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The Forgotten Feminist of Kansas, 5

The Papers of Clarina I. H. Nichols, 1854-1885


Spring, 1974 (Vol. 40, No. 1), pages 72 to 135
Transcribed and composed in HTML by Barbara J. Scott;
edited by Name withheld upon request
digitized with permission of the Kansas State Historical Society.
NOTE: The numbers in brackets are links to endnotes for this text.


[January, 1869]

Editor Leader: --

Allow me to appeal through your columns, in behalf of the women of Kansas who are seeking to be made equals under the constitution and laws with their fathers, husbands, sons and brothers. [2]

While the free states were absorbed in efforts to protect the general government against the assaults of an armed rebellion, the women of Kansas forebore to press their claims, as citizens entitled to equal rights, and gave themselves to the demands of camps and hospitals and the business interests of home left to their care by husbands and sons who went out to fight the battles of freedom.

Now that the Government is firmer, and confident in its successful resistance of rebellion, it is but right and proper that the legal and political disabilities of the women of the state should command the earnest consideration of the Legislature now in session.

Our fathers commenced their Government career with the declaration, that, "taxation without representation is tyranny," "that all Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed." Prefaced by this declaration, the constitution of Kansas, with singular inconsistency, ignores the political existence of one half her adult population -- the women.

Forgetful of their own armed resistence of the tax laws of the Lecompton Constitution [3] -- y-clept by them "bogus -- the representative men of Kansas as first elected under the present constitution, did verify the injustice of usurped powers by taxing this disfranchisement class of their fellow citizens and also by enacting laws bearing unequally upon the property interests of wives and widows. [4] Successive Legislatures have gradually increased this inequality of rights, thus making it apparent to earnest thinking women and men, that equal justice under the law, is to be found only in the right of suffrage.

Prevented also by government officials from exercising rights secured to them by the constitution and laws, the women of the state are at length assured that with no voice in the election of the makers, amenders and executors of the laws, justice to them must continue to be meagre, tardy, and uncertain.

As tax payers the women of Kansas ask to be enfranchised. [5]

As the mothers of humanity the wives and widows of Kansas ask to be secured in rights declared to be inalienable and natural and inherent in humanity itself. They too are human.

It is within the power of the Legislature to repeal all distinctions of rights based on sex not called for by constitutional provision. It can make us equals under municipal and other corporations created by Legislative action. It can make the wife an equal and joint partner in the estate accumulated by the joint savings and earnings of herself and husband, personal as well as real.

It can put the institutions of the state, educational, penal and beneficiary, under the direction of women as well as men. Open as these institutions are to the occupancy of both sexes, they should be under the direction of both. Financial interest being in the ascendant in a government instituted and conducted by men, the material interests of the state may be as well secured by male superintendents and directors; but in behalf of moral interests, and in view of the intellectual needs of the subjects and recipients of these institutions, I would suggest that the moral and affectional ministrations of the womanly nature should be joined in their conduct and superintendence.


March 2, 1869

Friend Taylor. --

I do not propose to weigh the merits or demerits of Senator [Stephen A.] Cobb [7]; but being one of the sixteen who petitioned the Legislature for "dismemberment" from the city of Wyandotte, [8] I have an interest in the matter which has so excited the "city fathers -- yourself among the number, and respectfully ask a brief hearing. I know that you are as ready to take, as to give good, honest blows, dealt from convictions of duty; and I know you too well to believe that any petty, personal malice influences your censure. [9] Only "a mote in thine eye, brother."

The self appointed progenitors of Wyandotte city, through their Senator and Representative, procured from a past Legislature an act of incorporation, which gobbled up, for purposes of taxation, farms and woodlands too distant and disconnected from the heart of the city, ever to be used for other than farming purposes. [10] We, the petitioners, finding our relations to said city burdensome in the extreme, sought to get out of it by the same authority which had been effectually used to get us in, viz. -- the Legislature. Was there anything wrong in this? Had the city any better claim to hold our interests than we had to fall back into our original township relations? Were not the Senator and Representatives who aided the conspiracy that dismembered us from our township relations, without consent and on the sly, traitors to us their constituents? Certainly, if Mr. Cobb, in acting for us, was a traitor to the city. [11]

Fifteen of the petitioners are residents in the city. Had this minority no rights which your Mayor was bound to respect? Or must we, because in the minority, stand and deliver to the foot-pad majority which taxes us to support its rum-holes and meet the expenses of the crime and pauperism they are sowing broadcast?

But the real point at issue, and one which interests the whole county, is the relation of Mr. Cobb to the city. He was not sent to the Legislature as the Mayor or Representative of the city of Wyandotte. He was sworn into that body as a representative of "the people of Kansas. -- The Legislature might never have known they had the Mayor of Wyandotte in their body, if the indignant citizens had not met in solemn conclave and deputed Ex. [Lt.] Gov. [James] McGrew and his aid[e] to go up to Topeka and inform the members of the fact."

Mr. Cobb was the representative of the senatorial district which elected him, and when he took his seat as Senator, his responsibilities and duties as Mayor of Wyandotte, were suspended or discharged by the city officials.

It is a matter of no little importance for the inhabitants outside Wyandotte city, to determine whether they will elect Senator and Representatives from inside the city proper to represent city interests and grind city axes at the expense and to the neglect of the rural districts, or combine to elect men who will represent the people at large.


March 12, 1869

Friend Taylor: --

Having given my views of the relations of Senator Cobb to the city and his constituents of the 12th Senatorial District, I wish now to speak of the relations of your city government, to the petitioners for "dismemberment."

We have a road, laid out by the county, to connect the Quindaro and Wyandotte road with the Kaw river bridge, and crossing the Leavenworth and Wyandotte road mid-way. This county road lies on the section line that bounds the City of Wyandotte on the west. Our road Supervisor has opened the half of the road lying on the township side of the section line and calls on the city authorities to open it on the city side. They reply in substance that they can't afford to expend money on the road; it is too far outside the city proper to be any benefit to it. Did ever "the dog in the manger" die and his soul get incorporated? They raised a storm of indignation, and traveling expenses, for a delegation to Topeka to prevent our getting dismembered from the "city proper, -- evidence in point that distance is no bar to the benefit we are to it. We are within taxing distance not disbursing distance. -- They ignore our needs within the city limits, yet restrain us by those limits from finding our remedy in township relations. If we are so far from the city proper that improvements necessary to us will not benefit it, are we not too far off to be benefited by improvements [made at our expense] in the city proper? The conclusion is irresistible, that our interests being diverse, our relations are unnatural, and should be sundered.

The city authorities having staked out a "city proper -- proper I suppose in compliment to its drinking menagerie, as the area of their expenditures for improvements, the Leavenworth and Wyandotte road from the head of ___________ street to the western boundary of the city im-proper(?), is left to become impassable, unless, in their dire necessity for a thoroughfare, the bound citizens repair it at their own expense. On this road -- at the boundary line between the city proper and the city im-proper -- is a ravine impassable except by bridge, and any persons coming from the direction of Leavenworth failing to cross it, must go back two miles to strike a road that will take them around it. Some two months ago the city (proper) road overseer recognized its relations to said city by putting up a notice "This bridge is not safe." The city authorities refuse to make it safe. It is in the city improper, "They can't afford it."

Do the city authorities think by setting up the notice "not safe" -- thereby, in effect, shutting up a county road -- to escape liability for any damages that may be sustained by travelers crossing it? Or do they think to make the people believe they have no remedy, and thus indirectly compel them to repair it at their own expense? An act of incorporation is not an escape from State authority. The city government is subject to State laws and must obey them in its relations to its own citizens and to Township and County organizations. Having had ample time since posting their notice, to repair the bridge, the city would be held liable for all damages suffered in crossing it.

The city government can be compelled to open this county road; and the citizens of the Township interested should at once call on the Town authorities to take the proper steps.

Now Mr. Editor, as the magnates of the city proper saw fit to check-mate our effort to escape from its clutches, it must not expect of us any great forbearance, nor wonder if we take a livelier interest in its acts than heretofore. And while we highly prize and enjoy our personal relations with its temperate, order-loving, genial citizens, we will in our own neighborhood interests press our claims truthfully and self-respectfully but just as severely as seems politic. It is always politic to demand justice and get it.

Respectfully Yours,

Mar[ch] 16, '69

Dear Relie and Helen,

I have been at home three weeks and over, waiting to be able to report myself at ease in body and mind. I find the first essential to the latter. I have so little quiet from coughing and so much difficulty in breathing at times that I can't set myself at anything cheerfully. I can't be comfortable doing nothing either: so I take up and lay down my work: get up and sit down [&] read my eyes out &c. &c. One thing: my cough holds off nights now and I rest. Soon as we have settled warm weather it will leave me without notice almost -- that is its character. We have had an extraordinary winter -- so long uninterrupted cold, with either mud of untravelled depths or frozen hobbles impossible to travel over in safety & comfort. The ground is very little frozen now: the elm trees and cottonwood are leaving, currants & gooseberries ditto. Has Bertia written you yet since her marriage? The Welds [15] have been sending the "Radical" [16] all fall & winter to "B. C. Carpenter." I sent the last no. to her & told her not to write me again till she had written them &c. It has been three weeks: I have written her twice but she has not written yet. She has her hands full of work and company. Her old help married, and since it has been a succession of help & no help. He keeps a small butter dairy: Alderney stock. [He] was in Canada when she wrote last, buying cattle and sheep. [17] 21st I rec[eive]d a package of 36 unsealed and unaddressed Cong[ressional] speeches from [Sen. Samuel C.] Pomeroy -- that means "write your friends under the franked covers," so you shall have the first. While I think of it please address us "Wyandotte" instead of Quindaro. We are [in] Wy[andot]te twice or thrice as often as at Q[uindaro].

Mary [Nichols] [18] is like[ly] to get something at last from her land & unpaid annuities. I think she may get $500, perhaps $1000 in all. She has settled two lots of land -- the least valuable & bought by the man for $175 cash down. I was at Topeka. If she had waited two weeks she would have learned action at Washington that would have prevented her giving the deed for less than $300. But they were so needy! I think Geo[rge] [Nichols] [19] manages well. He is overcautious and not hopeful enough. But it is better than the other extreme. He has one of the prettiest horse colts 5 weeks old you ever saw and so playful. He springs up on G[eorge]'s back & into his arms, rubs his head on me and invites my caresses. I just begin to get about to look at stock in the yard, the trees & vines &c. in the garden and orchard. It is more mild and the farmers are getting ready to sow their oats; the ground is hardly dry enough. Sarah [Carpenter] [20] is just getting about [the] house: has been ill 5 weeks and H[oward]. [Carpenter] [21] with help of children & a washerwoman has done the work. The children have not missed or been tardy a day in the two terms. Cha[rle]s got the first premium for scholarship and conduct -- a portfolio (cost $2.75) at the end of last term. This term ends Tuesday. He will undoubtedly come out 1st. He is a very fine looking & gentlemanly boy. Rene is not well governed: is very smart but nervous & not like Charlie steady and industrious at business. In short she is like many other people's children, wilful and unmanageable! -- except by her father. [22]

I expect to have the pleasure of sending you the "Central State Commonwealth" pub[lished] at Topeka by our newly elected State printer -- a first rate man who has fought a good "radical" fight in Burlington, Kan. the first three years or so. [23] He wrote asking me to contribute regularly. I have consented & stipulated for copies of his weekly for you & B[ertia]. and my dear old friend Sarah L. Miller of Media Delaware Co[unty].P[ennsylvani]a. [24]

Is Helen photographing? It seems long since I saw her chirography in a Cal[ifornia]. letter. How are the "mother" and "grandmother" Helen? I can never forget your good grandmother. . . . Will not May [Carpenter] [25] add a line to your letters? I wish I could send May a pair of my top-knot(?) creepers: they lay "like the mischief." Don't inconvenience yourself dear Relie for me. My chickens are laying $2 eggs a week. I fear our wheat is injured by the late freeze: a great many wheat fields are killed and so the farmers will plow & put in oats. Ours was plowed in & such is mostly safe. I must close now with lots of love. Write often. Love to all.


[May, 1869]

[Editor Commonwealth:]

"It is so dull," says one and another, and the clouds of their discontent shed infinitely more gloom upon the social circle than any degree of dullness. "If I only could get something to do," says one class of complainers; as if many another were not sadly overworked from the very results which have billetted them in the "castle of indolence." We confess that we lack patience with the latter as a class. Individual cases, there are, to which only the philosophy of resignation is applicable. Probably we would feel a more natural commisseration for those who can find "nothing to do," if our own experience had been like theirs. But we could always find more than enough of work that was spoiling to be done. True, it has not always been remunerating, as the speculating, wealth-seeking world counts remuneration. But it has always been bread to the soul -- rich in the happier rewards of health and cheerfulness.

"Nothing to do?" Why, the world is full of work. Fields laden with the harvest; or, waiting for the seed. Old fields, exhausted by shallow culture, call for subsoilers. One of these latter, is the Temperance field. Modes of former effort are failing us. We have something to do to regain lost vantage ground. We must dig deeper and root out the traffic in alcoholic drinks. Trimming the branches and heading in, only extends the roots to increase the fruit. Prohibit the manufacture of liquors for any but chemical, mechanical, and medicinal purposes, and confiscate the distilleries that sell to any but licensed agents of these classes. We must "fight it out on this line," if we would re-construct society on a solid temperance basis. "Nothing to do," friends of temperance? -- enemies of intemperance, with all its poverty, its demoralization and crime? -- "nothing to do -- with Kansas falling back into the hands of whisky-dealers and their political accomplices? The Legislature of 1868 undid two-thirds the work of the Legislature of 1867, in behalf of temperance. [27] It wrested from the men and women of the second-class cities their veto power on the traffic, by giving the license power to the city governments. That silences the women, and the men can be trusted, as heretofore, to give a majority vote for whisky governments. The Legislature of 1867, in exempting certain cities of the 1st and 2d class from the operation of the law requiring the consent of two-thirds the adult men and women, and giving to the city governments of the same, the right to license -- yielded vantage ground from which the Legislature of '68 was forced into giving the license power to the governments of all our 1st and 2d class cities. A future Legislature will only have to improve the precedents which have silenced the women in cities -- to silence the women of the towns also.

Probably our 1st and 2d class cities include more than half our population, and with the towns, that by their foreign element, carry the license question, Kansas may well be considered conquered territory. "Nothing to do," women of Kansas? Work for your enfranchisement, that you may secure legislation for temperance. Petition, protest, organize societies; and if need be, take possession of the saloons where respectable men do congregate, or singly take their glass. There is work and noble work for every true heart -- every sincere applicant for useful labor. I read not long since, of a party of ladies, who with their knitting work in hand, took seats in a recently licensed saloon and spent the entire day. Next morning they repaired thither again, and at nightfall were reinforced by more lady knitters, who kept them company through the evening. The saloon keeper packed up next morning and left, declaring that, not a man (He meant customer), had called in the two days. How very much there is to be done, and what a variety of ways and workers is needed to do it well and speedily. Let communities resolve themselves into "High Courts of Impeachment," and decree the ejectment of false legislators from popular confidence. Let individuals be ready "in season and out of season" to speak good strong words for right and truth and the order of the "Golden Rule," and there will be no more "dull times."


May 31, 1869

Dear Commonwealth:

I see frequent references of the press and its correspondents in other States, to the laws of Kansas, as favoring women more than the laws of any other State. As mothers, our right to our children is secured as in no other State but New York, and New York followed the lead of five year old Kansas! Our right to vote in common school matters, is peculiar to Kansas. In Kentucky and perhaps some other Southern States, a certain property qualification entitles single women to vote in district school meetings. In several of the Northern and Middle States, the wives of drunkards, by proving that they are such, have a right to their children. But the references to our property rights over estimate facts. It is not strange, however, that intelligent and well read persons in other States should mistake the facts of which our own press and people are ignorant. I hear from Kansas men generally, and women whose circumstances have not made them experimentally aware of the truth -- that our laws make the husband and wife equal in property rights. Lawyers in our probate offices, and in both branches of our last Legislature, have assured me within the year, 1869, that such is the fact, generally adding that "they give the advantage to the wife."

