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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 9, page 122 [newspaper clipping], 1858

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Identifier: DX03518052

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 9, page 122 [newspaper clipping], 1858

Description: Newspaper clipping of a lecture given by Dr. E.H. Chapin titled ''Woman and Her Work,'' regarding the rights of women to be educated and to be considered equals to men.





Dr. Chapin lectured to a large audience last night at Mozart Hall on the above subject. Nearly all the Aldermen, the Common Council and the Ten Governors, with Mr. Postmaster [Isaac V.] Fowler, were present. He said that the originality of any thought is secondary to its truth. If it is old, it should be welcomed on account of respect due to age. His subject led him to consider whether woman is potentially what she ought to be. The relation between man and woman is the most beautiful expression of the great law of nature. Woman is simply the equal of man—nothing more, nothing less. We have no right to determine what is woman’s sphere by any arbitrary prejudices. I cannot recognize any such fact as man’s rights or woman's rights; I only recognize human rights. Woman's orbit is the orbit of her humanity; and hence she ought to be man's equal—equal before the world, before the law, as she is before God. And let no one be disturbed by visions of strong-minded women, with spectacles, lecturing on Kansas. The question is, what is truth, and not what are the imaginable consequences. Man may run against God’s will' but cannot alter it. I urge that women should actually be something more than she has been held to be. She has been placed above the scale and cast below it; she has been man’s slave and his empress. In one place you may see her the poor drudge of the wash-tub or the needle working to support a drunken husband ; in another place we see her in some parlor, listening to the confectionary of small talk furnished by some dandy. Society around us is but little more than a modification of these two pictures. What we want is some way of deliverance for a woman from being a mere slave, and something more substantial than those accomplishments which make her a mere gewgaw. The legal argument has already been presented, so I shall pass on to the subject of woman's education. Woman ought to be rendered less dependant upon man. Our present state of society too often so trains her as to make marriage an absolute necessity. I am glad if there is some advance in this respect; I am glad if women and clergymen are regarded as something else than respectable paupers. Woman can become what she should be, and do what she should do, only by genuine education. I cannot see why there should be a very sharp discrimination between the education of boys and girls. If a certain kind of learning will develop the intellect of the boy, why not of the girl? You may say woman cannot be a Newton or Shakespeare. Well, if she can't she won't; and so where's the harm? [Laughter.] Why should a woman with a liberal education be less fitted for the duties of a wife or mother? If in the cultivated mind there is a reserved force for emergencies, why should woman be debarred from that blessed skill that unlocks the treasuries of truth and opens communion with the distant and the dead? In may cases woman is brought up not to a self-reliance, but simply to make a settlement for life. We all have a horror of female gamblers; but how many women are really gamblers for a lucky match? Do we wonder there is often the gambler's loss as well as his hazard? In the world's version, it is not charity but money that covers a multitude of sins. The rich profligate receives the hand of virtue and beauty. But there would not be so many serpents in the parterres of fashion if there were not Eves in the garden to listen. In rude society, woman was bought and sold as a slave, and some of our manners are not much better. Christianity teaches us that woman has a soul; but many men act as though they had not accepted, and many. . . .

Rights: NoC-US


Dates: 1858

Type(s): Clipping, Newspaper

Maker/Creator: Chapin, E. H. (Edwin Hubbell), 1814-1880

Subjects: Missouri-Kansas Border War, 1850s
Women's rights
Working class women
Crimean War, 1853-1856
Lectures and lecturing


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