Sam. Rockwell (Samuel Rockwell) Reed.

Offthoughts about women and other things online

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¥o)iEN AND Other Things


( The S. R. R. of the Cincinnati Commercial Gazette. )







Printers and Binders, Cliicago.









About Markying Rich, . . .

A Lift for the Down-trodden Sex, .

An Advanced Female Thinker,

Blighted Men, ....

Degeneracy of Knight Templarhood,

Early History of the Woman Movement,

Equal Rights op the Child,

Evils op the Higher Education of jVIales,

Fishing and Morals,

How AND When to Die, .

Intellectual Breeding,

Is Speech a Blessing? . .

Is Woman Superficial?

Is Woman a Living Lie?

Labor-Saving Machinery an Evil,

Lessons op the Flood, .

Love and Marriage,

Love and Music,

Marriage and the Higher Education op Women

Rise and Fall of Woman's Dress Reform,

Rules to Reform Girls,

Sacrilegious Plays,

Scientific — Spots on Domestic Animals, .

Second Love in the Modern Novel,

The Ancient and Honorable Cat,

The Baby and the Ballot,

The Case Against Woman — A Rehearing,

The Case of Shylock — Law Review,

The Chaperon Question,



























. 46





or-'-S ./?^M



The Chicago Marriage Disability,

The Children of the Strong-Minded,

The Converted Prize-Fighter,

The Deluge op 1883,

The Devils and the Swine — A Lawsuit,

The Dog's Day,

The Final Chill,

The Married Man's Liabilities, .

The Mother-in Law,

The Real Disability of Woman, .

The Rights op Women op Society,

The Rise and Progress op Woman,

The Scandal-Mongers,

The Theatre,

The Time to j\L\rry,

The Trousers Movement, .

Trl-vL by Jury a Defeat of Justice,

Uneven Growth of ^L\n and Wife,

Wail for a Hat,

Was the Creation a Failure?

What to Do,

Why Our Women Grow Plump,


Will the Coming Woman Marry?

Woman and Maternity,

Woman's Reversible Polarity,

Woman's Superior Intuitions,

Woman's Untruthfulness,



LIGHT come, liglit go, is an old adage. Much is said
^ about too easy divorce, and nothing about too easy mar-
riage. Yet one follows the other. The coupling of cattle
is much more guarded than that of the human race. Peo-
ple think that easy marriage promotes morality, or they
think that the command to a i^eculiar family to increase and
multiply overrides all safeguards in our society, when the
earth needs no replenishing, and universal deluges have
gone out of fashion; and if any race is specially cliosen to
populate the earth it is not ours, and the greater the mul-
tiplying the harder the battle of life.

Ministers will get out of bed Avith the alacrity of the
boys that run with the machine to marry a runaway couple.
Perhaps next Sunday they will preach on the national
sin of easy divorce, and wonder why it does not fetch
another deluge. Such cases are always announced in the
public journals as the triumph of true love over cruel par-
ents and locksmiths. The girl is taught that love is a di-
vine sense and an infallible guide which she should follow,
in defiance of parents and all prudential considerations.
The parents have not entirely outgrown the same nonsense.
The lover thinks his passion gives him a sacred riglit to
gratify it, although he tramples upon the care and love of
parents and deludes a silly girl to trust her life to his

Even the mothers disarm their prudence in a great
measure by making the marrying of their daughters in-
dispensable. In this they will take great risks for their



daughters. Hardly any degree of dissipation in a man will
prevent his getting a well-bred girl to marry him, with the
mother's consent, if he has mone}*. She will tamper with
her conscience by the feeble-minded plea that marriage will
reform him. And romantic girls marry hard-drinking
rakes to reform them. But hard-drinking young men are
apt to keep on the road that makes drunkards, and then,
after immeasurable misery in the family, comes a petition
for relief by divorce.

