“Empire was a hothouse for secrets of all kinds. India was famously the place where families banished their black sheep, hoping to keep their mischief far from home. But India loosened the morals of even otherwise reputable Britons, or so it seemed to scandalized contemporaries. There were over twenty thousand British men in India at the turn of the nineteenth century, the vast majority of them unmarried.” (Cohen, 14) Illegitimacy was the most common secret amongst families at the turn of the century. Keeping a child hidden was more common than not. If a child was illegitimate it would stay hidden from the world as well as child who had mental or physical handicaps. They would be sent away so that people wouldn’t associate terrible things with the family who had those kinds of children. Lower class families did not keep their children a secret as upper class families would. Back then illegitimacy was thought to be inherited. They looked at the woman who had children out of wedlock as “sexually immoral.” Through this middle portion of the book Cohen uses a lot of personal testimony from archives as her evidence. Even though illegitimacy rates declined at the turn of the century, there were still several thousand women who had children out of wedlock and these children were sent away to be adopted. Legal adoption was not introduced until 1926. These children were given away because there was the misconception that illegitimacy could be inherited. It was in the bloodline. It was believed that it showed moral weakness and that those children who were born out of wedlock would corrupt the whole family and that the status of the family would be ruined.
“Other people, they