Facts are Stubborn Things

Elvira L. Hull, “Socialistic.  ‘Facts are Stubborn Things.’ ‘A single one often upsets the philosophies of ages.’” Woodhull & Claflin’s Weekly, September, 1873

Dear Sister Victoria—Since Moses’ article appeared in the Weekly there has been a good deal of interest manifested among the friends and enemies of social freedom to know “How Mrs. Hull feels with regard to his position?”

Thinking the proper way to answer this query is through the same medium used by Moses, I send this.  Use your own discretion with regard to its publication.

Moses said in his “experience” that, “He told me all.”  This is true.  For a long, long time, however, I suffered what all must suffer who are not large enough to comprehend the needs of certain human souls.  I thought I owned Moses Hull, and I could not and would not lend him to any other woman.  I could not see his necessities naturally growing out of his conditions.  Nature made him a speaker, and speaking made it impossible for him to be at home.  Nature intended I should be a mother, and the duties of maternity rendered traveling with Moses impossible.  The result was as he has stated.  Sexual starvation to both during his absence, or abuse while at home, until both were paralyzed in our sexual natures.

Yet when Moses told me of his practices, I could not see how it could be possible that any benefit to either of us could grow out of it.  But years passed; my health grew better; Moses grew more human (if you will pardon the harsh expression) and more loveable in proportion to his understanding of his own and my demands.  I was not a fool, hence could not help seeing that things were better with both of us; and I came to the place where I have been able to say, Thank God for social freedom!  Moses is a better husband—a better man for it.  I am a firm believer in the doctrine, and my friends who know me best will say that I will not preach what I dare not practice.  Lust, license, libertinism and lewdness, I detest.  But where there is free, untrammeled, spontaneous love, its expression in the way best suited to the lovers must be beneficial both to them and society.

No doubt many of my friends will be terribly shocked when they see this statement; but my theory is, that a principle, if it is good for anything, is worth living; and if it is worth living for me it may possibly benefit others.  I do not believe in anything being too good to use, hence I feel called upon to use what little influence I may have in what I consider to be the right direction.

Friends who knew me five or six years ago, and remember the heart-broken, ossified woman I then was, upon meeting me now almost invariably exclaim, “Why, you look ten years younger than you did when I saw you!  What is the cause of this change?”  I answer, “Happiness.”  Nowadays my answer has changed to “Social freedom.”

But I did not intend to say half this much; and yet there is one other query that comes pouring in that ought to be answered.  It is this:

“What effect does your doctrine have upon your daughters?  Are you not afraid of the result of this teaching upon them?”

I remember when I was a little girl, and my father was fighting the battle of “Negro’s Rights,” of hearing his opponents asking him the same question.  My father has three daughters and one son, and although he fought for the rights of the black man, even while bullets, and brickbats, and rotten eggs flew thick as hail, and has come down from the stand with rotten eggs dripping from his clothes, not one of his children married a “nigger.”  I shall help to fight this battle both by precept and example, and, strange as it may seem, I expect, confidently and sanguinely expect, by these very means to educate my daughters entirely above danger of unhappy marriages and so-called unfortunate alliances.  Moses and I do not intend that our daughters shall come upon the stage of motherhood as ignorantly as did their mother.  But enough.

Hoping that this sufficiently answers all questions of all the friends in my behalf, and bidding you godspeed.

I am,
Elvira L. Hull
Vineland, N. J., Aug. 28, 1873.

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