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the process of the division of labor which has ever accompanied the march of civilization, the intellectual or brain work has fallen more and more to the lot of the man, while the sphere of woman has been confined more and more to the domestic duties. It may in all probability be assumed that the difference which has been found to lie, in this respect, between the higher and lower human races will be found to be still futher accentuated between the upper and lower classes in civilized society, though no examination of this point has as yet been made; because the man whose labor is entirely physical generally works under the same conditions as the woman.
It must indeed be conceded that nature, while not directly causing the defect in woman's brain, is not entirely free from responsibility in the matter, since from the very beginning she has confided to the female sex the duties of maternity and the care of the young, while giving to man that sphere of active labor from which woman has almost always been of necessity excluded. Nor has this fact tended to improve the brain of woman, as the exercise of the domestic duties calls for a less active exercise of the mind than the more exacting labors of man, who has to strain every nerve to find sustenance for himself and for all his weaker dependants in the struggle for existence - a process which by natural selection is bound to tell in favor of the race. On the other hand, again, among the higher classes in the United States, particularly in the New England States, the remarkable fact has been experienced that the women frequently excel their husbands in general culture and the higher intellectual powers, since side by side with their domestic occupations they re. tain sufficient leisure to pursue their intellectual education, whereas the men in the absorbing rush of American business life deteri. orate in intellect and are able to continue their education only in a superficial manner. Hence it appears that the causes which suffice as a rule to exercise an impeding influence on the progress of the intellect of women will be found to have a similar effect when acting on men, and that not in the sex of the former, as sex, must the cause of her intellectual inferiority be sought. Indeed, all that has been said about the defective brain formation of women is not meant as a hard and fast rule for all women, but as a statement of a general fact; nor is there a lack of individual women who possess an intelligence far transcending the average of their more favorably circumstanced rivals.
History and daily experience combine to confirm this and to show that there does not exist a sphere of intellectual activity in which individual women might not achieve the highest excellence. And similarly there have been, and still exist, men who might have been, and would be, better employed in sitting over the distaff or knitting needle than in attending the stern councils of men or in attempting the administration of af. fairs which require energy and discernment. Notwithstanding all this, the meanest of men, be he laborer or be he domestic, whose whole life has been spent in mere physical labor, stands, by virtue merely of his sex, as to his legal, political, and even social relations, far higher than the most intelligent and accomplished of women, and by exercising his right to vote takes his share in the government of his country while the whole female portion of the population has to remain dumb. To the great majority of women, who are accustomed to seek their whole life's happiness within the family circle, this state of affairs is in no way irksome, nor do they desire any change in their condition. Quite otherwise is it with those women — and their number is considerable — who by force of intellect or character tower above the general level of their sex, and who feel the need of being, to others as to themselves, something more than a tolerably useful piece of family furniture.
Now, the fact that such women as these, even should they be but exceptions, should be hindered from the free development and use of their powers solely by reason of their sex, and in compliance with political and social tradition, appears to the writer of this article a matter of great injustice; and he is therefore in favor of the introduction of absolutely free competition between the sexes, and of the removal of all the bars which at present restrain woman in her industrial life or in her legal, political, and social relations. He also holds that the dangers, arising from such an emancipation, which are apprehended to the dignity and modesty of the sex, are for the most part chimerical, and the dangers from the competition not even worth mentioning. For if, as so many men maintain, woman, by reason of her weaker nature, cannot stand the strain of competition with man, then surely the latter has little to fear from such competition; but if, as we have seen history has shown frequently, woman can stand the strain of the competition, and if so many highly cultivated nations think women capable of ruling a State and therefore admit them to the suc
cession, why should they not also be allowed to aspire to less elevated positions of responsibility ?
In every way it would be a benefit to society were the many powers of woman which now lie fallow permitted to be cultivated and to bring forth their proper fruits. How many women, both in and out of the married state, now wear out their hearts in bitterness for want of some useful occupation, and how many of the complaints of hysteria and weak nerves owe their origin, at least in part, to this cause!
