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Title: The College, the Market, and the Court - or, Woman's relation to education, labor and law
Author: Dall, Caroline H.
Language: English
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                "Let this be copied out,
  And keep it safe for our remembrance.
  Return the precedent to these lords again."--KING JOHN.

  "How canst thou make me thy friend who in nothing am like thee?
  Thy life and dwelling are under the waters; but my way of living
  Is to eat all that man does!"--BATRACHOMYOMACHIA.


  Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1867, by


  In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of





  This Book is Dedicated,


                        "A woman
  Leading with sober pace an armed man,
  All bossed in gold, and thus the superscription:
  'I, Justice, bring this injured exile back
  To claim his portion in his father's hall.'"




When, some years ago, I delivered nine lectures upon the Condition of
Woman, I had no intention of printing them until time had matured my
judgments and justified my conclusions. Peculiar circumstances
afterwards induced me to modify this decision. The first course of
lectures, now printed as "The College," had proved unexpectedly popular,
and was many times repeated. At its close, I announced the second course
upon Labor, involving the subject of Prostitution as the result of Low
Wages; and a very unexpected opposition ensued. My files can still show
the large number of letters I received, beseeching me not to touch this
subject; and private intercession followed, on the part of those I hold
wisest and most dear, to the same effect. Why I did not yield to all the
clamor, I cannot tell,--except that I was not working for myself nor
_of_ myself.

I thought it, however, necessary to take unusual precautions to prevent
these lectures from being misunderstood. I wrote private notes,
enclosing tickets, to almost all the leading clergymen, asking that
they would attend them as a personal favor to myself. I believe I did
not allude to the efforts which had been made to silence me, except when
I wrote to those who had joined in the outcry. In that case, I demanded
the attendance as an act of justice. These notes were kindly responded
to; and grateful tears started to my eyes, when I found on the seats
before me white-haired men, who set aside their prejudices for my sake.
Whatever might have been thought before, the delivery of the lectures
silenced all objections. They were fully attended and frequently
repeated; and I followed the delivery by the printing of this particular
course, in order that misunderstandings should not have time to
establish themselves. The book was well received, both at home and
abroad. Letters came to me from the far shores of India and Africa,
thanking me for its publication. The first edition was sold at once; and
I should have reprinted the book, but that I did not wish to re-issue
these lectures in an isolated form. I wanted them reprinted, if at all,
in their proper place, subordinated to my main thought.

I smile a little as I look back. The remonstrances upon my file, dated
less than ten years ago, would now be earnestly repudiated by the dear
friends who wrote them.

After the delivery of the third course, upon Law, local reasons decided
the publication of that book. Many efforts were being made in the
different States to change laws; and it was thought that the lectures
would give necessary information.

Of the first course, nothing has ever been printed in this country. The
second lecture was printed, by a sympathizing friend in England, as a
tract, and widely circulated. Part of it was reprinted with approbation
in the "Englishwoman's Journal." The whole of this course is now given
to American readers in its proper connection, in which it is hoped, that
its bearing upon the later lectures will be seen, and a new significance
given to its suggestions. The history of these volumes seems to make it
necessary to reprint the original Prefaces in connection with the
lectures on Labor and Law.

       *       *       *       *       *

In 1856, I conceived the thought of twelve lectures, to be written
concerning Woman; to embrace, in four series of three each, all that I
felt moved to say in relation to her interests. No one knew better than
myself that they would be only "twelve baskets of fragments gathered
up;" but I could not distrust the Divine Love which still feeds the
multitudes, who wander in the desert, with "five loaves and two small

In the first three of these lectures, I stated woman's claim to a civil
position, and asked that power should be given her, under a professedly
republican government, to protect herself. In them I thus stated the
argument on which I should proceed: "The right to education--that is,
the right to the education or drawing-out of all the faculties God has
given--_involves_ the right to a choice of vocation; that is, the right
to a choice of the end to which those faculties shall be trained. The
choice of vocation necessarily _involves_ the protection of that
vocation,--the right to decide how far legislative action shall control
it; in one word, the right to the elective franchise."

Proceeding upon this formula, I delivered, in 1858, a course of lectures
stating "Woman's Claim to Education;" and this season I have condensed
my thoughts upon the freedom of vocations into the three following
lectures. There are still to be completed three lectures on "Woman's
Civil Disabilities." I should prefer to unite the twelve lectures in a
single publication; but reasons of imperative force have induced me to
hurry the printing of these "Essays on Labor." Neither Education nor
Civil Disability can dispute the public interest with this subject. No
one can know better than myself upon what wide information, what
thorough mental discipline, all considerations in regard to it should be
based. I have tried to keep my work within the compass of my ability,
and, without seeking rigid exactness of detail, to apply common sense
and right reason to problems which beset every woman's path. At the very
threshold of my work, I confronted a painful task. Before I could press
the necessity of exertion, before I could plead that labor might be
honored in the public eye, I felt that I must show some cause for the
terrible earnestness with which I was moved; and I could only do it by
facing boldly the question of "Death or Dishonor?"

"Why not leave it to be understood?" some persons may object. "Why not
leave such work to man?" the public may continue.

In answer to the first question, I would say, that very few women have
much knowledge of this "perishing class," except those actually engaged
in ministering to its despair; and that the information I have given is
drawn from wholly reliable sources, as the reader may see, but can be
obtained only by hours--nay, days and weeks--of painful and exhausting
study. Very gladly have I saved my audience that necessity: greatly have
I abbreviated whatever I have quoted. But I _meant_ to drive home the
reality of that wretchedness: I _wanted_ the women to whom I spoke to
feel for those "in bonds as bound with them;" and to understand, that to
save their own children, male and female, they must be willing to save
the children of others. It will be observed, that I have said very
little in regard to this class in the city of Boston; very little, also,
that was definite in regard to our slop-shops. The deficiency is
intentional. I would not have one woman feel that I had betrayed her
confidence, nor one employer that I had singled him out as a victim; and
it is almost impossible to speak on such subjects without finding the
application made to one's hand. I may say, in general, that a very wide
local experience sustains the arguments which I have based on published

It was also my earnest desire to prepare one article on this subject
that might be put into the hands of both sexes; that might be opened to
the young, and read in the family circle, without thrilling the reader
with any emotion less sacred than religious pity. This cannot be true of
the reports of any Moral Reform Society; for in them it is needful to
print details so gross in character as to be fit reading for none but
well-principled persons of mature age. It is not true of such a work as
Dr. Sanger's; for his historical retrospect furnishes every possible
excuse to the vices of youth, and is open to question on every page.

From the highest sources in this community--from the lips of
distinguished clergymen, scholars, and men of the world--I have had
every private assurance, that, in this respect, I have not failed.

It would be unjust not to state, that two powerful causes co-operate, in
the city of Boston, with low wages, to cause the ruin of women; I mean
the love of dress, and a morbid disgust at labor.

The love of dress was a motive which obviously had no natural relation
to my subject. A disinclination to work, my readers may think, it was
proper I should have treated; but it is the natural reflection of a
state of things, in the upper classes, which would be a much fitter
subject of rebuke.

So long as a lady will allow her guest to stand exposed to snow and
rain, rather than turn the handle of the door which she happens to be
passing; so long as neither bread nor water can be passed at table,
except at the omnipresent waiter's convenience,--servants will naturally
think that there is something degrading and repulsive in work. This
reform must begin in the higher classes.

But, if this subject must be treated at all, why should it not be left
to men? Can women deal with it abstractly and fairly? The answer is
simple. In physics, no scientific observations are reliable, so long as
they proceed from one quarter alone; many observers must report, and
their observations must be compared, before we can have a trustworthy
result. So it is in social science. Men have been dealing with this
great evil, unassisted, for thousands of years. By their own confession,
it is as unapproachable and obstinate as ever. Conquered by its
perpetual re-appearance, they have come to treat it as an "institution"
to be "managed;" not an evil to be abolished, or a blasphemy to be
hushed. But these lectures are not written for atheists. The speculative
sceptic has retreated before the broad sunlight of modern civilization:
only two classes of atheists remain,--men of science, who fancy that
they have lost sight of the Creator in his works, and talk of the human
soul as the most noble result of material forces; and people of fashion,
who live "without God in the world." Why man should ever investigate the
material universe without a tender and reverent, nay, a growing
dependence on "the dear heart of God," we will not pause to inquire. The
child does not let go his father's hand when he first comprehends the
abundance of his resources. Neither the fountains of God's beauty, nor
the perplexities of his nicely ordered law, loosen man's loving grasp.
He clings all the closer in his joy, because he knows Him better. But
why should not the denizens of the fashionable world be atheists? When I
go among them, and listen to their heartless fooleries; when I see them
absorbed by the vain nothings of their coterie, rapt in endless
consultations about times and seasons, devoid of any real enjoyment,
hopeless of noble occupation, with the days all empty and the nights all
dark,--then I, too, shiver with doubt, and am ready to say in my heart,
"There is no God." We can never believe in any spiritual reality of
which our own souls do not receive some faint reflex. These people must
do the will of the Father, before they can believe in his love. I do not
write for them, but for thoughtful men and women, who rejoice in God's
presence, deny the permanence of evil institutions, and are anxious to
share with others the inheritance that belongs to the "child of the
kingdom,"--for those who have faith to remove mountains, and courage to
confess the faith. For them I shall not have spoken too plainly.

Shortly after these essays were written,--in June, 1859,--I received
from London Mrs. Jameson's "Letter to Lord John Russell;" and I cannot
refrain from expressing the deep emotion with which I read what she had
written to him upon the same subject. Well may she wear the silver hairs
of her sixty years like a crown, if, only through their sanction, she
may speak such noble words. But--

    "Earnest purposes do age us fast;"

and many a true-hearted woman, far younger in years, would gladly bear
witness with her.

I would not write, if I could, an "exhaustive" treatise. All I ask for
my work is, that it should be "suggestive." With that purpose, I have
worked out my schemes, in the last lecture, far enough to provoke
objection, to stimulate the spirit of adventure, to show how easily the
"work" may wait upon the "will." May the "Opening of the Gates" be near
at hand!

It remains only to acknowledge my indebtedness to some English and
American friends: and first to the "Englishwoman's Journal;" not merely
for its own excellent articles, but for references and suggestions, most
valuable when followed out. The story of the young straw-braider was
drawn from its pages; and, disappointed in the arrival of original
material from Paris, long expected, I have been compelled to depend upon
it largely for my sketch of Félicie de Fauveau. To one of its editors,
Miss B.R. Parkes, and to Madame Bodichon in London, as well as to the
Rev. Mr. Higginson, I am under pleasant private obligations. I must rest
content to seem largely indebted to the "Edinburgh Review," of April
1859, for condensing the results of the census. My materials were
collected and arranged, when the article on "Female Industry" reached
me; and the differences in treatment were so few, that I at once drew my
pen through whatever was not sanctioned by its authority. The ladies who
first directed my attention to the Waltham watch-factory, and to the
inventors of artificial marble in France, will see from these few words
that I am not forgetful.

    BOSTON, November, 1859.

       *       *       *       *       *

There seems, at first sight, a certain presumption in offering to an
American public, at this moment, any book which does not treat of the
great interests which convulse and perplex the United States. But
experience has shown, that neither the individual nor the national mind
can remain continually upon the rack; and both author and publisher have
thought that a book upon a serious subject, popular in form and low in
price, would find perhaps a more hearty welcome, under present
circumstances, than in those prosperous days, when romances and poems,
travels and biographies, were scattered over every table by the score.

"Woman's Right to Labor" owed its warm welcome, not to any power or
skill in its author, but to the impatient interest of philanthropists in
every thing relating to that subject. It remains to be seen, whether as
large a portion of the public and the press are prepared to treat with
candid consideration the subject of Law.

Both these volumes have been given to the world in their detached form,
that they might receive the benefit of general criticism; that errors,
inaccuracies, or misapprehensions, might be perceived and rectified
before they took a permanent position as part of a larger work. All
criticism, therefore, which is _honestly intended_, will be received
with patience and gratitude; but a great deal falls to the lot of the
author which cannot come under this head.

If we are told that a "wider acquaintance with the history" of a certain
era will modify our views, it is natural to expect that an honest critic
will show _where_ the acquaintance fails, and how the views should be
modified. When we are told that certain scientific illustrations,
"though true in the main, are not accurate in detail," we may reasonably
hope to see at least _one_ error pointed out. When neither of these
things is done, we sweep such remarks aside, as alike unprofitable to us
and our readers.

A wide and generous sympathy in my aims has given me, thus far, all that
I could desire of encouragement and appreciation; and this appreciation
has come, in several instances, from a "household of faith" far removed
from my own, and has been mingled in such cases with an outspoken
regret, that one who "wrote so well, and felt so warmly," should not
acknowledge on her pages the debt woman owes to Christianity, and unfurl
an evangelical banner above a Christ-like work. Because such friends
have spoken tenderly, I answer them respectfully; because I never saw
any church-door so narrow that I could not pass through it, nor so wide
that it would open to all God's glory, I answer them without fear.

And, first, I believe in God, as the tender Father of all; as one who
cares for the least of his children, and does not turn from the
greatest; as one whose eye marks the smallest inequalities of happiness
or condition, and holds them in a memory which does not fail. I believe
in Christ as his authorized Teacher, anointed to reveal the fulness of
God's love through his own life of practical good-will. I do not expect
him to be superseded or set aside; and I do expect, that in proportion
as men grow wiser, humbler, and sweeter, their eyes will open only the
more widely to the great miracle of his spotless life, to the heavenly
nature of his so simple teachings. And, next, I believe in my own
work,--the elevation of woman through education, which is development;
through labor, which is salvation; through legal rights, which are only
freedom to develop and save,--as part of the mission of Jesus on the
earth, authorized by him, inspired of God, and sure of fulfilment as any
portion of his law. If at any time I have lost sight of this in
expression, it is because I have thought it impossible that the purpose
and character of my work should be mistaken. I am a slow and patient
worker,--patient, because one may well be patient, if God can; and
therefore no disappointment, no lack of appreciation, could sour or
disturb me.

If I have justified the publication of this essay at the present moment,
it may be thought that I shall not be able to justify the principal
presumption; namely, that of a woman who undertakes to write upon law.

Such a treatise as this would be valueless, in my eyes, if it were
written by a man. It is a woman's judgment in matters that concern women
that the world demands, before any radical change can be made. To
understand the laws under which I must live, no recondite learning, no
broad scholarship, no professional study, can be fitly required. Common
intelligence and common sense are all that society has any right to
claim of me. Because most women shrink from criticising this law, I have
criticised it.

Very recently, the "London Quarterly" said, in speaking of the
republication of John Austin's work, that "English jurisprudence would
be indebted for one of its highest aids to the reverential affection of
a wife, and the patient industry of a refined and intelligent woman;"
and Mrs. Austin defends her undertaking on this very ground,--that, if
she had not superintended the work, _no one else would_. If John
Austin's firm and penetrating intellect could not hold a score of
persons about his lecturer's desk, and if it found its fit appreciation
only in the grave, a conscientious woman need not shrink from any branch
of his great subject, only because her audience will be small.

In one of his lectures upon Art, John Ruskin says:--

     "Every leaf we have seen, connects its work with the entire and
     accumulated result of the work of its predecessors. Dying, it
     leaves its own small but well-labored thread; adding, if
     imperceptibly, yet essentially, to the strength, from root to
     crest, of the trunk on which it has lived, and fitting that trunk
     for better service to the next year's foliage."

Let these words, printed on my titlepage, show the modesty of my aim,
and the conscientious steadfastness of my purpose. As the leaf is to the
tree, so is the individual to society. Tear away a single leaf from the
towering crest, and the trunk does not seem to suffer: nevertheless, one
small thread withers, one channel dries up, one source of beauty and use
fails; and, from that moment, a certain sidewise tendency marks the

To compact carefully one "well-labored thread," is all that I have
sought to do,--to write a little book, that women might be won to read,
as conscientiously as if it were a heavy tome, to be endlessly consulted
by the bench.

In writing these three lectures, I feel quite sure that I must have made
use of many significant expressions borrowed from those who have broken
the way for me. For many years an extemporaneous lecturer on this and
kindred topics, I have so wrought certain modes of expression into the
fabric of my thought, that I do not _know_ where to put my
quotation-marks. To Mrs. Hugo Reed, for instance, I know I must be
under great obligations; and I can only hope, that she will trust me
with her thoughts and words as generously as I desire to trust all my
readers with mine. It is little matter who does the work, so that it be
done; but I owe to one author, in particular, something like an

A few days before the third of these lectures was delivered in Boston
(that is, before Jan. 23, 1861), a gentleman from Paris brought me from
Madame d'Héricourt a book called "La Femme Affranchie," an answer to
Michelet, Proudhon, Girardin, and Comte, which its author kindly desired
I should translate for the American market. Unable to comply with her
request, some weeks elapsed before I opened the book. I was struck with
the energy, self-possession, and rapidity with which she seized the
various points of the subject, with the thoroughness of her assault, and
the temper of her argument. I did not sympathize in all her methods or
conclusions; but I was interested to observe, that, in what I had then
written and publicly spoken of the relations between suffrage and
humanity, I had, in several instances, used her very words, or she had
used mine. I did not alter my manuscript; but, with better times, we may
hope for a translation of her spirited volumes, and the public will then
do justice to her precedence.

I have been anxious to have positive proof of my conjecture in regard to
the authorship of the "Lawe's Resolution of the Rights of Women;" but
persevering endeavors in England, in several directions, have only left
the matter as it stands in the text. It would be very interesting to
know something of the private history of the man who wrote that book.

In the first of the following lectures, I have ventured a rhetorical
allusion to the blue-laws of Connecticut. Since it went to press, I have
seen it stated, on high authority, that any American writer who should
"profess to believe in the existence of the blue-laws of New Haven would
simply proclaim himself a dunce;" and the "Saturday Review" has been
handled without gloves for taking this existence for granted.

I never supposed that the term "blue" applied to the color of the paper
on which such laws were printed, any more than I supposed "blue
Presbyterianism" referred to the color of the presbyters' gowns. I
supposed it was the outgrowth of a popular sarcasm, descriptive, not of
a "veritable code," nor of a "practical code unpublished," but of such
portions of the general code as were repugnant to common sense, and the
genial nature of man. This I still think will be found to be the case;
and it is certainly to Connecticut divines and Connecticut newspapers
that we owe the popular impression.

It was in the forty-sixth year of the independence of the United States
that S. Andrus & Co., of Hartford, published a volume purporting to be a
compendium of early judicial proceedings in Connecticut, and especially
of that portion of the proceedings of the Colony of New Haven commonly
called the "blue-laws." Charles A. Ingersoll, Esq., testified to the
correctness of these copies of the ancient record.

As I quote this title wholly from memory, I am unable to say whether the
colony ever fined a bishop for kissing his own wife on Sunday; but I
have read more than once of such fines; and, if no laws remain
unrepealed on the Connecticut statute-book quite as absurd in their
spirit and general tendency, there are many on those of Massachusetts
and New Hampshire: so I shall let my rhetorical flourish stand.

To my English friends, to Mr. Herndon of Illinois, Mr. Higginson, and
Samuel F. Haven, Esq., of Worcester, I owe my usual acknowledgments for
books lent, and service proffered, with a generosity and graceful
readiness cheering to remember.

Nor will I omit, in what may be a last opportunity, to bear faithful
testimony to the assistance rendered, in all my studies of this sort, by
my friend, Mr. John Patton, of Montreal. No single person has helped me
so much, so wisely, or so well.

In order to secure technical accuracy, my manuscript and proofs have
been subjected to the revision of my friend, the Hon. Samuel E. Sewall.
The principal alteration which Mr. Sewall has made, has been the
substitution of the word "suffrage" for that of "franchise;" which
latter I used in the Continental fashion. I prefer it to "suffrage,"
because it seems to have a broader signification; but I yield it to his

I would gladly have dedicated this volume to the memory of the late John
W. Browne, whose pure purpose and eminent gifts made me rejoice, while
he was living, to call him friend. As, however, he never read the whole
of the manuscript, I have given it a dedication "to the friends of
forsaken women," which no one, who knew him well, will fail to perceive
includes him.

  BOSTON, Sept. 1, 1861.


  BOSTON, January, 1867.





     Original Proposition. Objections to Republicanism. No Retrograde
     Steps Possible. The Educational Rights of Women. A Share of
     Opportunities the only Effectual Way. Both Sexes need the Oversight
     of Women. Men need the Needle. Sydney Smith to Lady Holland. The
     Education not Won till its Privileges are attained. Kapnist and the
     Normal School. Low Wages. An Illustration. The Social Position of
     the Teacher. The Spirit of Caste. Increase of Salaries. Is it Real
     or Nominal? What is the Standard of Education? Niebuhr to Madame
     Hensler. Cousin and Madame de Sablé. Examples of To-day do not
     Cheer. Opinion of the Druses. Charles Lamb on Letitia Landon.
     Coventry Patmore. Mrs. Jameson on the English Deficiency. Standard
     of Italy. 500,000 Women in England. Dr. Gooch's Appeal. Opposition
     to first School of Design. Note on Miss Garrett. B.L. Bodichon on
     Jessie Meriton White and Medical Colleges. Need of a Medical
     Society. John Adams on his Wife. Why has not the Standard advanced?
     Alice Holliday in Egypt. Hekekyan Effendi speaking for the
     Massachusetts Board of Education. Madame Luce in Algiers. Her
     Workshop Discontinued. The Advance shown in such Lives.
     Mrs. Griffith. Janet Taylor. Miss Martineau. "Aurora Leigh."
     Maria Mitchell. Oread Institute. New-York Schools. Vassar College.
     Michigan University. Duty of Literary Men and Women to invigorate
     Public Opinion. What _is_ Public Opinion? Mary Patton. pp. 1-48.



     Existing Opinion. Proverbs. The Novel kept Faith with the Classics.
     Social Customs. Newspapers. All form this Opinion. Individual
     Influence must stem the United Current. The Classics. Aristophanes.
     Iscomachus. Euripides. College Slang. St. John. Margaret Fuller on
     her "Beloved Greeks." Buckle. From Greece to Rome. Ovid. No Need to
     end Classical Study. Rather sanctify it. Perversions of History in
     the Classical Spirit. Hypatia. Aspasia. Society in the Time of
     Louis XIV. and Charles II. Lady Morgan on Alfred de Vigny.
     Rousseau. Dr. Day, Dr. Gregory, and Dr. Fordyce. Margaret Fuller.
     Association of Ideas. Fanny Wright. Captain Wallis and the Queen of
     Otaheite. Peru and the Formosa Isles. African Customs. Mrs.
     Kirkland on the Strong Box. Sir John Bowring on Marriage. Mrs.
     Barbauld. The Newspapers. Impure Habits. pp. 49-82.



    Mary Wollstonecraft and the Literature of the Eighteenth Century.
    "Rights of Woman." "Not Empire, but Equality." Dr. Channing on Mrs.
    Wollstonecraft. Her Unhappy Home. Fanny Blood. Breaks up her School.
    Saves the French Crew. Provides for her Brothers and Sisters.
    Translations. Answer to Burke. Fuseli. Paris. Imlay. Helen Maria
    Williams. Happiness. Deserted in Eighteen Months. Attempted
    Suicide. Goes to Norway. Final Separation. Marries Godwin. Birth of
    Mrs. Shelley. Death of Mary. Her Husband's Testimony. No Fair
    Statement recorded. Strength of Prejudice against her. A Republican
    and a Unitarian. The Judgment of her own Time upon her. The Right of
    Society to pass Judgment. Mr. Day and Maria Edgeworth. Lady Morgan.
    Always True to Freedom. Harriet Martineau. Thorough Work. Mrs.
    Jameson. Her Bravery and Truth. Woman's Rights Testimony. Mrs.
    Gaskell. Fredrika Bremer. The Brownings. "Aurora Leigh." Charlotte
    Bronté. "I Care for Myself." Our Abdiel. Margaret Fuller as a
    Person. "Woman in the Nineteenth Century." "Truth-teller and
    Truth-compeller." Rebuke to Harriet Martineau. Emerson's
    Misapprehension. Florence Nightingale. Santa Paula. Mary Patton.
    Miss Muloch libels Women. The Popular Idea of Love. Woman's Entire
    Self-possession. Carlyle and Count Zinzendorf. Who refuses Strength
    must miss Beauty. The Best Brains make the Best Housekeepers. The
    Affections of the Woman prompt and dignify the Labors of the
    Scholar. pp. 83-130.




    The Attar of Cashmere. Moral Force must change the Results of
    History. Statement of Subject. Death or Dishonor the Practical
    Question. An Honorable Independence the Way of Safety. The Forcing
    Pump and Siphon. Women must Work for Pay. Success the Best Argument.
    Competition in Rural Districts. Duchâtelet. Miss Craig. "Edinburgh
    Review." Dressmakers and Sir James Clarke. Lace-makers. Manchester
    Mantle-maker. 7,850 Ruined Women in New York. Society Responsible
    for this Evil. Governesses. Mr. Mayhew to the "Morning Chronicle."
    The Minister's Daughter. The Power of a Divine Love. Noble Natures
    among the Fallen. The Glasgow Case. 1,680 Reformed French Women. The
    Straw-braider. Have Women Strength to Labor? Marie de Lamourous. The
    Young Laborer to be Protected by Social Influences. Women Hard
    Workers from the Beginning. China. Hindostan. Bombay Ghauts.
    Australia. Africa. Greece. Bertha of the Transjurane. Tyrolese
    Escort of Women. Germany. Montenegro. Holland. France. Widow Brulow.
    Nelly Giles. Ignacia Riso. Factory Labor in France. Sale of Wives at
    Derby and Dudley. Women in the Coal-mines. Pinmakers. Anna Gurney.
    Honduras. American Indians. Santa Cruz. Ohio and Pennsylvania. New
    York. Women of Lawrence. Ship "Grotto." Thomas Garratt concerning
    Sarah Ann Scofield. That all Men support all Women, an Absurd
    Fiction. pp. 131-177.



    Want of Employment lowers the Whole Moral Tone. Vigorous Women do
    not Ask what they shall Do. Idleness the Curse of Heaven. Organized
    Opposition on Man's Part. Mr. Bennett and the Watch-makers. Ribbon
    Looms at Coventry. The School at Marlborough House. Miss Spencer.
    Painting Crockery. Printing in America. Pennsylvania Medical
    Society, 1859. Want of Respect for Labor. Census of the United
    Kingdom. Agriculture. Mining. Fishing. Servants, &c. Reporters.
    Bright Festival. Metal Workers. Gillott's Pens. Jewelry.
    Screw-making. Button-making. Paper and Card Making. Engravers,
    Printers, &c., &c. The Lower Classes need the Brains of the Upper.
    Labor in the United States. Nantucket. Pennsylvania. Dr. Franklin's
    Sister-in-law. Mrs. Hillman. Mrs. Johnson. Martha B. Curtis. Ann
    Bent. Scientific Pursuits not Open. Clerks under Government.
    Census. Waltham Watch Factory. Dentists. School Committees.
    Postmistresses. Olive Rose. Semi-professions and Artists.
    Shoe-making in Lynn. Condition of the Poor dependent on the Action
    of the Rich. Happy Homes the Growth of Active Lives. The Pine and
    Ænemone. Emily Plater. "Verify your Credentials." Encouragement from
    Men; Faithfulness from Women. The Sorbonne. Madame Sirault. That
    Career fated which Woman may not share. Influence of the Sexes on
    each other. Baron Toermer and Félicie de Fauveau. pp. 178-220.



     The Drowning of Daughters. Teachers of Elocution and the Languages.
     Inspectors. Physicians. Dr. Heidenreich. Wood Carving. Properzia
     dei Rossi. Swiss Work. Elizabetta Sirani. Engravers. Barbers.
     Candied Fruit for Christmas. Pickles. Fruit Sauces. Dishmops.
     Gymnastics. Female Assistants in Jails, Prisons, Workhouses, not to
     be had till Public Opinion honors Labor. Florence Nightingale an
     Example. Parish Ministers. Deaconesses. Marian of the Seven Dials.
     Reading Aloud to the Perishing Classes. St. Pancras. Mrs. Wightman.
     A Training School. A Public Laundry and Bleaching Ground.
     Ready-made Clothing. An Assistance to our Practical Charity.
     Knitting Factory. Ornamental Work to be Avoided. Occupation for the
     Young Ladies at the West End. Mrs. Ellen Woodlock and her
     Industrial Schools. She takes Eighty Paupers out of the Poorhouse.
     Mr. Buckle's Position to be Questioned. Mistaken Moral Effort a
     Harm to Society. Want of Connection between the Employer and the
     Employed. People who want "a Chance Lift." Defects in our Present
     Intelligence-Offices. A Labor Exchange. The Argument Restated. Will
     you tread out the Nettles? The Drosera. Purposes the Blossoms of
     the Human Heart. pp. 221-261.




     The Seat of the Law the Bosom of God? Of what Law? Legal
     Restrictions constantly Outgrown. The Laws which relate to Woman.
     Vishnu Sarma: the Hindoo Wife must use the Dialect of the Slave.
     Ancient Chinese Writer. Köhl on Turkish Husbands. Convent to lock
     up Ladies. The Island of Coelebes. The Garrows in the North-east
     of India. The Muhar. Military Tribe of Nairs in Malabar. Later
     Proverbs; used by the Satirists. The Four Points to Consider.
     Discussion of Marriage and Divorce to be Deferred. The Public
     Opinion which has educated Woman, and her Approximation to it.
     Woman under Roman Law. Absence of well-tested Cotemporaneous
     Evidence. Theodora. French Law. Bonaparte's Opinion. The Estimate
     of a Double Character. Condition of the Peasant-woman. Need of Love
     in the Upper Classes. Business-freedom. George Sand. Rosa Bonheur,
     and the Claimants for Civil Rights. The Dotal founded on Roman Law;
     the Communal founded on German. Dotal Law rejected throughout
     Europe. Protection means Subordination. As a "Public Merchant,"
     Woman becomes a French Citizen. Position contradictory: not allowed
     to rule the Household, which is called her Sphere. Civil Position.
     No Right of Promotion. Laws of Louisiana. Estimate of Woman under
     the "Code Napoléon:" tends to lower her Wages. List of Employments.
     The Needle-women of Paris. pp. 263-286.



     It contains All to which we have any Need to Object. Literature.
     "The Lawe's Resolution of Woman's Rights." Inquiries as to its
     Author. Probability points to Sir John Doderidge. The Law, for
     Single Women, of Inheritance. Offices Open. Right to Vote, and Lady
     Packington. Sheriff of Westmoreland. Lady Rous. Henry VIII. and
     Lady Anne Berkeley. As Constable, and Overseer of the Poor. Female
     Voter in Nova Scotia. Law relating to Seduction: its Profanity. The
     French Law, as summed up by Legouvé. Woman's Opinion of this Law.
     Objections. Laws concerning Married Women. Impossibility of
     Divorce, from Hopeless Insanity. Instances where _Men_ have taken
     the Law into their own Hands. Impossibility of Woman's ever doing
     this. Marriage of a Minor. A Wife loses _all_ her Rights. Satire in
     a London Court. Truth of this. Consequent Unwillingness of the
     Honest Poor to Marry, and of Single Women of Rank to relinquish
     Power. Freedwomen at the South. The Descendant of Morgan the
     Buccaneer. Need of Equity. May make a Will by Permission. Nutriment
     of Infants. The Law resists Maternal Influence, and denies Natural
     Authority. Word not binding. Gifts Illegal. Indictments in the
     Husband's Name. Divorces: only Three ever granted to Women. The
     Widow recovers her Clothes and Jewels, but need not bury her
     Husband. Christian on Suffrage. Moderate Correction. Property-laws.
     The Hon. Mrs. Norton. Hungarian Freedom. Right to Vote. Experience
     in America. Parisian Milliner. "Union is Robbery." The Heiress.
     Longevity of the Wife. Woman discouraged from Labor by the
     Influence of the Laws of Property. Sexual Legislation thoroughly
     Immoral. Man's Adultery even a more Serious Evil than Woman's, so
     far as State Morals and Interests are concerned. Canton Glarus.
     "Courts have never gone that Length." Debate on the New Divorce
     Bill. Man's Fidelity considered an Imbecility. The Compliments of
     the Law. The Husband's Vigilance. Duplicity the Natural Result of
     Slavery. The Right of Suffrage. Objections Answered. The Abstract
     Right and the Practical Question. Suffrage to be limited by
     Education, not Money nor Sex. The "Sad Sisterhood." Woman has never
     had a Representative. Her Suffrage would put an End to Three
     Classes of Laws. Harris _vs._ Butler. Delicate Matters to be
     Discussed. The Duke of York's Trial. John Stuart Mill's Opinion.
     Dedication of his Essay on Liberty. Women of Upsal. On Juries. Miss
     Shedden. Russell on Female Evidence. Fate of the "Bulwarks of the
     English Constitution." Power of Women not Disputed while it was
     dependent on Property. It should depend on Humanity. Louis XIV. and
     the Fish-women. Pauline Roland and Madame Moniot. Men borrow the
     Suffrages of Women. Saxon Witas. Abbess Hilda. Council at
     Benconceld. King Edgar's Charter. Abbesses in Parliament. Peeresses
     in Parliament. East-India Stockholders. Stockholders in Banks.
     Association for the Promotion of Social Science. Mrs. Mill's
     Article. Florence Nightingale's Evidence. Petition to Parliament,
     and its Signers. The New Divorce Bill. Buckle's Lecture. Canadian
     Changes. Inconsistencies. Canadian Women as Voters. Pitcairn's
     Island. pp. 287-341.



    Condition of Women in Republics. Helvetia. Kent on the Law's
    Estimate. "The Man's Notion." Property-laws, and Natural Obligations
    of Husband and Wife. The Law's Indulgence. Marriage and Divorce in
    the Different States. Variety of the Laws. "Cruelty." What have the
    Woman's-Rights Party done?--changed the Law in nineteen States. The
    Law of Illinois. Rhode Island on Property. Vermont. Connecticut. New
    Hampshire. Massachusetts, and what remains to be done. Maine. Ohio.
    Judge Graham's Decision. Mrs. Dorr's Claim. New-York Property-bill
    of 1860, and its Supplement. Relief to 5,000 Women. Mrs. Stanton
    before the Legislature. The Right of Suffrage in New Jersey.
    Wisconsin. Michigan. Ohio. Kansas. Connecticut. Kentucky in
    Reference to Suffrage. A Woman's Right to Life, Liberty, and the
    Pursuit of Happiness. Mrs. John Adams and Hannah Corbin understood
    its Worthlessness. Richard Henry Lee on a Woman's Security. "Woman's
    Rights,"--a Phrase we all Hate: identical with "Human Rights,"--a
    Phrase we all Honor. Reception of Woman in the Lyceum. Labor to be
    honored through Woman. Trade to become a _Fine Art_.
    Property-holders must have Political Power. Mr. Phillips on
    Suffrage. The Lowell Mill. Dr. Hunt's Protests. Mean Men. Woman's
    Duty to the State a Moral Duty. Woman's Right to _Man_ as Counsellor
    and Friend. The Constitution of the Family. The Historical
    Development of the Question. Mary Astell in the Seventeenth Century.
    Mary Wollstonecraft in the Eighteenth, and the Customs of Australia.
    Responses to her Appeal. Margaret Fuller in the Nineteenth. The
    great Lawsuit in 1844. Convention at Seneca Falls in 1848. National
    Association in 1850. Profane Inanity. Chinese Women. Does Power
    belong to Humanity or to Property? Mahomet, and the Right to Rule.
    Wendell Phillips and the Venetian Catechism. pp. 342-374.

       *       *       *       *       *


    EDUCATION.--Absence of Discussion Wise. American Association for the
    Promotion of Social Science. Lectures from the Lowell Institute.
    Ripley College. Howard University. Professor Baldwin at Berea. St.
    Lawrence University, N.Y. Lombard University, Ill. Oberlin. List of
    Colleges it has Organized. Lane Seminary. President Finney. Ladies'
    Library. Ladies' Hall. Miss Fanny Jackson. A Confession. Antioch.
    Way thither. Yellow Springs. The Glen. Matins. Necessities. Changes
    in Buildings, Books, &c. Missionary Work. The Professors. The
    Brigadier-General. Literary Societies. A Southern Refugee. Vassar
    College. Lawrence University, Kansas. Letter from Miss Chapin. A
    Professor Elected. Michigan University. Miss Nightingale's
    Training-School for Nurses, Liverpool. Schools in Calcutta.
    Deaconesses. Kaiserworth. Strasburg. Basle. St. Loup. Geneva.
    Faubourg St. Antoine. Passevant Hospital. Bishop Kerfoot's Schools.
    pp. 377-429.

    MEDICAL EDUCATION.--New-York Medical Society. Medical Society in
    London. Hospital of the Maternity in Paris. Miss Garrett and
    Apothecaries' Hall. Dr. Zakrzewska and the Medical Society. Medical
    Lectures at Harvard. Women and the Cossacks. Women and the
    Algerines. Women in India. Cause of Cholera. Success of Female
    Physicians. Dr. Ross. A Medical College Needed. New-England
    Hospital. pp. 429-434.

    PULPIT.--Amélie von Braum. Mamsell Berg. Rev. Olympia Brown. Mrs.
    Jenkins. Mrs. Booth. Mrs. Timmins. Ann Rexford. Nancy Gove Cram.
    Abigail H. Roberts. Mrs. Hedges. The Church at Amsterdam, and its
    Deaconesses. Resolution at Syracuse. Delegates to Local Conferences.
    Mrs. Dall. Counsel to Women who desire to preach. pp. 434-447.

    ART SCHOOLS.--Lowell Institute. Cooper Institute. Miss Roundtree and
    Miss Curtis. Coloring Photographs. Mrs. Elizabeth Murray and the
    London Society of Female Artists. pp. 447-449.

    LABOR.--Statistics of Eight-hour Movement. Factory Labor in England.
    Foreign Society for Employment of Women. Mending Schools. A Barber.
    Public Clerks. Fanny Paine. Musical Careers. Charlotte Hill.
    Williston Button-factory. Madam Clarke. A Capitalist. Mr. Thayer's
    Lodging-house for Girls. Young Women's Christian Association.
    Lodging-house in New York. Miss Hill's Ruskin Lodging-houses in
    London. Female Printers. A Notary Public. pp. 450-468.

    LAW.--Married Women in New York. Right of an Ordained Woman to Marry
    in Massachusetts. School Committees. Richmond. Are a Woman's Clothes
    her own? State of Missouri. College. Where shall a Woman's Children
    go to Church? Francis Jackson's Will. Conference at Leipsic.
    Petition to enable Widows, Potter's County, Pa. Women as Bank
    Directors. pp. 468-472.

    SUFFRAGE.--Kansas. Missouri in Congress. The Speaker of the House.
    Mercantile Library in Philadelphia. Voting in New Jersey. Mr. Parker
    at Perth Amboy. A Petition to Kentucky. Equal-Rights Association,
    Petitions, &c. George Thompson's Objections. John Stuart Mill and
    the Franchise. English Petition a Model. To be sustained by Able
    Men. Mrs. Bodichon's Pamphlets. Women Ejected. Austria. Swedish
    Reform Bill. Italian Law. The Hungarian Diet. pp. 472-486.

    CIVIL PROGRESS.--Australia. Moravia. Dublin. Aisne. Bergères. Need
    of a Newspaper. pp. 486-488.

    OBITUARIES, &C.--Merian. Baring. Farnham. Lemonnier. Dr. Barry. Mrs.
    Severn Newton. pp. 488-491.

    The Ballot will secure All Things. A Glimpse of the Wide West.
    Vassar and Miss Lyman. Oberlin and Mrs. Dascomb. Dr. Glass. Female
    Lecturers. Business Capacity of Women. The Ice in Fox River, Ill.
    Cholera at Elgin. Quincy High School. Coloring Photographs at the
    Cooper Institute. Conclusion. pp. 491-499.








    Now press the clarion on thy woman's lip,
    (Love's holy kiss shall still keep consecrate,)
    And breathe the fine, keen breath along the brass,
    And blow all class-walls level as Jericho's
    Past Jordan.... The world's old;
    But the old world waits the hour to be renewed.

    _Two_ of far nobler shape, erect and tall,--
    Godlike erect, with native honor clad
    In naked majesty,--_seemed lords of all:_
    _And worthy seemed;_ for in their looks divine
    The image of their glorious Maker shone,--
    Truth, wisdom, sanctitude severe and pure;
    Whence true authority in men.




    "Since I am coming to that holy room,
    Where, with the choir of saints for evermore,
    I shall be made thy music; as I come,
    I tune the instrument here at the door,
    And what I must do then, think here before."

To propose an essay on education requires no little courage; for the
term has covered, with its broad mantle, every thing that is stupid,
perverse, and oppressive in literature. We will not tax ourselves,
however, to consider exact theories, or suggest formal dissertations. In
these lectures, let us take all the liberties of conversation; pass, in
brief review, a wide range of subjects; comment lightly, not thoroughly,
upon them; and trust to quick sympathies and intelligent apprehension to
follow out any really useful suggestions that may be made.

Some time since, we laid down this proposition: "A man's right to
education--that is, to the education or drawing-out of all the faculties
God has given him--involves the right to a choice of vocation; that is,
to a choice of the end to which those faculties shall be trained. The
choice of vocation involves the right and the duty of protecting that
vocation; that is, the right of deciding how far it shall be taxed, in
how many ways legislative action shall be allowed to control it; in one
word, the right to the elective franchise."

This statement we made in the broadest way; applying it to the present
condition of women, and intending to show, that, the moment society
conceded the right to education, it conceded the whole question, unless
this logic could be disputed.

Men of high standing have been found to question a position seemingly so
impregnable, but only on the ground that republicanism is itself a
failure, and that it is quite time that Massachusetts should insist upon
a property qualification for voters.

In this State, so remarkable for its intelligence and mechanical
skill,--a State which has sent regiment after regiment to the
battle-field, armed by the college, rather than the court,--in this
State, one somewhat eminent voice has been heard to whisper, that _men_
have not this right to education; that the lower classes in this country
are fatally injured by the advantages offered them; that they would be
happier, more contented, and more useful, if left to take their chance,
or compelled to pay for the reading and writing which their employers,
in some kinds, might require.

We need not be sorry that these objections are so stated. They are a
fair sample of all the objections that obtain against the legal
emancipation of _woman_, an emancipation which Christ himself intended
and prophesied,--speaking always of his kingdom as one in which no
distinctions of sex should either be needed or recognized. Push any
objector to the wall, and he will be compelled to shift his attitude. He
says nothing more about women, but shields himself under the old
autocratic pretension, that man, collectively taken, has _no_ right to
life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness; that republicanism itself is
a failure.

Our hearts need not sink in view of this assertion, apparently sustained
by a civil war that fixes the suspicious eyes of autocratic Europe in
sullen suspense. A republic, whose foundations were laid in usurpation,
could not expect to stand, till it had, with its own right arm, struck
off its "feet of clay." It is not freedom which fails, but slavery.

The course of the world is not retrograde. Massachusetts will not call a
convention to insist upon a property qualification for voters, neither
will she close her schoolhouses, nor forswear her ancient faith. The
time shall yet come when she shall free herself from reproach, and
fulfil the prophetic promise of her republicanism, by generous endowment
for her women, and the open recognition of their citizenship.

It is not our purpose, however, to dwell upon facilities of school
education. More conservative speakers will plead, eloquently as we could
wish, in that behalf; and suggestions on other topics need to be made.

We have already said, that the educational rights of women are simply
those of all human beings,--namely, "the right to be taught all common
branches of learning, a sufficient use of the needle, and any higher
branches, for which they shall evince either taste or inclination; the
right to have colleges, schools of law, theology, and medicine open to
them; the right of access to all scientific and literary collections, to
anatomical preparations, historical records, and rare manuscripts."

And we do not make this claim with any particular theory as to woman's
powers or possibilities. She may be equal to man, or inferior to him.
She may fail in rhetoric, and succeed in mathematics. She may be able to
bear fewer hours of study. She may insist on more protracted labor. What
we claim is, that no one knows, as yet, what women are, or what they can
do,--least of all, those who have been wedded for years to that low
standard of womanly achievement, which classical study tends to sustain.
Because we do not know, because experiment is necessary, we claim that
all educational institutions should be kept open for her; that she
should be encouraged to avail herself of these, according to her own
inclination; and that, so far as possible, she should pursue her
studies, and test her powers, in company with man. We do not wish her to
follow _any_ dictation; not ours, nor another's. We ask for her a
freedom she has never yet had. There is, between the sexes, a law of
incessant, reciprocal action, of which God avails himself in the
constitution of the family, when he permits brothers and sisters to
nestle about one hearth-stone. Its ministration is essential to the best
educational results. Our own educational institutions should rest upon
this divine basis. In educating the sexes together under fatherly and
motherly supervision,[1] we avail ourselves of the highest example; and
the result will be a simplicity, modesty, and purity of character, not
so easy to attain when general abstinence from each other's society
makes the occasions of re-union a period of harmful excitement. Out of
it would come a quick perception of mutual proprieties, delicate
attention to manly and womanly habits, refinement of feeling, grace of
manner, and a thoroughly symmetrical development. If the objections
which are urged against this--the divine fashion of training men and
women to the duties of life--were well founded, they would have been
felt long ago in those district schools, attended by both sexes, which
are the pride of New England. The classes recently opened by the Lowell
Institute, under the control of the Institute of Technology, are an
effort in the right direction, for which we cannot be too grateful.
Heretofore, every attempt to give advanced instruction to women has
failed. Did a woman select the most accomplished instructor of men, and
pay him the highest fee, she could not secure thorough tuition. He
taught her without conscience in the higher branches; for he took it
upon himself to assume that she would never put them to practical use.
He treated her desire for such instruction as a caprice, though she
might have shown her appreciation by the distinct bias of her life. We
claim for women a share of the opportunities offered to men, because we
believe that they will never be thoroughly taught until they are taught
at the same time and in the same classes.

The most mischievous errors are perpetuated by drawing masculine and
feminine lines in theory at the outset. The God-given impulse of sex, if
left in complete freedom, will establish, in time, certain distinctions
for itself; but these distinctions should never be pressed on any
individual soul. Whether man or woman, each should be left free to
choose its own methods of development. We pause, therefore, to show,
that, when we spoke of a certain use of the needle as a matter to be
taught to both sexes, we did so by no inadvertence. The use of the
sewing machine is even now common to both; but men, as well as women,
should be taught to use their fingers for common purposes skilfully.
Personal contact with the pauperism of large cities has sent this
conviction home to many practical minds.

The rough tippets, mittens, and socks imported into the British
Colonies, are the work of the Welsh farmers and the Shetland fishermen
during the long tempestuous winter nights. In writing to Lady Holland,
Sidney Smith pens some pleasant words on this subject.

"I wish I could sew," he says. "I believe one reason why women are so
much more cheerful than men is because they can work, and so vary their
employments. Lady ---- used to teach her boys carpet-work. All men ought
to learn to sew."

All men! and so might the cares of many women be lightened. Let us
candidly confess our own indebtedness to the needle. How many hours of
sorrow has it softened, how many bitter irritations calmed, how many
confused thoughts reduced to order, how many life-plans sketched in

Let us pass over that portion of our statement which hints at vocation,
and confine ourselves, for the present, to that part of it which looks
to an unrestricted mental culture. Nowhere is this systematically denied
to women. It is quite common to hear people say, "There is no need to
press that subject. Education in New England is free to women. In
Bangor, Portsmouth, Newburyport, and Boston, they are better Latin
scholars than the men. Nothing can set this stream back: turn and labor

We have shown to how very small an extent this statement is true. If it
were true of the mere means of education, education itself is not won
for woman, till it brings to her precisely the same blessings that it
bears to the feet of man; till it gives her honor, respect, and bread;
till position becomes the rightful inheritance of capacity, and social
influence follows a knowledge of mathematics and the languages. Our
deficiency in the last stages of the culture offered to our women made a
strong impression on a late Russian traveller.

"Is that the best you can do?" said Mr. Kapnist, when he came out of the
Mason-street Normal School for Girls. "It is very poor. In Russia, we
should do better. At Cambridge, you have eminent men in every
kind,--Agassiz, Gray, Peirce. Why do they not lecture to these women? In
Russia, they would go everywhere,--speak to both sexes. At a certain
age, recitation is the very poorest way of imparting knowledge."

To all adult minds, lectures convey instruction more happily than
recitation; and, when men and women are taught together, the lecture
system is valuable, because it permits the mind to appropriate its own
nutriment, and does not oppress the faculties with uncongenial food.

To those who are familiar with the whole question, no theme is more
painful than that of the inadequate compensation and depressed position
of the female teacher. There is no need to harp on this discordant
string. Let us strike its key-note in a single story.

A year ago, in one of the most beautiful towns of this neighborhood,
separated by a grassy common, shaded with drooping elms, rose two ample
buildings, dedicated to the same purpose. They were the High Schools for
the two sexes.

They were taught by two persons, admirably fitted for their work. The
man, uncommonly happy in imparting instruction, was yet deficient in
mathematics, and considered by competent judges inferior to the woman.

_She_ was an orphan, with a young sister dependent upon her for
instruction and support. She had been graduated with the highest honors
at one of the State Normal Schools. She was delicate and beautiful; not
in the least "strong-minded." Neither spectacles upon her nose, nor
wooden soles to her boots, appealed to the popular indignation. All who
knew her loved her; and the man whom we have named was not ashamed to
receive instruction from her in geometry and algebra. The two schools
were equal in numbers. The man was a bachelor, subject to no claim
beyond his own necessity. What did common sense and right reason demand,
but that these two persons should be treated alike by society,
prudential committees, and so on? You shall hear what was the fact. The
man was engaged at a salary of fifteen hundred dollars. The wealthiest
class in the community intrusted its sons to his charge without
question. Single, he was made much of in society, invited to parties,
and had his own corner at many a tea-table, which he brightened with his
pleasant jokes. He soon came to be a person in the town,--had his vote,
was valued accordingly; went to church, was put upon committees, had a
great deal to do with calling the new minister, and so, out of school,
had pleasant and varied occupation, which saved his soul from racking to
death over the ruts of the Latin grammar. Would we have it otherwise?
Was it not all right? Certainly it was, and our friend deserved it;
deserved, too, that when the second year was half over, and there were
rumors that a distant city had secured his services, the committee
should raise his salary two hundred and fifty dollars, and so keep him
for themselves. But let us look at the reverse of the picture. The
woman, burdened with the care of a younger sister, greatly this man's
superior in mathematics and possibly in other things, was engaged at six
hundred dollars. It was not customary for the wealthy families in that
neighborhood to trust their girls to the tender mercies of a public
school; so she had a class of pupils less elegant in manner, of more
ordinary mental training, and every way more difficult to control. Still
they were disciplined, and learned to love their teacher. A few of the
parents called upon her, and she was occasionally invited to their
homes. But these homes were not congenial to her tastes or habits. There
was no intellectual stimulus derived from them to brighten her life.
They offered neither pictures, statues, books, nor the results of
travel, to her delicate and yearning appreciation. She talked, for the
most part, of her pupils and their work; and the strain of her vocation,
always heavier on woman than on man, wore more and more upon her soul.
Society, as such, offered her no welcome.[2]

_She_ was nothing to the town. She hired her seat, and went to church.
She had no vote, was never on a parish committee, had only one chance to
change her position. That was to remove to a more congenial
neighborhood, at a lower salary; but she thought of her young sister,
and refused. If the committee heard of it, they did not offer to
increase her salary. They were men incapable of appreciating her rare
and modest culture. There was a tendency to consumption in her frame.
Had she been happy, she might have resisted it for years, perhaps for
ever; but with the restless pining at her heart, that mental and moral
marasmus, the physical disease soon showed itself. In the commencement
of the third year of her teaching, she began to cough; and, in less than
three months from the day when she heard her last class, she lay in an
early but not unhonored grave. The deep affection of her classmates in
the Normal School had always followed her; and one who chanced to hear
of her illness brightened its rapid decline. This woman, herself
prematurely old, in consequence of twelve years of labor on the Red
River of Louisiana, the only place open to her, where her abilities were
appreciated to the extent of twelve hundred dollars a year, and would
enable her to support a widowed mother,--this woman, with her now-scanty
purse, supplied the invalid with fresh flowers and sweet pictures; and,
when her heavy eye grew weary of gazing, gently closed it in the sleep
of death, scattered rare and fragrant blossoms over her unconscious
form, and followed it to the grave. Those flowers! brought daily to her
teacher's-desk by a friendly or loving hand, they might have fed a
craving heart, and saved a precious life.

It is no new story. You have heard it many times. Do not reply in the
stale maxims of political economy. Do not say that woman's labor is
cheaper than man's, because it is more abundant. Unskilled labor, we
will grant you, is more abundant; but such labor as is here offered must
always be rare and valuable. To the applicants who came to fill her
vacant place the committee said, "We do not expect to find another
capable as she was. We have only to select one that _will do_." Yet they
had not been ashamed to use that capacity without paying for it! Only
ignorance and prejudice and custom stood in the way of its appreciation;
only the want of that respect which a citizen can always command was at
the bottom of her social isolation. She never complained; but we
complain for her, sadly conscious, that, until men themselves perceive
what is fit, the remonstrances of women will be fruitless. One such word
as that spoken by the Hon. Joseph White at Framingham, in July, 1864, is
worth more than all that women can say. Nevertheless, we women have our
duty. It is to convince and stimulate men. Be on the watch, then, for
such women; and claim for them their place and remuneration. Help
society to understand its duty, to be frank and honorable. And if
certain services are worth, as in this case, seventeen hundred and fifty
dollars a year, pay for equal services, _by whomsoever rendered_, an
equal sum.

Since I first began to speak upon this subject, a very great change has
taken place: women are put in places which require higher culture and
greater administrative capacity. They are also paid better wages: these
wages are not yet in fair proportion to what are paid to men for the
same work; and the shameful argument is still used, that we employ
women, chiefly because men will not work for the same price. The Roxbury
High School, the Shurtleff Grammar School in Chelsea, the Normal School
at St. Louis, and the Normal School at Framingham, are now under the
charge of women. In the list of teachers from the Oswego School, we find
four who are paid one thousand dollars a year, and eleven who are paid
seven hundred dollars. Our daily press is very well satisfied with this;
but, since 1860, what portion of a decent living will seven hundred
dollars provide to a cultivated woman? When the salaries of the St.
Louis teachers were raised in 1866, the principal was obliged to express
her indignation before her salary was raised to its present sum of two
thousand dollars. Had she been a man, she would certainly have had as
much as the principal of the High School; namely, twenty-seven hundred
and fifty dollars. A graduate of Antioch College, assisting in the High
School at St. Louis, has twelve hundred dollars, where a man would have
seventeen hundred dollars. Miss Brackett's own assistants in the Normal
School have eleven hundred dollars.

The appointment of Miss Johnson to the head of the Normal School at
Framingham will open the way to a similar change in many quarters, if
what Governor Bullock has not disdained to call the "policy of
Massachusetts" is consistently carried out. I do not know what salary is
offered to Miss Johnson; but, if it were equal to that of the man who
preceded her, would not the newspapers have told us? The comparative
value of these salaries is not shown by the figures. It depends on the
prices of gold, and of food and provisions, each year. It cannot be half
as great as an inexperienced person would think.

There is a great want of female teachers of Latin and French. School
committees assure me, that proficients in language would be certain of
good pay in our high schools. For the most part, women prefer to devote
themselves to mathematics. I used to say, with a smile, in the Western
States, that all the women could read the "Mécanique Céleste;" but they
found Cæsar and Télémaque equally uninteresting. Later, Colonel
Higginson bears witness to the impossibility of getting good classical

It is a common idea, that the standard of education is higher now than
it was thirty years ago. It may be doubted. More things are taught in
schools,--ologies, isms, and the like; but the most thorough teachers
are not the most popular, and it may be questioned, whether in the best
minds on the Continent, in England, or this country, so great progress
has been made as has been generally claimed. There is much more
liberality in regard to the general question, but no more in regard to
the ideal standard.

In one of Niebuhr's letters to Madame Hensler, he says, in speaking of
Klopstock: "The character of the women is a remarkable feature of the
time of Klopstock's youth. The cultivation of the mind was carried
incomparably farther with them than with nearly all the young women of
our days; and this we should scarcely have expected to find in the
cotemporaries of our grandmothers. It was not, therefore, the influence
of our native literature; for that first rose into being along with, and
under the influence of, the love inspired by these charming maidens. For
some time after the Thirty Years' War, the ladies of Germany,
particularly those of the middle classes, were excessively coarse and
uneducated. This wonderful alteration must have taken place, therefore,
during eighty years,--between 1660 and 1740; though we are quite
ignorant how and when it began."

Passing over to France, we encounter the reputation of Madame de Sablé;
a woman, let me remark, for the benefit of those who are afraid that the
march of education will deprive them of their dinners, as celebrated for
her exquisite cooking and delicate confections as she was for her
literary ability. In speaking of her, Cousin says: "All the literature
of maxims and thoughts, including those of La Rochefoucauld, grew up in
the _salon_ of a lovely woman withdrawn into a convent. Having no
earthly pleasure but that of reliving her life, she knew how to impart
her own taste to society, in which she met by chance an accomplished
wit, whom she contrived to turn into a great writer." He is speaking of
the early part of the seventeenth century; and, in spite of the
notorious dissipation of the period, many gifted and many virtuous women
crowded her _salon_,--the Princess Palatine, the Princesses of Condé, de
Conti, de Longueville, and Schomberg, Anna de Rohan, and Mademoiselle
herself. There the gentlemen carried the pages they wrote at home, and
not only bore with, but accepted, the criticisms of the women. They had
no compensation but their praises, unless, like La Rochefoucauld, they
were cunning enough to demand a carrot pottage or some preserved plums
in exchange for a page of literature. In England, it is not necessary to
avail ourselves of an exceptional education, like that of Lady Jane
Grey. Remembering the noble culture of Elizabeth Tudor and Mary Stuart,
of the sturdy women of the Commonwealth, we might surely expect a
greater progress in the national idea. But, if its average could be
found, neither the wife of John Hampden nor Lady Russell would accept
it. It would seem that our standard advances, if at all, by a series of
Hugh Miller's parabolic curves. What we find, depends upon the point at
which we happen to test the eccentric arc; and, when we enter the
nineteenth century, we are forced to take refuge in analogy, and ask,
"If the ancient Egyptians _ever_ mastered the Copernican idea, why
should Galileo be imprisoned to-day for insisting that the sun does not
move round the earth?" The stimulating examples of noble and educated
women, which now present themselves, do not cheer us as they should,
while they remain exceptions. In making what Dickens would call an
"indiscriminate and incontinent" excursion, into the regions of female
thought and literature, we find its atmosphere in a somewhat
unventilated condition, and are reminded of an opinion of the Druses
which does not seem to have been wholly impertinent, that "literature is
a mean and contemptible occupation, _fit only for women_." Twenty years
ago, when ties of an almost filial tenderness linked us to the household
of the late Judge Cranch, we have often followed him, unrecognized, of a
Saturday afternoon, when, returning from the bench, he climbed Capitol
Hill, one hand grasping the handle of some colored washerwoman's basket,
or slinging her heavy bundle over his shoulder on a stick. The dear
remembrance, sustained by all the sweet and delicate courtesies of his
private life, has always lain side by side in our mind with that
exquisite Essay of Elia to which he first directed our attention, in
which a noble reverence to woman is inculcated, and we are taught to
judge every man's respect for the sex by his demeanor towards its
humblest representative. Yet, if Judge Cranch never swerved from his
gracious dignity, Charles Lamb did. Woman had not gained, in his
lifetime, such a hold upon her intellectual rights, that a dinner
company dared chide him, when he said of Letitia Landon, "If she
belonged to me, I would lock her up, and feed her on bread and water,
till she gave up writing poetry. A female poet, or female author of any
kind, ranks below an actress, _I_ think."

We do not quote these words so much against Lamb himself,--for the lips
of Mary Lamb's brother must have been thick with wine, when, with
"stammering, insufficient sound," he included her in so sweeping a
reprobation,--but to indicate the nature of that public opinion which is
even now dwarfing the ideals of the best men; to show how little
reliance is to be placed on the standard of the most generous, when a
remark like this, uttered in a large literary circle, passes without
criticism, and is recorded without conscious mortification,--recorded,
too, by the father of that Coventry Patmore, who has known how to offer
us, in later times, sugar-plums of his own _coloring_--let us add of his
own _poisoning_ also--under the alluring names of "betrothals" and
"espousals." How far the _facts_ are from the ideal standard, Mrs.
Jameson, in a lecture lately delivered, will help us to show.

"With all our schools," she says, "of all denominations, it remains an
astounding fact, that _one-half_ of the women who annually become
_wives_, in this England of ours, cannot sign their names in the parish
register; and that this amount of ignorance in the lower classes is
accompanied with an amount of ill-health, despondency, inaptitude, and
uselessness in the so-called educated classes, which, taken together,
prove that our boasted appliances are to a great extent failures."

The ancient standard of Italy was very high, even in the fifteenth
century, if we consider only the literary skill or mathematical culture
frequently desired and attained; but Anna Maria Mozzoni may congratulate
herself on having given a moral and social impetus to it, which it has
never before received. Her wise, considerate, philosophical suggestions
will meet the cordial welcome of all right-minded women. If followed
out, they will create nobler women than Tambroni or Laura Veratti.[3]

There was no institution in England for the proper training of sick
nurses, when Florence Nightingale went to Kaiserworth, a small town near
Düsseldorf, on the Rhine, to prepare herself to take charge of the
Female Sanitorium. In Great Britain, at this moment, the excess of the
female population over the male amounts to five hundred thousand souls;
and from all directions we hear the cry, that _men_ need educated
assistants. What is the country doing to answer this cry, to educate her
five hundred thousand women? In 1825 Dr. Gooch made a noble appeal to
the English public, in behalf of educating women to be nurses; but there
was no response. When the first school of design was started, a petition
was drawn up and _signed_, praying that women might not be taught, at
the expense of the Government, arts which would interfere with the
employment of men, and "take the bread out of _their_ mouths"!

Here was an absurd interference with the right of _feeding_, on the
part of these petitioners! As if women did not want bread as well as
men; and being, according to authority, the less intelligent and weaker
sex, one would suppose that to help them to find it might be a part of
that protection to which the Government stands pledged, and for which
their property is taxed.

"But," says Mrs. Jameson, "if a petition were drawn up, and handed to
medical men, praying that women should not be trained as nurses, nor
taught the laws of health, I am afraid there are well-intentioned men,
who would, at the time, be induced to sign it; but I believe that
twenty, nay, even ten years hence, they would look back upon their
signatures with as much disgust and amazement as is now excited by the
attempt to explode and sneer down the school at Marlborough House."

Another noble English woman, Mrs. Barbara Leigh Bodichon, in a recent
pamphlet called "Woman and Work," gives us the correspondence between
Jessie Meriton White and the various medical schools to which she
applied for admission. This lady had for several years had charge of two
little lame children, one of them her own nephew. The latter, on account
of some structural defect, had broken his leg sixteen times. Once, when
suitable attendance was not to be had, his aunt set and splintered it
herself. The physician who examined it advised her to apply for
instruction. She applied to fourteen medical institutions in the city
of London, asking sometimes for _private_ anatomical instruction. The
correspondence with four colleges in the year 1856 is given,--from the
St. George's, the Royal College of Surgeons, St. Bartholomew's Hospital,
and the University of London. It amply bears out her assertion, that she
was nowhere met with solid objections, or with sensible and logical
replies. Sometimes she was told of the _indelicacy_ of her request! The
University of London, which was legally bound by its charter to receive
her, treated her as coolly as the rest; and in no case was any
individual regret expressed for the official decision.

Indelicacy, forsooth! Where can we find it, if not in the impure nature
which raises the objection, and the low manner of thinking in general
society which consents to receive it? May not the mother, who receives
her naked new-born child from the hand of God, fitly ask to understand
the liabilities of its little frame? May not the wife, called in seasons
of sickness to the most delicate and trying duties, modestly ask for
that thorough culture which alone can make those duties easy? And who
make this objection? Men who go shuddering and half-drunken into the
dissecting room, to scatter vile jests above that prostrate temple of
the Holy Ghost! Men who see nothing in the exquisite development of
God's creation, but the reflection of their own obscene lives! Students
who know no better way to steel their courage to the use of the scalpel
than to play at foot-ball on the college green with a human skull,
holding its dignity to the level of their own honor![4]

The best hope that Jessie Meriton White has for England is, that some of
the most distinguished professors shall consent in time to take classes
of female students.

The office of the physician is as holy as that of the priest: formerly
they were one; now, at least, the physician should be priest-like.
Irreverence and impurity should be banished from medical ranks. The
science of medicine stands in great need of the intuitive genius of
woman. In pursuing it, she will need the steady caution of man. In this
country and in France, earnest and devoted students of both sexes have
stood in the dissecting room to the benefit of both. So let them
continue to stand, till the spirit is known by its fruits. An impure man
is no better than an impure woman; but impurity among men may be
concealed. Let it come between the two sexes, and it will be brought at
once into antagonism with society, and will meet its true desert. The
objection reveals the secrets of the medical college, and is the
strongest argument ever offered for the medical education of women.

If women are to practise as physicians, some means should be taken to
protect society against those who are imperfectly educated. _What a
degree means_ will always be doubtful, until men and women receive
their degrees in the same way and from the same hands. America stands
greatly in need of this protection. Crowds of unauthorized,
half-educated women, some of whom have not been ashamed to cross the
Atlantic, and have attracted such sympathy abroad as only a different
class of students deserve, are thronging the valley of the Mississippi,
as well as haunting with their empirical pretensions the purlieus of the
seaboard cities. If men had received properly trained women into their
colleges and medical societies, this would not have happened. Cannot
such physicians as Dr. Zakrzewska, Dr. Blackwell, Dr. Sewall, Dr. Tyng,
and Dr. Ross of Milwaukie, unite to organize a Woman's Medical Society,
with an examining board whose diploma shall attest the character of the
member? Dr. Storer's admirable pamphlet entitled "Why not?" points out
an evil, which will never be remedied by thrusting empirical women into
the positions now held by unscrupulous men.[5]

And what have we to say of our own country? Has the American standard
reached a safe altitude, or must we admit that it has the same
limitations? A popular width of view we have certainly gained in the
last half-century; but have we made secure progress in the right
direction? Some eighty years ago, John Adams wrote of his wife, "This
lady was more beautiful than Lady Russell, had a brighter genius, more
information, and more refined taste, and was at least her equal in
virtues of the heart, in fortitude and firmness of character, in
resignation to the will of Heaven, and in all the virtues and graces of
the Christian life. Like Lady Russell, she never discouraged her husband
from running all hazards for the salvation of his country's liberties;
she was willing to share with me, and that her children should share
with us both, in all the dangerous consequences we had to hazard."

Will America ever offer to the world a nobler picture? Is it at this
moment above or below our average ideal? "With such a mother," said John
Quincy Adams, in Boston, less than twenty years ago, "with such a
mother, it has been the perpetual instruction of my life to love and
reverence the female sex; but I have been taught also--and the lesson is
still more deeply impressed--I have been taught _not_ to flatter them."
Noble words! Gentlemen to whom it falls to deliver annually
Normal-school addresses would do well to take a lesson from them. They
would wince a little, could they hear the criticisms of the indignant
girls upon their actual advice and praise. How would these men have
liked it, if at fifteen they had been addressed as fathers of an unborn
generation, whose especial duty it was to adapt themselves to this
sphere? And why should men complain, that women look to marriage, and
marriage only, as salvation, if the whole tenor of their own influence
is used to emphasize it as woman's "manifest destiny"? "Are there not
_two_ married, and where is the one?" What propriety is there in
assuming, in advance, that the sphere which married life opens has a
stronger hold on one sex than the other?

We have said enough to show, that in Germany, France, England, and
America, the ideal standard of education was sufficiently high over a
century ago. Why has not such actual progress been made as might have
been expected?

Because _public opinion_ has constantly thwarted the ideal growth.
Educated women have, for the most part, wanted courage to do what is
right, unless sustained by men. In education, for the duties of which
they are acknowledged to be superior, they have never insisted on the
changes they knew to be necessary, but have uniformly succumbed to the
masculine idea. Shall we blame them? Is a conflict in the heart of a
family a pleasant thing? Certainly, the hand which the magnanimous
sympathy of men has set free cannot cast the first stone. The slowness
and faithlessness of men too often paralyzes the best efforts of women.
The faith which Isabella showed Columbus, would be, at this moment, a
grateful return from them. Charles Lamb has shown us how valueless to
the working woman the support of delicate sentiment may be. The ringing
of the glasses round a table dulled his exquisite ear to the fine
spheral harmonies it had once caught. He broke, in an after-dinner tilt,
the very lance with which he had pierced to the heart of the enemy's
shield. If the ideal standard makes no headway against public opinion,
what encouragement to our hopes does common life offer?

As exquisite beauty of water, hill, and dale lies hidden in many a
country hamlet, unheeded by the guidebook, unsuspected by the traveller
on the turnpike road; so, in society, self-sacrifice, noble daring, and
saintly perseverance, nestle behind the prominent failure. We find them
everywhere, except where we should most naturally look for them.

There is in England a Society for the Promotion of Female Education in
the East. It undertakes to do _abroad_ precisely the work that its
individual members refuse to assist the community to do at home.
Consequently, their printed schemes read like satires on their
individual convictions. In the year 1835, Miss Alice Holliday called the
attention of this society to the condition of women in Egypt and
Abyssinia. She asked their sanction to her attempt to educate the women
of Egypt, with an ultimate view to those of Abyssinia, whose condition
chiefly interested her. She had pursued a severe course of study,
unfriended and alone, before she asked this help. She had studied the
severe sciences, the antiquities and customs of the countries
themselves, and the Arabic and Coptic languages. She was fortunate also
in stirring the enthusiasm of a certain Miss Rogers, who, unable to
teach, was yet willing to accompany her friend, and devote her fortune
to their mutual support. As these ladies wanted no money from the
society they consulted, they were received as agents without difficulty,
and reached Alexandria in the autumn of 1836. At this time Miss Holliday
wrote: "The condition of the Coptic women is truly lamentable. Their
abodes are like the filthiest holes in London; yet their persons are
decked out in the most costly apparel. I have seen ladies sitting at
their latticed windows, their heads and necks adorned with pearls and
diamonds of the highest value, their bodies covered with the richest
silks and velvets, while the room they occupied was the most disgusting
scene you can imagine. Smoking and sleeping occupy their time. Female
schools have never had an existence, and the prejudice against them is
very strong."

We can recall the argument used in those Eastern lands, and the answer
which civilization offered. "I am afraid to teach my women," said the
Turk: "they are already crafty and impure. To gather them into public
places is to offer a premium on immodesty, and a temptation to
misconduct." The Christian answered proudly, "We can trust our women;
yes, even in Paris and London."

Soon after their arrival, Miss Rogers died; but her friend was not
discouraged. In the following March, an officer of state, Hekekyan
Effendi, came to inquire whether she would take charge of the royal
women, one hundred in number, and the nearest relatives of the
sovereign. Much depended, it was thought, upon the co-operation of the
oldest daughter, Nas-lee Hanoom; and it was His Highness's desire that
the heads of the family should be formed into a committee to extend
female schools. See how this Mohammedan officer writes to Miss Holliday.

"You have no doubt read much about hareems," he says, "yet little, I
fear, that resembles the truth. We pay great respect to women and aged
persons, whatever may be our own rank. Our children, however, are
uneducated, in the European sense of the term. Besides being illiterate,
they know nothing of domestic economy; and, in the middling and lower
classes of the community, this ignorance is so profound as to endanger,
by its dire consequences, domestic health, peace, and prosperity. This
want is the first cause of slavery and its concomitant vices. In
seconding the illustrious efforts of Mehemet Ali, I have been able to
trace our debasement as a nation to _no other cause_ than the want of a
useful and efficient moral education for our women. In giving to them
enlightened education, we shall be striking at the root of the evils
that afflict us; we shall diminish the dangers and misfortunes which
proceed from ignorance and idleness. Habits of industry, cleanliness,
order, and economy, by increasing happiness, make us morally better, and
will secure that moral training to our children which no subsequent
effort is sufficient to replace."

So true is it that the value of words is comparative, that all this
might have been written by some Secretary of the Board of Education in
Massachusetts. The arguments of the Turk and Effendi are very familiar
to us. Modern civilized society shuts women out of schools to protect
their modesty. Modern professors tell us how much they respect women,
and value material training, at the very moment when they bar the gates
of life against her. On the 27th of March, 1838, Miss Holliday went in
state to the hareem. She was preceded by the two janissaries attached to
the English Consulate, bearing their silver wands of office, and
accompanied by the wife of Hekekyan. In the ante-room they were regaled
with coffee out of golden cups set with diamonds. Young Georgian girls
of great beauty brought sherbet and massive pipes with amber
mouth-pieces. They were then introduced to the Princess Nas-lee, a
little woman about forty, simply dressed; and, before the interview
ended, Alice had promised to spend four hours of every day in the
hareem. She began with instruction that tended to civilize daily life;
and boxes of embroidery and baby-clothes, made for patterns in England,
excited the first lively interest. She declined all invitations to take
up her abode in the hareem, although promised entire liberty. She was
_humble_, and, as a consequence, _wise_. She did not expect great
results, or look for much enthusiasm, in the hareem.

In August, she writes: "My visits have been attended with the most
cheering success. I am received and honored with every possible
distinction; but, added to my school, it is a great fatigue." Her
character in every way sustained the effect of her teaching. She was
offered thirty pounds a month for her attendance at the hareem, but
thought ten pounds sufficient, and would accept no more. In October, a
box of presents was received from England. When Hekekyan was invited to
look into this box, he seized upon some scientific plates sent to the
young princess. "Ah!" said he, "these are the things we need." The Pacha
was captivated, in his turn, by an orrery, and a model of the Thames
Tunnel. The hareem sent back a similar box, and Nas-lee herself worked a
scarf for the queen. Miss Holliday was soon ordered to translate some of
her books into Turkish; and her princesses wrote touching letters to
their English friends. Soon after, we find this indefatigable woman
teaching English, French, drawing, and writing, in the hareem of a late
Governor of Cairo. Education must begin with languages; for Egypt has no
literature to offer to her children. In 1840 Victoria sent to the hareem
a portrait of herself, which was carried in procession and hung with
proper honors by the side of that of the pacha. Very soon came an
Egyptian Society for the Promotion of Female Education. Scientific
instruments and books were ordered. An infant school began with one
hundred and fifty children. The hareem demanded another teacher, and
Mrs. Lieder was sent out. In 1844 a male school was formed, and European
teachers imported. The young girls, who had begun with needle-work eight
years before, were now studying Turkish, Persian, and Arabic, geography,
arithmetic, and drawing. "What a change," writes Alice in 1846,--"what a
change within the last ten years! When I came to Egypt, there was not a
woman who could read; and now some hundreds have not only the power, but
the best books. Year after year, I have been permitted to see the growth
of a new civilization. What a change has come over the royal family
since I first entered it! The desire for trifles is preparing the way
for our noblest gifts; and a fatal blow has been struck at the whole
system of hareems." It would be pleasant to trace this devoted woman
farther, to know whether she still lives, and if she has reached the
Abyssinian plains. In this humble way began the great educational
movement in Egypt, which gave strength and vitality to Mehemet Ali's
best-considered plans, which has sent scores of young princes to Paris,
and will eventually change the face of the whole land.

Alice Holliday succeeded, because the "sinews of war"--namely, the
"purse-strings"--were in her own hands. Very similar in spirit was the
enterprise of Madame Luce in Algiers, of which Madame Bodichon has given
an interesting account. Madame Luce went to Algiers, soon after the
conquest, about 1834, and was probably a teacher in the family of one of
the resident functionaries. In 1845, nearly nine years after Alice had
begun her Egyptian labors, Madame Luce was a widow, with very little
money to devote to the work on which she had set her heart; namely, a
school to civilize the women of Algiers. Government was already
beginning to instruct the men; but the Mohammedan dread of proselytism
stood in their way. The women were in the worst state,--closely veiled,
taught no manual arts, having no skill in housekeeping even,--for the
simple life of a warm climate, the scanty furniture, give no scope for
such skill. To wash their linen, to clamber over the roofs to make
calls, to offer coffee and receive it, to dress very splendidly at
times, very untidily always, was the synopsis of their lives. They did
not know their own ages, yet were liable to be sold in marriage at the
age of ten. Upon such material, and at such a time,--when the value of a
Moorish woman was estimated, like that of a cow, _by her
weight_,--Madame Luce undertook to work. She had a Christian courage in
her heart, which might put many a man to shame.

While laying her plans, she had perfected herself in the native tongue,
and now commenced a campaign among the families of her acquaintance,
coaxing them to trust their little girls to her for three or four hours
a day, that they might be taught to read and write French, and also to
sew neatly. Her presents, her philanthropic tact, her solemn promise not
to interfere in matters of religion, won for her, at length, four little
girls, whom she took to her own hired house without a moment's delay. As
the rumor of her success spread, one child after another dropped in,
till she had more than thirty. Finding the experiment answer beyond her
hopes, she was compelled to demand assistance of the local government.
Men have no faith in quixotic undertakings. As might have been expected,
they complimented Madame Luce upon her energy, saw no use in educating
Moorish women, and declined to assist her. She waited, in breathless
suspense, till the day on which the Council were to meet, bribing the
parents, clothing the children, and pursuing her noble work. "Surely,"
she thought, "they _will_ devise some plan;" but the twilight of the
30th of December closed in, and they had not even alluded to her school.
On the 1st of January, 1846, it was closed. Nine hundred miles from
Paris, without the modern conveniences of transport, what do you suppose
this woman did? Could she give up? She scorned an offer of personal
remuneration made by a few gentlemen, and told them that what she wanted
was adequate support for a national work. She pawned her plate, her
jewels, even a gold thimble, and set off for Paris, where she arrived
early in February, and sent in her report to the Minister of War. She
went in person from deputy to deputy, detailing her plans. Poor Madame
Luce! her success was not quite so speedy as Alice Holliday's, whose
schools had doubtless stimulated her efforts. Everywhere she had to
combat the scepticism, the indifference, the inertia, of worldly men.
There was no Miss Rogers, with a kind heart and a long purse, to help
her on her way. Nor did Madame Luce desire that there should be. She
knew that individual efforts of such a kind can never last long; and she
was determined to make the government adopt and become responsible for
her work. Then it would outlive her. Then it might redeem the nation. At
last, daylight began to dawn. The government gave her three thousand
francs for her journey, and eleven hundred more on account of some claim
of her deceased husband. They urged her return to Algiers, and promised
still farther support. So perseveringly had she wrought, that, early in
June, she was able to re-open her school, amid the rejoicings of parents
and children. It was seven months before the government contrived to put
the school on a better foundation. During this time, her pupils
constantly increased, and she was put to the greatest straits to keep it
together. The Curé of Algiers gave her a little money and a great deal
of sympathy. The Count Guyot, high in office, helped her from his own
purse. When she was entirely destitute, she would send one of her
negresses to him, and he would send her enough for the day. On one
occasion, he sent a small bag of money, left by the Duc de Nemours for
the benefit of a journal which had ceased to exist. She found in this
two hundred francs, which she received as a direct gift from Heaven.
Thus she got along from hand to mouth. She engaged an Arab mistress, who
was remarkably cultivated, to assist her, and to train the children in
her own faith. Pledged as she was not to instruct them in Christianity,
she had the sense to see, what few would have admitted, that such
instruction was not only necessary, but desirable. It gave them the
knowledge of one God, and made clear distinctions between right and
wrong. At last, in January, 1847, the school was formally adopted, and
received its first visit of inspection. The gentlemen were received by
thirty-two pupils, and the Arab mistress _unveiled_; a great triumph of
common sense, if we consider how short a time the school had been
opened. Since that time, the work has steadily prospered. In 1858 it
numbered one hundred and twenty pupils, between the ages of four and
eighteen. The practical wisdom of Madame Luce led her to establish a
workshop, where the older pupils learned the value of their labor, and
earned a good deal of money. They had always a week's work in advance,
when the wise, slow government put an end to it, whether to save the
thirty-five pounds a year, which the salary of its superintendent cost,
or to prevent competition with the nunneries, Madame Luce has never
known. _She_ thought it the best part of her plan,--far better than
teaching the girls to turn a French phrase neatly for the satisfaction
of inspectors. The government are now beginning to understand her value.
They have established a second school in Algiers, and several in the
provinces. The results are not miraculous, but they plant new germs of
moral power and thought in every family circle which they touch. Such
names as those of Alice Holliday and Madame Luce have a great value.
These women and their labors are permeated by the Christian idea of
self-surrender. The preponderance of this idea in these examples
distinguishes them above women of the past, whether German _exaltadas_,
brilliant adventurers amid the perils of the Froude, or witty loiterers
in the _salon_ of Madame de Sablé.

