The Rights of Women

It is natural for one animal, to exercise, if it can, domination over another. We see this among almost all herds of animals, and even flocks of domestic fowls. The strongest and most permanently vindictive obtain, after repeated struggles, the ascendancy; and, while the florescence of strength remains, most generally retain it. The spirit of domination is not confined to the male, but extends to the female with less power, but with almost equal tenacity. Thus in a dairy of cows there is form the strongest down to the weakest, and from the most vindictive down to the least pugnacious, a place of sequence or position of yielding in a short time invariably assigned. The least observant country boy has noticed this fact, no doubt, a thousand times. Let him scatter the salt upon the flat stones in summer, or the hay upon the edge of the untrodden snow in winter, and the dominant pass from rock to rock, and from one pile of fodder to another, select what pleases them, and, in regular order the weaker have to give way. This is physical brute force, embittered or ameliorated by the good or bad disposition of the dominant animal: for even brutes have, according to their sphere of action, and each individual according to its superior nature, all the attributes of mind, and affections of the heart. What has in a state of ignorance been called instinct? A term merely used to satisfy a superstitious feeling, and to make an absolute and essential distinction in animalized beings, so as to give man only a soul, understanding, sense, and reason? Is reason in animals more or less superior according to the more or less perfect organization of their physical constitution? As man has mounted up from a savage to a civilized state, no matter what his religion, customs, government, and laws, more or less equitable and perfect, have supplied the place of violence and force; and in the same proportion, have the female sex been raised from a state of servitude and dependence. In Egypt, Greece and Rome, they attained under heathenism, all the elevation in the domestic and social relationship that ever they have in christian lands. This  is a fact, which none acquainted with universal history, can consistently deny. The fact is, that it is on the degree of civilization and refinement, and not on the virtues of any religion, that female privileges depend. We are prepared to argue this point with any individual, whatever be his capacity or energy of mind, or however extensive his acquisition.

We repeat, it is on the degree of civilization and refinement to which a nation has arrived, and not on this or that superstition faith that their privileges have depended. In fact, if the christian faith were carried out, it, of all others would the most subject the female sex to the lowest point of subjection in servile dependence on man, and Implicit obedience to what he conceives his lawful commands. The Apostle commands her “to be in subjection,” “to reverence her husband,” “not to speak in the churches,” “to keep her head covered,” as an evidence of her subjection; the marriage ceremony requires what it does not on the reverse, of the husband – that she’ll “obey her husband, as her lord and master,” and Wesley, the head of the Methodist church, who permits them to exhort, says that “the woman is inferior to the man,” and “a sort of higher servant.”

Among the Dutch and Swiss, and throughout Germany, the female is inured to the most sever and laborious manual labor, and yet, Switzerland is called the “cradle of the Protestant religion,” and Germany has long been one of the most free and scientific empires on earth. Where, now is the argument for Christianity so often in a bombastic inflated clerical style insisted on, as “the divine source under God, to the female of all her privileges and endeared relationships in life!” From all this will they appeal to experience? Let us then appeal to personal observation and experience, and what do they demonstrate? Why! The same demonstrable, veritable fact! She has to yield in sentiment, opinion, judgment. During the halcyon days of courtship, her judgment, taste and choice are highly commended, but no longer. No sooner is she married than the Lord Premier takes the dictatorial position, and the more ignorant his mind, the incorrect and unrefined his taste, the firmer he defends it, and with nine out of ten every vestige of anything more than servile assent, or at most, persuasive dissent is in the least degree tolerated. We all know this to be a fact. We have been in a thousand different families, sufficiently long to make all due observation. We know it to be so; and so does every man and woman of the land, worthy to take his or her stand as a person of common sense, judgment and observation. She is degraded, brow beat, cast down by a continued and resistless action on both the sentimental and intellectual parts of her constitution; educated in a childish and fantastical manner, being taught that her dancing, embroidering, drawing, and music, the delicacy of her skin, the artificial tenuity of her form,  and the gracefulness of her motions, are to secure administration and law the foundation for her happiness for life and then forsooth, after being thus degraded with all the peculiar sympathies of her sex pressing upon her, she is told, “that she is inferior in mind, talent, judgment and capacity, to man,” her lord and master! Does she pretend to authorship? She is merely tolerated – subjected to the severest criticism, and has no matter how transcendent-soever be her mind, correct her taste, refined, strong and energetic her diction, finished her style and triumphant her execution, she has to spend a life in defending what she has with an almost infinite degree of firmness and perseverance, with all these difficulties species in the way, thus, dearly achieved. In mind, we affirm the female is not inferior to the males and in delicacy and correctness of taste, she transcends him. As an evidence of this we adduce the fact that female sovereigns have had more splendid reigns, comparatively speaking, that is, we mean making a few exceptions, than any monarch on earch. Who in ancient times, surpassed Semiramis? Or in modern Christians, of Sweden? The Cathrines of Russia? Elizabeth and Victorian of England? Who ever in the languages has surpassed  Madam Dacier, whose translation of Homer still stands pre-eminent?

