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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 24a

Mr. Bradlaugh's Conviction for Free Printing on the Population Question

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Mr. Bradlaugh's Conviction for Free Printing on the Population Question.

Introduction to the Lecture.

Among many tracts on the Population Question, I possess two copies of the now celebrated "Fruits of Philosophy; or, the Private Companion of Young Married People," by Dr. Knowlton, of America. One copy was published in London, by James Watson in 1843, the other also in Loudon by F. Farrah, at a subsequent date not given. It is said that this tract was published in-London about 1843, and has ever since been sold unrestrictedly.

Dr. Knowlton, recognising that poverty becomes overwhelming to those who have more children than they can provide for, and therefore demoralising to society, recommends a plan by which people can prevent the evil, and have no more children than they desire. His expedient is one which might be recommended as a simple measure of cleanliness. But I consider some later books as much better—notably, the "Elements of Social Science," in which five expedients are named (Dr. Knowlton's being one), but of which the one attributed to M. Raciborski, I consider and recommend as far preferable to the others. A pamphlet entitled," Poverty, its Cause and page 2 Cure," is the next best. In this fire methods are suggested, of which the last, M. Raciborski's, is, I think, by far the best. I can inform anyone wanting either of these publications where they are to be got.

When Mr. Watson died, the plates of Dr. Knowlton's tract were bought by Mr. Charles Watts, who sold copies until the 9th January last, when he was suddenly arrested, and committed for trial on 5th February for publishing the book. After first agreeing with Mr. Bradlaugh, by whom he was employed as sub-editor of the National Reformer, that the publication of the book should be defended, he appears to have become frightened, and pleaded guilty to publishing an obscene book, and got clear at a cost of £200.

Mr. Bradlaugh was highly indignant at this cowardly surrender of the right to print freely on the population question for the relief of the poor, and the benefit of the world. He said he would not have published the book as he did not like it; but that it was dishonorable and injurious to the cause of freethought to admit the right of anyone to dictate as to what is to be printed. In March last, therefore, he and Mrs. Besant agreed, in spite of the great disadvantage of the recent condemnation of the book as immoral by its former publisher, they agreed I say, magnanimously, to republish the book at once, and encounter the results.

On the 23rd March, Mr. Bradlaugh and Mrs. Besant published the book, personally delivering the first copies to the Chief Clerk to the Magistrates at Guildhall, to the head office of the City Police, and to the Solicitor of the City of London, giving notice that on the 24th they intended to sell it at a certain place and hour. On that day, at 4 p.m., they began to sell, and sold 500 in the first 20 minutes, and have since sold, it is said, 120,000 copies. On the 29th March they were arrested, and bailed in sureties of £100 each, and themselves in £200 each, to appear on the 17th. The case occupied some days, but on the 26th both were committed for trial, and released upon their own recognisances; the magistrate remarking that the proceedings should not have been by arrest, but by summons. On the 4th May, Mr. Bradlaugh applied for and obtained a writ of certiorari to take the case before the higher Court of Queen's Bench, his personal security for the costs being accepted page 3 The case was tried on the 18th June, and particulars are given in the Times and Home News. The Chief Justice, in summing up, said that it was a most ill. advised prosecution. There was not a word in the pamphlet, he said, calculated to excite the passions. The verdict of the jury was, nevertheless, to the effect that the book was calculated to debase public morals, but they entirely exonerated the defendants from any corrupt motives in publishing it. On the 28th the Chief Justice, after saying that they might have been released on their own recognisances had they not persisted in pushing the sale of the book after the verdict, passed the sentence on each defendant of six months' imprisonment, with a fine of £200, giving also security for good behaviour to the amount of £500. At the same time execution of the sentence was postponed, pending the decision of a writ of error to quash the original indictment. Considering that the verdict was in direct opposition to the wording of the indictment, it seems probable that the appeal would be successful, and if meantime the sale of the book has been stopped, there are better books in circulation, which I have already indicated.

The subject of the pressure of population is far the most important and necessary to be discussed by the people, and Mr. Bradlaugh and Mrs. Besant deserve not only to have their expenses freely paid, but the blessings of the people, for stepping into the breach at their own risk to save the people the right of freely discussing it.

The Lecture.

"My people are destroyed—for lack of knowledge."