La Rochefoucauld, who was proud of Mademoiselle and her princesses,
would only have sneered at Madame Luce; nor would Lady Russell, nor Mrs.
John Adams, have followed Alice to Egypt cheerfully. Nor do these two
women belong to the army of saints and martyrs. A religious devotee has
in her a mistaken enthusiasm, and goes _away from_ the world. These
women are doing the work of saints and martyrs with a far higher
appreciation of God's providence, of the uses of this world, and with
all the hindrances that fall to the lot of simple human beings. It is
not our intention to multiply such instances here: they belong, rather,
to the illustrations of individual power. We must not forget, however,
the existence, in England, of that circle of women, of whom Mrs.
Bodichon, Mrs. Hugo Reid, Mrs. Browning, Mrs. Fox, Mrs. Jameson, and
Bessie Raynor Parkes, are honorable examples. We have such lives as
those of Mrs. Gaskell and Miss Evans; the scientific reputation not
alone of Mrs. Somerville, but of Mrs. Griffith, to whose masculine power
of research English marine botany may be said to owe its existence, and
who still survives, at an advanced age, to see that knowledge becomes
popular, in her cheerful and honored decline, which she pursued, for
many a year, unassisted and alone. We have Mrs. Janet Taylor, one of the
best and most popular teachers of navigation and nautical mathematics in
all England. Her classes have been celebrated and numerously attended by
men who have been long at sea, as well as by youths preparing for the
merchant service; and, still farther, we have in cultivated circles, to
balance the old prejudice, an encouraging liberality. A review,
published in the Westminster, after the issue of Miss Martineau's
pamphlet on the future government of India, shows conclusively that any
woman who will do _good_ work may feel sure of honest appreciation. If
she does poor work, she will only the more provoke the enemy. Nothing
could have been more ambitious than Miss Martineau's theme; but, when
she showed herself well qualified to handle it, no one had any
disposition to consider the choice unwomanly. Such criticisms are the
exponents of the century's experience. They betray the unconscious
drift of the public mind. A book is modest by the side of a pamphlet.
The former may wait its day: the latter aspires to immediate influence,
if it does any thing,--must mould the hour. It was once the chosen
weapon of Milton and Bolingbroke, later of Ward and Brougham. Is it
nothing, that a woman of advanced years, writing from an invalid's
chamber, feels herself competent to wield it? Was it nothing, when, by
her tracts on political economy, she gave an impulse to the middle
classes of her native land, for which busy political men could not find

Is it not Godwin who says that "human nature is better read in romance
than history"? Every actual life falls short of its ideal; but a poem
dares demand some approximation to its standard from the whole world. In
this way, "Aurora Leigh," into which Mrs. Browning confesses she has
thrown her whole heart, is a wonderful indication of human thought and
feeling. In this country, there are many significant signs of progress.
The name of Maria Mitchell in astronomy; of the women engaged in the
Coast Survey; of the professors at Antioch, Vassar, and Oberlin,--are
familiarly known, and have their own power. Only lately, a Nashua
factory-girl takes the highest honors at the Oread Institute; and its
principal is willing to put her and two other graduates into competition
with any three college graduates in New England for examination
according to the curriculum. When she finished the education she had
first earned the money to procure, she left her Worcester home, and,
with quiet right-mindedness, went back to Nashua to labor for an
indigent family. As she tends her loom on the Jackson Corporation, she
will have leisure to investigate her _right_ to these acquisitions.

In support of this "exception," the superintendent of the New-York City
Schools, long ago, reported, that its female schools, whether by merit
of teachers or pupils or both, are of a much higher grade than the male
schools. Eighteen girls'-schools are superior, in average attainment, to
the very best boys'-school. He goes on to speak of the rapidity with
which women acquire knowledge, in terms which remind us of Margaret
Fuller, when she remarks of Dr. Channing, that it was not very pleasant
to read to him; "for," said she, "he takes in subjects more deliberately
than is conceivable to us feminine people, with our habits of ducking,
diving, or flying for truth." In speaking of her classes at Vassar
College, Miss Mitchell says (1865): "I have a class of seventeen pupils,
between the ages of sixteen and twenty-two. They come to me for fifty
minutes every day. I allow them great freedom in questioning, and I am
puzzled by them daily. They show more mathematical ability, and more
originality of thought, than I had expected. I doubt whether young men
would show as deep an interest. Are there seventeen students in Harvard
College who take mathematical astronomy, do you think?"

At the session of the Michigan Legislature, held in 1857-8, petitions
were received, asking that women might be permitted to enjoy all the
advantages of the State University. The committee to whom the subject
was referred, took counsel with the older colleges at the East, whose
whole spirit and method is as much opposed to such an idea as that of
Oxford. The result was, that they reported against any change for the
present,--a report the more to be regretted, as Ann Arbor has a broader
University foundation than any institution within the limits of the
United States. The University has lately petitioned for a larger
endowment, and again an effort has been made to secure its advantages
for women; Theodore Tilton pleading before the committee in their
behalf, in February, 1867. We know of twenty-seven colleges in the
United States, open to men and women, of which Oberlin was the noble

The highest culture has been claimed for women: it has been shown, that,
for two centuries, the ideal of such a culture has existed, but has been
depressed by an erroneous public opinion. There has, however, been a
steady growth in the right direction, which entitles us to ask for a
"revised and corrected" public opinion. The influence of mental culture
is a small thing by the side of that insinuating atmospheric power and
the customs of society which it controls. All educated men and women,
all liberal souls, therefore, should do their utmost to invigorate
public opinion. To allow no weakness to escape us, to challenge every
falsehood as it passes, to brave every insinuation and sneer, is what
duty demands. Can you not bear to be called "women's-rights women"? To
whom has the name ever been agreeable? Society gives the lie to your
purest instincts, and you bear it. It calls the truths you accept hard
names, and you are dumb. It throws stones, and you shrink behind some
ragged social fence, leaving a few weak women to stand the assault

What influence has the highest literary character of America, at this
moment, on the popular idea of women? "How much is there that we may not
say _aloud_," wrote Niebuhr to Savigny, "for fear of being stoned by the
stupid _good_ people!" and upon this principle the thinkers of our
society act; not a word escaping from their guarded homes to cheer the
more exposed workers.

Prescott stabbed Philip II. to the heart without a qualm. Ticknor could
give a life to the romance of old Spain. Froude has defended Henry VIII.
Our best poets sing verses that enslave, since the song of beauty echoes
always among tropical delights. "Barbara Frietchie" alone has been
written for us. When George Curtis blows his clarion, a courtly throng
come at the call. We yield with the rest to the charm of the lips on
which Attic bees once clustered. What honor do we pay the fair
proportions of the simple truth?

How can we settle questions of right and wrong for remote periods,
without knowing the faces of either in the street to-day? How shall any
one honor Margaret of Parma, and pity poor crazy Joan in Spain, and have
no heart for the heroism of Mary Patton? How unravel with patient study
the _tracasseries_ of Elizabeth Tudor and Mary Stuart, yet ignore the
complications of the life he himself lives?

When Mary Patton had carried her ship round Cape Horn,--standing in a
parlor where the air was close, though the breezes that entered at its
open casement swept the Common as they came, a woman told, with newly
kindled enthusiasm, the story of that wonderful voyage. She gave her, in
warm words, her wifely and womanly due. "She saved the ship, God bless
her!" she said as she concluded; and another voice, that once was sweet,
responded, "More shame to her!"

"'More shame to her!'" repeated the first speaker, as if she had been
struck a sudden blow; and turning quickly towards the girl, beautiful,
well educated, carefully reared, who, in the fulness of her twenty
summers, found time for church-going, for clothing the poor, for elegant
study, for every thing but sympathy,--"More shame!" she repeated: "What!
for saving life and property?"--"Better that they should all have gone
to the bottom," returned her friend, "than that one woman should step
out of her sphere!" Ah! the Infinite Father knows how to educate the
public opinion that we need. Now and then he lifts a woman, as he did
Mary Patton, against her will out of her ordinary routine; and, while
all the world gaze at her with tender sympathy, they half accept the
coming future.

Does it sadden you, that we should repeat such words? They did not shock
the ears on which they fell; they met no farther rebuke than one
astonished question. Yet what did they represent? Not the public opinion
of Mary Patton. The New-York underwriters, when they voted her a
thousand dollars, were a fit gauge of that. It was the public opinion of
the "right of vocation" that the young girl unconsciously betrayed.
Harsh words die on our lips, as we think, "This girl's life is aimless.
_She_ would gladly do some noble work, but society does not help her.
She lacks courage to stand alone, and envies the very woman she

"Public opinion is of slow growth," you retort: "do not charge its
corruptions on the people of to-day."

The people of to-day are responsible for any corruptions which they do
not reject.

We have seen that the standard of womanly education does not lead where
it should, because controlled by a public opinion which demands too
little. It becomes us here to investigate the origin of that public
opinion, and to ask the meaning of the lives which have been lived in
its despite.


  [1] This does not mean the supervision of father and mother, but that
  into colleges, universities, medical schools, and whatever educational
  institutions may be named, the controlling and protecting influence of
  both sexes should be carried. I believe that every university should
  have a cultivated and elegant woman (not necessarily the _wife_ of any
  of its officers), whose duty it should be to preside over its social
  life, and offer such allurements to virtuous pleasure that
  gambling-houses and worse shall lose their present fascinations. If
  young men could associate with virtuous and lovely women, under
  suitable sanction, in their college life, they would not, in general,
  go out of it in search of the vicious and unlovely. No one who lives
  within three miles of a large university need doubt the meaning of
  this paragraph. An age and a religious faith which discards the
  cloister, should discard a cloisteral fashion, wherever it exists.

  [2] "Society offered her no welcome." I am very well aware that this
  statement, taken with what I shall elsewhere indicate, will be
  considered an exaggeration; but, with a somewhat wide and varied
  experience of the United States and of Canada, I maintain it to be
  true. I am not to say what is true in the eyes of others, but what is
  true in my own. "What!" some one will exclaim, "education not a
  passport to social honor! Where was there ever a country where the
  teacher was respected as she is in New England?" Theoretically, this
  is true; and I have known a few instances in New England, in which
  teachers of private schools, of good family, successful in acquiring
  wealth (not necessarily through their schools), kept an eminent social
  position. Men generally keep a fair position; women, rarely. To test
  the truth of this, let me press the question. To whom do we all, to
  whom does the Commonwealth, owe a sacred debt, if not to the teachers
  of the primary and the grammar schools? Among these women, I have
  found some of the most delicate, high-bred, and cultivated women whom
  I have ever known of the same age. Let any one who sees them collected
  on public occasions glance at them, and judge; but, in cities at
  least, these women are never in society. Their meagre salaries prevent
  them from dressing as ladies must be dressed for a large company. For
  the same reason, their boarding-places are obscure and lonely. The
  middle class of artisans, &c., who send their children to the public
  schools, seek no intercourse with those whose refinement seems to
  isolate them; the upper class look down upon them very kindly, but
  never think of inviting them to meet distinguished people, of showing
  them rare books or pictures, of stimulating their worn-out faculties
  in any way. Why do we not make these teachers our first care? Should
  we not be more than repaid--if pay we must have--by the cheer and
  comfort added to the schoolroom in which our children are to be
  taught? I have tried the experiment of bringing these tired souls into
  contact with those who ought to refresh them. It does marvellously
  well, until the crucial question is asked, "Who is she?" If I answer,
  "The teacher of a primary school," what a change of countenance, what
  a fading of the cordial smile, what passive indifference! and this, in
  cases where, in refinement and delicacy of manner, the young lady
  might pass unchallenged anywhere. But let the subject of my experiment
  be a girl of genius; with such cultivation only as a Normal School
  could add to the education of a country home; deficient still in the
  minor graces of deportment; too energetic and adventurous, perhaps, to
  be elegant; and who will take a motherly interest in her, draw her
  within the charmed circle where she shall learn to carry herself with
  reserve and dignity, and to veil her flashing powers, that they may
  warm where they have hitherto consumed?

  No: I do not exaggerate. I believe we are all concerned to know in
  what sort of homes, under what influences, with what helps to health
  and happiness, these lonely and isolated girls pass the hours when
  they are not engaged in teaching. It concerns us, in the first place,
  of course, because theirs are the direct influences which mould our
  children; but I scorn that argument. It concerns us far more because
  they are the children of the same Father, engaged in the most trying
  of human vocations, and entitled as women, especially as unprotected
  women, to the sympathy of all mothers.

  Some years ago, a lady not yet out of her teens, and suddenly reduced
  in fortune, went to Virginia to teach. She had letters from persons of
  distinction, who had known her in her early home. The letters were
  delivered; but there the matter ended. But she was one of those
  persons who make a place for themselves; and, after the neighborhood
  grew proud of her, she was called down one day to meet the wife of a
  lieutenant in the navy, to whom one of her letters had been addressed.
  "I am sorry I have not called before," apologized the visitor; "but
  there are so many of _these teachers_!" She had no time to say more:
  the young girl's cheek kindled. "Madam," said she, springing to her
  feet, "I desire no attention from you which would not under any
  circumstances be accorded to your daughter's teacher;" and she left
  the room. It is a matter of small importance, that, in this case, the
  young teacher was soon placed in a position in which her good-will
  became important to the lieutenant's wife.

  "This," you will say, "was at the South. It grew out of that spirit of
  'caste' which died with slavery." Is it indeed dead? Is there no
  spirit of caste in Massachusetts?

  [3] Un Passo Avanti nella Cultura Femminile Fesi e Progetto di Anna
  Maria Mozzoni Mitano. 1866.

  [4] I would gladly expunge the bitter reproof of these lines; but they
  record a fact which occurred at a medical school, where such an
  application was made, and must stand as history.

  [5] The three parts of this book have been made to conform to the
  census and statistics of the year 1850. To bring them up to the year
  1860 would require a repetition of all the labor originally devoted to
  the question. That would be unwise if it were possible, for it could
  not alter the bearing of any statements; and it is not possible,
  because we have now no certain values in America. I had from the first
  intended to indicate in notes any important changes that had taken
  place in this decade. I had earnestly hoped to be able to contradict
  here the statements in the text in regard to medical opportunities for
  women, and the proper training of sick nurses, in England. But my
  English correspondents assure me that I have no occasion to change any
  thing; that the facts remain substantially what they were when my
  manuscript was written.

  "But," says some watchful woman, "has not Miss Garrett taken her
  degree from Apothecaries' Hall? and have not a few women at least been
  trained as sick nurses?"

  There is still no _institution_ for the training of sick nurses, as
  the text asserts. Some few have been trained in hospitals and the
  like, on conditions of service, or to supply the need of such
  institutions themselves. How does the matter stand with Miss Garrett?
  The press has made the most of her success: it lies with us to exhibit
  the naked truth. After applying in vain to the various medical
  colleges, Miss Garrett went to Apothecaries' Hall. Here they refused
  her; but she looked up their charter. She found the word indicating to
  whom degrees should be granted indeterminate, with no character of sex
  attached to it. Lawyers told her the hall must grant her a degree, or
  surrender its charter. She was wealthy, and in earnest. She pushed her
  advantage. "The Apothecaries' Hall" prescribed certain courses of
  instruction to be pursued and certified before the degree could be
  granted. These she pursued in private, paying the most exorbitant
  rates for her instruction. In one instance, for a course of lectures,
  to which a man's fee would have been _five_ guineas, she paid _fifty_;
  and I am credibly informed that the round cost of these preparatory
  steps must have amounted to two thousand pounds. All honor to Miss
  Garrett! Should her genius as a physician equal her energy and her
  wealth, she may gain something for the cause she has espoused, by the
  honor and consideration she will win for her sex. Apart from this, it
  will be seen, she has gained nothing. Bribery is not possible to
  ordinary mortals; and the conditions of the degree, in the present
  state of public feeling, would make it wholly impracticable.

  The case, as it has been stated to us, is an exemplification, on a
  gigantic scale, of all that we complain of; and proves our statement,
  that women have not won an education for themselves, till they win
  with it its legitimate results. For their opportunities as things now
  stand, all over the world, women pay a premium on the terms offered to
  men. Let them take these opportunities as tools, and try to win their
  bread with them, and the wages offered are, as a rule, a large
  discount on those offered to men. Political economy has nothing to do
  with the exceptional cases in which this is most evident,--only the
  common, habitual idea, that the wages of women must be kept down; and
  that, to do it, the value of superior labor must not be recognized, as
  in the case of the female teacher quoted in the text.

  In the Report of St. Mary's Dispensary for Women and Children, in
  Marylebone, I find Miss Elizabeth Garrett mentioned as the General
  Medical Attendant. The Devonshire-square Nursing Institute,
  established, I think, by Mrs. Fry, twenty years ago, sends out nurses
  on the request of clergymen. Several sisters give their whole time to

  King's College pays one thousand pounds annually for nurses to St.
  John's Home.

  St. Thomas's Hospital, where nurses are being trained by the
  Nightingale fund, rejected fifty applications in six months.

  The excitement in England has had a wholesome effect upon colonial
  action. The East-Indian Government has lately given Lady Canning
  twenty thousand rupees, to assist in building a home for the Calcutta
  Nurses' Institute; and a movement is making in India to educate native
  women as physicians. See, in the Appendix, the account of Miss
  Nightingale's School for Nurses in Liverpool.

  Since the above was written, in January, 1867, three ladies have taken
  their degrees at Apothecaries' Hall, having passed a good examination,
  in Euclid, arithmetic, English history, and Latin. The _cost_ of these
  degrees has not transpired.

  [6] See Appendix.



    "A governed thought, thinking no thought but good,
    Makes crowded houses, holy solitude."
    _Sanscrit Book of Good Counsels._

The existing public opinion with regard to woman has been formed by the
influence of heathen ages and institutions, kept up by a mistaken study
of the classics,--a study so pursued, that Athens and Rome, Aristophanes
and Juvenal, are more responsible for the popular views of woman, and
for the popular mistakes in regard to man's position toward her, than
any thing that has been written later.

This influence pervades all history; and so the study of history
becomes, in its turn, the source of still greater and more specious
error, except to a few rare and original minds, whose eccentricities
have been pardoned to their genius, but who have never influenced the
world to the extent that they have been influenced by it.

The adages or proverbs of all nations are the outgrowths of their first
attempts at civilization. They began at a time which knew neither
letter-paper nor the printing-press; and they perpetuate the rudest
ideas, such as are every way degrading to womanly virtue. The influence
of general literature is impelled by the mingled current. For many
centuries, it was the outgrowth of male minds only, of such as had been
drilled for seven years at least into all the heathenisms of which we

Women, when they first began to work, followed the masculine idea,
shared the masculine culture. As a portion of general literature, the
novel, as the most popular, exerts the widest sway. No educational
influence in this country compares with it; even that of the pulpit
looks trivial beside it. There are thousands whom that influence never
reaches; hardly one who cannot beg or buy a newspaper, with its story by
some "Sylvanus Cobb."

From the first splash of the Atlantic on a Massachusetts beach to the
farthest cañon which the weary footsteps of the Mormon women at this
moment press; from the shell-bound coast of Florida, hung with garlands
of orange and lime, to the cold, green waters of Lake Superior, in their
fretted chalice of copper and gold,--the novel holds its way. On the
railroad, at the depot, in the Irish hut, in the Indian lodge, on the
steamer and the canal-boat, in the Fifth-avenue palace, and the
Five-Points den of infamy, its shabby livery betrays the work that it is

Until very lately, it has kept faith with history and the classics; but
it is passing more and more into the hands of women,--of late into the
hands of noble and independent women; and there are signs which indicate
that it may soon become a potent influence of redemption. It has thus
far done infinite harm, by drawing false distinctions between the
masculine and feminine elements of human nature, and perpetuating,
through the influence of genius often _intensifying_, the educational
power of a false theory of love.

Social customs follow in the train of literature; and sometimes in
keeping with popular errors, but oftener in stern opposition to them,
are the lives and labors of remarkable individuals of both sexes,--lives
that show, if they show nothing else, how much the resolute endeavor of
one noble heart may do towards making real and popular its own

The influence of newspapers sustains, of course, the general current
derived from all these sources.

Public opinion, then, flows out of these streams,--out of classical
literature, history, general reading, and the proverbial wisdom of all
lands; out of social conventions, and customs and newspapers. These
streams set one way. Only individual influences remain, to stem their
united force.

We must treat of them more at length, and first of the classics. Until
very lately, there were no proper helps to the study of Egyptian, Greek,
or Roman mythology. It was studied by the letter, and made to have more
or less meaning, according to the teacher who interpreted it. Lemprière
had no room for moral deductions or symbolic indications; his columns
read like a criminal report in the "New-York Herald." The Egyptian
mythology was, doubtless, an older off-shoot from the same stem. Many of
its ceremonies, its symbols, and its idols, must be confused by the
uninstructed mind with realities of the very lowest, perhaps we should
not be far wrong if we said, of the most revolting stamp. The Greek
classics, so far as I know them, present a singular mixture of
influences; but, where woman is concerned, the lowest certainly
preponderate. We should be sorry to lose Homer and Æschylus, Herodotus,
Thucydides, and Xenophon, from our library; but of how many poets and
dramatists, from the few fragments of Pindar and Anacreon down through
the tragic poets,--down, very far down, indeed, to Aristophanes,--can we
say as much?

There need be no doubt about Aristophanes. The world would be the purer,
and all women grateful, if every copy of his works, and every coarse
inference from them, could be swept out of existence to-morrow. When we
find a _noble picture_ in Xenophon, it had a noble original, like
Panthea in Persia, as old perhaps as that fine saying in the Heetopades
which all the younger Veds disown. When we find an _ignoble thought_, it
seems to have been born out of his Greek experience. Transported by a
fair ideal, Plato asks, in his "Republic," "Should not this sex, which
we condemn to obscure duties, be destined to functions the most noble
and elevated?" But it was only to take back the words in his "Timæus,"
and in the midst of a society that refused to let the wife sit at table
with the husband, and whose young wives were not "tame" enough to speak
to their husbands, if we may believe the words of Xenophon, until after
months of marriage. When Iscomachus, the model of an Athenian husband,
and the friend of Socrates, asked his wife if she knew whether he had
married her for love, "I know nothing," she replied, "but to be faithful
to you, and to learn what you teach." He responded by an exhortation on
"_staying at home_," which has come down to posterity, and left her,
with a kiss, for the saloon of Aspasia! Pindar and Anacreon, even when
they find no better representatives than Dr. Wolcott and Tom Moore,
still continue to crown the wine-cup, and impart a certain grace to
unmanly orgies. A late French writer goes so far as to call Euripides "a
woman-hater, who could not pardon Zeus for having made woman an
indispensable agent in the preservation of the species." In his
portraits of Iphigenia and Macaria, Euripides follows his conception of
_heroic_, not human nature. They are demi-goddesses; yet how are their
white robes stained!

Iphigenia says,--

    "More than a thousand women is one man
    Worthy to see the light of day;"

a sentiment which has prevailed ever since.

    "Silence and a chaste reserve
    Is woman's genuine praise, and to remain
    Quiet within the house,"

proceeds Macaria, and still farther:--

           "Of prosperous future could I form
    One cheerful hope?
    A poor forsaken virgin who would deign
    To take in marriage? Who would wish for sons
    From one so wretched? Better, then, to die
    Than bear such undeservèd miseries!"

Here is the popular idea which curses society to-day,--no vocation
possible to woman, if she may not be a wife, and bear children: and
these are favorable specimens; they show the practical tendencies of the
very best of Euripides. The heroic portions are like Miriam's song, and
have nothing to do with us and our experiences.

In speaking of Aristophanes, I do not speak ignorantly. I know how much
students consider themselves indebted to him for details of manners and
customs, for political and social hints, for a sort of Dutch school of

But if a nation's life be so very vile, if crimes that we cannot name
and do not understand be among its amusements, why permit the record to
taint the mind and inflame the imagination of youth? Why put it with our
own hands into the desks of those in no way prepared to use it? Would
you have wit and humor? Sit down with Douglas Jerrold, or to the genial
table spread by our Boston Autocrat, and you will have no relish left
for the coarse fare of the Athenian. One of the most vulgar assaults
ever made upon the movement to elevate woman in this country was made in
a respectable quarterly by a Greek scholar. It was sustained by
quotations from Aristophanes, and concluded by copious translations from
one of his liveliest plays, offered as a specimen of the "riot and
misrule" that we ambitious women were ready to inaugurate. Coarser words
still our Greek scholar might have taken from the same source to
illustrate his theory. He knew very well that the nineteenth century
would bear hints, insinuations, sneers, any thing but plain speaking. We
have limits: he observed them, and forbore. Women sometimes talk of
Aristophanes as if they had read his plays with pleasure; a thing for
which we can only account by supposing that they do not take the whole
significance of what they read,--and this is often the case with men.
But a college furnishes helps. The mysteries of the well-thumbed English
key are translated afresh into what we may call "college slang,"
illustrated oftentimes by clever if vulgar caricatures, where a few
significant lines tell in a moment what a pure mind would have pondered
years without perceiving; and if, perchance, some modest woman finds her
friend or lover at this work, society says only: "You should not have
touched the young man's book. What harm for him to amuse himself?--only
women should never find it out! Keep them pure, no matter what becomes
of men. What business had you to know the meaning of those pencil

Even St. John does not hesitate to condemn Aristophanes.[7] "With an art
in which Shakespeare was no mean proficient," he begins, "he opens up a
more culpable source of interest in the frequent satire of vices
condemned as commonly as they are practised. He unveils the mysteries of
iniquity with a fearless and by no means an unreluctant hand. He
ventures fearlessly on themes which few before or since have touched,
despising the stern condemnation of posterity. He evidently shared in
the worst corruptions of his age, and, like many other satirists,
availed himself joyfully of the mask of satire to entertain his own
imagination with his own descriptions. No one, with the least
clear-sightedness or candor, can fail to perceive the depraved moral
character of Aristophanes. Only less filthy than Rabelais, his fancy
runs riot among the moral jakes and common sewers of the world, over
which, by consummate art and the matchless magic of his style, he
contrives unhappily to breathe a fragrance which should never be found
save where virtue is."

When I first took up my pen, knowing well that I should speak of
Margaret Fuller's beloved Greeks in a tone somewhat different from hers,
I did not know that I should have the sympathy of a single eminent

It was with no common pleasure, therefore, that, opening her Life at
random, one day, I chanced upon these words from her own pen. She is
speaking of a class of private pupils:--

"I have always thought all that was said about the anti-religious
tendency of a classical education to be 'auld wives' tales.' But the
puzzles (of my pupils) about Virgil's notions of heaven and virtue, and
his gracefully described gods and goddesses, have led me to alter my
opinions; and I suspect, from reminiscences of my own mental history,
that, if all teachers do not think the same, it is from the want of an
intimate knowledge of their pupils' minds. I really find it difficult to
keep their _morale_ steady, and am inclined to think many of my own
sceptical sufferings are traceable to this source. I well remember what
reflections arose in my childish mind from a comparison of the Hebrew
history, where every moral obliquity is shown out with such _naïveté_,
and the Greek history, full of sparkling deeds and brilliant sayings,
and their gods and goddesses, the types of beauty and power, with the
dazzling veil of flowery language and poetical imagery cast over their
vices and failings."[8]

We may be permitted also to quote, from the competent pen of Buckle, the
following words:--

"We have only to open the Greek literature," he says, in his lecture on
"The Condition of Women," "to see with what airs of superiority, with
what serene and lofty contempt, with what mocking and biting scorn,
women were treated by that lively and ingenious people, who looked upon
them _merely as toys_."

Alas! we need no prophet to show that what pollutes the mind of youth
and lover, by polluting the ideal of society, must soon pollute the mind
of maiden and mistress. Is that a Christian country which permits this
style of thinking? and how many men of the world accept the stainless
virginity of Christ as the world's pattern of highest manliness?

Passing from Greece to Rome, you will see that even as we owe to Roman
law, before the time of Justinian, almost all that is obnoxious in the
English, retaining still the strange old Latin terms which were applied
to our relations in a very barbarous state of society; so we owe to the
time of Augustus, to the influence of satirists like Horace and Juvenal,
almost all the wide-spread heresies in regard to human nature: if we had
but time to look at it, we might say Calvinism among the rest.

The views of women are still lower. Cæsar and Cicero may be abstract
nullities to our young student; but what can he learn from Ovid? It is
not delicate to name the "Art of Love." In simple, honest truth, it is
the same to read the Metamorphoses. You cannot ventilate a gross man's
atmosphere; all the Betsy Trotwoods must toss their cushions on the lawn
when he leaves the room. It is the old difference between "Don Juan" and
"Childe Harold," only less. In the first, the unvarnished play of
passion may disgust you until it instructs; in the second, you have the
despairing misanthropy, the false philosophy, the devil in Gabriel's own
garment, which is always fascinating to the young, morbid with the
stimulus of growth, and which you might mistake for piety if you did not
know it was born of the lassitude left by excess.

Latin mythology was but the corruption of the older types. What was
beauty once became here undisguised coarseness or worse. The gods who
once endured sin now patronized and made money by it. These things are
not without their influence. Above all, low images, witty slang, and
sharp satire, have force beyond their own, when slowly studied out by
the help of the lexicon. The women to whom I speak know this very well.
They know that the Molière, the Dante, the Schiller, studied at school,
are never forgotten. They smile to hear men call them hard to read: for
them they glow with clear and significant meaning. Striking passages are
indelibly impressed by associations of time or place or page, which can
never be forgotten. _I would not put an end to classical study; I would
only direct attention, through such remarks, to the dangers attendant on
the present manner of study. Classical teachers should not be chosen for
their learning alone. No Lord Chesterfield should teach manners, but
some one whose daily "good morning" is precious. So no coarse,
low-minded man should interpret Greek or Roman, but some noble soul, not
indifferent to social progress, capable of discriminating, and of
letting in a little Christian light upon those pagan times._ Where men
and women are taught together, this thing settles itself; and this is a
very strong argument for institutions like Antioch and Oberlin.

Then might the period passed at the Latin school and the college become
of the greatest moral and intellectual use. Then would no graduating
students run the risk of hearing from their favorite doctor of
divinity, instead of sound scriptural exhortation, some doctrine whisked
out of Epicurus, by a clever but unconscious _leger-de-plume_.

Do not tell us, O excellent man! that you have gone through all this
training, and come out with your soul unstained. We look at you, and see
a temperament cold as ice, passions and imagination that were never at a
blood-heat since you were born, that never translated the cold paper
image into the warm deed of your conscious mental life; and you shall
not answer for us, nor for our children.

In leaving this branch of our subject to be more fitly pursued by
others, we ought to add that mental purity is not enough insisted upon
for either sex. It is only by the greatest faithfulness from the
beginning in this respect that we become capable of "touching pitch" at
a mature age, in a way to benefit either ourselves or the community. How
desirable it is to keep the young eye steadily gazing at the light till
it feels all that is lost in darkness, to keep the atmosphere serene and
holy till the necessary conflicts of life begin! For such a dayspring to
existence no price could be too high; and, if _desirable_ to all, it is
_essential_ to those who inherit degrading tendencies.

We must speak now of history. For the most part, it has been written by
men devoid of intentional injustice to the sex; but, when a man sits in
a certain light, he is penetrated by its color, as the false shades in
our omnibuses strike the fairest bloom black and blue. If the positive
knowledge and Christian candor of the nineteenth century cannot compel
Macaulay to confess that he has libelled the name of William Penn, what
may be expected of the mistakes occasioned by the ignorance, the
inadvertence, or the false theories of the past? Clearly that they also
will remain uncorrected.

If men start with the idea that woman is an inferior being, incapable of
wide interests, and created for their pleasure alone; if they enact laws
and establish customs to sustain these views; if, for the most part,
they shut her into hareems, consider her so dangerous that she may not
walk the streets without a veil,--they will write history in accordance
with such views, and, whatever may be the facts, they will be
interpreted to suit them. They will dwell upon the lives which their
theories explain: they will touch lightly or ignore those that puzzle
them. We shall hear a great deal of Cleopatra and Messalina, of the
mother of Nero and of Lucretia Borgia, of Catharine de Medicis and Marie
Stuart, of the beautiful Gabrielle and Ninon de L'Enclos. They will tell
us of bloody Mary, and that royal coquette, Elizabeth; and possibly of
some saints and martyrs, not too grand in stature to wear the
strait-jacket of their theories.

If they think that purity is required of woman alone, and all license
permitted to man, they will value female chastity for the service it
does poetry and the state, but never maidenhood devoted to noble uses
and conscious of an immortal destiny.

Hypatia of Alexandria, noble and queenly, so queenly that those who did
not understand, dared not libel her,--Hypatia, a woman of intellect so
keen and grasping, that she would have been eminent in the nineteenth
century, and may be met in the circles of some future sphere, erect and
calm, by the side of our own Margaret Fuller,--she, who died a stainless
virgin, torn in pieces by dogs, because she tried to shelter some
wretched Jews from Christian wrath, and could even hold her
Neo-Platonism a holier thing than that disgraced Christianity,--what do
we know of her? Only the little which the letters of Synesius preserve,
only the testimony borne by a few Christians, fathers of the Church
_now_, but outlawed _then_ by the popular grossness! Yet, a pure and
fragrant waif from the dark ocean of that past, her name was permitted
to float down to us, till Kingsley caught it, and, with the
unscrupulousness of the advocate, _stained_ it to serve his purpose.[9]

It would have been no matter, had not genius set its seal on the work,
and so made it doubtful whether history has any Hypatia left. We must
not fail to utter constant protest against such unfairness; and to
assert again and again, that not a single weakness or folly attributed
to Hypatia by the novelist--neither the worship of Venus Anadyomene nor
the prospective marriage with the Roman governor, neither the
superstitious fears, the ominous self-conceit, nor the half conscious
personal ambition--is in the least sustained by the facts of history.
She was pure and stainless: let us see to it that such memories are

And there is still another name, deeply wronged by the prejudice and
party spirit of the past, which it is quite possible to redeem: I mean
that of Aspasia. For many centuries, the very sound of it suggested an
image of all womanly grace and genius, devoid of womanly virtue; the
insight of a seer, the eloquence of an orator, but the voluptuousness of
a courtesan. Very lately, the manly justice of Thirlwall and Grote, and
the exquisite taste and imagination of Walter Savage Landor, have
striven to repair the wrong. Her reputation fell a victim to the gross
puns of Aristophanes, himself the hired mouth-piece of a political party
that hated her, and whose misrepresentations were so contemptible in the
eyes of Pericles, that he would not interfere to prevent them.

Would you have the history of that immortal marriage written truly?

Imagine the Greek ruler married, for some years, to a woman of the
noblest Athenian blood, already the mother of two children, but one who,
if irreproachable in conduct, was utterly incapable of taking in the
scope of his plans, or sharing his lofty, adventurous thought. After
years of weariness passed in her society, with no rest for his heart and
no inspiration for his genius, there came to Athens a woman and a
foreigner, in whom he found his peer,--a woman who gathered round her
in a moment all that there was of free and noble in that world of
poetry, statesmanship, and art. She was from the islands of the
Archipelago, and, like the women of her country, walked the streets with
her face unveiled.

Hardly had she come, before Socrates and Plato, and Anaxagoras the pure
old man, became her frequent guests, and honored her with the name of
friend. In such a society, Pericles saw that his own soul would grow; so
sustained, he should be more for Athens and himself. He was no Christian
to deny himself for the sake of that unhappy wife and children,--a wife
whose discontent had already infected the state. The gods he knew--Zeus
and Eros--smiled on the step he took. What if the laws of Athens forbade
a legal marriage with a foreigner? Pericles was Athens; and what he
respected, all men must honor. Aspasia had, so far as we know, a free
maiden heart; and Pericles shows us in what light he regarded her, by
divorcing his wife to consolidate their union, and subsequently forcing
the courts to legitimate her child. Had he omitted these proofs of his
own sincerity and her honor, not a voice would have been raised against
either. What need to take these steps, if she were the woman
Aristophanes would have us see?

This divorce created or strengthened the political opposition to
Pericles. This opposition was headed by his two sons and their forsaken
mother, joined by the pure Athenian blood to which theirs was akin, and
gained all its strength and popularity from the wit and falsehood of
Aristophanes and the players.

Follow the story as it goes, and see Aspasia, at last, summoned before
the Areopagus. What are the charges against her? The very same that were
preferred against her friends, Socrates and Anaxagoras. "She walks the
streets unveiled, she sits at the table with men, she does not believe
in the Greek gods, she talks about one sole Creator, she has original
ideas about the motions of the sun and moon; _therefore_ her society
corrupts youth." Not a word about vice of any sort. Is it for abandoned
women that the best men of any age are willing to entreat before a
senate? The tears which Pericles shed then for Aspasia glitter like gems
on the historic page.

When the plague came, his first thought was for her safety; and, after
his death, her name shares the retirement of her widowed life. There was
a rumor that she afterward married a rich grazier, whom she raised to
eminence in the state. Not unlikely that such a rumor might grow in the
minds of those who had not forgotten the great men _she_ made, when they
saw the success of Lysicles; but other authors assert that his wife was
the Aspasia who was also known as a midwife in Athens.

It is a noble picture, it seems to me; and when we consider the
prejudice of a Christian age and country, the mob that a Bloomer skirt
will attract in our own cities, we need not wonder that slander followed
an unveiled face in Athens.

What do we know of the women of the age of Augustus?--of the galaxy that
spanned the sky of Louis XIV.?

Do you remember, as you read of those crowds of worthless women, what
sort of public opinion educated them,--what sort of public opinion such
histories tend to form? Do you ever ask any questions concerning the men
of the same eras,--how they employed their time, and what part they took
in those games of wanton folly? It is time that some one should: and I
cannot help directing your attention to the significant fact, that while
the word "mistress," applied to a woman, serves at once to mark her out
for reprobation, there is no corresponding term, which, applied to man,
produces the same effect; and this because the interests of the state
are still paramount to the interests of the soul itself.

In speaking of the court of Charles II., Dr. William Alexander says, in
1799: "Its _tone_ ruined all women: they were either adored as angels,
or degraded to brute beasts. The satirists, who immediately arose,
despised what they had themselves created, and gave the character to
every line that has since been written concerning women," down to the
verses of Churchill, and that often-quoted, well-remembered line of
Pope, with which we need not soil our lips.

We may quote here a criticism upon the "Cinq-Mars" of Alfred de Vigny,
taken from Lady Morgan's "France." You will find it especially
interesting, because it bears on what has been suggested of the
influence of history, and may be compared with a portion of one of
Margaret Fuller's letters, in which she criticises the same work, and
makes, in her own way, parallel reflections.

"I dipped also," says Lady Morgan, "into the 'Cinq-Mars' of Alfred de
Vigny, a charming production. It gives the best course of practical
politics, in its exposition of the miseries and vices incidental to the
institutions of the middle ages. Behold Richelieu and Louis XIII. in the
plenitude of their bad passions and unquestioned power, when--

    'Torture interrogates and Pain replies.'

Behold, too, their victims,--Urbain, Grandier, De Thou, Cinq-Mars, and
the long, heart-rending list of worth, genius, and innocence immolated.
With such pictures in the hands of the youth of France, it is impossible
they should retrograde. How different from the works of Louis XV.'s
days, when the Marivaux, Crebillons, and Le Clos wrote for the especial
corruption of that society from whose profligacy they borrowed their
characters, incidents, and morals! Men would not now dare to name, in
the presence of virtuous women, works which were once in the hands of
every female of rank in France,--works which, like the novels of
Richardson, had the seduction of innocence for their story, and witty
libertinism and triumphant villany for their principal features.

"With such a literature, it was almost a miracle that one virtuous woman
or one honest man was left in the country to create that revolution
which was to purify its pestiferous atmosphere. Admirable for its
genius, this work is still more so for its honesty."

In the praise given to this new literature is implied the censure passed
upon the old. Of direct educational literature, we may say, that all
writers, from Rousseau to Gregory, Fordyce, and the very latest in our
own country, have exercised an enervating influence over public opinion,
and helped to form the popular estimate of female ability. Rousseau's
influence is still powerful. Let me quote from his "Emilius:"
"Researches into abstract and speculative truths, the principles and
axioms of science,--in short, every thing which tends to generalize
ideas,--is out of the province of woman. All her ideas should be
directed to the _study of men_. As to works of genius, they are beyond
her capacity. She has not precision enough to succeed in accurate
science; and physical knowledge belongs to those who are most active and
most _inquisitive_."

Alas for Mary Somerville, Janet Taylor, and Maria Mitchell, as well as
for the popular idea that women are a _curious_ sex! He goes on: "Woman
should have the skill to incline _us_ to do every thing which her sex
will not enable her to do of herself. She should learn to penetrate the
real sentiments of men, and should have the art to communicate those
which are most agreeable to them, without _seeming to intend it_."

This sounds somewhat barefaced; but it is the model of all the advice
which society is still giving. It is refreshing to catch the first gleam
of something better from the author of "Sandford and Merton." "If
women," says Mr. Day, "are in general feeble both in body and mind, it
arises less from nature than from education. We encourage a vicious
indolence and inactivity, which we falsely call delicacy. Instead of
hardening their minds by the severer principles of reason and
philosophy, we breed them to useless arts which terminate in vanity or
sensuality. They are taught nothing but idle postures and foolish
accomplishments." Dr. Gregory recommends dissimulation. Dr. Fordyce
advises women to increase their power by reserve and coldness! When we
hear of the educational restraints still exercised, of the innocent
amusements forbidden, the compositions which may be written, but not
read, lest the young girl might some time become the lecturer,--we
cannot but feel that the step is not so very long from that time and
country to this, and wonder at the folly which still refuses to trust
the laws of God to a natural development. It is mortifying, too, to
listen to the silly rhapsodies of Madame de Staël. "Though Rousseau has
endeavored," she says, "to prevent women from interfering in public
affairs, and acting a brilliant part in political life, yet, in speaking
of them, how much has he done it to _their satisfaction_! If he wished
to deprive them of some rights foreign to their sex, how has he for ever
asserted for them all those to which it has a claim! What signifies
it," she continues, "that his reason disputes with them for empire,
while his heart is still devotedly theirs?"

What signifies it? It signifies a great deal. It signifies all the
difference between life in a solitary seraglio, and life with God's
world for an inheritance; all the difference between being the worn-out
toy of one sensualist, and the inspiration of an unborn age; all the
difference between the butterfly and the seraph, between the imprisoned
nun and Longfellow's sweet St. Philomel. When we read these words, we
thank Margaret Fuller for the very criticism which once moved a girlish
ire. "De Staël's name," she wrote, "was not clear of offence; she could
not forget the woman in the thought. Sentimental tears often dimmed her
eagle glance." What a grateful contrast to all such sentimentalism do we
find in Margaret's own sketch of the early life of Miranda!

"This child was early led to feel herself a child of the spirit. She
took her place easily in the world of mind. A dignified sense of
self-dependence was given as all her portion, and she found it a sure
anchor. Her relations with others were fixed with equal security. With
both men and women they were noble; affectionate without passion,
intellectual without coldness. The world was free to her, and she lived
freely in it. Outward adversity came, and inward conflict; but that
self-respect had early been awakened, which must always lead at last to
an outward security and an inward peace." Here is the great difficulty
in the education of woman, to lead her to a point from which she shall
naturally develop self-respect, and learn self-help. Old prejudices
extinguish her as an individual, oblige her to renounce the inspiration
in herself, and yield to all the weaknesses and wickednesses of man.
Look at Chaucer's beau-ideal of a wife in the tale of Griselda, dwindled
now into the patient Grissel of modern story. In her a woman is
represented as perfect, because she ardently and constantly loved a
monster who gained her by guile, and brutally abused her. Put the matter
into plain English, and see if you would respect such a woman now. No:
and therefore is it somewhat sad, that, in Tennyson's new Idyll, he must
recreate this ideal in the Enid of Geraint; and that, out of four
pictures of womanly love, only one seems human and natural, and that,
the guilty love of Guinevère. The recently awakened interest in the
position of woman is flooding the country with books relating to her and
her sphere. They have, their _very titles_ have, an immense educational
influence. Let me direct your attention to one published in Boston by a
leading house last winter, and entitled "Remarkable Women of Different
Ages and Nations." Let us read the names of the thirteen women with
whose lives it seeks to entertain the public:--

    Beatrice Cenci, the parricide.
    Charlotte Corday, the assassin.
    Joanna Southcote, the English prophetess.
    Jemima Wilkinson, the American prophetess.
    Madame Ursinus, the poisoner.
    Madame Göttfried, the poisoner.
    Mademoiselle Clairon, the actress.
    Harriet Mellon, the actress.
    Madame Lenormand, the fortune-teller.
    Angelica Kauffman, the artist.
    Mary Baker, the impostor.
    Pope Joan, the pontiff.
    Joan of Arc, the warrior.

Look at the list! Assassins, parricides, and poisoners, fortune-tellers,
and actresses! Let us hope they will always remain _remarkable_! In this
list we have the name of one woman who never lived, and of four at least
who in this country would owe all their celebrity to the police court;
and this while history pants to be delivered of noble lives not known at
all, like the women of the House of Montefeltro, or little known, like
the pure and heroic wife of Condé, Clemence de Maillé. And by what black
art, let us ask, are such names as Beatrice, and Charlotte Corday, sweet
Joan of Arc, and dear Angelica Kauffman, a noble woman, whose happiness
was wrecked upon a fiendish jest, juggled into this list? As well might
you put Brutus who killed great Cæsar, and Lucretia of spotless fame,
and Andrea del Sarto who loved a faithless wife, into the same category.
Such association, however false, helps to educate the popular mind.

Of the power of adages, and that barbaric experience and civilization of
which they are generally the exponent, we might write volumes; but the
subject must be dismissed in this connection without a word. We must
pass on to consider the force of social instincts and prejudices which
underlie this general literature, and are as much stronger than it as
the character of a man is stronger than his intellectual quality. A
lecturer once said, "that the first prejudice which women have to
encounter is one which exists before they are born, which leads fathers
instinctively to look forward to the birth of sons, and to leave little
room in their happy or ambitious schemes for the coming of a daughter."
Not long since, a highly educated Englishman told me that this remark
smote him to the heart. "I never expected to have any thing but a son,"
he declared; "and, when my little Minnie was born, I had made no
preparation for her. I had neither a thought nor a scheme at her

Fanny Wright, in some essays published thirty years ago, says, "There
are some parents who take one step in duty, and halt at the second. Our
sons," they say, "will have to exercise political rights, and fill
public offices. We must help them to whatever knowledge there is going,
and make them as sharp-witted as their neighbors. As for our daughters,
they can never be any thing; in fact, they are nothing. We give them to
their mothers, who will take them to church and dancing-school, and,
with the aid of fine clothes, fit them out for the market.

"But," she goes on to say, "let possibilities be what they will, no man
has a _right_ to calculate on them for his sons. He has only to consider
them as human beings, and insure them a full development of all the
faculties which belong to them as such. So, as respects his daughters,
he has nothing to do with the injustice of law, nor the absurdities of
society. His duty is plain,--to train them up as human beings, to seek
for them, and with them, all just knowledge. Who among _men_ contend
best with the difficulties of life and society,--the strong-minded or
the weak, the wise or the foolish? Who best control and mould opposing
circumstances,--the educated or the ignorant? What is true of them is
true of women also."

In the customs of nations, women find the most discouraging educational
influences. While with us these customs all set one way, they are easily
broken through by the untutored races, who still rely on the force of
their primal instincts. When Captain Wallis went to see the Queen of
Otaheite, a marsh which crossed the way proved a formidable obstacle to
the puny Anglo-Saxon. No sooner did the queen perceive it, than, taking
him up as if he were a meal-bag, she threw him over her shoulder, and
strode along. Nobody smiled; even Captain Wallis does not appear to have
felt mortified. These people were accustomed to the physical strength of
their queen. It would be well if civilized nations could imitate them,
far enough at least to remember, that wherever strength, whether mental
or physical, is found, _there_ it certainly belongs.

In Peru and the Formosa Isles, it is the women who choose their
husbands, and not the men who choose their wives; and, from the moment
of marriage, the man takes up his abode in his wife's family. Lord of
creation in every other respect, he still owes to her whatever social
standing and privileges he may possess. Such an exception is valueless,
save that it shows us that sex does not absolutely, of itself, determine
such customs.

The African kings are permitted to have many wives; but they respect the
chastity of women, and require it. Dr. Livingstone tells us of an
instance in which the royal succession finally lapsed upon a woman. Her
counsellors forbade her to marry a single husband, telling her that it
would create jealousies and divisions in the tribe. She must follow the
royal custom. But pure womanly nature spoke louder than the counsellors.
The poor queen renounced marriage altogether, and associated a
half-brother in the government, upon whose children she settled the
succession. Let this beautiful fact shame those coward souls who fear to
trust to the instinctive purity of the sex.

He goes on to state, in a recent letter, that he has found nothing more
remarkable, among the highly intelligent tribes of the Upper Sambesi,
than the respect universally accorded to women.

"Many of the tribes are governed by a female chief. If you demand any
thing of a man," remarks the intrepid explorer, "he replies, 'I will
talk with my wife about it.' If the woman consents, your demand is
granted. If she refuse, you will receive a negative reply. Women vote in
all the public assemblies. Among the Bushwanas and Kaffirs, the men
swear by their fathers; but among the veritable Africans, occupying the
centre of the continent, they always swear by their mother. If a young
man falls in love with a maiden of another village, he leaves his own,
and takes up his dwelling in hers. He is obliged to provide in part for
the maintenance of his mother-in-law, and to assume a respectful
attitude, a sort of semi-kneeling, in her presence. I was so much
astonished at all these marks of respect for women, that I inquired of
the Portuguese if such had always been the habit of the country. They
assured me that such had always been the case."

If women were unwise managers of money,--a statement frequently made,
but which we may safely deny,--it would be owing to the custom which
has, through long ages, put the purse in the hands of "their master;" a
custom so old, that to "husband" one's resources is a phrase which
expresses man's pecuniary responsibility, and is always equivalent to
locking one's money up. "It will be time enough," says Mrs. Kirkland,
"to expect from woman a just economy when she is permitted to
distribute a portion of the family resources. Witness those proud
subscription-lists where one reads, 'Mr. B., twenty dollars;' and, just
below, 'Mrs. B., ten dollars,'--which ten dollars Mrs. B. never saw, and
would ask for in vain to distribute for her own pleasure."

And this custom has such educational force, that very liberal men refuse
the smallest pecuniary independence to their wives to their very dying
day. "The Turk does not lock up his wife with more care than the
Christian his strong box. To that lock there is ever but one key, and
that the master carries in his pocket. The case is not altered when the
wife is about to close her weary eyes in death. She may have earned or
inherited or saved the greater part of their common property, but
without his consent she cannot bequeath a dollar." This passage reminds
us of a criticism on the marriage service attributed to Sir John
Bowring. This eccentric man considers it wicked from beginning to end.
"Look at it," he says: "'with this ring I thee wed,'--that's sorcery;
'with my body I thee worship,'--that's idolatry; 'and with all my
worldly goods I thee endow,'--that's a lie!"

It is the long customs of mankind which stand in the way of educating
women to trades and professions. These matters are mainly in woman's own
hands. One is glad to see in the English Parliament certain statements
made in this connection, and others also in a London pamphlet on the
nature of municipal government. In reply to the common argument that
women ought not to enter certain vocations, because they would
ultimately find themselves incompetent, it is stated, that, in all
delicate handicrafts, men do the same. Thus, of those who learn to make
watches and watchmakers' tools, not one-fifth continue in the trade;
and, in the decoration of that delicate ware called Bohemian glass, by
far the greater portion of apprentices give it up on account of natural

It is the customs of society which sustain the prejudice against
literary women. When Dr. Aikin published his "Miscellaneous Pieces," Fox
met him in the street. "I particularly admire," said the orator,
complimenting him, "your essay on Inconsistency."--"That," said
Aikin, "is my sister's."--"Ah! well, I like that on Monastic
Institutions."--"That is also hers," replied the honest man; and, in a
tumult of confusion, Fox bowed himself away. Had public feeling been
right, how gracefully he might have congratulated the brother on his
sister's ability, how gladly might that brother have seen her excel
himself! This sister was that Mrs. Barbauld who afterward did such
womanly service, that we feel tempted to forgive the early fit of
sentimentality which found vent in that rhymed nonsense, concluding,--

    "Your best, your sweetest empire is to please."

The manners of men have their educational influence. The quiet
turning-aside from women when matters of business, politics, or science
are discussed; the common saying, "What have women to do with that? let
them mind their knitting, or their house affairs;" the short answer when
an interested question is asked, "You wouldn't understand it, if I told
you,"--all these depress and enervate, and, even if not _spoken_, the
spirit of them animates all social life. "Men are suspicious," wrote Dr.
Alexander in 1790, "that a rational education would open the eyes of
women, and prompt them to assert the rights of which they have always
been deprived." But education could not be withheld nor eyes closed for
ever; therefore the time has come to claim these rights. The Sorbonne is
already asked why it confers degrees upon women with one hand, while it
quietly locks Margaret Fuller out of Arago's lecture-room with the
other. Need we inquire what influence it would have upon society, if all
literature and scientific opportunities, if all societies devoted to
natural history and mathematics, if all colleges and public libraries
the world over, were thrown open to woman?

In inferior circles, where no leading minds preside, it would be as it
is now: there would be much idle prating, much foolish delay, much
inconsequent discussion; but woman is quick to recognize genius, to
listen when wisdom speaks. She chatters, to be sure, in the presence of
fools; but, when earnest men come to know the value of her enthusiasm,
they will never be willing to lose it. When the great door of the
scholarly and scientific retreat is once thrown open, you will be
surprised to see the crowd ready to enter; and, when the sexes kindle
into intellectual life together, many a woman's coals will be modestly
laid upon an honored altar, and the flames will rise all the higher
because they have been so fed.

How can we estimate sufficiently the corrupting influence of the
newspapers of the land?

We may hope your prejudices will defend woman here, and you will
acknowledge that the minds cannot be kept pure before whom their details
are set. Let us go farther, and say that they cannot be kept pure,
coming in contact as they do with minds among men that gloat over such
records. God is just, and his compensations are terrible. If you do not
spare the purity of the lowest in the land, you cannot save that of your
wife and daughter. If you will not protect the vulgar against
themselves, you cannot protect the refined against the vulgar. He is not
a pure man, who, among his fellows, thinks a thought or utters a word he
would blush to have his sister hear. She is not a pure woman, who, in
the seclusion of her chamber, or gossip with her household, omits one of
the proprieties which delicacy requires. She has no title to _our_
respect, who is not secure in _her own_. How can we reach such a
standard as this, if we invite pollution daily across our threshold, and
call it harmless because it dresses in printer's ink? It is not enough
that much of the obscenity is pure invention. The profit of the scandal
overbalances the cost of the libel. The simplest item is turned to gross
account. Even the intimation that the postmaster has placed a woman at
the ladies' window in New York has to be coupled with the insinuation
that she would have "done better at the gentlemen's." What business have
you or I with details that concern only judge and jury? What good does
it do society to quote high legal authority upon "flirtation," unless,
indeed, we learn thereby to estimate aright the corrupting power of the
first wrong step? Police reports, vulgar anecdotes, shocking accidents,
and trivial gossip a child might be ashamed to repeat, make up the mass
of our daily sheets. Happy is the editor who offers three columns of
common sense daily to his readers. When, alas! shall we have a public
willing to pay for common sense and pure reading alone?

A woman ought to turn like a flash of light from a foul page, a coarse
and vulgar word. No wit should ever tempt her to read the one, or repeat
the other; and what I say of woman, I _mean_ of man. I have not two
separate moral standards for the sexes.

Margaret Fuller speaks somewhere of certain habits of impure speech
which she had heard attributed to ladies in a New-York hotel. What
foundation that story had, we may never find; but all of us know some
women before whom we keep the coldest reserve, and with whom we would
never touch many a subject we should be willing to discuss with any
pure-minded man. Ladies! Not all the gold of Pactolus, not all the
beauty of Anadyomene, not all the wisdom of Minerva, could make such
women _ladies_! We cannot redeem the poor denizens of Five Points till
we have redeemed those of the Fifth Avenue.

Our own children must prattle oaths, if we will not hush the drunken
brawler in the streets.

    NOTE.--When this lecture was first delivered, in 1858, it excited
    more discussion than any "revolutionary notions" of which I have
    ever been suspected. Since then, the same ideas, as applied to other
    questions, have been expressed in various quarters. I think a
    thorough classical education necessary to a college bred man. As far
    as I have any opinions to express, they coincide with those
    recently uttered by John Stuart Mill at St. Andrew's.

    I wish to sustain the remarks of the text by the following

    "Many things with the Greeks and Romans most venerable have not
    merely lost their sanctity in our eyes, but present contemptible and
    even ludicrous ideas to us. Hence, any allusion to them, or any
    expression of the feelings connected with them, or even a reference
    to the habits of thinking which those feelings have produced, must
    have an operation most unpropitious."--LORD BROUGHAM.

    "The fictions constituting the epic poetry of Homer, Virgil, and
    their imitators, so far from being consonant with the taste and
    sense of modern readers, are, on the contrary, often annoying, from
    the absence of all moral or poetical justice."--"The gods who
    preside in this scenic exhibition are tainted with every vice which
    has since degraded their supposed subordinates of the human race.
    Cruelty, revenge, deceit, hatred, unrelenting rancor, and unbridled
    lust, are the qualities which call for approval in a generation
    professing to feel and practise virtues of an opposite nature. An
    exterminating war is undertaken for the sake of a vacillating
    adulteress, and its heroes quarrel implacably about the possession
    of their female slaves. Ulysses, on his return home, winds up the
    'Odyssey' by a wholesale slaughter of his disorganized subjects,
    hangs up a dozen censurable females in a row, and puts Melanthius to
    a lingering death by gradual mutilation."--"In their social
    relations, the Greeks were licentious and exquisitely depraved. In
    their domestic habits, they were primitive, destitute, and
    uncleanly."--DR. JACOB BIGELOW.

    These words represent the re-action of Christian morality against
    the abuses of classical study, to which I allude in my text. But let
    the classics be taught properly, and morality will have no complaint
    to make. We cannot understand the history of the world, without an
    intelligent investigation of its beginnings; but we should be
    carefully protected against assuming, as reasonable and proper,
    either the habits and opinions or the sarcasms of an extinct


  [7] Manners and Customs of Greece, vol. i. p. 337.

  [8] Memoirs of S.M. Fuller, vol. i. p. 337.

  [9] I have sustained this assertion in two articles on Hypatia,
  published in "Historical Sketches," 1855.



                  "Speak! or I go no further.
    I need a goal, an aim. I cannot toil,
    _Because the steps are here_; in their ascent,
    Tell me THE END, or I sit still and weep."
                                    _Naturliche Tochter._

We have considered the controlling influence exercised by consolidated
public opinion concerning women. We have asked from what sources this
opinion was derived. We have now to consider some individual lives which
have set it at defiance, and in that way done something towards its

Mary Wollstonecraft is chiefly known in this country as the wife of
Godwin, and the author of a "Vindication of the Rights of Woman." This
book is often accused of the most irreligious and libertine tendencies;
and, for many years, her name stood in my own mind as the representative
of an unfortunate woman of genius, unbalanced in character, and only to
be remembered by the obstacles she had laid in the path of her sex. I
turned instinctively from the idea I had somehow conceived of her; nor
was it till a singular literary fact, the exponent of her individual
power, arrested my attention, that I was tempted to take up the "Rights
of Woman."

In making a rapid survey of English literature, to ascertain how many
women had made a decisive mark upon it, and how many works had been
published especially bearing upon woman's advancement, I at first
experienced a bitter disappointment. Upon approaching the year 1800,
however, I found a stream of literature rushing in, for which I could
not account. It united many rivulets of thought and life. Some volumes
were heavy and oppressive in a double sense; some were light as
pamphlets; some consisted of translations from other languages; some
were biographies; many were attempts at reconstruction on a rotten
foundation; others, an attempt at the rebuilding of society from its
very base. But these works all bore the same stamp, an impress powerful,
but healthy. It seemed as if one thought had animated all these workers
who had taken society by surprise; for the prejudice and bigotry they
must have aroused had left no corresponding trace. The prefaces
generally began, "On account of the interest lately excited," "The
public mind seeming now to be interested;" and I read very few volumes
before I discovered that the power which had aroused and interested was
no other than Mary Wollstonecraft's "Rights of Woman."

These books ranged onward from 1790, and the force of the influence was
not spent for twenty years. Among them, I recall, at this moment, Dr.
Alexander's "History of Women" in two quarto volumes; Matilda Betham's
"Biographical Dictionary," an _honest_, if not a valuable, attempt to
supply a want still felt in English literature; and Cotton's translation
of the mathematical works of Maria Agnesi. These were born of a common
mother. I read the "Vindication," therefore, with persistent care;
looking with fruitless question for the second and third volumes that
were promised. Could this be the book which had been so abused for half
a century? The American edition had been published before garbling
became the fashion; but I took pains to collate it carefully with the
English. It was all in vain. I found only a simple, determined, eloquent
plea for a proper education for women, urged on social, moral, and
religious grounds; an earnest protest against Rousseau and Dr. Gregory;
and a demand that _men_ should be subject to the same moral laws as
women. Very revolutionary this! Reprint it, under modern sponsorship,
and you would find it perhaps too heavy to read. It would only repeat
what you all know, and you would miss the fanatical spice of our later
speech. Yet this book was so much needed when it appeared, that it acted
on the under-current of English thought and life like a subsoil plough,
and brought all manner of abominations to the surface. The preface alone
contains any allusion to woman's political rights. If is dedicated to
Talleyrand, who, in publishing a pamphlet on national education, had
admitted the inconsistency of debarring women from their exercise. From
this preface, the _world_ took fright, and _we_ may judge in what manner
she intended to follow up her plea for education. Let me quote a few
passages. "I earnestly wish," she says, "to point out in what true
dignity and human happiness consist. I wish to persuade women to acquire
strength both of mind and body, and to convince them, that the soft
phrases, 'susceptibility of heart,' 'delicacy of sentiment,' and
'refinement of taste,' are almost synonymous with epithets of weakness,
and that those beings who are the objects of pity, and that kind of love
which has been termed its sister, will soon become objects of
contempt."--"An air of fashion is but a badge of slavery."--"It
follows," she says farther on, "that women should either be shut up,
like Eastern princesses, or educated in such a manner as to think and
act for themselves."--"Suppose a woman trained to obedience, married to
a sensible man, who directs her judgment, without permitting her to feel
the servility of her position. She cannot ensure the life of her
protector. He may die, and leave her at the head of a large
family."--"It is not _empire_, but _equality_, woman should contend for.
When women are sufficiently enlightened to discover their real
interests, they will be very ready to resign all those prerogatives of
love _which are not mutual_ for the calm satisfactions of friendship and
the tender confidence of habitual esteem. Before marriage, they will not
assume any insolent airs, nor afterwards abjectly submit; but,
endeavoring to act like reasonable creatures in both relations, they
will not be tumbled from a throne to a stool."

This is the character of the whole book. It contains nothing more
subversive of morality than these words. You cannot do better than read
it, and receive, as I did, a lasting lesson on the folly of prejudice.
As a work of art, it is irregular in method, and impulsive in execution;
facts not to be wondered at, since it was written and printed in the
brief space of six weeks. Dr. Channing once wrote of her: "I have lately
read Mary Wollstonecraft's posthumous works. Her letters towards the
close of the first volume are the best I ever read. They are superior to
Sterne's. I consider her the greatest woman of the age. Her 'Rights of
Woman' is a masculine performance, and ought to be studied by her sex;
the sentiments are noble and generous."

What, then, was the character of the woman? Was it as strong and
generous as the sentiments she advocated? Her life broke down some
social barriers, and, though noble and heroic when viewed from within,
looks hampered and unsatisfactory from the common stand-point. Godwin
has erected an exquisite monument to her memory, in a sketch written
soon after her decease. Mary Wollstonecraft was born near London in the
year 1759. She came into an unhappy and uncongenial home. Her father was
a passionate tyrant; her mother, compelled to submit to his caprice,
became like every other slave, a tyrant where she had the power, and
ruled her children with a rod of iron. By defending her mother from her
husband's violence, Mary early extorted some degree of affection from
the one, and respect from the other. Her father had some property, which
he seems to have squandered by frequent changes of abode; and a day
school at Beverley, in Yorkshire, gave her her principal advantages of
education. An eccentric clergyman at Hoxton, named Clare, added some
farther instruction. Under his roof, she formed an intimacy with Frances
Blood, destined to influence her whole life. This girl was remarkably
accomplished, and, at the age of eighteen, supported her father and
mother and their family of younger children. She was delicately neat and
proper in all she did; and her influence was of the greatest benefit to
Mary, who had often desired to assist her family, but was deterred by
the helpless condition of her mother. She now went as companion to a
family at Bath, but soon relinquished the position, on account of her
mother's serious illness. Mrs. Wollstonecraft was exacting and
troublesome. Mary nursed her with devoted care, but, after her death,
bade a final farewell to her father's roof. His affairs had become
wretchedly involved; and, with Fanny Blood and her two sisters, she
proceeded to open a day school. At first, she had looked upon Fanny as
her superior, but her own force of character soon found its rightful
position. The health of her friend broke down under her unnatural
burden, and Mary's devotion to her for years was beautiful to see. Her
marriage and removal to Lisbon, in a vain search for health, soon put
this devotion to the test.

At this point, Mary Wollstonecraft's reputation was unsullied. She was
an admirable manager, an efficient and successful teacher; yet, when
Fannie became seriously ill, she did not hesitate to risk her only means
of support, the prosperity of her school, to go to her. Her friend, Dr.
Price, the Unitarian minister, and Mrs. Burgh, were annoyed at what they
considered a quixotic devotion; but they supplied her with money, and
she went. A few days closed in death an intimacy of more than ten years,
which had been, until this time, Mary's tenderest interest in life. On
her way home, her moral energy saved the lives of a French crew in a
sailing vessel which she encountered, just about to founder. Her school
had suffered by her absence; and the pressing necessities of Fanny's
family, in which she still took an interest, induced her to have
recourse to literature. The first ten pounds received from her "Thoughts
on the Education of Daughters" went to their relief. Nothing can be
sadder than to see a young girl placed as Mary Wollstonecraft now
was,--compelled to fulfil the duties of a father and mother to younger
brothers and sisters. The position is unnatural. Gratitude might be
expected, but envy is more often felt. The personal advantages sought
for their sakes, and not to be transferred except as a pecuniary profit,
she is supposed to seek for her own. Affection partly yields, and
enthusiasm does not replace it; while she is urged by necessities which
make it difficult to bear the errors and intractabilities of those she
is providing for. Still loving, and desiring to provide for her
sisters, Mary thought it better to live apart from them, and accepted a
temporary position as governess in Lord Kingsborough's family. When they
left England, she went to Bristol, and published a novel, which, founded
on her ten years of friendly devotion, took the highest rank as a work
of sentiment. The next three years were spent in her own house, in
London, in the active service of the publisher, Johnson. She translated
from French, German, and Italian, wrote several books for children, and
took a large share in the conduct of the "Analytical Review."

Her translation of Salzman's "Elements of Morality" led to an
interesting correspondence with its author, who repaid the service,
subsequently, by translating into German her "Rights of Woman." These
occupations, if they did little towards the discipline of her powers,
served to rouse her from the dejection into which the death of her
friend had plunged her. Her earnings were now devoted to her own family.
One sister she kept at Paris for two years to qualify her as a
governess; another she placed as parlor-boarder at a London school. Her
brother James she sent to Woolwich; afterward procuring for him a
position in the navy, where he soon rose to be a lieutenant. Her
favorite, Charles, she placed with a farmer for instruction; and then
fitted him out for America, where he grew wealthy on the basis she
provided. This brother must have left a large family in the State of
New York. Her brothers and sisters thus established, she attempted to
rescue a support for her father from his broken and confused fortunes.
This proving impossible, he was supported by her own labor, until his
death. The very great demands made upon her by such natural obligations
did not prevent her from assuming others. She adopted for her own the
child of a dead friend, the niece of John Hunter. Her brilliancy, her
personal beauty, her unselfish devotion, could not fail to win for her
many loving friends; and among them the French Revolution found her. The
work which first gave her her proper literary rank was her answer to
Burke's Reflections upon that movement. She wrote rapidly: her pamphlet
was the first of the many that appeared, and obtained extraordinary
success. The public applause warmed her, and her next production was her
celebrated "Vindication of the Rights of Woman." The startling energy
with which she exploded the system of gallantry, a miserable relic of
the Stuart courts, roused the popular indignation. It was hard to
reconcile the vigor of her rebuke to the tender sentiment which trembled
through the book, and also to the impression produced by Mary herself,
lovely in person, and, in the most engaging sense, feminine in her
manners. Her intimacy with the historical painter, Fuseli, followed. He
was a man of powerful genius and strong prejudices. His influence upon
Mary, if it was sometimes refreshing, could not always have been
beneficial. The reader of Haydon's Autobiography will remember this
man. A wider knowledge of the world would have protected her from his
influence: as it was, she pursued the intimacy with unsuspecting
delight; for Fuseli was a contented husband, and his wife was her
friend. She was now in her thirty-second year; she had arrived at a
period when domestic happiness of some sort becomes essential to the
strongest woman. The fullest-fruited laurel then withers before her
eyes, if it has not taken root at her own hearth. At the close of the
year 1792, Mary took refuge in Paris from the chagrin and restlessness
which began to oppress her. Her years of toil had left her sad and
lonely: she needed to rest for a little while in human affection. She
could not even write to her own satisfaction; for her morbid fatigue led
her to reproduce Fuseli's cynicism, and she dared not trust herself. She
entered the best circles of Parisian society, and became intimate with
the leaders of the Revolution. In four months after her arrival occurred
the most untoward event of her life,--her marriage to a worthless
American named Gilbert Imlay; a name rescued from oblivion only by his
temporary attachment to her. I say her _marriage_, for Imlay offered
himself in marriage, and was accepted as a husband; but, taking
advantage of a custom not unusual at Paris in those disorderly times,
Mary refused to consummate the legal forms. Mr. Imlay had no property.
Mary had a large family to support; and she neither wished to become
answerable for his debts, nor to make him responsible for hers. She
took the name of Imlay; and, expecting to follow her brother to America,
she obtained from our ambassador at Paris a certificate of American
citizenship, to serve as a temporary protection. In order that you may
comprehend the precise significance which this step had in that place
and at that time, let me remind you, that Helen Maria Williams, her
personal friend, and the ward of Dr. Rees of cyclopedic memory, was
married in the same way to a Mr. Edwards, then in Paris. She was a
well-known writer of that period; and we are still indebted to her for
some of the best hymns sung in our churches,--among them, that
well-known hymn, beginning, "While thee I seek, protecting Power." But
her husband was worthy of the trust she had reposed in him, and she
never turned a ready pen against the follies of society: so _her_
character has never stood in the public stocks.

It will be impossible to consider Mary's attachment to Imlay in any
degree rational, if we look only at her _character_, and keep out of
sight her peculiar personal _history_.

The dawdling inefficiency and brutal temper of her father had disgusted
her alike with "men of spirit" and "men of straw." In her husband, she
saw, as she thought, a certain democratic manliness; and his daring
speculations seemed to be inspired by courage and genius. The affections
which had been roused by her admiring intercourse with Fuseli kindled
gladly on this new shrine, where no social duty, nor stern sense of
personal honor, contended against her warming fancy. For the first time
in her life, she found herself happy; and happiness gave her back the
beauty of early youth. She was playful, gentle, sympathetic. Her eyes
had new brightness, her cheeks new color, and the bewitching tenderness
of her smile fascinated the very women who approached her. She had been
married eighteen months, her love braving all the trials that must have
come, when Imlay left her for London. She had expected his quick return;
but delay followed delay, and Mary passed a year with a new-born child,
learning, by slow and painful degrees, that she had trusted this man
beyond his worth. At last, he sent for her to London, where his
misconduct affected her mind to such an extent, that she twice attempted
her own life, and was rescued the second time with difficulty. As soon
as she recovered from the fever which had induced delirium, her native
strength told her what she ought to do. Imlay had business in Norway,
which required a confidential and judicious agent. She determined to
take this upon herself; and hoped, by absence and success, to regain the
affection she had lost. The man was, in no sense, worthy of her. On her
return, she tried, for the sake of their child, to remain in the same
house with him. It was not possible; and, very soon, a final separation
took place. It would have taken place long before, but that Imlay was a
man who could not wholly escape from a fascination he had once felt.
After he became involved in low connections, he could never re-enter
her presence, without resuming, for the time, the sympathetic delicacy
befitting her lover. During all this time, Mary had occupied herself
with literary work. She never spoke of Imlay, and would allow no one to
blame him in her presence. Conscious of her own upright intentions, it
must have been no small mortification to find her insight and generosity
baffled. She felt that she was herself to blame for having placed an
impulsive man in a position to which he was wholly unequal. She was
everywhere received and treated as a married woman, and lost none of the
respect and affection she had well deserved. In April, 1797, she was
married to Godwin, the author of "St. Leon;" and this marriage deprived
her of two new friends, whom she held very dear. Godwin was so artless,
that he imagined his wife's social position would be improved by an
honorable marriage; but it obliged Mrs. Inchbald and Mrs. Siddons to
admit that the nature of her marriage to Imlay allowed her to take her
divorce into her own hands.

Wonderful inconsistency of society, which, having interpreted truly her
upright nature through years of desertion, now condemned her,--whether
for her first wrong step, for assuming her own divorce, or for loving a
man of undoubted probity, who could tell? A short year of undisturbed
happiness followed, when the birth of their only child--the late Mrs.
Shelley--suddenly put an end to her life.

A beautiful memorial survives her, in these words of her husband. "This
light," he says, "was lent me for a very little while, and it is now
extinguished for ever. The strength of Mary's mind lay in her intuition.
In a robust and unwavering judgment of this sort, there is a kind of
witchcraft. When it decides justly, it produces a responsive vibration
in every ingenuous mind. In this sense, my oscillation and scepticism
were often fixed by her boldness." I am very well aware how much courage
is required of any woman who shall seem to defend Mary Godwin from the
popular conception of her. I know that the woman should herself be
spotless who would attempt to rectify that conception, yet two
circumstances seem to compel explanation. In the first place, there is
no question, that if the views of woman which are now beginning to move
society originated with her scholarly, republican friend, Mrs. Catharine
Macaulay, yet the fire and eloquence of Mary's own words were needed to
give them currency. Society has been just so far as this, that it has
identified her with the subject of "Woman's Rights;" and all of us who
are carried forward by a momentum which she imparted, must desire to
understand the nature of the impulse which controls us.

In the second place, Godwin's short Life of her has been long out of
print, and has now become very rare; and I have not been able to find a
single encyclopædia or biographical dictionary which gives the facts
correctly. Turn to them, and you will find that Mary Wollstonecraft had
a criminal but fruitless attachment for Fuseli; that she formed
another, of _the same kind_, for an American, who deserted her. I brand
these statements as malicious falsehoods, carelessly repeated now that
they have been long exploded: and, as I write these statements, the
tears rush to my eyes; for where are the descendants of the brothers and
sisters whom she reared? where are the kindred of Fannie Blood and John
Hunter, whose lives her generous efforts gladdened? Nay, might not one
man of the drowning crew she forced the captain of her ship to rescue,
speak a noble word in her behalf? I have narrated her life with some
detail, for you must understand the facts upon which you pass judgment;
and these details are many of them gathered from private sources.

To understand the strength of the prejudice against Mary Wollstonecraft,
you should see that from all the autobiographies of the period her name
is excluded; as if the friends of those who had been intimate with her
while living, would not permit the association of names after death. I
have said, that, until her marriage to Godwin, she kept her place in
English society; and women of the most sensitive propriety, such as Mrs.
Siddons and Mrs. Inchbald, admitted her to their intimacy. How, then,
did such a prejudice grow up? It was probably forming in the popular
mind while she was happy in the affection of her friends; and, the
moment they found it conventionally needful to sacrifice her, the
outbreak was unrestrained. In the first place, she was an ardent
republican; a thing no less antagonistic to English feeling in her day,
than we have seen it prove in ours. In the second, she was a Unitarian;
and Unitarians were radicals in politics as well as in religion. In the
third place, being a republican, and a resident of Paris in its troubled
times, she was supposed to share the disorder of its morals; an
impression which her attempted suicides no doubt confirmed.

We shall not share in this country in any prejudice which republicanism
or Unitarianism excited. We are, I trust, ready to admit that an attempt
at suicide could only come with delirium, for which she would be as free
from responsibility as for a typhoid fever or an Asiatic cholera. What
we have to do, then, is to understand her relation to the laws of
marriage, and to see how far her second marriage can be justified. When
she met Imlay at Paris, I do not think she had ever considered the
social bearing of these laws, except so far as her mother's experience
had pained her. That experience made her willing to do what other women
about her were doing, with no bad result that she could see, to keep
herself free from pecuniary entanglement. In one way, this was prudent;
in an other way, it was extremely imprudent; and the imprudence touched
a more vital point than the prudence: but that it was never considered
criminal by wise and candid judges, that she was never compromised in
any relation up to this, the intimacies we have recorded prove. Had she
been a weak, _immoral_ woman, she would have continued to live with
Imlay for her child's sake, but availing herself of the shelter of a
connection from which she recoiled. At this moment, she wrote to her
husband, "Your reputation shall not suffer. I shall never have a
confidant. I am content with the approbation of my own mind; and, if
there be a Searcher of hearts, mine will not be rejected." And again:
"My child may have reason to blush for her mother's want of prudence;
but she shall never despise me." These are not the words of a weak or
irreligious woman. So far, then, all was well, except that society had
no efficient outlawry for the man who had deserted her. She still
occasionally met him, but bore the unexpected trial, when it came, with
dignity and sweetness. When Godwin sought her in marriage, he knew, of
course, that no legal ties bound her. Mary saw no harm in using the
liberty that remained to her. "Why could she not have remained single?"
said the world; but had the world been so just and kind to her, that we
could expect her to resist the influence of a generous and courageous
love? Had she lived in this country, and been divorced by the laws of
Indiana, society would have been silent; but the real evil would have
been the same.

