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Some Thoughts on the Present Aspect of the Crusade

Josephine Butler (Liverpool, 1874)
Though before the timid counsels
Truth and Right may seem to fail,
God hath bathed his sword in Judgment,
 And his arm shall yet prevail. 

A retrospect of the last four years' work, and its effect upon the late general election, cannot fail to be encouraging. In spite of the suddenness of the dissolution, which took us all by surprise, and gave us no time to increase or organize our agencies, our question played a much more prominent part in that general election than most of us had anticipated or dared to hope. The opening session of a new parliament marks a new stage in our operations. We must thoughtfully consider the ends to be aimed at, and the work to be achieved between the present moment and the next general election. We must patiently endeavour, directly and indirectly, to work towards the next general election, in the confidence that if we do our duty between the present and that time, our question will have gained a wholly different position among the political questions of the day, that opposition will rapidly give way, and a parliamentary victory will be gained, which will be the sign and earnest of a much more extensive victory in the domain of public opinion and sentiment. In order to guide us somewhat in such an aim, one or two observations may be made, which are suggested by recent events.

The reaction against excessive legislative interference, and the weariness induced by various and prolonged public agitations, have produced, apparently, a desire in all parties in the House of Commons to avoid over activity in legislation. A general opposition is to be expected to all questions to which parliament, with any shadow of excuse, can give the name of "crotchets;" and our opponents are very desirous to class our agitation in that category. Altogether independently, therefore, of any accession of strength, or the reverse, which the present parliament may bring to this question, circumstances indicate a distinct end to be aimed at, namely, as speedily as possible to place it beyond the position in which it can possibly be treated as a crotchet, and in a position in which it must be recognised, even by our opponents, as a question of principle, deliberately embodied by a number of enlightened electors in their political programme, and which must, therefore, be eventually embodied in the political programme of any party which wishes to be successful in parliament. While it is well at times to concentrate our forces on an opposition to a typical advocate of legal prostitution, such as we have seen defeated at Oxford, and while the effect of this, in testing the force of our principle, is great, yet such action does not sufficiently prove the widespread and national character of our movement, nor the extent to which it has taken hold of the conscience of the religious portion of the community. There must be an organized nucleus of workers in every constituency, before the members representing those constituencies can have the feeling existing on this subject thoroughly brought home to them; nothing short of this can ensure to our movement its proper weight at a general election. The local organization in each town should be made much stronger than it is now.

It is especially important that those religious bodies who have helped the cause by their sympathy and petitions, should be induced to see that the parliamentary conscience is to be acted upon, not so much by occasional protests, as by the more practical enforcement of the convictions which they embody on individual members of parliament in every constituency. We have religious friends in very many places; let these persons make it a matter of conscience, between themselves and God, that they will give themselves no rest until the conscience of the man who represents them in parliament is enlightened on this question, or his prejudice so far removed as to induce him to vote on the side of justice. It is true that a considerable amount of corporate religious action has been adopted; this has been a noble and inspiring sight as the protest of persons determined to wash their hands of a national iniquity. But the religious denominations having done thus much, are apt to feel that they have done all that is necessary. Now the influence of such protests on parliament and on the Executive has been found to be very slight. Their great effect is on the country, in strengthening our religious workers by a knowledge of the approval and sympathy of the bodies to which they belong. The spirit of these protests ought now to bear fruit in the utmost fidelity and energy in local action. We should each determine, therefore, in our own locality, to establish an organisation to bring persevering and continual influence to bear on our own local parliamentary representatives, and for prompt local action in case of any single election. All this will tend to set our question on a completely different footing when the next general election occurs; and our aim must be to secure that our question shall then be recognised not only as a question of principle embodied in protests from the religious communities generally, but as a special election question taken up by these religious communities in each borough and county; and it is such action alone which will make it clear to the whole world that Governments must look this matter fairly in the face, and that justice to one half the human race can never again be postponed to questions hitherto accepted as all-important in parliamentary programmes, or to the exigencies of party.

