"Through information gained from my husband, from other physicians, from teachers, from medical writers, and from the reports of insane hospitals, it has become clear to my mind that there are secret and terrific causes preying extensively upon the health and nervous energy of childhood and youth of both sexes such as did not formerly exist, and such as demand new efforts to eradicate and prevent.
"Parents and teachers all over the land need to be made aware that a secret vice is becoming frequent among children of both sexes that is taught by servants and communicated by children at school. Indeed, it may result from accident or disease, with an innocent unconsciousness of the evil done, on the part of the child, while the practice may thus ignorantly be perpetuated to maturity. This practice leads to diseases of the most horrible description, to mania, and to fatuity. Death and the mad-house are the last resort of these most miserable victims.
"To protect childhood and youth from this, it is not only needful to cultivate purity of mind and personal modesty, but to teach them while quite young that any fingering of the parts referred to involves terrible penalties. No such explicit information should be given as would tempt the incautious curiosity of childhood, but the child should be impressed with a sense of guilt and awful punishment as connected with any thing of this kind, that would instantly recur to mind, if led by accident or instruction to this vice.
"In regard to those who have already become victims, to a greater or less degree, to this vice, one caution is very important. Medical writers and others who have attempted to guard the young in this direction have painted not only the danger but the wickedness of this practice in such strong colors that, when a young person first discovers the nature of a practice that has been indulged with little conception of the danger or wrong, overaction on the fears and the conscience is not unfrequently the result. Such horror and despair sometimes ensue as almost paralyze any effort on the part of medical advisers to remedy the evil.
"In all such cases, it is safest and best to assume that the sin is one of ignorance, and that the cure is almost certain, if the directions given are strictly obeyed. Unstimulating diet, a great deal of exercise in the open air, daily ablution of the whole person, control of the imagination, and occupation of the mind in useful pursuits, will usually remedy the evil, after its nature is understood."
[A lady, after reading the above, stated that within the last year a little boy under her care, of very delicate mind and susceptible temperament, was sent to the country to a private boarding-school, under the care of a most excellent gentleman and his wife, who were eminently faithful, so far as they knew how to be. The child staid only six weeks, and returned sick, depressed, and with a burden on his mind that could not be discovered. After learning that he would not be sent back, he revealed the shocking story, and also the fact that the boys had threatened to kill him if he ever told any one. Another lady, after reading this article, related a similar story of a large and highly respected boarding - school for boys, and gave several mournful incidents to show the effects of such evils on the health of the pupils. Parents whose young sons are at boarding-school can not be too much alarmed on this subject.]