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Full text of "Facts and Fictions of Life"

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!3oQh0 hp !^den ^, ^BatHenet 



Qoth Paper 
Men, WoMBN, AND Gods (Essays) $i.oo .50 

Pin^piT, Pbw, AND Cradle (Essays) .10 

Is This Your Son, My Lord? (Novel) i.oo .50 

Pray You, Sir, Whose Daughter? (Novel) z.oo .50 

An Unofficial Patriot (Novel) 1.25 .50 

A Thoughtless Yes (Short Stories) x.oo .50 

Pushed by Unseen Hands (Short Stories) x.oo .50 

The broad philosophical spirit which pervades her work is very marked. One feels 
that the author is a deep student of sociology and psychology ; that she is a true phi- 
losopher as well as a true historian. _ Indeeo, the reader wul look in vain, from cover 
to cover, for evidence of a partisan bias. She is great enough to be humane and just. 
— B. O. Flower in TAe Arena, 

Few writers handle in a lifetime so many grave topics as Helen Gardener has 
already taken up in her comparatively brief career. No writer has ever been more 
thorough and more clear than she has been in every subject she has studied. For 
instance, the forces of heredity had constituted an occult science up to the time that 
she gave the subject a practical application in her lecture on Woman's Duty to the 
Unborn. 

When she delivered that lecture before the woman's congress at Chicago last year I 
went to hear her, but the crowd was so large about the door that I could not get 
within xoo feet of it. Of all the works she has written not one has failed of more than 
ordinary success. She is doing more than any other writer of this day to demolish 
the narrow theory that the novel is a mere sensual affair and must not be designed to 
do more than entertain. This theory, good enough from the aspect that a novel is 
nothing unless entertaining, becomes senseless when applied to novels that are in- 
tensely entertaining and at the same time instructive and elevating. The giving of 
wholesome fact and thought, physical, sociological, and ethical, in such a way as to be 
not only widely read but deeply impressed, is a high art, and few are capable of it. 
Helen Gardener can do that, and in doing it is playing havoc with the fond theory 
which novelists who cannot be instructive without bemg dull, nor deal in morals with- 
out becoming maudlin, have set up in their own defence. 

She is a doctor in ethics who sugar-coats her pills with fiction, and while taking 
nothing from their power makes them irresistibly palatable. Many a young man — 
and old one, too— morally ill without realizing it, is unconsciously cured by this treat- 
ment while under the delusion that he is getting only amusement out of his reading. — 
Charles Grant Miller, Cleveland Plain Dealer. 

Helen Gardener is one of the most thoughtful of modern vrnltrs.— Chicago Herald, 

A literary light in the person of a southern woman is attracting the attention of the 
thinkers of the world. . . . She has entered a path almost untrodden, and gives evi- 
dence that she is one of the greatest students of sociological and psychological prob- 
lems. She wields the strong pen of a true philosopher and an impartial historian. 
. . . Her last is a war story, but told on sociological grounds and entirely above all 
partisan bias. . . . Generous and just enough to deal with a great topic greatly . . . . 
One of the most instructive and fascinating writers of our time. — Louisville Courier- 
yournaL 

Helen Gardener has made for herself within a few years an enviable fame for the 
strength and sincerity of her writing on some of the most important phases of modem 
socialquestions.— CAsVd;^ Times, 



THIRD EDITION 



f 



 



FACTS AND FICTIONS OF LIFE 



BY 



HELEN H. GARDENER 



" But something may be done, that we will not : 
And sometimes we are devils to ourselves, 
When we will tempt the frailty of our powers, 
Presuming on their changeful potency." 

— Shakespiart, 




BOSTON 

Arena Publishing Cobifany 

Copley Square 

1895 






Copyright 1893 

By Helen H. Gardener 

All Rights Reserved 



G- 2. 1 

3r 



ContmtB 



Preface 9 

The Fictions of Fiction 19 

A Day in Court 43 

Thrown in with the City's Dead 65 

An Irresponsible Educated Class 85 

Sex in Brain 97 

Woman as an Annex 129 

The Moral Responsibility of Woman in 

Heredity 151 

Heredity in its Relations to a Double Stand- 
ard OF Morals 183 

Divorce and the Proposed National Law .... 207 

Lawsuit or Legacy 227 

Common Sense in Surgery 257 

Heredity: Is AcqyiRED Character or Con- 
dition Transmittiblk ? 273 

Environment : Can Hbrbdity be Modified ? 289 



(preface 



(preface 



There are at least two sides to evevy question. 
Usually there are several times two sides; or at least 
there are several phases in which the question has 
a different aspect. 

I am led to state these seemingly unnecessary 
truisms because I have been confronted by hearers 
or readers who assumed^ since I had presented 
a certain phase or manifestation of heredity in a 
given article or lecture, that I was intending to 
argue that a fixed ruJe of transmission would nec- 
essarily follow the line I had then and there drawn. 

Nothing could be farther from my idea of the 
workings of the law of heredity. 

Nothing could be more absurdly inadequate to 
the solution and comprehension of a great basic prin- 
ciple. 

Again; an auditor or critic remarks that "We 
must not forget that we, also, get our heredity from 
God;" which is much as if one were to say, in teach- 
ing the multiplication table, "Remember that three 
times three is nine except, only, the times when 
God makes it fifteen." So absolute a misconception 

of the very meaning of the word heredity could 

9 



10 . PREFACE 

hardly be illustrated in any other way as in the 
idea of "getting it from God." 

Scientific terms and facts of this nature cannot 
be confounded with metaphysical and religious 
speculation without hopeless confusion as to ideas, 
and absolute worthlessness as to the results of the 
investigation. 

The very foundation principle of Evolution, itself, 
depends upon the persistence of the laws of hered- 
itary traits, habits and conditions, modified and di- 
versified by environment and by the introduction of 
other hereditary strains from other lines of an- 
cestry. 

Of course, there are people who do not believe 
that Evolution evolves with any greater degree of 
regularity and persistence than is consistent with 
the idea of a Deity who is liable to change his 
plans to meet the prayers or plaints of aspiration 
or repentance of those who chance to beg or de^ 
mand of him certain immunities from the workings 
of the laws of nature. But with this type of men- 
tality — with this grade of intellectual grasp — it 
were fruitless to pause to argue. They must be left 
to an education and an evolution of a less emotion- 
al and imaginative cast before they will be able 
to take part intelligently in a scientific discussion 
even where the merest alphabet of the science is 
touched, as is the case in these essays. They must 



PREFACE II 

learn a method of thought which keeps inside of 
what is, or can be, known and demonstrated^ and 
cease to vitiate the very basic premises by inject- 
ing into them what is merely hoped or prayed for. 
The two phases of thought are quite distinct and 
totally dissimilar in method. 

The essays here collected, which do not deal di- 
rectly with heredity and its possibilities, have been 
included in the book because of the repeated calls 
for them upon the different magazines in which 
they appeared and because they are rightly classed 
among the facts and fictions of life with which we 
wish here to deal. 

That most of them touch chiefly the dark side of 
the topics discussed is due to the fact that they 
were one and all written for a purpose in which 
that method of handling seemed most effective. 
That there is a brighter side goes without saying; 
but when a physician is writing a lecture upon 
cholera or consumption he does not devote his time 
and space to pointing out the indubitable fact that 
many of us have not, and are not likely to contract, 
either one. 

In pointing out and commenting upon certain 
social and hereditary conditions and evils, which 
it is desirable to correct or to guard against, and 
which it is all-important we shall first recognize as 
existing and as in need of improvement, I have, it 



12 PREFACE 

is true, dwelt chiefly upon the evil possibilities 
contained in these conditions. I am not, therefore, 
a pessimist. I do not fail to recognize the fact that 
both men and conditions are undoubtedly evolving 
into better and higher states than of old. If one 
may so express it these essays are the expressions 
of a pessimistic optimist, — one who is pessimistic 
upon certain phases of the present for the present, 
and optimistic as to and for the future. Let me 
illustrate: The housewife who does not have the 
house cleaned because it stirs up a dust to do it, 
is in the position of those critics who insist that it 
is all wrong to call attention to abuses because 
abuses are not pleasant things to have held up to 
public gaze. Or like a physician who would say: 
"For heaven's sake don't remove that bandage from 
the broken skull to dress the wound or you will see 
something even uglier than this soiled and ill-ar- 
ranged cloth. Trust to luck. Some people have 
rcovered from even worse conditions than this with- 
out intelligent care and treatment. Let him do it." 

I have often been asked how and why I ever 
chanced to think or to write upon these topics. 
"How can a woman in your station and of your type 
know about them?" It is always difficult to say 
just how or wh}^ one mind does and another does 
not grasp any given thing. 

When I was a very young girl I heard a famous 



tab 



PREFACE 13 

Judge read and discuss a series of papers which were 
then appearing in the Popular Science Monthly^ 
and which were called "The Relations Of Women To 
Crime. " I was the only person admitted to the Club, 
where the consideration of the papers took place, 
who was not mature in years and connected with one 
of the learned professions. I was admitted because 
I begged the privilege as the guest of the family of 
the Judge at whose house the Club met. More than 
any other one thing, perhaps, the thoughts and 
suggestions that came to me — a silent and unnoticed 
child — while listening to the discussions of those 
papers which hinted at the various possibilities of 
inherited criminal tendencies — hearing the lawyers 
comment upon it from the point of view furnished 
by their court-room experiences, and the medical 
men from their side of the topic, as practitioners 
upon those who had inherited mental or physical 
diseases, and the educators from their outlook and 
experience with children and youths who had not 
yet begun an open criminal course but who showed 
in their tendencies the need of intelligent training 
^o modify or correct their faulty inheritance, — more 
than any other one thing, perhaps, this experience 
of my childhood led me into the study of anthropolo- 
gy and heredity. That other people have been inter- 
ested in what I have written from time to time upon 
this subject, and that I was, for this reason, asked 



14 PREFACE 

to present certain phases of it at the recent World's 
Congress of Representative Women, accounts 
for the publication of this book at this time. I pre- 
sume it will be said that it is not "pleasant reading 
for the summer season." It is not intended for that 
purpose. It has been asked for by many teachers, 
college professors, students and medical practition- 
ers, the latter of whom have shown extraordinary 
interest in its early issue and wide circulation, and 
for whose kind encouragement and aid I am glad 
to offer here renewed thanks. 

I had intended to elaborate and enlarge and re- 
publish in book form "Sex In Brain," but since 
there have been hundreds of calls made for it and 
since I have not yet found the time to combine, 
verify and arrange the large amount of additional 
material which I have been steadily collecting 
through correspondence with leading Anthropolo- 
gists and brain Anatomists in England, Scotland, 
Germany, France and the United States and other 
countries, ever since they received, with such cor- 
dial and kindly recognition, the within printed 
essay, which they have had translated into several 
languages, I have concluded to include it with 
these, leaving it as it was abridged and delivered 
before the International Council in Washington in 
1888. 

Later on I hope to find time to arrange and verify 



PREFACE 15 

and issue the new material on the subject. It has 
grown in confirmatory evidence as it has grown in 
bulky with steady and assuring regularity. 

Helen Hamilton Gardener. 



^{e fictions of fiction 

Reprinted from The Open Court 



tit Siciiom of fiction 



I read — on a recent railway journey — a populat 
magazine. Its leading story was labeled as a "story 
for girls." In it the traditional gentleman of re^ 
duced fortunes continued to still further deplete the 
family-resources by speculation, and the three 
daughters who figure in most such stories went 
through the regular paces, so to speak. 

One taught music; one painted well and sold her 
bits of canvas for ten dollars each; but the third 
girl had no talent except that of a cheerful temper* 
ament and the ability to drape curtains and arrange 
furniture attractively. These girls talked over the 
fact, that they were now reduced to their last ten 
dollars and the pantry was empty, father ill, and 
mother — not counted. They joked a little, wept a 
few tears, and prayed devoutly. Then the talent- 
less one received an invitation in the very nick of 
time to visit the richest lady in town (a cripple 
with a grand house). She went, she saw, and, of 

course, she conquered — earned money by giving ar- 

19 



20 THE FICTIONS OF FICTION 

tistic touches to the houses of all the rich people 
in town, and eight months later married the nephew 
of the opulent cripple. No more mention is made 
of the empty pantry, the sick father, and the two 
talented girls whose labor did not previously keep 
the wolf from the door. But it is only fair to sup- 
pose that the new husband was to be henceforth 
the head of the entire establishment — surely a warn- 
ing to most young men contemplating matrimony 
under such trying circumstances. All is supposed 
to move on well, however, and every hapless girl 
who reads such a story, is led to believe that she 
is the household fairy who will meet the prince and 
somehow (not stated) redeem her father's family 
from want and despair. For it is the object of such 
stories to convey the impression that everything is 
quite comfortable and settled after the wedding. 
The young girl who reads these stories looks out 
upon life through the absurd spectacle thus fur- 
nished her. She sees nothing as it is. Such little 
plans as she can make, are based upon wholly in- 
correct data. Her whole existence is unconsciously 
made to bend to the idea of matrimony as a means 
of salvation for herself and such persons as may be 
in any way objects of care to her. 

Indeed, what are commonly known as "safe sto- 
ries for girls," are made up of just such rubbish, 
which if it were only rubbish, might be tolerated; 



THE FICTIONS OF FICTION 21 

but the harm all this sort of thing does can hardly 
be estimated. I do not now refer to the harm of 
a more vicious sort that is sometimes spoken of as 
the result of story reading. I am not considering 
the deliberately scheming nor the consciously self- 
sacrificing girl who struts her day on the stage and 
in fiction marries to save the farm or her father or 
any one else. I am thinking of the every-day girl, 
who is simply led to see life exactly as it is likely 
not to be, and is therefore disarmed at the outset. 
She is filled with all sorts of dreamy ideas of rescue 
by prayer or by means of some suddenly developed 
— previously undreamed-of — rich relation or lover 
or, I had almost said — fairy. And why not? Litera- 
ture used to bristle with these intangible aids to the 
helpless or stranded author. The name is changed 
now, it is true, but the fairy business goes bravely 
on at the old stand, and the young are fed with 
views of life, and of what they will be called upon 
to meet, which are none the less harmful and vis- 
ionary because of the changed nomenclature. 

A gentleman of middle age said to me not long 
ago: "I grew up with the idea that people were 
like those I met in books. I went out into life 
with that belief. I measured myself by those stand- 
ards, and I have spent much time in my later years 
re-adjusting myself to fit the facts. It placed me 
at a great disadvantage. I saw people and deeds 



22 THE FICTIONS OF FICTION 

as they were not — as they are never likely to be in 
this world — and I could not believe that my own 
case was not wholly exceptional. I began to look 
at myself as quite out of the ordinary^ My expe- 
riences were such as belied my reading, and it was 
a very long time and after serious struggle, that I 
discovered that it was my false standards, derived 
from reading popular fiction, that had deceived me 
and that, after all, life had to be met upon very 
different lines from the ones laid down by the ordi- 
nary writers of fiction. I really believe I was un- 
fitted for life as I found it, more by the fictions of 
fiction than by any other one influence.." 

Another gentleman — a writer of renown — said to 
me: "We may not 'hold the mirror up to nature' 
as nature is. The critics will not have it. We must 
hold it up to what we are led to think nature ou^ht 
to be. " 

Now that would be all very well, no doubt, if 
the picture were labeled to fit the facts. If it were 
distinctly understood by the reader that in ninety- 
nine cases out of a hundred the outcome of real 
life would be wholly different, that the right man 
would not turn up, in the nick of time, to point out to 
the defenseless widow that there was a flaw in the 
deed; if the reader was warned that honest effort 
often precedes failure; that virtue and vice not 
only may, but do, walk hand in hand down many a 



THE FICTIONS OF FICTIOJf 23 

life-long path and sometimes get the boundary lines 
quite obliterated between them; if he understood 
that in life the biggest scoundrel often wears the 
most benign countenance and does not go about with 
a leer and a scowl that labels him, all might be 
well. 

A prominent woman, an authority on social topics, 
who is also a writer, a short time ago announced 
to her audience of ladies who gave the smiling re- 
sponse of a thoughtless yes, that "no one ever com- 
mitted a despicable act with the head erect and the 
chest well out." "A dishonest man, a criminal, a 
mean woman," she said, always carry themselves 
so and so! 

If that were true — if it bore only the relationship 
of probability to truth — courts of law to determine 
upon questions of guilt or innocence, would be quite 
unnecessary. A photograph and an anatomical ex- 
pert would do the business. The doing of a wrong 
act would become impossible to a gymnast, and the 
graceful "bareback lady" in the circus would be 
farther removed from all meanness of soul than any 
other woman living. 

Yet some such idea— stated a little less absurdly 
— runs through fiction, the drama, and poetry. 

Ferdinand Ward or Carlyle Harris would figure 
in orthodox fiction with " furtive eyes," "a hunted 
look," and with very hard and repellant features. 



24 THE FICTIONS OF FICTION 

indeed; yet those who knew them well never dis- 
covered any such expressions. Jesse James would 
look like a ruffian and treat his old mother like a 
brute. But in life he was a mild, quiet, fair-ap- 
pearing man who adored his mother, and was shot 
in the back (while tenderly wiping the dust from 
her picture) by a despicable wretch who was living 
upon his bounty at the time and accepted a bribe 
to murder him. Young girls do not need to be 
warned against "mother Frouchards." No girl of 
fair sense would require such warning; but the 
plausible, good-looking, and often nobly-acting man 
or woman who lapses from rectitude in one path 
while carefully treading the straight and narrow way 
in all earnestness and with honest intent in others 
are the ones for whom the fictions of fiction leave 
us unprepared. 

In short the people who do not exist — the vil- 
lain who is consistently and invariably villainous, 
the woman who is an angel, the people who never 
make mistakes, or who are able and wise enough 
to rectify them nobly, and all the endless brood 
are familiar enough. We know all of them, and 
are prepared for them when we meet them — which 
we never do. But for the real people we are not 
prepared. For the exigencies of life that come; 
for the decisions and judgments we are called upon 
to make, the fictions of fiction have contributed to 



THE FICTIONS OF FICTION 25 

disarm us. We are hampered. There is no pre- 
cedent. We feel ourselves imposed upon; we are 
face to face, so we believe — with a condition that 
no one ever met before. We are dazed; we wait 
for the orthodox denouement. It does not come. 
We pray. There is no angel visitant who cools 
our fevered brow with gentle wings and lulls our 
fears with promise of help from other than human 
agencies — which promises are straightway fulfilled, 
of course, in fiction. We sit down and wait but 
no rich relation dies and leaves us a legacy, nor 
does the prince appear and wed us. Nothing is 
orthodox, but we have lost much valuable time, 
and strength, and hope in waiting for it to be so. 
We have failed to adjust ourselves to life as it is. 
We do not measure ourselves nor others by stand- 
ards that have a par value. We are discouraged 
and we are at sea. 

A short time ago I read a story of the late war. 
The burden of it was that, if a soldier had been 
brave and loyal, he could also be depended upon 
to be honest. I happened to read the story while 
under the same roof with an old soldier who was 
at that time a judge on the bench. He had served 
faithfully while in the army; he was brave and he, 
no doubt, deserved the honorable discharge he re- 
ceived, and yet while he sat on the bench, he ap- 
plied for a pension on the ground of incurable dis- 



a6 THE FICTIONS OF FICTION 

ease "contracted in active service." While those 
papers were being investigated and one doctor was 
examining him for his pension, he also applied 
and was examined for life insurance as a perfectly 
sound man and healthy risk, and he got both. 

The fact is, human nature is very much mixed. 
Good and bad is not divided by classes but is pretty 
well distributed in the same individual. Weakness 
and strength, wisdom and ignorance, impulse and 
reason, play their part in the same life with all the 
other attributes, passions, and conditions, and the 
literature which makes any individual the personi- 
fication of good or of evil leads astray its confiding 
readers. Woman has been represented in literature 
as emotion culminating in self-sacrifice and matri- 
mony. That was all. And even unto this day many 
persons can conceive of her in no other light. The 
idea has always been productive of infinite misery 
to woman whose whole book of life was read 
by these pages only, as well as to man who had care- 
fully to spell out the other pages in the characters 
of wife or daughter when it was too late for him to 
learn new lessons, or to develop a taste for an un- 
known language. 

Man has been known as pure reason touched 
with chivalry and devotion, or else as a dangerous 
animal who preys upon his kind. There may be — 
m some other life or world — representatives of both 



yUE FICTION? OF rjCTION 27 

of the^e c|as3es, but they are not the men with 
whom we live, and, therefore, whose acquaintance 
it is de3irable we should make as early as possible. 

fhat a large family is ^ crown of glory to the 
parent^ and an inestimabl,e boon to the state, is an 
idea running through literature. Is it a fact or is 
it one of the fiction^ of fiction which it were well 
to stimulate and galvanize into life less persistently? 
What is the answer from reform schools and penal 
iastitutions, filled by ignorance and passion held 
in bondage by poverty; from cemeteries where 
mothers and babies of the poor and ill -nurtured are 
strewn like leaves; irom the homes of the educated 
and well to do where small families are the rule — 
large ones the deplored exception? What is the 
logical reply in countries whose sociological stu- 
dents sigh over the struggle for existence and a 
scarcity of supplies; "over population" and des- 
perate emigration? Misery and vice bearing strict 
proportion to density of population and poverty, 
surely offer a hint that at least one of the fictions of 
fiction has gone far to do a serious injury to man- 
kind. 

But the fiction of fictions which has done more 
real harm to the human race than any other, per- 
haps, is the one which dominates it — the idea that 
woman was created for the benefit and pleasure of 
man, while mai;! exists for aqd because of himself. 



28 THE FICTIONS OF FICTION 

Fiction has utilized even her hours of leisure and 
amusement to sap the self-respect of womanhood 
while it helped very greatly to brutalize and lower 
man by keeping — in this insidious form — the thought 
ever before him that woman is a function only and 
not a person, and that even in this limited sphere 
she is and should be proud to be man's subject. 
"He for God only, she for God in him." 

It is true that since the advent of women writers 
fiction has shown a tendency to modify, to a limited 
extent, this previously universal dictum, but the 
thought still dominates literature greatly to the 
detriment of morals and of the dignity of both men 
and women. 

"The woman who has no history is the woman to 
be envied," says literature — and yet people do not 
envy her any more than they do the man of like in- 
conspicuous position. No one wishes that she might 
go down to history, if one may so express it, as 
historyless. No one points with pride to Jane 
Smith as his illustrious ancestor any more than if 
. Jane had chanced to be John. To have been a Mary 
Somerville, or an Elizabeth Barrett Browning, or a 
George Eliot, most historyless women would be 
wi41ing to change places even now, and as for "those 
who come after," can there be a question as to 
which would give more pride or pleasure to man or 
woman, to say — "I am the son, or the brother, or 



^^ 



THE FICTIONS OF FICTION 29 

the niece of Mrs. Browning," or to say, "Jane Smith, 
of Amityville, is my most famous relative?" 

I have my suspicions that even * Mr. Fitzgerald 
would waver in favor of Elizabeth in case both wo- 
men were his cousins. In public, at least, he would 
mention Jane less frequently and with less of a touch 
of pride. Personally he might like her quite as 
well. That is aside from the question. I have no 
doubt that he might like John Smith as well as 
Shakespeare, personally, too, and John may have led 
a happier life than William, but is a man with no 
history to be envied for that reason? The applica- 
tion is obvious. 

One of the most insidious fictions of fiction, which 
it seems to me is harmful, is the theory that the 
good are so because they resist temptation, while 
the bad are vicious because they yield easily — make 
a poor fight. 

Leaving out heredity and its tremendous power, 
it is likely that you would have yielded under as 
strong pressure as it took to carry your neighbor 
down. I say as strong pressure — not the same pres- 
sure — for your tastes not being the same, your 
temptations will take different forms, f If you had 
been born of similar parents and on Cherry Hill ; 

* Fitzgerald "thanked God" when Mrs. Browning died. See reply by Robert 
Browning in Aiheneeum. 

t "Our lives progress on the lines of least resistance." 

—Van Dbr Warkbr, M. D. 



Jb THE MICTIONS OF FICTION 

i^ you had been one of a family of ten ; if you had 
been stunted in mind and in body by want of nour- 
ishment; if you had been given little or no edu- 
cation ; if you had helped to get bread for the fam- 
ily almost from the time you could remember; your 
record in ftie police court would not differ very 
greatly from that of those about you. In nine cases 
out of fen you would be where you sent that con- 
vict last year, if our pretty daughter would be the 
associate of toughs. She might be pure — in the 
sense in Which the word is applied to women — but 
she ^ould have a mind muddy and foul with the 
murk and odors of a life fit only for swine. She 
^ould rbarry a brute Who honestly believes that so 
soon as the Words of a priest or a magistrate are 
said over them, she belongs to him to abuse if he 
sees fit, to impose upon, lie to, or to let down into 
the valley of death for his pleasure whenever he 
sees fit, arid quite without regard to her opinions 
of desires in the matter. She Would be an old and 
broken woman at thirty, ugly, misshapen, and hope- 
less, with hungry-faced children about her, whose 
neit meal Would be a piece of bread, whose next 
word would be ioo foul to repeat, whose next act 
would disgrace a Wolf. 

In turn they would perpetuate their kind in much 
the same fashion, and some of your grandchildren 
would be in the poor-house, some in prison, some 



THE FICTIONS OF FICTION 3! 

in houses of ill-repute, and perchance some doing 
honest work — sweeping the streets or making shirts 
for forty cents a dozen for the patrons of a literature 
that goes on promoting the theory that the chief 
duty of the poor is to irresponsibly bring more 
children into the world — to work for them as cheaply 
as possible. To the end that they may restrict their 
own families to smaller limits and — by means of 
cheaper labor caused largely by overpopulation 
from below — clothe their loved ones in purple and 
build untaxed temples of Worship, where poverty 
and crime is taught to believe in that other fiction 
of fictions — the "providence" that places us where 
we deserve to be and where a loving God wishes 
us to be content. 

Indeed, this supernatural finger in literature has 
gone farther, perhaps, to place and keep fiction 
where it is, as a misleading picture of life and re- 
ality, than has any other influence. It has dominated 
talent and either starved or broken the pen of 
genius. "Oh, if I might be allowed to draw a man 
as he is!" exclaims Thackeray, as he leaves the 
office of his publisher, with downcast eyes and 
bowed head. He goes home and "cuts out most of 
his facts," and returns the manuscript which is ac- 
ceptable now, because it is not true to life! 

Because it is now fiction based upon other fiction 
and has eliminated from it the elements of proba- 



32 THE FICTIONS OF FICTION 

bility which might have been educative or stimulat- 
ing or prophetic. Now, Thackeray was not a man 
who would have mistaken preachments for novels 
if he had been left to his own judgment ; neither 
would he have painted vice with a hand that made 
it attractive, but he chafed under the dictum that 
he must not hold the mirror up to the face of na- 
ture, but must adjust it carefully so as to reflect a 
steel engraving of a water color from a copy of the 
"old masters." 

It might be well if silver dollars grew on trees 
and if each person could step out and gather them 
at his pleasure; but since they do not, what good 
purpose could it serve if fiction were to iterate and 
reiterate that such is the case, until people be- 
lieved that it was their trees which were at fault 
and not their fiction? 

It might be a good idea, too, if babies were born 
with a knowledge of Latin and Mathematics, but 
to convince young people that such is the case and 
that they are pitiful exceptions to a general rule, 
is to place them at a humiliating disadvantage from 
the outset. 

It is one of the most firmly rooted of these fic- 
tions of fiction, that such tales as I have mentioned 
above are "good reading — safe, clean literature" for 
girls. Nothing could be farther from the facts. 
Indeed, the outcry about girls not being allowed 



THE FICTIONS OF FICTION 33 

to read this or that, because it deals with some 
topic "unfit" for the girls' ears, is another fiction 
of fiction which robs the girl of her most important 
armor — the armor of truth and the ability to adjust 
it to life. 

ft 

A famous man once said in my presence — "The 
theory that to keep a girl pure you must keep her 
ignorant of life — of real life — is based upon a belief 
degrading to her and false as to facts. Some people 
appear to believe that if they keep girls entirely 
ignorant of all truth, they will necessarily become 
devotees of truth, and if you could succeed in finding 
a girl who is a perfect idiot, you would find one 
who is also a perfect angel." 

"We are a variegated lot at best and worst," said 
a lady to me the olher day, when discussing the 
character of a man who is in the public eye, "I know 
a different side of his character. The side I know 
I like. The side the public knows is so different." 
But in fiction he would be all one way. He would 
be a scamp and know it, or he would be a saint — and 
know that too. The fact is he is neither; and we 
are a variegated set at best and worst. Why not 
out with it in fiction and be armed and equipped 
for character and life as it is? 

There is a school of critics who will say this is 
not the province of fiction. Fiction is to entertain, 
not to instruct. With this I do not agree — only in 



34 THE FICTIONS OF FICTION 

part. But accepting the standard for the moment, 
I am sure that a picture of life as it is, is far more 
entertaining than is that shadowy and vague pho- 
tograph of ghosts taken by moonlight, which "safe 
stories for the young" generally present. 

But to enumerate the fictions of fiction would be 
to undertake an arduous task — to comment upon 
them all would be impossible. 

How much remorse — how many heartbreaks — 
have been caused by the one of these which may be 
indicated briefly in a sentence thus — "Stolen pleas- 
ures are always the sweetest." 

"She sullied his honor," "He avenged his sullied 
honor," and all the brood of ideas that follows in 
this line have built up theories and caused more 
useless bloodshed and sorrow than most others. 
No wife can stain the honor of her husband. He, 
only, can do that, and it is interesting to note the 
fact that he who struts through fiction with a bro- 
ken heart and a drawn sword "avenging" said 
honor (in the sense in which the word is used), 
seldom had any to avenge, having quite effectively 
divested himself of it before his wife had the chance. 

"She begged him to make an honest woman of 
her." What fiction of fiction (and, alas, of law) 
could be more degrading to womanhood — and hence 
to humanity — than the thought here presented? The 
whole chain of ideas linked here is vicious and 



THE FICTIONS OF FICTION 35 

vicious only. Why sustain the fiction that a wo- 
man can be elevated by making her the permanent 
victim of one who has already abused her confi- 
dence; and now holds himself — because of his own 
perfidy — as in a position to confer honor upon his 
victim? He who is not possessed of honor cannot 
confer it upon another. "The purity of family life" 
is another fiction of fiction which never did and 
never can exist, while based upon a double stand- 
ard of morals. That there ever was or ever will be 
a "union of souls" in a family where a double 
standard holds sway, or that women are truthful or 
frank with men upon whom they are dependent, are 
fictions which it were time to face and controvert with 
facts. Dependence and frankness never co-existed 
in this world in an adult brain — whether it were 
the dependence of the serf or of the wife or daugh- 
ter, the result is ever the same. The elements of 
character which tend to self-respect and hence to 
open and truthful natures, are not possible in a 
dependent — or in a social or political inferior. Do 
the peasants tell the lord exactly what they think 
of him, or do they tell him what they know he 
wishes them to think? 

Did the black men, while yet slaves, give to the 
master their own unbiased opinion of the institution 
of slavery? Not with any degree of frequency. 
The application is obvious. 



36 THE FICTIONS OF FICTION 

Another of the fictions of fiction upon which the 
vicious buildy and which has disarmed thousands 
before the battle, is the insistency with which the 
idea is presented that a man (or woman) who is 
honestly and truly and conscientiously religious, is 
therefore necessarily moral or honorable ; that he is 
a hypocrite in his religion if he is a knave in his 
life. Observation and history and logic are all 
against the theory. Some of the most exaltedly 
religious men have been the most wholly immoral. 
It was honest religion that burned Servetus and 
Bruno. They were not hypocrites who hunted 
witches. It is not hypocrisy that draws its skirts 
aside from a "fallen" sister, and immorally marries 
her companion in illicit love to purity and inno- 
cence. Do you know any religious father (or many 
mothers) in this world who would refuse to allow their 
son, whom they know to be of bad character, to marry 
a girl who is as pure and spotless and suspicion- 
less as a flower? "She will reform him," they say. 
"It will be good for him to marry such a girl." 
And how will it be for her? Does the religious 
man or woman not take this view of morals? Has 
right and wrong, sex? Is honor and truthfulness 
toward others limited in application? Have you a 
right to deceive certain people for the pleasure or 
benefit of other people? If so where is the boun- 
dary line? Would the girl marry you or your son 



i 



THE FICTIONS OF FICTION 37 

if she knew the exact truth — if she were to see with 
her own and not with your eyes — all of your life? 
Would you be willing to take her with you, or for 
her to go unknown to you, through all the experi- 
ences of your past and present? No? Would you 
be willing to marry her if she had exactly your 
record? No? You truly believe then that she is 
worthy of less than you are? Honor does not de- 
mand as much of you for her as it does of her for 
you? You would think she had a right — you would 
not resent it if her life had been exactly what 
yours was and is, and if she had deceived you? Is 
that which is coarse or low for women not so for 
men? Why is it that men will not submit to, if it 
comes from women, that which they impose upon 
women whom they "adore" and "truly respect?" 

Would women accept this sort of respect and 
adoration if they were not dependents? Does lit- 
erature throw a true or a fictitious light on such 
questions as these? 

To whose advantage is it to sustain such fictitious 
standard of morals, of justice, of love, of right, of 
manliness, of honor, of womanly dignity and worth? 
To whose advantage is it to teach by all the arts 
of fiction that contentment with one's lot — whatever 
the lot may be — is a virtue? Yet it is one of the 
fictions of fiction that the contented man or woman 
is the admirable person. All progress proves the 



38 THE FICTIONS OF FICTION 

contrary. To whose advantage is it to insist that 
virtue is always rewarded — vice punished? We 
know it is not true. Is it not bad enough to have 
been virtuous and still have failed, without having 
also the stigma which this failure implies under 
such a code? We all know that vicious success is 
common — that often vice and success are partners for 
life and that in death they are not divided; that the 
wicked flourish like a green bay-tree — why blink it in 
fiction? Why add suspicion to failure and misfortune, 
and gloss success with the added glory that it is 
necessarily the result of virtue? To those who 
know how false the theory is, it is a bad lesson — to 
those who do not know it, it is a disarmament 
against imposition. 

Some of the fictions of fiction have their droll 
side in their ndive contradictions of each other. 
These examples occur to me: 

"Women are timid and secretive." "They can't 
keep a secret." "They are the custodians of virtue." 
"They are the 'frailer* sex." "Frailty, thy name is 
woman." "With the passionate purity of woman." 

"Abstract justice is an attribute of the masculine 
mind." "Man's inhumanity to man makes countless 
thousands mourn." 

"No class was ever able to be just to — to do 
justly by another class — hence the need of popular 
representation." "Women should take no part in 
politics. " 



THE FICTIONS OF FICTION 39 

"Women are harder upon women than men are." 

"He disgraced his honored name by actually mar- 
rying his paramour." 

"We are happy if we are good." 

"He was one of the best and therefore one of the 
saddest of men." 

But why multiply examples. Many — and differ- 
ent ones — will occur to every thinking mind, while 
illustrations of the particular fictions of fiction, 
which have gone farthest to cripple you or your 
neighbor, will present themselves without more sug- 
gestions. 



@ ®ag in Conti 

Reprinted from The Arena 



@ ®a^ in Coutt 



I. CRIMINAL COURT. 

To those accustomed to the atmosphere and tone 
of a court room, it is doubtful if its message is im- 
pressive. To one who spends a day in a criminal 
court for the first time after reaching an age of 
thoughtfulness, it is more than impressive; it is a 
revelation not easily forgotten. The message con- 
veyed to such an observer arouses questions, and 
suggests thoughts which may be of interest to 
thousands to whom a criminal court room is merely 
a name. I went early. I was told by the officer at 
the door that it was the sumniing up of a homicide 
case. "Are you a witness?" he asked when I in- 
quired if I was at liberty to enter. "Were you sub- 
poenaed?" 

"No," I replied, "I simply wish to listen, if I 
may, to the court proceedings. I am told that I 
am at liberty to do so." 

He eyed me closely, but opened the door. Just 

as I was about to pass in he bent forward and 

asked quickly: 

"Friend of the prisoner?" 

43 



44 A DAY IN COURT 

"No." 

He said something to another officer and I was 
taken to an enclosed space (around which was a 
low railing) and given a chair. I afterward learned 
that it was in this place the witnesses were seated. 
He had evidently not believed what I said. 

There was a hum of quiet talk in the room, which 
was ill*ventilated and filled with men and boys and 
a few women. Of the latter there were but two 
who were not of the lower grades of life. But there 
were all grades of men and boys. The boys appeared 
to look upon it as a sort of matinee to which they 
had gained free admission. 

The trial was one of unusual interest. It had 
been going on for several days. The man on trial 
(who was twenty-four years of age and of a well-to- 
do laboring class,) had shot and killed his rival in 
the affections of a girl of fourteen. Some months 
previous, he had been cut in the face, and one eye 
destroyed, by the man he afterward killed, who 
was at the time of the killing out on bail for this 
offense. 1 had learned these points from the scraps 
of conversation outside the court room, and from 
the court officer. This was the last day of the trial. 
There was to be the summing up of the defense, 
the speech of the prosecutor, the charge of the 
judge, and the verdict of the jury. 

The prisoner sat near the jury box, pale and 



.A m irOfc 



A DAY IN COURT 45 

Stolid looking. The spectators laughed and joked. 
Court officers and lawyers moved about and chaffed 
one another. There was nothing solemn, nothing 
dignified, nothing to suggest the awful fact that 
here was a man on trial for his life, who, if found 
guilty, was to be deliberately killed by the State 
after days of inquiry, even as his victim had been 
killed, in the heat of passion and jealousy, by him. 

The State was proposing to take this man's life 
to teach other men not to commit murder. 

"Hats off!" 

The door near the Judge's dais had been opened 
by an officer, who had shouted the command as a 
rotund and pleasant-faced gentleman, with decidedly 
Hibernian features, entered. 

He took his seat on the raised platform beneath a 
red canopy. The buzz of voices had ceased when 
the order to remove hats was given. It now began 
again in more subdued tones. In a few moments 
the prisoner's lawyer — one of the prominent men 
of the bar — began his review of the case. He pointed 
out the provocation, the jealousy, the previous 
assault — the results of which were the ghastly 
marks and the sightless eye of the face before them. 
He plead self defense and said over and over again, 
"If I had been tried as he was, if I had been dis- 
figured for life, if I had had the girl I loved taken 
from me, Pd have killed the man who did it, long 



46 A DAY IN COURT 



ago! We can only wonder at this man's forbear- 
ance!" 

I think from a study of the faces that there was 
not a boy in the room who did not agree with that 
sentiment — and there were boys present who were 
not over thirteen years of age. 

The lawyer dwelt, too, upon the fact that the 
prosecutor would say this or that against his 
client. "He will try to befog this case. He will 
tell you this and he will try to make you think 
that; but every man on this jury knows full well 
that he would have done what my client did under 
the same conditions." "The prosecutor told you the 
other day so and so. He lied and he knew it." 
The defender warmed to his work and shook his 
finger threateningly at the prosecutor. Every one 
in the room appeared to think it an excellent bit of 
acting and a thoroughly good joke. No one seemed 
to think it at all serious, and when he closed and 
the State's attorney arose to reply there was a smile 
and rustle of quiet satisfaction as if the audience 
had said: 

"Now the fur will fly. Look out ! It is going to 
be pretty lively for he has to pay off several hard 
thrusts. " 

There was a life at stake; but to all appearances 
no one was controlled by a trifle like that when so 
much more important a thing was risked also — the 



A DAY IN COURT 47 

professional pride of two gentlemen of the bar. In 
the speech which followed, it did not dawn upon the 
State's attorney — if one may judge from bis words 
— that he was "attorney for the people," and that 
the prisoner was one of "the people." It did not 
appear in his attitude if he realized that the State 
does not elect him to convict its citizens, but to 
see that they are properly protected and represented. 

