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Title: A Problem in Modern Ethics - being an inquiry into the phenomenon of sexual inversion, - addressed especially to Medical Psychologists and Jurists
Author: Symonds, John Addington, 1840-1893
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 "A Problem in Modern Ethics - being an inquiry into the phenomenon of sexual inversion, - addressed especially to Medical Psychologists and Jurists" ***

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CHAPTER                                                PAGE

LIST OF BOOKS CONSULTED                                 vii

INTRODUCTION                                              1


II. VULGAR ERRORS                                         9

Carlier, _Les deux Prostitutions_                        16

IV. LITERATURE: MEDICO-FORENSIC: _Tardieu_               21

Krafft-Ebing, Lombroso                                   29

Meier, "A Problem in Greek Ethics"; Rosenbaum,
Bastian, Herbert Spencer, Sir Richard Burton,
Mantegazza                                               75

VII. LITERATURE: POLEMICAL: Karl Heinrich Ulrichs        84

VIII. LITERATURE: IDEALISTIC: Walt Whitman              115

IX. EPILOGUE                                            126

X. SUGGESTIONS UPON LEGISLATION                         131


GIBBON'S =History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.= Chapter

F. CARLIER. =Les deux Prostitutions.= Paris, Dentu, 1889.

A. TARDIEU. =Attentats aux Moeurs.= Paris, Billière, 1878.

J. L. CASPER and CARL LIMAN. =Handbuch der Gerichtlichen Medicin.= Berlin,
Hirschwald, 1889.

J. L. CASPER. =Klinische Novellen.= Berlin, Hirschwald, 1863.

P. MORRAU. =Des Aberrations du Sens Génétique.= Paris, Asselin et Houzeau,

B. TARNOWSKY. =Die krankhaften Erscheinungen des Geschlechtssinnes.=
Berlin, Hirschwald, 1886.

LEVY-MÜNCHEN. =Die Männliche Sterilität.= Berlin, Henser, 1889.

R. VON KRAFFT-EBING. =Psychopathia Sexualis.= Stuttgart, Enke, 1889.

CESARE LOMBROSO. =Der Verbrecher in Anthropologischer, Aerztlicher und
Juristischer Beziehung.= Hamburg, Richter, 1887.

M. H. F. MEIER. =Pæderastie.= Ersch und Gruber's Allgemeine Encyclopädie.
Leipzig, Brockhaus, 1837.

=A Problem in Greek Ethics.= No name or date. "Ten Copies printed for the
Author's Use."

J. ROSENBAUM. =Geschichte der Lustseuche im Alterthume.= Halle a. S., H.
W. Schmidt, 1882.

BASTIAN. =Der Mensch in der Geschichte.= Leipzig, Wigand, 1860.

HERBERT SPENCER. =Sociological Tables.=

P. DUFOUR. =Histoire de la Prostitution.= Eight vols. Bruxelles, Rozey,

Sir R. F. BURTON. =Arabian Nights.= Vol. 10. Benares, 1885.

P. MANTEGAZZA. =Gli Amori degli Uomini.= Milano, 1886.

NUMA NUMANTIUS (K. H. ULRICHS). =Inclusa.= Anthropologische Studien über
mannmännliche Geschlechtsliebe. Leipzig, 1864.

NUMA NUMANTIUS. =Formatrix.= Anthrop. Studien über urnische Liebe.
Leipzig, 1865.

NUMA NUMANTIUS. =Vindex.= Social-juristische Studien über mannmännliche
Geschlechtsliebe. Leipzig, 1864.

NUMA NUMANTIUS. =Vindicta.= Kampf für Freiheit u.s.w. Leipzig, 1865.

NUMA NUMANTIUS. =Ara Spei.= Moralphil. und Socialphil. Studien über
urnische Liebe. Leipzig, 1865.

K. H. ULRICHS. =Gladius Furens.= Das Naturräthsel der Urningsliebe.
Kassel, Württenberger, 1868.

K. H. ULRICHS. =Memnon.= Die Geschlechtsnatur des mannliebenden Urnings.
Schleiz, H. Heyn, 1868.

K. H. ULRICHS. =Incubus.= Urningsliebe und Blutgier. Leipzig, A. Serbe,

K. H. ULRICHS. =Argonauticus.= Zastrow und die Urninge. Leipzig, A. Serbe,

K. H. ULRICHS. =Prometheus.= Beitärge zur Erforschung des Naturräthsels
des Uranismus. Leipzig, Serbe, 1870.

K. H. ULRICHS. =Araxes.= Ruf nach Befreiung der Urningsnatur vom
Strafgesetz. Schleiz, Heyn, 1870.

WALT WHITMAN. =Leaves of Grass,= in "Complete Poems and Prose." 1889-1890.

WALT WHITMAN. =Democratic Vistas.=

=Nuova Codice Penale per il Regno d'Italia.=

A. COFFIGNON. =La Corruption à Paris.= Paris, La Librairie Illustrée. 7th
edition. No date.


There is a passion, or a perversion of appetite, which, like all human
passions, has played a considerable part in the world's history for good
or evil; but which has hardly yet received the philosophical attention
and the scientific investigation it deserves. The reason of this may be
that in all Christian societies the passion under consideration has been
condemned to pariahdom; consequently, philosophy and science have not
deigned to make it the subject of special enquiry. Only one great race
in past ages, the Greek race, to whom we owe the inheritance of our
ideas, succeeded in raising it to the level of chivalrous enthusiasm.
Nevertheless, we find it present everywhere and in all periods of
history. We cannot take up the religious books, the legal codes, the
annals, the descriptions of the manners of any nation, whether large or
small, powerful or feeble, civilised or savage, without meeting with
this passion in one form or other. Sometimes it assumes the calm and
dignified attitude of conscious merit, as in Sparta, Athens, Thebes.
Sometimes it skulks in holes and corners, hiding an abashed head and
shrinking from the light of day, as in the capitals of modern Europe.
It confronts us on the steppes of Asia, where hordes of nomads drink
the milk of mares; in the bivouac of Keltish warriors, lying wrapped in
wolves' skins round their camp-fires; upon the sands of Arabia, where
the Bedaween raise desert dust in flying squadrons. We discern it among
the palm-groves of the South Sea Islands, in the card-houses and
temple-gardens of Japan, under Esquimaux snow-huts, beneath the sultry
vegetation of Peru, beside the streams of Shiraz and the waters of the
Ganges, in the cold clear air of Scandinavian winters. It throbs in our
huge cities. The pulse of it can be felt in London, Paris, Berlin,
Vienna, no less than in Constantinople, Naples, Teheran, and Moscow. It
finds a home in Alpine valleys, Albanian ravines, Californian canyons,
and gorges of Caucasian mountains. It once sat, clothed in Imperial
purple, on the throne of the Roman Caesars, crowned with the tiara on
the chair of St. Peter. It has flaunted, emblazoned with the heraldries
of France and England, in coronation ceremonies at Rheims and
Westminster. The royal palaces of Madrid and Aranjuez tell their tales
of it. So do the ruined courtyards of Granada and the castle-keep of
Avignon. It shone with clear radiance in the gymnasium of Hellas, and
nerved the dying heroes of Greek freedom for their last forlorn hope
upon the plains of Chæronea. Endowed with inextinguishable life, in
spite of all that has been done to suppress it, this passion survives at
large in modern states and towns, penetrates society, makes itself felt
in every quarter of the globe where men are brought into communion with

Yet no one dares to speak of it; or if they do, they bate their breath,
and preface their remarks with maledictions.

Those who read these lines will hardly doubt what passion it is that I
am hinting at. _Quod semper ubique et ab omnibus_--surely it deserves a
name. Yet I can hardly find a name which will not seem to soil this
paper. The accomplished languages of Europe in the nineteenth century
supply no term for this persistent feature of human psychology, without
importing some implication of disgust, disgrace, vituperation. Science,
however, has recently--within the last twenty years in fact--invented a
convenient phrase, which does not prejudice the matter under
consideration. She speaks of the "inverted sexual instinct"; and with
this neutral nomenclature the investigator has good reason to be

Inverted sexuality, the sexual instinct diverted from its normal
channel, directed (in the case of males) to males, forms the topic of
the following discourse. The study will be confined to modern times, and
to those nations which regard the phenomenon with religious detestation.
This renders the enquiry peculiarly difficult, and exposes the enquirer,
unless he be a professed expert in diseases of the mind and nervous
centres, to almost certain misconstruction. Still, there is no valid
reason why the task of statement and analysis should not be undertaken.
Indeed, one might rather wonder why candid and curious observers of
humanity have not attempted to fathom a problem which faces them at
every turn in their historical researches and in daily life. Doubtless
their neglect is due to natural or acquired repugnance, to feelings of
disgust and hatred, derived from immemorial tradition, and destructive
of the sympathies which animate a really zealous pioneer. Nevertheless,
what is human is alien to no human being. What the law punishes, but
what, in spite of law, persists and energises, ought to arrest
attention. We are all of us responsible to some extent for the
maintenance and enforcement of our laws. We are all of us, as
evolutionary science surely teaches, interested in the facts of
anthropology, however repellant some of these may be to our own
feelings. We cannot evade the conditions of _atavism_ and _heredity_.
Every family runs the risk of producing a boy or a girl whose life will
be embittered by inverted sexuality, but who in all other respects will
be no worse or better than the normal members of the home. Surely, then,
it is our duty and our interest to learn what we can about its nature,
and to arrive through comprehension at some rational method of dealing
with it.



Since this enquiry is limited to actual conditions of contemporary life,
we need not discuss the various ways in which the phenomenon of sexual
inversion has been practically treated by races with whose habits and
religions we have no affinity.

On the other hand, it is of the highest importance to obtain a correct
conception of the steps whereby the Christian nations, separating
themselves from ancient paganism, introduced a new and stringent
morality into their opinion on this topic, and enforced their ethical
views by legal prohibitions of a very formidable kind.

Without prejudging or prejudicing this new morality, now almost
universally regarded as a great advance upon the ethics of the earlier
pagan world, we must observe that it arose when science was
non-existent, when the study of humanity had not emerged from the
cradle, and when theology was in the ascendant. We have therefore to
expect from it no delicate distinctions, no anthropological
investigations, no psychological analysis, and no spirit of toleration.
It simply decreed that what had hitherto been viewed as immorality at
worst should henceforth be classed among crimes against God, nature,
humanity, the state.

Opening the Bible, we find severe penalties attached to sexual inversion
by the Mosaic law, in the interests of population and in harmony with
the Jewish theory of abominations. The lesson is driven home by the
legend of two cities, Sodom and Gomorrah, overwhelmed with fire because
of their addiction to abnormal sexual indulgences. Here the _vindices
flammæ_ of the Roman code appear for the first time--the stake and the
flames, which mediæval legislation appointed for offenders of this sort.

St. Paul, penetrated with Hebrew ethics, denounced the corruption of the
Gentiles in these words: "For this cause God gave them up into vile
affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that
which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural
use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men
working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that
recompence of their error which was meet."

Christ uttered no opinion upon what we now call sexual inversion.
Neither light nor leading comes from Him, except such as may be
indirectly derived from his treatment of the woman taken in adultery.

When the Empire adopted Christianity, it had therefore the traditions of
the Mosaic law and the first chapter of the Epistle to the Romans to
guide its legislators on this topic. The Emperors felt obscurely that
the main pulses of human energy were slackening; population all tended
to dwindle; the territory of the empire shrank slowly year by year
before their eyes. As the depositaries of a higher religion and a
nobler morality, they felt it their duty to stamp out pagan customs, and
to unfurl the banner of social purity. The corruption of the Roman
cities had become abominable. The laziness and cowardice of Roman
citizens threatened the commonwealth with ruin. To repress sexual
appetites was not the ruler's object. It was only too apparent that
these natural desires no longer prompted the people to sufficient
procreation or fertility. The brood begotten upon Roman soil was
inadequate to cope with the inrushing tide of barbarians. Wisdom lay in
attempting to rehabilitate marriage, the family domestic life. Meanwhile
a certain vice ran riot through society, a vice for which Jehovah had
rained fire and brimstone upon Sodom, a vice which the Mosaic code
punished with death, a vice threatened by St. Paul with "that recompence
of their error which was meet."

Justinian, in 538 A.D., seems to have been terrified by famines,
earthquakes and pestilences. He saw, or professed to see, in these
visitations the avenging hand of Jehovah, the "recompence which was
meet" mysteriously prophesied by St. Paul. Thereupon he fulminated his
edict against unnatural sinners, whereby they were condemned to torments
and the supreme penalty of death. The preamble to his famous Novella 77
sets forth the principles on which it has been framed: "Lest as the
result of these impious acts whole cities should perish together with
their inhabitants; for we are taught by Holy Scripture, to wit that
through these acts cities have perished with the men in them.... It is
on account of such crimes that famines and earthquakes take place, and
also pestilences."

Before Justinian, both Constantine and Theodosius passed laws against
sexual inversion, committing the offenders to "avenging flames." But
these statutes were not rigidly enforced, and modern opinion on the
subject may be said to flow from Justinian's legislation. Opinion, in
matters of custom and manners, always follows law. Though Imperial
edicts could not eradicate a passion which is inherent in human nature,
they had the effect of stereotyping extreme punishments in all the codes
of Christian nations, and of creating a permanent social antipathy.



Gibbon's remarks upon the legislation of Constantine, Theodosius, and
Justinian supply a fair example of the way in which men of learning and
open mind have hitherto regarded what, after all, is a phenomenon worthy
of cold and calm consideration. "I touch," he says, "with reluctance,
and despatch with impatience, a more odious vice, of which modesty
rejects the name, and nature abominates the idea." After briefly
alluding to the morals of Etruria, Greece, and Rome, he proceeds to the
enactments of Constantine: "Adultery was first declared to be a capital
offence ... the same penalties were inflicted on the passive and active
guilt of pæderasty; and all criminals, of free or servile condition,
were either drowned, or beheaded, or cast alive into the avenging
flames."[1] Then, without further comment, he observes: "The adulterers
were spared by the common sympathy of mankind; but the lovers of their
own sex were pursued by general and pious indignation." "Justinian
relaxed the punishment at least of female infidelity: the guilty spouse
was only condemned to solitude and penance, and at the end of two years
she might be recalled to the arms of a forgiving husband. But the same
Emperor declared himself the implacable enemy of unmanly lust, and the
cruelty of his persecution can scarcely be excused by the purity of his
motives. In defiance of every principle of justice he stretched to past
as well as future offences the operations of his edicts, with the
previous allowance of a short respite for confession and pardon. A
painful death was inflicted by the amputation of the sinful instrument,
or the insertion of sharp reeds into the pores and tubes of most
exquisite sensibility." One consequence of such legislation may be
easily foreseen. "A sentence of death and infamy was often founded on
the slight and suspicious evidence of a child or a servant: the guilt of
the green faction, of the rich, and of the enemies of Theodora, was
presumed by the judges, and pæderasty became the crime of those to whom
no crime could be imputed."

This state of things has prevailed wherever the edicts of Justinian have
been adopted into the laws of nations. The Cathari, the Paterini, the
heretics of Provence, the Templars, the Fraticelli, were all accused of
unnatural crimes, tortured into confession, and put to death. Where
nothing else could be adduced against an unpopular sect, a political
antagonist, a wealthy corporation, a rival in literature, a powerful
party-leader, unnatural crime was insinuated, and a cry of "Down with
the pests of society" prepared the populace for a crusade.

It is the common belief that all subjects of sexual inversion have
originally loved women, but that, through monstrous debauchery and
superfluity of naughtiness, tiring of normal pleasure, they have
wilfully turned their appetites into other channels. This is true about
a certain number. But the sequel of this Essay will prove that it does
not meet by far the larger proportion of cases, in whom such instincts
are inborn, and a considerable percentage in whom they are also
inconvertible. Medical jurists and physicians have recently agreed to
accept this as a fact.

It is the common belief that a male who loves his own sex must be
despicable, degraded, depraved, vicious, and incapable of humane or
generous sentiments. If Greek history did not contradict this
supposition, a little patient enquiry into contemporary manners would
suffice to remove it. But people will not take this trouble about a
matter, which, like Gibbon, they "touch with reluctance and despatch
with impatience." Those who are obliged to do so find to their surprise
that "among the men who are subject to this deplorable vice there are
even quite intelligent, talented, and highly-placed persons, of
excellent and even noble character."[2] The vulgar expect to discover
the objects of their outraged animosity in the scum of humanity. But
these may be met with every day in drawing-rooms, law-courts, banks,
universities, mess-rooms; on the bench, the throne, the chair of the
professor; under the blouse of the workman, the cassock of the priest,
the epaulettes of the officer, the smock-frock of the ploughman, the wig
of the barrister, the mantle of the peer, the costume of the actor, the
tights of the athlete, the gown of the academician.

It is the common belief that one, and only one, unmentionable act is
what the lovers seek as the source of their unnatural gratification, and
that this produces spinal disease, epilepsy, consumption, dropsy, and
the like.[3] Nothing can be more mistaken, as the scientifically
reported cases of avowed and adult sinners amply demonstrate. Neither do
they invariably or even usually prefer the _aversa Venus_; nor, when
this happens, do they exhibit peculiar signs of suffering in health.[4]
Excess in any venereal pleasure will produce diseases of nervous
exhaustion and imperfect nutrition. But the indulgence of inverted
sexual instincts within due limits, cannot be proved to be especially
pernicious. Were it so, the Dorians and Athenians, including Sophocles,
Pindar, Æschines, Epaminondas, all the Spartan kings and generals, the
Theban legion, Pheidias, Plato, would have been one nation of rickety,
phthisical, dropsical paralytics. The grain of truth contained in this
vulgar error is that, under the prevalent laws and hostilities of modern
society, the inverted passion has to be indulged furtively,
spasmodically, hysterically; that the repression of it through fear and
shame frequently leads to habits of self-abuse; and that its
unconquerable solicitations sometimes convert it from a healthy outlet
of the sexual nature into a morbid monomania.[5] It is also true that
professional male prostitutes, like their female counterparts, suffer
from local and constitutional disorders, as is only natural.[6]

It is the common belief that boys under age are specially liable to
corruption. This error need not be confuted here. Anyone who chooses to
read the cases recorded by Casper-Liman, Casper in his Novellen,
Krafft-Ebing, and Ulrichs, or to follow the developments of the present
treatise, or to watch the manners of London after dark, will be
convicted of its absurdity. Young boys are less exposed to dangers from
abnormal than young girls from normal voluptuaries.

It is the common belief that all subjects from inverted instinct carry
their lusts written in their faces; that they are pale, languid,
scented, effeminate, painted, timid, oblique in expression. This vulgar
error rests upon imperfect observation. A certain class of such people
are undoubtedly feminine. From their earliest youth they have shown
marked inclination for the habits and the dress of women; and when they
are adult, they do everything in their power to obliterate their
manhood. It is equally true that such unsexed males possess a strong
attraction for some abnormal individuals. But it is a gross mistake to
suppose that all the tribe betray these attributes. The majority differ
in no detail of their outward appearance, their physique, or their dress
from normal men. They are athletic, masculine in habits, frank in
manner, passing through society year after year without arousing a
suspicion of their inner temperament. Were it not so, society would long
ago have had its eyes opened to the amount of perverted sexuality it

The upshot of this discourse on vulgar errors is that popular opinion is
made up of a number of contradictory misconceptions and confusions.
Moreover, it has been taken for granted that "to investigate the
depraved instincts of humanity is unprofitable and disgusting."
Consequently the subject has been imperfectly studied; and individuals
belonging to radically different species are confounded in one vague
sentiment of reprobation. Assuming that they are all abominable, society
is content to punish them indiscriminately. The depraved debauchee who
abuses boys receives the same treatment as the young man who loves a
comrade. The male prostitute who earns his money by extortion is
scarcely more contemned than a man of birth and breeding who has been
seen walking with soldiers.



Sexual inversion can boast a voluminous modern literature, little known
to general readers. A considerable part of this is pornographic, and
need not arrest our attention.[7] A good deal is descriptive,
scientific, historical, anthropological, apologetical and polemical.
With a few books in each of these kinds I propose to deal now.

The first which falls under my hand is written by a French official, who
was formerly Chief of the Police Department for Morals in Paris.[8] M.
Carlier, during ten years, had excellent opportunities for studying the
habits of professional male prostitutes and their frequenters. He had
condensed the results of his experience in seven very disagreeable
chapters, which offer a revolting picture of vice and systematised
extortion in the great metropolis.

"In the numerous books," says M. Carlier, "which treat of prostitution,
the antiphysical passions have hitherto been always deliberately
omitted. Officially, public opinion does not recognise them, the
legislature will take no notice of them. The police are left alone to
react against them; and the unequal combat may some day cease, since it
is supported by no text of the code and no regulation of the state. When
that happens, pæderasty will become a calamity far more dangerous, more
scandalous, than female prostitution, the organisation of which it
shares in full. A magistrate once declared that 'in Paris it is the
school where the cleverest and boldest criminals are formed; and as a
matter of fact, it produces associations of special scoundrels, who use
it as the means of theft and _chantage_, not stopping short of murder in
the execution of their plots.'"

It will be seen from this exordium that M. Carlier regards the subject
wholly from the point of view of prostitution. He has proved abundantly
that male prostitution is organised in Paris upon the same system as its
female counterpart, and he has demonstrated that this system is attended
with the same dangers to society.

A violent animus against antiphysical passions makes him exaggerate
these dangers, for it is clear that normal vice is no less free from
sordid demoralisation and crimes of violence than its abnormal
twin-brother. Both are fornication; and everywhere, in Corinth as in
Sodom, the prostitute goes hand in hand with the bully, the robber, and
the cut-throat.

With reference to the legal position of these passions in France, he
says: "Pæderasty is not punished by our laws. It can only come within
the reach of the code by virtue of circumstances under which it may be
practised. If the facts take place in the presence of witnesses, or in a
place open to public observation, there will be an outrage to decency.
If minors are seduced, there may be proof of the habitual incitement of
minors to debauch, corruption, or even rape. But the passion itself is
not subject to penalty; it is only a vice arising from one of the seven
deadly sins. We have no intention of analysing this perverted instinct.
Since the law does not regard it, we will do like the law. We will pass
in silence all its private details, occupying ourselves only with what
meets the eye, with what may be called a veritable prostitution."

M. Carlier proceeds to describe the two main classes, which in France
are known as _tantes_ and _amateurs_. The former are subdivided into
minor branches, under the names of _jésus_, _petits jésus_, _corvettes_
(naval), soldiers. The latter, called also _rivettes_, are distinguished
by their tastes for different sorts of _tantes_.

