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Title: Woman: Man's Equal
Author: Webster, Thomas
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1873,


In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.


The publishers of "WOMAN MAN'S EQUAL" conscientiously feel that they are
placing before the public the discussion of one of the most important
topics of the day; and they indulge the strong conviction that the
author of this little volume presents this important topic in a manner
at once attractive and convincing. The teachings of nature, history, and
the Word of God are freely drafted, and skillfully arranged to show what
nature designed, what God has taught, and what woman has proved herself
capable of being and doing in the world. The abuses to which the sex has
been subject from the physically stronger "lords of creation," in
heathen nations and in brute ages, are ably and fully set forth.

The lessons of the past are the teachings of the future. Christianity
has enlarged woman's area, and multiplied her duties and
responsibilities. America is ahead of all other nations in
opportunities offered to woman. Public sentiment is in favor of
enlarging her sphere, and woman is venturing into hitherto untried
avenues of employment and usefulness. This is an age of experiment. An
ounce of experiment is worth a pound of theory. Woman's capacity will
first be tested; and, if found equal to the opportunity, no door will be
closed against her. She may preach, orate, lecture, teach, practice
medicine or law or politics; may vote, marshal armies, navigate ships,
and go sailoring or soldiering to her heart's content, and at her own
good-will and pleasure, if she only proves to the age that she has
ability to do and dare in all these directions. This is an age of
discovery, as well as of experiment; and man is daily waking up,
applying, and marshaling new forces for the benefit of the race. Steam,
light, electricity, magnetism, mechanics, have all contributed of their
boundless capacities to human welfare. Man is gradually coming to be
aware that, in the latent powers of woman, only just now on the eve of
development, half the capacities of the human race, like the powers of
steam and lightning, have slumbered, until now, from the beginning of
the creation. A new era is dawning upon the world. This little volume is
one of the rays that herald the coming sun.




Equals in the Beginning--Apparent Mental Inferiority result to be
expected when Means of Mental Culture are denied--Natural
Rights--Flattery not an Equivalent for Justice--Dawning



Women of Antiquity--Their Condition in Heathen and Mohammedan
Countries--Marriage, Divorce, etc.



Estimation in which Women were held later--Cause and Effect--Mental
Attainments despite of Oppression and Prohibition--Equal Men in
Government, etc.--Frivolity, Literature, and Home Duties--Muscle not
Mind--Marriage Ceremonies



Created Equal--Genesis iii, 16, considered--Monogamy--Lapse into
Heathenism--Polygamy--The Patriarchs--The Law of Maid-servants and
Bondwomen--Divorce; Christ recognized the Equality of Right
therein--Eminent Women of Israel--Virtue and Vice of no Sex



The New Testament Scriptures--How they Define the Position of Women



Equally amenable to Laws, Human and Divine--To rear and govern a Family
rightly, requires Sound Judgment--Relative Mental Capacity of the Sexes
not yet fairly tested--Comparisons--Christianity has done much, yet much
remains to be done--Right in Each Other's Property--Men juster than the
Laws--Query--Justice should be even-handed--A United Head--Women trained
to perpetuate the Wrongs of their Sex



Taxation without Representation--One-sided Legislation--Similar
Objections urged against the Extensions of Franchise--Domestic
Discord--Present Causes--Citizenship not Inconsistent with Home
Duties--The State has been benefited at the Risk of her Life through all
Ages--Assertions confuted--Modern Churches have departed from Primitive
Usages--The Friends--Women as Philanthropists, Public Speakers, Artists,
Physicians--Educated Women during the Late War--The Universities



Dido, Queen of Carthage--Cleopatra--Lucretia--Zenobia--Hypatia--Other
Famous Names



The Countess of Montfort--Anna Askew--Esther Inglis--Lady
Pakington--Mrs. Mary Washington--Mrs. Wesley--Mrs. Fletcher--Miss
Crosby--Ann Hasseltine--Sarah H.B. Judson--The Misses Chandler--Other
Eminent Characters of Modern Times


Christianity is the special friend of woman. Christian civilization has
exalted her almost infinitely above the position to which either
paganism or Mohammedanism assigned her. This elevation is the natural
outgrowth of the example and teaching of Jesus of Nazareth. Unlike other
ancient great instructors, he did not repel women from discipleship, but
cordially welcomed her presence wherever he taught. His lessons of
wisdom, and his precious promises of life everlasting, were in all their
fullness addressed to her as freely as to the most honored of men. His
illustrations of sweeping the house to find the lost piece of silver,
and of the leaven hid in three measures of meal, were drawn from her
employments, and were probably suggested by her presence. To the cry of
the poor Syro-Phenician woman, no less than to that of the centurion or
nobleman, did he give his attention and sympathy, and with equal speed
did he answer the agonizing prayer. Rising far above the trammels of
Jewish prejudice, while he sat weary at the mouth of Jacob's well, he
taught the beauty of spiritual worship to the astonished woman of
Samaria. She became his first missionary to the people of her city, to
whom she told the story of his wonderful wisdom, and said, "Is not this
the Christ?" How kind must have been his spirit, how tender his words,
to the sisters at Bethany, to cause the exclamation, "If thou hadst been
here, my brother had not died!" How consoling must have been his
accents, which drew the fair penitent to his feet, and which led her, in
loving adoration, to wash them with her tears and to wipe them with the
hairs of her head! How wonderful the manifestation of that Divine
condescension and love which elicited that gratitude which still lingers
in the rich perfumes of the alabaster-box of precious ointment! No
marvel that women "followed him from Galilee," stood sorrowfully
beholding his crucifixion, and when he was taken from the cross,
"followed after and beheld the sepulcher, and how his body was laid."
Their devotion was rewarded, on the morning of his resurrection, by
their being made the first messengers of his glorious triumph. On such
perfect equality were men and women placed by the blessed Savior as to
terms of salvation and Gospel privileges, that the apostle exclaims, "In
Christ Jesus there is neither male nor female." All are members of his
body, and in him all become one.

As Christian influences more fully control society, and as the spirit of
Christ permeates the masses, the position of woman becomes more
elevated. She is no longer considered as a slave, and compelled to bear
every burden, as in savage life; nor is she a mere attendant, or
minister to sensual pleasure, as among the Mohammedans. The bars are
removed from the doors of the harem, and the veil is taken from her
face. She sits with the family at the table, entertains her guests, and
enjoys their society. She studies with her brothers in the same school,
recites to the same teachers, and reads the same books. With her
friends, she joins in the service and song and worship of, the
sanctuary, converses in the social assembly, and listens to
distinguished speakers as they discuss topics of literature, art,
science, or statesmanship. The cry of suffering humanity touches her
heart, and she is deeply interested in the great movements toward the
elevation of the race. In this ascent, every step she has taken has been
in opposition to the protest of the spirit of other civilizations, which
yet lurks in many a breast. To be seen by strangers, to have her face
unveiled, to sit in public assemblies, to study sciences and arts, is
contrary to nature, is an offense against purity, and tends to destroy
her loveliness,--said these inveterate croakers. Yet society recognized
her influence and power, and believed she had both rights and duties.
Step by step, odious laws have been repealed, her right to her own
property has been in great measure secured, doors of usefulness have
been opened before her, her voice is welcomed from the platform, and her
writings from the press. She visits the sick and the prisoner, and
pleads for the suffering, until hospitals and asylums are founded in
their behalf. She soothes the sorrows of the aged, takes the hand of the
orphan to lead him in paths of safety, and in the tumult of war
ministers to the wounded and dying.

Amidst her general activity, many questions arise as to what further
avenues of usefulness may properly open. How far may she engage in
business, and in what branches? what is her proper work in the Church,
and to what extent may she perform public religious services? is she
properly a citizen, and what privileges or rights should she enjoy?--are
inquiries which are considered and discussed. The greatest interest is
at present excited by the question, "Should women have the ballot?" and
both in this country and in England it has able advocates and strong

It can not be denied that the answer of the large majority is in the
negative, and that in many instances this answer comes in the form of
the laugh of ridicule or in the sneer of contempt. Such is the fate of
all incipient efforts for reformation; but where a cause is
intrinsically just, it can survive and triumph.

Without entering into the general discussion, two points may be briefly
noted. First, this question is considered only in Christian lands. It is
not even heard of elsewhere. It is mooted only in countries where the
Bible is placed in the hands of the common people. It is strong only
where free institutions have been established, and where liberal ideas
have prevailed. It is the outgrowth of Bible freedom. Secondly, many of
its opponents are persons of strong intellect, of broad views, of great
benevolence, and of unquestioned piety. Yet in the opposition we find
also all, or nearly all, of the most ignorant classes of society. We
find also in the opposition, with very few exceptions, the entire class
of venders of intoxicating drinks, drunkards, gamblers, and other
notoriously vicious characters. Is there any reason for such an
aggregation? On the other hand, the friends of the measure, though fewer
in number, are generally found among the intelligent and religious
members of the community. It is true that a few of those who desired to
be recognized as leaders of the movement are known as free-thinkers or
infidels; and a still smaller number have been advocates of free-love
and other loathsome vagaries. The opponents of the cause have skillfully
presented their names as representatives of the idea, and have thus cast
such odium upon it that many timid persons, dreading even an apparent
association with them, have feared to express their own convictions.
These odious parties, however, are very few in number, and their
influence is constantly diminishing. There can be no question that
four-fifths of the friends of female suffrage are to-day active members
of various Christian Churches; and of them no small number are ministers
distinguished for their learning, benevolence, and piety.

The signs of the times indicate a determined struggle between temperance
and intemperance. The use of intoxicating liquors is the source of
nine-tenths of all the dark and terrible crimes that disgrace humanity.
It whets the assassin's dagger, and pours poison into the cup of the
suicide. It beggars the laborer, breaks the heart of the anguished wife,
and starves the helpless children. It fills jails and penitentiaries
with victims, and hospitals and asylums with the injured and hopelessly
wrecked. It fastens on society an army of police to be supported, and it
oppresses the land with taxes. The money amassed by the venders buys our
legislators, corrupts our judges and governors, and controls our
political parties. Who shall stay its ravages, or curtail its power?

My conviction is, and for years has been, that the only hope is in
giving the ballot to women. True, some women love strong drink, and some
are vile; yet the vast majority are utterly opposed to intemperance.
None so well as the drunkard's wife knows the terrible evil, or so
keenly feels its pangs. Could the mother, who bows her head in sorrow as
she beholds her loved boy hastening to ruin; the wife, whose once
affectionate husband has been transformed into a demon; the daughter,
whose cheek has been mantled with shame at her father's fall, and who
has suffered the bitterness of blasted hopes and of dismal
poverty,--could they have the ballot, how quickly would the rum-shops be
closed, and our youth be preserved from multi-fold temptations! What
other triumph could compare with this?

With this conviction, I hail with pleasure this volume from the pen of
Dr. Webster. It discusses an important question calmly, clearly,
forcibly. I may not agree with all of his positions, or with some of his
Biblical criticisms, yet I believe the work possesses much merit, will
lead to serious thoughtfulness, and be productive of good.

I also rejoice that the enterprising publishers whose names appear on
the imprint have added this volume to their catalogue, and have thus
given the influence of their names, and their widely extended means of
circulation, to a cause so intimately connected with the interests of
humanity. The Church, in its various denominations, and by its varied
agencies, must ever be, as it ever has been, the leader and the guide in
great moral movements.




Natural Rights.

In the discussion of the question of woman's equality with man, I
purpose to prove from the Bible, as I believe I can, that at the
creation there was neither superiority nor inferiority ordained between
Adam and Eve; and that the partial distinctions which have for ages
existed, and which still exist, are of man's invention; and may,
therefore with propriety, be examined, and, where found unfair or
oppressive, may be justly condemned.

I hope also to be able to establish the fact, from history, that in
every age, whenever an opportunity has afforded itself, women have
proved themselves to be fully men's equals in intellectual capacity, in
morality, industry, and religion; and that, in matters of government,
they have proved themselves to be as wise and judicious rulers as any of
the opposite sex, under the same, or similar, circumstances. That the
instances in which women have been called to places of power and
responsibility in the State are comparatively rare, is not to be
attributed to natural incapacity or mental inferiority, but to the fact
of the persistent efforts made by men to keep them as much as possible
in the background; that in many instances women have broken the fetters
of oppression and prejudice by which they were bound, and have ascended
the hill of fame in advance of their male opponents. If, then, women
have in other and darker ages over-leaped the formidable barriers placed
in their way, and thus benefited their respective nations, and sometimes
the world, by their intrepidity, why should obstructions be placed in
their path now, in this day of professed light and progress? Freedom,
improvement, and righteousness ought to be the watchwords of the

After enduring years of ridicule and contempt, the advocates of women's
rights begin to see some slight indications that their labors have not
been altogether futile. Both in England and America the movement is now
making considerable progress. Persons of wealth, of high position in the
social scale, and of sound education, have become its warm friends and
advocates; but, so hard is it to remove old-time prejudice, it is
probable that many years may yet elapse before women will be allowed to
enjoy equal rights and privileges with men.

All great reforms, whether European or American, are of slow growth,
and are usually denounced as running counter to Scripture and common
sense; as witness the discussions on the disestablishment of the Irish
Church in Britain, and on the abolition of slavery in the United States;
both of which reforms were fiercely assailed as contrary to the Word of
God and reason, and declared to be in fact the offspring of infidelity.
But, like these two great reforms, when movements of vital importance
are once inaugurated, their arriving at perfection is but a matter of
time. Right is almost always sure to prevail in the end.

The claiming for women equality with men, not only in mental capacity,
but in civil and ecclesiastical rights, may shock the preconceived
opinions of many persons, and will probably subject the individual
advancing such views to the charge of fanaticism and false teaching; yet
we conceive the claim to be consistent with reason, justice, and the
Word of God; and its full recognition to be of vital importance to the
entire race of mankind. In the discussion of this question, the object
will not be to flatter women, or to give offense to men; but simply to
present the requirements of impartial justice with regard to a portion
of the human race, who, because of their sex, have for centuries been
held in a position little, if any, better than that of slaves; and who,
up to the present time, are deprived of their natural rights and
privileges by the laws of our own and other countries, professedly
civilized, enlightened, and Christian. While, therefore, the injustice
suffered, both in the past and the present, by women, will be briefly
presented in the following pages, there is still no wish to deprive the
"lords of creation" of any really God-appointed privilege. But should we
happen to come in contact with the selfishness and the usurped
prerogatives of men, we will not hesitate to expose what we conceive to
be grievous wrongs, because of their antiquity.

There is no human tie so sacred as that of marriage; and yet there is
no covenant so generally violated in some way or other by many of the
contracting parties. The alliance, it is true, may be continued, and
even observed, so far as the letter is concerned. But what of the
spirit? When once true confidence is lost, the sublime and exalted
character of the relation is destroyed. There is no longer any genuine
affection, or real union of heart, between the parties. Nothing will
destroy mutual confidence between two parties sooner than an arrogant
assumption by one of them of fancied superiority over the other.
Self-respect is an inherent principle in human nature. The mind of
prince and peasant is alike actuated by it, and by an instinctive desire
for freedom and independence of action, for the advantages of civil and
religious liberty, and for the exercise of individual rights; and this
instinctive desire is no less strong in the hearts of women than of
men. It is impossible for a woman of proper discernment, and of refined
taste and liberal education, to consider herself, simply because of her
sex, inferior to her own male relatives, or indeed to any one of the
opposite sex, of the same intellectual powers, literary attainments, and
position in society. Nothing but the influence of a misdirected or
perverted education, or the most extreme degradation and ignorance, can
in any one induce the belief that woman is the inferior of man, merely
_because she is a woman_.

No business firm could remain together in harmony for a single day, if
it were understood that one of the partners assumed the position that he
was superior to the other, who, prior to entering into the partnership,
had been received in the same social circles, and who had brought into
the business an equal proportion of funds and of business talent. And
doubly preposterous would the assumption be, if it were based on the
fact that the assumer was the larger or physically stronger man; and,
because possessed of more of the animal nature than his partner, it
therefore became his right to dictate to and control the other.

Such an assumption as this is no more absurd, nor is the reasoning upon
which it is based more illogical, than that which asserts that woman,
because she is a woman, is therefore an inferior, to be ruled at the
discretion of her husband or sons in her own home; and that she ought to
be contented to be considered such, and to be so treated by her own
nation and in her own family. The carrying out of such an idea is more
than absurd. It is monstrous. It is an imposition that has only been
tolerated because the exactions are not in every case so bad as the
system is capable of enforcing; and it is one from which every advocate
of Christian liberty, to be consistent with his profession, should
withdraw both countenance and toleration.

The history of woman's wrongs has for ages been written in tears, often
with her life-blood; and yet the volume has, in most instances, been
concealed in her own bosom, notwithstanding its fearful weight. But if,
at any time, as sometimes happens, unable to keep it hidden longer, she
unfolds the pages of her grief to others, what an outcry is raised
against her! The oppressed Italian peasant, the Russian serf, the
Spanish or American black, all, if they are only of the male sex, may
make their wrongs public, may even resist oppression to the death, and
be applauded for so doing. But let a woman speak so that she can be
heard, no matter how great the outrages from which she has suffered, let
her couch her timid complaint in ever such delicate language, and what a
storm of invective is hurled at her! The very act of complaining is
declared--by the advocates of her inferiority--to be in itself unwifely,
_indecent_. "A woman's voice has no business to be heard outside of her
own house; nor _there_, if her lord decrees otherwise," say they. It is
asserted that she has been induced to give publicity to her
sorrows--indeed, has _occasioned them_--by peevishness or imprudence, or
by something worse; and thus, by an, unfair, sometimes an altogether
_false_, issue being raised, the unhappy victim not merely of
oppression, but of downright brutality, is shut off from justly merited
sympathy. And women, too, who are more fortunately situated, in
possessing somewhat kinder husbands, or in being possessed by them,
shaping their views according to those entertained by the sterner sex,
unite with them in the condemnation of a sorrow-stricken sister; and,
instead of making her burden lighter, contribute to increasing its
weight. Such women having never felt the iron pierce their own souls,
can not realize the woes of those in whose bosoms the barb is rankling
at every pulsation, and they weakly fancy that the sorrows of those
suffering ones are but the inventions of an ill-ordered mind, or, at
most, that the picture has been overdrawn.

Unkind men are not the only class, however, who assert the inferiority
of the gentler sex. If they were, they might be disposed of in a very
summary manner. There is another class not less dangerous, not less
tyrannical or less arrogant, though somewhat more plausible. These
speak, when occasion suits, quite eloquently, often with indecorous
flippancy, of the "great influence which the _ladies_ are capable of
exerting upon society;" and for the qualified good which the orators
graciously concede that women have accomplished, or may be capable of
accomplishing, they bespatter them with a sort of sneering praise that
is absolutely insulting to a woman of common sense. This style of
fulsome flattery, with some degree of soft attention, graciously
bestowed upon women, these men deem adequate compensation for all the
indignities put upon their so-called inferiors. With what supreme
contempt, therefore, must every right-minded woman listen to such
harangues, or read them when in print!

Learned orators and divines and grave professors may, indeed sometimes
do, soar away almost to the seventh heaven while recounting the heroic
or generous actions of women in past ages. Admiring audiences are told
that "gentle women are the ministering angels, sent by the wisdom of God
to be the comforters of mankind upon earth, as the beloved of our
hearths and homes; that the world, without the gentle hand of woman to
alleviate our sorrows, would be a dark and dreary solitude swept by the
whirlwinds of despair." The delighted listeners are borne away on the
wings of fancy--alas! it is only fancy--till, in imagination, it would
appear that woman had escaped from her worse than Egyptian bondage, had
crossed, without trouble, the Red Sea, passed the dreadful wilderness,
moved out from the plains of Moab, and, by some peculiar magic of her
own, had been deftly wafted over Jordan into the promised land; that
already she had gloried in the tumbling-down of the walls of Jericho,
and had enjoyed the triumph of having the delegation of Gibeonites
coming, in their old garments, to seek an alliance with her as the
chosen of the Lord.

But let a woman allured by such an oration ask a _right_, and how soon
the strain is changed! Let her ask to be placed on an equality with man
in regard to the holding of property, or to civil or ecclesiastical
rights, or authority or position; let the daughters ask equal rights and
privileges with sons; let them request admission into the same colleges
and universities with their brothers, so that they may compete with them
for the honors and degrees conferred in such institutions,--and what
then? The flowery oratory is all gone. The "angels," the "heroic, brave,
and virtuous women," have suddenly become agitators whose conduct is
unseemly. They "are ambitious, indelicate, not to say immodest,
bold-faced females"--whether of the human or some other race we are not

Forgetting, apparently, that the Creator's universal law is liberty of
thought and freedom of action, coupled with a strict responsibility for
the use of both, those who are opposed to women exercising or enjoying
equal rights with men, contend, as an excuse for their opposition, that
some of the women engaged in the present reform movement are extravagant
in their demands, and abuse the privileges they already possess.
Precisely the same thing was said of the slaves in the South. Indeed,
the same argument, variously worded, has been used by oppressors in all
ages. "Ye are idle, ye are idle," is a very old cry.

But, admitting that some women are injudicious and occasionally one is
irreverent, are not men, in advocating their peculiar views on politics,
the same, only in much larger proportion? Are they, therefore, deprived
of the franchise or other privileges? If men were obliged to come to
such a standard as they lay down for women, they would consider the
measure meted out to them a very hard one. Still, if it is a just and
fair way of dealing with woman's suffrage and other questions of
importance, it is an equally just and fair way to deal with men
concerning their right to exercise the franchise.

But, though deprived of the civil and ecclesiastical privileges accorded
to their sons and brothers, women are yet held equally accountable with
them for any infraction of these same civil and ecclesiastical laws. Not
supposed to have sufficient mental capacity to understand what a law
really means, she is yet, if she violates that law, punished for such
violation. And, in the face of all this, it is sneeringly asked, "What
can reasonable women want more than they already have?" The answer is
simple: Equal rights and privileges with men.

And it is to be hoped, for the honor of Christianity and civilization,
that these will soon be accorded.

Very much has been accomplished in several of the States of the
Republic, in regard to giving women a proper position in civil and
educational matters, but much still remains to be done; and just now it
would seem doubtful which country will first accord the suffrage to
them--England or the United States. Eminent statesmen in both of these
countries are moving in the matter.


Woman in Antiquity.

In the preceding chapter it is mentioned that the intention is to
present to the reader, in as condensed a form as possible, some of the
indignities put upon women, both in the past and the present, so that
the reader may be able to form a candid judgment on the subject of
woman's rights and woman's wrongs. We will, therefore, first consider
the condition of the women of antiquity, and of those in heathen and
Mohammedan lands; and, afterward, her position in professedly civilized
and Christian countries.

After the dispersion of mankind at Babel, we behold, through the mists
of the surrounding gloom, the various tribes into which the race had by
that event become divided, subsisting at first by the spontaneous fruits
of the earth, and by the chase. Then they became herdsmen, tillers of
the soil, and traffickers, varying these occupations by predatory
warfare. They are all astir, passing to and fro through the wide extent
of the regions as yet inhabited. History, so far as it deals with the
earlier portion of this period, necessarily derives its material from
traditionary legends, more or less credible, as the case may be. These
recount the marvelous exploits--not unfrequently manifestly fabulous--of
their rude heroes; their deeds of might, their noble enterprises, their
indomitable courage, their persistent activity, and often their deeds of
most revolting cruelty.

Of the women of this period we obtain but slight glimpses, but
sufficient to show that, in their domestic arrangements, the ancients
early acted upon the principle, that "might makes right." Muscle
appears to have been at a premium during these eras.

Later, the nations are found still engaged in war, as if each esteemed
the slaughtering of its neighbors the grandest and noblest of human
achievements; but their equipments indicate that, meanwhile,
manufactures have been making some advancement. Warriors present a more
formidable appearance than did those of former ages. They are clad in
armor, and guard themselves with breastplates and with shields. Their
glittering swords and spears, their battle-axes and their bows, are
grasped in hands only too eager to use them; and the combatants press
proudly on toward the scene of conflict; while others, equally intrepid,
but less military in their tastes, still employ themselves in the chase;
and the more indolent pursue pleasures of a less exciting character.

But where, meanwhile, are the counterparts of these--the wives, sisters,
and daughters of these grim warriors and sturdy huntsmen, or of these
dreaming idlers? In existence they certainly are; but they exist only to
drudge and suffer. While their masters are employing or non-employing
themselves, according to the bent of their inclination, they are
cultivating the fields or watering and herding the flocks, bearing heavy
burdens, carrying the luggage of their husbands to facilitate progress
on the war-path; or at home rearing up children, who rarely rise up to
call them blessed; or they are waiting, in submissive obedience, at the
feet of their reclining lords, to be petted and caressed or cursed and
kicked, as passion or caprice may dictate--subjected alike to neglect,
contempt, and abuse. Exceptions to this general rule doubtless occurred
occasionally; for irresponsible power does not of necessity convert
every man into an unfeeling tyrant, just as under other systems of
slavery, some were fortunate enough to fall into the hands of kind,
considerate owners, whose hearts they inspired with love and
tenderness; but neither bound wife nor bond slave was treated with
kindness, respect, or common justice, because their inherent right to be
so treated was recognized. It mattered little to the women of this
period whether they were held as wives or concubines; their actual
condition was that of slavery.

In none of the countries of antiquity had women more liberty than in
Egypt; and yet what was her real condition there? Alexander remarked, it
is true, that though "the women promised obedience, men often yielded
it;" and, in many instances, it is equally true that the laws respecting
women were immeasurably in advance of those of neighboring nations; as,
for instance: Each wife had entire control of her own house. Among the
princes nearest the throne, women might take their places, and even
reign as sovereigns (a regency was frequently committed to their care);
or they might rule as joint sovereigns with another party; and as Isis
took rank above Osiris, so in such a case the woman might take rank
above the man.[A]

But notwithstanding this advance beyond other nations, they were still
spoken of, and in many instances not only treated as inferiors, but held
in hopeless bondage.

Among the Greeks, the wife was at times permitted to take part in public
assemblies, but never as the equal of her husband. She neither went with
him to dinner, when he dined out, nor sat at table with those whom he
invited to his house. Aristotle held that "the relation of men to women
is that of governor to a subject." Plato says: "A woman's virtue may be
summed up in a few words: for she has only to manage the house well,
keeping what there is in it, and obeying her husband." Again, in further
proof of the low estimation in which he held women, he says: "Of the men
that were born, such as are timid and have passed through life unjustly
are, we suppose, changed into women in their second generation."
Plutarch tells us that women "were compelled to go barefoot, in order to
induce them to keep at home."