With all this looseness of ideas about entering into
marriage the truth must be admitted that in our imperfect
society — in which one sex is deprived of the elective fran-
chise, which, in the good time coming, is to cure all social
ills — marriage is, in a great degree, a necessity to women,
and therefore in many ways they have to take great risks.
At the best, man is a risky creature, and sometimes woman.
In taking the chances mistakes are unavoidable. There-
fore is divorce a rational provision for the chances. Com-
paratively few of these dreadful realizations are ever told.
Neither party can see any remedy, and so they grin and
bear the consciousness of their mistake.

If the heroic pluck with which men and women bear
in silence the sense of the mistake they made in marriage
under the guidance of the divine and infallible instinct of
love were known, an idea of the heroism of the human
race would be had surpassing all that has been celebrated
in war, pestilence and famine. Each heart alone can
know its own bitterness and the pluck of its own endur-
ance. After marriage people see that what they thought
a divine and infallible sense of love, whose dictates must
override the judgment of parents, relatives, and all calcu-
lations of prudence, was otherwise than spiritual, and as
an infallible guide was a delusion.

Yet, they can not say this, for it would put the fat in


the fire. They heroically make the best of it, and praise
marriage, and advise their friends to go into it. Happily,
the greater number of marriages are tolerable. But the
parties find out that when they popped into them, as it is
fitly termed, they were exalted above their right minds,
and were quite incaj^able of exercising sober judgment in
this momentous affair. Yet, they would not have taken
anybody's counsel; neither that of parents, nor of mar-
riage experience, nor of the constitutions of offspring,
nor of livelihood, nor any other.

Let any man make affirmation, supported by the solemn
ceremony of the uplifted hand, or the kissing of the book,
or the beheading of a cock, the breaking of a saucer, the
burning of paper with sacred words written thereon, pros-
trations to the sun, or any other form by which men bind
themselves to speak the truth, and then let him say, with
hand on his viscera, if, when he popped the fatal words
which plunged him into marriage, he was in his right
mind. If the parties were morally irresponsible, does not
what is called marriage for love make a case for divorce on
the ground of emotional insanity?

That love is brief madness is a maxim as old as the hu-
man race. How can a mad man and a mad woman be com-
petent to enter into a contract which is to rule their whole
lives and to fix the destiny of the unborn? Beyond ques-
tion the parents, even with all the weakness of tlie mother
for getting the daughter married, are vastly more compe-
tent to judge" whether the marriage is a judicious one than
the young people. This is the way they do in France,
where households are admitted to be models of affection
and harmony. The tendency of all high civilizations is to
this regulation.

Under the influence of our Declaration of Independence,
and of our star-spaugled-bannerism, parental control is


thrown off early in this country, and in particular do the
young people revolt at the idea of parental control or coun-
sel in the affairs of what they call love. But while the
tendency of democratic institutions is to make the young
ones free and equal, they have also a constant tendency to
paternalism in the shape of communism, or the extension
of the hand of government into the regulation of all
things of social welfare.

Marriage is a concern of society, which has to furnish the
binding and the loosing, and to take the consequences in
the burdens thrown on it by bad marriages, and by parties
becoming worthless after marrying. In a perfected social
state, society would sujiervise the marriages, and a com-
mittee of impartial scientific persons would judge what
males and females are physiologically compatible, and thus
would plant the harmony of wedlock on a scientific basis.
Of course, as soon as it had crossed the threshold of science,
it would have risen way above the notion that love is a
spiritual sense, or that compatibility can be in marriage
otherwise than physiologically.

This would make marriage as certain in its fitness, com-
patibility and consequences as a chemical union of affini-
tive properties. An inharmonious marriage would be im-
possible save by the slip of overlooking some latent prop-
erty in one or the other, such as may sometimes defeat
even a chemical process, or the prognostication of even so
exact a science as astrology. But with the ever accumu-
lating tests, the liability to make a mistake would be re-
duced to a mere nominality. While this would banish
divorce, it would steadily elevate the race, which under the
abandonment of physiological laws in leaving marriage to
chance, is degenerating in comparison with the animals
who are subjected to science.

