Moral Physiology, by Robert Dale Owen

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

Re: Moral Physiology, by Robert Dale Owen

Postby admin » Tue May 19, 2020 9:36 am



1 See "Memoires de la Cour d'Espagne," by Madame d'Aunoy.

2 See Tournefort's Travels in Turkey.

3 See Buckingham's Travels in Asia.

4 See Bruce's Travels in Abyssinia.

5 One of the English kings, Edward III., in the year 1344, picked up from the floor of a ball-room, an embroidered garter belonging to a lady of rank. In returning it to her, he checked the rising smile of his courtiers with the words, "Honi soit qui mal y pense!" or, paraphrased in English, " Shame on him who invidiously interprets it!" The sentiment was so greatly approved, that it has become the motto of the English national arms. It is one which might be not inaptly nor unfrequently applied in rebuking the mawkish, skin-deep, and intolerant morality of this hypocritical and profligate age.

6 See "A brief exposition of the principles of the United Society called Shakers," published by Calvin Green and Seth Y. Wells, 1830.

7 I call them my friends, because, however little I am disposed to accede to all their principles, I have met, from among their body, a greater proportion of individuals who have taken with them my friendship and sympathy, than perhaps from among any other sect or class of men.

8 By unrestrained, Malthus and his disciples mean, not restricted or destroyed by any incidental check whatever, moral or immoral, prudential or violent. Thus, poverty, war, libertinism, famine, &c. are all powerful checks to population. In this sense, and not simply as applying to preventative moral restraint, have I employed the word throughout this chapter.

9 Mandeville.

10 Some wag, adverting to the fact, that Mr. Malthus himself has a large family, remarked, "that the reverend gentleman knew better how to preach than to practise."

11 Lawrence, the ingenious author of the "Empire of the Nairs," says shrewdly enough, "Wherever the women are prudes, the men, will be drunkards."

12 It may perhaps be argued, that all married persons have this power already, seeing that they are no more obliged to become parents than the unmarried; they may live as the brethren and sisters among the Shakers do. But this Shaker remedy is, in the first place, utterly impracticable, as a general rule; and, secondly, it would chill and embitter domestic life, even if it were practicable.

13 Will our sensitive fine ladies blush at the plain good sense and simplicity of such an observation? Let me tell them, the indelicacy is in their own minds, not in the words of the French mother.

14 For a vice so unnatural as onanism there could be no possible temptation, and therefore no existence, were not men unnaturally and mischievously situated. It first appeared, probably, in monasteries; and has been perpetuated by the more or less anti-social and demoralizing relation in which the sexes stand to each other, in almost all countries. In estimating the consequences of the present false situation of society, we must set down to the black account the wretched, wretched consequences (terminating not unfrequently in incurable insanity) of this vice, the preposterous offspring of modern civilization. Physicians say that onanism at present prevails, to a lamentable extent, both in this country and England. If the recommendations contained in this little treatise were generally followed, it would probably totally disappear in a single generation.

15 See letter of Percy Byssche Shelley, published in the "Lion," of December 5, 1828.

16 Every reflecting mind will distinguish between the unreasoning sometimes even generous, imprudence of youthful passion, and the calculating selfishness of the matured and heartless libertine. It is a melancholy truth, that pseudo-civilization produces thousands of seducers by profession, who, while daily calling the heavens to witness their eternal affections, have no affection for any thing on earth but their own precious and profligate selves. It is to characters so utterly worthless as these that my observations apply.

17 Jesus said unto her, "Neither do I condemn thee." -- John viii. 11.

18 What is the actual state of society in Great Britain, and even in this republic, that pseudo-civilization, in her superlative delicacy, should so fastidiously scruple to speak of or to sanction a simple, moral, effectual check to population? Are her sons all chaste and temperate, and her daughters all passionless and pure? I might disclose, if I would, in this very city of New-York -- and in our neighbour city of Philadelphia -- scenes and practices that have come to light from time to time, and that would furnish no very favourable answer to the question. I might ask, whether all the houses of assignation in these two cities are frequented by the known profligate alone? or, whether some of the most outwardly respectable fathers -- ay, mothers of families -- have not been found in resorts supported and frequented only by " good society" like themselves?

