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Title: Woman, Church & State - The Original Exposé of Male Against the Female Sex
Author: Gage, Matilda Joslyn
Language: English
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    & STATE+

    Original Exposé
    of Male
    the Female Sex

    by Matilda Joslyn Gage

Original publication date 1893


    Preface                                                             5

    _Chapter One_—+The Matriarchate+

    Tendency of Christianity from the first to restrict woman’s
    liberty. Woman had great freedom under the old civilizations.
    The Matriarchate; its traces among many nations; it preceded
    the Patriarchate. The Iroquois or Six Nations under
    reminiscences of the Matriarchate. Government of the United
    States borrowed from the Six Nations. To the Matriarchate or
    Mother-rule, is the world indebted for its first conception
    of “inherent rights,” and a government established on this
    basis. Malabar under the Matriarchate when discovered by the
    Portuguese. The most ancient Aryans under the Matriarchate.
    Ancient Egypt a reminiscence of the Matriarchal period.
    Authority of the wife among the most polished nations of
    antiquity. As Vestal Virgin in Rome, woman’s authority great
    both in civil and religious affairs. Monogamy the rule of the
    Matriarchate. Polygamy, infanticide and prostitution the rule
    of the Patriarchate.                                                7

    _Chapter Two_—+Celibacy+

    Original sin. Woman not regarded as a human being by the
    church. Marriage looked upon as vile. Celibacy of the clergy;
    their degrading sensuality. A double Code of Morals. Celibacy
    confirmed as a dogma of the church. Many notable consequences
    followed. Wives sold as slaves. Women driven to suicide.
    Influence of the church unfavorable to virtue. Women of wealth
    drawn into monastic life. The church in Mexico. President
    Diaz. Protestant Orders.                                           24

    _Chapter Three_—+Canon Law+

    The church makes the legitimacy of marriage depend upon its
    control of the ceremony. Change from ancient civilization
    to renewed barbarism at an early age of the Christian era,
    noted by historians, but its cause unperceived. The clergy
    a distinct body from the laity; their rights not the same.
    A holy sex and an unholy one. Rapid growth of Canon law in
    England. Alteration in the laws through the separation of
    Ecclesiastical courts from the Civil, recognized by Blackstone
    as among the remarkable legal events of Great Britain.
    Learning prohibited to women. The oath of seven persons
    required to convict a priest. Husbands prohibited by Canon law
    from leaving more than one-third of their property to wives;
    might leave them less. Daughters could be disinherited; sons
    could not be. The Reformation effected no change. Governments
    catering to Pope Leo XIII, at time of his Jubilee; the
    President of the United States sends a gift.                       50

    _Chapter Four_—+Marquette+

    Feudalism; its degradation of woman. _Jus primae noctis._
    Rights of the Lords Spiritual. Peasants decide not to marry.
    Immorality of the heads of the Greek and the Protestant
    churches. Breton Ballad of the Fourteenth Century. St.
    Margaret of Scotland. Pall Mall Gazette’s disclosures. Foreign
    traffic in young English girls. West End. Eton. Prostitution
    chiefly supported by “Heads of Families.” Northwestern
    Pineries. Governmental crime-makers. Rapid increase of child
    criminals. The White Cross society. Baptism of nude women in
    the early Christian Church.                                        66

    _Chapter Five_—+Witchcraft+

    The possession of a pet of any kind dangerous to woman. Black
    cats and witches. The fact of a woman’s possessing knowledge,
    brought her under suspicion of the church. The three most
    distinguishing features of witchcraft. Opposition of the
    church to the growth of human will. Persecution for witchcraft
    a continuance of church policy for obtaining universal
    dominion over mankind. The Sabbat. The Black Mass. Women
    physicians and surgeons of the middle ages; they discover
    anaesthetics. Their learning; their persecution by the church.
    The most eminent legal minds incapable of forming correct
    judgment. Three notable points in regard to witchcraft.
    Persecution introduced into America by the “Pilgrim Fathers.”
    First Synod in America convened to try a woman for heresy.
    Whipping half nude women for their religious opinions. Famine
    caused by persecution of women.                                    94

    _Chapter Six_—+Wives+

    “Usus.” Disruption of the Roman Empire unfavorable to
    the personal and proprietary rights of woman. Sale of
    daughters practiced in England seven hundred years after
    the introduction of Christianity. The Mundium. The practice
    of buying wives with cattle or money regulated by law. Evil
    fame of Christendom. “The Worthier of Blood.” Murder of a
    husband termed petit treason; punished by burning alive.
    Mrs. Sanio decapitated in Finland, 1892, for crime of petit
    treason. Husbands control wives’ religion. The “Lucy Walker
    case;” Judge Dodge decides a husband has a property interest
    in a wife. Davenport’s Rules for his wife. Assaulting wives
    protected by law. The Ducking Stool; its use in England;
    brought to America by the “Pilgrim Fathers.” Salic law.
    Gavelkind. Women not permitted to read the Bible. “Masterless
    women.” Women not admitted as a surety or witness. The Code
    Napoleon. Morganatic marriage. Ibsen’s “Ghosts.” Strindberg’s
    “Giftas.” Ancient Slavs. Russia under Greek Christianity.
    The Domstroii Marriage forms. Burying wives alive. “Darkest
    England.” Advertising wives. An English clergyman offers £100
    reward for the capture and return of his wife. Civil marriage
    is opposed by the church. Action of the Chilian Republic.         129

    _Chapter Seven_—+Polygamy+

    Polygamy sustained by the Christian Church and the Christian
    State. The first Synod of the Reformation convened to sanction
    polygamy. Favoring views of Luther and the other “principal
    reformers.” Favoring action of the American Board of Foreign
    Missions. Favoring action of a Missionary Conference in India.
    Mormons compared to the Puritans. Mormon theocracy similar to
    that of other Christian sects.                                    175

    _Chapter Eight_—+Woman and Work+

    God’s “curse” upon Adam. Opposition of the church to
    amelioration of woman’s suffering as an interference with her
    “curse.” Man’s escape from his own “curse.” The sufferings
    of helpless infants and children because of woman’s labor.
    Innutrition and the hard labor of expectant mothers the
    two great factors in physical degeneration and infantile
    mortality. Woman’s work in Europe and the United States. Woman
    degraded under Christian civilization to labors unfit for
    slaves.                                                           191

    _Chapter Nine_—+The Church of Today+

    Sin killed by sin. Woman’s inferiority taught from the pulpit
    today. A Pastoral letter. The See trial. Modern sermons on
    women. Lenten lectures of Rev. Morgan A. Dix. The Methodist
    General Conference of 1880, reject Miss Oliver’s petition
    for ordination on the plea that woman already has all the
    rights that are good for her. Resolves itself into a political
    convention. The General Conference of 1888, rejects women
    delegates. The Catholic Plenary Council of 1884. Mazzini’s
    prophecy. The opposition of the church to woman’s education
    has killed off the inhabitants of the world with greater
    rapidity than war, famine or pestilence. The present forms of
    religion and governments essentially masculine.                   208

    _Chapter Ten_—+Past, Present, Future+

    The most important struggle in the history of the church. Not
    self-sacrifice, but self-development woman’s first duty in
    life. The protective spirit; its injury to woman. Christianity
    of little value to civilization. Looking backward through
    history; looking forward.                                         237

    +Notes+                                                           249

    +Index+                                                           289

[Illustration: Matilda Joslyn Gage, 1880]


    Original Exposé
    of Male
    the Female Sex

    by Matilda Joslyn Gage

    Copyright 1893

    By Matilda Joslyn Gage

This Book is _Inscribed_ to the Memory of my Mother, who was at once
mother, sister, friend:

_Dedicated_ to all Christian women and men, of whatever creed or name
who, bound by Church or State, have not dared to Think for Themselves:

_Addressed_ to all Persons, who, breaking away from custom and the
usage of ages, dare seek Truth for the sake of Truth. To all such it
will be welcome; to all others aggressive and educational.


This work explains itself and is given to the world because it is
needed. Tired of the obtuseness of Church and State; indignant at
the injustice of both towards woman; at the wrongs inflicted upon
one-half of humanity by the other half in the name of religion; finding
appeal and argument alike met by the assertion that God designed the
subjection of woman, and yet that her position had been higher under
Christianity than ever before: Continually hearing these statements,
and knowing them to be false, I refuted them in a slight _resumé_
the subject at the annual convention of the National Woman Suffrage
Association, Washington, D.C., 1878.

A wish to see that speech in print, having been expressed, it was
allowed to appear in _The National Citizen_, a woman suffrage paper I
then edited, and shortly afterwards in “The History of Woman Suffrage,”
of which I was also an editor. The kindly reception given both in
the United States and Europe to that meager chapter of forty pages
confirmed my purpose of a fuller presentation of the subject in book
form, and it now appears, the result of twenty years investigation, in
a volume of over five hundred and fifty pages.

Read it; examine for yourselves; accept or reject from the proof
offered, but do not allow the Church or the State to govern your
thought or dictate your judgment.

_Chapter One_

+The Matriarchate+

Woman is told that her present position in society is entirely due to
Christianity; that it is superior to that of her sex at any prior age
of the world, Church and State both maintaining that she has ever been
inferior and dependent, man superior and ruler. These assertions are
made the basis of opposition to her demands for exact equality with
man in all the relations of life, although they are not true either
of the family, the church, or the state. Such assertions are due to
non-acquaintance with the existing phase of historical knowledge, whose
records the majority of mankind have neither time nor opportunity of

Christianity tended somewhat from its foundation to restrict the
liberty woman enjoyed under the old civilizations. Knowing that
the position of every human being keeps pace with the religion and
civilization of his country, and that in many ancient nations woman
possessed a much greater degree of respect and power than she has at
the present age, this subject will be presented from a historical
standpoint. If in so doing it helps to show man’s unwarranted
usurpation over woman’s religious and civil rights, and the very great
difference between true religion and theology, this book will not have
been written in vain, as it will prove that the most grievous wrong
ever inflicted upon woman has been in the Christian teaching that
she was not created equal with man, and the consequent denial of her
rightful place in Church and State.

The last half century has shown great advance in historical knowledge;
libraries and manuscripts long inaccessible have been opened to
scholars, and the spirit of investigation has made known many secrets
of the past, brought many hidden things to light. Buried cities have
been explored and forced to reveal their secrets; lost modes of writing
have been deciphered, and olden myths placed upon historic foundations.
India is opening her stores of ancient literature; Egypt, so wise and
so famous, of which it was anciently said: “If it does not find a man
mad it leaves him mad,” has revealed her secrets; hieroglyph-inscribed
temples, obelisks and tombs have been interpreted; papyri buried
4,000 and more years in the folds of bandage-enveloped mummies have
given their secrets to the world. The brick libraries of Assyria have
been unearthed, and the lost civilization of Babylonia and Chaldea
imparted to mankind. The strange Zunis have found an interpreter; the
ancient Aztec language its Champollion, and the mysteries of even our
western continent are becoming unveiled. Darkest Africa has opened to
the light; the colossal images of Easter Island hint at their origin;
while the new science of philology unfolds to us the history of peoples
so completely lost that no other monument of their past remains. We
are now informed as to the condition of early peoples, their laws,
customs, habits, religion, comprising order and rank in the state, the
rules of descent, name, property, the circumstances of family life,
the position of mother, father, children, their temples and priestly
orders; all these have been investigated and a new historic basis has
been discovered. Never has research been so thorough or long-lost
knowledge so fully given to the world.

These records prove that woman had acquired great liberty under the
old civilizations. A form of society existed at an early age known
as the Matriarchate or Mother-rule. Under the Matriarchate, except
as son and inferior, man was not recognized in either of these great
institutions, family, state or church. A father and husband as such,
had no place either in the social, political or religious scheme;
woman was ruler in each. The primal priest on earth, she was also
supreme as goddess in heaven. The earliest semblance of the family
is traceable to the relationship of mother and child alone. Here the
primal idea of the family had birth.[1] The child bore its mother’s
name, tracing its descent from her; her authority over it was regarded
as in accord with nature; the father having no part in the family
remained a wanderer. Long years elapsed before man, as husband and
father, was held in esteem. The son, as child of his mother, ranked
the father, the mother taking precedence over both the father and
the son.[2] Blood relationship through a common mother preceded that
of descent through the father in the development of society.[3] This
priority of the mother touched not alone the family, but controlled
the state and indicated the form of religion. Thus we see that during
the Matriarchate, woman ruled; she was first in the family, the state,
religion, the most ancient records showing that man’s subjection to
woman preceded by long ages that of woman to man. The tribe was united
through the mother; social, political and religious life were all in
harmony with the idea of woman as the first and highest power. The
earliest phase of life being dependent upon her, she was recognized as
the primal factor in every relation,[4] man holding no place but that
of dependent.

Every part of the world today gives evidence of the system;
reminiscences of the Matriarchate everywhere abound. Livingstone found
African tribes swearing by the mother and tracing descent through her.
Marco Polo discovered similar customs in his Asiatic voyages, and
the same customs are extant among the Indians of our own continent.
Bachofen[5] and numerous investigators[6] agree in the statement that
in the earliest forms of society, the family, government, and religion,
were all under woman’s control; that in fact society started under
woman’s absolute authority and power.

The second step in family life took place when the father, dropping
his own name, took that of his child. This old and wide-spread custom
is still extant in many portions of the globe; the primitive peoples
of Java, Australia and Madagascar are among those still continuing its
practice.[7] By this step the father allied himself to both mother
and child, although still holding an inferior position to both. The
Matriarchal family was now fully established, descent still running
in the female line. Thus, as has been expressed, we find that woman’s
liberty did not begin today nor under modern religions or forms or
government, but that she was in reality the founder of civilization,
and that in the most remote times woman enjoyed superiority of rights
in all the institutions of life.[8] And yet so difficult is it to
break away from educated thought, so slight a hold have historical
facts upon the mind when contrary to preconceived ideas, that we
find people still expressing the opinion that man’s place has always
been first in government. Even under those forms of society where
woman was undisputed head of the family, its very existence due to
her, descent entirely in the female line, we still hear assertion that
his must have been the controlling political power. But at that early
period to which we trace the formation of the family, it was also the
political unit. And when peoples became aggregated into communities,
when tribal relations were ultimately recognized, woman still held
superior position, and was the controlling power in government, and
never was justice more perfect, never civilization higher than under
the Matriarchate. Historians agree as to the high civilization even
today of those nations or tribes still preserving traces of Matriarchal
customs. Even under its most degenerate form, the family, governmental
and religious rights of women are more fully recognized than under any
phase of Christian civilization. In all the oldest religions, equally
with the Semitic cults, the feminine was recognized as a component and
superior part of divinity, goddesses holding the supreme place. Even
at much later periods woman shared equally with man in the highest
priestly offices, and was deified after death. In Egypt, Neith the
Victorious, was worshiped as mother of the gods, and in the yearly
festival held in her honor, every family took part for the time holding
a priestly office. To neglect this duty was deemed an omission of great
irreverence.[9] The most ancient occultism recognized the creative
power as feminine and preceding both gods and men.

Under the Matriarchate, monogamy was the rule; neither polyandry or
promiscuity existed.[10]

For long years after the decline of the Matriarchate we still discover
that among many of the most refined nations, woman still possessed
much of the power that belonged exclusively to her during that early
period. Ancient Egypt, recognized as the wisest nation since the direct
historic period, traced descent even to the throne in the female
line. To this reminiscence of the Matriarchate are we indebted for
the story of Moses and his preservation by an Egyptian princess in
direct contravention of the Pharaoh’s orders, as told by the Bible and
Josephus. She not alone preserved the child’s life but carried him to
the king as her son given to her by the bounty of the river and heir
to his throne. As showing woman’s power in that kingdom, the story
is worthy of being farther traced. Josephus says that to please his
daughter, the king took the child in his arms, placing his crown on
the baby head, but the chief priest at that moment entering the room,
in a spirit of prophecy cried aloud, “Oh King; this is the child of
whom I foretold danger; kill him and save the nation,” at the same time
striving to take the babe from the king. But the princess caught him
away, thus setting both kingly and priestly power at defiance, taking
this step by virtue of her greater authority, protecting him until he
reached manhood and causing him to be educated in all the wisdom of
the Egyptians, in a college under her own control. Nor in the supreme
hour of the nation’s peril, when the king, too old to lead his armies
to battle, demanded Moses as heir to the throne in his place, would she
give him up until she had exacted an oath from her father, the potent
Pharaoh, that he meant the youth no harm.

The famous Iroquois Indians, or Six Nations, which at the discovery of
America held sway from the great lakes to the Tombigbee river, from the
Hudson to the Ohio, and of whom it has been said that another century
would have found them master of all tribes to the Gulf of Mexico on
the south, and the Mississippi on the west, showed alike in form of
government, and in social life, reminiscences of the Matriarchate.
The line of descent, feminine, was especially notable in all tribal
relations such as the election of Chiefs, and the Council of Matrons,
to which all disputed questions were referred for final adjudication.
No sale of lands was valid without consent of the squaws and among the
State Archives at Albany, New York, treaties are preserved signed by
the “Sachems and Principal Women of the Six Nations.”[11] The women
also possessed the veto power on questions of war. Sir William Johnston
mentions an instance of Mohawk squaws forbidding the war-path to young
braves. The family relation among the Iroquois demonstrated woman’s
superiority in power. When an Indian husband brought the products of
the chase to the wigwam, his control over it ceased. In the home, the
wife was absolute; the sale of the skins was regulated by her, the
price was paid to her. If for any cause the Iroquois husband and wife
separated, the wife took with her all the property she had brought
into the wigwam; the children also accompanied the mother, whose right
to them was recognized as supreme. So fully to this day is descent
reckoned through the mother, that blue-eyed, fair-haired children of
white fathers are numbered in the tribe and receive both from state
and nation their portion of the yearly dole paid to Indian tribes. The
veriest pagan among the Iroquois, the renowned and important Keeper
of the Wampum, and present sole interpreter of the Belts which give
the most ancient and secret history of this confederation, is Ephraim
Webster, descended from a white man, who, a hundred or more years
since, became affiliated through marriage with an Indian woman, as a
member of the principal nation of the Iroquois, the Onondagas. As of
yore, so now, the greater and lesser Council Houses of the Iroquois are
upon the “mountain” of the Onondaga reservation a few miles from the
city of Syracuse, New York. Not alone the Iroquois but most Indians of
North America trace descent in the female line; among some tribes woman
enjoys almost the whole legislative authority and in others a prominent
share.[12] Lafitte and other Jesuit missionary writers are corroborated
in this statement by Schoolcraft, Catlin, Clark, Hubert Bancroft of the
Pacific coast, and many students of Indian life and customs. But the
most notable fact connected with woman’s participation in governmental
affairs among the Iroquois is the statement of Hon. George Bancroft
that the form of government of the United States, was borrowed from
that of the Six Nations.[13] Thus to the Matriarchate or Mother-rule
is the modern world indebted for its first conception of inherent
rights, natural equality of condition, and the establishment of a
civilized government upon this basis. Although the reputation of the
Iroquois as warriors appears most prominent in history, we nevertheless
find their real principles to have been the true Matriarchal one
of peace and industry. Driven from the northern portion of America
by vindictive foes, compelled to take up arms in self-protection,
yet the more peaceful occupations of hunting and agriculture were
continually followed. Their history was preserved by means of wampum,
while under their women the science of government reached the highest
form known to the world. Among the Zunis of New Mexico, woman still
preserves supreme religious and political authority; the Paramount
Council consisting of six priests under control of a supreme priestess
who is the most important functionary of the tribe.[14] This form of
government is traceable to their earliest civilization at which period
their cities were grouped in sevens, six of them constructed upon a
uniform plan; the supreme seventh containing six temples clustered
about a supreme central seventh temple. While male priests ruled over
the six primal cities the central and superior seventh was presided
over by a priestess who not alone officiated at the central temple, but
to whom the male priests of the six cities and six inferior temples
were subservient. The ancient Lycians, the Sclavs, the Basques of
Spain,[15] the Veddas of Ceylon,[16] the inhabitants of Malabar, the
aborigines of widely separated lands, all show convincing proof of
woman’s early superiority in religion, in the state, and in the family.
Monogamy was a marked feature of the Matriarchate. Bachofen, who has
written voluminously upon the Matriarchate, recognizes it as peculiarly
characteristic of woman’s government. He also says the people who
possessed the Mother-rule together with Gynaikokraty (girls’ rule)
excelled in their love of peace and justice. Under the Matriarchal
family and tribal system even long after its partial supersedence by
the incoming Patriarchate, the marriage relation was less oppressive to
woman than it has been under most centuries of christian civilization.
Daughters were free in their choice of husbands, no form of a force or
sale existing.[17]

One of the most brilliant modern examples of the Matriarchate was
found in Malabar at the time of its discovery by the Portuguese in
the XV century. The Nairs were found to possess a fine civilization,
entirely under the control of women, at a period when woman’s position
in England and on the Continent of Europe, was that of a household and
political slave. Of Malabar it has been said, that when the Portuguese
became acquainted with the country and the people, they were not so
much surprised by the opulence of their cities, the splendor of all
their habits of living, the great perfection of their navy, the high
state of the arts, as they were to find all this under the entire
control and government of women. The difference in civilization between
christian Europe and pagan Malabar at the time of its discovery was
indeed great. While Europe with its new art of printing, was struggling
against the church for permission to use type, its institutions of
learning few, its opportunities for education meagre; its terrible
inquisition crushing free thought and sending thousands each year to
a most painful death, the uncleanliness of its cities and the country
such as to bring frequent visits of the plague; its armies and its
navies with but one exception, imperfect; its women forbidden the right
of inheritance, religious, political, or household authority;—the
feminine principle entirely eliminated from the divinity—a purely
masculine God the universal object of worship, all was directly the
opposite in Malabar. Cleanliness, peace, the arts, a just form of
government, the recognition of the feminine both in humanity and in the
divinity were found in Malabar. To the question of a Danish missionary
concerning their opinion of a Supreme Being, this beautiful answer was

    The Supreme Being has a Form and yet has no Form; he can be
    likened to nothing; we cannot define him and say that he is
    this or that; he is neither Man or Woman; neither Heaven
    or Earth, and yet he is all; subject to no corruption, no
    mortality and with neither sleep nor rest, he is Almighty and
    Omnipotent without Beginning and without End.[18]

Under the Missionaries sent by England to introduce her own barbaric
ideas of God and man, this beautiful Matriarchal civilization of
Malabar soon retrograded and was lost.

The ancient Mound Builders of America, of whom history is silent and
science profoundly ignorant, are proven by means of symbolism to
have been under Matriarchal rule, and Motherhood religion. Anciently
motherhood was represented by a sphere or circle. The circle, like the
mundane egg, which is but an elongated circle, contains everything in
itself and is the true microcosm. It is eternity, it is feminine, the
creative force, representing spirit. Through its union with matter in
the form of the nine digits it is likewise capable of representing
all natural things.[19] The perfect circle of Giotto was an emblem of
divine motherhood in its completeness. It is a remarkable fact—its
significance not recognized,—that the roughly sketched diameter within
the circle, found wherever boys congregate, is an ancient mystic
sign[20] signifying the male and female, or the double-sexed deity. It
is the union of all numbers, the one within the zero mark comprising
ten, and as part of the ancient mysteries signifying God, the creative
power, and eternal life; it was an emblem of The All.

In many old religions, the generative principle was regarded as
the mother of both gods and men. In the Christian religion we find
tendency to a similar recognition in Catholic worship of the Virgin
Mary. The most ancient Aryans were under the Matriarchate, the
feminine recognized as the creative power. The word _ma_ from which
all descendants of those peoples derive their names for mother, was
synonymous with _Creator_. Renouf, the great antiquarian authority
upon the Aryan’s,[21] gives the songs and ceremonies of the wedding.
In these, the woman is represented as having descended to man from
association with divine beings in whose custody and care she has been,
and who give her up with reluctance. In Sanscrit mythology,[22] the
feminine is represented by Swrya, the Sun, the source of life, while
the masculine is described as Soma, a body. Soma, a beverage of the
gods especially sacred to Indra, was the price paid by him for the
assistance of Vayu, the swiftest of the gods, in his battle against the
demon Vritra. A curious line of thought is suggested. The marriage of
the man to the woman was symbolized as his union with the gods. Soma, a
drink devoted to Indra, the highest god, signified his use of a body,
or the union of spirit and body. In the same manner, woman representing
spirit, by her marriage to man became united with a body. As during
the present dark age, the body has been regarded more highly than the
spirit, we find a non-recognition of the woman, although the union of
spirit and body is symbolized in the Christian church by the sacrament
of bread and wine. During the purest period of Aryan history marriage
was entirely optional with woman and when entered into, frequently
meant no more than spiritual companionship. Woman equally with man was
entitled to the Brahminical thread; she also possessed the right to
study and preach the Vedas, which was in itself a proof of her high
position in this race. The Vedas, believed to be the oldest literature
extant, were for many ages taught orally requiring years of close
application upon part of both teacher and student.

The word _Veda_ signifies “to-know”; the latter from _Vidya_ meaning
“wise.” The English term widow is traceable to both forms of the word,
meaning a wise woman—one who knows man. Many ages passed before the
Vedas were committed to writing.[23] At that early day the ancestral
worship of women—departed mothers—was as frequent as that of departed
fathers, women conducting such services which took place three times a
day. In the old Aryan Scriptures the right of woman to hold property,
and to her children, was much more fully recognized than under the
Christian codes of today. Many of the olden rights of women are still
extant in India. The learned Keshub Chunder Sen vigorously protested
against the introduction of English law into India, upon the ground
that it would destroy the ancient rights of the women of that country.
It was primal Indian law that upon the death of the husband the wife
should heir all his property. Marriage was regarded as an eternal
union, the two, by this act, having so fully become one, that upon the
husband’s death, one half of his body was still living. The property
and the children were held as equally belonging to the husband or the

Colebrook’s _Digest of Hindoo Law_, compiled from the writings of the
Bengal Pundit Jergunnat, ’Na Tercapanchama, from those of Vasist ha,
Catayana, and other Indian authorities says:

    In the Veda, in Codes of Law, in sacred ordinances, the wife
    is held as one person with the husband; both are considered
    one. When the wife is not dead, half the body remains; how
    shall another take the property when half the body of the
    owner lives? After the death of the husband the widow shall
    take his wealth; this is primeval law.

    Though a woman be dependent, the alienation of female
    property, or of the mother’s right over her son by the gift of
    a husband alone[24] is not valid in law or reason;

    The female property of wives like the property of a stranger,
    may not be given, for there is want of ownership.

    Neither the husband, nor the son, nor the father, nor the
    brother, have power to use or alien the legal property of a

    We hold it proper that the wife’s co-operation shall be
    required in civil contracts and in religious acts under the

    A gift to a wife is irrevocable.

The collection of East Indian laws made under authority of the
celebrated Warren Hastings, 1776, is of similar character. The kinds of
property a wife can hold separate from her husband at her own disposal
by will, are specified.

During long centuries while under Christian law the Christian wife
was not allowed even the control of property her own at the time of
marriage, or of that which might afterwards be given her, and her
right of the disposition of property at the time of her death was
not recognized in Christian lands, the Hindoo wife under immemorial
custom could receive property by gift alike from her parents, or from
strangers, or acquire it by her own industry, and property thus gained
was at her own disposal in case of her death. Another remarkable
feature of Indian law contrasting with that of Christian lands was
preference of woman over man in heirship. In case of a daughter’s
death, the mother heired in preference to father, son, or even husband.

    That is called a woman’s property; First. Whatever she owns
    during the Agamini Shadee, i. e. Days of Marriage;...

    Whatever she may receive from any person as she is going to
    her husband’s home or coming from thence.

    Whatever her husband may at any time have given her; whatever
    she has received at any time from a brother; and whatever her
    father and mother may have given her.

    Whatever her husband on contracting a second marriage may give
    her to pacify her.

    Whatever a person may have given a woman for food or clothing.

    Whatever jewelry or wearing apparel she may have received from
    any person; also whatever a woman may receive from any person
    as an acknowledgment or payment for any work performed by her.
    Whatever she may by accident have found anywhere.

    Whatever she may gain by painting, spinning, needle-work or
    any employment of this kind.

    Except from one of the family of her father, one of the family
    of her mother, or one of the family of her husband, whatever
    she may receive from any other person. Also if the father or
    mother of a girl give anything to their son-in-law, saying
    at the same time: “This shall go to our daughter,” and even
    without any words to this purpose at the time of making the
    gift, if they merely have it in their intention that the thing
    thus given should revert to their daughter, all and every one
    of these articles are called a woman’s property.

Her right of final disposal by will is also specified. Her effects
acquired during marriage go to her daughters in preference to her sons,
and possessing no daughters, to her mother.

    When a woman dies, then whatever effects she acquired during
    the Agamini Shadee, even though she hath a son living, shall
    go first to her unmarried daughter; if there is but one
    unmarried daughter she shall obtain the whole; if there are
    several unmarried daughters, they all shall have equal share.

    Property under the three forms of marriage, if no unmarried
    daughters and others mentioned here, goes to her mother
    before to her father; and if neither, to her husband, and if
    no husband to husband’s younger brother, or several younger
    brothers, (if several).

The specification of gifts of intention is remarkable in securing
property to the wife that was seemingly given by the parents to the
husband alone. An equally remarkable fact is the father’s heirship in
preference to the husband’s, and the heirship of the daughters and
mother in preference to any male relative however near, and is in
striking contrast to Christian law in reference to woman’s property. If
a husband neglect to provide his wife necessary food and clothing, the
East Indian wife is allowed to procure them by any means in her power.
Maine has not failed to recognize the superior authority of the eastern
wife in relation to property over that of the Christian wife. He says:

    “The settled property of a married woman incapable of
    alienation by her husband, is well known to the Hindoos under
    the name of Stridham.”

    It is certainly a remarkable fact that the institution seems
    to have developed among the Hindoos at a period relatively
    much earlier than among the Romans. The _Mitakshara_, one of
    the oldest and most revered authorities of the Hindoo judicial
    treatises, defines Stridham, or woman’s property, as that
    which is given to the wife by the father, the mother, or a
    brother at the time of the wedding, before the nuptial fire.

But adds Maine:

    The compiler of Mitakshara adds a proportion not found
    elsewhere; also property which she may have acquired by
    inheritance, purchase, partition, seizure or finding, is
    denominated woman’s property.... If all this be Stridham, it
    follows that the ancient Hindoo law secured to married women
    an even greater degree of proprietary independence than that
    given to them by the modern English Married Woman’s Property

Property is common to the husband and the wife. The ample support of
those who are entitled to maintenance is rewarded with bliss in heaven;
but hell is the portion of that man whose family is afflicted with pain
by his neglect. Therefore the Hindoo husband is taught to maintain his
family with the utmost care. Maxims from the sacred books show the
regard in which the Hindoo woman is held:

    “He who despises woman despises his mother.”

    “Who is cursed by woman is cursed by God.”

    “The tears of a woman call down the fire of heaven on those
    who make them flow.”

    “Evil to him who laughs at woman’s sufferings; God shall laugh
    at his prayers.”

    “It was at the prayer of a woman that the Creator pardoned
    man; cursed be he who forgets it.”

    “Who shall forget the sufferings of his mother at his birth
    shall be reborn in the body of an owl during three successive

    “There is no crime more odious than to persecute woman.”

    “When women are honored the divinities are content; but when
    they are not honored all undertakings fail.”

    “The households cursed by women to whom they have not rendered
    the homage due them, find themselves weighed down with ruin
    and destroyed as if they had been struck by some secret power.”

    “We will not admit the people of today are incapable of
    comprehending woman, who alone can regenerate them.”

The marriage ceremony is of the slightest kind and under three forms:

    1. Of mutual consent by the interchange of necklaces or
    strings of flowers in some secret place.

    2. A woman says, “I am become your wife,” and the man says, “I
    acknowledge it.”

    3. When the parents of a girl on her marriage day say to the
    bridegroom: “Whatever act of religion you perform, perform it
    with our daughter,” and the bridegroom assents to this speech.

The comparatively modern custom of suttee originated with the priests,
whose avaricious desires created this system in order thereby to secure
the property of the widow. The Vedas do not countenance either suttee
or the widow’s relinquishment of her property, the law specifically
declaring, “If a widow should give all her property and estate to the
Brahmins for religious purposes, the gift indeed is valid, but the act
is improper and the woman blamable.” An ancient scripture declares that
“All the wisdom of the Vedas, and all that has been written in books,
is to be found concealed in the heart of a woman.” It is a Hindoo maxim
that one mother is worth a thousand fathers, because the mother carries
and nourishes the infant from her own body, therefore the mother is
most reverenced. A Hindoo proverb declares that “Who leaves his family
naked and unfed may taste honey at first, but shall afterwards find it
poison.” Another says, “A wife is a friend in the house of the good.”

Ancient Egypt worshiped two classes of gods; one purely spiritual and
eternal, the other secondary but best beloved, were believed to have
been human beings who from the services they had rendered to humanity
were upon death admitted to the assembly of the gods. Such deification
common in ancient times, is still customary in some parts of the earth.
Within the past few years a countryman of our own was thus apotheosized
by the Chinese to whom he had rendered valuable service at the time of
the Tae-ping rebellion.[25] Ancient Egyptians recognized a masculine
and feminine principle entering in all things both material and
spiritual. Isis, the best beloved and most worshiped of the secondary
gods, was believed by them to have been a woman who at an early period
of Egyptian history had rendered that people invaluable service. She
was acknowledged as their earliest law-maker, through whose teaching
the people had risen from barbarism to civilization. She taught them
the art of making bread[26] from the cereals theretofore growing wild
and unused, the inhabitants at an early day living upon roots and
herbs. Egypt soon became the grain growing portion of the globe, her
enormous crops of wheat not alone aiding herself, but rendering the
long stability of the Roman Empire possible. The science of medicine
was believed to have originated with Isis; she was also said to have
invented the art of embalming, established their literature, founded
their religion. The whole Egyptian civilization was ascribed to the
woman-goddess, Isis, whose name primarily Ish-Ish, signified Light,
Life.[27] Isis, and Nepthys—the Lady of the House—were worshiped as
the Beginning and the End. They were the Alpha and Omega of the most
ancient Egyptian religion. The statues of Isis bore this inscription:

    I am all that has been, all that shall be, and none among
    mortals has hitherto taken off my veil.

Isis was believed to contain germs within herself for the reproduction
of all living things. The most universal of her 10,000 names was,
“Potent Mother Goddess.”[28] This Egyptian regard for Isis is an
extremely curious and interesting reminiscence of the Matriarchal
period. Her worship was universal throughout Egypt. Her temples were
magnificent. Her priests, consecrated to purity, were required to
bathe daily, to wear linen garments unmixed with animal fibre, to
abstain from animal food, and also from those vegetables regarded as
impure.[29] Two magnificent festivals were yearly celebrated in her
honor, the whole people taking part. During one of these festivals her
priests bore a golden ship in the procession. The ship, or ark,[30]
is peculiarly significative of the feminine principle, and wherever
found is a reminiscence of the Matriarchate. The most sacred mysteries
of the Egyptian religion, whose secrets even Pythagoras could not
penetrate, to which Herodotus alluded with awe, and that were unknown
to any person except the highest order of priests, owed their
institution to Isis, and were based upon moral responsibility and a
belief in a future life. The immortality of the soul was the underlying
principle of the Egyptian religion.

Isis seems to have been one of those extraordinary individuals, such
as occasionally in the history of the world have created a literature,
founded a religion, established a nationality. She was a person of
superior mentality, with power to diffuse intelligence.

Moses, “learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians,” borrowed much
from Isis. The forms and ceremonies used in her worship were largely
copied by him, yet lacked the great moral element—immortal life—so
conspicuously taught as a part of Egyptian religion. The Sacred Songs
of Isis were an important part of the literature of Egypt. Plato, who
burned his own poems after reading Homer, declared them worthy of the
divinity, believing them to be literally 10,000 years old.[31] All
orders of the priesthood were open to women in Egypt; sacred colleges
existed for them, within whose walls dwelt an order of priestesses
known as “God’s Hand,” “God’s Star.” Its ranks were recruited from
women of the principal families, whose only employment was the service
of the gods. “Daughter of the Deity,” signified a priestess.

Women performed the most holy offices of religion, carrying the Sacred
Sistrum and offering sacrifices of milk, both ceremonies of great
dignity and importance, being regarded as the most sacred service
of the divinity. Such sacrificial rites were confined to queens and
princesses of the royal household. Ames-Nofri-Ari, a queen who received
great honor from Egyptians, spoken of as the “goddess-wife of Amun,”
the supreme god of Thebes, for whose worship the wonderful temple of
Karnak was founded by a Pharaoh of the XII dynasty, is depicted on the
monuments as the Chief High Priest—the Sem, whose specific duty was
offering sacrifices and pouring out libations in that temple. By virtue
of her high office she preceded her husband, the powerful and renowned
Rameses II. The high offices of the church were as habitually held by
women as by men; Princess Neferhotep, of the fifth dynasty, was both
a priestess and a prophetess of the goddesses Hathor and Neith, the
representatives of celestial space, in which things were both created
and preserved.

A priestess and priest in time of the XIII Pharaoh represented on a
slab of limestone, in possession of the Ashmolean Library of Oxford,
England, is believed to be the oldest monument of its kind in the
world, dating to 3,500, B.C.

Queen Hatasu, the light of the brilliant XVIII dynasty, is depicted
upon the monuments as preceding in acts of worship the great Thotmes
III, her brother, whom she had associated with herself upon the throne,
but who did not acquire supreme power until after her death.[32] The
reign of Hatasu was pre-eminent as the great architectural period of
Egypt, the engraving upon monuments during her reign closely resembling
the finest Greek intaglio. Egypt, so famous for her gardens and her art
of forcing blossoms out of season, was indebted to this great queen for
the first acclimatizing of plants. Upon one of her voyages she brought
with her in baskets filled with earth several of those Balsam trees
from Arabia, which were numbered among the precious gifts of the Queen
of Sheba to King Solomon. The red granite obelisks erected by Hatasu
before the gates of Karnak, the most magnificent and loftiest ever
erected in Egypt, were ninety-seven feet in height and surmounted by a
pyramid of gold.

As early as the XI Pharaoh, II dynasty, the royal succession became
fixed in the female line. A princess was endowed with privileges
superior to a prince, her brother, her children reigning by royal
prerogative even when her husband was a commoner; the children of
a prince of the Pharaonic house making such marriage were declared

From the highest to the most humble priestly office, women officiated
in Egypt. A class of sacred women were doorkeepers of temples, another
order known as “Sacred Scribes” were paid great deference. The Pellices
or Pellucidae of Amun were a remarkable body of priestesses whose
burial place has but recently been discovered. They were especially
devoted to the services of Amun-Ra, the Theban Jove. Egypt was indebted
to priestesses for some of its most important literature. To Penthelia,
a priestess of Phtha[33] the God of Fire, in Memphis, Bryant ascribes
the authorship of the Iliad and the Odyssey, Homer[34] in his travels
through that country, by aid of a suborned priest, having stolen these
poems from the archives of the temples of Phtha where they had been
deposited for safe keeping.

The priestly class of prophetesses was large in Egypt, their
predictions not infrequently changing the course of that country’s
history. To his daughter, the prophet-priestess Athryte, was the great
Rameses II indebted for the prophecy which led him into his conquering
and victorious career. Known as one of the four great conquerors of
antiquity,[35] reigning sixty years, he greatly added to the wealth and
renown of Egypt.

The class of priestesses called Sibyls were early known in Egypt,
India, and other portions of the ancient world. They were regarded
as the most holy order of the priesthood and held to be in direct
communion with the gods, who through them revealed secrets to the lower
order of priests; the word Sibyl originating from Syros, i. e. God. The
learned Beale defines Sibyl as thought, therefore a woman in possession
of God’s thought. The names of ten renowned Sibyls have come down to
our day. The Sibyline Books for many years governed the destinies of
Rome. Oracles were rendered from the lips of a priestess known as the
Pythia; the famous Delphian Shrine for ages ruling the course of kings
and nations.

Upon the monuments of Egypt, those indisputable historic records,
queens alone are found wearing the triple crown, significant of
ecclesiastical, judicial and civil power, thus confirming the statement
of Diodorus that queens were shown greater respect and possessed
more power than kings: the pope alone in modern times claiming the
emblematic triple crown. A comparison between the men and women of the
common people of this country, shows no less favorably for the latter.
Women were traders, buying and selling in the markets while the men
engaged in the more laborious work of weaving at home. Woman’s medical
and hygienic knowledge is proven by the small number of infantile
deaths.[36] At the marriage ceremony the husband promised obedience to
the wife in all things, took her name, and his property passed into her
control; according to Wilkinson great harmony existed in the marriage
relation, the husband and wife sitting upon the same double chair in
life and resting at death in the same tomb.

Montesquieu says:

    It must be admitted although it shocks our present customs,
    that among the most polished peoples, wives have always had
    authority over their husbands. The Egyptians established it by
    law in honor of Isis, and the Babylonians did the same in time
    of Semiramis. It has been said of the Romans that they ruled
    all nations but obeyed their wives.

Crimes against women were rare in Egypt and when occurring were most
severely punished.[37] Rameses III caused this inscription to be
engraved upon his monuments:

    To unprotected woman there is freedom to wander through the
    whole country wheresoever she list without apprehending

A woman was one of the founders of the ancient Parsee religion, which
taught the existence of but a single god, thus introducing monotheism
into that rare old kingdom. Until the introduction of Christianity
woman largely preserved the liberty belonging to her in the old
civilizations. Of her position under Roman law before this period Maine
(Gaius) says:

    The jurisconsults had evidently at this time assumed the
    equality of the sexes as a principle of the law of equity.
    The situation of the Roman woman whether married or single
    became one of great personal and proprietary independence; but
    Christianity tended somewhat from the commencement to narrow
    this remarkable liberty. The prevailing state of religious
    sentiment may explain why modern jurisprudence has adopted
    these rules concerning the position of women which belong to
    an imperfect civilization. No society which preserves any
    tincture of Christian institutions is likely to restore to
    married women the personal liberty conferred on them by middle
    Roman law. Canon law has deeply injured civilization.

Rome not only secured remarkable personal and proprietary rights to
woman, but as Vestal Virgin, she held the highest priestly office. No
shrine equalled that of the Vestals in sanctity; none was so honored
by the state. To their care the sacred Fire was entrusted, and also
the Palladium; those unknown articles upon whose preservation not
alone the welfare but the very existence of Rome was held to depend.
The most important secrets of state were entrusted to them and their
influence in civil affairs was scarcely secondary to their religious
authority. In troubled times, in civil wars, in extreme emergencies
of the commonwealth they acted as ambassadors, or were chosen umpires
to restore peace between the parties. In state ceremonies, in the
most solemn, civil or religious meetings they performed important
duties. They were superior to the common law or the authority of the
consul. The most important secrets were entrusted to them, wills of
the emperors and documents of state confided to their care; offenses
against them were punished with death. If meeting a criminal on his way
to execution, he was pardoned as a direct intervention of heaven in
his behalf. Among their important privileges was exemption from public
taxes, the right to make a will, internment within the city walls, the
right to drive in the city where no other carriage was allowed; even
the consuls were obliged to make room for them to pass. Chosen from
noble families when between the ages of six and ten, their terms of
service was thirty years.

The order of Vestal Virgins flourished eleven hundred years, having
been founded seven hundred years before the Christian era and
continuing four hundred years afterwards. But those women all young,
all between the ages of six years and forty, so closely guarded the
secrets of the Penetralia that to this day they still remain as
unknown as when in their charge. The order was destroyed in the fourth
century, but the ruins of their temple recently discovered prove that
when obliged to flee from the sacred enclosure they first demolished
the most holy portion where the secrets of Rome were hidden.[38]
Recent important archaeological discoveries at the Atrium Vertae in
the Forum, corroborate history in regard to the high position and
extraordinary privileges of the Vestals. Several statues have been
found representing the sacred maiden with the historic fillet about her
head and the cord beneath her breast. Medallions worn upon the breast
of their horses have also been unearthed. The wealth of the order was
extremely great, both its public and private property being exempt from
that conscription which in times of war reached all but a few favored

The names by which Imperial Rome was known were all feminine; Roma,
Flora, Valentia; nearly its first and greatest goddess was Vesta.[39]

Sacred and secret were originally synonymous terms. All learning was
sacred, consequently secret, and as only those possessed of learning
were eligible to the priestly office it is readily seen that knowledge
was a common heritage of primitive women. Letters, numbers, astrology,
geography and all branches of science were secrets known only to
initiates. The origin of the most celebrated mysteries, the Eleusinian,
and those of Isis, were attributed to woman, the most perfect temple of
ancient or modern times, the Parthenon, or Temple of the Virgins, was
dedicated to the goddess Minerva.

Chryseis was priestess of Juno in Argo. This office was of great civil
as well as religious importance regulating their dates and chronology.
To the present day in China woman assists at the altar in ancestral
worship, the prevailing form of religious adoration. The mother of a
family is treated with the greatest respect[40] and the combined male
and female principle is represented in god under the name Fou-Fou,
that is, Father-Mother.[41] When the Emperor acting as high priest
performs certain rites he is called Father-Mother of the people. Woman
is endowed with the same political powers as man.[42] The wife presides
like her husband at family councils, trials, etc. As Regent, she
governs the Empire with wisdom, dignity, power, as was shown during the
co-regency of the Empresses of the East and of the West, their power
continuing even after the promotion of a boy-heir to the throne.

A Thibetan woman empire extant between the VI and VII centuries A.D.
is spoken of by Chinese writers. An English author, Cooper, seems
to have visited this region, meeting with an amusing venture while

Under the law of the Twelve Tables, founded A.U.C. 300, woman
possessed the right of repudiation in marriage. The code itself was
ascribed to a woman of that primitive Athens founded and governed by
women long years previous to the date of modern Athens. The change in
woman’s condition for the worse under Christianity is very remarkable
and everywhere it is noticed. Among the Finns, before their conversion,
the mother of a family took precedence of the father in the rites of
domestic worship. Under the Angles, a wound inflicted upon a virgin was
punished with double the penalty of the same injury inflicted upon a
man, remarkable as showing the high esteem and reverence in which women
were held. Before the introduction of Christianity, the Germans bound
themselves to chastity in the marriage relation; under Catholicism the
wife is required to promise the devotion of her body to the marital
rite. German women served as priestesses of Hertha, and during the
time of Rome’s greatest power, Wala or Valleda,—this title being
significative of a supremely wise woman, a prophetess,—was virtual
ruler of the Germanic forces; Druses when about invading Germany was
repelled by her simple command to “Go Back.” But under Christianity
the German woman no longer takes part in public affairs, education is
denied, the most severe and degrading labor of field, streets and mine
falls upon her, while in the family she is serf to father, brother,

The women of ancient Scandinavia were treated with infinite respect;
breach of marriage promise was classed with perjury; its penalty was
outlawry. Marriage was regarded as sacred and in many instances the
husband was obliged to submit to the wife.[44] Those old Berserkers
reverenced their Alruna, or Holy Women, on earth and worshiped
goddesses in heaven, where, according to Scandinavian belief, gods and
goddesses sat together in a hall without distinction of sex.

The whole ancient world recognized a female priesthood, some
peoples, like the Roman, making national safety dependent upon their
ministration; others as in Egypt, according them pre-eminence in the
priestly office, reverencing goddesses as superior to gods; still
others as the Scandinavians, making no distinction in equality between
gods and goddesses; others governing the nation’s course through
oracles which fell from feminine lips, still others looking to the
Sibylline Books for like decision.[45] Those historians anxious to
give most credit to the humanizing effect of Christianity upon woman
are compelled to admit her superiority among pagan nations before the
advent of this religion.[46]

The Patriarchate under which Biblical history and Judaism commenced,
was a rule of men whose lives and religion were based upon passions
of the grossest kind, showing but few indications of softness or
refinement. Monogamous family life did not exist, but a polygamy whose
primal object was the formation of a clan possessing hereditary chiefs
ruling aristocratically. To this end the dominion of man over woman
and the birth of many children was requisite. To this end polygamy
was instituted, becoming as marked a feature of the Patriarchate as
monogamy was of the Matriarchate. Not until the Patriarchate were
wives regarded as property, the sale of daughters as a legitimate
means of family income, or their destruction at birth looked upon as
a justifiable act. Under the Patriarchate, society became morally
revolutionized, the family, the state, the form of religion entirely
changed. The theory of a male supreme God in the interests of force and
authority, wars, family discord, the sacrifice of children to appease
the wrath of an offended (male) deity are all due to the Patriarchate.
These were practices entirely out of consonance with woman’s thought
and life. Biblical Abraham binding Isaac for sacrifice to Jehovah,
carefully kept his intentions from the mother Sarah. Jephtha offering
up his daughter in accordance with his vow, allowing her a month’s life
for the bewailment of her virginity, are but typical of the low regard
of woman under the Patriarchate. During this period the destruction of
girl children became a widely extended practice, and infantile girl
murder the custom of many nations. During the Matriarchate all life
was regarded as holy; even the sacrifice of animals was unknown.[47]
The most ancient and purest religions taught sacrifice of the animal
passions as the great necessity in self-purification. But the
Patriarchate subverted this sublime teaching, materializing spiritual
truths, and substituting the sacrifice of animals, whose blood was
declared a sweet smelling savor to the Lord of Hosts.

Both infanticide and prostitution with all their attendant horrors
are traceable with polygamy,—their origin—to the Patriarchate or
Father-rule, under which Judaism and Christianity rose as forms of
religious belief. Under the Patriarchate woman has ever been regarded
as a slave to be disposed of as father, husband or brother chose.
Even in the most Christian lands, daughters have been esteemed
valuable only in proportion to the political or pecuniary advantage
they brought to the father, in the legal prostitution of an enforced
marriage. The sacrifice of woman to man’s baser passions has ever been
the distinguishing characteristic of the Patriarchate. But woman’s
degradation is not the normal condition of humanity, neither did it
arise from a settled principle of evolution, but is a retrogression,
due to the grossly material state of the world for centuries past, in
which it has lost the interior meaning or spiritual significance of its
own most holy words.

Jehovah signifies not alone the masculine and the feminine principles
but also the spirit or vivifying intelligence. It is a compound word
indicative of the three divine principles.[48] Holy Ghost, although
in Hebrew a noun of either gender, masculine, feminine, neuter,
is invariably rendered masculine by Christian translators of the
Bible.[49] In the Greek, from whence we obtain the New Testament,
spirit is of the feminine gender, although invariably translated
masculine. The double-sexed word, Jehovah, too sacred to be spoken by
the Jews, signified the masculine-feminine God.[50] The proof of the
double meaning of Jehovah, the masculine and feminine signification,
Father-Mother, is undeniable. Lanci, one of the great orientalists,

    Jehovah should be read from left to right, and pronounced
    Ho-Hi; that is to say He-She (Hi pronounced He,) Ho in Hebrew
    being the masculine pronoun and Hi the feminine. Ho-Hi
    therefore denotes the male and female principles, the vis

Kingsford says:

    The arbitrary and harsh aspect under which Jehovah is chiefly
    presented in the Hebrew Scriptures is due not to any lack of
    the feminine element either in His name or in His nature, or
    to any failure on the part of the inspired leaders of Israel
    to recognize their equality, but to the rudimentary condition
    of the people at large, and their consequent amenability
    to the delineation of the stern side only of the Divine

The Hebrew word _El Shaddai_, translated, “The Almighty” is still more
distinctively feminine than _Iah_, as it means “The Breasted God,” and
is made use of in the Old Testament whenever the especially feminine
characteristics of God are meant to be indicated.[53]

The story of the building of the tower of Babel and the subsequent
confusion of language possesses deep interior significance; the word
(Babel) meaning “God the Father” as distinct and separate from the
feminine principle. The confusion which has come upon humanity because
of this separation has been far more lamentable in its results than
a mere confounding of tongues.[54] In the earliest religions the
recognition of the feminine principle in the divinity is everywhere
found. “I am the Father and Mother of the Universe” said Krishna in the
Bhagavad Gita.

An Orphic hymn says: “Zeus is the first and the last, the head and the
extremities; from him have proceeded all things.” He is a man and an
immortal nymph i.e. the male and female element. The Sohar declares
“the ancient of the ancient has a form and has no form.”

The Holy Spirit, symbolized by a dove, is a distinctively feminine
principle—the Comforter—and yet has ever been treated by the Christian
Church as masculine, alike in dogmas propounded from the pulpit, and
in translations of the Scriptures. A few notable exceptions however
appear at an early date. Origen expressly referred to the Holy Ghost as
feminine, saying: “The soul is maiden to her mistress the Holy Ghost.”
An article upon the “Esoteric character of the Gospels” in Madam
Blavatsky’s _Lucifer_ (November 1887) says:

    Spirit or the Holy Ghost was feminine with the Jews as most
    ancient peoples and it was so with the early Christians;
    Sophia of the Gnostics and the third Sephiroth, Binah (the
    female Jehovah of the Cabalists,) are feminine principles
    “Divine Spirit” or Ruach, “One is She the spirit of the Elohim
    of Life,” is said in Sepher Yetzirah.[55]

An early canonical book of the New Testament known as “The Everlasting
Gospel” also as “The Gospel of the Holy Ghost” represents Jesus as
saying, “My mother the Holy Ghost, took me by the hair of my head up
into a mountain.”

The word _sacred_ simply meaning secret, having its origin as shown at
the time when knowledge was kept hidden from the bulk of mankind, only
to be acquired by initiation in the mysteries, so also the word _holy_
simply means whole, that is, undivided. In its ignorance, unwisdom,
and fear of investigation, mankind has allowed a division of the two
divine principles, male and female, to obtain firm hold in their
minds. Prejudice, which simply means prejudgment, a judgment without
proof, has long ruled mankind, owing chiefly to that bondage of the
will inflicted by a tyrannous self-seeking priesthood. But we have now
reached a period in history when investigation is again taking the
place of blind belief and the truth, capable of making man free, is
once more offered. It is through a recognition of the divine element of
motherhood as not alone inhering in the great primal source of life but
as extending throughout all creation, that it will become possible for
the world, so buried in darkness, folly and superstition, to practice
justice toward woman. Not legislation but education will bring about
the change; not external acts but internal thought. It is but a few
years since the acknowledgment of a feminine element even in plants was
regarded by the church as heretical. Yet though still perceiving but
partial truth, science now declares the feminine principle to inhere
in plants, rocks, gems, and even in the minutest atoms; thus in some
degree recognizing the occult axiom “As it is above, so it is below.”

_Chapter Two_


While the inferior and secondary position of woman early became an
integral portion of Christianity, its fullest efforts are seen in
Church teachings regarding marriage. Inasmuch as it was a cardinal
doctrine that the fall of Adam took place through his temptation
into marriage by Eve, this relation was regarded with holy horror as
a continuance of the evil which first brought sin into the world,
depriving man of his immortality.[1] It is a notable fact that the
expected millennium of a thousand years upon earth with its material
joys has ever had more attraction for Christians than the eternal
spiritual rapture of heaven. Many of the old Fathers taught that “the
world is a state of matrimony, but paradise of virginity.”[2] To such
extent was this doctrine carried it was declared that had it not have
been for the fall, God would have found some way outside of this
relation for populating the world, consequently marriage was regarded
as a condition of peculiar temptation and trial; celibacy as one of
especial holiness.

The androgynous theory of primal man found many supporters, the
separation into two beings having been brought about by sensual desire.
Jacob Boehme and earlier mystics of that class recognized the double
sexuality of God in whose image man was made. One of the most revered
ancient Scriptures, “The Gospel according to the Hebrews,” which was
in use as late as the second century of the Christian era, taught the
equality of the feminine in the Godhead; also that daughters should
inherit with sons. Thirty-three fragments of this Gospel have recently
been discovered. The fact remains undeniable that at the advent of
Christ, a recognition of the feminine element in the divinity had not
entirely died out from general belief, the earliest and lost books
of the New Testament teaching this doctrine, the whole confirmed by
the account of the birth and baptism of Jesus, the Holy Spirit,[3]
the feminine creative force, playing the most important part. It
was however but a short period before the church through Canons
and Decrees, as well as apostolic and private teaching, denied the
femininity of the Divine equally with the divinity of the feminine.
There is however abundant proof that even under but partial recognition
of the feminine principle as entering in the divinity, woman was
officially recognized in the early services of the church, being
ordained to the ministry, officiating as deacons, administering the
act of baptism, dispensing the sacrament, interpreting doctrines and
founding sects which received their names.[4]

The more mystical among priests taught that before woman was separated
from man, the Elementals[5] were accepted by man as his children
and endowed by him with immortality, but at the separation of the
androgynous body into the two beings Adam and Eve, the woman through
accident was also endowed with immortality which theretofore had
solely inhered in the masculine portion of the double-sexed being.
These mystics also taught that this endowment of woman with immortality
together with her capability of bringing new beings into existence also
endowed with immortal life, was the cause of intense enmity toward
her on the part of the Elementals, especially shown by their bringing
suffering and danger upon her at this period.

Still another class recognizing marriage as a necessity for the
continuance of the species, looked upon it with more favor, attributing
the fall to another cause, yet throwing odium upon the relation by
maintaining that the marriage of Adam and Eve did not take place until
after they had been driven from Paradise. This doctrine was taught by
the Father Hieronymus.[6] Thus with strange inconsistency the church
supported two entirely opposing views of marriage. Yet even those who
upheld its necessity still taught woman’s complete subordination to man
in that relation; also that this condition was one of great tribulation
to man, it was even declared that God caused sleep to fall upon Adam
at the creation of Eve in order to prevent his opposition.[7] Lecky
speaking of the noxious influences of ascetics upon marriage, says it
would be difficult to conceive anything more coarse and repulsive than
the manner in which the church regarded it; it was invariably treated
as a consequence of the fall of Adam and regarded from its lowest
aspect.[8] But having determined that evil was necessary in order to
future good, the church decided to compel a belief that its control of
this contract lessened the evil, to this end declaring marriage illegal
without priestly sanction; thus creating a conviction of and belief
in its sacramental nature in the minds of the people. Despite the
favoring views of a class regarding marriage, celibacy was taught as
the highest condition for both man and woman, and as early as the third
century many of the latter entered upon a celibate life, Jerome using
his influence in its favor. Augustine, while admitting the possibility
of salvation to the married, yet speaking of a mother and daughter in
heaven, compared the former to a star of the second magnitude, but the
latter as shining with great brilliancy. The superior respect paid to
the celibates even among women is attributed to direct instruction of
the apostles. The “Apostolic Constitutions” held even by the Episcopal
church as regulations established by the apostles themselves, and
believed to be among the earliest christian records, give elaborate
directions for the places of all who attend church, the unmarried being
the most honored. The virgins and widows and elder women stood or sat
first of all.

The chief respect shown by the early fathers towards marriage was that
it gave virgins to the church, while the possibility of salvation to
the married, at first recognized, was denied at later date even to
persons otherwise living holy lives. The Emperor Jovinian banished
a man who asserted the possibility of salvation to married persons
provided they obeyed all the ordinances of the church and lived good
lives.[9] As part of this doctrine, the church taught that woman
was under an especial curse and man a divinely appointed agent for
the enforcement of that curse. It inculcated the belief that all
restrictions placed upon her were but parts of her just punishment for
having caused the fall of man. Under such teaching a belief in the
supreme virtue of celibacy—first declared by the apostle Paul,—was
firmly established. To Augustine is the world indebted for full
development of the theory of original sin, promulgated by Paul as a
doctrine of the Christian Church in the declaration that Adam, first
created, was not first in sin. Paul, brought up in the strictest
external principles of Judaism, did not lose his educational bias or
primal belief when changing from Judaism to Christianity.[10] Neither
was his character as persecutor changed when he united his fortunes
with the new religion. He gave to the Christian world a lever long
enough to reach down through eighteen centuries, all that time moving
it in opposition to a belief in woman’s created and religious equality
with man, to her right of private judgment and to her personal freedom.
His teaching that Adam, first created, was not first in sin, divided
the unity of the human race in the assumption that woman was not part
of the original creative idea but a secondary thought, an inferior
being brought into existence as an appendage to man.

Although based upon a false conception of the creative power, this
theory found ready acceptance in the minds of the men of the new
church. Not illiterate, having received instruction at the feet
of Gamaliel, Paul was yet intolerant and credulous, nay more,
unscrupulous. He was the first Jesuit in the Christian church,
“Becoming all things to all men.” The Reformed church with strange
unanimity has chosen Paul as its leader and the accepted exponent
of its views. He may justly be termed the Protestant Pope, and
although even among Catholics rivalling Peter in possession of the
heavenly keys, yet the Church of Rome has accepted his authority as
in many respects to be more fully obeyed than even the teachings of
St. Peter.[11] Having been accepted by the Church as the apostolic
exponent of its views upon marriage, it was but to be expected that
his teachings should be received as divine. That Paul was unmarried
has been assumed because of his bitterness against this relation, yet
abundant proof of his having a wife exists. For the membership of the
Great Sanhedrim, marriage was a requisite. St. Clement of Alexandria
positively declared that St. Paul had a wife. Until the time of
Cromwell, when it was burned, a MS. letter of St. Ignatius in Greek was
preserved in the old Oxford Library; this letter spoke of “St. Peter
and Paul and the apostles who were married.” Another letter of St.
Ignatius is still extant in the Vatican Library. Tussian and others
who have seen it declare that it also speaks of St. Paul as a married
man.[12] But tenderness toward woman does not appear in his teachings;
man is represented as the master, “the head” of woman. In consonance
with his teaching, responsibility has been denied her through the ages;
although the Church has practically held her amenable for the ruin of
the world, prescribing penance and hurling anathemas against her whom
it has characterized as the “door of hell.”

At a synod in Winchester in the eighth century, St. Dunstan, famed for
his hatred of women, made strenuous effort to enforce celibate life. It
was asserted to be so highly immoral for a priest to marry, that even
a wooden cross had audibly declared against the horrid practice.[13]
Although in the third century marriage was permitted to all orders
of the clergy,[14] yet the very ancient “Gospel of the Egyptians,”
endorsed as canonical by Clement of Alexandria, taught celibacy. These
old christian theologians found the nature of woman a prolific subject
of discussion, a large party classing her among brutes without soul
or reason. As early as the sixth century a council at Macon (585),
fifty-nine bishops taking part, devoted its time to a discussion of
this question, “Does woman possess a soul?” Upon one side it was argued
that woman should not be called “homo”; upon the opposite side that she
should, because, first, the Scriptures declared that God created man,
male and female; second, that Jesus Christ, son of a woman, is called
the son of man. Christian women were therefore allowed to remain human
beings in the eyes of the clergy, even though considered very weak and
bad ones. But nearly a thousand years after this decision in favor of
the humanity of the women of Christian Europe, it was still contended
that the women of newly discovered America belonged to the brute
creation, possessing neither souls nor reason.[15] As late as the end
of the sixteenth century an anonymous work appeared, arguing that women
were no part of mankind, but a species of intermediate animal between
the human and the brute creation. (Mulieres non est homines, etc.)
Mediaeval christian writings show many discussions upon this point, the
influence of these old assertions still manifesting themselves.

Until the time of Peter the Great, women were not recognized as human
beings in that great division of Christendom known as the Greek church,
the census of that empire counting only males, or so many “souls”—no
woman named. Traces of this old belief have not been found wanting
in our own country within the century. As late as the Woman’s Rights
Convention in Philadelphia, 1854, an objector in the audience cried
out: “Let women first prove they have souls; both the Church and the
State deny it.”

Everything connected with woman was held to be unclean. It is stated
that Agathro desired the Sophist Herodes to get ready for him the next
morning a vessel full of pure milk, that is to say which had not been
milked by the hand of a woman. But he perceived as soon as it was
offered to him that it was not such as he desired, protesting that the
scent of her hands who had milked it offended his nostrils. In the
oldest European churches great distinction was made between the purity
of man and woman. At an early date woman was forbidden to receive the
Eucharist into her naked hand on account of her impurity,[16] or to
sing in church on account of her inherent wickedness. To such an extent
was this opposition carried, that the church of the middle ages did not
hesitate to provide itself with eunuchs in order to supply cathedral
choirs with the soprano tones inhering by nature in woman alone. One
of the principal charges against the Huguenots was that they permitted
women to sing in church, using their voices in praise of God contrary
to the express command of St. Paul, Catherine de Medicis reproaching
them for this great sin.[17] The massacre at St. Bartholomew, when
30,000 men, women and children lost their lives, and the entire
destruction of many families of purest character took place, with an
additional great loss to France from the self-imposed banishment of
hundreds more, may be traced to the teaching of St. Paul that woman
should keep silence in the church. This doctrine also crossed the
ocean with the Puritan Fathers, and has appeared in America under many

The Christianity of the ages teaching the existence of a superior and
inferior sex, possessing different rights under the law and in the
church, it has been easy to bring man and woman under accountability to
a different code of morals. For this double code the church is largely
indebted to the subtle and acute Paul, who saw in the new religion but
an enlarged Judaism that should give prominence to Abraham and his seed
from whom Christ claimed descent. His conversion did not remove his
old Jewish contempt for woman, as shown in his temple service, the law
forbidding her entrance beyond the outer court. Nor could he divest
himself of the spirit of the old morning prayer which daily led each
Jew to thank God that he was not born a heathen, a slave or a woman.

He brought into the new dispensation the influence of the old
ceremonial law, which regarded woman as unclean. The Jewish exclusion
of forty days from even the outer court of the sanctuary to the woman
who had given birth to a son, and of twice that period, or eighty
days, if a daughter had been born, was terminated in both religions
by a sin-offering in expiation of the mother’s crime for having, at
the peril of her own, brought another human being into life.[19] This
Old Testament teaching degraded the life-giving principle exemplified
in motherhood, and in a two-fold way lessened the nation’s regard for
womanhood. First, through the sin-offering and purification demanded
of the mother; second, by its doubling the period of exclusion from
the temple in case a girl was given to the world.[20] The birth of
girls even under Christianity has everywhere been looked upon as an
infliction, and thousands have been immured in convents, there to die
of despair or to linger through years,[21] the victim alike of father
and of priest.

The influence of Judaism extended through Christendom. The custom of
purification after maternity inherited by the church from Judaism
brought with it into Christianity the same double restriction and
chastening of the mother in case her infant proved a girl, a gift as
propitiation or expiation being required. Uncleanliness was attributed
to woman in every function of her being; the purification of the Virgin
Mary, who was not exempt, when after the birth of a God, being used as
an incontrovertible argument in proof. A festival of the purification
of the Virgin Mary, adopted from paganism, was introduced into Rome
at an early date, thus perpetuating a belief in the uncleanliness
of motherhood. The Church in the Roman Empire soon united with
the State[22] in imposing new restrictions upon women. Since the
Reformation the mother’s duty of expiation has been confirmed by the
Anglican Church, and is known in England as “churching.” Directions
as to the woman’s dress at this time was early made the subject of a
canon.[23] She was to be decently appareled. This term “decently,”
variously interpreted, was at times the occasion of serious trouble. In
1661, during the reign of James I, the Chancellor of Norwich ordered
that every woman who came to be churched should be covered with a white
veil. A woman who refused to conform to this order was excommunicated
for contempt. She prayed a prohibition, alleging that such order was
not warranted by any custom or Canon of the Church of England. The
judges of the civil court, finding themselves incompetent to decide
upon such a momentous question, requested the opinion of the archbishop
of Canterbury. Not willing to trust his own judgment, that dignitary
convened several bishops for consultation. Their decision was against
the woman, this Protestant Council upon woman’s dress declaring that it
was the ancient usage of the Church of England for women who were to be
churched to come veiled, and a prohibition was denied.

The doctrine that woman must remain covered when in the sacred church
building shows itself in the United States.[24] In many instances under
Christianity, woman has been entirely excluded from religious houses
and church buildings. When Pope Boniface[25] founded the abbey of Fulda
he prohibited the entrance of women into any of the buildings, even
including the church. This rule remained unbroken during the tenth and
eleventh centuries, and even when in 1131 the Emperor Lothair went to
Fulda to celebrate Pentecost, his empress was not permitted to witness
the ceremonies. When Frederick Barbarossa, 1135, proposed to spend
his Easter there, he was not even allowed to enter the house because
of having his wife with him. In 1138 Boniface IX, at the request of
the abbot, John Merlow, relaxed the rule and permitted women to
attend the services of the church. Shortly afterwards the building was
destroyed by lightning, which was looked upon as evidence of the divine
displeasure at the desecration. The monastery of Athos under the Greek
church, situated upon an island, does not permit the entrance of a
female animal upon its confines. Even in America woman has met similar

At certain periods during the middle ages, conversation with women was
forbidden. During the Black Death, the Flaggellants, or Brotherhood of
the Cross, were under such interdict.[27] In this last decade of the
XIX century, the Catholic church still imposes similar restrictions
upon certain religious houses. Early in 1892 the queen-regent of
Spain visited the monastery of Mirzaflores; its rules not allowing
a monk to speak to a woman, the queen was received in silence. Her
majesty immediately telegraphed to the pope asking indulgence, which
was granted, and during four hours the monks were permitted the sin
of speaking to a woman. It is curious to note that the first sentence
uttered by one of the monks was a compliment upon the simplicity of her
majesty’s attire. But the most impressive evidence of the contempt of
the church towards all things feminine was shown in a remark by Tetzel
the great middle-age dealer in indulgences. Offering one for sale he
declared it would insure eternal salvation even if the purchaser had
committed rape upon the mother of God.[28]

A knowledge of facts like these is necessary in order to a just
understanding of our present civilization, especially as to the origin
of restrictive legislation concerning woman. The civilization of today
is built upon the religious theories of the middle ages supplemented by
advancing freedom of thought. Lea, declares thus:

    The Latin church is the great fact which dominates the history
    of modern civilization. All other agencies which molded the
    destinies of Europe were comparatively isolated or sporadic in
    their manifestations.

The influence of church teaching is most strikingly manifested in the
thought of today. Without predetermined intention of wrong doing, man
has been so molded by the Church doctrine of ages and the coordinate
laws of State as to have become blind to the justice of woman’s demand
for freedom such as he possesses. Nor is woman herself scarcely less
bound, although now torn by the spirit of rebellion which burned in the
hearts of her fore-mothers, so cruelly persecuted, so falsely judged,
during past ages, when the most devout Christian woman possessed no
rights in the church, the government or the family. The learning which
had been hers in former periods, was then interdicted as an especial
element of evil. Her property rights recognized in former periods then
denied; as a being subordinate to man she was not allowed a separate
estate or control over the earnings of her own hands. Her children were
not her own but those of a master for whose interest or pleasure she
had given them birth. Without freedom of thought or action, trained
to consider herself secondary to a man, a being who came into the
world not as part of the great original plan of creation but as an
afterthought of her Creator, and this doctrine taught as one of the
most sacred mysteries of religion which to doubt was to insure her
eternal damnation, it is not strange that the great body of women are
not now more outspoken in demanding equal religious and governmental
rights with man. But another phase of heredity shows itself in the
eagerness with which women enter all phases of public life which does
not place them in open antagonism with Church or State. Education,
industries, club life and even those great modern and religious
organizations which bring them before the public, throwing active work
and responsibility upon them, would be entirely unexplainable were it
not for the tendency of inherited thought to ultimately manifest itself.

The long continued and powerfully repressing influence of church
teaching in regard to the created inferiority of women, imposed upon
millions of men and women a bondage of thought and action which even
the growing civilization of the nineteenth century has not yet been
able to cast off. To this doctrine we can trace all the irregularities
which for many centuries filled the church with shame; practices
more obscene than those of Babylon or Corinth dragged Christendom to
a darkness blacker than the night of heathendom in the most pagan
countries—a darkness so intense that the most searching efforts of the
historian but now and then cast a ray of light upon it;—a darkness so
profound that in Europe from the seventh to the eleventh centuries no
individual thought can be traced, no opinion was formed, no heresy
arose. All Christendom was sunk in superstition. Lange[29] says “The
disappearance of ancient civilization in the early centuries of the
Christian era is an event the serious problems of which are in great
part still unexplained.” Had Lange not been influenced by the subtle
current of heredity which unwittingly influenced nations and systems
equally with individuals, he could easily have discovered the cause
of this disappearance of olden civilization, to be in the degradation
of the feminine element under Christianity. While this darkness of
Christian Europe was so great that history knows less of it a thousand
years since than it does of Egypt 5,000 years ago, one corner of that
continent was kept luminous by the brilliance of Mohammedan learning.
The Arabs alone had books from the eighth to the thirteenth centuries
of the Christian era. The Moors of Spain kept that portion of Europe
bright, while all else was sunk in darkness. Universities existed,
learning was fostered and women authors were numerous. For many
hundred years Rome possessed no books but missals and a few Bibles in
the hands of priests. Men were bound by church dogmas looking only
for aggrandisement through her. The arts ceased to flourish, science
decayed, learning was looked upon as a disgrace to a warrior,[30] the
only occupation deemed worthy of the noble.

The priesthood who alone possessed a knowledge of letters, prostituted
their learning to the basest uses; the nobility when not engaged
against a common foe, spent their time battling against each other;
the peasantry were by turns the sport and victim of priest and noble,
while woman was the prey of all. Her person and her rights possessed
no consideration except as she could be made to advance the interest
or serve the pleasure of priest, noble, father, husband; some man-god
to whose lightest desire all her wishes were made to bend. The most
pronounced doctrine of the church at this period was that through
woman sin had entered the world; that woman’s whole tendency was
towards evil, and had it not been for the unfortunate oversight of her
creation, man would then be dwelling in the paradisal innocence and
happiness of Eden, with death entirely unknown. When the feminine was
thus wholly proscribed, the night of moral and spiritual degradation
reached its greatest depth, and that condition ensued which has alike
been the wonder and the despair of the modern historians, whose
greatest fault, as Buckle shows, has been the reading of history from
a few isolated facts rather than building up its philosophy from an
aggregation of events upon many different planes.

Under all restrictions woman did not fail to show her innate power
even within the fold of the church. She founded devout orders,[31]
established and endowed religious institutions, and issued her
commands to the pope himself, in more than one instance seating that
holy personage in the papal chair.[32] From St. Paulina, whose life
was written by St. Jerome, to the promulgation of the dogma of the
Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary by the Ecumenical Council
under Pius IX, and the later canonization of Joan of Arc, woman has
not failed to impress even the Christian world with a sense of her
intellectual and spiritual power. Yet despite the very great influence
exerted by so many women in the affairs of the church—notwithstanding
the canonization of so many women, she has only been able to show her
capacity at an immense expenditure of vital force against constant
priestly opposition and the powerful decrees of councils. Subtle and
complex as are the influences that mould thought and character, we
cannot comprehend the great injustice of the church towards woman in
its teaching of her mental and spiritual inferiority without a slight
examination of the great religious institutions that have been under
her charge. Of these none possess more remarkable history than the
Abbey of Fontervault,[33] founded in 1099, for both monks and nuns.
It belonged in the general rank of Benedictines, and was known as the
Order of Fontervault. It was ruled by an abbess under title of General
of the Order, who was responsible to no authority but that of the
pope himself. Forming a long succession of able women in thirty-two
abbesses from the most eminent families of France, woman’s capacity
for the management of both ecclesiastical and civil affairs was there
shown for six hundred years. It was the abbess who alone decided the
religious fitness of either monk or nun seeking admission to the
order. It was the abbess who decreed all ecclesiastical and civil
penalties; who selected the confessors for the different houses of the
order throughout France and Spain; who managed and controlled the vast
wealth belonging to this institution; it was the abbess who drew up
the rules for the government of the order, and who also successfully
defended these privileges when attacked. For neither the protection of
the pope, the wealth of the order, or the family influence connected
with it, prevented priestly attack,[34] and no argument in favor of
woman’s governing ability is stronger than the fact that its abbesses
ever successfully resisted these priestly assaults upon the privileges
of their order. The abbey of Fontervault, with its grounds of forty or
fifty acres, was surrounded by high walls; its soil was tilled by the
monks of the abbey, who received even their food as alms from the nuns,
returning all fragments for distribution to the poor.[35]

The authority of women was supreme in all monasteries of the order.
The ecclesiastical power maintained by these abbesses is the more
remarkable, as it was in direct contravention of the dictates of the
early councils, that of Aix-la-Chapelle, 816, forbidding abbesses to
give the veil or take upon themselves any priestly function; the later
council of Paris A.D. 824, bitterly complained that women served at the
altar, and even gave to people the body and blood of Jesus Christ.

Among the convents controlled by women, which have largely influenced
religious thought, was that of the Paraclete in the 12th century under
Heloise. Its teachings that belief was dependent upon knowledge,
attacked the primal church tenet, that belief depends upon faith alone.
The convent of Port Royal des Champs during the 17th century exerted
much influence. Its abbess, the celebrated Mother Angelique Arnault,
was inducted into this office in her eleventh year upon death of her
abbess-aunt whose co-adjutrix she had been. This convent, both in
person of the nuns as well as the monks connected with it, became a
protest against the jesuitical doctrine of the seventeenth century, and
like the Paraclete is intimately connected with reform questions in the
Catholic Church. Notwithstanding such evidences of woman’s organizing
mind and governing qualities under the most favorable conditions, as
well as of piety so unquestioned as to have produced a long calendar of
female saints, the real policy of the church remained unchanged; nor
could it be otherwise from its basis of woman’s created inferiority and
original sin. The denial to women of the right of private judgment and
the control of her own actions, the constant teaching of her greater
sinfulness and natural impurity, had a very depressing effect upon the
majority of women whose lowly station in life was such as to deprive
them of that independence of thought and action possible to women of
rank and wealth. Then, as now, the church catered to the possessors
of money and power; then, as now, seeking to unite their great forces
with its own purpose of aggrandizement, and thus the church has
ever obstructed the progress of humanity, delaying civilization and
condemning the world to a moral barbarism from which there is no escape
except through repudiation of its teaching. To the theory of “God the
Father,” shorn of the divine attribute of motherhood, is the world
beholden for its most degrading beliefs, its most infamous practices.
Dependent upon the identified with lost motherhood is the “Lost Name”
of ancient writers and occultists. When the femininity of the divine
is once again acknowledged, the “Lost Name” will be discovered and the
holiness (wholeness) of divinity be manifested.[36]

As the theory of woman’s wickedness gathered force, her representative
place in the church lessened. From century to century restrictive
canons multiplied, and the clergy constantly grew more corrupt,
although bearing bad reputation at an early date.[37] Tertullian, whose
heavy diatribes are to be found in large libraries, was bitter in
his opposition to marriage.[38] While it took many hundreds of years
for the total exclusion of woman from the christian priesthood, the
celibacy of the clergy during this period was the constant effort of
the Church. Even during the ages that priestly marriage was permitted,
celibates obtained a higher reputation for sanctity and virtue than
married priests, who infinitely more than celibates were believed
subject to infestation by demons.[39]

The restriction upon clerical marriages proceeded gradually. First
the superior holiness of the unmarried was taught together with their
greater freedom from infestation by demons. A single marriage only
was next allowed, and that with a woman who had never before entered
the relation.[40] The Council of A.D. 347, consisting of twenty-one
bishops, forbade the ordination of those priests who had been twice
married or whose wife had been a widow.[41] A council of A.D. 395 ruled
that a bishop who had children after ordination should be excluded from
the major orders. The Council of A.D. 444, deposed Chelidonius, bishop
of Besancon, for having married a widow. The Council of Orleans, A.D.
511, consisting of thirty-two bishops, decided that monks who married
should be expelled from the ecclesiastical order. The Church was termed
the spouse of the priest. It was declared that Peter possessed a wife
before his conversion, but that he forsook her and all worldly things
after he became Christ’s, who established chastity; priests were
termed holy in proportion as they opposed marriage.[42] The unmarried
among the laity who had never entered that relation, and the married
who forsook it, were regarded as saintly. So great was the opposition
to marriage that a layman who married a second time was refused
benediction and penance imposed.[43] A wife was termed “An Unhallowed

So far from celibacy producing chastity or purity of life, church
restrictions upon marriage led to the most debasing crimes, the most
revolting vices, the grossest immorality. As early as the fourth
century (370) the state attempted purification through a statute
enacted by the emperors Valentinian, Valerius and Gratian, prohibiting
ecclesiastics and monks from entering the houses of widows, single
women living alone, or girls who had lost their parents.[44] The
nearest ties of relationship proved ineffectual in protecting woman
from priestly assault, and incest became so common it was found
necessary to prohibit the residence of a priest’s mother or sister
in his house.[45] This restriction was renewed at various times
through the ages. The condemnation of the Council of Rome, Easter,
1051, under the pontificate of Pope Leo IX, was not directed against
married priests, but against those who held incestuous relations. Yet
although the Church thus externally set her seal of disapprobation
upon this vice, her general teaching sustained it. Gregory, bishop of
Venelli, convicted of this crime by the Council of Rome, was punished
by excommunication, but in a short time was restored to his former
important position. The highest legates were equally guilty with the
inferior priests. Cardinal John of Cremona, the pope’s legate to the
Council of Westminister 1125, sent by Pope Honorius for the express
purpose of enforcing celibacy, became publicly notorious and disgraced,
and was obliged to hastily leave England in consequence of his teaching
and his practice being diametrically opposed.[46]

Through this clerical contempt of marriage, the conditions of celibacy
and virginity were regarded as of the highest virtue. Jerome respected
marriage as chiefly valuable in that it gave virgins to the church,
while Augustine in acknowledging that marriage perpetuated the species,
also contended that it also perpetuated original sin.

These diverse views in regard to marriage created the most opposite
teaching from the church. By one class the demand to increase and
multiply was constantly brought up, and women were taught that the
rearing of children was their highest duty. The strangest sermons were
sometimes preached toward the enforcement of this command. Others
taught an entirely different duty for both men and women, and a large
celibate class was created under especial authority of the church.
Women, especially those of wealth, were constantly urged to take upon
themselves the vow of virginity, their property passing into possession
of the church, thus helping to build up priestly power. Another class
held the touch of a woman to be a contamination, and to avoid it holy
men secluded themselves in caves and forests.[47] Through numerous
decretals confirmation was given to the theory that woman was defiled
through the physical peculiarities of her being. Even her beauty was
counted as an especial snare and temptation of the devil for which in
shame she ought to do continual penance.[48] St. Chrysostom, whose
prayer is repeated at every Sunday morning service of the Episcopal
church, described women as a “necessary evil, a natural temptation,
a desirable calamity, a domestic peril, a deadly fascination, and a
painted ill.” But to escape her influence was impossible and celibacy
led to the most direful results. Monks and hermits acknowledged
themselves tormented in their solitary lives by visions of beautiful
women. Monasteries were visited by an illness to which celibacy
imparted a name,[49] and impurity of body and soul spread throughout
Christendom. The general tone of the church in regard to marriage; its
creation of a double code of morality; its teaching of woman’s greater
sinfulness, together with that of her absolute subordination to man,
subverted the moral character of the Christian world within whose
borders the vilest systems of immorality arose which the world has ever
known; its extent being a subject of historical record.[50]

According to the teaching of men who for many hundreds of years were
molders of human thought, priests, philosophers and physicians alike,
nature never designed to procreate woman, her intention being always
to produce men. These authorities asserted that nature never formed
the feminine except when she lost her true function and so produced
the female sex by chance or accident. Aristotle[51] whose philosophy
was accepted by the church and all teaching of a contrary character
declared heretical, maintained that nature did not form woman except
when by reason of imperfection of matter she could not obtain the
sex which is perfect.[52] Cajetan enunciated the same doctrine many
hundred years later.[53] Aristotle also denied creative power to the
mother.[54] While throughout its history the course of the Christian
Church against marriage is constantly seen, no less noticeable are the
grossly immoral practices resulting from celibacy. Scarcely a crime
or a vice to which it did not give birth. Celibacy was fostered in
the interests of power, and in order to its more strict enforcement
barons were permitted to enslave the wives and children of married
priests.[55] Those of Rome were bestowed upon the Cathedral church of
the Lateran, and bishops throughout Christendom were ordered to enforce
this law in their own dioceses and to seize the wives of priests for
the benefit of their churches. At no point of history do we more
clearly note the influence of the Church upon the State than in the
union of the temporal power with the ecclesiastical for purposes of
constraining priestly celibacy.

Under reign of Philip I of France, a council was held at Troyes which
condemned the marriage of priests.[56] In 1108, the following year,
King Henry I of England[57] summoned a council to assemble in London
for purpose of upholding priestly celibacy, urging its enforcement
upon the bishops, and pledging his kingly honor in aid. A new series
of canons was promulgated, strengthened by severe penalties and
the co-operation of the king. Finding it impossible either through
spiritual or temporal power to compel absolute celibacy[58] the king
for the benefit of his exchequer established a license for concubinage
upon the payment of a tax known as cullagium.[59]

Notwithstanding all the powerful enginery of the church, priestly
celibacy, so contrary to nature, was not rendered absolutely imperative
until the thirteenth century. The Fourth Lateran Council (Twelfth
Ecumenical), 1215, under pope Innocent III, is especially famous
because of its final settlement of the policy of the church in regard
to priestly marriage. This was a large council, 1300 prelates taking
part in the adjudication of this question. While with St. Augustine
acknowledging that marriage was requisite for the preservation of the
race, it strictly confined this relation to the laity.

The subject of celibacy as we see had agitated the church from its
foundation. A more renowned council even than the Twelfth Ecumenical,
namely, the First Nicene or Second Ecumenical, having seriously
discussed it, although after prolonged debate pronouncing against
celibacy and in favor of priestly marriage. St. Paphinutius, the martyr
bishop of Thebes, although himself a celibate advocated marriage which
he declared to be true chastity, the council adopting his opinion.
Although the tendency of the church for so many hundred years had been
towards celibacy yet when adopted as a dogma, a belief in its propriety
or its scriptural authority was by no means universal even among the
most eminent members, but in no instance has the control of the church
over the consciences and will of its adherents been more forcibly
illustrated. Many illustrious and learned theologians as Gratian the
Canonist, St. Thomas Aquinas and Giraldus Cambrensis, Arch-Deacon of
St. Davids, while thereafter sustaining celibacy _as a law of the
church_ declared it had neither scriptural nor apostolic warrant;
St. Thomas affirming it to be merely a law of human ecclesiastical

Absolute celibacy of the priesthood proved very difficult of
enforcement. At the great council of London, 1237, twenty-three years
afterwards, Cardinal Otto deplored the fact that married men still
received holy orders and held office in the church, and in 1268 only
fifty-three years after the great council confirming celibacy as a
doctrine of the church, another great council was convened in London,
when Cardinal Legate Ottoborn, the direct representative of the Pope,
demanded the establishment of concubinage for priests. The institutions
of Otto and Ottoborn long remained the law of the English church. Yet
to their honor be it remembered that despite council and cardinal, pope
and church, there were priests who still persistently refused either
to part from their wives or to relinquish their priestly functions,
and who when excommunicated for contumacy, laughed at the sentence and
continued their priestly offices.[61] Others sufficiently conformed
to the edicts to lock up their churches and suspend their priestly
administrations, yet refusing to part with their wives. The relatives
of wives also exerted their influence against the action of the church.

The struggle was bitter and long. New canons were promulgated and
celibacy enforced under severe penalties, or rather marriage was
prohibited under severe penalties. The holy robbery which made slaves
of the wives and children of priests confiscating their property to the
church, had more effect in compelling celibacy than all anathemas upon
the iniquity of marriage. Priests who retained their wives preferring
the chastity of this relation to the license allowed celibates, were
prohibited from their offices and their wives denounced as harlots.
If this did not suffice, such priests were finally excommunicated.
But a way of return was left open. In case this measure coerced them
into abandoning wives and children, a short penance soon restored the
priestly rank with all its attendant dignities. Nor was the reinstated
priest compelled to live purely. So little was it expected that the tax
upon concubinage soon became a component part of the celibate system.
So gross and broadspread became the immorality of all classes that even
the Head of the Church pandered to it in the erection by Pope Sixtus V
of a magnificent building devoted to illicit pleasure.[62]

The example of Christ himself was pointed to in favor of celibacy, even
upon the cross saying to his mother, “Woman, what have I to do with
thee?” The saints of the Old Testament as well as the New, were quoted
as having opposed marriage. Abel, Melchisedeck, Joshua, Elias, Jonah,
Daniel, St. John the Baptist, St. John the Evangelist, St. Paul with
his disciples, and all saintly personages were declared to have been

A concubinage tax was exacted from all the clergy without exception,
and rendered compulsory even upon those priests who still kept their
wives, or who lived chastely outside of the marital relation. Protests
were of no avail. Those whom disinclination, age or ill-health kept
chaste, were told the privilege of unchastity was open to them; the
bishop must have the money and after payment they were at liberty to
keep concubines or not.[63] Under concubinage the priest was free from
all family responsibility; his mistress possessed neither present nor
future claim upon him; children, who according to church teaching
followed the condition of the mother, were born to him, but for
their education and maintenance neither ecclesiastical nor civil law
compelled him to provide.[64]

For many centuries this immoral tax brought enormous sums into the
treasuries of both Church and State. Although the laws against the
marriage of priests were enacted on pretense of the greater inherent
wickedness of woman, history proves their chief object to have been
the keeping of all priestly possessions under church control. It was
openly asserted that the temporal possessions of the church were
imperilled by sacerdotal marriage, and it has been declared with every
proof of truthfulness that edicts against the marriage of priests were
promulgated to prevent the alienation of property from the church.[65]
The saying of Paul was quoted; “He that is married careth for his
wife, but he that is unmarried for the Lord.” Married bishops were
occasionally confirmed in their sees upon condition that their wives
and children should not inherit their property, which upon their death
should fall to the church.[66]

The struggle against the absolute celibacy of the priesthood was
bitter. A few priests still kept their benefices while retaining their
wives and acknowledging their children as legitimate. The sons of such
contumacious priests were declared forever incapable of taking holy
orders, unless by a special dispensation. The church showed almost
equal determination in the establishment of concubinage as in the
enforcement of priestly celibacy, each of these systems tending to its

Opposition proved of no permanent avail. Holding control over the
conscience of men, asserting the power to unlock the doors of heaven
and hell, a strongly organized body working to one end, it is not a
subject of astonishment that the church, its chief object the crushing
of body and soul, should in the end prove conqueror, and the foulest
crimes against woman receive approval of the entire christian world.
Many notable consequences followed the final establishment of celibacy
as a dogma of the church.

First: The doctrine of woman’s inherent wickedness and close fellowship
with Satan took on new strength.

Second: Canon Law gained full control of civil law.

Third: An organized system of debauchery arose under mask of priestly

Fourth: Auricular confession was confirmed as a dogma of the church.

Fifth: Prohibition of the Scriptures to the laity was enforced.

Sixth: Crime was more openly protected, the system of indulgences
gained new strength, becoming the means of great revenue to the church.

Seventh: Heresy was more broadly defined and more severely punished.

Eighth: The Inquisition was established.

When Innocent III completed the final destruction of sacerdotal
marriage, it was not upon disobedient priests the most severe
punishment fell, but innocent women and children.[67] Effort was made
to force wives to desert their husbands. Those who proved contumacious
were denied christian burial in an age when such denial was looked
upon as equivalent to eternal damnation; property left such wives was
confiscated to the church; they were forbidden the eucharist; churching
after childbirth was denied them; they were termed harlots and their
children bastards, while to their sons all office in the church was
forbidden. If still contumacious they were handed over to the secular
power for condign punishment, or sold as slaves for the benefit of
the church. They were regarded as under the direct control of Satan
himself, as beings who iniquitously stood between their husbands and

At numerous times in the history of the church women have been brought
to despair by its teachings, and large numbers driven to suicide.
A similar period was inaugurated by the confirmation of priestly
celibacy. The wives of such men, suddenly rendered homeless and with
their children classed among the vilest of earth, powerless and
despairing, hundreds shortened their agonies by death at their own
hands. For all these crimes the church alone is responsible.

Under celibacy, auricular confession, and extended belief in
witchcraft, a new era of wrong toward woman was inaugurated. From
thenceforth her condition was more degraded than even during the early
centuries of Christianity. Accusations of heresy, which included
witchcraft as well as other sins against the church were constantly
made against that being who was believed to have brought sin into the
world. Whosoever dared question the infallibility of the church by use
of their own judgment, even upon the most trivial subjects, immediately
fell into condemnation.

Canon Law gaining full control over civil law, the absolute sinfulness
of divorce, which maintained by the church has yet been allowed by
civil law, was fully established. Woman was entirely at the mercy of
man, the Canon Law maintaining that the confession of a guilty woman
could not be received in evidence against her accomplice, although it
held good against herself[68] and the punishment due to both was made
to fall on the woman alone.[69] The best authorities prove that while
the clergy were acquainted with the civil codes that had governed the
Roman Empire, they made but little use of them.[70] Upon coming to the
throne, Justinian[71] had repealed the law of the Patriarchate which
gave the father sole right and title to, and interest in the children
of legal marriage, but this was soon again subverted by ecclesiasticism
and under Canon Law a mother was prohibited all authority over her
child, its relationship to her even being denied. While under Common
Law children followed the condition of their fathers, who if free
transmitted freedom to their children, yet in the interests of priestly
celibacy, under church legislation, an entire reversal took place and
children were held to follow the condition of their mothers. Thus
serf-mothers bore serf-children to free-born fathers; slave mothers
bore slave children to their masters; while unmarried mothers bore
bastard children to both priestly and lay fathers, thus throwing the
taint of illegitimacy upon the innocent child, and the sole burden
of its maintenance upon the mother. This portion of Canon Law also
became the law of the State in all Christian countries,[72] and is
in existence at the present time, both civil codes and statue laws
enforcing this great wrong of the Church.[73] The relations of men
and women to each other, the sinfulness of marriage and the license
of illicit relations for the priesthood, employed the thought of the
church. The duty of woman to obey, not alone her male relatives, but
all men by virtue of their sex, was sedulously inculcated. She was
trained to hold her own desires and even thoughts in abeyance to those
of man, as to one who was rightfully her master. Every holy principle
of her nature was subverted by this degrading assumption.

When auricular confession became confirmed as a dogma of the church, it
threw immense power over the family into the hands of the priesthood,
a power capable of being converted to many ends, but was specially
notable in its influence upon morals.[74] Although auricular confession
was not established as a dogma until the Council of 1215, it had
been occasionally practiced at early date, carrying with it the same
immorality in lesser form as that which afterwards became so great a
reproach to the church.[75] Through its means the priesthood gained
possession of all family, social and political secrets, thus acquiring
information whose power for evil was unlimited. The spirit of evil
never found a more subtle method of undermining and destroying human
will, its most debasing influences falling upon woman, who through
fear of eternal damnation made known her most secret thoughts to the
confessor, an unmarried and frequently a youthful man. It soon became a
source of very great corruption to both priest and woman.

Another effect of this council was the formal prohibition of the
scriptures to the laity, and thenceforth the Bible was confined to the
priest who explained its teachings in the interests of his own order,
adding to, or taking from, to suit his own interests; the recent new
version showing many such interpolations.[76] Nothing was held sacred
by these men, who sacrificed everything to their own advancement and
that of their order.

The insolence of the priesthood was that of all periods; claiming
direct inspiration from God, they taught their own infallibility and
in name of Him, whom they professed to serve, the grossest crimes were
perpetrated, and this profession became a protecting sanctuary to
men whose villainous lives would otherwise have brought them to the

With conviction of woman’s supreme wickedness, increased through the
formal recognition of celibacy as a dogma of the church, with the
establishment of auricular confession, and the denial of the Bible
to the laity, the persecution of woman for witchcraft took on new
phase. The belief that it was the ordinary method through which the
devil won souls, together with the persuasion that woman through her
greater wickedness fell more readily than men into such practices,
acquired a firmer seat in theology. Heresy, of which witchcraft was one
phase, became a greater sin; the inquisition arose, and the general
characteristics of the christian world rapidly grew more inimical to
humanity, and especially to woman’s freedom, happiness and security.

The influence of the church daily grew more unfavorable to all virtue;
vice was sustained, immorality dignified. The concubines of priests
called “wives,” in bitter mockery of that relation in which the legal
wife was termed concubine, were known as “The Hallowed Ones,” “The
Honored Ones.” No stigma attached to such a life; these women formed
quite a class in mediaeval society, themselves and their children
out-ranking the wives of ordinary laymen;[78] the touch of a priest had
sanctified them. In the estimation of the church an immoral life led
with a priest was more honorable than marriage with a layman, and all
the obligations such a relation implied. Priests assumed immunity from
wrong doing. So far from celibacy causing purity of life, through
it the priesthood grew to look upon themselves as especially set
apart for indulgence in vice. Did not history so faithfully portray
this condition, it would seem impossible that it had existed among
people asserting the highest morality, and is proof of the danger
of irresponsible power to possessor and victim alike, and the ease
with which the true meaning of right and wrong is lost under such

The theory of the church that as the fall and sin really existed,
priestly immorality became a necessity in order to perpetuate the
world even through a continuance of the original sin, was a species of
fine casuistry for which the church in all ages has been remarkable.
The general tenor of the church against marriage, together with its
teaching of woman’s greater sinfulness, were the chief causes which
undermined the morality of the christian world for fifteen hundred
years. With these doctrines were also taught the duty of woman to
sacrifice herself in every way for man, a theory of which the present
century is not unfamiliar. The loss of chastity in woman was held as
light sin in comparison to the degradation that marriage would bring
to a priest, and young girls ruined by some candidate or priest,
considered themselves doing God service in refusing a marriage that
would cause the expulsion of the priestly lover from the ecclesiastical
order. With woman’s so-called “divine,” but rather demoniac
self-sacrifice, Heloise chose to be deemed the mistress of Abelard
rather than by acknowledging their marriage destroy his prospects of
advancement in the church.[79]

The State sustained the Church in its opposition to marriage, and we
find the anomaly of marriage for political reasons where the parties
forever separated at the altar. St. Jerome, and at a later date St.
Dunstan, sustained the policy of such marriages. The history of Britain
gives instances of early queens thus separating from their newly made
husbands at the close of the ceremony, dedicating their lives to
celibacy and their fortunes to the church.

Nor did this institution neglect that large class of women to whom
marriage was made impossible because of the numbers of men to whom
it was forbidden. After the Lateran Council had permanently settled
the action of the church in favor of priestly celibacy, great effort
was made to draw women of wealth into a monastic life. Religion was
the chief method of acquiring power, and as an abbess of a religious
institution it opened opportunity for power to women scarcely possible
outside the church. The two highest womanly virtues inculcated by the
church were a celibate life and liberality to religious houses. It was
taught if anything could possibly mitigate women’s sin through Eve’s
transgression, it was the observance of these two conditions.

To the student this is the most remarkable period in the history of
the church, not merely as a culmination of the effort of centuries in
finally deciding the questions of celibacy, so long agitated with such
varying results, but in the immediate change and permanent settlement
it brought about in regard to other church dogmas, as well as its
pronounced influence in causing the Lutheran Reformation.