That such modes of forcing our convictions on the legislature are calculated to injure the moral influence of parliament, and undermine the idea of true parliamentary government, that they appear to assail the dignity and disregard the independence of judgment of candidates for election, cannot be denied. But what are we to do? What resource have we save this, rude and stern as it may appear, when our tenderest rights are voted away after midnight by a spare handful of representatives in the House of Commons; when penal law is enacted, entirely new and unheard of in our country, and applying with oppressive and shameful inequality to the weakest and the unrepresented, and when a system is legally established by which protection is offered to vicious men, and which places the traffic in vice under the supervision of state officials for the greater convenience of the licentious?

To demand that all this shall be reversed, is our right, and we are bound to demand it, even by rude and unpolite methods, when none others are open to us. Our demand for justice, for equality before the law, and for the removal of the scandal of legalized harlotry and protected profligacy cannot long continue to be called a "crotchet," except by the most shallow and the most frivolous. By many it is now recognised in its true meaning, as a sacred, pressing, undeniable claim, as embracing a question which lies at the basis of our whole social life, as the problem which lies at the heart of all problems.

We shall continue to aim at the re-establishment of justice, of equal laws, and of morality in our midst, though, in so doing, we should have altogether to destroy parliamentary government in its present corrupted form. The form of government, in the present or in the future, is as nothing compared with the eternal principles, fidelity to which alone can give continuance or life to any government. God will take care for the future while we maintain allegiance to His laws.

Having indicated that, in my opinion, the active and energetic local action of religious bodies is to strike the keynote of our movement during the ensuing period, I must again urge upon all friends the absolute necessity of keeping constantly before our minds the religious nature of our crusade, and the grave responsibility of those whom God has called to labour for the overthrow of the worst and longest-established form of social evil. This is a work in which we must not grow weary. Those to whom God has entrusted the initiative in this great work should be awake and alert in reading the signs of the times; for scarcely anything of vital interest to the nation can occur which has not some bearing, more or less, on the question with which we have to do. We must be ready, above all things, to engage in the service of our cause, all deeply awakened religious sentiment.

We see around us at the present time signs of religious awakening. The Spirit, which bloweth where it listeth, may be about to visit in an unusual degree our land, previous, not improbably, to some approaching national distress and calamity. Wise mariners, bent on reaching the haven of their wishes, must be quick to spread their sails to catch the coming breeze. Without this watchfulness we shall fall into the error into which human beings so often have fallen, of failing to bring into prompt union a revived spirituality and the work of practical social reform. Experience at the present moment shows that whole populations may become engrossed with the work of prayer and individual conversion, to the exclusion of all consideration of the necessary reform of those public institutions which continually affect not only the present but the eternal happiness of immortal souls. Undoubtedly individual reformation must precede and underlie all true national reform. But owing to the short-sightedness of man, and his limited views of the possibilities of God and of renewed human nature, owing perhaps still more to the firm hold which the ideas of selection and exclusion in spiritual matters have upon the minds of many religious teachers, national reforms, and the casting down of institutional iniquities, have been too often, not postponed merely, but wholly lost sight of, in the midst of religious revival; unhoped for, not believed in, and consequently not realized.

A friend, writing from Glasgow, says--"The revival movement which is going on seems to absorb all other interests, so that it seems to be useless to pursue any longer our special crusade. Our cause is not in a satisfactory state in Scotland; the workers are embarrassed by a peculiar over-sensitiveness, and the absence of practical modes of operation." These words do not apply exclusively to Scotland; they confirm my own previous impressions derived from observation of the progress of this revival.

