Austin Kent.

Free love; or, A philosophical demonstration of the non-exclusive nature of connubial love, also, a review of the exclusive feature of the Fowlers, Adin Ballou, H.C. Wright, and Andrew Jackson Davis on marriage [microform] online

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Online LibraryAustin KentFree love; or, A philosophical demonstration of the non-exclusive nature of connubial love, also, a review of the exclusive feature of the Fowlers, Adin Ballou, H.C. Wright, and Andrew Jackson Davis on marriage [microform] → online text (page 1 of 9)
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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1?57, by

In the Clerk'a Office of the District Court of the United States for the
Southern District of Ohio.


48th page, 15 lines from bottom insert is bet\)
r.harity and not.

70th page, 7 line.i from top. for practical read/r

75th page, middle, for nominal read harmonial.

88th page, 2d line from bottom, insert with Mn
1ween which and is.

136th page, 11 lines from top. for carelessly 1>

Other less errors omitted.

WE have meant to make the title of our book so
plain that no thoroughly conservative mind could
mistake and so waste his money in purchasing it.
We have given much of the last twenty years of
our life and time to the world, " without money and
with out price ;" and if we should find it necessary,
or for any reason think it best to let our little work
partly bear the expense of its own publication, we
wish no one to be deceived in getting it. We have
no thought of any material remuneration for our
own labors. Reader, this is very radical ; and we
confess to a choice not to be the first to wake any
who, with all the influences of the nineteenth century
about them, are yet soundly asleep upon the lap of
the past. We do not wish such to be too suddenly
brought into travailing pains for their own spiritual
and mental birth to the future even though we
know these must sooner or later come. Some milder
and more gradual dose might be better as a first
stimulant. We took our pen mainly for the benefit
of reformers, and for those whom nature has given

' M11A716


some ability to be such. These are more than
welcome we invite them to read us critically

The subject of Love and Marriage will ever be one
of vast importance to our race : we can hardly
conceive it possible to rate it too highly. Between
1837 and 1840 Theophilus R. Gates published a
series of radical tracts, called the " Battle Axe."
This stirred the waters of orthodoxy. In these, he
inserted a letter from John H. Noyes, which de-
clares, that, in a state of heavenly holiness on earth,
" Every dish is free to every guest/' The context
put his meaning beyond question. All of this, then,
amounted to but little more than prophecy.

In 1849, Mr. Noyes came out with a full expo-
sition and defence of his principles in his " Bible
Argument/' This was an able, but small, work on
Free Love for all saved and redeemed humanity.

Not far from this time we simply write the date
from memory the Fowlers (L. N. and 0. S.) wrote
each a book on "Marriage/' They taught that love
was marriage, but confined it to dual order to pairs.
On the whole, these last books were elevating in
their tendency among the mass of minds

In 1850, Henry James wrote to good effect in his
" Moralism and Christianity/'

In J852, Dr. Lazarus published " Love vs. Mar-
riage," This book was of the Fourier cast ; and, for
the time, was " written without gloves." It was a
most lovely and lovable book, but not so argumen-


tative as some which have succeeded it. It must
have put many minds into a right train of thought.

In 1853, Horace Greeley published, in the
c< Tribune/' a part of a discussion between Henry
James, Stephen Pearl Andrews, and himself. The
whole came out afterwards in a tract, by Mr. An-
drews. This must have been deeply interesting to
minds on all sides of the questions.

In 1854, Henry C. Wright and Dr. Nichols
each published a fair sized book on "Marriage."

The present year, we have Andrew Jackson Davis
on the same subject. We have long had the writings
of Fourier, Owen, and others on the Affections.

We consider all of these books most valuable.
None of them are superfluous. We think Mr.
Wright elevates connubial love as high as it can be
elevated in exclusive dual marriage. He teaches
that love is marriage, and sticks by nature, as he
understands it.