"Never did there exist a woman," said her husband, "who might with less
fear expose her actions, and call upon the universe to judge them." I
believe this to be true so far as her own relations were concerned; and
I believe, that, by her second marriage, she meant to exercise a right
of protest against existing laws, which two of the most gifted children
of the nineteenth century have exercised again in our own time with
emphasis. It requires a philosophic mind to see the relation of the
individual to the state: heroic, indeed, is the spirit which, perceiving
it, braves the common expectation by a defiant life. On the other hand,
it is by no prejudice that we demand this account of each person's
private affairs. It is a demand born of an ill-defined, dimly
entertained, but still a just idea of the relations of God, the family,
and the state. I ought not to say so much, without adding that no one in
this country can adequately judge of the pressure of the marriage laws
as they still exist in England. What is resisted, is, in most instances,
what no American woman would be expected to bear; but for England, as
for this country, I rest in the confident hope that a right adjustment
of woman's relation to society will change healthfully all existing
legislation. Such legislation as that of Indiana does not seem to me an
advance, although it may have been demanded by an _advancing_ public

I have said this honestly, with a tender pity in my heart, to clear the
memory of a much-abused woman. Does any one ask me if I would justify
the position in which she stood? I answer, frankly, No. We do not live
to ourselves alone; and if we are ever tempted to take a step against
the moral convictions of the world, believing that we can do as we will
with our own, one would think the possibility that children may be born
to inherit the obloquy we excite, without themselves deserving it, would
be enough to deter any right-minded woman. No love or care, or abject
self-sacrifice, can reconcile a child to the stain of illegitimacy.
"What does the Lord thy God require of thee?"--"To do justly, love
mercy, and walk humbly." It is not walking humbly to set up our own
conception of fitness against the accumulated experience of mankind.
Still farther: It is of very little importance what others may think of
us, when we are acting conscientiously; but what we think of others, our
own mood of mind towards God and man,--that is of the very greatest.

The influence of the "Vindication of the Rights of Woman" was greatly
aided by the efforts of Mr. Day, and of Maria Edgeworth, whose literary
career began about the time of its publication. Following closely upon
these, and so nearly parallel in effort, and equal in varied ability,
that we hardly know in what order to name them, are Lady Morgan, Harriet
Martineau, and Mrs. Jameson. Sydney Morgan, sitting alone at the age of
fourscore in her tiny house at Dublin, filled like a museum with the
accumulation of her years of travel, projecting the publication of her
last work, was lately, like Mrs. Somerville at Florence, a pensioner of
Queen Victoria. But, from the hour of her first appearance as the author
of the "Wild Irish Girl," she has exercised a generous womanly
influence. Under the disguise of novels, books of travel, and the like,
she has published an immense number of volumes, filled with information
which may be a little too crowded for convenience, but always accurate,
always original, and, for the most part, received from historic sources,
in personal intercourse. Her warm hatred of tyranny made friends for
her, wherever she went. When a young girl, she took up the cause of her
own country with a vehemence which won the liberal party, and made her
fashionable before she was approved. "The wild Irish girl" and her harp
were essential to the success of every entertainment; and invitations
lay two or three deep for every evening. She entered society with
beauty, wit, and prestige. She might have done what she would. She chose
to remain faithful to unpopular opinions. After her marriage to Sir
Charles Morgan, they went, for economical reasons, to the Continent,
where they eventually spent many years. In France, Lafayette, Ségur,
Dénon, and L'Aguisseau were her intimate friends; and in the _salon_ of
the Princess de Salm she was always a welcome guest. In Germany,
Flanders, and Italy, not only the liberal youth, but the learned eld,
crowded her apartments, gave her minute information, and became devoted
cicerones. The friendship of cardinals and princes did not dim her
natural democracy of view; and her last words were as true to liberty as
her first. Her works on France and Italy were proscribed in both
countries; yet "Young France" and "Young Italy" contrived to obtain and
read them. She came into fashion in Paris whenever the Bourbons went
out; and, when she dined with Rothschild, his famous cook acknowledged
her friendship for the people in autographs of spun sugar! "We shall
meet at the breakfast of the Austrian ambassador," said a Parisian fop,
as he made his bow. "Not we," she laughed in answer: "it would be as
much as his place is worth to ask me." Wherever she went, and whatever
she did, her ears were always open to a woman's name; and, with the most
loyal interest, she gathered up every thing relating to their lives,
their influence, and their disabilities. What she was told as gossip,
was retained, studied out, and digested, before, with the piquancy of a
French woman and the warmth of an Irish, it was given to the world. The
first two volumes of her "History of Woman" do not touch a period of
universal interest; but, had she been able to complete the work, it
would have exhausted the subject. In the Béguine, she says: "Women
meddle with politics as well as tent-stitch, and, like Madame de
Maintenon, bring their work-bags to the Privy Council, and direct the
affairs of Europe while they trace patterns for footstools. The
influence of woman will ever be exercised directly or indirectly in all
good or evil. It is a part of the scheme of nature. Give her, then, such
light as she is capable of receiving. Educate her, whatever her station,
for taking her part in society. Her ignorance has often made her
interference fatal; her knowledge, never." The cordial sympathy of her
husband has made Lady Morgan's life beautiful. His legal knowledge and
antiquarian taste added their own charm to whatever she undertook.

How great and worthy is the literary position of Harriet Martineau, we
all know. Its retro-actionary influence in favor of the ability and
freedom of her sex is what we are to indicate here. For whatever
immediate purpose she writes, her words bear indirectly on the widest
womanly emancipation. May this remark stimulate your curiosity, and keep
you on the alert for pregnant sentences! Such sentences tell more of the
progress of human thought than some of us suspect: they indicate its
natural, habitual poise. "Women especially," she writes, "should be
allowed the free use of whatever strength their Maker has seen fit to
give them. It is essential to the virtue of society, that they should be
allowed the freest moral action, unfettered by ignorance, and
unintimidated by authority; for it is an unquestioned and unquestionable
fact, that, if women were not weak, men would not be wicked, and that,
if women were bravely pure, there would be an end of the dastardly
tyranny of licentiousness." This passage will have all the more power
over observant readers, because it occurs unexpectedly, and marks the
opportunity seized to speak a necessary if unwelcome truth.

What noble service Mrs. Jameson rendered in the field of art or letters
did not leave her indifferent to the interests of her sex. She was
placed in circumstances to make her see quickly and feel deeply all
that relates to womanly position and development. An early martyr to the
prejudices of society; married, I think at sixteen, to a man far beyond
her own rank in life, who left her at the altar,--she bore the title of
wife, and led the life of a celibate: but her first word for her sex was
as strong and true as her last, while her own path lay between lines of
living fire. Only lately did we hear of her as a lecturer and reformer;
but, nearly thirty years ago, we might have cut from her pages the
following words: "We are told openly by moralists and politicians, that
it is for the general good of society, nay, an absolute necessity, that
one-fifth part of the female sex should be condemned as the legitimate
prey of the other, predoomed to die in reprobation in the streets, in
hospitals, that the virtue of the rest may be preserved, and the pride
and the passions of men both satisfied. But I have a bitter pleasure in
thinking, that this most base and cruel conventional law is avenged upon
those who made and uphold it; that here the sacrifice of a certain
number of one sex to the permitted license of the other is no general
good, but a general curse, a very ulcer in the bosom of society." Can
you guess how brave and pure a woman was needed to write those words?
All the indirect tendency of her works is in keeping with them; and we
recognize the same voice, as she said in a later lecture:--

"When female nurses were to be sent to the Crimea, there was to be met
the mockery of the light-minded, the atrocious innuendoes of the
dissolute, the sneers of the ignorant, and the scepticism of the cold. I
have seen men who deem it quite a natural and proper thing that
women--_some women_ at least--should lead the life of a courtesan, put
on a look of offended propriety at the idea of a woman nursing a sick
soldier. I have seen men--ay, and women too--who deem it a matter of
course that our streets should be haunted by contagious vice, disgusted
at the idea of women turning apothecaries and _hôpitalières_. And, worse
than all, I have heard men--and women too--who acknowledge the gospel of
Christ, who call themselves by his name, who believe in his mission of
mercy, disputing about the exact shade of orthodoxy in a woman who had
offered up every faculty of her being at the feet of the Redeemer."[10]

Remember that these words were spoken where they belonged, in the very
heart of Belgravia, to the very people who deserved them, and respect
the brave purity which compelled lips as well as pen to utterance. It
would scarce be honest not to say, in this connection, that Mrs. Jameson
took some pains, so long as she lived, to separate herself from the
American Woman's-Rights party--a party, it may be, only represented to
her by the vulgar pretension of travelling Bloomers. Some of us take
comfort in remembering how much more easily the misrepresentations of
the press, or the intrusions of unfit subjects on womanly discussion,
will float across the wide Atlantic, than our weightier works. When she
said, in the same breath, concerning a decree of the French Consulate,
"I confess, I should like to see a decree of _our_ Parliament beginning
with a recognition that women do exist as a part of the community, whose
responsibilities are to be acknowledged, and whose capabilities are to
be made available, not separately, but conjointly with those of men," we
know that she worked for us and with us, and forgive the want of
recognition in gratitude for the real service.

Mrs. Gaskell has perhaps done more than any woman of this century, not
confessedly devoted to our cause, to elevate the condition of her sex,
and disseminate liberal ideas as to their needs and culture. The first
part of her career was one of those brilliant successes which startle us
into surprise and admiration. It was checked midway by the publication
of her life of Charlotte Bronté, the best and noblest of her works.
Checked, because condemned in that instance without a hearing, she could
never afterwards feel the elastic pleasure which was natural to her in
composing and printing; and, for three long years afterwards, never
touched her pen. I would not allude to this subject, if every notice of
her, since her death, had not done so; repeating the old censure, as a
matter of course. Here in America, we exculpate her. The public was
wrong, in the first place, inasmuch as it has come to demand biography
before biography is possible. The publisher was wrong, in the second;
for he ought to have known, and could easily have ascertained, how plain
a statement the English law would permit. The public was still further
wrong, when it attributed misapprehension and carelessness to a woman
whom it very well knew to be incapable of either. I, for one, shall
never forgive nor forget the officious censure given by one who must
have known that the legal apology tendered, in Mrs. Gaskell's absence,
to protect her pecuniary interests, had the unfortunate effect to put
her in a position where explanation and self-defence were alike
impossible. Mrs. Gaskell had deserved the steady confidence of the

I have kept till the last the name of Fredrika Bremer, whose good
fortune it was to secure lasting benefits to her sex. God sent to her
early years dark trials and privations. Her father's tyrannical hand
crushed all power and loveliness out of her life. At first, she rebelled
against her sufferings; but, when he died in her girlhood, she was able
to see that they lent strength to her efforts for her sex. It was the
rumor of what we are doing in this country for women that first drew her
hither. It is not the fashion for Miss Bremer's friends fully to
recognize her position in this respect. I owe my own convictions on the
subject of suffrage to the reflections she awakened. When I told her
that my mind was undecided on this point, she showed her disappointment
so plainly, that I was forced to reconsider the whole subject. Miss
Bremer did not hurry her work: she had a serene confidence that she
should be permitted to finish what she had begun. She secured popularity
by her cheerful humor, her genuine feeling, her true appreciation of
men, and her insight into the conditions of family happiness, before she
made any direct appeal against existing laws. Those who will read her
novels thoughtfully, however, will see that she was, from the first,
intent upon making such an effort possible. From the beginning, she
pleaded for the social independence of wives; asked for them a separate
purse; showed that woman could not even give her love freely, until she
was independent of him to whom she owed it. To a just state of society,
to noble family relations, entire freedom is essential.

Under her influence, females had been admitted to the Musical Academy.
The directors of the Industrial School at Stockholm had attempted to
form a class, and Professor Quarnstromm had opened his classes at the
Academy of Fine Arts to women. Cheered by her sympathy, a female surgeon
had sustained herself in Stockholm; and Bishop Argardh indorsed the
darkest picture she had ever drawn, when he pleaded with the state to
establish a girls'-school. It was at this juncture that Miss Bremer
published "Hertha." This book was a direct blow aimed at the laws of
Sweden concerning women. By this time, she had herself become, in
Sweden, what we might fitly call a "crowned head." She was everywhere
treated with distinction; and her sudden appearance in any place was
greeted with the enthusiasm usually shown by such nations only to their
princes. She said of her new book, "I have poured into it more of my
heart and life than into any thing which I have ever written;" and
verily she had her reward. She was at Rome, two years after,--in
1858,--when the glad news reached her, that King Oscar, at the opening
of the Diet, had proposed a bill entitling women to hold independent
property at the age of twenty-five. All Sweden had read the book which
moved the heart of the king; and the assembled representatives rent the
air with their acclamations.

In the following spring, the old University town of Upsala, where her
friend Bergfalk occupies a chair, granted the _right of suffrage_ to
fifty women owning real estate, and to thirty-one doing business on
their own account. The representative whom their votes went to elect was
to sit in the House of Burgesses. Miss Bremer was not ashamed to shed
happy tears when this news reached her. If she had ever reproached
Providence with the bitter sorrow of her early years, she was penitent
and grateful now. Then was fulfilled the prophecy which she had uttered,
as she left our shores, "The nation which was first among Scandinavians
to liberate its slaves, shall also be the first to emancipate its

This is not the place to unfold the delicate sheaths of meaning with
which flower-like Robert Browning invests his thought; but the man who
wrote the "Blot on the Scutcheon," and the exquisite sketch of "Pippa
Passes," has done such justice to the sex, and so far helped the cause
of right feeling and right thinking in respect to some of the most
delicate problems that concern it, that we are compelled to speak of him
gratefully. His marriage, too, is still fragrant; a full-fruited flower
of promise to the world, which makes us see the best things possible,
and believe that the time is coming when man and woman will not seldom
stand before the altar as equal and individual, yet sacredly one. To
Elizabeth Browning, to whom was given in her life that place of
pre-eminence among women which Shakespere must always hold among men,
we owe grateful thanks, for the scholarly achievement, the conscientious
study, the womanly zeal, which distinguished all her work. When theology
sometimes wrestled with poetry in her speech, we translated it into a
freer tongue, and thanked her all the same. In "Aurora Leigh" she
stabbed every conventional falsity to the heart, and held the ear
tenaciously till she had delivered all her oracle.

    "I read a score of books on womanhood,
    To prove, if women do not think at all,
    They may teach thinking,--books demonstrating
    Their right of comprehending husband's talk,
    When not too deep, and even of answering."
                           "I perceive
    The headache is too noble for my sex:
    You think the heartache would sound decenter."
                           "Such praise
    As men give women, when they judge a book,
    Not as mere _work_, but as mere _woman's work_,
    Expressing the comparative respect,
    Which means the absolute scorn."

The woman who wrote these words counsels us from her grave; and, taught
by her, we do not hesitate to say,--

    "Deal with us nobly, women though we be,
    And honor us with truth, if not with praise."

Yet these were all to a certain extent indirect influences. Can I utter
without trembling the two names which sit upon the thrones of female
power in the Old World and the New? I mean Charlotte Bronté and Margaret
Fuller. I wish I could confer a proper emphasis upon my words, when I
say that the publication of "Jane Eyre" formed the chief era in the
literature of women since that literature began. Into it was compressed
all the feeling and experience of a very remarkable life,--feeling and
experience entertained without the smallest sense of responsibility to
the conventional world. The life of the author touched the restrictions
of society, as the spheral curves touch the tangents which square them,
so slightly as never to impair its wonderful individuality. Who would
not seek a wife like Jane Eyre? Who does not rejoice in the smallest
detail of that sparkling and varied courtship? Think of those words of
Rochester, when, holding her with the grasp of a madman, he says, "Never
was any thing at once so frail and so indomitable. A mere reed she feels
in my hand. I could bend her with my finger and thumb. And what good
would it do, if I bent, if I uptore, if I crushed her? Consider that
eye; consider the wild, resolute, free thing looking out of it, defying
me with more than courage,--with a stern triumph. Whatever I do with its
cage, I cannot get at it, the savage beautiful creature! If I tear, if I
rend the slight prison, my outrage will only set the captive free.
Conqueror I might be of the house; but the inmate would escape to
heaven, before I could call myself possessor of its clay dwelling-place.
And it is you, spirit, with will and energy and virtue and purity, that
I want, not alone your brittle frame."

And from what literature, of ancient or modern growth, shall we match
Jane's answer, when passion presses, crying, "Who in the world cares for
you? or who will be injured by what _you_ do?"

"_I_ care for _myself_," is the indomitable reply: "the more solitary,
the more friendless, the more unsustained, I am, the more I will respect
myself. I will keep the law given by God, sanctioned by man. I will hold
by the principles received by me when I was sane, and not mad, as I am
now. Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no
temptation. They are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise
in mutiny against their rigor. Stringent are they? Inviolate they shall
be. If, at my individual convenience, I might break them, what would be
their worth? They have a worth, so I have always believed; and, if I
cannot believe it now, it is because I am insane, with my veins running
fire, and my heart beating faster than I can count. Pre-conceived
opinions, foregone determinations, are all I have at this hour to stand
by. _There_ I plant my foot!"

Other women have been brave and pure, but this woman was an Abdiel.
Never had she faltered in her life, never encountered a sham but to
crush it. We did not know what freedom meant, till we had this book. Its
advent was an era, not merely in the literature, but in the life, of
woman. Its welcome, so profound, so stirring, betrayed the secrets of
womanly nature. Do you remember how you sat and discussed this book, far
into the night?--how you wondered whether man or woman wrote it?--how
the women it enfranchised _looked_ their scorn when you suggested the
first possibility?--how your temper and feeling, and sense of justice,
were roused by it? All this was because a life resolute and free poured
itself out between those covers. A woman delicate, cleanly, quaint,
secured the polished purity of every page. Will you start, if I ask you
who ever stated the Woman's-Rights' argument with the serene force of
the little lace-mender in the "Professor"? Do you not envy her and her
husband the happy English home secured by their united labors? Ah! when
she gave us later that exquisite miniature of her sister Emily which she
called "Shirley," that noble bit of Rubens color which she named
"Villette," the same flood of womanly thought and feeling poured through
the prayer,--_the same flood_, though we no longer started as when we
first heard society's signal gun, and saw her whole fleet hoist the flag
of distress. Women ought to buy that old stone house upon the hillside,
set in among the tombs, and framed in purple heather. The lives which
began and ended there have hedged it in with laurels. Read this life and
these works, and learn what fortunes hang upon a noble living. Read
them, that you may learn how to cheer the world with what is natural and
dignified, to do your Master's work, regardless of narrow criticism or
still disdain. The host of imitators who stand about Charlotte Bronté's
still-open grave are the best tribute to the power that went out from
her,--a power tempered by the sweetest personal graces, by a
housekeeping delicate and pure and tasteful, which never lets us dream
of Jane in her school at Morton, of Shirley in her peach-room parlor, of
the lace-mender at the professor's desk, or Lucy Snowe in the first
class of Paul Emanuel, as otherwise than brilliant in cleanliness and
order. I turn reluctantly from a life so well known, and now, thank God,
beginning to be so well understood.

I do not treat of Margaret Fuller as a literary power; for, whatever may
be her rank in this respect, she does not exert a tithe of the influence
in this way, which attaches to the idea of her as a person, to _herself_
as the centre of the radiant and shining group of women who were known
as "Margaret's friends."

Her "Woman in the Nineteenth Century" is a scholarly, refined, and noble
plea for the freedom of her sex. In point of ability, no book can be
named with it, if we except that of Madame d'Héricourt. It has an
advantage over that of Mary Wollstonecraft, in being, so far as the
author could make it, a _complete_ statement; but it is written so much
more from the stand-point of thought and feeling, that it has had a far
more limited influence. There is not a word in the "Vindication" which
the most simple might not read as he ran, and, reading, understand; but
much of the "Nineteenth Century" depends upon a critical scholarship,
and an evasive delicacy of sentiment and thought, which elude the common
grasp. Precious passages have become axioms. "Let her be a sea-captain,
if she will," has a power in both hemispheres; for it has been justified
to learned and simple, by Captain Betsy, of the Scotch schooner,
"Cleotus," and the sweet and noble woman who so lately carried an
American ship round Cape Horn. The life of Margaret Fuller is in
everybody's hands; but not even Boston _women_ appreciate her personal
influence. Who _else_ could be expected to understand it? Her very
existence was a stimulus to endeavor; and hundreds of women become
practical "Exaltadas," because they saw the position she was permitted
to hold. "I always know a Boston woman," said a rough German miner to
me, beyond Lake Huron: "she always has Margaret Fuller's stamp upon
her;" and I felt that his words were true. We have missed her sadly
since she was taken from us. Ever memorable will be the "Life and
Writings," which revive our memories better than they satisfy our
demands. "It will be seen," she once wrote, "that my youth was not
unfriended, since those great minds came to me in kindness." We have not
been unfriended either, since she was permitted to come to us. If I were
to characterize her in two words, it would be as "Truth-teller and
Truth-compeller." She not only spoke what she thought, in her own way,
let it be abrupt or gentle, but she compelled us to do the same. There
was something in her presence which tore away all disguises: even
unconscious pretension could not bear it. We were soon made to feel
whether we had any right to our own thoughts. "What I especially admired
in her," says Dr. Hedge, "was her intellectual sincerity. Her judgments
took no bribe from her sex or sphere, nor from custom nor tradition nor
caprice. She valued truth supremely, both for herself and others. The
question with her was, not what _should_ be believed, nor what _ought_
to be true, but what is true. Her 'yes' and 'no' were never
conventional; and she often amazed people by a cool and unsuspected
dissent from the commonplaces of popular acceptation."

"Truth-teller and Truth-compeller,"--the words seem to fall like the
shadow of Omnipotence, a noble fillet for a woman's forehead. What a
noble _character_ that must have been, which inspired the remark made
after her marriage:--

"Her life, since she went abroad, is wholly unknown to me; but I have an
unshaken trust, that what Margaret did she can defend." An "unshaken
trust,"--such words are a challenge to all noble living. In great and
small matters, we are told, she was a woman of her word, and so gave
those who conversed with her the unspeakable comfort which flows from
plaindealing. "I walk over burning ploughshares, and they sear my feet,
yet nothing but truth will do," she says; and again, in a letter to a
friend: "My own entire sincerity in every passage of life gives me a
right to expect that I shall be met by no unmeaning phrases or

I enlarge upon this trait of character, for I think it Margaret's due.
Everybody here knows her reputation as a scholar: few know her character
as a woman. In beautiful keeping with this trait was her letter to Miss
Martineau, after the publication of her book upon this country.

"When Jouffroy writes his lectures," she says, "I am not conversant with
all his topics; but I can appreciate his lucid style and admirable
method. When Webster speaks on the currency, I do not understand the
subject; but I do understand his mode of treating it, and can see what a
blaze of light flows from his torch. When Harriet Martineau writes about
America, I often cannot test that rashness and inaccuracy of which I
hear so much; but I can feel that they exist. A want of soundness and
patient investigation is found throughout the book; and I cannot be
happy in it, because it is not worthy of my friend.

"I have thought it right to say all this to you, since I feel it. I have
shrunk from the effort, for I fear that I must lose you. If your heart
turn from me, I shall still love you; and I could no more have been
happy in your friendship, if I had not spoken out."

What a noble pattern in that letter for us all! The electric power of
her womanhood, which claimed the inmost being of every one with whom she
came in contact, I can best express in the words of Emerson:--

"She had found out her own secret by early comparison, and knew what
power to draw confidence, what necessity to lead in every circle,
belonged of right to her. She had drawn to her every superior young man
or woman she had ever met; and whole romances of life and love had been
confided, counselled, thought, and lived through, in her cognizance and
sympathy. She extorted the secret of life which cannot be told without
setting heart and mind in a glow, and thus she had the best of those she
saw. She lived in a superior circle; for people suppressed all their
commonplaces in her presence. Her mood applied itself to the mood of her
companion, point to point, in the most limber, sinuous, vital way, and
drew out the most extraordinary narratives."

When we remember this wealth of sympathy and appreciation, is it not sad
to hear her say, no one ever gave such invitation to her mind as to
tempt her to a full confession?--that she felt a power to enrich her
thought with such wealth and variety of embellishment as would no doubt
be tedious to such as she conversed with?

A bitter reproach to us women, certainly. What better _could_ we do than
listen, while she embellished her thought with all wealth and variety
possible? And I quote the saying, because hers are not the only noble
lips which have a right to repeat it. Could we but be patient listeners!
In that way, we might educate powers of expression, and become possessed
of wealth of which we have very little idea. What does such a saying
record,--her egotism or our selfishness, her insatiable demand or our
bankruptcy? We may well confess to mortification when we read; but it is
not felt for _her_. Very beautiful is the conception of this Memoir of
Margaret, this triune testimony of independent minds. We should be more
grateful for the analytical skill shown in Emerson's contribution, did
it not bear witness to _power_, rather than _appreciation_. We see,
though he could not, what Margaret missed in her friend. She could not
exempt the finest thinker she knew from the customary tribute; but he
could not pay her in current coin,--only in some native ore, which it
cost her much to make available at need. Some time may _women_ write the
lives of women! Why not warm thy scalpel, O philosopher! out of regard
to what was once tender, quivering, human flesh? Rumor and prejudice
carried the news of Margaret's faults far enough while she was living:
what we need now is to send on the same wave the most abundant and
satisfying proof of her goodness and genius. When great men speak of
her, they should speak grandly, and find for what vulgar natures _must_
misconceive, the noble and generous interpretation. I do not mean that
SHE would have shrunk from the boldest statement of the truth. It was in
her to invite it. "She could say," says Emerson, "as if she were stating
a scientific fact, in enumerating the merits of somebody, _he
appreciates me_;" and he refers this saying to the "mountainous _me_" of
hereditary organization, italicizing the offending monosyllable. But, in
Margaret's mind, the emphasis lay quite as often on the word
_appreciates_; and the statement was of a psychological fact, a
superiority to vulgar prejudice, which laid some claim to her generous
estimate in return. Ah! when those we love are gone for ever, their
faults drop away, like the garment, which was of the earth, earthy; but
to great and noble words, to heroic and womanly living, God has given a
power of blessing far beyond the grave. We lost her at a moment when we
could ill bear it,--when, instructed by the noble sympathies of Mazzini,
softened by her own sweet and tender ministrations in Italian hospitals,
revealed at length in loving beauty by a wife's and mother's experience,
she might have come home the woman she had often made us dream of. We
see the shadow of it all in that little picture which once hung on the
walls of the Boston Athenæum; and, God willing, we shall yet encounter
the glad reality beyond the reach of tempests, beyond the need of wreck,
lifted into true deserving of so great a privilege on the broad ocean of
an Infinite Love!

Florence Nightingale is no exception in the history of her sex, only a
consummate flower of its daily bloom. Ever since the commencement of the
Christian era, whole armies of women have devoted themselves, not for a
few years only, like Florence Nightingale, but for their whole lives
long, to the same painful duties,--women who organized their bands with
an efficiency and thoroughness, felt to this very day, and which made
them the competent instructors of Florence Nightingale in the Crimea.
The holiest vocation fails to instruct the unprepared mind. The soil of
the nineteenth century is fallow; but in the year 385 a saintly woman
traversed those same Crimean shores. Of her it was written:--

"She was marvellous debonaire and piteous to them that were sicke and
comforted them, and served them right humbly, and gave them largely to
eat, such as they asked; but to herself she was hard in her sickness and
scarce, for she refused to eat flesh, how well she gave it to others,
and also to drink wine. She was oft by them that were sicke, and she
laid the pillows aright and in point, and she rubbed their feet, and
boiled water to wash them; and it seemed to her that the less she did to
the sicke in service, so much the less service did she to God, and
deserved the less mercy; therefore she was to them piteous, and nothing
to herself."

The Church canonized this woman, who carried her own substance to the
work in which the British Government sustained Florence Nightingale so
many centuries later; but the public mind was not prepared, so the
world has never rung to the name of Santa Paula.

Florence Nightingale's most heroic service lay in breaking open the
storehouses at Scutari. It may have cost her very little, but at that
moment the force of accumulated character made itself felt. An
everlasting reproach to all cowards of circumlocution offices, the duty
not a single commissioned officer had courage to assume has gently
crowned the woman with the woven suffrages of the world.

The name of Mary Patton has with us also a true educational power. There
was no obstacle nor vulgar prejudice which this heroic girl was not
called to combat. Not twenty years old, with two little children
clinging to her skirts, and the great primal sorrow of her sex
overshadowing her afresh, with her husband bereft of reason, and neither
nurse nor physician at hand, she kept the ship's reckoning, overpowered
a mutinous mate, and carried her vessel triumphantly in to the destined

The author of "John Halifax" has so laid us under obligation by work
faithfully done, that it seems worth while to indicate the
inconsistencies which warp her "Thoughts about Women."

She speaks of the "Woman's-Rights movement" in this country, as if it
were a movement to _force_ women into a certain position, instead of an
effort to set them _free_, to the end that they may ascertain whether
they have any capacity for it. She sneers at letters and account-books
kept by women; and we read her words in a country where women are widely
and creditably established as book-keepers, and where they hold classes
to instruct others in accounts! She tells us that more than one-half of
English women are obliged to provide for themselves; and gives a noble
example of two young women, who, on their father's death, continued to
carry on a disagreeable business, to keep books, manage stock, and
control agents. They sustained a delicate mother in ease, and never once
compromised their womanhood. What became of the womanly unfitness for
letters and accounts in that case? She speaks of the contemptible and
unwomanly habit of beating down, and says that men are less prone to it
than women. Who keeps the purse-strings of a family? Who condemn women
to the practical ignorance which makes them too uncertain of values to
turn at once from a manifest overcharge?

But, sadder still, this woman brings against her sex the two grave
charges of common falsehood and disloyalty in friendship. We may pity
her for a social experience which seems to her to justify the statement;
but let us never repeat the libel. Let Margaret Fuller answer it, not
only by a life of radiant truth, but by the words in which she speaks of
the honor of which young hearts are capable, and the secret of her own
young life voluntarily kept by forty girls.

In her chapter on "Lost Women," Miss Muloch does grateful service when
she draws attention to those who choose to dwell in the very gutters of
idle gossip and filthy scandal, who soil their lips and tongues while
they take selfishly faithful care of their reputations. This word needed
to be spoken. Better for a woman, that she should be a cast-away in a
city refuge, with a mind comparatively pure, than a woman in high
society, capable of catching or uttering the vile "double entendre,"
always on the lookout for a possible vulgarism, wringing decency out of
human life as if it were only a wet napkin, and sceptical of the purity
and innocence she has not yet found in her own heart.

In estimating the influences which modify public opinion concerning
women, I am not willing to be silent concerning the popular idea of
love. It is a common thing to hear it said, with a sort of sneer, that
no _man_ ever died for love,--as if it were a quite romantic and in
nowise _dis_creditable thing that many women should!

Creditable and discreditable elements may enter into the assumed fact as
it regards man; but if he does not die for love because he more
thoroughly acknowledges his responsibility, keeping God in his right
place _above_, and his own heart and its idols in their right place
_below_, then we may drop the unwomanly sneer, and go and do likewise.

I shall have little hope for woman, till _she_ learns to feel that to
die for love is not so much a pitiful as a disgraceful thing; that it
proves of itself that God was never to her what he should have been;
that life had no aim so holy as the weak indulgence of a sentiment or a
passion, or some generous longing for some duty God did not set before
her; that all the world's work and society's ambition was hidden from
her by a desire for personal happiness, spread like a film over her
moral vision.

No better education do I claim for woman than her entire
_self-possession_, the ultimate endowment of all the promise she carries
in her nature. "The great law of culture," says Carlyle, "is, Let each
become all that he was created capable of being; expand, if possible, to
his full growth; and show himself in his own shape and stature, be they
what they may."--"The excellent woman," writes the Hindoo in Calcutta,
"is she who, if the father dies, can be father and provider to the

"Who," says Count Zinzendorf in Germany,--"who but my wife could have
been alternately servant and mistress without affectation and without
pride? Who could have maintained like her, in a democratic community,
all outward and inward distinctions? Who, without a murmur, would have
met such peril? Who could have raised such sums of money, and acquitted
them on her own credit?"

To such women I think men will always offer generous help; and, even if
they did not, there are props of God's own disposing. Let woman once
reject the absurd notion that she was created for happiness, let her
constitute herself instead a creator of it, let her accept with joy the
fact that this is a working-day world; then she will no longer strive to
escape from labor, discipline, or sorrow, but will gladly hail each in
its turn as part of God's appointed teaching, a shadow crossing the
sunshine to show that it is bright. Perhaps such a life is not easy,
perhaps many feet must falter on such a path; but, indicating what I
earnestly believe to be the will and way of God for us all, I earnestly
entreat you to enter and walk therein. Some words written by John Ruskin
upon Art seem to me to have such force in this connection as to make it
justifiable to quote them.

Speaking of a painter who could only paint the fair and graceful in
landscape, he says:--

"But such work had, nevertheless, its stern limitations, and marks of
everlasting inferiority. Always soothing and pathetic, it could never be
sublime, never freely nor entrancingly beautiful; for the man's narrow
spirit could not cast itself freely into any scene. The calm
cheerfulness which shrank from the shadow of the cypress and the
distortion of the olive, could not enter into the brightness of the sky
they pierced, nor the softness of the bloom they bore. For every sorrow
that his heart turned from, he lost a consolation. For every fear which
he dared not confront, he parted with a portion of his manliness. The
unsceptred sweep of the storm-clouds, the fair freedom of glancing
shower and flickering sunbeam, sunk into sweet rectitudes and decent
formalisms; and, before eyes that refused to be dazzled or darkened, the
hours of sunset wreathed their rays unheeded, and the mists of the
Apennines spread their blue veils in vain."

Imagine these words written metaphorically of your own inner lives, and
accept the lesson they convey. Be earnest to inherit the whole of human
life. Insist on turning the golden shield, till you have, not merely the
iron lining full in view, but whatsoever Medusa's head the Divine hand
has traced thereon.

See how many women have excelled in literature and art, in philosophy
and science, within the present century. Their literary contributions
owe their popularity to intrinsic excellence: they have sought and found
the light of day, without the pompous recommendations of institutions,
or the forced encouragement of a clique. There is no limit to womanly
attainment, other than the force of womanly desire. Bihéron, destined to
become an anatomist, becomes one, whether the college of dissectors
smile or frown. Wittembach, versed alike in the mysteries of ancient
tongues and modern physics, becomes the counsellor of the wisest men of
her time, without neglecting her pantry or her needle. There is no
excuse for neglecting any home duty for the most desirable foreign
pursuit. Let buttons and shirt-bosoms have their day, the lexicon or
grammar its own also. Let the dinner-table be carefully spread; the
food, not only well cooked, but gracefully laid,--before we seek the
more precious nutriment of culture: and this, not so much because any
one has a right to say it _shall_ be so, as out of our own tender regard
to the needs of others, and a desire, through every possible
self-sacrifice, to make the common road easier, and turn recreant public
opinion to its proper vent. Let a neatness as exquisite, as womanly and
as polished as that of Charlotte Bronté, pervade not only our homes, but
consecrate our own personal appearance; then may we safely wear the
livery of schools. It may be double-dyed in indigo; yet, with this
accessory, no man will assert that it is unbecoming, no woman have need
to comfort her own ignorance by an unsisterly sneer.

If God intends woman to walk side by side with man wherever he sees fit
to go, the movement now beginning must materially develop civilization.
Finer elements will be poured into the molten metal of society; and,
when the next cast is taken, we shall see sharper edges, bolder reliefs,
and a finer lining, than we have been wont. Nor shall we miss the
gentler graces. The classical world bitterly mourned the young and
gifted lecturer, Olympia Morata; but not with the broken-hearted agony
of the husband whose strength and life she had always been. Clotilda
Tambroni was crowned, not only with the laurels of a Greek
professorship, but with modesty and every virtue.

It was the tender appreciation of the WOMEN of Bologna that erected a
stately monument to Laura Veratti.

In England, a woman writes admirable tales to endow a bishopric in a
distant land. In our country, it was a pleasant omen, that the woman who
first made literature a profession was urged to it, neither by
scholarly taste nor an eccentric ambition, but to fulfil a mother's duty
to four orphan children. Her literary career is not yet closed; and,
though not lofty in its range, has been steadily pursued, and deserves
the regard which it has won.

The names of Sedgwick, Sigourney, Kirkland, and Child suggest womanly
excellences first of all. Let us pay the debt we owe these women, by
following hopefully in the paths they have opened, till we create a
public opinion without reproach.

          "If I speak untenderly,
    This evening, my belovèd, pardon it;
    And comprehend me, that I loved you so,
    I set you on the level of my soul,
    And overwashed you with the bitter brine
    Of some habitual thoughts."

    "Alas! long-suffering and most patient God,
    Thou need'st be surelier God to bear with us,
    Than even to have made us! Belovèd, let us love so well,
    Our works shall still be better for our love,
    And still our love be sweeter for our work!"


  [10] In allusion to the Unitarianism of Florence Nightingale.









          "And could he find
    A woman, in her womanhood, as great
    As he was in his manhood, then, he sang,
    The twain together well might change the world."

          "But he never mocks;
    For mockery is the fume of little hearts."

          "For, in those days,
    No knight of Arthur's noblest dealt in scorn;
    But if a man were halt or hunched,--in him,
    By those whom God had made full-fed and tall,
    Scorn was allowed, as part of his defect."

    GUINEVERE, in _Idyls of the King_.




     "How high, beneficent, sternly inexorable, if forgotten, is the
     duty laid, not on women only, but on every creature, in regard to
     these particulars!"--T. CARLYLE.

The delicate ladies on Beacon Street, who order their ices and creams
flavored with vanilla or pear-juice, may not know that bituminous coal,
rope-ends, and creosote, furnish a larger proportion of the piquant
seasoning than the blossoming bean or the orchard-tree; but every man of
science does.[11]

Already the chemist furnishes the attar of Cashmere from heaps of offal
that lie rotting by the way. It is as if God forced man face to face
with every repellent fact of nature, and said, "Slake thy thirst at this
turbid fountain, child of the dust; or the purer streams of the hillside
shall trickle for thee in vain."

Somewhat so, I am compelled to turn your eyes to the most repulsive
side of human life. I do not do it willingly, but of a necessity; not
because I like it, but because it is essential to the argument. May the
contact prove, that the perfumed joy of later years has disguised
itself, for both of us, in the rotting accumulations of our social life!

It rests with yourselves to decide. These lectures may be useless; they
may fill your minds with painful details, open hideous vistas, and blind
you to the tempting, heavenward ways which we love to see the young and
beautiful pursue.

But, in such case, the responsibility is not mine. _I_ would have you
look on vice, that you may learn to loathe it; _I_ would have you
realize, that what a noble friend of ours has called the "perishing
classes" are made of men and women like yourselves.

Bidding you trust, to a certain extent, to the truth of those terrible
statistics that crush Thomas Henry Buckle in their grasp, I would still
have you remember, that, beside the active laws of moral and material
life, there is ever the living God immanent in the world; and that it is
always for _you_ to change the results of history, at any given era,
according to the great first law,--none the less real because so often
forgotten,--that this living God helps or hinders you as you will, and
becomes, at any moment that you choose, an important element in each

The subject at present before us is "Woman's Claims to Labor."

These claims rest upon three points:--

First, The absolute necessity of bread.

Second, A natural ability, physical and psychical; and an attraction
inherent in the ability.

Third, An absolute want of the moral nature.

Having treated these in turn, I propose to show you what practical
opposition man offers to her advance; what fault lies in herself; how
much more numerous are the occupations open than is generally supposed;
and what social obstructions have prevented her taking advantage of

In this connection, I shall speak of those women who have opened a way
for their sex; and shall offer to you certain plans of action, by which,
it seems to me, the convenience and the happiness of the employer and
the employed may be materially advanced, especially as regards our own
city. Like a wise child, who from his fretful pillow takes the pill
first, and the conserve afterwards, I shall open the most painful branch
of my subject in this lecture, and turn from it as soon as the needed
impression has been made.

I ask for woman, then, free, untrammelled access to all fields of labor;
and I ask it, first, on the ground that she needs to be fed, and that
the question which is at this moment before the great body of working
women is "death or dishonor:" for lust is a better paymaster than the
mill-owner or the tailor, and economy never yet shook hands with crime.

Do you object, that America is free from this alternative? I will prove
you the contrary within a rod of your own doorstep.

Do you assert, that, if all avenues were thrown open, it would not
increase the quantity of work; and that there would be more laborers in
consequence, and lower wages for all?

Lower wages for _some_, I reply; but certainly higher wages for women;
and they, too, would be raised to the rank of partners, and personal ill
treatment would not follow those who had position and property before
the law.

You offer them a high education in vain till you add to it the stimulus
of a free career. In this lecture, I undertake to prove to you, that a
large majority of women stand in such relations to their employers, that
they are compelled to death or a life of shame. Why not choose death,

So I asked once of a woman thus pressed to the wall. "Ah, madam!" she
answered, "I chose it long ago for myself; but what shall I do for my
mother and child?"

The superior has a right to every advantage which he can honestly gain,
as well as the inferior; but he has no right to increase any natural
difference in his favor, if he believe it to exist, by laws or customs
which cripple the inferior. If, as political economists tell us, it is
chiefly by man, collectively taken, that the property of society is
created; and if, on that very ground, man's interest has the first claim
to consideration,--does it not follow, that every friend of woman will
try to induce her to become a capitalist, and open to her, as her first
path to safety, the way to honorable independence? And, in this
connection, I must repeat what some of you have often heard me say, that
a want of respect for labor, and a want of respect for woman, lies at
the bottom of all our difficulties, low wages included.

I will not admit that the argument of the political economist has, as
yet, any rightful connection with the price of woman's work. "The price
of labor will always rise or fall," he says, "as the number of laborers
is small or large; and it is because there are too many women for a few
avenues of labor that the wages are so low." If man believes this, let
him help us to open new avenues, and so reduce the number in any one.
But I claim that he has increased the natural difference in his own
favor, supposing that there be any such, by laws and customs which
cripple woman; and that his own lust of gain stands in the way of her
daily bread. Just so in hydraulics, men tell us, that water rises
everywhere to the level of its source; but you may raise it a thousand
feet higher by the aid of your forcing-pump, or drop it from a siphon a
thousand feet below. And a forcing-pump and a siphon has man imposed
upon the natural currents of labor. If, in my correspondence with
employers last winter, one man told me with pride that he gave from
eight to fifty cents for the making of pantaloons, including the
heaviest doeskins, he _forgot_ to tell me what he charged his customers
for the same work. Ah! on those bills, so long unpaid, the eight cents
sometimes rises to thirty, and the fifty cents _always_ to a dollar or a
dollar and twenty-five cents.

The most efficient help this class of workwomen could receive would be
the thorough adoption of the cash system, and the establishment of a
large workshop in the _hands of women_ consenting to moderate profits,
and superintended by those whose position in society would win respect
for labor. When I said, six months ago, that ten Beacon-street women,
engaged in honorable work, would do more for this cause than all the
female artists, all the speech-making and conventions, in the world, I
was entirely in earnest.

It is pretty and lady-like, men think, to paint and chisel:
philanthropic young ladies must work for nothing, like the angels. _Let_
them, when they rise to angelic spheres; but, here and now, every woman
who works for nothing helps to keep her sister's wages down,--helps to
keep the question of death or dishonor perpetually before the women of
the slop-shop.

Why? Because she helps to depress the estimate of woman's ability. What
is persistently given for nothing is everywhere thought to be worth
nothing. I throw open a door here for some stifled sufferer at the West
End: let her open a clothing establishment, and employ her own sex; let
her make money by it, and watch for the end. When an Employment Society
or a Needle-woman's Friend becomes bankrupt in purse, it is bankrupt in
morals and argument as well. The wheels of the world move on the
grooves of good management, of success. Set these once firmly
underneath, and the outcry against our moral Fultons will be hushed.

In country villages and farming districts, there is a great deal of
harmful competition with the girls of the slop-shops, which can never be
ended until it is considered respectable for women openly to earn money.
The stitching of wallets, hat-linings, and shoe-bindings, the more
delicate labor on linen collars and shirt-bosoms, is carried on now not
merely by so-called benevolent societies who want to build churches,
lecture-rooms, and so on, but by rich farmers' wives, who keep or do not
keep servants, in the long, summer afternoons and winter evenings,
because it is work that can be done privately, and is sought to supply
them with jewelry and dress. If they will not educate their minds by
profitable reading, it is earnestly to be desired they should work, but
openly, for money, and at such trades as naturally fall to their lot.
Herb and fruit drying, distilling, preserving, pickling,
market-gardening, may yet lay the foundations of ample fortune for many
a woman. I have passed a summer amid lovely landscapes, where the women
found neither fruit nor vegetables for their table, but let the brown
earth plead to them in vain; while they stitched, stitched, stitched the
long hours away, every broken needle bearing witness against the broken
lives of women who needed in distant cities, where they stood homeless
and starving, the work their sisters pilfered, sitting at their ease
beside the hearth-stone. Their ignorance was their excuse. Let it not be

And, first, for a few general statements.

An indispensable requisite for what the Germans call a "bread study" is,
that, for average talent, it should command moderate success. "Of all
causes of prostitution in Paris," says Duchâtelet, "and probably in all
great towns, none is so active as the want of work, or inadequate
remuneration. What are the earnings of our laundresses, seamstresses,
and milliners? Compare the price of labor with the price of dishonor,
and you will cease to be surprised that women fall. Out of 5,183
prostitutes in Paris, I found that 2,696 had been driven to the streets
by starvation; and 89, to feed starving parents or children. That is 300
over one-half of the whole number."

"It is well known," writes Miss Craig, in Edinburgh, "how brief is the
career that our female criminals run. How they are recruited, it is not
hard to guess in a country where there are fifty thousand women working
for less than sixpence a day, and a hundred thousand for less than one

When, a few years ago, the "Edinburgh Review" collected the statistics
of female labor, it found the wages about half what were paid to men.
But no reason was assigned for this difference; only, one master
gardener ventured to assert, that women ate less than men!

An advertisement in London for fifty dressmakers brought seven hundred
applicants to the door of the warehouse; and, after long waiting, a
police-officer brought the employer to explain why they could not all be
hired. Sir James Clarke tells us, that the results of the inquiry into
the condition of this class of women exceeded in horror those of the
factory commission. Eighteen hours a day was the allotted time for work;
and nothing but strong coffee enabled them to ply their needles. Fifteen
hundred employers keep fifteen thousand girls. In driving times, they
work all night. One girl testified that she had worked through the whole
Sunday fifteen times in two years.

The lace-makers also work from twelve to twenty hours; and, in families
where a peculiar "knack" is thought to be transmitted, children are put
to this work from the age of two years. There is no regular time for
food or sleep in certain stages of the manufacture; and many of these
overworked women become vagrants.

A terrible letter from a Manchester mantle-maker was lately published,
in which she pleads to be permitted to earn twopence an hour, when
compelled to work overtime (that is, over twelve hours a day); and says,
pitifully, that, if the present regulations go on, nothing but death can
save her from dishonor.

A Persian traveller, who visited the bazaar in Soho, was greatly shocked
when he found that all those young women were earning their own living;
and plumed himself on the superior happiness of the women of his own
country. What would he have said, could he have followed the clergyman's
daughter, as we must do, from a happy home and fine sewing, down,
through all the degradations of the slop-shop, to the very gutter?

But this is England.

Out of two thousand women who work for their daily bread in New York,
five hundred and thirty-four receive a dollar a week. "How many men,"
asks Dr. Chapin, "would keep off death and conquer the Devil on such
wages? One woman had to do it by making caps at two cents each! Think of
this, women who like to buy things cheap: for, if the veil could be
lifted from your eyes, _you_ would see--the angels _do_ see--on your
gay, white dresses many a crimson stain; and among the dewy flowers with
which you wreathe your hair, the grass that grows on graves!"

Seven thousand eight hundred and fifty ruined women walk the streets of
New York,--five hundred ordinary omnibus-loads. They are chiefly young
women under twenty, and the average length of the lives they lead is
just four years. Every four years, then, seven thousand eight hundred
and fifty women are drawn from their homes, many of them from simple,
rural hearths, to meet this fate. What drives them to it? The want of

Last October, two vagrant women came before a Liverpool court, who
testified that they had been driven to evil courses by blows, and forced
to support in idleness, by their vice, the father of one, and the
husband of the other.

This statement shocks you: but poor pay strikes as heavy a blow as a
husband's right arm; and these seven thousand eight hundred and fifty
women in New York supported hundreds of men in ease, before they dropped
from the seamstress's chair to the curbstone and the gutter.[12]

Tait says that the permanent prostitution of any city bears a recognized
numerical relation to its means of occupation. You ask for proof.

Out of two thousand cases in the city of New York, five hundred and
twenty-five pleaded destitution as the cause.

One of the police-officers testified of one girl, "She struggled hard
before she fell; living on bread and water, and sleeping in
station-houses. In three years, I have known more than fifty such

A young girl of seventeen was left with the care of a sick, crippled
sister. They were left to touch the very brink of despair. A kindly,
fair-faced woman brought work which saved them from death. More was
promised, on conditions that you can guess; and the toils so skilfully
woven, that the young and healthy longed for her sister's sickly face
and broken limb to ward off her fate.

"When a whole day's work brings only a few pennies," said another to
Dr. Sanger, "a smile will buy me a dinner."

Out of these two thousand women, one thousand eight hundred and eighty
had been brought up "_to do nothing_:" but, of all the trades,
dressmaking furnished the largest proportion; and yet you think you pay
your dressmakers well!

Out of the two thousand, all but fifty-one had been religiously

"It has been shown elsewhere," says Dr. Sanger, "that the public are
responsible for this evil, because they persist in excluding women from
many kinds of employment for which they are fitted, while for work that
is open they receive inadequate compensation. The community are equally
responsible for non-interference with openly acknowledged evils."

Thus far I have spoken of New York. I might speak to you of Philadelphia
and Boston, and tell you of ruin wrought under my own eyes; of the
daughter of a State-street merchant found in the gutters of Toronto
years ago; of a daughter whom that wealthy father dared not deny, when I
wrote to him, though he refused to furnish the bread that would have
kept her from sin. I know how hard it is for a true and good man to open
his eyes to the wickedness and misery near at hand. I have no desire to
draw down upon myself the local wrath of small clothiers and petty
officials. You know what wages are in England: let us go thither for our
concluding facts.

There are five hundred thousand single women in England, and one out of
every thirteen is a thing of shame; that is, there are thirty-eight
thousand four hundred and sixty-one women of the town.

Almost none of these women are drawn from domestic service. Many were
found in New York who had lived out for twenty-five cents a week, and
from that dropped to moral death.

You know what to expect from the lot of English dressmakers,
mantlemakers, and laceweavers; but does it not chill you with horror to
think that the class of governesses and private teachers furnishes also
a certain number?

There is in London a Governesses' Benevolent Institution. There were
lately before its committee a hundred and twenty candidates for
annuities of a hundred dollars a year. Ninety-nine were unmarried,
eighty-three were literally penniless, all of them were over fifty years
of age, and forty-nine of them were over sixty.

One woman had labored for twenty-six years, supporting a mother and five
brothers and sisters, all of whom she had educated at her own expense;
but she had not saved a penny. Three were ruined by attempting to
sustain their fathers in business. Six had invalid sisters dependent
upon them. These are the histories of pure, untarnished names: fancy for
yourselves the tales told by dishonored lips. The labors of Mr. Mayhew
among this forsaken class of women are probably familiar by name to you
all. To deepen the impression which I wish to make, I shall quote some
of the evidence offered by him in his letters to the "Morning
Chronicle," and close this branch of my subject. Eleven thousand women
under twenty are employed in the slop-shops. If their own words do not
touch you, mine, of course, will fail.

_1st Case._--"I work from six, A.M., to ten, P.M. In the best weeks, I
clear a dollar and fifty cents; but I only average seventy-five cents
the year round. My mother is sixty-seven, and seldom gets a day's work.
She scours pots for the publicans at thirty-seven cents a day, but is
otherwise dependent upon me. I was a good girl when I first went to
work, and struggled hard to keep pure; but I had not enough to eat. Then
I took up with a young man, turned of twenty, who said he would make me
his lawful wife; but I _hardly cared, so I could feed myself and
mother_.[13] Many young girls tempted me,--they were so happy with
enough to eat and drink. Could I have honestly earned enough for food
and clothes, I would never have gone wrong; no, never. I fought against
it to the last. If I had been born a lady, it would _not have been hard
to act like one_."

_2d Case._--"I earn seventy-five cents a week clear. My husband has been
dead seven year, and I have buried three children. I was happy so long
as he lived (here she hid her face in a rusty shawl, and burst into
tears). I was always true to him, so help me God! I was an honest woman
up to the time my security[14] died. I swear it. I am glad my children
are dead; for I could not feed them."

_3d Case._--"I was an honest woman till my husband died. I can put my
hand on my heart, and swear it. But I was penniless, and a baby to keep.
The world has drove me about so. When I want clothes, I _must_ go to the

_4th Case._--"I am the daughter of a minister of the gospel; and I
pledge my word solemnly and sacredly, that it was the low price paid for
my labor that drove me to sin. I could only make thirty-four cents a
week at shirts, and should have starved but for the street. At last, I
swore to myself that I would keep from it for my boy's sake. I had
pawned my clothes, and slept in a shawl and petticoat under a butcher's
shed. I was trying to get to the workhouse. I had had no food for two
days. My baby's legs froze to my side, and I sank upon a doorstep. A
lady found us, and would have fed us; but I could not eat. She rubbed
the baby's legs with brandy. That night I got to the workhouse: but they
would not take me in without an order; so I went back to sin for one
month. It was the last. In my heart I hated it; my whole nature rebelled
at it; and nobody but God knows how I struggled to give it up. I pawned
my only gown more than once."

Look at the frightful calmness of this story: "They would not admit me
to the workhouse without an order; _so I went back to sin for one
month_." When this girl told her story to Mr. Mayhew, she had been eight
years at service, honored by her employers. Her personal beauty was so
great, and the whole story so romantic, that Mr. Mayhew could hardly
believe that she had come to him of her own accord to save other women
from the same fate; and he took a day's journey into the country to
confirm the facts. Her employers spoke in high terms of her honesty,
sobriety, industry, and modesty. For her child's sake, she begged him to
conceal her name; and she told her story with her face hidden in her
hands, sobbing so as scarcely to be understood, and the tears dropping

If you do not realize the commonness of these tragedies, may God help
you! Some of you will assert that all this is necessary; that, in this
age, a certain proportion of women must meet this fate; and wall me up
with statistics.

I tell you to bring the battering-ram of a Divine Love to bear on that
wall. You will find, then, that, just as much as it was decreed that
such women should be, it was decreed that an infinite saving power
should exist, and that you should help to make it available. You may
make these statistics what you will, not in an hour or a day, but in

Some of you will assert that women capable of falling thus can hardly be
worth saving. I know there is some wilful vice; I do not desire to blink
the truth: but, among those whom ill-paid labor forces into sin, there
are women nobler and more disinterested than many who remain pure. Look
at the stories I have told you,--women working for their kindred; a
young girl of seventeen ruined to find bread for a crippled sister. In
New York, the thirty-seven women supporting infirm parents; twenty-nine
providing for nephews and nieces; twenty-three, widows with the care of
young children.

Those of you who have had personal experience of these women will not
need me to tell you that _they_ never pay low wages. The washerwomen and
starchers whom they employ are always well paid and well treated. They
give much in charity to save others, as they often say, from their fate,
and doubtless in the secret hope that God will permit them thus to atone
for their sin. A few years ago, three young girls lived together in
Glasgow. One of them, the youngest and frailest, a girl whose story was
like that of Mrs. Gaskell's "Ruth," had left a rural home for a
dressmaker's workroom. She fell into a decline, and, in her frequent
delirium, raved about the bleat of her father's sheep, the evening
cow-bell, and the crowing of the cock. In her lucid moments, the thought
that she must die in shame convulsed her with agony. The two remaining
girls took counsel. "There is no hope for us," they said; "but perhaps
God will forgive us if we save her. Let us send her into the country,
and work for her till she dies." And so they did, adding to the reckless
wear of their horrid life the toil of the needlewoman; but, believe me,
they never forgot the dying smile of her they had saved. Did you or I
ever make a sacrifice which would compare with that? It is painful for
me to stand here, and present this subject; it is, perhaps, painful for
you to listen: but, with such women among the ruined, only cowards, it
seems to me, would refuse to risk all things to save them.[15]

In France, where all women of this class are registered, Duchâtelet
found 1,680 who had erased their names from the list, on the plea that
they had found honest occupation. He traced them: 108 had become
housekeepers; 864, seamstresses; 247, shopkeepers; and 461, domestics.

The Society for the Rescue of Young Women, in London, admitted two
hundred members last year. It asks no questions of those who enter; and
the wisdom of this is shown in the fact, that its subscription-list
contains the names of sixty former inmates, whose subscriptions range
from twenty-five cents to twenty dollars per annum.

A terrible account has lately been published of the straw-bonnet
warehouses in London, by one who has worked in them. One single story
will show you, how that _touch of truth_, which, far more than the touch
of genius, makes the "whole world kin," revealed a noble human nature in
the midst of what seemed utter depravity.

One day, the worn-out women tried to compel a young, fresh worker to do
less than she was able, or to secrete a portion of her braid, instead of
making it up. They could not prevail. "Are you a Metherdis, miss?" asked
one woman. "I'm not a thief," she replied gently. A big, bad woman stole
her extra plait; but no one dared insult her. Once she fainted, and some
one offered her gin; but the big, bad woman started forward: "Would you
make her a devil like the rest of us?" she cried; "I'd sooner see her
stabbed!" and she got her a cup of tea from her own "screw."[16] When
they were kept late, this woman walked home with her, cautioning her
against gin, against young men, especially the gentry, and bidding her
not forget her prayers: "for," said she, "_you_ know how; _I_ was never
teached." As she parted from her one night, she said, "I don't expect
it's any use; but it would do no harm if you prayed _once_ for me." Who
will say that this woman was irreclaimable? And, in estimating the
chances of saving a depraved woman, you should always remember, that, in
nine cases out of twelve, she sold herself, not to vice, but to what
seemed, at least, to her longing heart, like _love_. Put yourself in her
place. Do not start: it will do you no harm. Think what it would be to
slave soul and body, day after day, for a crust and a cup of cold water.
Not so much would your failing body crave one nourishing meal, as the
aching, human heart within you one tender look, one loving word. If, in
your misery, you had kept some beauty; if you had known no gentler touch
than a drunken father's blow or a mother's curse,--how strong would be
the temptation when one above you pleaded for affection! See how like an
angel of light this demon would descend! O my sisters! you have never
read this story right. Such a woman is no monster, only a gentle-hearted
creature, unsupported by God's law, unrestrained by self-control. Your
scorn, the world's rejection, _may_ make her what you think. Meanwhile,
are you above temptation? Does not conscience enforce my plea?

"Some positions," says Legouvé, "attract by their ease; but it is work
that purifies and fills existence. God permits hard trials; but he has
appointed labor, and we forget them all." A serious comforter, it gives
always more than it promises, and dries the bitterest tears. A pleasure
unequalled in itself, it is the salt of all other pleasures.[17]

You have seen that a necessity to live demands of you new fields for
woman to work in; and the question arises, Is she fit for these new

I consider the question of intellectual ability settled.

The volumes of science, mathematics, general literature, &c., which
women have given to the world, without sharing to the full the
educational advantages of man, seem to promise that they shall outstrip
him here, the moment they have a fair start. But I go farther, and state
boldly, that women have, from the beginning, done the hardest and most
unwholesome work of the world in all countries, whether civilized or
uncivilized; and I am prepared to prove it. I do not mean that rocking
the cradle and making bread is as hard work as any, but that women have
always been doing man's work, and that all the outcry society makes
against work for women is not to protect _women_, but a certain class
called _ladies_. Now, I believe that work is good for ladies; so let us
look at the truth. "Let it once be understood," says one of our English
friends, "that the young business-woman is shielded by the social
intercourse of those who are called ladies, and it would obviate many of
those grave objections which deter parents from consenting that their
children shall brave the world in shops and warehouses."

Most certainly it would; and to this point we must frequently return.
Meanwhile, says Sydney Smith, "so long as girls and boys run about in
the dirt, and trundle hoop together, they are both precisely alike;" and
I shall proceed to show that large numbers have not only played but
worked in the dirt together, and trundled hoop, not merely through our
own lives, but ever since work and play began.

I shall speak first of Asiatic women; and I can afford to begin by
quoting a Cochin-China proverb, to the effect that "a woman has nine
lives, and bears a great deal of killing." I do not know anything else
about the Cochin-China women; but this looks as if their lot were no
exception to the general rule. The Chinese peasant-woman goes to the
field with her male infant on her back, and ploughs, sows, and reaps,
exposed to all the changes of the weather. When her husband is proved
criminal, she must die as his accomplice; having, at least, strength
enough to suffer. In Calcutta, women are the masons who keep the roof
tight; and you may see them daily carrying their hods of cement,
spreading it on the tops of houses, and flattening it with a wooden
rammer like that with which our Irishmen pave the streets.

You have heard of the Bombay ghauts. Ghaut is a native word, which means
"passage through;" and it is applied by the resident not only to the
railway cut between the hills, but to the hills themselves. These are of
volcanic origin,--a sort of trap. Formed beneath the water, the mass
cooled as it was thrown up, and the sides do not slope much. "When I
gained an elevation of two thousand feet," says my correspondent, "and
looked back, I saw hills of all shapes and sizes thrown up, and ravines
thousands of feet below, all looking like the dried bed of an ocean. The
table-land on which I stood is two thousand five hundred feet above the
level of the sea; and, as this is the elevation at Poonah, the railroad
from Campoolu winds as it can along the sides of the mountains. There
are twenty-five tunnels through the solid rock on this road, each half a
mile long or more. There are piers of solid stone, with arches spanning
forty feet, which rise a hundred above the valley. Part of the grade was
formed by lowering men with ropes, to drill the holes for blasting, a
thousand feet above the ravine. There are twenty thousand workmen
employed; and one-third, or about seven thousand, of these are"--what do
you think? In a country where no European man can labor, where the
native rests until compelled by his conqueror to work, in the year 1859
behold seven thousand _women_ laboring in the ghauts! Climbing,
climbing, through the cloudless day, _women_ carry baskets of stone and
earth upon their heads, to creep to the edge of the ravines, and fill
with these tedious contributions thousands of perpendicular feet; and
the men who pay them, doubtless, talk to their daughters about _woman's_
lack of physical strength!

In Australia, the woman carries the burdens which man's indolence
refuses; and the deserts of Africa bear the same testimony in freedom
that we glean from the witness of slavery. In the West-India Islands,
the patient negress toils by the side of her mate, doing to the full as
hard a day's work, though encumbered by the weight of a child upon her
back; but she does not share, in the same way, his hours of rest. The
customs of Africa still prevail, and she offers her husband's food and
tobacco on her knees.

Nor does the poetry of ancient Greece show us the so-long vaunted
delicacy of the sex. Homer's princesses beat linen on the rocks, and
Andromache shares all the functions of the groom:--

    "For this, high fed in plenteous stalls ye stand,
    Served with pure wheat, and by a princess' hand;
    For this, my spouse, of great Actæon's line,
    So oft hath steeped the strengthening grain in wine!"

We have crossed the boundary line of Europe, without any change in the
indications; and we may drop from Homer to the middle ages, or modern
times, as well.

The traveller who gazes admiringly upon the vineclad hills of the Jura,
rising, terrace upon terrace, till the eye can scarce distinguish the
limit between the work of man and the rock of ages which still crowns
the summit, will learn with surprise that the mind which conceived of
such stupendous labor, and the hand which held out honor and freedom as
its reward, were a woman's.

Under a burning sun, or exposed to a bitter, glacial _bisè_, the first
cultivators, partly women, climbed slowly and painfully, by rocky ledges
or crevices, along those dangerous slopes and beetling cliffs, where
trees were to be hewn down and briers plucked up, raising by manual
efforts alone the stone necessary for the steps and walls, and the deep
tunnels for the safe passage of the torrents which vegetation now
conceals. And among them, wherever her donkey's foot could find a way,
went the woman who devised the work and bestowed the guerdon, with the
distaff on her saddle, which gives her to this day the name of Bertha
the spinner.

Yes, it was Bertha, of the Transjurane, who, about the middle of the
tenth century, undertook this work; opened the old Roman roads; and, in
defending her people against the Saracen hordes, first devised, it may
be, the modern telegraph. A prolonged line from her Alps to the Jura is
still set with the solid stone towers from which Bertha's sentinels
warned each other.[19]

On the 13th of April, 1809, the French and Bavarian prisoners held by
the Tyrolese at Steinach were marched to Schwatz, and thence to
Salzburg, under an escort of women: and the prisoners, at least, felt
sufficient confidence in the physical strength of the guard; for they
made no attempt to escape.

"Not a year ago," writes Anna Johnson of Germany, "I saw a young girl
standing up to her knees in a manure-heap, which she shovelled into a
cart, and then drove to the field. She was hired to do this work at
fourteen dollars a year. On the mountains, the women were carrying soil
and manure to the vines in baskets, as Queen Bertha taught them nine
centuries ago." A still less pleasant picture may be drawn from Köhl's
"Reminiscences of Montenegro." "Down among the stones, on the banks of
the Fuimera," he says, "some Cattaro women and girls were washing and
scraping the entrails of the goats that the men had brought to market.
There was one tall, slender, handsome girl, dressed in a crimson
petticoat, and jacket embroidered with gold, and her hair elegantly
fastened with golden pins. A pair of richly wrought slippers lay on the
stone beside her; and she laughed and talked merrily as she washed and
scraped away. At last, she packed the whole into a tub, and lifted it on
her gayly dressed head to carry home. The next day was Sunday; and I met
her, radiant with beauty and gold embroidery, on her way to church. I
often met these girls carrying on foot the baggage of the

In 1850, a clergyman of this city tells me that he saw women, wearing
leathern breast-plates, harnessed to the canal-boats of the Low
Countries, and doing the work of oxen.

In France, we find the same evidences of out-door work and physical
ability. Galignani tells us, that, in consequence of the success of a
certain Madame Isabelle in breaking horses for the Russian Army, the
French minister of war lately authorized her to proceed officially
before a commission of officers, with General Régnault de St. Jean
d'Angely at their head, to break some horses for the cavalry. After
twenty days, the animals were so completely broken, that the minister
immediately entered into an arrangement with her to introduce her system
into all the schools of cavalry in the empire, beginning with that of

Marshal Baraguay d'Hilliers, at Nantes, recently made a distribution of
St. Helena medals to the old soldiers of the empire. Among the number
was a woman named Jeanne Louise Antonini, who had served ten years in
the navy, and fifteen in the infantry, where she obtained the rank of
non-commisioned officer in the seventieth regiment of the line. She
received nine wounds while bravely fighting. "It is not the _coat_ that
makes the man," said our marshal when he gave the medal.

One of the great celebrities of the Invalides was buried, very lately,
with great pomp. This "old invalid" was an individual of the softer
sex,--the widow Brulow,--who entered the army, in 1792, as a soldier in
the forty-second regiment of infantry, authorized to enlist, in spite of
her sex, by General Casabianca. At Fort Gesco, she was promoted to the
rank of sergeant, after being severely wounded in the encounter which
took place. Perceiving that the troops were getting short of powder, she
set out alone at midnight for Calvi, roused the women of that place to
the number of sixty, and started them off for Gesco, laden with powder
and ammunition, which enabled the little fort to hold out eight and
forty hours longer, until relief came. A little after, at the siege of
Calvi, the widow Brulow, while in charge of a gun, was so desperately
wounded that she was forced to renounce her military career; and none
other was open to her but the retirement of the Invalides, where she was
admitted with the rank of sub-lieutenant. The present emperor, to whom
the widow Brulow was introduced on his visit to the Invalides, presented
her with the cross of the Legion of Honor and the medal of St. Helena;
her comrades, by acclamation, having designated her as most worthy of
the honor. By a decree, dated from the imperial headquarters, since our
first edition was printed, we learn that the race of heroines is not
extinct; for two other women, by that decree, obtained the military
medal for their courage at the battle of Magenta.

There recently died, at Portsea, in England, a woman, ninety years of
age, named Nelly Giles. She was one of the few surviving witnesses of
the battle of the Nile; having been on board His Majesty's ship
"Bellerophon," in the command of Captain Darby, and in all subsequent
engagements under Nelson. During the action of the Nile, she was
surrounded by heaps of slain and wounded; and she nursed the latter
tenderly, undismayed by the horrors of the scene. Three days after the
battle, she gave birth to a son.

The government, in consideration of her great attention to the sick and
wounded, and of the assistance she gave the surgeons, awarded her a
gratuity of seventeen pounds a year for her life.

A young patriot, named Francisco Riso, was killed on April 4, 1862, at
Palermo, during a popular demonstration which took place before
Garibaldi's arrival. On April 20, his father, Giovanni Riso, sixty years
old, was shot by the Bourbon soldiers, without so much as the form of a
trial. On the very day that Garibaldi entered Palermo, a young and
beautiful nun, Ignacia Riso, the sister and daughter of the two Risos
named above, left the convent, and, amidst a shower of balls and
grape-shot,--a cross in one hand, and a poignard in the other,--placed
herself at the head of Garibaldi's column, crying, "Down with the
Bourbons! Death to the tyrant! Vengeance!" She kept her place as long as
the fighting lasted; and her courageous attitude electrified the
volunteers. Ever since that day, the name of Ignacia Riso has been held
sacred. When she passes in the street, the soldiers bow low, and bless
her with the most profound respect. Garibaldi himself pays her great
attention, and loves her as if she were his own daughter.

From instances like these, refreshing because they tell of self-imposed
labor and eccentric character, we turn with less pleasure to the
statistics of the factories. Here men have left to women not only the
worst paid but the most unwholesome work of the respective mills.

Women, in France, are employed in the manufacture of cotton, silk, and
wool. The cotton manufacture compels two processes which are very
injurious,--the beating of the cotton, which brings on a distressing
phthisis; and the preparation, or dressing, which needs a degree of heat
not to be endured after mature age. Both these departments are filled by
women paid at half-prices.

The woollen manufacture compels only one unwholesome process,--that of
carding; but all the carders are women at half-wages.

In the silk factories, again, there are two unwholesome processes
entirely carried on by women. The first is the drawing of the cocoons,
where the hands must be kept constantly in boiling water, and the odor
of the putrefying insects constantly fills the lungs; the second is
carding the floss, the fine lint of which affects the bronchial tubes.
Six out of every eight women so employed die in a few months. Healthy
young girls from the mountains soon develop tubercular consumption; and,
to complete the dreadful tale, they are kept upon the lowest wages;
being paid only twenty cents where a man would earn sixty.[20]

The Anglo-Saxons, says the historian, "had not been long settled in
England before the more savage of their traits were softened down. The
wife continued to be regularly purchased by her husband, and the
contract was considered a mere money bargain, long subsequent to the
reign of Ethelbert." And why? Not because love was mercenary; but
because woman was regarded, in the first place, as a beast of burden, a
laborer. In the "Romany Rye," we are told that the sale of a wife with a
halter round her neck is still a legal transaction in England. "It must
be done in the cattle-market, as if she were a mare; all women being
considered as mares by the old English law, and, indeed, called mares in
certain counties where genuine old English law is still preserved."

Such a sale as this was recently completed at Worcester, and the
agreement between the men was published in the "Worcester Chronicle."

"Thomas Middleton delivered up his wife Mary Middleton to Philip Rostins
for one shilling and a quart of ale; and parted wholly and solely for
life, never to trouble one another.

    "Witness. (Signed) THOMAS × MIDDLETON, his mark.
     Witness.          MARY MIDDLETON, his wife.
     Witness.          PHILIP × ROSTINS, his mark.
     Witness.          S.H. STONE, Crown Inn, Friar St."

I have preserved the old expression _mare_ in my quotation, to indicate,
not the degradation to which women fell, but that it was as a beast of
burden that men regarded her. Several cases of sales, such as is here
referred to, have occurred within a few years; but this is the only
certificate of transfer that I ever saw. I desire to direct your
attention to the remarkable fact, that, of the three parties to it, the
wife, who was sold, was the _only_ one who could write her name. The men
signed it by a mark.[21] "A generation back," says Cobbett, "it was a
common thing to see women, half naked, working like beasts, chained to
carts, upon the common roads of England."

When Lord Ashley's Commission reported, in 1842, five thousand females
were at work, more than a thousand feet below the soil, in the
coal-mines of the north of England. These women were nearly naked, and
drew trucks, in harness, on all-fours, like beasts of burden. You cannot
have forgotten the remarkable description of such women in D'Israeli's
novel of "The Sibyl."

"They come forth. The plain is covered with the swarming multitude:
bands of stalwart men, broad-chested and muscular, wet with toil, and
black as the children of the tropics; troops of youth, alas! of _both
sexes_, though neither their raiment nor their language indicates the
difference. All are clad in male attire, and oaths that men might
shudder to hear issue from lips born to breathe words of sweetness. Yet
these are to be, some _are_, the mothers of England! Can we wonder at
the hideous coarseness of their language, when we remember the savage
rudeness of their lives? Naked to the waist, an iron chain fastened to a
belt of leather runs between their legs, clad in canvas; while, on hands
and feet, an English girl, for twelve, sometimes for sixteen, hours a
day, hauls and hurries tubs of coal along subterranean roads, dark,
precipitous, and plashy." These women, _called_ free, were the wretched
slaves of capital. In the life of Stephenson, the railway engineer, you
will find a further account of them, and may read the chilling answer
given by a woman whom he asked if she had ever heard of Jesus, "that no
such hand had ever worked in her shaft!" Let the proprietors of English
mines remember! No such hand did ever work in those shafts, yet they
called themselves Christian men! True as death were the words. If the
_law_ is now free of reproach, the _evil_ has by no means ceased to
exist: the Master still stands knocking.

"Children," wrote Lord Ashley, "are taken to work when only four years
old, girls as well as boys. Dragging the coal carriages requires the
whole strength of either sex. Young men and women, married women and
married men, work together through the same number of hours, almost,
sometimes quite, naked, constantly demoralizing each other. It stints
their growth and cripples their limbs." In the east of Scotland, they
still toil up steep ladders from the shafts.

If it were my purpose to show you moral degradation, you could hardly
bear what I must say; but I desire only, at this moment, to show you
these men and women _working_, as Sydney Smith would say, _in the dirt
together_. In 1842, the Earl of Durham knew of this; and he and the set
with whom he lived dared, doubtless, to whisper to the ladies in their
halls, that women were not made to labor!

In the calico-mills, girls grind and mix the colors. They are called
_teerers_. They begin at five years of age, and labor twelve hours a
day, sometimes sixteen; and are kept late into the night to prepare for
the following day.

In Sedgely and Warrington, the fate of the female pinmakers is no
better. They begin at five years of age, and work from twelve to sixteen
hours a day. If refractory, they are struck at Wiltenhall with strap,
stick, hammer, or file, in spite of the delicacy of the sex. In Sedgely,
more women are employed than men; but they do not fare any better: their
bodies are seamed by blows given with bars of burning iron.

O my sisters! why has God sheltered _us_ in quiet homes? What have we
done to deserve a happier fate? Why were we not left to writhe beneath
the blows of the smith, or the outrage of a market-sale?

Because God has laid down a responsibility by the side of every
privilege, and requires us to labor not merely to set such women free,
but to establish a freedom and security _by law_,--the law of custom as
well as the law of courts, which we only possess through usurpation or

I will not leave these English shores without alluding to the physical
strength shown by that lovely paralytic, Anna Gurney. Deprived of the
use of her limbs in very early life, she acquired the Latin, Greek, and
Hebrew, and finally the Teutonic tongues, with a facility and
thoroughness that her Anglo-Saxon translations show. Men might be
excused if they sheltered from contact with the world this infirm
creature, dependent upon artificial aid for every movement; but what did
she choose for herself?

In 1825, after her mother's death, she went to live at Northrepps. At
her own expense, she procured one of Manby's apparatus for saving the
lives of seamen cast upon that dangerous coast; and, in cases of great
urgency and peril, she caused herself to be carried down to the beach,
and, from the sick chair which she wheeled over the sand, directed every
movement for the rescue and recovery of the half-drowned men.

Look at the pictures! See that grimy, tangled woman in harness,
straining, in full health, along the coal-shafts! See, nearer, this
lovely cripple, the Quaker cap folded over her soft, brown hair, her
soul erect and noble, doing the duty of a Grace Darling! The first
labors like the brute beast, the victim of human misgovernment and
heathenish ignorance; the last chooses for herself a conflict with the
storm, and earns, with as full right as any brother, the meed of the

Let us pass over to America. The Caribs of Honduras are a hardy race,
and do not share the prejudices of Massachusetts on the subject of
labor. Each man has several wives. For each he clears a plantation and
builds a house. In a year, she has every kind of breadstuff under
cultivation; and hires creers, which she freights for Truxillo and
Belize, her husband often commanding for her. If her agricultural labors
prove too heavy, as a thrifty woman will sometimes make them, she hires
her husband to work for her at two dollars a week.

So the Northern Indian glides nimbly through the woods; while the squaw
carries on her unlucky back their common food and covering, or perhaps
hauls the canoe across the portage. A Jesuit priest rebuked an Orinoco
woman for infanticide. "I wish _my_ mother had been brave enough to part
with me!" was her reply. "Our husbands go to hunt; and we drag after
them, one baby at the breast, another on our back. When we return, we
cannot sleep, but must grind maize all night for their chica. Drunken,
they beat us, or stamp us under foot; and, after twenty years of such
labor, a young wife is brought home to abuse us and such children as we
have not killed. What ought I to do?"

At Santa Cruz, Theodore Parker writes to Francis Jackson that men and
women work together to repair the public highway; hoeing the earth into
trays, and throwing it into a cart which they drag and push together.

In Ohio, last year, about thirty girls went from farm to farm, hoeing,
ploughing, and the like, for sixty-two and a half cents a day. At Media,
in Pennsylvania, two girls named Miller carry on a farm of three
hundred acres; raising hay and grain, hiring labor, but working mostly
themselves. These women are not ignorant: they at one time made
meteorological observations for an association auxiliary to the
Smithsonian Institute. But labor attracts them, as it would many women
if they were not oppressed by public opinion.

"In New York," writes a late correspondent of the "Lily," "I saw women
performing the most menial offices,--carrying parcels for grocers, and
trunks for steamboats. They often sweep the crossings in muddy weather;
and I once saw one carrying brick and mortar for a mason."

During the late terrible destruction of property at the Lawrence mills,
the women, heroic in every department, did not excuse themselves from
the severest labor. When, after hours of extreme exertion, the firemen,
worn down and quite exhausted, called for help, a bevy of ladies, who
were standing on the sidewalk in Canal Street, flew over to the engines,
and, "manning" the brakes, worked the machine, amid the cheers of the

You know what bodily strength and nervous energy carried Mary Patton
round Cape Horn. Well, on the 25th of June, 1858, the British ship
"Grotto" left Cuba; and, on the second day, the yellow-fever broke out
in the worst form. Seven days after, so many had died, that there
remained only the captain, his wife, and two of the crew. Then the
captain was taken ill; and, beside nursing him, the poor wife, who had
already nursed officers and men, took her station at the wheel, and
steered by his instructions for Sandy Hook. There the steam-tug
"Huntress" found them, the heroic woman at the wheel, the husband at
that moment struggling with death; and, when they reached New York,
three out of eleven, one of them the suffering wife, survived to tell
the tale, and show how a woman can work. So common are such instances
becoming, that you have hardly heard the name of this Mrs. Nichols, for
whom tender charity soon cared.

A mutiny on board the ship "Maria," of New York, was put down Nov. 10,
1860, by the energy and decision of the wife of the master, Captain
Clark, who, with pistols in her hands, threatened to shoot one of the
mutineers if he did not desist. He was cowed into submission; and, a
signal being made to the revenue cutter, the mutineers were taken into
custody. The mate would have been killed, but for the heroic woman's

But all such labor is the result of compulsion,--compulsion of
barbarism, of slavery, of unfair competition, or dire disease. Let us
close this branch of our subject with a picture homely but attractive.
"According to thy request," writes a Quaker friend from Wilmington,
Del., "I send thee some facts concerning Sarah Ann Scofield. Some
fifteen years since, her father became very much involved in debt. He
owed some ten or twelve hundred dollars; having lost largely by working
for cotton and woollen mills. His business was making spindles and
fliers. His daughter, then just sixteen, proposed to go into her
father's shop and assist him; she being the oldest of seven children. He
accepted her offer, and told me himself, that, in twelve months, she
could finish more work, and do it better, than any man he had ever
trained for eighteen. She earned fifteen dollars a week at the rate he
then paid other hands. Her father died. Her two oldest brothers learned
the trade off her, and went away. She has now two younger sisters in
apprenticeship, and a brother fourteen years of age, all working under
her; turning, polishing, filing, and fitting all kinds of machinery. I
went out to see her last week. She was then making water-rams to force
streams into barns and houses. She is also beginning to make many kinds
of carriage-axles. She is her own draughtsman, and occasionally does her
own forging. To use her own words, 'What any man can do, I can but try
at.' She has a steam-engine, every part of which she understands; and I
know that her work gives entire satisfaction. When they have steady
employment, they clear sixty dollars a week; and she says she would
rather work at it for her bread, than at sewing for ten times the money.
The truth is, it is a business she is fond of."

