Wrong and Right Methods of Dealing with Social Evil
Library of Alexandria
The facts contained in the English Blue Books, to which reference will be made in the following pages, are doubtless familiar to many persons. No apology, however, is needed for again bringing them forward, for it is a duty not to allow them to be forgotten. Some Parliamentary papers of temporary interest may drop out of sight, but these should be kept in view, and urged upon the conscience of every parent in the land; for to the conscientious parent, equally with the statesman, the importance of this evidence can not be exaggerated. A knowledge of facts is the more necessary at the present time, on account of the renewed endeavors to establish a false principle of legislation, which are now being made. It may not be generally known, that in consequence of the serious facts brought to light in relation to an actual trade in buying and selling young English girls for evil purposes on the Continent, a Select Committee of the House of Lords was appointed in 1881, to examine this subject. The Committee was directed to inquire into the actual facts relating to this traffic, and also to consider whether further legislation can remedy the evil. Although the work of the Committee was limited to the facts of this infamous traffic, and to the legislation which is necessary to suppress it, the evidence laid before it covers much wider ground. This evidence reveals, both directly and indirectly, facts of the gravest significance in relation to our own condition, as well as to that of our neighbors, in respect to social vice. It thus renders important assistance toward the solution of weighty but perplexing problems, which are now being widely discussed amongst us. The great body of facts brought forward in this report, relate to two different but false methods of dealing with vice, methods which have come prominently forward in the present century, in connection with the marked decay of the older forms of religious faith. The distinctive national tendencies of the French and English nations are strikingly shown in the attitude they have gradually assumed toward the subject of prostitution; the French with their remarkable organizing power tending toward tyranny, the English with their innate love of liberty toward license. These opposite national characteristics, with their results in what may be termed the "let alone" and the "female regulation" systems are here instructively revealed.