It was asserted that the spiritual office of the priest sanctified
sin; it became a maxim that whatever a priest might do was holy; by
their taking part in lasciviousness it became consecration. To disobey
a priest was to endanger salvation; it was libellous and treasonable
to question the purity of a priest’s motives, hence religion became a
screen for all vice and a source of moral degradation to all woman. To
such extent was belief carried in the superior purity of a celibate
life that but little more than 300 years since a man was burned at the
stake in England for asserting the lawfulness of priestly marriage.[80]
The action of the council of 1215, so powerfully sustaining the olden
claims of the superior holiness of celibacy soon created a belief in
the inability of a priest to commit sin. During the middle ages his
infallibility was constantly maintained, his superior sanctity in
consequence of his celibacy universally asserted. It was impossible
not to connect the idea of great wickedness with those incapable of
entering this holy office, and as woman by virtue of sex was prohibited
priestly functions, and as her marriage had been declared a necessity
for the world, these conditions were used as arguments against her. The
conscience and morality of tens of thousands were destroyed by these
teachings, enforced as they were by all the dread authority of the
church. The christian world was under entire control of a class whose
aim was chiefly that of personal aggrandizement, and that hesitated at
no means for securing wealth and power.

The Inquisition was firmly established; under its reign six hundred
methods of torture were known, and it was conducted with such secrecy
that not until dragged before it were many of its victims aware they
were under suspicion. Even when imprisoned in its torture chambers,
the charges against them were kept secret in hopes thereby to compel
self-accusation upon other points. The inferiority of woman, her
proneness to evil and readiness to listen to all suggestions of Satan,
was taught with renewed vigor and power for evil.

The priest regarded himself as the direct representative of divinity;
the theory of infallibility was not confined to the pope, but all
dignitaries of the church made the same claim. Asserting themselves
incapable of wrong doing, maintaining an especial sanctification by
reason of their celibacy, priests nevertheless made their holy office
a cover for the most degrading sensuality. Methods were taken to
debauch the souls as well as the bodies of women. Having first taught
their special impurity, it was not maintained that immorality with a
priest was not sin, but on the contrary hallowed the woman, giving
her particular claim upon heaven. It was taught that sin could only
be killed through sin.[81] The very incarnation was used as a means
of weakening woman’s virtue. That Christ did not enter the world
through the marriage relation, stamped with christian honor a system
of concubinage in the church, for whose warrant woman was pointed to
the Virgin Mary. As an enforcement of her duty of absolute surrender
of soul and body to the will of the priest the course of the Virgin
was adduced, “who obeyed the angel Gabriel and conceived without fear
of evil, for impurity could not come of a spirit.”[82] The chastity of
concubinage and the unchasteness of marriage was constantly asserted
by the church, and thus the mysteries upon which its foundations were
laid were used by it for the degradation of woman, who was at all times
depicted as a being of no self-individuality, but one who had been
created solely for man’s pleasure. As late as the seventeenth century,
it was taught that a priest could commit no sin. This old doctrine took
new strength from the Illumes, who claimed an inner divine light.[83]
We find reference to priestly immorality and claim of infallibility
among old writers, Boccaccio in many of his stories putting arguments
of this kind in the mouth of his priestly characters.[84]

It was asserted too that sin was of the body alone, the soul knowing
nothing, partaking nothing of it. As an argument in favor of woman’s
throwing herself entirely in the hands of priests for immoral purposes,
it was declared that, “The devout having offered up and annihilated
their own selves exist no longer but in God; thenceforth they can do
no wrong. The better part of them is so divine that it no longer knows
what the other is doing.”

In confirmation of this doctrine it was said that Jesus threw off his
clothing and was scourged naked before the people. The result of this
teaching was the almost universal immorality of christendom. Under
such religious doctrine it could but be expected that the laity would
closely imitate the priesthood. Europe became a continent of moral
corruption, of which proof is overwhelming. Could we but relegate
christian immorality to the dark ages we might somewhat palliate it
under plea of ignorance. But unfortunately for such claim ample proof
is found to show that the enlightenment of modern civilization has not
yet been able to overthrow the basic idea upon which this immorality
rests. Amid the material and intellectual advancement of the last
hundred years we find spiritual darkness still profound in the church
and the true foundation of immorality almost unrecognized.

As long as the church maintains the doctrine that woman was created
inferior to man, and brought sin into the world rendering the sacrilige
of the Son of God a necessity, just so long will the foundation of vice
and crime of every character remain. Not until the exact and permanent
equality of woman with man is recognized by the church, aye, even more,
the greater power and capacity of woman in the creative function,
together with the accountability of man to woman in everything relating
to the birth of a new being, is fully accepted as a law of nature, will
vice and crime disappear from the world. Until that time has fully
come, prostitution in its varied forms will continue to exist, together
with alms-houses, reformatories, jails, prisons, hospitals and asylums
for the punishment, reformation or care of the wretched beings who have
come into existence with an inheritance of disease and crime because of
church theory and church teaching.

The system of celibacy produced its same effects wherever preached. So
constant was the system of debauchery practiced in England during the
reign of Henry VII that the gentlemen and farmers of Carnarvonshire
laid complaint against the clergy of systematically seducing their
wives and daughters.[85] Women were everywhere looked upon as slaves
and toys, to obey, to furnish pleasure and amusement, and to be cast
aside at will. Under the religious teaching of christendom it could not
but be expected that the laity would closely imitate the priesthood,
and to victimize women became the custom of all men.[86] When a priest
failed to take a concubine his parishoners compelled him to do so
in order to preserve the chastity of their own wives and daughters.
Draper[87] tells us that in England alone 100,000 women became victims
of the priests. Houses of vile character were maintained for especial
use of the priesthood. The marriage of a priest was called a deception
of the devil who thus led him into an adulterous relation[88] for sake
of alienating property from the church.

This mediaeval doctrine that sin can only be killed through sin, finds
expression today not alone in religion[89] but in society novels;[90]
its origin, like many other religious wrongs, being directly traceable
to the teaching of St. Paul.[91]

The incontinence of these celibate priests ultimately became so great
a source of scandal to the church that it was obliged to take action.
Edicts and bulls were fulminated from the papal chair, although the
facts of history prove Rome itself, its popes and its cardinals, to
have been sunk in the grossest immorality. Spain, the seat of the
Inquisition, and at that period the very heart of Christendom, was
the first country toward which investigation was turned, Pope Paul IV
issuing a bull against those confessors who solicited women, provoking
them to dissolute action. When this bull of investigation first
appeared in Spain, it was accompanied by an edict commanding all those
who knew of monks or priests that had thus abused the confessional to
make it known within thirty days under grievous penalty. The terrible
power of the church intimidated those who otherwise for very shame
would surely have buried the guilt of their priests in oblivion,
and so great was the number of women who thronged the palace of the
Inquisition in the city of Seville alone, that twenty secretaries
with as many Inquisitors were not sufficient to take the deposition
of the witnesses. A second, a third and a fourth thirty days were
appointed for investigation, so great were the number of women making
complaint.[92] So large a number of priests were implicated that after
a four months’ examination, the Holy Tribunal of the Inquisition put
a stop to the proceedings, commanding that all those immoralities
and crimes against womanhood only rendered possible in the name of
religion, and which has been proven by legal evidence, should be buried
in eternal oblivion. The deposition of thousands of women seduced by
their confessors, was not deemed sufficient evidence for removal of the
guilty priests from their holy offices. Occasionally a single priest
was suspended for a short time but in a few months restored again to
his priestly position.[93]

It was not uncommon for women to be openly carried off by priests,
their husbands and fathers threatened with vengeance in cases of their
attempted recovery.[94] During the height of the Inquisitorial power
it was not rare for a family to be aroused in the night by an ominous
knock and the cry “The Holy Fathers, open the door!”

To this dread mandate there could be but one reply, as both temporal
and spiritual power lay in their hands. A husband, father or son might
thus be seized by veiled figures; or as frequently a loved wife or
young daughter was dragged from her bed, her fate ever to remain a
mystery. When young and beautiful these women were taken to replenish
the Inquisitional harem; the “dry pan,” “boiling in oil,” and similar
methods of torture, threatened, in order to produce compliance upon
part of wretched victims. No Turkish seraglio with bow-string and sack
ever exhibited as great an amount of diabolical wickedness as the
prison-harems of the Inquisition. As late as the seventeenth century
Pope Gregory XV commanded strict enforcement of the bull against
priestly lechery not alone in Spain, but in all other parts of the
Christian world. In England after the reformation, the same condition
was found to exist.[95] But edicts against lasciviousness were vainly
issued by a church whose foundation is a belief in the supremacy of one
sex over the other, and that woman brought sin into the world through
having seduced man into the marriage relation. Despite the advance of
knowledge and civilization the effects of such teachings are the same
now as during the middle ages, as fully proven at time of separation
between the temporal and spiritual power in Italy;[96] and these
proofs are taken from Catholic sources. In 1849 when the Roman people
opened the palace of the Inquisition there was found in the library
a department entitled “Summary of Solicitations,” being a record of
cases in which women had been solicited to acts of criminality by
their confessors in the pontifical state.[97] The testimony of Luther
as to the moral degradation of the church at time of the Reformation
has never been invalidated,[98] and is entirely in accord with its
character throughout history.

That the same iniquities are connected with the confessional today, we
learn from the testimony of those priests who have withdrawn from the
communion of the Catholic Church; Father Hyacinthe publicly declaring
that ninety-nine out of one hundred priests live in sin with the women
they have destroyed. Another priest following the example of Father
Hyacinthe in marrying, asserted that he took this step in order to get
out of the ultramontane slough and remain an honest man.[99] That the
Catholic Church of the present day bears the same general character
it did during the middle ages is proven from much testimony. Among
the latest and most important witnesses, for minuteness and fullness
of detail, is Rev. Charles Chiniquy in his works “The Priest, The
Woman and the Confessional,” “Fifty Years of Rome,” etc. Now over
eighty years of age, Rev. Mr. Chiniquy was for more than fifty years
a Catholic priest of influence and high reputation, known in Canada,
where thousands of drunkards reformed under his teaching, as the
“Apostle of Temperance.” Becoming convinced of the immorality of the
Romish Church, he left it in 1856, taking with him five thousand French
Canadians with whom he settled at St. Anne, Kankakee County, Illinois.
Having united with a branch of the Protestant church, he was invited
to Scotland to take part in the Tercentenary of the Reformation, and
later to England, where he lectured on invitation of ministers of every
evangelical denomination.[100] His “Fifty Years of Rome” indissolubly
links his name with that of Abraham Lincoln, through the information
there made known regarding the Catholic plot for President Lincoln’s

It is as fully a law of moral as of material nature that from the same
causes the same effects follow. In his work upon the confessional[101]
Rev. Mr. Chiniquy relates incidents coming under his own personal
knowledge while he was still a catholic priest regarding its present
abuses. The character of the questions made a duty of the priest
to ask during confession, are debasing in the extreme, their whole
tendency towards the undermining of morality. Too broadly indelicate
for translation these priestly instructions are hidden in Latin, but
are no less made the duty of a priest to understand and use. In 1877, a
number of prominent women of Montreal, Canada, addressed a declaration
and protest to the bishop of that diocese against the abuses of the
confessional of which their own experience had made them cognizant.


    To His Lordship Bourget, Bishop of Montreal

    _Sir_:—Since God in his infinite mercy has been pleased to
    show us the errors of Rome, and has given us strength to
    abandon them to follow Christ, we deem it our duty to say
    a word on the abominations of the confessional. You well
    know that these abominations are of such a nature that it
    is impossible for a woman to speak of them without a blush.
    How is it that among civilized christian men one has so far
    forgotten the rule of common decency as to force women to
    reveal to unmarried men, under the pains of eternal damnation,
    their most secret thoughts, their most sinful desires and
    their most private actions?

    How unless there be a brazen mask on your priest’s face dare
    they go out into the world having heard the tales of misery
    which cannot but defile the hearing, and which the women
    cannot relate without having laid aside modesty and all sense
    of shame. The harm would not be so great should the Church
    allow no one but the woman to accuse herself. But what shall
    we say of the abominable questions that are put to them and
    which they must answer?

    Here, the laws of common decency strictly forbid us to enter
    into details. Suffice it to say, were husbands cognizant of
    one-tenth of what is going on between the confessor and their
    wives, they would rather see them dead than degraded to such a

    As for us, daughters and wives from Montreal who have known
    by experience the filth of the confessional, we cannot
    sufficiently bless God for having shown us the error of our
    ways in teaching us that it was not at the feet of a man as
    weak and as sinful as ourselves, but at the feet of Christ
    alone that we must seek salvation.

    Julia Herbert,
    Marie Rogers,
    J. Rocham,
    Louise Picard,
    Francoise Dirringer,
    Eugenie Martin, and
    forty-three others.[102]

In reply to a letter of inquiry addressed by myself to Rev. Mr.
Chiniquy, the following answer was received.

    St. Anne, Kankakee County, Illinois
    January 4, 1887

Mrs. Matilda Joslyn Gage,

    In answer to your honored letter of the 29th Dec. I hasten to
    say: _First._ The women of Montreal signed the declaration
    you see in ‘The Priest, the Woman and the Confessional,’ in
    the fall of 1877. I do not remember the day. _Second._ As it
    is ten years since I left Montreal to come to my Missionary
    field of Illinois, I could not say if these women are still in
    Montreal or not. Great, supreme efforts were secretly made by
    the Bishop of Montreal to show that these names were forged
    in order to answer and confound me, but the poor Bishop found
    that the document was too correct, authentic and public to be
    answered and attacked, and he remained mute and confounded,
    for many of these women were well known in the city.

    _Third._ You will find the answer to your other questions,
    in the volume ‘Fifty Years in the Church of Rome,’ which I
    addressed you by today’s mail.

    Respectfully yours in Christ,
    C. Chiniquy

The same assertion of priestly infallibility is made today as it
was centuries ago, the same declaration of change of nature through
priestly celibacy. Upon this question Mr. Chiniquy says:

    If any one wants to hear an eloquent oration let him go
    where the Roman Catholic priest is preaching on the divine
    institution of auricular confession. They make the people
    believe that the vow of perpetual chastity changes their
    nature, turns them into angels and puts them above the common
    faults of the fallen children of Adam. With a brazen face when
    they are interrogated on that subject, they say that they have
    special graces to remain pure and undefiled in the midst of
    the greatest dangers; that the Virgin Mary to whom they are
    consecrated is their powerful advocate to obtain from her son
    that superhuman virtue of Chastity; that what would be a cause
    of sin and perdition to common men is without peril and danger
    for a true son of Mary.[103]

A work entitled “Mysteries of the Neapolitan Convents,” its author
Henrietta Carracciola, a woman of the purest blood of the princes of
Italy, daughter of the Marshal Carracciola, Governor of the Province of
Pasi in Italy, is quoted from, by Rev. Mr. Chiniquy, in confirmation of
his statements as to the continued impurity of the confessional.

    Finally another priest, the most annoying of all for his
    obstinate assiduity, sought to secure my affections at all
    cost. There was not an image profane poetry could afford
    him, nor a sophism he could borrow from rhetoric, no wily
    interpretation he could give to the word of God, which he did
    not employ to convert me to his wishes. Here is an example of
    his logic:—

    “Dear daughter,” said he to me one day, “knowest thou who thy
    God truly is?”

    “He is the Creator of the Universe,” I answered dryly.

    “No-no-no-no! that is not enough,” he replied laughing at
    my ignorance; “God is Love, but love in the abstract which
    receives its incarnation in the mutual affection of two
    hearts which idolize each other. You must then not only love
    God in the abstract existence, but must also love him in his
    incarnation, that is, in the exclusive love of a man who
    adores you. _Quod Deus est amor nec colitus nisi amando._”

    “Then,” I replied, “a woman who adores her own lover would
    adore Divinity itself?” “Assuredly,” reiterated the priest
    over and over again, taking courage from my remark and
    chuckling with what seemed to him the effect of his catechism.

    “In that case,” said I hastily, “I should select for my lover
    rather a man of the world than a priest.”

    “God preserve you, my daughter! God preserve you from that
    sin. To love a man of the world, a sinner, a wretch, an
    unbeliever, an infidel! Why, you would go immediately to hell.
    The love of a priest is a sacred love, while that of a profane
    man is infamy. The priest purifies his affections daily in
    communion with the Holy Spirit.... If you cannot love me
    because I am your confessor, I will find means to assist you
    to get rid of your scruples. We will place the name of Jesus
    Christ before all our affectionate demonstrations and thus our
    love will be a grateful offering to the Lord and will ascend
    fragrant with perfume to Heaven like the smoke of the incense
    of the Sanctuary. Say to me for example ‘I love you in Jesus
    Christ, last night I dreamed of you in Jesus Christ,’ and you
    will have tranquil conscience, because in doing this God will
    sanctify every transport of your love.”

Rev. Mr. Chiniquy who in his fifty years of Romish priesthood possessed
every opportunity for knowing the truth, does not hesitate to affirm
that the popes are today of the same general immoral character they
were in the earlier centuries of the Church. He says:

    Let not my readers be deceived by the idea that the popes of
    Rome in our days are much better than those of the ninth,
    tenth, eleventh and twelfth centuries. They are absolutely the
    same—the only difference is that today they take a little more
    care to conceal their secret orgies. Go to Italy and there the
    Roman Catholics themselves will show you the two beautiful
    daughters whom the late Pope Pius IX had from two of his
    mistresses. Inquire from those who have personally known Pope
    Gregory XVI the predecessor of Pius IX; after they will have
    given you the history of his mistresses, one of whom was the
    wife of his barber, they will tell you that he was one of the
    greatest drunkards in Italy.[104]

The views of the Catholic Church in regard to marriage of the
priesthood was recently demonstrated in the United States, 1885, by
the persecution of a priest of the Uniate Greek Church sent as a
missionary from Austria to Pennsylvania. The Greek Church, it must be
remembered, permits a single marriage to a priest. The Uniate while in
this respect following the discipline of the Greek Church, yet admits
the supremacy of the Pope which the regular Greek Church does not. The
Uniate Greek Church accepts, as binding, all the decisions of Rome
subsequent to the division between the eastern and the western parts of
christendom. Endowed with authority from both branches, Father Wolonski
came to this country accompanied by his wife, in full expectation of
fellowship with his catholic brethren. His first contrary experience
occurred in Philadelphia when Archbishop Ryan of the Cathedral refused
all intercourse with him because of his marriage. Reaching Shenandoah
where commissioned by his own Austrian Bishop, he discovered himself
still under ban; the resident priest of the catholic church having
warned his congregation under pain of excommunication to shun both
himself and his church, upon the ground that the Roman Church under no
circumstances tolerated a married priest. Eventually the subject grew
to such proportions that Father Wolonski was recalled, and an unmarried
priest sent in his stead.[105]

From the experience of Father Wolonski less than a decade since, with
the bitter hostility shown by the church towards Father Hyacinthe,
we find that a belief in the special holiness of celibacy is as
dominant in the Catholic church today as at any period of its history;
concurrent testimony teaching us that its greatest evils remain the
same as of old. It is less than twenty years since the whole christian
world was interested in a suit brought against the heirs of the
deceased Cardinal Antonelli in order to secure recognition of his
daughter’s claim to inheritance. This girl was everywhere spoken of by
the Catholic Church as “a sacrilegious child,” that is, a being who had
violated sacred things by coming into existence. The destruction of her
mother’s life, her own illegitimacy, the wrong done to her mother’s
family and to society were held as of no moment beside the fact that
her claims, if allowed, would take property from the church. The love
of the Great Cardinal for this girl’s mother was fully proven, but
the church having established celibacy in order that it might control
the property of its priests, was not inclined to permit any portion
to be diverted from that source. Honesty, justice, and the ties of
natural affection, now as of yore are not part of the Church system. In
consequence, this suit of the illegitimate child of the Great Cardinal
Secretary, filled not alone Italy, but the whole Catholic world with

Among the countries now striving to free themselves from Church
dominion is Mexico. A letter to the New York Herald, winter of 1892,
regarding the revolution there in progress, said of Diaz:

    Instead of his being assisted by the Church it has been his
    bitterest and most relentless enemy and opponent. The Church
    in Mexico is opposed to all enlightenment of the people. The
    clergy, if they can be honored with that name, fight all
    improvements. They want no railways or telegraphs and when
    he adopted a system of compulsory education the war began in
    earnest. Diaz was determined, however, and he retaliated by
    closing up the convents and prohibiting the establishment of
    monasteries. Being further opposed in his efforts at reform
    and defied by the priests he put hundreds of them in Pueblo
    in jail and prohibited the ringing of Church bells in certain
    localities. He forcibly impressed on them the fact that he was
    running Mexico, not they. He gave them to understand that his
    idea of Christianity was, that priests should preach Christ
    crucified and not revolution and infraction of the laws.

    In Mexico, priests can keep mistresses with impunity. From
    a church to a gambling-table is but a step, and the priests
    gamble with the rest. The rentals of houses of ill-fame, of
    gambling-houses, of bull-pens all go to a church which is
    supposed to teach religion. Because Diaz, a catholic himself,
    will not tolerate such crimes under the guise of religion
    he is fought by the church and is the recipient of their

    Take the leading church in Monterey outside of the cathedral.
    You step from the church-door to a plaza owned by the church
    and in which stand fifty tents in which are conducted monte,
    roulette and other games of chance. Behind this stand the
    bull-pen, and the profits and rentals go to the Church.

    With all these lights the most plausible inference or theory
    is that the clerical party, as they see all these privileges
    being swept away, will cheerfully contribute the sinews of war
    with which to carry on a revolution against Diaz. They have
    agents in Europe and the money can come through that source
    without detection.

The agent of the Clerical Party in Europe is the Church itself. As a
body, it has ever opposed advancement and reform. It anathematized the
printing press as an invention of the devil and has steadily opposed
education of the people. Its work is best done in the darkness of
ignorance and superstition. For this cause it has opposed all new
discoveries in science, all reforms of whatever character.[106] Not
by the Catholic Church alone, but under the “Reformation,” as we have
seen, the same prohibition of the Bible to common people, has existed
the same resistance to education of the masses, the same opposition
to anti-slavery, to temperance, to woman’s demand for equality of
opportunity with man. The general nature of the church does not change
with change of name. Looking backward through history we even find the
same characteristics under the patriarchate; love of power, greed for
money, and intense selfishness combined in a general disregard for the
rights of others.

M. Renan’s drama, “L’Abbesse de Jouarre,” was written because he
wished to prove the worthlessness of those vows imposed on catholic
priests and nuns, as well as show the bondage under which they held the
feminine conscience, while the masculine conscience throws them aside.
It is not alone the nuns whose conscience is bound, but all feminine
members of the catholic church are more closely held in a spiritual
bondage, than the male members of that church. In 1885, a letter from
Chili to the _New York Sun_ graphically pictured certain Chilian
women penitents who are known by a peculiar dress they are required to
wear.[107] Others whose sins are so great that they cannot be purged by
a penitential dress, retire for a season to the “Convent of Penitents,”
where by mortification of the body they hope to gain absolution for
the soul. Still more severe than this retreat are other convents known
as “Houses of Detention,” where wayward daughters are sent, and young
mothers without husbands are cared for. But the whole country of Chili
fails to show a similar dress, or house of penitence, or correction for
men. Shame and penance, equally with sin, have been relegated by the
church to women alone.

The confessional is not frequented by men, and mass is but seldom
attended by them. For this laxity a double reason exists: First,
immorality in men is not looked upon as contrary to its discipline.
Second, through woman having been trained to a more sensitive
conscience than man, the confessional wrests secrets from her lips,
which gives the church knowledge of all it wishes to learn in regard
to the family. No more certain system could have been devised for the
destruction of woman’s self-respect than the one requiring penance from
her for sins the church passes lightly over in man. Nor would penance
of this character be demanded from women were the offices of the church
open to her the same as to man. No greater crime against humanity has
ever been known than the division of morality into two codes, the
strict for woman, the lax for man. Nor has woman been the sole sufferer
from this creation of Two Moral Codes within the Christian Church.
Through it man has lost fine discrimination between good and evil, and
the Church itself as the originator of this distinction in sin upon
the trend of sex, has become the creator and sustainer of injustice,
falsehood and the crimes into which its priests have most deeply sunk.
Nor is this condition of the past. As late as the fall of 1892 a number
of articles appeared in Canadian papers openly accusing the catholic
priesthood of that province of the grossest immorality.[108] That
priestly celibacy yet continues in the Romish Church is not a subject
of surprise, when we realize the immense power and wealth it has been
enabled to secure through its means; but it is one of astonishment,
carrying with it a premonition of danger, that we now see a similar
tendency in the ritualistic portion of the Episcopal Church, both in
England and the United States. The evils of monasticism, although less
potent than during the middle ages, are still great, and in finding
entrance into Protestant denominations are a fresh warning of their
dangerous tendency. The experience of the past should not appeal to
us in vain. We have noticed the perils to society arising from those
classes of persons who, under plea of religion, evade the duties of
family and social life. No crime against the world can be greater than
the deliberate divestment of responsibility by one’s self, because
tired of the warfare of life, that struggle which comes to every human
being; the becoming “fascinated with the conceptions of an existence”
outside of ordinary cares; and the entrance into an order in which
one’s own personal responsibility is largely surrendered to others
is not alone a crime against the state, but a sin against one’s own
self and against humanity. An order which thereafter assumes the task
of directing the thoughts and lives of its members into a channel
of “repose and contentment” as certain protestant orders do, is one
of the dangerous religious elements of the present day. No crime
against one’s self or against society can be greater than this. In the
Ritualistic Episcopal Church are to be found monks and sisterhoods
upon the celibate plan, confessors and penance, all of them primal
elements in moral and spiritual degradation. If religion has a lesson
to teach mankind, it is that of personal responsibility; it is that
of the worth and duty of the individual; it is that each human being
is alone accountable for his or her course in life; it is the lesson
of the absolute equality of each human being with every other human
being in relation to these cardinal points. The lesson should have been
learned ere this, that ecclesiastical pretense of divinely appointed
power has ever made the priesthood arrogant, coarse and tyrannical;
the male laity dependent and dissimulating; woman, self-distrustful
and timorous, believing in the duty of humiliation and self-sacrifice;
that her life is not to be lived primarily for herself alone, but that
her very right to existence is dependent upon the benefit thereby to
accrue to some other person. Today, as of old, the underlying idea of
monasticism, of “brotherhoods,” “sisterhoods,” and their ilk even in
Protestant denominations, is the divine authority of some priestly
superior, and that the power of remitting sins inheres in some system
under control of some priest. The Ritualistic party of the Episcopal
Church, equally with the Roman Catholic Church, makes frequent
reference to these words of Christ—St. John XX, XXIII—“Whatever sins
you remit they are remitted unto them, and whatsoever sins you retain
are retained,” thus premising the divine power of the priesthood.

_Chapter Three_

+Canon Law+

The earliest Saxon laws were almost entirely ecclesiastical,[1] their
basis seeming to have been payment of tithes to the Church and support
of the pope through what was known as the “hearth penny” to St. Peter.
Marriage was by no means allowed to escape general ecclesiastical
control, its legitimacy being made to depend upon the sanction and
services of a priest.[2] This we learn from Reeves, whose authority is
indisputable,[3] therefore we discover that even long before marriage
was constituted one of the sacraments, celibacy or the confessional
established, the Church had perceived the great increase in its
authority to be brought about by gaining control of the marriage
ceremony and making its legitimacy depend upon the services of a
priest. This was a material step towards the subjugation of mankind;
one whose dire consequences have not yet received due consideration.
When Rome became a Christian State, and the phallic cross triumphed
over the gods and goddesses of old, the condition of woman under the
civil law became more degraded. The change from ancient civilization
to that renewed barbarism at an early age of the Christian era, which
so many writers note without perceiving its cause, is to be found in
the low conception of womanhood inculcated by the Church. Ignorance,
superstition, falsehood and forgery united in creating new codes of
law, new customs of society, new habits of thought, which, having for
centuries been imposed upon mankind by the united force of the Church
and the State, still continue their impress upon modern life and law.

Among general canons we find that “No woman may approach the altar.”
“A woman may not baptize without extreme necessity.” “Woman may not
receive the Eucharist under a black veil.” “Woman may not receive the
Eucharist in _morbo suo menstrule_.”

At the Synod or Council of Elvira,[4] 305 or 306, several restrictive
canons were formulated against woman. Under Canon 81, she was forbidden
to write in her own name to lay christians, but only in the name of her
husband. Women were not to receive letters of friendship from any one
addressed only to themselves.

From the commencement of the fifth century, the Christian clergy
acquired a powerful influence in Rome. Bishops and priests were the
municipal magistrates of the Roman Empire, of which little now remained
except its municipal government; thus the Church in reality became
Rome, and Rome the Church. It has been declared difficult to fix with
precision the period at which ecclesiastics first began to claim
exemption from civil jurisdiction. The Synod of Paris, 615, seems to
have secured to the clergy the privilege of being brought before mixed
tribunals in all cases which had theretofore belonged to the civil
judge alone. Bishops acquired greater power from having an oversight
over the whole administration of justice committed to them, while
their spiritual judgments were rendered more effective by the addition
of excommunication to civil punishments. The State, at first holding
repression over the Church, added to its powers by relieving the clergy
from all civil duties,[5] thus tending to make of them a body exterior
to the civil government. This division was farther increased through
the emperors giving confirmation to the decisions pronounced by bishops
in ecclesiastical affairs, and also when they were chosen umpires in
civil suits; the tendency of this action was towards the creation of
an ecclesiastical law with separate powers from the civil law. Another
step towards the separation of civil from ecclesiastical law and the
supremacy of the latter, was made when in cases of discipline the
clergy were allowed to come under the authority and supervision of the
Spiritual Courts.[6]

As soon as Christianity became the religion of the State, this power
was still farther increased by the permission accorded ecclesiastics to
accept gifts, inherit and hold property; the purity of clerical motives
being thereby greatly lessened, as covetous and unscrupulous persons
were forthwith attracted to this profession. The law of tithes was
introduced by Charlemagne, and his edicts largely increased clerical
power. The compilation of a Code of Canon Law was begun as early as
the ninth century,[7] by which period the olden acknowledged rights of
the clergy, those of superintending morals and interference on behalf
of the unfortunate, had largely been lost sight of, or diverted from
their proper course by a system of ecclesiastical tyranny which created
an order of morals, whose sole design was that of building up priestly

The complete inferiority and subordination of the female sex was
maintained both by civil and common law. It was a principle of common
law that sons should be admitted to an inheritance before daughters.[8]
This distinction created by the Church in the interests of the class
which was alone admitted to the priesthood, thus placing the possession
of wealth in the hands of man, did much towards keeping woman in a
subordinate condition. In accordance with natural law, the person not
owning property is less interested in the welfare of the State than
the one possessing it, a denial of the rights of ownership acting
prejudicially upon the individual.

Ecclesiastical or Canon Law[9] made its greatest encroachments at the
period when Chivalry[10] was at its height; the outward show of respect
and honor to woman under chivalry keeping pace in its false pretence
with the destruction of her legal rights. The general conception in
regard to woman was so degraded at this period that a “Community of
Women” was proposed, to whom all men should act in the relation of
husbands.[11] This plan was advocated by Jean de Meung, the “Poet of
Chivalry,” in his famous _Roman de la Rose_. Christine of Pisa, a woman
of learning and remarkable force of character, the first strictly
literary woman of western Europe, wrote a work in defense of her sex
against the general libidinous character of the age.[12] Her opposition
to the debasing theories of the “Romance” marks the later period of
woman’s entrance into literature, and is an era from which dates the
modern intellectual development of Europe.[13] Efforts to utterly
crush the moral rectitude of women through the adoption of those base
ideas of phallic origin, having been the systematic course of the
Church, the State and society through many hundred years, it is a most
notable proof of her innate disbelief in this teaching, that woman’s
first literary work of modern times was written in opposition to such
a powerfully sustained theory as to her innate depravity. Christine
asserted the common humanity of woman, entirely repudiating the sensual
ideas of the times.

To the credit of mankind it must be recorded that the laity did not
unresistingly yield to priestly power, but made many attempts to
take their temporal concerns from under priestly control. But under
the general paucity of education, and the abnegation of the will so
sedulously inculcated by the Church as the supreme duty of the laity,
its dread power brought to bear in the enforcement of its teaching by
terrifying threats of excommunication and future eternal torment, the
rights of even the male portion of the people were gradually lost. The
control of the priesthood over all things of a temporal as well as
of a spiritual nature, tended to make them a distinct body from the
laity. In pursuance of its aims for universal dominion, the Church saw
the necessity of assuming control of temporal affairs. Rights were
divided into those pertaining to persons and things; the rights of
persons belonged to the priesthood alone, but inasmuch as every man,
whatever his condition, could become a priest, and no woman however
learned or pious or high in station could be admitted to its ranks,
the whole tendency of ecclesiastical law was to divide mankind into
a holy or divine sex, and an unholy or impious one.[14] Thus Canon
Law still farther separated those whose interests were the same,
creating an antagonism in the minds of all men against all women, which
bearing upon all business of ordinary life between men and women, fell
with its greatest weight upon women. It corrupted the Common Law of
England, and perverted the civil codes of other nations. Under Canon
Law wives were deprived of the control of both person and property,
while sisters were not allowed to inherit with brothers; property,
according to old ecclesiastical language, going “to the worthiest of
blood.” Blackstone acknowledges that this distinction between brothers
and sisters reflects shame upon England, and was no part of the old
Roman law, under which the children of a family inherited equally
without distinction of sex.[15] It was as late as 1879 before the Canon
Law in regard to the sole inheritance of sons was repealed in one of
the Swiss Cantons. The influence of this law in creating selfishness
was manifested by the opposition it met, brothers piteously asserting
ruin to themselves by this act of justice to their sisters. Whenever
the Canon Law is analyzed it is found destructive to the higher moral
sentiments of humanity. A woman was prohibited the priesthood, and as
the property of men entering orders became forfeited to the Church, the
real intent of this law—that of obtaining control of property—which
otherwise might have escaped the grasping hand of the church, is easily
discernible. From its first theory of woman’s inferiority to its last
struggle for power at the present day, the influence and action of the
Patriarchate is clearly seen. The touch of the Church upon family life,
inheritance and education, increased the power of the Patriarchate.

As celibacy proved a lucrative method of bringing wealth into its
coffers, so marriage was early made a source of revenue to the Church,
Canon Law creating it a sacrament to be performed at the church door.
Owing, however, to the innate sinfulness of marriage, this sacrament
was not for many years allowed to take place within the sacred building
dedicated to God, and deemed too holy to permit the entrance of a woman
within its sacred walls at certain periods of her life. In order to
secure full control of this relation marriage unblessed by a priest
was declared to be concubinage, and carried with it deprivation of
church privileges, which the ignorance of the people held to be of
vital importance. In entering this relation the wife was compelled to
relinquish her name, her property, the control of her person, her own
sacred individuality, and to promise obedience to her husband in all
things. Certain hours of the day to suit the convenience of priests
were set aside as canonical, after which time no marriage could be

Nor has this priestly control of marriage been confined to the
Catholics alone. Similar laws were extant after the Reformation. In
England 1603, Canon 62 instituted that under penalty of suspension
people could not marry except between the hours of eight and twelve
in the forenoon, nor was marriage then allowed in any private place
but must be performed at the church door.[16] The rapid growth of the
Canon Law in England must be ascribed to avarice; the denial to wives
of any right of property in the marital union being an example. At
this period Canon Law began to take cognizance of crimes, establishing
an equivalent in money for every species of wrong doing. The Church
not only remitted penalty for crimes already committed, but sold
indulgences for the commission of new ones. Its touch soon extended
to all relations of life. Marriages within the seventh degree were
forbidden by the Church as incestuous,[17] but to those able to pay
for such indulgences a dispensation for such “incestuous” marriage
was readily granted. No crime so great it could not be condoned for
money. Thus through Canon Law was seen the anomaly of legal marriage
between the laity pronounced concubinage, while the concubines of
priests were termed “wives.” As soon as the legality of marriage was
made dependent upon priestly sanction the door of gross immorality was
widely opened.[18] All restrictions connected with this relation were
made to fall with heaviest weight upon woman. Husbands were secured the
right of separation for causes not freeing wives; even the adultery
of the husband was not deemed sufficient cause unless he brought his
mistress into the same house with his wife.[19] Church and State
sustained each other. Conviction of the husband for a capital crime
gave the wife no release from the marriage bond, yet in case of the
husband’s treason, his innocent wife and children were robbed of all
share in the estate of the criminal husband and father and were reduced
to beggary, his estate escheating to the State. As under civil law
so under ecclesiastical, the Church recognized but slight difference
in the guilt of a contumacious husband and that of his pious wife
and children.[20] It was a principle of the Church that the innocent
must suffer for the guilty, especially when the innocent were women
and children powerless to aid themselves. At its every step Canon Law
injured woman. The clergy assuming to be an order of spiritual beings,
claimed immunity from civil law and allowed for themselves an “arrest
of judgment” ultimately enlarged so as to include all male persons who
could read and write. This arrest known as “benefit of clergy” was
denied to all women, who were liable to sentence of death for the first
crime of simple larceny, bigamy, etc.[21] Men who by virtue of sex
could become priests if able to read, were for the same crimes punished
by simple branding in the hand, or a few months imprisonment, while a
woman was drawn and burned alive. Did not history furnish much proof
of this character it would be impossible to believe that such barbaric
injustice was part of English law down to the end of the eighteenth
century. Woman first rendered ineligible to the priesthood, was then
punished for this ineligibility.

Blackstone recognizes as among the remarkable legal events of the
kingdom, the great alteration in the laws through the separation
of ecclesiastical courts from the civil. Matrimonial causes, or
injuries respecting the rights of marriage are recognized by him as
quite an undisturbed branch of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, from the
Church having so early converted this contract into a sacramental
ordinance.[22] During many centuries education was denied to woman in
Christian countries for reasons connected with her ineligibility to the
priesthood. The art of reading is by scholars believed to have been one
of the ancient mysteries taught at Eleusis and other olden temples;
learning, then, as at later periods, was in the hands of priests;
therefore the fact of being able to read was synonymous with the right
of entering the priesthood. This right appertained to women in many
ancient nations even under the Patriarchate. Higgins shows that the
word _Liber_ from which our words liberty, freedom, are derived, is
one and the same as _liber_, a book, and had close connection with the
intellectual, literary, and priestly class. As under Christian doctrine
the priesthood was denied to woman, so under the same rule learning was
prohibited to her.[23] To permit woman’s education under Christianity
would have been a virtual concession of her right to the priesthood. In
not allowing her “benefit of clergy” the priests were but consistent
with themselves and their pretensions as to the superior holiness of
the male sex. That a woman should be burned alive for a crime whose
only punishment for a man was a few months imprisonment, was in unison
with the whole teaching of the Christian Church regarding woman. Under
Canon Law many of the shields theretofore thrown about women were
removed. Punishment for crimes against them lessened, while crimes
committed by them were more severely punished. Rape, which in early
English history was termed felony, its penalty, death, was regarded in
a less heinous light under clerical rule.

Under the political constitutions of the Saxons, bishops had seats in
the national council and all laws were prefaced by a formal declaration
of their consent. By their influence it became a general law that a
woman could never take of an inheritance with a man, unless perhaps
by the particular and ancient customs of some cities or towns; while
daughters at a father’s death could be left totally unprovided for. A
law was enacted in the reign of Edward VI that no son should be passed
over in his father’s will unless disinherited in plain terms and a
just cause given. In case of daughters, sex was deemed “a just cause”
for leaving them in poverty. The earlier laws of the Danish Knut, or
Canute, show that the estate was then divided among all the children.
Under Canon Law, the testimony of a woman was not received in a court
of justice. She was depicted by the Church as the source of all evil,
the mother of every ill.[24] Legislation had the apparent aim of
freeing the clergy from all responsibility to the civil or moral law,
and placing the weight of every sin or crime upon woman.

A council at Tivoli in the Soisonnais, A.D. 909, presided over
by twelve bishops, promulgated a Canon requiring the oath of seven
persons to convict a priest with having lived with a woman; if their
oath failed of clearing him he was allowed to justify himself upon
his sole oath. Under Canon Law a woman could not bring an accusation
unless prosecuted for an injury done to herself. It is less than
thirty years since this law was extant in Scotland; and as late as
1878, that through the influence of Signor Morelli, the Italian
Parliament repealed the old restriction existant in that country
regarding woman’s testimony. Under Canon Law a woman could not be
witness in ecclesiastical or criminal suits, nor attest a will.[25]
To cast doubts upon a person’s word is indicative of the most supreme
contempt, importing discredit to the whole character. That a woman was
not allowed to attest a will, nor become a witness in ecclesiastical
suits, implied great degradation and is a very strong proof of the
low esteem in which woman was held both by State and Church. That a
priest could clear himself upon his own unsubstantiated oath is equally
significative of the respect in which this office was held, as well as
showing the degree in which all law was made to shield man and degrade
woman. When we find the oath of seven women required to nullify that
of one layman, we need no stronger testimony as to woman’s inequality
before the law. Canonists laid down the law for all matters of a
temporal nature whether civil or criminal. The buying and selling of
lands; leasing, mortgaging, contracts; the descent of inheritance; the
prosecution and punishment of murder; theft; detection of thieves;
frauds; those and many other objects of temporal jurisdiction were
provided for by Canon Law. It was intended that the clergy should come
entirely under its action, governed as a distinct people from the
laity. The principal efforts of the Canon Law towards which all its
enactments tended, was the subordination of woman[26] and the elevation
of the hierarchy. To secure these two ends the church did not hesitate
at forgery. For many hundred years a collection of Decretals, or what
were claimed as decrees of the early popes, carried great authority,
although later investigation has proven them forgeries.[27] Civil
as well as ecclesiastical laws were forged in the interest of the
priesthood; a noted instance, was the once famous law of Constantine
which endowed bishops with unlimited power, giving them jurisdiction in
all kinds of causes. This law declared that whatever is determined by
the judgment of bishops shall always be held as sacred and venerable,
and that in all kinds of causes whether they are tried according to the
pastoral or civil law that it is law to be forever observed by all.

The famous Seldon known as the “Light of England,” declares it to
have been “a prodigious and monstrous jurisdiction” assumed by the
priestly order, by means of falsehood and forgery.[28] The two classes
of temporal affairs that Spiritual Courts especially endeavored to
appropriate, were marriages, and wills, with everything bearing upon
them. In these the greatest oppression fell upon women.[29] Canon Law
gradually acquired enormous power through the control it gained over
wills, the guardianship of orphans, marriage, and divorce.[30] As soon
as ecclesiastical courts were divided from the temporal in England,[31]
a new set of principles and maxims began to prevail. This was one of
the first effects of the Conquest, but in 1272, Robert Kilmandy, Dean
of Canterbury, gave directions for the restoration and observation of
the ancient and neglected laws of Ecclesiastical Courts; of these the
Court of Arches was one of the most ancient. It is almost impossible to
fix the date of ecclesiastical rule, unless indeed we go back to the
very foundation of the church. As noted, the early Saxons were largely
governed by their priests. In 615, at the Paris synod, the clergy were
given authority in matters theretofore under civil power, while in
England we find priestly power to have been great during the fourth and
fifth centuries. Bracton sets the one hundred and fifty years between
the middle of the twelfth and end of the thirteenth centuries as the
period when this power took its greatest strides. At this time it
touched upon wills, inheritance, bequests, the legitimacy of children,
the marriage relation, and all family concerns, having broken over many
securities of the common law. This period covers the establishment of
celibacy with the trains of evils noted in the preceding chapter, when
the marriage of priests was declared invalid, their wives branded as
immoral persons, and stain of illegitimacy thrown upon their children.
Despite the guarantees of the Runnymede Charter, and the religious
rebellion of the Eighth Henry, despite the vigor of Elizabeth who bent
both priest and prelate to her fiery will, the influence of this period
moved down in line with the Reformation, and to the injury of woman,
successfully incorporated its worst features into the common law; the
new church, social and family life all partaking of this injustice.
A great number of canons were enacted after the reformation. These,
together with the foreign canons which had been adopted, were held
as part of the law of England.[32] The Episcopal church appropriated
numerous canons extant at the time of the reformation, several of these
having been created for the purpose of sustaining the church at a
period when the temporal power threatened encroachment. The archdeacon
of Surrey prepared a voluminous work upon this subject known as the
Jurus,[33] proving that these canons, decrees, etc., when falling into
disuse had been established by act of Parliament, as part of the law
of England. The preface of his work declared that it had been prepared
purely for the service of the clergy, and in support of the rights and
privileges of the Church. Thus we have direct proof of the adoption of
papal decrees as part of the government of the Protestant Episcopal
church,—the Anglican—and also as part of English law.

An act of Parliament at this age was regarded as synonymous with a law
of God. The Bible and the English government were upon the same plane,
each to be implicitly obeyed.[34] Canon Law thus firmly established
by act of Parliament, the union of Church and State complete, England
lost much of that civil freedom whose origin can be traced to the wise
legislation and love of freedom inhering in two British queens, Martia
and Boadicea. Suffering from cruel wrong, the latter rose in revolt
against the Romans. Riding among the squadrons of her army she thus
addressed them:

    It will not be the first time, Britons, that you have been
    victorious under the conduct of your queen. I come not here
    as one of royal blood, to fight for empire or riches, but as
    one of the common people to avenge the loss of their liberty,
    the wrongs of myself and my children. If you Britons will but
    consider the motives of our war, you will resolve to conquer
    or die. Is it not much better to fall in the defense of
    liberty than to be exposed to the outrages of the Romans? Such
    at least is my resolution, you may if you please live and be

But many historians date the entire subordination of the common law
to ecclesiasticism, to the reign of Stephen, who ascended to the
throne 1135, the fourth of the Anglo-Norman kings. In order to keep
the ranks of the church full, the bearing of children was enforced
upon women as a religious duty. No condition of health or distaste
for motherhood was admitted as exemption. Alike from the altar, the
confessional, and at the marital ceremony,[35] was this duty taught,
nor has such instruction even under the light of physiology and new
regard for personal rights, yet ceased.[36] No less is the unresisting
subjection of women in this relation indirectly or directly enforced by
the Protestant and the Greek churches as the law of the Bible and God.
“Increase and multiply”[37] has been the first commandment for woman,
held as far more binding upon her than the “Ten Words” of Mount Sinai.
Proof exists in abundance of a character impossible to present in this

Under the general absence of learning and the equally general reverence
for whatever emanated from the church, minor ecclesiastics found
it in their power to promulgate doctrines to suit every new set of
circumstances; thus many laws aside from regularly promulgated canons,
came from time to time into force. When once applied they assumed all
the power of custom and soon bore all the force of common law. The
evils of ecclesiastical law were soon increased through the unsparing
use of forgery and falsehood. Lea says:

    In the remodeling of European Institutions, so necessary to
    the interests of Christianity and civilization, one of the
    most efficient agencies was the collection of Canons known as
    the False Decretals. Forgery was by no means a novel expedient
    to the church. From the earliest times orthodox and heretics
    had rivalled each other in the manufacture of whatever
    documents were necessary to substantiate their respective
    positions whether in faith or discipline. An examination
    of these Decretals tends to the conclusion that they were
    not the result of one effort or the work of one man. Their
    constant repetitions and their frequent contradiction would
    seem to prove this, and to show that they were manufactured
    from time to time to meet the exigencies of the moment or to
    gratify the feelings of the writers. Interpolated into codes
    of law, adopted and amplified in the canons of councils and
    the decretals of popes, they speedily became part of the
    civil and ecclesiastical policy of Europe, leaving traces
    on the constitutions which they afflicted for centuries....
    The pretenses and privileges which they conferred on the
    hierarchy became the most dearly prized and frequently quoted
    portions of the Canon Law. In each struggle with the temporal
    authority, it was the arsenal from which were drawn the most
    effective weapons, and after each struggle the sacerdotal
    combatants had higher vantage ground for the ensuing conflict
    ... theories of ecclesiastical superiority which left so
    profound an impress on the middle ages and which have in no
    slight degree molded our modern civilization.

Even Magna Charta strengthened Canon Law, confirming many liberties of
the Church, and injuring women by prohibiting appeal to them unless
for the death of their husbands. While the general tenor of the church
was against marriage, an unmarried woman unless dedicating her life
to the church was regarded with more contempt than the married. To be
under control of a husband was looked upon as the normal condition of
women not living celibate lives. Consequently women were driven into
marriage or monastic houses,[38] and no reproach so great as the term
“old maid.” The influence of custom is nowhere more discernible than
in Blackstone himself. The great commentator while fully admitting
the blending of Canon with Common law, also acknowledging its most
prejudicial effects to have fallen upon woman, yet attempts to prove
that the liberties of the English people were not infringed through
ecclesiasticism. He is so entirely permeated with the church doctrine
of woman’s created inferiority as not to be willing to acknowledge
the infringement of her natural liberty through it, although at the
same time he declares that “whosoever would fully understand the Canon
Law must study Common Law in respect to woman.” Such benumbing of the
moral faculties through her doctrines is among the greatest wrongs
perpetrated by the church upon mankind. Nor is it alone in regard to
woman. During the Franco-Prussian war a writer declared the great and
absolute need of the French people to be education; that of moral
character there was absolutely none, either in the higher or lower
classes. Even the sons of aristocratic families educated in Jesuit
schools, being at most taught that wrong can only be measured by a
formal religious standard, and that every wrong can be wiped out by
confession to the priest. French education, this writer declared to
be that of two centuries ago, when might was looked upon as identical
with justice. Nor can morality be taught while its basis in the church
remains the same.

The priestly profession held the most brilliant promises of gratified
ambition to every man that entered it. Not alone did he possess the
keys of heaven and hell, but also those of temporal power. The laity
were his obedient servants upon which he could impose penance and
from whose coffers wealth could be made to flow into his own. Through
long continued false teaching the people believed their fate in both
worlds more fully depended upon the priesthood than upon their own
course in life, God having deputed a share of his power to every
priest and monk, no matter how debased; and that when he spoke it was
not himself, but God, through his lips, as asserted by the priesthood
themselves. This impious assertion so capable as shown of being used
for the most tyrannous purposes, came also into the Reformation, and
is even heard from the lips of Protestant clergymen today.[39] Denied
recognition of a right to decide for themselves whether the priest
spoke from God, or from his own ambitious and iniquitous purposes,
deprived of education as well as of free thought—the latter a crime
to be punished with death after the most diabolical torture—it is not
a subject of surprise that the majority of the christian world was a
prey to the vilest superstition. The claim of infallibility, which may
be unsuccessfully combated when urged by a single individual, became
all-potent when advanced by a large powerfully organized and widely
distributed class under guise of religion, into which the element
of fear largely entered. No salvation outside of the church was a
fundamental doctrine of that body. Hell was declared not to be peopled
alone by the heathen, but by christian heretics, and the excommunicated
who had died without obtaining forgiveness from the Church. These were
depicted as in eternal torments of a more terrible character than
even those whom birth had left ignorant of the plan of salvation. The
strength of the church lay in its control of the conscience and the
will. Upon the State it fastened double bonds; first, by its control
of each individual member; second, in its capacity of secular ruler.
Long before the days of Torquemada and Ximenes, the Inquisition had
practically been brought to every man’s door. The imagination, that
faculty that in its perfection constitutes the happiness of mankind,
was made the implement of excessive mental torture.

Common Law as it exists today is the outgrowth of Ecclesiastical or
Canon Law touching upon all the relations of life but falling with
heaviest weight upon woman, as Blackstone so frankly admits.[40] From
the X to the XVI centuries is the period when the features of the
Canon Law most derogatory to woman became thoroughly incorporated into
English common law, since which period the complete inferiority and
subordination of woman has been as fully maintained by the State as by
the Church.

Common Law is not alone English law, it is the basic law of the
United States. Chancellor Kent said of it, “Common Law is part of the
fundamental law of the United States.” It has been recognized and
adopted as one entire system by the constitutions of Massachusetts,
New York, New Jersey and Maryland. It has been assumed by courts of
justice, or declared by statute, as the law of the land in every State,
although its influence upon the criminal codes of England and the
United States has but recently attracted the attention of legal minds.
Wharton whose _Criminal Law_ has been for years a standard work, did
not examine this relation until its seventh edition. In the preface to
this edition he gave a copious array of authors in English, German,
Latin, in proof that the criminal codes of those two countries are
permanently based upon Ecclesiastical Law.

An early council of Carthage thus ordained: “Let not a woman however
learned or holy presume to teach a man in a public assembly.” To this
Canon may be ascribed the obstacles thrown in the way of women even
during the present century, who have come before the world as public
teachers in the pulpit, at the bar, in medicine, or the more customary
branches of instruction. Advancing civilization of the present century
is still hampered by the laws of an imperfect church, enacted many
hundred years since. The trial of Mistress Anne Hutchinson in New
England, during the XVII century, was chiefly for the sin of having
taught men.

All modern legislation can be referred to the church for its origin
although most especially noticeable in reference to women legislated
for as a class, distinct and separate from men. Under Church laws,
the humble, the ignorant, the helpless have been the most oppressed,
because of their powerlessness, but upon no part of humanity has this
oppression so heavily fallen as upon her whom the church has declared
to be the author of all the misery of human life.[41] The laws of
bastardy and illegitimacy still extant in Christian countries which
decree that a child born outside of marriage shall be known by its
mother’s name and she alone responsible for its support, and which
do not allow it to inherit its putative father’s property even when
he acknowledges the child as his own, are of ecclesiastical origin.
Enacted by the Church in its most powerful days, as protection to a
celibate priesthood against all claim by mother or child, they are
still a reminder of the Matriarchate when the sole right of the mother
to the child was unquestioned. But under Church ruling this law that
the child should follow the condition of the mother, herself but a
slave, was the source of great injustice both to women and to thousands
of innocent children. Under feudalism and during slavery the child of
the feudal lord or powerful master by a serf woman, became at birth
subject to all the restrictions of the mother while the father was
freed from accountability of any nature. The Antonelli case referred
to in the second chapter, in which the Countess Lambertini claimed
heirship of Cardinal Antonelli’s property as his daughter, was decided
against her not upon denial of her paternity which was most fully
proven, but because under church law this daughter had no claim upon
her priestly father. Under Canon Law she was no more to be regarded as
his child than as the child of any other man. She was “fatherless.” She
was “a sacrilegious child” having violated sacred things by coming into
existence. Her “holy” father under Canon Law was entirely irresponsible
for her birth.[42]

The reformation proved itself in many ways as restrictive towards
woman as Catholicism. The commencement of modern law dates to the
reign of Elizabeth, who established the reformation upon a firm basis.
The oppression of her reign exceeded all that had been experienced
under Catholicism. No cottager in England was permitted to shelter
his homeless mother or sister under penalty[43] because she was
“masterless.” The greatest amount of legislation both religious and
secular under the Patriarchate has had woman for its object, and this
is especially noticeable in all countries where Christianity has been
the dominant power, because she has not been regarded by the church
as a component part of humanity, but as an offshoot whose rights and
responsibility were entirely different from those of man. Although
among the Anglo-Saxons the priesthood possessed great influence yet
after the Norman Conquest ecclesiasticism gained much greater control
in England, and Canon Law began to influence legislation, as has been
shown, exercising its chief restrictive force upon woman. While under
old Common Law,[44] a husband was compelled to leave his wife one-third
of his property and could leave her as much more as he pleased, by
Canon Law he was prohibited from leaving her more than one-third and
could leave her as much less as he pleased. Thus ecclesiasticism
presumed to control a husband’s affections and placing its slimy
fingers upon common law, allowed the husband to leave his wife in
absolute poverty, notwithstanding that her property upon marriage, and
her services under marriage, belonged exclusively to him. As early as
the twelfth century, Glanville laid it down as a law of the British
Kingdom that no one was compelled to leave another person any portion
of his property, and that the part usually devised to wives was left
them at the dictate of affection and not of law. Thus early did the
Church in England override Common Law to the detriment of woman. While
thus legislating in opposition to family rights, the church continually
favored its own increase of its own property.[45] The world has
produced no system so thoroughly calculated to extend its own power and
wealth, as this vast celibate organization which, under the guise of
religion, appealed to man’s superstition, and ruled his will under the
assumption of divine authority, the family being its chief objective
point of attack.

While under feudalism his lord was to receive the best gift at the
villein’s death, the church the second best, in time the demands of the
church overpowered those of the lord, as well as those of the family.
So rapacious did the church at last become in its demand for valuable
gifts and its claim of one third of a man’s property upon his decease,
that the civil law ultimately interfered, not however in the interests
of wives, but of creditors. Canon Law nearly everywhere prevailed,
having its largest growth through the pious fiction of woman’s created
inferiority. Wherever it became the basis of legislation, the laws of
succession and inheritance, and those in regard to children, constantly
sacrificed the interests of wives and daughters to those of husbands
and sons. Church legislation created numerous and stringent enactments
which rendered it impossible for woman to succeed to any considerable
amount of property, forcing her to entire dependence upon man, either
as a wife, or as a resident of a religious house; thus she entirely
lost the freedom possessed by her in pagan Rome.[46]

While under Canon Law the dower of the wife was forfeited by attainder
of the husband, yet the husband did not lose his right to the wife’s
property in case she was attainted of treason. Under Canon Law if for
recognized just cause of the husband’s cruelty the wife separated from
him, she was returned upon his demand provided he gave security for
treating her well.

Canon Law gave to the husband the power of compelling the wife’s return
if, for any cause, she left him. She was then at once in the position
of an outlaw, branded as a runaway who had left her master’s service,
a wife who had left “bed and board” without consent, and whom all
persons were forbidden “to harbor” or shelter “under penalty of the
law.” The absconding wife was in the position of an excommunicate from
the Catholic Church, or of a woman condemned as a witch. Any person
befriending her was held accessory to the wife’s theft of herself from
her husband, and rendered liable to fine and other punishment for
having helped to rob the husband (master) of his wife (slave). The
present formula of advertising a wife, which so frequently disgraces
the press, is due to this belief in wife-ownership.

    Whereas my wife ... has left my bed and board without just
    cause or provocation, I hereby forbid all persons from
    harboring or trusting her on my account.

By old English law, in case the wife was in danger of perishing in a
storm, it was allowable “to harbor” and shelter her. It is less than
fifty years since the dockets of a court in New York city, the great
metropolis of the United States, were sullied by the suit of a husband
against parties who had received, “harbored” and sheltered his wife
after she left him, the husband recovering $10,000 damages.

In losing control, upon marriage, of her person and her property,
woman’s condition became that of an infant. No act of hers was of legal
value. If she made a bargain her husband could repudiate it and the
person with whom she had contracted was held to have taken part in a
fraud. The denial under Common Law of her right to make a contract grew
out of the denial of her right of ownership. Not possessing control of
her inheritance or of her future actions, she was consequently held
unable to make a binding contract.[47] Forbidden the right of acting
for herself; deprived of the ownership and control of her own property
or earnings, woman had little opportunity to prove her business
capacity. Since the time of Aristotle the control of property has been
recognized as the basis of social and responsible conditions. The
great school of German jurists[48] teach that ownership increases both
physical and moral capacity, and that as owner, actual, or possible,
man is a more capable and worthy being than he would otherwise be.

Inasmuch as through both the ecclesiastical and civil laws of
Christendom, woman was debarred from giving testimony in courts of
law; sisters prohibited from sharing a patrimony with brothers; wives
deprived of property rights both of inheritance and earnings, it is
entirely justifiable to say that even the boasted Common Law, that
pride of English speaking peoples, has greatly injured civilization
through its destruction of woman’s property rights. Canon or Church
laws were enacted upon the principle of protection for men alone
and upon these civil laws gradually became wholly based. Herbert
Spencer[49] has not failed to recognize this fact in England. No less
in law than in religion is woman dealt with as a secondary being, for
whom equal religious rights or equal civil rights are not designed.
While under the Matriarchate justice and purity prevailed, and the
inherent rights of man were preserved, we find an entirely contrary
condition under the Patriarchate, that system enacting laws solely
with intent to man’s interest regardless alike of mother, sister, wife
or daughter. The entire destruction under Canon and civil law, of
woman’s property rights, has not alone lessened her responsibility,
but has also diminished her self-respect. As in common with a child,
or a slave, her business agreements were held as of no binding force,
she ultimately came to regard herself as incapable of business
transactions. In England until a very recent date, and in the United
States until when in 1839, Mississippi first placed the control of her
own property in a married woman’s hands (to be followed in 1848, by
Pennsylvania, New York, and about the same period by Rhode Island),
it was in the husband’s power in every part of christian Europe and
America, to repudiate any bargain, sale or gift made by the wife as
of no binding legal force, and this, even though she had brought the
entire property into the marital firm.[50] Therefore under Christian
laws the person with whom the wife made a contract, or to whom she
made a gift was held as a criminal, or participant in a fraud. The
wife under Canon Law belonged to the husband, and as a sequence to
not owning herself she could not own property, and in her condition
of servitude could possess no control over either her present or her
future actions. Such is Common Law warped and changed by Canon Law.[51]

Property is a delicate test of the condition of a nation. It is
a remarkable fact in history that the rights of property have
everywhere been recognized before the rights of person. The American
Revolution arose from an attack upon property rights and although
the Declaration of Independence assumed the rights of person to be
primal, this unique foundation for a system of government has not
yet fully been admitted in practice, and woman is still denied its
advantages and responsibilities. While the property owner unwittingly
becomes a hostage for the security of the state itself, it needs
governmental recognition of the rights of person, in order to create
firm self-reliance and a feeling of strength and freedom. A proper
self-respect cannot inhere in any person under governmental control of
others. Unless the person so governed constantly maintains a system
of rebellion in thought or deed, the soul gradually becomes debased,
and the finest principles of human nature suffer a rapid process of
disintegration. The integrity of elementary principles disappears,
bad citizenship results, the general rights of humanity are ignored,
selfish, personal, or family interests taking their place. Good
citizenship requires individual personal responsibility in affairs of
the state.

That property rather than person still receives recognition in
governmental matters, owes its origin to the period when the rights
of the common people in both property and person were ignored. The
effort of the peasant was chiefly directed to securing property. To
his clouded vision, the wealth of the lord created his power, and to
a great extent such was the fact. Intuitively he felt that property
rights were the basis of the rights of persons. The Church possessed
enormous wealth, as did all his oppressors, and the peasant could but
see that control of rights of property was a dangerous assault upon
their rights of person. The foremost element of all slavery is the
denial to the slave of right to the proceeds of his own labor. As soon
as a colored slave in the United States, was permitted to hire his
time, the door of freedom began to open for him. Thus when Canon Law so
influenced Civil and Common Law that it forbade woman’s inheritance and
ownership of property, it placed its final touch upon her degradation;
she virtually became a slave to her husband. Sir Henry Maine is
outspoken in declaring that Christianity has thus deeply injured
civilization, an injury from which he asserts there can be no recovery
as long as society remains christian. As a man of profound thought he
does not fail to see that the prevailing religious sentiment created
by the teachings of the church as to woman’s created inferiority and
subjection to man, was the cause of that destruction of her property
rights. The priests of pagan Rome held juster view regarding woman than
did the Christian Church. Before the establishment of Christianity they
had conferred the rights of woman to property; daughters inherited
equally with sons. To such extent was woman’s rights of property
carried that at one period, as has been heretofore stated, the greater
part of the real-estate of the empire was in woman’s possession.[52]
The slavish condition of woman greatly increased through denial of
her rights of inheritance, was more fully established through denial
to her of the fruits of her own labor in the marriage relation. Under
church law the wife was the husband’s personal slave, all her time was
absolutely his. Civil and ecclesiastical law held her as completely
under his authority. Her property, her person, her time and services
were all at the husband’s disposal. Nor did the Reformation effect
a change in this respect. Luther’s ninety Theses nailed against the
church door in Wittemberg did not assert woman’s natural or religious
equality with man. It was a maxim of his that “no gown or garment
worse became a woman than that she will be wise.” The home under the
reformation was governed by the laws in force before that period.

First: She was to be under obedience to the masculine head of the

Second: She was to be constantly employed for his benefit.

Third: Her society was strictly chosen for her by her master and
responsible head.

Fourth: This masculine family head was regarded as a general
father-confessor to whom she was held as responsible in word and deed.

Fifth: Neither genius nor talent could free women from such control
without his consent.

The Cromwellian period while exhibiting an increase of piety brought
no amelioration to woman. The old Church doctrine of her having
caused the expulsion of men from Paradise was still proclaimed from
the pulpit, and warnings against her extreme sinfulness lost none of
their invective strength from the lips of the new gospel. All kinds
of learning and accomplishments for her fell under new reprobation
and the old teaching as to her iniquities and the necessity for her
to feel shame from the fact of her existence took new force after the
rise of Melancthon, Huss, and Luther.[53] About this period it was
said “she that knoweth how to compound a pudding is more desirable
than she who skilfully compoundeth a poem.”[54] Men thought it no
shame to devote themselves to the pleasure of the table. Epicures and
gluttons abounded, but to women was forbidden a seat at the world’s
intellectual board; she who secured learning did so at the peril of her
social and religious position. Under no other system of religion has
there been such absolute denial of woman’s right to directly approach
the divinity; under no other religious system has her debasement been

It cannot be asserted that the religious system teaching restrictive
moral and civil laws regarding woman, is of the past. Its still great
living influence is shown by the thousands of pilgrims who visited
Italy during the Pope’s Jubilee and the presents of incalculable
value that by tens of thousands poured into the papal treasury in
commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the entrance of Pope
Leo XIII into the priesthood. These were received from almost every
civilized nation, Christian, Mohammedan, Catholic, Protestant. Even
the President of the United States, head of a form of government
which recognizes religion as entirely disconnected with the State,
so far catered to superstition, so far conceded the assumptions of
this system, as to send an elegant copy of the Federal Constitution
to the Pope, through Cardinal Gibbons.[56] No stronger proof is
required of the still powerful influence of that system based upon
the degradation of woman, than the fact that the President of the
United States, temporary head of a nation professedly based upon
a recognition of equal civil, political and religious rights; the
Queen of England head of the Anglican Church; the Sultan of Turkey
representative of Mohammedanism; Sadogara, the celebrated Rabbi of
Vienna, known as the “Pope of the Hebrews,” were all found among the
number of persons outside of Catholicism who by gifts recognized this
occasion. It was but ten years previously that Pope Pius IX celebrated
his jubilee entrance into the Episcopal office with great pomp and
ceremony, but the jubilee of Leo XIII exceeded in splendor and popular
interest anything of the kind ever before known as the history of the
church. With a religious clientele of 200,000,000 behind him, and
the ten thousand magnificent testimonials as to the justice of his
claim as vicar of Jesus Christ, the world cannot fail to be impressed
by the danger to human liberty still connected with this powerful
organization; an organization that in its control of human thought and
human will has ever been of incalculable injury to mankind. Portions of
the daily press saw the continuing danger, declaring that:

    These facts are truly impressive indicating as they do the
    tremendous hold which the Roman ecclesiastical system has
    gained over the hearts and minds of men. Very striking, too,
    is the contrast between all this magnificence and pomp and
    manifest aspiration for temporal power on the part of one who
    claims to be the representative on earth of the “meek and
    lowly Jesus,” and the poverty, unostentation and self-denial
    of the “Son of Man,” who had not where to lay his head.

This jubilee is an event of great moment to the XIX century, at once
a warning and a proof of the life and strength of that scheme which
has for its real end, not alone the spiritual but also the temporal
subjugation of the entire human race. Since Italy under King Humbert
secured its release from the temporal power, thus severing the last
authoritative grasp of the pope upon temporal kingdoms, the attempt has
been sedulously made to create a fictitious sympathy for the pope under
claim of his imprisonment in the Vatican. Nor at the least supreme
moment of his pride and glorification did the pope forget to call
attention of the world to his temporal claims, by a refusal to receive
the offered gifts of the king and queen who occupy the worldly throne
he maintains to be especially his own.[57]

The doctrine of original sin and woman as the original sinner,
transplanted from Judaism into Christianity by Paul in the statement
that “Adam, first created, was not first in sin,” was developed to
its present evil proportions by the early Christian Fathers. To St.
Augustine, whose youth was spent in company with the most degraded
of womankind, is the world indebted for the full development of the
doctrine of original sin. Taught as one of the most sacred mysteries
of religion, which to doubt or to question was to hazard eternal
damnation, it at once exerted a most powerful and repressing influence
upon woman, fastening upon her a bondage which the civilization of the
nineteenth century has not been able to cast off.

Reverence for the ancient in customs, habits of life, law, religion, is
the strongest and most pernicious obstacle to advancing civilization.
To this doctrine of woman’s created inferiority[58] and original sin
we can trace those irregularities which for many centuries filled
the Church with shame, for practices more obscene than the orgies of
Babylon or Corinth, and which dragged Christendom to a darkness blacker
than the night of heathendom in pagan countries—a darkness upon which
the most searching efforts of historians cast scarcely one ray of
light—a darkness so profound that from the seventh to the eleventh
century no individual thought can be traced.

Rev. Charles Kingsley, a canon of the English Church, declared that from
the third to the fifteenth centuries, Christianity had been swamped
by hysteria in the practice of all those nameless orgies which made a
by-word of Corinth during the first century. Every evil was traced to
woman. A curious old black letter volume published in London, 1632,
declares that “the reason why women have no control in Parliament, why
they make no laws, consent to none, abrogate none, is their original

_Chapter Four_


The minds of people having been corrupted through centuries by the
doctrines of the Church in regard to woman, it became an easy step for
the State to aid in her degradation. The system of feudalism arising
from the theory that warfare was the normal condition of man, still
oppressed woman by bringing into power a class of men accustomed to
deeds of violence, who found their chief pleasure in the sufferings
of others. To be a woman appealed to no instinct of tenderness in
this class. To be a woman was not to be protected unless such woman
held power in her own right, or acted in place of some feudal lord.
The whole body of villeins and serfs were under absolute dominion
of the feudal lords. They were regarded as possessing no rights of
their own; the priests had control of their souls, the lord, of their
bodies. But it was not upon the male serfs that the greatest oppression
fell. Although the tillage of the soil, the care of swine and cattle
was theirs, the masters claiming half or more of everything, even to
one-half of the wool shorn from the flock,[1] and all exactions upon
them were great while their sense of security was slight, it was upon
their wives and daughters that the greatest outrages were inflicted. It
was a pastime of the castle retainers to fall upon peaceful villages,
to the consternation of the women, who were struck, tortured, and made
the sport of ribald soldiers.[2] “Serfs of the body,” they had no
protection. The vilest outrages were perpetrated by the feudal lords
under the name of “rights.” Women were taught by church and state
alike that the feudal lord or seigneur had a right to them not only as
against themselves, but as against any claim of husband or father. The
custom known by a variety of names, but more modernly as “marchetta,”
or “marquette,” compelled newly married women to a most dishonorable
servitude. They were regarded as the rightful prey of the feudal lord
for from one to three days after their marriage,[3] and from this
custom, the oldest son of the serf was held as the son of the lord, “as
perchance it was he who begot him.”

From this nefarious degradation of woman the custom of Borough-English
arose, the youngest son becoming the heir.[4] The original
signification of the word _borough_, being to make secure, the peasant
through Borough-English made secure the right of his own son to what
inheritance he might leave, thus cutting off his property from the
possible son of his hated lord. France, Germany, Prussia, England,
Scotland, and all christian countries in which feudalism existed,
held to the enforcement of marquette. The lord deemed this right his,
as fully as he did his claim to half the crops of the land, or half
the wool shorn from the sheep. More than one reign of terror arose
in France from the enforcement of this law, and the uprisings of
the peasants over Europe during the twelfth century and the fierce
Jacquerie, or Peasants War, of the fourteenth century in France, owed
their origin among other causes to the enforcement of these claims by
the lords upon the newly married wife. The Edicts of Marley securing
the seigneural tenure in Lower Canada transplanted that claim to
America when Canada was under the control of France.[5]

During the feudal period when chivalry held highest rank in the duties
of the knight, women of the lower classes were absolutely unprotected.
Both Church and State were their most bitter enemies; the lords even
in holy orders did not lessen their claims upon the bride. Most of
the bishops and _chanonies_ were also temporal lords. The Bishop of
Amiens possessed this right against the women of his vassals and the
peasants of his fiefs, of which he was dispossessed at the commencement
of the fifteenth century, by an _arreet_, rendered at the solicitation
of husbands.[6] Although the clergy, largely drawn from the nobility,
whose portionless younger sons were thus easily provided for, sustained
the corruptions of the lords temporal yet having connected themselves
with the church, they did not fail to preserve their own power even
over the nobility.

The canons of the Cathedral of Lyons, bore title of Counts of Lyons;
sixteen quarters of nobility, eight on side of the father; eight on
side of the mother. The marchetta or cuissage was still practiced by
them in the fourteenth century at the time Lyons was reunited to the
crown of France. It was but slowly, after a great number of complaints
and arrests of judgment that the canons of Lyons consented to forego
this custom. In several cantons of Piccardy, the curés imitated the
bishops and anciently took the right of cuissage, but ultimately the
peasants of this region refused to marry, and the priests gave up
this practice which they had usurped when the bishop had become too
old to take his right.[7] The resolution not to marry, surprised and
confounded the lord “suzerains,” who perceived it would cause the
depopulation of their fiefs. During the feudal period, bearing children
was the duty pre-eminently taught women. Serf children increased
the power and possessions of the lord, they also added to the power
of the church, and the strangest sermons in regard to woman’s duty
in this respect fell from the lips of celibate monks and priests.
She was taught that sensual submission to man, and the bearing of
children, were the two reasons for her having been created, and that
the woman who failed in either had no excuse for longer encumbering
the earth. The language used from the pulpit for the enforcement of
these duties, will not bear reproduction.[8] The villeins were not
entirely submissive under such great wrongs, frequently protesting
against this right of their suzerains. At one time a number of Piedmont
villages rose in united powers. Although[9] the concessions gained were
but small, not putting an end to the lord’s claim to the bride but
merely lessening the time of his spoliation, the results were great in
establishing the principle of serf rights.

Marquette began to be abolished in France towards the end of the
sixteenth century.[10] But an authority upon this question says
that without doubt the usage still continued in certain countries,
farther asserting that even in this century it existed in the county
of Auvergne, and several vassals plead to their lords against the
continuance of this custom because of the great unhappiness it caused
them. The lower orders of the clergy were very unwilling to relinquish
this usage, vigorously protesting to their archbishops against the
deprivation of the right, declaring they could not be dispossessed.[11]
Boems states that he was present at a spiritual council of the
metropolitane of Bourges, and heard a priest claim the right upon
ground of immemorial usage.[12]

Although feudalism is generally considered the parent of this most
infamous custom, some writers attribute its origin to an evangelical
council, or to precepts directly inculcated by the church,[13] whose
very highest dignitaries did not hesitate to avail themselves of
the usage. In 1471, quite the latter part of the fifteenth century,
Pope Sixtus IV[14] sought admission to the very illustrious Piedmont
family, Della Rovere, which possessed the right of cuissage, allowing
the lord absolute control of his vassals’ newly wedded bride for three
days and nights; a cardinal of the family having secured the patent
by which this outrageous and abominable right was granted them. The
rights of the Lords spiritual in the _jus primae noctis_, at first,
perchance, confined to those temporal lords who holding this right
entered the church, at last extended to the common priesthood, and the
confessional became the great fount of debauchery. Woman herself was
powerless; the church, the state, the family, all possessed authority
over her as against herself. Although eventually redemption through the
payment of money, or property, was possible, yet a husband too poor
or penurious to save her, aided in this debasement of his wife.[15]
This inexpressible abuse and degradation of woman went under the name
of pastime, nor were the courts to be depended upon for defense.[16]
Their sympathies and decisions were with the lord. Few except manorial
courts existed. Even when freedom had been purchased for the bride, all
feudal customs rendered it imperative upon her to bear the “wedding
dish” to the castle. Accompanied by her husband, this ceremony ever
drew upon the newly married couple a profusion of jeers and ribald
jests from which they were powerless to protect themselves. While in
ancient Babylon woman secured immunity by one service and payment to
the temple, the claim of the lord to the peasant wife was not always
confined to the marriage day, and refusal of the loan of his wife at
later date brought most severe punishment upon the husband.[17]

Blessing the nuptial bed by the priest, often late at night, was also
common, and accompanied by many abuses, until advancing civilization
overpowered the darkness of the church and brought it to an end. When
too poor to purchase the freedom of his bride, the husband was in one
breath assailed by the most opprobrious names,[18] and in the next he
was congratulated upon the honor to be done him in that perchance his
oldest child would be the son of a baron.[19] So great finally became
the reproach and infamy connected with the _droit de cuissage_, as this
right was generally called in France,[20] and so recalcitrant became
the peasants over its nefarious exactions, that ultimately both lords
spiritual and lords temporal fearing for their own safety, commenced to
lessen their demands.[21] This custom had its origin at the time the
great body of the people were slaves bound either to the person or land
of some lord. At this period personal rights no more existed for the
lower classes than for the blacks of our own country during the time of
slavery. Under feudalism, the property, family ties, and even the lives
of the serfs were under control of the suzerain. It was a system of
slavery without the name; the right of the lord to all first fruits was
universally admitted;[22] the best in possession of the serf, by feudal
custom belonged to the lord. The feudal period was especially notable
for the wrongs of women. War, the pastime of nobles and kings, brought
an immense number of men into enforced idleness. Its rapine and carnage
were regarded as occupations superior to the tillage of the soil or the
arts of peace. Large numbers of men, retainers of every kind, hung
about the castle dependent upon its lord, obedient to his commands.[23]
At an age when books were few and reading an accomplishment of still
greater rarity, these men, apart from their families, or totally
unbound by marriage, were in readiness for the grossest amusement.
At an age when human life was valueless, and suffering of every kind
was disregarded, we can readily surmise the fate likely to overtake
unprotected peasant women. They were constantly ridiculed and insulted;
deeds of violence were common and passed unreproved. For a woman
of this class to be self-respecting was to become a target for the
vilest abuse. Morality was scoffed at; to drag the wives and daughters
of villeins and serfs into the mire of lechery was deemed a proper
retribution for their attempted pure lives; they possessed no rights of
person or morality against the feudal lord and his wild retainers. All
christian Europe was plunged into the grossest morality.[24] A mistress
was looked upon as a necessary part of a monarch’s state.[25] Popes,
cardinals, and priests of lesser degrees, down to the present century,
still continued the unsavory reputation of their predecessors;[26]
“nephews,” “nieces,” and “sacrilegious” children are yet supported by
the revenues of the Church, or left to poverty, starvation and crime.
It was long the custom of christian municipalities to welcome visiting
kings by deputations of naked women,[27] and as late as the eighteenth
century, a mistress whose support was drawn from the revenues of the
kingdom, was recognized as part of the pageantry of the kingdom.

The heads of the Greek and Protestant Churches, no less than of the
Catholic, appear before the world as men of scandalous lives. The
history of the popes is familiar to all students. No less is that
of the English Eighth Henry, the real father of the Reformation, in
England, and founder of the Anglican Church, whose adulteries and
murders make him a historic Blue Beard. The heads of the Greek Church
figure in a double sense as fathers of their people. The renowned Peter
the Great amused himself by numberless liaisons, filling Russia with
descendants whose inherited tendencies are those of discontent and
turmoil. When he visited the Court of Prussia, 1717, he was accompanied
by his czarina, son, daughter, and four hundred ladies in waiting,
women of low condition, each of whom carried an elegantly dressed
infant upon her arms. If asked in regard to the paternity of the child
they invariably replied “my lord has done me the honor to make me its

In no country has a temporal monarch under guise of a spiritual ruler
been more revered than in Russia. Even amidst nihilism a belief
that the czar can do no wrong is the prevailing conviction among
the Slavic peoples. This is both a great cause of, and a result of
Russian degradation. If we except the proportionately few liberal
thinkers, that conviction is as strong as it was in the time of Ivan
the Terrible. In no civilized or half-civilized nation is ignorance as
dense as among the peasantry of that vast empire embracing one-sixth
of the habitable globe. Nor to the czar alone was such disregard of
woman’s right of person confined. The system of serfdom which existed
until within the last half of the present century, was a system of
feudalism in its oppression of women, although if possible even more
gross. The sale of young peasant girls regularly took place, and the
blood of the nobility of that country runs in the veins of its most
degraded and ignorant population.[29] Although Italy the seat of the
papal power is noted for the ignorance, squalor, and superstition of
its people, we no less find such a condition of affairs existing
in Russia. Amid the starvation of its people, accompanied by
“hunger-typhus,” that form of disease which in the Irish famine of 1848
was known as “ship-fever,” the peasants will not accept aid from Count
Tolstoi, whom they have been taught to regard as Anti-Christ, fearing
that by so doing they will condemn themselves to eternal torment.[30]
While the peasantry are thus suffering wrongs of every nature, the
priesthood and churches are as thriving as before.

Having shown the results of power in the hands of a controlling class,
upon women of low degree in both the Catholic and Greek divisions
of christendom, we have but to look at our own country to find like
condition under Protestantism. The state of the slave women of the
South was that of serfs of the body under feudalism, or of the serf
peasant women of Russia. Nor is other proof of this statement required
than the hue of this race, no longer spoken of as the blacks, but as
colored people. Let the condition of woman as to her rights of person,
under the three great divisions of Christianity, be answer to all who
without examination of history, or the customs of ancient and modern
times, and with eyes closed to these most patent facts, so falsely
assert that woman has been elevated by christianity, and is now holding
a position never before in the world accorded her. But what has already
been shown of her degradation under christian teachings and laws is but
a small portion of the wrongs woman has suffered during the christian

Under theory of the divine rights of man, society has everywhere been
permeated with disregard for woman’s rights of person. Monarchs not
posing as spiritual heads of their people have yet equally made use
of their place and power for woman’s degradation, and an indefinite
fatherhood outside of marriage. Augustus of Saxony, King of Poland, is
chiefly renowned in history as the father of three hundred illegitimate
children.[31] Of Charles II not alone King of England, but also head of
the Anglican Church, one of his subjects declared him to be the father
of many of his people in the literal as well as in the spiritual sense.
Four English dukes of the present day trace their lineage to this
monarch, who left no legitimate descendants.[32]

H.R.H. the present heir-apparent to the English throne bears an
equally unsavory record.[33] To him and his aristocratic companions
in guilt is due the support and protection of England’s notorious and
infamous purchase and sale, outrage, and exploitation of helpless young
girls. An English clergyman writing the _New York Sun_, at the time of
the disclosures made by the _Pall Mall Gazette_, declared he had in his
possession a list of the names of the royal princes, dukes, nobles, and
leading men who had been the principal patrons and supporters of the
“gilded hells” devoted to the ruin of the merest children, girls from
the ages of nine to thirteen.[34] The reputation of the male members of
the Hanoverian dynasty has ever been bad. Trace as you will the path of
either ecclesiastical or temporal rulers claiming authority by “divine
right,” and you will find the way marked with the remains of women
and children whose life has been wrecked by man under plea of created
superiority. While Italy within the last forty years has escaped from
the temporal control of the pope, its kings have no less copied the
immorality of the “Vicar of God”; the predecessor of the late king of
Italy having left thirty-three illegitimate children. An instance of
the survival of the feudal idea as to the right of the lord to the
person of his vassal women occurred in Ireland within the past few
years, graphically described in a letter upon landlords, from Mr. D.
R. Locke (Nasby), December, 1891, in which he says;

    One was shot a few years ago and a great ado was made about
    it. In this case as in most of the others it was not a
    question of rent. My Lord had visited his estates to see how
    much more money could be taken out of his tenants and his
    lecherous eye happened to rest upon a very beautiful girl,
    the eldest daughter of a widow with seven children. Now this
    beautiful girl was betrothed to a nice sort of a boy, who,
    having been in America, knew a thing or two. My Lord, through
    his agent, who is always a pimp as well as a brigand, ordered
    Kitty to come to the castle. Kitty knowing very well what that
    meant, refused.

    “Very well,” says the agent, “yer mother is in arrears for
    rent, and you had better see My Lord, or I shall be compelled
    to evict her.”

    Kitty knew what that meant also. It meant that her gray haired
    mother, her six helpless brothers and sisters would be pitched
    out by the roadside to die of starvation and exposure, and so
    Kitty without saying a word to her mother or any one else,
    went to the castle and was kept there three days, till My Lord
    was tired of her, when she was permitted to go.

    She went to her lover, like an honest girl as she was, and
    told him she would not marry him, but refused to give any

    Finally the truth was wrenched out of her, and Mike went
    and found a shot gun that had escaped the eye of the royal
    constabulary, and he got powder and shot and old nails, and he
    lay behind a hedge under a tree for several days. Finally one
    day My Lord came riding by all so gay and that gun went off,
    and ‘subsequent proceedings interested him no more.’ There was
    a hole, a blessed hole, clear through him, and he never was so
    good a man as before because there was less of him.

    Then Mike went and told Kitty to be of good cheer and not
    be cast down, that the little difference between him and My
    Lord had been happily settled, and that they would be married
    as soon as possible. And they were married, and I had the
    pleasure of taking in my hand the very hand that fired the
    blessed shot and of seeing the wife, to avenge whose cruel
    wrongs the shot was fired.

Nor is this the only instance in modern Ireland. A certain lord
Leitram was noted a few years since for his attempts to dishonor the
wives and daughters of the peasantry upon his vast estate comprising
90,000 acres. His character was that of the worst feudal barons, and
like those he used his power as magistrate and noble, in addition to
that of landlord, to accomplish his purpose. After an assault upon a
beautiful and intelligent girl, by a brutal retainer of his lordship,
her character assailed, his tenantry finally declared it necessary
to resort to the last means in their power to preserve the honor of
their wives and daughters. Six men were chosen as the instruments of
their rude justice, and among them the brother of this girl upon whom
the leadership fell. They took oath to be true to the end, in life or
death, raised a sum of money, purchased arms, and seeking a convenient
opportunity shot him to death. Nor were the perpetrators ever
discovered; yet it is now known that two of them died in Australia, two
in the Boer war in South Africa, and the leader who came to the United
States, changing his name, passed away in the summer of 1892 in the
State of Pennsylvania.

Under head of “A Story of To-day,” another tale is related of woman’s
oppression in Ireland aided by the Petty Sessions Bench in 1880.

    Recently, a young girl named Catherine Cafferby, of Belmullet,
    in County Mayo—the pink of her father’s family—fled from the
    “domestic service” of a landlord as absolute as Lord Leitrim,
    the moment the poor creature discovered what that “service”
    customarily involved. The great man had the audacity to
    invoke the law to compel her to return, as she had not given
    statutable notice of her flight. She clung to the door-post of
    her father’s cabin; she told aloud the story of her terror,
    and called on God and man to save her. Her tears, her shrieks,
    her piteous pleadings were all in vain. The Petty Sessions
    Bench ordered her back to the landlord’s “service,” or else
    to pay five pounds, or two weeks in jail. This is not a story
    of Bulgaria under Murad IV but of Ireland in the reign of the
    present sovereign. That peasant girl went to jail to save
    her chastity. If she did not spend a fortnight in the cells,
    it was only because friends of outraged virtue, justice, and
    humanity paid the fine when the story reached the outer world.

These iniquities have taken place in christian lands[35] and these
nefarious outrages upon women have been enforced by the christian
laws of both church and state. The degradation and unhappiness of the
husband at the infringement of the lord’s spiritual and temporal upon
his marital rights, has been depicted by many writers but history has
been quite silent upon the despair and shame of the wife.[36] No hope
appeared for woman anywhere. The Church which should have been the
great conserver of morals dragged her to the lowest depths through the
vileness of its teachings and its priestly customs. The State which
should have defended her civil rights followed the example of the
church in crushing her to the earth. Christian laws were detrimental to
woman in every relation of life.

The brilliant French author, Legouve,[37] gives from among the popular
songs of Brittany during the fourteenth century, a pathetic ballad,
“The Baron of Jauioz,” which vividly depicts the condition of the
peasant women of France at that date. In the power of the male members
of her family over her, we also find an exact parallel in the condition
of English women of the same era. The moral disease thus represented
being due to the same religious teaching, the change of country and
language but more fully serves to depict the condition of woman
everywhere in christendom at this period.



    As I was at the river washing,
    I heard the sighing of the bird of death.
    “Good little Jina, you do not know it, but
      you are sold to the Baron of Jauioz.”
    Is this true, my mother, that I have heard?
    Is it true that I was sold to old Jauioz?
    “My poor little darling, I know nothing about it;
      ask your father.”
    “My nice good father, tell me now—is it true
      that I am sold to Loys de Jauioz?”
    “My beloved child, I know nothing about it;
      ask your brother.”
    Lannik, my brother, tell me now—is it true
      that I am sold to that lord there?
    “Yes you are sold to the Baron, and you must be
      off at once. Your price is paid—fifty crowns of the
      white silver and as much of the yellow gold.”


    She had not gone far from the hamlet
      when she heard the ringing of the bells; whereat
      she wept.
    “Adieu Saint Ann! Adieu, bells of my fatherland;
    Bells of my village church, adieu!”


    “Take a seat and rest thee till the repast is ready.”
    The lord sat near the fire; his beard and hair all
      white, and his eyes like living coals.
    “Behold the young maiden whom I have desired
      this many a day!”
    “Come my child, let me show thee, crown by crown,
      how rich I am; come, count with me, my beauty,
      my gold and my silver.”
    “I should like better to be with my mother
      counting the chips on the fire.”
    “Let us descend into the cellar and
      taste of the wine that is sweet as honey.”
    “I should like better to taste the meadow stream
      Whereof my father’s horses drink.”
    “Come with me from shop to shop to buy thee a
      holiday cloak.”
    “I should better like a linsey petticoat,
      that my mother has woven for me.”
    “Ah, that my tongue had been blistered when
      I was such a fool as to buy thee!
      Since nothing will comfort thee.”


    “Dear little birds as you fly, I pray you
      listen to me,
    You are going to the village whither I cannot.
    You are merry but I am sad.”
    “Remember me to my playmates,
    To the good mother who brought me to light,
    And to the father who reared me; and tell my
    I forgive him.”


    Two or three months have passed and gone
      when as the family are sleeping,
    A sweet voice is heard at the door.
    “My father, my mother, for God’s love pray for me;
    your daughter lies on her bier.”

This ballad founded upon historic facts represents the social life of
christendom during the fourteenth century. The authority of the son,
the licentiousness of the lord, the powerlessness of the mother, the
despair of the daughter, the indifference of society, are vividly
depicted in this pathetic ballad. It shows the young girl regarded as a
piece of merchandise, to be bought and sold at the whim of her masters
who are the men of her own household and the lord of the manor. During
the feudal period the power of the son was nearly absolute. For his own
aggrandisement he did not hesitate to rob his sisters, or sell them
into lechery.[38] Hopelessly despairing in tone, this ballad gives us a
clear picture of feudal times when chivalry was at its height, and the
church had reached its ultimate of power. Woman’s attitude today is the
echo of that despair. At this period the condition of a woman was not
even tolerable unless she was an heiress, with fiefs in possession.[39]
Even then she was deprived of her property in case of loss of chastity,
of which it was the constant aim to deprive her. Guardians, next of
kin, and if none such existed, the church threw constant temptations in
her way. Ruffians were hired, or reckless profligates induced to betray
her under plea of love and sympathy, well paid by the next heir for
their treachery.

Although Sir William Blackstone in his Commentaries said that he
discovered no traces of marquette in England, a reminiscence of that
custom is to be found in the “fine” or “permit” known in that country
as Redemption of Blood, and designated as _Merchetum Sanguinis_, by
Fleta.[40] This was a customary payment made by a tenant to his lord
for license to give his daughter in marriage. Such redemption was
considered a special mark of tenure in villeinage.[41] It was not
exacted from a free man, which is corroborative proof of its origin
in the _Jus Primae Noctis_, of the feudal lord. Of the free man this
fine was not permissible, because of the privilege of free blood.
Raepsaet, M. Hoffman, Dr. Karl Schmidt, and other authors writing
in the interest of the church and finding it impossible to deny the
existence of some power over the bride, have questioned its character,
declaring it not to be feudal, but a spiritual authority, to guard
the bride by enforcing a penitence of marital abstinence of one to
three days after the nuptials. It is not to be doubted that under the
peculiar teachings of the church in regard to the uncleanliness of
marriage, such continence was a certain period part of church law.[42]
Nevertheless this does not invalidate the fact that a widespread
contrary custom existed in feudal times and at a still later period.
The present usages of society point back to an age when right to the
peasant’s bride was enforced by the lord. A reminiscence[43] of this
period is to be found in charivari and the buying off of a party of
this character with refreshments from the house, or with money for
the purchase of cigars and liquor. Such occurrences constantly fall
within our knowledge, personally or through the press.[44] The very
fact of such persecution of the bridal pair is a symbol of that custom
under which the retainers of the feudal lord jeered and flouted the
bridegroom, throwing him into foul water,[45] and other most unseemly
practices. To others outside of the charivari party this practice still
affords amusement, few persons inclining to interfere or prohibit such
pastimes. Society no longer as sharply defined as in the feudal period,
yet has preserved in this practice a symbol of the times when even the
highborn dames in the castle equally as degraded as its lord, amused
themselves while the bride was in the company of the lord by ridiculing
and torturing the husband who in anxiety for his wife ventured too near
the castle. The present nearly universal custom of a wedding journey
must be referred in its origin to the same period, arising from an
inherited tendency in the bride and groom to escape the jeers and ill
treatment that in past ages invariably accompanied entrance into the
married state.

In some European countries redemption was demanded from all women,
not alone the daughters of villeins and serfs, but also of those of
noble birth who were freed by payment of a ransom in silver known as
the “Maiden Rents.” Lands were even held under Maiden Redemption.[46]
In Scotland this ransom became known as “Marquette”; Margaret wife
of Malcolm Canmore, generally spoken of for her goodness as Saint
Margaret,[47] exercising her royal influence in 1057 against this
degradation of her sex. Numberless seditions having arisen from this
claim upon the bride, the king more willingly established a release
upon the payment of a piece of silver, a _demi-marc_, called marquette
(whence the name), and a certain number of cows. The piece of silver
went to the king, the cows to the queen, and from that period cuissage
was known as the droit de marquette. But this nefarious custom
possessed such strength, appealing directly to man’s basest passions,
his love of power, his profligacy—the human beast within him—that it
continued in existence nearly seven hundred years after the royal edict
in Scotland against its practice.[48] This vile power extended over all
ranks of women; the king holding it over the daughters of the grand
seigneur, the suzerain over the daughters of his vassals; the seigneur
over the daughters of his serfs, even the judge or bailie enforcing
this right upon all women who passed upon his road.[49]

The Church has ever been the bulwark of this base claim. Holding
the powers of penance and of excommunication, such custom could
neither have originated nor been sustained without the sanction of
the church.[50] At this date the privileges of the lower clergy were
extraordinary. Even in England they were not amenable to the common
law; they ruled the laity with iron hand, but the laity possessed no
power over the priesthood.[51] All appointments were in priestly hands,
the union of church and state complete.

God himself seemed to have forsaken woman, and the peasantry lost all
belief in the justice of earth or heaven. The customs of feudalism
which were akin to the customs of power wherever existing throughout
christendom did more to create what the church terms “infidelity” than
all the reason of the philosophers. No human being is so degraded as
not to possess an innate sense of justice; a wrong is as keenly felt by
the most humble and ignorant as by the educated and refined, its effect
more lasting because of the impossibility of redress. The power of the
seigneur was nearly equal to that of the king himself. Manorial courts
entirely local aided the seigneur in the enforcement of his traditional
privileges[52] at the expense of the villeins. The crown possessed no
jurisdiction over these courts. The lord held the right to make laws,
render justice, lay imposts, declare war, coin money, dispose of the
goods and lives of his subjects, and other prerogatives still more
closely touching their personal rights, especially of the women living
in his dominion.[53]

To persons not conversant with the history of feudalism and the church
it will seem impossible that such foulness could ever have been part
of christian civilization. That the vices they have been taught to
consider the outgrowth of paganism, and as the worst heathendom could
have existed in Christian Europe upheld many hundred years by both
church and state will strike most people with incredulity. Such however
is the truth; we are compelled to admit well attested facts of history,
however severe a blow they strike our preconceived beliefs.

The seigneural tenure of the feudal period was a law of Christian
Europe more dishonorable than the worship of Astarte at Babylon.[54]
In order to fully comprehend the vileness of marquette, we must
remember that it did not originate in a pagan country, many thousand
years since; that it was not a heathen custom transplanted to Europe
with many others adopted by the church,[55] but that it arose in
christian countries a thousand years after the origin of that religion,
continuing in existence until within the last century.

The attempt made by some modern authors to deny that the claim of
the feudal lord to the person of his female serf upon her marriage
ever existed, on the ground that statutes sustaining such a right
have not been discovered, is extremely weak.[56] The authority of a
custom or “unwritten law” is still almost absolute. A second objection
that such customs are unchristian has been answered. The third plea
in opposition, namely that those so outraged, so oppressed, left no
record of resistance is false. Aside from the fact that education was
everywhere limited, no peasant and but few of the nobility knowing how
to read or write, and within the church learning very rare, we have
indisputable evidence of strong character in the revolt of serfs at
different periods, through which concessions were gained; the final
refusal of the serfs to marry, and in the travesty upon religion known
as the “Black Mass.”

We can not measure the serf’s power of resistance by the same standard
as our own. The degradation of man with but a few exceptions was as
great as that of woman. Civilly and educationally the peasant man was
on a par with the peasant woman. No more than she had he a voice in
making the laws; the serf was virtually a slave under the absolute
dominion of his lord. No power existed for him higher than that of
his feudal superior. It is nearly impossible to realize the hopeless
degraded condition of the peasant serf of the middle ages. It has
had no parallel in the present century, except in the slavery of the
southern states. Free action, free speech, free thought was impossible.
But our respect for humanity is increased when we know that these
vassals, although under the life and death power of their lords, did
not tamely submit to the indignities enforced upon their wives and

It must also be remembered that the historians of that period were
generally priests by whom the fact of such usage or custom would pass
unmentioned, especially as the church taught that woman was created to
meet the special demands of man. Other important historical facts have
been as lightly touched upon, or passed over entirely. The deification
of Julius Caesar while Emperor of Rome, is scarcely referred to in the
more familiar literary sources of Roman history. And yet his worship
was almost universal in the provinces, where he was adored as a god.
The records of this worship are only to be found in scattered monuments
and inscriptions but recently brought to light, and deciphered within
the last few years. Through these it is proven that there was an
organized worship of this emperor, and an order of consecrated priests
devoted to him.[57] Higgins refers to this deification of Caesar.[58]
It is not alone proof of the low condition of morality at this period,
but also of the universal disbelief in woman’s authority over, or right
to herself, that so few writers upon feudal subjects have treated of
the libidinous powers of the lord over his female serfs. Even those
presenting the evils of feudalism in other respects, have merely
expressed a mild surprise that christian people should have admitted
that right of the lord over his feminine vassals. The various names
under which this right was known as jus primae noctis,[59] droit de
seigneur,[60] droit de jambage,[61] droit de cuissage,[62] droit
d’ afforage,[63] droit de marquette,[64] and many other terms too
indelicate for repetition, indicating this right of the lord over all
the women in his domain, is still another incontestable proof of the
universality of the custom.

