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of years to the very dawn of civilized so- necessity for all. In many societies of a ciety, and it finds them all and everywhere high civilization, from the point of view living forces, working for human good : of intellectual activity or military organthe Family, Marriage, the Domestic edu- ization, the condition of women is often cation, Political Government, Nations, the found to be one of seclusion, neglect, or appropriation of capital, the differentia- humiliation, moral, physical, and inteltion of social functions, the influence of a lectual. Even to-day, under the most spiritual authority, the transmission of favorable conditions-conditions, perhaps, ideas, of materials, of memories, the more often found in some sections of the diverse offices of the sexes, the tendency laboring classes of cities rather than among to continual differentiation, along with a the spoiled daughters of wealth and power collateral tendency to union and organiza- —it is shocking to see how backward is tion by common beliefs and renerations. the education of women as a sex, how Our Positive Religion finds these institu- much their lives are overburdened by tions, habits, and tendencies, with a his- labor, anxiety, and unwomanly fatigues, tory of a hundred centuries, ever more by frivolous excitement and undue domesand more definitely marked, and it aims tic responsibility, by the fever of public at developing these diversities to their ambitions and cynical defiance of all womnormal issue-not at assiinilation and uni- anly ideals. formity. It seeks to purify and spiritual- No! we can never rest satisfied with ize the great social institutions—not to the current prejudice that assigns to wommaterialize then or annihilate them.
ar, even to those with ample leisure and In nothing is this character more con- resources, an education different in kind spicuous than in Cointe's teaching as to and degree and avowedly inferior to that the social Future of Woman. It is in- of men, which supposes that even a supetensely conservative as to the distinctive rior education for girls should be limited quality with which civilization has ever in- to a moderate knowledge of a few modern vested women, while it is ardently progres- languages, and a few elegant accomplishsive in its aim to purify and spiritualize ments. This truly Mohammedan or Hinthe social function of women. It holds doo view of woman's education is no firmly the middle ground between the base longer openly avowed by cultured people apathy which is satisfied with the actual of our own generation. But it is too obcondition of woman as it is, and the rest.. viously still the practice in fact throughless materialism which would assiinilate, out the whole Western world, even for as far as possible, the distinctive functions nine tenths of the rich. And as to the of women to those of men, which would education which is officially provided for “ equalize the sexes" in the spirit of jus- the poor, it is in this country, at least, al. tice, as they phrase it, and would pulver- most too slight to deserve the name at all. ize the social groups of families, sexes, and for this most dreadful neglect Positivism professions into individuals organized, if calls aloud for radical relief. It calls aloud at all, by unlimited resort to ihe ballot- for an education for women in the sarne box. Herein Positivism is truly con. line as that of men, to be given by the servative in holding society to be made up saine teachers, and covering the same of families, not of individuals, and in de- ground, though not at all necessarily to veloping, not in annihilating, the differ- be worked out in common or in the saine ences of sex, age, and relation between in- form and with the saine practical detail. dividuals.
It must be an education, essentially in sciBut first, let us get rid of the unworthy entific basis, the same as that of men, suspicion that Positivism is content with conducted by the same, and those the best the condition of women as we see it, even attainable, instructors—an education cerin the advanced popnlations of the West tainly not inferior, rather superior to that to-day. As M. Laffitte has so well put it, of inen, inasmuch as it can easily be freed the “ test of civilization is the place which from the drudgery incidental to the pracit affords to women.” In a rudimentary tice of special trades, and also because it state we find women treated with brutal is adapted to the more sympathetic, more oppression, little better than slaves or alert, more tractable, more imaginative inbeasts of burden, where the conditions of telligence of woinen. existence make such tasks almost a cruel So, also, we look to the good feeling of the future to relieve women from the which it is the part of evolution to deagonizing wear and tear of families far too velop and not to destroy, as it is always large to be reared by one inotber-a bur. the part of evolution to develop organic den which crushes down the best years of differences and not to produce their artifilife for so many mothers, sisters, and cial assimilation. A difference, I have daughters - a burden which, while it said ; but not a scale of superiority or inexists, makes all expectation of superior feriority. No theory can more deeply education or greater moral elevation in the repudiate the brutal egoism of past ages, masses of women mere idle talk—a bur- and of too many present men of the world, den which would never be borne at all, wbich classes women as the inferiors of were it not that the cry of the market for men, and the cheap sophistry of the more child labor produces an artificial vicious and the overbearing that the part bounty on excessively large families. And of women in the life of humanity is a to the future we look to set woman free lower, a less intellectual, or less active from the crushing factory labor which is part. Such a view is the refuge of coarse the real slave trade of the Nineteenth Cen- natures and stunted brains. Wbo can say tury, one of the most retrograde changes whether it is nobler to be husband or to in social order ever made since Feudalism be wife, to be mother or to be son? Is and Church together extinguished the it more blessed to love or be loved, to slavery of the ancient world. In many form a character or to write a poem ? ways this slavery of modern Industrialisi Enough of these idle conundrums, which is quite as demoralizing to men and wom- are as cynical as they are senseless. Everycn, and in some ways as injurious to so- thing depends on how the part is played, ciety, as ever was the mitigated slavery of how near each one of us comes to the the Roman Empire, though its evils are higher ideal—how our life is worked out, not quite so startling and so cruel.
