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Full text of "Women's suffrage : the reform against nature"

Ui$fvGrsity of California, 

: H LIBRARY OF 

U FRANCIS LIEBER, 

Frofes-or of History nijd Law in Columbia College, New York 



THE GIFT OP 



MICHAEL REESE 

Of San Fran, 
1ST 3. 



(JQ tW V 






( 



c. 



"^^ 










WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE. 



WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE; 



REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 



HORACE BUSHNELL. 
\\ 



JTEW JORK : 

CHARLES SCRIBNER AND COMPANY. 

1869. 



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1869, 

By CHARLES SCRIBNER & Co., 

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for 
the Southern District of New York. 



TO THE PUBLIC. 



It is not to be supposed that this little volume has finished 
the argument of a subject so large, and, in former times, so entirely 
unattempted. If it brings the question to some fixed issue, taking 
it away from the mere chance-working it has had hitherto, it 
will have done the service proposed. And if the projected re- 
form is totally different from all other reforms, in the times gone 
by, in the fact that it is a reform against nature an attempt to 
make trumpets out of flutes, and sun-flowers out of violets, the 
discovery can not be difficult, and it will save us much trouble 
if it is made soon. 

I take pleasure in acknowledging my obligations to Rev. Mr. 
Alger, hi his book on the Friendships of "Women, for a good 
many historic facts and references that would otherwise have 
cost me much labor. Also, to Rev. George B. Bacon, of Orange, 
New Jersey, for the history of "Women's Suffrage in that State. 

I do not propose to continue this discussion, but to abide the 
criticisms laid upon me with what of patience I am able. 



ACKNOWLEDGMENT. 



For once I will dare to break open one of the 
customary seals of silence, by inscribing this 
little book to the woman I know best and 
most thoroughly ; having been overlapped, as 
it were, and curtained in the same conscious- 
ness for the last thirty-six years. If she is 
offended that I do it without her consent, I 
hope she may get over the offense shortly, 
as she has a great many others that were 
worse. She has been with me in many weak- 
nesses and some storms, giving strength alike 
in both ; sharp enough to see my faults, faithful 
enough to expose them, and considerate enough 
to do it wisely; shrinking never from loss, or 
blame, or shame to be encountered in any 
thing right to be done ; adding great and high 
instigations instigations always to good, and 
never to evil mistaken for good ; forecasting 
always things bravest and best to be done, 
and supplying inspirations enough to have 



made a hero, if they had not lacked the timber. 
If I have done any thing well, she has been the 
more really in it that she did not know it, and 
the more willingly also that "having her part 
in it known has not even occurred to her ; 
compelling me thus to honor not less, but 
more, the covert glory of the womanly nature ; 
even as I obtain a distincter, and more won- 
dering apprehension of the divine meanings, 
and moistenings, and countless, unbought min- 
istries, it contributes to this otherwise very 
dry world. 

H. B. 



CONTENTS. 



i. 

Page 

PRELIMINARY QUESTION STATED, 9 



II 
No EIGHT OF SUFFRAGE ABSOLUTE IN MAN OR WOMAN, 32 

III. 
WOMEN NOT CREATED OR CALLED TO GOVERN, .... 49 

IY. 
SCRIPTURE DOCTRINE COINCIDES, 73 

V. 
SUBTLE MISTAKES OF FEELING AND ARGUMENT, ... 88 

VI. 
THE REPORT OF HISTORY, 110 

YII. 
PROBABLE EFFECTS, 134 

YIII. 

PROSPECTS AND POSSIBILITIES OF WOMEN. . 164 



WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE. 



i. 

PKELIMINARY. QUESTION STATED. 

IF we do not know how it is, or why, we do at 
least know the fact^that power somehow naturally 
runs to oppression.^ We oppress the animals ; we 
oppress the wild untutored species of our own race ; 
rulers take it for long ages as their divine right 
to oppress their subjects ; even the church of God 
has been a mighty hunter of its people in the 
name of love ; and in much the same manner it 
will be seen that the whole male half of the race, 
having power to do it, have been piling weights of 
disability and depression on the female half. Prob- 
ably it can not be said that man has undertaken 
purposely to be the oppressor of woman he would 
scorn the impeachment ; protesting, on the con- 
trary, his natural admirations, his zeal to serve and 
protect, the profuseness of his attentions, and the 
unstinted tribute of respect and deference he is 
always wont to render. And yet, little as he 
means it, he is nevertheless gravitating steadily 



10 

toward some practice of wrong against the sex ; 
laying up usages that are oppressive, maxims un- 
just, laws of really despotic mastership ; all, it would 
seem, because the wrong is in him and, having the 
power, must needs be somehow issued in the deed ; 
even though he disavows it and protests he would 
not have it. 

In this manner it results that the lot of woman 
comes to be a lot of abridgment and suppression, 
much more commonly than we have been ob- 
serving ourselves. As our attention is called to 
the matter, and we become more completely 
awake to it, we are surprised to find how many 
disadvantages are laid upon the condition of 
woman that no principle of equity permits, and 
no pretense of reason or necessity justifies. It 
does not surprise us that, in the savage and bar- 
barous forms of society, she is reduced to the lot 
of a menial or drudge and well nigh to a beast of 
burden ; or that she is bought and sold for mar- 
riage, apart from any right of consent, and con- 
signed in this manner to a husband whose power 
is a power of life and death. All such monstrous 
kinds of wrong we expect to encounter in the bar- 
baric conditions of society. But the real wonder 
now forcing itself upon our discovery, is that our 
own deliberately adjusted laws and institutions 
are so often unequal, as regards the property rights 
of men and women and the redress of their per- 
sonal wrongs ; that women are so often excluded, 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 11 

whether by law or public usage, from modes of 
employment and productive industry that are 
equally appropriate or even more appropriate to 
them ; that having thus only about one-third the 
number of employments that men have, they are 
penned, as it were, before that third, and create a 
competition that reduces their wages to the small- 
est pittance penned of course for unrighteous 
prey, in whatever manner the terrible stringency 
of their lot, may be said in a sense to compel. 
Looking over this whole chapter of our civil and 
social state, we are mortified to find how largely it 
is a chapter of wrongs, or of only half vindicated 
rights. At one time we get angry, at another we 
can do nothing but take our doses of shame in 
silence. But the anger and the shame are both 
salutary ; for they are stirring us up to a more and 
more determined purpose of redress. The true 
basis of relationship between the sexes, is going 
now to be thoroughly investigated, and we shall not 
rest again till it is cleared and established. 

Of course there is nothing to be gained by any 
overstatement of the wrongs of woman, or by any 
demands that exceed the proportion of their 
powers and conditions. It is nothing that they 
can not get as high wages as men, when they can 
not do as much, or do it as well. It is nothing 
that they can not get the wages of rugged and 
dangerous employments, in such as are gentle and 
delicate. It is nothing that in great poverty, sin- 



12 

gle women or women having families are brought 
into conditions of unspeakable severity ; the same 
is true of men, and we do not expect them to sink 
mournfully or moaningly under their lot, but to 
bravely bear, and dig, and climb till they are free. 
No better chance for poor women can ever be 
asked ; or if it is they will never get it ; and it will 
always be possible, both for poor discouraged men 
to justify rushing into the very worst and vilest 
trades to get their bread, and for poor discouraged 
women to justify their imbrutement in a specially 
disgusting livelihood permitted by their sex. The 
only way, in all such unfavoring conditions and 
straits of peril, both for women and for men, and for 
one as truly as for the other, is to suffer patiently 
and fight bravely ; and thank God women are at 
least equal in this kind of capacity. Again, it is 
nothing that women, sewing women for example, 
are not helped directly in the matter of their wages 
by legal enactment, any more than that men are 
not there is no such possibility as a legally ap- 
pointed rate of wages ; market price is the only 
scale of earning possible for women as for men. 
The only help that can be given them is a wider 
range of employments, and personal additions of 
character and capacity, that will put their services 
in a higher rate of estimation. Education more 
advanced will give a more advanced capacity, and 
the educated eye and hand will do a better and 
more valuable service. Besides, the rate of wages 



THE KEFOEM AGAINST NATURE. 13 

depends in a considerable degree, on the amount 
of personality in the workers, and the estimate 
had of their quality. If women have sometimes 
been depressed by sex legislation, they will not 
have the damage repaired by any beneficiary sex 
legislation that gives them artificial and really 
forced advantages. 

"We have made a good and right beginning al- 
ready in the matter of education, and the benefi- 
cent results that come along with our new codes 
of training are even a surprise to us ; compelling 
us to rectify a great many foolish prejudices that 
we supposed to be sanctioned as inevitable wis- 
dom, by long ages of experience. The joining, 
for example, of the two sexes in common studies 
and a common college life what could be more 
un-university-like, and, morally speaking, more 
absurd $/) And, as far as the young women are 
concerned, what could be more unwomanly and 
really more improper ! I confess, with some mor- 
tification, that when the thing was first done, I 
was not a little shocked even by the rumor of it. 
But when, by and by, some fifteen years ago, I 
drifted into Oberlin and spent a Sunday there, I 
had a new chapter opened that has cost me the 
loss of a considerable cargo of wise opinions, all 
scattered in loose wreck never again to be gath- 
ered. I found that the old church idea of a col- 
lege (collegium), where youths of the male sex 
were gathered to the cloisters of their male teach- 



14 

ers, the monks, and where any sight and thought 
of a woman approaching the place was conceived 
to be a profanation, was itself a dismal imposture, 
and a kind of total lie against every thing most 
beneficent in the bisexual order of our existence. 
I learned, for the first time, what it means that 
the sexes, not merely as by two-and-two, but as a 
large open scale of society, have a complementary 
relation, existing as helps to each other, and that 
humanity is a disjointed creature running only to 
waste and disorder, where they are put so far 
asunder as to leave either one or the other, in a 
properly monastic and separate state. Here were 
gathered for instruction large numbers of pupils, 
male and female, pursuing their studies together 
in the same classes and lessons, under the same 
teachers ; the young women deriving a more pro- 
nounced and more positive character in their men- 
tal training from association with young men in 
their studies, and the young men a closer and 
more receptive refinement and a more deli- 
cate habitual respect to what is in personal 
life, from their associations with young women. 
The discipline of the institution, watchful as 
it properly should be, was yet a kind of si- 
lence, and was practically null being carried 
on virtually by the mutually qualifying and re 
straining powers of the sexes over each other. 
There was scarcely a single case of discipline, or 
almost never more than one, occurring in a year. 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 15 

In particular there was no such thing known as 
an esprit du corps in deeds of mischief, no con- 
spiracies against order and the faculty, no bold 
prominence in evil aspired to, no lying proudly 
done for the safety of the clan, no barbarities of 
hazing perpetrated. And so the ancient, tradi- 
tional, hell-state of college life, and all the im- 
mense ruin of character propagated by the club- 
law of a stringently male or monastic association, 
was totally escaped and put away. What we see 
occurring always, where males are gathered in a 
society by themselves, whether in the prison, or 
the shop, or the school, or the army every be- 
ginning of the esprit du corps in evil is kept 
under, shamed away, made impossible by the 
association of the gentler sex, who can not- co- 
operate in it, and can not think of it with re- 
spect. 

And what so long ago was proved by this 
earliest experiment, has since been proved a 
dozen or twenty times over by other experi- 
ments under other forms of religion, as well as 
under all varieties of literary culture and social 
atmosphere. Thus if any one should imagine 
that the success of this first trial at Oberlin was 
due to the particular, very strongly pronounced 
type of religions influence there established, he 
may hear President Mann, of the Unitarian Col- 
lege at Antioch, where also the two sexes were 
combined in the same studies, uniting in the 



16 

testimony "We have the most orderly, sober, 
diligent, exemplary institution in the country. 
We passed through the last term and are more 
than half through the present ; and I have not 
had occasion to make a single entry of any mis- 
demeanor in our record book not a case for any 
serious discipline. There is no rowdyism in the 
village, no nocturnal rampages making night 
hideous. All is quiet, peaceful ; and the women 
of the village feel the presence of our students, 
when met in the streets in the evening, to be a 
protection rather than an exposure. It is almost 
five years since I came here, and, as yet, I have 
had no practical joke or college prank, as they 
are called, played upon me not in a single in- 
stance." A very intelligent writer in the West- 
minster Iteview, acquainted with this and with 
many other colleges, testifies to the decisive supe- 
riority here in moral behavior, and puts double 
honor on the name before so transcendently hon- 
ored, by saying, in a touch of pleasantry, that 
"male students were first called gentlemen at 
Antioch." 

The experiment of joining the two sexes in the 
same studies, and composing in that manner the 
society of college life, has now been carried far 
enough, I think, to show that it is the only plan 
which is really according to nature. Whether the 
colleges and universities of the old monastic type 
will change in their organizations, so as to claim 



THE BEFOBM AGAINST NATURE. 17 

their advantages in the better way discovered, re- 
mains to be seen. Perhaps they would not do it 
if they could, and perhaps they can not do it if 
they would. It remains, in either case, to be seen 
whether they have benefits of any kind, sufficient 
to compensate for their moral disadvantages, and 
so to keep them still in existence. 

The two sexes brought together in this manner, 
it is hardly necessary to say, will be rapidly discov- 
ering their true scale of merit. It matters little 
whether they are found to be equal or unequal in 
their talent of scholarship ; for it does not follow 
that the greatest facility of acquirement will be is- 
sued in the greatest power, or will even be felt as hav- 
ing now the greatest practical breadth and volume. 
Enough, that both sexes will better understand, 
and more respect each other, and will learn to 
take their relative places more exactly and grace- 
fully. That they have in fact a complementary 
nature one to the other, will be distinctly felt, and 
all but visibly seen ; and the college itself, in its 
double combination of male and female impulse, 
will be only a more complete man or humanity, 
than it otherwise could be. The male talent, and 
the female, will be a great deal more exactly ap- 
prehended than they have been. It will even be 
seen that sex is predicable of talent as of organi- 
zation, and both sexes of mind will be receiving 
qualities and contributions from each other in 
their cross relations, such as answer with general 



18 

exactness to the husbanding and meet helping of 
the marriage bond itself. 

Educated on this footing of equality, women 
.... will very soon escape their unrighteous disabilities, 
and obtain a place in the scale of estimation that 
exactly corresponds with their personal weight and 
capacity, and more than that they have no right 
to ask. Employments will be open to them just 
according to what they are best qualified to do, and 
their wages, like the wages also of men, will be in 
the exact compound ratio of what they can do, and 
what they personally are. And as what they per- 
sonally are includes a great deal of favor to their 
woman's look and voice, they will scarcely miss 
the full reward of their industry. 

As they have been educated with men, they will 
also become educators with men, and if they can 
fill the highest, most responsible places of manage- 
ment and presiding trust, they must and will ob- 
tain such places, and the rewards that men have 
in the same. They will have professorships allow- 
ed them, such as they can more appropriately fill 
not of mechanical philosophy perhaps, or chem- 
istry, or metallurgy, or fortification, but of the 
languages, of botany, of moral science, and, not 
improperly, of the exact mathematics. 

Meantime, the different learned professions will 
be opened a certain way, at least, in offers of en- 
gagement, as the profession of medicine is doing 
now. The practice of medicine is, to a great ex- 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 19 

tent, proper to women as to men, and is often a 
great deal more proper to women. In cases of 
surgery, the steady and firm hand of a man is 
indispensable. At the same time, a great many 
cases occur where, over and above the necessary 
proprieties of sex, a practice is wanted that com- 
bines both nursing and medicine, and for all such 
cases a female physician is even required. That 
we have educated female physicians already in the 
field, engaged in a large and lucrative practice is, 
in this view, a matter of fair congratulation. It 
will do no harm, but will properly gladden a great 
many friends of humanity, if their number is large- 
ly increased. 

Our women are less forward in claiming a place 
in the legal profession, though, in one or two cases 
a preparation for it is reported as now begun. 
Perhaps it may some time be discovered that the 
proper work of this profession is capable of being 
divided, or set in two departments, one of which 
is altogether suitable for women. First, there is a 
silent, in-door, office work, that includes the inves- 
tigation of authorities and the citation of prece- 
dents ; the framing of legal documents, such as 
deeds, contracts, pleadings, and the like ; the 
notary-public functions; and, why not often? 
the clerkships of courts of record. In the sec- 
ond will be classed the out-door hunt of crimes, 
frauds, and disguised ownerships ; the uncovering 
and preparing of evidences; the advocacies and 



20 WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE ; 

public litigations of causes. This second depart- 
ment is only for men ; for, whatever we may 
think of their talents, women are quite out of 
place in this kind of engagement. ~No doubt they 
often have the talent necessary to maintain, or 
manage a cause. The wonderful adroitness and 
persistency and more than lawyer-like resource, 
or insight of law, displayed by Mrs. Gaines in the 
conduct of her suit, are sufficient evidence of this. 
But the battle she maintained was to vindicate 
her own right, not that of another ; and perhaps 
she was saved, by this fact, from some of the very 
disagreeable personal effects that would other- 
wise have followed, ; Still, we have good right to 
say that, if we will have women left us and not 
mere female men, there is no woman who can 
pitch herself into the wrangle, and debate, and 
vehement fight of a bar, and do it for a living, 
i without becoming a virago shortly. Her eye, her 
j look, her voice, her impetuous action will suggest 
la? knife-blade edge sooner than some would think. 
The soft lines will vanish ; the music that was 
will be sharpened to clangor, the bold air will dis- 
miss the modesty, and the general expression will 
, be a caution ! have a caution ! " Saying nothing 
of the change which has cost us a woman, the un- 
making she suffers in her voice and manners, will 
reduce her shortly, without fail, to a very un- 
popular, ineffective advocate. And it would be 
even a greater mistake for her to think of being a 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 21 

more qualified judge, because of the finer equity 
of her womanly dispositions. Indeed it is a con- 
siderable part of her incapacity that she is not 
wicked enough to sift, expose, and vigorously 
score the lying tricks of evidence. Besides, wo- 
men lack authority, and never bear it well when 
they assume it. A judge who has nerve to sup- 
port the even poise of authority during all the in- 
tricacies of a whole week's trial, must be more 
than a remarkable woman therefore a kind of 
Hadamanthus, somewhat manlier than a man. 

But if women are allowed to find a sphere open, 
in the office- work side of the legal profession, it 
will be a very great advantage gained for them 
as regards the range of their employment, even 
though they should consent to have no part in the 
litigant operations of courts and causes. It would 
give them also a more prominent and distinctly 
admitted place in the world of business. 

Precisely what is allowable, or not allowable, 
to women, as regards the clerical profession, it 
may not be easy to determine ; only it is clear as 
need be that a much larger and more forward 
operation is permissible, without damage to the 
Christian order, and with real advantage to the 
Christian cause. We have 'many more Christian 
women than Christian men ; their piety ranges 
higher, and they have many of them higher gifts 
of experience, and practically speaking, a more in- 
structed insight of the Christian truth and life. 



22 WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE ; 

They pray more and commonly know better how 
to pray. They do more volunteer work. So 
richly gifted, have we still no use to make of them, 
better than to put an extinguisher on them and keep 
them in suppression ? If we think we are detained 
by Scripture usage and law, we can at least ful- 
fill the Scripture usage, and make deaconesses of 
them. And if we can make three or four of them 
deaconesses, we can, with as little disorder, make 
a much greater number if we please, and set them 
forth on missions of public service ; as Phebe the 
deaconess of the church at Cenchrea was sent, in 
that manner, to Rome. And if they used their 
office well, would they not u purchase to themselves 
a good degree and great boldness in the faith," 
even as the deacons might in theirs ? A single 
glance in this direction shows that a large field is 
here open to the ministrations of Christian women, 
a much larger field than, as yet, they have been 
called to occupy. 

As regards the ministry of the word, or the 
matter of public speaking in the churches, it is 
very evident that what Paul lays down as restric- 
tion in the llth and 14th chapters of his First Epis- 
tle to the Corinthians requiring in the former 
that no woman pray or prophesy with her head 
uncovered, and in the latter that she keep silence 
altogether that all such restriction is now gone by, 
in the going by of the particular specified reasons 
in which it was based ; viz.: the public " shame " 

\ 



THE EEFOBM AGAINST JSTATUKE. 23 

I 

or scandal it would be to religion, under the then 
accepted laws of womanly modesty, and the current 
impressions of disgrace incurred and decency viola- 
ted, when these laws are disregarded. " Shame," 
and again " shame," is the consideration on which 
he turns his argument for restriction, first in one 
rad then in the other. But we of the present 
age have no longer any feeling that a woman 
throws off her modesty because she speaks un- 
veiled ; though, in Turkey and some other parts 
of the world, that feeling may still prevail. We 
have still our likes and dislikes, in one degree or 
another, to the public speaking of women in all 
sorts of assemblies ; but almost nobody imagines 
that a woman who simply prays in the Spirit, or 
takes what Jeremy Taylor calls " the liberty of 
prophesying," in public meetings for religion, is 
therefore broken loose from the proper restraints 
of delicacy. It is our general conviction that 
scenes of battle and high wrestling are not foi 
women, and that when they go in to wrangle thus 
with men, they had much better be somewhere 
else ; but nobody has ever observed that Lucretia 
Mott, or any speaker of the Quaker sisterhood, 
long practiced in the prophesying of the Spirit, 
has been hardening in voice, or look, or becoming 
in any respect less womanly. So far the restric- 
tions of the " shame " are gone by, and the right 
of speaking for religion, under the inspirations of 
religion, belongs apparently to women as to men 



And if women have gifts that qualify them spe- 
cially for such ministrations, there appears to be 
no good reason longer why they should be kept 
under the ban of silence. 

But the question of ministration is one thing, 
and the question of administration another. And 
it is to cut off this, as I understand, that the 
apostle has enjoined it on women to u keep si- 
lence in the churches ; for it is not permitted 
them," he says, " to speak, but to be under obedi- 
ence, as also saith the law." The " speaking " 
here intended, appears to be not exactly prophe- 
sying and praying in the Spirit, for these he ap- 
pears to have just now allowed, under the restric- 
tion of a veil ; but a speaking as in council and au- 
thority a debating of administrative matters, 
where they will put themselves in measure with 
men, and assume a power of leadership which does 
not belong to them is plainly meant to be in- 
cluded. "When, accordingly, we ask how far the 
clerical profession is open, or may be, to women, 
there is no objection to allowing that anything 
which belongs to the quickening, and edifying of 
assemblies in the Spirit may be left open to them ; 
only when we come to matters of church admin- 
istration and presiding rule, these do not come 
within their j urisdiction. They can not, in tru e 
Christian order, be made pastors, or presbyters, or 
bishops ; no one' of the apostles ever heard of such 
a thing. What a catalogue of honorable women 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 25 

does the apostle recite, in the last chapter of his 
Epistle to the Romans : Phebe, " succorer of 
many," including also the apostle himself; Priscil- 
la, named before her husband, as having u periled 
even her own neck," with his, for the apostle's de- 
liverance, " to whom all the churches of the Gen- 
tiles now give thanks ;" " Mary, who bestowed 
much labor " on the apostle himself; Junia, named 
with respect, as having been " in Christ before 
him," and as being now. a character " of note 
among the apostles ;" " Persis who labored much 
in the Lord ;" Rufus' mother whom the great apos- 
tle loves to salute in the title "his mother and 
mine." What homage and respect does he testify 
tp these heroic women, and what estimate does he 
hold of their almost common ministry with him, 
in the word and sacrifice of Jesus ! He had work 
enough for them, such as many of our fastidious 
over-orderly patrons of order are never finding any 
place to allow ; and yet the nearest he ever came 
to putting any one of them in rule, was when he 
allowed a single one of them as a deaconess in her 
little suburban chapel. Our conclusion is, on the 
whole, that, as in the medical and legal professions, 
so in the clerical, there is a large department of 
ministry and service that may properly be open to 
women, though no official right of administration 
or presiding rule is permitted. It is even con- 
ceivable that a considerable number of women, 
fitly trained, should carry on the quickening and 
2 



26 WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE; 

edifying work in as many churches, under the 
presiding oversight and rule of some common 
presbyter or bishop, doing every one of them, it 
m.iy be, a greater and more valued work than he. 
How far we may rightfully and hopefully go in 
setting open to women a wider range of employ- 
ments, and by that means increasing the rate of 
wages for their labor, will here be seen. I might 
dwell, in the same manner, on the advantage they 
will gain and have already gained, by assuming 
their place in the field of art and literary produc- 
tion. What better, higher names can we ask in 
this field than Mrs. Stowe, Margaret Fuller, Gail 
Hamilton, and the long and brilliant train that 
follow in the inspiration of their example, and tlje 
courage raised by their success. All such victo- 
ries gotten by the sex are gotten for the whole sex, 
and even for the humblest and most undistinguish- 
ed members. They are raised universally in per- 
sonal consideration, and more employments at 
higher wages are open to them. And then, the 
more things they do and do well, the more they will 
be called to do. They will take the field of common 
school education largely to themselves, and their 
compensations will be graduated by their service. 
They will get hold of the ideas and laws of busi- 
ness, and their business faculty will be more respect- 
ed. And so they will take a more forward part 
in the trades ; sometimes on their own account, and 
sometimes in the subordinate ranges of clerkship, 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 27 

book-keeping, and the like. They will thus begin ? 
ere long, to conquer places and ranges of business 
from which formerly they were excluded, becom- 
ing, not improperly, managers of hotels, bank-tel- 
lers, brokers, actuaries of insurances, private bank- 
ers, type-setters, overseers of printing. Breaking 
into such new fields, they will cease to crowd 
each other as now, by an over-supply in the mar- 
ket of operative industry ; till finally the poor 
sewing women will obtain some easement of their 
truly hard lot the grace of mitigation will be 
reaching down even to them. They will no more 
work and die as now, but they will begin to work 
and live. I do not say or think that women will 
ever obtain, in the general, as high wages as men, 
partly because the number of their employments 
must be much smaller, and partly because they 
can not always do an equal, or equally perfect 
style of work. 

The great departments of agriculture, engineer- 
ing, and war, seafaring, railroad making, architec- 
ture, machine building, all the heaviest, roughest, 
tensest forms of creative labor are reserved for 
men. Almost any woman would even think it an 
affront to be offered a part in them. Indeed, she 
has neither muscle, nor eye, nor hand, for these 
engagements. How often do we hear it asserted as 
a fact unquestionable and well understood, that 
no sewing woman was ever yet able to make a per- 
fect, gentleman's, coat. Sewing all her life long, 



28 WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE; 

she has never obtained the precision of eye, and 
firm guidance of hand necessary to this very nicely 
combined, delicately complex, really constructive 
whole of stitch-work. And it is only just that 
men should have this advantage ; for if they could 
not excel in the mechanical perfectness and pre- 
cision of all such mechanical labor, they would sink 
to a dishonored grade, as being only the world's male 
drudges, in bearing, as they must, all the rough- 
est offices, and hardest, coarsest forms of service. 
And if women are disposed to complain that they 
can not do as perfect work as men, let them take 
their compensation in the fact that they are ex- 
cused everywhere, except among savages, from the 
hardest, and most nearly animal drudgeries of la- 
bor. And if their works require no such tension 
of faculty as ma} 7 set the exactness of their hand, 
and the firm precision of their motions, it must 
be sufficient for them that a fine flexibility and 
grace of action are left them, to be their special 
ornament. 

