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J 



WOMAN AND HER ESA. 



BY ELIZA W. FARNHAM. 



Every book of knowledge known to Oosana or Vreehaspatee is by nature implanted in the understandings of 
Women. — Vishhu Iauu 

I pray yon, O gracious Captain, mto and protect these good women, for had we Veen deprived of their excellent 
wisdom, and the manly pnrpote they do inspire us withal, God only knoweth in what sea of greed, lust and brutish 
appetite, we had long ago been swamped. — Miduval Haao. 

Women are both clearer in intellect and more generous in affection than men. They lore Truth more because they 
know her better, and trust Humanity in a diviner spirit, because they and more that is divine in it— ModiMI 
CmuiATion. 



VOIs. 1. 






gUfo fork: 
J. DAVIS & OO, 

274 CANAL STBEET. 
1864. 









•3l 



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the jear 1S§4. 

BY MRS. ELIZA W. FABNHAM, 

Ir the Clerk's Office cf the District Court for the Southern District of New York. 



'HERALD OP PROGRESS" PRINT, 
274 Osnal St., New York. 



DEDICATION. 



TO THE HVfaiW BELOVED ITRrKNIDS, 

WOMEN, 

ON BOTH 8H0RB8 OF THE CONTINENT, WHOSE FIRESIDES HAVE AFFORDED ,ME TUX 

RRST AMD PEACE OF HOME, FOB THE EXECUTION OF THI8 WORK ; WHOSE 

APPRBCIATTVB SYMPATHY HAS GIVEN ME BOTH LIGHT AMD 

COUBAGE FOB IT8 DIFFICULTIES : AMD TO 



WO MAN, 



WHOSE? GIFTS AMD RESPONSIBILITIES IT SEEKS TO SBT FORTH ; WHOSE EARNESTNESS 

IT AIMS TO KINDLE INTO DIVINE, UNITARY CO- WORKING FOR THE 

BLESSING OF HUMANITY J WHOSE CONSCIOUSNESS IT ASFIBBS 

TO INFORM 07 TRUTHS HERETOFORE HIDDEN, 

THIS BOOK IS 

AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED 
BY THE AUTHOR. 



TLtr shape arises ! 

She, less guarded than ever, yet more guarded than 
ever, 

CChe gross and soiled she moves among do not make 
her gross and soiled, 

She "knows the thoughts as she passes — nothing is 
concealed from her, 

She is none the less considerate or friendly there- 
fore; 

8 he is the best beloved — it is without exception — 
she has no reason to fear and she does not fear, 

Oaths, quarrels, hiccupped songs, proposals, ribald 
expressions, are idle to her as she passes, 

She is silent — she is possessed of herself — they do 
not offend her. 

She receives them as the laws of nature receives 
them — she is strong, 

She too is a law of nature — there is no law stronger 
than she is. 




t 



T 




PREFACE, 



Nearly twenty-two years have elapsed since the Truth 
which is the burthen of the following pages, first took pos- 
session of my mind. It has ever since held its place 
unwaveringly, there, No conflict of theory or purpose, with 
regard to Woman's nature, the greatness of her responsi- 
bility, or the moral magnificence of her destiny, has ever 
been possible to me since that day. Hence, I have never 
been able to co-operate with any party on the Woman 
Question, and have constantly, therefore, been exposed, by 
its stringency among us, to the disadvantages one always 
suffers who is a sympathetic, yet dissenting spectator of any 
earnest movement It is impossible to escape the reproaches 
either of its opponents or its advocates. None more than I, 
has respected the effort for Woman, wherever made, and 
on whatever theoretic basis. That it has seemed to me, as 
conveyed in its most current nomenclature, of Woman's 
Rights, erroneous in philosophy, and in many practical 
matters, partially mistaken in direction, has not prevented 
my just appreciation of its value to society, or of the courage 
and faithfulness of those conducting it. I will yield to none 
in grateful admiration of those pioneer struggles whoso 
fruits we arc- now enjoying, in the partial emancipation of 



VI 



TKEFACH. 



Women from the legal and social disabilities under which 
the Bex has labored from the beginning. If the wife of the 
dissolute husband can hold in her own right, the means of 
saving her children from starvation and ignorance ; if the 
ranks of self-supporting Women find new and more remu- 
nerative fields open to them ; if the Wronged Woman 
breathes a more human atmosphere of compassion, tender- 
ness, and respect — healers, all, of the hurt she has suffered; 
if the Society of our day realizes, in its high need, the more 
fluent power of Woman to purify, inspire, and uplift it to 
higher motives and better regulated action ; if the diviner 
tenderness of the feminine life is taking more distinct forms 
of potentiality over the selfishness and ferocity of former 
ages, we have to thank, more than any other party or 
organization, the bravo Women of our generation who have 
persistently striven for these objects, bearing, mean- 
while, the inevitable reproach and contumely of sucli 21 
Reform, but never abandoning it. And if the views herein 
contained, are to receive a more liberal hearing now than 
they could have at the period of their advent into my 
own mind, that favorable circumstance, according to my 
judgment, is due mainly to these efforts. And I am grateful 
for them — not so much because they have prepared an 
audience for my word, as for any Truth of Woman, from 
any source. 

In the twenty-two years which the seed of this Truth 
has taken for its maturing, my experience has been so 
varied, as to give it almost every form of trial which could 
full to the intellectual life of any, save the very few most 
favored Women. The press of circumstance has crowded 
me, during those years, into prospective affluence, and again 




PBEFACE. VU 

reduced me to poverty. The revolving wheel of experience 
has cast ine up, and again thrown me down, on the thronged 
roads where I have had to walk. Joy and grief, happiness 
and anguish, hope and discouragement, light and darkness, 
have checkered my lot. Wedlock and widowhood, births 
and deaths have enriched and impoverished me. I have 
lived in the thoughtful solitude of the frontier, and amid 
the noise and distractions of the crowded mart. Years of 
severe manual labor have been exacted of me for the sup- 
port and education of my children — years of travel have 
thrown me among great varieties of men and women ; and 
the capacity to be useful to them, in many private and 
public ways, has mingled me much with their inmost, as 
well as their more common, external hopes, desires, fears 
and purposes. I have seen these in all varieties of charac- 
ter and degree, in both sexes : among the gifted and the 
stupid, the intelligent and the ignorant, the noble and the 
mean, the liberal and the bigoted, the criminal, the 
outcast, the insane, and the idiotic. Each phase of this 
varied experience has taught me its lesson : each has 
furnished its test whereby to try the Truth : each has 
given its measure of culture to the little seed so long ago 
dropped in my mind. 

And this is its product. 

I ask no one to take it at my valuation. I only affirm 
that it has grown steadily through the storm and shine of 
that quarter of a century, and is, to my thought, as firmly 
grounded among the eternal Truths, as are the ribbed 
strata of the rocks, or the hollows of the everlasting sea. I 
can no more question this than those. 

The statement of it here offered, has, I am con 



Vltl 



PREFACE. 



scious, many imperfections, which I perhaps shall never 
he able to correct. But one I shall seek to remedy at an 
early day, by a succeeding work Thla is the lack of 
illustration in the closing chapters of the present work The 
defect, if such it shall be felt to be, was deliberately per- 
mitted, for reasons which entirely justified it to my mind. 

For the fullest help of Women, at this initial stage of 
their development, in becoming co-workers with Nature, in 
her grand design of Artistic Maternity, copious illustration 
of the power to become so, is needful, For this I have 
ample stores, from the observations and experiences of 
these twenty-two years. But as I advanced, I saw that 
statement and argument must quite fully precede illustra- 
tion, in order to make the latter most effective. When the 
foundation is laid, the superstructure will stand secure. I 
therefore purposely surrender these pages to stating and 
reasoning the case. They may be taken, also, as the sure 
promise of more — not from me alone r but from hundreds 
of apt minds, that will be unsealed to give voice to experi- 
ence, having seen her in the clear light of the Truth herein 
un vailed. May the Power who quickens the faculty that is 
faithfully used, speed the day of Woman's Illumination. 



Staten Island, Jan., 1864 



E T W, F. 




WOMAN AND HEB EKA. 



PART FIRST. 

CHAPTER I. 
GENEKAL VIEW. 

The ultimate aim of ths human mind, in all its 
efforts, is to become acquainted with Truth. Because 
Truths are forms of Love, and hence the most direct 
representatives of the Divine, whigh, in our earthly 
capacity, we can possibly know. Broadly as regards 
the human relation to it, Truth may be said to be of two 
grand forms, Subjective, or internal; Objective, or 
external. Subjective Truth is that which lies within 
the domain of Vitality ; the truths of Organization, of 
Sensibility, Consciousness, Emotion, Will, Intelligence, 
and Aspiration. 

Objective Truth is that which lies without us, 

clothed in the myriad Forms and Phenomena of the 

visible Creation. For forms and phenomena are only 

signs of Truth — they exist because of it, perish when 

it has been expressed and answered its ends of use, and 

are but its language, whereby it passes out of the 
1* 



10 WOMAN AND HER ERA. 

occult to the sensible, or known. As the thought is, 
in the mind, before it passes into speech, so Truth is, 
before all form or fact through which it is destined 
ultimately to express itself. 

The visible Creation is, so far as we know, an inde- 
finite series of definite forms, and a vast sequence of 
facts or phenomena resulting from their development, 
relation, and decay ; and all these are the expression or 
language of Objective Truth. The logical statement 
of these forms and facts, i. e., their statement in the 
order in which Truth occupies and employs them, is 
Science. We call Objective Truth so studied and 
stated, Natural Science, thus authorizing the infer- 
ence that there is a super-natural science, or a realm of 
Truth above the facts of external, visible Nature. 

The Subjective Creation is, first, a series of related 
inter-dependent forms, (organs), making a perfect, 
independent whole, (the human body), and the facts 
which issue from these relations, the physical pheno- 
mena of human life. Second, a body of Faculties or 
Powers, the highest earthly signs of Truth, of which 
the number is not definitely known, but of which we 
have at present enough knowledge to enable us to pre- 
dicate certain needs and possibilities, and a certain 
destiny, as belonging to their possessor. Thus e. g., 
it is the universal desire of the human species to be 
loved ; it is therefore a need of every individual of that 
species — a need whose satisfaction is indispensable to 
the fullness and perfection of each individual. It is 
one of the pleasures of every human being, arrived at 
consciousness, to learn what it did not before know. 
It is therefore a possibility to live in the endless acqui- 
sition of knowledge — possibility which must become 
actual experience to the end of completeness in the 



GENERAL VIEW. 



11 



individual. It is the ineradicable desire of every 
human soul, advanced to a certain point on its road of 
progress, to expand by love, by thought, by know- 
ledge, by experience, and so unfold continually into a 
larger power — desire which becomes actual and end- 
leas growth after the breath of aspiration has once 
entered its shriveled chambers, 

But I propose nothing more here than the statement 
that the paramount intention of creating man as he is, 
with his Subjective wealth of Faculty, and the external 
World as it is, with its Objective wealth of Form and 
Phenomena, the diverse garb of Truth, is that the hu- 
man being shall grow, first intellectually into acquaint- 
ance with it, and through that knowledge, intellectually 
and spiritually into acquaintance with Truth immanent 
in it, and so into acquaintance with its Author, of 
whose character this Truth is part, Man's acquaint- 
ance with Truth commences in its lowest, its physical 
expressions. Form introduces her. It is long before 
he rises above the advantage gained by that primitive 
introduction. A root of grass, with its leaves, a tuft of 
herbage or a shrub, are all low forms of Organic Truth : 
flowers are higher, fruits and grains still above these, 
and so on endlessly, but always Forms address the 
intelligence first ; then follow the facts which accrue 
from the presence and relation of those forms, and at 
each step the faculties employed in perceiving and 
appreciating what is before them rise to higher action, 
and advance to a nearer view of the Source of Truth. 
But from the first embodiment of what we now ree< io- 
nize as the liu man faculties in our race, whenever that 
took place, whether at its initial creation or at the 
end of ages of development, there was possessed by the 
human sonl the power, however latent, either to enter- 



12 WOMAN AND HER EEA. 

tain intuitively or to reach inductively any truth fitted 
to human comprehension. And bo we find that 
Science, in her broadest development, is taking upon 
herself, beside the proud offices of discovery, the hum- 
ble one of confirming occasionally an ancient supersti- 
tion or " old wife's notion," (a deduction), which her 
earlier and less liberal reading scouted. Fancies too, 
which have found general entertainment in the senti- 
ment or the lower intellect, turn out solid Truths, 
commanding respect, when we can penetrate to their 
foundation in Nature. So that no truly liberal per- 
sons — by which I mean persons not proud enough to 
reject Truth simply because of her humble origin, nor 
bigoted enough to be startled by her, however strange 
her first aspect — no such persons are surprised to find her 
coming to the rescue of despised opinions, or notions, 
or poetic fancies, baptizing them in her own pure, 
strong currents, and setting them up in the world to 
demand acknowledgment and loyalty. 

By tins I mean that Truth has two modes of 
addressing the soul — one, which we will call Intuitive, 
by which she has in all times penetrated individual 
lives, often of very humble capacities and sometimes 
extreme in ignorance; and another, more common 
method, by which she discloses herself, as we have seen, 
through the instrumentality of Form, to the Percep- 
tions, and of Phenomena, to the reasoning Intellect. 
The first is the result of a fitness of relation between 
the soul and Truth, which may be little above the 
instinctual capacities of brutes — which employs no 
reason, develops no correlative of the truths it feels, 
and rarely arrives at perfect certainty respecting them. 
It is the later office of Intellect to indorse the respecta- 
bility and verity of this method. It need not be further 



GENERAL VIEW. 13 

spoken of here, for it is before the world, employing 
not a few of its ablest brains and most active minds 
to-day. But so much was needful, before I could ask for 
one of the most pronounced and universal Ideas, enun- 
ciated by this method, the recognition due to a Truth. 

This Idea is the Superiority of Woman. 

The purpose of this volume is to bring to this 
Intuition of the early ages, of the most emotional, 
devout lives, and of all souls in their best and clearest 
moments, the support of such Truths, both of Form and 
Phenomena, as are at present known to us. 

I am not unaware of the difficulties which seem to 
surround the question, but unless I am incapable of 
weighing evidence, or of following clear and unmis- 
takable premises to their conclusions, these belong to 
the outset of the undertaking, and will vanish as it 
progresses. The development of the proofs which are 
to rescue this idea from its degraded position of an 
unsupported notion, or mere sentiment, or intuition, 
and place it among the recognized, effective, develop- 
ing, capable forces that bear on the human career, is a 
work which it seems to me only a woman could or 
would naturally undertake. It belongs to woman to 
find and open any career that woman is to run. Of 
my possible success in finding and arraying these 
proofs, I can only state my full conviction that if I do 
not achieve it, the failure will be due to my own ina- 
bility, not to their paucity. What they are or appear 
to be, so far as I have been able to study them, I shall 
proceed to define after a few more general statements, 
which will, I hope, prepare the careful reader to come 
to their examination in a frame of mind worthy of 
them, and of the movement to which they point. 



14: WOMAN AND HER ERA. 

We speak of Scientific Truths, as if there were, or 
could be, truths which would not admit of an exposi- 
tion and relations that would entitle them to that rank 
— truths either falling below or lying above the sphere 
of Science. But if the definition of Science given above 
be accepted, then we shall see that all truths will more 
and more wheel into rank and order under its broad 
banner, as we become more widely acquainted with 
them and their relations, and that the outlying or 
empirical truths must steadily diminish in numbers 
and importance, till finally they will all be absorbed ; 
so that to announce a truth will be equivalent to 
announcing either a science or an addition to a science. 
I will repeat the definition, that it may stand clear 
before the mind. Science is a logical statement of the 
Truths of Form and Phenomena, i. e., their statement 
in the order in which Truth employs them as her signs 
or exponents. If we accept this definition, we shall 
see how narrow must necessarily have been the first 
basis of Science ; with what difficulties, as its history 
shows, it was surrounded ; how vast the outlying king- 
doms of mere Faith, (I do not mean in the religious 
sense), and empirical observation must have been, and 
how almost unavoidable was the contempt with which 
Science regarded them. 

The first truths which would marshal themselves in 
its order would be, as has been already said, the lowest 
truths of the physical world, truths in forms. So 
Science began in the pure materialism of all its earliest 
departments, Astronomy, Anatomy, Chemistry, Botany, 
Mineralogy, &c, and has only very slowly crept above 
the study of forms, to the higher and later developed 
one of phenomena. In proof of this, consider how very 
young is Physiology, the Science of Vital Phenomena, 



GENERAL VIEW. 15 

compared with Anatomy, the Science of Vital Forms. 
Abundant illustrations of like character might be 
offered if I were attempting a history of Science and 
of the methods of its development. But not to be pro- 
lix, I must confine myself to the most general state- 
ments that will serve as illustrations. As in all natural 
development so here, the physical took precedence, and 
thus the oldest sciences will have the narrowest phe- 
nomenal and dynamical development in their later peri- 
ods, while the younger ones will be rich in these, their 
secondary phases. Human Anatomy, for example, has 
received an exhaustive treatment at the hands of a few 
able masters, but human Physiology is just beginning 
to unfold to us its grand and sublime lessons on Man. 
And this not simply because one is old and the other 
young, but because one is limited in its nature, dealing 
with Forms, and the other unlimited, dealing with 
Phenomena or Functions. One is a statement of a 
definite number of facts of forms, their qualities and 
relations, the other, treating of the phenomena result- 
ant from the existence and combination of these, is 
comparatively as much more inexhaustible as the 
words of our language are more inexhaustible than the 
alphabet of which they are the combinations. This 
comparison, it must be remembered, is rather suggest- 
ive than just, since it has no parallel to the intrinsic 
difference between form and phenomena — in other 
words, between Materiality and Spirituality. 

It may with justice be said that until the century 
which will close with 1870, there were never found 
among the stores of our knowledge, the complete ele- 
ments of a Science of Humanity, by which I mean a 
Science of the three-fold Man, organic, spiritual, and 
social. Investigation up to that period had scarcely 



16 



WOMAN AM.) II KK ERA. 



tonched,analytically,the psychological side of the human 
beingi That had been dealt with chiefly by the philo- 
sophers and metaphysicians — dogmatists all of neces- 
sity — men who mixed the profoundest truths with the 
gravest errors, and spent great lives in bringing to the 
light the few pearls for which they had successfully 
dived in that boundless sea of speculation. Honor to 
them and their work. Even the physiologists had accom- 
plished comparatively little for us up to the period 
named, though their field lay so much below this, and 
" had been visited and bad its soil turned up to the light 
by such men as Harvey and Descartes, not to mention 
the innumerable earlier speculators and discoverers on 
a lesser scale in Animal Physics. Ouvier and Bichat 
were born ninety years ago, so that all their brilliant 
contributions fall within the period I have named, and 
it could be shown by unquestionable facts, were such 
my object, that as a science, exposing human functions 
and capacities, it scarcely had an existence before this 
date. 

On the metaphysical side, the substantial work of 
analysis commenced with Dr. C4all and his able and 
faithful disciple, Spurzheim. I speak not wholly in 
ignorance or forge tfulness of the early philosophers; 
neither ignoring the inestimable value of the work of 
later ones— Bacon, Locke, Hobbes, Berkeley, Hartley, 
Hume, Hamilton— Kant and his gifted followers of the 
German school — nor the eminent ability of the Scots, 
represented in Reid, Smith, and Stewart, These men 
Bunched the literature of metaphysics by varied, pro- 
found, and brilliant additions thereto; yet was their 
m of truth a chance, as their failure to set one 
forth at all times when they believed themselves to be 
doing so, was due rather to accidental missing of it 



GENERAL. VIEW, 



17 



than to inability to search to any depth and bring it 
to light, provided they had had a method for find- 
ing it The chief Value of their w orbs is in the record 
they furnish of the Conflict of Development and the 
Encounter of Ideas. As repositories of truths which we 
needj as armories of actual arid imperishable instru- 
ments of Progress — which all true Ideas are — they 
have as little value,' I think, as so much very able, 
learned, profound, and critical writing well could 
have. 

With every variety of method except the true one, - 
(and even with fragments of that), and with no 
method; with every conceivable conception and per- 
ception of man's psychological nature except those 
which show its connection with and dependence on the 
physical ; with the deepest longings for the high truths 
which their earnest souls felt, and of which their acute 
intellects caught dim and broken glimpses occasion- 
ally—these and many others as able piled up speculation 
upon speculation, contradiction upon assertion, belief 
upon skepticism ? and skepticism upon belief, till, when 
the last of them had lived and written, there was truly 
need that somebody should appear who could pene- 
trate the conglomerate to its center, find the material 
root of inquiry, and declare, with authority that would 
compel attention, that man is, in all departments of 
hi* being, the subject of law, no less than the trees 
and the animals ; and that these laws could be reached 
only through the study of his material nature. This 
Gall did. True the religious world denounced him as 
a materialist, and his discoveries m rank infidelity. 
But had not the world waited long enough on the phi- 
losophers, and fruitlessly enough too, in some senses I 
It is answer enough to the scorn with which his method 



18 W03CA9 ASD HER ERA. 

and system have been treated in some quarters, that, 
whatever may be the errors that have crept into them 
in unworthy or incompetent hands, the former has 
dried up the succulent root of metaphysical speculation 
beyond all hope of renewal. The metaphysicians have 
]>eriHhed within the last century and can no more be 
restored as a school, than the order of the megatheria 
or the sauria. Gall's method, (of incomparably greater 
value than his system), opened immense possibilities 
and privileges to the race, not the least of which is that 
.of having a natural history, a privilege which may be 
said to have belonged before exclusively to the brute 
animals. 

Thus the Science of Humanity is the youngest of 
its family, and has the longest vista, not simply 
because of its youth, but no less because of its subject — 
the embodiment of the greatest number of the grandest 
truths that can be grasped by the human intellect. 
Nor ought the fact to be regarded as any cause of 
complaint, or as furnishing grounds of impeachment 
against the natural order of development. The lower 
must precede the higher; foundation must go before 
superstructure. The objective world was, before us, 
and in harmony with its pre-existence, we were created 
with faculties to take immediate cognizance of its 
superficial facts, and with other faculties, back of 
them, to take later cognizance of its deeper-lying 
facts. Of necessity man would thus take a late 
place among the objects studied by man: so much 
knowledge must prepare the way for an interest 
in and appreciation of. the knowledge of himself. 
Finding himself master in the visible world, there was 
nothing more natural than that ho should believe him- 
self superior in his origin and destiny to the nature 



GENERAL VIEW. 19 

with which he was surrounded, both of matter and of 
life; supernatural, therefore, in the sense of being 
above an exposition, such as Science makes of its sub- 
jects, and so prone to make for his use arbitrary sys- 
tems of Religion, Ethics, and Philosophy. We see and 
cannot choose but see, how slender is the actual rela- 
tion between man's organic nature and the institutions 
in which he has clothed himself; in other words how 
purely arbitrary they are, neglecting the fundamental 
laws of his organic and super-organic being, and how 
the little welfare that he enjoys he gets rather in spite 
of than through them. Thus there is not in existence, 
nor has there ever been, a Church which has had its 
origin in any intelligent understanding of the human 
being, and which therefore could frame its appeals 
wisely to his whole nature, so as to bring him forward 
to a harmonious development, neither to address its 
consolations and helps to all in him that needs aid and 
strength from so high a source. 

Quite the contrary : the Church, wherever we 
know its spirit, has despised and trampled on some 
portion of the nature which needed and sought its 
help. Our own theological Church, as we know, has 
scorned and villified the body till it has seemed almost 
a reproach and a shame to have one, yet at the same 
time has credited it with power to drag the soul to 
perdition. It is only beginning, in certain liberal off- 
shoots — the growth substantially of the last half- 
century — to acknowledge respectability enough in the 
body to entitle it to be treated as an instrument worth 
improving for the sake of its tenant. 

In like manner there is no Government, nor has 
ever been, winch got itself constituted by virtue of a 
clear understanding of what is needful for the physical, 



20 



WOMAN AND HER EKA, 






social, intellectual, and spiritual well-being of its sub- 
jects: nor was there ever a Government which, in ita 
administration, made even a remote approach to any 
such system of treatment. So no social order ever 
existed which was founded npon a just perception of 
the natural claims and rights of those whom it distri- 
buted and co-ordinated in labor and business, or soci- 
ety ; the motive in all past or existing systems having 
been self-love, the warrant power. It won Id be need- 
less to multiply illustrations, since each must be in the 
relation of a minor proposition to the major one, that 
without a Science of Man it is impossible that human 
institutions should be founded in a wise and catholic 
adaptation to his nature. The parts are included in 
the whole — we cannot know the latter if we are igno- 
rant of any of the former. 

Seeing these things as matters of history, which no 
intelligent man or woman will undertake to deny — 
this newness of man to the science of himself — the con- 
sequent incompleteness of his institutions and orders 
of self-service, and the important truth that, standing 
at the top of the life-scale, his self-study must not only 
be later but longer than the study of any other object 
in the creation — we are prepared to receive with 
un speak able interest and gratitude any new actual 
unfolding or exposition of this sovereign race. 

But in entering upon it we must not lose sight of 
the fundamental truth that the human being is to be 
studied, not only hi Ms lower, but in his higher nature, 
primarily through the material organization which first 
makes him known. This is not materialism. Let none 
be startled by a fear that it is, Neither is it denying 
that man has a super- mate rial existence. It is simply 
asserting that organization is the visible hand- writ' 









GEUEBAi. VIEW. 



ai 



of God in the world of Life. What He tenants the 
living forms with: whether with the individuality of a 
tree> a brute -animal, or a human and immortal spirit. 
He will declare to us, first in His workmanship in the 
thing or creature itself, and beyond this in any manner 
that best comports with Supreme Love and W isdom ; 
by inspiration of the spirit manifested in oral speech or 
written scriptures; or in tio manner above its own 
organic language, which is incorruptible, and will bear 
but ono reading at the last, no matter how many 
scholars assemble over it. 

Progressive life has had in the past ages two leadings, 
in diametrical opposition to each other. One, the reli- 
gions, has despised the living organization and the 
whole of material nature: the, other 5 the intellectual, 
headed by Science, has despised everything but organi- 
zation, I am not called on to show which party has 
exhibited the greater degree of unreason. Each has 
been grounded upon a great truth of Humanity- — the 
one upon its physical, the other upon its spiritual ; and 
it is not more certain that summer and winter, day and 
night, will continue to follow each other, than that 
these parties are destined to become one, making com- 
mon premises, and throwing down the w T alls between 
whatever is left, to them as conclusion, after this 
coalescence. One thing is clear, that the confirmation 
of whatever is true with her opponent belongs to 
Science. As she has had to "stoop to baptize charms, 
and acknowledge simples," and confess the verity of 
much that seemed, of old> to be mere superstition— so 
it belongs to her, as the incorruptible expositor of 
God's will, to try in her crucibles the Basis-Facts 
and Phenomena of all Truth whatsoever, that can 
become known to us in the present stage of our being. 



22 WOMAN AND HER ERA. 

Nor does this in the smallest degree diminish the 
respect due to the spiritual truths which claim her 
confirmation, nor disparage their dignity. Is man of 
less dignity, that the earth had to go through thousands 
of years of preparation to receive him, and publish his 
wonderful powers to the gazing universe? Is the 
tree of less majesty or excellence, that the primary 
strata which are its ultimate support, had to receive a 
dressing, which it took ages to deposit upon them, 
before it could grow there? 

Spirituality does not go to Science for dignity or 
authority, but for needed service which the ages they 
have spent in groping conflict with each other, have 
made it as necessary for the one to give as for the 
other to receive. The Spiritual, (religious) party rep- 
resenting the Subjective; and the Scientific, (intel- 
lectual) one, the Objective ; and the latter taking pre- 
cedence in its claims upon the human understanding, 
it falls out quite naturally and inevitably that the day 
should come when it must pass into the service of the 
former. For there is no logic required to show that 
the lower is not only subordinate, but subservient to 
the higher, and that this relation is the very exaltation, 
dignity, and harmony of all. So it turns out that 
Objective Science, which is the utterly correct reading 
of the external world, is not concluded in itself, but is 
to pass into orderly and serviceable relation to some- 
what higher, namely, the development of the Subject- 
ive. So organization, the primitive language of Deity 
in the world of life, and the sole proof touching it 
which Science can recognize, will be no more studied 
an an end, but as a means, employed by the Creator for 
tlio development of higher purposes than can be 
expressed in gross matter ; and when this takes place, 



GENERAL VIEW. 23 

the methods of the scientists and spiritualists will be at 
one, for Science will then no longer despise the Future, 
which Spirituality has claimed as alone worthy, and 
Spirituality will no longer despise the Present, which 
Science has declared to be the all in all to man. 

I need not stay to dwell on the numerous evidences 
that this refreshing day is near at hand. A bare allu- 
sion to the two great leading features of our time must j 
suffice here, and be my authority, with what has been 
before said, for passing from this difficult, because con- 
densed general statement, to the special subject of this 
work. These two features might perhaps be desig- 
nated as the reverse and obverse of Nature's highest 
coinage, the human creature — the one the study of his 
physical, the other that of his super-physical being, to 
which the century that another decade will round off, 
especially the late years of that century, have given 
such immeasurable impulse and activity. Out of this 
activity in both departments must come, first, such 
results in Ideas — i. e., in the knowledge of Truths, 
through their Forms and Phenomena — as will secure 
to humanity self-respect, self-reverence, and intelligent 
reverence of the God who made it worthy of these sen- 
timents, instead of consigning it to a foreknown 
depravity and perdition; next, such a knowledge of 
the destiny to which Organization is the infallible 
premise, as will kindle all manner of noble aspiration 
toward the highest, and unspeakable yearnings for 
acquaintance with the hidden possibilities and latent 
capacities of improvement which both the physical and 
the spiritual now enfold; and lastly, such unity 
between Humanity and its elder brother, external 
Nature, that while the one, in all her diversified forms, 
places herself in service to the other, it shall be seen 



24 WOMAN AND HER ERA. 

that each is ennobled and exalted by all that the other 
does to harmonize, adorn, and develop Nature, his 
home, wherein and wherewith are the sources of his 
joys, his peace, and his growth into fitness for the 
higher state which is his destiny when that fitness 
shall be accomplished. 

To further this, to secure the improvement of 
humanity, and higher yet than any improvement of 
individuals, communities, or nations, to point out 
methods, which, if they are true, are God's own plans 
for this noble work, and which, being developed, 
become the richest inheritance which one age can 
bequeath to another, is the noblest privilege life can 
offer us. Those to whose lot it falls to do one such 
service, however small, may well feel grateful that 
God has permitted them such a foretaste, while yet in 
the mortal form, of the happiness which must be near 
akin to His as Creator. To bring forth latent, unem- 
ployed powers, and show their uses, is something more 
than to awaken slumbering aspirations: it is to ally 
ourselves very nearly with One who created those 
powers and left it to their possessors to discover the 
fitting season and place for their use in the great plan 
of Progress. Not indeed that we do discover them, 
but are perhaps rather instruments, in our best as in 
our humblest work, in the Divine hands, for the exe- 
cution and completion of designs and purposes which 
have apparently been left unfinished that we may the 
more fully co-work to their development. The stimu- 
lus of discovery — almost of Creator — comes to us as, in 
our walks through the ages, we find these latent trea- 
sures, bring them to the light, and fit them into their 
true relations of use in the scheme of which they seeiu 
not before to have formed a part. 



GENERAL VIEW. 25 

This volume is written to place before the minds of 
those who may read it a Truth of our human life made 
manifest in both the Physical and Spiritual of Woman, 
which has heretofore had no logical proof offered in its 
support, and consequently no intelligent, calm, rea- 
sonable acknowledgment anywhere. But truth of any 
life, is never newly unfolded without revealing powers 
and capacities in the life before unsuspected or but 
suspected. And as the truth I have to state is of 
Woman, the demand is upon her primarily ; as it is 
the most exalted truth of her being, so the demands are 
upon her highest and noblest powers; and as these 
must be employed to meet them, the fruit they must 
yield will be of corresponding value and power in their 
bearing upon human destiny. Therefore let no one 
whose soul is worthy the noble and sweet name of 
Woman, shrink from acquainting herself with the 
Truth, and worthily preparing herself to exercise the 
powers it implies and charges her to put to use in her 
life. 



CHAPTER II. 
THE OKGANIC AKGUMENT. 

I begin with this syllogism : 

Life is exalted in proportion to its Organic and 
Functional Complexity; 

Woman's Organism is more Complex and her 
totality of Function larger than those of any other 
being inhabiting our earth ; 

Therefore her position in the scale of Life is the 
most exalted — the Sovereign one. 

The major premise of this statement would seem, 
at the first glance from even unlearned common sense, 
to be a self-evident truth ; at least to require little more 
than simple suggestions or hints to secure the assent of 
such as are capable of intelligent assent to any propo- 
sition. We all feel that individual life rises in dignity 
as it employs additional instruments for its expression. 
Thus the most ignorant man recognizes his dog as a 
higher creature than the reptile of the fields or the 
barn-yard fowl, not because he is better made for his 
lot than they for theirs, but because his life is the sum 
of a greater variety of powers. Physiologically speaking, 
there is more of the quadruped, though he be a poodle, 
than of the reptile, though he be an anaconda,taking 
an ox to his breakfast. 

The boor has a perception of what the savant 



THE ORGANIC ARGUMENT. 27 

knows, that an Organ is a sign of a Power. Each added 
Organ is Nature's direct testimony to the presence of 
an added power, which by so much enlarges and 
enriches the life. Comparative Anatomy and Com- 
parative Physiology are Sciences by virtue of this great 
truth, their functions being to acquaint us not only 
with life, its forms and means of expression, but also 
with the relation which its various embodiments hold 
to each other. In ascending the scale which each of 
these sciences offers for our study, we are constantly 
making acquaintance with added organs and powers : 
widening the circle of vital actions and relations which 
each type and grade of created beings enjoys and holds: 
and vice versa, in descending it, we lose, in our study 
of the types and grades, powers and organs which we 
had before. These sciences announce Nature's pur- 
pose and method in the world of life,to be its exaltation 
by the gradual addition to its lowest or fundamental 
powers, of those which make up its highest manifesta- 
tion. They employ various formulae, it is true, but 
always to express unanimity of meaning. 

If I were addressing myself to scientific readers 
only, it would at first thought seem superfluous to go 
beyond the third term of my syllogism. The claim in 
behalf of Woman might be considered as proved in its 
mere announcement, so strictly scientific is the basis on 
which it is rested, so inevitable the conclusion in her 
favor. The wonder would appear to be not so much 
that it should be stated now, as that it should need to 
be — that it should stand to-day among the unacknow- 
ledged truths. But on looking again, one cees that the 
case is not so won — no, nor likely to be immediately, 
by any force or amount of argument that can be offered 
upon it. And this for two reasons; first, because dis- 



28 WOMAtf ANB HEJl ERA. 

ciples of Science are slow to accept conclusions, from 
their own premises, which they have not reached them- 
selves; and second, because in this special case, the con- 
clusion is the most revolutionary yet reached in our 
development; and it therefore attacks the oldest usages, 
the most compact l>ody of opinions, and the strongest 
prejudices that have been entertained by society in any 
and every stage of its progress, up to the present time. 
It would, for these reasons, wear the aspect of error, if 
there were not in the universal heart of humanity, 
deeper than its usages, more sacred than its opinions, 
contradicting its prejudices, an instinct, a sentiment, 
an intuition of its truth. This, as we advance with the 
subject, we shall find flowing through the ages — like a 
pure stream through a broken, marshy country — lost in 
deserts or wildernesses at times, becoming subterra- 
nean here to burst forth in greater power and bright- 
ness there — seeking refuge, in the rudest times, in the 
few chivalrous, or timid, or sentimental bosoms, to 
come forth and move the million again when the earth- 
quake>and the storm, and the strife y are past Thus the 
claim of superiority for Woman is as old as the senti- 
ment toward her in the human heart, and aft new as 
the very latest study of her by the reasoning intellect — 
so old that it is already conceded by the finer con* 
scinusness of mankind — so new that it will probably be 
almost universally and hotly disputed by its Inductive 
Intellect, But the period has arrived when human 
welfare demands that intellectual conviction of the 
Truth of Woman should take the place, not only in her 
own bosom but in that of man and society, of the sen- 
timental acknowledgment of it To this end are my 
labors; and in going forward with them, I shall, as far 
m it ie given me to me and be faithful to Mature, fol- 



THE OBGAN1C AEGUM11.M. 



29 



low her bo closely, that to dispute the one will be to 
deny the other. All that I ask for Woman is what 
Nature designs fur her. It will fully content me to 
show so much of that as 1 am able to see, knowing that 
to show and to obtain, here, are one. 

Let us then see what Nature declares of Woman, 
through her Organic testimony* 

I have said that she operates the elevation of her 
types and grades hy the addition of parts not employed 
in the inferior types and grades, Yital structure com- 
mences with a primordial cell, We may go further 
back and call it a corpuscle if we please, but the career 
of every living being, whether vegetable or animal, 
begins at one of these points (so far as Science has yet 
ascertained), and leads up to the limits of differentia- 
tion of which its type and grade are capable. By dif- 
ferentiation ia meant those changes which the primor- 
dial form undergoes, in becoming fitted to serve the 
functions of the life it is destined to ultimate hx Car- 
penter says , M The lower we descend in the scale of 
being, whether in the animal or in the vegetable 
series, the nearer approach do we make to that homo- 
geneoumegg which is the typical attribute of inorganic 
bodies, wherein every particle has all the characters of 
individuality, so that there is no distinction either of 
tissues or organs. * # * On the other hand, as we 
ascend the scale of being, we find the fabric— whether 
of the plant or the animal — becoming more and more 
heterogenA&w ; that is, to use Von Bar's language, c a 
differentiation of the body into organic systems, and of 
these again into separate, more individualized sections/ 
presents itself. * * The differentiation, both as 
regards external conformation and intimate structure, 
proceeds to a far wider extent in the animal kingdom, 



80 WOMA2S AXD HER ERA. 

in virtue of the much greater variety of purposes to be 
attained in its existence ; and we see this carried to its 
highest degree in man, in whose organism the prin- 
ciple of specialization (differentiation) everywhere 
manifests itself, no part being a precise repetition of 
any other, except of the corresponding part on the 
opposite side of the body." — (Comp. Phvsiology, 
p.48.) ' - 

Draper says, "By the differentiation of cells i3 
meant the assumption of a variation in their structure, 
from which follows, as a consequence, the capacity of 
discharging new functions." The higher then the 
degree of differentiation reached, the greater and more 
various the functional capacity. Homogeneousness 
being the typical attribute of inorganic bodies, hetero- 
geneousness must be accepted as the typical attribute 
of organic bodies. Every differentiated part is evi- 
dence of an added power or function which expands 
the life, and multiplies its relations to the objective 
world. The mollusk is bound to the creation, outside 
of his shell, by a very slender body of relations com- 
pared with those which the cetacea, the quadruped, or 
man enjoys. There is a long distance in development 
between the oyster and the whale, and it is the pro- 
duct of those changes from the primordial of the latter, 
which the former has not reached — which have added 
to the functions of the oyster the functions of the 
whale. The quadruped is still farther removed, and 
the human farthest, because in it is embodied the largest 
sum of differentiations from the primary form. And 
with every new relation so established, the creature 
becomes more universal, and the universal comes more 
within the creature: every new function is a road 
opened between the individual and the universal life. 



THE OKtlJLN'K' AJfiGUMENT, 



31 



And whatever theory of development M f e adopt, this 
law remains as a feature thereof j that rank in the 
organic scale is determined by the amount of differen- 
tiation accomplished bj the type and grade to which 
the life belongs. It matters not whether we reject or 
accept the terms high and low; whether we determine 
that there arc orders, classes, genera, hearing the rela- 
tions of interior and superior, or that the whole world 
of life is a race, which some types have but just started 
upon, while others are well advanced, and others still 
have reached the ultimate of the earth-forms. For 
still, as determining the question of primal rank, or of 
place, whichever we agree to call it, we are equally 
confronted, on either hypothesis, with the truth that 
the rank is fixed, or the place Is found, by means of the 
number of original powers or functions which the life 
exhibits- Or to quote the law announced by Yon Bar 
and accepted by all the late authorities, M The relations 
of any organized fabric to any other, must be expressed 
by the product of its type with its grade of develop- 
ment/' 

If we refer to the lower series now, for illustration 
of this law, we shall tind that life begins in forma which 
are but a single remove, and that the smallest, from the 
inorganic condition. The organic cell is a cell, instead 
of a mere atom of matter, by virtue of its capacity for 
developing conditions which serve the functions of 
Nutrition and Reproduction, these being indispensable 
to life in every form— the first step in the process of 
Differentiation. But among the lowest plants and ani- 
mals they are carried on alike in all parts of the living 
body, there being, as is commonly known, large fami- 
lies in the vegetable kingdom, in which nutrition is 
performed by vessels distributed throughout the entire 



32 WOMAN AND HER ERA. 

tissue, instead of being localized in the root and leaf, 
as in the higher types ; and in which reproduction is the 
simple process of growth from any point of the parent 
body. "The lowest type of vegetable existence is 
afforded by those organisms which either consist of 
single cells or of aggregations of similar cells, each of 
which can maintain an independent existence, living 
for ajid by itself, and not needing the co-operation of 
other cells, save for the purpose of generation, of which 
the reunion of the contents of two cells, by an act of 
' conjugation,' is an essential condition. Any one of 
these cells may multiply itself indefinitely by subdivi- 
sion ; but those products are all mere repetitions of one 
another, and often detach themselves spontaneously, so 
that the descendants of a single cell may cover a very 
extended area, as is the case, for example, with the 
Protococcus nivalis, or 'red snow.' There is here, 
therefore, not the least show of differentiation ; no spe- 
cial cells being set apart, even for the performance of 
the generative act. * * In the simplest forms of 
this ihallus, ('the ulvae'), we do not meet with the 
slightest trace of differentiation ; and every one of its 
component cells appears to live as much for and by 
itself, as if it were completely detached from the rest. 
Every one of them, moreover, seems able to multiply 
itself, not merely by subdivision, but also by the emis- 
sion of a portion of its contents, inclosed in a cell-wall, 
in the condition of a 'spore,' or detached gemma. 
* * * In the next stage of development, the differ- 
entiation of parts begins to manifest itself more de- 
cidedly," more especially "in the limitation of the 
reproductive act to particular portions of the organism, 
and in the setting apart of special organs for its per- 



THE ORGANIC ARGUMENT, 



33 



formanca"* From the plants of these lower series to 
the most complex of the Direeea there is a long scale 
of distance, filled bj a world of vegetable forms, which 
take rank according to the differentiation of parts they 
exhibit ; in other words, according to the more or less 
elaborate organization which the measure of life in 
them employs for its expression. For everywhere, from 
the meanest of the Flora to the highest of the Fauna, 
it is a question simply of u how much" of life 1 And 
the quantity is infallibly indicated by the aceommoda* 
tions we find it in. Nature does not lodge the life of 
an oak in the body of a moss, nor that of an elm in a 
road-side thistle. She provides a fit house for each 
guest ; and the number of its apartments, (organs), shows 
her respect for the lodger — or, to speak with more 
exactness, she sends forth each life clothed w T ith full 
power to build itself precisely the mansion it needs* 

Look now at the Animal World in the light of these 
statements- Underlying the lowest of the four great 
divisions of the animal kingdom, there is a lower form 
of animal life than is found in either — " a group," says 
Carpenter, "which cannot be regarded as presenting 
even a rudiment of the plan of conformation that is 
characteristic of any one of them, and in which scarcely 
any differentiation of organs ta to be discerned," This 
. group is termed Protozoa, and is so low in its manifest- 
ation as to have been reckoned, indifferently, in the 
vegetable and animal kingdom by writers, according to 
the plan of classification adopted by them. They are 
now clearly ranked as belonging to the latter, the ani- 
mal character being proved in the modes of nutrition, 
and power of motion of one part upon another, and 



* Carpenter, pp + 52, 53, 



34 % WOMAN AND HER ERA. 

chemically, by the presence of nitrogen, detectable by 
fire. But there arc here no special instruments either 
for sensation or motion. As every part of the body is, 
or may rather become, equally adapted for digestion, 
absorption, respiration, and secretion, so does every 
part appear equally capable of receiving impressions 
made upon it, and of responding to them, by a con- 
tractile movement. " A large proportion of the Pro- 
tozoa consists of single cells, or aggregations of cells, in 
which there is no differentiation of character; in the 
lowest forms of them there is not even that distinctness 
of the cell-wall from the cell-contents, which exists in 
every completely developed cell, but the whole forms 
one mass of living jelly," in which organic substances, 
previously elaborated by other beings, are enveloped, 
dissolved, and appropriated for its nutriment. 

From this simplest house in which animal life 
abides, we depart upward, through the great kingdoms, 
the populous countries, empires, states; the splendid 
cities and mansions which it inhabits. Even in the 
poorest of those it is a little better lodged than here. 
In the Radiata, the lowest of the sub-kingdoms, there 
are large families which exhibit no structural marks of 
a nutritive apparatus. As in the Protozoa, all parts of 
the organism appear to be alike engaged in carrying 
it on. And though a reproductive system is differen- 
tiated in nearly all the groups of this kingdom, none of 
its members set life forth in features of much distinct 
ness. In the next, the Mollusca, an apparatus of each 
of these functions is clearly distinguishable, everywhere 
above the very lowest members ; and here nerve-tissue 
makes its appearance, in a persistent ganglion — an 
interior eye of consciousness — the primordial having 
advanced that length on the road to the high summit 



THE OIM1ANI0 ARGUMENT. 



35 



of utmost differentiation. In the Articnluta we have a 
still more elaborate structure, not only of the* median- 
ism of these great primary functions, but also orpins 
of sensation and motion of A far nicer and mure com- 
plex character than have before appeared: and in the 
Vertebrate "the complete differentiation of all these 
structures is nearly tlie invariable rule,' 7 say a the 
author before quoted. 

If it were a moot question whether or not Nature 
operates elevation of types by addition of powers, or if 
the present purpose w T ere primarily to establish its 
truth, it would be an object to array authorities here. 
But since the first is not true, and since the single, 
simple purpose in view of fehis work, is the application 
of acknowledged laws in detenu ining the position of 
Woman in the scale of being, it wuuld be superfluous 
to distill into these pages the opinions, whether con- 
flicting or harmonious, of the numerous writers on 
Comparative Anatomy and Physiology* Upon the 
essential force of the great law which illustrates and 
sustains the first term of mv syllogism, there is entire 
unanimity among men of science. They differ in t In- 
form of ite statement , but agree as to its essence* Cer- 
tain minor facts bearing upon it, as where certain 
groups belong, may be matters of dispute, but the 
grand design sought through all, is seen always as one, 
So plain is its character, so unanimous the agreement 
upon it, that it would have been unnecessary to occupy 
time in the brief statements already made, except for 
two reasons: first, that the Truths herein proved are 
offered for the acceptance of unprofessional readers of 
both sexes, and second, that they are exposed, by their 
bearings, to assaults, against which I would fortify 
them,for the benefit of those who need to find Truth 



86 WOMAN AND HER EBA. 

an impregnable fortress before they can join her ser- 
vice. A few more words then will dispose of this term of 
our statement. 

Taking our stand by the primordial, and looking 
out thence broadly to life, as a body of phenomena 
whose function it is to express all the powers that can 
be embodied in finite forms, the deduction of varied, 
compound organisms for that purpose is irresistible. 
Complexity of structure for the service of variety of 
function — numerous organs, instruments of numerous 
powers — these present the sum of our existing know- 
ledge of means employed by Nature to carry her pri- 
mary types toward perfection. We are to regard 
Organization as a means, not an end : as the clothing 
which life puts on that it may have adequate expression 
in a material world — the medium through which it can 
receive and give — the avenues of exchange, few or 
many, narrow or broad, between it and surrounding 
life and matter. Like means, like end. A wind-harp 
may be made of a single thread, but if the harmonies 
of sound are to be reported to us, we must have many 
and various strings. A shining butterfly or even a 
crawling worm, may suffice to give us a certain range 
of ideas of vital color, motion, and sensation ; but if we 
would know these in their fullness, we must look to 
creatures of more complex structure than butterfly or 
worm. Thus then stands our argument. The sim- 
plest form of matter is the Elemental, the Inorganic. 
In the first union which life makes with it, matter is 
but little elevated by the conjunction — but a single 
step removed from its primary condition. It is clothed 
in the organic form that will barely enable the indi- 
vidual to take nutriment and perform the office of con- 
tinuing its species. But in the lowest Algse, Lichens 



THE ORGANIC ARGUMENT. 37 

and Fungi, neither of these functions is furnished with 
a special apparatus for its performance : in other words 
is powerful, nice, individual enough to have elaborated 
for itself, out of the low mass in which it resides, a spe- 
cial instrument or set of instruments for its use. And 
the same is true, as we have seen, even in this passing 
glance at the animal kingdom, of its lowest members. 
Now how is matter raised above these simplest, lowest 
organic forms ? How does life, of which matter is but 
the servant, attain to more varied, dignified, powerful 
expression ? 

By the modus, it would seem, of action and re-action : 
Life, by its presence and influence, refining and ele- 
vating matter ; matter, thus improved, taking on more 
varied and complete systems of service : Life demand- 
ing more as it feels its growing power over the infe- 
rior ; matter responding to the demand as it is made 
nobler by the union. Here then is the career opened 
of this sublime relation. Here are the first links in 
that long chain of material forms, which, binding life 
about the globe, has a Highest somewhere. That High- 
est, if we have discerned the law at all, will be found 
to be the creature in whom Life is the sum of the 
largest number of separate powers, (functions), and 
Organization is the total of the greatest number of 
complete instruments, (organs), for the use of these 
powers. 

Let us now see whether this being is or not, accord- 
ing to the second term of our statement, Woman. 

Three leading features arise out from among the 
many that might be presented in the argument on this 
premise : First, the broad testimony of human Physi- 
ology ; next, that deducible from the nerve-endowments 
of the feminine life ; and lastly, that which takes cog- 



38 WOMAN AND HER ERA. 

nizance of Rudimentary Organs and their significance. 
I shall deal with them in their order. 

I. Physiology is an exposition of the powers of 
living beings ; of their relations to the organic bodies 
which they inhabit and to those which surround them. 
Universal Physiology includes the special branches 
which treat of vegetable life and animal life. This 
latter is further subdivided into Animal and Human 
Physiology, and the latter again into Masculine and 
Feminine Physiology. 

Physiological equality is not predicable of any two 
types of living beings on the earth. Neither is it pre- 
dicable of any two grades — a distinction marked with 
a less difference than that which separates types — the 
very term grade implying that one is carried above the 
other on the scale of development. The human type 
crowns the living creation on our globe. It is a type 
steadily worked up to, through all the forms between it 
and the primary cell. And it occupies this high place 
by reason of uniting the most affluent, varied, com- 
plex functional life to the most compound organization. 
It is the Ideal type of the Earth's Physiology, because 
of this wealth of its functional and organic endow- 
ments. It is a proud, exclusive type, embracing only 
its two sexes. And our whole case for Woman rests 
upon the questions whether or not these two sexes are 
also two grades of development, and, it being estab- 
lished that they are, then finally, whether or not she is 
the higher. 

