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though I be nothing," 2 Corinthians xi. 5, and xii. 11. When he was undervalued by these Corinthians, it was due to himself, and more particularly due on account of the position he occupied, as an eminent apostle of Jesus Christ, to let them know, he was not inferior to any of the apostles. But where does he claim superiority over any? No assumption of superiority is heard from any of the servants of Christ. It is the duty of every member of the human family to know the dignified standing in which he is placed, as a moral and intellectual being, and in order to claim the rights due equally to every member of the human family, all must have their rights, or they cannot meet their responsibilities.
We have already said, that man has inflicted a greater injury on himself, by the assumption of arbitrary power, than he has on woman, though it is extremely pernicious to both, but thanks must be rendered to an over-ruling Providence, that limits the evil effects of these tendencies, or our world would have been entirely a moral desolation. Both the governor and governed are encompassed with evil tendencies, peculiar to their situation. The position in which woman is placed, has a tender.cy to paralyze her energies, physical, moral, and intellectual, lower herindependence and self-respect, and to render her a frivolous, insignificant, useless member of society. Did we say that evil tendencies are present? Nay, their effects are avowedly intended to be brought about. What would be better calculated to paralyze her energies, in a physical point of view, than to take from her a right to possess or acquire property on her own behalf? Is it not intended that her energies shall be paralyzed, as a moral and intellectual being, when we are taught that it is positively sinful in her to exert her moral and intellectual faculties, in any manner that would indicate that she considered herself man's equal-and that she must always consider herself his dependent subordinate? She has a particular “ sphere assigned her, the kitchen and the parlour," and her investigation of subjects must be confined to that department, or she will be immediately ridiculed for appearing out of her sphere. The want of information on topics instructive and interesting, has a natural tendency to make her flee to the expedient of passing away the time in tattle, or frivolous
loquacity, for which women are so severely satirized. If the charge were even true, that women are more given to tattle and loquacity than men, it would be very easily accounted for on this principle, without saying that they were naturally predisposed to this vice more than men, but it is a slander on the character of women, without foundation, to say that women in the aggregate are more given to slander, and loquacity than men. There are more slander suits brought against men, than against women. What vile slanders are circulated about election times—and where there are a number of men collected together, it would be difficult for a like number of women to out-talk them, or in many instances to equal them in noisy bluster ; but if a woman transgresses, the whole sex is charged with the crime. Scarcely a newspaper of a political character is published, in which we do not hear wholesale satires passed on women, for the offence, or supposed offence of an individual, thus adding insult to injury. They have deprived her of her rights, and as a justification of their usurpation, represent her as unworthy of rights. It is a common expedient to malign those whom we have otherwise injured.
We have previously noticed a lecture on the formation of female character, delivered by the “superintendent” of a female seminary, to the pupils in Steubenville, Ohio. He says, the “ fickleness of women is proverbial, yet in regard to the affections of the heart, it cannot be admitted, though it must be allowed in respect to the head. The reason is, that they are naturally more apt to be led by passion and romantic impulse, than by sober views and careful judgment. They form opinions rashly, and abandon them precipitately”-a direct insult given to the God of nature, who formed them thus. Now, we consider this no less than a libel on woman, and it comes with a very bad grace from a minister of the gospel! We have not the least doubt, but two-thirds of his congregation are women. We believe, that taking the Christian church in the aggregate, two-thirds of its members are women. They are among the most firm and unflinching supporters of religion, and religious principles, and undeviatingly attached to the ministers of the gospel, “for their work's sake.” And when Christ tabernacled in this world, they were among his most firm and devoted followers—they
followed him to the cross, and to the grave, when men shrank. Religion is a thing, in which both the affections of the heart, and the opinions of the head, if we may so speak, are brought into active operation; and unwavering affection, and firmness of opinion, are nearly allied, and generally accompany each other.
The great reason why women are so potent in moral reforms, is, that they do not "abandon,” or desert their principles—they are more firm than men; they have not the same temptations as men to desert their principles—they have nothing to lose from unpopularity—they do not forfeit any offices of profit, or honour. What firmness of purpose, and strict adherence to principle have women manifested in the anti-slavery enterprise! What persecutions have they encountered, both from open foes and professed friends, yet they have adhered strictly to their purpose. The history of women shows they are not naturally” more given to “ form opinions rashly, and abandon them precipitately,” than are men; although their position in society is calculated to prevent them from forming an opinion, or taking any deep interest in any important question. They are only allowed to occupy the places of automatons, a machinery not calculated to cultivate firmness of opinion and stability of purpose. True, there are women who consider themselves mere toys, and household conveniences, made only to please men, who form no opinion on any important subjects, except for the time being, for the sole purpose of pleasing the “lords of creation," and who will “ abandon” it as “precipitately,” for the same purpose: this is the natural result of being MEN PLEASERS.