The Mosaic teaching as to sacredness of “first fruits,” under Judaism,
dedicated to the Lord of Heaven, doubtless was in part the origin of
the claim of the feudal lord. The law of primogeniture, or precedence
of the first born son as the beginning of “his father’s strength” is
also a translation from Judaism into the customs of many nations, but
nowhere under the law of primogeniture at the present day does even a
first born daughter receive as high consideration as a first born son.
This is especially noticeable in royal families. It is not therefore
singular that men who took the literal sense of the bible in science,
who believed that the world had been created in six days, this work
having so greatly fatigued the Lord Almighty as to make rest of the
seventh day necessary for him, should under example of that lord, claim
the first fruits in all their possessions. No Christians of the present
day, except the Mormons, so fully base their lives upon the teachings
of the bible as the Catholics of the middle ages. If we accord divine
authority to this book, accepting the literal word as infallible and
sacred, we must admit that both Church and State were at this period in
unison with its teachings, and even during the nineteenth century have
not freed themselves from the stigma of sustaining woman’s degradation;
the theory of the feudal ages remains the same, although the practice
is somewhat different. Legal bigamy or polygamy, non-marital unions,
are common in every large city of christendom. Government license
has created a class in many European countries devoted to the most
degraded lives under government sanction, protection, and control; in
England known as “Queen’s Women,” “Government Women.” Thus the State
places itself before the world as a trafficker in women’s bodies for
the vilest purposes. The culmination of nearly two thousand years
of christian teaching is the legalization of vice for women and the
creation of a new crime. Previous to the enactment of this law the
rules of modern jurisprudence held an accused person as innocent until
proven guilty. Under this legalization of vice all women within a
certain radius of recruiting, or other army stations, are “suspects,”
looked upon as immoral, and liable to arrest, examination, and
registration upon government books as government women. It required
seventeen years of arduous work to repeal this law in England. This
legalization of prostitution in the nineteenth century by the State is
its open approval of that doctrine of the Church that woman was created
for man. It is an acknowledgment by men that vice is an inherent
quality of their natures. It is in accord with man’s repeated assertion
that only through means of a class of women pursuing immorality as a
business, is any woman safe from violence.

In a letter to the National Woman Suffrage Convention at St. Louis,
May, 1879, Mrs. Josephine E. Butler, Honorable Secretary of the
Federation and of the Ladies National Association for the Protection of
Women, wrote:

    England holds a peculiar position in regard to the question.
    She was the last to adopt this system of slavery, and she
    adopted it in that thorough manner which characterizes the
    actions of the Anglo-Saxon race. In no other country has
    prostitution been registered by law. It has been understood
    by the Latin race, even when morally enervated, that the
    law could not without risk of losing its majesty and force
    sanction illegality and violate justice. In England alone the
    regulations are law.

    This legalization of vice, which is the endorsement of the
    “necessity” of impurity of man and the institution of the
    slavery of woman, is the most open denial which modern
    times have seen of the principle of the sacredness of the
    individual human being. An English high-class journal dared
    to demand that women who are unchaste shall henceforth be
    dealt with “not as human beings, but as foul sewers,” or
    some such “material nuisance” without souls, without rights,
    and without responsibility. When the leaders of public
    opinion in a country have arrived at such a point of combined
    skepticism and despotism as to recommend such a manner of
    dealing with human beings, there is no crime which that
    country may not presently legalize, there is no organization
    of murder, no conspiracy of abominable things that it may
    not, and in due time will not—have been found to embrace in
    its guilty methods. Were it possible to secure the absolute
    physical health of a whole province or an entire continent
    by the destruction of one, only one poor and sinful woman,
    woe to that nation which should dare, by that single act of
    destruction, to purchase this advantage to the many! It will
    do it at its peril. God will take account of the deed not in
    eternity only, but in time, it may be in the next or even in
    the present generation.

Although a long and active work through seventeen years eventually
brought about the repeal of this law in England, it still continues in
the British colonies, being forced upon the people in opposition to
their own action. After the Cape Parliament of the Colony of Good Hope
had repealed the law, Sir Bartle Frere reintroduced it by means of an
edict.[65] When in London, 1882, Sir John Pope Hennessey, Governor and
Commander in Chief of British China, was waited upon by an influential
deputation of members of parliament and others to whom he made known
the practical workings of governmental regulation of prostitution
introduced by England into that colony. He did not hesitate to
characterize it as a system of slavery for the registered women and
girls. He also declared that they detested the life they are thus
compelled to enter having both a dread and an abhorrence of foreigners,
especially foreign sailors and soldiers. He said such Chinese girls are
the real slaves of Hong Kong.

    Now to that statement I adhere. I give it to you on the full
    authority of the Governor of the colony. I have been five
    years looking at the operation of this law in Hong Kong, and
    that is the result to which I have arrived that, under the
    flag of England there is slavery there, but it is slavery
    created and protected by these ordinances.

The relation of Christianity to this treatment of Chinese women, and
the contempt with which this religion is regarded by these heathen, is
most fully shown by Sir John’s conversation with the leading Chinese
merchant of Canton, as given by himself, upon the material progress of
the colony. To this merchant Sir Pope said: “Your people are making
a large fortune here. Why not send down your second son to enter the
house of the Chinese merchant and learn the business there?” The
merchant replied, “I can not for this reason; Hong Kong is a sink of
iniquity.” Sir Pope Hennessey answered. “This is a Christian colony;
we have been here now for forty years, we are supposed to be doing the
best we can to spread civilization and christianity.” The Chinaman
repeated: “It is a sink of iniquity in my mind. As Chinamen we think
of domestic and family life—we reverence such things—but how do I see
the poor Chinese treated in this colony?” And he related stories of the
abuses to which his countrywomen were subjected.

In repeating this conversation to Her Majesty’s government, Sir Pope
Hennessey declared the words that the merchant of Canton who called
Hong Kong a “sink of iniquity” have a wide application, because the
British colony at Hong Kong is geographically a part of a great Empire,
an empire where you have missionaries of various churches. “I have been
asked to explain the curious and distressing fact that christianity is
declining in China. I think it is declining mainly on account of the
treaties we have forced upon the Chinese; but I will frankly tell you,
it is declining also because they see these girls registered in such
houses for ‘Europeans’ and made practically slaves under our flag.”[66]

Nor are the Cape of Good Hope, and China, the sole foreign countries
in which this system of the legalized moral degradation of women has
been carried by England, nearly one hundred places in India showing the
same vice under license from the British Government, even to bearing
the same name.[67] Nor have innumerable petitions and protests from
native and foreign ladies, from zenana workers, from missionaries,
and even from all ranks of the resident English civil service for
immediate repeal of this vilest of all laws, been of the least effect.
So thoroughly imbued are English legislators with contempt for
womanhood, as not only to maintain these outrageous laws but also to
cause fear in the minds of those women who for twenty years wrought
for the repeal of these acts in Great Britain and Ireland, of their
again being introduced under more insidious and dangerous form.[68]
A memorial signed by a number of native born and English ladies was
presented to the Viceroy praying that the age of protection for young
girls be raised. While in India a man’s dog, horse, elephant, and
even the plants of his garden are under the protection of English
law, his daughter of ten years is outside this protection.[69] The
penal code punishes with imprisonment or a fine, or both, the man who
injures an animal valued at ten rupees; if the animal be worth fifty
rupees his imprisonment may be for five years, while for dishonestly
coaxing his neighbor’s dog to follow him, the punishment is three years
imprisonment, or a fine or both; while the man who induces “consent”
from a girl-child of ten years escapes all punishment.

In deference to the bitter opposition these acts created, it was
declared that legalized prostitution was abolished in British India,
June 5th, 1888. A statement was made in the House of Commons that
the contagious disease acts had been suspended in Bombay. But an
investigation of these statements by the English Social Purity Society,
proved them false, the _Sentinel_, its organ, stating, June 1890,
that upon inquiry it was found that the licensing of prostitution
systematically prevails in British India, and is always attended
with results most disastrous to health of body as well as morals of
the community. The most extraordinary course is taken towards the
accomplishment of their ends, by the advocates of legalizing vice. In
1888 having failed to secure an act of the legislature of the state
of New York, in its favor, a society to this end was formed in the
city of New York, incorporated as a “Voluntary Association”; borrowing
the name used in England at the time its women were most degraded by
the state.[70] This society grants certificates to women presenting
themselves for examination. And thus step by step under many forms more
extended than even under feudal law, is woman’s moral degradation made
the effort of christian civilization of today.

The “ten thousand licensed women of the town” of the City of Hamburg,
are required by the State to show certificates that they regularly
attended Church, and also partake of the sacrament. And even in
Protestant Berlin, the capital of Protestant Prussia, the Church upon
demand of the State furnished certificates of their having partaken of
holy communion to those women securing license to lead vicious lives;
the very symbol and body of him, whom the christian world worships as
its saviour, thus becoming the key to unlock the doors of woman’s moral

The fact of governments lending their official aid to demoralization
of woman by the registration system, shows an utter debasement of
law. This system is directly opposed to the fundamental principle of
right, that of holding of the accused innocent until proven guilty,
which until now has been recognized as a part of modern law. Under the
registration or license system, all women within the radius of its
action are under suspicion; all women are held as morally guilty until
they prove themselves innocent. Where this law is in force, all women
are under an irresponsible police surveillance, liable to accusation,
arrest, examination, imprisonment, and the entrance of their names upon
the list of the lewd women of the town. Upon this frightful infraction
of justice, we have the sentiments of the late Sheldon Amos, when
Professor of Jurisprudence in the Law College of London University. In
“The Science of Law,” he says, in reference to this very wrong:

    The loss of liberty to the extent to which it exists, implies
    a degradation of the State, and, if persisted in, can only
    lead to its dissolution. No person or class of persons must
    be under the cringing fear of having imputed to them offenses
    of which they are innocent, and of being taken into custody
    in consequence of such imputation. They must not be liable
    to be detained in custody without so much as a _prima facie_
    case being made out, such as in the opinion of a responsible
    judicial officer leaves a presumption of guilt. They must not
    be liable to be detained for an indefinite time without having
    the question of their guilt or innocence investigated by the
    best attainable methods. When the fact comes to be inquired
    into, the best attainable methods of eliciting the truth must
    be used. In default of any one of these securities, _public
    liberty_ must be said to be proportionately at a very low ebb.

Great effort has been made to introduce this system into the United
States, and a National Board of Health, created by Congress in
1879, is carefully watched lest its irresponsible powers lead to
its encroachment upon the liberties and personal rights of women.
A resolution adopted March 5, 1881, at a meeting of the New York
committee appointed to thwart the effort to license vice in this
country, shows the need of its watchful care.

    _Resolved_, That this committee has learned with much regret
    and apprehension of the action of the American Public Health
    Association, at its late annual meeting in New Orleans, in
    adopting a sensational report commending European governmental
    regulation of prostitution, and looking to the introduction in
    this country, with modifications, through the medium of State
    legislative enactments and municipal ordinances, of a kindred
    immoral system of State-regulated social vice.

Even the Latin races in their lowest degradation did not put the
sanction of law upon the open sale of women to vice, says Mrs. Butler.
This remained for the Anglo-Saxon and Teutonic races, under the highest
christian civilization in a class of women licensed by the State, under
protection and name of the head of the Anglican Church, as “Queen’s
Women,” “Government Women,” both Church and State here uniting in the
nefarious business of making women, by law, the slaves of man’s lowest
nature. A system which openly declares “the necessity” for woman’s
foulest degradation, in order to protect man in his departure from the
moral law, a system that annually sends its tens of thousands down to
a death from which christian society grants no resurrection. Similar
religious beliefs beget similar results. Times change, and with them
methods, but as long as the foundation of the christian church of
every name, rests upon the belief in woman’s created inferiority to
man, and that she brought sin into the world, so long will similar
social, industrial, and moral results follow. The Catholic, Greek, and
Protestant divisions, all degrade women but under different forms. That
the woman of every christian land fears to meet a man in a secluded
place by day or by night, is of itself sufficient proof of the low
state of christian morality. Several states have at different times
attempted the enactment of similar laws through bills introduced into
their legislatures; requiring constant watchfulness on part of the
friends of social purity lest this great wrong be consummated, a
wrong primarily against woman. In certain cities, as St. Louis, where
such registration and license was for some time demanded, the foulest
injuries were perpetrated upon entirely innocent and reputable women,
injuries for which they had no redress.[72] Under the legalized vice
system, women are slaves, not possessing even the right of repudiating
this kind of life.

A gentleman traveling in France, 1866, relates a most pathetic instance
of the attempted escape and the forcible return to the house of
infamy, of a young girl whose person there was at the command of every
brute who chose to pay the price of her master. The tram car in which
this gentleman was riding, crowded with ladies and girls of refined
appearance, was suddenly stopped on one of the principal streets of
Havre, by a dense crowd swaying back and forth across the track. He

    I then became aware that two men, tall powerful fellows, were
    carrying or rather trying to carry, a young woman seemingly
    between sixteen and eighteen years of age, who occupied
    herself in violently clutching at everything and anything
    from a lamp-post to a shop door handle, a railing, and the
    pavement itself.

    As a matter of course, her body swayed between the two men,
    half dragging on the pavement, her clothing besmeared with mud
    and blood. For the rough handling had superadded crimson to
    other stains. This proved the case to be not one of accident,
    although the screams, shrieks and cries of the poor girl might
    well have led to the belief of her having been the victim of
    a run over, and of being in convulsions of acute agony. Her
    agonizing cries for “pity,” “police,” “protection,” “help,”
    “murder,” “Oh! oh! oh!” were reiterated incessantly. At one
    particular moment her contortions, and the violence of her
    efforts to free herself, or even to bring her head into a more
    convenient position than hanging face downward, while a yard
    or so of long, bedraggled hair, all loose, was sweeping up the
    dirt from the pavement, were so violent that her two carriers
    had to let her slip from their grasp on to the flagstones.

    All this time, unmoved by, and totally indifferent to her
    piercing cries, stood by, or strolled calmly onward with the
    crowd, a policeman in uniform and on duty. My enquiry of,
    “What is all this piece of work about? Is it an accident? Is
    the woman drunk, or what?” He smilingly answered: “Oh! not
    drunk, sir, not at all, not at all. It’s only one of those
    young licensed girls, who has been trying to escape from her
    house, and that’s her master, who has just caught her again,
    and is carrying her back to his place. That’s all!”

“I was powerless to help.” In many christian countries a traffic in
girls exists under government protection and license.

Criminal vice chiefly finds its feminine prey among the poorest
and most helpless class who are the victims of this new commercial
business, its customers scattered in every christian land, and
accepting their spoil only upon the certificate of some reputable
physician as to their innocence and previous uncontamination. Crime,
vice, and cruelty, were never before so closely united in one
infamous system; the purchase of young innocence by old iniquity
under protection of law.[73] A bill was introduced into the English
parliament to check this business of girl destruction, accompanied
by proof so direct, and proof of the necessity of immediate action
so great, that it was not doubted that the bill would pass at once.
Yet it encountered secret[74] and powerful opposition, was finally
referred to a committee already so overburdened with work and so far
behindhand that it was manifest that the bill could not be reached in
years. Gilded vice laughed at this result, and the iniquitous business
proceeded as before. At that period the _Pall Mall Gazette_ entered
into an investigation whose results roused the whole civilized world.
Even clergymen, ignoring the fact that christian teaching had brought
this vice into being, joined the press in scathing reproof of patrician
London iniquity.[75] Societies were formed for the protection of young
girls from the vice of men who used the power of wealth and station to
corrupt the daughters of the poor.[76]

Under English christian law it has never been a crime to morally
destroy a girl of thirteen, because under that law she is held
responsible for her own undoing. Girls of this tender age, infants,
in all that pertains to the control of property, incapable of making
a legal contract, because of immaturity of understanding, are yet
held by that law as of age to protect themselves from a seducer; held
to possess sufficient judgment to thwart all the wiles of men old in
years and crime—of men protected in their iniquities by laws of their
own making—men shielded by the legislation of their own sex—men who
escape all punishment because men alone enact the laws. It is not
alone the waifs of society who fall a prey to the seducer, but the
children of reputable parents and good homes are waylaid on their way
to and from school and lured to ruin.[77] To the modern ghoul it is
of no moment upon whom he preys, provided his victim be but young and
innocent. Lecky has portrayed the standard of morals of the present
day as far higher than in pagan Rome, but we must be allowed to doubt
this. Immoral sentiment is more deftly hidden, and law more dependent
upon public opinion. As soon as the general consensus of public opinion
rises in opposition to girl destruction, the law will regulate itself
in accordance with this standard.

Lord Shaftesbury, upon this point, said:

    The _Pall Mall Gazette_ has published to the world disclosures
    of a most horrible, and many would think of an incredible
    character. Not even the questionings of peace or war or most
    intricate foreign policy, ought to interfere with energetic
    measures to suppress these evils. But before we can make any
    great advance, there must be a considerable move of public
    opinion. It must be vigorous and determined, and I will tell
    you why. You may depend upon it that no government undertakes
    a question of a really important and social character until
    it has been forced upon it by the voice of public opinion.
    Consequently it is our duty to bring the voice of that
    public opinion to bear on this question. Law can be evaded
    in every possible way. The only thing that defies evasion
    is a wide spread and universally extended public opinion. I
    hope that we shall be able to create such a public opinion
    throughout the country that persons will be induced to come
    forward voluntarily and give evidence. The plague spot is too
    deep, too wide, and there are too many persons interested in
    the continuance of it, to enable us easily to wipe it out.
    Uncommon energy will be necessary; and I hope we shall raise
    such an amount of popular indignation that the effect will be

But the public feeling, the public indignation against these enormities
did not rise to the height of restrictive legislation. The policy
of a portion both of the English and the American press was that of
suppression, upon the plea that a knowledge of these crimes would be
injurious to the morals of society. Suppression was also the aim of the
“royal princes, dukes, nobles, and leading men,” who were the principal
patrons and supporters of this nefarious system. Suppression is the
strongest opposing weapon against reform. To compel change needs light
and discussion. “It is only when wrongs find a tongue that they become
righted.” Woman, legally powerless in the doing away with abuses, or
the punishment of crime, must depend upon publicity for the creation of
a public sentiment in her favor.

One of the most remarkable facts connected with disclosures of this
crime against womankind was the extent to which men of all ages and
character were found identified with it. The world of business and that
of politics were equally as well known in the haunts of vice as in the
outside world, but they were judged by a different standard and their
relative importance was altogether changed.[78] It was a literal day of
judgment, in which evil character, deftly hidden during public life,
was there unveiled.

The most horribly striking fact connected with this investigation was
the extreme youth of these victims. The report of the committee of the
House of Lords, 1882, declared the evidence proved beyond doubt that
juvenile vice from an almost incredibly early age was increasing at an
appalling extent in England, and especially in London; ten thousand
girls, thirteen, fourteen, and fifteen years of age, had been drawn
into this vice, an English paper declaring the ignorance of these girls
to be almost incredible. The condition of these girl-children is far
more horrible than that of the victims of infant marriage in Syria,
Egypt, India; the infant victims of christian lands are more fully
destroyed, soon becoming mental, physical and moral wrecks; alternate
imbecility and wild screaming being common among these child victims of

Christianity created the modern brothel, which as closely follows in
the wake of evangelical work of the Moody and Sankey style, as did
public women the ancient church councils.[80] While in the past the
legal wrongs of woman in the marriage relation, in which she is robbed
of name, personality, earnings, children, had a tendency to drive her
to live with man outside of the authority of church or state, the
occupations recently opened to her whereby she can gain a reputable
livelihood by her own exertions, has greatly increased the ranks of
single women.[81] No longer compelled to marry for a home or position,
the number of young girls who voluntarily refrain from marriage,
by choice living single, increases each year. No longer driven to
immorality for bread, a great diminution has taken place in the ranks
of “public women.”[82] No longer forced by want into this life, the
lessening number of such women not meeting the requirements of patrons
of vice, resulted in the organization of a regular system for the
abduction, imprisonment, sale, and exportation of young girls; England
and Germany most largely controlling this business, although Belgium,
Holland and France, Switzerland, several countries of South America,
Canada, and the United States are to some extent also engaged in this
most infamous traffic.[83]

Foreign traffic in young English girls was known to exist long before
the revelation of the _Pall Mall Gazette_ made English people aware of
the extent of the same system under the home government. It was this
widely extended and thoroughly organized commerce in girl-children
which roused a few people to earnest effort against it, and secured the
formation of a society called “Prevention of Traffic in English Girls.”
To the chairman of this society, Mr. Benjamin Scott, was the first
official suggestion due that terminated in that investigation by Editor
Stead, which for a moment shook the civilized world, and held christian
England to light as a center of the vilest, most odious, most criminal
slave traffic the world ever knew.

London, the great metropolis of christian England, the largest city
of ancient or modern times, is acknowledged by statisticians and
sociologists to be the point where crime, vice, despair, and misery are
found in their deepest depth and greatest diversity. Not Babylon of
old, whose name is the synonym of all that is vile; not Rome, “Mother
of Harlots,” not Corinth, in whose temple a thousand women were kept
for prostitution in service of the god, not the most savage lands in
all their barbarity have ever shown a thousandth part of the human
woe to be found in the city of London, that culmination of modern
christian civilization. The nameless crimes of Sodom and Gomorrah, the
vileness of ancient Greece, which garnered its most heroic men, its
most profound philosophers, are but amusements among young men of the
highest rank in England; West End, the home of rank and wealth, of
university education, being the central hell of this extended radius
of vice. The destruction of girl-children by old men is paralleled
by the self-destruction of boys and youth through vices that society
hesitates to name. Yet each is the result of that system of teaching
which declares a woman a being divinely created for the use and sensual
gratification of man.

Having for years tacitly consented to the destruction of the
girl-children of its poor, at the rate of twenty thousand annually,
England was yet greatly shocked to find its boys of tender age and
aristocratic lineage sunken in a mire of immorality. Eton, the highest
institution of its kind in Great Britain, having in charge the
education of boys connected with the most illustrious English families,
recently became the source of a scandal which involved a great number
of students. An extensive secret inquiry resulted in the suspension
of nearly three hundred boys after full confession. Supplied with
unlimited pocket money, they had bribed parkkeepers and the police to

But a few years previous to these disclosures in reference to Eton,
the civilized world was horrified at the discovery of the vice which
destroyed Sodom, among some of the most wealthy, aristocratic young
men of London. And yet with knowledge of the depravity into which this
most christian city had sunk, the shocking character of the disclosures
of the _Pall Mall Gazette_ in reference to the traffic in young girls,
involved details of vice so atrocious as to exceed belief had not the
testimony been of the most convincing character. These mere children
were lured by the most diabolical vices into traps, where by drugs,
force, or cajoling, tens of thousands were brought to moral and
physical ruin, innocent victims of a religious theory which through the
christian ages has trained men into a belief that woman was but created
as a plaything for their passions. That boys of the highest families,
in the earliest years of their adolescence, should voluntarily
associate with those vicious women who form a class created by the
public sentiment of man as necessary to the safety of the feminine
element in households, is not surprising to a philosophic observer. It
was the direct result of an adequate cause. The wrong to woman passed
so silently by, reached its culmination in the destruction of young
boys. At Eton, suspension was tenderness, expulsion from that school
ruining a boy’s future.

Succeeding the revelation of London vice, came divulgence of similar
shameless practices on the part of high government officials and men
foremost in public life, in the Canadian Colonies. In Ottawa and other
Canadian cities in which upon this side of the Atlantic the wholesale
despoliation of young girls but too closely paralleled London and other
trans-Atlantic cities. These were closely followed by the revelations
in regard to the north-western pineries of the United States, to whose
camps women are decoyed, under pretense of good situations and high
wages into a life whose horrors are not equaled in any other part of
the christian world; where the rawhide is used to compel drinking and
dancing, and high stockades, bull-dogs and pistols prevent escape,
until death—happily of quick occurrence—releases the victim. As
elsewhere, men of wealth and high position, law-makers, are identified
with this infamy.[84]

Among the notable facts due to an investigation of prostitution is that
its support largely comes from married men, the “heads of families”;
men of mature years, fathers of sons and daughters. To those seemingly
least exposed to temptation is the sustaining of this vice due. Men
of influence and position no less in this country than in England
frequent disreputable houses. In 1878, the body of a woman buried in
the principal cemetery of Syracuse, N.Y. was exhumed on suspicion
of poison. One of the prominent city dailies said, “she commenced
leading an abandoned life and went to Saratoga where she ran a large
establishment of that character. Her place was the center for men of
influence and position.” A few years since the Rev. T. DeWitt Talmage
accompanied by high police officials investigated such houses in
person. In a sermon based upon knowledge there obtained Mr. Talmage
declared those dens of infamy to be supported by married men, chiefly
of the better classes.

    He found them to be judges of courts, distinguished lawyers,
    officers in churches, political orators that talk on the
    Republican, Democratic and Greenback platforms about God and
    good morals till you might almost take them for evangelists
    expecting a thousand converts in one night. On the night
    of our exploration I saw their carriages leaving these
    dignitaries at the shambles of death. Call the roll in the
    house of dissipation, and if the inmates will answer you
    will find stock-brokers from Wall street, large importers on
    Broadway, iron merchants, leather merchants, wholesale grocers
    and representatives from all the wealthy classes.

    But I have something to tell you more astonishing than that
    the houses of iniquity are supported by wealthy people
    when I tell you that they are supported by the heads of
    families—fathers and husbands, with the awful perjury upon
    them of broken marriage vows; and while many of them keep
    their families on niggardly portions, with hardly enough to
    sustain life, have their thousands for the diamonds and the
    wardrobe and equipage of iniquity. In the name of high heaven
    I cry out against this popular iniquity. Such men must be cast
    out from social life and from business relations. If they
    will not reform, overboard with them from all decent circles.
    I lift one-half the burden of malediction from the un-pitied
    head of woman and hurl it upon the blasted pate of offending
    man. What society wants is a new division of its anathema.

    Without the support of the heads of families, in one month
    the most of the haunts of sin in New York, Philadelphia and
    Boston, would crumble into ruin.

That one-half of the children born into the world die before maturity,
is acknowledged. Physiologists and philanthropists seek for the cause
except where most likely to be found. To that mysterious interchange
of germs and life principles, whose chemistry is still not understood,
must we look for aid in solving this great problem. These questions
woman is forced to consider; their investigation belong to her by
right, as she and her children are the chief victims. She can no longer
close her lips in silence, saying it does not concern me. No longer
does the modern woman allow her husband to think for her; she is
breaking from church bonds, from the laws of men alone, from all the
restrictions the state has pressed upon her; she is no longer looking
without, for guidance, but is heeding the commands of her own soul.

With such facts before us, we are not surprised that women are found
who prefer the freedom and private respect accorded to a mistress,
rather than the restrictions and tyranny of the marital household. Mr.
Talmage but followed in the footsteps of Anna Dickinson, who took upon
herself an acquaintance with this class of women. Asking one woman
living as mistress why she did not marry, the girl contemptuously

    Marry! umph! I too well know what my mother suffered in the
    married state. She was my father’s slave, cruelly treated,
    subject to all manner of abuse, neglected, halfstarved, all
    her appeals and protests unheeded. How is it with me? I am
    free. I have all the money I want to use, a thing my mother
    never had. I come and go as I please, something my mother
    could never do. I am well treated, my mother was not. Should I
    be abused there is no law to hold me, no court to sit upon my
    right to my own child as there was with my mother. No, no, no,
    I am infinitely better off as a mistress than as a wife.

And yet so pronounced in difference are the moral codes by which men
and women are judged, that while living together in unlegalized marital
relations, the man is welcomed into society, is looked upon as fit for
marriage with the most innocent young girl, while should he partially
condone the wrong done the woman whose life under present condition
of society he has ruined, by marriage with her, society for this one
reputable act brands him as most unworthy. It is but a few years since
a cavalry officer in Washington was court-martialled, found guilty and
sentenced to dismissal from the army on charge of conduct unbecoming an
officer and a gentleman, because of his legally marrying a woman with
whom he had been living un-married. What a commentary upon christian
civilization! While living an illicit relation with this woman, he
was regarded as an officer and a gentleman; when taking upon himself
a legal relation he was court-martialled. Lecky says: “Much of our
own feeling on this subject is due to laws and moral systems which
were founded by men and were in the first instance designed for their
own protection.” As far as he has examined this question, Lecky is
correct, but he has failed to touch the primal cause of such laws and
systems—the church doctrine of woman’s created inferiority to man.
View these questions from any standpoint the cause remains the same.
To this cause we trace the crime and criminals of society today. To
this cause the darkness of an age which has not yet realized that
civilization means a recognition of the rights of others at every point
of contact.

To the honor of the pulpit the sins of men are occasionally made the
subject of condemnation. Evangelist Davidson preaching in Syracuse, N.
Y. 1887, said:

    I pray God to haste the day when vice in man will be marked by
    society the same as in woman. I know all the popular theories.
    You admit it is a fearful thing for a woman. There are poor
    women who are driven to it and you are the ones who drive
    them. You smile at the one thing in this sermon that ought to
    make a thinking man cry; the world is so depraved that you
    laugh at the very idea of a man’s saying he is a pure man.

Like Lecky, Mr. Davidson was correct as far as he went, but he, too,
failed to reach the cause of this double code of morals. He did not
touch it because in striking that, he would strike a blow at the very
foundations of the church.

Christendom is percolated with immorality, large cities and small
towns alike giving daily proof. Legislative and police investigations
substantiate this statement; woman’s protective agencies and private
investigations alike proclaim the same fact. As under the same organic
teachings results must continue the same, we find the United States no
more free from immorality than European lands; Catholic countries no
more vile than Protestant; although feudal law no longer exists, men
still rule in church and state. Men’s beliefs, their desires, their
passions, create the laws under which the degradation of woman still
continues. Evil consequences are not confined to the past, to days of
comparative ignorance and tyranny; and in no country has the effect
of belief in woman as a mere instrument for men’s pleasure produced
more horrible results than in our own. Not to speak of the effort
made in Congress a few years since to place all women of the country
under suspect law, many cities, among them Washington, Philadelphia,
Syracuse,[85] have at different periods taken initial steps towards a
prohibition of a woman’s appearing in the street un-accompanied by male
escort, during the evening, even its earliest hours. Such ordinances,
primarily directed against working girls whose chief time for out of
door exercise and recreation is during evening hours, and to that other
rapidly increasing class of business women, physicians and others,
whose vocation calls them out at all hours of day or night; places the
liberty of woman at the option of every policeman, as though she were
a criminal or a slave.[86] There is also proof of regularly organized
kidnapping schemes and deportation of girls for the vilest purposes
not only abroad, but to the pineries and lumber camps of Michigan and

Bloodhounds kept for this purpose, or hunting down the girls
with shotguns, prevents escape when attempted. In January, 1887,
representative Breen appeared before the House Judiciary Committee of
the Michigan legislature, confirming the charge that a regular trade in
young girls existed between Milwaukee, Chicago and the mining regions
of the upper peninsula of that state.[87] In case of conviction, the
punishment is totally inadequate to the crime of those men; the law
giving only one year of imprisonment. The freedom, innocence and lives
of such women are of less account in law than the commonest larceny
of property. If these girls were robbed of fifty cents the law would
punish the theft, but robbed of themselves, enduring such brutal
outrages that life continues only from two to twelve months, there have
yet no laws of adequate punishment been passed. So little attention
have legislators given, that policemen, judges and sheriffs are found
aiding and abetting the proprietors of these dens.[88] Their emissaries
find young girls between thirteen and sixteen the easiest to kidnap,
and when once in power of these men, their hair is cut in order that
they may be known. A regular system of transfer of the girls exists
between the many hundred such dens, where clubs, whips, and irons are
the instruments to hold them in subjection.[89] The _New York World_
sent a representative disguised as a woodman in order to investigate
the truth of these statements. He found these houses surrounded by
stockades thirty feet in height, the one door guarded night and day by
a man with a rifle, while within were a number of chained bull-dogs
that were let loose if a girl attempted escape. Certain men even in
these forest depths are especially noted for their cruelty to these
victims, who are compelled with club and whips to obey the master of
the den. Suicide the only door of escape is frequent among these girls,
who almost without exception were secured under promise of respectable
employment at Green Bay, Duluth, or other points. From forty to
seventy-five girls are found at the largest of such pinery dens.

The _World_ reporter saw them strung up by the thumbs, beaten with
clubs, kicked by drunken brutes and driven with switches over the snow.
He afterwards interviewed a rescued girl who had engaged to work in a
lumberman’s hotel, supposing it to be a respectable place, but instead
she was taken to a rough building, surrounded by a slab fence nearly
twenty feet in height, within which was a cordon of thirteen bull dogs
chained to iron stakes driven in the ground. Many of the details given
by this girl are too horrible for relation. Three times she tried to
escape and three times she was caught and beaten. The visitors by whom
she tried to smuggle notes to the outer world would hand them to the
proprietor, who liberally paid for such treason. Even county officers
visited the place to drink and dance with the girls, who were not
permitted to refuse any request of the visitors. A complaint of any
kind, even of sickness, meant a whipping, frequently with a rawhide
upon the naked body; some times with the butt of a revolver. Many
den-keepers wield a powerful influence in the local elections; one of
the worst of such after paying the constable twelve dollars for the
return of a girl who had tried to escape, beat her with a revolver
until tired and was then only prevented by a woodman from turning loose
a bull dog upon her; but such was his political influence that he was
elected justice of the peace the following spring.

Under the head of “White Slaves in Michigan” the _New York World_ of
January 24, 1887, published a special dispatch from Detroit, Mich., in
regard to the case of a rescued girl.

    DETROIT, Jan. 23.—One of the infamous resorts maintained
    in the new iron region in the upper peninsulas, near the
    Wisconsin state line, was raided last September by the
    Sheriff’s officers. Hers is the first word to reach the
    world direct from one of those dens. Many of the details she
    gave were too horrible to be even hinted. On the strength of
    inducements now familiar, she went to work in a lumberman’s
    hotel in the North. She went, accompanied by another girl,
    both believing the situation to be respectable. She and her
    companion were taken to a rough two story building, four and
    a half miles from Iron Mountain, in Wisconsin. The house was
    surrounded by a slab fence nearly twenty feet high, within
    which about the building was a cordon of bull dogs, thirteen
    in number, chained to iron stakes driven into the ground.
    She said, “Scarcely a day passed that I was not knocked down
    and kicked. Several times when I was undressed for bed I was
    beaten with a rawhide on my bare back. There were always from
    eleven to thirty-two girls in the house and I did not fare
    a bit worse than the rest. A complaint of any kind, even of
    sickness, meant a whipping every time. When the log drives
    were going on there would be hundreds of men there night and
    day. They were not human beings, but fiends, and we were not
    allowed to refuse any request of them. Oh, it was awful,
    awful! I would rather stay in this prison until I die than
    to go back there for one day. I tried to escape three times
    and was caught. They unchained the dogs and let them get so
    near me that I cried out in terror and begged them to take
    the dogs away and I would go back. Then, of course, I was
    beaten. I tried, too, to smuggle out notes to the Sheriff by
    visitors, but they would take them to the proprietor instead
    and he would pay them. Once I did get a note to the deputy
    sheriff at Florence, Wis., and he came and inquired, but the
    proprietor gave him $50 and he went away. I was awfully beaten
    then. While I lived the life, from March until September, two
    inmates died, both from brutal treatment. They were as good
    as murdered. Nearly all the girls came without knowing the
    character of the house at first implored to get away. The
    county officers came to the places to drink and dance with the
    girls. They are controlled by a rich man in Iron Mountain,
    who owns the houses and rents them for $100 a month. I am
    twenty-four years old and was a healthy woman when I went into
    the first house, weighing 156 pounds. I was transferred to
    the house from which I was released by the officers in August
    last. When I left it I weighed 120. I now weigh less. When
    I go home I will be a good woman, if I can only let liquor
    alone. I was forced to drink that while there.”

The traffic in girls from one part of the American continent to another
is under a well organized plan that seldom meets discovery, although a
trader of this character is now serving a sentence in Sing Sing prison,
N.Y., for sending girls to Panama. Three decoyed young girls found in
Jamaica, were happily returned uninjured, to their parents.[90] From
Canada, girls are imported to the large cities of the United States.
The prices paid to agents depend upon a girl’s youth and beauty,
varying from $20 to $200 each.[91] The traffic at Ottawa resembled that
of London in that prominent citizens, leading politicians, and members
of the government were implicated.[92]

The number of women and girls constantly reported “missing” is
startling in its great extent. Stepping out on some household errand
for a moment they vanish as though swallowed by the earth. A few years
ago the _Chicago Herald_ sent one of its reporters into the pineries
of Wisconsin, to trace a little girl living on State street of that
city who went one evening to get a pitcher of milk and did not return.
Not a month, scarcely a week passes, that the disappearance of some
woman, girl, or child, is not chronicled through the press, besides
the infinitely greater numbers of whom the world never hears. As it
was abroad, so in our own country, no energetic steps are taken to put
an end to these foul wrongs. Woman herself is needed in the seats of
justice; woman must become a responsible factor in government in order
to the enactment of laws which shall protect her own sex. The spring of
1892, the _Chicago Herald_ called attention to the continuance of this
condition of things.

    MARINETTE, Wis., April 17.—Four years ago when the _Herald_
    exposed the pinery dens of Wisconsin, Marinette was known
    as the wickedest city in the country. It was the rendezvous
    of every species of bad men. Thugs, thieves and gamblers
    practically held possession of the town. Their influence
    was felt in all municipal affairs. Certain officers of the
    law seemed in active sympathy with them, and it was almost
    impossible to secure the arrest and conviction of men guilty
    of infamous crimes. Dives of the vilest character ran open
    on the outskirts of the town. Their inmates, recruited from
    all parts of the country by the subtle arts of well known
    procurers, were kept in a state of abject slavery. Iron balls
    and chains, suffocating cords and the whistling lash were used
    on refractory girls and women. The dens were surrounded by
    stockades, and savage dogs were kept unmuzzled to scare those
    who might try to escape. Bodies of ill-starred victims were
    sometimes found in the woods, but the discovery was rarely
    followed by investigation. The dive keepers were wealthy and
    knew how to ease the conscience of any over-zealous officer.

    The outburst of indignation which followed the _Herald’s_
    exposure compelled certain reforms in the neighborhood.
    Sporadic efforts were made to clean out the criminal element;
    restrictions were placed on saloons and gambling houses;
    stockades and bloodhounds were removed from the dives near the
    woods, and gradually an air of semi-decency crept over the
    district. But the snake was scotched, not killed. For a time
    more attention was paid to the proprieties, vice and crime
    were not so open as formerly. By degrees, however, the old
    conditions assumed sway again. Games of every kind were run
    openly night and day, dives and dance halls have been thronged
    and the usual quota of men from the woods deliberately robbed
    of their winter’s savings.

Man’s assertion that he protects woman is false. Under laws solely
enacted by men young girls in christian countries are held as
assenting to their own degradation at an age so tender that their
evidence would not be received in courts of law. Nor are these the
laws of a remote age come down to the present time. As late as 1889,
the Kansas State Senate voted 25 to 9 that a girl of twelve years was
of sufficiently responsible age “to consent” to take the first step in
immorality; the same senate afterwards unanimously voting that a boy
of sixteen years was not old enough to decide for himself in regard to
smoking cigarettes.[93] It should be remembered that youth is the most
impressible season of life as well as the most inexperienced. Young
girls from thirteen to sixteen, mere children, are most easily decoyed,
their youth and innocence causing them to fall the readiest prey; and
scarcely a large city but proves the existence of men of mature years
whose aim is the destruction of such young girls.[94] The state of
Delaware yet more infamous, still retaining seven years as the “age
of consent.” Seven short years of baby life in that state is legally
held to transform a girl-infant into a being with capacity to consent
to an act of which she neither knows the name nor the consequences,
her “consent” freeing from responsibility or punishment, the villain,
youthful or aged, who chooses to assault such baby victim of man-made
laws.[95] While the doors of irresponsible vice are legally thrown open
to men of all ages with girl victims as their prey, the restrictions
against marriage with a minor without the parents’ consent are in most
states very severe. That the girl-wife herself has consented to the
marriage ceremony is of no weight. Where a legitimate union is under
consideration she is held as possessing no power to form a contract
and can be arrested under a writ of _habeas corpus_, and kept from her
husband at her father’s pleasure. Instances have also occurred where
the wife has been punished by him for thus daring to marry.[96] Both
the husband and the officiating clergyman are also held amenable,
the former under charge of abduction, the latter as an accessory in
performing the marriage ceremony.

A significant fact is the rapid increase of child criminals throughout
christendom; Germany, France and England showing one hundred per cent
within ten years, while in the United States more than one-half the
inmates of state prisons are under thirty years of age. From criminals
it is necessary to look back to crime-making men sitting in earth’s
loftiest places, and note the fact that crime germs are not alone
generated with the child, but that through the gestative period the
mother, a religious and legal slave, struggles between a newly awakened
sense of that responsibility which within the last four decades has
come to woman, and the crushing influence of religious, political and
family despotism which still overshadows her. Moralists have long
striven for the suppression of immorality by efforts directed to the
reformation of corrupt women alone; for two reasons they have been

First: the majority of women entering this life are found to have done
so under the pressure of abject poverty, and as long as the conditions
of society continue to foster poverty for woman it was impossible to
create a marked change in morals.

Second: all efforts were directed towards the smallest and least
culpable class, as it has been proven that ten men of immoral life are
required for the support of one woman of like character. In London
alone with its population of five millions, 100,000 women, one-fiftieth
of its population are thus enumerated, requiring 1,000,000 men,
one-fifth of its population, for their support. Recognizing the fact
that men, not women, were most sunken in vice, the number leading
vicious lives very much larger, the degradation of these men very
much greater, an Italian lady, Madam Venturi, at the International
Conference of the British Continental and General Federation for the
abolition of governmental regulation of prostitution, while making
a brief eloquent address upon the general subject of rescue work,
referred to the great importance of reclaiming men as the fundamental
work upon which others should be built up. Teach men, she said, to
understand that he who degrades a fellow creature, commits a crime,
the crime of high treason against humanity. In quick response to those
fitly-spoken words, the women of many countries combined in the work of
man’s reformation in an organization known as the “White Cross Society”
founded in 1886, by Miss Ellice Hopkins of England, and now possessing
branches in every part of the civilized world.[97] To this society,
men alone belong; its work is of a still broader character than mere
reformation of the vicious; it seeks to train young men and boys to a
proper respect for woman and for themselves.

As the world is indebted to Christine of Pisa for the first public
protest against the immorality of christendom, so to Mrs. Josephine
Butler,[98] Madam Venturi, and Miss Ellice Hopkins are due the
inauguration of a new moral standard for man whose results must be
of incalculable value to the world. The “White Cross” is a simply
organized society without an admission fee, but requiring adherence
to a five-fold obligation binding its members to purity of thought
and action,[99] and maintaining that the law of chastity is equally
binding on men and women. The International Federation, a union
existing in several European countries, its chief object, work against
state protection of vice, roused public thought in this direction
as never before. People began to comprehend that a large vicious
class was common to every community, a class whose reclamation had
never been systematically attempted, never thought necessary or even
deemed possible, because of the religious and social training that
taught indulgence in vice to be a necessity of man’s nature; and the
coordinate statement, that protection to the majority of women was to
be secured only through the debasement and moral degradation of the
minority. For many hundreds of years this has been man’s treatment of
the question of vice in Christian lands.

But as soon as advancing civilization permitted woman’s thought to be
publicly heard, vice in man was declared to be upon the same basis
as vice in woman. Had not man been trained by his religion into a
belief that woman was created for him, had not the church for 1800
and more years preached woman’s moral debasement, the long course of
legislation for them as slaves would never have taken place, nor the
obstacles in way of change been so numerous and so persistent. For
nine years the Criminal Reform Act was before Parliament. During that
period, petitions, speeches and appeals of every kind in favor of its
passage were made by those outside the halls of legislation aided by
a few honest men within. But the vicious and immoral fought the act
with energy, despite the fact that the women of their own families
were exposed to destruction through government protected iniquity. The
bitter opposition by legislators to this act, is an additional proof
that woman cannot trust man in the state to any greater extent than in
the church.

Until woman holds political power in her own hands, her efforts for
protective legislation will be arduous and protracted. Among the
customs of the early christian church, we are able to trace the
inception of marquette, the mundium, the legalization of vice and
crimes of kindred character. With exception of among some savage races,
that woman should appear unclothed before man, has been regarded as
evidence of the deepest sensuality, yet throughout the history of
Christianity from its earliest years when women were required to
divest themselves of clothing before baptism down to the Endowment
House ceremonies of the Mormon Church, we constantly find proof of
like sensual exactions by the “Fathers,” priests and lay masculinity
of the church. During the earliest days of christianity, women were
baptized quite nude, in the presence of men, by men, their bodies being
afterwards anointed with oil by the priest who had baptized them. One
of the earliest schisms in the church arose from the protest of women
against this indignity, their demand to be allowed to baptize those of
their own sex, and the opposition of men to this demand.[100]

The early bishops of the church strenuously used their influence
against the baptism of nude women by elders of their own sex. Women
were sometimes brought entirely nude upon the stage at Rome, but it was
in connection with religious representation, the theater at that period
being an element of religious teaching. Lecky speaks of the undisguised
sensuality of this practice.[101] What must be our conception of a
christian custom that placed nude maidens and wives in the very hands
of men, not alone for baptism but also for anointing with oil? Nude
baptism is still practiced when converts are received into the Greek
church, no position or station in life excusing from it, Catharine,
the first wife of Peter the Great being baptized in this primitive
christian manner.[102] As late as the seventeenth century a work upon
the “Seven Sacraments” set certain days in which female penitents were
to appear entirely unclothed before the confessor in order that he
might discipline them on account of their sins.

_Chapter Five_


Although toward the beginning of the IV century, people began to
speak of the nocturnal meeting of witches and sorcerers, under the
name of “Assembly of Diana,” or “Herodia,” it was not until canon or
church law, had become quite engrafted upon the civil law, that the
full persecution for witchcraft arose. A witch was held to be a woman
who had deliberately sold herself to the evil one; who delighted in
injuring others, and who, for the purpose of enhancing the enormity of
her evil acts, choose the Sabbath day for the performance of her most
impious rites, and to whom all black animals had special relationship;
the black cat in many countries being held as her principal familiar.
“To go to the Sabbath” signified taking part in witch orgies. The
possession of a pet of any kind at this period was dangerous to woman.
One who had tamed a frog, was condemned to be burned in consequence,
the harmless amphibian being looked upon as a familiar of Satan. The
devil ever being depicted in sermon or story as black, all black
animals by an easy transition of ideas, became associated with evil and
witches.[1] Although I have referred to witchcraft as having taken on
a new phase soon after the confirmation of celibacy as a dogma of the
church by the Lateran Council of 1215, it yet requires a chapter by
itself, in order to show to what proportions this form of heresy arose,
and the method of the church in its treatment. This period was the age
of supreme despair for woman,[2] death by fire being the common form of
witch punishment. Black cats were frequently burned with a witch at the
stake;[3] during the reign of Louis XV of France, sacks of condemned
cats were burned upon the public square devoted to witch torture. Cats
and witches are found depicted together in a curious cut on the title
page of a book printed in 1621. The proverbial “nine lives” of a cat
were associated in the minds of people with the universally believed
possible metamorphosis of a witch into a cat.[4] So firmly did the
diabolical nature of the black cat impress itself upon the people,
that its effects are felt in business to this day, the skin of black
cats being less prized and of less value in the fur market than those
of other colors. A curious exemplification of this inherited belief is
found in Great Britain. An English taxidermist who exports thousands
of mounted kittens each year to the United States and other countries,
finds the prejudice against black cats still so great that he will
not purchase kittens of this obnoxious color.[5] In the minds of many
people, black seems ineradicably connected with sorcery.

In the _Folk Lore of Cats_, it is stated that as recently as 1867 a
woman was publicly accused of witchcraft in the state of Pennsylvania
on account of her administering three drops of a black cat’s blood to
a child as a remedy for the croup. She admitted the fact but denied
that witchcraft had anything to do with it, and twenty witnesses
were called to prove its success as a remedy. From an early period
the belief in metamorphosis by means of magical power was common
throughout christendom. St. Augustine relates[6] that “hostesses or
innkeepers sometimes put confections into a kind of cheese made by
them, and travelers eating thereof, were presently metamorphosed into
laboring beasts, as horses, asses or oxen.” It was also believed that
the power of changing into various animals was possessed by witches
themselves.[7] At the present day under certain forms of insanity
persons imagine themselves to be animals, birds, and even inanimate
things, as glass; but usually those hallucinations occur in isolated
instances. But among the strange epidemics which have at various times
affected christendom, none is more singular than that Lycanthropia, or
wolf madness, which attacked such multitudes of inhabitants of the Jura
in 1600, as to become a source of great public danger. The affected
persons walked upon their feet and hands until their palms became hard
and horny. They howled like wolves, and as wolves do they hunted in
packs, murdering and devouring many children, nor could the most severe
punishment put an end to this general madness. Six hundred persons
were executed upon their own confessions, which included admissions
of compact with the devil, attendance upon the Sabbath and cannibal
feasting upon a mountain, the devil having used his power for their
transmutation into wolves.[8] Witches were believed to ride through the
air upon animals or bits of wood. The fact of their possession of such
powers is asserted by many writers, the usual method of transportation
being a goat, night crow or enchanted staff.[9] The rhyming Mother
Goose question:

Old woman, old woman, oh whither, oh whither so high?

And its rhyming answer:

To sweep the cobwebs from the sky,
And I’ll be back by and by,

doubtless owes its origin to the witchcraft period.

A song said to be in use during witch dances ran:

Har, Har, Diabole, Diabole; Sali huc, Sali illuc; Lude hic, Lude illic;
Sabaoth, Sabaoth.

Although the confirmation by the church in the XIII century of the
supreme holiness of celibacy inaugurated a new era of persecution for
witchcraft, a belief in its existence had from the earliest times been
a doctrine of the church, Augustine, as shown, giving the weight of his
authority in favor. But to the Christian Emperor Charlemagne, in the
eighth century, the first use of torture in accusation of witchcraft is
due. This great emperor while defying the power of the pope, over whom
he even claimed jurisdiction, was himself a religious autocrat whose
severity exceeded even that of the papal throne. Torture was rapidly
adopted over Europe, and soon became general in the church; the council
of Salzburg, 799, publicly ordering its use in witch trials.

A new era of persecution and increased priestly power dates to the
reign of Charlemagne, who although holding himself superior to the
pope, as regarded independent action, greatly enlarged the dominion of
the church and power of the priesthood. He forced Christianity upon
the Saxons at immense sacrifice of life, added to the wealth and power
of the clergy by tithe lands, recognized their judicial and canonical
authority, made marriage illegal without priestly sanction and still
further degraded womanhood through his own polygamy. Although himself
of such wanton life, he yet caused a woman of the town to be dragged
naked through the city streets, subject to all the cruel tortures of an
accompanying mob.

In the ninth century the power of the pope was again greatly increased.
Up to this period he had been elected by the clergy and people of Rome,
and the approbation of the emperor was necessary to confirm it. But
Charles the Bald, 875, relinquished all right of jurisdiction over
Rome, and thereafter the Roman Pontiff became an acknowledged if not
sometimes a supreme power in the appointment of temporal princes. The
power of bishops, clergy, and cardinals diminished as that of the pope

Notwithstanding her claims of power through St. Peter, it has been by
gradual steps that Rome has decided upon her policy and established
her dogmas. It is but little over four decades, at the Ecumenical of
1849, that the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary,
was first authoritatively promulgated, although her worship had long
existed, being traceable to the Egyptian doctrine of the trinity,
with the substitution of Mary in place of Isis. It was not until 1085
that Hildebrand, Pope Gregory VII, declared matrimony a sacrament of
the church; and not until 1415, at the Council of Trent, that extreme
unction was instituted and defined as a sacrament. Each of these
dogmas threw more power into the hands of the church, and greater
wealth into her coffers. Thus we see the degeneration of Christianity
has had its epochs. One occurred when the Council of Nice allowed
chance to dictate which would be considered the canonical books of
the New Testament, accepting some theretofore regarded as of doubtful
authenticity and rejecting others that had been universally conceded
genuine.[10] Another epoch of degeneration occurs when the State in
the person of the great emperor Charlemagne added to the power of the
Church by the establishment of torture, whose extremest use fell upon
that portion of humanity looked upon as the direct embodiment of evil.
The peculiar character attributed to woman by the church, led to the
adoption of torture as a necessary method of forcing her to speak the
truth. The testimony of two, and in some countries, three women being
held as only equal to that of one man. At first, young children and
women expecting motherhood, were exempted, but afterwards neither age
or condition freed from accusation and torture, and women even in
the pangs of maternity were burned at the stake,[11] Christianity in
this respect showing much more barbarity than pagan nations. In pagan
Rome the expectant mother was held sacred; to vex or disturb her mind
was punishable, to strike her was death. She even possessed a right
pertaining to the Vestal Virgins; if meeting a condemned criminal on
his way to execution, her word sufficed for his pardon. It scarcely
seems possible, yet in some christian countries the most prominent
class subjected to the torture, were women expecting motherhood.
Christianity became the religion of Iceland A.D., 1000, and by the
earliest extant law, the “Gragas,” dating to 1119, we find that while
torture was prescribed in but few instances yet the class principally
subjected to it, were women about to become mothers. But generally
throughout Europe, until about the XIV century, when priestly celibacy
had become firmly established and the Inquisition connected with the
state, a class consisting of nobles, doctors of the law, pregnant
women, and children under fourteen, were exempt from torture except in
case of high treason and a few other offenses. But at a later period
when these institutions had greatly increased the irresponsible power
of the church, we find neither sex, condition nor age, free from its
infliction, both state and church uniting in its use.

In Venetian Folk Lore, it is stated that Satan once became furious
with the Lord because paradise contained more souls than hell, and
he determined by fine promises to seduce human beings to his worship
and thus fill his kingdom. He decided to always tempt women instead
of men, because through ambition or a desire for revenge, they yield
more easily. This legend recalls the biblical story of Satan taunting
the Lord with the selfish nature of Job’s goodness, and receiving from
God the permission to try him. Witchcraft was regarded as a sin almost
confined to women. The Witch Hammer declared the very word _femina_
meant one wanting in faith. A wizard was rare; one writer declaring
that to every hundred witches but one wizard was found. In time of
Louis XV this difference was greatly increased; “To one wizard 10,000
witches”; another writer asserted there were 100,000 witches in France
alone. The great inquisitor Sprenger, author of the “Witch Hammer” and
through whose instrumentality many countries were filled with victims,
largely promoted this belief. “Heresy of witches, not of wizards[12]
must we call it, for these latter are of very small account.” No
class or condition of women escaped him; we read of young children,
old people, infants, witches of fifteen years, and two “infernally
beautiful” of seventeen years. Although the ordeal of the red hot iron
fell into disuse in the secular courts early in the fourteenth century,
(1329),[13] ecclesiasticism preserved it in case of women accused of
witchcraft for one hundred and fifty years longer.[14] One of the
peculiarities of witchcraft accusations, was that protestations of
innocence, and a submission to ordeals such as had always vindicated
those taking part in them if passing through unharmed, did not clear
a woman charged with witchcraft, who was then accused with having
received direct help from Satan. The maxim of secular law that the
torture which did not produce confession entitled the accused to full
acquittal was not in force under ecclesiastical indictments, and the
person accused of witchcraft was always liable to be tried again for
the same crime. Every safeguard of law was violated in case of woman,
even Magna Charta forbidding appeal to her except in case of her

Before the introduction of Christianity, no capital punishment existed,
in the modern acceptation of the term, except for witchcraft. But
pagans unlike christians, did not look upon women as more given to this
practice than men; witches and wizards were alike stoned to death. But
as soon as a system of religion was adopted which taught the greater
sinfulness of women, over whom authority had been given to man by God
himself, the saying arose “one wizard to 10,000 witches,” and the
persecution for witchcraft became chiefly directed against women. The
church degraded woman by destroying her self-respect, and teaching her
to feel consciousness of guilt in the very fact of her existence.[15]
The extreme wickedness of woman, taught as a cardinal doctrine of the
church, created the belief that she was desirous of destroying all
religion, witchcraft being regarded as her strongest weapon,[16]
therefore no punishment for it was thought too severe. The teaching
of the church, as to the creation of women and the origin of evil,
embodied the ordinary belief of the christian peoples, and that woman
rather than man practiced this sin, was attributed by the church to her
original sinful nature, which led her to disobey God’s first command in

Although witchcraft was treated as a crime against the state, it was
regarded as a greater sin against heaven, the bible having set its
seal of disapproval in the injunction “Thou shalt not suffer a witch
to live.” The church therefore claimed its control. When coming under
ecclesiastical jurisdiction, witchcraft was much more strenuously
dealt with than when it fell under lay tribunals. It soon proved a
great source of emolument to the church, which grew enormously rich
by its confiscation to its own use of all property of the condemned.
Sprenger, whose work (“The Witch Hammer”), was devoted to methods of
dealing with this sin, was printed in size convenient for carrying in
the pocket.[18] It based its authority upon the bible, twenty-three
pages being devoted to proving that women were especially addicted
to sorcery. This work was sanctioned by the pope, but after the
reformation became equally authoritative in protestant as in catholic
countries, not losing its power for evil until the XVIII century. A
body of men known as “Traveling Witch Inquisitors,” of whom Sprenger
was chief, journeyed from country to country throughout christendom,
in search of victims for torture and death. Their entrance into a
country or city was regarded with more fear than famine or pestilence,
especially by women, against whom their malignity was chiefly directed,
Sprenger, the great authority, declaring that her name signified evil;
“the very word _femina_, (woman), meaning one wanting in faith, for
_fe_ means faith, and _minus_ less.”[19] The reformation caused no
diminution in its use, the protestant clergy equally with the catholic
constantly appealing to its pages. Still another class known as “Witch
Finders,” or “Witch Persecutors” confined their work to their own
neighborhoods. Of these, Cardan, a famous Italian physician, said:

“In order to obtain forfeit property, the same persons act as accusers
and judges, and invent a thousand stories as proof.”[20] The love of
power, and the love of money formed a most hideous combination for evil
in the church; not a christian country but was full of the horrors of
witch persecutions and violent deaths. During the reign of Francis I
more than 100,000 witches were put to death, mostly by burning, in
France alone. Christ was invoked as authority, the square devoted to
Auto da Fe, being known as, “The Burning Place of the Cross.”

The Parliament of Toulouse burned 400 witches at one time. Four hundred
women at one hour on the public square, dying the horrid death of
fire for a crime which never existed save in the imagination of those
persecutors and which grew in their imagination from a false belief
in woman’s extraordinary wickedness, based upon a false theory as to
original sin. Remy, judge of Nancy, acknowledged to having burnt eight
hundred in sixteen years; at the rate of half a hundred a year. Many
women were driven to suicide in fear of the torture in store for them.
In 1595 sixteen of those accused by Remy, destroyed themselves rather
than fall into his terrible hands. Six hundred were burnt in one small
bishopric in one year; nine hundred during the same period in another.
Seven thousand lost their lives in Treves; a thousand in the province
of Como, in Italy, in a single year; five hundred were executed at
Geneva, in a single month.

While written history does not fail to give abundant record in regard
to the number of such victims of the church, largely women whose lives
were forfeited by accusation of witchcraft, hundreds at one time dying
agonizingly by fire, a new and weird evidence as to the innumerable
multitude of these martyrs was of late most unexpectedly brought to
light in Spain. During a course of leveling and excavations for city
improvements in Madrid, recently, the workmen came upon the _Quemadero
de la Cruz_.[21] The cutting of a new road through that part of the
city laid bare like geological strata, long black layers super-imposed
one above the other at distances of one or two feet, in the sandstone
and clay. Some of these layers extended 150 feet in a horizontal
direction, and were at first supposed to be the actual discovery of
new geological strata, which they closely resembled. They proved to
be the remains of inquisitorial burnings, where thousands of human
beings of all ages had perished by the torture of fire.[22] The layers
consisted of coal coagulated with human fat, bones, the remains of
singed hair, and the shreds of burnt garments. This discovery created
great excitement, people visiting the spot by thousands to satisfy
themselves of the fact, and to carry away some memento of that dark
age of christian cruelty, a cruelty largely exercised against the most
helpless and innocent, a cruelty having no parallel in the annals of
paganism. Imagination fails to conceive the condensed torture this spot
of earth knew under the watchword of “Christ and His Cross”; and that
was but one of the hundreds, nay, thousands of similar “Burning Places
of the Cross,” with which every christian country, city, and town was
provided for many hundreds of years. A most diabolical custom of the
church made these burnings a holiday spectacle. People thus grew to
look unmoved upon the most atrocious tortures, and excited crowds hung
about witch burnings, eagerly listening as the priests exhorted to
confession, or tormented the dying victims with pictures of an unending
fire soon to be their fate.

An accusation of witchcraft struck all relatives of the accused with
terror, destroying the ordinary virtues of humanity in the hearts of
nearest friends. As it was maintained that devils possessed more than
one in a family, each member sought safety by aiding the church in
accumulating proof against the accused, in hopes thereby to escape
similar charge. It is impossible for us at the present day to conceive
the awful horror falling upon a family into which an accusation of
witchcraft had come. Not alone the shame and disgrace of such a
charge; the terrors of a violent death under the most painful form;
the sudden hurling of the family from ease and affluence to the most
abject poverty; but above all the belief that unending torment by fire
pursued the lost soul through eternity, made a combination of terrors
appalling to the stoutest heart. A Scotch woman convicted as a witch
and sentenced to be burned alive could not be persuaded by either
priest or sheriff to admit her guilt. Suffering the intensest agonies
of thirst during her torture she espied her only son in the surrounding
crowd. Imploring him in the name of her love for him she begged as her
last request, that he should bring her a drink. He shook his head,
not speaking; her fortitude her love, his own most certain conviction
of her innocence not touching him; when she cried again, “Oh, my dear
son, help me any drink, be it never so little, for I am most extremely
drie, oh drie, drie.” His answer to her agonizing entreaties could not
be credited were it not a subject of history, and the date so recent.
“By no means dear mother will I do you the wrong, for the drier you are
no doubt you will burn the better.”[23] Under Accadian law 3,000 years
before christianity, the son who denied his father was sentenced to a
simple fine, but he who denied his mother was to be banished from the
land and sea;[24] but in the sixteenth century of the christian era, we
find a son under christian laws denying his mother a drink of water in
her death agony by fire.

Erskine says:

    It was instituted in Scotland 1653, “that all who used
    witchcraft, sorcery, necromancy, or pretended skill therein,
    shall be punished capitally; upon which statute numberless
    innocent persons were tried and burnt to death, upon evidence
    which, in place of affording reasonable conviction to the
    judge, was fraught with absurdity and superstition.”[25]

Thirty thousand persons accused of witchcraft were burned to death in
Germany and Italy alone, and although neither age nor sex was spared,
yet women and girls were the chief victims. Uncommon beauty was as
dangerous to a woman as the possession of great wealth, which brought
frequent accusations in order that the church might seize upon the
witches’ property for its own use.

Children of the most tender years did not escape accusation and death.
During the height of witchcraft persecution, hundreds of little ones
were condemned as witches. Little girls of ten, eight, and seven years
are mentioned; blind girls, infants[26] and even young boys were among
the numbers who thus perished. Everywhere the most helpless classes
were the victims.

It was declared that witches looked no person steadily in the face, but
allowed their eyes to wander from side to side, or kept them fixed upon
the earth. To this assertion that a witch could not look any one in the
face, the present belief of a connection between guilt and a downcast
look, is due; although the church taught that a woman should preserve a
downward look in shame for the sin she had brought into the world, and
to this day, an open, confident look upon a woman’s face is deprecated
as evil. Attendance upon Sabbats[27] and control of the weather were
among the accusations brought against the witch. In Scotland a woman
accused of raising a storm by taking off her stockings, was put to
death. Sprenger tells of a Swiss farmer whose little daughter startled
him by saying she could bring rain, immediately raising a storm.[28]

Whatever the pretext made for witchcraft persecution we have abundant
proof that the so-called “witch” was among the most profoundly
scientific persons of the age. The church having forbidden its offices
and all external methods of knowledge to woman, was profoundly stirred
with indignation at her having through her own wisdom, penetrated
into some of the most deeply subtle secrets of nature: and it was a
subject of debate during the middle ages if learning for woman was not
an additional capacity for evil, as owing to her, knowledge had first
been introduced in the world. In penetrating into these arcana, woman
trenched upon that mysterious hidden knowledge of the church which it
regarded as among its most potential methods of controlling mankind.
Scholars have invariably attributed magical knowledge and practices
to the church, popes and prelates of every degree having been thus
accused. The word “magic” or “wisdom” simply meaning superior science,
was attributed in the highest degree to King Solomon, who ruled even
the Elementals by means of his magic ring made in accord with certain
natural laws. He was said to have drawn his power directly from God.
Magi were known as late as the X century of this era. Among their
powers were casting out demons, the fearless use of poisons, control
of spirits and an acquaintance with many natural laws unknown to the
world at large. During the present century, the Abbé Constant (Eliphas
Levi), declared the Pentegram to be the key of the two worlds, and if
rightly understood, endowing man with infinite power. The empire of THE
WILL over the astral light is symbolized in magic by the Pentegram, the
growth of a personal will being the most important end to be attained
in the history of man’s evolution. The opposition of the church to this
growth of the human will in mankind, has ever been the most marked
feature in its history. Under WILL, man decides for himself, escaping
from all control that hinders his personal development.

    It is only an innate and natural tendency of the soul to go
    beyond its body to find material with which to clothe the life
    that it desires to give expression to. The soul can and must
    be trained to do this consciously. You can easily see that
    this power possessed _consciously_ will give its possessor
    power to work magic.

Ignorance and the anathemas of the church against knowledge to be
gained through an investigation of the more abstruse laws of nature,
have invested the word “magic” with terror. But magic simply means
knowledge of the effect of certain natural, but generally unknown laws;
the secret operation of natural causes, according to Bacon and other
philosophers; consequences resulting from control of the invisible
powers of nature, such as are shown in the electrical appliances of the
day, which a few centuries since would have been termed witchcraft.
Seeking to compel the aid of spirits, was understood as magic at an
early day. Lenormant says the object of magic in Chaldea, was to
conjure the spirits giving minute description of the ancient formula.
Scientific knowledge in the hands of the church alone, was a great
element of spiritual and temporal power, aiding it in more fully
subduing the human will. The testimony of the ages entirely destroys
the assertion sometimes made that witchcraft was merely a species of
hysteria. Every discovery of science is a nearer step towards knowledge
of the laws governing “the Accursed Sciences,” as everything connected
with psychic power in possession of the laity was termed by the church.
“Her seven evidences for possession” included nearly all forms of
mesmerism. All modern investigations tend to prove what was called
witchcraft, to have been in most instances the action of psychic laws
not yet fully understood. An extremely suggestive article appeared
in the January and February numbers of _The Path_ 1887, by C. H. A.
Bjerregaard entitled, “The Elementals and the Elementary Spirits.” In
it Mr. Bjerregaard referred to the Pacinian Corpuscles, the discovery
of an Italian physician in 1830 and 1840. He said:

    Pacini found in all the sensible nerves of the fingers many
    elliptical whitish corpuscles. He compared them to the
    electrical organs of the torpedo and described them as animal
    magneto-motors, or organs of animal magnetism, and so did
    Henle and Holliker, two German anatomists who have studied and
    described these corpuscles very minutely.

    In the human body they are found in great numbers in
    connection with the nerves of the hand, also in those of
    the foot.... The ecstatic dances of the enthusiasts and the
    not-sinking of somnambulists in water, or their ability to
    use the soles of their feet as organs of perception, and the
    ancient art of healing by the soles of the feet—all these
    facts explain the mystery.

    They are found sparingly on the spinal nerves, and on the
    plexuses of the sympathetic, but never on the nerves of
    motion.... Anatomists are interested in these Pacinian
    corpuscles because of the novel aspect in which they present
    the constituent parts of the nerve-tube, placed in the heart
    of a system of concentric membranous capsules with intervening
    fluid, and divested of that layer which they (the anatomists)
    regard as an isolator and protector of the more potential
    central axis within.

    This apparatus—almost formed like a voltaic pile, is the
    instrument for that peculiar vital energy, known more or less
    to all students as Animal Magnetism.

    Since the cat is somewhat famous in all witchcraft, let me
    state, that in the mesentery of the cat, they can be seen in
    large numbers with the naked eye, as small oval-shaped grains
    a little smaller than hemp-seeds. A few have been found in the
    ox (symbol of the priestly office,) but they are wanting in
    all birds, amphibia and fishes.

“Magic” whether brought about by the aid of spirits or simply through
an understanding of secret natural laws, is of two kinds, “white” and
“black,” according as its intent and consequences are evil or good, and
in this respect does not differ from the use made of the well known
laws of nature, which are ever of good or evil character, in the hands
of good or evil persons. To the church in its powerful control of the
human will, must be attributed the use of “black magic,” in its most
injurious form. Proof that knowledge of the mysterious laws governing
ordinary natural phenomena still exists even among civilized people, is
indubitable. Our American Indians in various portions of the continent,
according to authorities, also possess power to produce storms of
thunder, lightning and rain.[29]

A vast amount of evidence exists, to show that the word “witch”
formerly signified a woman of superior knowledge. Many of the persons
called witches doubtless possessed a super-abundance of the Pacinian
corpuscles in hands and feet, enabling them to swim when cast into
water bound, to rise in the air against the ordinary action of gravity,
to heal by a touch, and in some instances to sink into a condition of
catalepsy, perfectly unconscious of torture when applied. Many were
doubtless psychic sensitives of high powers similar perhaps to the
“Seeress of Prevorst,” whose peculiar characteristics were the subject
of investigation by Dr. Kerner, about the end of the witch period,
his report forming one of the most mysteriously interesting portions
of psychic literature. The “Seeress” was able to perceive the hidden
principles of all vegetable or mineral substances, whether beneficial
or injurious. Dr. Kerner stated that her magnetic condition might be
divided into four degrees.

    First: that in which she ordinarily was when she appeared to
    be awakened but on the contrary was the first stage of her
    inner life, many persons of whom it was not expected and who
    was not aware of it themselves, being in this state.

    Second: the magnetic dream, which she believed to be the
    condition of many persons who were regarded as insane.

    Third: the half wakening state when she spoke and wrote the
    inner language, her spirit then being in intimate conjunction
    with her soul.

    Fourth: her clairvoyant state.

With the investigation of Dr. Kerner, the discoveries of Galvani,
Pacini, and those more recently connected with electricity, notably of
Edison and Nikolas Tesla, the world seems upon the eve of important
knowledge which may throw full light upon the peculiar nerve action
of the witch period, when a holocaust of women were sacrificed,
victims of the ignorance and barbarity of the church, which thus
retarded civilization and delayed spiritual progress for many hundred
years. Besides the natural psychics who formed a large proportion
of the victims of this period, other women with a natural spirit of
investigation made scientific discoveries with equally baleful effect
upon themselves; the one fact of a woman’s possessing knowledge serving
to bring her under the suspicion and accusation of the church. Henry
More, a learned Cambridge graduate of the seventeenth century wrote
a treatise on witchcraft explanatory of the term “witch” which he
affirmed simply signified a wise, or learned woman. It meant “uncommon”
but not unlawful knowledge or skill. It will assist in forming an
opinion to know that the word “witch” is from _wekken_, to prophesy, a
direct bearing upon the psychic powers of many such persons. The modern
Slavonian or Russian name for witch, _vjedma_, is from the verb “to
know” signifying much the same as Veda.[30] Muller says _Veda_ means
the same as the wise, “wisdom.” The Sanskrit word _Vidma_ answers to
the German _wir wissen_, which literally means “we know.” A Russian
name for the witch _Zaharku_, is derived from the verb _Znat_, to
know.[31] A curious account of modern Russian belief in witchcraft
is to be found in Madame Blavatsky’s _Isis Unveiled_. The German
word _Heke_, that is, witch, primarily signified priestess, a wise
or superior woman who in a sylvan temple worshiped those gods and
goddesses that together governed earth and heaven. Not alone but with
thousands of the people for whom she officiated she was found there
especially upon Walpurgis Night, the chief Hexen (witch) Sabbat of the
north. A German scholar furnished this explanation.

    The German word Heke, (witch) is a compound word from “hag”
    and “idisan” or “disan.” Hag means a beautiful landscape,
    woodland, meadow, field, altogether. Idisen means female
    deities, wise-women. Hexen-Sabbat, or Walpurgis Night is
    May twelfth. Perfume and avocation—originally the old
    gods—perverted by the priests. It is a remnant of the great
    gathering to worship the old deities, when Christianity had
    overshadowed them. A monument of the wedding of Woden or Odin
    with Freia—Sun and Earth at spring time.

The Saxon festival “Eostre,” the christian Easter, was celebrated in
April, each of these festivals at a time when winter having released
its sway, smiling earth giving her life to healing herbs and leaves,
once more welcomed her worshipers. In the south of Europe, the month
of October peculiarly belonged to the witches.[32] The first of May,
May-day, was especially devoted by those elementals known as fairies,
whose special rites were dances upon the green sward, leaving curious
mementoes of their visits in the circles known as “Fairies Rings.” In
reality the original meaning of “witch” was a wise woman. So also the
word _Sab_ means sage or wise, and _Saba_ a host or congregation;[33]
while _Bac_, _Boc_ and _Bacchus_[34] all originally signified
book.[35] _Sabs_ was the name of the day when the Celtic Druids gave
instruction and is the origin of our words Sabbath and Sunday. But
the degradation of learning, its almost total loss among christian
nations, an entire change in the signification of words, owing to
ignorance and superstition led to the strangest and most infamous
results. The earliest doctors among the common people of christian
Europe were women[36] who had learned the virtues and use of herbs.
The famous works of Paracelsus were but compilations of the knowledge
of these “wise women” as he himself stated. During the feudal ages
women were excellent surgeons, wounded warriors frequently falling
under their care and to the skill of these women were indebted for
recovery from dangerous wounds. Among the women of savage races to much
greater extent than among the men, a knowledge of the healing powers
of plants and herbs is to this day found. But while for many hundred
years the knowledge of medicine, and its practice among the poorer
classes was almost entirely in the hands of women and many discoveries
in science are due to them, yet an acquaintance of herbs soothing to
pain, or healing in their qualities, was then looked upon as having
been acquired through diabolical agency. Even those persons cured
through the instrumentality of some woman, were ready when the hour
came to assert their belief in her indebtedness to the devil for her
knowledge. Not only were the common people themselves ignorant of all
science, but their brains were filled with superstitious fears, and the
belief that knowledge had been first introduced to the world through
woman’s obedience to the devil. In the fourteenth century the church
decreed that any woman who healed others without having duly studied,
was a witch and should suffer death; yet in that same century, 1527,
at Basle, Paracelsus threw all his medical works, including those of
Hippocrates and Galen into the fire, saying that he knew nothing except
what he had learned from witches.[37] As late as 1736, the persecution
of her male compeers cast Elizabeth Blackwell, an English woman
physician, into prison for debt. Devoting herself even behind the bars
to her loved science, she prepared the first medical botany given to
the world. The modern discovery of anaesthetics by means of whose use
human suffering can be so greatly ameliorated, is justly claimed as the
greatest boon that science has conferred upon mankind, yet it must not
be forgotten that this medical art of mitigating pain, is but an olden
one rediscovered. Methods of causing insensibility to pain were known
to the ancient world. During the middle ages these secrets were only
understood by the persecuted women doctors of that period, subjected
under church rule to torture, burning at the stake or drowning as
witches. The use of pain-destroying medicaments by women, can be
traced back from five hundred to a thousand years. At the time that
witchcraft became the great ogre against which the church expended all
its terrific powers, women doctors employed anaesthetics to mitigate
the pains and perils of motherhood,[38] throwing the sufferer into a
deep sleep when the child entered the world. They made use of Solanae,
especially Belladonna. But that woman should find relief at this hour
of intense suffering and peril when a new being entered the world,
provoked open hostility from the church. The use of mitigating herbs
assailed that theory of the church which having placed the creation of
sin upon woman, still further inculcated the doctrine that she must
undergo continual penance, the greatest suffering being a punishment
in nowise equal to her deserts. Its teachings that she had therefore
been especially cursed by her Maker with suffering and sorrow at this
period, rendered the use of mitigating remedies during childbirth,
dangerous alike to the “wise woman” and the mother for whose relief
they were employed[39]. Although the present century has shown similar
opposition by the church to the use of anaesthetics for women at
this time, it is almost impossible to depict the sentiment against
such relief which made the witchcraft period one of especial terror
to womankind—an age that looked upon the slightest attempt at such
alleviation as proof of collusion with the devil. So strong was the
power of the church, so universal the belief in the guilt of all women,
that even those sufferers who had availed themselves of the knowledge
of the “wise woman” did so in fear as calling in the aid of evil, and
were ready to testify against her to whom they had been indebted for
alleviation of pain, whenever required by the dread mandate of the
church. A strong natural bias toward the study of medicine, together
with deepest sympathy for suffering humanity, were required in order
to sustain the “wise woman” amid the perils constantly surrounding
her; many such women losing their lives as witches simply because of
their superior medical and surgical knowledge. Death by torture was
the method of the church for the repression of woman’s intellect,
knowledge being held as evil and dangerous in her hands. Ignorance was
regarded as an especial virtue in woman, and fear held her in this
condition. Few women dared be wise, after thousands of their sex had
gone to death by drowning or burning because of their knowledge. The
superior learning of witches was recognized in the widely extended
belief of their ability to work miracles. The witch was in reality the
profoundest thinker, the most advanced scientist of those ages. The
persecution which for ages waged against witches was in reality an
attack upon science at the hands of the church. As knowledge has ever
been power, the church feared its use in woman’s hands, and leveled its
deadliest blows at her. Although the church in its myth of the fall
attributes knowledge to woman’s having eaten of its tree, yet while not
scrupling to make use of the results of her disobedience for its own
benefit, it has been most earnest in its endeavors to prevent her from
like use. No less today than during the darkest period of its history,
is the church the great opponent of woman’s education, every advance
step for her having found the church antagonistic.

Every kind of self-interest was brought into play in these accusations
of witchcraft against women physicians: greed, malice, envy, hatred,
fear, the desire of clearing one’s self from suspicion, all became
motives. Male physicians not skillful enough to cure disease would
deliberately swear that there could be but one reason for their
failure—the use of witchcraft against them. As the charge of witchcraft
not only brought disrepute but death upon the “wise woman” at the hands
of the church, she was soon compelled to abandon both the practice
of medicine and surgery, and for many hundred years but few women
doctors were to be found in christian countries. It is, however, a
noticeable fact that Madam La Chapelle, an eminent woman accoucher of
France, during the present century, and M. Chaussure revived the use of
Belladonna[40] during parturition, thus acknowledging the scientific
acquirements of serf women and “witches.” Since the re-entrance of
woman into the medical profession within the past few years, the world
has been indebted for a knowledge of the cause and cure of certain
forms of disease peculiar to woman, to the skill of those physicians of
her own sex whom the church so long banished from practice.

Through its opposition to the use of anaesthetics by the women
physicians of the witch period, the church again interposed the weight
of her mighty arm to crush science, leaving the load of preventable
suffering of all kinds upon the world for many hundred years longer,
or until the light of a scientific civilization threw discredit upon
her authority. History proves that women were the earliest chemists.
The witch period also shows us the germs of a medical system, the
Homeopathic, supposed to be of modern origin, in _similia similibus
curantur_. Among the strange epidemics of these ages, a dancing mania
appeared; Belladonna among whose effects is the desire of dancing,
was employed as a cure of the “Dancing Mania,” and thus the theory
of Hahnemann was forestalled. During the witch period these sages or
wise-women were believed to be endowed with a supernatural or magical
power of curing diseases. They were also regarded as prophets to whom
the secrets of the future were known. The women of ancient Germany,
of Gaul and among the Celts were especially famous for their healing
powers,[41] possessing knowledge by which wounds and diseases that
baffled the most expert male physicians were cured. The women of
a still more ancient period, the fame of whose magical powers has
descended to the present time, Circe, Medea and Thracia, were evidently
physicians of the highest skill. The secret of compounding herbs and
drugs left by Circe to her descendants, gave them power over the most
poisonous serpents. Chief among the many herbs, plants and roots whose
virtues were discovered by Medea, that of Aconite stands pre-eminent.
The Thracian nation took its name from the famous Thracia whose medical
skill and knowledge of herbs was so great that the country deemed it an
honor to thus perpetuate her name.

Aside from women of superior intelligence who were almost invariably
accused of witchcraft, the old, the insane, the bed-ridden, the
idiotic,[42] also fell under condemnation. The first investigation by
Rev. Cotton Mather in America resulted in the hanging of a half-witted
Quaker woman. Later still, an Indian woman, an insane man, and another
woman who was bed-ridden were also accused. Under the present theories
regarding human rights, it seems scarcely possible that less than two
hundred years ago such practices were not only common in England,
but had also been brought into America by the Puritan Fathers. The
humiliation and tortures of women increased in proportion to the
spread of christianity,[43] and the broader area over which man’s sole
authority in church and state was disseminated. As the supreme extent
of spiritual wrong grew out of the bondage of the church over free
thought, so the extreme of physical wrong rose from the growth of the
inquisitional or paternal spirit, which assumed that one human being
possessed divine authority over another human being. Paternalism,
a species of condensed patriarchism, runs through ecclesiastical,
civil, and common law. Down to the time of the American revolution,
individuality was an uncomprehended word; many hundred crimes were
punishable by death. That of pressing to death, _peine-fort-et-dure_,
the strong and hard pain, was practiced upon both men and women in
England for five hundred years and brought by the pilgrims to New
England. The culprit was placed in the dark lower room of some prison,
naked, upon the bare ground without clothing or rushes underneath or
to cover him. The legs and arms were extended toward the four corners
of the room and as great a weight placed upon the body as could be

“The first day he (or she) is to have three morsels of barley bread;
upon the second day three draughts of water standing next to the door
of the prison, without bread, and this to be his (or her) diet till he
(or she) die.”

It is computed from historical records that nine millions of persons
were put to death for witchcraft after 1484, or during a period of
three hundred years, and this estimate does not include the vast
number who were sacrificed in the preceding centuries upon the same
accusation. The greater number of this incredible multitude were
women. Under catholicism, those condemned as sorcerers and witches,
as “heretics,” were in reality the most advanced thinkers of the
christian ages. Under that protestant pope, the Eighth Henry, an Act
of Parliament condemning witchcraft as felony was confirmed. Enacted
under Henry V, it had fallen into disuse, but numerous petitions
setting forth that witches and sorcerers were “wonderful many,” and
his majesty’s subjects persecuted to death by their devices, led to
its re-enactment. The methods used to extort confession without which
it was impossible in many cases to convict for witchcraft, led to the
grossest outrages upon woman. Searching the body of the suspected witch
for the marks of Satan, and the practice of shaving the whole body
before applying torture were occasions of atrocious indignities. It
was asserted that all who consorted with devils had some secret mark
about them, in some hidden place of their bodies; as the inside of the
lip, the hair of the eyebrows, inside of the thigh, the hollow of the
arm or still more private parts, from whence Satan drew nourishment.
This originated a class of men known as “Witch Prickers” who divesting
the supposed witch, whether maid, matron, or child, of all clothing
minutely examined all parts of her body for the devil’s sign. Woe to
the woman possessing a mole or other blemish upon her person; it was
immediately pointed to as Satan’s seal and as undeniable proof of
having sold herself to the devil. Belief in this sign existed among the
most educated persons. Albertus Pictus, an advocate in the Parliament
of Paris, declared he himself had seen a woman with the devil’s mark
on her shoulders, carried off the next day by the devil. Many authors
affirmed the trustworthiness of witch-marks. It was supposed that
upon touching the place the witch would be unable to speak. If under
the torture of having every portion of her body punctured by a sharp
instrument, the victim became no longer able to cry out, her silence
was an accepted proof of finding the witch-mark and her condemnation
was equally certain. So great was the number of accused, that these
men found profitable employment. The depth of iniquity to which greed
of money leads was never more forcibly shown than during witchcraft.
One Kincaid, a New England Witch Pricker, after stripping his victims
of all clothing, bound them hand and foot, then thrust pins into
every part of their bodies until exhausted and rendered speechless by
the torture, they were unable to scream, when he would triumphantly
proclaim that he had found the witch mark. Another confessed on the
gallows, to which a just fate finally condemned him, that he had
illegally caused the death of one hundred and twenty women whom he
had thus tortured. No means were considered too severe in order to
secure conviction. The Jesuit, Del Rio, said torture could scarcely be
properly administered without more or less dislocation of the joints,
and persons escaping conviction were frequently crippled for life.[44]
The church declared the female sex had always been most concerned in
the crime of christian witchcraft and as it was its aim to separate
woman from all connection with its ordinances, it also asserted that
the priestesses of antiquity held their high places by means of

Trials for witchcraft filled the coffers of the church, as whenever
conviction took place, the property of the witch and her family was
confiscated to that body. The clergy fattened upon the torture and
burning of women. Books giving directions for the punishment to be
inflicted upon them bore the significant titles of _Scourge_, _Hammer_,
_Ant Hills_, _Floggings_, etc. During the middle ages the devil was a
personal being to the church with power about equal to that of God,
his kingdom maintaining its equilibrium with the Father, Son and Holy
Ghost of Heaven, by means of three persons in Hell; Lucifer, Beelzebub
and Leviathan. In this era of christian devil-worship the three in hell
equipoised the three in the Godhead. Marriage with devils was one of
the most ordinary accusations in witch trials. Such connections were
sometimes regarded with pride; the celebrated marshall de Bassompierre
boasting that the founder of his family was engendered from communion
with a spirit. It was reported of the mother of Luther that she was
familiar with an Incubus. During this period many nuns and married
women confessed to having been visited by Incubi of whose visits no
spiritual efforts could rid them. Church history also proves that young
girls and boys, many under ten years of age were tried for intercourse
with such spirits. Those infesting men were known as Succubi. Lady
Frances Howard, daughter of the Earl of Suffolk, obtained a divorce
from her husband because of his connection with a Succubus.

One of the most notable things connected with such accusation was the
frequent confession of its truthfulness. In 1459, a great number of
witches and wizards were burned,[45] who publicly confessed to their
use of unguents, to their dances, feasts, and their consort with
devils. A Vicar General[46] among the Laodunenses, at his death left
confession of his witch-rides, his copulation with devils, etc. Nor
is the present age free from similar confessions. Tales of marriage
with spirits; of dead lovers paying nightly visits to the living
betrothed—of Incubi consorting with willing or unwilling victims;—all
those mediaeval statements regarding the intercourse of spirits of the
dead with the living, all the customs of witchcraft and sorcery are
paralleled in our midst today; and such statements do not come from
the ignorant and superstitious, but are made by persons of intelligence
as within their own personal experience. During the witchcraft period
familiarity of this nature with Incubi or Succubi was punished with
death. Occasionally a person was found of sufficient saintliness to
exorcise them as Elementals are said to have been exorcised during the
last half of the present century.[47] Devils were said to be very fond
of women with beautiful hair and the direction of St. Paul in regard to
woman’s keeping her head covered, was not always regarded as a sign of
inferiority, but sometimes believed to be a precautionary admonition
intended for the safety of christian women.[48] To this day the people
of some eastern countries, men and women alike, will not expose the
head uncovered, because of the danger of thus giving entrance to
certain invisible beings of an injurious character; the Persians in
particular, wearing a turban or cloth of peculiar appearance called
Mathoomba. Confessions of magical and witchcraft practices were by no
means rare even among the highest church dignitaries who implicated
themselves by such avowals. It was customary to attribute the practice
of magic to the most holy fathers of the church. The popes from
Sylvester II to Gregory VII were all believed to have been magicians.
Benedict IX was also thus accused. The difference between the practices
of men and of women existed only in name. What was termed magic, among
men, was called witchcraft in woman. The one was rarely, the other
invariably, punished.

The practice of magic by the holy fathers was in furtherance of private
or ecclesiastical advancement and therefore legitimate in the eye
of the church. Yet, death-bed repentance was by no means infrequent.
Of Pope Sylvester, it is said, that convinced of his sinfulness in
having practiced magic, upon his death-bed he ordered his tongue to
be torn out and his hands cut off because he had sacrificed to the
devil; having learned the art when Bishop of Rheims. The significant
question as to whether magnetism or hypnotism was not a custom of the
church during the middle ages, as part of the “magic” practiced by
illustrious ecclesiastical dignitaries, is one of importance in view
of recent hypnotic experiments. The fact that by means of “suggestion”
the responsibility for crime and the perpetration of overt criminal
acts, can be made to fall upon persons entirely innocent of criminal
intention, who, at the time are in a condition of irresponsibility,
while the actual felon, the person who incited the act remains unknown
and unsuspected, exceeds in malign power all that christendom has
taught regarding the evil one. Science trembles on the verge of
important discoveries which may open the door for a full understanding
of mediaeval witchcraft. The Scotch woman who asked if a person could
not be a witch without knowing it, had intuitive perception that by
the action of one person upon another, consequences could be induced
of which the perpetrator was entirely guiltless.[49] Doubtless the
strange power which certain persons are capable of wielding over
others, at present calling the attention of scientific investigators,
was very common during the witchcraft period. Of this power the church
as self-constituted guardian of the esoteric sciences was fully aware,
frequently making it the method through which envy, greed and revenge,
satisfied themselves while throwing the external appearance of guilt
upon others. The most complete protection against such powers,—a strong
will,—it has ever been the aim of the church to destroy. Freedom of the
will has ever held place in clerical denunciation by side of “original
sin,” and punished as sorcery.[50]

A reminiscence of olden magic—far older than the witchcraft period
is found in the Masonic lamentation over the “lost word.” This “lost
word,” the “supreme word,” by whose use all things can be subdued,
is still the quest of a certain portion of the world; and sorcerers
are still mentioned, who cannot die until a certain mysterious word
is passed from “mouth to ear.” One of the latest occult societies
extant, its membership widely extended, claims its origin from a
mysterious word similarly passed. The Lord’s Prayer demands the making
whole (hallowed), of the Father’s name, evidently in the esoteric
sense referring to that loss which dwells in the minds of men through
tradition, a species of unwritten history. With the restoration of the
feminine in all its attributes to its rightful place everywhere, in
realms seen and unseen, the lost power will have been restored, the
“lost name” have been found. Numbers are closely connected with names,
their early knowledge not only having preceded letters, but having
been of much greater value, although after a time, letters and numbers
became interchangeable. Certain persons devoted to the consideration
of occult subjects therefore claim the lost power to abide in a number
rather than in a word; sounds possessing great and peculiar influence
in all magical formulas, their power largely depending upon inflection
and tone or vibration; color and light are also called in aid during
magical formulas.[51]

The three most distinguishing features of the history of witchcraft
were its use for the enrichment of the church; for the advancement of
political schemes; and for the gratification of private malice. Among
these the most influential reason was the emolument it brought to
the church. Although inquisitors and the clergy were the principal
prosecutors, this period gave opportunity for the gratification of
private malice, and persons imbued with secret enmity towards others,
or who coveted their property, found ready occasion for the indulgence
of that malice of covetousness; while the church always claimed
one-half, it divided the remainder of the accused’s possessions between
the judge and the prosecutor. Under these circumstances accusation
and conviction became convertible terms. The pretense under which
the church confiscated to itself all property of the accused was in
line with its other sophistical teaching. It declared that the taint
of witchcraft hung to all that had belonged to the condemned, whose
friends were not safe with such property in their possession. To make
this claim more effective, it was also asserted that the very fact of
one member of a family having fallen into the practice of this sin was
virtual proof that all were likewise attainted. Under this allegation
of the church, a protest against such robbery was held as proof of the
witchcraft in the person so protesting. For the purpose of getting
the property of the accused admission of the crime was strenuously
pressed. In some countries the property was not forfeited unless such
confession took place. Persecution for witchcraft was if possible more
violent in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries than at any previous
date. By this period it had been introduced into America through the
instrumentality of the Puritan Fathers. It was no less wide-spread
in Calvinistic Scotland, while it re-appeared with renewed vigor in
Catholic countries. In the State of Venice it caused open rebellion
against church authority, the Council forbidding the sentence of the
Inquisition to be carried out.[52]

While only Venice in the whole of Europe defied the church upon this
point, emphatically protesting against such robbery of her citizens,
she ultimately succeeded in establishing a treaty with the pope whereby
the inheritance of the condemned was retained in the family. The
rebellion of Venice against the church upon the question of property
belonging to its subjects, a question upon which the state held itself
pre-eminent, soon effected a radical change and had remarkable effect
in lessening the number of accusations in that state.[53] Theft by the
church in that direction, no longer possible, accusations of witchcraft
soon ceased; being no longer recognized as sin, after ceasing to bring
money into the coffers of the church.

It is a fact noted by very many authorities that when witchcraft fell
under control of the state, its penalties were greatly lessened while
accusations grew fewer. Yet for a period, even the civil power aided
in spreading this belief, offering rewards for conviction; and as the
church had grown immensely rich by means of witch persecution, so the
state increased its own power and wealth through similar means. The
theory of Bishop Butler that whole communities at times become mad,
seems proven by the experience of this period. Upon no other ground but
that of universal insanity can excusable explanation be offered. But
for the church no such exculpation is possible, her teachings and her
acts having created this wholesale madness of communities. Experience
of her course during preceding centuries shows us that the persecution
of the witchcraft period was but a continuation of her policy from the
moment of her existence—that of universal dominion over the lives, the
property, and the thoughts of mankind. Neither rank, nor learning,
age, nor goodness freed a woman from accusation.[54] The mother of
the great astronomer, Kepler, a woman of noble family, died in chains
having been accused of witchcraft.[55] The council of Bourges tortured
a reputed witch who was only known for her good works. A determined
effort for the destruction of every virtue among women seemed made at
this period. In the middle of the XIII century, the Emperor Theodore
Lascarius caused a noble lady of his court to be entirely stripped of
her clothing, and placed thus nude in a sack with cats, but even this
torture failed to extort a confession from her innocent lips. Even in
America, women of the purest lives, all of whose years had been given
to good works, met with death from like accusation.

Soon after the confirmation of celibacy as a dogma of the church, at
the time when the persecution for witchcraft so rapidly increased,
which was also the period of the greatest oppression under feudalism—a
peculiar and silent rebellion against both church and state took place
among the peasantry of Europe, who assembled in the seclusion of night
and the forest, their only place of safety in which to speak of their
wrongs. Freedom for the peasant was found only at night. Known as
“Birds of the Night,” “Foxes,” “Birds of Prey,” it was only at night
assemblages that they enjoyed the least happiness or freedom. Here
with wives and daughters, they met to talk over the gross outrages
perpetrated upon them. Out of their foul wrongs grew the sacrifice of
the “Black Mass” with women as officiating priestess, in which the
rites of the church were travestied in solemn mockery, and defiance
cast at that heaven which permitted the priest and the lord alike
to trample upon all the sacred rights of womanhood, in the name of
religion and law. During this mocking service a true sacrifice of
wheat was offered to the “Spirit of the Earth” who made wheat to grow,
and loosened birds bore aloft to the “God of Freedom” the sighs and
prayers of the serfs asking that their descendants might be free. We
can but regard this sacrifice as the most acceptable offering made in
that day of moral degradation; a sacrifice and a prayer more holy than
all the ceremonials of the church. This service where woman by virtue
of her greater despair acted both as altar and priest, opened with
the following address and prayer. “I will come before Thine altar,
but save me, O, Lord, from the faithless and violent man!” (from the
priest and the baron).[56] From these assemblages known as “Sabbat” or
“the Sabbath” from the old Pagan mid-summer-day sacrifice to “Bacchus
Sabiesa” rose the belief in the “Witches Sabbath,” which for several
hundred years formed a source of accusation against women, sending
tens of thousands to most horrible deaths. The thirteenth century was
about the central period of this rebellion of the serfs against God and
the church when they drank each other’s blood as a sacrament, while
secretly speaking of their oppression.[57] The officiating priestess
was usually about thirty years old, having experienced all the wrongs
that woman suffered under church and state. She was entitled “The
Elder” yet in defiance of that God to whom the serfs under church
teaching ascribed all their wrongs, she was also called “The Devil’s
bride.” This period was especially that of woman’s rebellion against
the existing order of religion and government in both church and
state. While man was connected with her in these ceremonies as father,
husband, brother, yet all accounts show that to woman as the most
deeply wronged, was accorded all authority. Without her, no man was
admitted to this celebration, which took place in the seclusion of the
forest and under the utmost secrecy. Offerings were made to the latest
dead and the most newly born of the district, and defiance hurled
against that God to whose injustice the church had taught woman that
all her wrongs were due.

Women’s knowledge of herbs was made use of in a preparation of Solanae
which mixed with mead, beer, cider, or farcy—the strong drink of
the west—disposed the oppressed serfs to joyous dancing and partial
forgetfulness of their wrongs during these popular night gatherings of
the Sabbath.[58] It became “the comforter” throwing the friendly mantle
of partial oblivion over the mental suffering of “him who had been so
wronged” as it had done for the mother’s physical pain. “The Sabbath”
was evidently the secret protest of men and women whom church and state
in combination had utterly oppressed and degraded. For centuries there
seemed no hope for this class of humanity—for this degraded portion of
christendom—yet, even then women held position of superiority in these
night assemblages. Among the “Papers of the Bastile,” a more extended
account of woman officiating as her own altar, is to be found.[59]

The injustice of man towards woman under the laws of both Church and
State engrafted upon society, have resulted in many evils unsuspected
by the world, which if known would strike it with amazement and terror.
Even Louis Lingg, one of the condemned Chicago anarchists, young,
handsome, of vigorous intellect, who uncomplainingly accepted for
himself that death he had decreed to the representatives to law; even
he, who neither asked mercy nor accepted the death decreed him, was
the outgrowth of woman’s wrongs. His mother with whom his fate was
thrown, a woman of the people in Hungary, belonging to a powerless
class crushed for centuries, the plaything of those above them;—his
father, a representative of the aristocracy descended from a long line
of military ancestors, leaving him, as the church had taught him, to
the sole care of the mother he had betrayed, it was impossible for this
boy not to find in his breast a turmoil of conflicting emotions, but
above all, ruling all, a hatred of entrenched oppression; nor did his
father’s military blood fail to play its part, leading to the final
result which affrighted a city and closed his young life.

In looking at the history of witchcraft we see three striking points
for consideration:

First: That women were chiefly accused.

Second: That men believing in woman’s inherent wickedness, and
understanding neither the mental nor the physical peculiarities of her
being, ascribed all her idiosyncrasies to witchcraft.

Third: That the clergy inculcated the idea that woman was in league
with the devil, and that strong intellect, remarkable beauty, or
unusual sickness were in themselves proof of this league.