What is a grade of development? Evidently it is 
a difference of development, whatever else it may or 
may not be. More, it is a difference of physiological 
quantity, the term, as has been said, implying more 
and less, higher and lower. Now more means here, as 



THE ORGANIC ARGUMENT. 39 

we know, the expression of an added function or func- 
tions, through the instrumentality of an added organ 
or organs. Let us then look at the human Masculine 
and Feminine by the light of these definitions. 

The broad kingdom of Human Life and Organiza- 
tion is common to the Masculine and Feminine. In 
the Functions and Organs to which the preservation 
and welfare of the individual are intrusted, their 
endowments are numerically balanced. Thus the Nu- 
tritive function in each is compounded of an equal 
number of more special functions, and employs an 
equally elaborate apparatus of viscera, vessels, and 
tissues of every sort. The Respiratory and Circulatory 
functions have the like balanced character and service ; 
so also have those of Secretion, Exhalation, Absorp- 
tion, and Deposition. In all these respects, the differ- 
ences between masculine and feminine are differences 
of relative proportion, not of primary powers ; of degrees 
of relative capacity, but never of kinds of capacity, 
Man possessing all that Woman does, some in greater, 
some in less measure ; Woman all that Man does, with, 
of course, the like qualifications. Thus Human Anato- 
my and Physiology can be studied from the Masculine 
and Feminine almost indifferently well, up to the lim- 
its of those functions and organs which serve and con- 
cern the individual supremely. The divergence is 
established where the Function which clothes them 
with the most Godlike of their powers, that of creators 
of their race, comes into the scale of endowments, and 
henceforward we must study each for the knowledge 
of its sex, and of the characteristic powers and respon- 
sibilities belonging to it. 

It is plain now, if we have discerned Nature's pur- 
pose in the previous inquiries, that the sexes will wove 



42 



WOMAN AND HER EBA. 



It is clear then that sem is a grade of development / 
and that the Feminine exceeds the Masculine hy the 
differentiation of two organs m<>iv than the latter em- 
plovs— organs of vastly complicated relations, and 
exquisite sensibilities — organs which are intrusted with 
the momentous offices of the ante-natal creation, and 
post-natal nurture, of the race. These may he termed 
the Superior-Maternal System, in contradistinction to 
those organs and functions of the reproductive system 
which, in the feminine, are balanced by their eqn 
lents in the masculine. They are frvvo steps taken hy 
the feminine, under the law of differentiation, of which 
the masculine stops short. And whether Maternity, 
(which function, as to its origin, partakes of the volun- 
tary character), is performed or not, in any individual 
case, the organs testify the presence of capacities and 
qualities in the feminine which the masculine knows 
not. 

Thus the plus of powers, sensibilities, emotions, 
experiences, and possibilities, either in happiness or 
suffering, is hers, not his. And, without fullness of 
action in this system of organs, there is an action which 
establishes Womanhood — a function anticipative of 
Maternity, first movement of the Superior-Maternal 
System, which the masculine balances by no phenome- 
non of its vital circuit. This unique function separates 
the Ante-Maternal from the Ante-Paternal period by 
a world of tine susceptibilities, emotions, affections, 
yearnings, which transcend, as intellectual pow r er does 
mere knowledge, or as moral purpose mere intellect, 
the limits of self-enjoyment which bound the horizon 
of the masculine. It is the open window of the femi- 
nine soul, affording its longest and divinest outlouk 
beyond self and the present, into the wide, vague world 



THE ORGANIC ARGUMENT. 43 

of life and happiness to which, through love, it aspires 
or yearns to contribute ; indifferent in its highest mo- 
ments, whether it be through martyrdom or ineffable 
joy that it gives itself, so but the gift be made. Here 
is the first separating step between it and the mascu- 
line. It has entered here a kingdom of its own, set 
apart, lifted up, sacred to itself, whose sweet atmo- 
spheres bathe soul and sense in a new light and warmth ; 
whose pure, up-soaring harmonies set the pulses to a 
new measure ; whose dim, far-seen, but shining hori- 
zon, melting into the circle of heavenly maternal love, 
invites the timid heart along the road full of new and 
startling mysteries. Here sweeter ardors take possession 
of the soul ; Faith lights the inner fires that have lain 
unkindled through all the gay years of infancy and 
childhood — the Ideal opens its jasper doors to the 
yearning eye — all the mountain peaks, that were before 
shrouded, shine out in the new-descending light, and 
life is aglow with bright — it may be shifting — realities 
and intense hopes. The light foot falters as it treads 
along the new paths, but turns not back for any reve- 
lation they make. For high courage, as well as lofty 
faith, come more and more into the spirit as womanly 
experience herein broadens and knits more firmly the 
web of its relations. But here the feminine must walk 
alone. No brother, however beloved, can come in 
hither ; no father, however cherished and cherishing, 
can set foot of companionship within the lines of this 
sacred circle of experience. It is only as a spectator 
and a student that man can approach hither — only as 
a learner, a worshiper, or -a profaner, that he can lift 
his eyes to this inner kingdom, lying above his own 
consciousness, and compact of mysteries, impenetrable 
to him. For his intellect can only take cognizance of 



u 



WOMAN AXI> HEK ERA. 



the facte, which arc but the "signs and shows" of the 
spiritual realities winch they subtend. 

Whatever may be claimed or denied, through the 
intellectual speculations of man, fur this periodic action 
of the Superior-Maternal system, this is clear to all 



womankind, that 



through 



it, Nature drives her first 



lesson to the emotional and affectimial life of the neo- 
phyte. Motherhood is the Ideal State of Womanhood 
to every female not arrived there — the ante-functional 
life of little girlhood, nay, even of infancy, declaring 
the presence of this divine passion. It is so, not because 
of one phenomenon in the feminine life — not because 
nf any fact or set of facts, however momentous, in the 
physiological circuit of the feminine, but because of that 
circle of forces, which sphere every life and focalize it 
as its own true center. Woman must yearn for Mother- 
hood because she is Woman. Before it is reached, the 
bow of her ideal plants its farthest foot there and 
leads unwaveringly to it Next it springs across the 
Great Yalley, and bends down into Heaven, whither, 
when she has them, she would take all her children. 
Physiologically, whatever may be claimed or denied 
touching this office, (the periodic action), whatever 
mystery shrouds it from the masculine spectator, making 
of his wisdom foolishness when he would expound it ? 
Woman realizes at least this, that it proceeds from a law 
of order in the economy of her life, replacing the license 
of mere waste in the masculine, and feels, according to 
her knowledge, be it intellectual or intuitive, that it 
testifies a certain sacredness and value in her resources, 
as distinguished from the vulgarity and commonness 
which place those of the masculine at the ever ready 
disposal of mere sense. And it is further plain to her 
consciousness, that this function has the finer office of 



THE OEGAETO ARGtTUENT. 



45 



renewing the most occnlt forces of her life. Nervous 
equilibrium is restored by it ; harmony between the 
will and the affections, between judgment and impulse, 
Maternal love springs afresh from its deepest sources, 
illuminating all it shines upon. The powers wearied, 
jarred, dislocated it may be in the tug and strain of 
life's battle, clip afresh in the strong, pure flood-tide of 
the susceptibilities, and she who was worn, impatient, 
irritable, body and spirit-sore, under her burthens, 
comes out refreshed, harmonized, fitted anew for her 
labors and responsibilities. How wise, how T benefit a 1 1 , 
how significant of the momentousness of Maternity, 
that it should originate now, in this period of strength, 
and exaltation of the better life I Does it not seem 
that Nature here sets upon it her seal of sacred n ess? 
She honors paternity by no such preparation for it* It 
is left alike to the lowest as to the highest hour. Not 
that even unintelligent persons can feel low and high 
to be alike good, or can fail to see in paternity the 
highest of man's opportunities for obedience and faith- 
fulness to the divinest law of his life. But this also is 
equally Woman's, independent of the involuntary pre- 
paration. Nature works with her, at the very least, in 
an equal measure as with man, and/!?/' her, in a way 
that is all her own. 

And here perhaps, as well as anywhere, may be 
offered what I have to say respecting the comparative 
value, as a determining force in the nature of offspring, 
of the Masculine and Feminine, Not a digest of the 
observations, speculations, and assertions of writers on 
this perplexing question. Suffice to pay that in no de- 
partment of inquiry are known results more varied, 
contradictory, confused, and confusing; nowhere ia 
assertion more positive; denial by the succeeding 



46 ' WOMAN AND H|EB ERA. 

authority more flat. Nowhere,* out of the laboratory 
and the metallurgist's cabinet, has experiment been 
more nicely, patiently, and diligently conducted, to 
lead to such pitiful result — representing to-day pretty 
fairly, the sum of our actual knowledge of Ioajo herein. 
Were I to give the bare names of able, earnest in- 
quirers, I should spread a catalogue that would surprise 
the uninstructed reader — were I to attempt the most 
meager digest of their labors and the conclusions at- 
tained, I might at once abandon all other branches of 
my subject, since the utmost limits I propose would 
scarce suffice for these — worse still, I should swamp 
my readers, with myself, in a wide sea of contradic- 
tions, theories and counter-theories, observations and 
counter-observations, for which I much prefer sending 
him or her to the original books wherein they are 
recorded. 

One word is due, however, in passing, to the causes 
which have made these labors so barren of actual 
result. 

What could have withheld from the clear sight of 
Yicq d'Azyr, Bazaringues, St. Hilaire; the roving 
vision of Lucas ; the insight of Gall, Spurzheim, the 
Combes ; the study of Moreau, Orton, Owen, Huxley ; 
the wondrous patience of the great German school ; the 
critical watchfulness of the Italian, not to mention the 
great names of the earlier ages, the object of their 
study — seeing that it .is a real object, and must often, 
in their direct and collateral labors, have lain so very 
near their hands ? 

There are, it seems to me, two causes which have 
hindered, and which will, so long as they exist, con- 
tinue to hinder the discovery of tliis inestimably grave 
law. First, men have generally studied this question 



THE ORGANIC ARGUMENT. 



47 



as if all its essential elements were, a force on one sido 
and a 'simple instrument or medium on the other; 
second, they have tacitly, if nut avowedly, gone to the 
interior animals tor the revelation of the law which 
governs results in the human world. Let me not be 
understood as undervaluing the labors I speak of. Far 
from it. A great deal lias undeniably been learned 
through them 3 hut not that which was sought ; for it is 
equally undeniable that nobody yet states the law on 
the question now before us, even as respecting the 
brute animals — still less then can we expect to find in 
the conclusions readied, the ultimate law, according to 
which formative forces are employed s in human pater- 
nity and maternity. 

AncJ it is because of the lack of right method im- 
plied in the first of these reasons, that it seems expedi- 
ent and not un candid to pass by all these inquiries to 
such truths, deductions, and suggestions as I am able 
to offer, on grounds either wholly rejected or but little 
considered by the inquirers, leaving Ihem tor my reader 
to seek , and receive or reject, according as he is moved 
by their own merits. 

It is fit to say here, once for all, that laws which 
govern the animal kingdom below the human, can no 
more be accepted as final and determining to man, in 
physiological, than in intellectual and moral, action. 
Human life furnishes, above what is common to it and 
the inferior kingdoms, its own transcendent, separating 
promises, which must necessarily lead it to like tran- 
scendent, separating results. 

The induction has been sought to be established for 
the masculine, that it holds, in the parental office, a 
determining, overruling power, as it has unquestiona- 
bly held such an one in nearly all the other depart- 



48 WOMAN AND HER ERA. 

ments of human life to which the race has yet risen. 
And though some observers have gathered facts 1 which 
seem to demonstrate the opposite theory, yet it must 
be confessed that by far the larger induction yet made 
leaves the question still open, with a leaning of the 
balance toward the masculine side. This is especially 
true of observations upon animals, perhaps also of those 
upon Man thus far. 

I do not look to induction to clear this point up for 
us, except we first take our stand by the primary law 
of Nature — the point of deduction. Only this vantage- 
ground in so vast a field, with such an infinite variety 
of facts to be classed, can help us to clear, true induc- 
tive work here. Elsewhere, after more extended state- 
ments of the argument for the superiority of the femi- 
nine have been made, I shall present the deductions, 
to which we shall then be entitled in its behalf, in tliis 
special office. Here it must suffice to hint, that the 
more affluent functional life strongly suggests that in 
its own crowning office it ccmnot be second to an infe- 
rior functional life. 

Manifestly the inferior powers are means to the 
end of perfection in the highest : the more functions 
the higher is that which crowns all, and the greater 
the power in it ; because, the larger the functional 
quantity, and the broader the relations with the univer- 
sal power and life, the broader the capacities to appro- 
priate and embody, in a higher degree and form, 
whatever belongs to life. How, therefore, can we 
suppose that being who stands at the head of the func- 
tional scale to be second to one below, in the most 
divine of all the offices conferred on it? Nature does 
not so work in other departments of her operations. Is 
it likely that she would forsake her plan here, at the 



THE ORGANIC ARGITMIIXT, 



49 



very highest point in her visible scheme, where she 
employs every kind of power in the very largest inci- 
sure, for a result to which all other results contribute ? 
Moreover, even in our human order, the controlling 
influence in a copartner ship, is his who makes the most 
important contribution to its ends. Whichever of the 
two partners in this office gives the most essential ele- 
ment, ought to be intrusted with the less essential. 
A reverse proceeding would exhibit the strange specta- 
cle of a life earned to the highest grade of development, 
the most exquisite perfection, not only for its own 
greatness and goodness, but as a means to the diviuest 
discharge of the most exalted office, being called upon 
to surrender its means, in that office, to the custody 
and control of an inferior— to put them away from and 
quite beyond itself— beyond any but an indirect con- 
trol, which, at the mercy of circumstance or the will 
of that other, may be wholly cut off or destroyed at any 
period in the progress of the work. We rarely find the 
wisdom of men suffering them to fall into such absurdi- 
ties. How then shall we suppose it of Nature, who is 
ever wise, harmonious, and steady of purpose? 

Again, on the hypothesis of the superiority of the 
masculine element, w ? e ought to find the truest Mater- 
nity in those women who act with the least individual 
power upon the element received by them. The high- 
est ought not to be invaded by the forces of the inferior 
nature. In the hands of the interior it should remain 
intact, whole, self-exclusive as against every possible 
approach, save of those forces which arc indispensable 
to give it organic form and life. Individuality of cha- 
racter in Woman would then be a calamity to her 
offspring, since it would be the development and con- 
sequent employment of forces and activities which 
8 



50 WOMAN AND HER ZRA. 

must necessarily jeopardize the complete preservation 
and protection, against herself, of means intrusted to 
her for a momentous result, in which, if she is second 
at first, she ought necessarily to be second last, and all 
the time. We ought therefore to find the truest Ma- 
ternity, i. e., that which most efficiently and harmoni- 
ously advances human, well-being, among the most 
neutral women. These, individually, would be the 
healthy, normal nobodies of civilization, and among 
nations, the sound, undeveloped, impersonal women 
of the savage and barbarous races — which is absurd. 

If the views here advanced look in the right direc- 
tion, (and of that I cannot entertain so much as the 
fehadow of a doubt, since they are deductions from Na- 
ture's primal truth of the sexes), this claim for the 
masculine is destined to vanish at no distant day. Ami 
this no less though it has received from the more per- 
fect investigations of modern Science, some of its very 
strongest support. For neither the knife of the anato- 
mist, nor the lens of the microscopist, are infallible 
interpreters of function. We do not possess ourselves 
of all of Nature's secrets by cutting up her tissues and 
fabrics, neither by the keenest inspection of their ulti- 
mate atoms, whether fluid or solid. There are some 
truths withheld from the investigator, however brave, 
patient, and nice his methods and means, which are 
given up, in due time, to the Truth-seer, without any 
method or means, save the intuitive faculty and its 
unambitious, guileless surrender to the service offered 
it. Much, it is at least possible, we may find has been 
Nature's dealing in this occult department. And since 
we have yet to learn her secret purpose here, and 
hence are honorably bound to give courteous hearing 
to any reverently-spoken word that asks for or hints 



THE KG AX IC A EG CLIENT. 



at light, I shall oiler for the reader's consideration the 
following suggestions, with which I have been favored 
by a student of JSature, who unites the intuitive faculty 
with the exact method, in a measure rarely equaled, 

"My opinion," says Dr. J. VV\ Redlickl, "is, that 
the female holds in her ovum the entire living germ 
of the future offspring. All that the male does, if this 
opinion be correct, is to supply the food which that 
germ requires to start it into life. This must needs be 
the most exciting, stimulating, vitalizing, and nutri- 
tious that Nature can furnish. For the germ is dor- 
mant, it has no active life, and therefore no lively 
sensibilities ; it makes no demand, and is incapable of 
appreciating any ordinary stimulation. The first food 
must also supply the life corresponding to that first 
awakened in the germ, and Hie elements of the organs 
first developed. What man supplies answers to this 
requisition. The first developed life in the ovum is 
the nervous, and the first organization is that of the 
brain and nervous system. The food which supplies 
this is a living, active animalcule, that looks as if it 
were a mere nervous ganglion and spinal cord. The 
vitality is all there, and active, and the elements are 
precisely what the first organization requires, 

" Besides this argument of the relation between the 
needs of the germ, and what is furnished by the male, 
it ta an analogy, that the father stands to the mother 
and her offspring in the character of a provider. It is 
the office of the father to provide for the mother di- 
rectly, and for the child indirectly, through hen More 
than this : the first supply of the germ, as we have 
described it, is the first of a series of manifestations of 
a ?'.?rt\ which, if established, must carry the strongest 
weight of argument with it* The first food of the new 



W0MA3T AJZD HEB ERA. 



being is the most concentrated, nutritious, and stimu- 
lating, possible, as we have described. The second is 
pure blood from the mother's own lunge and heart, and 
is a little less nutritions and stimulating than the 
spermatozoa. The third is milk, which contains the 
proximate principles of the blood and the elements of 
the organization in their proper proportions ? and is 
little less than blood divested of its red coloring matter. 
The fourth is properly the most nutritious, soft, animal 
and vegetable food, containing little of residuum, or of 
that which breeds worms and intestinal disturbances* 
And lastly, coarse and slightly nutritions food suits the 
farthest departure from the germinal condition, 

*' That the semen acts as food to the natural capaci- 
ties, and probably as food to the germ, in which the 
power of Maternity is concentrated, is evident from 
this fact, namely, that the bee larvae, which of them- 
selves grow into sterile females, are developed into 
queens by being fed on pollen, the male fructifier of 
plants. The pollen must render the seed of its proper 
plant fruitnil on the same principle that it does the 
bee ; and as it is not a germ, producing its like, in the 
insect, neither is it in the vegetable. It is certainly 
food to the bee, and produces the effect, to a certain 
extent, that the sperm does, and the inference is, that 
both it and the sperm are food to the germs which they 
are the means of developing. 

u What makes children like their fathers is a differ- 
ent principle entirely from that of generation, which I 
suppose rests with their mother. It is the impression, 
if I mistake not, made on the mother psychologically, 
and through the medium of the nervous sensibility, 
which is exceeding, in such a relation of the sexes. If 
the Budden presence of a man with club-feet can cause 



THE OEGANIC AKGtJMEMT. 



53 



club-feet in an infant from the fourth month, is it any- 
thing strange that the father should 4 stamp hie image* 
on the fruit of the womb? Neither in this nor in the 
material supplied, has the father anything to do with 
the offspring directly. It is the office of the male, 
simply to prepare the female for maternity , and all the 
functions of parentage, in the sense of generation, de- 
volve on her. Anything that he can do directly, for 
the child, diminishes in the exact degree that it ap- 
proaches the earliest stage of the child's existence. But 
the influence he is able to exert through the mother, is 
much greater than he is able to exert directly, and it 
diminishes from the conception to the maturity of the 
offspring." 

One word more and we will pass this question by 
in its present connection with our subject, to return to 
it at a future time. With less disposition to assert, 
than to hint or to inquire, I suggest that it appears 
evident that when the animal is the leading character 
of the type, whether the species be brute or human, 
the masculine will {ceteris paribus) predominate in 
Reproduction. This at least seems to be the testimony 
of the lower brutes and of the inferior races and classes 
of mankind, and the reverse appeal's to be true wherever 
nerve-life is a leading capacity, as in the noble brutes, 
the horse and dog, for example, and in the more per- 
fectly developed human types. Nerve-tissue is a cha- 
racteristic of the anatomy of the feminine, as we shall 
shortly see, and nerve-function of its physiology ; and 
in p roporti on to their presence in any species or type, 
Ot f. par., the female appears to be potent over the cha- 
racter of the offspring. But it must be borne in mind 
that nerve-tissue is the instrument of impression, as 
well as a source of power — a means therefore of Object- 



54 




WOMAN AJSD HER Kit A, 



ive beside Subjective action on the unborn. But a 
means to be surrendered or withheld, (within certain 
limits), at the mother* will, when she is developed and 
intelligent enough to hold it so. And with the endless 
vol i nne of experiences and possibilities which this 
un deniable, almost unquestioned truth opens to us, we 
And ourselves brought face to face with another aspect 
of the feminine, which demands examination- This is 
in itself more than a hint at the greater importance of 
the human mother in the endowment of her offspring. 
I allude to the care which Nature takes that the ma- 
ternal function in woman shall not run beyond the 
meridian of her powers, while she permits paternity to 
senility and dotage in man ; thus evidently assigning 
him to a secondary position, and crediting Woman with 
full powers — employing her to supply the lack which 
thus becomes comparatively unimportant in him. 

Procreation is the highest fan ctivn- of life, in what- 
ever form, vegetable or animal. It is the End to which 
all attainable perfection is Means, the one office for 
which in numerable inferior types are brought forward 
to their ultimate stage of development. The imago 
survives its emergence from the darkness of its larvae 
and the sluggish joylessness of its pupa state, wherein 
it may have lain one, two, or three years, often but a 
day, sometimes but a few hours — all the long journey 
having been made apparently for the office of those 
moments, when life is winged with its fullest powers, 
and the inner tides overflow to leave the Imperishable 
record of their existence and action in a posterity. 

Nature surrounds this office with her wisest and 
nicest care : makes for it the richest provision of capa- 
city of which the life is capable, tints everywhere testi- 
fying the saeredne^s in which she holds it Knowing 



these patent truths, we are, a priori^ authorized to 
expect that we shall find her jealous of its performance 
by any being under other than the best normal condi- 
tions, and that her jealousy will be in proportion as the 
being is patent in the office. On the other hand, we 
may expect to find her careless of its performance in 
any life that approaches rather the character of a con- 
dition than of an absolute, determining power in it; 
and these are the respective positions of the masculine 
and feminine, in respect not only of the continuance 
of the function into the period of declining powers,, hut 
also of its perform an ee under certain conditions which 
result from depravities shared by both. Maternity is, 
happily for social as well as individual well-being, de- 
stroyed by vices and abuses which leave the paternal 
function only impaired or enfeebled. But further; 
economy of employment is proof of Nature's value of 
her in can s. She is prodigal only of the common, the 
uncostly, in her processes- Weeds grow apace. A 
ft 'mlslde thistle will produce more progeny than a forest 
oak ; fishes than birds, birds than mammals, male than 
female. Would she waste her rarest means so ? Indeed, 
it would seem as if the argument for the more import- 
ant part of the feminine in this office might be pretty 
well concluded in the two facts that Maternity bears 
such a relation to the life that it is only permitted a 
limited number of times to all the higher creatures ; at 
most to Wo man j not as many in all her years as pater- 
nity is in a single month to man, and that the waste of 
resource is so incomparably greater in the latter that 
numerical terms wdl scarce express it. 

Again, the suspension of this function in Woman 
marks her life by a physical eh singe — an experience 



56 



WOMAN AKD HEK EUA. 



peculiar to herself. The masculine life is divisible, 
physiologic ally j into two periods, youth and maturity 
—ante-paternal and paternal ; the feminine into three, 
Ante-Maternal, Maternal, and Poet-Maternal — and the 
transition from the second to the third is a physiologic- 
al experience exclusive to Woman, which is balanced 
by nothing in the functional experience of man. 

Now what is the language of natural physiological 
change? It is advancement — never degradation. It 
is the unequivocal testimony, in any life which it 
marts, of a degree of differentiation beyond that of 
another life, into which it cannot come. And unless 
we reject advancement as the Aim, and progress from 
condition to condition as the Method^ of Nature, we 
must acknowledge that it marks a stage of growth in 
the ultimate, if not in the present powers of the life, at 
whatever time it takes place and with whatever mani- 
fest diminution of existing capacities. I speak not 
here of the change to old age, which comes upon all 
living, (though of that also it is equally to be affirmed 
that it is advancement toward the ultimate), hut of 
those changes which mark functional stages in the life. 

If ow of this great change in Woman, from the Ma- 
ternal to the Post-Maternal period, nothing could be 
more natural than that ? in the material ages which are 
past, it should, happening to Woman alone of all living } 
have been read as a sign of her descent from a full to a 
limited life— from capacity to incapacity : an absolute, 
uncompensated loss of power; because no material 
compensation appeared, to take its place in the circuit 
of her corporeal capacities. So that this very evidence, 
which to future generations will testify her super-exalt- 
ation, has been read as testifying its opposite; and 
this, though everywhere else in Nature, the function 



THE OBGANIO ARGUMENT. 57 

of physiological change has been clearly enough com- 
prehended to be received as evidence of Nature's inten- 
tion to advance the life which is its subject. The 
reasons for this misinterpretation, which has cost the 
sex such countless ages of dread of the inevitable, such 
humiliation, and nameless martyrdoms which can be 
known only to itself, are, it seems to me, plain in the 
light of the present day.* For it is transmutation of 
power in Woman ; the annulling of a set of corporeal 
functions, and the transfer of the capacity entering into 
them to a more exalted department of the life— the 
winding up of a physical series, and the opening of 



* My acquaintance with women of the nobler sort has con- 
vinced me that many a woman has experienced, at times, a secret 
joy in her advancing age, and been in herself capable of receiv- 
ing it gladly, as a privilege, who nevertheless has been so over- 
ruled by the universal masculine judgment as to see in it only a 
loss of Power, and a condition, therefore, that ought to be 
deplored and commiserated. That day is forever past, thank 
God, for enlightened women, and will be, in no long time, for 
their less fortunate sisters/ For women developed enough to have 
opinions and take any ground, teach each other very rapidly. 
Their presence in the field of masculine errors is like sunlight to 
the mists of early dawn. Let the idea once go abroad among the 
sex, that feminine life is divided by Nature into three periods, 
each of which is an advance — growth^ not diminution — and we 
shall soon cease the wailing and lamentation over the first gray 
hair and the first wrinkle at the eyes. Let women of all ages 
remember these three periods and their character : first, the 
human, or youthful, in which the feminine is least diverged from 
the masculine ; next, the generative, or maternal, in which it has 
taken its exclusive path and is walking towards its own kingdom ; 
third, the regenerative, or spiritual, in which the others culmi- 
nate, and where the ultimate brightest glory of earthly Woman- 
hood alone is seen or enjoyed. Who can dread to reach this? 
Surely none who see what it truly is. 
3* 



;>$ WOMAN AND HEB ERA. 

wider channels for the outflow of the affectional and 
spiritual nature — the closing of one set of avenues, 
and the broader opening of another, lying above 
them. 

Woman has a right to this deduction in her favor, 
and not a right only, which she might be too modest 
or self-denying to claim, but it exists of necessity for 
her. She cannot reject it if she would ; and this no 
less that through all the ages in which this experience 
of hers has been misread, the sex has been incapable, 
by reason of its lack of development, of furnishing 
grounds for any other than this mistaken conclusion. 

And let it be remembered that there is no essential 
contradiction here of the preceding statement respect- 
ing the dignity of the parental function ; first, because 
no function is claimed that ranks that one, and second, 
because there is a larger sense in which Woman is ma- 
ternal than the functional sense; in which the maternal 
soul is generative when the body has ceased to be so; 
embraces humanity as its child; travails in pain with 
it for its sufferings, hindrances, darknesses, perversions, 
and yearns over it, when born into the higher life, with 
a maternal solicitude and affection. Here Woman is 
regenerative, and Motherhood takes on a less concen- 
tered, but more divine, because more Godlike charac- 
ter, becoming broad and inclusive, like the divine 
Motherhood, which lofty and tender souls see, and have 
in all ages seen, in the heavens opened to their inner 
eyes. 

This phenomenon of the human feminine is signifi- 
cantly called by names which indicate a dim percep- 
tion of its true character. The " turn of life," into 
new channels — the " change of life," from old forms of 
expression to new, but never is it, in popular language, 



THE ORGANIC ARGUMENT, 



5fl 



named diminution of life or loss of ft. And what an 
experience to the developed woman, whose intellectual 
and emotional memory sweeps back over the wide, and 
infinitely diversified kingdoms, tlic lust of whose gates 
are about to close upon her forever ; whose earnest 
insight would penetrate the mysteries of that which is 
awaiting her, and foreran experience on the trackless 
path which leads up to those vailed Iiigiits whose dim- 
ness vanishes with each year's approach — the welcome 
ground her feet are impatient to tread 

In vain will man send forth his Imagination, with 
pinion all unloosed, to picture this era of Woman's 
life. There are no dyes in which her brush may be 
dipped, that will lay in the colors of that inatchh^ 
mosaic. Look back over the long road she has traveled, 
since incipient Maternity, in her tiny body, kissed and 
caressed its first- doll — childhood and its natural, grace- 
ful, refined, artistic joys; Maidenhood and its timid, 
shy, palpitating hopes, yeamings 3 fears, trusts, loves ; 
Womanhood and its deep, grand, awful experiences — 
all leading np to this mysterious gateway, by which 
&he is to pass to a still unknown, separated, Beyond. 
"What valleys of early hope lie cool and dewy, pnre and 
fragrant, in that fur distance which she remembers — 
what wide, monotonous plains spread all about her, as 
she advanced — what shining hights, bathed in the 
auroral airs of love, promised her their fullness of joy, 
their perfect peace — what hills of difficulty presently 
arose- — what black, forbidding steeps of impossibility — 
what vast continents, over which the winds of experi- 
ence blew in alternate zephyr and tornado — what des- 
erts, where death withered every bud and leaf that made 
life sweet; where sorrow turned fairest flowers to ashes, 
and sweetest savors to bitterness ; where suffering dried 



C2 



W011AJ* AXT) HER EKA. 



Womanhood, kindles the reverence of the thoughtful 
soul towards it. Consider the average Woman of 
civilization arrived hither. It need not he said that she 
has suffered, whatever her lot may have been. To he a 
Woman is to suffer, thus far in the human career. Each 
of us knows this, and it is not hidden from the noblest 
men. Yet, though disappointment has shocked, pain 
has wiling, and grief exhausted her life, the fountain 
has refilled itself after every drain, from those invisible 
springs whose deeply-hidden sources even she per- 
chance knows not. Finding that they are, she is 
thankful ; with secret thrills that sound down to the 
depths of her nature, she takes conscious possession of 
her riches and moves along her way. From year to 
year of the thirty or forty that make her middle period, 
she has accepted life as it came, sustaining herself as 
best she could when the revolving wheel carried her 
down, and, as she rose, reaching out to draw others up 
to her own elevation. The men who set out on the 
road with her, the husband, brother, friends, are ex- 
cused if they grow hard, or hitter, or resistant, between 
the upper and the nether mill-stone, even though they 
he less bruised than she ; but no provision is made for 
her becoming so. She is counted on to be steadily 
hopeful, sustaining, compassionate, helpful, loving. 
The average Woman is so. She is the concrete of those 
elements in the human society of all ages. 

She stands at this portal, now, which separates her 
past and present from a future that is unknown to her, 
and that is made forbidding by the theory she has re- 
ceived of it. No wonder that she looks upon these 
gates, as the condemned upon the door which is next 
lo open the way to his scaffold— that she counts sadly 
every step which brings her nearer to them — that she 



THE ORGANIC ABGUMENT. 63 

would fain convince herself and the world that she is 
yet far off; thirty-five instead of forty-five; fresh with 
youth instead of cosmetics ; gay from happiness instead 
of simulation. For that awful future ! Wherein it is 
not mysterious it is worse ; insulting, neglectful, chill- 
ing. And, whatever its aspect to her, the near ap- 
proaches to it are through trials of soul and sense that 
call for the most delicate consideration, the deepest 
tenderness, the finest sympathy of the spirit. It is the 
winding up of a set of functions, the most august of her 
gifts — of a circuit of nerve-activities, and the transfer 
of the finer powers, capacities, and sensibilities involved 
in them, from the corporeal to the psychical level. All 
this does not take place without perturbations of heart, 
and nerve, and brain, hard to bear at the best — ap- 
palling at times, in the darkness wherein she has to 
grope her lonely way. First come those fluctuating 
movements, the ebb of the currents from center to cir- 
cumference, the earliest hint given by Nature that she 
is preparing to suspend their centripetal action. But 
this of the corporeal is only the symbol of a correspond- 
ing spiritual action. In the Maternal period centrali- 
zation was the necessary policy, since Maternity is of 
a rank to subordinate all contemporary powers, and 
make them legitimately subservient to itself. Now this 
function is to pass away from her. The powers which 
co-worked with it may remain, many of them even in 
augmented degree, for years, but their direction is to 
be changed. 

Three reasons appear for this change. Doubtless 
there are many others, did we understand them, but 
three are apparent ; two which concern the race and 
one the individual. First, the species is to be protected 
against the wide-spread calamity which must fall upon 



64 WOMAN AND HER ERA. 

it were this office continued into the dotage of Woman, 
as paternity is to Man. Second, Society, according to 
its advancement, needs other service from Woman ; 
calls her to other fields in these years, having need of 
her there, as we shall see by-and-by. Third, the indi- 
vidual is to have a period of repose from the taxes and 
cares which Maternity lays upon her — a period when 
the powers are ripened for growth, and when life, 
through the fullness of experience, has become a ma- 
jestic, flowing river, whose current passion and sense 
are no more to lash into foam or break into roaring 
rapids. Or a lofty mountain is it ? whose calm sum- 
mit has pierced the clouds and now rises in grand 
repose above their changing, shifting haste and fury. 
After the earnest, self-sacrificing, absorbing struggles 
of the maternal years, this season fitly comes — a sab- 
bath interlude of harmony and peace, to be followed 
by Heaven. Let any woman to whom Maternity has 
been what it ought to be in the feminine life, the para- 
mount interest, aim, and office of its two or three mid- 
dle decades, consider what it would be to go on giving 
herself thus in that unstinted measure, up to the full 
term of her years — all the self-sacrifice continuing, all 
the cares, solicitudes, responsibilities, going on so till 
sixty or seventy, and she will readily see how benefi- 
cent is its suspension, and also how much more her 
self-hood is involved in it than is that of Man in pater- 
nity. Each life has yielded of itself according to th3 
demands upon it : one in self-gratification, the other 
in self-giving; one in self-love, the other in loving. 
Instead, therefore, of repining at the change which 
finally suspends this office to her, she will receive it as 
a just due — especially if she has been so happy as to 
give herself freely, wholly, intelligently, loyally, to its 



THE ORGANIC ARGUMENT, 



65 



fulfil ling — and feel her life made richer, not poorer, by 
its coming. 

But there are nervous perturbations to be borne 
during this period of transfer, there are mental states 
to be endured, and outlived as best they can, many of 
which, coming to hini singly, would appall the strong 
man who indulges a smile at the mention of them. The 
Buperior-maternal system is a nervous center of itself, 
endowed with sensibilities inconceivable to man, and 
as its action winds up, the nerve-power must coalite 
with the permanent cerebral and organic systems. A 
corresponding psychical act ion therefore takes place. 
The mind and affections let go, for seasons, their accus- 
tomed objects ; the subject of the change finds herself 
on some day — when all the objective world is occupy- 
ing familiar, well-beaten ground, every wheel in the 
outside machinery of life turning orderly in its time 
and place — standing, as it were, alone in the wide uni- 
verse, which never before seemed so wide. All relations 
seem to have fallen off from her, as a dropped garment 
folds itself silently at her feet. Emotion is i\ >r the time 
gone, its agent and minister, the nervous life, being 
engaged in searching out and clearing its new homes 
and paths. Away, and further away, in this appalling 
experience, retreats every object and bond that made 
the world a hospitable home before. Wider and wider 
grows her horizon, naked and more naked the area 
within it, till she realizes at her profoundest depths, 
the very truth of the old words that it 



-" is not the whole of life to live-" 



[She finds that it is indeed a small thing to breathe 
the breath of life, to take food and drink, to feed and 
clothe herself daily , when outside the limits of her m»- 



00 



WOMAJf A3iD HEE EKA. 



terial being there is nothing, all has perished for her 
Off vanished from her grasp — that, saddest of all, she is 
scarcely moved to stretch forth and prove whether or 
not they might, perchance, be recalled ; she is iiidiffer- 
ent Then, on another day, as unmarked by any out- 
ward event as the previous one, the dislodged wanderer 
having found, apparently, a kingdom worthy his pres- 
ence, an acceptable home, walks it with royal serenity, 
and lo, from the stilt chambers and the silent courts of 
heart and brain, there presently issues an august pres- 
ence whose name is Love Divine. It shines over the 
family, over the neighborhood, the state, the world, the 
universe. By that light the soul goes forth to embrace 
every form of sentient life wherever it exists, Birds 
of Saturn, fishes of Jupiter, creeping things of Uranus, 
mighty men and women of Neptune: everywhere, 
the humblest mortals, slaves in Africa, pariahs in India, 
terrible criminals — angels in Heaven, the Great Good, 
all and each move the love that now warms and uplifts 
this soul, before bo empty and desolate. No more the 
tideless Mediterranean, but joyful, living currents carry 
the inmost life outwards over all that it can relate itself 
to ; the soul, expanded and warmed, seizes upon its old 
and its new relations, and for an hour, a day, a month, 
it asks no pity, feels no poverty because of what lias 
gone in the change that has come to it. 

But these fluctuations continue perhaps for years, 
few or many, the pathological condition of civilized 
Woman, doubtless prolonging their day. And they 
terminate, be it sooner or later, in one of two condi- 
tions: a being narrowed and impoverished by what is 
gone from it ; or expanded and enriched by that which 
has come in its stead. It needs riot be told to any 
woman, which is the natural result, and must therefore 



THE ORGANIC ABGUMENT. 67 

be the ultimate destiny, of all "Womankind. For none 
can be in doubt on that point. But glance at the condi- 
tions for portraits of the two classes into which women 
naturally separate, whatever their social rank or cul- 
ture, after they enter upon this period. Those who 
fall into the former estate — whether they belong socially 
to West End or Lambeth ; to the Boulevards or the 
Quartier ; to Fifth Avenue or the meanest suburb — i 
make up the rank and file'of that large army which 
the world, not being able lawfully to rid itself of, en- 
camps in the quietest nooks at its firesides, and gladly 
so, withdraws from notice as far as possible ; avenging 
itself, meantime, by the sly indulgence of its undisguised 
contempt. 

Old Woman ! It is an easily-spoken word, which 
flippant young people, and people neither flippant nor 
young, love to utter when they have reached the cli- 
max of polite impatience. It is a representative word, 
implying that into that creature whom it designates, 
Nature has put all that can go to the perfect com- 
pound of human weakness and feebleness ; poverty and 
narrowness of life, imbecility without the sacredness of 
idiocy, vacillation, hollowness, blindness to pll rational 
aims and objects, beside every measure of p 3tty, help- 
less selfishness that the shrunk shell can contain ; and 
that from it she has withdrawn every element of value 
and power in body, mind, and soul, that had been 
there. 

It is a fate one shrinks from, that of being passed 
thus from the stage of active, conscious, commanding 
expression, to a seat at the side scenes, where, as your 
successors come and go, you are to expect insult, or 
jeer, or toleration, or pity. Let none wonder that 
these places are sought with slow, reluctant feet, even 



68 WOMAN AND HER ERA. 

by those who are utterly helpless to approach a more 
attractive one. But the Old Woman has to submit to 
her lot, however hard it be ; for when she has reached 
it, neither heaven nor earth can redeem her from it. 
She has prepared no royal seat for the power which 
Nature has wisely and kindly dethroned ; no avenues 
are opened for its going and coming to spirit or intel- 
lect, and it lies palsied there where it descended. The 
maternal activities cease— ►that central light is extin- 
guished on its altars, and all the circumference is 
sealed against its egress by the higher and broader 
roads of aspiration and universal love. The radii of 
her being are lodged, at their periphery, in an armor 
of chilled bigotry, ignorance, self-complacency, self- 
indulgence, vanity, ambition, worldliness in some or 
many of its protean forms, and they shorten continu- 
ally instead of lengthening. She is like an apple on a 
winter bough ; the frost has diminished its fluid bulk, 
and the wrinkled rind that was so fair and beautiful 
has followed the retreating diameters. Soul and body 
fare alike. Selfishness, darkness, unwomanly skepti- 
cism of possible good, of the noble destiny of all ; pride, 
vanity, envy, jealousy, hate, all seal up the outlets of 
the noble • life, wither its proportions, and thus make 
the fate alike inescapable to the individual and re- 
proachful to the sex. Look now on this picture. 

We nev6r say Old Woman of her whose aspiring, 
loving, growing life has brought her to the higher 
estate of the Post-Maternal period. Woman is her 
name, for age is felt to have made her more instead of 
less, so that she more perfectly represents the ideal 
than in her earlier period. Few in number are they 
by comparison? Granted. But the noble few are 
always prophets of the coming many. And, men or 



THE ORGANIC AUGUMEXT. 



09 



women, it is but the few who can transcend their ac- 
cepted theory of life, and illustrate a nobler one. Now 
Woman's theory of her nature and passing destiny, (it 
might be said of her eternal destiny too), is taken from 
Man's study and teaching of her, and these are based 
upon what his senses discover, through the aid of his 
external intellect alone. For he can have no intuition 
of those truths of Woman's nature which transcend the 
phenomenal limits of his own, Deductively these lie 
beyond his reach, and their inductive discovery is 
slow, confused, contradictory, irregular, and fragment- 
ary, because the starting-points for making it not 
being included in his own consciousness, and not being 
open to his observation, as in Geology and Botany, can 
only be approximated by him at best ; are long the 
subjects of mere conjecture, or are openly scouted and 
rejected. In proof of this, we have only to look at the 
fact that while he has been compelled to teach an 
Anatomy, a Physiology and a Pathology of the femi- 
nine, and all because of mov&j not fe?#, in Woman, he 
still teaches her inferiority, thus going directly in the 
face of every law which he rests on for diametrically 
opposite conclusions, throughout the whole inferior 
world of life, the identical reasons given for his organic 
superiority being those which would in part, determine 
that of the quadruped over him, namely, a more limited 
range o f fu n ct i o ns. 

Receiving this theory from Man (as in their intel- 
lectual helplessness tin is t-u\ Women have been con- 
strained to do), and the equally glaring absurdity 
which crowns it, this of the diminution of Womanhood 
in the final change to the Post-Maternal period, is it 
any wonder that they have riot yet, in any large num- 
bers, made illustrious this season of divine privilege in 



70 WOMAN AND HER EBA. 

relations, work, retrospect and prospect? Uiiiversal 
Motherhood ! the overflowing love which reaches to all, 
and is happiest when most diffused, as air, light, 
warmth, God's own love. We revere universal father- 
hood in Him, but Motherhood is the perfect type of 
all that is tender, embracing, inclusive, cherishing, 
creative in and for its object. It must penetrate be- 
yond the crust of external needs, touch the inner 
springs and harmonize them for future independent 
action. Not to supply happiness, alone, but to create 
permanent sources of self-supply. Not to generate, 
which may be of the body only, but to regenerate, 
which must be of the soul. Not contracted, monoton- 
ous relations therefore, hen 3eforward, but widened and 
varied ones — not a narrow stage of action, but one as 
broad as the powers can fil . Even shriveled, chimney- 
corner Womanhood feels something of this stirring at 
its center, and stretches forth a spasmodic hand, now 
and then, to lay hold of its true work in some misdi- 
rected or undirected life that is going to waste in its 
sight ; is more the grand or great-mother than parallel 
Manhood is the grand or great-father.* And for true 



* The seeing of these truths in their practical bearing, may 
perhaps be helped by a glance at the classes into which Women 
in their present stage of development, separate on passing this 
period. They are three : first, the large common class, in which 
practical degeneracy from the functional power, and its advanta- 
ges, to a life narrowed in circuit, diminished in force, enfeebled 
in purpose, is actually experienced; second, a small class, in 
whom the suspended power seems to pass over to the masculine 
side, and re-appears there in greater coarseness of features, ac- 
tion, thought and speech ; in more ungentle manners, and a hard- 
ness of character which sometimes painfully surprises those who 
have known the earlier life ; and third, the class, not as yet large 



THE OBGANIO ARGUMENT. 71 

Womanhood arrived here there is no growing old. 
Age refines and enriches, warms and illuminates, ex- 
pands and exalts her. She is more and more Woman 
through it ; not less and less. The noble life that has 
led her hither is her grand cosmetic. To its close, per- 
sonal ugliness is impossible : wanting it, no arts, how- 
ever artful, can save the face of fifty, sixty, seventy 
years, from the change that will one day be an accusa 
tion, proving itself, against its owner. The woman 
whom youthful beauty has not blessed finds her day 
and reign here. Her loving friends, charmed the more 
with her the older she grows, say — " how handsome 
she is." Every year makes her more beautiful to the 
eye, more interesting to the spirit. Her intellect, 
loosed from the golden bonds of corporeal Maternity, 
rises to the grasp of higher truths. That has been Edu- 
cation for this, which is even a diviner Use. There she 
was Nature's pupil as well as minister ; here she is her 
honored professor. Society loves to sit at her feet and 
feel the genial descent into its soul, of the inspiration 
that flows from hers, as if it realized the saying of the 
Yishnu, that " every book of knowledge which is 
known to Oosana or to Vreehaspatee, is by Nature 
implanted in the understandings of Women." 



in any country or age, but increasing noticeably with every pass- 
ing generation, numbering more whitened heads and spiritualized 
faces in this than any day that is past, in whom age is actually 
the ripening of all the physical powers, the unfolding of the 
Spiritual, the setting free of the Ideal Woman from her limits 
and hindrances — the perfecting of the nature. To these, Rever- 
ence and Love flow as naturally from surrounding lives as to the 
Angels and God ; and from them they return again as naturally 
to the givers of them. 



72 WOMAN AND HER ERA. 

It is all expressed, how inimitably, in these few 
lines: 

u the ripened joy of Womanhood ! 

perfect happiness at last ! 

1 am more than eighty years of age — my hair too is pure 

white — I am the most venerable Mother ; 
How clear is my mind ! how all people draw nigh to me ! 
"What attractions are these, beyond any before? what bloom 

more than the bloom of youth ? 
What beauty is this that descends upon and rises out of me ?" 

II. The next volume of evidence to be opened in 
our case is that of the nervous structure. And there 
is no greater need of abstruse, labored statements here 
than in the points already examined. I shall only en- 
deavor to show some of the physiological relations of 
nerve-tissue and its comparative and relative quantity 
in Woman. 

Nerve-matter is Nature's highest visible means for 
the exaltation of life. Where it is most liberally em- 
ployed, not only are the corporeal offices higher in cha- 
racter and quality, but the psychical forces are relatively 
stronger. Draper finely observes that, " from the mo- 
ment we see the first traces of the nervous mechanism 
lying in the primitive groove, we recognize the subor- 
dination of every other part to that mechanism. For 
it, and because of it, are introduced the digestive, the 
circulatory, the secretory, the respiratory apparatus. 
They are merely its ministers. And, fastening our 
attention on the course which it pursues, we see that it 
is at once a course of concentration and development. 
The special is at each instant coming out of the more 
general, and, from the beginning to the end, the whole 
aim is at psychical development." 

Three facts in. the anatomy of the nervous structure 



THE ORGANIC AKCrTMENT. 



73 



are indispensable to a just physiologic al estimate of its 
value to the possessor; first, its size relative to alt 
other parte; second, its complexity of structure ; third, 
the relative proportion of the cineritious to the medul- 
lary matter- For although the third seems to be gen- 
erally dependent on the second, the increase of surface 
in the same bulk necessarily increasing the investing 
portion, there is, beside, a difference in its thickness in 
the same situation in different animals. Thus, while 
in its transverse and vertical size, the brain of the dol- 
phin is not greatly exceeded by that of man, in the 
complexity of its convolutions and the thickness of the 
gray substance, the latter far surpasses the former. 
And these, as well as the longer an tero-posteri or diame- 
ter, confer on the human brain Its superiority over that 
of the fish;* 

The human nervous system is relatively the largest 
on the earth. Tor all our present purposes it will suf- 
fice, I think, to consider it here in two grand divisions, 
intra- cranial and extra-cranial — the brain proper, con- 
tained in the cavity of the skull, and the nervous 
matter distributed throughout all other parts of the 
structure. 

The male body exceeds the female in size, by propor- 
tions variously estimated at one-twelfth to one-fifteenth. 
It is needless to be critical here. Those who desire accu- 
rate information can obtain it by referring to the 
statistics of M. Qiietelet, Mr. Sadlier, Dr. J. Clarke, 
Hofaker, and others : for the rest, common observation 
of human beings of all ages will amply serve us. These 
proportions below the head, necessitate, by the laws 
of symmetry in form as well as harmony in use, a eor- 



* Carpenter. 



WO&tAN AJfD HER ERA, 






responding variation in the size of the head. Wo] 
would be less symmetrical, beautiful, and therefoi 
perfect, if, with her body, she had the cranial size of 
Man. Moreover, as size is but one element of power, 
and there are several others, nothing is concluded 
against her, in respect uf brain-power, by this fact, save 
that which depends on size alone. T^or is this con- 
cluded finally by the size of the skull, which is but n 
casket, of which, in one case, the thickness may reduce 
the contents to a less absolute quantity than exists in 
another, where, from extreme fineness and thinness in 
the containing walls, (as is the case with the female 
skull compared with the male), the interior capacity is 
greater than appears. But here, as everywhere, Nature 
will interpret the facts Tor "Woman, if we will hear her, 
more perfectly and beautifully than any partisan zeal 
hi the cause can. She has given greater size to man 
in brain us in body — pity for the race if she had not — 
greater fineness and complexity to "Woman, cerebral as 
well as general. Her brain is finer, as her other tissues 
are \ it is more complex, as her general structure is. 
Through the fineness comes a higher character, in 
powers of the same order; more delicate grasp, more 
subtile prehension and apprehension, more penetrative 
reach of faculty, a swifter power to seize relations ; a 
state more receptive of illumination and inspiration ; a 
more fluent inner life. Psyche winged instead of fet- 
tered — soaring, not imprisoned in the clay she dwells 
with. It is the difference between a Damascus blade 
and one of English steel. In the one, quality is subor- 
dinate to material — in the other material is subordinate 
bO quality. Through the greater complexity cornea 
more complex power in the nicer shades of action which 
identical faculties exhibit. Oce is a color, the other a 



TFTTC ORGANIC AKOtTafEXT. 



