This section is from the book "Free Love: Or, A Philosophical Demonstration Of The Non-Exclusive Nature Of Connubial Love", by Austin Kent. Also available from Amazon: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships & Other Adventures.
When I adopt Mr. Wright's views, I tell the reader, I will carry them out consistently. I will never wink at adulteries with a second mate, after the departure of the true and eternal mate.
I think Mr. Wright must have intended the first part of our last quotation as an argument. The last sentence but one is a mere statement of his opinion. His closing inference has no relation to the argument. His implied argument is a "fullness of satisfaction" in the one; "no room for another." We quote him farther:
"Men and women have a nature that can be shared by every other man and woman in the ties of friendship, in perfect accordance with the law that binds men and women together, as such. But in marriage, this general tendency of each to the opposite sex, concentrates itself in one, and therefore excludes all others from the privileges and endearments of marriage. The glory of marriage is its exclusiveness The soul, conscious of refinement, purity and dignity, will shrink from sharing the relation with more than one."
Mr. Wright here frees every part of the mind, except the connubial - which is a part of the sexual. And yet, with all the importance which he attaches to this subject, he is perfectly indefinite. In a general manner, he states a distinction, but in no way does he ever define the line of demarkation. No other faculty should be concentrated. Connubial love should always be on one, "therefore it excludes all others." It is impossible for Mr. Wright to define this unreal, untrue, and indefinable distinction. But the argument continues the same, a "fulness," or "no room" for more. Really, we do not see the special "glory" in exclusiveness for such a reason. If this is not intended to be the argument, then there is none; it is all mere testimony - mere opinion. He always assumes the superior "refinement, purity, and dignity " of this exclusiveness. We will accept of this when he has proved that it is in harmony with the laws of mind. Its purity will then be self-evident.
But let us attend to the argument; - "no room for another." When any thing is full it can contain no more. In the same sense in which one object fills any thing, it cannot hold more. This is not bad philosophy. We believe in a law of mind, with more or less power to control the action of mind; that is, in a degree of what we shall call "free agency." That a man has some power to "keep" or give "the doors of his heart to her that lieth in his bosom." We have said the man could not be in a normal state, absolutely exclusive in his affections on any thing; and that if he could, it would be false.
That if a man was in love with one woman, he would love another woman who was like her, or so far as she was like the first. But we also said, a well developed mind had more or less power to control the action of his love or life, in confining, concentrating or diffusing. We know of no man who carries his belief, in this power, farther than we. This, the reader must have observed in our main argument, as we there stated it plainly. Perhaps Mr. Wright denies the natural power in mind to control, one way or the other, the concentrations of love. We some think he does. If so, in this he is again inconsistent with himself, as he fully teaches free agency, in its preservation or destruction. In our last extract from him, and in all of them, he represents his male lover as having concentrated the entire life, action or flow of his connubial love on one woman, and of having exclusively monopolized her entire connubial soul. So he has a " fulness of satisfaction in" her. So there is "no room for another." So he is spending all he has. and receiving all he can contain.
Should we admit this state entirely possible - admit the fact and the philosophy - there is no shadow of proof here that this is the most healthy, normal, refined, purified and elevated state of connubial love.
Mr. Wright's book is a real emanation from his own soul. We believe him honest in his testimony, and do not dispute its correctness, only as we deny the entire distinction which he makes between that sexual love which he allows between all men and all women, and that which he confines to the one. Sexual love is one. It has, like other loves, a variety of manifestations, but all are governed by the same law. In its higher manifestations, Mr. W. but partially confines it, but partially concentrates it. In its lower action, he entirely confines and concentrates it This, reader, is all there is to his undefinable distinction. Adhesiveness may be concentrated. It was so between "David and Jonathan." Their love "passed the love of woman," in general. The writer has known this concentration upon two of his own sex. An inequality of subsequent development has given us a natural divorce. We think, in an improved state of society, there will be more adhesive love, but less exclusive concentration. There is no mystery about connubial love. It is simply the development of sex to manhood and womanhood in a true harmony with all of the loves above it. So it must be of tremendous power, whether in concentration, or a partial diffusion.
If adhesiveness between the same sex can be, sometimes, stronger than death, what must be the power of love, when another faculty, another strand of great strength is added to the cord, as it is between those of opposite sexes. Added to this, the entire power of the tre-menduous and despotic institution of civilized marriage, goes to concentrate and dualize the love between the sexes. In civilization, all are shut up to this exclusive dualism under pain of entire sexual starvation, or loss of caste and character. Law is perpetually invoked to protect and enforce it. If any of the fair sex, who are not allowed to institute means to provide even for their own acknowledged rights in her exclusive law marriages - and so fail to obtain them - are at last impelled, from whatever motives, to seek and partially obtain those rights out of her order and her law, they are pursued by a spirit of persecution which has more than the cruelties of direct murder in it. It lingeringly torments without freeing its victim. Though these sometimes soon find freedom in death. But we tell the friends of exclusive marriage, the day of her damning injustice and cruelty is passing away. Mr. Wright is not responsible for all this. He is in part, as the reader will see by our further quotations.
He slanderously condemns all love out of exclusive dual order, but does not hold any to the forms of outward law. The day is not far distant when the race will look back upon our law, in the place of love, to marry and to keep together married pairs, with as much wonder and contempt, as we now look upon the past hanging of witches. The requirement of obedience on the part of the woman will then appear alike ridiculous and inhuman. They will exclaim, "What! keep men and women in love, in married relations, by law?" They will read that this was then (now) thought necessary for the protection and safety of society! They will in their impertinence, ask how could society be in fear of love? History will explain it all.