Dr. Nichols (his wife wrote a portion of the
book) takes nature for his guide, but denies its
exclusiveness. His book is very instructive ; and
favors the Free Love doctrine. Mr. Davis, in the
main, teaches the philosophy of marriage with great
clearness and beauty, but contends that connubial
love is monogamic in its highest manifestations.
Before closing our book, I intend to review this
exclusive phase in Mr. Wright and Mr. Davis, so I
will not add more here. Several of these last books


have seemed to come almost simultaneously. It has
multiplied the number of readers, on the subject of
which they treat, tenfold ; and yet it has, compara-
tively, but just begun to agitate the public mind. It
is now destined to be thoroughly discussed. The fire
is already kindled which will bring to the judg-
ment the traditions, with the imperfect institutions,
of the past, and burn up the " hay, wood, and stub-
ble' ' which are found in them. On the whole, I
am not sorry that these late authors took, in the
main, the several and diverse positions which they
did. We are in an age of active thought, and truth
is more deeply planted in the understandings and
hearts of men by this friendly opposition and
discussion. Truth is always safe in such discussions.
So far as we hold opinions not based in truth, these
may and will suffer a loss in such a mental refiner,
but absolute truth never can. When we get an
article of great utility, we are apt to feel a sort of
wonder how we could so long do without it. So
I felt on reading most of these late works on
marriage. Yet probably the world was not prepared
for them before. I will add to my mind, they all
seem to have come in about the right order.

We repeat none of these are superfluous. The
subject is not yet exhausted. We hold the pen to
add another book to the list, and we promise the
reader, that ours shall not be superfluous. We do
not promise that it shall be agreeable to his mental


taste, unless his taste Las been harmoniously
adjusted to some of the most radical in the past.
We come in defence of FREE LOVE. We do this,
because we are sure we find it in nature, in its most
exalted and harmonious manifestations.

On the subject of morals and marriage, there has
been a great advance in a short space of time. I
refer more specially to reformers. A little time ago,
" Moses " was the standard. Outward and legal
marriages were first, love and harmony were
secondary. Then obedience to simple legal morality
was virtuous. Now all this has changed. Among all
of these writers, except Mr. Noyes and Mr. Gates,
nature is the standard. Nature is the Infallible and
Inspired Book ; and its normal promptings are the
law of virtue and of morals. Mr. Noyes defends
his positions both from nature, and the spiritual and
higher teachings of the New Testament. Here,
then, there is no controversy among these radical,
reformatory writers, as to what is the standard of
truth, or as to where the law of marriage is to be
found ; none as to the propriety of, or chastity in,
obeying these laws. These writers do differ as to
the proper reading of nature's laws. Fourier,
Owen, the Fowlers, James, Lazarus, Nichols,
Andrews, Wright, and Davis, agree that true love
is marriage. The Fowlers, Wright, and Davis
contend that connubial love, in its highest develop-
ment, is exclusively dual. Here the latter agree,


though in other respects, of much less importance,
they differ widely. Fourier, Owen, Noyes, An-
drews, and Nichols, deny the evidence of the
exclusive nature of this love, and teach more or less
the modern doctrines of Free Love. These last
differ on other points among themselves.

I am happy to find the controversy so much
shortened in space in extent of range. We all
teach that the laws of mind are our guide ; and
that these laws must be absolutely FREE. In this
sense, we all contend alike for Free Love. We agree
that healthy affinities and attractions must reign
supreme. But Mr. Wright, and some others, tell us
that this healthy attraction will, and must, in its
nature, be always exclusive. I hear some, on the
other hand, say to Mr. Wright and his friends,
" Hands and opinions off ! Allow us the freedom
to settle the nature of our own attractions. Admit-
ting you may know what is most healthy, elevating,
and pure for yourself do not measure all men and
all women by your o^n affectional stature ! " I say
to Mr. Wright, if you see a law of mind as mind
or the highest law of mind as such, it is not
impertinent for you to speak out that law. We
think we know and see some of the unalterable laws
of mind, and we claim the right to so far expose
and defend these laws. If others differ from us,
we not only leave them free to live their views of
truth, but we respect them in it. All of us, it is


