TO THE EDITOR. Sir,—ln your Parliamentary " jottings " of last evening's issue, one item touching the Offences Against the Person Act Amendment Bill must have stirred the soul of every right-minded man and woman in the district with righteous indignation. I refer tothemolion of the Hon. George M'Lean on raising the age of consent to fourteen years. It reads thus:—"That it shall be sufficient defence to a charge if it appears that the accused had reasonable cause to believe that the girl was of or above fourteen years of age." Now, sir, what does the hon. member mean by this c'ause? It just means this: that it makes it possible for any licentious scoundrel to ruin a poor chi'd, and then, if he has means to pay for defence, to get clear. This is what it means, and is meant to mean. Is it possible that our hon. members passed this to a man?—these who are supposed to sit there and make righteous laws, and to uphold and defend the weak ? Now, sir, let me ask: What is a girl of fourteen, as a rule? She is but a eilly, giddy, thoughtless child, eager for the attentions of anyone who will notice her, unacquainted with the ways and vices of the world. The gipsy girl from her early childhood is taught by her mother that nothing on earth must induce her to part with her virtue ; but alas ! our colonial girl is with few exceptions sent out into life without any such warning. A fallen gipsy girl, with all tho temptations to which she is subject, is never heard of. Would to God it were so with our girls. The motion in question leaves untouched the daughters of the well-to-do class; it is the poor who fall the victims of the libertine. What if this motion were brought to bear on our Property Acts—would that pass in the Upper House? I tell you nay. Who:e property would then be secure with an able lawyer to plead the cause of the accused ? May we not trust and pray that there will be men noble and true in the Lower House who will condemn this iniquitous clause in the Bill. F;.r better would it have been to have left the Bill wholly untouched, for as it read 3 now every vicious man, by a little artifice, may have things his own way. Is it not time that women bad the franchise extended to them when our legislators can find it in their hearts to frame such laws as these ? Havo our hon. members any daughters ?—I am, etc., S. P. Dunedin, August 29.
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IMMORAL LEGISLATION., Evening Star, Issue 8000, 31 August 1889, Supplement
IMMORAL LEGISLATION. Evening Star, Issue 8000, 31 August 1889, Supplement
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