Catholics and protestants yet agree in holding women as the chief
accessory of the devil.[60]

The belief in witches indeed seemed intensified after the reformation.
Luther said: “I would have no compassion for a witch, I would burn them
all.” He looked upon those who were afflicted with blindness, lameness,
or idiocy from birth,[61] as possessed of demons and there is record
of his attempt to drown an afflicted child in whom he declared no soul
existed, its body being animated by the devil alone. But a magistrate
more enlightened or more humane than the great reformer, interfered
to save the child’s life. Were Luther on earth again today with the
sentiments of his lifetime, he would regard the whole community as
mad. Asylums for the blind, the dumb and idiots, curative treatment
for cripples and all persons naturally deformed, would be to him a
direct intervention with the ways of providence. The belief of this
great reformer proves the folly of considering a man wise, because
he is pious. Religion and humanity were as far apart with him after
the reformation as while he was yet a monk. The fruits of monasticism
continued their effects, and his latter life showed slight intellectual
or spiritual advancement. As late as 1768 John Wesley declared the
giving up of witchcraft to be in effect giving up the Bible. Such
was his low estimate of woman that he regarded his own wife as too
sinful to conduct family prayers, although to Susannah, equally with
John, is Methodism indebted for its existence. In Great Britain, the
rapid increase of belief in witchcraft after the reformation was
especially noticeable. The act of Parliament which declared witchcraft
to be felony, confirmed under Henry VIII, was again confirmed under
Elizabeth. In England the reformation brought with it great increase
of tyranny both civil and ecclesiastical. Under Henry VIII many new
treasons were created. This king who sent the largest proportion
of his six wives to the headsman’s block, who neither hesitated at
incest or at casting the taint of illegitimacy upon the daughter who
succeeded him upon the throne, could not be expected to show justice
or mercy to subject women. The penal laws of even celibate Elizabeth
were largely the result of the change in religion of the realm.[62] The
queen, absolute in Church as in State, who “bent priest and prelate
to her fiery will,” caused the laws to bear with equal severity upon
protestant and catholic. Under her “A Statute of Uniformity for
Abolishing Diversity of Opinions,” was enacted, and the clergy were
continued in the enjoyment of secular power. Women received no favor.
The restrictions of the catholic church in regard to the residence
of a priest’s mother or sister in his house were now extended to the
laity. No man was permitted to give his widowed mother or orphan sister
a home in his house without permission from the authorities, and then
but for a limited time. Single women were allowed no control over their
own actions. Twelve years was the legal marriageable age for a girl,
after which period if still unmarried she could be bound out at the
option of the court.[63] Nor did the Cromwellian period lessen woman’s
persecution. The number of witches executed under the Presbyterian
domination of the Long Parliament according to a list[64] that has
been preserved, amounted to between three and four thousand persons.
The legal profession no less than the clerical asserted its belief in
witchcraft, referring to the Bible in confirmation. Blackstone said:

    To deny the possibility, nay the actual existence of
    witchcraft and sorcery is at once flatly to contradict the
    revealed word of God, in various passages of the Old and New
    Testament and the thing itself is a truth to which every
    nation in the world hath in its turn borne testimony, either
    by examples seemingly well attested, or by prohibiting laws.

The protestant clergy equally with the catholic priesthood, were
charged with fostering a belief in witchcraft for the purpose of gain.
At no period of the world has a more diabolical system of robbery
existed. For the sake of a few pounds or pence, the most helpless
of human beings, made helpless through church teaching as to their
unworthiness, were by the church daily brought under accusation,
exposing them to a cruel death at the hand of irresponsible tyranny.
The system of thuggery in India, shines white by side of this christian
system of robbery, inaugurated by the church and sustained by the
state. In the name of religion, the worst crimes against humanity have
ever been perpetrated. On the accession of James I he ordered the
learned work of Reginald Scott against witchcraft, to be burned.[65]
This was in accordance with the act of Parliament 1605-9 which ratified
a belief in witchcraft in the three kingdoms. At this date the tragedy
of Macbeth appeared, deeply tinged with the belief of the times. A
few persons maintaining possession of their senses, recognized the
fact that fear, apprehension and melancholy gave birth to the wildest
self-delusions; medical experience recording many instances of this
character. In an age when ignorance and superstition prevailed among
the people at large, while vice, ignorance, and cupidity were in equal
force among those in power, the strangest beliefs became prevalent.

Sir George Mackenzie, the eminent king’s advocate of Scotland,
conducting many trials for witchcraft, became convinced it was largely
a subject of fear and delusion. He said:

    Those poor persons who are ordinarily accused of this crime
    are poor ignorant creatures, and ofttimes women who understood
    not the nature of what they are accused of, and many mistake
    their own fears and apprehensions for witchcraft, of which I
    shall give you two instances; one of a poor man, who after he
    had confessed witchcraft being asked how he saw the devil,
    he answered “like flies dancing about a candle.” Another of
    a woman who asked sincerely; when accused, “if a woman might
    be a witch and not know it?” And it is dangerous then. Those
    who of all others are the most simple should be tried for a
    crime which of all others is the most mysterious. Those poor
    creatures when defamed became so confused with fear and the
    close prison in which they were kept, and so starved for want
    of meals and sleep (either of which wants is enough to destroy
    the strongest reason), when men are confounded with fear and
    apprehension they will imagine things very ridiculous and
    absurd. Melancholy often makes men imagine they are horses.
    Most of these poor creatures are tortured by their keepers
    who are persuaded they do God good service. Most of all that
    were taken were tortured in this manner and this usage was the
    ground of their complaints.

To such an extent was this persecution carried even in protestant
Scotland that accused women sometimes admitted their guilt that they
might die and thus escape from a world where even if cleared, they
would ever after be looked upon with suspicion. Sir George Mackenzie
visiting some women who had confessed, one of them told him “under
secrecie” that:

    She had not confessed because she was guilty but being a poor
    creature who wrought for her meat and being defined for a
    witch, she knew she would starve, for no person thereafter
    would give her either meat or lodging, and that all men would
    beat her and hound dogs at her and therefore she desired to
    be out of the world, whereupon she wept bitterly and upon her
    knees called upon God to witness what she said.

Even under all the evidence of the persecution and cruel tortures that
innocent women endured during the witchcraft period, no effort of the
imagination can portray the sufferings of an accused woman. The death
this poor woman chose, in voluntarily admitting a crime of which she
was innocent, rather than to accept a chance of life with the name
of “witch” clinging to her, was one of the most painful of which we
can conceive, although in the diversity of torture inflicted upon the
witch it is scarcely possible to say which one was the least agonizing.
In no country has the devil ever been more fully regarded as a real
personage, ever on the watch for souls, than in Christian Scotland. Sir
George says:

    Another told me she was afraid the devil would challenge a
    right to her soul as the minister said when he desired her to
    confess; and therefore she desired to die.[66]

The following is an account of the material used and the expenses
attending the execution of two witches in Scotland.

    For 10 loads of coal to burn the witches     £3 06.8
     “  A tar barrell                             0 14.0
     “  towes                                     0 06.0
     “  hurdles to be jumps for them              3 10.0
     “  making of them                            0 08.0
     “  one to go to Tinmouth for the lord to
          sit upon the assize as judge            0 06.0
     “  the executioner for his pains             8 14.0
     “  his expenses there                        0 16.4

What was the special office of the executioner does not appear; whether
to drag the victims upon hurdles, to the places of burning, to light
the fire, to keep it well blazing, is not mentioned although his
office was important and a well paid one; eight pounds and fourteen
shillings above his expenses, sixteen shillings and four pence more;
in all nine pounds, ten shillings and four pence, a sum equal to one
hundred and fifty or two hundred dollars of the present day. At these
rates it was easy to find men for the purpose desired. It is worthy of
note that under the frequency of torture the payment lessened. Strange
experiences sometimes befell those who were tortured: a cataleptic or
hypnotic state coming on amid their most cruel sufferings causing an
entire insensibility to pain. To the church this condition was sure
evidence of help from Satan and caused a renewal of torture as soon as
sensibility returned.

    In the year 1639 a poor widow called Lucken, who was accused
    of being a witch and sentenced to the rack at Helmstadt
    having been cruelly tortured by the screw, was seized with
    convulsions, spoke high German and a strange language and
    then fell asleep on the rack and appeared to be dead. The
    circumstance related to the juricounsul at Helmstadt she was
    ordered to be again submitted to the torture. Then protesting
    she was a good Christian while the executioner stretched
    her on the rack, whipt her with rods and sprinkled her with
    burning brimstone, she fell again fast asleep and could not by
    any means be awakened.[67]

Boiling heretics and malefactors alive, commonly in oil but
occasionally in water, was practiced throughout Europe until a
comparatively late period. In fact as a civil punishment in England it
dates only to 1531 under Henry VII. The “Chronicle of the Gray Friars”
mentioned a man let down by a chain into a kettle of hot water until
dead. We have expense items of this form of torture, in the boiling of
Friar Stone of Canterbury.

      Paid two men that sat by the kettle and boiled him         1s
    To three men that carried his quarters to the gate and set
      them up                                                    1s
    For a woman that scoured the kettle                          2d

Boiling was a form of torture frequently used for women. The official
records of Paris show the price paid for torture in France was
larger than in England; boiling in oil in the former country costing
forty eight francs as against one shilling in the latter. It must be
remembered these official prices for torture, are not taken from the
records of China or Persia, two thousand years ago, nor from among the
savages of Patagonia, Australia or Guinea, but two European countries
of highest Christian civilization within the last three hundred years.

The following list of prices for dealing with criminals is taken from
the official records in Paris:

      For boiling a criminal in oil, francs                 48
    For tearing a living man in four quarters with horses   30
    Execution with the sword                                20
    Breaking on the wheel                                   10
    Mounting the head on a pole                             10
    Quartering a man                                        36
    Hanging a man                                           29
    Burying a man                                            2
    Impaling a man alive                                    14
    Burning a witch alive                                   28
    Flaying a man alive                                     28
    Drowning an infanticide in a sack                       24
    Throwing a suicide’s body among the offal               20
    Putting to the torture                                   4
    For applying the thumb-screw                             2
    For applying the boot                                    4
    Torture by fire                                         10
    Putting a man in the pillory                             2
    Whipping a man                                           4
    Branding with a red-hot iron                            10
    Cutting off the tongue, the ears and the nose           10

Burning a witch, probably because of its greater frequency, cost
but little over one-half as much as boiling in oil. The battle of
gladiators with wild beasts in the Coliseum at Rome in reign of Nero,
had in it an element of hope. Not the priesthood but the populace were
the arbiters of the gladiator’s destiny, giving always a chance for
life in cases of great personal bravery. But in France and England the
ecclesiastical code was so closely united with the civil as to be one
with it; compassion equally with justice was forgotten, despair taking
their place. Implements of torture were of frequent invention, the
thought of the age turning in the direction of human suffering, new
methods were continually devised. Many of these instruments are now on
exhibition in foreign museums. One called “The Spider” a diabolical
iron machine with curved claws, for tearing out a woman’s breasts
was shown in the United States but a few years since. In Protestant
Calvinistic Scotland, where hatred of “popery” was most pronounced,
the persecution of witches raged with the greatest violence, and
multitudes of women died shrieking to heaven for that mercy denied them
by Christian men upon earth. It was in Scotland after the reformation
that the most atrocious tortures for the witch were invented, one of
the most diabolical being known as “the Witches’ Bridle.” By means of
a loop passed about the head, this instrument of four iron prongs was
fastened in the mouth. One of the prongs pressed down the tongue, one
touched the palate, the other two doing their barbarous work upon the
inner side of the cheeks. As this instrument prevented speech thus
allowing no complaint upon the part of the victim, it was preferred
to many other methods of torture.[68] The woman upon whom it was used
was suspended against a wall by a loop at the back, barely touching
the floor with her toes. The iron band around her neck rendered her
powerless to move, she was unable to speak or scarcely to breathe.
Every muscle was strained in order to sustain herself and prevent
entire suffocation, the least movement causing cruel wounds by means of
the prongs in her mouth.

The victims were mostly aged women who having reared a family, spending
their youth and beauty in this self-denying work, had lived until time
threading their hair with silver had also robbed cheek and lip of
their rosy hue, dimmed the brilliancy of the eye and left wrinkles in
place of youthful dimples. Such victims were left for hours, until the
malignity of their persecutors was satisfied, or until death after long
torture released them from a world where under the laws of both Church
and State they found their sex to be a crime. Old women for no other
reason than that they were old, were held to be the most susceptible to
the assaults of the devil, and the persons most especially endowed with
supernatural powers for evil. Blackstone refers to this persecution of
aged women in his reference to a statute of the Eight Henry.[69] We
discover a reason for this intense hatred of old women in the fact that
woman has chiefly been looked upon from a sensual view by christian
men, the church teaching that she was created solely for man’s sensual
use. Thus when by reason of declining years she no longer attracted
the sensual admiration of man, he regarded her as having forfeited all
right to life. England’s most learned judge, Sir Mathew Hale, declared
his belief in the agency of the devil in producing diseases through the
aid of old women. The prosecution against this class raged with unusual
violence in Scotland under the covenanters.

To deny the existence of especially evil supernatural powers, in old
women, was held as an evidence of skepticism exposing the doubting
person to like suspicion. Great numbers of women were put to death at
a time; so common indeed was the sight as to cause but little comment.
A Scotch traveler casually mentioned having seen nine women burning
together at Bath in 1664. Knox himself suffered a woman to be burned
at St. Andrews whom one word from him would have saved. Father Tanner
speaks of “the multitude” of witches who were daily brought under the
torture that was constantly practiced by the church.

The reformers were more cruel than those from whose superstitious
teachings they professed to have escaped. All the tortures of the old
church were repeated and an unusual number of new and diabolical
ones invented to induce confession. Nor were these tortures applied
to the suspected witch alone; her young and tender children against
whom no accusation had been brought, were sometimes tortured in her
presence in order to wring confession from the mother. Towards the end
of the sixteenth century, a woman accused of witchcraft endured the
most intense torture, constantly asserting her innocence. Failing to
secure confession, her husband, her son, and finally her young daughter
of seven short years were tortured in her presence, the latter being
subjected to a species of thumb-screw called “the pinniwinkies” which
brought blood from under the finger nails with a pain terribly severe.
When these were applied to the baby hands, to spare her innocent
child, the mother confessed herself a witch; but after enduring all
the agonies of torture upon herself and all she was made to suffer in
the persons of her innocent family, confession having been obtained
through this diabolical means, she was still condemned to the flames,
undergoing death at the stake a blazing torch of fire, and died calling
upon God for that mercy she could not find at the hands of Christian
men.[70] In protestant Scotland as in catholic countries, witchcraft
was under control of the clergy. When a woman fell under suspicion of
being a witch, the minister denounced her from the pulpit, forbade
any one to harbor or shelter her and exhorted his parishioners to
give evidence against her.[71] She was under ban similar to the
excommunicate of the catholic church, a being outside of human help or
sympathy. In protestant as in catholic countries the woman accused was
virtually dead. She was excommunicated from humanity; designated and
denounced as one whom all must shun, to whom no one must give food or
lodging or speech or shelter; life was not worth the living. To afford
such a one aid was to hazard accusation as a confederate. The first
complaint was made to the clergy and Kirk Sessions.[72]

Notwithstanding two hundred years of such experience, when by an
act of parliament in 1784, the burning and hanging of witches was
abolished, the General Assembly of the Calvinistic church of Scotland
“confessed” this act “as a great national sin.” Not only were the
courts and the church alert for the detection of alleged witches, but
the populace persecuted many to death.[73] Deserted by her friends, the
suspected witch was beaten, worried by dogs, denied food and prevented
from sleeping.[74] Contrary to equity and the principles of modern
law, the church sought in every way to entrap victims into giving
evidence against themselves. Once a person was accused, no effort was
spared to induce confession. Holding control over the soul as well
as the body, enquiry into these crimes was pushed by every method
that human ingenuity could devise. The kirk became the stronghold of
superstition; both rewards and punishments were used as inducements
towards ferreting out witches. All ties of natural affection were
ignored, the kirk preaching it to be a matter of greater duty to inform
against one’s nearest relatives than against strangers. Unlike the
theory of Roman civil law which held the accused innocent until proven
guilty, ecclesiastical law everywhere produced a condition under which
the accused was held guilty from the moment of accusation. During
the witchcraft period the minds of people were trained in a single
direction. The chief lesson of the church that betrayal of friends was
necessary to one’s own salvation, created an intense selfishness. All
humanitarian feeling was lost in the effort to secure heaven at the
expense of others, even those most closely bound by ties of nature
and affection. Mercy, tenderness, compassion were all obliterated.
Truthfulness escaped from the Christian world; fear, sorrow and cruelty
reigned pre-eminent. All regard that existed for others grew up outside
of church teaching and was shown at the hazard of life. Contempt and
hatred of woman was inculcated with greater intensity; love of power
and treachery were parts of the selfish lessons of the church. All
reverence for length of years was lost. The sorrows and sufferings of a
long life appealed to no sympathetic cord in the heart. Instead of the
tenderness and care due to aged women, they were so frequently accused
of witchcraft that for years it was an unusual thing for an old woman
in the north of Europe to die in her bed. Besides the thousands of
accused who committed suicide in order to escape the horrors incident
upon trial, many others tired of life amid so much humiliation and
suffering, falsely accused themselves, preferring a death by the
torture of fire to a life of endless isolation and persecution. An
English woman on her way to the stake, with a greatness of soul born
of despair, freed her judges from responsibility, by saying to the
people, “Do not blame my judges. I wished to put an end to my own
self. My parents keep aloof from me; my own husband has denied me. I
could not live on without disgrace. I longed for death and so I told a
lie.” The most eminent legal minds became incompetent to form correct
judgment. Having received the church as of divine origin, and its
priesthood as the representatives of the divinity, they were no longer
capable of justice. Old and ignorant women upon the most frivolous
testimony of young children were condemned to death. One of the most
notable examples of the power of superstitious belief to darken the
understanding, is that of Sir Matthew Hale, living in the seventeenth
century. He was spoken of by his contemporaries as one of the most
eminent jurists of the world, whose integrity, learning and knowledge
of law were scarcely to be paralleled in any age, and yet he became so
entirely convinced of the diabolism of two women as to condemn them to
death while sitting at Bury St. Edmunds, without even summing up the
evidence. The learned and famous Sir Thomas Browne, who was present,
coincided in the justice of this decision, although but a short time
previously he had published a work against superstition. The testimony
upon which these women were condemned was of the most petty and
worthless character, yet among all the persons present at the trial,
but one or two seemed inclined to doubt the sufficiency of the evidence.

The records of this remarkable trial were preserved to the world by
a gentleman who privately took a report for his own use, which was
published in pamphlet form a number of years afterwards. This extremely
rare book is not to be found even in the Congressional Library at
Washington, but the Supreme Court Library owns a copy from which this
report is taken:

    Trial March 10, 1664 by Sir Matthew Hale, Knight, Lord Chief
    Baron of his Majesty’s Court of Exchequer held before a judge
    who for his integrity, learning and wisdom hardly any age
    before or since could parallel; he not only took a great deal
    of pains and spent much time in this trial himself, but had
    the assistance and opinion of several other very eminent and
    learned persons; so that this was the most perfect narrative
    of anything of this nature hitherto extant.

    The persons tried were Ann Durant, or Drury, Susan Chandler,
    Elizabeth Pacy. The celebrated Dr. Brown of Norwich who had
    written a work against witchcraft, was present and after
    hearing the evidence expressed himself as clearly of the
    opinion the persons were bewitched, and said in Denmark lately
    there had been a great discovery of witches who used the
    same way of afflicting persons by the agency of pins. This
    trial took place in the sixteenth year of Charles II. The
    witnesses were two children of eleven and nine years who fell
    into fits, vomiting pins and nails. Sargeant Keeling asserted
    deception on part of the witnesses. The Court appointed Lord
    Cornwallis, Sir Edmund Bacon and Sargeant Keeling as committee
    to examine the girl alone, when they became fully satisfied
    of her imposture but without convincing the learned judge who
    contrary to all justice and law did not sum up the evidence,
    but gave the great weight of his opinion in favor of their
    guilt saying: “That there are such creatures as witches,
    I have not doubt at all. For First, Scripture has offered
    so much. Second, the wisdom of all nations has propounded
    laws against such persons, which is an argument of their
    confidence of such a crime. And such has been the judgment
    of this kingdom as appears by that Act of Parliament which
    hath provided punishments proportionate to the guilt of this
    offense, and desired them strictly to observe the evidence;
    and desired the great God of Heaven to direct their hearts
    in the weighty things they had so heard. For to condemn
    the innocent and to let the guilty go free, were both an
    abomination to the Lord. Within half an hour the jury returned
    a verdict of guilty on thirteen counts. The judge and all the
    court were fully satisfied with the verdict and therefore gave
    judgment against the witches that they should be hanged.

    The evidence was of the most paltry character; as when out
    of door a little thing like a bee flew upon the witness
    face, putting a ten penny nail with a broad head into her
    mouth. Lath nails and pins said to have been vomited by the
    children were produced in court. When arraigned the accused
    pleaded not guilty nor did they ever change this plea. Great
    pressure was upon them to induce confession, but they could
    not be prevailed upon to thus criminate themselves and were
    executed the seventeenth of March, just one week after trial,
    confessing nothing.

    This trial is the more remarkable that confessions usually
    deemed the best of evidence, were not obtained, these poor
    illiterate, persecuted women braving all the learning of the
    great judge and power of the kingdom in maintaining to the
    last the assertion of their innocence. The minutes of this
    trial were taken by a gentleman in attendance upon the court
    and were not published until 1716 when the record fell into
    the hands of a person who saw its value “so that,” he says,
    “being the most complete minutes of anything of this nature
    hitherto extant, made me unwilling to deprive the world of it;
    which is the sole motive that induced me to publish it.”

Not alone the clergy and the legal fraternity wrought in unison, but
the medical as well, gave the weight of their authority in favor of
witchcraft; and many persons needing the wisest medical appliance for
their relief from disease were executed as witches. Half-witted and
insane persons met with the same persecution as old women. It was an
era of the strong against the weak, the powerful against the helpless.
Even Sir Thomas Browne, himself a physician, regarded the fainting
fits to which one of the accused women had long been subject as fuller
evidence of her guilt. In his character of medical examiner he asserted
that the devil had taken opportunity of her natural fits, to operate
with her malice.

An almost equally notable trial as that of Bury St. Edmunds before
Sir Matthew Hale, was known as the Sommers Trial, or that of the
“Lancashire Witches,” in 1612. Among the accused were two extremely
aged women decrepit and nearly blind, tottering into second childhood,
incapable of understanding whereof they were accused, or the evidence
against them which, as in the case argued before Sir Matthew Hale, was
of the most worthless character. One needs but refer to the records in
order to learn the extreme age, ignorance and many infirmities of these
women. But as was the case in Scotland, these weaknesses were used as
evidences of guilt. The feeble mental and physical condition of “the
Lancashire witches,” their great age and failing power were used as
evidence for their condemnation. From published accounts of this trial,
we learn that:

    This Annie Whittle, alias Chattox, was a very old withered and
    decrepit creature, her sight almost gone, a dangerous witch of
    very long continuance, her lips ever chattering and walking
    (talking)? but no one knew what. She was next in order to that
    wicked, fierce bird of mischief, old Demdike.

This poor old creature “confessed” that Robert Mutter had offered
insult to her married daughter; and the court decreed this was a fair
proof of her having bewitched him to his death. No condemnation of the
man who had thus insulted her daughter, but death for the aged mother
who had resented this insult. Designated as “Old Demdike, a fierce
bird of mischief” this woman of four score years of age, had not only
brought up a large family of her own, but her grand children had fallen
to her care. She had lived a blameless life of over eighty years, much
of it devoted to the care of children and children’s children. But when
decrepit and almost blind she fell under suspicion of a crime held
by Church and State as of the most baleful character, her blameless
and industrious life proved of no avail against this accusation. She
seems to have originally been a woman of great force of character
and executive ability, but frightened at an accusation she could not
understand and overpowered by all the dread majesty of the law into
whose merciless power she had fallen, she “confessed” to communion with
a demon spirit which appeared to her in the form of a brown dog.[75]
From a work entitled The Sommers Trials, the form of indictment is


    This Annie Whittle, alias Chattox, of the Forest of Pendle, in
    the countie of Lancaster, widow, being indicted for that she
    feloniously had practiced, used and exercised divers wicked
    and divelish artes, called witchcraftes, inchantments, charms
    and sorceries, in and upon one Robert Nutter of Greenhead, in
    the Forest of Pendle, in the countie of Lanc; and by force of
    the same witchcraft, feloniously the sayed Robert Nutter had
    killed, contra pacem, etc. Being at the barre was arraigned.
    To this indictment, upon her arraignment, she pleaded, not
    guiltie; and for the tryall of her life put herself upon God
    and her country.

One of the chief witnesses at this trial was a child of nine years.[77]
Upon seeing her own daughter arraigned against her, the mother broke
into shrieks and lamentations pleading with the girl not to falsify the
truth and thus condemn her own mother to death. The judges instead of
seeing in this agony a proof of the mother’s innocence looked upon it
as an attempt to thwart the ends of justice by demoniac influence, and
the child having declared that she could not confess in her mother’s
presence, the latter was removed from the room, and as under the
Inquisition, the testimony was given in the absence of the accused.
The child then said that her mother had been a witch for three or four
years, the devil appearing in the form of a brown dog, Bill. These
trials taking place in protestant England, two hundred years after the
reformation, prove the worthless nature of witchcraft testimony, as
well as the superstition, ignorance and entire unfitness for the bench
of those men called the highest judicial minds in England. The church
having almost entirely destroyed freedom of will and the expression
of individual thought, men came to look upon authority and right as
synonymous. Works bearing the stamp of the legal fraternity soon
appeared. In 1618 a volume entitled, “The County Justice,” by Michael
Dalton, Gentleman of Lincoln Inn, was published in London, its chief
object to give directions, based upon this trial, for the discovery of

    Now against these witches the justice of the peace may not
    always expect direct evidence, seeing all their works are
    works of darkness and no witness permitted with them to accuse
    them, and therefore for their better discovery I thought good
    here to set down certain observations out of the methods of
    discovery of the witches that were arraigned at Lancaster, A.
    D. 1612 before Sir James Altham and Sir Edward Bromley, judges
    of Assize there.

    1. They have ordinarily a familiar or spirit which appeareth
    to them.

    2. The said familiar hath some bigg or place upon their body
    where he sucketh them.

    3. They have often pictures of clay or wax (like a man, etc.)
    found in their house.

    4. If the dead body bleed upon the witches touching it.

    5. The testimony of the person hurt upon his death.

    6. The examination and confession of the children or servants
    of the witch.

    7. Their own voluntary confession which exceeds all other

At this period many persons either in hope of a reward[78] or
because they believed they were thus aiding the cause of justice,
kept private notebooks of instruction in the examination of witches,
and new varieties were constantly discovered. When witchcraft by
Act of Parliament was decreed felony this statute gave the legal
fraternity double authority for a belief in its existence. Even Sir
George Mackenzie although convinced by his own experience that many
persons were wrongfully accused of witchcraft, still declared that its
existence could not be doubted, “seeing that our law ordains it to be
punished with death.” The most fatal record the world possesses of the
plague is that of the fourteenth century, known as the “Black Death,”
when whole villages were depopulated and more than half the inhabitants
of Europe were destroyed. It will aid in forming our judgment as to the
extent of woman’s persecution for witchcraft, to remember it has been
estimated that the number of deaths from this cause equalled those of
the plague.

The American Colonies adopted all the unjust previsions of European
christianity as parts of their own religion and government. Fleeing
from persecution, the Puritans yet brought with them the spirit of
persecution in the belief of woman’s inferiority and wickedness, as
taught by the church from whence they had fled. The “Ducking Stool”
for women who too vigorously protested against their wrongs, and
the “Scarlet Letter” of shame for the woman who had transgressed the
moral law, her companion in sin going free, or as in England, sitting
as juror in the box, or judge upon the bench. With them also came a
belief in witchcraft, which soon caused Massachusetts Colony to enact
a law ordering suspected women to be stripped naked, their bodies to
be carefully examined by a male “witch pricker” to see if there was
not the devil’s mark upon them. The public whipping of half naked
women at the cart’s tail for the crime of religious free thought soon
followed, a union of both religious and judicial punishment; together
with banishment of women from the Colony for daring to preach Christ
as they understood his doctrines. These customs more barbarous than
those of the savages whose home they had invaded, were the pleasing
welcome given to the pioneer woman settlers of America by the husbands
and fathers, judges and ministers of that period, with which the words
“Plymouth Rock,” “May Flower” and “Pilgrim Fathers” are so intimately
associated. The same persecution of aged women took place in New
England as in old England, while children of even more tender years
were used as witnesses against their mothers if accused of witchcraft,
or were themselves imprisoned upon like suspicion. The village of
Salem, Massachusetts, is indissolubly connected with witchcraft, for
there the persecution raged most fiercely, involving its best women in
ruin. One of the oldest buildings still extant in the United States is
“The Witch House” of that place, erected in 1631, although it was sixty
one years later before this persecution reached its height.

    A terrible summer for Salem village and its vicinity was
    that of 1692—a year of worse than pestilence or famine.
    Bridget Bishop was hanged in June; Sarah Good, Sarah Wilder,
    Elizabeth Howe, Susanna Martin and Rebecca Nurse in July;
    George Burroughs, John Proctor, George Jacobs, John Willard
    and Martha Carrier in August; Martha Corey, Mary Easty, Alice
    Parker, Ann Pudeator, Margaret Scott, Wilmit Reed, Samuel
    Wordwell, and Mary Baker in September; in which last month
    Giles Corey eighty-one years of age, was pressed to death
    under a board loaded with heavy stones, not heavy enough
    however to crush out life until a day or two of lingering
    torture had intervened. Sarah Good’s daughter Dorcas between
    three and four years old, orphaned by her mother’s execution,
    was one of a number of children who with several hundred other
    persons were imprisoned on suspicion of witchcraft; many
    of these sufferers remained in a wretched condition, often
    heavily ironed for months, some upwards of a year; and several
    dying during this time. A child of seven, Sarah Carrier, was
    called upon to testify as witness against her mother.

    Some of the condemned, especially Rebecca Nurse, Martha Corey,
    and Mary Easty, were aged women who had led unblemished lives
    and were conspicuous for their prudence, their charities and
    all domestic virtues.[79]

So extended became the persecution for witchcraft that the king was
at last aroused to the necessity of putting a stop to such wholesale
massacre of his subjects, issued a mandate forbidding the putting of
any more persons to death on account of witchcraft.[80] A remarkable
family gathering took place at Salem, July 18, 1883, of two hundred
persons who met to celebrate their descent from Mrs. Rebecca Nurse,
who was executed as a witch at that place in 1692. The character and
life of Mrs. Nurse were unimpeachable. She was a woman seventy years
of age, the mother of eight children, a church member of unsullied
reputation and devout habit; but all these considerations did not
prevent her accusation, trial, conviction and death, although she
solemnly asserted her innocence to the last. A reprieve granted by
the governor was withdrawn through the influence of the church, and
she was hung by the neck till she was dead. In order to give her body
burial, her sons were obliged to steal it away by night, depositing
it in a secret place known but to the family. Forty persons at the
hazard of their own lives testified to the goodness and piety of Mrs.
Nurse. Their names were inscribed upon the monument erected by her
descendants, in 1892, to her memory.[81] The Rev. Cotton Mather and
the Rev. Samuel Parrish are indissolubly connected with this period,
as both were extremely active in fomenting a belief in witchcraft.
Richard Baxter, known as the “greatest of the Puritans” condemned
those who expressed a disbelief in witchcraft as “wicked Sadducees.”
Increase Mather, president of Harvard College, was one of the most
bitter persecutors of witches in New England. The dangerous spirit
of a religious autocracy like the priesthood, was forcibly shown by
a paper read by Rev. Dr. George E. Ellis, a few years since, before
the Massachusetts Historical Society, in which he excused the act
of stripping women naked in order to search for a witch mark, upon
the ground of its being a judicial one by commissioned officers and
universally practiced in christendom.

Boston as “The Bloody Town” rivalled Salem in its persecution of women
who dared express thoughts upon religious matters in contradiction
to the Puritanic belief; women were whipped because of independent
religious belief, New England showing itself as strenuous for
“conformity” of religious opinion as Old England under Queen Elizabeth.
The cruelties of this method of punishing free thought, culminated in
the Vagabond Law of Massachusetts Colony, passed May 1661.

The first ecclesiastical convocation in America was a synod especially
conveyed to sit in judgment upon the religious views of Mistress
Anne Hutchinson, who demanded that the same rights of individual
judgment upon religious questions should be accorded to woman which
the reformation had already secured to man. Of the eighty-two
errors canvassed by the synod, twenty nine were charged to Mistress
Hutchinson, and retraction of them was ordered by the church. The State
united with the Church in opposition to Mistress Hutchinson, and the
first real struggle for woman’s religious liberty, (not yet at an end),
began upon this side of the Atlantic. The principal charge brought
against Mistress Hutchinson was that she had presumed to instruct men.
Possessed of a fine intellect and strong religious fervor, she had
inaugurated private meetings for the instruction of her own sex; from
sixty to a hundred women regularly gathering at her house to hear her
criticism upon the Sunday sermon and Thursday lectures. These meetings
proved so interesting that men were soon found also in attendance and
for these reasons she was arbitrarily tried in November 1637, before
the Massachusetts General Court upon a joint charge of sedition and
heresy. In May of the same year a change had taken place in the civil
government of the colony. Sir Henry Vane, who like herself, believed in
the supreme authority of the in-dwelling spirit, having been superseded
by John Winthrop as governor, the latter sustaining the power of the
clergy and himself taking part against her. Two days were spent by him
and prominent clergymen in her examination, resulting in a sentence of
imprisonment and banishment from the colony for having “traduced the
ministers” and taught men against the direct authority of the Apostle
Paul, who declared “I suffer not a woman to teach.”

Thus the old world restrictions upon woman, and their persecutions,
were soon duplicated in the new world. Liberty of opinion became as
serious a crime in America as in England, and here as in Europe, the
most saintly virtue and the purest life among women were not proof
against priestly attack. While Mistress Hutchinson was the first woman
thus to suffer, many others were also persecuted. When Mary Fisher
and Anne Austin, two Quaker women who had become famous for their
promulgation of this heretical doctrine in many parts of the world,
arrived in Boston harbor, July 1656, they were not at first permitted
to land, but were ultimately transferred to the Boston jail, where they
were closely confined, and notwithstanding the heat of the weather
their one window was boarded up. Their persons were also stripped and
examined for signs of witchcraft, but fortunately not a mole or a
spot could be found. Boston—“The Bloody Town”—was the center of this
persecuting spirit and every species of wanton cruelty upon woman was
enacted. Stripped nude to the waist they were tied to a whipping-post
on the south side of King Street and flogged on account of their
religious opinions; but it was upon the famous “Common” that for the
crime of free speech, a half nude woman with a new born babe at her
breast was thus publicly whipped; and it was upon the “Common” that
Mary Dyer, another Quaker woman, was hung in 1659. Both she and Anne
Hutchinson prophesied calamity to the colony for its unjust course,
which was fulfilled, when in 1684, it lost its charter in punishment
for its intolerance. No Christian country offered a refuge for woman,
as did Canada the colored slave. But the evils of woman’s persecution
by the church, did not end with the wrongs inflicted upon her; they
were widely extended, affecting the most common interests of the world.
While famines were unknown among the ancient Romans in the first period
of their history, yet Christendom was early and frequently afflicted
with them. While the operations of nature were sometimes the cause, the
majority of famines were the result of persecutions, or of christian
wars, especially the crusades which took such immense numbers of men
from the duties of agriculture at home, making them a prey upon the
scanty resources of the countries through which these hordes passed.
As was seen in the Irish famine of 1847-8 and at the present moment as
result of a scanty food supply in Russia, pestilence of various kinds
followed famine years. But the crusades in which the church attempted
to wrest the holy sepulchre from Turkish hands, were scarcely more
productive of famines than its persecuting periods when mankind lost
hope in themselves and the future. Our own country has shown the effect
of fear and persecution upon both business and religion, as during the
witchcraft period of New England, scarcely two hundred years since,
all business of whatever nature in country and in town was neglected,
and even the meeting house was allowed to fall out of repair. Nor was
this ruin of a temporary nature, as many people left the Colony and
its effects descended to those yet unborn. Both Bancroft’s History
of the United States, and Lapham’s History of the Salem Witchcraft,
paint vivid pictures of the effects following the different church
persecutions of woman. Of the Hutchinson trial, Bancroft says:

    This dispute infused its spirit into everything. It interfered
    with the levy of troops for the Pequot war; it influenced the
    respect shown to magistrates; the distribution of town lots;
    the assessment of rates and at last the continued existence of
    the two parties was considered inconsistent with public peace.

Of the witchcraft period, Upham says:

    It cast its shadows over a broad surface and they darkened
    the condition of generations.... The fields were neglected;
    fences, roads, barns, even the meeting house went into
    disrepair.... A scarcity of provisions nearly amounting to
    a famine continued for some time. Farms were brought under
    mortgage, or sacrificed, and large numbers of people were
    dispersed. The worst results were not confined to the village
    but spread more or less over the country.

Massachusetts was not the only colony that treated witchcraft as a
crime. Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia possessed similar enactments.
Witchcraft was considered and treated as a capital offense by the laws
of both Pennsylvania and New York, trials taking place in both colonies
not long before the Salem tragedy. The peaceful Quaker, William Penn,
presided upon the bench in Pennsylvania at the trial of two Swedish
women accused of witchcraft. The Grand Jury acting under instruction
given in his charge, found true bills against these women, and Penn’s
skirts were only saved from the guilt of their blood by some technical
irregularity in the indictment.

Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Jersey,
Massachusetts and New York, eight of the thirteen colonies recognized
witchcraft as a capital crime. Margaret M. was indicted for witchcraft
in Pennsylvania in 1683, the law against it continuing in force until
September 23, 1794. By law of the Province of East New Jersey, 1668,
any person found to be a witch, either male or female, was to suffer
death. In that state the right of complaining against a child who
should smite or curse either parent, pertained to both father and
mother; the penalty was death. As late as 1756, Connecticut recognized
the right of parents to dispose of children in marriage. In Maryland
1666 the commission given to magistrates for Somerset county directed
them under oath to make enquiries in regard to witchcraft, sorcery, and
magic arts. In 1706 Grace Sherwood of Princess Anne County, Virginia,
was tried for witchcraft. The records of the trial show that the court
after a consideration of the charges, ordered the sheriff to take the
said Grace into his custody and to commit her body to the common jail,
there to secure her with irons or otherwise, until brought to trial.[82]

In 1692, the Grand Jury brought a bill against Mary Osgood of the
Province of Massachusetts Bay, as follows:

    The powers for our sovereign lord and lady, the king and
    queen, present that Mary Osgood, wife of Captain John Osgood
    in the county of Essex, about eleven years ago in the town
    of Andover aforesaid, wickedly, maliciously and feloniously
    a covenant with the devil did make and signed the devil’s
    book, and took the devil to be her God, and consented to serve
    and worship him and was baptized by the devil and renounced
    her former Christian baptism and promised to the devil both
    body and soul, forever, and to serve him; by which diabolical
    covenant by her made with the devil; she, the said Mary Osgood
    is become a detestable witch against the peace of our
    sovereign lord and lady, the king and queen, their crown and
    dignity and the laws in that case made and provided. A true

When for “witches” we read “women,” we gain fuller comprehension of
the cruelties inflicted by the church upon this portion of humanity.
Friends were encouraged to cast accusation upon their nearest and
dearest, rewards being offered for conviction. Husbands who had ceased
to care for their wives or who by reason of their sickness or for any
cause found them a burden, or for reasons of any nature desired to
break the indissoluble bonds of the church, now found an easy method.
They had but to accuse the wife of witchcraft and the marriage was
dissolved by her death at the stake. Church history is not silent upon
such instances, and mention is made of a husband who by a rope about
the neck dragged his wife before that Arch Inquisitor, Sprenger, making
accusation of witchcraft against her. No less from protestant than from
catholic pulpits were people exhorted to bring the witch, even if of
one’s own family, to justice.

In 1736, the statute against witchcraft was repealed by the English
Parliament, yet a belief in witchcraft is still largely prevalent
even among educated people. Dr. F. G. Lee the vicar of an English
church, that of All Saints in Lambeth, a few years since publicly
deprecated the abolition of its penalties in a work entitled “Glimpses
of the Twilight,” complaining that the laws against witchcraft had
been “foolishly and short-sightedly repealed.” A remarkable case
occurred in Prussia 1883 when the father of a bed-ridden girl, having
become persuaded that his daughter was bewitched by a woman who had
occasionally given her apples and pears, was advised the child would
be cured if she drank some of the blood of the supposed witch. The
woman was therefore entrapped into a place where some of the chief
men of the commune had assembled to receive her. She was seized,
one of her fingers pricked with a needle and her blood given to the
sick child. In 1885 a case of slander based upon alleged witchcraft
came before Justice Randolphs, District Court of Jersey City. The
justice listened to the evidence for several hours before recalling
the fact that there was no law upon which he could base his decision,
the latest legislation being the law of 1668 repealed 1795 (twenty
years after our Declaration of Independence), the crime was no longer
officially recognized.[84] It is curious to note the close parallel
between accusations during the witchcraft period and those against the
New Jersey suspect of 1885. It was said of her that during the night
she accomplished such feats by supernatural power as jumping from a
third story window, alighting upon a gate post as gently as a falling
feather. It was also asserted that people whom she was known to dislike
became gradually ill, wasting away until they died. The accused woman
declared it was her superior knowledge that was feared, and thus
again the middle ages are paralleled, as the witches of that period
were usually women of superior knowledge. In 1882, a Wisconsin farmer
was put under bonds to keep the peace, on account of his attempts
to assault an old lady who he averred was a witch, who injured his
cattle, and entered his house through the chimney or key hole, to his
great terror and distress. The state of Indiana about sixty years ago
possessed a neighborhood where the people believed in witchcraft. If
the butter failed to come, or the eggs to hatch, or a calf got choked,
or even if the rail fences fell down when covered with sleet and snow,
the whole trouble was attributed to the witches, who were also believed
to have the remarkable power of saddling and bridling a man and with
sharp spurs riding him over the worst roads imaginable, to his great
harm and fatigue. Even the great Empire State, as late as January 1892,
had within its borders a case of murder where an inoffensive old man
lost his life because he was believed to be a wizard; and this occurred
in the center of a prosperous farming country where money is liberally
expended for educational purposes, this being one of the rare instances
where a man fell under suspicion.

It is but a few years since the great and enlightened city of Paris
caused the arrest, under police authority, of fourteen women upon
charge of sorcery; and it is but little more than twenty years since a
woman in the state of Puebla, Mexico, was hung and burned as a witch,
because unable to reveal the whereabouts of a lost animal. She was
seized, hung to a tree, shot at and then plunged into fire until she
expired.[85] The body at first buried in the cemetery, was exhumed the
following day by order of the priest, who refused to allow the remains
of a witch to be buried in consecrated ground. The state, in person of
the mayor of the city, authorized the proceedings by taking part in
them as principal persecutor. In the same province another woman was
severely flogged as a witch, by four men, one of them her own son. Thus
now, as in its earlier ages, wherever the light of civilization has not
overcome the darkness of the church, we find woman still a sufferer
from that ignorance and superstition which under Christianity, teaches
that she brought sin into the world.

_Chapter Six_


Under Roman law before Christianity had gained control of the empire, a
form of marriage existed known as “Usus,” which secured much freedom to
wives. It was entered into without the terrifying religious ceremonies
which made “Confarreatio,” practically indissoluble and the wife the
veritable slave of the husband, who held power even over her life.
Neither did it possess the civil formality of “Coemptio” under which
the bride purchased entrance into the marriage duties and her husband’s
household by the payment of three pieces of copper.[1] “Coemptio”
like “Confarreatio” gave the husband entire power over the person and
property of the wife, while “Usus,” a form of simple consent left the
wife practically free, keeping her own name and property. The real
origin of this form of marriage is not fully known. Maine declared
it to be as old as or even older than the Twelve Tables, under which
woman possessed the right to repudiation in marriage. These laws, a
compilation of still older ones, were afterwards incorporated into
statutes by a woman of Athens, and were received by the Romans as
extremely pure natural laws.[2] Plato refers to an early Athens
entirely ruled by women, its laws of pre-eminently just character.
Tradition, whose basis is half forgotten, half remembered history,
attributes the origin of Athens to the ancient Atlantians. The former
existence of this submerged continent is daily becoming more fully
recognized. The explorations of the “Challenger,” the “Dolphin,” the
“Gazelle,” and the discoveries of Le Plongeon in Yucatan, at later
date, confirming olden tradition. Maine thus ascribes a much older
origin to “Usus” than Gibbon, who attributes it to the effect of the
Punic triumphs.[3] In reality “Usus” seems to have been a reminiscence
of the Matriarchate, incorporated into the law of the Twelve Tables,
and accepted by Rome as a more just form of the marriage relation
for women than the religious “Confarraetio” or the civil form of
“Coemptio.” But as Rome increased in wealth and luxurious modes of
living, the influence of the Patriarchate correspondingly extended,
the perception of justice at the same time diminishing. Pomp and
ceremony were associated with the marriage rite among patricians,
while “Usus” was regarded as a plebeian form especially suited to the
populace. But at later date when Rome rebelling against the tyranny
of her rulers, tended towards a republican form of government, “Usus”
again became general. It was impossible for patrician women not to see
the greater freedom of plebeian wives under “Usus,” a form that while
equally binding in the essentials of the union did not make the wife
a marital slave,[4] and “Usus” eventually became the basis of Roman
legal conception of marriage, against which Christianity from the first
waged a warfare of ever increasing fierceness,[5] the very foundation
of that religion being the subordination of woman in every relation
of life. Under “Usus” the mere fact of two persons living together as
husband and wife was regarded as a marriage. If during each year the
wife remained away from the home for three days, she kept herself from
under her husband’s power. She remained a part of her father’s family;
her husband could not mortgage or in any way alienate her property.
This was absolutely contrary to the laws of the christian form of
marriage, under which the wife surrendered her person, her property,
and her conscience, into the indisputable control of the husband.
Under “Usus” a large proportion of Roman property fell into woman’s
hands. She became the real estate holder of the Eternal City and its
provinces, and in consequence was treated with great respect; the
holding of property, especially of real estate conducing to that end.
Under “Usus” the cruelties sanctioned by “Confarraetio” were rendered
impossible; a wife could no longer be put to death, as was formerly the
custom, for having tasted wine, a treacherous kiss from her husband
upon his return home, betraying her, nor could her infant daughter be
exposed or murdered at the pleasure of her husband who as inexorable
master was frequently wont to refuse her pleadings for the life of her
babe, calling her prayers naught but the scruples of a foolish woman.[6]

Thus under “Usus” human life became more sacred, and woman endowed with
a greater sense of personal security. It affected an entire change for
the better, in the moral sentiments of the Roman empire.[7] A complete
revolution had thus passed over the constitution of the family. This
must have been the period, says Maine, when a juriconsulist of the
empire defined marriage as a life long fellowship of all divine and
human rights.

Not alone Maine, but also Reeves, failed not to see that the
disruption of the Roman Empire was very unfavorable to the personal
and proprietory rights of woman.[8] The practical effect of the common
Roman form of marriage being the absolute legal independence of the
wife, under which a large proportion of Roman property fell into
the hands of women, the wife retaining her family name and family
inheritance. All this was changed as soon as Christianity obtained the
rule. Under Christian forms of marriage a wife was taken from her own
family and transferred into that of her husband the same as a piece of
property. She assumed his name, the same as the slave took that of the
new master to whom he was transferred. That this idea of the wife as a
slave did not belong alone to the earlier christian period, but is a
part of christian doctrine of today is clearly shown by the continued
custom of a woman’s dropping her family name upon marriage and assuming
that of the husband-master.

For this middle Roman period carried its blessings to wives no longer
than until the empire became christianized, when the tyranny of
ecclesiastical marriage again fell to woman’s lot. While under the
influence of “Usus,” Roman jurists of the middle period had declared
the ownership of property by married women to be a principle of equity;
this drew forth opposing legislation from the christians, and under
christian law, the husband again became master of his wife’s person,
and property, her children also falling under his entire control, the
mother possessing no authority over them. From that period down to the
twentieth century of christianity, under all changing civil laws, woman
has ever felt the oppressions of ecclesiasticism in this relation.[9]

Guizot strangely declares that woman’s present, and what he terms,
superior, position in the household today, is due to feudalism.[10]
The isolation and strife under which the nobility lived during the
feudal period, warring against each other when not engaged in foreign
aggression, compelled to certain forms of social life within each
castle, thus creating the modern family, or the family under its
present social form. At that period the feudal wife with her retinue of
household serfs and a vast number of her husband’s retainers in charge,
held a more responsible position than that of woman under primitive
christian habits of life. But the knights and lords of these feudal
castles were lecherous robbers, rather than men of kindly regard for
womankind. Their inclination was not towards justice or family life,
but the despoiling of all beneath them, and even of their equals with
whom they were not upon terms of amity. The ruins of such castles,
like the nest of the eagle, perched upon some inaccessible rock, add
today an element of picturesque beauty to the Rhine and other rivers
of Europe, but owe their elevated and isolated positions of the evil
character of their owners, the banditti of the middle ages.[11] When
not engaged with their king in warfare, they made the despoiling of
serfs and the betrayal of wives and daughters their chief diversion,
the robbery of burghers and travelers their business; churchmen equally
with laymen living by the same means.

During the year 1268, Rudolph of Germany, destroyed sixty-six castles
of these christian robber nobility in Thuringia alone, and hung
twenty-nine of these “family builders” at one time in Erfurt. He
compared Rome to the lion’s den in fable; the footsteps of many animals
to be found going thither, but none coming back. At this period the
soldiers of Christian Europe found pleasure in torture for its own
sake, chiefly selecting women as their victims. In mediaeval England
the condition of woman was one of deep degradation. Wives were bought
and daughters sold for many hundred years after the introduction of
Christianity.[12] Although England was christianized in the fourth
century, it was not until the tenth that the christian wife of a
christian husband acquired the right of eating at table with him, nor
until the same century did a daughter gain the right of rejecting the
husband her father might have selected for her. While the sale of
daughters was practiced in England for seven hundred years after the
introduction of Christianity, we note that by the ancient law of India,
a father was forbidden to sell his daughter in marriage, or receive the
smallest present therefor. In mediaeval England the daughter was held
as a portion of the father’s property to be sold to the highest bidder.
The Mundium[13] recognized the father’s right to sell his daughter to
the husband he might select for her, usually the highest bidder in
point of wealth or political influence. While Marquette pertained to
kings, feudal lords, and men of no family relationship to the victim,
Mundium inhered in the father himself. Through it he sacrificed his own
daughter for money or power.

The practice of buying wives with cattle or money was regulated both
in the laws of King Aethelbert and King Ine. In event of the woman who
had been thus bought, becoming a widow, half of the sum paid for her
seems to have been set aside for her support, provided her husband
had not died without issue. The other half remained absolutely the
property of her father, brother, or guardian by whom she had been
sold. At a somewhat later period the church doctrine of celibacy
influenced all ranks of men, while at the same time an unmarried woman
because of her maidenhood was regarded as disreputable. A bachelor
held honorable place, even though all celibate men were looked upon
as libertines of especially impure life. Warnings against matrimony
were the ordinary topics of conversation, while virtue in women was
held so little sacred that no nearness of relationship was security
for either a married or a single woman.[14] Husbands trafficked in the
honor of their wives, fathers sold their daughters,[15] yet if under
temptation, a woman fell, outside of such sale, her punishment was most
severe. To a husband was accorded the power of life and death over his
household, and either personally or by means of a hired assassin he
not unfrequently assigned his wife to death or to a punishment more
atrocious and barbarous.[16] Disraeli says:

    If in these ages of romance and romances the fair sex were
    scarcely approached without the devotion of idolatry, whenever
    “the course of true love” altered; when the frail spirit
    loved too late, and should not have loved, the punishment
    became more criminal than the crime, for there was more
    selfish revenge and terrific malignity than of justice when
    autocratical man became the executioner of his own decree.

The English christian husband of that age is paralleled by certain
North American Indians of the present day.[17] The horizon of woman’s
life was bounded by the wishes of her father or husband. Single, she
was regarded as a more or less valuable piece of property[18] for whose
sale the owner was entitled to make as good a bargain as possible. It
was as a bride that the greatest sum was secured.[19] Prominent among
the laws of the first Christian king of Kent, were provisions for the
transfer of money or cattle in exchange for the bride.[20] The theory
of woman’s ownership by man was everywhere carried into practice, and
with great severity in case the wife proved unfaithful to her enforced
vows. The facts that her consent to the marriage had not been asked,
that mayhap the man she was forced to wed was utterly repugnant to her,
that her affections might already have been bestowed, that she was
transferred like a piece of goods with no voice upon the question, were
not taken into consideration, and did the husband not choose to kill
his derelict spouse, the question still remained one of property,[21]
and a new bride was demanded of the lover in place of the wife whose
love he had gained.

A husband, attracted by a new face, more wealth, greater political
influence, or for any reason desiring to be rid of his wife, was
regarded as justifiable in hiring an assassin to strangle her, or
if walking by a river-brink, of himself pushing her into the water
where her cries for help were disregarded. Those in whose hearts pity
rose, were prevented from giving aid, but such remarks as, “It is
nothing, only a woman being drowned.”[22] A horse or other domestic
animal received more consideration than the women of a household.
Notwithstanding this period, the early part of the fourteenth century,
before the days of printing or rapid intercourse between nations, yet
the evil fame of christendom reached distant lands. Its hypocrisy and
baseness were known by those very Saracens from whom the Crusaders
attempted to wrest the Holy Sepulchre. To Sir John Mandeville, the
Sultan of Egypt mercilessly criticized the christianity of England[23]
and the christian method of serving God; the total disregard of
chastity, the sale of daughters, sisters and wives. We cannot agree
with Disraeli in his doubts if there was a single christian in all
christendom at this period. To the contrary, it may be regarded as an
epoch when the doctrines of christianity were most fully sustained, the
church at that time carrying out the principles of both the Old and the
New Testament regarding women. From Moses to Paul, the Bible everywhere
speaks of her as a being made for man, secondary to man, and under his
authority by direct command of the Almighty; the state, as coadjutor
and servant of the church, basing her codes of law[24] upon its
teachings. Under these codes woman has not only been looked upon as
naturally unchaste, but also regarded as a liar, the state demanding
the testimony of two or three, and in some instances of seven women to
invalidate that of one man; the man even then in extreme cases clearing
himself by his single oath. Condemned as having brought evil into the
world, woman’s every step was looked upon with suspicion, and the most
brutal treatment as far short of her just deserts. To speak well of
her was to cause misgivings of one’s self. The system of defamation
inaugurated by the church in reference to women, was later recognized
by the Jesuits as a most effective plan for the personal subjugation of
men. Busenbaum, an influential writer of this order, directing:

    Whenever you would ruin a person you must begin by spreading
    calumnies to defame them. Repetition and perseverance will at
    length give the consistency of probability, and the calumnies
    will stick to a distant day.

The astute Jesuits learned their lesson from church treatment of women.
Its practical results were ever before their eyes in the contempt with
which woman was regarded, and her own consequent loss of self respect.
Under early and mediaeval christian law, as in most states today, the
father alone had right to the disposal of his children. He possessed
the sole power of giving away his daughter in marriage; if he died,
this right devolved upon the eldest son; only in case there were no
sons was the right of the mother in any way recognized. If neither
father or brother were living, the mother gave her daughter away in
marriage, and this was the only instance in which one woman possessed
control over another woman, the law allowing the mother no voice in
the marriage of her daughter unless she was a widow without sons. So
greatly enslaved were daughters, that non-consent of the victim in
no way impaired the validity of the marriage.[25] A girl was simply
a piece of family property to be disposed of as the family thought
best. Although wives were simply the slaves of husbands, yet the
condition of an unmarried woman was even more deplorable. Deprived of
the society of young persons of her own sex, not allowed speech with
any man outside of her own family, she was fortunate if she escaped
personal[26] ill-treatment in her father’s house. Not permitted to sit
in the presence of either her father or her mother, continually found
fault with, the laws constraining her to marry while giving her no
preference as to a husband, and marriage still more fully taking from
her the control of her own person, yet it was anxiously looked forward
to as at least a change of masters, and the constant hope that in the
husband she might find a lover who for dear love’s sake would treat her
with common humanity.

Such was the condition of women during eighteen hundred years of
christianity. Legislated for as slaves, imprisoned for crimes that if
committed by a man were only punished by branding the hand; buried
alive for other crimes that committed by men were atoned for by the
payment of a fine; denied a share in the government of the family or
the church, their very sex deemed a curse, the twentieth century is
now about to open showing no truly enlightened nation upon the face
of the earth. From the barbarism of inhumanity the world is slowly
awakening to the fact that every human being stands upon the plane
of equal natural rights. The Church has not taught the world this
great truth, the State has not conceded it; its acknowledgment thus
far, has been due to the teachings of individual men and women, that
self-constituted authority over others a crime against humanity. Under
christian teaching regarding woman, the daughter was looked upon as a
more remote relative and heir than the son and this upon the ground of
her inferiority. Blackstone, although admitting that such views did
not pertain in Rome, yet speaks of males as “the worthier of blood.”
Such views were not held by pre-christian Britain. Under common law,
before that country accepted christianity, property was equally divided
between sisters, and only by special custom, between brothers.[27] But
as early as Henry II it was the general rule that a woman could not
share an inheritance with a man. An exception sometimes existed in a
particular city where such custom had long prevailed.

Until quite recently, English women have not been permitted to express
an opinion upon political questions, although the Primrose League and
other similar organizations have effected a great change within a few
years. Yet it is but little more than two hundred years, in 1664, at
Henley-upon-Thames, a woman having spoken against the taxation imposed
by Parliament, was condemned for this freedom of political criticism,
to have her tongue nailed to the body of a tree at the highway side
upon a market day, and a paper fastened to her back detailing the
heinousness of her offense. It was thus the state deterred similar
politically-minded women from the expression of their views, and in
line with the church used its most stringent measures to retain woman
in the “sphere” to which both church and state assigned her. Many
savage tribes of Africa exhibit the same grade of civilization that was
extant in christian England from the fourth to the eighteenth centuries.

    A father will sell his daughter among Unyamwazi, Africa, for
    one up to ten cows. A Lomali asks of a poor wooer from ten to
    twenty horses, of a wealthy one from 100 upward, together with
    fifty camels and 300 sheep. On the other hand, in Uganda, four
    oxen are sufficient to buy the most perfectly formed village
    belle, provided six needles and a box of cartridges are thrown

The sale is the same, the payment alone of different character. An
African girl in case of a wealthy wooer, bringing even more than was
ordinarily received during the middle ages for an English christian
maiden. The patriarchal spirit wherever cropping out exhibiting the
same characteristics, whether among Jews, Christians, or African
savages. This is the more notable as among civilized or savage races
yet governed by the principles of the Matriarchate, the position of
woman is very high. In Samoa, no woman is compelled to work, all labor
of whatever character being performed by the men. The celebrated
traveler, Prof. Carl Lumholz, in his work “Among the Cannibals,” makes
some interesting statements in regard to the course adopted by the
natives of Georgia River, Australia, to save women from giving birth to
undesired children, and to prevent the needless suffering and infant
mortality so common in christian lands.

Among the methods adopted in christian countries for a continuance of
the crimes common in the marriage relation, have been more or less
stringent laws against divorce, ever falling with heaviest force upon
her whom christian marriage laws have made a slave. The “Christian
Union” declares as a significant act of evil import, that “in Wyoming,
where the power of woman in affairs of government is greatest, one
divorce takes place in every six marriages, the proportion being
greater than in any other state.” But if this assertion of the
“Christian Union” is true, it is proof that a share in making the laws
which govern her is wisely used by the women of that state; and it
marks a new era in civilization, when woman holding political power
in her own hands, refuses longer to degrade herself by living in a
relation that has lost the binding power of love. The laws of church
and of state during the christian ages originated with man, and it
is a promising sign of woman’s growth in self-reliance, independent
thought, and purity of character, that she thus protests against the
bondage of a relation which virtually holds the wife as slave of the
husband; for despite the changes of the last four and a half decades,
we still find the general tone of legislation in line with the church
teaching of woman’s created inferiority to man. We still find belief
in the wife’s duty of obedience to the husband; we still discover the
church, the state, the world, all regarding the exercise of her own
judgment even upon the questions most closely related to herself as
woman’s greatest sin. As free as woman is called today, she has not yet
as daughter secured perfect liberty of choice in marriage, the power of
the family too often compelling her into a hated relation. Money still
leads parents to prefer one suitor above another, even in the United
States; while in many European countries, marriages are arranged by
friends, or through a broker, entirely without the girl’s consent, who
is frequently taken from a convent or school to be thus sold to some
wealthy and perhaps octogenarian wooer, who covets the youth or beauty
of the victim.[28]

The burning of twenty missionaries in a portion of savage Africa,
a few years since, filled the civilized world with horror. But for
several hundred years after the introduction of christianity into
Great Britain, the penalty for simple theft by a woman slave was
burning alive, and all the other women slaves were compelled to assist
her _auto-de-fe_. Upon such an occasion mentioned by Pike, eighty
other women each brought a log of wood for the burning.[29] By the
old Roman Code, burning alive as a punishment was forbidden because
of its barbarity, but christianity reintroduced it, and for long
centuries after the destruction of the Roman Empire, that other land
aspiring to control of the sea, which proudly boasts that the sun
never sets on her possessions, kept it in her criminal code for the
punishment of helpless women.[30] So rigorous was woman’s slavery that
the friendships of women with each other, or with men, were strictly
prohibited; yet the deep affection of one man for another to whom he
consecrated his life and fortune, and of whom he spoke with that deep
tenderness, was highly commended.[31] The despotic, irresponsible power
of husbands in christian England at this period is shown by the diverse
manner in which the murder of a wife by a husband, or a husband by a
wife, was regarded. For husband to murder a wife either by his own
hands or those of a hired assassin, was of frequent occurrence, but as
she was his slave over whom he had power of life and death, this was
looked upon as a trivial affair. But under the laws of both church and
state, the murder of a husband by a wife was regarded as petty treason,
to be punished with the utmost severity, burning alive being a not
uncommon form.[32]

Under christian legislation not alone the wife’s person but her
property so fully became her husband’s that her use of any portion of
it thereafter without his consent was regarded as theft; and such is
still the law in the majority of christian countries; it is less than
sixty years since a change in this respect took place in any part of
the christian world. While a wife may steal from her husband it is
still the law that a husband cannot steal from his wife. If she allows
him to transact business for her, or in any way obtain possession of
her property even for a moment, he has acquired its legal ownership.
Since the passage of the Married Woman’s Property Act, the courts of
England have decided that a husband cannot steal from his wife while
she is living with him. A case before Baron Huddleston, 1888, commented
upon by the _Pall Mall Gazette_, under head of “Stealing from a Wife,”
called attention to the superior position of the mistress in respect to
property rights over that of the wife.

    Can a husband rob his wife? Baron Huddleston yesterday
    answered this by saying he can not rob her at all under the
    common law, which regards all the wife’s property as the
    husband’s; and, theft is only robbery under the Married
    Women’s Property Act, when the wife is living apart from
    her husband, or when he is preparing to desert her. It is
    really quite amazing how many advantages a mistress has over
    a wife in all matters relating to property and to person.
    It almost seems as if the object of the law was to inflict
    such disabilities on wives in order to induce the fair sex to
    prefer concubinage to matrimony.

The separate moral codes for man and woman in all christian lands, show
their evil aspect in many ways. Adultery, in all christian countries
is held to be less sinful for men than for women. In England, while
the husband can easily obtain a divorce from the wife upon the ground
of adultery, it is almost impossible for the wife to obtain a divorce
from the husband upon the same ground. Nothing short of the husband’s
bringing another woman into the house to sustain wifely relations to
him, at all justifies her in proceedings for a separation; and even
then, the husband retains a right to all the wife’s property of which
he was in possession, or which may have fallen into his hands. Less
than a dozen years since, an English husband willed his wife’s property
to his mistress and her children of whom he was the father. The wife,
(in what is known as “The Birchall Case”), contested the will, but the
courts not only decided in its favor, but added insult to that legal
robbery, by telling the wife that a part of her money was enough for
her, and that she ought to be willing that her husband’s mistress and
illegitimate children should share it with her.

Woman’s disobedience to man is regarded by both the church and the
state as disobedience to God. As late as the first half of the present
century it was held as constructive treason, in England, punishable by
the state, for a wife to refuse obedience to her husband’s commands
or in any way to question his authority. She was required to be under
submission to him as the direct representative of the deity. For the
woman who protested against this annihilation of her individuality, a
flogging was the customary form of punishment and so common was the use
of the whip that its size was regulated by law.[33] The punishment of
petit treason[34] was more severe for woman than for man because her
crime was regarded as of a more heinous character. She was dragged on
the ground or pavement to the place of execution then burned alive;
a man was drawn and hanged. It was long after the conquest before
even a man convicted of treason secured the right of being carried to
execution on a sledge or hurdle. Blackstone comments upon the extreme
torment of being dragged on the ground or pavement. In case of a woman
the wounds and lacerations thus received must have greatly added to her
intensity of suffering, yet so blinded was he through those laws, that
he calls her punishment of burning, a tribute to the “decency due to
the sex.”[35]

During a portion of the christian era the wife has not been looked
upon as related to her husband. The residuum of this disbelief in the
relationship of husband and wife, occasionally shows itself to the
present day.[36] She was his slave under both religious and civil law,
holding the same relations to him as the subject did to the king, and
liable to punishments similar to those inflicted upon unruly slaves,
or disloyal subjects. Rebellion against the husband’s authority was
treason punishable by law, similarly as treason to the king. The
difference was but in name. Down to the end of the eighteenth century
in England, the wife who had murdered her husband was burned alive; if
the husband murdered his wife he suffered simple decapitation, “the
same as if he had murdered any other stranger.” For the wife’s crime
of petit treason the penalty was that of the slave who had killed her
master. It is scarcely a hundred years since the punishment of burning
the wife alive for the murder of her husband, or the female slave for
the murder of her master, as petit treason, passed out of the English
penal code; the last instance occurring in 1784, eight years after
our declaration of independence. This same code was operative in the
colonies; the last woman thus punished in this country, being a slave
in 1755, who had murdered her master, America having twenty-nine years
precedence in the abolition of this penalty.[37]

A cablegram from Europe, September 1892, proves the continued existence
in this last decade of the nineteenth century of the crime of petit
treason, and also the barbarous punishment still inflicted under
christian law, upon the wife who murders her husband. This case,
occurring in Finland, was carried up to the Court of Appeals, which not
only affirmed the decision of the lower court but decreed additional
punishment. Because the wife had also forged her husband’s name for
small sums of money, having under law, first been robbed by him of her
earnings, the judgment of having her right hand cut off, was added to
the original sentence. She was then decapitated, her body fastened to a
stake, covered with inflammable material and burned to ashes. Although
this wife was not burned alive, the barbarity of her punishment was
most atrocious, and took place under the christian laws of the church
and the state, in a Protestant country in the “year of our Lord,” 1892.
That the punishment was infinitely more severe than would have been
inflicted upon the husband in case he had murdered his wife, was due
to christian teaching of woman’s inferiority and subordination to man;
thus making the wife’s crime that of petit treason, under law only a
trifle less heinous than murdering a king, or attempting destruction
of the government. Had the husband murdered the wife it would have
been, according to legal prevision, the same as if he had killed “_any
other stranger_.” The marriage ceremony robbed her of her property
and earnings, but in equity the money she was accused of stealing
from him belonged to her. Under the laws of most christian states, a
woman is robbed of herself and all of her possessions by the simple
fact of her marriage. Under christian laws the services of the wife in
the marital relation are all due to the husband,[38] her earnings all
belong to him; she is a slave owning nothing and with no rights in the
property her husband calls his own. This wife’s crime was provoked by
pre-existing criminal legislation of the christian church and state.
Possessing no legal right to the control of her own person, property
or conscience, the wife was held to have sinned against a divinely
appointed master to whom she owed more than human allegiance: she was
a criminal so great that the punishment of severing her hand and head
were deemed entirely inadequate, and her body fastened to a stake was
covered with inflammable material and burned to ashes.[39]

While the external government of Finland, as declarations of war,
peace, treaties, etc., is under control of the Czar, or Grand Duke,
yet in the internal administration of affairs this country is an
Independent State, under a Constitution dating 1772, and confirmed
by three successive czars. It became christianized in the twelfth
century but is not under the Greek church; its established religion
is Evangelical and Lutheran, under control of the archbishop of Abo,
and the bishops of Bogia and Knopo; an ecclesiastical assembly meeting
every ten years; and the Diet, composed of representatives of the
clergy, nobility, citizens and peasants, every five years. Without
consent of these bodies no laws are enacted or repealed; but woman
possesses no representation either in ecclesiastical or civil affairs.

The old law of marriage instituted by the church, which held the wife
as belonging body and soul to the husband who not alone possessed
control over her actions but decided her religion, is still extant.
In but few countries do we see a tendency towards its abolition, even
those that have somewhat favorably legislated upon the question,
still retaining the general principle of a wife’s subserviency to her
husband. A few years since an English lady desirous of uniting with
the Catholic church was refused consent by her husband, “a staunch
churchman.” Unknown to him she was received into that body, which
proved occasion of an animated controversy between the husband and the
late Cardinal Manning, the former basing his opposition and his letter
of remonstrance to the cardinal upon the ground of the admitted legal
right of a husband, under English law, to ordain the form of his wife’s
religion.[40] Nor do we find material difference in the United States.
In Virginia, in the winter of 1891, a wife, despite the opposition of
her husband caused her infant to be baptized by an Episcopal clergyman
into that church, the husband openly expressing his disapproval while
the ceremony was in progress, and afterwards suing the clergyman for
an interference with his vested rights over wife and child. This
supreme authority of the husband in christian countries is shown in
many strange ways. Among the Hindoos the naming of the child belongs
to the mother. If the father expresses desire for a different name,
each one is written upon a paper over which lighted lamps are set,
the one burning the longest deciding the choice of name. But in Rhode
Island as late as 1892, a controversy between the parents as to the
naming of a child was settled by law. The father and mother each filed
a certificate with the registrar; the father employing a lawyer who to
the satisfaction of the city solicitor proved his client’s prior right,
and an order was issued to the registrar in favor of the father’s
choice of name.[41] The claim of the christian husband in each of
these instances was that of his supreme and prior right, on the church
theory incorporated into law, that both wife and child belong to the
husband. The celebrated Agar-Ellis case in England during the latter
part of the seventies, was brought by a wife to compel the keeping by
a husband of his pledges in regard to the religious education of his
children. The decision was against the wife, upon the general ground
that a wife had no rights in law as against a husband. A man’s pledged
word broken at the gaming table renders him infamous and subjects him
to dishonor through life. But a husband’s pledged word broken to his
wife, under ruling of the highest court and the profoundest legal
talent of England, the Court of Appeals, and the Vice-Chancellor, is
just, implying no dishonor, but rather entitling him to respect as a
man who in a befitting manner has maintained his marital rights and
authority. The judge instructed the wife that she had no right to teach
her children what her husband did not believe, even though she herself
most fully believed what she taught. He impressed upon her that she was
not rearing her children for herself, but as her husband’s property,
over which she possessed no control only in so far as the husband made
her his agent. In affirming the order of the Vice-Chancellor, the court
of appeals declared that the father had the legal right to bring up the
children in his own faith, and in pledging his word to the contrary he
had in no way forfeited or abandoned his authority. This decision of
the English Court of Appeals, is in accord with the laws of the United
States. The Albany N.Y. _Law Journal_ in commenting upon this case
under the head of “Curious Question,” declared the decision to be in
harmony with the general rule as to religious education; the child is
to be educated in the religion of the father.

The _English Women’s Suffrage Journal_ in its comments, declared
English law to be based upon the Koran, quoting, in proof, from a
writer in the “Contemporary Review”:

    The East has long been noted for the subordination of its
    women, and this subjection is not only preached by Mussulmans
    and Buddhists but even by Christian churches. Woman is not
    regarded as a person but as a field, cultivable or not, as
    the possessor desires. As a field can neither have faith, nor
    intellect, nor a will of its own, it would be absurd for a
    man to occupy himself about what a woman believes, thinks, or
    wishes. She is absolutely nothing but her husband’s domain. He
    cultivates it and reaps the harvest, for the harvest belongs
    to the proprietor.

According to the _Women’s Suffrage Journal_, this condition accurately
depicted the spirit of the injunction laid upon Mrs. Agar-Ellis, by
Lord Justice James.

    To the wife and mother he declared that she had no right
    to teach her children what she believed, but must, to the
    contrary, teach them what her husband believed, whether she
    believed it or not; the law not concerning itself with what a
    woman believes, or wishes, as she is in law absolutely nothing
    but her husband’s domain.

The mistake of the _Journal_ lies in ascribing this law to the
teachings of the Koran, instead of the teachings of the Bible, which in
general tone, and through particular instruction, places woman upon the
same level as a man’s “flocks and herds, oxen and cattle.” We do not
find the personal rights of women in the United States differing from
those of the women of England. A famous suit was tried in Ohio, 1879,
known as the “Lucy Walker Case,” a former wife suing the present wife
for alienating her husband’s affections. Great attention was called to
this suit from the high position of the parties; Judge Seney, former
husband of one, and present husband[42] of the other wife, being widely
known as author of a “Civil Code,” bearing his name. The suit gained
still greater notoriety from the principle enunciated in his decision
rendered against the plaintiff, by Judge Dodge, before whom the case
came to trial; he dismissed it upon the ground that a wife had no
rights as against her husband. All testimony upon part of the injured
first wife was excluded upon the same ground. He decided:

    First: That the husband has a property interest in his wife
    which the wife does not possess in the husband.

    Second: That the law protects him in this right of property in

    Third: Upon the ground that he holds her and dares the world
    to meddle with him in the holding.

    Fourth: But on the contrary the wife looks alone to the
    husband, the law compelling her to do so.

Thus less than fifteen years since the legal decision was rendered
in the United States, that a wife is a husband’s property; that the
husband has a pecuniary interest in the wife, the law protecting his
right of property in her, while the wife possesses no reciprocal right
of property in the husband.

The _Toledo Bee_ gave the full text of Judge Dodge’s decision:

    The question submitted in this: Has a wife such a property
    in her husband, has she such a legal pecuniary interest in
    him, that she can bring an action at law against one who
    injures him, against one who imprisons him, and, finally, can
    a wife recover damages at law against a woman who has carnal
    intercourse with her husband without her consent? It will be
    at once admitted that the question is a novel one. Our courts
    adjudicate primarily upon property interests. A husband has a
    pecuniary, a property interest in his wife. The law protects
    this right of property.

    A father can recover damages against a man who seduces his
    daughter, but a mother can not recover for the seduction of
    a daughter. Why not? Is she not as dear to the mother as the
    father? Nay, dearer, by as much as a mother’s love exceeds a
    father’s. But she has not property in her, is not entitled to
    her wages; neither is a mother bound to support her children.
    The father is the head of the family, not the mother. He, by
    virtue of his headship, is legally entitled to the services of
    his family. The husband is head of the wife; not the wife of
    the husband.

    But can a husband sue his wife if she refuses to support him
    out of her property, to give him her earnings, or keep her
    marriage contract? Not at all. Can a father sue his minor
    child that refuses him obedience and service? Not at all.
    And why is this? For the same reason that he cannot sue his
    flocks or his herds, his oxen and his cattle—they are his.
    His to command. He is responsible for and to them. He cannot
    sue his own. He can sue any one who takes them away; any one
    who keeps or harbors them; any one who injures them; because
    they are his own. But the wife does not own her husband; the
    child does not own the father, and, therefore, I hold that the
    child cannot sue for an injury to the father, nor the wife for
    an injury to the husband. There is in her no property right
    upon which to found the action. My conviction is that the wife
    looks to her husband alone for the fulfillment of his marriage
    vows. If he refuses her the support, protection and love which
    he pledged her, she applies to a court to enforce the claim
    against him. Every dollar he has, every penny of his earnings,
    all his arm can gain or his intellect can attain are subject
    to her right. But she looks to her husband alone, the law
    compels her to do so. The husband enforces his claim to his
    wife by striking down every one who interferes with his right
    to her. He holds her and dares the world to meddle with her.
    The law protects him in holding. The law gives courage to his
    heart, strength to his arm in defending his position. But the
    wife looks to the husband. She relies upon his pledge and his
    promise, which the law will enforce, and she looks to that
    alone. The law does not permit her to go forth to smite the
    seducer of her husband, nor the man or woman who entices him

But as showing the rapid growth of public opinion in favor of the
wife’s equality of right with the husband, through the persistent
rebellion of woman against established laws and usages of Church and
States, thus forcing an advancing civilization upon the world, was a
decision rendered 1891, twelve years later, in the state of Indiana.
The case was that of Leah Haynes, plaintiff, against Flora Knowles,
defendant; a suit similar in character to the “Lucy Walker Case.” Judge
Elliot in Supreme Court of that State, on appeal from the decision
of the Circuit Court of Dearborn County, reversed the finding of the
lower court, deciding in favor of the right of a wife to sue for the
alienation of her husband’s affections. This decision, so contrary to
common law, and to ordinary christian legislation for woman, is proof
of an advancing civilization which does not look to the church for
approval. Court decisions of this character establishing a precedent,
are of far greater value in demonstrating the growth of a purer public
sentiment, than are simple legislative victories upon school or
municipal questions. They speak even more clearly than do the host of
newly opened industries, freer opportunities for education, married
woman’s property laws and similar legislation, of a growing recognition
of woman’s personal rights, and of a civilization founded upon the
common rights of humanity, and no longer upon church authority.

The general spirit and letter of the christian laws of husband and wife
was most fully carried out by a husband of the state of Missouri a few
years since. Mrs. Olive Davenport of St. Louis, suing for a divorce,
upon the ground that her husband required her to obey him in all
things. “Davenport’s rules for his Wife” were offered in evidence.

    Rules for the Government of my Wife’s Conduct while away from
    me, June 1, 1879:

    First: Not to speak to any person or allow any person to speak
    to her on the car except the conductor and porter in the
    discharge of their duty.

    Second: Go directly from depot in New York, to Mrs. Haight’s
    house, and occupy room with mother and sleep only in room.

    Third: Speak kindly and politely to Mrs. Haight, but not in
    a friendly or familiar manner. Say to her you do not wish to
    meet any one in the house. Ask for a table to yourself, with
    only your family or go somewhere else.

    Fourth: Never sing in the parlor or sing in your room when any
    person except your immediate family be present.

    Fifth: Never leave mother day or night for five minutes at
    a time for any reason whatsoever. Do not walk, ride, or go
    anywhere without her, even with your own brother.

    Sixth: Do not call on any person whatsoever, and allow no one
    who may call on you to see you unless they be your brothers or
    their wives. Do not speak to any person you may meet whom you
    have not known in the past.

    Seventh: Write every night to me a full, truthful and exact
    account of everything you have done, where you have been, to
    whom you have spoken, and whom you have seen. This must be
    done every night.

    Let nothing but sickness or death prevent your keeping these
    rules, for I will excuse no breach on any account.

    Do not leave New York even for one hour without my permission,
    except to Brooklyn or Harlem.

    If my wife cannot keep these rules in word and spirit, I
    desire never to see her again.

    Benjamin R. Davenport.

The divorce suit showed the married pair to have been separated once
before, Mrs. Davenport, unable to bear her husband’s tyranny, returning
to her mother’s house. At that time her husband required her to eat
only what he directed, and to wear only those clothes he bade her wear,
selecting even the color of her ribbons. The only fault he had to find
with her was that she “talked back,” which has always been deemed
an unpardonable crime in woman; one for which the Ducking Stool and
Scold’s Bridle were invented. After she left him, Mr. Davenport wrote
affectionate letters to his wife, calling her the sweetest and best of
women, imploring her to return. She relented and lived with him once
more, but her husband again put his rules in force. She then sued for a
divorce, which the court granted. Mr. Davenport’s treatment of his wife
is by no means exceptional. The following excerpt is from a letter in
the Terra Haute, Ind., _Mail_, 1884.

    An individual who considers himself a representative man in
    the city, and perhaps he is, said in the presence of several
    persons. “I went home at three o’clock this morning and found
    my wife sitting up. She burst into tears and asked me where
    I had been and why I treated her in that manner? I just told
    her if she said another word I would leave the house; that as
    long as she had a comfortable home where she could spend her
    evenings it was none of her business where I spent mine. Now,
    if I did not provide for my family, it would be a different
    thing but so long as my wife is well provided for, she has no
    right to complain and I don’t propose to allow it.” These are
    the man’s own words, and there are a great many men who hold
    the same opinions. If their wives protest because they drink,
    gamble and spend their nights away, they say, “You have a good
    home and enough to eat and wear; what more do you want?”

A lady of Richmond, Va., anxious to know from a legal source just what
her rights as a wife were, consulted a lawyer of that city.

    “Well, Madam,” he replied, head thrown back, thumbs in
    armholes: “Well, Madam, you have a right to comfortable food;
    a fire to keep you warm, and two calico dresses a year. These
    are your legal rights; all beyond these are the gifts of your
    husband. Luxuries of food and clothing, journies and books,
    these are not yours by law; it remains with your husband to
    decide whether he will furnish them to you or not.”

And this is Christian civilization for woman at the close of the
nineteenth century of this era.

Although married women of the State of New York have enjoyed certain
property rights since 1848, subsequent legislation in various ways
increasing that power, it was not until 1882, that the Court of
Appeals decided them to be the rightful owners of articles of personal
adornment and convenience coming from their husbands, possessing
power to bequeath them at death to their heirs. The same year the
Supreme Court of that state decided that a wife may sue her husband for
damages for assault and battery. The influence of these decisions in
recognizing woman’s rights of person, especially that of the Supreme
Court in deciding the right of the wife to punish the husband through
the courts for brutal treatment, can scarcely be overestimated. It
opened a new era for woman:

First: A recognition of the wife’s personality.

Second: Holding the husband responsible for his treatment of the wife.

Third: An acknowledgement of the wife’s right to protection as against
the husband. It destroyed, in this state the old _femme covert_
teaching of Christianity, and recognized a wife as possessing the
common rights of a human being.

The United States, making pretense of the greatest governmental freedom
in the world, and in reality according it to men of every color and
degree of intelligence or property, still denies such liberty to woman.
In many of the states, the old restrictions of modern common law still
prevail. There are states where the property of the wife upon marriage
falls into the control of the husband, to do with as he alone pleases,
the wife not retaining the right to its use or its management in any
way whatsoever. There are other states where the separate property of
the husband and the wife is made communal, but in those states the
control of this communal property is in the husband’s hands. In most
states the old restrictions still exist, and a woman cannot make a
will; cannot act as executrix or administratrix; can neither sue nor
be sued. In the largest proportion of the states in which the separate
property of the wife is recognized, the husband still has the advantage
in heirship. In less than one-fifth of the states has the wife the
same control over the children of the marriage as the husband. In the
remaining four-fifths and over, the father is assumed to be sole owner
of the children, who can be bound out, willed or given away without the
consent or even knowledge of the mother. Can barbarism go farther than

So that even in this year 1892, within eight years of the Twentieth
Christian century, we find the largest proportion of the United States
still giving to the husband custody of the wife’s person; the exclusive
control of the children of the marriage; of the wife’s personal and
real estate; the absolute right to her labor and all products of her
industry. In no state does the law recognize the legal existence
of the wife, unless she relinquishes her own name, upon marriage,
taking that of her husband, thus sinking her identity in his; the old
_femme covert_,—or covered woman,—idea of the law books under state
and church. That woman is an individual with the right to her own
separate existence, has not yet permeated the thought of church, state
or society. A letter to the American press from Rev. Robert Laird
Collyer, while re-visiting his native country a few years since, gives
the unbiased views of a native-born English clergyman, as to woman’s
position in that land of christian civilization, the husband being
represented as king of the household, the wife as his dutiful subject.
The letter was headed:


    The Man King of the House, the Woman His Dutiful Subject.

    The man is the king of the English household, and the wife is
    only the prime minister. There is no confusion or overlapping
    of authority. The will of the husband is law. He has not
    only the place of honor but of ease. The arrangements of the
    house, the company entertained, and the service employed,
    all have respect to his wishes and to his convenience. The
    wife conducts the affairs of state for the king. She has her
    household and, more than likely, her personal allowance, and
    she renders a strict account of stewardship either weekly or

    The wife’s personal expenditures are less, much less than
    the husband’s. In many instances he will spend more on his
    dress as a man than she does as a woman, for the rule is, the
    Englishman is the best-dressed man and the English woman is
    the worst dressed in the civilized world.

“The will of the husband is law,” the wife possessing no freedom,
but renders “a strict account of her stewardship, either weekly or
monthly.” Kicks, blows, wounds inflicted upon the wife under the
countenance of the civil law; the will of the husband as undisputed
law; her person, her property, her children under his sole control;
what is the condition of the wife in England today but one of degraded
slavery? That every woman does not endure all these wrongs is simply
because she has a lenient master. Like Adolph under St. Clair, in
_Uncle Tom’s Cabin_, she has freedom because a good master allows her
to take it; under a bad master she suffers as Adolph when falling into
the hands of Legree. Personal rights are the basis of all other rights;
personal slavery is the root of all other wrongs. Neither freedom of
the intellect or conscience can exist without freedom of person. Thus
civilization has not yet existed, that which has borne the name having
been but the thought of the few; the civilization of the present is
not enlightened, it belongs to the barbarous ages; authority and not
justice is the rule. To the present time the lenient sentence imposed
upon the English husband who beats his wife is such as to invite a
repetition of the offense; knocking a wife down, beating and bruising
her with a poker are rights secured to the husband under present
English law.

    A man named Hefferon, at Rotherham, finding his wife had gone
    to some place of which he disapproved, knocked her down and
    beat her violently with a poker. She bled from both ears, her
    throat was scratched, and she was badly bruised on her back
    and arms. Mr. Justice Day practically told the jury to acquit.
    He said the case ought not to have come before them, and he
    suggested that the prisoner had been merely exercising that
    control over his wife which was still sanctioned by the law of
    England.[43] The jury acquitted promptly, as directed.[44]

To such extent is this abuse of woman under law as to have called forth
a vigorous article in the _Westminister Review_,[45] under head of “The
Law in Relation to Woman.”

    There is another cruel injustice to woman, which is so
    notorious as to have become a mere truism. It is referred to
    almost daily, yet familiarity has bred such contempt, that it
    goes on unchecked and unabated. We refer to the monstrously
    lenient sentences passed upon husbands who assault and beat
    their wives. In one of our criminals courts recently, two
    men and a woman were sentenced to six years penal servitude
    for stealing a watch by force, while a man who assaulted and
    grievously wounded his wife and mother-in-law with a reaping
    hook, got eighteen months’ imprisonment. An instance occurred
    the other day in a small municipal court. A man pleaded guilty
    to assaulting and kicking his wife and another woman with
    effusion of blood and injury to their persons. He was fined a
    pound for each female. Shortly after two men were convicted
    of injuring public seats belonging to the municipality, by
    knocking them about, etc., they were fined two pounds each.
    Clearly, therefore, in the eyes of this magistrate a municipal
    seat is worth exactly twice the value of a woman. Parallel
    sentences to these may be seen almost daily in the newspapers
    in any part of the United Kingdom. In the police courts,
    wife-beaters often get off with a few days imprisonment,
    sometimes with an admonition. If it be argued that theft is
    such a common offense that it is necessary that it should be
    punished with greater severity than cruelty, we rejoice that
    the argument applies quite as forcibly to wife-beating, which,
    unfortunately is as common an offence as can be found among a
    certain class of society.[46]

The comparison here shown between the penalty of criminally assaulting
and wounding women, not alone the man’s wife but also her aged mother,
most forcibly shows the entire disregard of Christian England in the
last half of the nineteenth century, for the personal rights of all
women. No proof is needed other than such decisions; nor is the United
States far in advance. Within ten months from the formation of the
“Protective Agency for Women and Children,” organized in Chicago, April
1886, it had investigated nearly one hundred complaints. Although in a
majority of these cases the agency was successful in securing redress,
it yet found there was not legal remedy where the husband and father
failed to provide for his family; and that in cases of crimes against
women, its efforts were crippled by the disposition of police justices
to regard such crimes as venial offenses, either dismissing such cases
upon frivolous pretexts or imposing light sentences. Nothing could
more clearly demonstrate women’s degraded condition in the nineteenth
century of christian civilization, than the almost universal demand
for laws securing better protection to women and children. These two
classes, unrecognized by church or state, are still largely without
that pale of protection man has reared for himself. January 23, 1886,
the _Inter Ocean_, gave more than six columns to an account of the
dreadful crimes committed against women and children in Chicago alone,
within the short period of the preceding four months. It also showed
the ease with which criminals of that class escaped punishment, not
alone from laxity of protective legislation for their victims but still
more from the tendency of magistrates to ignore crimes perpetrated
by men against women; this condition being the natural result of the
teaching of the church in regard to woman. In the city of Boston, 1884,
the Chief of Police, testified that there were at least fifteen cases
of brutal wife-beating in that city every week, and this is but one
type of the injuries perpetrated upon women for which the teachings
of christianity are directly responsible. So common this crime and so
ineffective all efforts to stop it, that the State of Delaware has
re-established the long abolished whipping-post, for offenders of this
character, thus acknowledging christian civilization to be a failure,
and resorting to the retributive punishment common among barbarians.
But the remedy for crimes against women, and for the indifference of
magistrates, does not lie in the punishment of the offenders, but in
different sentiments in regard to woman in both church and state. Their
teachings are the real foundations of the evil. Within the past ten
years, the judge of an English Court decided that the flogging of a
wife in the presence of her son did not constitute cruelty, sustaining
his decision by reference to Blackstone and other learned christian
jurists. It was during that same year (1884) that the chief of the
Boston police testified to the many cases of brutal wife beating in
that “Athens of America,” every week. So common this form of assault
that a bill was introduced in the Massachusetts lower House for the
punishment of wife beaters, by a public whipping of not less than ten
or more than thirty lashes.[47] For those refractory wives of mediaeval
christian England, whom whippings failed to subdue, other punishments
were invented; such as the “Ducking Stool,” the “Scold’s Bridle,”
etc.[48] The Scold’s Bridle, also known as the Witches Bridle and the
Brank, was an extremely painful method of torture, although not as
absolutely dangerous to life as the Ducking Stool, yet fastened in the
mouth, its sharp edges pressing down upon the tongue, if the “Brawling
Woman” attempted to speak her tongue was cut and the torture great.[49]
An American clergyman describing in a public lecture an “ancient
machine” seen by him in christian England, “for curing a scolding
wife,” accompanied his description by the very clerical intimation
that it could now be made by an ordinary blacksmith. Two curved plates
of bronze conformed to the shape of the head, were delicately hinged
and provided with hooks to place in the corners of the mouth. When
adjusted, the machine was buckled back of the head.[50]

The Ducking Stool[51] consisted of a chair securely fastened upon a
long plank balanced upon upright standards, and so arranged that the
victim could be launched sixteen or eighteen feet into the pond or
stream, while the executioner of the sentence stood upon dry ground.
The back and arms of the chair were engraved with representations of
devils torturing scolds. The culprit securely fastened in this chair,
so confined as to be entirely helpless, was sometimes drowned; the
chair being plunged once, twice, or thrice in some muddy stream or
slimy pond. The suggestive and usual place of storing the Ducking
Stool, when not in use, was the church-yard. Almost every English town
of importance possessed one; their use was continued until the present
century. The Leominster Ducking Stool, still preserved, was used in
1809, by order of the magistrates, upon a woman named Jane Corran, who
received her punishment near Kenwater Bridge. As late as 1817 Sarah
Leeke was wheeled around town in this chair, although the lowness of
the stream prevented the ducking[52] she would otherwise have received.
Railing and scolding or “answering back,” were deemed crimes on the
part of the wife, who, “commanded to be under obedience,” was expected
silently to submit to oppression of every kind. That she did not—that
she dared revolt by words—that women in sufficient number to cause
the invention of such an instrument, were rebellious in midst of the
horrid oppression created by the church, speaks well for the womanly
nature and thrills the heart with admiration the same as when old
Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, refused to lay her head on the
block at the executioner’s mandate, declaring that as she was innocent,
she would not voluntarily place herself in position for death. While
England has the shame of originating the Ducking Stool, the “Pilgrim
Fathers,” fleeing from religious persecution, failed not to take
with them the implements of cruelty used in the domestic oppression
of woman. The Ducking Stool, and the “Stool of Penitence” figure in
the early annals of New England. Upon the latter, the Scarlet Letter
of shame affixed upon her breast, the unmarried mother was forcibly
seated beneath the pulpit, under public gaze, while her companion in
sin protected by church and state, perchance held his place among
the elders in the jury box, or upon the bench as the judge who had
condemned her. Old Colonial legislation makes us acquainted with the
various methods in use for punishing the free speech of women in this
country two hundred years since.

    “A Law to Punish Babbling Women” enacted by the General
    Assembly, of Virginia, 1662.

    Whereas, many babbling women slander and scandalize their
    neighbors, for which their poor husbands are often involved
    in chargable and vexatious suits and cost in great damages.
    Be it therefore enacted by the authority aforesaid, that in
    actions of slander caused by the wife, after judgment passed
    for damages, the wife shall be punished by ducking; and if
    the slander be so enormous as to be judged at greater damages
    than 500 lbs. of tobacco, then the wife to suffer ducking for
    each 500 pounds of tobacco adjudged against the husband, if he
    refuses to pay the tobacco.

As this was the state in which wives were bought in exchange for
tobacco, it is not surprising to find the penalty of her free speech
to be paid in tobacco, the wife to suffer ducking for each 500 pounds
penalty in excess of the first. Massachusetts was not long in following
the example of Virginia, and in 1672 ten years later, passed

    A Law for the Punishment of Scolds in Massachusetts.

    Whereas, there is no express punishment (by law hitherto
    established) affixed to the evil practice of sundry persons
    by exhorbitancy of tongue in reviling and scolding; it is
    therefore ordered that all such persons convicted before any
    court or magistrate that hath proper cognizance of the case,
    shall be gagged, set in a ducking stool and dipped over head
    and ears three times, in some convenient place of fresh or
    salt water, as the court or magistrate shall judge meet.[53]

Nor must we believe that the punishment of women for use of the
tongue, is of past ages. Even in the United States, women are to this
day sometimes arraigned for free speaking. Laws to punish “babbling
women” enacted in colonial days are still in force. It is but a few
years since a woman of St. Louis was arrested and brought before a
magistrate as a common scold.[54] In the State of New Jersey, 1884, a
woman was brought before the courts, convicted, on the old grounds of
being a “common scold” and fined $25, and costs. Death not infrequently
accompanied the use of the ducking stool, the poor gagged victim, her
hands securely fastened, being utterly unable to help herself. But
we do not learn that either the magistrate or the husband was held
responsible to the law for such death. The sufferers, like those under
the catholic inquisition of the fourteenth century, were deemed outside
of the pale of sympathy or human rights, and the devils depicted upon
the back of ducking stools as laying hold of their victims, were
conceded to have but taken their rightful prey.

Such has been part of Christian legislation for women in America, and
yet she is told to see how much Christianity has done for her. To such
extent has this church doctrine of man’s superiority to woman, and
the right of the husband to control of the wife proceeded, that many
husbands believe they possess the right to sell their wives. Since the
reformation her sale in the market-place as an animal, held by a halter
about her waist, has been recognized by English law even as late as the
present century. Although now forbidden, the practice of wife-sale is
still occasionally found both in England and in America. But when the
law takes cognizance of such a sale its penalty is visited upon the
innocent wife and not upon the guilty husband. The _English Women’s
Suffrage Journal_ of December 1st, 1883, reported such a case.

    November 13th, 1883, Betsy Wardle, was indicted for having
    on the 4th of September, 1882, married George Chusmall, her
    former husband being alive. The prisoner pleaded guilty, but
    said her former husband gave her no peace and sold her for a
    quart of beer. She imagined this was a legal transaction, and
    that she could marry again. The second husband was asked how
    he came to marry the prisoner. He answered “Well, I bout her.”
    The judge said, “You are not fool enough to suppose you can
    buy another man’s wife?” on which he replied, “I was.”

    Mr. Swift asked his lordship not to pass a severe sentence.
    The prisoner imagined that because she had been sold for
    sixpence there was nothing criminal in marrying again. His
    lordship said it was absolutely necessary to pass some
    punishment on _her_ to teach her that a _man_ had no more
    right to sell his own wife than his neighbor’s wife, or cow,
    or ox, or ass, or anything that was his.

The reason given by the judge for punishing the woman, is extremely
suggestive of woman’s condition under the law. The wife who had been
sold, the innocent victim of this masculine transaction, was sentenced
to a week’s imprisonment with hard labor, while the man who sold her
and the man who bought her escaped without punishment or censure. The
judge in quoting the tenth commandment, graded the wife with the ox and
the ass in the belongings of a man; the decision thus ranking her with
the cattle of the stable.[55] To add to the infamy of the trial, it was
the occasion of much unseemly jesting and laughter. It took place at
the Liverpool Assizes before Justice Denham. His judgement paralleled
the decision of the “Seney Trial” in Ohio, 1879. The selling a wife as
a cow[56] in the market place was by no means uncommon during the early
part of the century in England. Ashton[57] give numerous instances of
such sales.

The laws of England are those of Christianity based upon the
theological teaching of man’s superiority over woman; she is his
servant, subordinate to him in all things, a condition except where
removed by special statute, existing today.[58] Returned missionaries
who refer to the wife as waiting upon the husband at table in heathen
countries not eating until he is satisfied, as proof of the different
customs brought about by christianity, should inform themselves of the
condition of the christian wife for nearly a thousand years in what is
regarded as the foremost christian country in the world. He will then
have learned that circumstances quite contradictory to ecclesiasticism
finally permitted the English wife to assume a seat at the table with
her husband, a place she was not allowed to take for many hundred years
after the introduction of christianity into that island. In every
country where christianity exists, women now are, and during all the
years of its civil power have been, legislated for as slaves. They have
been imprisoned for crimes which if committed by a man were punished
by simply branding on the hand; they have been condemned to be buried
alive for other crimes which if committed by a man, were atoned for
by the payment of a fine. Having first robbed woman of her property
and denied her the control of her own earnings, the christian religion
allowed her to suffer the most agonizing form of death, a living
burial, for lack of that very money of which she had been civilly and
ecclesiastically robbed. The law so far controlled family life that
for many hundred years it bound to servile labor, all unmarried women
between the ages of eleven and forty. The father possessed absolute
control over the marital destiny of his daughter.

Instances of wife sale are not uncommon in the United States, and
although the price is usually higher than that given for English
wives, reaching from three hundred to four thousand dollars, still,
as low a sum as five cents has been recorded. A prosperous resident
of Black Hills, Dakota, is said to have begun his business start in
life through sale of his wife. If a wife is a husband’s property the
same as a cow, it is manifestly unjust that legal punishment of any
kind should fall upon her because of her master’s action. She is
irresponsible. The right of sale logically goes with the right of
beating, of taking the wife’s property and holding her earnings, of
owning her children and she should be exempt from punishment for her
own sale. In a much larger measure we find the same rule of punishing
wives for the crimes of husbands, enforced in the United States, in the
penalty of disfranchisement of the women of Utah for the polygamy of
the men of Utah. And this penalty was extended not alone to the wives
of polygamous husbands—themselves possessing but one husband—victims
alike of church and state, but the non-Mormon or “Gentile Women” of
that territory, were also disfranchised by the XLIX Congress of the
United States because of the polygamy of a portion of the Mormon men;
all women of that territory were deprived of their vested rights,
rights that had been in existence for seventeen years, because of the
crimes of men.[59] Against this injustice, the Woman Suffragists of the
country protested through means of a committee in a


    _To the President of the United States_:

    The National Woman Suffrage Association, through this
    committee, respectfully present to you a protest against
    that clause of the anti-polygamy measure passed by congress,
    which, whether in the Edmunds bill of the senate or the Tucker
    substitute of the house, disfranchises the non-polygamous
    women of Utah.