Surely the State is not desirous of convicting its 
citizens of crime. It does not employ an attorney 
upon that theory ; but is this not the theory upon 
which the prosecutor invariably conducts his cases? 
Does he not labor first of all to secure every scrap 
of evidence against the accused and to make light 
of or cover up anything in his favor? Is not the 
State quite as anxious that he — its representative — 
find citizens guiltless, if they are so, as that he 
convict them if they are offenders against the law? 
Is not the prosecutor offending against the law of 
the land as well as against that of ordinary humanity 
when he bends all the vast machinery of his office 
to collect evidence against and refuses to admit — 
tries to rule out — evidence in favor of one of "the 
people" whose employee he is? 

These questions came forcibly to my mind as I 
listened to the prosecutor in the trial for homicide. 
He not only presented the facts as they were, but 
he drew inferences, twisted meanings, asserted that 



4B A DAY IN COURT 

the case had but one side; that the defendant was 
a dangerous animal to be at large; that his wit- 
nesses had all lied; that his lawyer was a notorious 
special pleader and had wilfully distorted every fact 
in the case. He waxed wroth and shook his fist in 
the face of his antagonist and appealed to every 
prejudice and sentiment of the jury which might 
be played upon to the disadvantage of the accused. 
He sat down mopping his face and flashing his 
eyes. The Judge gave his charge, which, to my 
mind, was clearly indicative of the fact that he, at 
least, felt that there were two very serious sides 
to the case. The audience which had so relished 
the two preceding speeches, found the Judge tame, 
and when the jury filed out, half of the audience 
went also. Most of them were laughing, highly 
amused by "the way the prosecutor gave it to him" 
as I heard one lad of seventeen say. The moment 
the Judge left the stand there was great chaffing 
amongst the lawyers, and much merry-making. The 
prisoner and his friends sat still. The prosecutor 
smilingly poked his late legal adversary under the 
ribs and asked in a tone perfectly audible to the 
prisoner, "Lied, did I? Well, I rather think I 
singed your bird a little, didn't I?" When he 
reached the door, he called back over his shoulder 
— making a motion of a pendant body — "Down goes 
McGinty!" Everyone laughed. That is to say, 



A DAY IN COURT 49 

(everyone except the white-faced prisoner and his 
mother. He turned a shade paler and she raised 
a handkerchief to her eyes. Several boys walked 
past him and stopped to examine him closely. One 
of them said, so that the prisoner could not fail to 
hear, "He done just right. Pd 'a done it long be- 
fore, just like his lawyer said." 

"Me too. You bet," came from several other lads 
—all under twenty years of age. 

And still we waited for the jury to return. The 
prisoner grew restless and was taken away by an 
officer to the pen. There was great laughter and 
joking going on in the room. Several were eating 
luncheons abstracted from convenient pockets. I 
turned to an officer, and asked: 

"Do you not think all this is bad training for 
boys? It must show them very clearly that it is a 
mere game of chance between the lawyers with a 
life for stakes. The best player wins. They must 
lose all sense of the seriousness of crime to see it 
treated in this way." 

"Upon the other hand," said he, "they learn, if 
they stay about criminal courts much, that not one 
in ten who is brought here escapes conviction, and 
not one in ten who is once convicted, fails to be 
convicted and sent up over and over again. Once 
a criminal, always a criminal. If they get fetched 
here once they might as well throw up the sponge. " 



50 A DAY IN COURT 

"Is it SO bad as that?" I asked. He nodded. 
"Is there not something wrong with the penal in- 
stitutions then?" I queried. 

"How?" 

"You told me a while ago," I explained, "that 
almost all first crimes or convictions were of boys 
under seventeen years of age. Now you say that 
not one in ten brought here, accused, escapes con- 
viction, and not one in ten of these fails to be con- 
victed over and over again. Now it seems to me 
that a boy of that age ought not to be a hopeless 
case even if he has been guilt}' of one crime; yet 
practically he is convicted for life if found guilty 
of larceny, we will say. Is there not food for re- 
flection in that?" 

"I do* know/* he responded, "mebby. If any- 
body wanted to reflect. I guess most boys that 
hang around here don't spend none too much time 
reflectin' though — till after they get sent up. 
They get more time for it then," he added, dryly. 

"Another thing that impresses me as strange," 
I went on, "is the apparent determination of the 
prosecutor to convict even where there is a very 
wide question as to the degree of guilt." 

"I don't see anything queer in that. He's human. 
He likes to beat the other lawyer. Why, did 
you know that the prosecutor you heard just now 
is cousin to a lord? His first cousin married 
Lord ." 



A DAY IN COURT 5I 

This was said with a good deal of pride and a 
sort of proprietary interest in both the lord and 
the fortunate prosecutor. I failed to grasp just its 
connection with the question in point to which I 
returned. 

"But the public prosecutor is not, as I understand 
it, hired to convict but to represent the 'people,' one 
of whom is the accused. Now, is the State interested 
in convictions only — does it employ a man to see 
that its citizens are found guilty of crime, or is it to 
see that justice is done and the facts arrived at in the 
interest of all the people, including the accused?" 

"I guess that is about the theory of the State," 
he replied, laughing as he started for the door, 
"but the practice of the prosecuting attorney is to 
convict every time if he can, and don't you forget 
It. 

I have not forgotten that nor several other things, 
more or less important to the public, since my day 
in a Criminal Court. 

It may be interesting to the reader to know that 
the jury in the case cited, disagreed. At a new 
trial the accused was acquitted on the grounds of 
self defense and the prosecutor no doubt felt that 
he was in very poor luck, indeed: "For," as I was 
told by a court officer, "he has lost his three last 
homicide cases and he's bound to convict the next 
time in spite of everything, or he won't be elected 



52 A DAY IN COURT 

again. I wouldn't like to be the next fellow in- 
dicted for murder if he prosecutes the case, even if 
I was as innocent as a spring lamb," said he suc- 
cinctly. 

Nor should I. 

But aside from this thought of the strangely 
anomalous attitude of the State's attorney; aside 
from the thought of the possible influence of such 
court room scenes upon the boys who flock there — 
who are largely of the class easily led into, and sur- 
rounded by, temptation; aside from the suggestions 
contained in the officer's statement — which I can- 
not but feel to be somewhat too sweeping, but none 
the less illustrative, that only one in ten brought 
before the Criminal Court escapes conviction, and 
only one in that ten fails to be reconvicted until 
it becomes practically a conviction for life to be 
once sent to a penal institution; aside from all this, 
there is much food for thought furnished by a day 
in a Criminal Court room. A study of the jury, 
and of the judge, is perhaps as productive of men- 
tal questions that reach far and mean much, as are 
those which I have brieflj' mentioned; for I am 
assured by those who are old in criminal court 
practice, that my day in court might be duplicated 
by a thousand days in a thousand courts and that 
in this day there were, alas, no unusual features. 
One suggestive feature was this. When the jury 



A DAY IN COURT 53 

—an unusually intelligent looking body of men — 
was sworn for the next case, seven took the oath 
on the Bible and five refused to do so, simply affirm- 
ing. This impressed me as a large proportion who 
declined to go through the ordinary form; but since 
it created no comment in the court room, I inferred 
that it was not sufficiently rare to attract attention, 
while only a few years ago, so I was told, it would 
have created a sensation. There appeared to be a 
growing feeling, too, against capital punishment. 
Quite a number of the talesmen were excused from 
serving on the jury on the ground of unalterable 
objection to this method of dealing with murderers. 
They would not hang a man, they said, no matter 
what his crime. 

"Do you see any relation between the refusal to 
take the old form of oath, and the growth of a sen- 
timent or conscientious scruple against hanging as 
a method of punishment"? I inquired of the officer. 

"I do* know. Never thought of that. They're 
both a growin'; but I don't see as they've got any- 
thing to do with each other." 

But I thought possibly they had. 

II. IN THE POLICE COURT. 

The next week I concluded to visit two of the 
Police Courts. I reached court at nine o'clock, 



54 A DAY IN COURT 

but it had been in session for half an hour or more 
then, and I was informed that "the best of it was 
over.'* I asked at what time it opened. The replies 
varied "Usually about this time." "Some where 
around nine o'clock as a rule. " "Any time after 
seven," etc. I got no more definite replies than 
these, although I asked policemen, doorkeeper, 
court officer, and Justice. Of one Justice I asked, 
"What time do you close?" . 

"Any time when the cases for the day are run 
through," he replied. "To-day I want to get off 
early and I think we can clear the calendar by lo :30 
this morning. There is very little beside excise 
cases to-day and they are simply held over with 
$ioo bail to answer to a higher court for keeping 
their public houses open on Sunday. Monday 
morning hardly ever has much else in this court." 

I was seated on the "bench" beside the Judge. 
At this juncture a police officer stepped in front of 
the desk with his prisoner, and the Justice turned 
to him. 

"Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole tr — 'n — g 
b tr'th — selp y' God. Kissthebook. " 

The policeman had lifted the greasy volume, and 
with more regard for his health than for the form 
of oath, had carried it in the neighborhood of his 
left cheek and as quickly replaced it on the desk. 

"What is the charge?" inquired the Justice. 



A DAY IN COURT 55 

"Open on Sunday," replied the officer succinctly. 

"See him selling anything?" 

"No. I asked for a drink an' he told me he was 
only lighting up for the night and wasn't sellin' 
nothing. " 

"Anybody inside?" 

"Only him an' me." 

"You understand that you are entitled to counsel 
at every stage of this proceeding," said the Justice 
to the accused man. "What have you to say for 
yourself?" 

"Your Honor, I have a dye house, and a small 
saloon in the corner. I always light the gas at 
night in both and have it turned low. I had on 
these clothes. I was not dressed for work. I went 
in to light up and he followed me in, and arrested 
me and I have been in jail all night. I sold noth- 
ing. 

"Is that so, officer?" asked the Justice. 

"Yes, your Honor, it is so far as I know. I 
seen him in there lighting the gas, an' I went in 
an' asked for a drink, an' he said he wasn't selling 
an' 1 arrested him." 

"Give the record to the clerk. Discharged," said 
the Justice, and then turning to me he explained: 
"You see he had to arrest the man for his own pro- 
tection. If a police officer goes into a saloon and 
is seen coming out, and doesn't make some sort of 



56 A DAY IN COURT 

an arrest, he'll get into trouble; so, for his protec- 
tion he had to arrest the man after he once went 
in, and I have to require that record, by the clerk, 
to show why, after he was brought before me, I dis- 
charged him. That is for my protection." 

"What is for the man's protection?" I asked. 
"He has been in jail all night. He has been dragged 
here as a criminal to-day, and he has a court record 
of arrest against him all because he lighted his 
own gas in his own house That seems a little 
hard, don't you think so?" 

The Judge smiled. 

"So it does, but he ought to have locked the 
door when he went in to light up. Perhaps he was 
afraid to go in a dark room and lock his door be- 
hind him before he struck a light, but that was his 
mistake and this is his punishment. Next!" 

Most of the cases were like this or not so favor- 
able for the accused. In the latter instance they 
were held in bail to answer to a higher court. Two 
or three were accused of being what the officer called 
"plain drunks" and as many more of being "fighting 
drunks" or "concealed weapon drunks." In these 
cases the charge was made by the officer who had 
arrested them. There was no suggestion that "you 
are entitled to counsel," etc., and a fine of from 
"$io or ten days" to "Jipo or three months" or 
both was usually imposed. 



A DAY IN COURT 57 

A pitiful sight was a woman, sick, and old, and 
hungry. "What is the charge against her, officer?" 
inquired the Justice. 

"Nothing, your Honor. She wants to be sent to 
the workhouse. She has no home, her feet are so 
swollen she can't work, and — ** 

"Six months," said the Justice, and turned to me. 
"Now she will go to the workhouse, from there to 
the hospital, and from there to the dissecting table. 
Next. " 

I shuddered, and the door closed on the poor 
wretch who, asking the city for a home, only, even 
if that home were among criminals, received a free 
pass to three of the public institutions sustained 
to receive such as she — at least so said the Justice 
to whom such cases were not rare enough to arouse 
the train of suggestions that came unbidden to me. 
He impressed me as a kind-hearted man, and one 
who tried to be a Justice in fact as well as in name. 
He told me that it was not particularly unusual 
for him to be called from his bed at midnight, go 
to court, light up, send for his clerk and hold a 
short session on one case of immediate importance 
— such as the commitment of a lunatic or the bail- 
ing of some important prisoner who declined to spend 
a night in jail while only a charge and not a con- 
viction hung over him. * 

"I have never committed anyone without seeing 



58 A DAY IN COURT 

him personally," he explained. "Some judges do; 
but I never have. Only last night a man's brother 
and sister and two doctors tried to have me com- 
mit him as a lunatic, but I insisted on being taken 
to where he was. They begged me not to go in as 
he was dangerous; but I did, and one glance was 
all I needed. He was a maniac, but I would not 
take even such strong evidence as his relations and 
two doctors afforded without seeing him person- 
ally. " 

"And some judges do, you say?" I inquired. 

"Oh yes. Next." 

"Next" had been waiting before the desk for some 
time. The officer went through the same form of 
oath. I did not see a policeman or court officer 
actually "kiss the book" during the two days which 
I spent in the Police Courts. Some witnesses did 
kiss it in fact and not only in theory. A loud re- 
sounding smack frequently prefaced the most patent 
perjury. Indeed in two cases after swearing to 
one set of lies and kissing the Bible in token of good 
faith, the accused changed their pleas from not 
guilty to guilty and accepted a sentence without 
trial. 

These facts did not appear to shake the confi- 
dence in the efficacy of such oaths and the onlookers 
in the court did not sefcm either surprised or shocked. 
Certainly the court officials were not, and yet the 



A DAY IN COURT 59 

swearing went on. That it was a farce to the swear- 
ers who were quite willing to say they believed they 
would "go to hell" if they did not tell the truth 
and were equally willing to run the risk, looked to 
me like a very strong argument for a form of oath 
which should carry its punishment for perjury with 
it to be applied in a world more immediate and 
tangible. 

The afternoon found me in a more crowded Po- 
lice Court. The Justice was rushing business. I 
stood outside the railing in front of which the ac- 
cused were ranged. The charges were made by the 
police officer who faced the Judge. The accused stood 
almost directly behind the policemen something like 
four feet away. I was by the officer's side and so 
near as to touch his sleeve, and yet I can truly 
say that I was wholly unable to hear one-half of 
the charges made; most of them appeared to relate 
to intoxication, fighting, quarreling in the street, 
breaking windows and similar misdeeds. 

Some of the "cases" took less than a minute and 
the accused did not hear one word of the charge 
made. What he did hear in most cases and all he 
could possibly hear was something like one of 
these : 

"Ten dollars or ten days." "Three months." 
"Ever been here before?" 

"No, your Honor." 



6o A DAY IN COURT 

"Ten days. " 

"Officer says you were quarreling in a hallway 
with this woman. Say for yourself?" 

"Well, your Honor, I was a little full and I got 
in the wrong hall and she tried to put me out 
and—" 

"Ten dollars." 

"Your Honor, I'll lose my place and Pve got a 
wife and — " The officer led him away. Ten dollars 
meant ten days in prison to him and the loss of his 
situation. What it may have meant to his family 
did not transpire. 

To the next "case" which was of a similar nature, 
the fine meant the going down into a well-iilled 
pocket, a laugh with the clerk and the police officer 
who took the proffered cigar and touched his hat to 
the object of his arrest, who, having slept off his 
"plain drunk," was in a rather merry mood. Many 
of the accused did not hear the charges made against 
them by the officer; in but few cases were they told 
that they had a right to counsel; almost all were 
fined and at least two-thirds of the fines meant im- 
prisonment. A little more care was taken, a little 
more time spent if the face or clothing of the ac- 
cused indicated that he was of the well to-do or 
educated class. Indeed I left this court feeling 
that the inequality of the administration of justice 
as applied by the system of fines was carried to its 



A DAY IN COURT 6l 

farthest limit, and that it would be perfectly pos- 
sible — easy indeed — to find a man (if he chanced to 
be poor and somewhat common looking) behind 
prison walls without his knowing even upon what 
charge he had been put there and without having 
made the slightest defense. If he were frightened, 
or ill, or unused to courts, and through uncertainty 
or slowness of speech, or not knowing what the 
various steps meant, had suddenly heard the Judge 
say "Ten dollars," and had realized that so far as 
he was concerned it might as well have been ten 
thousand; it was quite possible, I say, for such a man 
to find himself a convict before he knew or realized 
what it meant or with what he was charged. 

I wondered if all this was necessary, or if attention 
were called to it from the outside if it might not 
set people to thinking and if the thought might 
not result in action that would lead to better things. 

I wondered if a rapid picture of a boy of sixteen 
arrested for fighting, shot through this court into 
association with criminals for ten days, being found 
in their company afterward and sent by the crim- 
inal court to prison for three months for larceny, 
and afterward appearing and re-appearing as a long 
or short term criminal, would suggest to others 
what the idea suggested to me? I wondered, in 
short, if there were less machinery for the produc- 
tion and punishment of crime and more for its pre- 



62 A DAY IN COURT 

vention, if life might not be made less of a battlefield 
and hospital for the poor or unfortunate. I won- 
dered if the farce of oaths, the flippancy of trials, 
the passion of the prosecutor for conviction and all 
the train of evils growing out of these were neces- 
sary; and if they were not, I wondered if the vast 
non -court-attending public might not suggest a rem- 
edy if its attention were called to certain of the 
many suggestive features of our courts that pre- 
sented themselves to me during my first two days 
as an observer of the legal machinery that grinds 
out our criminal population. 



t ?roi»n in Wit^ t^t City's ®eab 

Reprinted from The Arena 



t^toxott in HHt^ t^t City's ®eal> 



I read that headline in a newspaper one morn- 
ing. Then I asked myself: Why should the city's 
dead be "thrown in?" 

Where and how are they "thrown in?" Why are 
they thrown in? 

Why, in a civilized land, should such an expres- 
sion as that arouse no surprise — be taken as a mat- 
ter of course? What is its full meaning? Are 
others as little informed upon the subject as I? 
Would the city's dead continue to be "thrown in" 
if the public stopped to think; if it understood the 
meaning of that single, obscure headline? Believ- 
ing that the power of a free and fearless press is 
the greatest power for good that has yet been de- 
vised ; and believing most sincerely, that wrongs 
grow greatest where silence is imposed or ignorance 
of the facts stands between the wrong doer, or the 
wrong deed, and enlightened public opinion, I de- 
cided to learn and to tell just the meaning — all of 
the meaning — of those six sadly and shockingly 
suggestive words. 

Suppose you chanced to be very poor and to die 

65 



66 THROWN IN WITH THE CITY'S DEAD 

iQ New York; or suppose, unknown to you, your 
mother, a stranger passing through the city, were 
to die suddenly. Suppose, in either case, no money 
were forthcoming to bury the body, would it be 
treated as well, with as humane and civilized con- 
sideration as if the question of money were not in 
the case? We are fond of talking about giving "ten- 
der Christian burial," and of showing horror and 
disgust for those who may wilfully observe other 
methods. We are fond of saying that death levels 
all distinctions. Let us see whether these are facts 
or fictions of life. 

The island where the "city's dead" are buried — 
that is, all the friendless and poor or unidentified, 
who are not cared for by some church or society — 
is a mere scrap of land, from almost any point of 
which you easily overlook it all, with its marshy 
border and desolate, unkempt surface. It contains, 
as the officer in charge told me, about seventy- nine 
acres at low tide. At high tide much of the bor- 
der is submerged. Upon this scrap of land — about 
one mile long and less than half a mile wide at its 
widest point — is concentrated so much of misery 
and human sorrow and anguish, that it is difficult 
to either grasp the idea one's self or convey it to 
others. 

There are three classes of dead sent here by the 
city. Those who are imbecile or insane — dead to 



THROWN IN WITH THE CITY'S DEAD 67 

thought or reason; those who are dead to society 
and hope — medium term criminals; and those 
whom want, and sorrow, and pain, and wrong can 
touch no more after the last indignity is stamped up- 
on their dishonored clay. I will deal first with 
these happier ones who have reached the end of 
the journey which the other two classes sit waiting 
for. Or, perhaps some of them stand somewhat 
defiantly as they look on what they know is to be 
their own last home, and recognize the estimate 
placed upon them by civilized. Christian society. 

Upon this scrap of land there are already buried 
— or "thrown in" — over seventy thousand bodies. 
Stop and think what that means. It is a large city. 
We have but few larger in this country. Remem- 
ber that this island is about one mile long and less 
than a half mile wide at the widest point. In places 
it is not much wider than Broadway. 

The spot on which those seventy thousand are 
"thrown in" is but a small part of this miniature 
island. This is laid off in plots with paths be- 
tween. These sections are forty- five feet by fifteen, 
and are dug out seven feet deep. Again, stop and 
picture that. It looks like the beginning of a cel- 
lar for a small city house. But in that little cellar are 
buried one hundred and fifty bodies, packed three 
deep. Remembering the depth of a coffin, and 
remembering that a layer of earth is put on each, 



68 THROWN IN WITH THE CITY'S DEAD 

it is easy to estimate about how near the surface 
of the earth lie festering seventy thousand bodies. 
They are not in metallic cases, as may well be im- 
agined; but I need only add that I could distinctly 
see the corpse through wide cracks in almost every 
rough board box, for you to understand that sick- 
ening odors and deadly gases are nowhere absent. 

But there is one thing more to add before this 
picture can be grasped. Three of these trenches 
are kept constantly open. This means that some- 
thing like four hundred bodies, dead from three 
days to two weeks, lie in open pine boxes almost 
on the surface of the earth. 

You will say, "That is bad, but the island is 
far away and is for the dead only. They cannot 
injure each other. " If that were true, a part of the 
ghastly horror would be removed, but, as I have 
said, the city sends two other classes of dead here. 
Two classes who are beyond hope, perhaps, but 
surely not beyond injury and a right to considera- 
tion by those who claim to be civilized. 

Standing near the "general" or Protestant trench 
— for while Christian society permits its poor and 
unknown to be buried in trenches three deep; while 
it forces its other poor and friendless to dig the 
trenches and "throw in" their brother unfortunates; 
while it condemns its imbeciles and lunatics to the 
sights, and sounds, and odors, and poisoned air and 



THROWN IN WITH THE CITY*S DEAD 69 

earth of this island, it cannot permit the Catholic 
and Protestant dead to lie in the same trenches! — 
standing near the general trench, in air too foul to 
describe, where five "short term men" were working 
to lower their brothers, the officer explained. 

"We have to keep three trenches open all the 
time, because the Catholics have to go in conse- 
crated ground and they don't allow the 'generals* 
and Protestants in there. Then the other trench 
is for dissected bodies from hospitals and the 
like. " 

"Are not many, indeed most of those, also, Cath- 
olics?" I asked. 

"Yes, I guess so; but they don't go in consecrated 
ground, because they aint whole." This with no 
sense of levity. 

"Are not many of the unknown likely to be 
Catholics, too?" 

"Yes, but when we find that out afterward, we 
dig them out if they were not suicides, and put 
them in the other trench. If they were suicides, 
of course, they have to stay with the generals. You 
see, we number each section; then we number each 
box, and begin at one end with number one and 
lay them right along, so a record is kept and you 
can dig any one out at any time." 

"Then this earth — if we may call it so — is con- 
stantly being dug into and opened up?" I queried. 



70 THROWN IN WITH THE CITY'S DEAD 

"I should think it would kill the men who work, 
and the insane and imbecile who must live here." 

"Well," he replied, smiling, "prisoners have to 
do what they are told to, whether it kills 'em or 
not, and I guess it don't hurt the idiots and luna- 
tics none. They're past hurting. They're incura- 
bles. They never leave here." 

"I should think not," I replied. "And if by any 
chance they were not wholly incurable when they 
came, I should suppose it would not be long be- 
fore they would be. Where does the drinking water 
come from?" 

"Drive wells, and — " 

"What!" I exclaimed, in spite of my determina- 
tion when I went that I would show surprise at 
nothing. 

He looked at me in wonder. 

"Yes, it IS easy to drive wells here. Get water 
easy. " 

This time I remained silent. I did not wish to 
frighten away any farther confidences which he 
might feel like imparting. 

There is one road from end to end of the island. 
The houses for the male lunatics and imbeciles are 
on the highest point overlooking at all times the 
trenches and at all times within hearing of wliatever 
goes on there. The odors are everywhere so that 
night and day, every one who is on the island 



THROWN IN WITH THE CITY'S DEAD 7 1 

breathes nothing else but this polluted air, except 
as a strong wind blows it, at times, from one di- 
rection over another. The women's quarters — much 
larger and better houses — are at the other end of 
the island. Not all of these overlook the trenches. 

Every fair day all these wretched creatures are 
taken out to walk. Where? Along this one road; 
back and forth, back and forth, beside the "dead 
trenches." To step aside is to walk on "graves" 
for about half the way. We sometime smile over 
the old joke that the Blue Laws allowed nothing 
more cheerful than a walk to the cemetery on Sun- 
day. All days are Sundays to these wretches who 
depend on the "civilized" charity of our city. All 
laws are very, very blue; all walks lead through 
what can by only the wildest abandon of charity be 
called by so happy a name as a "cemetery," and 
even the air and water the city gives them is neither 
air nor water; it is pollution. 

A gentleman by my side watched the long pro- 
cession of helpless creatures walk past. One man 
waved his hand to me and mumbled something and 
smiled — then he called back, "Wie geht's? Wie 
geht's?" and smiled again. Several of the wretched 
creatures laughed at him ; but when I smiled and 
bowed, nearly half of the line of three hundred, 
turned and joined in his salutation. They filed 
past four times (the whole walk is so short), and 



7^ tttROWK IK WITH THE CITY*S DEAD 

they did not fail each time to recognize me and 
bid for recognition. If the}' know me as a stran- 
ger, I thought, they know enough to understand 
something of all this ghastliness. The line of wo- 
men was a long, long line. I was told that in all 
there were fourteen hundred women, and nearly five 
hundred men on the island. The line of women 
broke now and then as some poor creature would 
run out on the grass and pluck a weed or flower, 
and hold it gayly up or hide it in her skirts. One 
waved her hand at us, and said in tones that in- 
dicated that she was trying to assume the voice and 
manner of a public speaker: "The Lord deserteth 
not His chosen!" I did not know whether in her 
poor brain, they or we represented the chosen who 
were not to be deserted. Another said gayly and 
in an assumed lisp and voice of a little girl (al- 
though she must have been past fifty), "There's 
papa, oh, papa, papa, papa! My papa!" This to 
the gentleman who stood beside me. He smiled 
and waved his hand to her. Then he said, between 
his teeth: 

"Civilized savages! To have them hereV* 
"It don't hurt 'em," said the officer beside us. 
"They're incurables. They won't any of 'em re- 
member what they saw for ten minutes. People 
don't understand crazy folks and idiots. They're 
the easiest cowed people in the world. Long as 



-^ - 



THROWN IN WITH THE CITY*S DEAD 73 

they know they're watched, they'll do whatever you 
tell them — this kind will. Tfeey're harmless." 

"But why have them here?" I insisted. "If they 
are to be poisoned, why not do it more quickly 
and—" 

"Poisoned!" he exclaimed, astonished. "Why, if 
one of the attendants was caught even striking one, 
he'd be dismissed quick. They get treated well. 
Only it is hard to keep attendants. We can't get 
'em to stay here more than a month or so — just till 
they get paid. We have to go to the raw immi- 
grants to get them even then. Nobody else will 
come. " 

'Naturally," remarked the gentleman beside me. 

'Yes, it's kind of natural. This kind of folks are 
hard to work with, and the men attendants get only 
about seventeen to twenty dollars a month, and the 
women from ten to twelve dollars." 

"So the attendants of these helpless creatures are 
raw immigrants," I said; "who, perhaps, do not 
speak English, who are constantly changing. The 
water they get is from driven wells, the sights and 
exercise are obtained from and in and by the dead 
trenches. The air they breathe is like this, night 
and day, you say, and no one ever leaves alive when 
once sent here." 

"No one." 

'Who does the work — the digging, the burying. 



II' 



II' 



•II 



74 THROWN IN WITH THE CITY's DEAD 

the handling of the dead, the carting, and the work 
for the insane?" 

"Medium term prisoners. All these are from one 
to six months men/' waving his hand over the 
men working below us in the horrible trench. 

"Do you think they leave here with an admiration 
for our system of caring for the city's dead — 
whether the death be social, mental, or physical? 
Do they go back with a desire to reform and be- 
come like those who devise and conduct this sort 
of thing?" 

He laughed. 

"Why, it's just a picnic for them to come up 
here. You can't hardly keep 'em away with a club. 
Of course, the same ones don't work right here long; 
but when a fellow gets sent up to any of these 
places, he comes over and over until he gets am- 
bitious to go to Sing Sing and be higher toned." 

I thought of the same information given me at 
the Police and Criminal Courts a little while ago. 
I wondered if there might not be some flaw some- 
where in the whole reformatory and punitive sys- 
tem. From the time a fourteen-year-old boy is 
taken up for breaking a window; sent to the reform 
school, where he is herded with older and worse 
boys, until he passes through the police court 
again, — let us say at sixteen, as a "ten-day drunk," 
— to herd again in a windowless prison van, packed 






THROWN IN WITH THE CITV'S DEAD 75 

close with fifteen hardened criminals (as I saw a 
messenger boy of fifteen on my way to the island), 
and taken where for ten days he enjoys the society 
of the most abandoned; returns to town the com- 
panion of thieves; and goes the next time for three 
or six months for petit larceny, then for some 
graver crime, on and up. At last, when he has no 
more to learn or to teach, he is given a cell or 
room alone until the State relieves him of the ne- 
cessity of following the course which has been 
mapped out for and steadily followed by so many. 
He knows when he is a three months' man where 
he is going at last. Has he not helped to dig the 
trenches for the men who looked so hard and vile 
to him when he broke that window and stood in 
the Police Court by their sides? 

Perhaps you will ask: "Why did he not take the 
warning, and follow a better course, turn the other 
way?" 

Perchance it might be asked on the other hand 
— since court, and morgue, and cemetery officials 
unite in the assertion that the above record is 
almost universal, and that our present methods not 
only do not reform, but actually prevent the reform 
of offenders — why this system is still followed by 
the State, and if the warning has not been ample 
and severe here, also. 

Are we to expect greater wisdom, more far-seeing 



76 THROWN IN WITH THE CITY*S DEAD 

judgment and a loftier aim in these unfortunates 
of societ}^ than is developed in those who control 
them? 

Since it is all such a dismal failure, why not 
plan a better way? Why not begin at the other 
end of the line to keep offenders apart? Why herd 
them — good, bad, and indifferent — together, in the 
stage of their career when there is hope for some, 
at least, to reform; and begin to separate them 
only when the last mile of the road is reached? 

Why, if the city must bury its dead in trenches 
and under the conditions only half described above 
(because much of it is too sickening to present), 
why, if cremation or some better mode of burial is 
not possible — and certainly I think it is — why, at 
least, need the awful, the ghastly, the inhuman 
combination be made of burying together medium 
term criminals, imbeciles, lunatics, and thousands 
of corpses all on one mere scrap of land? If a 
seven-foot mass of corruption exhaling through the 
air and percolating through land and water must 
be devoted to the dead poor of a great city, why 
in the name of all that is civilized or humane, 
permit any living thing to be detained and poisoned 
on the same bit of earth? 

I saw a woman who had come to visit her mother 
who was one of these poor, insane creatures. "I 
can't afford to keep her at home," she said, "and 



THROWN IN WITH THE CITY'S DEAD 77 

then at times she gets 'snags' and acts so that 
people are afraid of her, so I had to let her come 
here. It is kind of awful, ain't it?" 

I thought it was "kind of awful," for more reasons 
than the poor woman could realize, for she was so 
used to foul air and knew so little of sanitary con- 
ditions that she was mercifully spared certain 
thoughts that seem to have escaped the authorities 
also. 

"It is her birthday and I brought her this," she 
said, showing me a colored cookie. "She will like 
it. We can visit here one day each month if we 
have friends." 

"How many bodies do you carry each week?" I 
asked of the captain of the city boat. 

"About fifty," he said. But later on both he and 
the official on the Island told me that there were 
six thousand buried here yearly, so it will be seen 
that his estimate per week was less than half what 
it should have been. 

I looked at the stack of pine boxes, the ends of 
which showed from beneath a tarpaulin on the 
deck. 

They were stacked five deep. There were seven 
wee ones, hardly larger than would be filled by a 
good-sized kitten. 

I said : "They are so very small. I don't see 
how a baby was put inside. " 



78 THROWN IN WITH THE CITY'S DEAD 

The man to whom I spoke — a deck hand who was 
a "ten-day-self-committed," so the captain told me 
later — smiled a grim, sly smile and said: 

"I reckon you're allowin' fer trimmin's. This 
kind don't get pillers and satin linin*s. It don't 
take much room for a baby with no trimmin's an' 
mighty little clothes." 

"Why are two of them dark wood and all the rest 
light?" I asked of the same man. 

"I reckon the folks of them two had a few cents 
to pay fergittin' their baby's box stained. It kind 
of looks nicer to them, and when they get a little 
more money, they'll come and get it dug up and 
put it in a grave by itself or some other place. It 
seems kind of awful to some folks to have their 
little baby put in amongst such a lot." 

He said it all quite simply, quite apologetically, 
as if I might think it rather unreasonable — this 
feeling that it was "kind of awful to think of the 
baby in amongst such a lot." 

At that time, I did not know that he was a pris** 
oner. He showed me a number of things about the 
boxes and spoke of the open cracks and knot holes 
through which one could see what was inside. I 
declined to look after the first glance. 

"You don't mind it very much after you're used 
to it," he said. "Of course, you would, but I mean 
»s. " 



THROWN IN WITH THE CITY'S DEAD 79 

I began to understand that he was a prisoner. 

"When you're a prisoner, you get used to a good 
deal," he said, later on, when they were unloading 
the bodies and some of the men looked white and 
sick. "They're new to it," he explained to me. "It 
makes them sick and scared; but it won't after a 
while." 

"Why are most of them here?" I asked. "Most 
of them look honest — and — " 

"Honest!" he exclaimed, with the first show he 
had made of rebellion or resentment. "Honest! 
Of course most of us are honest. It is liquor does 
it mostly. None of us are thieves — yet!" 

I noticed the "us," but still evaded putting him 
in with the rest. 

"Why do they not let liquor alone, after such a 
hard lesson?" 

He laughed. He had a red, bloated, but not a 
bad face. He was an Englishman. 

"Some of us can't. Some don't want to, and some 
— some — it is about all some can get." 

Later on, I was told that this man was honest, 
a good worker, and that he was "self-committed to 
get the liquor out of him. He's been here before. 
When he gets out, he will be drunk before he gets 
three blocks away from the dock, and he'll be sent 
here again — or to the Island!" 

"And has this system gone on for a hundred 



8o THROWN IN WITH THE CITY' S DEAD 

years," I asked, "without finding some remedy?" 

"Well, since the women began to take a hand, 
some little has been done," the ofl5cer replied. 
"They built a coffee and lodging house right near 
the landing, and take returning prisoners there, and 
give them a chance to work if they want to — in a 
broom factory they built. Some get a start that 
way and if they work and are honest, they get a 
letter saying so when they find places. It is only 
a drop in the bucket, but it helps a few." 

"It looks a little as though, if women were to take 
a hand in public, municipal, or governmental affairs, 
that reform, and not punishment, might be made 
the object of imprisonment if imprisonment became 
necessary, doesn't it?" 

He laughed. 

"Politics is no place for women. This they are 
doing is charity. That is all very well, but they 
got no business meddling with city government, 
and courts, and prisoners only as charity." 

"Yet you say that, for a hundred years, those who 
look after the criminal population, thought very 
little of helping the men who came out, much less 
did they think of beginning at the other end and 
trying to keep them from going in. Women have 
been allowed to devise public charities, even, for 
only a few years past. They had no experience in 
building manufactories and conducting coffee and 



THROWN IN WITH THE CITY'S DEAD 8l 

lodging houses; they have but little money of their 
own to put into such things and yet they have be- 
thought them to start, in embryo, right here where 
the returning convict lands, what appears to have 
vast possibilities as you say. Now if this effort for 
the prevention of crime and want were at the other 
end of the line in municipal government, don't 
you think it might go even nearer the root of the 
matter and do more good?" 

"How would you like to be a ward politician and 
a heeler?" he inquired, wiping a smile away and 
looking at my gloves. 

"I should not like it at all." 

"Well, now, look at that! Of course no lady 
would, so — " 

"Do you think it possible that the world might 
get on fairly comfortably without having 'heelers' 
and 'ward politicians' — in the sense you mean — in 
municipal or state government? And that it might 
be better without such crime producers?" I added, 
as he began to laugh. 

"You women are always visionary. Never prac- 
tical. You—" 

"I thought you said that the one and only really 
practical measure yet taken to reduce the criminal 
population as it returns from the Islands was in- 
vented and is conducted by women and — " 

"You can just make up your mind tliat in every 



b2 THROWN IN WITH THE CITY'S DEAD 

family of six there'll be one hypocrite and one fool, 
either one of which is liable to be a criminal, too, 
and the State has got to take care of 'em somehow. 
But the prisons are getting too full and the Alms- 
houses and Insane Asylums are growing very large. 
But there is the Two Brothers' Island. I've got 
to attend to my business now. Take the trip with 
me again some time.*' 

But it seems to me, I shall not need to go again, 
and that no judge or legislator would need to take 
the journey more than once, unless, perchance, he 
took it in the person of either the hypocrite or the 
fool of his family; which, let us hope, no judge and 
no legislator is in a position to do. 



Reprinted from 7%/ Ar^fta 



(^n ^tUBponsiik &^ucaU^ CtoBff 



Education, using the word in its restricted scho- 
lastic sense, is always productive of restlessness and 
discontent, unless education, in its practical rela- 
tions to life, furnishes an outlet and safety valve for 
the whetted and strengthened faculties. Mere men- 
tal gymnastics are unsatisfactory after the first 
flush of pleasurable excitement produced in the 
mind newly awakened to its own capabilities. 

There seems to be something within us which 
demands that our knowledge be in some way ap- 
plied, and that the logic of thought find fruition in 
the logic of events. The moment the laborers of 
the country found time and opportunity to whet 
their minds, they also developed a vast and persist- 
ent unrest — a dissatisfaction with the order of 
things which gave to them the tools with which to 
carve a fuller, broader life, but had not yet fur- 
nished them the material upon which they might 
work. Their plane of thought was raised, their 
outlook was expanded, their possibilities multi- 
plied ; but the materials to work with remained the 

85 



86 THE DANGER OF AN IRRESPONSIBLE 

same. Their status and condition clashed with their 
new hopes and needs. This state of things pro- 
duced what we call "labor troubles," with all their 
complications. Capital and labor had no contest 
until labor became (to a degree) educated. 

If — "in those good old days" — labor was not sat- 
isfied, it did not know how to make the fact very 
clearly understood. Capital smiled and patronized 
labor, and labor smiled and said it was quite con- 
tent to work for so kind a master. It was safer 
to do that way — in those good old days. Then, too, 
so long as labor's wits had not been sharpened, so 
long as the laborer had not learned the relative val- 
ues of things, perhaps he was content. Certainly 
he was far more so than he is to-day. 

It is well that, in his present state of angry un- 
rest, he feels that he has but to organize and elect 
his own representatives to help enact just and re- 
peal unjust laws as they bear upon his own imme- 
diate needs. But for this outlet to his feelings, and 
this hope for his own future, the labor troubles 
would be troubles indeed, and every additional book 
read by labor, every new schoolhouse built for la- 
bor, would but add flame to fire. But education 
brings with it — when taken into practical life — a 
certain sense of the responsibilities of life and of 
the relations of things. 