I have shown you that a very large number of women are compelled to
self-support; that the old idea, that all men support all women, is an
absurd fiction; and, if you require other evidence than mine, you may
find it in the English courts, under the working of the new Divorce
Bill. Nearly all the women who have applied for divorces have proved
that the subsistence of the family depended upon them. Out of six
million of British women over twenty-one years of age, one-half are
industrial in their mode of life, and more than two millions are
self-supporting in their industry like men. Put this fact fully before
your eyes.

Driven to self-support, you have seen, also, that low wages and
comparatively few and overcrowded avenues of labor compel women to
vicious courses for their daily bread. The streets of Paris, London,
Edinburgh, New York, and Boston, tell us the same painful story; and in
glaring, crimson letters, rises everywhere the question,--"Death or
dishonor?" I have shown you that there is encouragement for moral
effort, because these women escape from vice as fast as they find work
to do. "Have they strength for the conflict," you ask, "or desire to
enter such fields?" Find your answer in what they have done from the
earliest ages, with the foot of Confucius and Vishnu, of capital and
interest, upon their necks. In the lovely lives of Bertha and Ann
Gurney, and the powerful attraction of Sarah Scofield, you have found
pleasanter pictures whereon to rest your eyes. Let no man taunt woman
with inability to labor, till the coal-mines and the metal-works, the
rotting cocoons and fuzzing-cards, give up their dead; till he shares
with her, equally at least, the perils of manufactures and the press of
the market. As partners, they must test and prove their comparative

We must next consider what need woman's moral nature has of work, and
what sort of opposition man practically offers her.


  [11] "Now that we can produce artificially, and from waste and even
  noisome materials, the ethereal liquids to which the fragrance of the
  pear, the pineapple, and the melon are due, and can manufacture
  spirits of wine from coal-gas and oil of vitriol, we can scarcely be
  over-sanguine as to what we shall yet effect as competitors with
  living organisms in the production of certain compounds."--GEORGE
  WILSON'S _Life of Forbes_, p. 129.

  [12] What I mean here will be understood by a reference to Emile
  Souvestre's "Philosophe sous les Toits." In a pretty story of two
  women employed in a clasp-factory, he speaks of their low wages, and
  says, that, having worked for thirty years, they had seen ten masters
  grow wealthy and retire from business, without having changed, in any
  degree, their own position.

  These claspmakers certainly supported these ten masters and their
  families in ease; and, wonderful to relate, these two did not fall.

  An angel, clothed in white, sat on the sepulchre wherein their hopes
  were buried, all through that thirty years.

  [13] This may strike some readers like the hardihood of willing vice;
  but it is only callousness, born of exposure to hopeless cold and

  [14] When a woman wishes to get slop-work, she must find some friend,
  who will either deposit, or become responsible for, a sum equal to the
  value of the work she is permitted to carry home. This person is
  called her "security." The longer she works, the lower she falls; and,
  on the death of the "security," it is often impossible to replace him.
  The custom does not seem to be _general_ in this country.

  [15] Those who are unaccustomed to this class of women will be
  inclined to think that the state of things represented in the text has
  long passed away. People who know nothing of the value of money talk a
  great deal about "increase of wages," and are apt to say that any
  honest woman can now get a living. Women's wages are at this moment of
  less value than they were before the war; and, to confirm the
  foregoing statements, I add here the statements of my friend Mrs.
  Corbin, which reach me as I go to press:--

  "At a meeting of the Liberal Christian League, held at Rev. Robert
  Collyer's church, on Sunday evening, Feb. 3, a report was read by the
  Chairman of the Committee on Friendless Women, from which the
  following is an extract:--

     Your Committee aimed [in visiting houses of ill-fame], in Chicago,
     to find out, as nearly as possible, the general facts concerning
     the lives of this class of women.

     It was found that these women of pleasure, as they are called,
     instead of leading the idle and luxurious life which many imagine,
     are, in fact, the most steadily employed of any class in the
     community, and have the least available leisure. Your Committee
     have never yet visited a house of this kind, staying on the average
     half an hour, but they have found male visitors, either there when
     they entered, or coming in before they left; and this in the open
     day. Inquiries put to the women concerning their hours of leisure
     developed incidentally the fact, that it is only at certain times,
     on certain days, that they can get out; and then it must be
     strictly in the prosecution of their calling. The terms on which
     these women are kept, are usually a certain stipulated sum per week
     for room rent, and, over and above this, the half of their
     earnings; which makes it necessary for the keepers to have a
     constant eye upon the girls, to prevent their taking money outside.
     The number of men supporting these houses is, moreover, so much
     greater than the number of women supported therein, that every girl
     is kept in constant requisition, either at the house, or as a
     walking advertisement on the street and at public places.

     Your Committee, before making these visits, were constantly assured
     that these women preferred this way of life, and would scout the
     efforts of their own sex at reforming them. Your Committee take
     great pleasure in reporting, that, in every instance, they have
     found this charge _utterly unsustained_. Everywhere doors were
     freely opened to them; they were treated with as much politeness
     and cordiality as they have ever received in the most respectable
     houses; and the conversation was of the freest and most
     satisfactory character.

     'Are you happy in this life?' was asked of a delicate girl in her
     teens, who had been seen, five minutes before, dancing and singing
     about a man in an adjoining apartment in the most wanton
     manner,--'Are you happy in this life?'

     Tears, sudden and sincere, with a look of indignant protest, filled
     her eyes, as she answered,--

     'Think how we have to treat the men: that of itself is enough to
     prevent _any woman_ from being happy.'

     'But you do not always talk this way to men?' was the reply.

     'Oh, no!' she said; 'I would never tell a _man_ that. We always
     tell the men that we like this life, and would not live any other,
     if we could; but _women know_.'

     Another voluntarily mentioned the intemperance with which they are
     universally and justly charged, as one of the hard necessities of
     their position. Women ought not to drink, she admitted; but they
     would die if they did not, or go mad with anguish and despair.

     Your Committee feel, that, at the present stage of investigation,
     it may seem premature to speak of the causes of this terrible evil;
     this slavery, which their observation assures them is more
     degrading and horrible than any other upon the face of the earth:
     but two causes have met them so constantly face to face, that they
     cannot in justice refrain from mentioning them.

     The first is the terribly prevalent and everywhere tolerated
     licentiousness of men. Your Committee believe it to be an admitted
     fact, that, if to-day every woman of abandoned life could suddenly
     be removed from the dens of this city and placed in a respectable
     position, it would not be six months before their places would be
     filled, from the ranks of women who are now virtuous; and they have
     no faith in any system of reform which does not strike effectual
     blows at this, the mainspring of the evil.

     Over against this, the first great pillar of the institution,
     stands the almost equally colossal one of poverty, and the
     exclusion of women from the ordinary fields of labor.

     'Here is what I work for,' said a fine, strong-looking woman, as
     she placed her hand on the head of a bright boy of two years. 'He
     is my child. I have him to support. There is no other way in which
     I could earn a comfortable subsistence for myself and him.'

     Another, the keeper of a house of ill-fame, an intelligent,
     graceful, refined-looking woman,--a woman who would have been an
     ornament to any society,--said:--

     'I was left suddenly poor, with my mother to support. I had never
     been used to work, and there seemed no work I could do that would
     support us both. The circumstances of my life seemed to force me
     into this way of living;' which meant, of course, that some man
     stood ready to offer her kindness, protection, support, every thing
     but marriage, and she accepted it. 'My mother, to-day, is as
     innocent of any knowledge of my way of life, as a saint in heaven.
     I live in daily terror and solicitude lest she should find it out,
     for it would kill her. I am going soon on a visit to her, and shall
     carry with me twelve hundred and fifty dollars, with which to
     secure her a home for life; so that, whatever happens to me, she
     will be provided for.'

     In confirmation of this story, a hack came to the door while she
     was speaking, to carry her to the train she had previously
     indicated; which fact, together with her earnest and sincere
     manner, left no doubt in the minds of your Committee concerning the
     truthfulness of her story.

     In regard to the series of meetings proposed to be inaugurated,
     your Committee are obliged for the present to report unfavorably,
     for the following reasons:--

     The proposition was everywhere cordially met among the women. They
     readily agreed to the usefulness of the project, and mentioned only
     one objection, and that to time. 'Sunday,' was the invariable
     answer, 'is our busiest day. We could hardly get away at all on
     that day; but we will try to do so.' Your Committee saw at once the
     blunder they had made in forgetting that Sunday is the leisure day
     of men; and therefore went to the first appointed meeting, through
     a cold and blinding snowstorm, with little hope of success. They
     found the room already occupied by some six or eight street roughs,
     evidently waiting for what might transpire. They left the room very
     soon, but took their station about the door, and remained there as
     long as the Committee did. Subsequent inquiries confirmed the
     impression, that they were sent there by some of the men who had
     been in the houses at the time of the visits, to break up the
     meetings, for which purpose, of course, only their presence would
     be necessary.

     Beyond this determined opposition which would no doubt be
     encountered at the hands of the male supporters of the institution,
     your Committee see but one serious difficulty; and that is, the
     deep-rooted scepticism which prevail among the women concerning any
     general sentiment of Christian charity in their behalf. They have
     so long been persecuted with unjust opprobrium, abandoned, outcast,
     left to live or die as they might, without one word of pity or
     encouragement, while the men who shared their sins, and were
     oftentimes the guiltier partners, were the honored and trusted
     associates of Christian women, pillars perhaps in Christian
     churches, that they have naturally come to feel, that the sympathy
     of one or two good women, however earnest and grateful it may be in
     itself, will be of little avail against the malignity of the whole
     banded world.

     Still your Committee have seen nothing, so far, to discourage them
     in their efforts, but every thing to impress upon them the feeling
     of imperative duty in this direction.

    (Signed) Mrs. C.F. CORBIN, Chairman.

  "The plan of action proposed by this Committee was to visit the women
  in a friendly, Christ-like spirit, inaugurate a series of meetings
  among them, organize efforts in the direction of saving their money,
  so that they might be able to take an independent position, with only
  such moral support as should be necessary to enable them to face the
  opposition of the world, and to direct their lavish free-heartedness
  into channels of benevolence toward the old and worn-out of their
  number. Pure and healthful pleasures would also be provided for them,
  good music, the reading of fine poems and interesting stories, and so
  a beginning made toward introducing principles of steadiness and
  sobriety into their now totally abandoned and desperate lives."

  [16] This expression, used in all such places to denote the food, tea,
  coffee, or gin, used by the overstrained girls, is terribly

  [17] I do not know that any person has ever practically carried out
  Legouvé's estimate of labor as a moral help, but Marie de Lamourous,
  the foundress of the House of Mercy at Bourdeaux. This was a refuge
  for ruined women, whom she trained to self-support. Some one offered
  her a sum sufficient to insure her family a comfortable living; but
  she wisely refused it. "No false pretences," she said: "if we are not
  compelled to labor, we shall not labor. An idle mind makes its own
  temptations. I can do nothing without work."

  [18] When woman's power to work is called in question, men almost
  always remark, that she has shown no _inventive_ genius whatever.
  Should a proper history of the arts ever be written, this will be
  found to be an entire mistake. Patentees are not always inventors; and
  many of these, after hopeless labor carried on for years, have owed a
  final success to some woman's power of adaptation. We need not,
  however, take refuge in general statement, nor in the traditional fact
  that she invented spindle, distaff, needle, and scissors. Any new-born
  barbarian, pressed by necessity, might accomplish so much. The most
  delicate and beautiful obstetrical instruments were invented by Madame
  Boivin. Madame Ducoudray invented the manikin; Madame Breton, the
  system of artificial nourishment for babes; Morandi and Bihéron
  adapted wax to the purposes of medical illustration; and it was to the
  observations of Mademoiselle Bihéron, recorded in wax, that Dr. Hunter
  owed the illustrations of his best work. He was her generous friend;
  but she preceded him seven years in this direction, and may possibly
  have given him the right to use her observations as his own. Madame
  Rondet has, in the present century, invented a tube to be used in
  cases of restoration from asphyxia. It is easy to quote these cases
  from the history of medicine, because an honest French physician has
  taken pains to preserve them; but the following instances of inventive
  and mechanical power may be less known:--

  In 1823, _the first patent of invention_ was taken out in Paris by
  Madame Dutillet, for the formation of artificial marble. This was so
  successful a patent, that she sold it in 1824; and the purchaser
  renewed it, with still further improvements.

  In 1836, Burrows, an Englishman, took out a patent for cement. Madame
  Bex, of Paris, found this cement a failure in damp places, and
  published a method of less limited application, in which bitumen was

  In 1840, Mrs. Marshall, once of Manchester, England, and now of
  Edinburgh, was struck with the idea, that the electric forces evolved
  by decaying animal and vegetable matter, acting upon calcareous
  substances, must have much to do with the natural formation of marble.
  In five years, by upwards of ten thousand experiments, she perfected
  an artificial marble, whose constituents and manufacture were entirely
  within control, and which could be made in hours or months, at the
  maker's volition. To this cement she gave the simple Italian name of
  _intonuca_. It is singular that she should so intuitively have seized
  this secret; for, under Madame Dutillet's patent, we are expressly
  informed that all vegetable matter must be removed from the
  composition, if we would have the cement indestructible. The example
  is an interesting one; for the ten thousand disagreeable experiments
  show that one woman at least possessed the power of persistent
  application, of long-protracted labor, so often denied.

  Starch first came into use in England in 1564. It was carried thither
  by a Mrs. Dinghen Vanden Plasse, of Flanders, who set up business as a
  professed starcher, and instructed others how to use the article for
  five pounds, and how to make it for twenty pounds.

  Side-saddles for ladies first came into use in 1138. Anne, queen of
  Richard II., introduced these to the English ladies.

  The braiding of straw in this country was first begun in Providence,
  in 1798, by Mrs. Betsey Baker, lately residing in Dedham, Mass. The
  first bonnet she made was of seven straws with bobbin let in like
  open-work, and lined with pink satin.

  I had hoped to add to these names that of a peasant woman, who
  successfully drained a large estate in France after her own original
  fashion, and was sent from Paris to do the same in French Guiana for
  the government; but, although no phantom, she eludes my researches.

  [19] Historical Pictures of the Middle Ages, in Black and White.

  [20] Ernest Legouvé.

  [21] While these papers were preparing for the press, the record of
  another such sale, in August, 1859, disgraced the English nation.
  Opposite the brewery, at Dudley, in Staffordshire, not many miles from
  Kidderminster and Birmingham, a man named Pensotte sold his wife, with
  a halter round her neck, for sixpence. He had previously dragged
  her--a three weeks' bride--three quarters of a mile in this state. It
  is intimated in this case, that she was not faithful; but it is the
  first time I ever saw such a charge attached to such an account.
  Americans are anxious to understand this outrage. Is it possible that
  a government which forbids the sale of a negro cannot forbid the sale
  of a Saxon wife? What shadow of law sustains the custom? Is the woman
  supposed to be sold into wifehood or servitude? I have taken it for
  granted that the word "mare" shows that she is regarded as a beast of
  burden. It is impossible for the fairest and loftiest woman in
  England--nay, for Victoria herself--not to suffer, in some degree,
  from the public opinion which such transactions, ever so rarely
  occurring, tend to form.



   "This hurts most, this ... that, after all, we are paid
    The worth of our work, perhaps."


If low wages, by actually starving women and those dependent upon them,
force many into vicious courses, so does the want of employment lower
the whole moral tone, and destroy even the domestic efficiency of those
whose minds seek variety and freedom. More than once have I been to
insane asylums with young girls whom active and acceptable employment
would have saved from mania; and scores of times have young women of
fortune asked me, "What can you give me to do?"

And to this question there is, in the present state of the public mind,
no possible answer. No woman of rank can find work, if she do not happen
to be philanthropic, literary, or artistic in her taste, without braving
the influence of home, or, what is next dearest, the social circle, and
earning for herself a position so conspicuous as to be painful to the
most energetic. The woman who is prepared for all this will not ask
anybody what she is to do: she will take her work into her own hands,
and do it.

That was a pleasant time in the history of the world, when every woman
found, in spinning, weaving, and sewing, in the active labor of a small
or the skilful management of a large household, full employment for time
and thought, under the cheering shelter of a husband's or father's
smile. That was a pleasant time also, when, in the middle English
classes, women worked freely by a husband's side, with more regard to
his interest than heed of the world's talk. But with the wide
intellectual culture that America has been the first country in the
world to offer to women, individual tastes and wishes must develop in
single women; and all men who value the moral health of society must aid
this development.

There is no greater enemy to body and soul than idleness, unless it be
the absurd public sentiment which compels to idleness. Thousands and
tens of thousands have fallen victims to it. The woman who will not
labor, rich or honored though she be, bends her head to the inevitable
curse of Heaven.

This curse works in failing health, fading beauty, broken temper, and
weary days. Let her never fancy, that, being neither wife nor mother,
she is exempt from the law: she cannot balance that decree of God by the
foolish customs of society or the weak objections of her kindred. Never
let her say she does not need to labor. Disease, depression, moral
idiocy, or inertia, follow on an idle life. He who never rests has made
woman in His image; and health, beauty, force, and influence follow on
the steps of labor alone.

I shall not pursue this subject; for it is far easier for you to think
it out, than to gather the facts I wish to bring before you. Read
"Shirley," and let the saddest hours of Caroline Helstone's life bear
witness for thousands who never find a vocation. Read the "Professor,"
and let its sweet stimulus kindle in you some appreciation of the joy
which mutual labor can bring to a happy husband and wife.

Sad, indeed, then, is it when man himself represses a woman's longing
for work, whether from false tenderness, from a dread of public opinion,
a shrinking from her ultimate independence, or a small personal
jealousy. That he does, in the aggregate and as an individual, so
repress it, is unfortunately matter of history: it is no invention of an
outraged inferior. I could offer you many private examples of this; but
those that carry proofs of their reality with them will, I fear, seem
very familiar. The first consists in the opposition shown to the attempt
of Mr. Bennett to establish young women as watchmakers. Honorary
Secretary to the Horological Department of the great Exhibition, he
could not help observing the superiority of the Genevese watches, in
cheapness and convenience of carriage. In England, watches are so dear
that only the privileged classes can carry them. It would be for the
interests of the manufacturers, of course, to be able to compete with
the Swiss; but they were too short-sighted to see it. Finding that
twenty thousand women and girls were employed in Switzerland in the
manufacture of watches and watchmakers' tools, Mr. Bennett undertook to
deliver a public lecture on the subject. It was interrupted by hisses,
and broken up like a New-York convention. Three well-educated women then
applied to him to be taught; but no Englishman could be found to take
them. A Swiss, settled in London, did. They made more progress in six
months than ordinary boys in six years; but they, as well as their
teacher, were so cruelly persecuted, that it was found necessary to
relinquish the attempt. My impression is, though I cannot find the
account in print, that a further effort was made on a more extended
scale, something like a school; and this was resisted by such combined
effort on the part of the trade, that Mr. Bennett and his friends began
to make a stir through the press. The "Edinburgh Review" mentions a
watchmaker's wife who wished to work with her husband in his special
department. Finding that it could not be done with the consent of the
trade, she undertook, instead, the engraving of the brass work; but,
though working in her own house, she was at last successful only under
the plea that she had been regularly apprenticed by her father, also in
the business. She persevered, and taught her two daughters; and so will
many others.

Women in England must certainly make watches; and the time is not far
distant when the men of Coventry will yield to this demand, as they have
already yielded to others. A few years ago, winding silk, weaving
ribbon, and pasting patterns of floss upon cards, excited the same
opposition; but now thousands of women pursue these employments, and
the men look on as quietly as the grazing cattle in the fields.

"The first steam factory in Coventry," says the "Edinburgh Review" for
October, 1859,--"a very small factory,--was burned down during a quarrel
about wages. Then there was an opposition to the employment of women at
the looms. To this day, one of the lightest and easiest processes in the
manufacture, which a child might manage, is engrossed by the men, under
heavy penalties."

Fancy a strong man winding silk for a whole day, or sorting colors in
floss! How has he ever degraded himself to such girls' work?

I need only remind you of the formal petition sent in at the time of the
opening of the School of Design at Marlborough House, to entreat the
Government not to instruct and aid women, lest the poor, helpless men
should starve! A similar prejudice, much more active than any in
America, prevents English women from qualifying themselves as
physicians. Dr. Spencer, of Bristol, really educated his daughter as an
accoucheuse; but the prejudice was so strong that she was not allowed to
practise, and became a governess instead. The same prejudice kept the
English Army suffering for months, while it delayed the departure of
female nurses to the Crimea.

In Staffordshire, women are employed to paint crockery and china, which
they can do with more taste and grace than men. It seems hardly
credible, that the desire of the men to keep down their wages should
deprive the females of the customary hand-rest; which would, of course,
diminish the fatigue, and make the pencil-stroke more certain. I am
happy to believe that not an employer in the United States would submit
to this absurd demand; and the result of any such attempt on the part of
workmen would probably be a general permission to leave. We are, in this
country, much more free from the control of guilds and unions of various
sorts than the people of England; yet the conduct of our printers
furnishes a fair parallel to these foreign facts. Within a few years,
there have been more than twenty strikes in printing-offices, consequent
upon the employment of a few women; and the result has generally been an
entire change of hands, masters in America not enduring dictation.

In August of 1854, the journeymen employed in the office of the
"Philadelphia Daily Register" left the office, in high dudgeon, because
the publisher had employed two women as type-setters in a separate
office. They acted in conformity to a resolve of the Printers' Union,
and were permitted to depart. But this was not all. Threats of personal
violence followed all who sought the waiting work, and an attempt was
made to cut the rope by which the forms are raised. The result would
have been to break up the type, prevent the issue of the paper, and run
the risk of endangering life. Complaints were lodged against the
printers; and, after a hearing, they were each held to bail in six
hundred dollars, to answer to the charge of conspiracy, at the Court of
Quarter Sessions.

About the same time, a printer in the same establishment with the
"Lily," but working on the "Home Visitor," refused to give some
necessary instruction to a girl employed on the first paper. It was
found that all the hands had signed an agreement never to work with or
instruct a woman! The men, after proper remonstrance, were dismissed,
and their places supplied by four women and three men, who worked
harmoniously together. That was only five years ago, and now there are
hundreds of female printers in Ohio; and one orphan girl has risen from
type-setting to an editor's chair and a handsome competence.

Jealousy in America sometimes takes a more comical form. Coming home
lately from a Female School of Design in another city, I expressed some
disappointment at the character of the work and management. A young man
in the room spoke of the impossibility of a woman's ever learning to
design, in terms so contemptuous that I did not think it worth while to
answer him. Making some inquiries, however, in private, I found that his
master had often reproached him with _falling behind the women_ at the
school; so that personal pique had more to do with the whole thing than
any real experience.[22]

But, having made these remarks, I must recur to my previous
statement,--that, in the main, no jealousy of cliques, no legal
restrictions, prevent women from taking their proper place. A want of
respect for woman, and a want of respect for labor, latent and
unacknowledged in the public mind, must be overcome before she can do
it. The overworked and ill-paid woman has seized every chance to slight
her work; and an idea has gone abroad, that no slop-work will be fit for
sale unless a man inspects it. So New York and Paris have man-tailors
and man-milliners; and the poor, tempted, stricken girls are brought
into contact, in the pursuit of bread, with the very men most likely to
take advantage of every failure. Very sad stories could be told of work
rejected day after day, on account of pretended faults, till the
starving victim drops at the feet of the treacherous overseer, only to
be trampled, in the end, under those of the whole town. Educated,
respectable women should have the giving-out and the inspection of
woman's work; but educated and respectable women will never stand in
such a position till public opinion teaches them that all _labor_ is
honorable, and that no lady will ever sit with folded hands. How we rate
an idle boy! how we bear with a dawdling girl! That father grows
impatient whose son does not rise early, or show some desire for
employment; but the same man keeps his daughters in Berlin wool and
yellow novels, and looks to marriage as their salvation, even when he
blushes to be told of it.

To prove this, let me show you that many employments have been open to a
degree not generally acknowledged; and a safe foundation for this
assertion will be found in the census of the United Kingdom and that of
the United States.

It is a singular fact, that there are a great many more women in
England in business for themselves than employed as tenders or clerks;
while, in America, the fact, at the present day, is directly the

It was not so in the time of the Revolution. Then, as in France, the men
went to the war. Women of shrewdness and ability managed their husbands'
affairs,--the shops and trades of the nation,--and grew so independent
thereby, that even Mrs. John Adams had to rebuke her husband for the
absurd inequalities of privilege which his new government sustained. In
England, the deficient education of the lower classes makes it almost
impossible for the women to make change quickly, or keep accounts; and
we smile as we find the "Edinburgh Review" gravely contending that woman
may master the rule of three; that, at least, they ought to have a
chance to _try_: and we can afford to smile; for our public schools have
taught us how much quicker most women can count than most men. While,
therefore, the want of education has prevented a certain class of
English women from becoming clerks or book-keepers, the national habits
of thrift, and a certain respectable pride in a family shop or trade,
have induced thousands of a superior class to assume, upon a father's or
husband's death, the charge of his establishment, and so secure a
competence for the heirs. This is what we could wish our women to do. We
all know how frequently the whole social position of a family here
changes with the death of its head. Let our women prevent this for the
future, by cherishing a natural ambition to do for their children what
the fathers of those children would have done.

The last census of the United Kingdom shows, that, while the female
population has increased in such proportion that there are now _eight
women_ where there were _seven_, there are _eight working_ women where
there were only _six_; that is, there are more new workers than new
women. There are 1,250,000 women earning their own bread as
independently as any men. Of these, there are--

    385,000 employed in Textile manufactures,
    40,000 in Metal-works, and
    128,418 in Agriculture.

I hope these statements will not seem useless and superficial to you.

This hour cannot be better employed than in opening to you some of the
mysteries of woman's work in England.

Among the 128,418 women employed in Agriculture, there are 64,000
dairy-women; not women who tend a single cow for a single family, but
women of muscle, who wield large tubs and heavy presses, who turn
cheeses and slap butter by the hundred-weight. Then there are
market-gardeners, who not only raise their stock, but drive it to the
town for sale; bee-mistresses and florists, of whom there are many among
the Quakers; flax-producers, who not only raise the pretty blue-eyed
flowers, but beat the silicious fibres apart; and they are followed by
hay-makers, reapers, and hop-pickers, gracefully garlanding the group.

Naturally connected with this first interest of the soil is the second,
or Mining. It is no longer considered fit for women to work in shafts,
though the need of bread forces many to evade the law. The census,
however, cannot touch them: the seven thousand women it reports as
engaged in Mining are employed in dressing and sorting ore, and as
washers and strainers of clay for the potteries,--heavy and disagreeable
if not unfit work.

The next largest interest is that of the Fisheries. The Pilchard fishery
employs many thousands of women. Jersey oysters alone employ over one
thousand. Then come the--

    Whale, and
    Lobster fisheries.

The work in connection with the whale fishery consists chiefly in what
is done after the cargo is landed. Apart from the Christie
Johnstones,--the aristocrats of the trade,--the sea nurtures an heroic
class, like Grace Darling, who stand aghast, as she did, when society
rewards a deed of humanity, and cry out in expostulation, "Why, every
girl on the coast would have done as I did!"

In natural connection with these come the--

    Kelp-burners, the
    Netters, and the

or women who manage the bathing machines used on the coast. Then come
two hundred thousand female servants; of which, largest in number,
shortest in life, and, of course, the worst paid, are the general
housemaids, or unhappy servants-of-all-work. Then come--

    Custom-house and Police searchers,
    Matrons of jails,
    Lighthouse-keepers, and

I cannot mention the Matrons of jails, without a sigh, when I remember,
that at our common jail and at Charlestown there is no proper matron;
and sickness, death, and childbirth meet only with such care as women
detained as witnesses, or inebriates, can offer. Surely a Christian
community should furnish Christian, womanly ministrations to its
prisoners; and I would that some noble soul in an able body might be
found to take up this work! Pew-opening has never been a trade in this
community; but, as there are signs that it may become so, I advise our
women to keep an eye upon it!

There are in the United Kingdom--

    500,000 business-women,
    94,000 shoemakers' wives,
    27,000 victuallers' wives,
    26,000 butcheresses,
    14,000 milk-women,
    10,000 beershop-keepers,
    9,000 innkeepers, and
    8,000 hack proprietors.

The difference between the employers and the employed is shown in the
following numbers. There are--

    29,000 shopkeepers, and only
    1,742 shopwomen;

since the lower class of English women are seldom taught writing or

Telegraphic Reporters, Phonographers, and Railway-clerks, are on the
increase. In reporting the Bright Festival at Manchester last year, the
speed and accuracy of the young women were thought very remarkable. Six
whole columns were transmitted at the rate of twenty-nine words a
minute, almost without mistake, although the subject of the speeches was
political, and so supposed to be beyond their comprehension!

Several railways employ women as clerks and ticket-sellers, and the
results are more than satisfactory. Thus far the census; which has not
been without its interest, since, in English parlance, shoemaker-wife
means not merely the wife of a shoemaker, but a wife who shares her
husband's labor, or has succeeded to it on his death. Butcher-wife also
means a woman who can buy and sell stock, pickle meat, and perhaps drive
a cart through the town.

Now for the results of some private letters. When I spoke of forty
thousand Metal-workers, your minds did not revert, I trust, to those
dens at Wiltenhall, where women have been struck with hammers, files,
and even bars of iron glowing at a white heat.

Now, at least, let us visit a pleasanter scene. A man has forged and
rolled out the sheet which is soon to pass for a hundred gross of
Gillott's pens; but a woman cuts and bends and stamps, grinds, splits,
polishes, and packs it, so that her sisters may have pleasure in the

It was at Birmingham that your gold chain was made. A man's strength
drew out the precious wire; but hundreds of young girls cut it to the
required length, shaped it on a metal die to the required pattern,
soldered it invisibly over a jet of gas-light, ground the facets till
they gleamed and polished the whole length to tempt the gazer's eye.
Quiet, diligent, skilful, tidy, they sit; with polished slippers bobbing
along the floor; not quite so healthy as those who labor on the pens,
for the gas and solder do an unwholesome work. Others burnish the silver
plate, sort needles, paint iron and papier-maché trays; and hundreds
more are busy cutting and polishing screws,--a work mainly in their
hands, because men cannot be trusted with the delicate manipulation.

There is a covered button, my brother, on your coat. Women cut the
metal, the cloth cover, the paper stuffing, the silk lining; a child
piles these in proper order; and, by one stroke of a magic press, a
woman throws them out a finished button.

One young girl in London began life by designing for such buttons, till
she found that she had a soul above them, and cheerfully entered an
artistic career.

Nail-cutting and hook-and-eye making employ others; and, if we take a
book into our hand, women follow us through all the stages of its
manufacture. A woman cut and cleaned the rags, counted the sheets of
paper, and set off the reams; a woman may have set the types; perhaps
some worn-out seamstress wrote the verses, or a female physician
composed the thesis: a woman _may_ print, a woman certainly _will_ fold
it down and stitch it for the binder. A woman will engrave on wood its
illustrations, or color in her own home its fine photographs or
drawings: at the very last, her white hand will touch with gleams of
gold its tinted edges or many-hued envelope.

It is women who pack cards and throw off damaged paper. I have not
obtained any reliable account of English female card-makers; but there
must be many. In an old Nuremberg rate-book are the names of "Elizabeth
and Margaret," _Karten-mächerin_, reported in 1436 and 1438. Cards were
invented in 1361. In about seventy years, therefore, the manufacture had
passed into woman's hand. In my notes from the census, I find no mention
of wood-engravers: but, in 1839, Charlotte Nesbit, Marianne Williams,
Mary Byfield, Mary and Elizabeth Clint, held honorable positions among
English wood-engravers; while, at the close of the last century,
Elizabeth Blackwell executed botanical plates, and Angelica Kauffman
engraved on steel, to the satisfaction of Sir Joshua Reynolds. In
London, recently, one accomplished female engraver has turned her steel
plates into a pleasant country-house, which she means to furnish with
the proceeds of her delicate painting on glass.

A whole volume might be written concerning English female printers.
Turning over some old books the other day in the Antiquarian Rooms at
Worcester, I came upon Elizabeth Bathurst's "Truth Vindicated," printed
and sold by Mary Hinde, at No. 2 in George's Yard, Lombard Street, 1774.
A little farther along, I found Sophia Hume's "Letters to South
Carolina," printed and sold by Luke Hinde, at the Bible in George's
Yard, Lombard Street, 1752. Good Quaker books, both of them; and the
titlepages told a pleasant story. Here, at the sign of the Bible, Luke
Hinde carried on his work in 1752. When he died, his widow kept the
establishment open, and taught her girls to stand at the forms; so,
twenty-two years after (in 1774), the place goes on in her name. No
change; only some dissenting wind has blown down the Old Bible, and a
gilded number two shines in its stead. It is the history of half the
business-women in England, and a very creditable history for Mary Hinde.

On those dishes of Liverpool ware are pretty pictures in gray ink. Women
took them wet from the copperplate, and, laying them along the biscuit,
carried it to the furnace; there the paper burns away: while others
paint and gild, or, with hideous clatter of blood-stones, polish off the
finer ware.

In the next street, hundreds of women make paperbags and pill-boxes,
without wasting a square inch of material.

Not long ago, two young girls, whose father's clerkship was ill paid,
took to making artificial teeth, and succeeded so well as to obtain
constant orders and a competence. More cheering still: a young servant,
with strong elbows, took to French polishing, and gave desk and work-box
and inlaid cabinet a gloss that no varnish of man could match. For two
or three years she made contracts with upholsterers, and kept herself in
profitable work: then Cupid pinched the strong elbows, and she slipped
out of permanent reputation as a cabinetmaker's wife.

In brushmaking, women sort the hair, and set it in the holes. The
delicate, cone-like arrangement of the badger's hair, in the modern
shaving-brush, can be made only by a woman's hand; and she who has skill
to do it well may ask her own wages.

Then there are glove-cleaners; women who strain silk, in fluting, across
the old-fashioned work-bag or the parlor-organ front; women who shell
pease and beans at so much a quart, and who make the thousands of
baskets for the fruiterer's stall. Passing the white-lead factory at
meal-times, you will see fifty women file away, whose duty it is to pile
the lead for oxidation; and thousands, very different from these, sit
making artificial flowers, many of them cheap enough, but others, from
their exquisite grace and naturalness, bringing the artist's own price.

I have purposely dwelt on all these avocations. As you have followed
me, has it seemed to you that we wanted more avenues for manual labor?
As many as you please. We are bound to inherit the whole earth. But it
seems to me that what is most needed is, first, respect for woman as a
laborer, and then respect for labor itself.

When men respect women as human beings, consequently as laborers, they
will pay them as good wages as men; and then uncommon skill or power to
work will be set free from the old forcing-pump and siphon, and we shall
see what women can do. When men respect labor,--respect it so far, that
they hold a woman honored when she seeks it,--then women of a higher
rank will seek to invest their capital in mercantile experiments; will
establish factories or workshops; will organize groups of struggling
sisters; and the class that most needs to be helped, the idle rich, will
find happiness and honor, will find help, in offering opportunities to
the lowest.

What the lowest class of women need is active brains to plan and think
for them. There are plenty of these active brains at the West End,
tingling with neuralgia, hot with idleness, dizzy with waltzing. Offer a
government testimonial to the first girl of rank who will carry her
brains to a market, and you will see what a throng of aspirants we shall
have; letting it be understood, mind you, that the public feeling
sustains the government testimonial.

Let us ask, then, a few questions about the state of female labor in the
United States. Our census is by no means so complete as that of Great
Britain; and our statements will, therefore, be less accurate.

At the close of the Revolution, there were in New England, and perhaps
farther south, many women conducting large business establishments, and
few females employed as clerks, partly because we were still English,
and had not lost English habits. Men went to the war or the General
Court, and their wives soon learned to carry on the business upon which
not only the family bread, but the fate of the nation, depended; while
our common schools had not yet begun to fit women for book-keepers and

The Island of Nantucket was, at the close of the war, a good example of
the whole country. Great destitution existed on the establishment of
peace. The men began the whale fishery with redoubled energy: some
fitted out and others manned the ships; while the women laid aside
distaff and loom to attend to trade. A very interesting letter from Mrs.
Eliza Barney to Mr. Higginson gives me many particulars. "Fifty years
ago," she says, "all the dry-goods and groceries were kept by women, who
went to Boston semi-annually to renew their stock. The heroine of
'Miriam Coffin' was one of the most influential of our commercial women.
She not only traded in dry-goods and provisions, but fitted vessels for
the merchant service. Since that time, I can recall near seventy women
who have successfully engaged in commerce, brought up and educated large
families, and retired with a competence. It was the influence of
capitalists from the Continent that drove the Nantucket women out of the
trade; and they only resumed it a few years since, when the California
emigration made it necessary. Five dry-goods and a few large groceries
are now carried on by women, as also one druggist's shop." Mrs. Gaskell,
in her "Life of Charlotte Bronté," mentions a woman living as a
druggist, I think, at Haworth; and I have always been surprised that
this business was not left to women. Our Nantucket druggist is doing
well. In Pennsylvania, the Quaker view of the duties and rights of women
contributed to throw many into trade at the same period. One lady in
Philadelphia transferred a large wholesale business to two nephews, and
died wealthy. I saw a letter the other day, which gave an interesting
account of two girls who got permission there to sell a little stock in
their father's shop. One began with sixty-two cents, which she invested
in a dozen tapes. The other had three dollars. In a few years, they
bought their father out. The little tape-seller married, and carried her
husband eight thousand dollars; while the single sister kept on till she
accumulated twenty thousand dollars, and took a poor boy into

I have spoken of English female printers. The first paper ever issued in
Rhode Island was printed by a brother of Dr. Franklin, at Newport. He
died early, and his widow continued the work. She was aided by her two
daughters, swift and correct compositors. She was made printer to the
Colony, and, in 1745, printed an edition of the laws, in 346 folio
pages. That she found time to do something else, you may judge from this

     "The printer hereof prints linens, calicoes, silk, &c., in figures,
     in lively and durable colors, without the offensive smell which
     commonly attends linen printed here."

Margaret Draper printed the "Boston News Letter," and was so good a Tory
that the English Government pensioned her when the war drove her away.
Clementina Bird edited and printed the "Virginia Gazette," and Thomas
Jefferson wrote for her paper. Penelope Russell also printed the
"Censor," in Boston, in 1771.

When we record these things, and think how women are pressing into
printing-offices in our time, it is pleasant to find a generous action
to sustain them. At a recent Printers' Convention held in Springfield,
Ill., the following resolution was adopted:--

     "_Whereas_, The employment of females in printing-offices as
     compositors has, wherever adopted, been found a decided benefit as
     regards moral influence and steady work, and also as offering
     better wages to a deserving class; therefore, be it--

     "_Resolved_, That this Association recommends to its members the
     employment of females whenever practicable."

Mrs. Barney tells us that failures were very uncommon in Nantucket while
women managed the business; and some of the largest and safest fortunes
in Boston were founded by women, one of whom, I remember, rode in her
own chariot, and kept fifty thousand dollars in gold in the chimney
corner, lest the banks should not be as cautious in their dealings as
herself. While writing these pages, I have visited such a woman, still
living in Prince Street, at the age of ninety-five. Her name is Hillman.
She lived for sixty-four years in the same house, and made her property
by a large grocery business, and speculations on a strip of real estate.
Her father, Mr. William Haggo, was a nautical-instrument maker; and she
has a very remarkable head, and as conservative a horror of modern
changes--steam-bakeries, for instance--as any of you could wish.[23]
Some of you will remember the two sisters Johnson, who, for more than
half a century, kept a crockery-shop on Hanover Street, and separated
about two years ago,--one sister to retire on her earnings; the other to
rest in a quiet grave, at the age of fourscore. The spirit of modern
improvement has since seized hold of the old shop.

It was one of the most distinguished of our female merchants--Martha
Buckminster Curtis--who planted, in Framingham, the first potatoes ever
set in New England; and you will start to hear that our dear and honored
friend Ann Bent entered on her business career so long ago as 1784, at
the age of sixteen.

She first entered a crockery-ware and dry-goods firm; but, at the age
of twenty-one, established herself in Washington, north of Summer
Street, where we remember her. She soon became the centre of a happy
home, where sisters, cousins, nieces, and young friends received her
affectionate care. The intimacy which linked her name to that of Mary
Ware is fresh in all our minds. What admirable health she contrived to
keep we may judge from the fact, that she dined at one brother's table
on Thanksgiving Day for over fifty years. She was the valued friend of
Channing and Gannett; and her character magnified her office, ennobled
her condition, gave dignity to labor, and won the love and respect of
all the worthy. Less than two years ago, at the age of ninety, she left
us; but I wished to mention both her and Miss Kinsley in this
connection, because they were the first women in our society to confer a
merchantable value upon taste.

Instead of importing largely themselves, they bought of the New-York
importers the privilege of selection, and always took the prettiest and
nicest pieces out of every case. As they paid for this privilege
themselves, so they charged their customers for it, by asking a little
more on each yard of goods than the common dealer.

I know nothing for which it is pleasanter to pay than for taste. When
time is precious (and to all serious people it soon becomes so), it is a
comfort to go to one counter, sure that in ten minutes you can purchase
what it would take a whole morning to winnow from the countless shelves
of the town.

Scientific pursuits cannot be said to be fairly opened to women here.
The two ladies at work on the Coast Survey were employed by special
favor, and probably on account of near relationship to the gentleman who
had charge of the department of latitudes and longitudes. Their work is
done at home. Some years ago, Congress made an appropriation for an
American nautical almanac; and Lieut. Davis was appointed to take charge
of it. Three ladies were at one time employed upon the lunar tables.
Lieut. Davis told one of them that he preferred the women's work,
because it was quite as accurate, and much more neat, than the men's. In
1854, Maria Mitchell was employed in computing for this almanac, with
the same salary that would be given to a man. I may say, in this
connection, that a great number of female clerks have been employed in
Washington for many years. The work has generally been obtained by women
who had lost a husband or a father in the service of his country; and, I
am proud to say, such women have usually been paid the same wages as
men. During Mr. Fillmore's administration, two women wrote for the
Treasury, on salaries of twelve hundred and fifteen hundred dollars a
year; but the succeeding administration reformed this abuse, and very
few are now at work.

In 1845, there were employed in the Textile manufactures of the United
States, 55,828 men and 75,710 women. This proportion, or a still
greater preponderance of female labor,--that is, from one-third to
one-half,--appears in all the factory returns. As an _employed_ class,
women seem to be more in number than men: as _employers_, they are very
few. The same census reports them as--

    Makers of gloves,
    Makers of glue,
    Workers in gold and silver leaf,
    Hair weavers,
    Hat and cap makers,
    Workers in India-rubber,
    Picklers and preservers,
    Saddle and harness makers,
    Soda-room keepers,
    Snuff and cigar makers,
    Stock and suspender makers,
    Typers and stereotypers,
    Card-makers, and
    Grinders of watch crystals.
      7,000 women in all.

There is no mention of female wood-engravers, though we have had such
for twenty-five years; and pupils from the Schools of Design have
already achieved a certain success in this direction. To the enumeration
of the census, I may add, from my own observation,--

    Photographists and daguerrotypists,
    House and sign painters,
    Paper-box makers,
    Fur-sewers; and, at the West,
    Reapers and hay-makers.

In a New-Haven clock factory, seven women are employed among seventy
men, on half-wages; and the manufacturer takes great credit to himself
for his liberality. At Waltham, also, a watch factory has been lately
started, in which many women are employed.[24] In the census of the city
of Boston for 1845, the various employments of women are thus given:--

    Artificial-flower makers,
    Blank-book makers,
    Workers in straw,
    Shoe and boot makers,
    Band and fancy box makers,
    Professed cooks,
    Fringe and tassel makers,
    Hair-cloth weavers, and

I think you cannot fail to see, from this list, how very imperfect the
enumeration is: not a single washerwoman nor charwoman, for one thing,
upon it. Yet here you have the occupations of 4,970 women. Of these,
4,046 are servants,--a number which has, at least, doubled since then;
and which leaves only 924 women for all other avocations.

In New York, Mr. Jobson, formerly surgeon-dentist to Victoria, offers to
instruct women in the duties of a dentist. I do not know that he has a
single practising pupil; but he asserts that some of the most
distinguished dentists in Europe are women. A few years since, the town
of Ashfield elected two women and three men to the duties of a School
Committee,--duties for which women are greatly to be preferred. A letter
from the senior lady shows that one of them at least never attempted to
do the actual work to which she was called, considering it _out_ of her
sphere! Does any one in this audience suppose that those women felt
incapable of the duty? We know better; but they were not of the stuff of
which martyrs are made, and, deferring to popular views, set aside a
sacred opportunity. They might have so done that work as to have secured
the election of women for ever after.

The occupations of which the census takes no account may be classed as--

    Public Offices,
    Semi-professions, and

Under the Professions come--


of which there are increasing numbers.

Under Public Offices we find--

    Registers of Deeds,
    The few calculators at Washington, and
    School-committee women at the West.

It is probably known to you all how largely the rural post-office duties
are performed by women; petty politicians obtaining the appointment, and
leaving wives and daughters to do the work. There are several Registers
of Deeds; but I know only one,--Olive Rose, of Thomaston, Me. She was
elected in 1853, by 469 votes against 205; was officially notified, and
required to give bonds. Her emolument depends upon fees, and ranges
between three and four hundred dollars per annum. She continues to
perform the duties of her office, and, if an exquisitely clear
hand-writing is of service there, will probably never be displaced.

Under the head of Semi-professions come--

    Lecturers, and

Under that of Artists,--

    Teachers of Drawing and the like,
    Public Singers, and

I am sorry to conclude these attempts at statistics with one reliable
estimate, which holds, like a nutshell, the kernel of this question of
female labor.

In 1850, there were engaged in shoemaking, in the town of Lynn, 3,729
males and 6,412 females,--nearly twice as many women as men; yet, in the
monthly payment of wages, only half as much money was paid to women as
to men. The three thousand men received seventy-five thousand dollars a
month; and the six thousand women, thirty-seven thousand dollars: that
is, the women's wages were, on the average, only one-quarter as much as
those of the men.

If we inquire into details, we may find many exceptional causes at work,
not perceptible at first sight: still this remarkable fact remains
essentially unchanged.

In my first lecture, I showed you that women were starving, and that
vice is a better paymaster than labor. I showed you the awful falsity of
the cry, "Do not let women work: we will work for them. They are too
tender, too delicate, to bide the rough usage of the world." I showed
you that they were not only working hard, but had been working at hard
and unwholesome work, not merely in this century, but in all centuries
since the world began. I showed you how man himself has turned them
back, when they have entered a well-paid career. Practically, the
command of society to the uneducated class is, "Marry, stitch, die, or
do worse."

Plenty of employments are open to them; but all are underpaid. They will
never be better paid till women of rank begin to work for money, and so
create a respect for woman's labor; and women of rank will never do this
till American men feel what all American men profess,--a proper respect
for Labor, as God's own demand upon every human soul,--and so teach
American women to feel it. How often have I heard that every woman
willing to work may find employment! The terrible reverses of 1837
taught many men in this country that they were "out of luck:" how
absurd, then, this statement with regard to women! One reason why so
many young women are attracted to the Catholic Church is, that the
Catholic Church is a good economist, and does not tolerate an idle
member. In Catholic countries,--nay, in Protestant,--the gray hood of
the Sister of Charity is as sacred as a crown.

When I think how happy human life might be, if men and women worked
freely together, I lose patience. Such marriages as I can dream
of,--where, household duties thriftily managed and speedily discharged,
the wife assumes some honorable trust, or finds a noble task for her
delicate hands; while the husband follows his under separate auspices!
Occupied with real service to men and each other, how happily would they
meet at night to discuss the hours they had lived apart, to help each
other's work by each other's wit, and to draw vital refreshment from the
caresses of their children! It is your distrust, O men! that prevents
your having such homes as poets fancy. You will not help women to form
them. The sturdy pine pushes through the tightest soil, and will grow,
though nothing more genial than a November sky bid it welcome; but
tender anemones--wind-flowers, as we call them--must be coaxed through
the loose loam sifted from thousands of autumn leaves, and tremble to
the faintest air. Yet are anemones fairer than the pine, and their
lovely blossoming a fit reward for Nature's pains. Follow Nature, and
offer the encouragement which those you love best daily need. Do it for
your own sakes; for proper employment will diffuse serenity over the
anxious faces you are too apt to see. Do not fancy that the conventions
of society can ever prevail over the will, it may be the freak, of
Nature. That stepdame is absolute. She set Hercules spinning, and sent
Joan of Arc to Orleans. She taught Mrs. John Stuart Mill political
economy, and Monsieur Malignon netting and lace-work. She enables women
to bear immense burdens, heat, cold, and frost; she sets them in the
thick of the battle even; while in South Carolina, and in the heart of
Africa, or among the Indians of the Rocky Mountains, old men croon over
forsaken babes till the milk flows in to their withered breasts.[25]

Women want work for all the reasons that men want it. When they see
this, and begin to do it faithfully, you will respect their work, and
pay them for it. We are all taught that we are the children of God; only
Mohammedans deny their women that rank: yet we are left without duties,
as if such a thing were possible,--left without work that offers any
adequate _end_ as a stimulus to diligence or ambition; and, until "Work"
becomes man's cry of inspiration, woman will never train herself to do
her work well.

It was Margaret Fuller, I think, who wrote of the Polish heroine, the
Countess Emily Plater, "_She_ is the figure I want for my frontispiece.
Short was her career. Like the Maid of Orleans, she only lived long
enough to _verify her credentials_, and then passed from a scene on
which she was probably a premature apparition." Ah! that is what all
women should do,--verify their credentials! "Say what you please," said
a young girl to her lover, as they passed out of a Woman's Convention;
"a woman that _can_ speak like Lucretia Mott, _ought_ to speak." And men
themselves cannot escape from this conviction. The duty of women,
therefore, is to inspire it by doing whatever they undertake worthily
and well; patient in waiting for opportunities, prompt to seize,
conscientious to profit by them.

The Sorbonne, which still excludes woman from its courses and colleges,
has formed a separate course, and now institutes examinations, and
distributes diplomas for women. The Committee consists of three of the
Inspectors of the University, two Catholic priests, one Protestant
clergyman, and three ladies.

A daughter of the greatest living French poet passed the examination
lately for the mere honor of it. Another girl, the daughter of one of
the highest public functionaries, passed the examinations; going through
the winter twilight every morning at five, that she might not only be
permitted to found a school on her estate, but secure the right to teach
in it. Aware that her rank would befriend her, she concealed her name
that she might owe nothing to favor. That is the right spirit. When a
majority, or even a plurality, of women are capable of it, farewell to
lecturers and lectures, to conventions, special pleadings, and the like!
The whole harvest will be open, and the laborers will come, bringing
their sheaves with them.

In receiving lately a letter from a distinguished French author,--Madame
Sirault,--I was struck by the following sentence: "Every career from
which woman is steadily repulsed by man is, by this fact alone, marked
with the seal of death. The very repulse stigmatizes it. Man may not be
conscious of what he does; but the career which is too vile for a woman
to enter has outlived all chance of reform, and must perish with its

And, heroic as this statement may seem to you, it is a simple statement
of fact. Can man demand of woman a higher purity, a more ideal Christian
grace, than the letter of the Scripture, than the spirit of Christ,
demands of man himself?--"Be ye therefore perfect, as your Father in
heaven is also perfect."

That was the clear command laid upon the simple fishermen, upon Luke the
physician and Matthew the publican, as well as upon Mary and Martha. The
world's eyes are slowly opening to the need of a pure life in men; and
it helps to show men what they ought to be, when women knock at the
doors of their workshops, and insist on entering.

"What!" says the soldier, "must my sister follow me to the field to take
this blood-stained hand; to see me decked in the spoils of fallen men;
or hunting unprotected women like a brute beast, till they fall
senseless on the bodies of those they loved?"

"Shut her out!" cries the minister of state. "Shall my _sister_ see
these hands, dripping with blood-money, bribed by a slave power or a
party interest, signing papers that condemn children yet unborn to the
miseries of hopeless war?"

"Shut her out!" cries the advocate. "I am preparing to defend this man
for luring helpless innocence to the brink of hell, for building up a
fortune on dollars wrung from starving women, for putting a bullet
through his brother because he did not live a life purer than his own."

"Turn her out!" cries the judge. "She will see that my scales are
loaded. She heard that railroad company offer me a bribe. She caught a
whisper just now from the husband of yonder outraged woman. She will
hear the liquor dealer's counsel, and see the golden lure that South
Carolina offers when the fugitive stands at the bar. Turn her out!"

"Turn her out!" says the physician. "Shall she hear me jeer at what she
deems holy? Would you have her grow shameless also?"

"Shut her out," says the trader, "while I mark my goods! This spool of
cotton is short fifty yards: mark it two hundred. This yard of muslin
was made at Manchester: sew on the Paris tack. This shawl was woven in
France: label it Cashmere. Color that cheese with annatto, weigh down
that butter with salt, dilute that rose-water from the spring, grate up
turnip to mix with that horseradish; but turn that woman out!"

"Turn her out!" cries the priest, last of all. "Polemics and theology
have no charms for her. She will ask me why I do not do justly and love
mercy. Turn her out!"

"Turn her out!" and, in the shudder which creeps over him while he
speaks, man sees not only how tender and strong is his love for the
sister that hung on the same maternal bosom; but he sees also what the
gospel without and the gospel within demand of the son no less than the
daughter of God.

Farewell to war, to statecraft, to legal tricks, to shifts of trade;
farewell to bribery, to desecration, to idle controversy,--when woman
enters in to man's labor!

You feel the doom falling, and strive to put it off. Not because God has
made woman of a diviner nature; not because he has made her more
precious, to be kept from the rough handling of the world,--does it
shrink from her pure gaze. No; but because God himself, in balancing the
world's forces, has blended her moral nature with her mental, purposely
to check her brother's aggressiveness, and moderate his lust of gain. So
has he given to man a cooler temper, a grander deliberateness, a
strength equal to every strain, which shall repair the fault of her warm
impulses, her "nimble" action, her unfitness, casual or universal, for
long-sustained effort. But what can either of you do alone? Impulse,
tenderness, and moral promptings, grow into tawdry sentimentalism, when
shut out from their fit arena, when untrained to emulate a brother's
active life. Coolness, forethought, and strength grow into cunning,
rapacity, and tyranny, when uninfluenced by that gentler element of your
nature which God has placed by your side. Helps-meet for each other you
were ordained: why hinder and obstruct each other's pathway?

From this moment, put aside ignoble jealousy, inert sympathy, and stupid
indifference to your own moral position. Only by heartily accepting the
sweet juices and flavors of her life can you secure fragrant blossoms
and precious fruit to your own. The words are just as true when I turn
to counsel her. If ever this earth grows liker heaven, it will be when
the broad and generous sympathies prophesied by this new movement take
practical shape, and there are--

    Two heads in council, two beside the hearth,
    Two in the tangled business of the world,
    Two in the liberal offices of life,
    Two plummets dropped for one, to sound the abyss
    Of science, and the secrets of the mind:
    Musician, painter, sculptor, critic, more:
    And everywhere the broad and bounteous Earth
    Shall bear a double growth of its best souls."

I have often spoken, not only in this lecture, but in almost every one I
have ever given, of the great need of conscientious, painstaking woman's
work. During the last year, Baron Toermer has been borne by
torch-light to his last home, and the mediæval artist has been mourned
as a personal friend by many a crowned head. The torches of the priests
who bore him to his grave very likely startled to the window our two
young countrywomen, who are pursuing sculpture in the Eternal City.
Little did they guess, that, in the city of Florence, there was living
at that moment a woman as able, as renowned, though, for certain
reasons, not so well known to them, as the great artist just departed. I
will close this lecture with a brief sketch of Félicie de Fauveau, for
whose woman's work no apology will ever need to be made.

Entering Florence by the Porta Romana, you find, in the Via della
Fornace, a dark-green door, which opens in to a paved court, once the
entrance to a convent. Beyond stretches a cool, quiet garden; and all
manner of birdcages and dovecotes remind you of Rosa Bonheur's fondness
for pets. Through that quiet garden, hedged with laurel and cypress, you
might have walked, but a little time ago, with a shrewd, sagacious,
life-loving French woman, an aristocrat and a Legitimist, whose eyes had
looked upon the guillotine, and who was proud of having suffered for her
faith and country. She would lead you to her small parlor, furnished
with ancient hangings, carved chairs, and gold-grounded Pre-Raphaelite
pictures of great value. Here she would introduce you to her daughter,
Félicie de Fauveau.

A forehead low and broad; soft, brown eyes; an aquiline nose; a
well-cut, well-closed mouth; a flexible, fine figure; a velvet skirt and
jacket of the color of the "dead leaf;" a velvet cap of the same, drawn
over blonde hair, cut square across the forehead, as in the picture of
Faust,--this is what you see when you look at the artist; this is what
Ary Scheffer painted and valued so, that no gold would buy the portrait
while he lived. Fire, air, and water are in that organization: the
movements of the arms are angular; but the hands are soft, white, fine,
and royal.

Born in Tuscany, she was early carried to Paris; whence she removed,
when very young, to Limoux, Bayonne, and Besançon. A great taste for
music and painting she inherited from her mother. Her studies were
profound, and among them she pursued archæology and heraldry. At
Besançon she painted in oils, but was not satisfied; and from the
workmen who carved for the churches she got her first hint towards
modelling. When her father died, she was ready to devote herself to the
support of her family. When people told her it was unbecoming, she drew
herself up: "Are you ignorant," she asked, "that an artist is a

Benvenuto Cellini was her prototype; and to her may be attributed that
revival of a taste for mediæval art which, proceeding from Paris, has
had, of late years, so great an influence on England.

Her first work was a group called "The Abbot." Encouraged by unlimited
praise, she made a basso-relievo,--containing six figures, and
representing Christina of Sweden in the fatal galley with Monaldeschi.
This was in the last "Exposition des Beaux Arts," and received the gold
medal from Charles X. in person.

Up to 1830, the young girl remained in Paris. Her mother was so
accomplished, Félicie herself so witty and profound a talker, that a
distinguished circle gathered round them; among them, Scheffer,
Delaroche, Giraud. All manner of fine artistic experiments in modelling
and drawing were improvised about their study-table. There she executed
for Count Pourtalès a bronze lamp of singular beauty. A bivouac of
archangels, armed as knights, were represented as resting round a
watch-fire, where St. Michael stood sentinel; round the lamp, in golden
letters, _Vaillant, veillant_,--"Brave, but cautious;" beneath, a
stork's foot holds a pebble surrounded by beautiful aquatic plants.
Many models were lost on the breaking-up of her Paris studio. She was
incessantly occupied with commissions for private galleries; she was to
have modelled two doors for the Louvre, and to have superintended the
decoration of a baptistery,--when the Revolution broke up her calm and
studious life. With the celebrated daughter of the Duras Family, she
retired to La Vendée, and, virtuous and honored, made herself as active,
politically, as the reckless women of the Fronde. To this day, the
peasantry know her as the Demoiselle. For those who remember her, there
will never be another. Finally came pursuit and capture. After a long
search, the two women were dragged from the mouth of an oven. Félicie
assisted her companion to escape; was watched more closely in
consequence, and remained seven months in prison at Angers. In prison
she designed a group representing the duel of the Lord of Jarnac before
Henry II., and a monument to Louis de Bonnechose. At the close of the
seven months, she returned to her studio at Paris. But very soon the
appearance of the Duchesse de Berri in La Vendée restored hope to all
Royalist hearts, and Félicie rushed to her side.

"My opinions are dearer to me than my art," she said, and proved it by
heroic sacrifices. On the failure of this second attempt, she was exiled
by the government. In the very teeth of the authorities, she returned to
Paris, broke up her studio, and joined her mother in Florence, where
they have ever since resided, clad, not without significance, in colors
of the fallen leaf. No one but an artist can guess what loss is involved
in the sudden and forcible breaking-up of an old studio. At the very
moment when Félicie and her mother were all but starving in Florence, a
man in Paris made an almost fabulous fortune by selling walking-sticks
made from designs which she had sketched during the happy evenings of
her girlhood. The Fauveaus would not accept a dollar from the party they
had served; and Madame had as much pride as her daughter in establishing
the new studio. Félicie wrote, "We have manna, but only on condition
that we save none for the morrow."

In her studio you find no Pagan traces, only Christian art,--St.
Dorothea lifting her lovely hands for the basket of fruit an angel
brings; a Santa Reparata, perfect in terra-cotta; exquisite
mirror-frames of wood, bronze, and silver. She has executed for Count
Zichy an Hungarian costume, a collar, belt, sword, and spurs, of finest
work. The Empress of Russia has ordered from her a silver bell. It is
decorated by twenty figures, the servants of a mediæval household; who
assemble at the call of three stewards, whose figures form the handle.
Round the bell is blazoned, in Gothic letters,--

    "De bon vouloir servir le maître."
    "With good will to serve the master."

Beside the crowded labors of twenty-five years, Félicie has studied the
merely mechanical portions of her art, and tried to discover some old
artistic secrets. To cast a statue whole, so as to require no
after-touch of the chisel, has been her lifelong endeavor. She finally
succeeded in her St. Michael, though not till it had been recast seven
times. It is probable her experiments led the way for those by which
Crawford succeeded in casting his Beethoven. I cannot tell how many of
you have heard of Félicie de Fauveau. The fact that her works are
chiefly in private galleries and her own studio, screens her from
observation. The higher dignitaries of the church and the princes of art
are almost her only companions. She works constantly. About a year
since, the death of her devoted mother drew the veil still closer round
her daily life; but I retrace her story with honorable pride.

Félicie de Fauveau is not merely an artist. She is the first artist in
the world, in her peculiar walk. As a worker in jewels, bronze, gold,
and silver, as a designer of monuments and mediæval furniture, she
stands without approach.

    "Witness that she who did these things was born
    To do them; claims her license in her work."

So let all women claim it.


  [22] When I first began to lecture, many persons, sincerely interested
  in my success, objected to what they called the "antagonistic" tone
  occasionally adopted. They thought I ought to take for granted the
  cheerful co-operation of the world, and that the woman's cause was the
  loser whenever the audience was reminded of actual difficulties in the
  way. But it would be hardly worth while for a woman to enter the desk,
  only to hedge it in with compromise and evasion. The simple truth is
  the "utmost skill" she needs to seek; and no reform built upon an
  inaccurate survey can be lasting. Only by telling our brothers openly
  what we think of their jealousy can we ever hope to shame them out of
  it. That the day of opposition is _not_ passed; that the way of duty
  cannot, even in America, be trod in satin slippers,--the following
  extract, cut from a weekly paper while I am writing this note, will
  plainly show:--

  "The Pennsylvania Medical Society has exhibited a narrow-mindedness
  altogether disgraceful to its members, by adopting a resolution
  recommending 'the members of the regular profession to withhold from
  the faculties and graduates of Female Medical Colleges all countenance
  and support; and that they cannot, consistently with sound _medical
  ethics_, consult or hold professional intercourse with their
  professors or alumni.' The Female Medical Colleges of Pennsylvania, it
  should be remembered, are strictly allopathic: so we are forced to
  conclude, that the objection to them is founded _solely_ upon the fact
  that they afford the means of education to women. We echo the
  sentiment of the 'Philadelphia Sunday Dispatch:' 'Shame upon the men
  who, while prating about their respectability, would combine to rob
  women of the means of supporting themselves and their families! Such
  infinitesimal littleness cannot benefit them. The public are ever
  willing to aid the weak, and support them against the strong. The war
  against women cannot be sustained by the public voice: it will recoil
  upon and injure those who are so arbitrary and selfish as to endeavor
  to interfere with them.'"--_Antislavery Standard_, July, 1859.

  "The medico-chirurgical school of Lisbon has granted the diploma of
  _pharmacienne_ to Mesdames Marie Fajardo and Caroline de Matos, after
  a legal examination. These illustrious _pharmaceuticas_ have a regular
  knowledge of their business, and passed a preliminary examination in
  1859. 'The Gazette' does not say if they are _religieuses_ charged
  with the management of a private pharmacy, or whether they are acting
  as civil _pharmaciennes_. In one of the hospitals of the city is a
  female dispenser, whose knowledge, accuracy, and care are said to be
  reliable and satisfactory."

  [23] I first saw Mrs. Hillman the day after the destruction of the
  steam-bakery at the North End. She was sitting up, reading the account
  of it, without glasses, and eloquent in behalf of the trade, and
  against innovations. Since the above passage was written, she has
  passed away.

  [24] I do not dwell upon this watch factory in the text, because,
  although fifty women are at work with one hundred and fifty men, they
  are only "tending machines;" so that, although employment is open, a
  career can hardly be said to be. The watches made at Waltham by
  machinery are said to be so superior to all others, that they are used
  by preference on the race-courses to time the horses. Men and women do
  not compete with each other there; but both are at service, with a
  steam-engine for their master.

  For the first two months, the women earn two dollars and fifty cents
  _a week_; for the third, three dollars; and, after that, four dollars.
  The men earn from five shillings to two dollars a _day_. It seems that
  no special skill is required in the women, while the men in a few
  departments are still paid according to their ability. The
  steam-engine, it appears, has not yet learned how to cook dials! In
  this case, the operator must hold the dial, turning it evenly, as if
  he were a smoke-jack, which requires judgment and "faculty"!

  [25] Livingstone's "Africa." Paul Kane's "Travels in the North-west."



     "If such a day never come, then I perceive much else will never
     come; heroic purity of heart and of eye, noble, pious valor to
     amend _us and the age of bronze and lacquer_,--how can they ever
     come?"--T. CARLYLE.

"To destroy daughters is to make war upon Heaven's harmony. The more
daughters you drown, the more daughters you will have; and never was it
known that the drowning of daughters led to the birth of sons."

This passage from the treatise of Kwei Chunk Fu upon Infanticide may be
translated so as to apply to every Christian nation. The Chinese are not
the only people who drown daughters. England, France, and America, the
three leading intelligences of the world, are busy at it this moment.
The cold, pure wave of the Pacific is a sweeter draught than that social
flood of corruption and depression which, like a hideous quicksand,
buries your sisters out of your sight. "The more daughters you drown,
the more daughters you will have." Most certainly; and if, instead of
the word "daughters," you insert the words "weak and useless members of
society,"--which is what the Chinese mean by it,--you will see that Kwei
Fu is right. Let women starve; let them sink into untold depths of
horror, without one effort to save them; and, for every woman so lost,
two shall be born to inherit her fate.

Nor need the careless and ignorant man of wealth fancy that his own
daughters shall escape while he continues heartlessly indifferent,
though he never actively wronged a human creature. When the spoiler is
abroad, he does not pause to choose his victims. The fairest and most
innocent may be the first struck down; for human passions find their
fitting type in the persecuted beast of the forest. It is not the hunter
alone who feels his teeth and talons, but the first human flesh his
lawless members seize.

If these things are so, surely it is our duty to consider well this
question of work, to suggest all possible modes of relief, and, while
waiting for the final application of absolute principles, to help
society forward by all partial measures of amelioration; for only
partial can they be, so long as the present modes of thought and feeling
continue. How little any one person can contribute toward the solution
of our difficulties, I am well aware; yet I venture to make a few

The "Edinburgh Review," whether prepared to recommend female preachers
and lecturers or not, _does_ propose women as teachers of Oratory; and
says distinctly, that, for this purpose, they are to be preferred to
men, as their voices are more penetrating, distinct, delicate, and
correct than those of men. I think it was a matter of surprise to
American audiences, when women first came forward as public speakers,
that, in so large a number of cases, the parlor _tone_ would reach to
the extremity of a large hall. Women, too, were heard at a disadvantage,
because popular curiosity compelled them to speak in the largest
buildings. There are a great many women, and there are also a great many
men, whose voices are wholly unfit for public exigencies; but, when you
consider that women have been wholly untrained so far, how great do
their natural advantages appear! Several female teachers of elocution in
our midst prove that this is gradually perceived. These remarks should
be extended so as to cover all instruction in the pronunciation of
languages. There may be men capable of distinguishing the delicate
shades of sound, so that a woman's voice can catch them; but such men
are rare exceptions to the common incompetency. The French nasals cannot
be distinguished accurately by a man's voice: the bass tone is too
broad, and the treble wavers in trying to find the middle rest. Pursue
the study of Italian for years with the best teacher that Boston can
furnish; and, when you first hear a cultivated Italian woman speak, you
will find that you have the whole thing to learn over again. So there
was never any teacher of the French language equal to Rachel, whose
nimble and fiery tongue never dropped an unmeaning accent nor tone; nor
of the English like Fanny Kemble, who, despite certain "stage tricks,"
in vogue since the days of Garrick, shows us what delicate shades of
meaning lie hidden in the vowel sounds, and what power a slight
variation of a flexible voice confers upon a dull passage. The teaching
of oratory and of language, then, should devolve upon woman.

"Why," asks Ernest Legouvé,--"why should not the immense variety of
bureaucrative and administrative employments be given up to women?"
Under this head would come the business inspection of hospitals,
barracks, prisons, factories, and the like; and the decision of many
sanitary questions. For all this, woman is far fitter than man. Her eye
is quick; her common sense ready: she sees the consequence in the cause,
and does not need to argue every disputed point. A shingle missing from
the roof is a trifle to a man; but, the moment a woman sees it, her
glance takes in the stained walls, the dripping curtains, wet carpets,
sympathetic ceilings, damp beds, and very possibly the colds and
illness, which this trifle involves. For this reason, she is a far
fitter inspector of all small abuses than man.

Consider, then, Legouvé's proposition. The proprietor of the London
Adelphi advertised, at the opening of the last season, that his
box-openers, check-takers, and so on, would all be women. Throughout the
whole range of public amusements, there is a wide field for the
employment of girls, which this single step has thrown open.

Women are so steadily pressing in to the medical profession, that I have
no need to direct your attention toward it; but I may say, that it is
much to be wished that women should devote themselves to the
specialities of that science. Until within a very few years, a Boston
physician has been expected to understand all the ills that flesh is
heir to; an eye-doctor or an ear-doctor or a lung-doctor must
necessarily be a quack. Women are entering, in medicine, a very wide
field. A few specially gifted may master every branch of practice; but
many will undoubtedly fail, from the want of _inherited_ habits of hard
study, of _transmitted_ power of investigation. I wish those who are in
danger of this would apply strenuously to one branch of practice; and a
great success in any one direction would do more for the general cause
than a thousand competences earned by an ordinary career.

I do not suppose there is a city in the United States,--and, if not in
the United States, then certainly not in the world,--where, if you asked
the name of the first physician, you would be answered by that of a
woman.[26] I do not complain of this: it is too soon to expect it.
Colleges, schools of anatomy, clinical courses, have not yet been thrown
open; and success, so far, has been mastered mainly by original
endowment. Genius has held the torch, and shown the way; but I want
women to remember, that, in this department, all the teachings of nature
and experience show that they are bound to excel men. Let them,
therefore, take the best way to accomplish it.

At the School of Design in New York, the other day, I pressed upon the
observation of the young wood-engravers the possibility of opening for
themselves a new career by wood-carving. It is quite common, in old
European museums, to see the stones of plums and peaches delicately
carved by woman's hand, and set in frames of gold and jewels. Sometimes
they are the work of departed saints or cloistered nuns; and a terrible
waste of time they seem to our modern eyes. Properzia dei Rossi,--whose
early history is so obscure, that no one knows the name of her parents;
while the cities of Bologna and Modena still dispute the honor of her
birth,--Properzia began her wonderful career by carving on peach-stones.
One she decorated with thirty sacred figures, holding the stone so near
the eye as to gain a microscopic power. On one still in the possession
of the Grassi Family, at Bologna, she chiselled the passion of our Lord;
where twelve figures, gracefully disposed, are said to glow with
characteristic expression. Properzia died a maiden, according to Vasari
and the best manuscript contemporaneous authority; and there seems to be
no ground for the vile stories that have clustered round her name, other
than the fact, that in her sculpture of Potiphar's wife, finished when
she knew that she was dying, she ventured to cut her own likeness. It
is not to the carving of cherry-stones, however, that I would direct the
attention of young women, but to the Swiss carving of paper-knives,
bread-plates, salad-spoons, ornamental figures, jewel-boxes, and so on.
On account of the care required in transportation, these articles bring
large prices; and I feel quite sure that many an idle girl might win a
pleasant fame through such trifles. No one will dispute the assertion,
who recalls the pranks of her young classmates at school. Do you
remember the exquisite drawings which once decorated the kerchiefs, the
linen collars and sleeves, of a certain schoolroom? The sun of the
artist set early; but I have often thought that a free maiden career in
the higher walks of art might have preserved her to us. The same fancy,
displayed in wood-carving, would have challenged the attention of the
world; and the cherry-stones also bore witness to her power. The only
practical difficulty would spring from the want of highly seasoned wood;
and that could be obviated by a little patience. Should any young girl
be tempted by my words into this career, I hope she will not give away
her carvings to indifferent friends, but carry them into the market at
once, and let them bring their price, that she may know her own value,
and that of the work.

Properzia also excelled in engraving: so did Elizabetta Sirani in 1660.
Her engravings from Guido are still considered master-pieces. We have
female engravers on wood and steel, and also female lithographers. I
want some woman to apply herself to this work, with such energy and
determination as will place her at the head of it. Let her do this, and
she could soon establish a workshop, and take men and women into her
employ; standing responsible herself for the finish of every piece of
work marked with her name. Let some idle woman of wealth offer the
capital for such an experiment, and share some of its administrative
duties. "Success" is the best argument. It would be possible to organize
in Boston, at this moment, a shop of the best kind, where all the
designing and engraving should be done by women. Why can it not be
tried? Carvers on wood, and engravers then.

I have known several English barbers,--not women of the decorative art,
like our sainted Harriet Ryan; but women actually capable of shaving a
man! Why, then, does the "Englishwoman's Journal" inform us, that, in
Normandy and Western Africa, there actually are female barbers?

I think there is room in Boston for an establishment of this kind; a
place from which a woman could come to a sick-room to shave the heated
head or cut the beard of the dying; a place where women's and children's
wants could be attended to without necessary contact with men; and with
the absolutely necessary cleanliness, of which there is not now a single
instance in this city.

When I mentioned wood-carving to women, I was thinking, in part, of the
immense annual demand for Christmas presents. In this connection, also,
I should like to direct the attention of our rural women to the art of
preserving and candying fruit. "But that is nothing new," you will say.
"Did not your Massachusetts census for 1845 enumerate certain picklers
and preservers?" Yes; but those women were merely in the employ of men
carrying on large establishments. What I would suggest is a domestic
manufacture to compete with French candies, and to occupy the minds of
our farmers' wives and daughters, to the exclusion of shirt-fronts and

Every one of us, probably, fills more than one little stocking, on
Christmas night, with candied fruit. If we belong to the "first
families," and wish to do the thing handsomely, this fruit has cost from
seventy-five cents to a dollar a pound; we knowing, all the while, that
better could be produced for half or two-thirds the money. Last year, I
purchased one pound of the candy, and examined it with practical
reference to this question. Plums, peaches, cherries, apples, and pears,
all tasted alike, and had evidently been boiled in the same sirup. Apple
and quince marmalades alone had any flavor. Now, our farmers' daughters
could cook these fruits so as to preserve their flavor, could candy them
and pack them into boxes, quite as well as the French _men_; and so a
new and important domestic industry might arise. The experiment would be
largely profitable as soon as all risk of mistake were over; and
perishable fruit at a distance from market could be used in this way. A
few years ago, we had a rare conserve from Constantinople and Smyrna,
called fig-paste. Now we have a mixture of gum Arabic and flour,
flavored with essences; made for the most part at Westboro', and called
by the same name. Yes, we actually have fig-paste, spicy with
wintergreen and black-birch! Now, what is to prevent our farmers'
daughters from making this?--from putting up fruits in air-tight cans,
and drying a great many kinds of vegetables that cannot be had now for
love or money? Who can get Lima beans or dried sweet-corn, that does not
dry them from his own garden?

Do not let our medical friends feel too indignant if I recommend to
these same women the manufacture of pickles. The use of pickles, like
the use of wine, may be a questionable thing; but, like liquors, they
are a large article of trade: and, if we must have them, why not have
them made of wholesome fruit, in good cider-vinegar, with a touch of the
grandmotherly seasoning that we all remember, rather than of stinted
gherkins, soured by vitriol and greened by copper? There are many sweet
sauces, too,--made of fruit, stewed with vinegar, spice, and
sugar,--which cannot be obtained in shops, and would meet a good market.
How easy the whole matter is, may be guessed from this fact, that,
sitting once at a Southern table,--the table of a genial grand-nephew of
George Washington, who bore his name,--I was offered twenty-five kinds
of candied fruit, all made by the delicate hands of his wife; and seven
varieties in form and flavor, from the common tomato.

I looked through Boston in vain, the other day, to find a common
dish-mop large enough to serve my purpose. There was no such thing to be
found. Taking up one of the slender tassels offered me, I inquired into
its history, and was informed that it was imported from France. The one
I had been trying to replace had been made by some skilful Yankee hand
for a Ladies' Fair. Now, what are our poor women doing, that they cannot
compete with this French trumpery, and give us at least dish-mops fit
for use?

As teachers of gymnastics, women are already somewhat employed. A wide
field would be opened, if a teacher were attached to each of our public
schools,--a step in physical education greatly needed.

No conservative is so prejudiced, I suppose, as to object to placing
woman in all positions of moral supervision. Female assistants in jails,
prisons, workhouses, insane asylums, and hospitals, are seen to be fit,
and to have a harmonizing influence in every respect. How many more such
assistants are needed, we may guess from the fact that our City Jail and
Charlestown are still unsupplied. Women of a superior order are needed
for such posts; and when will they be found? Not till labor is
thoroughly respected; not till the popular voice says, "It is all very
well to be a Miss Dix, and go from asylum to asylum, suggesting and
improving; but it is just _as_ well, quite _as_ honorable, to work in
_one_ asylum, carrying out the wise ideas which a Miss Dix suggests,
and securing the faithful trial of her experiments." Many men in Beacon
Street would feel honored to call the moving philanthropist sister or
friend; but few would like to acknowledge a daughter in the post of
matron or superintendent. Why not? There is something "rotten in the
State" where such inconsistencies exist. How thoroughly men accept such
women, as soon as they are permitted to try their experiment, we may
judge from the case of Florence Nightingale and her staff. The very men,
whose scepticism kept the army suffering for months, would be the first
to send them now; and the soldiers, who kissed her shadow where it fell,
would fill the whole Commissariat with women. When her gentle but
efficient hand broke in the doors of the storehouses at Scutari, a
general huzza followed from the very men who were too timid to break the
trammels of office. The woman's keen sympathy with the advancing spirit
of her time, taught her what it was fit to do; and, if the rippling
smiles of suffering men had not rewarded her when the bedding and stores
were distributed, the warm encomiums of her Queen, whose heart she had
so truly read, must have done it. Following out this train of
reflection, I have often thought it would some day fall to women, and to
women alone, to exercise the function of parish minister! I do not mean
"parish preacher." I hold pulpit graces cheap by the side of that
fatherly walk among his people, which has made the name of Charles
Lowell sacred to the West Church. Go back to the history of the first
church in every town: see how the minister knew the story of every heart
in his parish; how he kept his eye on every lonely boy or orphan girl;
how widowed mothers took his counsel about schools and rents; how
forlorn old maids trusted to him to make all "things come round right;"
how the lad, inclining to wild courses, found no better friend than he.
How is it now? The minister has his Sunday sermons, his annual addresses
before certain societies, his weekly association. In the old time, such
things were done, yet not the other left undone. Now the lonely boy or
orphan girl must seek out the minister,--and how likely this is to
happen everybody knows; the mother must tell over the story of her
widowhood, pained to see how "in course" it falls upon that wearied ear;
the spinster must tell again how the boat floated empty and bottom
upward to shore long years ago, and so no one was "spared to keep all
right;" and the wild lad--alas! how many such do the clergy save now?