75 



blending of many hues. By reason of this nicer struc- 
ture there is also present a larger proportion of that 
element of nerve-substance which is the nit i mate mate- 
rial source of organic power, the operative force of the 
whole mechanism, the principal which employs the 
medullary substance and trunks as its agents and mes- 
sengers. Every added convolution spreads a surf at » 
for this vestment, whose presence invites the gods, and 
provides their feast, 

Again; nerve-tissue grows finer., both in character 
and function, in proportion as the place it occupies is 
exalted in the organization. Thus the top-brain is 
finer in ultimate structure, and more abundant iii*euii- 
volutions, than the medial, this than the basilar, the 
cerebrum than the cerebellum, and either of these than 
the ganglia ; the ganglia than the nerve-t runts. The 
masculine type gives breadth, volume, in the middle 
and basilar regions, and is narrowed at the top. The 
nisus is toward animal development : The feminine 
type reverses these proportions: slender base, hmg 
anteroposterior and vertical diameters, expanded top; 
nisus toward the super-animal life. It is the crown of 
her head which is the autocrat of her in telle etna! and 
physical powers : it is the base of man's. Now inter- 
pret these facts by the invariable law that size is (ee& 
par.) the measure of power, and that power is the 
ill vine, infallible appointment to use, and we shall see 
that harmony in use as well as in form, requires that 
the female head should be smaller, since an equal 
quantity of brain of the finer quality would cause the 
destruction instead of the development and sustained 
capacity of the lesser and more delicate body. 

I am aware that Tiedeman ? an authority not to be 
lightly questioned, affirms the larger relative size, at 



76 



WOMAN AXB HKR ERA. 



this time, of the female brain. I know not what liia 
evidences are, nor with how much care they were 
taken, but in their absence it seems highly probable 
that some error may hare crept into the statistical cal- 
culations on which such a statement would have to be 
based* For, beside the grounds for doubting it which 
we have seen above, there remains this strong one, 
viz: that um w the eonditi&n of full n&rmal volume 
in any organ or system, and that the female brain has 
never yet had. Learning, ideas, necessity of mental 
solution of questions before her — questions them- 
selves — action, such as drives the bounding brain 
against its inclosing walls, with a demand for their 
enlargement, and sets all the little sappers and minera 
in its employ at work to compass its release, these 
have never yet come into the destiny of Woman. Their 
day has dawned, but has not passed its dawn. Its 
record is not yet imprinted upon the cerebral constitu- 
tion of the sex. I think, therefore, in the absence of 
positive proof, the assertion must be regarded as at the 
least admitting of question. And on the other hand, 
when men, in their treatment of Physiology, Moral and 
Intellectual Science, the development and resources 
of human society, and other kindred subjects, tell us 
with an oracular wisdom which cuts off appeal, which 
assumes to be incapable of error on so weighty and 
well-considered a question, that Woman, with many 
of the very finest elements of humanity controlling her 
character, unquestionable commission to its very high- 
est and most responsible offices, is man's inferior in 
brain-power, because her brain is smaller than his, it is 
very much as if a Chinese savant should pronounce 
oracularly upon human development, present and pros- 
pective, from the premises famished by his country- 



TilE GBUAJS3IC AUGMENT* 



77 



men alone* It is probable that the outside barbarians 
would dissent from his views. 

The error, and it seems to have become imbedded 
in the masculine thought as firmly as the earliest fossil 
in its native stratum, lies in .assuming man as the 
standard, and his era as embodying the purest and 
most perinauent forms of human good, and as working 
according to the highest laws of the human constitu- 
tion. But the king of Dabomey respects his own 
statesmanship and sees no better methods or aims than 
those which he employs. It is wisely ordered that we 
shall honor our work, while it remains to us for 
doing. 

Of the extra-cranial nervous system, not many wonls 
are needed to prove Woman's superior relative endow- 
ment in it. Popular ignorance even understands this — 
the higher sensibility, the more quickly responsive cen- 
ters, the numerous foci which receive impressions, the 
finer eo-ordinating power in the organic functions, the 
infinitely multiplied capacities of suffering, each of which 
is the abnormal side of a capacity for enjoying and 
doing — a reverse whose obverse is life and power con- 
joined—all prove her pre-eminence here. 

But beyond the system common to both sexes, the 
feminine has herein its own exclusive endowments in 
the superior-maternal organs. These are sometime* 
spoken of by the profession best acquainted with them, 
as plexuses of nerves in and of themselves, and every 
possessor of them who has become advised of their ex- 
treme sensibility, through its diseased action, knows 
that it is by no violent figure of speech they are so 
named, For the "suffering they may occasion has so 
many characters, and each may be so intense, so exqui- 
site, so torturing to sense and faculty ^ that they make, 



g0 



VOMA 



AttD 11 EK Lk'A. 



another. The affirmative comes from progress, the 
negative from — the other side. What says ^Nature! 
If we attend to her we shall get our question answered ; 
not quite hy yes or no, however. 

To us who love movement, whose very breath of 
life it is to be pressing forward to something not yet 
attained, it may he a little mortifying to find that Na- 
ture will not quite turn her back upon that other side ; 
that she will not, according to our order plainly given, 
flout the party who says no, to the question we would 
so eagerly settle by yes. And to save ourselves similar 
experiences in future, we may as well here and now, ac- 
knowledge that there must be a measure of truth in 
any order of things that obtains universally in human 
society and runs from age to age. If Nature had 
intended that Woman should be man in her corporeal 
life, not only would she have done Woman the justice 
to make her man in physical ability, but she would 
have given her those mental forces conjoined with it, 
that would have upheaved the rocky ribs of the globe 
itself, to burst from their imprisonment and assume 
their position, I grant Woman's slavery, but had it 
been &ueh slavery, the universe could not have held her 
in it all over the globe she has inhabited. The super- 
posed life would have been rent in its weak places, (of 
which there have been plenty), to give ^ent to her 
resisting power. Europe would have had its half-dozen 
volcanoes playing in concert or alternately, and the 
Western World have been one mere huge chimney, 
since the second or third generation whence we can 
date the organic existence of its society. 

Woman has been, is now enslaved, but emancipa- 
tion lies not in that direction. Her slavery has 
accorded with her nature in part : it has not been a 



THE ORGANIC ARGUMENT. 



81 



pure violence to it. Thus its physical features express, 
in a crude, exaggerated, irreverent, distorted fashion it 
must be confessed, the truth of her physical inferiority 
to man, and dependence on Mm for the material goods 
of life, while certain features of the spiritual opp region 
she has suffered, have even more poorly and chimsily 
shadowed forth her relation of spiritual superiority 
over him.. 

Other things being equal, size is the measure of 
power* says the authority of Natural Science, in com- 
paring one being with another. Let us apply this 
plain, concise law, first to a comparison of Man with 
Woman, in reference to the physical capacities of each, 
and next to a comparison of the powers of each among 
themselves. 

Man is larger in stature than Woman. This is 
the first condition of the possession of greater power, in 
those kinds which mere volume may confer. But his 
large size is made up of a greater relative proportion 
of the osseons and fibrous tissues, the chief instruments 
of personal strength. Thus he is not only stronger hy 
size as a whole, but also by possession of special means 
employed to give this attribute. But there m a third 
feature of his physique still more characteristic of his 
personal gifts and place in the world of corporeal ac- 
tion. The value of this action is derived from its 
adaptation to produce certain results. The results re- 
quired of the sovereign human action thus far, have 
been those which only the strong arm and the large 
vital apparatus could secure. King here must, there- 
fore, not only be superior in stature and relatively more 
fibrous and osseous than subject, but he must have 
those proportions predominant in his structure which 
fix his characteristic power in the chest and arms. 






WOMAN AND OElt KJ1A. 



These proportions are uniform in the masculine body 
all the world over, among all types and races. It is by 
their permanence that ho holds his place of lord of the 
material creation. Were they to depart from him the 
scepter would fall from his hand. No matter where 
else it should go, it could not stay with him. For Na- 
ture's commission to take and hold the throne of the 
physical world, to reign over it undisputed lord, in a 
sovereignty growing more and more complete with the 
advance of every age, is signed and sealed to man in 
tins form of hid body. No other authority could place 
him there, and holding this, no other can come in to 
dispute his sway. There is a paramount power or sys- 
tem of powers in every life ; the corporeal man's are 
here. To exterminate, subdue, overcome, remove, re- 
fine, recast, develop, educe, are the grand ends of 
physical action in man. Material Nature is put into 
his hands crude, coarse, crabbed, barren, wild. He is 
endowed to transform her by his labor. lie loves the 
w -i >rk, because that great body is a reservoir of power 
created expressly that it might lie done, and power is 
in itself a love of use. That capacious chest, those 
well-spread shoulders, those rugged arms are each a 
burning passion to lay hold and do somewhat. To fell 
the forest, to quarry the stones, to fence and plow the 
fields, to build the houses, to open the roads, to con- 
struct the ships and set the lawless ocean and the re- 
bellious winds at work like disciplined apprentices for 
him ; to pry like a law-making burglar into the most 
private apartments, to open the rock-ribbed safes whrre 
treasure is deposited, and drag it forth ; to mine, to 
blast, to pull down and to pile up, to bring remote 
continents shoulder to shoulder, and mingle distant 
oceans ; to thread wildernesses, to explore frozen seas 



THE ORGANIC AJIUIMENT. 



83 



and torrid lands, to send mountains into the main and 
compel waters to give up the land ; to build cities, 
prosecute wars, invent implements of destruction, and 
use them when invented ; to construct machinery, and 
compel its obedience to his will when made, to sub- 
ject powerful animals, and destroy ferocious and 
noxious ones, to organize governments, ecclesiastical 
and social systems, and play with them by the power 
of the strong arm, the unflinching body, and the reso- 
lute brain; to watch the phenomena of Nature pa- 
tiently, year after year, as the ox pulls at his draft — 
these are some of the chief ends of the application of 
masculine power. Intellect subserves this physical ac- 
tion by discovery, investigation, and invention ; moral 
sentiment directs it ; religious feeling purities, softens, 
and ennobles it, but it is mainly, sensibly, appreciably 
bounded within the limits of these motives, so far aa the 
common consciousness of the masculine life is impressed 
by and to it. The deeper consciousness dwell iug 
in rarer souls, and in rarer hours of common souls, is 
not denied — the prophets those, the prophetic experi- 
ences these, of an ultimate manhood. But herein are 
contained the conscious purpose toward life and its 
interests, personal and social, of the great, unindivid- 
uated man. 

Thus in corporeal capacities man is man by virtue 
of these three anatomical facts : superiority in stature, 
superiority in muscular and osseous tissue, and pre* 
dominance of development in the upper portion of the 
trunk and its appendages, the arms ; and by all these 
gifts he is appointed to the external offices we have 
seen to be his, in fact. 

Has Woman any characteristic form which equally 
interprets Nature's purpose in her corporeal constitu- 




WOMAN AND UKR EKA. 



tion ? It need not be said In answer, that the smaller 
stature indicates a less measure of strength In the whole, 
nor that the less amount of hone and muscle, relatively 
to the softer tissues, is also iu perfect accord with this 
fact. These things will he understood, and we may 
pass at once to study the characteristic proportions of 
the feminine body as indicating its paramount powers 
and office. 

We find the largest development here, opposed p > 
that of the masculine body, viz : in the pelvic region 
of the trunk. This is a plain declaration of Nature 
that she has assigned to this region the paramount 
corporeal office of the life, that one which is to subor- 
dinate all others and make them means to itself as 
end. This office is Maternity, of which the chief or- 
gans have their place here, and are so constituted and 
related as to draw hither, from the outlying kingdom 
of the life, whatever is needful to them, becoming, in 
the periods of their full use, the focus of all the power, 
action, sensibility, susceptibility, life, movement, force 
of the general system, which they can appropriate. 

Man is created to externalize his power from the 
moment it issues from its source, be it brain, muscle, 
nerve, gland, or viscera. When it leaves the fountain 
it must take a form external to his Hie, wdLatever that 
form be, and henceforth his control over it is modified, 
circumscribed, hindered, or it may be altogether de- 
stroyed. Is he a creator % He must create in the exter- 
na], cold, confused, jarring world, where Nature 
affords him no sacred privacy, She turns him off as 
an apprentice or journeyman ? to take his chances in the 
rough and tumble of outside opportunity. And accord- 
ingly he never opens his mouth but to complain that 
his work is inferior to his thought, the object to his 



THE OEGAJSIG ARGUMENT. 



85 



conception of it. But to Woman is given an inmost, 
sacred chamber, whose beams are laid in light, whose 
living walls define a kingdom within her life, therein 
may assemble, astoa heavenly convocation, the grand- 
est harmonies she is capable of feeling or receiving, the 
noblest aspirations she can know, the most tender, di- 
vine hopes, the sweetest compassions, the loftiest pur- 
poses. Around the conception maturing in the sanctity 
of this seclusion, may circle the purest and most kind- 
ling ideals, for her help ; and here at the gates, if they 
be kept open and pure, sits the soul to shine in and 
illuminate the illustrious work. It is proceeding on 
the truest principles of art: the Divine Method, of 
working from a center, and is the only art in which it 
is given to humanity to surpass its conception, because 
the only one which is so deeply interior in human life, 
that Nature, if she is not resisted o* repelled by cor- 
ruption, selfishness, perversity, or ignorance, can be 
said to work In absolute accord, as one indeed, with the 
will which is carrying it forward. Its highest success 
is the most complete reservation of the power and 
means given for its performance- — a reservation that 
must proceed, not from self-love in any tbrm, but from 
religions reverence for its own greatness, above every* 
thing else that is po^ihlc to I to compared with it. 

Now the manner of this reservation, as to the higher 
capacities, is one of the most delicate and beautiful of 
Nature's evidences for the divinity of the feminine, for 
it is their largest and most religious employment, both 
subjectively in thought, and objectively in action, that 
fa consistent with the highest attainable health of body 
and spirit ; and as to the lower, it is their use always 
in subordination to this highest claim. It is the nature 
of spiritual power pre-eminently, that use is the condi- 






SO WOMAN AND HER ERA. 

tion of its increase. (By spiritual power here is meant 
even* capacity of the human life above the purely cor- 
poreal.) And thus she reserves her higher maternal 
forces most effectually, who lives in the clearest thought 
she is capable of, the most tender, loving emotions, and 
the divinest purposes ; all which are essential to relar 
tions of wise, womanly service, and true, unselfish, 
womanly endeavor. 

This conclusion touching the paramount corporeal 
office of the feminine, is irresistible from the applica- 
tion of the law of size, in comparing the various parts 
with each other. It is a necessity of Woman's being, 
in filling this office, to give herself to it, body and 
spirit, in a supreme degree ; and, (harmonizing with its 
prime importance in the divine plan for humanity), it 
is no less the sex's necessity, out of the office, to regaitl 
its physical powers as primarily a'nd supremelyjpledged 
hereto. No female having the capacity for motherhood 
lias a right to renounce it ; and none who does not re- 
nounce it has a right to do aught, to indulge any habit 
of mind or body, that can compromise or implicate her 
perfect integrity and completeness herein. She is per- 
fect in individuality in proportion as she is perfect for 
maternity, hence all development that can contribute 
to these ends, all industries, all recreations, all easej all 
discipline that can be made helpful here, are, of right, 
and for her own and humanity's sake, ought practically 
to he hers : and hence equally, exemption from all those 
labors, and activities of every sort, which call for 
muscular strength in the executive, effective parts and 
members, the chest and arms, rather than for light ver- 
satile activity. 

"Woman cannot share the labors which are suited 
to man, except as an inferior in them, and as the sub- 



THE ORGANIC ARGUMENT. 



87 



jeet of consequences which are penalties of the mis- 
demeanor. These appear in depreciation in the 
individual and in her progeny. The personal degen- 
eraey exhibits itself in a departure from the feminine 
type and an approach to the masculine. Beauty is 
lost, with grace, harmony of proportion, elegance of 
outline, fluency of motion. The shoulders broaden, 
the arms become muscular and rugged instead of round 
and smooth, the articulating processes enlarge, and the 
whole structure approximate* the angular, knobby cha- 
racter of the masculine form. The psychical life follows 
In the downward track. Fineness of organic sensi- 
bility gone, fineness of mental action, whether in the 
intellectual or affeetional faculties, follows. The unna- 
tural corporeal action has robbed the nobler organs, 
the brain and nerve-centers, of their due supply of vital 
forces, and the standards of life are invariably lowered 
as a consequence. She is dull who should be vivacious, 
heavy m t 1io should be sprightly— the inner light is 
smoldering, not blazing ; the inner chambers are dark 
and cold. 

And it is not simply in overtaxing her muscular 
powers that Woman *s corporeal nature is violated. She 
will suffer almost equally if there is demanded of her 
a haul of action for which she is not made. Strength 
in man comes from muscle and nerve-tissue, in a cer- 
tain relative proportion. The muscular man is capable 
of sustained, repeated motion, employing the same or- 
gans for ten hours of the twenty-four. He is of the 
Bos or Equine fiber in this respect, and chops wood, 
quarries stone, or cuts the harvest, with as little sense 
of violation of his physical capacity in these labors as 
the ox or the horse in pulling at the draught. But 
physical power in Woman comes from another combi- 



8S WOMAN AND HER ERA. 

nation of these elements. She is more of the bird or 
insect type. Her capacities come more from nerve- 
tissue than muscular fiber ; hence she demands con- 
stant and frequent change of position and action. She 
never spontaneously takes to the bearing of dead bur- 
thens. Her living child she will often carry with less 
fatigue than a man with four-fold strength, because the 
frequency of change demanded by the burthen, while it 
harmonizes with her versatile capacities, worries his 
more stolid power. 

Both these truths of Woman are abundantly illus- 
trated in the condition of women of the savage and 
barbarous races and nations ; and scarcely less, to our 
humiliation be it said, in that of millions w T hom we are 
accustomed to regard as enjoying the privileges of 
Christian civilization — the field-peasants, the serfs and 
chattel-slaves of Christendom, together with large 
classes of operatives in every commercial and manufac- 
turing nation. The departure in personal development; 
from the true feminine type, which these women 
exhibit, confirms more than I have asserted here of 
Woman's peculiar traits, capacities, and claims, in the 
industrial departments of life. They have rarely any- 
thing like beauty in their youth ; their maturity and 
age are haghood. They have lost the typical attributes 
of womanhood, they can but distantly approach those 
of manhood ; hence by the time they reach maturity, »' 
they are physically monsters in form, and spiritually 
such in their natures — being somewhere between man- 
hood and womanhood, without the graces or gifts of 
either. 

Say that the net profits balance these losses — that 
so many acres in the harvest — so many tuns of 
wine — so many bales of cotton — so many yards of 



THE ORGANIC ARGUMENT. 89 

cloth compensate for what has gone in their produc- 
tion : say that individual wealth, national prosperity, 
and the power which comes from them — exchange in 
our favor, laden ships plowing every sea, are more 
worth than all we have given for them in these lost 
womanlinesses; is the balance struck so between us 
and Nature ? By no means. For these are not all 
that she will take if we press this bargain upon her. 
On the contrary they are but a small part of her terms 
in it. She will add to them with an inexorable stern- 
ness, IMPROVABILITY IN THE PROGENY OF THESE WOMEN. 

It is the great guarantee of right to the mothers that 
wrong to them is wrong to their children. Society 
must respect its own well-being. Men are born of 
women, and Nature has issued an edict, in the relation 
between mother and child, which compels man, as he 
becomes enlightened so as to read it, to study justice 
to her that he may get it himself from her. 

Honor to Womanhood — reverence for Maternity, 
and the treatment which springs from these sentiments 
as elements of the social system, are conditions of per- 
manency in any people, nation, or race. 

Wherever these have not prevailed, as in the Asia- 
tics, or wherever the human nature is incapable of 
rising to them practically, as the South Sea savages 
and the American Indians, stagnation is a characteris- 
tic, or obliteration the destiny of that people. For 
whatever their physical perfection, or their intellectual 
vigor and ability — and there is no lack of either among 
our Aborigines — they lack the distinctively human, pro- 
gressive, enduring element which must come from the 
feminine : i. e., they lack the saving measure of it. For 
this cannot be jembodied in a people so entirely mascu- 
line as must be those born of mothers whom no chival- 



90 



WOMAtf AND HER ERA, 



rous sentiment has ever recognized, no chance raj of 
light ever illuminated; whom not even the poor £ 
meats and crumbs of a better theory ever strengthened 
to lift their heads up out of the darkness and coldness 
of their servitude — to whom the dimmest conception of 
a truer position never comes, and struggle for it is an 
utter impossibility. 

The old Civilizations , lacking many other things, 
lacked most fatally of all, Womanhood in this, its crown- 
ing power* They might have survived their other de- 
fects, and grown into permanence, had they so honored 
Woman practically that her nature could emhody itself 
in the people. But this was nowhere the case with 
any of them. The Intellectual system of Egypt paid 
her no deference, as Woman or Mother, that secured 
her any of the practical benefits of the life she shared. 
It worshiped the feminine supremely in its mythology, 
while it trampled its living women into the dirt as 
slaves, or corrupted them into mistresses of its lowest 
pleasures* There was neither the sentiment, philoso- 
phy, nor moral feeling in the brightest days of Egypt, 
that could save an individual woman of any rank from 
the grossest injustice which man chose to inflict on her, 
or her sex from the shame and degradation of absolute 
slavery to his lusts. The Mother was the inferior ; the 
shive, the drudge: the courtesan was the star, the 
sovereign, the pampered mistress of all that she could 
desire. Influence went with this lot, not with that. 

The artistic system of Greece was little better in 
these feat u res * For A rt 1 toe re s p r a 1 1 g from th c sensfifl, 
and labored to satisfy their demands. Physical perfec- 
tion was sought, it is true, but as end> not means ; and 
hence corruption in and of Woman was a shameless 
glaring feature of the social state* For it is indi sputa- 



THE ORGANIC ARGUMENT. 



ble that wherever art stops at this aim, its highest per- 
fection hut contributes to establish the more refined 
domination of the appetites ; its appeals to the senses 
an* the more despotic the more they exhibit exquisite 
ideals of the physical, which convey no suggestion of 
a nobler aim and destiny than its perfection and satis- 
faction. In Greece, she who was not corrupt was 
nothing in her day. She 1 saw herself eclipsed every ( 
hour by her whose power over the senses, whose skill 
n n d daring in its exercise, gave its possessor an influ- 
ence which neither genius, intellect, nor goodness could 
command, apart from this sensual sway. If Woman was 
worshiped, it was for her capacity in perversion, not 
in truth and harmony, to command and minister to 
man. If she had influence, it was through renunciation 
of her highest and truest self, and the acceptance of a 
scepter, whose very touch by her polluted the springs 
of life in the nation. Holding that scepter, and wield- 
ing the power which was inseparable from it, she wrote 
with her own fair hand the decree of doom over the 
door of every one of the splendid temples that adorned 
her land, Riches of genius, science, art, philosophy, 
statesmanship, generalship, all could not save Greece, 
wanting that little-great element of nationality, hon-* 
ored Maternity. 

Then came the Honian Civilization, which was nei- 
ther intellectual nor artistic. Neither speculative and 
mystical like the Egyptian, nor voluptuous like the 
Greek, but political, it lacked equally w^ith both the 
one essential element of permanence. True, it had much 
that they had not. It had them. Their light shone 
upon it. It had incalculable wealth, both by conquest 
and industry; enormous power among the pigmy na- 
tions; vast armies, eloquent orators, wise jurists, great 



92 



WOMAN AND MKli ERA, 



statesmen, scholars, literati — generals whose renown 
rings in martial bonis down to our day. But not hero 
either can Woman get or do herself and humanity 
Ijniiur. Still the same degrading relations, the same 
instilling sovereignty offered, nay, forced upon her: 
Motherhood an inferior condition to that of the public 
woman ; the few who honored in filling it being cele- 
brated even to our day — how widely separated in this 
from the mass of women, it is easy for us hence to 
imagine. When Cornelia and the Mother of the 
Gracchi live m fame two thousand years, we must sup- 
pose that these, who would be but very average mothers 
of later times, were noticeable contrasts to the unheard 
of Roman wives. So the imperishable human growth 
is not possible in Rome cither. Her Neros and Yitel- 
Liases were because the mother was not, and Rome too 
went down because she knew not that the compass 
which could guide her safely over the seas of national 
peril, trackless though so often traversed, lay in her 
owll bosom, or was hurtled from shame to shame in the 
pettiest struggles of daily life, disregarded or despised 
by the proud reason, a little dreaded by the liner emo- 
tions, sought and wooed only by the baser appetites- 
Imperishable growth, permanency in development, 
will come to humanity from that theory of woman- 
hood which insures to Woman a system of treatment 
adequate to her real claims. And this system must be 
founded, not in pity, not In justice, not in generosity to 
Woman, but in her actual merits, and their pure appre- 
ciation by man. It will be self-rev erenee in her for the 
greatness of her ofiiee, and reverence in him. Thus only 
can she be secured against oppression by man, through 
the demands of what be calls his "inextinguishable 
appetites, 15 or through the low superiority in corporeal 



THE ORGANIC ARGT7MENT. 



93 



strength which he enjoys, whereby she may be enslaved 
and outraged, whenever he wills to descend to the rnle 
of brute force. 

It is probable that we shall, ere long, arrive at 
truer views of Maternity everywhere ; and when w« 
do, I think it will be seen that the office has a sacred- 
ness in Nature's eyes above all other offices, and that 
she reserves for it the finest of her vital forces, powers, 
susceptibilities, and means, of every sort* I believe it 
will be seen, among the lower animals, that unprova- 
bility, by generation, bears a uniform proportion, wt. 
par^ to the deference with which the female is treated 
in ail the social relations, but especially in those which 
result in Maternity. The care taken of valuable ani- 
mals while gestating, is a proof of man's under- 
standing, (dimly and nn philosophically as he needs 
must, when the intelligence comes through that varia- 
ble ganglion j the pocket), the importance of conscien- 
tious treatment of the feminine in tins office. He will 
become truly wise as he carries this up, in application, 
to his own species, and makes it the law of life in that 
higher atmosphere where the fine woman-nature dwells 
and waits in this divine service. Hence, I repeat, that 
it may the better secure the attention even of the care- 
less, that the most developed self-hood to which the 
human mother can attain, the most refined, exalting, 
and exalted behavior which the intellect and taste of 
man can devise, and his honor stimulate him to main- 
tain towards her, are the conditions precedent to the 
appearance on our earth of its grandest and most en- 
during humanity. 



It is plain, from what we have already seen of the 
feminine organization, that Woman possesses, in a larger 



94 



WOMAN AND ITER ERA. 



relative measure than man, those life-attributes which 
are manifested through the nervous tissue. Om 
these attributes, which claims our notice here, I *JiulI 
call Susceptibility, There may he a better name for 
it, but as none occurs to me now, we will adopt thia 
one. 

What is Susceptibility ? It is that capacity of the 
Organic Life through which we hold relations wit] l tin* 
Objective world. It is the material side of the mediator- 
ship between the me and the not me. It is the avenue 
through which consciousness is reached, and according 
as it is broad or narrow, exalted or mean, clear or ob- 
structed, will be the amount and quality of that which 
arrives by it. For although all that is, waits alike for 
each, each can take of the all but a given quantity. 
Our rapport with Nature is limited on our side, not 
hers. 

Susceptibility is in direct proportion to nerve* 
endowment, and the latter being a characteristic of the 
feminine organization, this is equally a characteristic 
of the feminine nature. It is a gift dressed mostly in 
abnormal guise among the Women of Civilization in 
this day, because it is one that would only find its nm 
in a condition of development which women are but 
jtist approaching; at best beholding at a distance rati ler 
than realizing as a state to be enjoyed by them. Hence 
it is the ground of various pretty and silly affectations 
among us, and of some harmless amusement to men, 
beside some less harmless vexation, when it appears 
unseasonably. While its unbalanced action provokes 
half the weight of accusation against us of weak-mind- 
edness, its deficiency makes the anomalous creature of 
whom we have lately heard so much, the strong-minded 
woman. It may Surprise some persons to learn it, but 



HIE OKGAKIC ARGUMENT, 



95 



it is true that no sneerer at strength of mind in woman 
feels his taste complimented if you offer him a weak- 
minded one. He protests that it is not the weakness 
of mind that he admires or asks for, although he does 
unequivocally, and with little delicacy often, object to 
what he names its opposite. Compelled to analyze hie 
own thought, he is puzzled to say where, exactly, the 
difficulty lies. When he learns, let him be grateful for 
the knowledge. It lies just here— nowhere else. In 
the one this quality is deficient ; in the other it is, 
not always in excess, but unbalanced in action ; whence 
a neat, snug little pathological department, where the 
doctors sustain a permanent skirmishing service more 
or less vigilant, with the small arms and arts of their 
profession. 

Hysterics, spasms, convulsions, are the more serious 
features of this service; nervousness, fidgets, whims, 
imaginations its more playful aspects. Its primary 
cause, seen in either of these forms, is counted a w 
ness in Woman which man ia proud and glad to dis- 
own. Again it is self-gratulation, exclusion being 
complacently mistaken for exemption. For the strong- 
minded woman is man in this respect, and not lovable 
therefore, either to his or her own sex; and the not 
strong-minded exempt themselves from these weak- 
aeaaea the moment they turn this capacity to true use 
in their nature. Thus a really suffering, feeble woman, 
or a silly, affected one, may become instantly sublime 
in heroism, and exhibit the constancy that makes maap- 
tyrdom glorious* For Susceptibility is next of kin to 
moral courage, and they two dwell side by side as 
equals, in the quality called Endurance, There is no 
Endurance without Susceptibility" there cannot be 
real Susceptibility without moral courage. Wherefore 



9G WOMAN AND HEE EBA. 

it is often seen, in the common experiences of life, that 
a muscular man, coarse in the grain it may be, of huge 
frame, but stolid withal, will utterly fail under afflic- 
tions which his delicate wife will bear, for herself and 
him, without a sign of faltering. He will sink down 
and she will sustain him, and each feels that the action 
of each is according to Nature. She feels it more 
keenly, but that fact insures her bearing it more 
courageously, and having sympathy and support to 
spare for him. 

But there is another office in which this quality has 
its most noble, sacred, and indispensable relation to 
humanity, viz : in its ante-natal development and edu- 
cation. The Susceptibility of Woman is exalted during 
this period, in order that Objective add may be joined 
to the Subjective forces of her life, for the blessing of 
her unborn. It is throwing wider open the windows, 
to the heavenly airs and warmth and light, and inviting 
them to leave beauty, growth, and power where they 
visit. The most exalted use which the riches of the 
universe have for humanity, is that they contribute to 
its perfection, and this Susceptibility of Woman is the 
largest and most direct means provided for the accom- 
plishment of this use. Its increase in the times of ges- 
tation proves its true character. For Nature does not 
weaken her ministers in the times when they most 
need to be strengthened. She does not summon ele- 
ments to unsettle the life when she would have it most 
calm. She does not agitate, except to produce a more 
perfect equipoise. She does not exalt the Suscepti- 
bility to absorb the power, but to augment and give it 
wider relations. 

So it is evident that when Maternity is understood, 
it will be a primary object to provide the more open 



THE OEOA1HC ARGUMENT. 



97 



receptivity of the state with the fullest measure of the 
noblest help it can appropriate- Beauty will be sub- 
stituted for ugliness, peace for conflict, gentleness for 
harshness j respect for neglect, solicitude for indiffer- 
ence;, reverence for curiosity and chilling criticism ; 
harmony everywhere for the discords which have so 
preyed upon and benumbed the finest creative capaci- 
ties of the Mother, Beautiful landscapes, persons, 
objects ; art, social refinements, pure manners, relations 
which inspire, influences which kindle the aspirations 
and sustain them, all will be felt to be her due who is 
acting in God's place, with the appreciative and re- 
ceptive powers kindled to their highest in her soul, 
thai she may the more perfectly represent ITim^ as the 
Mediator of His elder to His latest work. Of how much 
do these views imply the withdrawal from the daily 
life and experience of Woman! Of how much do 
they suggest the introduction there I , 



IIL Again, there is a class of phenomena known 
to the physiologist — one of the enigmas which Nature 
seems to have amused herself by proposing for his 
solution— under the name of Rudimentary Organs, 
They have place all along the scale in both kingdoms 
of physiology : they appear in plants and trees, in rep- 
tiles, fishes, quadrupeds, and man*— But not in Woman, 
A Rudimentary organ is not properly an organ, since 
it confers no capacity or function on its possessor. It 
is an appearance bearing resemblance to an organ, and 
uniformly prophetic in its character, since it points to 
a following being, in whom the appearance will become 
a real organ ; in whom life will be enlarged by the 
added function it will bestow. 

What Nature begins she intends to perfect, but she 
5 



98 



WOMAN AND HER ERA. 



sometimes takes the scale afforded by a whole type to 
accomplish her well-deliberated purpose. Nor is she 
reticent of her designs. If she means by~and-hy, sight, 
she will Bet yon a rudiment of an eye on some insignifi- 
cant head as blind as a block ; if hearing, she will hollow 
you an external ear on some head as deaf as a stone ; 
if walking, she will put you a pair of feet under the 
skin of the serpent's belly, but leave him to the same 
locomotion with his brethren who lack them. She is 
pre-occupied with her ultimate intentions, and thus 
apparently jumps at them in her present work, always 
however, being infallible in her care for the present. 
She puts lier hints of the future into it, but they are so 
delicately managed as never to burthen or disfigure it 
— often they give it some measure of beauty, the beauty 
of uniformity when no other is possible. 

Now the attribute of the order to which man be- 
longs, is that its young is nourished from the Maternal 
body, during the period of infancy. In the male 
mammal the apparatus of the lactatory office is hinted 
at by a rudimentary form. Its presence gives no nor- 
mal power ; no capacity of action, endowment, or suf- 
fering is added by its development, Tims, man for 
example, would be to all intents and purposes for which 
Nature designed him, just as perfectly man without 
this sign upon the anterior wall of the thorax, as he is 
with it. The exceptional development of the function 
in him, proves nothing touching the argument, since it 
is as purely an abnormal proceeding, as is its presence 
in the virgin female under like circumstances, both, (as 
is authoritatively affirmed), having taken place under 
exigencies which have pressed Nature to forego her 
orderly, spontaneous methods. And beside, if the ru- 
dimentary organ contain in its apparently dead tissues 



THE ORGANIC ABCrMEXT. 



99 






a possible life and use, the development of these is 0&- 
vancement to a new power — not retrogression. It* 
lactation has ever been performed by a man, he gained 
one more power by it, he had an experience not possi- 
ble to him before ; he was more — not less — a living 
being by its exer<-' 

Mr. Darwin, curiously aa it seems to me, takes the 
opposite yiew of these phenomena, treating what he 
continues to call Rudimentary organs as remains of 
lost powers— evidences of recession instead of pro- 
gression. If such be their real character, it is a misno- 
mer to call thera rudiments, ibr a rudiment is surely a 
beginning of something, not a residue. More, it is the 
beginning of a beginning, an tL unshapen beginning," 
am I marks the way by which completeness comes^ not 
that by which it goes. 

That disused organs and powers fall ? thereby, into 
disability, more or less controlling their subsequent ac- 
tion for a time, none will deny ; but the visible remains 
of such disused powers are foot rudiments ; they are 
remains, A fetus is a rudimentary mammal, hut a 
worn-out organization, or one whose power is gone, 
from long-suspended action, is a remainder. The fn<-t 
that subterranean fishes are eyeless, or have only signs 
of eyes, proves nothing; for if their ancestor* were na- 
tives of superficial waters, and other branches of the 
family remaining above ground have complete eves, 
then these signs are the evidences of a power lost to 
those individuals, through the influence of an artificial 
condition. But if a family occupying superficial waters 
were found with signs of eyes instead of the complete 
organs, we should infallibly consider them rudiments, 
and the class inferior, for that reason, to another in which 
the eyes were perfect. The Rudimentary organ is that 




100 



WOMAN AXD HER 1SEA. 



organ which, in the natural elements, media and rela- 
tions of its possessor, has, by reason of in completeness, 
per se^ no use in the life, as the mammse of male 
mammals, the subcutaneous feet of certain serpents, 
the abortive eyes, ears, and olfactory apparatus of certain 
higher mollusks. 

The presence then of a Rudimentary organ is pro- 
phetic of a higher life coming, in which fullness of de- 
velopment will add a new power, and open new 
relations, Rudiments do not appear generally in the 
primary or middle members of a scries, hut in the later, 
just where the transition is about to be made to a suc- 
ceeding type or series. They are finger-posts set up on 
the borders of a new kingdom. Useless as they are, 
they prove the elevation of their possessor above other 
members of the series which lack them ; much more 
then must their hill development contribute to elevate 
the being in which this takes place. 

Now the rudimentary mammse of man, are carried 
forward in Woman, not only to use, the most moment- 
ous to the welfare of the race, but to beauty, the most 
perfect of the human form, a double distinction to her. 
They are the source of exquisite delights and inexpressi- 
ble sufferings. They establish relations on the organic 
side which are exclusively hers ; and on the psychical side 
they are represented by affections and emotionSj which 
in her nature, as compared with their power in man's, 
are as the organs to their respectiye bodies. The bo- 
som is the seat of the deepest, most yearning tenderness 
that warms and moves the life, and this is strong, per- 
manent, reliable, in proportion as that is perfect in de- 
velopment. Of course I speak not in the individual, 
but in the general sense, yet somewhat, I have no 



THE ORGANIC ARGUMENT, 



101 



doubt more than we think, might be said in the former 
also, 

A rudimentary form being the prophecy of a com* 
plete organ in some more complex, perfect being to 
corae after, it follows that in the highest there should 
be no rudiment, and Woman being at the summit of 
the organic scale s we may expect to find every part of 
her organism charged with its mil measure of use — 
nothing incomplete, awaiting fuller development in a 
successor. Is this ml I think, notwithstanding the 
statement of the books to the contrary, that there is 
not a shadow of doubt that it is. For it is an absurdity, 
finding a certain function perfectly discharged in any 
life, to suppose, that beside the organ or Bet of organs 
discharging it, there should be given also a rudiment, 
pointing to the same action, It is to suppose that Na- 
ture, having given the quadruped its own perfect, eye 
or ear, should add a rudiment of the visual or auditory 
organ of fish or reptile, Rudiments are not superposed 
upon function — they underlie and precede it For it 
is not organ, but function, which is Nature's aim and 
end. She does not multiply parts for their owi\ sake, 
but for the uses they are to serve. To prove a rudi- 
mentary character in any part, it must be shown that 
& function is aimed at but not accomplished, as is 
true of the inammse of the male. For lactation in men, 
under the circumstances alluded to, is not claimed as 
normal— is not regulated by any law of appearance or 
disappearance, proclaiming a relation to other func- 
tions — must at its best therefore, be less valuable than 
in Woman, and must degenerate with time, since it is 
a tax laid upon the system which it has no resource 
provided to meet. The intimate structure of the organ 



102 WOMAN AND HEB EKA. 

also proves that it is a true germ- of the complete ma- 
ternal apparatus. 

The part of the feminine organization which is 
treated in the books as rudimentary, may have been so 
named for two reasons: first, that expounders were 
ignorant what else could be said of it, and second, the 
masculine structure has been uniformly assumed as the 
standard of highest use. Men will not confess igno- 
rance if there is any cover that will spare them the 
humiliation. How doubly pleasant a theory which, 
beside passing for wisdom, flatters their self-love. 

But it will be asked, if the rudimentary theory is 
set aside in application to this part, (and I think it is 
unmistakably by Nature), what theory is offered in its 
stead ? It is one thing to remove error ; another to set 
the truth in its place. To do the former, neither im- 
plies the ability nor creates an imperative obligation 
always to do the latter. Seeing a falsity, one cannot 
be held loyal to it, though wholly unable to discern the 
truth that is to replace it. It is fit here only to sug- 
gest ; and if the hint given shall be found to point in 
the right direction, future investigation will do the 
rest. May not the purpose of the structure in question, 
be the wider diffusion of nerves, whose more concen- 
trated presence would scarce consist with the functional 
economies and health of adjacent parts ? 

Does a like relation to this expressed in the rudi- 
ments of the male mammse hold between masculine 
and feminine of classes inferior to the mammalia ? This 
is a question for science to answer. I pretend not to 
say whether it be so or not, or being so in certain of 
the lower orders, how far down the distinction is dis- 
coverable. But this, at least is certain, that in this 
class it is uniform, and that the character of the femi- 



THE OKOAKIO ARGUMENT. 



103 



nine throughout this di vision ? corresponds to the 
organic elevation shown by it. Before proceeding* 
however, to remark on this pointy we must carry our 
analysis a step or two farther. 

The characteristic attribute of the feminine organi- 
zation is Beauty. As far down as we choose to dip, 
we find this testimony to its exaltation borne by the 
forms in which it is clothed, I speak of intrinsic, essen- 
tial, absolute, inseparable beauty — the beauty of lines 
and proportions, spaces and bounds, color and grain* 
The feminine lines and proportions are known as soon 
as seen, by their beauty. If anything like them conies 
into the masculine, it is called feminine there. And 
no less characteristic is the atomic fineness which is 
an essential element of such beauty. Fineness of 
atoms presupposes an exalted aim in their combina- 
tion. This is abundantly illustrated in the mineral 
world, where compare the diamond with granite, gold 
with iron ; and it is made visible to us all the way up 
to the highest living form, where its manifestation is 
most striking. The anatomist will distinguish the femi- 
nine from the masculine fiber by the fineness of its 
ultimate threads and its more delicate color. The epi- 
cure prefers the flesh of the female to the male, for its 
tenderness and purity of flavor, and this equally of 
wild and other non-laboring animals. Some of the 
instinctive tribes celebrate their most reverential feasts 
exclusively with the flesh of females. 

What we call the superior beauty of some male ani- 
mals, is less beauty than something else which may be 
confounded with it — power expressed in size, arrogance 
in carriage, self-consciousness in bearing, as in the male 
lion, bos, and horse, whose countenances rarely equal 
in expression and beauty those of the female, and whose 



104 



WOMAN AND HEB 



proportions never exhibit the waving outlines, the fine 
harmonies of form, the grace and flexibility which we 
find in the former. Or it is extrinsic — the beauty of 
showy clothing, as in male birds, which eoneeal under 
their brilliant plumage the angular, comparatively ugly 
outlines and proportions of their graceless bodies. The 
cock and hen are familiar examples of this, the one 
strutting about, gaudy, arrogant, often mean and ty- 
rannical in kis grand habiliments; caring chiefly for 
himself, or if for others, with noise and flourish of 
trumpet, with self-complacency and challenge to admi- 
ration therefor : the other meek, industrious, care- taking, 
plain, unpretentious, giving herself to uses, making no 
show* Strip off the garments in which each is clothed, 
and pretensions to beauty soon settle themselves. She 
is fine where he is coarse, graceful where he is un- 
gainly, has beauty for his ugliness.'* 



* This point may seem questionable, or rather if not ques- 
tionable as to the facts, which 1 believe cannot be denied, of the 
superior estrinsic beauty of the male, and intrinsic beauty of tbe 
female of all feathered tribes, and all the noble animals, it will 
at least admit of further illustration. And I am glad, therefore, 
to offer die following note, received nearly two years after writing 
the above, from my valued correspondent, Dr. Eedfield : 

* That tbe male bird has the more beautiful plumage, and ia 
more musical than the female, is unquestionably true. 

44 Is it not true also, that of tbe talking birds the male is the 
superior in that accomplishment? Now it is singular that in the 
very things in which Woman excels man, the male bird excels 
tbe female. For it is certain that the drees of the peacock, pheas- 
ant, bird of paradise, cockatoo, and all gayly-plumuged birds, is 
more like that of woman than that of man, in respect both to 
fashion and color, and that in fringing and speech, birds are more 
like women than men. There are two principles, I think, in- 
volved in the explanation of this phenomenon. The first is, that 
the male bird represents the external of the feminine, which in 



THE OfiGANIC ABGITMEST, 



105 



A sentiment of the moral qualities ivhich this supe- 
rior beauty of the feminine denotes, is expressed very 
generally in our poetic treatment of inferior animals, 
to say nothing of their invariable attribution to Woman, 
in a pre-eminent degree, in all ages and among all 
peoples, whatever their condition. Beauty is the ex- 
Woman is eh own in external feminine accomplishments, corres- 
ponding with the characteristics of the male bird : and the second 
m r that the high cat, spiritual, or essential feminine, is destined to 
be artistic in those things in which the external feminine ia simply 
or substantially natural, and that to this end it is divested of what 
are called natural clothing and natural accomplishments, except 
in the germinal degree necessary for artistic development. On 
the first point I will say t what you very well know, that the btrd t * 
in contradistinction from the beast, represents wo wan, in contra- 
distinction from man. l Birdie/ * Dove,* * Nightingale/ would he 
vqtj inappropriate names for men; and * beast,' *calf/ * old 
horse/ and the like, are inapplicable to women, under any cir- 
cumstances. The man-child is called a ' lamb/ ^ut never a 
* duck' or a * dove/ Hence it is obvious that the female bird 
must represent the essential feminine, and the male bird the ex- 
ternal feminine, in woman. And this external feminine is mani- 
festly dress, ornament, color, and musical and linguistical 
expression. The fact that the male parrot, or the talker, is called 
■ Polly/ comports entirely with the idea that the male bird repre- 
sents the external feminine. 

"But the deficiency of the female bird, and of the females of 
all animals, not excepting the human, * in a state of nature/ in 
these externals, is the strongest proof of their superiority to the 
males, who, in their primitive state, exhibit these germinal artistic 
attributes most conspicuously. Nature clothes the lower animals 
because she wishes to save them all trouble in that regard ; but 
she makes the human nude because she wishes to confer upon it 
the honor of doing for itself wbnt the lower animals are depend- 
ent upon Nature t*i do for them. If man's nudity is proof of bis 
superiority to the lower creatures, his hirsutenes^, in comparison 
with Woman, ia a proof of her superiority to him. The splendid 
trajui of the peacock, the mane of the male bison and the lion, the 
5* 



106 



WOA1AN ANB ITER ERJL, 



tenia! sign of a spiritual nature like itself. For as form 
prixTcl.- from Spirit, the qualities within externalize 
themselves in it, and are repeated in its character. 
And as every spiritual quality has a beauty of its own, 
so has evQry form ; Lut the total of the beauty will be 
according to the exultation of the whole nature above 
the plane of selfishness, the lowest form of beauty, and 
its character according to the combinations which act 
with most power in molding the material. 

It is the beauty which proceeds from the affection al 
qualities that distinguishes the feminine. Affection is 
the highest attribute ; its strongest relations are with 
liA in its highest appreciated qualities ; hence the be- 
Iia/iur which is typical of love in its nobler forms is 
always looked for from females, and ideally attributed 
to them , while that proceeding from power and from 
the lower forms of love is typical of the masculine- 



larger fleece of the wether, and the more and handsomer clothing 
of the male generally, are only proofs that Nature does not luok 
SO much towards Art hi the male as in the female. But in the 
external feminine, which clothing, color, music, and language 
are, Nature seta an example for Art, teaches her representative, 
Woman, to imitate her, and we sec that she has learned her les- 
sons well. But as the example is in the m»le t the male is first in 
learning the rudimentary lessons. The display which the peacock 
and turkey-cock make of their plumes, is in the desire and ability 
to high tea their charms, to fill till the intention of Nature. And 
so of the :trtL*tii! accomplishments of this mocking-bird and the 
parrot, And so of those of the human, as shown in the plumes, 
gold lace, and military trappings of the soldier, and the pioneer- 
ship of man in BUH16, painting, literature, and all the arts of 
civilized life. 

** The external feminine in man, (which nil these things are), 
tn.kt'ri tin; lead of the external feminine in Woman, because in the 
male it already exists, and in the female it has to be developed; 
the essential feminine has to he manifested and embodied." 



THE ORGANIC ARGUMENT. Ill 

she constitutes the highest grade of development of the 
highest type of living creatures here. 

Second, that for this reason, as well as others, she is 
more responsible in the parental office than man is ; 
other reasons being in part, that her structural propor- 
tions declare maternity to be her paramount physical 
office (which paternity is not in man) ; that she pos- 
sesses finer, more affluent and varied nerve-gifts than 
he, whereby she is made capable of keener emotions, a : 
greater variety of experiences, a larger body of rela- 
tions, of the finer sort, with the external world, and 
thus is specially fitted to transmit, mediatorially, the 
influences stored in the surrounding creation for the 
help of her child in its origin and ante-natal education. 

Third, that she is advanced above man by the capa- 
city of a physiological change to which there is nothing 
equivalent in his life ; and capacity for change, varia- 
tion, being Nature's highest manifestation, the artistic 
power, Woman is thus shown to. be the artist in her 
constitution, though the period of her confessed artistic 
work has not yet been seen. 

Fourth, her greater elevation as an organic being 
is proved by her possession in full, of the organs of 
lactation, which, rudiments in the male structure, pro- 
phesy the female with the complete apparatus and 
added function. 

Fifth, the same is proved by the gift to her, in a 
typical degree, of beauty, the characteristic beauty of 
the most human, as distinguished from the less human 
beauty of the masculine, this being the intrinsic, essen- 
tial, inseparable beauty of the finest nature, the pure, 
loving, spiritual affections; that, the more £a?trinsic 
beauty of material, of the proud intellect and more 
selfish affections. 



112 



WOMAN AND EIER ERA, 



Sixth, it has been shown that her whole constitu- 
tion, corporeal and mental, make a being to whose 
perfect development and action Nature subordinates 
all else, not in a slavish, but in a harmonious, divine 
sense ; not for the narrow object of good to her, but lor 
the broad one of good to all ; since by her higher na- 
ture and offices she is the accredited minister of the 
divine to the human, for its generation, regeneration^ 
and enduring development. 

Seventh, that neglect to secure to individual wo- 
men> to communities or nations, some measure of these 
conditions, is visited, upon the sex in degeneracy from 
the womanly type, both in the physical and mental ; 
and upon society in stagnation that stays each genera- 
tion in the footprints of its fathers, progress being for- 
bidden by their constitutional law 7 , to the offspring of 
enslaved, or deeply subordinated, or overworked mo- 
thers ; from which it. is plain that control of the highest 
human interests vests in the feminine. 

And thus it is proved that Nature has endowed 
Woman with the most varied Organization and Powers 
of any earthly being. Wherefore her position in the 
scale of Organic Life is the Sovereign one* 



I recall here, with a pleasure which some of my 
readers, I am sure, will thank me for offering them 
also, these broad lines of Arthur Hugh Clongh, who 
appears to have been gifted with flashes of rare insight 
upon the question we have been considering : 



11 However noble the dream of equality, mark you, Philip, 
Nowhere equality reigns iu God 'a sublime creations ; 
Star is not equal to star, nor blossom the same as blossom ; 
Herb is not equal to berb any more than planet to planet.** 



THE ORGANIC ABOU31EKT. 