It will be understood, of course, in our contriv- 
ances of ways to enlarge the spheres and advance 
the opportunities of women, that they are to be 
carefully defended by the laws, in their rights of 
character, and family, and property. If there is 
no way to adjust the scheme of legal process and 
record in our courts, but to regard the married wo- 
man as femme covert, existing in and under the 
name of her husband, and having no right of suit 



THE KEFOKM AGAINST NATURE. 29 

in her own name ; there must yet be due provi- 
sion made for the complete assertion of her per- 
sonality, and the due protection of her property 
from every sort of encroachment, whether by her 
husband, or by wrong-doers acting in conspiracy 
with him. The law must be law for women, as 
truly as for men. Every thing must be so adjusted, 
if possible, as to remove the liabilities of wrong, 
and fortify the securities of right, and multiply the 
chances of industry for women. If we undertake 
to legislate for them, we must do better for them 
in favor, than they can propose, or dictate, or vote 
for themselves, and bow them gallantly forward 
into all best conditions and positions appropriate 
to their sex. 

What then for this is getting now to be the 
principal and most forward question what are we 
to say or decide in respect to the question of suf- 
frage for women ? Does it follow that in doing all 
which is best, and for the highest possible advan- 
tage of women, we are called to give them an 
equal place with men in the ballot, and the right 
of public office? To this question we are now 
brought, and what I have been saying in this 
present chapter, has been specially designed to 
prepare it in such manner as to place it in the best 
condition for a just settlement. 

Many persons who mistook their ground, in op- 
posing the abolition of slavery, are naturally shy, 
under this new question, of being caught again, 



30 WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE ; 

and are half ready to leap into the gulf of what 
is called the emancipation of women, before they 
can distinctly see the bottom of it. Others again, 
who have all their lives long meant to keep the 
van of human progress and never fall behind, are 
now being pushed on blindly by their mere habit, 
as if there were some real inconsistency in turning 
conservative now. They have a certain dislike 
or distaste for any such holding back of motion, 
and it troubles them that, for some reason, they do 
not feel as ready to go forward as they would ex- 
pect. The very great distinction between reforms 
that go with nature, and reforms that go against 
nature, they do not apprehend distinctly enough 
to have the benefit of it. And just here lies the 
question, we are now to see, of this very great, fear- 
fully momentous question of women's suffrage. 

It is amazing that so many of our writers and 
debaters are able to handle this question so 
lightly. For one, I am never able to look down 
this gulf without a shudder of recoil. I read two 
days ago in the " Nation" newspaper an article 
headed, " Is there suck a thing as sex f" the most 
brilliant and really most complete utterance I have 
anywhere met, and to which I may perhaps recur 
hereafter but there was a single point in the 
conception of it which I could not see, and felt to 
be even dangerously false. The writer wanted us 
to look on this matter tentatively; saying, in effect, 
" go on, make approaches, carry out the reform 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 31 

by stages, and make it sure, that you are not too far 
on your way, whenever you may wish to retrace 
your steps." But the terrible thing about this re- 
vocare graduvn is that there is no such possibility. 
Women having once gotten the polls will have 
them to the end, and if we precipitate our Ameri- 
can society down this abyss, and make a final 
wreck of our public virtue in it, that is the end of 
our new-born, more beneficent civilization. The 
race must now look for some other and second new 
world where shall it be found that can set on 
foot still another and better experiment. Our sun 
is set ; is there any other sun to rise 2 



32 



n. 



NO RIGHT OF SUFFRAGE ABSOLUTE IN MAN OR 
WOMAN. 

IN a campaign raised for women's suffrage, it 
was to be expected that the argument would take 
its beginning at our American doctrine of rights ; 
or, as is sometimes put, of equal rights, natural 
rights, rights of natural equality. Probably the 
proposed reform itself is due to an over-absolute, 
uncritical reception of that doctrine ; being only 
a fair extension, or logically right version of it. 
However this may be, the advocates of women's 
suffrage are quite innocent, doubtless, of an} 
suspicion that these and other like phrases, cur- 
rent in our green age of statesmanship, are more 
pretentious than solid, and take us more by their 
sound than by any properly discovered meaning. 
And they have as good right to hold them in faith, 
and draw them into their particular applications, 
as many others have to hold them in the same 
faith, and yet eschew the applications. 

If we desire to know exactly what merit or 
meaning there may be in these famous declara- 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 33 

tions of rights, equalities, compacts, con sen tings 
of the governed through majorities, and the like, 
we must take the lesson where the lesson was first 
taken. After long ages of priestcraft and prince- 
craft in royal and noble families, ages of wrong 
and crushing absolutism, under pretext even of 
divine right, certain forward minds began to be 
stirred with a natural detestation. They were 
such men as Rousseau and Yoltaire and others, 
sometimes called malignants ; otherwise, philoso- 
phers, free-thinkers, agitators for liberty. They 
hated government royalty that is, and aristoc- 
racy as a shocking insult and fraud, and hated 
religion as the stupendous lie that seasoned and 
sanctified the fraud ; assuming that what they saw 
of government was government, and what they 
saw of religion was religion. Full of this immense 
disgust, they betook themselves mentally to the 
woods, and began to envy the people of the woods. 
Savage life this they called the paradise, and 
they even seemed to picture it with a true long- 
ing. Here are no distinctions but the simple 
equality of nature, the virtues are unsophisticated, 
the religion is nature, government, if they have it, 
is a matter of simple consent and compact. 

The picture had such fascination to them and 
to thousands far away, in sympathy with them, 
that a kind of general effort began, to conceive a 
doctrine of the state, that was in fact a doctrine 
of the woods. The new philosophy, or new lib- 

2* 



34 

erty began thus at the condition of nature ; under 
taking to show how men, qualified and set on by 
the promptings of nature, could originate a state 
of civil order and obligatory law. The problem 
was to create obligation from below that is not 
from above ; such as will stand firm and sure, 
apart from any terms of divine order or sanctions 
of divine magistracy. The government that was 
to be, must be contributed by the consent of the 
governed, and as the governed are all mere natural 
men, standing on that footing of equality as they 
do in the woods their consent is in their vote, 
and their vote is grounded in their equal right to 
vote. And so, out of mere nature, and built up 
from below, there is to be raised a complete civil 
order, binding on each citizen no thanks to God 
because the general citizenship so orders and de- 
crees. Sometimes the scheme is further elaborated 
by showing that all right government so made, is 
in fact a " social compact ; " where the multitude 
come in to surrender enough of their individual 
right and liberty, to make up a pool of endowment 
for the state. A whole system of phraseologies 
came into use in this manner that belonged to the 
general type of the free-thinking philosophy, and 
fell into such currency in speech, that multitudes 
received the mixture without knowing at all 
whence it came. Even the really great mind 
of Locke took in somewhat of the infection, 
without being duly aware of the sophistry and 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 35 

dangerous falsity covered up under these preten- 
tious guises. 

In this way it came to pass that our fathers of 
the American revolution, long ago taken by these 
catch-words of liberty, fell into their use, more 
easily than was to be desired, in their manifestoes 
and public declarations. And the phraseologies 
thus adopted were what Mr. Choate very properly, 
though to the mortal offense of many, called " the 
glittering generalities." They are just what led 
Mr. Calhoun into his miserably delusive state- 
rights sophism, where he infers that if government 
is founded in consent, then it is an agency or trust 
contributed by the parties, and therefore termina- 
ble by them. Bitterly have we paid for this very 
cheap imposture of philosophy, in our late dread- 
ful war of rebellion, and nDw it is to be seen, 
whether it may plunge us again down this other, 
deeper gulf of women's suffrage. 

The short argument, as it is commonly put, 
runs thus : women are the equals ^ of i| mejt r and 
have thejceare-an equal right to vote. In which 
very brief and very simple form of deduction, 
there are, if we are not willing to be taken by the 
shallowest possible fallacies, two quite plainly un- 
true conclusions. First, it is not certainly true 
that women are equal to men. They are equally 
women as men are men ; they are equally human 
as men ; they are so far equally entitled to protec- 



f 



36 WOMEN'S SUFFKAGE ; 

tion as men, but it does not hence appear that 
they are equal to men. They may be superior to 
men ; they may be inferior to men ; but what is a 
great deal closer probably to the truth, they may 
be very unlike in kind to men ; so unlike that in 
the civil state they had best, both for their own 
sake and for the public good, stand back from any 
claim of right, in the public administration of 
the laws. How far this unlikenese extends is not 
here the question. I shall undertake, at a future 
stage of the discussion, to state more precisely in 
what the relative unlikeness consists ; for the pres- 
ent I cannot forbear citing from the Nation, a 
very short but excellently vigorous statement of 
the fact itself. " The unlikeness between men 
and women is radical and essential. It runs 
through all the spheres. Distinct as they are in 
bodily form and features, they are quite as dis- 
tinct in mental and moral characteristics. They 
neither think, feel, wish, purpose, will, nor act 
alike. They take the same views of nothing. The 
old statements that one is passive, the other active ; 
one emotional, the other moral ; one affectionate, 
the other rational; one sentimental^, the other 
intellectual, are likely to be more than verified 
by science. Of course, these statements, whether 
verified or not, do not justify the imposition of 
arbitrary limits on opportunity or enterprise. It 
still remains to determine what place each can fill, 
what work each can do, what standard each can 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 37 

reach ; and these nature should be left to deter- 
mine. But that both can not occupy the same 
place, do the same work, or reach the same stand- 
ard, ought, we think, to be assumed. Nature has 
decreed it so."^ Accordingly, if the two sexes are 
so very unlike in kind, there can, so far, be no pred- 
ication of equality between them. And then, just 
so far, the argument for a right in women to vote, 
in consideration^ -their equality^ i4aeoaelusive. 
"We do not say that a yard is equal to a pound, 
because the two measures have no common quality ; 
though it may be that a yard of some one thing 
is equal in value to a pound of some other. "We 
do not say, taking an example where there is more 
appearance of a common quality, that silk and 
flax are equal ; and yet they may make an equally 
strong, or equally fine thread ; but since one will 
make a finer lace, and the other a more splendid 
robe, one a superb damask, and the other a superb 
velvet, we do not think of saying at all, that they 
are equal, because they are so far different in kind. 
In which also we may see, that, while women and 
men have a great many common properties, they 
have also a great many which are not common 
so many, that we never can be sure what we 
mean by it, when we say that they are equal. 

Yes, but their rights are equal, some will hasten, 
it may be, to answer, and that is enough to sup- 
port the argument. Doubtless they have a per- 
fect and complete right to be women, as men have 



38 WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE; 

to be men, but it may be, still, that the having a 
perfect right to be either women or men, does not 
include any right of voting at all that is the very 
question here in issue. 

The second fallacy above referred to is built on 
an argyrmfiTit equally haggjftRR* .it is that, being 
equal to men, women liaj^_aodglit-to-vote because 
men have a right to, vote. Here the meaning is, 
if there is any, that men have a natural right to 
vote, or a right to vote that is grounded in na- 
ture. The words man and suffrage have, in this 
view, a fixed relation ; a universal and permanent 
relation ; such that suffrage never was or can be 
denied them, save by a public wrong ; for every 
right is a something never to be stripped away, 
except by a wrong. Since, then, prior to the ar- 
rival of our own American Republic, there had 
never been more than two or three small peoples 
in the world that acknowledged any right to vote 
at all, and these no equal right, but only rights so 
unequal that a very few men of grade, as in Rome, 
counted more than a whole bottom ti^r of rabble 
that composed the chief population of the city, 
we are seen to have begun our public his- 
tory, by assuming that there never before had 
been a legitimate government in the world ! If 
we could say that, and not be shocked by the non- 
sense of our assumption, we were certainly a very 
remarkable people. How much better and closer 
to the sound realities of history, to have con- 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 39 

fessed, that all the great monarchies, and the 
rising and falling, and dawning and vanishing, 
and even the merely de facto states, had a cer- 
tain morally incipient and legitimate authority, 
even though they gave no right of voting at all, 
and never heard or even thought of such a thing. 
Besides, we had not then, and never since have 
had, ourselves, any equal right of voting as being 
men, saying nothing of women, under our own 
constitutions and liberties. Some of us have been 
voting on the score of our property ; some on the 
right we have bought by military service ; some 
on the ground of qualifications imparted by our 
education ; some on the count of our slaves. 
Doubtless we that are males are all so far equal, 
but we never to this day have been allowed to 
vote on our naked equality, except in here and 
there a single State. How then does it fare with 
the argument that women have a right, on the 
score of their equality with men, when men them- 
selves can not vote on the score of their own 
equality with -one another ? Besides, if any of us 
think to make out a natural right of voting, 
whether in men or women, a sufficient hunt of our 
psychologic nature ought to find some place in it 
where the right, for so many ages undiscovered, 
inheres. It was observed, long ages ago, by such 
men as Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, and others, that 
our very nature is configured, all through, to the 
civil state, and the condition of civil obligation ; 



40 

but no man has ever yet discovered that there is a 
right to vote twisted in among our functions and 
rational categories. When that discovery is made, 
it will be as soon as any such natural right can be 
set in account, and made a basis of argument for 
the voting of women. 

Whence then do we get what now we call the 
right to vote ? If it is not grounded in oar nature, 
whence comes it? Some will imagine that the pay- 
ment of taxes involves a right of representation, 
and this a right of voting ; so that we have a 
good title to the suffrage made up indirectly. 
But the right of representation who has ever 
imagined, till quite recently, that such a right 
must accrue on the payment of taxes, and that no 
government is legitimate which does not allow that 
right ? How little government has there been in 
the world that had even a thought of representa- 
tion as connected with taxation ? has there been 
no government, therefore, but only wrong ? It may 
be desirable, I grant, since the people are taxed, 
that they should have some check upon the taxing 
power, and some voice in the public appropriation 
of money. But that is a matter which belongs to 
a consideration of measures and regulations, and 
not in any sense to first principles. Our fathers in 
the revolution had a great deal to say of being 
taxed by the Parliament without being represented 
in it, and seemed almost to hang the vindication 
of their revolt on this one point of grievance. But 



THE REFORM AGAETST NATURE. 41 

there was a peculiarity in their protest which nei- 
ther they nor we have always observed, as dis- 
tinctly as the due understanding of it requires. It 
was really a protest against having this great, new 
world farmed and used, for the benefit of a little, 
far-off patch of island in the German Ocean, which, 
compared with the gigantic world-empire here in 
debate, had no consequence and could have no con- 
tinental future at all. On this canvass of out- 
spreading futurity it was, that so many vehement 
protestations, indignations, and threats, cast their 
shadows. The real meaning was that such and so 
great a people are not to be kept for the fleece ! 
And yet these same colonial fathers and patriots 
were every year taxing thousands, both of men 
and women, without any thought of a wrong, in 
not giving them a chance of representation. And 
if, afterward, they discovered that their argument 
could rightly be extended, so as to include the re- 
lations of individual persons to the state, they did 
not even then discover, and it is not to this day 
discovered, that women paying taxes have, by 
consequence, a right of representation. All that 
we can now say is that it stands before us as a 
question to be debated, whether it will be for their 
benefit and for the public good, that women be 
partakers also in the right of suffrage and of rep- 
resentation ? It is not a question of absolute right 
or first principle, as when the right of conscience 
is asserted; for then there is no point to be 



42 

debated ; but it is a question of benefit concerned 
or not concerned, in a certain political measure 
that, and nothing more. In the admission of men 
to a right of suffrage, it has never been voted for 
any one absolute reason. Sometimes it has been be- 
cause they are taxed, sometimes because they are 
liable to be, sometimes because they perform mili- 
tary duty, sometimes because it discourages or 
takes away hope from their virtue not to allow it, 
sometimes because the refusal awakens animosities 
in them against the state. So if women ever have 
the right of voting accorded to them, it must be 
for a like variety of reasons, and not on the ground 
of any absolute principle. 

What then becomes, some will ask, of the great 
law of consent, that in which we affirm " that 
governments instituted among men derive their just 
powers from the consent of the governed." That 
may be true, or partly true, I answer in some pos- 
sible sense of the terms, but never as an absolute 
proposition. It may be true enough sometimes to 
be asserted antagonistically with great advantage ; 
as where there is really wanted some limit, or coun- 
tercheck for the due restraining of power. But if 
it be meant that no government is legitimate, save 
as it has the actual consent of its people, then there 
have been very few legitimate governments. Nay, 
there never has been one, and is not now. No fifth 
part of our own people, in fact, ever consented to the 
government, whether formally or by implication. 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 43 

~No new statute passed, ever had the consent of 
more then a very small fraction of the people. 
Minors, women, invalids, absentees, voters of the 
opposing party take away all these, and how 
much of consent is left ? If the major vote of such 
as have the ballot supposes general consent, then 
it must be by a legal fiction so great, that it 
would scarcely be greater without any vote at all. 

If it be meant that all just powers of govern- 
ment are derived from the consent of the governed, 
in the sense, that so many "just powers" are, in 
fact, gotten by the surrender and contribution of 
rights belonging to individuals an argument very 
often stated and by many soberly believed then 
it is in point to answer that no civil right, or 
power, ever belonged, or, by any possible suppo- 
sition, could belong, to any individual, or multi- 
tude of individuals. Has any individual ,a right 
to make arrests, a right to enforce contracts, a 
right to put contending parties on trial for the 
settlement of their disputes, a right of imprison- 
ment, or penal enforcement, or making war or 
peace ; a right, in one word, to exercise the least 
authority, or law-giving power over society ? In 
this particular sense of the terms, we are rather 
to say that no one just power of government 
was ever derived, or ever could be, from the con- 
sent of the governed. 

There is nothing, therefore, to be gained for 
women's suffrage, under this principle, as the 



4:4: WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE; 

champion debaters of the sex are often heard to 
assume. ^Vomen must get their right to vote, if 
at all, just where men have gotten it ; out of his- 
tory ,^)ut of providential preparations and causes, 
out of the concessions of custom, out of expe- 
diences concluded, and debated reasons of public 
benefit. (We have no better right than this, as 
men, and there is no better right to be, for women. 
The question is concluded for them, by no a priori 
matter, but it is their right and privilege to show, 
that a power to hold office and vote will be for the 
real benefit of their sex, and for the solid and 
permanent good of society. Indeed, if they can 
only make it appear that they themselves will be 
put in a more favorable condition of life and char- 
acter, by thus opening the political arena to them, 
we shall even deem the controversy, if there be a 
controversy, to be effectually ended. If we some- 
times oppress them -by our heedlessness, it is our 
custom rather, in matters of deliberate purpose, 
to give them more than will be either for their 
benefit or our own. 

Having argued in this manner the question of 
right, showing that suffrage is a right given, never 
a right to be demanded because it inheres before- 
hand in the person, and that neither men nor 
women have any title to it, save what is grounded 
in considerations of benefit, I am tempted to add 
another clause and topic in the argument, just for 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 45 

the purpose of taking down a little our egregious 
opinion of the suffrage. The transcendent merit 
we assume for our institute of free suffrage is not 
quite as evident as we think it is ; far less evident 
than our women think it is, when they look to 
find a new-creation stage of advancement in it. 
In a certain large view, it has done bravely for us, 
and we have much to boast in it ; which we do 
not forget to boast, in terms, that far exceed all 
rational proportions of merit, and even display 
some tokens of national conceit. After all, our 
free suffrage state, when taken close at hand, as 
when we go to the ballot, makes a rather coarse, 
half nasty element ; where men are pitched into 
count, without any consideration of merit or 
weight, and where they vote promotions, with only 
the feeblest, mere chance reference to the merit 
of the promotions voted. The machinery is dread- 
fully loose, and the look of order and right is only 
what a pell-mell operation yields. "We are coaxed 
and flattered, for the time, by the feeling that we 
are doing something great, and getting a more ad- 
vanced consequence in it. But, for one, I seriously 
doubt whether any so great benefits, either personal 
or public, are coming out of the suffrage, as we are 
wont to assume. It certainly can make the cor- 
ruptest, most intolerable government in the world ; 
as it is rapidly finding how to do already in the 
city of JSTew York, and it is plainly to be seen that 
possible evils are covered up in it, that may finally 



46 WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE; 

take us down backward, faster than its former bene- 
fit has sent us onward. That it has a law of limita- 
tion in its own nature, and will come to its end and 
disappear within a comparatively short run of time, 
is far more probable than some of us suppose. 

I speak in this manner, having distinctly in mind 
a certain way of promotion established in one of the 
great nations of the world, that has a far superior 
dignity and much better promise both of perma- 
nence and character. Instead of electing by suf- 
frage, it elects by contest ; that is, by trials of merit 
and personal qualification. It works by the West 
Point method, and hangs promotion at the end, on 
the scale of merit discovered. The whole grand 
nation, comprising four hundred millions of peo- 
ple, is a West Point cadetship extended. The 
humblest as well as the highest of the youth, are 
put in schooling, and then are sifted three times 
over, by three great examinations that go up 
by an ascending series. And then, out of the 
very limited number of the cadets that are crown- 
ed at the last, are to come all the high officers of 
the kingdom officers to be who will be known as 
long as they live, to have excelled, first, in scholar- 
ship ; secondly, in talent and capacity of writing ; 
and thirdly, in the well-attested record of an up- 
right, pure behavior. Oar contempt for this Chi- 
nese people had better be expended fast, for we 
shall not have our opportunity long. A nation 
that existed a thousand years before the Trojan 



THE EEFOEM AGAINST NATUEE. 47 

war, came to its full type in the days of Pericles, 
and still holds on as by some gift of civil immor- 
tality, well and most systematically governed still, 
with less of fraud, injustice, and official peculation 
in its magistracies than we have in ours^and a 
great deal less of crime, and a great deal more both 
of industry and high morality in its people than *j 

we are able to claim in our own, is not despisable, 
except by ignorance. Their only misfortune is 
that they have been too stringently educated ; 
chained fast, in that manner, to the classic lore of 
their fathers, and kept back from the progressive 
studies of natural science ; but already they are 
creating great universities to repair the deficit. 
And their fearfully intense scholarship will put 
them very soon at our side in all the modern ideas, 
sciences, and improvements, and they will stand 
forth in their new great future only the more 
conspicuous, that they have had so grand a past. 
And God forbid that they ever be so far capti- 
vated by our dreadfully inferior, cheap way of suf- 
frage, as to give up their cadetship way of promo- 
tion for it ; a plan that has put the whole nation 
climbing upward, and will keep it climbing, to the 
end of the world only climbing the more rapidly 
and surely now, that it has gotten new springs of 
life and self-renewing order. Emerging in this 
manner into modern ideas, and a modern career, 
China will, by this time, be the supreme world - 
wonder of history and historic empire, and the 
clumsy and coarse figure we make in /our half- 



48 WOMEN'S SUFFBAGE; 

qualified magistracies chosen by suffrage, will 
not be as impressive as most of us would like to 
believe. Though perhaps it will comfort us a 
little, that these people of China do themselves 
maintain a suffrage in a certain lower plane of life, 
where it makes a kind of volunteer department 
for their benefit. They choose a class of elders, 
so called, who are, in fact, a board of referees for 
settling their controversies, and helping them 
maintain their rights when oppressed by wrongs 
an d exactions of the state officers. They are no part 
of the government any more than arbitrators, or a 
vigilance committee, would be with us; and yet 
the government allows their choice to simplify its 
own immense complexities, and bring the people 
help in what would also be theirs. * 

I have sketched this outline, not exactly requir- 
ed by the argument, simply because a considerable 
dose of humility is needed visibly, to cure us of 
the nonsense, which having first infected our men 
with undue conceit of advancement, is now infect- 
ing our women with as unreal and excessive hope 
that they may win the same. There is much less 
for us all here than our coarse patriotic fervors as- 
sume, and a great deal less for women than for 
men. If the scheme of suffrage must go down, it 
will be a very great advantage that our women 
are not in it. It will go down, if at all, simply by 
the rotting process of its own corruptions, and our 
ambitious women will find little comfort in being 
the bad other half that goes down with it. 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 4:9 



III. 

WOMAN NOT CREATED OR CALLED TO GOYERN. 

IT was a point made, in the brief chapter pre- 
ceding, that no argument for women's suffrage, 
based on the equality, or equally human property 
of women with men, can have more than a show 
of validity ; for the reason that men and women 
are, to some very large extent, unlike in kind ; and 
it may be so far unlike, as to forbid any rational 
comparison as respects equality; and, of course, 
to forbid any such inference of right for women 
because that right is accorded to men. It be- 
comes, in this view, a matter of consequence to 
inquire whether the supposed unlikeness of kind 
includes matters of distinction that amount to a 
proper disqualification, or which really forbid, as 
contrary to nature, the extension of any such politi- 
cal right to women. 

It is not to be denied that women are made in 
the image of God as truly as men, having faculties 
and categories of mind that are equal in number, 
and so far similar in kind, as to pass under the 
same general names. What is right and true to 

3 



50 

one sex, is right and true also to the other. They 
think by the same laws, they perceive, and judge, 
and remember, and will, and love, and hate, in the 
exercise of functions that compose personalities 
psychologically similar, however different in de- 
gree, and however differently tempered, fibered, 
tensified, and toned for action. In a word, they 
are equally human, and compared with orders of 
being above and below them are of the same kind. 
And yet in their relationship of sex, within their 
own human order, they are so widely different, 
nevertheless, that the distinction never misses ob- 
servation. Their very personality, which even 
seemed identical in the inventory, taking on sex- 
hood, becomes broadly differential in that fact, and 
submits to a deep-set, dual classification. 

A mere glance at the two sexes, externally rela- 
ted, suggests some very wide distinction of mold 
whatever it be. The man is taller and more mus- 
cular, has a larger brain, and a longer stride in 
his walk. The woman is lighter and shorter, and 
moves more gracefully. In physical strength the 
man is greatly superior, and the base in his voice 
and the shag on his face, and the swing and sway 
of his shoulders, represent a personality in him 
that has some attribute of thunder. But there is 
no look of thunder in the woman. Her skin is too 
finely woven, too wonderfully delicate to be the 
rugged housing of thunder. Her soft, upper octave 
voice, her smaU hands, her features played as in 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 51 

quality and not for quantity, her complexion 
played as if there were a principle of beauty liv- 
ing under it there is abundance of expression ^ f ^ g / 



here, as rnany great, proud souls of heroes have & 

been finding in all ages, but it is unOlympic as 




possible in kind. Glancing thus upon 
look says, Force, Authority, Decision, Self-assert- 
ing Counsel, Yictory. And the woman as evi- 
dently says, " I will trust, and be cherished, and 
give sympathy and take ownership in the victor, 
and double his honors by the honors I contribute 
myself." They are yet one species, but if they 
were two, they would be scarcely more unlike. 
So very wide is the unlikeness, that they are a 
great deal more like two species, than like two 
varieties. Their distinction of sex puts them in 
different classes of being, only they are classes so 
nearly unified by their unlikeness, that they com- 
pose a whole, so to speak, of humanity, by their 
common relationshin/One is the force principle, the 
other is the beauty principle. One is the forward, 
pioneering mastery, the out-door battle-ax of pub- 
lic war and family providence ; the other is the in- 
door faculty, covert, as the law would say, and 
complementary, mistress and dispenser of the en- 
joyabilities. | Enterprise and high counsel belong J 
to one, also tcTbatter the severities of fortune, con- 
quer the raw material of supply ; ornamentation, 
order, comfortable use, all flavors, and garnishes, 
and charms to the other. The man, as in father- 



52 WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE; 

hood, carries the name and flag ; the woman, as in 
motherhood, takes the name on herself and puts 
it on her children, passing out of sight legally, to 
be a covert nature included henceforth in her 
husband. They are positivity and receptivity, 
they are providence and use, they are strength 
and beauty, they are mass and color, they are 
store-house and table, they are substance and rel- 
ish, and nothing goes to its mark or becomes a 
real value till it passes both. 

