Thoughts on Divorce Reform and the Advocacy of Such by Ingersoll Lockwood – Bill Arp 12/3/1891

Thoughts on Divorce Reform and the Advocacy of Such by Ingersoll Lockwood – Bill Arp 12/3/1891

“Is marriage a failure?” We see that question going around and being discussed. If I knew what particular marriage they
are talking about maybe I could answer. I know several that are failures. But as a general proposition they might as well
ask, “Is man a failure, is woman a failure, is creation a failure?” But suppose marriage is a failure, what are you going
to do about it? Mr. Ingersoll says untie the knot. Let a man untie it for cause and a woman without cause. His precise
language is, “I would give divorce to every woman who wanted it whether the man had violated the contract or not.”
Surely he dident mean that. He dident reflect on the consequences. It is a kind of “free love” that we thought was a
abandoned even in New England. It shocks the judgment of all mankind. What would become of the children if the
mother was permitted to change husbands at her pleasure? Maybe in her caprice she would want some other woman’s
husband and so would destroy the peace and happiness of that family. Mr. Ingersoll’s theory is to let every woman
float around loose until she found her affinity, but sometimes a woman loves a man who doesent love her; what then?
The poor fellow would have to run away, I reckon, and if he was uncommonly good looking another woman would
grab him on the run-in fact, two or three might grab him and fight over him, for the scriptures do tell us of a time
when seven women shall take hold of one man. Good gracious! From such a calamity good Lord deliver us. Mr.
Ingersoll ought to write a book on “Divorces Made Easy,” and tell us what is to be done with the children-the poor
little innocent things who wouldent have any father to speak of, and hardly any mother; no happy home, no parental
training, no comfort-for you see their mother might be living with another fellow. Mr. Ingersoll says that “parents
make a mistake in bringing up children, instead of letting them grow.” Was there ever such theoretic nonsense
uttered by a learned and intelligent man? We have all admired his beautiful expressions, his tenderness, his
sympathy, his exquisite pathos of thought, but his utterances in his late lecture in Chicago would indicate that
the man has lost his reason.

In his desire to obliterate the Bible and all its teachings, he makes a stab at marriage and training up children and at
the Christian Sabbath. He says that “a man who says the Columbian fair should be closed on Sunday is a monument
of impudence.” He is welcome to his company, for every bad man, every immoral woman, every anarchist, every
lawbreaker is on his side. On the other side are all the great and good men of the centuries that have passed from Milton
and Shakespeare own to Macaulay and Gladstone. All the greatest philosophers and poets of the past •21a) years
stand as firm as a rock upon the Bible and its teachings, and it does not be-come one man, however learned, to array
himself against them. To do that a man must be a “monument of impudence.” Dr. Samuel ,Tohnson, the profoundest
thinker and philosopher, says: “Religion, of which the rewards are dis-tant and which is animated only by faith and
hope, will glide by degrees out of the mind unless it be invigorated by external ordinances and by stated calls to worship.”
One man cannot destroy the sanctity of the Sabbath. It is strange that he would wish to. I heard a Jewish rabbi say in
a public lecture: “I do not believe in your Christian religion. It is not my faith nor the faith of my fathers, but I would not
live in any but a Christian country, under Christan laws and Christian rulers. A. Christian civilization has done more for
humanity and liberty and progress than all others, and offers the best protection to my children and my property.” I do
not believe that an agnostic or infidel or gambler or cheat or swindler if he has a family would tear down the spires of
our churches or muffle the sound of the Sabbath bells. Every man, however self-debased, has a hope for the welfare
of his children. Mr. Ingersoll lectured on “Liberty” and in his enthusiasm over his subject he wants every man and woman
and child to do as they please. especially the women and children. He says that “men are slaves, and women are the
slaves of slaves, and children are something Worse.” If men are slaves, who are the masters? If there is any slavery
at my house Mrs. Arp doesn’t know it, and every morning at day-break my rooster crows, “Woman rules here,” and I
hear it echoed over at Judge Milner’s and John Akins’s and Dr. Kirk’s, and even old Uncle Simon Peter’s ducks say,
“Quack, quack, that’s a fact.”