The Spartan women were better off than their neighbors; and, in
consequence, we get glimpses of a higher type of womanhood. The Spartan
mother has furnished a theme for the pen of every ancient Greek
historian. Under the Lycurgean system, women were considered "as a part
of the State," and not simply household articles belonging to their
husbands--chattels to be disposed of according to the supreme pleasure
of their masters. Free women were trained for the service of the State
with scarcely less severity than men. Lycurgus remarks: "Female slaves
are good enough to sit at home, weaving and spinning; but who can expect
a splendid offspring--the appropriate mission and duty of free Spartan
women toward their country--from mothers brought up in such
occupations?" But though, like the Egyptian women, and indeed in advance
of them, the Spartan women were treated with, for the times, a marked
degree of attention and respect, still, even in Sparta, there were laws
in force by which women suffered grievous injustice. With all the
apparent freedom accorded to them, fathers claimed and exercised the
right of disposing of their daughters in marriage to suit their own
views or interests. Though free-born, a girl had no choice, if her
father willed it so, in the selection of her husband; and husbands
might, if they wished, dispose of their wives by will, at death, as they
would of any other piece of property. Though in a measure free, because
she was a woman, she was still a slave.

Among the other infringements of the rights of women, and one of the
most barbarous, common to the heathen, both ancient and modern, and to
the Mohammedans, is early betrothal. In fact, the system of betrothal
prevailed to a very great extent among the very earliest nations of
which history furnishes any account, the laws affecting it being only
slightly modified to suit the circumstances of the various tribes by
which it was adopted. The main feature was still the same--the girl had
no choice; there was nothing for her but submission.

The lot of woman in China has, from time immemorial, been a hard one.
Says a writer in the _Westminster Review_ for October, 1855: "Of all
nations, the Chinese carry out the system of early betrothal most
completely; parents in China not only bargain for the marriage of their
children during their infancy, but while they are yet unborn. If, when a
daughter is betrothed during infancy, the contract should not assume the
form of actual sale, it is nevertheless usual for the bridegroom, at the
time he acquires possession of the bride, to pay into the hands of her
father a sum considered equivalent to the current value of a wife."
Immortality is denied to woman by them. A Christian, intent on the
evangelization of the Chinese, spoke to one regarding the salvation of
their women. "Women," replied the Chinaman; "women have no souls. You
can't make Christians of them." Few persons born in civilized lands,
unless brought into immediate contact with the heathen, can have any
idea of the wretched condition of their women, even at this day. Kept in
a state of abject bondage, they are compelled to serve with rigor.
Controlled as though they were possessed of less intelligence than male
children of tender years, it might yet be supposed, from the burdens
laid upon them, that they were possessed of far superior strength,
physically, than men. In some countries--not all of them heathen or
Mohammedan either--the amount of labor imposed upon women of the lower
orders in society would task the strength of beasts of burden. The only
exercise of reason allowed among such, is a sort of instinct which will
enable them to perform all kinds of drudgery, and to act with
scrupulous fidelity to their unkind, very often brutal and _faithless_,
husbands--task-masters would be the better name. Of women under such
rule, it may truly be said, the grave is their best, their only friend.

Among the Arabs, prior to Mohammed, the women were in a wretchedly
debased condition, which has been but slightly improved by the rules of
the Koran. By its sanction, wives were bought by their husbands, though
it was asserted that it was not lawful for men to exchange their wives.
The price paid by Mohammed for his wives, of which he had nine, varied,
according to their rank and beauty, from one to one hundred dollars
each. The common people procured theirs at a cheaper rate. Specific
directions are given, too, for the proper government of women. "Those
wives," says Mohammed, "whose perverseness ye may be apprehensive of,
rebuke, and remove them into separate apartments, and chastise
them."[B] When such precepts as these were laid down in the Koran,
which was considered a direct revelation from God, it is not surprising
that the severest punishment was inflicted on women who attempted to
exercise any control over themselves or their households. The will of
the proud, insolent Arab was supreme, whether his demands were
reasonable or otherwise; having bought his wives cheap, he might
maltreat or divorce them at pleasure. Like the Chinese, the Mohammedan
women are denied the hope of immortality. "Earthly women, when they die,
cease to have any existence; but men, if faithful to Mohammed, are to
enter paradise, and be associated with a _new_ race of transcendently
beautiful female beings." "The glories of eternity," says the Koran,
"will be eclipsed by the resplendent 'women of paradise,' created 'not
of clay, as mortal women are, but of pure musk, and free from all
natural impurities, defects, and inconveniencies incident to the sex;
... secluded from public view in pavilions of hollow pearl.'"[C]

A distinguished European writer observes: "The Hindoos seem to have
legislated with the greatest care and detail concerning women. Yet by no
people, legally speaking, is her individuality more entirely ignored;
and in no country is the slavery in which she lives, at once so
systematic, refined, and complete as it is in India, where the lawgiver
and the priest are one. The oppressive custom of life-long guardianship
is expressly ordained. By a girl, or by a woman advanced in years,
nothing must be done, even in her own dwelling-place, according to her
mere pleasure. In childhood must a female be dependent on her father, in
youth on her husband; her lord being dead, on her sons; if she have no
sons, on the near kinsman of her husband; if he left no kinsman, on
those of her father; if she have no parental kinsman, on the sovereign.
A woman must never seek independence."[D] Not permitted to have any
discretionary power over her own actions at any period of her life, but
held in every respect subject to the will of her husband, or some other
male guardian, she is nevertheless to be unswervingly faithful to her
lord while he lives; and no matter how cruelly he may have treated her,
she is loaded with contumely, reproach, and scorn, if she refuses to lay
herself upon the funeral pile, and in the flames pass into another state
of being, to do honor to him who through life had been an unrelenting
tyrant. Knowing the obloquy which attaches itself to the widow who
recoils from such a fearful death-bed, and ignorant, too, of the "better
way," the unfortunate creature generally yields to the pressure brought
to bear upon her, and terminates a miserable life by an awful death; her
horrid shrieks, while burning, mingling with the clamor of sounds
raised to drown them by the heartless throng of spectators, and yet
sometimes rising with distressing distinctness above them. When the wife
of a Hindoo dies, does he sacrifice himself upon a funeral pile, in
order to honor her in another state of existence? By no means. His
precious body can not be committed to the flames; they are too hot for
his manly courage. He burns her corpse with what are termed appropriate
offerings; and, if so disposed, adds a new wife to his household, thus
soothing his sorrow.

In Australia, the practice of early betrothal is nearly universal among
the natives; men of distinction having several wives at the same time,
and these varying in age from the little child to the woman of mature
years. But while polygamy prevails to a fearful extent among the men of
the wealthier class, many of the men of the humbler ranks remain
unmarried, because they are unable to raise the purchase-money which
secures them their domestic drudge. In the western part of Australia,
especially before the benefits of civilization began to be felt in the
island, it was the practice to betroth the daughters to some individual,
immediately upon their birth; and should the man, or male child to whom
the infant girl was betrothed, die before she arrived at maturity, she
became the property of the heirs of her betrothed husband, though she
might never have seen either this reputed husband, or the person who, as
his representative, claimed her as his wife by virtue of the betrothal.
In New Zealand, if the spouse of a female child dies before she is taken
to his home, she is never allowed to marry any one else. By this custom
young children become the widows of little boys or old men, according to
the whims of their fathers. Another horrible practice of the Australians
is, the exchange of daughters by their fathers. This is very common
among the chiefs, the exchange being made with as little concern as
jockeys exchange their horses. It is stated that the poorer men
sometimes supplied themselves with wives after the manner of the Romans
in the case of the Sabine Rape; and that when victorious in war, the
women and girls captured were taken as wives, while the male prisoners
were put to death. But where they were able to afford it, they preferred
the betrothal system, as giving them more consequence. Not only in
Australia, but in the other countries where early betrothal was
practiced, if, when a boy grew up, he formed a dislike to his betrothed,
or for some other whim desired to cast her off, he was at liberty to do
so, but no such privilege was granted the girl. Then, as now in
civilized nations, those making the laws were careful to make them all
to their own advantage.

In the foundation of some of the nations of antiquity, men were
frequently gathered, from almost every quarter of the then known globe,
to the particular spot that seemed best suited for the purposes of
self-aggrandizement; and, in the rude horde thus congregated together,
there was necessarily an undue preponderance of the male element. In
some instances, not one woman was to be found in such a community. The
tribes more immediately contiguous to these settlements, if such they
might be called, were not inclined to enter into friendly relations with
them, and therefore they were unable to supply themselves with wives in
the usual manner; consequently, they had recourse to other means.
Sometimes women were procured by stratagem; sometimes bands of marauders
sallied forth, and stole, or in some other equally exceptionable way
took possession of, the women of the neighboring or of hostile tribes.

Ordinarily, the poor victims submitted to their fate with the best grace
they might; but if one thus taken by force attempted to make her escape
from him who claimed her as his wife, and was unfortunate enough to be
retaken, a spear, or some similar weapon, was thrust through the fleshy
portion of one of her limbs, effectually disabling her from making
another attempt of the kind; and not unfrequently the combined bodily
pain and mental anguish terminated in death--a happy release.

In process of time, however, the various tribes began to regard each
other with less aversion than formerly; and it became safer and more
profitable to purchase women, on the same principle that any other kind
of merchandise was bought. Prices were regulated according to the supply
in the market and the beauty or the muscular strength of the hapless
creatures exposed for sale. Fathers sold or exchanged their daughters,
brothers their sisters, without the slightest shame or remorse. Among
the Tambanks, in exchanging the women for stock, a woman, full-grown and
of ordinary strength, was considered equal in value to two cows or one

As the settlements became more permanent, assuming by degrees the
character of established nations, and the centers of enterprise grew
into populous cities, the barter and exchange traffic naturally
declined; but in its place were established regular markets for the sale
of female slaves. Civilization was beginning to make some slight
progress; and fathers began to entertain doubts regarding the propriety
of _selling_ their own flesh and blood, though they did not hesitate to
_buy_ their wives.

The slaves who were exposed in the marketplaces, therefore, were
generally the overplus not desired in the harems of those who had
captured them in war; and as the most beautiful brought the highest
market-price, the public exhibitions of the poor unfortunates drew
thither crowds of gaping people--some merely curious, some intent on
business. Even in more modern days, the slave-markets of the East, and
in the Southern States of the American Republic, have attracted crowds
of spectators--some to condemn the horrible practice, some to
compassionate the unhappy victims, but most to engage in the monstrous

It is not necessary to review further, in detail, the condition of women
in the various nations as they sprang into existence, or through the
successive periods of their history to the commencement of the Christian
era. Various causes brought about a partial liberty for women, in both
the Jewish and Roman nations, prior to the birth of Christ; but for
those of other lands the blackness of darkness still remained. It was
but a partial liberty, it is true, even for the Hebrew or Roman women,
but their condition was much improved. Concessions had been made slowly.
They had come in shreds, and had not amounted to much in ameliorating
their situation when they came; but slight as were the privileges
yielded, they were yet indications of the dawning of a brighter day for
Eve's poor daughters.

The reformations effected were like wresting prey from the mighty. And
how could it be otherwise, with selfishness and love of power, sustained
by unjust and one-sided laws, arrayed against merely natural rights--not
demanded, scarcely even asserted--and those to whom these rights
belonged excluded from every position where they might hope to do either
the one or the other successfully? The law of divorce was still common;
and, like every thing else where the sexes were concerned, all the
advantages were on the side of the oppressor, man.

The laws of the Romans, though according a greater degree of freedom to
woman than had hitherto been granted, were still not only imperfect, but
were not properly carried out, in many instances, where it suited venal
judges to side with wealthy libertines who might have it in their power
to bestow a favor. Professedly, each Roman had but one wife; but
divorces, on most frivolous pretexts, were of frequent occurrence,
granted in favor of one who wished to gratify his licentious passions
without rebuke. Slavery was yet in force; and it gave ample opportunity
for the practice of this injustice, even upon the free-born Roman woman.
Every true Roman held his wife's or his daughter's honor sacred, and
would resent to the death any attempt to violate it; but, by the
connivance of corrupt officials, the protection of an upright father was
rendered of no avail, by a perjurer being found who would appear before
the proper tribunal and swear the maid or woman in question to be his
slave. The decision once given in the libertine's favor, there was no
longer hope for her--she was lost forever.

Not always, however, would Roman freemen tamely brook open injustice,
much less shame, without revenging it, though they died in doing so. The
case of Appius--who was himself both the libertine and judge--is in
point. Having set his licentious eyes upon the beautiful
Virginia--daughter of Virginius, a centurion of the army--and having in
vain sought to obtain possession of her person by tampering with the
matron who conveyed her to and from her school, he induced an equally
licentious individual, one Claudius, to claim her as his slave, and
bring the matter before himself for decision. In vain the anguished
father asserted that Virginia was his child. With an air of apparent
impartiality, Appius decreed that she belonged to Claudius, who
thereupon proceeded to remove her. The father begged that they might at
least be allowed to take leave of each other, which request was granted,
on condition of their doing so in the presence of the oppressor. Drawing
the girl, now nearly dead from fright, toward himself, and also toward
the shambles, adjoining which they were, he snatched thence a knife,
and, before any suspected his intention, stabbed her to the heart,
crying, "This alone can preserve your honor and your freedom."[E]

The fearful deed of the centurion is appalling; but remember his ideas
of right and wrong were veiled in pagan darkness. He took the life of
his child to save her from a fate incomparably worse than that of death;
and made his name historic by doing so. Thousands of fathers have found
their efforts to protect the innocence of their daughters as unavailing
as did the unhappy Virginius, unless, like him, they shortened life. The
victims, too, are as little free-will agents in the matter as Virginia
would have been; and many thousands of daughters have fallen, not by
their father's hand to save their honor, but by cruel deception, and
died to all that was beautiful or pure on earth, and to every hope of

And while the woman who has sinned, and fallen through that sin, is
pitied by few, despised by nearly all, and but little effort made to win
her back to the path of purity, how is the companion of her sin treated?
He, the seducer--often the grossest of deceivers, the instigator of the
crime--because he is a man, is countenanced by the many, his conduct
palliated, and himself received as an honored guest, even in the highest
circles of society. The law of God makes no distinction between the male
violator of His holy law and the female violator of the same; but man,
arrogating to himself superior wisdom, makes a very marked one.

No wonder, then, that women groan because of their bondage.


[Footnote A: Sharpe's "History of Egypt."]

[Footnote B: Koran, chap. iv.]

[Footnote C: Sale's "Preliminary Discourses on the Koran," sec. 4.]

[Footnote D: "Laws of Menu."]

[Footnote E: Bloss, page 334.]


Later Estimate of Woman.

In the discussion of the position occupied by women as wives, those only
have been spoken of who were betrothed in infancy, or were captured,
stolen, or bought. These latter were, without further ceremony, merely
_taken_ home to the abode of their future husband and lord. In the later
periods of antiquity, betrothal terminated in a marriage ceremony, the
rite varying according to the prevailing customs of each nation.

Opinions with regard to the qualifications which ought to be possessed
by a woman to fit her for marriage--which were, in fact, considered
indispensable--were as various as the nations or the rites; and, truth
to tell, are about as conflicting now as they were centuries ago. In all
the ages, and in every country, one thing seemed to be agreed upon,
however, and sedulously kept in view; namely, _woman's inferiority_. Let
her be free-born or a slave, to be married or bought, she must still be
a bondwoman--a creature subject to guardianship.

After men began to desire wives who were not altogether drudges, women
began to be esteemed in proportion to their beauty, not their wisdom or
good judgment. A fine figure, delicate hands, and handsome face, with
fascinating manners, a graceful carriage, and such accomplishments as
were the fashion, quite regardless of the accomplishments of head or
heart, were all that were required by the class of men who could afford
to keep such dainty wares. But love, inspired by such attractions as
these and nothing else, is ever fickle as the wind. When health declined
and beauty faded, the fire of passion, misnamed love, died out; and the
hapless wife frequently found herself deserted--if not openly, none the
less shamefully--for a younger rival, whose eye was brighter and whose
cheek more plump. Then shrewd women began to study artifice. Deception
is wrong, without doubt; but before we too severely censure these women,
let us remember how deeply they were wronged, how great their
temptations, how much they had at stake. In order to retain any thing
like a comfortable or respectable position in their husband's houses,
the waning beauties resorted to flattery and to the invention and
skillful use of various articles which would conceal the declension of
beauty or artfully counterfeit it. The ways and means by which
attractiveness of face and figure might be enhanced, preserved, or
simulated, became the subject of serious study--something neither to be
sneered at nor laughed at. The happiness of a life-time often depended
upon it. The sex, taught by a bitter experience, learned that men, as a
rule, were more easily influenced by blandishment and show than by good
sense and genuine worth, and, with a few exceptions, strove somewhat to
better their condition by practicing the lesson so learned. If, in the
long run, women became frivolous, brainless, and heartless, why was it?

There were, however, in all ages, exceptions. Women, yielding to the
God-given yearning after higher and better things than idle frivolities,
and longing just as ardently for love and happiness in their married
homes, sought to work out life's problem differently, and went to work
as rational creatures. Breaking through or over the obstacles which
debarred them from enjoying or making use of the sources of information
open to the opposite sex, they strove to cultivate their minds and store
them with useful knowledge, that they might indeed be helpmeets for
their husbands, and so not only win, but by true worth retain, their

Then those who had hitherto sneered at woman's incapacity for
intellectual attainments, or lectured her roundly for frivolity,
heartlessness, and deception, sneered all the more at her presumption in
fancying her heart, or head either, required any other cultivation than
man, in his wisdom, saw fitting. Any thing at all likely to elevate
woman to her proper place of equality with her husband, must be put down
at once and forever, if possible. But, notwithstanding all the pains
taken to place women in an inferior position, and keep them there, they
have, in many instances, despite the sneers and _persecutions_ of the
opposite sex, proved their aptitude in acquiring knowledge; and, when
placed in positions to call forth such powers, have manifested a
judicious tact in the government of nations or generalship of armies,
quite equal to men, with all their vaunted superiority. Nor did those
women who thus distinguished themselves, or those who in private life
became proficients in the various branches of science or in music,
poetry or the languages, _necessarily_ neglect their homes and families
in consequence. Experience, in our own times, proves exactly the
reverse. Dereliction of duty with regard to home duties results much
more frequently from devotion to fashionable pleasures--considered quite
allowable and _womanly_--than from the pursuit of literature.

That marriage was designed by the Creator for the mutual benefit, help,
and happiness of those entering into that relation, there can be no
doubt; but, through the selfishness of man--helped on by the fact that,
like the partner referred to previously, he was physically the stronger
of the two--the gracious purposes of the Creator were lost sight of, or
_ignored._ And God suffered it so to be, for the time, just as he did
other forms of slavery and outcrying sins of various kinds.

It has been said that the marriage ceremonies and festivals were as
various as the several nations in which they were performed. A
description of a few of these may not be uninteresting.

Among the Jews, the period of betrothal having expired, the marriage was
celebrated by a feast, the bride being arrayed as magnificently as her
circumstances would allow. If the contracting parties were distinguished
personages, the ceremony was frequently celebrated at night, the bridal
party, carrying their lamps or torches with them, going forth in
procession to meet and do honor to the bridegroom.

With the Romans, the consent of the father or guardian of the maiden
having been obtained, a sacrifice was prepared. "The gall was carefully
removed," and the propitiatory offering made to the gods. To have been
emblematical, the gall should have been presented to the bride. In most
cases, it fell to her lot. On the wedding-day the bridegroom, with his
attendants, presented himself at the place designated for the
performance of the ceremony, where he was met by the bride, gorgeously
appareled, and her maids. Then, in presence of her father or guardian
and proper witnesses, the pair went through a formula of words as given
them by the officiating priest. On the completion of this part of the
ceremony, the company partook of a cake made of flour, salt, and water.
This was the original "bride-cake." After night, the bride, accompanied
by her relatives and maids of honor, was escorted with due pomp to the
residence of the bridegroom, the door of which she found bound with
strings, over which she was obliged to step. Having effected an
entrance, she received the keys of the house, and the bridegroom and
herself again repeated, after the priest, the formula which had been
gone over earlier in the day. Then, having touched fire and water, and
sacrificed to the domestic gods, which were placed on the table, the
wedding festivities commenced, and were continued till midnight, when
the guests dispersed.

In India, the magnificence of the marriage-feast can scarcely be
imagined, especially when celebrated by torch-light procession.

In almost all the nations of antiquity, who had any marriage ceremony at
all, a woman's wedding-day was one of splendor and apparent honor, the
only day in which any of her wishes were deferred to during her whole
lifetime. Light was soon lost in darkness--anticipated pleasure in
disappointment, degradation, and despair. The day of her death was the
first day of her freedom.


The Sexes Equal at Creation.

From the arguments brought forward by the advocates of woman's
inferiority, it might be inferred that she was designed, from the very
dawn of creation, for man's servant, not for his companion; and, indeed,
it is not only inferred by the great mass of mankind, but broadly
asserted to be the fact by very many who, from their knowledge of the
history of creation, ought to know better.

Those who have striven to establish this doctrine have contrived to
bring the Scriptures to their aid by wresting them to suit their own
particular view of the question, and in this manner have endeavored to
silence any controversy respecting their dogma. The result has been--and
it is the legitimate result of such a pernicious course--that this
wresting of the Scriptures, and its having been allowed for a length of
time to go unchallenged by the Christian world, has produced scores of
infidels, who, not having examined the Word of God critically for
themselves, have accepted as true expositions of the doctrines contained
therein the statements of men, apparently supported by isolated texts,
separated from their contexts; and thus, having been led to believe that
the Scriptures sanctioned, if they did not enforce, manifest injustice,
they have repudiated the whole as unworthy of belief. A deplorable
conclusion, truly! Then, though responsible for this infidelity through
their perversion of Scripture, these same writers, or those of a kindred
spirit, denounce every argument or movement in favor of the equal rights
and privileges of women as evil, and only evil, and necessarily evil,
because among the advocates of measures according these rights there are
found some men and women who are skeptics.

But what say the Scriptures upon the subject? In the history of the
creation, there given, we search in vain for any evidence of the Divine
appointment, at that time, of masculine domination.

"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let
them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the
air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every
creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he
him; male and female created he them.

"And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and
multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over
the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every
living thing that moveth upon the earth."[F]

This dominion of the human race over the inferior creation seems to have
been the only dominion instituted at the time of the creation; nor is
there any indication that it was to be confined to the male portion of
the race. As between the human pair, there is not here the slightest
intimation given of the subjection of the one to the other. The Great
Infinite in wisdom, who created "them," and who could not be mistaken in
their capacities, appears to have placed "_them_" on a perfect equality,
committing to them conjointly the dominion over the earth and all that
it contained.

In the second chapter of Genesis we find a brief recapitulation of the
events narrated in the first, the sacred historian entering more fully
into the creation of the woman. God, in his wisdom, saw that Adam was
not sufficient alone to sway the mighty scepter over the vast domain
about to be intrusted to him; therefore he created for him "an
helpmeet," and gave "_them_" a joint authority over the rest of
creation. "And the Lord God said, It is not good that man should be
alone; I will make him an helpmeet for him.... And the Lord God caused a
deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs,
and closed up the flesh thereof; and the rib, which the Lord God had
taken from the man, made he a woman, and brought her to the man."[G]

"This implies," says a distinguished commentator upon Holy Writ, "that
the woman was a perfect resemblance of the man, possessing neither
inferiority nor superiority, but being in all things like and equal to

Thus it was in the beginning. But, in process of time, men, glorying in
the physical strength in which they excelled women, refused to recognize
as its equivalent the peculiar qualities and faculties possessed by
women which were lacking in themselves. And overlooking the importance
of the duties which the mothers of mankind were discharging, they plumed
themselves upon their own prowess, and concluded that women and all else
were made only to minister to their pleasures. Reason and justice were
obliged to succumb to the strong arm, and women were forced into a
subordinate position.

If the Creator, in the arrangements of his plans, designed that women
should be inferior to men in intellect and freedom of action, then, in
regard to one-half of the human family, God worked by the law of
retrogression, producing Eve, an inferior, from Adam, a superior being;
which is clearly contrary to the law of progression, and contrary to the
general plan of his creation; and, if this be true, the laws of
progression and retrogression were to alternate perpetually. Is this
supposition of inferiority in the case of woman consistent with what we
know of God's method of working, as given in the history of the
creation? Let us recapitulate the whole briefly, and see.

1. He created inanimate matter. 2. He brought vegetable life into
existence. 3. The inhabitants of the waters were created. 4. "The cattle
after their kind." Still ascending, God said: "Let us make man in our
image, after our likeness. So God created man in his own image, in the
image of God created he him; male and female created he them." Here,
then, we see that God created man from a portion of inanimate earth; but
that he produced the woman from a perfect portion of the perfect man,
plainly appears from the twenty-first and twenty-second verses of the
second chapter of Genesis, which, though quoted recently, necessarily
come in, in this place. "And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall
upon Adam, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the
flesh thereof; and the rib, which the Lord God had taken from the man,
made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is
now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called woman,
because she was taken out of man."[H]

Prior to the fall, then, it is quite evident that woman was equal to man
in every respect. Did Eve, then, because she was first in the
transgression, forfeit her right of equality with Adam, who just as
flagrantly transgressed the Divine command; or was the penalty inflicted
in consequence of her disobedience another matter altogether?

Genesis iii, 16, is usually brought forward to prove that, if woman was
not inferior before the fall, she became so absolutely and
unconditionally then. A disinterested reader--could such be found--would
scarcely so render it. "Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply
thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth
children, and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over
thee." Upon the latter clause of this verse, separating it from all
connection with the former part of the sentence, with which, however, it
is connected in the Sacred Word, is based the dogma of the continued,
unchangeable curse of inferiority of all the daughters of Eve, and their
obligation to serve and implicitly obey their husbands. And yet if a
wife, in obedience to the command of her husband, violates the law,
either of God or man, she is the party held responsible. If she is not
possessed of sufficient mental capacity to judge for herself in all
things, how can she know when she should obey or when disobey? If
implicit obedience is her duty, is there any justice, then, in punishing
her for obeying the order of him whom she is bound to obey? Those who
construe this and other portions of the Word of God to suit themselves,
would protest loudly enough against the "manifest injustice" if it were
meted out to them. But we know there is no unrighteousness with God. The
Bible expressly declares that "God is no respecter of persons," and that
"his ways are true and righteous altogether."