    The clause relating to the disfranchisement of women has no
    bearing on the general merits of the end sought to be attained
    by the measure, since Mormon men are the majority of the
    voters of the territory.

    The non-polygamous women of Utah have committed no crime.
    Disfranchisement is reserved by the United States government
    for arch traitors. Justice forbids that such a penalty should
    be inflicted on innocent women.

    Non-polygamous Mormon women and the Christian women of Utah
    being thus disfranchised—the former for their opinions and
    the latter for the opinions of the former—a precedent is
    established subversive of the fundamental principles of our
    government, and threatening the security of all citizens.

    If congress deems it necessary to disfranchise citizens
    because of injurious beliefs, discrimination between sexes is
    manifestly unjust.

    It has been held by the foremost statesmen of the nation that
    the right of suffrage once exercised, becomes a vested right
    which cannot be taken away. Gratz Brown once said, in the
    senate of the United States, that if the idea that suffrage
    could be taken away at pleasure once crystallized in the minds
    of the people, it would “ring the death knell of American
    liberty.” Mr. Vest, of Missouri, on the 25th day of this
    month, said, on the floor of the senate: “Suffrage once given
    can never be taken away. Legislatures and conventions may do
    everything else; they never can do that. When any particular
    class or fraction of the community is once invested with this
    privilege it is fixed, accomplished and eternal.”

    Thus every argument for justice, equal legislation and the
    safety of our republican form of government calls for the
    defeat of this clause.

    We, therefore, respectfully urge you, as guardian of the
    rights of all American citizens, to veto any measure coming
    before you which disfranchises the women of Utah.

    Lillie Devereux Blake,
    Matilda Joslyn Gage,
    Caroline Gilkey Rogers,
    Mary Seymour Howell,
    Clara B. Colby,
    Sarah Miller,
    Elizabeth Boynton Harbert,
    Harriette R. Shattuck,
    Louisa Southworth,


This memorial, supplemented by personal argument from the committee
demonstrating the political dangers connected with such a denial of
vested rights, together with the greater injustice of punishing women
for the crimes of men, was met by reply of the President that as great
changes were frequently made in bills before their final passage, he
had as yet not given the subject much thought; promising, however to
give it his fullest attention whenever brought before him. The method
taken by the president to avoid responsibility of decision, is notable
as he neither signed nor vetoed the bill, but allowed it to become law
through such non-action. Crimes of omission being parallel with those
of commission, the women of the United States can but hold Grover
Cleveland equally guilty with the XLIX Congress in punishing women for
the crimes of men.

The Code of England, from which that of the United States is largely
borrowed, was the outgrowth of Christianity, based upon a belief
in man’s superiority and woman’s subordination to him as entering
every relation of life. All legislation was class; the line was
sex. During the early and middle ages man exhibited an antagonism
towards woman,[60] which if not wholly created by religious belief
was strenuously fostered by the church. Man’s basest passion, love
of power, was appealed to and he was assured by what he had been
trained to regard as indisputable authority, that God had ordained
his rule over woman. A quick response met all such priestly teaching.
Christianity has ever been a religion of the emotions rather than of
the reason. The former was cultivated; the latter bitterly condemned.
The church has ever found its most powerful enemy in reason, hence the
exercise of reason has ever been a crime in her eyes.

During the Christian ages the different code of morals for man and
woman has created infinite wrong. Open and notorious vice among both
churchmen and laymen passed unreproved, but an heiress forfeited her
possessions by unchastity, and wily plans were laid to thus gain
possession of her property, the betrayer receiving payment from the
guardian, whose tool he was, for his perfidy.[61] To this moral code we
trace the present legal condition of girls, daughters having no status
in the courts in case of betrayal. The father alone, as master and
owner, can sue for loss of her services, while the injury to herself
is passed by, even upon so momentous a question as the paternity of a
child born out of wedlock.

Many of the most flagrant wrongs perpetrated against woman can be
traced to a denial of a right of ownership, beginning with the denial
of her right to herself. Even the Salic law which in France was used
to bar the succession of woman to the throne, was not specifically
or primarily in favor of males; it was a property law growing out
of the patriarchal idea of property in woman. Under Christian form
of marriage, woman was transferred to another family whose name she
took. She not only became the property of her husband but all real or
personal estate which she possessed, also became his. Thus her property
went to the enrichment of another family. Her home was no longer with
her own people, but where her husband chose to make it. Salic law
derived its name from Sala, a house. Salic land, said Montesquieu, was
the land belonging to the house.[62] At time of its adoption the line
of descent was male. Under it during the middle ages when a daughter
married, she received merely a chaplet of roses. Thenceforth, her
interests were elsewhere, and her children became part of another
family; she was entirely lost to the family of her birth. As she was
no longer a part of it she did not receive inheritance. “It was not a
subject of affection but gens.”

Guizot with a fine sense of irony, termed Salic law essentially a penal
code. Its application to woman was incontestibly penal. In France its
action has been most pronounced. Robertson speaks of the Salic law as
the most venerable monument of French jurisprudence, although the real
period of its birth has never yet been fully acknowledged. While during
the struggle of Phillippa de Valours, and Edward III for the crown of
France, this law was invoked to prevent the succession of Phillippa,
yet we know that in Gaul during the time of Caesar, mothers had sole
authority over their children, even boys remaining in entire charge
of the mother until old enough for instruction in arms. Wives also
possessed property rights, upon marriage the husband adding the same
amount of property he had received with his wife. This was kept as a
separate fund, the survivor taking the whole. Hallum designated the
contest between Phillippa and Edward as in every way remarkable, but
especially on account of its result in the exclusion of woman from the
succession,[63] then first suggested. It was the Latin races rather
than the Scandinavian or Teutonic that first essentially degraded
woman. The Riparian Franks, pre-eminent as lovers of liberty, were the
first who broke away from the rule of this law. Both the Scandinavians
and Teutons possessed prophetic women or priestesses to whom the
highest deference was shown. The Teutonic races were early noted for
the high respect in which they held women, a respect closely bordering
upon veneration. The greatest deference was shown to their opinions
even upon war, the chief business of men’s lives. Victoria received the
title of “Mother of Camps,” and was an especially venerated person.
Veleda by superior genius, directed the counsels of the nation and for
nine years prevented the progress of the imperial armies of Rome. The
most momentous questions of state and of religion were submitted to
woman’s divine judgment.

The relation between the wrongs of woman and her non-ownership of
property, and of herself, are very complicated. The custom of Marquette
originated from the theory of property in woman; the Suzerain or lord
possessing not only a certain property right in his male vassals, but
a double right to the woman who as a bride became the property of his
vassal. Thus Marquette was the outgrowth of the husband’s property
right in his wife, and a secondary result of man’s assumed right of
property in woman. In France, where the Salic law possessed greatest
strength we find the custom of marquette most prevalent. Next to
marquette, the law known as “Mund” or “Mundium” offered the greatest
indignity to woman, and in some respects may be called more vile. While
the baseness of marquette took its victims from a class beneath the
lord in social standing, Mundium entered the family, the father selling
his daughter to such wooer as he chose, or from whom he received the
greatest payment, entirely regardless of the wishes of the daughter
herself. The Salic law seemed to have been founded on the principle
of the Mund, as under it a sum was paid by the husband to the family
of the bride in consideration of the transference of the authority
they possessed over her, to the husband, and this payment was known
as “Mundium” and the bride as a “Mund” bought woman. In Denmark, to
which country the custom of mundium extended, her appellation was
“mundikeypt-krom,” signifying a mund bought woman. At that period
descent was reckoned from the father, to whom alone the children were
held to be related, and his relinquishment of authority by sale of his
daughter, transferred her relationship from her father to her husband,
and she thus became a component part of another family. She no longer
belonged to the family of her birth, but to that of her purchaser. The
Franks were the first to break Salic customs and to permit a father to
settle an estate upon his daughter and her children.[64] Under the law
of Gavelkind as it existed in Great Britain, daughters never inherited,
although the rights of even an illegitimate son was recognized as equal
to those of legitimate sons. By the laws of gavelkind, property could
not descend to women, but the County of Kent possessed more freedom
than in any other part of England. There was a custom of privilege
annexed to all lands of this kind in Kent, among them, that the wife
should be endowed with a moiety; gavelkind land was devisable by will.
Ordinarily in gavelkind, property was kept in male hands, descending
from father to son. The very name gavelkind is said to bear this
signification, the word _Kynd_ is dutch signifying a male child, thus
_gife eal cyn_, means give all to the son. Its modern signification is
the custom of partition of property among males alone, or the greatest
share to the oldest son.

Lord Coke looked upon the practice of gavelkind among the Irish as a
mark of their descent from the ancient Britons. At this period wives
were not entitled to dower, thus in respect to property, all women
of the family were equally disinherited. But it was the opinion of
Lord Holt that by the Common Law, both before and after the conquest,
all the children, both male and female inherited both the real and
the personal estate, and in like proportion. But in the reign of
Henry I daughters, in case there were sons, began to be excluded from
the real estate. These laws, so essentially Salic, it can readily
be seen, originated in the mundium. Passing as a mund woman, into
another family, the succession of property to her under this slave[65]
condition, was contrary to sound domestic policy. To bestow property
upon a daughter was to enrich another family at the expense of the one
from whom the slave-wife was purchased, and her disinheritance was but
a logical result of her legal condition. If we admit the premises we
must admit the wisdom of her exclusion from succession.

It is curious to note the difference in woman’s position which
possession of property has ever made. This difference especially
noticeable during Feudalism in case of an heiress with fiefs, is no
less so at the present day. It is a mark of an unripe civilization that
the rights of property have ever been regarded before those of person.
Walker[66] over sixty years since, recognized the power of property
in ameliorating woman’s condition, then declaring that the first step
toward an acknowledgment of her equality, must be a recognition of her
rights of property; his broad knowledge of ancient law having taught
him the close connection of property rights and personal rights. During
many ages battle was done for possessions and the protection of what
a man owned. Even the war of the American Revolution was begun for
property rights rather than for those of person. The Stamp Act and the
tax on tea roused the Colonies to resistance. A woman first spoke the
words “inherent rights,” and by the time nationality was proclaimed
the colonists had learned far enough to say that “governments derive
their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Consent is an
important consideration in all questions affecting humanity, and is
one in which woman is most deeply concerned. At close of the civil war
Frederick Douglass advised colored men to get property. He had not
failed to learn the connection between property and personal rights.
Since Mississippi, in 1839,[67] Pennsylvania and New York in 1848, and
Rhode Island about the same period, secured property rights to married
women, there has been a great and rapidly increasing change in woman’s
position, and as she constantly enters new industries, earning and
controlling money, we find her as constantly more free and respected.
When the English “Married Women’s Property Bill,” based upon that of
New York, became a law a few years since, the _London Times_, with the
perspicuity of our great thinker, Walker, said:

    It probably portends indirect social effects much greater
    than the disposition of property, and it may in the end
    pulverize some ideas which have been at the basis of English
    life. Measures which affect the family economy are apt to be
    “epoch making”; and probably when the most talked of bills of
    the session are clean forgotten this obscure measure may be
    bearing fruit.

The exception of married women in the demand for political rights by
the women of England, owes its origin to the old monkish theory that
marriage is debasement, and celibate life in either man or woman a much
higher condition. After the passage of the Emancipation Proclamation,
during the civil war, John Stuart Mill declared that married women were
the only class of slaves remaining on earth. As long as a condition
of religious or political subjection continues for her, a belief in
the sanctity of womanhood cannot exist and crimes against her will
be lightly punished. The most debased men of England and the United
States, if arrested for cruelty to wives, agree in the indignant
questioning protest: “Is she not my own that I should punish her as I

Such has been the power of the priesthood over the consciences and
lives of men, that we find whatever is bad in the laws either directly
or indirectly traceable to their influence.[68] Our Anglo Saxon
forefathers were early amenable to religious authority and for a period
of many hundred years clerical influence was exceedingly powerful
over them.[69] The church is responsible for the severity with which
the simplest infraction of law was visited upon the most humble and
helpless classes, and the greater penalty awarded to those least
capable of resistance. It was for the free man of low estate, for the
slave, and for woman that the greatest atrocities were reserved. If
a free woman stole she was to be thrown down a precipice or drowned,
which Pike regards as the origin of dragging witches through a pond.
If the thief was a slave and stole from any but her own master, she
was condemned to be burnt alive, and her fellow slaves were compelled
to assist at the incineration.[70] None dared to speak a good word for
women in opposition to church teachings. All her instincts were held
as evil. As the law and the father robbed the daughter, so the law and
the church alike robbed the family. By ancient English law, as before
noted, every person who made a will was bound to remember his lord with
the best thing he possessed, and afterwards the church with the next
best thing, but as the church gained power it took supreme place in
the testament.[71] The peasant was looked upon as but slightly above
the cattle he cared for. A certain degree of sameness in material and
intellectual conditions everywhere existed. The masses over christendom
were alike under bondage of the thought and modes of action; social
life showed no marked change for many hundred years. Freedom was an
unknown word, or if by chance spoken, found itself under the ban of
the church and the state. Justice was unthought of; the only question
being, “has the church ordered it?” A complete system of espionage
existed under both church and state. As late as the time of Alfred,
in England, every nine men were under charge of a tenth. No man could
work outside of his father’s employment to which he was bound; at
nine o’clock curfew bell, all fires and lights were extinguished. A
mechanic could not find work outside of his own village; monasteries
and castles contained all there was of power and comfort. As late
as the reformation we find the condition of English society lax and
immoral. Henry the VIII was a fair type of the nation; the court, the
camp, the church were all in line moulding the sentiment of community.
Although Henry had declared the church to be an entire and perfect body
within itself, possessing authority to regulate and decide all things
without dependence upon any foreign power—meaning the pope,—he did not
fail to generally define the supremacy of the church as united with and
dependent upon the temporal government of the realm; the king, instead
of the pope, becoming its spiritual head. Many new and restrictive
canons were promulgated. Under Henry the prohibitory laws regarding
nearness of relationship in marriage exceeded those of the Catholic
Church. It is but a few decades since these prohibitions commencing
with “a man shall not marry his grandmother;” “a woman shall not marry
her grandfather;” and extending down to remote cousinship,—were to be
found printed upon the fly leaves of every New Testament.[72]

For a long period after the reformation, English women were not
permitted to read the Bible, a statute of the Eighth Henry prohibiting
“women and others of low degree,” from its use.[73] Apparently for the
purpose of preventing conversation among women regarding the tyranny
under which they were kept, a law was passed forbidding the residence
of more than one woman in a cottage, and this after the Protestant
religion had been confirmed as that of the realm. As late as Elizabeth,
31-2, it was held a “heinous offence” for a cottager to give a home to
his own widowed mother or homeless sister. The especial criminality of
thus “harboring” one’s female relatives lay in the fact of their being
“masterless.” As late as the XVI century the law still entered houses,
and magistrates bound out to servile labor all women between eleven and
forty years of age.[74] The degradation of women under the reformation
was still more gross than under catholicism. The worship of the Virgin
Mary, and the canonization of many women as saints in the Romish
Calendar, threw a certain halo about womankind that is impossible to
discover in the Protestant Church, or since the reformation.

The church of whatever name taught woman’s innate depravity was so
great that forcible restraint alone prevented her from plunging into
vice. While Christian women outside the Levant were not confined in
a harem under watch and ward, yet various methods of restraint have
been used in christian lands within the past few centuries. Among the
most noted of these, the “Chastity Belt,” three are yet known to be in
existence. One is preserved in the museum at Cluny, France, another
is in keeping of the Castle of Rosenburg, Copenhagen; the third was
exhibited in the United States, 1884, by Dr. Heidmann’s traveling
museum. According to tradition the one persevered at Cluny was in use
during the XVI Century, in reign of Francis I, who ascended the throne
January 1, 1515; the remaining two in Denmark under Christian IV in the
seventeenth century. At this period Denmark was greatly agitated by a
religious war, which however, did not include woman’s freedom in its
demands. These belts are hideous proofs of the low estimate in which
woman’s moral character was held, and equally striking evidence of
man’s freedom and immorality.

The disrespect shown by the clergy towards marriage as compared with
the celibate condition, has influenced thought in many singular
directions. England’s married women under the combined influence of
church and state deprecate the claim of suffrage for themselves,
although asking it for single women and widows.[75]

The bill referred to in the Memorial, 49 Vic., extended Parliamentary
franchise to single women alone.

    Second Sec. For all purposes of and incidental to the voting
    for members to serve in Parliament, women shall have the same
    rights as men, and all enactments relating to, or concerned
    in such election shall be construed accordingly. Provided
    that nothing in this Act contained shall enable women under
    coverture to be registered or to vote at such elections.

The word “coverture” expresses a married woman’s subordinate condition,
both civilly and religiously.[76] It means, under the power of the
husband; controlled by the husband; possessing neither personal nor
individual rights; a being not allowed to use her own judgment unless
such judgment is ratified by the husband. Under coverture, the wife can
make no contract without the husband’s consent, the law holding her
incompetent. A woman under coverture is an irresponsible being except
in case of crime. When married women refuse to seek the same freedom
for themselves they ask for single women, they practically endorse
the judgment of church and state in favor of celibacy. When married
women thus ignore their equality with single women, they practically
condemn that relation, practically affirm the superior purity of
a celibate condition.[77] The low estimate of women in England as
late as the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries is shown in its
literature, especially that emanating from its great universities. The
betrayal of women formed the basis of story and song; not content with
portraying their own vices, these men did not hesitate to put a plea
against chastity in the mouths of mere children. Of such character is
“A Ballad” emanating from this source, but professing to have been
“composed by Miss Nelly Pentwenzle, a young lady of 15,” to be sung to
the tune of “Scraps of Pudding.”

A periodical entitled _The Old Woman’s Magazine_ printed in London,
without date, but from internal evidence shown to belong to the
latter part of the eighteenth century, forcibly protests against the
destruction of innocence, which was the chief amusement of the men of
this period. It asks:

    Why should it be less a crime to deceive an inexperienced girl
    whose youth renders it impossible that she should know the
    world, than it would be to lead a blind man to the brink of a

Thus the laws and customs of family and social life, the literature
of different periods, the habits of thought, the entire civilization
of christian centuries, has tended to the debasement of woman and the
consequent destruction of moral life. The world stands where it does
today upon all these great questions, biased by a non-recognition
through the ages of the sanctity of womanhood, and a disbelief in her
rights of person within the marriage relation, or without; taught, as
this lesson has been, by the church, and emphasized by the laws of the

There have ever been many severities connected with dower in
England. By old law if a widow married within a year from the death
of her husband she forfeited her dower.[78] This law accounts for
the superstitious sentiment as to ill-luck following the woman who
re-marries within a year and a day. Like the freedom of the Roman
“Usus” kept up by a three days’ absence in each year, this extra day
of the widow’s mourning seems to have been added as security for the
dower; while under the most ancient law of christian Europe, the widow
lost her dower if she married again, the Turks recognizing the greater
freedom of a widow, pay her who re-marries, a sum for parting with her

The general rule of dower[79] held that when arranged at time of
marriage, although the husband then possessed but a small portion of
freehold and afterwards made great acquisitions, if no mention of new
purchases was made at time of such arrangement, the widow could not
claim more than the third part of the land possessed by the husband at
time of marriage. In like manner if a husband had no land and endowed
his wife with chattels, money, or other things, afterwards making great
acquisitions in land, she could not claim dower in such acquisition.
Neither could a woman dispose of her dower during her husband’s life.
This was quite unlike the freedom enjoyed by a wife in ancient Wales
where the dower became absolutely her own, to dispose of as she
pleased. Under English law the husband during the lifetime of his
wife could give or sell or alien her dower in any way that it pleased
him to do, and the wife in this, as in all other things, was obliged
to conform to the husband’s will. The wife’s dower right in personal
property can be aliened by the husband in the United States. During
the wife’s lifetime he may give, sell, or in any way dispose of the
whole of his personal property absolutely, and the wife has no redress;
she is not held as having any right, title or interest in it as long
as her husband lives.[80] The husband can also alien his real estate,
subject only to his wife’s dower right in case she survive him; should
she decease before him she has no power over it. The law in England as
laid down by Glanville was that in case the wife withheld her consent
to the sale of property she might claim her dower after her husband’s
death, but this could only have had reference to real property, and is
the same in the United States. If the wife withholds her consent to
the sale of real estate, it still can be sold away from her and she
thus be deprived of a home. It is merely subject to her dower right in
the value of the property at time of sale, and in case she survives
her husband; should she die first, she has no redress. Sales of this
character are constantly made, at a small discount, upon chance of the
wife’s nonsurvival. As dower right in real estate does not invest the
wife with its ownership in fee, but merely the use of one-third during
her natural life, it will readily be seen how very small is the wife’s
protection in dower-right even in this last half of the nineteenth
century. Bracton gives two reasons why the English husband could sell
the dower assigned to the wife without her consent:

    First, because a wife has no freehold in a dower previous to
    its being assigned to her. Second, because she cannot gainsay
    her husband.

As late as the last quarter of the present century, the learned
Professor of Jurisprudence of Cambridge University, attempted to
prove that it was no reproach against woman’s intellect that she was
prohibited from making a contract during marriage; although failing
in this attempt, he clearly succeeded in proving woman’s condition of
pecuniary and personal slavery in the marriage relation. He said:

    It is not an imputation on the wife’s experience or strength
    of mind, but is solely grounded on her not being assumed by
    common law to have sufficient command of her purse or of her
    future actions wherewith to procure materials for making a
    contract. The legal presumption then is, that she did not
    intend to make one, and therefore the allegation that she did
    make a contract would imply on the face of it a fraud.[81]

The legal presumption that the wife has neither sufficient command of
her purse or of her future actions to guarantee an intent of making
a contract, needs no further assertion to prove her enslavement. The
person neither possessing control of property or of their own actions
is a slave, regardless of or under what verbiage of law or custom
that condition is represented. Attempts are constantly made both in
the United States and England to take from woman the dower right now
accruing to them. During 1883, an Act was passed taking from English
wives all dower right, giving the husband power to bar the wife in
all cases; and scarcely a legislature convenes in the United States
that has not a similar bill introduced before it. As dower rights
increase the complication of land transfer, just as soon as the law
which gave the husband the power to bar this right became operative in
England, conveyancers began to insert a debaring clause in every deed
of conveyance, thus systematically despoiling the wife even when the
husband might not otherwise have been so disposed.

As “masterless women,” widows in England have received similar
contemptuous treatment as accorded single women, to whom that country
long showed such barbarity. It is curiously noted by Alexander[82]
that Moses placed widows in the same rank as harlots and profane
women.[83] The law of tenancy by courtesy, which gives a husband rights
in the separate property of a wife, is very unjust when compared with
the dower rights of a wife. In such case, provided she has borne a
living child, even should such child breathe but once, the husband in
case of the death of his wife, holds the entire real estate during
his life, as “tenant by courtesy.” He also takes the whole of her
personal property absolutely, to dispose of as he chooses. In a few
of the United States, the wife can defeat this by will, but in the
large majority of christian lands, the full rights “of tenancy by the
courtesy,” still prevail. Where right of dower still prevails, the wife
if there are children, takes but one-third of the personal property
absolutely, one-half if there are no children, the rest passing to
collateral heirs, who may be the husband’s most distant relatives. In
case no such relative can be found, the balance escheats to the state,
although in the State of New York the widow, under such circumstances,
receives $2,000 over one half. Of the real property she has the use
of but one-third, in contradistinction to the use of the whole of her
real property, which goes to the husband by “tenancy of courtesy.” In
tenancy by courtesy the children are robbed of the mother’s real estate
during the life of the father, and of her personal property, forever.
In enacting property laws, man, under tenancy by courtesy robs his own
children. The law of inheritance in Spain, that country distinguished
among European nations as “Most Christian land,” compels a man to
leave four-fifths of his property to his children, but does not make
it obligatory upon him to endow his wife with the remaining fifth.
Neither has the wife a dower right in property owned by her husband at
time of the marriage. The suite of a Spanish widow for dower right, in
an estate of several millions left by her deceased husband, was fully
reported by the New York daily papers within the past five years.
Suddenly reduced from affluence as the wife of this man, to the most
abject poverty as his widow, this wife and mother brought suit against
the estate and her children, who receiving all the property by the
husband’s will, left her absolutely beggared.

In ancient Ireland, the condition of woman was far superior to that
of the christian women of England or Scotland. Two forms of marriage
existed. Under that of “Equal Dignity,” the rights of the contracting
parties were the same, and took place when the man and woman possessed
the same amount of land, cattle, or household goods. No force or
sale accompanied it, the woman giving free consent equally with the
man. This marriage was looked upon as a contract between equals. The
property of the wife did not revert to the husband. She retained its
control, loaning it and receiving interest entirely free from the
interference of her husband.[84] Ancient Irish law, also secured to
the mother equal authority with the father over the children of the
marriage. There is no trace of that arbitrary control over both wife
and children with which Christianity endowed the father.[85] The
daughter was held to be more closely related to the father; a son to
the mother, this belief contributing an equality of right between the
sexes. These laws were authoritative over the whole of Ireland until
the invasion of the Danes, in the eight century (A.D. 792).

It is remarkable what effect the ownership of property by woman has
ever had in ameliorating her legal condition. Even in ancient Ireland
the wife without possessions became the slave of her husband. Although
the son was held as more nearly related to his mother, this ancient
code provided that in case his parents were poor and he had not wealth
enough to support both father and mother, he was to leave the latter to
die in the ditch, but was to carry his father back to his own home.[86]
Tradition ascribes this code to St. Patrick in the fifth century. Under
modern christian law, the legal obligation of a son to support his
father is greater than it is to support his mother, quite in opposition
to the old Scandinavian (pagan) law, which provided for the support of
the mother if but one parent could be cared for. Not the least among
the wrongs inflicted upon Ireland by English usurpation, has been the
destruction of the wife’s rights of property. The right of the Irish
wife to deal with her own property as she chose, irrespective of her
husband’s consent, was expressly declared illegal by English judges at
the beginning of the seventeenth century.

There are traces of separate property rights for woman, early among
Aryan peoples. By the old laws of Wales, a wife became legal owner of
part of her husband’s effects immediately upon marrying him, and had
the sole disposal of this portion even during her husband’s life. Debt
owed by a husband to a wife was as binding on him and his heirs and
executors as a debt to any other person. After the English laws were
introduced into Wales, innumerable disputes arose upon this ground. The
Welsh woman being persistent in her determination to cling to her old
rights, and for nearly two hundred years her will upon this subject
was stronger than the will of English legislators, as proven by legal
records.[87] In other respects the ancient law of Wales favored woman.
A husband’s fetid breath was held as good cause for divorce on part of
the wife, who in such case took with her the whole of her property.
While still living with her husband, the Welsh wife possessed the right
to three kinds of property, cowyll, gowyn, and sarand, known as her
three peculiars.[88] Old Welsh law was unique in that it forbade both
satisfaction and vengeance for the same wrong. Even if detecting his
wife in adultery, for which he should chastise her, the husband was
forbidden any satisfaction besides that. In case of an illegitimate
birth the law provided that the man should wholly maintain the
child,[89] a species of justice not found under Christianity. The laws
of “Howell the Good,” enacted at a later date under the supervision
of the church[90] favored the man at the woman’s expense. Under these
laws if a husband and wife separated, the father took two-thirds of
the children, the oldest and the youngest falling to his share, while
the middle one fell to the mother. A woman was not admitted as surety,
or as a witness in matters concerning a man.[91] In the division of
property the daughters received only one half the amount given to the

Under the christian laws of England, by which the property of a married
woman passed entirely into the control of her husband, the abduction
of heiresses in that country was very common for many hundred years,
no punishment following such a theft, although the most compulsory
measures were used, even to forcibly bending the bride’s head in
affirmative response during the marriage ceremony. She was a woman;
the law furnished her no redress. It regarded her as the legal wife of
her abductor, to whom she thereafter under this christian law, owed
service and obedience. The sole right to her person, her property, her
children then becoming legally invested in the robber husband. As noted
in the opening chapter, the abduction of a woman, or even an immodest
proposal to her, was punished in older un-christianized Scandinavia,
by greater or lesser outlawry; rape being a capital crime, placing the
culprit’s life in the hands of any man. He was outside the pale of law.

France under frequent changing names and forms of government, and with
a broader general recognition each year of human rights, is yet very
closely allied to the barbarism of the middle ages in its treatment of
woman, and its conception of her natural rights. This was shown even
during the revolution of 1787, of which Madame Roland and Charlotte
Corday were such central heroic figures. Although this revolution
established an equal succession between sons and daughters, yet it did
not tolerate the proposition of Sieyes and Condorcet that woman should
be endowed with the suffrage. One hundred years later, in 1887, a bill
was introduced during the legislative session, to secure to woman the
same political rights accorded man. This bill was lost; “Le Gaulois,”
commenting upon it, declared that in whatever manner the question was
discussed, it appeared grotesque and ridiculous. In the Legislative
Assembly of 1851, M. Chapot, proposed the prohibition of the right
of petition to women upon all subjects of a political nature. During
the same session, Athenase Coquerel, the most distinguished member of
a Protestant family of clergymen, presented a bill to the Chambers
excluding women from political clubs. Woman’s testimony is not accepted
in regard to civil acts. They cannot attest to a birth or a death, nor
is their testimony admitted in the identification of persons. Neither
can they become members of the family council, nor are they accepted
as guardians of their own children. It is only since 1886 that their
condition has been in any way ameliorated. The re-marriage of widows is
forbidden under ten months after the husband’s death, and until within
the last decade, divorces were of great rarity. The oppressed condition
of woman in the marriage relation, was notably shown by the vast number
of applications for release from the hated bond upon the passage of the
new law; a number so great,—eleven thousand,—that two years scarcely
sufficed to reach them all. No stronger argument against the evils of
an indissoluble marriage is required, and as the greater number of
applicants were women, it is farther evidence of woman’s degradation
under christian marriage laws.

According to the famous Code Napoleon, accepted by France as her modern
system of jurisprudence and declared (by man) to be nearly perfect
in its provisions, every child born outside of wedlock is deemed
to be fatherless unless such father of his own free will formally
acknowledges his offspring. While fifty per cent of all children born
in Paris are illegitimate, statistics prove that such acknowledgement
takes place but once in fifty births. Thus forty-nine per cent of
Parisian children under the Code Napoleon, theoretically come into the
world without fathers—they are born fatherless. A still more heinous
provision of this Code, forbids all research into paternity.[92]
The father of an illegitimate child—rendered illegitimate by church
canons—is held as both morally and legally irresponsible for his
fatherhood. Under this Code, upon the mother falls all the contumely
associated with such birth, together with the care and expense of
rearing the child. We cannot be surprised at the prevalence of
infanticide, a crime resulting from such unjust legislation, and
for which the church is directly responsible. In the whole history
of French jurisprudence, not a single case can be found where the
father of an illegitimate child has been compelled to acknowledge his
offspring.[93] Under French law, woman is a perpetual minor under the
guardianship of her own, or that of her husband’s family. Only in case
of the birth of an illegitimate child is she treated as a responsible
being, and then only that discomfort and punishment may fall upon her.
The same legal degradation of the unmarried mother, the same protection
accorded the unmarried father, the same enticement of the law for man
to assume a fatherhood freeing him from accountability, the same covert
contempt of womanhood and of motherhood, also exists in Italy, its
penal code forbidding all research into paternity. And this is not the
legislation of the middle ages but of the nineteenth century.

But French disregard for the rights of woman, as already shown, far
preceded the Code Napoleon; that system but legally emphasized the low
estimate of the feminine we have traced through the Salic, Feudal,
and Witchcraft periods. Louis VII referring to the number of girls
born in his dominions, requested his subjects to pray unto God that
he should accord them children of the better sex. Upon the birth of
his first child, Margaret, who afterwards married Henry Courtmantel of
England, his anger was so great that he would not look at her; he even
refused to see his wife. He afterwards accorded an annual pension of
three livres to the woman who first announced to him the birth of
a son. Although five hundred years have passed since the graphic
portrayal of woman’s condition, in the ballad of the Baron of Jauioz,
we find the Breton farmer whose wife has given birth to a daughter,
still saying, “my wife has had a miscarriage.” Question an ordinary
French peasant in regard to his family and the father of girls alone,
he will reply, “I have no children, sir, I have only daughters.”[94]

During the feudal period parents gave themselves up to merry-making
and rejoicing upon the marriage of the last of their daughters.[95]
Even yet, in some countries, the birth of a boy is announced by a
servant wearing a white apron and carrying two bouquets in her hand;
if a girl she carries but one; in some countries the father of a boy
annually received the gift of two loads of wood from the state; but
a single one if the child was a girl. Even in the United States we
yet see this contempt of the feminine variously manifested, although
the kindness and affection of girls to their parents, is usually more
notable, than that of boys.[96] Family regard is usually manifested in
the descending, rather than the ascending line, yet Herbert Spencer
declares that full civilization is dependent upon the respect and
affection shown to parents. France is not the only christian land that
invalidates a woman’s testimony, receiving the assertion of the woman
with less authority than the denial of the man. In Scotland in case
of an illegitimate birth, the accused man is allowed to clear himself
upon oath, in opposition to that of the woman. Under Scottish law the
child born outside of marriage was formerly compelled to do penance
in church for the sins of his parents. Such has been the justice of
christianity to women and children during the ages. These methods of
christianity were in great contrast to those of heathendom. The early
Anglo-Saxon (pagan) laws contained provisions for the punishment of
assaults upon women. Crimes against her were punished by greater or
less outlawry according to the attendant circumstances. Old Scandinavia
possessed many laws for the protection of woman. It has sometimes been
asserted that these laws were a dead letter, so many instances of
loose connections are recorded in the Iceland Sagas. It is, however,
a question of fact that these illegal relations, according to the same
Sagas were much more frequent after the introduction of christianity
than before.[97] Roman law presumed that no woman went astray without
the seduction and arts of the other sex, upon whom alone the punishment
fell. Under old Saxon, Gothic and Scandinavian law, rape was punished
by death. Under the Conqueror, its punishment was castration and loss
of the eyes, which continued English law until after Bracton wrote in
time of Henry III. A lighter punishment then superseded it, but the
effects of this leniency was so evil the old penalty was restored.
While forbidding woman control of her own property, common law, under
one of those anomalous renderings which mark the constant injustice
of Church and State towards woman, held twelve years as the age of
female discretion or consent, rape after that age not being regarded as

Germany with sudden strides has coalesced from a number of independent
principalities through the management of him of the iron hand, into
a magnificent empire, based upon the destruction of human life. In
this empire, where war underlies all, we find woman much more deeply
degraded than during the old pagan days, when as chieftain and
prophetess her voice was heeded even upon the battlefield. Now, while
men are preparing to kill other men, the agriculture of the country and
the lowest forms of mechanical labor fall into her hands. But it is not
as responsible owner we thus find her; she cultivates the fields as a
drudge, upon whom falls all the most severe portion of work. Equally
in Germany as in other christian lands, is the wife looked upon as the
servant of the husband, to whom she bears children that are his alone,
and to whom greater deference is paid by the mother when a large number
of little ones call him father.[98] It has been the custom to reward a
husband in proportion to the number of children borne him by his wife,
and it is but a year since a Parisian journalist suggested that for
each additional child borne by his wife, the husband should be allowed
half a vote. In Germany as under the common law of England, the wife
is subject to chastisement by her husband, its severity being left to
his discretion. But the height of barbaric absurdity and wickedness is
found in that provision of the Prussian common law which decrees that a
husband can determine the length of time his wife must nurse her child.
As might be expected, at his death the wife is not regarded capable
of caring for the children, and must accept a guardian for them; the
law going so far as to declare her under age similarly to that French
law which makes woman a perpetual minor. It matters not if the family
property all came through the wife, or was accumulated by her labor,
she is still held as not of sufficient judgment for its control. In
Prussia, woman is still forbidden to take part in political or other
public meetings.[99]

Morganatic or left-hand marriage still continues the custom in Germany.
Under its provisions the wife does not take the husband’s rank, nor do
the children inherit the father’s property, as they are not regarded as
of full legitimacy. This form of marriage is recognized by the civil
law of Germany, and is sustained by the church. The custom, at first
confined to princes, gradually extended to the higher aristocracy,
and as the moral perceptions of a nation bends itself to unison with
civil law, the inferior gentry began to contract marriages of this
kind. Under a morganatic union woman is still more debased than in
the ordinary marriage relation. Aside from the ceremony, the wife
is scarcely other than a concubine. The children of the morganatic
marriage do not bear the father’s name, nor inherit from him, under
the law of the state. Neither they nor the wife have more lasting
claim upon him in these respects than had the concubines known as
“the Honored Ones” upon the priestly destroyers of the thirteenth,
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.

Several notable instances of morganatic marriages have occurred within
the present century. It is but a few years since the Grand Duke, Louis
IV of Hesse-Darmstadt, son-in-law of Queen Victoria, made a morganatic
marriage with Madame de Kalamine, whose lover he was long known to have
been, and with whom he had previously lived outside of this relation,
she having borne him several children. From the high position of the
morganatic husband, and because of the previous relationship of the
parties, this marriage became the talk of all Europe, and to some
extent of the United States. Queen Victoria herself did not escape
criticism, notwithstanding the prudery for which she is famed, because
of her entertaining the Grand Duke at Windsor soon after this marriage
unaccompanied by his wife,[100] for the purpose, it was intimated, of
placing him under the influence of Princess Beatrice. The very fact of
such suggestion, whether true or not, as well as the fact that Queen
Victoria, universally conceded a prude in reference to infractions of
the moral law by those of her own sex, received the Grand Duke at her
especial home of Windsor soon after his morganatic marriage, is a vivid
commentary upon the two codes of morals extant in christendom and their
influence even upon woman herself. Morganatic marriage degrades the
wife of the right hand ceremony equally with her of the left hand, as
it is a recognition by the law of a christian country today of man’s
right to become a bigamist, provided he but gives his left hand instead
of his right, to the bride during the marriage ceremony. It is a system
of legalized concubinage under protestantism, which throws the shield
of protection around man in illicit relations, and like all other forms
of woman’s degradation, it reaches back for authority to that religious
teaching which proclaims woman to have been created inferior and
subordinate to man. Because of woman’s former superior position there,
no country but Germany can as fully show the degradation of woman
under Christianity. Not from pagan Greece can more vivid illustration
of her moral degradation be shown, while pagan Rome shines clear and
bright beside the Germanic races of today. While even left-handed
marriages among the higher classes are encouraged and protected, yet
among the lower orders in Germany the ordinary marriage is cumbered
with so many restrictions, as to have become almost an impossibility,
and no disgrace or loss of character falls upon the girl of this class
who becomes a mother outside of legal prevision, but such motherhood
upon the contrary is looked upon as the means of a higher position and
greater wages as nurse. As _amme_ in a rich or noble family she becomes
a person of arrogance, part of the pomp and show of the house.[101]

Despite these wrongs of the ages towards woman, of late so vividly
presented, we still find both Church and State opposing a free
discussion of the question. Within the last decade two northern
European countries have strangely exhibited such hostility, the
opposition coming upon ground of woman’s surpassing sinfulness.[102]

But the most notable opposition has been against the works of two
eminent literary men. “The Doll’s House”[103] by Ibsen, the dramatic
poet of Norway, attacking the irresponsible position of the wife
under present marriage law, brought about the social ostracism of
its author.[104] Sweden’s supremely great thinker of the present
century, August Strindberg, recently published a work entitled “Giftas”
(to marry), which incidentally treated of the influence of religion
upon this relation.[105] The State authorities at once ordered its
confiscation.[106] Instead of a Papal _Librorum Prohibitorum_, it fell
under the censure and prohibition of a Protestant State. But no more
ready method for increasing its circulation could have been devised;
so rapidly was the first edition of four thousand sold that only four
hundred fell into the grasp of the censorious government. In order to
escape the farther penalty of imprisonment that had been pronounced
against him, the author was compelled to temporarily leave the country.
But his work was not without effect upon the minds of his countrymen,
and upon his return a few months later, a great demonstration in his
honor took place. Strindberg defined the rights of woman as those which
came to her by nature but of which, through a perverted social order
she had been deprived. He declared that woman’s desire for deliverance
was the same as man’s restless desire for deliverance. Let us, said
he, therefore emancipate man from his prejudice and then woman will
certainly be freed. To that end it is necessary to work together as
friends not as enemies.

That a work of this moderate character, should fall under the ban of
a protestant government, in the last half of the nineteenth century,
should be confiscated and its author banished, is a striking proof of
the degraded condition of woman in the marriage relation, and of the
power still exerted for the continuance of this subjection. Opposition
to discussion of this question in Sweden, is more strange in view of
the excess of women in the population, as they outnumber the men some
40,000; while of single women over fifteen, there are 259,000. Despite
the fact of this excess, impossible to provide for by marriage even
were that condition one of equity and equality, all effort towards
opening occupations to them, or the avenues of education, still meets
with resistance from the church. The only opponent of Mr. Berner’s
Bill, 1882, for permitting women to take the first two degrees in the
University, those of Arts and Philosophy, was from a clergyman. The
bill passed the Odelstling, one of the two Chambers of the Storthing,
with only his dissentient voice.[107] It received the unanimous vote of
the other house, the Sagthing, April 21, becoming a law June 15 of that

Russia, which we are accustomed to regard as less than a half civilized
country, gives evidence of an early civilization which in the field
of morals reached a high place. Samokversof, a Russian author, has
made a rich collection relating to pre-historic times, proving that
as early as the first centuries of this era, the Slavonians lived
in large societies, possessed fortified towns with treasurers of
gold and silver, silk, embroidered tissues, iron weapons, ornaments
of gold, silver, bronze and bone; while sickles, and the grasses of
wheat, oats, and barley found in the graves of South Russia, show this
people even to have been devoted to agriculture. The early history
of Russia proves that women then held influential positions in the
family, in the church, in the state; as was the case under the ancient
common law of England, so woman among the ancient Slavs possessed
the right of inheritance and the power of dividing such inheritance
with her brothers. In the State we find woman’s wisdom at early date
still continuing to shape the policy of the Russian empire; to the
wise statesmanship of the Czarina Olga is the unchanging plan of that
country for the ultimate possession of Constantinople due. Visiting
the Patriarch of the East, during the tenth century, she at once
perceived the vast importance of Constantinople to the power desiring
universal domination; the possession of that city giving control of the
Dardanelles, of Asia Minor, and Europe itself. Thenceforth she sought
its annexation or seizure and her policy became that of the Russian
nation, which for more than eight hundred years has made the ultimate
possession of Constantinople the great object of its ambition. Nor has
Olga’s statesmanship less influenced the entire European continent, the
allied powers constantly struggling to defeat Russia’s aggressive plan,
through maintenance of the “sick man” upon his throne.

From the advent of christianity, forced upon the Slav peoples a
thousand years since by Vladimir, their baptism taking place by tens
of thousands as driven into the rivers and streams mid-deep, priests
upon the banks recited the baptism formula, a change was noticeable. As
soon as the thorough establishment of the Byzantine church in Russia,
which took no inconsiderable period, it being brought about by force
rather than free will, its priests, like those of the Western Church,
directed their principal efforts towards control of the marriage
relation, and, through that, of the family. Nor are we to regard this
as strange inasmuch as every form of christianity regards woman as an
inferior being, the creator of original sin, rendering the sacrifice
of a God necessary in order to re-establish the equilibrium overthrown
by her.[108] Edmond Noble, in tracing the cause of the present social
upheaval in that empire, says:[109]

    Scarcely had the priests of the Greek Church begun their
    teaching of the new faith when change began to unsettle the
    position of woman and burden her relationship to the family
    with a sense of inferiority ... her status falling with the
    natural extension of the ecclesiastical policy. The Russian
    woman at last became the slave of her Christian husband; as
    much his chattel as if she had been purchased at market or
    captured in war.

An examination of history proves that in Christian Russia as in
Christian England the husband could release himself from the marriage
bond by killing his wife, over whom under christian law he had power
of life and death. Her children, as today in Christian England and
America, are not under her control; she is to bear children but not
to educate them, for, as under Catholic and Protestant Christianity,
women are looked upon as a lower order of beings, of an unclean nature.
The assertion of Agathes the Sophist that he detected the smell of
her whose hands had milked the cow, is more than paralleled under
Greek Christianity, woman not even being allowed to kill a fowl under
assertion that should she so do the meat would become poisonous. Wife
beating enjoined as a religious duty became so common, says Noble,
that love was measured by it, “The more whippings the more love.”
“The Domstroii,” a household guide, compiled by a dignitary of the
Greek Church in time of Ivan the Terrible, counseled use of the rod
to keep wives, children, and servants in subjection. By it husbands
were given almost unlimited power over wives, who were not even
permitted to attend church without the husband’s consent. The prominent
ideas regarding woman under Byzantine Christianity have been her
uncleanliness, her sinfulness and the small value of her life.[110] She
is regarded as a being of lower order than man, and as looked upon in a
different light by God.

Where marriage is wholly or partly under church control, its very form
degrades woman, her promise of obedience not yet having passed away.
In the old Covenanter period of Scotland the records give a still
more debased form, in which the man as head was declared united to an
ignoble part, represented by the woman. But in modern times, both in
Catholic and Protestant countries a more decent veil is thrown over
this sacrifice of woman than in the Greek Church, where the wife is
sometimes delivered to the husband under this formula, “Here wolf, take
thy lamb!” and the bridegroom is presented with a whip by his bride
giving her a few blows as part of the ceremony, and bidding her draw
off his boots as a sign of her subjection to him. With such an entrance
ceremony it may well be surmised that the marriage relation permits the
most revolting tyranny. And this condition can be directly traced to
the period since Christianity was adopted under Vladimir, a thousand
years since, as the religion of that nation. The old Slavs recognized
the equality of woman in household, political, and religious matters,
and not until Byzantine Christianity became incorporated with, and a
part of, the civil polity of its rulers, did Russia present such a
picture of domestic degradation as it shows today. The chastisement of
wives is directly taught as part of the husband’s domestic duty. Until
recently, the wife who killed her husband while he was thus punishing
her, was buried alive, her head only being left above ground. Many
lingered for days before death reached them.

Ivan Panim, a Russian exile, while a student at Harvard College, 1881,
made the following statement at a Convention of the Massachusetts Woman
Suffrage Society:

    A short time ago the wife of a well-to-do peasant came to the
    justice of one of the district courts in Russia and demanded
    protection from the cruelty of her husband. She proved
    conclusively by the aid of competent witnesses that he had
    bound her naked to a stake during the cold weather on the
    street, and asked the passers-by to strike her; and whenever
    they refused he struck her himself. He fastened her moreover
    to the ground, put many stones and weights on her and broke
    one of her arms. The court declared the husband “not guilty.”
    “It cannot afford,” it said, “to teach woman to disobey the
    commands of her husband.”

Mr. Panim declared this to be by no means an extreme or isolated case,
and that few became known to the public through the courts or the
press. While the above incident illustrates the cruelty of the state
towards woman under the Greek form of christianity, others with equal
pertinence proved the cruelty of the church.

    A peasant in the village of Zelovia Baltic, having reason to
    doubt the fidelity of his spouse, deliberately harnessed her
    to a cart in company with a mare—a species of double harness
    for which the lady was doubtless unprepared when she took
    the nuptial vow—He then got into the cart in company with a
    friend, and drove the ill-assorted team some sixteen versts
    (nearly eleven English miles,) without sparing the whip-cord.
    When he returned from his excursion he sheared the unlucky
    woman’s head, tarred and feathered her and turned her out of
    doors. She naturally sought refuge and consolation from her
    parish priest; but he sent her back to her lord and master,
    prescribing further flaggellations. An appeal to justice by
    the poor woman and her relatives, resulted in a non-suit, and
    recourse to a higher court will probably terminate in the same

Popular Russian songs allude to woman’s wrongs in the marriage
relation. The wife of a son living with his father, is looked upon as
an additional animal to be urged to the utmost exertion. She is treated
almost like a slave and with less consideration than a horse or cow.
Lady Varney,[111] gives the chorus of a song in the “Lament of a Young
Russian Bride,” which portrays the father-in-law’s part.


“Thumping, scolding, never lets his daughter sleep,”
“Up you slattern! up you sloven sluggish slut!”

The wife also entreats her husband for mercy.

“Oh husband, only for good cause beat thou thy wife,
Not for little things.” “Far away is my father dear,
and farther still my mother.”

While demanding marital fidelity from wives, Russian husbands do not
bind themselves to the same purity; and aside from wife-beating, the
husband’s infidelities form the general subject of songs. Peter the
Great, head of the Greek Church, not only beat his Empress Catherine,
but while demanding marital fidelity from her, was notorious for his
liaisons with women of low rank.[112] Women were not counted in the
census of Russia until the reign of this monarch. So many “souls” no
woman named. So long continued has been this treatment of woman, that
the poet Nekrasof says:

    Ages have rolled away, the whole face of the earth has
    brightened; only the somber lot of the Mowguk’s wife God
    forgets to change.

Man’s opinion of woman is shown in the proverb, “A hen is not a bird,
neither is a woman a human being.” Nekrasof makes one of his village
heroines say: “God has forgotten the nook where he hid the keys of
woman’s emancipation,” which woman’s despair has changed to the proverb
“God remembers everything but the Slavonian woman; he has forgotten
where he hid the keys of her emancipation.” The system of indulgence is
as marked in the Greek as in the Catholic Church, but under slightly
different aspects. The worship of saints is an important part of the
Byzantine religion. There are two saints, to whom if a person prays as
he goes out to commit a crime, however heinous, he takes his pardon
with him.[113] The present condition of Russian affairs is ascribed by
Edmond Noble, to a long felt revolt in the minds of the people, against
the social, political and religious system of that country. While the
peasant implicitly obeys the czar, regarding his position as divine and
all his commands as just, there is an element that recalls the former
period of freedom, with intensity of desire for its re-establishment.
To this class, permeated as it must be with the spirit of the age,
the efforts for constitutional change, and what the world knows as
Nihilism, are attributable. It is in reality a mighty protest against
that christianity which in destroying political freedom, instituted a
monstrous spiritual and material tyranny in its place. Nihilism is not
wholly nor even chiefly a form of political change; it has a depth and
a power much beyond mere social or governmental change; it looks to an
entire overthrow of that religious system which permeates and underlies
all moral and political tyranny in Russia.

Class legislation of extreme character is still constantly met in all
christian lands. The English Bill of 1887, for extending Parliamentary
Franchise to woman, as shown, having as its last clause, “Provided that
nothing in this Act contained shall enable women under coverture to
be registered or to vote at such elections.” In this Bill, the State
recognized the marital subordination of woman, held by law as under
her husband’s control not possessing freedom of thought, judgment, or
action upon questions of vital importance to herself. Walter Besant

    That it is only by searching and poking among unknown
    pamphlets and forgotten books that one finds out the actual
    depth of the English savagery of the last century ... that for
    drunkenness, brutality and ignorance the Englishmen of the
    baser kind, reached the lowest depth ever reached by civilized
    men ... a drunkard, a brawler, a torturer of dumb beasts, a
    wife-beater, a profligate.

It is not necessary to search “unknown pamphlets and forgotten books,”
in order to find out the depths of English or other christian savagery
of the present century. Every newspaper report, every court decision,
every Act of Parliament or Legislature, every decree of king, or czar,
or other potentate; every canon, decree or decision of the church,
proclaims the ignorance, brutality and savagery of Christendom. Nor
is it among men of the baser kind with their infliction of corporal
punishment upon wives, but in the subtler and more refined methods
of torture made use of by men of the highest position, that we most
truly find out the depths of the savagery of the nineteenth century.
Profligacy among men of the highest position never flourished more
luxuriantly than at the present time; drunkenness has by no means
passed away; wife-beating is still a common amusement; the law still
fails to extend a protecting arm around those most needing its defence;
the church yet fails to recognize a common humanity in all classes of
people. Old traditional customs of thought and action still prevail,
and the men of a hundred years hence will look upon the present time
with the same criticising astonishment that the historian of today
looks upon the last century. Savagery instead of civilization is still
the predominant power in christendom. In comparison with the treatment
many wives receive in christian lands, that of women among the American
Indians, or the most savage races of the old world, is far more humane
than shown in England, America and other christian lands, where even
maternity does not free woman from the coarsest brutality upon the part
of husbands, nor the illness incident upon bringing a new being into
the world, from writs of “contempt,” even though the death of mother
or babe result. In 1890, the Press of New York City reported the case
of Mrs. R. Bassman, who was summoned to appear before the Surrogate
Court, for a funeral debt. Being in confinement she was unable to
appear. Thereupon an order for her arrest for Contempt of Court was
issued, and while still unrecovered from her illness, she was arrested
and incarcerated in Ludlow Street jail. Her newly born babe deprived
of its mother’s care sickened and died; and this is part of Christian
civilization for woman, in nearly the two thousandth year of its

Booth’s “Darkest England”[114] relates a somewhat parallel case,
parallel in so far as it shows the enslaved condition of the English
wife under present christian laws.

    A woman who lived just opposite had been cruelly kicked and
    cursed by her husband, who had finally bolted the door against
    her, and she had turned to Barbie, as the only hope, Barbie
    took her in with her rough and ready kindness, got her to
    bed and was both nurse and doctor for the poor woman till
    her child was born and laid in the mother’s arms. Not daring
    to be absent longer she got up as best she could and crawled
    on hands and knees down the little steep steps, across the
    street, and back to her own door; ... it might have cost the
    woman her life to be absent from her home more than a couple
    of hours.

That brutal men exist everywhere, that women and children are in all
lands abused, that prize-fighting with its concomitants of broken jaws,
noses, heads, takes place in christian lands, are undeniable facts,
usually although in defiance of law and subjecting their perpetrators
to punishment. But the peculiarity of the cases noted and of ten
thousand others, is that they are done under the authority of the
law, to a being whom the law seems not bound to protect. No husbands
in the world are more brutal than lower-class Englishmen into whose
hands the wife is given by law, and he protected by the law in his
ill-usage of her. It is Christian law of which complaint is made; it
is the effect of Christian civilization, in its treatment of woman, to
which attention is called. “Darkest England” furnishes still fuller
statements of woman’s degraded condition in that country. In the
opening pages of that work it is said:

    Hard it is, no doubt, to read in Stanley’s pages of the
    slave-traders coldly arranging for the surprise of a village,
    the capture of the inhabitants, the massacre of those who
    resist, and the violation of all the women; but the stony
    streets of London, if they could but speak, would tell of
    tragedies as awful, of ruin as complete, of ravishments as
    horrible, as if we were in Central Africa; only the ghostly
    devastation is covered, corpse-like, with the artificialities
    of modern civilization.

    The lot of a negress in the Equatorial Forest is not, perhaps,
    a very happy one but is it so much worse than that of many a
    pretty orphan girl’s in our christian capital? We talk about
    the brutalities of the dark ages and we profess to shudder as
    we read in the books of the shameful exactions of the rights
    of feudal superiors. And yet here, beneath our very eyes, in
    our theaters, in our restaurants, and in many other places
    unspeakable, it be enough but to name it, the same hideous
    abuse flourishes unchecked. A young penniless girl, if she be
    pretty, is often hunted from pillar to post by her employers,
    confronted always by the alternative—starve or sin. Darkest
    England, like Darkest Africa, reeks with malaria.

It should be impressed upon the mind that difference between “Darkest
Africa,” and “Darkest England,” lies in the two facts, that one is
the darkness of ignorance and savage races who are in the very night
of barbarism; while the other is the moral darkness of christian
civilization, in the very center of Christendom, after 2,000 years
of church teaching and priestly influence. A few years since, in
Massachusetts, an action for cruelty on part of a husband came before a
court, the charge being that he came home one night in February, when
the thermometer was ten degrees below zero, and turned his wife and
little child, with his wife’s mother of eighty, out of the house.[115]
While the wife was giving testimony, the judge interrupted, saying:

    The husband had a right to do so, there was a quarrel between
    the husband and wife, and he had a legal right to turn her out
    and take possession of the house, that was not cruelty.

From the newspapers of April, 1886, we learn that:

    At Salem, W. Va., Thomas True drove his wife out of doors and
    swore he would kill any one who would give her shelter. Robert
    Miller took her into his house, and was killed by True.

The system of marriage recognized by the church has ever been that
of ownership and power by the husband and father, over the wife and
children, and during the Middle Ages the ban of the church fell with
equal force upon the woman, who for any cause left her husband, as
upon the witch. The two were under the same ban as the excommunicated,
denounced as one whom all others must shun, whom no one must succor
or harbor, and with whom it was unlawful to hold any species of

The “boycott” is not an invention of the present century, but was
in use many hundred years since against a recalcitrant wife, under
sanction of both church and state. The advertisements of absconding
wives seen at the present day, whom the husband sets forth as having
left his bed and board and whom all persons are thereafter forbidden to
trust upon his account, are but a reminiscence of the wife-boycott of
former years, when all persons, were forbidden to “harbor her” under
penalty unless it could be proven that her life was in danger without
such aid. The husband was held to possess vested rights in the wife,
not only as against herself, but as against the world, and it is not
half a decade since the notice below, appeared in a Kansas paper,[116]
accompanied by the cut of a fleeing woman.

    A $50 CAPTURE.

    A woman who ran away from her husband at Lawrence some time
    ago, was found at Fort Leavenworth yesterday by a Lawrence
    detective and taken back to her home. The officer received a
    reward of $50 for her capture.—_Leavenworth Standard_, Kas.,
    Dec. 21, 1886.

This advertisement and others of a similar character to be seen in the
daily and weekly press of the country, are undeniable proofs of the
low condition under the law, of woman in the marriage relation, and
read very much like the notices in regard to absconding slaves a few
years since. Kansas was one of the very first states which recognized
the right of a married mother to her own child, that provision having
been incorporated in its constitution at early date as an enticement
for bringing women emigrants into that state, at a period when the
anti-slavery and pro-slavery contests within its borders had made it
bloody ground. Although the married woman’s property law and the spirit
of free thought has rendered such action less frequent than formerly,
it is less than forty years, as before noted, since the New York Court
of Common Pleas rendered a judgment of $10,000 in favor of a husband
against the relatives of his wife, who at her own request “harbored and
sheltered” her. The Christian principle of man’s ownership of woman,
for many hundred years under English law, rendered the party giving
shelter to a fleeing wife liable to the husband in money damages, upon
the ground of having aided a runaway servant to the master’s injury.
Under but one circumstance was such shelter admissible. In case the
wife was in danger of perishing, she could be harbored until morning,
when she must be returned to her master by the person who had thus
temporarily taken care of his perishable property. In England as late
as 1876, the case of a Mrs. Cochrane, who had lived apart from her
husband for years, and showing another phase of property law in the
wife, came up before Judge Coleridge. Her character was not at all
impeached, but she indulged in amusements which her husband considered
reprehensible, and through stratagem she was brought to his lodgings
and there kept a prisoner. A writ of _habeas corpus_ being sued out,
the husband was compelled to bring her before the court of the Queen’s
Bench. The decision of the judge rendered in favor of the husband’s
right of forcible detention, was declared by him to be upon ground
that English law virtually considered the wife as being under the
guardianship of the husband, not a person in her own right, and this
distinctly upon the ground of her perpetual infancy;[117] she must
be restored to her husband. As late as 1886, the _Personal Rights
Journal_ of England called attention to the suit of a clergyman for the
“restitution of conjugal rights” and custody of child. The wife not
being able to live in agreement with the husband, had taken her child
and left him. A decree for such restitution having been pronounced by
court, the husband Rev. Joseph Wallis, advertised for his absconding
wife, Caroline Wallis, offering one hundred pounds reward for such
information as should lead to her discovery.

    £100 REWARD.

    Whereas, A Decree was pronounced in the Probate, Divorce,
    and Admiralty Division of the High Court of Justice, on the
    5th day of June, 1886, in the suit of Samuel Joseph Wallis
    _versus_ Caroline Wallis, for restitution of conjugal rights,
    and for custody of the child, May Wallis, to the petitioner,
    the said Samuel Joseph Wallis. And Whereas it has been
    ascertained that the said Caroline Wallis has lately been seen
    at Whitstable and the Neighborhood,


    That the above Reward will be paid to any Person or Persons
    who shall give such information as will lead to the discovery
    of the whereabouts of the said Caroline Wallis, and the
    recovery by the said S. J. Wallis of the custody of the said

    Information to be sent to me, Richard Howe Brightman, of
    Sheerness, Kent, Solicitor to the said Samuel Joseph Wallis.

This brutal advertisement in the dying hours of the nineteenth
century had the effect of rousing public attention to woman’s
enslaved condition in the marital relation, and a rapid growth of
public sentiment in recognition of a wife’s individual and distinct
personality, took place between 1886 and 1890, a period of four years.
During the latter year another English husband, one Jackson, forcibly
abducted his wife who lived apart from him, holding her prisoner with
gun and bayonet, threatening her friends with death—as was his legal
right in case of her attempted rescue. When this was known, hundreds
of letters poured into the press, upholding the right of a wife to
the control of her own person, and writ of _habeas corpus_ compelled
her production in court. Under the pressure of a public sentiment he
found it wise to conciliate, the judge decided in favor of her right
to live away from her husband, who was also restrained from farther
molesting her. The Supreme Court of Georgia recently rendered a
decision in regard to the rights of husbands as related to the wife’s
rights of property, in which the church theory of her subordination was

    The wife has been much advanced by the general tenor of
    legislation of late years in respect to her property. She has
    acquired a pretty independent position as to title, control
    and disposition, but this relates to her own property, not
    to his. The law has not yet raised her to the station of
    superintendent of her husband’s contracts and probably never
    will. In taking a wife a man does not put himself under an
    overseer. He is not a subordinate in his own family but the
    head of it. A subjugated husband is a less energetic member of
    society than one who keeps his true place, yet knows how to
    temper authority with affection.

During the famous Beecher trial, Hon. Wm. M. Evarts defined woman’s
legal position as one of subordination to man, declaring “that
notwithstanding changing customs and the amenities of modern life,
women were not free, but were held in the hollow of man’s hand, to
be crushed at his will.” In exemplification of this statement he
referred to a recent decision of the New York Court of Appeals, and to
the highest tribunals of England. He gave his own sanction to these
principles of law, all of which owe their foundation to church teaching
regarding woman, enforced by the peculiar forms of marriage ceremony it
has instituted.

The church everywhere strenuously opposes civil marriage. The Plenary
Council of 1884, and the celebration of the hundredth anniversary
of the Catholic hierarchy in the United States, each making church
marriage a prominent part of their discussions. Different parts of
Europe and of South America have recently been shaken by church action
in regard to it. Prussia, Belgium, Italy, France, have fallen under the
odium of the church in consequence of the civil laws declaring marriage
valid without the aid of the church. The celebrated M. Godin, founder
of the cooperative Familistere, at Guise, was married in 1886 under
civil form, to a lady member of the French League for the Rights of
Women, and thus announced the marriage to their friends:

    M. Godin, manufacturer, founder of Familistere, and Madame
    Marie Godin, nee Moret, his secretary and co-laborer in the
    work of the Familistere, and in the propagation of social
    reform, have the honor of announcing to you the purely civil
    marriage which they contracted at Guise, the 14th day of July,
    1886, that they might manifest to all their union, and the
    common purpose of all the efforts of their lives.

Civil marriage, where the church is supreme, is followed by
excommunication and odious insults. In 1885 a remarkable instance of
this kind occurred in the city of Concepcion, Chili. A young couple
were married with consent of their parents, according to the civil law.
Their social and political prominence made the occasion conspicuous,
as it was the first wedding among the aristocracy in that country,
dispensing with the aid of a priest. The church paper edited by a
Jesuit priest thus commented:

    The “Libertad” calls this “a happy union,” but it should
    remember that “happy unions” of this sort have hitherto
    existed only in the animal kingdom.

The bride, groom, and all their families suffered excommunication from
the church. But it is not alone the Catholic church which desires
to retain its hold upon marriage. Less than two years since certain
clergymen of the Anglican church agreed to officiate at marriage
without a fee, for the purpose of retaining control of this relation;
and so strong has been the influence of the church during the ages,
that few people look upon a ceremony under the civil law with the
same respect as one performed by a priest, even of a Protestant
denomination. The control of marriage by the church while throwing
wealth into its own coffers, has ever had a prejudicial effect upon
morals, as impediments to marriage of whatever character increase
immorality. In the city of Concepcion referred to, of 200,000
inhabitants, there are two thousand children of unknown parentage.
In 1884, statistics showed sixty-two per cent of the children to
be illegitimate. The parents of those little ones were mostly
known, being persons too poor to pay the cost of a church marriage,
twenty-five dollars, its price, being quite beyond the means of the
humbler classes. The Liberal party, in establishing civil marriage as
legitimate, authorized any magistrate to perform the ceremony, and
furnish a certificate for twenty-five cents. This assault upon the
ancient prerogative of the church depriving priests of the largest
source of their revenue, at once made a religious-political issue
of the question, the church taking strenuous action against all
connected with framing the law, and its repeal became the prominent
political issue, to aid which all the faithful were called. Using
its old weapons, the church through the Archbishop issued an edict
excommunicating the president of the republic, the members of his
cabinet and the members of congress who voted for the statute;
directing that a similar penalty should fall upon every communicant who
obeyed it and neglected to recognize the church as the only authority
competent to solemnize the marriage rite.

A correspondent of the _New York Sun_, in Chili, wrote:

    This brought matters to a crisis. On the one hand, the State
    declared all marriages not under the civil law illegal,
    and their issue illegitimate, refusing to recognize rites
    performed by the priests. On the other, those who obey the law
    are excommunicated from the church, and their cohabitation
    forbidden by the highest ecclesiastical authority. Thus
    matrimony is practically forbidden, and those who choose to
    enter it have their choice between arrest and excommunication.
    A young member of Congress, a man of gifts and influence,
    who stands as one of the leaders of the Liberal party, and
    who voted and argued for civil marriage, is engaged to
    the daughter of a wealthy merchant with proud lineage and
    aristocratic connections. He is willing to accept the civil
    authority, which he helped to create, and she and her father
    are also willing, but her mother is a devout church woman
    and cannot regard marriage as sacred without the blessing
    of a priest. She favors the alliance, but insists that the
    Church shall be recognized. The bishop declines to permit the
    ceremony unless the young man shall go to the confessional and
    retract his political record, with a vow to hereafter remain
    steadfast to the church. This he refuses to do. The couple
    will go to Europe or the States and there have the ceremony

This action of the Chilian republic in substituting a civil for a
religious ceremony in marriage and declaring the latter to be illegal,
is a most important step in civilization, of which freedom for woman
is such an essential factor; and its results in that country must
be left in woman’s every relation of life, promoting self-respect,
self-reliance and security in place of the degradation, self-distrust
and fear to which its church has so long condemned her.

_Chapter Seven_


It is of indisputed historic record that both the Christian Church
and the Christian State in different centuries and under a number of
differing circumstances gave their influence in favor of polygamy.
The Roman emperor, Valentinian I, in the fourth century, authorized
christians to take two wives; in the eighth century the great
Charlemagne holding power over both church and state, in his own person
practiced polygamy, having six, or according to some authorities, nine
wives. With the Reformation this system entered Protestantism. As the
first synod in North America was called for the purpose of trying a
woman for heresy, so the first synod of the reformation was assembled
for the purpose of sustaining polygamy, thus farther debasing woman
in the marital relation. The great German reformer, Luther, although
perhaps himself free from the lasciviousness of the old priesthood
was not strictly monogamic in principle. When applied to by Philip,
Landgrave of Hesse Cassel, for permission to marry a second wife while
his first wife, Margaret of Savoy, was still living, he called together
a synod of six of the principal reformers—Melancthon and Bucer among
them—who in joint consultation decided “that as the Bible nowhere
condemns polygamy, and as it has been invariably practiced by the
highest dignitaries of the church,” such marriage was legitimate, and
the required permission was given. Luther himself with both the Old and
the New Testaments in hand, saying, “I confess for my part that if a
man wishes to marry two or more wives, I cannot forbid him, nor is his
conduct repugnant to the Holy Scriptures.” Thus we have the degrading
proof that the doctrine of polygamy was brought into reformation by its
earliest promoters under assertion that it was not inconsistent with
the Bible or the principles of the Gospel. The whole course of Luther
during the reformation proved his disbelief in the equality of woman
with man; when he left the Catholic church he took with him the old
theory of her created subordination. It was his maxim that “No gown or
garment worse becomes a woman than that she will be wise,” thus giving
the weight of his influence against woman’s intellectual freedom and
independent thought. Although he opposed monastic life, the home for
woman under the reformation was governed by many of its rules.

First: She was to be under obedience to man as head of the house.

Second: She was to be constantly employed for his benefit.

Third: Her society was strictly chosen for her by this master and head.

Fourth: This “head” was a general-father confessor, to whom she was
held accountable in word and deed.

Fifth: Neither genius nor talent could free her from his control
without his consent.

Luther’s views regarding polygamy have been endorsed and sanctioned
since that period by men eminent in church and state. Lord Seldon
known as “The Light of England” in the seventeenth century, published
a work under title of “Uxor Haebraica” for the purpose of proving that
polygamy was permitted to the Hebrews. His arguments were accepted by
the church as indisputable. Bishop Burnet, who while holding the great
Protestant Episcopal See of Salisbury, so successfully opposed the plan
inaugurated by Queen Anne for the establishment of a woman’s college
in England, added to his infamy by writing a tract entitled “Is a
Plurality of Wives in any case Lawful under the Gospel?” This question
he answered in the affirmative sustaining the rightfulness of polygamy
under the Christian dispensation. Quoting the words of Christ upon
divorce, he said:

    We must not by a consequence condemn a plurality of wives
    since it seems not to have fallen within the scope of what our
    Lord does there disapprove. Therefore I see nothing so strong
    against a plurality of wives as to balance the great and
    visible imminent hazards that hang over so many thousands if
    it be not allowed.

The famous Puritan Poet of England, John Milton, known in the
University as “The Lady of Christ College,” writing upon “The Special
Government of Man,” says:

    I have not said the marriage of one man with one woman lest I
    should by implication charge the holy patriarchs and pillars
    of our faith, Abraham and others who had more than one wife,
    at the same time, with habitual sin; and lest I should be
    forced to exclude from the sanctuary of God as spurious, the
    whole offspring which sprang from them, yea, the whole of
    the sons of Israel, for whom the sanctuary itself was made.
    For it is said in Deuteronomy (xxii. 2,) “A bastard shall
    not enter into the congregation of Jehovah even to the tenth
    generation.” Either, therefore polygamy is a true marriage,
    or all children born in that state are spurious, which would
    include the whole race of Jacob, the twelve tribes chosen by
    God. But as such an assertion would be absurd in the extreme,
    not to say impious, and as it is the height of injustice as
    well as an example of the most dangerous tendency in religion,
    to account as sins what is not such in reality it appears to
    me that so far from the question respecting the lawfulness of
    polygamy being trivial, it is of the highest importance that
    it should be decided. Not a trace appears of the interdiction
    of polygamy throughout the whole law, not even in any of the

The Paradise Lost of Milton is responsible among English speaking
people for many existing views that are inimical to woman, and while
his essays upon liberty have been of general beneficial influence upon
the world, his particular teachings in regard to woman have seriously
injured civilization. This man of polygamous beliefs, this tyrant
over his own household who could not gain the love of either wives—of
whom he had three—or of daughters, did much to popularize the idea
of woman’s subordination to man. “He for God; she for God in him” as
expressed by the lips of Eve and so often quoted as proclaiming the
true relationship between husband and wife in the line, “God thy law;
thou mine.”

While the record of Milton’s life shows him to have been an
intolerable domestic tyrant, yet for the wife who could not live
with him, the daughters whom social conditions and lack of education
deprived of the necessary means for their support, thus compelling
them to remain his victims looking forward to his death as their only
means of release, the world has as yet exhibited but little sympathy.
His genius, undisputed as its record must be in many directions, has
made his views of overpowering influence upon the world since his day.
But above all, more than all that created and sustained this influence
were his views as to the polygamous rights of man, his depictment of
Eve as looking upward to Adam as her God, and his general maintenance
of the teaching of the church in regard to woman. Although it has been
affirmed that after his blindness he dictated his great epic to his
daughter and a Scotch artist has painted a scene (a picture owned by
the Lenox Library), yet this is one of the myths men call history and
amuse themselves in believing. Voltaire declared history to be only a
parcel of tricks we play with the dead; and this tale of blind Milton
dictating Paradise Lost to his daughters is a trick designed to play
upon our sympathies. Old Dr. Johnson is authority for the statement
that Milton would not allow his daughters to learn to write and it is
quite certain that he did not permit them a knowledge of any language
except the English, saying “one tongue is enough for a woman.” Between
Milton and his family it is known there was tyranny upon one side,
hatred upon the other.[1]

The number of eminent Protestants both lay and clerical who have
sanctioned polygamy has not been small. In the sixteenth century a
former Capuchin monk, a general of that order who had been converted
to the Protestant faith, published a work entitled “Dialogues in favor
of Polygamy.” In the latter part of the seventeenth century, John
Lyser, another divine of the reformed church strongly defended it in
a work entitled “Polygamia Triumphatrix” or the triumphant defense
of polygamy. Rev. Dr. Madden, still another Protestant divine, in a
treatise called “Thalypthora,” maintained that Paul’s injunction that
bishops should be the husbands of one wife, signified that laymen
were permitted to marry more than one. The scholarly William Ellery
Channing could find no prohibition of polygamy in the New Testament.
In his “Remarks on the Character and Writings of John Milton” he says,
“We believe it to be an indisputable fact that although Christianity
was first preached in Asia which had been from the earliest days the
seat of polygamy, the apostles never denounced it as a crime and never
required their converts to put away all wives but one. No express
prohibition of polygamy is found in the New Testament.” That eminent
American divine, Henry Ward Beecher, the influence of whose opinions
over all classes was for many years so great as to constitute him a
veritable Protestant pope in the United States, a few years before his
death was selected to reply at a New England dinner to a toast upon the
Mormon question, the subject of polygamy then being under discussion by
Congress. He not only deprecated the use of force in its suppression,
but quoted Milton in seeming approval. We can therefore consistently
rank Mr. Beecher as among the number of Protestant divines who believed
there was scriptural warrant for this degradation of woman.

But it is not alone to the action of Christian monarchs or the opinion
of jurists and ministers that we must solely look, but also to the
action of the church as a body during different periods of its history.
In the year 1846, the question of polygamy came up before the American
Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions in the United States.
Through a committee, of which the eminent Chancellor Walworth, of New
York, was chairman, this body reported against instructing missionaries
to exclude polygamists from the church. This report was adopted without
a dissenting voice.[2] This discussion brought out some interesting
facts having especial bearing upon the views of those churches which
numbered polygamists among their communicants. It was shown that the
secretaries of the board appeared to consider the existence of polygamy
in the churches as so entirely a frivolous question that even after it
was especially brought to their notice they forbore to make inquiries
and even when polygamists had actually been admitted into the Mission
churches, no taint of disapproval had been made by the Prudential
Committee.[3] The whole subject was left to the decision of the
missionaries themselves, one of whom published his views in the _Boston
Recorder_. After prevising that the Bible was their rule of faith, he

    Is it not evident from Paul’s instruction respecting the
    qualifications of a bishop, viz., that he “should be the
    husband of one wife” that polygamy was permitted in the
    primitive church under the apostles, and that too in
    circumstances precisely similar to those in which churches
    are gathered among the heathen at the present day. If so, why
    should a different standard be set up than that set up by the

That polygamy is not regarded as contrary to the principles of
Christianity was again most forcibly shown in its endorsement by
missionaries located in those countries where this custom prevails.
One of the most notable instances of recent church action in
recognizing polygamy as sustained by Christianity, occurred a few
years since in Calcutta during a Conference upon the question.
This body was convened by the missionaries of England and America
located in India. Its immediate cause was the application of Indian
converts, the husbands of several wives, for admission to the church.
A missionary conference of the several Christian denominations was
therefore called for the purpose of deciding upon this grave request.
It included representatives of the Episcopal, Baptist, Presbyterian
and Congregationalist churches. Taking the Bible as authority full
consideration was given to the subject. Quotations from that “holy
book” proved to the satisfaction of the conference that not alone did
the Bible favor polygamy, but that God himself endorsed, regulated
and sustained the institution. In addition it was declared that these
converted polygamists “had given credible evidence of their personal
piety.” The conference therefore unanimously rendered favorable
decision for retention of the polygamous members within the respective
churches to which they belonged, upon the ground that as both the Jews
and the early Christians had practiced polygamy, it was allowable to
the new converts.

    If a convert before becoming a Christian, has married more
    wives than one, in accordance with the practice of the Jewish
    and primitive Christian churches, he shall be permitted to
    keep them all.

Yet apparently as a concession to the somewhat altruistic civilization
of the present age, which outside of the church does not look upon
polygamous marriages with favor, such persons were declared ineligible
to any office in the church. Rev. David O. Allen, D.D., missionary of
the American Board in India for twenty-five years and from whose report
of the action of the missionary conference the above facts were gained,

    If polygamy was unlawful, then Leah was the only wife of Jacob
    and none but her children were legitimate. Rachel as well as
    Bilhah and Zilpah were merely mistresses and their children,
    six in number were bastards, the offspring of adulterous
    connection. And yet there is no intimation of any such views
    and feelings in Laban’s family, or in Jacob’s family or in
    Jewish history. Bilhah and Zilpah are called Jacob’s wives
    (Genesis xxxvii: 2.). God honored the sons of Rachael, Bilhah
    and Zilpah equally with the sons of Leah, made them patriarchs
    of seven of the tribes of the nation and gave them equal
    inheritances in Canaan.

Thus the endorsement of polygamy as not contrary to the Bible, or to
Christianity, is shown by action of Christian churches both in the
United States and India within the present century; and we can readily
understand why a gentleman from the New England states traveling in
Utah said: “Mormonism seems a very devout sect of the Christian church,
differing but little from the great body of Christian people.”[4] Nor
is this judgment at all strange as we find polygamy endorsed by the
majority of Christian sects. Nor can we be surprised that the Mormons
of Utah and the adjoining states should look upon the opposition of the
United States to their practice of polygamy, as an unjust interference
with an established custom of the Christian church, recognized and
indorsed through the ages, as not alone part of the Jewish and early
christian practice, but permitted as allowable at the present day.
President Eliot of Harvard, speaking in Salt Lake City, compared the
Mormons to the Puritans, thus throwing the weight of his statement as
to the harmony between Mormonism and other Christian sects.

The Rochester, N.Y., _Herald_, in forgetfulness of early puritan
history, says “It would be interesting to know from what point of view
President Eliot took his observation,” and refers to “Mormon Contempt
and debasement of Womanhood; Mormon discouragement of intelligence
and education among its dupes and victims,” etc. The _Herald_ has
apparently forgotten the trial of women for heresy by the Puritans;
their imprisonment, heavily ironed in airless jails, for the crime of
religious free thought; the flogging of naked women on Boston Common
by the Puritans for free speech and their being executed as witches,
in the Puritan colony of Massachusetts. The _Herald_ has apparently
forgotten that although the first money given for the foundation
of Harvard itself was by a woman, her sex, “dupe and victim,” is
still denied the full advantage of education in that institution. It
forgets that although the first plot of ground for a free school in
the Puritan colony of Massachusetts was given by a woman, girls were
denied education even in common schools until it became necessary to
permit their attendance during the summer months while the boys were
engaged in fishing, in order to retain possession of school moneys. The
_Herald_ seems unaware of the vigorous letter of Mrs. Hannah Adams,
wife of the second president of the United States, to her husband,
John Adams, when he was a member of the first Congress, in reference
to the need of education for women. Should the _Herald_ pursue its
investigations still farther, it will find the Puritans connected with
the most serious “crimes” against humanity; it will discover priestly
and governmental “usurpation,” Puritan “fanaticism and bigotry”;
even Puritan “disloyalty.” When President Eliot favorably compared
the Christian Puritans and the Christian Mormons, he spoke both as
a close reader of Puritan history and a close observer of Mormon
history; his declaration of their similarity to each other cannot
be denied by the candid historian. Building upon the same common
foundation, acknowledging the same common origin, the doctrines of
the two systems necessarily bear close resemblance to each other.[5]
Under the Christian theory regarding woman, her origin and her duties,
it should not be regarded as at all strange that polygamy should find
defenders in the christian world. Nor is it to be looked upon as at all
as surprising that the Mormons, the most recent Protestant sect, should
teach polygamy as a divinely organized institution, nor that their
arguments in its favor should be drawn from the Bible and not from the
book of Mormon. That polygamy was not an original Mormon tenet is well
known; it was derived from a professed revelation to Joseph Smith,
sustained by biblical authority. The polygamous Mahommedans regard
Christ as a prophet, the same as the Mormons respect the authority of
the Bible. The Mormon marriage formula directs the man to look to God,
but enjoins the woman to look toward her husband as God, rendering
him the same unquestioning obedience that has been demanded from all
Christian wives through the ages; the priest, as customary with the
hierarchal class, declaring himself endowed with an authority from on
high to bind or to loose on earth, seals the union of the pair for time
and eternity. Although the marriage ceremony of the Mormon church is
more complex, in many respects it parallels that of the Presbyterians
of Scotland during the early day of the Reformation, authority for
woman’s degradation in each case being derived from the Bible, the
language in each instance being unfit for publication.[6]

An epistle of the First Presidency to the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter Day Saints, in General Conference, said:

    “The Gospel of the Son of God, brings life and immortality to
    light.” We believe in Jerusalems, such as the one which John
    saw when banished as a slave to the Isle of Patmos because
    of his religion, where promises made to Abraham, Isaac and
    Jacob are to be fulfilled; “which had a wall great and high,
    and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels”—and the
    twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was one
    pearl.” Its walls were of jasper, its streets and the city
    were pure gold. The foundations of the wall were garnished
    with all manner of precious stones, and the glory of God did
    lighten it, “and the Lamb is the light thereof.” Its pearly
    gates had written upon them the names of the twelve tribes
    of the children of Israel and the foundations of its walls,
    “the names of the Twelve Apostles of the Lamb.” “The throne
    of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall
    serve Him; and they shall see His face; and His name shall be
    in their foreheads. The porters of its gates were angels and
    its light the glory of God.” What was written on those pearly
    gates? The names of the twelve tribes of Israel. Who was
    Israel? Jacob. From whom did the twelve tribes descend? From
    Jacob. What were their names? The names of the sons of Jacob,
    which he had by four wives. Jacob, then, was a polygamist?
    Yes; he was one of those barbarians of which the Judge of the
    Third Judicial District says: “These practices might have been
    proper in a barbarous and primitive time—in crude times—but
    they won’t do now. Civilization has thrown them away. It won’t
    do to gather up these old customs and practices out of the
    by-gone barbarism and by-gone ages, and attempt to palm them
    upon a free and intelligent and civilized people in these

    How free the people are in Utah today needs no discussion. If
    the judge cannot stand these things it would seem God and the
    Lamb can, for He is the light of the city, on the gates of
    which are written the names of twelve men, the sons of one man
    by four women—a polygamist. Had Jacob lived now, the judges
    would have sent spies, spotters and deputy marshals after him,
    and if caught would have sent him to the penitentiary.

This epistle boldly challenges christian belief in the New Jerusalem
as based upon polygamy; upon its gates the names of twelve polygamous
children are inscribed, sons of one man, children of four mothers,
two wives and two concubines. Of Solomon, this epistle could likewise
have spoken, whom the Bible represents as the wisest man that lived;
his wives numbering three hundred, his concubines seven hundred. Nor
are Jacob and Solomon two isolated instances of Jewish polygamy;
Mormons, in common with the lay and clerical authorities previously
referred to, find abundant proof for their sanction of polygamy both
in the revelations of the Old and the New Testaments. But each human
being entering the world is a revelation to himself, to herself, and
the revelation inherently abiding in all women, declares against such
degradation of herself and her sex.

Brigham Young, the first Mormon president, husband of nineteen wives,
father of forty-two children, possessed great natural fascination; was
a man of wonderful magnetism. Of him a daughter said: “his slightest
touch was a caress.” His seventh wife, an elegant and fashionable
woman, was said by her daughter to worship the ground that he walked
upon and never to have been herself since his death. From this favorite
daughter of Young who after his death apostatized from the Mormon
religion, much has been learned in regard to the real feeling of these
polygamous wives toward each other, which she characterized as “an
outward semblance of good will, but in reality a condition of deadly
hatred.” Such outward semblance of goodwill, such real condition of
deadly hatred is the result of all forms of religion which subjugate
the many to the caprice of the few, even though done under assumption
of divine authority. That envy, jealousy and hatred should be among
the dire results of woman’s religious degradation, cannot be a subject
of surprise to the student of human nature; and it is supreme proof of
the bondage of the human will under fancied authority from God, that
such minds as those of Luther, Milton, Seldon, Beecher, Walworth and
others like them should uphold a system so degrading in character alike
to the men and the women who practice it. Young’s daughter Dora with
five of her sisters, was expelled a few years since from the Mormon
church for having gone to law with certain of the Mormon brethren who
attempted to rob them of their patrimony. The elders realizing the
injury these women might do for the church, sent a couple of teachers
to interview Dora, invoking her father’s name to influence her dropping
the suit[7] and return to the church. Dora had been aroused by a sense
of the iniquity of the church, through hearing its elders declare upon
oath that they knew nothing of polygamous marriage ceremonies being
performed, while the same day of this denial no less than fourteen such
marriages had taken place at the Endowment House. Referring to the
conscientious belief held by many women of the necessity of polygamous
marriage in order to secure the sanctification requisite for their
salvation, Dora said:

    Since my eyes have been opened I sometimes ask myself how I
    could ever possibly have regarded the horrible and licentious
    practices of which I was aware, and the terrible things I have
    witnessed with anything but horror? And yet I was brought
    up to consider these things right and I thought nothing
    about them—just as I suppose children brought up where human
    sacrifices are offered, learn to regard such sacrifice as
    right and to look upon them with indifference.

Experience taught Dora that the natural character of the human mind
soon accommodates itself to circumstances, becomes in accord with
its environment, and regards as right whatever law or custom teaches
is right. This, called the conservative tendency of the human mind,
is merely the result of habitude of thought induced by authoritative
teaching. Both church and state have availed themselves of the
influence of authoritative custom for the perpetuation of power.
In this way despotism has gained its chief victories. The beliefs
to which persons have been habituated from childhood, are, without
investigation, deemed truths by the majority of the world. No step
so great in its far-reaching results as that of independent thought;
none so greatly feared by priestly and civil power; and among women
during the Christian ages, none has met with such swift rebuke, no sin
has been characterized as its equal in malignancy. Therefore while
the world has possessed full knowledge of man’s opinions regarding
polygamy, not until the present century and in the United States have
the views of women been attainable. Until the present age there has
been no escape from bondage for the polygamous wife, no opportunity
for learning its effects upon her own inner self. From the daughter of
its chief prophet, the man whose fame in connection with polygamy has
gone throughout the world, we have learned something of its evils as
seen and felt by woman. Yet other and still stronger testimony is not
lacking. A private letter written in Salt Lake City a few years since,
published in the _Boston Transcript_ under head of “The Silent Woes of
Mormonism” depicts one phase in its influence upon the unborn.

    A few years ago an educated young journalist came to Salt Lake
    City from Europe with his young wife. Both became sincere
    believers in Mormonism. Then strong pressure was brought to
    bear by the priesthood upon the husband to force him into
    polygamy. The wife finding opposition in vain, at last gave
    her nominal consent. A second bride was brought into the
    house. In a short time the first wife became a mother, but the
    infant never cried aloud. It came voiceless into the world.
    But it wept in secret all the time. Sleeping or waking the
    tears flowed from its closed eyes, and in a few weeks it died.
    The mother said that it died of a broken heart. Every day
    of its life it shed the tears that its mother had repressed
    before its birth.

The experience of Caroline Owens, whose suit for bigamy against her
polygamous husband, John D. Miles, appealed from the Supreme Court
of Utah to the Supreme Court of the United States—a suit implicating
Delegate Cannon, of the Congress of the United States, in its tale
of wrong, presents another phase. Miss Owens was an English girl
acquainted with Miles from her childhood. He had emigrated to Utah,
but in England on a visit he urged her to return with him, promising
her marriage when they reached Salt Lake City. She questioned him as
to polygamy. He replied that a few old men were allowed more than one
wife, but that young men like himself had but one, although he spoke
of one Emily Spencer who had expressed affection for him but whom he
had no intention of marrying. Upon reaching Salt Lake City, Miss Owens
staid at the house of United States Delegate George Q. Cannon, where
but one wife resided. When the day of the wedding arrived she went
through the ceremonies of the Endowment House, lasting from ten o’clock
in the morning until three in the afternoon, and had been wedded to
John D. Miles. She says:

    I can never tell the horrors of the next few hours. Before
    that day was over my love had turned to burning hatred. When
    we started to go home, Miles told me that he had invited Emily
    Spencer to our wedding reception. I said if she came to the
    house I should leave. He replied he was now master. I went
    to my room and dressed for the reception, which took place
    at Cannon’s other house, where he kept his three wives. When
    I went down there was a crowd there, among the rest a plain
    looking girl in a calico dress, to whom I was introduced. It
    was Emily Spencer. I did not speak to her. After a while they
    wanted to dance, and asked me to play. Emily Spencer sat on
    a piano stool. I told her to get up. Miles came forward and
    said, “Sit still, Emily Spencer, my wife.” I felt as though I
    had been shot. I said, “Your wife! then what am I?” He said,
    “You are both my wives.” All at once my shame flashed over
    me. Here I was dishonored, the polygamous wife of a Mormon.
    I ran out of the house, bent only on escape, I did not think
    where; I could not do it, though, for Miles and young Cannon,
    a son of the delegate, ran after me and dragged me back. We
    had been intending to stay in the house all night, but I stole
    away and returned to the other house, where I had been living
    the three weeks since my arrival from England. I noticed there
    was no key in the lock, but shot a little bolt and piled up
    chairs against the door. I cried myself to sleep. The next
    thing I knew I don’t know what time it was, Miles stood in
    the room and was locking the door on the inside. I screamed,
    because Mrs. Cannon and Miles’ step-mother had been living in
    the house with me. Miles said I need not take on, for brother
    Cannon had anticipated that I would make trouble and had had
    the house cleared of every one else. I found out that it was
    so. He told me that I might as well submit; there was no law
    here to control the saints; there was no power on earth that
    would save me.

She was subjected to great brutality, again and again beaten and
exhorted to bear her condition patiently as a sister to be exalted;
because of her rebellious spirit she was hectored and threatened,
stoned, jeered at and abused in many ways, all under pretense of
religion, until after three weeks of such matrimonial life she escaped
and among the “Gentiles” found rest and help. She speaks of polygamous
wives as half-clad, poorly fed, toiling like serfs without hope under
the chains of a religious despotism.[8] Mormon polygamy possesses
the peculiar feature of tracing the system of plural marriage to the
gods; a father and mother god and goddess; a grandfather a grandmother
god and goddess, and thus in constantly ascending scale; from these
they claim the origin of their own polygamous system. Every Mormon
man, however depraved, is taught that if he lives up to the plural
marriage system, upon his death he will become a god, holding power and
procreating children to all eternity. But should any Mormon, however
pure his life, die unmarried, he has forever lost his opportunity
of becoming a god, but remains simply an angel, a servant of the
polygamous gods.[9] The belief is inculcated in woman, that to her
marriage is even more necessary than to man. Without marriage there
is no resurrection for her, and thus believing polygamy a requisite
for eternal salvation, thousands silently endure the woes of this
condition. This latest christian sect, this final outgrowth of
centuries of barbarous teaching, is the most determined effort against
the integrity of womanhood since the days of the Jewish patriarchs.
The duty of giving birth to numerous children in order to save waiting
spirits and to swell the glory of the polygamous father in his after
death godship, is as thoroughly taught as when in mediaeval days monk
and priest preached woman’s duty to constantly add numbers to the
church. The late Helen H. Jackson who had thoroughly investigated the
Mormon question, writing of polygamy in the _Century_ said:

    The doctrine, to be completely studied, must be considered
    both from the man’s point of view and the woman’s, the two
    being, for reasons, not identical. But it is the woman’s view
    of it, her belief and position in regard to it, which are most
    misrepresented and misunderstood by the world. If the truth
    were known, there would be few persons in whose minds would be
    any sentiment except profound pity for the Mormon woman—pity,
    moreover, intensified by admiration. There has never been a
    class or sect of women since the world began who have endured
    for religion’s sake a tithe of what has been, and is, and
    forever must be, endured by the women of the Mormon church. It
    has become customary to hold them as disreputable women, light
    and loose, unfit to associate with the virtuous, undeserving
    of any esteem. Never was greater injustice committed.

    The two doctrines which most help the Mormon woman to endure
    the suffering of living in plural marriage are the doctrines
    of pre-existence and of the eternal continuance of the
    patriarchal order. The mere revelation from Joseph Smith,
    to the effect that polygamy was to be permitted and was
    praiseworthy and desirable, would never, alone, have brought
    the Mormon women to hearty acceptance of the institution.

    They are taught and most unquestioningly believe that the
    universe is full of spirits waiting, and waiting impatiently,
    to be born on this earth. These spirits have already passed
    through one stage of discipline and probation and are to enter
    upon a second one here. The Rev. Edward Beecher once published
    a book setting forth a similar doctrine. The Mormon doctrine
    goes farther than Dr. Beecher’s, inasmuch as it teaches that
    these spirits may select of their own free will where and how
    they will be born into their earthly probation; and that they
    are, one and all, anxious to be born in the Mormon church,
    as the one true Zion, where alone are to be found safety and
    salvation. They also believe that the time is limited during
    which these spirits can avail themselves of this privilege of
    being born into Zion. They look for the return of Jesus Christ
    to the earth before long and for the establishment then of the
    millennial dispensation, after which no more of the spirits
    can be reborn and reclaimed. Hence the obligation resting upon
    every faithful Mormon woman to bring into the world, in the
    course of her life, as many children as possible. Not only
    does she thus contribute to the building up and strengthening
    of the church but she rescues souls already existing and in
    danger of eternal death. It is easy to sneer at this doctrine
    as inconceivable rubbish; and, in truth, it must be admitted
    that it is hard to conceive of an educated mind receiving
    it; but it is no more absurd or unprovable than hundreds of
    kindred speculations and notions which have been devised,
    preached and passionately believed in times past. Neither
    has the absurdity or non-absurdity, falsity or truth of the
    belief, anything to do with our judgment of its believers.

In furtherance of its plan for temporal power, the astuteness of the
Mormon theocracy is shown in this doctrine of pre-existent spirits[10]
continually waiting birth upon the earth. This together with its
other theory of the superior power and godhood in a future life, of
the father of numerous children, imposes the condition of continual
motherhood upon Mormon wives.

But during the christian ages this theory of woman’s duty to constantly
bear children in order to the upholding of the church has ever been
taught. Even Philip Melancthon, the great associate of Luther in the
Reformation, saying: “If a woman becomes weary of bearing children,
that matters not. Let her only die from bearing, she is there to do
it.” So little does the church yet understand the right of woman to
an existence for herself alone that not five years have passed since
a minister of the Methodist church in the state of New York publicly
declared he saw no reason for woman’s creation but the bearing of
children. In a lecture upon Mormonism in Boston, Prof. Conyear, of the
Salt Lake City Collegiate Institute, speaking of the sufferings endured
by Mormon women in order thus to secure personal salvation, said:

    Hate the system as you hate Satan, but have mercy on the
    people who are there in such a bondage—a bondage worse than
    that in which the negro in the South was ever held.

But these doctrines accepted as truth by devout Mormon women are not
more degrading to them, not more injurious to civilization, than is the
belief of orthodox christian women in regard to the frailty and primal
sin of her sex and the curse of her Creator upon her in consequence.
To this belief she has been trained from her childhood as her mother
before her and her feminine relatives for innumerable centuries, and
without investigation she has accepted these doctrines of the church as
true. Yet all these theories so degrading to woman are of purely human
masculine origin, their object, power for man, and the subordination
of woman to him in every relation of life. The eternal continuance
of the patriarchal order, a doctrine of the Mormons, is paralleled
among orthodox christians by the teaching of an eternal continuance
of the male priestly order, woman forever excluded. The Mormon woman
no more fully places herself in position of servant to her husband,
whom at the Endowment House marriage ceremony she promises to “obey,”
than has the orthodox christian woman through the ages, when she has
promised obedience to her husband at the marriage altar. Nor is the
general religious training of the two very different. The Mormon woman
is taught that her salvation depends upon polygamous marriage and her
subjection to her husband in all things; the orthodox christian woman
is taught that her salvation depends upon her belief that woman brought
sin into the world, in punishment whereof God placed her in subjection
to man; and during the ages her promise of obedience to man has been
held as an integral part of the marriage ceremony. Nor did a change
begin to take place until after the inauguration of the woman suffrage
reform. Not until woman herself rebelled against such annihilation
of her own conscience and responsibility, did a few sects in some
instances omit this promise from their forms of marriage, although it
still remains a portion of the Greek, Catholic and Anglican ceremony
as well as of other Protestant sects. The shock of finding educated
women of New England birth, members of the Mormon church as polygamous
wives, is lessened upon a careful analysis of the Mormon doctrine in
comparison with those of orthodox Christianity regarding women: all
alike rest upon the same foundation; all teach that sin entered the
world through woman; all alike darken the understanding through such
false teaching. The women of the Mormon church received their training
under orthodox Christianity, which laid the foundation of their self
contempt.[11] With the professed revelation of the Book of Mormon,
a class of priests arose who no less positively and authoritatively
asserted its doctrines to be of God than the priesthood of other
divisions of christianity assert the Bible to be of God; and alike each
declare themselves and their followers to be his chosen people. “By
authority of the priesthood of God,” has carried weight in all ages,
and no greater weight among the Mormons of the present day than among
Christians of all ages. Under the christian theory regarding the origin
and duties of woman it is not surprising that polygamy should ever have
found defenders in the christian world, nor is it at all singular that
Mormonism as “the latest founded christian sect” should teach polygamy
as a divinely organized institution, drawing its arguments from the
Bible. Bishop Lunt of that church, defending polygamy as of divine
origin, said:

    God revealed to Joseph Smith the polygamous system. It is
    quite true that his widow declared that no such revelation was
    ever made, but that was because she had lost the spirit. God
    commanded the human race to multiply and replenish the earth.
    Abraham had two wives, and the Almighty honored the second
    one by a direct communication. Jacob had Leah and Zilpah.
    David had a plurality of wives, and was a man after God’s own
    heart. God gave him Saul’s two wives, and only condemned his
    adulteries. Moses, Gideon and Joshua had each a plurality of
    wives. Solomon had wives and concubines by hundreds, though
    we do not believe in the concubine system. We leave that to
    the Gentiles. Virtue and chastity wither beneath the monogamic
    institution, which was borrowed from the pagan nations by the
    early Christians. It was prophesied that in the latter days
    seven women would lay hold of one man and demand to bear his
    name, that they might not be held in dishonor. The Protestants
    and Catholics assail us with very poor grace when it is
    remembered that the first pillars of the religion they claim
    to profess were men like the saints of Utah—polygamists. The
    fact cannot be denied. Polygamy is virtually encouraged and
    taught by example by the Old Testament. It may appear shocking
    and blasphemous to Gentiles for us to say so, but we hold that
    Jesus Christ himself was a polygamist. He was surrounded by
    women constantly, as the Scriptures attest, and those women
    were his polygamous wives. The vast disparity between the
    sexes in all settled communities is another argument in favor
    of polygamy, to say nothing of the disinclination among young
    male Gentiles to marrying. The monogamic system condemns
    millions of women to celibacy. A large proportion of them
    stray from the path of right, and these unfortunates induce
    millions of men to forego marriage. As I have said, virtue and
    chastity wither under the monogamic system.