I have a thorough belief in the divine origin and happy effects of such periods of awakened religious conviction. It is clear that in order to combat with any success the materialism of our age, embodied in laws and institutions, we need some great manifestation of the power of God. That much wished-for breath of heaven appears to be now visiting us. Indolent souls are aroused, and baptised into a fresh heavenly life. A cloud of blessing is hanging over the land. We stand in awe and expectation, seeing in these things the hand of God. Without entering into the mystery of these spiritual visitations, we must recognise the fact historically that there are periods when it seems as if God granted a special audience to waiting souls on this suffering earth, when He is so ready of access, that our suit is no sooner made than it is heard. Such times have been frequently, though not always, accompanied or followed, in a greater or less degree, by the casting off of national evils and the overthrow of great instituted abominations, the overturning of conventional standards and the revival of a higher morality. It was strikingly so, when, in America, a widespread and earnest religious revival preceded that final encounter of antagonistic principles which resulted in the overthrow of the great slave system. I am deeply concerned that such practical results should accompany the present revival; and especially that they should be signally manifested in regard to our great anti-slavery movement, and hasten the overthrow of that foulest of national institutions, legalized harlotry, the existence of which among us is tending to bring hell upon the earth, in the face of all our revivalists' efforts to advance the kingdom of God. Now, so far as I have followed the history of this revival movement, I have not seen that it has as yet in any way directly aided this most holy cause of ours. It may tend somewhat to discredit the thoroughness of the religious impulse, if it should fail, during the height of its power, to come into direct collision with the greatest of our social evils. It is not enough that our spiritual teachers should include in their ministrations certain women of the city who are sinners; they ought directly to deal with the false and guilty theory, deeply rooted in the minds of men - religious as well as worldly - that impurity is necessary for men, so long as they are "unconverted," that the institution of harlotry must for ever remain in the heart of Christendom, and that a mere remnant of souls is all we may expect to save from the grasp of that tyranny. It will be a sad thing for the future of our country if we do not avail ourselves of this Pentecostal breath of heaven, in order to bring down the strongest of Satan's strongholds to the ground. I perceive that holy men are devoting themselves daily and hourly to the work of receiving all anxious enquirers who come to them, unweariedly teaching, praying, and comforting; infinite pains are bestowed on the individual. This is right; this is Christ's method. There is no doubt that an undue reliance on external agencies, apart form internal and spiritual forces, has far too much prevailed among us. Against this tendency, the present energizing movement, involving as it does almost exclusive attention to the individual soul, is a necessary protest, and one fraught with deep meaning. The peculiarity of Christ's operation is to be found in its preference of the inner element over the outward; "it is personal and moral, not institutional and systematic; it is the influences of soul upon soul, life creating life, beginning in the regeneration of the individual, and thence spreading over communities." To the awakening of the private conscience has God committed the real history and progress of mankind. But if, the private conscience being awakened, the man who is the subject of the awakening, regards all those portions of society which are not, manifestly to him, visited by the same awakening grace, as permanently excluded by a decree of Providence, as a portion of the "world lying in wickedness," which must for ever continue to lie in wickedness; if he persistently declines to seek the reform of social and political institutions lest he should soil his own soul by contact with something which he deems to be the domain of Satan: then the progress which God has committed to the awakening of the private conscience will be indefinitely arrested, and extraordinary spiritual awakenings will continue to be discredited; reproach will lie at the door of those to whom the gracious advances of the Spirit of God have been made, and their fidelity will be impugned.

A more cheering hope would rest upon the future, if the present movement were more aggressive and more openly hostile to evils which are patronised by the rich and influential. Shall this public scandal of a law passed to legalise the slavery of women, and to protect the libertinism of men, go unrebuked at such a time of heavenly visitation? Such a result would in itself be a scandal.