As I see such things,--and I do see them often,--as I realize that
change in men and times, in manners and books, from which this change is
inseparable,--I confess I see a new[27] sphere opening for women. It
takes no remarkable gifts, in the common sense of those words; only a
kindly heart, a thoughtful head, a tender, reverent care-taking, wholly
apart from meddlesomeness. Not many are the ministers now who will
pause to explain to Martha that she is careful and troubled about many
things; and that really the visionary Mary, with her dreamy eyes, is
choosing the good part. Not many can see Nathanael standing under the
fig-tree, and remind him of it at the needful moment. But if, in every
religious household, there were a deaconess, called by nature and God to
her work,--one to whom the young felt a right to go with questions home
could not answer; one pledged to secret counsel, with whom the restless
and unhappy might confer,--it seems to me the wheels of life would move
more smoothly.[28] How the unlikeliest persons are sometimes raised up
to such a ministry, let the following story tell. In the dim and dreary
precincts of the Seven Dials in London, years ago, two orphan girls were
left lying on door-steps, fed by chance charity, to grow up as they
might. One died; and the other was finally adopted by an old man, an
atheist, who had been neighbor to her parents. She grew up an atheist
also, and married,--saved by God's mercy from what had seemed her
likeliest fate. Stepping into the passage of the Bloomsbury Mission Hall
to shelter herself from the rain, one night, a shaft, winged by the Holy
Spirit, struck to her empty heart.

The next week, a lending library was to be opened in the district.
Marian was first at the door. "Sir," said she, "will you lend me a
Bible?"--"A Bible!" exclaimed the man. "We did not mean to _lend_
Bibles; but I will get you one."

How long she read, how she was at first moved, none but God can know.
But, whether from mental distress or from the sad vicissitudes of her
needy career, she became very ill, and went to a public hospital. While
there, she saw the sufferings of those who applied for its charity, and
observed that the filthy state of their persons needed a friendly female
hand. When she came out, she wrote to the missionary, and told him she
wished to dedicate all her spare time to the lost and degraded of her
own sex. "God's mercy," she writes, "has spared me from their fate: for
me their misery will have no terrors. I will clean and wash them, and
mend their linen. If they can get into a hospital, I will take care of
their clothes." You may suppose the missionary did not lose sight of
Marian, and you may guess how gladly she undertook to distribute Bibles;
going, where none of the gentry could go, into dens of misery known only
to the police-officers and herself. Spending her mornings in
distributing Bibles, and giving the kind and pastoral counsel everywhere
needed, she discovered, in the autumn of 1857, a new want, and devoted
her afternoons to teaching the ignorant women about her to cut and make
their children's clothes. Why _she_ knew better than _they_, who shall
tell? Then came the November panic and its wide-spread distresses; and,
seeing how food was wasted from ignorance, she opened a soup-kitchen of
her own. She used what is called vegetable stock: her wretched customers
liked it, and she sold it all through the winter for a price which just
paid the cost of cooking. Her noble work goes on. The stone which the
builders of our modern society would have rejected, is now the head of
the corner; and Seven Dials knows her as "Marian, the Bible-woman."

Another mission has been begun at St. Pancras, where, in one of the
worst neighborhoods, the most profligate men have gathered together,
between church hours, to hear a young lady read the "Pilgrim's
Progress," and are thus softened and led to higher things. Would you
shut those sacred lips because they are a woman's? Would you quote St.
Paul to her, and blush for her career, if she were your own daughter? I
will not believe it.

At the parish of St. Alkmunds, in Shrewsbury, the wife of the clergyman,
Mrs. Whitman, began by modest reading from house to house; a work which
has since been greatly blessed. Gently she won profligate men and women
to give up their beer, and the temptations of the "tap;" signing herself
the pledge which they alone needed.

A very important work could be done in this city by the establishment of
a proper Training School for Servants. One reason why our house-work is
so miserably done is, that it is never regarded as a profession, in
which a certain degree of excellence must be attained, but rather as a
"make-shift," by the aid of which a certain number of years can be got
through. The only thorough servant I ever had was one who had been
educated at such a school in Germany. Here would be an admirable field
for some of the women who have money and time, but no object in life.
Such a school must be carried on in connection with a good-sized
boarding-house of a respectable kind; and beside the regular
superintendents, who will, of course, be hired for the different
departments, there must be committees of ladies who should see to the
practical working of the institution in turn. This is necessary to
secure that thorough working in every department which the best
housekeeping demands. Only by intelligent, refined oversight can
feathered "flirts" be hindered from taking the place of the tidy dusting
cloth; only so will a girl learn to sweep each apartment separately,
without dragging her accumulations from floor to floor; only so can
soap-suds be kept off your oil-cloths, soiled hands from your doors, and
dust from your shirt-fronts. I do not believe a better service could be
done to the community than the establishment of such a school,
especially in relation to cooking.[29] A good many such experiments have
been successfully tried in England, but none so thorough as that I would
propose in Boston.

With regard to the lowest class of employed women, such as are employed
at home, we have, it seems to me, several distinct duties to perform.

In the first place, we need a public but self-supporting Laundry. By
this I mean two large halls, with an adjacent area, built at the expense
of the city, and properly superintended, where, for so much an hour,
women of the lower class may wash, starch, dry, and iron the clothes
they take home. A bleaching-ground would be desirable; but, if it could
not be had, a steam drying-room would be the next best thing. Good
starch, soap, and indigo should be for sale upon the premises at
wholesale prices; it not being desirable that the city should make money
out of the necessities of its poor. If such an establishment could be
had, a great many women would be changed from paupers to decent
citizens. They are tired of seeking washing; for, in their one close
room, scented with boiling onions or rank meat, without a proper area
for drying, and compelled to pay high prices for poor soap and starch,
they cannot do decently the very work which philanthropy soon becomes
unwilling to intrust to them, and for which they are compelled to charge
higher than the best private laundry. The city could buy coal, wood,
soap, starch, and indigo at manufacturers' and importers' prices, and so
give them a fair chance for competition. I hope this project, long since
partially adopted in many cities of the Old World, may find favor with
my audience.

There is in Boston no place, strange as it may seem, where plain, neatly
finished clothing can be bought ready-made. I can go down town, and buy
embroidered merinos, Paris hats with ostrich feathers, and lace-trimmed,
welted linen: but if I want a plain, cotton skirt for a child, whereof
the calico was eight cents a yard; if I want a plain, cotton print made
into a neatly fitting dress; if I want a boy's coarse apron,--such
things are not to be had, or only so very badly made that no one will
buy them. I do not want lace or embroidery or silk, or fine linen; but I
do want my button-holes nicely turned and strong, my hems even, my
gathers stroked, and, however plain and coarse, the whole finish of the
garment such as a mistress of the needle only would approve, such as no
lady need be ashamed to wear. So do others. The reasons given to explain
the non-existence of such a magazine in Boston are, first, That our
women of the middle class are, for the most part, accustomed to cut and
make their own clothes; second, That there is a prevalent but mistaken
idea, that clothes made for sale cannot possibly fit. With regard to the
first point, it may be said, that, as more and more avenues of labor are
opened for women, this class perceives that it is not good economy for
them to do their own sewing. Hands compelled to coarser or heavier labor
cannot sew quick or well, and those training to more delicate
manipulation lose practice by returning to it; so there will be a
constantly increasing class of purchasers.

As to the impossibility of fitting, that is a vulgar mistake. The human
frame is quite as much the result of law as Mr. Buckle's statistics. Any
comely, healthy form is a good model for all other forms of the same
height and breadth. Who ever heard of a French bonnet or a bridal
trousseau that did not fit? yet these things are made by arbitrary
rules. Our superintendent could find every measure she would ever need
in one of the teeming houses on Sea Street. She must take her measures
from life, not books. Nor would I have the sewing done with machines,
unless those of the highest cost could be procured and ably
superintended. The best machine is as yet a poor substitute for the
supple, human hand; and many practical inconveniences must result from
its use. It requires more skill and intelligence to manage man's
simplest machine, than to control with a thought that complicated
network of nerve, bone, and fibre which we have been accustomed to use.

Capital to start such an establishment as I refer to is all that is
needed. How desirable the thing is, you can easily see. In the first
place, if good common clothing could be so purchased, mothers need not
keep a large stock on hand: an accident could be readily repaired. In
the second, it would greatly simplify and expedite many a charitable
task. The terrible suffering which followed the panic of November, 1857,
you all remember. Purses, always open hitherto, were necessarily closed;
no Sister of Charity was willing to tread on the heels of the sheriff:
yet the need was greater than ever. Many persons who had dismissed their
servants were found willing to give a rough, untrained girl her board;
but who was to provide her with decent clothes? They could not be
bought, and to make them was the work of time and strength. May I always
remember to honor, as God will always surely bless, one woman possessed
of wealth and beauty, who did clothe from head to foot with her own
needle, in that dreadful winter, _three_ "wild Irish girls," and took
them successively into her own family; training them to habits of
tolerable decency, until others, less self-sacrificing, were found ready
to do their part!

No people in our community suffer such inconvenience, loss, and
imposition, in having their clothes made, as our servant girls. If a
plentiful supply of calico sacks and skirts or loose dresses could be
anywhere found, few girls would ever employ a dressmaker.

I have spoken of Public Laundry Rooms, and a Ready-made Clothing Room.
There is a class of women greatly to be benefited by the establishment
of a Knitting Factory. It is well known to every person in this room,
especially to physicians, that no knitting done by machinery can compete
with that done by the human hand, in durability, warmth, or stimulative
power. Invalids are now obliged to import the Shetland jackets, which
are always badly shaped; or to hire, at our fancy stores, the making of
delicate and very expensive fabrics. Men's socks and children's gloves
may be purchased; but the first cost from seventy-five cents to a dollar
a pair, and the last are of very inferior manufacture. We cannot give
out knitting to advantage, because of the dirt and grease it is liable
to accumulate where water is not plenty nor ventilation to be had; and
very good knitters of socks have not skill and intelligence to manage
the different sizes, or to shape the larger articles, such as drawers
and under-jackets for the two sexes. Coarse crocheting would answer
better than knitting for many articles.

Let a large, airy room be hired, well supplied with Cochituate. Let all
sorts of material be kept on hand, and some coarse, warm kinds of
Shetland yarn imported that are not now to be had. Let at least two
superintendents be appointed from among the women, who work _best_ for
our fancy stores; let knitting-women be invited to use this room for
twelve hours a day, or less, as they choose,--receiving daily pay for
their daily needs; and in less than one year you would have an
establishment, for which not merely Boston, but all New England, would
be grateful. I should hope that neither this nor the Clothing Room would
ever offer very expensive or highly ornamental articles for sale. There
is no danger that the interests of the wealthy will suffer. What I
desire is to provide for the needs of the lowest women and the comfort
of the middle-class customer.

The young girls in Beacon Street have now some thing to do. I offer them
the establishment of a Training School for Servants, of a public but
self-supporting Laundry, of a Ready-made Clothes Room, and a Knitting
Factory; all simple matters, entirely within their control, if they
would but believe it.

A certain human faithlessness often interferes with the execution of
such plans. If my young friends doubt, let them go and talk to Harriet
Ryan about it. She will show them, how, having taken the first step
toward duty, God always leads the way to the second. To cheer them still
further, I will tell them--for I may never have a fitter opportunity--of
the splendid success of the industrial schools in Ireland, established
in 1850 by Ellen Woodlock,--a name destined to stand honorably by the
side of Florence Nightingale; nay, worthy to precede it, in so far as
preventive measures are always a greater good than remedial. Mrs. Ellen
Woodlock has powers of statement, according to the "London Times," equal
to her extraordinary powers of execution; and it is from her own account
of the work that I select what I have to offer you.

In 1850, Mrs. Woodlock had placed her only child at school, and began to
look for something to do. A lady, who had started an industrial school
on a gift of $250 from a clergyman, asked for her help. She proposed to
teach young girls to do plain sewing. Very soon, there were more
seamstresses than customers; but God did not fail to open a way. One
poor, half-blind creature--very poor and very earnest--failed in the
plain sewing, and was put to make cabbage nets. She did it so well, that
Mrs. Woodlock taught her to make silk nets for the hair. The nets took:
other girls were taught; and Mrs. Woodlock went to all the shops in
Cork, and coaxed the merchants to buy of her. She very soon began to
make nets for exportation. Mrs. Woodlock's fashionable niece arrived
from Dublin, with a new style of crocheted net. Her aunt had a dozen
made directly; and, by showing these, got orders from all the merchants
for the new style. One day, a merchant came into the school, and saw a
little girl at work on a mohair net. He asked the price, and found that
she would make him twelve for the same money that he had paid for one
in London. So you may guess where his next orders went.

Mrs. Woodlock then made interest with the "buyers," or young men who go
to London twice a year to purchase goods. They took over her patterns,
and returned with orders so large that their principals at once entered
into the business. Yellow nets were made for Germany. Many were sent to
England and America; and orders came so thick that they had to share
them with the convent schools. They paid out a hundred dollars weekly;
and alacrity and intelligence beamed where there had been, at first,
only hopeless suffering and imbecility. Of course, this point was not
reached without much self-sacrifice. At first, the children made awkward
work that would not sell. Then the lady patronesses got tired, and
dropped off. Worn and worried, Mrs. Woodlock fell ill. If you ever
undertake any of the schemes I have mentioned, you must be prepared for
all these things: they will certainly happen. No one ever fought a
revolutionary war, and established an independence, without one or two
defeats like that at Bunker Hill.[30] When they become historic, we call
them victories. When Mrs. Woodlock found that she was human and liable
to fall ill, she sent for some of the Sisters of Charity, and trained
several, so that they could, on an emergency, fill her place well.

But Mrs. Woodlock did not stop here. She used to teach the Catechism in
the parish church; and, one day, she gave notice that a new school would
be opened in that neighborhood. The next morning, one hundred and fifty
girls, between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five, presented
themselves. Mrs. Woodlock asked every girl, who had ever earned any
money before, to hold up her hand. Four girls did so. They had sold
apples in the streets. One hundred and forty-six suffering creatures,
who had no way to earn a cent! Think what a class it was! Do you
remember what I told you, the other day, of eighteen hundred and eighty
women in New York who had never been taught to support themselves? Ten
of the best workers from the first school were taken to teach these
girls; and, for a salary, the teacher received the first _perfect_ dozen
of nets made by each of her pupils. This plan was not costly, and worked
well. There was no lack of faithfulness. Travellers came to see the
schools. There was no time wasted in looking for orders: they had more
than they could fill. Of course, they must keep these hands employed: so
other manufactures must be tried. Mrs. Woodlock thought she would try
fine shirt-fronts for the city dealers. What do you think the people
said? That it could not be done in all Ireland; that there was nobody to
wash and iron them properly; that they would have to be sent all the
way to Glasgow to be boxed in card boxes! Well, the nuns undertook the
first washing and ironing,--making apprentices, let us hope, of some of
the older pupils; and Mrs. Woodlock found a starving band-box maker,
whom she herself taught to make flat boxes. And look now at the blessing
which always follows wise work. This flat-box maker has had to take
apprentices, has opened another branch of her business in Limerick, and
has put money into the Savings' Bank.

Mrs. Woodlock's account of her work would be a great help to any young
persons engaged in philanthropic effort. She lays the very greatest
stress upon her machinery,--her methods. Every industrial work ought to
support itself: if it does not, it is a failure. All her schools earn
their own bread, _in every sense_; and all reforming agencies must
always stand second to any institution which does that. See how she
carried this thought into her daily life. Mrs. Woodlock had a brother
who was one of the Board of Poor-Law Guardians. Seeing the success of
her work, he persuaded the other members to employ an embroidery
mistress in the Union School for a few months.

When these children knew enough, Mrs. Woodlock took out six, and put
them into her industrial school, till she was sure they could support
themselves. Then she let them look up lodgings, and continued to give
them work from the school. In a few weeks, they got on so well that they
began to take their relations and friends out of that terrible
poorhouse. Three young girls took out their mother and cousin, and
supported them. Eighty girls were brought off the parish by the first
working of her schools. A house has also been opened for orphans, where
they are trained to support themselves.

Now, my friends, the census, at the end of ten years, will report a
great change in the industrial condition of Ireland; and the beginning
of that change was Mrs. Woodlock's intelligent moral effort to benefit
her countrywomen,--in the first place, to teach one little sufferer to
make cabbage-nets. That element will enter into the statistics on which
Mr. Buckle bids you so confidently rely. Do not believe him when he says
that _moral_ effort can never help anybody but yourself, because it will
be balanced, in the long-run, by your neighbor's _immoral_ effort. Two
and two make four in all statistics, and always will while the world
stands; but two and two and one make five, and not four, as he asserts;
and the one which he forgets to enumerate is no other than the divine
Centre of life and action,--God himself. I value Mr. Buckle's book. I
see how clearly he thinks; how much he has read; and how much truer his
historical attitude than any ever before assumed. But when a man
separates goodness from knowledge; tells you that intelligence may reign
alone; does not see that the two are now and for ever one, equal
attributes of the divine nature,--then he makes a mistake which saps the
very foundation of his own work, and writes fallacy on every page.

What he says is perfectly true of _mistaken, ignorant_ moral effort.
That does help yourself, and does _not_ help anybody else. It helps you,
because it develops your right-mindedness,--your generosity. It does not
help anybody else. It _hinders_ others who are clearer intellectually:
they see and despise the mistakes, and are not inspired by the purpose.
Had it been intelligent, they would have seen it to be divine.

Mrs. Woodlock's work was both intelligent and moral. What inspired the
pupils was her moral force and disinterested love. They saw this, and
were kindled by it; while the community at large respected the
intelligence and common sense with which she laid her plans.
Intelligence made these plans self-supporting; intelligence gave them
solid pyramidal position in the world: but moral energy gave them their
prestige, and will win its way by the side of intelligence into the very
columns which Mr. Buckle's closing volume must quote.

Do not be disheartened, then, as to the ultimate profit to others of any
kindly work you feel inclined to do. Let kindliness inspire, let
intelligence direct, your efforts. God has made your success certain
from the very foundations of the world.

I cannot close such inadequate survey of this field as I have felt it my
duty to offer, without alluding to one other fact, and making one
parting suggestion. It cannot but be realized, by all the women to whom
I speak, how very casual is the communication between the laboring class
in this community and their employers. Suppose a housekeeper wants
additional service, how can she secure it? If she is not wealthy enough
to hire regularly, her "chance" is a very poor one; and she must take
the recommendation, in nine cases out of ten, of some one in the
charwoman's own rank of life.

Suppose a maid of all work leaves a mistress alone early some busy
Monday morning, where can her place be filled? How can any one be found
who will work by the hour or the day, in a cleanly, respectable manner,
till a new servant can be deliberately chosen? Nobody knows of a
washerwoman who is out of work on Monday. The intelligence offices hold
no women so distressed that they will go out for less than a week, and
that on trial. Yet, somewhere in the city, there must be women pining
and longing for that waiting work.

Suppose a sudden influx of visitors exhausts your household staff, and
makes a waiting-maid a necessity where none was kept before; suppose a
large group of relatives, passing quickly through the city, come for a
plain family dinner at a moment when your personal superintendence is
impossible,--where is the active, tidy girl who can be summoned, or the
decent woman of experience who can order matters in your kitchen as well
as you can yourself?

Somewhere they sit waiting--suffering, it may be--for the opportunity
which never comes. The intelligence office will get them places; but
places they are not at liberty to seek. They need what they call "a
chance lift."

I am well aware that wealthy and long-established families may not
suffer much from this cause. Old servants well married, or a variety of
well-paid servants with wide connections in the neighborhood, or
deserving objects of charity personally met and understood, often
prevent such persons from feeling any inconvenience; but for young
housekeepers, for new residents, for persons of small means and few
connections, there is no help.

I need not enlarge on the subject. There is no kind of female labor of
which it is easy to get a prompt and suitable supply. To obviate this
difficulty, I think there should be a sort of "Labor Exchange;" and this
is a project which all classes would be glad to have carried out. How
shall it be done? That, of course, must be settled by those who have the
task in charge; but, to explain what I mean, I will offer a few
suggestions. In the first place, What are the defects in the
intelligence-offices now in existence?[31] There are several. They take
cognizance of domestic servants alone. They are kept by ignorant or
inexperienced persons, who often lose sight of the interests of both the
employer and the employed in their own pecuniary loss or gain. These
persons have necessarily little insight into character, and do not see
how to bring the right persons together. They will send a slow, dawdling
girl to an impatient, lively mistress;--a smart upstart to some meek,
little wife, who has hardly learned the way to order her own house; and
the natural misunderstandings will occur. Then the books of the office
are irregularly kept, and closed to the applicant, so that you have no
chance to select for yourself. Go down to an office, and ask for a
servant; tell the keeper not to send a raw girl, not to send one without
a recommendation, not to send a foreigner who cannot speak English; and
go home. The odds are, that, while you are taking off your bonnet, there
will be three rings at the bell. The first girl will be a barefooted imp
of Erin, just from the steerage. Some one at the office has been
watching three days for just such a hand to be broken into a
farm-kitchen. The second wears a flower-garden on her head, more
flounces than you do, and has, of course, no recommendation. Some
soda-room wants her; but you do not. The third is high Dutch, and, when
you ask her for the coal-hod, brings you, in her despair, the
bread-tray. Neither of these three is what you ordered or wanted.

Do you ask me the reason of this bad management, and whether I think
it can be remedied? The reason of it is, that the superintendence of
these offices is not treated like a profession. People neither fit
themselves for it, nor are attracted to it by nature: they simply _do_
it; and how they do it we feel. They want comprehensive insight, have no
business ways, and these difficulties are only to be obviated by
bringing a higher intelligence to bear upon the arrangements.

Let us have a place where all kinds of female work can be sought and
found; an intelligent working committee first, who know what is wanted,
and how to get it, and who, most important of all, shall not be too wise
to accept diplomas from experience.

Let us have a committee of five; its quorum to be three. Let these
persons hire a large, clean, airy room, and appoint an intelligent
superintendent,--one who will be interested to have the experiment
thoroughly successful. Let them line the walls, and screen off the room
with frames, having glass covers, to lock and unlock. Let one frame be
devoted to cooks; another, to laundresses; another, to washerwomen,
window-washers, charwomen, seamstresses, dressmakers, copyists,
translators, or what you will; and under the glass the notices should be
posted. Each should contain the name, age, and residence of the
applicant; the situation last held, and for how long; the full address
of the reference; and the date of posting. The date should be printed
and movable, and changed semi-weekly, on the personal application of the
poster. Each woman should pay five cents for the privilege of posting;
should lose this privilege from misconduct, from neglect to report
herself, from proved falsehood. No date should be left unchanged more
than a week, and the superintendent should be responsible for the strict
observance of the regulations. No woman, not even a charwoman, should be
allowed to use the posting privilege, unless she has a reference.
"What!" you will say, "is that kind?" Yes, it is kind: the want of it is
doubly cruel. A woman who needs work can afford to offer a day's free
work to get a reference; and referees should be required to tell the
simple truth. A lady who once recommended a dishonest or incapable
servant without the proper qualification should be struck off the books,
not allowed to testify again in that court.

With regard to all transient labor, it should be the duty of the
superintendent to see that the references are reliable before posting,
so that those who apply in haste need not be delayed.

If a dressmaker or charwoman inform the superintendent that she has
worked for A, B, and C, let a printed circular, addressed to such
persons, inquiring if they can recommend her, and to what degree, be
placed in her hands. To this she should bring written answers before
being allowed to post.

If the institution became popular, books would have to be kept,
corresponding to these glass cases--one book for cooks, another for
housemaids, and so on; but the cases should never be given up. There
should always be as many as the room will hold. Ladies should pay a
certain sum for each servant they obtain; and the servant should pay for
every place she gets, at a rate proportioned to the wages received. In
most intelligence offices, the servants get two places for the same fee,
if they do not stay over a week in the place, and the lady gets two
girls or more on the same condition. This works like a premium on change
of place. The servant should prove to the Labor Exchange, that she did
not leave her place of her own will, and the lady should show that
incapacity or insubordination made it impossible to keep her.

It should be a cash business, and a fee should be paid for each
application. Wanting a cook, you go down to the room, and consult the
proper frame. Finding, perhaps, forty posters, you select one that reads
like this:--

    Matilda Haynes.
    Twenty-five years of age.
    In the country four years.
    Thoroughly understands plain cooking.
    Expects two dollars.
    Is willing to go out of town.
    Lived last at No. 4, Pemberton Square.
    Kept the place six months.
    May refer to it.
    Can be found at 24, High Street.

You first go to Pemberton Square. It is quite possible that this girl
may not be what you want; but if she is, and your eye tells you that you
can trust the judgment of her referee, you have only to go to High
Street, and make your own terms. If you are already prejudiced in her
favor, you will go prepared to make some concessions, so that the chance
will be better for you both; and this process may be repeated without
loss of time, till you are supplied.

You will see that this is quite a feasible plan, and has two advantages.
One is, that you have access to the books, and can choose for yourself;
the other is, that there would be no waiting-room for servants, where
they should talk with, prejudice, and morally harm each other. You would
also be saved the pain of rejecting servants to their faces, on the
ground of "greenness," or bodily unfitness. Such an institution would
offer this advantage over the present offices, that it would direct you
to temporary laborers, and give you in a moment the addresses of some
dozens. Such an institution would be a very great saver of time, and so
a great blessing.

If, in the course of these lectures, any words that I have spoken have
touched your hearts, or carried conviction to your minds, do not put
aside, I beseech you, such impulse as they may have given. Remember
that, however feebly the subject has been treated, however presumptuous
may seem the attempt, the subject itself is the most important theme
that is presented to this generation. In my first lecture I showed you,
that while women, ever since the beginning of civilization, have been
sharing the hardest, and doing the most unwholesome work, they have also
done the _worst paid_ in the world. I showed you that this poor pay,
founded on a false estimate of woman's value as a human being, and
consequently as a laborer, was filling your streets with criminals, with
stricken souls and bodies, for whose blood society is responsible to
God. Having proved thus, that women need new avenues of labor, I tried
in my second lecture to show you, that, when she sought these, she had
been met too often by the selfish opposition of man. I showed also that
all such opposition proved, in the end, unavailing; that all the work
she asks will inevitably be given. I showed you, from the censuses of
Great Britain and America, how much labor is even now open to her; that
it is not half so necessary to open new avenues of labor as to make
work itself _respectable for women_; and I therefore entreated women to
learn to work thoroughly and well, that men might respect their labor in
the aggregate. "Woman's work" means nothing very honorable or
conscientious now. Alter its significance till it indicates the best
work in the world.

In my present lecture I have indicated some of the steps that might be
taken to benefit the women in the heart of this city. To encourage you
to take them, I have briefly pointed out Ellen Woodlock's remarkable
success. Have I kindled any interest in your minds? Can you enter into
such labors? Have you strength or time or enthusiasm to spare? In the
ballads of Northern Europe, a loving sister trod out, with her bare
feet, the nettles whose fibre, woven into clothing, might one day
restore her brothers to human form.

Your feet are shod, your nettles are gathered: will you tread them out
courageously, and so restore to your sisters the nature and the
privileges of a blessed humanity?

Opportunity is a rare and sacred thing. God seldom offers it twice. In
the English fields, the little Drosera, or sundew, lifts its tiny,
crimson head. The delicate buds are clustered in a raceme, to the summit
of which they climb one by one. The top-most bud waits only through the
twelve hours of a single day to open. If the sun do not shine, it
withers and drops, and gives way to the next aspirant.

So it is with the human heart and its purposes. One by one, they come to
the point of blossoming. If the sunshine of faith and the serene heaven
of resolution meet the ripe hour, all is well; but if you faint, repel,
delay, they wither at the core, and your crown is stolen from you,--your
privilege set aside. Esau has sold his birthright, and the pottage has
lost its savor.


  [26] I am happy to find, on the authority of the "London Athenæum,"
  that this statement was, when I wrote it, untrue. "Germany," it says,
  on the 23d of July, 1859,--"Germany has lost one of her most famed and
  eminent female scholars. Frau Dr. Heidenreich, _née_ Von Siebold, died
  at Darmstadt a fortnight ago. She was born in 1792, studied the
  science of midwifery at the Universities of Göttingen and Giessen, and
  took her doctor's degree in 1817; not, _honoris causâ_, by favor of
  the Faculty, but, like any other German student, by writing the
  customary Latin dissertation, as well as by bravely defending, in
  public disputation, a number of medical theses. After that, she took
  up her permanent abode at Darmstadt, indefatigable in the exercise of
  her special branch of science, and universally honored as one of its
  first living authorities."

  "Universally honored as one of its first living authorities," that was
  what I was in search of; and French and German papers confirm the
  statement. Dr. Heidenreich came of a family highly distinguished in
  her specialty. It was ancient and noble: she was a baroness in her own
  right. All readers of English works on midwifery know the authority
  given to the name of Von Siebold. Her father founded the famous
  hospital at Berlin; and her brother, still living, stands high in
  medical fame, having written the best history of midwifery extant.

  Rosa Bonheur, also, is as unquestionably at the head of her department
  as Sir Edmund Landseer. The three pictures Boston has had a chance to
  see this autumn ought to fill every woman's bosom with a glow of
  honest pride.

  I can find no better place than this, perhaps, to introduce the
  following facts, to which my attention has been directed by the
  kindness of Miss Mary L. Booth, of New York.

  In the History of Southold, N.Y.,--one of the oldest towns in the
  United States,--it appears that women have practised there as
  "doctresses" and "midwives" from the first settlement of the country.
  From 1740 to the present time,--more than one hundred years,--the town
  of Southold has had a trustworthy female physician. The first of
  these, Elizabeth King, who practised from 1740 until her death in
  1780, attended at the birth of more than _one thousand_ children.

  During this time,--from 1760 to 1775,--a Mrs. Peck was also known in
  the same town as an excellent midwife. The direct successor of Mrs.
  King was, however, a Mrs. Lucretia Lester, who practised from 1745 to
  1779. Of her my authority says, "She was justly respected as nurse and
  doctress to the pains and infirmities incident to her fellow-mortals,
  _especially_ her own sex;" a remark which shows she attended _both_.
  "She was, during thirty years, conspicuous as an angel of mercy; a
  woman whose price was beyond rubies. It is said she attended at the
  birth of _thirteen hundred_ children, and, of that number, lost but

  A Mrs. Susannah Brown practised from 1800 to 1840, and attended at the
  birth of _fourteen hundred_ children. From the number of patients
  these women must have had, it would seem as if they were sustained by
  the whole neighborhood. The book just published speaks highly of them,
  as what Henry Ward Beecher would call a "means of grace," and pleads,
  from the precedent, for the education of women to medicine.

  Southold is in Suffolk County, on Long Island; and was settled in the
  early part of the seventeenth century. It has now three churches, and
  less than five thousand inhabitants.

  The instance of so creditable a practice being maintained for a whole
  century, by three women, stands alone, so far as I know, in this
  country. Mrs. King probably studied abroad, and taught her next
  successor, and possibly Mrs. Peck, who seems to have assisted both.
  That three of the four women named should have practised forty years
  each, seems very remarkable.

  [27] See Appendix, sketch of Mrs. Roberts, and other female

  [28] I did not think, certainly, when I wrote the above passage, of
  Arthur Helps's "Companions of my Solitude;" but, taking up the book
  during a day of illness, I find a parallel passage in what he writes
  of the "sin of great cities." In speaking of the many excuses which
  ought to be made for fallen women, he says: "And then there is nobody
  into whose ear the poor girl can pour her troubles, _except she comes
  as a beggar_. This will be said to be a leaning, on my part, to the
  confessional. I cannot help this: I must speak the truth that is in

  It seems to me, that the "narrow" church, against which so much is
  intimated in our times, is nowhere so narrow as in its human
  sympathies. Oh that our clergymen knew how many utterly _friendless_
  souls sit before them clothed in "purple and fine linen"! It is not to
  be taken for granted, that, because a woman has a home, a father and
  mother, and a genial, social circle, she has a _friend_, or even a
  counsellor. It is not the beggar-girl alone who needs a "Confessor"
  within our Protestant churches. Many of the most refined, the most
  noble, and the most wealthy, are hurried into unfit marriages, because
  they dare not live alone, and think the superficial confidences of
  common courtship only a prelude to something deeper which never comes.

  Why should not the "Comforter" have come to our churches, with some
  special significance, before this? If stout-hearted Luther could say,
  "When I am assailed with heavy tribulations, I rush out among my pigs,
  rather than remain alone by myself," why should any of us blush to
  confess our need of help? Herein, it seems to me, lies the vital want
  of the modern church. Here and there, the rare personal gifts of a
  single pastor lessen the evil; but what we want, in every religious
  circle, is a friend to whom we can go, without the smallest danger of
  being suspected of impertinence or egotism, under the sanction of the
  divine words, "Bear ye one another's burdens." The burdens of
  temptation _must_ be borne alone; but the burdens of poverty,
  sickness, and grief, should be shared in every Christian church,
  without regard to the social condition of the sufferer. Oftentimes the
  rich man is poorer than the pauper. I know all the objections that
  will be raised. I _feel_, to this day, how I saw one clergyman shrink,
  years ago, from a tale which he ought to have heard from one agonized
  woman's lips; and how others, admirable in the usual pulpit and
  pastoral charge, will think themselves unfit for this. Under such
  circumstances, let a clergyman call upon those of his congregation who
  are willing to become the friends of the rest, to meet in his study.
  From the half-dozen who will have at once the _modesty_ and the
  courage to come forward, let a man and a woman be chosen to act as a
  "Committee of Comfort." This might be done with the utmost quietness;
  the minister alone need know the names of those willing to serve; but
  if it were an understood thing, that every church had such officers,
  the blessing would be beyond belief.

  In many cases, no actual help could be given, beyond patient
  listening, a mutual prayer, or tender soothing; but in every church
  there are souls that need these far more than eloquent
  preaching,--souls that ask for nothing, except some one to hear and
  consider _who is not in a hurry_, some one to appoint those to their
  true uses who stand idle in a waiting world. I claim such an
  institution for the sake of friendless _women_; but such substitutes
  for it as the world has hitherto had, have been by no means useless to

  [29] I must suggest, in this connection, a thought which I have not
  had time to elaborate in the text. Very much needed in Boston is a
  restaurant for the lower classes, presided over by the highest skill
  and intelligence, where well-cooked, well-flavored, and _stimulating_
  food could be offered at all times; and where a judicious alternation
  of pea soup, baked beans, and very simple dishes, with roast meat and
  broths, might secure daily nourishment for a very low price. There is
  a great deal of very cheap food, which an epicure might desire, but
  which the poor have never been taught to prepare. Hundreds of wretched
  families in Boston ought never to try to make a cup of tea for
  themselves. In hot weather, the shavings and wood necessary to boil
  the water are worth as much as the tea itself. Crime of all sorts, and
  especially intemperance, will retreat before a proper provision of
  nourishing and stimulating food for the lower classes. Gallons of
  oyster liquor are thrown away every day by dealers who sell the fish
  "solid," which would make the most nourishing of soups and stews; for
  no food replenishes the vital essences so rapidly as the oyster: hence
  its inseparable connection with all places of dissipation and vicious
  resort. If men would only make a good instead of an evil use of the
  few natural secrets they discover! With such a restaurant,--which
  should, of course, be self-supporting,--a capital training-school for
  cooks might easily be associated; and so it would become an infinite
  blessing, in the end, to the kind hearts and wise heads of those who
  should project it.

  [30] This allusion was made before an American audience, to show that
  the defeats suffered in a noble cause are honored in time as
  victories. So strong is our popular delusion on this point, that few
  of the common people can be found willing to believe that we were
  actually defeated at Bunker Hill. It was our "first battle." All honor
  to all such!

  [31] I cannot allude to the subject of Intelligence-offices without
  saying, that all such institutions ought to be brought, in some _new_
  and _effective_ manner, under public supervision and control.

  A private Intelligence-office, kept in the superintendent's own house,
  cannot be interfered with, unless it can be proved a nuisance; and how
  difficult it is to abate a nuisance I need not tell anybody who has
  ever tried the experiment.

  The keeper of a General or Public Intelligence-office makes
  application for a license to the city government, sustained by a
  certain number of respectable vouchers, and pays, I believe, a yearly
  fee of one dollar.

  This looks fair enough; and, if every officer of the city government,
  from the lowest police-officer to the mayor, were immaculate, it would
  be so; but we all know what the fact is. It is an open secret, that,
  in all our largest cities, the marts of vice are stocked from these
  places, and that they serve the purposes of bad men better than houses
  of professedly vicious resort. One of the most excellent and
  respectable women I know, who superintends one of these offices, told
  me herself that four women made assignations on her premises, and went
  out of her office to keep them, without her having power to prevent
  it. She proved the correctness of her suspicions by employing one of
  her vouchers to watch the result. If this happens under the eyes of
  the virtuous and vigilant, what _may_ not happen when the head of the
  establishment is in the pay of interested parties? I do not know in
  what way this wickedness can be broken up; but, in the words of Dr.
  Gannett, "what _must_ be done, can be." Is it not a terrible thought,
  that fashionable women and tender girls should supply themselves with
  servants from the very brink of that hell they believe they have never
  touched? Is it not a far more terrible thought, that an innocent
  stranger cannot seek her daily bread without running the risk of
  certain perdition? How real these possibilities are, there are those
  in this city able to testify.

  Ought not the ministers at large, of all denominations, and our
  overseers of the poor, to unite in prompt and efficient action in this









                         "Kind gentlemen, your pains
    Are registered where every day I turn
    The leaf to read them."

    "Some reasons of this double coronation
    I have possessed you with, and think them strong."
    "Why do you bend such solemn brows on me?
    Have I commandment on the pulse of life?"
    _King John._

    "According to the fair play of the world,
    Let me have audience. I am sent to speak."
    _King John._

                         "Let this be copied out,
    And keep it safe for our remembrance.
    Return the precedent to these lords again."
    _King John._




    "It was not Zeus who uttered this decree,
    Or Justice, dwelling with the gods below:
    Nor did I think thy will such power possessed,
    That thou, a mortal, could o'errule the laws
    Unwritten and immovable of God."
                                  _Antigone_: SOPHOCLES.

    "We seldom doubt that something in the large
    Smooth order of creation, though no more
    Than haply a man's footstep, has gone wrong."
                                          E.B. BROWNING.

    "The law of God, positive law and positive morality, sometimes
    _coincide_, sometimes _do not coincide_, and sometimes
    _conflict_."--JOHN AUSTIN: _Province of Jurisprudence Defined_.

"Of Law, no less can be said than that her seat is the bosom of God; her
voice, the harmony of the spheres. All things in heaven and earth do her
reverence; the greatest as needing her protection, the meanest as not
afraid of her power."

In reading this magnificent and well-known sentence from Hooker, the
imagination is easily kindled to a divine prescience. We accept the
definition. Fair before us rise the graceful proportions of eternal
order in society, upon which wait present peace and future progress;
towards which those bow most reverently who live most purely and see
most clearly. But alas! if the reader be a woman, her heart may well
sink when the enthusiasm of the moment has passed; and she must ask,
with a feeling somewhat akin to displeasure, "Of _what_ law realized on
earth, administered in courts, dealt out from legislatures or
parliaments, from republics or autocrats, were these sublime words

Where in the soft shadows of Oriental hareems, in the gloom of Hindoo
caves, Egyptian pyramids, or Attic porches, sculptured by divinest art,
and luminous with marbles of every hue; where in the porticos echoing to
Roman stoicism, or the baths floating on Roman license; where in the
saloons of French society, or by the hearths of good old England; where,
alas! in the free States of America, whether North or South,--has a
system of law prevailed that women could think of, without blasphemy, as
sitting in the bosom of God, and so entitled to the reverence of man?

We outgrow all things. Always the new patch breaks the fabric of the old
garment; always the new wine shatters the well-dried leathern pouch
which held the vintage of our ancestors. But most of all do we outgrow,
have we outgrown, our laws. They fall back, dead letters, into the abyss
of that past from which we have emerged. We put new laws upon the
statute-book, and do not pause to wipe out the old; finding our
protection in the public feeling and the public progress, if not in the
traditions of the elders.

This, and this only, saves old systems from violent demolition. Were the
State of Connecticut at this moment to attempt to put in force such of
the blue-laws as are technically unrepealed, she would be met by the
open rebellion of her highest officer; and the chief-justice who should
attempt to fine a bishop for kissing his wife on Sunday might shake
hands cordially with the chief-justice who once ruled that a man might
beat his wife with a stick no bigger than his thumb!

The laws which relate to woman are based, for the most part, on a very
old and a very Oriental estimate of her nature, her powers, and her
divinely ordained position. We shall see this, if we follow the course
of legal enactments or religious prohibitions from the beginning. When
the subject of Woman's Civil Rights first came to be considered, it was
customary to quote from the scholars one of the sayings of Vishnu Sarma:
"Every book of knowledge which is known to Oosana or to Vreehaspatee is
by nature implanted in the understandings of women."

Nobody asked what sort of knowledge was known to these two deities; but
most readers took it for granted that it was divine: and ordinary people
asked why, if society began with this reverent faith, we had nothing
better now than the practical scepticism of priest and lawyer. When the
names of these two deities were translated into Venus and Mercury (that
is, into _love_ and _cunning_), the announcement seemed more in keeping
with the subsequent revelations of Vishnu Sarma:--

     "Women, at all times," he says, "have been inconstant, even among
     the Celestials."

     "Woman's _virtue_ is founded upon a modest countenance, precise
     behavior, rectitude, and a _deficiency of suitors_."

     "In infancy, the father should guard her; in youth, her husband; in
     old age, her children: for at no time is a woman fit to be trusted
     with liberty."

     "Infidelity, violence, deceit, envy, extreme avarice, a total want
     of good qualities, with impurity, are the innate faults of

These extracts will throw some light, perhaps, upon the knowledge of
Oosana and Vreehaspatee, and will save modern women from any very strong
desire to restore the "good old rule." After such a commentary on this
seeming compliment, we shall not think it strange, that, in a country
where dialect is the exponent of condition, the most ancient drama
represents the Hindoo wife as addressing her lord and master in the
dialect of a slave.

"It is proper," says an ancient Hindoo scripture, "for every woman,
after her husband's death, to burn herself in the fire with his corpse."
I quote this saying here only to advert to the power of public opinion,
which has been strong enough for ages to compel this sacrifice. But for
it, many a woman, who had been burnt during her whole conjugal life in
the fires of tyranny, self-will, and arrogant dominion, might have
hailed with joy the hour of her release. Under it, such a woman went
calmly to the new martyrdom.

An ancient Chinese writer tells us, that the newly married woman should
be but an echo in the house. Her husband may strike her, starve her,
nay, even _let her out_! Such was the spirit of most Oriental custom and
law. It has crossed the Ural; so that Köhl, the German traveller, tells
us that a Turk blushes and apologizes when he mentions his wife, as if
he had been guilty of a needless impertinence. The same thing is
reported of one of the Sclavic tribes, among whom it may have been
borrowed from their Ottoman conquerors.

In the "London Quarterly" for October, 1860, we are told that the
convent of Nuestra Senhora da Ajuda in Rio was long employed for the
purpose of locking up ladies whose husbands were on their travels. This
has been forbidden by the present emperor.

There were, however, singular exceptions to the prevailing estimate. In
the Island of Coelebes, where the government is republican in form,
the president, and four out of six councillors, are not unfrequently
women. In the diary of the Marquess of Hastings, we are told, that among
the Garrows, a populous and independent clan in the hill country in the
north-east of India, all property and authority descend in the female
line. On the death of the mother, the bulk of the possessions goes to
the favorite daughter, _so_ designated, without regard to primogeniture
in her lifetime. The widower has a stipend settled on him at the time of
marriage, and a moderate portion is given to each daughter. The sons are
expected to support themselves. A woman, called Muhar, is the chief of
each clan. Her husband is called Muharree, and has a representative
authority, but no right to her property. Should he incline to squander
it, the clan will interfere in her behalf. When the Duke of Wellington
fought the battle of Assaye, in 1803, against the Mahrattas, a woman,
the Begum of Lumroom, belonging to the military tribe of Nairs, fought
against him at the head of her cavalry. In this tribe the succession
follows, according to the duke's report, the female line. This was on
the coast of Malabar, south of Bombay, and in what we should call the
south-western part of the Deccan. In spite of the difference in
orthography, and the statement about the north-east, I think these
stories may refer to the same clan. An orthography so variously rendered
as the East Indian is a blind guide.

Quite evident is it that the proverbs of more western and later-born
nations grew out of the estimate of Vishnu Sarma and his compeers. Look
at them:--

    "A rich man is never ugly in the eyes of a girl."
    "A beautiful woman, smiling, tells of a purse gaping."
    "Every woman would rather be handsome than good."
    "A house full of daughters is a cellar full of sour beer."
    "Three daughters and the mother are four devils for the father."
    "A man of straw is worth a woman of gold."
    "A rich wife is a source of quarrel."
    "'Tis a poor roost where the hen crows."
    "A happy couple is a husband deaf and a wife blind."

It is quite evident, I think, that men made these proverbs; and somewhat
mortifying, not to _women only_, but to our common humanity, that they
should have the run of society and the newspapers, in an age which has
given birth to Florence Nightingale, Mary Patton, and Dorothea
Dix,--women who have been born only to remind us that their counterparts
appeared a thousand years ago.

Aristophanes and Juvenal, Boileau and Churchill, turn these slanderous
proverbs into verse, if not into poetry; and, in examining the laws of
more modern times, we shall constantly trace the effect of the old
Oriental estimate. In all such examinations, we have four points to

1st, That estimate of woman on which her civil position is founded, and
those rights of property which are granted or refused to her

2d, Such laws as relate to marriage and divorce.

3d, Such laws or customs as keep woman out of office, off the jury, and
refuse her all authorized legitimate interference in public affairs.

4th, Her right of suffrage.

Of these points, the discussion of such laws as relate to marriage and
divorce is alone to be restricted by any considerations of prudence. It
has never seemed to me a wise thing to open needlessly this discussion;
and the opening of it by women is needless, while they are in no
position to discuss it equally with men. In the marriage relation,
whatever is the certain loss and misery of one sex is also the certain
loss and misery of the other. Whatever inequality and injustice
appertains to it will be best removed when the two sexes can consider it
together, like two equal and competent powers.[32] I shall advert to the
laws of marriage and divorce, only to point out mistakes or bad results
not generally perceived, and make no attempt to treat them at length.

When we consider what sort of public opinion has educated woman, what
estimate has lain at the bottom of all the laws passed concerning her,
it does not seem strange, that, after living for ages in a false
position, she should somewhat approximate to this estimate; so that we
say with pain of the mass of women, that _they themselves_ need a change
quite as much as their circumstances. It is common, in treating of this
subject, to dwell on the position of woman under the Roman law; but very
little is gained by it. We can see by the literature of the nation what
estimate was put upon woman, and what share she took in the degradation
of society; but how far this was the consequence of bad law, what
changes were wrought from the time of Justinian, not merely in law, but
in moral soundness under the law, it is not easy to tell in a country
which had neither printing-presses nor newspapers. We have only the
judgment of a few men, themselves law-makers, to rely upon; and their
opinions had a very limited circulation in their lifetime, and could not
be tested by any cotemporaneous verdict. It is in vain that we listen to
testimony when no competent witnesses appear on the "other side." Women,
however, ought always to remember to whom they owe the changes made in
Justinian's time. The life of Theodora is yet to be written. The
scandalous anecdotes of a secret history must some day be balanced by
the public testimony of Procopius, and some good be told of the woman
whose first thought, when raised to empire, was for the companions of
her previous infamy, and whose influence over her husband never
faltered, and is visible in every modification of the laws relating to
her sex. If we could realize the corruptness of the higher classes of
society, we should not wonder at the emperor who chose his wife from the
streets; and the fact itself tells a story which he who _heeds_ need not

The laws which most directly affect us here in America are
the laws of France and England: the laws of France, because they modify
the code of Canada, Florida, and Louisiana; the laws of England, because
in her common law, recognized all over the country by all the States, we
find the basis of all that is objectionable in our legislation.

First, then, let us consider the estimate on which the French law is
based, and then its property-laws. Civil position and the right of
franchise can be disposed of in a few words the world over. "There is
one thing which is not French," said Bonaparte, as he closed a cabinet
council, while preparing his famous Code; "and that is, a woman who can
do as she pleases."

The estimate of woman in France is of a double character.

It is _low_, because marriage among the upper classes is, at the best,
only a well-made bargain.

It is _high_, because women have been encouraged to enter trade, both by
law, which protects them in their capacity as merchants, and by the
military character of the nation, which prevents men from entering

It is _low_, because throughout the provinces there are remnants of old
feudal custom, which keep her in the position of a slave. The peasant's
wife rarely sits at table: she crouches in the chimney-corner, eating
from the stew-pan; while her husband sits at the table in state before
his porringer. Yet, in another respect, this very woman helps to raise
the estimate of her sex; for she works with her husband in the field,
while a wealthier wife is often only a burden. Like him, she is exposed
to all the changes of the weather. Pregnancy does not save her from the
plough or the vintage. While her husband rests at noon, she must nurse
her babe or prepare his meal.

In most countries, it is desirable to turn the thoughts of women away
from love, and give them some healthier occupation. In France, it would
be well to stimulate the affections, because covetousness, a desire of
worldly position, or splendid wealth, is the main motive to a marriage.
With us, love constitutes the whole life of many a woman; while it may
be only an episode in that of her husband.

In France, even woman seldom loves, but marries to establish herself in
life. It is against this greed that she needs to be cautioned, _not_
against that emotion and sentiment which God meant should be both a
safeguard and a blessing. _Love_ must rescue woman from vanity,
self-indulgence, and empty show. Only through its divine power will she
come to perceive the true nature of that shameful bargain, by which she
surrenders what is most precious to appease the thirst of society. If we
would save and serve humanity _here_, we must let natural
susceptibilities have their full play.

At the same time, the business freedom which women enjoy in France has
led many women to reflect thoroughly and act vigorously. The reading
world is deluged with books relating to woman,--her education, her
labor, and her civil rights. Out of this condition of things spring a
class who long to share the sorrow and responsibility as well as the joy
of liberty. They will not accept the tenderness and pity of such men as
Michelet, who veil a profound sensualism with the graces of an affected
sentimentality. Sometimes, like George Sand, these women break loose
from social ties, test the world for themselves, and, when they have
squeezed the orange which looked so tempting, show to others the empty,
bitter rind, and return gladly to the daily bread of Divine Ordinance.
Once, in Rosa Bonheur, fresh and wise, energetic and vigorous, the
French woman has challenged the attention of the civilized world. With
no womanish weaknesses, frank, loyal, and endowed with a serious and
reflective nature, this artist has asked no leave to be of church or
society. "I have no patience," she once said, "with women who ask
permission to think. Let women establish their claims by great and good
works, and not by conventions." She took the whole world in her two
brave woman's hands, _found_ her inheritance, and resolved to enjoy it.

It is in France, too, that Clara Demars thinks out all the psychological
relations of love and marriage, and reminds us of Mrs. John Stuart Mill,
by saying that "truth will never reign over the world, nor between the
sexes, until, by being set free, woman loses all temptation to

There, too, Flora Tristan provokes a smile by echoing in prose the
rhythmic platitudes of Mr. Coventry Patmore, and claiming, not
_equality_, but sovereignty and autocracy, for woman.

There Pauline Roland boldly claims that marriage shall never be
tolerated, till man as well as woman is compelled to keep the law of

There Madame Moniot claims her civil rights from the lecturer's desk;
and Désirée Gay, interesting herself practically in the question of
woman's labor, rules the women of the national workshops.

When both sides of this picture are studied; when we look back, on the
one hand, to Marie Antoinette and Madame Récamier, and, on the other, to
Madame Roland, Madame de Staël, and Marie de Lamourous,--it is not
strange that the fanciful protectorship of such men as Michelet should
be balanced by a claim, made not only by Talleyrand, but Condorcet, for
woman's full equality as a laborer and a citizen. And this varying and
inconsistent estimate of woman, made evident in the social, industrial,
and literary spheres of France, is strangely sustained by her legal
enactments. The "Code Napoléon" is founded on the Roman, and is very
similar to the English common law, so far as it concerns woman: but
beside this law, which is called, in reference to married women, the
_dotal_, there is another, called the _communal_; and, before marriage,
parties may choose between these two. That contract once signed, they
must abide by their choice ever after. If the dotal law is founded on
Roman law and usage, and so came naturally enough to prevail in Southern
France until the time of the Revolution; so the communal law prevailed
at the North, and is founded on the German habits and laws, beneath
which always lay the idea, that, if not technically a laborer, the wife,
by care and industry,--the thrift of the housewife,--contributed to the
acquisition of property.

It is very singular that all the nations of Continental Europe, with the
exception of Spain, have rejected the dotal or Roman law. The objection
to it seems to have arisen out of the fact, that it permits the wife's
property to be settled _solely_ on herself, and to be so secured against
her husband's debts. In the community of estates, the property of each
is liable for the debts of either. It was on this account, probably,
that, while the "Code Napoléon" elucidated and defined the dotal system,
it expressly provided for the right of choice in the parties, and
declared, that, if no choice were made, they should be supposed to be
living under the German or communal law.

The Dutch law is essentially the same. When the "Code Napoléon" came
into force, there were not wanting French legislators to say, that woman
was now better _protected_ than ever before. But this _legal protection_
is of a kind due only to minors and lunatics. This law, like our own,
suspects, not only the _intelligence_ of woman, but her integrity; and
aims not to protect _her_, but _man_, against her weakness or fraud. In
marriage, the husband administers for both, not only the common
property, but her personal possessions. That is to say, by _pretending
to protect it_, the law _takes away_ from woman her personal property.
It often happens, that a woman who has brought her husband a large
property is compelled to shift in narrow ways, like a beggar or a miser,
on account of his parsimony or personal ill-will.

The wife cannot give away the smallest article, not even such as have
been gifts to her: and the 934th article of the "Code Napoléon"
declares, "that the wife may not accept a gift without the consent of
her husband; or, if he should refuse, without the approbation of a
magistrate." She cannot pledge their common property, even though it
were to set her husband free when imprisoned for debt; nor, in the event
of his absence, to secure necessaries for his children, without the same
magisterial authority. Commonly, this authority would be readily
obtained; but it is easy to see that many cases might arise, when, from
defeated purposes, personal enmity, or the influence of the husband
against her, it would be all but impossible.

Even in case of bankruptcy, French legislators tell us, the rights of
the wife are protected. But this very protection is insulting; for it
treats the wife as if she must of necessity be either an inert
instrument in the hands of her husband, or a dupe, whose weakness he
might readily abuse. _Through_ such protection, the dishonest merchant
finds it easy to defraud his creditors.

Now, this "Code Napoléon" says that "the husband owes protection to his
wife; and the wife, on her side, owes obedience to her husband:" but it
goes on to secure the obedience by giving an unlimited right to the
person of the wife, without in any way providing the promised

     "The wife must live with her husband, and follow him wherever he
     sees fit to go. As for him, he must receive her, and furnish her
     with necessaries according to her wealth and rank."

Now, this clause actually constrains no one but the wife; for what would
be the condition of a woman who followed her husband against his will,
and remained _under_ his roof when he was determined that she should
quit it? Under such circumstances, his recognition of her wealth and
rank would be very apt to fall to the level of his own irritation.

The French code will interfere to protect a wife against the total loss
of her property, if she can prove _some_ loss already experienced,
either from the improvidence or the bad conduct of her husband; but it
keeps her powerless to protect herself against that first loss. Having
thus, and for such reasons, obtained a separate jurisdiction over her
property, she cannot alienate, mortgage, or acquire a title to new
property, without her unworthy husband's consent in person or on paper.
The guardianship of the children is left to the survivor of the
marriage; but the mother's right in such case may be restrained by the
father's and husband's will. He can appoint a trustee to be associated
with her. As a business woman, even if separated in estate, the wife
cannot make or dissolve a contract without the consent of her husband.

As a "public merchant" under the communal system,--that is, pledged in
_her own name_,--she is free from this restraint. As a citizen of the
French republic, she in that case supports, conjointly with her husband,
all State charges. She is taxed as much as he; for their common income
is diminished as much for one as for the other. She has no suffrage;
but, on the other hand, she is not liable for military service. She has
no rights; a state of things, which, if it be excusable when she is
absorbed into her husband's personality, is only absurd when she fulfils
all the functions of a citizen. Well may Legouvé exclaim, "that, if the
household be woman's own sphere, she ought to be queen in it; and her
own faculties should secure her this supremacy. Her opponents should be
forced, on their own principles, to emancipate her as daughter, wife,
and mother." The woman who owns an estate is, under this law, sole
mistress of it. She signs the leases and makes the bargains. She pays
the State tax, an additional rate to her own department, a town tax, and
a tax on roads. It is with her that the local or general government
treat, if they cut through her estate for public ends. Against them, if
wronged, she herself carries suit. By her influence as a proprietor, she
controls many votes; yet she is not permitted to cast one. She cannot
_directly_ control the position of the very representative who imposes
her taxes. She is in the same position with regard to all the higher
officers, who decide such questions as affect the value of her estate.
As citizen, therefore, under the communal law, her position is uncertain
and contradictory.

So much for the estimate of woman in France; and so much for the rights
of property, of marriage, and of suffrage, founded upon that estimate.
What is her _civil position_? what office or employment is open to her?
Women are better off in France, it is again said, than ever before. As
merchants, fair chances, barred by some contradictions and anomalies,
await them; but whoever ponders their condition cannot fail to see, that
here, as elsewhere, the protection afforded by the law is merely the
vigilance of a police officer, which protects the criminal, not for _her
own_ sake, but for that of society, which her very existence is supposed
to endanger.

The most desirable amelioration of her lot will be secured by the
admission of her free personality. When society strikes out from the
statute-book all distinctions of sex, and admits that she is a person
capable of thinking and acting for herself, she will lay the foundation
of a new civilization.

In France, we are told, women sometimes fill public functions. They may
be postmistresses, and inspectors of schools; or they may take charge of
the bureaus of wood or tobacco. They may also be inspectors of public
asylums,--a right and a duty of very great importance. As a public
functionary, woman fills few and inferior posts; but in these she
exercises and possesses all the rights of a man, with one
exception,--that exception, alas! the very keystone on which all human
success must rest: I mean, the right of _promotion_. Do not smile,
prompted by an unworthy apprehension of my meaning. It is _not_ because
women are more greedy or more ambitious than men that I call the right
to promotion the keystone of their success. Only small and narrow
natures can be content in a treadmill. If constant motion will not carry
her over the top of the wheel, instinct prompts the reasoning creature
to abate her efforts. No man of his own free will turns into a road
which abuts upon a stone wall. The State turnpike is better, where the
wayfarer may die by a sunstroke, or perish of a frost; where endless
miles stretch over uncultivated wastes: better; for here, at least, the
way is open, the sky overhead.

Before proceeding to speak of the English common law, it will perhaps be
well to turn from the "Code Napoléon" to the law of Louisiana, in which
the influence of the two forms of French law still shows itself. I do
not consider the laws of Canada, because they are complicated, not only
by the English common law, but by Canadian statutes, somewhat in the
spirit of our own recent enactments, and by curious archæological
remains of feudal law,--laws which would sound like the decrees of
Haroun al Raschid, were I to tax your soberness by setting them before
you. They are, let us be thankful, of small practical importance, as is
the great body of all law.[34]

In Louisiana, according to the civil code of 1824, the partnership of
gains arising during coverture exists by law in every marriage, without
express stipulation to the contrary. But the parties may regulate their
married obligations as they please, provided they do nothing immoral.
The wife's property is "dotal." What she _brings_, her paraphernalia, is
"extra-dotal." The dowry belongs to the husband during marriage; and he
has the administration of the partnership, and may alienate his revenue,
without his wife's consent: but he cannot convey the common estate. If,
before marriage, he should stipulate that there should be no
partnership, his wife preserves the entire control of her own property.
Her heirs take her separate estate; even money received by her husband
on her account. If there be no agreement as to the expenses, the wife
contributes one-half of her income. Her landed estate, whether dotal or
not, is not affected by his debts. She is a privileged creditor, and has
the first mortgage on his property.

If the parties have agreed to the "partnership of gains," the common
property is liable for the debts of either. On the death of either
party, one-half of the property goes to the survivor; the other, to the
heirs of the dead partner.

You will perceive that this law seems a loose mixture of the Roman or
dotal system with the German communal law, based on the partnership of
gains; but the common law takes it for granted that the partnership
exists, where there is no express stipulation to the contrary. As a
public trader, the wife may bind herself in whatever relates to her
business, without her husband's consent,--may even make a will; and
reference is made to the "Code Napoléon," in the same way, to all
appearance, that we refer to the common law of England.

The estimate of woman upon which the "Code Napoléon" is founded has the
same effect upon her earnings as the English common law. As, in
marriage, the policy has been to keep her subordinate and inferior; to
give her no privileges which should lead to independence: so, in
business, the effect of the law is to keep the price of her work down,
and give her as few escapes from household drudgery as may be; to offer
her, in fact, no _temptation_ to escape.

As polishers, burnishers, and copper-workers; as glove-makers,
enamellers, and wire-drawers; as flax-beaters and soakers; as spinners,
gauze-workers, and winders; as basket-makers, and temperers of steel; as
knife-handlers, embroiderers, and wheel-turners; as velvet-makers,
cockle-gatherers, and ivory-workers; as packers, knitters,
satin-makers, and folders; as picture-colorers, and workers in wood; as
casters, weighers, and varnishers; as shoe-makers, strap-makers,
lace-makers, and cocoon-winders,--the French employ many women; and the
estimate of the law is practically indicated, there as well as here, in
the price of the labor done.

The highest wages marked upon my list are those paid to the workers in a
porcelain factory, who received one franc and fifty centimes a day, or
thirty cents. The lowest are those paid to cockle-gatherers and
lace-makers; that is, from twenty to twenty-five centimes, or from four
to five cents a day.

The fact that the poor lace-makers, who lose their eyesight and their
lives bending over their bobbins, are paid the same wages as the
loitering girls who pick up gay cockles on the beach, shows how little
the price of the labor depends on the value of the work done, and tells
the whole story in a breath. The wages of the needlewomen of Paris have
been diminishing ever since 1847, and, according to the "Revue des Deux
Mondes," now average only from twenty to twenty-five cents a day.


  [32] Of course, I do not mean to be understood here as objecting to
  any temperate and earnest attempt by men or women to _amend law_.

  [33] It will easily be conjectured that I do not feel competent to
  treat the great subject of Roman legislation for women, in the noble
  and extended manner which is at once, as it seems to me, necessary and
  possible. Perhaps I shall never become so.

  It seems to me proper, however, that I should indicate my
  dissatisfaction with existing methods in the clearest manner, and drop
  a few hints, as I do in the text, as to the difficulties in the way.

  Roman sepulchral inscriptions, of the era generally considered the
  most licentious, bear witness in the fullest manner to the existence
  of chastity and domestic virtue. A sepulchral inscription, it may be
  argued, is a poor witness to facts. I would suggest in reply, that a
  nation ceases to commemorate the virtue which has ceased to exist, or
  which it has, through a general depravity of manners, ceased to

  [34] The great body of all law is of small practical importance,
  because, in spite of the five points of Calvinism and the long faces
  of many bearded philosophers, the majority of mankind not only _obey_
  the law, but transcend it,--do better than it requires. It is only the
  few who transgress; and thus many absurdities are never or very rarely
  dragged into the light of a "decision."



          "And we, perusing o'er these notes,
    May know wherefore we took the sacrament,
    And keep our faiths firm and inviolable."
    _King John._

In approaching the subject of English common law, we come nearer to our
own special interests. Twenty years ago, I am safe, I think, in
presuming that this law was the basis of all our legislation in regard
to woman, if we except that in French or Spanish territory; and, in
criticising its provisions, I shall criticise all that is objectionable,
whether in the laws that have been changed, or in the laws that remain
to be changed, in our own States.

If we were to examine the literature of England with reference to this
subject, we should probably find from the beginning many protests
against the present position of woman. It is never safe, for instance,
to assume what poets may or may _not_ have said. If Dryden could get so
far as to say that there is "no sex in souls," one would think the
gentle Chaucer and heavenly-minded Daniel doubtless discerned still
deeper things; but of lawyers we may say with some truth, that their
early protests were so quietly made as scarcely to be recognized, or
were made for the most part by unread and anonymous writers.

In the "Lawe's Resolution of Woman's Rights," published in the year
1632, there seems to be a distinct recognition of the true nature of the

     "The next thing that I will show you," says the author, "is _this_
     particularity of law. In this consolidation which we call wedlock
     is a locking together. It is true, that man and wife are one
     person; but understand in what manner. When a small brooke or
     little river incorporateth with Rhodanus, Humber, or the Thames,
     the poore rivulet looseth her name; it is carried and recarried
     with the new associate; it beareth no sway; it possesseth nothing
     during coverture. A woman, as soon as she is married, is called
     _covert_; in Latine, _nupta_,--that is, 'veiled;' as it were,
     clouded and overshadowed: she hath lost her streame. I may more
     truly, farre away, say to a married woman, Her new self is her
     superior; her companion, her master."

     Still farther: "Eve, because she had helped to seduce her husband,
     had inflicted upon her a special bane. See here the reason of that
     which I touched before,--that women have no voice in Parliament.
     They make no laws, they consent to none, they abrogate none. All of
     them are understood either married or to be married, and their
     desires are to their husbands. I know no remedy, though some women
     can shift it well enough. The common lawe here shaketh hand with

In this plain statement of the old black-letter book lies the root of
the evil with which we contend: "All of them are married or to bee
married, and their desires are to their husbands." Woman, single,
widowed, or pursuing an independent vocation, never seems to have
entered the head of the law, as a possible monster worth providing for.
The world of that day believed in the _sea-serpent_, but not in her.
This book, "The Lawe's Resolution of the Rights of Woman," was, so far
as I know, first brought under our notice by Mrs. Bodichon's quotation,
in her "Brief Summary of the English Law." Then a few copies found their
way to this country, and into the hands of curious persons. People began
to wonder who wrote the quaint old book. In pleading before our own
Legislature in the spring of 1858, I was myself asked by the committee
who was its author; and I think it but right to rescue from oblivion the
probable name of this early friend to woman and justice. It is always
difficult to trace an anonymous book, and, this time, more difficult
than usual, as it was probably published _after_ its author's death.

Sir John Doderidge, to whom my attention was directed by an eminent
antiquarian, was an able lawyer, and an industrious compiler of
law-books of a special kind. He was from Devonshire, and admitted as a
barrister in 1603. He was successively appointed Solicitor-General,
Judge of the Common Pleas and of the King's Bench. Among the works known
to be his, yet not commonly included in the list of his works, are the
"Lawyer's Light," published in 1629; and "The Complete Parson," with the
laws relating to advowsons and livings, in 1670,--books of the same
class, character, and appearance as the "Lawe's Resolution."

As he died in 1628, I was at first inclined to suspect the fairness of
this inference: but a further examination showed that all his
publications were _posthumous_; which accounts, perhaps, for the
_candor_ of their covert satire. A few particulars of his life and
standing may be gained from the new Life of Lord Bacon, where Hepworth
Dixon says that "the Solicitor-Generalship, vacant once more, is given,
over Francis Bacon's head, to Sir John Doderidge, Serjeant of the Coif."
In 1606, when Sir Francis Gawdy dies, "Coke goes up to the bench; and
Doderidge, the Solicitor-General, ought, by the custom of the law, to
follow Coke, leaving the post of Solicitor void: but Cecil raises Sir
Henry Hobart, his obscure Attorney of the Court of Wards, over both
Doderidge and Bacon's head, to the high place of Attorney-General."
Since that day, Bentham and Catharine Macauley, Mary Wollstonecraft, and
John Stuart Mill, have made the same complaint; sustaining it, however,
by vigorous argument for woman's full emancipation, and a demand for the
right of suffrage.

Let us look at this English law. So far as it affects _single_ women, it
is very simple.

A single woman has the same rights of property as a man; that is, she
may get and keep, or dispose of, whatever she can. She has a right, like
man, to the protection of the law, and has to pay the same taxes to the

"Duly qualified," she may _vote_ on parish questions and for parish
officers; and "duly qualified," in England, means that she shall have a
certain amount of property, and so a vested interest in the prosperity
of her parish. If her parents die without a will, she shares equally
with her brothers in the division of the personal property; but her
eldest brother and his issue, even if female, will take the real estate
as heirs-at-law. If she be an only child, she inherits both personal and
real, and becomes immediately that most pitiable of creatures, an

The church and all state offices are closed to women. They find some
employment in rural post-offices; but there is no important office they
can hold, if we except that of sovereign. This is sometimes spoken of as
an inconsistency; but if we reflect upon the position of a
constitutional sovereign, whose speeches are the work of her minister,
and whose actions indicate the average conscience of a cabinet council,
we shall find her legally but very little more independent than other
women technically classed with minors and idiots.

There have been a few women governors of prisons, overseers of the poor,
and parish clerks; but public opinion still effectually bars most women
from seeking or accepting office.

The office of Grand Chamberlain was filled by two women in 1822. That of
Clerk of the Crown, in the Court of Queen's Bench, has been granted to a
female; and, in a certain parish of Norfolk, a woman was recently
appointed parish clerk, because, in a population of six hundred souls,
no man could be found able to read and write!

In an action at law, it has been determined that an unmarried woman,
having a freehold, might vote for members of Parliament. Mr. Higginson
tells us that a certain Lady Packington returned two.

In all periods, there have been women who have held exceptional
positions, under peculiar influence of wealth or rank or circumstances;
and though this has not affected the position of other women, or given
them any more freedom, yet it is valuable in itself, because it has kept
the _possibility_ of their employment always open, and acted like a
practical protest against the law.

The Countess of Pembroke was hereditary Sheriff of Westmoreland, and
exercised her office. In the reign of Queen Anne, Lady Rous did the
same, "girt with a sword." Henry VIII. once granted a commission of
inquiry, under the great seal, to Lady Anne Berkeley, who opened it at
Gloucester, and passed sentence under it.

Some of the old legal writers averred, that a woman might serve in
almost any of the great offices of the kingdom. Lately we find it stated
that a woman may be elected as constable, since she can _hire a man_ to
serve for her; but she may _not_ be elected overseer of the poor,
because, in this case, substitution, if not impossible, would be

What were the peculiar political excitements which enabled Lady
Packington to return two members of Parliament, we are not told; but it
is quite certain that women of twenty-one, duly qualified, cannot and do
not vote for members of Parliament by virtue of that decision. In rural
districts, where personal influence weighed a good deal, such a vote
might be courteously winked at. A woman of property and standing, in
Nova Scotia, has in this manner, for more than forty years, cast her
annual vote, without rebuke or interruption; but, should any _number_ of
women act on this precedent, a legal restraint would doubtless be laid.

No single woman, having been seduced, has any remedy at common law;
neither has her mother nor next friend. If her father can prove
_service_ rendered, he may sue for loss of service.

In what "bosom of divinitye" does this law rest? Here is a remedy for
the loss of a few hours, but no penalty held up _in terrorem_, to warn
man that he may not trifle with honor, womanly purity, and childish
ignorance or innocence.

In the eye of this law, female chastity is only valuable for the work it
can do. It must not be thought, however, that the English common law
stands alone in this moral deformity. Under the French law, female
chastity does not seem of any worth, even in consideration of the work
it can do. In honest indignation, Legouvé exclaims,--

     "Let a man, who has seduced a child of fifteen years by a promise
     of marriage, be brought before a magistrate. He has under the law a
     right to say, 'There is my signature, it is true; but I deny it. A
     debt of the heart is void before the law.'"

Thus everywhere, in practice and theory, in society and in law, for rich
and poor, is public purity abandoned,--the bridle thrown upon the neck
of all restive and depraved natures.

Manufacturers seduce their work-people; the heads of workshops refuse to
employ girls who will not sell themselves, soul and body, to them;
masters corrupt their servants. Out of 5,083 lost women counted by
Duchâtelet at Paris in 1830, there were 285 domestic servants seduced,
and afterwards dismissed by their employers. Commission-merchants,
officers, students, deceive the poor girls from the province or the
country, drag them to Paris, and leave them to perish. At all the great
centres of industry, as at Rheims and at Lille, are societies organized
to recruit the houses of sin in Paris.

This is well known to be true of all the large English towns; yet the
law is powerless, and philanthropy interferes with no other result than
that of driving these societies from one post to another.

Can women be expected to believe that the law would be powerless, if
there were a sound public opinion behind it to sustain the law; if there
were any _desire_ on the part of the majority of men that it should be
sustained? "Punish the young girl, if you will," continued Legouvé;
"but punish also the man who has ruined her. She is already
punished,--punished by desertion, punished by dishonor, punished by
remorse, punished by nine months of suffering, punished by the charge of
a child to be reared. Let him, then, be struck in his turn. If not, it
is no longer public modesty that you defend: it is the 'lord paramount,'
the vilest of the rights of the 'seigneur.'"

In the laws which regard single women, we object, then,--

1. To the withholding of the elective franchise.

2. To the law's preference of males, and the issue of males, in the
division of estates.

3. We object to the estimate of woman which the law sustains, which
shuts her out from all public employment, for many branches of which she
is better fitted than man.

4. We object to that estimate of woman's chastity which makes its
existence or non-existence of importance only as it affects the comfort
or income of man.

We do not mean that the present _interpretation_ of the common law does
not _sometimes_ show a more liberal estimate than the law itself, but
rather that the existence of this law, unrepealed, _unchristianized_, is
a forcible restraint upon the progress of society.

"A legal fiction," says Maine in his "Ancient Law," "signifies any
assumption which conceals, or affects to conceal, the fact, that a rule
of law has undergone alteration, its _letter_ remaining unchanged, while
its operation is modified." Such fictions may be useful in the infancy
of society; but, like absurd formulas and embarrassing technicalities,
they should give way before advancing common sense, before the
diffusion of general intelligence and a common-school system, which is
destined to qualify the humblest man for a full understanding of the law
under which he lives.

We have now to consider the laws concerning _married women_. "On
whatsoever branch of jurisprudence may lie the charge," says a late
reviewer, "of working the heaviest sum of suffering, perhaps we shall
not err in saying that the sharpest and cruellest pangs are those which
have been inflicted by our marriage-laws." In making our abstracts, we
have need to avoid the absurd complications which confuse, not only
simple-minded people, but lawyers themselves; and, to avoid any charge
of ignorance or mistake, we will, as far as possible, adopt the language
of Mrs. Bodichon's "Summary," which has stood for six years before the
English public without impeachment.

We shall not discuss the question, as to what constitutes fitness for
marriage in the eye of the law. In Scotland and in England, the consent
of the parties is said to be the "essence of marriage;" but, alas! in
how many cases is this "consent" taken for granted only, it being, in
fact, the most baseless of legal fictions!

In commenting on the English law as compared with the Scotch, the
reviewer adds, "A code so unsatisfactory, so unsettled, and by every
alteration coming so palpably near to their own system, is one which
Scotchmen may be pardoned for declining further to consider, and which
certainly they cannot be expected to recognize as the model to which
their own should be conformed."

The rule of the English law was, at the institution of the Divorce
Court, that the wife should have the same domicile as her husband, and
that within English territory. A dishonest domicile barred her claim to
divorce; and the husband who abandoned his wife, and fixed his residence
abroad, effectually bound her to him. Justice has of late been done,
because it was justice, heedless of the question of domicile.

There are in relation to this subject many provisions which wrong men
and women alike; and, if there are any which especially wrong woman,
they wrong man in a still higher degree through her. As an example of
the former class, we may take the impossibility of release from a
hopelessly insane partner, which makes the point of the wonderful story
of "Jane Eyre."

Now, several things are quite evident to the eye of common sense:--

_First_, That the insane partner should be properly provided for during
life, in the upper classes, by the sane partner; in the lower, by the
parish or state.

_Second_, That as it is a sin against God and society to bring children
into the world, born of a hopelessly insane parent; so, on the other
hand, it is a sin against God and society to compel any man or woman to
a life of hopeless celibacy.

_Third_, That, if the law does use this compulsion, it is responsible
for the vicious connections that inevitably grow out of it; "_car les
mauvaises lois produisent les mauvaises moeurs_."[35] I should not
turn aside from my main point to consider this, even for a moment, if it
were not a striking instance of the want of common _sense_ which
afflicts the common _law_, and if I had not in my own experience been
made aware of its frightful results. Within the limits of one small
parish in the city of Toronto, Canada West, I found four instances in
which men of the middle class had taken the right of divorce into their
own hands, and were illegally married a second time. These persons, if
not markedly religious, were respectable, orderly members of society,
living properly in their families, supporting the wives they had left,
and justifying the course they had taken. Two of them had left England
on account of the hopeless insanity of their wives, and two on account
of their hopeless immorality; the latter, cases in which the law would
have granted a divorce, but at an expense which the husband could not
pay. When I first heard this account of one person, I resented it as a
slander, and went to console the afflicted wife, who was overwhelmed by
the supposed rumor.

The husband met me at the door, with an honest, unabashed, but
distressed face. "Don't deny it to her," said he. "I never committed but
one sin, and that was when I kept it from her. She was a sweet, pious
creature; and I feared she would not consent."

This man told me that he sent six hundred dollars yearly to his insane
wife; that this kept her better than he could afford to keep himself and
his family: "but," said he, "her station was always higher than mine."

In the other cases, the men had told their stories, and the wives had
consented to the arrangement. It is obvious, that, if a wife wished to
withdraw from a husband in this manner, she could not do it, on account
of property restrictions, and the common unfitness for self-support.[36]

In the marriage of a minor, the consent of the father, or of a guardian
appointed by him, is necessary, but _not_ that of the _mother_: another
indication of the estimate the law puts upon woman, as compared with
man; and this estimate, whenever and wherever it shows itself, has the
effect to depress every woman's desire to fit herself to be a good
citizen; and, when she fails in citizenship, man must fail also, as is
ably shown by De Tocqueville.

"A hundred times in the course of my life," he says, "I have seen weak
men display public virtue because they had beside them wives who
sustained them in this course, not by counselling this or that action in
particular, but by exercising a fortifying influence on their views of
duty and ambition. _Oftener still_, I have seen domestic influence
operating to transform a man, naturally generous, noble, and unselfish,
into a cowardly, vulgar, and ambitious self-seeker, who thought of his
country's affairs only to see how they could be turned to his own
private comfort or advancement; and this simply by daily contact with an
honest woman, a faithful wife, a devoted mother, from whose mind the
grand notion of public _duty_ was entirely absent."[37]

A man and wife are one person in law: _a wife loses all her rights_ as a
single woman. Her husband is legally responsible for her acts: so she is
said to live under his cover. A woman's body belongs to her husband. She
is in his custody, and he can enforce his right by a writ of _habeas

_This last_ is one of the points in which the public feeling is so far
before the law, that the latter could never be wholly enforced.