If then we examine this text (Gen. iii, 16) candidly, even taking the
generally accepted translation, and construe it with the same fairness
with which we would construe a sentence the meaning of which was not in
dispute, the conclusion arrived at would be very different from what it
usually is; and it would be apparent that the words, "And thy desire
shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee," has reference to
the subject of generation, of which the entire passage treats. There
are, however, some commentators who incline to the opinion that the
words "and he shall rule over thee," might with equal propriety be
rendered, "He shall _have power with thee_." We know that at this very
time the promise of the Messiah--the seed that was to bruise the
serpent's head--was given to the woman. "He," thy husband, "shall have
power with thee," would not then be an inappropriate termination to the
sentence relating to generation. Raschi, a celebrated Hebrew writer and
rabbi, who flourished in the twelfth century, supports this reading, "He
shall have power with thee;" but the majority of commentators and the
Talmud are against such a rendering. It is to be borne in mind, however,
that the Talmud is not the Pentateuch, and that learned and sincerely
pious commentators have differed, and do so still, as widely as the
poles, upon passages quite as easily understood as the one now under
discussion. There is no more proof in this verse that a woman is bound
to serve and obey her husband, in the common acceptation of the term,
than that a man is obligated to serve and obey his wife, or worship her
with his body--whatever that may mean--as he solemnly vows to do in
certain marriage services. The endowment with worldly goods and the
worship promised, were perhaps put in as an offset to the pledge of
service and obedience. Certainly the man's vow to worship his wife is no
more inconsistent than is the woman's to obey implicitly; and her
obedience, if it is not implicit, is not obedience at all, but is merely
acceding to the wishes of her husband when they accord with her own

Infidels, in seeking to disparage the Word of God, quote this passage
and kindred ones, and, accepting the commonly received idea of their
meaning, endeavor to subvert the faith of the masses. With those who do
not carefully examine the matter for themselves, they often succeed. It
has been asserted, too, by those who would wish the teachings of the
Koran to take precedence over those of the Bible, that the position
accorded to women by the Mosaic law was quite as degrading as that
accorded to them by Mohammed; but a careful reading of the Scripture
warrants no such conclusion. Many matters are spoken of, both in the law
and the prophets, as having been practised and tolerated, and even rules
given for their regulation, which were by no means of Divine
appointment. This distinction should always be carefully marked in
regard to the sacred text; and in addition to this it should be
remembered that the Word of God is not responsible for the erroneous
opinions of mankind. When the Almighty placed human beings upon the
earth, he created _one_ man and _one_ woman, destining them to be the
progenitors of the entire race, thereby indicating that monogamy was of
Divine appointment. But original purity was soon departed from; lawless
passion was allowed to mar the beautiful completeness and concord of the
marriage relation as instituted by God; and, in time, many even of those
who were nominal worshipers of the true God, fell into polygamy. The
true idea and design of marriage, and the rights of woman, with the
respect due to her, was lost sight of, and the requirements of the
Divine law set at nought. Men became the slaves of their own lusts. God
was not in all their thoughts. Iniquity prevailed to such a frightful
extent that "it repented the Lord that he had made man upon the earth,
and it grieved him at his heart."[I]

At this time of general apostasy, Noah--and, it would seem, he
alone--was seen righteous before God. Him, therefore, with his family,
the Almighty preserved in the ark, when in his fierce wrath he caused
the deluge to sweep away the corrupt inhabitants from the face of the
earth they had polluted. Notwithstanding the wide-spread corruption of
the times, it does not appear that either Noah or his sons were
polygamists. Certainly, if any one of them had been such prior to the
building of the ark, he was not permitted to bring his harem into it for
protection from the fearful storm. Only "eight persons," we are
informed, were preserved alive; namely, Noah and his wife, with his
three sons and their wives. Then, at what may be termed the second
starting-point of the human race, there was again an equal number of men
and women upon the earth; clearly pointing out that the design of the
Almighty in this matter was the marriage of _one_ man with _one_ woman.
God made no provision for the marriage of either man or woman after the
obtaining of a divorce.

It might have been supposed that so fearful a display of the wrath of
God would have made a lasting impression upon the descendants of Noah;
but as is the case with perverse mankind now, so it was then; the
lessons of the past were lost upon them. No very great period of time
elapses till we find the posterity of this good man, Noah, impiously and
daringly conceiving the idea of measuring strength with the Almighty by
attempting to build a tower so high that it could not possibly be
overflowed should a subsequent deluge occur. The dispersion of mankind,
and the consequent division into tribes, or races, was the result of
such presumption. The desperately wicked heart of man began to devise
new mischiefs, and revive old ones. Monogamy, the great conservator of
moral purity, was disregarded, and one corruption viler than another
followed in rapid succession. Before the calling of Abraham, mankind, as
a whole, appear to have lapsed, if not into absolute heathenism, at
least into something very near it. The knowledge and worship of the true
God seems to have been retained only in isolated families, and even
there to have been but partially observed, being marred and dishonored
by human inventions and substitutions.

That Abraham might be delivered from the pernicious example of his
neighbors, and that his mind might be prepared for the reception of the
grand manifestations of the Divine character which God designed to
impart to him, he was commanded to break off all association with them;
and, the more completely to effect this, he was desired to leave his
kindred and his country, and become a stranger in a strange land. Yet
somewhat of the contamination of early association seems to have clung
both to him and Sarah, as is evidenced in the matter of Hagar. In
something very like doubt of God's power to fulfill his own promise,
Abraham yielded to Sarah's suggestion, and thus was partially drawn into
the evil current, though he does not appear to have been a willful
polygamist. It is asserted by Jonathan Ben Uzziel, the Jerusalem Targum,
and other learned authorities, that Hagar and Keturah are the same
person; but if this be a mistake, there is still no evidence that
Abraham took Keturah till after the death of Sarah. Polygamists, both in
the Jewish nation and elsewhere, have not failed to plead Abraham's
example in defense of their conduct. Early association had somewhat
obscured his moral perceptions of right and wrong. Had he waited for the
Divine command before carrying out Sarah's suggestion, no incident in
his life would have given countenance to the demoralizing practice.
Isaac was a monogamist, though Jacob, through the artifice of Laban,
became a polygamist. That Laban's family were tinctured with idolatry is
unquestionable; and with idolatry came many other vices. When Jacob with
his household took his departure from Laban, Rachel stole certain images
which were her father's, the character of which was unmistakably
indicated by Laban when he demanded, "Wherefore have ye stolen my gods?"
Yet such was the general apostasy of the times, that this family was so
much in advance of any other, that it was to it that Abraham was obliged
to send, a generation previous, for a suitable wife for the amiable and
meditative Isaac. What wonder then that many practices prevailed among
the descendants of Jacob that were not in accordance with either the
will or the word of God!

Though plurality of wives was customary both before and after the giving
of the Law, it was by no means ordained by it. A man had no more right,
in carrying out the designs of the Almighty, to have two or more wives
living at the same time, than a woman had to have two or more husbands
living at the same time. Wherever the Bible speaks of the duty of
husbands to wives, or of wives to husbands, the singular form is
invariably used, as husband and wife. For instance, when God brought the
woman he had made to Adam, he (Adam) says: "Therefore shall a man leave
his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife"--not
wives--"and they shall be one flesh." And again, "They twain shall be
one flesh." What God has directly commanded, and what he merely suffers
men to do without imposing insuperable restraints upon them, are two
very different things.

It is asserted that the Mosaic Law makes a very great and decidedly
partial distinction between men-servants and maid-servants, greatly to
the disadvantage of the latter, particularly in their release from
servitude. These same texts--some of them, at least--have been quoted in
defense of African slavery. The term, selling a Jewish servant, in the
Scripture, is simply the same as binding out a child under English law.
A Jewish father could only "sell," or in other words bind out, his
daughter for six years, and that before she was of a suitable age to be
married.[J] At the expiration of six years her apprenticeship ceased,
and the maid-servant was free, unless she voluntarily perpetuated her
own servitude.

There were two classes of servants among the Jews. The first, those who
were taken from among themselves; the second, those obtained of the
strange nations by which they were surrounded, or who were taken captive
in battle. This second class of servants were called bondmen and
bondwomen. The former class were denominated servants. The practice
authorized by law, regarding those who were the lineal descendants of
Abraham, placed men and women in the very same relation to the master,
who was bound to reward them alike when the period of service should
terminate. This is evident from Deuteronomy xv, 12-17: "And if thy
brother, a Hebrew man, or a Hebrew woman, be sold unto thee, and serve
thee six years; then in the seventh year thou shalt let him go free from
thee. And when thou sendest him out free from thee, thou shalt not let
him go away empty: thou shalt furnish him liberally out of thy flock,
and out of thy winepress: of that wherewith the Lord thy God hath
blessed thee thou shalt give unto him. ... And it shall be, if he say
unto thee, I will not go away from thee; because he loveth thee and
thine house, because he is well with thee; then thou shalt take an awl,
and thrust it through his ear into the door, and he shall be thy servant
forever. And also unto thy maid-servant thou shalt do likewise."

Those who declare that the law of Moses makes a distinction in the
matter of release from servitude, between men-servants and
maid-servants, to the disadvantage of the latter, in confirmation of
their assertion quote Exodus xxi, 7; but if they read also, in
connection with it, the eighth, ninth, tenth, and eleventh verses of the
same chapter, a careful consideration of the entire passage will, we
think, clearly show that the reference therein contained is not to the
ordinary maid-servant, but to one whose master had betrothed her to
himself, or to his son. In the case of betrothal to himself, if the girl
failed to please her master, he was not to return her to her former
position of a servant, but to let her be redeemed. He must not sell her,
or otherwise dispose of her services during the unexpired period of her
servitude, because "he had dealt deceitfully with her." In case of
betrothal to his son, as in the other, she was not to be reduced to her
former rank as a menial, but to be treated in every respect as a
daughter. Even when the affection of the man to whom she was betrothed
waned, he was to yield to her all the rights and privileges which
belonged to her as his wife; and, if any of these were withheld, she was
at liberty to go forth a free woman.

The circumstance of Jacob serving Laban fourteen years for Rachel, is by
some deemed a parallel case with the prevailing custom of purchasing
wives among the people of the East; but the cases are not at all
similar. Jacob and Rachel had met at the well where she usually watered
her father's flock. He had introduced himself to the maiden, and won
her regard, before he proposed to her father for her, having spent a
whole month in the house of Laban prior to his doing so. There is no
reason whatever to doubt that he had Rachel's full consent to the
arrangement. It was not Jacob's fault that, through the stratagem of
Laban, he became the husband of Leah. The plurality of wives in this
instance was not so much the choice of Jacob as the fault of the wily,
semi-idolatrous Laban.

Shechem offered dowry to Jacob and his sons if they would consent to his
taking Dinah to wife; but it is evident he did so in order to conciliate
the outraged brothers of the girl whom he had so basely humbled, and
whom he really desired to retain.

It is very clear, from the testimony of sacred history, that women, in
the families of the patriarchs, and in the Hebrew nation generally, for
several generations after the delivery of the Mosaic Law, occupied a
position very much superior to those of the neighboring nations. A
woman taken captive in war, whom a Jew chose to marry, could not be sold
by her husband, should he afterward take a dislike to her so great that
he might put her away. Even though a heathen, she was permitted to go
out free.

Boaz is said to have bought Ruth when he purchased the possession of
Naomi; and this circumstance is referred to by those who would bring the
Bible into contempt, to prove that Ruth was bought according to Jewish
law, as though she were a chattel. The facts, as given in the sacred
narrative, do not, however, warrant any such interpretation.

Elimelech, with his wife and two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, left
Bethlehem-Judah in consequence of a severe famine, and removed to Moab.
At the time of their emigration, they were obliged to leave all their
possessions, not portable, behind them; and were in consequence in
straitened circumstances. While in Moab, both his sons married
Moabitish women; and, in process of time, Elimelech and his sons all
three died, leaving their respective widows destitute. Under these
circumstances, the famine being now over in Judah, Naomi determined to
return thither, and advised her daughters-in-law to return each to the
house of her father. After some persuasion, the widow of Chilion did so;
but Ruth, Mahlon's widow, expressed her determination to cling to the
fortunes of her mother-in-law in the following touching strain:

"Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee;
for whither thou goest I will go, and where thou lodgest I will lodge;
thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God; where thou diest will
I die, and there will I be buried."

Naomi, having such proof of her attachment to her, expostulated with her
no further; and, disconsolate and weary, the poor women made their way
to Naomi's old home. During the absence of the family, the parcel of
land which had been possessed by Elimelech had passed into the hands of
strangers. Naomi naturally desired that it might be redeemed, as both
herself and Ruth would be greatly benefited if it were. Boaz, though not
the nearest kinsman, on being made acquainted with the circumstances of
the case by Ruth, generously took up the cause; and the nearest of kin
having relinquished his claim, he redeemed the property with it; and,
with Ruth's own free consent, took her to be his wife. Her individual
concurrence is apparent throughout the whole transaction. No one had any
right to sell at all, or otherwise to dispose of her, except by her own

The rape of the Benjamites is sometimes referred to in terms expressive
of the desire to cast opprobium upon the teachings of the Bible.
Unfortunate as was the condition of the Benjamites on this occasion,
they had no more sanction for what they did from the law of Moses, than
had Ahab for destroying the prophets of the Lord. Neither was the order
of the Jewish elders for the massacre of men and elderly women, and the
saving of the four hundred young women to make up the deficiency of
wives still existing in this tribe, in any sense chargeable to the
Divine law.

We might with as much propriety hold the Gospel responsible for the
Massacre of St. Bartholomew, as to hold the law of Moses responsible for
the acts of the Israelites. The Mosaic precepts concerning adultery and
divorce might at first sight appear to give more latitude to men than to
women, and therefore to be partial; but when we accept the
interpretation given by our Lord, the apparent partiality vanishes. The
Savior's testimony on the subject is very explicit. Matthew xix, 3-10,
we read: "The Pharisees also came to him, tempting him, and saying unto
him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And
he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made
them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this
cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife:
and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but
one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put
asunder. They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing
of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because
of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but
from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall
put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry
another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away
doth commit adultery."

That in this matter of divorce Christ recognized the right of women to
be equal to that of men, is apparent from Mark x, 2-12, the eleventh
and twelfth verses of which we here quote:

"And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife and marry
another, committeth adultery against her. And if a woman shall put away
her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery." It is
manifest that the design of God was, that there should be an equal
fidelity on the part of both man and wife.

But, as ages rolled on, the depraved appetites of sinful mankind desired
a different ordering of the affairs of life. In the Jewish Commonwealth,
the rabbis became less and less favorable to the just rights of women,
especially after their people began to intermix more freely with their
idolatrous neighbors; their precepts were assimilated more fully to
those of the heathen; and for doctrines, the commandments of men were
taught instead of the pure law of God.

History proves that woman sometimes took a very prominent part in the
public affairs of the Jewish nation. But, while not attempting to
disprove the statements which are therein recorded, there are many who
make light of any mention of the public labors of these women.
Sometimes, indeed, the talents and usefulness of these women, and of the
earnest women of our own day, are admitted after a fashion; but it is
done in such a way as, in reality, to belittle the sex as much as
possible. They are considered as occupying the same relation to men that
the moon does to the sun, and all that is desired of them is to reflect
a borrowed light. If she be unable to reflect a light when there is none
to borrow, what then? Even in religious matters, she is judged to be
incapable of taking any public part, though she may be ever so well
informed and pious, and those of the opposite sex in her vicinity ever
so deplorably ignorant and wicked. A few distinguished writers will,
however, allow her--as a favor, it may be supposed--to go out in public
to collect money for charitable or Church purposes. What a wonder the
funds so collected are not defiled by passing through "female" fingers!
Some of the religious denominations who gladly accept of the fruit of
women's labor, either in collecting from others or in giving themselves,
would yet not suffer a woman to pray or speak in public, though God has
endowed her with more than ordinary talent. She may not even give advice
as to how the money she has collected or given is to be expended. In the
choir, women may sing of salvation; but it is fearful presumption for
her to speak of it in the body of the Church, or let her voice be heard
there imploring salvation for herself or others. This might defile the
sanctuary or tempt her to "usurp authority over the man." Occasionally
there is to be found a denomination which will allow a woman to pray in
public, or to relate her Christian experience; but even in some of
these the practice does not receive a very large amount of
encouragement, and her right to exhort or teach publicly is seriously
questioned, most frequently denied.

What was Scripture usage? From Exodus xv, 20, we learn that Miriam was a
prophetess, and, in the verse following, it appears that not only she,
but the women of her company, took a prominent part in the celebration
of Israel's triumphant passage of the Red Sea. Not only was Miriam a
prophetess, but a joint leader with Moses and Aaron of that great host
which went up to possess the promised land, as is seen by reference to
Micah vi, 4: "For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and
redeemed thee out of the land of servants, and I sent before thee Moses,
Aaron, and Miriam." Thus did God, in the very beginning of the Jewish
Church and nation, associate a woman with men, giving her an equally
responsible position with her brothers. Moses was the lawgiver, Aaron
the priest, and Miriam the seer. This threefold office was fulfilled in
Christ; and therefore Miriam, as well as Moses and Aaron, was a type of
the Messiah.

If the Almighty had not designed women to occupy prominent positions,
both civilly and ecclesiastically, he certainly would not have qualified
them to fill such places with honor; and history proves that he did both
qualify and employ them. Deborah was both a prophetess and a judge, and
at one time was the chief ruler in Israel, even leading on the hosts of
the living God; for timorous Barak would not go without her. Huldah,
wife of Shallum, a prophetess who flourished in the reign of Josiah, was
consulted by him on matters of vital importance to his kingdom, although
both Jeremiah and Zephaniah were then alive. Josiah evidently considered
her fully equal to either of them, or he would not have consulted her,
or at her dictation set about reforming the abuses which were prevalent
at the time. He could not have set to work more earnestly in this good
cause if Jeremiah had spoken to him. There have been learned men--and
there are those still--who think it exceedingly strange that Josiah
should have condescended to send the messengers to Huldah to inquire of
the Lord, when he might have consulted either Jeremiah or one of the
brother prophets. Is it not equally strange that the Lord should have
answered him by her mouth? or rather should not his having done so,
forever silence such questioning?

Other women have been emphatically the "called," according to "God's
purpose," to combat evil in countries even where women were treated with
greater indignities than in Israel. We do not make any distinction
between prophets and prophetesses. Men and women were alike called to
the prophetic office, as God pleased, and kings and princes
acknowledged their authority. Many women became noted for their active
service rendered to the Jewish Church and nation.

Women have proved themselves to be skillful diplomatists, and to be
possessed of an equal amount of courage and perseverance with men; but
these capabilities have not always been employed aright. There have been
distinguished statesmen who have been frightfully wicked men; and,
unhappily, there have been clever women who have been fully their equals
in wickedness. In nothing is the mental equality of women with men more
clearly indicated than in the manner in which both pursue a career of

Jezebel appears to have been a stronger-minded person than Ahab, and to
have excelled him in subtlety and wickedness. She was as active as he in
pushing the persecution against the people of God; indeed, more active
and determined than her weak and wicked husband. At the time the life of
Elijah was threatened, she would seem not only to have been the more
determined of the two, but to have exercised greater authority over the
realm. Athaliah, the daughter of Jezebel, was no whit behind her mother
in atrocious wickedness. Indeed, where women are brought up in
wickedness, they differ nothing in the depth of their depravity from men
educated in like manner.

The more frequently the Hebrews relapsed into idolatry, the less
inclined were they to allow women their legitimate privileges. The
administrators of the laws constantly curtailed female liberty,
tenaciously exacting from them the service and obedience of slaves. A
woman, even among the Jews, must have had no small amount of both
courage and wisdom, to have surmounted the difficulties which hedged up
the path to fame and honor, and risen to the distinction which some of
them reached. "The rabbins"--not Moses--"taught that a woman should know
nothing but the use of her distaff." Their idea of the education
fitting for a woman was, that she should understand merely how to manage
the work of a house; in other words, know nothing but how to minister to
the appetites or whims of her husband, regarding him as her lord, her
irresponsible master. Rabbi Eliezer said, "Let the words of the law be
burned rather than that they should be delivered to a woman." Why, we
wonder? Because they might, if they read it, learn what privileges it
accorded them, and perhaps claim them--a state of things to be prevented
by any means, no matter how unscrupulous.

Notwithstanding the teachings of the rabbins, however, and dark as was
the day just prior to the coming of the Messiah, we find a woman who was
prophesying in the temple even then. The prediction of Anna the
prophetess is mentioned in the New Testament without a word of censure
on the unwomanliness of her conduct, or her profanation of the temple
by it. Modern writers would perhaps have been wiser, and treated her
with what they considered deserved contempt.


[Footnote F: Gen. i, 26, 27, 28.]

[Footnote G: Gen. ii, 18, 20, 21, 22.]

[Footnote H: For the original meaning of the word _woman_ see Dr. Clarke
on Genesis ii, 23.]

[Footnote I: Gen. vi, 6.]

[Footnote J: Clarke on Exodus xxi, 7.]


New Testament Teachings.

In this enlightened age, the sentiment of the Rabbi Eliezer, that the
law should be burned rather than delivered to women, would be execrated
by the right-minded of every Christian country. But was such a sentiment
any farther from right, either in theory or practice, than are those
held and openly avowed by some of the advocates of the theory of the
inferiority of women; who, while asserting that these inferior creatures
are, by the constitution of their minds, incapable of comprehending the
meaning of a law, yet hold them equally accountable with men--who are
supposed to understand all about it--for any violation of that law? If,
indeed, there is any difference made in the punishment of delinquents,
the greater severity is most frequently meted out to the woman.

Those who insist on the absolute, unqualified subjection of women to the
opposite sex, and place them in a subordinate place in the Christian
Church, persistently quote the writings of St. Paul as authority for the
position which they take. We apprehend that the great apostle to the
Gentiles is as wrongfully misapprehended and misrepresented by certain
classes of believers now, as he was by the Jews at the memorable time
when he was brought before Felix. Paul, therefore, must "answer for
himself in the things whereof he is accused."

In I Cor. xi, 3-5, he says to the Church at Corinth: "But I would have
you know that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman
is the man; and the head of Christ is God. Every man praying or
prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoreth his head. But every
woman that prayeth or _prophesieth_ with her head uncovered, dishonoreth
her head." Here is a positive direction given to a _woman_, as to the
manner of her procedure when she either prayed or prophesied in public,
and not a prohibition of either act, as we might expect from the
rendering given by many divines.

Christ is the head of the man, because he is the first-born from the
dead--the Redeemer of mankind--and because "he was before all things,
and by him all things consist." Having made provision for the life of
the world, he is therefore entitled to the love, devotion, and fidelity
of man. Christ is also mentioned under the figure of the vine, of which
his people are the branches.

Man is the head of the woman, because he was before her; and because,
being physically stronger, he has been constituted her protector. A man,
therefore, is to love his wife ever as himself, with an unselfish
intensity, only to be compared with the love which Christ bears to his
Church; and the wife is bound by the same sacred law to be, in heart and
practice, undeviating in her love and fidelity to her husband.

"And the head of Christ is God." Is Christ therefore not equal with God?
Is there superiority and inferiority between the Father and the Son? If
because the apostle declares that the man is the head of the woman, the
proposition is to be taken for granted that, in consequence, she is not
his equal but an inferior, we may, with equal propriety and fairness,
quote the same text to prove, and prove as conclusively, that the Son is
not equal with, but is inferior to, the Father. God may be understood to
be the head of Christ in regard to his manhood, and that only. The
Scriptures amply testify that he is not only co-eternal with the Father,
but coequal with him as well. There is neither inferiority nor
superiority in the Divine nature between the Father and the Son; and so
also, since man and woman are derived from one nature, being both human,
there is neither superiority nor inferiority between them. They are

Is there, then, no distinction made between the sexes in the text?
Certainly there is. Men were directed to remove their caps or turbans
when they prayed or prophesied in public, while women, on the contrary,
were to remain with their heads covered; that is, to keep veiled when
they prayed or prophesied in public. The latter, it is evident, was
simply a prudential or local arrangement. Throughout the East, and more
especially in heathen countries, it was the custom for women to be
veiled when they made their appearance in public; but immodest women not
unfrequently violated the usage, appearing in public unveiled. In the
state of society then in Corinth, for a Christian woman to have appeared
in public, or to have taken any prominent part in an assembly with her
head uncovered, would have placed her in a false position before
unbelievers, both Jews and Gentiles. That their liberty under the
Gospel, then, might not be made occasion of offense by gainsayers,
against the cause of Christ, that their good should not be evil spoken
of by the profane multitude, the apostle counseled them to submit to the
usages and restraints which the customs of the times and place imposed
on women, wherever the usages or restraints so imposed were not in
themselves sinful. In the same spirit he returned Onesimus to his
master; not that he thereby gave his sanction to slavery, but in this,
as other directions regarding civil affairs, advising submission to the
existing state of things, "that the Gospel be not blamed." The effecting
of civil or political reforms, however much they might be needed, was
not the immediate object of Paul's preaching or writing. His grand,
all-absorbing business was to proclaim the Gospel in all its fullness,
trusting to its benign influence to right every wrong. There is no
doubt Paul clearly understood and did not intend to controvert the
declaration of the prophet Joel (ii, 28), which was quoted by Peter as
being one evidence of the ushering in of the Christian dispensation
(Acts ii, 17, 18): "And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith
God, I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your
daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your
old men shall dream dreams. And on my servants and on my handmaidens I
will pour out in those days of my spirit, and they shall prophesy." "The
last days" evidently means the Gospel dispensation; and this text alone,
twice given by inspiration, even if there were no other, would establish
the right of women to all the immunities and ordinances of the Christian

I Cor. xiv, 34, 35, is always presented by the opponents of women's
privileges as positive proof that women should not take a public part
in religious worship: "Let your women keep silence in the churches, for
it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be
under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any
thing, let them ask their husbands at home, for it is a shame for a
woman to speak in the Church."

In the passage first quoted in this chapter, Paul gives explicit
directions for the manner in which women should be arrayed while
speaking in the Church. Since, then, there can be no contradiction in
the Word of God, and we have positive proof that women did speak in
public assemblies by permission of the apostles, nothing remains but to
reconcile the two texts so apparently contradictory, by ascertaining to
what kind of a public assembly the apostle had reference in the text
last quoted. By reference to the verses preceding this text in the
fourteenth chapter of First Corinthians, it will be seen that the
apostle is pointing out the impropriety and unprofitableness of
speaking in unknown tongues; and of the contention and disorder that
then existed at Corinth. False teachers had caused dissension and
tumults in the Church; and, besides, the whole system of Christianity
was violently assailed by both the Jews and the pagans. The disciples at
Corinth were in the midst of a great controversy. According to Eastern
ideas, it was an outrage upon propriety and decency, not only for a
woman to take part by publicly asking questions, or teaching in any such
disorderly assembly, but even for her to be present therein. To avoid
the very appearance of evil, they were to absent themselves from these
contentious meetings because it was a shame for a woman to speak or
contend in such riotous assemblies. It is more than probable that
Christian women had done so prior to this; and therefore Paul warns them
against such improprieties; not, however, forbidding them to pray or
prophesy in the Church, providing they "covered their heads." The
Gospel proclaims an equal freedom to all; Paul earnestly asserting (Gal.
in, 28), that "there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor
free, there is neither male nor female; for ye are all one in Christ
Jesus." Nevertheless, lest the cause of God should be hindered by women
asserting their Christian liberty, by speech or action, he desired them
to comply with the common usages of the society in which they lived,
where those usages were not in themselves immoral or contrary to the
Word of God. Kindred to I Cor. xiv, 34, 35, and referring to the same
thing, is I Tim. ii, 11, 12: "Let the women learn in silence with all
subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor usurp authority over
the man, but to be in silence." For a woman to attempt any thing either
in public or private that man claimed as his peculiar function, was
strictly prohibited by Roman law; and Christian women, as well as men,
were to be submissive to the "powers that be." Those who contend, from
their rendering of these texts, that women are prohibited by them from
taking part in the public worship of God, to be consistent, should also
insist that they must not enter the house of God at all; because they
are as strictly charged by Paul to remain at home and learn in silence
from their husbands, as to refrain from speaking.