The laborer begins to argue, "Am not I partly 



EDUCATED CLASS IN A REPUBLIC 87 

responsible for my own condition? Is not my sal- 
vation in my own hands and in the hands of my 
fellows? We are units in our own government. We 
are in the majority numerically, and we are, there- 
fore, at least partially responsible for not only what 
we do, but for that which is done to us." 

It is this feeling that sobers and steadies while 
it inspires the so-called working classes to-day. 

If, with their present enlightenment, ambitions, 
and needs, laboring men felt themselves wholly irre- 
sponsible for the present or future legislation, riots 
and lawlessness would be the inevitable result. A 
sense of responsibility alone makes educational de- 
velopment safe either in individuals or in classes. 

Witness the truth of this in the lives of the 
"gilded youths" of all countries whose sharpened 
wits are not steadied by, or applied in, any useful 
occupation. The results are disastrous to them- 
selves and to those who fall under their sway or 
influence. 

Broadened ambitions, sharpened mental capac- 
ities, developed intellectuality, demand correspond- 
ing outlets and responsibilities. Lacking these, 
education is but an added danger. Especially is 
this true in a Republic where the theory of legal 
and political equality is held. At the present time 
there are but two wholly irresponsible classes in 
our republic — Indians and women. 



88 THE DANGER OF AN IRRESPONSIBLE 

I place the Indians first because it has recently 
been decided in South Dakota that if an Indian 
(male) will "accept land in severalty," he thereby 
becomes a sovereign, and is henceforth presumed 
to have sufficient interest in the welfare of his gov- 
ernment and the stability of affairs in general to en- 
title him to be looked upon as a desirable citizen, 
capable of legislating and desiring to legislate 
wisely for the public weal. 

Since the government has not yet come to believe 
that any amount of land in severalty entitles wo- 
men to so much confidence, and since the lack of re- 
sponsibility develops in woman, as in man, a reckless 
and wanton spirit, we have the spectacle of this irre- 
sponsible element taking property laws into its own 
hands, and proudly destroying in public the belong- 
ings of other people where those belongings chanced 
to be in the form of beverages which these women 
disapproved of as articles of merchandise and use. 
And we have seen, farther, the grave spectacle of 
courts of law which will not or dare not enforce the 
law for their punishment. 

The due recognition of property rights is one of 
the earliest developments of personal, legal, and 
political responsibility. The negro notoriously 
disregarded these when his own human rights and 
individual responsibility were unrecognized. His 
desires were likely to be the measure of your loss. 



EDUCATED CLASS IN A REPUBLIC 89 

He is not the light-fingered being that he was. 
Mine and thine have a new meaning for him since — 
for the first time in his life — "thine" has any 
meaning to his one-time master. 

He is also beginning to look to his ballot for his 
safety and to himself to work out his future status, 
whereas one day his legs were his sole dependence 
when trickery or blandishment failed him. Woman 
still depends — where she wishes to compass an end — 
upon blandishment, deception, or a type of force 
which she believes will not or cannot be resented 
in the way it would unquestionably be resented if 
offered by men. A body of respectable men in a 
quiet community do not calmly walk into another 
man's business house, and without process of law 
destroy his property. Their sense of personal and 
legal and political responsibility is a most effective 
police force; and no matter how rabid a prohibi- 
tionist John Smith is, he does not collect a band of 
otherwise respectable men about him and proceed 
to destroy — with praise and prayer as an accompa- 
niment — the belongings of his neighbor. 

No; he goes to a legal infant and apolitical non- 
existent, and gets her to do it if it is to be done. 
He knows that to her the limit of responsibility is 
the verge of her desires on this question. He knows 
that she recognizes no right of property in a bever- 
age she does not approve and a traffic she hopes 



go THE DANGER OF AN IRRESPONSIBLE 

* 

to destroy. He knows that her sense of helplessness 
within the law — where she has no voice — gives her 
that reckless spirit of the political non-existent of all 
classes, which finds its revenge in lawlessness so 
long as it may not hope to have a voice in lawfulness. 
While woman was uneducated and wholly a depend- 
ent, there was little danger from her. She had too 
much at stake, in a purely physical sense. Then, 
too, she had not reasoned out the logical sequence 
between the pretension that a Republic of political 
equals before the law exists, while in fact one-half 
of that Republic has no political status whatever 
and no voice in the laws they obey. Uneducated 
and wholly dependent as woman was, this was safe 
enough. Educated, and to a degree financially in- 
dependent, as she now is, she is a menace to social 
order so long as she stands without legal responsi- 
bility or political outlet for the expression of her 
opinions and desires in matters of government. 

So long as her only means of expression on the 
subject of the liquor traffic is a hatchet and prayer, 
she will use both, and we will have the shocking 
spectacle, witnessed a little over a year ago, of a 
court refusing to even fine those who committed as 
clear and wanton an outrage on property rights as 
often finds record. 

The steadying sense of personal and mental re- 
sponsibility can develop only under the exercise of 



EDUCATED CLASS IN A REPUBLIC 9I 

such responsibility. Man passed through the stage 
of regulative and prohibitive thought, and learned 
the true significance and value of Liberty only by 
its possession. By being responsible he learned the 
folly and danger of undue restrictive legislation, 
and the utter futility of the attempt to legislate 
taste, moral sense and lofty ideals (i. ^., his per- 
sonal taste and ideals) into his neighbors. 

He also learned the futility and danger of lawless 
raids upon those who were not of his way of think- 
ing as to what they should eat or drink, or where- 
withal they should be clothed. Woman will have 
to learn the same important lesson in the same way. 
She will abuse the personal rights and liberties of 
others who disagree with her (now that she is edu- 
cated and has the power) unless she is steadied, given 
legal and political responsibility, and held to the 
same account for her acts as are her brothers. Be- 
ing helpless within the law — having no means of 
expression nor of making her will and opinions 
felt, having no voice in municipal or governmental 
management— she has begun to find lawless outlet 
for her newly acquired talents and intellectual ac- 
tivity. She is playing the part of border "regu- 
lator" and lobbyist — two very dangerous and de- 
grading roles in any case but doubly so in the hands 
of an educated but unrepresented class. 

It has been argued, by men who are otherwise 



92 THE DANGER OF AN IRRESPONSIBLE 

favorable to woman suffrage, that to grant the bal- 
lot to woman would be to yield up, upon the altar 
of fanaticism and narrow personal desires, much of 
the liberty for which man has fought and struggled. 
They argue that women do not stop to consider 
whether they have the right to interfere with what 
others do, but that they only ask whether they like 
the thing done. 

The argument goes further and asserts that wo- 
men only want the ballot that they may restrict 
the liberty of other people, pass prohibitory, sump- 
tuary, and religious laws ; and that the ballot in the 
hands of woman means a return to a union of church 
and state, and the meddlesome, personal legislation 
of the type known to us as Blue Laws. 

It is no doubt true that there are many half-de- 
veloped thinkers among women who demand the 
ballot, who desire political power for these petty 
reasons. It is also undoubtedly true that many of 
these would travel the same road trod by their 
fathers before them, and learn political wisdom 
slowly and only after a struggle with their own nar- 
row ideas of liberty, which means their own liberty 
to restrict and regulate the liberty of other people. 

It may be readily admitted, I say, that woman 
will make some of the same mistakes, political, 
religious, and sociological, that have been made by 
men in the reach after a better way. But what has 



EDUCATED CLASS IN A REPUBLIC 93 

taught thoughtful men wisdom? What has broad- 
ened the conception of political liberty? What 
taught men the danger and folly of religious and 
restrictive (sumptuary) legislation? What but ex- 
perience and responsibility? 

Nothing so steadies the hasty and narrow judg- 
ment as power, coupled with the recognition that 
responsibility for the use of that power is sure to 
be demanded. 

Many a man will advise, as secret lobbyist, what 
he would not do in open legislature. Many a man 
in private life asserts that "If I were judge or pres- 
ident/' or what not, so and so should not be done. 
When the power and responsibility once rests upon 
him, his outlook is broadened, and he recognizes 
that he would endanger a far more sacred principle 
were he to adhere to his plan. 

This holds true with woman. With her newly 
acquired intellectual and financial power she is seek* 
ing an outlet for her capacities. She sees certain 
municipal and governmental ills. Having no direct 
power of expression, no legal, political status in a 
country which claims to have no political classes, 
she does what all disqualified, irresponsible, dissat- 
isfied classes of men have done before her when 
deprived of equal opportunity with their fellows ; 
she seeks by subterfuge (indirection) or lawless- 
ness to compass that which she may not attempt 



94 AN IRRESPONSIBLE EDUCATED CLASS 

lawfully and which, had she the steadying influ- 
ence and discipline of responsibility and power, 
she would«not do. 

Inexperience, coupled with irresponsibility and 
a lax sense of the rights of others, always did and 
always will produce tyrants. 

Unite this naturally produced and inevitable 
social and political condition and outlook with the 
developed mental capacities and consequent rest- 
less, undirected, and unabsorbed ambition of the 
women of to-day, and we have a dangerous lobby 
— working in secret by indirection and without open 
responsibility for their words, deed, or influence — 
\o iianaie in our Republic. 



^e;i; in Q^rain 



Read before the International Council of Women in Washington. 

1888 



Mrs. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, in introducing the speaker said: "The first 
speaker of the evening is Helen Gardener, who is to give us an address on the 
Brain. You know the last stronghold of the enemy is scientific. Men have 
decided that we must not enter the colleges and study very hard; must not 
have the responsibility of government laid on our heads, because our brains 
weigh much less than the brains of men. Dr. Hammond, of New York, has 
published several very elaborate articles in the Ih^ular Science Monthly to 
prove this fact. But Helen Gardener has spent about fourteen months in in- 
vestigation, and has conferred with twenty able specialists upon the subject, 
and will give us to-night the result of her investigation. She will show tons 
that it is impossible to prove any of the positions that Dr. Hammond hm* 
maintained. 



§t^ in (j§tain 



Ladies and Gentlemen: — The political conditions 
of woman are very greatly influenced to-day by what 
is taught to her and about her by those fwo con- 
servative moulders of public opinion — clergymen 
and physicians. Our law-makers have long since 
ceased to merely sneer at the simple claim of human 
rights by one-half of humanity, and for refuge they 
have flown to priest and practitioner, who do not 
fail them in this their hour of great tribulation. It 
is true that men, most of whom never enter a 
church, have grown somewhat ashamed to press 
the theological arguments against the equality of the 
sexes, and to these the medical argument has be- 
come an ever-present help in their time of trouble. 

In the early days woman was under the absolute 

sway of club and fist. Then came censer and gown, 

swinging hell in the perfumed depths of the one 

and hiding in the folds of the other, thumb-screw 

and fagot for the woman who dared to think. At 

last the theory of the primal curse upon her head 

has grown weaker. Mankind struggles to be less 

brutal and more just. Manly men are beginning to 

97 



gS SEX IN BRAIN 

blush when they hear repeated the well-worn fable 
of the fall of man through woman's crime and her 
inferiority of position and opportunity, justified by 
priest and pleader, because of legends inherited 
from barbarians — tnental deformities worthy of 
their parentage. 

When religious influence and dogma began to 
lose their terrors, legal enactments were slowly 
modified in woman's favor and hell went out of 
fashion. Then Conservatism, Ignorance, and Ego- 
tism, in dismay and terror, took counsel together 
and called in medical science, still in its infancy, 
to aid in staying the march of progress which is 
inevitable to civilization and so necessary to any- 
thing like a real Republic. Equality of opportunity 
began to be denied to woman, for the first time, 
upon natural and so-called scientific grounds. She 
was pronounced physically and mentally incapable, 
because of certain anatomical conditions, and she 
must be prevented — for her own good and that of 
the race here — from competition with her mental 
and physical superiors. 

It was no longer her soul, but her body, that 
needed saving from herself. Her thirst for knowl- 
edge the clergy declared had already damned the 
souls of a very large majority of mankind — in a 
hereafter known only to them. The same vicious 
tendency, the doctors echoed, will be the ruin of 



SEX IN BRAIN QQ 

the physical bodies of the race in this world, as we 
are prepared to prove. The case began to look 
hopeless again. Opportunity must be denied, these 
doctors sa3% because capacity does not exist. 
Where capacity seems to exist, it is, it must be, 
at the expense of individual health and future ma- 
ternal capabilities. 

As a person, she has no status with these consist- 
ent believers in "equal rights to all mankind." As 
a potential mother only, can she hope for consid- 
eration either by religious or medical theorist. 
This has been a difficult combination to meet. 
Few who cared to contest their verdict, possessed 
the bravery to fearlessly face the religious dicta- 
tors, and fewer still had the anatomical and anthro- 
pological information to risk a fight on a field which 
assumed to be held by those who based all of their 
arguments upon scientific facts, collected by mi- 
croscope and scales and reduced to unanswerable 
statistics. 

The priest, reinforced by the doctor, promised a 
long and bitter struggle, on new grounds, to those 
who fought for simple justice to the individual, 
aside from her sex relations; who wished for neither 
malediction nor mercy; those who claim only the 
right of a unit to enjoy the common heritage un- 
trammeled by superstition and artificial difficulties. 
They do not ask to be helped — only not to be hin- 



lOO SEX IN BRAIN 

dered. They had hailed science as their friend 
and ally; and behold, pseudo-science adopted theo- 
ries, invented statistics, and published personal 
prejudices as demonstrated fact. All this has done 
a vast deal of harm to the cause of woman. 

Educators, theorists, and politicians readily ac- 
cept the data and statistics of prominent physicians, 
and, in good faith, make them a basis of action, 
while the victims of their misinformation have been 
helpless. It is, therefore, very important to learn, 
if possible, just how far medical science and an- 
thropology have really discovered demonstrable 
natural sex differences in the brains of men and 
women, and how far the usual theories advanced 
are gratuitous assumptions, founded upon legend 
and fed by mental habit and personal egotism. 

I began an investigation into this matter a little 
while ago by questioning the arguments and logic 
of the medical pseudo-scientists from their own 
basis of facts. I ended by questioning the facts 
themselves, upon the evidence furnished me by 
leading members of the profession, some of whom 
are known in this country and abroad as leaders in 
original investigation as brain students and anato- 
mists. None of these gentlemen knew the aim or 
motive of my inquiries, and they gave me all the 
information to be had on this subject without bias 
and quite freely. The specialists and brain students 



S&X m BRAtK ioi 

to whom my questions were submitted, were of 
widely different religious beliefs, which beliefs, of 
course, colored their theories as well as their mo- 
tives, either consciously or unconsciously. 

But the profession has reason to be proud of the 
ability of the most of these men, no less than of 
their sincerity and willingness to confess to igno- 
rance of facts where proof was lacking. The abler 
the man the more willing was he to do this. One 
or two tried to explain, and, as it seemed to me, 
to force an agreement between scientific facts which 
they did possess, and their inherited belief in "rev- 
elation." Others, who did not themselves recognize 
it, performed the same mental gymnastics from 
mere force of habit, and gave a black eye to their 
facts in preserving a blind eye to their faith. But 
in the following results are to be found the opin- 
ions of eminent medical men, some of whom are 
Roman Catholic, some Protestant, and some of the 
negative systems of religion. So far as I know, 
not one is a believer in "Woman Suffrage," nor 
even in the more radical but less comprehensive 
measures for her development. Not one, who 
touched directly upon the subject, believed in sex 
equality in its entirety or had not personal prejudice 
and long-cherished sentiments opposed to it, if his 
reason approved. By some of them this was frankly 
stated, even while giving facts in her favor. Not 



t02 SEX IN BRAIN 

more than one, so far as I know, is "agnostic** in 
religion or a believer in evolution in its entirety. 

I have mentioned these latter points, because I 
found in this line of investigation, as in all others, 
that a man's religious leanings inevitably color and 
modify all of his opinions, and govern his entire 
mental outlook. They even add bitterness to his 
"jalop" and fizz in his "seltzer". If he absolutely 
believe in the "Garden of Eden" story he deals with 
"Adam" as a creature after "God's own heart and 
in his image," and therefore capable and deserving 
of all opportunity and development for and because 
of himself, and to promote his own happiness. 
"Eve," of course, receives due attention as a phys- 
ical, anatomical specimen, "with intuitions" — a 
mere bone or rib of contention, as it were, be- 
tween man and man. The more orthodox the man 
the bonier the rib. The more literal and consistent 
his faith the less likely is he to deal with woman 
as an intellectual being, capable of and entitled 
to the same or as liberal, mental, social, and finan 
cial opportunities or rights as are universally con- 
ceded in this country to be the birthright of man, 
and quite beyond farther controversy in his case. 
Evidence in her favor which cannot be evaded, 
must be overwhelming, indeed, then, if an investi- 
gator starts out handicapped with the theory of 
"revelation" as a part of his mental equipment, 



SEX IN BRAIN 10$ 

and with the "sphere of woman" formulated for 
him by the ancient Hebrews. 

I went to the men whom the doctors themselves 
told me were the best authority to be found on the 
subject of brain anatomy and microscopy. One of 
these men, Dr. E. C. Spitzka, of New York, was re- 
ferred to by physicians of all schools of practice as 
undoubtedly the best informed man in America, 
and second to none in the world, in this branch 
of the profession. They, one and all, told me that 
what he could not tell me himself on this subject, 
or could not tell me where to find, could not be of 
the slightest importance. 

I have been asked to tell you just what I started 
out to learn, and how far I succeeded. But before 
I do this it may not be out of place to tell you an an- 
ecdote of my experience in this undertaking: I 
went personally with my questions to about twenty 
of the leading physicians of New York. [I had 
them submitted in other ways to many more in this 
and other cities. I got written communications 
from the Old World as well as the New.] Nearly 
every one of these twenty, after very kindly telling 
me what he himself knew and what he believed on 
the subject, referred me to the same man as the 
final appeal; but not one of them was willing to 
introduce me to him. They would introduce me 
to anybody and everybody else, but they did not 



I04 SEX IN BRAIN 

like to risk sending me to him. He was, they 
said, utterly impatient of ignorance, and might 
treat me with scant courtesy. He would very likely 
tell me flatly that he could not waste time on so 
trivial a matter — that I and everybody else ought to 
know all about "sex in brain." 

Now, this is a secret — I would not have it get 
out for a good deal. It took me a long while to 
get my courage up to go to that man without an 
introduction — a thing I did not do with any of the 
others. I finally, with fear and trembling, made 
up my mind to learn what he knew on this subject 
or perish in the attempt. So I took my life in my 
hands, put on my best gown — I had previously dis- 
covered that even brain anatomists are subject to 
the spell of good clothes — and went. I fully ex- 
pected to be reduced to mere pulp before I left; 
but he listened quite patiently, asked me a few 
questions as to why I had come to him; told me 
to read him my questions; asked me sharply, "Who 
wrote those questions?" I said meekly, "I did." 
He looked at me critically, wrote something on a 
card, and dismissed me. I was uncertain whether, 
he had been so kind in his manner, because he 
considered me a harmless lunatic or not. Once in 
the street I read the card. I was to call again 
when he could give me more time. 

I went not once, but many times. I devoted 



S£X m BRAIN 105 

some months to brain anatomy and anthropology. 
In his laboratory he had brains from those of a 
mouse to those of the largest whale on record. 
He showed me the peculiarities of brains as shown 
by microscope and scales. He looked up points in 
foreign journals to which I had not access. In short, 
he did all he could to aid me; and he said that no 
such investigation as I was trying to learn about 
had ever yet been made, although no fair record of 
the difference of sex in brain, of which we hear 
so much, could possibly be made without it. He 
was delightfully frank, earnest, and thoroughly 
honest. He knew — and, what is better, he was 
willing to tell — where knowledge stopped and 
guessing began ; a point sadly confused, I found, 
by even prominent members of the profession. "I 
do not know," was a hard sentence to get from a 
doctor so long as he was under the impression that 
others of his profession would know. "I do not 
know; nobody knows," came freely enough from 
the man who was sure of the boundaries of investi- 
gation, who recognized the vast difference between 
« 

theories and proof. From him, and through him, 
I collected material that is of intense interest and 
importance to woman in this stage of the move- 
ment for her elevation. 

It is only right that I say here that I am of 
opinion that he does not himself believe in the 



Io6 SEX IN BRAIN 

equality of the sexes, but he is too thoroughly scien- 
tific to allow his hereditary bias to color his state- 
ments of facts on this or any subject. In the hands 
of a man who has arrived at that point of mental 
poise and dignity, our case is safe, no matter what 
his sentiments may be. Such men do not go to 
their emotions for premises when it comes to a 
statement of scientific facts. There are writers on 
this subject who do. 

As you all know, any statement calmly and per- 
sistently made is reasonably sure to be accepted as 
true, even by its victims. Frequency of iteration 
passes as proof. Even thoughtful men, after spend- 
ing years of time in trying to explain why a thing 
is true, often end with the discovery that it is not 
true, after all. We are all familiar with the story 
of the wrangle of the philosophers as to why a ves- 
sel containing water weighed no more with a fish 
weighing a pound in it than it did after the fish 
was removed. After long and acrimonious debate 
over the principle of philosophy involved, some 
one bethought him to weigh it, and, of course, 
discovered that no unfamiliar principle was involved, 
since it was a simple mis-statement as to facts. 

The assumptions of "divine rights" by kings and 
priests stood as unquestioned facts for centuries by 
those who were the victims of both. The "divine 
right" of men rests still on the same bare-faced 



SEX IN BRAIN IO7 

fraud, and is simply the last of this interesting trin- 
ity to die, and it naturally dies hard, as its fellows 
did. If a charlatan loudly asserts that he can do 
a certain thing, no matter how unlikely that thing 
is, if he insists that he has done it often, he will 
find many believers who will spend much time in 
an attempt to explain how he does it, while only 
the few will think to question first if he does it. 

Upon this basis of calm assumption on the one 
side, and credulous acceptance on the other, has 
grown up a very general belief that there are great 
and well-defined natural anatomical differences be- 
tween the brains of the sexes of the human race; 
that these differences are well known to the medical 
practitioner or anatomist, and that they plainly 
indicate inferiority of capacity in the female brain, 
which is structural, while, strangely enough, no one 
argues that this is the case in the lower animals. 
It therefore occurred to me to question — admitting 
that the microscope and scales really do show the 
differences to exist in adults — whether it would not 
be fair to assume, at least, that they are not nat- 
ural and necessary sex differences, but that they 
are due to difference of opportunity and environ- 
. ment, and, under like conditions, would be produced 
between members of the same sex; that since this 
superiority of brain in the male sex is said to ap- 
pear in the human race only, where alone, in all 



Io8 SEX IN BRAIN 

nature, superior opportunities and environments 
are held as a sex right and condition by the males, 
that the so-called "superiority of structure" is sim- 
ply better development of the equally capable but 
restricted brain of the other sex. 

I proposed to test this by an appeal to the brains 
of infants. And my assumption although not new, 
appeared to be borne out by the accepted, though 
unproven theory, that the brains of the men and 
women are nearer alike the lower we go into the 
human scale. This assumption is clearly based 
upon the idea that where the mental opportunities 
of the men and women are nearer equal the phys- 
ical results are also similar. Indeed, Topinard 
plainly slates this fact in his Anthropology. He 
says: "The reason that the brain of woman is 
lighter than that of man is that she has less cere- 
bral activity to exercise in her sphere of duty. In 
former times it was relatively larger in the depart- 
ment of Loz6re, because then the woman and man 
mutually shared the burdens of the daily labor. 
The truth is that the weight of the brain increases 
with the use we make of it." Since women are not 
given diversified and stimulating mental employ- 
ment, they can not be expected to show the results 
of such training on the brain itself. 

"Of the physiology of the brain comparatively 
little is known," says Dr. McDonald, author of 
"Criminology." 



SEX IN BRAIN lOQ 

I was started on my work in this matter by sev- 
eral articles written by the boldest of the medical 
men in this country, who is the leader of the med- 
ical party which claims to be opposed to the edu- 
cational and political advancement of women be- 
cause of the inevitable injury to her physical con- 
stitution. The writings of such a man, aided by 
the circulation and prestige of the leading journals 
of the country, which publish them as authoritative, 
must inevitably influence school directors, voters, 
and legislators, and go far to crystalize the belief 
that facts are well known to the medical profession, 
with which it would be dangerous to trifle, when 
the truth is that the positive knowledge on the sub- 
ject is not sufficient at this moment to form even 
an intelligent guess upon. In spite of this fact the 
well-known physician of whom I speak, Dr. Wm. 
A. Hammond, reiterates in these articles all of the 
old, and adds one or two new arguments to prove 
that woman should not be allowed to develop what 
brain she has, because she possesses very little and 
even that little is of inferior quality. 

Professor Romanes, who is said by many to stand 
second only to Herbert Spencer in his branch of 
science, has also recently published a very exten- 
sive paper on mental differences of the sexes and 
the proper education of woman, which is, unfortu- 
nately, but most likely honestly, based upon this 



ZIO SEX IN BRAIN 

same assumption, under the belief that it was a 
demonstrated fact. His paper has been very widely 
copied in spite of its extreme length, and the fact 
that the same journals "absolutely can not find 
space" for even a moderately long one on the other 
side. The editors say, "The public is not inter- 
ested in it" — that is, in its correction. I mention 
these two men not because they are peculiar in, 
but because they are honored representatives of, 
the so called scientific school of objectors to hu- 
man equality, and claim to base the right of male 
supremacy upon important scientific facts. 

Of course all this is an old assumption and as 
such has been dealt with before. But Dr. Ham- 
mond now boldly asserts that these differences are 
easily discoverable by microscope and scale, and 
that they are natural, necessary sex differences. He 
claims: (i.) That woman's brain is inferior to man's 
in size and quality, and, therefore, in possibility. 
(2.) That these marks of inferiority are natural and 
potential, and not produced by environment. (3.) 
That they are easily recognizable in the brain mass 
itself. (4.) That in consequence of these natural 
organic and fundamental differences the female 
brain is incapable of, first, accuracy; second, sus- 
tained or abstract thought; third, unbiased judg- 
ment (judicial fairness); fourth, the accomplish- 
ment of any really first-class or original work in the 



SEX IN BRAIN III 

fields of science, art, politics, inveDtion, or even 
literature. He points out the great danger to wo- 
man herself, and to the race, as her children, if she 
is allowed to attempt those things for which the 
structure of her brain shows her to be incapacitated. 
From this outlook it is easy to see that the non- 
professional voter, the school director, and the leg- 
islator might really feel it to be his duty to protect 
woman against her own ambition. It is in this 
way that the assertions of such men can, and do, 
cause the greatest injury to women. There are a 
number of other indictments; but for the present 
let us examine these. First, in the matter of size, 
the doctor concedes that the relative size and 
weight of the brain in the sexes is about the same, 
slightly in woman's favor, which he says does not 
count; although, when he finds this same differ- 
ence between men, as between higher and lower 
races, he argues that it does count for a great deal. 
But in the dilemma to which this seemed to reduce 
him in proving his case, he says : "Numerous ob- 
servations show beyond doubt that the intellectual 
power does not depend upon the weight of the brain 
relative to that of the body so much as it depends 
upon absolute brain weight." Now, if this were 
the case, an elephant would out-think any of us, 
and the whale, whose intellectual achievements 
have never been looked upon as absolutely incen- 



Iia SEX IN BRAIN 

diary (if we except Jonah's friend), would rank the 
greatest man on record, and have brain enough left 
to furnish material for a fair-sized female semi- 
nary. 

The average human male brain is said to weigh 
from 1,300 to 1,400 grammes, and even a very 
young whale furnishes 2,312 grammes of 'intellect- 
producing substance," as the doctor felicitously 
terms it, while the brain of a large whale weighed 
in 1883 tipped the beam at 6,700 grammes. Ttuly, 
then, if absolute brain weight and not relative 
weight is the test, here was a "mute inglorious Mil- 
ton," indeed. Almost any elephant is several Cuv- 
iers in disguise, or perhaps an entire medical fac- 
ulty. 

The doctor says : "The female brain, however, 
is not only smaller than that of man, but it is 
different in structure, and this fact involves much 
more as regards the character of the mental facul- 
ties than does the element of size." Again he 
says: "Thus accurate measurements show that the 
anterior portion of the brain, comprising the frontal 
lobes, in which the highest intellectual faculties re 
side, is much more developed in man than in wo- 
man, and this not only as regards its size, but its 
convolutions also. Now, the part of the brain 
which is especially concerned in the evolution of 
mind is the gray matter, and this is increased or 



SEX IN BRAIN XI 3 

diminished in accordance with the number and 
complexity of the convolutions. The frontal lobes 
contain a greater amount of gray cortical matter 
than any other part of the brain, and they are, as 
we have seen, larger in man than in woman." 

Accepting these sweeping statements for the mo- 
ment — although many of them are questioned by 
the highest authority — would it not be fair to test 
the case as to whether this difference in adults is 
fundamental and pre-natal, or whether it is the re- 
sult of outside artificial influences, by an appeal to 
the brain of infants. If the brains of one hundred 
infants (each child weighing ten pounds) were ex- 
amined, would the brains of the fifty males be dis- 
tinguishable from those of the fifty females? In 
other words, when the weight of the body, the age, 
and other conditions are the same as to health, 
parentage, etc., and before the artificial means of 
development, educational stimulus and opportunity 
are applied to the one and withheld from the other, 
could the sex be determined by the difference in 
brain, weight, shape, size, quality, or convolutions? 
That would be the test, although it would not al- 
low for the ages of hereditary dwarfage of the one, 
and healthy exercise of the brains of the other sex; 
but, as an opening, I was willing to stand on that 
test. It was in pursuance of this idea that I caused 
the following questions to be submitted to a large 



114 SEX IN BRAIN 

number of the leading brain students of America^ 
went myself somewhat into the study of anthropology, 
and collected from several countries certain bits of 
information as to just how much basis there is for 
all this cry about the difference in men's and wo- 
men's brains. Being a matter of heads, I wanted 
to know how much was "cry" and how much was 
"wool. " 

These are the questions submitted to the doctors, 
brain anatomists and microscopists at the outset 
of my task : (i. ) Is it known to the medical pro- 
fession whether in infants (of the same age, size, 
health, and inheritance at birth) the quantity, 
quality, and specific gravity of the gray matter 
differs in the sexes? Does the relative amount of 
gray matter differ? (2.) Do the convolutions? 
Form? Actual amount of gray matter, differ? (3.) 
Given the brain, only, of a number of infants of the 
same age, weight, etc., could the sex be determined 
by the difference in shape, quantity, quality, and 
convolutions? (4.) If so, are the differences more or 
less marked in infants than in adults? Is the 
frontal region of the brain larger and more devel- 
oped in male than in female infants? Is the differ- 
ence as marked as in adults? (5.) Does use, train- 
ing, etc., develop gray matter, change texture, size, 
shape, etc., of the brain mass, or are these deter- 
mined and fixed at birth? The same as to convolu- 



SEX IN BRAIN II5 

tions? (6.) Does use have to do with the location 
of the fissure of Rolando, or is that fixed at birth? 
In an uneducated man would there be as much of 
the brain in front of this fissure as in a man of 
trained and developed mind? (7.) Does use or 
development of the mental powers change the spe- 
cific gravity of the brain mass? Would it be the 
same in a great scholar as in a common laborer of 
the same general size and health? (8.) Is there 
unanimity of opinion on these questions? Are the 
facts known or only conjectured? (9.) If ten boys 
of the same weight, health, and general inheritance 
were taken in infancy and five of them subjected 
for fifty years to the conditions of a street or farm 
laborer, while the other five received all the ad- 
vantages of the life of a scholar, would the ten 
brains present the same relative likenesses at death 
as at birth? Would opportunity and mental ex- 
ercise make a change in the brains of the five stu- 
dents that would be discoverable by microscope 
and scales? 

In reply to the last question, the universal opin- 
ion was that it would be fair to assume that such 
difference would be perceptible. But one of the 
replies was that these points must necessarily re- 
main only conjectural, since we can not do as the 
Scotch villager who shows to a wondering public 
the remains of a famous criminal, with this bit of 



Il6 SEX IN 6RAIK 

history: "This is the skull and brain of a man who 
was hanged, at the age of forty, for murdering his 
entire family. This is the skull and brain of the 
same man at the age of seven. You can readily 
trace in the boy the man that was to be.** Since 
it might be looked upon with disfavor if we were 
to attempt to brain people from time to time in an 
effort to discover the effects of culture upon the 
fissure of Rolando, we must base all such arguments 
upon reason and analogy. Is it not a fair presump- 
tion, since reason and analogy lead to this univer- 
sally accepted theory as between man and man, 
that the same causes would produce the same re- 
sults when applied between man and woman? 
Strangely enough, this is not held to be the case 
by these acute reasoners against sex equality in 
brain. 

But to illustrate once more the necessity of 
questioning facts first and the reasons for them 
afterward, I am assured by the most profound and 
capable students of these branches of science, that 
if such differences exist in the brains of infants as 
are indicated by my questions, it is not known to 
those who make a specialty of brain study; but, 
upon the contrary, the differences between individ- 
uals of the same sex — in adults, at least — are known 
to be much more marked than any that are known 
to exist between the sexes. Take the brains of the 



S&X IN fiRAiN tl7 

two poets, Byron and Dante. Byron's weighed 
1,807 grms., while Dante's weighed only 1,320 
grms., a difference of 487 grms. ; or take two states • 
men, Cromwell and Gambetta. Cromwell's brain 
weighed 2,210 grms., which, by the way, is the 
greatest healthy brain on record — although Cuvier's 
is usually quoted as the largest, a part of the 
weight of his was due to disease, and if a diseased 
or abnormal brain is to be taken as the standard, 
then the greatest on record is that of a negro, 
criminal idiot — while Gambetta's was only 1,241 
grms., a difference of 969 grms. Surely it would 
not be held because of this, that Gambetta and 
Dante should have been denied the educational and 
other advantages which were the natural right of 
Byron and Cromwell. Yet it is upon this very 
ground, by this very system of reasoning, that it 
is proposed to deny women equal advantages and 
opportunities, although the difference in brain 
weight between man and woman is claimed to be 
only 100 grms., and even this does not allow for 
difference in body weight, and is based upon a sys- 
tem of averages, which is neither complete nor ac- 
curate. There is, then, not only no proof that the 
sex of infants could be distinguished by their brains, 
but all of the evidence which does exist on this 
subject is wholly against the assumption. 

Up to this point in my investigation I learned 



Il8 ' SEX IN BRAIN 

only what I had fully expected to learn. At the 
next step, and in connection with it, I met with 
information which seems to me to offer an oppor- 
tunity for reflection upon the matter of mental — not 
to say verbal — accuracy in the sex which does not 
wear "bangs." In the papers referred to, Dr. Ham- 
mond asserted, and no male voice or pen has seen 
fit to publicly correct him, that "it is only necessary 
to compare an average male with an average female 
brain to perceive at once how numerous and strik- 
ing are the differences existing between them." He 
then submits a formidable list of striking differ- 
ences which include these: "The male brain is 
larger, its vertical and transverse diameters are 
greater proportionately, the shape is quite different, 
the convolutions are more intricate, the sulci 
deeper, the secondary fissures more numerous, and 
the gray matter of the corresponding parts of the 
brain decidedly thicker." 

But as if all these were not enough to enable the 
merest novice to distinguish the one from the other, 
even if he were near-sighted, he offers these rein- 
forcements : "It is quite certain, as the observations 
of the writer show, that the specific gravity of both 
the white and gray matter of the brain is greater 
in man than in woman." This would seem to leave 
woman without a reef to hang to; for if by any 
chance her brain did. not fall short in gray matter, 



SEX IN BRAIN IIQ 

the specific gravity of the rest of it would enable 
the doctor to ticket her as accurately as though she 
were to appear with ear-rings and train in a ball- 
room. Of this point this is what the leading brain 
anatomist in America wrote me: "The only article 
recognized by the profession as important and of 
recent date which takes this theory as a working 
basis is by Morselli, and he is compelled to make 
the sinister admission, while asserting that the spe- 
cific gravity is less in the female, that with old age 
and with insanity the specific gravity increases." 
If this is the case, I don't know that women need 
sigh over their short-coming in the item of specific 
gravity. There appear to be two very simple meth- 
ods open to them by which they may emulate their 
brothers in the matter of specific gravity if they so 
desire. One of these is certain, if they live long 
enough, and the other — well, there is no protective 
tariff on insanity. But to finally clinch his argu- 
ment. Dr. Hammond continues: "The question is, 
therefore, not so much that of quantity" (which 
appears to collide with his statement that it was 
the "absolute brain weight" which was the sublime 
test, and drops my whale into the water again), "as 
it is of quality. The brain of woman is different 
from that of man in structure." 

Again I applied my test. Does all this difference 
of structure and quality appear in the infant or only 



icz or nuus 



lo cfce adoit bninM? Since it is held that these 
«er)' differences are the ooes produced by education 
and properly diversified mental stimolus — as be- 
tween man and man — is it not iiir to assume that 
like causes produce like results as between man and 
wcman? Since woman has nerer had the advant- 
aces of these bra in -developing processes, is it not 
/air to assume, if aJJ these differences do exists that it 
is less a matter of natural and characteristic in- 
ienonty than of environment and opportunity, un- 
less it exists in the same ratio in infants? That 
would be the test as to whether these are natural, 
neccssar>% pre-nstsl sex characteristics, or whether 
thrv are developed by external circumstances axid 
environnient. The physical sex characteristics, 
which sre nsturtil, are as readily distinguished at 
*>irfh as at maruritj-. 

ti hi\ ^^^^'^ * ^omMn'3 waist and brain are put into 

a poor .'^*'* *"'' ""'''^^ ^^ ^^ the fashion, it is rather 

PhysicalTf '"^ ^*"''^'' ""^ ^^^'^ "•^"^^^ fifTure, either 

Questjons /» '* ^*® **"* <»°e reply to my 

..».  " was this: 

"«'«• o/ /«/.„,. *** «ver been made with the 

' '*««> ti.at the 



SBX IN BRAIN 121 

inference was perfectly legitimate that the great 
and numerous differences in the brains of adults, 
in so far as that was not, also, a mere flight of 
fancy, was not natural, pre-natal, and necessary, 
but that it was certainly fair to assume it to be 
produceable, by outside measures or environment, 
and that it could be no more natural nor desirable, 
for the digestive organs and the brain of one sex to 
be decreased and deformed by pressure, than it is 
for those of the other. 

But I confess I was wholly unprepared for the 
final result of my last question and argument. I 
discovered that these differences are not only not 
known to exist in infants, but that in spite of all 
the talk, the pathetic warnings, and the absolute 
statements to the contrary, that in a like number 
of adult brains such differences are not only not to 
be "perceived at once," but that if Dr. Hammond 
or anybody else will agree to allow me to furnish 
him with twenty well-preserved adult brains to be 
marked in cipher, so that he will not have his in- 
formation before he makes his test, he will find 
that his "numerous, striking, and easily perceived" 
differences will not appear with any relation to sex, 
so far as is known at the present time. I made 
this offer to him through the Popular Science 
Monthly some six months ago. Up to date the 
twenty brains I offered him to try on have not been 
called for. 



122 SEX IN BRAIN 

Upon the contrary there will be found greater 
difference between individuals of the same sex than 
any known to exist between the sexes in any and 
all of these test characteristics; that, in the main, 
since women weigh less than men, it would be 
pretty safe to guess that most of the lighter brains 
belonged to the women, but that this test would 
prove wrong in many cases, and that the others 
would fail utterly. 

I asked them why they did not correct the. gen- 
eral impression which men of their profession had 
given out in this matter. They said they did not 
see the use of it; what difference did it make, any- 
how? And then it was a good enough working 
theory. I said, "But suppose it worked the other 
way, do you think that you would say that it made 
no difference, and that a working theory that worked 
all one way was a safe or an honest one to put forth 
as an established fact?" 