There can be no doubt that so far as the present revival movement goes, it must aid our cause in the long run, inasmuch as it is on the religious sense of the nation that we must depend for the pressure that is required to counteract the wickedness of the governing class, of which the treatment of soldiers in the army and of poor and unfortunate women is simply the result; at the same time, it appears to be doing little or nothing of a direct nature to probe the great social inequalities and wrong which are undermining the very foundations of religious and social life. Instituted evils are exercising a widely demoralising influence among the people, and will precipitate our national ruin. Nothing, I am persuaded, will save the nation but a revival movement of such fierce and God-like earnestness and intensity as shall make the present efforts small and insignificant in comparison. The silence on all disputed points of doctrine which the revivalist leaders have wisely imposed upon themselves, in order to promote union, appears to be, less wisely, carried into matters of practice. Although frequent "requests for prayer for drunken relatives" have forced some of the preachers to speak of the sin of drunkenness, this is, I believe the limit to which they have ventured in plain speaking against prevailing vices. Such was not the spirit of Savonarola, of John Eudes, John Wesley, and other practical reformers, who promoted deep and fruitful religious movements. Like St. John the Baptist, these reformers feared not to speak the sternest truths; and to rebuke princes and leaders of society, while they proclaimed the love of the Saviour to every sinner and outcast. We want a far more stern, searching, and uncompromising religious work than we have seen; one which shall boldly attack the gigantic sins of the day, the greed of wealth, those trades which flourish on the ruin of the bodies and souls of men, and that conspiracy of avarice and lust by which is accomplished the destruction of tens of thousands of the daughters of our people. It is very possible that the good men who are leading the present movement do not feel called to do more than they are at present doing; all honour to them for their holy service in the advancement of Christ's kingdom on earth! I am far from charging upon them the responsibility of any failure in a more direct attack on evil, in its publicly instituted forms. The responsibility rests with us, with every one of us whose eyes have been opened to the injustice, wrongs, woes, and shames around us, and who believe that he who would truly save his life must lose it, and that the only condition of discipleship is to bear the cross, and all that the cross may mean.

I lately read a comment by one of our revivalists on the American women's crusade against intemperance. The speaker, though believing in the power of prayer, deprecated the publicity of the women's action, and said, "Let the men pray, and let the women stay at home, adorning themselves with modest apparel." It is indeed much to be desired that men, adorning themselves with modest of heart, should take the initiative in attacking Satan's strongholds, with the courage which it is acknowledged the women of America have shown, whatever may be their errors. Why, for example, are those houses of infamy in Edinburgh and Glasgow, where "gentlemen" assemble nightly, allowed to remain, and to exercise their contaminating influence, for a day, while thousands of people in the same cities are assembling for daily prayer, asking "what must we do to be saved?" Let us imagine that these earnest men might be moved to apply a very practical test to the moral power now at work amongst them, by leading an open attack upon the most impudent and at the same time the most skulking and cowardly of all the manifestations of evil which have cursed society. Let us suppose them to take a hint from the American women, by establishing prayer meetings opposite some of the most fashionable resorts of infamy in the cities where they are working, praying all night for the soul of every man who approached them, and for every soul within their walls? Granted faith and energy equal to those of the women of the United States, what might we supposed would be the result? Most certainly the visitors of these establishments would for a time cease to visit them, and the unholy gains of the householder coming to an end, the mainstay of the institution would be broken; certainly many of the inmates, poor slaves, not being at any time so far from the kingdom of God as our social pharisees are, would at once drop on their knees, and with full hearts give thanks to God who had broken their chains. And who knows that some of the keepers of these slave pens might not surrender, and, with changed hearts, join the army of aggression against evil. In adopting such a course, our male crusaders at home would escape the charge brought against the women crusaders in America of breaking the laws by their mode of attack; for although homes of ill fame are openly and formally licensed by our Christian government in China and India, it has not yet gone so far in its regulation of vice in England itself as to give actual legal protection to these dens of infamy.

