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"What highest prize hath woman won in science or in art? What mightiest work, by woman done, boasts city, field, or mart? • She hath no Raphael !' Painting saith; • No Newton ! Learning cries; •Show us her Steamship! her Macbeth ! her thought-won victories !' “Wait, boastful man ! though worthy are thy deeds, when thou art true, Things worthier still, and holier far, our sister yet will do; For this the worth of woman shows, on every peopled shore, That still as man in wisdom grows, he honors her the more. "O! not for wealth, or fame, or power, hath man's meek angel striven, But, silent as the growing flower, to make of earth a heaven! And in her garden of the sun heaven's brightest rose shall bloom; For woman's best is unbegun! her advent yet to come!”
Fourteenth Speaker. Sir, I think that an answer may very easily be given to the objections raised by the last speaker. Great stress has been laid upon the fact that education has not been extended to woman, and therefore, it is said, she is not equal to man. The fact, then, of her inferiority is admitted; and now let us look at the excuse, I think it a very shallow one, sir. Was Shakspeare educated? Was Burns educated ? Was James Watt cducated? Was Benjamin Franklin educated ? Henry Clay educated ? No! They achieved their greatness in spite of the disadvantages of their position; and this, sir, yenius will always do. Nothing can keep it down; it is superior to all human obstacles, and will mount. It is for want of genius, therefore, not for want of education, that woman has remained behind in the mental race. (Applause.)
Fifteenth Speaker. Mr. Chairman, in spite of the learnëd and eloquent speeches of the ladies' champions, I am still inclined to vote with the Opener. I think my conclusion rests on good authority. We find, from Scripture history, that man was created first, and that woman was formed from a part of man— from a rib, in fact. Now, I would humbly submit, that as man was first formed, he was intended to be superior to woman; and that woman, being made from a part of man only, can not be looked upon as his equal. We find, too, in Scripture, that woman is constantly told to obey man; and I contend that this would not be the case, were she not inferior, (Applause.)
Besides, sir, as it has been ably argued, her duties do not require such great intellect as man's. Now, nature never gives **nnecessary strength ; and as woman is not called upon to use reat mental power, we may be sure she does not possess it.
Sixteenth Speaker. Sir, it seems to me that the remarks of he last speaker may be easily shown to be most inconclusive and nconsistent. In the first place : he says, that as Adam was
MENTAL CAPACITIES OF THE SEXES.
created before Eve, Adam was intended to be superior. I think, sir, that this argument is singularly unhappy. Why, we read that the birds, beasts, and fishes, were created before Adam; and, if my friend's logic were sound, Adam must have been inferior to the said birds, beasts, and fishes, in consequence : an argument, as I take it, not quite supported by fact. (Laughter and applause.) Sir, so far as we can judge, the most important creatures seem to have been formed last, and therefore Eve must, according to that, be not inferior, but superior, to Adam. Then, as to the argument about the rib. Why, what was Adam formed out of? The dust of the earth. Now, it seems to me that a living rib is a much more dignified thing to be made out of than the lifeless dust of the ground: and if so, my friend's argument turns against himself rather than against the ladies.
I heard the gentleman say, too — and I confess I heard it with some impatience — that woman's sphere does not require so much intellect as man's. Where he got such an argument, I can not imagine ; and I think it by no means creditable either to his taste or to his discernment. Who has to rear the infant mind ? to tend and instruct the growing child ? to teach it truth, and goodness, and piety? Not impetuous, impatient man, but enduring, gentle, and considerate woman. What more important or more difficult task could mortal undertake? It requires the noblest intellect to teach a child, and that intellect being required in woman, I feel sure that she
it. Although, then, I own that there are great and inborn differences between the intellectual capacities of the sexes, I can not for an instant imagine that the one is, in the aggregate, at all inferior to the other. (Loud applause. — A pause ensues.)
The Chairman rises and says: If no other gentleman is inclined to speak, I will put the question.
Sixteenth Speaker. Perhaps our worthy Chairman would like to offer a few observations.
(The Chairman then temporarily vacates the chair.) Chairman, Gentlemen, the subject has interested me so much, that I will act on my friend's suggestion, and venture upon a few remarks. I have reflected calmly and dispassionately upon the question before us, whilst I have been listening to the speeches made by my friends around me; and although I own that I was at first inclined to vote in the affirmative of this question, I am not ashamed to say that my views have undergone a material alteration during the debate, and that I have now made up my mind to defend and vote for the ladies. (Applause.)
In the first place, I think we are necessarily unfair judges: we are interested in the verdict, and therefore ought not to sit upon the judgment-seat. It gratifies our pride to think that we are superior to the other sex; and reflection upon this point has convinced me, that upon the ground of good taste and modesty alone, we ought at once to give up the point, and admit woman's claims to be at least equal to our own.
Reason also moves me to adopt the same conclusion. I concede, at once, that there are great differences between the capacities of the sexes; but not greater than between various races of our own sex. The roving savage is inferior to the studious philosopher. Why? Because he has not been educated. So with woman. When you can show me that woman has received the same advantages as man, and has not then equaled him, why, then I will vote against her ; but not till then. (Applause.)
