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if it were made elective, history would scarcely be studied at all. The examination of candidates from these schools for admission to our colleges, is a fair test of the condition of the study. On no subject will the average standing of applicants be found so low, many failing entirely to satisfy the moderate standard required. This is true, not only of foreign or general history, but of American history. A few years ago, of some hundreds, examined by the writer, from all parts of the United States. a considerable per cent. were unable to answer accurately such questions as, “ Give an account of Arnold's treason ?" What form of government did the United States adopt on becoming independent?” It will be seen that the memoriter method has lost the only merit it ever had, that of thorough drill, which at least secured a temporary knowledge of the bare facts. The same girl, however, who will use every means to escape the study under the current method, taught with any regard to the true end of history, will develop an interest even in lessons on the Constitution and Government. I trust I shall be pardoned for the extent to which I have illustrated this subject, in consideration of the important relation it has to our political system. The subjects of a despotism may be safely left in ignorance of history,
,--so far as their political duties are concerned they have only to obey,--but the freer the state the more important is it that its citizens should understand the origin and the principles of the institutions under which they live, that they may intelligently perform their duties as citizens.
The deadening effect of mere memorizing was further illustrated by its application to philosophic study. What increased power of reasoning will a girl have from committing the best possible analysis of Butler's Analogy to memory, or from being able to give an abridgment of Haven's Chapter on the Beautiful? None. Philosophic study should be the field of free inquiry and discussion.
Practically considered, psychology and ethics may claim to be the most important divisions of metaphysics. Psychology at least ought to be as well understood by those who have the early training of children as physiology; they are the complements of each other, but popularly the one is but little understood, and the other, it would be safest to say, not understood at all.
The subject of ethics, both speculative and practical, deserves, for various reasons, more attention than has yet been given it. The average morality, the average ethical standard is not particularly elevated; in order to elevate them permanently, the change must be the result of clearer moral perception, developed by a better moral intelligence.
Those who have instructed girls from the mercantile class of our great cities, find them already imbued with the ethics of the society in which they live. They have learned the practical code of Wall Street, “Do your best to get the best of your neighbor.” If in so doing you should injure him, that is his affair. Nothing is wrong except forging his note, or stealing his bonds.
I shall mention but one subject which is still generally omitted from the course of academic study. Political Economy has not been made part of the instruction of women, indeed though of the greatest practical importance, it is limited to collegiate instruction even for men,-women no less than men, need an acquaintance with its principles. With a large class of expenditures women have, by our social usage, much more to do than men. Women are largely consumers of income, not producers; the employment of servants, the purchase of food and clothing, the use of the work of the artisan in household decoration and utensils, are mostly under their control. Their action must therefore have a marked effect on the demand and supply in these departments, and by the interlinking of production, all that is bought and sold will be sensibly affected. Is it not important then that they should have some knowledge of the laws of supply and demand, of value, of wages, and the elementary principles of finance; if these last do not belong to the province of the unknowahle? The ignorance of educated women was fairly represented by a lady of decided literary culture, who hearing the general complaint of the scarcity of money, said naively, “ Well. John, if there is not money enough in the country, why don't they make some more?” Those who have made the experiment of teaching this science to women, using the method of discussion and investigation, have found them competent to grasp and apply its principles.
The most obvious among the conditional defects of academic education, is the insufficient time given to the full course of study. Even though the number of studies were less, and the time given by the student wholly uninterrupted, there would be wisdom in extending the period of sturlv. If girls are allowed to study at sixteen the subiects undertaken by boys in the Junior and Senior year at College, we cannot expect that the result will be equivalent culture. No doubt one reason for the retention of text-book work in our schools for women may be found in this, the immaturity of mind in the student compels its use. In general, it would he found advantageous to put the age of academic graduation two years later; at present the average age is not over sixteen years. To the premature close of the school-life we must add the loss, now very common, of a part of this limited time, hecause the young girl is permitted and encouraged to enter general society before she leaves school During the last year or two of her school course it is a constant iniury to her own progress, and often a hindrance to a whole class.
Another evil, quite as hurtful though not so obvious, is the disproportionate attention given to studies intended not for culture, but for social display. Music and French have been the popular subjects of this kind of study.
I will place last in the conditional defects the one which seems to me to be of most vital importance, and which so underlies all the education of women, that it may almost be said to account for every defect in our educational system.