Hosea, iv., 6

Thus we find that this most important truth, that the "people are destroyed for lack of knowledge," was not unknown 2000 years ago. Yet at the present day there is none which is more persistently ignored and contravened, and particularly I regret to say by English people. Though our countrymen boast so loudly of their political freedom, there is no people on the face of the earth in more abject slavery to a blind and tyrannical conventionalism; which for peace sake the more rational among them would perhaps not trouble themselves to page 4 oppose, were it not for the cruel wrongs of which it compels them to be not only spectators, but in part also even perpetrators. But those who have eyes to see, heads to understand, and hearts to feel for the grinding poverty—the degrading vices, and the too frequent crimes of so many of their neighbors, together with the heartless indifference with which their hard fate is regarded by nearly all who are fortunate enough to escape it themselves,—would be criminal indeed, could they stand tamely by and see the "people" thus "destroyed for lack of knowledge" without raising their hands and voices to save a remnant at least from destruction. I believe there is no other nation which so deliberately constitutes it a crime to disseminate among those who perish for want of it—knowledge of the most important description; the lack of which is the immediate cause of crimes without number and misery untold. No other nation is so irrational and so cruel.

In France, Germany and Italy, political printing may be under restriction or prohibition, but there is none upon what is of much more importance,—physiological investigation and experiment. In England, the freedom of political printing has been secured by the determined efforts of a few men like R. Carlile, Holyoake, and Bradlaugh, who valued intellectual liberty even more highly than their personal freedom; but let anyone be known to attempt to communicate or to gain—among English people—scientific or social knowledge of the most urgent importance, and he is at once visited with social pains and legal penalties. It is more than doubtful whether the English are as well governed as even the French. They have the satisfaction of imagining and saying that they govern themselves; but it is a grave question how far this privilege is a gain or a loss; used as it is to drive others to commit crimes simply for lack of knowledge, and then to punish them for doing what they have been driven to do. The fact is that politics is invested in England with an entirely fictitious importance—by those who make it a trade, and by the press, to which it furnishes so much extra matter to print. In Sergeant Sleigh's late letter (13th August) to the Argus, he shews how here as well as in England, the actual number of persons who really interest them selves in the subject is altogether trifling. We well know page 5 how very few good men can be induced to take a part in politics, and how when they do, they are immediately elbowed out by inferior men. And why? It is really not worth their while—not worth their attention. There is much more good to be done otherwise, by work like ours here. We tend to form public opinion, of which politics is only a result. But in England it would seem that the ingenuity and energy that are wasted on politics, might be far better bestowed on physiological and social investigations and experiments, which though prohibited in England, receive due attention on the Continent. The extra personal freedom of Englishmen is mainly exercised in tyrannically preventing others from prosecuting such scientific and philosophical enquiries as have a direct and special bearing upon social improvement. And mark with what result. There can be no more important branch of knowledge than physiology; as Pope said—

"The proper study of mankind is man."

Yet in England the thorough practical study of it is almost interdicted, and if anyone there were known to thoroughly prosecute physiological study in its most important branches by experiment, he would assuredly be himself prosecuted under an Act which I shall quote as furnishing a striking illustration both of the doubtful advantage of British self-government, and of the way in which the dissemination of the most useful knowledge is prohibited. The Imperial Vivisection Act of 1876 was intended to prevent inhumanity. What between the intolerant action of the rabid suppressors of scientific knowledge and of the mild efforts of those who risked their positions by endeavoring to prevent mischief, the following is the result as described by Mr. Robert Lowe in the Contemporary Review for October last. The result of "the efforts of the two houses of Parliament to introduce humanity into our law as regards animals stands thus: It gives, 1st—Absolute liberty to torture all domestic animals except by way of scientific experiment. 2nd—Practical liberty for anyone who can afford to pay £5 to torture domestic animals, except by way of scientific experiment; and 3rd—No punishment for painful experiment except by leave of the Secretary of State."

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Now if British self-government and political liberty, effectuate only such insanely abortive measures as this, what great advantage in legislation have we over our continental neighbours? Theirs can be no worse. And as regards humanity the Continental delegates at the last Prison Reform Conference were shocked at the barbarity of our best prison system as compared with their practice.

But the French and Germans are not neglectful in some other respects of the claims of others than criminals. They lay no embargo on scientific Experiments for the benefit of suffering humanity, and do not dream of prohibiting Vivisection or anything else, if done clearly for that beneficent purpose. Nearly all we know of embryology, has I believe been learnt from the Continent, because the necessary experiments were conventionally impossible in England, and would, if known to be attempted there, ruin the Experimenter. Other experiments are imperatively demanded by the needs of the people, which it would be difficult and dangerous to attempt in England—the boasted land of liberty;—but I shall venture to indicate them to-night.