In conclusion, I would say, that as the Creator formed woman to be a help meet for man, I can not believe that she was made inferior. She was given to him as a companion and friend, not as a slave and servant; and I think that we are displaying great arrogance and presumption, as well as a contemptuous depreciation of the Creator's best gifts, if we declare and decide that she who adorns and beautifies and delights our existence is inferior to ourselves in that intelligence which became a part of man's soul when God breathed into him the breath of life! (Loud and continued applause.) (The Chairman rcsumcs his seal, and then says, Will the opener of this debate have
the goodness to reply?) The Opener (in reply). Mr. Chairman, – You have called on me to reply. Now, I beg at once, and frankly, to say, that I, like you, have undergone conviction during this debate, and that I mean to vote against the proposition which a short time
I recommended. (Loud cries of Hear! hear! and applause.)
I was misled by appearances. I looked into history; but I did not examine it correctly. I looked at the surface only. I saw great deeds, and I saw that men had performed them; but I did not estimate what had been done silently. I forgot to ask myself how much of the good these men wrought was owing to the wisdom and goodness taught to them in their infancy by their mothers. So with philosophy; so with science. The glitter caught me, and I fear I lost the substance. (Applause.)
I am not sorry, however, that I introduced the question. It has changed those who were wrong, it has confirmed those who were right, and it has caused all to think. Let me hope that all who spoke on my side of the question are, like their leader, con
ON THE ADMISSION OF LADIES.
verted ; and let me, in conclusion, say, that I trust we shall take to our hearts the truth we adopt; and whilst we vote here that the mental capacity of the female sex is fully equal to our own, show, by our conduct toward that sex, that we feel their high value and dignity, and treat them in every respect as our full equals and as our best friends. (Enthusiastic applause.)
The Chairman. Those who think that the Mental Capacities of the Sexes are equal will please to signify the same in the usual manner. (Loud cries of All! All!) I am happy to see, gentlemen, that we are all of one way of thinking: there is no need for me to put the other side of the question. I do declare it, then, decided by this meeting, that the Mental Capacities of the Sexes are equal.
II. – CONGRESSIONAL DEBATE
ON A RESOLUTION FOR THE ADMISSION OF LADIES TO THE FLOOR OF THE
HOUSE DURING THE DEBATES
In the representation of the following mimic debate, there should be a rostrum
or table for the Speaker, and the Clerk should sit a little in advance of him, wbile the supposed members of the House may be grouped around as in a legislative assembly. The Speaker should have a little mallet or lammer with which to rap in calling members to order, Opener. Mr. Speaker! Speaker. The gentleman from Ohio.
Opener. If it is in order, sir, I will now call up my resolution on the clerk's desk,
Speaker. The gentleman's resolution will be in order.
Clerk. (Rising and reading from a slip of paper.) “Resolved. That from and after the date of the passage of this resolution, ladies be admitted to the floor of the House during the debates."
Opener, Sir, I am very sure no arguments can be necessary to recommend this resolution to the adoption of this House. It speaks for itself. It addresses us as men; it addresses us as gentlemen ; it addresses us as citizens, and can not, therefore, address us in vain.
The adoption of this resolution, while on the one hand it would pay a deserved compliment to the ladies, would, on the other, confer a most important benefit upon the House. For, to what, I ask, have those scenes of uproar, which have so often degraded and disgraced this Ilouse, been owing, but to the absence of that sex whose presence restrains, as much as it inspires;
of that sex from whose presence all tumult flees — all tumult but that of the heart.
Sir, it is true that ladies are now admitted, with the public generally, to the gallery; but what a poor privilege is that, when the place of honor is here on this floor, before and behind the bar! In that distant gallery their influence is lost. They can hardly see us, even with their opera-glasses; and we are hardly aware of their presence. But, if they were here at our side, with the privilege of traversing this floor, of laying a hand on this member's shoulder when he was carried in the whirlwind of his passion beyond the bounds of decorum, of whispering in that member's ear when he needed rousing, who can doubt that the advantages to this House and this nation would be great boyond calculation ?
For our own sakes, therefore, and for the sake of the country, far more than for the sake of the ladies themselves, I trust that this resolution will be adopted.
Second Speaker. Mr. Speaker !
Second Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I trust that this resolution will prevail. It appeals alike to our gallantry and to our interests, and I can not therefore doubt its success. And, sir, from its passage I anticipate a train of the happiest consequences — to the world philanthropically — to the country politically – to members of this House personally. Sir, I dare not trust myself to enlarge upon any one of these points. They must be sufficiently obvious to every considerate mind. The only wonder is that the resolution was not long ago adopted. Let it be the happy privilege of this Congress, sir, to establish the precedent, and give to other legislative assemblies an example which shall redound to our own honor as much as it will to the profit of the republic.
(Several gentlemen rise and cry, Mr. Speaker ! Mr. Speaker! Mr. Speaker! The Speaker raps.)
Speaker. The gentleman from Arkansas has the floor.
Third Speaker. Sir, before this question is put to the House, I shall be pardoned the expression of my surprise at its novel and strange nature. The honorable gentlemen have not given one reason, between them, to show that it is worthy your adoption. I do not blame them for this; I well know that it was impossible. I do not wish to take a position at all adverse to the ladies ; I think them all very well in their places; but I confess I am astonished that my friends are so little aware of the power of one Goddess of Discord, that they are here introducing