Hopedale History
    March 1, 2015
    No. 271
    Free Love, 1853

    Hopedale in February  

    Fundraiser for Tracey Powell Liberatore on the Giveforward site.

    January, February snowstorms   

    Glass town seal by Lisa Ferrucci, 1986   

    During the past two weeks, additions have been made to pages on Draper Company Housing (Several MDN
    articles on the proposed sale of Draper houses.)     Harrison Block (Hopedale Pharmacy moves from
    Harrison Block to Mendon Street, 1991.)     Draper Menu (Company timeline and Draper family information
    added below the menu.)     Draper Looms Still in Use (Article from June 2014 Oxford American about Draper
    looms being used to weave denim for your (but not my) $150 to $350 jeans.)     Pictures of Harry Kimball,  
    Carl Taft,  and  Roy Rehbein added.     Hopedale Machine Company (1856 ad)     Emily Gay (1856 ad for
    ink)     Deaths         


    Twenty-five years ago - March 1990 - The Royal New Zealand Navy discontinues its daily rum ration.

    Lithuania declares independence from the Soviet Union

    Mikhail Gorbachev is elected to a five-year term as the first-ever President of the Soviet Union.

    Twelve paintings, collectively worth $100 to $300 million, are stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner
    Museum in Boston. This is the largest art theft in US history.

    Academy Awards - Driving Miss Daisy wins Best Picture.

    Fifty Years ago - March 1965 - Bloody Sunday: Some 200 Alabama State Troopers attack 525 civil rights
    demonstrators in Selma, Alabama as they attempt to march to the state capitol of Montgomery.

    Some 3,500 United States Marines arrive in South Vietnam, becoming the first American combat troops

    White Unitarian Universalist minister James J. Reeb, beaten by White supremacists in Selma, Alabama on
    March 9 following the second march from Selma, dies in a hospital in Birmingham, Alabama.

    Cosmonaut Alexey Leonov, leaving his spacecraft Voskhod 2 for 12 minutes, becomes the first person to
    walk in space.

    Gemini 3: NASA launches the United States' first 2-person crew (Gus Grissom, John Young) into Earth orbit.

    March 1965 was a big news-month. Click here to go to the Wikipedia page for 1965 to see more.

    For Hopedale news of 25, 50 and 100 years ago, see articles below this text box.


                                                                        A Free Love Episode

    Following a paragraph in Commune to Company Town about a problem with Community member Matthew
    Sutcliffe, Edward Spann continued, "Sutcliffe was only the lesser of two shocks to moral order experienced in
    1853, a far greater one coming from perhaps the oldest threat to earthly paradise, human sexuality."
    Following a paragraph about the Community's "...reputation for hospitality to new ideas and a friendliness
    towards everything calculated to benefit our fellow man..." Adin Ballou wrote the following in his History of the
    Hopedale Community.

    Among these reprehensible speculations was that which, under a plea for the broadest and largest liberty,
    contemplated the removal of all conventional restraints pertaining to the relation of the sexes to each other,
    and especially in the matter of marriage, and granting to each other and everyone the privilege of forming
    connubial alliances and dissolving them at will, as inclination, pleasure, convenience, or whatever else,
    might dictate, under the general name of Free Love. But notwithstanding our vigilance, and in utter
    contravention of our solemn declaration concerning chastity and of our well-known adherence to the
    principle of monogamic marriage, there arose in our midst during the year 1853, a case of marital infidelity
    and illicit intercourse that caused great unpleasantness, perplexity, and scandal, and that required, at length,
    Community intervention.

    The story is simply this. One of our male members, the head of a family, became enamored of a woman,
    also a member, who had for some time resided in his household, and proportionally estranged from his
    faithful and worthy wife. Suspicions of something wrong arose among outsiders, causing considerable talk
    of a scurrilous nature, though nothing was absolutely known or could be proved to that effect. At length the
    unhappiness of the wife was revealed, and the cause of it, upon investigation, made public. The matter then
    very properly received attention from the Council, who summoned the delinquents before them for
    examination and discipline. Upon being questioned and confronted with proof of misconduct, they
    acknowledged culpability, professed regret and penitence, and promised amendment. But these
    professions proved insincere, or at least transient, and the parties were again called to account. They then
    did not deny or attempt to conceal their criminality, but rather justified it on the ground that it was consistent
    with the principles of the new philosophy touching personal liberty, sexual relations, and conjugal bond,
    which they had embraced--in a word, they openly and unhesitatingly avowed themselves to be Free Lovers,
    from conviction and in practice also.

    Having taken that position they could not do otherwise than withdraw from Community membership and
    leave the locality where both their theory and their action were held in almost universal derision and
    abhorrence. They went from us to the settlement of kindred Individual Sovereigns on Long Island, already
    adverted to - "Modern Times," where they undoubtedly found congenial companionship, and unbridled liberty
    to carry their doctrines out to the farthest possible limit, with no one to question or reproach them, or say
    them nay. For, as one who had been unwittingly induced to take up his residence among that "peculiar
    people" for a time, and who knew them well - a man of ability and character, well qualified to judge and to
    judge wisely - said, "There is a lurking combination among the leaders to do away entirely with the name
    and essence of marriage and to introduce instead an open and respectful sanction of promiscuous
    cohabitation. they not only cut the bonds of legality and set at nought the proprieties of custom, but they also
    scout the idea of constancy in love, and ridicule the sensitiveness of one who refuses to barter
    connubialities. Wife with them is synonymous with slave, and monogamy is denounced as a vicious
    monopoly of affection.

    This case of marital infidelity and contempt of the marriage covenant occurring in our very midst and at a time
    when the most lax, corrupting, and dangerous sentiments concerning the general subject to which they
    relate were bruited abroad and extolled throughout the general community under the specious and
    captivating guise of Liberty and Reform, led us at Hopedale to declare our views and make our position
    known to the world beyond all doubt or peradventure. This we effected in a series of resolutions covering the
    whole ground involved in the divinely appointed distinction of sex, so far as it applies to the human race,
    which was passed in Community meeting held July 10, 1853.

    The occurrence which has formed the subject of comment in the last few pages, and which in justice to the
    truth of history could not have been omitted from the present volume, was the only one of its kind that ever
    transpired during our entire existence - the only one in which the inculpated parties justified themselves and
    took refuge under the bewitching sophistries of "Free Love." In the other few cases of indiscretion, similar in
    nature though by no means in degree, that came to light, the erring ones, when called to account, bowed to
    their acknowledged standard of duty, made due confession of their wrong, and in Scripture phrase, "brought
    forth fruits meet for repentance." But on the whole, and to the credit of our young men and women as well as
    those of riper years, it is to be put on record and kept in lasting remembrance that we were singularly exempt
    not only from positive scandal touching matters pertaining to the sexes, but also from covert suspicion and
    innuendo. Great freedom there was between male and female in the home and in the social circle, and in all
    public places, but few instances of excess, undue liberty, or impropriety, calling for reproof and
    reprehension. Adin Ballou, History of the Hopedale Community

    Letter by Abby Price giving her views on the episode.   

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