    There are no illegitimate children in Utah; there are no
    libertines; there are no brothels, excepting where the
    presence of Gentiles creates the demand for them. Even then
    our people do what they can to root out such places. There
    is a positive advantage in having more than one wife. It is
    impossible to find a Gentile home, where comforts and plenty
    prevail, in which there is only one woman. No one woman can
    manage a household. She must have assistance. Hence we claim
    that when a man marries a second wife, he actually benefits
    the first one, and contributes to her ease, and relieves
    her of a large burden of care. The duties of the household
    are divided between the two women, and everything moves on
    harmoniously and peacefully. The whole thing is a matter of
    education. A girl reared under the monogamic system may look
    with abhorrence on ours; our young women do not do so. They
    expect, when they marry a man, that he will some day take
    another wife, and they consider it quite natural that he
    should do so. In wealthy Gentile communities the concubine
    system largely takes the place of the polygamous system. Any
    man of intelligence, observation and travel, knows that such
    is the case. The fact is ignored by general consent, and
    little is said about it and nothing is written about it. It
    is not regarded as a proper subject of conversation or of
    publication. How much better to give lonely women a home while
    they are uncontaminated, and honor them with your name, and
    perpetually provide for them, and before the world recognize
    your own offspring! The polygamous system is the only natural
    one, and the time rapidly approaches when it will be the most
    conspicuous and beneficent of American institutions. It will
    be the grand characteristic feature of American society. Our
    women are contented with it—more, they are the most ardent
    defenders of it to be found in Utah. If the question were put
    to a vote tomorrow, nine-tenths of the women of Utah would
    vote to perpetuate polygamy.

In line with other Christian sects Mormons claim that polygamy is
countenanced by the New Testament as well as by the Old. They interpret
Paul’s teaching in regard to bishops, while commanding them to marry
one wife, as also not prohibiting them from marrying more than one;
their interpretation of this passage but slightly varying from that
of Rev. Mr. Madan. Rev. C. P. Lyford, of the Methodist church, long a
resident of Utah, does not fail to see the degradation of the people as
in proportion to the despotism of the hierarchy. He says:

    It took the Methodist church forty years to get a membership
    of 38,000. Mormonism in forty-four years counted 250,000.
    It seems incredible, nevertheless it is a fact. In this
    brief space of time it has also been able to nullify our
    laws, oppose our institutions, openly perpetrate crimes, be
    represented in Congress, boast of the helplessness of the
    nation to prevent these things, and give the church supremacy
    over the state and the people. Bills introduced in Congress
    adequate to their overthrow have been year after year allowed
    to fall to the ground without action upon them.

    Our public men can only pronounce against the crime of
    polygamy; the press can see only polygamy in Utah; the public
    mind is impressed with only the heinousness of polygamy. Back
    of polygamy is the tree that produces it and many kindred
    evils more dear to the Mormon rulers. They do not care for all
    the sentiment or law against this one fruit of the tree, if
    the tree itself is left to stand. The tree—the prolific cause
    of so many and so great evils in Utah, the greatest curse of
    the territory, the strength of Mormonism, and its impregnable
    wall of defense against Christianity and civilization, is
    that arbitrary, despotic, and absolute hierarchy known as the
    Mormon Priesthood.

Mr. Lyford has partial insight into the truth when he says “back of
polygamy is the tree that produces it and many kindred evils;” but in
defining that tree as the hierarchy—the priesthood—he has not reached
the entire truth. He does not touch the ground which supports the tree.
Polygamy is but one development of the doctrine of woman’s created
inferiority, the constant tendency of which is to make her a mere slave
under every form of religion extant, and of which the complex marriage
of the Christian sect of Perfectionists at Oneida Community was but
another logical result.

When woman interprets the Bible for herself, it will be in the interest
of a higher morality, a purer home. Monogamy is woman’s doctrine, as
polygamy is man’s. Bachofen, the Swiss jurist, says that the regulation
of marriage by which, in primitive times, it became possible for a
woman to belong only to one man, came about by a religious reformation,
wherein the women in armed conflict, obtained a victory over men.

While the greatest number of converts to the Mormon church are from
among the ignorant peasantry of foreign countries, still no less than
in orthodox christianity do we find people of culture and education
upholding its doctrines, an irrefragable proof that the power of
religious despotism lies in two conditions; First, ignorance; Second,
fear. To fear must ever be attributed the great victories of religious
despotism. Fear of punishment after death from which obedience to
priestly teaching is believed to free. Such slavery of the human mind
has ever been the greatest obstacle to advancing civilization. Men and
women of the Christian church not daring to use their own free thought
upon such questions, are no less bound than the savage, who makes a
hideous noise in order to frighten away the monster he thinks trying to
swallow the sun during an eclipse.

The strength of the church has ever lain in its power of producing
fear and impelling belief in its assertion that the priesthood alone
can define the will of God, and that as His chosen servants they but
voice His will in every word they utter. Unhesitating belief in this
assertion has been required through the Christian ages as evidence
of a true son or daughter of the church, while the cry of heresy, so
frightful in its significance, so terrible in its punishment under the
priesthood, has most effectively prevented investigation and quenched
the fire of rebellious thought.

The Mormon priesthood look toward the establishment of a temporal
kingdom in connection with their religion. They maintain that the
civil power inherently belongs to the theocracy and should supersede
all other forms of government. Like the priesthood of other sects
they claim divine guidance in the promulgation of their laws as
proceeding from above while those of the state emanate from man
himself and consequently are not binding upon the conscience, the
church as a body ever claiming to hold the keys of heaven and of hell;
and the implicit belief given to such assertion by tens and hundreds
of thousands, has ever been a most powerful method for subduing the
reason. Its anathemas, its excommunications, its denial of church rites
in marriage, in burial, its control of both temporal and spiritual
power, have ever made its weapons of the most formidable character.
Fear of what may be met in a future life over which the church assumes
such knowledge and control, subjugation of the reason, the fostering
of ignorance, the denial of education and the constant teaching that
thought outside of the line formulated by the church is deepest sin,
has held the christian world in bondage during its centuries. Inasmuch
as it is impossible for the candid thinker not to perceive that
all forms of christianity are based upon the statement that woman
having brought sin into the world rendered the sacrifice of a Saviour
necessary, the reason of such persistent effort upon the part of the
church for woman’s entire subjugation becomes apparent. It is assumed
by all theocracies that the church is a temporal kingdom, with supreme
right to the control of all civil affairs. Every theocracy is therefore
a political system seeking control of the civil government and however
greatly suppressed in action, every theocracy proposes such control
as its ulterior design. Early in 1890, an encyclical letter by the
pope declared the supremacy of the church over the state, commanding
resistance to the authority of the state in case of its conflicting
with the pretensions of the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic church.
The Mormon theocracy and the Catholic here show their affinity. Nor
are Protestants without similar pretensions as is proven by the action
of the “National Reform Association” of the United States; whose aim
is the union of church and state through an amendment to the Federal
constitution, its ultimate purpose being that of theocratic control
over the civil government of this country. These various bodies are
parts of the “Christian Party in Politics;” nor is this party of
recent origin; as early as 1827-8 when composed almost entirely of
Protestants, its designs upon the life of the republic were noted by
the eloquent Scotch reformer, Frances Wright, during her travels,
lectures and residence in this country. Mormonism and Catholicism
do not more greatly threaten the civil and religious integrity of
this republic than does the “National Reform Association,” the
theocracy of the Protestant church equally with that of the Catholic
church constantly striving to incite congressional action in favor
of obligatory religious teaching and seeking control of the common
schools. Yet the history of the world proves that wherever tried,
ecclesiastical schools have lowered the standard of education. Today
the schools under control of the Mormon church in no respect equal
those of adjacent territories. Under the plea of religious freedom
the greatest dangers arise. While the Mormons affirm in reference to
polygamy that their church laws concern Mormons alone, no less do other
theocracies inculcate doctrines contrary to civil law; the catholic
church, its spirit today[12] the same as during past ages, making
civil marriage and the public school system its present objective
points of opposition to the state;[13] while the general body of
protestant churches more openly than the catholic churches proclaim
their intention not alone to control secular education, marriage
and divorce, but to unite church and state through a change in the
fundamental law of the United States. A somewhat wide-spread fear
exists in regard to the encroachment of Catholicism upon civil liberty.
The most potent danger lies elsewhere, the most potent because the
least perceived; the most potent because arising from a body whom the
masses of native Americans, through heredity and training, look upon
as supporters and defenders of both civil and religious liberty—the
priesthood of the orthodox Protestant churches. Mormonism does not
so fully threaten civil and religious liberty; catholicism is not
making greater encroachments upon them than are the great body of the
protestant clergy, under the name and the work of the “National Reform

The people of the United States with careless security in the power of
the principles of freedom upon which the government is based, fail to
note the theocratic encroachment everywhere threatened.[14] The very
nature of sacerdotalism professing as it every where does, to hold
authority of a supernatural character, unfailingly creates a claim of
supremacy over civil government. President John Taylor, of the Mormon
church, a few years since openly asserted these claims, saying: “We
are independent of newspapers, independent of kings, independent of
governments.” But it is not the Mormon priesthood alone that declares
its independence of secular governments. This is the same spirit that
seen through the ages of christianity has been so plainly shown by
Catholicism since the temporal power in Italy has fallen into the hands
of a secular monarch, and that is now so fully a part of Protestant
effort. Under the overwhelming amount of biblical proof quoted in its
favor by the most eminent legal and clerical minds of the christian
church we must admit the doctrine of polygamy to be a component part of
christianity. Although like the fagot and the stake, under the light of
advancing civilization it has somewhat fallen into disrepute with the
majority of men and women, yet its renewal as an underlying principle
of a new christian sect need not be a subject of astonishment. The
pulpit, the bar, and legislative halls are still under the control
of man and these institutions still express the form of civilization
that is due to his teachings. But as neither moral nor intellectual
education is of value unless founded upon a material basis, the world
now beginning to see that Wall Street, and the Bourse, with their
fingers upon the business of the world, are fast becoming of greater
importance in determining the future character of civilization than
St. Peter’s, the Kremlin, or Westminster Abbey. Wendell Phillips once
declared that the advance of civilization was not dependent upon either
the pulpit or the press but upon commerce, and a careful study of the
inventions and industries of the age, confirm this statement. Material
needs, underlying all others, direct the tenor of modern civilization.
But commerce of itself is not alone responsible. Within the past
thirty years a new element has widely entered into the business of the
world, and even the most careless observer can but in many ways note
the changing customs and habits of business life, and that under this
change, a new form of civilization is dawning upon the world. Woman
once so carefully excluded is now everywhere seen. At the counter,
behind the cashier’s desk, as buyer, as business manager, and in many
instances as employer, conducting business for herself. Every kind
of industry is opening to her, from that of government employee at
Washington with the financial interests of the nation in her grasp, to
that of electrical business, woman is everywhere found. The commerce of
the world is rapidly changing hands and the next quarter of a century
will find woman in its full control. But few persons foresee the
ultimate result of this change. With a new class at the helm, commerce
will give new ideas to the world. If christianity survive the shock
of coming events, it will present a different aspect within the next
fifty years and its teachings in regard to woman will be totally unlike
those of past ages. As woman comes into new relations with the great
institutions of the world, she will cease to believe herself inferior
and subordinate to man. Polygamy and all kindred degradations of her
sex will become things of the past, and taking her rightful place in
church and state she will open a new civilization to the world.

_Chapter Eight_

+Woman and Work+

    And unto Adam the Lord said: “Cursed be the ground for thy
    sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy
    life; thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and
    thou shalt eat the herbs of the field; in the sweat of thy
    face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground,
    for dust thou art and into dust thou shalt return. Gen. 3:

Upon man was pronounced the curse of the world’s work. The Bible
declares it was because of _his_ sinfulness that the earth was to be
cursed; for _his_ punishment that he was to eat of it in sorrow all
the days of his life; because of _his_ wickedness that it was to bear
thorns and thistles; and in consequence of _his_ disobedience that
he was to eat the herb of the field in the sweat of his face until
he returned unto the ground from whence he came. No curse of work
was pronounced upon woman; her “curse” was of an entirely different
character. It was a positive command of the Lord God Almighty, that
upon man alone the work of the world should fall and this work he was
to perform in sorrow and the sweat of his brow.

Thus far this book has been devoted to a consideration of the doctrines
taught by christian men in regard to “woman’s curse,” and so earnestly
has this doctrine been proclaimed that man seems to have entirely
forgotten the “curse,” also pronounced upon himself or if he has not
forgotten, he has neglected to see its full import, and in his anxiety
to keep woman in subordination he has placed _his_ “curse” also upon
her thus thwarting the express command of God. It is therefore but just
to now devote a few pages to the consideration of man’s “curse” and
an investigation of the spirit in which he has accepted the penalty
imposed upon him for his share in the transgression which cost him
Paradise. At the commencement of this investigation, it will be well to
remember that Eve was not banished from the Garden of Eden. Adam alone
was cast out and to prohibit _his_ re-entrance, not hers, the angel
with the flaming sword was set as guardian at its gates.

We must also recall the opposition of the church through the ages
to all attempts made towards the amelioration of woman’s suffering
at time of her bringing forth children, upon the plea that such
mitigation was a direct interference with the mandate of the Almighty
and an inexcusable sin. It will be recalled that in the chapter
upon witchcraft, the bitter hostility of the church to the use of
anaesthetics by the women physicians of that period was shown, and its
opposing sermons, its charges of heresy, its burnings at the stake as
methods of enforcing that opposition. Man, ever unjust to woman, has
been no less so in the field of work. He has not taken upon himself the
entire work of the world, as commanded, but has ever imposed a large
portion of it upon woman. Neither do all men labor; but thousands in
idleness evade the “curse” of work pronounced upon all men alike. The
church in its teachings and through its non-preaching the duty of man
in this respect, is guilty of that defiance of the Lord God it has ever
been so ready to attribute to woman. The pulpit does not proclaim that
this curse of work rests upon any man; does not preach this command to
the idle, the profligate, the rich or the honored but on the contrary
shows less sympathy and less respect for the laborer, than for the
idle man. The influence of this neglect of its duty by the church has
permeated the christian world, we everywhere find contempt for the
man who amid thorns and thistles tills the ground, obeying his primal
“curse” of earning his bread by the sweat of his brow; and everywhere
see respect accorded to the man, who by whatever means of honest or of
dishonest capacity evades his curse, taking no share in the labors of
the field, nor earning his bread in the sweat of his brow.

Anaesthetics have justly been called the greatest boon ever conferred
by science upon mankind. But after the persecution of the witchcraft
period a knowledge of their use was lost to the world for many hundred
years, but when rediscovered during the present century, their
employment in mitigating the sufferings of the expectant mother, again
met with the same opposition as during the middle ages upon the same
ground of its interference with “the curse” pronounced by God upon
woman. The question of their use at such time was violently discussed
at ministerial gatherings, and when Sir James Simpson, physician to
Queen Victoria, employed them at the birth of the later princes and
princesses he was assailed by pulpit and press as having sacrilegiously
thwarted “the curse.” When the practice was introduced into the United
States, prominent New England clergymen preached against their use upon
the same ground, of its being an impious frustration of the curse of
the Almighty upon woman. But the history of christendom does not show
an instance in which the church or the pulpit ever opposed labor by
woman, upon the ground of its being an interference with the “curse”
pronounced upon man, but on the contrary her duty to labor has been
taught by church and state alike, having met no opposition, unless,
perchance she has entered upon some remunerative employment theretofore
monopolized by man, with the purpose of applying its proceeds to her
own individual use. Nor has objection then arisen because of the work,
but solely because of its money-earning qualities. An investigation of
the laws concerning woman, their origin, growth, and by whom chiefly
sustained, will enable us to judge how far they are founded upon the
eternal principles of justice and how far emanating from ignorance,
superstition and love of power which is the basis of all despotism.
Viewing her through the Christian Ages, we find woman has chiefly been
regarded as an element of wealth; the labor of wife[1] and daughters,
the sale of the latter in the prostitution of a loveless marriage,
having been an universally extended form of domestic slavery, one which
the latest court decisions recognize as still extant. It is the boast
of America and Europe that woman holds a higher position in the world
of work under christianity than under pagandom. Heathen treatment of
women in this respect often forms the subject of returned missionary
sermons from men apparently forgetful that servile labor of the
severest and most degrading character is performed by christian women,
is demanded from them in every christian country, Catholic, Greek, and
Protestant alike, many savage and barbarous races showing superiority
over christian lands in their general treatment of women.

England claiming to represent the highest result of christian
civilization shows girls of the most tender years and married women
with infants at the breast working in the depths of coal mines nearly
naked, where harnessed to trucks they drag loads of coal on their
hands and knees through long low galleries to the pit mouth. Among
the pit-women in England are those to whom Christianity is not even a
name; one to whom the word Christ was spoken, asking “who’s him; be he
a hodman or a pitman?” It has been truthfully declared that England
protects its hunting dogs kept for their master’s pleasure, far better
than it protects the women and children of its working classes. It
takes about $2,500,000 annually to pay the maintenance of the 20,000
hounds owned in Great Britain, while women and children are left to
slowly die at starvation wages. A few years since a commission was
instituted by Parliament to inquire into the condition of women working
in the coal mines and the wages paid them. The facts ascertained were
of the most horrible character, no improvement being shown in the past
fifty years, men and women, boys and girls, still working together in
an almost naked condition.

    In the Lancashire coal-fields lying to the north and west of
    Manchester, females are regularly employed in underground
    labor, and the brutal conduct of the men and the debasement of
    the women are well described by some of the witnesses examined
    by them. Betty Harris, (one of numerous persons examined),
    aged thirty-seven, drawer in a coal pit, said: “I have a belt
    around my waist and a chain between my legs to the truck, and
    I go on my hands and feet; the road is very steep and we have
    to hold by a rope, and when there is no rope, by anything we
    can catch hold of. There are six women and about six boys or
    girls in the pit I work in; it is very wet, and the water
    comes over our clog-tops always, and I have seen it up to my
    thighs; my clothes are always wet.” Patience Keershaw aged
    seventeen, another examined, said: “I work in the clothes I
    now have on (trousers and ragged jacket); the bald place upon
    my head is made by thrusting the cones; the getters I work for
    are naked, except their caps; they pull off their clothes;
    all the men are naked.” Margaret Hibbs, aged eighteen, said:
    “My employment after reaching the wall-face is to fill my
    bagie or stype with two and a half or three hundred weight of
    coal; I then hook it on to my chain and drag it through the
    seam, which is from twenty-six to twenty-eight inches high,
    till I get to the main road, a good distance, probably two
    hundred to 400 yards; the pavement I drag over is wet, and I
    am obliged at all times to crawl on my hands and feet with my
    bagie hung to the chain and ropes. It is sad, sweating, sore
    and fatiguing work, and frequently maims the women.” Robert
    Bald, the government coal-viewer, states, that “In surveying
    the workings of an extensive colliery under ground, a married
    woman came forward groaning under an excessive weight of
    coals, trembling in every nerve, and almost unable to keep
    her knees from sinking under her. On coming up she said, in a
    plaintive and melancholy voice, ‘Oh sir, this is sore, sore,
    sore work’.” A sub-commissioner said: “it is almost incredible
    that human beings can submit to such employment—crawling on
    hands and knees harnessed like horses, over soft, slushy
    floors, more difficult than dragging the same weight through
    our lowest sewers.” Hundreds of pages are filled with
    testimony of the same revolting character. These miserable
    human beings are paid less than twenty cents per day. The
    evidence shows almost as terrible a condition of the employees
    of the workshops and large manufacturing establishments.

For the same kind of work men are paid three times more wages than are
paid to women.

    Women in the iron trade of the Midlands are compelled,
    according to a labor commission witness, to work in the sheds
    scantily covered and in the summer have to divest themselves
    of nearly all their clothing while hammering nuts and bolts.
    They bring their children to the factories and cover them up
    to prevent their being burnt by red-hot sparks. Often they
    have to carry bundles of iron weighing half a hundred weight.
    For such work they earn 4s. or 5s. a week, while the men make
    about 14s.

As early as 1840 an inquiry into the mining affairs of Great Britain,
while showing a pitiable condition of the male laborers, exhibited that
of women and children in a much worse light. As the natural guardians
of children, well aware of their immaturity of body and mind, no
mother allows their employment in severe labor at a tender age unless
herself compelled to such work and unable to save her children. But
at this investigation, men, women and children were found working
together in the pits all either nude or nearly so, and according to the
Report, not seeing daylight for weeks at a time. Women soon to become
mothers were found yoked to carts in the pits; girls carried baskets
of coal on their backs up ladders; while mere children crawling like
dogs, on hands and feet, hauled carts along narrow rails, the system
in operation requiring these victims to remain underground for weeks
at a time, breathing foul air and deprived of the light of day. The
spirit of ambition is not dead among these wretched serfs, these women
working out man’s “curse”. The most degraded woman in the English
coal mine will fight for precedence. She has all the force of the man
by her side whose religious equal she is not; whose political equal
she is not; he possessing those elements of power, entrance to the
priesthood and use of the ballot, denied to her. Through the ballot
he receives higher wages for the same kind and amount of work, the
church having taught his superior rights upon every point; through the
ballot he influences the action of government in his own favor to the
injury of his fellow work-woman. A few years since the male miners
petitioned against the employment of women in the mines, when a clause
to that effect was immediately introduced to the Coal Mine Bill, then
before Parliament, although in the Lancashire districts where one
hundred and sixty-four women were employed, all but twenty-six were
widows or single women entirely dependent upon their own earnings.
As severe as the work, the women were remarkable for their bright
and healthful appearance as contrasted with the woman workers in the
factories of Great Britain. Man, hereditarily unjust to woman under
the principles of the Patriarchate and the lessons of Christianity, is
even more unjust in the fields of work he has compelled her to enter,
than in those of education and the ballot which she is seeking for
herself. Organizations, strikes, the eight hour law demand, are largely
conducted by men for men. The grim humor originating the proverb “a
man’s work is from sun to sun, a woman’s work is never done,” still
clings with all its old force to women in most employments. To such
small extent has man made the woman worker’s cause his own, that
instances are to be found even in the United States, where men and
women working together and together going out upon a strike, the men
have been reinstated at the increase demanded, the women forced to
return at the old wages. Nor is our own country the chief sinner in
this respect. It was found imperative many years since, among the
women of England to organize leagues of their own sex alone, if they
desired their own interest in labor to be protected; the male Trades
Unions of that country excluding women from some of the best paid
branches of industry, as carpet making, cloth weaving, letter press
printing.[2] In self defense, the Woman’s Protective and Provident
League, and a _Woman’s Union Labor Journal_ were founded. The principle
of exclusion has not alone been shown against woman’s entrance into
well paid branches of work, but in those they have been permitted to
enter they have found themselves subjected to much petty annoyance.
Among the male painters of pottery a combination was formed to prevent
the use by woman of the arm-rests required in this work. Tram-way
trains carry London workmen at reduced rates, but a combination was
entered into by male laborers to prevent women workers from using the
low-priced trains. Nor in many instances are employers less the enemies
of women, unions having been found necessary for the purpose of moral
protection. A most deplorable evidence of the low respect in which
woman is held and the slavery that work and cheap wages mean for her,
is the suggestion often made by employers that she shall supplement her
wages by the sale of her body. The manager of an industrial league in
New York City a few years since found that no young girl escaped such
temptation. Neither extreme youth nor friendliness afforded security or
protection but were rather additional inducements for betrayal, most
of the victims numbering but fourteen short years. The late Jennie
Collins, of Boston, one of the earliest persons in the United States,
to devote herself to this branch of the “woman question,” said:

    It is easy for a young girl to obtain employment but let her
    go where she will, even in government positions at Washington,
    she will find her innocence assailed if not made the price at
    which she gets a chance to work. And that same government does
    not pay its women employees the same amount of wages for the
    same kind of work.

In the Scottish collieries women are compelled to work in mines filled
with gas and flooded with water,[3] little girls commencing work in
these collieries at four years of age, and at six carrying loads of
one hundred and fifty pounds upon their backs. Half clothed women work
by the side of entirely nude men, dragging ponderous loads of 16,000
yards a day by means of a chain fastened to a belt, the severe labor of
dragging this coal up inclined places to the mouth of the pit, testing
every muscle and straining every nerve. It is a work so destructive to
health that even the stoutest men shrink from it, women engaged in it
seldom living to be over thirty or forty years of age.

A gentleman traveling in Ireland blushed for his sex when he saw the
employments of women young and old. He described them as patient
drudges, staggering over the bogs with heavy creels of turf on their
backs or climbing the slopes from the sea-shore laden like beasts of
burden, with heavy sand-dripping sea-weed, or undertaking long journeys
on foot into the market towns bearing heavy hampers of farm produce.
Man in thrusting the enforcement of his “curse” upon woman in Christian
lands has made her the great unpaid laborer of the world. In European
countries and in the United States, we find her everywhere receiving
less pay than man for the same kind and quality of work. A recent
statement regarding women workers in the foundries of Pittsburgh,
Penn., where five hundred women are employed in putting heads on nails
and bolts, declared they received less than one-half the sum formerly
paid to men who did the same kind of work; women getting from but four
to five dollars a week while the wages of men ranged from fourteen to
sixteen dollars a week. But as evil as the experience of young women in
the world of work, that of old women is in some respects even greater.
While the young girl is almost certain to obtain work even if at small
wages, it is very difficult for the woman of mature years to obtain
work at all, either in households as seamstresses or in manufactories.
Societies in the City of New York, for the aid of the working women
find it impossible to secure employment for middle-aged women. The
report of one such society stated that some of these women managed to
procure commitment to the Island in order to obtain food and prevent
absolute starvation; others slowly died from want of sufficient food;
still others, like the poor hard working girls of Paris, sought the
river as an end to their sufferings. As in the witchcraft period when
the chief persecution for many years raged against old women, we still
find in our own country that the woman of middle life is the least
regarded in her efforts for a livelihood. The reason remains the
same. Looked upon during the Christian ages from a sensual standard,
the church teaching that woman was made for man still exerts its
poisonous influence, still destroys woman. Not alone employers and
male laborers oppress woman, but legislation is frequently invoked
to prevent her entering certain occupations. The Coal Miner’s Bill
was one of many instances in Great Britain. Women work there also at
making nails, spikes and chains. Not long since legislation prohibiting
their entering this branch of work was attempted, when a deputation of
women iron-workers waited upon the home secretary to protest against
government interference with their right to earn a livelihood. One of
these representative women had entered the work at seven years of age,
being then fifty-seven. Having spent nearly half a century in this
occupation she was practically incapacitated for any other form of

The terrible condition of working women in Paris, has attracted the
attention of the French government. In but three or four trades
are they even fairly well paid, and these few require a peculiar
adaptation, as well as an expensive training out of reach of most women
laborers. And even in these best paid kinds of work, a discrimination
in favor of man exists; at the China manufactory at Sevres where the
men employed receive a retiring pension, the women do not. From fifteen
to eighteen pence represents the daily earnings of the Parisian working
girl, upon which sum it is impossible for her to properly support
life. Many of these girls die of slow starvation, others are driven
into prostitution, still others seek relief in the Seine. French women
perform the most repulsive labors of the docks; they work in the mines
dragging or pushing heavy trucks of coal like their English sisters,
through narrow tunnels that run from the seams to the shaft; eating
food of such poor quality that the lessening stature of the population
daily shows the result. This decreasing size of Frenchmen especially
among the peasantry, the majority not coming up to the regulation army
height, has within the last fifteen or twenty years called attention of
the government during conscription, yet without seeming to teach its
cause as lying in the poor food and hard labor of women, the mothers of
these men. The heaviest burdens of porters, the most offensive sanitary
work, the severest agricultural labor in that country falls upon woman.
“I pity the women, the donkeys, and the boys,” wrote Mrs. Stanton
when traveling in the south of France. It is the poor nourishment and
excessive labor of woman which makes France today a country of rapidly
decreasing birth-rate, seriously affecting its population and calling
the earnest attention of statistical bureaus and physicians to this
vital question; a question which affects the standing of France among
the nations of the earth. According to the report of the chief of the
statistical bureau, 1890, there were fewer births than deaths that
year, the births amounting to 838,059, the deaths to 876,505, an excess
of 38,446 deaths. Commenting upon these returns, “Der Reichsbote”
of Berlin, attributed the cause to a wide-spread aversion to large
families; acknowledging, however, that the lower classes had become
weakened and dwarfed by the tasks imposed upon them. What neither the
statistical bureau, the press, or the church yet comprehend is the fact
that the work imposed upon its Christian women, the “curse” of man
thrust upon her, is the chief cause of the lessening size and lessening
population of that country. A French gentleman employing a large number
of women in a flax factory was appalled at the great amount of infant
mortality among the children of his employees. Believing the excessive
death rate to be in consequence of the continued labor of women, he
released expectant mothers for a month previous, and two months after
the birth of a child, with a marked diminution of the death rate. The
ordinary food of the peasantry is of poor quality and meager quantity.
Those employed in the manufacture of silk largely subsist upon a
species of black broth proverbial for its lack of nutritive qualities.
The absence of certain elements in food both creates specific diseases
and inability to combat disease. Vital stamina is closely dependent
upon the number of red corpuscles in the blood, the quality of food
possessing direct connection with these corpuscles. Dr. Blackwell, of
the London Anthropological Society, examined the blood of different
races as related to the food eaten by them, finding the number and
shape of the red corpuscles to be dependent upon the kind of food
eaten. Dr. Richardson, a Philadelphia microscopist, said: “Any cause
which interferes with perfect nutrition may diminish the red corpuscles
in number.” These corpuscles are recognized as “oxygen carriers,”
therefore any cause which tends to diminish the number of red
corpuscles also deprives the system of a portion of the oxygen required
for sanitary needs. Blood not fully oxygenated is poisonous to the
system. Among the causes recognized by physiologists as creating that
alteration in the functions of the body which materially changes the
character of the red corpuscles, are poor food, bad air and overwork.
These specifically produce blood poisoning, creating new substances in
the body that are injurious to the organism.

It is not alone in France that such effects are to be noted, although
governmental attention has not elsewhere been called to the condition
produced, yet twenty years since, _Frazer’s Magazine_ in an article
on “Field Farming Women in England” in reference to the poor food and
overwork of women of this class, said of their children: “The boys
are always very short for their age, those of fifteen being no larger
than town boys of ten; girls are thin and skinny, angular and bony.”
Eight years ago, Dr. Rochad, who has given much time to this question,
prophesied that the population of France would become stationary before
the end of the century. At that time his words carried no weight; he
was ridiculed as a vague theorizer, but this result has been reached in
one half the time he gave and the results are even of graver character
than Dr. Rochad assumed them to be. The balance has already fallen upon
the opposite side and in a single year the deaths have outnumbered the
births nearly 40,000. Two hundred and fifty thousand infants annually
die in France because of the impoverished blood, hard work and general
innutrition of French mothers. “These lives are the more precious to
France which can no longer afford to lose them, since in a single
year the death rate outnumbered the birth rate 40,000.” Through the
effort of Dr. Rochad, a society has been organized, rules for feeding
infants formulated with penalties attached, and like futile methods for
effecting a change suggested; while the real cause of the lessening
population is left untouched. Until the condition of the mother as
life-giver is held as sacred under Christianity as it was among the
Greeks and Romans; until man taking his own “curse” upon himself
frees woman from its penalties; until she and her young children are
supplied with nourishing food and woman secures pure air to breathe and
freedom from the hardships so supremely her lot under existing laws and
customs, not until then will a change take place. Parker Pillsbury in
_Popular Religion_, says:

    Once I journeyed among the magnificent fields, villages and
    vineyards in the south of France. Women tanned, browned,
    almost bronzed by the sun, wind and much exposure, weary and
    worn, many of them mothers, or soon to become such, spaded,
    shoveled, plowed, harrowed, often drawing harrows themselves
    across furrowed fields; they mowed, raked, pitched, loaded and
    unloaded the hay of the meadows; they harvested the crops and
    then hastened to haul manure and prepare the ground for other
    crops, rising early and toiling late, doing almost all kinds
    of work men do anywhere, and some kinds which neither man or
    woman should ever do.

Germany, whose women were revered in the centuries before Christianity,
now degrades them to the level of beasts. Women and dogs harnessed
together are found drawing milk carts in the streets; women and cows
yoked draw the plough in the fields; the German peasant wife works
on the roads or carries mortar to the top of the highest buildings,
while her husband smokes his pipe at the foot of the ladder until she
descends for him to again fill the hod. To such extent is woman a
laborer that she comes in competition with the railroad and all public
methods of traffic. Eight-tenths of the agricultural laborers are
women; they plow and sow, and reap the grain and carry immense loads
of offal for fertilizing the land. As street cleaners they collect the
garbage of towns, work with brooms and shovels to cleanse roadways; and
harnessed alone, or with cows or dogs, perform all the most repulsive
labors of the fields and streets. Nor for a knowledge of their work are
we dependent upon the statements of travelers, but official documents
corroborate the worst. An American consul says of a Circular Upon Labor
recently issued by the German government:

    An important factor in the labor of Germany is not enquired
    of in the circular, viz., the labor of dogs. I have heard
    it estimated that women and dogs harnessed together do more
    hauling than the railroads and all other modes of conveyance
    of goods united. Hundreds of small wagons can be seen every
    day on all the roads leading to and from Dresden, each having
    a dog for the “near horse” harnessed, while the “off horse” is
    a woman with her left hand grasping the wagon tongue to give
    it direction, and the right hand passed through a loop in the
    rope which is attached to the axle, binding the shoulder;
    the harnessed woman and dog trudge along together, pulling
    miraculous loads in all sorts of weather.

The pay of woman for this strange, degrading labor is from ten to
twenty-five cents a day. Nor is that of sewing more remunerative. In
March, 1892, a libel suit against an embroidery manufacturer brought
to light the fact that women in his employ received but five cents a
day. No burden in Germany is considered too heavy for woman until the
failing strength of old age necessitates a change of occupation, when
amid all varieties of weather they take the place of the newsboys of
our own country, selling papers upon the streets. Munich, the capital
of Bavarian Germany, is famed for its treasury of art; paintings,
ancient and modern sculptures, old manuscripts of inestimable value,
large libraries and splendid architecture make it the seat of the
fine arts. But its women are still victims of Christian civilization.
Dresden is another city whose art treasures and architectural beauty
has rendered it famous among European cities as the “German Florence.”
Yet both of these cities employ women in the same kinds of work under
the same repulsive conditions that are found in other portions of that

Bavarian men wearing heavy wooden shoes drive their bare-footed wives
and daughters before the plough in the field, or harnessed with dogs
send them as carriers of immense loads of merchandise through the
cities. Says a writer:

    Women become beasts of burden; still they do not grumble; they
    do not smile either—they simply exist. The only liberty they
    have is liberty to work; the only rest they have is sleep. The
    existence of a cow or a sheep is a perpetual heaven, while
    theirs is a perpetual hell.

In addition to all this out-of-door labor performed by the German
women, they have that of the house and the preparation of clothing
for the family. They industriously knit upon the street while doing
errands; they cook, they spin and make clothing which takes them afar
into the night, rearing their children amid labor so severe as forever
to drive smiles from their faces, bringing the wrinkles of premature
old age in their place. Switzerland, whose six hundredth anniversary
was celebrated in 1888, the oldest republic, sees its women carrying
luggage and blacking boots as porters at inns; propelling heavily
laden barges down its romantic lakes; swinging the scythe by the side
of men in the fields; bringing great baskets of hay strapped to their
shoulders down the mountain side; carrying litters containing travelers
up the same steep mountain top; bringing heavy baskets of fagots from
the forests, and carrying in the more pleasant cutting of grapes at the
vineyard harvest. From five o’clock in the morning till eight in the
evening is the peasant woman’s day of work. A stolid expressionless
face, eyes from which no soul seems to look, a magnificent body as
strong as that of the man by her side, is the result of the Swiss
woman’s hardships and work. It is but a few years since the laws of
Switzerland compelled division of the paternal estate with sisters as
well as brothers, this change provoking intense opposition from the
men. On the Alps, husbands borrow and lend their wives, one neighbor
not scrupling to ask the loan of another’s wife to complete some
farming task, which loan is readily granted with the understanding that
the favor is to be returned in kind. Says one writer:

    The farmers in the Upper Alps, though by no means wealthy,
    live like lords in their houses, while the heaviest portion of
    agricultural labors devolves upon the wife. It is no uncommon
    thing to see a woman yoked to a plough with an ass, while
    her husband guides it. An Alpine farmer counts it an act of
    politeness to lend his wife to a neighbor who has too much
    work, and the neighbor in return lends his wife for a few days
    labor whenever requested.

In Vienna, women lay the brick in building, while throughout Austria
young girls carry mortar for such work. They also work in the fields,
in the mines, pave and clean the streets, or like their German sisters,
harnessed with dogs, drag sprinklers for the street or serve milk at
the customer’s door. Prussian women are also to be found working the
mines, in quarries in foundries, building railroads, acting as sailors
and boatmen, or like those of Holland, dragging barges in place of
horses on the canals, or like those of other European countries,
performing the most severe and repulsive agricultural labors. A
correspondent of the _Cincinnati Commercial_ traveling through
Belgium, said: “No work seems to be done except by woman and dogs.
With few exceptions women do the harvesting, working like oxen.” The
physiological fact that the kind of labor and the kind of food affect
the physical frame is noticeable in Belgium the same as in France
and England. Women of all ages from fourteen to sixty, work in the
coal mines, married women sometimes carrying babies strapped to their
backs into the pit, laying the infants near them while digging coal,
some mine owners refusing to employ a miner unless he can bring one
or more members of his family into the pit with him. Employers prefer
girls and women because of their lower wages and greater docility;
for twelve hours work a woman receives but thirty cents. Even in
little Montenegro, husbands lend their wives to each other during
the harvest season, and an exceptionally strong or quick-moving wife
finds exceptional demand for her services. This little state degrades
woman to still greater extent than her sister countries, as they there
form the beasts of burden in war, and are counted among the “animals”
belonging to the prince.

The Russian peasant woman under the Greek church, finds life equally
a burden, and is even to greater extent than in most countries the
slave of her husband and the priest, no form of labor or torture being
looked upon as too severe to impose upon her. The woman are much more
industrious than the men and the hardest work is done by them. As
Russia is primarily an agricultural country it possesses immense fields
of hay, oats and wheat, the work largely performed by women. The wheat
sown broadcast is either harvested with sickles or the old-fashioned
scythe with a broad blade. Women do the entire work of gathering up,
binding and stacking the wheat, neighbors during harvest helping each
other. Women of every age from the young girl to the aged grandmother,
take part, assembling at daybreak. Horses are also there in number for
carrying food, water, extra implements, and the men and boys of the
conclave. The women however aged, walk; the day’s work lasting over
eighteen hours or from daybreak until dark; in that northern land at
harvest time it continues light from 3 a. m. to 9:30 p. m. Nor are
mothers with young infants excused from this toil. Babies are carried
into the fields where they lie all day under trees, or partially
sheltered by a bough over them, covered with insects from which the
mother can find no time to relieve them. Under such circumstances of
neglect, it is not surprising that infant mortality is excessive.
Nor do the children of a slightly larger growth receive the care
requisite for their tender years and it is estimated that eight out of
every ten children in Russia die under ten years of age. But no one
form of Christianity monopolizes the wrong. Everywhere, under every
name and sect, man has thrown the carrying out of his “curse” on to
woman. Italy, the center of Catholicism, under a careful analysis of
statistics, showing that the wages of the Italian working woman do not
exceed four pence a day. In Venice a traveler was recently shown some
wonderfully beautiful articles of clothing; scarfs, shawls, mantles,
handkerchiefs, many of them requiring six months for the production;
expressing amazement at the astonishingly low price demanded for such
exquisite fabrics he was told, “we pay our young girls but seven cents
a day.” A correspondent of the _Philadelphia Press_, writing from
abroad in 1885, declared the debasement of woman to be more thorough
and complete in Protestant Stockholm than in any city of northern
Europe, as there she supplanted the beasts of burden. He spoke of her
as doing all the heavy work on buildings and paid only one kroner
(equivalent to a trifle over twenty-six cents) for a hard day of this
toil. He found women sweeping the streets, hauling rubbish, dragging
hand-carts up the hills and over the cobble-stones, unloading bricks at
the quays, attending to the parks, doing the gardening and rowing the
numerous ferries which abound in that city. The entire dairy business
of the city is in their hands and here they have the help of neither
horses nor dogs but take the entire place of the beasts, carrying the
heavy cans of milk on their shoulders from door to door; he said:

    I am not altogether unfamiliar with woman’s work in Europe;
    I have seen her around the pit mouth, at the forge, and bare
    foot in the brick yards of “merrie” England; filling blast
    furnaces and tending coke ovens in “sunny France.” I have
    sadly watched her bearing the heat and burden of the day in
    the fields of the “fatherland” and in Austria-Hungary doing
    the work of man and beast on the farm and in the mine. I have
    seen women emerge from the coal pits of “busy Belgium” where
    little girls and young women were underground bearers of coal
    and drawers of carts. Aged, bent and sunburned, I have seen
    women with rope over shoulder toiling on the banks of canals
    and over dykes in “picturesque Holland.” Having witnessed all
    this, I was yet surprised to find in a city so beautiful and
    seemingly so rich as Stockholm, women even more debased.

In the Connellsville coke region of Pennsylvania, United States, the
Hungarian woman workers are found engaged in the severest labor under
authority of the husband or father, half nude women drawing the hot
coke from the chambers. Master Workman Powderly visiting the place
early one morning, said of it:

    At one of the ovens I saw a woman half naked drawing the coke
    from one of the chambers. She had no covering on her head and
    very little on her person. Her appearance was that of one
    whose spirit had been broken by hardship and hard work. Her
    attire consisted of a chemise and a pair of cowhide boots. In
    a freight car close by stood another woman forking the coke as
    it came into the car. The woman stood in the doorway and was
    dressed in a rough, loose-fitting outer garment and an apron.
    Her person from the waist up was exposed. When she stooped
    over to handle the coke, she caught her hair between her teeth
    in order to keep it out of her way. Her babe which she
    brought to the works with her, lay in front of the car with
    scarcely any covering except the shadow of a wheel barrow
    which was turned up in order to protect the child from the
    rays of the sun.

The suffering of helpless infants and children from privation and
neglect through enforced labor of the mother, is one of the most
shocking things connected with this degradation of woman in labor. The
ownership by the husband of the wife’s services; his power under the
Christian law of church and state of compelling her to work for him;
the public sentiment of church and state which not alone recognizes
absolute authority over the wife as inhering in the husband, but which
are the creators of such belief, are the causes of illness, death,
moral degradation, insanity, crime and vice of every kind. One year
even, of civilized housekeeping with its routine of washing, starching,
ironing, scrubbing, cooking, baking, pickling, canning, sewing,
sweeping, house-cleaning, etc., etc., with all their accompanying
overheating and overlifting; the care of children both night and day,
whether sick or well, the constant demands upon her time and strength,
thrown upon women of the Christian household, are labors more severe
than fell on the old-time savage woman of America during her whole
life. Until the customs of civilization reached the Indians, their
wives, according to Catlin, Schoolcraft and others, were not called
upon to work with half the severity of the women of today, nor had they
tradition of children ever born deaf, dumb or blind. Those kinds of
labor pointed to as showing the hardships of an Indian woman’s life,
Schoolcraft dismisses very lightly. The lodge built by her is not made
of heavy posts and carpentry, but of thin poles bent over at the top,
such as a child can lift. When a family changed its residence these
poles were not removed; only the thin sheets of birch bark covering,
were taken to the new rendezvous. The gathering of the fuel by the
women, was cutting dry limbs of the forest not over eighteen inches
in length, with a hatchet. The tillage of the fields shared alike by
the old men, women and the boys, was very light. No oxen to drive, no
plough to hold, no wheat to plant or thresh. The same corn hills were
used year after year, forming small mounds that were long a puzzle to
the antiquarian. The squash and the pumpkin grew luxuriantly, while the
children made holidays of gathering nuts and acorns for winter use. And
today Africa, “The Dark Continent” is the children’s paradise, says
Mrs. French Sheldon, the wonderful woman explorer, who carried peace
with her everywhere and whose investigations in that part of the world
exceed in value those of Livingstone or Stanley. She says:

    In all these months among the children every day, I never saw
    a child struck and I heard a child cry but twice while on the
    Dark Continent.

How different from the countries of Christian civilization where
children, mere infants of three and four years, are put to the most
severe labor or because of the mother’s enslaved condition, die from
neglect. It will be said, but these instances, especially in the United
States, are exceptional. This is not so, although the work performed
may be of a different character. The wife even in this country is
expected to understand and perform many kinds of labor. She is cook
and baker, laundress and seamstress, nurse for her children and the
sick, besides a thousand and one cares which rise before her every
hour. One such overworked mother acknowledged to placing the cradle
where the sun would shine in the baby’s eyes, thus compelling them to
close, when she would push all out of the way underneath the bed. Said
a German girl working “as help” in the modern kitchen of a well-to-do
American family. “I plowed at home harnessed beside a cow, and the
work was not as hard as in your hot kitchen.” The care of children
and domestic labor are not compatible with each other. One must be
neglected, and she of whom, “meals on time” are demanded, can say where
the neglect necessarily falls. A consistent carrying out by man of his
“curse” would cause him to take upon himself the entire work of the
world; not alone tilling the soil, but all household labor; the baking
and brewing, the cooking and cleaning and all the multitudinous forms
of work which make such wearisomely incessant demands upon woman’s
strength and time. From all sewing, knitting, crocheting, embroidering,
she should be freed, and even beyond this, under the principles of
_his_ “curse,” upon man should fall all the work of rearing children,
as woman’s “curse” so often quoted does not refer to aught but bringing
them to life in sorrow and suffering. Custom, which has been defined
as unwritten law, adds its force to legislative enactments and soon
becomes as binding upon thought as a moral command. People soon cease
to question a custom, or a law, accepting both in that conservative
spirit so utterly destructive to liberty. For that reason what has long
been so, is regarded as right, and even while regretting the neglect
of her children so unavoidable to the ordinarily situated mothers,
few women give thought to the cause bringing it about. Women are not
sufficiently permeated with the meaning of personal liberty. They do
not sufficiently investigate the causes of their restricted condition,
and the break made within the past twenty-five to forty years against
conditions, has rather been in the nature of a blind instinctive
revolt, than brought about through philosophic thought except in the
minds of a few, who by the protest of speech, opened the way that vast
multitudes are now entering upon. Open rebellion against law is ever
considered by the majority as rebellion against morality. Speaking of
the moral influence of law, Sheldon Amos says:

    As soon as a law is made and lifted out of the region of
    controversy, it begins to exercise a moral influence which
    is no less intense and wide-spreading for being almost
    imperceptible. Though law can never attempt to forbid all that
    is morally wrong, yet that gets to be held as morally wrong
    which the law forbids.

No less does unwritten law come to be regarded as morally right. The
customs of society build up through teachings of the church, and
laws of the state, have destroyed that sense of personal security
among women which is the chief value of social life and of law. The
very foundation of religion tends to this end even with man, but the
division of rights and duties promulgated by the church as between man
and woman, the changing form of laws—class legislation—has rendered
the position of woman notably insecure. This usurpation is productive
of immense loss to the state as France so clearly shows. Take the one
article of food alone, the delicacies and the substantials alike are
claimed by man. No proof of this statement other than the innumerable
saloons and restaurants chiefly supported by men, is required. While
the dairyman, the bird-fancier, the horse trainer, and even the
pugilist, recognize the value of food as far as a factor of life
and strength, where his own immediate money interest is concerned,
neither governments, religions nor scientists have to any extent noted
the influence of proper food for the mother upon the health and life
of the unborn child. Victor Hugo, while upon the island of Guernsey,
noted the vastly beneficial effect that even one good meal a week had
upon the peasant children. Food, building muscles, nerves, the brain,
what can be expected but a deterioration of humanity when mothers eat
insufficient or improper food?

The effect of the kind of food eaten has recently been noted in the
new industry of ostrich farming, in California, of which it is said:
“Ostriches yield the best feathers if the birds are well cared for.
The quality of the plumes depends upon the quality of the food. If the
ostriches are well fed, their plumes are soft and big. Bad feeding
makes the feathers hard and coarse.” Nor are animals from whom the
best products are looked for, allowed to labor. Their lives are those
of ease and comfort that best results may be obtained. Innutrition
and the hard labor of expectant mothers are the two great factors in
physical degeneration and infantile mortality. The question is not one
of sentiment or of law or of religion, but of physiology. It does not
alone involve the destiny of mothers but of the race. There is not a
national problem, be it of war or population or finance that is not
based upon the condition of woman. Its neglect has depopulated the
world in times past, it has lessened intellectual development, it has
almost entirely obliterated certain kinds of morality and can no longer
be regarded from the standard of either of those great institutions,
church or state.

The recent official report of the Factory Inspector of the state of
New York upon the condition of working women, showed a condition
quite in line with the worst features of foreign lands. Overwork, bad
ventilation, low wages, poor food, all combining for their physical
and moral destruction. _The Churchman_ under heading of “In Darkest
New York” speaks of the condition of the poor in that city, both men
and women; but while not forgetting the wrongs of the male laborer, we
must ever remember that the condition of woman is still lower, and the
results of her severe work and semi-starvation, much more injurious to
the world.

    We must leave the tenements without attempting to reproduce
    any of the shocking cases of crowded rooms in which almost
    incredible numbers of poor wretches are huddled together
    even in summer, when Mr. Riis has found the thermometer rise
    to 115 degrees. In some of these places there is more than
    struggle; there is often starvation. Every once in a while a
    case of downright starvation gets into the papers and makes
    a sensation. But this is the exception. Were the whole truth
    known it would come home to the community with a shock that
    would arouse it to a more serious effort than the spasmodic
    undoing of its pursestrings. I am satisfied that hundreds of
    men, women and children are every day slowly starving to death
    with my medical friend’s complaint of “improper nourishment.”
    Within a single week I have had this year three cases of
    insanity provoked directly by poverty and want. Worse than
    even that is the evil case of thousands of ill-fated working
    girls. The average wages of 150,000 of them is 60 cents per
    day; and that includes the incomes of the stylish “cashiers”
    who earn $2 a day as well as the pittance of girls who earn
    30 cents a day in east-side factories. The lot of the average
    saleswoman who does not partly depend on her family is hard

That the average wages of the 150,000 working girls in the city of
New York alone are but sixty cents a day, some receiving as little
as thirty cents in the east side factories; that 30,000 young girls
between the ages of twelve and fourteen employed as cash girls cannot
supply themselves with food unless having parents upon whom to
partially depend, are no less moral than material questions. Nor are
they questions confined to that one city, or to any one portion of the
United States, or of christendom, but belong to humanity itself. As all
are parts of one great whole, the evil that afflicts one class touches
all; all suffer because of the wrong done to even one human being. The
population of the city of New York is more largely comprised of women
than of men and a great proportion of this class are dependent upon
their own labor for a livelihood. Although many foreign-born women
emigrate to this country, over two millions having landed upon our
shores within the nine years from 1881 to 1890, it is not alone upon
them these conditions of severe labor fall, but native-born American
women, both within and without the household, suffer from the same kind
of oppression. Even upon the Pacific coast where few foreigners except
Chinese are found, little girls of five and six years are put to work
in the jute mills and factories by side of their drudging mothers,
whose wages do not equal those of the men employed. In government
clerkships at Washington, women receive but one-half the pay that men
receive for the same kind and quality of work. Although the sweating
system in the manufactories of clothing has called the nation’s
attention to its abuses, yet in the District of Columbia, under
sole power of Congress, a system of similar nature exists. Nor are
statistics of woman’s severe work in the United States of immediately
recent date. The labor Commission report of the state of Connecticut
for 1876, declaring that the wives and daughters of the farmer engage
in work which he can find no man to do, rising at four o’clock in the
morning and working until nine in the evening. Analyzing the statistics
of the Massachusetts Labor Bureau for 1891, the _Boston Globe_ showed
the greatly inferior payment of women laborers:

    The figures simply show that in the employments in which the
    very lowest wages are paid, women constitute over 70 per cent
    of the workers, while in the employments where as high as
    $20 a week are paid, they constitute hardly over 3 per cent.
    In addition to all this is the humiliating fact that in some
    occupations, standing side by side with men, the females are
    paid less wages for the same work; or, what amounts to the
    same thing, a woman of 20 years or upwards is made to work
    side by side with a boy often at the same wages. Women are
    compelled, then, to fill most of the cheap places, and paid
    less wages for the same work at that.

In this report the shameful fact is proven through governmental
statistics that the wages paid to a girl of twenty years are no more
than those paid a boy of ten, women constituting over seventy per cent
of the workers to whom the very lowest wages are paid. Underlying all
other results are those upon woman herself. Before every question of
population, is that of woman as an individual. Overwork and the under
nourishment of muscle, nerve, brain, render her own proper evolution
either as a physical or as a moral being impossible. To just the extent
that such pressure comes upon her, does she cease to be a morally
responsible being. Thousands to whom life and comforts are sweet,
throw aside all scruples, entering that one avenue of escape always
open to a young woman or a girl. For the statement that the majority
of women entering upon immorality have been driven by actual want to
this mode of life, we are again indebted to rigorous investigation and
statistics for information, but the moral deterioration of the race
arising from these wrongs to women can not be estimated by figures. In
teaching, the only absolute equality of wages between man and woman is
found in the Cherokee nation of Indians. The civilization of the Indian
tribes is a question of woman’s education and freedom. The world still
holds a mistaken idea of force and power, those questions not so fully
pertaining to the physical as to the intellectual and spiritual parts
of the being. The _New York Nation_ recently said, “It is absolutely
essential to the preservation of the dignity and independence of
women that they should be on a par with men as regards property and
education, the two things that in modern times have supplanted physical
force as elements of power.”

Real estate possesses more power as property than either money or
jewels. The real strength of American civilization lies in the fact
that almost every family owns its home. Permanent national strength
lies in the division of realty. In England women are more rapidly
becoming part of the governing class than in the United States, and
in that country one-seventh of the landed property owners are women.
These facts should be borne in mind in regard to the civilization of
the native races of America. It is through the Indian women that the
problem of their civilization must be answered; the title in fee simple
to lands should be in the hands of the women.

The union of the state with the church in the enforcement of man’s
“curse” upon woman is most forcibly shown by a decision of the New York
Court of Appeals rendered early in 1892 which held that the services of
a wife belong to the husband and that she cannot recover wages from him
even if holding his written promise to pay. This decision like that of
the Agar-Ellis case in England, was upon the principle that the wife is
so fully under subjection to her husband as to incapacitate her from
making a contract even with that husband. In all the wife’s relations
to the husband she is regarded as a being without responsibility. The
case upon which this decision rested is this: A woman fell down a
coal-hole and sued for damages, recovering $500. The defendant asked
for a new trial upon the ground that the woman was working for her
husband and the court had taken into account her loss of wages. The
services of the wife belonging to the husband, her claim for lost
wages was a fraud. But this decision of the Court of Appeals doubtless
will not interfere with the power of the husband to recover damages
for loss of her time by reason of this injury which deprived him of
her services. The decision of the Court recognized the right of the
husband to compel the wife to perform household duties for him. When
in England, 1880, the married woman’s property rights bill was before
parliament, a commission of inquiry was sent to New York to learn the
effect of securing the control of their own property to married women.
Under various amendments since the first passage of this act in 1848,
the legislature of New York has farther secured to married women the
right of making wills, of collecting wages for work, and of entering
business outside of the household, the proceeds belonging entirely to
herself. But under this decision of the Court of Appeals, the ground
was taken that the wife cannot collect wages from the husband, and
that household work for him is compulsory upon her.[4] This decision
as to compulsory housework controverts that other right recognized by
legislation, of entering into business, doing work outside of the home,
the proceeds to belong solely to herself. Under this decision of the
Court of Appeals, a wife can be compelled to work for the husband in
the house without wages, and is debarred from all outside business.

St. Augustine in his “City of God,” taunts Rome with having caused her
own downfall by her treatment of her slaves. He speaks of the slaves
as miserable beings put to labor only fit for the beasts of the field
and even degraded below them; their condition had brought Rome to its
own destruction. But Roman wives were not forced to labor. The peace
made by the Sabines with the Romans after the forcible abduction of
the Sabine maidens, had for one of its provisions that no labor except
spinning should be required from wives. Among both the ancient Greeks
and Romans, the woman about to become a mother, as heretofore shown,
was held sacred; she was exempt from hard labor and no one was allowed
under penalty of punishment, to vex or disturb her mind.

If degrading their slaves below the beasts of the field led to the
destruction of Rome, as declared by Augustine, what may not be
predicted of that Christian civilization which in the twentieth century
of its existence degrades women and children to such labors as he
declared unfit for the slaves of ancient Rome, suitable only for the
beasts of the field; which harnesses them by side of cows, asses and
dogs to do the most menial work, which robs them in wages and stints
them in food in the name of “religion”?

_Chapter Nine_

+The Church of Today+

While under advancing civilization, a recognition of the religious
rights of woman is steadily progressing among people at large, it
requires but slight investigation to prove that olden church theories
regarding her not only came into the reformation, but largely remain
the same today. The Christianity of the ages having taught the
existence of a superior and an inferior sex possessing different
rights in the Christian Church, held accountable to different codes of
morals, it is not strange that we do not find morality to have been
more of a fundamental principle among the pastors of early Protestant
churches than in the Catholic priesthood. The doctrine of “Once in
grace, always in grace,” carries with it a plea for vice, and the
early experience of strict Calvinistic Scotland was much that of
mediaeval Catholic Europe. The Presbyterian Conventicles[1] early bore
an extremely evil reputation. The fact that ministers of the reformed
church were permitted marriage did not change priestly teaching that
woman was created solely for man, and they found apologies in the Bible
for illicit conduct. These Protestant clergymen taught, as had the
Catholic, that a priest was incapable of sinning; and from the Sermon
on the Mount, “To the pure all things are pure,” was quoted in proof
of this assertion. Even when under circumstances of great personal
peril and danger to life, the trust of parishioners in the morality
of their shepherds was often abused; of this, Rev. David Williamson,
one of the most eminent Presbyterian ministers of Edinburgh, was a
conspicuous example. In defense of his immorality Mr. Williamson said,
“Verily, I do not deny that with St. Paul I have a law in my members
warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity unto
the love of sin which is in my members.” The strangest sermons, most
insulting to woman and too indecorous for quotation, were constantly
preached; while her inferiority and incapacity for understanding even
the gospel was also as constantly declared from the pulpit. An old
Presbyterian preacher, Rev. David Douglas, discovering a woman weeping
in the kirk, pointed toward her, crying, “Wife, what makes you weep?
I am sure thou understandeth not what I am saying; my discourse is
directed to the brethren and not to the like of you.” The present
century, with all its enlightenment does not cease to give us glimpses
of that favorite mediaeval doctrine that “sin can be killed with sin as
the best way of becoming innocent again,” and its concomitant, that it
is impossible for a person in grace to commit sin.[2] The doctrines of
holiness and entire sanctification, taught by some sects today, and the
theory that all experience is necessary in order to a full development
of character, are of the same nature. Eastern “Wisdom Religion”
declares that a person can become neither God nor deva without passing
through all experience, returning again and again to earth for this

    The departure of the soul-atom from the bosom of the Divinity
    is a radiation from the life of the Great All, who expends
    his strength in order that he may grow again and live by
    its return. God thereby acquires new vital force, provided
    by all the transformation that the soul-atom has undergone.
    Its return is its final reward. Such is the secret of the
    evolution of the Great Being and of the Supreme Soul.[3]

    Directions for seeking out the way:

    Seek it not by any one road, to each temperament there is one
    road which seems the most desirable. But the way is not found
    by devotion alone, by religious contemplation alone, by ardent
    progress, by self-sacrificing labor, by studious observation
    of life. None can take the disciple more than one step onward.
    All steps are necessary to make up the ladder, one by one,
    as they are surmounted. The virtues of men are steps indeed,
    necessary—not by any means to be dispensed with. Yet, though
    they create a fine atmosphere and happy future, they are
    useless if they stand alone. The whole nature of man must be
    used wisely by the one who desires to enter the way. Each man
    is to himself absolutely the way, the truth and the life.
    Seek it by plunging into the mysterious and glorious depths
    of your own inmost being. Seek it by testing all experience,
    by utilizing the senses in order to understand the growth and
    meaning of individuality and the beauty and obscurity of those
    other divine fragments which are struggling side by side with
    you, and form the race to which you belong.[4]

The Catholic and Calvinistic doctrines of woman’s inferiority of
position and intellect taught from the pulpit, are by no means
relegated to past centuries, but continue to be publicly taught by the
Protestant clergy of every sect, as fully as by their Catholic and
Greek brethren. The first National Woman Suffrage Convention which
assembled in Washington, 1869, having invited Rev. Chaplain Gray, of
the House, to open its proceedings with prayer, he referred in this
petition to woman as an after-thought of the Creator, an inferior and
secondary being, called into existence for the special benefit of
man. The noble old Quakeress, Lucretia Mott, sitting in an attitude
of devout attention, suddenly raised her head, and at close of the
prayer, Bible in hand, she read aloud the account of the creation,
Genesis I. 27-28, woman and man equals, both having been given dominion
over nature. The thirtieth anniversary of the first public demand of
woman for the recognition of her equality of right with man, held in
Rochester, N.Y., July 18, 1878, passed a series of resolutions[5]
asserting woman’s equality and religious rights with man. Three of
these proved especially obnoxious to the clergy of the country, in
declaring the first duty of every individual to be self development;
the duty of every woman to be guided by her own reason rather than the
authority of another; and that it was owing to the perversion of the
religious element in woman that she had been so completely subjugated
to priestcraft and superstition.

    _Resolved_: That as the first duty of every individual is
    self-development, the lessons of self-sacrifice and obedience
    taught to woman by the Christian church have been fatal, not
    only to her own vital interests, but through her, to those of
    the race.

    _Resolved_: That the great principle of the Protestant
    Reformation, the right of individual conscience and judgment
    heretofore exercised by men alone, should now be claimed by
    woman; that, in the interpretation of Scripture, she should
    be guided by her own reason, and not by the authority of the

    _Resolved_: That it is through the perversion of the religious
    element in woman—playing upon her hopes and fears of the
    future, holding this life with all its high duties in abeyance
    to that which is to come—that she and the children she has
    borne have been wrongfully subjugated by priestcraft and

These resolutions immediately called forth a sermon in opposition from
the Rev. A. H. Strong, D.D., president of the Rochester Theological
Seminary (Baptist) in which he said:

    She is subordinate to man in office, she is to be helper,
    not principal. Therefore man has precedence in the order of
    creation, woman is made of man, and to supply the felt need
    of man. The race, therefore, is called the race of man and
    not the race of woman. For this office of subordination and
    whether they assert it or not, women are fitted by their very
    constitution, and in the very creation of mankind in the
    garden of beauty undefiled by the slimy track of the serpent
    as it was, God ordained the subordination of woman and the
    differences of nature that makes her subordination inevitable.
    The power of rule seems to me to have been invested in the
    head of the family that he may act for them, or rather that
    they may act through him.

The assertion of this theologian that “the race therefore is called
the race of man and not the race of woman,” is of the same character
as that of Inquisitor Sprenger in regard to the word _femina_,
as applied to woman, showing the intellectual calibre of both
inquisitor and theologian to be the same. But in their assertion of
woman’s inferiority and subordination, neither Chaplain Gray nor
President Strong proceeded quite as far as an opposing speaker at the
Philadelphia Woman Suffrage Convention of 1854, who said, “Let woman
first prove that she has a soul, both the Bible and the Church deny
it.” Here we are set back to the Macon Council of the sixth century,
which debated the question of woman’s humanity.

That the church of the nineteenth century possesses the same character
as that of the fourteenth, the twelfth, and fifth, was forcibly
illustrated during the early days of the anti-slavery struggle,
especially in its persecution of the women who took part in that
reform. Lucretia Mott and Esther Moore were integral members of the
American Anti-slavery Society, having assisted in the convention which
organized this society in 1833. Shortly afterward the Grimke sisters
of South Carolina, Sarah and Angelina, convinced of the sinfulness
of slavery, left their delightful home in Charleston, and coming
North, spoke eloquently through Massachusetts against those wrongs
of which they themselves had been witnesses. The church, becoming
frightened at woman’s increasing power and influence, determined to
crush her work. Its action began with the Orthodox Congregational,
at that time the largest and most influential ecclesiastical body of
Massachusetts, and in 1837 the General Association of Massachusetts
issued a pastoral letter calling upon all “churches under their care”
to defend themselves by closing their doors against the abolitionists,
who had set aside the laws of God by welcoming women to their platforms
and allowing them to speak in public;[6] section third was the most
significant portion of this pastoral letter.

    III. We invite your attention to the dangers which at present
    seem to threaten the female character with wide spread and
    permanent injury.

    The appropriate duties and influence of woman are clearly
    stated in the New Testament. Those duties and that influence
    are unobtrusive and private, but the source of mighty power.
    When the mild, dependent, softening influence of woman under
    the sternness of man’s opinions is fully exercised, society
    feels the effects of it in a thousand forms. The power of
    woman is her dependence, flowing from the consciousness of
    that weakness which God has given her for her protection, and
    which keeps her in those departments of life that form the
    character of individuals and of the nation. There are social
    influences which females use in promoting piety and the great
    objects of Christian benevolence which we cannot too highly
    commend. We appreciate the unostentatious prayers and efforts
    of woman in advancing the cause of religion at home and
    abroad; in Sabbath schools; in leading religious inquirers to
    the pastors for instruction; and in all such associated effort
    as becomes the modesty of her sex; and earnestly hope that she
    may abound more and more in these labors of piety and love.

    But when she assumes the place and tone of man as a public
    reformer, our care and protection of her seem unnecessary;
    we put ourselves in self-defense against her; she yields the
    power which God has given her for her protection, and her
    character becomes unnatural. If the vine whose strength and
    beauty is to lean upon the trellis work, and half conceal
    its clusters, thinks to assume the independence and the
    overshadowing nature of the elm, it will not only cease to
    bear fruit, but fall in shame and dishonor into the dust. We
    cannot, therefore, but regret the mistaken conduct of those
    who encourage females to bear an obtrusive and ostentatious
    part in measures of reform, and countenance any of that sex
    who so far forget themselves as to itinerate in the character
    of public lecturers and teachers. We especially deplore the
    intimate acquaintance and promiscuous conversation of females
    with regard to things which ought not to be named; by which
    that modesty and delicacy which is the charm of domestic
    life, and which constitutes the true influence of woman in
    society is consumed, and the way opened, as we apprehend, for
    degeneracy and ruin.

    We say these things not to discourage proper influences
    against sin, but to secure such reformation as we believe is
    scriptural, and will be permanent.

That we may rightly judge the character of this pastoral letter, it
must be remembered, that no discussion upon what is known as “the woman
question” took place at those meetings, which were entirely devoted
to the southern slave. This letter was written by men, emanating
from a body of christian people that sustained colored slavery as an
institution upon which God had as equally placed his sanction, as upon
the subordination of woman. To such extent have the conscience and
will been under the bondage of the priesthood, that the more timid
members of the anti-slavery society became frightened, even some of
those who believed in woman’s equality advising these speakers to yield
their rights in the meetings, lest the ministers who had joined them
should withdraw, taking others with them. Thus priestly intolerance
and the timidity of anti-slavery men, had the effect of silencing the
philanthropic and eloquent Grimke sisters,[7] in their efforts for the
freedom of the slave. After ten months work, their voices were heard
no more. These sisters were not only persecuted in the North, under
ban of the church, but in the South the State united with the Church,
and by a decree of the city of Charleston they were rendered permanent
exiles from home, and informed that should they return despite this,
they would not be able to escape personal violence from a mob. With one
noble exception, this mandate of the church and clergy had effect for
a time in silencing woman’s plea for the slave. For seven long years
the voice of but one woman, that of Abby Kelly,[8] was heard upon the
anti-slavery platform, and the persecutions of the church made her life
one long martyrdom; her appeals for the slave were met by mob violence,
furious howls, cries, and the vilest language being supplemented by
more material efforts for silencing her voice. Were these proceedings
not so thoroughly substantiated, the time so shortly past, credence
could not be given as to the means used against this noble woman to
prevent her pleading for those so greatly wronged.[9] Ministers of
high standing assailed her from the pulpit, a favorite text being,
“Revelations” 2-20. I “have a few things against thee, because thou
suffereth that woman, Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to
teach and seduce my servants to commit fornication.” Not alone the
Congregational body, but all Christian sects, were imbued with the same
persecuting spirit, a Methodist presiding elder characterizing the
Garrisonian societies, as no longer anti-slavery, but “no-government,
no-sabbath, no-church, no-bible, no-marriage, woman’s rights societies.”

That woman had assumed the right to speak in public for the oppressed
was the origin of all this vituperation. Its real cause was of the
same nature as that which laid 30,000 heads low, at St. Bartholomew,
that woman’s voice had been heard in public contrary to the teaching
of the church. It was perhaps foreseen that she might, as really at
a later period was done, draw a vivid illustration of the similitude
between the condition of the white wife and the black slave.[10] The
unity and peace of the World’s Anti-slavery Convention, London, 1840,
was disturbed by the hostility of several clergymen, and a few bigoted
laymen of the same spirit, who objected to the recognition of the women
delegates sent by several American societies, among whom were Lucretia
Mott and Esther Moore, members of the parent organization. After a
spirited discussion their admission was decided to be a violation of
the ordinances of Almighty God, and their credentials were rejected.[11]

In 1843, the Hopkinson Association of Congregational Divines, of
New Hampshire, unanimously enacted a statute in opposition to women
opening their lips in church, even to “sigh” or “groan” in contrition;
doubtless agreeing with Minister Douglas, that they were incapable of
understanding a discourse directed to the brethren, who alone were
allowed to shout “Amen,” “Bless the Lord,” and “Glory.” By a strange
inconsistency women were still allowed to sing “under men as leaders.”
This statute of restriction declared:

    But, as to leading men, either in instruction or devotion, and
    as to any interruption or disorder in religious meetings, “Let
    your women keep silence in the churches;” not merely let them
    be silent, but let them keep or preserve silence. Not that
    they may not preach, or pray, or exhort merely, but they
    may not open their lips to utter any sounds audibly. Let not
    your women in promiscuous religious meetings preach or pray
    audibly, or exhort audibly, or sigh, or groan, or say Amen, or
    utter the precious words, “Bless the Lord,” or the enchanting
    sounds, “Glory! Glory!”

In 1888, forty-five years after this statute, Rev. Dr. Theodore L.
Cuyler in the _New York Evangelist_, gave his opinion in regard to
woman’s action in reform work and her demand for a share in making the
laws which govern her, in this wise:

    We can say frankly to our temperance brethren, that if they
    attempt to lash the wise project of prohibition of saloons,
    and the foolish project of female suffrage inseparably
    together, they will encounter fatal opposition. They will
    repel tenfold more sensible voters than they will win. Their
    most eloquent and logical advocate, Dr. Herrick Johnson, is
    intensely opposed to the Lucy Stone and Elizabeth Cady Stanton
    doctrines of woman suffrage, as I am. Nineteen-twentieths
    of our Presbyterian ministers will never cast a vote which
    is nominally only for prohibition, and yet is really a vote
    for burdening womanhood with civil government. What is true
    of our church is true of the Episcopal, Reformed, Baptist,
    Congregationalist, and the most influential portion of the
    Methodist church.

The same year of President Strong’s opposing sermon, 1878, the United
Presbyterian Assembly passed a resolution to the effect that they
found no sufficient authority in Scripture to warrant the ordination
of women as deacons, yet they might with profit to themselves, and
great advantage to the cause of suffering humanity, and for Christ,
be _allowed to act as assistants to deacons_, thus emphasizing the
dominant church teaching of woman’s irresponsibility and secondary
position to man. The same year, however, an advance step was taken in
Europe, the Synod of Born (Old Catholic), following the example of Pere
Hyacinth, adopted a resolution in favor of the marriage of the clergy
by a vote of 76 to 22. At the same time the Old Catholics were taking
this advance step, the Protestant Episcopal Diocesan Convention of
South Carolina forbade woman’s voting upon church matters, although it
was proven during the discussion that in some parishes that were but
five male members. The Southern Baptist Convention, held in Savannah,
Georgia, 1885, appointed a committee with title of, and whose business
was to decide upon “Representation by Women” in church affairs. This
committee reported in favor of the word “brethren” instead of “members”
being incorporated in the constitution, thus confirming the right of
man alone to take part in church councils. Having thus effectively
closed the lips of women on discussion of church questions, the
convention introduced a resolution on divorce[12] followed by a speech
declaring that but one cause could exist. The convention having shut
off all chance for woman’s opinion upon this question of equal and
even of more vital interest to her, “applaudingly and overwhelmingly
adopted the resolution.” At the annual election for officers of Christ
Church, New Haven, Connecticut, April 1886, a discussion arose upon
the right of women to become members of the society and consequently
voted it in. Several ladies having signified a desire to unite with
the society, Bishop Williams was consulted as to their admission; he
decided the Canon was clearly against them, and on motion of the clerk
their application was rejected, only one member speaking in favor.

The title of the sermons still preached upon woman, illustrate priestly
thought regarding her. Among those of recent date are found, “Blighted
Women;” “Sins of Women;” “Women and Divorce;” “Women and Skepticism;”
“Woman’s Place and Work;” “Our Common Mother;” “The Relation of Husband
and Wife;” “Marriage and Divorce;” “The Sphere of Woman;” “Husband and
Wife;” “A Mission for Women;” “The Church and the Family;” “The Duties
of Wives to Husbands;” these sermons all subordinating woman to man
in every relation of life; all designed to repress woman’s growing
tendency towards freedom, and her claim for the same opportunities
in life conceded to man. That the clerical teaching of woman’s
subordination to man was not alone a doctrine of the dark ages, is
proven by the most abundant testimony of today. The famous See trial
of 1876, which shook not only the Presbytery of Newark, but the whole
Synod of New Jersey, and finally the General Presbyterian Assembly
of the United States, was based upon the doctrine of the divinely
appointed subordination of woman to man, and arose simply because
Rev. Dr. Isaac See admitted two ladies to his pulpit to speak upon
temperance; Rev. Dr. Craven, the prosecutor, declared this act to have
been “an indecency in the sight of Jehovah.” He expressed the general
clinical and church view, when he said:

    I believe the subject involves the honor of my God. I believe
    the subject involves the headship and crown of Jesus. Woman
    was made for man and became first in the transgression. My
    argument is that subordination is natural, the subordination
    of sex. Dr. See has admitted marital subordination, but
    this is not enough; there exists a created subordination; a
    divinely arranged and appointed subordination of woman as
    woman to man as man. Woman was made for man and became first
    in the transgression. The proper condition of the adult female
    is marriage; the general rule for ladies is marriage. Women
    without children, it might be said, could preach, but they are
    under the general rule of subordination. It is not allowed
    woman to speak in the church. Man’s place is on the platform.
    It is positively base for a woman to speak in the pulpit; it
    is base in the sight of Jehovah. The whole question is one of

Thus before a vast audience largely composed of women, Dr. Craven
stood and with denunciatory manner, frequently bringing his fists on
his Bible emphatically down, devoted a four hours speech to proving
that the Bible taught woman’s subordination to man. His arguments
were the same as those of the church in the past and were based upon
the same theory, viz. that woman was created inferior _to_ man, _for_
man, and was the first in sin. He referred to the fashions as aid in
his argument, saying, “In every country, under every clime, from the
peasant woman of Naples, with a handkerchief over her hair, to the
women before me with bonnets, every one wears something upon her head
in token of subordination.” Dr. Craven made this statement in direct
contradiction to historical facts which prove that the head covering
is always removed in presence of a superior. To remain bareheaded is
an act of deference to a higher authority. Even the Quaker custom of
men’s wearing the hat in meeting, originated as an act of defiance
to the Anglican Church. Dr. Craven also forgot to state that flowing
hair has always been regarded as an emblem of superiority and freedom;
clipped hair that of a slave or prisoner. Thus Dr. Craven’s appeal to
fashion reacted against him in the minds of all historically informed
persons, yet together with his other statements it was fully endorsed
by most of his brother clergymen present, some of whom enthusiastically
shouted, “Amen!” At the close of his speech several other clergymen
gave their views. Dr. Ballentine considered the subject too simple for
an argument. Dr. Few Smith, although he “admired Miss Smiley, more than
almost any orator he had ever listened to, did not want her or any
other woman to permanently occupy the Presbyterian pulpit.” Dr. Wilson
rejoiced to see so many women crowding in the lecture room; but Brother
See should not take all the glory to himself. He was glad to see the
women take so deep an interest in the subject under discussion; but
as he looked at them he asked himself: “What will all the children do
while these women are away from home?” A decision of censure against
Dr. See, was agreed in by the Synod of New Jersey, and confirmed by the
General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of the United States, in
session at Pittsburg.

Thus we find that the Christianity of today continues to teach the
existence of a superior and an inferior sex in the church, possessing
different rights and held accountable to a different code of morals.
Not alone did Dr. Craven express the idea that woman’s very dress was
typical of her inferiority, but the Right Rev. Dr. Coxe, Bishop of the
Western (Episcopal) Diocese of New York refused the sacrament in 1868
to the lady patients of the Clifton Springs sanitarium whose heads were
uncovered, although the chapel was under the same roof and on the same
floor with the patients’ rooms. This same Right Rev. Dr. Coxe, in a
speech at his installation as first president of the Ingham Seminary
for young ladies, declared “the laws of God to be plainly Salic.” Rev.
W. W. Patten, D.D., president of Howard University, Washington, D.C.,
in a sermon preached at the Congregational church, upon “Woman and
Skepticism,” January, 1885, advanced the proposition that as soon as
they (women) depart from their natural sphere, they become atheistical
and immoral.[14] In March, 1891, a half column editorial in the
“Presbyterian” discussed the ethics and aesthetics of woman’s dress
at communions, not precisely in line with Dr. Coxe, yet of the same
general character as to regulating woman’s dress, in, “Should women
receive the elements at communion with gloved hands?” Some authorities
objected to the practice upon the ground “that nothing might come
between the recipient and the mystic power contained in the bread
and wine after consecration by the priest.” But while, as the editor
remarks, “It is after all a very small matter,” it is in a historical
aspect, a great one, showing such pronounced change from the church
teaching of but a few centuries since, when women were forbidden to
take the eucharist in their naked hands because of their impurity. Rev.
Mr. Denhurst, member of the Connecticut Legislature (House), during a
hearing before a committee upon that question March 10, 1886, while
speaking favorably of woman suffrage still betrayed his belief in the
old theological idea that women brought sin into the world, through
which her subordination to man ensued. But like Dr. See he limited this
subordination to married women, saying:

    As a minister of the gospel, I deny that you can find anywhere
    in the Bible, woman’s subordination till she sent the curse of
    sin upon the world, and that relates only to married women,
    and marriage is a matter of choice.

The spiritual and temporal superiority of man over woman is affirmed by
clergymen of the present day as strongly as by those of the dark ages,
and sermons in opposition to her equality of rights are as frequently
preached. The entrance of woman into remunerative industries is as
energetically opposed as is her demand for governmental and religious
freedom. Rev. Morgan Dix, rector of Trinity church, New York, in a
series of “Lenten Lectures”[15] a few years since, made woman the
subject of violent attacks as an inferior and subordinate being, now
attempting to pass beyond the bounds set by God for her restraint.

    There is a more emphatic, a more hopeless degradation for her.
    It is seen when she seeks to reverse the laws of her nature
    and upset the economy of the universe, pushing her way out of
    her own sphere into a rivalry with men in their sphere and
    in their proper pursuits. On that must follow a degradation,
    greatly to be feared. When the claim for rights seems to be
    taking the form of a competition with man, on a field which
    God has reserved for man only, in a work not suited to the
    woman, and in professions already overstocked that must end,
    not in enhancing the merit of woman in his eye but in making
    her offensive and detestable. There is a point beyond which
    patience will not hold out; and of this let the woman be sure:
    that if she go too far the end will arise; and man having
    long borne her manners and finding that she is becoming a
    social nuisance and a general tormentor, will finally lose all
    respect for her and thrust her away with loathing and disgust
    and bid her behave herself and go back to her old inferiority.

In this series of lectures, Dr. Dix emphatically declared man’s
spiritual supremacy even in the household.

    The father is by God's law, priest over his household; to him
    should they look as a witness for that God who gave him his
    rank and title.[16]

The sects agree in their teachings regarding woman; Rev. A. Sherman, at
one time president of Bacon College, Kentucky, declaring that woman was
first in transgression, that she beguiled man and was therefore put in
bondage under his authority, said:

    The wide spreading contempt for this truth exhibited by the
    political-religious fashion and infidelity of the age, is one
    of the most alarming symptoms of approaching anarchy and the
    overthrow of our liberties. The attempt which is being made in
    these United States to elevate the wife to a perfect equality
    with the husband, or to change in any respect the relation
    between them, established by God himself, is rank infidelity,
    no matter what specious disguise it may assume.

In a sermon of his Lenten series, entitled “The Calling of a Christian
Woman, and her Training to Fulfill it,” Dr. Dix said:

    We, priests, who whatever our personal short comings, have a
    commission from above and a message to man from God, and are
    the mouth-piece of that church to which his hand-maidens
    belong, may be and ought to be able to help occasionally,
    by merely stating what the Bible and the church declare on
    certain great matters, on which many lower ones depend....
    What did Almighty God, the Creator, the wise Father of all,
    make woman for? What did he intend her to do? What did he not
    mean her to do or try to do?

He answered these questions in a lecture entitled, “A Mission for
Woman,” of the same series.

    Looking for a mission, for a work to do, this is the attitude
    of many women today.... You hear of the education of women,
    of co-education of the sexes, of emancipation of woman from
    bonds—what bonds the Lord only knows! Here is a mission worthy
    of yourselves, it is of all works that could be rendered the
    fittest for a church woman, because she was at the beginning
    of all the trouble in the world.... We believe the old story
    of the Bible re-affirmed by Christ and his apostles, that
    Adam was not deceived by the devil, but that the woman being
    deceived, was in the transgression. Now to her with whom the
    wrong began, we look for the beginning of the right. Remember
    that in the woman are the poles of the good and the evil in
    human nature.

    When she is good she is the best of all that exists; when bad,
    the worst.

Another sermon of this Lenten series, expressed the views of the
reverend gentleman upon the family relation, bearing of children and
divorce, in which he expressed his hatred of modern development saying:

    I feel great solicitude about the subject of this evening’s
    lecture; I had rather not touch it at all. You may think that
    its selection is an instance of that disrespect to which I
    have referred. Not so, oh, not so. I hold the old ideas. I
    abhor and detest the modern development; before any woman
    who fears God, does her duty, and gives us in her life and
    acts the picture of a true and beautiful womanliness, I rise
    up and bless her and do her reverent homage. It is thus in
    no spirit of assumption that I shall say what I have to say
    tonight. It is rather in a tone of remonstrance, of wonder,
    of expostulation. Why do women err as they do? Why lower
    themselves to men’s level? Why should the queens abdicate
    their thrones and go down to the ring and act unseemly parts
    and lay their honor in the dust? Let us think this evening of
    some things done by women which one would have said that no
    woman with a woman’s heart and a woman’s sense could, after
    due reflection, justify. Sins fall naturally into groups or
    classes, and if I speak this evening of only one class of sins
    it is because the time does not permit us to take a larger
    survey of the field. We shall limit ourselves, then, to these

    The lack of serious views of life and the habit of turning
    the thoughts exclusively to enjoyment. The degradation of the
    idea of matrimony, as shown by entering into that estate for
    low and unworthy motives. The deliberate determination of some
    married women to defeat the objects for which marriage was
    instituted; to have no real home; to avoid first the pains
    and next the cares and duties of maternity. The habit, where
    a home exists, of neglecting it by spending most of the time
    away from it, running up and down in pursuit of excitement
    and turning their children over to the care of servants. The
    growing indifference to the chief of all social abominations,
    divorce, and the toleration of lax notions about it.

These questions of most vital import to woman, to her material
condition, intellectual development and place in the church, Rev.
Dr. Dix and the great body of the church, deem themselves supremely
competent to adjust without woman’s voice upon them. Wherever she has
shown her views upon the subject of education, industries, the family,
the church, to be in opposition to those of theologians, she has at
once been told to remain in her old position of “inferiority” looking
up to man as her divinely appointed master and spiritual head; Dr. Dix,
in his lectures, but gave the views of priests of all denominations at
the present day. Despite the advancing civilization of the age, and the
fact that in so many avocations woman has shown her capacity for taking
equal part with man, we find theology still unprogressive; a portion
of the press, however, severely criticised these discourses.[17] The
“Lenten Pastoral” 1886, of Rev. A. Cleveland Coxe, bishop of Western
New York, to the laity of his diocese, contained a middle-age reminder
to women of the impurity of motherhood, in the demand made for church
cleansing subsequent to her bringing an immortal being into life:

    6. Christian women, active as they often are, above all
    comparison with men, are yet sometimes negligent of their
    immediate duties as wives and mothers and fail to exert that
    healthful influence over the family, which God has made it
    the high privilege of woman to exercise in this sphere of her
    duty and her glory. The office for “the Churching of Women”
    testifies against those who neglect it, as forgetting the
    dignity of motherhood and that gratitude to God which every
    woman owes to the Christian religion, for enthroning her in
    the household, and making the example of the “Blessed among
    Women” her peculiar lesson and incentive to piety.

Many portions of this advice is an open insult to woman, and could the
divine but see it, is even from the Christian standard an imputation
upon that being he professes to revere as the Creator of the universe.

A work was recently written by an English bishop, bearing upon the
governmental effort for repeal of the law forbidding marriage with
a deceased wife’s sister or brother. This work was written for the
express purpose of proving that, while it is eminently improper
and sinful for a woman to marry her deceased husband’s brother,
it is eminently proper and right for a man to marry his deceased
wife’s sister, and this upon the same principle that governed the
disinheritance of woman under the Salic law; i.e., because by marriage
a woman becomes merged into her husband’s family. He specifically
declares that the sister of the wife is in no sense the sister of the
husband, therefore it is permissible for a man to marry his wife’s
sisters successively. But he affirms that to the contrary, the widow
cannot marry her deceased husband’s brother, as by the act of her
marriage she became a part of her husband’s family; a second marriage
to such husband’s brother thereby becoming incestuous. This is the
law of England, both religious and civil. A striking evidence of the
incongruity of this law is found in the fact that the illegitimacy of
such brother is held to destroy the relationship, as by law of both
church and state an illegitimate child is not held as related to its
father; he is the son of nobody. A woman can marry two brothers in
succession, one the child of marriage, the other a child of the same
father born outside of the marriage relation. The son of nobody, a
being unfathered in the eye of the law, is the brother of nobody. A
striking instance of the effect of this law occurred in England within
the past few years, when a lady successively married two brothers,
the first a natural son of the Earl of Waldegrave, the second his
legitimate son. The father, although not recognized as such in law,
left the bulk of his property to his natural son; the title, over
which he had no power of alienation, descending to the son born under
authority of the church. The first husband, dying, the lady afterward
married the legitimate son, thus becoming first, “Mrs.” Waldegrave,
and afterwards, “Lady” Waldegrave, securing both fortune and title
by her marriage with the non-recognized and law-recognized sons of
the same father, and breaking neither the law of state or church in
so doing. American clergymen of the Episcopal church have expressed
views in accordance with those of the English bishop. Rev. George
Zabriskie Gray, D.D., dean of the Episcopal Theological School of
Cambridge, Mass., published a work in 1885 entitled “Husband and
Wife,” also suggested by the constantly debated English question of
State, concerning the lawfulness of marriage with a deceased wife’s
sister. Dr. Gray coincides with many of his reverend brethren in the
declaration that with the wife no liberty of divorce is allowable, but
his reasons present somewhat the freshness of novelty. As previously
stated, the non-relationship of husband and wife was at one time the
general Christian belief. While like the English bishop, Rev. Mr. Gray
admits the relationship of the wife to the husband to such extent
that becoming fully absorbed by him his relatives become hers; like
the English bishop he further declares that in consequence of this
absorption, the wife loses her former family relationship, her mother
and father, her sister or brother no longer bearing relationship to
her, but have become to her as strangers. He said:

    The wife becomes a member of his family, while he does
    not become one of her own. The equilateral idea is a
    physiological[18] and psychological impossibility. The unity
    is in the man. The woman by marriage becomes a member of the
    man, therefore she cannot put him away; for a member cannot
    put away the head; the impurity of the wife imperils the
    family, renders pedigree and all concerned therein uncertain,
    and so she may be put away. But the husband’s unchastity,
    while it may be as sinful, yet has no such effect. It does not
    render it doubtful who are rightful children of his stock, who
    are entitled to the name that he and his wife both bear, and
    therefore does not call for the severance of the marriage tie,
    that is, the dissolution of the family. That is, divorce so
    far as Scripture goes seems to be a measure for the protection
    of the family and of the rightful inheritance of whatever is
    to be transmitted to the children, and so a remedy open only
    to man. There seems to be no way of preventing the abuse of
    divorce, if any principle is admitted that will extend it to

Under this form of reasoning, both Dr. Gray and the English bishop
dispose with ease of the state obstacle to marriage with a deceased
wife’s sister. Inasmuch as by marriage the husband forms no ties of
consanguinity with the wife’s family, she having become a member of his
family without his having become a member of hers, marriage with his
deceased wife’s sister would be the same as marriage with an entire
stranger, saying:

    As the husband enters into no connection with the wife’s
    family, her sisters are no more his sisters than they had been
    before. Therefore he may marry one of them as freely as any
    one else, as far as any real principle involved in matrimony
    is concerned.

The _Christian Register_, of Boston, commenting upon Dr. Gray’s work,
although itself a recognized organ of the Unitarian church, yet in a
spirit more in accord with modern thought, carefully corrected the size
of type in the word “wife” upon the title-page and outside of the book,
thus: HUSBAND AND wife:[19] also facetiously referring to the late
Artemus Ward, who at time of the late civil war was ready to sacrifice
all his wife’s relations.[20] These two works of the English bishop and
the American dean are consistent with the teaching of the Christian
ages in reference to woman. Not held as belonging primarily to herself,
but ever to some man, her very relationship to the mother who brought
her into life destroyed by law, she once again through the church
is presented to the world as a being without a birthright, not even
receiving for it Esau’s mess of pottage, or a father’s shorn blessing,
after its loss. She is held up to view as without father, mother, or
individual existence. Rev. Knox-Little, a high church clergyman of
England, traveled in the United States in the fall of 1880. During his
stay in Philadelphia, he preached a “Sermon to Women,” in the large
church of St. Clements. As reported in the _Times_ of that city, its
chief features were a representation of woman’s inferior intellect, her
duty of unqualified obedience to her husband, however evil his life,
the sinfulness of divorce and the blessedness of a large family of
children. He said:

    God made himself to be born of a woman to sanctify the virtue
    of endurance; loving submission is an attribute of woman;
    men are logical, but women lacking this quality, have an
    intricacy of thought. There are those who think woman can
    be taught logic; this is a mistake, they can never by any
    power of education arrive at the same mental status as that
    enjoyed by man, but they have a quickness of apprehension,
    which is usually called leaping at conclusions, that is
    astonishing. There, then, we have distinctive traits of a
    woman, namely: endurance, loving submission and quickness
    of apprehension. Wifehood is the crowning glory of a woman.
    In it she is bound for all time. To her husband she owes
    the duty of unqualified obedience. There is no crime which
    a man can commit which justifies his wife in leaving him or
    applying for that monstrous thing, divorce. It is her duty to
    subject herself to him always, and no crime that he can commit
    can justify her lack of obedience. If he be a bad or wicked
    man, she may gently remonstrate with him, but refuse him,
    never. Let divorce be anathema; curse it; curse this accursed
    thing, divorce; curse it, curse it! Think of the blessedness
    of having children. I am the father of many and there have
    been those who have ventured to pity me; “keep your pity for
    yourself,” I have replied. “They never cost me a single pang.”
    In this matter let women exercise that endurance and loving
    submission, which with intricacy of thought are their only

Such a sermon as the above preached to women under the full blaze of
nineteenth century civilization, needs few comments. In it woman’s
inferiority and subordination are as openly asserted as at any time
during the dark ages. According to Rev. Knox-Little, woman possesses
no responsibility; she is deprived of conscience, intelligent thought,
self-respect, and is simply an appendage to man, a thing. As the clergy
in the Middle Ages divided rights into those of persons and things,
themselves being the persons, the laity things, so the Rev. Knox-Little
and his ilk of today, divide the world into persons and things, men
being the persons, and woman the things. Rev. Dr. T. De Witt Talmage,
of Brooklyn, New York, joins his brethren in preaching of “the first,
fair, frail woman; her creation, her fall and her sorrow.” Speaking of
the trials of housekeepers, he said:

    Again, there is the trial of severe economy. Nine hundred and
    ninety-nine households out of the thousand are subject to it,
    some under more, and some under less stress of circumstances.
    Especially if a man smokes very expensive cigars and takes
    very costly dinners at the restaurants, he will be severe in
    demanding domestic economics. This is what kills thousands
    of women; attempting to make five dollars do the work of
    seven. How the bills come in. The woman is the banker of the
    household; she is the president, and cashier, and teller,
    discount clerk, and there is a panic every four weeks. This
    thirty years war against high prices; this perpetual study of
    economics, this lifelong attempt to keep the outgoes less than
    the income exhausts millions of housekeepers. O, my sister,
    this is part of divine discipline.

It should require but little thought upon woman’s part to see how
closely her disabilities are interwoven with present religious belief
and teaching as to her inferiority and pre-ordained subordination. If
she needs aid to thought, the Cravens, the Knox-Littles, the Talmages,
will help her. The spirit of the priesthood, Protestant equally with
Catholic, is that of the early and middle ages. The foundation being
the same, the teaching is of similar character. From the sermons
referred to, we can justly declare they express the opinions of the
priesthood as a body; we meet no protest against them. Not a single
church has denied these degrading theories; no clergyman has preached
against the doctrines mentioned, blasphemous as they are against the
primal rights of the soul. These sermons stand as representatives, not
only of high church theology in regard to woman, but as expressing the
belief of all churches in her creation and existence as an inferior
and appendage to man. All her suffering, material or spiritual, her
restrictions, her sorrows, her deprivation of the right of unrestricted
conscience are depicted as parts of her divine discipline, which
she must accept with endurance and loving submission. Even from the
criminal, she is not to free herself, or refuse him obedience. Scarcely
a Protestant sect that has not within a few years, in some way, placed
itself upon record as sustaining the doctrine of woman’s subordination.
The Pan-Presbyterian Council that assembled in Edinburg a few years
since refused to admit a woman even as a listener to its proceedings
although women constitute at least two-thirds of the membership of
that church. A solitary woman who persisted in remaining to listen
to the discussions of this body was removed by force; “six stalwart
Presbyterians” lending their ungentle aid to her ejection. The same
Pan-Presbyterian body in session in Philadelphia, the summer of 1880,
laughed to scorn the suggestion of a liberal member that the status to
woman in that church should receive some consideration; referring to
the work of the Sisters of Charity, in the Catholic church, and that of
women among the Quakers. Although this question was twice introduced it
was as often “met with derisive laughter,” and no action was taken upon
it. But had this liberal member been wise enough to have brought before
this body the fact that the Presbyterian church is losing its political
influence because of the great preponderance of its women members
without the ballot, he would have received more consideration. As all
churches seek influence in politics, we may rest assured that when
the church as a whole, or any sect thereof, shall be found sustaining
the political rights of woman or her religious equality in the church,
it will be from the worldly wisdom of a desire to retain fleeting
political power. The life or the death of the church largely depends
upon its political forethought.

Differing political rights have ever been productive of diverse moral
codes. What was considered right for the king and the nobility has
ever been wrong for the peasant. The moral rights of the master and
the slave were ever dissimilar, while under Christianity two codes of
morals have ever been extant, the lax code for man, the strict for
woman. This diversity is shown by the different position that society
accords to an immoral man and an immoral woman, but nowhere is the
recognition of differing codes of morals for man and woman as clearly
shown as in the church, as presented in discourses of clergymen. To
them adultery in the husband is merely a pastime in which he can
indulge without injury to his wife, who is powerless to put him away,
nor has she been wronged. But to the contrary, under the same teaching,
should the wife prove thus unfaithful she should immediately be cast
out. Colored pastors unite with their white brethren in denying
woman’s moral, spiritual or personal equality with man. Rev. Alexander
Crummel,[21] a colored clergyman of Washington, rector of St. Lukes
(Episcopal) church, in 1881, preached a sermon upon the biblical
position of woman, which was published in tract form for circulation.
He referred to her as having been created inferior to man, with no
right, natural or acquired by creation or revelation, to govern herself
or hold opinions of her own. This sermon—“Marriage and Divorce”—laid
down the following principles:

    Marriage is a divine institution. It came from God. It is
    not, therefore, the creation of legislative action. It is not
    merely a civil contract. It is not the invention of man. The
    estate of matrimony is a sacred one; originated by the will
    of God, and governed by his law. Marriage is indissoluble.
    Adultery on part of the wife is ground for divorce. Thus
    far we have considered the case with reference to the
    unfaithfulness of the wife, and have shown that when a woman
    violates the covenant of marriage by adultery, her husband
    has the right to divorce her. But now the question comes, “Is
    not this a reciprocal right?” When husbands are unfaithful,
    have not wives the right to divorce them? My reply is that
    no warrant for such divorce can be found in the Bible. Under
    both covenants, the right of divorce is given exclusively to
    husband. The right in all cases is guaranteed to the man only.
    And so far forth we have the word of God for its specific
    reservation to husbands. In no case is it even hinted that a
    woman has the right of divorce, if even her husband be guilty
    of unfaithfulness. There is a broad, general obligation laid
    upon woman in the marriage relation. The sum of the matter
    respecting the woman seems to be this; the woman is bound by
    the ties of wedlock during the whole period of her husband’s
    life; and even under distressful circumstances has no right to
    break them; i. e., by divorce.