When Miss [Susan B.] Anthony lectured in Wyandotte, [29] a lawyer in the audience complained that "Kansas women were better protected in their property rights than men." Miss Anthony replied that was "an affair of the men; they made the laws to suit themselves." If she had been posted in Kansas law, she might have made the gentleman blush for his professional knowledge. Now, Messrs. Editors, I cannot at this moment recall a single law of property that is not unequal, and therefore unjust to the wife and widow, with the exception of a poll-tax, from which she is exempted; and it is doubtful whether this is a law of property or -- moustaches. By the way, I notice that a writer in the Leavenworth _______ takes a position upon the poll-tax, as the qualification for suffrage, that cuts women off from its attainment, from which I infer that it is a tax on beard and moustaches. I think, however, that a Rev. D. D., of Massachusetts, is the original discoverer of this new obstacle to woman's claim to suffrage; [30] and as it is spreading among our opponents like Sampson's fox-tailed fire-brands in the wheat fields of the Philistines, I propose, with your leave, Mr. Editor, to give the subject further notice in a future communication.

To return to our present subject -- woman's property rights -- let us examine, first, our splendid homestead law. [31] One hundred and sixty acres of farming land, or half an acre in an incorporated city, with all its improvements, is exempted from liability for any debt not incurred in its purchase or improvements, except taxes. Husband and wife must join in any deed or mortgage to make the same valid. The husband can rent it and move his wife into a shanty or lodgings, whether she likes it or not; the use of all property in common vesting in him. If the husband dies, his widow holds the homestead as the head of the family, until the youngest child is twenty-one years of age, in which case, or in case she marries again previous to the majority of such child, the homestead is divided, and one-half goes to the widow, in "fee simple." In case it cannot be divided without detriment to the interests of the heirs, it falls under the general law of real estate divisions -- must be sold and the proceeds divided. By these provisions the widow holds her home subject to two contingencies not affecting the widower. He may marry again and his children all attain their majority, and yet keep the homestead intact as long as he lives.

Who will not say, in view of such a homestead law, that home is peculiar to man's sphere? If home be woman's sphere, what right has man to legislate her out of it? Perhaps the children all attain to majority before the father's death in which case it follows that the homestead must be divided at his death, or sold, when one half its cash value alone remains to the aged woman, bereft at once of husband and home! The young widow, with a homestead sufficient, and no more to keep her children together -- to avoid this division and breaking up of her family, refuses to marry again. She remains single till her youngest child is twenty-one years of age -- a widowhood of perhaps twenty years. She has passed the heyday of youth; her chances for a satisfactory marriage are passed; the infirmities of age are at hand, when by long habit and association, home is dearer than ever before, and more necessary. But, she must be turned out; the law provides for her forcible ejectment, and she can but choke down her anguish and go, for the home cannot be divided without detriment to the interests of the heirs. A son-in-law, or an unsympathizing son, perhaps, calls for its sale and a division of proceeds. The half of the proceeds, in good United States money, lies in her hand but it does not represent a home; only its loss, and the cruel uprooting of her tenderest associations -- the crushing of the sweet home feeling that nestled amid surroundings dictated by her tastes and created by her own toil and care. Who will defend this law as equal or just to woman? Who contend that in making such laws men are representing women? With your leave, Messrs. Editors, I propose, in future communications, to present to your readers a brief review of laws affecting the interests of women; hoping thereby to show the benefit to herself of speedy enfranchisement.


June 20, 1869

Editor of the Commonwealth: --

In my last I referred to a somewhat remarkable sermon by a Massachusetts D. D. published in The Christian Watchman and Reflector, Boston. This sermon is entitled "Woman's Rights from a Bible stand point." But unfortunately for its claims, there is not a word of Bible in it, with the exception of the text, which is from Mathew XIX: 6, "Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together let not man put asunder."

Under the heading "scripture of man," the Doctor says "wedlock is the normal condition of man, and herein is the fallacy of much that is said at the present time on this subject -- that men are regarded as a class, and women as another class, each having distinct claims and interests. This is the fundamental error of the whole woman's rights movement, that it ignores wedlock, and regards woman in her single state, as though that were normal; as though men and women stood in the world as so many isolated units, each in his or her own individuality claiming separate and special cognizance and protection." I think it was a remark of old Doctor [Henry Ward] Beecher, that the clergy were set apart from common sense and practical life. But no matter who said it or of whom said; there is a case in point. The Doctor ignores facts, and builds upon false premises.

Fact first: "Women and men [do] stand in the world as so many units, each in his or her proper individuality, having separate interests;" but in virtue of their common nature and purpose, these interests are the same in kind, and require the same legislation -- the same legal and political rights for their protection. It is the injustice of government and of society, against which the woman's rights movement is protesting, that men and women are paid and legislated for as separate and distinct classes of society and of the body politic -- men receiving the lion's share: or woman utterly ignored.

False premise No. 1 That "The woman's rights movement ignores wedlock." We hold wedlock to be a normal condition of manhood and womanhood, but only a condition, since both exist, unimpaired, without it. We hold manhood and womanhood to be more than husbandhood and wifehood, since these relations do not supersede, but develop rather, and mature men and women as such. False premise No. 2 assumes that woman in a single state is not in a normal condition. And this is a D. D.'s "Scripture idea of man!" For though he neglects to assert the same of the single man; yet bachelorhood and spinsterhood are in the same boat. In denying that spinsterhood is a normal condition, the Doctor ignores the fact that we must of necessity be single women before we can be wives; that in being wives we are no less women; that independent of all appointments -- divine or human -- from birth to death, we are women.

God made us women -- to be wives, if, with our consent, men choose to make us such, not otherwise. Hence we claim that women, whether married or single, are in their "normal condition"; and that women and men, having the same interests in kind, shall not be regarded by Government as distinct classes; but as individuals of the same class (human) to be protected in their individual interests by the same constitutional provisions, and laws.

The fundamental error of the Doctor is that he makes wifehood the base of supplies, and of government for womanhood -- a most grave and gigantic mistake when we take into consideration, that Massachusetts alone has from 75 to 100,000 more women than men. In other words, there are more than 75,000 women in Massachusetts, for whom there are no husbands -- the same condition obtaining in all old States to a greater or less extent. A woman may not be a wife, but a wife must be a woman. Hence justice to women is justice to wives.

Under the heading, "Woman's Work," the Doctor says, "the question what shall the wife and mother do? is easily answered. One word suggests it -- home. The Bible, everywhere associates woman with home." The Doctor overlooks Deborah, Judge of Israel, Miriam, Huldah, Anna and others, prophetesses; with sundry women who were "laborers and helpers in Christ Jesus," with Paul, to whom not only he gave thanks, but "all the churches of the Gentiles." "As wife and mother or daughter," continues the Doctor, "the question of her work is not complicated. But in regard to the work of homeless women, or of such as by the stern necessities of a disordered state of society, are compelled to act that part for themselves which God designed some man should act for them in the support of themselves or even of a family, the question has difficulties." If the Doctor means widows in speaking of those "who have to act that part for themselves which God designed some man should act for them in the support of themselves and even of a family," the Old Testament fashion of imposing them upon the male next of kin to the deceased husband, might help him to dispose of a part of the difficulty. For the rest, including the Massachusetts surplus of women, we see no way of carrying out "God's design," as the Doctor states it, but polygamy.

We dissent from the Doctor's theory, as necessitating "communism and free love," which he asserts "is the logical tendency of the woman's rights movement." After deploring and floundering awhile in the difficulties, the Doctor gives us, among others, the following conclusions: "Then what may be called general business, that which would bring her (woman) into constant publicity, I hold would be demoralizing to her womanhood. I do not think it best for woman to invade what are generally considered to be proper callings of men. It would injure both herself and him. We are not to forget that women's work in the productive industries, is, after all, abnormal. Just in proportion as woman by her competition, robs man ('Oh!') of his work and wages, she is making it more difficult for him to do ('poor fellow') what in right he ought to do; that is, to support himself and her too in normal wedlock. Double the workers and you halve the wages. 'In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread,' was said to man, but it was not so said to woman."

When God after the creation of man and woman, declared to them, officially, their rights and duties, which rights and duties, inherent by the God ordained laws of creation, were beyond the power of Satan or man to repeal, however they may be disobeyed or set at naught, woman was ordained co-worker with man, i. e. and equal worker. "Multiply and replenish the earth and subdue it," covers the work committed to human hands and human intelligences. Now if we understand the doctor's theory of labor, women must be, or should be, barred from productive industries that men may amass competences for themselves and families. Those 75,000 Massachusetts women must fold their hands and starve; or, what amounts to the same thing, be restricted to starvation wages, that the married men of the State, and the single men that ought to be married, may be able to support wives in helpless idleness or "elegant leisure." We say halve the wages sooner than cast these women under the juggernauts of capital and crime! "Half a loaf is better than no bread." "Halve the wages" and both will have bread. If they many, the twain become one. The halves make a whole loaf, just as sweet as if the man had brought it all, and the woman he married had given him a pauper hand. The Doctor has unwittingly proposed one remedy for "the difficulties."


June 22, 1869

Editor Commonwealth:

In giving your readers another chapter on the Laws of Kansas, I beg leave to request of the legal fraternity that they will correct me, if by any means I fall into error as to the letter or spirit of the laws I discuss. Truth and fact are more than argument.

Personal property exemptions, by the laws of all the States, vest in the husband; and in most of the States, die with him. In Kansas personal property exempted from liability, for debt, vests in the head of the family, the husband being that head during his life. At his death the wife is recognized as the head of the family, and the exemption vests in her. In Kansas this exemption is liberal; or was so prior to the session of our last Legislature. Whether that Legislature amended, as proposed, by reducing the supply of provisions for family and domestic animals, covered by exemption, I am not informed, not having seen the published laws of the session. [34] The injustice wrought by this favoritism to the husband, is apparent when we see the husband selling or mortgaging exempted personal property, including the milch cows, hogs, provisions, family library, beds and other household furniture, without the consent of the wife, as he has the legal right to do, if they are not bought with the wife's money. The husband may sell the last bed from under a sick wife, i. e., there is no law to prevent him from doing it. In the old States I have known numerous instances of great distress from the exercise of this right by husbands, which roused the whole community, but community was powerless -- with law on the husband's side -- to protect to the wife and little ones comforts necessary to a home.




We find in the Book of Genesis three several accounts of the creation of man. The 5th chapter contains the last account, and reviews the genealogy of Adam. Ver. 1. "This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; male and female created he them and called their name, Adam, in the day when they were created." Turning to the record of the day when they were created, Gen. 1, 26: "God said let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth." "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him, -- male and female created he them. And God blessed them: And God said to them, be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said, behold I have given you every herb bearing seed which is upon the face of all the earth; and every tree in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed: and to you it shall be for food." Dominion and possession are here alike given to each. They are placed under the same and equal obligation, as workers, to "subdue the earth." No authority is delegated to the one and withheld from the other. No right is withheld from Eve that is given to Adam, for was she not Adam? No right attaches to the male Adam in fish, fowl, cattle, tree, or the broad acres -- that is not the female Adam's by creative warranty, as joint partner and proprietor.

The family, society, and consequently government, are contemplated in the command to "multiply and replenish the earth," unaccompanied by any intimation of the pre-eminence of either in responsibility or rights. But as if foreseeing in the world's future, man's insane thirst for power, and the dethronement of woman from her co-sovereignty, God declares his purpose in her creation, and asserts the absolute need of woman in the accomplishment of creative design. It is worthy of remark that this need involved the ultimate object of the creation -- good. Of each work of his creation, God separately and emphatically declared "it is good." But of man, before the creation of woman, he said, "it is not good." Gen. 2, 18: "And the Lord God said, it is not good that the man should he alone. I will create an helpmeet for him." The record does not read as generally quoted -- "it is not good for the man to be alone," but as if taking into consideration tho whole purpose and scope of creation and coming to the conclusion that good would not be the result if man alone took the conduct of affairs God said, "it is not good that the man should be alone."

Paul refers to this declaration of God's purpose in the creation of woman, I. Cor. xi., 9: 10 -- "Neither was the man created for the woman, but the woman for the man, for this cause ought the woman to have power on her head, because of the angels," [or good]. With no power over her husband, no authority with him, he would be, as it were, alone in the conduct and responsibility of affairs. Dr. [Ingram] Cobbin [36] (an orthodox Divine) in his Bible notes, says of the clause, "power on her head," "Commentators have been greatly perplexed with this text. Dr. [Albert] Barnes [37] confesses that he does not understand it. The marginal note renders the word [power] covering, but the word is not so used by classic writers." Mr. Cobbin then submits, as his opinion, that "the difficulty has been needlessly made by confusing the idea, as if power must mean some sort of thing for the head." "But," he continues, "the word means the power of doing anything, and is so used." Mat. ix: 8, "But when the multitudes saw it they marvelled and glorified God, who had given such power to men." John xix, 11: "Jesus answered, thou could'st have no power against me except it had been given thee." Rev. xiii, 12: "And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast." "Taken in this sense," continues Dr. Cobbin, "the passage means, the woman ought to exercise prudent control over her husband."

Dr. [Adam] Clark[e], in his commentary, says "there are few portions of the sacred writings that have given rise to such a variety of conjectures and explanations, and are less understood. Our translators were puzzled with it, and have inserted here one of the largest marginal readings found anywhere in their work, -- but this is only on the words 'power on her head.' Mr. [John] Lock[e] [38] ingenuously acknowledges that he does not understand the meaning of the words." And, continues Dr. Clark[e], "almost every critic and learned man has a different explanation." "Some," says the learned Doctor, "have endeavored to force out a meaning by altering the test. Dr. [John] Lightfoot, [39] Bishop [Zachary] Pierce [40] and others allow that there are many difficulties." [41] Cobbin's version relieves the matter of all its difficulties by putting Paul's position in the text and context in harmony with the creative idea of woman as a power of good over her husband. The equality and mutual dependence of the twain one are points to which the Apostle especially addresses himself in the portion of his letter, referred to Dr. Cobbin, however, either to avert the censures of the brotherhood, or to keep the sisterhood in wholesome check, interpolates "prudent." But there is no such qualifying term as prudent attached to power, either in the original or the translation of the text. Give woman the benefit of an equal translation, and let Paul speak as literally in her interest as in man's. That woman was endowed with power on her "head" is implied in the declaration of Adam -- a declaration imputed by Christ to "him who made them -- "For this cause shall a man leave father and mother and shall cleave unto his wife." Again, without being deceived Adam ate at the bidding of Eve.

The idea of woman as an individual or personal power of good, in opposition to evil, is prominent in the record of the fall. The declaration of God to Satan, "I will put enmity between thee and woman," is strikingly significant of God's unchanged purpose and woman's unchanged position, in regard to the prospective controversy between the powers of good and evil. God emphatically declares woman to be, henceforth, at enmity with Satan. One must needs be a good hater to be a persistent and vigilant opponent. Created a lover of good, woman needed to learn hatred of evil to be at enmity with its author and source. At enmity with Satan, or the power of evil, she stands forth the chosen ally of God and the hope of man in his desperate struggle for the right.

Great stress is put upon the fact that Eve "was first in the transgression," as though to have been last were less a sin! Eve, true to her nature, was beguiled by a promised good -- "to become as the gods, knowing good and evil." Adam proved his individual unreliableness for good, by sinning with eyes wide open; he "was not deceived." Adam fell, then, because he could not stand by the right alone! Eve fell because of her ignorance of evil. Having gained the knowledge which puts her at enmity with the prince of evil, she is a safer, because more intelligent helper. She comes from her bitter lesson with the additional security for good, that God has put enmity between her and the enemy of the race. In his declaration, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman," God enters security for woman's future, that she will not compromise with evil "to bruise the heel" of man and send him limping down the ages.

Assuming what is universally taught by Christian theologians -- that the disobedience of our first parents involved the violation of inherent obligations, and perverted original relations and conditions, let us pass to the change in woman's condition as the correlative of man. This change was foretold by the Creator in his memorable conference with Eve in the garden: "Thy desire shall be unto thy husband and he shall rule over thee." Commentators, so far as I have read them, understand this to be a command, overlooking the significance of the fact that to Eve, and not to Adam, was the declaration made. A careful consideration of the subject in all its apparent connections and bearings, compels me to the conclusion that it is simply a prediction. The word here translated shall is rendered shall or will, with little discrimination, in the Old Testament writings. The text evidently should read, "Thy desire will be unto thy husband and he will rule over thee." The propriety of this rendering will appear from a consideration of the terms of God's address to the serpent: "The seed of the woman shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise his heel." This is evidently a prediction, for it would be absurd to contend that God commands the serpent to bruise man, and at the very scene in which he condemns him for having done so. The serpent was probably chuckling over his success, and God, as if to abate his triumph shows him, that his act will recoil back on his own head: "The seed of the woman will bruise thy head and thou wilt bruise his heel." He will touch thy life, thou wilt only make him limp.

