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maiden before referred to on "indecency" and "immorality" should happen to prevail with judge and jury, the opinions of the cultured city woman would be banned. Chancellor Livingston, before referred to, in commenting on the English law against obscenity (a law much more strictly defined), feared it as "putting too much power in the hands of a fanatic judge with a like-minded jury."
I again quote from Mr. Wakeman:
"Our fathers feared nothing more than thisthat is, the enlargement of criminal jurisdiction in the United States courts. The United States courts were regarded by them as in fact, what they are, namely, foreign tribunals to the mass of the people. The judges sit for life, without responsibility to the people; few lawyers know the practice; the juries are so selected that they are 'packed' in effect, if not by design. The districts are so large that even in the same State the accused has rarely a jury of his peers and of his vicinage'; and, most surprising of all, in this criminal class of cases there is practically, owing to their method of procedure, nothing more than the semblance of an appeal. Think of one fallible man, under the most indefinite of laws, with the absolute power of fine and imprisonment, and even, in some cases, of life and death in his hands, and no practical appeal! As Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry and Luther Martin said, 'The United States will be constantly gaining power by construction and the people constantly losing; judge you in which way the balance will run; where an inch is given an ell will be taken.' The lesson is that if you would not have Liberty leave you she must be guarded in her home among the States and people, and not be trusted out to United States judges and officials."
Sixth. Because these laws are impolitic with regard to the very purpose they have in view, and tend to defeat themselves. As an example of this, I believe that no one influence has been one-hundredth part so great in advertising the impugned pamphlet around which this controversy has specially centered, as the prosecutions that have taken place in connection with it. But for the publicity thus given it would doubtless have fallen still-born. As it is, I am told that edition after edition is disposed of.
Seventh. Because these laws are unnecessary. "The State laws and municipal laws, previously and now existing, are sufficient for the detection and punishment of all real offenders against decency and good morals"-nay, not only sufficient, but, I am informed, on competent legal authority, much superior to the United States law. For one hundred years we did without the latter, and it is said that most of what Mr. Comstock has usefully effected has been done under the State laws. As Henry Clay said, "It is the circulation out of the post-office that makes the offense." The fact is that all the obscenity there was was suppressed, and can only be effectually suppressed, by State laws. Only the State laws that strike at the root and reach the printing, manufacture, and circulation in every form, including expresses and mercantile agencies as well as the mails, can be efficient. Postal-laws cannot prevent the circulation of obscenity, for it has a hundred means beyond them. There must be State
laws anyhow; they always were efficient-why not continue to use them until they fail? All these postal-laws have done is to introduce "espionage" and "decoy," which have outraged justice, liberty, and morality.
To show how very far liberals are from favoring obscenity, I herewith present the draft of a bill drawn by Mr. T. B. Wakeman and submitted by him to the New York Legislature through Assemblyman Andrews. Mr. Wakeman, be it understood, is the one liberal who, above all others, has been the head and front of Anti-Comstockism; yet here we find him proposing a law which, while it will not endanger American liberty, outdoes the Society for the Prevention of Vice in promoting purity through methods that are at once safer, more impartial and more effective:
"An Act to provide for the punishment of certain offenses therein named, and to amend chapter 527 of the laws of 1873, entitled "An Act to Incorporate the Society for the Suppression of Vice," passed May 16th, 1873.
"The people of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assembly, do enact as follows:
"Section 1. The district attorneys of the several counties of this State shall hereafter have exclusive charge, control, and management of all informations, accusations, indictments, and prosecutions of or in regard to all offenses described in the Act to incorporate the Society for the Suppression of Vice, passed May 16th, 1873, and also of and in regard to all offenses under the laws of this State now passed, or which may be hereafter passed, in relation to raffling, lotteries, gaming, gambling schemes, and devices to deceive and defraud the public, or to obtain money by false pretenses, and obscene and indecent exhibitions and plays.