probable, are as yet comparatively in but the " abbs "
of mental Philosophy. I will never attempt to live
any law farther than I think I see it. Reader, we
are very near Mr. W.'s opposite. We believe that
though men differ much very much, none, in
entire freedom, and uninfluenced in the past and
present by other minds or institutions in the bond-
age of the past or present, would ever be
absolutely exclusive in any of the manifestations of
connubial love. This is our position, and our
extreme if it be an extreme. We all agree in the
positive nature and force of these laws of mind.
Some of us believe these laws can be demonstrated.
Mr. Wright finds this connubial love to be "a law of
attraction superior to our wills, and which we have
no power to create or destroy." Again he says :
" Our souls, I believe, are substance, as truly as
are air, light, electricity, and magnetism. The
same law of creation governs souls that governs all
other material bodies." Mr. Davis fully harmonizes
with all of this. I am most thankful for all of
this agreement to shorten the labor of future

The Book of the Law, and the power and binding
nature of the law, is equally settled. I here record
my gratitude to all of those writers who have done
much to elevate marriage over the power of my-
thology and legal bondage, though they are our
opponents as to the main doctrine of our book. They


have each written up to the mental and moral
elevation of their own understandings. We shall
write our highest perceptions of truth. The devel-
oping mind of the future will better understand all of
us; and better see our faults. They will do us all
nistice. For though, "round and round we go,
truth will at last come uppermost.'* With the
fullest and most entire assurance, I commit my
radical book to present and coming humanity.


St. Lawrence Co. N. Y.


Preface iii

Introduction 13

Definition of Words and Phrases. Statement of our

Position The Argument Commenced 19

The Argument Continued 28

The Fowlers The Argument from Analogy 34


Mr. Ballou An Explanation Part of his Reply in my
Rejoinder 41

Mr. Ballou Continued His Book 58

Mr. Henry C. Wrights- A Review" What is Marriage ? " 74

Review of Mr. Wright continued 98

Andrew Jackson Davis General Remarks Quotations

from his Book I 1

Appendix , 135



As much as our age professes to be in favor of
free discussion, we find a large class, even among
partial reformers, who can hardly look at and read
dispassionately, or have any patience with an argu-
ment in favor of freedom in love, from a harrowing
fear of the real or imaginary consequences of the
immediate possible success and spread of such views.
Some of these, though of "little faith/' are honest
hearted in these fears. Such minds will say to us
" If it were true that freedom in love, and the
modern principles of Free Love, would one day in
the future of human progression be safe, and be the
order of sexual harmony, is it wise to promulgate
these sentiments now, when the race is yet so
awfully perverted, and often make even truth a
" Saviour of death ? " These may add, " admitting
entire freedom, and a ' variety ' is consistant with
a perfect state of Society, do not men yet need
restraining in some things which in themselves
would be right ? Did not the learned and wise Paul
see some things in the 'third heavens' of the
2 13


future glory of the church on earth, which he did
not consider it * expedient/ or ' lawful for him to
utter ? ' And did not a greater than Paul withhold
even from his well beloved disciples, that which he
well knew they could not as yet bear ?" We may
furthur be reminded of the case of our modern In-
spired writer, A. J. Davis, in still postponing his re-
ply to the question, " What and Where is God ! " in
view of the present state of the public mind.

Reader, we admit, understand, and appreciate this
respectable weight of testimony. Nature and the
Bible both reveal truth little by little, and hold a
" veil " over the rest for the time. Nothing can be
plainer than this fact. But, in reply, we will pre-
sent another phase of the subject, equally plain and
undeniable. Jesus, Paul, and every Reformer be-
fore and since their day, have taught truths in ad-
vance of their respective ages. Such truths have
always more or less been used to promote bad ends,
We think no sudden and great change, which, on
the whole, was of much utility, ever came in our
world, without bringing with it its immediate pres-
ent evils for a time. This is often true of scientific
as well as moral changes. An increase of suffering
is often the first effect of important and useful in-
ventions. I will refer to the first effect upon th
poor on the introduction of factories and sewing
machines. Society is of very large dimensions, and
complex in its parts, and it is not an easy matter