But we are dealing, so far, in this outward de- 
lineation of the sexual distinctions, in matters 
general, and have not taken up, as yet, the more 
particular matter at issue in our question of suf- 
frage. The precise point here to be observed, is 
that masculinity carries, in the distribution of sex, 
the governmental function. The 



the brave-and-dare element, whether toward na- 
ture or against human opposers, the responsible 
engineering of place and work and calling, all 
determinations outward, whether toward ene- 
mies, or among causes, or in ventures of commerce, 
or in diplomatic treaties and warlike relations of 
peoples, belong to man and to what may be called 
his manly prerogative. That is, man is to gov- 
ern ; all government belongs to men. Not that 
women are never set in kingly positions to repre- 
sent, or personate the kingly power ; of that I 
shall speak hereafter in another place. For the 
present, I simply remark, that the authority they 



THE KEFORM AGAINST NATURE. 53 

wield in such cases is only what the masculine 
traditions put upon them, or into them, when they 
are used to fill the gaps of kinghood, by main- 
taining the court pageantries and the royal sig- 
nature ; they do not reign as kings do by an au- 
thority that is largely personal in themselves. 
Were they obliged to maintain themselves in that 
way, it would very soon be discovered how little 
authority there is in women. We take pleasure 
not seldom in allowing women to rule us by the 
volunteering deference we pay to their woman- 
hood ; we often talk of our loyalty to the sex ; but 
we never see the woman who can hold a particle 
of authority in us by her own positive rule or the 
emphasis of her own personality. 

To prevent misunderstanding it may be proper 
to say that I am not asserting a right here in men 
to bolt upon women, wives for example, in the per- 
emptory way of command ; I am only asserting 
the natural leadership, the decision-power, the de- 
terminating will of the house and the state, as 
belonging to men. Certain engineering questions, 
for example, must be settled, the question of 
expenditure as related to income, the question of 
residence, occupation, emigration ; where of course 
every endeavor should be made to compose differ- 
ences of feeling and judgment, and settle points by 
agreement. But if a case arises, where agreement 
is impossible, one of the two, clearly, must decide, 
and it must be the man. The woman's law of 



54: 

allegiance, sometimes a hard one, requires it of her 
to adhere to the man, submit herself to his for 
tunes, and go down with him bravely, when his 
day of disaster comes. The sway, the determina- 
ting mastership, must so far be with him, and it 
can not be anywhere else, without some very de- 
plorable consequences to his manhood. If he has 
no sway-force in him equal to this, no authority of 
will and council that enables him to hold the reins, 
he is no longer what nature means when she 
makes a man. And the refractory woman who 
has so far balked his manhood will have honored 
herself quite as little as him. 

Happily, it is just as natural to women to main- 
tain this beautiful allegiance to the masterhood 
and governing sway-force of men, both in the fam- 
ily and the state, as we could wish it to be. 
Nothing, in fact, is more touching than to see how 
far they will go, how much they will bear, how 
absurdly persist in dressing up the masculine idol 
they have undertaken to crown, or exalt. They 
do no such thing toward other women, they totally 
disown the authority of women, and can not even 
think it possible for women to preside in their 
assemblies. They do not ask, it may be, how, or 
why it is that they insist on having a man to pre- 
side? but if they could see the reason, as it lies in 
the inner feeling, they would discover in it a 
most complete refutation of their claim of suffrage 
itself. Looking on their chairman a man, and 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 55 

why a man ? they would confess that, by that 
sign, their very cause is convicted of incongruity. 
Or if it occurs to them to urge, in excuse, that 
women have no experience in the ordering of 
assemblies, they can be more easily qualified, than 
they can to make a speech. They are, some of 
them, quick enough to learn Jefferson's Manual 
quite through, in half a day. Probably enough, 
too, the man they have chosen, never before pre- 
sided over an assembly in his life. 

Now the right of suffrage as demanded for 
women, is itself a function of government. Besides, 
it contemplates also, as an integral part of the pro- 
posed reform, that women should be eligible to 
office. For if this were not conceded, we know 
perfectly beforehand, that the women voters would 
so wield their balance of power as to conquer the 
right of office in a very short time. All office 
must, of course, be open to them, as certainly as 
the polls are open. Indeed they sometimes take 
the jubilant mood even now, in their anticipation 
of the day, when they will have their seat in Con- 
gress, on the bench of justice, in the President's 
cabinet, and why not in the chair of the Presi- 
dency itself? when the missions abroad, the col- 
lectorships, the marshal and police functions, will 
be theirs, and finally, the heroic capabilities of 
women so far discovered, as to allow them a place 
in the command of fleets and armies, and full 
chance given their ambition, to win, as for solid 



56 

history, what many call the mythic honors of a 
Semiramis or a Deborah. 

The claim put forward then is, and will be com- 
monly allowed to be, a claim of authority ; a claim by 
women to govern, or be forward in the government 
of men ; wherein they deny, in fact, a first distinc- 
tion of their sex. The claim of a beard would not 
be a more radical revolt against nature. It says : 
" give us force, give us the forward right, give us 
authority, let us take our turn also at the thunder." 
Just contrary to this, I feel obliged to assert the 
natural subordination of women. They are put 
under authority by their nature itself, and if they 
will not take it as their privilege to be, if they call 
it insult and oppression, they set a character on 
their position which no man could ; they put con- 
tempt themselves on their womanhood. Indeed, 
their very claim of suffrage on the ground of 
their equality with men, ignores just what is 
most distinctive in their kind, and is neither 
more nor less than a challenge of the rights 
of masculinity. And the harshest thing that 
can be said of their reform would be, that they 
mean it as it is. 

Asserting in this very decisive manner the natu- 
ral submission of women, and their very certain 
lack, whether as respects the right or the fact, of 
authority, it will seem to many, as I very much 
fear, to be a harsh, or even a rude and coarse attack 
upon their sex. If it is so taken, it certainly need 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 57 

not be. We Americans take up some very crude 
notions of subordination, as if it implied inferior 
quality, character, power. ~No such thing is true, 
or less than plainly false. Subordination is one 
thing, inferiority an immensely different thing. 
Subordinate as they are, in their naturally sheltered 
relation, I seriously doubt whether we should not 
also assert their superiority. They do quite as 
much, and I strongly suspect, more for the world. 
Their moral nature is more delicately perceptive. 
Their religious inspirations, or inspirabilities, put 
them closer to God, as having a more celestial 
property and affinities more superlative. It may be 
that men have larger quantity in the scale of tal- 
ent, while yet they are enough coarser in the grain 
of their quality to more than balance the score. 

Quality of brain, whatever we may say of size, 
can not be less than a matter of chief significance, 
and the fiber of a woman's brain is likely to be as 
much finer as the fiber of her skin ; capable also, 
for that reason, of a more delicately feeling and 
bright insight, a more dramatic fancy-play, and a 
facility and grace of movement far more closely 
related to beauty. And who of us, making due 
account of the late admirable works of genius pre- 
sented by our women authors, has not sometimes 
been taken hold of secretly by the question, wheth- 
er finally a new age of literature is not coming 
on the world, in the mental unfolding of this other 
hitherto but half-discovered half of the race. Or 
3* 



58 WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE; 

if we talk of inspirations and the inspired forces of 
genius, have we no reason to imagine that, when 
the more divinely impregnate thought of the 
womanly souls is born, we shall see a divine 
daughterhood that has more than sonship in it, a 
finer and more glorifiable humanity. Mary her- 
self was she not subordinate to Joseph? But she 
was not therefore inferior. 

And if we should be obliged, in this way, to ad- 
mit that the womanly nature, all over the world, 
is instinctively submitted to the manly nature, 
must we for that reason judge that woman is less 
honored, less divinely gifted, lower in the scale of 
possibilities ? 

What are we doing in fact, even now and 
always, but submitting our manhood to her in 
another and different way of submission, that im- 
plies a tribute of homage more tenderly delicate 
and voluntary, and more beautiful to look upon 
than any that can possibly be rendered, either by 
her or by us, on the so much desired footing of 
equality. Equality ! Great heaven ! are we so 
blind as to think no beauty possible in these terms 
of sexhood, because they import relations of differ- 
ence ? Must humanity become a bin of seeds all 
just alike, before we can be patient with our part 
in it ? And again, to make up the beauty and true 
interest of life, why should not our children insist 
on being born at a point past majority, with their 
teeth and beards already grown, and their old peo- 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 59 

pie's wisdoms ripened before experience? "Why 
this odious, never to be endured inequality ? How 
strange indeed, how cross to our best notions of 
justice, and of true social equity and beauty, that 
parents are born older than their children, getting 
rights that include no equal vote at all, and that 
vary in as many grades and colors as the fit care 
and discipline of so many ages require. 

But there is an aspect of privilege, in this matter 
of subordination, which, instead of inferring the 
inferiority of women, gives them, when morally 
considered, the truest and sublimest conditions of 
ascendency. The highest virtues, purest in motive 
and really most difficult, are never to be looked 
for in the most forward and potentially regnant 
states. They belong rather to the subject condi- 
tions, where the coarse admixtures of pride and 
worldly power are shut away. "We get the true 
analogy here in the great domain of nature, where 
the coarse and forceful causes seem to be doing 
every thing, and yet, in all finest, truest estimates 
of power, do comparatively nothing. The sun 
blazes and burns, the volcanoes burst and bury 
cities with ashes, the earthquakes rock and rend, 
the comets blaze on the sky, and the fierce wind- 
storms tear it ; and these and such like make up, as 
we think, the supreme causes to which all the hum- 
blest ingredients of our landscapes are of course 
inferior. And yet, if we come to the true scale of 
honors gotten upon human feeling, or in it, these 



60 WOMEN'S SUFFEAGE; 

same humbler, these inferior things of the land- 
scapes are, in fact, immensely superior, and the 
others have but a hundredth part of the signifi- 
cance. The dews, the grasses, the green life of 
the trees, the fragrant breath of the mornings, the 
sunset colors on the clouds and the hills, the 
springs that break out under them, and the brooks 
leaping down their slopes, the songs of the birds, 
tKe feeding of cattle in their pastures the inven- 
tory is a long one ; who can tell what is in it, or 
how much ? This only we know, that the great 
world-forces holding sway and swinging above are 
scarcely appreciable, in comparison with the finer 

- things of beauty they subordinate. We do not 
half as much respect or feel the dominating forces 
I of the world as we do the dominated graces. Or 
if certain gross, coarse-judging souls, will think 
great things are done for them only by causes that 
bruise and batter, and that other things subordi- 
nate to these are of course inferior, these latter 
still will not be inferior even to them. After all, 
the woman things of the world, the patient-work- 
ing, unobtrusive, graceful causes will be doing 
more. 

Under this analogy, we perceive how force, by 
its own nature, always and of course subordinates 

L-beauty. And it is just as true in things moral and 
spiritual as in things natural. Only they that are 
humble can be exalted ; only the last can be first. 
The highest, finest molds of good, are grown only 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 6L 

in the lowliest and most subject conditions. Was 
Mary inferior because she was a lowly, subject 
woman ? "Was her holy thing, her son, inferior 
because he was subject, in. his beautiful childhood, 
and subject all his life long, down to the last 
hour's breath and the last nail driven? Many have 
imagined that they discovered in Jesus both a 
manly and a womanly nature, and that he became 
the perfect one, because in this union he was able, 
in so great force and authority, to bear so many 
things with a gentle submission and an unfalter- 
ing patience. 

There can not, in this view, be a greater mistake, 
or one that indicates a coarser apprehension, than 
when our women, agitating for the right of suffrage, 
take it as an offense against their natural equality, 
that they are not allowed to help govern the 
world. It is as if the gentle mignonnette and vio- 
let were raised in protest against the regal dahlia, 
when they are in truth a great deal more poten- 
tially regnant themselves. "What do these women 
ask, in fact, but to be weighed in the gross weight- 
scales of force, making nothing of that higher, 
finer nature, by which God expects it of them to 
flavor the world. They must govern, they must 
go into the fight, they must bruise and batter 
themselves what are they equal to, if they are 
not equal to men ? As if it were nothing, a little 
way back, after all the coarse things of the world 
are done, to govern, by graces, the men that gov- 



62 WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE; 

ern by forces, and go through family and country, 
and the times, with a ministry more powerful, 
finer in the motive, less mixed with selfishness and 
will, and just as much closer to the really celestial 
type of good. God save us from the loss of this 
better, almost divinely superior ministry ; for lost 
it will assuredly be, when our women have come 
down to be litigators with us in the candidacies, 
contests, and campaigns of political warfare. Still 
life is then no more, and the man who goes home 
at night from his caucus fight, or campaign speech, 
goes in, not to cease and rest, but to be dinned 
with the echo, or perhaps bold counter-echo of his 
own harsh battle. The kitchen dins the parlor, 
and one end of the table dins the other. Up- 
stairs, down-stairs, in the lady's chamber every 
where the same harsh gong is ringing, from year to 
year. Oh ! if we could get away ! how many will 
then say it, arid pray it into some bright corner 
where yet there are true women left women with 
soft voices, shrilled by no brassiness or dinging 
sound of party war ! 

Why, if our women could but see what they are 
doing now, what superior grades of beauty and 
power they fill, and how far above equality with 
men they rise, when they keep their own pure 
atmosphere of silence, and their field of peace, how 
they make a realm into which the poor bruised 
fighters, with their passions galled, and their 
minds scarred with wrong their hates, disap- 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 63 

pointments, grudges, and hard-worn ambitions 
may come in, to be quieted, and civilized, and get 
some touch of the angelic, I think they would be 
very little apt to disrespect their womanly subor- 
dination. It will signify any thing but their infe- 
riority. If they are already taken with the foolish 
ambition of place, or of winning a public name, 
they may not be satisfied. But in that case they 
barter for this honor a great deal more than they 
can rightly spare. God's highest honors never go 
with noise, but they wait on silent worth, on the 
consciousness of good, on secret charities, and 
ministries untainted by ambition. Could they but 
say to the noisy nothings of this bribery, " Get 
thee hence, Satan," as Christ did to the same 
coarse nonsense of flattery, they would keep their 
subject-way of life as he kept his, and would think 
it honor enough that they also came not to be min- 
istered unto, but to minister. And if it be the 
question for them, whether it is better to be classed 
in privilege with Jesus the subject, or with Csesar 
the sovereign, it should not be difficult to decide. 
Thus far we go in the principle that women are 
made to be subordinate, and men to be the for- 
ward operators and dominating authorities of the 
world. They have another field, where their 
really finer qualities and more inspirable gifts 
may get full room and scope for the most effective 
and divinest offices of life. Indeed we do not 
evenly set the balance of the question, if we do not 



64: WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE; 

say that woman has her government as truly as 
man, only it is not political, not among powers, and 
laws, and public causes. He governs from with- 
out downward, and she from within upward, and 
though there be a great difference of kind between 
our two words master and mistress, using this lat- 
ter in its true, good sense, there is not a whit more 
of control signified, when we say that the man is 
the mastering power of the woman, than that she 
is the mistressing power of the man. He is at 
a point of sway more coarse, direct, and absolute 
more nearly akin to force. She is at a point 
where she captivates the force, by a beautiful and 
right enjoyment of it, takes possession of the man, 
property, and soul, and will, and calling, and 
makes him joyfully her own. If the cases were 
inverted, he would make a coarse, awkward figure 
doubtless in the mistressing kind of government ; 
but if we are to agitate for equality, why should 
he not have the beautiful chance given him of be- 
ing a mistress-power in life on the score of equal- 
ity, even as she obtains a mastering power in life, 
when she obtains the suffrage.' 

As regards this right of priority and pioneering 
headship in man, and the so far subordinate and 
subject state in woman, implying still no superi- 
ority in him, and more than possible superiority 
in her, we have another illustration furnished by 
religion, that to such as have a true insight of 
the Christian plan or economy, will be strikingly 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 65 

apt and impressive. I refer to what is called the 
law and the gospel, as mutually related to each 
other. The law, which is the man, goes before, 
rough-hewing the work of government. It is Si- 
nai-like, and speaks in thunder. It commands, 
and, by sanctions of force, where force is wanted, 
vindicates its own supreme authority. It so far 
has priority in rule, that it never can have any 
thing less ; for the cessation of law is the cessa- 
tion of government, and if it should only fall into 
second place or equal place with any thing else, 
it would lose the inherent sovereignty of its na- 
ture, when, of course, it can be law no longer. 
The gospel, meantime, coming after in order is 
the woman. It is subject as gospel to the hus- 
band, that is, to the law ; it is made under the 
law ; and the whole historic operation, by which 
it is organized, is itself obedience, submission, love, 
and sacrifice. And it is so perfectly subject to the 
law, that it professes nothing but a fulfillmen tof 
the law, and a universal recovery to it. Setting 
up for equality with law, or for itself, as having 
good right to assert and advance itself, is never so 
much as thought of; if it can but write the law 
on the heart of transgressors, all its wifely ends 
or ambitions are answered. And this it is sup- 
posed to do, by what is called grace ; that is, by a 
way of approach so gentle, so winsome, and 
lovely, and close to the manner of true womanly 
grace, as to be another, more effective, side of the 



66 WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE ; 

divine power ; that which is the power of God 
unto salvation. 

And now suppose the question to be raised, 
which of these is superior works iu the highest 
talent, does the greatest things, takes largest hold 
of the future, bears the loftiest inspirations, has 
most beauty of God' in it, and really displays the 
finest, most etherealizing power? Undoubtedly it is 
the gospel. It goes above the law in doing every 
thing for it, and overtops it in glory, by submission 
to it. No power is in it, but the power of suffering 
and a subject state. It lives in sorrow and dies 
in sacrifice, and accomplishes just what the law, 
in " that it was weak," could not accomplish. The 
coarse ideas of force, and majesty, and all the 
pomps and thunders of enforcement are omitted 
here, and the simple wifehood of God's love, and 
beauty, is revealed, by what is lowliest and most 
dejected. And this is grace, the world-transform- 
ing grace in which God's empire culminates. 

And yet our women will not have their subor- 
dinate, or subject state, because it makes them 
inferior ! They want, alas ! the culture of soul 
that is wanted to see the superiority to which they 
are elected. They come in the wedding grace of 
their Cana, or the suffering grace of their Calvary, 
and insist on their right to be Sinai, and play the 
thunders too themselves. " Give us also power," 
they say ; and power to them is force, or an equal 
right of command. A most miserable and really 



THE KEFOKM AGAINST NATURE. 67 

low misconception, if only they had grace to see it. 
Here is their true power, in a disinterested and 
subject life of good. And there is a way in this to 
govern men, that is greatness itself and victory. 
What can the woman do that wants to vote, in 
order to be somewhat, but fume, and chafe, and 
tear, under what she calls the wrongs of her hus- 
band so to make her weakness more weak, and 
her defeat more miserable when if she could only 
consent to be true gospel and woman together, to 
be gentle, and patient, and right, and fearless, how 
certainly would she come out superior and put him 
at her feet. There seems to me, in this view, I con- 
fess, to be a something sacred, or angelic, in such 
womanhood. The morally grandest sight we see 
in this world is a real and ideally true woman. 
Send her to the polls if you will, give her an office, 
set the Hon. before her name, and by that time 
she is nobody. 

As regards this question of suffrage, or the al- 
lowing of suffrage to women, there is yet another 
way of constructing the argument, which, though 
it may not be another, may be more convincing to 
some, viz. : that the male and female natures to- 
gether constitute the proper man, and are, there- 
fore, both represented in the vote of the man. 
And the radical idea here assumed of the com- 
posite unity of the two, is attested, in fact, all 
over the world, in one form or another, and in 



68 WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE; 

different modes and degrees, whenever a marriage 
puts them in connection as husband and wife. 
The woman passes under shelter and protection, 
so far as even to drop her family name, and be 
only known under the family name of her husband. 
In the English common law she is said to be 
femme covert, a woman who is included, as re- 
spects all civil rights, in her husband. Her per- 
sonality is so far merged in his, that she can not 
bring a suit any more in her own name, for it is a 
name no longer known to the law. The assump- 
tion is that, being in and of her husband, he will 
both act and answer for her, except when ar- 
raigned for crime. The Roman or civil law 
received by so many of the principal nations of 
the world, carries similar ideas with it, asserting 
the civil absorption of the wife in the husband 
in terms but slightly qualified. 

The Russian law and the Chinese correspond. 
In all which we may see how close to nature runs 
the impression that woman is a complementary 
personality, and is rightly taken to exist in her 
husband, as she passes under his name in her 
marriage, and is consentingly covered by his pro- 
tectorship. 

Hence it is put forward by some, as the true 
answer to the claim of women's suffrage, that they 
are already represented in and by the vote of their 
husbands. But this again is only saying that they 
will be duly cared for and protected, by the voice 



THE EEFOKM AGAINST NATURE. 69 



their husbands have in government, when they do 
not govern for themselves. And nothing can be 
assumed more safely than that ; for if by some 
lache of marital attention, helped by a certain 
natural gravitation toward injustice when atten- 
tion sleeps, the laws may sometimes slip or subside 
into ways that bear oppressively on women, the 
wrong will be easily rectified. There is no delibe- 
rate willingness in men to oppress women ; and as 
soon as any sufficient reminder comes, and a real 
grievance is shown, there is sure to be some ade- 
quate reform that redresses the wrong discovered. 
Our legislators, have abundantly shown their 
readiness, and even zeal, to remove every sort of 
harshness in the laws toward women ; they make 
haste in it, and are willing even to go beyond the 
real equity and do, since it is for women, more 
than is equal, and more than they would ask 
legislating for themselves. If they want, indeed, 
a partial legislation, softer and more favorable than 
strict equality, their surest way to get it is to let 
it be the legislation of men. They will do any 
thing for women that has even a semblance of 
right. 

| What matter then is it, whether women have a 
representation by their own ballot or not ? Per- 
haps it may better suit their ambition to be 
powers, than wards of the state, but it is a very 
fatuitous and really most unsentimental ambition. 
Oh ! if we could only be assured as men, that we 



70 

should be governed well, and safely defended in 
every right, secured in every privilege, without 
any representation at all, any right of suffrage, 
what better and more halcyon day of promise 
could heaven let down upon us. Such government 
would be like that of God -Himself. There is no 
privilege in representation, no inherent right of it 
in any state, save that, as rulers are themselves 
under evil, and prone to ways of wrong as God is 
not, it is convenient and imparts a feeling of 
security, to have the subjects themselves allowed 
a voice in the laws, and a part in their just enforce- 
ment. It is no first principle then, as our new 
state reformers assume, that women have a right 
of representation because they are human ; in that 
way a right of suffrage ; for nobody has any such 
right of representation, if only he can be well 
governed without such right ; and women are as 
nearly sure of that as they can be, in the fact that 
they are made sure by the vote and representation 
of their husbands. 

But they are many of them single persons, it 
may be urged, and have therefore no husbands by 
whose vote their rights may be protected. On 
this account too some of the opposers of women' s 
suffrage, apprehending a defect in their argument 
based in the representative office of husbands, have 
conceded the right of widows and single women 
to vote ; only requiring them to lose that right 
when they pass into the femme covert state. 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 71 

But this would open a way for innumerable frauds, 
and confusions without end. Happily the whole 
cast of the argument is mistaken. Women are not 
changed in their nature, or in any natural right, 
hecause they are married. What we have to say 
is, that all women alike are made to be married, 
whether they are or not. The sex -nature of men 
and women is not altered by marriage, and accord- 
ing to that sex-nature, women are to be sheltered 
legally by men. Government is not given them, 
but protectors are given them, who are tender 
above all terms of equality. So that if it were 
necessary for them to be represented, and they had 
a right to be, the whole female order would be 
most effectively represented in the whole male 
order, without respect to any chances, or mis- 
chances, of marriage whatever. 

And so there is to be secured for women a more 
benignant, softer kind of protectorship, which is 
bruised and battered by no contests, or made hard 
and imperious by no mere dominations of force. 
Of what use would government be, if all fine sen- 
timents and gentle deferences and loyalties were 
killed by it ? And there must be room for these 
in harbors and havens one side of the storms ; 
where only soft winds blow, and silent atmospheres 
and breathings are allowed. The masculine half- 
being must be allowed to sink into the bigger 
self that he calls his home, and be sheltered in the 
womanly peace he has protected, for the gentler 



72 WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE; 

and more dear protection of his own more stormy 
life. Living only as male creatures in society with 
male, they would keep their pride, their will, their 
dry grudges, and self-seeking torments, and these 
would be their inventory. It is only when they 
take in the complementary graces of a domestic 
keeping the carefulness, the love, the beauty 
that they save moisture enough to fully and com- 
pletely exist. That is the protectorship of men. 
This is the protectorship of women. And if the 
question be which is first in consequence, dearest, 
and most necessary, the women certainly shall 
say the first, and the men quite as certainly the 
last. 



THE EEFOKM AGAINST NATURE. 73 



IY. 

SCRIPTURE DOCTRINE COINCIDES. 

HAPPILY, we are not obliged to hang our 
opinions in this matter of women's suffrage on 
the moral expositions and dictations of Scripture ; 
for the two points now made in respect to the 
natural subordination, or subject state, of women, 
and to the secondary, complementary office they 
hold in filling out the manhood of men, when 
merged politically in their protectorship, need no 
scriptural authority to support them. The Scrip- 
ture has nothing to say of this matter, which is at 
all variant from what we see with our eyes. In- 
deed no scripture revelation, which at all dis- 
agrees with the bisexual facts of our existence as 
they are, could be true, or have any authority over 
the revelations made by such facts. The scrip- 
ture revelations might interpret the revelations 
of nature, and let us farther into their meaning ; 
or they might impart new disclosures that go 
farther and give us additional knowledge ; but 
I do not see, in this particular case, that they do 
either. They seem to merely reiterate, and put ,/ 
in stronger emphasis, just what we learn by the 



74 WOMEN'S SUFFJRA/JE; 

sight of our eyes that, and nothing more. How- 
ever, a great many minds will revert almost in- 
stinctively here to what is given us by scripture 
authority, and will ask for the sentence it pro- 
pounds as a final and determinate settlement, so 
far, of the questions in issue. Besides, we only 
pay a decent reverence to the teachings of God, 
when we bring our questions before this tribunal 
of divine authority and reason, as it is proposed 
in this chapter to do. 

Coming, then, to the Word, what saith the 
Word ? Take what view we please of the story of 
the creation, it scarcely matters as far as this par- 
ticular subject is concerned; for the representa- 
tion is, in any case, that the woman is created, 
not to be the man's re-duplication, or a second 
man, but to be the meet-helper of the man. She 
is to be a subsidiary nature, filling out the com- 
plete humanity of the man ; and this fact is figured 
in a way of representation that makes her nature 
derivative from his, and so far of a quality at once 
cognate and complementary. " And Adam said, 
this is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh ; 
she shall be called woman, because she was taken 
out of man. Therefore shall a man leave his 
father and mother^ and cleave unto his wife, and 
they shall be one flesh." 