Those who are interested in such matters may turn to M. Carlier's pages
for minute information regarding the habits, coteries, houses of
debauch, bullies, earnings, methods of extortion, dwellings, balls,
banquets, and even wedding-parties of these people. A peculiar world of
clandestine vice in a great city is revealed; and the authentic
documents, abundantly presented, render the picture vivid in its
details. From the official papers which passed through M. Carlier's
bureau during ten years (1860-70), he compiles a list of 6,342 pæderasts
who came within the cognisance of the police: 2,049 Parisians, 3,709
provincials, 484 foreigners. Of these 3,532, or more than the half,
could not be convicted of illegal acts.

While devoting most of his attention to professionals who dress like
women, and have become exactly similar to the effeminated youth
described in _Monsieur Vénus_,[9] Carlier gives some curious details
about the French army. Soldiers are no less sought after in France than
in England or in Germany, and special houses exist for military
prostitution both in Paris and the garrison towns.[10] Upon this point
it should be remarked that Carlier expresses a very strong opinion
regarding the contagiousness of antiphysical passion. And certainly many
facts known about the French army go to prove that these habits have
been contracted in Algeria, and have spread to a formidable extent
through whole regiments.[11]

In conclusion, M. Carlier, though he so strongly deplores the impunity
extended by French law to sexual inversion, admits that this has not
augmented the evil. Speaking about England, where legal penalties are
heavy enough, he says; "Though they call it the _nameless crime_ there,
it has in England at least as many votaries as in France, and they are
quite as depraved."[12]



Carlier's book deals with the external aspects of inverted sexuality, as
this exists in Paris under the special form of prostitution. The author
professes to know nothing more about the subject than what came beneath
his notice in the daily practice of his trade as a policeman. He writes
with excusable animosity. We see at once that he is neither a
philosopher by nature, nor a man of science, but only a citizen, endowed
with the normal citizen's antipathy for passions alien to his own.
Placed at the head of the Bureau of Morals, Carlier was brought into
collision with a tribe of people whom he could not legally arrest, but
whom he cordially hated. They were patently vicious; and (what was
peculiarly odious to the normal man) these degraded beings were all
males. He saw that the public intolerance of "antiphysical passions,"
which he warmly shared, encouraged an organised system of _chantage_.
Without entertaining the question whether public opinion might be
modified, he denounced the noxious gang as pests of society. The fact
that England, with her legal prohibitions, suffered to the same extent
as France from the curse of "pæderasty," did not make him pause.
Consequently, the light which he has thrown upon the subject of this
treatise only illuminates the dark dens of male vice in a big city. He
leaves us where we were about the psychological and ethical problem. He
shows what deep roots the passion strikes in the centres of modern
civilisation, and how it thrives under conditions at once painful to its
victims and embarrassing to an agent of police.

Writers on forensic medicine take the next place in the row of literary
witnesses. It is not their business to investigate the psychological
condition of persons submitted to the action of the laws. They are
concerned with the law itself, and with those physical circumstances
which may bring the accused within its operation, or may dismiss him
free from punishment.

Yet their function, by importing the quality of the physician into the
sphere of jurisprudence, renders them more apprehensive of the
underlying problem than a mere agent of police. We expect impartial
scientific scrutiny in such authorities, and to some extent we find it.

The leading writers on forensic medicine at the present time in Europe
are Casper (edited by Liman) for Germany, Tardieu for France, and Taylor
for England. Taylor is so reticent upon the subject of unnatural crime
that his handbook on "The Principles and Practice of Medical
Jurisprudence" does not demand minute examination. It may, however, be
remarked that he believes false accusations to be even commoner in this
matter than in the case of rape, since they are only too frequently made
the means of blackmailing. For this reason he leaves the investigation
of such crimes to the lawyers.

Both Casper and Tardieu discuss the topic of sexual inversion with
antipathy. But there are notable points of difference in the method and
in the conclusions of the two authors. Tardieu, perhaps because he is a
Frenchman, educated in the school of Paris, which we have learned to
know from Carlier, assumes that all subjects of the passion are criminal
or vicious. He draws no psychological distinction between pæderast and
pæderast. He finds no other name for them, and looks upon the whole
class as voluntarily degraded beings who, for the gratification of
monstrous desires, have unsexed themselves. A large part of his work is
devoted to describing what he believes to be the signs of active and
passive immorality in the bodies of persons addicted to these
habits.[13] It is evident that imagination has acted powerfully in the
formation of his theories. But this is not the place to discuss their

Casper and Liman approach the subject with almost equal disgust, but
with more regard for scientific truth than Tardieu. They point out that
the term pæderast is wholly inadequate to describe the several classes
of male persons afflicted with sexual inversion. They clearly expect, in
course of time, a general mitigation of the penalties in force against
such individuals. According to them, the penal laws of North Germany, on
the occasion of their last revision, would probably have been altered,
had not the jurists felt that the popular belief in the criminality of
pæderasts ought to be considered.[15] Consequently, a large number of
irresponsible persons, in the opinion of experts like Casper and Liman,
are still exposed to punishment by laws enacted under the influence of
vulgar errors.

These writers are not concerned with the framing of codes, nor again
with the psychological diagnosis of accused persons. It is their
business to lay down rules whereby a medical authority, consulted in a
doubtful case, may form his own view as to the guilt or innocence of the
accused. Their attention is therefore mainly directed to the detection
of signs upon the bodies of incriminated individuals.

This question of physical diagnosis leads them into a severe critique of
Tardieu. Their polemic attacks each of the points which he attempted to
establish. I must content myself by referring to the passage of their
work which deals with the important topic.[16] Suffice it here to say
that they reject all signs as worse than doubtful, except a certain
deformation of one part of the body, which may possibly be taken as the
proof of habitual prostitution, when it occurs in quite young persons.
Of course they admit that wounds, violent abrasions of the skin, in
certain places, and some syphilitic affections strongly favour the
presumption of a criminal act. Finally, after insisting on the
insecurity of Tardieu's alleged signs, and pointing out the
responsibility assumed by physicians who base a judgment on them, the
two Germans sum up their conclusions in the following words (p. 178):
"It is extremely remarkable that while Tardieu mentions 206 cases, and
communicates a select list of 19, which appear to him to exhibit these
peculiar conformations of the organs, he can only produce one single
instance where the formation seemed indubitable. Let anyone peruse his
19 cases, and he will be horrified at the unhesitating condemnations
pronounced by Tardieu." The two notes of exclamation which close this
sentence in the original are fully justified. It is indeed horrifying to
think that a person, implicated in some foul accusation, may have his
doom fixed by a doctrinaire like Tardieu. Antipathy and ignorance in
judges and the public, combined with erroneous canons of evidence in the
expert, cannot fail to lead in such cases to some serious miscarriage of

Passing from the problem of diagnosis and the polemic against Tardieu,
it must be remarked that Casper was the first writer of this class to
lay down the distinction between inborn and acquired perversion of the
sexual instinct. The law does not recognise this distinction. If a
criminal act be proved, the psychological condition of the agent is
legally indifferent--unless it can be shown that he was clearly mad and
irresponsible, in which case he may be consigned to a lunatic asylum
instead of a jail. But Casper and Liman, having studied the question of
sexual maladies in general, and given due weight to the works of
Ulrichs, call attention to the broad differences which exist between
persons in whom abnormal appetites are innate and those in whom they are
acquired. Their companion sketches of the two types deserve to be
translated and presented in a somewhat condensed form.[17]

"In the majority of persons who are subject to this vice, it is
congenital; or at any rate the sexual inclination can be followed back
into the years of childhood, like a kind of physical hermaphroditism.
Sexual contact with a woman inspires them with real disgust. Their
imagination delights in handsome young men, and statues or pictures of
the same. In the case of this numerous class of pæderasts there is
therefore no depraved fancy at work, no demoralisation through satiety
of natural sexual appetite,[18] Their congenital impulse explains the
fact, moreover, that very many pæderasts are addicted to what may be
termed a Platonic voluptuousness, and feel themselves drawn towards the
objects of their desire with a warmth of passion more fervent than is
common in the relations of the opposed sexes; that, in other cases
again, they are satisfied with embracements, from which they derive a
mutual pleasure. Westphal maintains that this anomalous direction of the
sexual appetite is more often the symptom of a psychopathical,
neuropathical condition than people commonly suppose."[19]

"In the case of another class of men, upon the contrary, the taste for
this vice has been acquired in life, and is the result of over-satiety
with natural pleasures. People of this stamp sometimes indulge their
gross appetites alternately with either sex. I once observed a man,
after contracting a venereal disease with women, adopt pæderasty out of
fear of another infection; but he was, it must be admitted, a
weak-minded individual. In all the great towns of Europe the vice goes
creeping around, unobserved by the uninitiated. It appears that there is
no inhabited spot of the globe where it may not be discovered. I said,
unobserved by the uninitiated, advisedly. In antiquity the members of
the sect had their own means of mutual recognition. And at the present
time, these men know each other at first sight; moreover, they are found
everywhere, in every station of society, without a single exception. 'We
recognise each other at once,' says the writer of a report which I shall
communicate below: 'A mere glance of the eye suffices; and I have never
been deceived. On the Rigi, at Palermo, in the Louvre, in the Highlands
of Scotland, in Petersburg, on disembarking at the port of Barcelona, I
have found people, never seen by me before, and whom I discriminated in
a second.' Several men of this sort whom I have known (continues Casper)
are certainly accustomed to dress and adorn themselves in a rather
feminine way. Nevertheless, there are indisputable pæderasts, who
present an entirely different aspect, some of them elderly and negligent
in their attire, and people of the lower classes, distinguished by
absolutely nothing in their exterior from other persons of the same

Medico-juristic science made a considerable step when Casper adopted
this distinction of two types of sexual inversion. But, as is always the
case in the analysis of hitherto neglected phenomena, his classification
falls far short of the necessities of the problem. While treating of
acquired sexual inversion, he only thinks of debauchees. He does not
seem to have considered a deeper question--deeper in its bearing upon
the way in which society will have to deal with the whole problem--the
question of how far these instincts are capable of being communicated by
contagion to persons in their fullest exercise of sexual vigour. Taste,
fashion, preference, as factors in the dissemination of anomalous
passions, he has left out of his account. It is also, but this is a
minor matter, singular that he should have restricted his observations
on the freemasonry among pæderasts to those in whom the instinct is
acquired. That exists quite as much or even more among those in whom it
is congenital.

The upshot of the whole matter, however, is that the best book on
medical jurisprudence now extant repudiates the enormities of Tardieu's
method, and lays it down for proved that "the majority of persons who
are subject" to sexual inversion come into the world, or issue from the
cradle, with their inclination clearly marked.



Medical writers upon this subject are comparatively numerous in French
and German literature, and they have been multiplying rapidly of late
years. The phenomenon of sexual inversion is usually regarded in these
books from the point of view of psychopathic or neuropathic derangement,
inherited from morbid ancestors, and developed in the patient by early
habits of self-abuse.

What is the exact distinction between "psychopathic" and "neuropathic" I
do not know. The former term seems intelligible in the theologian's
mouth, the latter in a physician's. But I cannot understand both being
used together to indicate different kinds of pathological diathesis.
What is the soul, what are the nerves? We have probably to take the two
terms as indicating two ways of considering the same phenomenon; the one
subjective, the other objective; "psychopathic" pointing to the
derangement as observed in the mind emotions of its subject;
"neuropathic" to the derangement as observed in anomalies of the nervous

It would be impossible, in an essay of this kind, to review the whole
mass of medical observation, inference and speculation which we have at
our command. Nor is a layman, perhaps, well qualified for the task of
criticism and comparison in a matter of delicacy where doctors differ as
to details. I shall therefore content myself with giving an account of
four of the most recent, most authoritative, and, as it seems to me,
upon the whole most sensible studies. Moreau, Tarnowsky, Krafft-Ebing
and Lombroso take very nearly similar views of the phenomenon; and
between them they are gradually forming a theory which is likely to
become widely accepted.

_Des Aberrations du Sens Génésique, par le Dr. Paul Moreau_, 4th
edition, 1887.

Moreau starts with the proposition that there is a sixth sense, "le sens
génital," which, like other senses, can be injured psychically and
physically without the mental functions, whether affective or
intellectual, suffering thereby. His book is therefore a treatise on the
diseases of the sexual sense. These diseases are by no means of recent
origin, he says. They have always and everywhere existed.

He begins with a historical survey, which, so far as antiquity is
concerned, is very defective. Having quoted with approval the following
passage about Greek society:--

"La sodomie se répand dans toute la Grèce; les écoles des philosophes
deviennent des maisons de débauche, et les grands exemples d'amitié
légués par le paganisme ne sont, pour la plupart, qu'une infâme
turpitude voilée par une sainte apparence": having quoted these words
of Dr. Descuret, Moreau leaves Greece alone, and goes on to Rome. The
state of morals in Rome under the empire he describes as "une
dépravation maladive, devenue par la force des choses héréditaire,
endémique, épidémique." Then follows a short account of the emperors and
their female relatives. "Cet éréthisme génésique qui, pendant près de
deux siècles, régna a l'état épidémique dans Rome" he ascribes mainly to
heredity. Of Julia, the daughter of Augustus, he says, "Peut-on lutter
contre un état morbide héréditaire?" The union of unrestrained
debauchery and ferocity with great mental gifts strikes him as a note of
disease; and he winds up with this sentence: "Parmi les causes les plus
fréquentes des aberrations du sens génital, l'hérédité tient la première

Then he passes to the middle ages, and dwells upon the popular belief in
_incubi_ and _succubi_. It is curious to find him placing Leo X.,
François I., Henri IV., Louis XIV., among the neuropathics. When it
comes to this, everybody with strong sexual instincts, and the
opportunity of indulging them, is a nervous invalid. Modern times are
illustrated by the debaucheries of the Regency, the reign of Louis XV.,
Russian ladies, the Marquis de Sade. The House of Orleans seems in truth
to have been tainted with hereditary impudicity of a morbid kind. But if
it was so at the end of the last century, it has since the Revolution
remarkably recovered health--by what miracle?

Moreau now formulates the thesis he wishes to prove: "L'aberration
pathologique des sentiments génésiques doit être assimilée complètement
à une névrose, et, comme telle, son existence est compatible avec les
plus hautes intelligences." He discovers hereditary taint universally
present in these cases. "Hérédité directe, hérédité indirecte, hérédité
transformée, se trouve chez les génésiaques."

Passing to etiology, he rests mainly upon an organism predisposed by
ancestry, and placed in a milieu favourable to its morbid development.
Provocative causes are not sufficient to awake the aberration in healthy
organisms, but the least thing will set a predisposed organism on the
track. This, I may observe, seems to preclude simple imitation, upon
which Moreau afterwards lays considerable stress; for if none but the
already tainted can be influenced by their milieu, none but the tainted
will imitate.

What he calls "General Physical Causes" are (1) Extreme Poverty, (2)
Age, (3) Constitution, (4) Temperament, (5) Seasons of the Year, (6)
Climate, (7) Food.

Extreme poverty leads to indiscriminate vice, incest, sodomy, &c. That
is true, and we know that our city poor and the peasants of some
countries are habitually immoral. Yet Moreau proves too much here. For,
according to his principles, hereditary neurosis ought by this time to
have become chronic, epidemic, endemic, in all the city poor and in all
the peasants of all countries; which is notably not the fact. Puberty
and the approach of senility are pointed out as times when genesiac
symptoms manifest themselves. His observations upon the other points are
commonplace enough; and he repeats the current notion that inhabitants
of hot climates are more lascivious than those of the North.

Among "Individual Physical Causes," Moreau treats of malformation of the
sexual organs, diseases of those organs, injuries to the organism by
wounds, blows, poisons, masturbation, excessive indulgence in venery,
and exaggerated continence.

When we come to "General Moral Causes," heredity plays the first part.
This may be direct, i.e., the son of a genesiac will have the same
tastes as his father, or transformed; what is phthisis in one generation
assuming the form of sexual aberration in another. Bad education and
exposure to bad examples, together with imitation, are insisted on more

The "Individual Moral Causes" include impressions received in early
youth, on which I think perhaps Moreau does not lay sufficient stress,
and certain tendencies to subjective preoccupations with ideal ideas,
certain abnormal physical conditions which disturb the whole moral

Passing to Pathological Anatomy, Moreau declares that it is as yet
impossible to localise the sexual sense. The brain, the cerebellum, the
spinal marrow? We do not know. He seems to incline toward the

It is not necessary to follow Moreau in his otherwise interesting
account of the various manifestations of sexual disease. The greater
part of these have no relation to the subject of my work. But what he
says in passing about "pæderasts, sodomites, saphists," has to be
resumed. He reckons them among "A class of individuals who cannot and
ought not to be confounded either with men enjoying the fulness of their
intellectual faculties, or yet with madmen properly so called. They form
an intermediate class, a mixed class, constituting a real link of union
between reason and madness, the nature and existence of which can most
frequently be explained only by one word: Heredity" (p. 159). It is
surprising, after this announcement, to discover that what he has to say
about sexual inversion is limited to Europe and its moral system,
"having nothing to do with the morals of other countries where pæderasty
is accepted and admitted" (p. 172, note). Literally, then, he regards
sexual inversion in modern Christian Europe as a form of hereditary
neuropathy, a link between reason and madness; but in ancient Greece, in
modern Persia and Turkey, he regards the same psychological anomaly from
the point of view, not of disease, but of custom. In other words, an
Englishman or a Frenchman who loves the male sex must be diagnosed as
tainted with disease; while Sophocles, Pindar, Pheidias, Epaminondas,
Plato, are credited with yielding to an instinct which was healthy in
their times because society accepted it. The inefficiency of this
distinction in a treatise of analytical science ought to be indicated.
The bare fact that ancient Greece tolerated, and that modern Europe
refuses to tolerate sexual inversion, can have nothing to do with the
etiology, the pathology, the psychological definition of the phenomenon
in its essence. What has to be faced is that a certain type of passion
flourished under the light of day and bore good fruits for society in
Hellas; that the same type of passion flourishes in the shade and is the
source of misery and shame in Europe. The passion has not altered; but
the way of regarding it morally and legally is changed. A scientific
investigator ought not to take changes of public opinion into account
when he is analysing a psychological peculiarity.

This point on which I am insisting--namely, that it is illogical to
treat sexual inversion among the modern European races as a malady, when
you refer its prevalence among Oriental peoples and the ancient Hellenes
to custom--is so important that I shall illustrate it by a passage from
one of Dr. W. R. Huggard's Essays.[20] "It may be said that the
difference between the delusion of the overpowering impulse in the
Fijian and in the insane Englishman is that, in the savage, the mental
characters are due to education and surroundings; while, in the lunatic
they are due to disease. In a twofold manner, however, would this
explanation fail. On the one hand, even if in the Fijian there were
disease, the question of insanity could not arise in regard to a matter
considered by his society to be one of indifference. It would be absurd
to talk of homicidal mania, of nymphomania, and of kleptomania, as forms
of insanity, where murder, promiscuous intercourse, and stealing are not
condemned. On the other hand, the assumption that insanity is always due
to disease is not merely an unproved, but an improbable supposition.
There must, of course, be some defect of organism; but there is every
reason to think that, in many cases, the defect is of the nature of a
congenital lack of balance between structures themselves healthy; and
that many cases of insanity might properly be regarded as a kind of
'throwback' to a type of organisation now common among the lower races
of mankind." Substitute any term to indicate sexual inversion for
"nymphomania" in this paragraph, and the reasoning precisely suits my
argument. It is interesting, by the way, to find this writer agreeing
with Ulrichs in his suggestion of a "congenital lack of balance between
structures themselves healthy," and with Lombroso in his supposition of
atavistic reversion to savagery. Lombroso, we shall see, ultimately
identifies congenital criminality (one form of which is sexual
aberration in this theory) with moral insanity; and here Dr. Huggard is,
unconsciously perhaps, in agreement with him; for he defines insanity to
be "any mental defect that renders a person unable (and not capable of
being made able by punishment) to conform to the requirements of
society"--a definition which is no less applicable to the born criminal
than to the madman.

How little Dr. Moreau has weighed the importance of ancient Greece in
his discussion of this topic, appears from the omission of all facts
supplied by Greek literature and history in the introduction to his
Essay. He dilates upon the legends recorded by the Roman Emperors,
because these seem to support his theory of hereditary malady. He uses
Juvenal, Tacitus, Suetonius, and the Augustan Histories to support his
position, although they form part of the annals of a people among whom
"pæderasty was accepted and admitted." He ignores the biographies of the
Spartan kings, the institutions of Crete, the Theban Sacred Band, the
dialogues of Plato, the anecdotes related about Pheidias, Sophocles,
Pindar, Demosthenes, Alcibiades, and so forth. Does he perhaps do so
because they cannot in any way be made to square with his theory of
morbidity? The truth is that ancient Greece offers insuperable
difficulties to theorists who treat sexual inversion exclusively from
the points of view of neuropathy, tainted heredity, and masturbation.
And how incompetent Dr. Moreau is to deal with Greek matters may be seen
in the grotesque synonym he has invented for pæderasty-_philopodie_ (p.
173). Properly the word is compounded of φιλεἱν and πους; but I suppose
it is meant to suggest φιλεἱν and _podex_.

In a chapter on Legal Medicine, Moreau starts by observing that "The
facts are so monstrous, so tainted with aberration, and yet their agents
offer so strong an appearance of sound reason, occupy such respectable
positions in the world, are reputed to enjoy such probity, such
honourable sentiments, &c., that one hesitates to utter an opinion."
Proceeding further, he considers it sufficiently established that: "Not
unfrequently, under the influence of some vice of organism, generally of
heredity, the moral faculties may undergo alterations, which, if they do
not actually destroy the social relations of the individual, as happens
in cases of declared insanity, yet modify them to a remarkable degree,
and certainly demand to be taken into account, when we have to estimate
the morality of these acts" (p. 301). His conclusion, therefore, is that
the aberrations of the sexual sense, including its inversion, are
matters for the physician rather than the judge, for therapeutics rather
than punishment, and that representatives of the medical faculty ought
to sit upon the bench as advisers or assessors when persons accused of
outrages against decency come to trial. "While we blame and stigmatise
these crimes with reason, the horrified intellect seeks an explanation
and a moral excuse (nothing more) for such odious acts. It insists on
asking what can have brought a man honourably known in society,
enjoying (apparently at least) the fulness of his mental faculties, to
these base and shameful self-indulgences. We answer: Such men for the
most part are abnormal intelligences, veritable candidates for lunacy,
and, what is more, they are the subjects of hereditary maladies. But let
us cast a veil over a subject so humiliating to the honour of humanity!"
(p. 177).