Now, if women are to be silent in the Church; that is, if they are
neither to pray, speak, nor sing in public--for singing is certainly one
method of conveying instruction to those who hear, and is therefore
teaching them how to ascribe praise to God--if they are, upon Scriptural
authority, to know nothing but what they may learn from their husbands
at home,--then our whole system of civilized education with regard to
women is out of place; we had better borrow a leaf from the Turks or
Chinese. Girls here are sent to school, and encouraged to exert their
mental energies to the utmost in acquiring knowledge. Both mothers and
daughters are taken to church, and if they have tuneful voices they are
expected to sing; all of which is manifestly improper and unchristian,
if women are to receive all religious instruction from their "husbands
at home" only, and in silence. The taking of women to church, or indeed
out of the house, therefore, is exposing them to the temptation of
hearing and receiving instruction from unauthorized lips; for--fearfully
depraved though it may be in the sight of some--women are quite as prone
as men to listen to what is told them and to remember what they hear,
and--worse still--to reason out difficult problems for themselves.

And what is to be done for widows, or poor women who have never been
blessed with husbands? Are they to go down to death in heathenish
darkness, because the genial light of a husband's countenance has ceased
to shine upon them, or, perhaps, has never done so? Must unmarried
women forever continue in ignorance of the glorious Gospel of Christ,
because they have no husbands to teach them? As girls, according to such
a rendering, they ought not to have learned any thing; for a father's
teaching--if it were proper for him to give it--and a husband's might
differ widely. Besides, what is to be done for those women who are
blessed with husbands incapable of teaching them; or, as is notoriously
so frequently the case, who choose rather to spend their time in places
of disreputable character than at their homes with their families!

Such a rendering of these texts as is frequently given, and the homilies
derived therefrom, are an outrage upon common sense. They are at
variance with the direct teachings of St. Paul, and contrary to what the
Scriptures prove to have been his practice. Surely, none will dare to
accuse the apostle of inconsistency; and yet we have his own testimony
that Phoebe was a "servant of the Church at Cenchrea;" that is, she was
a deaconess, having a charge at Cenchrea. Priscilla, quite as much as
Aquila, was Paul's helper in "Christ Jesus," acknowledged by him as
such. Priscilla was associated with Aquila in "expounding the way of God
more perfectly to Apollos." (Acts xvii, 62.) Strange that the great
Apollos should receive religious instruction from a woman; stranger
still, if it were contrary to the will of God, that she was permitted to
give it! Why was she not severely rebuked for her presumption, and put
in her place, and taught to keep silence, as becometh a woman? On the
contrary, creditable mention is made of the fact that she did instruct
him, and that through that instruction he was made useful to the world;
and all this upon the authority of inspiration, without one word of
censure as to her unwomanliness. Over and over again, Paul names her in
his salutations.

In Philippians iv, 3, he entreats help for certain women, counting them
as fellow-laborers. "Help," says he, "those women which labored with me
in the Gospel." Honorable mention, too, is made by name of Tryphena,
Tryphosa, and of the beloved Persis, who "labored much in the Lord."
Philip had four daughters which "did prophesy" (Acts xxi, 19); and we
nowhere hear of their being forbidden to do so. If Paul, influenced as
he was by the Holy Spirit, had designed to prevent women from attending
religious meetings, or taking a public part therein, when there would he
have allowed all this laboring and prophesying and instructing to go on?
Instead of stopping it, however, he at different times commends Phoebe
and her sister-laborers to the kind regards of other Churches. Let the
utterances of Paul be properly and fairly interpreted, and it will be
manifest that men and women are one in Christ Jesus. Decidedly, it is
wrong for a woman to usurp authority over the man; and just as decidedly
wrong is it for a man to usurp authority over the woman. According to
history, the office of deaconess continued until between the eleventh
and twelfth centuries, when, the midnight of the Dark-Ages having come,
it was abolished in both the Greek and Latin Churches. Which sex usurped
authority in that case?

The next point coming under consideration is Paul's direction to the
Ephesian Church: "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as
unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ
is the head of the Church: and he is the Savior of the body. Therefore
as the Church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own
husbands in every thing." (Eph. v, 22-24.)

From the verses preceding this quotation, and those following, it is
evident the apostle had reference to the marriage covenant, and not to
the inferiority of woman or superiority of man. Fidelity of wives to
their husbands was the thing being enjoined; hence the comparison
between the marriage state and the Church of Christ. As the Church was
to be pure from idolatry, acknowledging but one God, even the Father,
and Jesus Christ his Son, so the wife was to be pure, submitting herself
only to her husband. It is not surprising that, in planting the
Christian Church, such directions should be given to its members,
gathered in as they were from a dark, immoral pagan world, where the
marriage tie was so lightly regarded. The husband should be to his wife
the earthly "munition of rocks." It is in this sense that the man is the
head of the woman and the Savior of her body. The apostle continues: "So
ought men to love their wives as their own bodies." "Let every one of
you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see
that she reverence her husband." Not worship him; but treat him with
marked and becoming respect, making his interest her own, loving him
above every earthly object, and seeking his happiness in every possible
manner. It is in this mutual sense that a wife is to be subject to her
husband in every thing. Even the greatest sticklers for the absolute
subjection of women explain the latter clause of the text by adding the
word _lawful_. If a woman's husband is to be her irresponsible lord, to
whom she is to go for instruction, who is the qualified judge of what is
lawful? But the reasoning of the entire question as given in the
chapter, portions of which have been quoted, does not bear out the
assertion that the wife is mentally inferior to her husband, or that he
has any right to treat her as such. She is neither his servant nor his
slave, so far as God's law is concerned. The wife has the same right to
expect fidelity from her husband that he has to expect it from her. The
covenant of marriage is a mutual one, equally binding on both.

The injunction to the Ephesians concerning the relations in the married
state is also given to the Colossians, very evidently relating to the
same thing: love and unwavering fidelity between man and wife. Peter
also enjoins the subjection of wives in his First Epistle, third
chapter, first and second verses; but he also explains that this
subjection is chastity, mild and gentle conversation, that their
husbands, if not Christians, might be won over by them. In this very
injunction there is a supposition by the apostle that the husband and
wife might be of different faith, that she might have learned something
not taught by him, and have been in a position to instruct him; and by
her chastity, her love and gentleness, and her instructions--coupled
with fear for his state out of Christ--might succeed in winning him to
the truth.

Though Christianity greatly purified the moral atmosphere of the world,
and caused those embracing it to renounce polygamy, yet even those who
had become Christian clung to the false assumptions and arbitrary
prerogatives claimed by men while yet in heathen darkness. To reconcile
women to the injustice done them, or to overawe them into submission, it
was sought to make them believe that the disabilities of their condition
were by Divine appointment, though this doctrine the apostles took pains
to correct.

A lamentable amount of infidelity has been engendered by the manner in
which the Scriptures have been distorted to make them seem to sanction
almost every social and civil wrong. They have been quoted as authority
for the absolute subjection of woman; and, with equal fairness, for
servile submission to despotic monarchs, for the use of intoxicating
drinks, for the burning of heretics, and for the justification of
slavery. Within a very few years past, these very Epistles have been
brought forward to prove the "sum of all villainies" a God-given boon to
man, the slave included--Colossians iii, 22, being deemed unanswerable.

Those who advocated the cause of human freedom, who desired the
privilege of worshiping God according to the dictates of their own
consciences, who strove to drive intemperance from the land, or who
pleaded for the liberty of the slave, were alike denounced as advocating
what was contrary to the revealed will of God; and in like manner, now,
are those denounced who advocate the perfect equality of woman with man.
With regard to political and religious freedom, the cause of temperance,
and the slavery question, time has proved that the Lord of Hosts, so far
from being against, was on the side of, those who advocated these great
reforms, and led them on to victory; and there is no reason to doubt
that this last reform will, by the same hand, be led to similar triumph.

It is continually objected, that infidels, immoral men, and women of
ill-repute, array themselves upon the side of equal rights to women: so
do infidels, libertines, and women lost to shame, array themselves
against it; therefore, the one counterbalances the other.

But suppose this were not so, to what would the objection amount? The
cause of human freedom has more than once been advocated by rank
infidels; but did God therefore curse a cause good in itself, because
wicked men and women for once saw clearly, and said they thought that
cause right and reasonable? History answers, No. The children of this
generation were simply wiser than many of the children of light. The
same may be said of each of the other reforms. The abolition of slavery
had its infidel advocates; so had the temperance movement, etc.; and
these advocates have to a certain extent damaged their respective causes
by their advocacy of them; yet the tide of human progress has been
onward. A claim which is based upon justice may be injured by an
extravagant, irreverent, or profane advocacy; but it is still a just
claim, and as such, without respect to its advocates, entitled to

Polygamy, slavery, drunkenness, and the doctrine of the inferiority of
woman to man, are all alike the offspring of sin--all alike relics of
barbarism--alike the enemies of God and human freedom.

Long-established prejudices and old usages, no matter how false and
oppressive, are, like the everlasting hills, hard to be removed. But, as
the mountains themselves have been overcome by skill and hard work, and
the valleys are being filled by persevering toil; as the crooked is
being made straight and the rough places plain, so that the people of
this mighty continent may travel with ease in palace-cars from sea to
sea; so must the strong barriers of prejudice, ignorance,
misrepresentation, and indifference, be removed by the force of truth
and sound reason, and women be admitted to their legitimate position in
society, with equal prerogatives accorded to them, that they may thereby
more perfectly exert their natural influence in improving the world.


Woman Before the Law.

The fact that men and women are held amenable to the same Divine law,
and held equally accountable for any infraction of it, and that human
law, with regard to criminal actions, is based upon the same principle,
clearly proves that God has created men and women, as a race, with equal
mental and moral capacity, and that, so far as it suited them to do so,
men have acknowledged the equality in framing the laws, especially those
relating to the punishment for crimes committed. It was only where
masculine arrogance and selfishness were concerned, that the privileges
of equality were denied to women; and they are still denied for the
same reason. Such is man's consistency. If women, because of their
sex--indeed, in consequence of it--are inferior to men in mental and
moral capacity, then it is unjust to judge them by the same law; for
where little is given little should be required. Imbecile men are not
judged by the same code as men of sound mind. If men and women are
mentally and morally equal--and we hold they are--then they are justly
held to be equally accountable by the laws, provided they have been
equally represented in the making of those laws; and if held equally
accountable with men to the laws, they ought, in common justice, to be
entitled to the enjoyment of equal immunities with men, and an equal
voice in the making of the laws that are to govern them.

To urge that, because the house is the legitimate place for a woman, she
is therefore inferior to man, and in consequence ought not to enjoy the
same rights, is no more logical than to contend that, because the farm
is the legitimate place for the farmer, he is therefore inferior to the
lawyer, who is somewhat better skilled in legal lore, and that
consequently the farmer is not entitled to equal political and religious
rights and privileges with the lawyer; or that, because neither of these
classes understands the minutiae of housekeeping, therefore they are
inferior to women, and in consequence not entitled to equal rights and
privileges with them. Good housekeeping is quite as essential to the
world's good, and to the healthful development of humanity, as good
farming or the proper construing of well-made laws, neither of which is
to be undervalued. Where, then, is the inferiority?

It requires as much good judgment and tact to manage a house properly as
it does to conduct a farm, make out a legal form, carry on an extensive
commercial business, or attend to a banking establishment as it ought
to be attended to; and quite as much wisdom and prudence are needed to
rear up successfully and govern a family with discretion, as is needed
in the government of a province or state. Indeed more practical good
sense is shown in the government of the majority of those homes where
the wife and mother is allowed to govern without interference, than is
usually exhibited in the exclusively masculine government of states and

It "is the mind that makes the man," sings one of Britain's most honored
poets; the mind, not the social position he occupies. And so with woman;
it is the mind, and not her local habitation or employment, that
entitles her to consideration--that entitles her to equality, to
justice. With equal advantages, women are no whit behind men in any
thing except physical strength. Are men deprived of civil rights because
some of them are puny?

It is an established fact that, where girls have had the same
advantages, and often when they have had not nearly such good ones, they
have maintained equally honorable positions in their classes, frequently
outstripping their masculine competitors in the literary contest.

Should any doubt that this can be done, all that is necessary, to prove
the truth or falsity of the assertion, is to select any given number of
boys and girls of average intellect, of the same or nearly the same
ages, and afford precisely the same advantages to them all, for a given
length of time, and then subject boys and girls to a like critical
examination. Even with the disadvantages under which they labor in our
ordinary and even higher schools, girls have surmounted the difficulties
of their position, and without favor--indeed, in spite of ridicule,
partiality, and opposition--have come out first in their examinations.
Send such a class of young women as this to a university that will
honestly admit them to all its advantages, and allow them to compete
with the most studious young men admitted to the same university; let
both enjoy precisely similar facilities throughout the entire course;
and see if there will not be as many brilliant scholars who will
graduate with honors among the women as among the men. It is said there
are more talented men, more men eminent in science or in history, than
there are women. Certainly. The advantage has all been on the side of
the man, the disadvantage on the side of the woman; besides which, the
doctrine that it is unwomanly to emerge from the retirement befitting
her sex into public notice has been preached so persistently, that many
women truly great have shrunk from the ribald criticism--to use no
stronger term--with which insolent men assailed them. Consequently,
learned women have frequently given their works to the world
anonymously, or allowed them to be attributed to their male relatives.
An instance in point is Miss Herschel. It is well known, not only that
she gave her brother valuable assistance in his astronomical pursuits,
but that some of the discoveries attributed to him were actually made by
her; not because he wished to defraud her of the honor of her
achievement, but because she shrank from public notice.

But history has given us the record of learned women enough to show
that, with any thing like fair play, there would have been more. As it
is, the list of them is longer--very much longer--than those given to
decry their ability are willing to admit, or are perhaps aware of. The
names of women are found who have been famous for the founding of
empires, the carrying on successfully of civil governments, and the
leading on to glorious victory of armies which, under the generalship of
men, had suffered defeat after defeat, till they were not only
disheartened, but almost disorganized; and yet a woman reorganized
these shattered bands and roused them once more to determined action.
They have been found, in times of trouble, giving to statesmen sound
counsel, which, followed, has led to beneficial results; and, alas! they
have, equally with men, been found capable of base intrigue. Cleopatra
was fully on a par with Marc Antony, Madame de Pompadour with Richelieu
or Mazarin.

Women noted for piety and for patriotism are not found lacking on this
list. Retired lives as they have led, compared with men, history, both
sacred and profane, abounds with them. They shine out conspicuously,
bright lights in a very dark world. Miriam stands side by side with
Moses, Deborah a little in advance of Barak. They contribute their
jewels to adorn the tabernacle or to save the State; and, in time of
need, they cheerfully endure every privation, that the commonwealth may
prosper. They were found last lingerers about the cross, and the first
to visit the sepulcher of Christ; and they were the first commissioned
by him to proclaim his resurrection.

In philanthropic enterprise, Mrs. Fry is the peer of Howard. Who, among
men, have been found to excel the world-honored Florence Nightingale in
intelligent arrangements and administrative talent, as displayed in her
management of the important department to which she devoted herself, and
where her courage, promptitude, and sound judgment were as conspicuous
as her sweet, womanly compassion?

Similar qualities distinguish in a marked degree both Miss Rye and Miss
McPherson, and also the power of influencing and controlling juveniles
unaccustomed to moral restraints. These, though only a few of the many
noble women whose business talents have been used to bless the needy and
suffering, may suffice to prove that women have not only the heart to
devise philanthropic undertakings, but the ability to carry them out

Mothers of great mental power rear sons whose names never die. The
mother of the Wesleys, and the mother of Washington, are named as
reverently as are these illustrious men themselves. In fine, how few
great men there are who do not, when they speak upon the subject,
attribute their greatness or success to their mothers!

Since, then, women have in a measure shown the capabilities of which
they are possessed, it remains to be ascertained what rights and
privileges are accorded them, and to be shown whether these are in any
proportion to what they are entitled to; and, as the women of Europe and
America enjoy more liberty than those of the other portions of the
globe, it is their condition that will be inquired into. Whatever may be
amiss in Christianized and civilized lands, the state of woman is
incomparably worse where the light of the Gospel does not shine.

Christianity and its attendant civilization have done much for the
amelioration of the condition of woman. Except in Turkey and in Utah,
the idea that a man is to have more than one wife at the same time is
not tolerated. In referring to the continents of Europe and America, it
will be understood that Turkey in the one, Utah in the other, are always
excepted. In neither Europe nor America are women subject to the
surveillance of the East; they are not bought and sold in the markets.
They are, if they do not marry before coming of age, mistresses of their
own personal actions. The halls of science, literature, and the arts,
have been partially opened to them. The doors have been set ajar, and
they allowed to peep in. They may now attend the house of God without
being railed in behind a lattice; and they may, without censure, move
about the streets without veils, if it is not the fashion, or it does
not please them to wear them. They are accorded a measure of liberty in
forming their own religious opinions; that is, the law does not prevent
them from doing so. They may, if they can, acquire property in their own
names, or they may inherit it. In such cases they, perhaps, if
unmarried, may be allowed to manage such property. Once married, it is
managed, or mismanaged, as the case may be, by the husband, except in
very special cases. They are not compelled by law to marry unless they
choose, and are supposed to have a choice with regard to those they do
marry, though outside pressure is very frequently brought to bear with
regard to both. And, finally, they are allowed a share of authority in
the joint government of their respective families. This is about the sum
total of the privileges accorded to them.

In the population of both continents, men and women are about equally
divided. It is not estimated that there are any more idiots or imbeciles
among women than there are among men. Here, then, one-half of this
mighty population are prohibited by law from having any voice in the
making of the laws by which they are governed, or the carrying of them
out after they are made. Where is justice in this case? One slight
exception may be made here: in some of the Western States women are
allowed to vote and to hold some few positions of profit and trust in
the State. It is only a trifling advantage, but still it is an
advantage, and is one step gained in the right direction.

The law allows the mother's holiest feelings to be outraged with
impunity. It does not recognize her right to the custody of her own
children, except at the husband's pleasure. She may be intelligent and
educated, virtuous and pious. Yet, if he so wills, he may remove her
children from her care, deprive her of their society, and even of the
comfort of occasionally seeing them; and he may place them under the
tutelage of the ignorant and vicious; while the deeply wronged mother is
powerless, according to law, to help either herself or her children.

It is counted among one of woman's privileges that she may hold property
in her own right. Upon what tenure is she allowed to hold it? If the
property be acquired or inherited, without entail of any sort; if it be
real estate, it is hers in fee-simple till she marries. After that
event--unless she has guarded her rights by a legal pre-nuptial
contract, properly signed and attested to by him who is to be her
husband--she may not dispose of any part of it without his express
sanction. He may not legally sell it away from her, it is true; but by
law he is her master, and may manage it according to his supreme
pleasure while he lives. Even a will made by her does not take effect,
except her husband pleases, till his death. If the property be in ready
money or in funds--except it be guarded in the contract--the husband
becomes possessed of it at once, and may appropriate and apply it to
any purpose he pleases, without consulting the wishes of his wife. She
has no redress. He may, despite her remonstrances, take this her
substance and her money, and spend it in foolish speculation; or, worse
still, in gambling, drunkenness, and debauchery. He may maltreat her and
insult her by the presence in her own house of his mistress. If, no
longer able to endure his brutality, she is obliged to leave him, he
may, unless the law grant a divorce and alimony, keep possession of her
houses and lands, while she must leave home and children behind, and go
out upon the world penniless. She can not force him to return one dollar
of the wealth that was her own; and after the separation, unless legal
papers warranting it have been executed, he can follow her and collect
her scanty earnings. Thousands upon the back of thousands of times has
all this occurred. Does not civilized law give a woman a lien upon her
husband's property? and does not this counterbalance his lien upon hers?
About as equally as are all other privileges balanced between the
sexes; no more.

She has no legal voice whatever in the management of her husband's
estate. His real estate is the only thing upon which she has any claim,
and this is only a life interest--after his death--of the one-third of
the estate; and of this she may only draw the interest upon the
valuation. She may refuse to bar her dower[K] in a sale of land, but if
the bargain goes on, her refusal does not invalidate the title; all she
can do is, in the event of her husband's death, to claim her interest on
her "thirds." This is all she can claim. The furniture of her home, the
very beds which she may have brought to the house, are included in the
inventory of her husband's effects; and, unless she agrees to accept
them as part of her thirds, she may be left without, one on which to
rest her weary limbs; and that, too, though the property may have been
purchased with money brought by her into the matrimonial firm; or though
she may have been the working-bee who in reality acquired it. This is
not an overdrawn picture. It is the law in civilized countries; and men
are found every day who avail themselves of its conditions. That all men
are not mean enough to take advantage of such laws, is no excuse for
their existence. It is barbarous that, by laws in the enacting of which
women have had no voice, they are left to the mercy of unscrupulous men,
without the possibility of better men coming to their help, except by
repealing the iniquitous statutes.

It is quite true that all women are not made to feel the full force of
this bitter oppression, because of the kindness of their husbands, or
the prudent forethought of their fathers in providing for unlooked-for
emergencies which might occasion poverty or distress; but the laws, and
the makers of them, deserve little credit for any comfort or degree of
independence enjoyed by women. More sorrowful than it is, infinitely
more sorrowful, would woman's condition be, if true Christianity had not
made many men more just than the laws require them to be. Many of the
slaves had kind masters; but was slavery any the less an iniquitous
outrage upon humanity, a curse upon the land, a blot that could only be
wiped away by a bloody war? The present social condition of women is
merely one system of domestic slavery, which is hourly calling out to
God for redress; and, though he tarry long, yet his afflicted children's
cry is never lifted up in vain.

Society is even yet so constituted, and the minds of those who are
administrators of the law so blinded, by the prejudices which long usage
has established, that even the very few laws which are on record for her
so-called protection, are rendered of little avail.

The sufferings of women and children from the effects of the
liquor-traffic, is perfectly frightful; and what help is there for it?
Lately, in Canada, the wife may, after she is reduced to poverty, forbid
the dram-seller to sell her husband any more liquor. If he pays
attention to the prohibition, well and good; if not, when in a drunken
fit the husband has well-nigh killed her, she may have him bound over to
keep the peace--if she can find a magistrate who will do it--and she may
complain of the man who sold him the liquor. Perhaps he will be fined a
dollar, perhaps not. More likely the latter, with a not very gentle hint
that she has stepped out of her sphere by presuming to meddle in such

If women had a voice in the making of the laws, how long would the
dram-shop and low groggery send out their liquid poison to pollute
civilized lands? But all women are not on the side of right. Neither are
the very large majority of men. Many women are drunkards themselves, and
worse. True, alas! too true. Sin has corrupted human nature, and men
and women have sunk to fearful depths of degradation. Statistics go to
show, however, that fallen women happily bear only a very small
proportion to those upon whose moral character there is no stain. The
virtuous and good are in the large majority.

Men are not allowed by law to murder their wives. Indeed, the law
forbids them to beat them; but for this trifle, husbands frequently
escape with an "admonition." Yet, though the letter of the law is
explicit, they must stop short of killing their victims. There is a case
on record, within a few years back and in a British province, where a
man beat his wife to death. He was found guilty of the crime. The
jury--composed of men, of course--brought in a verdict of manslaughter,
and he was sentenced to three months in the common jail. The plea in his
behalf was that she was a drunkard. The poor fellow had only gone a
little too far; the court must be merciful. At this same assize, there
was a man indicted for theft. He had made good his entrance into a
jeweler's shop, and stolen therefrom a watch. The theft was proved, and
the culprit sent to the penitentiary for three years. _Query_: Which was
the greater crime, killing a woman or stealing a watch?

The law professes to punish seduction and rape; but when either or both
are proved, what are the sentences? In nine cases out of ten, scarcely
so severe as for damaging an animal belonging to a neighbor.
Occasionally, when the cases have been atrociously aggravating, a man
has been hung for poisoning his wife, or one has been sent to the
penitentiary for rape; but the instances are more frequent in which the
criminal escapes punishment. It is contended that, usually, the women
who are murdered, or otherwise maltreated, are ill-tempered, drunken
creatures, and therefore not worthy the protection of the law. Would
these same parties contend that because a man was ill-tempered,
drunken, or dissolute, therefore his wife was scarcely to be punished
for foully murdering him? Not at all. The universal testimony would be
that she was a shockingly wicked wretch.

Women, as well as men, have to contend with infirmities of temper; and
they quite as well succeed in controlling or keeping them in check.
There are both men and women, unfortunately, who let their evil passions
run riot till they are torments to all who have any thing to do with
them. Some women, naturally gentle and kind, have been so ill-treated,
so shamefully tyrannized over, that in process of time the "milk of
human kindness in their breasts has turned to gall;" and the gall is
then bitter enough. Would not men, in similar circumstances, be just as

There is a certain class of women, however, who as a rule are likely to
become fretful and ill-tempered as they grow in years: girls who are
allowed to grow up with uninformed judgments, who are taught that the
chief end and aim of woman is to captivate and please the opposite sex,
who are taught to think a pretty face and delicate figure of more
importance than good sense or a thorough education. And yet it is a fact
worthy of notice, that those who most eloquently assert their great
superiority over the entire sex, are the very men most easily led--ay,
and duped--by dressy, frivolous, brainless women. It would be a
misfortune, scarcely to be endured, for such men to have wives who know
too much.

That there should be a head to every family, is self-evident. A man and
his wife, according to Scripture, should be one; and the corporate head
is best qualified to govern a family, or manage an estate in which both
have a common interest, and therefore ought to have an equal voice. What
one lacks, the other may have. The man may be overconfident, the woman
too cautious; by counseling together, a proper and safe medium is
arrived at.