In his conference with Cain in regard to Abel, God uses the same form of words, "And unto thee (Cain) shall be his desire and thou shalt rule over him." This was a prediction, predicated, as in the case of Eve, upon the selfish, domineering spirit of the one, and the affectionate, forbearing spirit of the other. When God called them to an account, Adam and Cain were alike defiant and impenitent. "The woman whom thou gavest to be with me," retorted Adam! "Am I my brother's keeper?" growled Cain!

Again, if we admit what commentators claim -- that God's declaration to Eve involves a command and subjects woman to man, as a penalty for her disobedience, we involve ourselves in a labyrinth of absurdities. The terms of the declaration limit the authority to the husband -- the subjection to the wife. "Thy desire shall be unto thy husband and he shall rule over thee," is said of the wife, not of the woman, -- of the husband, not of the man. If we regard the command as penal, the inference is inevitable that to marriage and not to womanhood attaches the cause of subjection, which only married women are condemned to suffer, and only husbands are privileged to inflict. Does woman commit an unpardonable sin in marrying? or is the curse in the husband's selfish exercise of authority? As marriage is a Divine institution, inaugurated before the fall on a basis of perfect equality, the conclusion seems inevitable that God designed it to be an unmixed blessing to both parties, but that man deposing woman from her equal position and subjecting her to his rule, has made it a curse to her and a depreciated blessing to himself. God in that conference in Eden, revealed to Eve the future subjection of her sex, as in his address to Satan he foretold the coming and mission of Christ -- "the seed of the woman." By obeying the serpent rather than God, the first pair had transferred their allegiance and become bondman and bond-woman to a selfish rule without and within. And the rule God predicted, being entailed with the husband, was probably neither more nor less than that selfish exercise of power which, from the fall till now, has been notorious for oppression and usurpations without regard to sex or color, and successful in proportion to the helplessness or forbearance of its subjects.

Again, if this subjection be of God's ordaining, and designed as a perpetual punishment, what right has the husband to make his authority anything but the curse it is claimed to be? His duty to inflict is as irrepealable as her duty to suffer. Woman, like poor Canaan, should be whipped into the full measure of her accursed lot, and he is the most godly husband who resists every temptation to break the yoke of her bondage! Again, did God put man in the judge's place to execute judgment on his accomplice in sin, -- himself a convicted felon under sentence as an equal participator in her crime, -- that he should execute judgment on her and reprieve himself? To Adam, God said, "Cursed is the ground for thy sake. In sorrow shalt (?) thou eat of it all the days of thy life. Thorns also and thistles shall (?) it bring forth to thee. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, until thou return unto the ground." God did not say to Eve all the days of thy life shalt thou be subjected. Accepting a parallel version for himself, man must eschew all inventions of art or science, all monopolies of capital, education or position, which enable him to win his bread without sweating of his brow. He must repeal all laws and practices of extermination and cherish the "thistles" and "thorns," and refrain from all attempts to lift the curse from mother earth; he must eat of it in sorrow all his life!

Having briefly shown the absurdity, as we think, of the assumption, that the subjection of the wife is Divinely decreed, let us pass to the claim that the whole female sex is subjected in virtue of the subjection of the wife. Dr. [Matthew] Henry, [42] in his comments on the text -- "Thy desire shall be unto thy husband and he shall rule over thee," says, "the whole sex -- by creation equal with man -- is for sin put in subjection and made inferior." According to this D. D., a sentence limited by its terms to a class of women, consigns the whole sex, not only to subjection, but to inferiority, of which God makes no mention. The Doctor says the sex is put in subjection for sin: we would say woman was brought into subjection for sin: we would say woman was brought into subjection by sin, or through sin. The language of the text teaches that her subjection is effected through her affection for her husband, (no sin that). "Thy desire shall be unto thy husband and he shall rule over thee," is said of the wife, not the woman. But the Doctor assumes that the subjection of the wife to her husband, through her affections, involves the subjection of all women to all men without any affection to bring them under the yoke.

The woman of high Christian culture in virtue of her love for a worthy husband, and the woman who has no husband, are thus made subject to oppressive and degrading laws enacted by a low type of civilization imported from the old world, and upheaved in the revolution of the new. God said to Cain of Abel, "His desire shall be unto thee and thou shalt rule over him." It is logical to infer, that because selfish Cain might have subjected his unselfish and loving brother, all elder brothers, are in virtue of this declaration, endowed with a divine right to govern their younger brothers? Should our republic, like the monarchies of Europe, base on its laws of primogeniture, entailing special rights and privileges upon the first-born? Because the Cains would rule or ruin, should the Abels be bound hand and foot, and consigned to helplessness and dependence? Again, if the declaration, "he shall rule over thee," is a command, so is the declaration, "thy desire shall be unto thy husband" a command. And if the command, "thy husband shall rule over thee," conveys authority to bachelors and the rest of mankind to rule over spinsters, widows and other men's wives, -- then, too, the command, "thy desire shall be unto thy husband," gives the right to bachelors and the rest of mankind to the affections of spinsters, widows and the wives of other men, -- which would be Mormonism and free-love in allopathic measure!

We have no evidence that Eve in her life time was subjected to Adam. The subjection of woman was the gradual submission of the weak and forbearing to the strong and imperative. Tyrant will did not conquer the world at one fell blow. Little by little the rule of selfish ambition supplanted the rule of right and made the masses serfs to the few. But notwithstanding sin has destroyed the harmony and changed the relations originally established between God and man and between man and woman -- revelation and sound reason warrant us in believing that these original conditions are of the same binding obligation as when first decreed in the councils of the Creator, and officially announced to Adam and Eve in the garden. Unless the law of sin and death is to hold precedence of God's law, -- unless the derangements wrought by the serpent are of greater authority and vitality than the inherent laws and relations established by the Almighty, -- we are under obligation still to adjust ourselves to creative and not to satanic or human inventions of law and custom.

The disobedience of our first parents subverted the relations existing between them and their Maker and cast them out from his presence and companionship. The Christian creed recognizes man's obligation to regain the position thus lost. It teaches that the seed of the woman -- Christ -- opened the way for its restoration. The same obligation rests on men and women in regard to their relations to each other, and "whatsoever ye would that others should do unto you, do ye even so unto them," is for them the rule of reconstruction, alike applicable to the issues of social, domestic and political life. Christ refers to the binding nature of original conditions, and arraigns the human authority that has presumed to violate the same. Matthew xix, 4, where tempted by the Pharisees, he answers: "Have ye not read that he who made them in the beginning made them male and female, and said, for this cause shall a man leave father and mother and shall cleave unto his wife, and they twain shall be one flesh! what therefore God has joined let no man put asunder."

Christ, in this discussion with the Pharisees, makes an important distinction between human laws, as adapting themselves to the sinful estate of man, and the divine original law, as being in perpetual force and conflict with laws of human expediency. "They say unto him, why did Moses then, command to give a writing of divorcement and to put her away?" He saith unto them, Moses, for the hardness of your hearts, suffered you to put away your wives; but from the beginning it was not so." It is worthy of remark, that Christ here refers them to "the beginning, -- to the equal relations of the first pair, as instituted by "him who made them," and charges upon the hardness of men's hearts -- upon sin -- the pressure under which Moses suffered this exercise of authority the Jewish husbands. It is not less remarkable, that while Christ explains, he is careful to denounce this Mosaic compromise of woman's rights. "What therefore God has joined let not man" (Moses or any other legislator) "put asunder." This decision of our Savior has a wider application than to divorce merely. As God has joined them in dominion, possession and responsibility -- made the twain one in interests, rights and obligations, -- so let not man put them asunder, by conferring upon either pre-eminence in authority, or by subjecting one to the other. "They twain shall be one flesh" is quoted by Christ as indicating their equality of rights in his day as well as by creation, and as in contrast with a relation in which the husband controls and holds the wife in subjection.

The Jewish wife and mother -- taking the Old Testament record of the best families -- seem to have been at least equal in authority -- under God -- with the husband and father. When Sarah said to her husband, "Cast out the bond-woman and her son, for the son of the bond-woman shall not be heir with my son," she spoke as having authority, and not as a supplicant. And God took part with Sarah, and said to Abraham, "in all that Sarah hath said hearken to her voice." God was on the side of Rebecca in her preference of Isaac as against the choice of Jacob. The story of Abigail and Nabal illustrates the equal authority of the wife in the disposal of possessions and conduct of business. When it was told [to] Abigail that Nabal had dismissed David's messengers with an ill-natured refusal of the supplies asked for, "she made haste," says the sacred historian, "and took 200 loaves, and 2 bottles of wine, and five sheep ready dressed, and 100 clusters of raisins, and 200 cakes of figs, and laid them on asses and said to her servants, go on before me; behold I come after you. But she told not Nabal." Having met David, already on his way to execute vengeance on Nabal, and appeased his wrath with wise and pious counsel, she returned to her home to find Nabal, who was making a feast, drunken with wine. "In the morning, when the wine had left him, continues the record, "she told him all." "Nabal's heart died within him," and about ten days thereafter, "the Lord smote Nabal and he died."

In the whole Bible history is no intimation of distinctions in parental authority. "Honor thy father and thy mother. -- "Hearken to the instruction of thy father and obey the law of thy mother." "Children, obey your parents in the Lord."

In public affairs also, women occupied the highest positions. Huldah, a prophetess, dwelt in the cottage at Jerusalem; and we read that she was inquired of by the good king Josiah, through his high priest, "concerning the words of the book of the law," discovered in the repairing of the temple. Miriam was a prophetess of note. Deborah led the armies of the Lord in successful battle -- the cowardly Barak declining to do so, -- and judged Israel 40 years, thus occupying the highest civil office known among the Jews prior to Saul, who was first of their dynasty of kings. Anna was first to prophesy of Christ as the "Messiah." Thus previous to the captivity, we have frequent honorable mention of women in authority.

Solomon, in his Proverbs, illustrates woman's rights in a beautiful pen portrait of a "virtuous woman," which is in marked contrast with the Rev. Dr. Gardner's teachings, as set forth in his sermon, published some months since in the Christian Watchman and Reflector, entitled "Woman's Rights from a Bible Standpoint." [43] The Doctor says, "What may be called general business, that which brings her into constant publicity, I hold would be demoralizing to her womanhood. * * * I do not think it best for woman to invade what are generally considered proper callings of men. It would injure both herself and him." Solomon's model woman may be classed among the strong-minded of this day. He says, "the heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil," (no need to rob the government or private citizens to gain riches). "She seeketh wool and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchant's ship, she bringeth her food from afar," (an importer?). "She considereth a field and buyeth it; with the fruits of her hands she planteth a vineyard," (buys and plants and improves her own property in her own right). "She perceiveth that her merchandize is good. She maketh fine linen and selleth it and delivereth girdles unto the merchants." "Her husband is known in the gates when he sitteth among the elders of the land." She is a farmer, manufacturer and trader, yet her husband is not crushed out or smothered.

And as if his wife's thrift and wisdom had something to do with his honors, we are told in connection therewith, "that he is known, &c., when he sitteth among the elders of the land." "Give her of the fruit of her hands, -- her earnings -- "and let her own works praise her in the gates." (In the gates, among the elders of the land, of whom her husband is a distinguished personage, she is to shine by her own works, and not as a patent reflector of her husband's). "Strength and honor are her clothing, and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom, and in her tongue is the law of kindness." "She stretcheth out her hands to the poor: yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the poor and needy." (And don't have to ask her husband for a quarter to give). "She looketh well to the ways of her household. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her -- many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all."

This model woman of the Bible, represented as wise, kind, charitable, a diligent housekeeper, a good wife and mother, "engaged in general business transactions," holding, acquiring and improving property in her own right; publicly praised for these, her own works, in the assembly of the elders, where they sit for public business, in the gates of the city, -- instead of being "demoralized by such publicity -- receives the high encomium -- "Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all." How different this picture from the "unseen half" of Dr. Gardner's [human] "moon." If only he had consulted Solomon, instead of looking through Timothy Titcomb's smoked glass, -- quoted Bible, instead of Dr. [Josiah Gilbert] Holland, [44] -- what a different standpoint for his views of woman's rights, he would have occupied. Instead of declaring that it "would injure herself and him" for woman to "invade what are generally called proper callings of men," Solomon tells him "the heart of the husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil."

We find no record of the subjection of woman as a sex, and no public recognition of her subjection as a wife, (bating Moses' law of divorce,) till we come to the Book of Esther -- to the history of the heathen nations among whom the Jews were scattered in their captivity. And here we find Ahasuerus, a Gentile king, issuing the "decree for men's sovereignty," "the law for the subjection of women." (See heading, Esther 1, chapter 1). The simple fact that this ruler of the greater part of the known world, issued such a decree, is in itself evidence that no such relation had been previously recognized as sanctioned by legitimate authority. The circumstances which initiated, and the reasons given for, the issuing of this decree, are far from complimentary to its originators. We are told that "king Ahasuerus made a feast to all his princes and his servants, the power of Media and Persia, the nobles and princes of the provinces being before him, when he showed the riches of his glorious kingdom, &c., during an hundred and eighty days." At the end of the 180 days "the king made a feast for all the people that were in Shushan, in the palace, both for great and small, seven days, in the garden of the king's palace, * * * and they gave them royal wine in abundance, * * and the drinking was according to law; none constained; for so the king appointed to all the officers of his house, that they should do according to every man's pleasure. Also, Vashti, the queen, made a feast for the women, in the royal house," (not in the court of the garden with the men). On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded * * * to bring Vashti, the queen, before him, with the crown royal, to show the people and the princes her beauty, for she was fair to look upon."

Vashti revolted from such a compromise of her womanly delicacy, contrary as it was to the customs of her day and people, for women to appear unveiled in an assembly of men, and aware, probably that the king was so far gone in his cups as to be capable of disgusting familiarity of speech and manner, refused to obey the king's command. "Therefore was the king very wroth * * and said to the wise men -- the seven princes of Media and Persia, * * what shall we do to queen Vashti, according to the law," &c. (As the wise men cited no law, but recommended the making of one, we are left to infer that there was no law suited to the case.) "And Memucan answered, Vashti, the queen, hath not done wrong to the king only, but also to all the princes and to all the people that are in all the provinces of the king. For this deed of the queen will come abroad to all women, so that they will despise their husbands in their eyes, * *. Likewise will the ladies of Media and Persia say this day to all the king's princes -- who have heard of the deed of the queen. Thus will there arise too much contempt and wrath."

Memucan proceeds to advise the king to "send forth a royal commandment to be written among the laws of the Medes and Persians, that it be not altered * *. And when the king's decree which he shall make shall be published throughout all his empire, (for it is great,) all the wives will give to their husbands honor, both to great and small," * *. And the king did according to the word of Memucan. For he sent letters into all his provinces, and to every people after their language, that every man should bear rule in his own house." Here we have the history of the law of men's sovereignty -- originating in a drunken debauch. Womanly self-respect required Vashti to act as she did, and to the latest generation, a manly appreciation of true womanliness will give honor to Ahasuerus' dishonored queen. All hail to Vashti! It is glory enough for woman that the decree of men's sovereignty originated in circumstances so honorable to womanly sense of propriety and virtue.

We read in the Book of Ezra, that more than 75,000 Jews returned from the provinces of Ahasuerus, whither their fathers had been led captive centuries before, to rebuild Jerusalem, We also learn from sacred history, that by the association of the Jews with these heathen nations, their customs and laws had become heathenized. Christ and his apostles denounced the traditions interpolated by degenerate priests, in the Jewish law. It is a reasonable inference, that among the laws and customs, borrowed from their heathen captors, with whom they intermarried, was this law for the subjection of women, since we find no mention of any such law or custom in the previous history of the Jews. It was to this law, prevailing among the Gentile nations, that Paul and Peter in their letters to the churches of the Gentiles, exhorted believing wives to submit, "that the word of God be not blasphemed, -- "that if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives."

"Let your women keep silence in the churches," is spoken of by commentators on the New Testament, as a Jewish ordinance, and was no doubt a restriction due to this heathenish and comparatively modern subjection of the wife. Paul places the two in this light, I. Cor. xiv, 34: "Let your women keep silence in the churches, for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law." Dr. Clark[e] says "women were not permitted to teach in the assemblies, or even ask questions. The saying of Rabbi Eliezer," adds the Dr., "is both worthy of remark and execration," viz: "Let the words of the law be burned rather than that they should be committed to women." [45] (Rabbi Eliezer we read of in the Book of Ezra, as a priest of the captivity, who returned to the rebuilding of Jerusalem.)

