.
Polygamy had not obtained a foothold as an institution in any civilized
land. Being well known as not uncommon among certain heathenish and
barbarous tribes, it was looked upon as a heathenish and debasing
institution, the outgrowth of ignorance and gross sensuality, and a
relic of a sensual age. Now, this is no longer true. Even in this, the
most enlightened of all lands, where there are most ample facilities
for culture, for moral and mental development, polygamy holds up its
hideous head in defiance of all the laws of God and man. It is true
that the perpetrators of this foul crime against humanity and Heaven
have been driven by the indignation of outraged decency to seek a
lurking place in the far-off wilderness of the Western territories;
yet the foul odors from this festering sore are daily becoming more
and more putrescent, and in spite of the distance, are contaminating
the already not overstrict morals of the nation.

No better evidence of the blighting, searing effect of this gross social
crime could be found than the fact that not only is polygamy coming
to be winked at as something not so very bad after all, but men from
whom we have a right to expect something better are coming forward in
its defense.

We have just been perusing a work written for the express purpose of
justifying and advocating polygamy, which was written by an evangelical
clergyman. He was evidently not willing to own his work, however, since
his name is carefully excluded from the title-page, and his publisher
put under an oath of secrecy. The arguments which he makes in favor
of polygamy are chiefly the following:--

1. That it is approved by the Bible.

2. That a robust man requires more than one woman to satisfy his sexual

3. That there are more women than men; and since every woman has a right
to have a husband, the only way all can be supplied is to allow several
women, two or more, according to the capacity of the man, or as they
can agree, to form a marriage partnership with one man.

4. That the great men of all ages have been polygamists in fact, if
not by open profession.

5. That monogamy is a relic of the paganism of the ancient Greeks and
Romans, with whom it originated.

6. That it is the only proper and effective cure for the "social evil,"
and all its attendant vices and dire diseases.

As this work has had quite a circulation, bearing the imprint of a
well-known Boston publisher, and has not received any answer that we
are aware of, we deem it worth while to give these arguments, which
are very strongly presented, at least a brief passing notice. We will
consider them in the order in which we have stated them.

1. We deny most emphatically the assertion that polygamy is either
taught or approved by the Bible. It was tolerated in a people who had
long been in the darkness of Egyptian bondage, but never approved.
Indeed, the inspired writers have evidently taken pains to give
numerous examples of the evils growing out of that violation of the
law of God and Nature.

2. The second argument is based upon the asserted fact that man
naturally possesses stronger sexual demands than woman; that these
demands are imperative; and that it is not only impossible, but in the
highest degree injurious, to restrain them.

While it is true as a fact affirmed by constant observation that men
have stronger passions than women, in general, and that many men demand
of their wives a degree of sexual indulgence which is the cause of
serious injury to them, and even impossible for them to grant without
doing themselves the greatest wrong, it is by no means proven either
that these demands are imperative, that they are natural, or that they
are not injurious to the man as well as the woman, much less beneficial
to either. On the contrary, there is as great a weight of evidence as
could be required that restraint, self-control, and moderation in the
exercise of the sexual instinct is in the highest degree beneficial
to man, as well as to woman, and necessary for his highest development.

3. While it is true that there are a few more adult women than men,
the difference is not sufficiently great to require the introduction
of polygamy as a remedy for enforced celibacy. At any rate this would
be unnecessary until all bachelors had been provided with wives, when
there would be found no necessity for further provision, since there
are large numbers of women who are utterly unfit to marry, who would
be injured by so doing, and would only serve to degenerate the race,
besides making themselves more wretched than they already are.

Again, it is a well-known fact that more males than females are born,
the preponderance of adult females being caused by a greater mortality
among male children, together with the losses from accidents and war.
By a correct observance of the laws of health, together with the
abolition of wars, the disparity in relative numbers of the sexes would
disappear. Indeed, it might happen that men would be in the

Still again, it is only in a few very populous and long-settled
communities that there are more women than men, as in the States of
Massachusetts, Connecticut, and a few others of the Eastern States,
and a few countries of Europe. In all newly settled countries the
reverse is true. The inquiry naturally arises, What shall be done under
these circumstances? Shall a woman be allowed more than one husband,
as is actually the case in some countries? "Oh! no;" our polygamist
replies, "A woman is not capable of loving more than one man, and is
not even able to satisfy the sexual demands of a single husband; so,
of course, a plurality of husbands is out of the question. A man is
capable of loving any number of women, being differently constituted
from a woman; and so the same rule does not apply."

The writer evidently confounds love with lust. He will grant unstinted
reign to the lusts of man, but requires woman to be restrained, offering
as an apology for such a manifest unfair and unphilosophical
discrimination that "man is differently constituted from a woman,
sexually, requiring more active exercise of the sexual functions," a
conclusion which could be warranted only by the selection, as a typical
specimen of the male part of humanity, of a man with an abnormal
development of the animal propensities.

A correct understanding and application of the laws of sexual hygiene
would effectually sweep away every vestige of argument based on this

4. In proof of the propriety of polygamy, as well as of its necessity,
the author referred to cites the well-known fact that Plato, Aristotle,
Bacon, Alexander, Caesar, Napoleon, Burns, Byron, Augustus, Webster,
and numerous others of the noted men of all ages have been incontinent
men. The fact that these men were guilty of crime does not in the least
degree detract from the enormity of the sin. It is equally true that
many great men have been addicted to intemperance and other crimes.
Alexander was a Sodomite as well as a lecherous rake. Does this fact
afford any proof that those crimes are virtues instead of vices? Such
argument is hardly worthy of serious refutal, since it stultifies

5. The fact that monogamy was practiced among the ancient Greeks and
Romans is in no way derogatory of it as an institution. Even if it could
be shown that it originated with those nations, still this would in
no way detract from its value or respectability. Do not we owe much
to those grand old pagans who laid the foundation for nearly all the
modern sciences, and established better systems of political economy,
and better schools for uniform culture of the whole individual, than
any the world has seen since? But monogamy did not originate with the
Greeks, neither was it invented by the Romans, nor by any other nation.
It originated with the great Originator of the human race. It is an
institution which has come down to us, not from Greece or Rome, but
from Paradise.

If it was so important that man should have more than one woman to supply
his sexual demands, why was the Creator so short-sighted as to make
but one Eve? It would have been as easy to remove two or three or half
a dozen ribs from Adam's side as one; and as the whole world had yet
to be populated, a plurality of wives would certainly have accelerated
the process. Surely, if polygamy was ever required or excusable, it
ought to have been allowed at the start.

Again, when Noah went into the ark, taking with him an assortment of
all species of animals, he took some kinds by pairs and some by sevens,
from which we might suspect, at least, that he observed the laws of
nature respecting polygamous and monogamous animals. But he took only
one wife for himself, and only one for each of his sons. Why not two
or half a dozen instead? Polygamy would certainly have accelerated the
repopulation of the earth most wonderfully; but Noah was monogamous.
To say, in view of such facts, that monogamy originated with the
paganism of ancient Greece and Rome, is blasphemy.

6. The argument that polygamy will cure the "social evil" is exactly
equivalent to the argument that the removal of all restraint from the
sale and manufacture of intoxicating drinks, thus making them cheap
and common, is the best remedy for intemperance. An equally good
argument might be made for the cure of theft, murder, and every other
vice and crime, by a similar plan. Such reasoning is the veriest
sophistry. None but a biased mind could produce such flimsy arguments.

But we forbear. We have already given this subject more attention than
it is worthy of, though we have failed to characterize the vice of
polygamy as it deserves. We leave this for the reader.

Polyandry.--Perhaps we should add a word or two respecting this custom,
which seems to be a still greater outrage against nature than that of
polygamy, being the possession of a plurality of husbands by one woman.
This practice is in vogue in several countries at the present time,
being very common in Thibet, where it is not an unusual thing for a
woman in marrying the eldest of a family of brothers to include in the
contract all of the other brothers as well. Polyandry was also common
among the ancient Medes. Indeed, the Medes practiced both polygamy and
polyandry. A man was not considered respectable unless he had at least
seven wives; neither were women considered worthy of general esteem
unless they had as many as five husbands. In that country, the fact
that a woman was already married was in no degree a barrier to subsequent
marriages, even while the husband was living, and without the trouble
of a divorce. Those who maintain the propriety of polygamy would do
well to consider the historic facts respecting the opposite practice.
There appear to be as good grounds for believing one to have a basis
in the human constitution as the other.

Divorce.--Another of the crying evils of the day, and one which menaces
in a most alarming manner the most sacred interests of society, is the
facility with which divorces may be obtained. In some States the laws
regulating divorce are so notoriously loose that scores and even
hundreds of people visit the States referred to every year with no other
object than to obtain a dissolution of the bonds of matrimony. The
effect of this looseness in the laws is to encourage hasty,
inconsiderate marriages, and to make escape from an uncongenial partner
so easy that the obligation to cultivate forbearance and to acquire
mutual adaptation which may not at first exist, is wholly overlooked.

The Bible rule for divorce, laid down by the Great Teacher, is little
regarded in these degenerate days. He made adultery the only legitimate
cause for divorce; yet we now see married people breaking asunder their
solemn marriage ties on the occurrence of the most trivial difficulties.
If a couple become tired of each other and desire a change, all they
have to do is to forward the fee to a New York or Chicago lawyer, and
they will receive back in a short time the legal papers duly signed,
granting them the desired annulment of their vows.

Although countenanced by human laws, there can be no doubt that this
shameless trifling with a divine institution is regarded by High Heaven
as the vilest abomination. In no direction is there greater need of
reformatory legislation than in this. The marriage contract should be
recognized in our laws as one which cannot be made and broken so lightly
as it now is. It should be annulled only for the most serious offenses.
The contrary course now pursued so frequently is most detrimental to
morals. Our divorce laws virtually offer a premium for unchastity.

Not infrequently we see among the advertisements in the newspapers
notices like the following: "The undersigned is prepared to furnish
divorces to parties desiring the same at moderate rates, in short time,
and without publicity. ---- ----."

The animus of these advertisements is fraud. The parties so engaged
are the vilest scoundrels; and that they are allowed to continue to
ply their nefarious vocation is a foul blot upon the enlightened
civilization of a so-called Christian country. A publisher who will
insert such a notice in his journal, would advertise a brothel if he
dared. While there is so much interest in the suppression of obscene
literature, we would suggest that the proper authorities should direct
their attention to the suppression of unlawful divorces, and the proper
punishment of the villains engaged in forwarding this nefarious

Who May not Marry.--Many writers devote much space in laying down rules
which are to be implicitly followed by those seeking life partners.
We have attempted nothing of the sort, both from its impracticability,
and from the fact that such rules are never followed; and if the attempt
should be made to follow the prescribed rules, we are not sure that
more good than harm would be the result. Hence, we shall content
ourselves with calling attention to a few facts of great importance
respecting the conditions which imperatively forbid marriage, and
which cannot be violated without the certain entailment of great

_1. Persons suffering with serious disease of a character communicable
to others by contagion or by hereditary transmission._

Many people wonder why it is that diseases are so much more numerous
and varied in modern times than in the earlier ages of the race. There
has been an evident increase within a few centuries. While there are,
undoubtedly, numerous influencing causes, one which cannot be
overlooked is the hereditary transmission of disease, which preserves
those disorders which already exist, and adds new ones which originate
from new exciting causes. By this means, the human race is undoubtedly
being weakened, human life shortened, and diseases multiplied. Compare
the average age of human beings of the present day, less than forty
years, with the longevity of the early members of the race, who lived
more than as many score of years. Some mighty deteriorating influence
has been at work; and we hazard nothing in the assertion that the
marriage of diseased persons and kindred violations of the laws of human
hygiene have been not unimportant factors in producing this most
appalling diminution in the length of human life.

Among the diseases which are most certain to be transmitted are
pulmonary tuberculosis, or consumption, syphilis, cancer, leprosy,
epilepsy, and some other nervous disorders, some forms of skin disease,
and insanity. The list might be extended; but these are the more common.
Persons suffering with these disorders have no right to marry, for at
least four reasons:--

(1) It is a sin against the offspring of such unions, who have a right
to be born well, but are forced to come into the world with weakly
constitutions, diseased frames, and the certainty of premature death.
The children of consumptive and syphilitic parents rarely survive
infancy. If they do, it is only to suffer later on, as they surely will,
and, perhaps, to communicate the same destructive diseases to other
human beings; but these diseases rarely extend beyond the third
generation, the line becoming extinct. The most heart-rending
spectacles we have ever met have been the children of parents suffering
with the diseases mentioned. Their appearance is characteristic; no
physician of experience can fail to detect the sins of a profligate
parent in a syphilitic child. Every feature indicates the presence of
a blighting curse.

There are those who assert that a man who has suffered with disease
of the character last mentioned may marry after the lapse of two or
three years from the disappearance of the active symptoms of the malady.
Such assertions we consider as most dangerous and pernicious. The
individuals who make them are well acquainted with the fact that of
all diseases this is the most difficult to eradicate when once the
system has become thoroughly infected by it. Not only three years but
thirty years may elapse after active symptoms disappear, yet the
disease may break out again in a new and still more serious and
complicated form. It may even lie entirely dormant or latent in the
system of the parent during his lifetime, but break out in all its
terrible destructiveness in his children. A man or woman who has once
suffered with this fell disease is contaminated for life; and it is
a crime for such an one to entail upon innocent, unoffending human
beings such a terrible legacy. Such a person has no right to marry;
or if married, has no right to perpetuate the results of his sins in
offspring. It is _never safe_ to say to a man who has once been infected
that he is cured. If a cure ever takes place, it is exceedingly rare.

(2) It is a crime against the race. One of the primary objects of
marriage is reproduction. As members of the human race, it is the duty
of parents to produce a high type of human beings, at least to do all
in their power to produce healthy offspring. If they cannot do this,
and are aware of the fact, they are guilty of abuse of the reproductive
function in bringing sickly offspring into the world to suffer.

(3) It is injurious to the contracting parties themselves. If a person
has a communicable disease, as syphilis, leprosy, and some bad forms
of skin disease, the disease will certainly be communicated to the wife
or husband, and so a double amount of suffering will be entailed. The
dread disease, consumption, rightly called the scourge of civilization,
is now well known to be communicable. A few years ago we were consulted
by an old gentleman, a native of Canada, who was suffering with
pulmonary disease. We inquired respecting the history of the malady.
Said he, "Doctor, it may seem strange, but I believe I _inherited_
consumption from my wife, who died of consumption a few years ago."
Excepting the wrong use of the term inherit, we were not prepared to
dispute the old gentleman's ideas respecting the origin of his disease.
Living in close association for years with his wife, who was slowly
dying with disease of the lungs, it was quite possible for him to have
received the disease from her. So many cases of this kind have been
reported that it is now generally believed by medical men that
consumption is communicable from one person to another by the reception
into the system of the well person of the exhalations from the lungs
of the person affected.

Another point worthy of mention here is the well-known fact that the
intimate association of married people modifies even the physical form
of both. Almost every one has noticed how much alike in appearance
married people who have lived many years together come to be. This
physical change undoubtedly extends further than to the features only.
The whole constitution is modified.

A remarkable illustration of this fact is found in the frequent
observation that the children of a woman by a second husband often
resemble in appearance the first husband much more than their own father.
It has been observed that the children of negro women, even by husbands
of pure negro blood, are much lighter in color than usual if she has
had a child by a white man previously.

The same fact is observed in lower animals. In England, some years ago,
a cross was effected between a male zebra and several young mares. Not
only the hybrid colts resulting from this union, but all the colts
afterward foaled by the same mares, from other horses, were striped
like the zebra.

In view of these facts, it is evident that the system of the woman,
at least, may be profoundly affected in a similar manner by
constitutional weaknesses, as well as by other individual
peculiarities possessed by her husband.

No person suffering with a contagious or infectious disease has any
right to communicate the same to another. Indeed, it is the moral duty
of every person so affected to do all in his power for the protection
of others from the same cause of suffering.

_2. Persons having a marked hereditary tendency to disease must not
marry those having a similar tendency._

Every physician knows only too well the powerful influence of
hereditary causes in determining the length of human life. Persons,
one or both of whose parents have died of consumption, are very likely
to die of the same disease, and frequently at about the same age. The
children of such parents are commonly feeble and puny, and die early
if they survive infancy. When both parents possess the consumptive
tendency, the chance for life in the offspring is very poor indeed.
The same may be said of those suffering with cancer, epilepsy, insanity,
etc. Persons with a strong tendency to any one of the diseases mentioned
should in no case marry. If there is but a slight morbid tendency,
marriage may be admissible, but only with a partner possessing robust

_3. Should cousins marry?_

Writers have devoted a good deal of attention to this subject, and we
have been shown statistics, reports of imbecile asylums, etc., for the
purpose of proving that the marriage of cousins results in the
production of idiots, and other defectives; but the results of more
careful examinations of the subject invalidate the views heretofore
held, and it must be acknowledged that when both parties are healthy
there is no more liability of mental incompetency in the children of
cousins, than in the offspring of persons more remotely related. It
must be added, however, that there are other reasons why the marriage
of cousins is not to be generally recommended. Besides the fact that
the feeling existing between cousins is often only that which is felt
by brothers and sisters for each other, there is the still more
important fact that on account of the blood relation, unions of this
kind are more apt than others to bring together persons having similar
morbid tendencies.

_4. Persons having serious congenital deformities should not marry._

The reason for this rule is obvious. Persons suffering with serious
congenital defects, as natural blindness, deafness, deformity of the
limbs, or defective development of any part, will be more or less likely
to transmit the same deformities or deficiencies to their children.
There are, of course, cases of natural blindness, as well as of
disability in other respects, to which this rule does not apply, the
natural process of development not being seriously defective. It has
even been observed that there is a slight tendency to the reproduction
in the offspring, of deformity which has been artificially produced
in the parents, and has existed for a long time.

Many ancient nations observed this rule. Infants born cripples were
strangled at birth or left to die. A Spartan king was once required
by his people to pay a heavy fine for taking a wife who was inferior
in size.

_5. Criminals should not marry._

It has been satisfactorily shown by thorough and scientific
investigation that criminals often receive their evil proclivities
from their parents. What are known as the criminal classes, which are
responsible for the greater part of the crime committed, are constantly
and greatly on the increase. There is no doubt but that inheritance
is largely responsible for the continued increase of crime and
criminals. A drunkard begets in his child a thirst for liquor, which
is augmented by the mother's use of ale or lager during gestation and
nursing, and the child enters the world with a natural taste for
intoxicants. A thief transmits to his offspring a secretive, dishonest,
sneaking disposition; and the child comes into the world ticketed for
the State prison by the nearest route. So with other evil tendencies.
By legislation or by some other means, measures should be speedily
adopted for the prevention of this rapid increase of criminals, if there
is any feasible plan which can be adopted. We offer no suggestion on
this point, but it is one well worthy of the consideration of
philanthropic statesmen.

_6. Persons who are greatly disproportionate in size should not marry._

While good taste would suggest the propriety of this rule, there are
important physiological reasons for its observance. While the lack of
physical adaptitude may be the occasion of much suffering and
unhappiness in such unions, especially on the part of the wife, being
even productive of most serious local disease, and sometimes of
sterility, it is in childbirth that the greatest risk and suffering
is incurred. More might be said on this point, but this is sufficient
for those who are willing to profit by a useful hint.

_7. Persons between whom there is great disparity of age should not

The reasons for this have already been given at length, and we will
not repeat. In general, the husband should be older than the wife, from
two to five years. The husband may often be ten or twelve years the
senior of the wife; but when more than that, the union is not likely
to be a profitable or happy one, if it is not absolutely productive
of suffering and unhappiness. The ancient Greeks required that the
husband should be twenty years older than the wife; but this custom
was no more reasonable than that of another nation which required that
only old and young should marry, so that the sobriety of the old might
restrain the frivolity of the young.

_8. Persons who are extremely unlike in temperament should not marry._

Persons who are so unlike in temperament and tastes as to have no mutual
enjoyments, no congeniality of feeling, will be incompatible as husband
and wife, and the union of such persons will be anything but felicitous.
No definite rule can be laid down; but those seeking a companion for
life would do well to bear this caution in mind, at the same time
remembering that too great similarity of character, especially when
there are prominent defects, is equally undesirable.

_9. Marriage between widely different races is unadvisable._

While there is no moral precept directly involved in marriage between
widely different nations, as between whites and blacks or Indians,
experience shows that such marriages are not only not conducive to
happiness, but are detrimental to the offspring. It has been proven
beyond room for question that mulattoes are not so long-lived as either
blacks or whites.

_10. Persons who are unable to sustain themselves or a family should
not marry._

Both moral and social obligations--if the two obligations may exist
independently--forbid marriage to a young man who is scarcely able to
provide for himself, much less to support a wife and a family. The theory
advocated by some that two can live almost as cheaply as one, so that
a saving will be made by a union of two in marriage, is a most fallacious
one. There may be occasional exceptions, but in general, young people
who marry with this idea in their heads find that they have reasoned
not wisely. It will not be disputed that a married couple may live upon
what is often spent foolishly by a young man; but a young man can be
economical if he will; and if he does not learn economy before marriage,
it is likely that he never will learn it.

The marriage of paupers, to beget pauper children and foist them upon
the community for support, is an outrage against society. We believe
it is not improper to speak out plainly upon this subject, and in no
uncertain tone, notwithstanding the popular prejudice which cries,
"Hush, be quiet; don't interfere with individual rights, don't disturb
the peace of society," whenever anything is said which has a bearing
on a regard for propriety in matters relating to one of the most ancient,
the most sacred, and the most abused of all divinely appointed human
institutions. We have never been able to account for this strange
averseness to the consideration of this phase of the matrimonial
question, and the determined effort often made to ignore it whenever
it is broached. We purpose to speak out, notwithstanding the feeling
referred to, since we believe this to be a crying evil; and we have
no fears but that we shall have the hearty indorsement of every
individual who can so far lay aside his prejudices as to allow his native
common sense a fair chance to influence his judgment.

In the country of Iceland, a land which is scarcely more than
semi-civilized, if a young man wishes to marry, the first thing to be
considered is his pecuniary situation. Before he can take to himself
a wife, he must appear before the proper authority and present evidence
that he is able to support a wife and family in addition to providing
for himself. Even the barbarous natives of Patagonia show an equal
degree of good sense, the chief of each tribe requiring that every young
man who wishes to marry shall first prove himself competent to provide
for a family, having attained the requisite degree of proficiency in
hunting and fishing, and having possessed himself of at least two horses
and the necessary equipments.

In this country,--a civilized, so-called Christian country, blessed
with all the enlightenment of the nineteenth century, what do we see?
Instead of any regulation of the sort, the utmost indifference to such
clearly important considerations. If young people profess to love each
other and wish to marry, no one of their friends thinks of asking, "How
are they going to live after they are married? Has the young man a trade?
Has the young lady been so educated as to be self-sustaining if
necessary? Has the young man a home or the wherewithal to obtain one?
Has he a good situation, with prospects of being able to support his
wife comfortably and provide for a family?" These, or similar questions
are sometimes asked, but little respect is paid to them by any one,
least of all by the young people themselves, who ought to be most
interested. The minister never inquires respecting the propriety of
the wedding at which he is to officiate, and invokes the blessings of
Heaven upon a union which, for aught he knows, may be the grossest
violation of immutable laws, Heaven-implanted in the constitution of
the human race. The friends tender their congratulations and wishes
of "much joy," when in three cases out of four the conditions are such
that a preponderance of grief is an inevitable certainty, and "much
joy" an utter impossibility.

There are exceptions to all general rules; but it is a fact of which
almost any one may convince himself that a man or a woman seldom rises
much higher than the level reached at marriage. If a young man has no
trade then, it is more than probable that he will never be master of
one. If he has not fitted himself for a profession, he will most likely
never attain to such a rank in society. He will, in all probability,
be a common laborer, living "from hand to mouth," with nothing laid
by for a rainy day.

A wag says that a young couple just married, and for the first time
awakened to the full consciousness of the fact that they must provide
for themselves or starve, held the following dialogue: Husband. "Well,
wife, what are we going to do? How shall we live?" Wife. "Oh, my dear,
we shall get along very well, I am sure; you love me, don't you?" H.
"Certainly, dear, but we cannot live on love." W. "We can live on bread
and water; so long as we have each other, it doesn't matter much what
we have to eat." "That's so, my dear; well, you furnish the bread, and
I will skirmish around after the water." This exact dialogue may never
have taken place; but the circumstances which might have called it out
have occurred thousands of times. How many times has a dependent woman
who had hastily married an improvident husband awakened at the end of
a short honeymoon to find that she had only a limber stick or a broken
reed to lean upon, instead of a self-reliant, independent,
self-sustaining man, able to provide for her the comforts of a home
and to protect her from the rudeness and suffering of privation and

In our estimation it is as much a sin for a man to assume the obligation
of caring for a wife and family when he has no reasonable grounds for
believing himself able to do so, as for a man to go in debt a few hundreds
or thousands of dollars, and agree to pay the same when required, though
perfectly well aware that he will probably be unable to do so. Hence
we say again, with emphasis, the improvident should not marry; and we
shall insist upon urging this truth, notwithstanding the fact that the
very class of persons referred to are usually of all classes the most
anxious to enter the matrimonial state at the earliest possible moment,
and the most certain to bring into the world large families of children
still more improvident than themselves.

_11. Do not marry a person whose moral character will not bear the
closest scrutiny._

By this we do not mean that absolute perfection should be required,
as this would interdict marriage altogether; but we wish to warn every
young man against marrying a young woman who treats lightly or
contemptuously matters which should be treated with profound respect;
who uses the name of Deity flippantly or rudely; who treats her parents
disrespectfully; who never cares to talk of subjects of a spiritual
nature; who is giddy, gay, dressy, thoughtless, fickle. Such a young
woman will never make a loving, patient, faithful, helpful wife.

We wish also to warn every young woman against choosing for a husband
a man who has a strong leaning toward infidelity; who does not believe
in human responsibility; who makes a mock of religion; who is addicted
to profanity; who is either grossly intemperate or given to moderate
tippling, be it ever so little, so long as he does not believe in and
practice total abstinence; who uses tobacco; who is a jockey, a fop,
a loafer, a scheming dreamer, or a speculator; who is known to be
unchaste, or who has led a licentious life.

The man who has no love for his Maker will be likely to have little
for his wife and children. He who does not acknowledge his
responsibility to a higher power will soon forget his obligations to
the wife he has promised to love and cherish. The man who is not willing
to sacrifice the gratification afforded by such pernicious habits as
dram-drinking and tobacco-using to insure the comfort and happiness
of his wife and children, is too selfish to make any woman a kind

There is no greater error abroad than that held by not a few that "a
reformed rake makes the best husband." The man whose affections have
been consumed in the fires of unhallowed lust is incapable of giving
to a pure-minded woman the love that she expects and deserves. A person
cannot pass through the fire unscathed. The scars burned into the
character by the flames of concupiscence are as deep and lasting as
those inflicted upon the body, and even more so. Only "in the
regeneration" will the marks and scars of the reformed reprobate be
wholly effaced.

We willingly grant that there have been numerous instances in which
noble women have by years of patient effort reformed their erring
husbands, restoring them to the paths of virtue and sobriety from which
they had wandered. We do not deny that it can be done again; but we
do not hesitate to say that the experiment is a most perilous one for
any woman to undertake, and one which not more than one woman in a
hundred can bring to a successful termination. The hazard is terrible.
Perhaps it is on this very account that many young women run the risk;
but they rarely understand what they are doing. The woman who marries
a drunkard will, ten chances to one, die a heart-broken drunkard's wife,
or follow her husband to a drunkard's grave. It is never safe for a
woman to marry a man who has been for years an habitual drunkard, since
he may relapse at any time; and the man who has only indulged moderately
should be thoroughly reformed and tested before the chances are taken
"for better or worse." Let him prove himself well first. A proposition
to reform on condition of marriage should be dismissed with disdain.
If a young man will not determine to do right because it is right, his
motives are sordid; and the probability is very great that so soon as
some stronger incentive appeals to his selfishness, he will forget his
vows and promises and relapse into his former vices.

Do Not Be in a Hurry.--In conclusion, perhaps we could give no more
important advice than this: _Do not be in a hurry to marry._ There is
little danger that this advice will do harm, for ten illustrations of
the evil results of hasty marriage are seen to one in which the opposite
mistake is made. It rarely happens that a marriage made without
consideration and due deliberation on the part of both parties is a
happy one in its results. There are exceptional cases in which this
kind of matrimonial alliances result very satisfactorily; but these
cases are quite exceptional. The business of selecting a partner for
life, one who is expected to sustain the closest relation possible
between human beings, who must be prepared to share in another's sorrows
as well as joys, to sympathize with another's aspirations and
appreciate another's motives and sentiments,--such a task is certainly
one of the most serious of an individual's life and ought to be entered
upon with calmness, deliberation, and unbiased judgment and entire
self-control. When making a decision which must affect seriously an
individual's whole life-time, passion, caprice, and all motives
calculated to bias the judgment, should be laid aside. The happiness
and usefulness of a whole life-time may be marred by a word. There is
too much pending to be in a hurry.

A certain philosopher once "compared a man about to marry to one who
was about to put his hand into a sack in which were ninety-nine serpents
and one eel; the moral of which is that there are ninety-nine chances
to one against a fortunate selection." If this is true of a man about
to marry, it is probably equally true that a woman under the same
circumstances has nine hundred and ninety-nine chances against, for
one in favor of, a fortunate selection.


"Thou shalt not commit adultery." "Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust
after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."

In these two scriptures we have a complete definition of unchastity.
The seventh commandment, with the Saviour's commentary upon it, places
clearly before us the fact that chastity requires purity of thought
as well as of outward acts. Impure thoughts and unchaste acts are alike
violations of the seventh commandment. As we shall see, also,
unchastity of the mind is a violation of natural law as well as of moral
law, and is visited with physical punishment commensurate to the

Mental Unchastity.--It is vain for a man to suppose himself chaste who
allows his imagination to run riot amid scenes of amorous associations.
The man whose lips delight in tales of licentiousness, whose eyes feast
upon obscene pictures, who is ever ready to pervert the meaning of a
harmless word or act into uncleanness, who finds delight in reading
vivid portrayals of acts of lewdness,--such a one is not a virtuous
man. Though he may never have committed an overt act of unchastity,
if he cannot pass a handsome female in the street without, in
imagination, approaching the secrets of her person, he is but one grade
above the open libertine, and is as truly unchaste as the veriest

Man may not see these mental adulteries, he may not perceive these
filthy imaginings; but One sees and notes them. They leave their hideous
scars upon the soul. They soil and mar the mind; and as the record of
each day of life is photographed upon the books in Heaven, they each
appear in bold relief, in all their innate hideousness.

O purity! how rare a virtue! How rare to find a face which shows no
trace of sensuality! One turns with sadness from the thought that human
"forms divine" have sunk so low. The standard of virtue is trailing
in the dust. Men laugh at vice, and sneer at purity. The bawdy laugh,
the ribald jest, the sensual glance, the obscene song, the filthy tale,
salute the eyes and ears at every street corner, in the horse-car, on
the railroad train, in the bar-room, the lecture hall, the workshop.
In short, the works and signs of vice are omnipresent.

Foul thoughts, once allowed to enter the mind, stick like the leprosy.
They corrode, contaminate, and infect like the pestilence; naught but
Almighty power can deliver from the bondage of concupiscence a soul
once infected by this foul blight, this moral contagium.

Mental Uncleanness.--It is a wide-spread and deadly error, that only
outward acts are harmful; that only physical transgression of the laws
of chastity will produce disease. We have seen all the effects of
beastly abuse result from mental sin alone.

"I have traced serious affections and very great suffering to this cause.
The cases may occur at any period of life. We meet with them frequently
among such as are usually called, or think themselves, continent young
men. There are large classes of persons who seem to think that they
may, without moral guilt, excite their own feelings or those of others
by loose or libidinous conversation in society, provided such impure
thoughts or acts are not followed by masturbation or fornication. I
have almost daily to tell such persons that physically, and in a
sanitary point of view, they are ruining their constitutions. There
are young men who almost pass their lives in making carnal acquaintances
in the street, but just stop short of seducing girls; there are others
who haunt the lower classes of places of public amusement for the
purpose of sexual excitement, and live, in fact, a thoroughly immoral
life in all respects except actually going home with prostitutes. When
these men come to me, laboring under the various forms of impotence,
they are surprised at my suggesting to them the possibility of the
impairment of their powers being dependent upon these previous vicious

[Footnote 4: Acton.]

"Those lascivious _day-dreams_ and amorous reveries, in which young
people--and especially the idle and the voluptuous, and the sedentary
and the nervous--are exceedingly apt to indulge, are often the sources
of general debility, effeminacy, disordered functions, premature
disease, and even premature death, without the actual exercise of the
genital organs! Indeed, this unchastity of thought--this adultery of
the mind--is the beginning of immeasurable evil to the human

[Footnote 5: Graham.]

Amativeness.--Certain phrenologists contend that the controlling
center of the sexual passion is the cerebellum, or little brain, which
is situated at the lower and back part of the head. They apparently
love to dwell upon the theme, and ride their hobby upon all possible
occasions, often in the most disgusting manner, and always leaving the
impression that they must be themselves suffering from perversion of
the very function of which they speak.

There may be some doubt whether the function called amativeness is
located in the cerebellum at all; at least, it is perfectly certain
that amativeness is not the exclusive function of the cerebellum. Says
Carpenter, the learned physiologist, "The seat of the sexual sensation
is no longer supposed to be in the cerebellum generally; but probably
in its central portion, or some part of the medulla oblongata."

The cerebellum is intimately connected with the principal vital organs;
hence, if it is largely developed, the individual will possess a
well-developed physical organism and a good degree of constitutional
vigor. He will have vigorous health, and probably strong sexual powers;
not, however, as a special function, but for the same reason that he
will have a good digestion.

To the majority of mankind, apparently, amativeness, or sexual love,
means lust. The faculty has been lowered and debased until it might
almost be considered practically synonymous with sensuality. The first
step toward reform must be a recognition of a higher and purer relation
than that which centers every thought upon the gratification of the
animal in human nature. If one may judge from the facts which now and
then come to the surface in society, it would appear that the
opportunity for sensual gratification had come to be, in the world at
large, the chief attraction between the sexes. If to these observations
we add the filthy disclosures constantly made in police courts and
scandal suits, we have a powerful confirmation of the opinion. Even
ministers, who ought to be "ensamples to the flock," are rather "blind
leaders of the blind," and fall into the same ditch with the rest.

This perversion of a natural instinct, and these sudden lapses from
virtue which startle a small portion of community and afford a filthy
kind of pleasure to the other part, are but the outgrowths of mental
unchastity. "Filthy dreamers," before they are aware, become filthy
in action. The thoughts mold the brain, as certainly as the brain molds
the thoughts. Rapidly down the current of sensuality is swept the
individual who yields his imagination to the contemplation of
lascivious themes. Before he knows his danger, he finds himself deep
in the mire of concupiscence. He may preserve a fair exterior; but
deception cannot cleanse the slime from his putrid soul. How many a
church-member carries under a garb of piety a soul filled with
abominations, no human scrutiny can tell. How many pulpits are filled
by "whited sepulchers," only the Judgment will disclose.

Unchaste Conversation.--"Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth
speaketh." "Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give
account thereof in the day of Judgment." "By thy words thou shalt be
condemned." Matt. 12: 34, 36, 37. In these three brief sentences, Christ
presents the whole moral aspect of the subject of this paragraph. To
any one who will ponder well his weighty words, no further remark is
necessary. Let filthy talkers but consider for a moment what a multitude
of "idle," unclean words are waiting for account in the final day; and
then let them consider what a load of condemnation must roll upon their
guilty souls when strict justice is meted out to every one before the
bar of Omnipotence, and in the face of all the world--of all the

The almost universal habit among boys and young men of relating filthy
stories, indulging in foul jokes, making indecent allusions, and
subjecting to lewd criticism every passing female, is a most abominable
sin. Such habits crush out pure thoughts; they annihilate respect for
virtue; they make the mind a quagmire of obscenity; they lead to overt
acts of lewdness.

But boys and youths are not alone in this. More often than otherwise,
they gain from older ones the phraseology of vice. And if the sin is
loathsome in such youthful transgressors, what detestable enormity
must characterize it in the old.

And women, too, are not without their share in this accursed thing,
this ghost of vice, which haunts the sewing-circle and the parlor as
well as the club-room. They do not, of course, often descend to those
black depths of vulgarity to which the coarser sex will go, but couch
in finer terms the same foul thoughts, and hide in loose insinuations
more smut than words could well express. Women who think themselves
rare paragons of virtue can find no greater pleasure than in the
discussion of the latest scandal, speculations about the chastity of
Mrs. A. or Mr. B., and gossip about the "fall" of this man's daughter
or the amorous adventures of that woman's son.

Masculine purity loves to regard woman as chaste in mind as well as
in body, to surround her with conceptions of purity and impregnable
virtue; but the conclusion is irresistible that those who can gloat
over others' lapses from virtue, and find delight in such questionable
entertainments as the most recent case of seduction, or the newest
scandal, have need to purify their hearts and re-enforce their waning
chastity. Nevertheless, a writer says, and perhaps truly, that "the
women comprise about all the real virtue there is in the world."
Certainly if they were one-half as bad as the masculine portion of
humanity, the world would be vastly worse than it is.

Causes of Unchastity.--Travelers among the North American Indians have
been struck with the almost entire absence of that abandonment to vice
which might be expected in a race uninfluenced by the moral restraints
of Christianity. When first discovered in their native wilds, they were
free from both the vices and the consequent diseases of civilization.
This fact points unmistakably to the conclusion that there must be
something in the refinements and perversions of civilized life which
is unfavorable to chastity, notwithstanding all the restraints which
religion and the conventionalisms of society impose. Can we find such
influences? Yes; they abound on every hand and leave their blight in
most unwelcome places, oft unsuspected, even, till the work of ruin
is complete.

Early Causes.--The earliest of all causes is hereditary predisposition.
As we have shown, a child conceived in lust can no more be chaste by
nature than a negro can be a Caucasian. But back of this there is a
deeper cause, as we shall see, one that affects parents as well as
offspring. Between infancy and puberty, are in operation, all those
influences mentioned under "Sexual Precocity."

The frequent custom of allowing children of the opposite sex to sleep
together, even until eight or ten years of age, or longer, is a dangerous
one. We have known of instances in which little boys of seven or eight
have been allowed to sleep with girls of fourteen or sixteen, in some
of which most shameful lessons were taught, and by persons who would
not be suspected of such an impropriety. In one instance a little boy
of eight, occupying the same bed with three girls several years older,
was used for illustration by the older girl in instructing the younger
ones in the _modus operandi_ of reproduction. The sexes should be
carefully separated from each other at least as early as four or five
years of age, under all circumstances which could afford opportunity
for observing the physical differences of the sexes, or in any way serve
to excite those passions which at this tender age should be wholly

Diet vs. Chastity.--From earliest infancy to impotent old age, under
the perverting influence of civilization, there is a constant
antagonism between diet and purity. Sometimes--rarely we hope--the
helpless infant imbibes the essence of libidinous desires with its
mother's milk, and thence receives upon its forming brain the stamp
of vice. When old enough to take food in the ordinary way, the infant's
tender organs of digestion are plied with highly seasoned viands,
stimulating sauces, animal food, sweetmeats, and dainty tidbits in
endless variety. Soon, tea and coffee are added to the list. Salt,
pepper, ginger, mustard, condiments of every sort, deteriorate his
daily food. If, perchance, he does not die at once of indigestion, or
with his weakened forces fall a speedy victim to the diseases incident
to infancy, he has his digestive organs impaired for life at the very
outset of his existence.

Exciting stimulants and condiments weaken and irritate his nerves and
derange the circulation. Thus, indirectly, they affect the sexual
system, which suffers through sympathy with the other organs. But a
more direct injury is done. Flesh, condiments, eggs, tea, coffee,
chocolate, and all stimulants, have a powerful influence directly upon
the reproductive organs. They increase the local supply of blood; and
through nervous sympathy with the brain, the passions are aroused.

Overeating, eating between meals, hasty eating, eating indigestible
articles of food, late suppers, react upon the sexual organs with the
utmost certainty. Any disturbance of the digestive function
deteriorates the quality of the blood. Poor blood, filled with crude,
poorly digested food, is irritating to the nervous system, and
especially to those extremely delicate nerves which govern the
reproductive function. Irritation provokes congestion; congestion
excites sexual desires; excited passions increase the local
disturbance; and thus each reacts upon the other, ever increasing the
injury and the liability to future damage.

Thus, these exciting causes continue their insidious work through youth
and more mature years. Right under the eyes of fathers and mothers they
work the ruin of their children, exciting such storms of passion as
are absolutely uncontrollable.

Clerical Lapses.--Our most profound disgust is justly excited when we
hear of laxity of morals in a clergyman. We naturally feel that one
whose calling is to teach his fellow-men the way of truth, and right,
and purity, should himself be free from taint of immorality. But when
we consider how these ministers are fed, we cannot suppress a momentary
disposition to excuse, in some degree, their fault. When the minister
goes out to tea, he is served with the richest cake, the choicest jellies,
the most pungent sauces, and the finest of fine-flour bread-stuffs.
Little does the indulgent hostess dream that she is ministering to the
inflammation of passions which may imperil the virtue of her daughter,
or even her own. Salacity once aroused, even in a minister, allows no
room for reason or for conscience. If women wish to preserve the virtue
of their ministers, let them feed them more in accordance with the laws
of health. Ministers are not immaculate.

The remedy for the dangers to chastity arising from this source, is
pointed out in the article on "Continence."

Tobacco and Vice.--Few are aware of the influence upon morals exerted
by that filthy habit, tobacco-using. When acquired early, it excites
the undeveloped organs, arouses the passions, and in a few years
converts the once chaste and pure youth into a veritable volcano of
lust, belching out from its inner fires of passion torrents of obscenity
and the sulphurous fumes of lasciviousness. If long-continued, the
final effect of tobacco is emasculation; but this is only the necessary
consequence of previous super-excitation. The lecherous day-dreams in
which many smokers indulge, are a species of fornication for which even
a brute ought to blush, if such a crime were possible for a brute. The
mental libertine does not confine himself to bagnios and women of the
town. In the foulness of his imagination, he invades the sanctity of
virtue wherever his erotic fancy leads him.

We are aware that we have made a grave charge against tobacco, and we
have not hesitated to state the naked truth; yet we do not think we
have exaggerated, in the least, the pernicious influence of this foul
drug. As much, or nearly as much, might be said against the use of liquor,
on the same grounds.

Bad Books.--Another potent enemy of virtue is the obscene literature
which has flooded the land for many years. Circulated by secret agencies,
these books have found their way into the most secluded districts.
Nearly every large school contains one of these emissaries of evil men
and their Satanic master. Some idea of the enormity and extent of this
evil may be gained from the following quotations from a published letter
of Mr. Anthony Comstock, who has been for some time employed by the
Young Men's Christian Association in suppressing the traffic by
arresting the publishers and destroying their goods:--

"I have succeeded in unearthing this hydra-headed monster in part, as
you will see by the following statement, which, in many respects, might
be truthfully increased in quantity. These I have seized and

"Obscene photographs, stereoscopic and other pictures, more than one
hundred and eighty-two thousand; obscene books and pamphlets, more than
five tons; obscene letter-press in sheets, more than two tons; sheets
of impure songs, catalogues, handbills, etc., more than twenty-one
thousand; obscene microscopic watch and knife charms, and finger-rings,
more than five thousand; obscene negative plates for printing
photographs and stereoscopic views, about six hundred and twenty-five;
obscene engraved steel and copper plates, three hundred and fifty;
obscene lithographic stones destroyed, twenty; obscene wood-cut
engravings, more than five hundred; stereotype plates for printing
obscene books, more than five tons; obscene transparent playing-cards,
nearly six thousand; obscene and immoral rubber articles, over thirty
thousand; lead molds for manufacturing rubber goods, twelve sets, or
more than seven hundred pounds; newspapers seized, about four thousand
six hundred; letters from all parts of the country ordering these goods,
about fifteen thousand; names of dealers in account-books seized, about
six thousand; lists of names in the hands of dealers, that are sold
as merchandise to forward circulars or catalogues to, independent of
letters and account-books seized, more than seven thousand; arrest of
dealers since Oct. 9, 1871, more than fifty."

"These abominations are disseminated by these men first obtaining the
names and addresses of scholars and students in our schools and colleges,
and then forwarding circulars. They secure thousands of names in this
way, either by sending for a catalogue of schools, seminaries, and
colleges, under a pretense of sending a child to attend these places,
or else by sending out a circular purporting to be getting up a directory
of all the scholars and students in schools and colleges in the United
States, or of taking the census of all the unmarried people, and
offering to pay five cents per name for lists so sent. I need not say
that the money is seldom or never sent, but I do say that these names,
together with those that come in reply to advertisements, are sold to
other parties; so that when a man desires to engage in this nefarious
business, he has only to purchase a list of these names, and then your
child, be it son or daughter, is liable to have thrust into its hands,
all unknown to you, one of these devilish catalogues."

"Since the destruction of the stereotype plates of old books, secret
circulars have been discovered of a notice to dealers that twelve new
books are in course of preparation, and will soon be ready for

Says Hon. C. L. Merriam, as quoted by Dr. Lewis: "We find that the
dealers in obscene literature have organized circulating libraries,
which are under the charge of the most vicious boys in the schools,
boys chosen and paid by the venders, and who circulate among the
students, at ten cents a volume, any of the one hundred and forty-four
obscene books heretofore published in New York City."

Largely through the influence of Mr. Comstock, laws have been enacted
which promise to do much toward checking this extensive evil, or at
least causing it to make itself less prominent. Our newspapers still
abound with advertisements of various so-called medical works,
"Marriage Guides," etc., which are fruits of the same "upas-tree" that
Mr. Comstock has labored so faithfully to uproot.

It is a painful fact, however, that the total annihilation of every
foul book which the law can reach will not effect the cure of this evil,
for our modern literature is full of the same virus. It is necessarily
presented in less grossly revolting forms, half concealed by beautiful
imagery, or embellished by wit; but yet, there it is, and no law can
reach it. The works of our standard authors in literature abound in
lubricity. Popular novels have doubtless done more to arouse a prurient
curiosity in the young, and to excite and foster passion and immorality,
than even the obscene literature for the suppression of which such
active measures have recently been taken. The more exquisitely painted
the scenes of vice, the more dangerously enticing. Novel-reading has
led thousands to lives of dissoluteness.

Idleness.--This evil is usually combined with the preceding. To
maintain purity, the mind must be occupied. If left without occupation,
the vacuity is quickly filled with unchaste thoughts. Nothing can be
worse for a child than to be reared in idleness. His morals will be
certain to suffer. Incessant mental occupation is the only safeguard
against unchastity. Those worthless fops who spend their lives in
"killing time" by lounging about bar-rooms, loafing on street corners,
or strutting up and down the boulevard, are anything but chaste. Those
equally worthless young women who waste their lives on sofas or in
easy-chairs, occupied only with some silly novel, or idling away life's
precious hours in reverie--such creatures are seldom the models of
purity one would wish to think them. If born with a natural propensity
toward sin, such a life would soon engender a diseased, impure
imagination, if nothing worse.

Dress and Sensuality.--There are two ways in which fashionable dress
leads to unchastity; viz., 1. By its extravagance; 2. By its abuse of
the body.

How does extravagance lead to unchastity? By creating the temptation
to sin. It affects not those gorgeously attired ladies who ride in fine
carriages, and live in brown-stone fronts, who are surrounded with all
the luxuries that wealth can purchase--fine apparel is no temptation
to such. But to less favored--though not less worthy--ones, these
magnificent displays of millinery goods and fine trappings are most
powerful temptations. The poor seamstress, who can earn by diligent
toil hardly enough to pay her board bill, has no legitimate way by which
to deck herself with the finery she admires. Plainly dressed as she
must be if she remains honest and retains her virtue, she is scornfully
ignored by her proud sisters. Everywhere she finds it a generally
recognized fact that "dress makes the lady." On the street, no one steps
aside to let her pass, no one stoops to regain for her the package that
slips from her weary hands. Does she enter a crowded car, no one offers
her a seat, though she is trembling with fatigue, while the showily
dressed woman who follows her is accommodated at once. She marks the
difference; she does not pause to count the cost, but barters away her
self-respect, to gain the respect, or deference, of strangers.

How Young Women Fall.--It has been authoritatively stated that there
are, in our large cities, hundreds of young women who, being able to
earn barely enough to buy food and fuel and pay the rent of a dismal
attic, take the advice offered by their employers, "Get some gentleman
friend to dress you for your company." Others spend all their small
earnings to keep themselves "respectably" dressed, and share the board
and lodgings of some young _roue_ as heartless as incontinent. Persons
unaccustomed to city life, and thousands of people in the very heart
of our great metropolis, have no conception of the frightful prevalence
of this kind of prostitution. Young women go to our large cities as
pure as snow. They find no lucrative employment. Daily contact with
vice obtunds their first abhorrence of it. Gradually it becomes
familiar. A fancied life of ease presents allurements to a hard-worked
sewing-girl. Fine clothes and comfortable lodgings increase the
temptation. She yields, and barters her body for a home without the
trouble of a marriage ceremony.

Wealthy women could do more to cure the "social evil" by adopting plain
attire than all the civil authorities by passing license laws or
regulating ordinances. Have not Christian women a duty here? A few years
ago, some Nashville ladies made a slight move in the right direction,
as indicated in the following paragraph; but we have not heard that
their example has been followed:--

"The lady members of the first Baptist Church, of Nashville, Tenn.,
have agreed that they will dispense with all finery on Sunday, wearing
no jewels but consistency, and hereafter appear at church in plain
calico dresses."

A more radical reform would have been an extension of the salutary
measure to all other days of the week as well as Sunday; though we see
no reason for restricting the material of clothing to calico, which
might, indeed, be rather insufficient for some seasons of the year.