As regards Great Britain, I might quote the evidence delivered before a "Committee of the House of Commons, on Labourers' Wages," by Henry Drummond, a banker, magistrate, and large land-owner in the county of Surry, in which the following question and answer occur: Q,. "What is the practice you allude to of forcing marriages?" A. "I believe nothing is more erroneous than the assertion, that the poor laws tend to imprudent marriages; I never knew an instance of a girl being married until she was with child, nor ever knew of a marriage taking place through a calculation for future support." Mr. Drammond's assertions were confirmed by other equally respectable witnesses; and from what I have myself learnt in conversation with some of the chief manufacturers of England, I am convinced, that the statement, as regards the working population in the chief manufacturing districts, is scarcely exaggerated.

I might go on to state, that the spot on which the Foundling Hospital in Dublin now stands, formerly went by the name of "Murderer's Lane," from the number of child murders that were perpetrated in the vicinity.

I might adduce the testimony of respectable witnesses in proof, that, even among the married, the blighting effects of ergot are not unfrequently incurred; by those very persons, probably, who, in public, would think fit to be terribly shocked at this little book.

But why multiply proofs? The records of every court of justice, nay, the tittle tattle of every fashionable drawing-room, sufficiently marks the real character of this prudish and pharisaical world of ours.

19 See letter of the Committee of the Typographical Society to Robert Dale Owen, published in the Commercial Advertiser of the 29th of September, and copied into the Free Enquirer of the 9th of October, 1830.

20 I should like to hear these gentlemen explain, according to what principle they imagine the chastity of their wives to grow out of a fear of offspring; so that, if released from such fear, prostitution would follow. I can readily comprehend that the unmarried may be supposed careful to avoid that situation to which no legal cause can be assigned; but a wife must be especially dull, if she cannot assign, in all cases, a legal cause; and a husband must be especially sagacious, if he can tell whether the true cause be assigned or not. This safeguard to married chastity, therefore, to which the gentlemen of the Typographical Committee seem to look with so implicit a confidence, is a mere broken reed; and has been so, ever since the days of Bathsheba.

Yet conjugal chastity is that which is especially valued. The inconstancy of a wife commonly cuts much deeper than the dishonour of a sister. In that case, then, which the world usually considers of the highest importance, the fear of offspring imposes no check whatever. It cannot make one iota of difference whether a married woman be knowing in physiology or not; except perhaps, indeed, to the husband's advantage; in cases where the wife's conscience induces her at least to guard against the possibility of burthening her legal lord with the care and support of children that are not his. Constancy, where it actually exists, is the offspring of something more efficacious than ignorance.

And if in the wife's case, men must and do trust to something else, why not in all other cases, where restraint may be considered desirable V Shall men trust in the greater, and fear to trust in the less? Whatever any one may choose to assert regarding his relatives' secret inclinations to profligacy, these arguments may convince him, that if he has any safeguard at present, a perusal of Moral Physiology will not destroy it.

'Tis strange that men, by way of suborning an argument, should be willing thus to vilify their relatives' character and motives, without first carefully examining whether any thing was gained to their cause, after all, by the vilification.

21 Instances innumerable might be adduced. Not one young person, for example, in twenty, is ever told, that sexual intercourse during the period of a woman's courses is not unfrequently productive, to the woman of a species of fluor albus, and sometimes (as a consequent) to the man of symptoms very similar to those of syphilis, but more easily removed. Yet what fact more important to be communicated? And how ridiculous the mischievously prudish refinement that conceals from human beings what it most deeply concerns them to know?

For a statement of the circumstances connected with that letter, and which induced me, at this time, to write and publish the present treatise, see Preface.

22 Le premier serment que se firent deux tres de chair, ce fut au pied d'un rocher, qui tombait en poussiere; ils attesterent de leur Constance un ciel qui n'est pas un instant le mme: tout passait en eux, et autour d'eux; et ils croyaient leurs cceurs affran- chis de vicissitudes. O enfans! toujours enfans!

-- DIDEROT; Jacques et son mattre.

23 Some German poet, whose name has escaped me, says,

"Tapfer ist der Lowensieger,
Tapfer is der Weltbezwinger,
Tapferer, wer sich selbst bezwang!"
"Brave is the lion-victor,
Brave the conqueror of a world,
Braver, he who controls himself!"