A great change this from the time of Deborah, who judged Israel and declared the words of the law forty years; and Huldah, to whom the good king Josiah, at a later day, sent his high priest to inquire "concerning the words of the law." Paul makes frequent reference to this Jewish law or ordinance, in his letters to the churches. In his first epistle to the Corinthians, xiv chap[ter]., he treats particularly of disorderly proceedings, and teaches good manners to both men and women, in the conduct of religious services. He shows them that to edify and instruct are the objects sought, and which cannot be attained if they speak in unknown tongues or several at a time. Of him, who speaks in an unknown tongue, he says: "If there is no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church. Let the prophets speak, two or three, and let the others judge. If anything is revealed to another, that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. For ye may all prophecy, one by one, that all may learn and all may be comforted. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. Let your women keep silence in the churches, for it is not permitted them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn anything, let them learn of their husbands at home." (Not ask questions and confuse the meeting.)

That the women here enjoined to keep silence, were not Christian women, who could speak to edification, but were asking questions that interfered with orderly proceedings, may be inferred from Paul's language, -- "if they will learn anything, let them learn of their husbands at home." Of course they were the wives of Christian disciples, capable to teach, for Paul would not have referred Christian women or any other to unconverted husbands for Christian instruction. And in this connection it may be well to remember, that the gospels were then unwritten and the letters of the apostles [were] all they had of our New Testament. That the injunction of the apostle was not applicable to women gifted to teach and prophecy, is proven by the history and practise of the early church. As recorded in Acts ii: "When the Holy spirit fell upon the disciples at Pentecost, it was said of them, 'they are drunken.'" Peter replies, "This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel," viz: "And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; and your sons and daughters shall prophecy. And on my servants and on my handmaidens, I will in those days pour out my spirit and they shall prophecy."

It is also recorded in Acts xxi, 9, that "Philip, the Evangelist, had four daughters, who prophesied." I. Cor., xi, 5: Paul enjoins upon women praying or prophesying, that they cover their heads. No such injunction would have been relevant, if women, qualified by grace, were not allowed to speak in the church assemblies. Such women were teachers also, and ministered in the gospel. Acts xviii, 26: "A certain Jew named Apollos, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. And he began to speak boldly, whom, when Aquilla and Priscilla heard, they took him to them and taught him the way of God more perfectly." Dr. Clark[e] says of this case: "This eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, who was even a public teacher, was Hot ashamed to be indebted to the instructions of a Christian woman, in matters that not only concern his own salvation, but also the work of the Christian ministry in which he was engaged. It is disgraceful for a man to be ignorant, when he may acquire wisdom of the meanest person or thing. The adage is good -- 'despise not advice even of the meanest.' The gaggling of geese preserved the Roman State." [46] This classification of Priscilla with mean persons and things and geese, by the Rev. commentator, and his simplicity in declaring that no disgrace, which is recorded by the sacred historian without apology or comment, would seem to indicate that the spirit of Eliezer still lingered about the churches.

That Christian women were teachers or ministers of the gospel, we have abundant testimony from Paul himself. In his letter to the Roman church, -- Rom. xvi, Paul writes, "I commend unto you Phebe our sister, who is a servant of the church at Cenchrea, that ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you." "Greet Priscialla and Aquilla, my helpers in Christ Jesus; unto whom not only I give thanks, but all the churches of the Gentiles." "Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labor in the Lord; the beloved Persis, who labors much in the Lord." These women were clothed also with the official authority of teachers and ministers of Christ, I. Cor. xvi, 15. Speaking of the house of Stephanas, Paul exhorts the Corinthian church to "submit yourselves to such, and to every one that helpeth with us and laboreth." Philip[p]ians iv, 3: "Help those women which labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other of my fellow laborers."

Some divines have attempted to explain away these evidences of woman's ministry in the early Christian church, asserting that these women were deaconesses, and labored and helped in temporal matters of the church, and ministered to the material needs of the apostles and evangelists -- as one elegantly expressed it, "made and washed their clothes, mended their stockings and sewed on their buttons." The deacons were chosen with reference to their spiritual gifts. Those set apart by the apostles were said to be "full of the Holy Spirit." Stephen was stoned to death preaching Christ with great eloquence, and power. Another, Philip, "ministered to the church in Samaria," preached Christ to the Ethiopian, and baptized him. The office of deaconess then, corresponding to that of deacon, implies authority to preach and baptize. That the ministry of these women was limited to temporal matters, as making and mending and washing, involves the conclusion that Paul's labors, and the mission of Christ even, occupied the same level; for he speaks of them as his helpers in Christ Jesus; as "laborers with him in the gospel -- not in laundry work. They were thanked, not only by him, for their labors, but by "all the churches of the Gentiles." Fancy these sisters itinerating to all the churches of the Gentiles with bags of stocking-yarn, needles and thread; the Roman church, men as well as women, in obedience to Paul's injunction, assisting sister Phebe in the business of repairing heels and toes, sewing on buttons, &c!

No doubt there were in those days, as in the present, women who looked after the "creature comforts" of the clergy, and Paul's mention of such is in appropriate terms. He says of one, "Greet Mary, who bestowed much labor on us." It may be fairly inferred, that the Mary here mentioned, was one of the good sisters, who made Paul and his bachelor assistants comfortable and tidy in person, as she bestowed her labor on them, and there is no record of her being a laborer or helper in Christ Jesus, or that the churches, as such, had anything to thank her for.

Great stress is laid upon texts declaring that the man is the head of the woman; as though headship implied absolute and irresponsible authority, -- a sort of dictatorship established for the special benefit of the dictator. But the term as used in the Scriptures, is representative, in that there is mutual consent associated with mutual dependence. The office of the head, as of each of the members, is dependent upon the consent and co-operation of the other members. Speaking of the church as a body, Paul says, I. Cor. xii, 14, 21, 22, 24: "For the body is not one member, -- not all head -- "but many. * * And the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of thee; nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more, those members of the body which seem to be more feeble, are necessary * *. God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honor to that which lacked, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care one of another." The head is here spoken of as a member, with the feet, of the body. The office of the head being one of membership, is controlled and dictated to by the needs and interests of the body, of which it is a member. And here it is important to remember, that the head is not used in the Bible to signify intelligence or wisdom, but as nourishing, cherishing, saving.

In both the old and new Testaments, wisdom and intelligence are associated with the heart. I. Kings iii, 9: "Give; therefore thy servant an understanding heart, to judge the people, that I may discern between good and evil." Prov. xvi, 21: "The wise in heart shall be called prudent. The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips." Prov. viii, 5: "O, ye simple, understand wisdom; and ye fools be of an understanding heart." [Prov.,] x, 8: "The wise in heart will receive commandments." John xii, 40: "He hath blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted." Rom. x, 10: "For with the heart man believeth to righteousness. Out of the heart are the issues of life." Eph. iv, 18: "Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart." The religion of Christ is embodied in love, which is the wisdom of salvation. Hence the heart is used to symbolize love, or the divine wisdom. Eph. v, 22 to 33: Paul uses the term head in the sense of saving, nourishing, cherishing. "Wives submit yourselves to your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church and he is the Savior of the body. Therefore, as the church is subject to Christ, so also let wives be to their own husbands in everything. (The version of the American Bible Union, but substituting the indicative mood for the imperative, changes the last clause from a command to the statement of a fact, thus: "But as the church is subject to Christ, so also are wives to their own husbands," &c.)

"Husbands love your wives even as Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it, * * * that he might present it to himself a glorious church, * * *. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church. For we are members of his body, of his flesh and of his bones; for this cause shall (will?) a man leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless" (that is, though I speak concerning Christ and the church,) "let every one of you, in particular, so love his wife even as himself, and the wife see that she reverence her husband." Paul, in using the relation of husband and wife to illustrate the unity of Christ and the church, sets forth the conditions of a divine marriage. The unselfish love which would lay down life to nourish and cherish is a perfect law of liberty to the wife, even as the love of Christ, through sacrifice of himself, makes free from the law of sin and death. To suppose a constrained submission on the part of any church, or any submission not involving the heart cooperation of the will, destroys the idea of that oneness with Christ which is the essential characteristic and condition of salvation, and a cardinal doctrine of the orthodox church.

As of Christ and the church, so of husband and wife. The office of the head is one of loving sacrifice; its authority limited to saving, nourishing, cherishing. Even as Christ in his infinity of love and wisdom, could not exercise any authority not for the perfecting of the church; so the husband, deficient in love and wisdom, may not exercise any authority contrary to the good of the wife. The perfection of the church, accomplished through his self-sacrificing love, is the reward and glory of Christ. The perfection of the wife is the glory of the husband; and his reward, if any wise the result of his thoughtful affection. And in this connexion it is worthy of note, that while earnestly and repeatedly exhorting husbands to love their wives, the apostle and his co-laborers nowhere exhort wives to love their husbands. It is as if, like Moses, they recognized the "hardness" of men's hearts, or the deficiency of affection and superior physical power, which would make them authoritative and intolerant. Thy love will cling to thy husband, and through it he will rule over thee, as predicted by God in Eden, seems to have been fully apprehended by Paul, who, to life from woman the curse of a usurped and selfish authority, exhorts husbands to love their wives, "even as themselves."

The term head is again used in a somewhat different, but kindred sense -- I. Cor., xi, 3: "But I would have you know that the head of every man is Christ and the head of woman is the man, and the head of Christ is God." Evidently the term head, as used in these several relations, has the same significance in each, otherwise the comparison fails. The headship of the man to the woman must compare with the headship of God to Christ. If, then, headship, as here used, implies pre-eminence of the husband over the wife in wisdom or authority, it implies the same in the relation of God to Christ, and destroys the orthodox doctrine of the equality of God and Christ, and also of their unity, if it implies, either in right or fact, the subjection (sequestration) of the judgment or will. If, however, we construe Paul's use of his term by his context, we have the idea of source or paternity and precedence in time -- in the relation of God to Christ as father; which idea is in harmony with the idea of the humanity of Christ, as sustained and nourished by the God-head; and also with Christ, as the "first fruits" and founder, as well as savior and nourisher of the church. "Adam was first formed, then Eve." "The man is not from the woman, but the woman from the man." Christ, "the seed of the woman," is head of the man; man, as first formed is head of the woman -- her predecessor and physical source. That the idea of headship, as used by the apostle, is inseparable from a unity of action that involves the consent of both head and heart, is evident from the whole tenor of his teachings.

It is certainly remarkable, that in none of the writings of the apostles, do we find any conferring of authority upon the husband -- any command to husbands to rule their wives. Christ recognizes the subjection of the wife -- Mat. xix, -- only to condemn it. If this injunction of submission to the husband were anything but a submission to existing custom, belonging to Paul's policy of "becoming all things to all men, that hereby he might save some -- as indeed it is inculcated that wives, by such submission may convert their unbelieving husbands, -- if it were a Christian relation to be perpetuated, he would have enjoined it upon husbands to rule their wives, as he does upon parents to rule their children. But he enjoins upon husbands only a love that would leave a loving wife nothing to submit to, nothing to obey but her own responsive sympathy for her husband.

In detailing the qualifications of bishops and deacons -- the only cases in which reference is made to the man's exercise of authority in the domestic relations, Paul says, I. Tim. iii, 2, 4, 12: "A bishop must be the husband of one wife * * *: One that ruleth well in his own house, having his children is subjection with all gravity." "Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well." Of the deacons' wives Paul says: "They must be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things." Not a word about bishops and deacons ruling their wives. For having made special mention of the children as subjects of authority, it is too "far-fetched" to suppose that such women as Paul deems necessary to the qualification of Christian men for bishops and deacons, are represented by the term "houses," either with or without the servants and retainers ordinarily belonging to a family "given to hospitality," &c. Neither does he remind these notable women of their duty to submit to their own husbands. May not the reticence of the apostle in these cases be due to the fact that their husbands being already saved by grace, no longer needed the martyrdom of wifely subjection to save them? Or, being equally "yoked -- reconstructed in Christ -- were these wives freed from the subjection that came by sin, by the hardness of men's hearts?

A Massachusetts D. D. quotes -- I. Peter, iii, 1, 2: "Likewise ye wives be in subjection to your own husbands, that if any obey not the word, they may also without the word be won by the conversation of the wives, while they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear," and adds: "Peter here gives us a reason for the subjection of the wife, that her chaste conversation, coupled with fear, might be the means of winning the husband to Christ, an endless good flowering from a short self-denial! [47] But it never occurred to the good man, that neither Peter nor Paul had given him material for broadening the marital skirts of these unbelieving husbands to cover converted husbands, deacons and Rev. D. D.'s with the mantle of authority over their wives. It should not be forgotten, that the Christian church repudiated the law, so called, of the Jewish church; only tolerating or practising such of its usages as policy or expediency seemed to require. Hence in all the apostolic injunctions to the disciples to submit and obey laws and customs at variance with the free spirit of the gospel of Christ reasons are given, and these reasons are invariably foreign to the right or justice of the authority to be submitted to, they are to obey "for the gospels' sake"; "in the Lord"; "as to the Lord"; "that the word of God be not blasphemed," &c.

As Dr. Clarke says of some commentators on the phrase, "power on her head -- they "have endeavored to force out a meaning by altering the text"; so it may be said of some translators, that to harmonize the reading of the text with the preconceived idea of woman's subordinate position, they have given a forced interpretation towards conceding her equal authority. [48] I. Tim. v, 14, Paul says, "I will that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house." The original of the word guide here used, is the same from which comes the English despot, and the text should read: "I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, rule the house." The translators make Phebe a servant of the church, Tychicus a minister of the church, yet in the original the same word is used to designate the office of each.

Having presented as briefly as the importance of the subject would allow, the history and teachings of the Bible, as regards the public and domestic relations of woman, it only remains to explain the policy of the apostles.

A careful consideration of the general policy of the apostles, will give us the key to Paul's injunctions of silence and submission to women, as found in his epistles to the churches and Timothy.

The disciples were few in number and less in influence. The principles of their religion were in direct conflict with the heathen or pagan governments under which they lived. The Jewish church from which they had seceded, was a bitter and vigilant enemy, had crucified the Christ, and informed against and persecuted his disciples to death. Under these circumstances, it was the policy of the apostles to submit to the laws and customs of the governments and people as they existed, so far as conformity with these was not disobedience to God. He taught avoidance of everything that would bring the principles of the Christian religion into disrepute, or invite collisions calculated to hinder the spread of these principles. Hence we find him remonstrating with Jewish believers -- who urged the circumcising of converted Gentiles -- that they would bind on them (the Gentiles) a yoke which neither themselves nor their fathers were able to bear. Yet he circumcised Timothy -- whose father was a Greek -- to make him an acceptable minister to the Jews who still clung to the law. Acts xxi, we read that Paul, having returned to Jerusalem, was gladly received by the brethren, who said to him, "Thou seeest brother, how many thousands of Jews there are who believe, and they are all zealous of the law; and they are informed concerning thee, that thou teachest all the Jews, who are among the Gentiles, to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs.

Do therefore, this, that we may say to thee: "We have four men who have a vow upon them, take them and purify thyself, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads, and all may know that those things of which they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but thou thyself, also, walkest orderly, and keepest the law." Paul did as advised, and tells us why he did it. I. Cor. ix, 19: "For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews. To them that are under the law as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law. To them that are without law, as without law, -- being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ -- that I might gain them that without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak. I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some; and this I do for the Gospel's sake."

What the apostle took upon himself, he enjoined upon others, "for the Gospel's sake." Having submitted to all these burdens of law and custom, without the gospel of Christ to comfort and sustain them, the apostle thought it a light matter to submit to them for a time, that the gospel might overcome all obstacles and become the religion of the whole earth. I. Cor. x, he says: "Give no offence neither to the Jews nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God, even as I please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved." In accordance with this policy, Paul enjoins on the disciples of both sexes, conformity to existing laws and customs -- not to perpetuate them; not because they were just and humane -- but that no conduct of theirs, in the relations they sustained to government or individuals, should give offense, or involve them in collisions tending to prejudice the principles they professed. For on these principles the apostle relied to undermine all tyrannies of the home, the church and the state, and to establish love as the rule of a regenerated world.

Having taught, that in Christ "there is neither male nor female, bond nor free, Jew nor Gentile, -- that God "is no respector of persons, -- the apostle was fearful that the disciples, both men and women, might use the liberty "wherewith Christ had made them free," indiscreetly; as indeed from sundry reproofs in his letters, it would seem they had already done.