Fashion and Vice.--Let us glance at the second manner in which dress
lends its influence to vice, by obstructing the normal functions of
the body. 1. Fashion requires a woman to compress her waist with bands
or corsets. In consequence, the circulation of the blood toward the
heart is obstructed. The venous blood is crowded back into the delicate
organs of generation. Congestion ensues, and with it, through reflex
action, the unnatural excitement of the animal propensities. 2. The
manner of wearing the clothing, suspending several heavy garments from
the hips, increases the same difficulty by bringing too large a share
of clothing where it is least needed, thus generating unnatural local
heat. 3. The custom of clothing the feet and limbs so thinly that they
are exposed to constant chilling, by still further unbalancing the
circulation, adds another element to increase the local mischief.

All of these causes combined, operating almost constantly,--with
others that might be mentioned,--produce permanent local congestions,
with ovarian and uterine derangements. The latter affections have long
been recognized as the chief pathological condition in hysteria, and
especially in that peculiar form of disease known as _nymphomania_,
under the excitement of which a young woman, naturally chaste and modest,
may be impelled to the commission of the most wanton acts. The
pernicious influence of fashionable dress in occasioning this disorder
cannot be doubted.

Reform in Dress Needed.--The remedy for these evils, the only way to
escape them, is reformation. The dress must be so adjusted to the body
that every organ will be allowed free movement. No corset, band, belt,
or other means of constriction, should impede the circulation. Garments
should be suspended from the shoulders by means of a waist, or proper
suspenders. The limbs should be as warmly clad as any other portion
of the body. How best to secure these requirements of health may be
learned from several excellent works on dress reform, any of which can
be readily obtained of the publishers of this work or their agents.

Fashionable Dissipation.--The influence of so important an agent for
evil in this direction as fashionable dissipation, cannot be ignored.
By fashionable dissipation we mean that class of excesses in the
indulgence in which certain classes, usually the more wealthy or
aristocratic, pride themselves. Among this class of persons a man who
is known to be a common drunkard would not be recognized; such a person
would be carefully shunned; yet a total abstainer would be avoided with
almost equal care, and would be regarded as a fanatic or an extremist
at least. With persons of this class, wine-drinking is considered
necessary as a matter of propriety. Along with wine are taken the great
variety of highly seasoned foods, spices, and condiments in profusion,
with rich meats and all sorts of delicacies, rich desserts, etc., which
can hardly be considered much less harmful than stimulants of a more
generally recognized character.

These indulgences excite that part of the system which generally needs
restraint rather than stimulation. A participant, an ex-governor,
recently described to us a grand political dinner given in honor of
a noted American citizen, which began at 5 P.M., and continued until
nearly midnight, continuous courses of foods, wines, etc., being served
for nearly six hours. Similar scenes have been enacted in a score of
our large cities for the same ostensible purpose. Knowing that public
men are addicted to such gormandizing on numerous occasions, we do not
wonder that so many of them are men of loose morals.

The tendency of luxury is toward demoralization. Rome never became
dissipated and corrupt until her citizens became wealthy, and adopted
luxurious modes of living. Nothing is much more conducive to sound
morals than full occupation of the mind with useful labor. Fashionable
idleness is a foe to virtue. The young man or the young woman who wastes
the precious hours of life in listless dreaming, or in that sort of
senseless twaddle which forms the bulk of the conversation in some
circles, is in very great danger of demoralization. Many of the usages
and customs of fashionable society seem to open the door to vice, and
to insidiously, and at first unconsciously, lead the young and
inexperienced away from the paths of purity and virtue. There is good
evidence that the amount of immorality among what are known as the
higher classes is every year increasing. Every now and then a scandal
in high life comes to the surface; but the great mass of corruption
is effectually hidden from the general public. Open profligacy is of
course frowned upon in all respectable circles; and yet wealth and
accomplishments will cover a multitude of sins.

This freedom allowed to the vile and vicious is one of the worst features
of fashionable society. Such persons carry about them a moral
atmosphere more deadly than the dreaded upas-tree.

Round Dances.--Whatever apologies may be offered for other forms of
the dance as means of exercise under certain restrictions, employed
as a form of calisthenics, no such excuse can be framed in defense of
"round dances," especially of the waltz. In addition to the associated
dissipation, late hours, fashionable dressing, midnight feasting,
exposures through excessive exertions and improper dress, etc., it can
be shown most clearly that dancing has a direct influence in stimulating
the passions and provoking unchaste desires, which too often lead to
unchaste acts, and are in themselves violations of the requirements
of strict morality, and productive of injury to both mind and body.

Said the renowned Petrarch, "The dance is the spur of lust--a circle
of which the devil himself is the center. Many women that use it have
come dishonest home, most indifferent, none better."

We cannot do better than to quote on this subject from a little work
entitled, "The Dance of Death," the author of which has given a great
amount of attention to this subject, and presents its evils in a very
forcible light, as follows:--

"A score of forms whirl swiftly before us under the softened gaslight.
I say a score of _forms_--but each is double--they would have made two
score before the dancing began. Twenty floating visions--each male and
female. Twenty women, knit and growing to as many men, undulate, sway,
and swirl giddily before us, keeping time with the delirious melody
of piano, harp, and violin.

"But draw nearer--let us see how this miracle is accomplished. Do you
mark yonder couple who seem to excel the rest in grace and ardor. Let
us take this couple for a sample. He is stalwart, agile, mighty; she
is tall, supple, lithe, and how beautiful in form and feature! Her head
rests upon his shoulder, her face is upturned to his; her naked arm
is almost around his neck; her swelling breast heaves tumultuously
against his; face to face they whirl, his limbs interwoven with her
limbs; with strong right arm about her yielding waist, he presses her
to him till every curve in the contour of her lovely body thrills with
the amorous contact. Her eyes look into his, but she sees nothing; the
soft music fills the room, but she hears nothing; swiftly he whirls
her from the floor or bends her frail body to and fro in his embrace.

"With a last, low wail the music ceases. Her swooning senses come back
to life. Ah, must it be! Yes; her companion releases her from his embrace.
Leaning wearily upon his arm, the rapture faded from her eye, the flush
dying from her cheek--enervated, limp, listless, worn out--she is led
to a seat, there to recover from her delirium and gather her energies
as best she may in the space of five minutes, after which she must yield
her body to a new embrace."

"And now tell me, friend of mine, did you not recognize an old
acquaintance in the lady we have been watching so closely? No! Then
believe me; she is no other than the 'pure and lovely girl' you so much
admired earlier in the evening, the so desirable wife, the angel who
was to 'haunt your dreams.'"

The author just quoted publishes in his little work a letter from a
woman of great ability and strength of mind, of unblemished character
and national reputation, written in response to his request for her
opinion of the dance. The statements made in this remarkable letter
are so clear and convincing that every parent ought to read it. We quote
the chief portions as follows:--

"'I will venture to lay bare a young girl's heart and mind by giving
you my own experience in the days when I waltzed.

"'In those times I cared little for Polka or Varsovienne, and still
less for the old-fashioned "Money Musk" or "Virginia Reel," and
wondered what people could find to admire in those "slow dances." But
in the soft floating of the waltz I found a strange pleasure, rather
difficult to intelligibly describe. The mere anticipation fluttered
my pulse, and when my partner approached to claim my promised hand for
the dance, I felt my cheeks glow a little sometimes, and I could not
look him in the eyes with the same frank gayety as heretofore.

"'But the climax of my confusion was reached when, folded in his warm
embrace, and giddy with the whirl, a strange, sweet thrill would shake
me from head to foot, leaving me weak and almost powerless, and really
almost obliged to depend for support upon the arm which encircled me.
If my partner failed from ignorance, lack of skill, or innocence, to
arouse these, to me, most pleasurable sensations, I did not dance with
him the second time.

"'I am speaking openly and frankly, and when I say that I did not
understand what I felt, or what were the real and greatest pleasures
I derived from this so-called dancing, I expect to be believed. But
if my cheeks grew red with uncomprehended pleasure then, they grow pale
with shame to-day when I think of it all. It was the physical emotions
engendered by the contact of strong men that I was enamored of--not
of the dance, nor even of the men themselves.

"'Thus I became abnormally developed in my lowest nature. I grew bolder,
and from being able to return shy glances at first, was soon able to
meet more daring ones, until the waltz became to me and whomsoever
danced with me, one lingering, sweet, and purely sensual pleasure,
where heart beat against heart, hand was held in hand, and eyes looked
burning words which lips dared not speak.

"'All this while no one said to me, You do wrong; so I dreamed of sweet
words whispered during the dance, and often felt while alone a thrill
of joy indescribable yet overpowering when my mind would turn from my
studies to remember a piece of temerity of unusual grandeur on the part
of one or another of my cavaliers.

"'Girls talk to each other. I was still a school girl, although mixing
so much with the world. We talked together. We read romances that fed
our romantic passions on seasoned food, and none but ourselves knew
what subjects we discussed. Had our parents heard us, they would have
considered us on the high road to ruin.

"'Yet we had been taught that it was right to dance; our parents did
it, our friends did, and we were permitted. I will say also that all
the girls with whom I associated, with the exception of one, had much
the same experience in dancing; felt the same strangely sweet emotions,
and felt that almost imperative necessity for a closer communion than
that which even the freedom of a waltz permits, without knowing exactly
why, or even comprehending what.

"'Married now, with home and children around me, I can at least thank
God for the experience which will assuredly be the means of preventing
my little daughters from indulging in any such dangerous pleasure. But,
if a young girl, pure and innocent in the beginning, can be brought
to feel what I have confessed to have felt, what must be the experience
of a married woman? _She_ knows what every glance of the eye, every
bend of the head, every close clasp means, and knowing that,
reciprocates it, and is led by swifter steps and a surer path down the
dangerous, dishonorable road.

"'I doubt if my experience will be of much service, but it is the candid
truth, from a woman who, in the cause of all the young girls who may
be contaminated, desires to show just to what extent a young mind may
be defiled by the injurious effects of round dances. I have not
hesitated to lay bare what are a young girl's most secret thoughts,
in the hope that people will stop and consider, at least, before handing
their lilies of purity over to the arms of any one who may choose to
blow the frosty breath of dishonor on their petals.'"

Much more might be added on this important subject, would the limits
of this work allow; but this must suffice. We beg the reader to consider
carefully and prayerfully the facts presented before deciding that
dancing is so harmless as many persons suppose.

Physical Causes of Unchastity.--Some of the physical causes of impurity
in women have been previously referred to, since it is through physical
injuries that unhealthful clothing exerts its influence. Too little
is generally known of the intimate connection between physical and
mental conditions. Doubtless, many vices originate in physical
imperfections. Indeed, when the full bearing of physical influences
upon the mind is allowed, it is difficult to avoid pleading extenuating
circumstances in the cases of the greatest share of transgressors of
both moral and civil laws. This principle is especially applicable to
sexual relations.

In males, one of the most general physical causes of sexual excitement
is _constipation_. The vesicula seminalis, in which the seminal fluid
is stored, is situated, as will be remembered, at the base of the bladder.
It thus has the bladder in front, and the rectum behind. In constipation,
the rectum becomes distended with feces, effete matter which should
have been promptly evacuated instead of being allowed to accumulate.
This hardened mass presses upon the parts most intimately concerned
in the sexual act, causing excessive local excitement. When this
condition is chronic, as in habitual constipation, the unnatural
excitement often leads to most serious results. One of these is the
production of a horrible disease, _satyriasis_, the nature of which
has been previously indicated.

_Constipation_ in females has the same tendency, though the dangers
are not quite so great. The irritation is sufficient, however, to lead
to excitement of the passions.

_Intestinal worms_ often produce the same result in children.

_Local uncleanliness_ is another very frequent cause which is often
overlooked. The natural local secretions quickly become a source of
great irritation if not removed by daily washing. Certain anatomical
peculiarities sometimes exist in the male which greatly aggravate this
difficulty, and for which circumcision, or an equivalent operation,
is the remedy.

_Irritation of the bladder_, producing incontinence of urine, is
another enemy to chastity. It should receive prompt attention and
treatment. In children, this irritability is indicated by wetting of
the bed at night. In cases of this kind, allow the child little drink
in the latter portion of the day. See that the bladder is emptied just
before he goes to bed. Wake him once or twice during the night, and
have him urinate. Use all possible means to remove the cause of
irritation by giving him plenty of out-of-door exercise and a very
simple, though nutritious, diet. Avoid meat, eggs, and condiments.

Modern Modes of Life.--Aside from all of the causes already enumerated,
there are many other conditions and circumstances, the result of modern
habits of living, that tend directly toward the excitement of
sensuality. Superheated rooms, sedentary employments, the development
of the mental and nervous organizations at the expense of the muscular,
the cramming system in schools, too long confinement of school-children
in a sitting position, the allowance of too great freedom between the
sexes in the young, the demoralizing influence of most varieties of
public amusement, balls, church fairs, and other like influences too
numerous to mention, all tend in the one direction, that of abnormal
excitation and precocious development of the sexual functions.

It is not an exaggeration to say that for one conforming to modern modes
of living, eating, sleeping, and drinking, absolute chastity is next
to an absolute impossibility. This would certainly be true without a
special interposition of Providence; but Providence never works
miracles to obviate the results of voluntary sin.


Continence differs from chastity in being entire restraint from sexual
indulgence under all circumstances, while chastity is only restraint
from unlawful indulgence. As we have both physical and mental chastity,
so continence should be both mental and physical. Many of the
observations on the subject of "Chastity" apply with equal force to
continence. The causes of incontinence are the same as those of
unchastity. The same relation also exists between mental and physical
continence as between mental and physical chastity.

The subject of continence evidently has a somewhat wider scope than
that of chastity, as generally understood; but as we have considered
the latter subject so fully, we shall devote less space to this, leaving
the reader to make the application of such preceding remarks as reason
may suggest to him are equally appropriate here.

Without stopping to consider the various circumstances under which
absolute continence is expedient, or desirable, or morally required,
we will proceed at once to examine the question, Is continence harmful?

Continence not Injurious.--It has been claimed by many, even by
physicians,--and with considerable show of reason,--that absolute
continence, after full development of the organs of reproduction, could
not be maintained without great detriment to health. It is needless
to enumerate all the different arguments employed to support this
position, since they are, with a few exceptions, too frivolous to
deserve attention. We shall content ourselves chiefly with quotations
from acknowledged authorities, by which we shall show that the popular
notions upon this subject are wholly erroneous. Their general
acceptance has been due, without doubt, to the strong natural bias in
their favor. It is an easy matter to believe what agrees well with one's
predilections. A bare surmise, on the side of prejudice, is more telling
than the most powerful logic on the other side.

"We know that this opinion is held by men of the world, and that many
physicians share it. This belief appears to us to be erroneous, without
foundation, and easily refuted."[6]

[Footnote 6: Mayer.]

The same writer claims "that no peculiar disease nor any abridgment
of the duration of life can be ascribed to such continence." He proves
his position by appealing to statistics, and shows the fallacy of
arguments in support of the contrary view. He further says:--

"It is determined, in our opinion, that the commerce of the sexes has
no necessities that cannot be restrained without peril."

"A part has been assigned to _spermatic plethora_ in the etiology of
various mental affections. Among others, priapism has been attributed
to it. In our opinion, this malady originates in a disturbance of the
cerebral nerve power; but it is due much less to the retention of sperm
than to its exaggerated loss; much less to virtuous abstinence than
to moral depravity."

There has evidently been a wide-spread deception upon this subject.
"Health does not absolutely require that there should ever be an
emission of semen, from puberty to death, though the individual live
a hundred years; and the frequency of involuntary nocturnal emissions
is an indubitable proof that the parts, at least, are suffering under
a debility and morbid irritability utterly incompatible with the
general welfare of the system."

Does not Produce Impotence.--It has been declared that strict
continence would result in impotency. The falsity of this argument is
clearly shown by the following observations:--

"There exists no _greater error_ than this, nor one more opposed to
physiological truth. In the first place, I may state that I have, after
many years' experience, never seen a single instance of atrophy of the
generative organs from this cause. I have, it is true, met the complaint,
but in what class of cases does it occur? It arises, in all instances,
from the exactly opposite cause, abuse; the organs become worn out,
and hence arises atrophy. Physiologically considered, it is not a fact
that the power of secreting semen is annihilated in well-formed adults
leading a healthy life and yet remaining continent. No continent man
need be deterred by this apocryphal fear of atrophy of the testes, from
living a chaste life. It is a device of the unchaste--a lame excuse
for their own incontinence, unfounded on any physiological law."[7]

[Footnote 7: Acton.]

The truth of this statement has been amply confirmed by experiments
upon animals.

The complaint is made by those whose lives have been far otherwise than
continent, that abstinence occasions suffering, from which indulgence
gives relief. The same writer further says that when such a patient
consults a medical man, "he should be told--and the result would soon
prove the correctness of the advice--that attention to diet, gymnastic
exercise, and self-control, will, most effectually relieve the

Difficulty of Continence.--Some there are who urge that self-denial
is difficult; that the natural promptings are imperious. From this they
argue that it cannot but be right to gratify so strong a passion. "The
admitted fact that continence, even at the very beginning of manhood,
is frequently productive of distress, is often a struggle hard to be
borne--still harder to be completely victorious in--is not to be at
all regarded as an argument that it is an _evil_."[8]

[Footnote 8: Ibid.]

But if rigid continence is maintained from the first, the struggle with
the passions will not be nearly so severe as after they have once been
allowed to gain the ascendency. On this point, the following remarks
are very just:--

"At the outset, the sexual necessities are not so uncontrollable as
is generally supposed, and they can be put down by the exercise of a
little energetic will. There is, therefore, as it appears to us, as
much injustice in accusing nature of disorders which are dependent upon
the genital senses, badly directed, as there would be in attributing
to it a sprain or a fracture accidentally produced."[9]

[Footnote 9: Mayer.]

Helps to Continence.--As already indicated, and as every individual
with strong passions knows, the warfare with passion is a serious one
if one determines to lead a continent life. He needs the help of every
aid that he can gain. Some of these may be named as follows:--

_The Will_.--A firm determination must be formed to lead a life of
purity; to quickly quench the first suggestions of impurity; to harbor
no unchaste desire; to purge the mind of carnal thoughts; in short,
to cleave fast to mental continence. Each triumph over vicious thoughts
will strengthen virtue; each victory won will make the next the easier.
So strong a habit of continence may be formed that this alone will be
a bulwark against vice.

_Diet_.--He who would keep in subjection his animal nature must
carefully guard the portal to his stomach. The blood is made of what
is eaten. Irritating food will produce irritating blood. Stimulating
foods or drinks will surely produce a corresponding quality of blood.
Irritating, stimulating blood will irritate and stimulate the nervous
system, and especially the delicate nerves of the reproductive system,
as previously explained. Only the most simple and wholesome food should
be eaten, and that only in such moderate quantities as are required
to replenish the tissues. The custom of making the food pungent and
stimulating with condiments is the great, almost the sole, cause of
gluttony. It is one of the greatest hindrances to virtue. Indeed, it
may with truth be said that the devices of modern cookery are most
powerful allies of unchastity and licentiousness. This subject is
particularly deserving of careful, candid, and studious attention, and
only needs such investigation to demonstrate its soundness.

_Exercise_.--Next to diet as an aid to continence, perhaps of equal
importance with it, is exercise, both physical and mental. It is a trite
proverb, the truth of which every one acknowledges, that "Satan finds
some mischief still for idle hands to do," and it is equally true that
he always has an evil thought in readiness--speaking figuratively--to
instill into an unoccupied mind. A person who desires to be pure and
continent in body and mind must flee idleness as he would the devil
himself; for the latter is always ready to improve upon the advantages
afforded by an idle moment, an hour given to reverie.

We have the strongest testimony from the most eminent physicians in
regard to the efficacy of exercise in overcoming abnormal sexual
desires. Mr. Acton relates the following statement made to him by a
gentleman who has become distinguished in his profession:--

"'You may be surprised, Mr. Acton,' said he, 'by the statement I am
about to make to you, that before my marriage I lived a perfectly
continent life. During my university career, my passions were very
strong, sometimes almost uncontrollable, but I have the satisfaction
to think that I mastered them; it was, however, by great efforts. I
obliged myself to take violent physical exertion; I was the best oar
of my year, and when I felt particularly strong sexual desire, I sallied
out to take my exercise. I was victorious always, and I never committed
fornication. You see in what vigorous health I am; it was exercise alone
that saved me.'"

Says Carpenter, on the same subject, in a textbook for medical students,
"'Try the effect of close mental application to some of those ennobling
pursuits to which your profession introduces you, in combination with
vigorous bodily exercise, before you assert that the appetite is
unrestrainable, and act upon that assertion.'"

Walking, riding, rowing, and gymnastics are among the best modes of
physical exercise for sedentary persons; but there is no better form
of exercise than working in the garden. The cultivation of small fruits,
flowers, and other occupations of like character, really excel all
other modes of physical exercise for one who can engage in them with
real pleasure. Even though distasteful at first, they may become very
attractive and interesting if there is an honest, persevering desire
to make them so. The advantages of exercises of this kind are evident.
1. They are useful as well as healthful. While they call into action
a very large number of muscles by the varied movements required, the
expenditure of vital force is remunerated by the actual value of the
products of the labor; so that no force is wasted. 2. The tillage of
the soil and the dressing of vines and plants bring one in constant
contact with nature in a manner that is elevating and refining, or at
least affords the most favorable opportunities for the cultivation of
nobility and purity of mind, and elevated principles.

Exercise carried to such excess as to produce exhaustion is always
injurious. The same is true of mental labor as of physical exercise.
Plenty of sleep, and regular habits of retiring and rising, are
important. Dozing is bad at any time; for it is a condition in which
the will is nearly dormant, though consciousness still lingers, and
the imagination is allowed to run wild, and often enough it will run
where it ought not. Late study, or late hours spent in any manner, is
a sure means of producing general nervous irritability and sexual
excitement through reflex influence.

_Bathing_.--A daily bath with cool or tepid water, followed by vigorous
rubbing of the skin with a coarse towel and then with the dry hand,
is a most valuable aid. The hour of first rising is generally the most
convenient time. How to take different kinds of baths is explained in
other works devoted to the subject.[10] General and local cleanliness
are indispensable to general and local health.

[Footnote 10: See "Uses of Water" and "The Household Manual."]

_Religion_.--After availing himself of all other aids to continence,
if he wishes to maintain purity of mind as well as physical
chastity--and one cannot exist long without the other--the individual
must seek that most powerful and helpful of all aids, divine grace.
If, in the conflict with his animal nature, man had only to contend
with the degrading influences of his own propensities, the battle would
be a serious one, and it is doubtful whether human nature alone--at
least in any but rare cases,--would be able to gain the victory; but,
in addition to his own inherent tendencies to evil, man is assailed
at every point by unseen agencies that seek to drag him down and spoil
his soul with lust. These fiendish influences are only felt, not seen,
from which some argue that they do not exist. Such casuists must find
enormous depths for human depravity. But who has not felt the cruel
power of these unseen foes? Against them, there is but one safe,
successful weapon, "the blood of Christ which cleanseth from all sin."

The struggling soul, beset with evil thoughts, will find in prayer a
salvation which all his force of will, and dieting, and exercising,
will not, alone, insure him. Yet prayer alone will not avail. Faith
and works must always be associated. All that one can do to work out
his own salvation, he must do; then he can safely trust in God to do
the rest, even though the struggle seems almost a useless one; for when
the soul has been long in bondage to concupiscence, the mind a hold
of foul and lustful thoughts, a panorama of unchaste imagery, these
hateful phantoms will even intrude themselves upon the sanctity of
prayer and make their victim mentally unchaste upon his knees. But
Christ can pity even such; and even these degraded minds may yet be
pure if with the psalmist they continue to cry, with a true purpose
and unwavering trust, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew
a right spirit within me." "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow."

At the first suggestion of an evil thought, send up a mental prayer
to Him whose ear is always open. Prayer and impurity are as incompatible
as oil and water. The pure thoughts that sincere prayer will bring,
displace the evil promptings of excited passion. But the desire for
aid must be sincere. Prayer will be of no avail while the mind is half
consenting to the evil thought. The evil must be loathed, spurned,

It would seem almost unnecessary to suggest the impropriety of
resorting to prayer alone when sexual excitability has arisen from a
culpable neglect to remove the physical conditions of local excitement
by the means already mentioned. Such physical causes must be well looked
after, or every attempt to reform will be fruitless. God requires of
every individual to do for himself all that he is capable of doing;
to employ every available means for alleviating his sufferings.


It seems to be a generally prevalent opinion that the marriage ceremony
removes all restraint from the exercise of the sexual functions. Few
seem to even suspect that the seventh commandment has any bearing upon
sexual conduct within the pale of matrimony. Yet if we may believe the
confessions and statements of men and women, legalized prostitution
is a more common crime than illicit commerce of the sexes. So common
is the popular error upon this subject, and so strongly fortified by
prejudice is it, that it is absolutely dangerous for a writer or speaker
to express the truth, if he knows it and has a disposition to do so.
Any attempt to call attention to true principles is mocked at, decried,
stigmatized, and, if possible, extinguished. The author is vilified,
and his work is denounced, and relegated to the ragman. Extremist,
fanatic, ascetic, are the mildest terms employed concerning him, and
he escapes with rare good fortune if his chastity or virility is not

We are not going to run any such risks, and so shall not attempt to
enunciate or maintain any theory. We shall content ourselves with
plainly stating established physiological facts by quotations from
standard medical authors, leaving each reader to draw conclusions and
construct a practical formula for himself.

Object of the Reproductive Functions.--Man, in whatever condition we
find him, is more or less depraved. This is true as well of the most
cultivated and refined ladies and gentlemen of the great centers of
civilization, as of the misshapen denizens of African jungles, or the
scarcely human natives of Australia and Terra del Fuego. His appetites,
his tastes, his habits, even his bodily functions are perverted. Of
course, there are degrees of depravity, and varieties of perversion.
In some respects, savages approach more nearly to the natural state
than civilized man, and in other particulars, the latter more nearly
represents man's natural condition; but in neither barbarism nor
civilization do we find man in his primitive state.

In consequence of this universal departure from his original normal
condition,--the causes of which we need not here trace, since they are
immaterial in the consideration of this question,--when we wish to
ascertain with certainty the functions of certain organs of the human
body, we are obliged to compare them with the corresponding organs of
lower animals, and study the functions of the latter. It is by this
method of investigation that most of the important truths of physiology
have been developed; and the plan is universally acknowledged to be
a proper and logical one.

Then if we wish to ascertain, with certainty, the true function of the
reproductive organs in man, we must pursue the course above indicated;
in other words, study the function of reproduction in lower animals.
We say _lower animals_, because man is really an animal, a member of
the great animal kingdom, though not a beast--at least he should not
be a beast, though some animals in human form approach very closely
to the line that separates humanity from brutes. We are brought, then,
for a solution of this problem, to a consideration of the question,
What is the object of the reproductive act in those members of the animal
kingdom just below man in the scale of being? Let science tell us, for
zoologists have made a careful study of this subject for centuries.

We quote the following paragraphs from one of the most distinguished
and reliable of modern physiologists;[11] the facts which he states
being confirmed by all other physiologists:--

"Every living being has a definite term of life, through which it passes
by the operation of an invariable law, and which, at some regularly
appointed time, comes to an end.... But while individual organisms are
thus constantly perishing and disappearing from the stage, the
particular kind, or species, remains in existence.... This process,
by which new organisms make their appearance, to take the place of those
which are destroyed, is known as the process of _reproduction_ or

"The ovaries, as well as the eggs which they contain, undergo, at
particular seasons, a periodical development, or increase in growth....
At the approach of the generative season, in all the lower animals,
a certain number of the eggs, which were previously in an imperfect
and inactive condition, begin to increase in size and become somewhat
altered in structure."

"In most fish and reptiles as well as in birds, this regular process
of maturation and discharge of eggs takes place but once in a year.
In different species of quadrupeds it may take place annually,
semi-annually, bi-monthly, or even monthly; but in every instance it
recurs at regular intervals, and exhibits accordingly, in a marked
degree, the periodic character which we have seen to belong to most
of the other vital phenomena."

"In most of the lower orders of animals there is a periodical
development of the testicles in the male, corresponding in time with
that of the ovaries in the female. As the ovaries enlarge and the eggs
ripen in the one sex, so in the other the testicles increase in size,
as the season of reproduction approaches, and become turgid with
spermatozoa. The accessory organs of generation, at the same time,
share the unusual activity of the testicles, and become increased in
vascularity and ready to perform their part in the reproductive

"Each of the two sexes is then at the same time under the influence
of a corresponding excitement. The unusual development of the genital
organs reacts upon the entire system, and produces a state of peculiar
activity and excitability, known as the condition of 'erethism.'"

"It is a remarkable fact, in this connection, that the female of these
animals will allow the approaches of the male only during and
immediately after the oestral period; that is, just when the egg is
recently discharged, and ready for impregnation. At other times, when
sexual intercourse would be necessarily fruitless, the instinct of the
animal leads her to avoid it; and the concourse of the sexes is
accordingly made to correspond in time with the maturity of the egg
and its aptitude for fecundation."

"The egg, immediately upon its discharge from the ovary, is ready for
impregnation. If sexual intercourse happens to take place about that
time, the egg and the spermatic fluid meet in some part of the female
generative passages, and fecundation is accomplished.... If, on the
other hand, coitus do not take place, the egg passes down to the uterus
unimpregnated, loses its vitality after a short time, and is finally
carried away with the uterine secretions."

"It is easily understood, therefore, why sexual intercourse should be
more liable to be followed by pregnancy when it occurs about the
menstrual epoch than at other times.... Before its discharge, the egg
is immature, and unprepared for impregnation; and after the menstrual
period has passed, it gradually loses its freshness and vitality."

[Footnote 11: Dalton.]

The law of periodicity, as it affects the sexual activity of males of
the human species, is indicated in the following remarks by the same

"The same correspondence between the periods of sexual excitement in
the male and female, is visible in many of the animals [higher mammals],
as well as in fish and reptiles. This is the case in most species which
produce young but once a year, and at a fixed period, as the deer and
the wild hog. In other species, on the contrary, such as the dog, the
rabbit, the guinea-pig, etc., where several broods of young are
produced during the year, or where, as in the human subject, the
generative epochs of the female recur at short intervals, so that the
particular period of impregnation is comparatively indefinite, the
generative apparatus of the male is almost always in a state of full
development; and is excited to action at particular periods, apparently
by some influence derived from the condition of the female."

The facts presented in the foregoing quotations from Dr. Dalton may
be summarized as follows:--

1. The sexual function is for the purpose of producing new individuals
to take the place of those who die, and thus preserve the species from
becoming extinct.

2. In the animal kingdom generally, the reproductive function is
_necessarily_ a periodical act, dependent upon the development of the
reproductive organs of both the male and the female at stated periods.

3. In those exceptional cases in which the organs of the male are in
a state of constant development, sexual congress occurs, in lower
animals, only at those periods when the periodical development occurs
in the female.

4. Fecundation of the female element can only take place about the time
of periodical development in the female.

5. The desire for sexual congress naturally exists in the female only
at or immediately after the time of periodical development.

6. The constant development of the sexual organs in human males is a
condition common to all animals in which development occurs in the
female at short intervals, and is a provision of nature to secure a
fruitful union when the female is in readiness, but not an indication
for constant or frequent use.

7. The time of sexual congress is always determined by the condition
and desires of the female.

An additional fact, as stated by physiologists, is that, under normal
conditions, the human female experiences sexual desire immediately
after menstruation more than at any other time. It has, indeed, been
claimed that at this period only does she experience the true sexual
instinct unless it is abnormally excited by disease or otherwise.

From these facts the following conclusions must evidently be drawn:--

1. The fact that in all animals but the human species the act can be
performed only when reproduction is possible, proves that in the animal
kingdom in general the sole object of the function is reproduction.
Whether man is an exception, must be determined from other

2. The fact that the males of other animals besides man in which the
sexual organs are in a state of constant development do not exercise
those organs except for the purpose of reproduction, is proof of the
position that the constant development in man is not a warrant for their
constant use.

3. The general law that the reproductive act is performed only when
desired by the female, is sufficient ground for supposing that such
should be the case with the human species also.

The opinions of writers of note are given in the following quotations:--

"The approach of the sexes is, in its purest condition, the result of
a natural instinct, the end of which is the reproduction of the species.
Still, however, we are far from saying that this ultimate result is,
in any proportion of cases, the actual thought in the minds of the
parties engaged."

"The very lively solicitations which spring from the genital sense,
have no other end than to insure the perpetuity of the race."[12]

[Footnote 12: Dr. Gardner.]

"Observation fully confirms the views of inductive philosophy; for it
proves to us that coitus, exercised otherwise than under the
inspirations of honest instinct, is a cause of disease in both sexes,
and of danger to the social order."[13]

[Footnote 13: Mayer.]

"It is incredible that the act of bringing men into life, that act of
humanity, without contradiction of the most importance, should be the
one of which there should have been the least supposed necessity for
regulation, or which has been regulated the least beneficially."[14]

[Footnote 14: Dunoyer.]

"But it may be said that the demands of nature are, in the married state,
not only legal, but should be physically right. So they are, when our
physical life is right; but it must not be forgotten that few live in
a truly physical rectitude."[15]

[Footnote 15: Gardner.]

"Among cattle, the sexes meet by common instinct and common will; it
is reserved for the human animal to treat the female as a mere victim
to his lust."[16]

[Footnote 16: Quarterly Review.]

"He is an ill husband that _uses his wife as a man treats a harlot_,
having no other end but pleasure. Concerning which our best rule is,
that although in this, as in eating and drinking, there is an appetite
to be satisfied, which cannot be done without pleasing that desire,
yet since that desire and satisfaction were intended by nature for other
ends, they should never be separated from those ends."

"It is a sad truth that many married persons, thinking that the
flood-gates of liberty are set wide open, without measures or
restraints (so they sail in the channel), have felt the final rewards
of intemperance and lust by their unlawful using of lawful permissions.
Only let each of them be temperate, and both of them modest."[17]

[Footnote 17: Jeremy Taylor.]

Says another writer very emphatically, "It is a common belief that a
man and woman, because they are legally united in marriage, are
privileged to the unbridled exercises of amativeness. This is wrong.
Nature, in the exercise of her laws, recognizes no human enactments,
and is as prompt to punish any infringement of her laws in those who
are legally married, as in those out of the bonds. Excessive indulgence
between the married produces as great and lasting evil effects as in
the single man or woman, and is nothing more or less than legalized

Results of Excesses.--The sad results of excessive indulgences are seen
on every hand. Numerous ailments attributed to overwork,
constitutional disease, or hereditary predisposition, know no other
cause and need no other explanation.

_Effects upon Husbands_.--No doubt the principal blame in this matter
properly falls upon the husband; but it cannot be said that he is the
greatest sufferer; however, his punishment is severe enough to clearly
indicate the enormity of the transgression, and to warn him to a
reformation of his habits. The following is a quotation from an eminent
medical authority:--

"But any warning against sexual dangers would be very incomplete if
it did not extend to the excesses so often committed by married persons
in ignorance of their ill effects. Too frequent emissions of the
life-giving fluid, and too frequent excitement of the nervous system
are, as we have seen, in themselves most destructive. The result is
the same within the marriage bond as without it. The married man who
thinks that because he is a married man he can commit no excess, however
often the act of sexual congress is repeated, will suffer as certainly
and as seriously as the unmarried debauchee who acts on the same
principle in his indulgences--perhaps more certainly from his very
ignorance, and from his not taking those precautions and following
those rules which a career of vice is apt to teach the sensualist. Many
a man has, until his marriage, lived a most continent life; so has his
wife. As soon as they are wedded, intercourse is indulged in night after
night, neither party having any idea that these repeated sexual acts
are excesses which the system of neither can bear, and which to the
man, at least, are absolute ruin. The practice is continued till health
is impaired, sometimes permanently, and when a patient is at last
obliged to seek medical advice, he is thunderstruck at learning that
his sufferings arise from excesses unwittingly committed. Married
people often appear to think that connection may be repeated as
regularly and almost as often as their meals. Till they are told of
the danger, the idea never enters their heads that they are guilty of
great and almost criminal excess; nor is this to be wondered at, since
the possibility of such a cause of disease is seldom hinted at by the
medical man they consult."

"Some go so far as to believe that indulgence may increase these powers,
just as gymnastic exercises augment the force of the muscles. This is
a popular error; and requires correction. Such patients should be told
that the shock on the system each time connection is indulged in, is
very powerful, and that the expenditure of seminal fluid must be
particularly injurious to organs previously debilitated. It is by this
and similar excesses that premature old age and complaints of the
generative organs are brought on."

"The length to which married people carry excesses is perfectly

"Since my attention has been particularly called to this class of
ailments, I feel confident that many of the forms of indigestion,
general ill health, hypochondriasis, etc., so often met with in adults,
depend upon sexual excesses.... That this cause of illness is not more
generally acknowledged and acted on, arises from the natural delicacy
which medical men must feel in putting such questions to their patients
as are necessary to elicit the facts."

"It is not the body alone which suffers from excesses committed in
married life. Experience every day convinces me that much of the languor
of mind, confusion of ideas, and inability to control the thoughts,
of which some married men complain, arise from this cause."[18]

[Footnote 18: Acton.]

The debilitating effects of excessive sexual indulgence arise from two
causes; viz., the loss of the seminal fluid, and the nervous excitement.
With reference to the value of the spermatic fluid, Dr. Gardner

"The sperm is the purest extract of the blood.... Nature, in creating
it, has intended it not only to communicate life, but also to nourish
the individual life. In fact, the re-absorption of the fecundating
liquid impresses upon the entire economy new energy, and a virility
which contributes to the prolongation of life."

Testimony of a French Physician.--A French author of considerable
note,[19] remarks on the same subject:--

"Nothing costs the economy so much as the production of semen and its
forced ejaculation. It has been calculated that an ounce of semen was
equivalent to forty ounces of blood.... Semen is the essence of the
whole individual. Hence, Fernel has said, 'Totus homo semen est.' It
is the balm of life.... That which gives life is intended for its

[Footnote 19: Parise.]

It may be questioned, perhaps, whether physiology will sustain to the
fullest extent all the statements made in the last quotation; but
perhaps physiology does not appreciate so fully as does pathology the
worth of the most vital of all fluids, and the fearful results which
follow its useless expenditure.

Continence of Trainers.--"The moderns who are training are well aware
that sexual indulgence wholly unfits them for great feats of strength,
and the captain of a boat strictly forbids his crew anything of the
sort just previous to a match. Some trainers have gone so far as to
assure me that they can discover by a man's style of pulling whether
he has committed such a breach of discipline over night, and have not
scrupled to attribute the occasional loss of matches to this

[Footnote 20: Acton.]

A Cause of Throat Disease.--The disease known as "_clergyman's sore
throat_" is believed by many eminent physicians to have its chief origin
in excessive venery. It is well known that sexual abuse is a very potent
cause of throat diseases. This view is supported by the following from
the pen of the learned Dr. X. Bourgeois:--

"We ought not, then, to be surprised that the physiological act,
requiring so great an expenditure of vitality, must be injurious in
the highest degree, when it is reiterated abusively. To engender is
to give a portion of one's life. Does not he who is prodigal of himself
precipitate his own ruin? A peculiar character of the diseases which
have their origin in venereal excesses and masturbation is chronicity."

"Individual predispositions, acquired or hereditary, engender for each
a series of peculiar ills. In some, the debility bears upon the
pulmonary organs. Hence results the dry cough, prolonged hoarseness,
stitch in the side, spitting of blood, and finally phthisis. How many
examples are there of young debauchees who have been devoured by this
cruel disease!... It is, of all the grave maladies, the one which
venereal abuses provoke the most frequently. Portal, Bayle, Louis, say
this distinctly."

A Cause of Consumption.--This fatal disease finds a large share of its
victims among those addicted to sexual excesses, either of an illicit
nature or within the marriage pale, for the physical effects are
essentially identical. This cause is especially active and fatal with
sedentary persons, but is sufficiently powerful to undermine the
constitution under the most favorable circumstances, as the following
case illustrates:--

The patient was a young man of twenty-two, large, muscular, and well
developed, having uncommonly broad shoulders and a full chest. His
occupation had been healthful, that of a laborer. Had had cough for
several months, and was spitting blood. Examination of lungs showed
that they were hopelessly diseased. There was no trace of consumption
in the family, and the only cause to which the disease could be
attributed was excessive sexual indulgence, which he confessed to have
practiced for several years.

Effects on Wives.--If husbands are great sufferers, as we have seen,
wives suffer still more terribly, being of feebler constitution, and
hence less able to bear the frequent shock which is suffered by the
nervous system. Dr. Gardner places this evil prominent among the causes
"the result of which we see deplored in the public press of the day,
which warns us that the American race is fast dying out, and that its
place is being filled by emigrants of different lineage, religion,
political ideas, and education."

The same author remarks further on the results of this with other causes
which largely grow out of it:--

"It has been a matter of common observation that the physical status
of the women of Christendom has been gradually deteriorating; that
their mental energies were uncertain and spasmodic; that they were
prematurely care-worn, wrinkled, and enervated; that they became
subject to a host of diseases scarcely ever known to the professional
men of past times, but now familiar to, and the common talk of, the
matrons, and often, indeed, of the youngest females in the community."

So prevalent are these maladies that Michelet says with truth that the
present is the "age of womb diseases."

Every physician of observation and experience has met many cases
illustrative of the serious effects of the evil named. Some years ago,
when acting as assistant physician in a large dispensary in an Eastern
city, a young woman applied for examination and treatment. She
presented a great variety of nervous symptoms, prominent among which
were those of mild hysteria and nervous exhaustion, together with
impaired digestion and violent palpitation of the heart. In our
inquiries respecting the cause of these difficulties, we learned that
she had been married but about six months. A little careful questioning
elicited the fact that sexual indulgence was invariably practiced every
night, and often two or three times, occasionally as many as four times
a night. We had the key to her troubles at once, and ordered entire
continence for a month. From her subsequent reports I learned that her
husband would not allow her to comply with the request, but that
indulgence was much less frequent than before. The result was not all
that could be desired, but there was marked improvement. If the husband
had been willing to "do right," entire recovery would have taken place
with rapidity.

Another case came under our observation in which the patient, a man,
confessed to having indulged every night for twenty years. We did not
wonder that at forty he was a complete physical wreck.

The Greatest Cause of Uterine Disease.--Dr. J. R. Black remarks as
follows on this subject:--

"Medical writers agree that one of the most common causes of the many
forms of derangement to which woman is subject consists in excessive
cohabitation. The diseases known as menorrhagia, dysmenorrhoea,
leucorrhoea, amenorrhoea, abortions, prolapsus, chronic inflammations
and ulcerations of the womb, with a yet greater variety of sympathetic
nervous disorders, are some of the distressing forms of these
derangements. The popular way of accounting for many of these ills is
that they come from colds or from straining lifts. But if colds and
great strain upon the parts in question develop such diseases, why are
they not seen among the inferior animals? The climatic alternations
they endure, the severe labor some of them are obliged to perform, ought
to cause their ruin; or else in popular phrase, 'make them catch their
deaths from cold.'"

Legalized Murder.--A medical writer of considerable ability presents
the following picture, the counterpart of which almost any one can
recall as having occurred within the circle of his acquaintance;
perhaps numerous cases will be recalled by one who has been especially

"A man of great vital force is united to a woman of evenly-balanced
organization. The husband, in the exercise of what he is pleased to
term his 'marital rights,' places his wife, in a short time, on the
nervous, delicate, sickly list. In the blindness and ignorance of his
animal nature, he requires prompt obedience to his desires; and,
ignorant of the law of right in this direction, thinking that it is
her duty to accede to his wishes, though fulfilling them with a sore
and troubled heart, she allows him passively, never lovingly, to
exercise daily and weekly, month in and month out, the low and beastly
of his nature, and eventually, slowly but surely, to kill her. And this
man, who has as surely committed murder as has the convicted assassin,
lures to his net and takes unto him another wife, to repeat the same
programme of legalized prostitution on his part, and sickness and
premature death on her part."

Prof. Gerrish, in a little work from which we take the liberty to quote,
speaks as follows on this subject:--

"One man reckless of his duty to the community, marries young, with
means and prospects inadequate to support the family which is so sure
to come ere long. His ostensible excuse is love; his real reason the
gratification of his carnal instincts. Another man, in exactly similar
circumstances, but too conscientious to assume responsibilities which
he cannot carry, and in which failure must compromise the comfort and
tax the purses of people from whom he has no right to extort luxuries,
forbears to marry; but, feeling the passions of his sex, and being
imbued with the prevalent errors on such matters, resorts for relief
to unlawful coition. At the wedding of the former, pious friends
assemble with their presents and congratulations, and bid the legalized
prostitution Godspeed. Love shields the crime, all the more easily
because so many of the rejoicing guests have sinned in precisely the
same way. The other man has no festival gathering.... Society applauds
the first and frowns on the second; but, to my mind, the difference
between them is not markedly in favor of the former."

"We hear a good deal said about certain crimes against nature, such
as pederasty and sodomy, and they meet with the indignant condemnation
of all right-minded persons. The statutes are especially severe on
offenders of this class, the penalty being imprisonment between one
and ten years, whereas fornication is punished by imprisonment for not
more than sixty days and a fine of less than one hundred dollars. But
the query very pertinently arises just here as to whether the use of
the condom and defertilizing injections is not equally a crime against
nature, and quite as worthy of our detestation and contempt. And,
further, when we consider the brute creation, and see that they, guided
by instinct, copulate only when the female is in proper physiological
condition and yields a willing consent, it may be suggested that
congress between men and women may, in certain circumstances, be a crime
against nature, and one far worse in its results than any other. Is
it probable that a child born of a connection to which the woman objects
will possess that felicitous organization which every parent should
earnestly desire and endeavor to bestow on his offspring? Can the
unwelcome fruit of a rape be considered, what every child has a right
to be, a pledge of affection? Poor little Pip, in 'Great Expectations,'
spoke as the representative of a numerous class when he said, 'I was
always treated as if I had insisted on being born, in opposition to
the dictates of reason, religion and morality, and against the
dissuading arguments of my best friends.' We enjoin the young to honor
father and mother, never thinking how undeserving of respect are those
whose children suffer from inherited ills, the result of the
selfishness and carelessness of their parents in begetting them.

"These accidental pregnancies are the great immediate cause of the
enormously common crime of abortion, concerning which the morals of
the people are amazingly blunted. The extent of the practice may be
roughly estimated by the number of standing advertisements in the
family newspapers, in which feticide is warranted safe and secret. It
is not the poor only who take advantage of such nefarious opportunities;
but the rich shamelessly patronize these professional and cowardly
murderers of defenseless infancy. Madame Restell, who recently died
by her own hand in New York, left a fortune of a million dollars, which
she had accumulated by producing abortions."

A husband who has not sunk in his carnality too far below the brute
creation will certainly pause a moment, in the face of such terrible
facts, before he continues his sensual, selfish, murderous course.

Indulgence during Menstruation.--The following remarks which our own
professional experience has several times confirmed, reveal a still
more heinous violation of nature's laws:--

"To many it may seem that it is unnecessary to caution against
contracting relationships at the period of the monthly flow, thinking
that the instinctive laws of cleanliness and delicacy were sufficient
to refrain the indulgence of the appetites; but they are little
cognizant of the true condition of things in this world. Often have
I had husbands inform me that they had not missed having sexual
relations with their wives once or more times a day for several years;
and scores of women with delicate frames and broken-down health have
revealed to me similar facts, and I have been compelled to make personal
appeals to the husbands."[21]

[Footnote 21: Gardner.]

The following is an important testimony by an eminent physician[22]
upon the same point:--

"Females whose health is in a weak state ... become liable, in
transgressing this law, to an infectious disorder, which, it is
commonly supposed, can only originate or prevail among disreputable
characters; but Dr. Bumstead and a number of other eminent authorities
believe and teach that gonorrhoea may originate among women entirely
virtuous in the ordinary sense of the term. That excessive venery is
the chief cause that originates this peculiar form of inflammation,
has long been the settled opinion of medical men."

[Footnote 22: Dr. J. R. Black.]

It seems scarcely possible that such enormity could be committed by
any human being, at least by civilized men, and in the face of the
injunctions of Moses to the Jews, to say nothing of the evident
indecency of the act. The Jews still maintain their integrity to the
observance of this command of their ancient lawgiver.

"Reason and experience both show that sexual relations at the menstrual
period are very dangerous to both man and woman, and perhaps also for
the offspring, should there chance to be conception."[23]

[Footnote 23: Mayer.]

The woman suffers from the congestion and nervous excitement which
occur at the most inopportune moment possible. Man may suffer physical
injury, though there are no grounds for the assertions of Pliny that
the menstrual blood is so potent for evil that it will, by a mere touch,
rust iron, render a tree sterile, make dogs mad, etc., or that of
Paracelsus that "of it the devil makes spiders, fleas, caterpillars,
and all the other insects that people the air."

Effects upon Offspring.--That those guilty of the transgression should
suffer, seems only just; but that an innocent being who had no part
in the sin--no voice in the time or manner of its advent into the
world--that such a one should suffer equally, if not more bitterly,
with the transgressors themselves, seems anything but just. But such
is nature's inexorable law, that the iniquities of the parents shall
be visited upon the children; and this fact should be a most powerful
influence to prevent parental transgression, especially in this
direction, in which the dire consequences fall so heavily and so
immediately upon an innocent being.

Says Acton, "The ill effects of marital excesses are not confined to
offending parties. No doubt can exist that many of the obscure cases
of sickly children, born of apparently healthy parents, arise from this
cause; and this is borne out by investigations amongst animals."

Breeders of stock who wish to secure sound progeny will not allow the
most robust stallion to associate with mares as many times during the
whole season as some of these salacious human males perform a similar
act within a month. One reason why the offspring suffer is that the
seminal fluid deteriorates very rapidly by repeated indulgence. The
spermatozoa do not have time to become maturely developed. Progeny
resulting from such immature elements will possess the same deficiency.
Hence the hosts of deformed, scrofulous, weazen, and idiotic children
which curse the race, and testify to the sensuality of their progenitors.
Another reason is the physical and nervous exhaustion which the parents
bring upon themselves, and which totally unfits them to beget sound,
healthy offspring.