So the parties stand in the scale of the creation. 
They are one flesh as being two, because one is 
the complement of the other. Then follows the 



THE KEFOKM AGAINST NATURE. 

precipitation of the fall, in which the composite 
unity becomes a bond of retributive liability, even 
as every other blessing is touched by the pangs 
of disorder. Before it was, u be fruitful and mul- 
tiply ; " now it is, to the subject party, " in sorrow 
shalt thou bring forth children ; and thy desire 
shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over 
thee." "What before was only a protectoral rela- 
tion, where the forward nature takes the subject 
into care and dear safe-keeping, is now to become 
a partly embittered relation, and be more or less 
galled by oppressions, such as wrong-doers in 
power will lay on the subject companions God 
gave to their protection. " Thy desire shall be to 
thy husband." This interprets no more the real 
order of nature, but the disorder of unnature ; and 
how sadly and how heavy with sighing, all down 
the after ages, has the sentence been repeating its 
verifications ; female nature suing, as it were, to 
male, and how often, alas ! getting from even its 
love itself but a slack appreciation ; sometimes 
burdens unstinted and weary homages of sorrow ; 
sometimes only roughness and neglectful insolence. 
Yisibly the man has precedence and the woman 
a subordinate lot, only it is no more the sweet 
relationship of order and protective sympathy 
originally intended, but of one made hard and dry 
by the partly retributive extirpations of love and 
tenderness. And still, under so many repulses 
and discouragements, the desire of the woman is, 



76 

none the less fixedly, to the man and to his rule, 
harsh as it is now become in its severity, and dis- 
mally distempered by the abuse of power. 

We descend across the ages to the times and 
declared maxims of the New Testament - era. 
Nothing, of course, is put down here to re-empha- 
size the retributions of sin, but the subordination 
of the woman to the man, and the complementary 
part she fills in the sheltered condition of her 
dependence, is, if possible, more emphatically 
stated. As " the head of every man is Christ," so 
" the head of the woman is the man ; " as " he is 
the image and [reflected] glory of God," so " the 
woman is the glory of the man." " For the man 
is not of the woman, but the woman of the man. 
Neither was the man created for the woman, but 
the woman for the man." "The woman is to 
learn in silence, with all subjection" "not to 
teach nor to usurp authority over the man, but to 
be in silence." 

Now, these heavy pronouncements of the apos- 
tle come down with a kind of pounding emphasis 
on women, that sounds harshly. I should not dare 
to write in this way, and scarcely to think in this 
way, without adding something that is more ap- 
preciative and more delicately respectful both to 
merit and feeling. If Paul had been well married, 
that is, to such a wife as by character and personal 
attractions could make herself the mistress every 
wife should be, in -the respectful homage of her 



THE KEFOKM AGAINST NATUKE. 77 

husband, I think he would have learned some 
things about women which, in fact, he never did 
learn, and would have been as much more cour- 
teous and tenderly gracious in his words. And if 
he had lived in this particular age, I am not quite 
sure that he would have had as much to say of 
the obedience of women ; for it will be observed 
that when he is speaking in this manner he is 
having respect almost always to " the shame " re- 
ligion suffers when women are less patient, or less 
quietly subordinate, under the frequently dom- 
ineering rule of their husbands, than the man- 
ner of the age requires. The point which has so 
great importance with him is, that Christian women 
shall not raise an accusation of scandal against the 
gospel, by the boldness of their liberty in the 
spirit and of their faith in Jesus. Of course 
Paul did not know every thing, whether about 
women or any other subject of knowledge. What 
the Spirit gave him he knew, and for all other 
kinds of knowledge he was on a footing with his 
age. And, in this view, doing justice to all that 
he positively declares, we are permitted to doubt 
whether he had a fully rounded conception of the 
finer and more superlative qualities of womanly 
talent. Do we not see, in fact, that womanly gifts 
are a great deal higher than his old-time habit and 
his mere bachelor acquaintanceship ever allowed 
him to know? 

And yet he is perfectly right in every positive 



78 WOMEN'S STJFFEAGE; 

utterance and moral pronouncement he makes. 
So far he indorses and sanctions the' grand first 
truth of the sexly nature seen by us all ; the supe- 
rior headship of man, and the subordinated, com- 
plementary life of woman ; and so the base note 
of his music is rightly keyed. And, it must also 
be said, in justice to his seemingly harsh and 
somewhat overbearing dictations or casuistries, 
tli at he does sometimes contrive to give a less des- 
potic and more thoughtfully tender look to the 
governing right of husbands. He does not say, 
" Assert your rights and put your women in their 
places," as he almost seemed to be doing just 
now, but he says, " Husbands, love your wives, 
even as Christ also loved the church, and gave 
himself for it. So ought men to love their wives 
as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife 
loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his 
own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even 
as the Lord the church." In this most sacred 
bond he conceives the two to be, in some sense, 
two no more, a man and a woman, but " one 
flesh" rather ; practically unified, as in some mys- 
tic consolidation even as Christ and the church 
is made one by what he calls the "great mys- 
tery," their secret marriage bond in the Spirit. In 
this bond, so truly sacred, let them both abide as 
natures sealed for unity ; " let every one of you, in 
particular, so love his wife even as himself [an- 
other self] ; and the wife see that she reverence 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 79 

her husband." He is husband still, and she is 
wife their natural distinction remains they only 
temper now the look of their relation, by as much 
as they soften the authority, to love on one side, and 
deepen the obedience, to reverence on the other. 

Passing now to Peter who had been married, 
it is pleasant to see what his marriage has done 
for him, in the more appreciative manner of his 
writing. He begins at the same point with Paul 
" Likewise ye wives be in subjection to your 
own husbands ;" and the motive stated is one that 
encourages a confidence of power superior in 
some sense to the word of the gospel, and even 
to apostolic preaching itself, viz. : that their hus- 
bands may " without the word," without preach- 
ing, without exhortation " be won by the con- 
versation [the beautiful way] of their wives," In 
the same strain he goes on to speak of their adorn- 
ing which is to be no outward glare of trinkets, 
and gems, and braidings of hair, and dresses in 
the mode, as many think who count women only 
a toy but it is to be internal worth and beauty, 
the hidden magic of a dear, celestial character; 
that which, in God's scale of judgment, is of great 
price. And I know not any thing ever said in 
Scripture of mortal beauty and perfection, which 
carries an impression so superlative as this word 
TTokvTetes, all-perfect, precious, dear above price, 
and that " in the sight of the Lord;" as if it were 
conceived that a woman, dignified by such inter- 



80 WOMEN'S SUFFKAGE; 

nal beauty, is really the finest mold of created 
being ever looked upon by even God himself. 

Next, the apostle brings out another specially 
grand point in the behavior of Christian women, 
as related to the precedence and authority of their 
husbands, setting Sarah before them as the model 
of all finest dignity " even as Sarah obeyed 
Abraham, calling him lord ; whose daughters ye 
are when ye do well and are not afraid with 
any amazement." And if any thing will class a 
woman in her -subject state with Christ himself 
in his, it will be that she is able to carry herself 
steadily through all the ungracious and violent 
and often fierce exactions of her lot, with a brave 
woman's heart, never cowed or driven out of cou- 
rage by the tyrant her submission crowns. A 
delicate, defenseless, yet unf earing woman is a 
brave light ! Her type of life is more like that 
of Christ than any man's can be, and so this 
rough-minded, impetuous, fisherman apostle evi- 
dently feels himself. 

And, therefore, we are not surprised, when he 
goes on in the very next verse to exhort the 
" doing honor " to such women. Honor, as we 
commonly speak, is a kind of homage, such as 
inferiors pay to superiors, a subject nature to a 
governing nature. Rough apostle that he is, he is 
yet gallant enough to make a beautiful inversion 
here, calling on the husbands to give honor to the 
wives the stronger vessel to the weaker and more 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 81 

fragile and to take grade with them, so far, in 
the new love, as to be heirs together with them in 
the grace of life. He also intimates that if they 
can not do this, but must always be clamoring for 
equal rights on one side, or disowning the same on 
the other, their very " prayers will be hindered." 
"What now is the general result to which we are 
brought by this review of the Scripture, but that 
women are out of place in the governing of men. 
Even Comte himself does but echo the rejected 
word when he says, " Woman may persuade, ad- 
vise, judge, but she should not command." The 
Scriptures have more delicate arid genial ways of 
speaking often, than in some of the citations here 
made, but in whatever terms they speak, terms of 
cherishment, as for one's own body, or of love as 
to a second self, or of honor paid to the precious 
ornament of a beautiful soul, or of gallant defer- 
ence and mindfulness to a person tenderly fragile, 
there is clearly never a thought that women have 
a claim, on any score, to be set forward as cam- 
paigners in the state with men. The assertion of 
their political equality with men would have 
shocked any apostle, or other scripture writer, and 
an agitation by women, based on such equality, to 
secure the right of open contest with men for 
political office and power, would have been looked 
upon even as an offense against nature itself an 
outrage on decency and order utterly abominable. 
The great question of female suffrage they decide 



82 WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE; 

only the more effectually without naming it, for 
indeed it was a thing unknown, whether as respects 
the rights of men or of women, and we hear them 
say, just what we have been seeing with our eyes, 
that men are the force-element of the world, the 
imperative sex, and women the beauty-element, 
called to reign by the more sacred title of obedi- 
ence and trust ; both in unity, to be one flesh, a 
complemented whole of ornament and strength. 

About the only aspect of equality, or likeness of 
kind between the two sexes, anywhere presented 
in the Scriptures, relates to the future life, where, 
we are told, they " neither marry nor are given in 
marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven." 
And the declaration appears to be still more sig- 
nificant, when taken as connected with the fact 
that no scripture angel is put in the feminine 
gender, and that the word angel itself has no fem- 
inine. All which, as some may argue, tokens the 
fact, that sex belongs here below, and that both 
sexes alike have the real staple in them of a com- 
mon angelhood in the life to come which staple 
of course pertains to them as truly here, and makes 
them equal here as there. 

The argument will be far-fetched of course, but 
arguments are wont .to be, when they can not be 
found closer at hand. At the same time, truth 
obliges me to say, that I have a certain pleasure 
in it, or at least in the facts at the base of it, that 
it allows a view of woman and her womanly rela- 



THE KEFCBM AGAINST NATUKE. 83 

tions to man, that well accommodates our ad- 
mirations, and allows us to think with great 
satisfaction of her future possibilities. As there 
is to be no marrying, or giving in marriage, so 
there is to be no sex, according to our common, 
more humano, sense of the terms. And yet, in 
the more spiritual and properly celestial sense, the 
two complementary natures are still on hand, and 
are wanted for the complete ordering and variety 
of the consummate social whole. Husbandhood 
and wifehood are there, in the old-time bonds and 
recollections, by which they wove their lives 
together, in obligations which it would be a shame 
even to goodness and purity ever to forget. They 
are married no more, and yet they are married ; 
even as all friends are joined everlastingly to 
friends in the offices of truth and duty, that bound 
them together. In this manner the grand society 
of angels comprehends married people and single 
people, and children grouped in part according to 
their life-time obligations, offices, and affinities. 
True, there is in one view, neither male nor female 
there, even as the apostle declares that, in Christ, 
there is neither, and yet, the intolerable dryness 
there of a pure male state, unblessed by womanly 
grace and feeling, is not to be dreaded. For there 
is a sexhood also in spirits, as truly as in organic 
life, and the sex-quality is only glorified, not oblit- 
erated. But their scale of. quality is, it may be, 
greatly changed, if not inverted in dignity. Thus 



84: WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE 

the force-natures the male that went forward, 
and took the helm of government and public war, 
appear to have graduated now as respects their 
force-element, having no longer much call for 
either government or war upon their hands. And 
now come up the beauty-natures that were sub- 
ject, even as Christ came up into His divine 
ascendency when he rose from the dead, reve -ling 
now their quality and shining with him, li in the 
kingdom and patience " of his suffering Messiah - 
ship. These women, that were once put under 
and made subject, break into eminence now, as the 
soprano natures once in a while could and did in 
the contests of art below, and the superior fineness 
of their mold puts them in a tier of honor and 
power, which they have gloriously earned by their 
subject state. They were humbled, and are now 
exalted. Probably enough the man-spirits have 
more thunder in them still, but thunder is no very 
considerable power among the unfearing and sub- 
limely loving good ; for, to all such, quality and 
not quantity is the glory that most impresses their 
homage. And still, it may be that, as Christ, 
ascending out of weakness and the grave, felt " all 
power" gathering in upon him, in the spring of 
his reactions, so these women that were humbled, 
taking grade henceforth as angels, will the more ex- 
cel in strength, and be chariots of God, more swift 
on their axle, when they go upon his errands. 
And have we not possibly here a tolerable, or at 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 85 

least, not absurd solution of that rather fine-drawn 
riddle by which Paul has so long plagued the com- 
mentators : " For this cause ought the woman to 
have power on her head, because of the angels." 
The " power," that is the authority she is under, 
signified by her veil, ought, he argues, to be on her 
head, as the token of her subject womanhood, till 
her graduation is accomplished, and she takes her 
equal right among angels. She is put in this wom- 
anhood, and the subject lot of her sex, to produce 
a duality and the answering relationships of a two- 
fold quality or kind so as to spell the otherwise 
intolerable monotony of an isolated and single na- 
ture. Double sentiments are thus to be raised, and 
a beautiful dialogue of duty and feeling, in two 
kinds of duty, and two kinds of feeling, is to keep 
two echoes in play, and by so much of part and 
counterpart, maintain the dear society of life. This 
double appointment, therefore more honorable 
in fact for the woman, though it does not so ap- 
pear she must never rebel against, but must wear 
upon her head the veil that signifies her office, 
till her finer nature comes to the flower. She 
will do it because of the angels and her own half- 
Christly graduation among them. 

Be it then allowed, that such kind of sentiments 
as I am here discovering, are only put upon the 
Scripture, and not found in it, they are none the 
less worthy, and it may be, none the less true. I 
believe that they are from the Scripture, and re- 



86 

veal, as in beautiful forecast, the sublime culmina- 
tion of what is called so often the dejected lot of 
woman. A great many things, because of the 
trial that is in them, are not dejected, but are only 
the more honorable and supremely elect. 4 "Who in 
fact are the true privileged of mankind but the" 
heroes; and who are the heroes but those who 
master great adversities, those who have been, able 
to suffer, and are therefore fit to reign ?jf In this 
view it is, that I can only look with supreme pity 
on the campaigning women of this day, who have 
so far mistaken the honors of their sex, as to see 
no privilege but in being clear of it. They ought 
to see beforehand that they can not be men ; and (Tfr r 
since they must be women, why should they be 
teaching both themselves and their sex to have a 
more fixed distaste of just what they must in any 
case be ? They appear to be overmuch impressed 
with the clatter and clangor of our political ma- 
chinery ; there are so many rights in question, and 
such worlds of flash argument to assert them and 
defend them, and getting office signifies so much, 
and their over-easy admirations and ambitions 
are set in a glow, and their selfish appetite kin- 
dled puts them on asking : Why should not we go 
in for a part of the game also ? Are we not dying 
for the want of something to do, and what better 
thing is there for us to do ? Have we not as good 
rights as men ? Have we not the same ? Are we 
not men ourselves ? 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 87 

Of course they are, in some true sense of the 
terms, but I wish it could be seen that they think 
as much and have as high an opinion of being 
women. For one, I have a considerable satisfac- 
tion in having women ; just such, I mean, as can be 
and love to be women. I want them exactly not 
to govern, not to vote, not to be the stumping 
power of assemblies; natures that go to make 
atmosphere, and not to burn it up; who can bei 
apart, who can wait in silence, who can think it a! 
privilege not to be required in the times of confla- 
gration, and assume it as their finer and more^gentle 
lot to be in the sweetness of God, and keep some 
flavor of it for the flavorless and hard- worn life 
of their husbands. They are also to be greatly, 
desired, that they may put something into their 
husbands, if possible, that is fit to be enjoyed, and 
worthy of being respected and honored. And if 
they do. not make history fast in this manner, God 
be thanked, if some are willing to live without 
making history. Give us women enough to do 
the disinterested part of the world's life, and think 
it all the more honorable that they do not want to 
be honored, and then we are so far sure that there 
is something great in the world. And if this be 
the calling of women, when they are shut away 
from place and power, is there any calling 'which 
they can not better afford to lose ? 



88 



Y. 

SUBTLE MISTAKES OF FEELING AND ARGUMENT. 

THE false motives and mistaken arguments, that 
make their appearance in discussions of this sub- 
ject, are too many to be recounted. To handle 
the whole chapter of them specifically and exhaust- 
ively is impossible, but it may be important to 
single out, for exposition, a few that operate most 
broadly and carry most effect. 

It is very desirable that our women agitators in 
this field should understand the real motive by 
which they are instigated, and there is much reason 
to believe that they sometimes do not. There is 
a terrible ennui upon them ; a want of motive, op- 
portunity, possibility, which would even make it 
pardonable to break out in almost any sort of re- 
volt, or wildest sally. They fall on the question 
of suffrage and political life, and get so much ta- 
ken with the notion of equality propounded that, 
before they know it,' they begin to see all the king- 
doms of the world, and imagine themselves really 
conquering place and signification in the promised 
equality. It is impossible not to speak of them 
here with sympathy and true respect ; all the 



THE KEFOEM AGAINST NATURE. 89 

greater respect, we might say, that they can dare 
something excessive. However heated they may 
be in their expectations, they are not off the basis 
of reason so far as to wholly misconceive the re- 
form that engages them. The re-sexing of their 
sex, even so far as to make it manly in habit and 
action, they know to be impossible. They might 
very well know beside, that they will burden 
their condition with worse disadvantages, and 
heavier weights of depression, if they undertake 
any thing which supposes a feeling of disrespect to 
their sex. Probably enough they do not, but it is 
not difficult to see, that they are working in a kind 
of impatience that idealizes relief, in the subtle, 
undefined, indefinable, hope of some masterhood 
state which is somehow to be gained, in the suf- 
frage, and to be a virtual equivalent of masculinity. 
Political power and place, it is believed, will mend 
their condition. They will conquer, in this man- 
ner, a new sphere and platform of life, where they 
will at least be in peerhood with men, and the dis- 
honored, sadly depressed lot of their sex will be 
taken away. I believe no such thing. On the 
contrary, I am under a conviction, not to be re- 
sisted that the depression they are under will be 
greatly increased. Giving the ballot, we shall 
give stones for bread ; putting them, as women, to 
a test they can not stand, and forcing them down 
thus into a more hopeless prostration than could 
otherwise ever be reached. 



90 WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE; 

To say again, that I most profoundly sympa- 
thize with their endeavor, however mistaken, is 
unnecessary. 

If I were a woman, in the present lot of wom- 
en, I think I should certainly wish to be a man, 
and that any change, giving but a semblance 
of a chance that way, I should hail with delight 
and accept with eagerness. The wages allowed 
their industry are so unequal ; their employ- 
ments so restricted ; their subjection, so often, 
when married, to an overbearing tyrant will they 
have no counter force to resist ; the crime it is for 
them to be heart-broken, and publish their woes by 
the sad look of their silence ; and, what is worst 
and saddest of all, the worse than broker's 'cor- 
ner, wherein all unmarried women are penned by 
restrictions they can not escape unable to work, 
because it will 'humble their position ; unable to 
venture on great operations in trade, because a 
.woman can not get the necessary credit ; subject 
to indignities and much laughter, when they un- 
dertake a profession ; wanting marriage as the 
proper woman's place, with a conscious ability to 
fill it, and with no ambition, save to be the orna- 
ment and cherished love of a worthy and true 
husband, yet chained fast under bonds of deli- 
cacy which well nigh forbid so much as the being 
approachable by a man. When, I say, these things 
are duly considered as pertainings of a woman's 
lot, we might alrncst justify them in a riot against 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 91 

natural sexhood itself, if there were any thing to 
be gained by it. 

And yet there is one matter, just now referred 
to, where a genuine reform would accomplish more 
for women, as I verily believe, and take them 
out of the corner that now pinches them a great 
deal more certainly, than to give them a right of 
suffrage and of civil office ; having also the far- 
ther advantage, that it would give them a more 
open way to the proper woman's life, for which 
they are made, instead of taking them off into quasi 
battles with men, for points of precedence and 
prerogatives of government which do not belong 
to them and never can ; I speak here of a reform 
that takes off, or somehow loosens the embargo 
on women, as respects advances toward marriage. 
The assumption now is, that women must be first 
lassoed and taken, courted long and skillfully then 
and almost to the death, before they can venture 
an approving look. If they can not be conquered, 
then they must not be had, and they must take 
this ground themselves. On one side there must 
be a close fence of prudery, hard as possible to be 
got over ; and on the other, the man who will try, 
must go to it bravely, which alas ! for his modesty 
is likely to be quite impossible. Full three-quar- \ 
ters of the men who get stuck in their bachelor 
life and are never married, are in fact the most 
in-born adorers of women ; such as never in their 
lives can muster courage for any advance, just be- 



92 WOMEN'S SUFFKAGE ; 

cause the shrine they look upon has too much di- 
vinity in it for their mortal approach. Of course 
it will not do for unmarried women to put them- 
selves in a way of being suitors to men. That 
kind of suitorship would even be an offense, and 
raise a sense of revulsion ; nobody would recom- 
mend to women that they get over their modesty ; 
but the almost cholic stringency of what are 
called good manners, in this matter, might be re- 
laxed, without real impropriety and with great 
advantage. The present iron-clad modesty, which 
is simply ridiculous in either party, might be so 
far mitigated as to let feeling feel its way, and 
carry on its own courtship ; requiring no restric- 
tion save the restriction of words and formal ad- 
vances, and allowing nature to interpret and 
work out her problem, hampered by no unnatural 
coyishness. Women can not be forward and bold, 
but they are now a great way further off than 
they need be. 

There is also another way in which they are 
continually reducing their chances of marriage, 
that is far more blamable, and which certainly 
can be rectified ; I refer to the foolish ambition 
they so often indulge and openly manifest, of be- 
ing married into condition. There is here and 
there a noble-hearted young wom.an, such as could 
be willing to be joined with the small, close for- 
tunes of a worthy, toiling man, and who would 
even prefer to struggle with him, and have a com- 



THE KEFOKM AGAINST NATURE. 93 

mon title with him in his successes. Bat our young 
men are getting the impression now, and a good 
right to it is given them, that they can not marry 
till they have good condition to offer ; what can 
they do with a wife till they have enough laid 
up for a wife to spend ? And what is to be made 
of a woman, when she has no palace, and no 
coach, and what has she to look for but a very 
dull time, if she can not glitter. This very foolish 
ambition is due, no doubt, in a considerable de- 
gree, to the fault of the young men themselves, and 
the very meager and mean impression they have of 
women their low, merely shop-keeper's culture, 
that allows them never to conceive, either a fine 
woman, or a true home ; and yet it is largely the 
fault of the other sex, who suffer most by it. They 
themselves give it to be understood, that figure 
is what they expect and live for, and the hint 
that is so often given will about as certainly be 
taken. Hence again, the great diminution of mar- 
riages, and still more, of happy marriages. And 
the result is, that we have on hand a vast over- 
stock of single women, dying, as it were, of ennui, 
suffocated in the feeling that they exist for nothing, 
and have really no place ; till finally, they break 
out in their impatience, and resolve, at any rate, 
to have a place with men, as men have with each 
other. They are going to vote, they are going 
to have office ; they discover, in fact, a kind of 
woman's millennium, in the right of woman's 



94: WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE ; 

suffrage. Their mistake is total. It is not their 
present misery that they can not be men, but that 
they can not be women. And this latter they can 
be, while the former they can not. It does not ap- 
pear to be seen, as yet, that government and au- 
thority are not for them, but a beginning of suc- 
cess will very soon bring it to light. There is not one 
of them all, who can settle herself to the pose of 
a judge on the bench, without being laughed at. 
Or, if they should get a representation in Congress, 
which appears to be the ambition of some, there 
is not cast-iron or coarse pig-metal enough in 
their make, to bear that kind of campaigning for 
any length of time. By and by, or within a ten 
years' time, the beautiful restraints of gallantry 
will be worn out, and the man-force will reduce 
the forlorn sisterhood to such ignominy and deri- 
sion, as will finally discourage that kind of repre- 
sentation. If the House could scarcely abide 
John Randolph's treble, this chorus of treble, flu- 
ting half the time, will grow wearisome, and then 
annoying, and finally cease. 

No ; if any hopeful and true reform is possible in 
this matter, it must be the reform that takes off 
the restrictions on marriage, and facilitates the 
passing on of women to the true places and hon- 
ors of their womanhood. And if men will not co- 
operate, and even be forward in that kind of re- 
form as it might infer some fault of delicacy in 
women to be they must consent to be so far 



THE REFOBM AGAINST NATUKE. 95 

chargeable with real inhumanity. Can the Chris- 
tian pulpit itself be true to its office, without ap- 
plying itself, as things are now going, to the cor- 
rection of our false views of marriage, and the 
consequently diminishing frequency of marriages? 
If there is a postponing on one side, instigated by 
a pompous and hollow ambition, utterly wide of 
the beautiful meaning of the family state ; if on 
the other, where the poison of the same ambition 
also works, there is a consequent loss of hope and 
a turning away to go into fight with men in the 
rougher terms of equality, is it not time for the 
teachers of religion, the true guardians of society, 
to ask what duties may be now incumbent on 
them ? And is there not, besides, a possibility of 
accomplishing something in this matter by organi- 
zation ; and so of doing more, a hundredfold, to 
relieve the oppressive over-stock, under which so 
many fine women are stifled, than will ever be 
done, by all the office rights and voting privileges 
they are now so eager to obtain. Such an organi- 
zation, working only for names that are given, or 
by friends suggested, and presuming only, under 
strictest bonds of secrecy, to suggest, commend, 
and prepare acquaintance in ways of proper 
delicacy, might bridge a great many gulfs of 
false modesty perhaps that will otherwise be for- 
ever impassable. 

In this kind of reform there is nothing unhope- 
ful, or impossible ; for it is according to nature, 



96 

and not a reform against nature. The poor Bud- 
dhist women of China, for example, have abundant 
reason, out of their religion itself, to undertake the 
chance of being men, forlorn, to all appearance, 
as that chance may be. They were dogs, or cats, 
or rabbits, in the previous state, before they came 
hither ; and the priests now ply them with a fierce, 
almost skinning taxation, that they may get help 
in securing another good transmigration in the 
next stage of life before them. This present state 
they call " the bitterness," and with very good 
reason ; but they hope and pray, and even ache 
with expectation, that Buddha will give them what 
they call "the position of a man in good circum- 
stances " in the future life. And if our Christian 
view of angels always in the masculine is correct, 
they might possibly get some tolerably near ap- 
proach to it. But whatever woman goes after 
" the position of a man in good circumstances " 
here, is far less likely to succeed, to say the least, 
than she would be, if she was looking after " the 
position of a woman in good circumstances." This 
last she may get, but the other she most assuredly 
never will. 