Solomon said: “Train up a child in the way he should go, for when he gets old you can’t.” And Pope said: “Just as the
twig is bent the tree’s inclined.” To my opinion there is most too much liberty everywhere in this land of freedom. I am
certain the boys have too much for they shoot toy pigeons in my own trees and Mrs. Arp says we mustent say anything
about it for fear of hurting feelings. Mr. Ingersoll wants them to grow up as they please and frolic every day and on Sunday
to wake up and The gates are open and I’ll run And feast my longing eyes. Or that other hymn now changed to read: Thine
earthly Sabbaths, Lord, we love, And to the Fair my feet I’ll shove. Now I don’t believe in penning the children up all day
on Sunday with the shorter catechism, but I do believe in training them to have respect and reverence for the Lord’s day,
and to go to Sabbath school and-church and read some in the Bible. The devil has a good chance to work on them all
the week days, and it is well to fortify against him one day in seven and repair the breaches. I look around me wherever
I go, and I find the best people are on the side of the church and the Sabbath and the preachers. May our children all
stand or fall with them. What a contrast td those sentiments of Ingersoll were the old-fashioned,impreguable admonitions
of Dr. Strickler and Dr. Candler at the dedication of the Agnes Scott institute last week. What a feast of reason-what a
comfort to the parents who have daughters there. I am thankful that I have lived to see that day and hear those sentiments
breathed out by noble, Christian men-great-hearted, broad-minded educators, who are leading our people in the only
road to happiness. I am thankful that I have lived to see this splendid memorial to a good woman-a mother in Israel who
raised up her children in the fear of God, and taught them to love and to fear Him and keep His commandments. We
used to have such women and their sons were heroes and their daughters heroines in the time of trouble. As Dr.
Candler said, I am glad that I have lived to see one man whIch in active life gave of his first earnings $1111,000
to build and establish such a school as this for our daughters.

Such a grand success as the Agnes Scott has never been known in Georgia-nor in the south, for it has sprung up as by
a magician’s wand or the rubboag of a genii lamp. One year ago it was not heard of, and now it is complete with all its
admirable equipments-the best heated, the best lighted, the best ventilated and the best furnished building in the south,
and as an educational institute has no superior in the character and accomplishments of the teachers. It is a home, a
happy home for our daughters-as near a perfect home as can be outside of the family circle. Other institutions I have
been laboring for years for the patronage that this one has now and by another term the Agnes Scott will overflow and
have to decline many applicants. There is no effort here for show or fashionable polish. A diploma from the Agnes Scott
will mean all It contains. I go there frequently and live for “Line in its sun-shine and take note of the sweet companionship
of teachers and pupils and am proud of its high standard of scholarship and morality and purity of thought and conduct.
If I was a young man and was looking ’round for a helpmate and a helpmeet, it would be credential enough, and but little
risk, to woo and to win and to wed a sweet girl graduate of the Agnes Scott if I could. I’ll bet that a young man can’t run
away with one of them. They will be hard to please and harder to deceive, and when they marry it will not be done in haste
and repented of at leisure. Dean Swift said that “the reason why there were so many unhappy marriages was because
the girls spent so much time in making netts and so little in making cages.” They attach more importance to catching a
lover than keeping a husband. That may be so, but the men are worse. They cease to be lovers too soon after marriage,
and the trouble begins-the trouble that Mr. Ingersoll would try to remedy by a divorce, but try in vain. Every wife knows
her duty and so does every husband. Let them perform it and be happy and make the children happy. There is an old
gander at my house who for many days had stood by his mate while she sets on her nest. She plucks the down from
his breast and covers her eggs. When she leaves them for food he escorts her to the grass and escorts her back with
a dignity and a devotion that are impressive. My respect for geese has greatly enlarged since I made their more
intimate acquaintance.

Last Updated on October 9, 2021 by Bill Arp

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