The effects of this evil may often be traced in a large family of
children, nearly all of whom show traces of the excesses of their
parents. It commonly happens, too, that such large families are on the
hands of poor men who cannot earn enough to give them sufficient food
and comfortable clothing, with nothing whatever to provide for their
education. The overburdened mother has her strength totally exhausted
by the excessive demands upon her system incident to child-bearing,
so that she is unable to give her children that culture and training
which all children need. More than as likely as not she feels that they
were forced upon her, and hence she cannot hold for them all that tender
sympathy and affection a mother should feel. The little ones grow up
ignorant and often vicious; for want of home care drives them to the
street. Thus does one evil create another.

It is certainly a question which deserves some attention, whether it
is not a sin for parents to bring into the world more children than
they can properly care for. If they can rear and educate three children
properly, the same work would be only half done for six; and there are
already in the world a sufficiency of half-raised people. From this
class of society the ranks of thieves, drunkards, beggars, vagabonds,
and prostitutes, are recruited. Why should it be considered an improper
or immoral thing to limit the number of children according to the
circumstances of the parents? Ought it not to be considered a crime
against childhood and against the race to do otherwise? It is seriously
maintained by a number of distinguished persons that man "is in duty
bound to limit the number of his children as well as the sheep on his
farm; the number of each to be according to the adequacy of his means
for their support."

Indulgence during Pregnancy.--Transgressions of this sort are followed
by the worst results of any form of marital excess. The mother suffers
doubly, because laden with the burden of supporting two lives instead
of one. But the results upon the child are especially disastrous. During
the time when it is receiving its stock of vitality, while its plastic
form is being molded, and its various organs acquiring that integrity
of structure which makes up what is called constitutional
vigor,--during this most critical of all periods in the life of the
new being, its resources are exhausted and its structure depraved--and
thus constitutional tendencies to disease produced--by the unnatural
demands made upon the mother.

Effect upon the Character.--Still another terrible consequence results
from this practice so contrary to nature. The delicate brain, which
is being molded, with the other organs of the body, receives its cast
largely from those mental and nervous sensations and actions of the
mother which are the most intense. One of the most certain effects of
sexual indulgence at this time is to develop abnormally the sexual
instinct in the child. Here is the key to the origin of much of the
sexual precocity and depravity which curse humanity. Sensuality is born
in the souls of a large share of the rising generation. What wonder
that prostitution flourishes in spite of Christianity and civil law?

It is scarcely necessary to say that all medical testimony concurs in
forbidding indulgence during gestation. The same reasons require its
interdiction during the nursing period. The fact that fecundation would
be impossible during pregnancy, and that during this period the female,
normally, has no sexual desire, are other powerful arguments in favor
of perfect continence at this time.

We quote the following from a work on health by Dr. J. R. Black:--

"Coition during pregnancy is one of the ways in which the predisposition
is laid for that terrible disease in children, epilepsy. The unnatural
excitement of the nervous system in the mother by such a cause cannot
operate otherwise than by inflicting injury upon the tender germ in
her womb. This germ, it must be remembered, derives every quality it
possesses from the parents, as well as every particle of matter of which
it is composed. The old notion of anything like spontaneity in the
development of the qualities of a new being is at variance with all
the latest facts and inductions concerning reproduction. And so is that
of a creative fiat. The smallest organic cell, as well as the most
complicated organism, in form and quality, is wholly dependent upon
the laws of derivation.

"These laws are competent to explain, however subtle the ultimate
process may be, the great diversities of human organization and
character. Impressions from without, the emotions, conduct, and play
of the organic processes within, are never alike from day to day, or
from hour to hour; and it is from the aggregate of these in the parents,
but especially of those in the mother immediately before and after
conception, that the quality of the offspring is determined. Suppose,
then, that there is every now and then an unnatural, excited, and
exhausted state of the nervous system produced in the mother by
excessive cohabitation, is it any wonder that the child's nervous
system, which derives its qualities from those of its parents, should
take its peculiar stamp from that of the parent in whom it lives, moves,
and has its being?

"In the adult, epilepsy is frequently developed by excessive venery;
and the child born with such a predisposition will be exceedingly liable
to the disease during its early years when the nervous system is
notoriously prone to deranged action from very slight disturbing

"The infringement of this law regulating intercourse during pregnancy
also reacts injuriously upon the mental capacity of the child, tending
to give it a stupid, animalized look; and, there is also good reason
to believe, aids in developing the idiotic condition."

A Selfish Objection.--The married man will raise the plea that
indulgence is to him a necessity. He has only to practice the principles
laid down for the maintenance of continence to entirely remove any such
necessity should there be the slightest semblance of a real demand.
Again, what many mistake for an indication of the necessity for
indulgence, to relieve an accumulation of semen, is in fact, to state
the exact truth, but a call of nature for a movement of the bowels.
How this may occur, has already been explained, as being due to the
pressure of the distended rectum upon the internal organs of generation
situated at the base of the bladder. It is for this reason, chiefly,
that a good share of sexual excesses occur in the morning.

But, aside from all other considerations, is it not the most supreme
selfishness for a man to consider only himself in his sexual relations,
making his wife wholly subservient to his own desires? As a learned
professor remarks, in speaking of woman, "Who has a right to regard
her as a therapeutic agent?"

Brutes and Savages More Considerate.--It is only the civilized,
Christianized (?) male human being who complains of the restraint
imposed upon him by the laws of nature. The untutored barbarian, even
some of the lowest of those who wear the human form, together with nearly
all of the various classes of lower animals, abstain from sexual
indulgence during pregnancy. The natives of the Gold Coast and many
other African tribes regard it as a shameful offense to cohabit during
gestation. In the case of lower animals, even when the male desires
indulgence, the female resents any attempt of the sort by the most
vigorous resistance.

Are not these wholesome lessons for that portion of the human race which
professes to represent the accumulated wisdom, intelligence, and
refinement of the world? Those who need reproof on this point may
reflect that by a continuance of the evil practice they are placing
themselves on a plane even below the uncouth negro who haunts the
jungles of Southern Africa.

We quote the following from the pen of a talented professor in a
well-known medical college:--

"I believe we cannot too strenuously insist upon this point--that
sexual intercourse should never be undertaken with any other object
than procreation, and never then unless the conditions are favorable
to the production of a new being who will be likely to have cause to
thankfully bless his parents for the gift of life. If this rule were
generally observed, we should have no broken-nosed Tristram Shandys
complaining of the carelessness of their fathers in begetting

[Footnote 24: Dr. Gerrish.]

What May Be Done?--But what is the practical conclusion to be drawn
from all the foregoing? What _should_ people do? what _may_ they do?
Dr. Gardner offers the following remarks, which partially answer the

"We have shown that we can 'DO RIGHT' without prejudice to health by
the exercise of continence. Self-restraint, the ruling of the passions,
is a virtue, and is within the power of all well-regulated minds. Nor
is this necessarily perpetual or absolute. The passions may be
restrained within proper limitations. He who indulges in lascivious
thoughts may stimulate himself to frenzy; but if his mind were under
proper control, he would find other employment for it, and his body,
obedient to its potent sway, would not become the master of the man."

What are the "proper limitations," every person must decide for himself
in view of the facts which have been presented. If he find that the
animal in his nature is too strong to allow him to comply with what
seems to be the requirements of natural law, let him approximate as
nearly to the truth as possible. "Let every man be fully persuaded in
his own mind," and act accordingly, not forgetting that this is a matter
with serious moral bearings, and, hence, one in which conscience should
be on the alert. It is of no use to reject truth because it is
unpalatable. There can be nothing worse for a man than to "know the
truth and do it not."

It is but fair to say that there is a wide diversity of opinion among
medical men on this subject. A very few hold that the sexual act should
never be indulged except for the purpose of reproduction, and then only
at periods when reproduction will be possible. Others, while equally
opposed to the excesses, the effects of which have been described, limit
indulgence to the number of months in the year.

Read, reflect, weigh well the matter, then fix upon a plan of action,
and, if it be in accordance with the dictates of better judgment, do
not swerve from it.

If the suggestion made near the outset of these remarks, in comparing
the reproductive function in man and animals--viz., that the seasons
of sexual approach should be governed by the inclination of the
female--were conscientiously followed, it would undoubtedly do away
with at least three-fourths of the excesses which have been under
consideration. Before rejecting the hint so plainly offered by nature,
let every man consider for a moment whether he has any other than purely
selfish arguments to produce against it.

Early Moderation.--The time of all others when moderation is most
imperatively demanded, yet least likely to be practiced, is at the
beginning of matrimonial life. Many a woman dates the beginning of a
life of suffering from the first night after marriage; and the mental
suffering from the disgusting and even horrible recollections of that
night, the events of which were scarred upon her mind as well as upon
her body, have made her equally as wretched mentally as bodily.

A learned French writer, in referring to this subject, says, "The
husband who begins with his wife by a rape is a lost man. He will never
be loved."

We quote the following very sensible words from Dr. Napheys:--

"It sometimes happens that marriage is consummated with difficulty.
To overcome this, care, management, and forbearance should always be
employed, and anything like precipitation and violence avoided."

Cases have come under our care of young wives who have required months
of careful treatment to repair the damage inflicted on their wedding
night. A medical writer has reported a case in which he was called upon
to testify in a suit for divorce, which is an illustration of so gross
a degree of sensuality that the perpetrator certainly deserved most
severe punishment. The victim, a beautiful and accomplished young lady,
to please her parents, was married to a man much older than herself,
riches being the chief attraction. She at once began to pine, and in
a very few months was a complete wreck. Emaciated, spiritless, haggard,
she was scarcely a shadow of her former self. The physician who was
called in, upon making a local examination, found those delicate organs
in a state of most terrible laceration and inflammation. The bladder,
rectum, and other adjacent organs, were highly inflamed, and sensitive
in the highest degree. Upon inquiring respecting the cause, he found
that from the initial night she had been subjected to the most excessive
demands by her husband, "day and night." The tortures she had undergone
had been terrific; and her mind trembled upon the verge of insanity.
She entered suit for divorce on the charge of cruelty, but was defeated,
the judge ruling that the law has no jurisdiction in matters of that

In another somewhat similar case which came to our knowledge, a young
wife was delivered from the lecherous assaults of her husband--for they
were no better--by the common sense of her neighbor friends, who
gathered in force and insisted upon their discontinuance. It is only
now and then that cases of this sort come to the surface. The majority
of them are hidden deep down in the heart of the poor, heart-broken
wife, and too often they are hidden along with the victim in an early


The evil considered in the preceding section is by far the greatest
cause of those which will be dwelt upon in this. Excesses are habitually
practiced through ignorance or carelessness of their direct results,
and then to prevent the legitimate result of the reproductive act,
innumerable devices are employed to render it fruitless. To even
mention all of these would be too great a breach of propriety, even
in this plain-spoken work; but accurate description is unnecessary,
since those who need this warning are perfectly familiar with all the
foul accessories of evil thus employed. We cannot do better than to
quote from the writings of several of the most eminent authors upon
this subject. The following paragraphs are from the distinguished Mayer,
who has already been frequently quoted:--

"The numerous stratagems invented by debauch to annihilate the natural
consequences of coition, have all the same end in view."

Conjugal Onanism.--"The soiling of the conjugal bed by the shameful
maneuvers to which we have made allusion, is mentioned for the first
time in Gen. 38:6, and following verses: 'And it came to pass, when
he [Onan] went in unto his brother's wife, that he spilled it on the
ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother. And the thing
which he did displeased the Lord; wherefore he slew him.'

"Hence the name of _conjugal onanism_.

"One cannot tell to what great extent this vice is practiced, except
by observing its consequences, even among people who fear to commit
the slightest sin, to such a degree is the public conscience perverted
upon this point. Still, many husbands know that nature often succeeds
in rendering nugatory the most subtle calculations, and reconquers the
rights which they have striven to frustrate. No matter; they persevere,
none the less, and by the force of habit they poison the most blissful
moments of life, with no surety of averting the result that they fear.
So, who knows if the infants, too often feeble and weazen, are not the
fruit of these in themselves incomplete _procreations_, and disturbed
by preoccupations foreign to the generic act? Is it not reasonable to
suppose that the creative power, not meeting in its disturbed functions
the conditions necessary for the elaboration of a normal product, the
conception might be from its origin imperfect, and the being which
proceeded therefrom, one of those monsters which are described in
treatises on teratology?"

"Let us see, now, what are the consequences to those given to this
practice of conjugal onanism.

"We have at our disposition numerous facts which rigorously prove the
disastrous influence of abnormal coitus to the woman, but we think it
useless to publish them. All practitioners have more or less observed
them, and it will only be necessary for them to call upon their memories
to supply what our silence leaves. 'However, it is not difficult to
conceive,' says Dr. Francis Devay, 'the degree of perturbation that
a like practice should exert upon the genital system of woman by
provoking desires which are not gratified. A profound stimulation is
felt through the entire apparatus; the uterus, fallopian tubes, and
ovaries enter into a state of orgasm, a storm which is not appeased
by the natural crisis; a nervous super-excitation persists. There
occurs, then, what would take place if, presenting food to a famished
man, one should snatch it from his mouth after having thus violently
excited his appetite. The sensibilities of the womb and the entire
reproductive system are teased for no purpose. It is to this cause,
too often repeated, that we should attribute the multiple neuroses,
those strange affections which originate in the genital system of woman.
Our conviction respecting them is based upon a great number of
observations. Furthermore, the normal relations existing between the
married couple undergo unfortunate changes; this affection, founded
upon reciprocal esteem, is little by little effaced by the repetition
of an act which pollutes the marriage bed; from thence proceed certain
hard feelings, certain deep impressions which, gradually growing,
eventuate in the scandalous ruptures of which the community rarely know
the real motive.'

"If the good harmony of families and their reciprocal relations are
seriously menaced by the invasion of these detestable practices, the
health of women, as we have already intimated, is fearfully injured.
A great number of neuralgias appear to us to have no other cause. Many
women that we have interrogated on this matter have fortified this
opinion. But that which to us has passed to the condition of
incontestable proof, is the prevalence of uterine troubles, of
enervation among the married, hysterical symptoms which are met with
in the conjugal relation as often as among young virgins, arising from
the vicious habits of the husbands in their conjugal intercourse....
Still more, there is a graver affection, which is daily increasing,
and which, if nothing arrests its invasion, will soon have attained
the proportions of a scourge; we speak of the degeneration of the womb.
We do not hesitate to place in the foremost rank, among the causes of
this redoubtable disease, the refinements of civilization, and
especially the artifices introduced in our day in the generic act. When
there is no procreation, although the procreative faculties are excited,
we see these pseudo-morphoses arise. Thus it is noticed that polypi
and schirrus [cancer] of the womb are common among prostitutes. And
it is easy to account for the manner of action of this pathogenetic
cause, if we consider how probable it is that the ejaculation and
contact of the sperm with the uterine neck, constitutes, for the woman,
the crisis of the genital function, by appeasing the venereal orgasm
and calming the voluptuous emotions under the action of which the entire
economy is convulsed."

"We may, we trust, be pardoned for remarking upon the artifices imagined
to prevent fecundation that there is in them an immense danger, of
incalculable limits. We do not fear to be contradicted or taxed with
exaggeration in elevating them into the proportions of a true

The following is from an eminent physician[25] who for many years
devoted his whole attention to the diseases of women and lectured upon
the subject in a prominent medical college:--

"It is undeniable that all the methods employed to prevent pregnancy
are physically injurious. Some of these have been characterized with
sufficient explicitness, and the injury resulting from incomplete
coitus to both parties has been made evident to all who are willing
to be convinced. It should require but a moment's consideration to
convince any one of the harmfulness of the common use of cold ablutions
and astringent infusions and various medicated washes. Simple and often
wonderfully salutary as is cold water to a diseased limb, festering
with inflammation, yet few are rash enough to cover a gouty toe,
rheumatic knee, or erysipelatous head with cold water.... Yet, when
in the general state of nervous and physical excitement attendant upon
coitus, when the organs principally engaged in this act are congested
and turgid with blood, do you think you can with impunity throw a flood
of cold or even lukewarm water far into the vitals in a continual stream?
Often, too, women add strong medicinal agents, intended to destroy by
dissolution the spermatic germs, ere they have time to fulfill their
natural destiny. These powerful astringents suddenly corrugate and
close the glandular structure of the parts, and this is followed,
necessarily, by a corresponding reaction, and the final result is
debility and exhaustion, signalized by leucorrhoea, prolapsus, and
other diseases.

"Finally, of the use of intermediate tegumentary coverings, made of
thin rubber or gold-beater's skin, and so often relied upon as absolute
preventives, Madame de Stael is reputed to have said, 'They are cobwebs
for protection, and bulwarks against love.' Their employment certainly
must produce a feeling of shame and disgust utterly destructive of the
true delight of pure hearts and refined sensibilities. They are
suggestive of licentiousness and the brothel, and their employment
degrades to bestiality the true feelings of manhood and the holy state
of matrimony. Neither do they give, except in a very limited degree,
the protection desired. Furthermore, they produce (as alleged by the
best modern French writers, who are more familiar with the effect of
their use than we are in the United States) certain physical lesions
from their irritating presence as foreign bodies, and also, from the
chemicals employed in their fabrication, and other effects inseparable
from their employment, ofttimes of a really serious nature.

"I will not further enlarge upon these instrumentalities. Sufficient
has been said to convince any one that to trifle with the grand functions
of our organism, to attempt to deceive and thwart nature in her highly
ordained prerogatives--no matter how simple seem to be the means
employed--is to incur a heavy responsibility and run a fearful risk.
It matters little whether a railroad train is thrown from the track
by a frozen drop of rain or a huge bowlder lying in the way, the result
is the same, the injuries as great. Moral degradation, physical
disability, premature exhaustion and decrepitude are the result of
these physical frauds, and force upon our conviction the adage, which
the history of every day confirms, that 'honesty is the best policy.'"

[Footnote 25: Dr. Gardner.]

Within the last ten years we have had under treatment many hundred cases
of ladies suffering from ailments of a character peculiar to the sex;
and in becoming acquainted with the history of individual cases we have,
in many instances, found that the real cause of the disease which had
sapped the vitality and undermined the constitution slowly but surely
until cheerful health and freshness had given place to suffering,
debility, and, in many cases, most deplorable melancholy, was the very
crime against nature mentioned in the preceding paragraphs. The effects
of these sins against nature are frequently not felt for years after
the cause has been at work, and even then are seldom attributed to the
true cause. In some instances we have known persons to suffer on for
many years without having once suspected that the cause of their
sufferings was a palpable violation of nature's laws. Uterine diseases
thus induced are among the most obstinate of diseases of this class,
being often of long standing, and hence of a very serious character.
Dr. Wm. Goodell of Philadelphia has recently called attention to the
fact that the prevention of conception is one of the most common causes
of prolapsus of the ovaries, a very common and painful disease. Not
infrequently, too, other organs, particularly the bladder, become
affected, either through sympathy or in consequence of the congested
condition of the contiguous parts.

A difficulty which we have often met with has been the inability to
convince those who have been guilty of the practices referred to, of
the enormity of the sin against both soul and body. In spite of all
warnings, perhaps supplemented by sufferings, the practice will often
be continued, producing in the end the most lamentable results. Too
often it is the case that this reluctance to obey the dictates of
Nature's laws is the result of the unfeeling and unreasonable demands
of a selfish husband.

Shaker Views.--The Shakers do not, as many suppose, believe wholly in
celibacy. They believe in marriage and reproduction regulated by the
natural law. They, also, would limit population, but not by interfering
with nature; rather, by following nature's indications to the very
letter. They believe "that no animals should use their reproductive
powers and organs for any other than the simple purpose of procreation."
Recognizing the fact that this is the law among lower animals, they
insist upon applying it to man. Thus they find no necessity for the
employment of those abominable contrivances so common among those who
disregard the laws of nature. Who will not respect the purity which
must characterize sexual relations so governed? Such a method for
regulating the number of offspring is in immense contrast with that
of the Oneida Community, which opens the door to the unstinted
gratification of lust, separates the reproductive act entirely from
its original purpose, and makes it the means of mere selfish, sensual,
beastly--worse than brutish--gratification.

Those who are acquainted with the history of the founder of this
community are obliged to look upon him as a scheming sensualist who
well knows the truth, but deliberately chooses a course of evil, and
beguiles into his snares others as sensual as himself. The abominations
practiced among the members of the community which he has founded are
represented by those who have had an inside view of its workings as
too foul to mention. It seems almost wonderful that Providence does
not lay upon this gigantic brothel his hand of vengeance as in ancient
times he did upon Sodom, which could hardly have been more sunken in
infamy than is this den of licentiousness. It is, indeed, astonishing
that it should be tolerated in the midst of a country which professes
to regard virtue and respect the marriage institution. We are glad to
note that popular opinion is calling loudly for the eradication of this
foul ulcer. Only a short time ago a convention of more than fifty
ministers met at Syracuse, N. Y., for the express purpose of considering
ways and means for the removal of this blot "by legal measures or
otherwise." We sincerely wish them success; and it appears to us that
the people in that vicinity would be justified should they rise _en
masse_ and purge their community of an evil so heinous, in case no civil
authority can be induced to do the work of expurgation.[26]

[Footnote 26: Just as this edition is going to press we receive the
gratifying information that the younger members of the Community have
become disgusted with their sensual life and announced that their
former vile practices will be discontinued. Mr. Noyes with a few
followers has sought refuge in Canada.--J. H. K.]

Moral Bearings of the Question.--Most of the considerations presented
thus far have been of a physical character, though occasional
references to the moral aspect of the question have been made. In a
certain sense--and a true one--the question is wholly a moral one; for
what moral right have men or women to do that which will injure the
integrity of the physical organism given them, and for which they are
accountable to their Creator? Surely none; for the man who destroys
himself by degrees, is no less a murderer than he who cuts his throat
or puts a bullet through his brain. The crime is the same--being the
shortening of human life--whether the injury is done to one's self or
to another. In this matter, there are at least three sufferers; the
husband, the wife, and the offspring, though in most cases, doubtless,
the husband is the one to whom the sin almost exclusively belongs.

Unconsidered Murders.--But there is a more startling phase of this
moral question. It is not impossible to show that actual violence is
done to a human life.

It has been previously shown that in the two elements, the ovum of the
female, and the spermatozoon of the male, are, in rudimentary form,
all the elements which go to make up the "human form divine." Alone,
neither of these elements can become anything more than it already is;
but the instant that the two elements come in contact, fecundation takes
place, and the individual life begins. From that moment until maturity
is reached, years subsequently, the whole process is only one of
development. Nothing absolutely new is added at any subsequent moment.
In view of these facts, it is evident that at the very instant of
conception the embryonic human being possesses all the right to life
it ever can possess. It is just as much an individual, a distinct human
being, possessed of soul and body, as it ever is, though in a very
immature form. That conception may take place during the reproductive
act cannot be denied. If, then, means are employed with a view to prevent
conception immediately after the accomplishment of the act, or at any
subsequent time, if successful, it would be by destroying the delicate
product of the conception which had already occurred, and which, as
before observed, is as truly a distinct individual as it can ever
become--certainly as independent as at any time previous to birth.

Is it immoral to take human life? Is it a sin to kill a child? Is it
a crime to strangle an infant at birth? Is it a murderous act to destroy
a half-formed human being in its mother's womb? Who will dare to answer
"No," to one of these questions? Then, who can refuse assent to the
plain truth that it is equally a murder to deprive of life the most
recent product of the generative act?

Who can number the myriads of murders that have been perpetrated at
this early period of existence? Who can estimate the load of guilt that
weighs upon some human souls? and who knows how many brilliant lights
have been thus early extinguished? how many promising human plantlets
thus ruthlessly destroyed in the very act of germinating? It is to be
hoped that in the final account the extenuating influence of ignorance
may weigh heavily in the scale of justice against the damning testimony
of these "unconsidered murders."

The Charge Disputed.--It will be urged that these early destructions
are not murders. Murder is an awful word. The act itself is a terrible
crime. No wonder that its personal application should be studiously
avoided; the human being who would not shrink from such a charge would
be unworthy of the name of human--a very brute. Nevertheless, it is
necessary to look the plain facts squarely in the face, and shrink not
from the decision of an enlightened conscience. We quote the following
portions of an extract which we give in full elsewhere; it is from the
same distinguished authority[27] whom we have frequently quoted:--

"There is, in fact, no moment after conception when it can be said that
the child has not life, and the crime of destroying human life is as
heinous and as sure before the period of 'quickening' has been attained,
as afterward. But you still defend your horrible deed by saying: 'Well,
if there be, as you say, this mere animal life, equivalent at the most
to simple vitality, there is no mind, no soul destroyed, and, therefore,
there is no crime committed.' Just so surely as one would destroy and
root out of existence all the fowls in the world by destroying all the
eggs in existence, so certain is it that you do by your act destroy
the animal man in the egg and the soul which animates it.... Murder
is always sinful, and murder is the willful destruction of a human being
at any period of its existence, from its earliest germinal embryo to
its final, simple, animal existence in aged decrepitude and complete
mental imbecility."

[Footnote 27: Gardner.]

Difficulties.--Married people will exclaim, "What shall we do?"
Delicate mothers who have already more children on their hands than
they can care for, whose health is insufficient to longer endure the
pains and burdens of pregnancy, but whose sensual husbands continue
to demand indulgence, will echo in despairing tones, while
acknowledging the truth, "What shall _we_ do?" We will answer the
question for the latter first.

Mr. Mill, the distinguished English logician, in his work on "The
Subjection of Woman," thus represents the erroneous view which is
popularly held of the sexual relations of the wife to the husband: "The
wife, however brutal a tyrant she may be chained to--though she may
know that he hates her, though it may be his daily pleasure to torture
her, and though she may feel it impossible not to loathe him--he can
claim from her and enforce the lowest degradation of a human being,
that of being made the instrument of an animal function contrary to
her inclinations."

Woman's Rights.--A woman does not, upon the performance of the marriage
ceremony, surrender all her personal rights. The law recognizes this
fact if her husband beats her, or in any way injures her by physical
force, or even by neglect. Why may she not claim protection from other
maltreatment as well? or, at least, why may she not refuse to lend
herself to beastly lust? She remains the proprietor of her own body,
though married; and who is so lost to all sense of justice, equity,
and even morality, as to claim that she is under any moral obligation
to allow her body to be abused?

Since the first edition of this work was published, we have many times
been appealed to by suffering wives in the most pathetic terms. In many
instances the poor wife was suffering with local disease of a serious
character, making sexual approaches in the highest degree painful as
well as repugnant; yet notwithstanding this, the demands of the husband
for the gratification of his bestial passions were, in many instances,
in no degree lessened by a knowledge of the facts in the case.

In cases like these it is often a very delicate and exceedingly
difficult task to point out the duty of the suffering wife and mother.
The duty of the husband is very plain, and to him the wise physician
will appeal in a manner which cannot fail to arouse him to a sense of
his duty if there is yet left unconsumed by the fires of lust even a
vestige of genuine manhood.

What to Do.--Now to the question as asked by the first parties--married
people who together seek for a solution of the difficulties arising
from an abandonment of all protectives against fecundation. The true
remedy, and the natural one, is doubtless to be found in the suggestion
made under the heads of "Continence" and "Marital Excesses." By a course
of life in accordance with the principles there indicated, all of these
evils and a thousand more would be avoided. There would be less sensual
enjoyment, but more elevated joy. There would be less animal love, but
more spiritual communion; less grossness, more purity; less
development of the animal, and a more fruitful soil for the culture
of virtue, holiness, and all the Christian graces.

"But such a life would be impossible this side of Heaven." A few who
claim to have tried the experiment think not. The Shakers claim to
practice, as well as teach, such principles; and with the potent aids
to continence previously specified, it might be found less difficult
in realization than in thought.

A Compromise.--There will be many, the vast majority, perhaps, who will
not bring their minds to accept the truth which nature seems to teach,
which would confine sexual acts to reproduction wholly. Others,
acknowledging the truth, declare "the spirit willing" though "the flesh
is weak." Such will inquire, "Is there not some compromise by means
of which we may escape the greater evils of our present mode of life?"
Such may find in the following facts suggestions for a "better way,"
if not the _best_ way, though it cannot be recommended as wholly free
from dangers, and though it cannot be said of it that it is not an
_unnatural_ way:--

"Menstruation in woman indicates an aptitude for impregnation, and this
condition remains for a period of six or eight days after the entire
completion of the flow. During this time only can most women conceive.
Allow twelve days for the onset of the menses to pass by, and the
probabilities of impregnation are very slight. This act of continence
is healthful, moral, and irreproachable."[28]

[Footnote 28: Gardner.]

It should be added to the above that the plan suggested is not absolutely
certain to secure immunity from conception. The period of abstinence
should certainly extend from the beginning of menstruation to the
fourteenth day. To secure even reasonable safety, it is necessary to
practice further abstinence for three or four days previous to the
beginning of the flow.

Many writers make another suggestion which would certainly be
beneficial to individual health; viz., that the husband and wife should
habitually occupy separate beds. Such a practice would undoubtedly
serve to keep the sexual instincts in abeyance. Separate apartments,
or at least the separation of the beds by a curtain, are recommended
by some estimable physicians, who suggest that such a plan would enable
both parties to conduct their morning ablutions with proper
thoroughness and without sacrificing that natural modesty which
operates so powerfully as a check upon the excessive indulgence of the
passions. Many will think the suggestion a good one and will make a
practical application of it. Sleeping in single beds is reputed to be
a European custom of long standing among the higher classes.

This subject cannot be concluded better than by the following
quotations from an excellent and able work entitled, "The Ten Laws of

"The obvious design of the sexual desire is the reproduction of the
species.... The gratification of this passion, or indeed of any other,
beyond its legitimate end, is an undoubted violation of natural law,
as may be determined by the light of nature, and by the resulting moral
and physical evils."

"Those creatures not gifted with erring reason, but with unerring
instinct, and that have not the liberty of choice between good and evil,
cohabit only at stated periods, when pleasure and reproduction are
alike possible. It is so ordered among them that the means and the end
are never separated; and as it was the all-wise Being who endowed them
with this instinct, without the responsibility resulting from the power
to act otherwise, it follows that it is HIS LAW, and must, therefore,
be the true copy for all beings to follow having the same functions
to perform, and for the same end. The mere fact that men and women have
the power and liberty of conforming or not conforming to this copy does
not set them free from obedience to a right course, nor from the
consequences of disobedience."

"The end of sexual pleasure being to reproduce the species, it follows,
from the considerations just advanced, that when the sexual function
is diverted from its end, reproduction, or if the means be used when
the end is impossible, harm or injury should ensue."

"Perhaps the number is not small of those who think there is nothing
wrong in an unlimited indulgence of the sexual propensity during
married life. The marriage vow seems to be taken as equivalent to the
freest license, about which there need be no restraint. Yet, if there
is any truth in the law in reference to the enjoyment of the means only
when the end is possible, the necessity of the limitation of this
indulgence during married life is clearly as great as for that of any
other sensual pleasure.

"A great majority of those constituting the most highly civilized
communities, act upon the belief that anything not forbidden by sacred
or civil law is neither sinful nor wrong. They have not found
cohabitation during pregnancy forbidden; nor have they ever had their
attention drawn to the injury to health and organic development, which
such a practice inflicts. Hence, a habitual yielding to inclination
in this matter has determined their life-long behavior.

"The infringement of this law in the married state does not produce
in the husband any very serious disorder. Debility, aches, cramps, and
a tendency to epileptic seizures, are sometimes seen as the effects
of great excess. An evil of no small account is the steady growth of
the sexual passion by habitual unrestraint. It is in this way that what
is known as libidinous blood is nursed as well among those who are
strictly virtuous, in the ordinary meaning of the term, as among those
who are promiscuous in their intercourse.

"The wife and the offspring are the chief sufferers by the violation
of this law among the married. Why this is so, may in part be accounted
for by the following consideration: Among the animal kind it is the
female which decides when the approaches of the male are allowable.
When these are untimely, her instinctive prompting leads her to resist
and protect herself with ferocious zeal. No one at all acquainted with
the remarkable wisdom nature invariably displays in all her operations,
will doubt that the prohibition of all sexual intercourse among animals
during the period of pregnancy must be for a wise and good purpose.
And, if it serves a wise and good purpose with them, why should an
opposite course not serve an unwise and bad purpose with us? Our bodies
are very much like theirs in structure and in function; and in the mode
and laws that govern reproduction there is absolutely no difference.
The mere fact that we possess the power to act otherwise than they do
during that period, does not make it right.

"Human beings having no instinctive prompting as to what is right and
what is wrong, cohabitation, like many other points of the behavior,
is left for reason or the will to determine; or, rather, as things now
are to unreason; for reason is neither consulted nor enlightened as
to what is proper and allowable in the matter. Nature's rule, by
instinct, makes it devolve upon the female to determine when the
approaches of the male are allowable.

"But some may say that she is helpless in the matter. No one dare to
approach her without consent before marriage; and why should man not
be educated up to the point of doing the same after marriage? She is
neither his slave, nor his property; nor does the tie of marriage bind
her to carry out any unnatural requirement."

[Footnote 29: J. R. Black, M.D.]


Few but medical men are aware of the enormous proportions which have
been assumed by these terrible crimes during the present century. That
they are increasing with fearful rapidity and have really reached such
a magnitude as to seriously affect the growth of civilized nations,
and to threaten their very existence, has become a patent fact to
observing physicians. The crime itself differs little, in reality, from
that considered in the last section, the prevention of conception. It
is, in fact, the same crime postponed till a later period.

We quote the following eloquent words on this subject:--

"Of all the sins, physical and moral against man and God, I know of
none so utterly to be condemned as the very common one of the destruction
of the child while yet in the womb of the mother. So utterly repugnant
is it that I can scarcely express the loathing with which I approach
the subject. Murder!--murder in cold blood, without cause, of an
unknown child; one's nearest relative; in fact, part of one's very
being; actually having, not only one's own blood in its being, but that
blood momentarily interchanging! Good God! Does it seem possible that
such depravity can exist in a parent's breast--in a mother's heart!

"'Tis for no wrong that it has committed that its sweet life is so
cruelly taken away. Its coming is no disgrace; its creation was not
in sin, but--its mother 'don't want to be bothered with any more brats;
can hardly take care of what she has got; is going to Europe in the

"We can forgive the poor deluded girl--seduced, betrayed,
abandoned--who, in her wild frenzy, destroys the mute evidence of her
guilt. We have only sympathy and sorrow for her. But for the married
shirk who disregards her divinely-ordained duty, we have nothing but
contempt, even if she be the lordly woman of fashion, clothed in purple
and fine linen. If glittering gems adorn her person, within there is
foulness and squalor."[30]

[Footnote 30: Gardner.]

Not a Modern Crime.--Although this crime has attained remarkable
proportions in modern times, it is not a new one by any means, as the
following paragraph will suffice to show:--

"Infanticide and exposure were also the custom among the Romans, Medes,
Canaanites, Babylonians, and other Eastern nations, with the exception
of the Israelites and Egyptians. The Scandinavians killed their
offspring from pure fantasy. The Norwegians, after having carefully
swaddled their children, put some food into their mouths, placed them
under the roots of trees or under the rocks to preserve them from
ferocious beasts. Infanticide was also permitted among the Chinese,
and we saw, during the last century, vehicles going round the streets
of Pekin daily to collect the bodies of the dead infants. To-day there
exist foundling hospitals to receive children abandoned by their
parents. The same custom is also observed in Japan, in the isles of
the Southern Ocean, at Otaheite, and among several savage nations of
North America. It is related of the Jaggers of Guinea, that they devour
their own children."[31]

[Footnote 31: Burdach.]

The Greeks practiced infanticide systematically, their laws at one time
requiring the destruction of crippled or weakly children. Among all
the various nations, the general object of the crime seems to have been
to avoid the trouble of rearing the children, or to avoid a surplus,
objects not far different from those had in view by those who practice
the same crimes at the present time.

The destruction of the child after the mother has felt its movements
is termed infanticide; before that time it is commonly known as abortion.
It is a modern notion that the child possesses no soul or individual
life until the period of quickening, an error which we have already
sufficiently exposed. The ancients, with just as much reason, contended
that no distinct life was present until after birth. Hence it was that
they could practice without scruple the crime of infanticide to prevent
too great increase of population. "Plato and Aristotle were advocates
of this practice, and these Stoics justified this monstrous practice
by alleging that the child only acquired a soul at the moment when it
ceased to have uterine life and commenced to respire. From hence it
resulted that, the child not being animated, its destruction was no

The prevalence of this crime will be indicated by the following
observations from the most reliable sources:--

"We know that in certain countries abortion is practiced in a manner
almost public, without speaking of the East, where it has, so to speak,
entered into the manners of the country. We see it in America, in a
great city like New York, constituting a regular business and not
prevented, where it has enriched more than one midwife."

"England does not yield to Germany or France in the frequency of the
crime of infanticide."[32]

[Footnote 32: Jardien.]

"Any statistics attainable are very incomplete. False certificates are
daily given by attending physicians. Men, if they are only rich enough,
die of 'congestion of the brain,' not 'delirium tremens;' and women,
similarly situated, do not die from the effects of abortion, but of
'inflammation of the bowels,' etc."

"Infanticide, as it is generally considered (destroying a child after
quickening), is of very rare occurrence in New York, whereas abortions
(destroying the embryo before quickening) are of daily habit in the
families of the best informed and most religious; among those abounding
in wealth, as well as among the poor and needy."[33]

[Footnote 33: Gardner.]

"Perhaps only medical men will credit the assertion that the frequency
of this form of destroying human life exceeds all others by at least
fifty per cent, and that not more than one in a thousand of the guilty
parties receive any punishment by the hand of civil law. But there is
a surer mode of punishment for the guilty mother in the self-executing
laws of nature."[34]

[Footnote 34: Black.]

"From a very large verbal and written correspondence in this and other
States, I am satisfied that we have become _a nation of murderers_."[35]

[Footnote 35: Reamy.]

Said a distinguished clergyman of Brooklyn in a sermon, "Why send
missionaries to India when child-murder is here of daily, almost hourly,
occurrence; aye, when the hand that puts money into the
contribution-box to-day, yesterday or a month ago, or to-morrow, will
murder her own unborn offspring?

"The Hindoo mother, when she abandons her babe upon the sacred Ganges,
is, contrary to her heart, obeying a supposed religious law, and you
desire to convert her to your own worship of the Moloch of Fashion and
Laziness and love of Greed. Out upon such hypocrisy!"

Writers tell us that it has even become the boast of many women that
they "know too much to have babies."

Says the learned Dr. Storer, "Will the time come, think ye, when
husbands can no longer, as they now frequently do, commit the crime
of rape upon their unwilling wives, and persuade them or compel them
to allow a still more dreadful violence to be wreaked upon the children
nestling within them--children fully alive from the very moment of
conception, that have already been fully detached from all organic
connection with their parent, and only re-attached to her for the
purposes of nutriment and growth, and to destroy whom 'is a crime of
the same nature, both against our Maker and society, as to destroy an
infant, a child, or a man?'"[36]

[Footnote 36: "Is It I?"]

Says another well-known author, "Ladies boast to each other of the
impunity with which they have aborted, as they do of their expenditures,
of their dress, of their success in society. There is a fashion in this,
as in all other female customs, good and bad. The wretch whose account
with the Almighty is heaviest with guilt too often becomes a

[Footnote 37: A Woman's Thoughts about Women.]

Causes of the Crime.--Many influences may combine to cause the mother
ruthlessly to destroy her helpless child: as, to conceal the results
of sin; to avoid the burdens of maternity; to secure ease and freedom
to travel, etc., or even from a false idea that maternity is vulgar;
but it is true, beyond all question, that the primary cause of the sin
is far back of all these influences. The most unstinted and scathing
invectives are used in characterizing the criminality of a mother who
takes the life of her unborn babe; but a word is seldom said of the
one who forced upon her the circumstances which gave the unfortunate
one existence. Though doctors, ministers, and moralists have said much
on this subject, and written more, it is reasonable to suppose that
they will never accomplish much of anything in the direction of reform
until they recognize the part the man acts in all of these sad cases,
and begin to demand reform where it is most needed, and where its
achievement will effect the most good. As was observed in the remarks
upon the subject of "Prevention of Conception," this evil has its origin
in "marital excesses," and in a disregard of the natural law which makes
the female the sole proprietor of her own body, and gives to her the
right to refuse the approaches of the male when unprepared to receive
them without doing violence to the laws of her being.

The Nature of the Crime.--"The married and well-to-do, who by means
of medicines and operations produce abortions at early periods of
pregnancy, have no excuse except the pretense that they do not consider
it murder until the child quickens.

"No, not murder, you say, for 'there has not been any life in the child.'
Do not attempt to evade, even to man, a crime which cannot be hidden
from the All-seeing. The poor mother has not herself felt the life of
the child perhaps, but that is a quibble only of the laws of man, founded
indeed upon the view, now universally recognized as incorrect, that
the child's life began when its movements were first strong enough to
be perceptible. There is, in fact, no moment after conception when it
can be said that the child has not life, and the crime of destroying
human life is as heinous and as sure before the period of 'quickening'
has been attained as afterward. But you still defend your horrible deed
by saying, 'Well, if there be, as you say, this mere animal life,
equivalent at the most to simple vitality, there is no mind, no soul
destroyed, and therefore, there is no crime committed.' Just so surely
as one would destroy and root out of existence all the fowl in the world
by destroying all the eggs in existence, so certain is it that you do
by your act destroy the animal man in the egg, and the soul which
animates it. When is the period that intelligence comes to the infant?
Are its feeble first strugglings any evidence of its presence? Has it
any appreciable quantity at birth? Has it any valuable, useful quantity
even when a year old? When, then, is it, that destruction is harmless
or comparatively sinless? While awaiting your metaphysical answer, I
will tell you when it is sinful. Murder is always sinful, and murder
is the willful destruction of a human being at any period of its
existence, from its earliest germinal embryo to its final, simple,
animal existence in aged decrepitude and complete mental

[Footnote 38: Gardner.]

"There are those who would fain make light of this crime by attempting
to convince themselves and others that a child, while in embryo, has
only a sort of vegetative life, not yet endowed with thought, and the
ability to maintain an independent existence. If such a monstrous
philosophy as this presents any justification for such an act, then
the killing of a newly-born infant, or of an idiot, may be likewise
justified. The destruction of the life of an unborn human being, for
the reason that it is small, feeble, and innocently helpless, rather
aggravates than palliates the crime. Every act of this kind, with its
justification, is obviously akin to that savage philosophy which
accounts it a matter of no moment, or rather a duty, to destroy feeble
infants, or old, helpless fathers and mothers."[39]

[Footnote 39: Black.]

Instruments of Crime.--"The means through which abortions are effected
are various. Sometimes it is through potent drugs, extensively
advertised in newspapers claiming to be moral!--the advertisements so
adroitly worded as to convey under a caution the precise information
required of the liability of the drug to produce miscarriages.
Sometimes the information is conveyed through secret circulars; but
more commonly the deed is consummated by professed abortionists, who
advertise themselves as such through innuendo, or through gaining this
kind of repute by the frequent commission of the act. Not a few women,
deterred by lingering modesty or some sense of shame, attempt and
execute it upon themselves, and then volunteer to instruct and
encourage others to go and do likewise."[40]

[Footnote 40: Black.]

Results of this Unnatural Crime.--It is the universal testimony of
physicians that the effects of abortion are almost as deadly upon the
mother as upon the child. The amount of suffering is vastly greater;
for that of the child, if it suffer at all, is only momentary, in general,
while the mother is doomed to a life of suffering, of misery, if she
survives the shock of the terrible outrage against her nature. It has
been proved by statistics that the danger of immediate death is _fifteen
times as great as in natural childbirth_. A medical author of note
asserts that a woman suffers more injury from one abortion than she
would from twenty normal births. Says Dr. Gardner on this point:--

"We know that the popular idea is that women are worn out by the toil
and wear connected with the raising of large families, and we can
willingly concede something to this statement; but it is certainly far
more observable that the efforts at the present day, made to avoid
propagation, are ten thousand-fold more disastrous to the health and
constitution, to say nothing of the demoralization of mind and heart,
which cannot be estimated by red cheeks or physical vigor."

An Unwelcome Child.--But suppose the mother does not succeed in her
attempts against the life of her child, as she may not; what fearful
results may follow! Who can doubt that the murderous intent of the
mother will be stamped indelibly upon the character of the unwelcome
child, giving it a natural propensity for the commission of murderous

Then again--sickening thought--suppose the attempts to destroy the
child are unsuccessful, resulting only in horrid mutilation of its
tender form; when such a child is born, what terrible evidences may
it bear in its crippled and misshapen body of the cruel outrage
perpetrated upon it! That such cases do occur is certain from the
following narrative, which we might confirm by others similar in

"A lady, determined not to have any more children, went to a professed
abortionist, and he attempted to effect the desired end by violence.
With a pointed instrument the attempt was again and again made, but
without the looked-for result. So vigorously was the effort made, that,
astonished at no result being obtained, the individual stated that
there must be some mistake, that the lady could not be pregnant, and
refused to perform any further operations. Partially from doubt and
partially from fear, nothing further was attempted; and in due process
of time the woman was delivered of an infant, shockingly mutilated,
with one eye entirely put out, and the brain so injured that this
otherwise robust child was entirely wanting in ordinary sense. This
poor mother, it would seem, needs no future punishment for her sin.
Ten years face to face with this poor idiot, whose imbecility was her
direct work--has it not punished her sufficiently?"

The Remedy.--Whether this gigantic evil can ever be eradicated, is
exceedingly doubtful. To effect its cure would be to make refined
Christians out of brutal sensualists; to emancipate woman from the
enticing, alluring slavery of fashion; to uproot false ideas of life
and its duties,--in short, to revolutionize society. The crime is
perpetrated in secret. Many times no one but the criminal herself is
cognizant of the evil deed. Only occasionally do cases come near enough
to the surface to be dimly discernible; hence the evident inefficiency
of any civil legislation. But the evil is a desperate one, and is
increasing; shall no attempt be made to check the tide of crime and
save the sufferers from both physical and spiritual perdition? An
effort should be made, at least. Let every Christian raise the note
of warning. From every Christian pulpit let the truth be spoken in terms
too plain for misapprehension. Let those who are known to be guilty
of this most revolting crime be looked upon as murderers, as they are;
and let their real moral status be distinctly shown.

All of these means will do something to effect a reform; but the radical
cure of the evil will only be found in the principles suggested in the
section devoted to the consideration of "Marital Excesses." The
adoption of those principles and strict adherence to them would
effectually prevent the occurrence of circumstances which are the
occasion of abortions and infanticides.

Murder by Proxy.--"There is, at the present time, a kind of infanticide,
which, although it is not so well known, is even more dangerous, because
done with impunity. There are parents who recoil with horror at the
idea of destroying their offspring, although they would greatly desire
to be disembarrassed of them, who yet place them without remorse with
nurses who enjoy the sinister reputation of never returning the
children to those who have intrusted them to their care. These
unfortunate little beings are condemned to perish from inanition and
bad treatment.

"The number of these innocent victims is greater than would be imagined,
and very certainly exceeds that of the marked infanticides sent by the
public prosecutor to the Court of the Assizes."


Illicit intercourse has been a foul blot upon humanity from the earliest
periods of history. At the present moment, it is a loathsome ulcer
eating at the heart of civilization, a malignant leprosy which shows
its hideous deformities among the fairest results of modern culture.
Our large cities abound with dens of vice whose _habitues_ shamelessly
promenade the most public streets and flaunt their infamy in the face
of every passer-by. In many large cities, especially in those of
Continental Europe, these holds of vice are placed under the
supervision of the law by the requirement that every keeper of a house
of prostitution must pay for a license; in other words, must buy the
right to lead his fellow-men "down to the depths of hell."

In smaller cities, as well as in large ones, in fact, from the great
metropolis down to the country village, the haunts of vice are found.
Every army is flanked by bands of courtesans. Wherever men go, loose
women follow, penetrating even to the wildness of the miner's camp,
far beyond the verge of civilization.

But brothels and traveling strumpets do not fully represent the vast
extent of this monster evil. There is a class of immoral women--probably
exceeding in numbers the grosser class just referred to--who consider
themselves respectable; indeed, who are considered very respectable.
Few are acquainted with their character. They live in elegant style
and mingle in genteel society. Privately, they prosecute the most
unbounded licentiousness, for the purpose of gain, or merely to gratify
their lewdness. "Kept mistresses" are much more numerous than common

The numerous scandal and divorce suits which expose the infidelity of
husbands and wives, are sufficient evidence that illicit commerce is
not confined to the unmarried; but so many are the facilities for
covering and preventing the results of sins of this description it is
impossible to form any just estimate of their frequency. The
incontinence of husbands and the unchastity of wives will only appear
in their enormity at that awful day when every one shall "stand before
the judgment-seat" and hear the penalty of his guilty deeds.

Unchastity of the Ancients.--We are prone to believe that the present
is the most licentious age the world has ever known; that in the
nineteenth century the climax of evil has been reached; that the
libidinous blood of all the ages has culminated to produce a race of
men more carnal than all predecessors. It is a sickening thought that
any previous epoch could have been more vile than this; but history
presents facts which disclose in ancient times periods when lust was
even more uncontrolled than now; when vice was universal; and when
virtue was a thing unknown. A few references to historical facts will
establish this point. We do not make these allusions in any way to
justify the present immorality, but to show the part which vice has
acted in the overthrow of nations.

From the sacred record we may judge that before the flood a state of
corruption prevailed which was even greater and more general than any
that has ever since been reached; only eight persons were fit to survive
the calamity which swept into eternity that lustful generation with
their filthy deeds.

But men soon fell into vice again, for we find among the early Assyrians
a total disregard of chastity. Her kings reveled in the grossest

No excess of vice could surpass the licentiousness of the Ptolemies,
who made of Alexandria a bagnio, and all Egypt a hot-bed of vice.
Herodotus relates that "the pyramid of Cheops was built by the lovers
of the daughter of this king; and that she never would have raised this
monument to such a height except by multiplying her prostitutions."
History also relates the adventures of that queenly courtesan,
Cleopatra, who captivated and seduced by her charms two masters of the
world, and whose lewdness surpassed even her beauty.

Tyre and Sidon, Media, Phoenicia, Syria, and all the Orient, were sunk
in sensuality. Fornication was made a part of their worship. Women
carried through the streets of the cities the most obscene and revolting
representations. Among all these nations a virtuous woman was not to
be found; for, according to Herodotus, the young women were by the laws
of the land "obliged, once in their lives, to give themselves up to
the desires of strangers in the temple of Venus, and were not permitted
to refuse anyone."[41]

[Footnote 41: Bourgeois.]