As the final result of this analysis, Moreau classifies sexual inversion
with erotomania, nymphomania, satyriasis, bestiality, rape, profanation
of corpses, &c., as the symptom of a grave lesion of the procreative
sense. He seeks to save its victims from the prison by delivering them
over to the asylum. His moral sentiments are so revolted that he does
not even entertain the question whether their instincts are natural and
healthy though abnormal. Lastly, he refuses to face the aspects of this
psychological anomaly which are forced upon the student of ancient
Hellas. He does not even take into account the fact, patent to
experienced observers, that simple folk not unfrequently display no
greater disgust for the abnormalities of sexual appetite than they do
for its normal manifestations.[21]

_Die krankhaften Erscheinungen des Geschlechtssinnes. B. Tarnowsky.
Berlin, Hirschwald_, 1886.

This is avowedly an attempt to distinguish the morbid kinds of sexual
perversion from the merely vicious, and to enforce the necessity of
treating the former not as criminal but as pathological. "The forensic
physician discerns corruption, oversatiated sensuality, deep-rooted
vice, perverse will, &c., where the clinical observer recognises with
certainty a morbid condition of the patient marked by typical steps of
development and termination. Where the one wishes to punish immorality,
the other pleads for the necessity of methodical therapeutic treatment."

The author is a Russian, whose practice in St. Petersburg has brought
him into close professional relations with the male prostitutes and
habitual pæderasts of that capital.

He is able therefore to speak with authority, on the ground of a quite
exceptional knowledge of the moral and physical disturbances connected
with sodomy. I cannot but think that the very peculiarities of his
experience have led him to form incomplete theories. He is too familiar
with venal pathics, pædicators, and effeminates who prostitute their
bodies in the grossest way, to be able to appreciate the subtler
bearings of the problem.

Tarnowsky makes two broad divisions of sexual inversion. The first kind
is inborn, dependent upon hereditary taint and neuropathic diathesis. He
distinguishes three sorts of inborn perversity. In the most marked of
its forms it is chronic and persistent, appearing with the earliest
dawn of puberty, unmodified by education, attaining to its maximum of
intensity in manhood, manifesting, in fact, all the signs of ordinary
sexual inclination. In a second form it is not chronic and persistent,
but periodical. The patient is subject to occasional disturbances of the
nervous centres, which express themselves in violent and irresistible
attacks of the perverted instinct. The third form is epileptical.

With regard to acquired sexual inversion, he dwells upon the influence
of bad example, the power of imitation, fashion, corrupt literature,
curiosity in persons jaded with normal excesses. Extraordinary details
are given concerning the state of schools in Russia (pp. 63-65); and a
particular case is mentioned, in which Tarnowsky himself identified
twenty-nine passive pæderasts, between the ages of nine and fifteen, in
a single school. He had been called in to pronounce upon the causes of
an outbreak of syphilis among the pupils. Interesting information is
also communicated regarding the prevalence of abnormal vice in St.
Petersburg, where it appears that bath-men, cab-drivers, care-takers of
houses, and artisans are particularly in request (pp. 98-101). The
Russian people show no repugnance for what they call "gentlemen's
tricks." Tarnowsky calls attention to ships, garrisons, prisons, as
milieux well calculated for the development of this vice, when it had
once been introduced by some one tainted with it. His view about nations
like the Greeks, the Persians, and the Afghans is that, through
imitation, fashion, and social toleration, it has become endemic. But
all the sorts of abnormality included under the title of acquired
Tarnowsky regards as criminal. The individual ought, he thinks, to be
punished by the law. He naturally includes under this category of
acquired perversion the vices of old debauchees. At this point, however,
his classification becomes confused; for he shows how senile tendencies
to sodomitic passion are frequently the symptom of approaching brain
disease, to which the reason and the constitution of the patient will
succumb. French physicians call this "la pédérastie des ramollis."

Returning to what Tarnowsky says about the inborn species of sexual
inversion, I may call attention to an admirable description of the type
in general (pp. 11-15) I think, however, that he lays too great stress
upon the passivity of the emotions in these persons, their effeminacy of
press, habits, inclinations. He is clearly speaking from large
experience. So it must be supposed that he has not come across frequent
instances of men who feel, look, and act like men, the only difference
between them and normal males being that they love their own sex. In
describing a second degree of the aberration (pp. 16, 17), he still
accentuates effeminacy in dress and habits beyond the point which
general observation would justify. Careful study of the cases adduced in
Krafft-Ebing's "Psychopathia" supplies a just measure for the criticism
of Tarnowsky upon this head. From them we learn that effeminacy of
physique and habit is by no means a distinctive mark of the born
pæderast. Next it may be noticed that Tarnowsky believes even innate and
hereditary tendencies can be modified and overcome by proper moral, and
physique discipline in youth, and that the subjects of them will even be
brought to marry in some cases (pp. 17, 18).

It would not serve any purpose of utility here to follow Tarnowsky into
further details regarding the particular forms assumed by perverted
appetite. But attention must be directed to his definition of hereditary
predisposition (pp. 33-35). This is extraordinarily wide. He regards
every disturbance of the nervous system in an ancestor as sufficient;
epilepsy, brain disease, hysteria, insanity. He includes alcoholism,
syphilitic affections, pneumonia, typhus, physical exhaustion, excessive
anæmia, debauchery, "anything in short which is sufficient to enfeeble
the nervous system and the sexual potency of the parent." At this point
he remarks that long residence at high altitudes tends to weaken the
sexual activity and to develop perversity, adducing an old belief of the
Persians that pæderastia originated in the high plateau of Armenia (p.
35). It need hardly, I think, be said that these theories are
contradicted to the fullest extent by the experience of those who have
lived with the mountaineers of Central Europe. They are indeed capable
of continence to a remarkable degree, but they are also vigorously
procreative and remarkably free from sexual inversion.

Finally, it must be observed that Tarnowsky discusses the physical signs
of active and passive sodomy at some length (108-135). His opportunities
of physical observation in medical practice as the trusted physician of
the St. Petersburg pæderasts gives him the right to speak with
authority. The most decisive thing he says is that Casper, through want
of familiarity with the phenomena, is too contemptuous toward one point
in Tardieu's theory. In short, Tarnowsky feels sure that a habitual
passive pæderast will show something like the sign in question, if
examined by an expert in the proper position. But that is the only
deformation of the body on which he relies.

_Psychopathia Sexualis, mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der Conträren
Sexualempfindung. Von Dr. R. v. Krafft-Ebing. Stuttgart, Enke, 1889._

Krafft-Ebing took the problem of sexual inversion up when it had been
already investigated by a number of pioneers and predecessors. They
mapped the ground out, and established a kind of psychical chart. We
have seen the medical system growing in the works of Moreau and
Tarnowsky. If anything, Krafft-Ebing's treatment suffers from too much
subdivision and parade of classification. It is only, however, by
following the author in his differentiation of the several species that
we can form a conception of his general theory, and of the extent of the
observations upon which this is based. He starts with (A) Sexual
Inversion as an acquired morbid phenomenon. Then he reviews (B) Sexual
Inversion as an inborn morbid phenomenon.

(A) "Sexual feeling and sexual instinct," he begins, "remain latent,
except in obscure foreshadowings and impulses, until the time when the
organs of procreation come to be developed. During the period of
latency, when sex has not arrived at consciousness, is only potentially
existent, and has no powerful organic bias, influences may operate,
injurious to its normal and natural evolution. In that case the
germinating sexual sensibility runs a risk of being both qualitatively
and quantitatively impaired, and under certain circumstances may even
be perverted into a false channel. Tarnowsky has already published this
experience. I can thoroughly confirm it, and am prepared to define the
conditions of this acquired, or, in other words, this cultivated
perversion of the sexual instinct in the following terms. The
fundamental or ground predisposition is a neuropathic hereditary bias.
The exciting or efficient cause is sexual abuse, and more particularly
onanism. The etiological centre of gravity has to be sought in
hereditary disease; _and I think it is questionable whether an untainted
individual is capable of homosexual feelings at all_."[22]

Krafft-Ebing's theory seems then to be that all cases of acquired sexual
inversion may be ascribed in the first place to morbid predispositions
inherited by the patient (_Belastung_), and in the second place to
onanism as the exciting cause of the latent neuropathic ailment.

He excludes the hypothesis of a physiological and healthy deflection
from the normal rule of sex. "I think it questionable," he says,
"whether the untainted individual (_das unbelastete Individuum_) is
capable of homosexual feelings at all." The importance of this sentence
will be apparent when we come to deal with Krafft-Ebing's account of
congenital sexual inversion, which he establishes upon a large induction
of cases observed in his own practice.

For the present we have the right to assume that Krafft-Ebing regards
sexual inversion, whether "acquired" or "congenital," as a form of
inherited neuropathy (_Belastung_). In cases where it seems to be
"acquired," he lays stress upon the habit of self-pollution.

This is how he states his theory of onanism as an exciting cause of
inherited neuropathy, resulting in sexual inversion. The habit of
self-abuse prepares the patient for abnormal appetites by weakening his
nervous force, degrading his sexual imagination, and inducing
hyper-sensibility in his sexual apparatus. Partial impotence is not
unfrequently exhibited. In consequence of this sophistication of his
nature, the victim of inherited neuropathy and onanism feels shy with
women, and finds it convenient to frequent persons of his own sex. In
other words, it is supposed to be easier for an individual thus broken
down at the centres of his life to defy the law and to demand sexual
gratification from men than to consort with venal women in a brothel.

Krafft-Ebing assumes that males who have been born with neuropathic
ailments of an indefinite kind will masturbate, destroy their virility,
and then embark upon a course of vice which offers incalculable dangers,
inconceivable difficulties, and inexpressible repugnances. That is the
theory. But whence, if not from some overwhelming appetite, do the
demoralised victims of self-abuse derive courage for facing the
obstacles which a career of sexual inversion carries with it in our
civilisation? One would have thought that such people, if they could not
approach a prostitute in a brothel, would have been unable to solicit a
healthy man upon the streets. The theory seems to be constructed in
order to elude the fact that the persons designated are driven by a
natural impulse into paths far more beset with difficulties than those
of normal libertines.

Krafft-Ebing gives the details of five cases of "acquired" sexual
inversion. Three of these were the children of afflicted parents. One
had no morbid strain in his ancestry, except pulmonary consumption. The
fifth sprang from a strong father and a healthy mother. Masturbation
entered into the history of all.

It must be observed, in criticising Krafft-Ebing's theory, that it is so
constructed as to render controversy almost impossible. If we point out
that a large percentage of males who practise onanism in their
adolescence do not acquire sexual inversion, he will answer that these
were not tainted with hereditary disease. The autobiographies of
onanists and passionate woman-lovers (J. J. Rousseau, for example, who
evinced a perfect horror of homosexual indulgence, and J. J. Bouchard,
whose disgusting excentricities were directed toward females even in the
period of his total impotence) will be dismissed with the remark that
the ancestors of these writers must have shown a clean record.

It is difficult to square Krafft-Ebing's theory with the phenomena
presented by schools, both public and private, in all parts of Europe.
In these institutions not only is masturbation practised to a formidable
extent, but it is also everywhere connected with some form of sexual
inversion, either passionately Platonic or grossly sensual.
Nevertheless, we know that few of the boys addicted to these practices
remain abnormal after they have begun to frequent women. The same may be
said about convict establishments, military prisons, and the like.[23]
With such a body of facts staring us in the face, it cannot be contended
that "only tainted individuals are capable of homosexual feelings."
Where females are absent or forbidden, males turn for sexual
gratification to males. And in certain conditions of society sexual
inversion may become permanently established, recognised, all but
universal. It would be absurd to maintain that all the boy-lovers of
ancient Greece owed their instincts to hereditary neuropathy complicated
with onanism.

The invocation of heredity in problems of this kind is always hazardous.
We only throw the difficulty of explanation further back. At what point
of the world's history was the morbid taste acquired? If none but
tainted individuals are capable of homosexual feelings, how did these
feelings first come into existence? On the supposition that neuropathy
forms a necessary condition of abnormal instinct, is it generic
neuropathy or a specific type of that disorder? If generic, can valid
reasons be adduced for regarding nervous malady in any of its aspects
(hysteria is the mother, insanity is the father) as the cause of so
peculiarly differentiated an affection of the sexual appetite? If
specific, that is, if the ancestors of the patient must have been
afflicted with sexual inversion, in what way did they acquire it,
supposing all untainted individuals to be incapable of the feeling?

At this moment of history there is probably no individual in Europe who
has not inherited some portion of a neuropathic stain. If that be
granted, everybody is liable to sexual inversion, and the principle of
heredity becomes purely theoretical.

That sexual inversion may be and actually is transmitted, like any other
quality, appears to be proved by the history of well-known families both
in England and in Germany. That it is not unfrequently exhibited by
persons who have a bad ancestral record, may be taken for demonstrated.
In certain cases we are justified, then, in regarding it as the sign or
concomitant of nervous maladies. But the evidence of ancient Greece or
Rome, of what Burton calls the "sotadic races" at the present time, of
European schools and prisons, ought to make us hesitate before we commit
ourselves to Krafft-Ebing's theory that hereditary affliction is a
necessary predisposing cause.[24]

In like manner, masturbation may be credited with certain cases of
acquired homosexual feeling. Undoubtedly the instinct is occasionally
evoked in some obscure way by the depraved habit of inordinate
self-abuse. Yet the autobiographies of avowed Urnings do not corroborate
the view that they were originally more addicted to onanism than normal
males. Ulrichs has successfully combated the theory advanced by
Tarnowsky, Prager, and Krafft-Ebing, if considered as a complete
explanation of the problem.[25] On the other hand, common experience
shows beyond all doubt, that young men between 16 and 20 give
themselves up to daily self-abuse without weakening their appetite for
women. They love boys and practice mutual self-abuse with persons of
their own sex; yet they crave all the while for women. Of the many who
live thus during the years of adolescence, some have undoubtedly as bad
a family record as the worst of Krafft-Ebing's cases show. Finally, as
regards the onanism which is a marked characteristic of some adult
Urnings, this must be ascribed in most cases to the repression of their
abnormal instincts. They adopt the habit, as Krafft-Ebing himself says,
_faute de mieux_.[26]

In justice to the theory I am criticising, it ought to be remarked that
Krafft-Ebing does not contend that wherever hereditary taint and onanism
concur, the result will be sexual inversion; but rather that wherever we
have diagnosed an acquired form of sexual inversion, we shall discover
hereditary taint and onanism. Considering the frequency of both
hereditary taint and onanism in our civilisation, this is not risking
much. Those factors are discoverable in a large percentage of male
persons. What seems unwarranted by facts is the suggestion that
inherited neuropathy is an indispensable condition and the fundamental
cause of homosexual instincts. The evidence of ancient Greece, schools,
prisons, and sotadic races, compels us to believe that normally healthy
people are often born with these instincts or else acquire them by the
way of custom. Again, his insinuation that onanism, regarded as the main
exciting cause, is more frequent among young people of abnormal
inclinations than among their normal brethren, will not bear the test of
common observation and of facts communicated in the autobiographies of
professed onanists and confessed Urnings.

The problem is too delicate, too complicated, also too natural and
simple, to be solved by hereditary disease and self-abuse. When we shift
the ground of argument from acquired to inborn sexual inversion, its
puzzling character will become still more apparent. We shall hardly be
able to resist the conclusion that theories of disease are incompetent
to explain the phenomenon in modern Europe. Medical writers abandon the
phenomenon in savage races, in classical antiquity, and in the sotadic
zone. They strive to isolate it as an abnormal and specifically morbid
exception in our civilisation. But facts tend to show that it is a
recurring impulse of humanity, natural to some people, adopted by
others, and in the majority of cases compatible with an otherwise normal
and healthy temperament.

Krafft-Ebing calls attention to the phenomenon of permanent
_effeminatio_, in males unsexed by constant riding and the exhaustion of
their virility by friction of the genitals--a phenomenon observed by
Herodotus among Scythians, and prevalent among some nomadic races of the
Caucasus at the present day.[27] He claims this in support of his theory
of masturbation; and within due limits, he has the right to do so. The
destruction of the male apparatus for reproduction, whether it be by
castration after puberty, or by an accident to the parts, or by a lesion
of the spine, or by excessive equitation, as appears proved from the
history of nomad tribes, causes men to approximate physically to the
female type, and to affect feminine occupations and habits. In
proportion as the masculine functions are interfered with, masculine
characteristics tend to disappear; and it is curious to notice that the
same result is reached upon so many divers ways.

Next he discusses a few cases in which it seems that sexual inversion
displays itself episodically under the conditions of a psychopathical
disturbance.[28] That is to say, three persons, two women and one man,
have been observed by him, under conditions approaching mental
alienation, to exchange their normal sexual inclination for abnormal
appetite. In the analysis of the problem these cases cannot be regarded
as wholly insignificant. The details show that the subjects were clearly
morbid. Therefore they have their value for the building up of a theory
of sexual inversion upon the basis of inherited and active disease.

(B) Ultimately, Krafft-Ebing attacks the problem of what he calls "the
innate morbid phenomenon" of sexual inversion.[29] While giving a
general description of the subjects of this class, he remarks that the
males display a pronounced sexual antipathy for women, and a strongly
accentuated sympathy for men. Their reproductive organs are perfectly
differentiated on the masculine type; but they desire men instinctively,
and are inclined to express their bias by assuming characters of
femininity. Women infected by a like inversion, exhibit corresponding

Casper, continues Krafft-Ebing, thoroughly diagnosed the phenomenon.
Griesinger referred it to hereditary affliction. Westphal defined it as
"a congenital inversion of the sexual feeling, together with a
consciousness of its morbidity." Ulrichs explained it by the presence of
a feminine soul in a male body, and gave the name _Urning_[30] to its
subjects. Gley suggested that a female brain was combined with
masculine glands of sex. Magnan hypothesised a woman's brain in a man's

Krafft-Ebing asserts that hardly any of these Urnings are conscious of
morbidity. They look upon themselves as unfortunate mainly because law
and social prejudices stand in the way of their natural indulgence.[31]
He also takes for proved, together with all the authorities he cites,
that the abnormal sexual appetite is constitutional and inborn.

Krafft-Ebing, as might have been expected, refers the phenomenon to
functional degeneration, dependent upon neuropathical conditions in the
patient, which are mainly derived from hereditary affliction.

He confirms the account reported above from Casper as to the platonic or
semi-platonic relations of the Urning with the men he likes, his
abhorrence of coition, and his sexual gratification through acts of
mutual embracement. The number of Urnings in the world, he says, is far
greater than we can form the least conception of from present means of

At this point he begins to subdivide the subjects of congenital
inversion. The first class he constitutes are called by him "Psychical
Hermaphrodites." Born with a predominant inclination towards persons of
their own sex, they possess rudimentary feelings of a semi-sexual nature
for the opposite. These people not unfrequently marry; and Krafft-Ebing
supposes that many cases of frigidity in matrimony, unhappy unions, and
so forth, are attributable to the peculiar diathesis of the male--or it
may be, of the female--in these marriages. They are distinguished from
his previous class of "acquired" inversion by the fact that the latter
start with instincts for the other sex, which are gradually obliterated;
whereas the psychical hermaphrodites commence life with an attraction
towards their own sex, which they attempt to overcome by making demands
upon their rudimentary normal instincts. Five cases are given of such

In the next place he comes to true homosexual individuals, or Urnings in
the strict sense of that phrase. With them there is no rudimentary
appetite for the other sex apparent. They present a "grotesque" parallel
to normal men and women, inverting or caricaturing natural appetites.
The male of this class shrinks from the female, and the female from the
male.[33] Each is vehemently attracted from earliest childhood to
persons of the same sex. But they, in their turn, have to be subdivided
into two sub-species. In the first of these, the sexual life alone is
implicate; the persons who compose it do not differ in any marked or
external characteristics from the type of their own sex; their habits
and outward appearance remain unchanged. With the second sub-species the
case is different. Here the character, the mental constitution, the
habits, and the occupations of the subject have been altered by his or
her predominant sexual inversion; so that a male addicts himself to a
woman's work, assumes female clothes, acquires a shriller key of voice,
and expresses the inversion of his sexual instinct in every act and
gesture of his daily life.

It appears from Krafft-Ebing's recorded cases that the first of these
sub-species yields nearly the largest number of individuals. He
presents eleven detailed autobiographies of male Urnings, in whom the
_vita sexualis_ alone is abnormal, and who are differentiated to common
observation from normal men by nothing but the nature of their amorous
proclivities. The class includes powerfully developed masculine beings,
who are unsexed in no particular except that they possess an inordinate
appetite for males, and will not look at females.

As regards the family history of the eleven selected cases, five could
show a clear bill of health, some were decidedly bad, a small minority
were uncertain.

One of these Urnings, a physician, informed Krafft-Ebing that he had
consorted with at least six hundred men of his own stamp; many of them
in high positions of respectability. In none had he observed an abnormal
formation of the sexual organs; but frequently some approximation to the
feminine type of body--hair sparingly distributed[34], tender
complexion, and high tone of voice. About ten per cent. eventually
adopted love for women. Not ten per cent. exhibited any sign of the
_habitus muliebris_ in their occupations, dress, and so forth. A large
majority felt like men in their relations to men, and were even inclined
toward active pæderasty. From the unmentionable act they were deterred
by æsthetical repulsion and fear of the law.

The second of these sub-species embraces the individuals with whom the
reader of Carlier is familiar, and whom Ulrichs calls Weiblinge. In
their boyhood they exhibited a marked disinclination for the games of
their school-fellows, and preferred to consort with girls. They helped
their mothers in the household, learned to sew and knit, caught at every
opportunity of dressing up in female clothes. Later on, they began to
call themselves by names of women, avoided the society of normal
comrades, hated sport and physical exercise, were averse to smoking and
drinking, could not whistle. Whether they refrained from swearing is not
recorded. Many of them developed a taste for music, and prided
themselves upon their culture. Eventually, when they became unclassed,
they occupied themselves with toilette, scandal, tea, and talk about
their lovers--dressed as far as possible in female clothes, painted,
perfumed and curled their hair--addressed each other in the feminine
gender, adopted pseudonyms of Countess or of Princess, and lived the
life of women of a dubious demi-monde.[35]

Yet they remained in their physical configuration males. Unlike the
preceding sub-species, they did not feel as men feel towards their
sweethearts, but on the contrary like women. They had no impulse toward
active pæderasty, no inclination for blooming adolescents. What they
wanted was a robust adult; and to him they submitted themselves with
self-abandonment. Like all Urnings, they shrank from the act of coition
for the most part, and preferred embracements which produced a brief
and pleasurable orgasm. But some developed a peculiar liking for the
passive act of sodomy or the anomalous act of fellatio.