§2. It shall be the duty of said district attorneys as prosecuting officers to make the enforcement of said laws effective, and of all citizens to aid them in so doing. The police force of the city of New York, as well as of all other places where police organizations exist within this State, and all sheriffs, constables, and citizens of this State who may hold the office of postmaster, shall, wherever required, to the extent of their power, aid the district attorney of their respective counties, or any deputy, officer, or detective appointed by him, in procuring evidence of violations of said laws, and in prosecuting the
"§3. Any district attorney who shall fail faithfully to prosecute a person charged with the violation in his county of any of the laws described in this Act, or who shall fail to faithfully prosecute any offense thereunder which may come or be brought to his knowledge, shall be removed from office by the Governor of the State after due notice, and an opportunity of being heard in his defense. As to the sufficiency of such notice and hearing, the Governor shall determine. Charges before the Governor under this section may be preferred by any citizen of the State, but each charge shall contain a particular statement of the facts complained of under the oath of the complainant.
"$4. Section 7 of chapter 527 of said Act, entitled 'An Act to Incorporate the Society for the Suppression of Vice,' is hereby repealed, and the objects and duties of that society shall hereafter be limited to the suppression of vice and the prevention of crime by the use of such persuasive, advisory, chari
table, educational, missionary, and religious means as it may deem useful for those purposes.
$5. All acts or parts of acts inconsistent with this Act are hereby repealed.
§6. This Act shall take effect immediately."
But, over and above any laws, either State or national, it seems to the writer that the really effectual remedy is in a higher education and a deeper moral enthusiasm. Let children be taught anatomy and physiology, let them know how "fearfully and wonderfully they are made," let them be impressed with the dignity of the mens sana in corpore sano, and even if they receive clandestinely the nasty literature to which we are referring they will turn from the vile trash as they would from the plague. For by keeping children healthily occupied with their studies at school and their art and pleasures at home, tastes antagonistic to all obscenity are engendered. Moreover, as the principal danger feared seems to be with the immature, it can be readily met and avoided by parents and school-teachers who, through proper arrangements with the postmasters where
they reside, can readily exert a complete oversight in regard to mail matter directed to the young people.
Of the two sorts of offenses Government punishes, viz. first, crimes against persons and property, and, second, against sentiment and opinion, it is curious to observe how the latter are passing away. They become dead letters, either because the people outgrow them or because they will not tolerate them. Such laws are those against sacrilege, blasphemy, Sabbath-breaking, taking the name of God in vain, etc., etc. Will not laws against obscenity and indecency be apt gradually to fall into the same category? Will they not die because they
will be needless? But, as far as laws still remain necessary in this direction, State laws are all that are required. The citadel of liberty need not be invaded through espionage over the mails, for the sake of curing what State laws and the natural tendency of things will themselves correct.
Eighth. Because these laws tend toward the union of church and state, thus opposing the fundamental safeguard of American liberty, which is the separation of church and state. The function of the church is, or should be, moral, advisory, and educative. It is designed to act on the conscience, and on that only. To the state alone belongs force and compulsion. The question is one between the secular administration of the law-as established after centuries of travail both in England and America-and the tendency of ecclesiasticism to interfere and intermeddle with the same. Guizot, in his "History of Civilization," speaks as follows:
"In the present day, when the idea of government presents itself to our mind, we know, of whatever kind it may be, that it will scarcely pretend to any authority beyond the outward actions of men, beyond the civil relations between man and man. Gov. ernments do not profess to carry their rule further than this. With regard to human thought, to the human conscience, to the intellectual powers of man, with regard to individual opinions, to private morals—
with these they do not interfere; this would be to invade the domain of liberty. The Christian Church did, and was bent upon doing, exactly the contrary. What she undertook to govern was the human thought, human liberty, private morals, individual opinions."
Now, how are these thoughts applicable to the direct question under review? I think their application will be readily seen.