The motive that is almost universally held out to woman to induce her to perform any duty, is to make herself pleasing to man instead of her Creator; and this motive is prominently presented to her in the lecture. Man, the lord and master, “forms opinions rashly, and abandons them precipitately,” and is capricious, and as long as he acts thus, so will she. If it will promote his ambition or caprice, he will have her doing to-day what he will menace and satirize her for to-morrow.
Mrs. Child, in her letters from New York, says, “I once heard a very beautiful lecture from R. W. Emerson on Being and Seeming. In the course of many remarks, as true as they were graceful, he urged women to be rather than seem. He told them that all their laboured education of forms, strict observance of genteel etiquette, tasteful arrangement of the toilet, &c., all this seeming would not gain hearts like being truly what God made them; that earnest simplicity, the sincerity of nature, would kindle the eye, light up the countenance, and give an inexpressible charm to the plainest features. The advice was excellent, but the motive by which it was urged brought a flush of indignation over my face. Men were exhorted to be, rather than to seem, that they might fulfil the sacred mission for which their souls were imbodied; that they might, in God's freedom, grow up into the full stature of spiritual manhood; but women were urged to simplicity and truthfulness that they might become more pleasing” to men.
We have said her position in society is calculated to lower her independence and self-respect—nay, it is intended that it shall have this very effect. The above lecturer says, “She (woman) is in a great measure dependent on the other sex, and in the prominent and striking qualities, most certainly inferior to man,” (inferior in what? specify,) “she ought to feel her dependence, and show that she looks to him for support and guidance. A confiding and submissive temper, therefore, is most becoming in all the sex.” How anti-Christian the opinion that woman is to be a dependent on man. Where, in all the sacred scriptures, is this doctrine taught? Jeremiah says, “ Thus saith the Lord, Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm." What good will result to society from endeavouring to break down woman's independence and self-respect? Do not these qualities give tone to her character? They are like all virtues, by excess or abuse they may degenerate into vice, pride, self-sufficiency, &c., &c. Do not homilies of this kind, preached to females, help to beget helplessness, or affectation of it, which the lecturer says “is truly ludicrous and absurd?” It is only under certain circumstances that woman is dependent on man for her support—she is not necessarily so as woman. There are many women in our own country supporting themselves comfortably, and some sumptuously, without receiving any assistance from man. Many are supporting families without any male assistant, and “guiding them too.” Man placed under the same circumstances could not do it, notwithstanding all the superior facilities he has monopolized. Some are conducting institutions of education without any male "superintendent," and will not lose in comparison with those who have this appendage. Man and woman depend on each other for a great many comforts, “it is not good for either man or woman to be alone.” All offices of profit, place, or trust, and all callings of a lucrative or honourable character, the lecturer assigns to man, divests her nearly of all means of support, and then directs her to consider herself a dependent on man for guidance and support; and “in her prominent and striking qualities most certainly inferior to man."*
It is a common thing for woman to be reminded of her impotence and dependence on her “guide and protector, man.” We will here insert another small specimen of this from the pastoral letter of the general association of ministers of Massachusetts. They say, “The power of woman is in her dependence, flowing from a consciousness of that weakness which God has given her for her protection.” And they introduce pretty similes of the “vine whose strength and beauty is to lean on trellis work, and half conceal its clusters; but it must not think to assume the independence and the overshadowing nature of the elm," &c., &c.—Sarah Grimke's Letters on the Equality of the Sexes.
What wonderful lessons to woman are these, which teach her to put her confidence in man instead of her Creator. However well it might suit a woman who had an enterprising, industrious husband, blessed with health and prosperity, to consider herself an irresponsible dependent on the exertions of such a man, a tax on his industry, without any corresponding benefit on her part; how would this answer the situation of a woman who has no husband, or the bereaved widow who has a numerous family to support by her own exertions? How does this tend to qualify her to meet her trials and responsibilities? Woman is not always dandled on the lap of ease and prosperity, supported and guided by her “protector, man.” How would it answer for a wo
* Wonder if we would find a proof of her inferiority by visiting the churches; and man's superiority by visiting the grog shops, jails, and penitentiaries!