In this characterisation I have overpassed the limits of the fifteen
cases presented by Krafft-Ebing. In order to constitute the type, I have
drawn upon one reliable, because sympathetic, source in Ulrichs, and on
another reliable, because antipathetic, source in Carlier.

Sexual inversion, in persons of the third main species, has reached its
final development. Descending, if we follow Krafft-Ebing's categories,
from acquired to innate inversion, dividing the latter into psychopathic
hermaphrodites and Urnings, subdividing Urnings into those who retain
their masculine habit and those who develop a habit analogous to that of
females, we come in this last class to the most striking phenomenon of
inverted sex. Here the soul which is doomed to love a man, and is
nevertheless imprisoned in a male body, strives to convert that body to
feminine uses so entirely that the marks of sex, except in the
determined organs of sex, shall be obliterated. And sometimes it appears
that the singular operation of nature, with which we are occupied in
this Essay, goes even further. The inverted bias given to the sexual
appetite, as part of the spiritual nature of the man, can never quite
transmute male organs into female organs of procreation. But it modifies
the bony structure of the body, the form of the face, the fleshly and
muscular integuments to such an obvious extent that Krafft-Ebing thinks
himself justified in placing a separate class of androgynous beings
(with their gynandrous correspondents) at the end of the extraordinary

At this point it will be well to present a scheme of his analysis under
the form of a table.

                                { Persistent.
                     { Acquired {
                     {          { Episodical.
    Sexual Inversion {            { Psychopathic Hemaphrodites.
                     {            {
                     {            {         { Male Habitus
                     {            {         { (Mannlinge).
                     { Congenital { Urnings {
                                  {         { Female Habitus
                                  {         { (Weiblinge).
                                  { Androgyni.

What is the rational explanation of the facts presented to us by the
analysis which I have formulated in this table cannot as yet be
thoroughly determined. We do not know enough about the law of sex in
human beings to advance a theory. Krafft-Ebing and writers of his school
are at present inclined to refer them all to diseases of the nervous
centres, inherited, congenital, excited by early habits of self-abuse.
The inadequacy of this method I have already attempted to set forth; and
I have also called attention to the fact that it does not sufficiently
account for phenomena known to us through history and through every-day

Presently we shall be introduced to a theory (that of Ulrichs) which is
based upon a somewhat grotesque and metaphysical conception of nature,
and which dispenses with the hypothesis of hereditary disease. I am not
sure whether this theory, unsound as it may seem to medical specialists,
does not square better with ascertained facts than that of inherited
disorder in the nervous centres.

However that may be, the physicians, as represented by Krafft-Ebing,
absolve all subjects of inverted sexuality from crime. They represent
them to us as the subjects of ancestral malady. And this alters their
position face to face with vulgar error, theological rancour, and the
stringent indifference of legislators. A strong claim has been advanced
for their treatment henceforth, not as delinquents, but as subjects of
congenital depravity in the brain centres, over which they have no
adequate control.

The fourth medical author, with whom we are about to be occupied,
includes sexual inversion in his general survey of human crime, and
connects it less with anomalies of the nervous centres than with
atavistic reversion to the state of nature and savagery. In the end, it
will be seen, he accepts a concordat with the hypothesis of "moral

_Cesare Lombroso._ "_Der Verbrecher in Anthropologischer, Aerztlicher
und Juristischer Beziehung._"

This famous book, which has contributed no little to a revolution of
opinion regarding crime and its punishment in Italy, contains a
searching inquiry into the psychological nature, physical peculiarities,
habits, and previous history of criminals.[36] It is, in fact, a study
of the criminal temperament. Lombroso deals in the main, as is natural,
with murder, theft, rape, cruelty, and their allied species. But he
includes sexual inversion in the category of crimes, and regards the
abnormal appetites as signs of that morbid condition into which he
eventually revolves the criminal impulse.

Wishing to base his doctrine on a sound foundation, Lombroso begins with
what may be termed the embryology of crime. He finds unnatural vices
frequent among horses, donkeys, cattle, insects, fowls, dogs, ants. The
phenomenon, he says, is usually observable in cases where the male
animal has been excluded from intercourse with females. Having
established his general position that what we call crimes of violence,
robbery, murder, cruelty, blood-thirst, cannibalism, unnatural lust, and
so forth, exist among the brutes--in fact, that most of these crimes
form the rule and not the exception in their lives--he passes on to the
consideration of the savage man. In following his analysis, I shall
confine myself to what he says about abnormal sexual passion.

He points out that in New Caledonia the male savages meet together at
night in huts for the purpose of promiscuous intercourse (p. 42). The
same occurs in Tahiti, where the practice is placed under the protection
of a god. Next he alludes to the ancient Mexicans; and then proceeds to
Hellas and Rome, where this phase of savage immorality survived and
became a recognised factor in social life (p. 43). At Rome, he says, the
Venus of the sodomites received the title of Castina (p. 38).

Lombroso's treatment of sexual inversion regarded as a survival from
prehistoric times is by no means exhaustive. It might be supplemented
and confirmed by what we know about the manners of the Kelts, as
reported by Aristotle (Pol. ii. 6. 5.)--Tartars, Persians, Afghans,
North American Indians, &c. Diodorus Siculus, writing upon the morals of
the Gauls, deserves attention in this respect.[37] It is also singular
to find that the Norman marauders of the tenth century carried unnatural
vices wherever they appeared in Europe.[38] The Abbot of Clairvaux, as
quoted by Lombroso (p. 43), accused them of spreading their brutal
habits through society. People accustomed to look upon these vices as a
form of corruption in great cities will perhaps be surprised to find
them prevalent among nomadic and warlike tribes. But, in addition to
survival from half-savage periods of social life, the necessities of
warriors thrown together with an insufficiency of women must be
considered. I have already suggested that Greek love grew into a custom
during the Dorian migration and the conquest of Crete and Peloponnesus
by bands of soldiers.

Cannibalism, Lombroso points out (p. 68), originated in necessity,
became consecrated by religion, and finally remained as custom and a
form of gluttony. The same process of reasoning, when applied to sexual
aberrations, helps us to understand how a non-ethical habit, based on
scarcity of women, survived as a social and chivalrous institution among
the civilised Hellenes.

Lombroso traces the growth of justice in criminal affairs, and the
establishment of pains and penalties, up to the instinct of revenge and
the despotic selfishness of chiefs in whom the whole property of savage
tribes, including women, was vested. This section of his work concludes
with the following remarkable sentence (p. 96): "The universal diffusion
of crime which we have demonstrated at a certain remote epoch, and its
gradual disappearance as a consequence of new crimes springing up,
traces of which are still discoverable in our penal codes [he means
revenge, the egotism of princes, and ecclesiastical rapacity], are
calculated even more than the criminality of brutes to make us doubt of
what metaphysicians call eternal justice, and indicate the real cause of
the perpetual reappearance of crime among civilised races, namely

Having established this principle, Lombroso proceeds to trace the
atavism of criminality in children. He shows that just as the human
embryo passes through all forms of lower lives, so men and women in
their infancy exactly reproduce the moral type of savages. Ungovernable
rage, revengeful instincts, jealousy, envy, lying, stealing, cruelty,
laziness, vanity, sexual proclivities, imperfect family affections, a
general bluntness of the ethical sense, are common qualities of
children, which the parent and the teacher strive to control or to
eradicate by training. "The child, considered as a human being devoid of
moral sense, presents a perfect picture of what doctors call moral
insanity, and I prefer to classify as inborn crime" (p. 97). "All
species of anomalous sexual appetite, with the exception of those
dependent upon senile decadence, make their appearance in childhood,
together with the other criminal tendencies" (p. 117).

Lombroso arrives, then, at the conclusion that what civilised humanity
calls crime and punishes, is the law of nature in brutes, persists as a
normal condition among savages, and displays itself in the habits and
instincts of children. The moral instinct is therefore slowly elaborated
out of crime in the course of generations by whole races, and in the
course of infancy and adolescence in the individual. The habitual
criminal, who remains a criminal in his maturity, in whom crime is
inborn and ineradicable, who cannot develop a moral sense, he explains
at first by atavism. A large section of his volume (pp. 124-136,
137-253) is devoted to anthropometrical observations upon the physical
structure, the cranial and cerebral development, and the physiognomy of
such criminals. Into this part of his work we need not enter. Nor is it
necessary to follow his interesting researches in the biology and
psychology of "born criminals"--chapters on tattooing, ways of thinking
and feeling, passions, tendencies to suicide, religious sentiment,
intelligence and culture, capacity of self-control, liability to
relapse, and so forth. Many curious facts relating to sexual inversion
are treated in the course of these enquiries; and one passage describing
the general characteristics of pæderasts (p. 376) ought to be alluded
to. Considering this subject solely as a phase of crime, Lombroso
reveals a superficial conception of its perplexity.

It is more important to reflect upon his theory of crime in general.
Having started with the hypothesis of atavism, and adopted the term
"born criminal," he later on identifies "innate crime" with "moral
insanity," and illustrates both by the phenomena of epilepsy.[39] This
introduces a certain confusion and incoherence into his speculative
system; for he frankly admits that he has only gradually and tardily
been led to recognise the identity of what is called crime and what is
called moral insanity. Criminal atavism might be defined as the sporadic
reversion to savagery in certain individuals. It has nothing logically
to connect it with distortion or disease--unless we assume that all our
savage ancestors were malformed or diseased, and that the Greeks, in
whom one form of Lombroso's criminal atavism became established, were as
a nation morally insane. The appearance of structural defects in
habitual criminals points less to atavistic reversion than to radical
divergence from the normal type of humanity. In like manner the
invocation of heredity as a principle (p. 135) involves a similar
confusion. Hereditary taint is a thing different not in degree but in
kind from savage atavism prolonged from childhood into manhood.

Be this as it may, whether we regard offenders against law and ethic as
"born criminals," or as "morally insane," or whether we transcend the
distinction implied in these two terms, Lombroso maintains that there is
no good in trying to deal with them by punishment. They ought to be
treated with life-long sequestration in asylums (p. 135), and rigidly
forbidden to perpetuate the species. That is the conclusion to which the
whole of his long argument is carried. He contends that the prevalent
juristic conception of crime rests upon ignorance of nature, brute-life,
savagery, and the gradual emergence of morality. So radical a revolution
in ideas, which gives new meaning to the words sin and conscience,
which removes moral responsibility, and which substitutes the
anthropologist and the physician for the judge and jury, cannot be
carried out, even by its fervent apostle, without some want of severe
logic. Thus we find Lombroso frequently drawing distinctions between
"habitual" or "born" criminals and what he calls "occasional" criminals,
without explaining the phenomenon of "occasional crime," and saying how
he thinks this ought to be regarded by society. Moreover, he almost
wholly ignores the possibility of correcting criminal tendencies by
appeal to reason, by establishing habits of self-restraint, and by the
employment of such means as hypnotic suggestion.[40] Yet experience and
the common practice of the world prove that these remedies are not
wholly inefficacious; and indeed the passage from childish savagery to
moralised manhood, on which he lays so great a stress, is daily effected
by the employment of such measures in combination with the fear of
punishment and the desire to win esteem.

The final word upon Lombroso's book is this: Having started with the
natural history of crime, as a prime constituent in nature and humanity,
which only becomes crime through the development of social morality, and
which survives atavistically in persons ill adapted to their civilised
environment, he suddenly turns round and identifies the crime thus
analysed with morbid nerve-conditions, malformations and moral insanity.
Logically, it is impossible to effect this coalition of two radically
different conceptions. If crime was not crime but nature in the earlier
stages, and only appeared as crime under the conditions of advancing
culture, its manifestation as a survival in certain individuals ought to
be referred to nature, and cannot be relegated to the category of
physical or mental disease. Savages are savages, but not lunatics or


At the close of this enquiry into medical theories of sexual inversion,
all of which assume that the phenomenon is morbid, it may not be
superfluous to append the protest of an Urning against that solution of
the problem. I translate it from the original document published by
Krafft-Ebing (pp. 216-219). He says that the writer is "a man of high
position in London"; but whether the communication was made in German or
in English, does not appear.

"You have no conception what sustained and difficult struggles we all of
us (the thoughtful and refined among us most of all) have to carry on,
and how terribly we are forced to suffer under the false opinions which
still prevail regarding us and our so-called immorality.

"Your view that, in most cases, the phenomenon in question has to be
ascribed to congenital morbidity, offers perhaps the easiest way of
overcoming popular prejudices, and awakening sympathy instead of horror
and contempt for us poor 'afflicted' creatures.

"Still, while I believe that this view is the most favourable for us in
the present state of things, I am unable in the interest of science to
accept the term _morbid_ without qualification, and venture to suggest
some further distinctions bearing on the central difficulties of the

"The phenomenon is certainly anomalous; but the term _morbid_ carries a
meaning which seems to me inapplicable to the subject, or at all events
to very many cases which have come under my cognisance. I will concede
_à priori_ that a far larger proportion of mental disturbance, nervous
hyper-sensibility, &c., can be proved in Urnings than in normal men. But
ought this excess of nervous erethism to be referred necessarily to the
peculiar nature of the Urning? Is not this the true explanation, in a
vast majority of cases, that the Urning, owing to present laws and
social prejudices, cannot like other men obtain a simple and easy
satisfaction of his inborn sexual desires?

"To begin with the years of boyhood: an Urning, when he first becomes
aware of sexual stirrings in his nature, and innocently speaks about
them to his comrades, soon finds that he is unintelligible. So he wraps
himself within his own thoughts. Or should he attempt to tell a teacher
or his parents about these feelings, the inclination, which for him is
as natural as swimming to a fish, will be treated by them as corrupt and
sinful; he is exhorted at any cost to overcome and trample on it. Then
there begins in him a hidden conflict, a forcible suppression of the
sexual impulse; and in proportion as the natural satisfaction of his
craving is denied, fancy works with still more lively efforts, conjuring
up those seductive pictures which he would fain expel from his
imagination. The more energetic is the youth who has to fight this
inner battle, the more seriously must his whole nervous system suffer
from it. It is this forcible suppression of an instinct so deeply rooted
in our nature, it is this, in my humble opinion, which first originates
the morbid symptoms, that may often be observed in Urnings. But such
consequences have nothing in themselves to do with the sexual inversion
proper to the Urning.

"Well then; some persons prolong this never-ending inner conflict, and
ruin their constitutions in course of time; others arrive eventually at
the conviction that an inborn impulse, which exists in them so
powerfully, cannot possibly be sinful--so they abandon the impossible
task of suppressing it. But just at this point begins in real earnest
the Iliad of their sufferings and constant nervous excitations. The
normal man, if he looks for means to satisfy his sexual inclinations,
knows always where to find that without trouble. Not so the Urning. He
sees the men who attract him; he dares not utter, nay, dares not even
let it be perceived, what stirs him. He imagines that he alone of all
the people in the world is the subject of emotions so eccentric.
Naturally, he cultivates the society of young men, but does not venture
to confide in them. So at last he is driven to seek some relief in
himself, some makeshift for the satisfaction he cannot obtain. This
results in masturbation, probably excessive, with its usual pernicious
consequences to health. When, after the lapse of a certain time, his
nervous system is gravely compromised, this morbid phenomenon ought not
to be ascribed to sexual inversion in itself; far rather we have to
regard it as the logical issue of the Urning's position, driven as he is
by dominant opinion to forego the gratification which _for him_ is
natural and normal, and to betake himself to onanism.

"But let us now suppose that the Urning has enjoyed the exceptional
good-fortune of finding upon his path in life a soul who feels the same
as he does, or else that he has been early introduced by some initiated
friend into the circles of the Urning-world. In this case, it is
possible that he will have escaped many painful conflicts; yet a long
series of exciting cares and anxieties attend on every step he takes. He
knows indeed now that he is by no means the only individual in the world
who harbours these abnormal emotions; he opens his eyes, and marvels to
discover how numerous are his comrades in all social spheres and every
class of industry; he also soon perceives that Urnings, no less than
normal men and women, have developed prostitution, and that male
strumpets can be bought for money just as easily as females.
Accordingly, there is no longer any difficulty for him in gratifying his
sexual impulse. But how differently do things develop themselves in his
case! How far less fortunate is he than normal man!

"Let us assume the luckiest case that can befall him. The sympathetic
friend, for whom he has been sighing all his life, is found. Yet he
cannot openly give himself up to this connection, as a young fellow does
with the girl he loves. Both of the comrades are continually forced to
hide their _liaison_; their anxiety on this point is incessant; anything
like an excessive intimacy, which could arouse suspicion (especially
when they are not of the same age, or do not belong to the same class
in society), has to be concealed from the external world. In this way,
the very commencement of the relation sets a whole chain of exciting
incidents in motion: and the dread lest the secret should be betrayed or
divined, prevents the unfortunate lover from ever arriving at a simple
happiness. Trifling circumstances, which would have no importance for
another sort of man, make him tremble: lest suspicion should awake, his
secret be discovered, and he become a social outcast, lose his official
appointment, be excluded from his profession. Is it conceivable that
this incessant anxiety and care should pass over him without a trace,
and not react upon his nervous system?

"Another individual, less lucky, has not found a sympathetic comrade,
but has fallen into the hands of some pretty fellow, who at the outset
readily responded to his wishes, till he drew the very deepest secret of
his nature forth. At that point the subtlest methods of blackmailing
begin to be employed. The miserable persecuted wretch, placed between
the alternative of paying money down or of becoming socially impossible,
losing a valued position, seeing dishonour bursting upon himself and
family, pays, and still the more he pays, the greedier becomes the
vampire who sucks his life-blood, until at last there lies nothing else
before him except total financial ruin or disgrace. Who will be
astonished if the nerves of an individual in this position are not equal
to the horrid strain?

"In some cases the nerves give way altogether: mental alienation sets
in; at last the wretch finds in a madhouse that repose which life would
not afford him. Others terminate their unendurable situation by the
desperate act of suicide. How many unexplained cases of suicide in young
men ought to be ascribed to this cause!

"I do not think I am far wrong when I maintain that at least half of the
suicides of young men are due to this one circumstance. Even in cases
where no merciless blackmailer persecutes the Urning, but a connection
has existed which lasted satisfactorily on both sides, still in these
cases even discovery, or the dread of discovery, leads only too often to
suicide. How many officers, who have had connection with their
subordinates, how many soldiers, who have lived in such relation with a
comrade, when they thought they were about to be discovered, have put a
bullet through their brains to avoid the coming disgrace! And the same
thing might be said about all the other callings in life.

"In consequence of all this, it seems clear that if, as a matter of
fact, mental abnormalities and real disturbances of the intellect are
commoner with Urnings than in the case of other men, this does not
establish an inevitable connection between the mental eccentricity and
the Urning's specific temperament, or prove that the latter causes the
former. According to my firm conviction, mental disturbances and morbid
symptoms which may be observed in Urnings ought in the large majority of
instances not to be referred to their sexual anomaly; the real fact is
that they are educed in them by the prevalent false theory of sexual
inversion, together with the legislation in force against Urnings and
the reigning tone of public opinion. It is only one who has some
approximate notion of the mental and moral sufferings, of the anxieties
and perturbations, to which an Urning is exposed, who knows the
never-ending hypocrisies and concealments he must practise in order to
cloak his indwelling inclination, who comprehends the infinite
difficulties which oppose the natural satisfaction of his sexual
desire--it is only such a one, I say, who is able properly to wonder at
the comparative rarity of mental aberrations and nervous ailments in the
class of Urnings. The larger proportion of these morbid circumstances
would certainly not be developed if the Urning, like the normal man,
could obtain a simple and facile gratification of his sexual appetite,
and if he were not everlastingly exposed to the torturing anxieties I
have attempted to describe."

This is powerfully and temperately written. It confirms what I have
attempted to establish while criticising the medical hypothesis; and
raises the further question whether the phenomenon of sexual inversion
ought not to be approached from the point of view of embryology rather
than of psychical pathology. In other words, is not the true Urning to
be regarded as a person born with sexual instincts improperly correlated
to his sexual organs? This he can be without any inherited or latent
morbidity; and the nervous anomalies discovered in him when he falls at
last beneath the observation of physicians, may be not the evidence of
an originally tainted constitution, but the consequence of unnatural
conditions to which he has been exposed from the age of puberty.



No one has yet attempted a complete history of inverted sexuality in all
ages and in all races. This would be well worth doing. Materials, though
not extremely plentiful, lie to hand in the religious books and codes of
ancient nations, in mythology and poetry and literature, in narratives
of travel, and the reports of observant explorers.

Gibbon once suggested that: "A curious dissertation might be formed on
the introduction of pæderasty after the time of Homer, its progress
among the Greeks of Asia and Europe, the vehemence of their passions,
and the thin device of virtue and friendship which amused the
philosophers of Athens. But," adds the prurient prude, "Scelera ostendi
oportet dum puniunter, abscondi flagitia."

Two scholars responded to this call. The result is that the chapter on
Greek love has been very fairly written by equally impartial, equally
learned, and independent authors, who approached the subject from
somewhat different points of view, but who arrived in the main at
similar conclusions.

The first of these histories is M. H. E. Meier's article on
_Pæderastie_ in Ersch and Gruber's "Allgemeine Encyklopädie:" Leipzig,
Brockhaus, 1837.

The second is a treatise entitled "A Problem in Greek Ethics," composed
by an Englishman in English. The anonymous author was not acquainted
with Meier's article before he wrote, and only came across it long after
he had printed his own essay. This work is extremely rare, ten copies
only having been impressed for private use.

Enquirers into the psychology and morality of sexual inversion should
not fail to study one or other of these treatises. It will surprise many
a well-read scholar, when he sees the whole list of Greek authorities
and passages collected and co-ordinated, to find how thoroughly the
manners and the literature of that great people were penetrated with
pæderastia. The myths and heroic legends of prehistoric Hellas, the
educational institutions of the Dorian state, the dialogues of Plato,
the history of the Theban army, the biographies of innumerable eminent
citizens--lawgivers and thinkers, governors and generals, founders of
colonies and philosophers, poets and sculptors--render it impossible to
maintain that this passion was either a degraded vice or a form of
inherited neuropathy in the race to whom we owe so much of our
intellectual heritage. Having surveyed the picture, we may turn aside to
wonder whether modern European nations, imbued with the opinions I have
described above in the section on Vulgar Errors, are wise in making
Greek literature a staple of the higher education. Their motto is
_Érasez l'infâme!_ Here the infamous thing clothes itself like an angel
of light, and raises its forehead unabashed to heaven among the marble
peristyles and olive-groves of an unrivalled civilization.