The additional reasons presented by Rev. Mr. Crummel against woman’s
right of divorce, even for the infidelity of the husband, are “The
hidden mystery of generation, the wondrous secret of propagated life
committed to the trust of woman.” In thus referring to those laws of
nature whose conditions are not yet fully understood, Rev. Mr. Crummel
presented the strongest reasons why the mother and not the father
should be regarded as the true head of the family. This “hidden mystery
of generation, this wondrous secret of propagated life, committed to
the trust of woman, “most forcibly demonstrates that she should be
the one in whose power is placed the opportunity for escape from an
adulterous husband, thus enabling her to keep her body a holy temple
for its divine-human uses, over which as priestess she alone should
possess control. The assertion of Rev. Alexander Crummel, that an
adulterous husband cannot do the same wrong to the wife that the wife
does to the husband under similar circumstances, is absolutely false.
By reason of certain “physiological mysteries,” to which he refers,
but to which he also shows absolute ignorance, the wrong done woman by
reason of her potential motherhood is infinitely greater to her than
similar infidelity upon her part can possibly be to the husband. And
not to her alone but to the children whom she may bring to life. His
attempted justification of the husband’s adultery upon the plea that
“when a man begets bastard children, he does so beyond the boundary of
the home,” and so cannot “foist spurious children upon the household
and kindred—that the family is kept together,” are most sophistical and
fallacious methods of reasoning, entirely inimical to truth and purity.
Of an absolutely selfish and libidinous character, they have been used
by profligates in the church and in the state as pleas for a license
that has no regard to the rights of woman, or the duties of fatherhood,
and are not only essentially immoral in themselves, but are equally
destructive of personal and social purity.

The individual and not the family is the social unit; the rights of
individuals are foremost. Immorality of man everywhere presents a
more serious and destructive aspect than that of woman. Aside from
the unmarried mother whom society does not recognize as longer a part
of it, is the irreparable wrong done to those innocent human beings
whom Rev. Mr. Crummel designates as “spurious children;” whom the
Catholics call “sacrilegious” when the father is shown to be a priest,
and upon whom society at large terms “illegitimate.” Closely connected
with injury to the innocent child itself, thrust into being without
provision for its future needs, is the detriment to society which thus
finds itself compelled to assume the duties belonging to the bastard’s
father. Such children, for whom neither home nor fatherly care awaits,
are allowed by him to grow up neglected street waifs, uneducated,
untrained, uncared for, filling alms-houses, reformatories, and prisons
of the land, perhaps to die upon the gallows. The responsibility of
such fathers is not a subject of church teaching; it is simply passed
carelessly by, regardless of the unspeakable wrongs connected with it.
If, as the Rev. Mr. Turnstall asserts, the Bible is not for woman,
if his position is true, or if that of the Jews who claim that the
Ten Commandments were given to man alone, is true, it is to man alone
that adultery is forbidden. Luther asserted that the Ten Commandments
applied to neither Gentiles nor Christians, but only to the Jews. It
was to man alone that Christ spoke against adultery saying: “Whosoever
looketh upon a woman to lust after her hath already committed adultery
with her, in his heart.” To man, Christ also said: “Owing to the
hardness of their hearts, Moses permitted a man to put away his wife,
but it was not so from the beginning.” Man, and not woman, is commanded
to leave father and mother; man is to cleave unto his wife, not woman
unto her husband. It was the men of Corinth whom Paul addressed
concerning lewdness, “Such fornication was never known among the
heathen as that a man should take his father’s wife.”[22]

One of the most remarkable facts connected with church teaching, is
the lightness with which such positive declarations of Christ as to
the relations of husband and wife are cast aside, or his teaching
entirely reversed, in order that man may receive license for an
immorality forbidden to woman.

It must be noted that the chief reason given by the church for assuming
woman’s greater guilt in committing adultery is not based upon the
greater immorality of the act, _per se_, but the injury to property
rights, succession, etc. It must also be noted that the great objection
of the church to divorce on part of woman lies in the fact that the
wife thus escapes from a condition of bondage to one of comparative
freedom. In securing a divorce she repudiates the husband’s “headship,”
she thus subverts his authority; by this act she places herself upon
an equality of moral and property rights with man, and the church not
admitting such equality between man and woman, is hostile to divorce
upon her part. Every new security gained by woman for the protection
of her civil rights in or out of the family, is a direct blow at the
church theory of her inferiority and subordination. Her full freedom is
to be looked for through her increased legal and political rights and
not through the church.

During the same year of the remarkable sermon by Rev. Alexander
Crummel, 1881, Rev. S. W. Dilke read a paper before the Social Science
Association at Saratoga, entitled “Lax Divorce Legislation.” He
showed the same disregard for the rights of the individual, when the
individual was a wife, as his brother clergymen, saying: “Our lax
divorce system treats the wrongs of the wife chiefly as those of a
mere individual.” He was assiduous in his regard for the protection of
the womanly nature, recognizing sex, “her sex” as “a profound fact in
nature,” but why the sex of woman should be a more “profound fact” than
the sex of man, he did not show. That woman now claims a recognition
of her individuality as a being possessed of personal rights, is the
basis of present attack upon divorce by the church; nor is the state
more ready to admit her individual representation and personal rights
of self-government. In March, 1887, Rev. E. B. Hurlbert preached a
sermon in the First Baptist church of San Francisco on “The Relation of
Husband and Wife,” afterward published, in which he said:

    The principal objection to the Episcopal marriage service
    raised by the self-willed woman of the period is that it
    requires her to _obey_ her husband. But this objection is
    leveled equally against the requirement of the word of
    God, and, furthermore, the additional promise to honor and
    love him can only be kept in the spirit of obedience. This
    obligation is founded upon the fact that he is her husband,
    and if she cannot reverence him for what he is in himself,
    still she must reverence him for the position which he holds.
    And, again, she must render this submissive reverence to
    her husband’s headship as unto the Lord, as is fit in the
    Lord. She reverences him not simply as a man, but as her
    own husband, behind whom stands the Lord himself. It is the
    Lord who has made him husband, and the honor with which she
    regards him, though himself personally not deserving it, is
    in reality an honoring of the Lord. Many a Christian woman,
    actuated by this motive, has been most tenderly submissive,
    dutiful and patient, as towards the most unreasonable and
    despotic of husbands—inspired by the remembrance that it was
    a service rendered unto Christ. Let the wife, then, reverence
    her husband for what he is in himself, for his loving and
    noble qualities; but if these qualities do not belong to him,
    then let her reverence him for the sake of his office—simply
    because he is her husband—and in either event let her
    reverence him, because in doing so she is honoring the Lord
    and Savior.

It is but a short time since the pastor of the Swedenborgian church,
Washington, D.C., as reported by one of his flock, expressed to that
body his opinion that the church had better remain unrepresented rather
than have women represent it, and this, although nine-tenths of his
congregation are women. It is, however, pleasing to state that the
committee for that purpose elected an equal number of women with men;
the efforts of the pastor against woman, securing but seven votes. The
Unitarian and Universalist churches which ordain women to preach and
administer the ordinances, still make these women pastors feel that the
innovation is not a universally acceptable one. In a lengthy pastoral
letter issued by the Episcopal convention held in Chicago a few years
since, it was asserted that the claim of the wife to an equal right
with her husband to the control of her person, her property and her
earnings was “disparaging the Christian law of the household.” The
Methodist church still refuses to place woman upon an equality with
man, either in the ministry or in lay representation, a few years since
taking from them their previous license to preach, and this despite
the fact that Mrs. Van Cott, a woman evangelist, did such severe work
during a period of fourteen years, as to seriously injure her health,
and so successful were her ministrations that she brought more converts
to the church than a dozen of its most influential bishops during the
same time. To such bitter lengths has opposition to woman’s ordination
been carried in that church that Rev. Mr. Buckley, editor of _The
Christian Advocate_,[23] when debating the subject, declared that he
would oppose the admission of the mother of our Lord into the ministry,
the debate taking on most unseemly form.[24] Miss Oliver who had long
been pastor of the Willoughby Street church, in Brooklyn, appealed
to the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, at its
session in Cincinnati, May, 1880, for full installment and ordination,

    “I am sorry to trouble our dear mother church with any
    perplexing question, but it presses me also, and the church
    and myself must decide something. I am so thoroughly convinced
    that the Lord has laid commands upon me in this direction
    that it becomes with me really a question of my own soul’s
    salvation.” She then gave the reasons that induce her to
    believe that she is called to pastoral work, and concluded:
    “I have made almost every conceivable sacrifice to do what I
    believe to be God’s will. Brought up in a conservative circle
    in New York City, that held it a disgrace for a woman to work,
    surrounded with the comforts and advantages of ample means,
    and trained in the Episcopal church, I gave up home, friends
    and support, went counter to prejudices that had become second
    nature to me, worked several years to constant exhaustion,
    and suffered cold, hunger and loneliness; the things hardest
    for me to bear were laid upon me. For two months my own
    mother would not speak to me. When I entered the house she
    turned and walked away, and when I sat at the table she did
    not recognize me. I have passed through tortures to which the
    flames of martyrdom would be nothing, for they would end in a
    day; and through all this time and today I could turn off to
    positions of comparative ease and profit. I ask you, fathers
    and brethren, tell me what would you do in my place? Tell me
    what would you wish the church to do toward you, were you
    in my place? Please only apply the golden rule, and vote in
    conference accordingly.”

In answer to this powerful and noble appeal and in reply to all women
seeking the ministry of that church, the General Conference passed this

    Resolved: That women have already all the rights and
    privileges in the Methodist church, that are good for them,
    and that it is not expedient to make any change in the books
    of discipline that would open the doors for their ordination
    to the ministry.

The General Conference, after so summarily deciding what was for the
spiritual good of women, in thus refusing to recognize their equality
of rights to the offices of that church, resolved itself as a whole
into a political convention, adjourning in a body to Chicago before
its religious business was finished, in order that its presence might
influence the National Republican Convention there assembled, to
nominate General Grant for a third term to the presidency of the United
States; General Grant being in affiliation with the Methodist church.

The Congregational church is placed upon record through laws, governing
certain of its bodies, which state that:

    By the word “church” is meant the adult males duly admitted
    and retained by the First Evangelical church of Cambridgeport,
    present at any regular meeting of said church and voting by a

The New York _Independent_, of February 24, 1881, commenting upon this
official declaration that only “adult males” are to be considered the
“church,” says:

    The above is Article XIV of the by-laws of the society
    connected with the aforesaid church. It is a matter of
    gratitude that the society, if it forbids females to vote in
    the church, yet allows them to pray and to help the society
    raise money.

The Rev. W. V. Turnstall, in the _Methodist Recorder_, a few years
since, gave his priestly views in regard to woman, and by implication
those of the Methodist church. He declared woman to be under the curse
of subjection to man, a curse not removable until the resurrection. He
said that under the Mosaic law woman had no voice in anything; that she
could hold no office, yet did so in a few instances when God wished to
especially humiliate the nation; that she was scheduled as a higher
piece of property; that even the Bible was not addressed to her but to
man alone; woman finding her salvation even under the new covenant, not
directly through Jesus, but approaching him through man; his points

    First: That woman is under a curse which subjects her to man.

    Second: This curse has never been removed, nor will it be
    removed until the resurrection.

    Third: That woman under the Mosaic law, God’s civil law, had
    no voice in anything. That she was not allowed her oath;
    that she was no part of the congregation of Israel; that her
    genealogy was not kept; that no notice was taken of her birth
    or death, except as these events were connected with some man
    of providence; that she was given no control of her children;
    that she could hold no office; nor did she, except in a few
    instances, when to reproach and humiliate the nation, God
    suspended his own law, and made an instrument of women for
    the time being. That she offered no sacrifices, no redemption
    money was paid for her; that she received no religious rites;
    that the mother’s cleansing was forty days longer, and the
    gift was smaller for a female child than for a male; and that
    in the tenth commandment—always in force—she is scheduled as a
    higher species of property; that her identity was completely
    merged in that of her husband.

    Fourth: That for seeking to hold office Miriam was smitten
    with leprosy; and that under the new covenant she is only
    permitted to pray or prophesy with her head covered, which
    accounts for the fashion of wearing bonnets in public to this
    day; that she is expressly prohibited from rule in the church
    or usurpation of authority over the man.

    Fifth: That to vote is to rule, voting carrying with it all
    the collaterals of making, expounding, and executing law; that
    God has withheld from woman the right to rule, either in the
    church, the state or the family; that He did this because of
    her having “brought sin and death into the world, and all our

    Sixth: That the Bible is addressed to man and not to woman;
    that man comes to God through Jesus, and woman comes to Jesus
    through man; that every privilege the wife enjoys she but
    receives through the husband, for God has declared that woman
    shall not rule man, but be subject unto him.

A more explicit statement of the opinion of the church regarding
woman is seldom found. Later action of the Methodist body proves its
agreement with Rev. Mr. Turnstall. The General Conference of that
church convened May 1, 1888, in the Metropolitan Opera House, New York,
numbering delegates from every part of the United States as well as
many from foreign lands. Among these delegates were sixteen women.
The question of their admission came up the first day. The senior
bishop, Rev. Thomas Bowman, in his opening remarks, declared that
body to stand in the presence of new conditions, in that they found
names upon the roll of a class of persons whose eligibility had never
been determined by the high tribunal of the church. A committee was
appointed to report upon their admission. Bishop Merrill, occupying
the chair upon the second day, said that “for the first time in the
history of the conference, women had been sent as delegates,” but
the bishops did not think the women were eligible. The report of the
committee was submitted, which declared that after a serious discussion
they had become convinced that, while the rule was passed relating to
the admission of lay delegates to the General Conference, the church
contemplated admission only to men as lay delegates and that under the
constitution and laws, women were not eligible. The committee agreed
that the protest against women should be sustained, and the conferences
from which they were sent be notified that their seats were vacant.
A long discussion ensued. Rev. John Wiley, president of the Drew
Theological Seminary of the New York Conference, spoke against woman’s
admission, saying:

    That if the laws of the church were properly interpreted they
    would prove that women are not eligible and then, besides, no
    one wanted them in the General Conference.

Rev. J. R. Day, the New York Conference, argued against the admission
of women, saying:

    When the law was passed for the admission of lay delegates
    it was never intended that women should be delegates to the
    General Conference. It is proposed today to make one of the
    most stupendous pieces of legislation that has been known to
    Christendom. I am not opposed to woman doing the work that she
    is capable of doing but I do not think that she should intrude
    upon the General Conference. Woman has not the necessary
    experience; this is a tremendous question.

Rev. Jacob Rothweiler, of the Central German Conference, asserted that:

    The opponents of the report are trying to override the
    constitution of the church, and are making an effort to strike
    at the conscientiousness of 90 per cent of the Christian
    church which has existed for the last 1,800 years. The history
    of Christianity shows that women were never intended to vote.

The conference was seriously divided upon this question. Although
eventually lost, yet many clergymen permeated with the spirit of
advancing civilization, voted in its favor, among them Rev. Dr.
Hammond, of Syracuse, New York, a delegate for the episcopacy; while
arrayed in bitter opposition was Rev. Mr. Buckley, editor of _The
Christian Advocate_, also a candidate for the bishopric, and the man
that when the question of the ordination of Miss Oliver came up a few
years since, declared he would oppose the admission of the Mother of
the Lord to the ministry. His remark recalls that of Tetzel, the great
Catholic dealer in indulgences, given in another part of this work,
and illustrates to what extent of blasphemy the opponents of women’s
equality proceed. It was not until the seventh day of the conference
that the question of woman’s admission was decided in the negative, and
the great Methodist Episcopal church put itself upon record as opposed
to the recognition of more than one half of its members. The women
delegates were not even allowed seats upon the floor during the debate.
Mrs. Nind, president of the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society, arose
to vote, but was not counted, although the Woman’s Foreign Missionary
societies are making converts where men cannot reach—in the zenanas.
The action of the Conference was foreshadowed by that of Baltimore
a few weeks previously, when it was decided that women missionaries
should not be permitted to administer communion in the zenanas as it
would open the door for their ordination to the ministry and this
despite the fact that women alone are admitted to the zenanas. At the
Methodist minister’s bi-monthly meeting, Syracuse, N.Y., near time of
the General Conference, Rev. Thomas Tinsey, of Clyde, read a paper
entitled “Is it advisable to make women of the church eligible to all
the ecclesiastical councils and the ministerial order of the church,”
quoting Paul in opposition to giving her a voice, saying:

    What can our modern advocates of licensing and ordaining women
    and electing them to annual conferences, do with the command
    to the Corinthians, “Let your women keep silence in the
    church;” or to Timothy: “Let the women learn in silence and
    all subjection,” Paul certainly meant something by such
    teaching. The position taken by the Fathers of Methodism
    appears to me to be the only tenable one, viz: that the
    prohibition applies to the legislation or official business
    of the church—precisely the kind of work contemplated in the
    effort to make them eligible to the General Conference, and to
    Methodist orders. Concerning these things, “Let them learn of
    their husbands at home.”

Rev. Mr. Tinsey farther gave his opinion as to the comparative
uselessness of woman. He was able to conceive of no good reason for
her creation, aside from that of burden bearer in the process of
reproduction, saying:

    Woman is that part or side of humanity upon which the great
    labor, care and burden of reproduction is placed. We can
    conceive of no good reason for making women aside from this.
    Man is certainly better suited to all other work.

After discussion, the ministers present generally agreed that, because
of motherhood, woman should be debarred from such official recognition.

The final ground of women’s exclusion as delegates to the General
Conference, is most noticeable inasmuch as appeal was ultimately
made to the State. Upon the seventh day’s session it was resolved to
suspend the rules and continue the debate on the admission of women as
lay-delegates. So anxious were men to speak that forty-one delegates at
once sprung to their feet and claimed the floor. Judge Taylor, a lay
delegate from the St. Louis conference, walking down the aisle with a
number of law books under his arm, proceeded to argue the question on
constitutional grounds, saying:

    It would do much harm to admit women at the present time.
    There are bishops to be elected and other important matters to
    be voted on, and if women are admitted and allowed to vote,
    and it should subsequently be decided that women should not be
    entitled to seats, the acts of the present General Conference
    would be illegal and unconstitutional.

While claiming, personally, to favor women’s admission, he quoted law
to sustain their rejection, and wished the question to be submitted
to a vote of the church. The “vote of the church,” as shown by the
adoption of Rev. F. B. Neely’s amendment, signifying the ministers
present at annual conferences.[25] The vote upon this amendment, which
excluded women from seats in the General Conference, submitting their
eligibility to the decision of ministers of the annual conferences, was
adopted 237 to 198. It thus requires three-fourths vote of the members
present and voting at the annual conferences, this vote to be ratified
by a two-thirds vote of the General Conference in order to woman’s
acceptance as lay delegate to such General Conference.[26] Aside from
the fact of an appeal to the civil law for the exclusion of woman, thus
showing the close union of church and state, one other important point
must be noticed. In the declaration that the church should be consulted
in regard to such an important matter, that body was defined as the
ministers of the annual conference, laymen not here ranking as part of
the church. The lay delegates, unnarrowed by theological studies were,
as a body, favorable to woman’s admission. Nor did they refrain from
criticising the clergy, declaring that the episcopacy did not interpret
the law of the church, this power resting in the General Conference.
But one more favoring vote would have tied the question. Gen. Samuel H.
Hurst, dairy and food commissioner of Ohio, the first layman to gain
the floor, defended the right of women to admission. He alluded to the
opponents of the women as “old fogies.” He criticized the bishop’s

    The episcopacy does not interpret the law of the church, but
    the General Conference does. Woman does not come here as a
    strong-minded person demanding admittance, but she comes as
    representative of the lay conference. The word “laymen” was
    interpreted to mean all members of the church not represented
    in the ministry. That is the law, and if women are “laymen”
    they are entitled to admission.

The Southern Baptist Association, meeting in New Orleans in July of the
same year, refused to admit women by a vote of 42 to 40. The church as
of old, is still strenuous in its efforts to influence legislation.
An amendment to the National Constitution is pressed by the National
Reform Association, recognizing the sectarian idea of God; another
placing marriage and divorce under control of the general government
by uniform laws; while priestly views upon the political freedom
of woman are thrust into the very faces of our law makers.[27] The
following portions of a sermon preached at the Cathedral of the Holy
Cross, Boston, February 21, 1886, by the Rev. Father J. P. Bodfish,
were printed and distributed among the members of the Massachusetts
Legislature that spring by the opponents of woman suffrage:[28]

    Not that I would have woman step out of her sphere; the man
    is the natural protector, the father, the lawgiver, of his
    family; not would I counsel wives to usurp the places of their
    husbands at the polls. I believe this to be one of the errors
    of modern times, to try to unsex woman, and take her from
    the high place she occupies and drag her into the arena of
    public life. What has she to do there? We might as well try
    to drag down the angels to take part in the menial affairs of
    this world as to take woman from the high place she occupies
    in the family, where ’tis her privilege and duty to guide,
    to counsel and to instruct—to lead that family in the way of
    righteousness. It is but offering her a degradation; Almighty
    God never intended it. The charm, the influence of woman, is
    in that purity that comes from living in a sphere apart from
    us. God forbid that we should ever see the day that a man, a
    husband or a father, is to find his will opposed and thwarted
    at the polls by his daughter or his wife. Then farewell to
    that reverence which belongs to the character of woman.

    She puts herself on an equal footing with man when she
    steps down from that place where every one regards her with
    reverence, and becomes unsexed by striving to make laws which
    she cannot enforce, and taking upon herself duties for which
    she is altogether unfitted.

Decrees of various characters presenting woman as a being of different
natural and spiritual rights from man, are constantly formulated by
the churches. The Plenary Council of Baltimore, 1884, busied itself in
the enactment of canons directly bearing upon marriage and divorce,
re-affirming the sacramental character of marriage and declaring
that marriages under civil rites should be resented by the whole
Catholic world. This council was preceded by an encyclical from the
Pope, laying out its plans by work yet leaving it within the power
of the diocesan bishops to promulgate its canons according to their
own wisdom. Consequently, not until three years later were those upon
marriage published on the Pacific Coast, at which time the archbishop
of San Francisco, the bishops of Monterey, Los Angeles and Grass
Valley, addressed a pastoral letter to the Catholics of those regions,
condemning civil marriage as a sin and sacrilege, illegal, and a
“horrible concubinage.” It was farther stated that marriage unblessed
by a priest, subjected the parties to excommunication. At the still
later Catholic Congress, in honor of the hundredth anniversary of the
Catholic Hierarchy in America, divorces were affirmed to be the plague
of civilization, a discredit to the government, a degradation of the
female sex, and a standing menace to the sanctity of the marriage bond.
In noting these canons of the Plenary Council and the resolutions of
the Catholic Congress, it should be borne in mind that the chief secret
of the long-continued power of the Catholic church has been its hold
upon marriage and the subordination of woman in this relation. To these
celibate priests, nothing connected with woman is sacred. Celibacy and
the sacramental nature of marriage are each of them based upon the
theory of woman’s created inferiority and original sin. Priestly power
over marriage, and the confessional, through which means it is able to
wrest all family and state secrets to its own use, are powers that will
not be peaceably relinquished. Their destruction will come through the
growing intelligence of people, and the responsibility of political
self-government. These will insure confidence in the validity of civil
marriage and a belief in the personal rights of individuals. To woman,
the education of political responsibility is most essential in order to
free her from church bonds, and is therefore most energetically opposed
by the church. In 1890, a number of Catholic ladies of Paris formed
a union for the emancipation of woman from different kinds of social
thraldom.[29] Their first attack was upon the priesthood, whom they
declared the mortal adversary of woman’s advancement, affirming that
every woman “who abets the abbés is an enemy of her sex.” This open
rebellion of Catholic ladies against the power of the hierarchy, is a
significant sign of woman’s advancing freedom.

All canons, decrees, resolutions and laws of the church, especially
bearing upon the destinies of woman are promulgated without the hearing
of her voice, either in confirmation or rejection. She is simply
legislated for as a slave. Two of the later triennial conclaves of
the Episcopal church of the United States, energetically debated the
subject of divorce, not, however, arriving at sufficient unanimity
of opinion for the enactment of a canon. When Mazzini, the Italian
patriot, was in this country, 1852, he declared the destruction of the
priesthood to be our only surety for continued freedom, saying:

    They will be found as in Italy, the foes of mankind, and
    if the United States expects to retain even its political
    liberties, it must get rid of the priesthood as Italy intends
    to do.[30]

Frances Wright, that clear-seeing, liberty-loving, Scotch free-thought
woman, noted the dangerous purpose and character of the Christian
party in politics, even as early as 1829; and the present effort of
this body, now organized as the “National Reform Association” with
its adjunct “The American Sabbath Union,” officered by priests and
influential members of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, and
kindred bodies, is a perpetual menace to the civil and religious
liberties of the United States. Its effort for an amendment to the
Federal Constitution which shall recognize the United States as a
Christian nation, is a determined endeavor toward the union of church
and state; and its success in such attempt will be the immediate
destruction of both civil and religious liberty. That such a party now
openly exists, its intentions no secret, is evidence that the warnings
of Italian patriot and the Scotch free thinker were not without assured

As a body, the church opposes education for woman, and all the
liberalizing tendencies of the last thirty-five or forty years, which
have opened new and varied industries to women and secured to wives
some relief from their general serf condition. Bishop Littlejohn, of
the Episcopal church, at the Triennial Conclave of bishops, 1883,
preached as his “triennial charge” upon “The Church and the Family,”
presenting the general church idea as to woman’s inferiority and
subordination. He made authoritative use of the words “sanctities of
home,” a phrase invented by the clergy as a method of holding woman in
bondage; directed the church to “strictly impose her doctrines as to
marriage and divorce, clash as they may with the spirit of the times
and the laws of the state” (thus emulating the Catholic doctrines of
the supremacy of the church). He declared that in any respect to change
the relation established by God himself between husband and wife, was
rank infidelity, no matter what specious disguise such change might
assume, explicitly declaring the authority of the church over marriage,
as against the authority of the state; protesting against omission of
the word “obey” from the marriage service, and the control of the wife
over her own earnings and expenditures, saying:

    If it be outside the province of the states to treat marriage
    as more than a contract between a man and a woman, the church
    must make it understood, as it is not, that it is inside
    her province to treat it as a thing instituted of God.
    Practically, we have reached a point where the wife may cease
    to have property interests in common with her husband, may
    control absolutely her own means of living, and determine for
    herself the scale of expenditures that will suit her tastes or
    her caprices. The man is no longer the head of the household,
    the husband. It has been made an open question whether the
    man or his wife will fulfill that function, and “a community
    of interests, with the recognized authority of the husband to
    rule the wife, and the recognized duty of the wife to obey
    that authority, is no longer deemed expedient or necessary.”
    This rebellion against the old view of marriage is so strong
    that in many cases the word “obey” is omitted from the
    marriage service.

Even among Christianized Indians we find different laws governing man
and woman. In 1886, the governor of Maine paid a visit to the governor
of the Passamaquody Indians, at a time when a large council was in
progress upon the St. Croix reservation. This council first assembled
at the chapel, where the Revised Statutes—the whole basis of government
of the Passamaquodies—are posted. These statutes having been approved
by Bishop Healy, of Portland, are also looked upon as canons of the

The statutes principally affecting women, are:

    Third: No woman who is separated from her husband shall be
    admitted to the sacrament, or to any place in the church
    except the porch in summer and the back seat in winter, unless
    by the consent of the bishop.

    Fourth: Any woman who admits men into her house by night shall
    be treated as a criminal and delivered to the courts.

    Fifth: Any woman who is disobedient to her husband, any common
    scold or drunkard, shall not be permitted to enter the church,
    except by permission of the priest.

It will be noted that these statutes forbid the sacrament to the
woman who is separated from her husband, not even permitting her an
accustomed seat in church. She must remain in the porch during the
summer and in a back seat during the winter, except “the bishop”
otherwise permits. Also the woman not rendering obedience to her
husband, is denied permission to enter the church except under priestly
permit. The Christian theory of woman’s inferiority and subordination
to man, is as fully endorsed by these statutes as in the mediaeval
priestly instruction to husbands.[32]

No profession as constantly appeals to the lower nature as the
priestly, the emotions rather than reason, are constantly invoked;
ambition, love of power, hope of reward, fear of punishment, are the
incentives presented and in no instance are such incentives more fully
made use of than for purposes of sustaining the supremacy of man over
woman. The teaching of the church cannot fail to impress woman with
the feeling that if she expects education, or even opportunity of
full entrance into business, she must not heed the admonitions of the
priesthood, when, as by Dr. Dix, she is contemptuously forbidden to
enter the professions on the ground that God designed these offices
alone for man. When women sought university honors at Oxford, a few
years since, many “incredibly foolish” letters, said _London Truth_,
were written by its opponents who were chiefly clergymen. Canon
Liddon’s influence was against the statute; the Dean of Norwich
referred to it as “an attempt to defeat divine Providence and Holy
Scripture.” Dr. Gouldbourne thought it would “unsex woman.”[33]

“There is no sin,” said Buddha, “but ignorance,” yet according to
Rector Dix, Rev. S. W. Turnstall, Dr. Craven and the priesthood of
the present day, in common with the earlier church, woman’s normal
condition is that of ignorance, and education is the prerogative of
man alone; and yet the dangers of ignorance have by no means been
fathomed, although the latest investigations show the close relation
between knowledge and life. That as intelligence is diffused, there is
a corresponding increase of longevity, is proven; the most uneducated
communities showing the greatest proportion of deaths. Ignorance and
the death rate are parts of the same question; education and length of
life are proportionately synonymous. Statistics gathered in England,
Wales and Ireland a few years since showed the percentage of infantile
deaths to be much greater in those portions where the mother could not
read and write, than where the mother had sufficient education to read
a newspaper and write her own name. In districts where there was no
other appreciable difference except that of education, the mortality
was the largest in the most ignorant districts.

In deprecating education for women, no organized body in the world has
so clearly proven its own tyrannous ignorance as has the priesthood,
and no body has shown itself so fully the enemy of mankind. Church
teaching and centuries of repression acting through the laws of
heredity have lessened woman’s physical size, depressed her mental
action, subjugated her spirit, and crushed her belief in her right to
herself and the proper training of her own children. The church, in
its opposition to woman’s education through the ages, has literally
killed off the inhabitants of the world with much greater rapidity
than war, pestilence, or famine; more than one-half the children born
into the world have soon died because of the tyranny and ignorance
of the priesthood.[34] The potential physical energy of mankind thus
destroyed can in a measure be estimated, but no one can fathom the
infinitely greater loss of mental and moral force brought about through
condemnation of knowledge to woman; only by induction can it even be
surmised. Lecky points out the loss to the world because so many of
its purest characters donned the garb of monk or nun. That injury was
immediately perceptible, but in the denial of education and freedom to
woman more than ninety per cent of the moral and physical energy of the
world has literally been suffocated, and owing to ignorance and lack of
independent thought this loss is as yet scarcely recognized. So dense
the pall of ignorance still overshadowing the world that even woman
herself does not yet conjecture the injury that has been done her, or
of what she and her children have been deprived. Nor has the world
yet roused to a full consciousness of the mischief to mankind that
has been perpetrated through the falsehood and ignorant presumption
of those claiming control over its dearest rights and interests.
Resistance to the wrong thus done the world has been less possible
because perpetrated in the name of God and religion. It has caused tens
of thousands of women to doubt their equality of right with man in
education, to disbelieve they possess the same authority to interpret
the Bible or present its doctrines as man; neither, having been
deprived of education, do they believe themselves to be man’s political
equal, or that they possess equal rights with him in the household.
This degradation of woman’s moral nature is the most direful result of
the teaching of the church in regard to her. A loss of faith in one’s
own self, disbelief in one’s own right to the fullest cultivation of
one’s own powers, proceeds from a debasement of the moral sentiments.
Self-reliance, self-respect, self-confidence, are acquired through
that cultivation of the intellectual faculties which has been denied
to woman. Rev. Dr. Charles Little, of the Syracuse University, says:
“In the report of a sermon of a distinguished theologian which appeared
not long ago, this striking passage occurred: If I were to choose
between Christianity as a life and Christianity as a dogma, I would
choose Christianity as a dogma.” Judging from its treatment of woman
and the many recent trials for heresy, dogma rather than life is the
general spirit of the churches everywhere. It is dogma that has wrecked
true religion; it is dogma that has crushed humanity; it is dogma that
has created two codes of morals; that has inculcated the doctrine
of original sin; that has degraded womanhood; that has represented
divinity as possessing every evil attribute.

From all these incontrovertible facts in church and state, we see that
both religion and government are essentially masculine in their present
forms and development. All the evils that have resulted from dignifying
one sex and degrading the other may be traced to one central error, a
belief in a trinity of masculine gods, in one from which the feminine
element is wholly eliminated; and yet in the scriptural account of the
simultaneous creation of man and woman, the text plainly recognizes
the feminine as well as the masculine element in the Godhead, and
declares the equality of the sexes in goodness, wisdom and power.
Genesis i, 26-27.

    And God said, Let us make man in our own image, after our
    likeness, and so God created man in his own image; in the
    image of God created He him, male and female created He them,
    and gave them dominion over the fish of the sea and over the
    fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon
    the earth.

In nothing has the ignorance and weakness of the church been more
fully shown than in its controversies in regard to the creation. From
time of the “Fathers” to the present hour, despite its assertion and
its dogmas, the church has ever been engaged in discussions upon the
Garden of Eden, the serpent, woman, man, and God as connected in one
inseparable relation. Amid all the evils attributed to woman, her loss
of Paradise, introduction of sin into the world and the consequent
degradation of mankind, yet Eve, and through her, all women have found
occasional defenders. A book printed in Amsterdam, 1700, in a series of
eleven reasons, threw the greater culpability upon Adam, saying:

    First: The serpent tempted her before she thought of the tree
    of knowledge of good and evil, and suffered herself to be
    persuaded that not well understood his meaning.

    Second: That believing that God had not given such prohibition
    she eat the fruit.

    Third: Sinning through ignorance she committed a less heinous
    crime than Adam.

    Fourth: That Eve did not necessarily mean the penalty of
    eternal death, for God’s decree only imported that man should
    die if he sinned against his conscience.

    Fifth: That God might have inflicted death on Eve without
    injustice, yet he resolved, so great is his mercy toward
    his works, to let her live, in (that) she had not sinned

    Sixth: That being exempted from the punishment contained in
    God’s decree, she might retain all the prerogatives of her sex
    except those that were not incidental with the infirmities to
    which God condemned her.

    Seventh: That she retained in particulars the prerogative of
    bringing forth children who had a right to eternal happiness
    on condition of obeying the new Adam.

    Eighth: That as mankind was to proceed from Adam and Eve,
    Adam was preserved alive only because his preservation was
    necessary for the procreation of children.

    Ninth: That it was by accident therefore, that the sentence of
    death was not executed on him, but that otherwise he was more
    (justly) punished than his wife.

    Tenth: That she was not driven out from Paradise as he was,
    but was only obliged to leave it to find out Adam in the
    earth; and that it was with full privilege of returning
    thither again.

    Eleventh: That the children of Adam and Eve were subject
    to eternal damnation, not as proceeding from Eve, but as
    proceeding from Adam.

In 1580, but three hundred years since, an inquiry set on foot as to
the language of Paradise, resulted in the statement that God spoke
Danish; Adam, Swedish; and the serpent, French. Eve doubtless was
conceded to have spoken all three languages, as she conversed with
God, with Adam, and with the serpent. Hieronymus, a Father of the
Church, credited Eve with possessing a much finer constitution than
Adam, and in that respect as superior to him.[35] Thus, during the
ages, the church through its “Fathers” and its priests has devoted
itself to a discussion of the most trivial questions concerning woman,
as well as to the formation of most oppressive canons against her,
and although as shown she has found an occasional defender, and even
claimants for her superiority upon certain points, yet such discussions
have had no effect upon the general view in which the church has
presented her, as one accursed of God and man.

_Chapter Ten_

+Past, Present, Future+

The most important struggle in the history of the church is that of
woman for liberty of thought and the right to give that thought to the
world. As a spiritual force the church appealed to barbaric conception
when it declared woman to have been made for man, first in sin and
commanded to be under obedience. Holding as its chief tenet a belief
in the inherent wickedness of woman, the originator of sin, as its
sequence the sacrifice of a God becoming necessary, the church has
treated her as alone under a “curse” for whose enforcement it declared
itself the divine instrument. Woman’s degradation under it dating back
to its earliest history, while the nineteenth century still shows
religious despotism to have its stronghold in the theory of woman’s
inferiority to man. The church has ever invoked the “old covenant” as
authority, while it also asserts this covenant was done away with at
the advent of the new dispensation. Paul, whose character as persecutor
was not changed when he veered from Judaism to Christianity, gave to
the church a lever long enough to reach down through eighteen centuries
in opposition to woman’s equality with man. Through this lengthy
period, his teaching has united the christian world in opposition to
her right of private judgment and personal freedom.

Each great division of christianity alike proclaims the supreme
sinfulness of woman in working for the elevation of her sex. In this
work she has been left outside of religious sympathy, outside of
political protection, yet in the interest of justice she claims the
right to tear down the barriers of advancing civilization and to rend
asunder all beliefs that men hold most sacred. Freedom for woman
underlies all the great questions of the age. She must no longer be
the scapegoat of humanity upon whose devoted head the sins of all
people are made to rest. Woman’s increasing freedom within the last
hundred years is not due to the church, but to the printing-press, to
education, to free-thought and other forms of advancing civilization.
The fashions of the christian world have changed but not its innermost
belief. The power of the pulpit, built up by a claim of divine
authority, with the priest as an immediate representative of God,
has been reacting upon the priesthood itself, and now while vainly
struggling for light this order finds itself bound by chains of its
own creating. Today the priesthood is hampered by creeds and dogmas
centuries old, yet so fully outside of practical life that the church
has become the great materialistic force of the century; its ideas of
a God, its teachings of a future life all falling within the realm of
the physical senses; the incorporeal and spiritual are lost in the
grossest forms of matter.[1] Although a body professing to inculcate
pure spiritual truths, the church teaches the grossest form of
materialism. It asserts principles contradictory to natural laws; it
presents chaos as the normal condition of the infinite; it bids people
live under faith outside of evidence, and in thus doing is guilty of
immeasurable evils to mankind. A bark without compass, it steers upon a
sea of night no star illumining the darkness; the control and guidance
by humanity of the psychic part of being, generally spoken of as
“supernatural,” although the truest to nature, has become nearly lost
through the materialization of spiritual truth by the church, the worst
form of idolatry. Christianity was a stern reality to the men of the
early and middle ages, who believing themselves to have been created
nearer to God than woman also believed themselves to have lost earthly
immortality through her. Permeated with this idea, it is not strange
that men through many hundred years taught that woman was especially
under control of the Evil One. The devil was an objective form to the
clergy and people alike. Nor under such belief, is it strange that
priests should warn their flocks from the pulpit against the wiles of
woman, thus degrading her self-respect and teaching men to hold her
in that contempt whose influence is felt today. The result of this
teaching has been deplorable to humanity; men equally with women having
sunk under this degradation of one-half of the race.

The most stupendous system of organized robbery known has been that
of the church towards woman, a robbery that has not only taken her
self-respect but all rights of person; the fruits of her own industry;
her opportunities of education; the exercise of her own judgment,
her own conscience, her own will. The unfortunate peculiarity of the
history of man, according to Buckle, is that although its separate
parts have been examined with considerable ability, hardly any one
has attempted to outline them into a whole and ascertain the way they
are connected with each other. While this statement is virtually true
as regards the general history of mankind, it is most particularly
so in reference to the position of woman in its bearings upon race
development. A thorough investigation of her connection with our
present form of civilization, or even with that of the past, as
compared with each other, or as influencing the whole, has never yet
been authoritatively undertaken. This failure has not been so largely
due to willful neglect as to incapacity upon the part of man to judge
truly of this relation. Woman herself must judge of woman. The most
remote feminine personality is not less incomprehensible to man than
the woman of today; he now as little understands the finer qualities
of her soul or her high intuitive reasoning faculties as in the past.
Reason is divided into two parts, theoretical and practical; the former
appertains to man; the latter, composed of those intuitive faculties
which do not need a long process of ratiocination for their work,
inhere in woman. Although the course of history has given many glimpses
of her superiority, and the past few decades have shown in every land
a new awakening of woman to a recognition of her own powers, man as
man is still as obtuse as of yore. He is yet under the darkness of
the Patriarchate, failing to recognize woman as a component part of
humanity, whose power of development and influence upon civilization
are at least the equal of his own. He yet fails to see in her a factor
of life whose influence for good or for evil has ever been in direct
ratio with her freedom. He does not yet discern her equal right with
himself to impress her own opinions upon the world. He still interprets
governments and religions as requiring from her an unquestioning
obedience to laws she has no share in making, and that place her as
an inferior in every relation of life. Ralph Waldo Emerson with keen
insight into the fallibility of law-makers, declared that “good men
must not obey the laws too well.” Woman is showing her innate wisdom
in daring to question the infallibility of man, his laws, and his
interpretation of her place in creation. She is not obeying “too
well,” and yet man fails to analyze her motives in this defection.
The church and the state have long done man’s thinking for him, the
ideas of the few, whose aim is power, have been impressed upon the
many; individualism is still characterized as the essence of evil;
self-thought, self-control as heretical. The state condemns both as a
crime against itself, the church as a sin against heaven. Both church
and state claiming to be of divine origin have assumed divine right of
man over woman; while church and state have thought for man, man has
assumed the right to think for woman.[2]

As man under fear of eternal damnation surrendered to the irresponsible
power of church and state, so woman yielded to that power which
closed every external avenue of knowledge to her under pretext of her
sinfulness. One-tenth of the human race, within the period covered
by modern civilization, has compelled the other nine-tenths to think
their thoughts and live lives according to their commands. This has
been the chief effort of governments and religion. The most formidable
general evil under which woman has suffered during the Christian ages
has been that of protection; a non-recognition of her ability to care
for herself, rendering watchful guardianship over her a recognized part
of man’s law; not alone to prevent her sinking into depths of vice
but to also prevent her entire subversion of government and religion.
Buckle and other writers have recognized the protective spirit as
the greatest enemy to civilization, its influence causing the few
to establish themselves as guardians of the many in all affairs of
life. The American Revolution in proclaiming the rights of humanity
struck a blow at the protective system. This system has ever based
itself upon a declaration of the supreme rights of a God, and certain
rights as pertaining to certain classes of men by virtue of authority
from that God. The defense of such authority has ever been the chief
business of church and state, and thus religions and governments have
neither found time nor inclination to uphold the rights of humanity.
Under the christian system, woman as the most rebellious against
God in having eaten a forbidden fruit, has found herself condemned
through the centuries to untold oppression in order that the rights
of God might be maintained. Yet while constantly teaching that woman
brought sin into the world, the church ever forgets its own corollary;
that if she brought sin she also brought God into the world, thus
throwing ineffable splendor over mankind. The whole theory regarding
woman, under christianity, has been based upon the conception that
she had no right to live for herself alone. Her duty to others has
continuously been placed before her and her training has ever been that
of self-sacrifice. Taught from the pulpit and legislative halls that
she was created for another, that her position must always be secondary
even to her children, her right to life, has been admitted only in so
far as its reacting effect upon another could be predicated. That she
was first created for herself, as an independent being to whom all
the opportunities of the world should be open because of herself, has
not entered the thought of the church; has not yet become one of the
conceptions of law; is not yet the foundation of the family.

But woman is learning for herself that not self-sacrifice, but
self-development, is her first duty in life; and this, not primarily
for the sake of others but that she may become fully herself; a
perfectly rounded being from every point of view; her duty to others
being a secondary consideration arising from those relations in life
where she finds herself placed at birth, or those which later she
voluntarily assumes. But these duties are not different in point of
obligation, no more imperative upon her, than are similar duties upon
man. The political doctrine of the sovereignty of the individual,
although but partially recognized even in the United States, has
been most efficacious in destroying that protective spirit which has
so greatly interfered with the progress of humanity. This spirit
yet retains its greatest influence in the family, where it places a
boundary between husband and wife. Of all circumstances biasing the
judgment and restricting the sympathies, none have shown themselves
more powerful than physical differences, whether of race, color or
sex. When those differences are not alone believed to be a mark of
inferiority, but to have been especially created for the pleasure and
peculiar service of another, the elements of irresponsible tyranny
upon one side, and irremediable slavery upon the other, are already
organized. If in addition, that inferior is regarded as under an
especial curse for extraordinary sin, as the church has ever inculcated
in reference to women; and when as in the case of woman and man an
entire separation of interests, hopes, feelings and passions is
impossible, we have reached the extreme of injustice and misery under
the protective system. Consequently no other form of “protection”
has possessed so many elements of absolute injustice as that of man
over woman. Swedenborg taught, and experience declares, that morality
cannot exist except under conditions of freedom. Hence we find much
that has been called morality is the effect of dependence and lessened
self-respect, and has really been immorality and degradation. While
in every age, the virtues of self-sacrifice have been pointed to as
evidence of the highest morality, we find those women in whom it has
been most apparent, have been those doing least justice where justice
first belongs—to themselves. Justice as the foundation of the highest
law, is a primal requirement of the individual to the self. It is
none the less a serious impeachment of the religious-moral idea, that
the doctrine of protection and the duty of woman’s self-sacrifice,
were taught under the theory of divine authority. No faith was more
profound, none could be more logical if resting on a true foundation,
than the church theory regarding woman. Life assumed a sterner reality
to men who believed themselves in point of purity and priority nearer
their Creator than woman. Thereafter, she was to be protected from
herself, the church and man cheerfully assuming this duty. Under the
protective spirit it is not so very long since men sold themselves and
their families to some other man in power, either lay or religious,
under promise of protection, binding themselves to obey the mandates
of such lord evermore. The church protected and directed the thought
of the world. To think for one’s self is not even now the tendency
of mankind; the few who dare, do so at great peril. It will require
another hundred years of personal and political freedom for men to
appreciate what liberty really is—for them to possess confidence in
their own judgment upon religious questions—for the man of humble
station to fully believe in himself and in his own opinions when
opposed to the authority of church or state.

Women of the present century whose struggle for equal opportunity of
education with men; for a chance to enter the liberal professions; for
a fair share of the world of work; for equal pay in that work; for all
demands of equality which make the present a noted age in the world’s
history, have met their greatest opposition from this protective
spirit. No less than during the darkest period of its history does
the church still maintain the theory that education[3] and public
life are not fitting for woman—indelicate for herself and injurious
to the community. During the Christian ages, the church has not alone
shown cruelty and contempt for woman, but has exhibited an impious and
insolent disregard of her most common rights of humanity. It has robbed
her of responsibility, putting man in place of God. It has forbidden
her the offices of the church and at times an entrance within its
doors. It has denied her independent thought, declaring her a secondary
creation for man’s use to whom alone it has made her responsible.
It has anathematized her sex, teaching her to feel shame for the
very fact of her being. It has not been content with proclaiming a
curse upon her creative attributes, but has thrust the sorrows and
expiations of man’s “curse” upon her, and in doing these things the
church has wrought her own ruin. A religious revolution of the most
radical kind, has even now assumed such proportions as to nearly
destroy the basic creeds of various sects, and undermine the whole
fabric of christendom. It everywhere exists although neither the world
nor the church seem to realize the magnitude of its proportions. As a
legitimate result of two opposing forces, a crisis in the life of the
church is at hand; nay, even upon it. While we see it making organized
effort for extension of power and entire control of the state, we also
find great increase of radical thought, and development of individual
conscience and individual judgment. With thought no longer bound by
fear of everlasting punishment, mankind will cease to believe unproved
assertions, simply because made by a class of men under assumed
authority from God. Reason will be used, mankind will seek for truth
come whence it may, lead where it will, and with our own Lucretia Mott,
will accept “truth for authority and not authority for truth.”

In knocking at the door of political rights, woman is severing the
last link between church and state; the church must lose that power it
has wielded with changing force since the days of Constantine, ever
to the injury of freedom and the world. The immeasurable injustice of
woman, and her sufferings under christianity, her intellectual, moral
and spiritual servitude, will never be understood until life with its
sorrows shall be opened to our vision in a sphere more defined than the
present one. The superstitions of the church, the miseries of woman,
her woes, tortures, burnings, rackings and all the brutalities she
has endured in the church, the state, the family, under the sanction
of christianity, would be incredible had we not the most undeniable
evidence of their existence, not alone in the past but as shown by
the teachings, laws and customs of the present time.[4] “She has
suffered under a theology which extended its rule not only to her
civil and political relations, but to her most significant domestic
and personal concerns, regulating the commerce of husband and wife,
of parent and child, of master and servant, even prescribing her diet
and dress, her education and her industries.” Edmund Noble speaks in
like manner of the ancient Russians under the tyrannical provisions
of the Greek church, saying, “clearly, such a system of theocratic
supervision and direction as this, is compatible only with the lowest
possible spiritual condition of the subject, or the lowest possible
conception of God.” Possessing no proof of its existence, the church
has ever fostered unintelligent belief. To doubt her “unverified”
assertion has even been declared an unpardonable sin. The supreme
effort of the church, being maintenance of power, it is but recently
that woman has been allowed to read history for herself, or having read
it, dared to draw her own conclusion from its premises. Ignorance
and falsehood created a sentiment in accord with themselves, crushing
all her aspirations. In the family, man still decides the rights and
duties of the wife, as of old. As legislator and judge, he still makes
and executes class laws. In the church, he yet arrogates to himself
the interpretation of the bible; still claims to be an exponent of
the Divine will, that grandest lesson of the reformation, the right
of private interpretation of the scriptures, not yet having been
conceded to woman. The premises upon which the church is based being
radically false, and this, most especially in everything related to
woman. Trained from infancy by the church to a belief in woman’s
inferiority and incapacity for self-government, men of the highest
station have not hesitated to organize societies in opposition to her
just demands. As early as 1875, an anti-woman’s franchise association
was formed in London, under the name of “Association for Protecting the
Franchise from the Encroachment of Women;” Hon. Mr. Bouverie, a leading
opponent of Woman Suffrage in the House of Commons, being its chairman.
Among the promoters of the movement were Sir Henry James, formerly
attorney-general (for the Crown), Hon. Mr. Claflin and Mr. Leathers,
correspondent of the _New York Tribune_.

Since this period, a number of women distinguished as “the wives of”
have petitioned legislative bodies for protection against freedom for
themselves, and all others of their sex, in asking that legislatures
shall not recognize woman’s self-governing right. The deepest depth of
degradation is reached when the slave not only declares against his
own freedom, but strives to tighten the bonds of fellow slaves; and
the most cruel wrong resulting from such slavery is the destruction of
self-respect in the enslaved, as shown by the course of these women
petitioners. The protective theory reached its lowest depth for woman
by an attack upon her already vested rights of the ballot, in the
former territory, now State of Washington, on the Pacific coast, in
case of Nevada M. Bloomer (a woman) against John Wood and others, to
have the women of that territory deprived of their already existing
right of suffrage.[5] In line with the general opposition to the
enfranchisement of woman, men of even the most liberal tendencies
declare that her political freedom will be used to sustain the church,
apparently forgetting that man alone has placed the church in power
and that man alone holds it in power. And proof of man’s complicity
is even greater than this. Despite what is said of the larger church
membership of women, the most noted modern evangelist, Moody, recently
declared that he “found men tenfold, aye, an hundred-fold” more
receptive of his preaching than women. While speaking in Farwell Hall,
Chicago, 1886, he said, “For fifteen years I have preached to women
in the afternoon and very often as near as I could, have preached the
same sermon to men at night, and in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred
have had five times more result in preaching to men than to women.”
This pseudo-argument, as to woman’s susceptibility to church teaching,
brought up by the enemies of her freedom, possesses no more real value
than the pseudo-political argument sometimes presented in opposition
to woman’s admission into active politics; that is, her emotional
temperament. To one who has been present at four great presidential
nominating conventions and several large state conventions, knowledge
upon this point is practical. When one has seen a cordon of police
enforced by the mayor upon the platform, protecting the officers of
such convention, while its members, standing upon seats, stamped,
shouted, gesticulated, threatened with revolvers, acting more like
uncaged wild beasts than like men,[6] when one has witnessed the
wildest enthusiasm at the mention of a name, the waving of flags,
of hats, of handkerchiefs, the shaking of umbrellas, chairs, canes,
with violent stamping, amid a hubbub of indistinguishable voices, all
shouting; screaming so loud that people for blocks away are roused from
slumber[7] in affright of a fire, or the approach of an ungovernable
mob, such objections to woman’s freedom as her “emotions” fall to their
lowest value.

In Church and in State, man has exhibited the wildest passions, the
most ungovernable frenzy—has shown himself less controlled by reason
than possible for woman under the most adverse circumstances. Judaism,
and its offspring, Christianity, show the results of the Patriarchate
in some of its most degenerate forms; industrial servitude, educational
restrictions, legal thraldom, political slavery, false religious
teachings, are but a portion of the evils existing under its most
enlightened forms, and equally with the more pronounced polygamy and
infanticide they show a total perversion of moral ideas. Woman dearly
pays for the rights she has secured. Labor opposes, in less pay for the
same work; literature, at first welcoming her only through the cook
book, next compelled her to conceal her sex under a male pseudonym,
in order that her writings might be received with the same respect as
those of man; art has given her similar experiences, and while today
admitting her to the same advantage of study with man, yet compels her
to pay twice the price for the same instructions.

The careful student of history will discover that christianity has
been of very little value in advancing civilization, but has done a
great deal toward retarding it.[8] “Civilization, a recognition of the
rights of others at every point of contact,” has been carried forward
by means of rebellion against church teaching and church authority. The
experience of science is familiar to all, even school children quoting
Galileo and Dr. Faust. What are called reformations in religion, the
work of Huss, of Luther, of the Waldenses, the Huguenots, are equally
familiar instances to the youngest student, of rebellion against the
church. These and a myriad of others known to the historian, have all
been brought about by refusal to accept the authority of the church as
final. The Peasant War, in France, the struggles of Wat Tyler and of
Hampden in England, the French and the American revolutions looking
toward equality of rights; and a thousand minor forms of political
progress have all been opposed by the church as rebellions against its
teachings, yet all have been marked steps in civilization. The church
and civilization are antipodal; one means authority, the other freedom;
one means conservatism, the other progress; one means the rights of
God as interpreted by the priesthood, the other the rights of humanity
as interpreted by humanity. Civilization advances by free-thought,
free speech, free men. The uprising of the women of all peoples in
assertion of their common humanity with man, is exemplification of that
fact recognized in the Declaration of Independence, that while patient
endurance of wrongs to which persons are accustomed, always long borne
rather than by change perhaps to meet evils they know not of, shows
its absolutely certain ultimate effect, no matter how long delayed, in
rebellion. A time comes in the history of souls, as of nations, when
forbearance ceases to be a virtue, and self-respecting life is only
to be retained through defiance of and rebellion against, existing
customs. The soul must assert its own supremacy or die. It is not one
woman, or the women of one nation that have thus suddenly shown desire
to rule themselves—to act for themselves alone. A strange identity of
thought pervades all parts of the world—India, China, Japan, Russia
and all of Europe, North and South America, the vast continents of the
southern seas and the isles thereof, and even barbaric Africa, all
evince proof of the wide psychic under-current which seething through
women’s souls, is overthrowing the civilizations built upon the force
principles of the patriarchate, and will soon reinstate the reign of
truth and justice. During those long ages of priestly intolerance, of
domestic and governmental tyranny, in which woman seemed to accept
the authority of the priest as that of God, there still existed
a consciousness hardly perceptible to herself, that she was an
independent being to whom by virtue of her humanity all opportunities
in life belonged. From century to century mothers transmitted this
scarcely developed perception to daughters, until suddenly within the
past fifty years, these dominant ideas woke to thought, and the women
of all nations began to proclaim their same right to self-control as
that claimed by man.

It is impossible to write of the church without noticing its connection
with the great systems of the world, during its course of life. The
history of christendom is the history of the myriad institutions which
have arisen through its teachings, or that have been sustained by its
approval. The world has not grown wise under it, except with a wisdom
that is leading the purest humanitarian thought in a direction contrary
to its footsteps. Slavery and prostitution, persecutions for heresy,
the inquisition with its six hundred modes of torture, the destruction
of learning, the oppression of science, the systematized betrayal of
confiding innocence, the recognized and unrecognized polygamy of man,
the denial to woman of a right to herself, her thought, her wages, her
children, to a share in the government which rules her; to an equal
part in religious institutions, all these and a myriad more, are parts
of what is known as christian civilization. Nor has the church ever
been the leader in great reforms. During the anti-slavery conflict,
the American Church was known as “the bulwark of American slavery.”
Its course continues the same in every great contest with wrong.
A memorial history of the American Episcopal church, an extensive
work in two volumes of seven hundred pages each, published within
the past few years, devotes but seven pages to “the Attitude of the
Church during the Civil War,” and the general refusal of the church
to take part in the great struggle for national life, is referred to
with complacent satisfaction. Penitentiaries and prisons, asylums and
reformatories, all institutions of a repressive character which the
church prides herself as having built up, are no less evil than the
convents, monasteries and religious orders belonging to it. They have
all risen through perversion of nature. Crimes and criminals are built
up and born because of the great wrong first done to mothers; they
are the offspring of church and state. Science now declares crime to
be a disease, but it has not yet discovered the primal cause of this
disease. It is an inheritance from centuries of legalized crime against
woman, of which the church in its teachings is prime factor.

Woman will gain nothing by a compromising attitude toward the church,
by attempt to excuse its great wrong toward her sex, or by palliation
of its motives. On the contrary, a stern reference to facts, keeping
the face of the world turned toward its past teachings, its present
attitude, is her duty. Wrongs of omission equal in magnitude those of

Advance for woman is too well established, woman has had too much
experience, has borne too much ridicule, misrepresentation and abuse
to now hesitate in an attack upon the stronghold of her oppression—the
church. She possesses too full knowledge of its subtle touch upon
civil law to dare leave it alone; it has become one of woman’s first
duties, one of her greatest responsibilities, to call public attention
to its false doctrines and false teachings in regard to the origin,
condition and subjection of woman. She has engaged in too many battles,
weathered too many storms to longer hesitate in exposure of its
stupendous crimes toward one-half of humanity. Let those who fear,
hide themselves, if they will, until the storm is past. Let those who
dare, defiantly rejoice that they are called upon to bear still more,
in order that woman may be free. A brighter day is to come for the
world, a day when the intuitions of woman’s soul shall be accepted as
part of humanity’s spiritual wealth; when force shall step backward,
and love, in reality, rule the teachings of religion; and may woman
be strong in the ability and courage necessary to bring about this
millennial time. The world is full of signs of the near approach of
this period; as never before is there an arousing sense of something
deeper, holier in religion than the christian church has given. The
world has seemingly awaited the advent of heroic souls who once again
should dare all things for the truth. The woman who possesses love for
her sex, for the world, for truth, justice and right, will not hesitate
to place herself upon record as opposed to falsehood, no matter under
what guise of age or holiness it appears. A generation has passed
since the great struggle began, but not until within ten years has
woman dared attack upon the veriest stronghold of her oppression, the
Church. The state, agent and slave of the church, has so long united
with it in suppression of woman’s intelligence, has so long preached
of power to man alone, that it has created an inherited tendency, an
inborn line of thought toward repression. Bent in this line before
his birth, man still unwittingly thinks of woman as not quite his
equal, and it requires a new creation of mind to change his thought. A
second generation has arisen, in whom some slight inherited tendencies
toward recognition of a woman’s right to herself are seen. In the next
generation this line of inherited thought will have become stronger,
both Church and State more fully recognizing woman’s inherent right to
share in all the opportunities of life; but at what cost to all who
have taken part in the great struggle.

Has woman no wrongs to avenge upon the church? As I look backward
through history I see the church everywhere stepping upon advancing
civilization, hurling woman from the plane of “natural rights” where
the fact of her humanity had placed her, and through itself, and its
control over the state, in the doctrine of “revealed rights” everywhere
teaching an inferiority of sex; a created subordination of woman to
man; making her very existence a sin; holding her accountable to a
diverse code of morals from man; declaring her possessed of fewer
rights in church and in state; her very entrance into heaven made
dependent upon some man to come as mediator between her and the
Saviour it has preached, thus crushing her personal, intellectual and
spiritual freedom. Looking forward, I see evidence of a conflict more
severe than any yet fought by reformation or science; a conflict that
will shake the foundations of religious belief, tear into fragments
and scatter to the winds the old dogmas upon which all forms of
christianity are based. It will not be the conflict of man with man
upon rites and systems; it will not be the conflict of science upon
church theories regarding creation and eternity; it will not be the
light of biology illuminating the hypothesis of the resurrection of the
body; but it will be the rebellion of one half of the church against
those theological dogmas upon which the very existence of the church
is based. In no other country has the conflict between natural and
revealed rights been as pronounced as in the United States; and in this
country where the conflict first began, we shall see its full and final
development. During the ages, no rebellion has been of like importance
with that of Woman against the tyranny of Church and State; none has
had its far reaching effects. We note its beginning; its progress will
overthrow every existing form of these institutions; its end will be a
regenerated world.



[1] The first state of primitive man must have been the mere
aggregation. The right of the mother was therefore most natural; upon
the relationship of mother and child the remotest conception of the
family was based.—_Wilkin_, p. 869.

[2] Where a god and goddess are worshiped together they are not husband
and wife, but mother and son. Neither does the god take pre-eminence,
but the mother or goddess. This condition dates from the earliest days
of society, when marriage in our sense of the word was unknown, and
when kinship and inheritance were in the female line. The Babylonian
Ishtur of the Izdobar legend is a deity of this type.—_W. Robertson
Smith_: _Kinship in Ancient Arabia_.

[3] Dr. Th. Achelis.—_Article on Ethnology_: (_The Open Court_).

[4] In a country where she is the head of the family, where she decides
the descent and inheritance of her children, both in regard to property
and place in society in such a community, she certainly cannot be the
servant of her husband, but at least must be his equal if not in many
respects his superior.—_Wilkin_.

[5] _Motherright._

[6] Lubbuck.—_Pre-Historic Times and Origin of Civilization_. _Wilkin_.

[7] Among many people the father at birth of a child, especially a son,
loses his name and takes the one his child gets. Taylor—_Primitive
Culture_. Also see _Wilkin_.

[8] “Thus we see that woman’s liberty did not begin at the upper,
but at the lower end of civilization. Woman in those remote times,
was endowed with and enjoyed rights that are denied to her but too
completely in the higher phase of civilization. This subject has a very
important aspect, i.e. the position of woman to man, the place she
holds in society, her condition in regard to her private and public
(political) rights.”

[9] “Among the monogamous classic nations of antiquity, the maternal
deity was worshiped with religious ceremonies.”

[10] We find the mother’s right exclusively together with a
well-established monogamy.—_Bachofen_.

[11] _Documentary History of New York_.

[12] Alexander: _History of Women_.

[13] _History of the United States, Vol. I._

[14] _Cushing_.

[15] “What is most to be considered in this respect are the political
rights which women in time of the Matriarchate shared with the men.
They had indeed the right to vote in public assemblies still exercised
not very long ago among the Basques in the Spanish provinces.”

[16] That the Veddas are the aborigines of Ceylon may be assumed from
the fact that the highly civilized Singalese admit them to be of noble
rank. _Pre-Historic Times_.—Lubbuck.

[17] “We find in some instances this independence of the maiden in
regard to disposing of her hand, or selecting a husband as a memento
of the time of the Matriarchate.... The most remarkable instance of
the self-disposition of woman we find among the ancient Arabs and the
Hindoos; among the latter the virgin was permitted to select her own
husband if her father did not give her in marriage within three years
after her maturity.”

[18] _Account of the Religion, Manners, etc., of the People of Malabar,
etc._, translated by Mr. Phillips, 1718.

[19] Among the illustrative types of interior realities and the
elementary geometric forms, point, direct line and deflected line,
the last of which is a true arc produces the circle when carried to
its ultimate, this circle representing the triune order of movement;
the point in the line, the line in the curve, and the curve in the
circle—_The Path_.

[20] The phallus and lingum (or lingum and yoni), the point within the
circle or diameter within the circle.—_Volney’s Ruins_.

[21] _Chips from a German Work-Shop_.—Max Muller.

[22] All mythology has pertinently been characterized as ill-remembered

[23] In the Rig-Veda, a work not committed to writing until after that
movement of the Aryans, which resulted in the establishment of Persia
and India ... there is nothing more striking than the status of woman
at that early age. Then the departed mothers were served as faithfully
by the younger members of the family as departed fathers. The mother
quite as often, if not more frequently than the father conducted the
services of the dead ancestry, which took place three times a day,
often consisting of improvised poetry.—_Elizabeth Peabody on the

[24] There are but few of the United States in which the authority of
the father to bind out a living child or to will away an unborn one, is
not recognized as valid without the mother’s consent.

[25] Ward, the American who rendered such service to the Chinese
Emperor, has been deified. The Emperor, in a recent edict, has placed
him among the major gods of China, commanding shrines to be built and
worship to be paid to the memory of this American. The people are
worshiping him along with the most ancient and powerful deities of
their religion as a great deliverer from war and famine—as a powerful
god in the form of man. In every household, school and temple, his name
will be thus commemorated.—_Newspaper Report_.

[26] _Diodorus Siculus_.

[27] “I am nature, the parent of all things, the sovereign of the
elements, the primary progeny of time, the most exalted of the deities,
the first of the heavenly gods and goddesses, the queen of the shades,
the uniform countenances who dispose with my rod the innumerable lights
of heaven.”

[28] The salubrious breezes of the sea, and the mournful silence of the
dead whose single deity the whole world venerates in _many forms_ with
various rites and many names. The Egyptians, skilled in ancient lore,
worship me with proper ceremonies and call me by my true name—Queen

[29] Leeks, garlic, onions and beans.

[30] All the ancient nations appear to have had an ark or archa, in
which to conceal something sacred.—Godfrey Higgins, _Anacalypsis I_,

[31] The Sacred Song of Moses and Miriam was an early part of Jewish
literature; the idea was borrowed like the ark from the religion of

[32] The throne of this brilliant queen who reigned 1600 years B.C.
has recently been deposited in the British Museum. Her portrait, also
brought to light, shows Caucasian features with a dimpled chin.

[33] Bryant was an English writer of the last century, a graduate of
Cambridge who looked into many abstruse questions relating to ancient
history. In 1796, eight years before his death, he published “_A
Dissertation Concerning the War of Troy_.”

[34] That Homer came into Egypt, amongst other arguments they endeavor
to prove it especially by the potion Helen gave Telemachus—in the
story of Menelaus—to cause him to forget all his sorrows past, for the
poet seems to have made an exact experiment of the potion Nepenthes,
which he says Helen received from Polymnestes, the wife of Thonus, and
brought it from Thebes in Egypt, and indeed in that city, even at this
day, the women use this medicine with good success, and they say that
in ancient times the medicine for the cure of anger and sorrow was
only to be found among the Diospolitans, Thebes and Diospolis being
affirmed by them to be one and the same city.—_Diodorus Siculus_, Vol.
I, Chap. VII.

[35] The remaining three were Cyrus, Nebuchadnezzar and Alexander.
Cyrus met defeat and death at the hands of Tomyris, queen of the
Scythians, who caused him to be crucified, a punishment deemed so
ignominious by the Romans that it was not inflicted upon the most
criminal of their citizens. Because of his barbarity, Tomyris caused
the head of Cyrus to be plunged into a sack of blood “that he might
drink his fill.”

[36] Very few mummies of children have been found.—Wilkinson, _Ancient

[37] In relation to women the laws were very severe; for one that
committed a rape upon a free woman was condemned to have his privy
member cut off; for they judged that the three most heinous offenses
were included in that one vile act, that is wrong, defilement and
bastardy.—_Diodorus_, Vol. I, Chap. VII.

[38] _Ancient Rome in the Light of Recent Discoveries._ Chapter on the

[39] _The Anacalypsis_ II, 241.

[40] According to Commissioner of Education, Chang Lai Sin, Chinese
women can read and write, and when a husband wishes to do anything he
consults with his wife, and when the son comes home, although he may
be prime minister, he shows his respect to his mother by bending his
knee. “I claim that the Chinese institutions and system of education,
both with regard to men and women, are far superior to those of any of
the neighboring nations for a great many centuries, and that it is only
within this century that China, after having been defeated by so many
reverses in her arms, has turned to a foreign country—to the United
States—for example and instruction.”

[41] The Shakers hold that the revelation of God is progressive. That
in the first or antediluvian period of human nature God was known only
as a Great Spirit; that in the second or Jewish period he was revealed
as the Jehovah. He, she or a dual being, male or female, the “I am that
I am;” that Jesus in the third cycle made God known as a father; and
that in the last cycle commencing with 1770, A.D., “God is revealed in
the character of Mother, an eternal Mother, the bearing spirit of all
the creation of God.”—_W. A. Parcelle._

[42] In China the family acting through its natural representative is
the political unit. This representative may be a woman. The only body
in China that may be said to correspond with our law-making assemblies
is the Academy of Science and Letters of Pekin, and women are not
excluded from that learned conclave. _La Cité Chinoise._—G. Eugene

[43] _Art Letters_, p. 322.—Bachofen.

[44] _Journal of Jurisprudence_, Vol. XVI, Edinburgh, 1872.

[45] The divine element, according to the idea of the ancient world,
was composed of two sexes. There were _dei femma_, and hence temples
sacred to goddesses; holy sanctuaries where were celebrated mysteries
in which men could not be permitted to participate. The worship of
goddesses necessitated priestesses, so that women exercised the
sacerdotal office in the ancient world. The wives of the Roman Consuls
even offered public sacrifices at certain festivals. The more property
the wife had, the more rights she had.—_M. Derraimes._

[46] The superiority of woman’s condition in Europe and America is
generally attributed to Christianity. We are anxious to give some
credit to that influence, but it must not be forgotten that the nations
of Northern Europe treated women with delicacy and devotion long
before they were converted to the Christian faith. Long before the
Christian era women were held in high estimation, and enjoyed as many
privileges as they generally have since the spread of Christianity.
Nichols.—_Women of all Nations._

[47] When I go back to the most remote periods of antiquity into which
it is possible to penetrate, I find clear and positive evidence of
several important facts: First, no animal food was eaten; no animals
were sacrificed. _Higgins._—_Anacalypsis_ II, p. 147.

[48] Observe that I.H.U. is Jod, male, father; “He” is female, Binah,
and U is male, Vau, Son.—_Sepher Yetzirah._

[49] _The Perfect Way._—Kingsford.

[50] I.A.H. according to the Kabbalists, is I. (Father) and A.H.
(Mother); composed of I. the male, and H. the mother. Nork.—_Bibl.
Mythol., I_, 164-65 (note to _Sod_ 166, 2, 354).

[51] Nork says the “Woman clothed with the sign of the Sun and the Moon
is the bi-sexed or male-female deity; hence her name is Iah, composed
of the masculine I and the feminine _Ah_. _Sod._—Appendix 123.

[52] _The Perfect Way_, p. 78.

[53] That name of Deity, which occurring in the Old Testament is
translated the Almighty, namely El Shaddai, signified the Breasted God,
and is used when the mode of the divine nature implied is of a feminine
character. Kingsford.—_The Perfect Way_, p. 68.

[54] A chief signification of the word Babel among Orientals was “God
the Father.” The Tower of Babel therefore signifies the Tower of God
the Father—a remarkable indication of the confusion, not alone of
tongues, but of religious ideas arising from man’s attempt to worship
the father alone.—_E. L. Mason._ Injustice to the sex reached its
culmination in the enthronement of a personal God with a Son to share
his glory, but wifeless, motherless, daughterless.—_Dr. William Henry

[55] Those who have studied the ancient lore of Cabalistic books, know
that in the ineffable name Yod-he-vau (or Jehovah), the first letter
_yod_ signifies the masculine, the second letter _hu_ or _ha_ the
feminine, while the last letter _van_ or _vaud_ is said by Cabalists to
indicate the vital life which fills all the throbbing universe from the
union of eternal love with eternal wisdom. It is this ineffable holy
(or whole) Mother and Father, which must be exalted and imaged forth in
family and government with the woman-force more strongly emphasized,
before even human society can be filled with that new creation with
which the iridescent subtle mother-essence infuses and enwreathes all
other realms of the pulsing universe. No man seems shaken at hearing
of the fatherhood of Jehovah. Is motherhood less divine? Nothing but a
male-born theology evolved from the overheated fires of feeling would
have burned away all recognition of the fact that the presence of the
“Eternal Womanly” in Yod-he-vau’s being is necessary to full-sphered
perfection; none but those whose degraded estimate of woman has caused
them to desecrate her holy office of high priestess of life, will see
anything more sacrilegious in a recognition of “Our Mother in Heaven,”
and in offering her the prayer “hallowed be thy name, they will be done
on earth as it is in heaven,” than in saying the same things to the
Father there. Those who chose to search will discover that the “Eternal
Fatherhood of God,” in regard to which Protestant theologians talk so
much, has been balanced in all ancient religions as well as in the
nature of things by the eternal Motherhood in Jehovah’s being, without
which Fatherhood would be impossible. This Motherhood has always and
everywhere been the preserver and creator of the omnipresent life of
all kinds which fills the throbbing universe. Yod-he-vau’s _Lost Name_
can never be hallowed (made whole) without the Mother is there. _E.L.
Mason.—The Lost Name._


[1] It was a favorite doctrine of the Christian fathers that
concupiscence or the sensual passion was the original sin of human
nature. Lecky—_Hist. European Morals._ The tendency of the church
towards the enforcement of celibacy was early seen. At the four Synods
which assembled to establish the true faith in respect to the Holy
nature of Christ’s Humanity, the first one at Nice, 318, the second at
Constantinople with forty bishops present; the third at Ephesus with
two hundred bishops present; the fourth at Chaledonia with many bishops
together, they forever forbade all marriage to the minister at the
altar. _Monumenta Ecclesiastica_, p. 347. To no minister at the altar
is it allowed to marry, but it is forbidden to every one. _Ibid._

[2] According to Christianity woman is the unclean one, the seducer who
brought sin into the world and caused the fall of man. Consequently
all apostles and fathers of the church have regarded marriage as
an inevitable evil just as prostitution is regarded today. August
Bebel.—_Woman in the Past, Present and Future._

[3] Spirit in the Hebrew, as shown in the first chapter, answers to
all genders; in the Greek to the feminine alone. With Kabbalists the
“Divine Spirit” was conceded to be the feminine Jehovah, that is, the
feminine principle of the Godhead.

[4] From Marcellina, in the second century, a body of the church took
its name. Her life was pure, and her memory has descended to us free
from calumny and reproach.

[5] Lowest in the scale of being are those invisible creatures called
by Kabbalists the “elementary.”... The second class is composed of the
invisible antitypes of the men _to be_ born. _Isis Unveiled_, I, 310.

[6] Who maintained that Adam did not think of celebrating his nuptials
till he went out of Paradise.

[7] It was the effect of God’s goodness to man that suffered him to
sleep when Eve was formed, as Adam being endowed with a spirit of
prophecy might foresee the evils which the production of Eve would
cause to all mankind, so that God perhaps cast him into that sleep lest
he should oppose the creation of his wife. _Life of Adam by Loredano._
Pub. at Amsterdam, 1696. See Bayle.

[8] Lecky.—_Hist. European Morals._

[9] That marriage was evil was taught by Jerome.

[10] So fully retaining it as to require the circumcision of Timothy,
the Gentile, before sending him as a missionary to the Jews.

[11] The Council of Tours (813) recommended bishops to read, and if
possible retain by heart, the epistles of St. Paul.

[12] Although Paul “led about” other “women” saluting “some with a holy

[13] 964. Notion of uncleanliness attaching to sexual relations
fostered by the church. Herbert Spencer.—_Descriptive Sociology,

[14] In the third century marriage was permitted to all orders and
ranks of the clergy. Those, however, who continued in a state of
celibacy, obtained by this abstinence a higher reputation of sanctity
and virtue than others. This was owing to an almost general persuasion
that they who took wives were of all others the most subject to the
influence of malignant demons.—_Mosheim._

[15] Old (Christian) theologians for a long time disputed upon the
nature of females; a numerous party classed them among the brutes
having neither soul nor reason. They called a council to arrest the
progress of this heresy. It was contended that the women of Peru and
other countries of America were without soul and reason. The first
Christians made a distinction between men and women. Catholics would
not permit them to sing in Church. _Dictionnaire Feodal_ Paris, 1819.

[16] By a decree of the Council of Auxerre (A.D. 578), women on
account of their impurity were forbidden to receive the sacrament into
their naked hands.

[17] Catherine reproached the Protestants with this impious license as
with a great crime. “Les femmes chantant aux _orgies_ des huguenots,
dit Georges l’apotre; apprenez donc, predicans, que saint Paul a dit;
_Mulieres in_ ecclesiaetaccant; et que dans le chapitre de l’apocolypse
l’evoque de Thyathire est manace de la damnation pour avoir permis a
une femme de parles a l’eglise. See _Redavances Seigneur_.

[18] When part singing was first introduced into the United States,
great objection was made to women taking the soprano or leading part,
which by virtue of his superiority it was declared belonged to man.
Therefore woman was relegated to the bass or tenor but nature proved
too powerful, and man was eventually compelled to take bass or tenor as
his part, while woman carried the soprano, says the _History of Music_.

[19] _Leviticus 12:15._ Dr. Smith characterizes a sin-offering as a
sacrifice made with the idea of propitiation and atonement; its central
idea, that of expiation, representing a broken covenant between God
and the offender; that while death was deserved, the substitute was
accepted in lieu of the criminal.—_Dictionary of the Bible._

[20] _The Talmud_ (Mishna), declared three cleansings were necessary
for leprosy and three for children, thus placing the bringing of an
immortal being into life upon the same plane of defilement with the
most hideous plague of antiquity.

[21] The mean term of life for these wretched girls under religious
confinement in a nunnery was about ten years. From the fifteenth
century a sickness was common, known as Disease of the Cloisters.
It was described by Carmen. Jewish contempt of the feminine was not
alone exhibited in prohibiting her entrance into the holy places of
the temple, and in the ceremonies of her purification, but also in the
especial holiness of male animals which alone were used for sacrifice.
Under Jewish law the sons alone inherited, the elder receiving a
double portion as the beginning of his father’s strength. See Deut.
21-15. If perchance the mother also possessed an inheritance that
was also divided among the sons to the exclusion of daughters. The
modern English law of primogeniture is traceable to Judaism. Even
the commandments were made subservient to masculine ideas, the tenth
classing a man’s wife with his cattle and slaves, while the penalties
of the seventh were usually visited upon her alone.

[22] The reign of Constantine marks the epoch of the transformation
of Christianity from a religious into a political system.
Draper.—_Conflict of Religion and Science._

[23] “The woman that cometh to give thanks must offer accustomed
offering in this kingdom; it is the law of the kingdom in such cases.”

[24] In the year 1867 the Right Rev. Bishop Coxe, of the Western
Diocese of New York, refused the sacrament to those women patients of
Dr. Foster’s Sanitarium at Clifton Springs, N.Y., whose heads were
uncovered, although the rite was performed in the domestic chapel of
that institution and under the same roof as the patient’s own rooms.
During the famous See trial at Newark, N.J., 1876, the prosecutor, Rev.
Dr. Craven, declared that every woman before him wore her head covered
in token of her subordination.

[25] The Catholic Congress of July, 1892, telegraphing the pope it
would strive to obtain for the Holy See the recovery of its inalienable
prerogative and territorial independence, was convened at Fulda.

[26] “In the old days, no woman was allowed to put her foot within the
walls of the monastery at San Augustin, Mexico. A noble lady of Spain,
wife of the reigning Viceroy, was bent on visiting it. Nothing could
stop her, and in she came. But she found only empty cloisters, for
each virtuous monk locked himself securely in his cell, and afterward
every stone in the floor which her sacrilegious feet had touched was
carefully replaced by a new one fresh from the mountain top. Times are
sadly changed. The house has now been turned into a hotel.”

[27] _Sacerdotal Celibacy._—Lea.

[28] _Studies in Church History._—Lea.

[29] _History of Materialism._

[30] Seals upon legal papers owe their origin to the custom of the
uneducated noble warrior stamping the imprint of his clenched or mailed
hand upon wax as his signature.

[31] _St. Theresa_ founded the Barefoot Carmelites, and it is but a few
years since thousands of its members assembled to do honor to her name.

[32] The annals of the Church of Rome give us the history of that
celebrated prostitute Marozia of the tenth century, who lived in public
concubinage with Pope Sergius III., whom she had raised to the papal
throne. Afterwards she and her sister Theodosia placed another of
their lovers, under name of Anastatius III., and after him John X., in
the same position. Still later this same powerful Marozia placed the
tiara upon the head of her son by Pope Sergius under name of John XI.,
and this before he was sixteen years of age. The celebrated Countess
Matilda exerted no less power over popedom, while within this century
the maid of Kent has issued orders to the pope himself.

[33] The first abbess, Petrouville, becoming involved in a dispute
with the powerful bishop of Angers, summoned him before the council
of Chateraroux and Poicters, where she pleaded the cause of her order
and won her case. In 1349 the abbess Theophegenie denied the right of
the seneschal of Poitou to judge the monks of Fontevrault, and gained
it for herself. In 1500, Mary of Brittany, in concert with the pope’s
deputies, drew up with an unfaltering hand the new statutes of the
order. Legouve.—_Moral History of Women._

[34] No community was richer or more influential, yet during six
hundred years and under thirty-two abbesses, every one of its
privileges were attacked by masculine pride or violence, and every one
maintained by the vigor of the women.—_Sketches of Fontervault._

[35] What is more remarkable the monks of this convent were under
control of the abbess and nuns, receiving their food as alms.—_Ibid._

[36] “The Lord’s Prayer,” taught his disciples by Jesus, recognizes the
loss, and demands restoration of the feminine in “Hallowed (whole) be
Thy Name.”

[37] Woman should always be clothed in mourning and rags, that the eye
may perceive in her only a penitent, drowned to tears, and so doing for
the sin of having ruined the whole human race. Woman is the gateway of
satan, who broke the seal of the forbidden tree and who first violated
the divine law.

[38] Gildas, in the first half of the sixth century, declared the
clergy were utterly corrupt. Lea.—_Studies in Church History._

[39] In the third century marriage was permitted to all ranks and
orders of the clergy. Those, however, who continued in a state of
celibacy, obtained by this abstinence a higher reputation of sanctity
and virtue than others. This was owing to the almost general persuasion
that they who took wives were of all others the most subject to the
influence of malignant demons.—_Mosheim._ As early as the third
century, says _Bayle_, were several maidens who resolved never to marry.

[40] The priests of the Greek Church are still forbidden a second
marriage. In the beginning of the reign of Edward I, when men in orders
were prohibited from marriage in England, a statute was framed under
which lay felons were deprived of the clergy in case they had committed
bigamy in addition to their other offenses; bigamy in the clerical
sense meaning marriage with a widow or with two maidens in succession.

[41] Pelagius II., sixty-fifth pope in censuring those priests,
who after the death of their wives have become fathers by their
servants, recommended that the culpable females should be immured in
convents to perform perpetual penance for the fault of the priest.
Cormenin.—_History of the Popes_, p. 84.

[42] A priest’s wife is nothing but a snare of the devil, and he who
is ensnared thereby on to his end will be seized fast by the devil,
and he must afterwards pass into the hands of fiends and totally
perish.—_Institutes of Polity, Civil and Ecclesiastical_, pp. 438-42.
_Canons of Aelfric and Aelfric’s Pastoral Epistles_, p. 458.

[43] _Momumenta Ecclesiastica. Institutes of Polity, Civil and

[44] In order to understand the morals of the clergy of this period,
it is important that we should make mention of a law which was passed
by the emperors Valentinian, Valerius and Gratian toward the end of
the year 370. It prohibited ecclesiastics and monks from entering the
houses of widows and single women living alone or who had lost their
parents. Dr. Cormenin.—_History of the Popes_, p. 62.

[45] _Lecky_ finds evidence of the most hideous immorality in these
restrictions, which forbade the presence even of a mother or sister in
a priest’s house. _Lea_ says it is somewhat significant that when in
France the rule of celibacy was completely enforced churchmen should
find it necessary to revive this hideously suggestive restriction which
denied the priest the society of his mother and sister.—_Sacerdotal
Celibacy_, p. 344.

[46] He declared it to be the highest degree of wickedness to rise from
a woman’s side to make the body of Christ. He was discovered the same
night with a woman to the great indignation of the people, and obliged
to flee the country to escape condign punishment.

[47] It is not difficult to conceive the order of ideas that
produced that passionate horror of the fair sex which is such a
striking characteristic of old Catholic theology. Celibacy was
universally conceded as the highest form of virtue, and in order
to make it acceptable theologians exhausted all the resources of
their eloquence in describing the iniquity of those whose charm had
rendered it so rare. Hence the long and fiery disquisitions on the
unparalleled malignity, the unconceivable subtlety, the frivolity,
the unfaithfulness, the unconquerable evil propensities of woman.
Lecky.—_Hist. European Morals._

[48] The Fathers of the Church for the most part, vie with each other
in their depreciation of woman and denouncing her with every vile
epithet, held it a degradation for a saint to touch even his aged
mother with his hand in order to sustain her feeble steps.... For it
declared woman unworthy through inherent impurity even to set foot
within the sanctuaries of its temples; suffered her to exercise the
function of wife and mother only under the spell of a triple exorcism,
and denied her when dead burial within its more sacred precincts even
though she was an abbess of undoubted sanctity. Anna Kingsford.—_The
Perfect Way_, p. 286.

[49] _Disease of the Cloisters._

[50] When the sailors of Columbus returned from the new world they
brought with them a disease of an unknown character, which speedily
found its way into every part of Europe. None were exempt; the king
on his throne, the beggar in his hovel, noble and peasant, priest and
layman alike succumbed to the dire influence which made Christendom one
vast charnel house. Of it, _Montesquieu_ said: “It is now two centuries
since a disease unknown to our ancestors was first transplanted from
the new world to ours, and came to attack human nature in the very
source of life and pleasure. Most of the powerful families of the South
of Europe were seen to perish by a distemper that was grown too common
to be ignominious, and was considered in no other light than that of
being fatal. _Works_, I, 265.

[51] St. Ambrose and others believed not that they (women) were human
creatures like other people. Luther.—_Familiar Discourses_, p. 383.

[52] When a woman is born it is a deficit of nature and contrary to her
intentions, as is the case when a person is born blind or lame or with
any natural defect, and as we frequently see happens in fruit trees
which never ripen. In like manner a woman may be called a fortuitous
animal and produced by accident.

[53] Cajetan, living from 1496 to 1534, became General of the Dominican
Order and afterwards Cardinal.

[54] “The Father alone is creator.”

[55] By decree of the Council of Lyons, 1042, barons were allowed to
enslave the children of married clergy.—_Younge._

[56] In 1108 priests were again ordered to put away their wives.
Such as kept them and presumptuously celebrated mass were to be
excommunicated. Even the company of their wives was to be avoided.
Monks and priests who for love of their wives left their orders
suffering excommunication, were again admitted after forty days penance
if afterwards forsaking them.

[57] Dulaure.—_Histoire de Paris_, I, 387, note.

[58] The abbot elect of St. Augustine, at Canterbury, in 1171, was
found on investigation to have seventeen illegitimate children in a
single village. An abbot of St. Pelayo, in Spain, in 1130, was proved
to have kept no less than seventy mistresses.—_Hist. European Morals_,
p. 350.

[59] A tax called “cullagium,” which was a license to clergymen to
keep concubines, was during several years systematically levied by
princes.—_Ibid_ 2, 349.

[60] _Supplement to Lumires, 50th question, Art, III._

[61] St. Anselm, although very strict in the enforcement of the canons
favoring celibacy, found recalcitrant priests in his own diocese whose
course he characterized as “bestial insanity.”

[62] So says _Bayle_, author of the _Historical and Critical
Dictionary_, a magnificent work in many volumes. Bayle was a man of
whom it has justly been said his “profound and varied knowledge not
only did much to enlighten the age in which he lived by pointing out
the errors and supplying the deficiencies of contemporaneous writers
of the seventeenth century, but down to the present time his work has
preserved a repository of facts from which scholars continually draw.”

[63] Those who support celibacy would perhaps choose rather to allow
crimes than marriage, because they derive considerable revenue by
giving license to keep concubines. A certain prelate boasted openly
at his table that he had in his diocese 1,000 priests who kept
concubines, and who paid him, each of them, a crown a year for their
license.—_Cornelius Aggrippa._

[64] For years in Germany the word Pufferkind signified “priest’s
bastard.” _Montesquieu_ declared celibacy to be libertinism.

[65] _Amelot_ (Abraham Nicholas), born in Orleans 1134, declared the
celibacy of the clergy to have been established a law in order to
prevent the alienation of the church estate.

[66] Pope Pelagius was unwilling to establish the Bishop of Sagola in
his see because he had a wife and family, and only upon condition that
wife and children should inherit nothing at his death except what he
then possessed, was he finally confirmed. All else was to go into the
coffers of the church.

[67] Cardinal Otto decreed that wives and children of priests should
have no benefit from the estate of the husband and father; such estates
should be vested in the church.

[68] In 1396 Charles VI forbade that the testimony of women should be
received in any of the courts of his kingdom.

[69] The council of Tivoli, in the Soisonnais, 909, in which twelve
bishops took part, promulgated a Canon requiring the oath of seven
witnesses to convict a priest with having lived with a woman; if these
failed of clearing him he could do so by his own oath.

[70] Though the clergy now and then made use both of the Justinian and
Theodosian Codes, the former body of law, as such, was notwithstanding
from the reign of the Emperor Justinian, or about the year of our Lord
560, till the beginning of the 12th century, or the year of Christ,
1230 or thereabouts, of no force in the west in matter of government.
Seldon.—_Dissertation on Fleta_, p. 112.

[71] The codification of the laws under Justinian were largely due
to his wife the Empress Theodosia, who having risen from the lowest
condition in the empire, that of a circus performer, to the throne of
the East, proved herself capable in every way of adorning that high

[72] By the Code Napoleon, all research into paternity is forbidden.
The Christian Church was swamped by hysteria from the third to the
sixteenth century. Canon Charles Kingsley.—_Life and Letters._

[73] Although under law the entire property of the wife became that of
the husband upon marriage.

[74] A treatise on Chastity, attributed to Pope Sixtus III., barely
admits that married people can secure eternal life, though stating that
the glory of heaven is not for them.

[75] The Romish religion teaches that if you omit to name anything in
confession, however repugnant or revolting to purity which you even
doubt having committed, your subsequent confessions are thus rendered
null and sacrilegious. Chiniquy.—_The Priest, the Woman and the
Confessional_, p. 202. Study the pages of the past history of England,
France, Italy, Spain, etc., and you will see that the gravest and most
reliable historians have everywhere found instances of iniquity in the
confessional box which their order refused to trace. _Ibid_, p. 175.
It is a public fact which no learned Roman Catholic has ever denied
that auricular confession became a dogma and obligatory practice of
the church only at the Lateran Council, in the year 1215, under Pope
Innocent III. Not a single trace of auricular confession as a dogma
can be found before that year. _Ibid_, p. 239. Auricular confession
originated with the early heretics, especially with Marcius. Bellarmin
speaks of it as something to be practiced. But let us hear what the
contemporary writers have to say on this question: “Certain women were
in the habit of going to the heretic Marcius to confess their sins to
him. But as he was smitten with their beauty, and they loved him also,
they abandoned themselves to sin with him.”—_Ibid_, p. 234.

[76] Disraeli, who is most excellent authority, declared the early
English edition of the Bible contained 6,000 errors, which were
constantly introduced and passages interpolated for sectarian purposes
or to sustain new creeds; sometimes, indeed, they were added for the
purpose of destroying all scriptural authority by the use of texts.

The revisors of the New Testament found 150,000 errors, interpolations,
additions and false translations in the King James or common version.

[77] Cardinal Wolsey complained to the Pope that both the secular and
regular priests were in the habit of committing actions for which if
not in orders, they would have been promptly executed.

The claim of direct inspiration from God exists equally among
Protestants as among Catholics, and even among the Unitarians, who deny
Christ’s divinity. A notable instance of this kind, both because of the
high scientific and moral character of the clergyman, took place in the
pulpit of the May Memorial Church, Syracuse, N.Y., December 4th, 1887,
as reported in the Morning Standard of the 5th.

Luther declared that priests believed themselves to be as superior to
the laity in general as males were held superior to females.

[78] The legal wife of a priest was termed “An Unhallowed Thing,” while
mistresses and concubines were known as “The Hallowed Ones,” “The
Honored Ones.” In parts of France, especially in Paris, the latter
epithet was common as applied to a priest’s mistress.—_Michelet._

[79] Heloise sacrificed herself on account of the impediments the
church threw in the way of the married clergy’s career of advancement.
As his wife he would lose the ascending ladder of ecclesiastical
honors, priory, abbacy, bishopric, metropolitane, cardinalate, and even
that which was above and beyond all. Milman.—_Latin Christianity._

[80] In 1558 one Walter Mill was indicted, one article of his
accusation being his assertion of the lawfulness of sacerdotal
marriage. He was condemned to the stake and burned. Taine.—_English

[81] An old doctrine which often turns up again in the middle ages. In
the seventeenth century it prevailed among the convents of France and
Spain. Michelet.—_La Sorcerie_, p. 258.

[82] They made the vilest use of the doctrine that Christ was born of a
Virgin, using this as an example for woman to be followed.—_Ibid_, p.

[83] They must kill sin by being more humble and lost to all sense
of pride through sin. This was the Quietist doctrine introduced by a
Spanish priest, Molinos, who claimed it as the result of an inner light
or illumination. He declared that “Only by dint of sinning can sin be

[84] “Let not this surprise you,” replied the abbot, “My sanctity is
not the less on this account because that abides in the soul, and what
I now ask of you is only a sin of the body. Do not refuse the grace
heaven sends you.” Boccaccio.—_Decameron._

[85] Taine—_Eng. Lit._ I, 363.

[86] The unmarried state of the clergy was in itself one of the
chief causes of sexual excess. The enormously numerous clergy
became a perilous plague for female morality in town and village.
The peasants endeavored to preserve their wives and daughters from
clerical seduction by accepting no pastor who did not bind himself to
take a concubine. In all towns there were brothels belonging to the
municipality, to the sovereign, to the church, the proceeds of which
flowed into the treasury of proprietors.

[87] Draper.—_Intellectual Development of Europe_, 498.

[88] Men in orders are sometimes deceived by the devil that they marry
unrighteously and foredo themselves by the adulteries in which they
continue. _Institutes of Polity, Civil and Ecclesiastical_, 437.

There is ground for the assumption that the Canon which bound all the
active members of the church to perpetual celibacy, and thus created
an impenetrable barrier between them and the outer world, was one of
the efficient methods in creating and sustaining both the temporal and
spiritual power on the Romish Church. Taine.—_English Literature._

[89] All steps are necessary to make up the ladder. The vices of men
become steps in the ladder one by one as they are remounted. The
virtues of man are steps indeed, necessary not by any means to be
dispensed with, yet though they create a fair atmosphere and a happy
future, they are useless if they stand alone. The whole nature of man
must be used wisely by the one who desires to enter the way. Seek it by
plunging into the mysterious and glorious depth of your inmost being.
Seek it by testing all experience, by utilizing the senses in order to
understand the growth of meaning of individuality and the beauty and
obscurity of those other divine fragments which are struggling side
by side with you and from the race to which you belong.—_Light on the
Path_, Rule XX.

[90] “What in the world makes you look so sullen?” asked the young man
as he took his arm and they walked towards the palace. “I am tormented
with wicked thoughts,” answered Eugene gloomily. “What kind? They can
easily be cured.” “How?” “By yielding to them.” _Dialogue in Balzac’s
Pere Goriot._

[91] _1st Corinthians_ VII, 36.

[92] Limbrock.—_History of the Inquisition._

[93] Carema reported that the parish priest of Naples was not convicted
though several women deposed that he had seduced them. He was, however,
tortured, and suspended for a year, when he again entered his duties.

[94] Lea.—_Sacerdotal Celibacy_, p. 422.

The secrecy with which the Inquisition worked may be conjectured from
the fact that during the whole time its officers were busy gathering
evidence upon which to condemn Galileo, his friends in Rome, none of
whom occupied high position in the church, not only did not suspect his
danger, but constantly wrote him in the most encouraging terms.

[95] The acts of the Metropolital Visitation of the Archbishops of
Wareham states that in the Diocese of Bangor and St. Davids, in time
of Henry VIII., more than eighty priests were actually presented for

[96] Against this separation the bitter animosity of Pope Leo XIII. was
seen in his refusal of the gifts tendered him by the royal family of
Italy at the time of his jubilee.

[97] And the summary was not brief. Dwight.—_Roman Republic in 1849_,
p. 115. Pope John XIII., having appeared before the council to give an
account of his conduct, he was proved by thirty-seven witnesses, the
greater part of whom were bishops and priests, of having been guilty of
fornication, adultery, incest, sodomy, theft and murder. It was also
proved by a legion of witnesses that he had seduced and violated 300
nuns.—_The Priest, Woman and Confessional_, p. 268.

Henry III., bishop of Liege, was deposed in 1274 for having sixty-five
illegitimate children. Lecky.—_Hist. European Morals_, p. 350. This
same bishop boasted at a public banquet that in twenty-two months
fourteen children had been born to him. _Ibid_, Vol. 2, p. 349. It was
openly asserted that 100,000 women in England were made dissolute by
the clergy. Draper.—_Intellectual Development of Europe_, p. 498.

[98] _Familiar Discourses_ and other works. In Rome are born such a
multitude of bastards that they are constrained to build particular
monasteries, where they are brought up and the pope is named their
father. When any great processions are held in Rome, then the said
bastards go all before the pope.—_Familiar Discourses_, 383.

After Pope Gregory confirmed celibacy he found 6,000 heads of infants
in a fish pond, which caused him to again favor the marriage of
priests.—_Ibid_. Bishop Metz, to my knowledge, hath lost the annual
revenue of 500 crowns, which he was wont to receive from the county for
pardoning of whoring and adultery.—_Ibid_, 260.

[99] In 1874, an old Catholic priest of Switzerland, about to follow
Pere Hyacinthe’s example in abandoning celibacy, announced his
betrothal in the following manner: “I marry because I wish to remain
an honorable man. In the seventeenth century it was a proverbial
expression, ‘As corrupt as a priest,’ and this might be said today.
I marry, therefore, because I wish to get out of the Ultramontane
slough.”—_Galignani’s Messenger_, September 19, 1874.

[100] See _Biographical Sketch_. (Died January 16, 1899.)

[101] pp. 86 to 140.

[102] To be found in _The Priest, the Woman and the Confessional_.

[103] _Ibid_, p. 77-8.

[104] _Ibid_, p. 287.