"Well, we are willing to tell you the truth about 
it," they said; "the fact is, it is all theory as yet; 
there has not been a sufficient number of tests made 
to warrant the least dogmatism in the matter; what 
more can you ask of us than that?" 

What indeed? 

I made another discovery; it was this: The brain 
of no remarkable woman has ever been examined! 
Woman is ticketed to fit the hospital subjects and 



SEX IN BRAIN 1 23 

tramps, the unfortunates whose brains fall into the 
hands of the profession, as it were, by mere acci- 
dent; while man is represented by the brains of 
the Cromwells, Cuviers, Byrons and Spurzheims. 
By this method the average of men's brains is 
carried to its highest level in the matter of weight 
and texture; while that of women is kept at its 
lowest, and even then there is only claimed loo 
grammes difference! It is with such statistics as 
these, it is with such dissimilar material, that they 
and we are judged. 

Finally, I discovered that there is absolutely no 
definite information on the subject now in the 
hands of the medical profession which can justify 
the least show of dogmatism in the matter; or that, if 
it were on the other side, would not be explained 
entirely away in five minutes, and there would not 
be the least question as to the desirability of the 
explanation, either. They told me not only that 
they did not know, but that no one could possibly 
know upon the statistics and with the instruments 
in the hands of the profession to-day. 

This being the case, perhaps it will be just as well 
for women themselves to take a hand in the future in- 
vestigations and statements, and I sincerely hope that 
the brains of some of our able women may be pre- 
served and examined by honest brain students, so 
that we may hereafter have our Cuviers and Web 



124 ^^^ ^^ BRAIN 

sters and Cromwells. And I think I know where 
some of them can be found without a search-war- 
rant — ^when Miss Anthony, Mrs. Stanton, and some 
others I have the honor to know, are done with 
theirs. Until that is done, no honest or fair com- 
parison is possible. At present there is too great 
a desire on the part of these large-brained gentle- 
men, like Dr. Hammond, to look upon themselves 
and their brains as "infant industries/* entitled to 
and in need of a very high protective tariff, to pre- 
vent anything like a fair and equal competition with 
the feminine product. 

But the fact is that we have heard so much on 
the one side about woman's physical and mental 
short-comings, and on the other side, from our pro- 
hibition friends and others, so much of the moral 
delinquencies of men, that it seems to me that we 
are in danger of believing both. And I, for one, 
am beginning to feel a good deal like Mark Twain's 
Irishman, whenever I hear either one discussed. 
He had been having a controversy with another 
man, and, as a final "clincher" to his side of the 
argument, said, with emphasis: "Now, I don't want 
to hear anything more from you on that subject but 
silence — and mighty little of that." 

Allow me to read the closing paragraph of a letter 
to me from Dr. E. C. Spitzka, the celebrated New 
York brain specialist, to whom I am greatly in- 
debted for much valuable information; 



SEX IN BRAIN 1 25 

"You may hold me responsible for the following 
declaration: That any statement to the effect that 
an observer can tell by looking at a brain, or exam- 
ining it microscopically, whether it belonged to a 
female or a male subject, is not founded on care- 
fully-observed facts. The balance and the com- 
passes show slight differences; the weight of the 
male brain being greater, and the angle formed by 
the sulcus of Rolando, forming a larger expansion 
of the frontal lobes; but both these points of differ- 
ences have been determined by the method of av- 
erages. They do not necessarily apply to the in- 
dividual brain and hence can not be utilized to de- 
termine the sex of a single brain, except by those 
who are willing to take the chances of guessing. 
The assertion that the microscope reveals definite 
characteristic points of difference between the male 
and female brain is utterly incorrect. No such 
difference has ever been demonstrated, nor do I 
think it will be by more elaborate methods than 
those we now possess. Numerous female brains 
exceed numerous male brains in absolute weight, 
in complexity of convolutions, and in what brain 
anatomists would call the nobler proportions. So 
that he who takes these as his criteria of the male 
brain may be grievously mistaken in attempting to 
assert the sex of a brain dogmatically. If I had 
one hundred female brains and one hundred male 
brains together, I should select the one hundred con- 
taining the largest and best developed brains as 
probably containing fewer female brains than the 
remaining one hundred. More than this no cau- 
tious, experienced brain anatomist would venture 
to declare." 



T27oman m an (^nntjc 

Read before the World's Congress of Representative Women, 

Chicago, 1893 



'Xt^oman as an (^nntjc 



^ 



Ladies and Gentlemen: — If it were not often trag- 
ic and always humiliating, it would be exceedingly 
amusing to observe the results of a method of 
thought and a civilization which has proceeded al- 
ways upon the idea that man is the race and that 
woman is merely an annex to him and because of 
his desires, needs and dictum. 

Strangely enough, the bigotry or sex bias and 
pride does not carry this theory below the human 
animal. Among scientists and evolutionists, and, in- 
deed, even among the various religious explanations 
of the source and cause of things, the male and fe- 
male of all species of animals, birds and insects come 
into life and tread its paths together and as equals. 
The male tiger does not assume to teach his mate 
what her "sphere" is, and the female hippopotamus is 
supposed to have sufficient brain power of her own 
to enable her to live her own life and plan her own 
occupations, decide upon her own needs and gen- 
erally regulate her own existence, without being 
compelled to call upon the gentleman of her fam- 
ily in particular, and all of the gentlemen of her 

129 



130 WOMAN AS AN ANNEX 

species in general, to decide for her when she is 
doing the proper thing. The laws of their species 
are not made and executed by one sex for the other, 
and the same food, sun, covering, educational and 
general conduct and opportunities of life which 
open to the one sex are equally open and free for 
the other. No protective tariff is put upon mas- 
culine prerogative to enable him to control all the 
necessaries of life for both sexes, to assure to him 
all the best opportunities, occupations, education 
and results of achievement which is the common 
need of their kind. In short, the female is in no 
way his subordinate. 

In captivity it is the female which has been, as 
a rule, most prized, best cared for and preserved. 
In the barnyard, field and stable alike, it is deemed 
wise to sell or kill most of the males. They are 
looked upon as good food, so to speak, but not as 
useful citizens. What they add to the world is not 
thought so much of — their capacities for the future 
are less valued than are those of the other sex. Even 
the man-made, religious legends bring all of these 
animals into life in pairs. Neither has precedence 
of the other. Neither is subject to the other. 

But when it comes to the human animal— the final 
blossom of creative thought, as religionists word it, 
or of universal energy, as scientists put it — the 
male, for the first time, becomes the whole idea. 



WOMAN AS AN ANNEX I3I 

A helpmate for him is an after-thought, and accord- 
ing to man's teaching up to the present time, an 
after-thought only half matured and very badly ex- 
ecuted. In spite of all the practice on other pairs — 
one of each sex — it remained for the Almighty, 
or nature, to make the mistake (for the first time) 
of creating the human race yfith one of its halves 
a mere "annex" to the other. A subject. A subor- 
dinate. Without brains to do its own thinking, 
without judgment to be its pwn guide. This blunder 
is not made with any other pair. In the case of all 
other animals each sex has its own brain power with 
which it directs its own affairs, makes its own laws 
of conduct, and so preserves its own individuality, 
its personal liberty, its freedom of action and of 
development. * 

I am not ignorant of, nor do I forget, the scien- 
tific fact that in nature among ants, birds and 
beasts there are tribes and communities where some 
are slaves or are subject to others; but what I do 
assert is this, that this is not a sex distinction or 
degradation. It is not infrequently the males who 
are the subjects in these communities where liberty 
is not equal and where, therefore, the very basic 
principal of equality is impossible or unknown. 
And did it ever occur to you that a community or 
a people which recognizes in its fundamental laws 
and customs — in its very forms of expression — that 



132 WOMAN AS AN ANNEX 

it is right to preserve inequality of opportunity, of 
education, of emolument and of conduct has yet to 
learn the meaning of the words "liberty" and "jus- 
tice?" 

Nowhere in all nature is the mere fact of sex — 
and that the race-producing sex — made a reason for 
fixed inequality of liberty, of subjugation, of subor- 
dination and of determined inferiqrity of opportu- 
nity in education, in acquirement, in position — in a 
word, in freedom. Nowhere until we reach man! 

Here, where for the first time in nature there 
enter artificial social conditions and needs, these ar- 
tificial demands coupled with the great fact of ma- 
ternity (everywhere else in nature absolutely under 
its own control), maternity under sex subjection, 
linked with financial dependence upon the one not 
so burdened, has fixed this subordinate status upon 
that part of the race which is the producer of the 
race. This fact alone is enough to account for the 
slow, the distorted, the diseased and the criminal 
progress of humanity. 

Subordinates cannot give lofty character. Ser- 
vile temperaments cannot blossom into liberty-lov- 
ing, liberty-giving descendants. Many of the lower 
animals destroy their young if they are born in 
captivity. They demand that maternity shall be 
free. Free from man's conditions or captivity, as 



WOMAN AS AN ANNEX 1 33 

it always has been free from the tyranny of sex 
control in their own species. * 

It is the fashion in this country now-a-days to say 
that women are treated as equals. Some of the 
most progressive and best of men truly believe what 
they say in this regard. One of our leading daily 
papers, which insists that this is true, and even 
goes so far as to say that American gentlemen be- 

*While reading the proof for this book this corroborative and in- 
teresting illustration appeared in the J\rew York IVorld of date 
June 24: 

The tragedy which has been expected to occur any time at the 
Zoo was enacted yesterday, when Alice, the lioness who gave birth 
to three whelps on Wednesday morning, ate one and killed another. 
The third was only rescued by strategy. Animals never kill their 
young in their wild state, except the male lion, from whom the fe- 
male hides the young. In captivity it's a common thing. 

Keeper Downey first discovered the deed, and when the Director 
arrived Alice was just finishing one of her offspring. Another lay 
dead in the comer and the third had crawled away and was crying 
pitifully. Director Smith had the door raised which leads into 
another cage and Alice was coaxed inside. Then the door was let 
down and Keepers Downy and Snyder caught the only survivor 
and secured the body of the other. It was a dangerous proceeding, 
as Alice was terribly angry and beat her great body against the 
thick iron bars. 

The dead cub was sent to the Museum of Natural History, and 
after a good deal of skirmishing around by Keepers Downey and 
Shannon a Newfoundland dog belonging to an employee of Clau 
sen's Brewery, on East Fifty-fifth street, who yesterday morning 
gave birth to eight pups, was found, and last evening the survivor 
of the triplets was taken to the brewery. 

The Director will pay the owner of the dog $3 per week for the 
baby's board and lodging, and, to the credit of the generous-hearted 
mother dog, she has taken the little lioness to her breast without 
so much as a questioning look. She licked it and snuggled it as 
she did her own and caressed it into nursing. After it is a few 
weeks old and is strong it can be taken away from the dog and, 
with little trouble, can be brought up on a bottle. 



134 WOMAJN AS AN ANNKX 

lieve in and act upon the theory that their mothers 
and daughters are of a superior quality — and are 
always of the very first consideration to and by men 
— recently had an editorial headlined "Universal 
Suffrage the Birthright of the Free Born." I read 
it through, and if you will believe me, the writer 
had so large a bump of sex arrogance that he never 
once thought of one-half of humanity in the entire 
course of an elaborate and eloquent two-column ar- 
ticle! "Universal" suffrage did not touch but one 
sex. There was but one sex "free born." There 
was but one which was born with "rights." The 
words "persons," "citizens, ""residents of the state" 
and all similar terms were used quite freely, but 
not once did it dawn upon the mind of the writer 
that every one of those words, every argument for 
freedom, every plea for liberty and justice, equality 
and right, applied to the human race and not 
merely to one-half of that race. 

Sex bias, sex arrogance, sex pride, sex assumption 
is so ingrained that it simply does not occur to 
the male logicians, scientists, philosophers and pol- 
iticians that there is a humanity. They see, think 
of and argue for and about only a sex of man — with 
an annex to him — woman. They call this the race; 
but they do not mean the race — they mean men. 
They write and talk of "human beings; " of their 
needs, their education, their capacity and develop- 



WOMAN AS AN ANNEX 1 35 

ment; but they are not thinking of humanity at all. 
They are thinking of, planning for and executing 
plans which subordinate the race — the human en- 
tity — to a subdivision, the mark and sign of which 
is the lowest and most universal possession of male 
nature — the mere procreative instinct and possibility. 
And this has grown to be the habit of thought un- 
til in science, in philosophy, in religion, in law, in 
politics — one and all — we must translate all lan- 
guage into other terms than those used. For the 
word "universal we must read "male; " for the "peo- 
ple," the "nation," we must read "men." The 
"will of the majority — majority rule" — really means 
the larger number of masculine citizens. And so 
with all our common language, it is in a false t.ense. 
It is mere democratic verbal gymnastics, clothing 
the same old monarchial, aristocratic mental beliefs, 
with man now the "divine right" ruler and with 
woman his subject and perquisite. Its gender is 
misstated and its import multiplied by two. It does 
not mean what it says, and it does not say what it 
means. 

Our thoughts are adjusted to false verbal forms, 
and so the thoughts do not ring true. They are 
merely hereditary forms of speech. All masculine 
thought and expression up to the present time has 
been in the language of sex, and not in the language 
of race; and so it has come about that the music 



136 WOMAN AS AN ANNEX 

of humanity has been set in one key and played on 
one chord. 

It has been well said that an Englishman cannot 
speak French correctly until he has learned to think 
in French. It is far more true that no one can 
speak or write the language of human liberty and 
equality until he has learned to think in that lan- 
guage, and to feel without stopping to argue with 
himself, that right is not masculine only and that 
justice knows no sex. Were the claim to superior 
opportunity, status and position based upon ca- 
pacity, character or wealth, upon perfection of form 
or grace of bearing, one could understand, if not ac- 
cept, the reasonableness of the position, for it would 
then rest upon some sort of recognized superiority, 
but while it is based upon sex — a mere accident of 
form carrying with it a brute instinct, which is not 
even glorified by the capacity to produce, and sel- 
dom throughout nature, to suffer for and protect the 
blossom of that instinct — surely no lower, less vital 
or more degraded a basis could possibly be chosen. 

Not long ago a heated argument arose here in 
Chicago over the teaching of German in the pub- 
lic schools. This argument was used by one of the 
leading contestants in one of the leading journals: 

"The whole amount of education that 95 per cent, 
of our public school pupils receive is lamentably 
small. It is far less than we could wish it to be. 



WOMAN AS AN ANNEX 1 37 

Most of these children, who are to be the citizens, 
and b}' their ballots the rulers of this nation, can 
often remain but a few years in the schoolroom. 
For the average American citizen who is not a pro- 
fessional man, or who is not destined for diplomatic 
service abroad, English can afford all the mental 
and intellectual pabulum needed." 

Now here is an amusing and also a humiliating 
illustration of the way these matters are handled, 
and it is for that reason, only, that I have used a 
local question here. "Ninety-five per cent, of our 
public school pupils," etc., "by their ballots are 
to be rulers of the nation," etc., "future citizens," 
forsooth! Now it simply did not occur to the gen- 
tleman who wrote this, and to the hundreds who 
so write and speak daily, that the most of those 
95 per cent have no ballots, do not "rule," are not 
"future citizens," but that they belong to the pro- 
scribed sex, have committed the crime of being 
girls, even before they entered the public schools, 
and so have permanently outlawed themselves for 
citizenship in this glorious republic of "equals." 
But his entire argument (made upon so large a 
per cent) really rests upon a much smaller num- 
ber. But the girls made good ballast for the argu- 
ment. They answered to fill in the "awful exam- 
ple," but they are not allowed the justice of real 
citizenship, nor to be the future "culers" for and 



138 WOMAN AS AN ANNEX 

because of whom the whole argument is made, foi 
whose educational rights and needs, alone, because 
of their future ballots, he cares so tenderly. It will 
not do to attempt to avoid this issue by the hack- 
neyed plea. "The hand that rocks the cradle 
rules the world." Every one knows that this is 
not true in the sense in which it is used. It is 
true, alas! in a sense never dreamed of by politi- 
cian and publican. 

It is true that the degraded status of maternity 
has ruled and does rule the world, in that it has 
been, and is, the most potent power to keep the 
race from lofty achievement. Subject mothers 
never did, and subject mothers never will, produce 
a race of free, well poised, liberty-loving, justice- 
practicing children. Maternity is an awful power. 
It blindly strikes back at injustice with a force that 
is a fearful menace to mankind. And the race which 
is born of mothers who are harassed, bullied, sub- 
ordinated and made the victims of blind passion 
or power, or of mothers who are simply too petty 
and self-debased to feel their subject status, can- 
not fail to continue to give the horrible spectacles 
we have always had of war, of crime, of vice, of 
trickery, of double-dealing, of pretense, of lying, 
of arrogance, of subserviency, of incompetence, of 
brutality, and, alas! of insanity, idiocy and disease 
added to a fearful and unnecessary mortality. 



WOMAN AS AN ANNEX 1 39 

To a Student of anthropology and heredity it re- 
quires no great brain power to trace these results 
to causes. We need only remember that the men- 
taly as well as the physical conditions, capacities 
and potentialities are inherited, to understand how 
the dead level of hopeless mediocrity must be pre- 
served as the rule of the race so long as the poten- 
tialities of that race must be filtered always 
through and take its impetus from a mere annex to 
man's power, ambition, desires and opinions. 

Let me respond right here to those who will — 
who always do — insist that woman is not so held 
to-day at least in England and America. That her 
present status is a dignified, an equal or even a supe- 
rior one. I will illustrate : In a recent speech by the 
Hon. William E.Gladstone he pleaded most eloquent- 
ly and earnestly for the right of Irishmen to rule and 
govern themselves. Among many other things he 
said: "The principal weapons of the opposition are 
bold assertion, persistent exaggeration, constant 
misconstruction and copious, arbitrary and baseless 
prophecies. True there are conflicting financial ar- 
rangements to be dealt with, but among the diffi- 
culties nothing exists which ought to abash or ter- 
lify men desirous to accomplish a great object. For 
the first time in ninety years the bill will secure 
the supremacy of parliament as founded upon right 
as well as backed by power." 



140 WOMAN AS AN ANNEX 

Had these remarks been made with an eye single 
to the "woman question," they could not have been 
more exactly descriptive of the facts in the case; 
but with Irishmen only on his mind he continued 
thus : "The persistent distrust of the Irish people^ 
despite all they can do, comes simply to this, that 
they are to be pressed below the level of civilized 
mankind. When the boon of self government is 
given to the British colonies is Ireland alone to be 
excepted from its blessings? To deny Ireland home 
rule is to say that she lacks the ordinary faculties 
of humanity." 

He said "Irish people," but he meant Irish men 
only. But see to what his argument leads. Hei 
says it is "pressing them below the level of civilized 
mankind" to deny them the right to stand erect, to 
use their own brains and wills in their own gov- 
ernment; and a great part}' in his own country and 
a great party in this country echo with mad enthu- 
siasm his opinions — for men! They call it "man- 
kind." They mean one-half of mankind only, for 
not even Mr. Gladstone is able to rise high enough 
above his sex bias to see that the denial of all self- 
government, all representation in the making of the 
laws she is to obey "presses woman below the level 
of civilized mankind." Words cease to have a par 
value even with the stickler for verbal accuracy the 
instant their own arguments are applied to the 



WOMAN AS AN ANNEX I4I 

Other sex. Eloquently men can and do portray the 
wrongs, the outrages, the abuses which always 
have arisen, which always must arise from class 
legislation — from that condition which makes it im- 
possible for one class or condition of citizens of a 
country to make their needs, desires, preferences 
and opinions felt in the organic law of their country 
on an equal and level footing with their fellows. 
Men have needed no great ability to enable them 
to prove that tyranny unspeakable always did and 
always will follow unlimited power over others so 
long as their arguments applied between man and 
man^ but the instant the identical arguments are 
used to apply between man and woman that in- 
stant their whole attitude changes. 

That instant words lose all par value. That in- 
stant all men, including those who have but just 
waxed eloquent over the injustice and the real dan- 
ger of permitting inequality before the law, become 
aristocrats. Claiming to be the logical sex, man 
throws logic to the winds. Claiming to have fought 
and bled to enthrone "liberty," he forgets its very 
name! Asserting that in his own hand alone can 
the scales of justice be held level, he makes of 
justice, of liberty and of equality a mockery and a 
pretense! He has so far read all of those words in 
the masculine gender only. He has not yet learned 
to think them in a universal language. He stulti- 



142 WOMAN AS AN ANNEX 

fies his every utterance and makes of his mind a 
jailer, and of his laws slave drivers, for all who 
cannot by physical force wrench from him the right 
to their own liberty and to their human status of 
equality of opportunity. 

Men have everywhere grown to believe that they 
have been born and that they rule women by divine 
right. Woman is a mere annex to and for his 
glory. She exists for him to rule, to think for, to 
adore, to tolerate or to abuse as he sees fit, or as 
is his type or nature. Her appeal must not be to 
an equal standard of justice which she has helped 
to frame, administer and live by; but it must be to 
his generosity, his tenderness, his toleration or his 
chivalry— in short, to his absolute power over her. 
•'No people can be free without an equal legal foot' 
ing for all of its citizens!" exclaims the statesman, 
and drums beat and trumpets blare and men march 
and countermarch in enthusiastic response to the 
sentiment. "We must have a government of the 
people, by the people, for the people" is cheered 
to the echo whenever heard, and nobody realizes 
that what is meant always is a government of men, 
by men, for men, with woman as an annex. 

Only three weeks ago all of our papers had lead- 
ers, editorials and cablegrams to announce that 
"universal suffrage has bean granted in Belgium." 
They all grew enthusiastic over it. One of our lead- 



WOMAN AS AN ANNEX 1 43 

ing New York editors said (and I use his editorial 
simply because it is a very good example of what 
almost all of our important journals said): 

"The triumph of the Belgian democracy is an 
event of the first significance. The masses had long 
appealed in vain for a removal of the property 
qualification which restricted the right of suffrage 
to 140,000 persons out of a population of over 6,- 
000,000 but the chambers, dominated by the wealthy 
classes, resolutely refused to comply with the de- 
mand until a dangerous revolution was inaugu- 
rated. 

"Even "now the change in the constitution granting 
universal suffrage is coupled with the right of plural 
voting by the property-owners, but it is quite cer- 
tain that this obnoxious feature will be soon aban- 
doned by the chambers and universal suffrage will 
prevail, as in the adjoining nations of France and 
Germany. 

"When these newly enfranchised electors choose 
the next legislature important changes may be ex- 
pected in the laws applicable to the employment 
of labor, which have hitherto been framed solely in 
the interest of the mine-owners and the manufac- 
turers. Fortunately for the king, he seems to be in 
sympathy with this effort of the masses to acquire 
a fair representation in the government. In the 
recent riots the hostility of the people was directed 
against the assembly rather than against the crown. 
It is very evident that the democratic spirit is gain- 
ing ground throughout Europe. Its influence is 
manifest in the home rule movement in England, 
in the hostility to the army bill in Germany, and in 
the rapid changes of the ministers of France. It 
steadily advances in every direction and never loses 



144 WOMAN AS AN ANNEX 

ground once acquired. It progresses peacefully if 
it can, but forcibly if it must. Its triumph in Bel* 
gium is one of the signs of the times in the old 
world. •• 

"The people" are all male in Belgium, in France, 
Germany and America, or else all of these state- 
ments are mere figures of speech, are wholly untrue, 
for the women of Belgium, of France, of Germany 
— and, alas! of democratic America, were not even 
thought of when the words "people," "citizens," 
"masses," "laborers," etc., were used. They are 
counted in the estimates of the population as all 
of these. They are used to fill vacancies, to swell 
estimates, to round out statistics, but in the result 
of these arguments and statistics, in the victories 
won for liberty to the individual, woman has no 
part. She is the one outlaw in human progress. 
In a recent magazine this passage occurs: 

"Austria. — On April 2 Dr. Victor Adler, a social- 
ist leader, spoke to about 4,000 workingmen in favor 
of universal suffrage. He said that two-thirds of the 
adult men had not the suffrage. Only half -civilized 
countries, like Russia and Spain, now placed their 
citizens in such inequality before the law. The 
workingmen of Austria had never before this winter 
suffered such hardships, and now in Vienna 26,000 
workmen were without shelter." 

Yet there is no report that Dr. Adler nor the ed- 
itor of the magazine, who waxed eloquent over it, 
saw any special "hardship" or "inequality" in a de- 



WOMAN AS AN ANNEX I45 

graded status for all women. "Universal suffrage/' 
indeed! And has Austria no women citizens? 
Were the working women who have not the ballot, 
better sheltered than the men? Or do they need 
no shelter? Another editor says: "Don't talk 
about a free ballot while the bread of the masses is 
in the giving of the classes." 

Yet, had a venturesome girl type-setter made it 
read, "Don't talk about a free ballot, a democracy 
or freedom while the bread of women is in the giv- 
ing of men," the editor would have said: "She is 
insane, and besides that, she is talking unwomanly 
nonsense. " 

It is the same in science, in literature, in relig- 
ion. All estimates are made on and for the "human 
race," "the people of a country," etc. The "will 
of the people" is spoken of; we are told all about 
the brain size and capacity and convolutions, etc., 
of the different "peoples" ; we hear learned discourses 
about it all, and when you sift them, woman — one- 
half of the race talked about — is used always simply 
and only as ballast, as filling to make a point in 
man's favor. She does not figure in the benefits. 
He is the race — she his annex. 

Not long ago an amusing illustration of this came 
to my knowledge. As you may perhaps know, there 
is more money invested in life insurance than in 
any other great financial enterprise in the world. 



Z46 WOMAN AS AN ANNEX 

This is the way insurance experts look at the wo- 
man question. The estimates of longevity, desira- 
bility of risk, etc., are based upon male standards. 
This is not in itself unnatural or unreasonable, 
since men have been the chief insurers, but few 
companies, indeed, being willing to insure women 
at all. But not long ago a lady applied for a pol- 
icy on her life in a first-class company. She had 
three little children for whom she wished to pro- 
vide in case of her death. She believed that she 
could properly support them so long as she lived. 
To her surprise she was told that the rate at which 
she must pay was $5 on each $1,000 more than her 
brother had to pay at the same age. She asked the 
actuary — a very profound man — why this was so. 
He told her that women had been found to be not 
so good risks as men, since they were subject to 
more dangers of death than were men, and that to 
make the companies safe it had been found neces- 
sary to charge women a higher rate. 

She had heard much and eloquently all her life 
long of the dangers of men's lives; of the shielded, 
'sheltered state of feminine humanity, and she had 
never dreamed that it was — from a mortuary point 
of view — "extra hazardous" to be a woman. She 
assumed, however, that it must be so and paid her 
extra hazardous premium, just as if she belonged 
to the army or was a blaster or miner or "contem- 



WOMAN AS AN ANNEX 1 47 

plated going up in a balloon. " A short time after- 
ward her mother, an elderly lady, had some money 
to invest. She did not wish to care for it herself, 
as she had never had the least business experience. 
She applied to the same actuary to know how much 
of an annual income or annuity she could buy for 
the sum she had. He figured on it for a while and 
told her. It was a good deal less than a man could 
get for the same amount. She had the temerity to 
ask why. 

"Well," said the actuary, gazing benignly over 
his glasses at her in a congratulatory fashion, "you 
see women live longer than men do — " 

"But you told my daughter that they did not live 
so long, and so she pays at a higher rate on insur- 
ance to make you safe lest she should die too young. 
Now you charge me more for an annuity on the 
theory that a woman lives longer than a man." 

"Well," said he, readjusting his glasses and go- 
ing carefully over the mortuary table again, "that 
does seem to be the fact. If a woman assures her 
life she beats the company by dying sooner than a 
man and if she takes an annuity she beats us by 
living longer than he would. Don't know how it 
happens, but we charge extra to cover the facts as 
we find 'em." 

Such is masculine logic upon feminine perversity 
even in death. 



148 WOMAN AS AN ANNEX 

Yet men say that they understand us and our 
needs so much better than we do ouselves that they 
abandon all of their reasoning, logic, enthusiasm 
and beliefs on the great fundamental principles of 
justice, equality, liberty and law the moment their 
own arguments are applied to women instead of to 
"labor," the "Irish question" or to any other phase 
of class legislation as applied between man and man. 
The fact is simply and only this, that the arrogance 
of sex power and perversion is now so thoroughly 
ingrained that man really believes himself to be — 
by divine right — the human race and that woman 
is his perquisite. He has no universal language. 
He thinks in the language of sex. But more than 
this, and worse than this, he insists upon no one 
else being allowed to think in the language of hu- 
manity, and to translate that thought into action. 



Z^ (gtotdf (gcBpoMiiitiiii of Woman 

in ^^ebife 

Read before the World's Congress of Representative Women* 

Chicago, 1893 



$9e (gtotdf (gtBponBxMxtt of OVoman 

in ^erebif e 



Ladies and Gentlemen: — Poets, statesmen, nov- 
elists, and artists have for ages untold striven to 
eclipse each other in the eulogies of motherhood. 
On the stage nothing is so sure of rapturous ap- 
plause as is some touching bit of sacrifice which has 
reached its climax in a mother's love wherein she 
has yielded all to shield, to protect, or to better 
the condition of husband or child. From the crude 
topical songs which advise the son to "Stick to your 
mother when her hair turns gray," through the va- 
rious phases of maternal love and devotion or sacrifice 
in the "Camille" type of thought, on up to the 
loftiest touches in art and literature, there is alike 
the effort to celebrate the power, the potentiality 
and the beauty of motherhood and to stimulate the 
sentiments of gratitude and love and of admiration 
for and emulation of the ideal depicted. But through 
it all, in the building and nurturing of the ideal, 
there runs — ever and always — the thread of thought 
that self-sacrifice, self-abnegation, self-efiacement, 

are the grandest attributes of maternity. That in 

151 



153 THE MORAL RESPONSIBILITY 

order to be a perfect, an ideal wife and mother, the 
woman must be sunk, the individual immolated, 
the ego subjugated. To a degree and in a sense, 
that is, of course, true. For the willingness to go 
down to the gates of death ; to face its possibility for 
long, weary months; to know that suffering, and to 
fear that death, stands as a sure and inevitable host 
at the end of a long journey — to know this and to 
be willing to face it for the sake of others is a he- 
roism, a bravery, a self-abnegation so infinitely 
above and beyond the small heroism of camp or 
battlefield that comparison is almost sacrilege. 

The condemned man, upon whom the death watch 
has been set, who cannot hope for executive clem- 
ency, who is helpless in the hands of absolute 
power, still knows that, although death may be 
sure, physical sufiering is unlikely or at the worst 
will be but brief ; but he alone stands in the position 
to know — even to a degree — the nervous strain, the 
mental anguish, the unthinking but uncontrollable 
panics of flesh and blood and nerve which woman 
faces at the behests of love and maternity and, alas, 
that it can be true, at the behests of sex power and 
financial dependence! 

But when we study anthropology and heredity 
we come to realize the indisputable facts that her 
love, her physical heroism and her bravery, linked 
with her political and financial subject status, has cast 



OF WOMAN IN HEREDITY 1 53 

a physical blight, a moral shadow and a mental threat 
upon the world, we cease to clap quite so vigorous- 
ly at the theater and our tears or smiles are mingled 
with mental reservations and a sigh for a loftier ideal 
of the meaning and purpose of maternity than the 
merely physical one that man has depicted as ma- 
terial sacrifice to the child and self-abnegation and 
subjection to him. We begin to wonder if much 
of the vice, the crime, the wrong, the insanity, the 
disease, the incompetence and the woe of the world 
is not the direct lineal descendant of this very self- 
debasement of the individual character of woman in 
maternity! 

We wonder if an unwilling, a forced or supinely 
yielding (and not self -con trolled), a subject mother- 
hood, in short, is not responsible to the race for 
the weak, the deformed, the depraved, the double 
dealing, pretense-soaked natures which curse the 
world with failure, with disease, with war, with in- 
sanity and with crime. We wonder if the awful 
power with which nature clothes maternity in he- 
redity does not strike blindly back at the race for 
man's artificial and cruel requirements at the hands 
of the producer of the race. We wonder if moth- 
ers do not owe a higher duty to their offspring than 
that of mere nurse. We wonder if she has the 
moral right to give her children the inheritance that 
accident and subserviency stamps upon body and 



154 '^^^ MORAL RESPONSIBILITY 

mind. We wonder how she dares face her child 
and know that she did not fit herself by self-devel- 
opment and by direct, sincere, firm and thorough 
qualifications for maternity before she dared to as- 
sume its responsibilities. We wonder that man has 
been so slow in learning to read the message that 
nature has telegraphed to him in letters of fire and 
photographed with a terrible persistency upon the 
distorted, diseased bodies and minds of his children 
and upon the moral imbeciles she has set before him 
as an answer to his message of sex domination.* 

Self-abnegation, subserviency to man — whether 
he be father, lover, or husband — is the most danger- 
ous that can be taught to, or forced upon her, whose 
character shall mould the next generation! She 
has no right to transmit a nature and a character 
that is subservient, subject, inefficient, undeveloped 
— in short, a slavish character, which is either 
blindly obedient or blindly rebellious and is there- 
fore set, as is a time-lock, to prey or to be preyed 
upon by society in the future! 

If woman is not brave enough personally to de- 
mand, and to obtain, absolute personal liberty of 

* "Alienists bold, in general, that a large proportion of mental dis- 
eases is the result of degeneracy; that is, they are the offspring of 
drunken, insane, syphilitic and consumptive parents, and suffer 
from the action of heredity." — Dr. MacDonald; author of Crimi- 
nology. 

"Who has sinned, this man or his parents that he was blind?" 

Bible. 



OF WOMAN IN HEREDITY 1 55 

action, equality of status and entire control of her 
great and race-endowing function of maternity, she 
has no right to dare to stamp upon a child, and to 
curse a race with the descendants of a servile, a 
dwarfed, a time-and-master-serving character. 

We have been taught that it is an awful thing 
to commit murder — to take a human life. There 
are students of anthropology and heredity who think 
that it is a far more awful thing to thrust, unasked, 
upon a human being a life that is handicapped be- 
fore he gets it. It is a far more solemn responsi- 
bility to give than to take a human life! In the 
one case you invade personal liberty and put a stop 
to an existence more or less valuable and happy, 
but at least all pain is over for that invaded indi- 
viduality. In the other case — in giving life — you 
invade the liberty of infinite oblivion and thrust 
into an inhospitable world another human entity 
to struggle, to sink, to swim, to suffer or to enjoy. 
Whether the one or the other no mortal knows, but 
surely knows it must contend not only with its en- 
vironment but with its heredity — with itself. 

Not long ago a great man, who is successful beyond 
most human units, who is wealthy, socially to be 
envied, who enjoys almost ideal family relations, who 
is in all regards a man of broad intellect, of large 
heart, who is beloved, successful and powerful — not 
long ago this man said to me, when talking of life 



156 THE MORAL RESPONSIBILITY 

and its chances, its joys and its burdens and wrongs : 
"Well, the more I think of it all, the more I 
know, the more I delve into philosophy and science, 
the more I understand life as it is and as it must 
be for long years to come, if not forever, the more 
I wonder at the sturdy bravery of those who are less 
fortunate than I. Does it pay me to live? Would 
I choose to be born again? Were I to-day unborn, 
could I be asked for my vote» knowing all I do of 
life, would I vote to come into this world? Taking 
life at its best estate are we not assuming a tre- 
mendous risk to thrust it unasked upon those who 
are at least safe from its pitfalls? I ask myself 
these questions very often," he said, and then hes- 
itatingly, "I sometimes think it pays after all. Of 
course, since I am here I am bound to make the 
best of it, but for all that I am not sure how I would 
vote on my birth if I had the chance to try it — not 
quite sure." 

"If you are so impressed with life for yourself — 
you, a fortunate, healthy, wealthy, happily married, 
successful man," said I, "don't you think it is a 
pretty serious thing to assume the right to cast that 
vote for another human pawn, who could hardly 
conceivably stand your chances in the world?" 

"Serious," he exclaimed. "Serious! With the 
world's conditions what they are to-day, with the 
physical, moral and mental chances to run, with 



OF WOMAN IN HEREDITY 1$J 

woman, the character-forming producer of the race 
a half-educated subordinate to masculine domi- 
nation, it is little short of madness; it is not far 
from a crime. It is a crime unless the mother is 
a physically healthy, a mentally developed and 
comprehending, morally clear, strong, vigorous 
entity who knows her personal responsibility in 
maternity and, knowing, dares maintain it. 

It has been the fashion to hold that the mothers 
of the race should not be the thinkers of the race. 
Indeed, in commenting upon this Congress of Rep- 
resentative Women, the most widely read newspaper 
on this continent last week said editorially: 

"There is to be a great series of women's con- 
gresses held at Chicago during the Fair. The pur- 
pose is to illustrate and celebrate the progress of 
women. Accordingly there will be sessions to dis- 
cuss the achievements of women in art, authorship, 
business, science, histrionic endeavor, law, medi- 
cine and a variety of other activities. 

"But so far as the published programmes enable 
us to judge not one thing is to be done to show the 
progress of women as women. There will be no 
showing made of any increased capacity on their 
part to make homes happier, to make their hus- 
bands stronger for their work in the world, to en- 
courage high endeavors, to maintain the best stand- 
ards of honor and duty, to stimulate, encourage, 
uplift — which — from the beginning of civilization — 
has been the supreme feminine function. • Nothing, 
it appears, is to be done at the congresses to show 
that a higher education and a larger intellectual 



158 THE MORAL RESPONSIBILITY 

advancement has enabled women to bear healthier 
children or to bring them up in a manner more 
surely tending to make this a better world to live 
in, the noblest of all work that can be done by wo- 
men. 

"We need no congress to show us that women 
are more thoroughly educated than they once were, 
or that they can successfully do things once forbid- 
den to them. But have wider culture and wider 
opportunities made them better wives and mothers? 
A congress which should show that would make all 
men advocates of still larger endeavors for woman's 
advancement. A congress, on the other hand, which 
assumes that the only thing to be celebrated is an 
increased capacity to win fame or money will teach 
a disastrously false and dangerous lesson to our 
growing girls." 

This fatal blunder as to woman's development as 
woman — quite aside from her home relations, which 
the editor confuses with it — has retarded the real 
civilization and caused to be transmitted— unnec- 
essarily transmitted — the characteristics which have 
gone far to make insanity, disease and deformity of 
mind and body, the heritage of well-nigh every fam- 
ily in the land. 

A great medical expert said to me not long ago, 
"There is not more than one family in ten who can 
show a clean bill of health, mental and physical — 
aye, and moral — from hereditary taints that are se- 
rious in threat and almost certain of development 
in one form or another. 



OF WOMAN IN HEREDITY 1 59 

Now, if a man with a contagious disease enters a 
community he is quarantined for the benefit of his 
fellows, who might never take it if he were not re- 
strained and isolated. But if a man with a hered- 
itary or transmittible disorder, which is certain, en- 
ters a community, he is allowed to marry and trans- 
mit it to the helpless unborn — to establish aline of 
posterity — who are far more directly his victims 
than would be those who were exposed to a cholera 
contagion by a lack of quarantine. Fathers, phy- 
sicians, society, and all educational and economic 
conditions have conspired to keep mothers igno- 
rant of all the facts of life of which mothers should 
know everything; and so it has come about that 
the race is the victim of the narrow and dangerous 
doctrine of sex domination and sex restriction, and 
of selfish reckless indulgence. If not one family 
in ten can show a clean bill of heredity, is it not 
more than time that the mothers learn why, learn 
where, and in what they are responsible, and that 
they cease "to close the doors of mercy on mankind?" 