The individual is no more able to rise to those scientific


principles which are for the welfare of the whole, than the
weakling is able to see the beneficence of the law of the
elevation of the race by the survival of the fittest. Only
society as a whole is able to rise to the height of the prin-
ciples which govern the welfare of the whole. This i)aper
comes out at the jilace where it went in, namely, that loose-
ness in entering into marriage, requires looseness in di-
vorce. It also points out the way to exterminate divorce
by scientific marriage. But all great truths for elevating
the human race have had to be promulgated to an unbe-
lieving world, and to lie dormant for centuries before they
were received. This is a lesson to the prophets to be mod-
erate in their exj)ectations.



IF WOMAN would take a retrospect of the progress
which has been made toward her emancipation, she
woukl find in it ground for her ultimate hopes, although
she may be impatient at the pace. To the individual this
appears slow, but in the work of material creation by evo-
lution a thousand million years are but as a day, and all
scientists agree that the growth of morals is by like pro-
cess of evolution. Woman should think on the grand pa-
tience and majestic calmness of universal evolution.

The scientist gets some notion of this grand patience
when he contemplates the work of creation by develop-
ment, through millions of years — even through millions of
years before reaching that stage where the governing ob-
ject of creation, man with a soul, was evolved. Let wo-
man learn by thinking on the grand patience which is
shown in awaiting the evolution of even the minor cor-
poreal changes, as laid down by the evolution philosophers,
which allows for such little measures of development as a
terraqueous webfoot from a picary fin, a prehensile tail
from a tail for aquatic propulsion, the final extermination
of this natural and graceful termination of the spinal col-
umn, the extinction of the hair from the body by the habit
of sitting against trees and of lying on the back, as Dar-
win has ably described, this process aided by sexual selec-
tion— i. e., each mating with the most depilated, and so on
for any other change of form in the course of development,
a period of time so long that all fossil remains of transitioil
stages have been obliterated by the earth's changes,



If woman could rightly contemplate the work of that
creation of which she is so essential a j)art, and could dis-
cern how gradual is all real progress, she would find reason
for api^rehension that her full emancipation may come be-
fore she can be adapted to it, rather than for impatience at
its slowness. The study of science teaches philosophical
patience to await the natural working of the eternal forces; ,
therefore should woman be admitted to our colleges of 'A^
science that she may calmly await her future, and be fitted

For example, let woman's mind measure if it can the
immense stage achieved toward her emancipation when in
the fullness of time she had finally gained the right to the
sole possession of one man in marriage. From a variable
fraction she became a whole. From one of a lot of com-
peting slaves she rose to a place of command.

In the natural state man has a herd of women. In any "^
number greater than one, the wives are the humblest slaves,
each rivaling the other in seeking his favor; each humbling
herself and trampling down the rest in soliciting his par-
tiality; the deepest affections and passions of their nature
directed to their mutual degradation before him. Woman,
accustomed to her present kingdom, can not conceive the ^
immensity of the change made by lifting her from the
slavish state of polygamy, and giving her the exclusive
possession of a whole man in marriage, and placing him at
her mercy, with such talents as woman has for making his
life hapi^y or wretched. As this tremendous lift in her
state was achieved without the voting franchise, the think-
ing woman may perceive that there are other forces in op- \
eration for her elevation — moral forces which have made
immensely greater advances for her than yet remain for \
the voting franchise to do. Is not this retrospect a ground
for hopefulness? And does it not suggest that the suffrage


women may be devoting their minds so entirely to one thing
■p\' as an engine for woman's advancement as to neglect others
which have accomplished such great things?