Another book, written from a medical point of view, is valuable upon the
pathology of sexual inversion and cognate aberrations among the nations
of antiquity. It bears the title "Geschichte der Lustseuche im
Alterthume," and is composed by Dr. Julius Rosenbaum.[41] Rosenbaum
attempts to solve the problem of the existence of syphilis and other
venereal diseases in the remote past. This enquiry leads him to
investigate the whole of Greek and Latin literature in its bearing upon
sexual vice. Students will therefore expect from his pages no profound
psychological speculations and no idealistic presentation of an
eminently repulsive subject. One of the most interesting chapters of his
work is devoted to what Herodotus called Νοὑσος φἡλεια among the
Scythians, a wide-spread effemination prevailing in a wild warlike and
nomadic race. We have already alluded to Krafft-Ebing's remarks on this
disease, which has curious points of resemblance with some of the facts
of male prostitution in modern cities.[42]

Professed anthropologists have dealt with the subject, collecting
evidence from many quarters, and in some cases attempting to draw
general conclusions. Bastian's "Der Mensch der Geschichte"[43] and
Herbert Spencer's Tables deserve special mention for their encyclopædic
fulness of information regarding the distribution of abnormal sexuality
and the customs of savage tribes.

In England an Essay appended to the last volume of Sir Richard Burton's
"Arabian Nights" made a considerable stir upon its first appearance.[44]
The author endeavoured to co-ordinate a large amount of miscellaneous
matter, and to frame a general theory regarding the origin and
prevalence of homosexual passions. His erudition, however, is
incomplete; and though he possesses a copious store of anthropological
details, he is not at the proper point of view for discussing the topic
philosophically.[45] For example, he takes for granted that "Pederasty,"
as he calls it, is everywhere and always what the vulgar think it. He
seems to have no notion of the complicated psychology of Urnings,
revealed to us by their recently published confessions in French and
German medical and legal works. Still his views deserve consideration.

Burton regards the phenomenon as "geographical and climatic, not
racial." He summarises the result of his investigations in the following
five conclusions.[46]

"(1) There exists what I shall call a 'Sotadic Zone,' bounded westwards
by the northern shores of the Mediterranean (N. lat. 43°) and by the
southern (N. lat. 30°). Thus the depth would be 780 to 800 miles,
including meridional France, the Iberian Peninsula, Italy and Greece,
with the coast-regions of Africa from Morocco to Egypt.

"(2) Running eastward the Sotadic Zone narrows, embracing Asia Minor,
Mesopotamia and Chaldæa, Afghanistan, Sind, the Punjab, and Kashmir.

"(3) In Indo-China the belt begins to broaden, enfolding China, Japan,
and Turkistan.

"(4) It then embraces the South Sea Islands and the New World, where, at
the time of its discovery, Sotadic love was, with some exceptions, an
established racial institution.

"(5) Within the Sotadic Zone the vice is popular and endemic, held at
the worst to be a mere peccadillo, whilst the races to the North and
South of the limits here defined practise it only sporadically, amid the
opprobrium of their fellows, who, as a rule, are physically incapable of
performing the operation, and look upon it with the liveliest disgust."

This is a curious and interesting generalisation, though it does not
account for what history has transmitted regarding the customs of the
Kelts, Scythians, Bulgars, Tartars, Normans, and for the acknowledged
leniency of modern Slavs to this form of vice.

Burton advances an explanation of its origin. "The only physical cause
for the practice which suggests itself to me, and that must be owned to
be purely conjectural, is that within the Sotadic Zone there is a
blending of the masculine and feminine temperament, a crasis which
elsewhere occurs only sporadically."[47] So far as it goes, this
suggestion rests upon ground admitted to be empirically sound by the
medical writers we have already examined, and vehemently declared to be
indisputable as a fact of physiology by Ulrichs, whom I shall presently
introduce to my readers. But Burton makes no effort to account for the
occurrence of this crasis of masculine and feminine temperaments in the
Sotadic Zone at large, and for its sporadic appearance in other regions.
Would it not be more philosophical to conjecture that the crasis, if
that exists at all, takes place universally; but that the consequences
are only tolerated in certain parts of the globe, which he defines as
the Sotadic Zone? Ancient Greece and Rome permitted them. Modern Greece
and Italy have excluded them to the same extent as Northern European
nations. North and South America, before the Conquest, saw no harm in
them. Since its colonisation by Europeans they have been
discountenanced. The phenomenon cannot therefore be regarded as
specifically geographical and climatic. Besides, there is one fact
mentioned by Burton which ought to make him doubt his geographical
theory. He says that, after the conquest of Algiers, the French troops
were infected to an enormous extent by the habits they had acquired
there, and from them it spread so far and wide into civilian society
that "the vice may be said to have been democratised in cities and large
towns."[48] This surely proves that north of the Sotadic Zone males are
neither physically incapable of the acts involved in abnormal passion,
nor gifted with an insuperable disgust for them. Law, and the public
opinion generated by law and religious teaching, have been deterrent
causes in those regions. The problem is therefore not geographical and
climatic, but social. Again, may it not be suggested that the absence of
"the Vice" among the negroes and negroid races of South Africa, noticed
by Burton,[49] is due to their excellent customs of sexual initiation
and education at the age of puberty--customs which it is the shame of
modern civilisation to have left unimitated?

However this may be, Burton regards the instinct as natural, not _contre
nature_, and says that its patients "deserve, not prosecution but the
pitiful care of the physician and the study of the psychologist."[50]

Another distinguished anthropologist, Paolo Mantegazza, has devoted
special attention to the physiology and psychology of what he calls "I
pervertimenti dell'amore."[51] Starting with the vulgar error that all
sexual inversion implies the unmentionable act of coition (for which, by
the way, he is severely rebuked by Krafft-Ebing, Psy. Sex., p. 92), he
explains anomalous passions by supposing that the nerves of pleasurable
sensation, which ought to be carried to the genital organs, are in some
cases carried to the rectum.[52] This malformation makes its subject
desire _coitum per anum_. That an intimate connection exists between the
nerves of the reproductive organs and the nerves of the rectum is known
to anatomists and is felt by everybody. Probably some _cinædi_ are
excited voluptuously in the mode suggested. Seneca, in his Epistles,
records such cases; and it is difficult in any other way to account for
the transports felt by male prostitutes of the Weibling type. Finally,
writers upon female prostitution mention women who are incapable of
deriving pleasure from any sexual act except _aversa venus_.

Mantegazza's observation deserves to be remembered, and ought to be
tested by investigation. But, it is obvious, he pushes the corollary he
draws from it, as to the prevalence of sexual inversion, too far.

He distinguishes three classes of sodomy: (1) Perpheric or anatomical,
caused by an unusual distribution of the nerves passing from the spine
to the reproductive organs and the rectum; (2) psychical, which he
describes as "specific to intelligent men, cultivated, and frequently
neurotic," but which he does not attempt to elucidate, though he calls
it "not a vice, but a passion"; (3) luxurious or lustful, when the
_aversa venus_ is deliberately chosen on account of what Mantegazza
terms "la desolante larghezza" of the female.[53]

Mantegazza winds up, like Burton, by observing that "sodomy, studied
with the pitying and indulgent eye of the physician and the
physiologist, is consequently a disease which claims to be cured, and
can in many cases be cured."[54]

After perusing what physicians, historians, and anthropologists have to
say about sexual inversion, there is good reason for us to feel uneasy
as to the present condition of our laws. And yet it might be argued
that anomalous desires are not always maladies, not always congenital,
not always psychical passions. In some cases they must surely be vices
deliberately adopted out of lustfulness, wanton curiosity, and seeking
after sensual refinements. The difficult question still remains
then--how to repress vice, without acting unjustly toward the naturally
abnormal, the unfortunate, and the irresponsible.

I pass now to the polemical writings of a man who maintains that
homosexual passions, even in their vicious aspects, ought not to be
punished except in the same degree and under the same conditions as the
normal passions of the majority.



It can hardly be said that inverted sexuality received a serious and
sympathetic treatment until a German jurist, named Karl Heinrich
Ulrichs, began his long warfare against what he considered to be
prejudice and ignorance upon a topic of the greatest moment to himself.
A native of Hanover, and writing at first under the assumed name of Numa
Numantius, he kept pouring out a series of polemical, analytical,
theoretical, and apologetical pamphlets between the years 1864 and 1870.
The most important of these works is a lengthy and comprehensive Essay
entitled "Memnon. Die Geschlechtsnatur des mannliebenden Urnings. Eine
naturwissenschaftliche Darstellung. Schleiz, 1868." Memnon may be used
as the text-book of its author's theories; but it is also necessary to
study earlier and later treatises--Inclusa, Formatrix, Vindex, Ara Spei,
Gladius Furens, Incubus, Argonauticus, Prometheus, Araxes, Kritische
Pfeile--in order to obtain a complete knowledge of his opinions, and to
master the whole mass of information he has brought together.

The object of Ulrichs in these miscellaneous writings is twofold. He
seeks to establish a theory of sexual inversion upon the basis of
natural science, proving that abnormal instincts are inborn and healthy
in a considerable percentage of human beings; that they do not owe their
origin to bad habits of any kind, to hereditary disease, or to wilful
depravity; that they are incapable in the majority of cases of being
extirpated or converted into normal channels; and that the men subject
to them are neither physically, intellectually, nor morally inferior to
normally constituted individuals. Having demonstrated these points to
his own satisfaction, and supported his views with a large induction of
instances and a respectable show of erudition, he proceeds to argue that
the present state of the law in many states of Europe is flagrantly
unjust to a class of innocent persons, who may indeed be regarded as
unfortunate and inconvenient, but who are guilty of nothing which
deserves reprobation and punishment. In this second and polemical branch
of his exposition, Ulrichs assumes, for his juristic starting-point,
that each human being is born with natural rights which legislation
ought not to infringe but protect. He does not attempt to confute the
utilitarian theory of jurisprudence, which regards laws as regulations
made by the majority in the supposed interests of society. Yet a large
amount of his reasoning is designed to invalidate utilitarian arguments
in favour of repression, by showing that no social evil ensues in those
countries which have placed abnormal sexuality upon the same footing as
the normal, and that the toleration of inverted passion threatens no
danger to the well-being of nations.

After this prelude, an abstract of Ulrichs' theory and his pleading may
be given, deduced from the comparative study of his numerous essays.

The right key to the solution of the problem is to be found in
physiology, in that obscure department of natural science which deals
with the evolution of sex. The embryo, as we are now aware, contains an
undetermined element of sex during the first months of pregnancy. This
is gradually worked up into male and female organs of procreation; and
these, when the age of puberty arrives, are generally accompanied by
corresponding male and female appetites. That is to say, the man in an
immense majority of cases desires the woman, and the woman desires the
man. Nature, so to speak, aims at differentiating the undecided fœtus
into a human being of one or the other sex, the propagation of the
species being the main object of life. Still, as Aristotle puts it, and
as we observe in many of her operations, "Nature wishes, but has not
always the power": ἡ φὑσις Βὁυλεται μἑν ἁλλ' οὑ δὑναται. Consequently in
respect of physical structure, there come to light imperfect
individuals, so-called hermaphrodites, whose sexual apparatus is so far
undetermined that many a real male has passed a portion of his life
under a mistake, has worn female clothes, and has cohabited by
preference with men. Likewise, in respect of spiritual nature, there
appear males who, notwithstanding their marked masculine organisation,
feel from the earliest childhood a sexual proclivity toward men, with a
corresponding indifference for women. In some of these abnormal, but
natural, beings, the appetite for men resembles the normal appetite of
men for women; in others it resembles the normal appetite of women for
men. That is to say, some prefer effeminate males, dressed in feminine
clothes and addicted to female occupations. Others prefer powerful
adults of an ultra-masculine stamp. A third class manifest their
predilection for healthy young men in the bloom of adolescence, between
nineteen and twenty. The attitude of such persons towards women also
varies. In genuine cases of inborn sexual inversion a positive horror is
felt when the woman has to be carnally known; and this horror is of the
same sort as that which normal men experience when they think of
cohabitation with a male.[55] In others the disinclination does not
amount to repugnance; but the abnormal man finds considerable difficulty
in stimulating himself to the sexual act with females, and derives a
very imperfect satisfaction from the same. A certain type of man, in the
last place, seems to be indifferent, desiring males at one time and
females at another.

In order to gain clearness in his exposition, Ulrichs has invented names
for these several species. The so-called hermaphrodite he dismisses with
the German designation of _Zwitter_. Imperfect individuals of this type
are not to be considered, because it is well known that the male or
female organs are never developed in one and the same body. It is also,
as we shall presently discover, an essential part of his theory to
regard the problem of inversion psychologically.

The normal man he calls _Dioning_, the abnormal man _Urning_. Among
Urnings, those who prefer effeminate males are christened by the name of
_Mannling_; those who prefer powerful and masculine adults receive the
name of _Weibling_; the Urning who cares for adolescents is styled a
_Zwischen-Urning_. Men who seemed to be indifferently attracted by both
sexes, he calls _Uranodioninge_. A genuine Dioning, who, from lack of
women, or under the influence of special circumstances, consorts with
persons of his own sex, is denominated _Uraniaster_. A genuine Urning,
who has put restraint upon his inborn impulse, who has forced himself to
cohabit with women, or has perhaps contracted marriage, is said to be
_Virilisirt_--a virilised Urning.

These outlandish names, though seemingly pedantic and superfluous, have
their technical value, and are necessary to the understanding of
Ulrichs' system. He is dealing exclusively with individuals classified
by common parlance as males without distinction. Ulrichs believes that
he can establish a real natural division between men proper, whom he
calls _Dioninge_, and males of an anomalous sexual development, whom he
calls _Urninge_. Having proceeded so far, he finds the necessity of
distinguishing three broad types of the Urning, and of making out the
crosses between Urning and Dioning, of which he also find three species.
It will appear in the sequel that whatever may be thought about his
psychological hypothesis, the nomenclature he has adopted is useful in
discussion, and corresponds to well-defined phenomena, of which we have
abundant information. The following table will make his analysis
sufficiently plain:--

          { (1) Man or Dioning ... Uraniaster, when
          {                        he has acquired the
          {                        tastes of the Urning.
     The  {            { Mannling.
    Human { (2) Urning { Weibling.
     Male {            { Zwischen-Urning.
          {            { Virilised Urning.
          { (3) Uranodioning.
          { (4) Hermaphrodite.

Broadly speaking, the male includes two main species: Dioning and
Urning, men with normal and men with abnormal instincts. What, then,
constitutes the distinction between them? How are we justified in
regarding them as radically divergent?

Ulrichs replies that the phenomenon of sexual inversion is to be
explained by physiology, and particularly by the evolution of the
embryo.[56] Nature fails to complete her work regularly and in every
instance. Having succeeded in differentiating a male with full-formed
sexual organs from the undecided fœtus, she does not always effect the
proper differentiation of that portion of the psychical being in which
resides the sexual appetite. There remains a female soul in a male body.
_Anima muliebris virili corpore inclusa_, is the formula adopted by
Ulrichs; and he quotes a passage from the "Vestiges of Creation," which
suggests that a male is a more advanced product of sexual evolution than
the female. The male instinct of sex is a more advanced product than the
female instinct. Consequently men appear whose body has been
differentiated as masculine, but whose sexual instinct has not
progressed beyond the feminine stage.

Ulrichs' own words ought to be cited upon this fundamental part of his
hypothesis, since he does not adopt the opinion that the Urning is a
Dioning arrested at a certain point of development; but rather that
there is an element of uncertainty attending the simultaneous evolution
of physical and psychical factors from the indeterminate ground-stuff.
"Sex," says he, "is only an affair of development. Up to a certain stage
of embryonic existence all living mammals are hermaphroditic. A certain
number of them advance to the condition of what I call man (Doining),
others to what I call woman (Dioningin), a third class become what I
call _Urning_ (including _Urningin_). It ensues therefrom that between
these three sexes there are no primary, but only secondary differences.
And yet true differences, constituting sexual species, exist as
facts."[57] Man, Woman, and Urning--the third being either a male or a
female in whom we observe a real and inborn, not an acquired or a
spurious, inversion of appetite--are consequently regarded by him as the
three main divisions of humanity viewed from the point of view of sex.
The embryonic ground-stuff in the case of each was homologous; but while
the two former, Man and Woman, have been normally differentiated, the
Urning's sexual instinct, owing to some imperfection in the process of
development, does not correspond to his or her sexual organs.

The line of division between the sexes, even in adult life, is a subtle
one; and the physical structure of men and women yields indubitable
signs of their emergence from a common ground-stuff. Perfect men have
rudimentary breasts. Perfect women carry a rudimentary penis in their
clitoris. The raphé of the scrotum shows where the aperture, common at
first to masculine and feminine beings, but afterwards only retained in
the female vulva, was closed up to form a male. Other anatomical details
of the same sort might be adduced. But these will suffice to make
thinking persons reflect upon the mysterious dubiety of what we call
sex. That gradual development, which ends in normal differentiation,
goes on very slowly. It is only at the age of puberty that a boy
distinguishes himself abruptly from a girl, by changing his voice and
growing hair on parts of the body where it is not usually found in
women. This being so, it is surely not surprising that the sexual
appetite should sometimes fail to be normally determined, or in other
words should be inverted.

Ulrichs maintains that the body of an Urning is masculine, his soul
feminine, so far as sex is concerned. Accordingly, though physically
unfitted for coition with men, he is imperatively drawn towards them by
a natural impulse. Opponents meet him with this objection: "Your
position is untenable. Body and soul constitute one inseparable entity."
So they do, replies Ulrichs; but the way in which these factors of the
person are combined in human beings differs extremely, as I can prove by
indisputable facts. The body of a male is visible to the eyes, is
mensurable and ponderable, is clearly marked in its specific organs. But
what we call his soul--his passions, inclinations, sensibilities,
emotional characteristics, sexual desires--eludes the observation of the
senses. This second factor, like the first, existed in the undetermined
stages of the fœtus. And when I find that the soul, this element of
instinct and emotion and desire existing in a male, had been directed
in its sexual appetite from earliest boyhood towards persons of the male
sex, I have the right to qualify it with the attribute of femininity.
You assume that soul-sex is indissolubly connected and inevitably
derived from body-sex. The facts contradict you, as I can prove by
referring to the veracious autobiographies of Urnings and to known
phenomena regarding them.

Such is the theory of Ulrichs; and though we may not incline to his
peculiar mode of explaining the want of harmony between sexual organs
and sexual appetite in Urnings, there can be no doubt that in some way
or other their eccentric diathesis must be referred to the obscure
process of sexual differentiation.[58] Perhaps he antedates the moment
at which the aberration sometimes takes its origin, not accounting
sufficiently for imperative impressions made on the imagination or the
senses of boys during the years which precede puberty.

However this may be, the tendency to such inversion is certainly inborn
in an extremely large percentage of cases. That can be demonstrated from
the reports of persons whose instincts were directed to the male before
they knew what sex meant. It is worth extracting passages from these
confessions.[59] (1) "As a schoolboy of eight years, I sat near a
comrade rather older than myself; and how happy was I, when he touched
me. That was the first indefinite perception of an inclination which
remained a secret for me till my nineteenth year." (2) "Going back to my
seventh year, I had a lively feeling for a schoolfellow, two years older
than myself; I was happy when I could be as close as possible to him,
and in our games could place my head near to his private parts." (3) "At
ten years of age he had a romantic attachment for a comrade; and the
passion for people of his own sex became always more and more marked."
(4) Another confessed that "already at the age of four he used to dream
of handsome grooms." (5) A fifth said: "My passion for people of my own
sex awoke at the age of eight. I used to enjoy my brother's nakedness;
while bathing with other children, I took no interest at all in girls,
but felt the liveliest attraction toward boys." (6) A sixth dates his
experience from his sixth or seventh year. (7) A seventh remembers that
"while yet a boy, before the age of puberty, sleeping in the company of
a male agitated him to such an extent that he lay for hours awake." (8)
An eighth relates that "while three years old, I got possession of a
fashion book, cut out the pictures of men, and kissed them to tatters.
The pictures of women I did not care to look at." (9) A ninth goes back
to his thirteenth year, and a school friendship. (10) A tenth records
the same about his seventh year. (11) An eleventh says that his inverted
instincts awoke in early childhood, and that from his ninth year onward
he fell over and over again in love with adult men. (12) A twelfth spoke
as follows: "So far back as I can remember, I was always subject to
this passion. Quite as a child, young men made deeper impression on me
than women or girls. The earliest sensual perturbation of which I have
any recollection was excited by a tutor, when I was nine or ten, and my
greatest pleasure was to be allowed to ride astride upon his leg." (13)
A thirteenth: "From the earliest childhood I have been haunted by
visions of men, and only of men; never has a woman exercised the least
influence over me. At school I kept these instincts to myself, and lived
quite retired." (14) A fourteenth can recollect "receiving a distinctly
sensual impression at the age of four, when the man-servants caressed
him." (15) A fifteenth says that at the age of thirteen, together with
puberty, the inversion of appetite awoke in him. (16) A sixteenth
confesses that he felt an unconquerable desire for soldiers in his
thirteenth year. (17) A seventeenth remembers having always dreamed only
of men; and at school, he says, "when my comrades looked at pretty girls
and criticised them during our daily promenades, I could not comprehend
how they found anything to admire in such creatures." On the other hand,
the sight and touch of soldiers and strong fellows excited him
enormously. (18) An eighteenth dates the awakening of passion in him at
the age of eleven, when he saw a handsome man in church; and from that
time forward his instinct never altered. (19) A nineteenth fell in love
with an officer at the age of thirteen, and since then always desired
vigorous adult males. (20) A twentieth confessed to have begun to love
boys of his own age, sensually, while only eight years of age. (21) A
twenty-first records that, when he was eight, he began to crave after
the sight of naked men.

In addition to these cases a great many might be culled from the
writings of Ulrichs, who has published a full account from his own early
experience.[60] "I was fifteen years and ten and a half months old," he
says, "when the first erotic dream announced the arrival of puberty.
Never before that period had I known sexual gratification of any kind
whatever. The occurrence was therefore wholly normal. From a much
earlier time, however, I had been subject to emotions, partly romantic,
partly sensual, without any definite desire, and never for one and the
same young man. These aimless yearnings of the senses plagued me in my
solitary hours, and I could not overcome them. During my fifteenth year,
while at school at Detmold, the vague longing took a twofold shape.
First, I came across Norman's 'Säulenordnungen,' and there I was
vehemently attracted by the figure of a Greek god or hero, standing in
naked beauty. Secondly, while studying in my little room, or before
going to sleep, the thought used suddenly and irresistibly to rise up in
my mind--If only a soldier would clamber through the window and come
into my room! I then painted in my fancy the picture of a splendid
soldier of twenty to twenty-two years old. And yet I had no definite
idea of why I wanted him; nor had I ever come in contact with soldiers.
About two years after this, I happened to sit next a soldier in a
post-carriage. The contact with his thigh excited me to the highest
degree." Ulrichs also relates that in his tenth year he conceived an
enthusiastic and romantic friendship for a boy two years his senior.