Maternity, its duties, needs and responsibilities has 
been exploited in all ages and climes; in all phases 
and spheres, from one point of view only — the point 
of view of the male owner. If you think that 
this statement is extreme I beg of you to read "The 
Evolution of Marriage" by Letourneau. Read it all. 
Read it with care. It is the production of a man 



l6o THE MORAL RESPONSIBILITY 

of profound learning and research, a man who sees 
the light of the future dawning, although even he 
sometimes lapses from a universal, language of hu- 
manity into hereditary forms of speech, hedged in 
by sex bias. 

But in all the past arguments maternity with its 
duties to itself; maternity with its duties to the 
race, has never been more than merely touched 
upon, and even then it has been chiefly from the 
side of the present, and not with the tremendous 
search-light of heredity and of future generations 
turned upon it. It has been ever and always in its 
relations to the desires, opinions and prejudices of 
the present man power which controls it. 

Some time ago a famous doctor in New York 
took up the cudgel against higher education for 
women, and under the heading of "Education and 
Maternity; Woman's Proper Sphere; the Dangers 
Which Threaten Intellectual and Society Women;" 
wrote in favor of ignorant wives and a larger num- 
ber of children. A great journal published his ar- 
ticle without protest, thus giving added prestige 
to the opinions expressed. This, too, in spite of 
the fact that at that very time the same journal 
was appealing for alms, for free nurses, for volun- 
teer doctors and for a fresh-air fund to enable the 
ignorant mothers of the crime-infested, disease-pol- 
luted, over populated tenements of the city to get 



OF WOMAN IN HEREDITY l6l 

even a breath of fresh air by the sea, which is only 
two miles from its doors! In spite of the fact, too, 
that Lombroso, Ricardo, Mendel, Spitzka, MacDon- 
ald and other famous anthropologists and experts 
have pointed out so plainly in their criminal, in- 
sane, imbecile and mortuary statistics the all-per- 
vading evil of rapid, ill advised, irresponsible par- 
entage. 

Professor Edward S. Morse, in a recent paper 
called "Natural Selection in Crime," which he 
courteously sent to me, said: "To one at all famil- 
iar with the external aspects of insanity in its va- 
rious forms it seems incredible that its ph3'sical 
nature was not sooner realized. Had the laws of 
heredity been earlier understood it would have 
been seen that mental derangements, like physical 
diseases and tendencies, were transmitted." 

Of late years there has sprung into existence a 
school of criminal anthropology, with societies, 
journals, and a rapidly increasing literature. A 
most admirable summary of the work thus far accom- 
plished has recently been given by Dr. Robert 
Fletcher in his address as retiring president of the 
Anthropological Society of Washington. In his 
opening paragraphs Dr. Fletcher thus graphically 
portrays the scourge of the criminal and his rapid 
increase: 

"In the cities, towns and villages of the civilised 



l62 THE MORAL RESPONSIBILITY 

world every year thousands of unoffending men and 
women are slaughtered ; millions of money, the 
product of honest toil and careful saving, are car- 
ried away by the conqueror, and incendiary fires 
light his pathway of destruction. Who is this de- 
vastator, this modern "scourge of God," whose deeds 
are not recorded in history? The criminal! Sta- 
tistics unusually trustworthy show that if the car- 
nage yearly produced by him could be brought to- 
gether at one time and place it would excel the 
horrors of many a well-contested field of battle. In 
nine great countries of the world, including our 
own favored land, in one year, 10,380 cases of hom- 
icide were recorded, and in the six years extending 
from 1884 to 1889, in the United States alone, 14, 
770 murders came under cognizance of the law. 

"And what has society done to protect itself 
against this aggressor? True, there are criminal 
codes, courts of law, and that surprising survival 
of the unfittest, trial by jury. Vast edifices have 
been built as prisons and reformatories, and philan- 
thropic persons have formed societies for the in- 
struction of the criminal and to care for him when 
his prison gates are opened. But, in spite of it 
all, the criminal becomes more numerous. He 
breeds criminals; the taint is in the blood, and 
there is no royal touch can expel it." 

Commenting on this Professor Morse says: "Cer- 



OF WOMAN IN HEREDITY I63 

tain results of the modern school of anthropology, 
as presented by Dr. Fletcher, may be briefly sum- 
med up by stating broadly that in studying the 
criminal classes from the standpoint of anatomy, 
physiology, external appearance, even to the minuter 
shades of difference in the form of the skull and 
facial proportions, the criminal is a marked man. 
His abnormities are characteristic, and are to be di- 
agnosticated in only one way. That these proposi- 
tions are being rapidly established there can be no 
doubt. As an emphatic evidence of their truth, the 
criminal is able to transmit his criminal propensi- 
ties even beyond the number of generations allotted 
to inheritance by Scripture." 

And where do all these lunatics and criminals 
come from? From educated mothers? from mothers 
who are in even a small and limited sense allowed 
to own themselves, to think for themselves, control 
their own lives? Not at all. They are the mothers 
whose lives belong to their men, as this learned doc- 
tor, who objects to the higher education of women, 
argues that all wives should. 

Maternity is an awful power, and I repeat that 
it strikes back at the race, with a blind, fierce, far- 
reaching force, in revenge for its subject status. Dr. 
Arthur MacDonald, in his "Criminology," says: "The 
intellectual physiognomy shows an inferiority in 
criminals, and when in an exceptional way there 



164 THE MORAL RESPOKSIBILITY 

is a superiority, it is rather in the nature of cunning 
and shrewdness. . . . Poverty, misery and 
organic debility are not infrequently the cause of 
crime." 

Who is likely to transmit "organic debility?" 
The mother of many children or of few? Who is 
likely to stamp a child with low intellectual physi- 
ognomy? The mother who is educated or she who 
is the willing or unwilling subordinate in life's ben- 
efits? 

Again he says : '^ Every asymmetry is not necessa- 
rily a defect of cerebral development, for, as sug- 
gested above, under the influence of education de- 
fects of function can be corrected, covered up or 
eradicated." Can this be true of criminals and not 
of normal women? 

Again he says : "When we consider the early 
surroundings, unhygienic conditions, alcoholic pa- 
rents, etc., of the criminal, where he may begin 
vice as soon as consciousness awakes, malformation, 
due to neglect and rough treatment, are not sur- 
prising. Yet the criminal malformations may be fre- 
quently due to osteological conditions. But here 
still hereditary influence and surrounding conditions 
in early life exert their power." Benedikt sa5^s: 
"To suppose that an atypically constructed brain 
can function normally is out of the question." 
So long as motherhood is kept ignorant, dependent 



OF WOMAN IN HEREDITY 1 65 

and subject in status just that long will heredity 
avenge the outrage upon her womanhood, upon ht;r 
personality, upon her individual right to a dignified, 
personal, equal human status, by striking telling 
blows on the race. 

But let me return to the arguments of the author 
of "Higher Education and Woman's Sphere," since 
he represents all the reactionary thought on this topic 
and because he ignores utterly, as do all of his fel- 
lows, woman's duty to herself and her awful power 
for good or evil upon the race, according as she 
makes herself a dignified, developed, educated and 
independent individuality first and a function of 
maternity second. It seems to me that in discuss- 
ing no other question in life is there so little logical 
reasoning and so much arbitrary dogmatism as in 
the ones which are usually embraced under "wo- 
man's sphere." In the first place, it is assumed 
that because women are mothers they are nothing 
else ; that because this is her sphere she can have, 
should have, no other. 

Men are fathers. That is their sphere, therefore 
they should not be mentally developed, legally and 
politically emancipated, socially civilized or eco- 
nomically independent. This would appear to most 
men, doubtless, as a somewhat absurd proposition. 
It appears so to me, but it 'is not one whit less 
absurd when applied to women. Yet this is con- 



l66 THE MORAL RESPONSIBILITY 

stantly done. Because women are mothers is the 
very reason why they should be developed mentally 
and physically and socially to their highest possible 
capacity. The old theory that a teacher was good 
enough for a primary class if she knew the "A B 
C's'* and little else has long since been exploded. 
A high degree of intellectual capacity and a broad 
mental grasp are more important in those who have 
the training and molding of small children than if 
the children were older. The younger the mind the 
less capable it is to guide itself intelligently and 
therefore the more important is it that the guide 
be both wise and well informed. In a college, if the 
professor is only a little wiser than his class it does 
not make so much difference. In a post-graduate 
course it makes even less, for here all are supposed 
to be somewhat mature. Each has within himself 
an intelligent guide, a reasoner, a questioner and 
one to answer questions. 

With little children the one who has them in 
charge most closely must be all this and more. She 
must understand the proportions and relations of 
things and wherein they touch — the bearing and trend 
of mental and physical phenomena. She must fur- 
nish self-poise to the nervous child and stimulus to the 
phlegmatic one. She must be able to read signs 
and interpret indications in the mental and moral, as 
well as in the physical being of those within her 



OF WOMAN IN HEREDITY 167 

care. All this she must be able to do readily and 
with apparent unconsciousness if she is best fitted 
to deal with and develop small children. More than 
this, she must be not only able to detect wants but 
have the wisdom to guide, to stimulate; to restrain, 
to develop the plastic creature in her keeping. If 
she had the wisdom of the fabled gods and the self- 
poise of the Milo she would not be too well equipped 
for bearing and educating the race in her keeping. 
But more than this the ideal mother should know 
and be. She must have love too loyal and sense of 
obligation too profound to recklessly bring into 
the world children she cannot properly endow or 
care for. It does not appear to occur to the phy- 
sicians and politicians who discuss this question 
that it may be due to other causes than incapacity 
that the educated women are the mothers of fewer 
children than are the "ideal wives and mothers" of 
whom they speak in their arguments against her high- 
er education — the squaws of the Kaffirs and Black- 
feet Indian women, who "devote but a few hours to 
the completion of this act of nature^ " as our doctor 
felicitously expresses it. It is no doubt true that 
habits of civilization do tend to make the dangers 
of motherhood greater. So do they tend to render 
men less sturdy — less perfect animals. A Kaffir or 
an Indian buck would not find it necessary to stay 
at home from his office, for example, because of a 



l68 THE MORAL RESPONSIBILITY 

broken arm, cr a gun shot wound in the leg. He 
would tramp sturdily through the forest, and sleep 
in the jungle with an arrow imbedded in his flesh. 
He would sit stolidly down on a log and cut it out 
of himself with a scalping-knife. Yet nobody would 
think it a desirable thing for a member of the 
Union League club to stop on his way up Fifth 
avenue and attend to his own surgery on the side- 
walk. They would expect him to faint, and to be 
"carried tenderly into the nearest drug store" and 
a doctor would be sent for. He would be put under 
the influence of an anaesthetic drug during the ope- 
ration, and carefully nursed for weeks afterward by 
his devoted wife, and intelligent physician. Then 
if he pulled through it would be heralded far and 
wide as because of his "magnificent physique, his 
pluck and the excellent treatment he received." 

Well now, is he a less "manly man" than is the 
Kaflir or the Indian buck? Is he a less desirable 
husband and father? Is he "deteriorating in his 
sphere?" The fact is, the more sensitive men have 
become to pain, whether it be mental or physical, 
the more manly have they grown, the more nearly 
fitted to be the fathers of a race of men and women 
who are not mere brutes. The race does not need 
the brute type any longer. It has already too many 
mere human animals to deal with — in its asylums, 
almshouses, prisons and impoverished districts. 



OF WOMAN IN HEREDITY 169 

This world is in no danger of suffering from a lack 
of children, the cry has always been "over popula- 
tion" and even in our new country the wail has 
begun. Not more children, but a better kind of 
children is what is needed. Who will be likely to 
furnish these? The ideal "squaw wife" or the ed- 
ucated woman, who knows that her obligation to 
her child begins before it is born, and does not end 
even with her death, for she must leave it the 
heritage of a good name, an earnest life, a noble 
example, even after she is gone. 

If by "being unfitted for the sphere of wife and 
mother" it is meant that this sphere is truly that 
of a mere animal — a healthy animal — if in order 
to be an ideal wife to civilized man, woman should 
remain a savage; if to be ar mother to an intellect- 
uall}^ advancing race she need not even comprehend 
the advance, then truly are these arguments against 
her higher education and intellectual development 
logical. 

But even then they are not fair. Why? Simply 
because she has not been consulted as to her choice 
in the matter. The argument is still based on the 
tremendous assumption that man's happiness, man's 
desires, man's wishes, man's rights, are the sum 
total of all desire, all right, all freedom, all hap- 
piness and all justice. It omits two tremendous 
equations — that of the woman herself and that of 



lyo THE MORAL RESPONSIBILITY 

her offspring, who will have a right to demand of 
her how she dared equip him so badly for the life 
into which she has taken the liberty to bring him. 
To demand of her how she dared equip herself so 
ill for her self-imposed task of creator of a human 
soul! 

Up to the present time woman's moral responsi- 
bility in heredity has been below the point of zero, 
for the reason that she has had no voice in her own 
control nor in that of her children. With the present 
knowledge of heredity she who permits herself to 
becomte a mother without having demanded and ob- 
tained (i) her own freedom from sex dominion and 
(2) fair and free conditions of development for her- 
self and her child, will commit a crime against her- 
self, against her child and against the race. 

But the learned doctor deplores the fact that ed- 
ucated women are bringing fewer children into the 
world, and argues that, this being the case, it shows 
that education is not within woman's sphere. Now, 
if a man does not choose to become the father of 
ten or twelve children nobody on earth feels called 
upon to criticise him as not properly filling his 
sphere — as out of his proper sphere — in case he pre- 
fers to spend more of his time on mental devel- 
opment and progress than upon irresponsible phys- 
ical indulgence and paternity. If he makes up his 
mind that he cannot or does not wish to become 






OF WOMAN IN HEREDITY 171 

responsible for the mental and physical endowment 
and well-being of more than one or two children, 
or of none, nobody says that his "college training 
unfitted him for the holy position of husband and 
father, which is his sphere." Perhaps the college 
training may have a good deal to do with it in the 
sense that with his developed mind and wider in- 
formation, his sense of right and of personal obli- 
gation to the unborn has tended in that direction. 
We do not often notice a vast degree of self dis- 
cipline of this nature in the uneducated, whether 
it be man or woman, but is this a reason for depre- 
cating intellectual training for our boys? Why 
then for the girls? It appears to me that it is one 
of the greatest possible arguments in favor of higher 
education for women, unless, indeed, it is desirable 
to he mere KaiSirs, both male and female, which 
has its strong points. Kaffirs are healthier, hardier, 
more irresponsibly, happily brutal. They have 
few nervous moments, I fancy, over the future good 
of wife or child or friend. Their sense of obliga- 
tion does not keep them awake nights. They are 
neither afraid nor ashamed to create helpless hu- 
man beings simply to furnish targets for another 
tribe. They have not even a glimmer of the thought 
— still embryonic, indeed, in civilized man — that 
the woman whose life is risked, and the child upon 
whom life is thrust unasked, are of the least con- 



172 THE MORAL RESPONSIBILITY 

sideration in the matter. These have no rights which 
the Kaffir lord is bound to respect. I fancy if he 
were asked a question on the subject he would look 
at you in stupid, silent wonder, if he did not ask: 
"What have they got to do with it? I am the 
race. What she and my children are for is to look 
after me, to make me comfortable, to be my inferiors, 
for my glory. " Most likely he would be so stupidly 
unequal to even the shadow of a thought not purely 
egotistic that he could not even formulate such pre- 
posterous questions and self-evident statements as 
these. But his civilized brother does it for him — so 
why complain?* 

Now, suppose a woman would prefer to enjoy her 
mental capabilities to the full and develop these 
rather than to be the mother of a large brood; sup- 
pose she thinks she should be a developed woman 
first before daring to become a mother, whose 
right is it to object? If men prefer Kaffir wives 
there is a large assortment on hand. Squaws, 
both white and red, are to be had for the asking. 

* The report of the marriage of another educated and refined 
white woman to a full-blooded Sioux Indian shows the species of 
lunacy that attacks those who make a hobby of Indian educa- 
tion. The woman who has cast in her lot with an Indian, whose 
savagery is only veneered with civilized manners, will repent of 
her act, as all her sisters in misery have done before her. As a 
husband the American Indian is not a model, for even long train- 
ing among white people fails to uproot his native idea that a 
woman is simply provided to bear him children and to do hard 
work which is beneath his dignity. — N, ¥-. Press. June, iSgj, 



OF WOMAN IN HEREDITY 173 

Whose right is it to decide that all women shall 
be squaws in mental development, in social posi- 
tion, in legal status and in political and economic 
relations, if all women do not choose to be such? 
Has a woman not the right to be a human being 
and count one in the economy of life before she is 
a mother — quite aside from her maternal capabili- 
ties? If not, when and where did she forfeit that 
right? When and where did man get his? Every 
man has and maintains the right to be a man first 
— a. unit, a responsible human being; after that — 
aside from it — he may, if he choose, become also 
a husband and a father. Is it not more than pos- 
sible that the whole human race has been dwarfed 
and retarded and hampered in its upward struggle 
because of this unaccountable effort to climb one 
side at a time, because brute force and phenomenal 
egotism have always refused to place humanity on 
terms of equal opportunity and leave nature alone? 
We are constantly informed that those who insist 
on equal opportunities, on equal status before the 
law for women are making an effort to subvert na- 
ture; that nature has done this and that and the 
other thing with and for women. Well if she has, 
then she will take care of the results in an open 
field. She does not need special, restrictive laws 
placed on the sex that she has already put under 
the ban of inferiority. If the superior sex cannot 



174 "^"^^ MORAL 

Still more than hold its own without potting a 
high protective tariff on itself then how can it claim 
to be the superior sex? Nature has managed very 
well with the lower animals, giving them equal 
surroundings and opportunities. That nature is not 
allowed to manage for women is the very point we 
object to. Men have made all sorts of laws for and 
about women that are not made for and about men. 
Why not make laws and make them apply to the 
human being, leaving the sex of that human being 
out of the question? It is the special, restrictive, 
unnatural sex provisions in the laws and in the con- 
ditions of life that are objected to. No woman ob- 
jects to nature's decree that she is a potential 
mother any more than men object to her decree that 
they are potential fathers. 

It is the fact that men insist that women are this 
and nothing more — which nature did not say — ^to 
which women object. Nowhere else in nature does 
the male claim all of the other avenues of life as 
his special sex privilege, except alone the one 
which he cannot perform — that of maternity. The 
sexes stand on an exact equality as to opportunity 
until we come to man. The brain of each is devel- 
oped to the extent of its capacity. The freedom 
and opportunity for food and pleasure are enjoyed 
by the sexes alike. When the desire for maternity 
is strong upon her is the only time that the female 



OF WOMAN IN HEREDITY 1 75 

brute animal ever becomes a mother. She decides 
when she is a mere mother, and when she is an 
animal with all the rights and privileges of her 
genus. With the human race alone is one-half 
governed upon the theory, and its opportunities 
fitted to the idea, that the female is never a unit, 
never a human being, never a person, but that she 
is simply, solely and only a potential mother, whose 
one '.'sphere" even then is to be controlled and reg- 
ulated as to time, place and conditions — not by 
nature, not by herself, as with the lower animals, 
but by the other half of the race, which holds it- 
self as first human, individual, and with rights, 
duties, privileges and ambitions pertaining to him 
as such* His sex relation, his potential paternity, 
is truly his "sphere" also, but that it is his whole 
sphere he has never dreamed. There are women 
who look at life the same way, for the other half 
of humanity, and decline to read nature's teachings 
— are unable to read them — in any other way. 

But aside from all this the doctor first claims that 
it is the intellectual development which cripples 
maternal capabilities and then he proceeds to give 
the reasons for the poor health of girls, which turn 
out to be bad ventilation in their schools, unwhole- 
some sanitary conditions, injudicious or insufficient 
nourishment or physical and mental habits, and a 
lack of intelligent mothers and teachers, who dress 



176 THE MORAL RESPONSIBILITY 

and train the girls unhealthfully and in vitiated sur- 
roundings. How would boys fare under like con- 
ditions? Would the doctor say that it was the in- 
tellectual training which wrecked the health of the 
boys or would he say that it was the absurd condi- 
tions under which they got their training? Would 
he advise less mental work or less vile air; fewer 
studies or better light ; more healthful clothing and 
food and exercise, or that the boys go home/'and 
devote themselves to the sphere nature marked out 
for them" — paternity? 

Again the doctor appears to confuse society wo- 
men with college women. As a rule they are totally 
distinct classes. The mere society woman who — so 
the doctor says— "wrecks her health in rounds of 
pleasure and bears sickly children or none," is, in 
nine cases out of ten, the exact opposite of the intel- 
lectual woman — the college-bred girl — who has 
learned before she leaves college the value of health 
and the obligation to herself and others to be well. 
It is true that certain of the fashionable schools 
which fit girls for society and for nothing else on 
earth call their girls educated; but, since no one 
else does, it were futile to confuse the two classes. 
The mere society girl, as a rule, is, so far as real 
mental development and higher education and ca- 
pacity to think logically, are concerned, as truly a 
squaw as if she wore blanket and feathers. Indeed, 



OF WOMAN IN HEREDITY 1 77 

this is what she does wear mentally. She should 
be a perfect wife for the men who wish wives to 
be physical and not mental companions; she would 
be second only to the Kaffir women in that she 
wears a trifle more clothing. 

But even in her case, would it not be wise to 
infer that she has not necessarily physically inca- 
pacitated herself for maternity by her frivolous 
life, so much as that she does not care for children, 
and would find them troublesome to a brain, 
which holds nothing more serious and valuable than 
jewels and reception dates? And, if she did repro- 
duce her kind, would this world be benefited? 
Why this constant cry for more children in a 
world crushed by the weight of sorrow, suffering 
and wrong to those already here? Until children 
can be born into better conditions let us be thank- 
ful that there is one class of women too narrowly 
selfish and another class too ful] of the sense of 
obligation to add very rapidly to this bee hive of 
misery and discontent and wrong. 

The world needs healthier, wiser, truer children, 
not more of them, and until mothers are both ed- 
ucated and rank before the law as human beings, 
they will never be able to give that kind to the 
world. Just so long as men must get their brains 
from the proscribed sex, just that long will their 
minds remain an "infant industry" and be in need 



178 THE MORAL RESPONSIBILITY 

of a high protective tariff in the shape of restrictive 
laws on women to shield men from equal competi- 
tion in a fair field as and with human units. The 
laws of heredity are as inflexible as death. Invariable, 
they are not; but so surely as there is a family 
likeness in faces, there are hereditary reasons for 
crime, for insanity, for disease, for mental and for 
moral imbecility, and women owe it to themselves, 
and to the world which they populate, not to allow 
themselves to be made either the unwilling, or the 
supine, transmitters or creators of a mentally, 
morally or physically dwarfed or distorted progeny. 

While reading the proof for this book, this interesting article 
comes to me from Germany and shows how thoroughly the false 
basis of thought is being undermined, in other countries than our 
own. H. H. G. 

'*There has been so much discussion concerning the physical and 
mental differences between men and women, and the representa- 
tives of social science have expressed so many contradictory opin- 
ions regarding this question, that I feel it my duty, as a physi- 
ologist, to give my opinion on this important matter. Several fathers 
of the Church have entirely denied that woman has a soul. The 
canonists write: 'Woman is not formed after the image of God;* 
and many philosophers in the same manner have considered women 
of small consequence. In a discourse 'concerning the education 
and culture of women. ' Prof Sergi has followed the lead of this 
pessiq[|ist}c school. The differences between the sexes, to which 
Pfof . Sergi l^as caUfsd attention, are doubtless significant for an- 
tf^ropolqgy an^ physiology but, in my opinion, do not depend on 
the original pqn4itioT^ of woman, but are caused by the barriers 
which have b^i^ faised by spciety regarding hef flestiny. In order 



OF WOMAN IN HEREDITY X79 

to obtain an unprejudiced judgment, we must free woman from the 
yoke which man has placed upon her. We must observe her in 
the natural position, where she represents a particular language in 
the zoological scale. The ladies must now pardon me if I compare 
them with the lower animals, for in this way I can the better exalt 
them. 

"As objects of comparison we will observe the most intelligent 
and faithful animals. With regard to dogs and horses we notice 
little difference between either the strength or the temperament of 
males and females. The hunter fears the lioness more than the 
lion, and the same is true of tigers and panthers. Prof. Sergi, in 
the above-named discourse, has expressed the following condemna- 
tory opinion: "Neither in her physical nor mental capacities has 
woman reached man's normal scale of development, but on an 
average has remained so far behind that this sex seems to have 
come to a standstill in the general development of the race." This 
statement has surprised me in the highest degree. It appears to 
me that the marks of the human race, and the real physical char- 
acteristics which distinguish us from the animals, are feminine pe- 
culiarities. The principle has been adduced that the structure of 
the brain shows the abyss between man and animals. This is in- 
correct. There is no immeasurable difference between our brain 
and that of the gorilla, and the effects of the central cavities are 
shown only in the advancing development of the expressions of 
physical activity, not in their formation and character. A greater 
morphological difference between man and the animals is shown in 
the form of the pelvis. No physician, even twenty steps away, 
could mistake the pelvis of man for that of an anthropoid ape. The 
pelvis of woman is a new type which has appeared on the earth. 
Until now we have sought in vain for that animal which shall com- 
plete the chain between us and animals. It is striking: the narrow, 
high pelvis of the man is more ape-like than that of the woman. If 
the assertion is correct that the upright gait (on two feet) is the 
mark of distinction, and the noblest one for man, then woman cer- 
tainly possesses the advantage of a pelvis particularly suitable for 
upright walking. Darwin has also demonstrated that female ani- 



i8o woman's responsibility in heredity 

• 

mals often revert to the mascnline tjrpe, while the reverse seldom 
happens. More favorable conditions are necessary for the produc- 
tion of a female animal than a male, because the female embryo 
exhibits a greater fulness of life. Statistics have shown that under 
unfavorable conditions more men than women are born; also, male 
animals die more easily than female. 

' 'Several judges of the woman question who consider that the 
brain of woman cannot compare with that of man, add that women 
should not enter into emulation with men in the mental domain 
lest they should lose the charm of their femininity, and because 
they should give themselves up completely to their vocation as wife 
and mother. This division of the work is certainly very useful for 
man and has greatly assisted him to his position of power ^ and has 
pushed woman into the background. But it is incorrect that woman 
loses her womanliness by cultivating her mind." 

[From the Deutsche Rivue,'] 



Serebifs in Hb (gdaiionB to a ®ou6fe 
^iaixbatb of Q|tota(0 

Read before the World's Congress of Representative Women, 

Chicago, 1893 



^erebifs in Hb (gdatioM to a ®ou6fe 
^ian^atb of (^orafs 



Ladies and Gentlemen: -As a student of Anthro- 
pology and Heredity one is sometimes compelled 
to make statements which seem to the thoughtless 
listener either too radical or too horrible to be true. 
If I were to assert, for example, that good men, 
men who have the welfare of the community at 
heart, men who are kind fathers and indulgent hus- 
bands, men who believe in themselves as pure, up- 
right and good citizens, if I were to say that even 
such men are thorough believers in and supporters 
of the theory that it is right and wise to sacrifice 
the liberty, purity, health and life of young girls 
and women and, through the terrible power of he- 
redity, to curse the race, rather than permit meii 
and boys to suffer in their own persons the results 
of their own misdeeds, mistakes or crimes, I would 
be accused of being "morbid" and a "man hater." 
But let us see if the above statement is not quite 
within the facts. 

I shall take as an illustration the words and ar- 
guments of a man who stands second, only, to our 

183 



184 HEREDITY IN ITS RELATIONS 

Chief Police officer in the largest city in the United 
States, and since he was permitted to present his 
arguments in the most widely read journals of the 
country it seems fitting that these opinions be dealt 
with as of unusual importance. All the more is this the 
case since they were intended to influence legisla- 
tion in the interest of State-regulated vice. 
Among other things he said: 

"Of course there are disorderly houses, but they 
are more hidden, and less of that vice is flaunted, 
than in any other city in the world. Such places 
have existed since the world began and men of 
observation know that this fact is a safe-guard around 
their homes and daughters. Meirof candid judg- 
ment, religious men, know, too, that they had ten 
thousand times rather have their live, robust boys 
err in this indulgence, than think of them in the 
places of those unfortunates on the island, whose 
hands are mufHed or tied behind them. This is a 
desperately practical question with more than a 
theoretical and sentimental side. It ought to be 
talked about and better understood among fathers, 

"Thank God that vice is so hidden that Dr. Park- 
hurst has to get detectives to find disorderly houses, 
and that thousands of* wives and daughters do not 
know even of their existence. Such horrible dis- 
closures as were made before innocent women and 
girls in Dr. Parkhurst's audience do vastly more 
harm in arousing their curiosity and polluting their 
minds than a host of sin that is compelled to hide 
its head. When I was Captain of the Twenty-ninth 
Precinct, I went with Dr. Talmage on his errand 
for sensational information for his sermons. I 



TO A DOUBLE STANDARD OF MORALS 1 85 

know, from observation and from reports which I was 
careful to gather, that never in their history were 
the places he described as thronged by patrons, 
largely from Brooklyn,- or so much money spent 
there for debauchery as after those sermons." 

Now I assume that this Police Inspector is a 
good citizen, father, husband and man. I assume 
that he is sincere and earnest in his desire and 
efforts to suppress crime and promote — so far as he 
is able — the welfare of the community. I assume, 
in shorty that he is, in intent and in fact, a loyal 
citizen and a conscientious officer. I have no rea- 
son to believe that he is not doing what he con- 
ceives is best and right, and yet even he is quoted 
as advocating the sacrifice of purity to impurity, 
the creating of moral and social lepers in one sex 
in order that moral and social lepers or the igno- 
rantly vicious of the other sex may escape the re- 
sults of their own mistakes or vice. It impresses me 
anew that such teaching, from such authority, is 
not only the most unfortunate that can be put be- 
fore a boy but that it goes farther perhaps than 
anything else can to confirm in men that condi- 
tions of sex mania which the Inspector says is more 
desirable should be cultivated by means of regularly 
recognized state institutions for the utter sacrifice 
and death of young girls than that it should end 
in the wreck of the sex maniac himself and in his 
own destruction. 



1 86 HEREDITY IN ITS RBLATIOKS 

But were our statesmen students of heredity, 
they would not need to be told that there is, there 
can be, no "safeguards around wives and daughters** 
so long as their husbands, fathers and sons are 
polluting the streams of life before they transmit 
that life itself to those who are to be "our daugh- 
ters and wives.** 

But not going so deeply into the subject, for the 
moment, as to deal with its hereditary bearings; 
upon what principle his argument can be valid, I 
fail to see. Why is it better that some girl shall 
be sacrificed, body, mind and soul; why is it bet- 
ter that she shall be his victim than that he shall 
be his own? And then again, the problem is not 
solved when she is sacrificed. He has simply 
changed the form of his disease, and in the change, 
while it is possible that he has delayed for himself 
the day of destruction, he has, in the process, cor- 
rupted not only his victim but the social con- 
science, as well. Were this all perhaps it would 
be still thought wise to follow the advice of the 
Inspector — and alas, of some physicians — and con- 
tinue to sacrifice under the bestial wheel of sex power 
those who are from first to last prey to the condi- 
tions of social and legal environment in which they 
are allowed no voice. 

But this is not all. The seeming "cure** is no cure 
at all. It is simply a postponement of the awful 



TO A DOUBLE STANDARD OF MORALS 187 

day for the sex maniac himself and, worse than this — 
more terrible than this — it is the cause of the con- 
tinuance of the mania not only in himself but in 
his children. He marries some honest girl by 
and by and thus associates, with the burnt - out 
dregs of his life, one who would loathe him did 
she know his true character and his concealed but 
burning flame of insanely inherited, insanely in- 
dulged, bestially developed disease. But he is now 
— under the shadow of social respectability and 
church sanction — to perpetuate his unfortunate 
mania in those who are helpless — the unborn. He- 
redity is not a slip-shod thing. It does not follow 
one parent and one alone. The children of a father 
who "sowed his wild oats" by the method prescribed 
by the Inspector (and alas, by social custom) are 
as truly his victims as is the pariah of humanity 
who is to be quarantined in some given locality, 
made a social leper and a physical wreck that he, 
personally, may be neither the one nor the other. 
But nature is a terrible antagonist. She bides her 
time and when she strikes she does not forget to 
strike a harder, wider-reaching, more terrible blow 
than can be compassed by a single individuality 
or a single generation. This i3 the lesson that, so 
far, we have absolutely refused to learn. I do not 
hesitate to take issue with the Inspector, therefore, 
and say that it is far better for society, far better 



1 88 HEREDITY IN ITS RELATIONS 

for the fathers of unfortunate victims of sex mania, 
far better for the victim himself that he be "on the Is- 
land with hands muffled or tied behind him," where 
death to one will end the misery toall, than that by 
applying the remedy which the Inspector recom- 
mends, the result should be, as it is, a future gen- 
eration of sex maniacs, scrofulous, epileptic or 
simply constitutionally undermined weaklings. 

The boys who are encouraged to "sow their wild 
oats" and taught that it is safe to do so under State 
regulation should hear the reports of some of the 
students of hereditary traits, conditions and devel- 
opments. There is to-day in an asylum not so far 
from the Inspector's own door but that its records 
are easy of access, one victim of this pernicious 
theory whose history runs thus: He was a gentle- 
man of good social, financial and mental surround-- 
ings. He was a "young man about town." He 
possessed, (perhaps it was an hereditary trait) 
more consciousness of the fact that he was a male 
animal than that he was an intelligent, self-respect- 
ing human being who had no moral right to degrade 
another human being for his gratification, while he 
assumed to still retain a higher and safer plane thian 
his companions in vice. He was, in brief, no bet- 
ter and no worse than many young fellows who — 
alas, that they are so taught by men who believe 
themselves good and honorable — "turn out to be 
good family men." 



TO A DOUBLE STANDARD OF MORALS 189 

After bis system was thoroughly inoculated, 
physically, mentally, and morally or ethically, with 
the tone, the condition, the trend of the life which 
the inspector, and many other good men, insist is 
unfit for the ears of women, but necessary to the 
welfare of men and "best" for them; after his life 
and flesh had this trend and absorption he married 
a lovely wife from a good family. All went well. 
Society smiled (this is history, not fiction), and 
said that rapid men when they did marry, made 
the best husbands after all. It said such men knew 
better how to fully appreciate purity at home. 

Society did not state that there could be no purity 
in a stream where half of the tributaries are pol- 
luted. But society was satisfied to talk of "pure 
homes" so long as there was one pure partner to the 
compact, which resulted in the home. It does not 
talk of an honest firm if but one of its members is 
(privately and in his own person,) honest while he 
accedes to the dishonest practices of his associates. 
But society was satisfied. A child was born, so- 
ciety was charmed. Four more children came. So- 
ciety said that this late profligate was doing his 
duty as a good citizen of the State. He is now 
about forty-seven years old. He is a "paretic" in 
an asylum, and, if that were all, then the inspector's 
theory might still stand, because he would say that 
at least the awful calamity had been staved off all 



IQO HEREDITY IN ITS RELATIONS 

these years while he had built a "pure" home and 
left to his country others to take his place. The 
facts are these: His oldest son is an epileptic, the 
second is a physical caricature of a man, the third 
is a moral idiot. He has no moral sense at all, 
while he is mentally bright. He delights in vic- 
timizing dogs, cats, or even smaller children. All 
things, in fact, which are in his power are his le- 
gitimate prey. Then there is a girl. In the 
phraseology of the doctor she **shows only the gen- 
eral, constitutional signs of her inheritance." 

The youngest son is now less than seven years 
old; he is siich a hopeless sex maniac even now that 
the parents of other children do not dare allow them 
to be alone with him for one moment. 

In telling me of this case the asylum physician, 
himself a profound student of heredity, said of the 
child : 

"He would shame an old Parisian debauchee. 
The Spartans were not so far wrong after all. They 
killed all such children as these before they had the 
chance to grow up and still further pollute the 
stream of life." And so our good citizen followed 
only the usual course prescribed by the inspector — 
and by society — and the result is (leaving out the 
horrible, necessary sacrifice of a woman — some wo- 
man or some number of women) — the result of 
the plan is this; % house of .yice, (in a secluded 



TO A DOUBLE STAffBURD OP MORALS IQZ 

quarter "for greater safety") ; a few years of license 
which he believed to be his legitimate perquisite 
in the world and "no harm done; " the association 
of the later years of his wasted energies, and his 
pretense and vice-soaked life and flesh with the life 
of a pure girl, and then the legacy to society of five 
more sex maniacs, (who, being born in a wedlock, 
which, by its present terms, laws, and theories, still 
further develops sex mania in men and thereby im- 
plants the disease in each generation to be fought 
with or yielded to again); a doddering, drivelling 
wreck of a man in an asylum at the prime of his 
manhood; a worse than widowed wife with a knowl- 
edge in her soul which is an undying serpent as 
she looks in despair upon the five lives she has 
given, in her pathetic ignorance and trust. And 
his is not an unusual record. Of course its details 
are seldom known outside of the family and physi- 
cians. It is legitimate fruit of a tree which society 
in its avarice and ignorance and vice carefully fosters. 
It is the tree, the fruit of which fills our jails, 
mad-houses, asylums, poorhouses and prisons year 
after year, and yet we tend it carefully and keep its 
root strong and vigorous by exactly the methods 
recommended by the police inspector and by all be- 
lievers in State regulated and State licensed vice, 
that is: It must be systematically continued for the 
good of "robust boys who might else be on the i§^ 



192 HEREDITY K'^TS RELATIONS 

land with muffled hands. It must be kept in cer- 
tain quarters and secret for greater safety to men, 
and that our wives and daughters may not hear of 
it." 

Not hear of it until when? Not until the years 
come when the honest physician must tell her, if 
not the cause, at least the horrible facts, when it 
is too late for her to prevent the awful crime of 
giving life to the children of such a husband. We 
hold it a terrible crime to take life. Is it not far 
more terrible in such a case to give life? In the 
one instance the results to the victims are simply 
the sudden ending of a more or less desirable exist- 
ence in a more or less comfortable world. In the 
other case it is assuming to thrust unasked upon 
helpless children a living death, an inheritance of 
pollution which must, and does, develop itself in 
one or another form as the years go by. Which is 
the greater, more awful responsibility, to give or 
to take life? The law says the latter. 

Is it certain that heredity — nature's surest and 
least heeded voice — does not in many cases say the 
former? When society is wiser it will be a bit 
more like the Spartans. It will say : Far better that 
they be "on the island" than that they lay their 
fatal curse upon the world to expand and blight to 
the third and fourth generation, and, I believe, it 
was to be the "sin of the fathers'' which was thus 



TO A DOUBLE STANDARD OF MORALS 1 93 

to follow the children, was it not? What was that 
sin? Are not its roots to be found in the very soil 
advocated as good by believers in State regulation 
and in a double standard of morals, and in the igno- 
rance which they say is desirable for "our wives and 
daughters." Ignorance that such things exist as the 
secret, legalized, regulated slaughter (social, moral, 
and actually physical) of hundreds and thousands 
of one sex at the demands and for the gratification 
of the other? 

Are there not sex maniacs in more directions than 
one? 

Is not this very double standard theory in itself 
a sex mania? 

Are not the men who advocate and the legislators 
who make laws which recognize these double moral 
standards, and who ignore the plainest finger- 
boards set up by nature in hereditary conditions — 
are not these, in a sense, one and all sex maniacs? 

When they talk of "keeping our wives and daugh- 
ters" pure and ignorant they do not seem to realize 
that the taint of blood which flows in the veins of 
that very daughter, which she herself does not un- 
derstand, and which an ignorant mother does not 
dream of, and therefore cannot stand guard over, 
flows as an ever present threat that she shall be one 
of those very outcasts whom her own father ia 
laboring to quarantine in darkness and oblivion! 

Nature has no favorites. 



