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suspicion in that respect. But the historian leaves us in no doubt; we are at no loss to understand what female equality, or rather female preponderance, meant. We have already alluded to the failure of Lycurgus, according to Aristotle, to bring the Spartan women under “sober rule.” But the lawgiver was also a philosopher. Seeing that the men were willing to be ruled by the women, when they got used to the yoke, he thought it well to have the latter on his side; he suggested that it would be well to extend their rights. Accordingly, we are told that "he laughed at those who revenge with wars and bloodshed the communication of married woman's favors; and allowed that if a man in years should have a young wife, he might introduce to her some handsome and honest young man whom he most approved of, and when he had a child of this generous race, bring it up as his own," &c.*
It seems the "emancipated" ladies considered this excellent logic; the men may not have liked it so well, even in their degenerate state, but what could poor fellows do but submit, who dare not be seen approach their wives' appartments until they were sent for, or allowed permits, like servants ! It was some consolation to the men, if they sometimes felt a little uncomfortable under this regulation, that they had the assurance of their great law-giver that the Spartan race would be vastly improved by it.
What a tremendous excitement has been created recently throughout Europe and America, even by the unfounded accusation of incest against the illustrious dead! But the model republic whose manners and customs our women's rights advocates would have us imitate, legalized that very crime. If a Spartan lady of this “enlightened" period had a son and
” a daughter that happened to like each other, both the law and public opinion allowed them to get married.Now let the reader bear in mind the reply of the modest Gorgo, when asked how it was that those of Lacedæmon were the only women in the world that ruled the men. What the good lady meant was, that because her fellow-countrywomen
* Plutarch in Lycurgus. | See Strabo, Lib. x. See, also, Montesquieu Esprit des Lois, Liv. V., C. V.
enjoyed their rights in full, because they could form their own "affinities,” because they could go about day and night, to teach the men, and take home with them any they happened to fancy, their offspring could not be otherwise than superior specimens of mankind. We may ask, in passing, has no such argument as this been adduced by our own woman's rights advocates? Do we hear nothing about “the rights of maternity?” Has no intimation been given by our peripatetic female orators and reformers as to the fine, strapping fellows all our young men would prove in due time, if the existing superstition and tyranny which restrain enlightened ladies from choosing their "affinities" were only set aside as they should ?
None acquainted with the subject will deny that the whole matter was fully tested by the Spartans; nowhere else has the experiment been made on so large a scale. But how did the race exhibit improvement or superiority ? Let the story of the Helots, even as told by their apologists, answer the question. Nothing is clearer than that in proportion as
. the women became licentious in the exercise of their “inalienable rights,” the men became cruel and bloodthirsty. “The governors of the youth,” says Plutarch, “ ordered the shrewdest of them, from time to time, to disperse themselves in the country, provided only with daggers and some necessary provisions. In the day time they hid themselves, and rested in the most private places they could find, but at night they sallied out into the roads and killed all the Helots they could meet with."*
Still darker is the picture drawn by Thucydides, and it is fully sustained in its worst features by the testimony of Aristotle. Not content with murdering their wretched, naked slaves in detail, in the manner indicated, Thucydides tells us that the Spartans selected such of the Helots as were distinguished for their courage, pretending that they wished to reward them. Under this pretext, they declared about two thousand free, crowned them with garlands, and conducted them to the temples of the gods. All were slaughtered in cold blood-not one was allowed to escape.
* Loc. cit.
Such was the improved race—such the model republicwhose example our advocates of women's rights and “free love" would fain have the modern world imitate !