113 



And again , half scornful of the pains with which 
women would cultivate themselves, he says : 

« Women must read, as if they did'nt know all beforehand. 7 ' 

I must offer too this little delicious morceau firom 
Patmore's u Angel in the House " : 



*THE HOSE OF THE WORLD. 

So"when the Lord made North and South, 

And sun and moon ordained lie, 
forth-bringing each by word of month 

In order of its dignity, 
Did man from the crude clay express 

By sequence, and, all else decreed, 
He formed the Woman ; nor might lees 

Than Sabbath such a work succeed. 

And still with favor singled out, 

Marred less than man by mortal fall, 
Her disposition is devout, 

I lor countenance angelical ; 
No faithless thought her instinct ehrouda, 

But fancy checkers settled sense, 
Like alteration of the clouds 

On noonday's azure prominence ; 
Pure courtesy, composure, ease, 

Declare affections nobly fixed, 
And impulse sprang from due degrees 

Of sense and spirit sweetly mixed j , 
Her modesty, her ehiefe&t grace, 

The cestus clasping Venus' side, 
Is potent to deject the face 

Of him who would affront its pride j 
Wrong dare not in her presence speak, 

Nor spotted thought its taint disclose 
Under the protest of a cheek 

Outbragging Nature's boast, the rose. 



114 WOMAN AND HER ERA. 

In mind and manners how discreet ! 

How artless in her Tery art ; 
How candid her discourse ; how sweet 

The concord of her lips and hr v art ; 
How (not to call true instinct's bent 

And woman's very nature, harm,) 
How amiable and innocent 

Her pleasure in her power to charm : 
How humbly careful to attract, 

Though crowned with all the soul desires, 
Connubial aptitude exact, 

Diversity that never tires. 



PART SECOND. 



CHAPTER I. 
EELIGIOUS ARGUMENT. 

It would be easy, from this point, to assume much 
else as proved, in the conclusion we have legitimately 
reached of Woman's Organic Superiority. For if the 
facts, both of Form and Phenomena, already stated, are 
to have the weight in this connection which they have 
everywhere else in Nature ; and if the laws by which 
their co-relation and real significance are shown in 
other beings, are of like application to the nature of 
"Woman, we have but a step farther to go. Organic 
superiority is in itself proof positive of super-organic 
superiority. Nature works in such perfect Order and 
Harmony that the one mutft go with the other. Prove 
one and the other is equally established. 

But because of the blindness and evil courage with 
which error and prejudice have ever sprung to self- 
defense against Truth, and because this Truth advances 
upon the oldest order of relations ; the deepest- rooted, 
most wide-spread and compact government that has 
ever been organized by mankind — the government of 
the physical and intellectual forces incarnate in the 



116 



WOMA2C JLKD HEK ERA. 



masculine — a government dating back in one phasis or 
other of it to the creation of the race, and coming 
down unbroken totlie present time; and because reason 
is capable of behaving like unreason when called on to 
defend such an inheritance and possession j and because 
in Revolutionary conflict, whether against Ideas or 
Arms, we are capable of resisting change both with 
measures and assertions of which we can only be 
ashamed after using them, it seems inexpedient to 
omit any step of the argument, or reserve any proof 
that can be offered, to knit its parts into the most com- 
pact, impregnable whole. According to my ability, 
therefore, 1 shall state and illustrate every important 
point that presents itself as I pass along. If the labor 
be superfluous here, it may have value there. If it 
fails in elucidating one point, it may bear helpfully 
upon some other. And above all, if women do not 
need the last word that can be given in evidence, let 
them be assured that it will not be thrown away upon 
men. For, as we shall by-and-by see of the masculine 
mind, it believes more from the weight of testimony 
than that of pure Truth. And at the most so much 
more will have to be omitted than can be said, that I 
can scarcely fear burthening my subject for any hut 
the most developed readers, who will, I trust, indulge 
me with their patience. 

Our next step, therefore, will be to prove that the 
most exalted life is that which comprises the greatest 
number of original powers in an active form, giving 
the longest scale between the extremes of good and 
evil : 

That Woman has, throughout the history of the 
race, proved herself capable of the greatest moral ex- 
tremes possible to mortal life, and that 



UELIGtOtTB ABGnHKNT. 



117 



Therefore she is the highest embodiment of it on 
our earth. 

The first of these propositions is so self evident, that 
it requires no argument. We confess its truth every 
hour in the feelings we entertain toward the different 
• creatures who inhabit our earth ; in our sentiment to- 
ward the unseen beings whom we suppose advanced 
above us > and in our reverence for the Great Unseen, 
who is the perfect combination of all suppoaable 
powers. 

Power, in the generic sense, is the sum of capacities. 
Capacities are on the corporeal side, functions— on the 
psychical, faculties : and between the two there must 
be, in the perfect Order and Harmony of Nature, a 
definite, fixed relation. The more functions, the more 
faculties. Every pow T er below, must have its repre- 
sentative above, and nothing, however humble or ob- 
scure its position and use, is denied hearing by its 
voice, in the Upper Courts where the soul reigns. 

We must learn to think of Power in this primary 
sense, that we may the more perfectly free ourselves 
from the influence of the prevailing arbitrary, conven- 
tional, and very mixed ideas with reference to it. 
Power is not strength. The one is "broad, the other 
bounded. One is the sea which cannot be compressed 
into channels narrower than those Nature provides fur 
it. The other a river which may be compressed so that 
it will chafe and rage against its banks, undermining 
and spreading desolation as it goes. Power is Life — 
the Concrete of the Phenomena we name by that won- 
derful name ; Strength is rather a condition of Life. 
Power is harmony, beauty — strength may be discorcT, 
deformity* Human powers are equal in number and 
one in character in all men ; but some are latent In 




118 



WOMAN ANT> HER EUA. 



certain individuals and conditions, some active, and 
strong characters are the result of tins want of equili- 
brium. In a perfectly harmonious development, it is 
never strength, but power, which is felt, as for exam- 
ple, in the greatest Artists, Philanthropists, and Philo- 
sophers; or to go higher for the perfect illustration, in 
the Great Power, whom we never for a moment con- 
ceive of as Strength, 

Powers are Means for the End of Use- — Uses are 
Means for the End of Development. And that life is 
most advanced which employs, in the service of the 
greatest number of powers, the most complex mechan- 
ism for the End of Use. We have seen the greater 
complexity of the feminine structure, and its larger 
circuit of Use, We are, therefore, prepared to' find in 
it the embodiment of a Iwgep nvmoer of powers^ and 
higher aims in its Use. In other words, to find in the 
feminine a deeper feeling for the Ends of Use, a more 
abiding faith in, and loyalty to Development, as the one 
aim that makes life worthy of acceptance and sweet in 
its passing taste ; and on the other hand, to see that its 
failure herein is more fatal and destructive than it is 
in the masculine life. Between these two extremes of 
good and evil, lies the scale of feminine action. Our 
object now is to show that it includes the masculine, 
transcending it in both directions. 

Testimony is abundant, and its strength is incalcu- 
lably augmented by the variety of its character and 
sources. Not out of the mouth of one, two, or three 
witnesses may the truth be established, but out of every 
mouth that has been opened from the beginning of re- 
corded human experience down to the last word of our 
own day. 

The weight of evidence will be deductive, but there 



RELIGIOUS ARGUMENT. 



119 






■will not be lackingj for those who need it, some induc- 
tive testimony also, For a deduction, when the warmth 
has departed from it, serves as a basis for induction. 
Thus the sentiment of reverence toward Woman, a 
pure deduction at its root, (springing from the intui- 
tive perception of a nature in her that is worthy of 
reverence), and appearing, at times, in fragments, 
among the very rudest people, becomes, as the ages 
pass, a* fact justifying by its existence the claim for a 
higher nature in her. The inductive mind which can- 
not see for itself that she is worthy of reverence, will 
find evidence that she is, in the fact that she has been 
held so. 

Deductively from what has been shown of Woman's 
Organic Life and its offices, we ought to find certain 
qualities of the spiritual nature distinguishing her from 
man psychically, as the structural traits distinguish 
her physically* The elaborate and exquisite charac- 
ter of the dwelling we have examined, entitles us to 
look for a worthy occupant therein, one "full of excel- 
lences and most noble conditions' 1 — a nature enriched 
by the presence of deep, imperishable love, by inex- 
haustible tenderness, by divine compassion which 
passes from sentiment into action before its object ; by 
unshrinking courage of that higher sort which claims 
and defends the good that is not seen, the rights for 
which no strong arm has been raised, the dues that are 
not reckoned by the outward standards of value, the 
obligations which have not descended to embodiment 
in constitution, statute, or social law— a courage which 
follows the inner eye> hears by the inner car, works in 
obscurity as cheerfully as in the blaze of the popular 
admiration, and that faints not in failure, because to it 
there is no failure, effort, being one with success in Its 



120 



WOMAN AND HER EKJL 



high fields. We are en titled to look for unfaltering 
Hope, which can bring the light and calm of the Fu- 
ture into the Present, how dim and tempestuous soever 
it be ; for Purity of thought and action, which can prer 
serve alive the finest elements of the soul, giving them 
a firmer character, a deeper bloom, and a sweeter 
aroma from year to year of the passing life ; for Can- 
dor, which is the very reflection of Kature; lor 
Earnestness, which, too clear and wise to be cheated 
by shadow, lays its unerring hold only upon substance ; 
for Aspiration, which never folds its pinion while there 
is a higher to be won ; for Reverence, Trust, and Faith, 
which are the Spirit's divine knowledge of things ever 
higher than the Seen and the Attained, the sustaining 
certainty of arriving in their presence at last, and the 
Heavenly consciousness that when so much is achieved, 
the road of Progress will still stretch before the soul, 
and her journey will be a delight more exalted and ex- 
alting at every stage of advancement upon it — and 
finally for that Charity which crowns all other excel- 
lences, forgives all short-comings, delights in returning 
good for evil, is kind after all sufferings, and that sees 
in the capacity for diffusion, the unspeakable value of 
every joy that the universe affords. 

For proof that the feminine nature is distinguished 
by the dominance of these and kindred qualities, I shall 
appeal, beyond the testimony already offered, to the 
earliest expressed human Sentiment, the Religious, In 
the great leading forms of it that have found accept- 
ance with the growing peoples of the earth ; to Art, to 
History, to the Common Sentiment of humanity, and 
to the Actual Qualities of Woman's Nature, and the 
experiences they have brought her, 



RELIGIOUS ARGUMENT. 



121 



Evidences of Mythology. 

A glance at the systems of Egypt, Greece, and 
Rome, will suffice to show that they were hased upon 
the superiority of the feminine* It was the fundamen- 
tal truth of each. The best, the purest, the nobhst, 
the tenderest principles were made personal in femi- 
nine deities, as were also those of the extreme opposite; 
the most evil, the most vicious, the most baleful, dire, 
suhtile, irresistible, secretly dreadful ; while the middle 
ground of good and evil, the medium virtues and the 
vices of tyranny, revenge, slaughter, robbery, violence, 
common dishonesty, treachery, fraud, were generally 
masculine. 

The great Egyptian deities were Isis and Osiris, 
The pretensions of the god to worship, were based upon 
his parentage, as the son of Saturn, and upon what he 
had done-, not what he was. He claimed to have led a 
numerous army. to the deserts of India, and to have 
traveled over many parts of the earth, doing good to 
it- inhabitants. Illustrious origin and good work 
truly, but rather light in the scale against the claim for 
Isis, conveyed in these commanding words upon her 

Statues, U I AM ALL THAT HAS BEEN, THAT SHALL BE, AND 
NOXE A&rOHG MORTALS HAS HITHEKTO TAKEN OFF MY 

vail." In accordance with these sublime pretensions, 
she was universally worshiped, her priests being men 
of the severest chastity, the most rigid abstemiousness 
and untiring devotion, as indeed, what less could be 
worthy her service ? 

Terra (the Earth) is a goddess, who became the 
Mother of Cosine, Heaven). Opis or Ops is her daugh- 
ter, who, besides becoming by her marriage with 
Saturn the Mother of the gods, is the deity of benefl- 
6 



M 



122 



WOMAN MD IIKE ERA, 



cence, with her right hand extended, offering aid to 
the helpless, in her left a loaf, at her feet a tamed lion 
lying unfettered* 

Plenty, Peace, Health, Youth, are all females. 
Day, with its life, energy, benign opportunities, is 
Aurora. Spring, Summer, Autumn, representative of 
growth, beauty, abun dance, are goddesses — Winter, 
titern, fixed, unfruitful, repel lant, a god. Domestic 
Peace is a goddess. All the noblest Virtues, Inno- 
cence, Honor, Temperance, Liberty, Prudence, If- 
Clemency, Fortitude, Modest}', Tranquillity, Gayety, 
Devotion, are female. Truth is worshiped as the Mo- 
ther of Yirtne, Victory was a goddess, as were also 
Valor and Fortune. Even that very masculine princi- 
ple, Justice, received adoration as a female, and the 
administration of her affairs was much intrusted to 
another woman, Nemesis, who was infallible in her 
work. 

The most sacred purity was attributed only to fe- 
male virgins, and no male was permitted to enter the 
temple of their goddess, Vesta, or esteemed worthy to 
pay her worship. The Sonl, Psyche, is a Woman '; 
Wisdom another, who, beside being the patron of the 
liberal arts, is the creator of the Olive, emblem of 
Peace. So that every Mythologie origin of peace is in 
the feminine, and the world's history since those 
dreams were woven into systems, has well illustrated 
how true to nature they were. 

Each of the Arts whose office it is to refine, pnrify T 
adorn, embellish and grace life, is under the patronage 
of a Muse, no god being found worthy to preside over 
them. The Graces are feminine — the sovereign of 
Love is a Queen, the only male personification being a 
jj;Tufpsque, ill-mannered boy. Fide* is the goddess of 



RELIGIOUS ARGUMENT. 



123 



Faith, Oaths, and Honest y ? qualities not personified 
by any male myth. 

Beauty is a Queen, not a king : and there is a 
queen of all the gods and mistress of heaven and earth s 
Juno, whose character, notwithstanding the cruelties 
and persecutions to which her well-grounded jealousy 
of her husband prompted her, is of immaculate purity 
and brightness, tender and sweet, pure and lovely, com- 
pared with his. Jupiter is everywhere set forth as a 
shameless 5 lying, tricky sensualist; nay s as the very 
impersonation of those vices, wherefore y and because of 
his great external power, the ancients held him worthy 
to be king of all the gods and of men^ because he could 
lead them all in licentious pleasures, and overtop them 
in the frauds and meannesses of every sort that were 
needful to secure his gratifications. 

Nowhere does Mythology bear more satisfactory 
testimony to its reverence for the feminine than in the 
character it attributes to the male sovereign of heaven 
and earth. Possessed of power to delegate from him- 
self all the included kingdoms of Use, he had 3 as in 
their judgment became the highest male being, little 
left to claim his attention beside the cultivation of his 
pleasures — a pursuit not so distasteful to his represent- 
atives of succeeding ages as to have occasioned any 
general or violent disloyalty to his example. 

It is evident from even this brief statement, imper- 
fect as it is, of the distribution to female Myths, of the 
pure, the beneficent, the pleasing, and the beautiful 
offices and powers, that there are few left to be exer- 
cised among the gods, and that ruin will be averted bv 
those, let these be never so corrupt. And the study of 
their character and lives, goes very far to show that it 
u;is a wise forecast which left so little of the essential 



124 



WOMAN Am* HER ERA. 



good to their care and exemplification* For there ap- 
pears almost everywhere among them, so keen a relish 
of the freedom from responsibility, Btich a reckless 
uhrm don merit to self-indulgence, so eager a devotion to 
immediate, and generally coarse, pleasures, that one 
feels occasionally in looking at thein, as at their later 
brethren— neither gods nor myths — that the real bless- 
ing and safety of both periods, is that the best good 
and the highest virtues, are lodged in pnrer and nobler 
beings. 

Of the few eminent gods, and male personages of 
inferior rank, whose conduct does not disgrace their 
eex, are Neptune, Yulcan, Apollo, (?) Atlas, Edipus, 
Ulysses, Jason, (doubtful) Achilles, Deucalion, Heet< n\ 
Hercules, Priam, Theseus, Nestor, Perseus, and some 
others, to whom, as to these, brave, active, and useful 
lives, unstained by low, outrageous crime or shameless 
conduct, are attributed, A few males appear to have 
been wholly unselfish and noble in those dream ages, 
as in the later ones, but the great majority of male 
myths are the synonyms of the grossest vices and so- 
cial evils. Thus after Jupiter, Mercury may be 
mentioned as the first patron of thieves and pick- 
pockets, his sou, Autolycus, being the second. Bac- 
chus, worthy pupil of Sileuus, is the god of joyous 
drunkenness, which soon becomes unjoyons. Priapus 
is the deity of laBciviousness, The Cabiri, a group of 
male deities, held in the highest veneration for their 
power to save in storms and shipwreck, were worship- 
ed with such shocking obscenities and horrors, that 
authors pass them by with a bare allusion, not having 
courage to do more than hint at their existence and 
offices. Now a service is valued either for the good it 
does us or the evil it helps us to escape, and we seek to 



RELIGIOUS Alii, il BWT. 

repay it in what we feel will most delight tb€ dtaer; 
The Cabiri were valued, not for moral, but material 
help; not for lasting, but for temporary benefits, And 
tbeir services were acknowledged in the way BUpposod 
to be most pleasing to them. Truly a curious shnl\ 
seems the masculine heart, whether in the bosom of 
gods or men. There are chambers there one would 
rather not look into till the windows have been opened 
and the airs of heaven have swept through and through 
them. 

Saturn is an improvement upon Jupiter in ch&rac 
ter, chiefly for want of power to be as bad — the Satyrs 
and Fauna were monsters given up to drunken ness and 
debauchery. Midas stands for Avarice. Proem 
enjoyed as wide a fame in that clay, as a robber, & 
this he does for the summary surgery with which be 
treated bis victims. The misers and extortioners in (and 
on t of) My thol ogy are al w ay s 1 1 1 aseul i ne, P ro n \ e (I 
excelled the gods and all men in cunning and fraud ; 
Mars is the god of Slaughter, and Pluto sovereign of 
Hell. 

The beneficent gods approach the feminine in type 
of development as well as in character, Apollo is 
beardless, and wears long hair like a woman. Wr- 
tnmnus is a youth crowned with flowers like a ghrL 
Zephyrus is a young man of delicate form, wearing a 
chaplet of all kinds of flowers which his sweet breath 
has called from the ground. Those who are not femi- 
nine, but still good, either lack sentiment or are churl- 
ish j as Neptune and Vulcan.* 



* It is to the purpose to note in passing, that the delivery ot 
oracles in the anciem temples was chiefly, if not wholly intrusted 
to Woman. A Priestess presided • if assisted by Priests, they 



126 



WOMAtf AND II 13 It Ell A. 



Opposed to the exalted, beneficent, and honorable 
positions held by the feminine personages of Myth 
gy, we have the extreme of malevolence and evil, rep- 
resented by goddesses, furies, hecates, whose evil offices 
prove too subtile for the grosser masculine power, or 
demand a persistent devotion to diabolism, amounting 
to self-abnegation, a degree in evil to which the mascu- 
line rarely descends, and where it seems altogether 
incapable of holding itself. The character of gods and 
men alike show this.^ 

First of the Malevolente, we may note the Furies, 
(Eumenides), whose office is to inflict agonies of the 
spirit — remorse, fear, terror, grief, envy^ jealousy. They 
are the avengers, whom no scheme of ambition, no 
temp tat ion, no love of ease or of pleasure, no pergonal 
native, object, or interest can turn from their task ? 
whether it lie eelf-irnposed or appointed. Kindred to 
them in these characteristics are the Fates, (Pareas), 
daughters of night, whose offices equally require the 
inexorable suppression of all susceptibility to casual or 
temporary emotions. They preside over birth, life, and 
death ; and it is worthy of note, that the only beings 
who arc credited with power to defeat or control Jupi- 
ter, were these females, the Fates and the Furies, 

Nox, the Mother of the Parcse, brought forth also 
Death, Discord, and Fraud, beside other less baleful 



were subordinate to her. A clear indication this of the early 
intuition that the feminine was mediatorial between the mascu- 
line and T iviae. 

* So the Christian Poets also. The worse being in Hell than 
its EuIer T according to Milton* is a female named Fin. And the 
fnulnjgt conception of the Spenser gallery is also a woman, whom 
he names Err our— fountains of evil both — causes more than 
effects. 



RELIGIOUS ARGUMENT. 



offspring, Bellona is the goddess of war, but the evils 
of that calling axe so external, tangible, and masculine, 
that the peaceful side of it was characteristically as- 
signed to her, as it has always since been to her sex, 
Mai's enjoying a monopoly of the mutilation and 
slaughter, as his sex equally lias to the present time. 
The temple of Bellona was not a temple of blood, but 
of audience with foreign ambassadors, returned war- 
riors, &c. 

The Sirens were gifted with a power that was irre- 
sistible, to eharm men to their ruin, which was ludic- 
rously confessed by Ulysses on the occasion of his 
memorable escape from them. Hecate had power for 
good and evil, though the latter, which extended over 
Heaven, Earth, and Hell, won her most of the fame 
which distinguishes her among us ; while Medea 
achieved an unenviable reputation by some very bad 
conduct, much in the fashion of men who revenge in- 
juries by chopping up their injurers, tearing them in 
pieces, and gloating over their agonies. An aunt of 
hers too, Circe by name, certainly cannot be esteemed 
a creditable member of a family. Semiramis may be 
mentioned as one of the women whose badness her sex 
could ill afford to acknowledge, except as proof of its 
capacity for goodness. Cruel, mean, sensual, and am- 
bitions, she enjoys an eminence wdiich the worst men 
who have ever lived, can scarcely dispute with her. 

The goddesses who patronize personal vices exclu- 
sively, are very few, though good and evil are strongly 
blended in the characters of some of those already 
named. Thus Venus unites the extremes of her circle, 
Love, which is feminine, and Sensuality, which is 
masculine. She is at once the mother of Love and 



12S 



WUU<LN AND 11 Mi ERA. 



the patroness of prostitution.* Diana we know had 
numerous amours ; notwithstanding which she retained 
her place, no male Myth ever being reckoned a litter 
pat run of Chastity. 

At Home there was a goddess of thieves ; there was 
also a female deity who presided over debauchery, and 
whose festivals were held in secret, as from their shot-k- 
ing character it was necessary, even among all the 
open depravities of which they formed a part, they 
should be. 

No more evidence of this sort need he added, I am 
sure, to show the unity of the earliest with the latest 
expressiuns of mankind upon this point. I will only 
beg the reader to note, in his Mythological studies, the 
very general uniformity with which the feminine, 
whether benevolent or malevolent in character, is as- 
signed to the control of the spiritual, the essential, 
the imperishable ; and the masculine to that of the 
present, the transitory, the external, the sensual. And 
further, that, in accordance with these relations, in- 
stinctively perceived hy the earliest peoples as by 
ourselves, it is Being winch is required of the Femi- 
nine for the end of Doing ; and Doing, which is required 
of the Masculine for the end of Being. The former is 



* These systems originated, it must be remembered, in the 
ininds of men, not women ; and this contradiction in the character 
of the mother of Love, indicates the unre generate, masculine view 
of it which is not yet estinct among many sons of Adam, who are 
proud of having grown far away from Mythological thought and 
theory in other directions. Assuming, from their own conscious- 
ness, that love is of the body more than the soul, and that it Uvea 
more hy the one than the other, they are capable of theorizing 
themselves into unhappraess, jealousy, anger, or rage, if its lower 
demands meet with a check. 



RELIGIOUS ARGUMENT. 129 

divine, and help proceeds from it as such ; the latter 
strives in its noblest effort that it may become so. 

Theological Testimony. 

Let us now glance at our later religious systems for 
their treatment of Woman. I have no intention of 
parading the liberality which Christianity has shown 
my sex. That statement has been so often and ably 
made, that I should despair of doing anything that has 
not been already better done, or of increasing the light 
at present enjoyed by the intelligent women and men 
of Christendom. I am not willing to walk among 
argand-burners with a poor rush-light in my hand : nor 
would my contribution be worth the pains were I to 
do it. But I propose to glance at Woman in the ori- 
gin of our Christian system — in both its primary and 
secondary origins. And the more fairly and fully to 
draw from the complex statements to be examined, 
whatever they contain that is pertinent to our question, 
I shall speak from the position of both acceptor and 
rejector of them. They stand in that anomalous rela- 
tion to the popular mind — accepted implicitly by a 
very large party, partially by another, and wholly re- 
jected by a third — which requires all these attitudes 
toward them by one who would take the testimony 
they bear on a question like this. I shall concede to 
the first two parties their ground, assuming the truth 
of the narrative they believe, for the sake of giving it 
the rational reading as to Woman, and occupy that of 
the third so far as the irresistible deductions and infer- 
ences from these premises may lead me. 
6* 



130 



WOMAN AND ITER ERA. 



L — Old Dispensation. 

The first tiling one notes, looking in this direction , 
is the declaration, never yet contradicted by senti- 
ment, reason, or science, which places Woman at the 
head of the organic creation ; namely, that eh e was the 
last created member of it — its crown and perfection. 
And among all the new forms of life which our know- 
ledge of natural science and the laws of modification 
have enabled us to produce, nothing transcending her, 
has ever appeared. New fishes, insects, birds, and 
beasts have come into the scale ; new sub-varieties of 
the human appear as the more marked varieties mix ; 
but Woman stands always at the head in organic gifts 
and perfections. The biblical statement implies that 
she w^as doubly removed from crude nature, hi being 
made of matter already refined by its employment in 
the structure of man ; and the creative energy rested, 
we arc told, after producing her, in the repose of a 
climax attained. 

The second noticeable point, is that Woman stands 
at the center of both Dispensations which introduce 
our Christian system. The Bible and Theology impute 
to Iter the act which opened the first, making the human 
life a career to be run, w^ith an aim in view, instead of 
a simple state, a period of time to be lived, with no 
aim beyond that of daily satisfactions, of a somewhat 
higher character than those which the nobler brute 
creatures also know. 

To possess ourselves here of the largest measure of 
Truth that may be within our reach, we must look at 
this matter as calmly and with a mind as completely 
divested of prejudice as that we would bring to any 
other intellectual inquiry. For only thus can we esti- 



RELIGIOUS ARGUMENT. 



131 



in ate it from the reasonable point of view, which will 
best quality H3 to take the religion & one also, if our reli- 
gion be such as will stand the inevitable teste which 
time reserves to try it, withal. . Truth, it must be re- 
membered, can never disclose one new feature of her 
heavenl v physiognomy to us without a little startling 
lis, either by the obliteration of some lineament which 
the mind had before- imputed to her, or by putting 
something which is unfamiliar in the place where ire 
have been accustomed to look on vacancy. If we ac- 
cept Truth as the Form of Love, and pay our supreme 
loyalty to her thus, as the nearest and most direct cog- 
nizable Representative of God, the medium through 
acquaintance with whom wo are to arrive at a more 
and more perfect knowledge of the Adorable, we shall 
fear nothing that is a part of Truth, but shall rather 
desire earnestly to learn every aspect, trait and line of 
her divine form. When the mind reaches this noble 
estate, Error, however embalmed, is no longer sacred 
to it — falsehood, however venerable by age and ac- 
ceptance, even of the wise and good, loses its odor of 
sanctity, and that only is sacred and sweet which is a 
part of Truth itseli Only the open mind is her fair 
theater ; and, essential as her presence is to the growtli 
of the soul, there is nothing less forceful among the 
moral elements of the universe, than this gentle sove- 
Feign. Drop the thinnest vail of prejudice or bigotry 
before her approaching step, and she will calmly Btop 
on its other side, nor offer bo much as to break a thread 
of your arachnoidean armor. On the other hand, in- 
vite her, join hands with her, kiss her cheek with the 
kiss of love, and the rocky ribs of the solid earth can- 
not shut you two within them, neither exclude you 
from your aims* Avert your face, and she is the gentlest 



132 



WOMAN AND HER ERA, 



of maidens, who will not claim bo much as the most 
distant glance of recognition from the lover she ib 
yearning to approach : turn to her with open arms, 
and she comes to you a grave, earnest matron — a Mo- 
ther, whose tender care for her child penetrates all 
Xature, and turns her currents to its support. 

This character of Truth, while it postpones our ac- 
quaintance with her, has the advantage of securing a 
more perfect harmony when we come together. We 
can only know her by loving her, and our knowledge 
must be (as toward her) fairly, openly, and freely gained. 
Thus she invites free discussion of all topics in which 
the question of her presence is involved, by offering 
her royal self as premium thereon. 

Aware of the saeredness, to vast numbers of excel- 
lent and worthy persons, of the questions we are about 
to examine ; sincerely desirous, if the statements here 
offered shall result in displacing any article of their 
faith, or any point of belief of an inferior denomina- 
tion, to offer Truth instead, or, where I am unable 
i" do this, to make clear the way for her coming, I 
submit, by way of introduction, the following v» iv 
candid, noble passages from Mr. Mill's late book on 
Liberty, convinced that they may aid some readers to 
see the soundness of the position here taken, namely, 
tli at every question, however sacred, not only may, but 
muat^ in its time, be examined, if Truth lies hidden 
within it. Whereby I hope to gain, not merely respect 
for ray motives at the hands of readers, but a reserva- 
tion of censure, till they shall have fairly weighed all 
the considerations here offered, against the faith, the 
belief, or the prejudice, to which they may oppose 
themselves : 

" In the case of any person whoso judgment is really 



RELIGIOUS ARGUMENT. 133 

deserving of confidence, how has it become so ? * * 
Because he has felt, that the only way in which a human 
being can make some approach to knowing the whole 
of a subject, is by hearing what can be said about it by 
persons of every variety of opinion, and studying all 
modes in which it can be looked at by every cha- 
racter of mind. * * * The greatest harm 
done" (by the ban placed on free inquiry) " is to those 
who are not heretics, and whose mental development 
is cramped, and their reason cowed, by the fear of 
heresy. Who can compute what the world loses in the 
multitude of promising intellects combined with timid 
characters, who dare not follow out any bold, vigorous, 
independent train of thought, lest it should land them 
in something which would admit of being considered 
irreligious or immoral ? Among them we may occa- 
sionally see some man of deep conscientiousness, and 
subtile, refined understanding, who spends a life in so- 
phisticating with an intellect which he cannot silence, 
and exhausts the resources of ingenuity in attempting 
to reconcile the promptings of his conscience and rea- 
son with orthodoxy, which yet he does not, perhaps, to 
the end succeed in doing. No one can be a great 
thinker who does not recognize, that as a thinker, it is 
his first duty to follow his intellect to whatever conclu- 
sions it may lead. Truth gains more even by the 
errors of one who, with due study and preparation, 
thinks for himself, than by the true opinions of those 
who only hold them because they do not suffer them- 
selves to think. Not that it is solely or chiefly to form 
great thinkers, that freedom of thinking is required. 
On the contrary, it is as much, and even more indis- 
pensable, to enable average human beings to actain the 



184 



WOMAN AND HER I .\;.\. 



1 1 1 ei 1 1 a I stature which f ] i ey arc capable of. * * * 
He who knows only his own side of the case, knows 
little of that Uis reasons may be good, and no one 
may have been* able to refute them. But if he is 
equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite 
si do ; if he does not &o much as know what they are, he 
lias no ground tor preferring either opinion. The ra- 
tional position for him would be suspension of judg- 
ment, and unless he contents himself with that, he is 
either led by authority, or adopts, like the generality 
of the world, the side to which he ieeU most inclina- 
tion. Nor is it enough that he should hear the argu- 
ments of adversaries from his own teachers, presented 
as they state them, and accompanied by what they 
offer as refutations. That is not the way to do justice 
to the arguments, or bring them into real contact with 
his own mind, lie must be able to hear them from 
persons who actually believe them ; who defend them 
in earnest, and do their very utmost fur them. He 
must know them in their most plausible and persua- 
sive form ; he must feel the whole force of the diffi- 
culty which the true view of the subject has to encoun- 
ter and dispose of. Else he will nerer really possess 
himself of the portion of Tnith which meets and re- 
moves that difficulty. * * All that part of 
Truth which turns the scale and decides the judg 
merit of a completely informed mind, is never really 
known but to those who have attended equally and 
impartially to both sides, and endeavored to see the 
reasons of both in the strongest light. fc>o essential is 
tins discipline to a real understanding of moral and hu- 
man subjects, that if opponents of all-important truths 
do nut exist, it is indispensable to imagine them^ and 



RELIGIOUS ARGUMENT. 135 

supply them with the strongest arguments which the 
most skeptical devil's advocate can conjure up. v * 

I will add that no one can worthily claim to be a 
teacher, who has not divested the sqpl of that cow- 
ardice which would suppress Truth, or would seek to 
hide her in its own depths; whither she has come, 
not for its help alone, but for introduction to Mankind. 
If we could see that Truth really does never require 
protection at our hands, but only reception and trans- 
mission, we should lay off the heavy garments of many 
moral anxieties that oppress us sorely at present. For 
myself, I cannot suppress truth, nor that earnestness 
and candor in inquiry which may lead to knowledge 
of her. Wherefore those who are not prepared to 
travel in any such path that may open to us, as we 
advance in our subject, will, I fear, be apt to part 
company with us by-and-by, if not here. I can risk 
everything but the violation of my own conscience and 
judgment : those I must be permitted to hold sacred, 
at whatever cost of criticism or censure, whether of 
friends or foes. 

Hence I offer for such attention as they can com- 
mand, the following views of the Old Testament state- 
ment of Woman's part at the origin of the human 
career. It cannot be passed by, for the reason before 
given, that intelligently or ignorantly, it is present, in 
some form or color, near the foundation of almost every 
religious faith entertained in Christendom. It there- 
fore demands analysis in any attempt at a comprehen- 



* I have met with this volume since completing the present 
work; but feeling the support which Mr. Mill's views give me, 
and their real helpfulness to all honest, unprejudiced truth- 
seekers, I have preferred taking the trouble of incorporating 
them in the text, to risking their neglect in the form of a note. 



136 



WOMAN AND HER EEA. 



sive, original view of Woman's moral relations to her 
race. It is not sufficient to aaj that it is sacred from 
inquiry. Nothing is so sacred as the character of Gad, 
yet the received conception of Him is held sacred 
among any people indirect proportion to its ignorance, 
and is most sacred among the lowest savages, capable 
of a system of religious worship. Every intelligent 
soul is forever urging its way to the premises for new 
and more expansive conclusions touching that incon- 
ceivable mystery, with a feeling that the sacredness is 
not in the conception now or ever entertained, but in 
the character itself. Nor is it enough, on the other 
hand, to say that Genesis is a fable which will by-aml- 
by fall to pieces of itself. As well might we fold our 
hands touching the removal of any error or the devel- 
opment of any truth, assuring ourselves that time will 
accomplish all. Time and Truth require us as instru- 
ments for their work. They fit and prepare us. We 
are their means for its accomplishment, and being 
called, have no right to refuse them such service as we 
can render. 

We will take the narrative just as it stands. There 
is no need, for the cause of Woman, to alter or force a 
syllable of it. First, it appears, as has been before hinted, 
that the human life became a career, a struggle, through 
the initiatory act of Eve. What it would have been but 
1< a? this act, let the book tell for itself. The Eden-life, 
it informs us, was to have been a life of plenty, ease, 
and ignorance. They had the spontaneous fruits for 
their support, the trees for their shelter, and they 
needed no clothing. These were the physical features 
of that lot ; it had but one moral one, that of blind- 
ness; on the voluntary preservation of which, as an 
inner state, the comforts of the outer state depended. 



RELIGIOUS AKtifMEXT. 137 

Now moral slavery is the heaviest of all bondages that 
can subject man. Even the chattel system of our own 
country, with all that it involves of monstrous anil 
cruel in its organic features, is more deplorable for the 
moral slavery it engenders, than for what it is as a 
physical and social condition. 

The human soul abhors slavery and despises slaves 
that remain such, whether their bondage be of force or 
of ignorance. Especially does it despise those who 
voluntarily reject their right to freedom, knowing that 
it can be won by a certain act or acts which they aro 
capable of, and may make at their pleasure. More- 
over, in any such case it is patent that the noblest na- 
ture will be that which will most certainly and speedily 
cast off the bonds that hold it. 

Now, Adam and Eve, it is said, were made in the 
image and likeness of God. It is impossible, I think, 
to take any idea whatever from this statement, for two 
reasons; first, that we are unable, and, according to 
the authority, forbidden to attempt any conception of 
Deity, as an existence ; and second, that as they were 
created in ignorance of good and evil, which is the very 
perfection, self-hood, and essence of Deity, the likeness 
utterly failed in the only point wherein it is possible, 
or according to its own code, lawful to conceive it. 
But, setting aside our reasonable claim to find some 
intelligent meaning in that which is written for' our 
instruction and guidance, more especially when it is 
offered as a revelation, for so momentous a purpose as 
the eternal salvation of mankind, this assertion is a 
simple absurdity. These are its elements. 

First, God is the very embodiment of Wisdom and 
Love, i. e., knowledge of Good, and choice of it; 
second, man was made in His image and likeness, yet 



138 



WOMAN AND II Eli ERA. 



was without the one, and necessarily, therefore, desti- 
tute of the other ; third, a viand obedience^ itfrfwitk- 
tiitm&intf tins origvnal inaapaeiiy^ unm rtgmrtid of 

him — lie was expected to remain in his bondage and 
darkness, though informed, (if we can conceive so im- 
possible a being as receiving the information), of the 
glory and advantage of escaping it, that he should 
thereby become as a god; fourth, he was to suffer the 
direst penalty if lie attempted escape. In other words, 
to obey, was to prove himself more unlike God, in es- 
sential Godhood, than the ox, which is incapable of 
conceiving moral freedom, because, knowing it, he was 
expected to forego it ; and if he did not thus brutify 
himself and his generations, he was to incur the most 
fearful of penalties. 

In these difficult circumstances, it seems clear that 
the first service winch humanity could possibly do 
itself, would be to vindicate its alleged noble creation, 
by developing its likeness to God in the very act with 
which Eve stands charged — the act which clothed it in 
the divine power to know good and evil. But here we 
come face to face with a blank impossibility. Before, 
we have encountered only absurdities* this is a graver 
difficulty. For how is it possible that a being created 
without a moral sense, should have desired to exercise 
it, or have been capable of being moved by motives, to 
do 5r not to do, which appealed to it ? Who can ima- 
gine the orang or the gorilla desiring the moral sense 
of man, or capable of entertaining, as a motive, any con- 
sideration that would move the moral nature ? It is 
not only an absurdity, but an impossibility, which 
ought to entitle its author to a first-rate position among 
the metaphysicians. For, we can only desire what we 
in some degree possess. The very root of desire cwpmfft 



RELIGIOUS ARGUMENT. 139 

he m us toward attributes of which our Consciousness 
makes absolutely no report. Idiocy commences there. 

But the case of Woman is specially illustrated in 
the alleged fact that she took the initiative, in this 
great service to humanity, of developing, or we might 
perhaps as properly say, creating, its moral likeness to 
God ; and that she was moved thereto by an appeal 
which could only address itself to a spiritual nature, 
the assurance that she should thereby become as a 
god ! And, whether the serpent represents Wisdom or 
Wickedness in this transaction, the compliment to the 
feminine nature is equally distinct, because of the 
purity and Godlikeness of the motive presented to it. 
Woman rose out of bondage, in the love of freedom — 
that she might become wiser and diviner. Man fol- 
lowed her. So early dates the spiritual ministration 
of the feminine. Readers who may feel shocked by 
these statements, will please bear in mind that it is not 
the author, but Genesis speaking here. I have em- 
ployed no ingenuity — forced no meaning of a single 
word. Let any one who thinks I have, compare the 
text. 

But to return. Masculine and Feminine were 
placed, according to the record so, in Eden, charged 
alike to remain as they were, under penalty of death. 
It is not very clear what they could have understood 
by this penalty, since the phenomenon of death had 
not yet come into the world, and they could therefore 
never have seen it ; but whether it had for them the 
terror of a penalty or the interest of an untried experi- 
ence; whether it required much or little courage to 
face it — a strong or a weak will — a high or a low pur- 
pose; it was Eve who first dared the trial. Had it 
been Adam, would men so long have sat under it as a 



140 



WOMAJJ A^fD UKIi ERA. 



reproach J I cannot think so : it would rather have 

; their pride, instead. 

The tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil — a 
noble tree, as we mnst believe, bearing fair fruit in the 
midst of a broad garden I Is it not difficult, nay, impos- 
sible, to imagine any living soul dwelling beneath its 
houghs, unmoved by the irresistible desire to partake — - 
desire that must inevituhlt/ grow into purpose and 
act when the consequences should be fully understood, 
that thereby it should become li as a god"? 

A penalty is the balance to a possible real or imagined 
good, that is hoped for in incurring it. In this ease the 
good was the very essence of being, and what penalty 
could balance it ? To " become as a god, 7 ' who would not 
joyfully face certain death? It is an absolutely unim- 
aginable cowardice that could be deterred. In incurring 
a penalty, we are moved at once by fear and hope. 
Fear that we may suffer it ; hope that the good we are 
striving for may be won. Now when the good is abso- 
lute— the good of the Universe— the highest that life 
can aspire to, every human creature, according to its 
light, must honor and revere the soul that dares all for 
its conquest. Behold the moral attitude of the first 
Woman toward her race ! 

Is it not most characteristic and significant that this 
first good achieved for itself by humanity, that good for 
which all others are, and from which they derive their 
value, should have been won by Woman ? May we 
not congratulate ourselves, every woman of us, that 
the record is so plain that man cannot by-and-by shift 
the crown to his own brow? It would not be the first 
instance of his claiming as an honor what he had before 
shunned as an obloquy : hence, it seems fortunate for 
us, that he then, and his sonB since, have distinctly 



RELIGIONS AROrMEXT. 



141 



charged aod reiterated that it was "the woman who 
saw that it was good for food, pleasant to the eyes, and 
a tree to he desired to make one wise," and who, seeing 
all tli is, had the courage to taste for herself, and the 
generosity to persuade her husband to share the blessing 
her act had won. It was she who was capable of 
aspiring to the result w hich the prohibition was intended 
to make impossible; she to whom Wisdom, represented 
by the serpent, could successfully address that greatest 
of all appeals ever made to the human soul, M In the 
day that ye eat thereof, then shall yon r eyes be opened; 
and ye si 1 all be as gods, knowing good and evil ;" she 
whose moral courage opened the door of a career to 
humanity, leading up to Heaven — a door which, ac- 
cording to his attempted exculpation of himself man 
would not have laid his hand upon, It was she who 
set the feet of her race in the pleasant paths of pro- 
grass , discovered its nakedness and poverty, and com- 
menced the career of improvement, whose traits we 
may behold to-day, in comparing its naked with its 
clothed races — Tongataboo with Windsor-palace, Tas- 
mania with the Boulevards, Fegee with Fifth Avenue. 
If it he urged that Eve did violate a command, both 
reason and the enlightened religious sentiment have the 
right to inquire where are the proofs ? Can a few words 
of doubtful axithenticity, a mere fragment of a book 
sharply and unanswerably questioned on a thousand 
other points, be rationally weighed against the palpa- 
ble, universal, irresistible proofs that the consequences 
of that attributed act are good, and not evil ? The 
benefits of our human knowledge and choice of good, 
the incalculable and nameless blessings resulting there- 
from — the moral distance which separates' the most 
aspiring, developed soul, from the naked, grubbing 



142 



WOMAN AND HER ERA, 



B&VAgBj achieved through its possession — do they 
weigh nothing against these few words arbitrarily 
uttered, we know not by whom, we know not where, 
but opposed in the arrogance of a purely derived au- 
thority, to the vast resuits of human experience? To 
ine, looking at the grandeur of the human career thus 
far, and the greatness of its awaiting ■ destiny, then? is a 
chilling Atheism in the bare thought of trusting the one 
against the other. For what is ignorance of t lie dis- 
tinction between good and evil but the animal, infantile 
state to which moral growth is an impossibility ? Do 
we not clearly know that that which, more than any 
or all other attributes together, distinguishes the human 
from the inferior creatures, is just the capacity for this 
knowledge? Is it not for this knowledge, its growing 
perfection and use, that we give our noblest and most 
devout thanks to God in every act of worship ? Is it 
not by its possession, in larger measure than the savage 
has it, that we bow down before the Unseen God, 
instead of the dead Image which he adores ? Without 
it, stagnation ; a mere vegetative, or diabolic exist- 
ence. For we can only think of the human being, 
lacking it, as a more terrible animal for the organic 
perfection in which he is clothed. His other likenesses 
to the Divine, of form and intelligence, must have 
proved his heaviest curse and that of the world in 
which he was placed, had he remained without this. 
The gorilla is the most fearful of living creatures be- 
cause it is so nearly the image and likeness of man, yet 
ungnided by the human intelligence and motives. A 
locomotive loosed upon a track, under a Ml head of 
steam, with no engineer in control, would be the more 
dangerous, the more perfect its machinery in ske, 
parts, and work it jg power. 



RELIGIOUS AKGU1IEMT. 



143 



And jet we are asked to believe that mankind 
escaped this terrible lot, and the earth was spared the 
ravage and desolation which must have resulted from 
it, by an act of disobedience to a divine command. I 
know the dev outness of spirit, the sincerity of motive, 
and goodness of purpose in which this view is generally 
aught and entertained. They are all needed to save 

supporters from a taint of unconscious blasphemy 
against the great, wise, and good Designer of man and 
his destiny. For how can any rational soul trust, m 
of divine origin, a command which, had ft been obeyed, 
would have made impossible our development into tlio 
spiritual likeness of God, and the other progress contri- 
butive to it, which we have achieved and still Bee 
before us? Disobedience to a divine law must result 
in evih If good comes of the act, we are not simply to 
question the divinity of the law ; we are bound 3 in 
reverence to its reputed Author, to deny that it came 
from him. 

If you put an infant into a library, and surround 
him with apparatus and collections from which he 
might get all human knowledge, yet prohibit his learn- 
ing a letter, or touching with a finger the instructive 
objects about him, thus making resources and opportu- 
nities as if they were not ; and if, disregarding this pro- 
hibition, he learns; grows wise, great, strong, good, 
helpful — becomes the conscious possessor of Godlike 
capacities which descend to his offspring— the creator 
of noblest opportunities and means to those who sur- 
round and come after him ; if then you charge the 
violation upon linn, I think the onus is fairly shifted to 
your own shoulders. Instead of putting him upon his 
defense for violation, you must prove when- in vmir 
prohiliition was entitled to be considered as authorita- 



Ite 



WOMAN AND HEB 



tivc at all ; and not diabolic rather than divine in its 
origin and character. A law requiring ns to do evil, 
or to refrain from doing good, in whatever terms it 
may be couched, or however ancient its date, con never 
command the intelligent assent, much less the respect 
or reverence, of the living soul, When, therefore, the 
sin of violating the divine Will is urged against the first 
Woman, it becomes necessary to show that it was the 
divine Will. For it is so undeniably true, both to 
Theologians and Thinkers, that to "know good and 
evil" is the very essence of a moral life and career; and 
BO plain that a moral destiny, based upon growth, which 
is possihle only in this knowledge, is the very God- 
likeness for which we hunger and toil, that if they 
could be won only by disobedience, the unanimous 
voice of the human soul must respond, "disobedience 
then let it be, ,? We should be much more inclined to 
attribute the prohibition to an enemy 3 and the encour- 
agement to disregard it, to a wise, loving friend, than 
the contrary. 

I repeat, that I attempt no forced interpretation of 
the narrative. I only let it speak for itself of Woman. 
And according to its plain language, it is clear that 
she is on the divine side all the time, choosing the high- 
est, in spite of alleged command, warning, and tli rent- 
en ed peril \ adhering to it, sustaining herself and man 
through the pains and struggles consequent on her 
choice — a* her daughters since have had to sustain him 
at his best — drawing him on to see with her clearer 
vision, and follow in her footsteps. On the whole, I 
think we could ask of Theology nothing more honoring 
to our sex than this very attributive history ; and there 
is but a single point further in the Mosaic statement to 
which I will ask attention. A curse is pronoun fed 



BELIGIOCS AEGCMEXT. 



146 






upon Woman, as upon the other offenders in this 
transaction. Now the simple aggravation of a former 
natural condition could scarcely be the adequate pun- 
ishment of a principal criminal in a matter so grave 
and daring. She could only be justly punished by the 
reversal of some former estate or law of her life, which, 
having been her happiness, could so he made her pain 
and torment. Thus the language used to Eve, clearly 
implies that before this affair t she had been regarded as 
the sovereign-being, because her mtrse was in behujput 
under kis dominion. If she had been there before, 
this was child's play. One does not curse the child by 
placing him under the parental authority ; for so Nature 
has ordered the relation. Hence, it is plain that wha't 
politicians call the Organic Act, had made Eve sove- 
reign over Adam, and her curse for the disobedience 
of seeking light that was forbidden her, lay in its 
reversal. Was this the death that was threatened ? I 
leave the question for others to answer. 



IL — IFew Dispensation* 



Woman appears also at the origin of the Christian 
Dispensation, no less prominently than at that of the 
Jewish. Indeed, the feminine seems to have been the 
only root of that higher system which the earth could 
afford. Womanhood was worthy to mother it, but not 
Manhood to father it. Paternity must descend from 
Heaven. One remembers here the apt answer made 
by a reverent woman to a man in captious mood, who 
disputed the greatness of Maternity : " I never heard 
of bu tone th at w as born wi thout a father. ' * %i Gran ted, 
but was not ho the only perfect one I" 

The record is abundant in evidence of the deeper, 
1 




146 



WOMAN AND HER ERA. 



tenderer, more lasting sympathy of the Women of 
Judea, (undeveloped as they were), with the Christ, 
than of the men. Beside that their watchful, appre- 
ciative love was testified in lingering latest at his tomb, 
and heing earliest to announce his resurrection, they 
had followed him, ministered to him ; they suffered 
with him at the Crucifixion, shut away by the crowds 
of rude, had men who pressed up to jeer, and buffet, 
and torture the divine victim of their own passions. 
One of the twelve whom he had chosen, sold him for 
money 1— others quarreled who should he first in honor 
and authority among his followers — the ten were 
angered against the two, when it seemed possible that 
they might come to preferred places ; and the worldly 
spirit of Peter was rebuked by him as Satan. 

This Peter will bear a moment's analysis here. 
Strong-hearted, rugged of will, infirm of purpose, loud 
in profession, but too weak to abide therein, he seems 
to have been fitly chosen as keeper of the keys. A 
man can lock or unlock a door by the brain and hand, 
the heart having little or no share in the act. A jailor 
or a gatekeeper, need not necessarily be the illuminated 
disciple of the cause he represents at its outermost 
bound, Faithful to his post he ought to be, surely ; 
but he may be this from his brain, his pocket, his am- 
bition, his will; any one of a dozen inferior motives. 
The power of the cause is not represented in him — locki 
and wards, not attraction and repulsion, being hie means 
of retaining and excluding, Peter appears to have 
been the most mannish — observe, not manly — of all 
the disciples ; almost blatant — without hypocrisy too* 
How. weak, with all that noise and protestation, 
H Though all the world deny thee, yet will not L" 
Yet, in the next hour, when this divine teacher and 



RELIGIOUS AEGOTEXT. 