And lest woman should think progress from polygamy
is nothing to speak of, it may be mentioned that in terri-
torial extent and numbers polygamy is still the prevailing

The various customs of subjection of woman, since
polygamy, have been a part of the common law, and have
had technical names whose sound is a rattling of the suc-
cessive chains from which she has been delivered; such as
the marquette, the mundium, the morgengabe, tlie oscu-
lum, the dowry, the jointure, all of which marked various
degrees of servitude and ownership. The marquette gave
to the lord of the soil the first possession of every bride,
unless the husband ransomed her. The mundium was the
price for which the father sold and transfered the daugh-
ter. The morgengabe or morning gift was a price which
the husband, next morning, on certain proofs, paid to the
new wife. The osculum was a gift of the man to the be-
trothed for the first kiss. All these are founded on the
idea of purchase and sale of the woman. The dowry came
after great progress in emancipation. It was an indemnitv
which the father of the bride paid the husband for taking
the burden of her support. The jointure was after still
further progress; it paid the wife a sum out of the hus-
band's estate. The same idea of purchase was continued,
but this greatly contributed to the wife's independence.
The theory of ownership is still continued in the marriage
ceremony, in the form of giving the bride away. No strong
minded woman would ever submit to pass under the yoke
in this form of being given away, if she knew the custom
it comes from.

These mile stones mark the measure of such vast ad-


rancement in the state of women that tlic liunian mind
can not take it in. Yet there are impatient women who
think that nothing is to be done for them, and that notliing
will ever be done until they get the ballot, and that this
will do all things for them. While there is nothing in all
this history to discourage their aspirations for the elective
franchise, there is a lesson that other moral forces are a
power to lift them up, and that it is not wise to neglect them
and to trust all their salvation to the ballot. And if they
observe they may perceive a great mass of men Avho, with
the ballot in their hands, say that government has only
made the few rich and the mass poor. And by the meas-
ure of the past she may hope to do more for herself than
the ballot ever can do for man or woman.

She can hardly hope to equal man in physical strength;
therefore she must try to fetch up the balance by excelling
him in wit. (Darwin, in reasoning to prove the impossibil-
ity of the future intellectual equality of woman with man,

"In order that woman should reach the same [intellect-
-ual] standard as man, she ought, when nearly adult, to be
trained to energy and perseverance, and to have her reason
and imagination exercised to the highest point; and then
she would probably transmit these qualities chiefly to her
adult daughters. The whole body of women, however,
could not be thus raised, unless, during many generations,
the women who excelled in the above robust virtues pro-
duced offspring in larger numbers than other women —
conditions manifestly incompatible with each other."

But woman may take him on his own premises, and
show that his conclusion does not follow; for it is not by
greater fecundity that intellectual men rule the mass. A
few minds rule the multitude. Therefore does his require-
ment offer every encouragement to women who desire to


lift up woman, to train themselves to energy and perseve-
rance, and to have their imagination and reason exercised
to the highest point, so as to transmit high intellectual
qualities to their daughters. This seems the most promis-
ing force that can now be brought into play. The fact of
the transmission of intellectual as well as physical qualities
is patent to all, and it may be said that she who brings
forth a daughter, and has not transmitted to her intellect-
ual powers to help elevate her sex, has done a serious fault.
Besides, intellect impresses the race in other ways than
through offspring. A strong-minded woman influences
other women, and causes them to transmit to their daugh-
ters stronger minds. The immense elevation to which
woman has attained can not have been without the work-
ing of adequate moral forces. To sujjpose that such forces
have ceased would be irrational. The progress of the mil-
lions of years of the past is proof that the rate of progress
will be continued in the millions of years to come. We
can not contemplate what has been achieved without re-
garding the voting franchise, when it shall come, as a mere
incident, not as a master force. Tnere is grand cause for
woman's hope of the future; there is also assurance for the
exercise of her grand patience.



A SINCERE young woman has asked an oracular deliver-
ance from that ex-cathedra infallibility which comes
to the tips of the thumb and fore-fingers of the ready
writer, on the propriety of early marriage. The inquiry
does not define an early marriage, but We will assume that,
in the common notion in this country, marriage, when the
female is eighteen and the male twenty-one, is called early,
and that the inquirer's early quality means both male and
female. The question treats marriage from the material-
istic standpoint — that is, it discards all notion of fore-
ordination, such as is commonly expressed by the saying
that marriages are made in heaven, and that love is an un-
erring spiritual instinct, and it treats marriage as subject
to prudential considerations.

