For the Boston Investigator.
Polygamy and Variety.
MR. EDITOR :—The following article was written for the Social Revolutionist, edited by John Patterson, in Greenville, Ohio, but too late for publication in that periodical, as it was discontinued in December. As it upon an important subject on which I have already furnished articles for the Investigator, I hand it over to you, with a hope that you may, by and by, find a place for it in your columns. The same article on Polygamy which I published in your paper of July 29 and Aug. 5, 1857, I also published in the Social Revolutionist, and those views against Polygamy Mr. Patterson con-troverted, which called forth the following reply from me.
Yours, truly, L. R. S.
There have been, I believe, some two or three criti-cisms of my articles published in the Social Revolu-tionist. And, although I thought I could see evident fallacies and non-sequitors in each one of them, yet, at first I decided it would hardly be worth the space I should occupy, for me to attempt to point out the logi-cal errors of such as might think proper to criticise anything I have written. However, in the November No. of the Social Revolutionist, page 137, a writer on Polygamy has done me such evident injustice that I do not feel at liberty to rest under the imputation which is there cast upon me. The writer of that criticism may be “A Monogamist," but a correct writer, a good logician he is not, certainly, if this article is a speci-men of the best he can do. And, if the reader will please re-peruse my article on Polygamy in the Sept. No., especially the 2d paragraph, it will be apparent, I think, what severe injustice this writer has done, not to me merely, but to the subject under notice. These are my words:—
“The progeny of polygamy is deteriorated, and any physiologist can readily understand the reasons why, in " the nature and constitution of things, it must be so. It is well known that the issues of Mormon polygamy are scrofulous, sickly, and generally a SQUALID SET," &c., &c.
Had "A Monogamist " quoted the whole of my ar-gument, his own fallacy would have been apparent.—The argument he puts into my mouth I have never used. He commits a logical fallacy, and then asks, "Is not this legitimately drawn from his words'? "—Why, never; you have not quoted my words. You make me say that—
"In polygamy, the number of females is greater than the number of males; therefore, polygamy is wrong," &c.
Not so. Here is what I said :—
"In polygamy, the issue is a predominance of fe-males, and these are a scrofulous, sickly, squalid set, not suitable to become wives at all."
It is susceptible of proof, I think, that the sexual ex-cesses which prevail in variety and polygamy, deterio-rate the issues which come of such a state of things. And the fact of a majority of females, as the result of polygamy, proves nothing in favor of polygamy. Were a majority in such issues to be a squalid set of sickly males, I do not see how it could prove anything in fa-vor of polyandry, or a plurality of husbands to one wife.
It seems to me, the arguments in my article in your Sept. No. against polygamy or variety have not been met. In your address to me, (Aug. No., page 40,) you state, that I asked you "not to attribute any opinions "to me ! This is an error; what I requested was, that you should be careful and "not attribute any opinions to me which I do not hold." And the criticisms thus far attempted of me in the Social Revolutionist tend to show that there were good reasons for making a re-quest of this kind. And now, while upon this subject, permit me to say, that I do not see that you have met the issues raised in my article on Conjugality published in your April No. This I may attempt to show at a future time. The fallacy of arguing from a particular to a general, or the fallacy of accident, runs through your article which you call “Righting the Premises," in the Aug. No. What enters into and constitutes the CONJUGAL RELATION you have not shown ; nor have you attempted to show that my definition of it was not the true one. And, if my definition be the true one, then it follows that the whole drift of your article is falla-cious. And so far from "Righting the Premises," I do not perceive that you have correctly apprehended what my premises were. Here is what I taught:—
No associations of the sexes, the natural tendency of which is to induce excess of indulgence, can be safely allowed, nor can those be allowed which interfere with the absolute relations of life, growing out of the con-jugal.
Polygamy and variety tend, directly, to sexual excess-es, and they interfere with the absolute relations of life.
Therefore, polygamy and variety cannot be safely al-lowed in society.
Your fallacy is manifest when you speak of "certain political relations," and according to which a tyrant might or might not do certain things. Thus you con-found the "relations of life," which you admit to be ABSOLUTE, with ephemeral, political relations which are merely incidental. You say :—All the life relations are ABSOLUTE, except the conjugal, out of which they are all developed ! But how the parental, the filial, and the fraternal relations can be absolute, while the conjugal, whence they originate, was not designed to be absolute or permanent, your logic does not show. I say designed to be permanent. That the parental is not always permanent, is owing to the ignorance and want of development in the parties. Hence it is that children result to parties where there is no real con-jugality. Vegetables will germinate and grow even in soils unadapted to their perfect development. The Varietist may become the father of fifty children by fifty different mothers. But these children cannot be as healthy as fifty others born of twenty-five fathers and twenty-five mothers, between each of whom the parental was preceded by the real conjugal relation. The birth of children from parents not conjugally re-lated, proves nothing against my position that the pa-rental is DESIGNED to be permanent, corresponding with the conjugal, which is absolute. The death of an infant does not prove that the design was not that the infant should live and be developed into manhood.
You stumble again upon the threshhold of this sub-ject when you say I base my objections to polygamy on the "life relations which obtain in civil society," and that I have "assumed that these are the only re-lations possible !" Why, my good friend, the "rela-tions of life," concerning which my queries were pro-posed, are before all society, before all laws, before all governments: they are the ORIGINAL SOURCES whence come all we know, or believe, or hope for, of symme-try, perfection, beauty, wisdom, law, government, sov-ereignty, equality, justice, goodness, association, har-mony, and God or heaven. "Relations " there may be, as numerous as the pairs of mortals in existence, between whom they may be established; but these accidental relations are not absolute, they are not the "life relations," which are absolute and cannot be an-nihilated.
You err again in confounding the conjugal with mere marriage. Whereas, marriage may take place when there is no real conjugality. All unhappy mar-riages would be prevented, if the parties always be-fore marriage were to exercise the higher faculties of wisdom sufficiently to ascertain that they are conjugal-ly related.
I suppose I may consider it somewhat characteristic of your logic, when you tell me that you "ignore the conjugal relation." And, bear in mind, it is not “mar-riage " of which we are speaking. You "ignore " the conjugal relation, out of which those other life re-lations come which you admit are absolute and perma-nent. Well, and so does the libertine “ignore " the conjugal relation, as indeed it is "ignored " by the dog and the horse, and all in the animal kingdom.
In my article on Conjugality, in your April No., I stated most explicitly that I did not wish to dogmatise. I asked for a definition of conjugality. I asked to be informed what restraints, if any, should be put upon the indulgence of the sexual instincts? I do not per-ceive that you have answered these reasonable que-ries ; but you go on to speak of what you call my "ob-jections to free love," when, in fact, I had made no such objections. I stated, expressly, that all love was free, and I believe in no other.
Boston, Jan. 1, 1858.
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