Women so placed either fall into a state of fatal idleness which is considered a necessity to the social position, or seek compensation in gossip, in love of dress, and in toying with all sorts of unworthy objects; and if four-fifths or even nine-tenths of women find a sufficient object in life in the management of their own households, yet there still remains a large fraction of the sex for whom this is not the case.
There are, as is well known, in nearly all European States, more women than men, an excess which on the whole is estimated at one million. To this we must add the increasing difficulty of material existence, the continual augmentation of the unmarried state, and the strain on the fathers of families owing to their having to bear the entire burden of the support of their children, so that, as far as we can see, the number of unmarried women will be ever on the increase. What, then, is to become of these? Or of those deprived of the husbands who now maintain them? Or, finally, of those women who are animated by the higher intellectual activities and who prefer personal independence, even if accompanied by work, to the chances of an uncertain marriage ? Certainly no one can deny that the unmarried state is ten times preferable to a bad or uncertain marriage; yet at present, owing to the iron hand of prejudice, there are few things so much dreaded by girls as the prospect of remaining unmarried.
In America it is otherwise, and in Boston particularly there are said to be not a few women who systematically shun marriage in order to enhance the value of their powers in all kinds of useful employments. Nor is the struggle which American women wage with singular energy and persistence for their emancipation, but particularly for the acquisition of a right to the political vote, in any way so ridiculous as European papers love to picture it; for with what feelings must a highly educated Ameri.
can woman view a dirty, idiotic negro shoeblack or street sweeper going to the ballot box, while she herself remains excluded from it! All this with us, too, would be quite different if woman were given the opportunity to develop her powers and capacities in all directions just as freely as the man; if the path to independence were not closed to her, either by custom, usage, or statute; if she stood face to face with man as his equal by right and by birth. Then, too, that boundless fear of the unmarried state, which at present still dominates the natures of our women, and which has already done so much mischief, would disappear. The number, too, of unhappy marriages would diminish, and with it amelioration in the conjugal life and the general welfare altogether be brought about. Liberty, spontaneity, and complete reciprocity form the vital air in which happy marriages and those promoting the general good alone can thrive.
We close this article with the impressive words of Radenhausen, the spirited writer of «Isis":
“We men must accustom ourselves to look on and to treat the female half of mankind not as a means for the use and enjoyment of men, but as our equals.”
From an essay in the New Review.
HENRY THOMAS BUCKLE
SE NE of the most remarkable men of the nineteenth century, B y Henry Thomas Buckle, easily attained immediate eminence,
Er and failed of enduring greatness only because of the same physical infirmities which brought him premature death. The theory which shaped his « History of Civilization in England » explains human life and history as far as life can be explained at all by our knowledge of the laws governing the carbon, oxygen hydrogen, and nitrogen which are the determining elements in the constitution of the physical man. It is true and of the utmost importance that an atomic value of oxygen, more or less, added to or subtracted from the atmosphere which environs us, might change the course of human history. With a preponderance of nitrogen, the race might become dull and stupid, gravitating through inert sensuality towards final ex. tinction. With an excess of oxygen, history might become at all times such a wild debauch of fire and sword as it was in the Napoleonic wars, until at last the race, consumed by its own passions and corroded by a fierce atmosphere, might disappear in such a Ragnarök of self. destruction as that to which, from Judea to Iceland, its prophets have looked forward. An increasing knowledge of science makes this possible effect of environment self-evident. It becomes not less self-evident on investigation that soil, climate, food, and all the aspects of nature, influence human life and help to make human history. As far as he forced a more truly scientific study of history as it is made by the action and reaction on each other of men as individuals and in mass, Buckle did a great service to science and to literature. As far as he was one-sided in failing to consider the possibilities of individual reaction against environment, of the strength of individual will in its relations to the supersensual, and of the determinate individual purpose which, as in his own case, masters circumstance or else disorganizes the physical body in the attempt, he failed of the permanent influence on the intellect of civilization which was possible for him. His influence has been great, however, for the publication of his “History of Civilization in England” raised him from obscurity to a fame which soon became as extensive as civilization itself. The scheme of the work as it shaped the first volume was too great for his physical powers of accomplishment, and he died without realizing