It is very remarkable that in France where physiology is most systematically studied by means of Vivisection, the population principle is notoriously best understood and practically observed. Families there are consequently small, the population is stationary, poverty comparatively unknown, and savings therefore usual and considerable. To these circumstances is certainly due the unprecedented facility with which—though half paralysed by a disastrous war—France to the astonishment of Europe, collected and paid over to Prussia more than £200,000,000, and scarcely felt the loss. These are significant results of a wise recognition of the principle of population, that merit the serious attention of the world.

Now it is a heavy indictment against the politically free English press, that while for its profit it largely contributes to invest politics with an exaggerated and fictitious value, it also almost without exception panders to the morbid conventional taste which blindly prohibits the study and publication of the most important knowledge; which brutally prefers to punish rather than prevent crimes that it mainly creates; and visits with page 7 pains and penalties the very class of men by whom the liberty of the press was really achieved; such as Richard Carlile, Holyoake, and Bradlaugh. In this the servile meanness and base ingratitude of the press cannot be too strongly reprehended. The press has consistently done its worst to suppress Mr. Bradlaugh, the leading champion of free speech and free printing. It rarely mentions him but to discredit and. malign, or when his name cannot be excluded from law reports, &c. The London correspondent of the Argus furnished a mild example of what I mean on Saturday week, though it is honorable mention compared to the misrepresentation and slander that used generally to accompany his name. He was there styled "an intolerant and egotistic lecturer on many subjects, who manages to make himself very objectionable to all his opponents." Now Mr. Bradlaugh is emphatically the champion of tolerance in England, and is not at all more egotistic than his position necessitates. That he makes himself objectionable to his opponents is of course strictly true, for as a rule he clearly refutes them in argument, which few like to endure; but the obvious ill-natured implication of offensiveness in the manner of doing so, has I believe no further ground whatever. To the credit of the Home News I must say that it gives a very fair report of the trial; but the European Mail has not a word upon the subject, though there was then no more important item in the news. The attitude assumed by the Saturday Review is specially despicable.

So in Melbourne Mr. Bradlaugh has been nakedly represented lately as prosecuted for publishing an obscene book, which he denied was obscene; with holding the fact that from the first it was solely the Right to Print for which he contended; and that the particular book is one which he would not have published if the right to print it had not been cravenly surrendered by its former publisher to escape the legal consequences. He then magnanimously undertook the publication of a new edition of the proscribed book, simply to defend and test the right to print any such book on the population question for the benefit of suffering humanity; and his work has been as ably executed as it was wisely conceived. I think he deserves not only to have his whole expenses paid, but that the page 8 press should principally contribute to pay them. In fact, in one way he has made it do so, if the statement be true that 120,000 (£8000 worth) of the pamphlet have been sold since March. But he is richly entitled also to the thanks and blessings of the poor, specially, as well as generally of the human race. For it is the people—the people—who are destroyed for lack of this particular knowledge. The people are all therefore vitally interested in this matter. For what is the population question in a few words?

The principle of population, first expounded definitely by the Rev. Mr. Malthus eighty years ago, is—that as the rate of reproduction of the human race is enormously greater than that of the means of subsistence, prudential restriction upon human reproduction is the only way of proportioning it to the available means of subsistence, and of superseding the natural or positive checks upon it; namely—extreme poverty, starvation, disease and war. The constant operation of these positive checks is all that has prevented the human race from long since covering the whole earth shoulder to shoulder; the lowest estimate of the rate of increase being far more than sufficient to do so from a single pair in less than 1700 years. The wholesale slaughter of the innocents by these checks being insufficient to keep the population down to the level of the means of subsistence, it was formerly further reduced by the universal practice of infanticide. The deliberate universal practice; and if it be not universal now, I doubt if many exceptions beside France can be admitted. I suppose it is nowhere more illegal than in England; yet it was lately stated without challenge before the Dialectical Society of London, that 30,000 or one-fifth of the children born annually in Loudon, are "put away"—that is murdered—by their parents.* Is it likely to be less prevalent where the law is less stringent? We know that in savage countries and even in China, infanticide is recognised as the necessary means by which the adult population saves itself from starvation, and saves the bulk of its children from a more painful existence and protracted death; and if it is forbidden page 9 by our law, how much is gained by preserving the majority of the children who are not sacrificed in spite of it, for the life of misery, and often of crime, to which by the same means, their parents are often also reduced? Both, doubtless, err from ignorance, for

"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge."