Now it is the very great misfortune no, it is 
the glory of woman, that her position, not being 
either weak or low, requires so great moral 
refinement, a delicacy of perception so nearly ce- 
lestial, to see what is really in it. The glory of it, 
for it is deep in glory, is that it is so unselfish. 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 97 

You see this where it works instinctively, as when 
some really talented woman dresses up some idol 
of a husband, little thought of by any but herself, 
in the disproportionate honors and admirations of 
her womanly devotion ; or when such a woman as 
the world-renowned Madame de Stael pictures her 
dull-witted, rather common-place father, the min- 
ister Neckar, as the great financiering genius and 
first statesman of his time ; or when Aaron Burr's 
truly gifted Theodosia writes, in the almost ab- 
surd homage of her daughterhood " You appear 
to me so elevated above all other men ; I con- 
template you with such a strange mixture of hu- 
mility, admiration, reverence, love, and pride, that 
very little superstition would be necessary to make 
me worship you as a superior being, such enthu- 
siasm does your character excite in me." These 
womanly homages so instinctively paid are easily 
and often derided as a weakness of the sex, and 
yet so much of worship indicates the greatness 
and sublimity of a worshiping nature. This 
feminine trust, that submerges so much of criti- 
cism, is so truly unselfish and so far away from 
pride, that we only the more admire its admira- 
tions. At the same time, there is, it must be al- 
lowed, a boldness and imposing prominence in the 
coarse, heroic airs of manly position a noise 
and eclat, a bursting into admiration by force 
which even a romping girl can see and be 
greatly taken by, or a selfish, plodding woman can 
5 



08 WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE; 

easily set herself on scheming to obtain. Even 
as the wild, free Charlotte Elizabeth, in the boy- 
like rampages allowed her young nobility, was 
caught with desire to be a real boy, and being told 
that Mary Germain had transformed her sex, by 
jumping fairly out of it, says : " I made such ter- 
rific leaps that it was a miracle I did not break 
my neck." A more selfish, terribly corroding vice 
gets hold, not seldom, of the managing woman, 
which it is more sad to think of; as when it is de- 
clared of Madame de Montcalm, now sick, by her 
friend, the Duchess de Duras : " She is eaten up 
by politics ; they are her vulture." Judging from 
present appearances, this particular brood of vul- 
tures is getting to be largely increased. 

Alas ! that so many women, some of them really 
gifted women, should so little perceive where the 
honors of true womanhood lie ; and that appar- 
ently, because it requires a finer degree of insight 
and moral sensibility than they have been able as 
yet to supply. They are down too nearly upon 
the selfish, prose level of masculine contrivings, 
rivalries, and struggles after power, and the poet- 
ries of their beautiful nature are too subtle and 
deep for their discovery. They do not conceive 
at all what it means to be the sex elected to gentle- 
ness and patience, or, it may be, to the dreadful 
lot of violence and tyrant cruelty endured ; a dis- 
interested nature, held in suppression by a hard, 
dry, forward, selfish nature, claiming it for husband 



THE KEFORM AGAINST NATURE. 99 

by the homages she pays it, and hiding her really 
supreme glory under its coarse, forbidding mascu- 
linities. Oh ! if there were nothing in this world 
but these workers in will and war and wrong, 
called men, it would be a most unblest and wretch- 
edly dry concern. Nothing can ever lift the pic- 
ture till a subject nature appears, milder, truer, and 
closer to the type of God's own dear submissions 
in the cross of his Son ; allowing us to bless our 
sight in the beholding of so many women, by 
graces and benignities of self-forgetting love and 
sacrifice. And if still these better and elect na- 
tures want to be men, counting that an advance 
of condition much to be desired, God forgive us, 
if we quite as much want them to be women. 

So much as regards the man ward aspirations 
implied in the woman's suffrage reform. I pro- 
ceed, in the next place, to speak of the very large 
class of inversions that overset the order of time 
and cause, and breed, of course, a correspondent 
number of sophisms. Thus it is argued, how often, 
that equality between man and woman is the 
necessary condition of affection between them ; 
whereas it is affection rather that begets the only 
sense of equality. First, we have the affection 
based in qualities of unlikeness, that may even be 
called inequality, and which gives priority, man- 
aging right, and authority to the man ; homages 
and trusts of protectorship, and upward-looking 



100 

admirations, and a " seeking unto " for guardian 
force and " rule " on the part of the woman. Then 
comes equality, because the affection is so dear 
and complete, and so beautifully colored by the 
varieties of their two answering poles of character 
just as the two poles of the globe compose a 
perfect unity because of their complementary op- 
positions and repugnancies. Were the two parties 
equal in the sense of being alike, even as two 
women or two men are equal, they would only be 
yarn, and not cloth, threads drawn parallel, but 
woven by no cross relations ; but when the parties, 
a man and a woman, so unlike, are ingrafted mu- 
tually by their bisexual qualities, they are so com- 
pletely one, that authority is silent, and difference 
almost vanishes, and it scarcely occurs to them to 
ask whether they are equal or not, because they 
are no longer two. And yet this milling of reform 
for women's suffrage goes on the plan of making 
two of the pair either two men or two women, no 
matter which and expecting, in that way of strict 
equality, to beget a more certain, better state of 
affection. 

There is another inversion of true argument in 
this question, whieh is thrust upon our notice 
almost every day, viz., that we must have wom- 
en at the polls, to civilize the polls, and be a 
law of grace and refinement in all public affairs. 
" Since the world began," says Mr. Beecher, " to 
refine society has been woman's function. She is 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 101 

God's vicegerent on earth, for that end. You 
may be sure that she that has carried refinement to 
the household, to the church, to social life, to litera- 
ture, to art, to every interest except government, 
will also carry it to legislation, and the whole of 
civil and public procedure, if it is to be carried 
there at all." Mr. Beecher could easily see farther 
if he would. Suppose it should happen to be true, 
that she has carried her beautiful grace into so 
many spheres of life and society, just because of 
the one exception made; viz., that she has kept 
herself aloof from the stormy life of intrigue, and 
party passion, and official command. Suppose 
that, being qualified by nature to be subject, and 
not to govern, she would even spoil the delicacy of 
her subject nature and become as unrefining 
everywhere as if she were a man. Woman is going 
to be acted on as well as to act, if she goes into 
political life ; and for one, I have not much faith 
in what she can do by her nature when she abuses 
it. If the log may be split by the wooden wedge, 
most of us would like to be sure that the wedge is 
not going to be split by the log. Where away 
goes the refinement of the polls, when the polls 
have unrefined the refiner ? 

We encounter another inversion of order and 
consequent mistake of argument, in the assump- 
tion, that force or muscular superiority was the 
fundamental cause, at which all masculine prece- 
dence and rule began. And it is even assumed by 



102 WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE ; 

Mrs. J. Stuart Mill, in the Edinburgh Review of 
A. D. 1851, that a whole half of the human race, viz., 
the female half, are even now " passing through life 
in a state of forced subordination to the other half." 
And accordingly, it is the boast of the new wom- 
en's suffrage reform, that this old reign of mus- 
cle, or masculine force, is going at last to be 
removed, and make room for the true equality 
of the sexes, and the finally complete ascendency 
of justice. A greater misconception will not eas- 
ily be invented. The subordinate condition of 
women is not now a " forced subordination," and 
never has been to any very great extent, since the 
world began. The subordination is a fact univer- 
sal, and never will be any less so, as long as the 
world continues. But it is a fact, maintained 
more by the natural expression of a forceful nature, 
than by any compelling uses of force. It is the 
heavy tread, and the hard-knit frame, and the thun- 
dering guttural voice, and the Jupiter-like air and 
expression these it is, and man is not to blame 
for these that pass the law and cast the lot of 
female subordination. Sometimes, especially 
among the savage races, it is maintained, we know, 
by will, and the cruel exactions of force, but it is 
j ust as truly a fact where it is never compelled by 
any such severities. The man-type subordinates 
the woman-type in all best terms of society and 
purest terms of morality, and will do so as long as 
men are men and women are women. The sub- 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 103 

ordination is moral simply, based, that is, in moral 
expression, and no conditions of suffrage or equal 
count in the ballot, kept up for a dozen inillen- 
iums will take it away. It is doubtless true, as we 
so often hear, that women rule the world they 
rule it, that is because they are subordinate ; which 
is the most beautiful and truest rule conceivable ; 
but that they are ever going to rule it as in chief, 
or by any political supremacy, is neither to be 
apprehended nor believed. Why, if twenty women 
to one man should be the relative scale of births 
from this time forth, the men would rule the 
world as completely still as ever. And they 
would do it too, by no exercise of force, but only 
by the look of it. 

There is yet another kind of argument, which, 
instead of getting the future out of the present, gets 
the present out of the future. We anticipate some- 
times a progress in the moral state, that will quite 
supersede the political, and make it possible to 
live, without either laws or tribunals. Having 
this ideal in prospect, the conclusion is sprung 
forthwith, that, as everybody will be doing right 
spontaneously, under the intrinsic sway of moral- 
ity, there will of course, be no place left for 
" authority " in men as related to women. But 
suppose this fine ideal state is not yet reached, and 
will not be for some thousands of years, what mean- 
time is going to settle the family council as to re- 
tis ence, means of living, ways of living, and he 



104: WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE ; 

like, when the man and the woman can not agree ? 
The case must be decided somehow, and who shall 
do it ? Is it the man's right, or is it the woman's ? 
And if the man decides, taking that for his right, 
and even his duty, how does that decision operate ? 
Is it a matter of force stronger force subduing 
weaker or is it simply to be a matter of right and 
moral conviction ? I observe in all these discus- 
sions of woman's suffrage, how very nearly wo 
Americans have lost the idea of authority. We 
take it as a kind of dictation-force, which is 
only repulsive. It is command enforced by sanc- 
tions. And that, of course, when taken as the 
authority of man, is simply odious ; whereas all 
true authority operates in and through moral con- 
victions only. " This man speaks with authori- 
ty," said the people, " not as the scribes." They 
did not mean that Christ was uttering law and 
maintaining it by force, but they meant that his 
sentiments and his personal air affirmed them- 
selves, and carried conviction by their own pure 
emphasis. This was his authority. There was, it 
is true, a kind of authority in him that went with 
force, as when he drove the profane hucksters out 
of the temple ; and yet the remarkable thing even 
there was, that he carried nothing by the applica- 
tion of his rods, but every thing by the sacredly 
impressive heat of his indignations. In short, no 
conception is really more unworthy and low than 
that which resolves authority into force, and even 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 105 

imagines that the moral progress of society 
which is, in fact, to culminate in the completely 
sovereign authority of moral ideas will therefore 
take it quite away. 

We pass now to another class of mistaken argu- 
ments and false assumptions, that grow out of some 
comparative estimate of the sexes, which is too 
hasty and crude to support any rational conclu- 
sion. Thus it is maintained that woman is not in 
any sense more complementary to man than man 
to woman. And it is doubtless true, that woman 
is to be more complete in womanhood because of 
man, even as man is to be more complete in man- 
hood because of woman. But it does not follow 
that she represents humanity in the same way, and 
has an equal right to do it by the same things. 
That has never been the sense of the world. In 
all known languages, we call the human race man, 
and never call it woman. And when we speak 
in this manner, we do it in the feeling that every 
particular man and woman has a complementary 
office to fill under the generic word man, which 
complementary office every particular man fills 
in a sense more primary and capital, and every 
woman in a sense more secondary and subordinate. 
Paul words the relation just as we do, and just as 
we see it with our eyes - u neither was the man cre- 
ated for the woman, but the woman for the man." 

Again, it is affirmed, with perfect truth, that 



106 

woman has just as good right as man to assert and 
improve her own individuality; whereupon the 
sophistry comes in by an inference, that she has 
just as good right as he to vote, and have office, 
and be a campaigner with men in their political 
strifes and ambitions. Suppose it should happen 
to be true, that going into that particular field is 
against all perfection of her individuality, that her 
womanly qualities are too delicately fine, too close 
to the pure intuitions of morality, to suffer any 
thing but damage in such rough ways of encoun- 
ter ; what in that case becomes of the argument ? 
Instead of showing that she has just as good right 
as men to be banged, and battered, and go a 
wrestling ; it shows that her beautiful womanly 
individuality demands a softer element, and a 
more sheltered way of life, where she may get as 
much authority of another kind and a sovereignty 
as much more complete as it will be more undis- 
puted. And w r hat, if then, it should be proved, 
that men have no more right of authority over 
women than women over men ? Yet the kind of 
authority the woman is to get, and was really 
made for, is how different so different that if she 
were to go a stumping for it, hoping to win it by 
the sublime rage of a candidacy, she would come 
out minus, even in her victory, to be no authority 
at all. The precise way for women never to gain, 
always to miss their kind of authority, is to go 
after the other kind at the polls. 



THE KEFOKM AGAINST NATUEE. 107 

Again, it is argued that, as culture reduces the 
distinctness of the sexes, we are to presume a final 
obliteration of their distinguishing qualities, and 
turn both sexes into the great field of public action 
together. I must totally deny both the assump- 
tion and the inference made from it. Not even 
Mr. Darwin, as far as I know, expects to get the 
races, any of them, clear of sex, and pass them 
finally by it. He finds no principle of natural 
selection, that is going to select only males, or 
only females. Meantime, the conception that the 
sexes are approximated by culture is too super- 
ficial to bear inspection. Perfect the English taste 
and style of a man and the English taste and style 
of a woman, and how plausible in appearance will 
the assimilation be; and yet they will appear, 
on close inspection, to be only more wonderfully 
male and female. Put them into the absolute sci- 
ence of geometry, and they will somehow make 
you feel as if one were engineering a camp, and the 
other a lace or a stocking. Give them both such 
complete training, that they will both be respected 
equally for their good sense, and then it will come 
up as the deepest kind of riddle, that two very 
sensible people can be so different. Bring them 
into the very same ways of thinking, and then it 
will be discovered that the same ways of thinking 
do not, after all, make the man-mind and the 
woman-mind work alike, but a great way from 
it. The reason why we assume that culture ap- 



108 WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE; 

proximates the characters of men and women is, 
that we merely note first points of resemblance ; 
whereas, if we attend more closely, and penetrate 
the question more perceptively, we have all our 
impressions reversed. And it ought to be so, as we 
might well enough see beforehand. Is it not plain, 
even to our eyes, that the man-quality and the 
woman-quality are unlike? How then is the 
mere development of these qualities going to 
make them alike? What can such development 
do but just bring out the unlike qualities? And 
what is that but to make them more unlike ? 

Once more it is often assumed that the sexes 
are designed to create character in each other; 
therefore, that women require to be raised in the 
manly parts and functions, in order to the true 
raising of men. And the writer above referred to 
in the Edinburgh Review goes so far as to say 
that, "In the present close association between 
the sexes, men can not retain manliness unless 
women acquire it." But we have had some rather 
manly men in the past ages of the world, and 
we have perhaps a rather larger proportion, even 
now. And yet we do not find that many of our 
women are quite willing as yet, to set up for being 
manly women. Besides, if the assimilating power 
works both ways in the manner stated, how are the 
women ever to become more womanly unless the 
men become womanly enough to help them ? And 
here the whole masculine nature, nay, and the 



THE EEFORM AGAINST NATURE. 109 

whole female nature to boot, are out together in 
stern protest that men shall be men, and not wom- 
en at all. Every woman wants a man for her 
husband, and every husband wants to be a man. 
The argument therefore breaks down utterly ; 
manly women are not wanted, and womanly men 
are not wanted, and most happy it is, in both 
cases, that they are not ; for it is opposites here, 
and not similarities, that make the power. The 
man will be manlier, that he has a true womanly 
wife, and the wife will be the more womanly, that 
she has a manly husband. Develop both natures 
to the utmost, and the development of each will 
help that of the other. Nothing is more utterly 
preposterous, and more totally contrary to fact, 
than that, if we are to have manlier men, we must 
put the women out into fight, and bronze their 
soft faces into unbearded manliness at the tug of 
the polls. Why, if we could get the poor women 
up to this necessary pitch of manliness, and make 
them stalwart and bold as Lucifer, is there no rea- 
son to fear that, on principles of natural selection, 
we might prefer to let them have the polls and 
migrate to some more congenial country. 



110 WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE; 



YI. 

THE EEPOKT OF HISTORY. 

WOMEN'S suffrage is not a fact of history, but is 
rather a fact on the outside of history, waiting to 
get in. We have known but a single example of 
it; which continued scarcely long enough to be 
any example at all. I refer of course to the brief 
chapter furnished us by the State of ~New Jersey. 
The Constitution of '76 allowed " all inhabitants 
of full age, and worth fifty pounds," the elective 
franchise. Fourteen years after, viz : in 1790, the 
Legislature, in revising the statute, consented, at 
the instance of a Quaker gentleman, to take off the 
ambiguity some had felt as regards the meaning 
of the Constitution, by inserting the words " he or 
she." Seven years afterward, that is, in 1797, the 
amended statute was farther amended, by insert- 
ing the word "free*" As yet, during the space 
of twenty-one years, there had been no instance 
of female voting, but the contest raging now be- 
tween the old Federal and Democratic parties, 
brought up two candidates for the Council that 
stood in close balance, and the committee on one 
side, just before the polls were closed for the day, 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. Ill 

offered, quite unexpectedly, a number of female 
voters the Newark Centinel said seventy-five 
who could not of- course be rejected, Three years 
later in the Presidential canvass of 1800, when 
Adams and Jefferson were the candidates, the wom- 
en voted almost universally throughout the State 
women of all colors from the age of 18 upward. 
Two years later, in 1802, at a contested election 
the votes of two or three colored women deter- 
mined the choice of a representative. This fact 
excited some dissatisfaction, but nothing was done 
to obtain a repeal of the law, till after another elec- 
tion, by which it was to be tested yet more severe- 
ly. The question of the county seat, that is of the 
location of the court house and jail for Essex 
County, was the point now in issue, and the trial 
lay between Newark and Elizabethtown. The ex- 
citement of the contest ran high, and nothing was 
omitted, right or wrong, probably, that could help 
to carry the vote. The women of all colors and 
ages swore to their estate of fifty pounds, and in- 
sisting on their constitutional right, would not be 
excluded ; for what board of inspectors could be 
rough enough to exclude the suffrage right of wom- 
en? And the voting, it seems, grew livelier all 
day, lor as Mr. Whitehead informs us, the women 
voted " not only once, but as often, as by change of 
dress," who can manage that like a woman ? and 
where is the end of it ! " or complicity of the in- 
spectors, they might be able to repeat the process." 



112 

The result was that the Legislature, at their next 
session, thoroughly disgusted by the palpable 
frauds of the canvass, set aside the vote by their 
own act, and located the county seat themselves. 

Now, it will be said, I suppose, that this was but 
a rude, unregulated trial, where the precedents had 
not gathered body enough, as yet, to govern the 
proceedings. And yet there had been a voting by 
women eleven years ago, and a general voting by 
all the women of the State six years ago. At any 
rate, we have in this brief chapter of experiment, 
a really appalling refutation of the promise so 
frequently made in these discussions, that when 
women come to the vote, they will bring in honesty 
and decency, and make a full end of the frauds 
we now deplore and think of with so great alarm. 
On the contrary we see, as distinctly as need be, 
that women, never trained to consider what is 
in a vote, may have the lightest possible concep- 
tion of it, and can be if they will, the corruptest, 
most unmanageable voters in the world. Besides, 
we can also see as distinctly that no board of 
Inspectors will ever be able to detect the disguises 
that women can put^ on, by assuming many vari- 
eties of dress. They have every facility in the 
matter of dress, for taking on fifty characters in a 
day, and voting them all, without any le#st prob- 
ability of detection. 

Accordingly, when the Legislature of New Jer- 
sey, in the very next year, A. D. 1807, come to the 



THE REFOEM AGAINST NATURE. 113 

conclusion, that they h^ve had enough of women's 
suffrage and will now be clear of it when they 
take -up their parable and begin to say, " Whereas 
it is highly necessary to safety, quiet, good order, 
and dignity of the State," &c., &c., it is rather diffi- 
cult not to be imagining what we all, in every State, 
shall want to say after a like experiment. Shall 
we be able to say it, or will it be too late ? 

There is no other example, so far as I know, that 
can be cited for this point, unless it be that wom- 
en have been allowed both to vote and to speak 
in our Baptist and Methodist churches, and some- 
times, lately, in our Congregational churches also 
that they are set in offices of administration, and 
sometimes even put in a kind of apostleship, by the 
Christian assemblies of the Quakers. But here, of 
course, no such bad consequences of the suffrage 
follow, for the very manifest reason, that whatever 
is done by the women is done as in a liberty of 
prophesying. They do not propose to act from 
themselves, or for themselves, as when they meas- 
ure themselves with men at the polls, but to act as 
in the spirit and as vehicles of a divine grace and 
teaching. This very wide distinction sufficiently 
conserves their modesty, and it must be confessed 
that in the case of the Quakers, it appears to suffi- 
ciently conserve their modesty also in the use of 
their administrative functions, where it could not 
as well be expected. 

Dropping now these more particular illustra- 



114 WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE ; 

tions where some kind of voting has been allowed 
to women, I propose another and more general 
kind of argument, which, including many modes 
and varieties, may be expected to justify itself as it 
proceeds. The general verdict of history, as I 
conceive, is something like this, that some kind of 
mischief, or bad fatality has been almost always 
discoverable, where women have become forward 
actors and. managers in political affairs. 

This I know is not the common impression. 
What in fact do we hear, several times a day,when 
it is alleged that women have no governing right 
and no fitness to be in places of authority, but that 
England, one of the greatest and most forward 
kingdoms of the world, has a qneen for its ruler, 
a woman celebrated for no specially brilliant gifts, 
and yet a much respected, properly successful head 
magistrate. If now this particular English woman 
can rule one empire, may not other women often 
more gifted, suffice to make good voters, or even 
good under-magistrates ? But if we are to come at 
the real merit of this argument, it may be very im- 
portant to find, when the queen bears rule, who 
rules the queen ? No woman stands higher proba- 
bly in the scale of ability to govern, than the fa- 
mous Isabella of Spain. And yet, if we will see 
the exact truth, she is nothing but a lay-figure 
queen, behind whom stands her great high coun- 
cilor Ximenes, robing her with honors from himself. 
She, that is Ximenes, hedged about her husband 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 115 

as by a kind of sentry guard, fortified him by cer- 
emonies, tied him up by oaths, all which may 
have been very.kind, but not particularly gracious. 
She also, that is Ximenes, prepared the Inquisition 
by his priestly counsel, leaving it to her to adorn 
his red dragon institute by her beautiful graces and 
charms. There was nothing in fact that could 
be called a felicity in her administration, but the 
ornament she could put in oppression, and fetter- 
ing, unreliable aid she gave to Columbus. Take 
away Ximenes, and there is no counsel ; take 
away Columbus, and there is no brightening fact 
or glory. 

There is also another consideration, as respects 
these reigning women. After all, they are not 
women, but men ; for they do not stand in their 
lines as successors of women, but in almost all 
cases as successors of men. The gap they fill is a 
gap in some male line. And they bring very lit- 
tle into it commonly but their name and signa- 
ture. They are like ciphers between the other 
figures, important for the spacing they make, and 
not for what they signify themselves. They sign 
as women, rule as women, it is true, but the func- 
tion they wield is felt, both by themselves and 
their people, to be a man's function, and the queen- 
hood of it has a certain masculine force, because 
it is only a bridge that connects a future with a 
former masculine order and law. Besides, the 
councilors and chief ministers are always men, 



116 WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE; 

and there is not, in fact, a queen of all Europe and 
probably never was, who could make a woman her 
chief minister, and carry on the government. Kings 
enough there have been, that were managed 
and kept by women, when proposing to have men 
for their council ; but no queen could hold her 
place a week, having only feminine statesmen for 
her ministers. In all which we perceive, as' clearly 
as need be, that the queenly governments are after 
all rather masculine than feminine. 

Take now a single other example in this field, 
and it shall be the one that favors least the view 
just presented; the example I mean of Elizabeth 
of England. She came to the throne, not as suc- 
ceeding a man, but a woman, which so far was a 
considerable disadvantage ; and yet, when viewed 
more closely, it will be seen to have put her in a 
condition of the greatest possible advantage. For 
Mary, who came in after Edward, had been a 
great disappointment and affliction to all best feel- 
ing in the nation, so that when Elizabeth came in, 
after Mary, she was hailed with great eagerness 
and expectation, as the true successor of Edward. 
In this manner she derived no small part of her 
prestige in the government, from the fact that she 
represented the Protestant cause in such manner 
as could be expected of no other princely charac- 
ter of the. time. 

And what now shall we say of her reign ? Su- 
perficially regarded, or surveyed from a little dis- 



THE KEFOBM AGAINST NATDKE. 117 

tance off, it appears to be thoroughly successful, 
and historians have written most admiringly of 
the splendid ability displayed by her queenly ad- 
ministration. But if we are disposed to have a 
deeper inspection of her merit, we find it very 
nearly impossible to imagine, that a woman of so 
many weaknesses, and tossed by so many uncom- 
fortable tempers, can have added much to the 
success of her reign that was fairly from herself. 
She was surrounded, as it were, and caged by a 
body of nobles, and grave councilors, and great 
men pillared in wise moderation and heroic self- 
respect, and she knocked herself about among 
them, first against one, and then against another, 
persecuting some, annoying all, and calling it 
government ; whereas, in fact, they all were gov- 
erning her with as much patience as they could, 
or as much impatience as they must, and keeping 
her, by their changing attractions and repulsions, 
within the endurable conditions. There was never a 
finer illustration of the fact that women as such are 
not called to use authority, for with all the force she 
employed, the tyrannical edicts she pronounced, 
and the imperious and haughty airs she assumed, 
she was held up largely by the courteously moder- 
^ ated pity of her great men ; and as to genuine per- 
sonal authority, she had never a trace of it in the 
feeling of anybody. She had an almost universal 
jealousy of women, and especially of fine women. 
Indeed she very nearly hated the sex, passing her 



118 WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE ; 

order in a progress through Essex and Sussex, 
" that no head or member of any college, or ca- 
thedral, should bring a wife, or any other woman, 
into the precincts of it to abide in the same, on 
pain of forfeiture of all ecclesiastical promotion." 
In her style, we discover an almost laughable am- 
bition to show herself a man ; rolling on her pon- 
derous convolutions of dignity in the unimpres- 
sive tumble of a school of porpoises at sea, all the 
while about to say something manly in a manly 
way, only finding at last no place for it. She is 
courted by everybody, and wants to be courted by 
twice as many. She promises her people that she 
will marry, but is kept from it apparently, by the 
unwelcome fact that her husband will be the last 
of her suitors. She receives whole cargoes of billet- 
doux in the most laughable and absurd excesses of 
flattery, all of which she is fool enough to value, 
and store away for the future, instead of throwing 
them in the fire else why are they now preserved 
to us ? She was not less sure that her vixenly face 
was beautiful, than she was that she was doing 
every thing in the kingdom herself. She, Eliza- 
beth, supported the French Huguenots; she, 
Elizabeth, took the part of the Low Countries ; she, 
Elizabeth, vanquished the Spanish armada ; she, 
Elizabeth, was, in fact, the general doer of all 
that went on. No ; there was one thing she did 
not do the death of Mary, Queeii of Scots she 
wept over that ! 



THE KEFOKM AGAINST NATURE. 119 

Now it is not to be denied that England was 
brought on a great way, in the long reign of 
Elizabeth. Things were at a certain renovation- 
point, where they must go on somehow unless 
very much hindered, and forty-five years of dura- 
tion must show a considerable stride of advance 
if they showed any. Her court endured her as an 
odious, royally detestable woman, and sought to 
make the best of her as far as they could. And 
when she died it was not a day too soon. She 
had filled the masculine gap, and been as much 
of a man in the line, as perhaps she could ; but 
they wanted now a man whether to be worse or 
better, they must learn for themselves. Perhaps 
it may be said with truth, as it is in fact often 
said, that Elizabeth of England is the highest ex- 
ample of queenly authority afforded by the histo- 
ry of the world. I have sketched this outline of 
her reign, partly in deference to that impression ; 
and it is under the same, that we so often have the 
argument for woman's suffrage and her right of 
rule, turned by the citation of her example. But 
she was only a bad core in a fair apple ; and if 
another woman had succeeded her, promising to 
be just like her in her rule, it is doubtful whether 
she could have held the reins in hand for a single 
six-months. 