147 



friend baa fallen into the hands of accusers; rude, 
scornful, insulting, blind enemies, he follows, u afar 
off." How unlike a woman capable of uttering those 
fervent words, looking prudently to his chanees of dej 
taching himself, if need should he, from the falling 
fortunes : And at a later hour, seeing the tragedy grow 
dark and darker, as time passes s he swears profanely, 
u I know not the man," 

A Woman, delicate, sensitive, shrinking, terrified 
by the sacrilegions spirit of that mob, siekened by its 
wanton cruelty and insult of its victim, would never- 
theless have pressed near him., in hope that she might 
spare him some pain or indignity, by receiving it her™ 
self. All human sentiment attributes this to her, 

41 She, while A pop ties shrank, could danger brave, 
Last at the cross, and earliest at the grave." 

It is fit that Mary should represent the feminine in 
this great experience, and Peter the masculine \ that 
she should he sung by Poet as divine, and painted in 
the most exqnisite beauty which the tenderest and 
purest soul of man can conceive, with a heavenly infant 
in her arms ; he, a hard-tea tured, rugged, tough-look fag 
man, with a ponderous key at his girdle. The por- 
traits may be accepted as symbolical. How like both 
picture and sermon of Woman, is this beautiful Stabat 
Mater, by W, J, Fox, 



" Jews were wrought to cruel madness, 
Christians fled in fear and sadness j 
Mary stood the cross beside, 

11 At its foot her foot she planted, 
By tin; dreadful scene undaunted, 
Till the gentle sufferer died. 



148 WOMJLN AND HER ERA. 

" Poets oft have sung her story \ 
Painters decked her brow with glory \ 
Priests her name have deified ; 

** But no worship, song, or glory, 
Touches like that simple story — 
1 Mary stood the cross beside* 3 

"And when under fierce oppression, 
Goodness suffers like transgression, 
Christ again is crucified. 

" But if loyo he there true-hearted. 
By no grief or terror parted, 

Mary stands the cross be side. r; 

The female followers of the Christ never quarreled 
among themselves for his favor — never disputed for the 
honors of his kingdom ; never had a thought of betray- 
ing him or the cause for their own profit^ for envy, 
jealousy, or any other motive. They sat at his feet for 
instruction, for sympathy, or for the loving service they 
could offer him. 

Cut beside this, that disciple whom he loved, was a 
man of strongly feminine type. No contrast could be 
greater than that between John and Peter, as we have 
them in Art. It matters not whether we accept them 
as real or ideal portraits. They are equally to the pur- 
pose in either casCj since in the one they would repre- 
sent the actual man, and in the other, the conceptions 
of artists, who study Nature, and who, being of all 
men, most familiar with the material lineaments 
through which she expresses the invisible qualities of 
the soul, are accepted as authority in such matters. 

I speak not of the Christian teaching respecting 
Woman, because my aim is, not to set forth any system 
or expose any opinions that have been entertained or 
rejected ; but simply to gather up, wherever it is to bo 



KELIGIOUS ABGHHENT. 



149 



found, the vague, widely scattered, half-expressed, 
blind, often misunderstood evidence t that in the human 
soul there has always existed a Sentiment of the supe- 
riority of the feminine. I do not pay hdhf^ but Senti- 
ment Belief may contradict Sentiment, or ignore it. 
Thus we have Been how the Sentiment of the Mytholo- 
gic agea honored and worshiped the Feminine, and how 
the practical life dishonored ? degraded, and outraged 
living Women. Sentiment stands farther hack, and is 
of nearer kin to Truth than Belief, till Belief is 
thoroughly enlightened and made one with Truth. 

The Biblical evidence for Woman is always implied, 
rather than direct, and has therefore admitted of every 
conceivable variety of misinterpretation which the 
opposing Will, the self-love, and the intellect of man 
could prompt or help him to— the only unvarying fea- 
ture of his treatment of it, being the distortion of the 
facts and narrations, whether they were accepted as 
literal or allegorical, to face exactly opposite their true 
point For here, as in Mythology, while his Sentiment 
exalted Woman to the rank of a superior, his belief 
and conduct have degraded her to the actual position 
of an inferior. 

Farther on, I shall endeavor to show some of the 
causes of this inversion Here it must suffice to ac- 
knowledge its existence, and to suggest that this is an 
age of Revolutions, only the Uast momentous of which, 
are those conducted with arms, and testified in blood. 
It has been well said, that History is re-written in the 
light of Modern Science. It is equally true that human 
nature, with its relations, the fountain and source of 
Mstory, is to be re-read in the light of the wondrous 
revelations which this Nineteenth Century is making 
of its hitherto hidden parts* 



CHAPTER II, 



ESTHETIC ARGUMENT. 



Painting and SouLrraKE, 

Religion is the first-born of the great instinctive 
systems of Hurnanit y ; Art, the second. In the earli- 
est period of their development, the Arts, called liberal 
or fine arts — those creative of Beauty , as distinguished 
from the ruder arts, creative of Use — were each under 
the patronage of a feminine deity or deities, while the 
latter were assigned to males, In these, the patron 
god became an artisan, a master-worker ; in those, the 
goddesses employed persons, whom they inspired, la 
there a prophecy in this, that Art, in its ultimate, be- 
longs to the more beautiful aud spiritual sex, and that 
botli must make a long ascent of preparation before 
they become fitted for actual union, and mutual devel- 
opment through it? 

I will enter into no speculations here which may 
sm fancifiilj but will simply show, so far as I am 
able, the language of Art with respect to the rank it 
assigns to Woman. Conscious, from my want of ac- 
quaintance with Art, of inability to do justice to this 
branch of my subject, I shall confine myself mainly to a 
statement of general truths, which, although they may 
be well known, have perhaps not been considered in the 
view here taken of them. Also, it should be remembered 



JLBGCXEXT. 



that the evidence which Art. were we able to examine 
it in its length and breadth, might afford us* would 
It be indiiiect, hecause, whatever artists have 
done that could elucidate this question, they hare done 
while wholly unconscious that it existed or could ever 
exist, Thev have worked intuitively, blindly, from the 
simple, unenlightened power of Xature in their souk, 
whence, from time to time throughout the whole Art- 
period 3 have proceeded such dim, beautiful, confiised, 
far-reaching, ideal proofe of the diviner exaltation of the 
feminine, as we shall presently see. If Critics had ever 
written to show what Art has done for Woman m ac- 
knowledging her nature ; if there were statistics of its 
treatment of her, on which statements, approximating 
correctness, could be based ; if biographers had told n* 
generally, of gifted artists what is known to be < 
true, that they loved to employ their power upon female 
subjects, and felt it rather a descent to man. there would 
be resources which one would greatly prize for such an 
effort* 

But the candid reader, considering what must be 
the nature of the evidence and its scantiness, for all 
these reasons, will consider the matter rather us indi- 
cated than stated in these pages, and will patiently 
await the fuller development of it, which I hope these 
hints will call forth from some woman, able in the 
gifts, and rich in the opportunities which I luck. 
Whereby our sex may come to the knowledge of what 



* 1 should like to see Mr. Raskin's testimony upon thin j 
No man, I think, has ever studied Art no generally, faithful I v ? 
and lovingly. Ami thnii^h hi: might dtefftut totally froui tfai 
theory of the feminine, which, to ruy judgment, the ihet* ITCHlM 
support, yet the breadth of his observation in tli*- nrL world, am] 
hte eopseieiuionaneea, would giro his report an hjentifnahlo value. 



152 



WOMAJT AtfD HER EBA. 



lias been done for it, by those Arts which the early in- 
tuition of mankind recognized Woman only, as fit to 
personify* 

It is undeniable that Painting and Sculpture have 
won their highest honors — may it not he said develop- 
ment too — in the treatment of Woman. A large pro- 
portion of the celebrated works in each, treat her either 
exclusively j or principally, or subordinately. And this 
in the times when the State refused her all civil recog- 
nition ; when the Church honored her only as a devo- 
tee ; and when Society paid her an allegiance which 
was much more of the appetites than of any higher 
attributes. Religious Sentiment and Experience are 
rarely expressed in Art without her, except in literal, 
historic representation, where fact requires her ab- 
sence. In legendary and allegorical Art, she is fore- 
most, and redeems and refines them, as her actual 
presence does the scenes they exhibit. Pictures which 
illustrate life, are narrow in their appeals to individu- 
als and classes, if Woman is excluded from them, as 
e. ^., pot-house pieces, groups of roy storing students, and 
bachelor fire-sides, whether of miser or reveler. 

Between pictures of equal merit, composed one of 
male, the other of female figtir.es, and putting out of 
the question a greater power in the subject of one than 
the other, apart from sex, the audience will always he 
found before the latter. So of a statue. The Yenus 
de Medici outlives all male marbles. She is not only 
visited and admired by men, but by women, who either 
never hear of the Apollo Belvidere, or pay him but a 
scanty homage, if they do.* 



* If it be said, ae I think it maj, in fairness, that the earliest 
Art treats man predominantly, my reply ie that that is what might, 



ESTHETIC AKGUMEXT. 153 

In marble it appears to me that the artist's power 
over the heart is small — above the fields of historic, 
heroic, monumental or architectural art — except in the 
treatment of the feminine, and of childhood. The lack 
of accessories, and the importance of expressing a body 
of experience j or of interior life, or of worshipful 
beauty, each more characteristic of feminine than of 
masculine nature, reduce him almost to the necessity, 
in imaginative art, of adopting female subjects in whom 
the materiel is either subordinate or so beautiful as to 
please in itsel£ 

So the Greek Slave is a female, though the out- 



a priori, be expected. Art, like science, had its beginning in the 
recognition and treatment of the most manifest — of the physical 
therefore, and in the human race, of man, who represents it 
Hercules and Perseus both were heroes — so have been all the 
material destroyers and builders up. In the era of the lowest 
powers, goodness is chiefly, if at all, regarded for its amiability 
in keeping out of the way — as men now admire the namby-pamby 
goodness of women who form no opinions, advance no standards, 
trouble their foul and subversive social state with no questions, 
yet believe firmly in themselves, because they remain unspotted 
from the world, while those who are faithful to higher views of 
goodness, are often much bespattered in its fields of conflict. 
Even beauty is little acknowledged when the physical so fur 
predominates, that rugged bodies, by the ferocity of uses, must 
needs make ferocious the souls within them. If the beauty of - 
Woman is the inspiration of man to refinement, that he may bo 
worthy of it, nothing is more clear than that any high develop- 
ment of it would be thrown away upon him before he has eyes to 
see it ; as the finest order of spiritual beauty among our Cauca- 
sian women, upon the savages of South Africa or Australia. If, 
therefore, Art should begin among those men, it would commenco 
in the treatment of forms of strength instead of beauty — would 
record man, and neglect Woman, till the artists, with tho lifo thoy 
were portraying, had risen to the feeling that beauty is a higher 
form of power, whatever its degree, than material strength. 
. 7* 



154 



WOMAS 



ERA. 



ward condition was common to both sexes ; and Palm- 
er's young Indian Convert is a girl, in preference to a 
youth of the harder Bex, It is idle to Bay that the 
feminine is adopted as an appeal to men. It is an ap- 
peal to women also; and if any artist doubts it, let 
him try a male figure for Faith, Devotion, Hope* 
Melancholy, Justice, or what other tender or noble 
sentiment or experience he pleases. He will have to 
put his own soul into the stone, (if indeed with this 
feeling he is possessed of one), to save it from ridicule, 
both of men and women. 

The inspiration of the artist is Woman, or the 
feminine. He paints Mature lovingly, thinking of her 
as a Mother, not as a Father— rejoicing his soul in 
her loveliness, her bounty, lier tenderness, her fidelity 
to all her children. In the treatment of Woman, lie is 
in a measure freed from the hindrances and limitations 
of the material. He exults in his freedom, while, ac- 
cording to his own power and the resources of his sub- 
ject, he is either recording the fine organic beauty and 
perfection plainly visible before hi in, or drawing forth 
and making visible the unseen lineaments of the 
Btrong, pure, subjective life — -the compassion, the ten- 
derness, the devotion, the high courage, the fortitude, 
the love, of the mistress, wife, daughter, mother, or 
friend. The canvas glows beneath Ms hand, as he em- 
bodies there the thronging conceptions of his soul, 
because that is warmed and moved by their presence. 
He is enlarged in a life greater than Ilia own, and re- 
joices in his freedom. He does not touch the limits of 
the experience which has recorded itself in that face, 
because, while his are possible to her, either in fact or 
by their correspondents in her own life, hers are not 
possible to him. She is exclusive in the highest ; and 



ESTHETIC ARGUMENT. 



i;.:» 



the most enriched description whkh lie ean set forth, 
while it may overstate her personal nierit&, will not 
overstate those at WoMAir, to whom her nature, with 
all its conceivable excellences, belongs. He paints for 
the love of his work — pure interest in what he is cre- 
ating, as the representative of the divineet form of being 
that he can sensibly know- 
There are undoubtedly more portraits of females 
than of males in the World, for this among other rea- 
sons. Vandyke, Reynolds, Lawrence, Knell ar, felt 
th enisel ves most h on ored in th ei r portrai ts of w on i e 1 1 , 
as worthiest of their power, and men who had heanli- 
iiil daughters, or wives, or mothers, hastened to have 
their beauty immortalized by the hands that could 
treat it worthily. 

The portraits of Christ are strongly feminine. They 
suggest much more the gentle, compassionate, loving 
nature and insight of Woman, than the external acute- 
ness, and rugged masculinity which are typical of the 
manhood that rushes to battle, that glories in materia] 
encounters and triumphs, and that bases its eelf-respect 
upon the physical or intellectual, rather than upon the 
spiritual or love-power it possesses. We love to 
tli ink of Jesus as associated with women, especially in 
his sufferings. A descent from the Cross having no 
woman in the group, nor any head or face of feminine 
cast, would be painfully cold and harsh to look upon. 
Woman belongs to such scenes as naturally as man to 
the battle-field,* 



* T am renaudr-d here of a nohle and characteristic pictin"\ 
of which I have seen only the engraved copy. It m Etty's Joan 
d* A re— the scene the haitle-field. : ho is mounted on a formida- 
ble horse, whieh t full of the passion and fire of the occasion, is 
nhout to trample down an armed foe standing before him, 



156 WOMAK AND llEK ERA. 

Scenes which dopiet the Future Life, depend still 
more far their interest and power on the presence of 
females. It ia impossible to conceive, from the en- 
gravings we see, that Michael Angclo^s Last Judgment 
could warm or move any but a bigoted, cowardly 



whom the rider sees to be ai ruing at her life- Her heavy 
sword is upraised, and will descend and cleave his skull ; but the 
face is as womanly and passionless as if sue eat m a drawing- 
room. The sublime, but calm strength of a great purpose looks 
out from it t unstained by the faintest gleam of the passion or fero- 
city of the warrior. She is gazing at, but also beyond, the victim 
before her, and though she knows he will die by her hand, she 
exhibits no more enmity in her countenance or gesture, than »f 
ho were her friend, to whom she would speak the groat thoughts 
that move her. Yet you see that she will do what is before her to 
be done. 

I know not what soul of Woman could look on that picture 
and feel not the dew of thankfulness to the Artist, moisten the 
eye that gazed* Few men could so perfectly conceive the 
Woman, in such circumstances. One other man, an artist also, 
has given us a picture in these lines : 

" Yet who closer marked the face 
That overruled the battle-place, 
Much had marveled to discern 
Looks more calm and soft than stern: 
For no flush of hot ambition 
Stained her soul's unearthly mission, 
Itaging hate, and stubborn pride, 
Warlike cunning, life-long tried, 
Low before that presence died ; 
For within lier sainted heart 
Naught of these had found a part, 
God had willed the land to free • 
Handmaiden of God was she. 
Ne'er eo smooth a brow before, 
Battlers darkening ensign wore; 
And 'twas still the gentle eye, 
Wont when evening vailed the sky, 
In the whispering shade to see 
Angels haunt the lonely tree." 

Sterling's Joan d'ARC, 



ESTHHTK- ARCUS1 



187 



heart. If the copies are true to tin* original, great 
brawny angels are pulling huge-bodied, large! in 
muscular, anxious looking meti y up the steeps of 
Heaven ; and there is nowhere the sweet, trusting, 
calm face* or the tender form of a woman to he seen. 
One shudders, on looking at it> at the thought of 
entering a heaven containing only such a population. 

Angels are painted as females; and the angelie or 
divine is sacrificed in proportion as the head and face 
depart from the feminine type, either in the intellectual 
or affection al region. In short, here, as in Mythology , 
and in both, as in life, love, purity, devotion, faith, 
trust, hope, are uniformly represented hy the sex which 
most perfectly embodies them; or if ever by a male, his 
portrait, whether in colors or stone, is a St, John, not 
a St. Paul or Peter, 

FOETET. 

This being the most popular of the Arts, and there- 
fore expressing, quantitatively, more of the heart-life 
of humanity than painting or sculpture, is more abun- 
dant in the proof we are seeking. In all its senti- 
mental forms, as also in that purely masculine one 
winch is called amorous,* (let ua be thankful that its 



* It is worth remembering here, that while men make Wn 
man the subject of the I r verse, Women rarely return Use oompH- 
blent Of course, this curious difference could only arise from 
the respective natures as subjects of Poetic treatment. The curli- 
est, pure poet|is such by the necessity of his or her mitum U* rlno 
in expression to the higher, the ideal ; which the feminine is to the 
iline in the broad, permanent, heavenward sense; butwhiofa 
the masculine is to the feminine -only in certain narrow, transient, 
futhward senses. Beside, when women address Terse to men, 
it is either heroic or spiritual in its character, celebrating some 






158 



WOMAN ANU flEE KM A, 



day is well past), "Wnmuii is constantly characterized 

and held up to the feelings as the pure, sweet, angelic, 
divine, heavenly inhabitant of the earth, 

I shall offer none of the lighter or lower sorts of 
proof from this department. Lines, couplets, stanzas, 
will occur to the memory of most readers. They need 
not be set down here, and I shall give the space they 
would occupy, to nobler guests. But before proceeding 
to the examination, let us premise that our cause would 
stand without it. It is not a foundation that we are 
to lay, while wandering among the grand and sweet 
prophets who have spoken in verse. It is rather the 
development of exquisite proportions that we are to 
accomplish, the uprearing of the polished shaft, the 
unity — by hues of beauty — of detached portions into 
the perfect, symmetrical whole of an artistic structure. 

Like the Painters and Sculptors, the Poets have 
borne their testimony uneonsiuously. They have been 
voices for Nature, who has spoken, through them, the 
sublime truths which Reason in its crude pride rejected ; 
which Philosophy could not see because its infantile 
eyes were not yet opened ; winch Science could not 
recognize? because she did not yet find within her king- 
dom the platform of facts whereon it could be rested. 
Induction can teach no truth, of which the facta are 
either wholly latent, or so scantily evolved as were those 
demonstrative of Roman's higher rank and powers, 
even so late as two centuries ago — as indeed they must 



brave, or humane, or noble deed, or appealing to their aspira- 
tions. It is an invitation to men to meet Woman above the com- 
mon level of lifts, not below it — no appeal to the higher nature- 
net to the senses. Amorous vorae from Worn a u to men is un- 
known in modern times, and I think the authenticity of the liltle 
attributed to her in ancient times, may admit of fair doult. 



ESTHETIC ARGTJMENT. 159 

continue to be, while she remains in a condition of 
slavery. For bondage can illustrate no being, human 
or brute. It is darkness, suppression, silence ; the cha- 
racter and intensity of these evils depending on the 
character of enslaved and enslaver. It has done a ser- 
vice to mankind; for through it the inferior intelli- 
gence and powers of undeveloped types and conditions 
have been brought, for the time, under an intelligent 
control, and thus development, good for all, has been 
advanced. When intelligent self-love can see and do 
no higher thing than to seize upon its unintelligent 
brother, and compel him to feed, clothe, enrich, and 
make it powerful, better this than the democracy of 
mere savageism ; for so, if we get back to its origin, is 
all progress begun. It has been the divine plan, 
we must admit, or else confess that God has been 
thwarted by his creature. And thus slavery finds an 
excuse and cause in the early necessities of the race. 
It made available for human development, the powers 
which, unguided, would rather have tended to human 
destruction. But its excuse ceases as soon as society 
reaches that point on the road of progress wherein it 
can see a nobler, better way ; in other words, as soon 
as we are approached near enough to the divine, to see, 
as God sees, that brotherhood is a stronger bond than 
iron ; love a more sure and potent means to good than 
self-love. 

In the low, desperate struggle of the physical ages, 
even the bondage of Woman had its beneficent aspects 
for humanity. Her finer nature, in which lies her only 
freedom, could neither assert nor accommodate itself 
in those tough conflicts with the material; in that 
murky atmosphere of storm and battle. Better, there- 
fore, that it should be temporarily ignored by herself, 



wo 



WOMAJtf AtfD IIEfi ERA. 



as well as by the legitimate sovereign of those epochs 
For bo she could better render the service required of 
her for the universal good. But now the higher way is 
visible — is open here at our feet. Freedom to Woman, 
and with it, universal Freedom, is at the door. We 
may loose all the shackles ; for the Lord's year of Jubi- 
lee has eome. 

This condition of Woman in the past, is one of the 
reasons why all Art celebrates her nature so lmieh more 
than her action — her Being than her Doing. It would 
— I speak reverently — have to treat angels in the like 
manner. The Poet therefore of past time, to have been 
true on the Woman Question, must have been a man 
of real insight and Faith— an illuminated mam Ima- 
gination, delicacy, and depth of feeling for Xature; 
patience in her study, large capacity to analyze her, to 
resolve man and his affairs to their ultimates; the 
heart to burn injustice and trample its ashes under his 
feet, to celebrate power, integrity, nobleness in man ; 
none or all of these qualities are sufficient to make the 
poet whom Woman is to crown— whom her era can 
accept as one of its immortals. For the truths of her lie 
beyond this man's ken. They are to be seen only with 
the prophetic eye of a pure, believing soul, and through 
the unflawed lens of a real love. The man who is in car 
pable of a worshiping love for Woman, can never eee 
her, be he artist, saint, philosopher, or statesman ; while 
she is revealed to him who is capable of this passion, 
be he ever so humble and rude otherwise. It is only in 
that experience, that he can rise to behold the higher 
glories of her nature. 

I know the breadth and sharpness of dissent I am 
about to provoke, at the very outset, here. But I begin 
my question ings of the poets with him whose fame is 



ESTHETIC AUG I H E H 1. 



101 




greatest in our English tongue. And, to be brief, con- 
cise, and plain, I affirm that yhakspenre has said tittle 
of Woman that is tu her credit, or his own. His genius 
was of Sight rather than of Insight. Be patient, O 
admiring man. Justice, so far as I am able, shall be 
done him here :— But please remember that it is you ,' 
not your wife, daughter, sister, mother or female friend, 
wbo ija forever quoting him in the chamber, the parlor, 
the dining-room — on the pavement, in the fields, under 
the stars, under the sun, under the clouds — by the sea- 
ahore, and in the forest, in the work-shop, factory, cabi- 
net, school, and council. I admit the greatness ; it is 
only its quality that I would question. It is you who 
have said " he was for all time/' She knows better, 
for this reason, if for no other, that he never foretold a 
letter tfum he saw. 

He is greatest to you, because he is the very i near- 
nation of the masculine fancy, imagination, intellect, 
perception, and passional life ; because he had power 
to conceive and live the lives of men ; was the very 
mirror of experience to them. To the imagination and 
fancy of the poet, he united the intellect of the philo- 
sopher, the observation of the scientist, and the pas- 
sional lite of the common man. I do not wonder you 
name him greatest. Till you see that there is a human 
horizon which includes your own, you may well think 
that he filled, to its circumference, the circuit of human 
experiences. But it was only the masculine circuit, 
and, as the men of generations in the near future will 
see, not by any means the largest possible to that. 

Shakspeare did not so much partake the spirit of 
his age as he was it ; resuming in his own indivi duality, 
many of the finest capacities the race had ever exhi- 
bited. Bat no ray of prophecy touched that brill i nut 



102 



WOMAN ASD HER EKA. 



orb at an j point. He lacked the great poet's real in- 
spiration. He lacked an ideal of humanity and life. 
He painted extern nl Xature with the hand of a mas* 
ter — he dissected living men and women about him, 
with either a merciless earnestness, or han-honi7uk, that 
was all liie own ; he lamented feelingly the treache- 
ries, weaknesses, vices, meannesses, selfishness of man- 
kind ; but he foresaw no better. He doubtless believed 
that his gallery would be as real in the twenty-sixth as 
in the sixteenth century, With such a mind, he could 
only give up the worldly verdict of his day and pre- 
cedent history, upon Woman. If he allowed her conse- 
quence at all, it was never that of her own individu- 
al it; y, but a result of her being "nobly fathered or 
husbanded," If she had personal influence, it was by 
her power over the sensual life of man ; which, being 
a beastly usurper over his higher nature, made him 
despise j in his better moments, the being who degraded 
him by ministering to it. 

Except that the bountifulness of his own nature 
made him indifferent to the life he mixed with, lie 
would have been meanly suspicious of Woman; except 
that ? lacking interior, and therefore religious lite, he 
cared little for human purity beyond its decency, he 
would have estimated her depravity as too deep to be 
sounded, The goodness that he possessed was sponta- 
neous, and evidently too external to require any pro- 
found, theoretic basis for its support. He yearned for 
no ideal man or woman who should make humanity 
illustrious, and excellence lovely. So far as I am 
able to study him, he seems to have been destitute 
of any noble theory of human virtue — nay, of the very 
fragments of such; and with this defect in his poetic 
constitution, it is plain that he must have believed 



LS LUETIC ARGUMENT, 



163 



what h so often hinted in his plays : that women wore 
less gross than men, more from hick of capacity to 
equal them in grossness, than from any nobler cause — 
the very basest order of inferiority. 

He authorized in his sentiments, all manner of pas- 
sional, sensual, and drunken usurpation or " maTl over 
Woman— every kind of force to degrade her, which 
the law did not punish, and only felt bound to satirize 
and speak coarsely of hep after it had been exercised ; 
men who repeated such expediences never so often m- 
basely ? being no less heroes for his dramas ■ fit to lead 
in council, rule in honorable war, and receive the ho 
mage of society. The leading characteristics of the 
feminine, as he portrayed it, are sensuality, and fickle- 
ness, its uniform attendant, {in either sex) ; caprieious- 
nesSj vanity, desire to be loved, more for the power 
than the pure happiness of it ; a disposition to exercise 
that fleeting, petty power tynumic-illy — so far to play 
the man on the child's scale ; weakness, helplessness 
indeed, against temptation ; and a paramount selfish- 
ness, which is only modified or very rarely turned into 
generosity, toward the man whose love permits Ijct to 
love in return ; for which end chiefly, in its narrow- 
est, most material sense, she seems in his estimation to 
have been created. 

It is true that Queen Constance is a loving mother, 
and she lacks gross faults. There are millions such, 
else the world would be poor indeed. Portia and 
Oalplmrnia were reputable wives, respected and be- 
loved by Roman husbands. Volumnia was a courage- 
ous and patriotic mother. But they are no ideals. Their 
noblest qualities are but the staple virtues of average 
womanhood. Desdemona was childish-innocent and 
affectionate. Is that so rare a character? Portia, of 



164 



WOMA2* ASD B.EK EEA. 



Venice, was sensible, courageous, and brilliant, without 
vanity- I know a hundred women who are fully equal 
to her, and many who surpass her in her own strong 
points- Cordelia was a better daughter than her dia- 
bolical sisters ; but is that a model character of Woman ? 
Imogen was pure and loving; but any man or woman 
in society is to be pi tied f who does not know a score or 
two of far finer girls, Beatrice was bewitching and 
nothing worse— which appears to have been a pure 
piece of indulgence to her sex on Shakspeare*s part- 
Rosalind was docile, ingenuous, and honest ; as the 
million of young girls are- Ophelia was innocently 
crazy, as thousands of unhappy young women have 
been, and Ferdita beautiful and confiding, but with a 
speech whose freedom would at once exempt her from 
any charge of fasti diousness. But I find little other 
power set forth in these characters; little goodness, 
save the emptiness of eviL The highest virtue they 
exhibit is in persistently loving a father, a husband, or 
a son , no matter how great a miscreant or criminal. 
If to the woman-s love there was added the weak obe- 
dience of the little child, which conformed in all things, 
wrong as well as right, gross as well as pure, mean 
as well as noble — it was all the more to her glory- 
Now love and docility to those we love, are sweet 
and exalting to the spirit — but they may also be very 
narrow, and wither and impoverish the life, instead of 
expanding and Enriching it. 

That these views of Woman were of the man, not 
of the time only, becomes evident, when we turn to his 
contemporary, Spenser. He, looking with the inner 
eye upon Man, Woman, Society, Life, and Manners, 
sees in them quite other qualities; higher uses, and 
more noble dispositions in the good ; and these, widely 



ESTHETIC ARGUMENT. 105 

removed from the evil and malevolent ; not in the out- 
ward relations and offices, wherein life constantly 
intermixes them, but in aims, purposes, and tenden- 
cies. The reflex this, in Spenser's earnest, deep mind, 
of spiritual, hidden truths, which Shakspeare had no 
eye to see/ Spenser attributes the worst and the best 
to the feminine, and though according to the spirit of 
his day, and the facts most patent in it, he sets forth 
largely the sensual in life, yet both womanhood and 
manhood are constantly being redeemed by noble indi- 
viduals who appear in the progress of his Poem — the 
softer sex leading in the virtues and traits that bear a 
likeness to the divine or angelic. 

Take these stanzas from the Fairie Queen : 

" He comming home at undertime, there found 
The fayrest creature that he ever saw, 
Sitting beside his mother on the ground ; 
The sight whereof did greatly him adaw, 
And his base thought with terror and with aw 
So inly smot, that as one which hath gaz'd 
On the bright sunne unwares, doth soone withdraw 
His feeble eyne with too much brightness daz'd; 
So stared he on her, and stood long while amaz'd. * 

" But the fayre virgin was so meek and myld, 
That she to them vouchsafed to embace 
Her goodly port, and to their senses vyld 
Her gentle speech apply d, that in short space 
She grew familiare in that desert place. 
During which time the Chorle, through her so kind 
And courteise use, conceived affection bace, 
And cast to love her in his brutish mind ; 
No love, but brutish lust, that was so beastly tind. 
####### 

u That daintie rose, the daughter of her morne, 
More dear than life she tendered, whose flowre 



170 WOMAX A>'D HEK fcUA. 

And in that unmatchable poem. Epipsychidion, he 
says: 

"Spouse! Sister! Angel! Pilot of the fate 
Whose course has been so starless ! too late 
Beloved ! too soon udored, by me ! 
For in the fields of immortality 
My spirit should at first have worshiped thine, 
A divine presence in a place divine ; 
Or should have moved beside it on this earth 
A shadow of that substance from its birth. 

Seraph of heaven ! too gentle to be human, 
Vailing beneath that radiant form of Woman 
All that is insupportable in thee, 
Of light, and love, and immortality ! 
Sweet Benediction in the eternal curse ! 
VaiPd Glory of this lampless universe ! 
Thou Harmony of Nature's art ! 

I measure 
The world of fancies, seeking one like thee, 
And find — alas ! mine own infirmity !" 

Milncs writes : 

u Because from all that round thee move 
Planets of Beauty, Strength, and Grace, 

I am elected to thy love, 

A nd have my home in thy embrace ; 

I wonder all men do not see 

The crown that thou hast set on me. 

" The mirror from its glossy plain 

Receiving, still returns the light, 
And, being generous of its gain, 

Augments the very solar might; 
What un reflected light would be 

Is just thy spirit without me. 77 

TTow full of generous, manly acknowledgment is 
this poem of Schiller's, especially the second and third 
stanzas : 



ESTHETIC ARGUMENT. 171 

a I saw her still, with many a fair one nigh, 
Of every fair the stateliest shape appear ; 

Like a lone sun she shone upon my eye — 
I stood afar and durst not venture near. 

Seized, as her presence brightened round me, by 
The trembling passion of voluptuous fear, 

Yet, swift as borne upon some hurrying wing, 

The impulse snatched me and I struck the string. 

u What then I felt — what sung — my memory hence 
From that wild moment would in vain invoke — 

It was the life of some discovered sense 
That in the heart's divine emotion spoke; 

Long years imprisoned, and escaping thence 
From every chain, the Soul enchanted broke, 

And found a music in its own deep core, 

Its holiest, deepest deep, unguessed before. 

" Like melody long hushed, and lost in space, 
Back to its home the breathing spirit came : 

I looked and saw upon that angel face 

The fair love circled with the modest shame ; 

I heard (and heaven descended on the place) 
Low-whispered words a charmed truth proclaim — 

Save in thy choral hymns, O spirit-shore, 

Ne'er may I hear such thrilling sweetness more 1" 

Here is the testimony of a man of our own country 
and day, Mr. Lowell. There is nothing equivocal or 
uncertain in the ring of this Sonnet : 

" I cannot think that thou shouldst pass away, 

Whose life to mine is an eternal law, 

A piece of nature that can have no flaw, 
A new and certain sunrise every day ; 
But, if thou art to be another ray 

About the Sun of Life, and art to live 

Free from all of thee that was fugitive, 
The debt of Love I will more fully pay, 

Not downcast with the thought of thee so high ; 
But rather raised to be a nobler man, 



172 WOMAN AND HER ERA. 

And more divine in my humanity. 
As knowing that the waiting eyes which scan 
My life are lighted by a purer being, 
And ask meek, calmed-browed deeds, with it agreeing." 

And this prayer comes from still clearer and calmer 
depths of true poetic insight : 

" God ! do not let my loved-one die, 

But rather wait until the time 
That I am grown in purity 

Enough to enter thy pure clime, 
Then take me — I would gladly go, 

So that my love remain below ! 

" let her stay ! She is by birth 

What I through death must learn to be. 
We need her more on our poor earth, 

Than thou canst need in heaven with thee : 
She hath her wings already ; I 
Must burst this earth shell ere I fly. 

" Then, God, take mo ! We shall be near, 

More near than ever, each to each : 
Her angel ears will find more clear 

My heavenly than my earthly speech ; 
And still, as I draw nigh to Thee, 
Her soul and mine shall closer be." 

The following stanzas are attributed to the same 
author. I do not find them among his collected 
poems ; but wherever they come from, they are worthy 
of the best place I can give them. 

" My beautiful Irene, my loveliest, my best! 
Thou liest all "about my soul, thou fillest me with rest; 
Thy blue eyes circle round me, as heaven doth the earth; 
I only feel how blest am I, that of thy love am worth. 

u Thou comest to mo when asleep, thou lookest in mine eyes ; 
And I feel as when the holy stars bend on me, from, the skies ; 
Thou art so very beautiful, so holy, so divine, 
That I could know no perfect rest in any love but thine. 



ESTHETIC ARGUMENT. 173 

u Thou flowest round and round me ; thy love is like the air, 
Which with an unfelt sympathy doth gird me everywhere ; 
I do not feel its ministry, and yet I know that I, 
"Without its silent blessedness, should wither up and die." 

Wliittier says of one who has departed : 

" And half we deemed she needed not 
The changing of her sphere, 
To give to Heaven a shining one, 
Who walked an angel here. 

" The blessing of her quiet life 
Fell on us like the dew ; 
And good thoughts, where her footsteps pressed 
Like fairy blossoms grew. 

" We read her face as one who reads 

A true and holy book; 
The measure of a blessed hymn, 

To which our hearts could move ; 
The breathing of an inward psalm ; 

A canticle of love." 

Here is a passage from Tennyson's portrait of 
Eleanore. It is not a man only who sees such eyes in 
women. We see them and glory in them, but with a 
different feeling, as much as he. Women who feel 
Womanhood as a power in God's system of things, 
rejoice in its wealth no less than men in the charms of 
the one woman whom they admire or love, and wish to 
call their own. Only we rejoice with thankfulness for 
a noble woman, wherever she may be, and they with 
craving, or self-gratulation that she is, and is theirs. 
a Sometimes with most intensity, 
Gazing, I seem to see 

Thought folded over thought, smiling asleep, 
Slowly awakened, grow so full and deep 
In thy large eyes, that, overpowered quite, 
I cannot vail, or droop my sight, 
But am as nothing -en its light : 



1T6 WOlUUf AND HEK EEA. 

And dropt before him, So the Powers who wait 

On noble deedn, eaueoled a sense fcnkmaedj 

And shc> that kuew not, patfsud : and all at once, 

"With twelve groat shocks of sound, the shameless noon 

Was flashed and hammered from a hundred towers, 

One after one ; but even then she gained 

Her bower ; whence reissuing, robed and crowned. 

To meet her lord, she tcn/k the %nz away, 

And built herself an everliifcitmg name," 

How characteristic of Woman's courage, and of the 
causes that summon it to action* Not conquest, not 
glory, not gain, not the hope of self- ad van cement- — 
simply the divine necessity to help those who need 
help — not regardless of cost to herself, hut setting it 
aside, so hut the good be won. I wonder that no ar- 
tist has put these exquisite pictures into colors* 

Here are some hues from a noble poem, u The 
Bothie of Toper-na-Fuosiehj" published several years 
since, though but little known, except to a small class 
of readers. This writer would well feel the difference 
which Mr. Carlyle suggests between the universe seen 
by Newton, and that by his dog Diamond. He knows 
that while a man's eye naturally seeks and takes in 
images and impressions, a woman's as naturally gmes 
them mtt The kingdom of action, for us, being without 
him, and toithinher* 

" I was walking along some two miles from the cottage. 
Full of my dream ings— a girl went by iu a party with others j 
She had a cloak on, was stepping on quiekljj for rain waa 

beginning \ 
But as she passed, from the hood I saw her eyes look at me* 
Bo quick a glance, so regardless I, that ultho ? 1 felt it, 
You couldn't properly say our eyes met. She cast it, and 

left it : 
It was turns minutes perhaps ere I knew what it was. I had 

seen her 



ESTHETIC ARGUMENT. 177 

Somewhere before 1 am sure, but that was not it — not its 
import j 
- No, it had seemed to regard me with simple superior insight, 
Quietly saying to itself, >' 

And later in his story, this writer says : 

" Why when the chill, ere the b'ght, of the daybreak uneasily 
wakes me, 
Find I a cry in my heart, crying up to the heaven of heavens, 
No, Great Unjust Judge : she is purity ; I am the lost one. 
crush me, if thou wilt, who deserve it." 

And again, Shelley in the Cenci : 

" Yet I fear 

Her subtile mind, her awe-inspiring gaze, 
Whose beams anatomize me, nerve by nerve, 
And lay me bare, and make me blush to see 
My hidden thoughts." 

Mrs. Hemans contributes to the same thought these 
lines : 

" And, as her cheek flush' d thro' its olive hue 
As her black tresses to the night-wind flew, 
Something o'ermastered them from that young mien; 
Something of heaven, in silence felt and seen; 
And seeming to their child-like faith, a token 
That the Great Spirit by her voice had spoken." 

And Miss Jewsbury, I think it is, who says some- 
where — I have forgotten the connection of the lines : — 

" Nor look, nor tone revealeth aught 
Save Woman's quietness of thought, 
And yet around her is a light 
Of inward majesty and might." 

In a different vein, but evincing the same percep- 
tion of the peculiar character of Woman's power, is 
this declaration from Alexander Smith : 

" She grows on mo like moonrise on the night — 
My life is shaped in spite of me, the same 
As Ocean by his shores." 
8* 



178 WOMAN AND IIEK ERA. 

Spenser, whom I recall here, says : 

" Long while I sought to what I might compare 
Those powerful Eyes, which lighten my dark spirit; 
Yet found I naught on earth to which I dare 
Resemble the Image of their goodly light 

Then to the Makers self they likest be; 

"Whose light doth lighten all that here we see." 

Such poems as this of Reverence, by W. E. Chan- 
ning, give one a glowing spark of needed inspiration 
for the coming issue. Thank God for every soul of 
man that sees with such clear womanly eyes. Souls of 
women there will be many to see thus when the light 
shall reach them. 



But what to all true eyes has chiefest charm, 



And what to every breast where beats a heart 

Framed to one beautiful emotion — to 

One sweet and natural feeling, lends a grace 

To all the tedious walks of common life, 

This is fair Woman — "Woman, whose applause 

Each poet sings — "Woman the beautiful. 

Not that her fairest brow or gentlest form 

Charm us to tears; not that the smoothest cheek, 

"Where ever rosy tints have made their home, 

So rivet us on her; but that she is 

The subtile, delicate grace — the inward grace, 

For words too excellent ; the noble, true, 

The majesty of earth ; the summer queen : 

In whoso conceptions nothing but what's great, 

Has any right. And ! her love for him, 

"Who does but his small part in honoring her; 

Discharging a sweet office, sweeter none, 

Mother and child, friend, counsel, and repose ; 

Naught matches with her, naught has leave with her 

To highest human praise. Farewell to him 

"Who reverences not with an excess 

Of faith the beauteous sex ; all barren he 

Shall live a living death of mockery. 



ESTHETIC ARGUMENT. 179 

u Ah ! had but words the power, what could wo say 
Of Woman ? We, rude men, of violont phrase, 
Harsh action, even in repose inwardly harsh ; 
Whose lives walk blustering on high stilts, removed 
From all the purely gracious influence 
Of mother earth. To single from the host 
Of angel forms one only, and to her 
Devote our deepest heart and deepest mind 
Seems almost contradiction. Unto her 
We owe our greatest blessings, hours of cheer, 
Gay smiles, and sudden tears, and more than these, 
A sure perpetual love. Regard her as 
She walks along the vast still earth ; and see ! 
Before her flies a laughing troop of joys, 
And by her side treads old experience, 
With never-failing voice admonitory ; 
The gentle, though infallible, kind advice, 
The watchful care, the fine regardfulness, 
Whatever mates with what we hope to find, 
All consummate in her — the summer- queen. 

To call past ages better than what now 
Man is enacting on life's crowded stage, 
Cannot improve our worth ; and for the world 
Blue is the sky as ever, and the stars 
Kindle their crystal flames at soft-fallen eve, 
With the same purest luster that the east 
Worshiped. The river gently flows through fields 
Where the broad-leaved corn spreads out and loads 
Its ear as when the Indian tilled the soil. 
The dark green pine — green in the winter's cold — 
Still whispers meaning emblems, as of old ; 
The cricket chirps, and the sweet, eager birds 
In the sad woods crowd their thick melodies ; 
But yet, to common eyes, life's poetry 
Something has faded, and the cause of this 
May bo that Man, no longer at the shrine 
Of Woman, kneeling with true reverence, 
In spite of field, wood, river, stars and sea, 
Goes most disconsolate. A babble now, 
A huge and wind-swelled babble fills the place 



180 WOMAN AND HER ERA. 

Of that groat adoration which of old 

Man had for Woman. In these days no more 

Is love the pith and marrow of man's fate. 

u Thou who in early years feelcst awake 
To finest impulses from Nature's breath, 
And in thy walk hcarest such sounds of truth 
As on the common ear strike without heed, 
Beware of men around thee. Men are foul 
With avarice, ambition, and deceit; 
The worst of all, ambition. This is life 
Spent in a feverish chase for selfish ends, 
Which has no virtue to redeem its toil 
But one long, stagnant hope — to raise the self. 
The miser's life to this seems sweet and fair ; 
Better to pile the glittering coin, than seek 
To overtop our brothers and our loves. 
Merit in this ? Where lies it, though thy name 
Ring over distant lands, meeting the wind 
Even on the extreraest vergo of the wide world. 
Merit in this? Better be hurled abroad 
On the vest whirling tide, than in thyself 
Concentred, feed upon thy own applause. 
Tbee shall the good man yield no reverence } 
But while the idle, dissolute crowd are loud 
In voice to send thee flattery, shall rejoice 
That ho has scaped thy fatal doom, and known 
How humble faith in the good soul of things 
Provides amplest enjoyment. my brother, 
If the Past's counsel any honor claim 
From thee, go read the history of those 
Who a like path have trod, and see a fate 
Wretched with fears, changing like leaves at noon, 
When the new wind sings in the white birch wood. 
Learn from the simple child the rule of life, 
And from the movements of the unconscious tribes 
Of animal nature, those that bend the wing 
Or cleave the azure tide, content to be, 
What the great frame provides — freedom and grace. 
Thee, simple child, do the swift winds obey, 
And the white water-falls, with their bold leaps. 



ESTHETIC ARGUMENT. 181 

Follow thy movements. Tenderly the light 
Thee watches, girding with a zone of radiance, 
And all the swinging herbs love thy soft steps." 

Take also these exquisite lines of Patmore's, than 
which I know nothing more richly uniting the most 
delicate fancy with most substantial Truth of the sub- 
ject treated. 

** When I behold the reckless brook 

That casts itself from some tall crag, 
Leaving its shade along the rock, 

And wavering lower like a flag ; 
When I behold the skies aloft 

Fassing the pageantry of dreams; 
The cloud whose bosom cygnet-soft 

A couch for nuptial Juno seems ; 
When I behold the mountains bright, 

The shadowy vales with feeding herds, 
I from my lyre the music smite, 

Nor want for justly matching words : 
All powers of the sea and air, 

All interests of hill and plain, 
I so can sing in seasons fair, 

That who hath felt may feel again. 
Elated oft by such free songs, 

I think with utterance free to raise 
That Hymn for which the whole world longs, 

A worthy Hymn in Woman's praise. 
But when I look on her and hope 

To tell with joy what I admire, 
My thoughts lie cramped in narrow scope, 

Or, in the feeble birth expire. 
No skilled complexity of speech, 

No heart-felt phrase of tenderest fall, 
No likened excellence can reach 

Her, the most excellent of all, 
The best half of creation's best, 

Its heart to feel, its eye to see, 
The crown and complex of the rest-~ 

Its aim and its epitome. 



1S2 WOMAN AND HER ERA. 

Nay, might I utter my conceit 

; Twcrre after all a vulgar song, 
For she's so simply, subtly sweet, 

My deepen rapture does her wrong ; 
My thoughts*, that singing, lark-like soar, 

Soaring perceive they've still misprized, 
And still forebode her beauty more 

Than can perceived he or surmised. 
Yet is it now my chosen task 

To sing her worth as Maid and Wife, 
And were such post to seek I'd ask 

To live her Laureate all my life. 

u I know not how to her it may seem, 

Or how to a perfect judging eye, 
But in my true and calm esteem 

Man misdeserves his sweet ally : 
Where she succeeds with cloudless brow, 

In common and in holy course, 
He fails in spite of prayer and vow 

And agonies of faith and force : 
Or if his suit with Heaven prevails 

To righteous life, his virtuous deeds 
Lack beauty, virtue's badge ; she fails 

More graciously than he succeeds. 
He's never young nor ripe ; she grows 

More infantine, auroral, mild, 
And still the more she lives and knows, 

The lovelier she's expressed a child. 
Say that she wants the will of man 

To conquer fame, not checked by cross, 
Nor moved when others bless or ban ; 

She wants but what to have were loss ; 
Or say she holds no seals of power, 

But humbly lives her life at school ; 
Alas! we have yet to hail the hour 

"When God shall clothe the best with rule. 
Or say she wants the patient brain 

To track shy truth ; her facile wit 
At that which ho hunts down with pain 



ESTHETIC ABGUMENT. 183 

Flies straight, and does exactly hit : 
Nay, tho' she were half what she is, 

lie twice himself, mere love alone 
Her special crown, as truth is his, 

Gives title to the loftier throne. 
Iler privilege, not imrotence, 

Exempts her from the work of man ; 
Humbling his proper excellence, 

Jeanne d'Arc led war's obstreperous van. 
No post of policy or pride 

Does Heaven from her holding grudge; 
Miriam and Anna prophesied, 

In Israel Deborah was judge; 
Countless the Christian heroines 

Who've blest the world and still do bless; 
The praise their equal courage wins 

Counts tenfold through their tenderness; 
And ah ! sad times gone by, denied 

The joyfullest omen ever seen, 
The full-grown Lion's power and pride 

Led by the soft hands of a Queen. 

She whom the heavenly Books declare 

The Crown and Glory of the man, 
Is much too dearly near my care 

For me with sequent thoughts to scan. 
From order and the Muse's law 

What wonder if I fondly err — 
The wisest man that ever was, 

Became a fool for love of her." 

Note. — My acquaintance with language is, unfortunately for the 
range of my poetic selections, confined to my native tongue. But 
along with all the world, I know how much Beatrice was Dante's 
inspiration ; that Laura is interior to Petrach's fame as a foun- 
tain to its stream ; that Catariua was the light of CamoSn's life, 
and projected its brightest rays to us; that the Margaret of 
Goethe's Faust became a redeeming angel ; and that Homer also 
drank at this fount of artistic expression, and though he sung of 
War, Travels, and masculine achievements principally, offered 
his homage to the nature, life, and person of Woman. 

" Not only are his Women becomingly draped," says a writer 



1S»3 WOMAN AND HER EBA. 

masculine. This is practically well illustrated in the 
differences between inferior and exalted social condi- 
tions. In the former, women are masculine; in the 
latter, men partake of the feminine — are gentlemen — 
become refined, courteous, and more delicate in organi- 
zation, perception, and fueling. In other words, we 
see that Society has its development in the approxima- 
tion of the masculine to the feminine type, and suffers 
degeneracy in the reverse movement. Finally, the 
artists* themselves, are often men of a strong feminine 
type. Raphael looked in his youth, like a beautiful 
and thoughtful maiden : and he hore strong marks of 
that resemblance after the superficial signs of mascu- 
linity were developed in his face. Spenser has a head 
and face that remind one of an earnest, affectionate 
mother. The portraits of Chaucer, though exhibiting 
the strongly marked features of a man, show also a 
purity and elevation of expression worthy a gifted and 
good woman. You feel, beside, an utter lack of the 
shrewdness, worldliness, and capacity for mere pension, 
of any sort, that characterize the masculine counte- 
nance. The same is true of Shelley and Wordsworth 
in an eminent degree. Also, of Sidney, Herbert, 
Cowper, Keats, THiite, and many others, both of early 
and later times, whose portraits, but for the hair and 
beard, might almost be mistaken for those of women. 
Tennyson has beauty enough, (if the engravings of him 



* 1 leave the mention of Music here for a reason which all 
will acknowledge as good and valid — that I know nothing of it, 
and little of its masters. "With a deep feeling for the Art, which 
I esteem the divincst of human expressions, I know even less of it 
than of thoso which I have felt constrained to refer to — an ex- 
cuse for silence touching it, than which, no better I am sure could 
be demanded. 