But I put it to you—whether that Society is excusable which actually interdicts the use of a rational preventative of the wholesale murders which it vainly prohibits and cruelly punishes? The savage knows no better, and yet relieves his society with far less expenditure of suffering.

Wise, observant, and humane men, have long sought diligently for the best means of obviating both the cruel preservation of infants for a miserable existence and protracted death, and also infanticide before as well as after birth; of preventing, instead of remedying the evil. Various mechanical means have been suggested by which men and women are enabled at least to use their rational judgment in producing no more children than they can support and educate properly; and notwithstanding the law, millions of tracts describing the means—have been circulated ("thousands by me) for many years with that object. For the republication of one of these tracts "The Fruits of Philosophy" by Dr. Knowlton, Mr. Bradlaugh and Mrs. Besant have just been sentenced to six months' imprisonment, and to pay a fine of £200 each, besides the enormous costs of defending the case. Remembering, however, that though the Jury found that the book was calculated to deprave public morals, it entirely exonerated the defendants from evil intention; that the Lord Chief Justice said that the prosecution was "most ill-advised," and that there was "nothing whatever in the book to excite the passions," but that if the jury thought the book calculated to debase public morals, he must direct it to find a verdict of guilty, whatever might have been the intention of the publishers; that the defendants were discharged for a week, and that the Chief Justice then said, in passing sentence, that they might have been discharged on their own recognisances had they page 10 not in the interim pushed the sale of the boob; but that upon the defendants promising to stop the sale, they were again discharged; and lastly that the proceedings have amply disclosed how respectably and extensively the defendants were supported by public sympathy; remembering all these circumstances I cannot believe that the penalties will be inflicted at all, whatever may be the decision upon the writ of error.

But whatever the result to Mr. Bradlaugh and Mrs. Besant, their prosecution cannot fail to do immense public good. I think that nothing could have happened better calculated to secure the free and open discussion in the future of this most important of all social subjects, and to open the door to the ventilation of others in their turn. To have the case argued exhaustively in open court was a great point; but it was still better to see the list of subscriptions published weekly in the National Reformer (£1050 odd to the 12th of Aug. made up of threepennys, sixpences, and up to five guineas—from many thousands of all classes) and the published expressions of encouragement and sympathy from many leading men including Professor Bayne and General Garibaldi; this is of more significance than even the discussion of the question; for it proves that public opinion is already largely modified on the subject, and therefore prepared for modification on other social subjects not yet touched. For what is called morality is only the present public opinion as to what acts are proper or not; that public opinion is modifiable;—and the bringing of all human actions and customs to the one test of reason and utility as this one has been brought, is the one point to be attained to ensure their modification. Prostitution, marriage, the slavery of women and of the human mind, and the treatment of crime, religion, lunacy and pauperism, all demand to be brought to the same tribunal, and shall be brought to it—all in good; time and Charles Bradlaugh has done more than any other man unless perhaps Voltaire, and Mrs. Besant more than other woman to bring about this transcendent good. Their action in this matter was simply magnificent.

