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there should be one more innovation brought into general vogue, that of the mixed jury system. When we shall have women both as lawyers and jurors to assist in the trial of cases, then, and not until then, will woman's influence for good in the administration of justice be fully felt. In Wyoming and Washington the mixed jury system has been tried and found perfectly practicable.
There has not been time enough yet for a woman to develop into an Erskine or Burke, an O'Connor or Curran, a Webster or Choate. But few men have done so, if history correctly records. Woman has made a fair beginning, and is determined to push on and upward, keeping pace with her brother along the way until, with him, she shall have finally reached the highest pinnacle of legal fame.
No one who has studied the history of the world, even superficially, will dispute the statement that over the female half of the human family there has steadily brooded a cloud of hindrance and repression, of disability and servitude. The long past has denied to women the possession of souls, and they have been relegated to the ignorance and injustice to which men have always doomed those regarded as their inferiors. Until within a few years, comparatively speaking, the world has been under the dominion of brute force, and might has made right. Every one has been welcome to whatever he has had the brawn and muscle to win and to hold, and all have yielded to the rule of physical force, as to-day we respect the decisions of the courts. All through these ages the history of woman has been disastrous. Her physical weakness, and not alone her mental inferiority, has made her the subject of man. Toiling patiently for him, asking little for herself and every thing for him, cheerfully sharing with him all perils and hardships, the inappreciated mother of his children, she has been bought and sold, petted or tortured, according to the whim of her brutal owner, the victim everywhere of pillage, lust, and war. And this statement includes all races and peoples of the earth from the date of their historic existence.
Among the Hindoos, woman was the slave of man; bought, sold, lent, gambled away, and taken for debt, with the very power of life or death held over her by some irresponsible husband, father, or other man. She was forbidden to speak the language of man, and was condemned to use the patois of slaves. Under the old Roman law, the husband was the sole tribunal of the wife. He controlled her property, earnings, and religion; she was allowed no rights in her own children; and she could invoke no law against him. The Greek law
regarded woman as a child, and held her in everlasting tutelage from the cradle to her gray-haired old age. Aristotle, and they of his school, called her a “monster,” an "accidental production.” The Hebrews pronounced her an afterthought of the Deity, and the mother of all evil. Throughout the entire Orient, her condition has been one of such compulsory servitude, that the phrase “Oriental degradation of woman, remains to-day the synonym of the deepest debasement woman has ever known.
When the councils of the medieval church came together to decide on the instruction needful to the young, they hastened to count women out, and to declare them “unfit for instruction.” And they, who in defiance of this decision-kindhearted nuns of the Catholic Church--established schools for girls, were publcily stoned when they were met on the streets. The early Christian fathers denounced women as “noxious animals," "painted temptresses,” “necessary evils,” “desirable calamities,” and “domestic perils." From the English Heptarchy to the Reformation, the law proclaimed the wife to be ''in all cases, and under all circumstances, her husband's creature, servant, and slave.” Herbert Spencer, writing of English laws, in his “Descriptive Sociology of England,” says: “Our laws are based on the all-sufficiency of man's rights, so that society exists to-day for woman only as she is in the keeping of some man.” To Diderot, the French philosopher, even in the eighteenth century, so persistently do the traditions of the past make themselves felt, woman was only a “courtesan." To Montesquieu, she was “an attractive child,”-to Rousseau "an object of pleasure to man.” To Michelet, nearly a century later, she was “a natural invalid.”
This subjection of woman to man, which has hindered her development in normal ways, has created a contemptuous opinion of her, which runs through the literature and legislation of all nations. It is apparent to-day in unjust laws and customs, which disgrace the statute books, and cause society to progress with halting step. There still exist different codes of morals for men and women, different penalties for crime, and the relations of the sexes to the government are dissimilar. In marriage, the husband has control of the wife's person, and, in most instances, ownership of her earnings, and of her minor children. She is rarely paid the same wages as man, even when she does the same work, and is his equal only when punishment and the payment of taxes are in question. All these unjust inequalities are survivals of the long ages of servitude through which woman has passed, and which have not yet ceased to exist. During their existence, says Mme. de Staël, “woman was able to exercise fully but one of the faculties with which nature has gifted her the faculty of suffering.”