Having brought the subject of our remarks, the object of our vindication, fairly on the ground, we are now prepared to state simply, leaving the arguing the case to another article, what we conceive to be the rights and privileges of women, the female sex. And, in doing this, we shall encroach on no domestic duty or privilege founded on sexuality, reason and common sense. Let her as she has to be, remain the woman; and let her appropriate and specified duties be domestic , or to engage in any line of action in any calling which shall not interfere with their discharge.

Having made the reservation, we affirm, and affirm it boldly, and have ourselves ability, if we are female to defend our position

that females have an indefeasible and inalienable right to enjoy that mode and system of education both physical and intellectual which shall give compass, depth and solidity, both to their habit of thought and tone of feeling

that they have an indefeasible and inalienable right to be equally respected in their sentiment, judgment, opinion and taste, as the male sex

that they have an indefeasible and inalienable right to buy and sell, solicit and refuse, choose and reject, as have men.

that they have an indefeasible and inalienable right in all domestic concerns to have their judgment, taste, opinion, sentiment and choice, equally and at all times, and forever, equally respected as the male sex.

and that in the outgoings of friendship and affection, freedom of intercourse and unrestrainedness of expression in language and address, they are on equal ground.

These five distance propositions, we are prepared to defend; and, while we have mind, talent, acquisition, ability, and a pen, we will defend them.

We shall take them up separately and successively; and make each the topic of discourse, and the subject of a separate article. We repeat, these five propositions thus limited and restricted we are prepared to defend, and while we have mind, talent , acquisition and ability, will with our tongue defend them. “Ah! With a woman’s tongue?” Yes, and the sneer upon your grovelling and selfish conceptibility! Who will angelize the same object in sentiment and passion, and the next moment, brutalize her in intellect, reason, judgment, and in all the grand prerogatives of high, noble and intellectual being!

We cannot conclude this article without exhorting those of our own sex, who read it, at once to embrace cordially its truth. You have been degraded long enough. You have sufficiently long been considered “the inferior” – a kind of ‘upper servant,’ to obey and reverence, and be in subjection to your equal, and no more than your equal! Enter, at once, upon your privileges. Cultivate a clear, strong, matter of fact way of thinking, and a natural and therefore, conclusive mode of reasoning. Look upon all your accomplishments, dancing, drawing, as only the gewgaws of a youthful day, soon to be of little or no use, what the most contemptible of society, the most excel in, and punished, only as amusements, not as qualifications. Improvement of the mind by solid reading, such histories as Gibbon, Hume, Goldsmith, and Rollin. 

Make yourselves acquainted with Chemistry, Geology, and especially those sciences, Phrenology and Electricity, which are calculated to unmask superstitious pretensions, and give you an intimate knowledge of your own nature, and of the constitution of man. Resolve that you will think, reason, judge, love, hate, approve, and disapprove, for yourselves, and at your own volition; and, not at the dictation of another. At the same time, as females and as rational beings, be wise, discreet, kind, conciliating, affectionate, benevolent, just, and virtuous. This is the line of conduct which common sense, and the eternal and immutable laws of nature, in mind and matter, distinctly prescribe, and imperiously command us undeviatingly to pursue. Doing this, you will perform your part towards extending and improving the intellectual capacity of your sex, unrestricted by brute force and clerical cunning, interest and deceit; and placing yourselves on the above ground of true enjoyment and self-respect.



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