If a woman were unlawfully restrained of her liberty, her husband might
take advantage of a _habeas corpus_ to get possession of her; but it is
not probable that any court, in England or this country, would _now_
grant one to compel a wife to live with her husband against her will.
Still, the estimate of the marriage relation which such laws sustain is
so low, that one never can tell what will happen.

In the year 1858, a curious but _unintentional_ satire on the judicial
position of the husband occurred in one of the London courts. A
delicate, much-abused woman, unmarried, but who had been, in her own
phrase, "living for some time" with a man, brought an action against him
for assault. Erysipelas had inflamed her wounds, and endangered her

"Had she died, sirrah," said the magistrate, addressing the criminal,
"you must have taken your trial for murder. What have you to say in your

"I was in liquor, sir," pleaded the man. "I gave her some money to go to
market. I told her to look sharp; but she was gone more than an hour,
your worship: so, when she came back, I--I was in liquor, your honor."

The magistrate leaned over his desk, and, speaking in the most
impressive manner, thus endeavored to cut short the defence:--

"This woman is not your slave, man. She is not accountable to you for
every moment of her time. She is not," he continued with increasing
fervor, but a growing embarrassment,--"she is not--she is not"--

He paused; but the throng of wretched women who crowded the court
interpreted the pause aright, and were not likely to forget the lesson.

A suppressed titter ran through the court: for every married man knew
that the words, "she is not your wife," were those which had sprung
naturally to the worthy magistrate's lips; and must have passed them,
had not honest shame prevented.

The man then attempted to defend himself on the ground of jealousy: but
this was instantly set aside; the unmistakable impression left on the
mind of the court-room being, that the illegality of the relation was
wholly in the woman's favor.

Since the war, freed-women at Beaufort, S.C., have refused marriage for
this very reason.

Women long ago understood this, and literary gossip gives us a late
instance in a maiden aunt of Sir Charles Morgan. This woman, descended
from Morgan the buccaneer, has more than once turned the scales of an
Irish election. When she once arrested a robber on her own premises, and
held him fast till the arrival of an officer, the gentlemen of the
neighborhood advised her not to prosecute.

"It is well known," they argued, "that you refuse to employ a single
man on your premises, and you may be marked out for the revenge of the

"Justice is justice," she exclaimed in reply; "and the villain shall go

It was quite natural that we should find this woman telling Lady
Caroline Lamb that no _man_ should ever have legal rights over her, or
her property. A wife's money, jewels, and clothes become absolutely her
husband's; and he may dispose of them as he pleases, whether he and his
wife live together or not. Her chattels real--that is, estates held for
a term of years--and presentations of church livings become absolutely
his; but, if she survive him, she may resume them.

Under such a common law as this, it is not surprising to find something
needed which is called _equity_. Therefore, if a wife, on her marriage,
gives all her property to her husband, the said _equity_ (Heaven save
the mark!) will, under certain circumstances, oblige him to make a
settlement upon her. That is, when the wife has an interest in property
which can only be reached by the husband through a court of equity, that
court will aid him to enjoy it, _only_ on condition that such part as it
thinks proper shall be settled on the wife.

The civil courts in England cannot compel a man to support his wife:
_that_ is left to the action of the church, and her own parish.

A husband has a freehold estate in his wife's lands as long as they both

Money earned by a married woman belongs absolutely to her husband.

By her husband's particular permission, she may make a will; but he may
revoke his permission at any time before probate,--that is, before the
will is exhibited and proved,--even if _after_ the wife's death.

The custody of a child belongs to the father. The mother has no right of
control. The father may dispose of it as he sees fit. If there be a
legal separation, and no special order of the court, the custody of the
children (except the nutriment of infants) belongs legally to the

_Except the nutriment of infants!_ Here is a hint from the good God
himself. Should we not think, that the first time these words were
written down, and men were compelled to see the natural dependence of
the child upon the mother,--to detect the obvious laws of nurture,
natural and spiritual,--the right of a good mother to her child would
have made itself clear?

Yet, to this day, there are many States of our own Union where a mother
can better authenticate her right to a negro slave than to the young
daughter who is bone of her bone, and flesh of her flesh!

If the direct influence of Christianity did not, in some measure, modify
the influence of the law in social life, there would be no such thing as
a mother's exercising maternal authority over a son. No matter how wise,
how old, how experienced, she may be, she never possesses, in the eye
of the law, the dignity of a boy who has just attained his majority.
Sufficiently instructed in legal maxims, he can always resist her, under
the influence of the most besotted or unprincipled of fathers.

The word of a married woman is not binding in law, and persons who give
her credit have no remedy against her.

The moral results of such a law are sufficiently obvious, not only in
England, but in our own country. The statute-book does not, cannot,
stand absolved, because public opinion in the present day abhors and
contemns the woman who assists her husband to defraud his creditors, or
takes refuge from her own debts behind this disgraceful cover. Yet, if
the law gives her husband her property, it ought surely to hold _him_
responsible for her debts. And this is what society calls _protection_!

As a wife is always presumed to be under the control of her husband
(numerous instances to the contrary notwithstanding), she is not
considered guilty of any crime which she commits in his presence.

When a woman has consented to a proposal of marriage, she cannot give
away the smallest thing. If she do so without her betrothed husband's
consent, the gift is illegal; and, after marriage, he may avoid it as a
fraud on him: a strong temptation to any woman, one would think, to give
away her all. You see here what estimate the law puts on property, as
an inducement to marriage. This provision evidently grew out of the
exigencies of the time, when marriage among the Anglo-Saxons was a
_pure_ matter of bargain.

As a protection against the common law, it is usual to have some
settlement of property made upon the wife; and, in respect to _this_
property, the courts of equity regard her as a single woman. Such
settlements are very intricate, and should be made by an experienced

The wife's property belonging to the husband, should her scissors,
thimble, or petticoats be stolen, the indictment must describe either of
these articles as his!

Of divorce it is only necessary to say, that a divorce from the bonds of
matrimony in England could be obtained only by act of Parliament; the
right of investigation resting with the House of Lords alone. Until the
passage of the New Divorce Bill, only three such divorces had ever been
granted to a woman's petition. The expense of the most ordinary bill was
between three and four thousand dollars.

Nor need we dwell long on such laws as relate to _widows_. You may be
interested to hear, that, _after_ her husband's death, the widow
recovers her right to her own clothes and jewels; also that the law does
not compel her to bury him, that being the duty of his legal

The indignation which we might naturally feel at the suggestion that a
wife _could_ forsake her unburied dead, cools a little as the law goes
on to state, that a husband _can_, of _course_, deprive a wife of all
share in his personal estate. Very graciously, also, the widow is
permitted to remain forty days in her husband's house, provided that she
do not _re_-marry within that time!

The result of a great deal of reading of a great many law-books is only
this,--that we are more firmly convinced than ever, that the most
necessary reform is a simple erasure from the statute-book of whatever
recognizes distinctions of sex. You should make woman, in the eye of the
law, what she has always been in the eye of God,--a responsible human
being; and make laws which such beings, male or female, can obey.

Even Christian, in his edition of Blackstone, said long ago, that there
was no reason why civil rights should be refused to single women. In
every respect but this, the single woman is independent; but let her
take to herself a husband, and the law steps in to protect her, and she
finds herself in a position of what is called "reasonable restraint." He
may give her, says Blackstone, _moderate correction_; he may adopt any
act of coercion that does not endanger life; he may beat her, but not
violently. She may, by her labor, support him: but she cannot prevent
him from bestowing her earnings, should he happen to die, upon those who
have most wronged her in life; his mistress, it may be, or his
illegitimate children. Do you tell me that men of good feeling never
act on such laws? Why, then, should men of good feeling be unwilling to
wipe them from the statute-book?

For the most part, it is upon women of the lower class that the
property-laws most hardly press. It was the suffering of this class,
years ago, when the common law of Massachusetts was the same as that of
England, that first roused my interest, and excited my indignation; but
the story which the Hon. Mrs. Norton tells us shows that this class of
women are not the _only_ sufferers.

     "I have learned the law piecemeal," she says, "by suffering all it
     could inflict. I forgave my husband's wickedness again and again,
     and found too late, that, in the eye of the law, practical
     Christianity, the forgiving unto seventy times seven, was a
     condonation which deprived me of all protection. My children were
     stolen from me, and put into the vilest custody, where one of them
     afterwards died for want of a mother's commonest care. My husband
     brought an action against his kindest friend, of whom he borrowed
     money and received office. The jury listened with disgust, and gave
     their verdict against him. Then I was told that I might _write_ for
     my bread, _or_ my family might support me. My children were kept
     away, as their residence with me would make him liable for my

     "When my mother died, and left me, through my brother, a small
     income, he balanced the first payment by arbitrarily stopping his
     own allowance. For the last three years, I have not received a
     farthing from him. He retains all my personal property which was
     left in his home, the gifts of the royal family on my marriage,
     articles bought with my own earnings, and presents from Lord
     Melbourne. He receives from my trustees the income which my father
     bequeathed to me, which the 'non-existent' wife must resign to
     the 'existent' husband.

     "I have also the power of earning by literature; but even this
     power, the gift of God, not the legacy of man, bears fruit only for
     him. Let him _subpoena_ my publishers, and enjoy his triumph: he
     has shown me that I was not meant to write novels and tales, but to
     rouse the nation against such men as he, and such laws as they
     sustain. Let him eat the bread I earn; but it shall be bought with
     the price of his own exposure. If law will not listen to me, to
     literature I will devote my power, and secure for others what I
     have not been able to secure for myself."

No wonder that provident parents circumvent such a common law by a
settlement before marriage! There is no chance for a partnership of
gains or losses in England.

As we have already said, all sexual laws ought to be wiped off the
statute-book; but the Hungarian law which was in force until 1849, when
the German law was introduced into Hungary, is a comment on the
absurdity of the English.

"No countrywoman of mine," said a proud sister of Kossuth, "would ever
submit to such a marriage settlement as is common in England." In
Hungary, inherited property could not be devised by will, and all
unmarried women were considered minors. As soon as she married, a woman
came of age, and into the full control of her estates. She could make a
will, and sign deeds; and was not responsible for her husband's debts or
the family expenses. As a widow, she was guardian of her children, and
administrator on her husband's property. So long as she bore his name,
she could exercise all his political rights. She could vote in the
county elections, and for deputies to the Diet. Trained up under such a
law, what could the Hungarian woman think who found herself for the
first time in the power of the English law?

Among the refugees whom the misfortunes of a leading Hungarian family
drove to these shores was one woman of the highest natural gifts, the
best social station. She was married to a man, handsome, accomplished,
and reckless, but hardly patriotic enough to have need to fly with her.
In the city of New York she opened a boarding-house of the highest
class, by which she strove to support herself and her children. A
fascinating hostess, a skilful manager, she succeeded, as might be
expected. Soon her improvident husband followed her. At first, he did
not attempt to annoy her; but, in time, some one was found cruel enough
to expound to him the English common law. He stared, refused to believe;
but finally entered his wife's house, seized her earnings, compelled her
boarders to pay their money into his hands, stripped her of all power to
pay her rent and provide for her family, and then took himself off,
enraptured, doubtless, with his brief experience of English and American
liberty. Stripped of peace, position, and property, the injured wife had
no longer courage to struggle. In underhand ways, to evade the unjust
law, her personal friends settled her upon a little farm, where her
shattered hopes found a short repose.

A few years ago, an American woman of captivating address gained great
reputation in Paris as a milliner. She had a profligate husband, whom
she invited to tea every Sunday, supplying him at that time with a sum
for his weekly expenses. In an evil day, seduced by promises of high
patronage, she went to London. She was very successful; but in a few
months her husband surprised her, seized all she possessed, and, turned
adrift on the streets, she went back to a country where the law would
protect her industry. Marriage has been sought only to legalize a
theft,--to apply the words of Wendell Phillips, when "_union was
robbery_." A respectable servant, who had laid by a considerable sum,
was sought in marriage by an apparently suitable person. On the day
before the marriage, she put her bank-book into his hands. After the
ceremony, he said to her, "I am not well in health, and do not feel
equal to supporting a family: you had better go back to service."
Naturally indignant, she responded, "Give me, then, my bank-book."--"I
am too feeble to spare the money," he replied. She went back to service,
and has never seen him since; but, of course, she has been often obliged
to change her name and residence to protect herself from a long
succession of extortions.

We see thus, that if a woman is able to conquer her fate, and to gain a
livelihood in spite of a dissolute or incompetent husband, her home is
not her own. Her husband's folly may, at any moment, deprive her
children of bread.

I have said that there was no woman so pitiable as an heiress. I said it
advisedly. I thought of the long persecution she must bear from
unwelcome suitors,--of all appreciation of her personality, ever so
lovely or gifted or individual, sunk, as it must be, in the mire of her

Mrs. Reid says, justly, that this money is not so much her own as a
perquisite attached to her person for the benefit of her _future
husband_; the larger portion of which will eventually pass to his heirs,
whether of her blood or not. If forced from ill treatment to leave his
roof, the law will return her but a scanty pittance.

The nature of the law itself, and that estimate of woman on which it is
based, are so identical, that we are compelled, as we turn over its
pages, to treat these two points as one.

"For one-half the human race," said Mrs. Reid years ago, "the highest
end of civilization is to _cling_ like a weed upon a wall;" a curious
instance of the power that the use of language has over a fact. There is
nothing captivating in clinging like a "weed to a wall;" but most women
are satisfied to hang like the "vine about the oak."

It is a great misfortune, that this estimate of woman not only governs
the courts in their decisions, but enters into and moulds all the
movements of society. Such an estimate leads to constant
contradictions; being, as it is, directly the opposite of the _fact_ in
so many cases, and of the Divine Will in all. In a book on woman
recently published by a lawyer in England, I found a pithy paragraph to
this point, concluding some observations on the comparative longevity of
the sexes: "The wife," he says, "_fitly survives the husband_, both to
take care of _his_ premature infirmity, and to consummate the rearing of
their offspring"!--a creative effort of the imagination which certainly
entitles the writer to the laurels of the century.

One reason that the wages of women are kept down is, that, for the most
part, women do not begin to labor early; do not devote themselves _in
youth_ to any trade or profession, so as to compete with men who have.
The plodding and steady habits of the man of business, he has acquired
in his early years; and they are developed by the fact, that he is sole
master of what he can earn, and can dispose of it as he thinks proper:
but his wife has been brought up in no such school,--has no such motive
to industry. Should she toil on for ever, she cannot possess what she
acquires, nor lay out the smallest part of it, without another's leave.
Even when man says to her with the sanction of the church and in the
presence of God, "With all my worldly goods I thee endow," it means only
that she is invited to enjoy, not possess them. This estimate of her
rights, her position, and her ability, made manifest in every law-book,
in the church itself, and obvious in every social form, discourages her
whenever she would devote herself to any lucrative employment; so that
it is only in desertion and despair, for the most part, that she becomes
a laborer. She is not always conscious of this discouragement. She
quiets the Cerberus within by a three-times-repeated "It is not proper,"
without pausing to analyze the conventional instinct. Here we find the
real significance of the proverb, "A man of straw is worth a woman of
gold;" for the "man of straw" is, at least, worth such money as he may
hereafter earn, which the "woman of gold" is not.

We hear a great deal about laws for the _protection_ of women; but we
cannot urge too often the remark of James Davis in his Prize Essay of
1854, "that all early legislation for woman was founded, not on her own
rights, but on those of her husband and children, and the _State over

When one remembers that the "seat of the law is the bosom of God," it
strikes one strangely, that moral consequences to character have so
little to do with what one may call "sexual legislation."

In speaking of the frequenting of disreputable houses, neither
Montesquieu, nor Dr. Wood in his "History of Civil Law," finds a single
word to say as to the moral degradation of the race, of the special
degradation of woman involved in it, but both grow eloquent concerning
the ruin of the State. It requires a sounder mode of thinking than most
men possess to see the relation between the ruin of the State and their
own bad habits, the loss of one man's purity. Thus the laws concerning
adultery, or divorce for that cause, bring the heaviest penalties,
social and legal, upon the head of an offending woman. The legal excuse
for this positive injustice is the safety of the family and the
State,--the great crime of imposing upon a family false representatives
of its name and honor; but a woman's brain and conscience are too clear
to rest in this masculine decision.

If a man cannot bring a false representative into _his own family_, he
can carry it into his neighbor's, when his profligate life violates the
social compact; and, as to his own family, his vices may injure it far
more than the infidelity of his wife. At the worst, her misconduct will
only bring into the shelter of his home a child who grows up protected
socially by her fraud; but, if _he_ choose to "spend his substance in
riotous living," his wife and children may, while the law gives him
exclusive right to their common property, be deserted, or driven from
their homes, to make room for those who are the companions of his guilt.
It is quite possible, it will be seen, therefore, to show another side
to this matter, in no better light than that of expediency. One canton
of Switzerland (the Canton Glarus) possesses laws in regard to such
matters, in marked contrast to those of the whole civilized world. The
consequence is, that the falsehood and crime so common elsewhere are
here unknown.[38]

"Perhaps it would be just," says Poynter on "Marriage and Divorce," in
1824,--"_perhaps_ it would be just, that where the husband violates the
matrimonial compact, and the property originally belonged to the wife,
he should give back the whole of it. Courts, however, have never gone
that length."

One would think, nevertheless, that husbands themselves might go that
length, and that men who aspire to the credit of decency would be
ashamed to eat the bread of her they have betrayed and wounded. How is
it that they have deceived themselves from the beginning, and have
fancied that God requires of woman a fidelity and purity that was not of
the smallest consequence to themselves?

In the late debate in Parliament on the New Divorce Bill, when a member
objected to the introduction of a clause equalizing the relief of
divorce to both sexes, he asked, "If this clause were adopted, I should
like to know how many married men there would be in this house?" He was
answered by shouts of laughter.

Would these men have laughed, think you, if they had been asked how many
_pure wives_ could be found in their family circles? and, if _not_,
would it have been because they were capable of estimating the value of
womanly virtue? No: _he_ cannot estimate that who has never known the
worth of manly purity. The spectres of illegitimacy and civil ruin are
what would stare them in the face, and turn their very lips so white.

In France, says the "Westminster Review," fidelity on the part of the
husband is considered a sort of imbecility. What is thought of it in
England? Does this scene in Parliament, printed for all our girls to
read, suggest any higher view?

"The frequenting of disreputable places," says Davis, "was once an
indictable offence in a _man_; but that is now obsolete." Obsolete? and
why? A lawyer once told me, that the most obscene publication he had
ever read was a book upon divorce. I can well believe it. I thought I
knew how corrupt modern society could be; but I did not know how
unsoundness had darted to its very core, till I began to read law, and
to understand the estimate which that puts upon woman and chastity.

When I think of these things, I wonder that this platform is not
thronged with the ghosts of dead and ruined women, crowding here to
second my appeal to beseech you to grant human justice, to require human
virtue! And all this sin is sheltered under the plea of protection! "How
many delicious morsels I should miss if it were not for _thy_ care, O
most excellent jackal!"

"Lawyers," says Johnson in 1777,--"lawyers often pay women the high
compliment of supposing them proof against all temptations combined."

Certainly, whatever the _lawyers_ may do, the _law itself_ confidently
expects of them a superhuman strength. It gives them no defence but
immaculateness. It offers them no shelter but God's temple, no robe but
spotless ermine; and then, turning the page, it says, "A _husband_ is
expected to be vigilant, and so prevent his own dishonor:" as if his
_vigilance_ and quick-wittedness could save the woman whom his _love_
had not blessed.

Ah! these lawyers are but blind guides, after all. Centuries of
discomfiture and defeat have not sufficed to teach them how little
security is to be found in suspicion and scepticism. If I do not want my
groceries stolen, I must leave my storeroom open. The very servant who
would not scruple to pick my locks will know better than to pick that of
her own heart. "A thorough-bred woman," says Mrs. Reid, "is good only so
far as her husband suggests and allows;" and, so long as _this_ is the
standard, woman's duplicity may well match man's utmost expectation, and
there is not a privilege of his open vice that she will not secure by

There was a time when all the women at the court of France blushed for
one of their number who unluckily made use of a hard word in a _proper_
place. In like manner, the woman who reads law blushes to find herself
even tolerably sincere and modest. It is not expected of her. Why has
she never done any of the bad things the law so confidently predicts?

All thinking people must see how easily we turn from the consolidated
law of ages, with its false views, its untrue estimate of woman and
duty, to the question of the right of suffrage.

In 1848 and 1850, we used to hear a great deal of three objections to
conferring this right upon women:--

     1st, Its incompatibility with household care and the duties of

     2d, Its hardening effect on the character; politics not being fit
     for woman.

     3d, The inexpediency of increasing competition in the already
     crowded fields of labor and office.

To these three points we gave short and summary answers:--

     1st, There are a great many women who will never be mothers and
     housekeepers; and, if there were not, suffrage is no more
     incompatible with maternity and housekeeping than it is with
     mercantile life and the club-room.

     2d, If it hardens women, it will harden men; and the politics which
     are not fit for her are not fit for him, nor will they become so
     till her presence gives men a motive to purify them.

     3d, At the worst, competition could only go so far, that a man
     _and_ a woman would earn as little together as the man now does
     alone. This would be better than the present condition of things;
     for they would then be equal partners, and no longer master and
     slave. Both would work, and neither need pine.

These answers, whether logical or not, have practically silenced the
objections. We hear no more of _this_ nonsense. But, on the other hand,
a respectable daily says, "As to the abstract right of a woman to vote
because she is a human being and pays taxes, there is no such abstract
right in any human being, male or female: the extent of the elective
franchise is, and must ever be, limited by considerations of

Then a distinguished review goes on to say, "that while the question of
suffrage stands where it now does, so unsettled that every Congress and
Parliament discuss it anew, we are glad that any thing should prevent
the discussion as to conferring on woman a duty, the grounds of which
are very vague and undetermined so far as regards men;" and a critic of
Rosa Bonheur's magnificent pictures advises the "sad sisterhood of
women's-rights advocates to visit the exhibition, and sigh to think how
much one silent woman's hand outvalues for their cause the pathos and
the jeers of their unlovely platform."

Such remarks as these are easily met. To the first objector, who
declares, although the professed advocate of a republican government,
that _there is no such thing_ as any abstract right to vote, we reply,
that in this particular discussion we don't care about _abstract
rights_: what we want is our _own share_ of the tangible acknowledged
right which human governments confer. If in England this right depends
on a property qualification, then we claim that there the property
qualification shall endow woman as well as man with the right of
suffrage. If in America it depends upon an inalienable right to life,
liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, then we demand that our
government recognize woman as so endowed, and receive her vote.

To the reviewer we say also, If the grounds of suffrage are vague and
undetermined in _theory_, they may remain so, so far as our interference
is concerned. What we ask to share is the steady right to vote, which
has been actually granted, and never disputed, since our government was
founded; and sufficiently pressed, we might add, that, if there is ever
any chance of limiting the right of suffrage, we shall do all we can to
secure its dependence on a certain amount of education, in preference to
a certain amount of wealth.

As to the art critic, we thank him for calling us the "sad sisterhood."
We should be sorry to be otherwise, when pleading for women _before_
men; sorry to find matter for jesting in those purlieus of St. Giles and
Five Points and the Black Sea, beating up remorselessly against these
very doors, which lie at the very heart of our effort. As to the matter
of going to see the Horse Fair and the Highland Cattle, it will probably
be found to be a fact, that, in every city where those great pictures
have been exhibited, "_women's-rights women_" have been their _earliest_
visitors; and, standing before the canvas, have thanked God, with an
earnestness the art critic never dreamt of, for that silent woman's
hand, that glorious woman's life. It was not necessary for him to remind
us of what Solomon had said so much better three thousand years ago;
namely, that "speech is silvern, and silence is golden." Nathless,
silver is still current in all markets; and, God willing, we are not
ashamed to use it.

We intend to claim, in words, the right of suffrage; and why?

Turning from that wretched estimate of woman, and of man's duty toward
woman, which the law-books have just offered us, we claim the right of
suffrage, because only through its possession can women protect
themselves; only through its exercise can both sexes have equality of
right and power before the law. Whenever this happened, character would
get its legitimate influence; and it is just possible that men might
become rational and virtuous in private, if association with women
compelled them to _seem so_ in public.

It is noticeable, that every man disclaims at his own hearth, and in the
presence of women, whatever there is of disgraceful appertaining to
political or other public meetings. _Somebody_ must be responsible for
these things; and yet, if we are to believe witnesses, nobody ever does
them. The bare fact of association must take all the blame.

The laws already existing prove conclusively to woman herself, that she
has never had a real representative. What she seeks is to utter her own
convictions, so that they shall redeem and save, not merely her own sex
but the race.

That the right of suffrage would be a protection to women, we see from
this fact, that it would at once put an end to three classes of laws:--

I. Those that protect her from violence.

II. Those made to protect her from fraud.

III. Those that protect society from the passions of both sexes.

The moment woman began to exercise this right, I think we should see
moral significance streaming from every statute. We should no longer
hear that seduction was to be sued as "loss of service:" it would become
loss of honor to _more_ than one. We should no longer hear that consent
or temptation excused it: we should find that God demanded chastity of
both sexes, and had made man the guardian of his own virtue. We should
find, that, if its punishment admitted of degrees, it should be
_heaviest_ where a man committed it in defiance or abuse of a positive

Let us look at a single decision in the light of these principles. Let
us take the case of Harris _versus_ Butler, reported in the notes to
Davis's Prize Essay.

A man named Harris had apprenticed his daughter to a milliner named
Butler, paying as an entrance-fee a sum equivalent to a hundred and
fifty dollars. After a short time, the girl was seduced by her
mistress's husband. She became seriously ill, and was returned to her
father, who lost not only his hundred and fifty dollars, but all the
benefits of her apprenticeship, and was obliged to provide her with
board, medicine, and nursing.

Why the father became liable for the care of his child under such
circumstances does not appear. Common sense would suggest that the court
might have required this at the hands of the Butlers; but,
unfortunately, law has very little to do with common sense.

The father brought an action against Butler: but the defence urged, that
he could only sue for "loss of service;" that her "services" were not
his after she was apprenticed to Mrs. Butler; that Mrs. Butler and her
husband were "one person in law;" and that, if Butler chose to deprive
himself of her services for his own ends, the law had no remonstrance to
make, no redress to afford.

The prosecution urged, that the "care of morals" was one of the duties
involved in the very system of apprenticeship; but the court denied the
claim, unless it were distinctly set forth on the articles signed.

This is but one case out of hundreds accessible to you all. The moment
woman becomes a law-maker, such records will be wiped out of your life.
They may make a certain sort of show in your law-books; but what have
the unbending laws of God to do with this "one person in law," this plea
for "loss of service"? At the eternal bar, no man will dare to echo that
plea, no judge rehearse that verdict. Such law rests not in the "bosom
of God;" its voice chimes not in keeping with the harmony of his
countless spheres.

You object to seeing women in Parliament. English lords tell us that
delicate matters have to be discussed there, with which women would
hardly care to meddle. The natural growth of society opens the area of
all proprieties. Delicate matters come to be discussed in most
households; and it is reasonable to suppose that they would be more
delicately and rationally discussed if they were sometimes _publicly_
met. It is my opinion, that no subject is fit for discussion at all that
cannot be discussed between men and women. It is separating the sexes in
such cases, that opens the way to indecency. All great themes of human
thought and human virtue, men and women ought to be trained to consider
seriously together; and where better than in the Congress or the
Parliament? Think only of the debate which I have quoted on the New
Divorce Bill! Could such a scene have taken place in the presence of
women? Recur to the trial of Queen Caroline; or to that of the Duke of
York, when accused of conniving at the corrupt sale of military
commissions by his mistress, Mrs. Clarke.

Under date of Feb. 16, 1809, Freemantle writes: "The scene which is
going on in the House of Commons is so disgusting, and at the same time
so alarming, that I hardly know how to describe it to you. Of course,
while this ferment lasts (and God knows when it is to end), no attention
will be paid to the business of the country."

In these instances, high-bred men showed a taste for low scandal;
battening day after day on the same loathsome details, which the
presence of a single woman must have checked. Here was a woman, too,
this very Mrs. Clarke, somewhat debased and hardened, who had never a
seat in Parliament, who had never dreamed of exercising the right of
suffrage, yet was quite equal, as the evidence showed, to any political
venality, striving in her way to outdo the very jobbers of Downing
Street itself! Why _should_ elections be scenes of tumult, or
parliaments free fields for imbecile improprieties? Why should not a
peeress feel herself as properly placed among her peers as the Queen
seated at her Council?

We are not likely to withdraw our claim while it is sustained by such a
man as John Stuart Mill, who, in his late essay on "Political
Representation," advises this extension of the suffrage: "All
householders, without distinction of sex," he says, "might be adopted
into the constituency, on proving to the registrar's officer that they
have fifty pounds a year, and can read, write, and calculate."

"The almost despotic power of husbands over wives," Mr. Mill adds in his
"Essay on Liberty," "needs not to be enlarged upon here, because nothing
more is needed for the complete removal of the evil than that wives
should have the same rights, and should receive the protection of the
law in the same manner, as all other persons; and because, on this
subject, the defenders of established injustice do not avail themselves
of the plea of liberty, but stand forth openly as the champions of

The dedication of this "Essay on Liberty" ought to be preserved in these
pages; for it is full of historic significance:--

     "To the beloved and deplored memory of her who was the inspirer,
     and in part the author, of all that has been best in my writings;
     the friend and wife, whose exalted sense of truth and right was my
     strongest excitement, and whose approbation was my chief reward,--I
     dedicate this volume.

     "Like all that I have written for many years, it belongs as much to
     her as to me; but the work, as it stands, has had, in a very
     insufficient degree, the inestimable advantage of her revision;
     some of the most important portions having been reserved for a more
     careful re-examination, which they are now never destined to
     receive. Were I but capable of interpreting to the world one-half
     the great thoughts and noble feelings which are buried in her
     grave, I should be the medium of a greater benefit to it than is
     ever likely to arise from any thing that I can write, unprompted
     and unassisted by her all but unrivalled wisdom."

I said that this dedication ought, for many reasons, to be preserved in
these pages. What is better fitted than such a tribute to check the
jeering scepticism of the crowd as to the ability and purity of the sex?
What could lay a better foundation for a better estimate on the part of
the law? Necker, in his report to the French Government, publicly
awarded to his wife the credit of the recent retrenchment in the
expenses of the Government; Bowditch dedicated his translation of the
"Mécanique Céleste" to the wife who aided him to prepare, and by her
self-denial opened a way for him to publish it: but where, in the
records of the past, shall we find such a tribute offered by such a man,
as honorable in itself to the first political economist of our time as
it is a gracious adornment to the name of the woman he loved? Does it
not promise in itself the dawning of a brighter future for woman, when
no "sad sisterhood" shall be needed either to proclaim woman's rights or
redress her wrongs?[39]

About two years since (1858), the Stockholm "Aftonblad," a Swedish
newspaper, stated that "the authorities of the old university-town of
Upsal had granted the right of suffrage to fifty women owning real
estate, and to thirty-one doing business on their own account. The
representative that their votes assisted in electing was to sit in the
House of Burgesses."

This is the way the matter is to begin. By and by, the interests of
labor and trade will force the authorities of Bristol and Manchester,
Newcastle and Plymouth, to do the same thing; and, after women have gone
on for some twenty years electing members of Parliament, no one of us
will be surprised to find some women sitting in that body. "But,"
objects somebody, "if that ever happens, we shall have women on juries,
women pleading at the bar, women as attorneys, and so on." And this is
exactly what we want. Women are very much _needed_ on juries, and
_female_ criminals will never be tried by their peers until they are
there. It is very seldom that a criminal case in which women are
implicated is brought forward, when women could not be of immense
service in clearing up evidence, and showing to the male jurors on the
panel the absurdity or impossibility of some of the statements. The
recent instance of Miss Shedden, who took up, at a moment's notice, a
case which five well-feed lawyers of distinction declared themselves
unprepared to defend, might be quoted in confirmation of our view. Mr.
Russell said at the Liverpool Assizes lately, in a case which involved
some peculiar evidence, "The evidence of women is, in some respects,
superior to that of men. Their power of judging of minute details is
better; and when there are more than two facts, and something be
wanting, their intuitions supply the deficiency." And precisely the
qualities which fit them to give evidence, fit them to sift and test it.
Women often have occasion to smile, sometimes sadly, sometimes
mischievously, at the verdicts passed upon their own sex. If women were
to enter into the practice of law, or become law-makers, an immense
change would take place in all that relates to it. Absurd technicalities
would be swept off its papers. One hundred words would no longer do duty
for one. Simple, common-sense forms of expression would take the place
of obsolete Latin and Norman-French. Daylight would be let into
indictments, and flaws would soon be hard to find. No woman ever
existed, whose patience would stand, in cases where meaning and law are
evident, the absurd delays of chancery courts, or the still absurder
"filing of objections," or "defining of terms," with which lawyers amuse
a jury, and which Sir Leicester Dedlock, we are told, considered as the
bulwarks of the English Constitution. This impatience of woman might not
be very valuable, if she were to legislate alone; but, controlled by
man's conservative caution, it will be of the greatest service.

We are perpetually met by the opposition extended to _any thing_ that is
new. It ought to be our object, therefore, to show, that for woman to
claim and possess the right of suffrage is by no means a new thing. It
is easy to show from the records of most nations, that women held and
exercised political power so long as power was supposed to inhere
_chiefly_ in property, and so long as women, either single or in
association, possessed property not represented by men. Thus the
suppression of religious houses in England put an end to the
representation of abbesses. "Truly, we think more of money than of
love," said one of the St. Simoniens: "we have more consideration for
bags of dollars than human dignity. We emancipate women in proportion as
they are property-holders; but, in proportion as they are women, our
laws declare them inferior to us." It was only when the republican idea
had crept to a certain extent into monarchical governments themselves,
that women gradually dropped a recognized public influence which had
depended on rank and wealth. What men have to do is, not to reconcile
themselves to a woman's right to vote,--a right acknowledged hundreds of
years ago, which is still covertly acknowledged when woman means
property,--but to reconcile themselves to the idea that woman is a human
being, and that _humanity_ has a right to vote. Wherever governments
decide that every individual has a right to life, liberty, and the
pursuit of happiness, they must admit the right of the individual woman
to vote, or deny the fact of her humanity. There is the dilemma. In
support of this statement, I should have shown you, that in France, as
early as the reign of Louis XIV., the political rights of property were
respected in the persons of women. At the present day, the remains of
the old feudal and communal system still secure a kind of political
influence to certain women in the provinces, and often confer upon their
husbands a right of franchise. In the reign of Louis XIV., the women who
hawked and vended fish took up the business of the "insolvent
fishmongers," and managed so well, that they acquired wealth, married
their children into the first families, and finally became an estate of
the realm.

"Les Dames de la Halle," or "Dames of the Market," as they are called,
have a corporate existence; and, if corporations have no souls, they
ordinarily possess _franchises_! They have their queen, their laws, and
a language peculiar to themselves. They take part in revolutions, and
send deputations to the foot of the throne. Nor am I alluding now to
long-past feudal or re-actionary crises. Louis Napoleon treats them as
civilly as he does the clergy. When he was married, and when the young
prince was born, they went to the Tuileries in their court-dress. Their
princesses--and we are told that their blood-royal claims the higher
privilege of beauty also--their princesses took the front rank in the
procession, and offered bouquets to their imperial majesties. In
response, Louis Napoleon gave to them what he gives to all
corporations,--a very diplomatic speech.

I have told you what was granted at Upsal in 1858. It is a curious fact,
that, just at the moment when this question of suffrage was first
agitated by the women of the United States assembled in convention at
Seneca Falls in 1848, Pauline Roland and Madame Moniot publicly claimed
their civil rights in Paris. Pauline went herself to the ballot, and,
when her vote was refused, published a protest after the fashion of our
tax-payers. Very absurd English society found woman's first demand for
the suffrage; yet what Englishmen refuse contemptuously to _give to_
woman, certain men of the mean sort, yet calling themselves respectable,
have not been ashamed in that very country to _borrow of_ her. Even
"Blackwood" helps out our argument, when it says, in November, 1854, "I
believe, Eusebius, I speak of a notorious fact, when I say, that it is
less than a century since, for election purposes, parties were
unblushingly married in cases where _women_ conveyed a right of freedom,
a political franchise to their husbands, and parted, after the election,
by shaking hands over a tombstone, as an act of dissolution of the
contract, under cover of the words, 'Until death do us part.'"[40] The
men who looked calmly on this profane and absurd fraud may well dread
the moral influence of woman on elections. As to the historical argument
for England, ladies of birth and quality, we are told, sat in council
with the Saxon Witas. The Abbess Hilda _presided_ in an ecclesiastical
council. "In Wightfred's great council at Benconceld in 694," says
Gurdon in his "Antiquities of Parliament," "the abbesses sat and
deliberated; and five of them signed decrees of that council, with the
king and bishops:" and that illuminated prebendary of Sarum, old Thomas
Fuller, thus further chronicles the same event:--

     "A great council (for so it is titled) was held at Becanceld
     (supposed to be Beckingham in Kent) by Withred, King of Kent, and
     Bertuald, Archbishop of Britain, so called therein (understand, him
     of Canterbury), wherein many things were concluded in favor of the
     church. Five Kentish abbesses--namely, Mildred, Ethelred, Æte,
     Wilnolde, Heresinde--were not only present, but subscribed their
     names and crosses to the constitutions concluded therein; and we
     may observe, that their subscriptions are not only placed before
     and above all presbyters, but also above that of Botred, a bishop
     present in this great council. It seems it was the courtesy of
     England to allow the upper hand to the weaker sex, as in their
     sitting, so in their subscription."

King Edgar's charter to the Abbey of Crowland, in 961, was with consent
of the nobles and _abbesses_ who signed that charter. In Henry the
Third's and King Edward the First's time, four abbesses were summoned to
Parliament; namely, of Shaftesbury, of Winchester, of Berking, and of
Wilton. In the thirty-fifth year of Edward the Third, were summoned--by
writ of Parliament, to sit in person or by their proxies--Mary, Countess
of Norfolk; Alienor, Countess of Ormond; Anna Despenser; Philippa,
Countess of March; Johanna Fitzwater; Agneta, Countess of Pembroke; Mary
de St. Paul; Mary de Roos; Matilda, Countess of Oxford; Catharine,
Countess of Athol.

As to the offices which women can hold in Great Britain, we have already
quoted something from Mr. Higginson, in speaking of the prohibitions of
the law. Lady Packington's estate has probably, by this time, passed
into male hands: so _she_ elects no more members of Parliament. Those
who have read the plea of Lady Alice Lille, when she was forbidden to
speak by attorney, will find no great difficulty in imagining that a
woman could manage a government debate.

Such women as have purchased or inherited East-India stock have always
had the privilege of voting at the meetings of the company, and so have
assisted to govern that unhappy country. In the provincial English
towns, if I may judge from the indirect testimony of novels and
newspapers, women appear to attend all stockholders' meetings; certainly
those held by the banks. In the United States, they are notified, _but
not expected to attend_; a cool kind of insult, which I wish some women
might astonish them by retaliating. If any bank were established by, or
had a majority of, female stockholders, it would be quite easy to notify
men, without expecting _them_ to attend; and the alternative of trusting
their own property to the judgment of _women_ might possibly open the
eyes of men to the absurdity of the present custom.

As we withdraw our eyes from the past, it is natural to inquire, What
late changes have taken place in Great Britain? and what is the strength
of the reform tendency? I have often said, yet I must repeat it here,
that nothing has ever promised such noble usefulness for woman, nothing
has ever occurred to change the popular estimate of her character, in
the same degree as the formation of that _out-of-door Parliament_,--the
Association for the Advancement of Social Science. It offers a position
of entire equality to woman. It encourages her to express herself in the
presence and with the sympathy of the wisest men, and gives her an
opportunity to speak to the actual Parliament through her own influence
exerted on its best members. It has been well said (I think, by Mrs.
Mill), that the very best opportunities of education will be opened to
woman in vain, until she is practically invited to turn them to account.
Here, in this association, is her first practical invitation in Great
Britain. God grant that she may understand the responsibility it
involves, and bear it well! But the formation of this association in
1857 was preceded by other steps. It was on the 13th of February, 1851,
that a petition of women, agreed to by a public meeting at Sheffield,
and claiming the elective franchise, was laid before the House of Lords
by the Earl of Carlisle; and, in July of the same year, Mrs. Mill's
admirable article on the "Enfranchisement of Women," now become
commonplace on account of the extensive and thorough use that has been
made of it, appeared in the "Westminster."

The examination of Florence Nightingale before a commission of inquiry
bore witness no less to the surpassing ability of the woman than to the
increasing value of such ability to all governments. In connection with
it, one could not but smile at the distress felt by certain journals
over a single mistake on the part of the lady as to the proper title of
a subordinate officer.

In the month of March, 1856, the "London Times" published a petition to
both Houses of Parliament in behalf of an amendment of the English
property-laws. This petition was signed by many women whose names are
well known and dear to us,--by the late Anna Jameson, so well known to
the world as an accomplished critic in literature and art; by the wife
and sister of the poet Browning,--Elizabeth Browning, herself the first
poet among women, so far; by Bessie Raynor Parkes and Matilda Hayes, the
editors of the "Englishwoman's Journal," the establishment of which of
itself constitutes an era in the progress of human thought; by Barbara
Bodichon, the well-known artist; by Harriet Martineau, distinguished in
political economy; by Mary Howitt, the womanly story-teller and
ballad-maker; and Mrs. Gaskell, the author of "Mary Barton." The
petition was supported in the House of Lords by Lord Brougham, and in
the House of Commons by Sir Erskine Perry.

After the close of the session in April, 1857, a dinner was offered to
Lord Brougham in acknowledgment of the distinguished ardor with which he
had pressed this bill,--the Married Woman's Property Act of 1857. This
bill did not apply to Ireland or Scotland, nor to pre-existing
contracts; that is, to marriages solemnized before the first day of
January, 1858. It was not passed; but a clause for the protection of the
earnings and savings of married women was introduced into the New
Divorce Bill, and has already proved a blessing to hundreds. This
clause, however, operates _only_ in cases of desertion,--a charge easily

The New Divorce Bill passed in 1858: the Divorce and Matrimonial Causes
Act Amendment Bill passed in July, 1858; and since then, the Divorce
Court Bill in August, 1859; both of these last having been made
necessary by the first change in the law. It was in April, 1858, that
Mr. Buckle delivered his lecture on "Civilization;" an important
contribution to that estimate of woman, which is beginning to act
powerfully on all legislation. The Law-Amendment Society also published
a report, urging a thorough reform of the law.

In connection with the reforms effected in the mother-country, it may be
well to state, that similar reforms are being effected in Canada.
Legislators there turn for their precedents to England; but there can be
no doubt that the agitation in the United States largely contributes
towards these changes.

A Married Woman's Property Act passed the Council in May, 1858; but as
these changes are still in progress, and a progress much interrupted by
political fluctuations, it seems hardly worth while to enter into their

In one respect, the statutes of Canada are marked by a singular
inconsistency. They record the only instance, within my knowledge, in
which a government distinctly _forbids_ women to vote; and almost the
only instance of a government _conferring_ that right, even to a limited
extent. In the twelfth year of Victoria, the Canadian Government passed
a statute in these words: "No woman is or _shall be_ entitled to vote at
any election for any electoral division whatever." What spasm of
autocratic terror, what momentary rebellion against their liege lady,
inspired this act, we are left uninformed. For the most part, in all
countries, women wait to be told that they _may vote_; and their
ineligibility is decided by the introduction of the word "male," or the
popular construction of the word "citizen," which, it is quite evident,
does not mean a woman. But it was in Canada also that a distinct
electoral privilege was conferred by intention in 1850; an intention,
however, which indicated no enlargement of views, nor desire of reform,
nor recognition of woman at her human value: it was simply an intention
on the part of the Protestants to secure a little more political power.
Not _humane_, then, but interested motives dictated the omission of the
word "male" in that section of the statutes which provides for the
election of school trustees. It was desired thus to bring the influence
of female property-holders and Protestants to check the Roman-Catholic
demand for separate schools. Three things made it easy for Canadian
women to vote under this provision:--

1st, The great degree of individual independence seen everywhere in
English-born women, as compared with American.

2d, The respect felt, in all countries where distinctions of rank exist,
for the mere property-holder.

3d, The political excitement of the local Protestant Church, which
sustained them to the uttermost.

They have voted for ten years; and a four-years' residence among them
was sufficient to convince me, that no greater derangement to society
would occur if the full right were conferred. In connection with English
government and English colonies, I ought to speak of the government of
Pitcairn's Island. It was the mutinous crew of his majesty's ship
"Bounty" that settled Pitcairn's Island. Adams, the boatswain, was the
father of the little community, and drew up the simple code of laws by
which the islanders are still governed. On Christmas Day, a magistrate
and councillor are elected for the ensuing year; men and women over
sixteen being allowed to vote. The women assist in the cultivation of
the ground, and take no inconsiderable share in the municipal debates.
The fate of this experiment is not yet decided; so I have thought it
worth while to preserve the statement. You will have already seen, that
in England, as elsewhere, so long as the right of suffrage depended upon
possession of property, upon hard pieces of eight, or broad acres of
land, there was no dispute of woman's privilege. It is no new thing for
woman to vote in England: it is a very _old_ thing. It is only a
question whether she shall vote upon the ground of her humanity.


  [35] A curious instance of the immoral result of holding marriage
  sacramental, and indissoluble under all circumstances, comes within my
  personal experience while I am correcting these pages for the press,
  Oct. 11, 1861.

  A young Catholic girl was divorced some years ago, immediately after
  marriage, on account of the bad conduct of her husband. She was
  received into the family of a brother-in-law, in every way highly
  respectable. For the last two years, she has been courted by an
  officer in the navy of the United States; but nowhere in New England
  could a Catholic priest be found willing to marry them. The church
  still holds her responsible to her first vows. The officer honestly
  desired to marry her; but the natural result of her ignorance and
  perplexity followed. Expecting to become a mother, and rejected by her
  family, she came to me for advice. As the officer is a Protestant, I
  recommended that they should be married by a minister of that faith.
  She again consulted her priest, and was told that it was less sinful
  for her to remain in her present relation to her lover than to receive
  a sacrament from unholy hands; the priest ignoring utterly the _legal_
  protection and maintenance which she might thus receive.

  [36] The only excuse for considering this point, in an essay pleading
  especially for women, is that the law bears unequally on the two
  sexes; pressing hardest on woman, on account of her pecuniary
  dependence, and general subordination to man.

  A woman, every reader will understand, would find it impossible to
  free herself from her obligations, like the men referred to in the
  text; nor is it desirable that she should _free herself_, but that the
  law should free her.

  [37] National Rev., Apr. 1861, pp. 291, 292.

  [38] "A man who is guilty of adultery is branded by public opinion as
  a forger or bigamist is elsewhere, and is not eligible to public
  office during the whole of his life; which, under such a government,
  is the greatest punishment that can be inflicted. A man who breaks his
  promise of betrothal, or who in any way betrays a woman to
  mortification and shame, is heaped with the same scorn that women
  receive elsewhere. The woman who is betrayed is censured; but the man
  is henceforth an outcast."--_Cottages of the Alps_, p. 288.

  [39] In reprinting for his collected works Mrs. Mill's article on "The
  Enfranchisement of Women," Mr. Mill more lately says, "All the more
  recent of these papers were the joint production of myself, and one
  whose loss, even in a merely intellectual point of view, can never be
  repaired or alleviated. But the following essay is hers in a peculiar
  sense; my share in it being little more than that of editor or
  amanuensis. Its authorship having been known at the time, and publicly
  attributed to her, it is proper to state, that she never regarded it
  as a complete discussion of the subject which it treats of; and,
  highly as I estimate it, I would rather it remained unacknowledged,
  than that it should be read with the idea, that even the faintest
  image can be found in it of a mind and heart, which, in their union of
  the rarest, and what are deemed the most conflicting excellences, were
  unparalleled in any human being that I have known or read of. While
  she was the light, life, and grace of every society in which she took
  part, the foundation of her character was a deep seriousness,
  resulting from the combination of the strongest and most sensitive
  feelings with the highest principles. All that excites admiration,
  when found separately, in others, seemed brought together in her,--a
  conscience at once healthy and tender; a generosity bounded only by a
  sense of justice, which often forgot its own claims, but never those
  of others; a heart so large and loving, that whoever was capable of
  making the smallest return of sympathy always received tenfold; and,
  in the intellectual department, a vigor and truth of imagination, a
  delicacy of perception, an accuracy and nicety of observation, only
  equalled by her profundity of speculative thought, and by a practical
  judgment and discernment next to infallible. So elevated was the
  general level of her faculties, that the highest poetry, philosophy,
  oratory, or art, seemed trivial by the side of her, and equal only to
  expressing some part of her mind; and there is no one of these modes
  of manifestation in which she could not easily have taken the highest
  rank, had not her inclination led her for the most part to content
  herself with being the inspirer, prompter, and unavowed co-adjutor, of

  "The present paper was written to promote a cause which she had deeply
  at heart; and, though appealing only to the severest reason, was meant
  for the general reader. The question, in her opinion, was in a stage
  in which no treatment but the most calmly argumentative could be
  useful; while many of the strongest arguments were necessarily
  omitted, as being unsuited for popular effect. Had she lived to write
  out all her thoughts on this great question, she would have produced
  something as far transcending in profundity the present essay, as, had
  she not placed a rigid restraint upon her feelings, she would have
  excelled it in fervid eloquence.

  "Yet nothing that even she could have written on any single subject
  would have given an adequate idea of the depth and compass of her
  mind. As, during life, she detected, before any one else had seemed to
  perceive them, those changes of time and circumstances, which, ten or
  twelve years later, became subjects of general remark; so I venture to
  prophesy, that, if mankind continue to improve, their spiritual
  history for ages to come will be the progressive working out of her
  thoughts, and the realization of her conceptions."

  Such tributes, borne by noble men to noble women, are so frequently
  hidden away in the heavy volumes which lie out of ordinary reach, that
  I take pleasure in bringing them to support my own plea; and I only
  wish I could as easily add to that in the text the charming
  acknowledgments of Alexis de Tocqueville to his wife.

  [40] In an article in the "Edinburgh Weekly Journal" for Jan. 10,
  1827, written by Sir Walter Scott, the following allusion is made to
  abuses which had crept into the army in the middle of the eighteenth

  "To sum up this catalogue of abuses, _commissions_ were in some
  instances bestowed upon _young ladies_, when pensions could not be
  had. We know ourselves one fair dame who drew the pay of a captain in
  the ---- dragoons, and was probably not much less fit for the service
  than some who at that period actually did duty."

  [41] "In the little brown duodecimo which contains the jottings of
  'that famous lawyer, William Tothill, Esquire,' there is the following
  entry, of the date of James I.:--

  "'Fleshward _contra_ Jackson. Money given to a _feme covert_ for her
  maintenance, because her husband is an unthrift. The husband pretends
  the money to be his; but the court ordered the money to be at her own
  disposal.'"--_London Quarterly_, July, 1861. A very ancient germ of a
  "Married Woman's Property Law."



     "Men often think to bring about great results by violent and
     unprepared effort; but it is only in fair and forecast order, 'as
     the earth bringeth forth her bud,' that righteousness and praise
     may spring forth before the nations."--JOHN RUSKIN.

In passing last to the United States of America, one is tempted to ask,
with Anna Brewster when rehearsing the hardships of Helvetian women,
"Can it be true, as the advocates of despotic government often say, that
under no government are women so harshly treated, so stripped of all
independent rights, as under a republic? In republican Helvetia, the
Vaudois peasant woman leaves all household care, to stand, spring,
summer, and autumn, in her vineyard; but not a bunch of grapes can she
gather for the market, without her husband's leave. _He_ may have
loitered and smoked through every sunny day, while _she_ has dug and
dressed and watered; but she may not sell one grape to buy bread for her

And this is a picturesque statement of the English common law, on which
the common law of the United States still rests in the main, and on
which it has rested entirely until within the last ten years.

A few passages from Chancellor Kent will indicate,--

I. The estimate of woman formed by this law, and the property-laws built
upon this estimate.

II. The laws which regulate divorce. We shall have to consider,--

III. Woman's general civil position; and,--

IV. The right of suffrage.

Fortunately for us, Chancellor Kent talks plain English. He tells us
exactly what the law means, and sets it forth as if it were written to
be understood; which is not exactly the case with all his predecessors.

As to the estimate of woman on which the laws are based, we have, in
connection with what we have already quoted from English law-books, the
following statement:--

     "But as the husband is the guardian of the wife, and bound to
     protect and maintain her, the law has given him a reasonable
     superiority and control over her person; and he may even put gentle
     restraints upon her liberty, if her conduct be such as to require
     it. The husband is the best judge of the wants of the family, and
     the means of supplying them; and, if he shifts his domicile, the
     wife is bound to follow him."--_Kent's Commentaries_, vol. ii. p.

The best comment on this is found, I think, in a story told by Mrs.
Stowe, who says that she once saw a little hut perched on a barren ledge
of the Alps, out of reach of human help, and without pasture; but a
little below it were stretches of sweet Alpine grass, inviting to eye
and foot, and capable of affording sustenance to goats and sheep. "How
long have you lived here?" asked Mrs. Stowe of the old woman. "Above
forty years."--"And what made you come so far up? Don't you like the
meadow?"--"I don't know," was the reply: "it was the _man's notion_."

It is somewhat questionable, whether this man _would_ be the best judge
of the wants of his family, Chancellor Kent to the contrary
notwithstanding; as also what might be his idea of "gentle restraint,"
in case the wife had refused "to shift her domicile." As to property,
Kent proceeds:--

The general rule is, that the husband becomes entitled, on the marriage,
to all the goods and chattels of the wife, and to the rents and profits
of her lands; and he becomes liable to pay her debts and perform her

1. If the wife have an inheritance in land, he takes the rents and
profits during their joint lives. He may sue in his own name for an
injury to the profits of the land; but, if the husband himself chooses
to commit waste, the wife has no redress at common law.

2. If the wife, at the time of her marriage, hath an estate for her
life, the husband becomes seized of such an estate, and is entitled to
the profits during marriage.

3. The husband also becomes possessed of the chattels real of the wife;
and the law gives him power, _without her consent_, to sell, assign,
mortgage, or otherwise dispose of, the same as he pleases. Such chattels
real are liable to be sold on execution for his debts (vol. ii. p.
133). If he survive his wife, the law gives him her chattels real by

4. If debts are due to the wife before marriage, and are recovered by
the husband afterward, the money becomes, in most cases, absolutely his

On the other hand, the husband is,--

1st, Obliged to provide for his wife out of his fortune, or her own
that he has taken into his custody, of what the court calls
"necessaries,"--these again, of course, to be dependent on the "_man's
notion_"! and,--

2d, Becomes liable for her frauds and torts during coverture,--the law
understanding, as well as a merchant, that it is useless to "sue a
broken bench."

The _indulgence_ of the law toward the wife, we are then told, is
founded on the idea of force exercised by the husband; a presumption
only, which may be repelled. What this indulgence is, we may well be
puzzled to guess, unless the phrase indicate that she is not to be
prosecuted for theft, where _both_ are guilty; and yet, if the
presumption that he compelled her to steal be _repelled_, she _may_ be
prosecuted, and found guilty.

A wife cannot devise her lands by will; nor can she make a testament of
chattels, except it be of those which she holds _en autre droit_,
without the license of her husband. It is not strictly a will, then,
only an appointment, which the husband is bound to allow (vol. ii. p.

The laws are essentially the same in Pennsylvania, Virginia, North
Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, and New York; in the latter State,
of course, only as applicable to marriages contracted before the passage
of the new bill. It is the same in all the States, with one or two
Western exceptions; because the passage of a new law never annuls
_pre-existing_ contracts. In consequence, practice becomes contradictory
and intricate; and most lawyers not only _feel_, but _show_, a great
dislike to new laws on that account.

In regard to marriage and divorce, Kent says that the English practice
was, not to grant divorce for unfaithfulness on the part of the
_husband_; and the early settlers of Massachusetts made the same
distinction, creating a difference at the very outset in the moral
responsibility of the two, fatal alike to happiness and civilization.

In 1840, the policy of South Carolina continued so strict, that there
had been no instance, since the Revolution, of a divorce pronounced by a
court of justice, or an act of the legislature.

In Massachusetts, the law was, that divorce could only be had for
criminality. In Vermont, New Jersey, Kentucky, Mississippi, and
Michigan, divorce from "bed and board" may be had for extreme cruelty;
and, in Michigan, for wilful desertion for three years.

In Indiana, it is rendered for any cause, at the judgment of the court.

In Illinois, divorce may be had for the usual causes, and for
drunkenness or cruelty, or such other cause as the court shall think
right; and, in such cases, the wife does not lose her dower. These
differences in statute law indicate, one would think, a variety
sufficient to test in time all the theories of reformers and

As to the consistency of the law, Poynter says,--

     "It is singular to see a marriage _annulled_ on account of the
     misspelling or suppressing of a name, which would be held _valid_
     against the lasting misery of the parties."

By cruelty is meant "reasonable apprehension of bodily hurt." Mere
austerity of temper, petulance of manners, rudeness of language, a want
of civil attention, even _occasional_ sallies of passion, do not amount
to that cruelty which the law can relieve. The wife must disarm her
husband by the _weapons of kindness_!

I have shown you upon what estimate the general common law of the United
States is based, as regards both property and divorce. It is needless to
say that this estimate is very little to be preferred to that of older
countries; but, when the reformers of our cause are tauntingly asked
what good they have done, they may reply proudly, though they should
point to the changes of legislation during the last ten years alone.
Since 1850, the laws have been changed in at least nineteen States. The
credit of this change should certainly rest with the men and women of
this reform; for, in every State, its sympathizing friends helped to
frame the new laws.

Whether justly or not, Rhode Island claims the honor of leading the way
in such changes. In 1844, the Hon. Wilkins Updike introduced a bill into
her legislature, securing to married women their property under certain
regulations. The step was in the right direction. In 1847, Vermont
passed similar enactments. In 1848-9, Connecticut, New York, and Texas
followed; in 1850, Alabama; in 1853, New Hampshire. In 1855,
Massachusetts passed an act of a still more comprehensive kind. It was
essentially the same as that introduced into her Senate, in 1852, by the
Hon. S.E. Sewall. It was not wholly satisfactory to those who prepared
it, but was the best it was thought possible to pass.[42] In 1856 and
1857, the Legislatures of Kentucky, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Rhode
Island, and Maine, altered their property-laws,--Rhode Island advancing
somewhat on her first step.[43] Wisconsin and Iowa have followed; and it
is not likely that any new States, unless they should be slave States,
will repeat the old barbarisms.

I have given Rhode Island the precedence she claims; but there are
certain statutes of the State of Illinois, as early in date as January,
1829, which deserve to be alluded to, on account of their unusual

If married, and over the age of eighteen years, a woman in Illinois
may, _in spite_ of her husband, devise her real estate, and bequeath her
personal estate, to any one for ever.

The wife may administer on her deceased husband's estate, in preference
to all others, if she apply within sixty days. On her husband's death,
she inherits one-half of his real estate in fee-simple, absolute; and
the whole of his personal estate, with her rights of dower in addition.

The wife has not _legally_ the first title to the guardianship of her
child on the demise of her husband; but she has it by a kind of
_comity_, the consent of public opinion and the courts.

In reference to the wife's inheriting from the husband, my
correspondent, the Hon. William H. Herndon, says,--

     "You will perceive a difference in the two sections relating to the
     wife and husband as inheriting from one another, favorable to the
     wife apparently. In the twenty-second section you will find, that,
     in case of the wife's death without children, the husband inherits
     one-half of her real estate in fee-simple, absolute; but nothing is
     said about her personal. This is because the common law has already
     given him her personal estate on her marriage."

So we see that the State of Illinois did not quite divest itself of the
barbarisms of the common law.

In a later letter, Mr. Herndon continues:--

     "Our Illinois Legislature has this winter (1860-61) enacted a law,
     allowing women (married women) all their property,--real, personal,
     mixed,--free from all debt, contract, obligation, and control of
     their husbands. This law puts man and woman in the same position,
     as far as property-rights and their remedies are concerned. This is
     right,--just as it should be. For my life, I cannot see why there
     should be any distinction between men and women, when we speak of
     rights under government. A woman's rights are identical with a
     man's. Where he is limited, she should be; where she is limited, he
     should be."

In Rhode Island, the civil existence of the husband and wife is but one;
and, though the letter of the law considers her property acquired by
trade or inheritance as technically her own, still it is no longer under
her single control. If, as a wife, she sells merchandise, the buyer
becomes a debtor to her _husband and herself_. If she makes a purchase,
her note is good for nothing, unless her husband's signature is affixed
to it. He can dispose of the whole of her personal estate, unless the
buyer has been previously notified by _her_, in writing, that the
property is exclusively her own. Her real estate the husband cannot
sell: but _even of this_ she cannot dispose by will; so, perhaps, it
might as well be sold. The absurdity becomes ludicrous, when we remember
that the law makes her competent to devise any number of millions, so
long as it is invested in bank-stock or merchandise.

In the State of Vermont, there are three peculiar provisions:--

_First_, If the husband abscond without making sufficient provision for
his wife, she is _permitted_ (!) to use her own property and earnings,
or the earnings of her minor children, to secure a support. This
_permission_ indicates the tender mercies of the common law, and reminds
us of the Helvetian peasant-woman.

_Second_, She is exempted from personal restraint during the pendency of
a divorce suit.

_Third_, A mother and her illegitimate child may inherit from each

A married woman may devise her real estate, and it is exempt from
attachment for the sole debts of her husband. She may have her husband's
life insured, the insurance to be made payable to her or her children.
If he should be put into the penitentiary, she may transact business as
if she were a _feme sole_.

The laws of inheritance are liberal; and the common law prevails by
statute, when not repugnant to any recorded statute.

In Connecticut, in 1855, all the real estate owned at the time of
marriage, or subsequently inherited by the wife, rests absolutely in
her. All her personal estate passes to her husband; but all that she may
afterward receive remains in her right, her husband being only her legal
trustee. Her earnings are subject to his trusteeship, and nothing more.
She is the guardian of her own children; and the court always confirms
this right, unless she is incapacitated. In case of divorce, the father
is entitled to the children, unless objection is made. On the decease of
the husband childless, one-half of his personal estate goes to the
wife, and a life-interest in one-third of the real; or the whole, if it
be needed for her support.

In New Hampshire, the common law prevails for the most part. What
express enactments she passed in 1853 seem to refer rather to making the
position of a deserted wife equivalent to that of a _feme sole_ than any
thing else.

As regards Massachusetts, it is common to say that the legislation of
1855 leaves very little to be desired, beside the right of suffrage; but
a keen eye still detects more than one shortcoming. The custody of the
wife's person still vests in the husband.

With reference to the guardianship of children, the custom is in advance
of the law; while her power to make a will is so carefully guarded, that
it might as well be surrendered.

A married woman in Massachusetts can make no contract to bind her,
except one strictly relating to her trade, business, or property. She
cannot, for instance, indorse a note, or be a surety for another person
in any way.

In Maine, since 1857, a wife may hold the wages of her own labor.

In Ohio, at the same date, the law gave this right only _under
conditions_. Long before any such changes took place, however, the
current of public opinion often forced courts to decide against the
common law, and in accordance with equity,--equity not technically, but
divinely, considered.

Judge Graham, of the Court of Common Pleas in Perry County, Penn., made
such a decision in a suit where a wife claimed return of earnings loaned
by her to her husband, and accumulated _after_ marriage. The legal
question brought before Judge Graham was, "Can a wife maintain a suit
against her husband?" He decided that she could legally hold him to a
contract of the kind under consideration; and a verdict was rendered for
the woman, in the sum of $2,508.

In August, 1859, Mrs. Dorr put in a claim for $40,000 on her husband's
estate, in the Court of Insolvency in Worcester County. The court
objected to entertaining the claim until after the choice of an
assignee. The hearing was never completed; some private adjustment
taking its place. The claim was said to be the first of the kind in the

We come now to the consideration of the Property Bill, passed in the
spring of 1860 by the State of New York. Not only as the latest act of
specific legislation, but as the most complete provision ever made by
any government to outwit the common law, it demands our attention. After
it was passed, a deficiency relating to the rights of guardianship was
discovered, and a supplement was added. By these two acts, the "New-York
Tribune" tells us that at least five thousand women in that State are
redeemed from pauperism, and established in peaceful homes.

But the supplement bears on one important point, which should be alluded
to. According to the common law, as I showed in referring to England, a
daughter owes service _only_ to her father. The mother, who bore and
nursed her; who has trained her up, it may be by painful sacrifices, to
habits of propriety and thrift,--has no claim upon her service, even in
her minority. By conferring on the mother, in case of the father's
decease, all the rights, remedies, privileges, and responsibilities in
law appertaining to the father, the new act meets the difficulty.

Before quitting the subject, we cannot refrain from alluding to the
fact, that, as early as 1849, the State of New York had passed a
qualified measure in regard to property; and directing your attention to
the manifest truth, that every imperfect act of legislation constitutes
a new set of exceptions to general rules, and very undesirably
complicates legal practice.

If reforms are not to be unpopular, they should be simple and

In commenting on the passage of these bills, advocated by Mrs. Stanton
before the committees of the Assembly and the Senate, the "New-York
Tribune" says,--

    "Mrs. Stanton talked forcibly. It is needless for me to say that she
    talked earnestly of woman's sufferings, sweetly of her endurance,
    eloquently of her rights. When she talked of her right to be
    protected in the enjoyment of her property, of her right to be
    released from the bondage of an ill-assorted marriage, she was
    listened to with marked favor. She pleaded these demands with the
    feeling of a true woman; and she carried the conviction, that she
    was not asking more than policy, as well as justice, demanded should
    be conceded. When she claimed that her voice should be heard on the
    hustings, and her vote be received at the ballot-box, she was
    earnest and eloquent and _plausible_; but she must have felt that
    she was not convincing her audience, and she did not."

Here the single word _plausible_ vitiates, as cunning reporters well
know how to do, the whole effect of the sentence. Far more reasonably,
the "Tribune" might have said she was earnest, eloquent, and _sensible_;
and so have spurred its readers to thought instead of ridicule. His
criticism, however, launches fairly our last subject of discussion. It
is needless to say, that nowhere in the United States has woman the full
power of suffrage.

In New Jersey, women formerly possessed, and often exercised, this
right. By the Constitution, adopted July 2, 1776, the privilege of
voting was accorded to all inhabitants, of full age and clear estate,
who had resided for a certain time in the country, and who had fifty
dollars in proclamation-money.

In 1790, a Quaker member of the Assembly had the act so drawn as to read
"he or she." Until 1807, women often voted, especially in times of great
political excitement; at such times, for the most part, "under
influence," we may presume. Many voted in the presidential contest of
1800; and a newspaper of that period thanks them for unanimously
supporting John Adams in opposition to Jefferson. So they were supposed,
at times, to act independently. At an election in Hunterdon County in
1802, the ballots of some colored women elected a member of the
legislature. Probably this fact, by stimulating the local prejudice
against color, and the fading-out of all aristocratic distinctions,
which left no property qualifications on the statute-book, led to a
change; for, in 1807, an act was passed, limiting the right of suffrage
to "free white male citizens of twenty-one years."[45]

In later times, committees of intelligent men, in Wisconsin, Michigan,
and Ohio, have reported in favor of granting to women the right of
suffrage; but the question was lost in the ballot which followed.

If the constitution prepared for Kansas should be accepted by the
people, single women will be empowered to vote there. In Nebraska, the
lower house passed a vote, conferring the privilege; but it was too late
in the session for the question to come before the upper branch.

In 1858, a proposition to amend the Constitution of the State of
Connecticut, so as to extend the franchise to women, received eighty-two
votes in the House of Representatives. It was defeated by a majority of
forty-five. In 1852, the Kentucky Legislature, in providing for the
election of school-trustees, enacted that "any widow, having a child
between six and eighteen years, may vote in person or by proxy."

A provision thus limited by public opinion and prejudice would probably
have very little force. I have understood that such a provision has
taken effect in some parts of Michigan, and it has also been recommended
to the State of Massachusetts. Very early in the history of our
government, its inconsistencies became a matter of comment among women
themselves. How could it be otherwise? How can she be said to have a
right to _life_, who has never consented to the laws which may deprive
her of it, who is steadily refused a trial by her peers, who has no
voice in the election of her judges? How can she be said to have a right
to _liberty_, whose person, if not yet in custody, almost inevitably
becomes so on her maturity, who does not own her earnings, who can make
no valid contract, and is taxed without representation? How can that
woman be said to possess either the right or the reality of _happiness_,
who is deprived of the custody of her own person, of the guardianship of
her children, of the right to devise or share her property?

The government is tyrannical which leaves a single citizen in this
predicament. What is to be said of a government which enforces it upon
half its subjects?

It is not strange then, that, half in jest, half in earnest, the wife of
John Adams wrote to him in 1776 to ask if it "were generous in American
men to claim absolute power over wives at a moment when they were
emancipating the whole earth." Nor was it strange, that, in a more
serious mood, Hannah Corbin of Virginia should write to her brother,
Richard Henry Lee, on the same subject.

The American Colonies were struggling against the mother-country, on the
ground that taxation and representation should be inseparable.

The "National Intelligencer" has to confess, when it tells the story,
that it was not strange if "strong-minded" women of that era, finding
themselves _taxed_, should wonder why they could not vote.

Mr. Lee wrote from Chantilly in reply, March 17, 1778:--

     "I do not see," he says, "that any thing prevents widows, having
     large property, from voting, notwithstanding it has never been the
     case either here or in England. Perhaps it was thought unbecoming
     for women to press into tumultuous assemblies.... Perhaps it was
     thought, that, as all those who vote for taxes must bear the tax,
     none would be imposed, except for the public good.

     "For both the widow and the single woman," he continues, "I have
     the highest respect; and would, at any time, give my consent to
     secure to them the franchise, though I do not think it would
     increase their security.

"The Committee of Taxation," he adds, "are regularly chosen by the
freeholders and housekeepers; and, in the choice of them, you have as
legal a right to vote as any person."

Mr. Lee thinks, that, in a few minutes' conversation, he could "content"
his sister upon the subject; but eighty years have passed away, and the
question is still unsettled.

What he calls a "woman's security" is proved to be no security, even in
the small matter of money; for men are constantly imposing taxes, the
burden of which _they_ are never to bear. As I have shown, in treating
of labor, what position women hold toward the State in the matter of
employment, I will not repeat the statement here. Let these pages bear
no other burden than that of woman's civil rights,--"woman's rights,"--a
phrase which we _all_ hate; which soils the lips that use it; which
women speak with such unction as a slave might clank his chains!

Soil the lips? Not because it is a phrase which stirs the ridicule and
the contempt of the weak-minded; not because _you_ consider it only the
second term of the Bloomer equation: but because the necessity to use it
shows how little has yet been done; shows that men still dwell on
distinctions of sex, in preference to identities of duty; that women are
play-things still in the popular estimate,--creatures of the nursery and
the drawing-room, but not angels of God, joint-heirs of immortality.

We have not laid a secure foundation for any statement on this subject,
unless we have made it clear that "woman's rights" are identical with
"human rights;" that what men do for women, they do in far _wider_
measure for themselves; that no father, brother, or husband can have all
the privileges ordained for him of God, till mother and sister and wife
are set free to secure them according to instinctive individual bias.

The subject would have no interest for me, if it were but a selfish
clamor of one class for advantages over another; but it does interest
me,--interest beyond all earthly debate,--because, in its evolution,
there unfolds also the highest interest of our common humanity.

That public opinion has been somewhat conquered, the reception given to
women in the lyceum is alone sufficient to show. When a woman of good
social standing struggles with convention on the one hand, and womanly
affection on the other, she still stands _on the platform_ somewhat as
she _did at the stake_; but, on the other hand, the awakening public
interest has nurtured a class of women who owe all that they have and
are to the platform itself.

With no oppressive restrictions in their circumstances,--endowed with
strong good sense and a vigorous talent,--they have won their way to the
public esteem; and are stronger and healthier than most women, only
because they have had an object for life and thought to grasp.

What will most help women in the matter of labor, and, through labor, to
their "civil rights," is a new conception of the dignity of labor on the
part of the educated classes, men as well as women.

Harriet Hosmer comes back from Rome to queen it over our men; Rosa
Bonheur drives a tandem of Flemish horses through a square of canvas,
and over the very necks of her critics: but we want women who shall turn
the trades into fine arts. Do you smile at the expression? It is
legitimate. France has already answered my demand. A finer statue than
the "Moses" of Michael Angelo would be one womanly model of patient
thoroughness. A finer picture than the glowing pencils of Titian and
Claude ever fused into a canvas would be the prospective elevation of
manual labor.

The fine arts are already obedient to woman's will. To _what_ woman is
it reserved to make the useful arts pay tribute? Dependent upon the
"right to labor," as we have already seen, is "woman's civil equality."
If all the fields of human labor are thrown absolutely open (and you
admit that they ought to be); if women enter and grow wealthy therein;
if every second woman, for instance, were an intelligent
property-holder,--is it credible that she, or her husband for her, would
remain contented in her present minority? Would she not want a seat in
the legislature to protect her property, a vote to control
appropriations and taxes? There are no revolutionists like the
industrial classes.

It was the discontent of merchants and artisans which hunted Charles
Stuart to the block, and paved the way for English freedom. It was the
discontent of trade, a long-entertained moral disgust, culminating in
indignant contempt at a Stamp Act, which secured American
_independence_,--I wish we could say, American _freedom_ as well.
Create, then, a class of wealthy working women, you who are ambitious of
a female franchise, and society will be forced to give you your desire.

Wendell Phillips says, that, when woman is once brought to the
ballot-box, men will cry out, "Educate her!" in self-preservation. If
this be true (and I am not sure that it is; for a great many popular
elections are at this moment carried in the Middle and Southern States,
to come no nearer home, by the _un_educated class, partly by the
dram-shops indeed),--if this _be_ true, however, it is a "poor rule
which does not work both ways;" and we may go farther than Mr. Phillips,
and say, he will also cry out, "Give her something to do!" that she may
understand the interests of property, and be qualified to plead for
them. Mr. Phillips plants himself upon the right of suffrage, and _goes
back_ to secure education and free labor, for State reasons. He has
every right to do it; but, on the other hand, _we_ may rest upon our
undoubted right to education, and go _forward_, with safe, strong steps,
to claim the right of suffrage. When a majority of women find the means
of thorough education open, then a much greater number will seek actual
employment, and immediately the interests of property will compel them
to clamor for suffrage. Do not misunderstand me. It is not a nation of
paid underlings, of ever so intelligent clerks and apprentices, men or
women, that will control the springs of government, and overthrow
institutions as well as prejudices, if they stand in their way: it is
the heads of firms, the movers in great undertakings, the proprietors of
mills, the builders of ships, the contractors for supplies, persons
conversant with large interests, and quick to see their jeopardy, which,
as women no less than men, must secure the elective right.

How I should rejoice to see a large Lowell mill wholly owned and managed
by women! What is to make it possible?--only, that the unoccupied women
of wealth and rank, at this moment in the Commonwealth, should combine
to build or buy such a mill. Suppose it _well_ managed, representing
ultimately a million of dollars: do you believe it would long remain
without political power? Just as the testy trade of Upsal demanded the
franchise for its eighty-one women, so would the Lowell mill.

Every year, these ten years, our sturdy friend Dr. Hunt has sent up her
protest to the city assessors. She has not quite had the heart, as I
wish some woman had, to let them sell her household goods over her head,
for non-payment of taxes; but the City Government sits as serene and
patient under her inflictions as if she had never spoken. Her protests
probably go back to the pulp of the paper-mill; and, but for the
newspaper, we should never know that they were written. But five
thousand female property-holders, calling their own caucus, and storming
the City Hall with well-concerted words, would compel any government to
listen; would compel committees to sit, and departments to act. Let it
be your first duty, then, to add to the number of intelligent female

Last summer, I heard one of our friends say, that the reason that men
did not wish women to enter medical societies, and receive medical
diplomas, was, that they were unwilling to be detected in their own
double-dealing and malpractice. I should not be willing to indorse a
statement so broadly made. Mean men may justify it: but the men I have
known, the men who have been at once my inspiration and my
strength,--these men were not mean; yet among them even the bravest
doubted, at first, as to the expediency of our discussion.

These men have felt a tender reverence for moral purity in woman. They
have seen laborers of the lower class fall as if smitten by a
pestilence. They had not faith to save the world at such a cost. From
the malpractice and guilty dread of mean men, then; from the sensitive
horror of the noblest, let us learn, at least, that the duty woman owes
the State is a _moral_ duty. A full understanding of this will give her
courage to press her claims. It is the power of conscience and love
which she is to bring to bear on the ballot-box, and which is to mould,
with her aid, questions and interests hitherto untouched by any higher
impulse than the love of gain.

I cannot leave this statement of human rights, without claiming for
woman one right of which men very commonly deprive her; in behalf of
which society makes no clamor, and about which the most radical
reformers say very little. I mean woman's right to find man in his
proper place, as counsellor and friend.

As _father_, to find him interested, equally with his wife, in the
spiritual custody and training of his daughters; giving thus some
portion of each day to imbuing young womanly souls with manly strength.

As _brother_, to find in him wise respect for womanhood, and helpful
free communion.

As _husband_, to find him, unless there is manifest interposition of
Providence, always at the head of his family, always the support and
counsellor of his wife, as she in turn is to be his; making his love her
shelter, his strength her dependence, his experience her guide, his
manliness the complement of her womanliness.

As a _son_, to find him always anxious and ready to minister, provident
to think, patient to bear, and willing to act; never shirking, from
idleness, the duty which an active mother does not shrink from bending,
perhaps _breaking_, beneath.

Society sets man free from every conceivable family duty, without a
word. On the other hand, it binds women down to them with cords of iron,
and is pitiless if a single one be snapped. I do not ask society to
require less of woman, but _more_ of man. There is an immense amount of
cant, intentional and unintentional, talked upon this subject. Last
January, I heard one of our wisest and best public teachers speak upon
the constitution of the family; and, when he had spoken whole pages of
solid sense, he said this foolish thing,--that the life of the family
rested in the mother; that, when _she_ died, the children must scatter,
the father could not hold them alone, but that the father might be
faithless or dissipated, might abide in foreign countries, might wander
for years a stranger, and still the family sacredness be unbroken. I do
not believe it. I protest against such a view of the family, as a great
public evil, and one which no public teacher should strengthen by any
heedless or sentimental words.

No man has a right to ask any woman to be his wife, who means to
sacrifice her life to his own love of business or pleasure or vagrancy;
who does not mean to stand strong at her side till death. I speak for
the heart of all womanhood when I say, that no good woman would ever
accept such an offer, if she supposed she were to be idly left to fulfil
its duties alone. If God had intended to rear women independent of manly
influence, he would never have constituted the family. It is because
every woman needs every man that its laws are absolute. If the physical
legitimacy of the family depend upon the mother, the spiritual
legitimacy depends upon the holy faithfulness of the father. When death
or sickness or imperative duty takes her beloved ones from her, God
sends to woman the Comforter, who helps her to bear and do her double
duty. Yet even this angel is born of a voiceless sorrow. It was in
recognition of this human need, as much as of the divine love, that
Theodore Parker was accustomed to pray to Him who is _both_ Father and

Do you object, that, under the present constitution of society, man
cannot find time for this fidelity? When woman becomes an active worker,
adding to the resources of the household, man is set free from a portion
of his care. The future offers him ample time; the present, more than
he uses. I wish I could see him as anxious to make acquaintance with his
own young children as with the gay society of his neighborhood.

The actual guardianship of society is now thrown into woman's hands. It
does not belong to her: it belongs to men _and_ women.[46]

Individual men shrink from the idea of being "governed by their wives."
From traditional indolence, however, and that sentimental respect which
does not permit a man to sit in a woman's presence, the "world" has
certainly come to be governed by "_its_ wife." Worst of all, nobody
punishes it even by a sneer.