not whether we be born man or woman, These are the wants which, in our eyes, in the first balf of the century or in the press with greatest urgency on the condi- second. The thing which concerns us is tion of women, and not their admission to to ho!d fast by the organic difference imall the severe labors and engrossing profes- planted by Nature between Man and sions of men, the assimilation of the life Woman, in body, in mind, in feeling, and of women to the life of men, and especially in energy, without any possibility of talkto a share in all public duties and privi- ing of higher and lower, of beiter or of Jeges. The root of the matter is that the worse. social function of women is essentially and Fully to work out the whole mcaning of increasingly different from that of men. this difference in all its details, wonld inWhat is this function? It is personai, volve a complete education in Anthropoldirect, domestic ; working rather through ogy and Ethics, and nothing but the bare sympathy than through action, equally in- heads of the subject can here be noticed. tellectual as that of men, but acting more It begins with the difference in physical through the imagination, and less through organization-the condition, and, no doubt logic. We start from this—neither exag- in one sense, the antecedent (I do not say gerating the difference, nor denying it, the cause of every other difference. The but resting in the organic difference be- physical organization of women differs tween woman and man. It is proved by from that of men in many ways : it is all sound biology, by the biology both of more rapidly matured, and yet, possibly, man and of the entire animal series. It is more viable (as the French say), more likeproved also by tbe bistory of civilization, ly to live, and to live longer; it is more and the entire course of human evolution. delicate, in all senses of the word, more It is brought home to us every hour of the sympathetic, more elastic, more liable to day, by the instinctive practice of every shock and to change ; it is obviously less family. And it is illustrated and ideal- in weight, in mass, in physical force, but ized by the noblest poetry of the world, above all in muscular persistence. It is whether it be the great epics of the past not true to say that the feminine organizaor the sum of modern romance.
tion is, on the whole, weaker, because It is a difference of nature, I say, an there are certain forms of fatigue, such as organic difference, alike in body, in mind, those of nursing the sick or the infant, in feeling, and in character-a difference minute care of domestic details. ability to resist the wear and tear of anxiety on th somewhat misplaced conventionality, that body, in wbich women certainly at present this fundamenial point has been kept out of much surpass men.
But there is one fea- sight, while androgynous ignorance has ture in the feminine organization which, gone about claiming for women a life of for industrial and political purposes, is toil
, pain, and danger, for which every more important than all. It is subject to husband, every biologist, every physician, functional interruption absolutely incom- every mother-every true woman—knows patible with the highest forms of continu. that women are, by the law of nature, ous pressure.
With mothers, this inter- upfit. ruption amounts to seasons of prostration This is, as I said, merely a preliminary during many of the best years of life : part of the question. It is decisive and with all women (but a sınall exception not fundamental, no doubt, and it lies at the worth considering) it involves some inter- root of the matter. It is a plain organic ruption to the maximum working capacity. fact, that ought to be treated frankly, and A normal, perfectly healthy man works which I have touched on as an incident from childhood to old age, marries and only but with entire directness. But I brings up a family of children, without feel it to be, after all, a material, and not knowing one hour of any one day when an intellectual or spiritual ground, and to he was not quite fit.” No woman could belong to the lower aspects of the quessay the same ; and of conuse no mother tion. We must notice it, for it cannot be could deny that, for months she had been disregarded ; but it is by no means the a simple invalid. Now, for all the really heart of the matter. The heart of the serere strains of industrial, professional, matter is the greater power of affection in and public careers, the first condition of Woman, or, it is better to say, the greater success is the power to endure long con- degree in which the nature of Woman is tinuous pressure at the highest point, stimulated and controlled by affection. It without the risk of sudden collapse, even is a stigma on our generation that so obfor an hour.
