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The Sickles Tragedy ; illustrated. Pictorial Newspapers.
The Fry Divorce Case. Pennsylvania Legislature.
The Stephens Trial. New York Tribune.
The History of Prostitution : Its extent, causes, and effects

throughout the world. (Being an official report to the Board of Alms House Governors of the City of New York.) By William W. SANGER, M. D., Resident Physician, Blackwell's Island, New York City, etc., etc., etc. Harper & Brothers.

The introduction of this theme may surprise many of our readers. We are content, however, to rest the propriety of discussing this immorality upon the divine authority which inserted the seventh commandment of the decalogue, and upon the present necessity for reiterating to the American people the seemingly forgotten injunction, Thou shalt not commit adultery.

While we are writing, a trial is pending in the capital of these United States, where a member of congress is arraigned for murdering the paramour of his wife. We are not disposed to criticise the law until pronounced, nor to decide the case until the witnesses have given in their testimony, and the circumstances are placed beyond controversy. Enough, however, has been proclaimed and published without denial, to enable us to pass judgment upon the morals of a society where the reputation of a harlot scarcely impairs the standing of a wife and a mother, and where the adulterer, after detection, is greeted with a smile of good fellowship. We appreciate the astonishment of the “correspondent” from Washington, who was shocked by the heartlessness of the ladies in neglecting the saloons of their sister, after her shameful confession. He seems to suppose that had it not been so near the



close of the session, they might have feted the frail woman with a fancy ball, and so soothed her loss of both lover and husband.

The pollution thus disclosed in the metropolis of our country ought to excite the aların of every patriot, and to kindle the indignation of every parent, who might with more safety entrust a daughter to a pest-house than to the profligate gayety of Washington. If the half is true that is told, and we have no reason to doubt it, then the corruption which defiles and controls the legislation of our congresses, will, if unchecked, affix upon the seat of government the infainy which belonged to ancient Corinth. If prostitution is to become a fifth estate in the republic, and make majorities, it is time for the people to decide whether they will succumb to its authority, and submit to be governed by a Catherine of Medicis, or a Nell Gwynne. We must not be understood to charge licentiousness upon all the members of




familiar with our public affairs will concede that we have not exaggerated the facts in this statement, or overestimated either the pollution or the peril.

Simultaneously with this exposure in the national capital, a committee of the legislature in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania have prepared a report, which recommends the granting of a divorce between a husband and wife, within a year after marriage, and against his protest, because she concluded that the relation was uncongenial, and consequently offered herself to the keeping of a West Point cadet. The fact that any influence could induce such a recommendation on the evidence, by the representatives of a nominally Christian people, who recognize the validity of the marriage covenant, is premonitory of a formal dissolution of all laws against temporary concubinage, and of a rapid gravitation to the theory and practice of free love. When the lascivious desire of a wife is allowed as a reason for an honorable divorce on her part, we shall look next for the annulling of those statutes which restrain the indulgence of a longing after the property or the life of another, since thieves and murderers may insist that their crimes shall be sanctioned, together with that of unchastity.


In exact correspondence with the evidence for the increase of this vice, we find our daily newspapers occupying their columns with the filthy details of abominable crimes, and thus pandering to a depraved appetite, whose existence and extent are shown by the supply which is required to satisfy the demand. The New York Tribune, not content with a formal defense of its course in publishing the lewd particulars connected with the committal of licentiousness, because it can only thus fulfill the design of a newspaper and satisfy the requisition of its customers, next takes a step forward or downward in the same direction. On the leading column in a daily issue for March, an editorial paragraph, conspicuously leaded, commends the reader's attention to the reports of a pending trial, whereby an obscenity that might otherwise have escaped notice is rendered conspicuous; and the cry of the newsboys, directed by the advertisement, doubtless repaid the editors sufficiently for any damage to their moral sense in the paragraph.

The degree of unchastity in the community and its fearful consequences are also ably and incontrovertibly sustained by the volume on the History of Prostitution, whose title we have placed with those of other documents at the head of this Article. The social condition which renders such a report possible or proper, must be deplorable, and the book itself is not free from the charge of pandering to the passions, whose terrible effects alone justify its publication. We can discover no possible benefit in the recital of vile stories about the men or women, to whom despotic power afforded opportunity for criminality, and the utility of this report would have been greatly enhanced by a plain statement of facts with the necessary statistics and explanations. We quote as the substance of the Report the recapitulation with which it concludes:


There are six thousand public prostitutes in New York.

The majority of these are from fifteen to twenty-five years old.

Three-eighths of them were born in the United States.

Many of those born abroad came here poor, to improve their condition.

Education is at a very low standard with them.
One-fifth of them are married women.

One-half of them have given birth to children, and more than one-half of these children are illegitimate.

The ratio of mortality among children of prostitutes is four times greater than the ordinary ratio among children in New York.

Many of these children are living in the abodes of vice and obscenity.

The majority of these women have been prostitutes for less than four years.

The average duration of a prostitute's life is only four years.

Nearly one half of the prostitutes of New York admit that they are or have been sufferers from syphilis.

Seduction, destitution, ill treatment by parents, husbands, or relatives, intemperance, and bad company, are the main causes of prostitution.

Women in this city have not sufficient means of employment.

Their employment is inadequately remunerated. The associations of many employments are prejudicial to morality.

Six-sevenths of the prostitutes drink intoxicating liquors to a greater or less extent.

Parental influence induced habits of intoxication.
A professed respect for religion is common among them.

A capital of nearly four millions of dollars is invested in the business of prostitution.

The annual expenditure on account of prostitution is more than seven millions of dollars.

Prohibitory measures have signally failed to suppress or check prostitution.

A necessity exists for some action.

Motives of policy requira a change in the mode of procedure.—pp. 675–6.

These results are the careful analysis of the most reliable

statistics which could be procured with the aid of the municipal police of the city of New York, collated by a man eminently qualified for the task, and whose. official position gave him the best means of forming a correct judgment. They are therefore to be depended upon as an impartial and unexaggerated statement of the facts, and we commend them to the sober consideration of every citizen and parent. Regard first the extent of the vice which is disclosed. Six thousand abandoned women in the city of New York, who are lost to all shame, represent at least ten or twenty times their number of the opposite sex, who are the partners of their wick. eduess, while they are themselves the vilest corrupters of youth. When we add the numbers who secretly follow the same vile trade, and then, regarding New York as only one city, recall what has been already shown of the condition in the domestic life of many households, we can faintly estimate the spread of this contagion through the nation, which has already contaminated the legislatures of sovereign states, and assumed a part in the control of congressional action.

The pecuniary capital invested in this business in that single city exceeds that of the New York and New Haven Railroad, and the annual expenditure nearly doubles the capital. Enor. mous as are the expenses of our general government, under the recklessness and dishonesty of political management, they can hardly surpass the cost of this single vice to the nation. Nor does the money actually invested and paid exhaust the sum of waste; but the loss of labor, the sacrifice of life and of health multiply the actual expense seven-fold. The duration of life for a prostitute is but four years, and their career lies between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five, so that the commonwealth loses not only their labor during this demoralization, but also the work which they might have accomplished if they had not been cut off by their habits from the lease of life, ordinarily granted to those who have attained their period. Nor is this half the evil; for the terrible disease with which God punishes this crime is extended to the innocent; and the children of the next generation stagger under the woe which has been visited upon the offense of their

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