Believing this—that the book would be its own best antidote—Mr. Stead epitomized it in his Review, printed copious extracts, and wound up by indicating his own views and what he deemed the true moral of the discussion. The Review was published and, so far as Messrs. W.H. Smith & Son were concerned, passed without comment. But to the Editor’s surprise (he tells the story in the Westminster Gazette of the 2nd inst.), no sooner was it placed on the market in Ireland than he received word that every copy had been recalled from the bookstalls, and that Messrs. Eason had refused to sell a single copy. On telegraphing for more information, Mr. Stead was sent the following letter:—
“DEAR SIR,—Allen’s book is an avowed defence of Free Love, and
a direct attack upon the Christian view of marriage. Mr. Stead
criticises Allen’s views adversely, but we do not think the
antidote can destroy the ill-effects of the poison, and we
decline to be made the vehicle for the distribution of attacks
upon the most fundamental institution of the Christian
Mr. Stead thereupon wrote to the managing Director of Messrs. Eason & Son, and received this reply:—
“DEAR SIR,—We have considered afresh the character of the February number of your Review so far as it relates to the notice of Grant Allen’s book, and we are more and more confirmed in the belief that its influence has been, and is, most pernicious.
“Grant Allen is
not much heard of in Ireland, and the laudations
you pronounce on him as a writer, so far as we know him, appear
“At any rate, he appears in your Review as the advocate for Free Love, and it seems to us strange that you should place his work in the exaggerated importance of ‘The Book of the Month,’ accompanied by eighteen pages of comment and quotation, in which there is a publicity given to the work out of all proportion to its merits.
“I do not doubt that the topic of Free Love engages the attention of the corrupt Londoner. There are plenty of such persons who are only too glad to get the sanction of writers