St. Augustine speaks of these religious debaucheries as still practiced
in his day in Phoenicia. They were even continued until Constantine
destroyed the temples in which they were prosecuted, in the fourth

Among the Greeks the same corruptions prevailed in the worship of
Bacchus and Phallus, which was celebrated by processions of half-nude
girls "performing lascivious dances with men disguised as satyrs." In
fact, as X. Bourgeois says, "Prostitution was in repute in Greece."
The most distinguished women were courtesans, and the wise Socrates
would be justly called, in modern times, a libertine.

The abandonment to lust was, if possible, still more complete in the
times of the Roman emperors. Rome astonished the universe "by the
boldness of its turpitudes, after having astonished it by the splendor
of its triumphs."

The great Caesar was such a rake that he has been said to have "merited
to be surnamed every woman's husband." Antony and Augustus were equally
notorious. The same sensuality pervaded the masses as reigned in the
courts, and was stimulated by the erotic poems of Ovid, Catullus, and
other poets of the time.

Tiberius displayed such ingenuity in inventing refinements in
impudicity that it was necessary to coin new words to designate them.
Caligula committed the horrid crime of incest with all his sisters,
even in public. His palace was a brothel. The Roman empress, Messalina,
disguised herself as a prostitute and excelled the most degraded
courtesans in her monstrous debaucheries. The Roman emperor Vitellius
was accustomed to take an emetic after having eaten to repletion, to
enable him to renew his gluttony. With still grosser sensuality he
stimulated his satiated passions with philters and various aphrodisiac

Nero, the most infamous of the emperors, committed rapes on the stage
of the public theaters of Rome, disguised as a wild beast.

If this degraded voluptuousness had been confined to royalty, some
respect might yet be entertained for the virtue of the ancients; but
the foul infection was not restrained within such narrow bounds. It
invaded whole empires until they fell in pieces from very rottenness.
What must have been the condition of a nation that could tolerate such
a spectacle as its monarch riding through the streets of its metropolis
in a state of nudity, drawn by women in the same condition? Such a deed
did Heliogabalus in Rome.

In the thirteenth century, virtue was almost as scarce in France as
in ancient Greece. Nobles held as mistresses all the young girls of
their domains. About every fifth person was a bastard. Just before the
Revolution, chastity was such a rarity that a woman was actually obliged
to apologize for being virtuous!

In these disgusting facts we find one of the most potent agents in
effecting the downfall of the nations. Licentiousness sapped their
vitality and weakened their prowess. The men who conquered the world
were led captive by their own beastly passions. Thus the Assyrians,
the Medes, the Grecians, the Romans, successively fell victims to their
lusts, and gave way to more virtuous successors. Even the Jews, the
most enlightened people of their age, fell more than once through this
same sin, which was coupled with idolatry, of which their seduction
by the Midianites is an example.

Surely, modern times present no worse spectacles of carnality than
these; and will it be claimed that anything so vile is seen among
civilized nations at the present day? But though there may be less
grossness in the sensuality of to-day, the moral turpitude of men may
be even greater than that of ancient times. Enlightened Christianity
has raised the standard of morality. Christ's commentary upon the
seventh commandment requires a more rigorous chastity than ancient
standards demanded, even among the Jews; for had not David, Solomon,
and even the pious Jacob more wives than one? Consequently, a slight
breach of chastity now requires as great a fall from virtue as a greater
lapse in ages past, and must be attended with as severe a moral penalty.

We have seen how universal is the "social evil," that it is a vice almost
as old as man himself, which shows how deeply rooted in his perverted
nature it has become. The inquiry arises, What are the causes of so
monstrous a vice? so gross an outrage upon nature's laws? so withering
a blight upon the race?

Causes of the "Social Evil."--A vice that has become so great an evil,
even in these enlightened times, as to defy the most skillful
legislation, which openly displays its gaudy filthiness and mocks at
virtue with a lecherous stare, must have its origin in causes too
powerful to be ignored.

Libidinous Blood.--In no other direction are the effects of heredity
to be more distinctly traced than in the transmission of sensual
propensities. The children of libertines are almost certain to be rakes
and prostitutes. History affords numerous examples in illustration of
this fact. The daughter of Augustus was as unchaste as her father, and
her daughter was as immoral as herself. The sons of David showed evident
traces of their father's failing. Witness the incest of Amnon, and the
voluptuousness of Solomon, who had seven hundred wives and three
hundred concubines. Solomon's son was, likewise, a noted polygamist,
of whom the record says, "He desired many wives." His son's son
manifested the same propensity in taking as many wives as the
debilitated state of his kingdom enabled him to support. But perhaps
we may be allowed to trace the origin of this libidinous propensity
still further back. A glance at the genealogy of David will show that
he was descended from Judah through Pharez, who was the result of an
incestuous union between Judah and his daughter-in-law.

Is it unreasonable to suppose that the abnormal passion which led David
to commit the most heinous sin of his life in his adultery with
Bath-sheba and subsequently procuring the death of her husband, was
really an hereditary propensity which had come down to him through his
ancestors, and which, under more favorable circumstances, was more
fully developed in his sons? The trait may have been kept dormant by
the active and simple habits of his early years, but asserted itself
in full force under the fostering influence of royal idleness and luxury.
In accordance with the known laws of heredity, such a tendency would
be the legitimate result of such a combination of circumstances.

The influence of marital excesses, and especially sexual indulgence
during pregnancy, in producing vicious tendencies in offspring, has
been fully dwelt upon elsewhere in this work, and will not be
reconsidered here, it being only necessary to call attention to the
subject. Physiology shows conclusively that thousands of parents whose
sons have become libertines and their daughters courtesans, have
themselves implanted in their characters the propensity which led to
their unchastity.

Gluttony.--As a predisposing cause, the influence of dietetic habits
should rank next to heredity. It is an observed fact that "all
libertines are great eaters or famous gastronomists." The exciting
influence upon the genital organs of such articles as pepper, mustard,
ginger, spices, truffles, wine, and all alcoholic drinks, is well known.
Tea and coffee directly excite the animal passions through their
influence upon the nerve centers controlling the sexual organs. When
children are raised upon such articles, or upon food with which they
are thoroughly mingled, what wonder that they occasionally "turn out
bad"? How many mothers, while teaching their children the principles
of virtue in the nursery, unwittingly stimulate their passions at the
dinner table until vice becomes almost a physical necessity!

Nothing tends so powerfully to keep the passions in abeyance as a simple
diet, free from condiments, especially when coupled with a generous
amount of exercise.

The influence of tobacco in leading to unchastity has been referred
to in another connection. This is assuredly a not uncommon cause. When
a boy places the first cigar or quid of tobacco to his lips, he takes--if
he has not previously done so--the first step in the road to infamy;
and if he adds wine or beer, he takes a short cut to the degradation
of his manhood by the loss of virtue.

Precocious Sexuality.--The causes of a too early development of sexual
peculiarities, as manifested in infantile flirtations and early signs
of sexual passion, were dwelt upon quite fully in a previous connection,
and we need not repeat them here. Certain it is that few things can
be more dangerous to virtue than the premature development of those
sentiments which belong only to puberty and later years. It is a most
unnatural, but not uncommon, sight to see a girl of tender age evincing
all those characters which mark the wanton of older years.

Man's Lewdness.--It cannot be denied that men are in the greatest degree
responsible for the "social evil." The general principle holds true
here as elsewhere that the supply is regulated by the demand. If the
patrons of prostitution should withdraw their support by a sudden
acquisition of virtue, how soon would this vilest of traffics cease!
The inmates of brothels would themselves become continent, if not
virtuous, as the result of such a spasm of chastity in men.

Again, the ranks of fallen women, which are rapidly thinned by loathsome
diseases and horrid deaths, are largely recruited from that class of
unfortunates for whose fall faithless lovers or cunning, heartless
libertines are chiefly responsible. The weak girl who, through too much
trust, has been deceived and robbed of her dearest treasure, is disowned
by relatives, shunned by her acquaintances, and turned out upon a cold
world without money, without friends, without a character. What can
she do? Respectable employment she cannot find, for rumor follows her.
There seems to be but one door open, the one which she herself so
unintentionally opened. In despair, she enters the "open road to hell,"
and to her first sad error adds a life of shame. Meanwhile, the villain
who betrayed her still maintains his standing in society, and plies
his arts to win another victim. Is there not an unfair discrimination
here? Should not the seducer be blackened with an infamy at least as
deep as that which society casts on the one betrayed?

Fashion.--The temptation of dress, fine clothing, costly jewelry, and
all the extravagances with which rich ladies array themselves, is in
many cases too powerful for the weakened virtue of poor seamstresses,
operatives, and servant girls, who have seen so much of vice as to have
lost that instinctive loathing for it which they may have once
experienced. Thinking to gain a life of ease, with means to gratify
their love of show, they barter away their peace of mind for this world,
all hope for the next, and only gain a little worthless tinsel, the
scorn of their fellow-creatures, and a host of loathsome diseases.

Lack of Early Training.--It is needless to demonstrate a fact so well
established as that the future character of an individual depends very
largely upon his early training. If purity and modesty are taught from
earliest infancy, the mind is fortified against the assaults of vice.
If, instead, the child is allowed to grow up untrained, if the seeds
of vice which are sure to fall sooner or later in the most carefully
kept ground are allowed to germinate, if the first buds of evil are
allowed to grow and unfold instead of being promptly nipped, it must
not be considered remarkable that in later years rank weeds of sin
should flourish in the soul and bear their hideous fruit in shameless

Neglect to guard the avenues by which evil may approach the young mind,
and to erect barriers against vice by careful instruction and a chaste
example, leaves many innocent souls open to the assaults of evil, and
an easy prey to lust. If children are allowed to get their training
in the street, at the corner grocery, or hovering around saloons, they
will be sure to develop a vigorous growth of the animal passions. The
following extract is from the writings of one whose pen has been an
inestimable blessing to American youth:--

"Among the first lessons which boys learn of their fellows are
impurities of language; and these are soon followed by impurities of
thought.... When this is the training of boyhood, it is not strange
that the predominating ideas among young men, in relation to the other
sex, are too often those of impurity and sensuality.... We cannot be
surprised, then, that the history of most young men is, that they yield
to temptation in a greater or less degree and in different ways. With
many, no doubt, the indulgence is transient, accidental, and does not
become habitual. It does not get to be regarded as venial. It is never
yielded to without remorse. The wish and the purpose are to resist;
but the animal nature bears down the moral. Still, transgression is
always followed by grief and penitence.

"With too many, however, it is to be feared, it is not so. The mind
has become debauched by dwelling on licentious images, and by
indulgence in licentious conversation. There is no wish to resist. They
are not overtaken by temptation, for they seek it. With them the
transgression becomes habitual, and the stain on the character is deep
and lasting."[42]

[Footnote 42: Ware.]

Sentimental Literature.--In another connection, we have referred
particularly to the bawdy, obscene books and pictures which are
secretly circulated among the youth of both sexes, and to their
corrupting influence. The hope is not entirely a vain one that this
evil may be controlled; but there seems no possible practicable remedy
for another evil which ultimately leads to the same result, though by
less gross and obscene methods. We refer to the sentimental literature
which floods the land. City and school libraries, circulating libraries,
and even Sunday-school libraries, are full of books which, though they
may contain good moral teaching, contain, as well, an element as
incompatible with purity of morals as is light with midnight darkness.
Writers for children and youth seem to think a tale of "courtship, love,
and matrimony" entirely indispensable as a medium for conveying their
moral instruction. Some of these "religious novels" are actually more
pernicious than the fictions of well-known novelists who make no
pretense to having religious instruction a particular object in view.
Sunday-school libraries are not often wholly composed of this class
of works, but any one who takes the trouble to examine the books of
such a library will be able to select the most pernicious ones by the
external appearance. The covers will be well worn and the edges begrimed
with dirt from much handling. Children soon tire of the shallow sameness
which characterizes the "moral" parts of most of these books, and skim
lightly over them, selecting and devouring with eagerness those
portions which relate the silly narrative of some love adventure. This
kind of literature arouses in children premature fancies and queries,
and fosters a sentimentalism which too often occasions most unhappy
results. Through their influence, young girls are often led to begin
a life of shame long before their parents are aware that a thought of
evil has ever entered their minds.

The following words from the pen of a forcible writer[43] present this
matter in none too strong a light:--

"You may tear your coat or break a vase, and repair them again; but
the point where the rip or fracture took place will always be evident.
It takes less than an hour to do your heart a damage which no time can
entirely repair. Look carefully over your child's library; see what
book it is that he reads after he has gone to bed, with the gas turned
upon the pillow. Do not always take it for granted that a book is good
because it is a Sunday-school book. As far as possible, know _who_ wrote
it, who illustrated it, who published it, who sold it.

"It seems that in the literature of the day the ten plagues of Egypt
have returned, and the frogs and lice have hopped and skipped over our
parlor tables.

"Parents are delighted to have their children read, but they should
be sure as to what they read. You do not have to walk a day or two in
an infested district to get the cholera or typhoid fever; and one wave
of moral unhealth will fever and blast the soul forever. Perhaps,
knowing not what you did, you read a bad book. Do you not remember it
altogether? Yes! and perhaps you will never get over it. However strong
and exalted your character, never read a bad book. By the time you get
through the first chapter you will see the drift. If you find the marks
of the hoofs of the devil in the pictures, or in the style, or in the
plot, away with it.

"But there is more danger, I think, from many of the family papers,
published once a week, in those stories of vice and shame, full of
infamous suggestions, going as far as they can without exposing
themselves to the clutch of the law. I name none of them; but say that
on some fashionable tables there lie 'family newspapers' that are the
very vomit of the pit.

"The way to ruin is cheap. It costs three dollars to go to Philadelphia;
six dollars to Boston; thirty-three dollars to Savannah; but, by the
purchase of a bad paper for ten cents you may get a through ticket to
hell, by express, with few stopping places, and the final halting like
the tumbling of the lightning train down the draw-bridge at
Norwalk--sudden, terrific, deathful, never to rise."

[Footnote 43: T. De Witt Talmage.]

Poverty.--The pressing influence of poverty has been urged as one cause
of prostitution. It cannot be denied that in many cases, in large cities,
this may be the immediate occasion of the entrance of a young girl upon
a life of shame; but it may still be insisted that there must have been,
in such cases, a deficiency in previous training; for a young woman,
educated with a proper regard for purity, would sooner sacrifice life
itself than virtue. Again, poverty can be no excuse, for in every city
there are made provisions for the relief of the needy poor, and none
who are really worthy need suffer.

Ignorance.--Perhaps nothing fosters vice more than ignorance.
Prostitutes come almost entirely from the more ignorant classes, though
there are, of course, many exceptions. Among the lowest classes, vice
is seen in its grossest forms, and is carried to the greatest lengths.
Intellectual culture is antagonistic to sensuality. As a general rule,
in proportion as the intellect is developed, the animal passions are
brought into subjection. It is true that very intellectual men have
been great libertines, and that the licentious Borgias and Medicis of
Italy encouraged art and literature; but these are only apparent
exceptions, for who knows to what greater depths of vice these
individuals might have sunk had it not been for the restraining
influence of mental culture?

Says Deslandes, "In proportion as the intellect becomes enfeebled, the
generative sensibility is augmented." The animal passions seem to
survive when all higher intelligence is lost. We once saw an
illustration of this fact in an idiot who was brought before a medical
class in a clinic at Bellevue Hospital, New York. The patient had been
an idiot from birth, and presented the most revolting appearance,
seemingly possessing scarcely the intelligence of the average dog; but
his animal propensities were so great as to be almost uncontrollable.
Indeed, he showed evidences of having been a gross debauchee, having
contracted venereal disease of the worst form. The general prevalence
of extravagant sexual excitement among the insane is a well-known fact.

Disease.--Various diseases which cause local irritation and congestion
of the reproductive organs are the causes of unchastity in both sexes,
as previously explained. It not unfrequently happens that by constantly
dwelling upon unchaste subjects until a condition of habitual
congestion of the sexual organs is produced, young women become seized
with a furor for libidinous commerce which nothing but the desired
object will appease, unless active remedial measures are adopted under
the direction of a skillful physician. This disease, known as
_nymphomania_, has been the occasion of the fall of many young women
of the better classes who have been bred in luxury and idleness, but
were never taught even the first lessons of purity or self-control.
Constipation, piles, worms, pruritis of the genitals, and some other
less common diseases of the urinary and genital systems, have been
causes of sexual excitement which has resulted in moral degradation.

Results of Licentiousness.--Apparently as a safeguard to virtue,
nature has appended to the sin of illicit sexual indulgence, as
penalties, the most loathsome, deadly, and incurable diseases known
to man. Some of these, as _gonorrhea_ and _chancroid_, are purely local
diseases; and though they occasion the transgressor a vast amount of
suffering, they may be cured and leave no trace of their presence except
in the conscience of the individual. Such a result, however, is by no
means the usual one. Most frequently, the injury done is more or less
permanent; sometimes it amounts to loss of life or serious mutilation,
as in cases we have seen. And one attack secures no immunity from
subsequent ones, as a new disease may be contracted upon every exposure.

By far the worst form of venereal disease is _syphilis_, a malady which
was formerly confounded with the two forms of disease mentioned, but
from which it is essentially different. At first, a very slight local
lesion, of no more consequence--except from its significance--than a
small boil, it rapidly infects the general system, poisoning the whole
body, and liable forever after to develop itself in any one or more
of its protean forms. The most loathsome sight upon which a human eye
can rest is a victim of this disease who presents it well developed
in its later stages. In the large Charity Hospital upon Blackwell's
Island, near New York City, we have seen scores of these unfortunates
of both sexes, exhibiting the horrid disease in all its phases. To
describe them would be to place before our readers a picture too
revolting for these pages. No pen can portray the woebegone faces, the
hopeless air, of these degraded sufferers whose repentance has come,
alas! too late. No words can convey an adequate idea of their sufferings.
What remorse and useless regrets add to the misery of their wretched
existence as they daily watch the progress of a malignant ulceration
which is destroying their organs of speech, or burrowing deep into the
recesses of the skull, penetrating even to the brain itself! Even the
bones become rottenness; foul running sores appear on different
portions of the body, and may even cover it entirely. Perhaps the nose,
or the tongue, or the lips, or an eye, or some other prominent organ,
is lost. Still the miserable sufferer lingers on, life serving only
to prolong the torture. To many of them, death would be a grateful
release, even with the fires of retributive justice before their eyes;
for hell itself could scarcely be more awful punishment than that which
they daily endure.

Thousands of Victims.--The venturesome youth need not attempt to calm
his fears by thinking that these are only exceptional cases, for this
is not the truth. In any city, one who has an experienced eye can
scarcely walk a dozen blocks on busy streets without encountering the
woeful effects of sexual transgression. Neither do these results come
only from long-continued violations of the laws of chastity. The very
first departure from virtue may occasion all the worst effects

Effects of Vice Ineradicable.--Another fearful feature of this
terrible disease is that when once it invades the system its eradication
is impossible. No drug, no chemical, can antidote its virulent poison
or drive it from the system. Various means may smother it, possibly
for a life-time; but yet it is not cured, and the patient is never safe
from a new outbreak. Prof. Bumstead, an acknowledged authority on this
subject, after observing the disease for many years, says that "he never
after treatment, however prolonged, promises immunity for the
future."[44] Dr. Van Buren, professor of surgery at Bellevue Hospital
Medical College, New York, bears the same testimony.

[Footnote 44: Venereal Disease.]

Prof. Van Buren also says that he has often seen the disease occur upon
the lips of young ladies who were entirely virtuous, but who were
engaged to men who had contracted the disease and had communicated it
to them by the act of kissing. Virtuous wives have not infrequently
had their constitutions hopelessly ruined by contracting the disease
from husbands who had themselves been inoculated either before or after
marriage, by illicit intercourse. Several such unfortunate cases have
fallen under our observation, and there is reason to believe that they
are not infrequent.

The Only Hope.--The only hope for one who has contracted this disease
is to lead a life of perfect continence ever after, and by a most careful
life, by conforming strictly to the laws of health, by bathing and
dieting, he may possibly avoid the horrid consequences of the later
stages of the malady. Mercury will not cure, nor will any other poison,
as before remarked.

The following strong testimony on this subject we quote from an
admirable pamphlet by Prof. Fred. H. Gerrish, M.D.:--

"The diseases dependent upon prostitution are appallingly frequent,
a distinguished surgeon recently declaring that one person in twenty
in the United States has syphilis, a malady so ineradicable that a
profound observer has remarked that 'a man who is once thus poisoned
will die a syphilitic, and, in the day of Judgment, he will be a
syphilitic ghost.' Prof. Gross says: 'What is called scrofula, struma,
or tuberculosis, is, I have long been satisfied from careful
observation of the sick and a profound study of the literature of the
subject, in a great majority of cases, if not invariably, merely
syphilis in its more remote stages.' Though there are doubtless many
of us who believe that a not inconsiderable proportion of scrofulous
and phthisical cases are clearly due to other causes than syphilis,
we must admit that this statement contains a very large element of

Hereditary Effects of Venereal Disease.--The transgressor is not the
only sufferer. If he marries, his children, if they survive infancy,
will in later years show the effects of their father's sin, exhibiting
the forms of the disease seen in its later stages. Scrofula, consumption,
cancer, rickets, diseases of the brain and nerves, decay of the bones
by caries or necrosis, and other diseases, arise in this way.

But it generally happens that the child dies before birth, or lingers
out a miserable existence of a few days or weeks thereafter. A most
pitiable sight these little ones are. Their faces look as old as
children of ten or twelve. Often their bodies become reduced before
death to the most wretched skeletons. Their hollow, feeble cry sends
a shudder of horror through the listener, and impresses indelibly the
terrible consequences of sexual sin. Plenty of these scrawny infants
may be seen in the lying-in hospitals.

No one can estimate how much of the excessive mortality of infants is
owing to this cause.

In children who survive infancy, its blighting influence may be seen
in the notched, deformed teeth, and other defects; and very often it
will be found, upon looking into the mouth of the child, that the soft
palate, and perhaps the hard palate as well, is in a state of ulceration.
There is more than a suspicion that this disease may be transmitted
for several generations, perhaps remaining latent during the life-time
of one, and appearing in all its virulence in the next.

Man the Only Transgressor.--Man is the only animal that abuses his
sexual organization by making it subservient to other ends than
reproduction; hence he is the only sufferer from this foul disease,
which is one of the penalties of such abuse. Attempts have been made
to communicate the disease to lower animals, but without success, even
though inoculation was practiced.

Origin of the Foul Disease.--Where or when the disease originated, is
a mystery. It is said to have been introduced into France from Naples
by French soldiers. That it originated spontaneously at some time can
scarcely be doubted, and that it might originate under circumstances
of excessive violation of the laws of chastity is rendered probable
by the fact that gonorrhea, or an infectious disease exactly resembling
it, is often caused by excessive indulgence, from which cause it not
infrequently occurs in the newly married, giving rise to unjust
suspicion of infidelity on both sides.

Read the following from a noted French physician:--

"The father, as well as the mother, communicates the syphilitic virus
to the children. These poor little beings are attacked sometimes at
their birth; more often it is at the end of a month or two, before these
morbid symptoms appear.

"I recall the heart-rending anguish of a mother whom I assisted at her
fifth confinement. She related to me her misfortune: 'I have already
brought into the world four children. Alas! they all died during the
first months of their existence. A frightful eruption wasted them away
and killed them. Save me the one that is about to be born!' cried she,
in tears. The child that I delivered was sickly and puny. A few days
after its birth, it had purulent ophthalmia; then, crusted and
ulcerated pustules, a few at first, numerous afterward, covered the
entire surface of the skin. Soon this miserable little being became
as meager as a skeleton, hideous to the sight, and died. Having
questioned the husband, he acknowledged to me that he had had

[Footnote 45: Bourgeois.]

Cure of the "Social Evil."--With rare exceptions, the efforts of civil
legislation have been directed toward controlling or modifying this
vice, rather than extirpating it.

Among other devices adopted with a view to effect this, and to mitigate
in some degree the resulting evils, the issuing of licenses for brothels
has been practiced in several large cities. One of the conditions of
the license makes it obligatory upon the keepers of houses of ill-repute
and their inmates to submit to medical examination at stated intervals.
By this means, it is expected to detect the cases of foul disease at
the outset, and thus to protect others by placing the infected
individuals under restraint and treatment. It will be seen that for
many reasons such examinations could not be effective; but, even if
they were, the propriety of this plan of dealing with the vice is
exceedingly questionable, as will appear from the following

1. The moment that prostitution is placed under the protection of law
by means of a license, it at once loses half its disrepute, and becomes
respectable, as do gambling and liquor-selling under the same

2. Why should so vile a crime as fornication be taken under legal
protection more than stealing or the lowest forms of gambling? Is it
not a lesser crime against human nature to rob a man of his money by
theft or by deceit and trickery than to snatch from him at one fell
swoop his health, his virtue, and his peace of mind? Why not as well
have laws to regulate burglary and assassination, allowing the
perpetrators of those crimes to ply their chosen avocations with
impunity under certain prescribed restrictions; if robbery, for
instance, requiring the thief to leave his victim money enough to make
his escape to another country; or, if murder, directing the assassin
to allow his intended victim time to repeat a sufficient number of _Ave
Marias_ to insure his safe transit through purgatory or to pay a priest
for doing the same? Such a course would not be inconsistent with the
policy which legalizes that infamous traffic in human souls,

3. By the use of certain precautionary measures the fears of many will
be allayed, so that thousands whose fear of the consequences of sin
would otherwise have kept them physically virtuous, at least,
erroneously supposing that the cause for fear has been removed, will
rush madly into a career of vice, and will learn only too late the folly
of their course.

Prevention the Only Cure.--Those who have once entered upon a career
of sensuality are generally so completely lost to all sense of purity
and right that there is little chance for reforming them. They have
no principle to which to appeal. The gratification of lust so degrades
the soul and benumbs the higher sensibilities that a votary of
voluptuousness is a most unpromising subject for reformatory efforts.
The old adage that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure is
strikingly exemplified in this case. The remedy must be applied before
the depths have been reached. It was well said by a celebrated physician
to a young man beginning a life of vice, "You are entering upon a career
from which you will never turn back."

Early Training.--The remedy, to be effective, must be applied early,
the earlier the better. Lessons on chastity may be given in early
infancy. The remedy may be applied even further back than this; children
must be virtuously generated. The bearing of this point will be fully
appreciated in connection with the principles established in the
preceding pages of this work, and which have already been sufficiently

Children should be early taught to reverence virtue, to abhor lust;
and boys should be so trained that they will associate with the name
of woman only pure, chaste, and noble thoughts. Few things are more
deeply injurious to the character of woman, and more conducive to the
production of foul imaginations in children, than the free discussion
of such subjects as the "Beecher scandal" and like topics. The
inquisitive minds and lively imaginations of childhood penetrate the
rotten mysteries of such foul subjects at a much earlier age than many
persons imagine. The inquiring minds of children will be occupied in
some way, and it is of the utmost importance that they should be early
filled with thoughts that will lead them to noble and pure actions.

Teach Self-Control.--One important part of early training is the
cultivation of self-control, and a habit of self-denial, whenever right
demands it. Another most essential part of a child's moral training
is the cultivation of right motives. To present a child no higher
motives for doing right than the hope of securing some pleasant reward,
or the fear of suffering some terrible punishment, is the surest way
to make of him a supremely selfish man, with no higher aim than to secure
good to himself, no matter what may become of other people. And if he
can convince himself that the pleasure he will secure by the commission
of a certain act will more than counterbalance the probable risk of
suffering, he will not hesitate to commit it, leaving wholly out of
the consideration the question, Is it right? or noble? or pure? A love
of right for its own sake is the only solid basis upon which to build
a moral character. Children should not be taught to do right in order
to avoid a whipping, or imprisonment in a dark closet,--a horrid kind
of punishment sometimes resorted to,--or even to escape "the lake of
fire and brimstone." Neither should they be constantly coaxed to
right-doing by promised rewards,--a new toy, a book, an excursion, nor
even the pleasures of Heaven. All of these incentives are selfish, and
invariably narrow the character and belittle life when made the _chief_
motives of action. But rather begin at the earliest possible moment
to instill into the mind a love for right, and truth, and purity, and
virtue, and an abhorrence for their contraries; then will he have a
worthy principle by which to square his life; then will he be safe from
the assaults of passion, of vice, of lust. A mind so trained stands
upon an eminence from which all evil men and devils combined cannot
displace it so long as it adheres to its noble principles.

Mental Culture.--The cultivation of the physical organization must not
be neglected. Healthful mental discipline should receive equal
attention. By healthful mental discipline is not meant that kind of
superficial "cramming" and memorizing which constitute the training
of the average school, but sound culture; a directing of the mind from
facts to underlying principles; a development of the reasoning powers
so as to bring the emotions and passions into subjection; the
acquirement of the power to concentrate the mind, one of the best
methods of cultivating self-control,--these are some of the objects
and results of sound culture of the mind.

To supply the mind with food for pure thoughts, the child should be
early inspired with a love for nature. The perceptives should be trained,
the child taught to observe closely and accurately. The study of the
natural sciences is a most valuable means of elevating the mind above
grossness and sensuality. To be successful in this direction, parents
must cultivate a love for the same objects themselves. Take the little
ones into the country, if they are not so fortunate as to live there,
and in the midst of nature's glories, point their impressible minds
upward to the Author of all the surrounding loveliness. Gather flowers
and leaves and call attention to the peculiarities and special beauties
of each, and thus arouse curiosity and cultivate habits of close
observation and attention.

Early Associations.--As children grow older, watch their associations.
Warn them of evil influences and evil practices. Make home so attractive
that they will enjoy it better than any other place. Cultivate music;
its mellowing, harmonizing, refining influence is too great to be
prudently withheld. Children naturally love music; and if they cannot
hear it at home, they will go where they can hear it. Supply attractive
books of natural history, travels, interesting and instructive
biographies, and almost any other books but love-sick novels, and
sentimental religious story-books. Guard against bad books and bad
associates as carefully as though they were deadly serpents, for they
are, indeed, the artful emissaries of the "old serpent" himself. A taste
once formed for reading light literature destroys the relish for solid
reading; and usually the taste, once lost, is never regained. The
fascination of bad companionship once formed around a person is broken
with the greatest difficulty. Hence the necessity for watching for the
very beginnings of evil and promptly checking them.

The mind should be thus fortified against the trifles and follies of
fashionable life. It should be elevated into a sphere far above that
occupied by those who pass their time in fashionable drawing-rooms in
silly twaddle, with thrumming a piano, with listless day-dreaming, or
in the gratification of perverted tastes and depraved instincts in any
other of the ways common to fashionable life.


If illicit commerce of the sexes is a heinous sin, self-pollution, or
masturbation, is a crime doubly abominable. As a sin against nature,
it has no parallel except in sodomy (see Gen. 19:5, Judges 19:22). It
is the most dangerous of all sexual abuses, because the most extensively
practiced. The vice consists in any excitement of the genital organs
produced otherwise than in the natural way. It is known by the terms,
self-pollution, self-abuse, masturbation, onanism, manustupration,
voluntary pollution, solitary or secret vice, and other names
sufficiently explanatory. The vice is the more extensive because there
are no bounds to its indulgence. Its frequent repetition fastens it
upon the victim with a fascination almost irresistible. It may be begun
in earliest infancy, and may continue through life.

Even though no warning may have been given, the transgressor seems to
know, instinctively, that he is committing a great wrong, for he
carefully hides his practice from observation. In solitude he pollutes
himself, and with his own hand blights all his prospects for both this
world and the next. Even after being solemnly warned, he will often
continue this worse than beastly practice, deliberately forfeiting his
right to health and happiness for a moment's mad sensuality.

Alarming Prevalence of the Vice.--The habit is by no means confined
to boys; girls also indulge in it, though, it is to be hoped, to a less
fearful extent than boys, at least in this country. A Russian physician,
quoted by an eminent medical professor in New York, states that the
habit is universal among girls in Russia. It seems impossible that such
a statement should be credible; and yet we have not seen it contradicted.
It is more than probable that the practice is far more nearly universal
everywhere than even medical men are willing to admit. Many young men
who have been addicted to the vice, have, in their confessions, declared
that they found it universal in the schools in which they learned the

Dr. Gardner speaks of it as "the secret cause of much that is perverting
the energies and demoralizing the minds of many of our fairest and
best." He further says:--

"Much of the worthlessness, lassitude, and physical and mental
feebleness attributable to the modern woman are to be ascribed to these
habits as their initial cause." "Foreigners are especially struck with
this fact as the cause of much of the physical disease of our young
women. They recognize it in the physique, in the sodden, colorless
countenance, the lack-luster eye, in the dreamy indolence, the general
carriage, the constant demeanor indicative of distrust, mingled
boldness and timidity, and a series of anomalous combinations which
mark this genus of physical and moral decay."

The extent to which the vice is practiced by an individual is in some
cases appalling. Three or four repetitions of the act daily are not
uncommon; and the following from Dr. Copland is evidence of much deeper

"There can be no doubt that the individual who has once devoted himself
to this moloch of the species becomes but too frequently its slave to
an almost incredible degree. A patient who was sent to London for my
advice confessed that he had practiced this vice seven or eight times
daily from the age of thirteen until twenty-four; and he was then
reduced to the lowest state of mental weakness, associated with various
bodily infirmities; indeed, both mental power and physical existence
were nearly extinguished."

Testimony of Eminent Authors.--Says a medical writer, "In my opinion,
neither the plague, nor war, nor small-pox, nor similar diseases, have
produced results so disastrous to humanity as the pernicious habit of
onanism; it is the destroying element of civilized societies, which
is constantly in action, and gradually undermines the health of
a nation."

"The sin of self-pollution, which is generally considered to be that
of Onan, is one of the most destructive evils ever practiced by fallen
man. In many respects it is several degrees worse than common whoredom,
and has in its train more awful consequences, though practiced by
numbers who would shudder at the thought of criminal connection with
a prostitute."[46]

[Footnote 46: Dr. Adam Clarke.]

"However revolting to the feelings it may be to enter upon such a subject,
it cannot be passed over in silence without a great violation of duty.
Unhappily, it has not been hitherto exhibited in the awful light in
which it deserves to be shown. _The worst of it is that it is seldom
suspected._ There are many pale faces and languid and nervous feelings
attributed to other causes, when all the mischief lies here."[47]

[Footnote 47: Sir W. C. Ellis.]

We scarcely need add further evidence of the fearful extent of this
evil, but will conclude with the following:--

"The pernicious and debasing practice of masturbation is a more common
and extensive evil with youth of both sexes than is usually supposed."
"A great number of the evils which come upon the youth at and after
the age of puberty, arise from masturbation, persisted in, so as to
waste the vital energies and enervate the physical and mental powers
of man." "Many of the weaknesses commonly attributed to growth and the
changes in the habit by the important transformation from adolescence
to manhood, are justly referable to this practice."[48]

[Footnote 48: Boston Medical and Surgical Journal.]

Not a Modern Vice.--That this vice is not entirely a modern one is proved
by the fact that in many ancient writings directions are given for
treating its effects. Even Moses seems to have recognized disorders
of this class. Hippocrates and others devoted considerable attention
to them.

Victims of all Ages.--The ages at which the habit may be practiced
include almost the whole extent of human life. We have seen it in infants
of only three or four years, and in old men scarcely less than sixty,
in both extremes marked by the most unmistakable and lamentable
consequences. Cases have been noted in which the practice was begun
as early as two years of age. It is common among African boys at nine
and ten years of age, according to Dr. Copland.

Unsuspected Rottenness.--Parents who have no suspicion of the evil,
who think their children the embodiment of purity, will find by careful
observation and inquiry,--though personal testimony cannot be relied
upon,--that in numerous instances their supposed virtuous children are
old in corruption. Such a revelation has brought dismay into many a
family, only too late in some cases.

Not long since a case came under our care which well illustrates the
apathy and blindness of parents with respect to this subject. The
parents of a young man whose mind seemed to be somewhat disordered,
sent word to us through a friend respecting his condition, asking advice.
We suspected from the symptoms described the real cause of the disease,
and urged prompt attention to the case. In a short time the young man
was placed under our immediate care without encouragement of a cure,
and we gave the case still closer study. The characteristic symptoms
of disease from self-abuse were marked, but the father was positive
that no influence of that kind could have been at work. He had watched
his son narrowly from infancy, and did not believe it possible for him
to have been guilty. In addition, the young man had long been remarkable
for his piety, and he did not believe there could be any possibility
of his being guilty of so gross a crime.

A short time sufficed, however, to secure the indisputable evidence
of the fact by his being caught in the act by his nurse.

This young man was a sad example of what havoc is made with the "human
form divine" by this debasing vice. Once a bright boy, kind,
affectionate, active, intelligent, the pride of a loving mother and
the hope of a doting father, his mind had sunken to driveling idiocy.
His vacant stare and expressionless countenance betokened almost
complete imbecility. If allowed to do so, he would remain for hours
in whatever position his last movement left him. If his hand was raised,
it remained extended until placed in a position of rest by his attendant.
Only with the utmost difficulty could he be made to rise in the morning,
to eat, drink, or walk. Only by great efforts could he be aroused from
his lethargy sufficiently to answer the most simple question. The
instinctive demands of decency in regarding the calls of nature were
not respected. In short, the distinguishing characteristics of a human
being were almost wholly obliterated, leaving but a physical semblance
of humanity; a mind completely wrecked, a body undergoing dissolution
while yet alive, a blasted life, no hope for this world, no prospect
for the next. In the insane asylums of the country may be seen hundreds
of these poor victims in all stages of physical and mental

Causes of the Habit.--It is needless to recapitulate all the causes
of unchastity which have previously been quite fully dwelt upon, nearly
all of which are predisposing or exciting causes of solitary as well
as of social vice. Sexual precocity, idleness, pernicious literature,
abnormal sexual passions, exciting and irritating food, gluttony,
sedentary employment, libidinous pictures, and many abnormal
conditions of life, are potent causes in exciting the vile practice;
but by far the most frequent causes are evil associations, wicked or
ignorant nurses, and local disease, or abnormality. These latter we
will consider more particularly, as they have not been so fully dwelt
upon elsewhere.

Evil Associations.--A child may have been reared with the greatest care.
From infancy he may have been carefully shielded from all pernicious
influences, so that at the age of ten or twelve, when he is for the
first time sent away to school, he may be free from vice; but when he
associates with his fellow-students, he soon finds them practicing a
habit new to him, and being unwarned, he speedily follows their filthy
example and quickly becomes fascinated with the vice. Thousands have
taken their first lessons in this debasing habit at school. Teachers
and scholars testify that it is often practiced even in school hours,
almost under the teacher's eyes; but where the infection most quickly
spreads is in the sleeping apartments, where more than one occupy the
same bed, or where several sleep in the same room.

Nothing is more indispensable to purity of body and of morals than a
private sleeping room and single bed for each student. Such an
arrangement would protect the youth from the reception of much evil,
and would allow an opportunity for privacy which every young man or
youth needs for his spiritual as well as physical benefit. Not the least
benefit of the latter class is the opportunity for a thorough cleansing
of the whole body every morning, which is almost as indispensable to
purity of morals as cleanliness of body. The same suggestion is fully
as applicable to the sleeping arrangements of girls. The exceptional
cases in which this plan would not be the best are very few indeed.

Corruption in Schools.--Says Dr. Acton, "I cannot venture to print the
accounts patients have given me of what they have seen or even been
drawn into at schools. I would fain hope that such abominations are
things of the past." The entrance of a single corrupt boy into a school
which may have been previously pure--though such schools must be
extremely rare--will speedily corrupt almost the entire membership.
The evil infection spreads more rapidly than the contagion of small-pox
or yellow fever, and it is scarcely less fatal.

This danger exists not in public or city schools alone, but in the most
select and private schools. A father who had kept his two sons under
the care of a private governess for several years, and then placed them
in a small school taught by a lady, and composed of a few small children
from the most select families, was greatly astonished when informed
by a physician that his sons showed symptoms of the effects of
self-abuse. He was totally incredulous; but an investigation showed
that they had already practiced the vile habit for several years, having
learned it of an infantile school-mate.

We were acquainted with one instance in which a primary school in a
secluded and select community was nearly broken up by the introduction
of this vile habit through a corrupt student. Many a watchful teacher
has seen the light of growing intelligence suddenly dim and wane in
the eye of his favorite student just when he was giving the most promise
of developing unusual talents in literature, mathematics, or some one
of the natural or physical sciences, and has been compelled to watch
the devastating influence of this deadly upas tree that often claims
the best and fairest human flowers as its victims.

Wicked Nurses.--In those cases in which the habit is acquired at a very
early age, the work of evil is usually wrought by the nurse, perhaps
through ignorance of the effects of the habit. Incredible as it seems,
it is proved by numerous instances that it is not an uncommon habit
for nurses to quiet small children by handling or titillating their
genital organs. They find this a speedy means of quieting them, and
resort to it regardless or ignorant of the consequences.

Not an Uncommon Case.--Prof. Lusk, of Bellevue Hospital College, New
York, related to his medical class in our hearing a case which came
under his observation in which all of the children in a large family
had been taught the habit by a wicked nurse for the purpose of keeping
them quiet after they were put to bed. The vileness that would lead
a person to thus rob childhood of its innocence, and blast its prospects
for this life and the next, is base enough for the commission of almost
any crime. Indeed, the crime could hardly have been a worse one had
the nurse referred to in the above case in cold blood cut the throats
of those innocent children; perhaps it might have been better for the

A gentleman once declared that if he should detect a person teaching
this crime to his child he would shoot him on the spot; and if homicide
is allowable under any circumstances, it seems to us it would be
extenuated by such an aggravation. If occasional bad associations will
work an immense damage to the youthful character, what terrible injury
may be wrought by an agent of sin, an instructor in vice, who is within
the household, who presides in the nursery, and exerts a constant
influence! No one can estimate it.

Acton remarks on this point, "I need hardly point out how very dangerous
this is. There seems hardly any limit to the age at which a young child
can be initiated into these abominations, or to the depth of degradation
to which it may fall under such hideous teaching. Books treating of
this subject are unfortunately too full of accounts of the habits of
such children."

In not a few instances the "hired man" has been the means of
communicating to innocent little boys the infamous knowledge which,
fortunately, they had not acquired in babyhood. With no knowledge of
the evil they are committing, they begin the work of physical damnation
which makes a hell of life and leads to endless death.

The "hired girl" is often an equally efficient agent for evil in the
instruction of little girls in this debasing vice. Some time ago, the
very intelligent parents of a bright family of children were awakened
to the importance of this subject from the perusal of the first edition
of this work, and upon investigation were horrified to find that their
oldest child a promising daughter of ten, was already a victim to the
vile practice, having been initiated by a "hired girl." After using
in vain every means he could bring to bear upon the case, the father
brought her to us, and with tears in his eyes gave his story. After
telling of his unsuccessful attempts to effect a reform, he declared
that he would far prefer to place his daughter in the grave than to
see her grow up a wretched victim of this vice. We were most happy to
be able, after a few weeks' treatment, to restore her to her parents,
as we hope, permanently reformed. Not a few such cases are constantly
coming to the attention of the medical profession.

The Instructor in Vice.--Are these lines perused by any one who has
ever taught another this vice so vile, and so certainly followed by
penalties so terrible--penalties not upon the instigator but upon the
hapless victim? let such a person clothe himself in sackcloth and ashes,
and do penance for the remainder of his life. The only way in which
he can hope to atone even in some small degree for such a heinous crime,
is by doing all in his power to warn those in danger against this sin.
When all men receive their just deserts, what will be the punishment
of such a one who has not, by thorough repentance and a life spent in
trying to undo the work of ruin so foully wrought, in some measure
disburdened himself of the consequences of his act!

Sending children very early to bed before they are weary, "to get them
out of the way," or for punishment, is a grave error, as this may give
rise to the vice. Confining children alone in a room by themselves is
an equally reprehensible practice, as it favors the commission of the
act, at least, and may afford a favorable opportunity for its discovery.
Allowing children to form a habit of seeking solitude is an evil of
the same nature.

Local Disease.--In the male, a tight or long foreskin is a frequent
cause of the habit. The constant contact of the prepuce with the most
sensitive part of the organ increases its sensibility. The secretion
is retained, and accumulates, often becoming hardened. In this manner
irritation is set up, which occasions uncomfortable feelings, and
attracts the hands to the part. Owing to the great degree of excitement
due to irritation, but a slight provocation is necessary to arouse
voluptuous sensations, and then the terrible secret is revealed. The
child readily discovers how to reproduce the same, and is not slow to
commit a frequent repetition of the act; and thus the habit is formed.

An Illustrative Case.--A case in which the vice originated in this
manner was recently under our observation. The patient was a man of
considerable intellectual power and some culture, but showed
unmistakable signs of his early indiscretion. He stated that although
he mingled quite freely with other boys of his age, he obtained no
knowledge of the habit from others. He often heard allusions which he
did not understand, and of which he did not, fortunately, discover the
meaning. But he was afflicted with congenital _phimosis_, the prepuce
being so tight that retraction was impossible. This, together with
urinal irritation,--which occasioned nocturnal incontinence of
urine,--constipation, and highly seasoned food, produced so much local
irritation as to occasion frequent erections, and an increased
secretion. He soon noticed that there was an accumulation of hardened
secretion beneath the foreskin, and in attempting to remove this, he
accidentally provoked voluptuous sensations. He speedily abandoned
himself to the habit, often repeating it several times a day. Beginning
at the age of twelve years, he continued it for three or four years.

Soon after acquiring the habit, he became aware of its tendencies,
through reading books upon the subject, but he found himself so
completely enslaved that abstinence seemed impossible. One resolution
to reform after another was formed, only to be speedily broken. His
unwholesome diet, habitual constipation, and especially the
unfortunate organic difficulty in his genital organs, produced an
almost constant priapism, which was only relieved, and then but
temporarily, by the act of pollution. His sedentary habits increased
the difficulty to an extreme degree.

In the meantime, his constitution, naturally weak, was being gradually
undermined. He suffered from constant headache, heart-burn, pains in
the back and limbs, weakness, and lassitude. Yet he attributed none
of these ailments to the true cause. After the lapse of three or four
years thus spent, and after repeated ineffectual attempts, by a
powerful effort of the will, by the aid of prayer, and by adopting a
more wholesome diet, he succeeded in getting the mastery of his vice.
But the local difficulties still continued in a great degree, and under
particularly aggravating circumstances occasioned a relapse at long
intervals. After a time, the local difficulties grew less and less,
and enabled him to gain a complete victory over the habit, though the
results of previous sin still remained, for which he desired treatment.

This case will serve as a fair illustration of many of similar character,
in which the child accidentally makes the discovery which leads him
to work his own ruin.

Other Physical Causes.--Constipation, piles, irritable bladder,
fissure of the anus, local uncleanliness, and pruritis of the genital
organs, will produce the habit in both males and females in the manner
described. Sleeping on feather beds increases the local congestion,
and thus favors the exciting influences of any of the above-named causes.
It may, perhaps, itself be the exciting cause.

We once treated a patient who was affected with stone in the bladder,
and who asserted that the constant irritation which he suffered in the
end of the penis was only relieved by friction. This might readily be
the cause of masturbation, though in this case the vice had been
acquired many years before, and was still continued in spite of all
efforts to reform.

Lying upon the back or upon the abdomen frequently leads to self-abuse
by provoking sexual excitement. Certain kinds of exercises, as climbing,
in particular, have been attended by the same results. It is said that
children sometimes experience genital excitement amounting to pleasure
as the result of whipping.

Influence of Stimulants.--The use of stimulants of any kind is a
fruitful cause of the vice. Tea and coffee have led thousands to
perdition in this way. The influence of tobacco is so strongly shown
in this direction that it is doubtful if there can be found a boy who
has attained the age of puberty and has acquired the habit of using
tobacco, who is not also addicted to this vile practice. Candies, spices,
cinnamon, cloves, peppermint, and all strong essences, powerfully
excite the genital organs and lead to the same result.

It should be further added that there is evidence that a powerful
predisposition to this vice is transmitted to the children of those
who have themselves been guilty of it.

Signs of Self-Abuse.--The net which this vice weaves around its victims
is so strong, and its meshes are so elaborately interwoven with all
his thoughts, his habits, and his very being, when it has been long
indulged, that it is important to be able to detect it when first
acquired, as it may then be much more easily overcome than at any
subsequent period. It is often no easy matter to do this, as the victim
will resort to all manner of cunning devices to hide his vice, and will
not scruple to falsify concerning it, when questioned. To be able to
accomplish this successfully, requires a careful study, first, of the
signs by which those who indulge in the practice may be known, and,
secondly, of the habits of the individuals.

In considering the subject it will be found that there are two classes
of signs, as follows:--

1. Those which may arouse suspicion, but any one of which, taken singly,
would not be an evidence of the practice.

2. Those which may be regarded as positive. Several suspicious signs
together may constitute a positive sign. Under these two heads, we will
consider the signs of this vile habit.

It is well to bear in mind the fact that one or two suspicious signs
are not evidence of the disease. It is likewise well to remember that
the habit may be found where least looked for, and where one would have
a right to expect perfect purity. Prejudice must be allowed no voice
upon either side. A writer has said that every young person under
puberty ought to be suspected of the disease. We can hardly indorse
this remark, in full, but it would be at least wise for every guardian
of children to criticize most carefully their habits and to quickly
detect the first indications of sinful practices. Parents must not
think that _their_ children, at least, are too good to engage in such
sinful abuses. It is most probable that their children are very like
those of their neighbors; and any amount of natural goodness is not
a protection against this insidious vice when it presents itself as
a harmless pleasure to the unwarned and ignorant child.