The Society for the Prevention of Vice and the Society for the Suppression of Crime-and, in fact, all similar institutions-are endeavors to supplement and supplant the regular processes of law by confiding the machinery of justice to special classes, under the influence of a special theological bias. Bad enough is it for the State to be obliged to resort to the club of the policeman and the arts of the detective, but for a religious society to undertake such tasks is simply monstrous. Yet here we have the lamentable spectacle of Mr. Comstock as agent at once of the Society for the Prevention of Vice and also special agent of the United States Post-office. Thus, under the cloak and with the sanction of re
ligion, he is encouraged to invade private corre
spondence, and that, too, when it can only be unearthed by a system of espionage, which is the method of the sneak, and by a system of decoy, which is only another name for lying.
Such societies amount to a practical confession that republican administration of law is a failure and that nothing can be made to go right unless the church takes hold of it; and so the mere existence of such associations is a practical affirmation that a government of the people, for the people, and by the people must give way to a government over the people by these amateur theological organizations. It is Calvinism in politics, and the entering wedge to the destruction of our own hard-won American liberty.
And that liberals are not the only ones who thus judge, I here quote an extract from Dr. Henry C. Potter's sermon denunciatory of the sins of our metropolis, delivered at Grace Church in this city, Sunday, March 13th, as reported in the "New York Herald." He alludes particularly to the Society for the Suppression of Crime, but his words are as applicable to the Society for the Prevention of Vice. He says: "A voluntary society for the suppression of crime, whose very existence is a startling commentary on our sham civilization, since it has been forced into existence to do the work which the law and its executors are both sworn and paid to do, -a voluntary association like this, created for the suppression of crime, endeavors," etc., etc. And a sentence or two further on he remarks: "A quixotic divine [Dr. Crosby] strives in vain to rouse the public conscience against licensed thieving, and the friends of the thieves laugh in their sleeves at his folly, while the rest of the community think that he had better go back to his preaching. I think so, too, for surely the people, to awaken whom this John the Baptist cries so vainly in the wilderness of New York," etc., etc. If any church may claim to be the leading one of New York, Grace Church is that one, yet it
is the pastor of that congregation who thus expresses his criticism of the present confusion which exists between the administration of the spiritual and temporal powers; and the "Herald," commenting editorially on this discourse, thus speaks:
"Dr. Potter's sermon on The Perils of New York' calls attention to the fact, astounding to all who do not inhabit this city, that societies are organized to do the work that the law requires our officials to perform, and that the people do not seem to be indignant about it."
Established Church of England and editor of the "Edinburgh Review," comes in very appropriately under this head. The London Society for the Suppression of Vice was founded three-fourths of a century earlier than its namesake of New York, and was conducted by the same system of espionage, decoying, and informing that has characterized its modern successor. The authority referred to said:
Ninth. Because these postal-laws are rife with tyranny. This is largely an inference, and a most unwelcome one, from the last point. Says the Constitution of the United States: "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech or of the press." We cannot have a free country where freedom of thought is denied; and as a condition to freedom of thought, not only freedom of speech and of the press, but also freedom of the mails is essential. A censorship over our mails and a system of espionage and decoy in our post-office, therefore, seems to me utterly hateful to republicanism and consistent only with despotism. Some one condensed the whole subject in the curt inquiry, "Free mails or moral mails, which?" If moral mails, whose morals? This year Mr. Comstock's; at the next Congress, Cardinal McClosky's, if a Catholic majority controls, and after that, perhaps, the morals of Ah Sin, if within a few decades the yellow flood from the Celestial empire should overwhelm us. And suppose, as is by no means improbable, that at no distant day the liberals become supreme. Would the Christians then be quite willing to abide by the precedent of their own postal-laws? Would they be willing to have meted unto them the measure that they mete? Would they be willing to subject their own literature to the test of their own making? It seems to me the only safe course for each side is to adopt the good old Christian rule of doing as they would be done by. Equal rights for all, unequal privileges for none.