There are men now among us who have all the strength of conviction on this subject, which possessed by fearless exponents of truth on other subjects in past ages, has often enabled a mere handful of weak men, or a solitary prophet, to inaugurate a new era. I believe, however, that there are comparatively few men who have the strength of motive which women have to assail this particular form of evil; it is to women therefore probably that we must chiefly look for the initiative in fresh acts of aggression against the conventional and accepted standard in society concerning sexual morality, and in opposing the continually revived masculine tendency to set apart, theoretically, practically, and formally, a number of women to minister to vice, to treat them as a class, and, when disposed to deal repressively, to decree penalty and punishment to the weaker sex only.

A satirical American writer, in a letter which appeared in the Standard, says, - "I feel persuaded that in extending the suffrage to women this country could lost absolutely nothing, and might gain a great deal. For thirty centuries history has been iterating and reiterating that in a moral fight woman is simply dauntless; and we all know, even with our eyes shut upon Congress and our voters, that from the day that Adam ate of the apple and told on Eve down to the present day, man, in a moral fight, has pretty uniformly shown himself to be an arrant coward." There are men around us who most certainly do not deserve to come under this sweeping censure; nevertheless, to me it is evident, that at a time of the world's history when the long-forgotten truth has to be clearly enunciated, of the oneness of the moral law, and when that enunciation may have to take forms which at another time might appear extreme or uncalled for, the protest can best be made by women. The writer to whom I have alluded falls into the error which it seems to me women are especially called on at this day distinctly and persistently to refute. While expressing a hearty sympathy with the woman's crusade in America, he records his regret at the fact "that women should carry their grace and purity into places which should never know their presence," and endeavour to save persons "who are not worth saving." This view is widely entertained by men; the pure and refined among women, it is asserted, ought never even to know of, much less to come in contact with, the social evils in our midst, even with a view to oppose and overcome them, or to leave their own "sphere" in order to save women who are "not worth saving." The practical heathenism of this judgment can only be seen in its true colours by setting it side by side with the example and character of Christ. Did he refuse the grace and purity of his presence to the darkest abodes of earth? Were any beings in human shape not worth saving in his estimation?

It is clear that no perceptible impression can be made on the institution of harlotry, as represented by the female slave population of our cities who are devoted to a life of shame, until the stronghold--the accepted base standard in regard to male purity--is assailed and overthrown. Men have imposed on women a stricter rule in morality than they have imposed on themselves, or are willing themselves to obey. This may be to some extent the secret of the unwillingness to many men to see women laying siege in earnest to the great instituted iniquity; they fear lest a discovery of practice as well as theory, too lax to be defended by the least thoughtful, should come to the light, and disturb the social order, or rather disorder, which men have hitherto ordained. there are, however, many who, like this American writer, sincerely believe that the influence of good women is impaired by any courageous opposition to known and scandalous evils. Those who thus judge have missed the Christian ideal in the picture they have presented to their own imaginations of the perfection either of true womanhood or true manhood. They prate of Christ; but what do they know of him? Have they ever looked full at that image of him given by the evangelists? Can they imagine any gulf which it would be possible for a pure human being to bridge over, in order to save a fellow-creature, to be compared with the gulf which he bridged over in order to identify himself with human nature in its lowest estate, and to restore the lost and guilty? The way in which even good men, professing to be believers in Jesus of Nazareth, judge this matter, the way in which they cling to their unequal judgments of unchaste men and unchaste women, and continue to separate, by an impassable barrier, the lapsed among women from the pure or the so-called pure; the way in which they dread any probing of the subject, and deprecate the direct action, and the searching and purifying influence of enlightened women in the matter, is so un-Christlike, so unholy, that it calls for the most stern and constantly-repeated rebuke. It is an infamy which flouts the heavens. Remembering how the Holiest could say to one such erring woman, "neither do I condemn thee, go and sin no more," I would, if I were a man, (with my hand on my heart, I say it) take off my hat and stand bareheaded before the most degraded of these women, before I would dare to speak of them as greater sinners than myself, even if I were myself blameless; for, as a man, I should feel ashamed and penitent on behalf of other men, for whom and by whom these helpless ones have been cast forth and branded.