The principle of population as expounded by Malthus, is simply that population naturally tends to increase page 11 enormously faster than the means of subsistence can be produced. This is demonstrable by facts as well as by figures, and Malthus considerably understated his case for the sake of giving it arithmetical definiteness. He has for this reason, I think, failed to secure general recognition of the great principle, whereas a simpler and more convincing way of bringing it home to the popular comprehension is to quote familiar cases, and point out how they exemplify the general law. Population really increases much faster than Malthus assumes—that is, it doubles in less than 25 years. It has been known to double in much less time, in spite of the positive checks which always operate; and the means of subsistence can be only arbitrarily estimated as conforming to any particular ratio of increase; therefore the precise ratios adopted by Malthus, though much understated, are frequently distrusted by many who are wholly unable to invalidate them. It is also foolishly assumed by objectors (on the same principle as that on which the ostrich hides its head in the sand instead of trying to escape from its pursuers) that because they do not happen to feel inconveniently the pressure of population, therefore there is none to be felt by others. It is even alleged that consideration of the subject may be safely postponed for a few centuries till the whole earth is populated. Whereas the pressure is present and constant, and as perceptible now as it ever will be to those who survive. It does not affect those who can earn enough to support themselves easily, or who have pecuniary or other advantages. It is felt by the very poor, the vicious, the diseased, who are unheard, and, lastly, the exterminated, who are silent. It is as heavy upon any man in Melbourne if he have ten children, and no food for them, as by anyone in the same position in London or China. It has pressed and is now pressing millions out of existence in a peculiarly cruel manner, and causes nearly the whole of the poverty, crime, disease, and misery, under which humanity groans. Surely it is evident to the meanest comprehension, that in any house where there is only one man, if he have no food, there the population is in advance of the means of subsistence. How much more when he has a wife and children more or less? Do not They feel the pressure? What benefit is it to them if page 12 butchers and bakers live on either hand, if they have no money to buy? And how often is that the case from an interminable variety of causes? It is invariably the case, more or less, wherever population concentrates in large masses, which is the inevitable condition of civilisation. There is doubtless plenty of room in the country, and it may be asked, and is asked, why are men so stupid as to starve in towns when that is the case? Obviously because it is precisely those who are starving who cannot move. There is ample room in America, Africa, and Australia, for all the poor of Britain a thousand times ever; but how are they to get there? The fact that they are starving is a pretty sure indication that they have, more or less, large families, which prevent their moving. The wealthy can, but do not feel it incumbent upon them to go abroad. The poor cannot, however much they may desire to do so. But the voices of those who feel the pressure, are not heard. They are all either dead or dying. Consider that the rate of wages is determined necessarily by competition of single persons, and the demand for their labor, not by the needs and responsibilities of the laborer. If employers can get single men at £3 per week, is it likely that they will pay £15 or £20 to a man who has been reckless enough to have ten or twelve children? A single man may save one or even two pounds of the three, but what can a man save with ten children? With one pair of arms he has twelve mouths to feed, twelve backs to clothe, and ten heads to educate. He feels the pressure of population, and so do They, whoever else may not. Even if they are clothed and fed they must lack education, and become less fitted than their father to compete for wages, and more fitted for the gaol if they escape the cemetery. And this is where society feels it, and should recognise it, and discuss the question of relieving the individual from the pressure which is demoralising others, as well as destroying him. Generally the most of the ten children are squeezed out of the way by the others. Often the man's back is broken by their weight, while only half rearing those who have the better fortune to die early. And the mother! Poor thing! Her back is probably broken first, to say nothing of her health and her heart. In fact, the unfortunate mother is too often thus destroyed page 13 for lack of this knowledge without any poverty at all, and all women are therefore in urgent need of salvation from this evil.

Now, I ask, would it not be far better lor all parties, if some of those ten or twelve children had not been born? Two—or perhaps three, with extra hard work and economy, might be made useful, happy members of society, without killing their parents and brothers and sisters by protracted misery and starvation. The children of the poor die three times as fast as those of the rich (Dr. Drysdale, see Home News), and they neither live nor die for nothing. Respecting the 30,000 children that are annually destroyed in London by their parents; whether is it better or more humane to starve them miserably by inches in five years or so,—to "put them away" quietly as is now done,—or, to Prevent their miserable existence? Can any humane or rational person hesitate as to the preferable alternative? Surely not. But now prevent it? This is the question for solution. The great problem of the age. Here Mr. Malthus steps in as the real saviour of humanity, for he first placed the principle of population before the world. But his apostles, who have really brought the true saving gospel to the poor of England, are James Mill, Richard Carlile, James "Watson, Edward Truelove, Robt. Dale Owen, the author of the "Elements of Social Science," and last, not least, Mr. Bradlaugh and Mrs. Besant. I know not who in France deserves equal credit with the Marquis Condorcet, Raciborski, and Gamier.

Mr. Malthus only recommended the postponement of marriage till 30 years of age or upwards, until means to support a family have been accumulated, without knowing of how many the family might consist. But it is not in human nature to postpone marriage thus, particularly when statistics prove (Dr. Drysdale says in National Reformer, 10th June) that to delay it after 21 is to shorten life by six years! And remember that the postponement of marriage means prostitution, and that stringent measures to suppress prostitution only multiply the number of illegitimate births !