194 HEREDITY IN ITS RELATIONS 

Heredity does not spare your daughter, and yet 
men who plant the seeds of sex perversion in their 
own families have the infinite impudence to cast 
from their doors the blossom of their own tillage! 

They go into heroics about being "disgraced." 
"You are no longer child of mine I" that rings in a 
thousand pages of literature, in one hundred cases 
out of one hundred and one should be met by the 
reply: This act of mine proves as no other could 
\\i2X I am, indeed, your daughter! Blood of your 
blood and flesh of your flesh ! Nature has told your 
secret through me. Let us cry quits. You put the 
cursed taint in my blood when I could not protect 
myself. / am the one to complain, not you. Do 
not cry out for quarter like a very coward. Face 
your record made in flesh and blood. This polluted 
life of mine is Nature's reply to your life of li- 
cense and uncleanness! / am Nature's reply to 
your uncontrolled passions — inside of marriage and 
out; I, the moral or mental idiot; I, the disease 
polluted wreck; I, the epileptic; I, the lunatic; 
I, the drunkard; I, the wrecker of the lives of 
others — I am your lineal descendant! You sac- 
rificed others recklessly, by act and by law, to your 
desires and your arbitrary sex power ; you cultivated 
a taint in your blood. 

It is true that you took the precaution to trans- 
mit it through purity and ignorance to me. That 



TO A DOUBLE STANDARD OF MORALS 1 95 

very purity and ignorance of my mother served to 
save your peace of mind and enable you to take 
advantage of her for infinite opportunity for mis- 
chief. It, alas, could not save me, for I am your 
child also. Her ignorance was your partner in 
a crime against me, her helpless infant! Do 
not complain. Dislike my face as you will; 
presented to you in whatsoever form or phase of 
distortion it may be, I am your direct, lineal de- 
scendant! Build better! Or go down with the 
structure you planned for other men's daughters 
and in which you locked me before I was born! 

If, because of their sex, men demand privileges, 
rights, emoluments, honors, opportunities and free- 
dom, which they claim as good for and necessary to 
them and their welfare, while they insist that all 
these are not to be allowed to women — would be her 
damnation — are not these, also, sex maniacs? Has 
not humanity been long enough cursed by so de- 
grading and degraded, so ignorant and so fatally 
wrong a mental, moral, social and legal outlook? I 
am attacking no individual. I am using an individ- 
ual utterance on this subject simply to the better 
present the side of the case which is sustained by 
all of our present laws, conditions and male senti- 
ment. I am wishing to present the reverse side of 
this awful picture. From man's point of view it is 
often presented — and in many ways. But once or 



196 HEREDITY IN ITS RELATIONS 

twice have I ever seen the other side in print where 
it was looked at from a rational or scientific point 
of view. 

A short time ago a book was written which 
touched, to a moderate degree, woman's side as 
well as the general human side of this problem. 
It was put in the form of a novel that it might ap- 
peal to a larger reading public than would an essay 
or magazine article. It had a tremendous sale, and 
the only — or the chief — adverse criticism made upon 
it was, that it pictured a type of father which 
either did not exist or was too rare to be even taken 
as an illustration in fiction. Now, it is this very 
type of father of which the Inspector speaks thus: 
"Men of candid judgment, religious men, know too, 
that they had rather have their live, robust boys 
err in this indulgence than think of them in the 
places of those unfortunates on the island, etc., 
etc." 

That is exactly the point made by the book re- 
ferred to, and which was criticised by one man as 
"morbid in its imaginings about fathers." Is this 
Inspector "morbid?" 

He said: "This is a desperately practical ques- 
tion with more than a theoretical or sentimental 
side. It ought to be talked about and better un- 
derstood among fathers." 

And I agree with him perfectly so far. 



TO A DOUBLE STANDAkD OF MORALS I97 

It is indeed, a desperately practical question for 
both men and women and Anthropology and Hered- 
ity teach, in all peoples and in each succeeding 
generation, that the question has not been solved 
by the adoption of the double standard of morals! 

It is so desperately practical that the land is lit* 
erally covered with the deplorable results, in hos- 
pitals, in prisons, in imbecile asylums and in mad 
houses; but when he goes on to "thank God that 
this vice is hidden, and that thousands of wives and 
daughters do not know of even its existence," it 
impresses me that the Inspector is, in deploring the 
ignorance of fathers and commending it in mothers, 
attempting to still farther hedge boys about with 
a condition which inevitably makes of them sex 
maniacs in more directions than one. Is not his 
mother as deeply interested in her boy's welfare as 
is his father? Is it not to her eyes and wisdom his 
younger days are most left and to whose watchful- 
ness, intelligence and information he must be trusted 
not to develop or acquire fatal habits? or if he 
has them in his blood as a heritage from his 
father, or from his father's father, by whom 
vice was looked upon as "safe" if only kept 
from the ears and eyes of wife and daughter; is it 
not imperative that the trained eye and mind of a 
woman who is not ignorant of nor blind to the very 
earliest indications that Nature has sent a message 



igS tlER&DtTV IK ns EPILATIONS 

that there is a blood taint, so that, in so far as it 
is possible she may labor to modify and control his 
awful inheritance before it has him in a fatal grip? 

Instead of this being the case it is advocated as 
desirable that she be even "ignorant of the existence 
of such vice!" It is due more to the fact that she 
has been ignorant than to any other one thing that, 
later on, the boy's developed hereditary curse, or 
his acquired bad habits, have so fixed themselves 
upon his young mind and body that the Inspector 
and the boy's father find themselves in a position 
to choose between a straight jacket for the boy 
himself, or first a wrecked and outraged woman- 
hood and later on descendants that are marked 
with a brand that is worse than Cain's. 

The Inspector says that such disclosures as Dr. 
Talmage's sermon before innocent women and girls 
do vastly more harm than a host of sin that is com- 
pelled to hide its head. 

Now what is the implication? Did he mean to 
imply that those places have, since the sermon, 
been thronged with the "wives and daughters of 
Brooklyn?" If not, how did he know that it "pol- 
luted their minds?" Has he not jumped at that 
conclusion and cast a slur upon the wrong sex? 
the sex that did not "squander its money in patron- 
izing these resorts?" Was not that a rather desper- 
ate eHort to sustain an argument by a non-sequitur? 



TO A DOUBLE STANDARD OP MORALS IQQ 

Are women's minds polluted by a knowledge of vice 
which they avoid intelligently rather than simply 
escape from ignorantly? Are ignorance and inno- 
cence the same thing? Did the Inspector believe 
that a knowledge of the degradation into which 
their sons are led and pushed by just such theories 
as these backed by a blind hereditary impulse which 
has no intelligent care from a wise parentage, did 
he believe that such knowledge would drive or lure 
"wives and daughters" into polluting vice? And 
is it not strange to hear of a condition of things 
which can be spoken of as good and desirable for 
boys and men which is in the same breath depicted 
as pollution even to the ears of women? Can good 
women live with these same men and not be pol- 
luted? How about the children? 

Man has for ages past, claimed to be the logical 
animal. Beasts have no logic at all, and in this 
regard woman has been gallantly classed, if not ex- 
actly with the beasts, certainly not with man. We 
may say she has been counted by him as a sort of 
missing link. She had logic — if she agreed with all 
he said. Otherwise she was an emotional, irra- 
tional, unclassified creature. 

Now, when it comes to dealing with his fellows, 
man has — in the main — a fair amount of reason and 
logic; but the moment he is called upon to think 
of woman as simply a human being like himself, 



200 HEREDITY IN ITS RELATIONS 

to deal with and for her as such, to give her a chance 
to do the same with, and by, and for herself, that 
moment man becomes an emotional, irrational sex 
maniac. He is absolutely unable to look upon wo- 
man as first of all, a free individuality, a human 
being on exactly the same plane as himself. She 
is instantly "wife," "daughter," or victim to his 
mind always. Never for one instant does he con- 
template her as an entity entitled to life and liberty, 
for, and because of herself. Always it is her relation 
to him that he sees and deals with — and alas for his 
theories of justice, gallantry or right — always it is 
as his subordinate, for his use, abuse, or pleasure, 
that he thinks of and plans for her. 

Why confine gilded houses to one quarter? To 
keep their vicious inmates away from "our wives 
and daughters, and the streets which they are on," 
says the Inspector. But that is making sex irreg- 
ularity a reason for restricting liberty of residence 
and resort — even of promenade and pleasure. That 
is to say, it restricts the libert}' of one party to the 
vice — to the irregularity of sex relations. And un- 
fortunately it is the wrong party who is restricted to 
compass the object claimed! The one whose vice 
can and actually does injure — the wife and daugh- 
ter — (the pure woman who is his victim in marriage, 
and the daughter who is his victim in heredity) 
the one who can do infinite wrong, is left to roam 
at large! 



TO A DOUBLE STANDARD OF MORALS 201 

It is the wrong partner in vice from whom State 
regulation seeks to "protect" "our wives and daugh- 
ters." It is the one who can do the intelligent 
wife or daughter no harm whatever! 

Man, we are told, is the logical animal. Why not 
apply a bit of logic right here? Why not set a watch 
on and restrict the one who does the real and perma- 
nent harm to the race? 

Men claim that it is necessary to their health, hap- 
piness and comfort to sacrifice utterly the charac- 
ters, health, lives, and even liberty of locomotion 
of thousands of women every year. This is simply 
infamous and Nature teaches its infamy and un- 
naturalness. 

From the protozoan to the highest beast or bird 
there is no distinction of right, or opportunity or 
privilege as to the occupation, life, liberty or the 
pursuit of happiness anywhere in nature between 
the sexes until we reach the one species of animal 
where one sex has been subordinated to the other 
by artificial industrial conditions — by financial 
dependence. 

Now, it so happens that as civilization goes on. 
Nature is taking a most terrible revenge upon the hu- 
man race for this sex perversion. Asylums multiply, 
weaklings abound, criminals and lunatics blossom 
out from heretofore honored ancestry. Nature is a 
terrible antagonist. Having the power, man may 



* 



202 HEREDITY IN ITS RELATIONS 

pollute the fountain of life if he will, but Nature 
revenges herself on him still. 

He may cover his vice with the shimmer of gold, 
but the curse of the serpent is there as of old. He 
may bind up the eyes of justice and right ; but he 
learns at the last 'tis a desperate fight. A cover 
for vice in the father may be as fatal as ignorant 
maternity. Combined they sow broadcast on the 
air the horrors of life and breed its despair. It is 
to the "ignorance of our wives and daughters" on 
these points, combined with the silence of law-pro- 
tected vice for men and "regulated" infamy for 
women that is due the possibility of passing in 
some states a bill to reduce to ten years the "age 
of consent" at which a girl is held legally respon- 
sible for her own ruin. If there was one good wo- 
man in the legislature no such bill would have a 
ghost of a chance to pass, or be kept from the pub- 
lic knowledge and rushed through a "secret ses- 
sion. " Yet fathers of daughters pass such bills! 

Is it true, after all, that men are not so good 
protectors of women as is woman of her sister? 
Ten years of age! Why, a girl is a baby then! 
Think of your own little girl at ten ! Do not dare 
to stop thinking and talking and writing on the 
subject until such infamous laws are an impossibility! 

Do not allow any one to make you believe that 
it is not "modest" or becoming for a woman to know 



TO A DOtJBLfi STAKDARD OF MORALS 20$ 

about — and fight to the bitter death— any and all 
such laws! You have no right not to know it! You 
have no right to dare to bring into this world a 
child who shall be subject to such a law! It seems 
beyond belief but it is true. And then men talk of 
"protecting" women! Men who hold that a girl is 
not old enough to give lawful consent to lawful mar- 
riage or to the sale of property until she is i8 years 
old, say she is, at the age of ten, to be held old 
enough to give consent to her own eternal disgrace, 
ruin, degradation! 

That such atrocious acts are possible is largely 
due to the fact that "our wives and daughters" do 
not know these things. The ignorance of one 
sex in all the vital affairs of life coupled with its 
financial dependence upon the other sex has gone 
far to make of all men sex maniacs and of so many 
children the victims of a polluted ancestry and the 
future progenitors of an enfeebled race. 

A famous physician who is an expert in these mat- 
ters says in one of his articles, read before his 
brother practitioners: "There are few families in 
this country not tainted with one or another form of 
sex pollution. If it is not physical in its demon- 
strations it is mental. Often it is both, and to 
the trained eye, and thought, of a student of an- 
thropology and heredity, the present outlook is pit- 
iful, indeed." 



204 HEREDITY AND MOPAL STANDARDS 

And again he sa3's — and remember that it is not 
said by a woman about man. It is the serious warn- 
ing of a famous expert to his fellows who were to 
meet and guard, in their profession, against the 
hereditary results of just the sort of legislative pro- 
vision which has gone far to make of man the sex 
maniac he is. He said: "The wild beast is slum- 
bering in us all. It is not necessary, always, to 
invoke insanity to account for its awakening." And 
if you will take the trouble to understand those 
few sentences by a great specialist you will have 
found the whole of my essay a mere illustration. 



(Dpening paper of a Symposium in Thf Arena 



OiJDorce and t^e tptopoB^ Q^attonaf £(00 



In discussing any question which involves the 
welfare and happiness of people who live to-day, 
or are to live hereafter, I think we may take it for 
granted that we must consider it in the light of con- 
ditions now existing or those likely to exist in the 
future. We must clearly understand to what do- 
main the question fairly belongs; whether it is a 
question of vital importance between human beings 
in their relations to each other, and whether it is 
a matter in which the law is the final appeal. We 
may fairly assume that the questions of marriage 
and divorce have to do with this world only. In- 
deed, that point is yielded by the marriage service 
adopted by the various Christian churches when it 
says, "until death us do part," and by the reply 
said to have been given by Christ himself, to the 
somewhat puzzling query put to him as to whose 
wife the seven times married woman would be in 
heaven. 

According to the record, he evaded (somewhat 

skilfully it must be admitted) the real question; 

207 



208 DIVORCE AND THE PROPOSED NATIONAL LAW 

but his reply at least warrants us in saying that he 
held the view that the marriage relation had noth* 
ing whatever to do with another life, but belonged 
to the province of this world only, and the neces- 
sities and duties of human beings toward each other 
here. 

This point is conceded, too, by every church when 
it permits the widowed to re-marry, and gives them 
clerical sanction. 

Therefore the religious and the civil basis of dis- 
cussion are logically on the same premises, and in 
America, at least, where there is no contest as to 
the established fact that all divorces must be legal 
and not ecclesiastical, it is clear that the law does 
not recognize religion at all in the matter. While 
a religious marriage service may hold in law, a re- 
ligious divorce would be illegal, in fact, fraudulent. 
It is conceded on all sides then, as we have seen, 
that marriage is a matter pertaining strictly to this 
world. It affects the happiness or misery of men 
and women in their relations with each other, and 
not at all in any assumed relation with another life, 
or a supposititious duty to a Deity. 

This would logically take marriage, as it has al- 
ready taken divorce, out of the hands of the clergy, 
since religion and its duties are based primarily 
and necessarily upon the relations of human be- 
ings to another life and to a supernatural or Su- 



DIVORCE AND THE PROPOSED NATIONAL LAW 209 

preme Being. The terms of marriage and divorce 
— so far as the public is concerned — are questions 
of morals and economics. 

That is to say, if there were but one man and one 
woman in the worjd it would be for them to say 
whether they would be married at all, or — having 
been married — whether they would stay married, if 
they discovered that the relation was productive of 
misery to one or both. They could divorce themselves 
at will without injury and without fear. But since 
humanity is associated in groups constituting what is 
called society or the state, and since under present 
conditions men are the chief producers and owners 
of wealth and the means of livelihood, the support 
of women and children is a matter which affects the 
welfare of all so associated, in case the parents sep- 
arate. The question of divorce is, therefore, partly 
in the field of economics and has to do with the 
general welfare. This being the case, law and not 
religion rightly regulates its terms. People marry 
because they believe that it will promote their hap- 
piness to do so. I am talking now of ordinary 
people under ordinary circumstances, and not of 
those victims of institutions — such as kings and 
princesses — who are married for state reasons. 
Nor am I writing of those still greater victims 
who are taught that it is their "duty" to marry in 
order to produce as many of their kind as possible 



aiO DIVORCE AND THE PROPOSED NATIONAL LAW 

in a world already sadly overpopulated by the very 
class thus influenced and controlled by greed and 
power. That is to say, they are so taught by those 
who are benefited by the unintelligent increase of an 
ignorant population. 

Since marriage is the most important, solemn, 
ac^d sacred contract into which two people can en- 
ter, and since it affects — or may afiect — others than 
themselves, the State requires that it be public, 
that the form of contract be legal and that its terms 
be respected by both parties, to the end that others 
may not be deceived or left helpless. 

But if the parties to this contract learn to their 
sorrow that the association is productive of misery, 
if they grow to loathe each other, if instead of hap- 
piness, it results in sorrow or ill health, then surely 
the State is not interested in forcing those two peo- 
ple to continue in a condition which is opposed to 
life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is 
however, concerned in the t^rms of the separation 
since these do or may affect others than the two 
principals, and since one or both of these, having 
entered ^nto a contract (in which the State was a 
witness) and now being desirous of terminating said 
contract, may be defrauded in a manner which vi- 
tally affects society. It can hardly be claimed that 
society is benefited by forcing two people to live 
in the same house and become the parents of chil- 



DIVORCE AND THE PROPOSED NATIONAL LAW 211 

dren, when these two people have for each other 
only loathing or contempt. If it cannot benefit 
society, then who is benefited by the forced contin- 
uance of the marriage relation? The children? Can 
any rational person believe that it is well to rear 
children in an atmosphere of hatred, of contention, 
of rebellion? 

Do not our penal institutions answer this ques- 
tion? Are the inmates of these from homes where 
harmony reigned? Statistics show plainly that 
they are not; and they also show that an enormous 
per cent, of them come from the families of those 
who are not allowed by their church the relief of 
divorce from bonds grown galling. Children con- 
ceived by hatred and fear, overpowered by the low- 
est grade of passion known to the world (which 
cannot be called brutal, because the brutes are not 
guilty of it), bred in an atmosphere of contention, 
deception, and dread, are fit material for, and sta- 
tistics prove that they are the class from which are 
recruited the inmates of, the reformatory and penal 
institutions. 

Is it fair to a child that it be so reared? Is it 
not right — is it not the duty of the State to secure, 
so far as it may, quite the opposite conditions of 
life for its helpless future citizens? Are the highest 
and best types of character bred in discord? Is the 
State interested in the high character of its future 



212 DIVORCE AMD THE PROPOSED NATIONAL LAW 

citizens? Al] these questions and many others are 
involved. 

But setting aside these most important features I 
would like to ask who is benefited by keeping to. 
gether those whqm hate has separated? The wife? 
Not at all. She is simply degraded below the frail 
creatures of the street whom men deride. She be- 
comes the helpless instrument of her own degrada- 
tion. The woman of the street may own herself, 
she may change her life, she may refuse to continue 
in the course which has lost her her self-respect. The 
unwilling wife is helpless. She^has lost all. She 
has no refuge. She is a more degraded slave than 
ever felt the lash, for her slavery is one which sears 
her soul and will, if she becomes a mother, sear 
the bodies and souls of children borne by her un- 
willingly. 

It can hardly be urged that it could add to the 
dignity or honor of womanhood for a tie to be in- 
dissoluble which in itself, under such conditions, 
is a degradation and an insult. Take for example 
a drunken, a dissolute or a brutal husband. Can it 
be said to strike at anything dear or noble for woman- 
kind that some wife is absolutely freed from such 
companionship? That she be no longer forced to 
bear his society or even his name? Surely no good 
end can be served by the outward continuance of a 
tie already broken in fact. No one can be made 



DIVORCE AND THE PROPOSED NATIONAL LAW 213 

better, no one happier. If it is urged that a God 
is to be considered, surely such a state of things 
could hardly excite his pleasure or admiration. If 
marriages are made in heaven those that prove a 
misfit — so to speak — can scarcely be claimed by be- 
lievers in an all-wise ruler to emanate from there. 
Religious people will, I fancy, be the last to 
assert that wrong had its source in such a locality; 
while people who look upon this question as wholly 
outside of sacramental lines will be slow to see 
beauty or good in a relation which is a servitude 
and a degradation on the one side and a brutal 
domination on the other. 

How does the question stand then? The wife is 
degraded, the children are brutalized — are born with 
evil tendencies — a God can hardly be overjoyed; 
society is endangered and robbed, is deprived from 
its very cradle of its inalienable right to happiness. 
Who is left to be considered? The husband? 

Would any man worthy the name wish to be the 
husband of an unwilling wife? If he has a spark 
of honor or manhood in him could such a relation- 
ship, held by force, give him happiness? Would it 
not be unendurable to him? 

If he is so far below the brutes in his relationship 
with his mate that he can hold his position only 
by force is he a fit father of children? Is the State 
interested in reproducing his kind? 



214 DIVORCE AND THE PROPOSED NATIONAL LAW 

It is true that there are several reasons why di- 
vorce is far more important to women than to men 
— notwithstanding which fact the question is usually 
discussed in the Press and Legislature by men only, 
the other interested party not being supposed to 
have enough at stake to be consulted or heard in 
the matter at all. But it is also true that an uncon- 
genial marriage deprives a man of all of the best 
that is in him; it reduces his home to a mere den 
of discomfort and wretchedness; it forces him to 
be either a hypocrite at or an absentee from his 
own hearthstone and deprives him of the blessedness 
and sympathy — the holy tenderness and beaut}' — 
that should be the star in the crown of every man 
entitled to the name of husband and father. 

But he still owns his own body. He cannot be 
made an unwilling father of timid, diseased, or 
brutalized children ; he is not a financial depend- 
ent. For these and other reasons an unhappy mar- 
riage can never mean to a man what it must always 
mean to a woman. 

There is an argument frequently put forward that 
divorce is wrong and unfair to the children of those 
so separated in case the divorced parties remarry and 
other children are added to the family. One great 
Prelate asked in his article on this subject : "Can 
we look with anything short of horror upon such a 
condition of things? Here is a family, we will say, 



DIVORCE AND THE PROPOSED NATIONAL LAW 215 

composed of the children of three divorced fathers — 
all by one mother." 

This is an extreme and not a pleasing case, we 
may admit; but suppose the divorce were by death 
would the distinguished Prelate be so shocked? Is 
it especially uncommon, indeed, for the most de- 
vout men and women to marry three times? Are 
"half" brothers and sisters and "step" children a 
subject of moral shock to the most rigid religion- 
ists? Jesus appeared to approve of a woman mar- 
rying seven times. How about a mixed family 
there? Does the distinguished Prelate take issue 
with his Lord? No, the whole question hinges on 
the continuance of the life of the parties separated 
or divorced. If one of them dies the mixed family 
relation is not counted either a sin or a shame. If 
they live and the divorce is granted by law instead 
of by nature it is pronounced both. 

In whose interest is this distinction maintained? 
We have seen that it is not for the honor of the 
wife that a loathsome marriage relation be indis- 
soluble, that it can lend neither dignity nor happi- 
ness to the husband, that it is one of the fruitful 
causes of diseased and criminal childhood and that 
it is, therefore, necessarily, a menace to society. 

Legally, morally, economically, then, it is a mis- 
take, and it is productive of great misery. Who 
then is benefited? Why is the attempt so strongly 



2l6 DIVORCE AND THE PROPOSED NATIONAL LAW 

made to revise the laws and check the growing lib- 
erality in divorce legislation? 

Who are the movers in that direction and upon 
what do they base their arguments? What is the 
final appeal of these combatants? I shall answer 
the two last questions first. The orthodox clergy 
and their followers, basing their arguments on the 
Bible as the final appeal, demand that this reform 
go backward. Why? 

Because their creeds and tenets have always 
claimed that marriage is a sacrament and not a 
legal contract, that it is or should be under the con- 
trol of the clergy, and that the Bible and St. Paul 
say so and so about it. The Catholic Church has, 
by keeping control of the marriage of its believers, 
made sure of the children — their education — and 
therefore insured to itself their future adherence. 
It has perpetuated itself and its power by this means. 
It is, therefore, not difficult to see why that church 
so warmly opposes any movement which can only 
result in disaster to its growth and power. Her 
communicants are taught that it is their duty to 
increase and multiply, and this in spite of the 
fact that poverty and crime, want and ignorance 
stare in the face a large per cent, of the very class 
which it is thus sought to swell. The Catholics 
are the most prolific and furnish by far the largest 
per cent, of both paupers and criminals of any other 



DIVORCE AND THE PROPOSED NATIONAL LAW 217 

class of the community. With them marriage is 
a sacrament; divorce is not allowed, or if allowed, 
remarriage is prohibited. Children are born with 
astounding frequency of subject mothers to brutal 
fathers. They are bred in a constant atmosphere 
of contention, bickering, and in short, warfare. 
The result is inevitable. Contest — war — brings out 
all the worst elements and passions in human na- 
ture. This fact is well understood where war is 
conducted between large bodies of men; but in 
such case there is supposed to be a motive — some 
patriotic principle involved to stir and call out, 
also, some of the better nature; but in the petty 
warfare of the wretched household there is nothing 
to redeem life from the basest. 

But suppose all this is true, say the advocates of 
the forced continuance of the marriage relation; 
the Bible — our creeds — teach us to refuse the relief 
of divorce, and we are bound at any cost to sustain 
the indissolubility of the marriage bond. True, for 
those who accept these creeds or the Bible as a fi- 
nality; but to those who do not, the State owes a 
duty. Church and State are separated in America, 
it is claimed. A magistrate can marry a man and 
woman, just as he can draw up another contract. 
When the State went that far it told the people 
that it did not hold marriage as a sacrament. It 
then and there took the ground that it was a legal 



2l8 DIVORCE AND THE PROPOSED NATIONAL LAW 

contract, and had no necessary connection with re- 
ligious belief or observance. It logically follows, 
then, that if the State deals with marriage as a 
thing not touched by religious belief or Biblicai 
injunction, that the question of divorce — the terms 
of the contract — are also quite outside of the prov- 
ince of the clergy. This being the case, it appears 
as futile and as foolish to discuss this question — 
making of it a religious one — from the basis of the 
creeds or the Bible, as it would be to discuss the 
rate of interest on money or the wages per day 
for labor, from the same outlook. 

Believers in the finality of Biblical teaching are 
at liberty to hold their marriages as indissoluble, 
but have no right to insist upon forcing their relig- 
ious dogmas upon others, nor to attempt to crys- 
talize them into law for those who believe other- 
wise. No doubt the Bible gave the best light of 
the Jews, in the day in which it was written, on 
these and other subjects. We are quite willing 
to suppose that the various creeds and usages of 
the churches did the same, for the people whom 
they represented, but the creeds and the Bible have 
nothing whatever to do with the social and eco- 
nomic problems of our day, nor with the legal ques- 
tions of our time. 

The more they are dragged into places where 
they do not belong, the more it is discovered that 



DIVORCE AND THE PROPOSED NATIONAL LAW 219 

"revision" is necessary. The old creeds and the 
Bible are fast undergoing revision and are recut to 
fit the people and the present. It is quite impos- 
sible to revise and recut the people and the pres- 
ent to fit the old creeds and the literature of the 
Jews. 

Let us have done with such trifling with the se- 
rious problems of the day. It is not at all a ques- 
tion of whether St. Paul said or thought this or 
that about divorce. It is not at all important what 
some dead and gone Potentate said; the question 
before us is: What is best for society as it is now? 
Indeed it appears to me futile to discuss this sub- 
ject at all if it is to be done from a theological 
basis. Every fairly intelligent person knows what 
the church teaches in the matter. One paragraph 
and a half dozen Biblical references with a notable 
name appended is all the space necessary to con- 
sume. We all know that in substance the Cath- 
olic church's answer to the question "Is Divorce 
wrong?" is emphatically, "Yes." 

We are also aware that that church revises its 
opinions more slowly than does any other. 

It is equally well known to the intelligent read- 
er that the variations from the emphatic Yes of the 
Catholic church, run the scale in the Protestant 
denominations from a moderately firm yes to a dis- 
tinctly audible no. Given the denomination and 



220 DIVORCE AND THE PROPOSED NATIONAL LAW 

a slight knowledge of its history — whether it 
claims to be infallible and divine, as the 
Catholic and Episcopal, or only partly so as the 
Methodist, Presbyterian, and Congregational, or 
whether as the Unitarian and Universalist they 
claim to be human only — and you are prepared to 
state what the adherents of those churches will 
hold as to the marriage and divorce questions with- 
out resort to long papers or circumlocution. Now, 
for the various sects to teach or believe what they 
please on this and other subjects is their undoubted 
right so long as they do not attempt to control 
other people in matters which are outside of the 
province of the church, and so long as their own 
adherents are satisfied to abide by the decisions of 
the communion to which they belong. 

The question is, then, what is best for society as 
it is and as it is likely to be? What is best for 
society as it is now? Who is benefited or who 
harmed by the continuance of a loathesome rela- 
tionship? Is the State and are the people interested 
in refusing to allow two people to correct a mistake 
once made? Is it for the good of anyone' to make 
mistakes perpetual? 

I repeat that it is a question in economics and 
morals. It has nothing whatever to do with re- 
ligion. 

Let us keep our minds clear of rubbish, and 



DIVORCE AND THE PROPOSED NATIONAL LAW 221 

above all let us request that our legislators do not 
tamper with a question of such vital importance 
to women, in any manner (as is just now proposed) 
to crystalize the divorce laws into national form 
and application, until women be heard in the mat- 
ter, freely and fully, without fear or intimidation. 
If it were proposed to make a national law for 
railroads without giving a hearing to but one side 
of the question; if it were suggested that Congress 
pass an educational bill of universal application 
without permitting any but its friends to be heard; 
if a general measure to control interest on money 
were up, and none of the money-lenders were given 
a hearing — only borrowers — there would be a great 
stir made about the injustice and inequity of such 
legislation. But it is deliberately proposed to pass 
a national marriage and divorce law, to regulate 
the one condition of life which is absolutely vital 
to women under present conditions, and to make 
this law a part of the national Constitution, with- 
out taking the trouble to hear one word from her 
on the subject. Let us agitate this question thor- 
oughly. Let us discuss it on the basis where it 
belongs; where our laws have already put it — the 
economic, and moral, and social basis. Let us clear 
the track of both sentimentality and superstition. 
Let us hear from both sides — from both parties 
interested. We do not drag religion into the in- 



222 DIVORCE AND THE PROPOSED NATIONAL LAW 

terstate commerce debate. When a bill comes up 
for street-paving, nobody inquires what kind of 
stone St. Paul was interested in having put down. 
When the Chinese bill is before us, it is not neces- 
sary to know what St. Sebastian thought of the laun- 
dry business. Their views may have been sound ; but 
they do not apply. I repeat, therefore, let us keep 
to the subject, keep the subject on the basis where 
it belongs, have our conclusions at least blood rel- 
atives of our premises, and let us hear from both 
sides of the fireplace. And finally, let us discuss 
this matter thoroughly but let us keep clear of pass- 
ing a national law until both parties to the contract 
be heard, not only in the press, but in the legisla- 
tive deliberations. 

A recent writer of one of the ablest and clearest 
papers yet contributed on this subject, in arguing 
in favor of an amendment to the Constitution, 
which shall make divorce laws uniform, says: "Let 
it clearly be shown that Congress can best legislate 
in the interests of the wA(?ie people (the italics are 
mine) upon the subject, and the people, and their 
representatives, the legislative assemblies, can be 
trusted to authorize it. " It does not occur to even 
this able writer that half of the "whole people" 
will have no representation in either the legislative 
assemblies nor in Congress, and that on this sub- 
ject above all others^ this unrepresented half has 



DIVORCE AND THE PROPOSED NATIONAL LAW 223 

far more at stake than has the other, and that when 
an amendment to the national Constitution is ac- 
complished, it is a very much more difficult thing 
to correct any blunder it may contain, than it would 
be if the blunder were not made a part of that in- 
strument. 

All men appear to agree that marriage is pre- 
eminently woman's "sphere." Certainly under ex- 
isting conditions, and under conditions as they are 
likely to be for some time to come, it is the one 
field open to her — it is her "lot." At present she 
has nothing to say as to the laws which control — 
as to the terms of this single contract of her life — 
the one disposition she is free to make of herself 
and still retain her social status and secure sup- 
port. It would seem only humane to place no 
farther thorns in her path. Until she has a voice 
— is represented — the "whole people" cannot amend 
the Constitution in respect to marriage and divorce 
— in respect to the "one sphere" which all men con- 
cede is woman's one peculiar right. 

No laws on these subjects — above all others — 
should be crystalized into national form and append- 
ed to the Constitution until it is done by the help 
and with the consent of the half of the people 
whom it will most seriously affect. 



Reprinted from the Popular Science Monthly 



SiCimsuit or ^egoc; 



Within the past twenty years the business of life- 
insurance has grown with such wonderful rapidity, 
and changed so radically in its methods and con- 

* Many of the worst features in Life assurance contracts or poli- 
cies, mentioned in this essay, have been amended or corrected since 
its publication, but there remain enough other conditions of doubt- 
ful fairness to the policy holder to, I think, justify including this 
essay in this book. 

Among these conditions, is the clause, in all Tontine policies, — 
and nearly all policies now issued are Tontine in one form or an- 
other, — which puts all accumulations on policies derived from 
• 'dividends, " premiums, etc. , on lapsed policies etc. , into the hands 
of directors or officers of the companies, to do with as they choose, 
the policy holder being made, by the terms of his contract or policy, 
to agree to accept whatever proportion of surplus there may be 
* 'apportioned by the Society" or Company, to his policy, when it 
shall have matured. That is, the policy holder is not represented 
as against the Company, in the determining of what, if any surplus, 
his policy is or should be entitled to. ' 'At the end of the Tontine Pe- 
riod,if the person proposed for assurance be then living, and the 
policy in force, the policy shall participate in the accumulated sur- 
plus, derived from policies on the Free Tontine plan, both existing 
and discontinued, as may then be apportioned by the Society .'* (Italics 
mine.) This leaves the policy holder absolutely at the mercy of the 
Company, or its actuary who is, or may be, the instrument of the 
officers of the Company. And it will not do to reply that 'the pol- 
icy holders are the Company" for it is well known, at least among 
insurance experts, that this is one of the fictions of the business in 
its practical management. 

In illustration of certain other abuses in the managemen of this 
beneficent and important business, I have also included -. brief, 
humorous sketch, which touches some of these, a propoi of the 
fictions versus the facts. 

227 



2a8 LAWSUIT OR LEGACY 

tracts, that it is to-day as unlike its old self as the 
railway-car is unlike the stage-coach. 

The old life-insurance contract undertook to define 
burglary, riot, and rebellion, and the companies held 
themselves free from obligations which they had de- 
liberately assumed, if the other party to the contract 
did not conform to the rules of conduct laid down un- 
der their definition and requirements. Nowhere else 
in the history of large business organizations has 
the debtor regulated his obligation by the morals 
of his creditor and liquidated his debt by acknowl- 
edging its existence, and then simply charging 
moral obliquity on the part of said creditor as the 
reason for not paying it. 

If A owes B fifty dollars, and B is known to be 
a thief or a murderer, it does not liquidate A's 
debt to simply show that fact. But life-insurance 
companies have held, and some of them still claim, 
the right to so indemnify creditors, and, strange 
to say, they have been able to conduct business on 
that basis. They have even gone further, and said 
that a debt to B*s heirs is forfeited in like man- 
ner — thus making the destruction of a man's repu- 
tation after his death of pecuniary advantage to the 
company. They have been enabled to do this be- 
cause many men do not read the insurance contract 
which they sign, and hence have no idea of its 
complicated and, in many cases, unfair nature. If 



Lawsuit or leOacv 2^9 

men insisted upon understanding the contract be- 
fore they sign it, as they do in other business, the 
more unfair features would necessarily disappear 
from all insurance contracts. 

If I deposit a thousand dollars in a bank, it is 
my money — I can withdraw it when I please, sub- 
ject, of course, to business rules, which have noth- 
ing to do with my standing as a citizen. The bank 
has nothing to say in regard to my loyalty or my 
honesty in other affairs. My money can not revert 
to the bank on outside ethical or moral grounds. But 
in life-insurance — a business in which more money 
is invested than in banking — the opposite rule has 
been, and to some extent still is, in operation. 

There are a few companies, it is true, which have 
rarely taken advantage of their reserved right to 
mulct a family of money actually received, upon the 
plea of outside ethical delinquencies of the dead — 
which had nothing to do with his length of life — 
and there are companies, at the present time, 
which have voluntarily eliminated the greater part 
of these oppressive regulations and reserved rights 
from their forms of contract. But in many of the 
companies they still remain in full force, and in 
almost all there are improvements of a most im- 
portant nature needed even yet. 

In other words, while one or two companies have 
made their contracts, in large part, what contracts 



^^6 tAWSUlT Ok LEGACY 

purport to be, a guarantee of good faith — that, if 
so much money is paid to them during a stated in- 
terval, they will return to the party insured, or to 
his heirs, a stated sum at a given time— there are 
still many which have not so improved their con- 
tracts, and are doing business in the old way, de- 
pending for success on the ignorance of their ap- 
plicants in regard to the unfair conditions of the 
contracts which they sign. A few have left out 
most of the thousand and one ifs and ands andpro- 
videds of the old regime, and have at last under- 
taken to conduct this important and rapidly-grow- 
ing business on strictly business principles, and the 
results have abundantly attested the wisdom of the 
new departure and indicate the advisability of still 
more liberal measures. A man may now, if he is 
careful and wise with his choice of a company, 
insure his life, or, if insured, he may have the te- 
merity to die, without a fairly-grounded expectation 
of leaving his family a lawsuit for a legacy. He 
may also be reasonably sure that he is not placing 
his own reputation (after he is unable to defend 
it) at the mercy of a powerful corporation intent 
upon saving its funds from the inroads of a just 
debt. And I question if it is too much to say that, 
given enough money, a strong motive, and a pow- 
erful corporation, on the one hand, and only a sor- 
rowing family upon the other, and no man ever 



LAWSUIT OR LEGACY 23I 

lived or died whose reputation could not be black- 
ened beyond repair, after he was himself unable to 
explain or refute seeming irregularities of conduct 
or dishonesty of motive. No man's character is 
invulnerable, and no man's reputation can afford 
the strain or test of such a contest. Millions of dollars 
have been withheld from rightful heirs by threats of 
an exposure — the more vague the more frightful — of 
the unsuspected crimes or misdeeds of the beloved 
dead. 

Thousands of cases never known to the public 
have been "compromised," and hundreds of heart- 
aches and unjust suspicions and fears about the 
dead, which can never be corrected, are aroused in 
sorrowing but loving breasts by this method of do- 
ing "business." It is, of course, of the utmost im- 
portance that every precaution be taken by life insur- 
ance companies to protect against fraud and trickery, 
the funds held by them iu trust for others. But 
with the agent, the examining physician, the med- 
ical directors, and the inspectors all employed by, 
and answerable to, the company represented, if 
fraud is committed in getting into the company, 
one or all of these paid officers must, almost of 
necessity, be party to that fraud. With all these 
safeguards in the hands of the company, if a man 
is accepted as a "good risk," if he pays his premi- 
ums, surely his family has the right to expect a 



232 LAWSUIT OR LEGACY 

legacy and not a lawsuit, nor a "compromise" which 
must cast reproach on the dead. 

If it were not for the enormous value and benefits 
of this method of making provision for his family, 
surely no man in his senses would ever have risked 
— would not risk to-day — signing a contract which 
gives the other interested party not only an abso- 
lute fixed sum of his money, year by year, but also 
reserves to it the right to investigate and construe his 
actions and motives after he is unable to contest 
its verdict. 