If this be the true view, it simplifies the question in
some degree. But upon this the views of the young un-
married and of the mature married are directly opposite;
the former holding to the notion that love is a spiritual
insight and must not be opposed, while the latter are con-
vinced that the spiritual insight or divine instinct of love
is moonshine, and that prudent and convenient marriages
are a far better assurance of happiness. This change
which comes over the married views of love is a phenome-
non which philosophy has not explained.

Taking the materialistic view, an important question
is, what is the object of the marriage? There is a com-
mon saying that early marriage is the best safeguard of
virtue. It seems to be the same as to say that satiety is



the best safeguard of the appetite. This is a reason to be
considered, altliough its direct personal application is not
often made. There is still a blind notion largely prevalent
that marriage is a duty in order to increase and multiply
and replenish the earth. Early marriage gives an early
start in this business, and enables the multiplying and
replenishing to be carried further.

But this notion is derived from the injunction laid on
Adam when the earth was fresh, and on Noah when the
earth's inhabitants had been drowned, and upon Abraham
when the purpose was to make of his offspring a peculiar
race, which should be an example of God's favor, glorify
Him, and drive out other races. The need to increase and
multiply numbers in the earth no longer exists. Nor
could any apply this duty to themselves unless they were
certain that they should bring forth peculiar children,
who would be a glory to God and a benefit to their species.
They cannot make a virtue of their appetites, and plead
a command to replenish the earth when they only think
of their own indulgence.

There are already too many people in the world. All
human ills multiply with increase of population. No
reformer in ancient or modern times has been able to devise
a way to mitigate the ills of humanity without restraining
the increase of population. Population, says the great
Malthus, is ever pressing on subsistence, because popula-
tion, if unimpeded, can go on multiplying always, while
the product of the land, from which the food must come,
can not go on multiplying forever. Therefore, all the
means of diminishing population which civilization sets
going are means to diminish the pressure of all on the food
supply, and thereby to better their state.

The peopling duty, therefore, may be set out of the
question whether marriages should be early. The earlier


they begin the more they add to the pressure of i^opulation
on the supply of food and tlie more they add to human ills.
There is a verbal workiugup of the godlike act of begetting
an immortal soul to an everlastng destiny, but this is much
let down by a view of the neglect to which the greater part
of these begotten souls are left and the generally estimated
chances that they may come to wish they had not been be-
gotten. With regard to this, all will agree that to beget
an immortal soul is to take the responsibility of seeing
that it is not left to perdition.

Besides the general pressure of population on subsis-
tence, there is a particular pressure on the parents' means,
and a very particular measure of the standing of the child-
ren by the number of portions into which the father's sub-
stance is to be cut up. With the poor who despair of lay-
ing up anything, this does not count, and therefore the
poor increase and multiply recklessly; but in the case of
those that have something to cut up, the number of shares
is a vital consideration, and the fore-handed pater is
measured and speculated upon long before he begins to
think of casting up his final accounts.

The human mind can hardly divest itself wholly of the
notion of a peremptory instinct of love, which disregards
all prudential considerations. The skillful mammas of
society know that there is a way of brewing this divine in-
stinct in two young persons of opposite sexes as methodically
as Mrs, Glass's directions how to cook a "hare. But they
still keep stored away in a corner of their womanly natures
the theory that love is an unerring predestination, right in
the face of their successful management for their daughters.
But all must have observed that the daughters of rich
men are exposed earlier and oftener to the demonstrations
of the divine instinct of love, and that their lovability de-
creases with the increase of number in the family.


This is so universal that it may be called nature's law,
and it is therefore to be given due weight. Each one that

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Online LibrarySam. Rockwell (Samuel Rockwell) ReedOffthoughts about women and other things → online text (page 1 of 19)