One-half of the property in the matrimonial firm should always be
regarded as belonging to the wife. And if a man and his wife fail to
agree as to the advantage, or even safety, of a proposed scheme, and he
is still determined to act upon his own judgment, contrary to that of
his wife, he should never, in such case, risk more than one-half of the

What right has a man, except that "might makes right," to hazard all he
has in wild speculations, or by indorsing for some friend or boon
companion, despite his wife's expostulations, or without her knowledge?
Yet it is done every day, and all lost; and if women who see their
children and themselves thus reduced to poverty, complain, they are
stigmatized as fretful, unwomanly grumblers. Their husbands, says the
world, had a right to do as they pleased with the property in their
possession. What if the wife had earned or inherited half, or even the
whole, of it! what should women know about business?

In indorsing, especially, a man should be restrained by law, under pains
and penalties, from indorsing to amounts exceeding one-half of his
property; and no indorsement in excess of that amount should be allowed
to constitute a legal claim.

But is it really right to indorse for any one, under any circumstances?
Why should a third party encumber his estate, and run the risk of
ruining himself and his family, to secure the payment of a debt in which
he has no personal interest, simply to make a capitalist secure in the
investing of his funds, or in the profitable disposal of his property on
credit? If the lender can not trust the party who deals directly with
him, let there be no credit. It is manifestly a departure from the line
of duty for a man to jeopard the means of maintenance for his family,
without any prospect of advantage to himself or them. It is as much a
great moral wrong for a man to rob his wife and children as it is to rob
strangers, although commercial usage and the laws of mankind may declare
the reverse. "He that is surety for a stranger shall smart for it: and
he that hateth suretyship is sure." (Proverbs xi, 15.)

It may be said that to refuse to indorse would retard trade. Let it be
retarded, then; for why should the capitalist have two chances to the
trader's one? If the man trusted is unsuccessful, why, to enrich the
capitalist who loans his money for his own gain, should an innocent
family be impoverished, who reaped no benefit, and were expected to reap
no benefit, from the transaction? How many families have thus been
brought to ruin, the day of Judgment alone will reveal.

In many countries the law of primogeniture prevails, though, happily, in
the United States and Canada it has been abolished. Whether the
interests of the mothers and younger members of families ever were in
any degree the better provided for by every thing being placed at the
absolute disposal of the eldest son, is a doubtful question. It may have
been that, in the old barbaric times, when women and children were a
prey to every bold marauder who chose to prey upon them, that the law
was intended for their protection, the eldest son or brother being the
person most likely to be able to protect them; and the property, not
being subdivided and scattered, was more easily defended; and it might
have been expected that natural affection would cause the heir to deal
justly with his mother and the other children.

But with the passing away of these days of barbarous forays, passed away
the need of any such arrangement; if indeed any good ever was
accomplished by it. Certainly, much mischief has been wrought and foul
injustice sanctioned by it, for many centuries.

An arrangement so well calculated to foster selfishness and arrogance,
so long established, produced its legitimate fruit. Since at his
father's death every thing, or nearly so, would come under his control,
the eldest son became the one important member of his family. As his
mother could have but her interest on the third of the value of the
estate, unless specially provided for by marriage settlement, she
necessarily became dependent upon him who inherited the estate; and
therefore the lad, even while a lad, was constantly deferred to, until
he deemed himself superior to the rest of his family. The elder members
of a family might have been girls, and, there being no boys, might have
arrived at the conclusion that the property of their father might be
theirs; but a boy born late in the life of their father would sweep away
the delusion, and leave them to poverty. Eldest sons have been known to
send their brothers and sisters out into the world penniless, and sell
from over their mothers' heads the homes in which they had hoped to
die, obliging them to subsist or starve, as they might, upon their
meagre "thirds." Whether justice to mother or children was done or not,
depended entirely upon this one boy. And this was the brightest side of
primogeniture. In cases of entailed property, very often the entail
specified that it was to go to the heir male for all time. A father in
this case, dying without a son, could do nothing besides willing to
these girls such loose property as he might have acquired independently
of his estate. It might revert to his daughter's most bitter enemy; it
was not in his power to help it.

From the hour of a woman's birth to her death, there is a continuous
system of belittling her, which, if it does not succeed in destroying
her self-respect, thus teaching her that she may, as her only means of
retaliation, allow herself in any little meanness which may occur to
her, is so galling to that self-respect, that the wonder is that her
very nature has not become revolutionized. But women have so long been
trained in this school, that they have, to a large extent, adopted the
language expressive of their own inferiority, if not the sentiment

Emma and John, as children, play together; Emma aged five and John three
years respectively. Their toys are suited to their sex--Emma's a doll,
John's a toy carriage and ponies. For a time all goes on harmoniously;
they use each other's toys indiscriminately; for as yet their minds have
not been contaminated by outside influences. By and by, as will come in
play, both children wish entire possession of the same toy. There is a
contest, and John appeals to mother: "Emma has my carriage, and won't
give it up." "For shame!" says mother, "Emma, give John his toy
directly. Don't you know that a carriage with ponies is a toy for little
gentlemen? Besides, if you are good, when you both grow up perhaps he
will give you a ride with real carriage and live ponies." Awed by the
command, and charmed by the distant prospect of the actual ride, the
little girl--as indeed she ought--gives up the toy, and peace is
restored for the time. But presently a shrill cry is heard: "Johnnie's
rubbing all the paint off my dolly's cheeks. He won't give her to me. O,
he has broken her arm." The mother's reply to this cry is stern and
sharp. "Don't be so cross with your little brother." Then to John. "O,
John, you ought not to have broken sister's pretty dolly; it wasn't half
so nice as your own little carriage and ponies. Why didn't you play with
them? Boys should be gentlemen. Emma is only a little girl;" with a tone
emphatic of inferiority upon the word girl. "Little boys should never
stoop to play with girl's toys." Later on, where a girl's enjoyment is
in a measure provided for in connection with her brother, he is made
almost invariably the purse-bearer. What she has is of his generosity.
Girls must be yielding, submissive, and dependent, as becomes their sex.
Boys may be overbearing or rough; it is a sign of a manly spirit to be

Thus arrogance and injustice is fostered in the boy, and a sense of
wrong begotten in the girl; the one is degraded in her own eyes, and in
the eyes of her brother; the other is elevated above his just level in
his own eyes and his sister's; and heart-burning and jealousies
engendered that often last through life. A girl may hardly choose her
own husband. Her father, brother, or some friend will introduce some
eligible party. She is an undutiful girl if--when he honors her by
asking her hand--she do not thankfully consent. To the credit of
humanity be it said, that girls have more liberty of choice in this
respect than they had formerly. There is still room for improvement. The
sooner match-making and match-makers die out, the better for the world.
If man or woman make a mistake in marrying unfortunately, and in
consequence suffer unhappiness, let those more fortunately situated,
pity and be kind to the sufferer; but let none incur the responsibility
of having made such a match.


[Footnote K: By recent legislation in Ontario, she is deprived of her
right of dower in wild lands.]


Woman and Legislation.

What rights, it may be asked, ought women to have accorded to them which
they do not now enjoy according to law? From what rights does custom
debar them? We claim that women, being held equally responsible to the
law with men, are as well entitled to have a voice in making that law.
It is a fundamental principle of all governments, not despotic, that
"taxation without representation" is a gross infringement upon the civil
rights of the subject or citizen. When, in spite of the disadvantages
under which women labor, they have, by unflagging industry and prudent
management, acquired real estate, their property is taxed according to
the same rule by which the property of men is taxed; and still the
elective franchise is denied them. Men in legislating for men know their
wants and understand their particular needs, because they have
experience of them; but in legislating for women they look at things
from their own stand-point; and because of its being impossible for them
to experience the various annoyances and humiliations to which women are
subjected, they do not realize the injustice toward women of the
existing state of things, or the nature and extent of the changes which
justice to them requires. To secure any thing like impartial justice in
civil affairs for women, they should have an equal voice in making the

It is contended that, if women were entitled to the franchise, it would
make no difference with a party vote, since as many women would vote on
one ticket as on the other. What of it? The franchise has been extended
from time to time for centuries to various classes of men, and these
classes did not, as a class, confine themselves to one particular ticket
or party. Was it any the less the unalienable right of these men to
enjoy their liberty to vote as they saw fit, or as they deemed for the
best interests of the country? Certainly not. Neither is it just that
women should be denied the right to vote because it would make no
perceptible difference to a party ticket.

If women had a right to vote, say some, it would occasion family
contention. Why should it? If a woman thinks as her husband, she will
vote as he does; if not, none but an unreasonable and overbearing man
would insist that his wife must think as he does, and vote in accordance
with his views, whether they agree with her own or not. It would be
quite as just and as reasonable to urge that, because the peace of
families is sometimes disturbed by fathers and sons voting for opposite
parties, therefore, the sons should not be allowed to exercise the
franchise during the life-time of their fathers. There are differences
of opinion concerning politics in families now; there always have been,
and always will be, unless some process can be devised whereby women
will be deprived of the power of thought. Are these existing differences
less to be deprecated than those likely to result from extending the
franchise to women? How can it be supposed that the peace of families is
secured by men only having the liberty to give practical expression to
their views, by recording votes which may tell for the good or ill of
the country, while women have not? though very frequently a woman has
the outrage put upon her of knowing that her husband is recording a vote
upon her property, not his, for a party to which she is conscientiously
opposed. And this in a civilized, not a barbarous, land! Where is either
the justice or the moral honesty of such a course of procedure? Surely,
if a woman did vote for a candidate or for a measure to which her
husband is opposed, it is no worse, and ought to produce no more
disturbance in the family, than for him to vote for a candidate or
measure to which she is opposed, especially where the property
qualification is in her own right, or where--as is very frequently the
case--she has worked equally hard in earning it; nor would disturbance
be produced by it at any time, were men as much disposed to be just as
women are to forgive injury.

Then, there are many intelligent, industrious, and enterprising women
who never marry; and many more who do, are left widows early in life,
and remain so to its end. These women contribute quite as much to the
public good as do unmarried men in similar circumstances. Why, then,
should the one enjoy the privilege of the ballot-box or the polls, and
it be denied to the other? There is no just reason whatever. Nothing but
usage makes such an injustice tolerated; nothing but the love of
arbitrary power causes it to be advocated.

The assertion that the majority of women care nothing about politics or
the exercise of any right not now enjoyed by them, is about as true as
the asseverations of those who opposed the passage of the late "Reform
Bill" in England, that the majority of the middle and poorer classes
were satisfied with the privileges enjoyed, and would scarcely--the
poorer classes especially--be able to vote intelligently if the
privilege were allowed. It was roundly asserted, too, that all this
reform agitation was the work of demagogues and infidels. Time has
proved that the common people of England were able to record intelligent
votes, and that they did prize the privileges which were so reluctantly
granted; neither is infidelity any more rampant since liberty has been
given to the people to express their opinions than it was before.
Indeed, it has less material upon which to feed and grow than it then
had. It is asserted by reverend divines that, to accord women equal
rights and privileges with men, is to countenance infidelity. Such
assertions have yet to be proved to be truthful. Logically, the position
is untenable. There are many thousands more infidels among men than
among women. How, then, can these divines make it appear that giving to
women equal civil and political privileges with men would countenance
infidelity, or tend to its increase? Women being so much more generally
religiously disposed than men, the influence of the former, if allowed
its due weight in public affairs, would be much more likely to
neutralize the influence of the infidel men now exercising the rights
and privileges from which women are debarred, and would thus contribute
to the development of a higher moral and religious tone in community.
Apply these men's theory to themselves, and they would quickly observe
its absurdity, as well as its shameful injustice. It is said, too, that
women are amply represented by their husbands, brothers, or fathers;
which is not true, since wives do not always think as their husbands do;
daughters do not always see matters from the same stand-point that their
fathers do, any more than sons; and sisters do not agree in opinion with
brothers, any more than brothers agree with brothers. It is a well-known
fact that, in all countries, fathers and sons have entertained different
views, both political and religious, and have given public expression of
them; so, also, brothers have arrayed themselves against brothers in
civil and ecclesiastical contests. It is absurd, therefore, to say that
one member of a family--even though he be the "head"--of necessity
represents the views of the entire family. But, supposing it were true
that the thing could be done, it would be just as reasonable for women
to represent their fathers, husbands, sons, and brothers at the polls as
to be represented there by them.

It is urged that many women are frivolous, that they seem scarcely to
have a serious thought, that the energies of their minds--if they have
any--are bent upon the acquirement of a thorough knowledge of the latest
foreign fashion, heedless whether they ruin father or husband or not. So
there are--those especially who are taught to think it very "unfeminine"
to be "strong-minded" enough to be independent, who deem it a fearful
thing to bend mind or body to work for their own living, asserting, with
an unwitting sarcasm, that "papa" or "husband" is the responsible head
of the house, and that it is his business to supply their wants. There
are frivolous young men, too, in this world of ours, whose whole minds
seem bent on the exquisite parting of their back hair, the peculiar
shape of their collar and shade of gloves or neck-tie, and the exact
height of the heel of their French boots; men who run up bills and ruin
fathers and wives without any apparent compunctions of conscience, and
who feel no shame that their wives or daughters support them while they
squander both time and money. Yet these men, frivolous as it is possible
to be, are not denied equal privileges with the rest of their sex, nor
is their frivolity pleaded as a reason why sensible men should not be
allowed the franchise.

Why, then, should the frivolity of some women be urged against the whole
sex? Rather, educate them. Let them realize that they are equally with
man responsible to God for the powers of mind given them. And let them
know, too, that they shall have equal opportunities for the development
and exercise of those powers; that with equality in responsibility there
is equality in privilege; and the next half-century will number fewer
frivolous women--by many hundreds.

The dread is entertained by some that, if granted the elective
franchise, women would be mixed up in election rows and drunken
squabbles, as men are now. Such an event does not necessarily follow;
neither is it at all probable. Men of good principle and well-balanced
judgment do not make either fools or beasts of themselves now, badly as
elections are managed; nor would sensible, right-minded women degrade
themselves by unseemly conduct while exercising their right to vote.

No law has ever yet existed which entirely prevented evil-minded men and
evil-minded women from making public exhibition of their degradation;
and, as society is now constructed, where wicked men congregate, some
wicked women will be found. Elevate women to perfect equality with man,
and fewer wicked ones will prey upon society.

The great objection, the one which rises above all others, with regard
to women taking an active part in civil and ecclesiastical matters, is,
that they would thereby neglect their houses and families.

This objection has some weight; it is not altogether so unreasonable as
most of the others raised. But even here the event dreaded does not
necessarily follow, any more than because men are allowed to vote
therefore their business and families must suffer in consequence.
Prudent men, when they accept offices of public trust, so order their
business arrangements that they shall be properly attended to without
allowing the one to interfere with the other. So also would prudent
women. It might with as much propriety be argued that a farmer must not
be permitted to accept any public office, not even that of juryman,
because the acceptance of it might call him from home, either in
Springtime or harvest; nor a doctor to become a candidate for public
honors, lest some one might be sick while he was away,--as to argue that
a woman must not be permitted to take an active part in public affairs
because the house is to be attended to, and the comfort and well-being
of her husband and children provided for. Are the recognized duties and
ordinary occupations of women necessarily so all-engrossing as to be
inconsistent with any other demand upon their time or thoughts; or of so
much graver importance than the duties which men owe to their business
and families, as to require her constant presence and the entire
devotion of all her energies; while men, who have families and large
business transactions on their hands, are justified in devoting a large
portion of their time and attention to other objects, whether
literature, science, or politics?

There is no more honorable position on earth than that of a wife,
possessing the undivided affection of a good husband, surrounded by an
orderly and interesting family of children. Neither is there a more
honorable position among men than that of a husband, possessing the
undivided affection of a good wife, who sympathizes with him in his
every care, surrounded by a family of well-behaved, intelligent
children. A well-regulated household is a picture upon which the good of
either sex love to look. The responsibility of regulating and ordering a
household properly, devolves equally upon both the husband and wife. It
can not be a well-regulated house if either fails to share the
responsibility equally. Is the careful wife and mother, then, to be cut
off from the rights of citizenship because she is a wife and mother?
There is no valid reason why an intelligent woman should not be
permitted to carry the weight of her judicious influence beyond the
charmed circle of her home, any more than that she should not be
permitted to exercise it there. Even in the limited sphere now assigned
to women, many of them have proved that they could be faithful to the
interests of their husbands and children, and yet accomplish much for
the benefit of the world besides. Admitting, however--and we do admit
it, heartily--that women are endowed with peculiar talents for the
management of children, and men are better fitted than women for
training horses or managing swine,--which occupation requires the
greater mental culture? Which is likely to do the most for the benefit
of mankind? The proper care for her children, and attention to them,
does not necessarily prevent a woman from attending to matters of public
utility outside of her house.

And then there are the unmarried women, who were referred to previously,
that have not these household claims resting upon them. The objection
concerning the neglect of households does not touch their cases at all;
for they have neither children nor husbands to be neglected. That
unmarried women, who step out from the "private sanctity of their
homes," often accomplish much good by entering on the so much censured
public career, the lives of Florence Nightingale, Miss McPherson, and
Miss Dix, if there were no others, amply prove.

It is argued by some that, if women would exercise the privilege of the
franchise, she must be prepared to take the field as a soldier, or enter
the navy, as circumstances might require, in time of war. History
informs us that women have given valuable assistance in time of war,
even taking the field and fighting nobly for their country when their
valor was needed; and, in our own day, there is on record an instance of
a woman commanding a vessel during a long voyage over exceedingly
dangerous seas, and bringing it successfully into the desired port. But
apart from this, the fact is, the argument is simply used as a bugbear
to frighten the timid and deter them from claiming their just position,
both social and civil. By law, certain classes of men are exempt from
war, except in extreme cases, so that by no means all who vote, now, are
expected to fight. Then, women render an equivalent to the State, and
risk their lives in doing it, quite as much as soldiers or sailors; not,
however, in destroying human life, but in perpetuating it. As recruiting
agents, therefore, and the first drill-masters or instructors of the
members of future battalions, they serve the Government as effectually
as any standing army.

It does not follow, then, that as a consequence of being permitted to
vote, or being admitted to other privileges, women must load the cannon
or wield the sword. We wonder if the originator of such an attempt at
intimidation ever heard of Joan of Arc or Margaret of Anjou.

It is claimed that women are unfit for public life because--another
unproved assertion--they are incapable of reasoning logically or
speaking fluently. Women have had but little opportunity afforded them
for public speaking; yet, even with the slight advantages which they
have possessed, they have proved themselves quite as capable of
arriving at a high standard of reasoning or oratory as the majority of
the opposite sex. Anna Dickinson will draw a full house in any city in
the United States; and disinterested listeners (men) have pronounced her
lectures unsurpassed, in close reasoning and power of fervid eloquence,
by any male lecturer in the Union. But, say some, all women are not
equally gifted; there are few endowed with the talents or voice of Miss
Dickinson. Just so; and but few men are endowed with the talents of
Theodore Cuyler, or gifted with the versatile wit of J.B. Gough; yet
other men speak in public, and in their humbler sphere render the State
good service.

The various Churches have not done what they might in drawing out this
talent in women, and using it for the good of the world. Indeed, while
quoting and straining the writings of the apostles to suit their own
narrow views, those who have given tone to the various branches of the
Christian Church, and virtually fixed the position of women therein,
have wandered far, very far, from the practice of the Pauline days with
regard to the employment of women in the public workings of the Church,
as is shown by a comparison of the present working of the several
Christian Churches with the sacred records, as given in Acts and the
Epistles themselves.

The Society of Friends, upon examination, becoming convinced of the
falsity of the reasoning, assumed to be predicated upon the Word of God,
that there was inferiority between the sexes, and not believing that the
assumption was borne out by a careful perusal of the Scriptures, granted
perfect equality to men and women in the exercise of religious services.
Having been the foremost religious body of modern times in granting
liberty of speech to Christian women, they have been more highly honored
than most other denominations in the number of gifted speakers among
their women.

In the early days of Methodism, too, women were allowed to exercise the
talent for public speaking, with which God had endowed them; and Dinah
Evans and Mrs. Fletcher--the one in the humbler walks of life, the other
a lady of position, education, and refinement--stand forth conspicuously
upon the pages of history, giving evidence that the ministry of
Christian women was honored by God in leading the wicked to forsake
their unrighteous ways. As Methodism became older, like the primitive
Church, it departed from the first usage, and as a consequence, like it,
it lost for the time a powerful agency for doing good. Latterly,
however, women, especially in the United States, are breaking through
the fetters--ecclesiastical as well as civil--which have so long bound
them. In a measure, at least, their day of civil and religious slavery
is drawing to a close. They now very frequently preside and speak at
public religious meetings, and are admitted by candid, well-informed men
to be quite as competent to discharge the duties of a presiding officer,
or to present the ideas they wish to convey in a clear and logical
manner, as any of the learned clergymen or clear-headed laymen in the
same meeting. Some of the most eloquent public advocates of the
missionary enterprise in the United States are earnest Christian women.

In the halcyon days of Queen Victoria, before the sad bereavement came
upon her which has darkened her latter years and caused her to retire as
much as possible from public view--at the time when she read her own
speeches from the throne--she was pronounced, by competent critics, to
be unsurpassed, as a reader, by any elocutionist in Europe.

A thoroughly liberal education, and the practice of conversing with
persons of intelligence, renders material assistance to both men and
women, by enabling them to express their thoughts in the clearest and
most forcible language possible; and the same thing may be remarked of
declamation. In social circles, where men and women of average mental
culture meet together, there is no perceptible difference between the
conversational powers of the sexes. Let the facilities for the education
of men and women once be made equal throughout the civilized world, and
the hackneyed cry of her mental inferiority will be heard of no more,
excepting when mentioned among the other exploded theories of the Dark
Ages and of barbaric times. The cramping of the mental powers of women,
or the attempting to cramp them, lest they might claim equal advantages
with the other half of the race, will be classed--and justly so--with
the cramping of women's feet by the Chinese, lest they might claim and
exercise the liberty of walking the streets at pleasure, as their
husbands do. A woman will be no more expected to give credence to every
thing her husband believes, no matter how absurd the belief may be, at
his dictation, because he is her husband, or to yield implicit obedience
to his commands, no matter how tyrannical, than she will be to follow
him to the funeral pyre.

Already ladies, by dint of untiring industry and perseverance, have
mounted to honorable positions, and have acquired meritorious fame as
artists, both in painting and in sculpture. Who, in our times, stands
higher on the list of artists than Rosa Bonheur or Miss Hosmer? In the
study of medicine, women have been met by the most scandalous opposition
and insult by those conservators of good morals, male medical students.
Yet, believing that women were as capable of acquiring skill in the
healing art as men, and that, where the peculiar diseases of women were
concerned, they were better adapted to it, and that there was less
impropriety in their attending their own sex than in men doing so, they
persevered, and have won for themselves honorable distinction. That
women have, for years, distinguished themselves in connection with
medical science, may be seen from the following interesting historical
facts presented by Caroline H. Ball:

Madame Francoise, the midwife of Catharine de Medici, lectured ably to
students of both sexes. James Guillemeau was a French surgeon of great
eminence, who died in 1813; but the obstetrical observations which gave
value to his books were contributed by Madame Veronne. It was to the
Countess of Cinchon, and the influence which she used at every court in
Europe, and finally at the Court of Rome, that the world owed the use of
Peruvian bark, and consequently of quinine. Its early name, "Jesuit's
Bark," showed one step of her process. (See "Anastasis Corticis
Peruviani, Seu China Defensis.") Madame Breton patented a system of
artificial nourishment for infants, in use in France as late as 1830.

At the age of twenty-four, in the year 1736, Elizabeth Blackwell, of
London, published a work on Medical Botany. It was in three volumes,
folio, well illustrated, and was the first of its kind in any country.
Madame Ducoudray, born in Paris, 1712, was the first lecturer who used a
manikin, which she herself invented and perfected. Physicians persist in
ignoring this fact, although it was publicly approved by the French
Academy of Surgeons, December 1, 1758.

Morandi, born in Bologna in 1716, and Beheron, born at Paris in 1730,
invented and perfected the use of wax preparations to represent
diseases. Beheron's collection was purchased by Catharine II, of Russia,
and went to St. Petersburg. Hunter acknowledged his obligations to her.
Morandi's collection, at Bologna, was visited and purchased by Joseph
II. She was Professor of Anatomy at the university. Lady Mary Wortley
Montague introduced inoculation into Europe; and the intelligent
observation of a farmer's wife led Dr. Jenner to his experiments with
vaccine matter.

The services of regularly qualified lady physicians are now eagerly
sought, not only in the United States, where they in later times first
proved their capability, but also in foreign countries. Medical
universities, the sage faculties of which once frowned with scorn upon
"women who would be guilty of the indelicacy of pushing themselves into
the medical profession," now gladly open their doors to them; the more
candid of the professors admitting that the "indelicacy," not to say
indecency, is upon the side of men who would push themselves into the
sick-chamber of a woman, and make inquiries of her concerning symptoms
peculiar to her sex, when there are women who are competent to attend to
her case.

Little by little the mists of superstition and error, incident to
barbaric times, are being dispelled by the genial light of a brighter
day. Even now, genteel ignorance is not esteemed the acme of feminine
perfection, except by those theorists who would degrade woman mentally,
that they themselves may thus acquire so much a higher elevation--at
least in their own imaginations--as to stand to them in God's stead, or,
at the very least, to be a semi-deity whose superior wisdom is to be

The facilities for acquiring a good common education, of late years
afforded to the masses, in which there was not so wide a distinction
made between the sexes as formerly, have accomplished much in removing
old-time prejudices; as the searching examinations of these public
schools have fairly tested the capabilities of both boys and girls, and
have established the fact that, with equal opportunities, the girls were
fully equal to the boys in mental ability and attainments. Grudgingly,
girls have been allowed to enter the grammar and higher schools; and
here, too, by their proficiency, they have proved their right to enter.

There was a great outcry raised when the first genuine university which
admitted women, allowed them to pursue precisely the same studies as
young men. It was predicted that almost unheard-of evils would ensue.
Woman, if they succeeded, would be unfitted for her "sphere," and become
unwilling to soothe, with tender hand, the suffering and the distressed,
etc. The wail was terrific. The experiment, however, succeeded. Women
not only commenced a real collegiate course, but pursued it to the end,
graduating with honors; and, despite prophecy, college-bred women made
faithful wives, judicious mothers, and good housekeepers. A cruel war
ravaged the fair fields of a portion of the United States, bringing with
it its attendant train of misery. What was the employment of ladies who
had graduated in universities in this crisis of their country? Had their
knowledge of Latin and Greek made them either inefficient or hard? The
weary, wounded soldier in the hospitals would testify that the kind hand
of an educated and refined woman bathed his feverish temples, while her
gentle voice breathed into his ear the glad tidings of a peace to be
attained by repentance and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Delicacies
were needed for the invalid soldiers, and were not to be bought for
money; the educated woman, side by side with her uneducated sister,
bared her white arms above the elbow, and molded delicate pastry, and
sealed and pickled and preserved as diligently and as deftly as if she
had never demonstrated a problem in Euclid or heard of Sophocles. In
what way had women become unfitted for their sphere by a liberal
education? In no way whatever. If some highly educated women are
inefficient housekeepers, and slatternly in their persons, so also are
many who neither know how to read nor write; just as there are many
impracticable, inefficient, and slovenly men who are highly educated,
and ignorant men who are also incompetent and inefficient. Education has
nothing to do with making either men or women inefficient; the
inefficient would be inefficient to the end of time, though their minds
were never troubled with literature.