Suspicious Signs.--The following symptoms, occurring in the mental and
physical character and habits of a child or young person, may well give
rise to grave suspicions of evil, and should cause parents or guardians
to be on the alert to root it out if possible:--

1. _General debility_, coming upon a previously healthy child, marked
by emaciation, weakness, an unnatural paleness, colorless lips and gums,
and the general symptoms of exhaustion, when it cannot be traced to
any other legitimate cause, as internal disease, worms, grief, overwork,
poor air or poor food, and when it is not speedily removed by change
of air or appropriate remedial measures, may safely be attributed to
solitary vice, no matter how far above natural suspicion the individual
may be. Mistakes will be rare indeed when such a judgment is pronounced
under the circumstances named.

2. _Early symptoms of consumption_--or what are supposed to be such--as
cough, and decrease in flesh, with short breathing and soreness of the
lungs--or muscles of the chest--are not infrequently, solely the result
of this vice. That such is the case may be considered pretty surely
determined if physical examination of the lungs reveals no organic
disease of those organs. But it should be remembered that solitary vice
is one of the most frequent causes of early consumption. Several cases
which strikingly prove this have fallen under our own observation.

3. _Premature and defective development_ is a symptom closely allied
to the two preceding. When it cannot be traced to such natural causes
as overstudy, overwork, lack of exercise, and other influences of a
similar nature, it should be charged to self-abuse. The early exercise
of the genital organs hastens the attainment of puberty, in many cases,
especially when the habit is acquired early, but at the same time saps
the vital energies so that the system is unable to manifest that
increased energy in growth and development which usually occurs at this
period. In consequence, the body remains small, or does not attain that
development which it otherwise would. The mind is dwarfed as well as
the body. Sometimes the mind suffers more than the body in lack of
development, and sometimes the reverse is true. This defective
development is shown, in the physical organization of males, in the
failure of the voice to increase in volume and depth of tone as it
should; in deficient growth of the beard; in failure of the chest to
become full and the shoulders broad. The mind and character show the
dwarfing influence by failure to develop those qualities which
especially distinguish a noble manhood. In the female, defective
development is shown by menstrual derangements, by defective growth
either in stature, or as shown in unnatural slimness, and in a failure
to develop the graces and pleasing character which should distinguish
early womanhood. Such signs deserve careful investigation, for they
can only result from some powerfully blighting influence.

4. _Sudden change in disposition_ is a sign which may well arouse
suspicion. If a boy who has previously been cheerful, pleasant, dutiful,
and gentle, suddenly becomes morose, cross, peevish, irritable, and
disobedient, be sure that some foul influence is at work with him. When
a girl, naturally joyous, happy, confiding, and amiable, becomes
unaccountably gloomy, sad, fretful, dissatisfied, and unconfiding, be
certain that a blight of no insignificant character is resting upon
her. Make a careful study of the habits of such children; and if there
is no sudden illness to account for the change in their character, it
need not require long deliberation to arrive at the true cause, for
it will rarely be found to be anything other than solitary indulgence.

5. _Lassitude_ is as unnatural for a child as for a young kitten. A
healthy child will be active, playful, full of life and animal spirits.
If a young child manifests indisposition to activity, a dislike for
play, lifelessness and languor, suspect his habits, if there is no other
reasonable cause to which to attribute his unnatural want of childish

6. In connection with the preceding symptom will generally be found,
instead of that natural brilliance of expression in the eyes and
countenance, an unnatural dullness and vacantness altogether foreign
to childhood. This is a just ground for suspicion.

7. _Sleeplessness_ is another symptom of significance. Sound sleep is
natural for childhood; and if sleeplessness be not occasioned by
dietetic errors, as eating indigestible food, eating between meals,
or eating late suppers, it may justly be a cause for suspicion of evil

8. _Failure of mental capacity_ without apparent cause should occasion
suspicion of evil practices. When a child who has previously learned
readily, mastered his lessons easily, and possessed a retentive memory,
shows a manifest decline in these directions, fails to get his lessons,
becomes stupid, forgetful, and inattentive, he has probably become the
victim of a terrible vice, and is on the road to speedy mental as well
as physical ruin. Watch him.

9. _Fickleness_ is another evidence of the working of some
deteriorating influence, for only a weak mind is fickle.

10. _Untrustworthiness_ appearing in a child should attract attention
to his habits. If he has suddenly become heedless, listless, and
forgetful, so that he cannot be depended upon, though previously not
so, lay the blame upon solitary indulgence. This vice has a wonderful
influence in developing untruthfulness. A child previously honest,
under its baneful influence will soon become an inveterate liar.

11. _Love of solitude_ is a very suspicious sign. Children are naturally
sociable, almost without exception. They have a natural dread of being
alone. When a child habitually seeks seclusion without a sufficient
cause, there are good grounds for suspecting him of sinful habits. The
barn, the garret, the water-closet, and sometimes secluded places in
the woods, are the favorite resorts of masturbators. They should be
carefully followed and watched, unobserved.

12. _Bashfulness_ is not infrequently dependent upon this cause. It
would be far from right to say that every person who is excessively
modest or timid is a masturbator; but there is a certain timorousness
which seems to arise from a sense of shame or fear of discovery that
many victims of this vice exhibit, and which may be distinguished from
natural modesty by a little experience. One very common mode of
manifestation of this timidity is the inability to look a superior,
or any person who is esteemed pure, in the eye. If spoken to, instead
of looking directly at the person to whom he addresses an answer, the
masturbator looks to one side, or lets his eyes fall upon the ground,
seemingly conscious that the eye is a wonderful tell-tale of the secrets
of the mind.

13. _Unnatural boldness_, in marked contrast with the preceding sign,
is manifested by a certain class of victims. It can be as easily
distinguished, however, as unnatural timidity. The individual seems
to have not the slightest appreciation of propriety. He commits openly
the most uncouth acts, if he does not manifest the most indecent
unchastity of manner. When spoken to, he stares rudely at the person
addressing him, often with a very unpleasant leer upon his countenance.
In some few cases there seems to be a curious combination of conditions.
While mentally fearful, timid, and hesitating, the individual finds
himself, upon addressing a person, staring at him in the most ungainly
manner. He is conscious of his ill manners, but is powerless to control
himself. This sign is one which could hardly be of use to any except
a very close observer, however, as few can read upon the countenance
the operations of the mind.

14. _Mock piety_--or perhaps we should more properly designate it as
mistaken piety--is another peculiar manifestation of the effects of
this vicious practice. The victim is observed to become transformed,
by degrees, from a romping, laughing child, full of hilarity and frolic,
to a sober and very sedate little--Christian, the friends think, and
they are highly gratified with the piety of the child. Little do they
suspect the real cause of the solemn face; not the slightest suspicion
have they of the foul orgies practiced by the little sinner. By the
aid of friends he may soon add hypocrisy to his other crimes, and find
in assumed devotion a ready pretense for seeking solitude. Parents will
do well to investigate the origin of this kind of religion in their

15. _Easily frightened_ children are abundant among young masturbators,
though all easily frightened persons are not vicious. It is certain,
however, that the vice greatly exaggerates natural fear, and creates
an unnatural apprehensiveness. The victim's mind is constantly filled
with vague forebodings of evil. He often looks behind him, looks into
all the closets, peeps under the bed, and is constantly expressing fears
of impending evil. Such movements are the result of a diseased
imagination, and they may justly give rise to suspicion.

16. _Confusion of ideas_ is another characteristic of the devotee of
this artful vice. If he attempts to argue, his points are not clearly
made. He may be superficially quick and cute, but is incapable of deep
thought, or abstruse reasoning; is often very dull of apprehension.
Ideas are not presented in logical order, but seem to fall out
promiscuously, and fairly represent the condition of a disordered brain.
Attempts at joking are generally failures, as the jest is sure to be
inappropriate or vulgar, and no one but himself sees any occasion for
laughter except at his stupidity. Such individuals are not scarce.

17. Boys in whom the habit has become well developed sometimes manifest
a decided aversion to the society of girls; but this is not nearly so
often the case as some authors seem to indicate. It would rather appear
that the opposite is more often true. Girls usually show an increasing
fondness for the society of boys, and are very prone to exhibit marked
evidences of real wantonness.

18. _Round shoulders_ and a stooping posture in sitting are
characteristics of young masturbators of both sexes. Whenever a child
seats himself, the head and shoulders droop forward, giving to the spine
a curved appearance.

19. _Weak backs, pains in the limbs, and stiffness of the joints_, in
children, are familiar signs of the habit. To the first of these
conditions is due the habitual stooping posture assumed by these
children. The habit referred to is not the only cause of these
conditions, but its causative occurrence is sufficiently frequent to
give it no small importance as a suspicious indication.

20. _Paralysis_ of the lower extremities, coming on without apparent
cause, is not infrequently the result of solitary indulgence, even in
very small children. We have seen several cases in which this condition
was traced to the habit of masturbation, in children under six years
of age.

21. The _gait_ of a person addicted to this vice will usually betray
him to one who has learned to distinguish the peculiarities which almost
always mark the walk of such persons. In a child, a dragging, shuffling
walk is to be suspected. Boys, in walking rapidly, show none of that
elasticity which characterizes a natural gait, but walk as if they had
been stiffened in the hips, and as though their legs were pegs attached
to the body by hinges. The girl wriggles along in a style quite as
characteristic, though more difficult to detect with certainty, as
females are often so "affected" in their walk. Unsteadiness of gait
is an evidence seen in both sexes, especially in advanced cases.

22. _Bad positions_ in bed are evidences which should be noticed. If
a child lies constantly upon its abdomen, or is often found with its
hands about the genitals, it may be at least considered in a fair way
to acquire the habit if it has not already done so.

23. _Lack of development of the breasts_ in females, after puberty,
is a common result of self-pollution. Still it would be entirely unsafe
to say that every female with small mammary glands had been addicted
to this vice, especially at the present time when a fair natural
development is often destroyed by the constant pressure and heat of
"pads." But this sign may well be given a due bearing.

24. _Capricious appetite_ particularly characterizes children
addicted to secret vice. At the commencement of the practice, they
almost invariably manifest great voracity for food, gorging themselves
in the most gluttonous manner. As the habit becomes fixed, digestion
becomes impaired, and the appetite is sometimes almost wanting, and
at other times almost unappeasable.

25. One very constant peculiarity of such children is their extreme
fondness for unnatural, hurtful, and irritating articles. Nearly all
are greatly attached to salt, pepper, spices, cinnamon, cloves, vinegar,
mustard, horse-radish, and similar articles, and use them in most
inordinate quantities. A boy or girl who is constantly eating cloves
or cinnamon, or who will eat salt in quantities without other food,
gives good occasion for suspicion.

26. _Eating clay, slate-pencils, plaster, chalk,_ and other
indigestible articles is a practice to which girls who abuse themselves
are especially addicted. The habit sometimes becomes developed to such
a wonderful extent that the victims almost rival the clay-eaters of
the Amazon in gratifying their propensity.

27. Disgust for simple food is one of the traits which a victim of this
vice is sure to possess. He seems to loathe any food which is not
rendered hot and stimulating with spices and other condiments, and
cannot be induced to eat it.

28. _The use of tobacco_ is good presumptive evidence that a boy is
also addicted to a practice still more filthy. Exceptions to this rule
are very rare indeed, if they exist, which we somewhat doubt. The same
influences which would lead a boy to the use of tobacco would also lead
him to solitary vice, and each sin would serve to exaggerate the other.

29. _Unnatural paleness_ and colorless lips, unless they can be
otherwise accounted for, may be attributed to secret sin. The face is
a great tell-tale against this class of sinners. Justice demands,
however, that an individual should be given the benefit of a doubt so
long as there is a chance for the production of these symptoms by any
other known cause, as overwork, mental anxiety, or dyspepsia.

30. _Acne_, or _pimples_, on the face are also among the suspicious
signs, especially when they appear upon the forehead as well as upon
other portions of the face. Occasional pimples upon the chin are very
common in both sexes at puberty and for a few years afterward, but are
without significance, except that the blood may be somewhat gross from
unwholesome diet or lack of exercise.

31. _Biting the finger nails_ is a practice very common in girls
addicted to this vice. In such persons there will also be found, not
infrequently, slight soreness or ulceration at the roots of the nails,
and warts, one or more, upon one or both the first two fingers of the
hand--usually the right.

32. The eyes often betray much. If, in addition to want of luster and
natural brilliancy, they are sunken, present red edges, are somewhat
sore, perhaps, and are surrounded by a dark ring, the patient,
especially if a child, should be suspected and carefully watched. It
should be observed, however, that dyspepsia, debility from any cause,
and especially loss of sleep, will produce some or all of these signs,
and no one should be accused of the vice upon the evidence of these
indications alone, neither could he be justly suspected so long as his
symptoms could be accounted for by legitimate causes.

33. An habitually moist, cold hand, is a suspicious circumstance in
a young person who is not known to be suffering from some constitutional

34. _Palpitation of the heart_, frequently occurring, denotes a
condition of nervous disturbance which has some powerful cause, and
which may often be found to be the vice in question.

35. _Hysteria_ in females may be regarded as a suspicious circumstance
when frequently occurring on very slight occasions, and especially if
there is no hereditary tendency to the disease.

36. _Chlorosis_, or _green sickness_, is very often caused by the unholy
practice under consideration. It is very commonly attributed, when
occurring in young women, to menstrual derangements; but it is only
necessary to remember that these menstrual irregularities are in many
cases the result of the same habit, as has been already pointed out.

37. _Epileptic fits_ in children are not infrequently the result of
vicious habits.

38. _Wetting the bed_ is an evidence of irritation which may be
connected with the practice; it should be looked after.

39. _Unchastity of speech_ and fondness for obscene stories betray a
condition of mind which does not exist in youth who are not addicted
to this vice.

As previously remarked, no single one of the above signs should be
considered as conclusive evidence of the habit in any individual; but
any one of them may, and should, arouse suspicion and watchfulness.
If the habit really exists, but a short time will elapse before other
signs will be noticed, and when several point in the same direction,
the evidence may be considered nearly, if not quite, conclusive. But
persistent watching will enable the positive signs to be detected
sooner or later, and then there can no longer be doubt. It is, of course,
necessary to give the individual no suspicion that he is being watched,
as that would put him so effectually on his guard as, possibly, to defy

Positive Signs.--The absolutely positive signs of solitary vice are
very few. Of course the most certainly positive of all is detection
in the act. Sometimes this is difficult, with such consummate cunning
do the devotees of this Moloch pursue their debasing practice. If a
child is noticed to seek a certain secluded spot with considerable
regularity, he should be carefully followed and secretly watched, for
several days in succession if need be. Many children pursue the practice
at night after retiring. If the suspected one is observed to become
very quickly quiet after retiring, and when looked at appears to be
asleep, the bedclothes should be quickly thrown off under some pretense.
If, in the case of a boy, the penis is found in a state of erection,
with the hands near the genitals, he may certainly be treated as a
masturbator without any error. If he is found in a state of excitement,
in connection with the other evidences, with a quickened circulation
as indicated by the pulse, or in a state of perspiration, his guilt
is certain, even though he may pretend to be asleep; no doubt he has
been addicted to the vice for a considerable time to have acquired so
much cunning. If the same course is pursued with girls, under the same
circumstances, the clitoris will be found congested, with the other
genital organs, which will also be moist from increased secretion.
Other conditions will be as nearly as possible the same as those in
the boy.

Stains upon the night shirt or sheets, occurring before puberty, are
certain evidences of the vice in boys, as they are subject, before that
time, to no discharge which will leave a stain resembling that from
the seminal fluid, except the rare one from piles. In the very young,
these stains do not occur; but when the habit is acquired before puberty,
a discharge resembling semen takes place before the ordinary period.
Of course, the stains from urine will be easily distinguished from
others. The frequent occurrence of such stains after puberty is a
suspicious circumstance. A discharge in some respects similar may occur
in girls.

Before puberty, the effect of the vice upon the genital organs is to
cause an unnatural development, in both sexes, of the sensitive
portions. When this is marked, it is pretty conclusive evidence of the
vice. In girls, the vagina often becomes unnaturally enlarged, and
leucorrhoea is often present. After puberty, the organs usually
diminish in size, and become unnaturally lax and shrunken.

All of these signs should be thoroughly mastered by those who have
children under their care, and if not continually watching for them,
which would be an unpleasant task, such should be on the alert to detect
the signs at once when they appear, and then carefully seek for others
until there is no longer any doubt about the case.


The physician rarely meets more forlorn objects than the victims of
prolonged self-abuse. These unfortunate beings he meets every day of
his life, and listens so often to the same story of shameful abuse and
retributive suffering that he dreads to hear it repeated. In these cases,
there is usually a horrid sameness--the same cause, the same inevitable
results. In most cases, the patient need not utter a word, for the
physician can read in his countenance his whole history, as can most
other people at all conversant with the subject.

In order to secure the greatest completeness consistent with necessary
brevity, we will describe the effects observed in males and those in
females under separate heads, noticing the symptoms of each morbid
condition in connection with its description.


We shall describe, first, the local effects, then the general effects,
physical and mental.

Local Effects.--Excitement of the genital organs produces the most
intense congestion. No other organs in the body are capable of such
rapid and enormous engorgement. When the act is frequently repeated,
this condition becomes permanent in some of the tissues, particularly
in the mucous membrane lining the urethra. This same membrane continues
into and lines throughout the bladder, kidneys, and all the urinary
organs, together with the vesiculae seminales, the ejaculatory ducts,
the vasa deferentia, and the testes. In consequence of this continuity
of tissue, any irritation affecting one part is liable to extend to
another, or to all the rest. We mention this anatomical fact here as
a help to the understanding of the different morbid conditions which
will be noticed.

_Urethral Irritation_.--The chronic congestion of the urethra after
a time becomes chronic irritability. The tissue is unusually sensitive,
this condition being often indicated by a slight smarting in urination.
It often extends throughout the whole length of the urethra, and becomes
so intense that the passage of a sound, which would occasion little
if any sensation in a healthy organ, produces the most acute pain, as
we have observed in numerous instances, even when the greatest care
was used in the introduction of the instrument.

Shooting pains are often felt in the organ, due to this irritation.
Pain is in some cases most felt at the root, in others, at the head.
It often darts from one point to another. Just before and just after
urination the pain is most severe.

_Stricture_.--Long-continued irritation of the mucous membrane of the
urethra produces, ultimately, inflammation and swelling of the same
in some portion of its extent. This condition may become permanent,
and then constitutes real stricture, a most serious disease. More often
the swelling is but transient, being due to some unusual excess, and
will subside. Sometimes, also, a temporary stricture is produced by
spasmodic contraction of the muscular fibers surrounding the urethra,
which is excited by the local irritation. This kind of stricture is
often met in the treatment of spermatorrhoea.

Enlarged Prostate.--This painful affection is a frequent result of the
chronic irritation in the urethra, which the gland surrounds, the
morbid action being communicated to it by its proximity. A diseased
action is set up which results in enlargement and hardening. It is felt
as a hard body just anterior to the anus, and becomes by pressure the
source of much additional mischief. Sometimes the disease progresses
to dangerous ulceration. It is attended by heat, pressure, and pain
between the anus and the root of the penis.

Urinary Diseases.--The same congestion and irritability extend to the
bladder and thence to the kidneys, producing irritation and
inflammation of those organs. Mucus is often formed in large
quantities; sometimes much is retained in the bladder. Earthy matter
is deposited, which becomes entangled in the mucus, and thus a
concretion or stone is produced, occasioning much suffering, and
perhaps death.

We saw, not long since, a case of this kind. The patient was nearly
sixty years of age, and had practiced masturbation from childhood. In
consequence of his vice, a chronic irritation of the urethra had been
produced, which was followed by enlargement of the prostate, then by
chronic irritation of the bladder and the formation of stone. His
sufferings were most excruciating whenever he attempted to urinate,
which was only accomplished with the greatest difficulty and suffering.

One of the unpleasant results of irritation of the lining membrane of
the bladder is inability to retain the urine long, which requires
frequent urination and often causes incontinence of urine.

_Priapism_.--This same morbid sensitiveness may produce priapism, or
continuous and painful erection, one of the most "terrible and
humiliating conditions," as Dr. Acton says, to which the human body
is subject. The horrid desperation of patients suffering under this
condition is almost inconceivable. It is, fortunately, rare, in its
most severe forms; but hundreds suffer from it to a most painful degree
as one of the punishments of transgression of nature's laws; and a most
terrible punishment it is.

_Piles, Prolapsus of Rectum, etc._--As the result of the straining
caused by stricture, piles, prolapsus of the rectum, and fissure of
the anus are not infrequently induced, as the following case observed
at Charity Hospital, New York, illustrates:--

The patient had a peculiar deformity of the genital organs,
_hypospadias_, which prevented sexual intercourse, in consequence of
which he gave himself up to the practice of self-abuse. He had become
reduced to the most deplorable condition of both mind and body, and
presented a most woebegone countenance. In addition to his general
ailments, he suffered from extreme prolapsus of the rectum and a most
painful anal fissure. His condition was somewhat bettered by skillful
surgical treatment.

_Extension of Irritation_.--Serious and painful as are the affections
already noticed, those which arise from the extension of the congestion
and irritation of the urethra to those other organs most intimately
connected with the function of generation are still more dreadful in
themselves, and far more serious in their consequences. The irritation
extends into the ejaculatory ducts, thence backward into the seminal
vesicles, and downward through the vasa deferentia to the testes. These
organs become unnaturally excited, and their activity is increased.
The testicles form an abnormal amount of spermatozoa; the seminal
vesicles secrete their peculiar fluid too freely. From these two
sources combined, the vesicles become loaded with seminal fluid, and
this condition gives rise to a great increase of sexual excitement.

In cases of long standing, the irritation of the urethra at the openings
of the ejaculatory ducts, a point just in front of the bladder, advances
to inflammation and ulceration. Here is now established a permanent
source of irritation, by which the morbid activity of the testes and
seminal vesicles is kept up and continually increased. This condition
is indicated by frequent twitchings of the ejaculatory and compressor
muscles in the perineum. It is also indicated by a burning sensation
at the root of the penis after urination, which, in severe cases,
amounts to very serious pain.

_Atrophy, or Wasting of the Testes_.--The first result of the
irritation communicated to the testes, is, as already remarked,
increased activity; but this is attended by swelling in some cases,
more or less pain, tenderness, and, after a time, diminution in size.

This degenerative process likewise affects the seminal fluid, which
becomes more or less deteriorated and incapable of producing healthy
offspring, even while it retains the power of fecundating the ovum,
which it also ultimately loses if the disease is not checked by proper
treatment, when the individual becomes hopelessly impotent, a happy
result for the race, for it prevents the possibility of his imparting
to another being his debilitated constitution.

_Varicocele_.--This morbid condition consists in a varicose state of
the spermatic veins. It is almost always found upon the left side, owing
to an anatomical peculiarity of the spermatic vein of that side. It
has been supposed to be a result of masturbation and its effects, but
is certainly caused otherwise in many cases. It is not infrequently
found in these patients; but Prof. Bartholow contends that even in such
cases we should "consider its presence, in general, as accidental."
Atrophy of the left testicle is often produced by the pressure of the
distended veins; but this does not produce impotence. It occasionally
occurs simultaneously on both sides, and greatly aggravates the effects
of self-abuse, if it is not itself an effect of the vice.

Nocturnal Emissions.--Seminal emissions during sleep, usually
accompanied by erotic dreams, are known as nocturnal pollutions or
emissions, and are often called _spermatorrhoea_, though there is some
disagreement respecting the use of the latter term. Its most proper
use is when applied to the entire group of symptoms which accompany
involuntary seminal losses.

The masturbator knows nothing of this disease so long as he continues
his vile practice; but when he resolves to reform, and ceases to defile
himself voluntarily, he is astonished and disgusted to find that the
same filthy pollutions occur during his sleep without his voluntary
participation. He now begins to see something of the ruin he has wrought.
The same nightly loss continues, sometimes being repeated several times
in a single night, to his infinite mortification and chagrin. He hopes
the difficulty will subside of itself, but his hope is vain; unless
properly treated, it will probably continue until the ruin which he
voluntarily began is completed.

This disease is the result of sexual excesses of any kind; it is common
in married men who have abused the marriage relation, when they are
forced to temporary continence from any cause. It also occurs in those
addicted to mental unchastity, though they may be physically continent.
It is not probable that it would ever occur in a person who had been
strictly continent and had not allowed his mind to dwell upon libidinous

Exciting Causes.--The exciting causes which serve to perpetuate this
difficulty are chiefly two; viz., local irritation and lewd thoughts.

The first cause is usually chiefly located in the urethra, and
especially at the mouths of the ejaculatory ducts. Distention of the
seminal vesicles with a superabundance of seminal fluid also acts as
a source of irritation. Constipation, worms, and piles have an
irritative influence which is often very seriously felt.

Unchaste thoughts act detrimentally in a two-fold way. They first
stimulate the activity of the testes, thus increasing the overloading
of the seminal vesicles. Lascivious thoughts during wakefulness are
the chief cause of lascivious dreams.

Emissions do not usually occur during the soundest sleep, but during
that condition which may be characterized as dozing, which is most often
indulged in early in the morning after the soundest sleep is passed.
This fact has an important bearing upon treatment, as will be seen

At first, the emissions are always accompanied by dreams, the patient
usually awaking immediately afterward; but after a time they take place
without dreams and without awaking him, and are unaccompanied by
sensation. This denotes a greatly increased gravity of the complaint.

Certain circumstances greatly increase the frequency of the emissions,
and thus hasten the injury which they are certain to accomplish if not
checked; as, neglect to relieve the bladder and bowels at night, late
suppers, stimulating foods and drinks, and anything that will excite
the genital organs. Of all causes, amorous or erotic thoughts are the
most powerful. Tea and coffee, spices and other condiments, and animal
food have a special tendency in this direction. Certain positions in
bed also serve as exciting or predisposing causes; as sleeping upon
the back or abdomen. Feather beds and pillows and too warm covering
in bed are also injurious for the same reason.

In frequency, emissions will vary in different persons from an
occasional one at long and irregular intervals to two or three a week,
or several--as many as four in one case we have met--in a single night.

The immediate effect of an emission will depend somewhat upon the
frequency of occurrence and the condition of the individual. If very
infrequent, and occurring in a comparatively robust person, after the
seminal vesicles have become distended with seminal fluid, the
immediate effect of an emission may be a sensation of temporary relief.
This circumstance has led certain persons to suppose that emissions
are natural and beneficial. This point will receive attention shortly.

If the emissions are more frequent, or if they occur in a person of
a naturally feeble constitution, the immediate effect is lassitude,
languor, indisposition and often inability to perform severe mental
or physical labor, melancholy, amounting often to despair and even
leading to suicide, and an exaggeration of local irritation, and of
all the morbid conditions to be noticed under the head of "General
Effects." Headache, indigestion, weakness of the back and knees,
disturbed circulation, dimness of vision, and loss of appetite, are
only a few of these.

Are Occasional Emissions Necessary or Harmless?--That an individual
may suffer for years an involuntary seminal loss as frequently as once
a month without apparently suffering very great injury, seems to be
a settled fact with physicians of extensive experience, and is well
confirmed by observation; yet there are those who suffer severely from
losses no more frequent than this. But when seminal losses occur more
frequently than once a month, they will certainly ultimate in great
injury, even though immediate ill effects are not noticed, as in
exceptional cases they may not be. If argument is necessary to sustain
this position, as it hardly seems to be, we would refer to the fact
that seminal losses do not occur in those who are, and always have been,
continent both mentally and physically, when such rare individuals can
be found. They occur the most rarely in those who the most nearly
approach the standard of perfect chastity; so that whenever they occur,
they may be taken as evidence of some form of sexual excess. This fact
clearly shows that losses of this kind are not natural.

Emission not Necessary to Health.--If it be argued that an occasional
emission is necessary to relieve the overloaded seminal vesicles, we
reply, the same argument has been used as an apology for unchastity;
but it is equally worthless in both instances. It might be as well argued
that vomiting is a necessary physiological and healthful act, and
should occur with regularity, because a person may so overload his
stomach as to make the act necessary as a remedial measure. Vomiting
is a diseased action, a pathological process, and is occasioned by the
voluntary transgression of the individual. Hence, it is as unnecessary
as gluttony, and must be wasteful of vitality, even though rendered
necessary under some circumstances. So with emissions. If a person
allows his mind to dwell upon unchaste subjects, indulges in erotic
dreams, and riots in mental lasciviousness, he may render an emission
almost necessary as a remedial effort. Nevertheless, he will suffer
from the loss of the vital fluid just the same as though he had not,
by his own concupiscence, rendered it in some degree necessary. And
as it would have been infinitely better for him to have retained and
digested food in his stomach instead of ejecting it--provided it were
wholesome food--so it would have been better for him to have retained
in his system the seminal fluid, which would have been disposed of by
the system and probably utilized to very great advantage in the repair
of certain of the tissues.

Eminent Testimony.--An eminent English physician, Dr. Milton, who has
treated many thousands of cases of this disease, remarks in a work upon
the subject as follows:--

"Anything beyond one emission a month requires attention. I know this
statement has been impugned, but I am quite prepared to abide by it.
I did not put it forward till I considered I had quite sufficient
evidence in my hands to justify me in doing so."

"An opinion prevails, as most of my readers are aware, among medical
men, that a few emissions in youth do good instead of harm. It is
difficult to understand how an unnatural evacuation can do good, except
in the case of unnatural congestion. I have, however, convinced myself
that the principle is wrong. Lads never really feel better for
emissions; they very often feel decidedly worse. Occasionally they may
fancy there is a sense of relief, but it is very much the same sort
of relief that a drunkard feels from a dram. In early life the stomach
may be repeatedly overloaded with impunity, but I suppose few would
contend that overloading was therefore good. The fact is that emissions
are invariably more or less injurious; not always visibly so in youth,
nor susceptible of being assessed as to the damage inflicted by any
given number of them, but still contributing, each in its turn, a mite
toward the exhaustion and debility which the patient will one day
complain of."

Diurnal Emissions.--As the disease progresses, the irritation and
weakness of the organs become so great that an erection and emission
occur upon the slightest sexual excitement. Mere proximity to a female,
or the thought of one, will be sufficient to produce a pollution,
attended by voluptuous sensations. But after a time the organs become
so diseased and irritable that the slightest mechanical irritation,
as friction of the clothing, the sitting posture, or riding horseback,
will produce a discharge which may or may not be attended by sensation
of any kind. Frequently a burning or more or less painful sensation
occurs; erection does not take place. Even straining at stool will
produce the discharge, or violent efforts to retain the feces when there
is unnatural looseness.

The amount of the discharge may vary from a few drops to one or two
drams, or even more. The character of the discharge is of considerable
importance. When it occurs under the circumstances last described, viz.,
without erection or voluptuous sensations, it may be of a true seminal
character, or it may contain no spermatozoa. This point can be
determined by the microscope alone. The discharge is the result of
sexual excitement or irritation, nevertheless, and indicates a most
deplorable condition of the genital organs. The patient is sometimes
unnecessarily frightened by it, and often exaggerates the amount of
the losses, and the symptoms arising from them. However, when a single
nocturnal emission occasions such detrimental results, what must be
the effect of repeated discharges occurring several times a day, or
every time an individual relieves his bowels, urinates, or entertains
an unvirtuous thought! If the losses were always seminal, the work of
ruin would soon be complete; fortunately, those discharges which are
the most frequent are only occasionally of a true seminal character.
It is not true, however, as has been claimed by some writers, one at
least, that they are never seminal, as we have proved by repeated
microscopic examinations.

Cause of Diurnal Emissions.--The causes of these discharges are
spasmodic action of the muscles involved in ejaculation, which is
occasioned by local irritation, and pressure upon the seminal vesicles
by the distended rectum or bladder. They denote a condition of debility
and irritation which may well occasion grave alarm.

In occasional instances, the internal irritation reaches such a height
that blood is discharged with the seminal fluid.

Internal Emissions.--As the disease progresses, external discharges
finally cease, in some cases, or partially so, and the individual is
encouraged by that circumstance to think that he is recovering. He soon
discovers his error, however, for he continues to droop even though
the discharges apparently cease altogether. This seems a mystery until
some medical friend or a medical work calls his attention to the fact
that the discharges now occur internally instead of externally, the
seminal fluid passing back into the bladder and being voided with the
urine. An examination of the urine reveals the presence of cloudy matter
appearing much like mucus, or a whitish sediment. A microscopic
examination shows this matter to be composed largely of zoosperms,
which decides its origin.

An Important Caution.--It is necessary, however, to caution the reader
not to pronounce every whitish sediment or flocculent matter found in
the urine to be a seminal discharge, for the great majority are of a
different character. They are, most frequently, simply mucus or
phosphates from the bladder. Seminal fluid cannot be distinguished from
mucus by any other than a careful microscopic examination. A microscope
of good quality and capable of magnifying at least one hundred and fifty
diameters is required, together with considerable skill in the operator.
Quacks have done an immense amount of harm by frightening patients into
the belief that they were suffering from discharges of this kind when
there was, in fact, nothing more than a copious deposit of phosphates,
which is not at all infrequent in nervous people, especially after

When the condition described does really exist, however, the patient
cannot make too much haste to put himself under the care of a competent
physician for treatment. If there is even a reasonable suspicion that
it may exist, he should have his urine carefully examined by one
competent to criticize it intelligently.

By many authors, the term spermatorrhoea is confined entirely to this
stage of the disease.

It is said that the forcible interruption of ejaculation has been the
cause of this unfortunate condition in many cases. Such a proceeding
is certainly very hazardous.

One more caution should be offered; viz., that the occasional presence
of spermatozoa in the urine is not a proof of the existence of internal
emissions, as a few zoosperms may be left in the urethra after a
voluntary or nocturnal emission, and thus find their way into the urine
as it is discharged from the bladder.

Impotence.--In the progress of the disease a point is finally reached
when the victim not only loses all desire for the natural exercise of
the sexual function, but when such an act becomes impossible. This
condition may have been reached even before all of the preceding
symptoms have been developed. Ultimately it becomes impossible to
longer practice the abominable vice itself, on account of the great
degeneration and relaxation of the organs. The approach of this
condition is indicated by increasing loss of erectile power, which is
at first only temporary, but afterward becomes permanent. Still the
involuntary discharges continue, and the victim sees himself gradually
sinking lower and lower into the pit which his own hands have dug. The
misery of his condition is unimaginable; manhood lost, body a wreck,
and death staring him in the face.

This is a brief sketch of the local effects of the horrid vice of
self-abuse. The description has not been at all overdrawn. We have yet
to consider the general effects, some of which have already been
incidentally touched upon in describing nocturnal emissions, with
their immediate results.

General Effects.--The many serious effects which follow the habit of
self-abuse, in addition to those terrible local maladies already
described, are the direct results of two causes in the male; viz.,

1. Nervous exhaustion;

2. Loss of the seminal fluid.

There has been much discussion as to which one of these was the cause
of the effects observed in these cases. Some have attributed all the
evil to one cause, and some to the other. That the loss of semen is
not the only cause, nor, perhaps, the chief source of injury, is proved
by the fact that most deplorable effects of the vice are seen in children
before puberty, and also in females, in whom no seminal discharge nor
anything analogous to it occurs. In these cases, it is the nervous shock
alone which works the evil.

Again, that the seminal fluid is the most highly vitalized of all the
fluids of the body, and that its rapid production is at the expense
of a most exhaustive effort on the part of the vital forces, is well
attested by all physiologists. It is further believed by some eminent
physicians that the seminal fluid is of great use in the body for
building up and replenishing certain tissues, especially those of the
nerves and brain, being absorbed after secretion. Though this view is
not coincided in by all physiologists, it seems to be supported by the
following facts:--

1. The composition of the nerves and that of spermatozoa is nearly

2. Men from whom the testes have been removed before puberty, as in
the case of eunuchs, are never fully developed as they would otherwise
have been.

The nervous shock accompanying the exercise of the sexual
organs--either natural or unnatural--is the most profound to which the
system is subject. The whole nervous system is called into activity;
and the effects are occasionally so strongly felt upon a weakened
organism that death results in the very act. The subsequent exhaustion
is necessarily proportionate to the excitement.

It need not be surprising, then, that the effects of the frequent
operation of two such powerful influences combined should be so
terrible as they are found to be.

_General Debility_.--Nervous exhaustion and the loss of the vivifying
influence of the seminal fluid produce extreme mental and physical
debility, which increases as the habit is practiced, and is continued
by involuntary emissions after the habit ceases. If the patient's
habits are sedentary, and if he had a delicate constitution at the start,
his progress toward the grave will be fearfully rapid, especially if
the habit were acquired young, as it most frequently is by such boys,
they being generally precocious. Extreme emaciation, sallow or
blotched skin, sunken eyes, surrounded by a dark or blue color, general
weakness, dullness, weak back, stupidity, laziness, or indisposition
to activity of any kind, wandering and illy defined pains, obscure and
often terrible sensations, pain in back and limbs, sleeplessness, and
a train of morbid symptoms too long to mention in detail, attend these

_Consumption_.--It is well recognized by the medical profession that
this vice is one of the most frequent causes of consumption. At least
such would seem to be the declaration of experience, and the following
statistical fact adds weight to the conclusion:--

"Dr. Smith read a paper before a learned medical association a few years
since in which he pointed out the startling fact that in one thousand
cases of consumption five hundred and eighteen had suffered from some
form of sexual abuse, and more than four hundred had been addicted to
masturbation or suffered from nocturnal emissions."[49]

[Footnote 49: Acton.]

"Most of those who early become addicted to self-pollution are soon
afterward the subjects, not merely of one or more of the ailments
already noticed, but also of enlargements of the lymphatic and other
glands, ultimately of _tubercular deposits in the lungs_ and other
viscera, or of scrofulous disease of the vertebrae or bones, or of other
structures, more especially of the joints."[50]

[Footnote 50: Copland.]

Many young men waste away and die of symptoms resembling consumption
which are solely the result of the loathsome practice of self-abuse.
The real number of consumptives whose disease originates in this manner
can never be known.

_Dyspepsia_.--Indigestion is frequently one of the first results.
Nervous exhaustion is always felt by the stomach very promptly. When
dyspepsia is once really established, it reacts upon the genital organs,
increasing their irritability as well as that of all the rest of the
nervous system. Now there is no end to the ills which may be suffered;
for an impaired digestion lays the system open to the inroads of almost
any and every malady.

_Heart Disease_.--Functional disease of the heart, indicated by
excessive palpitation on the slightest exertion, is a very frequent
symptom. Though it unfits the individual for labor, and causes him much
suffering, he would be fortunate if he escaped with no disease of a
more dangerous character.

_Throat Affections_.--There is no doubt that many of the affections
of the throat in young men and older ones which pass under the name
of "clergyman's sore throat" are the direct results of masturbation
and emissions.

Dr. Acton cites several cases in proof of this, and quotes the following
letter from a young clergyman:--

"When I began the practice of masturbation, at the age of sixteen, I
was in the habit of exercising my voice regularly. The first part in
which I felt the bad effects of that habit was in the organs of
articulation. After the act, the voice wanted tone, and there was a
disagreeable feeling about the throat which made speaking a source of
no pleasure to me as it had been. By-and-by, it became painful to speak
after the act. This arose from a feeling as if a morbid matter was being
secreted in the throat, so acrid that it sent tears to the eyes when
speaking, and would have taken away the breath if not swallowed. This,
however, passed away in a day or two after the act. In the course of
years, when involuntary emissions began to impair the constitution,
this condition became permanent. The throat always feels very delicate,
and there is often such irritability in it, along with this feeling
of the secretion of morbid matter, as to make it impossible to speak
without swallowing at every second or third word. This is felt even
in conversation, and there is a great disinclination to attempt to speak
at all. In many instances in which the throat has been supposed to give
way from other causes, I have known this to be the real one. May it
not be that the general irritation always produced by the habit referred
to, shows itself also in this organ, and more fully in those who are
required habitually to exercise it?"

_Nervous Diseases_.--There is no end to the nervous affections to which
the sufferer from this vice is subject. Headaches, neuralgias, symptoms
resembling hysteria, sudden alternations of heat and cold, irregular
flushing of the face, and many other affections, some of the more
important of which we will mention in detail, are his constant

_Epilepsy_.--This disease has been traced to the vile habit under
consideration in so many cases that it is now very certain that in many
instances this is its origin. It is of frequent occurrence in those
who have indulged in solitary vice or any other form of sexual excess.
We have seen several cases of this kind.

Failure of Special Senses.--Dimness of vision, amaurosis, spots before
the eyes, with other forms of ocular weakness, are common results of
this vice. The same degeneration and premature failure occur in the
organs of hearing. In fact, sensibility of all the senses becomes in
some measure diminished in old cases.

Spinal Irritation.--Irritation of the spinal cord, with its resultant
evils, is one of the most common of the nervous affections originating
in this cause. Tenderness of the spine, numerous pains in the limbs,
and spasmodic twitching of the muscles, are some of its results.
Paralysis, partial or complete, of the lower limbs, and even of the
whole body, is not a rare occurrence. We have seen two cases in which
this was well marked. Both patients were small boys and began to excite
the genital organs at a very early age. In one, the paralytic condition
was complete when he was held erect. The head fell forward, the arms
and limbs hung down helpless, the eyes rolled upward, and the saliva
dribbled from his mouth. When lying flat upon his back, he had
considerable control of his limbs. In this case, a condition of priapism
seems to have existed almost from birth, owing to congenital phimosis.
His condition was somewhat improved by circumcision. In the other case,
in which phimosis also existed, there was paralysis of a few of the
muscles of the leg, which produced club-foot. Circumcision was also
performed in this case and the child returned in a few weeks completely
cured, without any other application, though it had previously been
treated in a great variety of ways without success, all the usual
remedies for club-foot proving ineffectual. Both of these cases
appeared in the clinic of Dr. Sayre at Bellevue Hospital, and were
operated upon by him.

We have recently observed several cases of spinal disease which could
be traced to no origin but masturbation. Two patients were small boys,
naturally quite intelligent. They manifested all the peculiarities of
loco-motor ataxia in older persons, walking with the characteristic
gait. The disease was steadily progressing in spite of all attempts
to stay it. An older brother had died of the same malady, paralysis
extending over the whole body, and finally preventing deglutition, so
that he really starved to death.

Insanity.--That solitary vice is one of the most common causes of
insanity, is a fact too well established to need demonstration here.
Every lunatic asylum furnishes numerous illustrations of the fact.
"Authors are universally agreed, from Galen down to the present day,
about the pernicious influence of this enervating indulgence, and its
strong propensity to generate the very worst and most formidable kinds
of insanity. It has frequently been known to occasion speedy, and even
instant, insanity."[51]

[Footnote 51: Arnold.]

"Religious insanity," so-called, may justly be attributed to this cause
in a great proportion of cases. The individual is conscience-smitten
in view of his horrid sins, and a view of his terrible condition--ruined
for both worlds, he fears--goads him to despair, and his weakened
intellect fails; reason is dethroned, and he becomes a hopeless lunatic.
His friends, knowing nothing of the real cause of his mysterious
confessions of terrible sin, think him over-conscientious, and lay the
blame of his insanity upon religion, when it is solely the result of
his vicious habits, of which they are ignorant.

In other cases, the victim falls into a profound melancholy from which
nothing can divert him. He never laughs, does not even smile. He becomes
more and more reserved and taciturn, and perhaps ends the scene by
committing suicide. This crime is not at all uncommon with those who
have gone the whole length of the road of evil. They find their manhood
gone, the vice in which they have so long delighted is no longer possible,
and, in desperation, they put an end to the miserable life which nature
might lengthen out a few months if not thus violently superseded.

If the practice is continued uninterruptedly from boyhood to manhood,
imbecility and idiocy are the results. Demented individuals are met
in no small numbers inside of hospitals and asylums, and outside as
well, who owe to this vice their awful condition. Plenty of half-witted
men whom one meets in the every-day walks of life have destroyed the
better half of their understanding by this wretched practice.

A Victim's Mental Condition Pictured.--The mental condition of a victim
of this vice cannot be better described than is done in the following
paragraphs by one himself a victim, though few of these unfortunate
individuals would be able to produce so accurate and critical a portrait
of themselves as is here drawn by M. Rousseau, as quoted by Mr. Acton:--

"One might say that my heart and my mind do not belong to the same person.
My feelings, quicker than lightning, fill my soul; but instead of
illuminating, they burn and dazzle me. I feel everything. I see nothing.
I am excited, but stupid; I cannot think except in cold blood. The
wonderful thing is that I have sound enough tact, penetration, even
_finesse_, if people will wait for me. I make excellent impromptus at
leisure; but at the moment I have nothing ready to say or do. I should
converse brilliantly by post, as they say the Spaniards play at chess.
When I read of a Duke of Savoy who turned back after starting on his
journey to say, 'In your teeth! you Paris shop-keeper!' I said, 'That
is like me!'"

"But not only is it a labor to me to express, but also to receive, ideas.
I have studied men, and I think I am a tolerably good observer; yet
I can see nothing of what I do see. I can hardly say that I see anything
except what I recall; I have no power of mind but in my recollection.
Of all that is said, of all that is done, of all that passes in my
presence, I feel nothing, I appreciate nothing. The external sign is
all that strikes me. But after a while it all comes back to me."


Local Effects.--The local diseases produced by the vice in females are,
of course, of a different nature from those seen in males, on account
of the difference in organization. They arise, however, in the same
way, congestions at first temporary ultimately becoming permanent and
resulting in irritation and various disorders.

Leucorrhoea.--The results of congestion first appear in the mucous
membrane lining the vagina, which is also injured by mechanical
irritation, and consists of a catarrhal discharge which enervates the
system. By degrees the discharge increases in quantity and virulence,
extending backward until it reaches the sensitive womb.

Contact with the acrid, irritating secretions of the vagina produces
soreness of the fingers at the roots of the nails, and also frequently
causes warts upon the fingers. Hence the value of these signs, as
previously mentioned.

Uterine Disease.--Congestion of the womb is also produced by the act
of abuse; and as the habit is continued, it also becomes permanent.
This congestion, together with the contact of the acrid vaginal
discharge, finally produces ulceration upon the neck, together with
other diseases.

Another result of congestion is all kinds of menstrual derangements
after puberty, the occurrence of which epoch is hastened by the habit.
Prolapsus and various displacements are produced in addition to
menstrual irregularities.

Cancer of the Womb.--Degeneration of this delicate organ also occurs
as the result of the constant irritation and congestion, and is often
of a malignant nature, occasioning a most painful death.

Sterility.--Sterility, dependent on a total loss of sexual desire and
inability to participate in the sexual act, is another condition which
is declared by medical authors to be most commonly due to previous
habits of self-abuse. In consequence of overexcitement the organs
become relaxed.

Atrophy of Mammae.--Closely connected with other local results is the
deficient development of the breasts when the vice is begun before or
at puberty, and atrophy if it is begun or continued after development
has occurred. As previously remarked, this is not the sole cause of
small mammae, but it is one of the great causes.

Pruritis.--This is an affection not infrequent in these subjects.
Continued congestion produces a terrible itching of the genitals, which
increases until the individual is in a state of actual frenzy, and the
disposition to manipulate the genitals becomes irresistible, and is
indulged even in the presence of friends or strangers, and though the
patient be at other times a young woman of unexceptionable modesty.
In cases of this kind, great hypertrophy of the organ of greatest
sensibility has been observed, and in some cases amputation of the part
has been found the only cure.

General Effects.--The general effects in the female are much the same
as those in the male. Although women suffer no seminal loss, they suffer
the debilitating effects of leucorrhoea, which is in some degree
injurious in the same manner as seminal losses in the male. But in
females the greatest injury results from the nervous exhaustion which
follows the unnatural excitement. Nervous diseases of every variety
are developed. Emaciation and debility become more marked even than
in the male, and the worst results are produced sooner, being hastened
by the sedentary habits of these females, generally. Insanity is more
frequently developed than in males. Spinal irritation is so frequent
a result that a recent surgical author has said that "spinal irritation
in girls and women is, in a majority of cases, due to self-abuse."[52]

[Footnote 52: Davis.]

A Common Cause of Hysteria.--This, too, is one of the most frequent
causes of hysteria, chorea, and epilepsy among young women, though not
often recognized.

A writer, quoted several times before in this work, remarks as

"This is not a matter within the scope of general investigation; truth
is not to be expected from its _habitues_; parents are deceived
respecting it, believing rather what they wish than what they fear.
Even the physician can but suspect, till time develops more fully by
hysterias, epilepsies, spinal irritations, and a train of symptoms
unmistakable even if the finally extorted confession of the poor victim
did not render the matter clear. Marriage does, indeed, often arrest
this final catastrophe, and thus apparently shifts the responsibility
upon other shoulders, and to the 'injurious effects of early
marriages,' to the 'ills of maternity,' are ascribed the results of
previous personal abuse.

"For statistics and further information on this all-important subject,
we must refer the reader to the opinions of physicians who have the
charge of our retreats for the insane, lunatic asylums, and the like;
to the discriminating physicians of the families of the upper
classes--stimulated alike by food, drinks, scenes where ease is
predominant, where indolence is the habit and novel-reading is the
occupation--for further particulars on a subject here but barely
alluded to."[53]

[Footnote 53: Gardner.]


If sterility does not result, children are liable to be "delicate, puny,
decrepit, or subject to various congenital maladies, especially of the
nervous system, to idiocy from deficient development of the brain, to
hydrocephalus, to epilepsy, convulsions, palsy. The scrofulous
diathesis, tubercular and glandular maladies, diseases of the
vertebrae and of the joints, softening of the central portions of the
brain, and tuberculous formations in the membranes, palsy and
convulsions, chorea, inflammations of the membranes or substance of
the brain or spinal cord, and numerous other affections to which infants
and children are liable, very commonly result from the practice of
self-pollution by either of the parents previous to marriage. But the
evil does not always stop at this epoch of existence, it often extends
throughout the life of the offspring, or it appears only with puberty
and mature age."

Too frequently, the victim of self-abuse, when he finds himself
suffering from the first results of his sin, neglects to adopt any
measures for the cure of the disease. Not understanding its inveterate
character, he labors under the delusion that it will cure itself in
time. This is a fatal mistake. The diseased conditions induced by this
vice never improve themselves. Their constant tendency is to increase
in virulence and inveteracy. The necessity of taking prompt measures
for relief is too apparent to need especial emphasis.