ESTHETIC ARGUMENT. 185 



Literature also exhibits, as we might a priori sup- 
pose it would, a like allegiance to the truth, herein. 
The Ideal Masculine and Feminine bear here also this 
relative character. The hero of the novelist is clothed 
with a more powerful interest for us, and has a pro- 
founder appeal to the heart, when he embodies, with 
the perfection of masculine attributes, some elements of 
the feminine. Thus the magnanimity, fineness of 
feeling, tenderness, gentleness to inferiors, delicate con- 
sideration for others, the still fortitude in suffering, the 
love of purity in word and deed, which make the 
woman-nature, are felt in man also as elements of exalt- 
ation and real greatness, however humble the estate 
of their possessor. The feminine-masculine charac- 
ter in short, is the highest character of man, as the 
organization of that type is the highest physique which 
the masculine exhibits. 

But the heroine must be all womanly. Any spark 
of the masculine nature manifest in her as such, sug- 
gestive of what is manly, is felt instantly to be a for- 
eign and degenerating element, whose introduction we 
can never quite forgive to her creator. We ask neither 
the intellect, the will, nor the courage of man, in Wo- 
man ; for of each she has her own kind, which must be 
higher than his, or we should as instinctively delight 
to find his in her as we do to find hers in him. The 
man must not lack his own; but if hers be added 
thereto, he is the better for it — more perfectly man. 
She must not lack her own ; but the addition of his, 
does not improve her — it lessens instead of augmenting 
her womanhood. The masculine rises to approach the 
feminine type ; the feminine descends in approaching the 



CHAPTER III. 
HISTOKIC AKGUMENT. 

History does little toward defining Woman for us, in 
any respect. It celebrates, rather coldly, a few good 
women ; but a larger number who are of the opposite 
character. Having to do almost purely with externals, 
Man is its hero : whatever Woman may do, or omit, it 
reserves its enthusiasm for him. And rightly enough, 
since it is he who makes the material for history. Its 
origin is in his passions ; its growth in his intellect, 
acquisitive loves, and inventive powers of every sort. 
These change the face of society, disturb the equilibrium 
of possession, develop the resources of human life — both 
subjective and objective — incite man to his great deeds 
and his little ones, and therein urge the perception, 
the memory, and the pen of the historian, to their 
work. I say perception and memory, because, as yet, 
other capacities have but a subordinate part in this 
work. 

Now in all these movements, Woman in the external, 
manifest sense, is so seldom a principal, that she may 
be said to be generally an incident, as are the acts and 
speech of a little child in the presence of the parents 
and guest, interrupting the stream of their earnest talk. 
They descend from the graver themes, at certain 
moments, to pay a passing attention to these ; the con- 



HISTORIC ARGUMENT. ISO 

descension charming alike themselves and its object, if 
not too often demanded or too much prolonged. 

Woman is a child in the presence of man and his 
spectator, History, when they meet. The latter comes 
to him, that she may record,not his motives and aims 
so much as the acts which are the shows and appear- 
ances of them. The acts are his, and it is of infinitely 
small consequence, apparently, so far as they two can 
judge, that Woman has been at the root of them. One 
does not go from the friend's house and ask attention 
to what the child has said, but rather to the thoughts 
and speech of the grown persons ; and so History holds 
her sessions with, and reports man ; because to both, as 
yet, the spiritual and affectional motives which control 
the nature of Woman are weaklings — babes — whose 
place is in the nursery of human action, and whose 
function out of it is silence, except when patronized by 
them into brief and passing expression. 

For these reasons History remains purely inductive, 
grossly empirical, indeed, to this day. Its predications 
are only the most general and irresistible. It traverses 
the great currents of human motive continually, in 
seeking to account for actions ; or it sets them down 
without accounting for them, as a merchant makes his 
invoice, or a librarian his catalogue. It sees no law, or 
only broken, detached fragments thereof; but its dis- 
tracted eye is ' fastened to the confused, rolling, tum- 
bling sea of facta. Into this it clutches desperately, 
seizing when it can, those of largest proportions, and 
letting the lesser go. It deduces nothing from Truth, 
the great law and force of life ; but spends its 
strength in endeavoring to induce certain conclusions 
from the Babel-voices of its many-tongued facts. So 
that what should be an analysis of human conduct, is 



190 WOMAN AND HER ERA. 

only its record, and often so imperfect, even in that 
character, that precious time is sadly wasted in its study. 

Mr. Buckle, who lias made the first footmarks in the 
last and highest field of the masculine historic era, and 
who is, in many respects, admirably gifted for carrying 
it well forward for his successors, seems, in some others, 
to be painfully insufficient for his work. With abund- 
ant intellectual power and acuteness of vision, the 
spiritual element is so Yery latent in him that he does 
not trust even the existence of its universal root — the 
Consciousness. Thus some of the noblest, and, at the 
same time, most assured facts of human experience, are 
rejected by him, or read as mere superstitions and 
bigotries. He is so severely masculine in mind, that he 
doubts, nay, he disbelieves the very existence of the 
distinguishing feminine attribute — the spiritual nature. 
He has not eyes to see it. With a singularly clear head 
for the recognition of feminine and masculine in the 
intellectual kingdom, he fails so fatally to trace the line 
of distinction in its higher Teachings, that the work which 
his great power and prodigious labor would have made 
immortal, might perish without any fatal loss of Truth. 
He rather points the way we may expect Truth to 
come, than introduces us to the sacred presence. He 
doubts her noblest aspects : mistakes them for a mask 
of fanaticism ; sets down her finest edicts as supersti- 
tions, and even flouts, in scholarly style, some of her 
plainest intentions. Denying all other elements of 
progress in mankind, save the intellect, (a denial which 
could scarce come from any woman, of much or little 
ability), he is reduced to the necessity of setting aside 
laws of Nature, which the average laborer feels in his 
consciousness, if he does not understand in his reason. 

If he did not employ the term man generically, one 



HISTORIC ARGUMENT. 191 

would feel less dissent from the statement of his pre- 
mises. For man, in the super-physical, representing 
the intellect, as distinguished from the spiritual, Mr. 
Buckle finds in the history of Progress, so far as he 
(man) has carried it, but slender support for any nobler 
views. Human progress has been, in the main, unde- 
niably intellectual and material, rather than spiritual ; 
as it needs must be while it remains so exclusively in 
masculine hands. " That which is born of the flesh is 
flesh." Yet since proof of spiritual progress, and of its 
dearness to the soul, is found in the successive origins 
of religious systems ; in the continually-recurring bat- 
tles for newly -discovered truths ; and, most of all, in 
the growing love for light, progress, and knowledge of 
things spiritual, and in the unflinching devotion with 
which men of moderate intellect have, in. all times, 
sacrificed themselves to the preservation of systems and 
opinions which they were less able to appreciate than 
to love, one cannot but wonder over Mr. Buckle's pages. 

Intellect is never intense or devoted; it is only 
tenacious. It acquires with pleasure, acquisition beirg 
action, and all action delight ; but it is itself indifferent 
whether what it gets be diffused or retained. Con- 
joined with noble emotions, it may be warmed into 
near relation and similitude to their own life-giving 
power ; or, with almost equal facility, it may become 
the instrument and minister of passions, .which its 
devices help to consume and reduce, along with itself, 
to ashes. 

Intellect has no moral character. It only leans 
with a neighborly courtesy, rather this than the oppo- 
site way. It never led a martyr to the pile. It finds 
Truths, Ideas — the instruments of Progress — but its 
office may almost be said to end with the finding. It 



1&2 W01LLX JLXD HEK EKA. 

cares little f >r putting them to their noblest, divinest 
u~e??. Something else in the soul must ask its co-opera- 
tion, that they may be warmed and molded into 
artistic proportions — refined and fitted for their highest 
service — raised to the heart-worship which makes pain 
and death for them the joy of individuals and of gener- 
ations, if it be only so that they can be rescued from 
oblivion, nr the impossible extinction which seems to 
threaten them. 

Without intellect, it is certain there conld be no 
progress, because no relation between Truths and the 
human spirit. The ox would be little more isolated 
frjm them, though dwelling in their midst, than man. 
• But intellect is not the «roal of Truth: it is onlv her 
road to the Spirit — the medium through which the grand 
conjunction is effected. The power of discover}' with 
which it is endowed is that of the squirrel to find and 
lay up its winter stores, without the apparatus of mas- 
tication and digestion whereby they could be assimi- 
lated and converted into materials of growth. Truth 
mu-t be loved — which is a step beyond finding her — 
if we would have service of her. Ideas, how clearlv 
soever seen, must have heart-homage before they can 
lay hold of the life, and stamp upon it the characters of 
nobler use. 

How many vital truths lie torpid now in the midst 
of our keenest strifes, doing the world the smallest 
measure of service, because the heart-life of the socie- 
ties knowing them is too cold, too debased with selfish- 
ness, to receive them. Wherefore, avenging this 
neglect, they fall into torpor among us, as indifferent 
to us as we to them, till the day when our human hope 
and need shall demand their risen, acting, and moving 
presence. The truest grandeur of life is in the union, 



HiSTofiic AJiGOiEsrr. 



193 



in the same soul, of tlie power to discover Truth, with 
the sensibility to love it supremely, as the means of 
human development and happiness. For this is the 
divinest use to which God, its Author, can put it in 
our world ? and we bo far identify ourselves with Him 
as we work lovingly in His ways, to His ends. 
But the love of Truth is more exalting than the knowl- 
edge of it when they are separated. Who is colder or 
more inert than the man gifted with intellect but 
lacking love? He dwells in a chilling mist of specula- 
tion, or an atmosphere through which gleam the elec- 
tric lights of discovery. But no genial sunshine, 
expanding and nourishing that whereon it falls, sur- 
rounds him. What matter to him, if he have his 
delights j that the millions suffer or perish — that his 
whole generation goes astray, wanting light, which he, 
perchance, could give it ? He loves his inquiries and 
speculations more than human happiness. He delights 
in the acquisition of Truth, but is indifferent to its 
diffusion j and wonders at the weak enthusiasm of some 
admirer to whom he opens his treasury, and who, with 
a tithe of his intellect, but a hundred-fold his love, 
becomes instantly concerned that the hoard he beholds 
shall be scattered abroad, to ease the aching hearts and 
lift the too heavy burthens. This man is a re-former 
because he is a lover, and would lovingly help to 
re-make what is imperfect. Put him in possession here, 
and forthwith there commences agitation, conflict — a 
double-rooted phenomenon — which springs from the 
truths that were cold till he found them, and from the 
love in his soul which was helpless till they came to it. 
I repeat that since such is the relation between the 
Spirit and Truth, one cannot refuse to wonder at Mr, 
Buckle's posi tion and statements. For the service he has 
9 



104 



WOMAN AND HER ERA, 



done, I am, no less than any one of his thousands of 
readers, profoundly grateful.* If it be true, as has 
been said, that the past Historic Period culminates in 
him, it is no less true that he faces so iirmly toward 
the Coming One that he may be hailed as its pioneer. 
Beholding the Old with a elear view of its defects, he 
partly also sees the New ; its prominent features, if not 
its ultimate tendency. And he has so far released its 
sub-strata/ that we shall, not long hence, see his labor 
appropriated by some more expert and large-sou h-d 
builder, who, embracing the Spiritual with the Intel- 
lectual, will give his grand generalizations a place 

* It is mournful that we have already to speak of this great 
mind and its work as belonging to the past. These pages were 
written between the appearance, in this country, of the first and 
second volumes of "An Introduction to a History of Civilization 
in England ; n and then we fondly hoped, not only for much more 
work at the writer's hands, but for a beautiful growth, through 
it, into the higher fields of Truth. Even the few critical remarks, 
thrown out here and elsewhere in this volume, seem* in virw of 
the loss we have sustained in that untimely death, to he spoken 
almost in an uncordial spirit Death does not, indeed, change 
the character of Truth or Error in any man^s work, but it 
inclines us to prize more sacredly, purely, and generously, whaj 
he leaves us, and in our criticisms to discriminate more carefully 
and tenderly between the noble purpose, if such it was, and the 
false result. I dissent as broadly now from Mr, E. ? s views as 
four years ago ; but my heart would deal more gently with his 
errors, since he baa passed beyond the stage where they might 
have been rectified in the same manner as they were uttered. It 
is most comforting to know that, as he advanced in Iuh work and 
drew nearer the close of bis earthly career, he inclined more and 
more to look spirit-ward for the springs of human action, and the 
sources of human power. Another kingdom of motive, wanner 
Ukvii the intellectual, and lying above it, began to open before his 
lengthening vision, which he has entered into possession of> 
making that inestimable gain through our inestimable loss. 



HISTORIC AKGUMEXT. 



105 



worthy their vastness and substance, at the foundation 
of a plan oi" History, of fairer proportions and truer 
elements than the world has yet seen. •. 

In that plan. Woman, as the representative and 
embodiment of the interior, spiritual furcesj will have 
her place. She will bring to light its depths of motive ; 
she will explore its loftiest pinnacles of aspiration. 
She will, of herself 3 take her position, sustain her own 
part, and diffuse herself, as an elevating, purifying 
power, through all, which so, will be made worthy and 
fit for her presence. _ 

I shall introduce but few women who appear in / 
History, as well for lack of room as for the reasons ' 
already hinted at, that it is for the most part a succes- 
sion of shams and shows, or of appearances, that cause* 
us to forget the realities which they as often misrepre- 
sent as represent; and because, springing from the 
egotistic intellect of man, it utters no pure luiman 
sentiment of Woman, such as wc have found in Art 
and Religion, but only acknowledges her when com- 
pelled to by the accident of birth, or rough adventure," 
or by revolution, which, breaking up the order of 
society, introduces her to unusual places. And, more- 
over, my subject has such wealth of resource, that I 
have need but to hint at rather than exhaust any orfe 
of them. 

My object, therefore, will be, not to show what 
women have been celebrated, (since even that, scanty 
as is the record ? would require volumes instead of a 
few pages), so much as that some have been ; and that 
History, cold as it is toward them, and often suspicious, 
treating them hi the spirit of a detective policeman, 
by construing into evidence of wrong or guilty whatever 
it cannot u derstand in their conduct, has nevertheless 



m 



i or le» recognized this troth of them, that In times 
eat emergen cy, and in season* that hare tried sends 
deeply, they have often contrasted nobly with 
and still more frequently excelled them m the 
which evinces courage, the fortitude which 
proves devotion, either to persons or to great causes, 
(when they have, by accident, become acquainted with 
ftuch), and in the self-abnegation which testifies the 
greatest lore* 

The Eleventh Century produced the woman whom 
I shall name first, as illustrating a higher generosity, a 
nobler delicacy, and a more intense love in her sex, 
than we look for or find in man. This woman, Heloise, 
beloved by and loving a man who was a candidate tor 
honors in the Papal Church, gave all to him, and 
refused to take from him anything that would have 
constituted a protection for her against the sneers of 
enemies, the persecutions of her family, and the scorn 
of the world, because the only protection he could give 
her was marriage, which could save her but by ruining 
him. But I will let Mr. Lewes tell the story in his 
brief way : 

" His career, at this period, was brilliant. His 
reputation had risen above that of every living man. 
His eloquence and eubtilty charmed hundreds of 
serious students, who thronged beneath the shadows of 
the Cathedral, in ceaseless disputation, thinking more of 
Bucce&s in disputes than of the truths involved. M. 
Guizot estimates these students at not less than five 
thousand — of course not all at the same time. Amidst 
these crowds, Abelard might be seen moving, with 
imposing haughtiness of carriage, not without the care- 
less indolence which success bad given ; handsome, 
manly, gallant-looking, the object of incessant admira- 
tion, 1 lis lo&gB were sung in the streets, his arguments 
were repeated in cloisters." The multitude reverentially 



HISTORIC Ai£U I* MEJNf T. 



m 



made way for him, as he passed ; and from behind 
their window-curtains peeped the curious eyes of 
women, Hia name was carried to every city in Europe. 
The Pope sent hearers to him. He reigned, and he 
reigned alone. 

w It was at this period that the charms and helpless 
position or* Heloise attracted his vanity and selfishness, 
lie resolved to seduce her \ resolved it, as he confesses, 
after mature deliberation. He thought she would he 
an easy victim ; and he, who had lived in abhorrence 
of libertinage— swrtorum immnnditiam aemper abhor- 
rebam — felt that he had now attained such a position 
that he might indulge himself with impunity. We are 
not here attributing hypothetic scoundrel ism to Abel- 
ard ; we are but repeating his own statements, * I 
thought, too,* he adds, ( that I should the more easjly 
gain the girl's consent, knowing, as I did, to how great 
a degree she both possessed learning and loved it.- He 
tells ns how he * sought an opportunity of bringing her 
into familiar and daily intercourse with me, and so 
drawing her the more easily to consent to my wished. 
With this view, I made a proposal to her uncle, through 
certain of his friends, that he should receive me as an 
inmate of his house, which was very near to my school, 
on whatever terms of remuneration he chose; alleg- 
ing, as my reason, that I found the care of a. household 
an impediment to study, and its ex pen so tori burden- 
some. 3 The uncle, Fulbert, was prompted by avarice, 
and the prospect of gaining instruction for Ins niece, 
to consent. He committed her entirely to Abelard's 
charge, * in order that whenever I should be at leisure 
from the school, whether by day or by night, I might 
take the trouble of instructing her ; and should I find 
her negligent, use forcible compulsion. Hereupon I 
wondered at the man's excessive simplicity, with no lees 
amazement than if I had beheld him intrust a lamb to 
the care of a famishing wolf ; for in thus placing the 
girl in my hands for me not only to teach, but to use 
forcible coercion, what did he do but give full liberty 
to inj desires, and offer the opportunity, even had it 



198 WOMAN AND ITER ERA. 

not been sought, seeing that, should enticement fail, I 
might use threats and stripes in order to subdue her?' 

kl The crude brutality of this confession would induce 
us to sti j ►]> »se it was a specimen of that strange illusion 
which often makes reflective and analytic minds 
believe that their enthusiasms and passions were calcu- 
lations, had we not sufficient evidence, throughout 
Abelard's life, of his intense selfishness and voracious 
vanity. Whatever the motive, the incident is curious; 
history has no other such example of passionate devo- 
tion filling the mind of a woman for a dialectician. It 
was dialectics he taught her, since he could teach her 
nothing else. She was a much better scholar than he ; 
in many respects better read. She was perfect mis- 
tress of Latin, and knew enough Greek and Hebrew to 
fo$m the basis of her future proficiency. He knew 
nothing of Greek or Hebrew, although all his biogra- 
phers, except M. Itemusat, assume that he knew them 
both ; M. ilichelet even asserting that he was the only 
man who did then know them. In the study of aria 
dialectics, then, must we imagine Abelard and Heloise 
thrown ; and, in the daily communion of their minds, 
passion ripened, steeped in that vague, dream-like, but 
intense delight, produced by the contact of great intel- 
ligences ; and thus, as the Spanish translator of her 
letters says, 4 Buscando siempre con pretexto del estudio 
los parages mas retirados ' — they sought in the still 
air and countenance of delightful studies a solitude 
more exquisite than any society. ' The books were open 
before us,' says Abelard, ' but we talked more of love 
than philosophy, and kisses were more frequent than 
sentences.' 

" In spite of the prudential necessity of keeping 
this intrigue secret, Abelard's truly French vanity 
overcame his prudence. He had written love-songs to 
Heloise; and, with the egotism of a bad poet and 
indelicate lover, he was anxious for these songs to be 
road by other eyes besides those for whom they were 
composed ; anxious that other men should know his 
conquest. His songs were soon bandied about the 
streets. All Paris was in the secret of his intrigue. 



HIQTOHR: argument. 



199 



That which a delicate lover, out of delicacy, and a 
sensible lover, out of prudence, would have hidden 
from the world, this uoxeomb suffered to he profaned 
by being bawled from idle and indifferent months 

u At length even Fulbert became aware of what 
was passing under his rooil A separation took place ; 
but the lovers con tinned to meet iu secret Heloise 
soon found herself pregnant, and Abelard arranged for 
her an escape to Brittany, wdiere she resided with his 
Bister and pave birth to a son. When Fulbert heard 
of her flight, he was frantic with rage* Abelard came 
cringing to him, imploring pardon, recalling to him how 
the greatest men had been cast down by women, 
accused himself of treachery, and offered the repara- 
tion of marriage provided it were kept secret ; because 
his marriage, if made known, would be an obstacle to 
his rising in the Church, and the miter already glim- 
mered before his ambitious eyes. Fulbert consented. 
But Heloise, with womanly sell-abnegation, would not 
consent. She would not rob the world of its greatest 
luminary. * I should hate this marriage, 3 she exclaimed, 
£ because it would be an opprobrium and a calamity? 
She recalled to Abelard various passages in Scripture 
and ancient writers, in which wives are accursed J 
pointing out to hiin how impossible it would be for 
him to consecrate himself to philosophy unless he were 
free ; how could he study amid the noises of children 
and domestic troubles of a household? how much 
more honorable it would be for her to sacrifice herself 
to him 1 She would be hie concubine. The more she 
humiliated herself for him, the greater would be her 
claims upon his love ; and thus she would be no obstacle 
to his advancement, no impediment to the free devel- 
opment of his genius. 

" * I call to God to witness,' she wrote, many years 
afterwards, l that if Augustus, the Emperor of the 
world, had deemed me worthy of hh hand, and would 
have given me the universe for a throne, the name of 
your concubine would have been more glorious to me 
than that of his empress ; carrus miki et dignius 
videretur tua did merehnx quam fflms imjperair-ixj 



WOMAN AKD BEB KKA. 



" Gladly would Abelard have profited by this 
sublime passion ; but lie was a coward, and his heart 
trembled before Fulbert, He therefore endeavored to 
answer her arguments ; and she, finding that his resolu- 
tion was fixed, a resolution which he very characteris- 
tically calls a bit of stupidity, ineam stubtttiam — burst 
into tears, and consented to the marriage, which was 
performed with all secrecy. Fulbert and his servants, 
however, in violation of their oath, divulged the secret. 
Whereupon Heloise boldly denied that she was mar- 
ried. The scandal became great ; but she persisted in 
her denials, and Fulbert drove her from the house with 
reproaches* Abelard removed her to the nunnery of 
Argenteuil, where she assumed the monastic dress, 
though without taking the vaiL Abelard furtively 
visited her. Meanwhile Fulbert's suspicions were 
roused, lest this seclusion in the nunnery should be but 
the first step to her taking the vail, and so ridding 
Abelard of all impediment. Those were violent and 
brutal times, but the vengeance of Fulbert startled even 
the Paris of those days with horror. With his friends 
and accomplices, he surprised Abelard sleeping, and 
there inflicted that atrocious mutilation, which Origen 
iu a moment of religious frenzy inflicted on himself. 

"In shame and anguish, Abelard sought the refuse 
of a cloister. He became a monk. But the intense 
selfishness of the man would not permit him to renounce 
the world without also forcing Heloise to renounce it. 
Obedient to his commands, she took the vail ; thus once 
again sacrificing herself to him whom she had accepted 
as a husband with unselfish regret, and whom she 
abandoned in trembling, to devote herself henceforth 
without hope s without faith, without love, to her divine? 
husband. 

" The gates of the convent closed forever on that 
noble woman whose story continues one of pure hero- 
ism to the last ; but we cannot pause to narrate it here. 
With her disappearance, the great interest in Abelard 
disappears; w r e shall not therefore detail the various 
episodes of his subsequent career, taken up for the most 
part with quarrels — first with the monks, whose dissc- 



HISTORIC AKGl MEXT, ZU 1 

luteness he reproved, next with the theologians 5 whose 
hatred he roused by the c heresy' of reasoning. He 
was condemned publicly to retract ; he was persecuted 
as a heretic ; he had ventured to Introduce Rational- 
ism, or the explanation of the dogmas of Faith by 
Reason, and he suffered, as men always suffer for novel- 
ties of doctrine. He founded the convent of Paraclete, 
of which Heloise was the first abbess, and on the 21st 
of April, 1142, he expired, aged sixty-three. ^Ilvecttt 
dans Vangoisse ei mmirat dans I 'humiliation ,' Bays M. 
de Remueat, * raaw il eut de la oloire £t ilfut aiim™ 

It is well known how Isabella, of Castile, honored 
herself and her sex, in her support of Columbus, when 
all ?nen failed him, and heard with cold incredulity 
the hypothesis on which he built his hopes. And how, 
lacking the means which they, (Kings and Princes), 
could have commanded for the purpose, she placed her 
personal ornaments and treasures at his disposal, or 
rather gave them to the service of Humanity and Pro- 
gress, as represented in him — for the man was to her 
only the representative of his Idea and his Hope, 

She exhibited, too, in the general administration of 
her affairs, a spirit not less wise than courageous— not 
less courageous than faithful to her convictions— not 
less faithful than just, where she could see justice amid 
the rude strife and conflicts of her day. She put an 
end to much of the private warfare and the indulgence 
of the bitter personal feuds which had kept up a bar- 
barous social condition among her people. Her 
American, biographer says, " The history of this cam- 
paign is indeed most honorable to the courage, con- 
stancy, and thorough discipline of a Spanish soldier, 
and to the patriotism and general resources of the 
nation ; but most of all to Isabella. She it was, who 
fortified the timid counsels of the leaders after the die- 



2">2 WOMAN AND HER ERA. 

asters of the garden, and encouraged them to persevere 
in the siege. She procured all the supplies, constructed 
the roads, took charge of the sick, and furnished at no 
little personal sacrifice, the immense sums demanded 
for carrying on the war ; and, when at last the hearts 
of the soldiers were fainting under long protracted suf- 
ferings, she appeared among them like some celestial 
visitant, to cheer their faltering spirits, and inspire 
them with her own energy. * * * The sympathy 
and tender care with which she regarded her people, 
naturally raised a reciprocal sentiment in their bosoms. 
But when they beheld her directing their counsels, 
sharing their fatigues, and displaying all the compre- 
hensive intellectual powers of the other sex, they looked 
up to her as to some superior being, with feelings far 
more exalted than those of mere loyalty. * * * 

" She contemplated the proposals of Columbus in 
their true light ; and refusing to hearken any longer to 
the suggestions of cold and timid counselors, she gave 
way to the natural impulses of her own noble and 
generous heart. c I will assume the undertaking,' said 
she, ' for my own crown of Castile, and am ready to 
pawn my jewels to defray the expenses of it, if the 
funds in the treasury should be found inadequate.' " 

How magnanimous and altogether womanly her 
treatment of the great discoverer after she had espoused 
his despised undertaking. "No sooner were the ar- 
rangements completed," says Mr. Prescott, " than Isa- 
bella prepared, with her characteristic promptness, to 
forward the expedition by the most efficient measures. 
She undertook the enterprise when it had been expli- 
citly declined by other powers, and when probably none 
ether of that age would have been found to counte- 
nance it ; and after once plighting her faith to Colum- 



HISTORIC A RIM I'M ENT, 



203 



bus, she became bis steady friend, shielding him from 
016 calumnies of bis enemies, reposing in bim tbe most 
generous confidence, and serving him in the most ac- 
ceptable" (and one may add the wisest and most prac- 
tical) u manner, by supplying ample resources for the 
prosecution of his glorious discoveries. 

M The French and Italian writers join in celebrating 
tbe triumphant glories of her reign, and her magna- 
nimity, wisdom, and purity of character. Her own 
subjects extol her as i tbe most brilliant exemplar of 
every virtue,' and mourn over the day of her death as 
1 tbe last of the prosperity and happiness of their coun- 
try/ Wliile those who bad nearer access to her per- 
son j are unbounded in their admiration of those amiable 
qualities wl lose full power is revealed only in the unre- 
strained intimacies of domestic life.'- * 

Car lisle gives us the portraits of two women lit- 
tle known in general history, but well worthy a 



* However justly the later developments of the secret history 
of those times may abate these high claims far Isabella or even 
deny some of them altogether, it caaot be disputed that she did 
some of the noblest work of her time* The Simaneas papers dis- 
close somewhat in her career it must he confessed, that one would 
rather net have to believe of man or woman, but a good deal jh 
attributable to her age of bigotry and cruelty j and not a little 
ti\m to the stringency of her personal feeling of religious obliga- 
tion, which minor outstripped than logged behind the theoretical 
religion of her day. Her most bitter assailants, I think must ad- 
mit that she showed enough of conscience in its finer phasis, 
namely } the love of right, as distinguished frnm the mere stern, it 
may be ungracious and harsh sense of duty, to have justified the 
warmest eulogiums of her admirers, bad she lived in an age of 
greater enlightenment* 



200 WOMAX AST} HEB ERA. 

theologies now fallen dim enough, addressed to Father 
Vota, the famous Jesuit. King ? s Confessor, and Diplo- 
matist from Warsaw, who had been doing his l>est in 
one such rencounter before her majesty, (date March, 
1708;. seemingly on a series of evenings, in the inter- 
vals of his diplomatic business, the Beausobre champi- 
ons U;ing introduced to him successively, on each 
evening, by Queen Sophie Charlotte. To all appear- 
ance, the fencing had been keen ; the lightnings in 
need of some dexterous conductor. Yota, on his way 
homeward, had written to apologize for the sputterings 
of tire struck out of him in certain pinches of the com- 
bat ; says it was the rough handling the Primitive 
Fathers got from these Beausobre gentlemen, who 
indeed, to me, Vota in person, under your Majesty's 
fine presidency, were politeness itself, though they 
treated the Fathers so ill. Her Majesty, with beautiful 
art, in this Letter, smooths the raven plumage of Vota, 
and, at the same time, throws into him, as with invisi- 
ble needle-points, an excellent dose of acupuncturation 
on the subject of the Primitive Fathers and the Ecu- 
menic Councils, on her own score. Let us give some 
Excerpt, in condensed state: 

" ' I low can St. Jerome, for example, be a key to 
Scripture?' she insinuates; citing from Jerome this 
remarkable avowal of his method of composing books ; 
especially of his method in that Book, Commentary on 
the, GalalitMw, where he accuses both Peter and Paul 
of simulation, and even of hypocrisy. 'The great St. 
Augustine has been charging him with this sad fact,' 
says her Majesty, who gives chapter and verse; and 
Jerome answers, 'I followed the Commentaries of Ori- 

gen, of five or six different persons, who turned out 

mostly to be heretics before Jerome had quite done 
with them in coining years ! 

" ' And to confess the honest truth to you,' continues 
Jerome, '1 read all that; and after having crammed 
my head with a great many things, I sent for my 
amanuensis, and dictated to him now my own thoughts, 
now those of others, without much recollecting the 
order, nor sometimes the words, nor even the sense.' In 



HISTORIC ARGUMENT. 



207 



another place (in the Book itself farther on) he savs : '1 
do lint myself write ; I have an amanuensis, and I die- 
tEito to him what comes into my mouth. If I wish to 
reflect a little, to say the thing bettor or a better thing, 
he knits his brows, and the whole look of him tells me 
sufficiently that he cannot endure to wait.' Here ia 
a sacred old gentleman, whom it is not safe to depend 
upon tor interpreting the Scriptures, thinks her Ma- 
jesty — hut does not say so, leaving Father Vota to his 
reflections. 

i ' Tli ese w ere Sopl li e CI i :i rl ott e*B reu n i o n B : \ I ■ i v 
charming in their time. At which how joyful for Irish 
Toland to he present, ns was several times his luck, 
Toland, a mere broken heretic in his own conui ry, 
who went thither once as Secretary 1o some Kmhassy, 
(Embassy of MaceleafieW's, 17ul, announcing that the 
English Crown had fallen llano ver- ward si, and was 
no doubt glad, poor headlong soul, to find himself a 
gentleman and a Christian again, tor the time being— 
admires Hanover and Berlin very much, and looks 
upon Sophie Charlotte in particular -as the pink of 
women — something between an earthly Queen and a 
Divine Egeria ; ( Serena' he calls her; and, in his high- 
flown fashion, is very laudatory, L The most beautiful 
princess of her time,' says he — meaning one of the most 
beautiful : her features are extremely regular, and full 
of vivacity; copious dark hair, blue cvo, complexion 
excellently tair; £ not very tall, and somewhat too 
plump/ he admits elsewhere. And then her mi nd— for 
gifts, for graces, culture, where will you find such a 
miml ) s Her rending is infinite, and she Is conversant 
iti all manner of subjects/ * knows the abetraseet pro- 
blems of Philosophy/ says the admiring Toland : much 
knowledge, everywhere exact, and handled as by an 
artist and queen ; for * her wit is inimitable / L her just- 
ness of thought, her delicacy of expression/ her felicity 
of utterance and management, are great. Foreign 
courtiers call her ; the Republican Queen/ She detects 
you a sophistry at one glance ; pierces down direct upon 
the w r eak point of an opinion ; never, in my whole life 
did I, Toland, come upon a swifter or sharper in t eh 



210 WOMAN A2*D UER ERA. 

an Italian woman. Galigai by name, wife of Concino 
Cowini. who went to France in the train of Mary de 
Medeci. They taeniae unpopular during the agitations 
of her regency, and their death was so desirable to the 
party coveting their power, that Coucini, then Mares- 
dial d'Anere, was torn to pieces in the most horrible 
manner, by the populace, who were stimulated by his 
enemies, and his wife was arrested and tried for sor- 
cery. " She exerted on her trial, and in her last mo- 
ments," says the historian, " a constancy and strength 
of mind, which the melting spectators compared with 
the fortitude of Socrates, and contrasted with those 
tears which, not many years hefore, disgraced the exit 
of the intrepid Dtike of jiiron? 

I will only remind the reader of the fortitude, mod- 
esty, sweetness, gentleness, and firmness displayed in 
the character of that young woman, who, to gratify the 
ambition of selfish and heartless men, left her studies 
and teachers, and submitted, against her own wishes, 
to be proclaimed Queen of England. Every one knows 
how bravely and sweetly she met the terrible fate 
which descended upon her, after nine days of painful 
pageantry, which she had never any heart in, were 
over. And how, though only seventeen, a tender, 
loving bride of less than a year's experience, she gave 
from her full heart of courage and faith, a smile to her 
husband as he passed to execution, which cheered and 
supported him on the scaffold where she would in a 
few minutes stand in his footprints — the weak sus- 
taining the strong — not in escaping, but in sharing his 
fate. Was Lady Jane Gray an exception to all young 
women of her day and nation, or were there many 
others as noble, who lacked only the experience that 
would have furnished occasion to prove their nature % 




HISTORIC ARGUMENT. 



From the private journal erf Lavater, the celebrated 
Physiognomist, Mrs. Child makes the following extract 
in her "Biographic of Good Wivi 

w January SftL — My wife asked me, during break- 
fast, what seiitinient 1 had chosen for the present day. 
I answered, 4 Henceforth, my dear, we will pray mid 
read together in the morning, and choose a common 
sentiment for the day. The sentiment I have chosen 
for this day, is, i Give to him that a*keth of thee, and 
from him that would borrow of thee, turn not thou 
away/ 'Pray bow is this to I>e understood! 3 said -In . 
I replied, i Literally,' 4 That is very strange indeed !' 
answered she. I said with some warmth, ' We at least 
must take it so, mv dear; as w r e would do. if we heard 
Jesus Christ himself proaonnjce the words. 'Give to him 
that asketh of thee, says he, * whose property all my 
possessions are, I am the steward, and not the pro- 
prietor of my fortune.' Mv who merely replied, that 
she would take it i n to eon - i 1 1 1 . t; i t i on, 

U I was just risen from dinner, when a widow 
desired to speak with me. I ordered her to be shown 
into my study. £ My dear sir, I entreat you to excuse 
me,' said she; ( I must pay my house- rent, and 1 am 
six dollars short. I have been ill a whole month, and 
I could hardly keep my poor children from starving, 
I must have the six dollars to-day or to-morrow. Pray 
hear me, dear sir.' Here she took a small parcel out 
of her poeket, untied it, and said, £ There is a book en 
chased with silver; my husband gave it to me when I 
was betrothed. It is all I can spare; yet it will 
not be sufficient. I part with it with reluctance, for I 
know not how I shall redeem it. My dear sir, can yon 
assist me J 1 I answered, 'Good woman, I cannot assist 
you, 1 So Baying, I put mv hand accidentally or from 
habit, into my pocket. I had about two dollars ami a 
halt L That will not be sufficient,' said I to myself; 
she must have the whole sum ; and if it would dO) 1 
want it myself. 3 I asked if she had no patron or 
friend, who would assist her? She answered, 4 Xo ; not 
a living soul; and I will rather work whole night**, 



212 



WOMAN AJS'D II UK KKA. 



than go from house to house. I have been told you 
were a kind gentleman, If yon cannot help me, I hope 
you will excuse me for giving you so much trouble. I 
will try how I can extricate myself. God has never 
yet forsaken me ; and I hope he will not begin to turn 
away from me in my seventy- sixth year,' My wiie 
entered the room. thou traitorous heart! I wag 
angry and ashamed. I should have been glad if I 
could have sent her away under some pretext or other, 
because my conscience whispered to me, i Owe to him 
that mkeili of tJvee^ and do not tar?i away from kim 
who would borrow of thee? My wife, too, whispered 
irresistibly in my ear, * She is an honest, pious woman, 
and has certainly been ill ; do assist her, if you can* 
Shame, joy, avarice, and the desire of assisting her, 
struggled together in my heart. I whispered, * I have 
hut two dollars by me, and she wants six. I will give 
her something, and send her away/ My wife pressing 
my hand, with an affectionate smile, repeated aloud 
what my conscience had been whispering, £ Give to 
him who asketh thee, and do not turn away from him 
who would borrow of thee.' I asked her archly, 
whether she would give her ring to enable me to do 
it J * With great pleasure,' she replied, pulling off her 
ring* The good old woman was too simple to observe, 
or too modest to take advantage of the action. When 
Bhe was going, my wife asked her to wait a little in the 
'We 



/ere you in earnest, my dear, when you 
offered your ring f said L i Indeed I was,' she replied. 
'Do you think I would sport with charity ? Ilernetnber 
what you said to me a quarter of an hour ago. I en- 
treat you not to make an ostentation of the Gospel. 
You have always been so benevolent. Why are you 
now so backward to assist this poor woman ? Did you 
not know there are six dollars in your bureau, and it 
will be quarter-day very soon i' I pressed her to my 
heart, saying, * You are more righteous than I. Keep 
your ring — I thank you.' I went to the bureau and 
took the six dollars. I was seized with horror because 
I had said, i I cannot assist you.' The good woman at 
first thought it was only a small contribution. When 



mSTOBtO AJEGUMEXT. 



213 



slie saw that it was more, she kissed my hand, and 
could not, at first, utter a word. 'How shall I thank 
your she exclaimed. 'Did you understand me! I 
have nothing but this book, and it is old.' * Keep the 
book and the money,' said I, hastily ; and thank God — 
not me. I do not deserve your thanks, because I so long 
hesitated to help you. 5 I shut the door after her, and 
was so much ashamed that I could hardly look at my 
wile. ' My dear,' said she, c make yourself easy ; you 
have yielded to my wishes. While I wear a golden ring, 
(and you know I have several), you need not tell a 
fellow-creature in distress that you cannot assist him.' 
I folded her to my heart and wept." 

I give this little narrative at length, because it emi- 
nently illustrates the Man and the Woman. Lavater 
was ready enough with the theoretic (intellectual) ac- 
knowledgment of Charity. There is no doubt he could 
have defended it ably, had his wife ventured to deny 
the practical character of the injunction he had chosen 
for the day's reflections, instead of contenting herself 
with simply stating that she found a difficulty in 
seeing it. 

But the time for Doing ^ is the hour that proves the 
soul, and what stuff it is of, more than the inielUci^ 
and what it is capable of. Doubtless it is good to have 
true theories, and intellectually, if no deeper, to enter- 
tain a conviction of the beauty and duty of Charity, 
Compassion, and the other Christian virtues. The 
world is moved by theories well-stated, and earn- 
estly and bravely defended ; but in high matters, like 
these, the nature is more proved in one spontaneous, 
true act, like Mme, Lavater'*, than it would be in a 
dozen able, and even glowing discourses on Charity. 
Lavater evidently needed a day's reflection on the sub* 
lime passage he had chosen, and some work in its spirit 
too; though he would no doubt have laughed at the 



214 WOMAN AND HEB ERA. 

idea of his wife, a person whom the world had never 
heard of, helping him to a clearer understanding of it 
than he, a divine and man of genius, could help him- 
self to. 

" How is it to be understood?" inquires the woman, 
a little at a los3 in her thought. 

" Literally," of course, is the man's reply ; prompt 
and complacent. But Mme. L. had probably never 
furnished herself with a theory of Charity, and was not, 
therefore, prepared to give any clearer meaning to the 
passage than its own words conveyed. She reflects. 
He goes on to expatiate upon it, putting himself, in 
doing so, in the position of her teacher, and making 
himself seem, before her reverence, almost one with the 
original utterer of those words ; while her doubt, then 
and there expressed, unquestionably had the effect 
to make her seem to herself and him, far less divine 
and Christlike than himself, and a fit person to receive 
instruction from him, upon the high themes ot the 
Christlike attributes and deeds of the human life. Yet 
mark the issue. He makes a little ministerial flourish 
about obedience, his own stewardship of his fortune, 
&c, evidently meaning at the least, a gentle rebuke to 
the worldliness of spirit he finds in her, to which she 
meekly replies that she will consider the thing; and 
there can be no doubt that, had the subject been re- 
turned to in conversation ere it came up practically 
before them, he weuld have felt bound to insist on his 
own higher views, and convert her to them if possible. 
But when " she that asked," stood before them, which 
was the doer of the Charity he inculcated f 

There is a genuine grace in his telling the story so 
circumstantially and candidly, notwithstanding its 
bearing upon himself, and a womanly frankness and 



HISTORIC AKGHMEST. 



215 






tenderness in the confession with which he closes it, 
that are altogether charming. 

There is somewhere in French history, a pleasing 
and interesting account of a woman named Anne 
Bigot, who was for many years porteress in a convent 
at Besaneon, and who, retiring upon a very small pen- 
sion, when she was quite advanced hi life, devoted 
herself to the care of the crippled and wounded sol- 
diers, the sick and suffering, and prisoners in Nnpole- 
on's wars. She was known as Sister Martha, and was 
so indefatigable, tender and faithful in her charitable 
works, that, in spite of herself and her simplicity of 
life and character, she became famous among the mon- 
archs who assembled in Paris ; for all whose subjects 
she had cared equally, so far as they fell in her way ; 
and was rewarded by them with medals, crosses, gifts 
of money, and pensions ; and what was much better, 
treated by them with a respect which testified their 
acknowledgment of her noble virtues, 

Lamartine introduces one of the leaders of the 
Girondists in these words:* 

** The ardent and pure mind of a female was worthy 
of becoming the focus to which converged all the rays 
of the new truth, in order to become prolific in the 
warmth of the heart, and to light the pile of old insti- 
tutions. Men have the spirit of truth, women only, its 
passion. There must be love in the essence of all crea- 
tions. It would seem as though truth, like Nature, iias 
two sexes. There is invariably a woman at the begin- 
ning of all great undertakings. One was requisite to 
the principle of the French Revolution. We maj say 
that Philosophy found this woman in Madame Roland, 

M The historian, led away by the movement of the 
events which he retraces, should pause in the presence 

* History of the Girondists, vol I. — Book Till. 




rfdfrmp 

to contemplate ber sublime teaune* ma wmte ares 
the tmnbril which conveyed thousands of victim 
death. To understand ber, we most trace ber career 
from the atelier of ber father to the scaffold. It is in a 
woman** heart that the gem of virtue lies ; it 
always in private life that the secret of public life 
reposed-" 

Madame Roland united the tenderness, grace, and 
spirit of a woman, with the intellectual clearness and 
comprehensiveness that belong peculiarly to women, 
and make them objects of profound trust by men in 
times of trouble. The devotion, loftiness, aspiration, 
courage, patriotism, and love of humanity that moved 
her, have been rarely equaled, and were never sur- 
passed, in the bosom of any man. With an exquisite 
and noble beauty of person, with the power to charm 
the senses and hearts of all who approached her, with 
the finest genius for controlling human passions to noble 
purposes 1 with a loyalty to truth which made it im- 
possible for her to waver in its support, Lamartine 
says: 

u Heroism, virtue, and love, were destined to poor 

from their three vases at once, into the soul of a 
woman destined to this triple palpitation of grand 

impressions- ****** 

u It was impossible that the name of Madame 
Roland should long escape the resentment of the people. 
That name alone comprised an entire party. Trie soul 
of the Gironde, this woman might one day prove a very 
Nemesis, if permitted to survive those illustrious indi- 
viduals who had preceded her to the grave. On the 
31st May, Madame Roland was committed to the 
prison of l'Abbaye. ***** The examina- 
tion and trial of Madame Roland was but a repetition, 
ul" those charges against the Gironde with which every 
harangue of the Jacobin party was filled. She was 



HISTORIC AKGtTHENT. 



217 



reproached with being the wife of Roland, and the 
fr iend of his accomplices. With a proud look of triumph , 
Madame Roland admitted her guilt in both instances ; 
Bpoke with tenderness of her husband, of her friends 
with respect, and of herself with dignified modesty ■ 
but borne down by the clamors of the Conrt whenever 
she gave vent to her indignation against her persecu- 
tors, sbe ceased speaking amid the threats and invec- 
tives of her auditors. The people were at that period 
permitted to take a fearful and leading part in the dia- 
logue between the judges and the accused ; they even 
permitted the persons tried to address the Court, or 
compelled their silence ; the very verdict rested with 
them. 

"Madame Roland heard herself sentenced to death 
with the air of one who saw in her condemnation 
aerely her title to immortality. She rose, and slightly 
bowing to her judges, said with a bitter and ironical 
smile, 'I thank you for considering me worthy to share 
the fate of the good and great men you have mur- 
dered I' She flew down the steps of the Conciergerie, 
with the rapid swiftness of a child about to attain some 
long-desired object : the end and aim of her desires was 
death* As she passed along the corridor, where all the 
prisoners had assembled to greet her return, she looked 
at them smilingly, and drawing her right hand across 
her throat, made a sign expressive of cutting off a head. 
This was her only farewell ; it was tragic as her dee- 
tiny — joyous as her deliverance ; and well was it under' 
stood by those who saw it. Many who were incapable 
of weeping for their own fate, shed tears of unfeigned 
sorrow tor here. 

"On that day a greater number than usual of carts 
laden with victims rolled onwards towards the scaffold. 
Madame Roland was placed in the last, beside a weak 
and infirm old man, named Lamarche, once directory 
of the manufactory of Assignats, She wore a white 
robe, as a symbol of her innocence, of which she was 
anxious to convince the people; her magnificent hair, 
black and flossy as a raven's wing, fell in thick masses 
almost to her knees ; her complexion, purified by her 



1 \ 



218 



WOMAN AND HER ERA* 



long captivity, and now glowing under the influence of 
a sharp* frosty November day, bloomed with all the 
freshness of early youth, Her eyes were full of ex- 
pression ; her whole countenance seemed radiant with 
glory, while a movement hetween pity and contempt 
agitated her lips. A crowd followed them, uttering 
the coarsest threats and most revolting expressions, 
' To the guillotine ! to the guillotine I 1 exclaimed the 
female part of the rabble. L I am going to the guillo- 
tine/ replied Madame Roland : s a lew moments and I 
shall be there; but those who send me thither, will not 
be long ere they follow me. I go innocent, but they 
will come stained with blood, and you who applaud 
our execution, will then applaud theirs with equal seal, 9 
Sometimes she would turn away her head, that she 
might not appear to hear the insults with which she 
was assailed, and lean with almost filial tenderness over 
the aged partner of her execution. The poor old man 
wept bitterly, and she kindly and cheeringly encouraged 
him to bear up with firmness, and to sutler with resig- 
nation. She even tried to enliven the dreary journey 
they were performing together, by little attempts at 
cheerfulness, and at length succeeded in winning a 
smile from her fellow-sufferer, 

u A colossal statue of Liberty, composed of clay, like 
the liberty of the time, then stood in the middle of the 
Place de la Concorde, ou the spot now occupied by the 
Obelisk; the scaffold was erected beside this statue. 
Upon arriving there, Madame Roland descended from 
the cart in which she rode. Just as the executioner 
had seized her arm, to enable her to be the first to 
mount to the guillotine, she displayed one of those noble 
and tender considerations for others which only a 
woman's heart could conceive, or put into practice at 
such a moment. * Stay !' said she, momentarily resist- 
ing the man's grasp. L I have only one favor to ask, 
and that is not for myself; I beseech you grant it inc.' 
Then turning to the old man, she said, ' Do you pre- 
cede me to tne scaffold ; to see my blood flow, would 
be making you suffer the bitterness of death twice over. 
1 must spare you the pain of witnessing my punish- 



HISTORIC ARGUMENT. 



219 










ment. 5 The executioner allowed this arrangement to 
he made. 

u What a proof this of a mind imbued with a sensi- 
bility so exquisite and delicate as to forget its own suf- 
ferings, to think only of saving one pang to an aged, 
an unknown old man ! and how clearly does this one 
little trait attest the heroic calmness with which this 
celebrated woman met her death ; this one closing act 
of her life should be sufficient to vindicate her charac- 
ter before both God and man. 

(l After the execution of Lainarche, which sbe beard 
without changing color, Madame Roland stepped lightly 
up to the scaffold, and bowing before the statue of Lib- 
erty, as though to do homage to a power for which she 
was about to die, exclaimed, £ Liberty! Liberty! 
how many crimes are committed in thy name P Sbe 
then resigned herself to the hands of the executioner, 
and in a few seconds her head fell into the basket 
placed to receive it" 

It is known how the monster of the French Revo- 
lution, Marat, met his death at the hands of a young 
woman, who, feeling that it was necessary to the honor 
of France, that his enormities should end, devoted her- 
self to his destruction, knowing that her own must fol- 
low. It is worth while, In illustration of our idea, to 
note the calmness of this girl, who had seen but seven- 
teen summers, and who, inexperienced, was yet devel- 
oped, through much thought, religious meditation, and 
earnest love, to si fitness for the highest work the hand 
of man or woman could then do in Franca Let it he 
remembered that in those days blood was almost as 
familiar to French men and women as the water of 
their rivers — that hundreds of lives were daily sacri- 
ficed to the passion for it in those who had the power 
to condemn the victims, among whom were the noblest 
and purest persons of both sexes — and that this wretch 
was the insatiable fiend of the time, whose cry na? 



820 



WGMAJT AJZD UER ERA. 