to re-adjust it after a great change. This is true of
every phase of it. In my opinion, man can never be
freed, mentally and morally, without an increase of
immediate suffering. Yet man never can be saved
without such freedom. All must learn more or less
by experience, and, in this experience, be "made
perfect through suffering." It is naturally impos-
sible for a child to develop into entire manhood or
womanhood, without freedom. They must be
trusted to go alone, and "at their own cost."
Abolishing the law of imprisonment for debt, in our
state, caused more or less immediate embarassment
to both the rich and the poor. It has now greatly
benefited all classes. It also removed a hinderence
to the development of mind in moral honesty,
That "the law makes nothing perfect" is a truth
found any where, or -in any Book. Many of the
books to which we have alluded in our Preface
even such as simply teach that love is marriage,
we believe, will not at first serve to lessen human
suffering, in their love relations, but add to it. If
we are correct in this we only state it as our opin-
ion the same may be more true of ours. We
flatter no man. Yet all of these books, with ours,
will only hasten a CRISIS, through which the world
must pass. There is no affectional salvation no
real or perfect manhood, this side of it. The most
inveterate and deepest seated disease of civilization
must be probed. The lance will be painful. The


whole body will feel the shock. But it must come ! !
I have not one doubt but that it will end in greater
health to the Patient. It will promote real purity
and chastity and so an increase of peace, and a
more perfect harmony. Woman can never rise to
her entire womanhood without it.

The question as to the time when a higher truth
shall be published, is one of expediency. It is
important, but not of the first importance. Honest
and good men may differ in relation to it. The
most true friends of Free Love have differed here.
We should seek to be guided by a wise and holy
expediency. But no mind is prepared to judge
correctly upon it, till he is at least thoroughly awake
to a true sense of the terrible and wide -spread
bondage and suffering in our present state of society.
Its wrongs are as high as heaven and as deep as hell.
Whoever sees this, will feel the need of some radical
change for the better. The real conservative would
never change. The Reformer alone must look,
judge, and act. I was born through a long line of
orthodox ancestry of New England Congregational-
ism; and trained, ' in the way I should go," to an
orthodox religion ; and was once in the orthodox
ministry. It has taken me a long time to lay off
the unreal of the past. Long after I became estab-
lished in my present views of Free Love, I could
sympathize with Mr. Greeley and Mr. Ballou, in a
dread to see these principles spread among the


masses. But since I have laid off many of my con-
servative views, my faith in humanity has greatly
increased. My confidence in the power and safety
of truth has alike increased.

We add further the friends of Free Love are not
alone responsible for the general spread of the more
radical phases of these principles. The history of
the past plainly shows that our opponents would
never let us alone. Mr. Noyes was not allowed to
rest in peace, in the retirement of his own private or
select friends, and his own society. So it has ever
been with myself. But so far from regretting the
influence which has been brought to bear upon us,
we are, at least, most grateful to a kind and wise
Providence for in this way freeing us from the
lingering remains of what we now believe was a
false conservatism.

But, reader, the time has come when there is a
necessity for every phase of this question to be
thoroughly discussed. It is fairly up before the
public mind. All sides have been broached, and
more or less defended. Mind cannot be staid till it
is fully canvassed. Men do not now, as in the past,
follow simple instinct, or unenlightened passion or
love. They demand mental instruction, and they
will have it. They ask for something more than
surface teachers, and human opinions. They ask
for philosophy, and they will have it. " The sup-
ply will be equal to the demand." The true mind


desires to see every possible objection urged against
his most cherished positions. When these fail to
stand the ordeal of any amount of the most searching
criticism, he has no longer any confidence in, or
respect for them. However sure he may be that he
has the truth, he is MOKE SURE of the real power of
truth, and of its entire ability to sustain itself. Such
a mind knows, too, that truth is advanced by re-
pulsion as well as by attraction ; that every active
mind puts it forward, whether in love with, or in
opposition to it. If he stands in the latter relation
to it, he is a repelling power. We only mean, while
man is on the plane of hatred hatred will work
utility in his progress. As God lives, this must be
true. When will men more generally arrive at a
proper confidence in the power of truth, and of
God ? Till this subject marriage is thoroughly
handled on both sides, man's faith can not be deeply
laid. Every effort of a true mind will lay the truth
more and more fully upon the eternal rock of ages
nature. We always hail with pleasure the promise
of any able and fair writer to review and criticise
our most cherished faith. We never fail to buy
such books. If our opponents have like confidence
in truth, and feel as we do, that any agitation must
advance it, they will cordially welcome our effort,
and thank us for it, as we do them for theirs.