The historical development of woman's social progress corresponds to the
logical statement upon which I have insisted.

Nearly two centuries ago, Mary Astell would have established a college
for women; but the bigotry of Bishop Burnet defeated her plans. The
niece of a beneficed clergyman, she had not the courage to press her
schemes against the open opposition of the church. Many other efforts,
like hers, to secure and make use of education, led the way to a
recognition of a decided bias in the individual: so when, a century
later, Mary Wollstonecraft was born, the way was open for the assertion
of the right to labor. This assertion is hardly indicated in her most
celebrated work; but it gives pungency and effect to the dreariest pages
of her novels.

In Australia, when a female child is born, the natives break her
finger-joints; an artificial distinction, which _they_ seem to think
more decisive and enduring than God's own limit of sex.

Mary Wollstonecraft saw, that civilized society, enslaved by tradition
and custom, imposed conditions quite as arbitrary, and, to all practical
purposes, broke _every_ joint in a woman's body; leaving her helpless,
to depend on the strength and skill and affection of man.

A passionate and thriftless father, who spent more than three daughters
could earn, and whom she nevertheless protected to her dying day, did
not give her a very high idea of the security of such dependence. The
response to her appeal was heard in a myriad of distinguished voices,
and seen in the consecutive, chosen, and persevering labors of Harriet
Martineau in political economy, of Anna Jameson in artistic criticism,
of Mary Carpenter in the reformation of criminals, of Florence
Nightingale in sanitary reform, of Caroline Chisholm in emigration, of
Mrs. Griffith in marine botany (a special study, which she may almost be
said to have created), of Janet Taylor in practical philanthropy among
seamen, and nautical astronomy.

This selection of duty shows the advance of the movement. Formerly a
woman might be literary in a general sense: now she had the oversight of
the field, and might choose the place and kind of her work.

All this prepared the way for the advent of Margaret Fuller, and brought
about the condition of which she was the exponent. She caught the rumor
which floated in subtle discord all around her. Her quick insight
detected every true and living germ of thought in the confused social
deposits and exhalations. Out of the discord, she wrought a quaint and
scholarly music; out of the refuse, she enriched a fragrant garden: and
this song, this outgrowth, had an essential music and beauty, and were
caught at once to the popular heart.

That the division of labor was already taking place, was obvious enough
to her: so she claimed, in advance, the right of suffrage. Society was
already prepared to make this claim, but only discovered its readiness
as it listened to her enthusiastic song. Like Deborah, our friend struck
her cymbals; and, when the heart of the people shouted consent, they
"made her a judge over them."

Although it was doubtless owing to many older causes, it seemed as if
her statement of the "great lawsuit" in 1844 led to the first Woman's
Convention at Seneca Falls in 1848; and, in 1850, the National
Woman's-rights Association began the yearly work in which it has ever
since persevered.

Man, as well as woman, has been forced to respect this work, moved by
the moral destitution in the lowest, and the profane inanity in the
highest, ranks of life, which is the result of our social depravity.

_Profane inanity_, I repeat; for every helpless woman is a living,
intolerable blasphemy against the Most High. Not more a blasphemy than
every helpless man; but society neither expects, defends, nor provides
for, helpless _men_. It is only the helpless woman who is expected and

Often do we hear it said, that no law forbids American women to _work_.

Neither, it has been responded, is there any _law_ which forbids Chinese
women to _walk_; but the careful ligatures, so closely pressed by
unsuspecting mothers about those tender feet, do not do their work more
surely than the inevitable restrictions of society.

In summing up this constantly accruing list of influences and changes, I
must again direct your attention to the fact, that, from the earliest
dawn of modern civilization, women have been, in some nations at least,
invested with political power.

The mock-marriage, by which the woman's entailed suffrage served a
fraudulent purpose; the abbesses called to Parliament in right of
abbey-lands, the permission accorded to the eighty-one women of Upsal,
the position of the French "Dames de la Halle," the female stockholders
in the East-India Company, that one persistent female property-holder in
Nova Scotia, the fifty-dollar proclamation-money in New Jersey,--all
indicate that there never _has_ been, and never _will_ be, any serious
difficulty about woman's voting in any age or any country where the
right to vote depends upon the possession of property, and where she
herself professes to desire it.

Understand, then, that the abstract right to vote is not the question
for you to consider: that was settled some hundreds of years ago.

The practical question for American men to put to themselves is, whether
their own democratic experiment is a failure. Will you go back to the
property basis for your own franchise? or do you still profess to
believe, that man--as man, as child of God--has a right to reign, which
does not depend upon broad doubloons or broad acres? And, if man has
this right upon a simple human ground, how can you deny it to woman?

Will you say that she is not human,--that she has no soul?

Even Mahomet did better than that. Some one once asked him if the
marriage-tie were immortal, and if a husband might claim his wife in the
next world:--

     "If the man be the superior being," he replied, "he can claim his
     wife or not, as he chooses; but, if the woman be the superior, the
     decision must rest with her."

And what Mahomet thus prophesied of the world to come is clearly true of
the world that is. There is no such thing as cheating either God or

Let him who aspires to rule _make himself superior_ in understanding and
moral purpose, and he _will_ rule.

No possibilities, visible or invisible, need daunt him; but, let him be
false by one hair's breadth, and he carries his doom in his own bosom as
certainly as the flawed crystal at the approach of frost.

You are, then, to base your demand for woman's civil rights upon her
simple humanity,--the value of the soul itself.

If you deny this foundation for her, you deny it for yourselves, and the
Declaration of Independence is only an impertinent pretence.

It may not be easy to push this truth home, and force your friends and
neighbors to consider it; but, once convinced in your own minds, you
cannot escape from the responsibility.

Wendell Phillips once told us of an old catechism, printed, I think, at
Venice in 1563, which contained the following question and answer:--

     _Q._ How shall I show my obedience to God?

     _A._ By never doing any thing which is disagreeable to my neighbor.

Is it possible that this catechism is still in general use?

Fashionable morality is of so loose a sort, that to do any thing
disagreeable to one's neighbor is still, in the estimation of most
people, the unpardonable sin. People who are capable of hesitating on
that account need not be greatly anxious about their responsibility.

Our cause does not need them; resting, not on timid self-deceivers, but
on immutable truth, and the hallowed recognition of woman herself.

Society still cries, like King John in the play,--

    "If not, fill up the measure of her will;
    Yes, in some measure, satisfy her so,
    That we shall stop her _exclamation_!"

And woman, serener than Constance, may whisper back,--

    "Wherefore, since law is perfect wrong,
    Why should the law forbid my tongue to cry?"


  [42] A law, apparently favorable to all widows, passed the
  Massachusetts Legislature at the last session. It seems to me,
  however, to bear the marks of a law passed for a special case. I have
  made several applications in the proper quarters for information
  concerning it, but have received nothing in return.


     _Be it enacted, &c., as follows_:--

     SECT. 1.--When a man dies, having lawfully disposed of his estate
     by will, and leaving a widow, she may, at any time within six
     months after the probate of the will, file in the probate-office,
     in writing, her waiver of the provisions made for her in the will;
     and shall, in such case, be entitled to such portion of his real
     and personal estate as she would have been entitled to if her
     husband had died intestate: _provided, however_, that, if the share
     of the personal estate to which she would thus become entitled
     shall exceed the sum of ten thousand dollars, she shall, in such
     case, be entitled to receive in her own right the said amount of
     ten thousand dollars, and to receive the income only of the excess
     of said share above said sum of ten thousand dollars during her
     natural life. If she makes no such waiver, she shall not be endowed
     of his lands, unless it plainly appears by the will to have been
     the intention of the testator that she should have such provisions
     in addition to her dower.

     SECT. 2.--Upon application, made by the widow or any one interested
     in the estate, the judge of probate may appoint one or more
     trustees, to receive, hold, and manage, during the lifetime of the
     widow, the portion of the personal estate of her deceased husband,
     exceeding ten thousand dollars, of which she is entitled to receive
     under this act.

     SECT. 3.--The twenty-fourth section of the ninety-second chapter of
     the General Statutes is hereby repealed.

     Approved April 9, 1861.

  In a case on trial in the Superior Court to-day (Oct. 3, 1861),
  Chief-Justice Allen ruled, that the law of 1855, allowing married
  women to do business on their own account, separate and apart from
  their husbands, did not exclude them from entering into
  business-partnerships with men other than their husbands.

  [43] On the 7th of April, 1861, the Ohio Legislature passed a bill
  concerning the Rights and Liabilities of Married Women.

    SECT. 1 conveys the impression, that all married women may control
    their rents and issues of real estate belonging to them at marriage,
    or separately received after.

    SECT. 5, however, says "that this law shall not affect any
    rights which may have _become_ vested in any person at the time of
    its taking effect;" which, of course, cuts off from its beneficial
    results all persons previously married.

    It seems a perfectly simple matter to a woman to obviate the
    difficulties and disappointments which arise in this way.

    Let parties married under the old law, but desiring to benefit by the
    new, go before a magistrate, and state their wish; and then let the
    decision in their favor be published in the regular way.

    Such a method would not benefit parties at variance; but it would
    benefit a large class of women engaged, or desiring to engage, in
    independent business.

  The Ohio law repeals a former law of 1857, which secured to all
  married women the control of the sale or the disposal of personal
  property exempt from execution: so its benefits are of a nature by no
  means unmixed.

  [44] See note, page 349.

  [45] See Appendix.

  [46] This passage was originally prompted by some reflections on the
  changes which have occurred in domestic life in Boston.

  Here the family, even among those of the highest social rank, had once
  a sacred simplicity pleasant to remember. Men were accustomed to take
  their three meals with their wives and children. The latest
  dinner-hour was two, p.m.; and suppers were unheard of. The evening
  party began at seven; and young girls went freely and uninvited from
  house to house, with their needle or their book.

  How greatly all this is changed, my readers, many of them, feel still
  more deeply than I; and, with this change, the formation of "clubs" of
  various kinds has brought about others far more important.

  A young married lady of rank and fashion was lately lamenting to me
  the isolation of husbands and wives, fathers and children, consequent
  upon club-life.

  "But," she concluded with a sigh, "if my husband had no club, he would
  expect a hot supper for a friend two or three times a week; and how
  could I ever accomplish that?"

  This _indolence_ of _women_ lies at the bottom of many serious social
  evils. The woman who will not, health and fortune permitting, make
  herself responsible in such a case for any number of hot suppers,
  deserves to see her own happiness wither, her own hearth made

  It is needless to add, that if women would educate themselves to be
  true and noble companions to their husbands, and resign on their own
  part all that is unsound, and therefore unbecoming, in fashionable
  life, hot suppers would cease to be a desideratum, and men would pass
  pleasant evenings without them.



"The only respect in which all men continue for ever to be equal, is
that of the equal right which every man has to defend himself; but this
involves a source of much inequality in respect to the things which any
one may have a right to defend."--ADAM FERGUSON.



     "To go on working, I consider the only thing to do; and, when
     friends urge this after every fresh effort, their doing so in
     itself contains a kind of verdict."--FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

There are some items of interest, that have come under my observation,
for the first time, during the last few years, which I have not found it
possible to add to the preceding lectures without destroying their
symmetry. I therefore offer them in an Appendix. They are not placed
here because they are unimportant, but simply that the later progress of
public opinion may be set forth by itself.

For the last five years, the women of the United States have held few
public discussions. They have done wisely. Circumstances have proved
their friend. Nothing ever had done, nothing ever will do again, so
great a service to woman, in so short a time, as this dreadful war, out
of which we are so slowly emerging. Respect for woman came only with the
absolute need of her; and so many women of distinguished ability made
themselves of service to the government, that we had no single woman to
honor as England had honored Florence Nightingale. With us, her name
was _legion_. But with the prospect of peace comes the old duty of
agitation; and we find ourselves again summoned to our work, and again
anxiously awaiting its results,--_anxiously_, for the public work of
women is an object which still attracts the gaze of the curious; and the
smallest indiscretion on the part of a single woman has a retrograde
effect, which very few seem able to measure.

Our reform is unlike all others; for it must begin in the family, at the
very heart of society. If it be not kindly, temperately, and
thoughtfully conducted, men everywhere will be able to justify their
remonstrances. Let us rather justify _ourselves_. My last report to any
convention was made to those called in Boston in 1859 and 1860. Between
that time and 1863, I printed five volumes, which are nothing but
reports upon the various interests significant to our cause. During the
last four years, I have watched the development of American industry in
its relation to women, and have, through the newspapers, aroused public
feeling in their behalf. My labor is naturally classed under the three
heads of Education, Labor, and Law. A proper education must prepare
woman for labor, skilled or manual: and the experience of a laborer
should introduce her to citizenship; for it provides her with rights to
protect, privileges to secure, and property to be taxed. If she be a
laborer, she must have an interest in the laws which control labor.

In considering our position in these three respects, it is impossible
to offer a digest of all that has occurred during the last six years.
What I have to say will refer chiefly to the events of the last two.


The most important educational movement of the last two years has been
the formation of an American Association for the Promotion of Social
Science, with four departments, and two women on its Board of Directors.
Subsequently, the Boston Association was organized, with seven
departments, and seven women on its Board of Directors; one woman being
assigned to each department, including that of law. Any woman in the
United States can become a member of the American association. If the
opportunities it offers are not seized, it will be the fault of women

During the past winter, the Lowell Institute in Boston, in connection
with the government of the Massachusetts Technological Institute, took a
step which deserves public mention. They advertised classes for both
sexes, under the most eligible professors, for instruction in French,
mathematics, and natural science. As the training was to be thorough,
the number of pupils was limited, and the _women_ who applied would have
filled the seats many times over. These classes have been wholly free,
and have added to the obligation which the free Art School for women had
already conferred.

On the 25th of June, 1865, the Ripley College, at Poultney, Vt.,
celebrated its Commencement. Seventeen young ladies were graduated.
Ralph Waldo Emerson delivered the literary address, and two days were
devoted to the examination of incoming pupils. Feeling very little
satisfaction in the success of colleges intended for the separate sexes,
I take more pleasure in speaking of the Baker University, in Kansas,
which was chartered by the Legislature of that State in 1857, as a
university for both sexes. It has now been in active operation for seven
years. A little more than a year ago, Miss Martha Baldwin, a graduate of
the Baldwin University at Berea, Ohio, was appointed to the chair of
Greek and Latin. She is but twenty-one years of age, but was elected by
the government to make the address for the faculty at the opening of the
Commencement exercises, and seems to have given entire satisfaction
during the year.

Howard University was chartered at the last session of Congress, for the
education of all classes of students, without distinction of sex, race,
or color. It has purchased three acres of land in a pleasant part of
Washington, and is now ready to receive about twenty-five students. Rev.
Dr. Boynton, chaplain of the House of Representatives, is President of
the Board of Trustees.

St. Lawrence University, Canton, N.Y., a university still very young,
graduates both men and women, on precisely the same conditions. Civil
engineering and political economy are the only optional studies with
the women. It reports one theological student. Lombard University,
Galesburg, Ill., does the same; but I know nothing of its standard of
scholarship. It is only within the last year that I have been able to
visit the most conspicuous colleges in this country in which women are
taught with men. I consider the system of mixed classes an immense
advantage, as it secures the standard of scholarship, prevents all
foolish hazing, and places personal character and moral deportment in
their right relations to classic study. It prevents also such
instruction in the classics as must necessarily deprave the estimate of


About all that I knew of Antioch, before I went West, was this,--that it
was a college for the instruction of both sexes. I would like to have my
readers know more of Antioch than I did, and to feel, without seeing it,
the same intense interest that warms me now. They have heard of Oberlin,
I suppose,--heard of it as a sort of fanatical way-station between the
district school and Harvard University, where men, women, and "colored
people" are all taught together. If I should show them what Oberlin has
actually _done_, I think they may see more plainly what it is possible
for Antioch to do: so I shall begin with some account of this college,
which has "saved the North-west."

It is no idle boast: and, when I had stayed a week at Antioch, and was
thoroughly roused to a sense of its immense importance; when I had seen
how admirably fitted was Dr. Hosmer for the work given him to do,--I
decided this in my own mind; namely, that if any one thing had stood in
the way of Antioch hitherto, if any thing had prevented her complete
work, it was the Eastern prejudice, the idea that men and women could
not be educated together. And, as they had been trying this experiment
at Oberlin for thirty-two years, I thought I would go there, and see how
it had worked. If I had known then, what I know now, that out of the
bosom of Oberlin twenty-two colleges had sprung, and that, of the
twenty-two, ten are at this moment officered by her own graduates, I
think I might have spared myself the trouble. Here are their names; for
you will care more for Oberlin, if you get some glimpse of the work she
has done, before I tell you the details of her story. I have put an
asterisk against the names of the colleges whose presidents are
graduates of Oberlin. All of those named receive pupils of both sexes.

     _Ohio._--Baldwin University, Berea, three colleges and one
     university, 326 pupils, 1846; Heidelberg College, Tiffin; Antioch
     College, Yellow Springs; Mount Union College, Alliance; Otterbein
     College, Westerville, a Gallery of Fine Arts forming, 360 students.

     _Michigan._--*Olivet College, 308 pupils; *Hillsdale College, 609
     pupils; *Albion College; *Adrian College, with an endowment of

     _Wisconsin._--Madison University; *Ripon College, 87 pupils.

     _Illinois._--Wheaton College, 219 pupils; Lombard University.

     _Indiana._--*Union Christian College, Mecom, 115 graduates.

     _Minnesota._--*Northfield College.

     _New York._--Genesee College, Lima; Elmira College.

     _Kentucky._--Berea College.

     _Kansas._--State University, Lawrence; Lincoln College, Topeka;
     Baker University.

     _Iowa._--Grenell College; *Tabor College, 192 pupils.

To these we may add Oberlin herself, with 1,145 pupils for the term
which has just closed, and the prospect of a college in Missouri, which
her president has recently been solicited to organize. Wherever I have
obtained the catalogues of 1866, I have recorded the present number of
students in these colleges. To those I have not marked, it will be fair
to allow an average of 210 students. Those are not high schools, be it
understood, but colleges in the proper sense. There is no doubt, that
Oberlin, as the principal educational influence in Ohio, imposed upon
Antioch and all other "Christian" colleges the necessity of educating
both sexes.

In 1832, Oberlin was a little religious colony, born into a complete
wilderness out of the Presbyterian Church. The plan of the colony
involved a school, for which a tract of five hundred acres was given.
The sale of the remainder of a tract of six thousand acres furnished a
small fund with which to begin teaching. A year later, the students of
Lane Seminary determined to hold an antislavery prayer meeting. The
trustees forbade it. "You are right," said old Dr. Beecher, when the
mutinous lads appealed to him,--"you are right; but we are too weak to
hold Lane Seminary on antislavery principles. Go and make it possible
for us." They went--Theodore Weld and Henry B. Stanton among them--to
speak the truth at Oberlin. Arthur Tappan called from the Broadway
Tabernacle the man who had been in the front of the great awakening
which has swept through the land, instinct in every fibre of his being
with the spirit of aggressive Christian work. "Go," he wrote to
President Finney,--"go and teach the young men whom Lane refuses." One
hundred thousand dollars was pledged by the merchants. Oberlin studied
in summer that her pupils might teach all winter. So, promising to
return to New York for the winter seasons, President Finney found his
way, one muddy spring morning, to Oberlin. What he found there was two
frame-houses in the midst of the forest, and half a dozen log-cabins. He
found also his sixty students.

Very soon they had no end of difficulties to contend with. A jealous
college, that had wanted Dr. Finney for its president, did its best to
break down Oberlin. The crash of 1837 came; and Arthur Tappan, and the
rest who had not paid out capital, ceased to pay interest. It was
necessary to raise $50,000, and President Finney went to England and did
it. Every man's hand was against them. The cross-roads were ornamented
with pictures of fugitive slaves, pursued by lions and tigers, and
running in the direction of Oberlin. But when Oberlin became a station
on the underground railroad, and the slave-hunters actually came there
after their chattels, the case altered. The neighborhood took part with
the college, as if by miraculous conversion, and the offensive pictures
disappeared. Then a thousand scholarships were instituted, at $100 each.
Some were perpetual; some for six, eight, or ten years. On the interest
of this investment the college now lives. The scholarships, as they fall
in, increase its means. It costs $15,000 per annum, and $15 is the
student's yearly fee. He rents his scholarship of a broker in the town.
The college is managed with exquisite economy, and the most perfect
attention to essential neatness.

For twenty years the college sent out into the West five hundred
antislavery pupils yearly, to take the post of teachers, ministers,
editors, and lawyers. They were heretics, so they were pushed farther
and farther West. For the last fifteen years, it has sent out a thousand
yearly. In all, twenty-five thousand men and women have gone out from
her bosom, who have eaten and drank and recited at the same board with
the colored man. Through all her pecuniary troubles, her original
teachers have stayed by her, have given up all else for her sake; and
President Finney has never been without a colored student at his table.
There are two large churches in the town; for a population of four
thousand persons has grown up to supply the wants of the college, which
has the great advantage of still retaining the services of those who
originally created it. Last year, Dr. Finney, now nearly eighty years
old, resigned his position as president, but still remains at the head
of the Theological School. I had always thought Oberlin bigoted to
evangelical ways. I did not find it so. I was made as welcome to
cross-question classes as if I had been an ordained graduate of their
own. All theological teaching is done by discussion; and the fact that
the colleges which have grown up under her graduates are of all
persuasions, from the Methodist to the Christian, will show that
doctrine is not urged. In all the recitation-rooms, questions were
freely asked by both sexes; and this questioning is encouraged by all
the professors but one, a young man from Yale. "Yes," said President
Fairchild, himself a graduate of Oberlin, when I had pointed this out;
"yes, that is what remains of New-England stiffness. Six months will
convert him: we shall let him take his own time." I have never seen any
thing like the enthusiasm this college inspires in those who labor for
it. Would that I could see a man bred at Harvard with the same patient
fire in his soul as President Finney! As I knelt by his side morning and
evening, I felt that under his ministry the very _stones_ must cry out.
The twenty-five thousand men sent out from Oberlin did not go out as
citizens merely, but as _teachers_. I was not surprised to find, that, a
few months before the Proclamation of Emancipation, a letter had gone to
Washington, from President Finney, entreating Mr. Lincoln to "recognize
the hand of the Lord in this matter." In Oberlin, it is believed to have
substantially modified the proclamation. Oberlin sent eight hundred and
fifty men into the field during the rebellion. Professor Peck, our
minister to Hayti, is the man who was once imprisoned by slave-hunters
in Cleveland jail. An indignant mass-meeting was held in that city. Six
hundred sabbath-school children went from Oberlin to greet their
imprisoned superintendent, and the prosecuting attorney thought it best
to give up the case. Professor Monroe, married to a daughter of
President Finney, is our consul at Rio, and is well known as a
controlling political power in Ohio. One of the faculty headed the first
Oberlin regiment; a graduate of the Theological School, the second;
Colonel Cooper, of the third, who went through with Sherman, is still
doing antislavery work in Arkansas; and the present Governor of Ohio,
Major-General Cox, also married to a daughter of Mr. Finney, has a
record so brilliant, that it demands a volume in itself.

During the war, the college realized one unexpected advantage from the
presence of women. The female pupils kept the college working! In the
original constitution of Oberlin, it was stated that its main object was
"to diffuse pure religion throughout the Mississippi Valley, and to
elevate the female character." To both these objects it has been
religiously faithful. In the Ladies' Library Room I saw a picture of
Camp Dennison. It was drawn by one of the graduates; was sent from camp
to college, with the inscription beneath, "From the boys at Camp
Dennison to the girls of '61,--the dearest girls in all the world." It
was not put out of sight, but proudly shown to me. I have never been in
any educational institution where the interests of the _pupils_ so
evidently rule. The vacation comes in winter, that the pupils may pass
it in teaching; but the professors do not then take a vacation. They
open a winter school, where students who are behindhand may make up
deficiencies. I do not mean that all the pupils go through the entire
college course: many cannot afford it. They stay as long as they can,
and go reluctantly away.

They follow the fashions at Oberlin: the Continental pronunciation took
possession of the Greek and Latin class-rooms last year. They employ
undergraduates to teach the preparatory students at thirty cents an
hour. The common or town school has 830 pupils, 180 of whom are colored.
In the college, the colored pupils are 5 to 100, and the female pupils
40 out of 50. There are scarcely any rules. The few that are printed are
enforced as friendly advice. President Finney says he has often known a
year to pass without an opportunity for a presidential admonition. The
management of the girls seems to me admirable. The teachers _feel_ no
doubt of their method; therefore they show none. Once a fortnight the
lady principal meets the ladies, and talks with them privately on all
questions of womanly habits and manners. The splendid endowment of
Vassar College could not give to Oberlin a woman better suited to this
purpose than Mrs. Dascomb. Once a week there is a religious meeting.

The college has just now the brightest prospects. Its old buildings were
far less convenient than those at Antioch; but at a late Commencement an
appeal was made, and by a spasmodic response, like that which recently
gave us $30,000 for Meadville, the graduates subscribed as much for a
new "Ladies' Hall." The contracts were made before the war, the expenses
managed with scrupulous prudence; and now a beautiful brick building,
121 feet by 121, is opened. It has a library, reading-room, and parlors;
and a dining-hall, to which the male students are admitted, and where
truly excellent board is given for three dollars a week. The kitchen
would do anybody's heart good. On every floor is a wood and water room,
where the wood and ashes go up and down on a dumb-waiter, where water is
carried up in a well-protected pipe, and slops may be thrown into a
sink. Two excellent new buildings for recitations will be ready for the
spring term. Some idea of the admirable tact and prudence which have
prevailed at Oberlin may be gleaned from the following anecdote:
Thirty-three years passed before a colored _teacher_ was employed in the
Preparatory School. "We knew," said President Fairchild, "that we must
not try the experiment till it was sure to be a magnificent success." In
1865, Oberlin had in Miss Fanny Jackson a pupil worthy of the
experiment. She had been a slave in the District of Columbia, and so
puny, that, at an early age, she was sold to her own aunt, a freedwoman,
for a trivial sum. She was sent here, and with fear and trembling now
yielded to the wish of the president. That no one might be compelled to
enter her class, _two_ advanced classes in English grammar were
organized, one under the present wife of Dr. Finney. On the first day,
an over-grown lad came to the president, and said, "My father would not
like it very well if he knew I was taught by a woman,--but a woman and a
negro!" "Stay in the class three days to please me," said the president;
and, at the end of that time, the boy refused to be removed. After a
day's absence from illness, Miss Jackson was received with cheers; and,
when her class had to be subdivided, the heart-burnings of those who had
to leave it were pitiable. She is now teaching in the Colored High
School in Philadelphia, where she will remain till she has paid the
price of her freedom. The brilliancy of her classical teaching is
considered very remarkable in Philadelphia.

It remains only to consider the double system. Everybody at Oberlin was
loud in its praise; no one would teach now in any other sort of college.
The presence of women secured discipline. There was no chance for hazing
or any other antiquated folly. Pupils and teachers who had gone from
Oberlin to Vassar both missed the pleasant excitement of the old life.

"But," said President Finney, when I turned from all the rest to him,
"it must not be forgotten that we have had great advantages. We came
here for a religious reason; our pupils _came_ for years. It is only
lately that they have been _sent_. I expect that some difficulties may
arise, but none worse than would arise in a neighborhood-school. It is
God's way to rear us." The old man showed me, with great emotion, a
confession, signed by three young girls, and read at college prayers in
1837. They had been walking, and met one of the students with an
improvised sledge; without thinking, they jumped on and took a drive.
There were no rules against it; but, when they came home, they
remembered how much depended on their prudence as members of an
antislavery institution, and wrote the confession of their own accord.
One of these lovely women is now the wife of President Fairchild.

I record with pride the history of Oberlin, the first college which
undertook to teach resident pupils of both sexes. I feel that it has
been a great success. I am ashamed of the half-denominational prejudice
which kept me from taking a warmer interest in it, in advance; and I
greet its new life under President Fairchild, a graduate of the
institution, with the warmest feelings of hope and admiration.

It has just received $25,000 from the executors of the estate of the
Rev. Charles Avery, of Pittsburg, who left $150,000 in trust, to be
devoted, according to the best judgment of the directors, to the
"education and elevation of the colored people in the United States and
Canadas." The conditions are, that the college shall never make any
discrimination, on account of color, against colored students, and that
it shall furnish free tuition to fifty of its most needy colored
students who may apply for it; preference being given to twenty to be
nominated by the American Missionary Association.


The road to Antioch is hard to find: indeed, it would seem as if the
trustees had specially secluded it,--made interest, perhaps, with the
railroads to prevent the cars from stopping there, for the special
protection of the young people! From Cincinnati, we wind along the
lovely banks of the little Miami, through nurseries and hillside
terraces, through groves of oak and sycamore, and birch-trees stretching
out white, bewildered arms. Pigs are quietly grazing in the woods, as if
it were their nature to "chew the cud;" there are groups of tiny
powder-houses, made small, the people say, because they are "expected to
blow up once a fortnight"! Heavy loads of corn and hay wind along the
terraced roads; a gay-looking negro on horseback takes off his hat; two
children are pulling a boat across the Miami; there are no houses along
the shore, only safe-looking spits of sand jut out here and there; and,
at last, having come the ten miles from Xenia in a private carriage, we
roll on to Antioch Plain. I had heard that the college was on high land;
so I was a little disappointed to find it on a table among the hills,
which did not command any marvellous extent of country. As for the
college, it has evidently made its toilet for posterity. I could not get
a glimpse of its two fine towers and broad front, till I wandered down
to the railroad track, and looked at it from the vicinity of a lime-kiln
and a sorghum-mill. For some unknown reason, it turned its back on the
village in the beginning, and pranks its beauty in full sight of that
cursive population which travels by steam.

Yellow Springs is a pretty little place to live in,--an economical one,
certainly, for there isn't a thing in it to buy; and, when we have
looked at two or three little churches and Judge Mills's pretty park, we
are quite content to go through the grounds of the Yellow Springs House,
look down on the glen from the quaint, long, low southern piazza of the
Neff House, and finally get home as we may, by log-bridges, and banks of
moss, over which the walking-fern is striding. Ten miles of hedge, made
of the Osage orange, surround the Neff Place, which a wealthy family in
Cincinnati refuse to sell; but which is destined, in the far future, for
a large hotel. In the little glen,--where a beautiful cascade falls, and
tortuous rapids sputter and foam, and tiny fish dart up and down, and
great graceful trees bend to shelter us,--we may find all the beauty of
the White-Mountain passes. Two or three miles off, there are persimmons
in the woods, and fossils under the soil; and, on Saturdays, pleasant
parties go with Mr. Orton or Professor Clarke to find them. The "Yellow
Spring," which gives the town its name, is of course largely
impregnated with iron. It is imprisoned in a stone tank, which it colors
brown; and it changes a rusty iron ladle to gold. It is a tonic; and,
not far from the spot where it bubbles up, there is a pretty
summer-house, where those who come to drink may sit and rest. As we
walked toward it, a little brown rabbit skipped across the grass. From
every high point in the glen, there are lovely views of the college and

Dr. Hosmer has just introduced a change into the Sunday-morning service
at the chapel. He has taken the service-book of James Freeman Clarke,
and, between reading and chanting, devised a matin service of great
beauty. No musical professors could have done greater credit to the
first performance than the students themselves. It made the bare,
whitewashed walls of the chapel seem as sacred as a grand cathedral.

I did not look into the books at Antioch. Those at Oberlin I thoroughly
investigated; and the strict economy the figures showed would
distinguish honorably any institution in any land. But, as far as I can
judge from oral testimony, the fees of the students and the interest of
the endowment fund here amount to $13,000, and do not _quite_ provide
for the annual expenses. There is, therefore, no fund for _repairs_,
none for _scientific instruments_, none for the _library_; and, while
the president and professors feel that a further endowment will sometime
be needed,--nay, is needed _now_,--yet they also feel that they must
show what work Antioch can do, before they ask further sympathy. Still,
there are some few things which the wise prudence of the trustees, the
thoughtfulness of loving friends, the surplus of full purses, can, in a
quiet way, provide.

The pupils at Antioch make no complaint of their commons this year; yet
it is undeniable that they should be better than they are. The commons
are provided at Oberlin and Antioch in the same way; that is, by a
family entirely disconnected with the college. At Oberlin, the table
presents an attractive appearance. It would be grateful to any hungry
person, and board is furnished at $3 a week. At Antioch, a pleasant and
friendly woman has charge of things; but no great variety seems to be
offered, and the board is $3.50 per week. Both these prices seem to me,
after investigating Western markets, _starvation prices_; but it is
evident, that, on this point, we have something to learn from Oberlin.
If the president and faculty of Antioch should visit Oberlin, where they
would be most kindly received, they would see, perhaps, that the
difficulty lies in the cooking-apparatus. Oberlin offers a first-rate
kitchen; Antioch, one very far behind what most of the pupils would find
at home. I suppose no one will deny, that, when the average social
standing of the students in these Western colleges is considered, it is
desirable that they should find at the college-table a standard of
cooking and serving which is a little in advance of that to which they
have been used. The food may be plain and without variety, but it should
be thoroughly nice and inviting of its kind. The ladies of any one of
our city churches might undertake to furnish the kitchen at Antioch, and
they could not have a better model than the kitchen at Oberlin. To
advance the standard over previous experience, is, I think, a necessary
part of education here.

Still farther, cisterns should be built in the upper stories of the
dormitories, into which the waste-water may run from the roofs. Pipes
leading downward from this should supply one sink on each story, and
this sink should also carry away the waste-water from the rooms. A large
"dumb waiter"--I use the word for want of a better--should be provided
in each dormitory to carry up wood, and carry down ashes and dry dirt. I
have already shown that this is done at Oberlin; and, if cisterns are
not possible, then reservoirs and a forcing-pump should take their

There are but two dormitories,--one for men, and one for women; and when
we consider, that, beside studying, the pupils have to help themselves
by sawing wood and other manual labor, it will be acknowledged, that to
bring their own wood and water up two or three flights of stairs is more
than we can ask of them.

The library and scientific apparatus are very deficient for present
needs. In the scientific department, some means of protecting the
apparatus already obtained is greatly wanted. Microscopes are needed
for scientific investigation. In the library, a translation of the
"Mécanique Céleste," modern scientific books generally, Smith's "Bible
Dictionary," and the leading works on English literature, are required.
Trench, Müller, Taine, have not yet found their way to Yellow

It seems to me, that, before Antioch, there now opens a great career. If
her trustees and her faculty will but keep faith in her methods, surely
we are bound to help them to the utmost. The personal friends of Dr.
Hosmer also, who realize the nobility of that enthusiasm which made him
willing to accept such a post while "looking towards sunset," ought, I
think, to make the position as easy as possible, by anticipating these
practical wants. Five hundred dollars would supply the most necessary
books to the library.

But, if Oberlin does such noble work, what need of Antioch? Why should
we strive to sustain an institution at such a continual cost, if one
already established is competent to do its work? Let us get a glimpse of
what Antioch can do, and then we shall be better able to answer these
questions. In the first place, we are in possession of buildings worth
now $180,000, and of twenty acres of land, worth $10,000. The land was a
donation, in the beginning, from Judge Mills, the great man of the
village, who perhaps fancied that a growing college would increase the
value of his real estate; and for this property, worth now nearly
$200,000, we gave $50,000. For its proper appropriation we are
responsible; and I think we have work enough to do, though Oberlin has
saved the North-west, and though her new halls should be crowded thrice

In the first place, Antioch is to be a missionary station. No one who
has not travelled through the West can imagine the thirst of the people
for spiritual food. I think those who know least about it are the
Western ministers themselves. I always found them sceptical about it,
when I spoke to them; and I could not very well say, what I was
sometimes compelled to feel, "It is because you could never satisfy this
want, that it does not show itself to you." To Dr. Hosmer, however, with
his warm, genial soul, with a temper conciliatory and discreet, the
people are willing to speak. Beside the daily college prayers, there are
services in the chapel on Sunday at half-past eight in the morning, and
at three in the afternoon. During the last year, the audiences at the
Sunday preaching had dwindled to a score: since Dr. Hosmer's arrival, it
averages about two hundred and fifty; and, of course, townspeople, who
come to the chapel regularly, grow in sympathy with the college and its
purposes. Dr. Hosmer has promised to supply the Christian pulpit in
Yellow Springs for eight Sundays, which gives Mr. McConnell liberty to
do missionary work for the same time. The little town of Troy has some
difficulty in keeping a minister. Dr. Hosmer promises him four Sundays,
that he may go away, and so add to his substance. He goes also himself
to the Universalist church in Columbus; and at Cleveland, where about
twenty Unitarian families are hoping sometime to have a church, he
promises them an occasional service if they will pay the expenses of
transit. Professor Hosmer, whose preaching is thoroughly appreciated in
the neighborhood, has also preached in Marietta; and either he or his
father stands ready to supply Mr. Mayo's pulpit when that gentleman
undertakes the missionary work, which has already made him one of the
most useful of the Western clergy.

Who are the people that have this college in charge? What sort of pupils
are likely to benefit by the education we offer? If we know a little
about them, perhaps it will kindle a warmer interest. Beside the two
Hosmers whom we know, there is Dr. Craig, Professor Weston and his wife,
Professor Clarke, and Mr. Orton, with four teachers under him in the
preparatory department. Dr. Craig was the man whom Horace Mann thought
it constituted an era in his life to know. For fifteen years he was the
minister of the church at Blooming Grove, Orange County, N.Y., a church
which has existed for more than a hundred years without a creed, and
which is governed by seven deacons and seven deaconesses. Professor
Weston and his wife divide the classical department between them, having
both taken the degree of A.M. at Oberlin.

Professor Clarke is the son of the famous Methodist minister in Chicago.
He was professor of mathematics in Michigan University, and went abroad
for two years to fit himself more thoroughly for his work. The war
called him home; he raised a company, was made major, and, being taken
prisoner, was thrown into Libby. There, he says, one of our Boston boys
saved his life by sharing his supplies with him. He was removed to
Macon, and, while sharing all the horrible experience of the stockade,
succeeded in digging a tunnel, through which he would have escaped; but
some other prisoners doing the same thing, and the escape of one being
sure to lead to the detection of all, he waited honorably for the second
tunnel to be completed. Meanwhile he was removed to Charleston, and put
under Gilmore's fire, where, at last, his exchange was effected. When
Professor Clarke left Michigan University to come to Antioch, he made a
sacrifice born of the true missionary spirit. May we share his spirit
sufficiently to strengthen his hands in the new work! Mr. Orton is most
admirably fitted to his department, and has an excellent corps of
teachers under him. Among them is one, the daughter of a mechanic, that
went from Worcester to assist in building the college, who got her own
education at Antioch by alternate years of study and teaching, having to
earn one year what she spent the next. A more exquisite model school
than that connected with the college, I never saw.

Among the older pupils of Antioch is the Christian minister of Yellow
Springs, the Mr. McConnell of whom I spoke, who may be called, if you
prefer it, a brigadier-general. He was born humbly, in Ohio, had only
the rudest schooling, was a Christian minister before he was twenty, and
married before he was twenty-one. He was preaching in Troy when the
first gun was fired at Sumter. He raised a company at once, and got a
lieutenant's commission. In actual service, he was soon made a captain.
He kept with General Grant throughout his Western campaign, and returned
from Pittsburg Landing the colonel of his regiment; then re-enlisted for
the war, went back to the front, kept with the Western army, and, at the
close of the war, was mustered out a brigadier-general. He did signal
service in many battles, but especially before Nashville, where his
brigade, assisted by a negro brigade, broke Hood's centre by a very
gallant charge. He went to Atlanta with Sherman, and could never weary
of telling me how the Sanitary and Educational Commission followed the
army with their fostering care, ever present, it seemed to him, like the
blood which supplies with food the minutest nervous fibre of the human
frame. When he returned, the people would have carried him into
Congress; but he declined. Then they offered to make him a judge of
probate, with a salary of $2,500 a year; but he told them he had chosen
the pulpit for his field: and now, preaching in Yellow Springs, he comes
into the college classes, and, hoping to take his degree, keeps
faithfully all the college rules.

Still another pupil, now thirty years old, raised a company for the war.
He was at the fall of Vicksburg, had not been at school since he was ten
years old, but made $1,800 by buying and selling grain, and brought it
here to carry him through college. When I cross-examined him in Greek
history, I found he had read Grote! The teacher of the village school at
Yellow Springs has had a more vexatious experience. He had finished his
third year at Antioch, when he went into the army. He became an aid to
three Western generals successively, and was with Grant when Lee
surrendered. He saved $800 of his pay to carry him through his last
college year, but had only been home a few days when a burglar stole it!
He has taken the village school for $900 this year, studies hard; and
the faculty have voted, that, when he can stand a certain examination,
he shall take his degree.

It is for such students that Antioch is open. One-third of her present
pupils are women. Pleasant levees are held once a fortnight at the
president's house, where the two sexes mingle gracefully. The girls have
a literary society, which they call the Crescent; the young men, two
societies, the Star and the Adelphian. The Star and the Crescent have
fitted up one room under the gambrel very tastefully. The Adelphians
rival them. The folding-doors in the hall of the latter society open
into a pretty alcove, where a good library is beginning. These two rooms
are the only glimpse of tasteful, home-like comfort that one gets in any
public room at Antioch. I attended the meetings of the three societies.
Before the Crescents, I heard a graceful little essay on "A Rail-fence,"
from a girl of fifteen. From the Stars, I heard a discussion of Roman
funerals. The Adelphians discussed the possibility of obeying an
unrighteous law, very much as I have heard their elders do in Congress.
Each society had a censor, who took notes of papers and discussions, and
quietly criticised each performance when it ended. It was noticeable,
that the performances of the women, making due allowance for age and
opportunity, were far more graceful and able than those of the men, and
a most valuable help to the latter. Coming home one night from the
Adelphians, I found at Dr. Hosmer's a Southern refugee, who is educating
her children at Antioch.

Sometime before the war, Mrs. Palmer and her husband went to East
Tennessee from New York, carrying with them $50,000. I think they must
have opened a store; for she spoke of having on hand a valuable stock of
millinery and medicines. Being Northerners, they were constantly
threatened, and at last consented to barricade their house. Three times
the rebels stole their horse, a colt only two years old; and three times
Mrs. Palmer's perseverance got it back. At last they surrounded the
house at night, firing on the peaceable inmates; and Mr. Palmer,
attempting to escape over the roof, got three bullets in his arm. The
next day the party came back, robbed the house, and burned up the
stores. The medicine was a great loss: there was no more within reach
for rebel or loyalist. Mrs. Palmer succeeded in hiding her meat and
meal. For eight days she and her family hid in the rocks, only venturing
back to the house at night to cook and eat a little food. One night,
when the poor wife was so employed, her feverish, half-delirious husband
followed her, and, in some way, attracted the attention of the enemy. A
terrible battle followed, and Mr. Palmer lay on the kitchen floor with
eight wounds in his body. When the malice of the rebels was spent, Mrs.
Palmer went out with her children, and called the cattle. By keeping
them between her and the house, she succeeded in getting her husband
into the woods. A Union man finally received and fed him; but it was
many days before his wounds could be dressed. She then escaped with her
children and the colt, on which they rode by turns. She had picked up
some of the ends of her burnt millinery, which she used to barter for
food as they went along. She came at last to an old schoolhouse, where
she lay down; and here she nursed her children through the measles.
Here, after many weeks, her husband came to see her, but was taken
prisoner as he crept away, and was sent to Libby. She saw many terrible
things while she lingered here: one of her neighbors had his bowels cut
out while he was still alive! When she started afresh, she had seven
hundred miles to travel before she reached Bardstown. One of her five
children ultimately died of the fatigue and hunger.

"How did you get food?" I asked.

"I prayed for it," she answered; "and I always felt sure of enough for
the hour."

"Who would shelter you?" I continued.

"I never lay out but one night," she answered. "I used to tell them,
wherever I went, that the Union soldiers must win in the end; that I was
going to them, and would report whoever used me ill. So they would let
me lie on the kitchen floor." At Bardstown, Morgan's men destroyed her
last thing; and then a United-States sutler found her, and carried her
to Louisville.

The children of many such women will hereafter seek Antioch. Let them
find there a generous provision.


Mr. Vassar's magnificent donation is drawing interest at last; and,
though I do not feel as much confidence in any institution founded for
women alone as I do in mixed colleges, we ought all to be grateful for
the advanced standard lifted at Poughkeepsie.

Malt has always been a beneficent agent in the civilization of mankind.
Ever since Mr. Thrale looked kindly on old Sam Johnson, brewers have
seemed to have a generous pride in conquering human selfishness, and
leaving something better than a family of children to interest
posterity. Mr. John Guy, of Liverpool, a wealthy brewer without
children, founded there the great "Guy's Hospital." He was the
great-uncle of Matthew Vassar, also a great brewer in Poughkeepsie,
N.Y. By and by, Matthew Vassar found his property close upon a million;
and, as he had no children, he began to think what he should do with it.
He had a good many poor relations, and those who were industrious and
deserving he did not forget. One of them, a young niece, supported
herself by school-teaching. He built her a schoolhouse, and did what he
thought right to ease her way. At last, sinking in a decline, she came
home to die. As she lay on the sofa, day after day, she watched him
walking back and forth, and talking over his plans. Now and then she
would say gently, "Uncle Matthew, do something for women." After she was
gone, Matthew Vassar went to see Guy's Hospital. His connections advised
him not to give away his money. His Baptist friends in Edinburgh and
Liverpool laughed at the idea of a college for women, which had already
entered his mind. He came home, and tried to plan a hospital; he got up,
and went to bed with the idea uppermost; but all the time he seemed to
hear the voice of his niece, "Do something for women, Uncle Matthew."
Mr. Vassar has two houses: one, in the heart of Poughkeepsie, which is
opposite the brewery, and, with a long range of comfortable
outbuildings, looks as steadfast and English as ever Mr. Thrale's own
house could do; the other, a modest little country box, set on a hill
among extensive grounds, and commanding, from various points, lovely
views of the town and river. The peculiarity of this place is, that it
is ornamented with all manner of punchinellos cut in dull gray
limestone, and leering or grinning from every corner of the park. I did
not find out who was responsible for this grim joke. In 1860, Mr.
Vassar, with the humility and common sense which belong to his
character, obtained a charter, and called together thirty trustees. To
them he transferred more than half his actual property. When the opening
of the war occasioned the failure of the contractors, he did not draw
back, but gladly gave the additional $150,000 which the increased
expense demanded.

The building is planned after the palace of the Tuilleries, having at
each end the chateau roof and mansard windows. It is 500 feet long, and
170 deep. The only drawback to its architectural effect is the entrance,
which should have been a magnificent double stairway, but is, for the
present, only an ordinary private door. This building stands in the
midst of two hundred acres of lovely sloping and swelling land. To the
right, and quite visible at the porter's lodge, is the gymnasium and
hippodrome under one roof; to the left, the graceful observatory, which
is also the home of Miss Mitchell and her father.

In the two wings of the building with chateau roofs are five private
dwellings, rented for a moderate sum to the resident professors. In the
centre, just behind the entrance, are the dining-hall, the chapel, the
art-gallery, and the library; also the large drawing-rooms, where pupils
and teachers receive their friends, and the parlor and office of
president and principal. Connecting this centre with each wing, on four
floors, run long corridors with sunshine and bright windows on one side,
and clusters of students' rooms and recitation-rooms on the other. The
rooms are in pretty groups of four. Three bedrooms open into one study,
the latter made pleasant and home-like by the united treasures of the
occupants. The music-rooms are "deadened," so that the noise hardly
strays beyond the walls; and the cabinet, where the students in natural
history prepare specimens, is full of cases to preserve the work. The
best that I can say of the building will hardly do justice to the
intention of the founder, which no one can comprehend who has seen only
such institutions as Harvard and Yale. There is no occasion here to wish
for any thing which may perhaps come when the college is rich enough.
Mr. Vassar's intention was and is to have the endowment perfect. The
building is fire-proof, every partition wall being of solid brick. There
are four pairs of fire-walls, into which iron doors run on rollers; and
between these are fire-proof stairways, always safe, even if the wood
work should catch fire. There is the physiological cabinet, with every
thing for the use of the professor, including various manikins and wax
preparations. The library, chiefly of books of reference, holds three
thousand volumes, to be increased at the rate of five hundred per annum,
and is also used as a reading-room, where newspapers and reviews may
always be found. The art-gallery, purchased at an extra cost of $20,000,
is such as no college in the country possesses. It consists of good
copies in oil, fine water-colors, including six real Turners, large
portfolios of original sketches, and a perfect library of works on art
and engravings,--in all, about a thousand volumes. Besides the five
hundred pictures, this gallery contains a few busts and casts; among
them, Palmer's Sappho in marble, an ancient wrought brazen shield, and
specimens of ancient stained glass. The chapel seats seven hundred
persons, and might hold a thousand. Over the altar is a beautiful copy
of the Dresden Madonna, by Miss Church, of New York. There is also a
fine organ.

The music-rooms accommodate a "conservatory" on the Charles Auchester
plan, as well as separate pupils. Thirty-two pianos are in use.

The building on the outside is laid with brick in black cement, and has
dark stone trimmings, which prevent its glaring on the eye like a new
brick building. To the right is the riding-school, one hundred feet by
sixty, where thirty horses are kept; and, in the same building, a
gymnastic hall, thirty feet by seventy.

The observatory, eighty feet long and fifty high, rests on the rock, as
well as the great pier. It contains a telescope made by Fitz, whose
focal length is seventeen feet, and its object-glass is twelve and a
half inches. There is also a smaller instrument, for the constant use of
pupils, and, on the roof, a good comet-seeker. There is a beautiful
transit circle, made by James, of Philadelphia, which Miss Mitchell
considers invaluable of its kind; and a very perfect sidereal clock and
chronograph, from the Bonds of Boston.

Between the observatory and the riding-school, four hundred feet from
the main building, is the gas and boiler building, from which the
college is lighted and warmed. Beside these, twenty miles of water-pipe
travel up and down the corridors to supply culinary and domestic needs.
Let us follow them into the kitchen, and we shall find there every
possible convenience of a good hotel, to the steam-filled table on which
the food is carved.

And now, the building once ready for its inmates, was Mr. Vassar
rewarded for the sacrifice he had made? for all the time and thought
bestowed on the outfit? No one had supposed that the school would be
full when it opened in September, 1865; but there were 353 pupils on
hand the first day, and the work of organizing was no trifle. When I
looked at the teachers and principals in this institution, many of whom
I had known before visiting it, it seemed to me that each one had been
providentially fitting for the very work Mr. Vassar now offered. Of the
thirty persons employed, I saw no one that I should have desired to
change. Maria Mitchell, Hannah Lyman, and the admirable resident
physician, Alida Avery, are now too well known to need any praise of
mine. These persons are all of the faculty; and their names indicate how
liberal all the decisions of the faculty must be. I visited the
institution at the beginning of the second year, in October, 1866. It
had already outrun its bounds. There was talk of still another
dormitory. Four hundred pupils, well born, well bred, in good health,
with more than ordinary education (for the tests are severe), and with
ample means, had come to meet those teachers. They had come, between the
ages of seventeen and twenty-two, at the very time when society holds
out every attraction. Vassar is no charity school. Its necessary fees
amount to four hundred dollars; and a girl should have six hundred to
feel happy and at ease. It paid every bill the first year, but had
nothing left for repairs and additions. To create a fund for this
purpose, the fees have been increased to the above-named sum. When the
first rush of pupils occurred, Mr. Vassar was almost dismayed. "God
sometimes gives great thoughts to very little men," he said, and
trembled; but, when the year came to a close, he lifted his hands in
serene gratitude. I arrived at night; and the procession filing past me
to enter the handsome dining-hall, supported by light pillars, about
which were circular stands for the urns, occupied seven minutes. When I
saw more than four hundred young women seated in groups of twenty, saw
them bow their handsome heads in silent grace,--a suggestion which came,
I think, from Miss Mitchell's Quaker father,--I felt excited with
happiness. After tea, I walked round and through the groups of tables;
and the bright faces smiled back at me either consciousness or question.
When they left the dining-hall, they went to the chapel, where Miss
Lyman offers an evening prayer, and, no gentlemen being present, talks
to the ladies in reference to all matters of decorum; a practice I hope
to see followed at Antioch. After breakfast the next morning, I went to
President Raymond's short matin service, and then walked over to the
observatory. There I saw the graceful figures of the girls bending to
the instrument, as they recorded the spots on the sun. I saw the daily
diagrams in which they had recorded the position of these spots for the
last year, and other diagrams of lunar eclipses. "Women make better
observers than men," said old Mr. Mitchell. "They have more patience,
more accuracy. I had been observing thirty years, when Maria took it up,
and I thought, mebbe, 'twas only Maria; but it is just the same with
these girls. They do better than I did." I don't wonder Miss Mitchell is
proud of her seventeen mathematical astronomers. She is a tender
daughter, as well as a capable "observer;" and she would not come to
Vassar without her father. All the girls come to the white-haired old
man with their joys and troubles; and I saw a letter from an old pupil
to Miss Mitchell when I was there, which contained this audacious
sentence, left to tell its own story: "Was it not good of God to put it
into Mr. Vassar's heart to spend his whole fortune in making your
father's last years perfectly happy?" In the art gallery I found, one
morning, twenty-five pupils copying; and, in the musical conservatory,
one hundred and seventy-five. The gymnasium was not quite ready for use;
so I went down to see the girls rowing on the pretty lake. After school
hours, the floral clubs were busy in the grounds. I cannot say any thing
better of Professor Tenney's pupils, than that they work over their
specimens as enthusiastically as boys. In chemical analysis, under
Professor Farrar, the girls are greatly interested. The curriculum is
such as we find adopted at all colleges, except that far more time is
devoted to science than is usual at Yale or Harvard, and room is left
for music. Riding, driving, rowing, &c., are extras, only allowed in the
time allotted to out-door exercise. The resident physician, Dr. Avery,
in whom the college is conscious that it possesses a great treasure,
gives a regular course of physiological lectures.

Matthew Vassar was seventy-six years old on the 29th of April, and that
day is a perpetual festival for the pupils. Could you see him meet the
scholars in the grounds, you would think them all his children. I had
interviews with the president, trustees, and the teachers; but was most
attracted toward this noble old man. He told me that he meant to go on
endowing the college until he died. "Then," he said, "I shall leave
nothing for executors to quarrel about: money will be safe in brick and
stone." He asked me to talk with him about a culinary and household
college for the proper training of housewives, which he still wishes to
erect. His last gift to the college was its magnificent cabinet of
stones and fossils; one of the best, Professor Dana thinks, that he ever
saw. Beside the beautiful specimens shown under glass, there are, in
drawers beneath the glass cases, similar specimens which may be handled.

In furnishing Vassar College, no one has had to think what any thing
would cost. When shall we have an institution for wealthy persons, of
both sexes, with an outfit as splendid? It is a sight which Oberlin has
earned the right to see.


But a still more interesting story is that connected with the
establishment of the State University in Kansas. Its name will be seen
on the list of colleges which owe their existence to Oberlin. This
university is one of those whose _character_ was determined by the
excitement the success of Oberlin had aroused; but its _existence_ was
due to two ladies from Western New York. It will have been seen, by some
details in the body of this work, that an attempt was made to secure for
woman a share in the noble State endowment at "Ann Arbor," Michigan, but
without success. I will tell a part of the story in the language of Miss
Mary Chapin, then of Milwaukie, the lady who, with the assistance of her
sister, carried the work out in Kansas.

"Some years ago," she says, "the Legislature of Michigan decided that
girls might be admitted as pupils to the State University. The faculty
of that institution consulted the 'wise men of the East' on the subject,
and excluded women on the ground of expediency. If it were necessary to
make it a mixed school, in order to admit them, perhaps they acted
wisely. It is no more just and wise to give the charge of endowed
schools for girls to men, than it would be to put Harvard and Yale into
the hands of women. Girls need incentives to study, even more than
facilities for it. The fact, that the real education of the boy begins
where that of the woman ends, is not so depressing as the 'hard work and
low wages' which await her as a teacher. In 1863, Kansas accepted the
grant of land from Congress for the endowment of a State University. The
citizens of Lawrence secured its location in that city, by the gift of
forty acres for a site. The college was not organized; and it seemed the
time and place to decide whether women should enter endowed schools on
equal terms with men, as pupils and teachers. Many of the most
influential men of Kansas thought it both just and expedient to give
women an equal share of the benefits of the university, and voted for
such a result. To obviate the objection which closed the Michigan
University to women, a bill was drawn up, organizing a double school;
that for girls to be taught by women. Some objection was made to this
unusual provision, and the time was too short to urge its necessity: so
the bill merely reads, that it _may_ be taught by women. The date of
this law is February, 1864. A school-building was finished last summer
(1866), and the college opened in September. The regents elected a
president and three professors at the outset, one of the latter being a
lady. There is some danger that the two schools will become one, by an
act of the Legislature. If this occurs, nothing important is gained;
but, if the present organization continues, woman may here show what a
true feminine culture implies: for, while woman differs widely from man,
like him she needs _development through her own work_."

I have altered none of the statements in this admirable letter. It will
be seen that Miss Chapin went to Kansas, desiring to accomplish two
things: she not only wanted education, but position and _compensation_,
for women, from the State fund. I want these also; but I only ask for
the first, for I am certain the rest will follow. Neither do I think it
wise to insist that women shall be taught only by women, until
universities have done the necessary work of preparation. In all the
colleges mentioned on the Oberlin list, women are employed as teachers:
there are already a good number of professors of Greek and mathematics.
Nor is the welfare of _women_ alone a sufficient motive for me. I am
satisfied, that humanity and civilization gain, in the mixed college,
more than either sex can lose. It remains for me to give a few of the
personal details which Miss Chapin's modesty has omitted. When she first
thought it her duty to press this matter, she knew that she must be in
Lawrence, in order to do the "talking" which must precede an act of
legislation in America. She corresponded with Governor Robinson, in
reference to a day-school in Lawrence, and started with her sister to
take charge of it. On their way, they were startled by the terrible
news of the Kansas raid. They hesitated for a little; but, thank God, in
spite of raids, the work of the world goes on. Miss Mary went on herself
in September, and, after a week's residence, decided to defer the
opening of her school. In December, both sisters went, and began their
daily teaching, and the gentle agitation which was to yield the great
result. They also tried, at the East, to raise money to realize at once,
on a small scale, their ideal of a practical course of study for women,
especially of a scientific school. "Science," says Miss Chapin, "has not
yet been applied to the arts of domestic life. The ordering of home, as
a centre of comfort and culture, has yet to be considered. Architecture
has much to do with civilization. The laws of health and the means of
social progress lie entirely in woman's province. Horticulture will do
more for her than calisthenics. She is ready to do useful work, but has
no means. A very wasteful economy denies her this, to lavish thousands
on her folly and ostentation."

I cannot detail all the obstacles which Miss Chapin's effort
encountered. Mr. Charles Chadwick, of Lawrence, drew up the bill;
General Dietzler and Governor Robinson pushed it. At the last moment,
the original bill was carried off in the pocket of an opposing member;
but the wit and quick memory of a woman saved it.

It has been mentioned, that, after its passage, a lady was elected
professor, with a salary of $1,600, and the same for her assistant. It
is almost needless to say, this was Miss Caroline Chapin. She has not
yet accepted the position. The two sisters are at the head of a high
school in Quincy, Ill., which has this peculiarity: there is attached to
it a school in modelling, under the charge of a professed sculptor.

In the first part of this volume, I have intimated that a new effort has
been made, sustained by the pleading of Theodore Tilton, to open
Michigan University to female students. At the moment when these pages
go to press, it seems uncertain whether this resolution will prevail
with the present Legislature, or whether a motion for a university for
women, under the same regents, will supersede it. The Greek professor
has practically solved the difficulty, by admitting his own daughter to
his classes, without asking the faculty. This example was set him, years
ago, by Mr. Magill, in the Boston Latin School.

As these pages go to press, an anonymous statement appears, to the
effect that there have passed examinations for the University of
Cambridge, England,--Junior boys, 1,126; Junior girls, 118; Senior boys,
212; Senior girls, 84. It would seem that the conditions of the opening
of this university are hardly understood. If I am right, these
examinations confer a certain rank on the female scholars, but do not
admit them afterward to the university.


The most interesting educational movement, at this moment, in that
country, is Miss Nightingale's "Training-school for Nurses," which has
been in operation for three years in Liverpool. It was founded, after a
correspondence with her, in strict conformity to her counsel. As a
training-school, it may be said to be self-supporting; but it is also a
beneficent institution, and, in that regard, is sustained by donations.
A most admirable system of district nursing is provided, under its
auspices, for the whole city of Liverpool, all of whose suffering sick
become, in this way, the recipients of intelligent care, and of valuable
instruction in cooking and all sanitary matters. It is too tempting an
experiment to dwell upon, unless we could follow it into its details.
Its report occupies a hundred and one pages.

It seems worth while to look into this report, and examine in detail its
method of dealing with sickness among the poor. When Miss Nightingale
drew especial attention to the want of such schools in England in 1861,
some ladies and gentlemen in Liverpool came together, and entered into
correspondence with her. Out of that correspondence grew the Liverpool
school. The Liverpool Infirmary, the most considerable hospital in that
city, entered into the plan, and offered its wards for the instruction
of the nurses. The society proposed to itself three objects:--

1. To provide thoroughly trained nurses for hospitals.

2. To provide district or missionary nurses for the poor.

3. To provide trained nurses for private families.

Nowhere are hospital and private nurses so badly trained as in England;
and Miss Nightingale well says that half the symptoms which are
considered symptoms of disease are, in reality, indications of a want of
air, light, warmth, quiet, or cleanliness, which properly instructed
nurses would know how to supply. A want of punctuality in administering
food, and of watchful care in detecting its effects upon the patient,
create other classes of symptoms. The beer-drinking habits of the people
lead to much intoxication; and we ourselves have seen ladies of quality
lying on a sick-bed, where they suffered for the attention which a
thoroughly stupefied nurse was incapable of giving. No amount of wealth,
as Miss Nightingale testifies, can secure such nurses as wealthy
patients often need, and for which a thorough hospital-training is
required. The society strengthens her appeal by extracts from Dr.
Howson's paper, read at the meeting of the Social Science Association in

The Liverpool school has erected a building, to carry out its purpose,
eighty-five feet by forty. It has three stories, each of them eleven
feet high; and, by a single glance at the plans which accompany the
pamphlet, one sees that the arrangements for bathing and ventilation are
what those of our new city hospital ought to be. One lady
superintendent, with three servants, has charge of this building. It has
thirty-one nurses under training. By the wages which they earn in the
second and third years, the expenses of this Home are nearly paid,
leaving a margin of about three hundred pounds to be supplied by
donations. It is expected to be a self-supporting institution, except so
far as it becomes a benevolent charity, by supplying to the poor, food
and nursing. When the institution was ready to begin its work, the lady
superintendent having been some months in training at St. John's College
and the London Hospital, where the nurses educated by the Nightingale
Fund are to be found, took possession of her building. Her head-nurses
had been thoroughly educated. Pupils then offered: they were engaged for
three years, the first year to be strictly probationary. Each head-nurse
was to take charge of an entire ward of the hospital, to be responsible
for the medicines and stimulants, always assisted by one pupil. Each
pupil went first for two months to a surgical ward; then for two to the
medical; then four at the surgical, and four again at the medical,--one
course helping the other, and both filling the entire year under a
thoroughly trained head. For the next two years, the pupil is employed
without such superintendence wherever need is; and, for each of the
three years, receives, in addition to board and lodgings, seventy
dollars. At the Home there is a good library, and evening classes are
held for the disengaged pupils. A superannuation fund has been started,
to encourage respectable women to enter the Home. At the end of the
third year, the Home has twenty-eight pupils under training, fourteen
hospital nurses, fourteen district or gratuitous nurses, and ten
employed in private families.

This gives an idea of the training process; but our chief interest lies
in the district nursing. As soon as the Home had nurses it felt willing
to trust, one of the experiments recommended by Miss Nightingale was
tried. The wife of a Scripture-reader undertook to prepare sago,
necessaries, &c.; the clergyman of the parish furnished a list of
patients, and a central lodging for the nurse. The Home sent her out,
supplied with cushions, blankets, and bed-rests. She went into the
families, showed them what to do, and helped with her own hands. At the
end of the first week, she came back, crying and begging to be relieved;
she thought she never could bear the sight of the misery she
encountered. But, in a short time, she was so strengthened by seeing the
results of her labor, that she positively refused to take employment
among the rich. It is easy to see what great advantages wait on this
form of charity. As instruction is precisely what she comes to give, the
poor cannot resent this from the nurse; she fears no imposition, for she
is in the house at all hours of the day and night; her little gifts do
not wound, but cheer like neighborly kindnesses. It is Miss
Nightingale's idea, that such nursing is a far greater good than the
establishment of hospitals. In six months, this nurse found two cases
where the prolonged sickness of the wife had made drunkards of two
otherwise steady husbands, and brought their families to the brink of
ruin. The wives were cured, the husbands reformed, the families saved. A
leaf from her report of cases will show what she did.

     1. _Asthma and bed-sores._--Lying on a floor; so thin, had to lift
     her on a sheet. Dirt, bad air: two children. Husband said he "was
     forsaken by God and man." Our nurse goes in, washes her, changes
     linen; lends bedstead and bedding, and air-cushions; cleans and
     whitewashes. The woman now sits up, and the man is again hopeful.

     2. _Internal cancer._--Nurse attended to the surgical operation,
     and administration of subsequent remedies. The woman is now at

     3. _Paralysis._--Nurse attended; gave instruction and food.
     Recovery complete.

     4. A girl--as the doctor said--in a consumption. Hospital refused
     her as incurable. Beef-tea, wine, sago, and cod-liver oil supplied;
     and, in one month, she could walk to the nurse's lodging.

Out of all this success, the perfect plan developed. It had been proved,
that the poor were willing to be taught _how_ to nurse, and to keep
their houses clean; that intense distress might be mitigated, and coming
poverty arrested. It was also proved, that the nurse so employed could
notify the health commissioners of incipient epidemics, and obtain for
ignorant tenants, in return, necessary whitewashing, drainage, &c.

The city of Liverpool was now divided into eighteen districts, each of
which, for practical convenience, was made to correspond to two church
cures. The Home undertook to furnish a nurse to each district, provided
it would elect for itself a lady superintendent, and raise a
subscription for food, medicines, and necessaries. As soon as the
superintendent is found, meetings are held to interest the district;
each district having an average population of twenty-four thousand and
over. A central lodging is then to be supplied for the nurse, and the
district must furnish, for loan and use, the following articles:--

     One iron bedstead, six pairs of sheets, six blankets, cushions,
     bed-gowns, shirts, flannels, wine, meat, sago, bread, coals,
     arrow-root, preserves, and vinegar.

If any thing excites one's envy in the current expenses, it is the
amount of coals required. To think of warming forty people for one year
for twenty-six pounds!

The superintendent is supplied with a map of the district, forms of
recommendation, rules for patients and nurses, and slates and pencils to
be hung at the head-board, to receive the directions of the doctor, and
the inquiries of the nurse. In seven of the districts, the lady
superintendents furnish the supplies at their own cost! How gladly ought
any wealthy woman to avail herself of so sure a method! A strong woman
is hired for scrubbing; and very often the first thing a nurse does is
to demand whitewashing and repairs of the Board of Health. In each
district, a person is provided to cook the necessary food; the nurse
giving notice, through the superintendent, of her wants. The nurse
herself confers with the doctors, waits on the surgeons, changes and
cleanses the patient, and administers poultices, blisters, leeches,
enemas, and the like. One Liverpool lady defrays the whole cost of
washing the loaned linen for the eighteen districts! A registry of it is
kept by the nurse.

We need not be surprised to find that this admirable plan has such
marked success, that all the Liverpool charities are eager to play into
its hands. Each district superintendent is appointed locally; but the
Home has an out-door inspector, who looks after the district nurses. The
superintendents make quarterly reports to the Home, and hold meetings of
conference by themselves.

There is, at the seaside town of Southport, a hospital, which furnishes
sea-bathing to invalids.

The Committee of Central Relief for the city of Liverpool are so
delighted with this nursing charity, that they have already offered
butcher's meat, three weeks of seaside bathing at Southport, and coals
and money to any convalescing patient when deemed needful. The
workingmen's dining-rooms offer, on proper application, warm dinners to
convalescents; and the Home, through its inspector, superintendents, and
nurses, makes sure there is no waste nor misuse.

The statistics for 1864 were as follows:--

    Apparently cured           936
    Partially restored         456
    Relieved before death      488
    Still hopeful              180
    Hopeless                     9
    Dismissed                  289
    Total                    2,358

Such a record as this makes one wish to emigrate to the land where such
things are done. The rapid increase of the charity may be judged from
the fact, that, in the previous year, only one thousand seven hundred
and seventy-six patients were _treated_, and only six hundred and
seventy-two were _cured_. This report comes to us with a letter and
notes from Miss Nightingale. It is prepared with the most beautiful
modesty. The names of the paid officers are given; but we cannot tell
from its pages whose were the kind hearts and clear heads which first
responded to Miss Nightingale's call. Nowhere has benevolent action
accomplished so much as in Great Britain. Such a work as this may well
challenge the gratitude and admiration of the world.

The "Arnott Scholarship" of Queen's College, London,--founded by Mrs.
Arnott in 1865, for the promotion of the study of natural philosophy,
and the highest scholarship open to women in England--has just been
gained by Miss Matilda Ballard, a young lady of seventeen, daughter of
Dr. W.R. Ballard, a native of New York, and, for some years, the leading
American dentist in London. The prize, the money value of which is not
far from two hundred dollars, consists of one year's free instruction
and perpetual free admission to certain lectures, always interesting and

The ladies' classes at Oxford have proved a great success, and the
committee have just issued a programme for the present term. The course
of instruction includes Latin, French, Arithmetic, Euclid, German, &c.
The Rev. W.C. Sedgwick, M.A., Fellow and Tutor of Merton College, has
undertaken to deliver a course of lectures on the Italian Republics of
the Middle Ages.

On the 26th of October, 1864, a Working-women's College was opened in
London, with an address from Miss F.R. Malleson. It is governed by a
council of teachers. In addition to the ordinary branches, it offers
instruction in botany, physiology, and drawing. Its fee is four
shillings a year; and the Coffee and Reading Room, about which its
social life centres, is open every evening from seven to eleven.

In France, the Imperial Geographical Society, which is, in a certain
sense, a college, has lately admitted to membership Madame Dora d'Istra
as the successor to Madame Pfeiffer. Madame d'Istra had distinguished
herself by researches in the Morea.

In Calcutta, Miss Mary Carpenter has been starting schools for Hindoo
women, free from all religious character or sectarian denomination.


This seems the proper place also to insert some details about schools
like those at Kaiserworth, which I could not procure in an authentic
form in 1858. The Kaiserworth school opened under Dr. Fliedner, in 1822,
with "one table, two beds, a chair, and one discharged prisoner"! In
1852, the King of Prussia laid the foundation of a home for the aged
deaconesses who have served as teachers and nurses.

The school at Strasburg, under Pastor Härber, began, in 1842, with one
sister from a higher rank of life. It undertakes to train servants, and
is chiefly under women's control. Assistance is also given to clergymen
in seeking out cases of temporal and spiritual distress, in detecting
imposture, in attending the sick in their own houses, in teaching the
poor how to nurse and how to cook, in promoting the attendance of
children at school, in co-operating with charitable institutions to
superintend sewing and mending schools, in influencing, for good,
factory girls and servants; and, in the hospital at Mühausen, the women
taught here make up bandages and prescriptions, cook for the poor and
sick, receive the patients, and do out-door visiting. At Basle, there is
a Deaconess House, under the charge of a daughter of a Basle
manufacturer. It looks after the laboring classes, and provides for the

The house opened at St. Loup, under Pastor Germond, in 1842, takes
charge of sick children. At Geneva, a deaconess has had charge for six
years; through whom five hundred servants get their places, and with
whom they find homes when out of health or work. In 1859, twenty-one
were nursed in the institution.

A house in the Faubourg St. Antoine, Paris, was proposed by M. Vermeil,
in 1830. In 1840, Mademoiselle Malvesin offered to conduct it; her
letter to Vermeil, and his to her, crossing each other. Holland and
Sweden have opened several of these schools. In our own country, the
Rev. Mr. Passevant, a Lutheran minister of Pittsburg, Pa., is
establishing hospitals in every State, under the care of women. They are
supported by contributions in all the city churches, except the
Catholic. These hospitals are under the care of a sisterhood, who
cannot, _as yet_, compete with the Sisters of Charity. It seems to me,
that Mr. Passevant has erred in a most noble work, by drawing his
sisters from the _uncultivated_ classes. Such a work should bear the
right stamp in the beginning. In Western Pennsylvania, also, Bishop
Kerfoot has begun the noble work of endowing his whole diocese with
suitable high schools for girls, where they may obtain at home, for one
hundred dollars annually, what it would cost five times as much to
procure at a distance.


As regards medical education, we know of two colleges, or, rather, of
one college and one hospital, in Boston, where education is given. There
is one in Springfield, and one in Philadelphia. We should be glad to get
more statistics of this kind; for Cleveland, where Dr. Zakrzewska took
her degree, is no longer open to female students, and Geneva is
contenting herself with the honor of having graduated Dr. Blackwell.
Nine women were graduated at the New-York Medical School for Women, in
February of this year. Professor Willis then stated that there are three
hundred female physicians in the country, earning incomes of from ten to
twenty thousand dollars.

There is a female medical society in London. This society wishes to open
the way for thorough medical instruction, which will entitle its
graduates to a degree from Apothecaries' Hall; and it offered lectures
from competent persons, in 1864, upon obstetrics and general medical
science. Madame Aillot's Hospital of the Maternity, in Paris, still
offers its great advantages to women; of which two of our countrywomen,
Miss Helen Morton and Miss Lucy E. Sewall, have taken creditable
advantage. They are both of them Massachusetts girls. Miss Morton is
retained in Paris, and Miss Sewall is the resident physician of the
Hospital for Women and Children, in Boston.

At present, to obtain thorough instruction in any branch, women are
obliged to pay exorbitant prices, and receive, as the results of their
training, but half-wages. In Boston, Dr. Zakrzewska has again
unsuccessfully asked permission to become a member of the Massachusetts
Medical Society. Many physicians, however, extend the fellowship which
the institution denies, and the "Medical Journal" expresses itself
courteously on this point. Efforts, sustained by the influential name of
the Hon. Charles G. Loring, are at this moment making to secure the
advantages of the Harvard-College lectures to women intending to become

In 1863, there existed in St. Petersburg a stringent regulation, which
prohibited women from following the university courses. A Miss K., who
had a decided taste for medicine, without the means to pay for
instruction, applied for such instruction to the authorities of
Orenburg. Orenburg is partly in Europe and partly in Asia, and its
territory includes the Cossack races of the Ural. These people have a
superstitious prejudice against male physicians, and are chiefly
attended in illness by sorceresses. Miss K. offered to put her medical
knowledge at the service of the Cossacks, and received permission to
attend the Academy of Medicine. The Cossacks promised her an annual
stipend of twenty-eight roubles; but, when she passed the half-yearly
examination as well as the male students, they sent her three hundred
roubles as a token of good-will!

In France, a Mademoiselle Reugger, from Algeria, lately passed a
brilliant examination, and received the degree of Bachelor of Letters.
She appealed to the Dean of the Faculty at Montpellier for permission to
follow the regular course, and was refused on account of her sex. She
then turned to the Minister of Public Instruction, who granted it, on
condition that she should pledge herself to practise only in Algeria,
where the Arabs, like the Cossacks, refuse the attendance of male
physicians. Unlike our Russian friend, she refused to give the pledge.
She threw herself upon her rights, and appealed in person to the
emperor. This was in December last, and I have not been able to find his
decision. It was doubtless given in her behalf; for Louis Napoleon will
always yield, as a favor, what he would stubbornly refuse as a right.

A female medical mission is to be despatched to Delhi, for the same
reason. The physicians sent out are,--

1. To attend native ladies in the Zenanas.

2. To set on foot a dispensary for women only.

3. To train native women as nurses.

Of the medical profession, it should be stated, for the encouragement of
women, that there are over three hundred graduates from the several
medical colleges for women; and that there is scarcely a village
throughout the country but has its woman physician, of greater or less
skill. In New-York City, there are many successful physicians beside the
Drs. Blackwell. Dr. Lozier has a practice of $15,000, and owns two fine
houses, earned by her own perseverance. In Orange, N.J., Dr. Fowler is
very popular, and has a paying practice of $5,000 a year. In
Philadelphia is Dr. Hannah Longshore, with a practice worth $10,000 per
annum; then there are Drs. Preston, Tressel, Sartain, Cleveland, and
Myres, with incomes ranging from $5,000 to $2,000. In Utica, N.Y., Dr.
Pamela Bronson is a successful physician. In Albion is Dr. Vail; in
Weedsport, Dr. Harriet E. Seeley. In Rochester, Dr. Sarah Dolley numbers
among her patrons many persons of wealth and fashion, who, but a few
years ago, ridiculed the idea of a "female physician." Mrs. Dolley's
practice brings her fully $3,000 a year.

Dr. Gleason of Elmira, Dr. Ivison of Ithaca, and Dr. Green, late of
Clifton Springs, who has opened a water-cure somewhere in Western New
York, all have a large amount of practice, and prescribe with the
greatest acceptance for those who favor hydropathic treatment.

At Milwaukee, in the autumn of 1866, I found Dr. Ross. She is one of the
consulting physicians of the Passevant Hospital and of the Orphans'
Home. She has practised with steadily increasing reputation for ten
years. She understands what is due to her position, and has had a hard
struggle with the empirical women of the medical profession that crowd
the great thoroughfares of the West. But she would neither lower her
fees nor abate her requirements to compete with this class. She came of
the best surgical blood. Her grandmother was Mercy Warren, married to
Darling Huntress, of Newbury, and first cousin to General Warren, of
Bunker's Hill. Our famous Boston surgeons of the same family might be
proud of her reputation. She has established her practice and her
character, and would agree with all that I have stated in the body of
this book in regard to the great need of medical societies to guard the
position of well-educated physicians, which is now at the mercy of a
worthless college diploma. Dr. Ross goes to the Paris Exposition of this
year (1867), as an agent for the State of Wisconsin. She deserves the
honor; and the State has done itself credit by the choice. The
professional position of the physicians at the New-England Hospital for
Women and Children in Boston, is also a matter for general

The English Female Medical Society reports (June, 1866) twenty students
and good results.

The physicians of this country have been occupied this winter in
discussing the discovery, by one of their number, of the active
infectant in fever and ague. It has been found in the dust-like spores
of a marsh plant, the Pamella. In Paris, at the same time, a woman of
rank claims to have discovered the cause of cholera, in a microscopic
insect, developed in low and filthy localities. Her details were so
minute, that the Academy of Science, which began by laughing at the
introduction of the matter, has been compelled to listen; and the
subject is now under investigation.


A very interesting account has lately been published of Amélie von
Braum, an educated Swedish lady, the daughter of an army officer. She
began to preach in 1843, at Carlshamm, where she lived, in the lowest
dens of vice and misery. She carried with her a clean cloth and lighted
candles, which give a festive impulse to the Swedish mind; and her
serious words produced an extraordinary effect. In 1856 she removed to
Stockholm, and was earnestly entreated to go to Dalecadin, and instruct
the people. From that time, she has acted as an itinerant evangelist,
preaching in summer in the open air. People listen to her for hours in
rapt attention.