Tenth. Because this method of legislation is an irresponsible method. These amateur societies have the power of prosecution and arrest, but in no secular or republican sense are they or their agents directly amenable to the people; yet they form an indefinite nondescript governmental power. Our laws are supposed only to have their origin and source in the consent of the governed. To what general and public authority of this kind can these organizations point? A society or agent representing a special church or sect is certainly not a society or agent representing the people.
Eleventh. Because these laws, through their method of decoy, tempt men into the commission of the very crimes they seek to suppress. How many are the men who, under the fearful stress of competition and having a family to feed, can resist an order for an indecent publication, even if it be one of which they themselves may strongly disapprove? I do not, of course, justify such men, but affirm that these laws have this unhappy tendency.
A quotation from the Rev. Sydney Smith, of the
"Men whose trade is rat-catching love to catch rats; the bug-destroyer seizes on his bug with delight; and the suppressor is gratified by finding his vice. The last soon becomes a mere tradesman like the others; none of them moralizes or laments that their respective evils should exist in the world. The public feeling is swallowed up in the pursuit of a daily occupation and in the display of a technical skill. An informer, whether paid by the week, like the agents of this society, or by the crime, as in common cases, is in general a man of very indifferent character. So much fraud and deception are necessary for carrying on his trade-it is so odious to his fellow-subjects that no man of respectability will ever undertake it. A man who receives pay for prying into the transgressions of mankind will always be hated by mankind, and the office must fall to the lot of some man of desperate fortunes and ambiguous character. If it be lawful for respectable men to combine for the purpose of turning informers, it is lawful for the lowest and most despicable race to do the same thing; and then it is quite clear that every species of wickedness and extortion would be the consequence."
Thus, self-interest both for decoyer and decoyed leads to the production and multiplication of these offenses.
It would be easy to show that in their practical outcome these laws have actually resulted in the unjust conviction and imprisonment of certain American citizens, but I have already consumed too much space and therefore desist.
Finally, and to sum up: Christianity it is which stands as sponsor to these postal-laws, in regard to which I have shown that they are useless, that they tend to create the offenses they would suppress, that they are impolitic, that they are unnecessary, that they are rife with tyranny, that they lean toward the union of church and state, that they confer on United States courts a dangerous power, that, in the opinion of some of America's ablest statesmen, expressed in an analogous case, they are unconstitutional, that they involve irresponsibility, and that decoy, espionage, lying, and deceit are interwoven with their very nature. To purchase deliverance from obscenity at such a cost, it seems to the writer, is straining at one gnat and swallowing half a dozen camels. It is selling our American birthright for a mess of pottage.
Not in the spirit of captious retort, but in all seriousness, nay, in sadness, I conclude my plea by thus reversing the words of the writer of the editorial with which I began my article: Liberalism can stand this exhibition of the spirit and tendency of orthodoxy; can Christianity?
HOME AND SOCIETY.
Mrs. Harrison's "Woman's Handiwork in Modern Homes." ""*
THIS attractive and useful volume is the natural outgrowth of the author's practical experience and her wide acquaintance with the aesthetic difficulties and desires of housewives as revealed in the work of the Society of Decorative Art, with which she has been associated. It has a most comprehensive scope, dealing with aspects of the subject as diverse as The Union League Club Portières (the workmanship of Mrs. Wheeler), Pottery Underglaze, and Bandanna Waste-Baskets. In a volume covering so much ground it would be unreasonable to expect the author's opinion to have equal weight all through, and she has evidently cared more to make clear to the very large audience which the book will reach the practical details of approved methods in the use of needle and brush, than to pass judgment upon the proportionate value and adaptability to American life of the different new ideas now in vogue or likely to be so. In the endeavor to be historically comprehensive and up with the times she has, therefore, included some whimsicalities of fashion, such as painting on mirrors, which are not to be recommended for general use, but are likely to be prominent agents in the reaction against decoration which will presently set in. The book is altogether a very stimulating one, and we do not know of anything else that could have been treated of with advantage-unless in her catholicity the author could have added, as a brake upon the momentum which readers will receive from her suggestions, a short but much needed essay on "The Dangers to National Character in the Growth of Decorative Ideas."
