Arguments are unnecessary to prove the existence of prostitution. The evil is so notorious that none can possibly gainsay it. But when its extent, its causes, or its effects are questioned, a remarkable degree of ignorance or carelessness is manifested. Few care to know the secret springs from which prostitution emanates; few are anxious to know how wide the stream extends; few have any desire to know the devastation it causes. Society has formally laid a prohibition on the subject, and he who presumes to argue that what affects one may injure all; he who believes that the malady in his neighbor’s family to-day may visit his own to-morrow; he who dares to intimate that a vice which has blighted the happiness of one parent, and ruined the character of one daughter, may produce, must inevitably produce, the same sad results in another circle; in short, he who dares allude to the subject of prostitution in any other than a mysterious and whispered manner, must prepare to meet the frowns and censure of society.
Keen was the knowledge of human nature, acute the perception of worldly sentiment in the breast of an accomplished woman lately deceased, when she wrote, “To such grievances as society can not readily cure, it usually forbids utterance on pain of its scorn; this scorn being only a sort of tinseled cloak to its deformed weakness.” How true the idea, many a man who has attempted to unveil a hidden crime, or probe a secret sorrow, but too well knows.