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Woman: Man's Equal by Thomas Webster

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

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

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

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

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


Woman Before the Law.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Woman and Legislation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The morning is breaking.


Famous Women of Antiquity.

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Eminent Women of Modern Times.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Where is the clergyman of whom more can be said?


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

By what some would perhaps call a mere accidental circumstance, Miss
Crosby found herself, upon an occasion, in a position where she must
speak to a congregation or send them home disappointed, and be guilty of
what she deemed an omission of a duty clearly pointed out to her by
Providence. She had given no intimation of any intention, on her part,
of doing more than she usually did at this place--simply leading her
ordinary class--and had designed doing nothing more, when, on her
arrival there, she found nearly two hundred persons present anxious for
instruction. To lead the class in the customary manner was impossible.

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