How is it that we may search the Gospels through and through, and not find one word of reproof to the poor, the down-trodden, and the suffering? Not because Christ did not see their sins as well as the sins of the Scribes and Pharisees; but he knew, he felt, with that divine insight of his, that they were not in the same degree responsible while bound hand and foot with the chains society had rivetted upon their weak limbs. I fail to understand how any man or woman can initiate the restoration of such by preaching to them concerning their sins, and threatening them with the judgment of God. Rather would I begin by making them women first; by restoring their womanhood. I would seat them by my side, side by side with me, or higher if need be, and then, after that, if they fall, say to them - "O my sisters, ye have sinned; kneel down, and pray for strength to sin no more, by the side of your fellow-sinner - me." It is we, not they, who ought to cover our faces and blush as they pass us by; for the sin of society is ours. Are there not many of us who must confess that we have sinned up to the measure of our opportunities and enlightenment? What more have they done who had neither opportunities nor enlightenment? Therefore I would call upon the purest men and women among us to repent; to weep with me for the destruction of the daughter of my people, and to oppose, by every means and at every turn, the falsehoods prevalent in society, by which the present state of things is maintained.

De Tocqueville says, "Nothing is more customary in man than to recognise superior wisdom in the person of his oppressor." Slaves have done so; women have done so. In reply to letters addressed to women of the upper classes, (who are naturally much more enslaved to conventional ideas than ourselves,) I have frequently been told that I ought to leave this whole subject of the degradation and enslavement of women to the superior wisdom of men; and only a few weeks ago a lady writing in an Oxford newspaper against the opposition to Mr. Lewis's candidature, asserted that it was impossible for women to understand such a subject. To those who regard freedom as a holy thing, this slavery of the intellect and judgment appears the most dangerous and deadening of all forms of slavery. We must cease to "recognise superior wisdom" in those who oppress us, and learn to abhor the despotism of a public opinion formed by men, which has so long, and with such calamitous results, aimed at holding in bondage even the inmost thoughts of women. Not for spiritual bondage and moral freedom alone do we pray; we supplicate God to grant us also the emancipation of the intellect and the judgment from every theoretic falsehood and injustice. "For myself, when I feel the hand of power lie heavy on my brow, I care but little to know who oppresses me; and I am not the more disposed to pass under the yoke, because it is held out to me by the arms of a million of men." The public opinion which rules us in this vital matter of the relations of the sexes, upheld by millions of men, and backed by the whole weight of the authority of many centuries, in a despotism against which we proclaim ourselves rebels. Between the rebels and the despot there can be no longer any truce.

Mr. Herbert Spencer has lately endorsed the opinion which male writers have been so long accustomed to express, that men possess strongly the sense of justice, and that women are weak in this sense. I am grieved that so excellent a man should have ventured on such an assertion at such a time as this. It would, I think, have been more modest if Mr. Spencer had postponed the utterance of that sentiment until the Contagious Diseases Acts were repealed. Men framed those Acts--Acts whose cowardliness, tyrannous injustice, flagrant inequality and cruelty have probably never been equalled in the history of the world; and men now refuse to repeal those Acts, in the face of the bitter cry of outraged womanhood, and the persistent demands of men whose sense of justice has been roused by that cry. It is true that the sense of justice in women is weak. Like many other qualities and powers possessed by women, it has been deadened through the want of exercise. The depressed condition of woman has prevented the free exercise of her judgment; her natural sense of justice has been, in secret, outraged almost to extinction; she has not been permitted to exercise or express it in any open or legitimate manner, nor encouraged to bring it to bear on any large or public questions. No wonder that it has become enfeebled. But the sense of justice in man has been impaired, well nigh to extinction, by a different process. It has been warped and corrupted by the almost exclusive possession of power in one direction, and by the privilege he has assumed to himself of forming a judgment on all that concerns one half of the human race, irrespective of any judgment which that half of the human race may have formed concerning their own interests. Privilege, even more than subjection, corrupts, deadens, and kills the sense of justice within the human soul.