No fearful calamity having ensued as a consequence of the admission of
ladies to one university, others also began slowly, and with great
caution, to open their doors to them; and now their admission on the
same footing as their brothers to the same universities, and their
capability to complete the same curriculum is no longer an experiment,
but an established fact. Even in conservative, staid old England, ladies
are admitted to the examinations at Cambridge. But all are by no means
open. No: there are those, and some of them men of sense in other
respects, who can not come down from the lofty pedestal on which they
have placed themselves, and are not willing to allow their sisters or
daughters to mount, lest they should reach their side. These sneer and
frown, and prophesy evil just as vehemently as did narrow-minded men of
the same class fifty or twenty years ago; and their influence will, for
a time, keep some of the colleges closed to women. But this is a matter
of little consequence now. There are universities now open to them of as
high a literary grade as those which are closed against them; and
consequently they may drink at will at the fountain of knowledge,
despite the sneers and frowns of those who would prevent it if they
could, but happily can not altogether.

Though there is still much fierce opposition to the movement for
granting them equal civil and ecclesiastical rights and privileges, and
for allowing them to compete fairly with men in business transactions or
in the learned professions; and though it may be expected that this
opposition will be continued for some time to come,--yet women have
cause for thankful rejoicing, and may take courage. The long night of
their bitter servitude is nearly over, the dawn of better days is
beginning to tinge the horizon; and hope may now be entertained that
erelong they shall occupy the position to which they are entitled, as
man's compeer--the position of equality with him in all the relations of
life--and enjoy the full rights and privileges of civilized and
Christianized citizenship.

The morning is breaking.


Famous Women of Antiquity.

It has been so often asserted that women are incompetent to form any
thing like correct opinions on civil or political questions, or to
govern with discretion, even when by chance the reins are committed to
their control for a brief season; and that they have always been found
so; and, also, that they are naturally incapable of a sufficiently great
degree of mental effort to entitle them to celebrity,--that the
statement has come to be regarded as a fact by the masses, who have
lacked either the ability or the desire to investigate the matter. With
the majority of men, as such assertions fostered their love of power,
and the idea of their own self-consequence, it was natural for them to
accept them without question, as undoubted truth. With women, until
within the present century, the facilities for acquiring an education
have been so meagre that, except where they were possessed of both a
large fortune and an unlimited amount of perseverance, they had slight
opportunities for acquiring accurate information on that or any other
subject. What their fathers, husbands, or brothers told them, they might
believe if they chose; for the rest, to the very large majority of
women, history was a sealed book; so that, for want of correct
information, they were not in a position to contradict any assertion,
however extravagant, untruthful, or absurd it might be.

In the foregoing pages of this treatise, it has been maintained that the
statements concerning the alleged mental inferiority of women are
untruthful; and that history, both ancient and modern, proves them to be
so. In order, therefore, to establish this proposition more fully, the
following sketches have been added, giving an account of a few women
eminent for the founding of colonies, for piety, for patriotism, and for
attainments in science, literature, and arts; and some, alas! for


Carthage, one of the most noted nations of antiquity, was founded by a
woman, and flourished under her rule. A Tyrian princess, Dido--or Elisa,
as she is indiscriminately named in history--was in jeopardy from the
tyranny and oppression of an unnatural brother, who, not content with
what he had inherited from his father, had cast covetous eyes upon the
immense possessions of his sister's husband, whose death he compassed.
All the powers of mind which had hitherto lain dormant within her, being
roused by the horrid act of her brother, Dido at once set about
rescuing her treasure from his grasp, and her retainers from his
unbridled fury. Not choosing to seek protection from any of the princes
of the surrounding countries, and knowing herself to be unsafe while in
the vicinity of her brother, she, as speedily as possible, and with the
utmost secresy, gathered what she was possessed of together, and, with
her followers, embarked in search of some country where she might live
free from tyranny and oppression. Undaunted by the dangers, real and
imaginary, which beset the paths of the early navigators of the
Mediterranean, the little band of adventurers pursued their course,
steering westward, ever westward; away past Egypt, and past Libya, until
they came in sight of a peninsula on the northern coast of Africa
hitherto unknown to history, but ever afterward to be famous as the
landing-place of the heroic woman. At a point only a short distance from
the site of the present city of Tunis, Dido, with her followers,
established herself; not taking possession of the territory on which
she set her foot, as became the fashion some time later, but purchasing
it from the natives at a given price. According to the usage of the
times, she at once set about founding a city; and one hundred years
before the founding of Rome--its after rival and destroyer--the work of
building Carthage, or the New City, as Dido named it, began. The city
being advantageously situated for commerce, and the rule of Dido more
mild than that of Pygmalion, her brother, hundreds of the Tyrians
flocked to her standard. These men of Tyre brought with them their old
home-love of commercial enterprise and maritime adventure; and, in a
marvelously short time, Carthage took high rank among the nations of the
world; and it was conceded, by one of the most renowned philosophers of
Greece, that it enjoyed one of the most perfect governments of

It is told of Dido, that she was not only capable and brave, but
also--like many of the opposite sex--somewhat sharp in a bargain; and
that she tricked the Africans into giving her more territory than they
designed doing. The story is--though it is not generally believed--that
having bargained with the natives for as much land as an ox-hide would
encompass, she cut it up into the smallest possible strips, and by this
means made it capable of surrounding a large extent of ground; and, as a
bargain is a bargain, she gained possession of the inclosure by agreeing
to pay an annual tribute for it. But whether or not this rather
improbable story be true, avarice and tyranny on the part of a brother
seems to have roused the dormant power in Dido's nature; and the
indomitable perseverance, fortitude, and faculty for government
displayed by the outraged woman, were the forces which brought about the
founding of a powerful nation. King Pygmalion is only remembered because
he was the brother of the illustrious Queen Dido.


The character of Cleopatra forms a striking contrast to that of Dido, in
many particulars: the one the first princess and founder of a nation
destined to live in history ages after it had ceased to exist; the other
the last princess of a land equally famed in story, whose kingdom was to
suffer extinction, in a great measure in consequence of her vices--not
because she was too weak to sway the scepter, but because she was too
wicked to rule justly.

The last representative of the dynasty of the Ptolemies, she seemed to
possess an undue share of the evil propensities of an evil race; and,
with this, the gift of rare beauty, added to very winning manners and
remarkable powers of fascination. In her constitution was blended a
dangerous combination of varied charms and varied vices. The learning of
the Egyptian schools she had mastered; there were none of the then
modern accomplishments of which she had not made herself mistress;
wealth and regal honors were hers; and yet what a sad picture she
presents! Evil passions were allowed to rankle in her breast unchecked,
till she became one of the vilest creatures, in a country become the
vilest and basest of nations. The powers of mind with which she was
endowed, used for the benefit of her country, might have been the means
of its salvation; but instead of appealing to the patriotism of her
people--if, indeed, they then possessed any--she chose rather to court
the favor of the rising Roman general, and gain by flattery and crime
what might have been denied to virtue. Though her kingdom was in danger,
and her own position and the inheritance of her children were at stake,
she reveled in sinful pleasure with the enemy. By the power of her
charms, she effected a compromise with the first Caesar, which left her
in possession of Egypt; but not on honorable terms. How could terms,
dictated on the one side and agreed to on the other by base passion, be
aught but shameful and humiliating?

Caesar in the west, and the Roman legions far away, Cleopatra paid no
more regard to the treaty between them than if it had never been made.
Such a violation of contract the Romans never forgave; and Mark Antony,
who had striven to rise to the supreme power after the assassination of
Julius Caesar, as soon as he had leisure from his other ambitious
schemes, bent his steps toward Egypt, to punish the faithless queen.
Again she had recourse to her personal charms. The stern but vicious
general, though in name a conqueror, became an easy victim of her wiles;
and was himself in fact the conquered one. If Cleopatra had been Mark
Antony's most bitter foe, she could not more surely have lured him on to
utter, hopeless ruin.

At last, the crisis came. Augustus Caesar had arrived upon the shores
of Egypt to avenge his sister's wrongs. Mark Antony's fate was sealed.
Once more the wretched woman tried her powers of fascination; but youth
and sprightliness were gone. She failed to captivate Augustus by her
winning manners, or move him by a display of her distress. Her power,
she realized at last, was gone; but grace his triumph in Rome she was
determined she would not. As a crowned queen she had lived; as one she
would die. The deadly asp, it is said, became the executioner of her
wicked will; and when the victor came to stay the act which would rob
him of a part of his revenge, he found the work accomplished. Cleopatra
would try her wiles no more.

Here was a woman who, by her adroitness and tact and a passionate will,
wielded an almost incredible power over some of the greatest men of that
age; whom she brought under her influence, and for years led them
whither she would, according to the whim which possessed her. Which was
the weaker mentally, Mark Antony or Cleopatra? It is for the historical
student to determine for himself. In licentiousness, they certainly were
on a par.


Contrast the depravity of the wretched Cleopatra with the virtue of
Lucretia, wife of Collatinus, a distinguished Roman. Beautiful and, for
the time in which she lived, highly accomplished, she was the idol of
her husband. Loving and faithful to him, and attentive to the ordering
of her household, she was pronounced a model Roman dame. Virtue was
pre-eminently a characteristic of the Roman matron. A heartless
libertine, annoyed that Lucretia should stand so high, and fired by wine
and evil passion, determined to accomplish her downfall; and, while she
was helplessly in his power, effected his vile purpose. The outraged
woman waited till her husband and father could be summoned; and, having
told her dreadful tale, and entreated them to avenge her dishonor, she
plunged a dagger to her heart. A heathen, she knew not there was sin in
suicide, and preferred death to a tarnished reputation.


Like Lucretia, Portia was a Roman matron of noble lineage, and still
nobler powers of mind. The daughter of Cato and wife of Brutus, it was
her ambition to prove herself worthy of such a sire and such a husband;
and, after the pagan fashion of the time, she subjected herself to an
exceedingly painful physical ordeal, in order to test her powers of
endurance. Having established the fact beyond a doubt that she was fully
equal to her husband in fortitude and strength of character, she became
his confidant and counselor, sharing his trials and misfortunes as
readily as she had shared his prosperity. The ambition of Brutus,
together with the jealous rivalries of the time, effected his ruin; and,
finding his case hopelessly desperate, he caused himself to be mortally
wounded, and expired shortly after. Portia had been so fondly attached
to her husband that her friends feared she would determine not to
survive him, and in consequence took measures to prevent her from taking
her own life; but she foiled all their prudent forethought by swallowing
a handful of live coals. Faithful to her husband to the last, according
to her idea of fidelity, one can but lament that she had not the
knowledge of a purer faith than that of paganism. She was worthy of a
better fate and brighter age.


Lucretia and Portia adorned private life, and--except in the manner of
their respective deaths--were model matrons, the equals of their
husbands in integrity and understanding. Zenobia takes a somewhat
higher rank; though no more virtuous--that being impossible--she was
called to exercise her talents in a different sphere. Though born in
Asia, she claimed descent from the Macedonian kings of Egypt. In her
youth, notwithstanding the restraints put upon her sex, she acquired a
liberal education, and made herself mistress of the Latin, Greek,
Egyptian, and Syriac literature.

She took an active part in the promotion of learning, and even compiled
an epitome of Oriental history for her own use. Palmyra, "the gem of the
desert," was favored in possessing such a princess. As beautiful as she
was accomplished, she might in these respects be compared to her famous
ancestress, Cleopatra; but here the resemblance ended. She was as famous
for her virtues as was Cleopatra for her vices.

Arrived at maturity, she united her destiny with that of Odenathus, a
man who had risen from an obscure position to the highest rank in the
land. An intrepid general, he had not only subdued the neighboring
tribes of the desert, but had, in a measure, humbled the haughty Persian
king, and avenged the cruelty practiced upon the unfortunate Valerian,
which the dissensions among the Romans prevented them from doing
themselves, and had made himself master of the dominion of the East. In
Zenobia he found a true helpmeet. She inured herself to hardships in
order that she might accompany her husband in his hazardous
undertakings, and assist him by her counsels or cheer him by her
presence. To her prudence and fortitude Odenathus owed much of his
success, both as a general and a monarch; so that in a few years, from
the small possessions adjoining Palmyra, he had extended his territory
from the Euphrates to the frontiers of Bithynia. During the intervals
between the wars in which he engaged from time to time, he spent much of
his leisure in hunting or other wild sports; and in these active
amusements his wife also accompanied him. She even marched, when the
occasion required it, at the head of their troops. For years every thing
went prosperously; then Odenathus was snatched away by death, and the
entire responsibility of the Government devolved upon Zenobia alone. The
Romans, now grown stronger than they had been for some time after the
defeat of Valerian, disputed the right of the widow of Odenathus to
assume the reins of government, and sent out generals to compel her to
submit to the dictum of the Senate. One of these she met, and obliged to
retreat with the loss of his army, his mortification at defeat being
increased by the fact that he had been beaten by a woman.

By judicious tact, she attached both her subjects and her soldiers to
her cause, and enlarged the borders of her dominion very considerably.
Even Egypt yielded to her prowess, and haughty Persia solicited an
alliance with her. She was, in fact, as powerful as any of the Eastern
potentates, if not the most powerful. No petty passion or malice was
allowed to mark her conduct in the treatment of her subjects. The good
of her country was her principal object in government, and for the good
of the State she would forgive, or at least not punish, a personal
injury. And, though surrounding herself with all the splendors of
royalty, she yet managed the financial affairs of her realm with

But the prosperity of her kingdom, and her own success as a sovereign,
only increased the envy and resentment of the Romans. Aurelian had
gained the supreme power in Rome, and, once established in his
authority, he determined to make good the old boast--once so true--that
Rome was mistress of the world. Zenobia was a powerful rival, and her he
determined to humble. Finding her kingdom menaced by so powerful a foe,
she set herself to defend it, and met the approaching enemy a hundred
miles from her capital. Here the tide of fortune turned against the
hitherto prosperous queen. In two successive battles she suffered
defeat, and then she shut herself up in Palmyra, hoping to starve
Aurelian into leaving her in peace; but his star was yet in the
ascendant, the last obstacle was overcome, and Palmyra fell.

Zenobia, with some of her attendants, fled; but was overtaken and
brought back a prisoner, destined to grace the triumph of her conqueror.
She who had for more than five years ruled a powerful nation so nobly
and so well, was henceforth to be subjected to the indignities of a

With Zenobia, fell the dominion of the East, and its once beautiful
capital dwindled into insignificance.


Rather more than a century had passed since the subjugation of Zenobia
and her Empire by pagan Rome, when Hypatia, the philosopher of
Alexandria, attracted the attention of the then civilized world by her
marvelous talents and varied accomplishments. The daughter of Theon, the
celebrated mathematician of Alexandria, she possessed unusual
facilities--for a woman--for acquiring knowledge; and especially for
becoming acquainted with the abstruse sciences. Of these facilities she
availed herself with commendable earnestness; and at an early age she
had made herself mistress of both Geometry and Astronomy, as far as
either science was then understood or taught in any of the schools. As
is the case with less profound natures, the mind grew on what it fed
upon; reasoning, and the elucidation of knotty mathematical problems,
became her delight; and, by general consent, she ranked as one of the
first philosophers of her time, if not indeed the very first.

It has often been asserted that the possession of great mental power
unfits the woman possessing it for the common amenities of life. That
it does not necessarily do any thing of the kind, is sufficiently
evidenced in the life of Hypatia. Though elevated to the very pinnacle
of fame, in consequence of her mental attainments, she was nevertheless
gentle and courteous in her manners, toward those by whom she was
surrounded. She was very beautiful, yet without vanity; indeed, true
strength of mind precludes the idea of vanity, for few but the mentally
weak are vain; and she was as chaste as she was mentally strong and
physically beautiful.

Convinced of her superior merits, the authorities of the School of
Philosophy in which Plotinus and his successors had expounded their
theories, importuned her to become preceptress therein; and, overcoming
her natural diffidence, she consented. Thenceforth, instead of the
frivolous adornments, considered too foolish to be worn by men, but
quite fitting and becoming for women, she was arrayed in the cloak of
the philosopher, and took her proper position as head of the most noted
school in a city distinguished as the chief seat of learning of that
age. As a public speaker--for her lectures were not altogether confined
to her school--she was fluent. Her elocution may be said to have been
faultless, and her manner of address pleasing; and these, combined with
the very remarkable amount of information which she was capable of
conveying in her lectures, drew crowds of warm admirers and
enthusiastically devoted students to listen to her.

Was it possible that one so gifted, so beautiful and pure, could arouse
malicious envy, or make an enemy by the exercise of talents God had
given her?

Ah, yes! She knew more than Cyril--a professedly Christian bishop, who
then filled the patriarchal chair. Thenceforth she was marked as his

Allied to the State, the Church had lost its purity, and become the
bitterest of persecutors; and Cyril was one of the bitterest of these.
The Jews had enjoyed a degree of liberty in Alexandria, which latterly
had been denied them elsewhere; and this the haughty spirit of the
arrogant bishop could not brook; and, assuming that his power as an
ecclesiastic was in consequence superior to the civil authority, he,
after treating the Jews with most outrageous cruelty, banished them from
the city. The Jews had been allowed to inhabit Alexandria from the time
of its foundation, and had materially contributed to its prosperity;
therefore, the civil authorities were not willing to see them suffer
such indignities without raising their voice against the oppressive act.
Orestes, Prefect of the city, appealed to the emperor on their behalf.
He, trammeled with his Church connections, and yet not wishing to break
with the prefect, declined to interfere in the matter, thus leaving them
to settle the dispute by themselves; and soon the ecclesiastics and the
citizens joined issue. Orestes, being attacked by a party of monks as he
was peaceably pursuing his way through the streets in his carriage, was
succored by the citizens, who came to his relief; and in the affray a
monk was taken prisoner, whom the justly exasperated Orestes ordered to
be executed. The sentence was carried into effect, and Cyril caused the
name of the would-be murderer to be enrolled among the martyrs.

Hypatia was neither Jew nor Christian; but her love of truth and justice
caused her to espouse the side of the persecuted victims of
ecclesiastical tyranny. She had previously been the object of Cyril's
bitter hatred, because her mental attainments were superior to his own.
Now, that hatred was intensified to the highest degree of malignity. She
had openly and boldly censured the conduct of the bishop, and was deemed
the friend of Orestes; therefore she must die. Having committed no
crime, she could not be brought before the civil tribunal for
condemnation; therefore, as her death had been determined upon, _murder_
was the next resort.

She was surrounded and seized by a mob in the interest of Cyril, as she
was one day returning from her school, and hurried into the Caesarian
church, where she was brutally murdered, every barbarity being practiced
upon her which monks were capable of inventing, even to tearing her limb
from limb, and afterward burning her; and Cyril, if indeed he did not
sanction the murder by his actual presence while it was being committed,
sanctioned the horrid deed by his protection of the perpetrators when
the infuriated populace would have avenged her death.

Thus tragic was the end of one of the most highly gifted women the world
has ever produced. She flourished in the reign of the Emperor Theodosius
II, in the early part of the fifth century.

The record of the Famous Women of Antiquity might be lengthened out
indefinitely: Cornelia, the mother of the Gracchi, so famous in Roman
history; Octavia, the deeply injured wife of Mark Antony; Eudosia, the
wife of Theodosius, with her equally famous sister-in-law, Pulcheria;
the Aspasia of Pericles, who is represented by some writers as having
composed many of the orations given to the world as those of her
husband; the Aspasia of Cyrus, so famous for her gentle modesty and wise
counsels; and Marianne, the last and most unfortunate princess of the
illustrious line of the Maccabees, and wife of the monster, Herod the
Great. Each of these, to do justice to their merits, or to the
transactions which rendered them famous, would require a biography. The
mere mention of their names must suffice just here. Who has not read or
heard of Sappho, the Greek poetess, concerning whose life and moral
character there has been so much controversy--one class of writers
condemning in unstinted measure, as all and utterly vile; the other
class applauding her as being possessed of every virtue? Says one of the
latter: "In Sappho, a warm and profound sensibility, virgin purity,
feminine softness, and delicacy of sentiment and feeling, were combined
with the native probity and simplicity of the Eolian character; and,
although endued with a fine perception of the beautiful and brilliant,
she preferred genuine conscious rectitude to every other source of human
enjoyment." It is probable a medium between these two extremes would
give the true character of this remarkable woman.

Many scores of names, besides those given, might be added to the list of
eminent women; but the examples cited suffice to prove the assertion
made--so far as the women of antiquity are concerned--that they were
capable of an equal amount of mental effort with the men with whom they
were contemporary; and that, where they arose to the supreme power, they
governed as wisely and as well as the kings of the same period.


Eminent Women of Modern Times.

It now remains to be seen whether the women of modern times have been
worthy of note, or what they have in any way accomplished.


In the troublous times about the middle of the fourteenth century, when
every petty prince in Europe was trying to overreach his immediate
neighbor and grasp his lands, and when ties of blood seemed only to
intensify feuds, there arose two claimants for the principality of
Brittany. The Count of Montfort, half-brother of the last duke, and
Charles of Blois, were the rivals; and each prosecuted his claim with
vigor. The army of Charles laid siege to Nantz, in which Montfort
happened to be, and from which he found it impossible to escape.

Here was a dilemma. The partisans of Montfort were without an efficient
leader; and his chances of gaining what he claimed were exceedingly
doubtful. In this crisis of his affairs, however, an unexpected
diversion was made, which changed the current of fortune. His wife, Jane
of Flanders, now Countess of Montfort, had hitherto limited her
administrative abilities to the careful management of her domestic
concerns; and, it is to be supposed, was not deemed capable of a thought
beyond. The tidings of the virtual captivity of her husband roused in
her a determination to defend what she considered to be his rights,
since he was unable to defend them himself.

She was at the time residing at Rennes, the inhabitants of which she
caused to be assembled, and made known the disaster which had befallen
their sovereign. Her infant son she presented before them as the last of
an illustrious line, which must become extinct unless his father's
fortunes were retrieved; and she besought them to prove now, by actions,
the attachment they had formerly professed for the count. Nor was her
address in vain. The citizens, inspired by courage and eloquence, vowed
they would fight under her standard alone, and live or die with her. The
garrisons throughout Brittany followed the example of Rennes, and she
found herself at the head of a respectable army; but, fearing that she
was not sufficiently strong to cope with Charles, who was backed by the
strength of France, she applied to Edward III, of England, for help.
Then, having put the affairs of the province in the best possible
position, she established herself at Hennebonne, where she awaited the
issue of events; having first sent her son to England, that he might be
out of danger.

In the mean time, Charles of Blois was not inactive. Hennebonne was, of
itself, too important a fortress to be overlooked; and, besides that,
the heroic countess was there. If he could take the city and make
prisoner its defender, his cause would be gained. With both the count
and his wife in his power, he would be sure of the succession.
Accordingly, before the supplies which Edward was sending could reach
Hennebonne, he laid siege to it; but did not find its capture so easy a
matter as he had expected.

The besieged made frequent sallies, in which the enemy lost both men and
reputation, though they were not compelled to raise the siege. On one of
these occasions the return of the countess was intercepted, and she
found it impossible to regain the fortress. Nothing daunted she
commanded her men to disperse themselves over the country, while she
made her own escape to Brest. As soon as was possible, she collected
another and larger force, and, forcing her way through the enemy's camp,
made good her entrance into the city, to the great joy of her almost
discouraged partisans.

Subsequently, the re-enforcements expected from Edward not having yet
arrived, it was thought the garrison would be obliged to capitulate, and
negotiations were actually commenced. The countess, deeply mortified at
the turn her affairs were taking, had mounted a high turret, and there
remained, looking sadly out over the sea in the direction whence the
long-expected, but now despaired of, supplies should have come. Perhaps
there was still a slight hope in her heart that, even yet, the desired
aid might be afforded. If so, that hope was destined to be realized. As
she kept her position, gazing sorrowfully over the wide expanse of
waters, she descried dark objects on the very verge of the horizon. The
despairing look gave place to one of eager, hopeful watching. The
objects increased in size as she strained the eye to determine what they
really were. A favorable breeze was wafting them nearer, and presently
they took a tangible form. "Sails! sails!" cried the delighted countess.
"Behold the succors--the English succors. No capitulation!" The
opportune arrival of the re-enforcements sent by Edward had saved the
garrison. Charles was obliged to raise the siege. He had neither taken
the city nor captured the countess.

Edward's six thousand gallant troops did the cause of the countess and
her still besieged husband good service. They had not appeared upon the
field at an earlier period in the struggle in consequence of contrary
winds. But the delay itself had accomplished very much in bringing out
the strong points in the character of the countess. She had proved to
the world that she could not only collect an army, but do even
more--efficiently command it.

Subsequently, the cause of Charles of Blois seemed to gain fresh
strength, and his party greatly outnumbered that of Montfort, whose
friends decreased as those of Charles increased. Edward again sent
re-enforcements. The English fleet, having with them the countess, were
met on the passage to Brittany by the enemy, and an action ensued, in
which the countess behaved with the utmost courage, charging the foe as
valorously as any other officer among them. A storm put an end to the
bloody conflict, and the fleet, without further adventure, reached the
shores of Brittany. Thenceforth the dispute of the succession became
inextricably mixed up in the quarrel between England and France,
becoming indeed a part of it; and we trace the career of the heroic
Countess of Montfort no further.


In the preceding sketch, it has been shown what a woman could--did, in
fact--do and dare, as an ardent patriot and loving wife. The fortitude
of Anne Askew was of a different stamp. She proved what she could endure
for conscience' sake. The Reformation produced many women such as she;
but her simple story must suffice, here, for all.

She was a young lady of high family, and exercised a remarkable
influence, for one so young, over the ladies at the Court of Henry VIII;
and even stood in the relation of a friend to the queen--no great
passport to the favor of the monster Henry. Being possessed of
considerable mental ability, she gave much of her attention to the study
of the theological questions which were disturbing the peace of Europe
at the time; and being also of an independent turn, and withal deeply
pious, she dared to question Henry's dogma concerning the "real
presence" of the body of Christ in the Sacrament. Henry was furious that
a woman should dare to hold any tenet other than he allowed, or dispute
one which he had decreed must be believed. The infamous Bonner was
commissioned to confer with her respecting her religious views; and,
finding her firm in her determination not to yield to either his
dictates or those of the king, he pronounced her a heretic. His conduct
in representing her as such was the more reprehensible, as, while
refusing to give entire credence to the doctrine they wished to impose
upon her, she told the bishop and wrote to the king that, "As to the
Lord's-supper, she believed as much as Christ himself had said of it,
... and as much as the Catholic Church required."

