On Picket Duty.
I call attention to Gertrude B. Kelly's well-directed criticism of E. C. Walker in another column. I have followed Mr. Walker and his writings for several years with the greatest care, interest, and admiration, and this remark on Malthusianism which Miss Kelly quotes from him is the first really foolish thing I ever knew him to say.
Liberty's valued contributor, Gertrude B. Kelly, made her début as an Anarchistic lecturer in New Era Hall, Boston, on Sunday, March 28, delivering a remarkable discourse on
Anarchism and Expediency. Some idea of the position she took is incidentally given in another column in the controversy to which it has given rise between Mr. Appleton and myself. After the lecture she stood a running fire of questions, meeting them all with a calmness and coolness that were unsurpassable and a readiness and keenness that were marvellous. On the next Sunday she lectured in New Haven,, and scored, I am informed, an even greater success than in Boston. Of this Liberty may give some further report later.
In concluding a feeble effort at reply to a Galveston News criticism of the Truth Seeker in its recent struggle with Anarchism, the editor of the Truth Seeker remarks:
There is a scholarly courtesy in the criticisms of the Galveston News becoming to a great journal, which we miss in the editorials of the smaller Liberty. Whether or no it would not give force and dignity to their utterances to copy the style of Mr. J.L. Walker of Galveston is a question we leave to the judgment of Messrs. Tucker and Appleton. If there is one thing more than anohter that Anarchists believe in, it is the principle of contract. Now I have a contract to propose to the editor of the Truth Seeker. If, in all future discussions between the Truth Seeker and Liberty, he will show one half the brains and one tenth the honesty of J. L. Walker, I will show him twice his courtesy. Is it a bargain?
The latest piece of governmental infernalism is the proposition to raise the
age of consent to eighteen years. It sounds quite harmless, and belongs to that class of measures which especially allure stiff-necked moralists, pious prudes,
respectable radicals, and all the other divisions of the
unco guid. But what does it mean? It means that, if a girl of seventeen, of mature and sane mind, whom even the law recognizes as a fit person to be married and the mother of a family, shall love a man and win his love in return, and if this mutual love, by the voluntary and deliberate act of both parties, shall find sexual expression outside of the
forms of law made and provided by our stupid legislatures, the man may be found guilty of committing rape and sent to prison for twenty years. Such is the real nature of this proposition, whatever attempts may be made to conceal it beneath the garments of sentimentalism and moralism. It is an outrage on manhood, and on womanhood not only an outrage, but an insult. And yet it is put forward in the interest of young girls' honor. Honor, forsooth! As if it were possible to more basely dishonor a woman already several years past the age at which nature provided her with the power of motherhood than by telling her that she hasn't brains enough to decide whether and in what way she will become a mother.