In Sweden, there is also Mamsell Berg,[49] a brave young woman, who
thought herself moved by the Holy Spirit to teach the young Laps. She
could not get away from the thought that she ought to do it. A
clergyman, to whom she spoke upon the matter, counselled her wisely:
"Endeavor to shake off the feeling; if you cannot, then accept it as a
vocation from God, and try it for six months." She said, "If I go, it
shall not be for six months, but for three years." She went; and the
three years became seven. She seems also to have been a noble and
beautiful creature. She gathered the children around her, under the most
difficult circumstances, expending her little property in putting up a
schoolhouse for them, and laying in sacks of potatoes, that she might
feed the half-famishing; learning herself the Laplandish language,
teaching them the Swedish, and discoursing to them about the love of

In spite of the bitter words of warning which John Ruskin has thought it
his duty to speak to such women as enter upon theological studies, a
good many women in Great Britain and this country have engaged in what
is properly the work of the Christian ministry. The only ordained
minister whose work has come under our notice since the marriage of
Antoinette Blackwell is the Rev. Olympia Brown, settled over the
Universalist Society at Weymouth Landing, Mass., and lately called to
Newburgh in New York. Her ministry has been highly successful, and is to
be mentioned here chiefly on account of a legal decision to which it has
given rise. The church at Weymouth Landing made an appeal to the
Legislature, last winter, as to the legality of marriages solemnized by
her. The Legislature gave the same general construction to the masculine
relatives in the enactment which the English law gave to the old Latin
word in the charter of Apothecaries' Hall; deciding that marriages so
solemnized are legal, and no further legislation necessary.

Mention, too, should be made of Rev. Lydia A. Jenkins, who has been a
successful preacher among the Universalists for the last eight or ten
years, and is now settled at Binghamton, N.Y.

Very recently, during the illness of her husband, the minister at
Bethesda Chapel, Newcastle, England, a Mrs. Booth occupied the pulpit,
to the great interest and profit of the congregation. Among the
Methodists and "Christians,"[50] as well as among the Quakers, women
have always been received as preachers. In October, 1866, I found a Mrs.
Timmins settled as the pastor of Ebenezer Church, three miles from
Yellow Springs, Ohio, where she had been for three years. Ann Rexford is
mentioned as an effective preacher among the Christians. Her preaching
attracted large crowds in the State of New Jersey, some thirty years

But the most remarkable record, if we except those to be found among
the Quakers, of any single woman's work in the ministry, is that of
Abigail Hoag Roberts, who was the settled minister of a church built for
her at Milford, N.J., and who died in 1841, at the age of forty-nine.

With her ministry is interlinked that of two other women,--that of Nancy
Gore Cram, of Weare, N.H., and a Mrs. Hedges. Mrs. Cram began life as a
Free-will Baptist, and undertook a mission to the Oneida Indians. The
spiritual destitution of Central New York in the year 1812 affected her
profoundly. Not a preacher of her own denomination in New Hampshire
could be induced to go there. Disappointed in them, she hurried to
Woodstock, Vt., and laid the case before a conference of "Christian"
elders and ministers, then in session. They understood her better. She
hurried back to the field she had left; and, when the ministers followed
her, they were astonished at her work. A church was built for her at
Ballston Spa. She is described as a delicate, blue-eyed woman, with dark
hair, dressing plainly in black silk, with her hair in a silk net; her
whole appearance and manner befitting her work. She died in 1816,
suddenly, in the fortieth year of her age. Mrs. Roberts was one of her
converts,--a woman who was a constant preacher, from June, 1814, to the
June of 1841, in which she died, and, for many years, a settled pastor
over the church at Milford, where a monument has been erected to her.
More than once she defended the unity of God in public discussion with
the clergy, whom she brought to ignominious defeat. She travelled
through the three States of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania,
where her name is still a household word. More than once, she was
threatened by her own sex with "tar and feathers." She seems to have
been, like Ann Hutchinson, a witty woman. "If you feel called to
preach," said one minister to her, "why do you not go to the
heathen?"--"So far as I can judge," she answered, "I am in the midst of
them." She had a large family of children, and was distinguished for her
household skill. She was quite famed for delicate clear-starching, and,
on one occasion, wove with a hand-shuttle twenty-four yards of woollen
cloth between early morning and nine o'clock at night. Many people
sought her for information. Disliking one woman's vulgarity, she said to
her, "If you believe in the Holy Ghost, why not use the _language_ that
the Holy Ghost uses?" She was a great sufferer in her latter years, but
continued to preach at the Milford church, where she had four hundred
communicants, and a congregation, at times, of twelve hundred persons,
even after she was compelled to lean upon a staff. The Rev. Eli Fay
preached her funeral sermon, and bore testimony to her great ability.
The life from which I have drawn these particulars was written by her
son, and printed at Irvington, N.J.

Her colleague, Mrs. Hedges, died before her; but a singular anecdote is
related of her. She was exercised with some doubts as to the separate
existence of the soul, and besought God in prayer to satisfy her mind.
It seemed to her, after retiring to rest, that her soul left her body,
passed through locked doors, and found several unusual adjustments of
furniture in the house, and at last returned to the pale form upon the
bed. She rose happy, but, on trying to prove her vision, found every
thing in its usual place. A thorough inquiry in the household, however,
showed that the changes she had observed had actually occurred in the
night, and continued for some time. Her experience was the not uncommon
one of the Seeress of Prevorst.

It will be remembered, that, in the first edition of "Woman's Right to
Labor," I proposed a deaconess in every church; and I found, the other
day, a little record in reference to the old church at Amsterdam, in
Holland, which I copy here:--

    "In the church at Amsterdam, there were about three hundred
    communicants; and they had for pastors two admirable men, Smith and
    Robertson, and four ruling elders, as well as one aged woman as
    deaconess, who served them many years, though she was sixty years
    old when she was chosen. She filled her office honorably, and was an
    honor to the congregation. She sat commonly in a convenient place in
    the church, with a little birchen rod in her hand, and held the
    little children in much awe, so that they disturbed not the
    assembly. She diligently visited the sick and the infirm, especially
    women, and called on younger sisters, in case of need, to watch
    over them at night, and to give other assistance that might be
    required; and, if they were poor, she made collections for them,
    among those who were in a condition to give, or informed the deacons
    of the case. She was obeyed as a mother in Israel, and a true
    handmaid of the Lord."

With the exception of "keeping the little children in much awe," which
might or might not have been desirable, these are precisely the
functions which I desire to see formally renewed. The church at Blooming
Grove, Orange County, N.Y., has existed, for more than a hundred years,
without a creed, and is governed by seven deacons and seven

The following resolution was introduced by the Rev. S.J. May, at the
Unitarian Conference which met at Syracuse, N.Y., in the first week of
October 1866:--

     "Whereas women were among the first, the most steadfast, and the
     most fearless disciples of Jesus Christ; whereas women have been,
     in all ages, the most ready to embrace the religion of the gospel,
     and the most constant and devoted members of the Christian Church;
     and whereas, in several denominations, women have been among the
     most effective preachers of Christianity: therefore, _Resolved_,
     That we, Liberal Christians, should do well to encourage those
     women among us who are moved by the Holy Spirit to devote
     themselves to the ministry, and should assist them to prepare
     themselves in the same manner, and to the same extent, as we deem
     necessary for young men."

The convention, having just passed a resolution to admit female
delegates to the session of 1868, rather shrank from this second vote.
Yet of what use to receive delegates, unless they feel free to join in
discussion? and what woman, likely to be sent as a delegate by any
Unitarian church, will ever address the convention until it _more_ than
welcomes the above resolution? To the local conferences, women are
already being elected, and will do great good if they can get courage to
accept their membership practically, and to speak when they have any
thing to say.

It would not be quite honest nor fair to those women who seek to enter
the pulpit, if I did not here record my own experience in connection
with it.

I know very well where my natural sphere of work lay, and could I have
had a theological education in my youth, or had even the paths of the
ministry at large been open to women, I have every reason to believe
that I should be at this moment a settled minister. As it was, it never
entered my head that the thing was possible; and except that I taught
steadily in Sabbath schools, and visited as steadily among the city
poor, I never turned toward ministerial work. In the first year of my
marriage, now twenty-two years ago, my husband was settled in the city
of Baltimore, as minister at large to the degraded population, which has
a special character (or want of character) in a large city, in a
slaveholding State. I say _has_, for I cannot yet speak in the past
tense. He had daily schools of girls and women, and nightly schools of
boys and men. The latter were of all ages from six to forty, and had
been gathered together by a great personal effort. In this state of
things, my husband was taken ill. It fell to me, in the first place, not
only to nurse him, but to take charge of his night-school. The ladies
could do very well without me in the day-school; but there was no
clergyman, nor leading man of character and culture, who could be
depended upon to take the _general_ charge of the men and boys, among
whom were some desperate characters. I went first in a very stormy
night; and my Irish servant took her knitting, and sat upon the steps of
the platform while I addressed them. It happened that not a single
teacher braved the storm; and the school, when I called the roll,
responded to the number of eighty. I told them that I knew how dearly
they loved my husband, that he was very ill, and that the only way in
which they could help him was to behave so well that he need feel no
anxiety about his work. They responded at once to this appeal, and I
carried home the best possible account. As Sunday drew near,--this
night-school having been held on Monday,--my husband grew more ill and
more anxious. He thought of the large, mixed congregation, which met him
every week, and for which no provision had been made. We were on an
outpost of our faith; we could not have summoned assistance in season,
nor without an expense we could not well bear. I thought the matter
over; said to myself that it was only like a large Sunday school; that
the fashionable ladies, who often dropped in to hear the preaching,
would certainly stay away, knowing my husband to be ill: so I told him
quietly that I had made arrangements for the Sunday service. He was too
weak to make inquiries, but was comforted at once. He was sick several
weeks,--long enough for me to relinquish reading, and take to
exhortation in pure despair; but he did not find a small congregation
when he resumed his place, and that was my reward. Perhaps no such step
was ever taken more simply, or with less idea of its natural
consequences. When I came back to Boston, radical country ministers took
pains to ask me to their pulpits. I shall not soon forget the first time
I preached to a large Unitarian audience, with a good mixture of city
people. It was at South Hingham; the church was crowded; the country
covered with a crystalline mantle of snow, over which a clear moon
glimmered. The beauty of that night is a permanent possession. So it
went on, till I became, I believe in the winter of 1859 and 1860, the
superintendent of the Sunday school at Indiana-place Chapel, in Boston,
where I remained for five years. This broke up my preaching, for I could
not leave town on Sundays; but it led to my addressing various
Sunday-school gatherings, and my being asked to address Sunday schools
when away from home in the summer. My addressing a Sunday school in
Greenfield in the summer of 1865, while the pastor of the church was
absent with his regiment, led, by his kind sympathy, to my preaching in
the summer of 1866 in the regular Unitarian churches at Rowe and
Warwick, as well as doing irregular service in many other places. The
church at Florence had always shown me a generous appreciation; and I
was often asked to preach for Theodore Parker's people at the Music Hall
and the Melodeon. I always declined to speak for this last society, not
because I do not sympathize with their purposes in the main, but because
I would not consent to be advertised for a religious and especially a
devotional service in the city which I make my home. There may be women
who, in the present state of things, can do this innocently and
properly; but _I_ cannot go into the pulpit myself, except in the
regular sequence of my work, and at the call of duty. The gaping crowd
of curious people who would come to look at a woman in the pulpit, would
disturb the sphere in which it is alone possible for me to work. It was
the custom of the Music-Hall society to advertise for every Sunday, and
they declined to relinquish this advertisement on my account. The
delivering a course of lectures in Hollis-street Vestry in connection
with the Suffolk Sunday-school Union, in April, 1866, showed me that
there was a work of criticism to be done,--and necessary to be
done,--which I could do: so in going West to examine the condition of
certain colleges, in October, 1866, I gave it to be understood, that, if
I were in any Western city over Sunday, I should prefer to preach for
the Unitarian minister--giving him a "labor of love"--to addressing an
audience at an evening lecture. This interfered with my pecuniary
advantage; but I believed it was in my power to enter some pulpits that
would not be offered to all women, and I desired to do what I could to
create a demand for the preaching of women. In this way, I preached for
Robert Collyer in Chicago, for Carlton Staples in Milwaukee, for Mr.
Hunting in Quincy, and in the chapels of Oberlin and Antioch Colleges. I
took the whole service, accepting no assistance in the reading or the
prayer; for it is not well that a woman who fills the pulpit should seem
to shrink from any service there, and sensitive women will always find
their self-possession impaired by any second influence. I received the
kindest sympathy and appreciation from the churches I have mentioned;
and, in every instance but one, I received the usual fee for my service,
voluntarily tendered. I think at least twenty other churches would have
been open to me, could I have gone to them.

I do not offer this explanation of the manner in which I have been led
into the pulpit, stupidly, in ignorance of the charge of egotism and
folly that may be made against me by those who read it. I have borne
harder things than that charge, for the truth's sake; and I hope that
the real motive of this statement will be transparent to honest and
gentle hearts.

I long to see women preparing for this work, for there are very few men
in the field; and, if there were more than enough, the pulpit is still
an eminently fit place for a woman. The encouragement I have received,
will show young women what is open to them. With a few words of counsel
to those who may desire to speak in churches, I leave the subject. The
dress of a woman in the pulpit should be such as will attract absolutely
no attention; yet it should be thoroughly graceful and lady-like. A
black silk well made, with collar and cuffs of fine linen, is the best,
with no ornament whatever save the needful brooch. Peculiarity should be
avoided. When we are trying to win souls for heaven, we must not lose
them, because of a "dress reform," which may wait patiently, until more
important things are achieved.

Again, if the woman who enters the pulpit is a temperance, an
antislavery, or a woman's-rights lecturer, it will be better for her to
give lectures on these subjects in the week. In the pulpit, she should
subordinate these subjects to theological reform, moral appeal, and that
attempt to stimulate religious interest and faith in which most men
fail. Nor would I have her, whatever her station in society, refuse the
fee, small or large, which shall be tendered her. If she has no need of
it, her "poor" will have; and it is important to let the ministry of
women fall into the same social and congregational relations as that of

There has been a great change in public feeling since the day, not
twelve years since, when I heard Dr. Parkman refuse Lucretia Mott
permission to speak in the old Federal-street Church.

Among historical instances of the theological influence of woman, that
of the Countess Matilda stands pre-eminent; but a book by Capefigue,
recently published at Paris, shows, that Madame de Krudener was the
first to conceive the idea of the Holy Alliance, and her influence over
the Emperor Alexander was sufficient to induce him to propose what his
allies had no power to decline. Her purpose was finally accomplished,
by her engaging the emperor in prayer. She was finally exiled, and died,
I believe, in the Crimea. It was pretended that her preaching was
dangerous; but, as she spoke only in French, that could hardly be true.


An art school, which started some years ago in Boston, in private hands,
finally surrendered its casts, lithographs, and so forth, to the
teachers of the Free Art School of the Lowell Institute. The female
classes of this school are always crowded, and are doing a great deal of
good. Artists are accustomed to say very disparaging things of the
school at the Cooper Institute; but I visited it in December, 1866, and
found a very great improvement within a few years. Under Dr. Rimmer, a
most admirable lecturer on anatomy, there has been an infusion of new
life. The drawings from casts looked better than I have ever seen them.
They have a good master in color, and the drawing and engraving on wood
by the pupils find a ready market. Two of them, Miss Roundtree and Miss
Curtis, are said to have a high reputation. I was delighted to find a
large class coloring photographs; for heretofore it has been almost
impossible for women to receive decent instruction in this art. The
classes are all full; and three times the number of pupils might be
received, if there were more light in the large rooms. It is to be hoped
Mr. Cooper may some time divide them, and put in gas.

I have taken advantage of the residence in this country of a well-known
member of the Royal Academy, Mrs. Elizabeth Murray, to ascertain what
circumstances led to the formation of the Society of Female Artists, in
London. To Mrs. Grote, the wife of the historian, and Mrs. Murray
herself, this society owed its existence, somewhere in the winter of
1854 and 1855. There is no objection to it, so far as I know, except one
apparent on its catalogues, the present preponderance of distinguished
amateur artists on the Board of Direction. I insert here Mrs. Murray's
letter in reply to my inquiries. The best artists, such as Rosa Bonheur
and Mrs. Murray herself, exhibit with this society.

     MY DEAR MRS. DALL,--On my return to England, after an absence of
     many years, I found that women labored under very disheartening
     conditions; their professional occupations consisting chiefly of
     teaching, music and singing, literature and the fine arts. In the
     latter department, they came more under my own personal
     observation; and I found, that, although they were countenanced by
     men individually, collectively they were persecuted by men, seldom
     being permitted membership with any public body, or, when admitted,
     were not allowed the full privileges accorded to men.

     For instance: At the Royal Academy of London, women are not
     admitted at all to membership. On the walls of that exhibition may
     be seen the works of women, which rank among the best; but here
     their privilege ends. They assist in bringing their quota of the
     entrance fees, the main source of income of the academy, while they
     are debarred from all privileges and emoluments.

     The two water-color societies profess to admit women as members,
     which they do to a very limited extent; but even here they are
     subject to the same restrictions. Under these circumstances, the
     project occurred to me of founding a separate and independent
     society, which should include only the works of female artists, in
     order to give to those excluded from other societies, opportunities
     of asserting their own powers.

     The first step was to get up an exhibition to excite public sympathy
     in favor of the scheme. This was a most difficult undertaking, as
     opposition was met with, not only from men, but from the very women
     whose interests were at stake; those who were strong in the
     profession fearing to lose caste, and the weaker ones being afraid
     to act independently.

     After much perseverance and explanation, several large-minded
     persons of the more moneyed and influential ranks in society came
     forward, and assisted, by their cordial co-operation, in
     establishing a temporary committee. Money was freely contributed;
     and the society had a fair start, opening to the public a very
     creditable exhibition of the works of female artists.

     Finding that, for the future, I must necessarily be absent from
     England, I retired from the Committee of Direction.

     The society has continued in a more or less prosperous condition up
     to the present time, although my plan of establishing an adequate
     school of art has not been carried out. Much private good has been
     the result; and I think the class of women for whom the society was
     founded, have been raised in position.

    Believe me, dear madam,
    Very truly yours,

    13, Pemberton Square, Dec. 22, 1866.

In Paris, Rosa Bonheur is now the directress, under the government, of
the École Impériale de Dessein, established exclusively for young


The advance of women, as regards all sorts of labor, in the United
States, has been such as might be expected by watchful eyes; and yet
reports on the general question will not read very differently from
those published ten years ago. In New York, women are still reported as
making shirts at seventy-five cents a dozen, and overalls at fifty
cents. These women have two Protective Unions of their own, not
connected with the Workingmen's Union; and most of them have, naturally
enough, sympathized with the eight-hour movement, not foreseeing,
apparently, that the necessary first result of that movement would be a
decrease of wages, proportioned to the limitation of time. Ever since
the beginning of the war, women have been employed in the public
departments, North and South. It has been a matter of necessity, rather
than of choice. The same causes combined to drive women into field-labor
and printing-offices. All through Minnesota and the surrounding regions,
women voluntarily assumed the whole charge of the farms, in order to
send their husbands to the field. A very interesting account has been
recently published of a farm in Dongola, Ill., consisting of two
thousand acres, managed by a highly educated woman, whose husband was a
cavalry officer. It was a great pecuniary success. In New Hampshire,
last summer, I was shown open-air graperies, wholly managed by women, in
several different localities; and was very happy to be told that my own
influence had largely contributed to the experiment. In England,
field-labor is now recommended to women by Lord Houghton, better known
as Mr. Monckton Milnes, who considers it a healthful resource against
the terrible abuses of factory life. At a meeting of the British
Association, last fall, he produced a well-written letter from a woman
engaged in brick-making. This letter claimed that brick-making paid
three times better than factory labor, and ten times better than
domestic service. In addition to persons heretofore mentioned, in this
country, as employing women in out-door work, I would name Mr. Knox, the
great fruit-grower, who, on his place near Pittsburg, Pa., employs two
or three hundred. I have seen it stated, that, during the last four
years, twenty thousand women have entered printing-offices. I do not
know the basis of this calculation; but, judging from my local
statistics, I should think it must be nearly correct.

To the Committee of the Massachusetts Legislature on the eight-hour
movement, the following towns report concerning the wages and labor of
women, in 1866:--

     BOSTON.--Glass Company, wages from $4.00 to $8.00 a week.
     Domestics, from $1.50 to $3.00 per week. Seamstresses, $1.00 a day.
     Makers of fancy goods, 40 to 50 cents a day.

     BROOKLINE.--Washerwomen, $1.00 a day.

     CHARLESTOWN and NEW BEDFORD are ashamed to name the wages, but
     humbly confess that they are very low.

     CHICOPEE pays women 90 per cent the wages of men.

     CONCORD pays from 8 to 10 cents an hour.

     FAIRHAVEN gives to female photographers one-third the wages of men.

     HADLEY pays three-fourths; to domestics, one-third; seamstresses,
     one-quarter to one-third.

     HOLYOKE, in its paper-mills, offers one-third to one-half.

     LANCASTER pays for pocket-book making from 50 to 75 cents a day.

     LEE pays in the paper-mills one-half the wages of men.

     LOWELL.--The Manufacturing Company averages 90 cents a day. The
     Baldwin Mills pay 60 to 75 cents a day.

     NEWTON pays its washerwomen 75 cents a day, or 10 cents an hour.

     NORTH BECKET pays to women one-third the wages of men.

     NORTHAMPTON pays $5.00 a week.

     SALISBURY, for sewing hats, $1.00 a day.

     SOUTH READING, on rattan and shoe work, $5.00 to $10.00 a week.

     SOUTH YARMOUTH, half the wages of men, or less.

     TAUNTON, one-third to two-thirds the wages of men.

     WALPOLE pays two-thirds the wages of men.

     WAREHAM pays to its domestics from 18 to 30 cents a day; to
     seamstresses, 50 cents to $1.00.

     WILMINGTON pays two-thirds the wages of men.

     WINCHESTER pays dressmakers $1.00 a day; washerwomen, 12 cents an

     WOBURN keeps its women to work from 11 to 13 hours, and pays them
     two-thirds the wages of men.

     On the better side of the question, FALL RIVER testifies that
     women, in competition, earn nearly as much as men.

     LAWRENCE, from the Pacific Mills, that the women are _liberally_
     paid. We should like to see the figures. The Washington Mills pay
     from $1.00 to $2.00 a day.

     STONEHAM gives them $1.50 per week.

     WALTHAM reports the wages of the watch-factory as very
     _remunerative_. In 1860, I reported this factory as paying from
     $2.50 to $4.00 a week. Here, also, we should prefer figures to a
     general statement.

     BOSTON has now many manufactories of paper collars. Each girl is
     expected to turn out 1,800 daily. The wages are $7.00 a week. In
     the paper-box factory, more than 200 girls are employed; but I
     cannot ascertain their wages, and therefore suppose them to be low.
     I know individuals who earn here $6.00 a week; but that must be
     _above_ the average.

The best-looking body of factory operatives that I have ever seen are
those employed in the silk and ribbon mills on Boston Neck, lately under
the charge of Mr. J.H. Stephenson, and those at the Florence Silk Mills
in Northampton, owned by Mr. S.L. Hill. The classes, libraries, and
privileges appertaining to these mills make them the best examples I
know; and this is shown in the faces and bearing of the women.

We are always referred to political economy, when we speak of the low
wages of women; but a little investigation will show that other causes
co-operate with those, which can be but gradually reached, to determine
their rates.

1. The wilfulness of women themselves, which, when I see them in
positions I have helped to open to them, fills me with shame and

2. The unfair competition, proceeding from the voluntary labor, in
mechanical ways, of women well to do.

For the first, we cannot greatly blame the women whom employers choose
for their _good looks_, for expecting to earn their wages through them,
rather than by the proper discharge of their duties. Their conduct is
not the less shameful on that account; but I seem to see that only time
and death and ruin will educate them.

For the second, we must strive to develop a public sentiment, which,
while it continues to hold labor honorable, will stamp with ignominy any
women who, in comfortable country homes, compete with the workwomen of
great cities. There are thousands of wealthy farmers' wives to-day, who
just as much drive other women to sin and death as if they led them with
their own hands to the houses in which they are ultimately compelled to
take refuge. Still further, it has come to be known to me, that in
Boston, and I am told in New York also, wealthy women, who do not even
do their own sewing, have the control of the finer kinds of fancy work,
dealing with the stores which sell such work, under various disguises. I
cannot prove these words, but they will strike conviction to the hearts
of the women themselves, and I wish them to have some significance for
men; for, if these women had the pocket-money which their taste and
position require, they would never dream of such competition. One thing
these men should know, that such women are generally known to their
employers, and their domestic relations are judged accordingly.

The recent investigations into factory labor in England concern rather
the condition than the wages of the women. At _flower-making_, 11,000
girls are employed from fourteen to eighteen hours daily. In _hardware_
shops and factories, they work, from six years of age, fourteen hours
daily. In _glass_ factories, 5,000 women are employed, from nine years
of age and upwards, eighteen hours daily. In _tobacco_ factories, 7,000
women are employed, under conditions of great physical suffering. As
_knitters_, from six years old, they work fourteen hours daily for 1s.
3d. a week!

This terrible state of things is partly owing to competition with the
labor of French machinery. A great deal of ignorant prejudice against
machines is one of its results. In Sheffield, _files_ are still made by
_hand_; while here, in America, we make _watches_ by _machinery_! The
disposition of the whole community, both here and in Great Britain,
towards this labor question, is kindly. It has become a momentous social
problem. During the fifteen years that my attention has been riveted to
this subject, I have seen a great change in public feeling.

I have received the Sixth Annual Report of the Society for the
Employment of Women, of which the Earl of Shaftesbury is President, and
Mr. Gladstone a Vice-President. This society has trained some
hair-dressers, clerks, glass-engravers, book-keepers, and telegraph
operators; but its greatest service consists in the constant issue of
tracts, to influence developing public opinion. Such an association
should be started in New York.

I should have been glad to inaugurate in Boston, during the last six
years, several important industrial movements. The war checked the
enthusiasm I had succeeded in rousing; and I have not been able to pause
in my special work of collecting and observing facts to stimulate it
afresh, or to solicit personally the necessary means. How easy it would
be for a few wealthy women to test these experiments!

I would first establish a mending-school; and, having taught women how
to darn and patch in a proper manner, I would scatter them through the
country, to open shops of their own. As it is, I do not know a city, in
which a place exists to which a housekeeper could send a week's wash,
sure that it would be returned with every button-hole, button, hem,
gusset, and stay in proper condition. These mending-shops should take on
apprentices, who should be sent to the house to do every sort of
repairing with a needle.

I would open another school to train women to every kind of trivial
service, now clumsily or inadequately performed by men. If, for
instance, you now send to an upholsterer to have an old window-blind or
blind-fixture repaired, his apprentice will replace the entire thing at
a proportionate cost, leaving the old screw-holes to gape at the gazer.
I would train women to wash, repair, and replace in part, and to carry
in their pockets little vials of white or red lead to fill the gaping
holes. Full employment could be found for such apprentices.

At Milwaukee, in October, 1866, I found a young woman well established
as a hair-dresser. She belonged to a superior class of society, and
encountered great opposition in carrying out her plan. "People would
treat her much better," said a resident clergyman to me, in detailing
her struggles, "if she were the willing mistress of a rich man." She had
no taste for teaching, but I found in her a cultivated and pleasant
companion. Since the war began, a good many women have been employed as
clerks in the public offices at Washington. There is now some talk of
their removal. If this should occur, it would be in consequence of unfit
appointments, and the habits and annoyances which demoralized women have
imposed upon the departments. The proper place to begin removals is
obviously with the corrupt men, who have pensioned their mistresses out
of the public coffers.

In Chicago, I found Fanny Paine, a girl of thirteen, acting as paymaster
to the Eagle Works Manufacturing Company. She will, in one year, pay out
a quarter of a million of dollars. She keeps the time-sheets, pay-roll,
and account-book of each of the four hundred men employed. She receives
about five thousand dollars a week from the bank, and makes the proper
balances with the cashier, after paying her men. She knows every man,
earns six hundred and twenty-five dollars per annum, and is represented
as perfectly robust. It gave me no pleasure to find so young a girl in a
position so exposed. I would have her uncommon faculties mature in
quiet. The "London Athenæum" lately said, "A phenomenon worthy of
consideration is the increasing number of female players on stringed
instruments in France. At the examination of the conservatory this year,
Mademoiselle Boulay gained a first, Mademoiselle Castellan a second
prize. The violoncello has its professional students among the gentler
sex. Madame Viardot is about to turn her experience to account, by
editing a classical selection of music."

A very dear friend of mine,--Charlotte Hill, of West Gouldsborough, in
Maine,--born a farmer's daughter, too deaf to teach, and too delicate to
sew, had an intense love for music. She taught herself the violin. She
then made a profession for herself by offering to play it at rustic
parties; and one year, in the pursuit of this profession, she travelled
more than eight hundred miles, and laid by three hundred dollars. This
money was not spent on jewelry, but on the best books that our best
publishers could furnish. It takes a genius to do a thing like
that,--trust in one's self, and a far deeper trust in God; but there are
multitudes of women whom suggestion and sympathy would lead into such
thriving ways.

I have heard recently of a young girl in Shirley, who supports herself
and her father by gunning. She not only sends game to market, but
prepares the breasts of birds for ornamental purposes. She has bought
her own house by her profits.

When I was at Florence, Mass., in the summer of 1865, I drove over to
the famous button-factory at Easthampton. This great industry was
founded by a woman; and, as I had often heard mythical stories about it,
I wished to get at the facts. I found Samuel Williston, a very good
specimen of a fine old English gentleman. He is a man between sixty and
seventy, with hair and beard as white as snow. I found him in a blue
coat with bright buttons, a buff waistcoat, and white pants, and very
willing to tell his wife's story, if it would "encourage other women."

"My wife's father," he went on to say, "was a Mr. Graves. He was a poor
man, with a large family of children. His wife and daughters used to go
over to Northampton to get knitting from the stores. One day, all the
knitting had been given out; and Mrs. Graves showed her disappointment
so plainly that the shopman asked her to take some buttons to cover. In
those days, all our buttons came from England, where they were made by
hand; but our tailor had got out, and wanted some for coats and vests in
a hurry. Mrs. Graves made about a gross, all her daughters helping, and
did it so well that the work was continued. Then my wife took it up. She
got some of the work from her mother. That was in 1825-26,--forty years
ago. I had invested in merino sheep. I had ninety ewes and a large farm;
but I was a young man, and found it hard to get along. It looked as
though this business would help. My wife wanted to control the work. She
hired girls to help her, and took all the orders that came. J.D. Whitney
and Hayden & Whitney sold all she could make. When she had had the
business a year, I went to Boston, Providence, Hartford, New Haven, New
York,--in short, I went _all round_,--with samples. I got my orders at
first hand, and from that the business began.

"When we heard that machine-made buttons had been introduced into
England, we sent over to buy the right to make them, and Mr. Hayden
introduced them here.

"Every man must have his small beginnings," added Mr. Williston, with an
embarrassed blush; "but, when a man has such a wife as mine, he is

It is said that nearly a million of dollars is invested in this button
business at Easthampton. The Willistons are Congregational Christians;
and the "Round Table" stated lately, that the wealth thus accumulated,
besides being of great local value in developing the resources of the
State, had established one seminary, built three churches, and assisted
colleges and schools without number.

It is very rare that the labor of women becomes consolidated into
capital; but there is no reason why it should not. The mother of James
Freeman Clarke, whose name I use here in compliance with her own
expressed desire, was a wonderful illustration of what common sense and
determination will accomplish. The petted darling of a wealthy family,
Madame Clarke found herself summoned, by her husband's illness and early
death, to retrieve, almost unaided, the fortunes of six children. The
first money which she could lay aside, at the head of a boarding-house,
lifted the mortgage from a small property which she knew she was to
inherit, and which she felt sure would increase in value. For this
property she ultimately received her own price, being, to the great
amazement of applicants, her own "man of business" in all negotiations.
The small sum it yielded she put out at interest in new States, where
money was scarce, and multiplied it tenfold before she died, not by
careless speculation, but by investing it wisely in the heart of the
great cities of Chicago and Milwaukee, by buying what she saw with her
own eyes to be valuable. "I want women to know how to manage their own
concerns as I did," she would say. "It only takes a little common sense.
Women ought not to give up their property to men, or even ask their
advice about it. The best men will prop up their shaky plans with a
woman's money; but women should watch men, see where shrewd men put
their money, and do as they _do_, not as they _say_."

I am sorry that the purpose of this volume does not permit me to show
how this noble woman used the money she made for the profit, the
religious advancement, and the bodily comfort of those who seemed to
need its aid.

One other woman, whose name I am not permitted to mention, deserves to
be spoken of in this connection. She was an orphan, and began life as a
factory girl with twelve cents and a half. Her father had never dreamed
of any need to educate a daughter. She took a sister into the factory
with her; and, while one worked, the other went to school,--my friend
opening a dressmaker's shop, at times, to speed the process. While in
the mills, she secured, by a wise firmness, many privileges for the
girls. She married, and, after the death of an only child, sought to
make herself happy, by being of use; and opened, for the girls whose
wages had been reduced, a Protective Union shoe-store, taking all that
one man and eight apprentices could make daily. At last, she borrowed a
hundred dollars, and went to Lynn,--the first woman that ever bought
goods there. She soon controlled the prices of the trade, opened a
second store, and finally bought out the Union.

Part of her store she devoted to fancy goods, and, for seven years and a
half, did all the buying in Boston. She then went to Philadelphia,
leaving the stores in her husband's charge, and took her degree at
Pennsylvania College. After this, she lectured on Physiology throughout
New England, being often profitably employed by the corporations to
lecture to the girls. By this time, she owned her horse and carriage,
her house, and twenty thousand dollars, beside having a good practice in
a country town. Circumstances then carried her to California, where, in
three years and a half, she made thirteen thousand dollars, partly by
her profession, and partly by buying up Government vouchers, in which
the men at the Navy Yard were paid. She gave gold, and received
greenbacks. Before she left the State, one of its most eminent
physicians came to her to know by what secret she cured patients whom he
had given up. She showed him the errors of his own practice; and, when
she returned to New England, left, with perfect faith, her patients in
his hands.

If this woman were not still living, I should wish to record the details
of her life; but they suggest so much, that I have not thought it right
to suppress them altogether.

Mr. Thayer and two ladies have lately attempted, in Boston, at No. 28,
Ash Street, a small experiment in the way of a lodging-house for girls.
This was first suggested to the ladies, by the misfortunes of a young
woman who came under their notice. They tried to hire a house, but found
it cheaper to buy; Mr. Thayer being responsible for half the expense,
and each of the ladies for one-quarter. The house was furnished at the
cost of friends. It has gas and water in nearly every room, and shelters
29 girls. They pay for light, rent, lodging, and fire, repairs and
service, $1.50 per week, and $1.25. There are two single beds in most of
the rooms. The matron keeps an exact account of her expenditure; and
each week the stores are weighed by one of the ladies, the waste being
charged, as well as the marketing, to the girls.

The board, so managed, costs each girl $1.75 a week. Some of the girls
wash for themselves in the evening, and a woman is hired for the house
once a week. They take care of their own rooms. The matron employs a
cook. There are only two rules,--that every girl shall be in at 10 P.M.,
and that a week's notice shall be given when any inmate desires to
leave. No supervision is exercised except of the stores and the matron's
accounts. The house was opened Dec. 15, 1866, and is a success according
to its plan.

Grateful as I am to see this attempt made, I cannot feel that this plan
should be followed for the future. Girls do not wish to receive charity,
nor can any experiment be thoroughly successful, which does not pay, in
the long-run, a fair percentage on the cost of house and furniture. Now,
$4.00 a week is, in my estimation, only the fair cost price of the style
of board and living which these girls receive; and it could not be kept
at that under average management.

I do not know the cost of the house, but it would certainly rent for
$600. The taxes upon it would be, at least, $120.

Now, let us suppose that 30 girls occupy it, each paying the highest
rent, of $1.50 per week, which is $45 a month. In 13 months, they would
pay $585;--a sum less than the rent alone; the house and water taxes,
light, lodging, fire, repairs, and service, being thrown in gratis. I am
sure my estimate of the rent and taxes is beneath the real value of
both; and it is evident, that no efforts to benefit this class, on a
large scale, will succeed, unless made to pay better: companies will
undertake only profitable work. I want to see girls unite to furnish
themselves, in a still more modest way, with what they need; and I wish
to see a system of cooking-houses established, which shall simplify the
whole matter.

In New York, a Working-women's Home is about to be established, the plan
of which was long since submitted to the public. A building has been
purchased on Elizabeth Street, which will afford accommodations for four
hundred persons. For this, $100,000 has been paid, and $25,000 more will
be expended in fitting it up. Half the amount has already been raised;
and the managers are making strong efforts to collect the remainder. Of
its objects, the "Evening Post" says,--

     "In this Home will be found clean, well-ventilated rooms, wholesome
     food, and facilities for education and self-improvement. Girls
     exposed to the temptations of a city life will be surrounded by
     both moral and Christian influences.

     "The institution is intended to benefit a class of women who now
     find it impossible, with their slender means, to procure
     comfortable homes, and are forced to live where moral purity, as
     well as health, is endangered.

     "It is well known that families and boarding-house keepers almost
     always object to female boarders, and that many thousands of
     sewing-women find it difficult to obtain quarters. Artificial
     flower-makers, book-folders, hoop-skirt manufacturers, packers of
     confectionery, &c., are compelled, if deprived of parental shelter,
     to accept such homes and accommodations as their very limited
     resources will command.

     "It is not intended to make this a charitable institution; but the
     prices will be made so moderate as to be within the means of those
     who are to be benefited by it, while, at the same time, the
     establishment will be self-sustaining."

Mr. Halliday says of it,--

     "The whole expense of first purchase, alterations, and furniture,
     will be about $140,000. Messrs. Peter Cooper, James Lenox, James
     Brown, Stewart Brown, William H. Aspinwall, E.J. Woolsey, and Mrs.
     C.L. Spencer, have, unsolicited, each contributed one thousand
     dollars. Twenty thousand dollars has been appropriated on condition
     that we obtained a like amount in donations. We expect to have
     accommodations for nearly five hundred, and the charge for board
     and washing will be from three dollars and a quarter to three and a
     half per week.

     "There will be parlors, reading room and free library, and ample
     bathing rooms. None of good reputation will be refused admission;
     no others can become members of the family."

It is hoped to open the institution by the first of June.

A Young Women's Christian Association was organized in Boston in May,
1866, under the auspices of Mrs. Henry F. Durant. Furnished rooms have
been provided at 27, Chauncy Street, where young women can obtain
information in regard to employment, boarding-houses, and so on. The
applications average one hundred a month; and the association seeks to
establish a home, where there will be a restaurant for furnishing meals,
at cost, to _young women only_, a free reading and library room,
evening schools, rooms for social purposes, and temporary lodging-rooms.
This is a most desirable thing to do; but it will not be of permanent
benefit, if it puts into a false position any girls capable of
self-support. The funds of wise and kind people must start all such
movements; but, to be useful, they must be, not only in appearance, but
in reality, self-supporting.

During the summer of 1866, Octavia Hill, of London, a grand-daughter of
the celebrated Dr. Southwood Smith, reports that, after conferring with
John Ruskin, she had hired houses for poor tenants. She put them into
good order, and kept them in it. She would allow, in her tenants,
neither overcrowding nor arrears of rent. She had no middle-men. The
experiment was wholly successful, and paid at once five per cent.

Mr. Ruskin's lodging-houses, as they are called, are the best that have
ever been established in London. They furnish the cheapest and cleanest
lodgings for the poor, yet pay a good dividend. They are entirely in the
hands of Miss Hill, as Mr. Ruskin himself is more skilful to remedy any
social excrescence than patient to bear with it. He forgets, I think,
what he once wrote concerning the soul that denies itself an encounter
with pain.

I have mentioned, in the body of this book, the great number of women
who have entered printing-offices since 1860. I have thought that it
might help women in some other departments of labor, to understand how
some of these changes were effected, and in what manner advantages have
been secured, which might easily have been lost. In a town that I know
of, a weekly religious paper was printed by eight women. The most
experienced acted as foreman; and when, in the second year of the war,
strikes began in the printing-offices, a friend directed her attention
to the fact, and showed her how to meet a strike should it come, as it
did, into her own town. As soon as she heard of it, she consulted with
the rest of the hands. Seeing a possible though by no means a certain
advantage, they agreed to be bound by her action in such an event. At
last, the hands employed on the daily evening paper of the town struck,
and the publisher knew not what to do. The girl went to him, told him
she would bring seven able hands with her, and was accepted at once. He
was mean enough to offer half-pay, which she peremptorily refused. The
eight women entered the office on full pay. They had not been there a
week, before every body rejoiced in the change. There was no swearing
and no drinking, but a quiet workroom. At the end of a month, the
disappointed men offered to return: their services were declined, but
the publisher was mean enough to go to his foreman. "My men are ready to
come back," said he: "I have no fault to find with _you_, but I can no
longer give you full wages."--"Do as you please," replied the girl: "you
cannot have us for any less;" and, as the whole seven said amen, the
publisher had nothing to do but to keep them. The advantage that flowed
from union and good sense in this case are evident, and could easily be
imitated in many directions. During the past winter, Miss Stebbens, of
Chickasaw County, Iowa, has been appointed notary public; such
appointments being still so rare as to make the fact worth recording.


The "British Medical Journal" was lately reported to have said that more
English women seek for admission to the bar than for entrance into
medical practice. If this be true, it is in marked contrast to the state
of things in this country. Some women have studied law here; many have
written in lawyers' offices; but, so far as I know, not one has desired
to be admitted to the bar: and, in England itself, so far as I know,
Miss Shedden remains the single example of a woman pleading in a court
of law.

The number of laws passed the last six years, affecting the condition of
women, has been very small.

The New-York Assembly in February, 1865, passed a law putting the legal
evidence of a married woman on the same basis as if she were a _feme
sole_. The Massachusetts Legislature have legalized marriage ceremonies
performed by an ordained woman; and in January, 1866, Mr. Peckham, of
Worcester, moved for a joint special committee "to consider in what way
a more just and equal compensation shall be awarded to female labor." On
the 4th of April, just past, Samuel E. Sewall and others petitioned for
leave to appoint women on school committees. It is difficult to
conceive on what ground such petitioners had leave to withdraw. These
things are only valuable as indicating that public attention is still

In Richmond, Va., recently, a charge of stealing was sustained against a
woman, who was afterwards acquitted, by appeal, on the ground that no
married woman could own her own clothing, and the consequent flaw in the
indictment. In consequence, a bill to secure the rights of property to a
married woman, as if she were a _feme sole_, has been offered in the
House, to the horror of members who gravely assert that there can be no
marriages, if a man does not own his wife's wardrobe!

In Missouri, the new Constitution confers on women the right to make a
will; and the Legislature is considering the subject of introducing
women to the State University.

In England, a curious decision has recently been made, in the case of a
clergyman, of the Church of England, who left his children to the
guardianship of his wife, without expressing any opinion as to their
religious education. Joint guardian with the wife was a brother
clergyman, who brings action to have it decided by the Court where the
children shall attend church. The mother, and a son of thirteen, desire
to attend a dissenting chapel; but Sir J. Stuart, Vice-Chancellor,
decided that the _father's_ religious faith must decide the matter for
the children! Such absurdity will do more than any argument to secure
the future freedom of woman. The family history of Madame de Bedout,
recently dead at Paris, furnishes, also, a remarkable illustration of
the absurdity of the old laws.

The will of Francis Jackson, of Boston, has been recently brought before
our courts to obtain instructions as to its construction. Mr. Jackson's
bequest for the purpose of creating an antislavery sentiment has been
sustained; but the decision reads, February, 1867:--

     "The gift in the sixth article, to create a trust, unrestricted in
     point of time, to secure the passage of laws granting to women
     different rights from those belonging to them under the existing
     Constitution and laws, does not constitute a legal charity, and is
     therefore void, and is remitted to the testator's heirs-at-law."

The gift in question was intended to aid the publication of such books
as the reader now holds in his hand.

A very important convention came together at Leipsic, in September,
1865. One hundred and fifty women assembled, pledged to assert the right
to labor, and to bridge the gulf between the compensations of the two
sexes. Madame Louise Otto Peters opened the conference in an able
speech. She stated that there were five millions of women in Germany,
who could each earn, if allowed, three thalers a week. A thousand women
might find employment as chemists, on salaries of one hundred and fifty
thalers a year, exclusive of board and lodging. Another thousand might
be employed as boot-closers. The foundation of industrial and
commercial schools was urged. The weak point of the speech, as reported,
appeared to be, that it took no cognizance of the fact, that an influx
of five millions of laborers must necessarily lower the current rate of
wages she proposed. I mention this convention in a legal connection,
believing that it was intended to remove some local legal barriers.

A petition from sixty women of Potter County, Penn., has just been
presented to the Legislature of that State, praying for the passage of
an act to enable widows, on the death of a husband, to control the
property acquired by joint labor, in the same manner as the husband does
on the death of the wife.

When Freeman Clarke was Comptroller of the United-States Currency, he
decided that a woman, not being a _citizen_, could not be a bank
director. I consider this logical and satisfactory. I wish more
decisions of this kind could be made. If the position that woman is not
a citizen were pushed to its extreme, it would become untenable, her
property could not be taxed, and the necessary remedy would be applied.
One bank remonstrated against the comptroller's decision, desiring to
retain the services of women "hitherto satisfactory." I see, by a
Washington paper, that another national bank desires leave to diminish
the number of its directors; so many of its shares being held by women,
that nine men could not be found to fill the office.

Now, let some bright women buy up, through a broker, all the shares of
such a bank, elect their own president and directors, and see what the
Government can do. The absurdity of such a position, practically, is
evident to all who know how business is done in our country towns.


Dr. Hunt and a few other women have continued their annual protests,
without intermission. In somewhat the same way have petitions recently
been sent to Congress in behalf of universal suffrage. We had no
expectation that any favorable reception would await such petitions; but
it was a duty to put them on record, if we could do it without
perplexing public business. What fate they met in Congress, you have so
recently heard, that I have no occasion to record it. Minnesota, New
York, and other States, have petitioned their Legislatures to the same

On the 7th of February, 1867, the House of Representatives in Kansas
decided, in concurrence with the Senate, to amend a resolution for the
amendment of the Constitution, by striking out the words "white" and
"male," and making intelligence the basis of suffrage after 1870. This
action has been since rescinded in some way, only the word "_white_"
being stricken out. In Congress, Mr. Noel, of Missouri, offered a series
of resolutions in favor of extending suffrage to women, and authorizing
the calling of a convention to amend the Constitution in the State of
Missouri. The acting Vice-President, the Speaker of the Senate, in
recording his protest against the Suffrage Bill of the District of
Columbia, said, "Make it _intelligent_ suffrage, and I will not only
vote for that, but for _women_ also."

At the recent election of officers for the Philadelphia Mercantile
Library, the female stockholders were admitted to the ballot.

The "New-York Express" says:--

     "The exercise of the elective franchise for women was practically
     illustrated in the election of officers for the Mercantile Library,
     Philadelphia, on Tuesday. A poll was opened for the female
     stockholders, who, to the number of a hundred and fifty-six, cast
     their votes. Both sexes voted together; and the proceedings were
     conducted with the utmost propriety, there being no confusion or
     disorder, as is too often the case where men vote alone. The ladies
     walked up, and deposited their ballots with as much _sang froid_ as
     if they were accustomed to the privilege. As illustrating how the
     thing _might be done_, this voting at the library election should
     be noted."

Some doubts having been expressed as to the fact of women having voted
in New Jersey, first published by me, on information given by Thomas
Garratt, in my lectures upon Law, I append here a history of the
Constitution of New Jersey in that regard, which has been gathered by
Lucy Stone and Antoinette Blackwell, as well as an account of my own
recent interview with a member of the House of 1807, which finally
repealed the obnoxious clause.

During the recent important discussion in the Senate upon the
proposition to extend the ballot to the women of the District of
Columbia, New Jersey was alluded to as a precedent. The precedent being
disputed, the following statement was published in the "Newark Daily

     "In 1709 a provincial law confined the privilege of voting to 'male
     freeholders having one hundred acres of land in their own right, or
     fifty pounds current money of the province in real and personal
     estate;' and, during the whole of the colonial period, these
     qualifications continued unchanged.

     "But on the 2d of July, 1776 (two days before the Declaration of
     Independence), the Provincial Congress of New Jersey, at
     Burlington, adopted a Constitution, which remained in force until
     1844, of which sect. 4 is as follows: 'Qualifications of Electors
     for Members of Legislatures. _All inhabitants of this colony_, of
     full age, who are worth fifty pounds proclamation-money, clear
     estate in the same, and have resided within the county in which
     they claim a vote for twelve months immediately preceding the
     election, shall be entitled to vote for representatives in Council
     and Assembly, and also for all other public officers that shall be
     elected by the people of the county at large.'

     "Sect. 7 provides that the Council and Assembly jointly shall elect
     _some fit person within the colony_ to be Governor. This
     Constitution remained in force until 1844.

     "Thus, by a deliberate change of the terms 'male freeholder' to
     'all inhabitants,' suffrage and ability to hold the highest office
     in the State were conferred both on women and negroes.

     "In 1790, a committee of the Legislature reported a bill regulating
     elections, in which the words '_he or she_' are applied to voters;
     thus giving legislative indorsement to the alleged meaning of the

     "In 1797 the Legislature passed an act to regulate elections,
     containing the following provisions:--

     "Sect. 9. 'Every voter shall openly, and in full view, deliver _his
     or her ballot_, which shall be a single written ticket, containing
     the names of the person or persons for whom _he or she votes_,' &c.

     "Sect. 11. 'All free inhabitants of full age, who are worth fifty
     pounds proclamation-money, and have resided within the county in
     which they claim a vote for twelve months immediately preceding the
     election, shall be entitled to vote for all public officers which
     shall be elected by virtue of this act; and no person shall be
     entitled to vote in any other township or precinct than that in
     which he or she doth actually reside at the time of the election.'

     "Mr. William A. Whitehead, of Newark, in a paper upon this subject,
     read by him in 1858 before the New-Jersey Historical Society,
     states that, in this same year (1797), women voted, at an election
     in Elizabethtown, for members of the Legislature. 'The candidates
     between whom the greatest rivalry existed were John Condit and
     William Crane, the heads of what were known, a year or two later,
     as the "Federal Republican" and "Federal Aristocratic" parties, the
     former the candidate of Newark and the northern portions of the
     county, the latter that of Elizabethtown and the adjoining country,
     for Council. Under the impression that the candidates would poll
     nearly the same number of votes, the Elizabethtown leaders thought,
     that, by a bold _coup d'état_, they might secure the success of Mr.
     Crane. At a late hour of the day, and, as I have been informed,
     just before the close of the poll, a number of females were brought
     up, and, under the provisions of the existing laws, allowed to
     vote. But the manoeuvre was unsuccessful; the majority for Mr.
     Condit in the county being ninety-three, notwithstanding.'

     "The 'Newark Sentinel,' about the same time, states that 'no less
     than seventy-five women were polled at the late election in a
     neighboring borough.' In the presidential election of 1800, between
     Adams and Jefferson, 'females voted very generally throughout the
     State; and such continued to be the case until the passage of the
     act (1807) excluding them from the polls. At first, the law had
     been so construed as to admit single women only: but, as the
     practice extended, the construction of the privilege became
     broader, and was made to include females eighteen years old,
     married or single, and even _women of color_; at a contested
     election in Hunterdon County in 1802, the votes of two or three
     such actually electing a member of the Legislature.

     "That women voted at a very early period, we are informed by the
     venerable Mr. Cyrus Jones, of East Orange, who was born in 1770, and
     is now ninety-seven years old. He says that 'old maids, widows, and
     unmarried women very frequently voted, but married women very
     seldom;' that 'the right was recognized, and very little said or
     thought about it in any way.'

     "In the spring of 1807, a special election was held in Essex County,
     to decide upon the location of a court-house and jail; Newark and
     its vicinity struggling to retain the county buildings,
     Elizabethtown and its neighborhood striving to remove them to
     'Day's Hill.'

     "The question excited intense interest, as the value of every man's
     property was thought to be involved. Not only was every legal voter,
     man or woman, white or black, brought out; but, on both sides, gross
     frauds were practised. The property qualification was generally
     disregarded; aliens, and boys and girls not of full age,
     participated; and many of both sexes 'voted early, and voted often.'
     In Aquackanonk Township, thought to contain about three hundred
     legal voters, over eighteen hundred votes were polled, all but seven
     in the interest of Newark.

     "It does not appear that either _women or negroes_ were more
     especially implicated in these frauds than the white men. But the
     affair caused great scandal, and they seem to have been made the

     "When the Legislature assembled, they set aside the election as
     fraudulent; yet Newark retained the buildings. Then they passed an
     act (Nov. 15, 1807), restricting the suffrage to white male adult
     citizens twenty-one years of age, residents in the county for the
     twelve months preceding, and worth fifty pounds proclamation-money.
     But they went on, and provided that all such whose names appeared
     on the last duplicate of State or county taxes should be considered
     worth fifty pounds; thus virtually abolishing the property

     "In 1820, the same provisions were repeated, and maintained until
     1844, when the present State Constitution was substituted.

     "Thus it appears, that, from 1776 to 1807,--a period of thirty-one
     years,--the right of women and negroes to vote was _admitted and
     exercised_; then from 1807 to 1844--by an arbitrary act of the
     Legislature, which does not seem to have been ever contested--the
     constitutional right was _suspended_, and both women and negroes
     excluded from the polls for thirty-seven years more. The extension
     of suffrage, in the State Constitution of 1776, to 'all
     inhabitants' possessing the prescribed qualifications, was
     doubtless due to the Quaker influence, then strong in West Jersey,
     and then, as now, in favor of the equal rights of women.

     "Since 1844, under the present Constitution, suffrage is conferred
     upon 'every white male citizen of the United States, of the age of
     twenty-one years, who shall have been a resident of this State one
     year, and of the county in which he claims a vote five months next
     before the election,' excepting paupers, idiots, insane persons,
     and criminals.

     "This Constitution is subject to amendment by a majority of both
     Houses of two successive Legislatures, when such amendment is
     afterward ratified by the people at a special election.


In a recent visit to Perth Amboy, a friend directed my attention to a
figure in a broad-brimmed hat, very much like that which used to adorn
the cover of Poor Richard's Almanac. "That man is ninety-five years
old," said he. "He spent his youth in preventing the New-Jersey people
from running their slaves off South. A prospective emancipation act had
been passed, which made the young negroes a poor investment; but our
friend Parker, there, looked after them without any fee. We think he
looks like Benjamin Franklin." The next day, I took a drive with Mr.
Parker himself, and I found he possessed another claim on my interest.
The original Constitution of New Jersey, adopted in 1776, left women
free to vote, by leaving out the word "male." In 1790, when the
Constitution was revised, a Quaker member, "Friend Hooper," rose to say
that among his people the women were allowed their natural share of
influence. At his instance, the matter was made clearer by the insertion
of the words "he or she." In 1807, after an election contested with
singular virulence, these words were expunged, and the word "male"
inserted. I had never expected to see a member of the Legislature who
repealed this phrase; but Friend Parker was there, and helped do it. He
assured me that the women were not at that time anxious to retain the
privilege; but that, if they had been, the Legislature was so irate,
that the change would have taken place. Lads, both white and colored,
and under age, had dressed in women's clothes, to swell the ballot,
which was more than double what it should have been; the irritating
question being the possible removal of the county buildings.

A few days since, I cut from the paper the following paragraph:--

     "In the Kentucky House of Representatives, on Friday last, an
     address was received by the Speaker, from Mrs. ----, of New York,
     and read by the Clerk, asking the Legislature of the Southern
     States to grant suffrage to white women in the South, so as to give
     the Democratic party the advantage over the negro votes, if
     Congress passes a general negro-suffrage law. By following out this
     plan, Mrs. ---- thinks the South can govern the country, as in the
     days of Jefferson."

I suppress the name, which was printed in full, in this paragraph,
because it is the name of a woman I respect; and I earnestly hope the
whole charge is false. If women seek to advance their own cause by mean
and meretricious tricks,--such as those which have dishonored the policy
of men,--may God for ever disappoint their hope! I would rather be
defeated with the friends of liberty than crowned with its foes. It is
because I believe woman strong enough to withstand the low and loose and
degrading temptations of public life that I would lead her towards it.
If she cannot enter it as an inspiration, may she be for ever shut out!

Mrs. Stanton and Miss Anthony, assisted by Lucy Stone and Antoinette
Blackwell, have been busy in agitating all legal questions, and
especially the right of suffrage, ever since the formation of the
Equal-Rights Association, in New York, in May, 1866. Wherever there is
any prospect of a convention to change a State Constitution, it would
seem wise to agitate the matter; but here, in Massachusetts, almost
every thing has been done that should be to protect women, except to
give them the right of suffrage. That question we are too wise to
agitate, until the country recovers somewhat from the anxieties and
perplexities of the war. We have no desire to win from an unjust judge,
for our importunity's sake, a right which could never be useful, unless
it were accorded with the hearty sympathy of the best part of the
community. On March 16, 1867, a motion was made in the Massachusetts
House to instruct the Judiciary Committee to report an amendment to the
State Constitution, granting the right of suffrage to women. The yeas
and nays were taken, and the motion was lost: yeas 44, nays 97.

In New York, Illinois, and Michigan, the question is to be brought
before the Constitutional Convention. Wisconsin is our banner State,
both branches of her government having concurred, April 4, 1867, in a
resolution to submit it to the people. In New York, last year, Mrs.
Stanton proposed herself as a candidate for Congress, and received, I
think, thirty votes. It was so well understood that her election was
impossible, that her card excited neither ridicule nor discussion. No
one cared to turn aside from more pressing interests to consider it. It
was therefore a waste of strength. I saw, with pain, that some women
did not shrink from employing last year a politician's trick, and sent
to Democratic members of the Senate and House the petitions for the
right of suffrage for women, with which they knew them to possess no
sympathy. Had these petitions been sent to Republican members of either
House, they might have been overlooked in the press of graver anxieties.
Mischievously sent to men like Cowan, women must have known that the
petition would be produced, if it was only to annoy and perplex our
honest friends of the Republican party. In what would our influence upon
politics be better than that of men, if we resort to such measures?
During the past year, I drew up, and forwarded to the Hon. Charles
Sumner, a petition for the right of suffrage, and afterwards sustained
it by two or three letters. I think Mr. Sumner never brought it forward;
but I gladly defer to his judgment as to that. It was my duty to keep
the subject in mind, and see that we did not appear, even in the tumult
left by civil war, to lose sight of our claim. I am glad to offer public
thanks to the Hon. George Thompson, who, in the meeting of the
Equal-Rights Association, held in Philadelphia on Jan. 17, 1867,
defeated a resolution of thanks to Mr. Cowan, and condemnation to Mr.
Sumner, on precisely these grounds. "To thank men like Cowan, who did
not _desire_ to enfranchise woman any more than the negro, was to
stultify ourselves," he said. "To condemn Sumner, because he did not
think _this_ the time to push the claims of woman, was not honorable to
the long-tried friend of human progress."

Abroad, such things look better. The clean hands of John Stuart
Mill--which no noble woman need fear to touch--have presented to
Parliament the petition of fifteen hundred women for the right of
franchise. This petition is so moderate and sensible, that it deserves
to be preserved.

     "The humble petition of the undersigned showeth,--

     "That it having been expressly laid down by high authorities, that
     the possession of property, in this country, carries with it the
     right to vote in the election of representatives in Parliament, it
     is an evident anomaly, that some holders of property are allowed to
     use this right, while others, forming no less a constituent part of
     the nation, and equally qualified by law to hold property, are not
     able to exercise this privilege; that the participation of women in
     the government is consistent with the principles of the British
     Constitution, inasmuch as women in these islands have always been
     held capable of sovereignty, and women are eligible for various
     public offices.

     "Your petitioners, therefore, humbly pray your honorable House to
     consider the expediency of providing for the representation of all
     householders, without distinction of sex, who possess such property
     or rental qualification as your honorable House may determine. And
     your petitioners will ever pray.

     "Mrs. W.B. CARPENTER, 56, Regent's Park Road, London, N.W.
     C.M. CLARKSON, Hatfield Road, Wakefield.
     FRANCES POWER COBBE, 26, Hereford Square, London, S.W.
     ELIZABETH GARRETT, L.S.A., 20, Upper Berkeley Street, London, W.
     MARY ANN GASKELL, Plymouth Grove, Manchester.
     MATILDA M. HAYS, Great Malvern.
     MARY HOWITT, West Hill Lodge, Highgate, N.
     M.S. KINGLAKE, 50, Upper Brunswick Place, Brighton. ISA CRAIG
     KNOX, 14, Clyde Terrace, New Cross, S.E. S.J. LEWIN, Birkenhead.
     Wimbledon. HARRIET MARTINEAU, The Knoll, Ambleside. JANE MARTINEAU,
     21, Tariton Street, London, W.C. JANE MOXON, 1, Cundall's Yard,
     Leeds. MRS. ELIZABETH PEASE NICHOL, Huntly Lodge, Edinburgh. BESSIE
     R. PARKES, 15, Wimpole Street, London, W. ELIZABETH PROCTOR, Polam
     Hall, Darlington. C. STURCH, Cumberland Terrace, Regent's Park,
     London, N.W. MRS. THOMAS TAYLOR, Aston House, Oxfordshire. SARAH
     UNWIN, Hale Lodge, Edgeware, Middlesex. ANNA MARY HOWITT WATTS, 24,
     Grove Terrace, Highgate Road."

I append to the above petition a few of the fifteen hundred names, which
will serve to give it identity, and interest in this country. We miss,
among the names, many names of the beloved dead; and many would
doubtless be there that we know, could it be signed by any save

A very powerful influence was brought to sustain this petition in
Parliament; and among its advocates were James Martineau, Herbert
Spencer, Professor Huxley, and Goldwin Smith. Mr. Mill seems to have
presented a second petition, headed by Lady Goldschmid, and signed by
three thousand persons; and another was offered, at the same time, by
Mr. Russell Gurney. On April 11, 1867, the subject of female suffrage
was first discussed in the House of Commons without being greeted with a
laugh. A petition presented by Mr. Duncan Maclaren, from Edinburgh, was
signed by eight university professors, six doctors of law, eighteen
clergymen, eight barristers, ten physicians, ten officers, and two
thousand other persons. Two women are said to have been lately elected
parish overseers: Mrs. Slocomb for Brittadon, and Mrs. Craig for Bratton
Fleming. The step-daughter of John Stuart Mill, Miss Helen Taylor,
contributed to the January number of the "Westminster" an article which
worthily sustained the far more comprehensive statement of her mother in
1851. It would be difficult to imagine a paper, however, that would
appeal more forcibly to the English people. There is in England a
Woman-Suffrage Association, which proposes to circulate that article as
a tract. Mrs. P.A. Taylor and Frances Power Cobbe are among its most
active members. Mrs. Bodichon has recently brought out two pamphlets on
this subject. They contain one instance, which is not familiar, of the
inconvenience of withholding the franchise from English women. Owners of
estates seek to further their own interest through the voting power of
their tenantry, and frequently eject women from farms, to replace them
by men who have a freehold. On one Suffolk farm, seven women have been
ejected. Among the instances which Mrs. Bodichon adduces to show the
need of female votes are the neglect of female education; the refusal of
leases, or the ejection of old tenants; the want of proper public
spirit, which women might be expected to infuse into affairs; and the
condition of workhouses, and charitable appropriations in general. In
Austria, information furnished to one of Mrs. Bodichon's papers seems to
show that the women have the same electoral rights as men, only that in
a few cases they are compelled to vote by proxy. They vote as nobles, in
their corporate capacity as nuns, and as tax-payers or merchants; but I
need not say that there is much uncertainty in the Austrian
administration of such a law.

In connection with the name of Fredrika Bremer, I have mentioned the
great changes in Swedish law, mainly due to her influence. An indirect
right of suffrage was further granted to women in 1862; but in December,
1865, the Reform Bill gave the election of members of the Upper Chamber
to municipal and county bodies. In the election of these bodies, women
take part. They must be unmarried or widows, be twenty-five years old,
and have more than four hundred rixdollars per annum.

Article 15 of the Italian electoral law provides "that the taxation paid
by a widow, or by a wife separated from her husband, shall give a vote
to whichever of her children or near relatives she may select."

A curious petition has been lately presented to the Hungarian Diet. It
is signed by a number of widows and other women who are landed
proprietors, and asks for them the same equality of political rights
with the male inhabitants of the country, as they possessed in 1848.
These ladies represent that they have much more difficulty in bringing
up their children, and attending to the estates, than men; that they
have to bear the same State burdens; that they are not allowed to take
part in the communal elections; and that, although many of them possess
much more ground than the male electors, they have no political rights.

In 1848, these women were, for the first time, excluded from the


The real gain of a reform, starting from the heart of the family, must
necessarily be very slow. I remember, that some years ago, when I
printed my book on Labor, one of my kindest critics congratulated the
public, that, of my nine lectures, I had published only these. He
thought it was useless to contend for more book-learning for women, and
the subject of civil rights still disgusted his sensitive ear. The
common sense of the book on Labor ought to have shown him how I should
treat the subject of education. He could not understand how the woman
who gets an education which does not make her a "bread-winner," is
essentially defrauded, nor how a woman, well paid for her labor, is
essentially wronged, when she is denied the privilege of protecting it
by her vote. There is, however, a surely growing sense of this, shown in
the substantial advance of her civil rights.

1. In the early part of 1865, the people of Victoria, in Australia,
assembled to elect a member of Parliament, were surprised to find the
whole female population voting. Some quick-sighted woman had discovered
that the letter of the new law permitted it; and their votes were
accepted, and wisely given. The "London Times," in the month of May,
says, that, in a _country like Australia_, it can easily believe that
such an extension of the franchise will be a _marked improvement_, and
thinks that the precedent will stand!

2. The government of Moravia has also, within the past year, granted the
municipal franchise to widows who pay taxes.

3. In January, 1864, the Court of Queen's Bench in Dublin, Ireland,
restored to woman the _old right_ of voting for town commissioners. The
justice (Fitzgerald) desired to state that ladies were entitled to sit
as town commissioners as well as to vote for them; and the chief-justice
took pains to make it clear that there was nothing in either duty
repugnant to womanly habits.

4. The inhabitants of Ain (or Aisne), in France, lately chose nine women
into their municipal council.

5. At Bergères, the whole council consisted of women; and the mayor, not
being prepared for such good fortune, resigned his office.

6. Our cause has found able advocates in John Stuart Mill, the "New-York
Evening Post," and Theodore Tilton. If I were asked, whether, in
connection with this gain, we have lost any ground, I should reply that
we have decidedly lost it in connection with the daily press. I do not
know any newspaper, if I except the "Boston Commonwealth," which will
print a letter touching civil rights, from any woman, precisely as it is
written. I think what we need most is to purchase the right to a daily
use of half a column of the "New-York Tribune."


I have been accustomed to connect with reports of this kind some
honorable mention of distinguished women obscure or recently dead. I
cannot do this at any length, after a pause of so many years; but a few
names must be mentioned, a few facts recorded.

I had occasion, some years ago, to commemorate the services of Maria
Sybilla Merian, painter, engraver, linguist, and traveller, who
published, at Amsterdam, two volumes of engravings of insects and sixty
magnificent plates, illustrating the metamorphoses of the insects of
Surinam. I did not, at that time, know that some of her statements had
been held open to suspicion. In the first place, she asserted, that a
certain fly, the Fulgoria Lantanaria, emitted so much light, that she
could read her books by its aid; still further, that one of the large
spiders, called Mygale, entered the nests of the humming-bird in
Surinam, sucked its eggs, and snared the birds. To all the contention
which arose over these statements, Madame Merian could oppose only her
word. Men who knew that her statements in regard to Europe were
indisputable decided that her word could not be taken in Asia. A very
common folly; but two hundred years have passed, 1866 arrives, and her
justification with it. An English traveller, named Bates, has recently
rescued quite large finches from the Mygale, and poisoned himself with
its saliva, in preparing them for his cabinet.

I do not know how many years Madam Baring, the mother of the great
banker, has been dead. It is only recently that I have heard, that to
her prudence, activity, and business habits, the family attribute the
sure foundation of their fortunes. Matthew Baring came to Larkbeare,
near Exeter, from Bremen. His wife superintended, in his day, the long
rows of "burlers," or women who picked over the woollen cloth he made.
Her sons, John and Francis, sought a wider field for the fortune their
father left, but did not forget to erect a monument to their mother's

About a year since, Eliza W. Farnham laid down her weary head. I did not
know her, nor did I sympathize in her theories. They were sustained by
her imagination rather than her reason; by her impulses rather than any
practical judgment. No moral superiority can justly be conferred on
either sex of a being possessed of intellect and conscience. God has
conferred no such superiority; yet I gladly name Mrs. Farnham here as a
woman whose life--a bitter disappointment to herself--was useful to all
women, and whose books, published since her death, show a marvellous
mental range.

During the last year, Madame Charles Lemonnier died in Paris. She
devoted her life to the professional education of women. For six years
she found it so difficult to raise the necessary funds, that she had to
content herself with sending her pupils to institutions in Germany. In
1862 the Society for the Professional Instruction of Women was at last
constituted, and opened a school in the Rue de Perle. Two other schools
have since been opened,--one in the Rue de Val Sainte Catherine; the
other, in the Rue Roche. The morning is occupied in these schools with
general studies; the afternoon, with industrial drawing, wood-engraving,
the making-up of garments, linen, &c. She died after initiating a
thoroughly successful work.

In July, 1865, there died at Corfu a Dr. Barry, attached to the medical
staff of the British army. He was remarkable for skill, firmness,
decision, and great rapidity in difficult operations. He had entered the
army in 1813, and had served in all quarters of the globe, with such
distinction as to ensure promotion without interest. He was clever and
agreeable, but excessively plain, weak in stature, and with a squeaking
voice which provoked ridicule. He had an irritable temper, and answered
some jesting on the topic by calling out the offender, and shooting him
through the lungs. In 1840 he was made medical inspector, and
transferred from the Cape to Malta. He went from Malta to Corfu; and,
when the English Government ceded the Ionian Islands to Greece, resigned
his position in the army, and remained at Corfu. There he died last
summer, forbidding, with his latest breath, any interference with his
remains. The women who attended him regarded this request with the
shameless indifference now so common; and unable to believe, that an
officer, who had been forty-five years in the British service, had
received a diploma, fought a duel, and been celebrated as a brilliant
operator, was not only a woman, but at some period in her life a
_mother_; they called in a medical commission to establish these facts.
A sad, sad picture, which those of us who inquire into the fortunes of
women can readily understand.

Last November deprived us of Mrs. Gaskell and Fredrika Bremer, of whom a
fuller record will be found in the body of this work.

In Paris recently died Mrs. Severn Newton. She was the daughter of the
artist Severn, the friend of Keats, who is now British Consul at Rome.
About five years since, she married Charles Newton, Superintendent of
Greek Antiquities at the British Museum. She was a person in whom power
and delicacy were singularly blended. Ary Scheffer was accustomed to
hold up her work as a model for his pupils. Her renderings of classic
sculpture were so true that they were termed translations; and she had
recently devoted herself to oil painting with great success. She died of
brain fever at the early age of thirty-three, one of the most honored of
female English artists.

The common sense of society accepts the need of education for women. It
begs that they may be permitted to earn their bread; but let society
once grant the suffrage to woman, and she will take care of her own
interests. She will found colleges, distribute opportunities, and
protect vocations.

Education must, in time, earn independence for most women. Independence,
taxed and made a citizen of, will insist, in the course of years, upon
its suffrage; but whoso will help to reverse the process, and grant
suffrage, so that woman may herself indicate what education she wishes
to receive, and what labor she wishes to perform, will speed the process
by scores of years.

It was pleasant to see four hundred young women, of the highest health,
the best breeding, of good social standing, and abundant means,
blossoming like so many tulips, at Vassar,--we must add, also, of good
ability, and more than average education; for only good scholars could
pass the rigid examination required of those who enter. It was pleasant
to see, that between the ages of seventeen and twenty-two, when society
offers its greatest allurements, four hundred wealthy girls could be
found, ready to devote themselves in seclusion, and without even the
stimulus existing at Oberlin or Antioch, to higher things. And then, if
the want of public sympathy makes it a painful work to be always pushing
the interests of women, such teachers and officers as one finds at
Vassar compensate one for any amount of struggle. Miss Hannah Lyman, who
is now the principal; Miss Mitchell, the astronomer; Dr. Avery, the
resident physician; and Miss Powell, the professor of gymnastics,--it
is only necessary to name to Eastern ears: but, besides these women,
Vassar employs twenty others, in whom it would be hard to find a fault,
and some of whom, we were glad to see, had taken their degree at
Oberlin. Going westward to Antioch, it was pleasant to find other women
who had taken their degrees, and were now teaching Greek and Latin. One
of the graduates, employed as a teacher of mathematics, had won her own
education in the college by teaching one year,--sometimes in distant
district-schools,--and studying the next. At Oberlin, the picture was
still more inspiring: for Oberlin has, I suppose, more pupils than any
college in the land, if we except Michigan University; and one-half of
them are girls and women. The practical working of this college is
beautiful to see. It has been fortunate in the magnificent faith
communicated to it by Dr. Finney. Most of the women who were its early
students, and stamped its character, so that no scandal dared invade its
borders, are now the wives of its professors, and many of them are still
engaged in teaching. Mrs. Dascomb, who is the wife of the professor of
chemistry, has been with the college from the beginning: she is as fine
a person for her position, as lady-principal, as Miss Lyman; yet how
differently have the two been trained! Mrs. Dascomb, by isolation,
persecution, contact with the rudest elements in Western life, yet
keeping, through all, a noble faith in manhood and womanhood; Miss
Lyman, starting from the most distinguished social circle in
Northampton, holding a high place among what Dr. Holmes would call the
"Brahmins" of Montreal, and finally polished by a European tour, and
holding control with a power as imperceptible as it is firm. At
Milwaukee, beside Dr. Ross, to whose ten years of successful practice I
have alluded, I found another physician, in happy partnership with one
of the _brothers_ of the craft, a Dr. Glass. He has lately moved from
Minnesota to Wisconsin, where he has been several years in partnership
with Miss Fairchild, and testifies that he has never seen her superior
as a practical physician. Here, also, a young lady, of one of the best
families, has lately opened a hair-dresser's store. Dr. Ross gives her
sweet sympathy and cheer; but, as a proof that the world still needs
converting, she has had a good deal of that insolence to subdue which
pains just as much as if it were _worth_ minding. Any thing like the
number of female lecturers which I heard of in Illinois, I had never
imagined. The medical women are readily accepted in most places, even
without proper vouchers; and it is astonishing, how far common sense
contrives to supply the place of education. But the want of vouchers is
a serious evil, which must soon be met. In Chicago I heard wonderful
stories of the business capacity of certain women. One lady, very well
known on Michigan Avenue, brought one hundred thousand dollars' worth of
Chicago City bonds to Boston and New York, and safely sold them for her
husband. A farmer's wife, from the centre of the State, came up, while I
was there, to speculate in corn. She said her husband had lost money
several years in succession, and now _she_ was going to try. By her
first speculation, she made five thousand dollars; and this she put into
competent hands, for re-investment. It gained her twenty thousand
dollars. The Chicago merchants thought that she would go on speculating
until she lost it all; but I do not. I think our Pleasant-street
Hospital has proved that women are more cautious than men, and are
willing to bear a good deal of obloquy rather than permit rash ventures
to be made.

In the country, everywhere, I heard charming anecdotes of the vigor and
self-sacrifice women showed in the early settlement of the States.

It happened one spring, that, when the ice broke up on the Fox River, a
terrible storm of wind and sleet and rain came with it. Not a man in the
State, however great the emergency, would have thought that he could
cross. In this state of things, a woman was taken in childbirth, some
two or three miles from the ferry. Just as the ferry-woman was going to
bed, in the "outer darkness" of that terrible storm, she heard her name
shouted from the opposite bank. She listened, and a grievous story was
shouted across. She went to the stable and saddled her mare, and, all
alone, forded the stream: the floating ice, heaped into walls, struck
the sides of the faithful beast, and tore the woman's skirt to tatters.
Now and then a flash of lightning showed her what progress she had made.
At last, she struggled to the bank, and gave the needful help. Nobody
ever asked how she got back. On the grass about Elgin, a whole ship's
load died of cholera, nearly forty years ago. All the neighborhood stood
back in dread; but I saw one aged woman, who closed the eyes of nine,
and received the foreign blessing, which she felt, although she could
not understand. In Quincy, I found two ladies just establishing a high
school for girls, whom I have previously mentioned as having pushed
through the endowment, for women, of the State University at Lawrence,
and having opened a class in modelling in clay, under Professor Volkers.
At the Cooper Institute I found more women at work than ever before, and
to better advantage. A large class had just been formed to color
photographs on glass, porcelain, and paper. Under such circumstances, we
need not be disheartened because an ignorant woman, in a man's costume,
has found the way to attract some attention in Europe and some contempt
from Tom Hughes. Neither need it dismay us that the "Boston Advertiser"
thinks the Equal-Rights meetings, in New York, have not been largely
attended. There are those who want the suffrage, who do not care to
encourage women to offer themselves for Congress before public opinion
can accept them, and who are sufficiently disgusted by what looks like a
mannish coalition with Democrats, to keep away from public meetings.

Meanwhile, the women of Parma clamor for the right to vote for Victor
Emanuel. A freedwoman, Charlotte Scott, proposes a monument, on behalf
of her emancipated race, to President Lincoln; and the noble
inspiration of Harriet Hosmer carries out the thought.

But the very things we turn from force the necessary issues on the
world. Wise action would never have brought the recent debate in
Congress; nor prudent measures have secured thirty votes for Mrs.
Stanton, and nine senatorial ballots for female suffrage. Once agitated
in these quarters, the matter draws nearer to a final test.

    "Ride on! the prize is near."


  [47] These have been supplied since my return to Boston.

  [48] The application is declined, as we go to press, on the ground
  that no provision has been made at Cambridge for women.

  [49] I believe I am indebted for some of these items to Miss Howitt's
  book, but I have not yet seen it.

  [50] This word distinguishes a peculiar Unitarian Church, something
  like the Methodist.

  [51] I wish to say in advance, that while the statistics in "The
  College" and "The Market" are based on a gold value, and are wholly
  reliable, I place no reliance on those furnished in this Appendix. The
  varying price of gold, and of the cost of provision and clothing, at
  the time the tables are made, are nowhere given, and are important
  elements in a sound calculation.


    My Song, I do believe that there are few
    Who will thy reasoning rightly understand,
    To them so hard and dark is thy discourse.
    Hence, peradventure, if it come to pass
    That thou shouldst find thyself with persons who
    Appear unskilled to comprehend thee well,
    I pray thee, then, my young and well-beloved,
    Be not discomforted; but say to them,
    "Take note, at least, how _beautiful_ I am!"

    DANTE, _from the_ "_Banquet._"

    Art thou not beautiful, my new-born Song?
    Then thou art piteous, and shalt go thy way.

    _Rime Apocrife_, G.G.

    |                                                                 |
    |                    Transcriber's notes:                         |
    |                                                                 |
    |                                                                 |
    | P.139. 'not vegetables' changed to 'nor vegetables'.            |
    | P.142. 'before a a Liverpool', removed extra 'a'.               |
    | P.151. 'househeepers' changed to 'housekeepers'.                |
    | P.175. trade 'of' her changed to 'off'.                         |
    | P.307. within 'tha' time changed to 'that'.                     |
    | P.364. 'gods' changed to 'goods'.                               |
    | P.497. 'neigborhood' changed to 'neighborhood'.                 |
    | Fixed various punctuation.                                      |
    | Some inconsistent hypens are found in this text and left as in  |
    |    the original.                                                |
    | Emphasis Notation: _Italic_ and =Bold=;                         |
    |                                                                 |

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