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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 82

Sexual Purity Pledges

Sexual Purity Pledges.

When once the habit of fornication is formed, it is very difficult to break, especially if the person remain unmarried. But in society, as it is, young lads are exposed to a constant temptation to visit the strange women, more especially as in shops, offices, and warehouses there are some of Satan's first-born, who take a fiendish delight in leading young men in the way they should not go.

To shield and give strength to resist temptation, there are page 17 societies of men in England who sign a pledge never to have commerce excepting under the sacred bond of marriage. Just at the pledge is found effectual against the drink, so is it against fornication and seduction.

The working of these societies gives opportunity of bringing the matter up, and causes a force to be at work among the young, antagonistic to the temptation of women or of men.

I think similar societies might be worked by wise ladies for the young women. Such institutions would soon create a most stringent and powerful public opinion.

Social Purity Society of South Australia.

Moral Suasion Department.

Purity Pledge.

I Promise by the Help of God
1.To protect, so far as I have opportunity, all women and children from degradation.
2.To discountenance all coarse jests and conversation, and behaviour derogatory to women.
3.To maintain the equal obligation of the law of purity on men and women alike.
4.To endeavor to spread these principles among my companions, and to help by counsel and warning my younger brothers.
5.To use all possible means to fulfil the apostolic injunction, "Keep thyself pure."
Name................ Witness.................

Gentlemen, these are the suggestions I have to offer. They are the result of experience, of reading, of thought, and a burning passion and hatred to the Social Evil, and a burning desire to life the community up. They are but raw ore, they require the furnace and the hammer before they take fitting shape for effective work; but I believe that they are the outline of an effective and working policy. That these lectures may not end in barren talk, I hope to move by-and-by that we follow the example of Great Britain, and of Belgium, and form a Social Purity Alliance, which shall aim at securing reasonable amendments in the laws, and reasonable firmness in the administration of the laws which relate to sexual fellowship; and, also, let this Alliance set on tout all the forces of Moral Suasion and Social Influence in favor of purity. My idea is a central society in Adelaide, with branches all over the country. That there be two divisions : one for men, and one for women, that by meetings and discussions we stir the country; that by petitions and by the pressure of opinion we stir the Parliament.

Time does not suffice for me to offer argument on all the points I have suggested, but I have a small store of shot and shell which I can use on those who fancy such things.

Men, brethren, and fathers, let us rise in our day and generation. Let us band together, let us labor, and suffer, and pray for page 18 the elevation of our country, and for the good of our race. South Australia showed a lead to Australasia and to the whole British Empire in the renowned Torrens' Land Act. Let South Australia show a lead resolute and effective in dealing with the Social Evil, and in a righteous and honorable battle for Social Purity.

N.B.—The Social Purity Society has since been formed with the following aims:—To endeavor to bring about such amendments of the law as will best promote the reforms suggested; to secure the just and equitable administration of the law which have reference to the relations of the sexes; to promote the foundation of a sound public opinion upon the proposed reforms; and to encourage and support every effort made for the protection of young women from evil influences, and promote the successful working of institutions designed for the the reclamation of the fallen.

Officers—Hon. J. Colton, President; Hon. D. Murray and Mr. C. H. Goode, vice-presidents; Air. R. G. Wilkinson, hon. treasurer; Rev. J. C. Kirby and Mr. E. H. Derrington, hon. secretarys; Revs. W. B. Andrews, Allan Webb, Stephenson, Lyall, McEwin, Woods, and Green, Drs. Hayward and Curtis, Colonel Downes, and Messrs. Searle, Bower, M.P., Hack, Gilbert, M.P., Adamson, Howard, Dempster, Stuckey, and Nock, committee.

Memorial from, 1,604 Working Men's Societies in Italy, (Page 64. Address Amer. Legis.)

"To the Working Men of Great Britain and Ireland."

"Fellow-workmen,—The General Congress of the United Italian Working Men's Societies, held in Genoa in September last, resolved by a solemn and unanimous vote, to co-operate with the British and Continental Federation in their holy working for obtaining the repeal of those regulations which in many countries of Europe give State sanction to the infamous trade of prostitution.

"The Congress resolved also to issue an appeal from the United Societies to all the workmen of the various European countries, inviting them to work unanimously together in fraternal accord, so as to give to the moral crusade, proclaimed by the courageous virtue of English mothers, the mighty support of their united strength, The universal conscience is now thoroughly aroused to the deep dishonor and incalculable injury brought upon the people, and the working classes especially, by this old Social Evil, and by sacrilegious negation of God's law and human justice which is expressed in the legislation for this evil.

"The work, then, in which the working classes (the most threatened and injured by the cursed institution) unite, consists, according to our opinion, in an incessant cry for Justice, which the Jaws of prostitution shamefully violate, and in an assiduous, persistent, universal propaganda against the insidious arguments of materialistic science, which condemns to infamy the sisters of man that he may find in that infamy safety and impunity for his vices.

"The Italian Societies will fulfil this duty with all the means that the conditions of their country place at their disposal. They mean to fight openly against the establishment in the artisans' districts of Houses of Infamy, and thus to oppose opulent vice in its long-established usage of seeking hospitality amidst the poor but honest dwellings of the working classes. They mean to stop this horrible insult to humble virtue, so that the shame and responsibility of its own dishonor may wholly and entirely rest on privileged vice.

"The world knows that no plea of antiquity, no arrogance of science, will page 19 ever succeed in proving that the vice of the few is useful to the many, or that it is possible to secure the health of the body by the vilifying corruption of the soul.

"Signed on behalf of the Executive Committee.

"Carlo Lizzani.

"B. Filippere

"Sivo Favo

"Rome,

Protest from 250 Ladies in 1870 headed by Florence Nightingale and Harriet Martineau. Against C. D. Acts.

"We, the undersigned, enter our solemn protest against these Acts, because, involving as they do, such a momentous change in the legal safeguards nitherto enjoyed by women in common with men, they have been passed, not only without the knowledge of the country, but unknown to Parliament itself; and we hold that neither the representatives of the people nor the Press fulfil the duties which are expected of them when they allow such legislation to take place without the fullest discussion. Because, so far as women are concerned, they remove every guarantee of personal security which the law has established and held sacred, and put their reputation, their freedom, and their persons absolutely in the power of the police."

Other reasons—religious, moral, and social—are given, and then follow the signatures of 250 ladies, whose names are "household words" in connection with all good and noble works.