That experiences of the kind are very common, every one who has at all
conversed with Urnings knows well. From private sources of
unquestionable veracity, these may be added. _A_ relates that, before
eight years old, reverie occurred to him during the day, and dreams at
night, of naked sailors. When he began to study Latin and Greek, he
dreamed of young gods, and at the age of fourteen, became deeply
enamoured of the photograph of the Praxitelian Erôs in the Vatican. He
had a great dislike for physical contact with girls; and with boys was
shy and reserved, indulging in no acts of sense. _B_ says that during
his tenderest boyhood, long before the age of puberty, he fell in love
with a young shepherd on one of his father's farms, for whom he was so
enthusiastic that the man had to be sent to a distant moor. _C_ at the
same early age, conceived a violent affection for a footman; _D_ for an
officer, who came to stay at his home; _E_ for the bridegroom of his
eldest sister.

In nearly all the cases here cited, the inverted sexual instinct sprang
up spontaneously. Only a few of the autobiographies record seduction by
an elder man as the origin of the affection. In none of them was it ever
wholly overcome. Only five out of the twenty-seven men married. Twenty
declare that, tortured by the sense of their dissimilarity to other
males, haunted by shame and fear, they forced themselves to frequent
public women soon after the age of puberty. Some found themselves
impotent. Others succeeded in accomplishing their object with
difficulty, or by means of evoking the images of men on whom their
affections were set. All, except one, concur in emphatically asserting
the superior attraction which men have always exercised for them over
women. Women leave them, if not altogether disgusted, yet cold and
indifferent. Men rouse their strongest sympathies and instincts. The one
exception just alluded to is what Ulrichs would call an Uranodioning.
The others are capable of friendship with women, some even of æsthetic
admiration, and the tenderest regard for them, but not of genuine sexual
desire. Their case is literally an inversion of the ordinary.

Some observations may be made on Ulrichs' theory. It is now recognised
by the leading authorities, medical and medico-juristic, in Germany, by
writers like Casper-Liman and Krafft-Ebing, that sexual inversion is
more often than not innate. So far, without discussing the physiological
or metaphysical explanations of this phenomenon, without considering
whether Ulrichs is right in his theory of _anima muliebris inclusa in
corpore virili_, or whether heredity, insanity, and similar general
conditions are to be held responsible for the fact, it may be taken as
admitted on all sides that the sexual diathesis in question is in a very
large number of instances congenital. But Ulrichs seems to claim too
much for the position he has won. He ignores the frequency of acquired
habits. He shuts his eyes to the force of fashion and depravity. He
reckons men like Horace and Ovid and Catullus, among the ancients, who
were clearly indifferent in their tastes (as indifferent as the modern
Turks) to the account of Uranodionings. In one word, he is so
enthusiastic for his physiological theory that he overlooks all other
aspects of the question. Nevertheless, he has acquired the right to an
impartial hearing, while pleading in defence of those who are
acknowledged by all investigators of the problem to be the subjects of
an inborn misplacement of the sexual appetite.

Let us turn, then, to the consideration of his arguments in favour of
freeing Urnings from the terrible legal penalties to which they are at
present subject, and, if this were possible, from the no less terrible
social condemnation to which they are exposed by the repugnance they
engender in the normally constituted majority. Dealing with these
exceptions to the kindly race of men and women, these unfortunates who
have no family ties knotted by bonds by mutual love, no children to
expect, no reciprocity of passion to enjoy, mankind, says Ulrichs, has
hitherto acted just in the same way as a herd of deer acts when it
drives the sickly and the weakly out to die in solitude; burdened with
contumely, and cut off from common sympathy.

From the point of view of morality and law, he argues, it does not
signify whether we regard the sexual inversion of an Urning as morbid or
as natural. He has become what he is in the dawn and first emergence of
emotional existence. You may contend, that he derives perverted
instincts from his ancestry, that he is the subject of a psychical
disorder, that from the cradle he is predestined by atavism or disease
to misery. I maintain that he is one of nature's sports, a creature
healthy and well organised, evolved in her superb indifference to
aberrations from the normal type. We need not quarrel over our
solutions of the problem. The fact that he is there, among us, and that
he constitutes an ever-present factor in our social system, has to be
faced. How are we to deal with him? Has society the right to punish
individuals sent into the world with homosexual instincts? Putting the
question at its lowest point, admitting that these persons are the
victims of congenital morbidity, ought they to be treated as criminals?
It is established that their appetites, being innate, are _to them_ at
least natural and undepraved; the common appetites, being excluded from
their sexual scheme, are _to them_ unnatural and abhorrent. Ought not
such beings, instead of being hunted down and persecuted by legal
bloodhounds, to be regarded with pitying solicitude as among the most
unfortunate of human beings, doomed as they are to inextinguishable
longings and life-long deprivation of that which is the chief prize of
man's existence on this planet, a reciprocated love? As your laws at
present stand, you include all cases of sexual inversion under the one
domination of crime. You make exceptions in some special instances, and
treat the men involved as lunatics. But the Urning is neither criminal
nor insane. He is only less fortunate than you are, through an accident
of birth, which is at present obscure to our imperfect science of sexual

So far Ulrichs is justified in his pleading. When it has been admitted
that sexual inversion is usually a fact of congenital diathesis, the
criminal law stands in no logical relation to the phenomenon. It is
monstrous to punish people as wilfully wicked because, having been born
with the same organs and the same appetites as their neighbours, they
are doomed to suffer under the frightful disability of not being able to
use their organs or to gratify their appetites in the ordinary way.

But here arises a difficulty, which cannot be ignored, since upon it is
based the only valid excuse for the position taken up by society in
dealing with this matter. Not all men and women possessed by abnormal
sexual desires can claim that these are innate. It is certain that the
habits of sodomy are frequently acquired under conditions of exclusion
from the company of persons of the other sex--as in public schools,
barracks, prisons, convents, ships. In some cases they are deliberately
adopted by natures tired of normal sexual pleasure. They may even become
fashionable and epidemic. Lastly, it is probable that curiosity and
imitation communicate them to otherwise normal individuals at a
susceptible moment of development. Therefore society has the right to
say: Those who are the unfortunate subjects of inborn sexual inversion
shall not be allowed to indulge their passions, lest the mischief should
spread, and a vicious habit should contaminate our youth. From the
utilitarian point of view, society is justified in protecting itself
against a minority of exceptional beings whom it regards as pernicious
to the general welfare. From any point of view, the majority is strong
enough to coerce to inborn instincts and to trample on the anguish of a
few unfortunates. But, asks Ulrichs, is this consistent with humanity,
is it consistent with the august ideal of impartial equity? Are people,
sound in body, vigorous in mind, wholesome in habit, capable of generous
affections, good servants of the state, trustworthy in all the ordinary
relations of life, to be condemned at law as criminals because they
cannot feel sexually as the majority feel, because they find some
satisfaction for their inborn want in ways which the majority dislike?

Seeking a solution of the difficulty stated in the foregoing paragraph,
Ulrichs finds it in fact and history. His answer is that if society
leaves nature to take her course, with the abnormal as well as with the
normal subjects of sexual inclination, society will not suffer. In
countries where legal penalties have been removed from inverted
sexuality, where this is placed upon the same footing as the normal--in
France, Bavaria (?), the Netherlands (?)--no inconvenience has hitherto
arisen.[61] There has ensued no sudden and flagrant outburst of a
depraved habit, no dissemination of a spreading moral poison. On the
other hand, in countries where these penalties exist and are
enforced--in England, for example, and in the metropolis of England,
London--inverted sexuality runs riot, despite of legal prohibitions,
despite of threats of prison, dread of exposure, and the intolerable
pest of organised _chantage_. In the eyes of Ulrichs, society is engaged
in sitting on a safety-valve, which if nature were allowed to operate
unhindered would do society no harm, but rather good. The majority, he
thinks, are not going to become Urnings, for the simple reason that they
have not the unhappy constitution of the Urning. Cease to persecute
Urnings, accept them as inconsiderable, yet real, factors, in the social
commonwealth, leave them to themselves, and you will not be the worse
for it, and will also not carry on your conscience the burden of
intolerant vindictiveness.

Substantiating this position, Ulrichs demonstrates that acquired habits
of sexual inversion are almost invariably thrown off by normal natures.
Your boys at public schools, he says, behave as though they were
Urnings. In the lack of women, at the time when their passions are
predominant, they yield themselves up together to mutual indulgences
which would bring your laws down with terrible effect upon adults. You
are aware of this. You send your sons to Eton and to Harrow, and you
know very well what goes on there. Yet you remain untroubled in your
minds. And why? Because you feel convinced that they will return to
their congenital instincts.

When the school, the barrack, the prison, the ship has been abandoned,
the male reverts to the female. This is the truth about Dionings. The
large majority of men and women remain normal, simply because they were
made normal. They cannot find the satisfaction of their nature in those
inverted practices to which they yielded for a time through want of
normal outlet. Society risks little by the occasional caprice of the
school, the barrack, the prison, and the ship. Some genuine Urnings may,
indeed, discover their inborn inclination by means of the process to
which you subject them. But you are quite right in supposing that a
Dioning, though you have forced him to become for a time an Uraniaster,
will never in the long run appear as an Urning. The extensive experience
which English people possess regarding such matters, owing to the
notorious condition of their public schools, goes to confirm Ulrichs'
position. Headmasters know how many Uraniasters they have dealt with,
what excellent Dionings they become, and how comparatively rare, and yet
how incorrigibly steadfast, are the genuine Urnings in their flock.

The upshot of this matter is that we are continually forcing our young
men into conditions under which, if sexual inversion were an acquired
attribute, it would become stereotyped in their natures. Yet it does not
do so. Provisionally, because they are shut off from girls, because they
find no other outlet for their sex at the moment of its most imperious
claims, they turn toward males, and treat their younger school-fellows
in ways which would consign an adult to penal servitude. They are
Uraniasters by necessity and _faute de mieux_. But no sooner are they
let loose upon the world than the majority revert to normal channels.
They pick up women in the streets, and form connections, as the phrase
goes. Some undoubtedly, in this fiery furnace through which they have
been passed, discover their inborn sexual inversion. Then, when they
cannot resist the ply of their proclivity, you condemn them as criminals
in their later years. Is that just? Would it not be better to revert
from our civilisation to the manners of the savage man--to initiate
youths into the mysteries of sex, and to give each in his turn the
chance of developing a normal instinct by putting him during his time of
puberty freely and frankly to the female? If you abhor Urnings, as you
surely do, you are at least responsible for their mishap by the
extraordinary way in which you bring them up. At all events, when they
develop into the eccentric beings which they are, you are the last
people in the world who have any right to punish them with legal
penalties and social obloquy.

Considering the present state of the law in most countries to be
inequitable toward a respectable minority of citizens, Ulrichs proposes
that Urnings should be placed upon the same footing as other men. That
is to say, sexual relations between males and males should not be
treated as criminal, unless they be attended with violence (as in the
case of rape), or be carried on in such a way as to offend the public
sense of decency (in places of general resort or on the open street), or
thirdly be entertained between an adult and a boy under age (the
protected age to be decided as in the case of girls). What he demands is
that when an adult male, freely and of his own consent, complies with
the proposals of an adult person of his own sex, and their intercourse
takes place with due regard for public decency, neither party shall be
liable to prosecution and punishment at law. In fact he would be
satisfied with the same conditions as those prevalent in France, and
since June, 1889, in Italy.

If so much were conceded by the majority of normal people to the
abnormal minority, continues Ulrichs, an immense amount of misery and
furtive vice would be at once abolished. And it is difficult to conceive
what evil results would follow. A defender of the present laws of
England, Prussia, &c., might indeed reply: "This is opening a free way
to the seduction and corruption of young men." But young men are surely
at least as capable of defending themselves against seduction and
corruption as young women are. Nay, they are far more able, not merely
because they are stronger, but because they are not usually weakened by
an overpowering sexual instinct on which the seducer plays. Yet the
seduction and corruption of young women is tolerated, in spite of the
attendant consequences of illegitimate childbirth, and all which that
involves. This toleration of the seduction of women by men springs from
the assumption that only the normal sexual appetite is natural. The
seduction of a man by a male passes for criminal, because the inverted
sexual instinct is regarded as unnatural, depraved, and wilfully
perverse. On the hypothesis that individuals subject to perverted
instincts can suppress them at pleasure or convert them into normal
appetite, it is argued that they must be punished. But when the real
facts come to be studied, it will be found: first, that these instincts
are inborn in Urnings, and are therefore in their case natural;
secondly, that the suppression of them is tantamount to life-long
abstinence under the constant torture of sexual solicitation; thirdly,
that the conversion of them into normal channels is in a large
percentage of cases totally impossible, in nearly all where it has been
attempted is only partially successful, and where marriage ensues has
generally ended in misery for both parties. Ulrichs, it will be noticed,
does not distinguish between Urnings, in whom the inversion is admitted
to be congenital, and Uraniasters, in whom it has been acquired or
deliberately adopted. And it would be very difficult to frame laws which
should take cognisance of these two classes. The Code Napoleon
legalises the position of both, theoretically at any rate. The English
code treats both as criminal, doing thereby, it must be admitted, marked
injustice to recognised Urnings, who at the worst are morbid or insane,
or sexually deformed, through no fault of their own.

In the present state of things, adds Ulrichs, the men who yield their
bodies to abnormal lovers, do not merely do so out of compliance,
sympathy, or the desire for reasonable reward. Too often they speculate
upon the illegality of the connection, and have their main object in the
extortion of money by threats of exposure. Thus the very basest of all
trades, that of _chantage_, is encouraged by the law. Alter the law, and
instead of increasing vice, you will diminish it; for a man who should
then meet the advances of an Urning, would do so out of compliance, or,
as is the case with female prostitutes, upon the expectation of a
reasonable gain. The temptation to ply a disgraceful profession with the
object of extorting money would be removed. Moreover, as regards
individuals alike abnormally constituted, voluntary and mutually
satisfying relations, free from degrading risks, and possibly permanent,
might be formed between responsible agents. Finally, if it be feared
that the removal of legal disabilities would turn the whole male
population into Urnings, consider whether London is now so much purer in
this respect than Paris?

One serious objection to recognising and tolerating sexual inversion has
always been that it tends to check the population. This was a sound
political and social argument in the time of Moses, when a small and
militant tribe needed to multiply to the full extent of its procreative
capacity. It is by no means so valid in our age, when the habitable
portions of the globe are rapidly becoming overcrowded.[62] Moreover, we
must bear in mind that society, under the existing order, sanctions
female prostitution, whereby men and women, the normally procreative,
are sterilised to an indefinite extent. Logic, in these circumstances,
renders it equitable and ridiculous to deny a sterile exercise of sex to
abnormal men and women, who are by instinct and congenital diathesis

As the result of these considerations, Ulrichs concludes that there is
no real ground for the persecution of Urnings except as may be found in
the repugnance by the vast numerical majority for an insignificant
minority. The majority encourages matrimony, condones seduction,
sanctions prostitution, legalises divorce in the interests of its own
sexual proclivities. It makes temporary or permanent unions illegal for
the minority whose inversion of instinct it abhors. And this
persecution, in the popular mind at any rate, is justified, like many
other inequitable acts of prejudice or ignorance, by theological
assumptions and the so-called mandates of revelation.

In the next place it is objected that inversed sexuality is demoralising
to the manhood of a nation, that it degrades the dignity of a man, and
that it is incapable of moral elevation. Each of these points may be
taken separately. They are all of them at once and together contradicted
by the history of ancient Greece. There the most warlike sections of the
race, the Dorians of Crete and Sparta, and the Thebans, organised the
love of male for male because of the social and military advantages they
found in it. Their annals abound in eminent instances of heroic
enthusiasm, patriotic devotion, and high living, inspired by homosexual
passion. The fighting peoples of the world, Kelts in ancient story,
Normans, Turks, Afghans, Albanians, Tartars, have been distinguished by
the frequency among them of what popular prejudice regards as an
effeminate vice.

With regard to the dignity of man, is there, asks Ulrichs, anything more
degrading to humanity in sexual acts performed between male and male
than in similar acts performed between male and female. In a certain
sense all sex has an element of grossness which inspires repugnance. The
gods, says Swinburne,

    "Have strewed one marriage-bed with tears and fire,
     For extreme loathing and supreme desire."

It would not be easy to maintain that a curate begetting his fourteenth
baby on the body of a worn-out wife is a more elevating object of
mental contemplation than Harmodius in the embrace of Aristogeiton, or
that a young man sleeping with a prostitute picked up in the Haymarket
is cleaner than his brother sleeping with a soldier picked up in the
Park. Much of this talk about the dignity of man, says Ulrichs, proceeds
from a vulgar misconception as to the nature of inverted sexual desire.
People assume that Urnings seek their pleasure only or mainly in an act
of unmentionable indecency. The exact opposite, he assures them, is the
truth. The act in question is no commoner between men and men than it is
between men and women. Ulrichs, upon this point, may be suspected,
perhaps, as an untrustworthy witness. His testimony, however, is
confirmed by Krafft-Ebing, who, as we have seen, has studied sexual
inversion long and minutely from the point of view of psychical
pathology. "As regards the nature of their sexual gratification," he
writes, "it must be established at the outset that the majority of them
are contented with reciprocal embraces; the act commonly ascribed to
them they generally abhor as much as normal men do; and, inasmuch as
they always prefer adults, they are in no sense specially dangerous to
boys."[63] This author proceeds to draw a distinction between Urnings in
whom sexual inversion is congenital, and old debauchees or half-idiotic
individuals, who are in the habit of misusing boys. The vulgar have
confounded two different classes; and everybody who studies the
psychology of Urnings is aware that this involves a grave injustice to
the latter.

"But, after all," continues the objector, "you cannot show that inverted
sexuality is capable of any moral elevation." Without appealing to
antiquity, the records of which confute this objection overwhelmingly,
one might refer to the numerous passages in Ulrich's writings where he
relates the fidelity, loyalty, self-sacrifice, and romantic enthusiasm
which frequently accompany such loves, and raises them above baseness.
But, since here again he may be considered a suspicious witness, it will
suffice, as before, to translate a brief passage from Krafft-Ebing. "The
Urning loves, idolizes his friend, quite as much as the normal man loves
and idolizes his girl. He is capable of making for him the greatest
sacrifices. He suffers the pangs of unhappy, often unreturned,
affection; feels jealousy, mourns under the fear of his friend's
infidelity."[64] When the time comes for speaking about Walt Whitman's
treatment of this topic, it will appear that the passion of a man for
his comrade has been idealised in fact and deed, as well as in poetry.
For the present it is enough to remark that a kind of love, however
spontaneous and powerful, which is scouted, despised, tabooed, banned,
punished, relegated to holes and corners, cannot be expected to show its
best side to the world. The sense of sin and crime and danger, the
humiliation and repression and distress to which the unfortunate pariahs
of inverted sexuality are daily and hourly exposed must inevitably
deteriorate the nobler elements in their emotion. Give abnormal love
the same chance as normal love, subject it to the wholesome control of
public opinion, allow it to be self-respecting, draw it from dark slums
into the light of day, strike off its chains and set it free--and I am
confident says Ulrichs, that it will exhibit analogous virtues,
checkered, of course, by analogous vices, to those with which you are
familiar in the mutual love of male and female. The slave has of
necessity a slavish soul. The way to elevate is to emancipate him.

"All that may be true," replies the objector: "it is even possible that
society will take the hard case of your Urnings into consideration, and
listen to their bitter cry. But, in the meanwhile, supposing these
inverted instincts to be inborn, supposing them to be irrepressible and
inconvertible, supposing them to be less dirty and nasty than they are
commonly considered, is it not the plain duty of the individual to
suppress them, so long as the law of his country condemns them?" No,
rejoins Ulrichs, a thousand times no! It is only the ignorant antipathy
of the majority which renders such law as you speak of possible. Go to
the best books of medical jurisprudence, go to the best authorities on
psychical deviations from the normal type. You will find that these
support me in my main contention. These, though hostile in their
sentiments and chilled by natural repugnance, have a respect for
science, and they agree with me in saying that the Urning came into this
world an Urning, and must remain till the end of his life an Urning
still. To deal with him according to your code is no less monstrous than
if you were to punish the colour-blind, or the deaf and dumb, or
albinoes, or crooked-back cripples. "Very well," answers the objector:
"But I will quote the words of an eloquent living writer, and appeal to
your generous instincts and your patriotism. Professor Dowden observes
that 'self-surrender is at times sternly enjoined, and if the egoistic
desires are brought into conflict with social duties, the individual
life and joy within us, at whatever cost of personal suffering, must be
sacrificed to the just claims of our fellows.'[65] What have you to say
to that?" In the first place, replies Ulrichs, I demur in this case to
the phrases _egoistic desires_, _social duties_, _just claims of our
fellows_. I maintain that in trying to rehabilitate men of my own stamp
and to justify their natural right to toleration I am not egoistic. It
is begging the question to stigmatise their inborn desire as selfish.
The social duties of which you speak are not duties, but compliances to
law framed in blindness and prejudice. The claims of our fellows, to
which you appeal, are not just, but cruelly inequitous. My insurgence
against all these things makes me act indeed as an innovator; and I may
be condemned, as a consequence of my rashness, to persecution, exile,
defamation, proscription. But let me remind you that Christ was
crucified, and that he is now regarded as a benefactor. "Stop," breaks
in the objector: "We need not bring most sacred names into this
discussion. I admit that innovators have done the greatest service to
society. But you have not proved that you are working for the salvation
of humanity at large. Would it not be better to remain quiet, and to
sacrifice your life and joy, the life and joy of an avowed minority, for
the sake of the immense majority who cannot tolerate you, and who dread
your innovation? The Catholic priesthood is vowed to celibacy; and
unquestionably there are some adult men in that order who have trampled
out the imperious appetite of the male for the female. What they do for
the sake of their vow will not you accomplish, when you have so much of
good to gain, of evil to escape?" What good, what evil? rejoins Ulrichs.
You are again begging the question; and now you are making appeals to my
selfishness, my personal desire for tranquillity, my wish to avoid
persecution and shame. I have taken no vow of celibacy. If I have taken
any vow at all, it is to fight for the rights of an innocent, harmless,
downtrodden group of outraged personalities. The cross of a Crusade is
sewn upon the sleeve of my right arm. To expect from me and from my
fellows the renouncement voluntarily undertaken by a Catholic priest is
an absurdity, when we join no order, have no faith to uphold, no
ecclesiastical system to support. We maintain that we have the right to
exist after the fashion in which nature made us. And if we cannot alter
your laws, we shall go on breaking them. You may condemn us to infamy,
exile, prison--as you formerly burned witches. You may degrade our
emotional instincts and drive us into vice and misery. But you will not
eradicate inverted sexuality. Expel nature with a fork, and you know
what happens. "That is enough," says the objector: "We had better close
this conversation. I am sorry for you, sorry that you will not yield to
sense and force. The Urning must be punished."