M kill, kill I" His name became the synonym for 
blood — it was spoken with a shudder ; horror and fear 
seized upon brave men and good women at the sound 
of it. His death was desired by all, but those of his 
own party, and evil-minded people who had become 
hardened into indifference to his terrible deeds. Yet 
there was not found a man to undertake it. Men must 
be moved by enmity, more or less of personal hatred, 
or envy, or revenge, and so moved, they do not go to 
their work as Charlotte Corday went to hers — free 
from passion — unstained by selfishness in any form— 
fronting her own death all the way, and looking it 
calmly in the face, so that she should but accomplish 
what she had undertaken : 

M The true cause," Bays Lamar tine, " was her 
patriotism. A presentiment of terror already spread 
over France at this moment. The scaffold was erected 
in Paris, They spoke of speedily carrying it through 
all the republic. The power of La Montagne and 
Marat, if it triumphed, could only defend itself by the 
hand of the executioner. The monster, it was said, 
had already written the lists of proscription 3 and 
counted the number of heads which were necessary for 
his suspicions and his vengeance. Two thousand five 
hundred victims were marked out in Lyons, three 
thousand at Marseilles, twenty-eight thousand at Paris, 
and three hundred thousand in Brittany and Calvados, 
To check such an effusion of blood, Charlotte desired 
to shed her own, The more she broke her ties on 
earth, the more agreeable would she be as the volun- 
tary victim to the liberty which she desired to 
appease. 

u Such was the secret disposition of her mind ; but 
Charlotte desired to see clearly before she struck the 
blow, 

u She could not better enlighten herself upon the 
state of Paris, upon men and matters, than through the 



HISTORIC AlSGUttEKT. 



221 



Girondists, the parties interested in tliis cause. She 
wished to sound them without disclosing herself tu 
them. She respected them sufficiently not to reveal a 
set which they might have possibly regarded as a 
line, or prevented as a generous hut rash act She 
had the constancy to conceal from her friends the 
thought of sacrificing herself for their safety. She pre- 
sented herself under specious pretexts at the Hotel of 
Intendance, where the citizens who had business with 
them could approach the deputies. She saw Buzot, 
Pet ion, and Lou vet. She discoursed twice with Bar- 
baroux. The conversation of a young, beautiful , 
and enthusiastic maiden, with the youngest and hand- 
somest of the Girondists, under the guise of politics, 
was calculated to give rise to calumny, or at least to 
excite the smile of incredulity upon some lips. It was 
so at the first moment, Lou vet, who afterward wrote 
a hymn to the purity and glory of the young heroine, 
believed at first in one of those vulgar seductions of the 
senses with which he had embellished his notorious 
romance, Buzot, totally occupied with another image, 
hardly cast a glance upon Charlotte. Petion, on cross- 
ing the public hall of the In tendance, where Charlotte 
awaited Barbaroux, kindly rallied her on her assiduity, 
and making allusion to the contrast between such a 
step and her birth, i Behold then,' said he, i the beauti- 
ful aristocrat, who comes to see the republicans V The 
young girl comprehended the smile, and the insinuation 
so wounding to her purity. She blushed, and vexed 
afterwards at having done so, answered in a serious 
yet gentle tone, ( Citizen Petion, you judge me to-day 
without knowing me ; one day you will know who I 
am,' * * * 

" The gayety which Charlotte had always mingled 
with the gravity of her patriotic conversations, vanished 
from her countenance on quitting forever the dwelling 
of the Girondists, The last struggle between the 
thought and its execution, was going on in her mind. 
She concealed this interior combat by careful and well* 
managed dissimulation. The gravity of her counte- 
nance alone, and some tears^ "ill-concealed from the 



W0MA2J A^D DEE EBA* 



eyes of her relatives, revealed the voluntary agony of 
her self-immolation. Interrogated by her aunt, ' I 
weep/ said she, 'over the misfortunes of my country, 
those of my relatives, and over yours. Win 1st 
Marat lives, no one can be sore of a day's existence. * * 

t( Finally, on the 9tli of July, very early in the morn- 
ing, she took under her arm a small bundle of the must 
requisite articles of apparel, embraced her aunt, and 
told her she was going to sketch the haymakers in the 
neighboring meadows. With a sheet of drawing paper 
in her bund, she went out to return no more. At the 
foot of the staircase she met the child of a poor laborer, 
named Robert, who lodged in a house in the street. 
The child was accustomed to play in the Court. She 
sometimes gave him little toys. 'Here! Robert/ said 
she to him, giving him the drawing paper, which she 
no longer required to keep her in countenance, 'that 18 
for you j be a good boy, and kiss me; you will never 
see me again/ And she embraced the child, leaving a 
tear upon his cheek. That was the last tear on the 
threshold of the bouse of her youth. She had nothing 
left to give but her blood. 

"The freedom and barmlessness of her conversation 
in the carriage which conveyed her towards Paris did 
nut inspire her traveling-companions with any other 
sentiment than that of admiration, good will, and that 
natural curiosity which attaches itself to the name and 
fate of an unknown girl of dazzling youth and beauty. 
She continued to play during the first day with a little 
girl, win mi chance bad placed beside her in the car- 
riage. Whether it were that her love for children over- 
came her preoccupation of thought, or that she had 
already laid aside the burden of her trouble, and 
desired to enjoy these last hours of sport with innocence 
and with life, 

u The other travelers were Montagnards, who fled 
from the suspicion of federalism, to Paris, and were 
profuse in imprecations against the Girondists, and in 
adoration for Marat* Attracted by the graces of the 
young girl T they strove to draw from her her name, the 
object of her journey, and her address in Paris, Her 



HTSTOKI0 ARGUMENT. 

loneliness at that age, encouraged them to familiarities* 
which she repelled by the modest? of her manners, and 
the evasive brevity of her answers, which she was ena- 
bled to terminate bv feigning sleep. A young man, 
who was more reserved, adduced by so much modesty 
and such charms, ventured to declare to her his respect- 
ful admiration. He implored her to authorize him to 
ask her hand of her relations. She turned this sudden 
love into kind raillery and mirth, Sbe promised the 
young man to let him know her name and lier disposi- 
tion in regard to himself, at a later period. She 
charmed her fellow-travelers to the end of the journey, 
by that delightful conduct from which all regretted to 
separate themselves. # * # * * 

u A priest, sent by the public accuser, presented 
himself to offer the last consolations of religion. 
* Thank/ said she to hiin, * those who have had the 
attention to send you ; but I need not your ministry. 
The blood I have spilt, and my own which I am about 
to shed, are the only sacrifices I can offer the Eternal. 1 
The executioner then cut off her hair, bound her hands. 
and put on the chemise des condamnees. 'This/ said 
she, Ms the toilette of death, arranged by somewhat 
rude hands, but it leads to immortality, ' She collected 
her long hair, looked at it for the last time, and gave 
it to Madame Richard. As she mounted the fatal cart, 
a violent storm broke over Paris, but the lightning and 
rain did not disperse the crowd who blocked up the 
squares, and bridges, and streets along which she 
passed. Hordes of women, or rather furies, followed 
lu.'v with the fiercest imprecations j but, insensible to 
these insults, she gazed on the populace with eyes 
beaming with serenity and compassion. 

"The sky cleared up, and the rain, which wetted 
her to the skin, displayed the exquisite symmetry of 
her form, like that of a woman leaving the hath. Her 
hands bound behind her back, obliged her to hold up 
her head, and this forced rigidity 01 the muscles gave 
more fixity to her attitude, and set off the outlines of 
her figure. The rays of the setting sun fell on her head, 
and her complexion, hightened by the red chem* 



2ii4 



WOMA3 AND HEB ERA, 



Beeined of an unearthly brilliancy. Robespierre, Dan- 
ton, and C ami He Desmoulins, had placed themselves 
on her passage, to gaze on her ; for all those who anti- 
cipated assassination, were curious to study in her fea- 
tures the expression of that fanaticism which might 
threaten them on the morrow* She resembled celestial 
vengeance,, appeased and transfigured, and from time 
to time she seemed to seek a glance of intelligence on 
which her eye could rest, Adam Lux awaited the cart 
at the entrance of the Rue St, Honore, and followed it 
to the foot of the scaffold. i He engraved in his heart/ 
to quote his own words, 'this unutterable sweetness 
amidst the barbarous outcries of the crowd, that look 
bo gentle, yet penetrating — these vivid flashes which 
broke forth like burning ideas from these bright eyes, 
in which spoke a soul as intrepid as tender. Charming 
eyes, which would have melted a stone.* 

"Thus an enthusiastic and unearthly attachment 
accompanied her, without her knowledge, to the very 
scaffold, and prepared to follow her, in hope of an eter- 
nal re-union. The cart stopped, and Charlotte, at the 
sight of the fatal instrument, turned pale, but, soon 
recovering herself, ascended the scaffold with as light 
and rapid a step as the long chemise and her pinioned 
arms permitted. When the executioner, to bare her 
neck, removed the handkerchief that covered her 
bosom, this insult to her modesty moved her more than 
her impending death ; then, turning to the guillotine, 
she placed herself under the axe. The heavy blade 
fell, and her head rolled on the scaffold. One of the 
assistants, named Legros, took it in his hand and 
struck it on the cheek. It is said a deep crimson suf- 
fusion overspread the face, as though dignity and 
modesty had for an instant lasted longer even than 
life." 

I would refer in this connection to Josephine, but 
that the story of her power — so great, yet so peculiarly 
womanly — has been so often told, that it will scarcely 
bear repetition here within the compass of my plan. 



IIISTOEIC ARGUMENT, 



225 



"It is extraordinary to consider," says the Margravine 
of Auspaeh, " bow great an influence she possessed over 
Napoleon* She could curb bis passions, which at times 
were violent, by her look alone. One clay he entered 
her apartment, displaying signs of great anger, having 
received letters which had caused that effect. He 
walked with violence abont the room, giving way to a 
gust of passion, Josephine, with an eye of fixed regard 
upon hini, said, " JVapoUofi ! thou forgetUMP He 
became instantly pacified ; and taking her hand, which 
he kissed, said, " yes, my dear wife, it is thou who 
savest me always." 

The same reasons which forbid more than this bare 
reference to her, prohibit rne also from introducing the 
unfortunate, but now vindicated, Marie Antoinette, 
whose tender, Lin ostentatious, womanly charities, in 
the days of her happiness, alone would fill a pleasant 
little volume, and whose courage, fidelity, and dignity, 
in the tragical close of her life, commanded the admira- 
tion even of such bitter and brutal enemies as sur- 
rounded her ; or the excellent Madame Elizabeth- — or 
the Princess de Lamballe — -or the faithful Madame de 
Polignac, w T ho died of a heart broken with grief and 
(sympathy for her noble Queen and friend. 

It would be a pleasure to go farther, and rescue the 
names and careers of other noble women in which this 
field abounds, from the misunderstanding which dims 
their memory, hut I must forbear. Revolution is pre- 
eminently the movement for which woman is lit ted by 
her sympathies with humanity, her hopes in the future, 
her unreserved devotion to the good that she sees to 
be possible, and her quick faeulty for seizing on the 
approaches to it ; and if France was disgraced by her 
sons in their Reign of Terror, she was vindicated by 
10* 



22G WOMAN AND DEB ERA. 

her daughters, many of whom bore testimony to the 
nobility of the nature which thousands of men seemed 
to live only to degrade, in the eyes of all who had before 
yielded it respect. 

In Roscoe's Life of Sismondi, I find the following 
tribute to a woman : 

" To his mother, a Ionian of superior mind and 
great energy, Sismondi appears to have been mainly 
indebted for the germs of those excellent qualities, both 
as a citizen and a writer, which later in life were so 

Powerfully developed and so admirably displayed, 
rom her the future historian received his first intel- 
lectual impressions, no less than that early discipline 
of the heart and mind, without which no high, inspired, 
and virtuous efforts are long sustained, or crowned with 
perfect success. And it was of no evanescent charac- 
ter, but extended its beneficent influence through the 
many vicissitudes, the early toils and disappointments, 
the manly struggles, and the late matured triumphs of 
his literary career. The lofty and almost aristocratic . 
feeling — however modified by popular principles — the 
pure sentiment, rising above every corrupt or vulgar 
taint, that sense of man's dignity and enlightened love 
of the people, everywhere so manifest in the writings 
of M. Sismondi, and which give to his profound 
researches a peculiar interest and charm, added to that 
of a singular vivacity and liveliness of style, may in 
part probably be referred to the same origin of early 
maternal instruction, and an influence which imbued 
the thoughts, formed the task, and seemed to tinge even 
the language and expressions of the author." 

Schiller too was indebted to his mother for the gifts 
of mind and heart which distinguished him. His father 
was a stern, severe man, of good character and great 
probity, exemplary and faithful as a citizen, but utterly 
lacking in fancy, in the poetic taste, and the love of the 
Beautiful Good, which made his son one of the lights 



HISTORIC AKUCMENT, 



227 



of the eighteenth century in Europe, But his mother, 
while she was a woman of rare acquirements in hci* 
rank] was also a serious, thought-fill, tender, ideal person, 
fund of poetry, and somewhat given to writing it, (See 
Carlyle's Life of Schiller). 

Carlyle writes thus of John Sterling's mother ; 

"Mrs. Sterling, even in her later days, had still 
traces of the old beauty ; then and always she was a 
woman of delicate, pious, affectionate character; exem- 
plary as a wife, a mother, and a friend. A rehned 
female nature ; something tremulous in it, timid, and 
with a certain rural freshness still nu weakened by long 
converse with the world. The tall slim figure, always 
of a kind of Quaker neatness ; the innocent, curious 
face, anxious, bright, hazel eyes ; the timid, yet grace- 
full}- cordial ways, the natural intelligence, instinctive 
sense and worth, were very characteristic* Her voice 
too, with its something of soft qnerulousneas, easily 
adapting itself to alight, th hi -flowing stylo of mirth on 
occasion s was characteristic; she bad retained her 
Ulster intonations, and was withal somewhat copious 
in speech, A fine tremulous sensitive nature, strong, 
chiefly on the side of the affections, and the graceful 
insights, and activities that depend on these : truly a 
beautiful, much-suffering, much-loving house-mother. 
From her chiefly, as one could discern, John Sterling 
had derived the delicate aroma of his nature, its piety, 
clearness, sincerity ; as from his father, the ready, prac- 
tical gifts, the impetuosities and the audacities, were 
also (though in strange new form)* visibly inherited. 



*The " strange new form*' was the reau.lt of tha noble temper- 
ing and high bent "which the paternal qualities received from the 
over-ruling spirituality, the U>ve f and the poetic qualities of the 
mother-nuture through which they flowed; and of their combimv* 
tion with " the piety t clearness, sincerity"' which came from her. 
Had she been wanting in these, yr had they been replaced in her 
by their op poshes of impietj', mud din ess, and insincerity, it is 
easy to conceive that 14 the practical gifts, the impetuosities *»-* 



228 



WOMAN AND HKK KUA t 



A man was lucky to have such a Mother j tc have such 
Parents aa both his were." 

The purity, tenderness, and elevation of life that 
distinguished Felicia Hemans, as much as her poetry, 
are known wherever that is read. Mrs. Sigourney 
says , "In her we see the true poetic genius producing 
its highest effect, the sublimation of piety- Cheering, 
by its versatile powers, the darkness of her destiny, and 
gradually throwing off all stain of earthliness/it desired 
at length to breathe only the songs of Heaven, * Deep 
affections and deep sorrows,* she writes, i have solemn- 
ized my whole being, and I now feel bound to higher 
and holier tasks, which, though I may occasionally lay 
aside, I could not long wander from, without sense of 
dereliction. 3 " 

She grew heavenward by the pure attractions of a 
nature whose divinity was foreshadowed in a pions, 
spiritual-minded, loving Mother, who was the solace 
of her happiest years, and the center of her sympathies 
long after she became celebrated. 

Here is the tribute of Hans Christian Andersen,* 
to a woman still living, and whom many of us have 
seen and some have loved aa he does : " At this period 
of my life I made an acquaintance which was of great 
moral and intellectual importance to me. I have 



audacities*' might have turned ont^ to use Carlyle's own phraseol- 
ogy, something quite other than the gifts which made the noble, 
fascinating! pure nature of John Sterling. One learns to feel, in 
regard to these things, that if a man gets into his nature from his 
mother, " a delicate aroma, piety, clearness, sincerity/' and love, 
it does not, for his highest eternal good, greatly matter whither 
• its audacities and impetuosities 3 * come from, nor indeed so much 
that they he there at all* 

* True Story of My Life, p. 196. 



HI8TOJSIO AlttiOtENT. 



229 



already spoken of several persons and public characters 
who have had influence on me as a poet ; but none of 
these have had niore,norinanobler sense of the word, 
than the lady to whom I here turn myself; she through 
whom I, at the same time, was enabled to forget my 
individual self* to ieel that which is holy in Art, and to 
become acquainted with the command which God has 
given to genius. * * 

" Through I first became sensible of 

the holiness there is in Art ; through her I learned that 
one must forget oneself in the sendee of the Supreme, 
No books, no men have had a better or more ennobling 

influence on me, as the poet, than * As 

she makes her appearance on the stage, one feels that 
she is a pure vessel, from which a holy draught will be 
presented to us." 

Miss Bremer says of the same woman, " Speak to 
her about Art, and you will wonder at the expansion of 
her mind, and will see her countenance beaming with 
inspiration* Converse then with her of God, and of 
the holiness of religion, and you will see tears in those 
innocent eyes ; she is great as an artist, but she is still 
greater in her pure human existence !" 

The Bronte Sisters are characters for History. Their 
advent into the world of authorship marks a period in 



* How many men in private as well as in public life, might 
truly make this declaration of women whom they have known, and 
who, ud consciously, perhaps, to both, have become standards for 
a nobler measurement of life, and a purer use of its opportunities* 
I have heard such language from the lips of various men, some- 
times in the rudest walks of life ; as who has not, that ever 
searched the untroubled depths of any good man's heart, or even 
of a depraved one, in an hour of peaceful withdrawal from the 
world, or of earnest self examination ? 



230 



WOMAN AND HER ERA, 



novel writing prophetic of a nobler, more interior, ana- 
lytical, and courageous appeal to society than had ever 
before been made by novelists. Charlotte, the star rf 
finrt magnitude in this shining little constellation of 
women and sisters, has commanded a recognition, and 
sent abroad a social influence, through her uwn conn- 
try and ours, which were never equaled, as the fruits 
of bo brief a career, in the history of Woman. 

With Woman, as the chief subject of her books, 
but apparently with no better philosophy of her— no 
more advanced theory oi her life or social relations than 
then prevailed, she yet makes new footprints of her 
own, in the field of fiction. At once clear and strong, 
intuitive and practical, courageous and gentle, swift, 
yet tender, and full of the sweet humility, which is 
an essential of womanly greatness, she presents her 
heroines to us always as Women — Womanly hopes, 
needs, loves, braveries for disappointment ; fortitude 
and unwavering faithfulness to the true, as they see it, 
through all trial, destitution, sorrow and pain; stead- 
fast, pressing — never noisy, yet never faltering, fog 
some inherent right — these are the characterizing traits 
of her ideal women, beside that they are, withal, lova- 
ble, active, and careless of nothing that adorns woman- 
hood. Such women were rarely shown — -indeed their 
like in all points, was never seen in novels before hers ; 
Imt when, beyond all, they are seen to be independent 
or self-dependent, as need or other circumstances 
require, and above everything else, successful in main- 
taining themselves, not alone in the material, outer, and 
lower things of life, but in the inner, mental, spiritual, 
and higher goods essential to real growth and maturity 
ot character, we recognize in their creator a prophetic, 
inspired spirit. 

Jane Eyre, Shirley, and Lucy Snowe, are phenomena 



HISTORIC ARGUMENT. 2U1 

among the creations of novelists, and though neither 
does or says anything hinting at a new, or more rational 
theory of woman's life and relations, than they were 
addressed to, yet they each contribute to the self- 
respect which women of the better sorts are beginning 
to enjoy in being natural; in following their intuitions, 
and in recognizing their own right to have and to 
acknowledge to themselves, affections which Nature 
may create in the heart of woman as well as of man, 
without first asking leave of the one or the other. No 
person endowed with a soul can read Jane Eyre, and 
feel that she was likely ever to have done aught that 
would misbecome the most refined and delicate female, 
or that the life whence her fine ethereal proportions 
sprung, was capable of a sentiment or act which could 
dim the brightest luster of womanhood. Charlotte 
Bronte saw, through her intuitions, the approaching 
day of woman's emancipation, and her vivid imagina- 
tion foreshadowed it independently of reason. The 
experiences by which she sketched, rather than filled 
or shaded the pictures she has left us, are so sharply 
defined that they possess us ever after we become 
acquainted with them, as if our dearest friend had lived 
through them. We consent to them because we see 
their fruit in genuine growth, which we know can 
spring from no false seed. We rejoice that Jane Eyre 
tells Rochester what she does in the garden — that 
Shirley defied her stolid uncle in behalf of Louis Moore, 
and that Lucy Snowe did, contrary to the history of all 
heroines from time immemorial, love Paul Emanuel 
• after Dr. John fell in love with the pretty little Count- 
ess. But all this good service to her sex, (and we can- 
not yet estimate the body of more liberal sentiment 
toward the freedom of Woman, which these widely 



232 



WOMAN AND HER ERA, 



read books have called oat of its latent form in thou- 
sands of minds), was rendered purely from the intui- 



tions of their writer, and it consequently appealed to 
the same in her readers. Not one in hundreds of the 
young especially, who read Jane Eyre, can tell w T hy 
they are satisfied with her declaration of her feelings 
to Rochester. They can only say that whereas, before 
reading that book, they must have felt an unconquera- 
ble repugnance toward a woman capable of such a 
thing, they are glad she did it, and can no more return 
to their old feeling about it, in any true, delicate, and 
self-respecting woman. 

A great advance was made in novel writing through 
these books, which leave but one regret in the mind of 
every reader, viz : that their author did not live to 
double or treble their number- And here I cannot for- 
bear saying a word which lam sorry her gifted biogra- 
pher has left unsaid. It is that the grand mistake of 
her life lay in persistently acting on an erroneous 
notion, older than any she attacked, but one very likely 
to control a woman at once so conscientious and so 
little enlightened; that, namely, of almost unlimited 
self sacrifice in imaginary duties to those who were una- 
ble to appreciate her generosity, and who, therefore, 
never set any limits to its action. 

She laid down years of her bloom and best power, 
and finally her life, beneath the Juggernaut of duty, 
fettering and impoverishing herself, and robbing the 
world of its dues from her, that she might offer herself 
a living sacrifice to those who knew 7 not what they 
were receiving — as if a slave should have drunk the ' 
Egyptian Queen's pearls.* 

# Mrs. G&skelPe life of Charlotte Bronte fails to male o appa- 
rent this grave moral error in her career. On the contrary, the 



1ITST0K10 AKGLTHEjn\ 



i>;::] 



Our own country lias produced, beside many others 
worthy an exalted place in the records of Woman, one 
Tvhose name makes illustrious the small company of 
intellectual and good women whom the ages have fur- 
nished, Margaret Fuller Ossoli. Her life, not long in 
years, was rich enough in powers and uses to have 



noblest and most ardent young readers are loft to give it their 
full admiration, and imitate it if they are moved to, with eutire 
self-approval. One cannot road those weary pages from the 
Journal and letters of that matchless woman — whic:h hint at, 
though they never parade, the repeated, never-ending sa orifices 
wherein she gave up joyousness, health, power, time, and achieve* 
went, to paltry services which a faithful servant could so much 
better have performed — without feeling impatient that no wise, 
fit word follows, warning the pure and aspiring, who, because 
they are capable of euch self-immolation, are befit worth saving 
from it, that a life so religiously misspent, is really no standard 
for others- 

Another and more important point in which these volumes fail, 
is their utter neglect to furnish any analysis, or even moderately 
critical estimate of the nature of the woman who bore these six 
children — the most remarkable family, one does not hesitate to 
say, ever born of one mother. Six children of whom each of the 
five females, according to her age, gave the signs or proofs, of 
genius enough to have made her name celebrated — and the world 
full of speculation upon the origin of character, the inheritance 
of mental power, conditions of its transmission, preponderating 
influence of the mother, <&c. — and we are only told of this woman 
that she was Miss Branwoll, born and reared in Penzance ; that 
she was an orphan at twenty-five or sis \ twenty-nine before her 
marriage ; patient about the loss of a bos of goods at sea, pious, 
elegant, and of simple tastes. We are told more about the state 
of society nt Penzance than about Xt. BranwelFs family or his 
daughter ■ and some connection is hinted at between this social 
condition and Charlotte Bronte's character and genius ; though 
it is admitted that these influences, whatever they w T crc, were quite 
as likely to have been received from "Mr, Proute, whose inter- 
course with his children appears to have been considerably 



240 



WOMAN AND HEK EEA. 



Spake ever in words a more genuine woman heart 
than this I 

"And wilt thou have mo fashion into speech 
The love I bear tbcc T finding words enough, 
And hold the torch out while the wind.? sire rough, 
Between our faces, to cast light on each f 
I drop it at thy feetj I cannot teach 
My hand to hold my spirit so far off 
From myself — me — that should bring thee proof 
In w r ords, of love hid in me out of reach. 
Nay, let the silence of my womanhood 
Commend my woman-lo^e to thy belief," 

The pure philanthropy of womanhood is amply vin- 
dicated in the lives and characters of many hundreds — 
nay, of thousands of the sex, who, from all the walks 
of life, have devoted themselves to the mitigation of 
human suffering, or the increase of happiness for others, 
finding their own in the effort, I will take time and 
space to name here bnt four of the many whom I might 
introduce, Elizabeth Fry, Florence Nightingale, Doro- 
thea Dix, and Mary Carpenter, The last three are 
yet living, and all but Miss Dix, are English women, 
Elizabeth Fry made her name honorable by her labors 
for outcast and imprisoned women. She began them 
unmoved by any experimental knowledge of the hor- 
rors of incarceration, such as urged John Howard to 
his good works after his release from the French 
prisons. They were undertaken spontaneous! y, from 
the pure, genuine sympathies of her nature. A woman 
born and bred in luxury and refinement, she went, 
fearless and unshrinking, into the foulest prisons in 
London, where depraved and despairing women were 
shut up tike wild beasts in pits; and through her 
courage, firmness, and persistent compassion toward 



HISTORIC AJIGUITEXT. 



Ml 



fchein, saw, at length, tlie realization of her own divine 
faith in the deathless nature of good in the human soul. 
She was remonstrated with by the prison-keepers, who 
told her that her lite would be in danger among those 
fiends. She was urged to speak to them, if she must, 
from outside the grates, and that failing, Bhe was 
earnestly advised to leave her watch, light shawl, and 
everything about her person that could be easily 
removed, as they would almost certainly be stolen or 
snatched away from her in the crowd she was about 
entering. But she replied that she would treat them 
with the saino confidence, in trusting herself and her 
possessions among them, that she would any audience 
outside; and in a few moments the rich, refined, 
honored lady stood face to face with a crowd of the 
restless, half-insane, wild, dissolute women of the city; 
Ishmaels, who had found all the world against them, 
and were themselves impotently arrayed against it. 
They looked into each other's eyes— till tears blinded 
them th at they could see no longer. Then, feeling the pure 
compassion and love which had brought her there, they 
burst into a wild, fearfiil outcry of pain, remorso, shame, 
longing for a better state, which her presence brought 
so near them. Agonizing entreaties for help, waitings 
of despair, sobs, and half-suppressed shrieks of intolera- 
ble anguish, awakened in souls that had known no 
such revulsion for years, and had lost faith in their 
own susceptibilities — all these demonstrations of the 
wretchedness she had come to, poured in upon her 
strong, loving heart, and calmed and quieted it for 
high resolve and patient doing in behalf of these beings, 
who (her womanly intuition told her) could not be 
lost, when a simple act of real kindness like that visit, 
could so move them. From that 
11 




time during all the 



242 



WOMAN AND HER ERA. 






active years of her life, her labors were continued, en- 
larged, and extended. She gave up her ease, her 
leisure, the pleasure of home and society, in a great 
measure, to them, and her name became equally with 
Howard's, in England, the synonym of benevolence 
and tender, human charity. 

Miss Dix, of our own country, and Miss Carpenter, 
of England, have, in later years, carried forward the 
same noble work, in different departments ; the former 
devoting hers more especially to securing humane treat- 
ment of the Insane. Being without fortune in early 
life, she applied herself to teaching for several years, 
that she might furnish herself with the means of set- 
ting out in her work. By the practice of a severe 
economy, as I have been indirectly informed, she at 
length saw the way clear before her, and went forth. 
Her labor consisted mainly in visiting public asylums, 
(and often prisons), acquainting herself with their con- 
dition and plan of treatment- — making improved 
methods known, memorializing Legislatures, preparing 
and printing documents of statement and elucidation, 
and in short, by every means that could be com- 
manded, making herself the efficient friend and pro- 
tector of the afflicted class she had adopted. She is a 
bright example of the good which can be accomplished 
by one, apparently feeble r delicate woman. She has 
traveled thousands of miles, forgetting her fatigue in 
the earnestness of her purposes. Her journeys have 
often been made through the rudest portions of the 
country, at the most inclement seasons of the year, to 
meet distant legislative bodies. She has bad to con- 
tend with official bigotry, narrowness, and arrogance, 
in men from whom she had everything to ask — to 
bear miennderstandingj slander, sneers, and ridicule; 



HISTORIC ABGUMENT. 



243 



to hide her wounds, feeling that the work must be 
accomplished— to nerve herself against the wearme^ 
of body and spirit which the bravest must feel at time?, 
in such a service; against the discouragement of 
repeated refusals, which must, at any cost, he over- 
come, for the sake of those who had neither friend ot 
succor, but in her — to press her attack, often when it 
emed ill-timed, because there was no other time ; and 
in ill-taste, because it was a weariness and a bore to its 
object ; but so she has made her name to be honored 
among the good of the earth. 

Of Miss Carpenter's life and labors I have very 
little knowledge, and that only of the most general 
character; but sneh as it is, it is sufficient to entitle 
her to the best place I can give her in this illustrious 
catalogue of names. She is Mrs. Fry's successor 
among outcast women in her country, and the earnest- 
ness with which she has devoted herself to their reform, 
and the improvement of their treatment as criminals, 
has caused her to be held in honor of all good persons, 
and her work to be reckoned prominent among the 
practical philanthropies of Britain in this day. 

I should be glad to set forth more fully the testi- 
mony which in my heart and consciousness I know that 
her life furnishes, for the cause I am pleading; but as 
I am without any memoir of her, or memoranda that 
would avail me in doing so, I must content myself with 
tli is passing recognition of her as one of the witnesses 
for worn anli ood. 

The Crimean war had many features to make it 
memorable. It was the first important interruption to - 
a longer and more beneficent peace among civil izcen 
than the ages had seen — a peace fruit fill in Arts, Dis- 
coveries, Inventions, and Ideas, whose import to human 



244 



WOMAN AXT> BEE 



growth and happiness no soul living among us to-day, 
is yet able to estimate. It was a war characterized by 

iy traits of a better time than war had ever h 
fallen in ; of which the leading one was the open 
array of the female against the male element^ not in 
conflict, hut in their characteristic works of destroying 
and saving, of mangling and healing. The troops 
engaged there, represented their respective countries 
and sovereigns, and were in no wise distinguished from 
thousands of men who fought and died a century or 
two ago, unless in their physical inferiority and in its 
compensation by the use of improved implements and 
^~arls of destruction. The representative Idea of the 
age — the fact which testified to higher intelligences, 
had they taken note, that the conflict they witnessed 
was in the Nineteenth, and not the Fourteenth 
Century, was the presence there and the work of a 
woman ; a lady, born and bred to ease, luxury, refine* 
inent and elegance. Florence Nightingale and her 
train of female friends and co-workers, bore to the Crimea 
the testimony of the sum of the world's advancement 
in godliness since its last battles. She and they counter- 
balanced on the love side, the Hinie-riflee, the Paixhan 
guns, the torpedoes, and other sub-marine deviltries 
which centupled the destructive power of every pair 
of male hands engaged in that war. Fewer in number 
than the smallest regiment of armed men sent to that 
peninsula — scarce equaling numerically indeed, an 
average company — they did the ever memorable and 
distinguishing work there. 

Balaklava, Inker maun, the Charge of the Six Hun- 
dred, the taking of the Mai akoif— -these have each their 
scores of rivals in the history of man's Wars. A little 
oiore or less bravery than had been exhibited before — a 



HISTORIC ARGUMENT. 245 

little keener piece of strategical driving or resisting, a 
little nicer study of the availabilities wherewith Art or 
Nature had supplied Allies, or the Victims of Allies — 
these and their like, were the possible means to the 
masculine forces employed, of distinguishing their w r ar 
from a thousand others no less petted and lionized in 
their day, now long past, and apt to be reckoned 
somewhat more to the disgrace than the human honor 
of those who initiated and conducted them. 

It is not Woman's mission to order that wars cease, 
but to subdue the fierce selfishness which creates them ; 
to neutralize their horrors, to disarm the ferocity which 
urges them on ; and, by making herself present and 
potent in them, to put them gently from the face of 
the earth. 

The initiative, in this womanly part could no way 
be so effectively taken as by a woman of rank and 
refinement, as well as one full of the divine tenderness 
and compassion which are characterizing traits of her 
sex. Hence, Florence Nightingale becomes, through 
the wisdom and firmness with which she pressed for 
her position, the heroism with which she filled it, and 
the high fortitude with which she overcame its horrors 
— thereby showing herself practically equal to all that 
she claimed the liberty to do — a Representative 
Woman. She stands, with her broken health, but 
unbroken spirit, a prophet of her sex's portion in man's 
future ferocities. A name never to be forgotten, and a 
part never to be ignored, are hers from those days and 
nights of self-enforced duties, of spirit-agonies, acknow- 
ledged only to be suppressed, or to become incentives 
to more strenuous effort — of horrors never permitted in 
their hour, to unfold to the full their paralyzing aspect 
and stature, but examined only to discover their true 



246 WOMAN AND HER ERA. 

point of attack. She is cherished by all Christian men 
and women. Girls and boys glow with admiration 
and reverence as they read or hear of her ; and, sepa- 
rated from the ranks of those whom the world delights 
to honor, she will hold henceforth her own sacred 
niche in human memory. And this not alone because 
she nursed, soothed, and comforted the suffering and 
dying ; not because poor, rude, mangled bodies — frag- 
ments of men who had been torn to pieces, and half 
left upon battle-fields, turned, in their impotent grati- 
tude and love, to kiss her shadow as it fell athwart 
their sleepless pillows, in her walks and watches ; nor 
because, forgetting her own delicacy and feebleness, 
she devoted herself to her terrible labors from year to 
year, while they were needed — as faithful, in her wo- 
man's tenderness, to the humblest soldier as to his 
starred and titled commander ; to her enemies, as her 
countrymen. Not, I say for any or all these doings ; for 
hundreds, perhaps, first and last before her, thousands, 
of women had individually done the same things, to 
the extent of their ability ; but because, moved by a 
noble courage fitted to her day, and touched by the 
subtlest and divinest pulsation of the age, she stood 
before the men of her Nation and the world, and said, 
" I perceive that my sex has henceforth a part in the 
wars you prosecute. I perceive that we belong hence- 
forth to fields of conflict no less than you. You sup- 
ply money, men, and means for their destruction ; you 
send Chaplains to symbolize the Christianity of your 
fighting — send us to realize its Humanity, I can go, 
and will, with a few sisters who are of like mind with 
myself, and do what women may, for the sufferers you 
will multiply around us, and that will be good ; but it 
will be better that you recognize the need of our labor, 



HISTORIC ARGUMENT. 247 

furnish ns with means and clothe ns with authority to 
carry it forward. So will you honor, not ns, so much 
as yourselves ; not yourselves so much as your country 
and age ; and not these so much as their humanity, of 
which you bear witness." 

It was a prayer not to be denied. Coarse men, and 
many, many such there are in high places, jeered and 
insinuated what was eminently worthy of— themselves. 
Worldly and experienced men looked coldly at her ; 
refined and fastidious men were horrified, and only 
noble, Godlike men, with souls like her own — reverent 
of humanity in any form, whether of peasant or peer, 
and capable therefore of recognizing in its tender treat- 
ment, the true Christ-mission, heard her sympathetic- 
ally, and were moved to further her angelic purposes. 

And thus Florence Nightingale's fame has become 
a part of .the treasure of every fireside circle where pure 
and loving deeds, kindle an answering glow in pure 
and loving bosoms ; it is welcomed from every pulpit 
where human goodness is enough revered to warm the 
sympathy of speaker or audience, and it embellishes 
the pages of books and the columns of snail-pace jour- 
nals, where, but for her, there would perhaps be written 
a sneer against her sex. She has already taken her 
place, an exalted one, among the few 

« Who give 

Better life to those that live." 

She is quoted by grave men as authority for the 
organization and management of hospitals; she is 
looked to by women who hope for wisdom and inspi- 
ration to works like her own, from her ; and when she 
shall pass from the life she has adorned here, to the 
higher one awaiting her, what love and veneration 
will follow her hence and welcome her thither. 



248 WOMAN AND HER ERA. 

SANTA FILOMENA. 

Whene'er a noble deed is wrought, 
Whene'er is spoken a noble thought, 

Our hearts, in glad surprise 

To higher levels rise. 

The tidal wave of deeper souls 

Into our inmost being rolls, 
And lifts us unawares 
Out of all meaner cares. 

Honor to those whose words or deeds 
Thus help us in our daily needs, 
And by their overflow, 
Raise us from what is low! 

Thus thought I, as by night I read 
Of the great army of the dead ; 
The trenches cold and damp, 
The starved and frozen camp— 

The wounded from the battle-plain, 

In dreary hospitals of pain, 
The cheerless corridors, 
The cold and stony floors. 

Lo ! in that house of misery, 

A lady with a lamp I see 

Pass through the glimmering gloom, 
And flit from room to room. 

And slow as in a dream of bliss, 
The speechless sufferer turns to kiss 
Her shadow, as it falls 
Upon the darkening walls. 

As if a door in heaven should be 
Opened, and then closed suddenly, 

The vision came and went ; 

The light shone and was spent 

On England's annals, through the long 
Hereafter of her speech and song, 
That light its rays shall cast 
From portals of the past. 



III8T0RI0 ARGUMENT. 24:9 

A lady with a lamp shall stand 
In the great history of the land, 

A noble type of good 

Heroic womanhood. 

Nor even shall be wanting here 
The palm, the lily, and the spear, 

The symbols that of yore 

Saint Filomena bore. 

The reigning Queen of England is, in many 
respects, worthy a place among the women who are 
giving a warmer color of hope and prophecy to our 
day. Her position is one which unites great difficulties 
with great advantages for ' individual growth. The 
exercise of power by a right-intentioned person, is so 
helpful and healthy, that one feels it cannot have 
failed to compensate so pure-hearted and earnest a 
woman as Victoria for bearing, even from youth, the 
cumbrous fetters of form and ceremony it has laid upon 
her — the bondage of many heavy cares, ill-suited to her 
quiet nature, and the burthen of pomp and show so 
exacting and relentless, that they must often have been 
a heavy oppression to the affectionate wife, the loving 
mother, the tender friend, and the simple-hearted 
woman, always more impatient of shams as the testi- 
mony of a merely external power not craved by her, 
than man is. 

The women of her day would owe her, in behalf 
of womanhood, their thanks, if she had not pleased 
herself more than she could possibly please any 
other, in the purification; through her own purity and 
firmness, of Court-life in her realm ; in her persistent 
adherence to the best persons who could be drawn and 
kept about her person and family, in her steadfast and 
efficient discountenance of gossip — the vice of royal 
11* 



250 WOMAN AND HER ERA. 

menages from time immemorial, and all the more dif- 
ficult, therefore, to uproot, and in maintaining under 
all circumstances, so clear and spotless a character, 
and withal so individual a one as Woman and Sov- 
ereign. 

One sees clearly that only a candid, right-minded 
and true woman could so have sustained herself 
through such a life, and as clearly that her reward has 
therefore come to her without thanks. A genius for 
personal goodness, and a disposition faithfully to adhere 
to the right, so far as the world will permit it to be 
done, are perhaps the happiest gifts in a monarch, 
King or Queen. These seem to belong in an eminent 
degree to Victoria, and the immense influence which, 
as the mistress of the highest and most observed Home 
in her realm, she wields in making her family circle an 
example of social and personal purity, firm, wise dis- 
cipline, and wholesome order, cannot fail to have been 
one of the substantial benefits of her reign — a strong 
incentive and aid to the development of those good 
motives which find their best and most peaceful culture 
at the fireside of a high-toned, earnest, truthful wife, 
mother, and Woman. 

I have now, perhaps, cited from history and from 
the lives of living women, who have not yet passed to 
their destined place in history, as many illustrations as 
my purpose will justify me in placing here. The 
many, many more demonstrations of the assertion we 
are engaged in proving, which might be offered, would 
burthen rather than aid the argument. I will stay, 
therefore, barely to mention, of the women of our 
day, and of the preceding generation, a few others 
whose names will suggest to the reader that were I to 
extend this branch of evidence through the whole of 



HISTORIC ARGUMENT. 251 

this volume, a great deal more would still be left un- 
said than could be said or even hinted at. Thus con- 
sider the names and history of Joanna Baillie and her 
sister ; Hannah More, Mrs. Sherwood, Miss Edgeworth, 
Miss Austin, Miss Burney, Mrs. Piozzi, Mrs. Siddons, 
Madame de Stael, Lady Franklin, Miss Mitford, 
Madame Dudevant, Grace Darling, Mary Lamb, 
Mrs. Jameson, Miss Herschel, Mrs. Norton, Miss Mar- 
tineau, our own venerable Lucretia Mott, Mrs. Child, 
Mrs. Chisholm, Mrs. Taylor, a highly valued teacher 
of British navigators, Mrs. Patten, who sailed her hus- 
band's ship from Cape Horn ^q. San Francisco, Miss 
Mitchell, the American Astronomer, Mary Howitt, 
Frederika Bremer, Miss Muloch, Miss Evans, Miss Shep- 
hard, Miss Sedgwick, Lucy Stone, Anna Dickinson — 
and the reader will doubtless remember, as I do, scores 
of names, some more brilliant, and all equally worthy 
to be noted, which I must not stay to set down here. 

If it be true, as no one, I apprehend, will deny, that 
many of these women have proved the noblest possi- 
bilities of life for themselves, cmd helped others to 
realize theirs, as not many of the men of even more, 
brilliant intellect have aimed to do, it is no less true 
that there are great numbers of the best women, the 
most faithful and aspiring, whom neither fame nor his- 
tory lays hold upon in any manner. "We all know 
some such — one or two, if no more — or we are particu- 
larly unfortunate in our acquaintance with women, 
and ought to begin to redress ourselves at once, in 
seeking higher relations. In our country at least one 
good woman, pure in heart, loving progress for herself 
and others, willing to work for it, who can be relied 
on always to speak her highest word, to counsel the 
unselfish deed, to turn her face away from the politic 



WOMiN ASTD HER EEA. 



and carefully, and with such wisdom and firmness as 
it may, attempt tu heal the wound of its giving ; to 
build up strength on another side, and lead the suffer- 
ing life out in other directions, whereby the unproii ta- 
ble sentiment might he supplanted. In the latter, it 
is easy to see that those only can devote themselves to 
humanity, who are, at the lowest, so far above its level, 
that they look down on some real or imaginary want 
of it, which they hope to supply — see, in short, that it 
needs help from thera. 

Loyalty is the tribute of the lower to the higher ; it 
flows toward what it reverences, and at the same time 
sustains, by service which it recognizes as dutifully, 
naturally paid, because the servitor is the inferior of the 
served. Subjects are loyal to a monarch, and joy rally 
submit to hardship and defilement of their persons in 
menial labors (when necessary) for him, which they 
would feel grief and shame in seeing him perform for 
himself! Soldiers suffer and die for their leader, bnt 
are unwilling that he should descend to the common 
service of the field. Their loyalty is wounded if he 
expose himself to the inferior dangers or % r ulgar toils 
which they feel to be unworthy of his exalted relation 
to them. 

Thus, laying down all externals, it is clear that 
loyalty is commanded by the qualities of a nature or 
position superior to those which render it ; while it is 
equally clear that devotion proceeds freely out from 
qualities which recognize in its object an inferior, in so 
far, at least, as there is need of service, of a quality 
which it cannot render itself. Thus it is that political 
loyalty becomes devotion, whenever the person or for- 
tunes of its object become so degenerate that the ori- 
ginal relation between giver and receiver is reversed. 



POPULAB SENTIMENT AND OB8EBVATION. 207 

Now I know that in the established relations 
between woman and man, there often arrives a time 
when the order here indicated as natural, seems, and 
among superficial, common-place people, actually 
comes to be, so far reversed that we hear the loyalty of 
the wife spoken of, though rarely the devotion, in any 
high, earnest sense, of the husband. It is not a reversal 
to each party, but only to the woman, from whom both { 
loyalty and devotion are expected, after marriage has '• 
jyut her in mam? 8 possession, either as a chattel or a sub- 
ject. We shall be better able to estimate the justness ' 
of the position thus imposed on her, if we remember 
the fact that our present system of marriage, whatever 
its merits or defects, is purely of Man's contrivance ; and 
we shall see how much more respect is due to the 
authority of the natural sentiments shown by each 6ex 
while in a state of freedom, previous to it, than to the 
expression or usage of either, after they have entered 
into this relation — of which the elements only are na- 
tural — all its features, of authority on one side and 
submission on the other, of transientness and dura- 
bility, being defined by laws of purely masculine 
origin.* 



* In answer to the statement which may be set against this, 
that marriage is of Divine origin, a sacrament, and therefore 
indissoluble, it is only necessary to point to late facts in the social 
and civil development of the States and Nations which the world 
acknowledges as its leaders. In many of these, the movements 
of the last quarter of a century, but especially those of the past 
ten years, mark a line of progress in the opposite direction. I 
offer neither comment nor opinion here on these facts, it being out 
of the question to do so much as lift my eyes, at this stage of my 
argument for woman, to the vast and chaotic field toward which 
they point It is unquestionable however, and I suggest no new 
theory in stating it, that the necessity of remodeling or creating 



268 WOMAN AND HEB ERA. 

If it be urged that the sentiment shown in the 
above extracts and statements is that of men in love,* 
and therefore not to be trusted in proof of nature, or of 
mankind, I reply that no sentiment is more reliable for 
the expression of primal truths, or the indication of 
real qualities in the life whence they flow, than that of 
those rare and holy experiences — I will not say in 
noble, but in average men and women. 

According to their capacity to aspire or hope 
for a better life than they have before lived, men 
uniformly look to the woman they love, to aid 
them in realizing it.* They expect help from her. 
They plan the surrender of some indulgences which 
their own self-respect has permitted, but which their 
respect for her greater purity and refinement makes 



divorce laws is growing more urgent in all the Protestant and 
progressive countries, and that wherever it is yielded to, the move- 
ment is uniformly toward granting liberation from the bonds [a 
cord, a chain, a rope — see Webster] of ill-assorted or unhappy 
marriage. 

* To this statement, with the limitations here given, the single 
exception which now occurs to me, is that of highly intellectual 
men — men who live in the intellect alone, or chiefly; or, worse 
still, in the intellect and passions. Of this order are many emi- 
nent Statesmen, Diplomatists, Legislators, Jurists, Advocates, 
Physicians, Clergymen, Men of Science and of Letters ; but very 
few Artists, Discoverers, or illustrious Inventors; these latter 
callings drawing men more into communion with primary truth, 
than with the secondary truths, falsities, or errors with which the 
former familiarize their followers; and being, therefore, more 
favorable to the preservation of natural sentiment in the charac- 
ter. That men of distinguished, manlike intellect have been very 
apt to marry silly and pretty, or cold and stately, or managing and 
brilliant wives, is not less notorious than that they have been apt 
to leave behind them children who are content to reflect, without 
adding to the luster of the name they bear. 



POPULAR SENTIMENT AND OBSERVATION. 2G9 

them hesitate or feel ashamed of continuing ; and they 
tell her of their good purposes, if taste or delicacy do 
not forbid, expecting to be smiled upon like a good 
child — perhaps praised a little for it : certainly thanked. 
If they feel weak or weary in endeavoring to keep 
themselves always to the right against the temptations 
that beset them, they look to woman's higher and 
purer strength as a rest, which they shall reach and be 
blessed in, by-and-by. She will decide, he thinks, when 
he is at a loss, and having led the way, will always be 
in it, an attraction to draw him thither. He always 
feels supported in some new faithfulness to convictions 
he has before neglected, (for which he is perhaps laughed 
at by those unused to such behavior in him), by the 
thought of herj and her warm sympathy and approval. 

" The whole, low world of pleasure and sense in 
which I have lived," said a strong man once to a woman 
whom he worshiped, " seems at moments when I am 
near you, or recall you vividly, to turn to dust and 
ashes . beneath my feet. God is my witness, that at 
such times, no other feeling is possible toward it but 
one of unmixed scorn and loathing ; and all because of 
you, and the thought of you : which is sufficient to 
suggest and supply me with something so much 
nobler." Alas ! that such influences should so often 
wither and vanish away before they accomplish their 
divine work of redemption ! 

Thus much of the sentiment of man (as a lover) 
touching the spiritual superiority of woman. How 
does woman answer it ? She uses, we know, no such 
language toward him, however deeply and unreservedly 
she may love him. She has seldom to propose to her- 
self a reform from any vicious or gross habit, because 
of this new and stirring experience. It is oftener seen to 



270 WOMAN AND HER ERA. 

be, in gome degree, the reverse, and that so far as she 
lets his control supersede self-control, and his influence 
lead her away from herself, she leaves, in so doing, the 
pure, orderly, tranquil habits of her previous years, and 
takes on, in conformity to his wishes, slight if not seri- 
ous irregularities, dissipations or light habits, which 
have led him a long distance, it may be, from the point 
in his life where it was as well regulated and balanced 
as hers is. If he looks to her to \ye himself improved 
and regenerated in respect to the things wherein he 
condemns himself, she does not look to him for the 
same or similar blessing and help. Something, cer- 
tainly, she does expect from him, as I have said, which 
is much — very much — to her, but not this ; nor often 
anything like this. And she feels so much reality in 
the grounds on which he claims it of her, that if she 
smiles at seeing herself addressed as an angel or the 
angelic creature who is, somehow, to get it accom- 
plished, it is not a smile of levity, or derision, or unbe- 
lief, but rather one which expresses deep and serious 
happiness that her soul has taken its prize in the arena 
of life ; and the task that comes along with it is sweet 
to her, not alone because of the love she gives and 
receives, but because in the loving, somewhat of the 
divinest action of her divinest capabilities as a savior, 
is called for. Her own sense of truth, if she be not 
utterly unintuitional or conscious of some grave, re- 
peated or willful derelictions, is not outraged in the 
imputation to her of angelic qualities. For by such 
language she understands her lover to mean what, by 
comparison with himself, she knows is true, her greater 
purity, refinement, and delicacy of nature, with a cor- 
respondent deeper love of, and attraction to, all that is 
related to these beautiful attributes. At least, so much 



POPULAR SENTIMENT AND OBSERVATION. 271 

is meant, and perhaps something more, which we 6hall 
find under succeeding heads of this argument. If she 
be a true, worthy woman, with the deep, religious 
heart that belongs to such an one, she hopes, in the 
humility of her soul, that she shall justify this great 
faith in herself — 6hall prove her angel-nature to him 
who affirms it, in doing him the good he prays for at 
her hand.* [Please read the note below.] 