After having duly considered the causes and effects of this terrible
evil, the question next in order for consideration is, How shall it
be cured? When a person has, through ignorance or weakness, brought
upon himself the terrible effects described, how shall he find relief
from his ills, if restoration is possible? To the answer of these
inquiries, most of the remaining pages of this work will be devoted.
But before entering upon a description of methods of _cure_, a brief
consideration of the subject of _prevention_ of the habit will be in


For the rising generation, those yet innocent of the evil practices
so abundant in this age of sensuality, how the evil habit may be
prevented is the most important of all questions connected with this
subject. This topic should be especially interesting to parents, for
even those who are themselves sensual have seen enough of the evils
of such a life to wish that their children may remain pure. There are,
indeed, rare exceptions to this rule, for we sometimes learn of parents
who have deliberately led their own children into vice, as though they
desired to make them share their shame and damnation.

Cultivate Chastity.--From earliest infancy all of those influences and
agencies which cultivate chastity should be brought into active
exercise. These we need not repeat here, having previously dwelt upon
them so fully. The reader is recommended to re-peruse the portion of
the work devoted to this subject, in connection with the present section.
If parents have themselves indulged in this vice, they should use
special care that all of the generative and gestative influences
brought to bear upon their children are the purest possible, so that
they may not inherit a predisposition to sin in this direction.

Special care should be exercised to avoid corrupt servants and
associates. Every servant not known to be pure should be suspected until
proof of innocence has been established. They should be especially
instructed of the evil arising from manipulation of the genitals even
in infants, as they may do immense harm through simple ignorance.

Timely Warning.--But, in spite of chaste surroundings and all other
favorable circumstances, if the child is left in ignorance of his danger,
he may yet fall a victim to the devices of servants or corrupt playmates,
or may himself make a fatal discovery. Hence arises the duty of warning
children of the evil before the habit has been formed. This is a duty
that parents seldom perform even when they are not unaware of the danger.
They in some way convince themselves that their children are pure, at
least, even if others are corrupt. It is often the most difficult thing
in the world for parents to comprehend the fact that _their_ children
are not the best children in the world, perfect paragons of purity and
innocence. There is an unaccountable and unreasonable delicacy on the
part of parents about speaking of sexual subjects to their children.
In consequence, their young, inquisitive minds are left wholly in
ignorance unless, perchance, they gain information from some vile

Objections are raised against talking to children or young persons
about matters in any degree pertaining to the sexual organs or functions.
Some of the more important of them are considered in the introduction
to this work, and we need not repeat here.

The little one should be taught from earliest infancy to abstain from
handling the genitals, being made to regard it as a very improper act.
When the child becomes old enough to understand and reason, he may be
further informed of the evil consequences; then, as he becomes older,
the functions of the organs may be explained with sufficient fullness
to satisfy his natural craving for knowledge.

If this course were pursued, how many might be saved from ruin! It is,
of course, necessary that the parents shall themselves be acquainted
with the true functions of the organs before they attempt to teach any
one else, especially children. Many parents might receive benefit from
being obliged to "study up;" for it is a lamentable fact, the ill effects
of which are every day seen, that a great many people have spent a very
large portion of their lives without ever ascertaining the true
function of the reproductive organs, though living in matrimony for
many years. Some of the consequences of this ignorance have been
portrayed in previous pages.

"Oh! why did not some kind friend tell me of the harm I was doing myself?"
has been the exclamation of many an unfortunate sufferer from this vice.
A warning voice should be raised to save those who are ignorantly
working their own destruction. Parents, teachers, ministers, all who
have access to the youth, should sound the note of alarm in their ears,
that if possible they may be saved from the terrible thralldom pictured
by a writer in the following lines:--

"The waters have gone over me. But out of the black depths, could I
be heard, I would cry to all those who have set a foot in the perilous
flood. Could the youth look into my desolation, and be made to
understand what a dreary thing it is when a man shall feel himself going
down a precipice with open eyes and passive will--to see his destruction
and have no power to stop it, and yet to feel it all the way emanating
from himself; to perceive all goodness emptied out of him, and yet not
be able to forget a time when it was otherwise; to bear about with him
the spectacle of his own self-ruin; could he feel the body of death
out of which I cry hourly with feebler and feebler outcry to be


When the habit and its effects are of very short duration, a cure is
very readily accomplished, especially in the cases of children and
females, as in them the evils begun are not continued in the form of
involuntary pollutions. In cases of longer standing in males, the task
is more difficult, but still the prospect of recovery is very favorable,
provided the cooperation of the patient can be secured; without this,
little can be done. But in these cases the patient may as well be told
at the outset that the task of undoing the evil work of years of sin
is no easy matter. It can only be accomplished by determined effort,
by steady perseverance in right doing, and in the application of
necessary remedies. Those who have long practiced the vice, or long
suffered severely from its effects, have received an injury which will
inevitably be life-long to a greater or lesser extent in spite of all
that can be done for them. Yet such need not despair, for they may
receive inestimable benefit by the prevention of greater damage, which
they are sure to suffer if the disease is allowed to go unchecked.

Cure of the Habit.--The preliminary step in treatment is always to cure
the vice itself if it still exists. The methods adopted for this purpose
must differ according to the age of the individual patient.

_In children_, especially those who have recently acquired the habit,
it can be broken up by admonishing them of its sinfulness, and
portraying in vivid colors its terrible results, if the child is old
enough to comprehend such admonitions. In addition to faithful warnings,
the attention of the child should be fully occupied by work, study,
or pleasant recreation. He should not be left alone at any time, lest
he yield to temptation. Work is an excellent remedy; work that will
really make him very tired, so that when he goes to bed he will have
no disposition to defile himself. It is best to place such a child under
the care of a faithful person of older years, whose special duty it
shall be to watch him night and day until the habit is thoroughly

In younger children, with whom moral considerations will have no
particular weight, other devices may be used. Bandaging the parts has
been practiced with success. Tying the hands is also successful in some
cases; but this will not always succeed, for they will often contrive
to continue the habit in other ways, as by working the limbs, or lying
upon the abdomen. Covering the organs with a cage has been practiced
with entire success. A remedy which is almost always successful in small
boys is circumcision, especially when there is any degree of phimosis.
The operation should be performed by a surgeon without administering
an anaesthetic, as the brief pain attending the operation will have
a salutary effect upon the mind, especially if it be connected with
the idea of punishment, as it may well be in some cases. The soreness
which continues for several weeks interrupts the practice, and if it
had not previously become too firmly fixed, it may be forgotten and
not resumed. If any attempt is made to watch the child, he should be
so carefully surrounded by vigilance that he cannot possibly transgress
without detection. If he is only partially watched, he soon learns to
elude observation, and thus the effect is only to make him cunning in
his vice.

_In adults_, or youths, a different plan must be pursued. In these cases,
moral considerations, and the inevitable consequences to health of body
and mind, are the chief influences by which a reform is to be effected,
if at all. These considerations may be urged with all possible eloquence
and earnestness, but should not be exaggerated. The truth is terrible
enough. If there are any special influences which may be brought to
bear upon a particular individual,--and there always will be something
of this sort owing to peculiarities of temperament or
circumstances,--these should be promptly employed and applied in such
a manner as to secure for them their full bearing.

But after all, the most must be done by the individual himself. All
that others can do for him is to surround him with favoring
circumstances and arouse him to a proper sense of his real condition
and danger. If this can be thoroughly accomplished, there is much reason
to hope; but if the individual has become so lost to all sense of purity,
all aspirations toward good and noble objects, that he cannot be made
to feel the need of reformation, his case is hopeless.

_How May a Person Help Himself?_--The following suggestions will be
found useful in fighting the battle with vice and habit:--

1. Begin by a resolution to reform, strengthened by the most solemn

2. Resolve to reform _now_; not to-morrow or next week, but this very
minute. Thousands have sunk to perdition while resolving to indulge
"only this once."

3. Begin the work of reform by purging the mind. If a lewd thought enters
the mind, dispel it at once. Cultivate a loathing for concupiscence.
Never harbor such ideas for an instant, for they will surely lead to
the overt act. If, perchance, the physical sin should not be committed,
the thought itself is sin, and it leaves a physical as well as a moral
scar almost as deep and hideous as that inflicted by the grosser crime.

4. As a help to purity of mind, whenever impure thoughts enter,
immediately direct the mind upon the purest object with which you are
acquainted. Flee from the special exciting cause, if there is one, and
engage in some active labor or other exercise that will divert the mind
into another channel.

5. Avoid solitude, for then it is that temptation comes, and you are
most likely to fail. Avoid equally all other causes which may lead to
the act.

6. Strictly comply with all the rules laid down for the cultivation
of chastity and the maintenance of continence.

7. Above all, seek for grace and help from the Source of all spiritual
strength in every time of temptation, relying upon the promise, "Seek,
and ye shall find."

Hopeful Courage.--An individual who will earnestly set himself about
the work of purifying his mind and redeeming his body, if he will
conscientiously adopt, and perseveringly apply, the remedies pointed
out, _may be sure of success_. There can be no possible chance for
failure. Triumph is certain. Patience may be tried and faith tested,
but unwavering trust in God and nature, and an executed determination
to do all on his part, will bring to every such one certain recovery.
There may be some scars left, a few traces of the injury wrought; but
the deliverance will be none the less triumphant. Faith and
perseverance will work wonders.

General Regimen and Treatment.--After long abuse of the sexual organs,
and in many cases after a short course of sin, the whole system becomes
deteriorated; digestion is impaired, the muscles are weakened, the
circulation is unbalanced, the nerves are irritable, the
brain--especially the back and lower portion of it--is congested, the
skin is torpid, the bowels are inactive, the general health is deranged
in almost every particular. All of these morbid conditions serve to
keep up the very difficulty which has produced and is increasing them.
Any curative effort, to be effective, then, must be directed to these
as well as to local conditions; and it is pretty certainly established
that local remedies or applications alone will rarely accomplish any
appreciable good, at least of a permanent character.

Many of the observations on treatment are equally applicable to both
sexes; but particular directions have been especially adapted to males,
and chiefly with the cure of seminal emissions as the object in view.
This remark will explain any seeming lack of completeness.

Mental and Moral Treatment.--The greatest impediment to recovery is
usually found in the mind of the patient. His hopeless despair,
melancholy, sullen apathy in many cases, want of energy, and fickleness
of mind, thwart all attempts that are made for him. In other cases,
the want of willpower, or neglect to exercise the will in controlling
the thoughts, completely counteracts all that can be done for him. He
must be made to understand this well, and then all possible means must
be employed to attract his attention from himself, from brooding over
his ills. Occupy him, interest him, or teach him to occupy and interest
himself. The enthusiastic study of some one of the natural sciences
is a most excellent auxiliary in effecting this.

The thing of first importance is that the patient should obtain command
of his thoughts; by this means, he can do more for himself than all
the doctors can do for him. "But I cannot control my thoughts," says
the patient. A young man said to me, "O doctor, you don't know how I
feel. I despise myself; I hate myself; I often feel inclined to kill
myself. My mind is always full of abominable images; my thoughts run
away with me and I cannot help myself." The tears ran down his face
in streams as he told me of his slavery. He solemnly affirmed that he
had never performed the act of self-pollution but once in his life:
and yet for years he had been a constant sufferer from nocturnal
emissions until his manhood was nearly lost, evidently the result of
the mental onanism which he had practiced without imagining the
possibility of harm.

But it is not true that control of the thoughts is impossible. Thoughts
are the result of the action of the brain; and the action of the brain
may be controlled as well as the movements of a voluntary muscle. It
may be more difficult, especially when the resolution is weakened, as
it is by this vice; but so long as there are left any remnants of will
and reason, control is possible. To strengthen the will must be one
of the objects of mental treatment, and exercise is the method by which
it may be accomplished. The thing for a sufferer to say, is not, "I
can't," but, "I can and I will control my thoughts." Suggestions which
will aid in accomplishing this have already been given under the heading,
"Cure of the Habit."

We cannot forbear to add a word further respecting the worth of religion
in aiding these sufferers. If there is any living creature who needs
the help of true religion, of faith in God, in Christ, and in the
efficacy of prayer, it is one of these. If there is any poor mortal
who can not afford to be deprived of the aid of a sympathizing Saviour,
it is one who has enervated his will, degraded his soul, and depraved
his body by the vile habit of self-abuse. A compassionate Redeemer will
succor even these defiled ones, if they truly "hunger and thirst" after
purity, and if they set about the work of reforming themselves in good
earnest, and with right motives.

Exercise.--Physical exercise is a most powerful aid to pure thoughts.
When unchaste ideas intrude, engage at once in something which will
demand energetic muscular exercise. Pursue the effort until fatigued,
if necessary, making, all the while, a powerful mental effort to control
the mind. Of course, evil thoughts will not be expelled by thinking
of them, but by displacing them by pure thoughts. Exercise aids this

Exercise is also essential to balance the circulation, and thus relieve
congestion of internal organs. Sedentary persons especially need
systematic exercise. No single form of exercise is so excellent as
walking. Four or five miles a day are none too many to secure a proper
amount of muscular exercise. Gymnastics, the "health-lift," "Indian
clubs," "dumb-bells," rowing, and other forms of exercise are all good;
but none of them should be carried to excess. Ball-playing is likely
to be made a source of injury by exciting, in vigorous competition,
too violent and spasmodic action.

Daily exercise should be taken to the extent of fatigue. It is better
that those who are still strong enough should have some regular
employment which will secure exercise. Those who prefer may secure
exercise and recreation in the pursuit of some study that involves
necessary physical exertion; as, botany, geology, or entomology. The
collection of natural-history specimens is one of the most pleasant
diversions, and may be made very useful as well.

Pleasant companionship is essential to the best progress of these
patients, especially in their walks, as much more exercise may be taken
without an unpleasant sense of fatigue with a cheerful companion than
when alone. Solitude should be avoided at all times as much as possible.

Diet.--So much has already been said upon the relation of diet to
chastity and its influence upon the sexual organs that it is unnecessary
to add many remarks here. Nothing could be more untrue than the
statement made by some authors that the nature of the diet is of no

The science of physiology teaches that our very thoughts are born of
what we eat. A man that lives on pork, fine-flour bread, rich pies and
cakes, and condiments, drinks tea and coffee and uses tobacco, might
as well try to fly as to be chaste in thought. He will accomplish wonders
if he remains physically chaste; but to be mentally virtuous would be
impossible for him without a miracle of grace.

One whose thoughts have been so long trained in the filthy ruts of vice
that they run there automatically, and naturally gravitate
downward--such a one must exercise especial care to secure the most
simple, pure, and unstimulating diet.

The following precautions are necessary to be observed in relation to

1. _Never overeat_. If too much food is taken at one meal, fast the
next meal to give the system a chance to recover itself and to serve
as a barrier against future transgressions of the same kind. Gluttony
is fatal to chastity; and overeating will be certain to cause emissions,
with other evils, in one whose organs are weakened by abuse.

2. _Eat but twice a day_, or, if supper is eaten, let it be very light,
and of the most simple food, as fruit, or fruit and bread. Nothing should
be eaten within four or five hours of bed-time, and it is much better
to eat nothing after three o'clock. The ancients ate but two meals a
day; why should moderns eat three or four? If the stomach contains
undigested food, the sleep will be disturbed, dreams will be more
abundant, and emissions will be frequent. A most imperative rule of
life should be, "Never go to bed with a loaded stomach." The violation
of this rule is the great cause of horrid dreams and nightmare.

3. _Discard all stimulating food_. Under this head must be included,
spices, pepper, ginger, mustard, cinnamon, cloves, essences, all
condiments, salt, pickles, etc., together with animal food of all kinds,
not excepting fish, fowl, oysters, eggs, and milk. It is hardly to be
expected that all who have been accustomed to use these articles all
their lives will discard them wholly at once, nor, perhaps, that many
will ever discard them entirely; but it would be better for them to
do so, nevertheless. The only ones which should be tolerated under any
circumstances should be lean beef or mutton, salt in very moderate
quantities, and a moderate use of milk. Use as little of these as
possible--_the less the better_.

4. _Stimulating drinks_ should be abstained from with still greater
strictness. Wine, beer, tea, and coffee should be taken under no
circumstances. The influence of coffee in stimulating the genital
organs is notorious. Chocolate should be discarded also. It is
recommended by some who suppose it to be harmless, being ignorant of
the fact that it contains a poison practically identical with that of
tea and coffee.

Hot drinks of all kinds should be avoided.

Tobacco, another stimulant, though not a drink, should be totally
abandoned at once.

5. In place of such articles as have been condemned, eat fruits, grains,
and vegetables. There is a rich variety of these kinds of food, and
they are wholesome and unstimulating. Graham flour, oatmeal, and ripe
fruit are the indispensables of a dietary for those who are suffering
from sexual excesses.

Further remarks upon diet, with a few useful recipes for preparing
healthful food, will be found in works devoted to the subject of
diet.[54] The patient must carefully comply with all the rules of a
healthy diet if he would be sure of recovery.

[Footnote 54: See "Healthful Cookery," _Good Health_ Publishing
Company, Battle Creek, Mich.]

Sleeping.--It is from accidents which happen during sleep that the
great majority of sufferers complain; hence there is no little
importance attaching to this subject. The following suggestions
present in a very brief manner some of the more practical ideas
connected with this part of the subject:--

1. From seven to nine hours' sleep are required by all persons. The
rule should be, Retire early and sleep until rested; Early rising is
not beneficial unless it has been preceded by abundant sleep.

2. Arise immediately upon waking in the morning if it is after four
o'clock. A second nap is generally unrefreshing and is dangerous, for
emissions most frequently occur at this time.

3. If insufficient sleep is taken at night, sleep a few minutes just
before dinner. Half an hour's rest at this time is remarkably
refreshing; and even fifteen minutes spent in sleep will be found very
reviving. Do not sleep after dinner, as a pollution will be very likely
to occur, and, as a rule, after-dinner naps are unrefreshing and
productive of indigestion.

4. Never go to bed with the bowels or bladder loaded. The bladder should
be emptied just before retiring. It is also a good plan to form the
habit of rising once or twice during the night to urinate.

5. The position in sleeping is of some importance. Sleeping upon the
back or upon the abdomen favors the occurrence of emissions; hence,
it is preferable to sleep on one side. If supper has been taken, the
right side is preferable, as that position will favor the passage of
food from the stomach into the intestines in undergoing digestion.

Various devices are employed, sometimes with advantage, to prevent the
patient from turning upon his back while asleep. The most simple is
that recommended by Acton, and consists in tying a knot in the middle
of a towel and then fastening the towel about the body in such a way
that the knot will come upon the small of the back. The unpleasant
sensations arising from pressure of the knot, if the sleeper turn upon
his back, will often serve as a complete preventive. Others fasten a
piece of wood upon the back for a similar purpose. Still others practice
tying one hand to the bedpost. None of these remedies should be depended
upon, but they may be tried in connection with other means of treatment.

6. Soft beds and pillows must be carefully avoided. Feather-beds should
not be employed when possible to find a harder bed; the floor, with
a single folded blanket beneath the sleeper, would be preferable. Soft
pillows heat the head, as soft beds produce heat in other parts. A hair
mattress, or a bed of corn husks, oat straw, or excelsior--covered with
two or three blankets or a quilted cotton mattress--makes a very healthy
and comfortable bed.

7. Too many covers should be avoided with equal care. The thinnest
possible covering in summer, and the lightest consistent with comfort
in winter, should be the rule. Sleeping too warm is a frequent exciting
cause of nocturnal losses.

8. Thorough ventilation of the sleeping-room, both while occupied and
during the day-time, must not be neglected. It should be located in
a position to admit the sunshine during the morning hours. It is a good
plan to keep in it a number of house plants, as they will help to purify
the air, besides adding to its cheerfulness.

9. If wakeful at night, instead of lying in bed trying to go to sleep,
get up at once, open the bed, air the sheets, remove the night clothing
and walk about the room for a few minutes, rubbing the body briskly
with the bare hand at the same time. A tepid sponge bath, followed by
a vigorous rubbing kept up until really tired, will conduce to sleep
in many cases. Sometimes a change of bed, or pulling the bed to pieces
and arranging it again, is just the thing needed to bring sleep.

10. One of the most effectual panaceas for certain varieties of
sleeplessness is going to bed at peace with all the world, and with
a conscience void of offense toward God as well as man.

Dreams.--This is a subject of much interest to those suffering from
nocturnal pollutions, for these occurrences are almost always
connected with dreams of a lascivious nature.

In perfectly natural sleep, there are no dreams; consciousness is
entirely suspended. In the ordinary stage of dreaming, there is a
peculiar sort of consciousness, many of the faculties of the mind being
more or less active while the power of volition is wholly dormant.
Carpenter describes another stage of consciousness between that of
ordinary dreaming and wakefulness, a condition "in which the dreamer
has a consciousness that he is dreaming, being aware of the
unreliability of the images which present themselves before his mind.
He may even make a voluntary and successful effort to prolong them if
agreeable, or to dissipate them if unpleasing; thus evincing a certain
degree of that directing power, the entire want of which is
characteristic of the true state of dreams."

Can Dreams Be Controlled?--Facts prove that they can be, and to a
remarkable extent. A large share of emissions occur in the state
described by Dr. Carpenter, in which a certain amount of control by
the will is possible. This is the usual condition of the mind during
morning naps; and if a person resolutely determines to combat unchaste
thoughts whenever they come to him, whether asleep or awake, he will
find it possible to control himself not only during this semi-conscious
state, but even during more profound sleep.

The following case, related by an eminent London surgeon,[55]
illustrates what may be done by strong resolution; the patient was an
Italian gentleman of very great respectability.

[Footnote 55: Acton.]

"He had been inconvenienced five years before with frequent emissions,
which totally unnerved him. He determined resolutely that the very
instant the image of a woman or any libidinous idea presented itself
to his imagination, _he would wake_; and to insure his doing so, dwelt
in his thoughts on his resolution for a long time before going to sleep.
The remedy, applied by a vigorous will, had the most happy results.
The idea, the remembrance of its being a _danger_, and the determination
to wake, closely united the evening before, were never dissociated even
in sleep, and he awoke in time; and this reiterated precaution, repeated
during some evenings, absolutely cured the complaint."

Several other cases of the same kind have been recorded. Doubtless the
plan would be found successful in many cases when coupled with a proper

A still greater control is exerted over the thoughts during sleep by
their character during hours of wakefulness. By controlling the mind
during entire consciousness, it will also be controlled during
unconsciousness or semi-consciousness.

Dr. Acton makes the following very appropriate remarks on this

"Patients will tell you that they _cannot_ control their dreams. This
is not true. Those who have studied the connection between thoughts
during waking hours and dreams during sleep know that they are closely
connected. The _character_ is the same sleeping or waking. It is not
surprising that, if a man has allowed his thoughts during the day to
rest upon libidinous subjects, he should find his mind at night full
of lascivious dreams--the one is a consequence of the other, and the
nocturnal pollution is a natural consequence, particularly when
diurnal indulgence has produced an irritability of the generative
organs. A will which in our waking hours we have not exercised in
repressing sexual desires, will not, when we fall asleep, preserve us
from carrying the sleeping echo of our waking thought farther than we
dared to do in the day-time."

Bathing.--A daily bath is indispensable to health under almost all
circumstances; for patients of this class, it is especially necessary.
A general bath should be taken every morning immediately upon rising.
General _cold bathing_ is not good for any person, especially in the
morning, though some may tolerate it remarkably well, being of
exceptionally hardy constitutions; but the advice to try "cold bathing"
often given to sufferers from seminal weakness, is very pernicious,
for most of them have been reduced so low in vitality by their disease
that they cannot endure such violent treatment.

Sun baths, electric baths, spray, plunge, and other forms of bath, are
of greatest value to those suffering from the effects of indiscretions.
These are described, with additional observations concerning
temperature of baths, etc., etc., in works devoted to this subject.

Improvement of General Health.--Patients suffering from emissions and
other forms of seminal weakness are almost always dyspeptic, and most
of them present other constitutional affections which require careful
and thorough treatment according to the particular indications of the
case. The wise physician will not neglect these if he desires to cure
his patient and make his recovery as complete as possible.

Prostitution as a Remedy.--Said a leading physician in New York to us
when interrogated as to his special treatment of spermatorrhoea, "When
a young man comes to me suffering from nocturnal emissions, I give him
tonics and _send him to a woman_." That this is not an unusual method
of treatment, even among regular physicians, is a fact as true as it
is deplorable. There are hundreds of young men whose morals have been
ruined by such advice. Having been educated to virtuous habits, at least
so far as illicit intercourse is concerned, they resist all temptations
in this direction, even though their inclinations are very strong; but
when advised by a physician to commit fornication as a remedial measure,
they yield their virtue, far too readily sometimes, and begin a life
of sin from which they might have been prevented. There are good grounds
for believing that many young men purposely seek advice from physicians
whom they know are in the habit of prescribing this kind of remedy.

Few know how commonly this course is recommended, and not by quacks,
but by members of the regular profession. A medical friend informed
us that he knew a case in which a country physician advised a young
man of continent habits to go to a neighboring large city and spend
a year or so with prostitutes, which advice he followed. Of his
subsequent history we know nothing; but it is most probable that, like
most other young men who adopt this remedy, he soon contracted diseases
which rendered his condition ten times worse than at first, without
at all improving his former state. In pursuing this course, one form
of emission is only substituted for another, at the best; but more than
this, an involuntary result of disease is converted into a voluntary
sin of the blackest character, a crime in which two participate, and
which is not only an outrage upon nature, but against morality as well.

A final argument against this course is that it is not a remedy and
does not effect a cure of the evil, as will be shown by the following
medical testimonies:--

"The vexed question of connection is one which may be decided out of
hand.... _It has no power of curing bad spermatorrhoea_; it may cause
a diminution in the number of emissions, but this is only a delusion;
the semen is still thrown off; the frame still continues to be
exhausted; the genital organs and nervous system generally are still
harassed by the incessant tax, and the patient is all the while laying
the foundation of impotence."[56]

[Footnote 56: Milton.]

"In all solemn earnestness I protest against such false treatment. It
is better for a youth to live a continent life." "There is a terrible
significance in the wise man's words, 'None that go to her return again,
neither take they hold of the paths of life.'"[57] This hazardous and
immoral mode of treatment is the result of the common opinion that
emissions are necessary and natural, which we have previously shown
to be a falsity.

[Footnote 57: Acton.]

Marriage.--Another class of practitioners, with more apparent regard
for morality, recommend matrimony as the sure panacea for all the ills
of which the sufferers from self-abuse complain, with the possible
exception of actual impotence. Against this course several objections
may be urged; we offer the following:--

1. It is not a remedy, since, as in the case of illicit intercourse,
"legalized prostitution" is only a substitution of one form of
emissions for another, the ill effects of which do not differ

2. If it were a remedy, it would not be a justifiable one, for its use
would necessitate an abuse of the marriage relation, as elsewhere

3. As another reason why the remedy would not be a _proper_, even if
a _good_, one, it may well be asked, What right has a man to treat a
wife as a vial of medicine? Well does Mr. Acton inquire, "What has the
young girl, who is thus sacrificed to an egotistical calculation, done
that she should be condemned to the existence that awaits her? Who has
the right to regard her as a therapeutic agent, and to risk thus lightly
her future prospects, her repose, and the happiness of the remainder
of her life?"

In cases in which seminal emissions occur frequently, the most reliable
writers upon this subject, Copland, Acton, Milton, and others, advise,
with reference to marriage, "that the complaint should be removed
before the married life is commenced." Independent of the
considerations already presented, the individual affected in this
manner and contemplating marriage should carefully consider the
possible and probable effects upon offspring, the legitimate result
of marriage; these have been already described, and need not be

Local Treatment.--While it is true that general treatment alone is
occasionally successful in curing the diseases under consideration,
and that local treatment alone is very rarely efficient, it is also
true that in many cases skillful local treatment is required to
supplement the general remedies employed. While there has been a
tendency on the part of the profession generally to depend wholly upon
general treatment, on the part of a less numerous body of specialists
there has been an opposite tendency to depend wholly, or nearly so,
upon local measures. Both extremes are evidently wrong.

The object of local treatment for the relief of emissions, especially,
is to remove the local cause of irritation, which, as previously shown,
is one of the most active exciting causes of seminal losses. To effect
this, both internal and external applications are useful. We will now
consider some of these agents.

_Cool Sitz Bath_.--The cool or cold sitz bath is one of the most
efficacious of all remedies. It should be taken daily, and may often
be repeated, with benefit, several times a day. Its effect is to relieve
the local congestion, and thus allay the irritability of the affected
parts. When but one bath is taken daily, it should be just before
retiring at night. Full directions for this and other baths are given
in works devoted to the subject of bathing.

_Ascending Douche_.--This is also a very useful means of allaying
irritation, especially the reflex excitability which is often present
in the muscles in the vicinity of the perineum and prostate gland, and
when there is pain and fullness in these parts.

_Abdominal Bandage_.--This may be worn nights to very great advantage
by most patients. It not only allays the irritability of the nerve
centers which are closely connected with the genital apparatus, but
serves to keep the bowels in a healthy condition. It should not be
applied so continuously as to produce a very profuse eruption on the
skin. If such a symptom should appear, discontinue the bandage for a
time. When worn during the day-time, it should be changed once in three
or four hours. It is generally best to wear it only nights.

_Wet Compress_.--This is an application to be made to the lower part
of the spine for the purpose of allaying the excessive heat and
irritation which often exist there. It may also be worn nights, as it
in some degree prevents the danger arising from sleeping upon the back.

_Hot and Cold Applications to the Spine_.--These are powerful remedies
under appropriate conditions. Hot applications relieve congestion of
the genital organs and allay irritation. Cold applications are useful
when a condition of debility and relaxation is present. Alternate
applications of heat and cold are very valuable, when skillfully
applied, as a means of allaying reflex excitability and promoting
healthy action. These applications are especially useful in cases in
which there is heat and pain in the lower portion of the back. Their
effects are greatly enhanced by administering a foot or leg bath at
the same time.

_Local Fomentations_.--When great local irritation exists, with
considerable pain and spasmodic muscular action, the application of
hot fomentations to the perineum will be found the most effectual means
of giving relief. The hot douche and hot sitz bath are useful under
the same circumstances.

In some cases, alternate hot and cold applications are more effectual
in allaying local irritation than hot fomentations alone.

_Local Cold Bathing_.--The genital organs should be daily bathed in
cold water just before retiring. Simply dashing water upon the parts
for two or three minutes is insufficient; more prolonged bathing is
necessary. A short application of cold occasions a strong and sudden
reaction which increases local congestion; hence, the bath should be
continued until the sedative effect is fully produced, which will
require at least fifteen minutes. The water must be cold; about 60
degrees is the best temperature. Ice should be used to cool the water
in warm weather. It should be applied thoroughly, being squeezed from
a sponge upon the lower part of the abdomen and allowed to run down.

_Enemata_.--The use of the enema is an important means of aiding
recovery, but it has been much abused, and must be employed with caution.
When the bowels are very costive, relieve them before retiring by a
copious injection of tepid water. The "fountain syringe" is the best
instrument to employ.

Useful as is the syringe when needed, nothing could be much worse than
becoming dependent upon it. The bowels must be made to act for
themselves without such artificial assistance, by the use of proper
food, especially graham flour and oatmeal, and the avoidance of hot
drinks, milk, sugar, and other clogging and constipating articles; by
wearing the abdominal bandage; by thorough kneading and percussion of
the abdomen several times daily for five minutes at a time; by taking
one or two glasses of cold water half an hour before breakfast every
morning; and by plenty of muscular exercise daily. The enema should
be used occasionally, however, rather than allow the bowels to continue
costive, and to avoid severe straining at stool.

A small, cold enema taken just before retiring, and retained, will often
do much to allay local irritation.

_Electricity_.--Probably no single agent will accomplish more than
this remedy when skillfully applied. It needs to be carefully used,
and cannot be trusted in the hands of those not acquainted with the
physical properties of the remedy and scientific methods of applying

_Internal Applications_.--Complete and rapid success greatly depends
upon skillful internal treatment, in a large number of cases. We are
aware that there is considerable prejudice, in certain quarters,
against internal treatment; but having had the opportunity of observing
the effects of careful treatment applied in this way, and having put
to the test of practical experience this method, we feel justified in
recommending that which is approved on both theoretical and practical
grounds; for it is rational to suppose that proper treatment applied
directly to the seat of disease must be at least equally efficacious
with methods less direct.

As heretofore explained, in the more severe cases the urethra is found
in a very irritable condition. It is hyper-sensitive, especially in
that portion just in front of the bladder, where the ejaculatory ducts
open into it. We have also seen how this condition is one of the chief
exciting causes of emissions. The remedies described for allaying this
irritation are all excellent and indispensable; but there is another
method of great value. This consists in the passage of a suitable
instrument, a sound or bougie of proper size, two or three times a week.
By the aid of this means, the abnormal irritation will often diminish
with magical rapidity. The passage of the instrument of course needs
to be done with great delicacy, so as to avoid increasing the
irritation; hence it should not be attempted by a novice. Lack of skill
in catheterism is doubtless the reason why some have seemed to produce
injury rather than benefit by this method of treatment, they not
recognizing the fact asserted by Prof. Gross in his treatise on surgery,
that skillful catheterism is one of the most delicate operations in

_Use of Electricity_.--The use of electricity in connection with that
of the sound adds greatly to its utility. By means of the metallic
instrument, also, electricity may be applied directly to the point of
greatest irritation; and its soothing effect is sometimes really
wonderful, as the following case will show:--

The patient, a man of unusual physical development, was suffering from
nocturnal emissions and diminished sexual power, the result of early
indiscretions and marital excesses. One of his most unpleasant symptoms
was severe pain in the portion of the urethra near the openings of the
ejaculatory ducts. After he had been suffering more than usual for a
few days, we applied the faradaic electric current in the manner
indicated above, for about fifteen minutes. At the end of that time
the pain was entirely removed, though considerable suffering had been
caused by the passage of the instrument, so sensitive was the congested
membrane. The pain did not return again for two or three weeks, though
treatment was necessarily suspended on account of absence.

In another case, that of a young man, a student, at the beginning of
treatment emissions occurred nightly, and sometimes as many as four
in a single night, according to his statement, which we had no reason
to doubt. Under the influence of these local applications, combined
with other measures of treatment and a measurably correct regimen, the
number of emissions was in a few weeks reduced to one in two or three

Numerous other cases nearly as remarkable might be detailed if it were
necessary to do so. In quite a considerable number of cases in which
we have employed this plan of treatment, the results have been uniformly
excellent. A very slight increase of irritation sometimes occurs at
first, but this quickly subsides.

The galvanic as well as the faradaic current is to be used under proper
circumstances. The application of electricity to the nerve centers by
means of central galvanization, and also general and local external
faradization, are necessary methods to be employed in electrical

_Circumcision_.--In cases of phimosis, in which irritation is produced
by retained secretions, division of the prepuce, or circumcision, is
the proper remedy. These cases are not infrequent, but the exciting
cause of much of the difficulty is often overlooked. The same remedy
is often useful in cases of long prepuce.

When the glans penis is unusually tender and sensitive, this condition
will usually be removed by the daily washing with soap and water
necessary for cleanliness. If this does not suffice, or if there are
slight excoriations caused by acrid secretions, apply, in addition,
a weak solution of tannin in glycerine once a day.

_Impotence_.--Loss of sexual power arising from any form of sexual
excess, should be treated on the same general plan laid down for the
treatment of emissions and other weaknesses. Cold to the spine, and
short, but frequent, local cold applications, are among the most useful
remedies; but, probably, electricity, discreetly used, is by far the
most valuable of all remedies. It should be applied both internally
and externally.

The use of cantharides and other aphrodisiac remedies to stimulate the
sexual organs is a most pernicious practice. The inevitable result is
still greater weakness. They should never be used under any
circumstances whatever. On the contrary, everything of a stimulating
character must be carefully avoided, even in diet.

_Varicocele_.--Patients suffering from this difficulty should wear a
proper suspensory bag, as the continued pressure of the distended veins
upon the testes, if unsupported, will ultimately cause degenerative
changes and atrophy. A surgical operation, consisting of the removal
of a portion of the skin of the scrotum, is proper if the patient desires
an operation; no other operation is advisable.

The wearing of a suspensory bag is also advisable for those whose
testicles are unusually pendulous.

Drugs, Rings, etc.--If drugs, _per se_, will cure invalids of any class,
they are certainly worthless in this class of patients. The whole
materia medica affords no root, herb, extract, or compound that alone
will cure a person suffering from emissions. Thousands of unfortunates
have been ruined by long-continued drugging. One physician will purge
and salivate the patient. Another will dose him with phosphorus,
quinine, or ergot. Another feeds him with iron. Another plies him with
lupuline, camphor, and digitaline. Still another narcotizes him with
opium, belladonna, and chloral. Purgatives and diuretics are given by
another, and some will be found ready to empty the whole pharmacopoeia
into the poor sufferer's stomach if he can be got to open his mouth
wide enough.

The way that some of these poor fellows are blistered, and burned, and
cauterized, and tortured in sundry other ways, is almost too horrible
to think of; yet they endure it, often willingly, thinking it but just
punishment for their sins, and perhaps hoping to expiate them by this
cruel penance. By these procedures, the emissions are sometimes
temporarily checked, but the patient is not cured, nevertheless, and
the malady soon returns.

The employment of rings, pessaries, and numerous other mechanical
devices for preventing emissions, is entirely futile. No dependence
can be placed upon them. Some of these contrivances are very ingenious,
but they are all worthless, and time and money spent upon them are thrown

Quacks.--The victims of self-abuse fall an easy prey to the hordes of
harpies, fiends in human shape, who are ready at every turn to make
capital out of their misfortunes. From no other class of persons do
quacks and charlatans derive so rich a harvest as from these erring
ones. It is not uncommon to find a man suffering from seminal weakness
who has paid to sundry parties hundreds of dollars for "specifics" which
they advertised as "sure cures." We have seen and treated scores of
these patients, but never yet met a single case that had received
benefit from patent medicines.

The newspapers are full of the advertisements of these heartless
villains. They advertise under the guise of "clergymen," charitable
institutions, "cured invalids," and similar pretenses. Usually they
offer for sale some pill or mixture which will be a _sure cure_, in
proof of which they cite the testimonials of numerous individuals who
never lived, or, at least, never saw either them or their filthy
compounds; or, they promise to send free a recipe which will be a certain
cure. Here is a specimen recipe which was sent by a "reverend" gentleman
who claims to be a returned missionary from South America so intent
on doing good that he charges nothing for his invaluable information:--

  Extract of Corrossa apimis,
    "     "  Selarmo umbelifera,
  Powdered Alkermes latifolia,
  Extract of Carsadoc herbalis.

This remarkable recipe is warranted to cure all the evils arising from
self-abuse, with no attention to diet and no inconvenience of any kind,
to prevent consumption and insanity, and to cure venereal diseases.
It is also declared to be a perfectly "_safe_" remedy for all female
difficulties, which means that it will aid nefarious purposes.

Along with the recipe comes the suggestion that the druggist may not
be able to furnish all the ingredients in a perfectly pure state, and
so, for the accommodation of suffering humanity, this noble
philanthropist has taken infinite pains to secure them direct from
South America, and has them put up in neat little packages which he
will send, post-paid, for the trifle of $3.50, just one cent _less_
than actual cost. Then he tells what purports to be the history of his
own nastiness, with a generous spicing of pious cant, and closes with
a benediction on all who have fallen into the same slough, and
especially those who will send for his fabulous foreign weeds to help
them out.

A young man sees the advertisement of a book which will be sent free,
postage paid, if he will only send his address. The title of the book
being of some such character as "Manhood Regained," or "Nervous
Debility," he imagines it may suit his case, and sends his name. Return
mail brings the book, which is a wretched jargon of confused terms and
appalling descriptions of the effects of self-abuse, with the most
shameful exaggerations of the significance of the most trivial symptoms.
The ignorant youth reads what he supposes to be a description of his
own case, and is frightened nearly to death. He is most happily relieved,
however, to find that the generous publishers of the book have a remedy
which is just adapted to his case, but which is so precious that it
cannot be afforded at less than $50.00 for a sufficient quantity to
effect a cure. He willingly parts with his hard-earned dollars, and
gets, in return, some filthy mixture that did not cost a shilling.

Another trap set is called an "Anatomical Museum." The anatomical part
of the exhibition consists chiefly of models and figures calculated
to excite the passions to the highest pitch. At stated intervals the
proprietor, who is always a "doctor," and by preference a German,
delivers lectures on the effects of masturbation, in which he resorts
to every device to excite the fears and exaggerate the symptoms of his
hearers, who are mostly young men and boys. Thus he prepares his victim,
and when he once gets him within his clutches, he does not let him go
until he has robbed him of his last dollar.

We might present almost any number of illustrations of the ways in which
these human sharks pursue their villainy. If there were a dungeon deep,
dark, and dismal enough for the punishment of such rascals, we should
feel strongly inclined to petition to have them incarcerated in it.
They defy all laws, civil as well as moral, but are cunning enough to
keep outside of prison bars; and thus they wax rich by robbery, and
thrive by deceit. A terrible recompense awaits them at the final
settlement, though they escape so easily now.

Closing Advice.--We cannot finish this chapter without a few closing
words of advice to those who are suffering in any way from the results
of sexual transgression. We are especially anxious to call attention
to a few points of practical and vital interest to all who are suffering
in the manner indicated.

1. Give the matter prompt attention. Do not delay to adopt curative
measures under the delusive idea that the difficulty will disappear
of itself. Thousands have procrastinated in this way until their
constitutions have been so hopelessly undermined as to make treatment
of little value. The intrinsic tendency of this disease is to continue
to increase. It progresses only in one direction. It never "gets well
of itself," as some have imagined that it may do. Something must be
done to effect a cure; and the longer treatment is delayed, the more
difficult the case will become.

2. Set about the work of getting well with a fixed determination to
persevere, and never to give over the struggle until success is attained,
no matter how difficult may be the obstacles to be surmounted. Such
an effort will rarely be unsuccessful. One of the greatest impediments
to recovery from diseases of this class is the vacillating dispositions
of nearly all patients suffering from disorders of this character. Make
up your mind what course of treatment to pursue, then adhere to it
rigidly until it has received a thorough trial. Do not despair if no
very marked results are seen in a week, a month, or even a longer period.
The best remedies are among those which operate the most slowly.

3. Avoid watching for symptoms. Ills are greatly exaggerated by
dwelling upon them. One can easily imagine himself getting worse when
he is really getting better. Indeed, one can make himself sick by
dwelling upon insignificant symptoms. Fix upon a course to pursue for
recovery, firmly resolve to comply with every requirement necessary
to insure success, and then let the mind be entirely at rest respecting
the result.

4. Never consult a quack. The newspapers abound with lying
advertisements of remedies for diseases of this character. Do not waste
time and money in corresponding with the ignorant, unprincipled
charlatans who make such false pretensions. Do not consult traveling
doctors. Physicians of real merit have plenty of business at home. They
are not obliged to go abroad in order to secure practice. Persons who
resort to this course are, without exception, pretentious quacks.
Consult only some well-known and reliable physician in whom you have
confidence. If your physician treats the matter lightly, and advises
marriage as a means of cure, you will not judge him harshly if you decide
that although he may be thoroughly competent to treat other diseases,
he is ignorant of the nature and proper treatment of this. It is an
unfortunate fact that there are many physicians who are not thoroughly
acquainted with the nature of spermatorrhoea and the proper mode of
treating the disease; hence the importance of making a judicious
selection in choosing a medical adviser. If possible, employ one whom
you know to have treated successfully numerous similar cases, and give
him your entire confidence. It is far better to consult your family
physician than to trust yourself in the hands of some one whom you do
not know, and especially one who makes great pretensions to knowledge.

5. Do not despair of ever recovering from the effects of past
transgression, and plunge into greater depths of sin. Persevering,
skillful treatment will cure almost every case. Even the worst cases
can be greatly benefited if the earnest co-operation of the patient
can be secured. This is indispensable, and the patient should be so
instructed at the outset of a course of treatment.

6. Every sufferer from sexual disease must make up his mind to live,
during the remainder of his life, as closely in accord with the laws
of life and health as circumstances under his control will allow him
to do. One who pursues this course, with a genuine regard for principle
and a love for right, may confidently expect to receive the reward of
obedience for his faithfulness. We would recommend such to obtain and
study the best works upon hygiene, put in practice every new truth as
soon as learned, and become missionaries of the saving truths of hygiene
to others who are suffering from the same cause as themselves, or who
may be in danger of falling into the same evil.


Boys, this chapter is for you. It is written and printed purposely for
you. If you do not read another word in the book, read these few pages
if you are old enough to do so. Read each line carefully and thoughtfully.
You may not find anything to make you laugh--possibly you may: but you
will be certain to find something of almost inestimable value to you
in every line.

Who are Boys?--Boys are scarce now-a-days. In the days of Methuselah,
male human beings were still boys when nearly a century old; twenty-five
years ago boys were still such until well out of their "teens"; now
the interval between infancy and the age at which the boy becomes a
young man is so brief that boyhood is almost a thing of the past. The
happy period of care-free, joyous innocence which formerly intervened
between childhood and early manhood is now almost unobservable. Boys
grow old too fast. They learn to imitate the vices and the manners of
their seniors before they reach their teens, and are impatient to be
counted as men, no matter how great may be their deficiencies, their
unfitness for the important duties and responsibilities of life. The
consequence of this inordinate haste and impatience to be old, is
premature decay. Unfortunately the general tendency of the young
members of the rising generation is to copy the vices of their elders,
rather than the virtues of true manliness. A strong evidence of this
fact, if there were no other, is the unnaturally old-looking faces which
so many of our boys present. At the present time the average boy of
twelve knows more of vice and sin than the youth of twenty of the past

It is not so much for these human mushrooms, which may be not inaptly
compared to toadstools which grow up in a single night and almost as
speedily decay, that we write, but for the old-fashioned boys, the few
such there may be, those who have not yet learned to love sin, those
whose minds are still pure and uncontaminated. Those who have already
begun a course of vice and wickedness we have little hope of reforming;
but we are anxious to offer a few words of counsel and warning which
may possibly help to save as brands plucked from a blazing fire, those
whose moral sense is yet alive, who have quick and tender consciences,
who aspire to be truly noble and good.

What are Boys for?--This question was answered with exact truthfulness
by a little boy, who, when contemptuously accosted by a man with the
remark, "What are you good for?" replied, "Men are made of such as we."
Boys are the beginnings of men. They sustain the same relation to men
that the buds do to full-blown flowers. They are still more like the
small green apples which first appear when the blossoms drop from the
branches, compared with the ripe, luscious fruit which in autumn bends
the heavy-laden boughs almost to breaking. Often, like the young apples,
boys are green; but this is only natural, and should be considered no
disgrace to the boys. If they grow up naturally they will ripen with
age, like the fruit, developing at each successive stage of life
additional attractions and excellent qualities.

Boys the Hope of the World.--A nation's most valuable property is its
boys. A nation which has poor, weakly, vicious boys will have still
weaker, more vicious and untrustworthy men. A country with noble,
virtuous, vigorous boys, is equally sure of having noble, pious, brave,
and energetic men. Whatever debases, contaminates, or in any way
injures the boys of a country, saps and undermines the very foundation
of the nation's strength and greatness. Save the boys from vice and
crime, give them good training, physically, mentally, and morally, and
the prosperity of the nation is assured.

Man the Masterpiece.--When a skillful artist perfects a work of art,
a painting, a drawing, a statue, or some other work requiring great
talent and exceeding all his other efforts, it is called his masterpiece.
So man is the noblest work of God, the masterpiece of the Almighty.
Numerous anecdotes are told of the sagacity of dogs, horses, elephants
and other animals, of their intelligence and ingenious devices in
overcoming obstacles, avoiding difficulties, etc. Our admiration and
wonder are often excited by the scarcely less than human wisdom shown
by these lowly brothers of the human race. We call them noble animals;
but they are only noble brutes, at best. Compared with man, even in
his most humble form, as seen in the wild savage that hunts and devours
his prey like a wild beast, a lion or a tiger, they are immeasurably
inferior. And in his highest development, man civilized, cultivated,
Christianized, learned, generous, pious, certainly stands at the head
of all created things.

Boys, do you love what is noble, what is pure, what is grand, what is
good? You may each, if you will, become such yourselves. Let us consider
for a moment

How a Noble Character is Ruined.--A noble character is formed by the
development of the good qualities of an individual. A bad character
is formed by the development of bad traits, or evil propensities. In
other words, sin is the cause of the demoralization of character, the
debasing of the mind, the loss of nobility of which we see so much around
us in the world. Sin is the transgression of some law. There are two
kinds of sins: those which are transgressions of the moral law, and
those which are transgressions of physical laws. Both classes of sins
are followed by penalties. If a person violates the laws of health,
he is just as certain to suffer as though he tells a falsehood, steals,
murders, or commits any other crime. Perfect obedience to all of
nature's laws, including of course all moral laws, is necessary to
perfect health and perfect nobleness of character. The nature of these
laws and the results of transgression will be understood after we have
taken a hasty glance at

The Marvelous Human Machine which we call the body. All the inventions
and devices ever constructed by the human hand or conceived by the human
mind, no matter how delicate, how intricate and complicated, are simple,
childish toys compared with that most marvelously wrought mechanism,
the human body. Let us proceed to take this wonderful machine in pieces
and study its various parts and the manner in which they are put

The Two Objects of Human Existence.--The objects of this wonderfully
formed mechanism are two: 1. The maintenance of an individual life;
2. The production of similar individuals which shall also have the power
of maintaining individual lives. The same may be said of every plant
that grows, and every animal. Each tree, plant, and shrub has some
useful service to perform while it lives, in addition to the production
of seed from which other plants may grow. For example, the object of
the majestic oak which towers high and broadly spreads its leafy
branches is not to produce acorns merely, but to give place for birds
to build their nests, to present an inviting shade for cattle, and to
afford protection in a variety of ways to numerous living creatures
which need such aid. The same may be said of all vegetable growths,
each particular plant having its peculiar purposes to fulfill, and all
together acting as purifiers of the air for the benefit of man and lower

The principle is equally true as applied to lower animals, as is
evidenced by the numerous ways in which domestic animals are utilized.
Indeed, it seems that the prime purpose of life, not only with all lowly
living creatures, as plants and animals, but with man as well, is to
live and act as individuals. But the important function of reproduction,
or producing other similar individuals, though incidental, is
necessary to the perpetuation of the race or species.