But the king, though professing to be a reformer, would brook nothing
which did not accord precisely with his own dogmatic utterances. Her
presuming to write to him, when she did not submit to his dictation, he
chose to construe as a fresh insult to himself.

Her youth (she was but seventeen), her beauty, and her innocence were no
protection. The rack, and then the stake, were all that remained, unless
she could be prevailed on to recant. This she gently but firmly refused
to do.

The king was determined to root out the heresy--if it existed
there--from the court; and those who knew him, knew that there was no
cruelty of which he would not be guilty to accomplish his end.
Wriothesley, the chancellor, waited on the unfortunate Miss Askew to
examine her concerning the religious sentiments of the other ladies of
the court; but, though bold in professing her own religious views, she
was just as firm in refusing to implicate any of her former associates.
Threatenings and promises were alike found useless. Then she was
subjected to the most excruciating torture; but, though every limb was
dislocated, the noble girl remained true to her friends and to her God.
So enraged was the chancellor at her fortitude, that when the lieutenant
of the tower refused to obey his order to screw the rack still more
tightly, he seized the instrument himself, and wrenched it so violently
as almost to tear the "body asunder." But her constancy was unshaken.
Torture having failed, the poor, mangled body was thrust into a chair,
and carried to the stake. A Catholic priest and two other persons were
conducted with her to execution, all condemned in like manner for the
violation of the king's mandates. Bound to their respective stakes,
these victims of intolerant bigotry and unlimited tyranny awaited with
patience the kindling of the fagots which were piled around. But they
were to be still further tempted ere they were released from suffering.
While they were thus publicly exposed in the most painful of positions,
suffering all the physical agony it was possible to endure and live, a
message was sent to them that, if they would even at that late period
recant, their lives would be spared. But they refused to purchase life
at such a price, and calmly met their doom, Miss Askew with as much
fortitude as either of the others.

Thus, amid smoke and flame, the pure spirit of Anne Askew was wafted, by
attendant angels, to the paradise of God, whom she was not ashamed to
honor before men. In all the struggle of the Reformation, what man
exhibited more courage or greater strength of character or fortitude
than this beautiful girl of but seventeen Summers? In what respect did
she exhibit inferiority to those men associated with her in the trying
year (1546) in which she earned her crown of martyrdom? There were many
martyrs, but not one more steadfast.


The reign of Elizabeth has been styled the Augustine age of England.
Under this queen's sanction, literature flourished more than ever
before in that kingdom; and as a consequence her people became less
barbarous, and men learned to look with less admiration upon the sword,
and more respect on books. The influence of the encouragement given to
men of letters by Elizabeth tells for good upon our literature, even
after this lapse of time.

Among the personages eminent in this reign was Esther Inglis, who was
exceedingly zealous, and industrious withal, in translating and
transcribing the Scriptures into various languages, particularly French
and Latin. Copies of these she presented to persons of distinction, one
of which--a copy of the Psalms, and a rare specimen of calligraphy--she
presented to the queen, who graciously accepted it, and subsequently had
it deposited in the library of Christ's Church, Oxford.

She was pronounced by the most exacting critics to be the most accurate
chirographist that had been known up to that period; nor has her peer
been found since. She excelled even the celebrated Ascham and Davies,
both in the number and variety of styles. Her copy of the Book of
Proverbs is perhaps her most elaborate work of art, and is a marvel for
the ingenious combination of writing, of which there are forty
specimens, and fine pen-and-ink drawings. Every chapter, which is
embellished both at the beginning and end with beautiful decorations, is
written in a different hand, and there are variations of hand in some of
the chapters. The book is entitled "Les Proverbes de Solomon, escrites
in diverses sortes des lettres, par Esther Anglois, Francoise: A
Lislebourge en Escosse, 1599," and is dedicated to the Earl of Essex. It
is further ornamented by an exquisitely neat representation of the arms
of the unfortunate nobleman, with all their quarterings, and by a
pen-and-ink likeness of herself.

Several others of her works are carefully preserved in both England and
Scotland; and some, as late 1711, were in the possession of her own

At the age of forty, she married a Scottish gentleman, named Kello, or,
as we would spell it in these modern times, Kelly. The issue of this
marriage was one son, named Samuel; and it was her grandson, Samuel
Kelly, who was in possession of various portions of her works in the
last century.


This celebrated lady, who flourished in the latter part of the
seventeenth century, was the daughter of Lord Coventry, Keeper of the
Great Seal, and the wife of Sir John Pakington. She was justly
considered one of the celebrities of her day, and her society sought by
the learned divines with whom she was contemporary. She was the
well-known author of several works of merit, and the reputed author of

Ballard, who has given the world so many sketches of worthy and eminent
women, with several other writers of note, claims that it was she who
wrote the treatise entitled "The Whole Duty of Man;" and his reasoning
is so much to the point, though quaint, that we simply append what he
says of her, with his apt quotations from her writings, as a
sufficiently clear delineation of the character and talents of this
worthy woman. He writes:

"Yet hardly my pen will be thought capable of adding to the reputation
her own has procured to her, if it shall appear that she was the author
of a work which is not more an honor to the writer than a universal
benefit to mankind. The work I mean is 'The Whole Duty of Man;' her
title to which has been so well ascertained, that the general
concealment it has lain under will only reflect a luster upon all her
other excellencies by showing that she had no honor in view but that of
her Creator, which, I suppose, she might think best promoted by this
concealment. (The claims of other authors are not difficult to be
disposed of.) If I were a Roman Catholic, I would summon tradition as an
evidence for me on this occasion, which has constantly attributed this
performance to a lady. And a late celebrated writer observes, that
'there are many probable arguments in "The Whole Duty of Man," to back a
current report that it was written by a lady,' And any one who reads
'The Lady's Calling,' may observe a great number of passages which
clearly indicate a female hand.

"That vulgar prejudice of the supposed incapacity of the female sex is
what these memoirs in general may possibly remove; and as I have had
frequent occasion to take notice of it, I should not now enter again
upon that subject, had not this been made use of as an argument to
invalidate Lady Pakington's title to those performances. It may not be
amiss, therefore, to transcribe two or three passages from the treatise
I have just now mentioned. 'But, waiving these reflections, I shall fix
only on the personal accomplishments of the sex, and peculiarly that
which is the most principal endowment of the rational nature--I mean the
understanding--where it will be a little hard to pronounce that they are
naturally inferior to men, when it is considered how much of intrinsic
weight is put in the balance to turn it to the men's side. Men have
their parts cultivated and improved by education; refined and subtilized
by learning and arts; are like a piece of common which, by industry and
husbandry, becomes a different thing from the rest, though the natural
turf owned no such inequality. We may, therefore, conclude that whatever
vicious impotence women are under, it is acquired, not natural; nor
derived from any illiberality of God's, but from the ill-managery of his
bounty. Let them not charge God foolishly, or think that by making them
women, he necessitated them to be proud or wanton, vain or peevish;
since it is manifest he made them to better purpose; was not partial to
the other sex; but that having, as the prophet speaks, "abundance of
spirit," he equally dispensed it, and gave the feeblest woman as large
and capacious a soul as that of the greatest hero. Nay, give me leave to
say further, that as to an eternal well-being, he seems to have placed
them in more advantageous circumstances than he has done men. He has
implanted in them some native propensions which do much facilitate the
operations of grace upon them,'

"And having made good this assertion, she interrogates thus: 'How many
women do we read of in the Gospel who, in all the duties of assiduous
attendance on Christ, liberalities of love and respect, nay, even in
zeal and courage, surpassed even the apostles themselves? We find his
cross surrounded, his passion celebrated, by the avowed tears and
lamentations of devout women, when the most sanguine of his disciples
had denied, yea, foresworn; and all had forsaken him. Nay, even death
itself could not extinguish their love. We find the devout Maries
designing a laborious, chargeable, and perhaps hazardous respect, to his
corpse; and accordingly it is a memorable attestation Christ gives to
their piety by making them the first witnesses of his resurrection, the
prime evangelists to proclaim those glad tidings, and, as a learned man
speaks, apostles to the apostles.'

"There are many works of this lady besides 'The Whole Duty of Man,'
enumerated in her biographies."


The material at hand is too meagre to admit of giving such a sketch of
this lady as would afford any adequate idea of her character; and yet it
is due to her memory, and to her nation, that there should be some
tribute to her worth.

The mother of General Washington is as much the mother of the Great
Republic as was Mrs. Susannah Wesley the mother of Methodism; for
Washington owed the distinction to which he rose, and the high niche he
occupies in the history of the world's heroes, to the early and careful
training of his mother. Left a widow in a comparatively new and wild
country, when her son George was but ten years old, she fully realized
the very great responsibility resting upon her as sole remaining
guardian of her children, and set herself to watch the bent of their
inclinations, and to direct their energies into a proper channel.
Respecting the influence she exerted upon them, her daughter-in-law, the
wife of the President, many years afterward remarked: "You speak of the
greatness of my husband. His dear mother ever looked well to the ways of
her household. She taught him to be industrious by her example."

By her mild but firm management of her boy, she established a hold upon
his affections, which strengthened instead of decreasing with years;
and when, in the later part of his life, honors and distinctions were
heaped upon him, he considered them rather as tributes to the worth of
his mother than to his own. As was natural to so adventurous a spirit,
George early manifested a predilection for the sea, and his elder
brother encouraged him in thinking he might attain distinction as a
gallant mariner. A midshipman's berth was procured for him, at the age
of fifteen, on board of one of his majesty's ships, then off the coast
of Virginia; and it seemed as if the ardent desire of his boyhood was
about to be realized. But when all was ready, his mother gave expression
to her disapproval of the expedition. Though sorely disappointed, he at
once acquiesced, and yielded to the representations made by her. Nor did
she expect him to give a ready acquiescence to her views without giving
him valid reasons. She deemed him quite too young to be removed from the
salutary restraints of home, and from the influences of its dearer
ties. Years after, the colonists of Virginia and the North-west blessed
the day upon which Mrs. Washington refused her consent to her son's
entering the navy, and thus kept him to do them invaluable service in
driving back from their territories the hostile Indians, or more hostile
French. Though a genuine F.F.V., she was never arrogant in her demeanor.
In her intercourse with those by whom she was surrounded, or with whom
she came in contact, she was simple and unaffected, the model of a true
lady and a Christian.

Even in old age, she still watched carefully over the interests of her
son. During the Winter of 1777-1778, when the American soldiers were in
such extremity at Valley Forge, she, as well as the wife of Washington,
spent her time in preparing comfortable clothing for them. Her
spinning-wheel and knitting-needles were rarely idle in those times of
trial. A woman of proper discernment and good judgment, it is scarcely
necessary to say that she disapproved of extravagance of every kind; and
when the necessities of her country demanded the sacrifice of every
thing not an absolute necessity, she was found foremost in setting an
example of plainness of dress.

Lafayette, with his aids-de-camp, paid her a visit of congratulation on
the occasion of Washington's successful passage of the Delaware, and
found her dressed for their reception in a plain printed gown, with her
knitting--probably a stocking for some needy soldier--lying on a table
near her. Did the noble Frenchman and his companions deem their
reception to have been less cordial than they would have thought it had
she arrayed herself in costly satin and lace, and received them in idle
state? Lafayette's own testimony of his appreciation of her remarkable
worth answers for itself.

At a good old age she died, and her country still reveres her memory.


Taylor, the historian, gives Mrs. Wesley quite a prominent position in
his account of the work accomplished by her sons, and gives the
following reason for doing so: "The mother of the Wesleys was the mother
of Methodism." One who was so intimately connected with the leaders of
the Reformation of the eighteenth century deserves a prominent position
among the eminent women of modern history.

Mrs. Wesley was distinguished, from childhood, for rare mental ability;
and, even at so early an age as thirteen, had made theology a favorite
study. Arrived at mature years, she made practical use of the knowledge
so carefully acquired in youth, and manifested unusual judgment and
skill in the early training and general management of her very large
family. She did not confine herself to the management of her domestic
concerns alone, as many good mothers would have done, though she
carefully superintended them, but also overlooked the studies of her
children; and it was really her thorough training, and her subsequent
counsels to John and Charles while at Oxford, which produced in them the
bent of mind that finally resulted in the great Methodist movement.

Accustomed all her life to read with care the productions of the most
eminent writers of her own and preceding times, and to reflect upon what
she read, she was able to arrive at correct conclusions concerning
questions of importance, whether they related to private matters or to
the public well-being. She had no more dread of Mrs. Grundy than her
sons had. Once she knew she was right, "Society" might either blame or
praise, as it saw fit; she remained firm in the carrying out of the
measure--true to her principles.

When her sons, John and Charles, collected the common and poorer people
about them, and began preaching to them in the open fields, there was a
fearful outcry. Old-time customs had been innovated. Clergymen of the
Church of England had departed from accustomed usage, and from field or
horseblock had proclaimed a full and free salvation through Christ to
the very vilest of the land, if they would but comply with the
conditions laid down by him. The Profession were aggrieved at such
irregular proceedings. "Society" was scandalized that outcasts were
bidden to the same feast upon the same conditions with those reputed
decent. Even Samuel Wesley felt called upon to rebuke his brothers
sharply for the reproach he considered they had brought upon the Church
by their "intemperate zeal," But where was their mother meanwhile--she
whose counsels experience had proved it best to follow? Examining the
Scriptures, and the history of the primitive Church, to see wherein her
sons had gone astray, that she might be in a position to convince them
of their error, if she found them to be in it. Careful study, however,
convinced her that they were only practicing the course followed by
Christ and his apostles; and her determination was taken. She would not
only encourage them by her letters, but sustain them and sanction their
course by her presence. Accordingly, she went with her son John to
Kensington Common, and stood by him while he preached to a congregation
of about "twenty thousand people."

It was Mrs. Wesley who counseled John to ponder well what he did before
he forbade laymen to address congregations; and her arguments on this
point were so conclusive that they led him to alter his mind and make
use of them as an agency for good in the Church, though previously he
had considered such a proceeding a dangerous innovation.

During the life-time of her husband, it was her custom, in his absence,
to allow those who chose to come to assemble in a room of the old
rectory at Epworth, on Sunday, and either read them a sermon herself or
have one of the elder children do it. Frequently, the office of reader
devolved upon her daughter Emily.

No matter into what department of her life you inquire, she is still
found the same active, energetic, and strong-minded woman. Nothing weak
or puerile is found in her character. From girlhood to maturity, from
maturity to gray hairs, she pursues the same steady, uniform course. Her
life is consistent with the principles which she had laid down for her
own self-government, and which she believed were deduced from the Word
of God.

At seventy-two years of age, she closed a long career of usefulness,
dying, as the Christian might be expected to die, in the triumphs of
faith. Five of her daughters, and her son John, were permitted to stand
at her bedside and witness her peaceful end, and to comply with a
request made shortly before she died, that, as soon as the last struggle
was ended, they should unite in singing a psalm of praise for her

Very appropriate were the lines of her son Charles on this occasion:

    "In sure and steadfast hope to rise,
    And claim her mansion in the skies,
    A Christian here her flesh laid down--
    The cross exchanging for a crown."


Miss Mary Bosanquet, afterward Mrs. Fletcher, may also be numbered among
the great women of the eighteenth century. While yet unmarried, she
identified herself with the Methodists; and as a consequence was
subjected to bitter persecution, even to being excluded from her
father's house, and forbidden to have any intercourse with the younger
members of the family.

Circumstances led her to believe that it was her duty to exercise the
talents given to her, in addressing public audiences, and she
accordingly began speaking to such congregations as she chanced to have.
Such a departure from established usage brought down upon her a storm of
invective and abuse. Her family and friends felt aggrieved that she
should have allowed her enthusiasm--as they termed it--to lead her into
what they deemed such an indecorous proceeding; and for a time she found
it exceedingly difficult to stem the tide of opposition raised against
her. But her natural good sense and independence of character were
greatly in her favor. Ultimately, without her having yielded to the
pressure brought to bear upon her, she overcame all opposition, and her
family became reconciled to her.

She preached in various parts of England with acceptance, as she had
opportunity, from shortly after her conversion till her marriage; and
then, as it would have been a violation of a canon of the Church of
England--of which Mr. Fletcher was a minister--for a woman to occupy the
pulpit of the church at Madeley, her husband had a large building
erected, in close proximity to the rectory, for her especial use. Here,
for the few years that he was spared to his wife, it was Mr. Fletcher's
pleasure--though he had few equals in erudition--to listen to the gentle
teachings of this amiable woman. Her eloquence was so very remarkable,
that more than twenty years of public speaking had not in the least
diminished the interest with which she was listened to. Crowds attended
on her ministry, not from idle curiosity, but for edification.

So beneficial had Mrs. Fletcher's ministrations at Madeley been found to
be, that on the death of her husband, and the appointment of a
successor, the new rector, not wishing to retard the progress of true
Christianity in his parish, requested her to continue to use the
building erected for her convenience just as she had formerly done. Mrs.
Fletcher accepted the invitation so cordially given, and for many years
was an efficient co-laborer with the rector.

Nor did the public career of Mrs. Fletcher mar her efficiency in the
management of her domestic concerns. Both at Laytonstone and at Madeley,
she attended carefully to her household, overseeing every thing
connected with what is technically termed the women's department, with
particular scrupulousness. At last her long and active life was nearing
its close. For thirty years she had mourned the loss of her venerated
husband, of whom, in her seventy-sixth year, she thus makes mention in
her journal:

"_August_ 13, 1815.--Thirty years, this day, I drank the bitter cup and
closed the eyes of my beloved husband, and now I am myself in a dying
state." Then, in view of her own approaching end, she continues: "Lord,
prepare me. I feel death very near. My soul doth wait and long to the
bosom of my God." A little earlier in this year she had written: "O, I
long that the year fifteen [1815] may be the best year of my life." With
the great apostle she could say, "Having a desire to depart, and be with
Christ." And now she was realizing the fulfillment of that longing
desire. Her labors were about ended. Soon she was to enter into the
Christian's promised rest. On the 9th of December, 1815, she closed her
eyes to sublunary objects to open them in the paradise above. Rev. Mr.
Dodson, who attended her funeral, said of her: "Her congregations were
fully as large, after thirty years' labors, as when she first opened her
commission among them."

Where is the clergyman of whom more can be said?


While Miss Bosanquet was still living at Laytonstone, she had associated
with her two other ladies equally eminent for their earnest piety, and
for the diligence with which they prosecuted every good work. It was
their delight, among other things, to assist Miss Bosanquet in
dispensing her munificent charities, which were so managed as to be
given without ostentation. These two intimate friends of Miss Bosanquet
were Miss Crosby and Miss Tripp. From the very commencement of a
regularly organized movement among the Methodists, class and band
meetings had been found very useful as a means of instructing the people
who had united with these societies, and, in the capacity of
class-leaders and band-leaders, these three ladies were perhaps
unsurpassed in England.

By what some would perhaps call a mere accidental circumstance, Miss
Crosby found herself, upon an occasion, in a position where she must
speak to a congregation or send them home disappointed, and be guilty of
what she deemed an omission of a duty clearly pointed out to her by
Providence. She had given no intimation of any intention, on her part,
of doing more than she usually did at this place--simply leading her
ordinary class--and had designed doing nothing more, when, on her
arrival there, she found nearly two hundred persons present anxious for
instruction. To lead the class in the customary manner was impossible.
She, therefore, after conducting the preliminary services, delivered a
general address, dwelling particularly on the necessity of repentance,
and presenting Christ as a compassionate Redeemer. This extempore
address was attended with such beneficial results, that her friends
insisted upon her exercising her very evident talent in this direction,
and, though averse to any thing like forwardness, she did not feel that
she was justified in refusing to comply with the wishes of those on
whose judgment she relied. Wherever she went, success attended her
efforts, and she traveled extensively throughout the kingdom, speaking
sometimes to very large audiences.

Dr. Stevens, the celebrated American Methodist historian, thus sums up
the work of a single year. "In that time," says he, "she traveled nine
hundred and sixty miles to hold two hundred and twenty public meetings,
and about six hundred select meetings, besides writing one hundred and
sixteen letters, many of them long ones, and holding many conversations
in private with individuals who wished to consult her on religious
subjects." In this latter department of the Christian ministry she
particularly excelled.

Like her friend, Mrs. Fletcher, she lived to a very old age; and at
seventy-five, or nearly that, calmly composed herself for death, by a
vigorous effort of the will closing her own eyes and mouth. Her demise
occurred October 24, 1804.


The first wife of the Rev. Adoniram Judson was a brilliant
exemplification of the truth of the position we have advanced--namely,
that a woman may be endowed with intellectual powers of a high order;
that she may assiduously cultivate those powers and employ them in
advancing objects that commend themselves to her judgment outside of her
own family circle; that she may become an active and efficient
participator in affairs of a public nature, requiring of her wisdom,
eloquence, and courage; and all this without her deteriorating in the
slightest degree in any of the valuable qualities or attractive graces
that characterize a truly womanly woman.

Mrs. Judson's history, as connected with the Burmese Mission, which her
husband and herself were instruments in the hand of God in
establishing, is too well known to require extended notice here. A few
points, however, may be glanced at. Throughout the difficulties which
beset them during the first year after their arrival at Calcutta, when
there seemed to be no open door through which they might enter upon
their destined work, and all their hopes of usefulness seemed doomed to
disappointment, Mrs. Judson was as little disposed to succumb to these
adverse circumstances as her husband.

The British East India Company did not favor Christian missions, and
were at that time (1812) particularly unfriendly to American
missionaries. They had spent but a few days in the congenial society of
the venerable Dr. Carey's hospitable home, when they were ordered, by
the Government, to leave the country and return to America. Hoping to be
allowed to prosecute their work in some country not under the Company's
jurisdiction, they solicited and obtained permission to go to the Isle
of France. But before Mr. and Mrs. Judson were able to secure a passage
there, they received a new order from the Government commanding them to
embark on a vessel bound for England.

Just then they heard of a vessel about to sail for the Isle of France,
and applied for a passport to go on her, but were refused. The captain,
however, though knowing of the refusal, allowed them to embark. The
vessel was overtaken by a Government dispatch, forbidding the pilot to
conduct it further seaward, because there were persons on board who had
been ordered to England. They were obliged to land; but finally the
captain was induced to disregard orders so far as to allow Mrs. Judson
to return to the vessel, and to convey her and their baggage to a point
opposite a tavern, a number of miles down the river, Mr. Judson being
left to make his way as best he could.

Let us imagine that refined and tenderly reared lady, landing from the
pilot's boat, which he had kindly sent to take her ashore, alone, a
stranger in a foreign land, uncertain of the character of the place in
which she was obliged to seek shelter, and not knowing what might occur
to prevent her husband rejoining her. Instead of weakly yielding to
despondency, she promptly engaged a boat to go out after the vessel, to
bring their effects ashore. Then, though impenetrable darkness so
shrouded their future that she could not see how the next step was to be
taken, she looked for light upon their pathway, and deliverance from
their perplexities, to Him whom they served, and calmly trusted the
issue to Him. Before night, Mr. Judson arrived at the place where his
wife waited, in safety, as did also their baggage.

For three days they could see no way out of their difficulty. Then they
received, from an unknown friend, the necessary pass. Hastening down the
river at a point seventy miles distant, they found the vessel they had
left, were received on board, and allowed to continue their voyage.

When they dropped anchor at the Isle of France, the dangers of the
voyage, and the trials that had preceded it over, they were looking
forward to a season of enjoyment in the society of their associate
missionaries, Mr. and Mrs. Newell, who had accompanied them on the
voyage from America, and had preceded them from Calcutta to the Isle of
France. But disappointment deeper, sadder than any that had gone before,
awaited them. Mrs. Judson says: "Have at last arrived in port; but O,
what news--what distressing news! Harriet (Mrs. Newell) is dead.
Harriet, my dear friend, my earliest associate in the mission, is no
more. O death, could not this wide world afford thee victims enough, but
thou must enter the family of a solitary few, whose comfort and
happiness depended so much on the society of each other? Could not this
infant mission be shielded from thy shafts?" "But be still, my heart,
and know that God has done it. Just and true are thy ways, O thou King
of saints!"

To her sorrow for her friend and her anxiety at the uncertainties of
their situation, was added, while on the island, a severe attack of
illness. But when a field supposed to be accessible to missionaries was
determined upon, though only partially recovered, she cheerfully
prepared to brave new dangers and the repetition of former trials. They
sailed for Madras; and, on their arrival there, found but one ship in
the harbor ready for sea, and that not bound for their desired port, but
for Burma. They had intended going to Burma when they first arrived in
India, but had been dissuaded from so doing by the representations of
their friends that the country was altogether inaccessible to
missionaries. They dared not remain long in Madras, lest the officials
of the East India Company should send them back to America. Thus, every
other way being closed up against them, they were obliged to turn their
faces toward that country in which they became so eminently useful.

The voyage was one of discomfort and peril. When they arrived at
Rangoon, then the capital of Burma, Mrs. Judson was so weak that she had
to be carried in an arm-chair from the landing. Thankful to have at last
found a resting-place, they as quickly as possible established
themselves in the house they were to occupy.

As soon as Mrs. Judson's health was sufficiently restored, they gave
their attention to the study of the Burmese language. It is worthy of
remark, that although Mrs. Judson charged herself with the entire
management of family affairs, in order that Mr. Judson might not be
interrupted in prosecuting the study of the language, yet she made more
rapid progress in acquiring it than he did. Subsequently, she studied
the Siamese language also, and translated a Catechism and one of the
Gospels into that tongue. As soon as she was able to make herself
understood, she diligently endeavored to impart the knowledge of the
truth, as it is in Jesus, to those who would listen to her instructions.
Though they were attentive and inquisitive, it was long before fruit
appeared; but undiscouraged, she, with prayer and faith, continued to
sow beside all waters.

Mrs. Judson was surprised at the native intelligence and reflecting
minds possessed by some of the Burmese women. The case of a woman named
May-Meulah is given as an instance of this:

"Previous to the arrival of the missionaries in her country, her active
mind was led to inquire the origin of all things. Who created all that
her eyes beheld? she inquired of all she met, and visited priests and
teachers in vain; and such was her anxiety, that her friends feared for
her reason. She resolved to learn to read, that she might consult the
sacred books. Her husband, willing to gratify her curiosity, taught her
to read, himself. In their sacred literature she found nothing
satisfactory. For ten years she prosecuted her inquiries, when God in
his providence brought to her notice a tract written by Mr. Judson in
the Burmese language, which so far solved her difficulties, that she was
led to seek out its author. From him she learned the truths of the
Gospel, and, by the Holy Spirit, those truths were made the means of her

Mrs. Judson's politic mind seeing the probable importance to the mission
of making friends in high places, she procured an introduction to the
wife of the viceroy, and, while visiting her, met the viceroy also.
After giving an interesting account of the visit, she adds: "My object
in visiting her was, that if we should get into any difficulty with the
Burmans, I could have access to her, when perhaps it would not be
possible for Mr. Judson to have an audience with the viceroy."

