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itself. A priori grounds, however, in such a question, are very uncertain ones. I do not know whether the case is the same with the labouring population or with savage nations. If not, we may believe that artificial stimulus brings the upper classes, and civilized societies, under a probation which sifts them justly, and provides for the deterioration and downfall of those who do not stand the test.
I think those judge erroneously who select the public schools as the chief seat of this evil. My own experience is the other way. I used to see it practised shamelessly at a large private school I was at; and, alas ! it was known and taught even at a little one, of boys all below ten years old, where I was before that. At on the other hand—which I consider far the purest of the three public schools I have been connected with-an open or avowed practice of the vice was sternly repressed by the force of public opinion; and this is more or less the case, I believe, at all of them. The superiority of I attribute principally to the influence of the monitorial system, which modern sentimentalism is trying to undermine, and which was far more firmly and effectively at work there than at another school which has been more especially selected by the assailants as their point of attack. No system, however, can prevent the secret indulgence of the vice, nor the communication of this habit from one boy to another. Parents and tutors may well be assured that, whereever a few boys are gathered together, the evil will become known, however it be regarded by individuals or by the majority; and it follows that such advice as you recommend ought not to be withheld from those who are in danger. Still I dare not urge that the instinctive feeling of the heart should be outraged, or in any way overborne. A hint, a word, addressed to a young boy may often suffice to strengthen the resolutions of purity—a fervent exhortation to chastity and modesty, with a warning that he will be tempted by his fellows to evils which perhaps he is ignorant of; and an affectionate invitation on the parents' part to confidence and confessions, which may in many cases make it necessary, or very advisable, to go much more deeply into the matter.
At any rate, it is very important, as I said at first, that parents and tutors should be fortified with a knowledge far greater than they generally possess on these subjects. I should have found it myself far easier to deal with cases of this sort among my pupils had I felt more secure of my point on physiological as well as religious grounds. And in each individual case, I believe, in that desperate struggle which every one has to maintain in early life who tries to rule his passions by the law of God-every one, that is, who has once let go the reins, and has to gather them up again-it would be the greatest encouragement to know that physical science confirms the dictates of revelation, and to know why and how to look for the aid of nature in resisting an almost resistless propensity.
Believe me, yours very truly,
The second is from a member of one of the universities, who was formerly at a large public school:
18Dear Sir,-In these few lines I will endeavor to state, as clearly as possible, my opinions on the suppressal of the vice which formed the subject of our conversation yesterday evening.
The suppressal of this vice at a school, cannot, I think, be effected by the authority of a master, nor can the efforts of the older boys, though they may forcibly put a stop to any open public practice of the same, compel the others to desist from it. Good, sound, scientific information is what, in my opinion, is required at schools, both public and private.
My first reason for saying this is, that by learning the consequence of this practice, I think a great many will be persuaded, through fear, to discontinue it.
It may be said, however, by some, that the ill effects of it are known at schools, but I can affirm that during the five years which I passed at school (both public and private), from the age of nine to fourteen, I never heard that any consequence followed this practice, except the vague one of “weakening.”
My second reasoning is this. Curiosity, I am certain, from my own experience, and what I have seen at schools, is a great supporter of masturbation. Boys are naturally, from what they hear, curious to obtain some idea of sexual congress.
With this intent they resort to the vice, and, with the hope of obtaining more information, they search out all the amorous stories in the writings of classical authors, and in “ Lemprière's Dictionary.”
This curiosity, of course, causes the mind to dwell constantly on sexual subjects. I think, then, that good information will, by satisfying this curiosity, free the mind to a great extent from sexual thoughts. I will now venture to suggest in what way the necessary information may be communicated to the boys.
It is obvious that if some of the older boys were made acquainted with the subject, and not the masters, when the former left the school, there would be no one remaining to impart the information to others.
I should suggest, then, that all the masters be provided with such information as is necessary. They might, I think, very well speak to some of the senior boys on the subject, and request them to warn the others of the practice, and exhort them to discontinue it.
The doctor of the place might be considered, perhaps, a fit person to speak to the boys. I think, however, that if he alone were to give his advice, the boys would not perceive that a general interest was taken in the matter, but that it was a subject in which he, as a medical man, was alone concerned; and so probably even his advice would not have the influence which it otherwise might. He, of course, by acting in concert with the masters, might do a great deal.
It might, perhaps, be advisable for the masters to lend a medical work such as your own to the senior boys in order that they might see that the ill effects of the practice were not fancies of the masters, but that they were well known by surgeons and other medical men.
Hoping that these suggestions may prove useful both to yourself and the public,
I remain, yours truly,
THE FUNCTIONS AND DISORDERS OF THE REPRODUC
TIVE ORGANS IN YOUTH.
NORMAL FUNCTIONS IN YOUTH.
YOUTH (by which we mean that portion of a man's earthly existence during which he is growing—that is, in which he has not yet attained his maximum of mental and physical stature and strength) is, as regards the reproductive functions, to be divided into two periods. The line of demarcation is the occurrence of that series of phenomena which constitute what we call puberty. During the first of these two periods, or childhood, strictly so termed, the fitting condition is, as we have seen, absolute sexual quiescence.
In the second period or that of youth which we now purpose to consider quiesence wakes into all the excitement of the most animated life--a spring season, so to speak, like that so brilliantly sketched by our great poet:
“In the spring a fuller crimson comes upon the robin's breast, In the spring the wanton lapwing gets himself another crest, In the spring a livelier iris changes in the burnished dove,
In the spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love." The dangers as well as the powers and delights of this new energy are increased tenfold. If childhood has its sexual temptations, manhood and womanhood have theirs, infinitely harder to overcome, infinitely more ruinous if yielded to.
Of the real nature of this new condition, of its temptations, of the incalculable advantages of resisting them, and of the means of doing so, it is now my purpose to speak, as plainly and simply as possible.
Dr. Carpenter thus describes the change from childhood to youth.
“ The period of youth is distinguished by that advance in the evolution of the generative apparatus in both sexes, and by that acquirement of its power of functional activity, which constitutes the state of PUBERTY. At this epoch a considerable change takes place in the bodily constitution : the sexual organs undergoes a much increased development, various parts of the surfaces, especially the chin and the pubes, become covered with hair; the larynx enlarges, and the voice becomes lower in pitch, as well as rougher and more powerful; and new feelings and desires are awakened in the mind."
“To the use of the sexual organs for the continuance of his race Man is prompted by a powerful instinctive desire, which he shares with the lower animals. This instinct, like the other propensities, is excited by sensations; and these may either originate in the sexual organs themselves or may be excited through the organs of special sense. Thus in man it is most powerfully aroused by impressions conveyed through the sight or touch, but in many other animals the auditory and olfactory organs communicate impressions which have an equal power, and it is not improbable that in certain morbidly excited states of feeling the same may be the case with ourselves.”—Carpenter's Physiology, p. 792.
With this bodily and mental change or development special functions, hitherto quiescent, begin their operations. Of these the most important in the male is the secretion of the impregnating fluid, the semen.
“From the moment," says Lallemand, "that the evolution of the generative organs commences (the testicles act), if the texture is not accidentally destroyed, they will continue to secrete up to a very advanced age. It is true that the secretion may be diminished by the absence of all excitement, direct or indirect,