If we turn to ancient Rome, we shall find the same causes producing the same results. In the time of the republic, the Roman women were celebrated for their truly feminine qualities, for their modesty and their virtue. The Cornelias and Cordelias were but types of the Roman matrons of their time. There is abundant evidence of this in the pages of both historians and satirists. Livy, especially, fully describes the women of the republic; and Tacitus, Juvenal and Horace describe them in contrast with the women who became “emancipated from the tyranny of men.” Law after law was passed for their gratification, always at the instance of men who wanted to raise themselves to power by their influence, or by men who were nearly half women themselves. It was these two classes who were always their allies in their «
aspirations for liberty ;” and nothing is more plainly demonstrated than that just in proportion as they were successful, did the women of Rome become infamous. In order to determine the morals of a people from their historians, it is necessary to examine their whole works; but it is different with the satirists. The latter direct their attention to particular vices which they think are most reprehensible, or most dangerous to the public welfare. That this is the course pursued by Juvenal is universally admitted; no other satirist, of ancient or modern times, combined in a higher degree the two essential qualities of honesty and fearlessness. Now let us hear a word or two of what he has to say in rsgard to his countrywomen, bearing in mind, in justice to his memory, that it is for no lack of respect or love for woman, that he utters those terrible denunciations against her; on the contrary, he does so because he is grieved at heart to see her so degraded, and wishes to warn posterity against the causes which produced that degradation. Juvenal, as well as Tacitus, shows that as long as the women attended to their domestic duties, and abstained from competing with men, they had no superiors anywhere. Alluding to the character of the women before their “rights" were acknowledged, or
even thought of, the satirist proceeds : "Nor did hard toil and short nights' rest, and hands galled and hardened with the Tuscan fleece, and Hanibal close to the city, and their husbands mounting guard at the Colline tower, suffer their lowly roofs to be contaminated with vice.* Upon the other hand, he places, in relief, the cause of the change : “ What modesty,” he asks, can a woman show that wears a helmet, and eschews her sex, and delights in feats of strength ?”+ Is this different in the nineteenth century ? Can modesty or delicacy be expected from such modern ladies? The Roman dames, also, sometimes left their husbands to mind the babies, wash the dishes, etc. “But let her rather be musical," says the satirist," than fly through the whole city with bold bearing, and encounter the assemblies of men,” etc. Sometimes they chose their own “affinities" openly, and travelled about with them. “Hippia, though wife to a senator, accompanied a gladiator to Pharos, and the Nile, and the infamous walls of Lagos."S So licentious did the women become before very long after they obtained their "rights,” that comparatively few men had the courage to marry at all. This is illustrated by the satirist but too faithfully. Purporting to address a friend, who is bold enough to venture, he proceeds: "Fall prostrate at the threshold of Tarpeian Jove, and sacrifice to Juno a heifer with gilded horns, if you have the rare good fortune to find a matron with unsullied chastity.
Is one husband enough for Iberena? Sooner will you prevail on her to be content with one eye."I
But our female reformers will tell us that those whom we pretend to regard as their prototypes, were but ignorant, stupid creatures, who had no idea of colleges, seminaries, institutes, or even schools. But let us hear Juvenal, who was
Audax, et coetus possit quam ferre virorum.-v. 398. $ Nupta Senatori comitata est Hippia Ludium
Ad Pharon, et Nilum, famosaque moenia Lagi. -- v. 82.
Pronus, et auratam Juuoni caede juvencam,
a scholar and a philosopher, as well as a poet and satirist. The “girl of the period” opens her mouth, the incessant cruelties of men are her topic, there is nothing can resist her eloquence and learning; "the grammarians yield; rhetoricians are confuted; the whole company is silenced; neither lawyer nor crier can put in a word, not even another woman. Such a torrent of words pours forth you would say so many basons or bells were being struck at once. Henceforth let no one trouble trumpets or brazen vessels ; she will be able singly to relieve the moon when suffering an eclipse.”
We think we have now fully shown what woman's rights really mean. If we turn to the great European nations of the present day we shall find that it is the women who enjoy most “rights” that have the most doubtful reputation at home as well as abroad. It is certain that no country in the world has presented nobler specimens of womanhood than France; every intelligent person can recall the names of French ladies, who, in all the relations of life, have proved a credit to their sex. But if the history of these exemplary ladies be examined, it will be found that they were trained
different manner from the generality of their countrywomen. They did not get, nor did they give themselves, the habit of running about like men. Thus it is, that while Frenchwomen in general have everywhere the name of being lax in their morals, there are no more excellent teachers of youth, no more faithful and devoted wives, no more affectionate daughters, no kinder mothers than are to be found among the women of France. But although the ladies of France enjoy more rights than those of any other enlightened nation of Europe, not excepting those of England, they certainly do not enjoy as many rights as the ladies of America. Both the laws and public opinion favor the latter vastly more. In illustration of this we need only say that in every particular of any importance, Frenchwomen must render obedience to their husbands; if they refuse to do so, they forfeit their protection. A French lady cannot even accept a donation or a legacy without the authority of her husband.* Yet, as we have said, they have more liberty than the women of any
in a very
* See articles 905 and 934 of the Civil Code.