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February 24, 1872


An editorial on the Nast cartoon depicting Victoria as Mrs. Satan.

...A poor, besotted woman, the wife of a besotted husband; the other of besotted children, because begotten of besotting whiskey, and besotted matrimony, is represented as packing her drunken, besotted husband flourishing a besotting bottle on her besotted back and their besotted children, three in number, clinging to her besotted skirts, lie young possums to their maternal ancestor; she bears all these burdens with poverty, rags, hunger, brutal treatment; barren rocks; bleakness reigning around and before her.

On her right hand is a woman--a female demon with horns, and wings of bat; with countenance coarse, sensual, selfish; hard, harsh; habiliments of blackest hue; in the hands of this Proserpine--fit companion of devils--is a parchment, containing these words, "Be saved by Free Love." The overburdened woman, with her besotted load of four human beings, replies, "I had rather travel the hardest path of matrimony than follow your footsteps!"

It is from the pencil of Nast. Its apparent meaning is disgraceful to aesthetic taste. The moral lesson--is to those who are tempted to accept the pernicious doctrine of free love; of which we produce several clerical examples in our present issue, which we commend to the immortal Nast and to the pious Harpers for their next artistic effort and moral lesson. After quoting from the words of a recent advocate of woman's rights an argument in favor of the divine right of men and women to determine when they will enter into the estate of matrimony, and how long it shall continue, and principles which the superficial brains of Harpers and Nast cannot comprehend, closes the moral lesson thus, "If this mischievous talk does not emanate from Satan, whence does it come? (How profound this logic!) Certainly it cannot have the divine approval, else what comes of the injunctions uttered b the Saviour, 'What, therefore, God hath joined together, let not man put asunder!' " More and still more profound!

We too will "point a moral and adorn a tale," from this coarse, vulgar attempt at pious wit.

The picture teaches that God is guilty of the injustice of uniting and continuing the union of a drunken man with a sober woman, and begetting children in violation of physical law, social rights--the rights of children and the rights of society. It teaches, in the name of God and Jesus, that this is better, more acceptable to God than unions formed on mutual fitness and mutual attraction that need no law to bind, because there is no tendency to separate.

It also teaches that the expounders are wholly ignorant of the meaning of the scripture quoted, and hold themselves up to the ridicule and contempt of all sensible people.

No form of marriage is provided in the Bible; the Bible no where defines what is a diving union; Jesus recognized the legal marriage of the unbelieving Gentiles with the attending ceremonies which neither recognized the law of Moses, nor yet the teachings of Jesus. "What God hath joined together" is not defined. Have ye not read that he which made them at the beginning, made them male and female? Therefore the twain shall be one flesh; "What therefore God hath joined together let no man put asunder." The marriage which Jesus taught them, was: I. Based on male and female, or difference of sex; 2. On a union so complete that they were mutually absorbed--the twain became a unity, and having such unity they had Divine marriage; and this joining Jesus forbade them to fracture. But when fractured, he allowed divorce! So much for the Divine marriage and what comes of the teachings of Jesus--the joining by God--the male and female united in mutual equity and harmony, without one word of legal or pious ceremony. Jesus says nothing about priestly interference to announce, approving words on the law, action and sanction of God.

Now for Moses and Bible marriage:--See Exodus xxi. "If thou buy an Hebrew servant." (How does Harper like the buying of a brother?); "If his master have given him a wife, and she have borne him sons and daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master's; and he shall g out by himself; and if a man sell his daughter to be a maid servant, she shall not go out as the men servants do; (how's that for justice?); and if she please not her master who hath betrothed her to himself; if he take to himself another wife--polygamy--her food, her raiment and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish; and if he do not these three things unto her , then she shall go out free without money."

Here then is a Bible marriage by the direction of God. The father sells his daughter, the man buys his wife. If on trial he is not pleased, the father may redeem her--the husband may divorce her--she may divorce herself, because he hath dealt deceitfully. The master may betroth her to his son or servant, and divorce her at pleasure.

No legal ceremony--no election of the woman--no penalty for the perfidy of the man--no law to compel him to do his duty, no compensation for the poor woman who is turned adrift like the girl of the street, penniless, to sell herself on the best possible terms. This is Divine marriage, or Moses and the Bible lie; and this is Bible divorce--putting away!

Hear O hearers, and give ear O earth! The reformers of the 19th century are accounted among Devils for opposing this marriage, this divorce, and advocating the Divine unity taught by Jesus!

We commend the marriage of Moses and the Divine unity based on male and female fitness, as taught by Jesus to the pencil of Nast, and the homilizing pen of Geo. William Curtis, the professed friend of woman's rights.



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