Page:Instead of a Book, Tucker.djvu/165

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.



I expect its influence in the future upon both child and parent to be far greater and better than it ever has been in the past. Upon the love of both father and mother for their offspring I chiefly rely for that harmonious co-operation in the guidance of their children's lives which is so much to be desired. But the important question, so far as Anarchy is concerned, is to whom this guidance properly belongs when such co-operation has proved impossible. If that question is not settled in advance by contract, it will have to be settled by arbitration, and the board of arbitration will be expected to decide in accordance with some principle. In my judgment it will be recognized that the control of children is a species of property, and that the superior labor title of the mother will secure her right to the guardianship of her children unless she freely signs it away. With my present light, if I were on such a board of arbitration, my vote would be for the mother every time.

For this declaration many of the friends of woman's emancipation (F. F. K., however, not among them) are ready to abuse me roundly. I had expected their approval rather. For years in their conventions I have seen this "crowning outrage," that woman is denied the control and keeping of her children, reserved by them to be brought forward as a coup de grace for the annihilation of some especially obstinate opponent. Now this control and keeping I grant her unreservedly, and, lo! I am a cursed thing!


[Liberty, March 10, 1888..]

With a plentiful sprinkling of full-face Gothic exclamation points and a series of hysterical shrieks, the Journal of United Labor, organ of pious Powderly and pure Litchman, rushes upon Liberty with the inquiry whether "Anarchy asks liberty to ruin little girls." Liberty is thus questioned simply because it characterized those who petitioned the Massachusetts legislature for a further raise of the "age of consent" to sixteen as "a bevy of impertinent and prudish women." The answer shall be direct and explicit. Anarchy does not ask liberty to ruin little girls, but it does ask liberty of sexual association with girls already several years past the age of womanhood, equipped by nature with the capacity of maternity, and even acknowledged by the law to be competent to marry and begin