I have spent thus much of time on the govern-' 
ing women, because they are cited with so great 
frequency and confidence in the general question 



120 

I am discussing. In the first place, they are in 
men's places just to personate the filling of them, 
and be helped by the male formalities of the po- 
sition. In the next place, they do every thing by 
men, and so, putting always the very highest male 
talent of the nation at the point of real headship 
over its affairs. And then, once more, they have 
never in any one case, shown more than a very 
meager authority and capacity of rule in them- 
selves. 

Taking now a more decisive and direct way of 
argument, let us look along down the lines of his- 
tory and see how far the part women have taken 
in government, and their very close association 
with government, and with governing men, has 
operated well or beneficently. We have two ex- 
amples in history, one ancient and the other mod- 
ern, where women have taken the military com- 
mand, by a purely divine call, and have, so far, 
administered a sovereignty in God's name, inde- 
pendently of all human control. I speak of Debo- 
rah the prophetess and Joan of Arc. They are 
unlike in some respects, and more unlike, if we 
take the sublime lyric of Deborah as written by 
herself, and not as composed for her by some ad- 
miring poet who had caught the inspirations of 
her story. But they both agree in this, that they 
act, not in their own will and council, but by a cer- 
tain irruption of divine impulse upon them. They 
do not so much fight in a way of moving battle, 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 121 

as sail over their fields, and see the hand of God 
working for them. They are God's angels now, 
before their time, set on like David's twenty thou- 
sand angels who are twenty thousand chariots of 
God. It is not important to settle the precise func- 
tion by which they operate, or how far they may 
be raised ecstatically above or out of themselves. 
Enough that they are prophetesses in some very 
superlative sense, and are therefore not examples 
to be cited, in a question that is only concerned to 
find what capacities of public life and rule belong 
to women, as acting from their natural functions. 
The talk of Balaam's animal might as well be cited 
to show the talking capacity of his kind. With 
these two wonderful women some class Judith, 
and perhaps rightly, only she appears to be rather 
fanatically possessed than ecstatically raised, in 
the bloody feat of her story. 

Opening a little more largely now the scripture 
history, we discover as many as five pairs of char- 
acters that exhibit, in one light or another, the agen- 
cy of women, acting through, or upon the govern- 
ing power in their husbands. The best, and only 
satisfactory one of the five, is revealed in the story 
of Esther and Ahasuerus. Here we have a good il- 
lustration of what power there may be in beauty, 
or the subject state of beauty, as compared with 
force. An exquisitely fascinating woman, as beauti- 
ful in her manners and character, it would seem, as 
in her person, yet the daughter of a captive and gen- 



122 WOMEN'S SUFFKAGE; 

erally despised race, lias such power with a haughty 
monarch, that she is able, by her intercession, to 
turn the resentments of his proud ministers upon 
their own head, and also to deliver her despised race 
from an edict of extermination already proclaimed. 
She governs in a sense the government, and yet 
without exercising or exhibiting, any one political 
or governing talent in herself. She is manipula- 
ted in her story, at every turn, by her brave uncle 
Mordecai ; and apart from him, she is only a sim- 
ple Jewish girl. He it is that makes her what she 
is, and does by her what she does. 

The case of Pilate's wife and Pilate is different, 
but scarcely less interesting. Who she was we do 
not know, but she probably was young, and had 
not been hardened as yet by the false casuistries 
of public life. She is simple, unsophisticated, has 
the tender and true feeling all that is included in 
the morally perceptive insight of a woman ; being 
the only one of all the unbelieving crowd on that 
dreadful day of the trial of Jesus, who distinctly 
saw his innocence, and felt her womanly sympa- 
thies drawn out for him. She was perhaps a Jewess 
and religious, for she had dreams that took hold of 
her religious nature, and filled her with dread of 
some unknown evil impending over her husband 
and the nation. Her warning evidently shook him, 
but it did not quite prevail. Here is a woman at the 
side of the government, it must be confessed, who 
sees farther into the great matter in question than 



THE EEFOKM AGAINST NATURE. 123 

all the priests and magistrates, and who, if the 
decision had been hers, would have brought the 
trial to a different issue. And yet, if she had been 
the magistrate presiding, she could not have con- 
trolled the crowd, or maintained even a semblance 
of order, and the close would have been a murder 
by he mob not less revolting. A great many 
women would seize more unerringly on the judicial 
merit of accused persons, than even the most com- 
petent judges, and yet having no gift of authority, 
they couH not steady the order of proceedings 
sufficiently to save the tribunal of justice itself. 

A third of the cases referred to is furnished by 
Samson ; a man raised up for government, who 
yet is taken away from his very calling itself, and 
made a cipher, by his subjection to a woman. 
No other character in all human history, excepting 
Christ himself, begins upon as high a key of pros- 
pect, as this very absurd man Samson. Super- 
naturally promised, in signs of surpassing sublim- 
ity ; nourished in the strictest and most sacred terms 
of virtue ; gifted alike with, prowess, and strength, 
and wit, and poetry ; raised up, we should say, to 
be the deliverer of his people, in their wretched 
state of anarchy and defeat ; he yet justifies no 
expectation, lives to no purpose, and goes out 
finally, as a snuffed candle, at the end of a most 
foolish and absurd life. And the secret of his 
wretched collapse is, that he is caught in the coils 
of an artful and intriguing wife, who is too good 



124: 

a Philistine to let him be a Jew, and is only going 
to make him show how a great strong man and 
predestined champion, may be taken away from 
his country and his time and the expectation of 
his time, by a fascinating and perfidious woman. 

Ahab was a much less promising character than 
Samson to begin with, and it may be that Jeze- 
bel did not make him a great deal worse. But 
she did what she could, and by her devilish insti- 
gation, would have made a much better king the 
insufferable tyrant and robber of his people. 

What kind of influence Herodias had upon Her- 
od, we know ; and the probability is, that this 
bad woman had been training in his brother Phil- 
ip's court, for just such kind of monstrosities the 
taking off of a good man's head, the head of a 
prophet, that she might spite his faithfulness, and 
turn his reproofs to mockery. It was no advan- 
tage certainly, to Herod, that he had this helper 
by him in his government. 

Turning now to the Greek and Roman histories, 
I will cite the instance of the two most forward 
public women in both : viz., Aspasia and Cle- 
opatra. We do not as definitely know the story 
of Aspasia as we' could wish. She is sometimes 
reported in terms, that put her at a low point in 
the scale of virtue. Pericles was undoubtedly 
captivated by her charms, as he might very well 
be, and he may have divorced his own wife to put 
himself more completely in her power. She could 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 125 

not have been a loose or low woman. There 
appears, in fact, to be no better example in all 
history, of what a woman near the state may 
have the talent to accomplish, than hers. Bat 
her mode of life does not indicate that she was a 
political or managing woman. She was a woman 
rather of society, and moved on the state princi- 
pally by the great inspirations she excited. The 
story that she wrote one of the chief orations of 
Pericles was probably not true, but she may have 
given him all needed thoughts and inspirations 
for it. That she raised two public wars, is not 
much believed ; though she may have put some fire 
into the wars after they were kindled. She kept 
her house open, maintaining a kind of general 
levee for the principal men and women of the 
city ; in doing which, she was not so much garnish- 
ing the court of Pericles, as he himself providing 
the honors of the court of Aspasia. The fascina 
tions of her beauty, and the still more fascinating 
charms of her conversations, made her the adored 
woman, and her house the shrine of all the great 
men of Athens. Here it was that oratory and 
style in writing found their true ideal and true 
laws of criticism. Here came up all the great 
questions of art ; for it was the birthday of art for 
the city. Phidias the sculptor, Damon the musi- 
cian, Euripides the king of tragedy all these and 
others, caught their fires and took their ideals here. 
Plato came in often, and did not omit, on a cer- 



120 WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE; 

tain occasion, to congratulate her and the city on 
the speech she had made over the fallen at the 
battle of Lechseum. Socrates himself confesses 
the great benefit he has received from this won- 
derful woman. After the death of Pericles, dis- 
covering something hopeful in one Lysicles, an 
obscure person, she set the tide of her inspirations 
lifting under him, and made even him a respected, 
widely influential citizen. She quickened, as it 
were, the whole mind of her time, and was felt as 
a soul of beauty going through every depart- 
ment of Athenian life and society. All which, it 
will be claimed by some, makes her a striking ex- 
ample of what a woman may do in the spheres of 
public office and power. On the contrary, it could 
not be more visible, it seems to me, that had she 
been a managing woman at all, she never could 
have been any thing else that she was. She 
swayed the state, she filled the city with ornament 
and life, flowing down, as it were, upon all art and 
society from above. And in this view, she is even 
a most clear example of how much might be spoil- 
ed in a great woman, by getting her submerged 
under the stresses and managing devices of what 
is called statesmanship. Done up in state-craft; 
Aspasia would have only been a very common 
woman, and not in any sense the quickening soul 
of her times. 

Cleopatra figures in the Roman story after a 
fashion equally conspicuous, but in ways of politi- 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 127 

cal intrigue that are only ways of mischief. She 
loses a throne, and she gains it two or three times 
over, by the fascinations of her beauty and the 
unmatched elegance of her manners. Now she 
governs with a Caesar, and now she undertakes 
for Antony, feasting with him till they both have 
wasted their opportunities, and then fighting a bat- 
tle at sea for him, to lose it by mere panic and 
die with him in the fatalities of a common dis- 
grace. And yet her fatalities are only the fatali- 
ties of an immensely talented and almost over- 
splendid woman. She played her sex into the 
stake, as what woman is not likely to do, and the 
passion of the mixture took away the discretion, 
making public affairs the pretext only of her 
private heats and follies. 

Pass on now to a large, long chapter, full of 
instruction as regards this question of the true 
womanly place in government, the chapter I mean 
which comprises the history of so many Louises, 
on the downhill slope of the kingdom : viz., the 
four that preceded the Revolution. Nothing dis- 
tinguishes these 150 years of history so completely, 
as to say that they are the times of the mistresses. 
The kings governed the kingdom, and the mis- 
tresses governed the kings. And the mistresses 
commenced, tier above tier, and tier behind tier, 
pushing on their rivalries and their infinite cross 
combinations, stopping short of murder, when it 
was^couvenient, not otherwise, caring nothing for 



128 WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE; 

the state, save to make it yield what money may 
be wanted, frittering away and rotting down all 
public love, and making all high character a prey. 
There was no morality, or truth, or public love. 
The intercourse of palaces was the intercourse of 
lies. The womanly state-craft everybody knew 
was heartless, cruel ; instigated only by hate and 
jealousy, and all base passion. Nobody believed 
any thing, and there was nothing to be believed. 
The kings cared nothing for their people, wanted 
nothing but to please their women, and keep up 
the necessary appearances. In this terrible loath- 
someness, the core of the nation was rotting for so 
long a time ; till, finally, there was not fiber enough 
left to hold the functions of the state together; 
and who was governing, at any given time, this 
woman or that, or the king, or the king's chief 
minister, no one knew. Sometimes not even the 
royal council could tell what hand was moving in 
this or that affair. Thus, poor Keckar, the minis- 
ter, not consulted when M. Antoinette was gather- 
ing the military to put down the States General, 
Bays : " I never knew, with any degree of cer- 
tainty, the end at which the queen's party wished 
to arrive. There were secrets, and secrets within 
secrets, and I believe that the king himself was not 
acquainted with them all. It was probably deter- 
mined, as circumstances afforded opportunity, to 
inveigle the king into measures no one would have 
ventured to mention to him directly." Next^day 



THE KEFOKM AGAINST NATURE. 129 

Neckar was dismissed and sent into exile, and as 
good room and space were given for the pending 
revolution as need be. After 150 years of state- 
mistressing, after so many cabals of the woman 
cabinets, and such immense concoctions of u se- 
crets within secrets" which composed their state- 
craft, government was in fact already worn out 
and gone, ended before the revolution, and the 
revolution came in fact just because it was ended. 
The finis was already reached, and nothing re- 
mained but to shut up the book and put it away. 

Now these rapid and rather desultory glances 
at what may be called the governing agencies of 
w T omen reveal, as the general fact, a great want of 
felicity in them. They have done best when fill- 
ing occasional gaps in the male succession of 
thrones, and worst, by a great deal, when mixed 
with men, to reign as favorites and be themselves 
the wisdom of courts. Taken as councilors, dis- 
pensers of offices and honors, first managers and 
specially skilled intriguers, they have made a very 
disorderly and mean history. When we put them 
to the ballot, and give them rights of office, their 
relations to men will be different ; far less select, 
and probably, after a short time, quite as deep in 
the intrigues both of sex and office together. In- 
deed, we can not comprehend at all this matter of 
women's suffrage till we make distinct account of 
the joint working of these two kinds of intrigues. 

6* 



130 

"We can possibly bear the intrigues of men, for 
they have but a single character ; but what can we 
do when the double complications of two such 
double-acting intrigues are twisted into the web 
of our society and public policy and public law ? 
If it does not shortly become the foulest mixture 
the world has seen, it will not be that all necessary 
ingredients and opportunities are wanting. This 
harnessing of men and women together, and call- 
ing it government, is making, in fact, a conjunc- 
tion against nature, which has the doom of failure 
on it beforehand. The great law commentator, 
Montesquieu, says, that " women have naturally so 
many duties to fulfill, duties which are peculiarly 
theirs, that they can not be sufficiently excluded 
from every thing inspiring other ideas." I would 
say, instead, that government is to govern, and 
that women are not ; and therefore, that when gov- 
ernment makes conjunction with women, it must 
take up ideas that can not be sufficiently excluded. 
It is a common assumption that appears and 
reappears at every turn in the advocacy of wom- 
en's suffrage, that our elections will be mod- 
erated and made more respectable by the pres- 
ence and participation of women ; because the 
women themselves will be more restrained in their 
manners, and will have a restraining, mitigating 
effect on the men. Nothing could be more agree- 
able to be hoped, and when we note the civilizing 
effect of the presence of women, coming in as they 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 131 

sometimes do, to grace our public assemblies, we 
are tempted to believe that such kind of advan- 
tages will be gained. But we need not go far, I 
think, to gather up facts or incidents that indicate 
a result exactly opposite. "Women admire a great 
deal more strongly than men, and when they have 
a candidate, one who has become the idol of their 
choice, there is nothing they will not do to carry 
their end in his election ; just as the proud Duchess 
of Devonshire allowed a butcher at the hustings 
to kiss her, on condition of his voting for Fox. 
If this high-life, conventional woman could be so 
far taken out of the proprieties, in the hope of 
gaining a vote, how will it be with all sorts of 
women, mixing with all sorts of men, in -doors and 
out-of-doors, and playing such intrigues of candi- 
dacy, for weeks before and after, as the candidates 
of both sexes can arrange in the farming of their 
vote. For a time, for three or four elections prob- 
ably, the effect may be only good, but no such 
conjunction of men and women, in the fierce strug- 
gles and heats of party, can ever be kept on foot 
for any length of time, without breeding results 
of profligacy that are fearfully disastrous. 

At the same time it is not true that women take 
excitements less severely than men. We think so 
now, because we have them at such a remove of 
distance as allows them to be kept in softer tem- 
pers. But what have we seen at the South, but 
that women are the most intolerant, most unreason- 



132 

ing haters to be found. We may almost say that 
it was the women, goading the men, who finally 
forced them into rebellion. And what do we see 
but that women even now, as in Te'xas, are de- 
termined to have their animosity, and, at least, to 
get the satisfaction of having duly punished some- 
body. And the picture they are in is only the 
more absurd, that they keep their hate alive, when 
there is no longer anybody alive to feel it. In all 
which we are to see that women are the most vio- 
lent partisans in the world, and that nothing is 
more certain, when the women's suffrage plan is 
carried, than that all party contests will be raised 
to a pitch of exasperation never before seen. "We 
ought to anticipate just this from what we know 
of men themselves ; for there is a certain class of 
men that have a softer fiber, and a finer and more 
fragile person, and these are always the persons to 
be most extravagant, most violent, and most fiercely 
denunciatory in all measures and causes of reform. 
The sturdy, thick-bodied, masculine men keep their 
balance and their key of moderation, but these 
others are vitriol and gall to every sort of oppo- 
sition. Accordingly we shall see, when the days 
of women's suffrage ' are come, that all we had to 
say of moderation and a gentler type of manners, 
in our political affairs, has been a most sad mis- 
take, that party strife was never before so bitter 
and so mixed with hate. "Women are a great deal 
more violent, constitutionally speaking, than men ; 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 133 

the very delicacy of their nature makes them so, 
and as soon as they are called to violence, which 
now they are not, they will make an element of 
unmitigated bitterness. When the charities of a 
womanly nature are burned out, and nothing left 
but spleen or frenzied passion, we have a specta- 
cle both sad and frightful. 



134 WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE ; 



VII. 

PROBABLE EFFECTS. 

I ALLUDED just now, in the close of the last 
chapter, to one or two facts in which we get slight 
indications of the pitch of excitement to which 
women are likely to be carried in the field of politi- 
cal action, and also of the kinds and qualities of 
that excitement; how far loosened from the wom- 
anly proprieties, how fierce possibly, and bitter it 
may be. We have only a very few facts devel- 
oped as yet, to show how this almost unknown 
type of progress, so called, is going to behave 
itself. Many persons never see any thing by their 
imagination, taking it for granted, that what is 
fact, is going to be fact, and that under all newest, 
most untried conditions, fact will behave just as it 
always has. In this way it is taken for granted, 
we may see, in the x most innocent way possible, 
that women are going to be women as they always 
have been ; to be gentle, retired, quiet, unselfish, 
carrying an element of dignity, and grace, and 
presiding good manners into the caucuses and 
campaign assemblies of which they are become a 



THE KEFORM AGAINST NATURE. 135 

part ; just as they did when they came in, once in 
four or five years, to fill a gallery and look on. 
And so it is computed that when they drop into 
place under the new reform, to be political women, 
they will inaugurate a kind of millennial age of 
good manners and respectful conduct, by which 
every thing in political life and society will be 
raised. Such kind of prognostications are simply 
stupid, wholly without perception. Why the 
change we are proposing here is radical enough, 
when time enough is added, to alter even the type 
of womanhood itself. At first, or for a short time, 
the effect will not be so remarkable, but in five 
years, and still more impressively in twenty-five, 
it will be showing what kind of power is in it. 
And if still it should go on, for some hundreds of 
years, as it is of course expected that it will, it 
will become a fact organic and constituent in the 
race, and the very look and temperament of women 
will be altered. The word woman of course will 
remain to denote the female sex of man, but the 
personal habit and type of the sex will be no more 
what it is. The look will be sharp, the voice will 
be wiry and shrill, the action will be angular and 
abrupt, wiliness, self-asserting boldness, eagerness 
for place and power will get into the expression 
more and more distinctly, and become inbred in 
the native habit. Hitherto we have been calling 
the female sex the fair sex, and that word fair 
represents, in bloom and beauty, just what the elect 



136 WOMEN'S STJFFEAGE; 

virtues of womanhood the trust, the unselfishness, 
the deep kindliness, the ethereal grace and cheer, 
the facile and free-playing inspirations call for as 
their fit expression. Accordingly, when these 
softer virtues go by, giving way to the ambitions 
of candidacy, and the subtle intrigues of party, 
they will carry off with them the fair colors, the 
flushes of clean sensibility, and the delicate, smooth 
lines of form and feature, and we shall have, instead, 
a race of forward, selfish, politician-women coming 
out in their resulting type, thin, hungry-looking, 
cream-tartar faces, bearing a sharper look of talent, 
yet somehow touched with blight and fallen out 
of luster. If it could be expected, that as they 
change type physiologically, they will become 
taller and more brawny, and get bigger hands and 
feet, and a heavier weight of brain, it would not 
be so much -to their disadvantage, and perhaps 
there will be some little approach to compensation 
in this way, but there is far more reason to fear 
that the fight they are to be in, being a fight 
against nature, will make them at the same time 
thinner, sharp-featured, lank and dry, just as all 
disappointed, over-instigated natures always are. 

I speak thus of the physiological changes, or 
changes of type, that are going to be wrought in 
womanhood, not because it is a matter of principal 
concern with me, that women should keep their 
beauty, but simply that, by these external, phys- 
iological tokens, I may raise a more adequate 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 137 

conception of the immense moral transformation 
that is going to be wrought in their personal tem- 
perament and character. Nevertheless, it is a 
truth most deeply grounded, that women are 
bound, in God's name, to save their beauty. For 
this is the honor and power of their subject state. 
Man rules by the precedence of quantity and self- 
asserting energy, and woman by the subject sov- 
ereignty of beauty, personal and moral together, 
which she can little aiford to lose by a sally to 
gain the noisier, coarser kind that does not belong 
to her which also she will as certainly fail of, as 
the governing of men she is after, is both against 
their nature and her own. 

Be this as it may, it will be a very great over- 
sight in us not to perceive that this introduction 
of women to an active part in political affairs will 
be followed by an immense change in the womanly 
habit and character, and a change about equally 
undesirable to both sexes. The new possibility 
will at first be a triumph for women, and will seem 
to be the dawn of a higher and more hopeful state ; 
but in the long run of time the change will be the 
running down of womanhood into weakness and 
contempt. The beautiful prestige now held will 
be gone, her fatal want of faculty to cope with 
men in public affairs will be proved, and she will 
be irrevocably battered and draggled by the kind 
of encounter in which she has so miserably failed. 
And it will be a failure all the worse, and more 



138 

hopeless, that it will have burnt away so many 
fine properties and lost her the standing she had, 
by God's appointment, in her nature itself. Her 
successes will be short and partial, and when the 
present stock of gallantry is expended, instead of 
being helped and put forward because she is a 
woman, she will rather be hindered, because, being 
a woman, she can be. Coming thus to the end, 
where favor dies, she is neither the elect nor the 
elected lady longer, and no matter what her worth 
may be, it will be strange if she does not suffer a 
good deal of moral damage in her collapse. 

The active, campaigning work of political life 
is certainly in quite too high a key for the delicate 
organization, and the fearfully excitable suscepti- 
bilities of women. They have no conception now, 
as they look on, of the gustiness and high tempest 
their frail skiffs must encounter. The struggle is 
a trial even for men, that sometimes quite over- 
turns their self-mastery, and totally breaks down 
the strength both of their principles and their 
bodies. And yet if we enlarge the contest, as we 
must, when we bring in women, it will be mani- 
fold more intense than now. Hitherto it has been 
an advantage to be going into battle in our suf- 
frages with a full half, and that the best half mor- 
ally, as a corps of reserve, left behind, so that we 
may fall back on this quiet element or base, 
several times a day, and always at night, and re- 
compose our courage and settle again our mental 



THE ET'FORM AGAINST NATURE. loU 

and moral equilibrium. Now it is proposed that 
we have no reserve any longer, that we go into our 
conflicts taking our women with us, all to be kept 
heating in the same fire for weeks or months to- 
gether, without interspacings of rest, or ccoling 
times of composure. We are to be as much more 
excited, of course, in this new dispensation as we 
can be, and the women are of course to be as much 
more excited than we, as they are more excitable. 
Let no man imagine, as we see to be the way of 
many, that our women are going into these en- 
counters to be just as quiet, or as little moved as 
now, when they stay in the rear unexcited, let- 
ting us come back to them often and recover our 
reason. They are no more mitigators now, but 
instigators rather, sweltering in the same fierce 
heats and commotions, only more tempestuously 
stirred than we. What we take by first hand im- 
pulse they take by exaggeration. And according- 
ly, it will be seen that, where we are simply at red 
heat, they are at white; that where we deprecate, 
they hate ; that where we touch the limits of rea- 
son, they touch the limits of excess ; that where 
we are impetuous in a cause, they are uncontrol- 
able in it. "We knew how as men to be moderated 
in part, by self-moderation, even as ships, by their 
helms, in all great storms at sea ; for the other 
part, we had women kept in moderation by their 
element, even as ships in harbor lie swinging by 
their anchors ; but now, we get even less of help 



140 

from these than they do from us. I do not mean 
by this that women do not show as brave self- 
keeping often as men, but that going more by 
feeling than men, they feel every thing more in- 
tensely, and with more liabilities to excess. They 
make more of their idols, too, than men do, raise 
more false halos about them, and even have it as a 
kind of virtue to bear defeat badly in their cause. 
Hard pushed by adversaries, they almost certainly 
count them personal enemies. It is not that some 
hysterical, over-delicate women are prone to such 
exaggerations of sensibility, but that, like our 
southern women, or the tough city mothers of 
Sparta, they too commonly allow their. passions 
to get heated, and call it their righteous sentiment. 
To conceive our whole popular mass, both male 
and female, seething, at once, in the same vortex 
of party commotion ten women taking hold of one 
man to at once possess and dispossess him in their 
higher key of excitement is no pleasant thing 
to contemplate. But the specially sad thing of it 
is, not that men will be heated and put to a strain 
and made coarse, possibly violent, but that women 
will be. Men are made to be coarse after a cer- 
tain masculine fashion, but there is no such mas- 
culine fashion for women. But whether there be 
or not, fifty years in such kind of training will 
even transform the Womanly temperament. Will 
it not, as certainly and more deplorably, the 
womanly face and expression ? 



THE KEFORM AGAINST NATURE. 

How far these heats of partisanship will go in 
dissolving ultimately the bonds of delicacy and 
the proprieties of good manners, it may not be easy 
to say, but it is at least impossible that the moral- 
ities should keep their present footing. It is part 
of the reform, that women are to be candidates 
themselves perhaps equally with men, and so 
many, with their special friends and allies, will of 
course be thrown upon waves of excitement and 
put to a strain of principle intensely severe. And 
if men, as we hear, will sell every thing at the polls 
for success, it is not to be doubted that women will 
show like mortal infirmities. Coming out of their 
now vestal retirement to make friends and political 
capital, we shall hear what kind of bargains this 
or that woman is arranging, and how she manages 
what is called the " dirty work" of her canvass., 
They must come of course to this, else how can 
they get on ? If they take the stump, woman 
against woman, or woman against man, it will 
only be a much better figure to be in, than the 
button-holing and private colloding with gentle- 
men, going on so often in back rooms and by-pla- 
ces. Or if we say nothing of the perils of candi- 
dacy, and only speak of the vote, women as a gen- 
eral thing do not make good partisans. They over 
feel, over-contrive, over-do, and in this manner 
weaken morally themselves and their cause. It 
masters them so totally that both it and they ap- 
pear badly. They let in also little malignancies 



142 

that are poisonous, and get their motive so twist- 
ed in with their dislikes and animosities, that 
they are a great way further off -from the integ- 
rities of their cause than they know themselves. 
They become viragos in this manner when they 
think they are only doing all in righteous vehe- 
mence. 