Thus studying, teaching, and planning; laboring with her hands, and
enduring pain, sickness, and sorrow; unsolaced by Christian society,
except her husband's,--three anxious years passed.

In their course, her first-born had come to warm her heart with a new
love, and, for a few brief months, to delight them with the unfolding of
his baby graces. Then death entered, and bore away their darling, and
left hearts and home more lonely than before.

The arrival of additional missionaries from America--Mr. and Mrs.
Hough--in the Autumn of 1816, for a time greatly cheered and encouraged
them. But fresh trials were in store for them. Mr. Judson had embarked
for the province of Arracan; and when they were daily looking for his
return, a vessel arrived from the port to which he had sailed, bringing
the disheartening tidings that neither he nor the vessel in which he had
sailed had been heard of there. While, tortured by suspense on Mr.
Judson's account, new terrors alarmed the mission family. Mr. Hough was
ordered to the court-house, and detained there for days under a threat
that "if he did not tell all the truth in relation to the foreigners,
they would write with his heart's blood." Not understanding the language
of his accusers, he was unable to plead his own cause, and he had no
male friend to do it for him. Had Mrs. Judson, in this extremity,
allowed herself to be absorbed in her own sorrow, or yielded to
timidity, Mr. Hough would probably have suffered a long and rigorous
confinement, if indeed he had escaped with his life. But undaunted by
the odium, or even danger, that might accrue to herself, she, in
violation of court etiquette, presented herself at the palace with a
petition in Mr. Hough's behalf. The viceroy, without manifesting any
displeasure at the breach of etiquette, ordered Mr. Hough to be set at

Six months of painful suspense passed, and yet no tidings of Mr.
Judson. That dreadful scourge, the cholera, was raging, and they were
alarmed by rumors of war. Mr. Hough resolved to remove his family to
Bengal, and urged Mrs. Judson to accompany them. She says: "I have ever
felt resolved not to make any movement till I hear from Mr. Judson.
Within a few days, however, some circumstances have occurred which have
induced me to make preparations for a voyage. There is but one remaining
ship in the river; and if an embargo is laid on English ships, it will
be impossible for Mr. Judson--if he is yet alive--to return to this
place." Therefore she yielded to the solicitations of Mr. and Mrs.
Hough, and embarked with them. But, reviewing all the conditions of the
case as the vessel slowly made its way down the river, it became clear
to her mind that whatever were the dangers of her position at Rangoon,
yet there was her post of duty. Once convinced of what was duty, this
heroic woman was not to be deterred from it by dangers, however
formidable. Her resolution was taken; and, having prevailed upon the
captain to send a boat up the river with her, she returned alone to the
mission-house. The wisdom of her decision was proved in a short time by
the safe return of Mr. Judson. Later, when failing health necessitated a
change of climate, Mrs. Judson showed herself as well adapted to moving
gracefully in cultivated and refined society as she was to contending
with adversity and danger in a heathen land.

Her eloquent appeals, both in England and America, in behalf of the
perishing millions of the East, and her history of the Burmese Mission,
prepared during her visit to the United States, stirred up missionary
zeal in the heart of Protestant Christendom, and gave an impetus to the
cause of missions that has gone on accelerating to the present time.

In the mean time, other missionaries had arrived in Burma, among whom
was Dr. Price, the fame of whose skill in medicine reached the ears of
the king; and Dr. Price was ordered to Ava, then the capital. Dr. Price
obeyed the summons; and Mr. Judson, anxious to make another effort to
procure toleration for the Christians, accompanied him. The king
received them kindly, determined to retain Dr. Price at Ava, and
urgently insisted upon Mr. Judson's remaining also. Rejoiced to find the
king so favorably disposed toward the Christians, Mr. Judson resolved to
accept the invitation, but represented that he must return to Rangoon
for his wife.

A few days after Mrs. Judson arrived from America, they therefore left
Rangoon, and commenced a mission at Ava; which soon became to them the
theater of such martyr-like sufferings and exalted heroism as to do
justice to which would require a volume. Erelong, the war so long feared
between the British and the Burmese actually broke out. The Englishmen
at Ava were all seized and imprisoned, and with them Mr. Judson and Dr.
Price. In vain the missionaries protested that they were not Englishmen.
Identical with the latter in language, religion, manners, dress, etc.,
and receiving their funds through an English house, the Burmese could
not, or would not, understand that they belonged to another nation.

Mrs. Judson was not allowed to leave her own house till the third day; a
guard having been placed around it, and no one allowed to enter or leave
it but at the penalty of life. She obtained egress at last, by causing
the governor to be informed that she wished to visit him with a present.
The guard were then ordered to allow her to pass. Her plea for their
release was without effect; but she was directed to an officer with whom
she might arrange with regard to making them more comfortable. By paying
a considerable sum of money to this man, she obtained a promise that
their sufferings should be mitigated.

The Governor gave her an order for her admittance to the prison, but she
was not allowed to enter. She saw Mr. Judson at the door, whither he
crawled to speak with her. But even this sad communing was cut short by
a rude order to Mrs. Judson to "depart, or they would pull her out." She
was, however, allowed to supply the prisoners with food, and mats to lie

This was the beginning of a long series of such visits to the prison--of
efforts for the comfort of the prisoners, and appeals in their behalf to
jailers, petty officers, magistrates, governors, or members of the royal

She was subjected to all manner of extortion and annoyance, being
repeatedly brought before the authorities on the most absurd charges.
The fear that her husband would be put to death so haunted her, that she
was willing to meet the most exorbitant demands, hoping thereby to
conciliate his persecutors.

After she had succeeded in effecting some slight improvement in their
condition, all was reversed by a disastrous battle; the success of the
British being visited upon the prisoners, by the withdrawal of all the
little comforts Mrs. Judson had at so much cost and trouble obtained for
them. When they were dragged from one city to another, she followed,
renewing the same wearing round of toiling, pleading, paying, to procure
some alleviation of their misery.

The estimation in which she was held by those acquainted with the facts,
may be seen by the following, written by one of Mr. Judson's

"Mrs. Judson was the author of those eloquent and forcible appeals to
the Government which prepared them by degrees for submission to terms of
peace, never expected by any who knew the haughtiness and inflexible
pride of the Burmese Court.

"And while on this subject, the overflowings of grateful feelings, on
behalf of myself and fellow-prisoners, compel me to add a tribute of
public thanks to that amiable and humane female, who, though living at a
distance of two miles from our prison, without any means of conveyance,
and very feeble in health, forgot her own comfort and infirmity, and
almost every day visited us, sought out and administered to our wants,
and contributed in every way to alleviate our misery.

"When we were all left by the Government destitute of food, she, with
unwearied perseverance, by some means or other, obtained for us a
constant supply.

" ... When the unfeeling avarice of our keepers confined us inside, or
made our feet fast in the stocks, she, like a ministering angel, never
ceased her applications to the Government until she was authorized to
communicate to us the grateful news of our enlargement, or of a respite
from our galling oppressions.

"Besides all this, it was unquestionably owing in a chief degree to the
repeated eloquence and forcible appeals of Mrs. Judson, that the
untutored Burman was finally made willing to secure the welfare of his
country by a sincere peace."

The war being over, Mr. Judson determined to remove into one of the
provinces ceded to the British; and the new town of Amherst was selected
as their place of residence.

The natives converted to Christianity through the instrumentality of the
missionaries, had been dispersed during the war; and many of them now
gathered to Amherst, to enjoy again the instructions of their beloved
teachers. Their prospects now seemed highly encouraging; and Mr. Judson
departed on a journey by which he hoped to advance the interests of the
mission, leaving Mrs. Judson engaged with her characteristic energy in
carrying forward arrangements to facilitate their work.

But never more were that clear head, ready hand, and sympathetic heart
to aid or encourage him in his labors, or succor him in the hour of
calamity. Her work was done.

A fever seized her, and her constitution, undermined by the exhausting
sufferings, mental and physical, through which she had passed during the
war, was not able to withstand the violence of the disease. There,
without husband or kindred to receive her frail infant from her
paralyzing arms, or to speak words of love or comfort in her dying ears,
she battled with the last enemy, and terminated her singularly eventful
and useful life.

In 1848, more than twenty years after her death, a writer in the
_Calcutta Review_ thus speaks of her:

"Of Mrs. Judson, little is known in the noisy world. Few,
comparatively, are acquainted with her name--few with her actions; but
if any woman, since the first arrival of the white strangers on the
shores of India, has, on that great theater of war stretching between
the mouth of the Irrawaddy and the borders of Hindoo Koosh, rightly
earned for herself the title of a heroine, Mrs. Judson has, by her
doings and sufferings, fairly earned the distinction--a distinction, be
it said, which her true woman's nature would have very little
appreciated. Still, it is right that she should be honored by the world.
Her sufferings were far more unendurable, her heroism far more noble,
than any which in more recent times have been so much pitied and so much
applauded.... She was the real heroine. The annals in the East present
us with no parallel."


Who so worthily followed in the footsteps of the first Mrs. Judson,
arrived in India with her first husband, the Rev. George D. Boardman,
while Mr. Judson and his fellow-sufferers were still prisoners in Ava.
They remained in Calcutta till the close of the war, and some time
after, preparing themselves by the study of the Burmese language, etc.,
for their subsequent career of usefulness in Burma.

After they had joined the other missionaries at Amherst, Maulmain was
determined upon as the scene of their future labors, and thither they
repaired. The dangers that encompassed their new residence were such as
in the presence of which even stout hearts might have been excused for
quailing. The mission-house was a slight structure of bamboos,
constituting scarcely any obstruction to assailants disposed to effect
an entrance, and in such close proximity to the jungle that the
slumbers of the missionaries were frequently disturbed by the howling of
the wild beasts, whose lairs had so recently given place to human
habitations. Maulmain was then a new city that had suddenly sprung into
existence within the territory ceded to the British.

They had been settled in their new abode but a few weeks, when it was
entered in the night by robbers, who overhauled all their effects, and
carried away most of their valuables while they slept.

Mrs. Boardman, speaking of the event, says: "After the first amazement
had a little subsided, I raised my eyes to the curtains surrounding our
bed, and, to my indescribable emotion, saw two large holes cut, the one
at the head and the other at the foot of the place where my dear husband
had been sleeping. From that moment I quite forgot the stolen goods, and
thought only of the treasure that was spared. In imagination I saw the
assassins, with their horrid weapons, standing by our bedside, ready to
do their worst had we been permitted to wake. O, how merciful was that
watchful Providence which prolonged those powerful slumbers of that
night, not allowing even the infant at my bosom to open its eyes at so
critical a moment!"

After the robbery, a guard was sent from the English barracks to protect
the missionaries in case of another visit from the marauders. One of the
guard narrowly escaped death from a wild beast, which, rushing out of
the jungle, leaped upon him while he was seated upon the veranda of the
mission-house. Happily there was help at hand, and the animal was
frightened away before the man had sustained serious injury.

Do we find Mrs. Boardman, while thus continually exposed to attacks of
ravenous beasts and fierce banditti, deploring her situation, or
expressing a desire to relinquish their work and return to the security
and comfort of civilized life? On the contrary, she characterizes the
months in which these events were transpiring as among the happiest of
her life, because she felt that they were in the path of duty.

Afterward, in order to the further extension of missionary operations in
the country, it was judged advisable for Mr. and Mrs. Boardman to leave
the infant Church and the schools they had so successfully established
at Maulmain, to the care of the other missionaries, and to proceed
themselves to Tavoy. Accordingly, they sundered the ties that bound them
to their first Indian home, and to the natives in whose conversion they
had been instrumental, and again devoted their energies to breaking up
new ground.

At Tavoy, after overcoming various obstacles and discouragements, they
succeeded in establishing schools, and were cheered by indications of
prosperity and some conversions among the natives.

The conversion of a Karen having attracted Mr. Boardman's attention to
that interesting tribe, he, though scarcely recovered from a dangerous
illness, made a tour among them with very gratifying results. It
required no small amount of courage and of exalted devotion to the cause
in which they were engaged to make Mrs. Boardman willing to be left,
with her two little ones, among the natives in such a place, and with no
better protection from outside dangers than a bamboo hut, her mind, at
the same time, distressed by sad forebodings as to the probable
consequence to her husband's feeble health of the exposures, toils, and
dangers inseparable from his journey. But she was equal to this and to
sorer trials which yet awaited them at Tavoy. Some of these were
consequences of the rebellion of the Tavoyans against the British.

It was fortunate for Mr. and Mrs. Boardman that they, at that time,
resided in a place occupied by a British force; small though the force
was, yet to its presence they were probably indebted for their
exemption from aggravated sufferings, if not from death itself.

From a letter of Mr. Boardman's we take some extracts. He says: "On
Lord's-day morning, the 9th instant, at four o'clock, we were aroused
from our quiet slumbers by the cry of 'Teacher, master, Tavoy rebels!'
and ringing at all our doors and windows. We were soon awake to our
extreme danger, as we heard not only a continual report of musketry
within the town, but the balls were frequently passing over our heads
and through our house; and, in a few moments, a large company of
Tavoyans collected near our gate, and gave us reason to suspect they
were consulting what to do with us. We lifted our hearts to God for
protection, and Mrs. Boardman and little George were hurried away
through a back door to a retired building in the rear. I lay down in the
house (to escape the bullets), with a single Burman boy to watch and
communicate the first intelligence."

On the kind invitation of Mrs. Burney, the wife of the English
resident, who happened to be absent, they sought shelter from the storm
of bullets in the Government-house. Mr. Boardman continues: "We had been
at the Government-house but a short time, when it was agreed to evacuate
the town and retire to the warf--a large wooden building of six rooms.
Our greatest danger at this time arose from having, in one of the rooms
where many were to sleep, and all of us were continually passing,
several hundred barrels of gunpowder, to which, if fire should be
communicated accidentally by ourselves, or mischievously by others, we
should all perish at once. But, through the kind care of our Heavenly
Father, we were preserved alive, and nothing of importance occurred
until the morning of Thursday, a little before daybreak, when a party of
five hundred advanced upon us from the town, and set fire to several
houses and vessels near the warf. But God interposed in our behalf, and
sent a heavy shower of rain, which extinguished the fire, while the
Sepoys repelled the assailants."

Mrs. Boardman's biographer says: "What could be more appalling to the
stoutest heart than the situation of Mrs. Boardman and her helpless
family? Forced to flee from her frail hut, by bullets actually whizzing
through it, and to pass through the town amid the yells of an infuriated
rabble, her path sometimes impeded by the dead bodies of men who had
fallen in the conflict; driven from the shelter of the Government-house,
again to fly through the streets to the warf-house, and there, with
three or four hundred fugitives crowded together, to await death, which
threatened them in every form; hearing over their heads the rush of
cannon balls, and seeing from burning buildings showers of sparks
falling, one of which, if it reached the magazines under their roof, was
sufficient to tear the building from its foundations, and whelm them all
in one common ruin; or, if they escaped this danger, to know that
hundreds of merciless barbarians, with knives and cutlasses, might, at
any moment, rush into the building and destroy them,--can the female
heart, we are ready to ask, endure such fearful trial? Yes: her mind was
stayed by a 'courage not her own;' ... its calmness was that of a child
who, in its utter helplessness, clings to its father's arm."

Her distress was aggravated by the alarming illness of her little boy,
caused by the foul air of the warf-house and the absence of accustomed
comforts; but, by the blessing of God upon her watchful care, it was
spared to her.

"With what transports of joy did that suffering company hail the sight
of the thin blue smoke that heralded the arrival of a steamer from
Maulmain! Amid what distracting fears for her husband, left in the
revolted city, her infant and herself, did Mrs. Boardman decide to go on
board the steamer returning to Maulmain! And with what gratitude and
joy did she, after several days of painful suspense, welcome to the same
city her husband, and hear the tidings of the triumph of British power
and the restoration of tranquillity!"

The rebellion being suppressed, Mr. Boardman set about repairing the
mischief it had wrought. Their house had been cut to pieces, and their
books, clothing, furniture, etc., carried off, mutilated, or destroyed.
He gathered up such fragments as remained, and made the best
arrangements in his power for future comfort and usefulness. Illness and
other causes detained Mrs. Boardman for some time at Maulmain; but,
before Winter, she had returned, and they were again engaged in their
"loved employ," and were greatly strengthened and encouraged by seeing
the good seed they had so faithfully sown amid opposition and
discouragement, bringing forth fruit in the conversion of the heathen.
But, even while rejoicing in these triumphs of the truth, Mrs. Boardman
could not conceal from herself the conviction that a greater sorrow than
any she had yet known was coming upon her. She had already twice
experienced the agony that wrings the hearts of bereaved parents. Of
their three children, two had been taken from them by death,--their
first-born, a lovely and promising little girl of two years and eight
months; and, afterward, their second son, a beautiful babe of eight
months. But all the suffering and sorrow that she had yet endured seemed
as nothing in comparison with that which now threatened to overwhelm
her. Her beloved husband, who had been her comfort and solace under
previous bereavements, was now himself too evidently passing away.

Ardently affectionate in her nature, she suffered intense anguish of
spirit; but instead of giving way to rebellious repinings, the poor
bruised heart carried its sorrows to the Great Healer, and in his
strength she girded herself with fresh courage to do all that might yet
be done.

When her dying husband could not be dissuaded from employing the last
remnant of his ebbing life in another visit to his beloved Karens, we
find her taking her place beside his portable couch, that his sufferings
might receive every possible alleviation; that he might lack no tender
attention that the most devoted love could give.

They arrived at their destination on the third day, and found awaiting
them nearly a hundred natives, more than half of whom were applicants
for baptism. The place prepared for the accommodation of Mr. and Mrs.
Boardman and their little boy, was a room five feet wide and ten feet
long, so low that Mrs. Boardman could not stand upright in it, and so
insufficiently inclosed as not to shelter the sufferer from the cold and
damp of the night air, or the scorching rays of the sun by day. Those
who have known what it is to watch beside dying loved ones, witnessing
suffering that they were powerless to relieve, can imagine the anguish
that Mrs. Boardman endured in seeing her husband so near his end in that
miserable place, destitute of the little comforts so needful in
sickness. But with heroic determination she repressed her own sorrow,
lest it might incapacitate her for assisting him while rallying his
expiring energies for one more effort in his Master's cause. The poor
worn body, though, was found unequal to the task assigned it by the
zealous spirit, and he was forced to admit that his work was done.

Mrs. Boardman, speaking of their return journey, in which they were
accompanied by large numbers of the sorrowing native converts, says:
"But at four o'clock in the afternoon, we were overtaken by a violent
shower of rain, accompanied by lightning and thunder. There was no house
in sight, and we were obliged to remain in the open air, exposed to the
merciless storm. We covered him with mats and blankets, and held our
umbrellas over him, all to no purpose. I was obliged to stand and see
the storm beating upon him till his mattress and pillows were drenched
with rain. We hastened on, and soon came to a Tavoy house. The
inhabitants at first refused us admittance.... After some persuasion,
they admitted us into the house, or rather veranda; for they would not
allow us to sleep inside, though I begged the privilege for my sick
husband with tears.... The rain still continued, and his cot was wet, so
that he was obliged to lie on the bamboo floor. Having found a place
where our little boy could sleep without danger of falling through
openings in the floor, I threw myself down, without undressing, beside
my beloved husband."

Thus they passed the last night of his life; and, before another night,
it was but a lifeless corpse that the attendants were bearing back to
her now desolate home.

In her grief and loneliness, her heart doubtless yearned for the
soothing sympathy of her kindred and friends in her native land. Who
would have censured her, if in view of what had been achieved among the
natives since their coming to Tavoy, and of all the trials and toils and
dangers of her Indian life, it had seemed to her that her work was
accomplished; and that it would then be no desertion of duty for her,
with her little boy to educate, to return to America? If, during the
first sad days of her bereavement, such thoughts flitted through her
mind, they did not long find lodgment there. Soon the native converts
began to come to her, as of old, with their difficulties and
perplexities, and inquiries for instruction. The duty of responding to
these appeals forbade the indulgence of engrossing sorrow, and caused
her to realize that, when work for the Master was pressing on every
hand, and one of the laborers had fallen in the field, his
fellow-laborers, instead of relaxing their efforts, should feel it
imperative on them, if possible, to redouble their diligence.

Thenceforward her labors became more onerous than they had been during
Mr. Boardman's life; and they continued so, even after the arrival of
the new missionaries, Mr. Mason and his wife, who of necessity were
chiefly occupied with the study of the language. In one of her letters
of this period she says:

"Every moment of my time is occupied, from sunrise till ten in the
evening. It is late bed-time, and I am surrounded by five Karen
women.... The Karens are beginning to come to us in companies; and with
them, and our scholars in the town, and the care of my darling boy, you
will scarce think I have much leisure for letter-writing."

Later, she writes: "The superintendence of the food and clothing of both
the boarding-schools, together with the care of five day-schools under
native teachers, devolves wholly on me."

She also made difficult journeys through the wild jungles to the Karen
villages, to strengthen, encourage, and instruct the poor natives; thus
performing efficiently, though informally, the work of an evangelist.

After her marriage with Dr. Judson, and her consequent return to
Maulmain, she was still busily engaged in conducting schools,
Bible-class, etc., besides attending to her family. She also learned the
Peguan language, into which she translated the New Testament, a Life of
Christ, and several tracts. In Burmese she had previously become
proficient, and she translated "Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress" into that
language. A number of the hymns prepared for the use of the mission were
also from her pen.

At Maulmain she was exposed to fewer vicissitudes and dangers than at
Tavoy, so that the intrepid aspect of her character became less
conspicuous; but her life was filled up with increased maternal
responsibilities and domestic cares, added to other arduous labors of
the same class with those which she had previously discharged with so
much sound judgment, and in which she exhibited so happily the ability
to influence and govern those under her control, and at the same time to
win their love and reverence for herself. One of her biographers says of

"Sweetness and strength, gentleness and firmness, were in her character
most happily blended. Her mind was both poetical and practical. She had
a refined taste, and a love for the beautiful as well as the excellent."

In early life she wooed the Muses with respectable success; and though
the stern labors of mature years left her little leisure for the
indulgence of poetic fancies, yet the last expression of her love
committed to writing flowed from her pen in numbers of touching grace
and tenderness.

Her constitution having been broken down by her incessant toils, a
voyage to America was recommended in order to recuperate it. On the
voyage thither, when between the Isle of France and St. Helena, she
died, and was buried on the latter island.

We have selected these two gifted Christian women as representative
missionary women, who, though brilliant examples, did not excel many
others in the host of devoted women who have gone out from Great Britain
and America into the dark places of the earth, on the same godlike

We have already mentioned the honored names of several philanthropic
ladies, whose works praise them throughout Europe and America. The list
might be extended indefinitely, but we have space for but a few.


The National Hospital erected for the Paralyzed and Epileptic (England)
owes its origin to the humane efforts of two sisters, Joanna and Louisa
Chandler. These ladies, finding that among all the charitable
institutions existing in London there was not one into which a poor
paralyzed man would be admitted, conceived the idea of establishing a
hospital for that particular class of sufferers. Though only in moderate
circumstances, they devoted two hundred pounds of their own means to the
object. For five years, they received no assistance; but their continued
appeals at length attracted public attention. Various philanthropic
gentlemen and ladies became interested in the enterprise. The necessary
funds were collected mainly by the exertions of Miss J. Chandler and the
ladies who had associated themselves with her, and the hospital became
an accomplished fact.

The same persevering energy, directed by sound judgment and practical
business talent, was conspicuously displayed by Miss Adaline Cooper, in
her efforts for the improvement of the condition and morals of the
costermongers of Tothill Fields, Westminster. Among the degraded, they
as a class were regarded as the most degraded. But, strong in her faith
in the power of kindness, she went in among them, and commenced day and
night schools, a Sunday-school, a mothers' meeting, and a temperance
society. Through these appliances she influenced the women and children,
but the men stood aloof. The more desperate even threatened to drive her
and her assistants away; but she was not to be intimidated. She erected
a handsome building for a Costermongers' Club; and constructed a
dwelling-house large enough to accommodate fifty or sixty families. The
entire expenditure for these purposes amounted to nearly nine thousand

Soon after the Club was formed, a large number of the members,
perceiving the benefit of abstinence, signed the pledge. She formed a
Bible-class for their improvement, and established a penny-bank for the
Band of Hope.

In reward of her labors, she had the satisfaction of seeing a marked
reformation in both their morals and circumstances. Very many of these
poor people, the very name of whose calling had been a synonym for
dishonesty and kindred vices, became sober, industrious, and honest men
and women.

Sketches innumerable of other women of very great merit, particularly of
those who have enriched our literature during the present century, might
be added, did the limits of so small a volume permit; which it does not.
It must suffice, therefore, to mention the names of a few of these,
while the names of many others equally meritorious must necessarily be

First, we write Mrs. Browning, a name surrounded by a halo of glory from
the scintillations of her own genius.

Charlotte Bronté, Miss Mulock, Mrs. Wood, and Mrs. Oliphant form a
brilliant galaxy, but scarcely outshine others in the same department.

Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe has made her mark upon her age, and is not
likely to be forgotten while the War of Secession is remembered.

The sweet strains of the sisters Cary will linger long in the ears and
hearts of the lovers of song.

The name of the gentle Swede, Fredrika Bremer, will live as long as the
language in which she writes shall be spoken or read; while Mary Howitt,
her translator, is, through these beautiful translations, and her own
inimitably chaste and home-like stones, endeared to both English and
American hearts.

Mrs. Willard will bear a favorable comparison with any other American
historian, let him be ever so famous.

Mrs. Moodie and her gifted sisters, Mrs. Trail and Miss Strickland,
have acquired a world-wide reputation by their pens.

Which of our living authors possesses a more terse or vigorous style
than Gail Hamilton? And where are more self-sacrificing spirits to be
found than in those bands of lady missionaries, worthy successors of
Harriet Newell and Ann Hasseltine Judson, who every year leave our
coasts to carry the Gospel to heathen lands?

Large numbers of clever women are attracting the attention of the
thinking people of both England and America, not only as public speakers
and leaders of much-needed reforms, but for the honorable position to
which they have attained in literary and scientific circles and in the
arts. The scenes, however, in which they are the active participants are
still transpiring; and therefore these women, some of them both
honorable and great, in the best and highest acceptation of the terms,
can not just at the present be classed among the women of history. But
though they are not far enough back in the past to be placed in this
category, they are furnishing the materials for both an instructive and
an interesting one in the future; and that future, too, not very far
distant. All honor to the brave, the good, and true among them.


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