Now all children come unbidden, and come simply to kill others by over-crowding, or to be killed themselves. page 14 For even those comfortably born increase the exterminating pressure upon those who are not. This is an indisputable fact. It is also a fact, that not only is the best method of obviating this wholesale and peculiarly cruel kind of infanticide yet doubtful or unknown, but discussion of the subject is prohibited, and experiments to ascertain the best means are punishable by law. But the discussion can no longer be prevented. The whole subject must be discussed, and the experiments will soon be imperatively demanded. It is infamous to human nature, or rather in human nature, that no efforts should be made to prevent this barbarous but quite preventive slaughter of the innocents.

The amount of intellect hired at an enormous expense to persecute Mr. Bradlaugh and Mrs. Besant for recommending its prevention, would suffice, if better directed, to go far towards solving the question. Being obviously the most important subject of the day, it should be discussed daily; as it is of supreme importance to the poor, it should be discussed most by the poor; as the pressure is heaviest upon women, it should be discussed particularly by women; as it is of vast importance to all, it should be freely discussed by all; and I hold that the State should institute skilled experiments, which should be continued and extended until successful, to ascertain the best and most certain method of avoiding the production of children, unless at the dictate of the deliberate rational judgment, and that alone.

The present exaggerated value which is placed upon human life is only the mischievous survival of a feeling proper and necessary when life was not plentiful, and when every one was of importance to the State. Now that human life is excessively redundant,—now that—so to speak—the market is glutted with it, its intrinsic value must therefore, like that of anything else—over-produced, and at a discount,—be proportionately less; and though society should certainly not relax the security which it maintains for lives which are clearly valuable, it should certainly not force those to be bom, or to live, whose lives must be painful to themselves, and hurtful or destructive to others. The attempt at suicide is proof of uselessness; and the stupidity of endeavouring to prevent it, by punishing for not succeeding in it, is obvious. Is it not equally stupid to punish for infanti page 15 cide—which so far relieves the pressure of population, and is therefore so far beneficial to society? And ought we not rather to reprobate and punish for adding recklessly to the excessive population, and its demoralising and destructive pressure?

How "my people are destroyed, for lack of knowledge!" this particular knowledge! What blind folly to assert that if this knowledge were common, a bad use might be made of it by some persons! Now, who are those persons? Certainly not those who neither need nor desire, and therefore would not use—this particular knowledge. They must then be those who, for want of it, do much worse now than they might do with it, and certainly cannot do worse with it than they do without it. But the evil that they do, would by the use of such knowledge be restricted to themselves; and its disastrous and demoralising consequences would—by the prevention of the perpetuation of their evil kind, be saved to society largely and to posterity entirely. If we cannot make them moral, we can and ought at least to prevent them from being mischievous. It would be as reasonable to prohibit to all the use of medicine, money, knives and matches, because some persons might misuse them. But knowledge is different from all these things, in that the use of it is always good. If a bad use of knowledge could possibly be made, there can be but one reason? Simply that the knowledge is inadequate, and that more is necessary. Knowledge makes good people better—not worse; and is the only thing competent to make bad people good. It is the defect of knowledge alone that is the universal evil.

But how? my over-virtuous Society for the Suppression of Vice—forsooth, and other irrational persecutors of those who would prevent the greatest of all the evils that afflict humanity? Are You your brother's or your sister's keeper? Have you thought—can you not see, that if you take upon yourselves to withhold this knowledge from your now erring sisters and brothers, you actually assume to yourselves—and undertake—the grave moral responsibility for their consequent errors and crimes? for their infanticide, their prostitution, their thefts, their murders; which you now do nothing to prevent, but those who would prevent them, you do much to hinder! I say the voice of their inno- page 16 cent blood cries against you from the ground! The only way in which you can possibly vindicate your particular responsibility in this matter, is by helping those who want it—to the all-important saving knowledge by every means in your power. Give them that knowledge, and with it, you lay upon Themselves the proper responsibility for their own errors; but you cannot otherwise shift it from your guilty shoulders! Your Vice Society is a Vicious Society. A. vice creating and vice perpetuating Society.

The Free Discussion Society sent £8 by the September mail to the Bradlaugh and Besant Defence Fund, and I sincerely wish that I could send £100 more. I trust that all their expenses will be freely paid; for it is for the suffering human race, and its rescue from cruel poverty, that they have nobly worked and suffer.

decorative feature - leaves

E. Purton & Co., Printers, 106 Elizabeth.st., Melbourne.

* National Reformer, 10/6/77. p. 355.