In our age, active minds have little time to parley
with moral and mental cowards. We welcome the


coming war the "bloodless war/' which we have
long seen gathering. We shall pray for, work for,
and welcome the crisis, and glory in the assurance
that it will end in good.




BEFORE introducing the reader to our argumenta-
tive letters, we shall first define some of the more
important terms which we shall be likely to use,
and so make our exact moral whereabouts more
clearly understood. By connubial love, I mean a
normal development of the sexual attraction of our
nature, in all of its phases. By denying its exclu-
siveness, I deny that, in such a harmonious devel-
opment, it will be absolutely confined, in any form
of its manifestations, to one of the opposite sex.

When we write non-exclusive, we mean not
absolutely exclusive no more. By promiscious,
we sometimes mean no more than the opposite of
entire exclusiveness : the context will show when
it means more. We do not teach an entire non-ex-
clusiveness, or, what is the same, an absolute
promiscuity. To us, this is equally absurd with


entire exclusiveness. Various shades of preference
are natural and so proper. Different minds differ as
to their leanings towards entire exclusiveness, or its
opposite absolute promiscuity. This is more or
less true on every plane of sexual or connubial
love. What we declare to be true of this love is
true of every other love. No man or woman is
absolutely promiscuous in their social or adhesive
attractions. Nor is any one absolutely dual and
exclusive. The reader will find the same law to
prevail, with various modifications, through all the
lower and all the higher loves. Benevolence, the
crowning faculty, and the personification of our
moral manhood, has its shades of variation. The
Great Teacher, though the highest pattern of
universal charity and benevolence, showed much
partiality, preference for the "brethren;" and he
had his " beloved disciple" among the twelve of the
more choice of these. His moral teachings are very
emphatic, and often repeated, in enjoining this
special regard for our brethren. Paul bade us " do
good to all men, but especially to the household of
faith." In this, Jesus and Paul acted and taught in
harmony with the laws of mind. But enough, I am
understood. Truth impells us to regard all accord-
ing to their real value, and our ability to appreciate
it. The former would be a true estimate, the latter
is as near as we can practically reach it. Because
truth may require me to lay down my life for ono


man, it may not for another. Of course, in choosing
3 partner in marriage, we should not be governed in
our selection by an estimate of the real worth of
the person, but of his or her relative worth and
fitness for such a relation to us. I write thus full on
some of these points, to make clear what I consider
some of the true principles of mental philosophy,
and so to prepare the way for my mental argument.
I have been full, at the expense of some repetition, to
save the reader, if possible, from the misconceptions
which experience has shown me too often pursue
such an expose as this, on so radical a theme.

In what I have written, the reader will perceive
that I have not, and he may be assured that I shall
not, undertake to oppose the doctrine of a special
and "ideal mate/' when, and so far as it is not carried
to absolute and entire exclusiveness, in any phase
of its amative monopolies. In other words, and
more correctly, I shall only review and oppose the
entire, exclusive feature of the system of dual mating.

Further explanation : In the main, I approve of
the " spirit and nature" of what Swedenborg, the
Fowlers, Wright, and others of their like, call
connubial love ; but I deny that such disinterested*
ness, such purity, such oneness of soul, such moral
elevation and chastity in sexual love, is exclusive, or
confined to one. When these men write directly of
pure and elevating love, in opposition to impurity
and a predominance of self in love, or "lust," I


harmonize with them. When they say that such
love as they have described, cannot seek a variety,
in entire health, I deny it. When they write upon
*the nature and spirit of lust and its effects, I har-
monize with them. But when they say that al]
attraction towards a VARIETY, is of such a nature, 1
deny it. I think I must be understood by all who
have carefully read their books. This, too, is very

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Online LibraryAustin KentFree love; or, A philosophical demonstration of the non-exclusive nature of connubial love, also, a review of the exclusive feature of the Fowlers, Adin Ballou, H.C. Wright, and Andrew Jackson Davis on marriage [microform] → online text (page 1 of 9)