Rom. xiii, Paul writes: "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers, for there is no power but of God; whosoever, therefore, resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God; and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation." Having thus defined the duty of the disciples in their relations to government, he speaks also to the believing bondmen. I. Tim. 6: "Let as many servants as are under the yoke, count their own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and his doctrine may not be blasphemed. And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren, but rather do them service." I. Tim. ii, 11, 12: "Let the woman learn in silence, with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence." Here the apostle makes reference to the Jewish ordinance of which Dr. Clark[e] speaks in his commentary. The Dr. says, "women were not permitted to teach or even ask questions in their assemblies." [49] It is no more difficult to reconcile this injunction of Paul's with his practice licensing women as his helpers and co-laborers in the gospel ministry, than to reconcile his teachings against the ceremonial law, with his circumcising of Timothy, or his purifying himself with the four men at Jerusalem, to conciliate the law abiding disciples. To all classes and both sexes, he taught conformity to the existing order of things, where, in his opinion, the sacrifice involved was a mere personal one and not a sacrifice of Christ's principles; for over and above all, was his command to "obey God rather than man."

While teaching that under the new dispensation "love is the fulfilling of the law," the apostle was jealous of any exhibition to the world of dissensions and disagreements among the disciples, as tending to destroy the church itself, in its then feeble infancy. In accordance with this view of the situation, he writes -- I. Cor. vi, 1, 4, 8: "Dare any of you having a matter against another go to law before the unjust and not before the saints? If then, ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church." (Query -- Did he mean the women by least esteemed?) "Now, therefore, there is utterly a fault among you, because you go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? Why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?" Here again the apostle enjoins upon the disciples to submit to be wronged; to submit to be defrauded, rather than expose the faith they professed to reproach and contempt. That the submission enjoined was only a temporary expedient for peace, until the principle involved in the command, "Owe no man anything, but to love one another," should have control of all hearts, is evident from the context. I. Cor. x, 24: "Let no man seek his own, but another's wealth." Even as the apostle enjoined upon wives submission for the sake of the gospel; and love upon husbands that they might refrain from the exercise of any authority, but the winning power of unselfish affection, so he exhorts the disciples to submit to be defrauded pecuniarily, to save the gospel church from scandal, but urges upon them a practise which, by preventing fraud and wrong, would save the necessity for such submissions, viz: "Let no man seek his own, but another's wealth."

Peter takes a similar view of the situation, and commends the same policy. I. Peter, 2: "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake, * * *. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men; as free and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as servants of God. * * * Servants be subject to your masters, with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the forward. For this is thankworthy if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully." No license is here given to oppression, for Peter's language implies that the infliction is wrongful. For the comfort and encouragement of these bondmen, Peter cites Christ as their great example of wrongful suffering "who did no sin neither was guile found in him; who, when he reviled reviled not again; when he suffered he threatened not, but committed himself to Him that judgeth righteously, * * * by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray, but are now returning unto the Shepherd and bishop of your souls." Having thus presented to the converted bondmen Christ as an example of saving forbearance, Peter adds -- iii, 1: "Likewise ye wives be in subjection to your own husbands, that if any obey not the word, they also may, without the word, be won by the conversation of the wives."

Whatever the conclusion as to the nature and obligation of the submission to husbands taught by the apostles -- by no logical inference can this submission be construed as subjecting women to men who do not stand to them in this relation. In each case the obedience is limited to "their own husbands." The submission which the apostles taught to unjust rulers, oppressive masters and domineering husbands, was a present necessity. The disciples were powerless themselves, to right the wrongs inflicted by existing laws and customs; and they were comforted and encouraged by the assurance that their forbearance would aid the spread of gospel principles and break down the partition walls of prejudice between Jew and Gentile; abolish caste; liberalize the government; make the slave a freeman, and woman, as "in the beginning," one in dominion and possession and responsibility with man. In these United States Christian men have substituted a representative for a monarchial government, forcibly ejecting the "powers that be" regardless of the "damnation" threatened by St. Paul; have taken their worldly differences before civil tribunals, in defiance of his injunction to submit them to those least esteemed in church; have freed four millions of slaves, notwithstanding St. Paul enjoined on the bondmen contentment with their lot, and cheerful service to their masters. It only remains for them to free woman from a political subjection based, as was their own, upon apostolic injunctions of policy. The apostle's command to obey -- not men -- but their "own husbands," is entirely irrelevant to the relations of men and women, as such, to each other and to government.

The advocates of woman's enfranchisement ask no legislation regulating the personal relations of husband and wife, as such, to each other. These relations, in the future, as in the past, will take their character from the culture, amiability and sense of duty of the parties. Enfranchisement represents to woman, as spinster, wife, mother, widow -- as to man -- justice; and justice means opportunity, home, children, bread, and the means and appliances for discharging every duty; for meeting every responsibility, in the fear of God and the love of man.


June 28, [1869]

Dear Fanny,

Grandma has so much to do she can't write you often: but she thinks a great many pretty things to you. And now I am going to write to you instead of your mother. Old Polly is a beauty, so fat and nice and very large. She has a beautiful heifer calf: its head and shoulders like her, the rest pied just like "Curley." My two sows, I had of Mr. Sorter, have 7 pigs each: one of them lost 4 and has 7 left: very nice large sows they are. Phebe had 4 babies. George killed 3 of them at my request: he thinks it a terrible waste of life though necessary. I have sent my ["]Bible position of Women["] to the [Christian Watchman and] Reflector. If they don't publish, [it is] to be mailed to your mother. Does she receive the Kansas "Commonwealth?"

The great dead elm that stood alone on the knoll, near the spring (inside our field) broke off 20 feet from the ground and [we] broke the smaller limbs up for stove & fireplace. There was a sapsucker's family -- 6 dear little birds fell with it; part were killed. The old one has a pointed red head with blue & white wings & comes every meal time to pick up the crumbs. She is here a great deal round the old stump that holds up our magnificant Wistaria. It often taps with its bill on the tree. Yesterday it flew up and tapped on the martin box. I call it Katie's [51] bird. So when Katie heard & saw it tapping she said "how do [you] do my bird? -- come in." We have told her the couplet "Bob White, Beans ripe." So when she heard the bird, another one with a nest near, calling "Bob White." "Bob White," she called, "Bob White are your beans ripe?" We have had old fashioned Kansas showers; washing out corn and potatoes. Geo[rge] had two days replanting to do. Everything grows finely: plenty of large wild gooseberries & my black raspberries are ripening & a lot there will be.

With much love I remain

[July, 1869]

[Editor Commonwealth:]

In previous communications I have shown that the Homestead Exemption law is unequal to woman, inasmuch as it takes one half from the widow where the youngest child is twenty-one years of age; and at any time previous, if she marries -- while the husband holds it during his life, subject to no such conditions. Also, that all personal property exemptions are vested in the husband. He can sell or mortgage, without the wife's consent, and stake at the gambling table or betting stand, the cows, provisions, beds and other household furniture, and thus defeat the intention of the law, and of her efforts, to keep a comfortable lodgment for herself and little ones.

I now propose to show that wives who hold neither property nor earnings in their own name, are paupers; the law requiring husbands to furnish them a comfortable support, just as it requires towns and counties to furnish a comfortable support for persons incompetent to support themselves.

To speak of the wife's right in the estate, real and personal, accumulated by the joint savings and earnings of husband and wife, is dealing in [legal] fiction; widowhood being absolutely necessary to give her any claim to hold, convey or use any portion of the same. The title deeds to such real estate are drawn to the husband and his heirs, consequently she has no control of it or its proceeds; and only a prospective claim to "dower," which may never become a possessory right, it being contingent upon her husband's death during her life. [53] As only a minority of husbands own real estate and die first, so only a minority of wives come in possession of "dower," which, in Kansas, is one half the estate, in fee simple. As the husband's death is necessary to perfect her right of dower, it follows that she has no title by which she can convey it during his life; and being deeded to him and his heirs, her decease, prior to his, forever bars her heirs, as such, from all right of succession to her share of earnings and savings in the estate. His children, by another wife, share equally with her own, in property thus accumulated by her industry and economy. Another wife may take her vacated position and the dower -- which our legislators claim makes her property rights equal to her husband's -- while other children, by a former husband, who had no claim to a home with her during her second marriage, have no share in the estate even at his decease.

All our laws, investing wives with property rights, come under the head of class legislation -- only certain classes being affected thereby. A class of wives hold property and earnings in their own right; such property they can convey, with the husbands; or without his consent, subject, as in the sale of his estate -- to the prospective claim of dower, he being entitled to one-half of her real estate if she decease first. But even these women are not equals with their husbands in property rights, for their joint earnings and savings are the husbands, to use, control and convey -- the real property only, being subject to her claim of dower. I have known many sales of estates by the husband, where the wife refused to sign the deed, not choosing to relinquish her prospective right of dower. But I have only known two cases where the wife's right of dower was perfected by the husband's death: -- in each the widow, by an expensive lawsuit, recovered the appraised value. Such is the law of real estate. Personal property, held in her own right, the wife can sell and use, without legal let or hindrance of the husband. But personal estate -- the stock and proceeds of the estate in common(?), is absolutely the husbands to sell; lose in endorsements; waste in riotous living; or give away, during his life; but he cannot by will void her right to the half of what remains -- unsold and unmortgaged, and unconsumed by expenses of sickness, &c., at his decease.

The law is more considerate to the children and even strangers; for they can receive gifts of him to the extent of half the real and all the personal property; while in law she cannot hold, as against creditors or heirs, a sucking calf -- his gift during life. To prevent the husband from defrauding his creditors by conveyances of property to the wife -- the State defrauds the wife of rights common to all other citizens -- the right to receive gifts and considerations where she renders both love and service. Many a man sees the injustice of the law and seeks to right the wrong by tender care of his wife, and a just provision for his widow -- too often with indifferent success. Many a woman, whose otherwise kind husband, withheld the means during his life, sorrowfully accepts her widow's dower, as the means of gratifying personal tastes and securing conveniences, comforts and economies -- to him unconsidered trifles. Do men ask the remedy I propose for the present invidious legal distinctions? It is that the wife be legally joint partner and proprietor in the common estate; no notes, endorsements or other obligations to be valid against her half of the same, without her signature.



Dear Helen --

It is so long since I have had a line from you, that I fear you are disable[d] in soul or body for the kindly office. How is your health? & how do you find time for photographing? and do you take any yet for pay? There, that will do for questions on that topic. Do you have plenty of fruit? of what kinds & do you put it up in cans? I put up peaches enough last fall for an eat every day all winter & have half as much left for this winter, which as there are few peaches & I could not afford to buy at the price -- is very fortunate. Gooseberries & raspberries have been & gone in abundance. Both berries are ripening -- how plenty they are I don't know. Mary and I have put up a nice little array of bottles &c. of the small fruits already. We have had & are having the wettest season I ever knew. In three weeks we have not had two successive days of dry weather.

Since writing the above I have been out & helped Mary "mow away" one load of clover & mowed one alone. The third load I fell thru the transient flooring -- in the lowest upper floor -- to the soft earth in the stable underneath -- a bunch of clover fell with and under me: my right arm looks badly bruised! but arnica tincture will set it right in a day or two. I find I hurt my hip or back or something so that it catches in setting my right foot forward. We have a tremendous growth of clover -- 5 acres -- and ditto oats -- 2? or 3 acres. Then Geo[rge]. has 4 acres [of] oats [in the] next field on shares with a neighbor. The oats & clover are badly lodged by the heavy rains & rotting in spots. It is fair today & looks like to be tomorrow. If it holds this week we will feel fine; for if nothing happens to prevent Geo[rge]. working he'll get thru it this week with some help.

Dear Relie -- We have been to Kansas City -- 2 weeks ago -- to get the children's &Geo[rge]'s & M[ary]'s pictures. The photos, came three days later & are very poor. I wrote the artist [that] we would return them & go again. They are too dark & indistinct. O, while I remember -- please give me the address of the Indian Chief whose photo you sent: a Chief of the Six Nations -- an educated, gentlemanly man, wants to write him. Now don't forget it, H[oward] is head & ears in work. The wheat is cut & very light. But he has big oats & clover too -- much as we have, & hard pressed to get help. When there is a fair day everybody wants everybody to help & it is difficult to get anybody. When I fell thro' the scaffold floor, Geo[rge]. jumped from his load & finding I was not badly hurt, exclaimed "that comes of working Sunday. I never work Sunday but I get hurt or something. I'm more careful than any other day & have been today. If I got thro today, it's the last time you'll catch me working Sunday, if every thing spoils."

That's Geo[rge]. and he'll work again next Sunday if it is really necessary to do so to save his hay or grain from wetting. You ask about his going to California. I have no idea [how] he can get there within two years. Mary's business cannot be settled before next fall -- a year -- perhaps in the summer of 1870. And then if you are not a fixture, there is no object in going so far to be left by himself. That is a reason I do not feel like selling here. My children wander from me: I am now too old to follow. I never can make another home. The years are few to look ahead: long, very long as I look back to girlhood. I like your offhand correspondence sufficient practice in that style to acquire quickness and facility in thought and expression -- is good: but one tires of it after awhile -- the writer I mean. Do you write to B[irsha]? She inquired some time ago why you did not answer her letter. Sis[ter] Mary I fear is near her end. [55] I have not heard in 5 weeks -- then A[urelius]. [56] did not think she could live a month. Do you get the Commonwealth? Little Helen [57] twisted her mouth out of all shape. What little girl is that with Grant? Thank Helen for the photos. Geo[rge]. wishes she could take ours. His is worse than Mary's. Katie's is best of all.


Aug. 14, [1869]

Dear Phoenix: --

Are the women of Vermont content with their position, legal and political? Many good men are not, I am certain, but they wait for women to make an earnest move in a matter which concerns themselves personally and directly. I recollect many years ago, while I was editing the Windham County Democrat, a conversation with my uncle, the late Hon. Peter R. Taft, [59] then of Townshend, in which he remarked "when I was a member of the Legislature I proposed to prominent members the amendment of the laws of which you complain, as barbarous and unjust. They laughed at me, asked if I had turned ladies' man, and suggested that it would be time enough for change when women asked it; that as long as they were satisfied, men had nothing to do with the matter." These were his words, full of significance to me then; a sharp rebuke to-day to every woman who comprehends, yet neglects to protest against the legislation which ignores or discriminates against her sex in the matter of rights. Doubtless this view of the case obtains yet in the minds of a majority of men, who if women expressed their wish in the matter frankly and with the earnestness becoming the subject, would feel it a duty to amend what they too regard as unjust legislation. Silence, they are pleased to regard as consent to a state of things which it will cost them some trouble and thought to amend.

I have been looking to see some recommendation from your Council of Censors, [60] touching the unconstitutionality and inexpediency of laws which deprive married women of rights secured to single women. Whether the right of suffrage be, or be not conceded, such a censorship is in point, and would contribute to speed justice -- if any censorship be productive to that end. [61] Part II, Sec. 42 of your constitution says: "The declaration of the political rights and privileges of the inhabitants of this State is hereby declared to be a part of the constitution of this commonwealth, and ought not be violated on any pretense whatsoever." There is a solemn and definite declaration, that the political rights and privileges of the inhabitants of the State, as contained in the Bill of Bights (Part I of the Constitution), ought not be violated on any pretense whatsoever. Are not women inhabitants of this State? Yet in defiance of this constitutional "ought not," their sex is made a pretense for excluding them from all political rights.

This Bill of Bights declares that "every person within this State, ought to find a certain remedy, by having recourse to the laws, for all injuries or wrongs which he may receive in person, property or character." Are not married women "persons?" Yet in defiance of this constitutional "ought" they are denied "recourse to the laws." Single women -- the same as men -- can prosecute for injuries to person, property and character, and thus find a remedy as certainly as men. In defiance of the constitutional provision against any "pretense whatsoever," marriage is made a pretense for violating the rights of women in person, property and character, to the extent that justifies legal commentators in speaking of the wife, as "dead in law." Where is the constitutional provision or permit by which marriage is made the guillotine of woman's legal existence? Marriage to woman is legal death. Her person, services and reputation are no longer hers to control or defend. He may have recourse to the law for injuries to her person, and recover damages on the ground of loss of services; he may have recourse to the laws and recover damages for libellous assaults on her reputation, as touching his honor. But if he, cowardly or maliciously, refuses to defend, or chooses himself to slander her good name, she is utterly without defense, for she is not allowed to sue in her own name. She is "dead in law." She cannot sue him, for he is the embodiment of her legal existence -- a legal sponge that has absorbed all her personal rights!