And not only this, but upon the finding of some 
slight, wholly immaterial flaw in his statements 
(which it failed to find when he was in the hands 
of its agents and officers), in some companies he 
not only forfeits the right of his heirs to their pur- 
chased inheritance, but the company retains his 
money which he has paid in besides! This is surely 
a dangerous contract for any man to sign. It is 
placing a temptation and a power in the hands of a 
corporation that it has never yet been in the nature 
of corporations not to abuse. 

"If any statement in this application is in any 
respect untrue, it voids the policy, and all payments 
which shall have been made revert to the com- 
pany," gives a wide field and doubtful motive of 
action when it is remembered that many of the 
questions are of such a nature that not one man 



LAWSUIT OR LEGACY 233 

in a thousand could be absolutely sure that he 
knew the correct reply. 

"At what age did your grandparents die?" All 
four of them. How many men are sure that they 
can answer that question correctly? "Of what did 
each one die?" You do not know. You have a 
general idea. You express it. You pay your pre- 
miums ten years. You die (one doctor says of con- 
sumption — another says of blood-poison); the com- 
pany finds some old person who says your grand- 
mother on your father's side died of the same thing, 
and there is a rumor that a long-forgotten (or never 
known) country cousin also had it. 

The company sends a representative to the wid- 
ow. * He assures her (and by the very terms of the 
contract, signed by the dead husband, he is right 
and she is helpless) that they can refuse to pay a 
cent; that her husband got his policy by fraud — 
although no indication of his physical disorder ap- 
peared to any of the numerous officers employed by 
the company for its own protection, when he made 
his application, and by general reports he was 
(and believed himself to be) a sound man. 

He assures her that they want to be generous 
rather than just, and if she will sign a release, or 
"compromise," she will be given a small part of 
the sum named in the policy. He makes her feel 
the necessity of keeping this bargain a secret, lest 



234 LAWSUIT OR LEGACY 

Other policy holders object to the company paying 
anything on the life of one who "attempted a fraud" 
upon them! He impresses upon her that in case 
of contest she could get absolutely nothing ; that 
she is poor, and the company is rich and strong; 
and if he fails to arouse her gratitude for his gen- 
erosity in offering to pay her anything whatever, 
he usually succeeds in intimidating her in her pov- 
erty and distress. .A sparrow in the hand is worth 
more than an eagle on Mount Washington to a 
widow with a hungry family, especially if the ea- 
gle has successfully maimed his pursuer in the be- 
ginning of the flight. 

The company knows this. The widow knows it. 
The conclusion is therefore certain before the prem- 
ises are stated, and the "compromise" is made or 
the claim quietly dropped. It is easy to say that 
a man died of some bad habit unknown to his fam- 
ily, and his family would rather forego their claim 
than drag into light, or into disgrace, the memory 
of the loved dead. All this is well understood by 
those on the "inside," and by thousands of sad hearts 
that dare not speak. Is there no remedy for all 
this? Is there no way that a useful and powerful 
business can be rid of features which make it both 
dangerous and ghoulish? 

The recent steps taken by the best companies are 
undoubtedly in the right direction^ as those still 



LAWSUIT OR LEGACY ^35 

using the old forms of contract will sooner or later 
learn. But there is room yet for improvement even 
in the best forms written to-day. The fairest insur- 
ance contract written still has room for improve- 
ment. 

Is there no way to protect these great corpora- 
tions against the frauds of individuals, and at the 
same time protect the individual against the frauds 
of the corporations? 

Must life-insurance contracts be absolutely one- 
sided, and that be the side of the strong against 
the weak; the guarded against the unguarded; 
the living against the dead? It seems to me that 
this is wholly unnecessary. A life-insurance com- 
pany which has the agents, the doctors, the medical 
directors^ and inspectors all on its side can well 
afford to offer a fair field — a plain, fair contract — 
to its patrons and then pay its debts like any other 
debtor when its obligation falls due. If it can not 
find out within a year (with all the machinery in 
its own hands), and while the man is alive, that he 
is a bad risk, it is too late to make the discovery 
after he is dead. If the indications are sufficiently 
in his favor for them to accept his money from year 
to year while he lives, they are sufficiently favor- 
able to him for his family to receive the company's 
money when he has died. 

Life-insurance is too valuable and too necessary 



236 tAWSUlT OR LfiGACV 

a means of provision for the family for it to be 
overlaid with abuses that make many men hesitate 
to avail themselves of its benefits; and which put 
a power for evil into strong hands, and make temp- 
tation to do wrong inevitable and constant. 

It is said by some, whose attention has been called 
to this important subject, that the form of contract 
does not so much matter, since almost any court or 
jury will decide a suit against the company, and in 
favor of the family, in any event. This is taking it 
for granted that the heirs are in position, and are 
willing, to bring suit, and risk the reputation of 
the dead as well as the financial drain. But, as a 
matter of fact, this is not true — nor is it desirable 
that it should be. The rights of these corporations 
should be as jealously guarded by our courts as the 
rights of the individual; and perverted justice is 
a dangerous tool to handle. The man who signs 
an oppressive contract depending upon a court to 
nullify it after he is dead, is clinging to a rope of 
sand. The letter of the bond is what the court is 
bound to enforce, and every man should be sure 
that he signs only such as shall deal fairly with 
his heirs on that basis. 

The following extract is from the decision of the 
Court of Appeals in the famous Dwight case, which 
is so recently decided as to most forcibly illustrate 
this point: 



LAWSUIT OR LEGACY 237 

"If an insurance policy in plain and unambiguous 
language makes the observance of an apparently 
immaterial requirement the condition of a valid 
contract, neither courts nor juries have the right to 
disregard it or to construct, by implication or other- 
wise, a new contract in the place of that deliber- 
ately made by the parties. . . Such contracts 
are open in construction, . . . but are subject 
to it only when, upon the face of the instrument, 
it appears that its meaning is doubtful or its lan- 
guage ambiguous or uncertain. . . 

"An elementary writer says: 'Indeed, the very 
idea and purpose of construction imply a previous 
uncertainty as to the meaning of a contract, for 
when this is clear and unambiguous there is no 
room for construction and nothing for construction 
to do.'" 

For this reason the Court of Appeals cited as the 
ground, and the only ground, for its decision 
against the widow, the following clause from the 
policy of the contesting company: 

"This policy is issued, and the same is accepted 
by the said assured, upon the following express 
conditions and agreements: That the same shall 
cease and be null and void and of no effect . . • 
If the representations made in the application for 
this policy, upon the faith of which this contract 
is made, shall be found in any respect untrue. *' 



238 LAWSUIT OR LEGACY 

Colonel Dwight was in the habit of making large 
business ventures. Several times, when he had 
done so, he had taken heavy amounts of life insur- 
ance, so that in case of the failure of his under- 
takings, and his own death before he could regain 
his financial feet, his family would not suffer. On 
previous occasions he had dropped the greater part 
of his insurance as soon as his business ventures 
had terminated successfully. This is not an un- 
common thing for rich or speculative men to do. 

In 1878 Colonel Dwight died, with an insurance 
on his life of about {265,000, some of which he had 
carried for years; but a large part of it had been 
recently taken for the reasons above stated, and as 
he had done before under similar circumstances. 
Fifty thousand of this sum was in old and new pol- 
icies against one company. 

This company paid at once, thus giving the wid- 
ow means to fight for her claims against the other 
companies. In a short time one of the other com- 
panies, against which .she had a small claim of 
15,000, also paid. The other nineteen companies 
contested. The widow employed Senator Conkling, 
and the fight has been the hardest, the bitterest, 
and the most ghoulish insurance contest ever had 
in this country; and finally the companies have won 
in the Court of Appeals on a purely technical point, 
after having dug Colonel Dwight 's body up several 



LAWSUIT OR LEGACY 239 

times, in the effort to prove that he was poisoned, 
that he hung himself, and that he was not dead at 
all! They failed utterly to prove any material cause 
of contest ; but they finally won on the ground that, 
in answering a question in the application for in- 
surance. Colonel Dwight did not state that he had 
ever engaged in the liquor business, whereas it had 
been known that he had owned a hotel where liquor 
was sold. 

Now, when it is remembered that at one time 
these companies tried to prove that Colonel Dwight 
had committed suicide, but that they never had any 
grounds upon which to claim that he had died of 
intemperance, the purely technical grounds for the 
decision of the Court of Appeals is apparent. 
Ninety-nine policies out of a hundred could be 
contested on such ground as that; and so long as 
insurance contracts retain these unreasonable and op- 
pressive features, no man can be sure that he is not 
leaving a lawsuit and bitter sorrow to his family, 
and, worst of all, a blasted reputation for himself, 
when he applies for insurance under such a form. 

An officer of one of the companies was heard to 
boast of the fact, but a few days ago, that his com- 
pany had spent nearly ten times the amount of the 
claim against it in this Dwight contest ! This is 
economy indeed! Whose money was this spent? 
The policy-holder's. For what? To defeat one of 



240 LAWSUIT OR LEGACY 

the policy-holders in a contest for a claim no doubt 
as honest as any one of the others will present in 
his turn. 

But suppose that this was not an honest claim; 
suppose that Colonel Dwight was not a "good risk," 
is it not a rather suggestive indication of the value 
of the medical examinations by the expert medical 
examiners and directors of twenty-one life-insurance 
companies? A risk good enough to "pass" some 
forty-five doctors employed by, and for the protec- 
tion of, the companies is, on the face of it, a good 
enough risk to pay. If this is not so, then the com- 
panies, and not the public, should be made to bear 
the responsibility of the incompetency of their own 
officers. 

But for the reputation of these medical men, it 
is a fortunate fact that the contest did not prove 
Colonel Dwight to be an unsafe risk. After his 
body was dug up several times, and a number of 
autopsies held, and most of him analyzed, they 
succeeded in proving that he owned a hotel where 
liquor was sold! 

But under these forms of contract, the companies 
undoubtedly had a legal right to refuse payment up- 
on even so absurdly technical a misstatement of "oc- 
cupation." It was claimed by his family that his 
hotel was a side issue; that he did not think of him- 
self as in that business, and that his failure to ^ay, 



LAWSUIT OR LEGACY 24 1 

because of it, that he was "in any way connected with 
the manufacture or sale of spirituous liquors/' was 
a natural one under the circumstances. How many 
men give, in answering the question as to occupa- 
tion in their applications for insurance, all of the 
numerous "plants" in which they have an interest 
of a financial nature, more or less important? One 
man says he is a bookkeeper, but he ma}' possibly, 
also, own stock in a mine. His claim could be 
contested on that ground. Suppose that he really 
thought nothing of his mining-stock when he made 
his application and signed his contract? Suppose 
that in a short time he was called to see the mine, 
went into it, and died of the results of that trip? 
His policy would not, if it contained the usual con- 
ditions, be worth, in a legal fight, the paper it was 
written on. 

That companies often waive their reserved right 
to contest on such grounds, is used as an argument 
to prove the innocent nature of these forfeiture 
clauses and other oppressive conditions. But so 
long as they hold the legal power to do so, the 
temptation to contest will be too great for flesh 
and blood, not to say for corporations, to bear 
without yielding sometimes. The "Get thee behind 
me, Satan," of a fair, plain contract will be the 
best safeguard for the heirs in the matter of money, 
and for the companies in the matter of morals; 



24a LAWSUIT OR LEGACY 

while the "economy for the sake of surviving pol- 
icy-holders" might be directed, as there is surely 
room for believing that it needs to be, into other 
and more legitimate channels. Economizing on 
debts to dead policy-holders is not a very good 
recommendation to living ones, for the companies 
which thus lock the wrong stable-door. 

The new move toward furnishing fair contracts 
is in the right direction, and it now rests with in- 
surers — the public— to see that it does not stop short 
of fulfilling the promise of still better things in 
the future. 

POINTS HUMOROUS AND OTHERWISE ABOUT LIFE 

INSURANCE. 

Printed in Twentiith Century. 

I made up my mind to get my life insured. As 
I had heard some one say it was not wise to put 
all of one's eggs into the same basket, I decided to 
apply for a small policy in two of the leading 
companies at the same time. I was never seriously 
ill in my life, so when I was informed that I had 
been "held off'* by the examining physician of one 
company who found theoretical traces of diseased 
kidneys, I was a good deal astonished. Profes- 
sional etiquette prevented the examining physician 
of the other company from passing me until this 
matter was settled, although he confessed that he 



LAWSUIT OR LEGACY 243 

could find no such traces himself. In his opinion 
my weak spot was my lungs. "But doctor," said 
I, "I've got lungs like a bellows. I was stroke oar 
at college." 

"It doesn't make any difference to our doctor 
whether you were stroke oar or a stroke of light- 
ning if he discovers that any of your ancestors died 
of consumption," remarked the agent, who had lost 
his temper. "You ought to have had better sense 
than to tell Dr. Pulmonary that your great aunt 
coughed before she died. He'd find evidence of 
lung trouble in a copper-bottomed boiler if it 
wheezed letting off steam. Who examined you 
over at the other place? Old Albumen? I'll bet 
ten dollars he'd find traces of his pet disorder in a 
ham if he examined one." 

I was getting a little piqued. I concluded to put 
my application in to several other companies and 
take the first policy issued. In pursuance of this 
idea I was examined by Dr. Palpitation of the M. 
of N. Y. company, and he discovered that I was 
liable to drop off at any time from heart failure. 
He said that he did not wish to alarm me, but I 
needed medical care and a very wise and sustained 
course of treatment. 

At this stage of the proceedings I went to the 
only physician I had ever employed for any slight ills 
during my past career and had him put me through 



244 LAWSUIT OR LEGACY 

a thorough and exhaustive physical examination 
without disclosing anything of my motive for so 
doing. He pronounced me fit for the coming boat 
race, which was to be an unusually trying one. 

"Any trace of albumen, doctor?" I asked. 

"None — not a trace." 

"Nothing wrong with my heart or lungs?" 

"Look here, boy. If you never die until they 
give out, you're going under from old age. I tell 
you, you are as sound a man as ever lived. There 
is absolutely nothing to hang a suspicion of any 
disorder on. For my sake I wish there was," he 
added, laughing and slapping his pocket. 

The next day I had a call from the doctor who 
had examined me for the £. of Y. He said that 
heM like to have a second pass at my eyes. He 
thought there was a look in one of them that indi- 
cated softening of the brain. I laughed. 

He remarked that people in the first stages of 
that trouble usually took it just that way. It was 
a symptom. 

"You confounded old fool!" £faid I, losing my 
temper. "Are you in earnest? I supposed you 
were joking from the first but if you're talking 
as good sense as you've got just leave this office. 
I—" 

He left. 

He reported to his company that I was in a more 



LAWSUIT OR LEGACY 24S 

advanced stage of the disorder than he had at first 
feared. I had arrived at the unnecessarily irritable 
condition. Of course my case was settled with that 
company. Professional etiquette again stepped in, 
and the doctor for the M. B. of C. took another whack 
at my liver. He said that the organ was badly 
enlarged and he'd hold me off for one year to see 
if it would return to its normal proportions. Ac- 
cording to his diagnosis fully nine-tenths of the 
population of New York were carrying around livers 
that were enough to tire out an ox. He could tell 
a big livered man as far as he could see him, and 
he pointed out five who passed while he was talk- 
ing. 

He said that enlargment of the liver was getting 
to be a very real danger to the population of all of 
the chief cities, and if the cause was not soon dis- 
covered by the medical profession and a reducing 
process, so to speak, clapped on to the metropol- 
itan liver, life insurance companies would have to 
keep a mighty sharp eye on all applicants, or the 
death rates would wreck the most prosperous of 
them in pretty short order. 

I was led to infer from the way he poked and 
prodded around me and measured and sounded that 
my liver was rather badly sagged at one side and 
that the other lobe was swelled up like a bladder. 
It seems as if a person would notice a thing like 



246 LAWSUIT OR LEGACY 

that himself, but the doctor said that as like as not 
I'd never have discovered it at all if he had not — 
fortunately for me — been called in to examine me. 

He said that he never prescribed for men, he is 
required to examine for insurance, but he told me 
to take a certain remedy for the next three months 
and then report to him. Meantime his company 
would "hold me off." 

"We won't reject you outright," he explained 
"because this thing may be only temporary — may 
not be organic — and it wouldn't be a fair thing to 
your heirs to decline you outright, because that 
would most likely prevent you from ever getting 
life insurance anywhere in the future." 

That was a new idea to me and gave me a good 
deal of a scare. 

It occurred to me that the future of a man's 
family — where it depended on the insurance money 
of its head — was subject to considerable uncertainty 
from the various fads of the doctors. 

Here I was in danger of being rejected — pro- 
nounced an unsound risk — by four separate and 
distinct companies for four separate and distinct 
ailments of which my own doctor could find not the 
least trace and I could feel not the faintest twinge. 

If any one of them decided positively against me 
the future of my family was nil — so far as insurance 
went, for the examining physician of no other com- 



LAWSUIT OR LEGACY 247 

pan}' would be bold enough or sufficiently lacking 
in "professional courtesy" to pronounce in my favor, 
whether he could find anything wrong with me him- 
self or not. I began to realize that what I had so 
far looked upon as rather a good joke might be 
serious after alL 

It occurred to me, too, that it would be a good 
deal more far reaching than I had supposed. 

If Old Pulmonary — as the agent called him — 
stuck to his theory of my lungs, not only I, but my 
children, would be unable to get insurance. It 
would establish a family history — a "heredity" — 
hard to get rid of. My little joke in speaking of 
the fact that my aunt had been said to cough be- 
fore she died, together with Dr. Pulmonary's abil- 
ity to scent lung trouble in the breathing apparatus 
of a porous plaster, might lead to a serious com- 
plication not only for me but for my children. I 
concluded to make a clean breast of it. I did not 
quite dare tell Dr. Pulmonary that I had been de- 
liberately guying the profession — and in fact that 
was not my first intention — but I asked if he did not 
think it a little odd that no two of them had held 
me off for the same reason and that each one had 
found indications of the particular disorder for 
which he had a special leaning. He pricked up his 
ears at once and asked all about the others. I told 
him that one had found albumen, another enlarged 



248 ' LAWSUIT OR LEGACY 

liver, and the third was afraid of heart failure or 
softening of the brain, and one was still waiting, 
because he could find no trouble — on account of 
professional etiquette — before reporting at all. 

"Meantime my own doctor — the one who has 
known me from childhood — pronounces me fit for a 
scull race," said I a little drily. 

"Does your physician know of these examina- 
tions?" he inquired. 

"No, he doesn't," I responded rather hotly this 
time, "or no doubt he'd have discovered that I 
had inflammatory rheumatism and gangrene. He 
is a good deal of a professional ethic man, him- 
self. " 

The doctor turned and walked into his private 
room, promising to overhaul the papers again and 
talk with his subordinate. 

I hunted up the agent who had first called upon 
me and complained that this sort of nonsense had 
gone about as far as I wanted it to go. "That old 
donkey at the head of your medical department up- 
holds the idiotic report of the 3^oung gosling that 
first examined me here, notwithstanding the fact 
that he says himself that he can't find the first 
trace of the trouble. Now, if insurance companies 
employ impecunious young physicians with little 
experience, because they can get them cheap, and 
then insist upon it that professional etiquette for- 



LAWSUIT OR LEGACY 249 

bids any other examiner from correcting their blun- 
ders, it seems to me — " 

The agent had been looking about carefully to 
be sure that no one overheard. 

At this point he said: 

"Sh! Don't talk so loud. You see young Car- 
diac, who had you first, passed a man a short while 
ago who died in about six months and it was dis- 
covered that he had only a part of one lung and 
had been that way for years. The referee — Old 
Pulmonary is our referee, you know — gave him a 
pretty bad scare, and he's afraid to pass anybody 
at all since. 'Fraid he'll lose his place. All the 
agents are mad about it. Manage to hold their men^ 
over for examination until he leaves the office and 
then take *em to another one of the examiners. 
He'll refuse every body now for a while — or hold 
him off. Fully one-half the men he examined last 
month were rejected outright or held over. I 
didn't know it when I took you to him or I'd have 
taken you to some one else to be examined." 

"That would be all very well," said I, "if it 
wasn't for the absurdity of what the doctors are 
pleased to call professional etiquette, which pre- 
vents any other examiner for any other company 
from finding a man so held or rejected, sound. In 
the first place nearly all the big companies refuse 
to allow any but an 'old school' or 'regular' alio- 



250 LAWSUIT OR LEGACY 

pathic physician to examine a man. Then if that 
examiner has a fad, or makes a mistake, they are 
all banded together to sustain him in it and not to 
correct it, even if they can't find the first symptom 
of a disease about him. I tell you it is not only 
outrageous to the man and his family, but the re- 
sult will be that men who know it will refuse to place 
themselves in any such danger. They won't want 
a family record of hereditary diseases made and 
put on file to stare them and their descendants in 
the face just for the sake of professional etiquette 
toward some young M. D., who just as like as not 
got his place from the fact that he married a daugh- 
ter of a director of the company and had to be 
supported some way and hadn' t the skill to do it in 
an open field in his profession. Men are not going to 
stand it. It will injure them, and it is bound to react 
on the company too. I'd never have applied at all if 
I'd known of it in time. What business has a com- 
pany to ask whether an applicant has or has not 
been rejected by another company? If their own 
examiner can't find anything wrong with him, isn't 
that enough? This thing of the doctors of all the 
companies combining to keep a record against a 
man is outrageous. Why can't a company depend 
on the capacity of its own medical staff? If it wants 
any other information of a medical nature, why 
isn't the applicant's own family physician quite 



LAWSUIT OR LEGACY 25 1 

enough? I consider the thing a good deal of an 
outrage, and the company that omits from its pa- 
pers the sort of questions that result in this absurd 
and opressive professional etiquette folderol, is 
going to be the company of the future. Intelli- 
gent men know too well the chaotic state of med- 
ical science to be willing to risk it. Why, good 
Lord, man, that softening of the brain — paresis — 
idiot over at the E. of Y. can, and no doubt will, 
give me a record that may cling to me and my fam- 
ily in a way that might, in many a business or other 
contingency, cause the very greatest hardship." I 
looked up and saw that the medical referee who 
had really indicated that he meant to reconsider 
my case was standing where he had heard me. 

His face was a study* He was angry clear 
through. He would have (in a medical journal or 
debate) taken issue with, and proved the utter in- 
capacity of nine-tenths of the profession, but to have 
a layman criticise their action when it might mean 
even life or death to him and his was more than 
the doctor's adherence to professional etiquette 
could bear. 

My friend, the agent, saw his face. 

"ril bet you four dollars, John, that you not 
only won't get a policy here now but that no other 
company will pass you," said he under his breath. 
"The old man is on the war path. " 



252 LAWSUIT OR LEGACY 

That was eight months ago and I'm "held ofi" 
in eleven companies now. I was never sick in my 
life. Pm as sound in person and in heredity as any 
man who ever lived, but I am at the mercy of that 
absurdest of all covers for personal incapacity — 
professional etiquette — combined with the unrea- 
sonable fact that insurance companies require an 
applicant to tell their examiners just what piece of 
idiotic prejudice has been launched at him by the 
doctor of every other company, so that they can all 
hold together and fit his case to the reports, and 
not the reports to the facts in his case as they find 
them. 

Meantime, Jack Howard, who died last week, 
poor fellow, was accepted by five of them because 
the first examiner who got hold of him, not being 
a kidney fiend but having his whole mind on lung 
trouble — and Jack had splendid lungs — didn't dis- 
cover that he was in the last stages of Bright's 
disease. His family made ^27,000 out of profes- 
sional etiquette, and mine — when I die — will most 
likely lose that much, together with a reputation 
for a sound heredity which may affect the insurers 
to the third and fourth generation of them that love 
truth and tell that their father was rejected by all 
the leading life insurance companies for pulmonary 
trouble, heart disease, kidney affection, paresis, 
and enlargement of the liver. Meantime the first 



LAWSUIT OR LEGACY 253 

good company that shows enough sense and sufficient 
confidence in its own medical men to omit that 
sort of questions from its form of examination is 
going to get me — and a good many others like me. 



Common ^tnBt in ^urjetg 

Reprinted from Harper's Monthly Magazine 



Common ^tnst in ^ux^tx^ 



There are certain forms of expression which once 
heard fit themselves into the mind so firmly, and 
re-appear in one connection or another so frequently, 
that one scarcely recognizes the fact even when one 
changes a word or two in order to make the original 
idea fit the case in point. So when I stood watch- 
ing the ingenious method by which the trainers of 
the English fox-hounds induced each dog to per- 
form his own surgical operations after a hunt, I re- 
marked, with no recognition of the plagiarism from 
Dr. Holmes, "Every dog his own doctor." 

"No," replied the trainer, with a fine sense of 
distinction which I had not before observed — "no; 
I am the doctor; the dogs are the surgeons. I pre- 
scribe; they perform the operation. They do that 
part far better than I could; but they wouldn't do 
it in time to save the pain and trouble of a much 
more serious operation that they could not perform, 
if I did not set them at it in time, and keep them 
at work until all danger of inflammation is past." 

It was after a hunt. The dogs — splendid blooded 

fellows, a great pack of over sixty of them — had 

gotten many thorns and briers in their feet. They 

255r 



258 COMMON- SENSE IN SURGERY 

came back limping, foot-sore, and with troubled 
eyes that looked up piteously for relief from their 
pain. They were very hungry too, after the long 
chase; but "No doctor will allow a patient to eat 
just before a surgical operation,'* remarked the 
trainer, dryly. "Now watch." 

He threw open a door leading into an outer room 
of the splendid Hunt Club Kennel, and gave the 
word of command. 

There was a rush, and the entire pack burst 
through the wide entrance. Then every dog lay 
suddenly down, and began with great vigor to lick 
his feet. 

Why? Simply because in rushing through that 
door they had waded through a wide, shallow 
trough or sink of pretty warm soup. This basin 
was sunk in the stone floor, and reached entirely 
across the door, and was too wide to jump over, 
even had it been visible from the outside, which it 
was not. 

The dogs had plunged into it before they knew 
it was there, and were instantly out of its rather un- 
comfortable heat. 

Each dog worked at his feet with vigor. He 
was hungry. The soup was good; but dogs object 
to soup on their feet. This process was continued 
and repeated until it was thought that all thorns 
and briers and pebbles had been licked and picked 



COMMON -SENSE IN SURGERY 259 

from the crippled feet. Then the dogs were fed 
and put to bed — or allowed to He down and sleep 
— in their fresh straw-filled bunks. 

"A doctor and a surgeon may be the same per- 
son," remarked the philosophical trainer, oracularly, 
"but they seldom are. If you whine — as the dogs 
do when their feet hurt after a hunt — or if you limp 
or complain, a doctor guesses what is the matter 
with you. Then he guesses what will cure j'ou. 
If both guesses are rights you are in luck, and he is 
a skilful diagnostician. In nine cases out of ten he 
is giving you something harmless, while he is taking 
a second and a third look at you (at your expense, 
of course) to guess over after himself." 

His medical pessimism and his surgical opti- 
mism amused and entertained me, and I encouraged 
him to go on. 

"Now with a surgeon it is different. Surgery is 
an exact science. Before I took this position I 
was a surgeon's assistant in a hospital. In some 
places we are called trained nurses. . In our place 
we were called surgeons' assistants. That's why I 
make such a distinction between doctors and sur- 
geons. Pve seen the two work side by side so long. 
I've seen some of the funniest mistakes made, and 
I've seen mistakes that were not funny. I've seen 
post-mortem examinations that would have made a 
surgeon ashamed that he had ever been born^ looked 



26o COMMON-SENSE IN SURGERY 

upon by the doctor who treated the case as not at 
all strange ; didn't stagger him a bit in his own 
opinion of himself and his scientific knowledge 
next time. I remember one case. It was a Japanese 
boy. He was as solid as a little ox, but he told Dr. 
G — that he'd been taking a homoeopathic pre- 
scription for a cold. That was enough for Dr. G — . 
A red rag in the van of a bovine animal is nothing 
to the word 'homoeopathy' to Dr. G — . Hydropathy 
gives him fits, and eclecticism almost lays him 
out. Not long ago he sat on a jury which sent to 
prison a man who had failed in a case of 'mind 
cure.* That gave deep delight to his 'regular' 
soul. Well, Dr. G — questioned the little Jap, who 
could not speak good English, and had the national 
inclination to agree with whatever you say. Ever 
been in Japan? No? Well, they are a droll lot. 
Always strive to agree with all you say or suggest. 

"'Did you ever spit blood?* asked Dr. G — , by- 
and-by, after he could find nothing else wrong ex- 
cept the little ,cold for which the homoeopathic 
physician was treating the boy. 

'Once,' replied that youthful victim. 
'Aha! we are getting at the root of this matter 
now,' said Dr. G — . 'Now tell me truly. Be care- 
ful! Did you spit much blood?' 

"'Yes, sir; a good deal.' 

"The doctor sniffed. He always knew that a 



t< 



•< 



II r 



II 



COMMON-SENSE IN SURGERY 26 1 

homoeopathic humbug could not diagnose a case, 
and would be likely to get just about as near the 
facts as a light cold would come to tuberculosis. 

"*How long did this last?' he inquired of the 
smiling boy. 

'I think — it seems to me — ' 

*A half -hour?' queried the doctor; 'twenty min- 
utes?' 

"'I think so. Yes, sir. About half an hour — 
twenty minutes/ responded the obliging youth. 

"I heard that talk. Common-sense told me the 
boy's lungs were all right; but it was none of my 
business, and so I watched him treated, off and on, 
for lung trouble for over a month before I got a 
chance to ask him any questions. Then I asked, 
incidentally: 

"'What made you spit that blood that time, Gihi?' 

"'I didn't know I ought to swallow him,' he re- 
plied, wide-eyed and anxious. 'Dentist pull tooth 
He say to me, "Spit blood here." I do like he tell 
me. Your doctor sayver' bad for lungs, spit blood. 
Next time I swallow him.' 

"I helped another practitioner, in good and reg- 
ular standing, to examine a man's heart. He 
found a pretty bad wheeze in the left side. I had 
to nurse that man. He had been on a bat, and all 
on earth that ailed him was that spree, but he got 
treated for heart trouble. It scared the man almost 
to death. 



262 COMMON-SENSE IN SURGERY 

"Pd learned how a heart should sound, so one 
day I tried his. He was in bed then, and it sounded 
all right, so when the doctor came in, I took him 
aside, and told him that I didn't want to interfere, 
but that man was scared about to death over his 
heart, and it seemed to me it was all right — sounded 
like other hearts — and his pulse was all right too. 
The doctor was mad as a March Kare, though he 
had told mc to make two or three tests, and keep 
the record for him against the time of his next 
visit. Well, to make a long matter short, the final 
discovery was— the man don't know it yet, and he 
is going around in dread of dropping off any min- 
ute with heart failure— that at the first examination 
the man had removed only his coat and vest, and 
his new suspender on his starched shirt had made 
the squeak. That is a cold fact, and that man paid 
over eighty dollars for the treatment he had for his 
heart, or rather, for his suspender." 

I was so interested in the drollery of this ex- 
nurse, and in his scorn for one branch of a profes- 
sion, while he entertained almost a superstitious 
awe and admiration for surgery per se^ that I de- 
cided upon my return to New York to visit a great 
surgeon, and ask him to allow me to see an opera- 
tion that would fairly represent the advance-guard 
so to speak, the upward reach of the profession as 
it is to day. 



COMMON-SENSE IN SURGERY 263 

We all know the physician who follows his pro- 
fession strictly and solely as a means of support. 
Most of us also happily know something of one or 
more medical men who are a credit to humanity, 
in that they subordinate their ability to extort money 
from suffering to their desire to relieve pain, even 
though such relief conduces not to their own finan- 
cial opulence. Very few of us who are not close 
students of the medical profession realize, I think, 
some of the magnificent developments not only of 
surgery, but of the character of the surgeon. We 
are led to think of them as rather hard and brutal 
men. The side of their work and nature that means 
tenderness and devotion to the relief of those who, 
but for the skilled and brave surgeon, must die or 
suffer for life, is seldom laid before us. The quiet, 
sweet, and simple devotion of such men does not 
reach the public ear. 

The operation of which I learned, and which is the 
first of its kind on record, was so strange, so great, and 
so far-reaching in its suggestion and promise that it 
seemed to me it could not fail to interest and in- 
spire the general reader, who never sees a medical 
or surgical journal, and who would not read it if he 
did. 

Can you think of an operation that would create 
a mind? Can you conceive of the meaning to hu- 
manity of a discovery that would transform a con- 



264 COMMON-SENSE IN SURGERY 

genital imbecile into a rational being? Such an 
operation was the one I was privileged to see. 

The patient was a child about one year old; of 
good parentage and of healthy bodily growth, aside 
from the fact that its skull was that of a new-born 
child, and it had hardened and solidified into that 
shape and size. The "soft spot" was not there, and 
the sutures or seams of the skull had grown fast 
and solid, so that the brain within was cramped and 
compressed by its unyielding bony covering. 

The body could grow — did grow — but the poor 
little compressed brain, the director of the intelli- 
gent and voluntary actions of the body, was kept 
at its first estate. Even worse than this, its strug- 
gle with its bony cage made a pressure which caused 
distortion and aimless or unmeaning movement — 
the arm and leg turned in, in that helpless, pa- 
thetic way that tells of imbecility. In short, the 
baby was a physically healthy imbecile — the most 
pathetic object on this sad earth. Upon examina- 
tion, the surgeon, a gentle, sweet-natured man, 
whose enthusiasm for his profession — for the relief 
of suffering — makes him the object of devotion of 
many to whom he has given life and health, and 
the inspirer and final appeal for many a brother 
practitioner, discovered what he believed to be the 
trouble. Led by that most uncommon of all things, 
common sense, he believed that this little victim of 



COMMON-SENSE IN SURGERY 265 

nature's mistake might be changed from a condi- 
tion far worse than death to one of comfort for itself, 
and to those who now looked upon it only in an- 
guish of soul. 

After explaining to the parents and the surgeons 
who had come to witness the wonderful experiment 
(for, after all, at this stage it was but an experi- 
ment based upon common-sense) that it might fail; 
after a modest and simple statement of his reason 
for undertaking so dangerous an operation, with no 
precedent before him; after explaining that the 
parents fully understood that not to try it meant 
hopeless idiocy, and that the trial might mean death 
— he began the work. I shall try to tell what it 
was in language that is not scientific, and may seem 
to those accustomed to surgical terms inadequate 
and unlearned; but to those who are not technical 
medical students I believe the less technical lan- 
guage will be far clearer. 

The child's skull was laid bare in front. Two 
tracks were cut from a little above the base (or 
top) of the nose up and over to the back of the head. 
One of these tracks was cut on each side, the sur- 
geon explained, because it would give equal expan- 
sion to the two sides of the brain, and because it 
would cause death to cut through the middle of 
the top of the head, where lies "the superior lon- 
gitudinal sinus." He left, therefore, the solid track 



266 COMMON-SENSE IN SURGERY 

of bone through the middle, and cut two grooves or 
tracks through the bone, one on either side, where 
nature (when she does not make a mistake) leaves 
soft or yielding edges, by means of which the nor- 
mal skull expands to fit the needs of the brain 
within. 

The trench made displaced, or cut away, one-quar- 
ter of an inch of solid bone all the way from near the 
base of the nose to the back part of the head. In the 
middle of the top of the head on each side a cross*wise 
cut was made, and one inch of bone divided. An- 
other cut was made on either side, slanting toward 
the ears. This was one inch and a half long. The 
surgeon then tenderly inserted his forefinger, pressed 
the internal mass loose from the bones where it 
adhered, and pushed the bones wider apart. This 
process widened the trenches to one inch. 

The wound was now dressed with the wonderfully 
effective new aseptics, and the flesh and skin closed 
over. The operation had taken an hour and a half. 
There was little bleeding. The baby was, of course, 
unconscious during the entire time. Oh, the bless- 
ings of anaesthetics! And now comes the wonderful 
result of this bold and radical but tender and hu- 
mane operation. 

The baby rallied well. In three days it showed 
improved intelligence. In eight days this improve- 
ment was marked. From a creature that sat list- 



COMMON-SENSE IN SURGERY 267 

less, deformed, and unmindful of all about it, it 
began to "take notice," like other children. From 
an "it," it had been transformed into a "he." It 
had been given personality. It ate and slept fairly 

WjBll. 

On the tenth day the wound was exposed and 
dressed. It had healed, or "united by first inten- 
tion," as the doctors say; and again one can but 
exclaim, "Oh, those wonderful aseptic dressings!" 
It had united without suppuration. It was a clean 
wound, cleanly healing. 

One month after the operation the feet and hands 
had straightened out, and lost their jerky, aimless 
movements. The child is now a child. It acts and 
thinks like other children, laughs and cooes and 
makes glad the hearts of those who love it. 

Not like other children of its age, perhaps, for it 
has several months yet to "catch up," but the last 
report, in one of the leading medical journals, said: 

"One month after the operation the change in 
its condition was surprising and gratifying. The 
deformities in the extremities had entirely disap- 
peared, and there was evidently a remarkable in- 
crease in intelligence. It noticed those about it, 
took hold of objects offered it, laughed, and be- 
haved much as children of ordinary development at 
six or eight months. The pupils were no longer 
widely dilated, but appeared normal. It eats and 
sleeps well, and is in general greatly improved as 
a result of the operation." 



268 C0MMOK-SENS£ IN SURGERY 

If in one month the little imprisoned brain was 
able to "catch up" six or eight months, we may 
surely believe that the remaining four or five 
months which it lost» because nature sealed the 
little thinking-machine firmly in too small a casket, 
will be wiped away also, and the little victim of 
nature's mistake be given full and normal oppor- 
tunity through the skill and genius of man."*" 

Could anything be more wonderful? Could any 
operation open to the future of the race wider pos- 
sibilities and offer more brilliant hope? I may 
quote here farther from the same medical journal 
the report of Dr. Wyeth, himself : 

"The operation differs from any yet done. Lanne- 
longue, Keen, and others cut a trench about a quar- 
ter of an inch in width, and on one side, at a single 
operation. It seemed to me if the brain was penned 
in by premature ossification • of the cranial bones, 
these should be torn loose and permanently lifted, 
thus allowing a thorough expansion. Should only 
temporary benefit be secured, the operation should be 
repeated. Experience alone can demonstrate whether 
the expansion of the brain will be able to spread the 
cranial bones to such an extent that it may reach 
even an ordinary development. The condition of 
these patients is so hopeless and deplorable that, 
in my opinion, very great risk is justifiable in any 
surgical interference which offers even a hope of 
amelioration." 



*It has now been several years since the operation, and the 
child is like other children. — H. H. G. 



COMMON-SENSE IN SURGERY 269 

Is not that common-sense in surgery? 

Thus the race is quietly achieving mastery over 
the blind forces of nature, and the steady hand of 
science, coupled with tenderness and sincerity, is 
pushing back some of the worst horrors of life, 
and throwing a flood of light and hope into the 
future! It makes one's step lighter and one's face 
happier only to think of these marvellous achieve- 
ments and victories. A new impulse of hope and 
happiness dawns upon life. I owed this new in- 
spiration to my pessimistic acquaintance — he of 
the Hunt Club Kennel — and the introduction he 
gave me to the rudiments of applied surgery. It 
was indeed a long sweep from the one operation to 
the other. 

My first and second glimpses of the operating- 
room were surely the two extremes, and yet when 
I suggested this to Dr. Wyeth, the great and gen- 
tle surgeon who performed this operation, he 
smilingly replied that, after all; either or both— in- 
deed, all of it — was simply common-sense in surgery. 



^erebifs: 36 (^cquireb Character or Conbifion 

^ransmiftifif e ? 

Reprinted from The Anna, 



^ere^ifs: 30 (^cquiteb Character or Condition 

ttanBtnittifStt ? 



It has been well said by Herbert Spencer, and more 
recently by Professor Osborn, the able biologist of Co- 
lumbia College, that the question involved in the discus- 
sion of heredity is not a temporary issue and that its solu- 
tion will affect all future thought. Whether or not 
acquired character is transmitted to children is the most 
important question that confronts the human race ; for it 
is upon the character of the race that depends and will 
depend the condition of the race. 

