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has range enough, if this be the summum bonum of felicity. If such an uneasy demon as that which possesses Miss Martineau should enter the brain of an American woman, we would not think of “ caging" her, but let her run her course until she drew of her own accord. She would soon find that she was fighting with shadows.
But, according to Miss Harriet, “God has given the universe to women as well as to men, and man has caged them in one corner of it, and dreads their escape from their cage, while man does that which he would not have woman hear of.”
Maudlin again; but if not maudlin what does she mean? Does she wish us to understand that she thinks it desirable for women to have the same liberty of “ doing that which they would not have a man hear of"_for it seems that all this caging of woman in a corner, is for the sole purpose of doing something naughty, which, if known to them—the women would bring us into trouble; perhaps give us always, instead of “ generally,” sour bread for our breakfast. But if the women are really caged, as Miss Harriet says, it shows at least that we fear them, and that is one point of gain to them-for the moment that men, women, or animals, perceive that we stand in fear of them, that moment our power is gone.
What further liberty does an American woman want, when the very children and domestics are allowed to exercise their reasoning powers, a fact which is acknowledged by more enlightened persons than Miss Martineau. Even she speaks of it as a remarkable and admirable feature in our policy, and contrasts it with that of her own country. She gives us an anecdote of a Boston seamstress who was anxious that her employer should request her to write something about Mount Auburn (the Boston cemetery): “Upon being questioned as to what kind of composition she had in her fancy, she said she would have Mount Auburn considered under three points of view;as it was on the day of creation—as it is now—and as it will be on the day of resurrection. I liked the idea of it so well that I got her to write it for me, instead of my doing it for her.”
And yet this Miss Martineau speaks very disrespectfully of the talent of the Boston women-how she sneers at their metaphysics. We ourselves have heard of this speech of the Boston seamstress; it was made by her long before Miss Martineau went to that hospitable city to villify and ridicule its kind inhabitants. It is possible-barely possible--that Miss Martineau was applied to for the purpose of working out such a sublime thought--for sublime it is; but if the seamstress did, at Miss Martineau's bidding, cast this thought into a poem, where is it?—why are we not told that it was well or ill done? We suspect the truth of the story to be, that no one but
Mr. Jack Straw applied to Miss Martineau to write a poem on the subject-nay, we doubt whether the employer of the seamstress told her the anecdote.
She says that “a great unknown pleasure remains to be experienced by the Americans in the well-modulated, gentle, healthy, cheerful voices of women. It is incredible that there should not, in all time to come, be any other alternative than that which now exists between a whine and a twang. When the health of the American women improves, their voices will improve.” Was Miss Martineau ever in Manchester, in Birmingham, in Liverpool, or in any of the shires of her own country ? Ah, there is worse than a twang or a whine there, even among the best educated people. But here again she shows her malignant feelings—this very whine and twang of which she speaks, are only peculiar to a very small district, and she happened to be on the most cordial and intimate footing with some of its inhabitants !
Friend or foe, it matters not, on she pushes, nor cares (now that her book is full of scandal to gratify her own countrymen) how she wounds the feelings of those who treated her with such marked respect and kindness. How any but a heartless and cold blooded being could finish off her anecdote concerning the fear of public opinion, cannot be imagined. Long may those kind friends remember her, and long may they shut their doors against these agrarian Malthusians. Speaking of a young man of nineteen, whose father and uncle decided that he should accept a challenge, and whose antagonist was wounded in the hand, she observes : -“But the matter has not ended yet, nor will end, for the young man has had a lesson of low selfishness, of moral cowardice impressed upon him by the guardians of his youth, with a force which he is not likely to surmount ; and the society in which he lives has seen the strongest testimony of false principles borne by two of its most respected members.”
Against the hateful practice of duelling we have already entered our protest. It is not to extenuate that offence that we condemn this woman. It is to show how she vents her malignant and bitter feelings towards all who have shown her courtesies and hospitalities. How could any one, pretending to feel grateful for such kindness as she received in Philadelphia, point to the very person, to the very father and uncle, to the very mother, and to the very young man himself, and wind up the offensive account with so heart-chilling a remark? She well knew that all the eminent families of any one state are known to the whole Union, and that any event, particularly of the kind she mentions, is immediately notorious. Every person in the United States who reads her book will know to whom
she alludes; and to have an affair, now consigned to oblivion, ripped up by a harsh hand for no earthly purpose but to inflict a sting on the hearts of the parents, is so great an insult to civilized feelings that all who read will shrink from the hand that penned it. She might deem herself called upon to reprobate duelling, and describe its horrible consequences; but to point to the parties, almost by name, and to give such an offensive, personal turn to her remarks, deserves the severest reproof.
She was told a great deal about the.“ first people of Boston;" but she adds, “it is, perhaps, as aristocratic, vain, and vulgar a city_described by its own first people'-as any in the world. I am far from thinking it, as they do, the most religious, the most enlightened, and the most virtuous city in the world. There are other cities in the United States which, on the whole, I think more virtuous and more enlightened; but I certainly am not aware show guarded she is of so large a number of peculiarly interesting and valuable persons living in near neighbourhood any where else but in London."