The bill of rights also declares that "every member of society hath a right to be protected in the enjoyment of life, liberty and property." Are not married women "members of society?" and is there any provision of the constitution stultifying itself, by providing "pretenses" under which a class of disfranchised members of society may be divested of their right to the enjoyment of life, liberty and property, and of recourse to law for their defence? It is falsifying fact to urge that in marrying, women consent to these violations of right. Not one in hundreds are aware of the legal helplessness and pauperism involved in the relation they enter. And those that are, consent as to the inevitable; -- to secure the enjoyment of a life of affection, trusting to other that human legislation for protection in the enjoyment of liberty and subsistence.

The laws in regard to children, despoil the wife of what is dearer than her own life -- a personal right to her children. Only the mothers of illegitimate children enjoy this right in Vermont, and they lose their control of the same -- and the children lose their right to their mother's care and support -- if they marry. For the service of the wife is due to her husband, as against the claims of her children even. Christian men lift up prayerful hands by the bed of the dying mother and ask God to spare her to her helpless little ones. Oh, if they would repeal the inhuman laws which virtually make them motherless while the mother lives; and give the children home rights and support in her services wherever given! If a stepmother is not more than a mother to her husband's children, the whole community criticise; if the stepfather only allows her children a home under his roof, he is wonderfully generous; if he refuse so much, the law which holds him under no obligation, preserves him from reproach. And yet he has, unwittingly perhaps, robbed her children of their right in her. Only experience can teach the suppressed anguish of the happiest wife, when she learns the utter rending of her maternal obligations and rights by a second marriage. Let the sons who have been thus bereft vote for woman's legal and political enfranchisement.

In conclusion let me say what no lawyer will venture to gainsay, -- that Vermont wives who hold neither property nor earnings in their own name are paupers -- on their husband's bounty -- the law requiring husbands to furnish thorn a comfortable, support, just as towns and counties are required to furnish a comfortable support for persons incompetent to support themselves; and each has the right to say where and how they will furnish such support. I frequently read in the Phoenix notices like the following. -- "Whereas Mary Ann, my wife has deserted my bed and board, this is to forbid all persons from harboring or trusting her on my account, A.B." One such advertiser in the Windham Co. Democrat, I recollect, sued and recovered for his wife's services and clothing, from a son by her former husband to whom she fled for a home and protection from his drunken abuse.

To speak of the wife's right in the estate, real or personal, accumulated by their joint industry and economy is [legal] fiction -- widowhood being absolutely necessary to give her any legal claim to hold, convey or use the same. The title deeds to such real estate are drawn to the husband and his heirs and assigns, consequently she has no control of it or its proceeds; and only a prospective claim to "dower" which may never become a possessory right it being contingent upon her husband's death during her life. Only a minority of husbands own real estate and die first, consequently only a minority of wives come into possession of "dower." To speak then of the wife's right of dower, is like speaking of the right of the solvent citizen to the pauper's support destitution and helplessness being as necessary to perfect his right to such support, as widowhood to perfect her right to dower. [62]

The husband's death being necessary to perfect her right of dower or make it a right at all -- it follows that she has no title by which she can convey it by will, or otherwise, during life, and being deeded to him, his heirs and assigns, her decease prior to his, bars her heirs, as such from all right of succession to her share of earnings in the estate. His children by another wife, or his relatives where they have no children share property thus accumulated by her industry and thrift; while her children by a former husband -- who by her marriage with him were legally barred from any claim to a home, support or care with or from her thro' this estate during her life -- have no share in it even at his decease. They are her heirs. The estate belongs to him and his heirs. He may give away his whole estate -- subject to dower in case he should die first -- but she cannot hold, as against heirs or creditors, a sucking calf, his gift during life. She is the only citizen who may not lawfully receive gifts and considerations where she renders love and service.


September 1st 1869

[Editor Commonwealth:]

Under the editorial head, "Subjugation of Women," you say, "It is with no little astonishment that we see that a man of [John Stuart] Mill's [64] character and reputation should attempt to prove that the whole course of legislation and the laws of society have been to hold woman in subjection to man." And in the uprightness of your own consciousness, you add, "We think that the experience and observation of most men would hardly show them the facts upon which to plead guilty to the charge." [65]

I have not had the pleasure of reading Mr. Mill's book, to which you refer; but allow me to say, that viewing the matter from a woman's standpoint of experience and observation, the truth lies with you both. Mr. Mill speaks of legislation and social laws in their general and inevitable results. Not being self-convicted as a participator in the making of laws for the subjection of women, you naturally revolt from the charge implied in his positions as personal to yourself. And this is the misfortune of our cause, that in protesting against the laws, we are placed in apparent antagonism with the whole law-making sex. Whereas if men would reflect they would see that we appeal and protest because of our belief in a class of men, who -- if they can be made to see their responsibility for the continuance of an oppression, which they would revolt from initiating -- would come manfully to the work of reconstruction.

Up to 1847, in this country, the whole course of legislation had been effectual to hold women in subjection, and with the legal rights since granted us, we are still the subjects and men the sovereigns; for we are governed without our consent being so much as asked. Enlightened public sentiment now revolts from the intention; hence, I would speak of woman's subjection in the present, as the effect of existing laws. I believe with you, Mr. Editor, that woman's present legal and political status is due in part to the conserving of barbarous laws and customs. But I further contend that our Christian civilization is mainly responsible, both for woman's subjection and for the rights and privileges she now enjoys. I deny that there is any antagonism of interests between the sexes not created by unequal laws, and I pray and labor for the extinction of these laws, because I believe that the practical unity of the sexes -- as of the races -- in the development and perfection of society and government, is of fundamental importance. But women, no more than men, can rely upon the "chivalrous spirit of respect and regard" for protection of their interest. I was never an admirer of the quixotic chivalry which, in its dark ages, spent life and its glorious possibilities fighting wind-mills honor of women left to pine and toil in solitary homes, nor am I satisfied with the offspring of that same chivalry, which honors and protects the women of to-day by taking off its hat, giving its seat, or carrying a feather-fan for the ladies of its set, but leaving the poor, overwhelmed, ill-clad laboring-women to contend with the drunkard-maker and his backers for bread and shelter.

"Mrs. Nichols," said a noble German, in the early days of our movement (1850), "you can tell me what the women want, for your name is in the account of this Women's Rights Convention. It seems to me that the American women have all the rights. I see the men carry the babies and the bundles, give the women the best places everywhere, and give them their seats and stand themselves. "What more do the women want?" He listened while I spoke of the laws merging the legal existence of the wife in the husband, so that her person, her clothing, her entire services (earnings) and children were his. That in consequence of this alienating from herself, and giving to him, her person and all her personal rights and interests, to use and control, she was barred from recourse to the laws in her own name. All suits for injuries to her person and reputation must be brought by him. If he, cowardly or maliciously, refused to defend her she had no recourse. He might himself, through jealously, or to bring discredit on her relations of his abuse, blacken her fair frame, and she could not arraign him at the bar of justice for such wrong. They were one, and he that one; the law said so; and legal writers speak of her as "dead in law!" My German friend held his peace till I had pictured the widow's miserable "dower," when he sprang from his seat, paced the floor with rapid steps, and turning suddenly, exclaimed, with indignant sarcasm in his emphasis: "I see, I see, the courtesy be instead of the rights. It is not so in my country," etc.

Courtesy is partial, uncertain, and bestowed on the least needy. Southern "chivalry" enslaved women, and made merchandize of its own sisters and daughters. Rights are available for the protection of all. Give us rights, then; they are the birth-right of all. For the "courtesy," trust us for courteous acknowledgment. But the "chivalrous spirit -- that old-world servitor of despots, whose ghost found kinship in the Southern slaveholder's halls -- is forever laid in a bloody grave and well nigh overgrown with equal rights, planted by the beneficent hand of universal love. Let it rest, Mr. Editor; let it rest.

I have said that, under our Government, Christian civilization was mainly responsible for woman's subjection, and, that this subjection was intentional with its framers. It is certainly unnatural that the christianity which necessarily works out universal freedom, should be charged with petty despotisms. But it is nevertheless true, and due to the fact that the partially enlightened reason, which "saw men as trees walkin," apprehending little more than the "letter," came short of the "spirit" of the "word" of God. Hence human slavery, the offspring of barbarism, was conserved under Christian governments, as an institution of the Bible, until enlightened reason apprehended the unity of the spirit of Divine love, and cast out the unclean thing. So woman's subjection, effected by barbarism, has been perpetuated by christian institutions, as ordained of God and taught by St. Paul.

All that really stands in the way of woman's political equality now, is the waning belief that the Bible is opposed to it, and the prejudice engendered by customs germane to that belief. Our Puritan ancestors, who aimed, above all things, to place governments on a Bible basis, believed implicity in man's sovereignty over woman, and so framed their laws as to secure him in a condition of supremacy. How far this phase of the English common law was due to the close connection of Church and State, I cannot say. But it is worthy of note that the States of the Union settled originally by less devoted Bible religionists, secured to woman rights unknown to Northerners.

The women of Louisiana and South Carolina, with no amendment to original legislation, have more rights to-day than the women of Kansas and New York. A member of an orthodox Church, I heard from my childhood the doctrine of woman's subjection taught from the pulpit, as a social and political condition, her right to speak, pray and vote in the Church, being taught and practised by the Baptists of New England. In the beginning of our movement in Vermont, in 1847, there were two objections urged as conclusive against either legal or political rights for women.

The secular objection that it would "create separate interests and breed contention in families," was almost universally urged by men. The religious class said, "It is an infidel doctrine, for it denies the Bible." "The Bible teaches the subjection of the wife to the husband, but if you give her independent property rights, you make her independent of him for the means of subsistence, and the subjection becomes a nullity." Christian man or women who dared to speak or write for woman's legal or political enfranchisement were from the first denounced as infidels, and as the unbaptized came first to advocate the justice of our cause -- not being held by the fear of losing membership -- we learned to sympathize with the Samaritan, and stand somewhat aloof from the Levite.

In those days every orthodox congregation had a sermon from one or the other of the texts: "The man was not made for the woman, but the woman for the man;" "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands as unto the Lord;" "As the church is subject unto Christ, so let wives be to their own husbands in everything;" "I suffer not a woman to teach nor to usurp authority over a man;" was construed to cut us off from the political right of self-government. A friend of mine, member of a Congregational church, whose pastor preached to his people from the last text, was permitted to repeat a text of Scripture in the vestry conference meeting. It happened that only female members were present, so after praying and talking himself out, the pastor, to fill up the usual time, told the sisters they might "repeat a text of Scripture, or a verse of a hymn from memory." They must not speak their own religious thoughts in the place where, each season, they talked merrily over the good things of a "donation visit!"

In another town, the pastor -- stirred to unusual vigilance by the the spectre of "woman's rights, -- declined the offer of a committee of the sisters to assist him in "carrying on" his conference meetings, and discontinued them altogether. He had labored in vain to open the mouths of the brethren, but they remained dumb, not feeling themselves competent to deify. Out of patience, at last he gave public notice that he should discontinue the meetings after one more unsuccessful effort. The sisters held a private meeting for consultation, and the committee offering their assistance was the result. The church might die out; the spirit of God might look in vain for an assembly of "two or three gathered together in his name," but "let the woman learn in silence; for I suffer not a woman to teach," etc. Now, scarce one of all these clerical opponents but advocates our cause, and thanks God for the freedom of the church, already accorded to woman under the combined influence of our movement and a better understanding of christian principles of right and duty.

Still unenlightened christian civilization throws itself across the path of progress. We have at this time four prominent D. D's. of different orthodox or creeds, stirring "the muddy pool of politics," Bible in hand, to show the unfitness and impiety of woman's enfranchisement. That the Bible is failing them, I infer from their desperate calls upon their Gods and buried seers of barbarian ages. One of these divines publishes a sermon entitled "Woman Suffrage from a Bible Stand-point," in which he quotes half a column from "Timothy Titcomb," alias Dr. [Josiah Gilbert] Holland, and not one word of Bible to sustain his text! Thank God, the Bible is failing the opponents of the universal right of self-government. Thank God, the evangelical advocates of woman's subjection -- as in the case of human slavery -- are driven at last outside the Bible for its defense, have dropped St. Paul for "Timothy Titcomb," and snubbed the revolutionary fathers with grave denials that taxation involves the right of representation; that self-government is an inherent right, and "the consent of the governed" necessary to "just government." Such an equipment reminds us of an old "Queens Anne" that does infinitely more mischief from the breech than the muzzle.


[TO __________] [66] [WYANDOTTE, KANSAS] Sept. 30th 1869

Dear __________

Your cheerful letter was a ray of sunshine just when needed. "How do I do?" As well as I can. But the how which you question set me to answering, opened up my whole present life & so of every human being. It is the how things are done, said & looked, that makes the atmosphere of life its changes. I do as diligently & earnestly as ever. But since Bertia left my sky is leaden & I do in such sad and hopeless mood, that I am constantly grieved with myself, I seem to have lost power to make sunshine, but I am thankful to have retained my keen sense of its value: -- that stimulates to efforts at cheerfulness and wins many a stray sunbeam.


[October, 1869]

[Editor Commonwealth:]

A fine, cool October evening, Mr. Editor, and your correspondent is making the most of it. A cup of fragrant Japanese, a pumpkin sweet and a Yankee doughnut -- the little writing table drawn before the open fire place, which with its cheerful blaze and grateful warmth invite and hold one, as if by a spell, from the forgetfulness of slumber -- and the old days come again. Faces that used to bend with us over the dying embers, in loving and confidential chat, take their places as of yore, and we are -- young again? Ah, no! for we cannot forget that the years have laid some in the grave, buried some in life-long sorrow, and put long, weary miles between the few that remain. But the charm of the old fire-place, saddened though it be, is beyond the reach of time and grief and care. It is charged with a thousand memories, every one of which is rich in hope, love, fun, or pictorial illustrations done in the brightest moods of imagination. In just such October evening of our young girlhood, we surreptitiously buried the hoarded acorns of our sisters and a visiting cousin, who had been telling them ghost stories, in the glowing embers; again we see the girls rush screaming from the room soon to return for a hearty laugh over the exploded ghosts. Beautiful flowers have long shed their fragrance over that cousin sleeping in Mt. Auburn.

Ah! the apple-parings, the pumpkin rings, the knitting and mending, with books, papers and animated discussions, that filled our happy evenings when fire places -- better than "old wine -- enlivened soul and body. It seems to me, that the present generation must forever lack something of the mellowing influence of the open fire place -- parboiled, coddled, half smothered by the black demon of the furnace, its sociabilities turn on creaking hinges, and its memories roam ill defined in reeking camp smoke. The charm of the hearth light has held many an one from the streets, the saloons, the way of death. Tell me, ye whose sunny locks reflected the cosy hearth light of long ago, am I not right? "Ter-hoot, ter-hoo-oo," answers that funny bird, scandalized by some gloomy old poet as solemn. "The solemn owl!" There's not a more humorous old fellow keeps tryst in the greenwood, than he. And how can he be solemn -- serenading the hen roost, and anticipating with his responsive mate, a dainty feast of chickens? We first made his acquaintance in Kansas, down on the Ottawa. We had heard, but never heeded him before. Lawrence was besieged by the border ruffians, the big boys were gone; only the little boy sleeping in his berth. The fearful silence was a last broken by the ter-hoot and ter-hoo-oo of answering voices. There were then sociability, companionship and sympathy in the grand old wood that half encircled our log cabin. We eased our anxious heart with a hearty ter-hoot! ter-hoo-oo! for the midnight darkness held its beautiful mystery of love, as against border ruffianism. The cheerful owl! leave him a green tree and a fat chicken; it is no more -- hardly so much -- as you expend in entertaining guests less agreeable and innocent.

Hark! the midnight voices thicken. The wild geese are migrating southward, the cocks are crowing and my fire burns low. That hickory back-stick takes me to life in the sunshine -- the falling nuts, the purple grapes swinging from the tree top, and the rabbit leaping through the underbrush with Phebe Terrier in noisy pursuit. Come back, Phebe, our basket is full -- nuts, grapes, paw-paws -- let us go home now and come again to-morrow. The sun is low in the west. Yon half naked hickory has suddenly leaved out in black, and we must stay and hear the blackbirds that sung "our Michigan's shore" so long ago, and have come now to sing in young Kansas. What are they singing? Ah! they chatter now -- all talk at once -- that is because the mother birds are engaged in the discussion. It is a conversation. They are deliberating on preparation for winter quarters and there is a difference of opinion about the location. It is settled, and again they sing accord. Come, Phebe, home and the bright fire, and the fragrant Japanese, and a paw-paw, and -- and --


Oct. 5th, 1869

[Editor Commonwealth:]

Now that the subject is being agitated of removing the Capital of the Nation to the centre of population, it seems a fit time to propose other national changes, suggested by the due appreciation of are fitness of things.