All that he makes personal to her, she feels to be 
true of womanhood, if not of herself, and therefore 
never denies it ; for, according to the depths that are 
moved by the love appealing to her, she more or less 
yearns to excel the truth of her sex, rather than fall 
short of it. So she takes his words of adoration earn- 
estly, or, if with chiding, it is more in fondness than 
sharpness, and in her heart prays that it may be 
even so. 

But think of reversing this language in its applica- 
tion, and addressing it to man! How foolish, how 
absurd, how shocking to taste would it be ! How would 
it offend and disgust him ! How incapable would any 
woman be of writing or speaking seriously to a man in 
such a strain, except in those peculiar and very rare 

* There is grave difficulty in stating, in an acceptable man- 
ner, or even, as above, in hinting, at the real nature of Woman, 
arising from its very general perversion through miseducation, 
slavery or dependence, or all these combined. But I cannot sacri- 
fice what I feel to be truths of Woman to accommodate my state- 
ments to any standard of false development, prejudice, or false 
judgment of women. All these being temporary effects of tem- 
porary causes, must in time disappear, and the true Woman will 
be commonly seen, as now she rarely is — so rarely, indeed, that 
I can scarcely expect all readers to recognize her portrait, even 
were it much more perfect than the broken lineaments of her 
which I now present to them. 



272 WOXAJT JLTO HZB ERA. 

cases, whose extreme infrequency proves that their op- 
posite is the uniform experience of mankind. Even his 
materiel^ and the most obvious of his mental and 
spiritual faculties forbid it. Conceive the utter falsity 
of addressing a bearded, booted — perhaps bald — col- 
lared and cravatted man, as an angel ! Hi* eve is full 
of the resolution of external conquest and worldly suc- 
cess. In the expression of his face are mingled the 
sense of, and the desire for, external power ; intellectual 
acuteness, the challenge to competitors, the alert, per- 
sistent self-defense, the complacency of attained or near 
success, the pain of already-endured, or the anxiety of 
impending defeat. Is this an angelic being ? A very 
efficient, able, resolute, just, brave, and even tender 
man, he may be, but no angel, certainly — not angelic 
in any sense that he would be pleased to have expa- 
tiated upon, by one standing face to face with him. 
The men to whom these terms can sometimes be 
applied, are the womanly men — the St. Johns, not the 
St. Peters ; the Oberlins, not the Luthers — the Ra- 
phaels, not the Buonarottis — the Channings, not the 
Becchers. 

But if a sentiment so uniformly expressed as this 
of man, proves, (and no one, I think, will deny that it 
does,) the existence, in woman, of the qualities and capa- 
cities it supposes and appeals to, no less must its 
absence in woman prove that the same attributes in 
him are not his leading ones — not those which she 
most broadly recognizes, and builds her hopes of happi- 
ness and good from him, upon. It is quite clear that 
each of the sexes in loving the other, has its chief de- 
light and most abundant and substantial satisfaction, 
in those qualities wherein their personalities are 
opposed ; and that, of the two, the larger personality, 



POPULAR 8ENT1MENT AND OliSKRVATION. 2 I «'l 

as a whole, must boar tho most detailed analysis, and 
command the most respectful, reverential treatment 
and development. 

u When baith bent down owor ao braid page, 
Wi 7 ae buik on our knee, 
Thy lips were on thy lesson, btU 
My lesson was in thee." 

The man says : " If you east me off, I shall dio 
heart-broken. I am in your hands. Do what you will 
with me, only be merciful and loving, llule me as my 
sovereign, but be at the same time tho Queen of Love ; 
for I am your subject. Love mo, and make a man of 
me. You alone can do it." Thus it is that men 
delight to acknowledge the superiority of tho woman 
beloved, over themselves. Not only this, but they till 
pages and even whole sheets with statements of her- 
self — to herself: these being mostly, when not wholly, 
the unfolding, as they see them, of the spiritual and 
affectional elements of her being, and tho showing of 
her power in those directions which aro delightful and 
refreshing to man, because they aro tho opposite of tho 
physical and intellectual directions in which his power 
unfolds most spontaneously. Nor is it vanity or ego- 
tism which makes a woman receive and read such 
sheets, without impatience or protest. It is, as I have 
said, a perception, an intuition, that in tho broadest 
sense, if not wholly in the personal one, they contain 
truth. They are the treatment of her personality ns a 
whole, and the reverent recognition of what is at onco 
its strongest and noblest side. Ihit man's personality 
receives but a fraction of tho treatment given to 
woman's in such a correspondence, because, being the 
lesser of the two, it does not kindle the inspiration, in 
either soul, to handle it so. "We never, in such high 
32* 



274 WOMAN AND HER ERA. 

hours as those of pure, exalted love, voluntarily choose 
the less noble of two themes or subjects that are be- 
fore us. 

So if woman says little of herself in answer to all 
that he has said of her, she also says little of him com- 
pared to the space she is spread over. The nises of 
his development being in the direction of the physical 
and intellectual, as opposed to her intuitive and affec- 
tional ; worldly and external, as opposed to her spiritual 
and internal ; it follows very clearly that without inor- 
dinate egotism in him, or silliness and inanity in her, 
he will command, by much, the lesser space in their 
discussion of themselves. Hence, the love-letters of 
women who are capable of departing from personal, 
local, and transient topics, pass, after what is allowed 
to these, and to the emotions and hopes common 
between them and their lovers, to impersonal matters — 
statement or question on things high or low, according 
to the writer's range of vision ; but they never say : " I 
hope to be regenerated by your purity and goodness. 
I feel myself made better and nobler in approaching 
you. I pray you to keep watch and ward over my 
hardness, and soften it ; over my worldliness, and put 
something higher in its stead ; over my ambition, and 
transmute it into aspiration ; over my selfishness, and 
make it less eager for the gains and goods it craves." 

Whatever a woman's love for a man, and her can- 
dor with him, she never asks him for such help. Her 
love will induce her, for his sake, and that she may be 
to him the best and noblest of which her life is capa- 
ble, to endeavor to cure herself, it may be, of some 
hurtful weakness, some infirmity of temper, which will 
mar his happiness if not overcome or eradicated. But 
the good she expects of him (besides the inestimable 



POPULAR SENTIMENT AND OBSERVATION. 2<i> 

good — which is his as well as hers — of full and true 
relations) is of the external, material, or outward kind ; 
to the securing of which an energetic body and brain, 
a brave heart, and a strong arm, are more necessary 
means than the fine spirituality, the aspiration, the love 
of purity and beauty, and the attraction to these, which, 
according to his capacity to appreciate them, he hopes 
to find in her. This kind of good, high natures shrink 
from asking, in any manner, of another, even where 
it is their right to expect it ; and still more, feel de- 
graded in parading or discussing at any length. It is 
a shame to ask bread or raiment ; but a glory and a 
brightness in one's day, to ask for spiritual light and 
guidance. 

A very brief reference to the sentiment of man 
toward woman in the minor forms of its expression, 
must suffice me here ; and it will be found to be entirely 
harmonious with that we have seen in the major one 
of Love. 

In the era of man's ascendency, society, because of 
his sensuality, has been too gross, and the standards, 
therefore, too arbitrary, and the forms too despotic, 
to admit the existence, except very rarely, of simple 
friendship in any near, living warmth between the 
sexes. For the same reason, its open acknowledgment 
and cultivation where it did exist, were practical social 
impossibilities. It is only within a few years that there 
could be found, anywhere in the societies of which we 
can get knowledge, circles of persons who could hear 
of a real friendship — one leading to frank, affectionate 
and interior relations — between a woman and maiL, 
without a raising of the eyebrows, a shrugging of the 
shoulders, a sidelong gla nC e of unbelief. Women, who, 
knowing their own x^, ^ could of themselves have 



276 WOMAN AND HER ERA. 

had faith in it, surrendered their judgment to the sus- 
picion or disbelief which men created everywhere "about 
them, and infused through the social atmosphere. 
Hence they shrunk from permitting, or acknowledging, 
relations which would subject themselves to such criti- 
cism ; and hence, too, there is little to be, found, even 
in personal history, that shows the existence of such 
attachments. Man in his passional life being sensual, 
as distinguished from woman, who is spiritual; and 
intersexual friendship being that relation which calls 
for the frank and warm exercise towards its object, of 
whatever capacities for attachment the nature possesses, 
save those which are sacred and exclusive to the high 
relation of love, there have been as yet but few exam- 
ples of its brightest and most beneficent existence. Of 
these, fewer still have been permitted to appear before 
the world's eye, or pass to record in the memory of the 
lives they blessed ; so that this relation of men and 
women, which is destined to become, in the purer and 
higher era of Female Ascendency, one of the common, 
most helpful and valued experiences of mankind, has 
been hitherto a rare phenomenon. But even so, we find 
here and there a life brightened by it. Can any person 
doubt, for example, that Mrs. Thrale's friendship for 
Dr. Johnson was a gracious and softening influence, 
falling upon that rigid, inflexible nature of his ? Can 
any one read the letters of Cowper to, or about Mrs. 
Unwin, without feeling how invaluable her cheerful, 
tranquil, self-sustained and sustaining affection must 
have been to his morbid, suffering soul ? On all the 
levels of private life, where one can gather the inner 
soul-experience of people, how often good men acknow- 
ledge themselves to have been essentially helped by 
women who were only their friends ! How many men 



TOPULAR SENTIMENT AND OBSERVATION. 277 

one hears, in the various moods which lead them to 
self-disclosure, declaring that in this or that strait or 
difficulty, now perhaps long past — when they were dis- 
heartened, broken in spirit, ill in body, or anguish- 
stricken from loss of fortune, or disappointment in love, 
or the utter frustration of hopes they had been build- 
ing or resting in — some sympathetic, tender, thoughtful 
woman spoke to them the needed word of encourage- 
ment ; put new strength into their souls ; presented to 
them the silvery lining of the dark, overshadowing 
clouds ; and in short, fitted them anew for struggle. 

How often are men arrested, after years of profli- 
gacy, degradation and crime, by the vivid memory of 
a mother, a sister, or early friend, whose appeal had 
been strong to their better nature ; or by the sudden 
presence before them of such an one ! He whom a 
father or brother's face and voice would instantly 
challenge and put upon his self-defense, feels in a good 
woman who approaches him, a fountain of tenderness 
and compassion, which disarms him of his hardness, 
silences the self-justification or the cant with which he 
is prepared to meet men, and makes him yearn in heart 
for the fitness he once had to mingle with those purer 
lives. 

Woman is called an angel of purity and wisdom to 
the sinful and ignorant ; an angel of innocence among 
the corrupt and depraved ; an angel of peace among 
the discordant and fierce ; an angel of mercy in times 
of suffering — as in pestilence and wars ; of harmony in 
music ; of motion in the dance — all forms, these, of 
expressing the sentiment which man entertains of her 
fitness to diviner uses in these relations of life than 
naturally belong to him. 

"Whatever I am," said Dr. Spurzheim, "I owe to 



278 WOXA3 ASD HEX ERA. 

my excellent mother — to ber cherishing tenderness — 
her pure examples — her faithful and judicious care of 
my infancy and childhood." Lamartine acknowledges 
the like obligation to his mother, especially for the cul- 
ture of the deep, living tenderness of spirit which is 
diffused throughout his works. Mrs. Hemans declares 
that the truest, most sustaining, helpful and sympa- 
thetic friend she ever had, was her mother ; and Mar- 
garet Fuller writes to her mother these words : " The 
thought of you, the knowledge of yonr angelic nature, 
is always one of my great supports. Happy those who 
have such a mother ! Myriad instances of selfishness 
and corruption of heart cannot destroy the confidence 
in human nature. " 

" I must in justice admit," says one of the purest 
and most gifted men I ever knew, " that I am deeply 
indebted to every pure woman that I have ever been 
acquainted with. All that I have ever learned of true 
love I have derived from woman — from feeling the 
sphere that surrounds her, from the influence that ema- 
nates from her love, from hearing the sound of pure 
affection in the music of her voice, and the harmonizing 
melody of her words ; from seeing the heavenly love 
and purity of her countenance, and the angelic grace 
of her form and actions; and above all, from a know- 
ledge of her internal life, and from communion with 
her pure, lofty, generous, heroic spirit." 

I could go on to fill pages with quotations or state- 
ments conveying the same meaning, but these must 
suffice me here. Before taking leave, however, of this 
branch of the subject, I must beg the reader's indulgence 
in the repetition of what has been said in substance 
elrtewhere, viz. : that the sentiment of Man toward Wo- 
man, as we have seen it, is founded, as the sentiment 



POPULAR 8ENTIMENT AND OB8EBVATION. 279 

of all other intelligences in the Universe, whether they 
be super- or sub-human, must be, upon the actual, im- 
perishable, though perhaps long-hidden, truths of the 
nature toward which they exist. There is no durable, 
widespread sentiment like this, anywhere in the Crea- 
tion, but must have its basis in a truth or truths, which 
are intuitively felt, if not yet analyzed by reason, and 
weighed in the scales of knowledge. It is forbidden in 
nature that mere falsity or error should originate or 
sustain such a growth. 



Section II. 

Sentiment of Women toward Women, of Woman 
toward Women, and both toward Woman. 

I. — Of Women toward Women. 

Having thus shown what is the sentiment of Man 
toward Woman, as expressed by the various methods 
which are either exclusive to him, as in love, or common 
to both sexes, it remains for me to examine and state 
as best I can, the three phases of Human Sentiment 
named above, beginning with the first in order — the 
sentiment of Women toward Women. And here I 
must beg careful attention to the distinctions, more 
important even than nice, between these three. They 
are not only distinctions, but differences also, so wide 
(as we shall, I hope, see,) that he who runs may read 
them. 

Hitherto I have treated exclusively of Woinan in 
these pages. I shall now be compelled, for a brief 
space, to turn aside from the pleasant and living fields 
of Truth, where we have walked with her, into quite 
other barren, flowerless, desert wastes, where we shall 



284 WOMAN AND HER ERA. 

or a desire to win the verdict of her world, which, well 
she knows, will refuse to stamp as current any but its 
own conventional coin, and will stamp that, however 
base it may be. She will not believe that Christ is 
represented in her, and makes demands npon her to be 
the savior of those who may be saved by her, for such 
a belief wonld pnt away her irreligious indolence, and 
make her vitiating ease an impossibility. But she 
lives in the love of external, finite and paltry goods — 
goods of self-indulgence, of fortune, of position, to which 
the world pays court ; of shallow, social power, whose 
fountain dies like a mountain stream, with the fading 
of her beauty, the departure of her youth, or the loss 
of her comforts ; and she reckons these, with their like, 
higher and more satisfying than a divine ability to 
help persons to their salvation — more desirable than 
the spiritual, infinite good which might be hers ; more 
dignified than heroic self-denial and faithful effort, out 
of which corne spiritual growth, power, and joys 
unspeakable. 

Thus Women are slaves, and the offspring of slavery 
in one or another of its three forms, Domestic, Social, 
or Civil, or of all the three combined. But Woman is 
superior to slavery, and, whatever her outward or tem- 
porary lot, can no more be caught and fixed in this 
lot, than the fountain can be pent at its source, or the 
wind stayed where it rises. The forces which make 
her Woman are keener, subtler, more penetrating than 
the impalpable searching ether, and if they have been 
strong enough originally to individualize her as a 
Woman, with the true attributes of womanhood, she 
will never be a slave ; never, though she should become 
a chattel in Louisiana or Algiers. There is that in her 
which cannot be enslaved; which escapes the condition ; 



POPULAR SENTIMENT AND OBSEBYATION. 285 

evermore eludes it as we may suppose an angel would 
elude the clasp of arms of flesh. 

Woman, in this sense, may be found in a hovel, a 
cotton-mill, or your kitchen. Women, in the corres- 
ponding sense, abound ; they may be found in palaces, 
the highest conventional circles, or your own drawing- 
room. 

We are now prepared to see why society is enriched 
but rarely with the presence of a Woman, while Wo- 
men can be produced, a score or fifty to every one of 
them. This same society which demands, also produces 
them. They are molded and stamped by it ; the na- 
tural character of girls born of such women being 
favorable to the perpetuation of the processes which 
brought them forth to the condition of their mothers. 
Society supersedes her, (the mother), and becomes father 
and mother both, to the extent that it subordinates 
individuality and deep personal conviction of duty, in 
the women and men who are rearing families ; and I 
leave any candid person to look over its face, and say 
how small is the proportion of those who are able to 
resist its influences. 

Each social level has its stereotyped front to which 
the young candidate is brought, as the heathen youth 
before his idol, whom to know is ever after to bow down 
before. 

Thou shalt worship here first and last. 

Thou shalt not go away seeking other and higher 
gods. 

Thou shalt covet, and strive for, the gifts and pos- 
sessions which other worshipers bring to this shrine, 
for this is honoring him whose it is. 

Thou shalt not honor father, or mother, sister, 
brother, or friend, when they urge thee to the shrine 



282 



WlULAN AND HER EKA. 



career in the world of fa&hion; perhaps for a life of 
degrading, because dwarfing and stultifying e&ee; pear* 
h&pe few a few years of empty stagnation which they 
mL-rall peace; or for the approval of tjersuns already 
so dead that they eaii only hury those who are, a degree 
deader, but give life to none ; or they perhaps enter 
into the pure worldly spirit, and become drudges for 
gain ; or they surrender as slaves, suffering their native 
luve of good and growth to be overruled by the mer- 
( -cnary spirit whioli dominates their own ; or, if very 
amiable and gentle, they may give up the highest and 
best they are capable of to the exactions of hospitality, 
becoming entertainers of bodies merely, and losing, 
while they are devising and ministering palate-pleasu res 
to successive rounds of visitors, all capacity to receive 
or give mind- and soul -entertainment* Or, posse^siiiir 
some spirituality, yet lacking the courage and moral 
fiber requisite in the battle-field of fife, and seeing 
others go fur ward whom they would fain accompany, 
they may grow ? in their irresolution, querulous and 
ruisiplainingj when pressed or jostled by those whose 



* Among the middle classes of our American women this is 
often the strongest feature of their social condition* Thousands 
of comfortably farmers, mechanics, small traders, physicians, and 
other professional men's wives, live only or chiefly to spread laden, 
tables before swift succeeding platoons of guests — the limes be- 
tween their going and coming being chiefly occupied in setting 
the bouse in order, and filling the empty pantries for the next 
arrival. Nothing that we eall social pleasure could be more mis- 
named than this senseless round of feasting, which to its victims 
is not visiting, but a series of visitations in the sad Scriptural 
sense* It swallows up years of the best part of life, that would 
have been inestiiuahle for the self-improvement of the mother, and 
the culture of her growing children. 



POPULAR SENTIMENT AND OBSERVATION. 283 

places in the march they ought long ago to have left 
vacant for them. 

She is a Woman, whatever her culture or her igno- 
rance ; her position or want of it, who feels that her 
real good must come, at least as much from within as 
without herself ; for only so does she prove her rever- 
ence for her own nature ; who has insight to find in 
herself and others, and to touch seasonably the springs 
of help and harmony ; who concerns herself, whether 
amid cares or pleasures of her own, whether with ease 
or difficulty, to work for the real, the most interior and 
lasting good which she can feel to be possible, and not 
merely for the present comfort of those she is in rela- 
tions with ; who, foreseeing the approach of evil, rises 
spontaneously to front and put it away ; or perceiving 
the good that is latent, hesitates not to strike off the 
fetters or forms which hinder its freedom of action, and 
fulfill her mission, if needful, in the spirit of him who 
declared that the Christ-office on earth was not to bring 
peace, but a sword rather ; who does not shrink from 
disturbing the slumber of sluggards, no matter how 
deep, if beyond her act there is visible any little ray 
of light which the agitation may broaden and brighten. 

But of Women, is she who delights in the opposites 
of these things ; in whom apathy takes the place of 
earnestness; and politeness neutralizes all deep con- 
viction. Very elegant and polished she may be out- 
wardly, but within she is full of spiritual and mental 
darkness and stagnation. Her interior is not a glowing 
landscape, brightened by swift-running clear streams, 
genial sun-light, flowing breezes, and waving herbage ; 
but a gloomy marsh, filled with sluggish, mantling 
waters, decaying plants, and wide-spread mire. She 
may be indifferent to good, either from a love of ease 



290 WOMAN AND HER EBA. 

London, and New York a sham Paris, and arrays the 
girls of every Western town in obedience to the fashion- 
plates of Godey and Harper. It is the chief cause of 
the restlessness of women, srad the want of peace in 
family and social life; for young women who are 
crazed with this ambition, canriot be quiet enough to 
develop that sweetness and strength, which is the rock 
at the center of earthly life, and, next to God's love, 
the best support of man. And this is the secret cause 
of the fearful collapse of female health in America ; for, 
standing on tip-toe and' watching a chance to leap on 
board a fairy's floating palace that wavers over a 
stormy sea, is not a healthy, though an exciting occu- 
pation. It forces children through the grades of girl- 
hood- with steam-power rapidity to young ladyhood, 
while they should be romping in pantalets, learning 
science or household duties under their teachers or 
mothers. This rush of energy to the surface of life, the 
excitements, hopes and fears of a young lady's career, 
leave the deep places of the heart dry, and create a 
morbid restlessness of the affections, that preys upon 
the very springs of physical existence ; so the majority 
of American girls, when they have obtained their lover, 
are not physically fit to become his wife and the 
mother of his children, and the bright path of girl- 
hood dips down into the valley of shadows, that mar- 
ried life is to woman in thousands of American homes. 
" This material ambition of the girls drives their 
companions of the other sex into over-heated exertions 
in business, and exhausts their health and freshness, by 
awakening at one-and-twenty the sense of obligation 
belonging to forty ; while their ill health and practical 
effeminacy prevent thousands of young men from mar- 
rying, and thus fearfully increase the sensuality of the 
community. It drives the young couple to live beyond 
their means, and sacrifice constant comfort and true 
family life to occasional splendor and periodical excite- 
ment. American men wear out in business, keeping 
up the household, and women wear out in straining 
after social position. Children are born with the mark 
of this career upon them, and brought up in a more 



POPULAR SENTIMENT AND OBSERVATION. 291 

exaggerated style. The mother at last breaks down 
under social cares and family distractions, and the 
father has no spot of rest on earth. The American 
woman lias not yet created the American home. As a 
nation we are jaded, sad, nervous. Our men do not 
come out of their fine houses with the glory of the Lord 
shining in their faces, as Moses came down from the 
mount, hut as tired and restless as they went in. The 
Republican home that shall cheer, console, and elevate 
x the American people, and the Republican society that 
is but its extension and idealization, are yet a vision." 

But let us not comfort ourselves in the belief that 
this is true only of the females of this Republic. Women 
are unspiritual everywhere throughout the civilized 
nations. They love material good in Britain as well as 
in America. They love ease, elegance and pleasure in 
France as much as we of the West. In Germany they 
stay undisturbed from generation to generation, waiting ' 
for the men to think, (which is eminently their func- 
tion), and for the world, (if it please and is able), to 
plan and execute its own good, or to forego it. In any 
event, it is not they, good, careful housewives and af- 
fectionate mothers, who are to concern themselves in 
its behalf. And throughout Europe it is only the few 
women — the fraction, proportionally smaller even 
than with us — who afford the world any sound thinking 
or brave doing ; society any large, gracious amenities ; 
or their own sex any calm, liberal judgment, divested 
of the narrow, cramped personality in which women 
commonly exercise it. It is only the few who are as- 
sured by birth, or the accident of position — who have 
all, in the outward sense, that they desire, and are freed 
from jealousy and envy therefore, not by heroism and 
nobleness of nature, but by the amplest satisfaction of 
their demands — the same terms on which the speculator 



298 WOMAN AND HER ERA. 

to them in the face of repeated, mortifying and painful 
disappointment in individuals, and in defiance of the 
wise admonishings of worldly, prudent, practical 
people, backed by that awful mount of human expe- 
rience, against which they calmly lean in uttering them. 

With our present false ideas, it takes often many 
years to make a Woman out of her who will finally 
arrive at that high estate. The girl-children who are 
born intuitive, brave, clear-headed, and tender-hearted 
enough to take, from the first, their place in the ranks 
of this small, exalted company, are few. A few more 
escape after a brief season of cloudy, dim wandering, 
among the quagmires and quicksands of public opinion, 
custom, and conventional order, and come up, while 
yet in youth, to their places; but in these days the 
larger number, I think, of those who are true repre- 
sentatives of Womanhood, reach that position after 
much struggle, laborious thinking and resolving ; and, 
when the worldly condition is one of dependence on man, 
or of self-dependence, it must needs be in general, after 
much courageous renunciation of shallow peace in the 
daily life ; perhaps of comforts, perhaps of friends, and 
of the cordial respect, which is so welcome and dear to 
all good females, because they feel instinctively it is 
their due, and are wounded both in their self-love and 
their love of harmony when it is withheld. 

Need I add to the foregoing, that the being therein 
sketched is not a distruster of Womanhood, however 
she may be called on to lament the perversions, follies 
and selfishness of her sex ; or to admonish, reprove, 
rebuke and even judge numbers of its faithless rep- 
resentatives ? I feel it cannot be necessary, yet I will 
appeal to every Woman who reads these pages, to con- 
firm their truth to cavilers, if she meets with such, by 



POPULAR SENTIMENT AND OBSERVATION. 299 

an unshrinking statement of her self-knowledge, a can- 
did utterance of her unquenchable yearnings for the 
pure, the unselfish, the best — to furnish the test of her 
own faithfulness by confessing the pain with which she 
detects any self-wavering in her devotion to truth — to 
declare if her aspiration does not always live, in an 
ardent desire for true growth, and if her consciousness 
does not report the high origin, capacity and destiny 
of her nature in steadfast leaning toward the divine, 
unseen as the real good, in opposition to the earthly 
and seen f 

I know that I address a small audience in these 
words, but I know also that it grows from year to year, 
and proves itself thus, no less than in its opinions and 
positions, the party to which we are to look for the 
affirmation of Womanhcfod before itself and the world. 
May the few speak the Truth, in fear of nothing but 
Falsehood. 

III. — OfWomcm and Women toward Womcm. 

Yery little need be added, I apprehend, to illustrate 
to the attentive reader, if she or he has not already con- 
sidered it, what must be the sentiment of both the par- 
ties defined in the preceding pages toward the smaller 
of them, either individually or collectively. "We have 
by this time become acquainted with too many of the 
truths underlying long familiar outward signs in human 
life; and have seen too much of their coherent harmo- 
nious relation to each other, not to be prepared, in 
advance of all statement and illustration, to affirm that 
Woman — the Representative of Womanhood — must be 
universally revered, trusted and beloved by her sex, as 
the purest exemplar on earth of the Divine, the true 







- t_i- 7^ee er 



"— S3-TT" 















■ 1'.." T~~~. ~ 1<- 






POPULAR SENTIMENT AND OBSERVATION. 801 

the hymn, and praise the victor — praising ourselves 
the while in praising her, whom, had she prayed our 
help in her work, we might have denied ; and so we 
accord what cannot be withheld from her high com- 
mand — our love and admiration. 

There is no failure of the reverence of "Women 
toward Woman under such circumstances; of their 
pride in her, and their grateful acceptance of their per- 
sonal share of the credit she may have won. Let the 
most radical and troublesome genuine woman of any 
day or community, be transported to another country, 
or put a generation away from those who sneer at her 
and her labors, and let her life be honestly imported to 
them, exhibiting fairly its love of the Good and the 
True; its delicate and unfailing recognition of the 
rights of life, its tenderness to the suffering, its earnest 
aspiration and helpfulness to the needy, either in soul 
or body — above all, let it be understood that she added 
these good works to the natural affections and cares of 
a woman's life ; to the household relations, the atten- 
tions due to her family, or, as many have done, to 
the labors of self-support, and there will infallibly be 
secured to her a place high in the honoring sentiment 
of Womankind. The dead and the alive will agree in 
giving her praise, the latter because they would do it 
as the true and just thing in any case, the former bo- 
cause she is at a safe distance, and neither disturbs 
their ease nor urges any present and annoying trial of 
the standards of their community, especially those of 
its grand tribunal, the masculine judgment. 

From all slavery there must come, according to its 
character and duration, a more or less painful, dispro- 
portionate development of certain attributes in the 
nature of the enslav^ Jn our sex, whose bondage, in one 



302 WOMAN A5D HER ERA. 

form or another, has been from the beginning of human 
existence to this day, the most manifest fruit of the 
condition has been what it always is. in some measure, 
an overgrown, overruling desire to please those who 
dispose their fortunes and dispense comforts or priva- 
tions, pleasures or pains to them. So that we now 
witness an absolutely absurd, grotesque education of 
this sentiment — nay, its actual transformation in the 
practical lives of millions of civilized women, into a 
passion, whose reckless selfishness converts its possess- 
ors from Women into human apes, and the society to 
which they belong, into a wide menagerie, where she 
is most conspicuous and pleasing to the assembled spec- 
tators, who most apostatizes from her own nature, and 
ouilds, molds, and fashions on the original foundation, 
an artificial creature for their pleasing — making them 
first and nature second ; the compliment the more to 
be appreciated as the latter is more effectually put out 
of sight in the result. 

The evils which spring from such distortion of the 
affectional nature are numerous, and some of them press 
with an inflexible and mournfully destructive weight 
upon the personal and social character of Women. A 
female who is determined to be admired, even though 
admiration be won at the cost of self-respect, of social, 
intellectual and moral faithfulness, and be paid tor by 
the concealment or sacrifice of real opinions as to mea- 
sures, or as to persons who may be unpopular with the 
admirers ; by the suppression of growing convictions 
and honestly entertained views, and the utterance, in 
their stead, of rude, idle speech, despised formulae, or 
open, though perhaps bleached falsehood ; by various 
affectations of sentiment which never existed save in 
their most latent form in her mind — such a person 



POPULAR SENTIMENT AND OBSERVATION. 303 

lives in the daily prostitution of the best and sweetest 
attributes which the wisdom and love of God could 
fashion into the noble harmony of her exalted nature. 
She hourly tramples under her feet the richest oppor- 
tunities that life can afford to an immortal soul, oppor- 
tunities of truthfulness, faithfulness, and of high 
triumphs through them, which, once touched and 
tasted, would fill her bosom with shame at the bare 
memory of what she had been seeking and craving in 
their stead. She is in a dangerous way for the attain- 
ment of growth and the unfolding of the real worth 
whose germs are in her. Grapes may be gathered of 
thorns and figs of thistles, as naturally as true senti- 
ments towards those of her sex whose lives and theories 
visibly and practically rebuke her weakness, folly or 
wickedness, may find a place in her disordered, famish- 
ing soul. Her social creed is a jumble of inconsisten- 
cies or open contradictions, of which, in her anxiety to 
secure its acceptance by those who are to judge her, to 
admire or criticise her by it, she is often ludicrously 
unconscious. 

These motives, acting with the intensity which a 
narrow, thin life, allows them in such natures, often 
lead Women to violate, in expression, their genuine sen- 
timent toward Woman. They may dispraise in their 
speech, while in their hearts they pay the homage 
which nature will not suffer them to withhold. Or 
perhaps, disturbed by her demands upon them and 
upon the society, out of whose superficial luster they 
have no hope of shining they utter sneers in the draw- 
ing-room which they rnaV &$*■ or wee P over ^ ^ e un ~ 
reserved self-comniwjy { ftie claa.m\>et. "SmA, "beyond 
and above these faW 1qU ,.*\otv&, aIldL ^^ 0<5aet de ^ OTar 
ble one of sheer, ^ ^ ^rtf***^ om^^th^to^ 



304 WOfM AX ASD HER ERA. 

revered by Wouex. Is there, for example, any worldly, 
shallow, flippant girl, so worldly, shallow and flippant 
that she would dare to otter a sneer, or smile in sympa- 
thy with one, at Elizabeth Fry, Madam Roland, Mar- 
garet Fuller, Miss Dix, Mary Somerville or Florence 
Nightingale, provided that she knew the actual facts 
of their lives and labors? Xot unless she is also an 
imbecile. 

Is there one of the many, many worldly, selfish 
Women, however eager for her fill of admiration and 
applause, who would venture anywhere but in the com- 
pany of fools, to speak light or derogatory words of the 
obscurest or the most brilliant Woman, whose history, 
fairly stated before her auditory, had shown a life of 
earnest, helpful activities ; sympathy for the unfortu- 
nate ; wise guidance to the bewildered ; reverence for 
the rights of all, the lowly as well as the exalted, the 
depraved as well as the innocent ; and ever abiding 
faithfulness to the truth ? If there be I have never met 
her. If you believe otherwise, prove my statement by 
taking up the cause of any such Woman, in the most 
external circle where you find her name introduced ; 
state it with entire fairness but earnestness, and watch 
the vanishing complacency of the shallow faces, as it 
grows before them, through your speech ; see the care- 
less eyes droop, and here and there grow dim with the 
dew of appreciation ; hear the half-breathed or openly 
avowed assent and approval that will echo your own 
feeling, and say then if these Women do not in their 
souls reverence that Woman. I care not that she was 
scoffed at in the day of her action as " strong-minded," 
" unsexed," " forgetful of her sphere," " masculine," 
and so on. Let her but get her work done, and your 
candid relation of it, with whatever scorn or ridicule it 



POPULAR SENTIMENT AND OBSERVATION. 305 

provoked in the doing, shall infallibly command for 
her and yourself a respectful hearing from any circle 
of Women. Her scoffers and abusers will be denounced, 
and she and her narrator will receive acknowledgment 
and sympathy. Because the female soul, whatever the 
evidence of the clacking tongue, always responds to 
noble work and pure purposes; and, seeing, reveres 
them anywhere, in Woman as well as in man — in her 
the more that there has never been a day in -which she 
could perform them, no matter what her capacity, on 
any scale larger than the household or neighborhood 
one, without having first surmounted almost insupera- 
ble difficulties. Thus foolish, thoughtless Women, 
either the young and untaught of experience, or worse, 
the old in years yet still untaught by that matchless 
teacher, may upon provocation, speak lightly or even 
bitterly, of the cotemporary near Woman who disturbs 
the stagnant waters about them ; but their real, inner 
sentiment is not expressed in such speech. They utter 
that in calmer hours of deeper feeling : moments of 
finer insight which come, if ever so rarely, to all ; sea- 
sons when the perceptions, the intellect and the affections 
shine unclouded, as they will temporarily at the worst, 
out of the lives of all Women ; and more than all — 
more profoundly, sacredly and above every manner of 
question, do Women prove their trust in, and love for 
their sex, in their appeal to it for sympathy and under- 
standing in their higher and rarer experiences, whether 
happy or unhappy. However assiduously and unscru- 
pulously they may court the praises or strive for the 
affection of men ; however they may dance idly for 
their admiration, and become, as many do, mere glit- 
tering insects in its shirnng, ^ e ^ me comes ultimately 
when they turn away \ck and unsatisfied, yearning 



300 WCKMAJT ASD HER ERA. 

fat the sympathy of a life capable of addressing itself 
more deeply and religiously to their interior nature. 
And thus in their hours of deep grief or profound hap- 
piness when they mount the peaks flushed with the 
warm light of Hope, or descend into the ralleys still 
and dark with the leaden twilight of suffering, aix 
Wokes make their appeal to Woman. It is ever her 
hand they reach to clasp in theirs, ever a Woman's eye 
which they yearn with aching heart to look into ; ever 
a Woman ? s bosom on which they long to lean for sup- 
port in their anguish, and repose in their happiness. 
Though the lovers homage move her. or the husband's 
noble, pure affection make her count herself the blest 
among women; though the brother s abiding, protective 
love, or the son's reverent, watchful care, enrich and 
content her — every Woman still craves another as the 
sharer of her feelings ; of these no leas than any. The 
best man, and the noblest friend she can possess in the 
other sex, outside of these relations, is insufficient for 
those sacred experiences, which, as they can come only 
to Women, can also only by Women be understood 
and appreciated. And she will accept an inferior female, 
if none other be near, before a noble man, for many 
such confidences, because into the kingdom of her life 
whither she must invite and sit down with the friend 
of that hour, he cannot enter. It must be a sister 
Woman who comes there. 

Moreover, as the slavery of women becomes modi- 
fied through the spread of more liberal ideas of them, 
and a consequent braver self-assertion by the good and 
true, the whole body of intelligent faith in Women 
toward their sex, becomes year by year, broader, more 
firmly knitted, more clear, persistent, tmwavering and 
sustaining. 



POPULAR SENTIMENT AND OBSERVATION. 307 

If we consider that in a perpetuated slavery like 
ours, many of the tendencies to falseness and moral 
dislocation are cumulative from age to age, growing 
into every generation from its own practical experiences, 
and descending by inheritance from each to the next ; 
that not only the natural sentiments and feelings have 
become thus perverted in themselves, but that the 
courage to speak out what social bondage bids us hide, 
can hence be moved, in the mass of Women, only by a sup- 
port which assures them of sympathy ; and that we have 
but just reached that point of Revolution within the 
second quarter of this Nineteenth century when Ideas 
can come to our aid and emancipation, no earnest lover 
of our sex can fail to find in its position to-day, abun- 
dant cause for rejoicing, and rich inspiration to noble 
faith in its future. Within fifty years, to go no farther 
back, Woman has done for herself a vast work — an in- 
itiative work, of which the consequences can, at present, 
be but imperfectly estimated by the most prophetic soul. 
And, while we cannot forget that this Revolution has 
its foundations in the preceding labors of man — the dis- 
coveries, sciences, arts and systems which he has 
developed — so neither ought it to be forgotten that our 
deepest need of it also springs from him — his selfish- 
ness, his love of power, his coldness to justice — the pro- 
fessed law of his era — and his forgetfulness of equal 
rights. The systems and conditions to be revolution- 
ized are the fruits of his sovereignty, and the remote 
truths upon which the approaching revolution is based, 
are of his discovery ; but it is Woman who must make 
their application, and follow them up to their high 
sources, in the divine of her own nature, and the 
higher divine to which she is of nearer kindred than 
man. It is she who. must show of them fairer flowers 



310 WOMAS A3TD fl£R EBA. 

they survey their future — the keen, religions purpose 
of realization which animates thousands of them, and 
the growing pride in the leaders of these movements, 
now liberally expressed in lien of the derision, contempt, 
and jeering of twenty years gone, and you will see 
that the sentiment of the sex toward its representatives 
amply justifies their faith, as Women, in the cause they 
are conducting. 

Even women who take the dicta of men chiefly, for 
what is respectable, are not now ashamed to approve 
the female Poets and Artists; the Authors and Reform- 
ers; the Doctors and Ministers; the Philanthropists 
and Travelers; the Printers and Engravers; nor to 
second the entrance of females upon any walk of lite 
or occupation, no matter how exclusively held hereto- 
fore by men — provided that it has been well proved by 
a few self-poised, heroic women, that it is possible to 
succeed in it without being a man, or becoming mas- 
culine. For, after all discussion of spheres and places, 
in the long run, success in any position is warrant for 
takvng it, and compels respect to its occupant, whether 
woman or man. 

And thus every Woman is a revolutionist, to the 
extent that she innovates the old, narrow standards, 
whether in practical doing or theoretical statement, 
thereby augmenting the self-respect, self-reliance and 
resolution of her sex, and their respect for their true 
representative Woman, in whatever capacity she may 
appear to claim it. Urging her way bravely to success, 
she enlarges the measure of mutual trust and sympathy 
among Women ; gives additional courage to the faint- 
hearted ; firmness to the doubtin : decision to the 
vacillating ; and earnestness to t e idle, sycophantic 
hangers-on by man's exclusive pretensions. 



CONTENTS 



PART I. 

CHAPTER I. * 
General View. 

PA01 

Truth the grand aim of the human mind, - - - - 9 

Its two great divisions, Subjective and Objective Truth. 
These defined and illustrated. Objective Truths ap- 
pear in Forms and Phenomena — Subjective Truths in 
the human being — The orderly statement of Truths, with 
their Facts, Science, ------ 10 

Intuitive and Inductive Methods of arriving at Truth. Uni- 
versality of the former, in affording first perceptions of 
Truth to the human mind. One of these the truth of 
the superiority of the Feminine over the Masculine, - 13 

How Truths reveal themselves to Man — their order of coming 
— the Philosophers and Metaphysicians. Gall. His 
Method, and his System. Value of the Metaphysical 
works, 17 

Science of Humanity, the youngest of the Sciences. Our 
work and methods, Civil, Social and Religious, before its 
advent. Conflict between the Material and the Spiritual 
Methods and tendencies. Their final harmony and utter 
coalescence of results inevitable, 23 

Signs of this stage already apparent. Recognition of Woman 
the very highest and clearest of these. To define and 
establish this, the object of the present work, - - 25 
14 



314 CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER II. 
Organic Argument. 



PAOI 



The Syllogism, -.-. ---25 

Revolutionary Character of the New Idea of Woman, - - 26 
Nature's testimony in her organization, 29 

Differentiation proof of exaltation, 30 

Organization a Means to the E nd- of Development, - - 36 
Functional Capacity the object of elaboration in living 

structures, 37 

General Physiological Argument — Definition of Phy- 
siology: Animal and Vegetable; Comparative, and 
Masculine and Feminine Physiology, - - - - 38 
Sex a grade of Development, - 39 
Relative importance of Masculine and Feminine to offspring. 
Reasons for believing the latter most potent, when de- 
veloped, 41 

Why Men have not discovered these reasons, 54 

Procreation the highest function of life. Reasons for be- 
lieving that the Feminine gives life, and the Masculine 

Nutriment, 55 

Physiological changes in the Feminine, ... 56 

The three physiological periods of Woman, proof of her or- 
ganic exaltation. Character of these periods, and change 

from one to the other discussed, 58 

The latest of them and how she approaches it. Impossibility 
of Man's understanding it, or sympathizing with her Ex- 
periences, except from an intellectual point of view, - 67 
Old Age in Woman. The " Old Woman" and Woman. The 
last period the highest and richest of her life — that of 
regenerative or spiritual, as distinguished from genera- 
tive or corporeal maternity, - - - - 72 

Testimony of the Nerve Structure. Draper on Nerve- 
matter, and its value in the living being. Intra-Cranial 
and Extra Cranial systems. Masculine and Feminine 
compared, - - - - - - 74 

Woman's comparative size and quality of brain. Tiedemann, 76 
Her special Nerve-Endowments, and the susceptibility accom- 
panying them, - - - - - -78 



C0NTENT8. 315 

PAOl 

Remarks on Feminine Pathology. Feminine Pathology pre- 
supposes Feminine Physiology. The law, Size, cet. 
par. : a Measure of Power applied to the Masculine and 
Feminine structures, to determine their offices and spheres 
ofaction, - - - - - - -81 

Nature and methods of each, as exhibited by this law. Wo- 
man not Man in natural character, any more than in or- 
ganization. Her development not to come through liken- 
ing herself to him, - - - - - 89 

Honored Matkrnity condition precedent of permanency 
in Civilization, and of enduring social growth. Illustra- 
tions ; American Aborigines. Egypt, Greece and Rome, 
in their treatment of Woman. Maternity to crown all 
and subordinate all to its perfect performance, - - 93 

Susceptibility an organic feature of the Feminine through 

its superior nerve-gifts. Definition, - - - 94 

The strong-minded Woman, is the Woman who lacks it. Its 
common manifestation in Women, and its normal use in 
Woman, - - - - - - 90 

Rudimentary Organs : their natural language. Prophetic of 
a higher being, in whom they will be carried up to the 
functional stage of development, - - - 99 

The Mammae in the Masculine human a Rudiment — Mr. 
Darwin. Reasons for supposing that there is no rudi- 
mentary part in the organization of Woman, - - 102 

Beauty of Woman a proof of her exaltation above Man. Its 
universal language in the kingdoms of Nature — In 
those of life. Superior beauty of the Female among the 
lower animals. Dr. Redfield on this question, - - 106 

Human faces — beard of Man and the delicacy of the Femi- 
nine countenance; their respective positions broadly 
hinted at in this difference alone, - - - 107 

Resume of the Organic Argument, and Conclusion that Wo- 
man is the NATURAL SOVEREIGN OF THE LIFE OF OUR 
GLOBE, 109 



3Jv$ C03T23TS- 

part rr. ""■ 

C HlPTiR I. 
ftni'WOdi li^jjri it. 
Moral Snpcrioruy of Woman, - - - - 115 

Th* .^v«uvji«m, - ^ - - - - na 

Pow«*r : it» significance in die life. Powers; their relations 

to Development; - 117 

Moral claims for Woman, harmonized with what has been 
shown of her Organic 3nperinrxtT. Appeal fhr proof chat 
die attributed or deduced character is her erne one, - 130 

Zvn>m&cB op yi7TH<Kjv,r. The gods and goddesses. Their 

Character and offices, - 12J> 

EprnitxcR op Thiu>l<v;7 : T, The Old Dispensation- — Genesis 
examined — Eve 7 * conduct considered in a somewhat new 
light — The narrative speaks for it*ei£ and is clear and 
plain a* to the moral superiority of die Woman in Eden, 145 

IT, New Dispensation, Woman"* pare in introducing U 
on the earth, Mary and Peter as types of Feminine and 
Masculine, in their attitude toward the Christian troths 
and practices, -------- 146 

CHAPTER IL 

Esthetic Ak;it*ejt, 
1, Painting and Sculpture, - - - - 152 

Some general remarks- Reasons why die testimony in this 
department of inquiry is scanty. Woman the Inspira- 
tion of the Artist, - 154 
Reverence with which it treats her. Art likens Masculine to 
1'eminine, in refining and exalting it; bat merer Femi- 
nine to Masculine, save to exhibit degeneracy or hard- 
ness. Angelic the recognized type of the Feminine, 
Michael Angekt's Last Judgment, - - - 156 
IF, Poetry, like Painting and .Sculpture, an unconscious wit- 
ness to the superior exaltation of the Feminine. Why to, 160 
fthakspeare as witness— Character of bis genius. His treat- 
ment of Woman, - - - - 164 
Hpenser's recognition of her. Why clearer. Extracts from 
►Spenser, Wordsworth, Shelley, Schiller, Lowell, Tenny- 
son, Hough, Bailey, Jcwsbary, Guanoing, Patmore, 



31 8 CONTENTS. 

SECTION II. 

PAGE 

Sentiment of Women toward Women; of Woman toward 
Women, and of Both toward Woman. 

Difference between "Women and Woman. How it appears 
in the actual life of both, ... - 284 

Some reasons why Women io not rise to the condition of 
Woman. The worship enjoined upon girls, which holds 
them to the estate of Women, - - - - 287 

Doctor Mayo's View of American Women. Self-condemna- 
tion felt by those who remain in the inferior condition, 293 

Reverence of Woman for Womanhood; her perception of it, 
even when latent. Her exalted character; sympathy 
with her sex, tenderness, compassion, and care for infe- 
rior and erring Women. Her value of identity in Con- 
sciousness and Experience, making her appreciative of 
her sex, whatever its outward condition, - - 290 

What she also requires in Women, ... 298 

How Woman inevitably commands acknowledgment from 
both sexes, and is revered by them. Effect of time and 
distance in softening criticism upon her and her work, 
and elevating her to reverential affection. Mrs. Grundy, 
who would be offended by brave work in a Woman, 
her neighbor or contemporary, becomes admiring when 
it is removed to another continent or generation, - - 306 

What Woman has done for herself in breaking the chains of 
her immemorial slavery. She is to lead her own Revo- 
lution, because it is made for the highest life on the 
globe, and consequently for the largest Freedom that 
any mortal being can exercise. Woman necessarily a 
revolutionist, the moment she departs in any worthy 
direction from the old subjugation, - - -310 



316 CONTENTS. 

PA6X 

PAKT II. 

CHAPTER I. 

Religious Argument. 
Moral Superiority of "Woman, - - - 115 

The Syllogism, - - - - - -116 

Power ; its significance in the life. Powers ; their relations 
to Development, - - - - - -117 

Moral claims for Woman, harmonized with what has been 
shown of her Organic Superiority. Appeal for proof that 
the attributed or deduced character is her true one, - 120 

Evidence of Mythology. -The gods and goddesses. Their 
Character and offices, . - - 129 

Evidence of Theology : I, The Old Dispensation — Genesis 
examined — Eve's conduct considered in a somewhat new 
light — The narrative speaks for itself, and is clear and 
plain as to the moral superiority of the "Woman in Eden, 145 

II, New Dispensation. Woman's part in introducing it 
on the earth. Mary and Peter as types of Feminine and 
Masculine, in their attitude toward the Christian truths 
and practices, - • 146 

CHAPTER II. 

Esthetic Argument. 

I, Painting and Sculpture, - - - - 152 
Some general remarks. Reasons why the testimony in this 

department of inquiry is scanty. Woman the Inspira- 
tion of the Artist, - - - - 154 
Reverence with which it treats her. Art likens Masculine to 
Feminine, in refining and exalting it; but never Femi- 
nine to Masculine, save to exhibit degeneracy or hard- 
ness. Angelic the recognized type of the Feminine. 
Michael Angelo's Last Judgment, - - - 156 

II, Poetry, like Painting and Sculpture, an unconscious wit- 

ness to the superior exaltation of the Feminine. Why so, 160 
Shakspeare as witness — Character of his genius. His treat- 
ment of Woman, - - - 164 
Spenser's recognition of her. Why clearer. Extracts from 
Spenser, Wordsworth, Shelley, Schiller, Lowell, Tenny- 
son, Clough, Bailey, Jewsbury, Channing, Patmore, 



CONTENTS. 317 

PAOH 

Masscy, and others. Conclusion — Art, which achieves 
the clearest seeing of Woman, acknowledges and honors 
the Feminine in Man or Woman, in proportion to its dis- 
tinct and pure Feminine character, ... 187 

CHAPTER III. 
Historic Argument. 

General glance at Historic Aims and Methods. Why it must 

neglect Woman while these remain what they are, - 190 

Mr. Buckle. His trust in the Intellect. Relation of the In- 

tellect to Truth. Relation of the Spiritual nature to Truth, 193 

Reasons for Woman's inferior position, and infrequent ap- 
pearance in History, ..... 195 

Illustrations from History and living Women, - - 250 

Conclusion of Historic Argument, .... 254 

CHAPTER IV. 
Popular Sentiment and Common Observation. 

section i . 
Testimony of Man's Sentiment as to Woman's Rank. 
Pre-existence of human sentiment to all forms of its expression, 255 
Love makes every man an Artist during its reign over him. 

Through it he sees the Ideal, ... - 257 

His language as a lover. Illustrative Extracts, - - 263 

Woman naturally the ruler or Mistress, in love, - - 264 

Man's love is Loyalty. Woman's Devotion. Definition and 

application of these terms, .... 267 

What men require and need from Women in love experiences, 269 
How Woman receives the homage of Man, and why its often 
extravagant language does not offend her inner Con- 
sciousness, that she is personally unworthy of it, - 271 
Absurdity of her addressing him in like terms, or in any way 
expressing feelings of the same character. What each 
expects of the other, ..... 275 

Friendship between Men and Women. Its character and 
influence on the former. Why it has not oftoner ex- 
isted and been more freely acknowledged. All minor 
forms of affection bear the same testimony that we have 
seen in the major. Strength of this correlative testi- 
mony for Woman, ..... 279 




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