[105] A Shenandoah correspondent of the Pittsburgh Commercial
Advertiser, June 5, 1885, wrote:

SHENANDOAH, PA., June 5.—Father Wolonski, of this place, the only
priest of the Uniate Greek Church in this country, has been recalled to

The Uniate Greek Church, it will be remembered, comprehends those
Christians who, while they follow the Greek rite, observe the general
discipline of the Greek Church and make use of the Greek liturgy, are
yet united with the Church of Rome, admitting the double procession of
the Spirit and the supremacy of the Roman Pontiff, and accepting all
the doctrinal decisions subsequent to the Greek schism which have force
as articles of faith in the Roman Church. The usage of the Church as to
the law of celibacy is, with the consent of the Roman Pontiff, the same
as among the other Greeks, and Father Wolonski brought a wife with him
to Shenandoah when he came here last December. This fact has made both
the priest and his religion, subjects of great importance here, and the
attention they have received has resulted in his recall to Limberg,
Austria, the see of the diocese from which he was transferred here.


When Father Wolonski arrived in Philadelphia he visited the Cathedral
and sought an interview with Archbishop Ryan, but when that gentlemen
then came to Shenandoah, as directed by Bishop Sembratowicz, of
Limberg, who sent him on his mission, Father O’Reilly, of the
Irish Catholic Church, warned his congregation, under pain of
excommunication, to shun the church and priest, at the same time
tacitly denying that the Roman Church recognized the right of any
priest to marry. The matter led to great controversy, during which
Father Wolonski established his congregation, and arrangements have
been made for the erection of a church. To avoid further trouble,
however, the Bishop of Limberg has selected and sent an unmarried
priest to succeed him, and Father Wolonski will return to Austria.
Father Wolonski is an intelligent and highly-educated gentleman, and
has made a large number of friends during the few months he has been
here. He speaks several languages, and during his stay here acquired a
remarkable knowledge of English. He has worked incessantly since his
arrival here for the temporal as well as the spiritual comfort of his
people, and has made a large circle of acquaintances, who will regret
his departure from the town.

[106] And yet the world “does move,” and the experience of the church
is much that of the big elephant Jumbo, who in opposing his vast form
to a train of cars met his death at the engine.

[107] The Chili mantas and skirts of white flannel are worn by
penitentes, or women who have committed some heinous sin and thus
advertise their penitence; or those who have taken some holy vow to
get a measure nearer heaven, and go about the street with downcast
eyes, looking at nothing and recognizing no one. They hover about the
churches, and sit for hours crouched before some saint or crucifix,
saying prayers and atoning for their sin. In the great Cathedral at
Santiago, and in the smaller churches everywhere, these penitentes, in
their snow-white garments, are always to be seen, on their knees, or
posing in other uncomfortable postures, and looking for all the world
like statues carved in marble. In the Santiago Cathedral they cluster
in large groups around the confessionals, waiting to receive absolution
from some fat and burly father, that they may rid their bodies of the
mark of penitence they carry and their souls of sin. Some of them
make vows, or are sentenced by their confessors to wear their white
shrouds for a certain time, while others assume them voluntarily until
they have assurance from their priest that their sin is atoned for.
Ladies of the highest social position and great wealth are commonly
found among the penitentes, as well as young girls of beauty and
winning grace. Even the wives of merchants and bankers wander about
the streets with all but their eyes covered with this white mantle,
which gives notice to the world that they have sinned. The women of
Chili are as pious as the men are proud, and this method of securing
absolution is quite fashionable. Those souls that cannot be purged by
this penitential dress retire to a convent in the outskirts of the city
called the Convent of the Penitents, where they scourge themselves with
whips, mortify the flesh with sackcloth, sleep in ashes and upon stone
floors, and feed themselves on mouldy crusts. Some stay longer and some
a less time in these houses of correction, until the priests by whose
advice they go there, give them absolution; but it is seldom that the
inmates are men. They are usually women who have been unfaithful to
their marriage vows, or girls who have yielded to temptation. After
the society season, after the carnival, at the end of the summer when
people return from the fashionable resorts, and at the beginning of
lent these places are full, and throngs of carriages surround them,
waiting to bear back to their homes the belles who are sent here and
can find no room to remain. For those whose sins have been too great to
be washed out by this process, for those whose shame has been published
to the world and are unfitted under social laws to associate with the
pure, other convents are open, established purposely as a refuge or
House of Detention. Young mothers without husbands are here cared for,
and their babes are taken to an orphan asylum in the neighborhood to be
reared by the nuns for the priesthood and other religious orders. It
is the practice for parents to send wayward daughters to these homes,
while society is given to understand that they are elsewhere visiting
friends or finishing their education. After a time they return to their
families and no questions are asked.

[108] Too long have the people out of respect for the church,
maintained silence in the presence of gross abuses, while their
families have been ruined. I am a husband and a father, and I do not
wish the honor of my name and my family to be at the mercy of a wolf
who may introduce himself with the viaticum in his hands. I am a
father, and I do not wish that the sacred candor of my child should
be exposed to the lecherous attempts of a wretch in a soutane. The
religious authorities are on the eve of witnessing honest men follow
their wives, their daughters, and even their little boys to the
confessional, to assure themselves if the hand that holds there the
balance of divine justice is the hand of a respectable man or the hand
of a blackguard who should receive the lash in public with his neck in
the pillory.—_Letter from a gentleman._ A recent article in the Canada
“Review” asks if after giving to the clergy riches, respect and the
highest positions, it is too much to ask that they should leave to the
people their wives? Our wives and daughters whom they steal from us
by the aid of religion, and more especially of the confessional. An
immediate, firm and vigorous reform is needed. Our wives and daughters
must be left alone. Let the clergy keep away from the women, and
religion and the Catholics will be better off. This must be done and at
once.—_Montreal Correspondence of the Toronto Mail_, September 15, 1892.


[1] Maine says the bodies of customary law which were built up over
Europe were in all matters of first principles under ecclesiastical
influence, but the particular application of a principle once accepted
were extremely various.

[2] The Council held at Winchester in time of Archbishop Le Franc
contained a constitution that a marriage without the benediction of
a priest should not be deemed a legitimate marriage. Ecclesiastical
law as allowed in this country (Great Britain), from earliest times
the presence of a priest was required to constitute a legal marriage.
Reeves.—_History of English Law._

[3] Reeves History of English Law is a full and comprehensive
history of the English Law, accurate and judicious as well as full.
Lord Mansfield is said to have advised its author. In this work the
student is presented with all that is necessary that he should know
of the earliest law books. Bracton, Glanville and Fleta carefully
collected and presented. Reeves History of English Law, says Chancellor
Kent, contains the best account that we have of the progress of
the law from the time of the Saxons to the reign of Elizabeth.
Sherwood.—_Professional Ethics._

[4] Hefele’s, _Acts of Councils_.

[5] Church and priestly property is still untaxed in the United States.
At an early day the clergy were not required to sit on juries nor
permitted to cast a vote.

[6] Giessler, _Ecclesiastical History_.

[7] Doctrines in the Canon Law most favorable to the power of the
clergy are founded in ignorance, or supported by fraud and forgery,
of which a full account is found in Gerard. See _Mem. de l’Acad. des
Inscript._, Tom 18, p. 46. Also Voltaire’s essay upon general history.

[8] “Whenever Canon Law has been the basis of legislation, we find the
laws of succession sacrificing the interests of daughters and wives.”
“Du Cange, in his Glossary, _voc Casia Christianitatis_, has collected
most of the causes with respect to which the clergy arrogated an
exclusive jurisdiction, and Giannone, in the _Civil History of Naples_,
lib. 19, sec. 3, has arranged these under proper heads scrutinizing the
pretensions of the church.”

[9] “Canons were made from time to time to supply the defects of the
common law of the church; so were statutes added to enforce both
Common and Canon Law. The greater part of the statutes made before the
Reformation, which concerns the church and clergy, are directly leveled
against violence committed against the possession of persons by the
minister or the king, and against the encroachments of the Temporal
Courts upon the spiritual jurisdiction.”

[10] “Phantastic romanticists and calculating persons have endeavored
to represent this period as the age of morality and sincere reverence
for woman.... The ‘Service of Love’ preached by French, German, and
Italian knights, was supposed to prove the high respect paid to
the women of that day. On the contrary, this period succeeded in
destroying the little respect for the female sex which existed at its
commencement. The knights both in town and country were mostly coarse,
licentious men.... The chronicles of the times swarm with tales of
rape and violence on the part of nobles in the country, and still
more in the towns where they were exclusive rulers up to the XIII.
and XIV. centuries, while those subjected to this degraded treatment
were powerless to obtain redress. In the towns the nobles sat on the
magistrates bench, and in the country criminal jurisdiction was in the
hands of the lord of the manor, squire or bishop.”

[11] The first article of the famous Code of Love was “Marriage is not
a legitimate excuse against love.”

[12] This was Christine’s first work. Her success was so great that she
supported a family of six persons by her pen.

[13] Wright. _Womankind in Europe._

[14] “The Fathers seem to have thought dissolution of marriage was not
lawful on account of the adultery of the husband, but that it was not
absolutely unlawful for a husband whose wife had committed adultery to

[15] The preference of males over females in succession was totally
unknown to the laws of Rome. Brothers and sisters were entitled to
equal parts of the inheritance. Blackstone.—_Commentaries._

[16] No marriage could take place after 12 M., which is even now the
rule of the English Established Church. The decrees of the Plenary
Council, Baltimore 1884, tend to the establishment of similar
regulations in our own country.

[17] The New Testaments of sixty years since, contained a list of
relatives commencing with grandfather and grandmother, whom a man and
woman might not marry.

[18] The policy of the church was to persuade mankind that the
cohabitation of a man and woman was in itself unholy, and that nothing
but a religious bond or sacrament could render it inoffensive in the
eyes of God. Pike.—_History of Crime in England_, I, 90.

[19] This law held good in Protestant England until within the last

[20] The church visited its penalties upon the innocent as well as
guilty; when any man remained under excommunication two months, his
wife and children were interdicted and deprived of all doctrines of the
church but baptism and repentance. Lea.—_Studies in Church History._

[21] In England, until the reign of William and Mary, women were
refused the benefit of clergy.

[22] In the hands of such able politicians it (marriage), soon became
an engine of great importance to the papal scheme of an universal
monarchy over Christendom. The innumerable canonical impediments that
were invented and occasionally dispensed with by the Holy See, not
only enriched the coffers of the church, but give it a vast ascendant
over persons of all denominations, whose marriages were sanctioned or
repudiated, their issue legitimated or bastardized ... according to the
humor or interest of the reigning pontiff.—_Commentaries_ 3, 92.

[23] The word Liber, free, the solar _Phre_ of Egypt, and Liber, a
book, being as has been shown, closely connected, the bookish men of
Bac, Boc, Bacchus, were comparatively free from the rule of the warrior
class, both in civil and military point of view, and thence arises our
_benefit of clergy_. If the benefit of clergy depends upon a statute,
it had probably been obtained by the priests to put their privilege out
of doubt. It has been a declaratory statute, although, perhaps, every
man who was initiated could not read and write, yet I believe every man
who could read and write was initiated, these arts being taught to the
initiated only in very early times. It has been said that the privilege
of clergy was granted to encourage learning. I believe it was used as
a test, as a proof that a man was of, or immediately belonging to, the
sacred tribe, and therefore exempt from the jurisdiction of the court
in which he had been tried. If he were accused he said nothing; if
found guilty he pleaded his orders and his reading. I have little doubt
that the knowledge of reading and letters were a masonic secret for
many generations, and that it formed part of the mysterious knowledge
of Eleusis and other temples.—_Anacalypsis_, 2, 271-2.

[24] Woman was represented as the door of hell, as the mother of all
human ills. She should be ashamed of the very thought that she is a
woman. She should live in continual penance on account of the curses
she had brought upon the world. She should be ashamed of her dress, for
it is the memorial of her fall. She should especially be ashamed of her
beauty, for it is the most potent instrument of the demon.... Women
were even forbidden by a provincial council, in the sixth century,
on account of their impurity, to receive the eucharist in their
naked hands. Their essentially subordinate position was continually
maintained. Lecky.—_Hist. European Morals._

[25] No woman can witness a will in the State of Louisiana today.

[26] Blackstone says whosoever wishes to form a correct idea
of Canon Law can do so by examining it in regard to married

[27] Blondell, a learned Protestant who died in 1659, fully proved
Isidore’s collection of the Decretal Epistles of the popes of the first
three centuries, to be all forged and a shameless imposture, _says

[28] The famous law of Constantine, attached to the Theodosian Code, by
virtue of which a prodigious and monstrous jurisdiction was formerly
attributed to bishops, or to the hieratic order, though in reality that
law was never a part of the aforesaid code, at the end of which it is
found. Seldon.—_Dissertation on Fleta_, p. 101.

At time of Valentinian neither bishops nor the Consistories could,
without the consent of the contracting lay parties, take cognizance of
their causes.... Because, says that emperor, it is evident that bishops
and priests have no court to determine the laws in, neither can they
according to the imperial constitutions of Arcadius and Honorius, as
is manifest from the Theodosian body, judge of any other matters than
those relating to religion. Thus the aforesaid Emperor Valentinian.
Neither do I think that the above sanction as extravagant, obtained
a place at the end of the Theodosian Code, or was under the title of
Episcopis, by any other manner posted into my manuscript, than by the
frauds and deceits, constantly, under various pretenses, made use of
by the hieratical orders, who endeavored to shape right or wrong,
according to the custom of those ages, not to mention others, sovereign
princes and republics of their authority and legal power, by this means
under the cloak of religion, its constant pretext, most strenuously
serving their own ends and ambition.—_Ibid_, 107.

[29] See Reeves.—_History of English Law._

[30] Draper.—_Conflict of Science and Religion._

[31] Reeves.

[32] Declaration of judges in the famous case of Evans and Ascuith.
Vaughn said in a later case of the same kind, “If Canon Law be made
part of the law of this land, then it is as much a law of the land and
as well, and by the same authority as any other part of the law of the

[33] Gibson was archdeacon of Surrey, Rector of Lambeth, and Chaplain
of his Grace the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury (Primate of all
England and Metropolitan) to whom the Jurus was dedicated. The work
said: “The foreign is what we commonly call the body of Canon Law,
consisting of the Canons of Councils, Decrees of Popes and the like,
which obtained in England by virtue of their own authority (in like
manner as they did in other parts of the Western Church), till the
time of the Reformation, and from that time have continued upon the
foot of consent, usage and custom. For which distinction we have no
less warrant than an act of Parliament, made at the very time when
those foreign laws were declared to be no longer binding by their own
authority.... We have a plain declaration that foreign laws became part
of the law of England by long use and consent.” Gibson.—_Codex Jurus
Ecclesiasticum Anglican._

[34] English _Common Law Reports_, Hill vs. Gould, _Vaughn_, p. 327,
says: “What ever is declared by an Act of Parliament to be against
God’s law must be so admitted by us, because it is so declared by an
Act of Parliament.”

[35] Under Catholic form the bride promises to consecrate her body to
the marital rite.

[36] Chiniquy.—_The Priest, the Woman and the Confessional._

[37] “The clergy formerly, and to this very day, declare those women
evil who desire to limit self-indulgence and procreation.”

[38] See Lecky.—_Hist. European Morals._

[39] In a sermon laudatory of the preacher’s office, delivered in the
May Memorial Unitarian Church, in Syracuse, N.Y., Sunday, Nov. 27,
1887, Rev. Mr. Calthrop, the pastor, said: “Noble words are your chief
weapons of offense and defense. But remember it is not you that speak
when you utter them, but the Holy Ghost.” From _Report of Sermon_,
published in the “Daily Standard,” November 28th.

[40] Whoever wishes to gain insight into that great institution, Common
Law, can do so most efficiently by studying Canon Law in regard to
married women. _Commentaries._

[41] Distinction of class appears most prominently in all the criminal
laws for which the clergy are responsible. It was for the man of low
estate, the slave, and for women, that the greatest atrocities were
reserved. If the thief was a free woman she was to be thrown down a
precipice or drowned (a precedent without doubt for dragging a witch
through a pond). If the thief was a female slave, and had stolen
from any but her own lord, eighty female slaves were to attend, each
bearing a log of wood to pile the fire and burn the offender to death.
Pike.—_Hist. of Crime in England_, 49-51.

[42] A correspondent of “The London Times” writes from Rome that he
has not heard a single doubt expressed as to the paternity of the
Countess Lambertini, and the line adopted by the Antonelli heirs
tacitly confirms it. They strenuously oppose the production of any of
the evidence the plaintiff has offered. They object to the depositions
of the witnesses being heard and tested, and they have declared their
intention of impugning as forgeries the documentary proofs tendered.
These documents consist of some letters written by Antonietta Marconi
to the Archpriest Vendetta, and particularly one dated April 1, 1857,
wherein, asking him to prepare a draught of a letter to the Cardinal,
she says that “Giacomo” does not send her money, although he knows that
he has a daughter to support, and that Loretina is a cause of great
expense. “Write to him forcibly,” she says, “or I shall do something
disagreeable.” The extent of the scandal in Rome does not consist so
much in the fact of a Cardinal in Antonelli’s position having had
one or more children, as in the law-suit which has brought all the
intimate details connected with the affair before the public. Antonelli
was to all intents and purposes a layman, filling one of those civil
departments of an ecclesiastical temporal Government to qualify for
which it was indispensably requisite to assume the ecclesiastical
habit. He accepted early in life those obligations without which no
career would have been open to him, and, like many others, he regarded
them as mere matters of form, for under the imperturbable mask of the
ecclesiastical diplomat beat a heart filled with the warmest domestic
affections and instincts; and how strong those feelings were in him was
fully demonstrated in his will, and is clearly shown in every incident
of the story now revealed.

Dame Gervasi has been subjected to a rigid cross-examination by the
counsel of the brothers Antonelli. The proceedings were conducted with
closed doors, but a Roman correspondent of “The Daily News” seems in
some manner to have wormed out the essential facts. When the mysterious
“foreign young lady” went to lodge at Dame Gervasi’s, Cardinal
Antonelli—so the gossip runs—paid several visits to his protege. “I
remember,” says the Dame, “that when I went to open the door to them I
held in my hand a bowl of beef tea, which I was taking to the patient.
Dr. Lucchini was the first to enter, and I soon recognized the second
visitor to be Cardinal Antonelli, who wore a long redingote and a
tall hat. He took the bowl, which I held in my hand. ‘This is for the
patient,’ he said inquiringly, but before I had time to reply he had
swallowed part of its contents.” Dame Gervasi then proceeded to relate
how Dr. Lucchini left the Cardinal alone with the foreign young lady.
The witness put her ear to the keyhole, and heard distinctly the sound
of kisses alternating, with sobs between the two. His Eminence, to
console the patient, told her he had taken every precaution against
the matter becoming known. “Don’t be afraid,” he said, “nobody will be
a bit the wiser. You will be able to marry. As for the baby, that’s
my affair. I will take care of her, and I swear to you that she will
never know the name of her mother.” Dame Gervasi gave the names of the
persons who had come to her on behalf of the brothers Antonelli, and
these emissaries, she said, tried to make her disclose all she knew,
and promised her large sums of money to bind her to silence as to the
clandestine part played by Signora Marconi, and as to the Cardinal’s
relations with the “foreign lady.”—_N.Y. Tribune, July 5, 1878._

[43] See Reeves.—_Early English Law._

[44] _Hollingshed’s Chronicles._

The foundation of old common law seems traceable to Martia, the widow
of Guilliame, left regent of her husband’s kingdom, comprising a part
of Britain, two hundred years prior to the christian era. This queen
directed her attention to framing a system of laws which acquired for
her the surname of “Proba,” or “The Just.” They were evidently one of
the three parts under which the common law is divided, although under
canon law the entire property of the wife became that of the husband
upon marriage.

[45] In England, in 1538, or even earlier, it was calculated that
besides the tithes, one-third of the kingdom was ecclesiastical
property, and that these vast possessions were devoted to the support
of a body of men who found their whole serious occupation in destroying
the virtue of women. Lea.—_Sacerdotal Celibacy._

[46] The pagan laws during the Empire had been continually repealing
the old disabilities of women; and the legislative movement in their
favor continued with unabated force from Constantine to Justinian,
and appeared also in some of the early laws of the barbarians. But,
in the whole feudal legislation, women were placed in a much lower
legal position than in the Pagan Empire. In addition to the personal
restrictions which grew necessarily out of the Catholic Christian
doctrines concerning divorce, and the subordination of the weaker sex,
we find numerous and stringent enactments, which rendered it impossible
for women to succeed to any considerable amount of property, and which
almost reduced them to the alternative of marriage or a nunnery. The
complete inferiority of the sex was continually maintained by law; and
that generous public opinion which in Rome had frequently revolted
against the injustice done to girls, in depriving them of the greater
part of the inheritance of their fathers, totally disappeared. Wherever
the canon law has been the basis of legislation, we find laws of
succession sacrificing the interests of daughters and of wives, and a
state of public opinion which has been formed and regulated by these
laws; nor was any serious attempt made to abolish them till the close
of the last century. The French Revolutionists, though rejecting the
proposal of Sieyes and Condorcet to accord political emancipation to
women, established at least an equal succession of sons and daughters,
and thus initiated a great reformation of both law and opinion, which
sooner or later must traverse the world. Lecky.—_Hist. Morals_, Vol.
II, pp. 357-359.

[47] Sheldon Amos.—_Science of Law._

[48] _Ibid._

[49] Our laws are based on the all-sufficiency of man’s rights. Society
exists for man only; for women merely as they are represented by some
man; are in the _mundt_ or keeping of some man.—_Descriptive Sociology
of England._

[50] This slavish condition of the wife yet prevails in over one-half
the states of the union.

[51] The relations in respect to property which exist between husband
and wife in England, is solely grounded on her not being assumed at
common law to have sufficient command of her purse or of her future
actions wherewith to procure the materials for making a contract. The
legal presumption then is, that she did not intend to make one, and
therefore the allegation that she did make a contract would simply on
the face of it be a fraud. Amos.—_Science of Law._

[52] The jurisconsults had evidently at this time assumed the equality
of the sexes as a principle to the code of equity. The situation of the
Roman woman, whether married or single, became one of great personal
and proprietary independence; but Christianity tended somewhat from the
very first to narrow this remarkable liberty. The prevailing state of
religious sentiment may explain why modern jurisprudence has adopted
those rules concerning the position of woman, which belong peculiarly
to an imperfect civilization. No society which preserves any tincture
of Christian institutions is likely to restore to married women the
personal liberty conferred on them by middle Roman law. Canon law has
deeply injured civilization.—Sir Henry Maine.

[53] Under the Commonwealth, society assumed a new and stern aspect.
Women were in disgrace; it was everywhere declared from the pulpit that
woman caused man’s expulsion from Paradise, and ought to be shunned
by Christians as one of the greatest temptations of Satan. “Man,”
said they, “is conceived in sin and brought forth in iniquity; it was
his complacency to woman that caused his first debasement; let man
not therefore glory in his shame; let him not worship the fountain of
his corruption.” Learning and accomplishments were alike discouraged,
and women confined to a knowledge of cooking, family medicines and
the unintelligible theological discussions of the day. Lydia Maria
Child.—_History of Woman._

[54] Many women made their entrance into literature through the medium
of a cook book, thus virtually apologizing for the use of a pen.

[55] The slavish superstition under which church teaching still keeps
the minds of men was no less shown by the thousands who visited the
St. Anne relic in the United States. Nor are Protestants but little
less under the same superstition, accepting the teaching of the church
without investigation. An educated Protestant girl, upon her return
from Europe, recently, gravely declared that during her absence she had
seen the spear which pierced the Saviour’s side.

[56] The most interesting of all to Americans is the copy of the
American Constitution that President Cleveland sent to the Vatican by
Cardinal Gibbons. It is printed on vellum in richly illuminated English
characters, and bound in white and red. It is enclosed in a case of
purple plush with gold hinges, and bears this autographic inscription
by President Cleveland:

    “Presented to his Holiness Pope Leo XIII., as an expression
    of congratulation on the occasion of his sacerdotal jubilee,
    with the profound regard of Grover Cleveland, President of the
    United States, through the courtesy of his Eminence Cardinal
    Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore.”

    Washington, D.C.

Upon the next page, beneath an American eagle printed in gold, is this

    “The Constitution of the United States. Adopted Sept. 17,

The page bearing this inscription and all the fly leaves were of
exquisite watered silk.

[57] “Owing to the pope’s refusal to accept the gifts of the king and
queen of Italy on the occasion of his jubilee, all the members of the
House of Savoy, including the Duke d’Aosta and the Princess Clotilde,
have omitted to send offerings. This is the fly in the jubilee ointment
of Pope Leo XIII., and settles the question of concessions of temporal
power. Nevertheless, the day is passed when the claim of ‘imprisonment
in the Vatican’ will further avail the pope.”

[58] When Linnaeus published his sexual system of plants, in the
eighteenth century, he was ridiculed and shunned as one who had
degraded nature.


[1] In the dominion of the Count de Foix, the lord had right once in
his lifetime to take, without payment, a certain quantity of goods from
the stores of each tenant. Cesar Cantu.—_Histoire Universelle._

[2] Two women seized by German soldiers were covered with tar, rolled
in feathers, and exhibited in the camp as a new species of bird.

[3] Among the privileges always claimed, and frequently enforced by
the feudalry, was the custom of the lord of the manor to lie the first
night with the bride of his tenant.—_Sketches of Feudalism_, p. 109.

By the law of “Marquette” under the feudal system (which rested on
personal vassalage), to the “lord of the soil” belonged the privilege
of first entering the nuptial couch unless the husband had previously
paid a small sum of money, or its equivalent, for the ransom of his
bride; and we read that these feudal lords thought it was no worse thus
to levy on a young bride than to demand half the wool of each flock of
sheep. _Article on Relation of the Sexes_.—Westminster Review.

[4] The custom of Borough-English is said to have arisen out of the
Marchetta or plebeian’s first born son being considered his lord’s
progeny.—_Dr. Tusler._

[5] “It is not very likely that Louis XIV thought the time would ever
come when the peasant’s bride might not be claimed in the chamber of
his seigneur on her bridal night. Those base laws, their revocation has
been written in the blood of successive generations.”

[6] See _Feudal Dictionary_.

[7] The interests of ecclesiastics as feudal nobles were in some
respects identical with those of the barons, but the clergy also
constituted a party with interests of its own.

[8] M. Gerun, as quoted by Grimm, gives curious information upon this

[9] Par example, dans quelques seigneuries, où le seigneur passent
trois nuits avec les nouvelles marriees, il fut convenu qu’il n’en
passant qu’une. Dans d’autres, ou le seigneur avant le premiere nuit
seulment, on ne lui accordes plus qu’une heure.

[10] _Collins de Plancy._

[11] _Feudal Dictionary_, p. 179.

[12] Claiming the right of the first night with each new spouse.—_Boems
Decisions_ 297, I-17.

[13] _Raepsaet_, p. 179.

[14] The popes anciently had universal power over the pleasures of
marriage.—_Feudal Dictionary_, 174.

[15] In the transaction the alternative was with the husband; it was
he who might submit, or pay the fine, as he preferred or could afford.
_Relation of the Sexes._—Westminster Review.

[16] These (courts) powerfully assisted the seigneur to enforce his
traditional privileges at the expense of the villeins.—_H. S. Maine._

    _The courts of Bearn openly maintained that this right grew up

[17] Sometimes the contumacious husband was harnessed by the side of
a horse or an ox, compelled to do a brute’s work and to herd with the

[18] He is followed by bursts of laughter, and the noisy rabble down to
the lowest scullion give chase to the “cuckold.”—_Michelet._

[19] The oldest born of the peasant is accounted the son of his lord,
for he, perchance it was, that begat him. When the guests have retired,
the newly wedded husband shall permit his lord to enter the bed of his
wife, unless he shall have redeemed her for five shillings and four

[20] Droit de cuissage c’est le droit de mettre une cuisse dans le lit
d’une autre, ou de coucher avec le femme d’une vassal ou d’une serf.

So much scandal was caused that finally the archbishop of Bourges
abolished this right in his diocese.—_Feudal Dictionary._

[21] A yoke of cattle and a measure of wheat was afterwards substituted
for a money ransom, but even this redemption was in most cases entirely
beyond the power of the serf.

Under the feudal system the lord of the manor held unlimited sway over
his serfs. He farther possessed the so-called _Jus Primae Noctis_
(Right of the First Night), which he could, however, relinquish in
virtue of a certain payment, the name of which betrayed its nature. It
has been latterly asserted that this right never existed, an assertion
which to me appears entirely unfounded. It is clear the right was not
a written one, that it was not summed up in paragraphs; it was the
natural consequence of the dependent relationship, and required no
registration in any book of law. If the female serf pleased the lord
he enjoyed her, if not he let her alone. In Hungary, Transylvania, and
the Danubian principalities, there was no written _Jus Primae Noctis_
either, but one learns enough of this subject by inquiry of those who
know the country and its inhabitants, as to the manners which prevail
between the land owners and the female population. That imposts of this
nature existed cannot be denied, and the names speak for themselves.
August Bebel.—_Woman in the Past, Present and Future._

[22] In a parish outside Bourges the parson as being a lord especially
claimed the first fruits of the bride, but was willing to sell his
rights to the husband.

[23] The infamous noble who accompanied a certain notorious actress to
this country in the fall of 1886, possessed forty livings in his gift.

[24] No greater proof of this statement is needed than the rapidity
with which the disease brought by the sailors of Columbus spread over
Europe; infecting the king on his throne, the peasant in the field, the
priest at the altar, the monk and nun in the cloister.

[25] In deference to that public sentiment which required the ruler to
pose before the world as a libertine, Friedrich Wilhelm I., of Prussia
(1713-1740), although old and in feeble health, kept up the pretense of
a liason with the wife of one of his generals, the intimacy consisting
of an hour’s daily walk in the castle yard.—_August Bebel._

[26] Down to Pius IX. See _The Woman, the Priest and the Confessional_.

[27] When the Emperor Charles II entered Bourges, he was saluted by a
deputation of perfectly naked women. At the entrance of King Ladislaus
into Vienna, 1452, the municipal government sent a deputation of public
women to meet him the beauty of whose forms was rather enhanced than
concealed by their covering of gauze. Such cases were by no means
unusual.—_Woman in the Past, Present and Future._

[28] _Memoirs of the Princess of Bareith_, a sister of Frederick the

[29] In Russia the nobles have such rights by law over the women of
their lands that the population scarcely resent the sale by auction
of all the young peasants of their village. These nobles, a race once
proud and mean, extravagant and covetous, full of vice and cunning,
are said to be a class superior to the people. Yet they are working
the ruin of their influence by multiplying in the masses the number of
individuals, already very considerable, to whom they have transmitted
their genius with their blood.—_A. R. Craig, M.A._

[30] London, February 1.—The Odessa correspondent of “The Daily News”
says: Hunger typhus is spreading alarmingly. In large towns in this
region all the hospitals are filled, and private buildings are being
converted into hospitals. This is the state of affairs in Moskovskia
and Viedomosti. A correspondent writing from Russia declares that the
more fanatical and superstitious portion of the peasantry believe that
Count Tolstoi is Antichrist, and decline to accept his bounty for fear
they will thus commit their souls to perdition.

[31] Two celebrated women, Augusta, of Koningsmark, and Madame Dudevant
(George Sand), traced their descent to this king.—Letters to “New York

[32] Adam Badeau.—_Aristocracy in England._

[33] The at one time famous “Alexandra Limp,” affecting the princess of
Wales, and copied in walk by ultra-fashionable women, was said to be
due to the effects of an infamous disease contracted by the princess
from her husband.

[34] Rev. Dr. Varley.—“New York Sun,” July, 1885.

[35] At the beginning of the Christian era, Corinth possessed a
thousand women who were devoted to the service of its idol, the
Corinthian Venus. “To Corinthianize” came to express the utmost
lewdness, but Corinth, as sunken as she was in sensual pleasure, was
not under the pale of Christianity. She was a heathen city, outside of
that light which, coming into the world, is held to enlighten every man
that accepts it.

[36] Les Cuisiniers et les marmitons de l’archeveques de Vienne avaient
impose un tribut sur les mariages; on croit que certains feuditaires
exigeaient un droit obscene de leur vassaux qui se mariaient, quel
fut transforme ensuite en droit de _cuissage_ consistant, de la part
du seigneur, a mettre une jambe nue dans le lit des nouveaux epoux.
Dans d’autres pays l’homme ne pouvait coucher avec sa femme les trois
premieres nuits sans le consentement de l’eveque ou du seigneur du
fief. Cesar Cantu.—_Histoire Universelle_, Vol. IX. p. 202-3.

[37] _Moral History of Women._

[38] There are those who to enrich themselves would not only rob their
sisters of their portion, but would sell for money the honor of those
who bear their name. The authority of the son during the feudal period
was so absolute that the father and mother themselves often winked at
this hideous traffic.—_Ibid_, p. 46.

[39] Unless an heiress, woman possessed no social importance; unless
an inmate of a religious house no religious position. There are some
records of her in this last position, showing what constant effort and
strength of intellect were demanded from her to thwart the machinations
of abbots and monks.—_Sketches of Fontervault._

[40] See page 193.—_Fleta._

[41] _Bracton_, 26, 195, 208. _Littleton’s Tenures_, 55, 174, 209.

[42] Gratain, Canon for Spain in 633, says the nuptial robe was
garnished with white and purple ribbons as a sign of the continence to
which young married people devoted themselves for a time.

[43] Eight young men, living in the vicinity of North Rose, Wayne
County, have been held to await the action of the grand jury for
rioting. A young married couple named Garlic were about to retire
for the night when they were startled by the appearance of a party
of men in the yard. The party immediately commenced beating on pans,
discharging guns and pistols, pounding with clubs, screaming and
kicking at the doors of the house. The bride and groom were terrified,
but finally the groom mustered enough courage to demand what the men
wanted there. Shouts of “Give us lots of cider or we’ll horn you to
death,” were the answers. An attempt was made to break in a rear door
of the house. The bride and groom and John Wager, who was also present
in the house, braced the doors from the inside to prevent a forcible
entrance, and the inmates had to defend the property nearly all night.
The horning party, at last weary of calling for cider, left the
premises giving an extra strong fusillade of firearms and a series of
yells as they departed. The eight young men were arrested a few days
later on suspicion of being in the horning party.—_Press Report_, Jan.
14, 1887.

[44] Whenever we discover symbolized forms, we are justified in
inferring that in the past life of the people employing them there were
corresponding realities. McLennon.—_Studies in Ancient History_, p. 6.

[45] He was thrown into the moat to cool his ardor, pelted with stones,
derided as a proud and envious wretch.—_Michelet._

[46] The maids redeeme their virginities with a certain piece of money,
and by that Terme their lands are held to this day. Heywoode.—_History
of Women_, London, 1624; _Lib._ 7,339.

[47] Margaret was canonized in 1251, and made the Patron Saint of
Scotland in 1673. Several of the Scotch feudalry, despite royal
protestation, kept up in the famous practice until a late date. One of
the earls of Crawford, a truculent and lustful anarch, popularly known
and dreaded as “Earl Brant,” in the sixteenth century, was probably
among the last who openly claimed leg-right, the literal translation of
_droit de jambage_.—_Sketches of Feudalism._

[48] The feeling is common in the north that a laird, or chieftain,
getting a vassal’s or clansmen’s wife or daughter with child, is doing
her a great honor. Burke.—_Letters from an English Gentleman_, about

[49] _Pres de cet etang, et devant sa maison._

[50] In days to come people will be slow to believe that the law among
Christian nations went beyond anything decreed concerning the olden
slavery; that it wrote down as an actual right the most grievous
outrage that could ever wound man’s heart. The Lord Spiritual had
this right no less than the Lord Temporal. The parson being a lord,
expressly claimed the first fruits of the bride, but was willing to
sell his rights to the husband. The courts of Berne openly maintain
that this right grew up naturally. Michelet.—_La Sorciere_, p. 62.

[51] Among the rights asserted by the Protestant clergy in the
middle ages, and which caused much dispute, was exemption from lay
jurisdiction even in cases of felony.

From the throne downward every secular office was dependent upon the
church. Froude.—_Times of Erasmus and Luther._

[52] Among these de coucher avec leur femmes, d’enlever les premices de
leurs filles.

[53] _H. S. Maine_.

[54] In Babylon every young woman was obliged once in her life to offer
her person for sale, nor was she permitted to leave the temple, where
she sat with a cord about her waist, until some stranger taking it in
hand led her away. The money thus obtained passed into the treasury of
the temple as her “purchase money, or redemption, releasing her from
farther prostitution, and permitting her marriage, which was forbidden
until such sale had been consummated.”

[55] Although a similar custom is said to have prevailed in India under
Brahaminical rule, it must be remembered that wherever found it is an
accompaniment of the Patriarchate, and under some form of religion
where the feminine is no longer considered a portion of the divinity,
or woman allowed in the priesthood.

[56] It has been too readily believed that the wrong was formal, not
real. But the price laid down in certain countries exceeded the means
of almost every peasant. In Scotland, for instance, the demand was for
several cows, a price immense, impossible.

[57] _Christian History, First Period_, by Joseph Henry Allen.

[58] In the history of Julius Caesar there is something peculiarly
curious and mythical. Caesar had all the honors paid to him as to a
divine person. At the end of five years a festival was instituted to
his honor, as to a person of divine extraction. A college of priests
was established to perform the rites instituted for the occasion. A day
was dedicated to him, and he had the title also of Julian Jove, and a
temple was erected to him.—_Anacalypsis_, I, 611.

[59] Law of the first night.

[60] The lord’s right.

[61] Leg right—the right to place a naked leg in bed with the bride.

[62] Droit de cuissage, c’ele droit de mettre une cuisse dans le lit
d’une autre, ou de coucher avec le femme d’un vassal, ou d’un serf.

[63] Droit d’afforge, the right to prey upon the bride.

[64] Droit de marquette, took its name in Scotland from the redemption
piece of money, a demi-mark, marquette, or little mark, a weight of
gold or silver used in Great Britain and many other European countries.

[65] _Mrs. Josephine Butler_, so stating.

[66] A government license reads: “Chinese women for the use of
Europeans only.”

[67] _Contagious Disease Acts._

[68] _The Emancipation of Women_, January, 1888.

[69] “The penal code provides for the punishment of a man who commits
mischief by injuring an animal of the value of ten rupees or upwards,
with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with
fine, or with both. If the animal be worth fifty rupees, the punishment
may be for five years. If a man induces his neighbor’s dog, by bait
or otherwise, to follow him with the intention of dishonestly taking
the dog out of his neighbor’s possession, he may be punished with
imprisonment for three years, or with fine, or with both. But while a
man’s dog, his horse, his elephant are taken care of by legislation;
while the very plants in his garden are protected; his young daughter,
the light of his eyes and the joy of his home, may be ruined and her
fair fame stolen with impunity, provided she has attained the age of
ten years and is unmarried, and proof is wanting that she has resisted
her seducer.”

[70] The New York Society for the “Prevention of Diseases.”

[71] Of Berlin, August Bebel says: “Now things are neither better nor
worse in Berlin than in any other large town. It would be difficult
to decide which most resembled ancient Babylon; orthodox Greek St.
Petersburg, Catholic Rome, Christian Germanic Berlin, heathen Paris,
puritan London, or lively Vienna.—_Woman in the Past, Present and

[72] The latest attempt for licensing vice in the United States was
made in New Orleans, 1892, in the form of an ordinance proposing to
grant to Dr. Wm. Harnon the privilege of levying an inspection tax upon
those known as “Public Women” of $1.50 a week for fifteen years.

The “Louisiana Review” said of it:

“A more revolting proposition than this has never come under our
notice, and we are amazed that the health committee failed to detect
its character, however artfully it may have been screened by the
pretext that it was intended to lessen the harm of the social evil.”

The “New Delta,” in its issue of August 31, said: “The queer and
ill-favored monopoly which the ordinance for the regulation of houses
of bad repute sought to establish has not been successful on the first
effort. It goes back to a committee. Let us hope that it will remain
buried there forever, and decent people be saved the infliction of a
public discussion of the miserable scheme. Such systems of ‘regulation’
would disgrace the devil, and the proposition for the city to share in
the plunder of these poor wretches would shame a Piute village.”

The Woman’s Journal, September 19, said:

“It is well that this measure has failed on the first attempt; but to
refer a matter to a committee is not necessarily to kill it, and its
fate in the committee should be closely watched. The laws establishing
the state regulation of vice in England were smuggled through
Parliament about 1 o’clock in the morning, when half the members
were absent or asleep; but it took seventeen years of painful and
distasteful agitation to repeal them. Prevention of bad legislation is
better than cure.”

This attempt was finally defeated through the energetic opposition and
work of Mrs. Elizabeth Lyle Saxon.

[73] The reporter, while the committee was still in session, went to
a procuress and ordered a _pretty girl_, 14 years of age, certified
by a physician to be good, to be delivered to his order as “agent for
_gentlemen of 60_.” The madame accepted the order, and in a short time
produced the girl certified. The reporter investigated the child’s
history, and ascertained that her father was dead and her mother was a
poor working woman. The girl was dressed in an old black frock. Having
completed the purchase of the girl, the reporter hastened to arrange
for her delivery anywhere and to any person designated by the committee.

[74] A committee composed of Cardinal Manning, the Archbishop of
Canterbury, Bishop of London and two laymen, examined the evidence
respecting criminal vice in London, becoming satisfied that the
statements made by the “Pall Mall Gazette” were substantially true.

[75] The Rev. Mr. Spurgeon preached a powerful sermon upon the
patrician iniquity of London, comparing it to the worst sins of ancient
nations, one sure, sooner or later, to bring destruction upon both
individual and nation.

[76] When you see a girl on the street you can never say without
inquiry whether she is one of the most-to-be-condemned or the
most-to-be-pitied of her sex. Many of them find themselves where
they are because of a too trusting disposition; others are as much
the innocent victims of crime as if they had been stabbed or maimed
by the dagger of the assassin.... These women constituted a large
standing army, whose numbers no one can calculate. Gen. Booth.—_Darkest
England_, 51-56.

[77] Children as they go to and from school are waited for and watched
until the time has come for running them down.—_Report of the Secret

[78] It seemed a strange inverted world, that in which I lived those
terrible weeks, the world of the streets and brothel. It was the
same, and yet not the same as the world of business and the world of
politics. I heard of much the same people in the house of ill-fame as
those of whom you hear in caucuses, in law courts and on ’change; but
all were judged by a different standard, and their relative importance
was altogether changed. Mr. Stead.—“Pall Mall Gazette.”

[79] _Report of Secret Commission._

[80] An immense number of public women congregated at Nice during the
time of its Historic Council, which settled the genuineness of the
books of the Bible.

[81] So fast has this class of pecuniarily independent single women
increased within the past two and a half decades, women who prefer a
single life with its personal independence, to a married life with its
legal dependence and restrictions, as to call from the “London Times”
the designation of “Third Sex.”

[82] The statistics of prostitution show that the great proportion of
those who have fallen into it have been impelled by the most extreme
poverty, in many instances verging upon starvation.—_Hist. European
Morals_, 2, 203.

[83] Belgium and Holland entered into an agreement a few years since
for its suppression.

[84] When Hon. Henry Blair presented a petition, asking for the
better protection of girls, he said: “Our civilization seems to
have developed an almost unknown phase of crime in the annals of the
race, and today the traffic in girls and young women in this country,
especially in our large cities, has come to be more disgraceful and
worse than ever was that in the girls of Circassia.”

This Christianity of ours has much to answer for.—_Woman’s Tribune._

[85] It was at one time proposed to arrest all women out alone in
the city of Syracuse, N.Y., after 9 o’clock in the evening. Had the
ordinance been enacted, a lady of mature years and position was
prepared to test its legality.

[86] Eighteen women were arrested on Monday night in the fifteenth and
twenty-ninth police precincts, and after being held in confinement over
night, were taken before Justice Duffy at the Jefferson Market Police
Court Tuesday morning.

“What were these women doing?” asked the justice.

“Nothing,” replied the officer.

“Then why did you arrest them?”

“We have to do it, sir. It is the order of the police superintendent
when we find them loitering on the streets.”—New York “Sunday Sun,”
June 28, 1885.

[87] Mr. Breen said the horrors of the camps into which these girls
are inveigled cannot be adequately described. There is no escape for
these poor creatures. In one case a girl escaped after being shot in
the leg, and took refuge in a swamp. Dogs were started on her trail,
and she was hunted down and taken back to her den. In another case a
girl escaped while a dance was going on at the shanty into which she
had been lured. After several days and nights of privation she made her
way to an island near the shore in Lake Michigan, where a man named
Stanley lived. But the dogs and human bloodhounds trailed her, Stanley
was overcome, and the girl was taken back. The law now provides for
imprisonment of only one year in case of conviction of any connection
with this traffic, and it is proposed to amend it.—_Telegraphic Report._

[88] Tales of a horrible character reach us from Michigan and other
northern lumber districts of the manner in which girls are enticed
to these places on the promise of high wages, and then subjected to
brutal outrages past description. Some three hundred of these dens are
located. These girls are sold by the keepers, passing from one den to
another, from one degree of hellish brutality to another (we beg pardon
of all brutes), all escape guarded against by ferocious bloodhounds.
The maximum of life is two months.—“Union Labor Journal.”

[89] Tony Harden used to keep dives in Norway and Quinnesic, and it is
said of him that after paying a constable $12 to bring a girl back who
had tried to escape, he beat her with a revolver until he was tired,
and was about to turn a bull-dog loose at her, when a woodsman appeared
and stopped him. The next spring Harden was elected justice of the
peace.—“Woman’s Standard.”

[90] The Rev. Mr. Kerr, of the Protestant Church, Colon, recently
discovered three young girls brought to the Isthmus for improper
purposes. He took the children away, and with the assistance of others
returned them to their parents in Jamaica.

[91] Quebec, April 11.—Wholesale trading in young and innocent girls
for purposes of prostitution has come to the notice of the authorities.
Disreputable houses in Chicago, New York, Boston and other cities in
the United States have agents here, who ingratiate themselves with
young women and induce them to go to the states, where they are drawn
into a life of infamy. The trade has been carried on to an alarming
extent, sometimes fifteen girls being shipped in a week. The prices
paid to agents depend on the looks of the girls and vary from $20 to
$200. It is stated that over fifty girls have been sent to one Chicago
house within a year.—“Daily Press.”

[92] The startling revelations within the past few days as to the
traffic at Ottawa in young girls of from 12 to 14, in which a number
of prominent citizens as well as several leading politicians are
implicated, have caused the greatest indignation. Tuesday night a
meeting was held under the auspices of the Society for the Prevention
of Cruelty to Children, with a view to devising some means by which
the great stain on the capital’s good name might be removed. It was
decided that the matter must become the subject of special legislation
at the next session of Parliament, before the guilty scoundrels can be
punished. Opposition is expected from the members of Parliament who are
implicated in the outrages.—“Daily Press.”

[93] “Topeka Leader.”

[94] In Troy, N.Y., in the fall of 1891, discovery was made of an
organized plan to ravish little girls. It numbered in its ranks married
men, members of the police force, and men well known in business and
church circles. With this discovery came the statement from other
cities that like offenders were common.—“The Daily Press.”

[95] Persistent efforts have been made by women to stop these great
wrongs, but having no power in legislation, her prayers and petitions
have met with but scant success.

[96] Married at Thirteen Years.—Maud Pearl Johnson, a thirteen-year-old
girl of Fulton, who was married to Franklin Foster of that place on
Monday, has been placed in the State Industrial School in Rochester
under sentence by Police Justice Spencer of Fulton. Foster is a widower
with three children. The minister at Fairdale who performed the
ceremony is said to have been fined $3 for cruelty to children. The
poor authorities arrested the young wife for vagrancy.

[97] Africa, Australia, India, Canada, the United States among the

[98] Who gave seventeen years of her life to work for the overthrow of
government legislation of vice in England.

[99]—1. To treat all women with respect, and endeavor to protect them
from wrong and degradation.

2. To endeavor to put down all indecent language and coarse jests.

3. To maintain the law of purity as equally binding upon men and women.

4. To endeavor to spread these principles among my companions, and try
to help my younger brothers.

5. To use every possible means to fulfill the command: “Keep Thyself

[100] The women claimed the right to baptize their own sex. But the
bishops and presbyters did not care to be released from the pleasant
duty of baptizing the female converts. Waite.—_Hist. of Christian
Religion to A.D. 200_, p. 23.

The Constitution of the Church of Alexandria, which is thought to
have been established about the year 200, required the applicant for
baptism to be divested of clothing, and after the ordinance had been
administered, to be anointed with oil.—_Ibid_, p. 384-5.

The converts were first exorcised of the evil spirits that were
supposed to inhabit them; then, after undressing and being baptized,
they were anointed with oil.—_Bunsen’s Christianity of Mankind_, Vol.
VII, p. 386-393; _3d Vol. Analecta_.

Women were baptized quite naked in the presence of these
men.—_Philosophical Dictionary._

Some learned men have enacted that in primitive churches the persons
to be baptized, of whatever age or sex, should be quite naked.
Pike.—_History of Crime in England._ See Joseph Vicecomes.—_De Ritibus
Baptismi._ Varrius.—_Thesibus de Baptisme._

[101] Undisguised sensuality reached a point we can scarcely conceive.
Women were sometimes brought naked upon the stage. By a curious
association of ideas the theater was still intimately connected with
religious observance. _Rationalism in Europe_, 2-288.

[102] Catharine, the first wife of Peter the Great, was received into
the Greek Church by a rite nearly approaching the primitive customs of
the Christian Church. New converts to that church are plunged three
times naked in a river or into a large tub of cold water. Whatever is
the conditions, age or sex of the convert, this indecent ceremony is
never dispensed with. The effrontery of a pope (priests of the Greek
Church are thus called), sets at defiance all the reasons which decency
and modesty never cease to use against the absurdity and impudence of
this shameful ceremony. Count Segur.—_Woman’s Condition and Influence
in Society._


[1] Black was hated as the colors of the devil. In the same manner red
was hated in Egypt as the color of Typhon.

[2] At what date then did the witch appear? In the age of
despair, of that deep despair which the guilt of the church
engendered. Unfalteringly I say, the witch is a crime of their own

[3] “It is not a little remarkable, though perfectly natural, that the
introduction of the cat gave a new impulse to tales and fears of ghosts
and enchantments. The sly, creeping, nocturnal grimalkin took rank at
once with owls and bats, and soon surpassed them both as an exponent
of all that is weird and supernatural. Entirely new conceptions of
witchcraft were gained for the world when the black cat appeared
upon the scene with her swollen tail, glistening eyes and unearthy

[4] Steevens says it was permitted to a witch to take on a cattes body
nine times.—_Brand_, 3, 89-90.

[5] Mr. E. F. Spicer, a taxidermist of Birmingham, whose great
specialty is the artistic preparation of kittens for sale, will not
purchase black ones, as he finds the superstition against black cats
interferes with their sale.—“Pall Mall Gazette,” Nov. 13, 1886. But the
United States, less superstitious, has recently witnessed the formation
of a “Consolidated Cat Company” upon Puget Sound for the special
propagation of black cats to be raised for their fur.

[6] _City of God_, Lib. XVIII. Charles F. Lummis, in a recent work,
_Some Strange Corners of Our Country, the Wonderland of the Southwest_,
refers to the power of the shamans to turn themselves at will into any
animal shape, as a wolf, bear or dog.

[7] Italian women usually became cats. The Witch Hammer mentioned
a belief in Lycanthropy and Metamorphosis. It gave the story of a
countryman who was assaulted by three cats. He wounded them, after
which three infamous witches were found wounded and bleeding.

[8] For a full account of this madness, and other forms that sometimes
attacked whole communities during the middle Christian ages, see
“Hecker.—_Epidemics of the Middle Ages._”

[9] The conventicle of witches was said to be held on Mt. Atlas, “to
which they rode upon a goat, a night crow, or an enchanted staff, or
bestriding a broom staff. Sundry speeches belonged to these witches,
the words whereof were neither Hebrew, Greek, Latin, French, Spanish,
Italian, nor indeed deriving their Etymology from any known language.”

[10] _St. Gregory of Nyassa_, a canonized saint, the only theologian
to whom the church (except St. John) has ever allowed the title of “The
Divine,” was a member of that council, aiding in the preparation of the
Nicene Creed. It is a significant fact that a great number of public
women, “an immense number,” congregated at Nice during the sessions of
this council.

[11] In Guernsey a mother and her two daughters were brought to the
stake; one of the latter, a married woman with child, was delivered in
the midst of her torments, and the infant, just rescued, was tossed
back into the flames by a priest with the cry, “One heretic the less.”

[12] “Old writers declared that women have been more addicted to
these devilish arts than men, was manifest by ‘many grave authors,’
among whom Diodorus, Sindas, Pliny and St. Augustine were mentioned.
Quintillian declared theft more prevalent among men, but witchcraft
especially a sin of women.”

[13] Lea.—_Superstition and Force._

[14] Certain forms of ordeal, such as the ordinary ones of fire and
water, seem to have owed their origin to the trials passed by the
candidate for admission into the ancient mysteries, as Lea has also
conjectured. During the mysteries of Isis, the candidate was compelled
to descend into dark dungeons of unknown depth, to cross bars of
red-hot iron, to plunge into a rapid stream at seeming hazard of life,
to hang suspended in mid-air while the entrance into other mysteries
confronted the candidate with howling wild beasts and frightful
serpents. All who passed the ancient ordeals in safety, were regarded
as holy and acceptable to the Deity, but not so under Christian ordeal,
its intention being conviction of the accused. Those who proved their
innocence by carrying red-hot iron uninjured for three paces and the
court was thus forced to acquit, or who passed through other forms of
torture without confession were still regarded with suspicion as having
been aided by Satan, and the sparing of their lives was to the scandal
of the faithful.

[15] Woman was represented as the door of hell, as the mother of all
human ill. She should be ashamed at the very thought she is a woman.
She should live in continual penance on account of the curses she has
brought upon the world. She should be especially ashamed of her beauty,
for it is the most potent instrument of the demon.—_Hist. European
Morals_, Vol. 2, p. 358.

[16] Witchcraft was supposed to have power of subverting

[17] The question why the immense majority of those who were accused
should be women, early attracted attention; it was answered by
the inherent wickedness of the sex, which had its influence in
pre-disposing men to believe in witches, and also in producing the
extreme callousness with which the sufferings of the victims were
contemplated.—_Rationalism in Europe_ 1, 88.

[18] 18 mo. An unusually small size for that period.

[19] (_Witch Hammer._)

[20] The Court of Rome was fully apprized that power cannot
be maintained without property, and thereupon its attention
began very early to be riveted upon every method that promised
pecuniary advantage. All the wealth of Christendom was gradually
drawn by a thousand channels into the coffers of the Holy See.
Blackstone.—_Commentaries_ 4, 106. “The church forfeited the wizard’s
property to the judge and the prosecutor. Wherever the church law was
enforced, the trials for witchcraft waxed numerous and brought much
wealth to the clergy. Wherever the lay tribunal claimed the management
of those trials, they grew scarce and disappeared.”

[21] Burning Place of the Cross.

[22] A _MS._ upholding the burning of witches as heretics, written in
1450 by the _Dominican Brother Hieronymes Visconti_, of Milan, is among
the treasures of the _White Library_, recently presented to Cornell

[23] It shall not be amiss to insert among these what I have heard
concerning a witch of Scotland: One of that countrie (as by report
there are too many) being for no goodness of the judges of Assize,
arrayed, convicted and condemned to be burnt, and the next day,
according to her judgment, brought and tied to the stake, the reeds
and fagots placed around about her, and the executioner ready to give
fire (for by no persuasion of her ghostly fathers, nor importunities
of the sheriff, she could be wrought to confess anything) she now at
the last cast to take her farewell of the world, casting her eye at
one side upon her only sonne, and calls to him, desiring him verie
earnestly as his last dutie to her to bring her any water, or the least
quantity of licuor (be it never so small), to comfort her, for she was
so extremely athirst, at which he, shaking his head, said nothing; she
still importuned him in these words: “Oh, my deere sonne help me to any
drinke, be it never so little, for I am most extremely drie, oh drie,
drie:” to which the young fellow answered, “by no means, deere mother
will I do you that wrong; _for the drier you are (no doubt) you will
burne the better_.” Heywoode—_History of Women_, Lib. 9, p. 406.

[24] Lenormant.—_Chaldean Magic and Sorcery_, 385.

[25] _Institutes of Scotland._

[26] At _Bamburg, Germany_, an original record of twenty-nine
burnings in nineteen months, 162 persons in all, mentions the infant
daughter of Dr. Schutz as a victim of the twenty-eighth burning.
Hauber.—_Bibliotheca Magica._

[27] In those terrible trials presided over by Pierre de Lancre, it was
asserted that hundreds of girls and boys flocked to the indescribable
Sabbats of Labourd. The Venetians’ record the story of a little girl of
nine years who raised a great tempest, and who like her mother was a
witch. Signor Bernoni.—_Folk Lore._

[28] Some very strange stories of such power at the present time have
become known to the author, one from the lips of a literary gentleman
in New York City, this man of undoubted veracity declaring that he had
seen his own father extend his hand under a cloudless sky and produce
rain. A physician of prominence in a western city asserts that a most
destructive cyclone, known to the Signal Service Bureau as “The Great
Cyclone,” was brought about by means of magical formulae, made use of
by a school girl in a spirit of ignorant bravado.

[29] These and similar powers known as magical, are given as pertaining
to the Pueblo Indians, by Charles F. Lummis, in _Some Strange Corners
of Our Country_, pub. 1892. A friend of the author witnessed rain thus
produced by a very aged Iowa Indian a few years since.

[30] A _Hindoo Scripture_ whose name signifies knowledge.—Max Muller.

[31] _Isis Unveiled_, I, 354.

[32] Of which the tricks of Halloween may be a memento.

[33] _Anacalypsis_, Vol. I. p. 35.

[34] Bacchus was not originally the god of wine, but signified books.
Instruction of old, when learning was a secret science, was given by
means of leaves. “Bacchus Sabiesa” really signified “book wise” or
learned, and the midsummer day festival was celebrated in honor of
learning. In the Anacalypsis Higgins says: “From Celland I learn that
in Celtic, Sab means wise, whence Saba and Sabasius, no doubt wise in
the stars. From this comes the Sabbath day, or day dedicated to wisdom,
and the Sabbat, a species of French masonry, an account of which may be
seen in _Dulare’s History of Paris_. Sunday was the day of instruction
of the Druids, whence it was called Sabs.—_Ibid_, I. 716.

[35] From the preachment of the Sabs, or Sages, or wise Segent
Sarcedos.—_Ibid_, I, 716.

[36] The only physician of the people for a thousand years was the
witch. The emperors, kings, popes and richer barons had indeed the
doctors of Salermo, then Moors and Jews, but the bulk of the people in
every state; the world, it might as well be called, consulted none but
the _Sages_ or wise women. Michelet—_La Sorciere._

[37] I make no doubt that his (Paracelsus) admirable and masterly work
on the Diseases of Women, the first written on this theme, so large, so
deep, so tender, came forth from his special experience of those women
to whom others went for aid, the witches, who acted as midwives, for
never in those days was a male physician admitted to the women.—_Ibid._

[38] Within the past fifty years the death rate in childbirth was forty
in a thousand, an enormous mortality, and although the advances in
medical knowledge have somewhat lessened the rate, more women still
lose their lives during childbirth than soldiers in battle.

[39] In childbirth a motherly hand instilled the gentle poison, casting
the mother herself into a sleep, and soothing the infant’s passage,
after the manner of modern chloroform, into the world.—_Michelet._

[40] _Poruchet Solenases._

[41] Alexander.—_History of Women._

[42] You will hardly believe it, but I saw a real witch’s skull, the
other evening, at a supper party I had the pleasure of attending. It
was at the house of Dr. Dow, a medical gentleman of culture and great
skill in his profession here. You will admit that a skull is not a
pleasant thing to exhibit in a parlor, and some of the ladies did not
care about seeing it; but the majority did, and you know one cannot
see a witch’s skull every day. So, after a little hesitation and
persuasion on the part of the doctor, he produced the uncanny thing
and gave us its history, or rather that of the witch. She lived at
Terryburn, a little place near here. One day it came to the ears of the
kirk session of the parish that she had had several interviews with
his Satanic Majesty. Strange enough, when the woman was brought before
that body—which seems to have been all-powerful in the several parishes
in those days—and accused of it, she at once admitted the charge to be
true. The poor soul, who could have been nothing else than an idiot,
as the doctor pointed out from the very low forehead and small brain
cavity, was sentenced to be prevented from going to sleep; or in other
words, tortured to death, and the desired end was attained in about
five days, her body being buried below high-water mark.

Her name was Lilias Adie, and there is no doubt that she was only a
harmless imbecile. The skull, and also a piece of the coffin, were
presented to the doctor by a friend who had read in the kirk session
records an account of the trial, and went to the spot stated as
being the place of burial. The remains were found by him exactly as
indicated, although there was nothing to mark their resting place. One
would have thought that after the lapse of so many years it would be
exceedingly difficult to find them, but you know things do not undergo
such radical changes in this country as they do in America.—From a
traveler’s letter in the “Syracuse Journal,” August 22, 1881.

Almost indistinguished from the belief in witchcraft was the belief
that persons subject to epilepsy, mania or any form of mental weakness,
were possessed of a devil who could be expelled by certain religious
ceremonies. Pike.—_History of Crime in England_, Vol. pp. 7-8.

[43] The mysteries of the human conscience and of human motives are
well nigh inscrutable, and it may be shocking to assert that these
customs of unmitigated wrong are indirectly traceable to that religion
of which the two great commandments were that man should love his
neighbor as himself. Lea.—_Superstition and Force_, 53.

[44] Fox’s _Book of Martyrs_, gives account of persons brought into
court upon litters six months after having been subjected to the rack.

[45] In this case both men and women says Johannus Mergerus, author of
a History of Flanders.

[46] Adrianus Ferrens.

[47] St. Bernard exorcised a demon Incubus, who for six years
maintained commerce with a woman, who could not get rid of him.
Lea.—_Studies in Church History._

[48] It was observed they (devils) had a peculiar attachment to women
with beautiful hair, and it was an old Catholic belief that St. Paul
alluded to this in that somewhat obscure passage in which he exhorts
women to cover their heads because of the angels.—_Sprangler._

[49] The attention of scientific men and governments has recently been
directed to what are now called “_The Accursed Sciences_,” under whose
action certain crimes have been committed from “suggestion,” the hand
which executed being only that of an irresponsible automaton, whose
memory preserves no traces of it. The French Academy has just been
debating the question—how far a hypnotized subject from a mere victim
can become a regular tool of crime.—_Lucifer_, October 1887.

“Merck’s Bulletin,” New York medical journal, in an editorial entitled
_Modern Witchcraft_, December, 1892, relates some astonishing
experiments recently made at the _Hôpital de la Charité_, Paris, in
which the power to “exteriorize sensibility” has been discovered,
reproducible at will; suggestion through means of simulated pinching
producing suffering; photographs sensitive to their originals even
having been produced. Thus modern science stamps with truthfulness the
power asserted as pertaining to black magicians, of causing suffering
or death through means of a waxen image of a person. “_The Accursed
Sciences_,” although brought to the bar of modern investigating
knowledge, seem not yet to have yielded the secrets of the law under
which they are rendered possible.

[50] In 1609 six hundred sorcerers were convicted in the Province of
Bordeaux, France, most of whom were burned.—_Dr. Priestly._ Within the
last year fourteen women have been tried in France for sorcery.

[51] The supreme end of magic is to conjure the spirits. The
highest and most inscrutable of all the powers dwells in the divine
and mysterious name, “The Supreme Name,” with which Hea alone is
acquainted. Before this name everything bows in heaven and earth, and
in hades, and it alone can conquer the Maskim and stop their ravages.
The great name remained the secret of Hea; if any man succeeded in
divining it, that alone would invest him with a power superior to the
gods.—_Chaldean Magic and Sorcery._

[52] Venetians concluded not unreasonably that the latter ran no more
risk from the taint of witchcraft attached to their inheritance than
did the clergy or the church. Where profits were all spiritual their
ardor soon cooled. Thus it happened as the inevitable result of the
people’s attitude in religious matters, that while in Venice there
were representatives of the vast sisterhood, which extended from the
Blockula of Sweden to the walnut tree of Benevenuto, sorcery there
never became the terrible scourge that it was in other lands where its
victims at times threatened to outnumber those of the Black Death.—_The
Witches of Venice._

[53] One of the most powerful features of the belief in witchcraft was
the power that greed had in producing belief and causing persecution.
The church had grown rich from such trials, and the state was now to
take its turn. By the public offering of a reward for the finding of
witches, their numbers greatly increased.

[54] The most exceptional conduct, the purest morals in constant
practice of every day life, are not sufficient security against the
suspicion of errors like these—_Montesquieu._

[55] For a number of years her celebrated son struggled amid his
scientific studies for the preservation of her life.

[56] Michelet.—_La Sorcerie_ 151. See _Papers on the Bastile_.

[57] In its earliest phase the Black Mass seemed to betoken the
redemption of Eve, so long accused by Christianity. The woman filled
every place in the Sabbath. Following its celebration was the denial
of Jesus, by whose authority the priests and barons robbed the serf
of human hope—the paying of homage to the new master—the feudal kiss.
To the closing ceremonies, “The Feast of Peace,” no man was admitted
unaccompanied by a woman.—_La Sorcerie._

[58] “This word at different times clearly meant quite different
things. In the 14th century, under the Avignon popes, during the great
schism when the church with two heads seems no longer a church, the
Sabbath took the horrible form of the Black Mass.”

[59] This important part of the woman being her own altar, is known to
us by the trial of La Voisin, which M. Revanna _Sen._ published with
other _Papers of the Bastile_.—_Ibid._

[60] That women have been more addicted to this devilish art than man,
is manifest by the approbation of many grave authority. Diodorus, in
his fifth book, speaks of Hecate. Heywood.—_History of Women_, London,
1624. St. Augustine, in his _City of God_, declared that women are
more prone to these unlawful acts, for so we read of Medea, Cyrce and
others. Suidas, speaking of witches, cites an old proverb, declaring
witchcraft peculiar to woman and not to man. Quintillian, referring to
this statement, says: Theft is more common with man, but witchcraft
with woman.

[61] Idiots, the lame, the blind and the dumb, are men in whom devils
have established themselves, and all the physicians who heal these
infirmities as though they preceded from natural causes are ignorant
blockheads, who know nothing about the power of demons.—_Tishreden_, p.

[62] See _Reeves_ and _Hume_.

[63] _The Statute of Labourers_ (5 Eliz. C. 4) enacted that unmarried
women between twelve and forty years old may be appointed by two
justices to serve by the year, week, or day, for such wages and in such
reasonable sort and manner as they shall think meet.—_Reeves_ 3, 591-8.

[64] Seen by _Dr. Gray_.

[65] James believing in their (witches) influence, and Bacon partly
sharing in the belief. Macbeth appeared in this year mixed up
with Bacon’s inquiries into witchcraft. Ignatius Donnelly.—_The
Cryptogram._ From the accession of James I., witchcraft became the
master superstition of the age. The woman accused of witchcraft was
practically beyond the pale of the law; the mere fact of accusation was
equal to condemnation.

[66] _Laws and Customs of Scotland_, 2; 56.

[67] _The Seeress of Prevorst._

[68] Iron collars, or Witches’ Bridles, are still preserved in various
parts of Scotland, which had been used for such iniquitous purposes.
These instruments were so constructed that by means of a loop which
passed over the head, a piece of iron having four points or prongs,
was forcibly thrust into the mouth, two of these being directed to the
tongue and palate, the others pointing outward to each cheek. This
infernal machine was secured by a padlock. At the back of the collar
was fixed a ring, by which to attach the witch to a staple in the
wall of her cell. Thus equipped, and day and night waked and watched
by some skillful person appointed by her inquisitors, the unhappy
creature, after a few days of such discipline, maddened by the misery
of her forlorn and helpless state would be rendered fit for confessing
anything in order to be rid of the dregs of her life. At intervals
fresh examinations took place, and they were repeated from time to time
until her “contumacy,” as it was termed, was subdued. The clergy and
Kirk Sessions appear to have been the unwearied instruments of “purging
the land of witchcraft,” and _to them, in the first instance, all the
complaints and informations were made_.—_Pitcairn_, Vol. I., Part 2, p.

“Who has not heard of the Langholm witches, and ‘the branks’ to subdue
them? This was a simple instrument formed so as to fit firmly on the
head, and to project into the mouth a sharp spike for subjugating the
tongue. It was much preferred to the ducking-stool, ‘which not only
endangered the health of the patient, but also gave the tongue liberty
betwixt every dip!’ Scores of these ‘patients’ were burned alongside
Langholm castle; and the spot is fully as interesting as our own
reminder of the gentle days, Gallows Hill, at Salem.”

[69] By statute 33 of Henry VIII., C. 8, all witchcraft and sorcery
was to be felony without benefit of clergy. This act continued
in force till lately to the terror of all ancient females in the
kingdom.—_Commentaries._ As bad as the Georges are depicted, thanks
are due to two of them from women. By statute of George II., C. 5,
no future prosecution was to be carried on against any person for
conjuration, witchcraft, sorcery or enchantment.

[70] Towards the end of 1593 there was trouble in the family of the
Earl of Orkney. His brother laid a plot to murder him, and was said to
have sought the help of a notorious witch called “Allison Balfour.” No
evidence could be found connecting her with this particular offense or
with witchcraft in general, but it was enough in these matters to be a
woman and to be accused. She swore she was innocent, but she was looked
upon as a pagan who thus aggravated her guilt. She was tortured again
and again, but being innocent she constantly declared her innocence.
Her legs were put into the Casctulars—an iron which was gradually
heated until it burned into the flesh, but no confession could be wrung
from her. The Casctulars having utterly failed to make her tell a lie,
“the powers that be,” whom Paul tells us “are of God,” tortured her
husband, her son and her daughter, a little child of only seven years.
The “powers” knew the tenderness and love of a wife and mother, so
they first brought her husband into court and placed him by her side.
He was placed in the “long irons,” some accursed instrument. She did
not yield. Then her son was tortured; the poor boy’s legs were set in
“the boot,” the iron boot, and wedges were driven in, which forced home
crushed the very bone and marrow. Fifty-seven mallet strokes were
delivered upon the wedges, yet this failed. This innocent tortured
heroic woman would not confess to a lie. So last of all her baby
daughter was brought in, the fair child of seven short years. There was
a machine called the pinniwinkies, a kind of thumb screw which brought
blood from under the finger nails with a pain terribly severe. These
tortures were applied to the baby hands, and the mother’s fortitude
broke down and she would admit any thing they wished. She confessed
the witchcraft. So tired she would have confessed the seven deadly
sins, but this suffering did not save her to her family. She was burned
alive, with her last suffering breath protesting her innocence. This
account is perfectly well authenticated and taken from the official
report of the proceedings. Froude.—_Short Stories on Great Subjects._

[71] The same dark superstition shared the civil councils of Scotland
as late as the beginning of the 18th century, and the convictions
which then took place are chiefly to be ascribed to the ignorance and
fanaticism of the clergy.

[72] Excommunication was both of temporal and spiritual effect, the
person under ban not only being deprived of absolution, extreme
unction, consecrated burial, etc., but all persons were forbidden
to deal with the recalcitrant. Under the strictest protestantism in
Scotland, the clergy held almost entire control. When a woman fell
under suspicion of being a witch, the minister denounced her from
the pulpit, forbade anyone harboring or sheltering her, and exhorted
his parishoners to give evidence against her. To the clergy and Kirk
Sessions were the first complaints made. It is scarcely more than 150
years since the last witch was burned in Scotland, having been accused
of raising a thunder storm by pulling off her stockings.—_Witchcraft
Under Protestantism._

[73] Many witches lost their lives in every part of England, without
being brought to trial at all, from injuries received at the hands of
the populace. Mackay.—_Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions._

[74] One of the most powerful incentives to confession was to
systematically deprive the suspected witch of her natural sleep. It was
said who but witches can be present and so witness of the doings of
witches, since all their meetings and conspiracies are the habits of
darkness. “The voluntarie confession of a witch doth exceede all other
evidence. How long she has been a witch the devil and she knows best.”

[75] Among the Lancashire witches was Old Demedike, four score years
old, who had been a witch fifty years, and confessed to possessing
a demon which appeared to her in the form of a brown dog.—_Summer’s

[76] _Ibid._

[77] Which examination, although she was but very young, yet it was
wonderful to the Court in so great a presence and audience.—_Ibid._
Ties of the tenderest nature did not restrain the inquisitors. Young
girls were regarded as the best witnesses against their mothers, and
the oaths of children of irresponsible age were received as evidence
against a parent.—_Superstition and Force_, p. 93.

[78] When a reward was publicly offered there seemed to be no end of
finding witches, and many kept with great care their note book of
“Examination of Witches,” and were discovering “hellish kinds of them.”

[79] _Salem Witchcraft_ I, 393-4; 2, 373.

[80] I seemed to have stepped back to Puritan time, when an old
gentleman said to me. “I am descended from that line of witches;
my grandmother and 120 others were under condemnation of death at
New Bedford, when an order came from the king prohibiting farther

[81] Salem, Mass., July 30, 1892.—The 200th anniversary of the hanging
of Rebecca Nurse of Salem village for witchcraft, was commemorated in
Danvers Centre, old Salem village, by the Nurse Monument Association.
The distinct feature of the occasion was the dedication of a granite
tablet to commemorate the courage of forty men and women, who at the
risk of their lives gave written testimony in favor of Rebecca Nurse in

[82] Howes.—_Historical Collection of Virginia_, p. 438.

[83] _Collection Massachusetts Historical Society_ for the year 1800,
p. 241.

[84] No prosecution, suit or proceedings shall be commenced or carried
on in any court of this state against any person for conjuration or
witchcraft, sorcery or enchantment or for charging another with such

[85] Under the church theory that all members of the witch’s family are
tainted, the husband of this unfortunate woman hid himself, fearing the
same fate.—_Telegram._


[1] He bought his bride of her parents according to the custom of
antiquity, and she followed the coemption by purchasing with _three_
pieces of copper a just introduction to his treasury and household
duties. Gibbon.—_Rome_, 4; 395.

[2] By the law of the _Twelve Tables_ woman possessed the right of
repudiation in marriage. These tables were a compilation of still older
laws or customs, a species of common law incorporated into statutes by
Lachis of Athens, daughter of one Majestes; and were so wise and of
such benefit to the people of Attica that the Romans received them as
natural laws in which there was more of patriotism and purity than in
all the volumes of Popinanus. H. S. Maine.—_Ancient Law._

[3] After the Punic triumphs the matrons of Rome aspired to the
common benefits of a free and opulent republic.... They declined the
solemnities of the old nuptials; defeated the annual prescription by an
absence of three days, and without losing their name or independence
subscribed the liberal and definite terms of a marriage contract. Of
their private fortunes they commuted the use and secured the property;
the estate of a wife could neither be alienated or mortgaged by a
prodigal husband. Religious and civil rites were no longer essential,
and between persons of similar rank, the apparent community of life was
allowed as sufficient evidence of their nuptials.... When the Roman
matrons became the equal and voluntary companions of their lords, their
marriage like other partnerships might be dissolved. Gibbon.—_Rome_,
4; 347.

[4] Uses or Usucapion, was a form of civil marriage securing the wife
more freedom than the form which held her “under his thumb” as his
daughter. It was as old or even older than the Twelve Tables, and
although for many centuries not considered quite as respectable a form
of marriage as that in which the wife became the husband’s slave with
divorce impossible, it eventually grew to be the customary form of
Roman marriage. Maine.—_Early History of Ancient Institutions_, p. 517.

[5] It was with the state of conjugal relations thus produced that the
growing Christianity of the Roman world waged a war ever increasing in
fierceness, yet it remained to the last the basis of the Roman legal
conception of marriage.—_Ibid._

[6] When the Chremes of Terence reproaches his wife for not obeying his
orders and exposing their infant, he speaks like a father and master,
and silences the scruples of a foolish woman. Milman.—_Note to Gibbons

[7] “‘Usus’ had the very important consequence that the woman so
married remained in the eye of the law in the family of her father,
and was under his guardianship and not that of her husband. A complete
revolution had thus passed over the constitution of the family. This
must have been the period when a jurisconsult of the empire defined
marriage as a lifelong fellowship of all divine and human rights.”

[8] Reeves.—_Hist. Eng. Law_, p. 337.

[9] Maine says: No society which preserves any tincture of Christian
Institutions is likely to restore to married women the personal liberty
conferred on them by middle Roman laws.—_Ancient Law._

[10] Reeves says, while many great minds, as Lord Chief Justice Hale,
Lord John Somers, Henry Spellman, Dr. Brady and Sir Martin Wright
think feudalism came in with the conqueror, others, as Coke, Seldon,
Bacon and Sir Roger Owen are of opinion that tenures were common among
the Saxons. Blackstone, Dalrymple and Sullivan endeavor to compromise
the dispute by admitting an imperfect system of feuds to have been
instituted before the conquest.—_History of English Law_, Vol. I., p.

[11] A certain bishop, wishing a person to take charge of his castle
during his absence, the latter asked how he should support himself. For
answer _the bishop_ pointed to a procession of tradesmen with their
goods then crossing the valley at their feet.

[12] Wives were bought in England from the fifth to the eleventh
century. Herbert Spencer.—_Descriptive Sociology of England._

[13] There was another law even more odious than Marquette; the
father’s right to the price of mundium, in other words, the price of
his daughter. Legouve.—_Hist. Morales des Femmes_, p. 104.

[14] Murder under the name of war, the ruin of women under the name of
gallantry, were the chief occupations of the nobility. Pike.—_Hist.
of Crime in England._ The chief qualification for success at courts
was the power of making and appreciating mirth. The infidelities of
women were commonly the narrator’s theme, and an exhortation to avoid
matrimony was the most common form of advice given by a man to his
friend. War and intrigue were regarded as the principal amusements
of life; the acquisition of wealth the only object worth serious
consideration. A consequence of this creed was that the husband
frequently set a price upon his wife’s virtue, and made a profit out of
his own dishonor. Fathers were ready to sell their daughters.—_Ibid._

[15] Both married and single found their worst foes in their
nearest friends. The traffic in women was none the less real in
Christian England than it is now in the slave marts of Stamboul or
Constantinople.—_Ibid._ One of the most recent illustrations of the
general regard in which woman is held throughout Christendom, is the
experience of the young California heiress, Florence Blythe, who
although but fifteen years old, was in constant receipt of proposals
of marriage both at home and from abroad. Her attorney, General Hunt,
said: “I do not think there is a woman living who has had the number of
written proposals that Florence has received, but in all the letters
woman is regarded as a chattel, a thing to be bought and sold. The
constant receipt of letters of this character, and the equally constant
attempt of adventurers to gain a personal interview with the child,
at last became unendurable, and to escape such insulting persecution,
Florence suddenly married a young man of her acquaintance living near
her.” These letters, among them, from sixty titled Europeans, lords,
counts, dukes, barons, viscounts, marquises and even one prince,
confirm the statement of August Bebel, that marriage sales of women
are still as common as in the middle ages, and are expected in most
Christian countries.

[16] A husband upon his return from the Crusades, finding his wife had
been untrue, imprisoned her in a room so small she could neither stand
erect nor lie at full length; her only window looking out upon the dead
body of her lover swinging in chains.

[17] The Shoshone Indian who hires his wife out as a harlot, inflicts
capital punishment on her if she goes with another without his
knowledge. Bancroft.—_Native Races_, I; 436.

[18] Therefore a single woman for whom no bid was offered, an “old
maid” was looked upon with contempt as being of no value in the eyes of

[19] _Hist. of Crime in England_, Vol. I, p. 90.

[20] By the laws of the king of Wessex, who lived at the end of the
VIII century, the purchase of wives is deliberately sanctioned; in
the preface it is stated that the compilation was drawn up with the
assistance of the Bishop of Winchester and a large assemblage of God’s

[21] Nothing, says Pike, was considered but the market value of the
woman, and the adulterer was compelled to expend the equivalent of
her original price on the purchase of a new bride, whom he formally
delivered to the injured husband. Nor were these laws merely secular,
they were enacted and enforced by all the dread power of the

[22] In the 14th century either the female character was utterly
dissolute, or the tyranny of husbands utterly reckless, when we find
that it was no uncommon circumstance that women were strangled by
masked assassins, or walking by the river side were plunged into it.
This drowning of women gave rise to a popular proverb: “It is nothing,
only a woman being drowned.” And this condition constituted the
domestic life of England from the 12th century to the first civil war,
when the taste of men for bloodshed found wider scope, and from the
murder of women they advanced to the practice of cutting one another’s
throats. Disraeli.—_Amenities of Literature_, Vol. I., p. 95.

[23] “And they were so covetous that for a little silver they sellen
’ein daughters, ’ein sisters and ’ein own wives, to putten ’ein to

[24] The Church from the earliest period furnished its full portion
to the codes of our simple forefathers, that of the first Christian
king being that for the property of God and the Church (if stolen)
twelvefold compensation was to be made. Thorpe.—_Ancient Laws and
Institutions of England._

[25] _Journal of Jurisprudence_, Vol. XVI., Edinburg, 1872.

[26] Until the maiden was wedded she was kept strictly under control,
and the kind of discipline which was enforced is well illustrated by a
letter written late in the reign of Henry VI. The writer was the widow
of a landholder, and she was corresponding with the brother of the
young lady whose case she describes and whom she is anxious to serve by
finding a husband. This young lady was under the care of her mother and
the following was her condition: She might not speak with any man, not
even her mother’s servants; and she had since Easter the most part been
beaten once in the week, or twice, and sometimes thrice in a day, and
her hand was broken in two or three places. Pike.—_History of Crime in

[27] Britton.—_Introduction_, p. 39. Glanville.—_De Legibius Anglica_,
p. 158.

[28] Doubtless in all ages marriages were by far oftener determined
by pecuniary considerations than by love or affection, but proofs
are wanting to show that marriage was formerly made an object of
speculation and exchange in the open market with anything like the same
effrontery as today. In our time among the propertied classes—the poor
have no need of it—marriage barter is frequently carried on with a
shamelessness which makes the phrases about the sacredness of marriage,
that some people never tire of repeating, the emptiest mockery. August
Bebel.—_Woman in the Past, Present and Future._

[29] To make women the special objects of this torture, to teach them
hardness of heart in the office of executioners, was refinement of
atrocity.... It was for slaves and women that the greatest atrocities
were reserved.—_Hist. of Crime in England._

[30] Women in England had burned women to death in the 10th century;
they had been set on the stool of filth to be mocked as brewers of bad
ale in the 11th; on the stool of filth they had been jeered as common
scolds from time immemorial; they were legally beaten by their husbands
down to a comparatively recent period. In the 14th century they were
such as circumstances had made them; strong of muscle but hard of
heart, more fit to be mothers of brigands than to rear gentle daughters
or honest sons.—_Ibid._

[31] The elder Disraeli says: “Warton, too, has observed that the
style of friendship between males in the reign of Elizabeth would not
be tolerated at the present day.” Disraeli himself declares that “a
male friend, whose life and fortunes were consecrated to another male,
who looks upon him with adoration and talks of him with excessive
tenderness, appears to us nothing less than a chimerical and monstrous
lover.”—_Amenities of Literature_, Vol. II., p. 105.

[32] Poisoning or otherwise murdering husbands was a crime visited with
peculiar severity in almost all codes. Lea.—_Superstition and Force._

[33] Blackstone says it was to be no thicker than a man’s thumb, thus
an instrument of ever varying size. According to palmistry the thumb of
a self-willed or obstinate man, a cruel man, or of a murderer, is very
large at the upper portion or ball.

[34] Petit treason may happen in three ways: By a servant killing his
master, a wife her husband, or an ecclesiastical person (either secular
or regular) his superior, to whom he owes faith and obedience. The
punishment of petit treason in a man is to be drawn and hanged, and in
a woman to be drawn and burnt.—_Commentaries_, Vol. IV., p. 203-4.

[35] But in treason of every kind the punishment of women is the same
and different from men. For as the decency due to the sex forbids the
exposing and publicly mangling their bodies, their sentence is to be
drawn (dragged) to the gallows and there be burnt alive.—_Ibid_, IV.,
p. 92.

[36] The daily press, in its minute record of events, all unwittingly
furnishes many a little item, whose primal reason only the student of
history can read. The Syracuse, N.Y., “Daily Standard,” of February
22, 1884, published from its exchanges the following incident: “An
eccentric old man in New Hampshire surprised his neighbors and friends
the other day by shouldering his gun and starting for the woods on the
morning of his wife’s funeral. On being urged to come back, he refused
saying: “She warn’t no blood relation of mine.”

[37] But now by the statute 30, George 3 c. 48, women convicted in all
cases of treason shall receive judgment to be drawn to the place of
execution, and there to be hanged by the neck till dead. Before this
humane statute women were sentenced to be burnt alive for every species
of treason.—_Commentaries_, p. 92.

[38] See decision _New York Court of Appeals_, January, 1892.

[39] ST. PETERSBURG, September 22—In April last Mrs. Aina Sainio,
wife of a professor in the State College at Travasteheuse, Finland,
was found guilty of poisoning her husband, and in accordance with the
mediaeval law, which is still in force there, she was sentenced to be
beheaded, and her body to be affixed to a beacon and burned. It was
charged that Mrs. Sainio had been unfaithful to her husband, carrying
on a liaison with one of the students at the college. She strenuously
denied this, and said her motive in killing her husband was to get the
insurance of $2,500 on his life as she was deeply in debt. The case
was carried to the Court of Appeals and today a decision was handed
down affirming the judgment of the trial court and adding to the
punishment. It transpired during the trial that Mrs. Sainio had forged
her husband’s name to checks for small sums some time before his death,
and for this offense the Court of Appeals ordered that her right hand
be cut off. Then she will be decapitated, her body fastened to a stake
covered with inflammable material and set on fire.

[40] Reported in the _London Telegraph_.

[41] _Telegraphic Report_ from Providence, R.I., September 24, 1892.

[42] Mrs. Judge Seney’s trouble.—A deserted wife suing the woman who
enticed her husband away from her. TIFFIN, O., February 14—Judge Dodge
gave his decision yesterday in the novel case of the former Mrs. George
E. Seney against the present Mrs. George E. Seney. Judge Seney is one
of the well known lawyers of Ohio, and author of a “Civil Code” that
bears his name. He married his first wife, Mrs. Anna Seney, in 1858,
and for fourteen years they lived happily together. At about that time
Mrs. Seney and Miss Walker became very intimate friends, and continued
to be so until, as is alleged, Mrs. Seney ascertained that Miss Walker
was undermining the affections of her husband. A separation between Mr.
and Mrs. Seney soon followed, and subsequently the Judge married Miss
Walker. Mrs. Seney, therefore, instituted a suit against her successor,
claiming damages to the amount of $10,000 for the seduction of her
husband.—_New York Sun._

[43] James Howard, thirty-five years old, was taken from jail at
Texarkana, Ark., on Wednesday night by a mob and lynched. He was under
arrest for horrible cruelty to his fourteen-year-old wife. The woman
says that he frequently tied her feet together while she was in a state
of nudity, and hanging her up by the feet beat her unmercifully and
threatened to kill her if she told anyone of his cruelties. On the
first of November, Howard took a common branding iron, used to brand
live stock, and heating it red hot branded a large letter “H” on his
wife’s person in two places while she was tied to a bed.

[44] “Pall Mall Gazette,” 1888.

[45] “Westminster Review,” September, 1887.

[46] Cato, the Roman (pagan), censor three centuries before the
Christian era, said: “They who beat their wives or children lay
sacrilegious hands on the most sacred things in the world. For myself,
I prefer the character of a good husband to that of a great senator.”

[47] The bill failed of passing upon the ground that the lash belonged
to the dark ages, degrading a man by its infliction.

[48] An English lady, _Mrs. Margaret Bright Lucus_, in writing a
description of this implement said: “This country has even now but
little to boast in her laws regarding woman, and your country is
burdened with similar evil laws; the Franchise is most important.”

[49] The Museum at Reading, England, contains among its curiosities a
bridle formerly used to stop the mouths of scolding women in that town.

[50] Sometimes called Timbrel, or Gum Stole.

[51] “It would seem that almost every English town of any importance
had its ducking-stool for scolds. In 1741, old Rugby paid 2s 4d for a
chair for the ducking stool. The parish of Southam, in Warwickshire,
got a beautiful stool built in 1718 at an expense of £2 11s 4d. Ancient
Coventry had two stools.”

The most noteworthy of all the instruments designed for the correction
of Eve’s offending daughters was the ducking-stool, known as the
tumbrel and the trebuchet. A post, across which was a transverse beam
turning on a swivel and with a chair at one end, was set up on the
edge of a pond. Into the chair the woman was chained, turned toward
the water—a muddy or filthy pond was usually chosen for this purpose
when available—and ducked half a dozen times; or, if the water inflamed
her instead of acting as a damper, she was let down times innumerable,
until she was exhausted and well nigh drowned.

From the frequency with which we find it mentioned in old local and
county histories, in church wardens’ and chamberlains’ accounts, and
by the poets, we shall probably not be wrong in concluding that at
one time this institution was kept up all over the country.—“London

[52] John Dillon.—_Colonial Legislation of America._

[53] _Ibid._

[54] JERSEY CITY, N.J., July 23, 1887.—Mrs. Mary Brody, convicted a few
days ago of being a common scold, was today sentenced to pay a fine of
$25 and costs.

Only the other day a woman in this city, under some ancient unrepealed
law of this state, was arrested and brought before a magistrate on
the charge of being a common scold. A too free use of the tongue was
reckoned a public offense in all the American colonies, and in England
the lawful punishment of common scolds was continued until a recent
day. It was for these that the “ducking-stool” was invented, which
usually consists of a heavy chair fastened to the end of a large piece
of timber, which was hung by the middle to a post on the river side.
The offender was tied into the chair, and then soused into the water
until it was judged that her shrewishness had departed from her.
Sometimes she was dipped so thoroughly that her breath departed for
good, as happened to a certain elderly lady at Ratcliffe Highway. The
ducking-stool was constantly hanging in its place, and on the back
of it were engraved devils laying hold of scolds, etc.—“St. Louis

[55] If it is a crime to buy and sell wives, let the men who do such
things be punished; if there is no crime in the transaction, why should
the wife who is sold be punished. Unfortunately this is not a solitary
instance of law made or administered to punish women in order to teach
men.—_English Women’s Suffrage Journal._

Before Mr. Justice Denman, at the Liverpool Assizes, Betsey Wardle was
charged with marrying George Chisnal at Eccleston, bigamously, her
former husband being alive. It was stated by the woman that, as her
first husband had sold her for a quart of beer, she thought she was at
liberty to marry again.

George Chisnal, the second husband, apparently just out of his teens
was called.

His Lordship—“How did you come to marry this woman?”

Witness [in the Lancashire vernacular]—“Hoo did a what?” [Laughter.]

Question repeated—“A bowt her.” [Laughter.]

His Lordship—“You are not fool enough to suppose you can buy another
man’s wife?” Oi? [Laughter.]

His Lordship—“How much did you give for her?” Six pence. [Great

His Lordship asked him how long he had lived with the prisoner.

Witness—“Going on for three years.”

His Lordship—“Do you want to take her back again?”

“Awl keep her if you loike.” [Laughter.]

His Lordship (addressing the prisoner)—It is absolutely necessary
that I should pass some punishment upon you in order that people
may understand that men have no more right to sell their wives than
they have to sell other people’s wives, or to sell other people’s
horses or cows, or anything of the kind. You cannot make that a legal
transaction. So many of you seem to be ignorant of that, that it is
necessary to give you some punishment in order that you may understand
it. It is not necessary it should be long, but you must be imprisoned
and kept to hard labor for one week.—“News of the World,” 1883.

A peculiar case came up in the mayor’s office at Vincennes, Ind., in
1887. A man named Bonn sold his wife to another man named Burch for
$300, and held Burch’s note therefor. The sale was a reality, but the
note was never paid, hence the difficulty.

“We know a man in the Black Hills—a man who is well-to-do and
respected—the foundation of whose fortune was $4,000, the sum for
which he sold his wife to a neighbor. The sale was purely a matter of
business all around, and the parties to it were highly satisfied.”
1889.—“_The Times_,” Bismarck, N.D.

[56] In “The Doncaster Gazette” of March 25, 1803, a sale is thus
described: “A fellow sold his wife, as a cow, in Sheffield market place
a few days ago. The lady was put into the hands of a butcher, who held
her by a halter fastened around her waist. ‘What do you ask for your
cow?’ said a bystander. ‘A guinea’ replied the husband. ‘Done,’ cried
the other, and immediately led away his bargain. We understand that
the purchaser and his ‘cow’ live very happily together.” Ashton.—_The
Progress of Women._

[57] “Morning Herald,” March 11, 1802.—On the 11th of last month a
person sold, at the market cross, in Chapel en la Frith, a wife, a
child, and as much furniture as would set up a beggar, for eleven

“Morning Herald,” April 16, 1802.—A butcher sold his wife by auction at
the last market day at Hereford. The lot brought £1 4s. and a bowl of

“Annual Register,” February 14, 1806.—A man named John Garsthorpe
exposed his wife for sale in the market at Hall about 1 o’clock, but
owing to the crowd which such an extraordinary occurrence had brought
together, he was obliged to defer the sale, and take her away, about
4 o’clock. However, he again brought her out, and she was sold for 20
guineas, and delivered with a halter, to a person named Houseman, who
had lodged with them for four or five years.

“Morning Post,” October 10, 1808.—One of those disgraceful scenes
which have of late become too common took place on Friday se’nnight at
Knaresborough. Owing to some jealousy, or other family difference, a
man brought his wife, equipped in the usual style, and sold her at the
market cross for 6d and a quid of tobacco.—_Ibid._

[58] Our laws are based on the all-sufficiency of man’s rights;
society exists for men only; for women, merely in so far as they are
represented by some man, are in the _mundt_, or keeping of some man.
Herbert Spencer.—_Descriptive Sociology, England._

[59] A committee appointed by the National Woman Suffrage Association,
at that time in convention assembled in Washington, waited upon
President Cleveland with the memorial.

[60] Mediaeval Christian husbands imprisoned erring wives in cages so
small they could neither stand upright nor lie down at full length.
Mediaeval Christian priests boiled living infants in osier baskets in
presence of helpless heretical mothers. In mediaeval times the public
scourging of women was one of the amusements of the carnival; even as
late as the eighteenth century English gentlemen, according to _Herbert
Spencer_, made up parties of pleasure to see women whipped at Bridewell.

[61] Seduction was connived at that the guardian might secure the
estate of the ward.—_Ibid._

[62] The Salic law had not preference to one sex over the other—purely
economical law which gave houses and lands to males who should dwell
there, and consequently to whom it would be of most service.—_Spirit of
the Laws._

[63] In order to give color to the usurpation (for it was nothing
better), the lawyers cited an obscure article from the code of the
barbarous Salians, which, as they pretended had always been the
acknowledged law of the French monarchy.... Since that time the Salic
law, as it is called, has been regarded as an essential constitutional
principle in France.—_Student’s History of France_, p. 19.

[64] Montesquieu.—_Spirit of the Laws._

[65] Women in England were for more than a thousand years legislated
for as slaves. Crimes committed by men which could be atoned for by a
fine, were by women punished with burning alive. The period is not very
distant when she was distinctly legislated for as a servant and but on
a level with chattel slaves.—_Hist. Crime in England._

[66] _American Law_, 1829.

[67] Through the influence of Governor M. Nutt, who instituted many

[68] There was no distinction between offenses against the church on
one hand, and offenses against the state or individual on the other.
Cases of theft and sorcery, like those of witchcraft, could be tried in
the church. From the position of the clergy as law-givers, it follows
not only that the secular laws had the sanction of religion, but that
religious observance were enforced by the secular arm.

[69] From 499 to 1066. Herbert Spencer.—_Descriptive Sociology._

[70] To women were still applied those punishments, which had been
instituted by the men whose practice it was to buy their wives and sell
their daughters. Pike.—_Hist. Crime in England._

[71] Bracton.—_De Legibus Anglice I_, 479.

[72] “The reformation altered, but did not better the condition of
woman. Socially it rescued her from the priest to make her the chattel
of the husband, and doctrinally it expunged her altogether. Martin
Luther declared that the two sacred books, which especially point to
woman as the agent of man’s final redemption—the books of Esther and
Revelations—that in ‘so far as I esteem them, it would be no loss if
they were thrown into the river’.”

[73] “The forefathers of _Benjamin Franklin_ used a Bible kept fastened
under the seat of a four-legged stool, the leaves held in place by
pack-threads. When the family assembled to hear it read, one of the
number was posted as sentinel some distance from the house to give
warning of any stranger’s approach, in which case the stool was
hurriedly replaced upon its legs, and some one seated upon it for more
effectual concealment of the book.”

[74] Herbert Spencer.—_Descriptive Sociology, England._

[75] The _English Women’s Suffrage Journal_, November, 1886, reported:
“Mrs. —— rose to move a resolution. After reading a memorial, she said:
’Now, when I was asked to add a few words of support to the memorial
I have just read, my first feeling was that I was very far from the
right person to do so, inasmuch as being a married woman—and therefore
disqualified—and rightly disqualified,” etc.

[76] The coverture of a woman disables her from making contracts to
the prejudice of herself or her husband without his allowance or

[77] I have arrived at conclusions which I keep to myself as yet, and
only utter as Greek _phogagta sunetotsi_, the principle of which is,
that there will never be a good world for women till the last monk, and
therewith the last remnant of the monastic idea of, and legislation
for, woman, i.e. the Canon Law is civilized off the face of the earth.
Meanwhile all the most pure and high-minded women in England and Europe
have been brought up under the shadows of the Canon Law, and have
accepted it with their usual divine self-sacrifice, as their destiny by
law of God, and nature, and consider their own womanhood outraged when
it, their tyrant, is meddled with. Canon Charles Kingsley.—_Letter to
John Stuart Mill_, June 17, 1849, in _Life and Letters_.

[78] Dowers were first introduced into England by the Danish king,
Cnut or Canute, and into Denmark by Swein, father of Canute, who
bestowed it upon Danish ladies in grateful acknowledgment of their
having parted with their jewels to ransom him from the Vandals. For
account of Dowers, see _History of Dowers_; Grote.—_History of Greece
2_, 112-13; Alexander.—_History of Women_; Lord Kames.—_Sketch of the
history of Man_; _Histoire des Morales des Femmes_. In Denmark, King
Sweinn Forkbeard was the first to give woman a share in her parents’
property. Saxo Grammaticus says, The king was taken prisoner by the
Vinds who demanded so large a sum of money for his ransom, the men
of Denmark would not pay it, so their king remained a prisoner. The
women of Denmark sold their ornaments and ransomed him. From gratitude
the king decreed that afterwards daughters should inherit one-third
of their father’s property. _Journal of Jurisprudence._ One especial
right belonged to wives among the Northmen; this was the custody of her
husband’s keys, and if he refused them the wife could compel him by law
to give her their possession. These were the keys of the store-room,
chest, and cupboard.

[79] The law of dower was less favorable to the wife in the 13th
century than it became later.

[80] See _Reeves_ pp. 156-6.

[81] Sheldon Amos.—_Science of Law._

[82] _History of Women_, 1779.

[83] Higgins says the word