I attended a district school meeting last week, in which the question at issue, was -- "a male or female teacher." For the first time, the women of the district came out to vote. "Male" carried the day, and when the result was announced, one of the gentlemanly voters exclaimed in triumph, "we can wear our breeches yet!" and his compeers applauded the sentiment. This was a new phase of the matter to us. We were not before apprised that the wearing or winning of the bifurcated garment was involved in the result of the vote; but the remark had a familiar ring, and set us thinking. It brought to mind the generous welcome of a Burlington, (Vt.) co[n]temporary when it was announced that "Mrs. Nichols held the editorial pen of the Windham County (free) Democrat -- ending with the remark, "that of course he did not mean to endorse womens' wearing the breeches."

About a year later the House of Representatives surprised us by an invitation to speak before it in behalf of a petition for women to vote in school matters. A member, who cast the only dissenting vote, made it unanimous with the gallant remark, "let the lady come and make herself as ridiculous as possible, and as soon as possible, but 'I don't believe in this scramble for the breeches.'" [69] I remember, too, that ever since I was old enough to notice the fact, it had been a common remark with men, that such, and such women, supposed to influence their husbands, "wore the breeches." The charge has met us from the professional man to the hod-carrier, in every movement to secure to ourselves the means and the right of self government, that we were scrambling for the breeches. Colored men and white men, alike set up the cry for their breeches, as against the amendment proposed in our Constitution in '67. From all which applications of the phrase, Mr. Editor, it is evident that the bifurcated garment, by common consent of the sovereign people, symbolizes male supremacy or masculine authority. In view of this subject, and the antiquity and universality of the use of the term, as emblematic of male government, I suggest that the Roman-beaked bird be erased from the national escutcheon and breeches substituted.

Also, that the women of the States petition the several State legislatures to take immediate action in the matter, to the end that perfect unity and fitness obtain in the forms and figures that symbolize principles and that our diplomatic and other official papers may signalize the fact, that this American Republic is a government of breeches. The adoption of the XVth Amendment (which I heartily endorse) drawing a line between all men and all women as sovereigns and subjects, makes such a change exceeding appropos. [70] It might be well to express the whole truth by encasing the proposed symbolic figure in hoops -- a la Jeff Davis -- as indicating that subjected woman keeps them in repair.


[October, 1869]

[Editor Commonwealth:]

In a late number of The Commonwealth [72] I find a report of the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Carrie B. Winans vs. Judges of Election, for rejection of her vote for State and County Superintendents of Public Instruction, in the following words: "Female persons, with all the legal qualifications for electors, except that they are not males, are not legally entitled to vote for either State or County Superintendents of Public Instruction." I regret that the grounds, in brief, of this decision are not given, as I take it for granted that the learned Court supported the same by some sort of reasons. [73]

If the phrase "legally entitled" applies to legislative action only, it would seem that the question of constitutional right was not considered. But supposing the constitutional right to be an issue, which is the fact, I beg leave to deny the soundness of this decision of our Supreme Court.

Up to the winter of '68 our right to vote in district school meetings of any kind was extensively denied, and where our right to vote in all other school district affairs was conceded, our vote in the matter of bonds and school houses was often refused. The legislature of '68 passed, as I understand it, (I have not the law at hand for reference) a declaratory act recognizing our constitutional right to vote in all district school affairs, bonds, &c., included. [74] This act went no farther than the right to vote in the regulation of common schools. It did not touch our right to vote in the formation of schools, which is a fully secured by constitutional provision, as is our right in their regulation when formed.

The Constitutional provision reads: "The Legislature in providing for the formation and regulation of schools shall make no distinction between the right of males and females," Now nothing can be made clearer than that our right to vote in the "formation," as in the regulation of schools, is equally assured under this clause. The constitution does not leave it for the legislature to say what women may or may not do. It prohibits it from making any distinction between the rights of males and females. Under its provision women have the same right as men to elect and be elected to any office involving the formation and regulation of schools. But the declaratory act of '68, and the decision of the court in the case of Mrs. Winans, distinguish between males and females by ignoring the right of the latter in the formation of schools. Article 1, Section 2, of the Constitution, in declaring the Executive Departments of the State, includes the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, and designates that they "shall be chosen by the electors of the State." This may be construed to cut off the right of women to vote for State Superintendent.

But no such provision attaches to the election of County Superintendent, whose office is limited in its duties to the formation and regulation of schools. It is the duty of the County Superintendent to organize or form the district school, and unless women are allowed to vote for this official, they have no part in the formation of the school, for neither men nor women have any vote in school affairs till the County Superintendent has organized the school; a vote for the school district officials is not a vote in the formation of the school. A School Board without a school is an absurdity. Even if a vote for the District Board were an exercise of the right of forming the school, it could not lessen our claim to the exercise of our right in all else that pertains to the formation of the school equally with the men, the Legislature being prohibited from making any distinction between the rights of males and females.

Having yielded the point of our right to vote in the regulation of the school when formed, the State is bound to concede our right to participate in its formation by a vote for County Superintendent. Further, the declaratory act of the Legislature being limited to a vote in the regulation of schools, if not even a cob-web in the way of our exercise of the constitutional right for their formation. Whatever rights man may legally exercise in school matters women may, for the Legislature is forbidden to make any distinction between them on account of sex, the Supreme Court of Kansas to the contrary not withstanding.


December 7, 1869

[To the Editor of The Commonwealth:]

Reader dear, do you ever dissipate in your thoughts -- lift the hatches and wander whithersoever they lead? Do you ever in these free and easy moods seek companionship by inviting "I," or some absent friend, to wander with you? Then here is a free ticket; let us go.

The fire burns cheerily. The lamp is winking its best to outshine it and throw light on the coat just mended for the big boy, who will soon come with his "good evening, mother," and a kiss. He seldom forgets the latter, and each one brings back the little petticoated fellow, that used to put his stool by mothers easy chair and climb for it. Our little children! I wonder if every mother of grown up boys and girls has just as many little ones, playing in the sunshine or tucked away in crib and trundle bed? And when, perchance, the grown ones pain by thoughtless neglect, or wound by ill-considered words or acts, the little doubles -- their angels -- are always before our face to plead for forgiveness.

It is always pleasant to do for our children, but when they have made homes of their own and cease to be our daily care, to knit them warm stockings and mittens, cheats us into a happy forgetfulness of separated life and its desolate places. But that coat. How association will transform and dress up everything it touches! That odd patch, now, carries me back to '55 and the log cabin and the little tent on the Middle Ottawa. Again I see the smiling face, half comic, but all earnest, and hear the exclamation, "Why, mother parti-colors are the colors of the Territory. These pants" (holding up a seatless, kneeless pair) "must last me all next winter with the doeskins." To my excuse for having given them to S. for mops, that I had no pieces like to match them, had come the reply, "parti-colors are the colors of the territory." Neither the boy nor his mother then recognized that the words were prophetic. But they were so, for from them till now odd patches have been characteristic of town and country.

A class of persons whose occupation or whose pride eschews patches, is found in our towns and cities, as in all populous centers, but neither culture nor the example of the thriftless can win the mass of Kansas workers from patches; and as most of men's garments are bought ready-made, the patches must needs be odd. Whoever travels in the rural districts may observe that parti-colors are the colors of the State, as they were of the territory. It is a good State to immigrate to, and bring plenty of "old clo'" and patches. How often I look back and sigh for the old garments that have gone and are going to mops in eastern homes! Perhaps it is an idiosyncrasy of mine, but mending a wornout garment till it is "almost as good as new" makes it more comfortable and very nice looking in my eyes. Kansas experience has only added practice to an inherent trait -- a penchant for patching, letting in the new to repair the old and worn out. And that reminds me of old Mrs. _________, of Vermont, who thought "a shoe looked better with a neat patch on the toe." Ah, leather was durable then, and the shoemaker, if he did "steal enough custom leather to shoe his children," did his work well.

What a medley life is, done up in separate chapters, but their unity preserved by identity of feeling; the loves, the dislikes, the griefs and joys attached to all its tenses; a myriad of petty cares and vexations torment one till some monster sorrow swallows the petty, or some real hindrance compels a struggle that puts to flight the imaginary. Hark! "I fowt in the Mixican war, I'm a furriner, and I fowt for land for furriners; I didn't fight for the d -- d nagurs." It is neighbor B., a hard working, industrious man, when sober. He has been to town selling his potatoes, and as usual, when drunk, he is fighting over his Mexican campaign, swearing and declaiming at the top of his voice. Soon there will be the screams of his children, turned out into the cold to escape his fury, and the loud expostulations, complaints and screams of his wife, mingled with oaths and curses, that make the night a bedlam. Some time since he sold his new milch cow, and took half the proceeds to town to purchase flooring for his cabin. He was tempted into a saloon, scattered his money with a free hand, and came home minus money, lumber and his senses.

Again and again is this scene repeated; the family are robbed of bread and necessary clothing, and where is the remedy? Quindaro township, in which he lives, allows no liquor selling; but Wyandotte, second class city, a majority of whose inhabitants are opposed to license, is controlled by a majority of its city council, who favor whisky selling, and, of course, whisky drinking. Such is the result of exempting our cities from the petition law, under which women have an equal voice with the "white male" in the matter of licensing liquor selling. [76] The whisky demon, banished from our towns, is made free in the cities to stand by the market and every place of business necessarily frequented by townsmen, to rob them of the returns of their labor, and send them to their families paupered brutes! Could women legislate so cruelly, so wrongfully!

Grandmother used to say, "There is nothing like economy in a family." Adding my observation to grandmother's, I would say there is nothing like economy except taxes. Taxes absorb the fruits of economy and leave the larder bare. "What nice, rich butter you make; I wish I had a cow and could make my own butter. Hens, too; a roast chicken or a boiled egg, with bread and butter, are so nice for breakfast." For breakfast, my friend? Yes; but the farmer has to sell all these to get from his income means to pay his taxes. The taxes take butter from his bread, sugar from his coffee, -- if he drinks it, -- and make skim milk, beans, pork and potatoes luxuries. We're in luck if we have a spare chicken, for paper and postage.

Correspondence with friends is the luxury of luxuries, and plain bread, with the accustomed newspapers, or a new book, is sweeter than any refinement of cookery, if I must choose between. Our ten per cent, penalty, and our 50 per cent. per annum on delinquent taxes, have an unchristian look. The penalty falls due before the farmer has had time to turn his produce into its money value. His sales must generally be made in a glutted market, when a common necessity compels a common sacrifice. The Vermont law deducts four per cent. from taxes paid before a specified time, which is so much deducted from the tax, and puts the tax-payer in good humor with his government. He can afford to make the requisite sales at four per cent. less to meet his taxes. The bump of "human nature" is large in Vermonters.

The fifty per cent. per annum law of our last legislature was a god-send to usurious money-lenders, who can now advance their rites from twenty to thirty and forty per cent. and even higher; for what will not a man pay to save his home. [77] But the fifty per cent. law was a compulsory measure, designed to affect non-resident land owners, who could save money by leaving their taxes unpaid, and using their funds at twenty-five to thirty per cent. profit in other directions. Yes, my friend, I know it was urged and carried on that ground, while the opponents of the bill plead as stoutly, that it would bear heavily on citizens of moderate incomes and little ready means. And the latter were right. I think the principle of the bill is unjust and its practical bearing eminently impolitic. I said it had an unchristian look. If it is "better that ten guilty escape than that one innocent person should be punished," the bill is anti-christian, the coercions intended for non-residents really throwing into the hands of the residents, "land sharks" and usurers, the hard-earned bread of the widow, the orphan, and the immigrant with all his improvements to make, and the incalculable expenses of his new and unaccustomed conditions of climate, soil and society to meet. I know A., B. and C. who had to let last year's taxes lie over for this season's cop.

The citizens who are making improvements and opening farms are increasing the wealth of the State at an expense to themselves, which leaves them no surplus, after, to pay a tax, which the non-resident or the resident owner of unimproved lands finds no difficulty in meeting. The improvements -- before they bring any money return, -- increase the value of the unimproved land several hundred per cent. and should be exempt from the operation of a law admitted to be exorbitant, and only justified by its friends as a rod for the truant from duty. No principle of justice inflicts suffering on the well-deserving to reach the ill-deserving. But I have got fast in taxes; our ramble is ended, reader.


(Part Six, the Clarina I. H. Nichols Papers of 1870-1872, Will Appear in the Summer, 1974, Issue.)


JOSEPH G. GAMBONE is a member of the manuscript and archives staff of the Kansas State Historical Society. He wishes to acknowledge his indebtedness to Vivian Bryan, Vermont State Library at Montpelier, T. D. Seymour Bassett, University of Vermont at Burlington, and Eva J. Leech, Brooks Memorial Library at Brattleboro, Vt., for their assistance in gathering these papers.