It is a noble sentiment, and very appropriate to the present discussion.

24 See "Histoire de l'Academic des Sciences," for the year 1679, page 279.

25 Hippocrates positively asserts this latter hypothesis, and is outrageous against all sceptics in his theory. In his work on diet, he tells us, "Si quis non credat animam animcz misceri, demens est." Tertullian warmly supports the orthodoxy of this opinion.

26 Bonner, I believe.

27 A Frenchman belonging to the cultivated classes, would as soon bear to be called a coward, as to be accused of causing the pregnancy of a woman, who did not desire it; and that, too, whether the matrimonial law had given him legal rights over her person or not. Such an imputation, if substantiated, would shut him out for ever from all decent society; and most properly so. It is a perfect barbarity, and ought to be treated as such.

When we begin to look to genuine morality, instead of empty or offensive forms, these are the principles of honour we shall implant in our children's minds: and then we shall have a world .of courtesy and kindness, instead of a scene of legal outrage, or hypocritical profession.

28 One of these modes, that of the sponge, is particularly recommended in Carlile's "Every Woman's Book." I do not allude to it in the text: because I believe it to be of doubtful efficacy; and, more certainly, physically disagreeable in its effects; and because I feel convinced, that the selfish of either sex will adopt no expedient, while the well-disposed will adopt the best in preference. Carlile supposes this to be the check common among the cultivated classes in France. In this he is mistaken. It is not employed, and scarcely known there. Had Carlile had an opportunity of conversing with French physicians, he would have satisfactorily ascertained this fact.

I also pass over all allusion to the baudruche, which is every way inconvenient, and is chiefly used to guard against syphilis. I do not write to facilitate, but, on the contrary, effectually to prevent, the degrading intercourse of which it is intended to obviate the penalty.

29 My father, Robert Owen's definition of chastity is also an excellent one: "PROSTITUTION, Sexual intercourse without affection; CHASITY, Sexual intercourse with affection.

30 See page 31 of the work itself.

31 This, however, applies, at the present time, rather to Great Britain than to this country.

32 We applaud, as a marvel, the continence of Scipio. Such continence and amid circumstances far more trying is habitually found (under no other restraint than that of public opinion) among the native Indians of our continent. A friend of mine, whose family was captured by a party of Mohawk Indians some fifty years ago, informed me, that four young women (two of them of considerable beauty) who were captured on that occasion, were not once, during a residence of several years, addressed, even with the remotest degree of sexual importunity, by an Indian, old or young, though living with them in the same wigwam. These young women were the near relatives of the friend who related this fact to me; and it was from their own lips he obtained it. Yet these were savages!

Such scrupulous regard to the feelings of others, would be a matter of too universal prevalence among us even to cause remark, or call forth commendation, were it not for the artificial stimuli, and as artificial restraints, which fashion and law make common among us.

R. D. O.

33 This, of course, must be rather a matter of conjecture and approximation, than of accurate calculation.

R. D. O.

34 And I doubt whether she permits it, without more or less of injury, to the average of constitutions, oftener than once a week. Certain I am, that any young man who will carefully note and compare his sensations, will become convinced, that temperance positively forbids such indulgence, at any rate, more than twice a week; and that he trifles with his constitution who neglects the prohibition. How immeasurably important that parents should communicate to their sons, but especially to their daughters, facts like these!

R. D. O.

35 For the English reader, I have attempted the following imitation of the above lines:
Crown his brows with laurel wreath,
Who can tread the field of death --
Tread -- with armed thousands near --
And know not what it is to fear.
But greater far his meed of praise,
Juster his claim to glory's bays,
Who, true to reason's voice, to virtue's call,
Conquers himself, the noblest deed of all!

R. D. O.

36 In proof that I have not spoken unadvisedly on this subject, I may quote what, I believe, is now considered the highest authority:

"If the most recent works on Physiology are to be credited, the uterus, during impregnation, opens a little, draws in the semen by inspiration, and directs it to the ovarium by means of the Fallopian tubes, whose fimbriated extremity closely embraces that organ." Magendie, p. 416, Philad. Ed.

See also Blundell's and Brighton's experiments on the rabbit, at Guy's hospital. See also Spallanzani's experiments.

Site Admin
Posts: 31193
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am


Return to Ancien Regime

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 1 guest