We also know that women often show a strange 
facility of debasement and moral abandonment, 
when they have once given way consentingly to 
wrong. Men go down by a descent -facilis de- 
scensus women, by a precipitation. Perhaps the 
reason is, in part, that more is expected of women 
and that again because there is more expectancy of 
truth and sacrifice in the semi-christly, subject state 
of women than is likely to be looked for in the 
forward, self-asserting headship of men. Be it as 
it may, the simple fact that more is expected of 
women, whether more should be or not, shows that 
when they do wrong, they have more to face, on 
which account they fall as much faster and lower. 
It must therefore be expected, when this reform 
against nature is carried, that we shall have a great 
deal more of a great deal worse corruption in our 
public affairs, than we have now. And the op- 
posite confidence many boast is far more nearly 
preposterous than it need be. If we could take 
our present women at their present point of beauty 
or of unsophisticated good, and bring them di- 
rectly into political life with us, having corps of 



THE KEFOKM AGAINST NATUKE. 

angels in company, to salt them and keep them 
in their present state of disinterested good, they 
would give us prime benefit doubtless, by their aid. 
But the difficulty is, that angels have other work 
to do, and that we have no salt strong enough for 
that kind of keeping the women will change ; not 
immediately, but after a time, such as will permit 
the corrupting causes to do their work, becoming 
finally exactly what they now are not. Make no 
doubt of it, women are venal as truly as men ; a 
great deal more easily preyed upon by art and 
cheated by stratagem. As they sooner believe they 
are sooner made a prey of. And they will only 
suffer the more from the art, the stratagem, the 
prey, that they go to the practice of it themselves 
and get the fair, sweet motives of their womanhood 
mixed up with so many obliquities. As certainly 
as women are human, and none of us have any 
doubt of that, they will take in the political cor- 
ruptions with a prone-minded human facility. Nor 
is it any fit answer to say, that they have as good 
right as men to be in such corruptions, provided 
they are not in worse. They will be in worse ; a 
woman can not be as bad as a man in any thing, 
without being worse ; for a selfish, plotting, in- 
triguing, political, make-shift woman has a great 
deal more of the fine fair stuff to mar and muddle 
in becoming what she is, than a man will have. 
And then again, when the two are nearly at the 
same level of baseness and trickery, the man will 



144 

have a firmer will and keep his self-retention 
evenly enough to almost make it seem a kind of 
virtue ; whereas often the partridge-like fuss and 
commotion, by which a woman clucks down her 
brood of stratagems, makes her art more visible 
and artful, and she is just so much the more cor- 
rupted by it. True, it is pretense or smooth dis- 
guise in both cases. Hence also it is that we so 
often hear of slimy men ; God grant that we may 
not be obliged to hear as much more still of slimy 
women. 

But we shall better understand what we are 
discussing, if we look a little farther in upon the 
political machinery, and see how it works in 
preparing and executing the operation of the suf- 
frage. The great, the almost insuperable difficulty 
encountered now in our scheme of suffrage, is that 
the primary assemblies, those which select and set 
up the candidates, are so generally filled up, in 
the large cities and towns, by a rush of all the 
worst, most abandoned, most violent characters. 
Good men, men of respect and order can do noth- 
ing there, they are wholly out of place. The 
mob for it is the mob only that has the tempest 
in hand hears no reason, bawls, stamps, raves, 
roars, and pitches into fisticuffs, getting first the 
organization by getting all decencies under, and 
then the business goes on. And if you ask who 
will be nominated, why exactly they undoubtedly 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 

who bought, or some way made friends of the mob 
before they came together. 

But there is to come in now, as we propose, an- 
other element, viz., women ; and there will be 
women who expect to be candidates. And how ? 
Of course they must buy, or somehow make court 
to their mob also. They can have one too, if they 
will, as noisy, and base, and violent, though made 
up of women, as any worst and wildest crew of 
men. Matters will come along then somewhat in 
this way certain managing men will manage 
certain managing women, and a few of these man- 
aging women can empty whole streets of women 
into any primary assembly, and have them take 
their part as warmly as can be desired. 
' Possibly it will come out as the result in a way 
of concession to the respectables, that a candidate 
or two, male or female, is put up who has a 
tolerable show of character ; and besides that a 
much larger number have the kind of character, 
better called no character, which made them fa- 
vorites and leaders of their mob. At the head of 
the whole operation, as the ticket now goes to the 
polls, there is probably some master demagogue, 
having two or three subordinates that manipulate 
the process with him, and they make their head- 
quarters, privately of course, at some palace of 
vice, where some gilded woman undertakes with 
them to farm the managing women subordinate, 
and they to bring out and lead their general crew. 
7 



146 WOMEN'S SUFFEAGE ; 

The woman, or women of character on the ticket 
have the gilded woman aforesaid not unlikely 
with them on the same, and a good many others, 
all no better than they should be, and they run 
all together for Congress, or the General Assembly, 
or the Common Council. The better candidates 
must not stick at their company of course, or any 
way bolt the ticket. And then, when the voting 
women come to the ballot, they must think it 
sufficient that there is some worthy character on 
the ticket ; and if they suifer it to be suspected 
that they will not vote the unworthy, they must 
expect to be dogged by the argument of damage 
and destruction to the party, and must learn, if 
possible, to swallow their scruples, and vote the 
reigning harlot and the reigning philanthropist 
or true woman together. 

Now, it will seem quite improbable, I suppose, 
to the inexperienced, that any so revolting contin- 
gencies are likely to arise. Better far, to ask, 
How it is possible for them not to arise ? The 
scenes and occasions described answer exactly to 
what occurs every year, in the large towns and 
great cities, where .the male suffrage is called for, 
and it is understood by everybody that the hell of 
a nominating assembly is the worst hell above 
ground, anywhere to be seen. And do you ask, 
"What shall make it more certainly better, than 
that a full half of the assembly is to be made up 
of women ? Are there no bad women, then I And 



THE KEFOKM AGAINST NATURE. 147 

where will they go to be more at home and be- 
have worse, than amid the uproar and tumult of 
BO many wild and brutal men ? 

It sounds very pleasantly, doubtless, when some 
talented, high woman, is spoken of as put up, on 
her quiet merit, for the vote of the people. But 
that is pure hallucination. ISTo such thing is pos- 
sible. She must get the nomination, strong enough 
to carry her in, within the party lines ; and if any 
one imagines that she can go into the primary 
assemblies, and be heard there among the gods of 
the abyss, they have only to put her on trying it, 
to find out how utterly absurd any such thing 
may be. In such a city as Hartford, for exam- 
ple, it will be found, within a ten-years' time after 
this reform is passed, that the nominations will be 
half determined by just this woman element, and 
that no true woman has any least chance of a 
nomination, save as somebody engineers for it, and 
is pitched into the lions' den to obtain it. And 
then most likely the fair candidate will find her- 
self on a ticket with names that put her in a class 
with dishonor itself. Still, if she is going to be a 
politician, she must not be delicate about her asso- 
ciations ! 

But we must go to the scene of the ballot itself, 
and see what is likely to be seen there. We some- 
times hear it proposed that the women shall have 
boxes provided for their particular vote, in some 
quiet place by themselves, and it seems to be im- 



148 WOMEN'S STJFFEAGE ; 

agined that they will go there as to a pic-nic, or a 
sewing-circle. One of our literary gentlemen, 
too, has this matter of women's suffrage, I per- 
ceive, in so light a key, that he compares the bal- 
lot-box to a post-office box, and thinks it a ques- 
tion of as little concern what one will do for a 
woman as the other. Exactly contrary to this, I 
am ready to predict that the woman's box, within 
a very few years, will become worse and more un- 
manageable than the man's. The crew that are 
gathered around it will be more disorderly, and 
less respectful of decency ; and partly so for the 
reason, that they have so much larger opportunities 
of frauds. I make nothing here of what has 
been reported as regards the fraud of the voting 
women at the polls in New Jersey, the fine oppor- 
tunity for which was so very soon discovered. 
Any one can see for himself, that the dress of 
women is of a kind to permit of infinite disguises, 
and such, too, as forbid even a possibility of detec- 
tion. The whole crew of unprincipled women can 
be brought on thus, six or eight times over, at any 
election, having only changes of dress provided 
for the personation of as many characters. And 
the man -poll, bad as it is, will be honesty itself, in 
comparison. Other modes of demoralization will 
also be discovered, especially in the country and 
the more sparsely settled parts, where men and 
women will be piled in huge wagons to be car- 
ried to the polls, and will sometimes, on their re- 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 149 

turn, encounter a storm that drives them into way- 
side taverns and other like places, for the night ; 
where, of course, they must have a good time some- 
how, probably in some kind of general carouse 
that will comfort their defeat, or celebrate their 
victory. Finally, the next day the women voters 
are put down at home with some things to regret, 
which are only worse if not regretted. Indeed, 
this herdingjpf the two sexes together in political 
action involves """nCTlmail /danger^oTa frequen t 
djm&Tng together, in the lower tiers of society, 
than which almost nothing could have a more 
disastrous effect. 

We must also follow this matter still farther in 
another direction. This conjunction of the sexes 
in political life makes it almost a matter of course 
that an immense lobby of fair women should be 
gathered about the halls of Congress and the 
State legislatures, there to manipulate causes, and 
measures, and men, as they will know how, shield- 
ed by their own numbers and the public gloss of 
a conjoined action of the two sexes. All these 
great bodies of legislation will become, in this 
manner, as many courts of the Bourbons, and the 
general game will be to settle what women are to 
have the patronages, keep the treasury keys, and 
do the public fleecing of the people. And if any 
one imagines that the representative women inside 
of these great bodies, Congress for example, will be 
acting correctively, as a counter-check to such 



150 

corruptions outside, it is certainly a comfort most 
welcome to hope as much, if we may. I wish we 
could be more sure of it. First of all, the women 
that are inside have a considerable chance of 
being no better than the women outside; and 
then, if they are, it does not clearly appear in what 
matter they are likely to exert much power. For 
a time they will be treated with consideration^ 
because they are women, and when that kind of 
delicacy is worn off, and they are left to take 
their equal chance with men, as their great reform 
itself proposes, they will find that getting the floor 
and holding it in that bear-garden, is about as 
nearly impossible as it can be. At the end of 
twenty years no living woman can do it. She 
must not over-strain her treble, if she does, there 
will be laughter. If she shakes herself in great 
resolve, puts on force, grows immensely emphatic, 
denounces, satirises, as a man might do, with not 
a whit more talent and even conquering applause 
and a place by it, if perchance she takes on but a 
very faint show of the vixenish manner, that will 
be the end of her. The truth is, jha^jwoHoejo^aj^ 
not made to govern men ; as will here, if not 
sooner, be discovered. And when the woman 
power has given out thus in the Congress, and the 
discouraged representatives are finally discontin- 
ued, the moral collapse of the reform will be sadly 
evident. And the specially sad thing of all will 
be, that a catastrophe so conspicuous and so boldly 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 151 

challenged, will let down, far too low, the just 
respect of woman. That respect can be, and is in 
fact now being, raised, if we let the suffrage ques- 
tion pass ; when, if we go on to put her on that 
test, we simply break the neck of all her possibil- 
ity across it. Her true good and glory do not lie 
in being a man with men, but in being more com- 
pletely and sufficiently woman. Would that we 
could simply see, for one single century, what 
powers of industry, and thought, and art, and 
beauty, and immortal insight, can be unfolded in a 
full round culture of woman ; that I am quite sure 
would effectually raise her condition, and put her 
in a scale of honor, where all mere place and office 
would seem to be in a lower plane. 

I ought perhaps in fairness, to suggest, that a 
reconstruction of our government is conceivable, 
that would obviate some of the mischiefs here re- 
ferred to. If there were a second or third house, 
called the House of Women, interposed between 
our Senate and Representative chambers, in such 
a way that any measure could originate in either, 
and every measure must pass the vote of the three, 
this would give full opportunity to the women to 
look after their own affairs, and after all fit legis- 
lations by which they may best advance their con- 
dition. But this would give them a legislative 
power, when it really does not belong, as we have 
seen, to their womanly nature to govern, and would 
also give them a practical veto over all the govern- 



152 

ing rights of men. Whether this would satisfy 
is doubtful also ; and if it would, the immense and 
really frightful difficulty of the primary assem- 
blies still remains, and I see not how it can be 
obviated. 

4 

But there is a very deep, not improbable con- 
nection between this matter of women's suffrage 
and the family state, where it is likely to have 
a dangerously demoralizing power. I have pur- 
posely abstained in this discussion from any par- 
ticular notice of the physiological subtractions that 
so largely disqualify women for an active and 
forward part in political affairs. I have not in- 
sisted on the inequalities of their temperaments, 
or the incapacities to which they are subject, or 
the mischiefs that may come upon children through 
an ante-natal and post-natal nurture of two whole 
years and more, disturbed in all that time by 
states of political excitement. Passing all these, 
and a hundred matters of the kind, I will simply 
refer to some of the reasons we have for appre- 
hending a relaxation of the just bonds of marriage, 
and a greatly increased tendency, first to avoid 
marriage, and secondly to obtain divorce. It is 
even remarkable that the very point of departure 
in the women's suffrage argument reduces mar- 
riage to a mere partnership contract. Thus it is 
denied a hundred times a day in these discussions, 
that there is " any more reason why the woman 



THE EEFOEM AGAINST NATURE. 153 

should take her husband's name in marriage than 
why he should take hers." All which goes on the 
principle that the two are, in every sense, equal ; 
that the woman is just as much head of the man 
as the man of the woman ; that he is given as truly 
to be her helpmate as she to be his, and that all 
the physiological distinctions we see with our eyes, 
which exactly declare the scripture doctrine over 
again, are insignificant and of no account. The 
two therefore come together not to be one, a total 
nature, which is marriage, but to be two in equal 
contract, which is partnership. Of course the 
partnership contract may be terminated, as all 
other contracts may, by the parties themselves. It 
is no quasi sacrament, no mystic bond of God that 
puts the parties in their places and parts, one to 
be responsible for the forwarding and outside pro- 
visioning of their lot, the other to be retired and 
subject inside for the comforting, and right keep- 
ing, and due ornament and order of life. All this 
goes by under the remorseless ditto of an equality 
never beheld in the world, and which, dropping 
revelation out of sight, is the poorest conceivable 
fiction. Is there any thing more visible than that 
here are two kinds, say what we will of the equali- 
ties? Is there not a man and woman, and are 
not the two a complete one ? And is not the man 
as visibly head of that oneness as any head set 
upon two shoulders was ever head of the body ? 
Partnerships have no head in this way, because 
1* 



154: WOMEN'S SUFFEAGE ; 

the ditto principle exactly levels the parties. Mar- 
riage has and is to have, must have, a head, and a 
connecting bond that runs down through, else it is 
a thing gone by. 

And here is the melancholy fact, as regards 
this boasted reform, that it loosens every joint of 
the family state, and is really meant to do it, as 
we plainly see by many of the appeals set forth. 
Thus a leading woman apostle of this reform 
gives out for her declared sentiment, that " true 
marriage, like true religion, dwells in the sanctuary 
of the soul, beyond the cognizance or sanction of 
state or church " ridicules the notion that a man's 
wife " is his property if once married, no matter 
whether her affections are his or another's ;" laughs 
at his indignations, " if any one else has dared to 
call out what he never could ;" and finally, as if to 
stir up discontent with marriage, in a way of en- 
listing the discontented in her cause, exclaims 
" Oh, what a sham is the marriage we see about us, 
though sanctioned in our courts, and baptized at 
our altars, where cunning priests take toll for bind- 
ing virtue with vice, angels of grace and good- 
ness with devils in malice and malignity ; beauty 
with deformity, joyous youth with gilded old age 
palsied, blasted, with nothing to give its victim 
in white veil and orange blossoms but a state of 
luxury and sensualism." Whether these citations 
are meant to be as shocking as they certainly are, 
I do not know, and it is of no great importance to 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 155 

inquire. Enough to see what kind of animus 
struggles in the utterance, and that marriage is 
gone down forever in the argument and reform, 
that are working their way by appeals so revolt- 
ing. Nobody can talk in this way of marriage, 
who would not head a general coming out of it, 
and is not ready to offer that kind of leader- 
ship. 

Any one can see that a reform thus carried, 
carries with it discontent with marriage, and to 
just the same extent insures a legislation to facil- 
itate divorce. Nobody is to blame, in this kind of 
casuistry, for the bad marriages, but the priests 
and the laws, and the woman party has a right of 
course to be quit, as soon as new passions rise to 
ask it, or the old ones die to make it a riddance. 
Being perfectly equal, and put upon her equality 
with her husband for the right to vote, she must 
prove her equality somehow, when she comes to 
the voting and how shall she do it, but by assert- 
ing her independence in a vote upon the other side ? 
Such contrary vote need not do any fatal harm, it 
is true, and yet there is a loosening touch in it, so 
that if some feeling of hurt has been stirred by 
hot passages of debate before, or may be afterward, 
there is a considerable beginning of divorce in it. 
No wise scheme of polity will consentingly multi- 
ply such occasions of damage, in a relation at 
once so sacred and so delicate. Besides, where the 
two parties in marriage are known to be opposite 



156 

in their party affinities, there will be private colle- 
ctings sought, that will greatly expose the frailty 
of the woman, and as greatly tempt the jealousy 
of the man. Sometimes when the husband is up 
as a candidate, an opposing party, who are willing 
to see mischief, will set up his wife against him, 
and whether she consents or not, will run her into 
the major vote, on purpose to put him in derision. 
Sometimes a wife in bad blood will get herself 
nominated against her husband, for the purpose 
of bringing him under contempt arid preparing the 
divorce she wants. 

The general scheme of women's suffrage works 
against marriage, as we thus perceive, to make it 
less sacred and less permanent and just as much 
less beneficial. Frequent divorces check the rate 
of populations, as the Romans found to their cost. 
Frequent divorces are the bane of all family peace 
and order before they come, and the extinction of 
all true family life and nurture after they come. 
Hapless beings, too, are the children, that being 
heirs just now to a parentage and a home, are only 
heirs henceforth to a family quarrel. Now the 
dear feeling they had of their parentage is suc- 
ceeded by the only question left, viz. : Who was to 
blame ? which if they can settle it brings no com- 
fort, and which, if they can not, brings scarcely 
less. Sad and decadent is the history of any peo- 
ple who have forgotten how to sanctify marriage, 
and whose children go to the records of divorce 



THE EEFOEM AGAINST NATUKE. 157 

instead of the records of marriage, to find their 
fathers and mothers. 

I spoke in my preliminary chapter of the very 
galling and terrible hardships falling on woman, 
by reason of the scanty prices paid for her labor. 
JSTo friend who desires to improve her condition, 
or take off the real oppressions under which she 
is crushed, will be in a mood, as it seems to me, to 
reject almost any kind of reform that promises the 
needed relief. Perhaps we are able now to see a 
little more distinctly what kind of help will do it, 
and what will not. The women's suffrage reform 
will not, of course, make employers less greedy, or 
workers more capable, or work more abundant. 
Or, if the transference of a few women to public 
offices and functions would bring a very little re- 
lief, that same relief can be quite as easily secured, 
under the present mode of government, without 
any change. It is being largely secured now, and 
is regarded by the whole people only with favor. 
A very great work may be done to raise the prices 
of female industry by advancing, in every way 
possible, the education of women, and so their ca- 
pacity of more, and better, and more various kinds 
of work. Also, by efforts, public and private, to 
conserve the morality of husbands and fathers, and 
save their hapless families from being precipitated, 
in such multitude, upon the labor market, to ob- 
tain their pittance of bread ; also, by endeavors to 
encourage and promote early marriages among in- 



158 

dustrious and virtuous young people in humble 
life but so far, nothing is wanted plainly of the 
great reform we are now proposing, and it does 
not appear that any thing good will come of it. If 
it is expected that women going into the legisla- 
tures will enact a new tariff of prices for women's 
labor, that is one of the things which no monarch 
or assembly of men was ever able to do, and it is 
not likely that women will do it. If it could be 
made to appear that women, going into conditions 
of public office and power, would obtain consid- 
eration, and a just weight of character for the sex, 
that would undoubtedly do something for the cur- 
rent prices of woman's labor ; for the higher place 
of public estimation they hold, the more highly 
rated, or appreciated will their service be. And, 
probably, a good deal more can be done, in this 
way, than has been hitherto, by putting women 
in offices that involve no governing right post- 
offices and clerkships, for example and this can 
be done as well without the right of vote, and the 
right of rule, as with. But why not, 011 the same 
principle, give them a right to vote, and a right to 
rule also. Will not that also raise our impressions 
of their capacity and value ? I think not. On 
the contrary, it is my fixed belief that, as woman 
is not set for the government of men by nature, 
the whole reform, taken in the long run of time, 
will do the very utmost possible to break down 
the honor of women, and put them at a lower 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 159 

standing than now. The very thing preparing is 
a grand mortal failure, under which the sex will 
be a great deal more depressed and discouraged, 
than it would under any worst persecution. Gov- 
erning women, rely upon it, are never going to be 
in fashion. There is a sentence against it, written 
so deep down in nature, that not all women and 
all men together can take it finally away. 

Any hope, therefore, of raising woman's lot 
and woman's prices, by putting this dower of au- 
thority upon her, will assuredly result in a terrible 
reaction, that will pitch her down a gulf which, 
as far as we can see, admits no lift of recovery. 
The tracks going hither turn all one way, and I 
see not now how they can ever be reversed. Bro- 
ken down by such a failure, prices and respect 
and many other things go down, and no counter- 
vailing possibility of reform is left. 

I can not close this computation of the effects 
of women's suffrage without noting also the im- 
mense loss of sentiment and character that will 
result from it. It will be a greater loss to us of 
the male sex than we can now realize, or even dis- 
tinctly imagine. Our advocates of women's suf- 
frage, Mr. Beecher among them, have much to 
say, and certainly not too much of the "moral 
refinement," and culture of men by "the co-ordi- 
nate influence of woman." But it is not observed, 
as it should be, that the power we thus get on our 



160 WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE; 

masculine character is not so much from what 
women do to us, as from what we do to them. 
They do much upon us, it is true, by their gentle 
and fine qualities, and the close association by 
which they get a kind of inhabitation in us for 
their own more delicate spirit; and yet the main 
thing with us, the grand civilizing efficacy consists 
in a principal degree, in what we are doing to 
them, the courtesies we practice and the homages 
we spontaneously pay. We are taken clean by 
our masculine selfishness here, to pay a tribute as 
it were, in the bending of our force uiitj what is 
not in force, and we feel ourselves blt-ssed Jnd 
exalted in the geniality and conscious plaasurc of 
our homages. We observe a common looting n, an, 
for example, standing in a railroad car, that a 
common looking woman may sit, and \\e say in- 
wardly, at least, if not audibly, u there is vet, after 
all, some hope of the world." Now it is not to tie, 
perhaps, that that said woman is doing any thing 
specially on that said man, unless by a certain 
grace of thanks which beams in her eye prob&bly 
he knows nothing about her, and has never felt, 
and never will, any quality that she has ; and yet 
he is doing for himself upon her what will repay 
his inconveniences a hundred times over. And 
these beautiful deferences and homages paid to 
women are the very best civilizers we have, and 
we can better afford to spare almost any thing 
else. They are no mere by-play, or fancy-play as, 



THE EEFOEM AGAINST NATUBE. 161 

many foolishly think, but they are, in fact, strong, 
shaping powers, that are forming the manners, and 
fining the grain, and raising in fact the very con- 
sciousness of our sex. Does any one believe that 
women standing for equality, asking no more for 
any thing but to measure powers with us, pro- 
testing that they want no patronage, and consent- 
ing to let us have our courtesies to ourselves, if 
only they may set their equal manhood alongside 
of us does any one miss perceiving the immense 
loss we must suffer, and how it carries off with it 
all the highest flavors of our life. Selfishness, 
barbarism, aridity what but these are left, when 
every beautiful courtesy we loved to pay to women 
is dead 1 

And there is a loss upon the other side that is 
scarcely less deplorable. When a woman has set 
herself Up for a practical dittoship with men, re- 
fusing to accept the name of her husband, or have 
any but a partnership relation with him, she ceases 
so far to be woman at' all. She has no longer the 
trusting nature, she despises it, she neither idolizes 
nor idealizes her husband. She has no homages 
looking up, any more than he, in his ranges of 
force, has courtesies to pay her looking down. \ 
He is gruff, and she is pungent, and the main sen- 
sibility of life is the friction of it. She has gotten 
now a right to vote, and a right, if she can, to get 
office ; and has it for the chief congratulation of 
her new state that she is now one of the world's 



162 WOMEN'S SUFFEAGE; 

combatant forces. Hereafter she fights on her 
own hook, and will be as much a man as she likes ; 
or, what is more probable, as much a man as she 
can be. The beauty of her womanly state and 
feeling, all the dear specialties of wifehood are 
gone by, and she takes her life no more in senti- 
ments, but in ostrich-like rampages over the desert 
she is left to occupy. 

It can not be so, I perceive, to many, but to 
me these sexhood qualities of variation, this dove- 
tailing of sentiment by unlikeness of kind, so by 
deferences, homages, admirations, worships, do- 
ings in excess of right, and estimations in excess 
of merit, is the very fairest side of all fair beauty 
in the world. There is a delicate hand and a 
rough, strong hand ; there is a voice above an- 
swered by a voice in octave below ; there is an in- 
door life and quality, and an out-door that will 
have concern with the world ; what each is, the 
other wants, and they both get away from the 
mere stale fact of what they are, by idolizing each 
other, playing at or into all diversities, and all di- 
versities into more and better. Call it the state 
of inequality, if we please ; it is yet such inequality 
that no one knows in which the superiority may 
be. It is that state composed by complementary 
inequalities which we can least afford to lose ; and 
if there is any thing over which the word accursed 
can be fitly written, it is over the remorseless, 
mock-equalizing, that is going to make so many 



THE EEFOEM AGAINST NATURE. 163 

peas, or flaxseeds of human people grow into the 
same exact figure, and be, in every two, the double, 
each, of the other. I see nothing but starvation in 
that kind of equality ; and we all shall know it 
thus, with regrets unspeakable, after this proposed 
reform has been long enough carried to prove 
what is in it. Looking back, as we shall, from 
such a condition attained, on our present state of 
interplay boldness and modesty, governing and 
trust, the fresh delectations and varieties weaving 
our web of life it will even seem to be a kind of 
paradise, though it be a paradise under evil. If 
any thing indeed remains to be lost by a second 
fall, it will be our exclusion irom this evil-tainted 
paradise, by the very dismal kind of society against 
nature, and equality in one color, which it is here 
proposed to create. 



164 WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE; 



YIII. 

PROSPECTS AND POSSIBILITIES OF WOMEN. 

To have been confronted, in the argument ^' 
this question, by some treatise or discussion that 
deliberately stated and expounded the speculative 
doctrine of the side opposite, would have been a 
considerable help. But unfortunately the debate, 
if such it can be called, has hitherto been carried 
on by extempore speeches, popular magazine ar- 
ticles, and brief random effusions of the press, that 
were concerned, first of all, to fulfill the conditions 
of piquancy, and not to unfold the solid reason of 
the question. Hence it has been difficult, to be 
sure that the mode of exposition here attempt- 
ed was going to meet any sufficiently deliberative 
opinion held, in respect to the rational grounds of 
the reform proposed. For this reason I have been 
hoping, partly waiting, for the forthcoming book 
promised by Mr. Mill. But it does not yet arrive. 