To speak of Walt Whitman at all in connection with Ulrichs and sexual
inversion seems paradoxical. At the outset it must be definitely stated
that he has nothing to do with anomalous, abnormal, vicious, or diseased
forms of the emotion which males entertain for males. Yet no man in the
modern world has expressed so strong a conviction that "manly
attachment," "athletic love," "the high towering love of comrades," is a
main factor in human life, a virtue upon which society will have to
rest, and a passion equal in its permanence and intensity to sexual

He assumes, without raising the question, that the love of man for man
co-exists with the love of man for woman in one and the same individual.
The relation of the two modes of feeling is clearly stated in this

    "Fast-anchored, eternal, O love! O woman I love!
     O bride! O wife! More resistless than I can tell, the thought of you
     Then separate, as disembodied, or another born,
     Ethereal, the last athletic reality, my consolation;
     I ascend--I float in the regions of your love, O man,
     O sharer of my roving life."

Neuropathical Urnings are not hinted at in any passage of his works. As
his friend and commentator Mr. Burroughs puts it: "The sentiment is
primitive, athletic, taking form in all manner of large and homely
out-of-door images, and springs, as anyone may see, directly from the
heart and experience of the poet."

This being so, Whitman never suggests that comradeship may occasion the
development of physical desires. But then he does not in set terms
condemn these desires, or warn his disciples against them. To a Western
boy he says:--

    "If you be not silently selected by lovers, and do not silently
       seek lovers,
     Of what use is it that you seek to become eleve of mine."

Like Plato, in the Phædrus, Whitman describes an enthusiastic type of
masculine emotion, leaving its private details to the moral sense and
special inclination of the person concerned.[66]

The language of "Calamus" (that section of "Leaves of Grass" which is
devoted to the gospel of comradeship) has a passionate glow, a warmth of
emotional tone, beyond anything to which the modern world is used in
the celebration of the love of friends. It recalls to our mind the early
Greek enthusiasm--that fellowship in arms which flourished among Dorian
tribes, and made a chivalry for prehistoric Hellas. Nor does the poet
himself appear to be unconscious that there are dangers and difficulties
involved in the highly-pitched emotions he is praising. The whole tenor
of two mysterious compositions, entitled "Whoever you are, Holding me
now in Hand," and "Trickle, Drops," suggests an underlying sense of
spiritual conflict. The following poem, again, is sufficiently
significant and typical to call for literal transcription:--

    "Earth, my likeness!

     Though you look so impressive, ample and spheric here,
     I now suspect that is not all;
     I now suspect there is something fierce in you,
       eligible to burst forth;
     For an athletic is enamoured of me--and I of him,
     But toward him there is something fierce and terrible in me,
       eligible to burst forth,
     I dare not tell it in words--not even in these songs."

The reality of Whitman's feeling, the intense delight which he derives
from the personal presence and physical contact of a beloved man, find
expression in "A Glimpse," "Recorders ages hence," "When I heard at the
Close of Day," "I saw in Louisiana a Live Oak growing," "Long I thought
that Knowledge alone would content me,"[67] "O Tan-faced Prairie Boy,"
and "Vigil Strange I kept on the Field one Night."[68]

It is clear, then, that in his treatment of comradeship, or the
impassioned love of man for man, Whitman has struck a keynote, to the
emotional intensity of which the modern world is unaccustomed. It
therefore becomes of much importance to discover the poet-prophet's
_Stimmung_--his radical instinct with regard to the moral quality of the
feeling he encourages. Studying his works by their own light, and by the
light of their author's character, interpreting each part by reference
to the whole and in the spirit of the whole, an impartial critic will, I
think, be drawn to the conclusion that what he calls the "adhesiveness"
of comradeship is meant to have no interblending with the "amativeness"
of sexual love. Personally, it is undeniable that Whitman possesses a
specially keen sense of the fine restraint and continence, the
cleanliness and chastity, that are inseparable from the perfectly virile
and physically complete nature of healthy manhood. Still, we may
predicate the same ground-qualities in the early Dorians, those martial
founders of the institution of Greek Love; and it is notorious to
students of Greek civilisation that the lofty sentiment of their
chivalry was intertwined with singular anomalies in its historical

To remove all doubt about Whitman's own intentions when he composed
"Calamus," and promulgated his doctrine of impassioned comradeship, I
wrote to him, frankly posing the questions which perplexed my mind. The
answer I received, dated Camden, New Jersey, U.S.A., August 19, 1890,
and which he permits me to make use of, puts the matter beyond all
debate, and confirms the conclusions to which I had been led by
criticism. He writes as follows: "About the questions on 'Calamus,'
&c., they quite daze me. 'Leaves of Grass' is only to be rightly
construed by and within its own atmosphere and essential character--all
its pages and pieces so coming strictly under. That the Calamus part has
ever allowed the possibility of such construction as mentioned is
terrible. I am fain to hope the pages themselves are not to be even
mentioned for such gratuitous and quite at the time undreamed and
unwished possibility of morbid inferences--which are disavowed by me and
seem damnable."

No one who knows anything about Walt Whitman will for a moment doubt his
candour and sincerity. Therefore the man who wrote "Calamus," and
preached the gospel of comradeship, entertains feelings at least as
hostile to sexual inversion as any law-abiding humdrum Anglo-Saxon could
desire. It is obvious that he has not even taken the phenomena of
abnormal instinct into account. Else he must have foreseen that, human
nature being what it is, we cannot expect to eliminate all sexual alloy
from emotions raised to a high pitch of passionate intensity, and that
permanent elements within the midst of our society will emperil the
absolute purity of the ideal he attempts to establish.

These considerations do not, however, affect the spiritual nature of
that ideal. After acknowledging, what Whitman has omitted to perceive,
that there are inevitable points of contact between sexual inversion and
his doctrine of comradeship, the question now remains whether he has not
suggested the way whereby abnormal instincts may be moralised and raised
to higher value. In other words, are those instincts provided in
"Calamus" with the means of their salvation from the filth and mire of
brutal appetite? It is difficult to answer this question; for the issue
involved is nothing less momentous than the possibility of evoking a new
chivalrous enthusiasm, analogous to that of primitive Hellenic society,
from emotions which are at present classified among the turpitudes of
human nature.

Let us look a little closer at the expression which Whitman has given to
his own feelings about friendship. The first thing that strikes us is
the mystic emblem he has chosen for masculine love. That is the
water-plant, or scented rush, called Calamus, which springs in wild
places, "in paths untrodden, in the growth by margins of pond-waters" He
has chosen these "emblematic and capricious blades" because of their
shyness, their aromatic perfume, their aloofness from the patent life of
the world. He calls them "sweet leaves, pink-tinged roots, timid
leaves," "scented herbage of my breast." Finally, he says:--[69]

    "Here my last words, and the most baffling,
     Here the frailest leaves of me, and yet my strongest-lasting,
     Here I shade down and hide my thoughts--I do not expose them,
     And yet they expose me more than all my other poems."

The manliness of the emotion, which is thus so shyly, mystically
indicated, appears in the magnificent address to soldiers at the close
of the great war: "Over the Carnage rose Prophetic a Voice."[70] Its
tenderness emerges in the elegy on a slain comrade--:[71]

    "Vigil for boy of responding kisses (never again on earth responding),
     Vigil for comrade swiftly slain--vigil I never forget, how as day
     I rose from the chill ground, and folded my soldier well in his blanket,
     And buried him where he fell."

Its pathos and clinging intensity transpire through the first lines of
the following piece, which may have been suggested by the legends of
David and Jonathan, Achilles and Patroclus, Oretes and Pylades:--[72]

    "When I pursue the conquered fame of heroes, and the victories of mighty
     I do not envy the generals,
     Nor the president in his Presidency, nor the rich in his great house;
     But when I read of the brotherhood of lovers, how it was with them,
     How through life, through dangers, odium, unchanging, long and long,
     Through youth, and through middle and old age, how unfaltering, how
       affectionate and faithful they were,
     Then I am pensive--I hastily put down the book, and walk away, filled
       with the bitterest envy."

But Whitman does not conceive of comradeship as a merely personal
possession, delightful to the friends it links in bonds of amity. He
regards it essentially as a social and political virtue. This human
emotion is destined to cement society and to render commonwealths
inviolable. Reading some of his poems, we are carried back to ancient
Greece--to Plato's Symposium, to Philip gazing on the Sacred Band of
Thebans after the fight at Chæronea.[73]

    "I dream'd in a dream, I saw a city invincible to the attacks of the
       whole of the rest of the earth;
     I dream'd that was the new City of Friends;
     Nothing was greater there than the quality of robust love--it led
       the rest;
     It was seen every hour in the actions of the men of that city,
     And in all their looks and words."

And again:[74]

    "I believe the main purport of these States is to found a superb
       friendship, exalté, previously unknown,
     Because I perceive it waits, and has been always waiting, latent
       in all men."

And once again:--[75]

     "Come, I will make the continent indissoluble;
      I will make the most splendid race the sun ever yet shone upon;
      I will make divine magnetic lands,
              With the love of comrades,
            With the life-long love of comrades.
    I will plant companionship thick as trees all along the shores of
      America, and along the shores of the great lakes, and all over the prairies;
    I will make inseparable cities, with their arms about each other's necks;
              By the love of comrades,
            By the manly love of comrades.
      For you these from me, O Democracy, to serve you ma femme!
      For you, for you I am thrilling these songs."

In the company of Walt Whitman we are very far away from Gibbon and
Carlier, from Tardieux and Casper-Liman, from Krafft-Ebing and Ulrichs.
What indeed has this "superb friendship, exalté, previously unknown,"
which "waits, and has been always waiting, latent in all men," that
"something fierce in me, eligible to burst forth," "ethereal
comradeship," "the last athletic reality"--what has all this in common
with the painful topic of the preceding sections of my Essay?

It has this in common with it. Whitman recognises among the sacred
emotions and social virtues, destined to regenerate political life and
to cement nations, an intense, jealous, throbbing, sensitive, expectant
love of man for man: a love which yearns in absence, droops under the
sense of neglect, revives at the return of the beloved; a love that
finds honest delight in hand-touch, meeting lips, hours of privacy,
close personal contact. He proclaims this love to be not only a daily
fact in the present, but also a saving and ennobling aspiration. While
he expressly repudiates, disowns, and brands as "damnable" all "morbid
inferences" which may be drawn by malevolence or vicious cunning from
his doctrine, he is prepared to extend the gospel of comradeship to the
whole human race. He expects Democracy, the new social and political
medium, the new religious ideal of mankind, to develop and extend "that
fervid comradeship," and by its means to counterbalance and to
spiritualise what is vulgar and materialistic in the modern world.
"Democracy," he maintains, "infers such loving comradeship, as its most
inevitable twin or counterpart, without which it will be incomplete, in
vain, and incapable of perpetuating itself."[76]

If this be not a dream, if he is right in believing that "threads of
manly friendship, fond and loving, pure and sweet, strong and life-long,
carried to degrees hitherto unknown," will penetrate the organism of
society, "not only giving tone to individual character, and making it
unprecedentedly emotional, muscular, heroic, and refined, but having
deepest relations to general politics"--then are we perhaps justified in
foreseeing here the advent of an enthusiasm which shall rehabilitate
those outcast instincts, by giving them a spiritual atmosphere, an
environment of recognised and healthy emotions, wherein to expand at
liberty and purge away the grossness and the madness of their pariahdom?

This prospect, like all ideals, until they are realised in experience,
may seem fantastically visionary. Moreover, the substance of human
nature is so mixed that it would perhaps be fanatical to expect from
Whitman's chivalry of "adhesiveness" a more immaculate purity than was
attained by the mediæval chivalry of "amativeness." Still that mediæval
chivalry, the great emotional product of feudalism, though it fell short
of its own aspiration, bequeathed incalculable good to modern society by
refining and clarifying the crudest of male appetites. In like manner,
the democratic chivalry, announced by Whitman, may be destined to
absorb, control, and elevate those darker, more mysterious, apparently
abnormal appetites, which we have seen to be widely diffused and
ineradicable in the ground-work of human nature.

Returning from the dream, the vision of a future possibility, it will at
any rate be conceded that Whitman has founded comradeship, the
enthusiasm which binds man to man in fervent love, upon a natural basis.
Eliminating classical associations of corruption, ignoring the
perplexed questions of a guilty passion doomed by law and popular
antipathy to failure, he begins anew with sound and primitive humanity.
There he discovers "a superb friendship, exalté, previously unknown." He
perceives that "it waits, and has been always waiting, latent in all
men." His method of treatment, fearless and uncowed by any thought of
evil, his touch upon the matter, chaste and wholesome and aspiring,
reveal the possibility of restoring in all innocence to human life a
portion of its alienated or unclaimed moral birthright. The aberrations
we have been discussing in this treatise are perhaps the morbid symptoms
of suppression, of hypertrophy, of ignorant misregulation, in a genuine
emotion capable of being raised to good by sympathetic treatment.

It were well to close upon this note. The half, as the Greeks said, is
more than the whole; and the time has not yet come to raise the question
whether the love of man for man shall be elevated through a hitherto
unapprehended chivalry to nobler powers, even as the barbarous love of
man for woman once was. This question at the present moment is deficient
in actuality. The world cannot be invited to entertain it.[77]



The conclusions to which I am led by this enquiry into sexual inversion
are that its several manifestations may be classified under the
following categories: (1) Forced abstinence from intercourse with
females, or _faute de mieux;_ (2) Wantonness and curious seeking after
novel pleasure; (3) Pronounced morbidity; (4) Inborn instinctive
preference for the male and indifference to the female sex; (5) Epochs
of history when the habit has become established and endemic in whole

Under the first category we group the phenomena presented by schools,
prisons, convents, ships, garrisons in solitary stations, nomadic tribes
of marauding conquerors.[78]

To the second belong those individuals who amuse themselves with
experiments in sensual pleasure, men jaded with ordinary sexual
indulgence, and indifferent voluptuaries. It is possible that something
morbid or abnormal usually marks this class.

To the third we assign clear cases of hereditary malady, in which a want
of self-control is prominent, together with sufferers from nervous
lesion, wounds, epilepsy, senile brain-softening, in so far as these
physical disturbances are complicated with abnormal passions.[79]

The fourth includes the whole class of Urnings, who have been hitherto
ignored by medical investigators, and on whose numerical importance
Ulrichs has perhaps laid exaggerated stress. These individuals behave
precisely like persons of normal sexual proclivities, display no signs
of insanity, and have no morbid constitutional diathesis to account for
their peculiarity.

Under the existing conditions of European Society, these four categories
exist sporadically. That is to say, the members of them are found
scattered through all communities, but are nowhere recognised except by
the penal code and the medical profession. In the fifth category we are
brought face to face with the problem offered by ancient Hellas, by
Persia, by Afghan, by the peoples of what Burton calls the Sotadic Zone.
However we may account for the origin of sexual inversion, the instinct
has through usage, tradition, and social toleration passed here into the
nature of the race; so that the four previous categories are confounded,
or, if distinguished, are only separable in the same way as the vicious
and morbid affections of the ordinary sexual appetite may be
differentiated from its healthier manifestations.

Returning to the first four categories, which alone have any importance
for a modern European, we perceive that only one of them, the third, is
positively morbid, and only one, the second, is _ipso facto_ vicious.
The first is immoral in the same sense as all incontinence, including
self-abuse, fornication, and so forth, practised _faute de mieux_, is
immoral; but it cannot be called either morbid or positively vicious,
because the habit in question springs up under extra-social
circumstances. The members of the fourth category are abnormal through
their constitution. Whether we refer that abnormality to atavism, or to
some hitherto unapprehended deviation from the rule in their sexual
conformation, there is no proof that they are the subjects of disease.
At the same time it is certain that they are not deliberately vicious.

The treatment of sexual inversion by society and legislation follows the
view taken of its origin and nature. Ever since the age of Justinian, it
has been regarded as an unqualified crime against God, the order of the
world, and the State. This opinion, which has been incorporated in the
codes of all the Occidental races, sprang originally from the conviction
that sterile passions are injurious to the tribe by checking
propagation. Religion adopted this view, and, through the legend of
Sodom and Gomorrah, taught that God was ready to punish whole nations
with violent destruction if they practised the "unmentionable vice."
Advancing civilisation, at the same time, sought in every way to limit
and regulate the sexual appetite; and while doing so, it naturally
excluded those forms which were not agreeable to the majority, which
possessed no obvious utility, and which _prima facie_ seemed to violate
the cardinal laws of human nature.

Social feeling, moulded by religion, by legislation, by civility, and by
the persistent antipathies of the majority regards sexual inversion with
immitigable abhorrence. It does not distinguish between the categories I
have indicated, but includes all species under the common condemnation
of crime.

Meanwhile, of late years, we have come to perceive that the phenomena
presented by sexual inversion, cannot be so roughly dealt with. Two
great nations, the French and the Italian, by the "Code Napoleon" and
the "Codice Penale" of 1889, remove these phenomena from the category of
crime into that of immorality at worst. That is to say, they place the
intercourse of males with males upon the same legal ground as the normal
sexual relation. They punish violence, protect minors, and provide for
the maintenance of public decency. Within these limitations, they
recognise the right of adults to deal as they choose with their persons.

The new school of anthropologists and psychological physicians study
sexual inversion partly on the lines of historical evolution, and partly
from the point of view of disease. Mixing up atavism and heredity with
nervous malady in the individual, they wish to substitute medical
treatment for punishment, life-long sequestration in asylums for terms
of imprisonment differing in duration according to the offence.

Neither society nor science entertains the notion that those instincts
which the laws of France and Italy tolerate, under certain restrictions,
can be simply natural in a certain percentage of male persons. Up to the
present time the Urning has not been considered as a sport of nature in
her attempt to differentiate the sexes. Ulrichs is the only European
who has maintained this view in a long series of polemical and
imperfectly scientific works. Yet facts brought daily beneath the notice
of open-eyed observers prove that Ulrichs is justified in his main
contention. Society lies under the spell of ancient terrorism and
coagulated errors. Science is either wilfully hypocritical or radically

Walt Whitman, in America, regards what he calls "manly love" as destined
to be a leading virtue of democratic nations, and the source of a new
chivalry. But he does not define what he means by "manly love." And he
emphatically disavows any "morbid inferences" from his doctrine as

This is how the matter stands now. The one thing which seems clear is
that sexual inversion is no subject for legislation, and that the
example of France and Italy might well be followed by other nations. The
problem ought to be left to the physician, the moralist, the educator,
and finally to the operation of social opinion.




The laws in force against what are called unnatural offences derive from
an edict of Justinian, A.D. 538. The Emperor treated these offences as
criminal, on the ground that they brought plagues, famines, earthquakes,
and the destruction of whole cities, together with their inhabitants,
upon the nations who tolerated them.


A belief that sexual inversion is a crime against God, nature, and the
State pervades all subsequent legislation on the subject. This belief
rests on (1) theological conceptions derived from the Scriptures; (2) a
dread of decreasing the population; (3) the antipathy of the majority
for the tastes of the minority; (4) the vulgar error that antiphysical
desires are invariably voluntary, and the result either of inordinate
lust or of satiated appetites.


Scientific investigation has proved in recent years that a very large
proportion of persons in whom abnormal sexual inclinations are
manifested possess them from their earliest childhood, that they cannot
divert them into normal channels, and that they are powerless to get rid
of them. In these cases, then, legislation is interfering with the
liberty of individuals, under a certain misconception regarding the
nature of their offence.


Those who support the present laws are therefore bound to prove that the
coercion, punishment, and defamation of such persons are justified
either (1) by any injury which these persons suffer in health of body or
mind, or (2) by any serious danger arising from them to the social


Experience, confirmed by scientific observation, proves that the
temperate indulgence of abnormal sexuality is no more injurious to the
individual than a similar indulgence of normal sexuality.


In the present state of over-population, it is not to be apprehended
that a small minority of men exercising sterile and abnormal sexual
inclinations should seriously injure society by limiting the increase of
the human race.


Legislation does not interfere with various forms of sterile intercourse
between men and women: (1) prostitution, (2) cohabitation in marriage
during the period of pregnancy, (3) artificial precautions against
impregnation, and (4) some abnormal modes of congress with the consent
of the female. It is therefore in an illogical position, when it
interferes with the action of those who are naturally sterile, on the
ground of maintaining the numerical standard of the population.


The danger that unnatural vices, if tolerated by the law, would increase
until whole nations acquired them, does not seem to be formidable. The
position of women in our civilisation renders sexual relations among us
occidentals different from those of any country--ancient Greece and
Rome, modern Turkey and Persia--where antiphysical habits have hitherto
become endemic.


In modern France, since the promulgation of the Code Napoleon, sexual
inversion has been tolerated under the same restrictions as normal
sexuality. That is to say, violence and outrages to public decency are
punished, and minors are protected, but adults are allowed to dispose as
they like of their own persons. The experience of nearly a century shows
that in France, where sexual inversion is not criminal _per se_, there
has been no extension of it through society. Competent observers, like
agents of police, declare that London, in spite of our penal
legislation, is no less notorious for abnormal vice than Paris.


Italy, by the Penal Code of 1889, adopted the principles of the Code
Napoleon on this point. It would be interesting to know what led to this
alteration of the Italian law. But it cannot be supposed that the
results of the Code Napoleon in France were not fully considered.


The severity of the English statutes render them almost incapable of
being put in force. In consequence of this the law is not unfrequently
evaded, and crimes are winked at.


At the same time our laws encourage blackmailing upon false accusation;
and the presumed evasion of their execution places from time to time a
vile weapon in the hands of unscrupulous politicians, to attack the
Government in office. Examples: the Dublin Castle Scandals of 1884, the
Cleveland Street Scandals of 1889.


Those who hold that our penal laws are required by the interests of
society must turn their attention to the higher education. This still
rests on the study of the Greek and Latin classics, a literature
impregnated with pæderastia. It is carried on at public schools, where
young men are kept apart from females, and where homosexual vices are
frequent. The best minds of our youth are therefore exposed to the
influences of a pæderastic literature at the same time that they acquire
the knowledge and experience of unnatural practices. Nor is any trouble
taken to correct these adverse influences by physiological instruction
in the laws of sex.