No school of scientists questions the fact of heredity ; 

but there is a warm and greatly misunderstood contest 

over the exact method used by nature in the transmission. 

Now so far as the general public is concerned, so far as 

the sociological features of the case go, so far as personal 

conduct is involved, it does not matter a straw's weight 

whether the theory of heredity held by Lamarck and 

Darwin, or the one advanced recently by Weismann, be 

correct, 

273 



274 HEREDITY. 

It matters not whether your drunkenness, for example, 
is transmitted to your child directly as plain drunken- 
ness, or whether it descends to him as a merely weak- 
ened and undermined '^germ plasm'' which ^* will tend 
to inebriety, insanity, imbecility '* or what not. It mat- 
ters not a farthing's worth, from the point of view of the 
laity, whether the transmission is direct, via ^' pangene- 
sis," or whether it is indirect, via a, weakened and viti- 
ated "germ plasm" as per Weismann, or whether the 
exact method and process may not still lie in the un- 
solved problems of the laboratory. Whichever or what- 
ever the exact process may be (which interests the 
scientist only), the facts and results are before us and 
concern each of us more vitally than does the question of 
what we shall eat or what we shall drink or wherewithal 
we shall be clothed. It is all the more unfortunate, 
therefore, that even an untested scientific theory cannot 
be advanced without the ignorant, the half-educated and 
the vicious taking it in some distorted form as a basis of 
action. Indeed it would seem to be wise, if one is about 
to make a scientific suggestion of importance, to take the 
precaution to say in advance that you don't mean it — 
for the benefit of that large class of intellectual batra- 
chians who hop to the conclusion that you said some- 
thing totally different from your intent. 

Because a surgeon niight say to you that he knows a 



HEREDITY. 375 

boy who carries a bullet about in his brain and that the 
youth appears to be no worse for it in either body or 
mind, it would not be safe to imply that he proposes to 
teach you that it would be a particularly judicious thing 
for you to attempt to convert your skull into a cartridge 
box. 

Because Weismann asserts and attempts to prove that 
nature's method of hereditary transmission precludes (for 
example) the possibility of producing a race of short- 
tailed cats from Tom and Tabby from whose caudal ap- 
pendages a few inches have been artificially subtracted, 
some of his followers exclaim in glee : ''It does not 
make the least difference in the world what we do or re- 
frain from doing in one lifetime. Our children do not 
receive the results ; we cannot transmit to them our vices 
or our virtues. We cannot taint their blood by our ill 
conduct nor purify it by our clean living. The ' germ 
plasm ' from which they came is and has been immortal ; 
we are simply its transmitters — ' not its creators. Our 
children were created and their characters and natures 
determined centuries before we were bom. We are in 
no sense responsible for what they may be ; germ plasm 
is eternal ; we are exempt from responsibility to posterity. 
Long live Weismann 1 " 

Now this is about the sort of thing that is springing up 
on every side as a result of the new discussion as to how 



%j6 HBRBDITY. 

we are to account for the facts of heredity. One some- 
times hears, also, from these half-informed jubilators that 
^* Weismann does not believe in heredity ; that old 
theory is quite exploded." The fact is that Weismann is 
particularly strong in his belief in heredity — so strong 
as to give almost no weight to any possible process of 
intervention in its original workings. He simply holds 
that the transmission of ^* acquired character " is not 
proven, and he doubts the fact of these '^acquired" 
transmissions. In his illustrations he deals chiefly (when 
in the higher animals) with mutilations, and in the 
human race shows that the most proficient linguist does 
not produce children who can read without being 
taught I 

Of course there are many and varied points in his 
theory of heredity with which only the biologist is capa- 
ble of dealing. But as I intimated at first, the Lamarck- 
Darwin- Weismann controversy, so far as the sociological 
aspect of the question is involved, does not touch us. It 
belongs to the laboratory — to the Aow and not to the yaci 
of transmission. But since the opposite impression has 
taken root in even some thoughtful minds, it is well to 
meet it in a direct and easily grasped form. There is a 
simple and direct method ; I undertook it. I went to a 
number of well-known biologists and physicians and 
asked these questions ; — 



HBtlBDtTV. 277 

1. Are there any diseases known to you, which you 
are absolutely certain are contracted by individuals whose 
ancestors did not have them, which diseases you can 
trace as to time and place of contraction, and which are 
of a nature to produce physical and mental changes that 
are recognizable in the child as due to the parent's con- 
dition ? 

2. Have you ever had such cases under your own 
care ? 

3. Have you a record of cases where the children of 
your patients received the effects of the disease of the 
parent in a manner that would show that *^ acquired 
character or condition " is transmittible ? 

4. Is this true in a kind of disorder which would 
produce in the child a change of structure or condition to 
profound as to change its character and run it in a chan- 
nel distinctly the result of the *' acquirement " of the 
parent? 

I thought it best to go to specialists in brain and nerve 
disorders and to those who had had large hospital or 
asylum experiences. One of these, Dr. Henry Smith 
Williams, ex-medical superintendent of Randall's Island, 
where the city of New York sends its imbecile and epi- 
leptic children, and where many hundreds of these came 
under his care, replied that there could be no doubt of 
the fact that such '^ acquired " characters or conditions 



ayS HBRBDITY. 

are transmitted. One case which he gave me, however, 
from his private practice will illustrate the point most 
clearly. B., a healthy man with no hereditary taint of 
the kind, acquired syphilis at a given time and in a known 
way. Before this time he was the father of one daughter. 
Several years later another daughter was born to him. 
The first girl is and has always been absolutely free from 
any and all taint. The other one has all the inherited 
marks of her father's *' acquired character" and condi- 
tion, which even went the length in her of producing the 
recognized change in the form of the teeth due to this 
disease. Now for all practical purposes it does not 
matter in the faintest degree whether that transmission 
was in accordance with pangenesis or by means of a 
vitiated environment of the " germ plasm." The fact is 
the appalling thing for the reader to face. And I give 
this case only because it was one of a vast number of 
similar ones which came to me in reply to my questions 
addressed to different practitioners and specialists. 

Among other places I went to the head of a maternity 
hospital. This is what I got there : *' If Weismann or 
any of his followers doubts for one second the distinct, 
absolute, unmistakable transmission of acquired disease 
of a kind to modify ' character ' both mental and physical 
— if they doubt its results on humanity — they have 
never given even a slight study to the hospital side of life. 



HEREDITY. 279 

I can give you hundreds of cases where there is no escape 
from the proof that the children are born with the taint 
of an ' acquired character ' from which they cannot free 
themselves. Sometimes it is shown in one form, some- 
times in another, but it is as unmistakable as the color of 
the eyes or the number of the toes. To deny it is to deny 
all experience. I am not a biologist and I do not under- 
take to explain how it is done, but I will undertake to 
prove that it is done to the satisfaction of the most scep- 
tical. Come in this ward. There is a child whose par- 
ents were robust, healthy, strong country folk until " — 
and then followed the history of the parents who had 
"acquired" the " character" which they transmitted — 
which had made the mental, moral and physical cripple 
in the ward before me. " Now here is what they trans- 
mitted. Do you fancy that if that half idiot should ever 
have children they will be ' whole ' ? No argument but 
vision is needed here. That child's condition is the 
result of acquired character. Its children and its chil- 
dren's children will carry the acquirement — for we are 
not wise enough yet to eliminate even such as that from 
among active propagators of the race ! If it were possi- 
ble (which, thank Heaven, is not likely) that the other 
parent of this half imbecile's children would be of a sane 
and lofty type there might be a modification upward 
again in the progeny, but even then we would not soon 



28o HBRBDITY. 

lose the direct, undeniable, patent ^ acquirement ' which 
you see here." 

It was the same story from each and every practi- 
tioner. The hospital and asylum experts, the specialists 
in diseases of mind or body which were due to direct ac- 
quirement (such as drunkenness, syphilis and acquired 
epilepsy) , were particularly strong in their contempt for 
even the theory that acquired character and condition are 
not transmittible. One laughingly said : *' 1*11 grant that 
if I cut off a man's leg or a few of his fingers, his chil- 
dren will not be likely to be deformed because of that 
operation. This is not a permeating constitutional con- 
dition, it is a mere local mutilation. But if I were to 
take out a part of his brain so as to produce ['' ac- 
quired"] epilepsy upon him I believe his children will 
be affected, and if he is a bad syphilitic [acquired] I know 
his children will be. Mind you, I don't say exactly what 
they will have, and they may not all have the same thing, 
but I do say that their ' germ plasm ' or whatever they 
come from, will carry the results of the acquired condi- 
tion and character." * 

* " Brown- Sequard observed that injury to the central or peripheral 
nervous system (spinal cord, oblongata, peduncle, corpora quadrigem- 
ina, sciatic nerve) of guinea pigs produced epilepsy, and this condition 
even became hereditary. Westphal made guinea pigs epileptic by re- 
peated blows on the skull, and this condition also became hereditary." — 
" Manual of Human Physiology," by L. Landou, translated with addi- 
tions by W. Sterling. 1885. 

Dr. L. Putzell, in his " Treatise on the Common Forms of Functional 



HERBDITY. a8l 

So I beg of you to remember that while the fact and 
law of heredity is as certain as death itself, its course of 
action, its variability of operation, is as the March winds. 
To say that the constitutions of your children will be de- 
termined in great part by the condition of your body and 
mind is but to utter a truism ; but to say exactly how — 
in what given channel this effect will flow — is not, in 
the present state of biological knowledge, possible. 

For the sake of illustration it is usually the part of wis- 
dom to give the most probable trend of a given disorder ; 
but to assert dogmatically that the son of a lunatic will 
be insane or that the daughter of a woman of the street 
will live as her mother did, is quite as unsafe as to say 
that a fall from a fourth-story window on to an iron door 
would be certain death. You must not forget that you 
may^ if you want to take the chances, drop an infant out 
of a fourth-story window on to an iron door with no bad 
results to the infant (door not heard from), for I have 
known that to happen ; you may sleep with a bad case 
of small-pox and not take it — as I once did ; you may 
shoot a ball into a boy's head, taking in with it several 
pieces of bone, you may extract the bone and leave the 

Nervous Diseases/' 1880, after describing the methods by which Brown- 
Sequard produced epilepsy traumatically in guinea pigs, says : " Brown- 
Sequard also made the curious observation that the young of guinea 
pigs who had been made epileptic in this manner, may develop the 
disease spontaneously. These experiments have been verified by Schiff, 
Westphal and numerous other observers." 



283 HEREDITY. 

ball there and the boy appear to be as good as new after- 
ward ; you may live all your life long with a roue and 
your children not be inmates of hospital, lunatic asylum 
or prison. All these things have been done, but it is not 
the part of wisdom to infer that for this reason either one 
of them would be a safe or desirable course of action ; 
for in this world it behooves us to deal — when we are 
attempting to study nature — with the law of probability. 
The accidents, the exceptions, will take care of them- 
selves. 

Notwithstanding this fact it will not be exactly fair to 
me for you to report that I say that every single one of 
Jane Smith's children will have fits and fall in the fire 
before they are twenty-one because she or their father is 
an epileptic. Perhaps one or two of those children may 
die in infancy, instead, or go insane — or to Congress; 
one may have hydrocephalus, and another be a moral 
idiot and astonish the natives because "His parents were 
such upright people." One may simply have a generally 
weak constitution — and another may win the American 
cup for wrestling; but the chances are that confirmed 
epilepsy (or what not) of the parent is going to " tell " 
in one form or another in the children. What I say of 
epilepsy is equally true of syphilis. This latter is so 
true that it can be readily told by the teeth of the chil- 
dren of a seriously infected case. That will strike the 



HBRBDITV. 283 

average '' unprofessional " reader as impossible, yet it is 
well known to biologists, medical men and many den- 
tists, so that a great many wholly innocent people who 
sit in a dentist's chair reveal more private family history 
than could be drawn from them with stronger instru- 
ments than mere forceps. 

I have been asked to write this paper because at the 
present time there is a tendency to discredit some of the 
well-known and easily proven facts of heredity, as a re- 
sult of certain statements supposed to have been made by 
the recent school of biologists headed by Weismann. But 
in the hands of the laity much that Weismann did say is 
misunderstood and misstated and much that he never 
said is inferred. To professional biologists the loose in- 
ferences from Weismann's suggestions and speculations 
are absurd, and to experienced medical men and experts 
in the lines of practice indicated above, the arguments 
are beneath discussion. It is in this particular line of 
practice that proof is easy and abundant, where the ^' ac- 
quired" nature of the modified "character" is readily 
traced and the transmission (or heredity) susceptible of 
proof beyond controversy. 

It is for this reason that the illustrations are all taken 
from this field of investigation. If they were taken from 
consumption, tuberculosis or any of the various ordinary 
" transmittible " disorders, the cheerful opponent would 



284 HBRBDITY. 

assert (and no one could disprove if he held to the *^ germ 
plasm" theory back far enough) that the "tendency" 
had been inherent in the plasm since the days of 
" Adam " — that it was not an " acquired " character or 
condition which was transmitted. But with artificially 
produced epilepsy (either by accident or purposely as in 
the cases of Brown-Sequard's guinea pigs) or in the 
other so frequent and so frightful disorder mentioned 
above, it is a simple matter to trace the " acquirement" 
as well as the transmission. But when a new light 
arises in the literary or scientific world there are always 
many persons ready to spring forth with the declaration 
that they agree with the new point of view without first 
taking the precaution to ascertain what the recent theory 
really is. " Oh, I agree with him, the old theory is 
quite dead," greets the ear, and the placid pupils of the 
rising light so warp and distort the real opinion of the 
master as to make of him an absurdity. This has been 
markedly true of Weismann and his theory of heredity. 

In ordinary cases of scientific discussion the miscon- 
ceptions of the laity would soon adjust themselves and 
little or no harm would be done meantime ; but in such 
a problem as the present ult more is involved than ap- 
pears upon the surface. The ethicsCl and moral results — 
not to mention the physical — of a reckless mistranslation 
or misconception of a scientific theory of this nature can- 



HEREDITY. 285 

not be readily estimated, nor can it be confined to one 
generation. It is pathetic to realize that many fairly 
well-educated and well-meaning people, who would pro- 
tect with their lives the children they give to the world 
and shield them against all possible physical, moral or 
mental distortion, mutilation or deformity, will stamp 
upon those children far worse mutilations and distortions 
(and even physical disorders) through and because of a 
half-understood version of " the new theory of heredity." 
Therefore I repeat that so far as the public is concerned, 
so far as the sociological features of the problem of he- 
redity are involved, so far as the new theory relates to 
conduct and to physical and mental condition and their 
transmission, this controversy belongs to the laboratory — 
to the how and not to the fact of hereditary transmission, 
as I trust the above illustrations (which might be multi- 
plied a thousand times) will serve to show. 



(Bn}>itonmtni : Can gerebifg fie (Sloiifieb? 



Reprinted from Tke Arena, 



<Eni>irontnent : Can ^^erebi^ fie (globifieb? 



But heredity is not the whole story, any more than the 
foundation is the whole house. 

Several times when I have spoken or written upon the 
basic principle of heredity, I have been met by questions 
like this: " Then you must think it is hopeless. With 
these awful facts and illustrations of the power and per« 
sistence of heredity befoYe us, we must recognize that we 
are doomed before we are born, must we not? If there 
is, as you say, no escape from our heredity and its power 
and influence, what is the use of trying ? Why not let 
go and just drift on the tide of inherited conditions ? If 
these conditions are unfortunate for us, why not just ac- 
cept the tragedy ; if favorable, drift in the sunlight that 
our ancestors turned upon us, and let the world wag as 
it will ? — we are not responsible." I confess that each 
time this sort of reasoning comes to me it finds me in a 
state of surprise that it is possible for thoughtful people 
— and naturally those are the ones interested in reading 
or talking upon the subject — I confess it surprises me 



I 289 



290 BNVIRONMBNT. 

anew each time to find that it is possible for such people 
to reason so inadequately and to see with but one eye. 

It is undoubtedly true that, do what we will, labor as 
we may, heredity has established beyond the possibility 
of doubt that an apple cannot be cultivated into a peach. 
Once an apple always an apple. That is the power of 
heredity. That is the foundation of the house. But 
there is another story. Plant your apple tree in hard 
and rugged soil; give it too little light and too much 
rain ; let some one hack its bark with a knife from time 
to time ; when the boys climb the tree let them strain 
and break it ; let Bridget throw all sorts of liquids about 
its roots, — in short, let it take '^ pot luck" on a barren 
farm with Ignorance for an owner and Shiftlessness for 
his wife, and the best apple tree in the world will not re- 
main so for many years. The apples will not degener- 
ate into potatoes, however ; heredity will attend to this. 
But they will become hard and knotty and sour and 
feeble and few as to apples; environment will see to 
that. 

Now suppose you had sold that farm to Intelligence 
and given him for a wife Observation or Thrift. Sup- 
pose that they had dug and fertilized and nourished and 
pruned that tree (I do not mean after it had been ruined, 
but from the start) . It is quite true that you need never 
expect it to bear Malaga grapes. Heredity will still 



ENVIRONMENT. 29I 

hold its own, and the kind of fruit was determined at 
birth (if I may be permitted the form of speech), but 
very much of the quality of the fruit will depend upon 
the conditions under which it grew — the environment. 
So while it is true that our heredity is as certain as the 
eternal hills, and, as a famous biologist recently said in 
my hearing, dates back of the foundation of the Sierra 
Nevada mountain range, so that each of us carries within 
us mementos of an age when language was not and, as he 
humorously said, '^ Man has in his anatomy a collection 
of antiques — we are full of reminiscences ** ; still it is 
equally true that the power of environment, the conditions 
under which we develop or restrict our inherited tenden- 
cies, will determine in large part whether heredity shall 
be our slave-driver or our companion in the race for life, 
liberty and the pursuit of happiness. 

Let me illustrate in another way. Suppose that you 
are born from a family which has for its heritage a his- 
tory of many and early deaths from consumption. Sup- 
pose that you have discovered that the tendency is strong 
within yourself. Is it for that reason absolutely neces- 
sary that you buy a coffin-plate to-morrow and proceed 
to die with lung trouble ? By no means. Knowing your 
inherited weakness you guard with jealous care the 
health you have, and it may be that your intelligent con- 
sideration may secure to you, in spite of your undoubted 



292 ENVIRONMENT. 

inheritance, the threescore years and ten; while your 
robust neighbor, with lungs like a bellows and the inher- 
itance from a race of athletes, may succumb to the 
March winds which he braved and you did not. Maybe 
" quick consumption " will carry him off while you re- 
main to mourn his loss, and quite possibly leave with 
your posterity a growing tendency toward strong 
lungs. 

I know a man in New York City who had what is 
called a '* family history " of consumption, who was re- 
jected on that account by every life insurance company 
in this country thirty years ago. Well, that frightened 
him within an inch of his life ; but with that inch he set 
to work to build his house ^^ facing the other way," as he 
expressed it to me when I met him ten years ago, when 
he was, as he still is, a hale, hearty old gentleman. He 
is not and never could have been exactly robust ; but he 
is as well, as happy and as content as the average man 
who has not inherited his unfortunate potentiality. It is 
true that nothing but intelligent and wise care all these 
years, nothing but his temperate and judicious life, could 
have compassed this end. I use the word temperate in 
its general sense. So far as I know he has not denied 
himself any of the best of life, which he has been amply 
able to secure ; but he has at all times kept his house 
" facing the other way." His hereditary threat, while it 



BNVmONMENT. 293 

has not driven him with a lash, has, it is true, lived in 
the back yard — which it does and will and must with us 
all, no matter what our environment or wisdom may 
be ; but we need not foolishly throw open the windows, 
swing back the doors and invite it to take possession, 
while our own individuality moves down into the coal 
cellar. 

I have taken as illustrations in both of these papers in- 
herited disease and its developments, but this is done 
only for convenience and because it will explain more 
full}', clearly and easily to most people what is meant. 
That our heredity is equally strong and certain in its 
mental and moral potentialities and tendencies is also 
true.* It is likewise true that the environment — the 
conditions under which we develop, curb or direct our 
natural tendencies — has a great and modifying rdle to 
play. 

It is sometimes asked, if children were changed in the 
cradle, and those of fortunate parentage carried to the 
slums to be nurtured and taught and those from the slums 

^ 

* " Alienists hold, in general, that a large proportion of mental dis- 
eases are the result of degeneracy; that is, they are the offspring of 
drunken, insane, syphilitic and consumptive parents, and suffer from 
the action of heredity." — Dr. Ar^ur McDonald^ 2ivXhot of "Crim- 
inology." 

'* To one at all familiar with the external aspect of Insanity in its 
various forms, it seems incredible that its physical nature was not 
sooner realized. Had the laws of heredity been earlier understood, it 
would have been seen that mental derangements, like physical diseases 
and tendencies, were transmitted." — Prof, Edward S, Morse. 



294 BNVIRONMBNT. 

placed in the cradles of luxury, would not all trace of 
mental, moral and physical heredity of a fortunate type 
disappear from the darlings of Murray Hill in their 
adopted environment of squalor and vice ; and would not 
the haggard and half-starved, ill-nurtured waifs of Mul- 
berry Bend blossom as the rose in strength and virtue in 
their new environment of luxury and of wholesome and 
healthful surroundings? Just here a digression seems 
necessary ; for while I have no doubt that the change 
(even on the terms usually implied) would work won- 
ders in both sets of infants, still it is to be remembered 
that for such a test to tell anything of real value to 
science, the exchange would need to be made upon an- 
other basis from that which is generally used as an argu- 
ment, because it is incorrectly assumed that the children 
of luxury (as a rule) are born with clean and lofty hered- 
ity. This is, alas, so far from the case that it is almost a 
truism that " the highest and the lowest" (meaning the 
richest and the poorest) are " nearest together in action 
and farthest apart in appearance, only." They both fre- 
quently give to their children tainted mental, moral and 
physical natures with which to contend. The self-indul- 
gence of the young men of the " upper classes" leaves 
a burned-out, undermined and tainted physical heredity 
almost a certainty for their children, while the ethical tone 
of such men — their moral fibre — is higher only in ap- 



BNVIRONMBNT. 295 

pearance and the ability to do secretly that which puts the 
tough of Mulberry Bend in the penitentiary because he 
has not the gold to gild his vices and to dazzle the eyes of 
society. The exchanged children, therefore, would not be 
so totally different in inherited qualities, after all. They 
would have alike a tainted ancestry. Their physical 
natures are the hotbeds of vices or diseases that are to be 
developed or curbed according as environment shall de- 
termine. But the foundation in both cases — the ground 
— both mental, moral and physical, is sowed down and 
harrowed in with the tainted heredity. The mother in 
both instances, as a rule, is but an aimless puppet who 
dances to the tune played by her male owner — a mere 
weak transmitter or adjunct of and for and to his scale of 
life. Therefore to point to the fact that to change these 
classes of infants in the cradle is to exchange (by means 
of their environment only) their mature development, 
also, from that of a Wall Street magnate to a Sing Sing 
convict, tells nothing whatever against the power and 
force of heredity. It tells only what is always claimed 
for fortunate or unfortunate environment — that 

'* It gilds the straitened forehead of the fool,^^ 
or that 

" Through tattered clothes small vices do appear; 
Robes and furred gowns hide all ; plate sin with gold, 
And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks ; 
Arm it with rags, a pigmy^s straw doth pierce it.^ 



296 »NVIRONMftNT. 

Let US start fair. Let us understand that no environ- 
ment can create what is not within the individuality — 
that heredity has fixed this ; but that environment does 
and must act as the one tremendous and vital power 
to develop or to control the inheritance which parents 
stamp upon their children. Notwithstanding, you are 
personally responsible for the trend, the added power 
and development you give to much that you inherit. 
You are personally responsible to the coming generation 
for the fight it will have to make and for the strength 
you transmit to it to make that fight. Many a father and 
mother transmitted to their ^' fallen " daughter the weak- 
ness and the tendency to commit the acts which they and 
their fellows whine about afterward as *^ tarnishing the 
family honor." If they had tied her hand and foot and 
cast her into the midst of the waves of the sea expecting 
her to save herself they would be no more truly responsi- 
ble for her death, be it moral or physical. 

And let me emphasize here that I do not attribute all 
of the moral and physical disasters of the race to the 
fathers of the race. By no means. I believe with all 
my heart that the mothers have to answer for their full 
share of the vice, sorrow and suffering of humanity. 
Woman has not, perhaps, been such an active agent, and 
much of the wrong she has done to her children has been 
compassed, through what have been regarded as her very 



 



ftNVlRONMfiNT. 297 

virtues — her sweetest qualities — submission, compliance, 
self-abnegation I In so far as the mothers of the race 
have been weakly subservient, in that far have they a 
terrible score against them in the transmission of the 
qualities which has made the race too weak to do the 
best that it knew — too cowardly to be honest even with 
its own soul. 

I do not believe that the sexes, in a normal state, would 
differ materially in moral tone. Why ? Simply because 
throughout all nature there is no line of demarcation be- 
tween the sexes on moral grounds. The male and the 
female differ in qualities, but neither is " better," " purer " 
nor " wiser " than the other — dividing them on the basis 
of sex alone. I do not believe that women are (under 
natural and equal conditions) better or purer than men, 
as is so often claimed. I do not believe that men are 
(under natural and equal conditions) wiser and abler 
than women. These are all artificially built up condi- 
tions, and they have fixed upon the race a very large 
share of its sorrow, its crime, its insanity, its disease and 
its despair. They have weakened woman and brutalized 
man. Children have been bom from two parents, one of 
whom is weakly self-effacing and trivial, narrow in out- 
look and petty in interests — a. dependant, and therefore 
servile ; while the other parent is unclean, unjust, self- 
assertive and willing to demand more than he is willing 



298 BNVIRONMBNT. 

to give. These conditions have morally perverted the 
race so that it will continue long to need those evidences 
against, instead of for, civilization — almshouses, insane 
as}lum8, reformatories and prisons. 

It is usual to point with vast pride to the immense 
sums of money we spend year by year to support such 
charitable and eleemosynary institutions, instead of real- 
izing, in humiliation and shame, that what we need to 
do, and what we can do, in great part, is to lock the sta- 
ble door before the horse is stolen ; that what we need to 
do, and what we can do, in large measure, is to regulate 
conditions and heredity so that we may congratulate our- 
selves in pointing to the small sums of money needed year 
by year to care for the unfortunate victims of inherited 
weakness or vice. We don't want our country covered 
with magnificently equipped hospitals, asylums, poor- 
houses and prisons. What we want is intelligent and 
wise parentage which shall depopulate eleemosynary, 
charitable and penal institutions. We don't want to con- 
tinue to boast of a tremendous and increasing population 
of sick or weak minds encased in sick or weak bodies — 
half-matured, ill-born, mental, moral and physical weak- 
lings who drag out a few wretched years in some retreat 
and then miserably perish. 

We want men and women on this continent who shall 
be well and intelligent and free and wise enough to see 



BNVmONMBNT. 299 

that not numbers but quality in population will solve the 
questions that perplex the souls of men. We want par- 
ents who are wise and self-controlled enough to refuse to 
curse the world and their own helpless children with 
vitiated lives, and who, if they cannot give whole, clean, 
fine children to the world, will refuse to give it any. 
Nothing but a low, perverted and weak moral and ethi- 
cal sense makes possible the need of an argument on this 
subject. It is self-evident the moment one stops to ask 
himself a few simple and primitive questions : '^ Am I 
willing to buy my own comfort and pleasure at the ex- 
pense of those who are helpless ? Am I willing to be a 
moral and physical pauper preying upon the rights of my 
children ? Am I willing to be a thief and misappropri- 
ate their physical, mental and moral heritage? Am I 
willing to be a murderer and taint with slow poison their 
lives before they get them ? Am I willing to do this by 
giving to them a weak and dependant and silly mother 
and a father who is less than the best he can be — who 
arrogates to himself the prerogative of dictator who has 
no account to render ? " 

All these questions apply to the health of the nation 
and to what it shall be in the future. When we speak 
of the health of a nation, we are so given to thinking of 
the physical condition, only, of its citizens that the more 
comprehensive thought of their mental, moral, ethical 



I 



300 ttNVIRONM^MT. 

and business health is likely to escape our minds. In- 
deed, I fancy that few persons realize that even in the 
matter of business ethics and general moral outlook (in- 
cluding the nation's political policy, of course) heredity 
cuts a very wide swath. But it is true that national 
business morals are as distinctive from generation to gen- 
eration as are the physical characteristics, well-being or 
mental qualities of the different peoples. Some one will 
say, " True, but all this is due to difference of environ- 
ment," — forgetting that the special features of our en- 
vironment itself (outside of climate and soil) are due 
primarily to the hereditary habits and bias of a people. 
Natural selection, per se^ ceased to have full force the 
moment man reached the stage when he was able to con- 
trol artificial means of protection or power. . The ** fit- 
test " ceased to be so upon the basis of inborn quality. 
Artificial means — from the use of a sharp stone to over- 
come a stronger (or "fitter") antagonist, on up to the 
skilful application of money where it will do the most 
good — took the place of primary*' natural selection," 
and the *' fittest" to survive in the mental, moral, physi- 
cal, financial or political arena became he who could 
command the artificial means of guiding and controlling 
the natural forces of primary " selection." The "tough" 
lives in the " slums " primarily because his parents did. 
He inherited his social and ethical outlook as well as his 



ENVIRONMENT. 3OI 

physical form, and the mould in which his thoughts have 
run was fashioned by nature and secondarily fixed by an 
environment or surrounding which also came to him as a 
part of his inheritance. 

Heredity and environment act and react upon each 
other with the regularity and inevitability of succession 
of night and day. Neither tells the whole story ; together 
they make up the sum of life ; and yet it is true that the 
first half — the part or foundation upon which all else is 
based and upon which all else must depend — has been 
taken into account so little in the conduct and scheme of 
human affairs that total ignorance of its very principle 
has been looked upon as a charming attribute of the 
young mothers upon whose weak or undeveloped shoul- 
ders rest the responsibility, the welfare, the shame or the 
glory, the very sanity and capacity, of the generations 
that are to come I 



s 

i 

I 
i 



From the press of the Arena Publishing Company, 



wm0^^^^^^*^^^t^ 



^^iChe Hit of the year/' 



Helen H. 
Gardener 



Chicago Times 






The Literary Hit 
«f the Season 






Rockford (111.) 
Republican 



e 



Price y paper ^ $o cents; clothe $1.25. 

AN UNOFFICIAL PATRIOT. 

Have you read Helen H. Gardener^s new war story, "An 
Unofficial Patriot"? No? Then read what competent 
critics say of this remarkable historical story of the Civil 
War. 

** Helen H. Gardener has made for herself within a very few 
years an enviable fame for the strength and sincerity of her 
writing on some of the most important phases of modern social 
questions. Her most recent novel, now published under the title 
of * An Unofficial Patriot/ is no less deserving of praise. As an 
artistic piece of character study this book is possessed^ of supe- 
rior qusdities. There is nothing in it to offend the traditions of 
an honest man, north or south. It is written with an evident 
knowledge of the circumstances and surroundings such as might 
have made the story a very fact, and, more than all, it is written 
with an assured sympathy for humanity and a recognition of 
right and wrong wherever found. As to the literary merit of 
the book and its strength as a character study, as has been said 
heretofore, it is a superior work. The study of Griffith Daven- 
port, the dergyman, and of his true friend, ' Lengthy ' Patterson, 
IS one to win favor from every reader. There are dramatic 
scenes in their association that thrill and touch the heart. 
Davenport's two visits to President Lincoln are other scenes 
worthy of note for the same quality, and they show an apprecia- 
tion of the feeling and motive of the president more than histori- 
cal in its sympathy. Mrs. Gardener may well be proud of her 
success in the field of fiction." 

" Helen Gardener's new novel, * An Unofficial Patriot,' which 
is just out, will probably be the most popular and salable novel 
since ' Robert Elsmere.' It is by far the most finished and 
ambitious book yet produced by the gifted author and well de- 
serves a permanent place in literature. . 

"The plot of the story itself guarantees the present sale. It 
is * something new under the sun ' and strikes new sensations, 
new situations, new conditions. To be sure it is a war story, and 
war stories are old and hackneyed. But there has been no sucn 
war story as this written. It gives a situation new in fiction and 
tells the story of the war from a standpoint which gives the booK 
priceless value as a sociological study and as supplemental 

^""""Se plot is very strong and is all the more Jo when the 
reader leains that it is true. The story is an absolutely true one 
and is almost entirely a piece of bislory written in form of tic 
tion, with names and minor incidents altered.' 

For sale by all newsdealers, or sent postpaid^ 

Arena Publishing Co,, Boston, Mass. 






From the press of the Arena Publishing Company, 



^^^^^*^*^^ 



Helen H* i6ar6ener'$ Essays an6 Short Stories- 



Helen H. 
Gardener 



Helen H. 
Gardener 



A Remarkable 
Book. It marks 
an epoch in the 
trend of Social 
Thought 



A Collection of 
stirring, unusual 
Stories, dealing 
with unhack- 
neyed themes in 
a masterly way 









. 



Price^ clothe $i.oo; papery 50 cents. 

A THOUGHTLESS YES. 

A collection of short stories in which field this brilliant 
writer is especisQly suggestive and successful. These 
stories have gone through several editions, and with the 
continual expansion of Mrs. Gardener^s £ame as the author 
of "Pray You, Sir, Whose Daughter?" ** An Unofficial 
Patriot " and other books of world-wide repute, they find 
new and delighted readers and admirers. The opinions 
of the press give the book a ve^ high place as a work of 
genuine literary art. 

Marked by a quaint philosophy, shrewd, sometimes pungent 
reflection, each one possesses enough purely literary merit to 
make its way and hold its own. " The Lady of the Club" is 
indeed a terrible study of social abuses and problems, and most 
of the others suggest more in the same direction. 

— New York Tribune, 

Will do considerable to stir up thought and breed a " divine 
discontent" with vested wrong and intrenched justice. The 
stories are written in a bright, vivacious style. 

— Boston Transcript, 

III * hi ■» ^ I H ^^II W 

Price y cloth y $1.00; paper ^ 50 cents, 

FACTS AND FICTIONS OF LIFE. 

A Collection of Sparkling and Thoughtfiil Essays on the 
Vital Questions of Life, that should awaken the conscience 
in every man not dead to a sense of all moral obligation, 
and spur every woman to stand steadfast and strong and 
demand in the marriage relation a manhood that shall be 
as clear and unpolluted as womanhood. 

But Helen Gardener is at her best in the most difficult liter- 
ary channel, that of the essayist. She says more in fewer words 
than any writer of the day, and learned savants pause to drink 
in the ideas that she has drawn from the fountain of common 
sense. Her work, '* Facts and Fictions of Life," has reached a 
large sale, and is now being translated into German, French and 
Russian and two Oriental lauguages. These essays deal with 
the most delicate and least understood problems of life, in a 
clear, modest and uncompromising manner, and consist of 
twelve papers read at the World's Fair Congresses by the 
author, who was listened to with breathless silence by the 
largest audiences of the Congresses, and after each paper she 
received most enthusiastic ovations. 

— Louisville Courier yournal. 

For sale by all newsdealers^ or sent postpaid by 

Arena Publishing Co.^ Boston^ Mass, 



From the pr^ss of the Arena Publishing Company. 



Cuio Pouierful Isfouels on the 3¥loral $tan6ar6. 



Helen H. 
Gardener 



m. 



Helen H. 
Gardener 




1 












Price y cloth y $i.oo ; paper ^ 50 cents. 

IS THIS YOUR SON, flY LORD? 

It is the opinion of some of the best contemporary 
critics that this is the most powerful American novel 
written in this feneration. It is the fearless protest of a 
high spiritual faature against the hideous brutality of an 
unchristian social code. It is a terrible exposd of conven- 
tional immorality and hypocrisy. Every high-minded 
woman who desires the true progression of her sex will 
want to touch the inspiriting power of this book. 

No braver voice was ever raised, no clearer note was ever 
struck, for woman's honor and childhood's purity. — The Van- 
guard^ Chicago. 

A novel of power, and one which will stir up a breeze unless 
certain hypocritical classes are wiser than they usually are. — 
Chicago Times. 

It comes very close to any college man who has kept his eyes 
open. When we finish we may say, not, " Is This Your Son, 
My Lord ? " but " Is it I ? " — Nassau Literary Magazine^ 
Princeton. 

Is a remarkable book — a daring arraignment of ''society" 
and the public conscience of what we are wont to call an 
advanced and refined Christian civilization, for the widely dif- 
ferent standards by which the " powers that be " measure the 
morality, virtue and respectability of men and women. They 
are alike human beings, and members of the same human fam- 
ily ; through what alchemy, then, dbes vice in one lose its 
viciouiness in the other ? — Detroit Sunday Tribune. 



Price, cloth, $1.00; paper, 50 cents. 
PRAY YOU, SIR, WHOSE DAUGHTER? 

"The civil and canon law," writes Mrs. Elizabeth Cady 
Stanton, "state and church alike, make the mothers of the 
race a helpless, ostracized class, pariahs of a corrupt civilization. 
In Helen Gardener's stories I see the promise of such a work of 
fiction that shall paint the awful facts of woman's position in 
living colors that all must see and feel. Those who know the 
sad facts of woman's life, so carefully veiled from society at 
large, will not consider the pictures in this story overdrawn. 
Some critics say that everyone knows and condemns these 
facts in our social life, and that we do not need fiction to inten- 
sify the public disgust. But to keep our sons and daughters 
innocent, we must warn them of the dangers that beset 
them. Ignorance under no circumstances ensures safety. 
Honor protected by knowledge is safer than innocence pro- 
tected by ignorance." 

For sale by all newsdealers, or sent postpaid by 

Arena Publishing Co., Boston, Mass. 



Senator Intrigfue and Inspector Noseby, 

By Frances Campbell Sparhawk, 

Author of "A Wedding Tangle," "Onoqua," "A Chronicle of 
ConquetV *' Little Polly Blatchley/' etc. 



A NOVEL THAT IS ATTRACTING WIDE ATTENTION 



OPINIONS OK W»I>I^-KNO>?VN PERSONS. 

*'I have read the stoiy with the deepest interest," writes the widely- 
known artist and philanthropist, Mr. Herbert Welsh. ** I think it vivid, 
strong and true. I am much delighted with it, and I think it illustrates well 
and attractively an evil which every effort should be exerted to overthrow." 

The Hon. Theodore Roosevelt says: "I began to read the story as 
toon as I received it, from a sense of duty. After the first half dozen pages I 
went on and finished it because I so thoroughly enjoyed it, and so thoroughly 
believe in it. I think the story excellent. It made me both sad and indig- 
nant to think that such things are possible, and I think the publication will 
do great good." 

Rev. Edward G. Porter, literary critic, writes of the story : ** It de- 
serves to be widely read; it is in all respects an excellent piece of work. The 
characters are well drawn, the style generally easy and forcible. The occa- 
sional bold touches are in order, especially when a strong character is portrayed. 
The conviction of the reader as to the writer's sincerity makes the story 
painfully interesting." 

Rev. Daniel Dorchester, D. D., says : "I have found it true to life and 
very Uvely. I have seen many such things and people as it describes." 

" I have read ' Senator Intrigue and Inspector Noseby ' with unflagging 
interest to the end," says Rev. Edward A. Horton, President Unitarian 
School Society. ''The writer has a happy wky of shifting the scene and 
varying the incidents so that the story runs on without monotony." 



.^1. 



Bound in Cloth. Price SI.OO. 

For sale by all Booksellen, or sont postpaid on receipt of price by Publfshers. 

RED LETTER PUBLISHING COMPANY, 

P. O. BOX 2G46, BOSTON.