The very practical aspect of the book may be seen in the following extracts:
"DOORS, AND HOW TO DEAL WITH THEM.
"Shut them, is no doubt the first method suggesting itself to the thoughtful head of a family! But this heroic treatment is not always imperative in the
present reign of portières. Sometimes a door opening inward displays a surface totally inharmonious with the decoration of the interior; and many people submit to the annoyance with helpless resig nation, seeking no remedy for what is really not a difficult matter.
"If the style of the room permit, a Japanese kakemono, or picture on silk, may be hung upon the frame. A fine Eastern rug-say a prayer-carpet, with a pattern usually so arranged long ago by the pilgrim who owned it as to point in the direction of Mecca-or any other quaint product of an oriental loom in your possession, might be hung on the offending door, and would transform it into a most inviting point of observation, A plaque of Benares brass could be secured on this.
"An embroidered door-hanging has been of late a popular bit of needlework. One of these, in
*Woman's Handiwork in Modern Homes. By Constance Cary Harrison. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.
width corresponding with the door, is made of Venetian yellow raw silk, crossed by brown velvet bands connected by an arabesque of blue silk and gold thread. Loose peacock's feathers are worked on the body of the stuff.
"The same idea carried out in olive momie-cloth, with plush to match, is extremely good. The entredeux of silk and gold thread may be worked in hap-hazard stitches, without regularity or purpose other than keeping in view the color to be displayed.
"Where you desire to paint upon your panels designs in oil or water-colors, with tinted or gilded background, always consider first the relation in color between wood-work and walls. The skirtingboard, window-frames, and doors should be darker than the walls, and the walls in turn darker than the ceiling. If your papering, for example, be a decided birds'-egg blue, a rich effect in color may be gained by painting doors and wood-work with dull Indian red. If yellow prevails on the walls, a dark, lowtoned Antwerp blue may be used on the wood-work; if Pompeian red, try dark bronze-green doors and skirting. With sage-green on the paper, tint your wood-work with two shades of gray-green, and outline it with red. Black, maroon, chocolate-brown, orange-green are all used, as the papering demands them. You need not fear these contrasts, knowing that decorative effect depends quite as much on contrast as on similarity of tint.
"Upon wood-work thus painted in somber flat color, the amateur may find pleasure in herself applying a new form of decoration, resembling the one still used for mural adornment in Italy. This consists of gilding through stencil-plates improvised by the operator, using a brush charged with liquid gold, which can be bought by the bottle of any dealer in artists' supplies. A variety of figures may be drawn upon card-board, then cut out with sharp scissors, leaving spaces and perforations through which to apply the gold over-sizing. Round, square, quatrefoil, lozenge-shaped, or crescent patterns may be used, which, when dotted irregularly over the door-frame and panels, not too close to each other, make a charming decoration.
"Oblongs of gray linen have been embroidered in crewel to insert in door-panels; and gold paper, painted over a ground of Chinese white with sketchy wild-flowers in water-color, is also used for this purpose.
"Painting with oils is a more durable style of decoration, to be executed in the ordinary way. The wood may be plain or gilded, the design either flowers, foliage, birds and butterflies, heraldic ornaments, or monograms. The design here taken for illustration from that fertile source of suggestion in household decorative art, the Art Amateur,' represents a tree with graceful branches of foliage-bearing, odd, Japanese-looking flowers, seen through the frame of the door. The stem of this slender tree, rising from the base of the left-hand lower panel, describes a curved line passing beneath the frame-work into the right-hand middle panel, and back to the left, where it tapers into feathery foliage. Grasses spring from below, while a bird or two and a few butterflies afford points of decided color. The tones of this decoration should be kept low,-the background green-gray, the foliage gray-green,-the flowers grayish-white and pale yellow. In all cases the frame of the door should be deeper in tint than the
panel. The suggestion conveyed by this design may be varied with pleasing effect. Ascending from living-room to nursery, the doors offer a delightful opportunity to give pleasure to our little ones. The figures of Punch and Judy, with their well-known train of attendants, may be painted upon the panels, or a series of designs taken from the beloved "St. Nicholas." By those amateurs unable to trust themselves in sketching the design, it may be transferred to the panel by means of the ordinary red paper. The Marcus Ward or Walter Crane toy-books, with gilded background, are good models in color. This should be laid on flat, without shading, stippling, or cross-hatching.