In order that an individual human being may live and develop, it is
necessary that he should eat, drink, digest, and assimilate, and that
he should be able to move about, to perceive,--that is, to hear, see,
feel, smell, taste, determine weight and distinguish temperature,--to
think, and to express ideas in language. In order to keep his vital
machinery in order, it is necessary that the body should also be able
to repair injuries which may occur in consequence of wear or accident,
and to remove out of the way wornout material which would otherwise
obstruct the working of the delicate machinery of which his body is
constructed. Each of these functions requires special organs and
apparatuses to carry on the work; and these we will now briefly

The Nutritive Apparatus.--This consists of organs for the purpose of
taking in food or nourishment, digesting it, and distributing it
throughout the body wherever it is needed. These are chiefly the mouth
and teeth for receiving and chewing the food, the stomach and intestines
for digesting and absorbing it, and the heart and blood-vessels for
distributing it to the body.

The Moving Apparatus.--For the purpose of producing motion, we have
the muscles and the bones, by which the food is received, masticated,
and swallowed, the blood circulated, the body moved about from place
to place, and speech, expression, respiration, and many other important
functions performed.

The Thinking and Feeling Apparatus.--The brain and nerves afford the
means of thinking and feeling, also giving rise to all the activities
of the body by the production of nerve force. To aid the brain and nerves,
we have special organs provided, termed the organs of special sense;
as the eye for sight, the ear for hearing, the nose for the detection
of odors, the tongue for tasting, the skin and the mucous membrane for
the sense of touch.

The Purifying Apparatus.--Waste matter accumulates in the body so
rapidly that it is necessary to have abundant and efficient means to
remove the same, and prevent death by obstruction. This work is
performed by the lungs, liver, kidneys, skin, and mucous membrane.

Each organ and tissue possesses the power to repair itself. Animal heat,
which is also necessary to life, is not produced by any special set
of organs, but results incidentally from the various other processes

The Reproductive Apparatus.--As there is a stomach to digest, a brain
to think, a pair of lungs to breathe, etc., so there are special organs
for reproducing the species or producing new individuals. These organs
have been carefully described in the preceding portion of this volume,
so that we do not need to repeat the description here. Unlike all the
other organs of the body, they are intended for use only after full
development or manhood has been attained; consequently, they are only
partially developed in childhood, becoming perfected as the person
becomes older, especially after about the age of fourteen to eighteen,
when puberty occurs. The lungs, the stomach, the muscles, and other
organs must be used constantly from the earliest period of infancy,
hence they are developed sufficiently for efficient use at birth. The
fact that the sexual or reproductive organs are only fully developed
later on in life, is sufficient evidence that they are intended for
use only when the body has become fully mature and well developed.

How a Noble Character and a Sound Body Must Be Formed.--By obeying all
the laws which relate to the healthy action of the body and the mind,
a noble character and a healthy body may be formed. Any deviation from
right will be sure to be followed by suffering. A boy who carefully
heeds the advice of good and wise parents, who avoids bad company, who
never indulges in bad habits of any sort, who cultivates purity, honesty,
and manliness, is certain to grow up into a noble, lovely youth, and
to become an intelligent, respected, virtuous man.

The Down-Hill Road.--In every large city, and in small ones too, even
in little villages, we can scarcely step upon the street without being
pained at meeting little boys who have perhaps scarcely learned to speak
distinctly, but whose faces show very plainly that they have already
taken several steps down the steep hillside of vice. All degrees of
wickedness are pictured on the faces of a large proportion of the boys
we meet upon the streets, loitering about the corners, loafing in hotels,
groceries, and about bar-room doors. Everywhere we meet small faces
upon which sin and vice are as clearly written as though the words were
actually spelled out. Lying, swearing, smoking, petty stealing, and
brazen impudence are among the vices which contaminate thousands and
thousands of the boys who are by-and-by to become the _men_ of this
country, to constitute its legislators, its educators, its supporters,
and its protectors. Is it possible that such boys can become good,
useful, noble, trustworthy men? Scarcely. If the seeds of noxious weeds
can be made to produce useful plants or beautiful flowers, or if a barren,
worthless shrub can be made to bear luscious fruit, then may we expect
to see these vicious boys grow up into virtuous, useful men.

But the vices mentioned are not the worst, the traces of which we see
stamped upon the faces of hundreds of boys, some of whom, too, would
scorn to commit any one of the sins named. There is another vice, still
more terrible, more blighting in its effects, a vice which defiles,
diseases, and destroys the body, enervates, degrades, and finally
dethrones the mind, debases and ruins the soul. It is to this vice that
we wish especially to call attention. It is known as

Self-Abuse.--Secret vice, masturbation, and self-pollution are other
names applied to this same awful sin against nature and against God.
We shall not explain here the exact nature of the sin, as very few boys
are so ignorant or so innocent as to be unacquainted with it. To this
sin and its awful consequences we now wish to call the attention of
all who may read these lines.

A Dreadful Sin.--The sin of self-pollution is one of the vilest, the
basest, and the most degrading that a human being can commit. It is
worse than beastly. Those who commit it place themselves far below the
meanest brute that breathes. The most loathsome reptile, rolling in
the slush and slime of its stagnant pool, would not bemean itself thus.
It is true that monkeys sometimes have the habit, but only when they
have been taught it by vile men or boys. A boy who is thus guilty ought
to be ashamed to look into the eyes of an honest dog. Such a boy naturally
shuns the company of those who are pure and innocent. He cannot look
with assurance into his mother's face. It is difficult for any one to
catch his eye, even for a few seconds. He feels his guilt and acts it
out, thus making it known to every one. Let such a boy think how he
must appear in the eyes of the Almighty. Let him only think of the angels,
pure, innocent, and holy, who are eye-witnesses of his shameful
practices. Is not the thought appalling? Would he dare commit such a
sin in the presence of his father, his mother, or his sisters? No, indeed.
How, then, will he dare to defile himself in the presence of Him from
whose all-seeing eye nothing is hid?

The Bible utters the most solemn warnings against sexual sins. The
inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by fire and brimstone
for such transgressions. Onan was struck dead in the act of committing
a vileness of this sort. For similar vices the wicked inhabitants of
Palestine were destroyed, and their lands given to the Hebrews. For
a single violation of the seventh commandment, one of the most notable
Bible characters, David, suffered to the day of his death. Those who
imagine that this sin is not a transgression of the seventh commandment
may be assured that this most heinous, revolting, and unnatural vice
is in every respect more pernicious, more debasing, and more immoral
than what is generally considered as violation of the commandment which
says, "Thou shalt not commit adultery," and is itself a most flagrant
violation of the same commandment.

Those who imagine that they "have a right to do as they please with
themselves," so long as no one else is immediately affected, must learn
that we are not our own masters; we belong to our Creator, and are
accountable to God not only for the manner in which we treat our
fellow-men, but for how we treat ourselves, for the manner in which
we use the bodies which he has given us. The man who commits suicide,
who takes his own life, is a murderer as much as he who kills a
fellow-man. So, also, he who pollutes himself in the manner we are
considering, violates the seventh commandment, although the crime is in
both cases committed against himself. Think of this, ye youth who defile
yourselves in secret and seek to escape the punishment of sin. In Heaven
a faithful record of your vile commandment-breaking is kept, and you
must meet it by-and-by. You are fixing your fate for eternity; and each
daily act in some degree determines what it shall be. Are you a victim
of this fascinating vice, stop, repent, reform, before you are forever
ruined, a mental, moral, and physical wreck.

Self-Murderers.--Of all the vices to which human beings are addicted,
no other so rapidly undermines the constitution and so certainly makes
a complete wreck of an individual as this, especially when the habit
is begun at an early age. It wastes the most precious part of the blood,
uses up the vital forces, and finally leaves the poor victim a most
utterly ruined and loathsome object. If a boy should be deprived of
both hands and feet and should lose his eyesight, he would still be
infinitely better off than the boy who for years gives himself up to
the gratification of lust in secret vice. For such a boy to become a
strong, vigorous man is just as impossible as it would be to make a
mammoth tree out of a currant bush. Such a man will necessarily be
short-lived. He will always suffer from the effects of his folly, even
though he shall marry. If he has children--he may become
incapable--they will be quite certain to be puny, weak, scrofulous,
consumptive, rickety, nervous, depraved in body and mind, or otherwise
deprived of the happiness which grows out of the possession of "a sound
mind in a sound body."

Let us notice a little more closely the terrible effects resulting from
this most unnatural and abominable vice.

What Makes Boys Dwarfs.--How many times have we seen boys who were born
with good constitutions, with force and stamina sufficient to develop
them into large, vigorous men, become puny dwarfs. At the time when
they ought to begin to grow and develop more rapidly than ever before,
their growth is checked and they cease to develop. They are, in fact,
stunted, dwarfed, like a plant which has a canker-worm eating away at
its roots. Indeed, there is a veritable canker-worm sapping their
vitality, undermining their constitutions, and destroying their
prospects for time and for eternity. Anxious friends may attribute the
unhappy change to overwork, overstudy, or some similar cause; but from
a somewhat extended observation we are thoroughly convinced that the
very vice which we are considering is the viper which blights the
prospects and poisons the existence of many of these promising boys.

A boy who gives himself up to the practice of secret vice at an early
age, say as early as seven to ten years of age, is certain to make himself
a wreck. Instead of having a healthy, vigorous body, with strong muscles
and a hardy constitution, he will be weak, scrawny, sickly, always
complaining, never well, and will never know anything about that joyous
exuberance of life and animal spirits which the young antelope feels
as it bounds over the plain, or the vigorous young colt as it frisks
about its pasture, and which every youth ought to feel.

Scrawny, Hollow-Eyed Boys.--Boys ought to be fresh and vigorous as
little lambs. They ought to be plump, rosy, bright-eyed, and sprightly.
A boy who is pale, scrawny, hollow-eyed, dull, listless, has something
the matter with him. Self-abuse makes thousands of just such boys every
year; and it is just such boys that make vicious, shiftless, haggard,
unhappy men. This horrible vice steals away the health and vitality
which are needed to develop the body and the mind; and the lad that
ought to make his mark in the world, that ought to become a distinguished
statesman, orator, clergyman, physician, or author, becomes little
more than a living animal, a mere shadow of what he ought to have been.

Old Boys.--Often have we felt sad when we have heard fond mothers
speaking in glowing terms of the old ways of their sons, and rather
glorying that they looked so much older than they were. In nine cases
out of ten these old-looking boys owe their appearance to this vile
habit; for it is exceedingly common, and its dreadful effects in
shriveling and dwarfing and destroying the human form are too plainly
perceptible, when present, to be mistaken. Oh! this dreadful curse!
Why will so many of our bright, innocent boys pollute themselves with

What Makes Idiots.--Reader, have you ever seen an idiot? If you have,
the hideous picture will never be dissipated from your memory. The
vacant stare, the drooping, drooling mouth, the unsteady gait, the
sensual look, the emptiness of mind,--all these you will well remember.
Did you ever stop to think how idiots are made? It is by this very vice
that the ranks of these poor daft mortals are being recruited every
day. Every visitor to an insane asylum sees scores of them; ruined in
mind and body, only the semblance of a human being, bereft of sense,
lower than a beast in many respects, a human being hopelessly lost to
himself and to the world!--oh, most terrible thought!--yet once pure,
intelligent, active, perhaps the hope of a fond mother, the pride of
a doting father, and possibly possessed of natural ability to become
greatly distinguished in some of the many noble and useful walks of
life; now sunk below the brute through the degrading, destroying
influence of a lustful gratification.

Boys, are you guilty of this terrible sin? have you even once in this
way yielded to the tempter's voice? Stop, consider, think of the awful
results, repent, confess to God, reform. Another step in that direction
and you may be lost, soul and body. You cannot dally with the tempter.
You must escape now or never. Don't delay.

Young Dyspeptics.--If we leave out of the consideration the effects
of bad food and worse cookery, there is in our estimation no other cause
so active in occasioning the early breaking down of the digestive organs
of our American boys. A boy of ten or twelve years of age ought to have
a stomach capable of digesting anything not absolutely indigestible;
but there are to-day thousands and thousands of boys of that age whose
stomachs are so impaired as to be incapable of digesting any but the
most simple food. The digestion being ruined, the teeth soon follow
suit. Hardly one boy in a dozen has perfectly sound teeth. With a bad
stomach and bad teeth, a foundation for disease is laid which is sure
to result in early decay of the whole body.

In this awful vice do we find a cause, too, for the thousands of cases
of consumption in young men. At the very time when they ought to be
in their prime, they break down in health and become helpless invalids
for life, or speedily sink into an early grave.

Upon their tombstones might justly be graven, "Here lies a
self-murderer." Providence is not to blame; nor is climate, weather,
overwork, overstudy, or any other even seemingly plausible cause, to
be blamed. Their own sins have sunk them in mental, moral, and physical
perdition. Such a victim literally dies by his own hand, a veritable
suicide. Appalling thought! It is a grand thing to die for one's
principles, a martyr to his love of right and truth. One may die
blameless who is the victim of some dire contagious malady which he
could not avoid; even the poor, downcast misanthrope whose hopes are
blighted and whose sorrows multiplied, may possibly be in some degree
excused for wishing to end his misery with his life; but the wretched
being who sheds his life-blood by the disgusting maneuvers of
self-pollution--what can be said to extenuate _his_ guilt? His is a
double crime. Let him pass from the memory of his fellow-men. He will
perish, overwhelmed with his own vileness. Let him die, and return to
the dust from which he sprang.

The Race Ruined by Boys.--The human race is growing steadily weaker
year by year. The boys of to-day would be no match in physical strength
for the sturdy youths of a century ago who are now their grandparents.
An immense amount of skillful training enables now and then one to
accomplish some wonderful feat of walking, rowing, or swimming, but
we hear very little of remarkable feats of labor accomplished by our
modern boys. Even the country boys of to-day cannot endure the hard
work which their fathers accomplished at the same age; and we doubt
not that this growing physical weakness is one of the reasons why so
large a share of the boys whose fathers are farmers, and who have been
reared on farms, are unwilling to follow the occupation of their fathers
for a livelihood. They are too weakly to do the work required by an
agricultural life, even by the aid of the numerous labor-saving
inventions of the age.

What is it that is undermining the health of the race and sapping the
constitutions of our American men? No doubt much may be attributed to
the unnatural refinements of civilization in several directions; but
there can be no doubt that vice is the most active cause of all. Secret
sin and its kindred vices yearly ruin more constitutions than hard work,
severe study, hunger, cold, privation, and disease combined.

Boys, the destiny of the race is in your hands. You can do more than
all the doctors, all the scientists and most eminent political men in
the world, to secure the prosperity and future greatness of the nation,
by taking care of yourselves, by being pure, noble, true to yourselves
and to the demands of high moral principle.

Cases Illustrating the Effects of Self-Abuse.--The land is full of poor
human wrecks who have dashed in pieces their hopes for this world, and
too often for the next also, against this hideous rock which lies hidden
in the pathway of every young man who starts out upon life's stormy
voyage. Gladly would we draw the veil and cover them with all their
dreadful deformities with the mantle of charity from the gaze of their
fellow-beings; but their number is so great that this could scarcely
be done, and the lesson to be learned from their sad fate is such a
grave one, and so needful for the good of the generation of young men
who are just encountering the same dangers, that we cannot resist the
promptings of duty to present a few examples of the effects of vice
in men and boys that have fallen under our own observation. We have
seen hundreds of cases of this sort; have treated many scores of persons
for the effects of the terrible crime which we are seeking to sound
a warning against, and the number of cases we might describe would fill
a volume; but we will select only a very few.

Two Young Wrecks.--Charles and Oscar B---- were the sons of a farmer
in a Western State, aged respectively ten and twelve years. They
possessed well-formed heads, and once had beautiful faces, and were
as bright and sprightly as any little boys of their age to be found
anywhere. Their father was proud of them, and their fond mother took
great pleasure in building bright prospects for her darling sons when
they should attain maturity and become competent to fill useful and
honorable positions in the world. Living in a rapidly-growing Western
community, they had every prospect of growing up to honorable
usefulness, a comfort to their parents, a blessing to the world, and
capable of enjoying life in the highest degree.

But suddenly certain manifestations appeared which gave rise to grave
apprehensions on the part of the parents. It was observed that the elder
of the little boys no longer played about with that nimbleness which
he had formerly shown, but seemed slow and stiff in his movements.
Sometimes, indeed, he would stagger a little when he walked. Soon, also,
his speech became affected in some degree; he mumbled his words and
could not speak distinctly. In spite of all that could be done, the
disease continued, increasing slowly in all its symptoms from week to
week. Soon the hands, also, became affected, so that the little boy
could not feed himself. The mind now began to fail. The bright eyes
became vacant and expressionless. Instead of the merry light which used
to shine in them, there was a blank, idiotic stare.

Imagine the grief and anguish of the poor mother! No one but a mother
who has been called to pass through a similar trial could know how to
sympathize with such a one. Her darling son she saw daily becoming a
prey to a strange, incurable malady, with no power even to stay the
progress of the terrible disease.

But there was still greater grief in store for her. Within a year or
two the younger son began to show symptoms of the same character, and
in spite of all that was done, rapidly sank into the same helpless state
as his brother. As a last resort, the mother took her boys and came
a long journey to place her sons under our care. At that time they were
both nearly helpless. Neither could walk but a few steps. They reeled
and staggered about like drunken men, falling down upon each other and
going through the most agonizing contortions in their attempts to work
their way from one chair to another and thus about the room. Their heads
were no longer erect, but drooped like wilted flowers. On their faces
was a blank, imbecile expression, with a few traces of former
intelligence still left. The mouth was open, from the drooping of the
lower jaw, and the saliva constantly dribbled upon the clothing.
Altogether, it was a spectacle which one does not care to meet every
day; the impression made was too harrowing to be pleasant even from
its interest from a scientific point of view.

We at once set to work to discover the cause of this dreadful condition,
saying to ourselves that such an awful punishment should certainly be
the result of some gross violation of nature's laws somewhere. The most
careful scrutiny of the history of the parents of the unfortunate lads
gave us no clue to anything of an hereditary character, both parents
having come of good families, and having been always of sober, temperate
habits. The father had used neither liquor nor tobacco in any form.
The mother could give no light on the matter, and we were obliged to
rest for the time being upon the conviction which fastened itself upon
us that the cases before us were most marked illustrations of the
results of self-abuse begun at a very early age. The mother thought
it impossible that our suspicions could be correct, saying that she
had watched her sons with jealous care from earliest infancy and had
seen no indications of any error of the sort. But we had not long to
wait for confirmation of our view of the case, as they were soon caught
in the act, to which it was found that they were greatly addicted, and
the mystery was wholly solved.

Every possible remedy was used to check the terrible disease which was
preying upon the unfortunate boys, but in vain. At times the symptoms
would be somewhat mitigated, and the most sanguine hopes of the fond,
watching mother would be excited, but in vain. The improvement always
proved to be but temporary, and the poor sufferers would speedily
relapse into the same dreadful condition again, and gradually grew
worse. At last, the poor mother was obliged to give up all hope, in
utter despair watching the daily advances of the awful malady which
inch by inch destroyed the life, the humanity, the very mind and soul
of her once promising sons. Sadly she took them back to her Western
home, there to see them suffer, perhaps for years before death should
kindly release them, the terrible penalty of sin committed almost
before they had arrived at years of responsibility.

How these mere infants learned the vice we were never able to determine.
We have no doubt that opportunities sufficient were presented them,
as the parents seemed to have very little appreciation of danger from
this source. Had greater vigilance been exercised, we doubt not that
the discovery of the vice at the beginning would have resulted in the
salvation of these two beautiful boys, who were sacrificed upon the
altar of concupiscence. Two or three years after we first saw the cases,
we heard from them, and though still alive, their condition was almost
too horrible for description. Three or four similar cases have come
to our knowledge.

Boys, are you guilty? Think of the fearful fate of these boys, once
as joyous and healthy as you. When you are tempted to sin, think of
the fearful picture of the effects of sin which they present. Have you
ever once dared to commit this awful sin? Stop, never dare to do the
thing again. Take a solemn vow before God to be pure. Your fate may
be as sad, your punishment as terrible. No one can tell what the results
may be. Absolute purity is the only safe course.

A Prodigal Youth.--A. M., son of a gentleman of wealth in Ohio, early
acquired the evil practice which has ruined so many bright lads. He
was naturally an intelligent and prepossessing lad, and his father gave
him as good an education as he could be induced to acquire, affording
him most excellent opportunities for study and improvement. But the
vile habit which had been acquired at an early age speedily began its
blighting influence. It destroyed his taste for study and culture. His
mind dwelt upon low and vile subjects. He grew restless of home
restraint and surroundings, and finally left the parental roof.
Wandering from city to city he grew rapidly worse, sinking into deeper
depths of vice, until finally he became a base, besotted, wretched
creature. Broken down in health by his sins, he could no longer enjoy
even the worst sensual pleasures, and with no taste for or capability
of appreciating anything higher he was most wretched indeed. The poor
fellow now fell into the hands of quacks. His kind father sent him money
in answer to his pitiful appeals for help, and he went anxiously from
one to another of the wretched villains who promise relief to such
sufferers but only rob them of their money and leave them worse than

At last, in total despair of everything else, the poor fellow came to
us. He seemed quite broken-hearted and penitent for his sins, and really
appeared to want to lead a better life if he could only be made well
again. We faithfully pointed out to him the dreadful wickedness of his
course, and the fact that a cure could only be effected by the most
implicit obedience to all of nature's laws during his whole future life.
Indeed, we were obliged to inform him of the sad fact that he could
never be as well as before, that he must always suffer in consequence
of his dreadful course of transgression. We gave him a most earnest
exhortation to begin the work of reform where alone it could be
effectual, by reforming his heart, and the tears which coursed down
his sin-scarred cheeks seemed to indicate true penitence and a real
desire to return to the paths of purity and peace.

Earnestly we labored for this young man, for months, employing every
means in our power to lift him from the slough of sin and vice upon
the solid pathway of virtue and purity again. Gradually the hard lines
on his face seemed to lessen in intensity. The traces of vice and crime
seemed to be fading out by degrees. We began to entertain hopes of his
ultimate recovery. But alas! in an evil moment, through the influence
of bad companions, he fell, and for some time we lost sight of him.
A long time afterward we caught a glimpse of his bloated, sin-stained
face, just as he was turning to skulk away to avoid recognition. Where
this poor human wreck is now leading his miserable existence we cannot
say, but have no doubt he is haunting the dens of iniquity and sin in
the cities, seeking to find a little momentary pleasure in the
gratification of his appetites and passions. A hopeless wreck, with
the lines of vice and crime drawn all over his tell-tale countenance,
he dares not go home, for he fears to meet the reproachful glance of
his doting mother, and the scornful looks of his brothers and sisters.
We never saw a more thoroughly unhappy creature. He is fully conscious
of his condition; he sees himself to be a wreck, in mind, in body, and
knows that he is doomed to suffer still more in consequence of his vices.
He has no hope for this world or the next. His mother gave him earnest,
pious instructions, which he has never forgotten, though he has long
tried to smother them. He now looks forward with terror to the fate
which he well knows awaits all evil-doers, and shudders at the thought,
but seems powerless to enter the only avenue which affords a chance
of escape. He is so tormented with the pains and diseased conditions
which he has brought upon himself by vice that he often looks to
self-destruction as a grateful means of escape; but then comes the awful
foreboding of future punishment, and his hand is stayed. Ashamed to
meet his friends, afraid to meet his Maker, he wanders about, an exile,
an outcast, a hopeless wreck.

Young man, youth, have you taken the first step on this evil road? If
so, take warning by the fate of this young man. At once "cease to do
evil and learn to do well," before, like him, you lose the power to
do right, before your will is paralyzed by sin so that when you desire
to do right, to reform, your will and power to execute your good
determinations will fail to support your effort.

Barely Escaped.--L. R. of H----, a young man of about twenty-five years
of age, presented himself for treatment, a few years ago, for the
consequence of self-abuse. Having been taught the habit by evil
companions when just emerging into manhood, he had indulged his
passions without restraint for several years, not knowing the evil
consequences until he began to suffer the effects of sin. Then, being
warned by his own experience and by the fortunate thoughtfulness of
an intelligent friend who surmised his condition and told him
faithfully of the terrible results of the vile habit, he made a manly
effort to reform and claimed to have wholly broken the habit. To his
great grief he found, however, that the years in which he had devoted
himself to sin had wrought sad havoc in his system. In many ways his
health was greatly deranged and his once powerful constitution was
broken down. The sexual organs themselves were greatly diseased, so
much so that a serious and painful surgical operation was necessary.
With shame and mortification he looked upon his past life and saw what
a hideous work of evil he had wrought. His vileness stood out before
him in a vivid light, and he felt ashamed to meet the gaze of his fellows.

After performing the necessary surgical operation upon this poor
unfortunate, we dealt faithfully with him, pointing out to him the way
by which he might with proper effort in some degree redeem himself by
a life-long struggle against every form of impurity. He felt, and
rightly, that the task was a most severe one. He well knew that the
stamp of sin was on his countenance, and in his mind. Thoughts long
allowed to run upon vile subjects, forming filthy pictures in the
imagination, are not easily brought back to the channel of purity and
virtue. The mind that has learned to love to riot in impure dreams,
does not readily acquire a love for the opposite. But he determined
to make a brave and earnest effort, and we have every reason to believe
that he has, in a measure at least, succeeded. But, if so, he has made
a narrow escape. A few more years of sin, and his rescue would have
been impossible; both mind and body would have been sunk so deep in
the mire of concupiscence that none but Almighty power could have saved
him from utter destruction. Thousands of boys and young men are to-day
standing on the slippery brink of that awful precipice from which but
very few are snatched away. Soon they will plunge headlong over into
the abyss of debasement and corruption from whence they will never
escape. Oh that we had the power to reach each one of these unfortunate
youth before it is too late, and to utter in their ears such warnings,
to portray before them such pictures of the sure results of a course
of sin, that they might be turned back to the paths of chastity and
virtue before they have become such mental, moral, and physical wrecks
as we every day encounter in the walks of life. But not one in a thousand
can be reached when they have gone so far in sin. When they have ventured
once, they can rarely be checked in their downward course until great
harm has been wrought which it will require the work of years to undo.
The young man we have referred to made indeed a narrow escape, but no
one can safely run such a risk. Even he must suffer all his life the
consequences of a few years of sin.

A Lost Soul.--M. M., of ----, was the son of a mechanic in humble
circumstances. He was an only child, and his parents spared no pains
to do all in their power to insure his becoming a good and useful man.
Good school advantages were given him, and at a proper age he was put
to learn a trade. He succeeded fairly, and their hopes of his becoming
all that they could desire were great, when he suddenly began to
manifest peculiar symptoms. He had attended a religious revival and
seemed much affected, professing religion and becoming a member of a
church. To the exercises of his mind on the subject of religion his
friends attributed his peculiar actions, which soon became so strange
as to excite grave fears that his mind was seriously affected. At times
he was wild, showing such unmistakable evidences of insanity that even
his poor mother, who was loth to believe the sad truth, was forced to
admit that he was deranged.

After a few months a change came over him which encouraged his friends
to think that he was recovering. He became quiet and tractable, never
manifesting the furious symptoms before observed. But the deception
was only temporary, for it was soon evident that the change was simply
the result of the progress of the disease and denoted the failure of
the mental powers and the approach of imbecility. In this condition
was the young man when he came under our care. We felt strongly impressed
from our first examination of the case that it was one of sexual abuse;
but we were assured by his friends in the most emphatic manner that
such was an impossibility. It was claimed that the most scrupulous care
had been bestowed upon him, and that he had been so closely watched
that it was impossible that he should have been guilty of so gross a
vice. His friends were disposed to attribute his sad condition to
excessive exercise of mind upon religious subjects.

Not satisfied with this view of the case, we set a close watch upon
him, and within a week his nurse reported that he had detected him in
the act of self-pollution, when he confessed the truth, not yet being
so utterly devoid of sense as to have lost his appreciation of the
sinfulness of the act. When discovered, he exclaimed, "I know I have
made myself a fool," which was the exact truth. At this time the once
bright and intelligent youth had become so obtuse and stupid that he
appeared almost senseless. His face wore an idiotic expression which
was rarely lighted up by a look of intelligence. It was only by the
greatest exertion that he could be made to understand or to respond
when spoken to. In whatever position he was placed, whether lying,
sitting, or standing, no matter how constrained or painful, he would
remain for hours, staring vacantly, and fixed and immovable as a statue.
His countenance was blank and expressionless except at rare intervals.
His lips were always parted, and the saliva ran from the corners of
his mouth down upon his clothing. The calls of nature were responded
to involuntarily, soiling constantly his clothing and bedding in a most
disgusting manner, and requiring the constant attention of a nurse to
keep him in anything like a wholesome condition.

We did what we could to relieve this poor victim of unhallowed lust,
but soon became convinced that no human arm could save from utter ruin
this self-destroyed soul. At our suggestion the young man was removed
to be placed in an institution devoted to the care of imbeciles and
lunatics. The last we heard of the poor fellow he was still sinking
into lower depths of physical and mental degradation,--a soul utterly
lost and ruined. How many thousands of young men who might have been
useful members of society, lawyers, clergymen, statesmen, scientists,
have thus sunk into the foul depths of the quagmire of vice, to rise
no more forever! Oh, awful fate! The human eye never rests upon a sadder
sight than a ruined soul, a mind shattered and debased by vice.

The Results of One Transgression.--The following case is a good
illustration of the fact that a long course of transgression is not
necessary to occasion the most serious results. A young man from an
Eastern State who visited us for treatment was suffering with the usual
consequences of self-abuse, but he asserted in the most emphatic manner
that he had never committed the act of self-pollution but once in his
life. He had, however, after that one vile act, allowed his mind to
run upon vile thoughts, giving loose rein to his imagination, and in
consequence he found himself as badly off, suffering with the very same
disorders, as those who had practiced the vice for some time.

Not the slightest dallying with sin is safe. The maintenance of perfect
purity and chastity of body and mind is the only right and safe course.
By a few months' treatment the young man recovered his health in a great
measure, and, marrying an estimable young lady, settled down happily
in life. Many tears of remorse and repentance did he shed over that
one sinful act, and bitterly did he reproach the evil companion who
taught him to sin; but he was fortunate enough to escape without
suffering the worst effects of sin, and is now living happily.

A Hospital Case.--One of the most wretched creatures we ever saw among
the many sufferers from sexual excesses whom we have met, was a man
of about thirty years of age whom we found in the large Charity Hospital
on Blackwell's Island, New York City. In consequence of long indulgence
in the soul-and-body destroying habit, he had brought upon himself not
only the most serious and painful disease of the sexual organs
themselves, but disease of the bladder and other adjacent organs. He
was under severe and painful treatment for a long time without benefit,
and finally a surgical operation was performed, but with the result
of affording only partial relief.

An Old Offender.--Never were we more astonished than at the depth of
depravity revealed to us by the confessions of a patient from a distant
country who was upwards of sixty years of age and was yet a victim of
the vile habit to which he had become addicted when a youth. The stamp
of vice was on his face, and was not hidden by the lines made by advancing
age. The sufferings which this ancient sinner endured daily in
consequence of his long course of sin were sometimes fearful to behold;
and yet he continued the habit in spite of all warnings, advice, and
every influence which could be brought to bear upon him. So long had
he transgressed, he had lost his sense of shame and his appreciation
of the vileness of sin, and it was impossible to reform him by any means
which could be brought to bear upon him. He left us still a sufferer,
though somewhat relieved, and, we have every reason to believe, as vile
a sinner as ever. Undoubtedly, before this time his worthless life is
ended, and he has gone down into a sinner's grave, hoary with vice.
A terrible end.

The Sad End of a Young Victim.--C. L., a young man residing in a large
Southern city, was the youngest son of parents who were in moderate
circumstances, but appreciated the value of education, and were anxious
to give their children every advantage possible for them to receive.
With this end in view, the young man was sent to college, where he did
well for a time, being naturally studious and intelligent; but after
a brief period he began to drop behind his classes. He seemed moody
and obtuse. He could not complete his tasks even by the most severe
application. It seemed impossible for him to apply himself. The power
of concentration appeared to be lost. Soon he was seized by fits of
gloominess from which he did not seem to have power to free himself.
His strength began to fail to such a degree that he could hardly drag
himself to his meals, and at last he was almost confined to his room.
He became greatly emaciated. The failure of his mental powers seemed
to keep pace with the wasting of his body, so that it was soon evident
that he must abandon all hope of pursuing his studies for some time
at least. His case being brought to our notice, we gave him every
attention possible, and spared no effort to rescue him from his
condition. We readily perceived the cause of his troubles, but for a
long time he did not acknowledge the truth. At last he confessed that
he had sinned for years in the manner suspected, and was suffering the
consequences. A knowledge of his guilt weighed upon him and haunted
him day and night. He promised to reform; but if he did, it was too
late, for the wasting disease which was fastened upon him continued.
At his mother's request he returned to his home, and a few weeks later
we received the awful intelligence that he had ended his miserable life
by blowing out his brains with a pistol. Thus tragically ended the
career of this young man, who might, with the advantages afforded him,
have become a useful member of society. In total despair of this life
or the next, he rashly ended his probation, and with his own hand
finished the work of destruction which he had himself begun. No words
can tell the grief of his stricken mother; but, fortunately, she was
spared the knowledge of the whole truth, else would her sorrow have
been too great to bear.

From Bad to Worse.--C. E., a young man from the West, was sent to us
by his father with the request that we would do what we could to save
him. His father's letter intimated that the son had been a source of
grief to him, but he hoped that he had repented of his prodigal course,
and was really determined to reform. Though scarcely more than twenty
years of age, the young man's face wore an aspect of hardness, from
familiarity with vice, that we have rarely seen. He was reduced to a
mere skeleton by the vice which he made no secret of, and was so weak
that he could scarcely walk a rod. It seemed as if every organ in his
body was diseased, and that he had so squandered his vital resources
that he had no power to rally from his wretched condition even should
he carry out the determination to reform which he announced. However,
we gave him the best counsel and advice within our power, and placed
him under treatment. After a few weeks it was evident that nature was
still willing to respond to his endeavors to reform, by vigorous efforts
to restore him to a condition of comparative health. Thus he was
snatched, as it appeared, from the very jaws of death. Under these
circumstances it would seem that the most hardened criminal would
reform, at least for a season, and lead a life of rectitude; but so
utterly depraved was this poor wretch that no sooner did he find that
he was not liable to die immediately than he began at once again his
career of sin. By long indulgence his moral sense had become, apparently,
obliterated. He seemed to be utterly without the restraint imposed by
conscience. In less than a month he was detected in the crime of theft,
having stolen a watch from a fellow-patient. Upon his arrest,
stimulated by the hope of in some degree mitigating his punishment,
he confessed to have been carrying on a series of petty thieving for
weeks before he was finally detected, having scores of stolen articles
in his possession. The last time we saw the wretched fellow he was being
led away in irons to prison. We have since heard that he continues in
his downward career, having served out his time in prison, and will
undoubtedly end his life in a felon's cell unless he is shrewd enough
to escape his just deserts. Having lost all desire to do right, to be
noble, pure, and good, all efforts to reform and restore him to the
path of rectitude were fruitless. It was only the fear of impending
death that caused him to pause for a few days in his criminal course.
Young man, take warning by this sad case; enter not the pathway of vice.
A course of vice once entered upon is not easily left. A youth who once
gives himself up to sin, rarely escapes from going headlong to

An Indignant Father.--A case came to our knowledge through a gentleman
who brought his daughter to us for treatment for the effects of
self-abuse, of a father who adopted a summary method of curing his son
of the evil practice. Having discovered that the lad was a victim of
the vile habit, and having done all in his power by punishment, threats,
and representations of its terrible effects, but without inducing him
to reform, the father, in a fit of desperation, seized the sinful boy
and with his own hand performed upon him the operation of castration
as he would have done upon a colt. The boy recovered from the operation,
and was of course effectually cured of his vile habit. The remedy was
efficient, though scarcely justifiable. Even a father has no right thus
to mutilate his own son, though we must confess that the lad's chances
for becoming a useful man are fully as good as they would have been
had he continued his course of sin.

Disgusted with Life.--T. A. was a young man of promise, the son of
ambitious parents, proud-spirited, and without respect for religion.
While still quite young he enlisted in the service of the government,
and after a time rose to the position of an officer in the U. S. army.
Having in boyhood acquired the habit of self-abuse, he had stimulated
his passions without restraint, and was readily led still farther
astray by the evil companions with whom he was surrounded. He indulged
his passions in every way and on every occasion when he found
opportunity, and speedily began to feel the effects of his vices. Before
he was fully aware of his condition, he found himself being literally
devoured by the vilest of all diseases, which only those who transgress
in this manner suffer. The disease made rapid advances and speedily
reduced him to a condition of almost absolute helplessness. He was
obliged to obtain a furlough; but his vital forces were so nearly
exhausted that he did not rally even under skillful treatment; and when
his furlough expired, he was still in the same pitiable condition.
Getting it extended for a time, he by accident came under our care,
and by the aid of very thorough treatment he was in a measure improved,
though the progress of the disease was simply stayed. When apprized
of his real condition, he exhibited much agitation, walking nervously
about his room, and finally exclaimed that he was utterly disgusted
with life anyway, and after a few weeks or months more of suffering
he should blow his brains out and end his misery. He had no fears of
death, he said, and we presume that he could not imagine it possible
that there was any greater suffering in store for him than he already
endured. We pitied the poor fellow from the bottom of our heart. He
had natural qualities which ought to have made him distinguished. He
might have risen high in the world of usefulness. Now he was compelled
to look back upon a short life of squandered opportunities, a pathway
stained with vice, memories of vile debaucheries which had wasted his
youth and broken his constitution. Wretched was he indeed.
Notwithstanding his vileness he was not lost to shame, for his greatest
fear was that his friends might ascertain the real cause of his
sufferings, to conceal which he was obliged to resort to all sorts of
subterfuges. As soon as he was able to travel he left us, being obliged
to report to his superior officers, and we have heard nothing of him

Scores of similar cases we might recount in detail, but we have not
here the space. These will suffice to give to the young reader an idea
of the terrible results of this awful vice which are suffered by its
victims. We have not dared to portray on these pages one-half the misery
and wretchedness which we have seen as the results of self-abuse and
the vices to which it leads. The picture is too terrible for young eyes
to behold. We most sincerely hope that none of our readers will ever
have to suffer as we have seen boys and young men do, languishing in
misery as the result of their own transgressions of the laws of chastity.
We will now devote the remaining pages of this chapter to the
consideration of some of the causes of the vice, the avenues that lead
to the awful sin which we are considering, and the terrible consequences
which attend it.

Bad Company.--The influence of evil companionship is one of the most
powerful agents for evil against which those who love purity and are
seeking to elevate and benefit their fellow-men have to contend. A bad
boy can do more harm in a community than can be counteracted by all
the clergymen, Sabbath-school teachers, tract-distributers, and other
Christian workers combined. An evil boy is a pest compared with which
the cholera, small-pox, and even the plague, are nothing. The damage
which would be done by a terrific hurricane sweeping with destructive
force through a thickly settled district is insignificant compared with
the evil work which may be accomplished by one vicious lad.

No community is free from these vipers, these agents of the arch-fiend.
Every school, no matter how select it may be, contains a greater or
less number of these young moral lepers. Often they pursue their work
unsuspected by the good and pure, who do not dream of the vileness pent
up in the young brains which have not yet learned the multiplication
table and scarcely learned to read. We have known instances in which
a boy of seven or eight years of age has implanted the venom of vice
in the hearts and minds of half a score of pure-minded lads within a
few days of his first association with them. This vice spreads like
wild-fire. It is more "catching" than the most contagious disease, and
more tenacious, when once implanted, than the leprosy.

Boys are easily influenced either for right or for wrong, but especially
for the wrong; hence it is the duty of parents to select good companions
for their children, and it is the duty of children to avoid bad company
as they would avoid carrion or the most loathsome object. A boy with
a match box in a powder magazine would be in no greater danger than
in the company of most of the lads who attend our public schools and
play upon the streets. It is astonishing how early children, especially
boys, will sometimes learn the hideous, shameless tricks of vice which
yearly lead thousands down to everlasting death. Often children begin
their course of sin while yet cradled in their mother's arms, thus early
taught by some vile nurse. Boys that fight and swear, that play upon
the streets and disobey their parents, may be wisely shunned as unfit
for associates. In many instances, too, boys whose conduct is in other
respects wholly faultless sometimes indulge in vice, ignorant of its
real nature and consequences. At the first intimation of evil on the
part of a companion, a boy who is yet pure should flee away as from
a deadly serpent or a voracious beast. Do not let the desire to gratify
a craving curiosity deter you from fleeing at once from the source of
contamination. Under such circumstances do not hesitate a moment to
escape from danger. If an evil word is spoken or an indecent act of
any sort indulged in by a companion, cut the acquaintance of such a
boy at once. Never allow yourself to be alone with him a moment. On
no account be induced to associate with him. He will as surely soil
and besmear with sin your moral garments as would contact with the most
filthy object imaginable your outer garments.

It were better for a boy never to see or associate with a lad of his
own age than to run any risk of being corrupted before he is old enough
to appreciate the terrible enormity of sin and the awful consequences
of transgression. It should be recollected also that not only young
boys but vicious youths and young men are frequently the instructors
in vice. It is unsafe to trust any but those who are known to be pure.

Bad Language.--We have often been astonished at the facility with which
children acquire the language of vice. Often we have been astounded
to hear little boys scarcely out of their cradles, lisping the most
horrible oaths and the vilest epithets. The streets and alleys in our
large cities, and in smaller ones too in a less degree, are nurseries
of vice, in which are reared the criminals that fill our jails, prisons,
work-houses, school-ships, and houses of correction. Many a lad begins
his criminal education by learning the language of vice and sin. At
first he simply imitates the evil utterances of others; but soon he
learns the full significance of the obscene and filthy language which
he hears and repeats, and then he rapidly progresses in the downward

A boy that indulges in the use of foul language will not long be chaste
in acts. It is a safe rule to be followed by those who wish to grow
up pure and unsullied by sin, untainted by vice, that those who use
bad language are persons to avoid, to keep away from. Even those who
are well fortified against vice, who have been faithfully warned of
its consequences and fully appreciate its dangers, cannot be safely
trusted to associate with vile talkers. The use of bad language by old
and young is an evil which is of the very greatest moment. It is too
often ignored; too little is said about it; far too often it is
disregarded as of little consequence, and persons who are really not
bad at heart thoughtlessly encourage the evil by listening to and
laughing at obscene and ribald jokes, and impure language which ought
to make a virtuous man blush with shame to hear.

Boys, if you want to be pure, if you wish to be loved by a pure mother,
an innocent sister, and when you are grown to manhood to be worthy of
the confidence of a pure, virtuous wife, keep your lips pure; never
let a vile word or an indecent allusion pass them. Never, under any
circumstances, give utterance to language that you would blush to have
your mother overhear. If you find yourself in the company of persons
whose language will not bear this test, escape as soon as possible,
for you are in danger; your sense of what is right and proper in speech
is being vitiated; you are being damaged in a variety of ways.

Bad Books.--A bad book is as bad as an evil companion. In some respects
it is even worse than a living teacher of vice, since it may cling to
an individual at all times. It may follow him to the secrecy of his
bed-chamber, and there poison his mind with the venom of evil. The
influence of bad books in making bad boys and men is little appreciated.
Few are aware how much evil seed is being sown among the young everywhere
through the medium of vile books. It is not only the wretched volumes
of obscenity of which so many thousands have been seized and destroyed
by Mr. Comstock which are included under the head of bad books, and
which corrupt the morals of the young and lead them to enter the road
to infamy, but the evil literature which is sold in "dime and nickel
novels," and which constitutes the principal part of the contents of
such papers as the _Police Gazette_, the _Police News_, and a large
proportion of the sensational story books which flood the land, and
too many of which find their way into town and circulating libraries
and even Sunday-school libraries, which are rarely selected with the
care that ought to be exercised in the selection of reading matter for
the young.

Bad books often find their way even where evil companions would not
intrude; and undoubtedly effect a work of evil almost as great as is
wrought by bad associations.

Look out, boys, for the tempter in this guise. If a companion offers
you a book the character of which is suspicious, take it home to your
father, your mother, or some reliable older friend, for examination.
If it is handed you with an air of secrecy, or if a promise to keep
it hidden from others is required, have nothing to do with it. You might
better place a coal of fire or a live viper in your bosom than to allow
yourself to read such a book. The thoughts that are implanted in the
mind in youth will stick there through life, in spite of all efforts
to dislodge them. Hundreds of men who have been thus injured when young,
but have by some providence escaped a life of vice and shame, look back
with most intense regret to the early days of childhood, and earnestly
wish that the pictures then made in the mind by bad books might be
effaced. Evil impressions thus formed often torture minds during a
whole lifetime. In the most inopportune moments they will intrude
themselves. When the individual desires to place his mind undividedly
upon sacred and elevated themes, even at the most solemn moments of
life, these lewd pictures will sometimes intrude themselves in spite
of his efforts to avoid them. It is an awful thing to allow the mind
to be thus contaminated; and many a man would give the world, if he
possessed it, to be free from the horrible incubus of a defiled

Vile Pictures.--Obscene and lascivious pictures are influences which
lead boys astray too important to be unnoticed. Evil men, agents of
the arch-fiend, have adopted all sorts of devices for putting into the
hands of the boys and youths of the rising generation pictures
calculated to excite the passions, to lead to vice. Thousands of these
vile pictures are in circulation throughout the country in spite of
the worthy efforts of such philanthropists as Mr. Anthony Comstock and
his co-laborers. In almost every large school there are boys who have
a supply of these infamous designs and act as agents in scattering the
evil contagion among all who come under their influence.

Under the guise of art, the genius of some of our finest artists is
turned to pandering to this base desire for sensuous gratification.
The pictures which hang in many of our art galleries that are visited
by old and young of both sexes often number in the list views which
to those whose thoughts are not well trained to rigid chastity can be
only means of evil. A plea may be made for these paintings in the name
of art; but we see no necessity for the development of art in this
particular direction, when nature presents so many and such varied
scenes of loveliness in landscapes, flowers, beautiful birds, and
graceful animals, to say nothing of the human form protected by
sufficient covering to satisfy the demands of modesty.

Many of the papers and magazines sold at our news-stands and eagerly
sought after by young men and boys are better suited for the parlors
of a house of ill-repute than for the eyes of pure-minded youth. A
news-dealer who will distribute such vile sheets ought to be dealt with
as an educator in vice and crime, an agent of evil, and a recruiting
officer for hell and perdition.

Evil Thoughts.--No one can succeed long in keeping himself from vicious
acts whose thoughts dwell upon unchaste subjects. Only those who are
pure in heart will be pure and chaste in action. The mind must be
educated to love and dwell upon pure subjects in early life, as by this
means only can the foundation be laid for that purity of character which
alone will insure purity of life. When the mind once becomes
contaminated with evil thoughts, it requires the work of years of
earnest effort to purge it from uncleanness. Vile thoughts leave scars
which even time will not always efface. They soil and deprave the soul,
as vile acts do the body. God knows them, if no human being does, and
if harbored and cherished they will tell against the character in the
day of Judgment as surely as will evil words and deeds.

Influence of Other Bad Habits.--Evil practices of any sort which lower
the moral tone of an individual, which lessen his appreciation of and
love for right and purity and true nobility of soul, encourage the
development of vice. A boy who loves purity, who has a keen sense of
what is true and right, can never become a vicious man. Profanity,
falsehood, and deception of every sort, have a tendency in the direction
of vice.

The use of highly seasoned food, of rich sauces, spices and condiments,
sweetmeats, and in fact all kinds of stimulating foods, has an undoubted
influence upon the sexual nature of boys, stimulating those organs into
too early activity, and occasioning temptations to sin which otherwise
would not occur. The use of mustard, pepper, pepper-sauce, spices, rich
gravies, and all similar kinds of food, should be carefully avoided
by young persons. They are not wholesome for either old or young; but
for the young they are absolutely dangerous.

The use of beer, wine, hard cider, and tobacco, is especially damaging
to boys on this account. These stimulants excite the passions and
produce a clamoring for sensual gratification which few boys or young
men have the will power or moral courage to resist. Tobacco is an
especially detrimental agent. The early age at which boys now begin
the use of tobacco may be one of the reasons why the practice of secret
vice is becoming so terribly common among boys and young men. We never
think a boy or young man who uses tobacco safe from the commission of
some vile act.

The use of tea and coffee by boys is also a practice which should be
interdicted. All wise physicians forbid the use of these narcotic
drinks, together with that of tobacco, and always with benefit to those
who abstain. In France the government has made a law forbidding the
use of tobacco by students in the public schools. In Germany a still
more stringent law has been made, which forbids the use of tobacco by
boys and young men. These laws have been made on account of the serious
injury which was evidently resulting from the use of the filthy weed
to both the health and the morals of the young men of those countries.
There is certainly an equal need for such a law in this country.

Closing Advice to Boys and Young Men.--One word more and we must close
this chapter, which we hope has been read with care by those for whom
it is especially written. Let every boy who peruses these pages remember
that the facts here stated are true. Every word we have verified, and
we have not written one-half that might be said upon this subject. Let
the boy who is still pure, who has never defiled himself with vice,
firmly resolve that with the help of God he will maintain a pure and
virtuous character. It is much easier to preserve purity than to get
free from the taint of sin after having been once defiled. Let the boy
who has already fallen into evil ways, who has been taught the vile
practice the consequences of which we have endeavored to describe, and
who is already in the downward road,--let him resolve now to break the
chain of sin, to reform at once, and to renounce his evil practice
forever. The least hesitancy, the slightest dalliance with the demon
vice, and the poor victim will be lost. Now, this moment, is the time
to reform. Seek purity of mind and heart. Banish evil thoughts and shun
evil companions; then with earnest prayer to God wage a determined
battle for purity and chastity until the victory is wholly won.