Correcting her praise, meagre as it is, she proceeds :-“ But it happens that these persons belong chiefly to the natural and not to the conventional aristocracy. They have little perceptible influence. Society does not seem the better for them. They save their own souls; but, as it regards society, the salt appears to have lost its savour. It is so sprinkled as not to salt the body. With men and women enough on the spot to redeem society from false morals and empty religious professions, Boston is the head-quarters of cant. Notwithstanding its superior intelligence, its large provision of benevolent institutions, and its liberal hospitality, there is an extraordinary and most pernicious union, in more than a few scattered instances, of profligacy and the worst kind of infidelity, with a strict religious profession, and an outward demeanour of remarkable propriety."
Why, what a sad set the Bostonians are; we are certainly much obliged to this English lady for making us acquainted with their true character. Only think of her sagacity in discovering this in one short visit! She was there five days at the first, and ten days at the last visit. Some persons might venture to pronounce judgment after an intimate acquaintance of seven years,
but Miss Martineau heard it all through her two pair of ears in two weeks ! Where was “her friend" all this time? He surely could have disabused her of these mean and scandalous assertions. Where was this greatest man in Americahe who ate of the bread of these people for seven years, and was treated by them with the greatest kindness and respect, giving him one of their fair daughters to wife—where was he all this time, that such foul slanders should have been sucked in through that elastic tube! Could not her high admiration of him
extend to the women of his household ? Might not the whine and the twang, which struck her as among the unpleasant things she heard a whine and a twang “especially among the New England ladies"-might not this expression of disgust have been omitted, since it had nothing to do with their manners or morals?
But she has some hopes of Boston yet, notwithstanding that the “ladies" (as she calls them herself, though she says it is disgusting to English ears when the Americans use the phrase), have a whine and a twang, and that it is the head quarters of cant. “ The churches in Boston,” she says, “and even the other public buildings, being guarded by the dragon of bigotry, so that even faith, hope and charity are turned back from their doors, a large building is about to be erected for the use of all deists not excepted—who may desire to meet for free discussion. This is at least an advance."
Why, the poor foolish woman! to tell this to the English at home as a piece of news ! There may not have been a large building for such purposes, but places of free discussion for deists, atheists, and all malcontents, have been as plenty as blackberries ever since Tom Paine's " Age of Reason, both in Boston and elsewhere. Bad, however, as the Bostonians areand a worse character no man or woman of the worst of the Fiddlers, the Halls, and the Trollopes, has ever given of them —they are worshipful worthies compared to the women of the United States. We must give a long extract to inform these American women of their own miserable condition, for unless they hear it from this English Miss they will be forever in ignorance of it.
“ If a test of civilization be sought, none can be so sure as the condition of that half of society over which the other half has power—from the exercise of the right of the strongest. Tried by this test, the American civilization appears to be of a lower order than might have been expected from some other symptoms of its social state—[whenever she generalizes under a show of candour, she degrades the American people almost to Hottentots, and then, under a show of tenderness to personal friends, she eulogizes in a fulsome manner, yet giving a little side stab whenever the opportunity occurs.] The Americans have, in the treatment of women, fallen below, not only their own democratic principles, but the practice of some parts of the old world.
“ The unconsciousness of both parties (we are glad that our men are as innocent and ignorant of this tyranny towards the women as the women themselves—who then is to blame?) as to the injuries suffered by women at the hands of those who hold the power, is a sufficient proof of the low degree of civilization VOL. XXII.-NO. 43.
in this important particular, at which they rest. While woman's intellect is confined, her morals crushed, her health ruined, her weaknesses encouraged, and her strength punished, she is told that her lot is cast in the paradise of women; and there is no country in the world where there is so much boasting of the
chivalrous' treatment she enjoys. That is to say, she has the best place in stage coaches ; when there are not chairs enough for every body, the gentlemen stand (and we add, that in steamboats no man-Miss Martineau will say gentlemen and ladies, although the terms are so disgusting to her--no man is allowed to go to the dinner or breakfast table until every woman, poor as well as rich, is comfortably seated). She hears oratorical flourishes on public occasions about wives, and home, and apostrophes to women; her husband's hair stands on end at the idea of her working, and he toils to indulge her with money; she has liberty to get her brain turned by religious excitements, that her attention may be diverted from morals, politics, and philosophy; and especially her morals are guarded by the strictest observance of propriety in her presence.”
Without the least intention of pronouncing an eulogium on the justice and manly tenderness shown towards women, she has made out the case as clear as possible. Whatever there may have been formerly, there is now nothing to prevent a woman enjoying all the happiness which Heaven has prepared for her in this life—nothing to prevent her from exercising her talent or indulging her genius, and, at this moment, no where in the world is a woman of talent and genius admired, respected, and assisted, as in the United States. There were evils, and there still are evils—we have mentioned it before—but some have disappeared, and others are now under treatment, with the certainty of a rapid cure. Our own authors have effected this, and none has been so zealous as the author she quotes at the end of the second volume, from whose work she has made a copious extract. That author has silently and unostentatiously pointed out the only evils of which women had a right to complain ; and with an equality of property the lot of American women will be as good as they can desire. As to the great evils which still beset the poorer of their sex, that is a concern of the
classes of women as well as of ourselves, and they are assisting in the endeavour to find out the root of the evil.
It is an injustice, certainly, that, at the death of the husband, a woman is cut off from the greater part of the comforts she enjoyed during his life; and there are many thinking men who begin to understand the iniquity of the case—we are coming at the truth of this without being indebted to any pert foreigner for the information there is a strong feeling of this kind