During the revival of spiritual and moral conviction which took place in France in the seventeenth century, in the midst of the corruptions of the Court and of society, several women of education and enlightenment endeavoured to raise the questions which we are raising at this day. The public work of these women, in opposing social scandals, has been attributed by biographers to compassion and benevolence. A closer scrutiny of their lives reveals the leading motive to have been a strong sense of justice, not less than compassion. They observed and abhorred the unequal judgments of society, the license granted to certain sinners, and the merciless condemnation of others; they cherished in their hearts a steady scorn of the hollow conventions of the world, and a patient vengeance against all cruelty and tyranny. A few incidents in the life of one of these women, Madame de Pollalion, are worthy of remembrance. The simplicity and boldness of her practical protest against vice, as well as her Christ-like conduct in identifying herself with the most sinful, in order to restore them, were shocking to the respectable of her day. Similar conduct would no doubt shock the respectability of our own day, which thinks there are places which should never know the saving presence, and subjects which should never enter the thoughts of holy and delicate women.

Surely if any time of the world's history every called for courageous and independent speech, and for typical and Christ-like acts on the part of women towards their fallen sisters and fallen brothers, this age of ours, this very year of 1874, calls for such!

Marie de Pollalion was left a widow early in life; she became governess to the children of the Duchess of Orleans; but finding the atmosphere of the Court prejudicial to moral health, she left it, and devoted herself to the service of the most helpless of the human family. She founded industrial schools, retreats, and homes, and established workshops for unemployed girls and women. In rescuing the victims of depravity, she endured many humiliations, sometimes even blows and injuries; for she did not hesitate to penetrate to Satan's strongholds in order to rob him of his victims. Clothed in the fire-proof armour of charity, she ventured everywhere and everything. Unhampered by the death-like fatalism which blights so much enterprise, and dares to clothe itself in plausible and venerable names; and believing in the promises of God, and in the recoverability of human nature from whatsoever depth of degradation, she witnessed transformations of character incredible to materialists, and too often pronounced even by Christian philanthropists to be impossible.

Hearing, one day, that a poor young girl of her acquaintance had been enticed to a fashionable house of ill-fame, she ran to the place, entered the house, and claimed the girl. She found there several gentlemen of the Court, whom she rebuked with a severity, the justice of which they confessed by sudden and precipitate flight; she then took the young girl by the hand and led her from the abode of shame. At another time she adopted the plain, coarse dress of a servant of the humblest class, and engaged herself to wait upon eight young women who lived together in the profession of infamy. She spent the first week in almost constant prayer, silently offering up supplications to God even while dressing her mistresses for evening gaities. Gradually she began to add to her prayers gentle entreaties and warnings, and soon succeeded in shaking her employers out of their sleep of sin. In less than three weeks every one of them had forsaken her evil life, and each was weeping and praying apart in her own chamber. The event justified, and God set his seal of approval on, a step which to most people seemed to pass the bounds of prudence and of delicacy, by granting to her to witness the constancy in virtue of these eight women. To a sensitive soul, already enduring much in the contemplation of, and contact with evil of this nature, it is an added grief to be looked upon by the good and gentle, not less than by the harsh or impure, as one who is wanting in delicacy; to be charged with coarseness of feeling, or a vulgar desire for peculiarity. Marie de Pollalion felt the reproaches which fell abundantly upon her; but in silence she betook herself to Him who also disguised himself as a servant, and whose sensitive human organisation, and divine, unfathomable purity did not hinder for a moment the calm and mighty flow of his zeal for a lost world, and of his compassion for the vilest creature who had originally been fashioned in the image which he loved. She and her judges are alike awaiting the verdict of a greater than any earthly tribunal. To that tribunal we appeal against the unequal judgments of man, and the super-added infamies of our own day.

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