One of the greatest safeguards for a boy is implicit trust and
confidence in his parents. Let him go to them with all his queries
instead of to some older boyish friend. If all boys would do this, an
immense amount of evil would be prevented. When tempted to sin, boys,
think first of the vileness and wickedness of the act; think that God
and pure angels behold every act, and even know every thought. Nothing
is hid from their eyes. Think then of the awful results of this terrible
sin, and fly from temptation as from a burning house. Send up a prayer
to God to deliver you from temptation, and you will not fall. Every
battle manfully and successfully fought will add new strength to your
resolution and force to your character. Gaining such victories from
day to day you will grow up to be a pure, noble, useful man, the grandest
work of God, and will live a happy, virtuous life yourself, and add
to the happiness of those around you.


We have written this chapter especially for girls, and we sincerely
hope that many will read it with an earnest desire to be benefited by
so doing. The subject of which we have to write is a delicate one, and
one which, we regret exceedingly, needs to be written about. But our
experience as a physician has proven to us again and again that it is
of the utmost importance that something be said, that words of warning
should be addressed particularly to the girls and maidens just emerging
into womanhood, on a subject which vitally concerns not only their own
future health and happiness, but the prosperity and destiny of the race.
Probably no one can be better fitted to speak on this subject than the
physician. A physician who has given careful attention to the health
and the causes of ill-health of ladies, and who has had opportunities
for observing the baneful influence exerted upon the bodies and minds
of girls and young women by the evil practices of which it is our purpose
here to speak, can better appreciate than can others the magnitude of
the evil, and is better prepared to speak upon the subject
understandingly and authoritatively. Gladly would we shun the task
which has been pressed upon us, but which we have long avoided, were
it not for the sense of the urgent need of its performance of which
our professional experience has thoroughly convinced us. We cannot keep
our lips closed when our eyes are witnesses to the fact that thousands
of the fairest and best of our girls and maidens are being beguiled
into everlasting ruin by a soul-destroying vice which works unseen,
and often so insidiously that its results are unperceived until the
work of ruin is complete.

The nature of our subject necessitates that we should speak plainly,
though delicately, and we shall endeavor to make our language
comprehensible by any one old enough to be benefited by the perusal
of this chapter. We desire that all who read these pages may receive
lasting benefit by so doing. The subject is one upon which every girl
ought to be informed, and to which she should give serious attention,
at least sufficiently long to become intelligent concerning the evils
and dangers to which girls are exposed from this source.

Girlhood.--Nothing is so suggestive of innocence and purity as the
simple beauty of girlhood when seen in its natural freshness, though
too seldom, now-a-days, is it possible to find in our young girls the
natural grace and healthy beauty which were common among the little
maidens of a quarter of a century ago. The ruddy cheeks and bright eyes
and red lips which are indicative of a high degree of healthy vigor
are not so often seen to-day among the small girls in our public schools
and passing to and fro upon the streets. The pale cheeks, languid eyes,
and almost colorless lips which we more often see, indicate weakly
constitutions and delicate health, and prophesy a short and suffering
life to many. Various causes are at work to produce this unfortunate
decline; and while we hope that in the larger share of cases, bad diet,
improper clothing, confinement in poorly ventilated rooms with too
little exercise, and similar causes, are the active agents, we are
obliged to recognize the fact that there is in far too many cases another
cause, the very mention of which makes us blush with shame that its
existence should be possible. But of this we shall speak again

Real girls are like the just opening buds of beautiful flowers. The
beauty and fragrance of the full-blossomed rose scarcely exceed the
delicate loveliness of the swelling bud which shows between the
sections of its bursting calyx the crimson petals tightly folded
beneath. So the true girl possesses in her sphere as high a degree of
attractive beauty as she can hope to attain in after-years, though of
a different character. But genuine girls are scarce. Really natural
little girls are almost as scarce as real boys. Too many girls begin
at a very early age to attempt to imitate the pride and vanity manifested
by older girls and young ladies. It is by many supposed that to be
ladylike should be the height of the ambition of girls as soon as they
are old enough to be taught respecting propriety of behavior, which
is understood to mean that they must appear as unnatural as possible
in attempting to act like grown-up ladies. Many mothers who wish their
daughters to be models of perfection, but whose ideas of perfect
deportment are exceedingly superficial in character, dress up their
little daughters in fine clothing, beautiful to look at, but very far
from what is required for health and comfort, and then continually
admonish the little ones that they must keep very quiet and "act like
little ladies." Such a course is a most pernicious one. It fosters pride
and vanity, and inculcates an entirely wrong idea of what it is to be
ladylike,--to be a true lady, to be true to nature as a girl. Such
artificial training is damaging alike to mind and body; and it induces
a condition of mind and of the physical system which is very conducive
to the encouragement of dangerous tendencies.

How to Develop Beauty and Loveliness.--All little girls want to be
beautiful. Girls in general care much more for their appearance than
do boys. They have finer tastes, and greater love for whatever is lovely
and beautiful. It is a natural desire, and should be encouraged. A pure,
innocent, beautiful little girl is the most lovely of all God's
creatures. All are not equally beautiful, however, and cannot be; but
all may be beautiful to a degree that will render them attractive. Let
all little girls who want to be pretty, handsome, or good-looking, give
attention and we will tell them how. Those who are homely should listen
especially, for all may become good-looking, though all cannot become
remarkably beautiful. First of all, it is necessary that the girl who
wishes to be handsome, to be admired, should be good. She must learn
to love what is right and true. She must be pure in mind and act. She
must be simple in her manners, modest in her deportment, and kind in
her ways.

Second in importance, though scarcely so, is the necessity of health.
No girl can long be beautiful without health; and no girl who enjoys
perfect health can be really ugly in appearance. A healthy countenance
is always attractive. Disease wastes the rounded features, bleaches
out the roses from the cheeks and the vermilion from the lips. It
destroys the luster of the eye and the elasticity of the step. Health
is essential to beauty. In fact, if we consider goodness as a state
of moral health, then health is the one great requisite of beauty.

Health is obtained and preserved by the observance of those natural
laws which the Creator has appointed for the government of our bodies.
The structure of these bodies we may do well to study for a few moments.

The Human Form Divine.--Go with us to one of the large cities, and we
will show you one of the most marvelous pieces of mechanism ever
invented, a triumph of ingenuity, skill, and patient, persevering labor
for many years. This wonderful device is a clock which will run more
than one hundred years. It is so constructed that it indicates not only
the time of day, the day of the month and year, itself making all the
necessary changes for leap year, but shows the motions of the earth
around the sun, together with the movements and positions of all the
other planets, and many other marvelous things. When it strikes at the
end of each hour, groups of figures go through a variety of curious
movements most closely resembling the appearance and actions of human

The maker of this remarkable clock well deserves the almost endless
praise which he receives for his skill and patience; for his work is
certainly wonderful; but the great clock, with its curious and
complicated mechanism, is a coarse and bungling affair when compared
with the human body. The clock doubtless contains thousands of delicate
wheels and springs, and is constructed with all the skill imaginable;
and yet the structure of the human body is infinitely more delicate.
The clock has no intelligence; but a human being can hear, see, feel,
taste, touch, and think. The clock does only what its maker designed
to have it do, and can do nothing else. The human machine is a living
mechanism; it can control its own movements, can do as it will, within
certain limits. What is very curious indeed, the human machine has the
power to mend itself, so that when it needs repairs it is not necessary
to send it to a shop for the purpose, but all that is required is to
give nature an opportunity and the system repairs itself.

A Wonderful Process.--We have not space to describe all the wonderful
mechanism of this human machine, but must notice particularly one of
its most curious features, a provision by which other human beings,
living machines like itself, are produced. All living creatures possess
this power. A single potato placed in the ground becomes a dozen or
more, by a process of multiplying. A little seed planted in the earth
grows up to be a plant, produces flowers, and from the flowers come
other seeds, not one, but often a great many, sometimes hundreds from
a single seed. Insects, fishes, birds, and all other animals, thus
multiply. So do human beings, and in a similar manner. The organs by
which this most marvelous process is carried on in plants and animals,
including also human beings, are called sexual organs. Flowers are the
sexual organs of plants. And flowers are always the most fragrant and
the most beautiful when they are engaged in this wonderful and curious

Human Buds.--A curious animal which lives near the seashore, in shallow
water, attached to a rock like a water plant, puts out little buds which
grow awhile and then drop off, and after a time become large individuals
like the parent, each in turn producing buds like the one from which
it grew. Human beings are formed by a similar process. Human buds are
formed by an organ for the purpose possessed only by the female sex,
and these, under proper circumstances, develop into infant human beings.
The process, though so simply stated, is a marvelously complicated one,
which cannot be fully explained here; indeed, it is one of the mysteries
which it is beyond the power of human wisdom fully to explain.

The production of these human buds is one of the most important and
sacred duties of woman. It is through this means that she becomes a
mother, which is one of the grandest and noblest functions of womanhood.
It is the motherly instinct that causes little girls to show such a
fondness for dolls, a perfectly natural feeling which may be encouraged
to a moderate degree without injury.

How Beauty is Marred.--As already remarked, mental, moral, and physical
health are the requisites for true beauty, and to secure these,
obedience to all the laws of health is required. The most beautiful
face is soon marred when disease begins its ravages in the body. The
most beautiful character is as speedily spoiled by the touch of moral
disease, or sin. The face is a mirror of the mind, the character; and
a mind full of evil, impure thoughts is certain to show itself in the
face in spite of rosy cheeks and dimples, ruby lips and bewitching
smiles. The character is written on the face as plainly as the face
may be pictured by an artist on canvas.

To be more explicit, the girl who disregards the laws of health, who
eats bad food, eats at all hours or at unseasonable hours, sits up late
at night, attends fashionable parties and indulges in the usual means
of dissipation there afforded, dancing, wine, rich suppers, etc., who
carefully follows the fashions in her dress, lacing her waist to attain
the fashionable degree of slenderness, wearing thin, narrow-toed
gaiters with French heels, and insufficiently clothing the limbs in
cold weather, and who in like manner neglects to comply with the
requirements of health in other important particulars, may be certain
that sooner or later, certainly at no distant day, she will become as
unattractive and homely as she can wish not to be. Girls and young ladies
who eat largely of fat meat, rich cakes and pies, confectionery, iced
creams, and other dietetic abominations, cannot avoid becoming sallow
and hollow-eyed. The cheeks may be ever so plump and rosy, they will
certainly lose their freshness and become hollow and thin. Chalk and
rouge will not hide the defect, for everybody will discover the fraud,
and will of course know the reason why it is practiced.

A Beauty-Destroying Vice.--But by far the worst enemy of beauty and
health of body, mind, and soul, we have not yet mentioned. It is a sin
concerning which we would gladly keep silence; but we cannot see so
many of our most beautiful and promising girls and young ladies annually
being ruined, often for this world and the next alike, without uttering
the word of warning needed.

As before remarked, the function of maternity, which is the object of
the sexual system in woman, when rightly exercised is the most sacred
and elevated office which a woman can perform for the world. The woman
who is a true mother has an opportunity of doing for the race more than
all other human agencies combined. The mother's influence is the
controlling influence in the world. The mother molds the character of
her children. She can make of their plastic minds almost what she will
if she is herself prepared for the work. On the other hand, misuse or
abuse of the sexual organism is visited in girls and women, as in boys
and men, with the most fearful penalties. Nothing will sooner deprive
a girl or young lady of the maidenly grace and freshness with which
nature blesses woman in her early years than secret vice. We have the
greatest difficulty in making ourself believe that it is possible for
beings designed by nature to be pure and innocent, in all respects free
from impurity of any sort, to become so depraved by sin as to be willing
to devote themselves to so vile and filthy a practice. Yet the frequency
with which cases have come under our observation which clearly indicate
the alarming prevalence of the practice, even among girls and young
women who would naturally be least suspected, compels us to recognize
the fact. The testimony of many eminent physicians whose opportunities
for observation have been very extensive shows that the evil is
enormously greater than people generally are aware. Instructors of the
youth, of large experience, assert the same. Nor is the evil greater
in America than in some other countries. One writer declares that the
vice is almost universal among the girls of Russia, which may be due
to the low condition in which the women of that country are kept.

Terrible Effects of Secret Vice.--The awful effects of this sin against
God and nature, this soul-and-body-destroying vice, become speedily
visible in those who are guilty of it. The experienced eye needs no
confession on the part of the victim to read the whole story of sinful
indulgence and consequent disease. The vice stamps its insignia upon
the countenance; it shows itself in the walk, in the changed disposition
and the loss of healthy vigor. It is not only impossible for a victim
of this sinful practice to hide from the all-seeing eye of God the
vileness perpetrated in secret, but it is also useless to attempt to
hide from human eyes the awful truth.

Headache, side-ache, back-ache, pains in the chest, and wandering pains
in various parts of the body,--these are but a few of the painful
ailments from which girls who are guilty of this sin suffer. Many of
the tender spines which cause great solicitude on the part of parents
and physicians, who fear that disease of the spine is threatening the
life of a loved daughter, not infrequently originate in this way. Much
of the hysteria which renders wretched the lives of thousands of young
ladies and the fond friends who are obliged to care for and attend them,
arises from sexual transgression of the kind of which we are speaking.
The blanched cheeks, hollow, expressionless eyes, and rough, pimply
skins of many school-girls are due to this cause alone. We do not mean
by this to intimate that every girl who has pimples upon her face is
guilty of secret vice; but this sin is undoubtedly a very frequent cause
of the unpleasant eruption which so often appears upon the foreheads
of both sexes. It would be very unjust, however, to charge a person
with the sin unless some further evidence than that of an eruption on
the face was afforded.

The inability to study, to apply themselves in any way except when
stimulated by something of a very exciting character, which many girls
exhibit, is in a large proportion of cases due to the practice of which
we are writing. Often enough the effects which are attributed to
overstudy are properly due to this debasing habit. We have little faith
in the great outcry made in certain quarters about the damaging effects
of study upon the health of young ladies. A far less worthy cause is
in many cases the true one, to which is attributable the decline in
health at a critical period when all the vital forces of the system
are necessarily called into action to introduce the activity of a new

Hundreds of girls break down in health just as they are entering
womanhood. At from twelve to eighteen years of age the change naturally
occurs which transforms the girl into a woman by the development of
functions previously latent. This critical period is one through which
every girl in health ought to pass with scarcely any noticeable
disturbance; and if during the previous years of life the laws of health
were observed, there would seldom be any unusual degree of suffering
at this time. Those who have before this period been addicted to the
vile habit of which we are writing, will almost invariably show at this
time evidences of the injury which has been wrought. The unnatural
excitement of the organs before the period of puberty, lays the
foundation for life-long disease. When that critical epoch arrives,
the organs are found in a state of congestion often bordering on
inflammation. The increased congestion which naturally occurs at this
time in many cases is sufficient to excite most serious disease. Here
is the beginning of a great many of the special diseases which are the
bane and shame of the sex. Displacements of various sorts, congestions,
neuralgia of the ovaries, leucorrhoea, or whites, and a great variety
of kindred maladies, are certain to make their appearance at this period
or soon after in those who have previously been guilty of self-abuse.
If the evil influences already at work are augmented by tight lacing,
improper dressing of the extremities, hanging heavy skirts upon the
hips, and fashionable dissipation generally, the worst results are sure
to follow, and the individual is certain to be a subject for the doctors
for a good portion of her life.

A talented writer some time since contributed to a popular magazine
an article entitled, "The Little Health of Women," which contained many
excellent hints respecting the influences at work to undermine the
health and destroy the constitutions of American women; but he did not
even hint at this potent cause, which, we firmly believe, is responsible
for a far greater share of the local disease and general poor health
of girls, young women, and married ladies, than has been generally
recognized. These are startling facts, but we are prepared to
substantiate them.

Remote Effects.--Not all of the effects of the vice appear in girlhood,
nor even during early life. Not infrequently it is not until the girl
has grown up to be a wife and mother that she begins to appreciate fully
the harm that has been wrought. At this time, when new demands are made
upon the sexual organism, when its proper duties are to be performed,
there is a sudden failure; new weaknesses and diseases make their
appearance, new pains and sufferings are felt, which no woman who has
not in some way seriously transgressed the laws of health will suffer.
In not a few instances it is discovered that the individual is wholly
unfitted for the duties of maternity. Often, indeed, maternity is
impossible, the injury resulting from the sins committed being so great
as to render the diseased organism incapable of the functions required.

In the great majority of cases these peculiar difficulties, morbid
conditions, and incapacities are attributed to overwork, overstudy,
"taking cold," "getting the feet wet," or some other cause wholly
inadequate to account for the diseased conditions present, although
in many instances it may be true that some such unfortunate circumstance
may be the means of precipitating the effects of previous sin upon
organs already relaxed, debilitated, and thus prepared readily to take
on disease.

Causes which Lead Girls Astray.--The predisposing causes of sexual
vices have already been dwelt upon so fully in this volume that we shall
devote little space to the subject here. We may, however, mention a
few of the causes which seem to be most active in leading to the
formation of evil habits among girls.

Vicious Companions.--Girls are remarkably susceptible to influence by
those of their own age. A vicious girl who makes herself agreeable to
those with whom she associates can exert more influence over many of
her companions than can any number of older persons. Even a mother
rarely has that influence over her daughter that is maintained by the
girl whom she holds as her bosom friend. The close friendships which
are often formed between girls of the same age are often highly
detrimental in character. Each makes a confidant of the other, and thus
becomes estranged from the only one competent to give counsel and advice,
and the one who of all others is worthy of a young girl's
confidence,--her mother.

From these unfortunate alliances often arise most deplorable evils.
Vicious companions not infrequently sow the seeds of evil habits far
and wide, contaminating all who come within their influence.

Whom to Avoid.--A girl will always do well to avoid a companion who
is vain, idle, silly, or frivolous. Girls who have these evil
characteristics are very likely to have others also which are worse.
A girl who is rude in her manners, careless in her habits, irreverent
and disobedient to parents and teachers, is always an unsafe companion.
No matter how pretty, witty, stylish, or aristocratic she may be, she
should be shunned. Her influence will be withering, debasing, wherever
felt. A girl may be gay and thoughtless without being vicious; but the
chances are ten to one that she will become sinful unless she changes
her ways.

Sentimental Books.--The majority of girls love to read, but,
unfortunately, the kind of literature of which they are chiefly fond
is not of a character which will elevate, refine, or in any way benefit
them. Story books, romances, love tales, and religious novels
constitute the chief part of the reading matter which American young
ladies greedily devour. We have known young ladies still in their teens
who had read whole libraries of the most exciting novels.

The taste for novel-reading is like that for liquor or opium. It is
never satiated. It grows with gratification. A confirmed novel-reader
is almost as difficult to reform as a confirmed inebriate or opium-eater.
The influence upon the mind is most damaging and pernicious. It not
only destroys the love for solid, useful reading, but excites the
emotions, and in many cases keeps the passions in a perfect fever of
excitement. The confessions of young women who were to all appearance
the most circumspect in every particular, and whom no one mistrusted
to be capable of vile thoughts, have convinced us that this evil is
more prevalent than many, even of those who are quite well informed,
would be willing to admit.

By reading of this kind, many are led to resort to self-abuse for the
gratification of passions which over-stimulation has made almost
uncontrollable. Some have thus been induced to sin who had never been
injured by other influences, but discovered the fatal secret themselves.
Mothers cannot be too careful of the character of the books which their
daughters read. Every book, magazine, and paper should be carefully
scrutinized, unless its character is already well known, before it is
allowed to be read. In our opinion, some of the literature which passes
as standard, which is often found on parlor center-tables and in family
and school libraries, such as Chaucer's poems, and other writings of
a kindred character, is unfit for perusal by inexperienced and
unsophisticated young ladies. Some of this literature is actually too
vile for any one to read, and if written to-day by any poet of note
would cause his works to be committed to the stove and the rag-bag in
spite of his reputation.

Various Causes.--Bad diet, the use of stimulating and exciting articles
of food, late suppers, confectionery and dainties,--all these have a
very powerful influence in the wrong direction by exciting functions
which ought to be kept as nearly latent as possible. The use of tea
and coffee by young ladies cannot be too strongly condemned. Improper
dress, by causing local congestion, often predisposes to secret vice
by occasioning local excitement. Probably a greater cause than any of
those last mentioned is too great familiarity with the opposite sex.
The silly letters which girls sometimes allow themselves to receive
from the boys and young men of their acquaintance, and which they
encourage by letters of a similar character, must be condemned in the
most thorough manner. Upon receiving such a letter a pure-minded girl
will consider herself insulted; and has just reason for so doing. The
childish flirtations which girls and boys sometimes indulge in often
lead to evils of a most revolting character.

Modesty Woman's Safeguard.--True modesty and maidenly reserve are the
best guardians of virtue. The girl who is truly modest, who encourages
and allows no improper advances, need have no fear of annoyance from
this source. She is equally safe from temptation to sin which may come
to her in secret, when no human eye can behold. Maidenly modesty is
one of the best qualities which any young lady can possess. A young
woman who lacks modesty, who manifests boldness of manner and
carelessness in deportment, is not only liable to have her virtue
assailed by designing and unscrupulous men, but is herself likely to
fall before the temptation to indulge in secret sin, which is certain
to present itself in some way sooner or later.

This invaluable protection is speedily lost by the girl who abandons
herself to secret vice. The chances are very great, also, that by
degrees her respect for and love of virtue and chastity will diminish
until she is open to temptations to indulge in less secret sin; and
thus she travels down the road of vice until she finds herself at last
an inmate of a brothel or an outcast wanderer, rejected by friends,
and lost to virtue, purity, and all that a true woman holds most dear.

A Few Sad Cases.--Although we do not believe it right to harrow the
feelings of those who have sinned and suffered with a rehearsal of sad
cases when no good can be accomplished by such accounts, we deem it
but just that those who are not yet entangled in the meshes of vice
should have an opportunity of knowing the actual results of sin, and
profiting by the sad experience of others. It is for this purpose that
we shall mention a few cases which have come under our observation,
taking care to avoid mentioning any facts which might lead to
identification, as the facts we shall use were, many of them, received
in strict confidence from those who were glad to unburden their hearts
to some one, but had never dared to do so, even to their friends.

A Pitiful Case.--Several years ago we received a letter from a young
woman in an Eastern State in which she described her case as that of
an individual who had early become addicted to secret vice and had
continued the vile habit until that time, when she was about thirty-two
years of age. In spite of the most solemn vows to reform, she still
continued the habit, and had become reduced to such a miserable
condition that she would almost rather die than live. She sent with
her letter photographs representing herself at twenty and at that time,
so that we might see the contrast. It was indeed appalling to see what
changes sin had wrought. Her face, once fair and comely, had become
actually haggard with vice. Purity, innocence, grace, and modesty were
no longer visible there. The hard lines of sin had obliterated every
trace of beauty, and produced a most repulsive countenance. Though
greatly depraved and shattered by sin and consequent disease in body
and mind, she still had some desire to be cured, if possible, and made
a most pitiful appeal for help to escape from her loathsome condition.
We gave her the best counsel we could under the circumstances, and did
all in our power to rescue her from her living death; but whether in
any degree successful we cannot tell, as we have never heard from the
poor creature since.

We have often wished since that we might but show those two pictures
to every girl who has been tempted to sin in this way, to all who have
ever yielded to this awful vice. The terrible contrast would certainly
produce an impression which no words can do. We sent them back to their
wretched original, however, by her request, and so cannot show the
actual pictures; but when any who read these lines are tempted thus
to sin we beg them to think of these two pictures, and by forming a
vivid image of them in the mind drive away the disposition to do wrong.

A Mind Dethroned.--A young lady who had received every advantage which
could be given her by indulgent parents, and who naturally possessed
most excellent talents, being a fine musician, and naturally so bright
and witty as to be the life of every company in which she moved, suddenly
began to show strange symptoms of mental unsoundness. She would
sometimes be seized with fits of violence during which it was with great
difficulty that she could be controlled. Several times she threatened
the lives of her nurses, and even on one occasion attempted to execute
her threat, the person's life being saved by mere accident. Everything
was done for her that could be done, but the mania increased to such
a degree of violence that she was sent to an asylum for the insane.
Here she remained for months before she became sufficiently tractable
to be taken to her home and cared for by friends. Too close application
to study was the cause at first assigned for her mental disorder, but
a careful investigation of the case revealed the fact that the terrible
sin which has ruined the minds of so many promising young men and
brilliant young women was the cause that led to the sad result in this
case also. The punishment of sin, especially of sexual sins, is indeed
terrible; but the sin is a fearful one, and the penalty must be equal
to the enormity of the crime. Not all young women who indulge thus will
become insane, but any one who thus transgresses may be thus punished.
There is no safety but in absolute purity.

A Penitent Victim.--A young woman who had been ill for years, and whose
physicians had sought in vain to cure her various ailments, until her
parents almost despaired of her ever being anything but a helpless
invalid, came to us for treatment, resolved upon making a last effort
for health. She had grown up in utter ignorance of the laws of health
and of the results of the vice of which we are writing; and having been
early taught the sin, she had indulged it for a number of years with
the result of producing a most terribly diseased condition of the sexual
organs, which had baffled the skill of all the physicians who had
attended her, none of whom had ever been made acquainted with the true
cause of the difficulties. When apprized of the real facts in the case,
that she was alone responsible for the sad condition into which she
had fallen, her eyes were opened to see the wickedness and vileness
of her course. She bitterly bemoaned her past life, and heartily
repented of her sins. Of the sincerity of her repentance she gave
evidence in the earnest efforts which she put forth to help herself.
She spared no pains to do well all required on her part, and was soon
rewarded by feeling that her diseases were being removed and health
was returning. Still, she was constantly reminded of her former sins.
When the will was off its guard, during sleep, the mind, long indulged
in sin, would revert to the old channels and riot in vileness. Unchaste
dreams made her often dread to sleep, as she awoke from these
unconscious lapses enervated, weak, and prostrated as though she had
actually transgressed. But though often thus almost disheartened she
continued the struggle, and was finally rewarded by gaining a perfect
victory over her mind, sleeping as well as waking, and recovering her
health sufficiently to enable her to enjoy life and make herself very

Not a few similar cases have come under our observation; and it seems
to us that the pain, anguish, and remorse suffered by these poor victims,
ought to be a warning to those who have never entered the sinful road.
What a terrible thing it is for a pure and lovely being, designed by
God to fulfill a high, holy, and sacred mission in the world, to become
a victim to such a filthy vice! No girl of sense would in her right
mind raise her hand to dash in pieces a beautiful vase, to destroy a
lovely painting, or a beautiful piece of statuary. A girl who would
do such a thing would be considered insane and a fit subject for a
mad-house. Yet is not the human body, a girl's own beautiful,
symmetrical form, infinitely better, more valuable and more sacred,
than any object produced by human art? There can be but one answer.
How, then, is it possible for her thus to defile and destroy herself?
Is it not a fearful thing? a terrible vice?

A Ruined Girl.--One of the most remarkable cases of disease resulting
from self-abuse which ever came under our observation was that of a
young lady from a distant Western State whose adopted parents, after
consulting many different physicians for a peculiar disease of the
breast, placed her under our care. We found her a good-looking young
woman about seventeen years of age, rather pale and considerably
emaciated, very nervous and hysterical, and suffering with severe pain
in the left breast, which was swollen to nearly double the natural size,
hot, tense, pulsating, and extremely tender to the touch. Occasionally
she would experience paroxysms in which she apparently suffered
extremely, being sometimes semi-conscious, and scarcely breathing for
hours. We suspected the cause of these peculiar manifestations at the
outset, but every suggestion of the possibility of the suspected cause
was met with a stout denial and a very deceptive appearance of innocent
ignorance on the subject. All treatment was unavailing to check the
disease. Though sometimes the symptoms seemed to be controlled, a
speedy relapse occurred, so that no progress toward a cure was made.
Finally our conviction that our first impression respecting the case
was correct became so strong that we hesitated no longer to treat it
as such. By most vigilant observation we detected evidences of the
soul-corrupting vice which we considered unmistakable, and then the
young woman who had pretended such profound ignorance of the matter
confessed to an extent of wickedness which was perfectly appalling.
Every paroxysm was traced to an unusual excess of sinful indulgence.
So hardened was she by her evil practices that she seemed to feel no
remorse, and only promised to reform when threatened with exposure to
her parents unless she immediately ceased the vile practice. In less
than ten days the mysterious symptoms which had puzzled many physicians
disappeared altogether. The swollen, tender breast was no larger than
the other, and was so entirely restored that she was able to strike
it a full blow without pain.

So great was the depravity of this girl, however, that she had no notion
of making a permanent reform. She even boasted of her wickedness to
a companion, and announced her intention to continue the practice. We
sent her home, and apprized her parents of the full facts in the case,
for which we received their deepest gratitude, though their hearts were
nearly broken with grief at the sad revelation made to them.
Notwithstanding their most earnest efforts in her behalf, the wretched
girl continued her downward career, and a year or two after we learned
that she had sunk to the very lowest depths of shame.

Once this now wretched, disgraced creature was an attractive, pure,
innocent little girl. Her adopted father lavished upon her numerous
presents, and spent hundreds of dollars to obtain her recovery to health.
Yet through this awful vice she was ruined utterly, and rendered so
wholly perverse and bad that she had no desire to be better, no
disposition to reform. God only knows what will be her sad end. May
none who read these lines ever follow in her footsteps.

The Danger of Boarding-Schools.--Some years ago a young lady came under
our medical care who had suffered for some time from a serious nervous
difficulty which had baffled the skill of all the physicians who had
had charge of her case, and which occasioned her a great amount of
suffering, making it necessary that she should be confined to her bed
most of the time, the disease being aggravated by exercise, and the
patient having been much weakened by its long continuance.

All the remedies usually successful in such cases were employed with
little or no effect, and we were feeling somewhat perplexed concerning
the case, when the young lady sent for us one day and upon our going
to her room in answer to her call she immediately burst into tears and
acknowledged that she had been addicted to the habit of self-abuse and
that she was still suffering from involuntary excitement during sleep.
Having been placed in a boarding-school when quite young, she had there
learned the vile habit, and had practiced it without knowing anything
of the ill effects or really appreciating its sinfulness. When she
learned, some years after, that the habit was a most pernicious vice
and of a character to bring destruction to both soul and body of one
addicted to it, she endeavored to free herself from its shackles; but
she found herself too securely bound for escape. It seemed, indeed,
an utter impossibility. Her thoughts had long been allowed to run in
sentimental channels, and now they would do so in spite of the most
earnest efforts to the contrary, during her waking hours; and in sleep,
while the will power was not active, the imagination would run riot
uncontrolled, leaving her, upon awaking, exhausted, enervated, and
almost desperate with chagrin. Knowing that she was daily suffering
for her transgressions, she was filled with remorse and regret, and
would have given all to undo the past; but, alas! she could not, and
could only suffer with patience until relief could be secured. Her love
for sentimental literature occasioned another battle for her to fight;
for she could scarcely resist the temptation daily offered her to while
away some of the weary hours with such stories of love and sentiment
as she had been accustomed to enjoy. But she fought the battle earnestly,
and finally succeeded in conquering the evil tendencies of her mind
both while awake and when asleep; and from that time she began to make
slow progress toward recovery. The last we saw of her she was doing
well, and hoped in time to arrive at a very comfortable state of health.

A Desperate Case.--A little girl about ten years of age was brought
to us by her father, who came with his daughter to have her broken of
the vile habit of self-abuse into which she had fallen, having been
taught it by a German servant girl. Having read an early copy of this
work, the father had speedily detected the habit, and had adopted every
measure which he could devise to break his child of the destructive
vice which she had acquired, but in vain. After applying various other
measures without success, it finally became necessary to resort to a
surgical operation, by which it is hoped that she was permanently cured,
as we have heard nothing to the contrary since, and as the remedy seemed
to be effectual. It was a severe remedy, and may seem a harsh one, but
every other means utterly failed, and the father insisted upon the
performance of the operation as a trial. This little girl, naturally
truthful and honest, had, through the influence of this blighting vice,
been made crafty and deceptive. She would tell the most astonishing
falsehoods to free herself from the charge of guilt or to avoid
punishment. The gentleman, her father, felt so deeply upon the subject
and was so thoroughly awake to the consequences of the sin, that he
declared he would take his daughter away into the wilderness and leave
her to die, if need be, rather than allow her to grow up to womanhood
with this vile blight upon her, and run the risk of her contaminating
with the same vice his other, younger children. He felt so deeply that
the tears coursed down his cheeks as he talked, and we were most happy
to be of service to him in aiding his daughter to overcome the
fascinating vice. She seemed willing to try to help herself, but was
unable to break the bonds of sin without the extraordinary help which
she received.

We might continue this rehearsal of cases to an almost indefinite length,
but we must soon bring this chapter to a close. Those described are
only a few examples of the many we are constantly meeting. None have
been overdrawn; much has been omitted for the sake of delicacy which
the exposure of the whole truth would have required us to present. We
sincerely hope that these examples may be a warning to those who have
never marred their purity of character by an unchaste act. To those
who may have already sinned in this manner let the words come with double
force and meaning. Do you value life, health, beauty, honor, virtue,
purity? Then for the sake of all these, abandon the evil practice at
once. Do not hesitate for a moment to decide, and do not turn back after
deciding to reform.

A Last Word.--Girls, as one who has only your best interests in view,
and who would do you good, we beg of you to give heed one moment to
the important matter which we have been presenting before you. It is
of no frivolous character. It is one of the most important subjects
to which your attention can be called. Only those who are utterly
ignorant of the dangers which surround them in the world, or who are
already hardened in sin, will treat this matter lightly or scornfully.
If you are still pure and possess a character unsoiled by sin, thank
God that you have been preserved until now, and humbly petition him
to enable you to remain as pure and unsullied as you now are. Cultivate
all of the heavenly graces. Make your dear mother your confidant in
all your perplexities and trials. Go to her for information on all
subjects upon which you find yourself ignorant. Let no foreign
influence beguile away your confidence from her who is most worthy of
your love and respect, and who is best prepared to instruct you on all
subjects, no matter how delicate. Trust in God for help to resist evil
under every guise. Flee from temptation under whatever form it may
appear. Thus may you escape the suffering, the sorrow, and the remorse,
which is endured sooner or later by all who enter the road of sin, no
matter how short a time they may travel therein.

To those who have already fallen, who have been led astray either
ignorantly or through weakness in yielding to temptation, we will say,
Turn from your evil way at once. Misery, sorrow, anguish, and
everlasting ruin stare you in the face. Perdition is before you. You
need not think to escape the punishment that others suffer, for there
is no way of escape. The penalty will surely come. Make haste to return
to the paths of purity before it is too late to mend the past. It may
take years of pure and upright living to repair the evil already done;
but do not hesitate to begin at once. With the help of God, resolve
to become pure again. God can cleanse you from all unrighteousness.
He can enable you to chase from your mind and heart every impure thought
and unclean desire. Through his grace you can successfully battle with
temptation and redeem the black record of the past.


Of the last two preceding chapters one was devoted exclusively to advice
and instruction to boys, the other being written expressly for girls.
Now we have a few words in conclusion for boys and girls together. It
is of the greatest importance that our boys and girls should be in every
way improved as much as possible. They are to become the men and women
of the next generation, when their fathers and mothers have retired
from active life. Twenty years from to-day the world will be just what
the present boys and girls shall make it. Boys who are chaste, honest,
obedient, and industrious, will become useful and noble men, husbands,
and fathers. Girls who are pure, innocent, and dutiful, will become
honored and lovely women, wives, and mothers.

Boys and girls are placed in families together, and thus are evidently
designed by nature to associate together, to obtain their education
and preparation for life together. When secluded wholly from each
other's society, both suffer a loss. But while this is true, it is also
true that certain evils may and often do grow out of the association
of the two sexes of young people, so serious in character that many
wise and good men and women have felt that the sexes should be reared
and educated apart as much as possible. These evils are the result of
too intimate and improper associations of boys and girls. Associations
of this sort must be most sedulously avoided. Boys and girls who are
in school together must be extremely careful to avoid too close
associations. On all occasions a modest reserve should be maintained
in the deportment of the young of both sexes toward each other. Too
early friendships formed often lead to hasty marriages, before either
party is prepared to enter into the married state, and before the
judgment has been sufficiently developed to make either capable of
selecting a suitable partner for life. These facts are usually learned
when it is too late for the information to be of any value.

Parents and teachers are especially responsible for guarding these
early associations and giving timely warning when needed. The youth
should always be ready to take advice on this subject, for with their
inexperience they cannot know their wants so well as do their elders.
Nothing is more disgusting to persons of sound sense than youthful
flirtations. Those misguided persons who encourage these indiscretions
in young people do an immense amount of injury to those whom they ought
to be prepared to benefit by wise counsel. We have seen promising young
people made wretched for life through the influence of one of these
mischief-makers, being most unhappily mated, and repenting too late
of a hasty marriage for which they were utterly unprepared.

Young persons often labor under the erroneous impression that in order
to be agreeable they must talk "small talk;" this literally means,
"silly twaddle," which disgusts everybody, and yet which all seek to
imitate. Whenever the two sexes meet in society or elsewhere, as at
all other times, the conversation should be turned upon subjects of
real interest, which admit of the exercise of sound sense and will be
a means of culture. Such associations do not result in injury to any
one, and may be the means of much profit; but nothing is more execrable
than the frivolous, silly, often absolutely senseless observations
which make up the great bulk of the conversation of young people in
fashionable society.

The most ready means of disclosing the superficial character of the
minds of a large share of the young persons who move in fashionable
circles is to introduce some topic requiring depth of thought and sound
judgment. Such a subject will usually produce either an instant lull
in the conversation or a display of ignorance which cannot fail to
reveal the shallowness of the speaker's intellect. It is this
superficial class of minds that most easily fall victims to a sickly
sentimentalism, which readily leads to digressions from the pathway
of rigid virtue.

A boy who has the elements of true manliness in him will carry a
gentlemanly bearing wherever he goes. In all his deportment, and
especially in his conduct toward the opposite sex, he will act the
gentleman; and the boy whose gentility is genuine will manifest the
same kind deference toward his mother and sisters as toward other ladies
and girls. So also the young lady who is a lady at heart, will never
allow herself to forget the rules of propriety, whether she is in the
company of her father and brothers, or that of other gentlemen.

All the rules of etiquette are worth little compared with the one simple
rule which is applicable to both sexes and all ages,--"Have the heart
right, and then act natural." One so governed will not go very far astray
under any circumstances; but it is of the greatest importance that the
heart be right. To make it such is, indeed, the great business of life.




Abortion, 271

    "     results of, 280

Accidental pregnancy, 236

Adaptation to marriage, 127

Advice to boys, 468

Advice to girls, 499

Advice to boys and girls, 501

Afterbirth, 68

Amativeness, 177

Amaurosis, 369

Amenorrhoea, 95

Animalcula, 26

Ante-natal influences, 105

Antediluvian wickedness, 286

Bad language, 461

Bad company, 458

Bad books, 462

 "    "    influence of, 463

 "    "    effects of, 486

Balls, demoralizing effect of, 204

Beauty, how to develop, 473

Beer-drinking by nursing mothers, 71

Beer, evil effects of, 467

Betrothal of infants, 138

Birth, changes at, 69

Bladder, irritation of, 203

Boarding-schools, danger of, 495

Books, bad, 186

  "    obscene, 187

Brain, male and female, 42

Breasts, 70

   "     atrophy of the, 374

Breath, causes of foul, 89

"Bundling," 140

Cancer, cause of, 253

   "    of the womb, 374

Castration, 114

Catamenia, 81

Causes of unchastity, 181

Cells, development of, 104

Chastity, 174

Chlorosis, 95, 343

Cider, evil effects of, 467

Circumcision, 113, 410

Civilization, perverting influence of, 181

Classification of living creatures, 27

Clitoris, 57, 73

Coitus, 57

Colds, how to prevent, 84

Colostrum, 70

Conception, prevention of, 250

Condiments, 210, 292

Conjugal onanism, 250

Constipation, 202

Consumption, 365

     "       cause of, 230, 435

Continence, 205

     "      male, 256

     "      not injurious, 205

     "      difficulty of, 208

     "      helps to, 209

Conversation, trifling, 503

Copulation, 57

Courtship, 136

    "      evils of, 137

Courtships, long, 140

Crime, source of, 107

  "    cause of, 454

Criminality hereditary, 107

Critical period, a, 482

Dancing, 196

Day-dreams, 177

Desirable qualities, how to produce, 113

Development, 59, 477

      "      premature, 78

Development in higher animals, 61

Diet, 390

  "   influence on chastity, 182

Disease, 301

    "    obscure causes of, 376

Diurnal emissions, 359

Divorce, loose laws of, 153

Dozing, danger of, 212

Dreams, 396

   "    how to control, 397

Dress and sensuality, 190

Dressing unhealthfully, 89

Dress reform, 193

Drinks, stimulating, 392

Drugs, 411

Dwarfs, 431

Dysmenorrhoea, 94

Dyspepsia, 366

    "      cause of, 434

Early associations, 314

  "   marriage, 126

  "   training, 310

  "       "     lack of, 295

  "   decline, cause of, 481

Egypt a hot-bed of vice, 286

Electricity, 407

Embryo, 63

   "    simple structure of, 64

   "    stages of growth of, 65

Emissions, effect of, 356

    "      internal, 361

    "      nocturnal, 353

Endurance of women, 43

Epilepsy, 344

    "     cause of, 244

Evil habits, 427

Excesses, marital, 216

    "     results of, 225

    "     effects of on wives, 231

    "     effects of on husbands, 226

Extra-uterine pregnancy, 97

Eyes, weakness of, 369

Fallopian tube, 74

False delicacy, 92

  "   training, 473

Fashion, 294

   "     and vice, 192

Fashionable dissipation, 478

Fecundation, 52

     "       in flowers, 53

     "       modes of, 55

     "       in fishes, 56

     "       in reptiles, 56

     "       in higher animals, 56

     "       in hermaphrodites, 59

Feeling apparatus, 425

Females, imperfect, 58

Female organs, 73

  "    organs of flowers, 48

Fetus, respiration of, 67

  "    influenced through the blood, 67

Fishes, development in, 60

   "    fecundation in, 56

Filthy dreams, 179

  "    talkers, 180

Flirtation, evils of, 143

     "      youthful, 144

     "      childish, 487

Flowers, polygamous, 47

   "     female organs of, 48

   "     fecundation in, 53

Fomentations, 405

Foods, stimulating, 392

Force, life, 29

Functions of life, 30

General debility, 365

Generation, laws of, 219

     "      physiological, 112

     "      spontaneous, 31

     "      ancient theory of, 32

Gestation, duration of, 66

Girlhood, 471

Girls, a chapter for, 470

  "    causes which lead astray, 484

  "    how ruined, 493

Gluttony, 292

Habit, power of, 496

Health essential to beauty, 474

Health hints, 88, 93

Heart disease, 367

Heredity, 102

    "     laws of, 243

    "     of disease, 109

    "     of crime, 107

Hermaphrodism, 36

Hermaphrodites, fecundation in, 59

Hip bath, 93

Human machine, the, 423

Human wrecks, 437

Human form, 474

Human buds, 476

Husbands, improvident, 170

Hybrids, 100

Hymen, 73

Hysteria, 95, 343

    "     causes of, 96, 375

Idiocy, 371

   "    cause of, 433

Idleness, 189

Ignorance, 300

Ill-health of girls, causes of, 472

Illustrative cases, 437

Imbecility, 371

Impotence, 363, 410

    "      not produced by continence, 207

Infanticide, 271

     "       among various nations, 273

Infant intoxication, 70

Infants, betrothal of, 138

Insanity, 370

    "     cause of, 447, 490

Instinct, lessons from, 220

    "     a safe guide, 224

Internal emissions, 361

Intestinal worms, 202

Juke family, the, 108

Labia, the, 73

Labor, 68

Lacing, 90

Law of heredity applied, 126

 "  of sex, 101

Legalized murder, 233

    "     vice, 309

Leucorrhoea, 346

Libidinous blood, 290

Licentious worship, 287

Licentiousness, results of, 302

Life, 25

  "   beginning of, 52

  "   force, 29

  "   origin of, 33

  "   modern modes of, 203

  "   when it begins, 262

  "   uterine, 66

Literature, poisonous, 189

Living beings, 25

Love, perverted, 178

Lust, effect upon child, 111

Male organs, 71

  "  continence, 256

Mammary glands, 70

Marriage, 124, 402

    "     evils of ill-mated, 131

    "     effect of late, 132

    "     experimental, 141

    "     forbidden, 155

    "     of cousins, 163

    "     of criminals, 164

    "     of paupers, 167

    "     but not love, 235

    "     customs of different nations, 125

Marital excesses, 216

   "    rights, 234

Masturbation, 315, 428

     "        treatment of, 378

     "        prevention of, 378

     "        effects in females, 373

     "        effects on offspring, 376

     "        self-helps to cure, 385

Menopause, the, 82

Menorrhagia, 91

Menses, 81

Menstrual period, duration of, 82

Menstruation, 81

     "        nature of, 83

Mental unchastity, 174

   "   culture, 313

Milk, influence of upon children, 70

Mind, cause of unbalanced, 129

Mormonism, 148

Monsters, 99

Mock piety, 338

Moderation, 248

Modesty, 488

Mothers, a warning to, 201

   "     their work, 479

Moral contagion, 459

Moving apparatus, 425

Multiple births, 98

Navel, the, 68

Nervous diseases, 368

   "    debility, treatment of, 378

Nocturnal emissions, 353

Novel-reading, 486

Nursing, 70

Nutrition, 30

Nutritive apparatus, 425

Nymphae, the, 73

Nymphomania, 301

Objects of life, 423

Obscene books, 187

Obscenity, 462

Oneida community, the, 258

Organized beings, 28

Organization, 28

Ovary, 51

Ovum, 51

  "   discharge of, 83

  "   size of, 52

  "   expulsion of from ovary, 74

  "   union of the, with the zoosperm, 57

Pangenesis, doctrine of, 103

Paralysis, 369

Parturition, 68

     "       painless, 68

Passion, inherited, 121

Passions, how excited, 183

Pedestrianism, 40

Pernicious books, influence of, 297

Penis, the, 56, 71

Physical differences in sex, 39

Piles, 350

Pimples, 342

Placenta, 67

Plants, sex of, 37

Pictures, vile, 464

Poisonous literature, 189

Polyandry, 152

Polygamous flowers, 47

Polygamy, 145

    "     defense of, 148

    "     exposed, 149

    "     of great men, 152

Precocity, 77

    "      sexual, 117

    "      indications of, 119

Pregnancy, 62

    "      duration of, 66

    "      extra-uterine, 97

    "      indulgence during, 241

Premature development, 78

    "     decay, 419

Prevention of conception, 250

Priapism, 350

Prostate gland, 72

   "       "    enlargement of the, 349

Prostitution, 400

      "       in Greece, 287

Pruritis, 374

Puberty, 74

   "     premature, 75

   "     influence of diet on, 76

   "     changes at, 79

   "     influence of climate on, 75

Pudenda, the, 73

Purifying apparatus, 425

Quacks, 362, 412

Race degeneration, cause of, 436

Religion, help of, 213

Religious novels, 297

    "     insanity, 371

Reproduction, 31, 424, 476

      "       elements of, 45

      "       in polyps, 58

      "       anatomy of, 71

      "       curious modes of, 57

      "       in the honey bee, 58

      "       in lower animals, 218

Reproductive organs, 71

      "      functions, 217

      "      apparatus, 426

      "      elements, union of, 57

Reptiles, fecundation in, 56

    "     development in, 60

Respiration in woman, 44

     "      of the fetus, 67

Results of abortion, 280

Roman emperors, licentiousness of, 288

Satyriasis, 124

Scrotum, the, 71

Secret vice, 428

   "     "   evidences of, 481

   "     "   prevalence of, 480

   "     "   terrible effects of, 480

Self-abuse, 315, 428

     "      causes of, 321, 487

     "      effects of, 437

     "      the signs of, 331

     "      results of, 347

     "      treatment of, 378

     "      not a modern vice, 319

     "      physical causes of, 329

     "      how to cure the habit of, 382

Self-control, 311

Self-pollution, 428

Self-murder, 431

Seminal fluid, the, 51, 72

Senility, 420

Senile children, 134

   "   sexuality, 123

Sentimental books, 485

     "      young women, 190

     "      literature, influence of, 296

Sex, 35

 "   in plants, 37

 "   in animals, 38

 "   law of, 101

 "   of fetus, 102

Sexual differences, 38

   "   organs of plants, 46

   "     "    of animals, 48

   "   relations, the, 116

   "   precocity, 117

   "       "      causes of, 122

   "   activity, the limit of, 124

Shaker views, 258

Sitz-baths, 404

Sleeping, 393

Social lepers, 146

   "   evil, the, 284

   "     "   causes of the, 290

   "     "   cure of the, 308

Solitary vice, 315

    "      "   alarming prevalence of, 316

    "      "   unsuspected cause of, 318

Spaying, 115

Spermatozoa, 48

     "       size of, 50

Spermatorrhoea, 353

Spinal irritation, 369

Sterility, 374

Stimulants the cause of self-abuse, 330

Stricture, 348

Suicide, cause of, 453

"Tarrying," 140

Tea and coffee, 292

 "   "     "    bad effects of, 467

Testicles, position of, 48

    "      wasting of, 352

Temperaments, 166

Thinking apparatus, 425

Thoughts, evil, 465

Throat disease, cause of, 229

Time to marry, 125

Tobacco, 292

   "     evil effects of, 467

   "     grave charges against, 185

Twins, 98

Umbilical cord, 67

Unchaste conversation, 179

Unchastity, causes of, 181

     "      of the ancients, 274

     "      physical causes of, 201

Unconsidered murders, 260

Uterus, 61

Uterine life, 66

   "    douche, 93

   "    disease, 233, 373

   "    gestation, 62

Urinary diseases, 349

Urethra, the, 72

Vagina, the, 56, 74

Varicocele, 352

Vegetable husbands, 47

Vice legalized, 309

Vicious companions, 484

Vital force, definition of, 29

  "   organs of man and woman, 43

Vision, dimness of, 369

Vulva, the, 73

Waltz, the, its sensuality, 199

Weak backs, 339

Wine, evil effects of, 467

Wives, on trial, 139

  "    sale of, among the Russians, 138

Woman, servitude of, 263

  "    her responsibility, 270

Woman's rights, 264

Women, Indian, 86

  "    Hebrew, 87

Womb, cancer of the, 374


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