vious a commonplace should need one Supposing all other forces equal, it is word to support it. Happily there is one just the five per cent of periodical unfit. trait in humanity which the most cynical ness which makes the whole difference be- sophistry has hardly ventured to denytween the working capacity of the sexes. the devotion of the mother to her offImagine an army in the field or a fleet at spring. This is the universal and parasea, composed of women. In the course mount aspect of the matter. For the life of nature, on the day of battle or in a of
every inan or woman now alive, or that storm, a percentage of every regiment and ever lived, has depended on the mother's of every crew would be in child-bed, and love, or that of some woman who played a much larger percentage would be, if not a mother's part. It is a fact so transcenin hospital, below the mark or liable to dent that we are wont to call it an animal contract severe disease if subject to the instinct. It is, however, the central and strain of battle or storm. Of course it most perfect form of human feeling. It will be said that civil life is not war, and is possessed by all women : it is the domithat mothers are not intended to take part. nant instinct of all women ; it possesses But all women may become mothers ; and women, whether mothers or not, from the though industry, the professions, and poli- cradle to the grave. The most degraded tics are not war, they do, and they onght woman is in this superior to the most to, call forth qualities of endurance, readi- heroic man (abnormal cases apart). It is ness, and indomitable vigor quite as truly the earliest, most organic, most universal
of all the inpate forces of mankind. And Either the theory of opening all occupa- it still remains the supreme glory of tions to women means opening them to an Humanity. In this central feature of unsexed minority of women, or it means a human nature, Women are always and diminution and speedy end to the human everywhere incontestably pre - eininent. race, or it means that the severer occupa. And round this central feature of human tions are to be carried on in a fashion far nature, all human civilization is, and ought more desultory and amateur ish than ever to be organized, and to perfecting it all has yet been known. It is owing to a very buman institutions do, and ought to connatural shrinking from hard facts, and a
verge. NEW SERIES. – VOL. LIV., No. 6. 48
I am very far from limiting this glorious when we regard the intellect and the charpart of maternity in woman to the breed- acter. Plainly, the intellect of woman on ing and nurture of infants ; nor do I mean the whole is more early mature, more to concentrate civilization on the propaga- rapid, more delicate, more agile than that tion of the human species. I have taken of men ; more imaginative, more in touch the mother's care for the infant as the with emotion, more sensitive, more indimost conspicuous and fundamental part of ridual, more teachable, while it is less the whole. But this is siinply a type of capable of prolonged tension, of intense the affection which in all its forms woman abstraction, of wide range, and of extraoris perpetually offering to man and to wom- dinary complication. It may be that this an—to the weak, the suffering, the care- is resolvable into the obvious fact of worn, the vicious, the dull, and the over- smaller cerebral masses and less nervous burdened, as inother, as wife, as sister, as energy, rather than any inferiority of daughter, as friend, as nurse, as teacher, quality. The fact reniains that no woman as servant, as counsellor, as purifier, as has ever approach d Aristotle and Arexample, in a word—as woman. The true chimedes, Shakespeare and Descartes, Rafunction of woman is to educate, not chil- phael and Mozart, or has ever shown even dren only, but men, to train to a higher a kindred sum of powers. On the other civilization, not the rising generation, but hand, not one man in ten can compare the actual society. And to do this by with the average woman in tact, subtlety diffusing the spirit of affection, of self- of observation, in refinement of mental restraint, self-sacrifice, fidelity, and puri- habit, in rapidity, agility, and sympaty. And this is to be effected, not by thetic touch. To ask whether the occawriting books about these things in the sional outbursts of genius in the male sex closet, nor by preaching sermons about are higher than the alınost universal quickthem in the congregation, but by mani- ness and fineness of mind in the female festing them hour by honr in each home sex, is to ask an idle question. To deby the magic of the voice, look, word, stroy either out of human nature would be and all the incommunicable graces of to arrest civilization and to plunge us into woman's tenderness,
barbarism. And the earliest steps ont of All this has become so coinpletely a barbarism would have to begin again in commonplace that the very_repeating it each wigwam with the quick observation sounds almost like a jest. But it has to and the flexible mind, and not with the be repeated now that coarse sophistry has profound genius. begun, not only to forget it, but to deny As with the intellect--so with the it. And we will repeat it ; for we have powers of action. The character or nothing to add to all that has been said on energy of women is very different from this cardinal fact of buman nature by that of men ; thongh here again it is impoets, froin liomer to Tennyson, by possible to say which is the superior, and moralists and preachers, by corrmon sense far less easy to make the contrast. Cerand pure minds, since the would began. tainly the world has never seen a female We have nothing to add to it save this Alexander, Julius Cæsar, Charlemagne, which, perhaps, is really important--that or Cronwell. And in mass, endurance, this function of woman, the purifying, intensity, variety, and majesty of will no spiritualizing, humanizing of society, by women ever approach the greatest men, humanizing each family and by influenc- and no doubt, from the same reason, ing every husband, father, son, or brother, smaller cerebral mass and slighter nervous in daily contact and in unspoken language, organization. Yet in qualities of constant is itself the highest of all human func- movement, in perseverance, in passive tions, and is nobler than anything which endurance, in rapidity of change, in keenart, philosophy, genius, or statesmanship ness of pursuit (up to a certain range and can produce.
