Shall I say that Epicurus was a corruptor of good morals, on the faith of a jealous philosopher, of a disgruntled disciple, who would have been delighted, in his resentment, to go to the length of inflicting a personal injury?
It is only too easy for the trained crook to overcome the resistance of the unhardened youth; his arguments seem unanswerable; and the wholly justifiable feeling that prison is wrong and an outrage aids the corruptor at every turn.
His measures were censured; I wrote in his defence, and was recompensed with a place, of which the profits were never received by me without the pangs of remembering that they were the reward of wickedness; a reward which nothing but that necessity, which the consumption of my little estate in these wild pursuits had brought upon me, hindered me from throwing back in the face of my corruptor.
I was early told that I would fail if I persisted in attending the little Unitarian church; but I preferred failure to hypocrisy, and would not sell my birthright of conscience for a mess of pottage. Two of my ancient, sour-faced assistants were bigoted members of the fashionable church, and at once set me down as a corruptor of youth because I was an advocate of the liberal faith.
In the present instance here was his fact: American young married women are not pursued by the corruptor; and here was the question: What is it that protects her? It seems quite unlikely that that problem could have offered difficulties to any but a trained philosopher. Nearly any person would have said to M. Bourget: "Oh, that is very simple.
It is very seldom in America that a marriage is made on a commercial basis; our marriages, from the beginning, have been made for love; and where love is there is no room for the corruptor." Now, it is interesting to see the formidable way in which M. Bourget went at that poor, humble little thing. He moved upon it in column three columns and with artillery.
Yet was he burnt in effigy too; and so traduced, that his name is not purified yet! Ask why his memory is not in veneration? You will be told, from libels and trash, that he was the Grand Corruptor. What! did he corrupt the nation to make it happy, rich, and peaceable? Who was oppressed during his administration?
Ulpian in Dig., 48, 14, 27. Ulpian in Dig., 48, 5, 14 : Iudex adulterii ante oculos habere debet et inquirere, an maritus pudice vivens mulieri quoque bonos mores colendi auctor fuerit periniquum enim videtur esse, ut pudicitiam vir ab uxore exigat, quam ipse non exhibeat. Cf. Seneca, Ep., 94: Scis improbum esse qui ab uxore pudicitiam exigit, ipse alienarum corruptor uxorum.