"The same pictures are often used to paste upon nursery door-panels; or a grotesque mosaic of odds and ends of birds and beasts and figures-rescued from the wreck of children's books and cut out from their surroundings, to apply with paste just where the combination promises most amusement to the infant spectator-has proved a great success.
"OIL-COLORS UPON SILK OR SATIN.
"In using oil paints with silk or satin, begin by squeezing out the tube colors on blotting-paper, which will absorb the oil in the paint and prevent a stain upon the material. Lay ox-gall over the design you have drawn or transferred, before applying the paint. Then charge your brush with the highest general tone of color, and accomplish what you can with a single sweep, taken, if possible, parallel to the rib of the silk, not across the woof. A second application of color should supply the shading; a third, the deepest shadows. For blending colors use only the palette-knife upon the palette. Do not attempt this with your brush upon the silk or satin. Cake-magnesia, rubbed on the wrong side of the material, is said to be useful in absorbing oil. It can easily be brushed off when the paint is dry.
contributions to the rooms of the Society of Decorative Art have been more generally admired than the screen illustrating this method painted by Miss Kellogg. The color chosen in sateen is usually an old-gold or golden fawn; the designs, landscapes, and figures are tinted after the Watteau fashion. A screen in three panels has woodland scenes, where the sunshine streams through boughs of over-arching green. The first panel displays a dear little old-time damsel with poke-bonnet, mittens, and kerchief, straying through the woods, idly trailing a sunflower behind her-the impersonation of careless maidenhood for whom time stands still! On the next panel, two pretty gossips are twining each an arm around the other's waist; and on the third, a saucy, pink-ribboned girl with dimples and cherry cheeks stands waiting her lover in a forest glade.
"A banner screen, with the same background, represents Marguerite picking her daisy to pieces, while supposed to be murmuring, 'He loves mehe loves me not.'
"The peculiar softness of this style of work makes it deservedly a favorite among skillful colorists.
CULTURE AND PROGRESS.
"CASHMERE SHAWLS IN DECORATION.
"Although it is popularly said that a cashmere shawl never goes out of fashion,' it has been a long time since those who pretend to lead in matters of dress have allowed them to appear unless in some costly wrap for which one of these lovely oriental webs has been ruthlessly cut up. The head-quarters of cashmere shawls at Bombay continues to send them out, however, in all grades and qualities; and the striped ones, in price from ten dollars to one hundred dollars, have been extensively used as curtains and portières. Firms in New York, and others in Boston, have sold large numbers of the cheaper kind for this purpose; and assuredly no one can go wrong in taste in employing them. Brass rings are sewn upon one end; and the drapery is suspended upon a rod of brass to flow free, or else to be looped back by cords made to match. Should the shawl be too long for door or window, one end can be turned over to form a sort of heading; and the rings can be sewn to a tape stitched on the shawl to prevent tearing.
"We suppose there are few enthusiastic amateurs in house-decoration who have not at some time been conscious of a mad ambition to employ some treasured round-center heirloom of a shawl in the guise of a table-cover, and have been reluctantly deterred from the project by qualms of conscientious reverence! Costly shawls have been utilized in this way more than once in New York, and in Paris they have served to upholster chairs and couches."
who are directly engaged in the coöperative system, or by those who have been captivated by it, and have given it a cursory examination from the outside. utility. It is capable of very many phases. What Coöperation undoubtedly has a sphere of great we want is such an analysis of the various projects as will set forth why, and by what forces, coöperation wins anything over competition. If this can be established, we can find the limits of the advantage of coöperation, and can get a criterion for judging