1. Topeka Weekly Leader January 14, 1869.
2. An unsuccessful attempt was made in 1869 to petition the legislature for the passage of another constitutional amendment granting the elective franchise to women. The following petition was published in several Kansas newspapers in early January, 1869: "The undersigned, adult citizens of Kansas, do hereby petition your Honorable Body to repeal all legal distinctions based on sex, and not called for by the constitution under which you act. Also that you provide for the constitutional enfranchisement of the women of the State by submitting the question at the next general election. -- Ibid. For the petitions submitted to the legislature, see "Kansas State Legislature Papers, 1869," archives division, KSHS.
3. The finance and revenue provisions of the Lecompton constitution allowed for "equal and uniform" taxation and "all property on which taxes shall be levied shall be taxed in proportion to its value. -- Wilder, Annals of Kansas, p. 184. A survey of Kansas territorial newspapers failed to uncover any hostility toward the tax provisions of the Lecompton constitution. The 1858 territorial legislature passed a law for the assessment and collection of taxes. This legislation caused little negative reaction in the territory. For the 1858 law, see Laws of the Territory of Kansas, 1858, pp. 349-378.
4. The 1861 revenue law authorized the levy and collection of "a tax of three mills on the dollar upon all property subject to taxation, and an additional tax of fifty cents upon every white male person between the ages of twenty-one and fifty. -- General Laws of the State of Kansas, 1861, p. 246. The legislature also passed two laws protecting the personal property of widows and minor children and securing economic relief for widows. -- Ibid., pp. 297-298.
5. In an editorial on the suffrage question, Richard B. Taylor, editor of the Wyandotte Commercial Gazette, asserted: "We don't propose to argue the right of the women of Kansas to the elective franchise. The day has gone by for that. We only ask now that insult be not added to injury, by members of the Republican party in our State Legislature refusing to take such statutory obstacles as at present exist, out of the way of their exercising that right. -- Wyandotte Commercial Gazette, January 16, 1869.
6. Ibid., March 6, 1869.
7. Stephen A. Cobb, mayor of Wyandotte, was defeated in the 1868 general election for state senator from Wyandotte county by Charles S. Glick. Defeated by a mere five votes, Cobb contested the election and petitioned the senate for a hearing. A detailed senatorial investigation reversed the election results and declared Cobb the duly elected senator from the 12th senatorial district. For additional information the contested election, see Senate Journal, 1869, pp. 11, 13, 51-57, 61, 109-110; Wyandotte Commercial Gazette, November 7, 1868, January 2, 23, 1869; Leavenworth Daily Commercial, January 21, 1869.
In reference to Cobb's defeat at the general election, the editor of the Commercial Gazette noted: "Had an unexceptionable man been nominated by the Republicans, he would have taken a very large Democratic vote as against Glick, the Republicans would have moved forward with unanimity and enthusiasm to the end of the campaign, as they did up to the time of the convention, and would most undoubtedly have elected their whole County ticket triumphantly. -- Wyandotte Commercial Gazette, November 7, 1868.
8. A thorough search of the 1869 senate and house journals failed to produce the petition for the "dismemberment" of certain land from the city of Wyandotte. However, on February 4, 1869, Senator Cobb introduced a bill for the detachment of certain land from the city of Wyandotte. Under extensive political pressure, Cobb withdrew his bill after its second reading. -- Senate Journal, 1869, pp. 245, 267, 314; Senate Bill No. 77, "Kansas State Legislature Papers, 1869." For contemporary editorial comment, see Wyandotte Commercial Gazette, February 13, 20, 27, 1869; Leavenworth Daily Commercial, February 10, 1869.
In reference to the "dismemberment" petition, the editor of the Commercial Gazette wrote: "We are not disposed to find fault with people owning farms in the outskirts of the city, for making all reasonable efforts to get rid of taxation. It is natural, and generally considered, allowable, for private individuals to do all things within the bounds of reason, law and good neighborhood, to promote their own pecuniary interests. We are even willing to admit that it is a hardship for several of our citizens who own farming land within the city limits to pay the heavy city taxes, and we would not blame them if they would even go so far as to sell some of their land to avoid paying taxes on it. But the case is far otherwise with the city's special agent, the Mayor, elected and sworn to protect the interests of the city. Even if his own private ends were to be forwarded ever so largely by sacrificing the interests of the great mass of his constituents, that fact would be no shadow of excuse for such a flagrant breach of trust. -- Wyandotte Commercial Gazette, February 13, 1869.
9. In attacking Cobb's actions in the senate, the editor of the Commercial Gazette asserted: "We censure men who commit public wrongs, or make public nuisances of themselves, and do it in a public manner, through the columns of the journal which we control. But we do not thus censure men, who, being private citizens, have only done us a private, individual wrong." The editor concluded: "We can prove by his own admission, that his conduct on this occasion was very contemptible. Many other facts having a similar bearing could be given, but it is unnecessary. We only wish to show that it is from no feeling of personal hate, as the [Kansas State] Record charges, that we censure him. It is for his public conduct as a representative man, or one seeking to become such. -- Ibid., February 27, 1869. For the editorial in the Kansas State Record defending Cobb, see the issue of February 19, 1869, cited in ibid.
10. The 1867 state legislature extended the incorporate limits of Wyandotte to include four sections of land to the west and south of the city. For the law, see The Laws of the State of Kansas, 1867, p. 284. The legislators from Wyandotte county who supported the bill were Isaac B. Sharp in the senate and Dan Killen in the house.
11. In denouncing Cobb, the editor of the Commercial Gazette asserted that Cobb's loyalty should have been to the city of Wyandotte: "In regard to the matter of the bill which Mr. Cobb introduced for dismembering this city, it is not, perhaps, too much to say that he exhibited not only a lack of fidelity to the city's interest, of which he is the special guardian, as Mayor, but also a want of ordinary good sense and shrewdness. The thing looked as if he had either been hired with thirty pieces of silver to betray his constituents, or that his over-anxiety to benefit his brother-in-law, who owns a large tract of land in the city, had caused temporary blindness to come upon him, so that he could not see what was for his own immediate advantage. -- Wyandotte Commercial Gazette, February 27, 1869.
12. Mrs. Nichols refers here to a public meeting that was held in Wyandotte on February 8, 1869, to denounce the actions of Senator Cobb and to demand the protection of the territorial interests of the city. James McGrew and Captain Harris were appointed to go to Topeka "to see that the interests of the city should not suffer by the passage of the bill introduced by our unworthy or incompetent Mayor, and acting State Senator. -- Ibid., February 13, 1869.
James McGrew came to Kansas in 1857 and settled in Wyandotte county. He served in the state legislature and was elected lieutenant governor of Kansas in 1864. He later served two terms as mayor of Wyandotte. For additional biographical information, see Morgan, History of Wyandotte County Kansas and Its People, v. 1, p. 260, v. 2, p. 867; Wyandotte County and Kansas City. Historical and Biographical, pp. 366, 711-712; "Biographies of Members of the Legislature of 1861," KHC, v. 10 (1907-1908), p. 251. No information has been found on Captain Harris.
13. Wyandotte Commercial Gazette, March 20, 1869.
14. ALS in the private collection of Mrs. Rabinovitz. Aurelius Ormando Carpenter, Mrs. Nichols's son, was born on November 28, 1836. He emigrated to Kansas with his mother and older brother in October, 1854, and married Helen McCowen on December 25, 1856. They eventually moved to northern California in the late 1850's. He died February 9, 1919.
15. Mrs. Nichols refers here to Theodore Weld, the noted abolitionist, with whom she was closely associated during the early days of the woman's rights movement in New England.
16. Mrs. Nichols refers here to The Radical, a journal of natural religion, published in Boston by S. H. Morse and J. B. Marvin. According to its editors, The Radical was "a medium for the freest expression of thought on the questions that interest earnest minds in every community." They concluded: "Confiding more in the natural forces of ideas, for the progress and melioration of society, than in the good offices of the best-disposed institution; in the spirit of liberty, steadily burning in the soul of man, rather than in the wisest prescriptions of political or ecclesiastical art, -- we are ambitious by the discussion of ideas and principles, to fortify individuals in their trust of spiritual laws, and in an unwavering reliance on the protections of heroic character. -- The Radical, Boston, v. 6 (July, 1869), p. 98.
17. Mrs. Nichols refers here to Birsha's husband, George Franklin Davis.
18. Mary Warpole Nichols, the wife of George B. Nichols, was a Wyandot Indian who held title to several land allotments in Wyandotte county. For a description of her allotment, see "Wyandot and Shawnee Indian Lands in Wyandotte County, Kansas," p. 147.
19. George Bainbridge Nichols, Mrs. Nichols's youngest son, migrated to Kansas with his parents in the spring of 1855. He married Mary Warpole in 1865 and moved to northern California in 1871. He died on January 28, 1935.
20. Sarah E. Carpenter was the wife of Chapin Howard Carpenter. They were married in Lawrence on April 5, 1855.
21. Chapin Howard Carpenter, Mrs. Nichols's oldest son, migrated to Kansas in October, 1854, and eventually settled in Wyandotte county.
22. Mrs. Nichols refers here to her two grandchildren, Charles H. and Irena B. Carpenter.
23. The Kansas Daily Commonwealth, which began publication on May 1, 1869, was edited by Salmon S. Prouty, who had previously published the Neosho Valley Register and Kansas Patriot in Burlington before his election as state printer. For additional biographical information on Prouty, see The United States Biographical Dictionary, Kansas Volume, pp. 171-172; ["Kansas Newspaper History,"] KHC, v. 1-2 (1875-1880), pp, 176-177; George W. Martin, "A Chapter From the Archives," ibid., v. 12 (1911-1912), pp. 360-361.
24. Sarah L. Miller was associated with Mrs. Nichols during the early days of the woman's rights movement in Pennsylvania. Mrs. Miller was elected one of the secretaries at the West Chester Woman's Rights Convention in June, 1852. Unfortunately additional biographical information has not been found.
25. Mrs. Nichols refers here to her granddaughter, May Carpenter, in Ukiah, Calif.
26. Kansas Daily Commonwealth, Topeka, May 13, 1869.
27. For the 1867 and 1868 liquor laws, see The Laws of the State of Kansas, 1867, pp. 93-94, 151; The General Statutes of the State of Kansas, 1868, pp. 399-403.
28. Kansas Daily Commonwealth, Topeka, June 3, 1869.
29. Mrs. Nichols refers here to Susan B. Anthony's address in Wyandotte during the 1867 woman's suffrage campaign. Unfortunately the text of Miss Anthony's speech was not published. For newspaper commentary on her address, see Wyandotte Commercial Gazette, November 9, 1867.
30. Mrs. Nichols refers here to a sermon, "Woman's Rights From a Bible Standpoint," written by the Rev. George W. Gardner and published in the Christian Watchman and Reflector, March 18, 1869.
31. For the homestead provision in the Kansas constitution, see Kansas Constitutional Convention, pp. 588-589. For legislation affecting the homestead principle, see The General Statutes of the State of Kansas, 1868, pp. 391-395.
32. Kansas Daily Commonwealth, June 23, 1869.
33. Ibid., June 24, 1869.
34. The 1869 Kansas legislature did not pass legislation amending personal property exemptions.
35. Vermont Phoenix, January 14, 21, 28, February 11, 18, 25, 1870. Mrs. Nichols's article was published in six installments.
36. The Rev. Ingram Cobbin, English independent minister, wrote a number of scholastic and biblical works, among which were Condensed Commentary on the Bible and A Portable Commentary on the Bible. For additional biographical information, see DNB, v. 11, p. 145; S. Austin Allibone, ed., Critical Dictionary of English Literature and British and American Authors (Philadelphia, J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1874), v. 1, p. 399.
37. The Rev. Albert Barnes, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia from 1830 until his death in 1870, published his Notes on the New and Old Testaments between 1832 and 1853. For additional biographical information, see DAB, v. 1, pp. 627-629; Samuel Macauley Jackson, ed., The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge (Grand Rapids, Baker Book House, 1966), v. 1, p. 488.
38. John Locke, British philosopher and initiator of the Age of Enlightenment and Reason in England and France, was a tolerant Anglican anxious to heal the break among English protestants. His writings on the Bible include A Commonplace Book in Reference to the Holy Bible (1686), A Paraphrase and Notes on the Epistle of St. Paul to the Galatians (1705-1707), Select Moral Books of the Old Testament (1706), and A Paraphrase and Notes on the First Epistle to the Corinthians (1708). For additional biographical information on Locke, see DNB, v. 34, pp. 27-36; Martin Tucker, Moulton's Library of Literary Criticism of English and American Authors (New York, Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 1966), v. 1, pp. 602-607; Allibone, A Critical Dictionary of English Literature and British and American Authors, v. 1, pp. 1112-1118.
39. John Lightfoot, British theologian, wrote a two-volume Chronicles and Harmonies of the Old and New Testaments (1684). For additional biographical information, see ibid., p. 1099; DNB, v. 33, pp. 229-231.
40. The Rev. Zachary Pearce, bishop of Rochester, wrote a two volume Commentary and Notes on the Bible (1777). For addition information, see ibid., v. 44, pp. 151-152; Allibone, A Critical Dictionary of English Literature and British and American Authors, v. 1, p. 1537.
41. Clarke, Commentary, v. 6, p. 139.
42. The Rev. Matthew Henry, English Nonconformist minister, wrote An Exposition of the Old and New Testaments (1708-1710). For additional biographical information, see DNB, v. 26, pp. 123-124; Jackson, The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, v. 5, p. 229; Allibone, Critical Dictionary of English Literature and British and American Authors, v. 1, pp. 823-824. For Henry's commentary on Genesis 3:18, see The Comprehensive Commentary on the Holy Bible; Containing the Text According to the Authorized Version; Scott's Marginal References, Matthew Henry's Commentary (Brattleboro, Fessenden and Company, 1835), v. 1, p. 37.
43. Christian Watchman and Reflector, March 18, 1869.
44. Timothy Titcomb was the pseudonym of Josiah Gilbert Holland, author, journalist, and editor of the Springfield Daily Republican and Scribner's Monthly. He was not, as has been persistently stated, a clergyman, although in his writings he expounded a moralistic philosophy of sentimentality. For additional biographical information, see DAB, v. 9, pp, 146-148; Edward Eggleston, "Josiah Gilbert Holland," The Century Magazine, New York, v. 23 (December, 1881), pp. 161-167.
45. Clarke, Commentary, v. 6, p. 154.
46. Ibid., v. 5, p. 501.
47. Christian Watchman and Reflector, March 18, 1869. 48. Clarke, Commentary, v. 6, pp. 139-140.
49. Ibid., p. 154.
50. ALS in "Nichols Papers." Frances Lucy Davis was the stepdaughter of Birsha Carpenter Davis.
51. Mrs. Nichols refers here to her granddaughter, Kathie Nichols.
52. Kansas Daily Commonwealth, July 23, 1869. The Revolution reprinted Mrs. Nichols's letter and stated: "Kansas has at least one woman with eyes to see. Mrs. Nichols is writing a series of letters to the Topeka Commonwealth which cannot but exert a powerful influence on the future legislation of that state, liberal as it is now supposed to be. The following is one of them, and its disclosures are commended to the consideration of women who read The Revolution, everywhere. For if it be so in Kansas, the most liberal state in the Union, how is it in the other states? -- The Revolution, September 2, 1869.
53. For the Kansas dower law, see General Laws of the Territory of Kansas, 1860, pp. 110-118.
54. ALS in the private collection of Mrs. Rabinovitz.
55. Mrs. Nichols refers here to her sister, Mary Atlante Ives, who died on December 25, 1870.
56. Mrs. Nichols refers here to her brother, Aurelius Chapin Howard, who resided in Townshend, Vt.
57. Mrs. Nichols refers here to her granddaughter, Helen Nichols.
58. Vermont Phoenix, September 3, 1869.
59. Peter R. Taft, teacher, surveyor, jurist, and politician, served in the Vermont state legislature in 1827, 1833, and 1834, and as judge of the Windham county probate court for four years. He was married to Sylvia Howard, Mrs. Nichols's aunt, and was the grandfather of Pres. William Howard Taft. For additional biographical information, see Abby M. Hemenway, ed., The Vermont Historical Gazetteer: A Magazine, Embracing a History of Each Town, Civil, Ecclesiastical, Biographical and Military (Burlington, Carrie E. H. Page, 1891), v. 5, pp. 431-432; Warren E. Brooker, ed., Historical Notes, Jamaica, Windham County, Vermont (Brattleboro, E. L. Hildreth & Co., Inc., 1940), pp. 171, 187.
60. The Council of Censors, a committee of 13 citizens duly elected every seven years as provided under the Vermont constitution, convened on the first Wednesday of June to inquire "whether the constitution has been preserved inviolate, in every part, and whether the legislature and executive branches of government have performed their duty as guardians of the people, or assumed to themselves, or exercised, other or greater powers than they are entitled to by the constitution. -- William Slade, compiler, Vermont State Papers; Being a Collection of Records and Documents (Middlebury, J. W. Copeland, 1823), p. 255.
61. In July, 1869, the Council of Censors passed a resolution that the Committee on the Powers of the Constitution consider a constitutional amendment "to extend the right of suffrage to all citizens of this State without regard to sex. -- Journal of the Council of Censors, 1869, pp. 6, 8-9, 15. In discussing the decision to submit an amendment securing woman's suffrage, Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote: "Such is the result of seed sown years ago by Mrs. C. I. H. Nichols, whose faithful labors in that State are well remembered. She was not only an able speaker, but one of the most clear and concise writers in the State. -- S[tanton]. to the editor, Providence, November 1, 1869, cited in The Revolution, November 11, 1869.
At the constitutional convention held in June, 1870, the woman's suffrage amendment was defeated 231 to 1. For additional information on the woman's suffrage movement in Vermont, see T. D. Seymour Bassett, "The 1870 Campaign for Woman Suffrage in Vermont," Vermont Quarterly, Montpelier, v. 13 (April, 1946), p. 60.
62. For the Vermont dower laws, see The Acts and Resolves Passed by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont, 1858, p. 25; ibid., 1865, p. 28; ibid., 1866, p. 46. Also, see The Vermont Digest Annotated, v. 1 (St. Paul, West Publishing Co., 1911), pp. 2447-2456.
63. Kansas Daily Commonwealth, September 10, 1869.
64. John Stuart Mill, the British philosopher and economist, was a strong advocate of universal woman's suffrage. In 1869 he published his classical theoretical statement on female suffrage, The Subjection of Women. For additional biographical information, see DNB, v. 37, pp. 390-399.
65. For the complete text of the Commonwealth's editorial, see Kansas Daily Commonwealth, August 15, 1869.
66. AL in the private collection of Mrs. Rabinovitz.
67. Kansas Daily Commonwealth, October 6, 1869.
68. Ibid., October 7, 1869.
69. For additional comments on Mrs. Nichols's address before the Vermont legislature in 1852, see HWS, v. 1, pp. 173-174.
70. The word "sex" was omitted from the 15th amendment which completely ignored woman's rights and was submitted to the states for ratification in the following form: "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude."
71. Kansas Daily Commonwealth, November 2, 1869.
72. Ibid., October 1, 1869.
73. In the 1868 general election Miss Winans attempted to vote for state and county superintendent of public instruction. However the election judges refused to accept her ballot and she brought suit against them to test the constitutionality of her case. For additional information on the supreme court's decision, see Kansas Reports, v. 5, pp. 227-229.
74. According to the 1868 school law, any female over the age of 21 years "shall be entitled to vote at all elections provided for by this act, subject only to the exceptions applied to males. -- The General Statutes of the State of Kansas, 1868, p. 936.
75. Kansas Daily Commonwealth, December 9, 1869.
76. Mrs. Nichols refers here to the 1868 liquor laws. -- See The General Statutes of the State of Kansas, 1868, p. 399.
77. For the 1869 tax law, see The Laws of the State of Kansas, 1869, p. 240.