The points suggested for consideration are whether England is still
justified in restricting the freedom of adult persons, and rendering
certain abnormal forms of sexuality criminal, by any real dangers to
society: after it has been shown (1) that abnormal inclinations are
congenital, natural, and ineradicable in a large percentage of
individuals; (2) that we tolerate sterile intercourse of various types
between the two sexes; (3) that our legislation has not suppressed the
immorality in question; (4) that the operation of the Code Napoleon for
nearly a century has not increased this immorality in France; (5) that
Italy, with the experience of the Code Napoleon to guide her, adopted
its principles in 1889; (6) that the English penalties are rarely
inflicted to their full extent; (7) that their existence encourages
blackmailing, and their non-enforcement gives occasion for base
political agitation; (8) that our higher education is in open
contradiction to the spirit of our laws.[80]



[1] Vindices Flammæ.

[2] Stieber, "Practisches Lehrbuch der Criminal-Polizei," 1860, cap. 19,
quoted by Ulrichs, "Araxes," p. 9. It is not necessary to multiply
evidences upon a point so patent to every man of the world. But I will
nevertheless translate a striking passage from Mantegazza (_op. cit._,
p. 148). "Nor is this infamous abomination confined to the vilest
classes of our society. It soars into the highest spheres of wealth and
intelligence. Within the narrow range of my own experience I have known
among the most scandalous sodomites a French journalist, a German poet,
an Italian statesman, and a Spanish jurist; all of these men of
exquisite taste and profound culture!" It would not be difficult to draw
up a list of English kings, bishops, deans, nobles of the highest rank,
poets, historians, dramatists, officers in the army and navy, civil
servants, schoolmasters in the most fashionable schools, physicians,
members of Parliament, journalists, barristers, who in their lifetime
were, as Dante says, "d'un medesmo peccato al mondo lerci." Many
belonging to the past are notorious; and no good could come of
mentioning the names of the living.

[3] This accusation against men who feel a sexual inclination for males
loses some of its significance when we consider how common the practice
of _Venus aversa_ is among libertines who love women. Parent-Duchatelet
asserts that no prostitute after a certain age has escaped it.
Coffignon, in his book on, "La Corruption à Paris" (p. 324), says:
"Chaque année, il passe en traîtement a l'hôpital de Lourcine une
centaine de femmes sodomistes.... Je suis persuadé qu'à l'hôpital de St.
Lazare la proportion des sodomistes est encore beaucoup plus grande....
Les maîtresses de maison, professant cet odieux principe que la
clientèle doit être satisfaite, ne permettent pas à une fille de se
refuser à une acte de sodomie." Tardieu (Attentats, &c., p. 198)
observes: "Chose singulière! c'est principalement des rapports conjugaux
que se sont produits les faits de cette nature."

[4] See Casper-Liman, vol. i., p. 182, at the end of Case 71.

[5] While studying what Germans call the _Casuistik_ of this question in
medical, forensic, and anthropological works, we often meet with cases
where inverted sexuality exhibits extraordinary symptoms of apparent
craziness--strange partialities for particular kinds of dress,
occupations in the beloved object, nastinesses, and so forth. But it
must be remarked first that the same symptoms are exhibited by sexually
normal natures (Krafft-Ebing, Observations 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33,
34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, and the cases recorded in footnote to page 90);
and, secondly, that if they should appear to be more frequent in the
abnormal, this can in a great measure be ascribed to the fact that these
latter cases only come under the observation of medical men and judges
when the patients have already for many years been suffering from all
the pangs of a coerced and defrauded instinct. There is nothing in the
copious history of Greece and Rome upon this subject to lead us to
suppose that in a society which tolerated sexual inversion, its subjects
were more conspicuous for filthy and degrading or insane proclivities
than ordinary men and women were. Those who can bring themselves to
enquire into such matters may convince themselves by reading Forberg's
annotations to "Hermaphroditus," Rosenbaum's "Lustseuche," the
pseudo-Meursius, and the pornographical dialogues of Aretino. It will
appear conclusively that both in ancient and in modern times the normal
sexual instinct has been subject to the wildest freaks and aberrations;
not in actually diseased persons, but simply in lustful wantons and the
epicures of new sensations. The curious things we know about
flagellation and cruelty in connection with the ordinary appetite should
also be remembered. As a final note on this topic, I will refer to a
passage quoted by Tarnowsky from a work of Taxil, describing a
peculiarly repulsive class of fashionable libertines in Paris called
"les stercoraires" (_op. cit._, p. 70). Compare what Mantegazza reports
of a "gentile ufficiale francese" (Gli amore degli uomini, vol. i. p.

[6] See upon this point Tardieu, "Attentats aux Mœurs," Rosenbaum, "Die

[7] Ancient literature abounds in prose and poetry which are both of
them concerned with homosexual love. Only a portion of this can be
called pornographic: among the Greeks, the Μοὑσα Παιδικἡ, parts of
Lucian, and occasional hints in Athenæus and Aristophanes perhaps
deserve the name; among the Romans, the Priapeia, the Satyricon of
Petronius, some elegies and satires, certainly do so. Italian literature
can show the Rime Burlesche, Beccadelli's Hermaphroditus, the Canti
Carnascialeschi, the maccaronic poems of Fidentius, and the remarkably
outspoken romance entitled "Alcibiade fanciullo a scolla." Balzac has
treated the theme, but with reserve and delicacy. Mirabeau's "Erotika
Biblion" is a kind of classic on the subject. In English literature, if
we except Shakespeare's Sonnets, George Barnfield's Poems, parts of
Marlowe, "Roderick Random," Churchill's Satire "The Times," homosexual
passions have been rarely handled, and none of these works are
pornographic. In Germany, Count von Platen, Heine's victim, was
certainly an Urning; but his homosexual imitations of Persian poetry are
pure, though passionate. I am not acquainted with more than the titles
of some distinctly pornographic German books. The following appears to
be of this sort: "Mannesliebe, oder drei Jahre aus dem Leben eines
jungen Mannes."

[8] Les Deux Prostitutions, par F. Carlier, Ancien Chef du Service actif
des Mœurs à la Préfecture de Police. Paris. Dentu. 1889.

[9] Paris, Brossier, 1889.

[10] In the recently published military novel "Sous Offs." (by Lucien
Descaves, Paris, Tresse et Stock, 1890) some details are given regarding
establishments of this nature. See pp. 322, 412, 417, for a description
of the drinking-shop called "Aux Amis de l'Armée," where a few maids
were kept for show, and also of its frequenters, including in particular
the adjutant Laprévotte (cp. 44).

[11] On the morals of the Foreign Legions, see Ulrichs, Ara Spei, p. 20;
Memnon, p. 27. Also General Brossier's report, quoted by Burton, Arabian
Nights, vol. x. p. 251

[12] P. 459.

[13] Tardieu, _op. cit._, pp. 213-255.

[14] In dealing with Tardieu, Casper-Liman, and Tarnowsky, I have
directed the reader to passages in the works of the three medical
authorities who have spoken most decidedly upon this topic. After
comparing their evidence, the case seems to me to stand thus. Both male
and female prostitutes are exposed to considerable risks of physical
deformation in the exercise of their illicit trade. But males and
females, if they keep their vicious propensities within the bounds of
temperance, offer no physical deformations to observation. Only those
men who for years have practised promiscuous prostitution earn epithets
like the Greek slang εὑρὑπρωκτος, or the Italian _culo rotto_.

[15] Casper-Liman, _op. cit._, vol. i. p. 164.

[16] Casper-Liman, _op. cit._, vol. i. pp. 174-181.

[17] _Op. cit._, vol. i. pp. 164-166.

[18] Having criticised Tardieu for his use of the phrase _pæderast_,
Casper and Liman can find no better.

[19] Westphal: Die Conträre Sexualempfindung. Archiv für Psychatrie,
vol. ii. I.

[20] The Standard of Sanity, Br. Med. Journal, Nov. 28, 1885.

[21] See Tarnowsky about the opinion of the lower classes in St.
Petersburg, _op. cit._, p. 99. "Ueberhaupt verhalten sich die gemeinen
ungebildeten Leute, dem Ausspruch aller mir bekannten Päderasten gemäss,
äusserat nachsichtig gegen unzüchtige Anträge--'herrschaft-liche
Spielerei,' wie sie es nennen." This is true not only of Russia, but of
countries where we should least expect to find the compliance in

[22] P. 73. The italics are the translator's. The adjective
_homosexual_, though ill-compounded of a Greek and a Latin word, is
useful, and has been adopted by medical writers on this topic.
_Unisexual_ would perhaps be better.

[23] A note upon this subject has to be written; and it may be
introduced here as well as elsewhere. Balzac, in _Une dernière
incarnation de Vautrin_, describes the morals of the French _bagnes_.
Dostoieffsky, in _Prison Life in Siberia_, touches on the same topic.
See his portrait of Sirotkin, p. 52, _et seq._, p. 120 (edn. J. & R.
Maxwell, London). We may compare Carlier, _op. cit._, pp. 300, 301, for
an account of the violence of homosexual passions in French prisons. The
initiated are familiar with the facts in English prisons. There is a
military prison on the Lido at Venice, where incorrigible lovers of
their own sex, amongst other culprits, are confined. A man here said:
"All our loves in this place are breech-loaders." Bouchard, in his
_Confessions_ (Paris, Liseux, 1881), describes the convict station at
Marseilles in 1630. The men used to be allowed to bring women on board
the galleys. At that epoch they "les besognoient avant tout le monde,
les couchant sous le banc sur leur 'capot. Mais depuis quelques années
en ca, le general a defendu entrée aux femmes. De sorte qu'il ne se
pêche plus maintenant là-dedans qu'en sodomie, mollesse, irrumation, et
autres pareilles tendresses" (p. 151). The same Frenchman, speaking of
the Duc d'Orléans' pages at Paris, says that this was a "cour extrèmemen
impie et débauchée, surtout pour les garçons, M. d'Orléans deffendoit à
ses pages de se besogner ni branler la pique; leur donnant au reste
congé de voir les femmes tant qu'ils voudroient, et quelquefois venant
de nuict heurter à la porte de leur chambre, avec cinq ou six garses,
qu'il enfermoit avec eux une heure à deux" (p. 88). This prince was of
the same mind as Campanella, who, in the _Città del Sole_, laid it down
that young men ought to be freely admitted to women, for the avoidance
of sexual aberrations. Aretino and Berni enable us to comprehend the
sexual immorality of males congregated together in the courts of Roman
prelates. As regards military service, the facts related by Ulrichs
about the French Foreign Legion in Algeria, on the testimony of a
credible witness, who had been a pathic in his regiment, deserve
attention (_Ara Spei_, p. 20; _Memnon_, p. 27). This man, who was a
German, told Ulrichs that the Spanish, French, and Italian soldiers were
the lovers, the Swiss and German their beloved. See General Brossier,
cited above, p. 19. Ulrichs reports that in the Austrian army lectures
on homosexual vices are regularly given to cadets and conscripts
(_Memnon_, p. 20).

[24] See above, p. 33, my criticism of Moreau upon this point, with
special reference to Greece.

[25] Prometheus, pp. 20-26, _et seq._

[26] Without having recourse to Ulrichs, it may be demonstrated from
Krafft-Ebing's own cases of genuine Urnings that early onanism is by no
means more frequent among them than among normal males. Five marked
specimens showed no inclination for self-abuse. The first (p. 128) says:
"As I never masturbated and felt no inclination for it, I sometimes had
a nocturnal pollution." The second (p. 155): "You will be surprised to
hear that before my twenty-eighth year I never had any ejaculation of
semen, either by nocturnal emissions, or by masturbation, or by contact
with a man." The third (p. 172): "Onanism is a miserable makeshift, and
pernicious, whereas homosexual love elevates the moral and strengthens
the physical nature." The fourth (p. 163): "I had an internal horror of
onanism, although from the very first appearance of puberty I was
sensually very excitable and troubled with persistent erections." The
fifth (p. 142) is not so clear; but it is obvious from his remarks that
the first ejaculation of semen which happened to him did so at the sight
of a handsome soldier: "feeling my parts moistened, I was horribly
frightened and thought it was a hæmorrhage." Some of the cases do not
mention the subject at all. A good many seem to have begun to masturbate
early; but the proportion is not excessive to the whole number. One
Urning explains the _faute de mieux_ system (p. 115): "If we have no
friend, whose sexual company has become needful to the preservation of
our health, and if we abandon ourselves at last to masturbation alone
with our imagination, then indeed do we become ill." Another speaks as
follows (p. 151): "Homosexual indulgence with a man gave me enjoyment
and a consequent feeling of well-being, whereas onanism _faute de mieux_
produced an opposite result."

[27] P. 82. Herodotus called it "the female disease."

[28] P. 86, _et seq._

[29] P. 88, _et seq._

[30] Henceforward we may use the word Urning without apology; for
however the jurists and men of science repudiate Ulrichs' doctrine, they
have adopted his designation for a puzzling and still unclassified
member of the human race. A Dr. Kaserer, of Vienna, is said to have
invented the term Urning.

[31] This is a hit at Westphal, Krafft-Ebing's predecessor, who laid
down the doctrine that Urnings are conscious of their own morbidity. Of
course, both authorities are equally right. Approach an Urning with
terrors of social opinion and law; and he will confess his dreadful
apprehensions. Approach him from the point of view of science; and he
will declare that, within four closed walls, he has no thought of guilt.

[32] Pp. 97-106.

[33] The physical repugnance of true Urnings for women may be
illustrated by passages from three of Krafft-Ebing's cases (pp. 117,
123, 163), which I will translate. (1) "I had observed that a girl was
madly in love with me, and longed intensely to yield herself up to me. I
gave her an assignation in my house, hoping that I should succeed better
with a girl who sought me out of love than I had with public women.
After her first fiery caresses, I did indeed feel a little less frigid;
but when it came to thinking about copulation, all was over--the same
stark frost set in, and my part was played out. I sent her away, deeply
excited, with some moral remarks; and I have never tried the like
experiments again. On all these occasions _the specific odour of the
female added to my horror_." (2) "The proximity of wenches aroused in me
qualms and nausea; _in particular I could not bear to smell them_." (3)
"It seems to me absurd to set up the female form as the prototype of
human beauty. I regard a woman's person as displeasing, the formation of
her hips as ugly and unæsthetic. Dancing is therefore an abomination to
me. _I loathe the odour which the so-called fair sex exhales when heated
by the dance._" The disgust inspired in these three Urnings by the smell
of the female is highly significant; since we know that the sense of
smell acts powerfully upon the sexual appetite of normal individuals. It
may be remarked that in all the instances of pronounced Urnings, sexual
congress with women seems to have been followed with disgust, nervous
exhaustion, and the sense of an unnatural act performed without
pleasure. This is true even of those who have brought themselves to

[34] A sign, by the way, which may be observed in the most masculine of
athletes. This is very noticeable in the nude photographs of Sandow.

[35] Englishmen know the type as Mariannes, and had occasion to study
their habits in the Boulton and Park trial. For the type in Paris,
consult Carlier, _op. cit._, pp. 323-326, 339-351, 463.

[36] I have used the German version of Lombroso's work, because of the
translator's preface and occasional annotations.

[37] See Dufour, "Histoire de la Prostitution," vol. iii. (France, ch.
i.) p. 193.

[38] See Dufour, "Histoire de la Prostitution," (France, chs. 6 and 7).

[39] See above, p. 35, for an ingenious definition by Dr. Huggard, which
covers both classes as born criminals and moral madmen.

[40] His German translator calls attention to this omission; p. 153

[41] Third edition. Halle a. S., 1882.

[42] Psych. Sex., p. 82.

[43] Leipzig, Wigand, 1860.

[44] Arabian Nights, 1885, vol. x., pp. 205-254.

[45] Burton's acquaintance with what he called "le Vice" was principally
confined to Oriental nations. He started on his enquiries, imbued with
vulgar errors; and he never weighed the psychical theories examined by
me in the foregoing section of this Essay. Nevertheless, he was led to
surmise a crasis of the two sexes in persons subject to sexual
inversion. Thus he came to speak of "the third sex." During
conversations I had with him less than three months before his death, he
told me that he had begun a general history of "le Vice"; and at my
suggestion he studied Ulrichs and Krafft-Ebing. It is to be lamented
that life failed before he could apply his virile and candid criticism
to those theories, and compare them with the facts and observations he
had independently collected.

[46] I give the author's own text, p. 206.

[47] P. 208.

[48] P. 251.

[49] P. 222.

[50] Pp. 204, 209.

[51] Gli amori degli Uomini, Milano, 1886, vol. i. cap. 5.

[52] _Ibid._, p. 149.

[53] Pp. 148-154.

[54] P. 154.

[55] See above, p. 55, note.

[56] The notion that human beings were originally hermaphrodite is both
ancient and wide-spread. We find it in the Book of Genesis, unless,
indeed, there be a confusion here between two separate theories of
creation. God is said to have first made man in his own image, male and
female in one body, and to have bidden them multiply. Later on he
created the woman out of part of the primitive man. The myth related by
Aristophanes in Plato's _Symposium_ has a curious bearing upon Ulrichs'
speculations. There were originally human beings of three sexes: men,
the children of the sun; women, the children of the earth; and
hermaphrodites, the children of the moon. They were round, with two
faces, four hands, four feet and two sets of reproductive organs apiece.
In the case of the third sex, one set was male, the other female. Zeus,
on account of their strength and insolence, sliced them into halves.
Since that time the halves of each sort have always striven to unite
with their corresponding halves, and have found some satisfaction in
carnal congress--males with males, females with females, and males and
females with each other: "They who are a section of the male follow the
male, and while they are young, being slices of the original man, they
hang about men and embrace them, and they are themselves the best of
boys and youths, because they have the most manly nature. And when they
reach manhood, they are lovers of youth, and are not naturally inclined
to marry or beget children, which they do, if at all, only in obedience
to the law, but they are satisfied if they may be allowed to live with
one another unwedded; and such a nature is prone to love and ready to
return love, always embracing that which is akin to him." (Symp. 191-2,
Jowett's translation.) Then follows a glowing description of Greek Love,
the whole reminding us very closely of the confessions made by Urnings
in modern times, and preserved by medical or forensic writers on sexual

[57] Memnon, section xix.

[58] See above, p. 36, the suggestion quoted from Dr. Huggard of "a
congenital lack of balance between structures themselves healthy." It
might be queried whether this "imperfect sexual differentiation," or
this "congenital lack of balance between structures themselves healthy,"
is not the result of an evolutionary process arriving through heredity
and casual selection at an abnormal, but not of necessity a morbid,
phenomenon in certain individuals.

[59] The first two from Casper-Liman, Handbuch der gerichtlichen
Medicin, vol. i. pp. 166-169. The others from Krafft-Ebing, Psychopathia

[60] Memnon, section lxxiii. p. 54.

[61] Since Ulrichs left off writing, Italy (by the "Nuovo Codice Penale"
of 1889) has adopted the principles of the Code Napoleon, and has placed
sexual inversion under the same legal limitations as the normal sexual

[62] Dr. W. Ogle, on the 18th March, 1890, read a paper before the
Statistical Society upon "Marriage Rates and Ages." The conclusion he
arrived at, with regard to the rapidly-advancing over-population of
England, was that, in order to equalise the death-rate with the
birth-rate (or in other words, to maintain the population at its present
level), we must look forward either to (1) an increase of emigration
which would involve social revolution, or (2) to the advance of the
average age at which women marry to the point of thirty years, or (3) to
an exclusion of 45 per cent. of those who now marry from matrimony at
any period of life. In the face of these calculations, after admitting
their possible exaggeration, it seems illogical to punish with severe
legal penalties those members of the male sex who do not want to marry,
and who can satisfy their natural desires in ways which involve no
detriment to the State and no violation of the rights of individuals.

[63] Psych. Sex., p. 108. I have condensed the sense of four short
paragraphs, to translate which in full would have involved a
disagreeable use of medical language.

[64] Psych. Sex., p. 107.

[65] Studies in Literature, p. 119.

[66] In this relation it is curious to note what one of Casper-Liman's
correspondents says about the morals of North America (_op. cit._, vol.
i. p. 173). "Half a year after my return I went to North America, to try
my fortune. There the unnatural vice in question is more ordinary than
it is here; and I was able to indulge my passions with less fear of
punishment or persecution. The American's tastes in this matter resemble
my own; and I discovered, in the United States, that I was always
immediately recognised as a member of the confraternity." The date of
this man's visit to America was the year 1871-72. He had just returned
from serving as a volunteer in the great Franco-German war of 1870-71.

[67] Not included in the "Complete Poems and Prose." It will be found in
"Leaves of Grass," Boston, 1860-1861.

[68] The two last are from "Drum-Taps."

[69] This I cannot find in "Complete Poems and Prose." It is included in
the Boston edition, 1860-61, and the Camden edition, 1876.

[70] "Drum-Taps." Complete Poems, p. 247.

[71] _Ibid._, p, 238.

[72] "Leaves of Grass." Complete Poems, p. 107.

[73] Complete Poems, p. 109. Compare, "I hear it was charged against
me," _ibid._, p. 107.

[74] Complete Poems, p. 110.

[75] Camden edition, 1876, p. 127. Complete Poems, p. 99. Compare
"Democratic Vistas," Complete Prose, p. 247, note.

[76] These prose passages are taken from "Democratic Vistas," cited
above, p. 119, note.

[77] While these sheets were going through the press, I communicated
Whitman's reply to a judicious friend, whose remarks upon it express my
own opinion more clearly and succinctly than I have done above: "I do
not feel that this answer throws light on the really interesting
question; does the sentiment of 'Calamus' represent, in its own way, the
ideal which we should aim at impressing on passionate affections between
men, as certainly liable to take other objectionable forms? Is there
sufficient affinity between the actual and the ideal for this to be
practicable? That is what I have never felt sure about when we have
discussed these matters. But I do not feel that my doubts have been
resolved in any negative direction by Walt Whitman."

[78] Kelts, Scythians, Dorians, Tartars, Normans.

[79] It ought to be borne in mind that they are by no means invariably
complicated with abnormal sexuality, but quite as often with normal
sexuality in some extravagant shape, as well as with other kinds of
moral aberration.

[80] It may not be superfluous to recapitulate the main points of
English legislation on this topic. (1) Sodomy is a felony, defined as
the carnal knowledge (per anum) of any man or of any woman by a male
person; punishable with penal servitude for life as a maximum, for ten
years as a minimum. (2) The attempt to commit sodomy is punishable with
ten years' penal servitude as a maximum. (3) The commission, in public
or private, by any male person with another male person, of "any act of
gross indecency," is punishable with two years' imprisonment and hard

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