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Table of contents
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.1
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.2
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.3
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.4
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.5
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.6
FOOTNOTES
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.1
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.2
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.3
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.4
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.5
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.6
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.7
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.8
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.9
MARRIAGE-10.1
MARRIAGE-10.2
MARRIAGE-10.3
MARRIAGE-10.4
MARRIAGE-10.5
MARRIAGE-10.6
MARRIAGE-10.7
MARRIAGE-10.8
MARRIAGE-10.9
MARRIAGE-10.10
MARRIAGE-10.11
MARRIAGE-10.12
FOOTNOTES
THE ART OF LOVE-11.1
THE ART OF LOVE-11.2
THE ART OF LOVE-11.3
THE ART OF LOVE-11.4
THE ART OF LOVE-11.5
THE ART OF LOVE-11.6
THE ART OF LOVE-11.7
THE ART OF LOVE-11.8
THE ART OF LOVE-11.9
THE ART OF LOVE-11.10
THE ART OF LOVE-11.11
FOOTNOTES
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.1
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.2
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.3
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.4
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.5
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.6
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.7
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.8
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.9
FOOTNOTES
INDEX OF AUTHORS

serious offence of "petit treason," and it is still murder. But, 

if a husband kills his wife and is able to plead her adultery and 

his jealousy, it is only manslaughter. (In France, where jealousy 

is regarded with extreme indulgence, even a wife who kills her 

husband is often acquitted.) 

 

It must not, however, be supposed that all the legal inequalities 

involved by marriage are in favor of the husband. A large number 

of injustices are also inflicted on the husband. The husband, for 

instance, is legally responsible for the libels uttered by his 

wife, and he is equally responsible civilly for the frauds she 

commits, even if she is living apart from him. (This was, for 

instance, held by an English judge in 1908; "he could only say he 

regretted it, for it seems a hard case. But it was the law.") 

Belfort Bax has, in recent years, especially insisted on the 

hardships inflicted by English law in such ways as these. There 

can be no doubt that marriage, as at present constituted, 

inflicts serious wrongs on the husband as well as on the wife. 

 

Marriage is, therefore, not only not a contract in the true sense,[359] 

but in the only sense in which it is a contract it is a contract of an 

exceedingly bad kind. When the Canonists superseded the old conception of 

marriage as a contract of purchase by their sacramental marriage, they 

were in many respects effecting a real progress, and the return to the 

idea of a contract, as soon as its temporary value as a protest has 

ceased, proves altogether out of harmony with any advanced stage of 

civilization. It was revived in days before the revolt against slavery had 

been inaugurated. Personal contracts are out of harmony with our modern 

civilization and our ideas of individual liberty. A man can no longer 

contract himself as a slave nor sell his wife. Yet marriage, regarded as a 

contract, is of precisely the same class as those transactions.[360] In 

every high stage of civilization this fact is clearly recognized, and 

young couples are not even allowed to contract themselves out in marriage 

unconditionally. We see this, for instance, in the wise legislation of the 

Romans. Even under the Christian Emperors that sound principle was 

maintained and the lawyer Paulus wrote:[361] "Marriage was so free, 

according to ancient opinion, that even agreements between the parties not 

to separate from one another could have no validity." In so far as the 

essence and not any accidental circumstance of the marital relationships 

is made a contract, it is a contract of a nature which the two parties 

concerned are not competent to make. Biologically and psychologically it 

cannot be valid, and with the growth of a humane civilization it is 

explicitly declared to be legally invalid. 

 

For, there can be no doubt about it, the intimate and essential fact of 

marriage--the relationship of sexual intercourse--is not and cannot be a 

contract. It is not a contract but a fact; it cannot be effected by any 

mere act of will on the part of the parties concerned; it cannot be 

maintained by any mere act of will. To will such a contract is merely to 

perform a worse than indecorous farce. Certainly many of the circumstances 

of marriage are properly the subject of contract, to be voluntarily and 

deliberately made by the parties to the contract. But the essential fact 

of marriage--a love strong enough to render the most intimate of 

relationships possible and desirable through an indefinite number of 

years--cannot be made a matter for contract. Alike from the physical point 

of view, and the psychical point of view, no binding contract--and a 


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