It is understood that he takes the side of the 
proposed reform, as he naturally enough would 
tinder his particular bent of philosophy ; for it is 
not his manner to have any principal respect to 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 165 

categories, absolute properties, or laws of kind 
that are immovable, but to see all things, even 
the distinctions of morality, developed and shaped 
by the contingent, variable operations of experi- 
ence. "What, in this view, is a woman, but a man 
kept down or badly hindered, or somehow insuffi- 
ciently developed ? And then what else are we 
to think of, but the higher development she will 
attain to, when her equal rights in the state are 
acknowledged, and her equal opportunity in pub- 
lic life is secured ? The title of his book, there- 
fore, as I think I have somewhere seen, is "The 
Subject Condition of Women" Under which it 
will naturally be held, as by Mrs. Mill in her some- 
what noted article in the Westminster Review, 
that the subject state of women, down to this time, 
is due in no sense to a subject nature, but wholly 
to matters conditional. Indeed the precise issue 
between us here, which I am quite willing to ac- 
cept, is whether woman is subject as having a 
subject nature, or subject as being held down by 
politically oppressive conditions ? If the former, 
she is not going of course to be helped over and 
by her nature, and raised up thus into forwardness 
and a way of command she will be subject still, 
even if she is set in the Presidency, and will 
govern only as a subject nature can. If the latter, 
she will as certainly not be raised into a manly, 
governing way, because she has no capacity of 
being thus raised by any conditions whatever. 



166 

No conceivable improvement in her social and 
political conditions will bring her up into the 
force-element and make her a self-centered, gov- 
erning, driving-engine character which appears 
to be the kind of merit aspired to. Her conditions 
will not create a man's nerve in her, but she will 
only have a woman's still as now, and the very 
development into which she is pushed will be a 
woman's development, as far as it is any thing. 
Rightly developed she will be a mere complete 
woman, but not a whit less subject, or a whit more 
nearly even with man, in that which belongs to 
his particular kind of eminence. 

It is remarkable, when so much is made or to 
be made, of condition, that it does not occur to 
reformers who take this mode of argument, to 
ask why it is, from the creation downward, that 
women have fallen into a condition of so great dis- 
advantage ? Perhaps they will say, as they often 
do when their point is to raise an accusation, and 
not to account for the fact referred to, that man 
was endued originally with greater strength of 
person, or superior physical force, and that he has 
trampled woman, in this manner, because he could, 
and shut her down under conditions of great inca- 
pacity and discouragement. And this undoubt- 
edly is true, or at least far more widely and sadly 
true than it should be, though not so entirely or 
totally true as to exclude the fact that such supe- 
rior strength is loving, none the less, among every 



THE REFOKM AGAINST NATURE. 167 

people of the world, to bow itself to such inferior, 
in beautiful acts of championship and protection, 
securing thus to women a condition of comfort and 
respect they could never secure for themselves. 
But if we let the case be as bad as this kind of 
argument supposes, and take it as the fact of his- 
tory that women have been everywhere oppressed 
by the superior force of men, this at least will be 
clear, as conceded by the argument itself, that 
men originally had this gift or endowment of a 
larger stature and a far superior muscular force. 
It -may not be any very high distinction, but such 
as it is they have it, and in having it are men. 
Besides, in this more massive and crude sort of 
endowment, we are to see that, as they are in force, 
so their force is the housing and expression of their 
natural authority. It signifies government, or 
governing capacity and order, and just as impres- 
sively the relatively subject nature of women. 
And so we come out in the discovery that women, 
after all, are in a subject nature, and not merely in 
a subject condition they are relatively frail and 
delicate, in a finer type of grace and color, a less 
coarse, stormy voice, and with a different innerv- 
ing quality which is distinctively feminine. And 
this we may think it more respectful to call the 
subject condition of women and not the subject 
nature, though if we mean to thoroughly under- 
stand ourselves, how far off is it from being, in 
any view possible, a subject nature? 



168 WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE ; 

However, there can be very few thoughtful per- 
sons, I imagine, who are not sometimes caught with 
impressions of quality, and glimpses of possibility 
in this subject nature, that are exceedingly high 
shall I say, transcendently high ? But a few even- 
ings since, reclining in a room two doors removed 
from the parlor where two young friends were 
having their good time, in the pleasant conversa- 
tion of a call, I was caught by a strange feeling of 
surprise, in the simple overhearing of their sounds, 
when I could not distinguish a word of their utter- 
ance. The male voice went off with a thud, as if 
there were some center point of self assertion 
whence it issued, and some base line of purpose 
along which the missile was to go. It varied a 
little, but only a little in pitch, and went ranging 
along the lower lines of the stave, not as if there 
were quaverings of sensibility in it, but as if it 
were a solid, going straight by its own momentum. 
There was energy in it, and it raised the sense of 
will and of power, but the reverberative guttural, 
or pectoral, was not of a specially winsome quality, 
for the drive there was in it was just a little undi- 
vine. At any rate nobody is going back of it, to 
put any shred of better meaning, or note of better 
music into it. It begins from itself, and is going to 
have its way. Meantime the other voice, how 
supremely better and how beautifully turned ! It 
is modesty and gentle deference converted into 
sound. It rises and waves and carols and goes 



THE KEFOBM AGAINST NATURE. 169 

fluting and caracoling round the other, over and 
under, even as a vine might spin its graces and 
benignities about a rock. It is as if some better 
nature had arrived from some better, more unself- 
ish world, and were trying, in what manner it can, 
to gain the grim monotone force, and twist some 
charm of heaven's music into its feeling. Perhaps, 
if the words had been audible, a very different 
impression would have been taken, but the mere 
sounds themselves were saying, as it seemed, 
" this for you, not for myself." 

This now is the subject nature, and the other is 
the forward governing nature ; and the promise of 
our new reform is that, if the woman can but find 
a better and more equal condition in the world of 
political scramble, and so be duly developed, she 
will make as high a creature, well nigh, as the 
other ! I see nothing to attract, I confess, in that 
kind of promise. On the contrary it seems quite 
impossible to keep off the conviction of some 
latent property in the woman, that will some time 
place her far above the coarse, crass, self-will pre- 
cedence in which the masculine vigor is thought to 
be so impressively displayed. On this ground, I 
object most emphatically to any stirring up of dis- 
content in women with their lot. It is simple 
cruelty, for their lot is at bottom, their own nature 
itself-^-that and nothing else. And it is a nature 
glorious in its beauty, which they can not afford to 
infringe by any disrespect, and should most con- 
8 



170 WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE; 

sen tingl j accept and hopefully cultivate. A dis- 
contented woman quarreling with her womanhood, 
which neither she nor all angels can change, nor 
any good angel could even wish to change what 
thing more wretched, and wicked, and weak, and 
absurd can well be conceived. True it is a subject 
nature, but it is the most honorable, finest, highest 
nature, in many of its qualities and capabilities it 
has ever been given us to know. 

It seems to me that we are quite blind as yet 
to the true sphere of woman and the possible de- 
gree of her advancement, and that, partly for this 
reason, we are now campaigning to get her out of 
her subject condition as we call it, and make a 
man of her. We tell her that she belongs to the 
" Suppressed Sex," and we really think so just 
because we have not learned as yet to think any 
thing better and higher ourselves. We do not 
perceive the vast woman-field she is filling and 
to sometime fill, with a luster wholly her own ; 
which, too, she must just so far abandon, as she be- 
gins to emulate the masculine spheres and aspire 
to the masculine offices. Let us see, if we can, 
whether women can stay by their womanhood and 
have any true great hope in it. 

It may be true that we hear enough said of the 
motherhood office and the immense practical im- 
port of it. A very dull wit can expatiate en this 
theme, and we are dosed adnauseum, as we some- 
times think, with this prosing kind of sentiment. 



THE EEFORM AGAINST NATURE. 171 

But there is a magnificent maternal honor incorpo- 
rate here, which I do not remember ever to have 
seen mentioned, and which ought to give all wom- 
en an immensely good opinion of the womanly 
nature, subject though it be. I look upon it, I con- 
fess, with even a kind of awe. It is not a self-assert- 
ing but a naturally worshipful and client nature, 
that delights to sink itself out of sight and so far to 
be in another ; and in just this fact it is elected to 
be the nurse of the world's childhood. As the world 
is selfish, and the child, doing every best thing for 
it, is likely to be hopelessly devoured by that kind 
of frenzy, unless the mitigations derivable from 
some more benignant element may save it, in a 
degree, for God's better occupancy for this rea- 
son, all motherhood is gathered about all child- 
hood in a subject nature, to be a kind of first gos- 
pel in the flesh, and savor it, as it were, before- 
hand. The child is born into the lap of a covert, 
gladly worshipful motherhood ; drinks in patience, 
reverence, subordination, to the one idea of the 
family headship, and is so to be partially config- 
ured to the grand moral headship of the Supreme 
Father. And hence it is that motherhoods obtain 
such ineradicable, inexpugnable possession of the 
life of sons and daughters. Fathers have a certain 
power and are held in dear respect. But it is the 
subject nature of motherhood, the patient, self- 
forgetting element it makes, that fastens a feeling 
so deep in the child. If these mothers were all 



172 

out as campaigners, intriguers, and would-be 
statesmen, it would not cost their sons a great deal 
of trouble to forget them. After this new dispen- 
sation arrives, when party cabal and the intrigues 
of selfish ambition become the proper element of 
women, the wayward sons will no more be teth- 
ered, as now, to good, by the remembrances of their 
almost divine motherhood. 

We very commonly imagine, when we speak of 
dress as one of the rather weak foibles of women, 
that there is or can be no dignity or high value 
in it. There certainly is an abundant show of 
nonsense, and sometimes of a most real and con- 
temptible selfishness, in what is called fashion. 
And if our beautiful sisterhood want to conquer 
their emancipation from a great and terrible thrall- 
dom, here is their opportunity. To get emanci- 
pated from men, or the political sovereignly of 
men in the State, is a very small matter and a 
victory quite insignificant, compared with this. 
And if they greatly admire the masculine nerve 
displayed in public affairs, let them understand 
that very many men have not the nerve to defy 
or cast off a fashion ; so that if they are resolute 
and brave enough to conquer, in this kind of bat- 
tle, they can do what many great commanders 
never were able. And exactly this huge overthrow 
must some time hence be carried ; for it is the 
weakest, most despotic, and cruel kind of empire 
ever endured by mortals. The day is coming 



THE EEFOEM AGAINST NATURE. 173 

let our women see that it is duly hastened when 
taste will be so far advanced as to be the supreme 
arbiter of dress in every person. Dress will then 
be seen to be just what it is : viz., a fine art of the 
highest order, and related even to the supreme 
beauty of all character. Who of us have not seen 
examples of just this wonderful kind of beauty ? It 
shows the sense of fitness, or properness, to be su- 
preme, and reveals the internal mode of a beauti- 
ful soul by just that which is the natural outgo 
of expression. Such is dress. Is there any thing 
finer, lovelier, more fascinating, and, in Tact, more 
indicative of the great possible advance to be 
made, when the souls and characters of women 
get in grace and culture enough for such a kind 
of excellence. Here is nothing gotten up by the 
cheap methods of shop-women studying their 
cards. Here is no dash of diamonds a half mil- 
lion strong, the tricking of a dowdy, or the shower 
of glitter in which a really fair woman dissolves 
her beauty and makes a nothing of it ; but there is 
modesty, there is figure that appears to have come 
of itself, the draperies and colors are all fit right 
in quantity, right in limitation because there 
was character and culture enough to bring just 
this to pass without knowing it. 

Giving such an estimate of dress, and its im- 
portance in the scale of human advancement, I 
may seem to hold an egregious opinion of its value. 
But it must be remembered, first, that what we 



174 WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE; 

now call dress, and deprecate as extravagance, is 
not dress at all only a very few persons know 
what dress really means, or how it comes, and we 
have but the faintest ideas therefore of that high 
figure, in which the true society of the world is 
some time to appear. And again, secondly, we 
must not forget that there is a most intimate and 
living connection between dress on one hand, 
and manners and society on the other. The forms 
of appearing and action include the article of 
dress, with its true refinements and proprieties, in 
common with all that belongs to personal beha- 
vior and to the general way and manner of society. 
And here it is that woman has her kingdom. Sub- 
ject in the state, she is qualified, in just that fact, 
to be the queen of society. And is society nothing, 
do we think? Are there no honors and powers 
and quantities of well-being here at stake? Why, 
there is more to be determined, legislated, done, 
enjoyed, and lost, in this great matter of society, 
than there is in all the enactments, executive offi- 
ces, and judicial decisions of the state, many 
times over. Is it then to be imagined that the 
world-famous women, the Miss Marshalls, the 
Mrs. Madisons, the Madame Eecamiers, the Ma- 
dame Swetchines, and a thousand other queens 
that, being good or less good, gather princes and 
multitudes about the queenly centers they make 
and the beautiful graces in which they shine, are, 
in fact, doing nothing for their country or man- 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 175 

kind ? Just contrary to this, it is they, even more 
than the male magistracies, that are fashioning 
the world. Aspasia is more than Pericles a hun- 
dred times over; because he governs only the 
state, and she governs both the governors of the 
state and the people beside. Happy is that people 
that can make society. Lacedemon could as lit- 
tle make it as a den of bears. Athens could have 
it because it had a woman. Great thing it is for 
any people that they can have society ; thought 
ennobled, art become a joy, good and pure man- 
ners, lofty and true sentiment, delicacy, beauty, 
great aspirations, a state above the state, that 
which no man ever made or swayed, but which 
only women, one or many, could. It requires just 
what we have been calling a subject nature to pre- 
pare society. There are no kings here but only 
queens. All partisans and men of power are 
incapable of this kind of dominion. It supposes 
what is more catholic, another law moving in an- 
other line, where truth, and right, and beauty, 
and right inspirations, and manners that have 
come to the flower, create a new, great element of 
general fellowship, and true public love. 

We are trying, just now every possible or im- 
possible way of reducing our public vices, and 
especially our all-demoralizing drink. The state 
fairly staggers politically under the problem, find- 
ing no way. JNTo way, I fear, is ever coming by 
the legislative, " be-it-enacted" method. But 



176 WOMEN'S SUFFKAGE ; 

what the state can not do, society can ; and society 
will do it, whenever the great women arise to 
make society in that high key. And they will do 
it by no denunciatory action ; but by simply 
making a right, clean atmosphere, which no beast 
can willingly defile; consecrating character by 
its dignities, life by its moralities, and putting all 
the elegancies in cast, by good and true inspira- 
tions. Only the subject condition can address it- 
self to these ignominies of life. Legal prohibitions, 
fines, imprisonments, have only such remedial ef- 
ficacy as God's own law has had in the mending 
of transgression. 

It has never yet been sufficiently seen what 
stores of poetry are hid in the light-moving, ten- 
derly-fibered, subject nature of women. The bane 
of all great poetry is self-recollection, and the 
letting in of will to do what only true inspirations 
can. And exactly here is the point where so 
many breaks and falls occur. The man ventures, 
in some unlucky moment, to make his appearance 
himself putting in his force to conquer, when 
force has no such power. His performance gets a 
spacing, in this manner, of insipidities and little 
defections, that more or less fatally take him 
down. His will, in fact, even though he may not 
see it, is, poetically speaking, the weakest, lowest 
faculty he has. But as men expect to govern by 
their will, and do many things in the habit of put- 
ting their will into them, it will be all the more 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 177 

difficult not to fall sometimes into the way of 
manufacturing verses, when they think they are 
writing poetry. Is it not a matter of fair expecta- 
tion that, when the women of an age not far off, 
find where the inspirations are, and set their nim- 
ble, fine-strung harps in play, they will give us 
modes of thought and sentiment and wonders of 
perception, more ethereal and closer to the living 
fiber of souls than we have hitherto known ? The 
very fact that women are in a smaller and more 
delicate key, will permit their wings to carry them 
higher, and will let us hear them empty their music 
into the sky, clear above where our male larks 
and eagles have been able in the past times to go. 
And let not this appear extravagant, for our wom- 
en certainly have not yet found their wings. Are 
we not able to see, by a mere glance of the eye, 
that they have a nature fibered and feathered for 
the highest inspirations, whenever they can think 
and believe, in a key to reach their own possi- 
bilities ? 

These auguries will be largely confirmed, if we 
advert to the closely kindred art of music. "Why 
is it, we may ask, that men's voices, larger in 
quantity and sometimes wonderfully fine in qual- 
ity, are yet never able to produce the same or any 
proximate effects compared with the voices of 
women? Not all the kings and queens of the old 
world, with all the high magistrates of the new, 
had more than a hundredth part of the impression, 

8* 



178 

accent, sway in men's feeling, that a single singing 
woman lately had, in the memory of us all. ~No 
such power was ever held by any singing man, or 
ever will be. And the reason is not, as we 
assume so often, that the soprano voice is of 
course more effective. No ; the true reason is 
that the man lets himself into his singing, forces 
his voice, puts his will into the modulations, and 
lets us see that he is, all the while, conscious of 
what he is doing. Having thunders of govern- 
ment and self-centered energy in him, he must 
needs play on his voice, and finger, as it were, the 
stops of it himself. Many times it will be even 
visible that, having the finest possible organ, he 
never once caught the idea of an inspiration, or a 
free gale wafting him on, in his life. He sings 
velocipede- wise, turning the crank himself. If 
there is a liquid element in his nature, he has 
never let his heart down where it is, but he sings 
a song of surfaces by his will, and the self-modu- 
lation of his art very dry, made up of single notes 
and pieces jolted together without flow. But 
the woman has a better nature for this matter. She 
is less supremely, less indivertibly selfish. Her 
subject will is not always on hand, to put her fuss- 
ing consciously at her modulations. She takes the 
inspirations easily and without knowing it, and has 
the tingle of the sentiment in her whole person. 
Grace, beauty, life, love, beam and glow and 
blend and rise, and her audiences are carried away, 



THE KEFOKM AGAINST NATUKE. 179 

they scarce know whither. Is there any greater 
eminence of power in any political magistracy, or 
official promotion of the world ? And if we 
take these two together, poetry and music, and 
consider the grand possibilities of advancement 
offered thereby to the genius of women possi- 
bilities never yet unfolded as they sometimes will 
be we shall not be in haste to set them on riots 
of appeal to conquer places that will give signifi- 
cance to their life. Had Alboni been able to- get 
herself installed in the Intendancy of the Revenue 
of Ancona, or Jenny Lind to get the place of 
Port Warden at Gotten burg, I do not see that 
their political successes would have done much 
for them. 

There is yet another vast field of endeavor for 
women which ought to be taken directly out of 
politics, or the hands of legislation, and given 
over to them. Dr. Chalmers saw the unspeakable 
absurdity of what we call our Almshouse system, 
and set himself to the replacing of it by agencies 
more genuine. Hospitals ought to follow the 
same law ; and finally when every thing is ready, 
the Common School arrangement also. 

All these, together with what may be done for 
the mitigation of war, and the correction of war- 
like sentiment, belong not t the state or to 
political management, but to the mercies and be- 
nignities, and faithful charities of private life, and 
particularly the private life of women. The state 



180 

is given to men ; these comprehend a vast circle 
of powers and causes, almost equally extended, 
that belong especially to women. We speak, for 
example, of our Almshouse provisions there 
could not be a more naked lie ; for there is not 
even a shred or semblance of alms in the case ; noth- 
ing but taxations to be gathered by law, and paid 
over by legal officers. Not a feeling of mercy is 
anywhere appealed to or felt. Our hospitals and 
public schools are now getting to be more gen- 
erally supported in the same way. Not a vestige 
of benevolence is called into play ; the state is 
managing now, not in a way to dispense, but 
to dispense with benevolence ! Our men are not 
in it, because they are doing every thing politi- 
cally, or by law. Our women can not be in it, 
because it is taken away. And so we lose the 
benefit of a whole best side of life. Here are 
ministrations, teachings, offices, and magistracies 
of mercy without number, all a great deal worthier 
and higher than any that our women can hope to 
obtain at the polls, but they do not see it. And 
they are dying, they say, because they have 
nothing to do! 

Is it not time that, instead of going after these 
political illusions, we begin to revise the great 
prime falsity arid imposture we have let into our 
practice. I do not say that our present alms- 
house system, as we call it, is worse and more 
cruel than nothing, but it is the most mischievous 



THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE. 181 

and miserable thing we have borrowed from the 
mother country, most false in principle and 
worthiest to be stripped away. We have certain 
benefits from our common schools, but we are 
coming down rapidly now upon the fact, that no 
religion can be taught, and not even a religious 
morality, because it will infringe on some mis- 
belief, or variant belief; and the charge that was 
laid by the Catholics is becoming more painfully 
just every year. Had our women every thing in 
train here, as they might and ought to have had, 
all these modes of beneficence would now be 
theirs, and they might even be complaining that 
their works are too heavy and too many. 

Of course it will be seen, that when our Sis- 
ters of Charity, and others subject to the monastic 
garb and discipline, are going their rounds on er- 
rands of mercy, they, in fact, are acting under law 
as truly as they would be under the laws of the 
state, and are in exactly the same fault of principle 
we deplore in ourselves. 

I can not exhaust this matter by any brief dis- 
cussion, but it will be seen at a glance, how vast 
a field is open here to women. They will some- 
time have it, I hope not a very long time 
hence, and it will suffice to occupy their whole 
army. 

But there is yet one thing more which must not 
be omitted, viz. : the great field opened for them 
by religion. The womanly nature, being a sub 



182 WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE; 

ject nature, is specially flexible and free to the 
Christian inspirations, and for this reason, doubt- 
less, it is that more than twice as many women 
as men are engaged in Christian works and rela- 
tions. Yet the call is now for women to buckle on 
the harness of political life and challenge the right 
to fight common battles with men. The subject 
nature is now to be adjourned, and the self-willed, 
governing nature to take its place ; and the result 
will be, of course, that only half as many women 
will accept the cross, because they too are learn- 
ing now to fight out their will ; and the count 
of Christian men will also be reduced, because the 
number that have Christian wives who have grace 
to win their husbands is reduced. The result of 
course will be, if this reform is carried, that the 
number of them that believe will be greatly di- 
minished, and whole centuries of toilsome progress 
will be lost, as it were, in a clay. And yet the 
bitterest, heaviest part of the loss will fall upon 
the women who are expected to be the chief gain- 
ers in so great a change. In virtue of their sub- 
ject nature, they now hold the God ward side of 
humanity, which is, in fact, the side of highest 
power; and abjuring their nature they, of course, 
abjure the power. Men will add their opinions to 
religion, even as rush-lights may be added to the 
sun ; or sometimes they will flame on the world as 
prophets gifted with revelations that have no very 
exact keeping with the merit of their character, 



THE EKFOKM AGAINST HATUKE. 183 

and are sometimes a prodigious miracle burst- 
ing up through manifold obliquities. Meantime 
women, far more religious in their habit, are never 
distinctly set in the prophetic office, though some- 
times verbally honored in the prophetic title, 
for the reason simply, it would seem, that they 
are to be more than prophets, viz. : to obtain 
acquaintance with God in the higher plane of 
practical sainthood, and spiritual insight on the 
basis of experience. So they are to take their 
subject nature into the recesses of God's friend- 
ship, and have it there imbued with all under- 
standing in the private mind of the Spirit, and 
are so to be known as knowing God. And there 
is no other character so divinely impressive, or so 
beautifully configured to God's purity; therefore 
none that is gifted with a power so transcendent. 

Thus when Madame Guyon draws the great 
Fenelon to her confidence, and her cell in the pris- 
on; when she opens to him her conceptions of 
God's mysteries, and he, in faithful homage to her 
cause undertakes for her, and becomes her apolo- 
gist, accepting her openly before her persecutors, 
what do we see in this impressive sight, but that 
learning and fame and genius, all widest influence 
and highest position, will come to pay their trib- 
ute to the' woman who has found God's inspira- 
tions, and entered into the secret of his will. 
"What Joan of Arc accomplished is scarcely a 
greater wonder. And thus again when that won- 



184: 

derful daughter of God, Madame Krudner, sought 
for and found by Alexander of Russia, kneels 
with him side by side, Protestant with Greek, 
night after night, endeavoring to guide him through 
his misgivings into the great future God will 
open for him and his allies, what do we see, in 
fact, but that she is holding sway, in simple saint- 
hood, over all Europe, including the great Napo- 
leon himself. These of course are extreme cases. 
But the womanly sainthood power ;s always doing 
this, in some way or manner less conspicuous. 
And the time is coming, if there is enough of sub- 
ject nature left, when it will be crowned in the 
supreme queenhood of the world. 

My object now in this brief, closing chapter, 
has been to show what fields of great endeavor 
and high public sway, what opportunities of ad- 
vancement are even now and always set before 
the women of the nation. They are saying, and 
multitudes of men are conceding the fact on every 
hand, that they must get vent in political life or 
die for want of any thing to do. My fixed con- 
viction is that no such thing is true. Their sub- 
ject nature, which is called their subject condi- 
tion, has here been shown, I think, to contain all 
the grandest possibilities of work and power and 
character that could or can be given them. It is 
in fact the prime endowment of their womanhood 
itself. 



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. * . i 

MYRTLE). 


Germany, Peasant Life in . 


i 


JONES, CHARLES COLCOCK, D.D. 
HISTORY OF THE CHURCH OF GOD . . 2 
KIRKLAND, MRS. C. M. 




2 










KNOX, REV. J. B. 

St. Thomas, W. I., History of . 

LABOULAYE EDOUARD. 


i 



LANGE, PROF. J. P., D.D. 

Commentary on Scriptures, Theolog. and Homi- 
letical : Matthew (i) ; MARK AND LUKE (i) ; 
ACTS (i) ; JAMES, PETER, JOHN, JUDE (i) ; 
CORINTHIANS (i) ; THESSALOWANS, TIMOTHY, 
TITUS, PHILEMON, HEBREWS (i) ; GENESIS, (i) 

LAWRENCE, EUGENE. 

British Historians, Lives of . . . 

LIBER LIBRORUM 

LORD, JOHN, LL.D. 

OLD ROMAN WORLD 
LYNCH, LIEUT. W. F. 

Naval Life 

McLEOD, ALEX., D.D. 

Life of, by Rev. S. B. Wylie. .. 

MACDONALD, J. M., D.D. 
My Father's House .... 

MACLEOD, DONALD, 

Works of 3 

MAGOON, REV. E. L. 

Living Orators in America .... I 
Orators of the American Revolution . . 1 



8vo ea. 5 oo 66-68 



2 

I 


I2H1O 

i6mo 


3 50 
i So 


6 9 
70 


I 


crown 8vo 3 oo 


7C 


I 


I2mo 


i 5 


7i 


I 


8vo 


2 00 


114 


I 


I2mo 


I 5 


72 



I2mo ea. I 25 



I2mo i 75 



72 

72 



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Dream Life I I2mo $i 75 77 

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13 

90. 

91 
92-93 
94 

94 

u 

97 
37 

100 

8S 

100 

IOI 
IOI 
( IOI 
{ IO2 
103 

103 


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Political Economy, Elements of . . . 

PRENTISS, S. S. 

Life of, by Geo. L. Prentiss, D.D. 

PRIME, S. I., D.D. 


i 

2 

I 
I 
I 

I 

3 

i 

i 

2 

I 

2 

I 

I 
I 
2 

I 
I 

I 
I 


crown Svo 2 50 
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I2mo 

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Hopefully Waiting, and other Verses 
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SEAMAN, E. C. 


SHEDD W G T DD 


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QUEENS OK ENGLAND, LIVES OF . 



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Extemporary Preaching * I 



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i6mo I oo 



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104 
104 

55-59 

106 
106 
107 
107 

108 
108 
109 
109 



I crown 8vo 2 50 no 



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8vo 



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"3 
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114 



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