within a given time), in adaptability, The spontaneous and inexhaustible foun- agility, and elasticity of nature, in industain of love, the secret springs whereof triousness, in love of creating rather than are the mystery of womanbood, this is destroying, of being busy rather than idle, indeed the grand and central difference of dealing with the minutest surroundings between the sexes. But the difference of of comfort, grace, and convenience, it is function is quite as real, if less in degree, a commonplace to acknowledge women to be our superiors. And if a million house- asking for arbitrary and rigid limitations. wives do not equal one Cromwell, they no We are not calling out for any new legis. doubt add more to the happiness of their lation or urging public opinion to close own generation.
any womanly employment for women. We come back to this—that in body, There are a thousand ways in which the in mind, in feeling, in character, women activity of women may be of peculiar are by Nature designed to play a different value to the community, and many of part from men. And all these differences these necessarily carry women outside combine to point to a part personal not their own houses and into more or less general, domestic not public, working by public institutions. The practice of the direct contact not by remote suggestion, ladies connected with this Hall alone would through the imagination more than through satisfy us how great is the part which the reason, by the heart more than by the women have to play in teaching, in directhead. There is in women a like intelli- ing moral and social institutions, in organgence, activity, passion ; like and co-ordi- izing the higher standard of opinioni, in nate, but not identical ; equally valuable, inspiring enthusiasm in young and old. but not equal by measure ; and this all We are heartily with such invaluable works best in the home. That is to say, work ; and we find that modern civilizathe sphere in which women act at their tion offers to women as many careers as it highest is the Family, and the side where offers to men. they are strongest is Affection. The All that we ask is tbat such work and sphere where men act at their highest is such careers shall be founded on womanly in public, in industry, in the service of ideals, and shall recognize the essential the State ; and the side where men are difference in the social functions of men the strongest, is Activity. Intelligence is and of women. We know that in a discommon to both, capable in men of more organized condition of society there are sustained strain, apt in women for more terrible accumulations of exceptional and delicate and mobile service. That is to distressing personal hardship. Of course say, the normal and natural work of wom. millions of women have, and can have, no en is by personal influence within the husbands ; hundreds of thousands have no Home.
parents, no brother, no true family. No All this is so obvious, it has been so one pretends that society is without abuncompletely the universal and instinctive dant room for unmarried women, and has practice of mankind since civilization not a mass of work for women who by began, that to repeat it would be weari- circumstances have been deprived of their some if the modern spirit of social anarchy natural family and are without any normal were not now eager to throw it all aside. home. Many of such woinen we know to And we Positivists have only to repeat be among the noblest of their sex, the the old saws on the matter, together with very salt of the earth. But their activity this—that such a part is the noblest which still retains its home-like beauty, and is civilization can confer, and
still womanly and not mannish. All that more urgently needed than it is today. we ask is that women, whether married or In accepting it graciously and in filling it unmarried, whether with families of their wortbily, women are placing themselves own or not, shall never cease to feel like as a true spiritual force in the vanguard of women, to work as women should, to human evolution, and are performing the make us all feel that they are true women holiest and most beautiful of all the duties among us and not imitation men. which flumanity has reserved for her best- We are not now discussing any pracbeloved children. The source of the out- tical remedy for a temporary difficulty ; cry we hear for the Emancipation of we are only seeking to assert a paramount Women--their emancipation from their law of human nature. We are defending noblest duty—is that in this materialist the principle of the womanliness of woman age men are prone to despise what is pure, against the anarchic assertors of the manJofty, and tender, and to exalt what is liness of woman. There is a passionate coarse, vulgar, and vainglorious.
pirty of so-called reformers, both men When we say that we would see the and women, who are crying out for absotypical work of women centred in her per- lute assimilation as a principle ; and such sonal influence in the Home, we are not is the weakness of politicians and leaders