Born and bred under such conditions of injustice, and with arbitrary standards of womanly inferiority persistently set before them, it has not been possible for women to rise much above them. Here and there through the centuries, exceptional women, endowed with phenomenal force of character, have towered above the mediocrity of their sex, hinting at the qualities imprisoned in the feminine nature. It is not strange that these instances have been rare. It is strange, indeed, that women have held their own during these ages of degradation. And as by a general law of heredity “the inheritance of traits of character is persistent in proportion to the length of time they have been inherited,” it is easy to account for the conservatism of women to-day, and for the indifference and hostility with which many regard the movements for their advancement.
For a new day has dawned, and humanity is moving forward to an era when oppression and slavery are to be entirely displaced, and reason and justice recognized as the rule of life. Science is extending immeasurably the bounds of knowledge and power. Art is refining life, and giving to it beauty and grace. Literature bears in her hands whole ages of comfort and sympathy. Industry, aided by the hundred-handed elements of nature, is increasing the world's wealth, and invention is economizing its labor. · The age looks steadily to the redressing of wrong, to the righting of every form of error and oppression, and demands that law and justice be made interchangeable terms. So humane a spirit dominates the age in which we live, that even the brute creation share in it, and we have hundreds of societies organized to prevent cruelty to animals. It could not be possible but that women should share in the justice and kindliness with which the times are fraught, and the last quarter of a century has lifted them to higher levels. How has this been accomplished?
While progress is the method of man, his early progress was inconceivably slow. He had lived on the earth long ages before he knew enough, or cared enough, to make a record of what he did, thought, felt, hoped, or suffered for the benefit of posterity. The moment he began to make a record of his daily life, history began. And history takes us back, according to the popular conception, only five or six thousand years-authentic history to a period much less remote. From the early civilizations that flourished in the valleys of the Nile and Euphrates, this age has inherited very little. What we possess that may seem a transmission from that earlier time has been for the most part rediscovered, or reinvented by the civilizations of the present.
To the Greek civilization we are indebted for a marvelous development of the beautiful in art. And when our art students have exhausted all modern instruction, they are compelled to go back thousands of years, and sit down at the feet of the dead Greeks, and learn of them, through the mutilated remains of their masterpieces. To the Roman civilization we owe a wonderful development of law. The Roman code of laws is to-day the basis of the jurisprudence of the civilized world. Very little more than these survivals of the Greek and Roman civilizations have come down to us. For the barbarian hordes of the North and the East crushed out the life of the “Eternal City," pillaged what they did not destroy of its treasures, despoiled the cities in its vicinage, and ground to powder its boasted greatness and its strong arm of power. The phenomenal dark ages set in, and for a thousand years the world groped in ignorance and darkness, and very little progress was made in any direction.
But civilization is not artificial, but real and natural. It is to the race what the flower is to the bud, and the oak tree to the acorn,---growth, development. Again the divine in man asserted itself, and again there came into the world a quickening spirit. Four great events occurred, of world-wide importance, each following quickly its predecessor, and an impetus was given to humanity which has never spent itself, but has steadily gained in power and momentum. The revival of classical learning had a powerful influence upon woman as well as man. The invention of the art of printing enabled the race to retain whatever knowledge it acquired, whereas, before, it lost as fast as it gained. The discovery of this continent opened a new world and limitless possibilities to the pent-up, struggling spirits of the East, longing for a larger and better life than was possible under the depressing conditions of that day. While the great Reformation, begun by Luther, released both men and women from the almost omnipotent control of the Church. Demanding the right of private judgment in matters of religion, it wrought out a great development of religious liberty, which has been succeeded by a greater outcome of civil freedom,