The early fathers foresaw the danger to society in this voluptuous intermingling of the sexes, and strove to remedy it by ecclesiastical laws of separation, the spirit of which was caught up by the primitive Puritans, and continued almost to the present day. But the instinct of sexual association, being a law of nature, cannot be abrogated. Desire, affection, family love, combination, gregariousness, clanship—even religion itself—are but parts of those complex emotions and sentiments which, as Mr. Darwin points out, arise from the fact that one animal is dependent on another for the completion of its wants.
The desire for offspring, or the good of society, does not, primarily, lie behind man's desire for sexual intercourse. The latter ia a simple want of his nature, the same as defecation or micturition. But the Creator planted these animal desires, this " hot temper of the testicles," in man's nature in order to guard against any possible evasion of the great plan of propagation which He had devised, and to assist in working out those ultimate social and moral developments with which the sexual life is so intimately related, and concerning which society itself is still so largely ignorant.
Reproduction was once a part of growth, and is still. Therefore animals desire to perpetuate their species from an innate tendency, inherited from their hermaphrodite and animalcule days.* Religion came in with its laws of sexual separation, and the instinct became impossible of fulfilment, except by a system of co-operation on the part of the sexes. In order that propagation may be ensured, two persons enter into a partnership. That the result of this partnership-act—the offspring— may be reared, the partnership must be continued for some time. All human beings, if they are the product of conjugal love, are the objects of prolonged parental care; therefore it is only natural that they should love in return. Those who do not are anomalies, perversions, and are blotted out, in the development of Darwin's law. Then, that parents and children should consort together is so natural as to dispense with explanation; so that, by a simple process of not difficult inductive reasoning, we have the growth of the family, the germ and nucleus of society, as society itself is of the state.
in ine primitive penoa, males contended during me courting season for the most desirable females, just as animals do today. Polygyny prevailed, and the strongest and most virile of the race naturally became the fathers of all the children. This was the survival of the fittest; a law which prevailed until, by the gradual growth of intelligence, society began to see that, instead of destroying all its sickly and feeble members, and making soup of the superannuated and aged, the latter might be made use of to do the thinking and inventing for those whose physical superiority was exercised in the pursuits of war, husbandry and the chase. This was the beginning of the reign of intellect, which Mr. Darwin, I think, has not sufficiently dealt with, as limiting the law of evolution.
Promiscuous intercourse on the part of the females was observed to produce sterility, so that was forbidden. The prime object was to increase and strengthen the clan, or nation, pursuing by mere instinct the divine injunction to the Jews to "multiply and replenish the earth." All the phenomena attending the process of reproduction were carefully watched, and made the basis of tribal regulations. Cohabitation during the period of lactation, which lasted in most cases three years, was found to impair the mother's health and milk, and so. for that period, the woman was set apart from sexual intercourse as a hygienic measure.
Premature marriages, or sexual unions among children, were also forbidden; or, where it was found impracticable to prevent such clandestine escapades as the promiscuous intermingling of the sexes naturally occasioned, the interesting practice of infibuiation was resorted to. This consisted in drawing the foreskin of the male forward, over the head of the penis, and passing a ring, or wire, through it, thus effectually preventing the act of copulation. The too amorously inclined young lady was treated in a somewhat similar manner, the lips of her mischief-maker being pierced from side to side, and firmly secured with a clasp, or lock.
The latter practice, from its undoubted efficacy, suggests reviving and making it a portion of our modern sacrament of marriage. It ought to prove a source of wonderful comfort to the jealous young husband to know that the frisky organ, which he possesses a not unnatural desire to retain exclusive control of, is securely locked, and the key in his vest pocket. It must at least prove an immense stimulus to the locksmithing trade, both for offence and defence, and would impart fresh significance to the old adage about leaving the stable door unlocked.
Indeed, if my memory serves me, I have read somewhere of a very harrowing circumstance, growing out of the practice in mediaeval tunes. A certain German count, who went to Palestine in one of the crusades, left his beautiful young wife thus locked securely, at what he evidently considered her " business end." He was absent three years, and returned to find her, to his no small astonishment and indignation, about six months gone in the family way, although still securely locked. It was certainly a wonderful proof of the correctness of the proverb that "love laughs at locks;" and, as a miracle, deserves to take its place with that of the young lady who became pregnant by bathing in a stream in which some young men were also bathing, farther up, the insemination being effected entirely by hydrostatic law. This, of course, is the young lady's theory, not mine.