22 AUGUST 1885, Page 2

We have read with surprise, and we may even say

with dismay, the letter in which one of the most devoted and self-sacrificing of the assailants of impurity, Mrs. Josephine Butler, confesses that she and her friends have intentionally bribed others to enter into an immoral contract with regard to young girls, whom all the time they intended to protect from evil,—and did, of course, protect from evil. It seems to us that such hypocrisy of evil, even though it be for the sake of good, is in itself a great sin. It may be argued to be an act of the same kind as feints and stratagems in war. But then in war the enemy are aware that there is no faith placed in them, and that a rivalry in deception is quite on the cards. In this case, this lady and her friends have tempted by their proposals to the worst act that a human being can commit, and they may never be able even to prove to the persons so tempted that the intention was not what it appeared to be. Even if they can, they can never undo the assent which they invited another to give to a frightful wickedness.