Truth is taught merely on the ground of an authority,—that which is really the highest aim in respect to truth, namely its investigation, is set aside as (langerous. Women have not been taught to think, but taught to think as they are taught. They are unfitted by their training, and therefore, to a great extent, unable to form an opinion upon a question on its own merits, where authority, custom or usage is involved,--their whole education having tended to enforce and strengthen these. A free intellectual life cannot be maintained under bondage to authority; its despotism destroys such life, and its only legitimate supremacy is in a system of education intended to make material for the control of priests and demagogues. There are several questions now in agitation; for example, the secularization of our public schools, and the taxation of church property, upon which, it is not too much to say,
that the great majority of women are not only incompetent to form an opinion from ignorance of the facts, but they would inevitably be influenced to vote in the negative on them by the skilful use of sentimental and semi-religious rhetoric.
I will venture, in conclusion, to urge some considerations which, it seems to me, enforce the need of remedying the defects of our Academic instruction, which must continue to be the system under which the greater part of our women will be educated.
SOME DEFECTS IN THE HIGHER EDUCATION OF WOMEN,
It is owing to these defects, especially of method and conditions, that our popular education is so barren of results. We are surprised that with all our education we have no higher tone of society,—that women are so frivolous in their aims,--that they make the claim to social distinction rest on the possession of wealth, and its accessories, dress, jewels and equipage; that their intellectual life asks only the sensation novel, alternated with study of dress and watering-place gossip, with which they fill what a distinguished speaker* once described as the “lumber-room and empty attic of a fashionable woman's part, which she calls her mind.” We wonder at the increase of purely mercenary marriages, at hearing our young girls measure the good fortune of their companions who marry by the wealth of the husband won. Our education is at fault; it is a mass of words, with no living power, intellectual or moral.
The evil merits consideration from the influence of women in the formation of public opinion,—which a force as efficient and pervading as the pressure of the atmosphere, and like it, one of which we are unconscious, until we attempt to overcome it, or until we see it brought into action; then it may combine with passion, to operate as powerfully against truth as against error. If we would have the opinion of the many true and rational, we must instruct the one so as to secure the formation of opinion intellectually and sincerely,--for all sound opinion is the fruit of knowledge, and with these is bound up the worth of all practical action.
The inability of women to appreciate the need and the nature of political and social reform is a hindrance to reform in every country that engages in it; that this inability is the result of historic and philosophic ignorance and of subservience to authority, is not hard to demonstrate.
Ruffini has depicted its evils, and its malign influence in the politics of Italy, when she was struggling for freedom and unity. The English Liberals, it is said, when not in power, prefer to send unmarried men to the House of Commons, as there is not the same opportunity for social influence by the government that there would be if the member had a wife who might receive cards to the receptions of the lady of the Prime Minister. In the Spanish Revolution of 1868, when the government proposed to establish liberty of worship, the largest petition against it was one signed by women.† It is not to be doubted that these women acted simply at the suggestion of a Jesuit priesthood.
The final consideration, in relation to the evils in our prssent system of education, arises from its relation, not to the place and influence at present accorded to women, which is in a great measure indirect, but to their probable direct action in the future. In each coming year their sphere will be larger, their responsibility greater than ours, but their fitness to meet the duties arising in that sphere must depend upon the education we provide for them. If the right of Suffrage, the highest right and duty of the citizen, becomes theirs, our action on their education will decide whether they are to contribute to the strength or to the weakness of the State, -whether they will use the franchise intelligently and honestly, or only increase the number, already too large, of those who wield the ballot for partisan and mercenary ends under the guidance of others equally unprincipled, though less ignorant, to the mortal injury of the Commonwealth.
* Wendell Phillips.
† Fifteen thousand women in Madrid are said to have signed a protest against the establishment of religious liberty and toleration in Spain. The document was presented to Marshal Serrano by three ladies of rank.-Newspaper Correspondent.
MINSTRELSY AND AMATORY POETRY;
ITS LEGACY TO GIRLHOOD.
BY MARY C. PECKHAM.
This paper sketched the history of the minstrelsy of the Middle Ages, which treated only of the physical charms of women, with its effect upon public opinion, and attributed the better spirit of modern verse largely to the influence of the German mind. Amatory poems hold nothing vital to the intense earnestness of the Nineteenth Century, which demands the full mental and spiritual development of womanhood.
BY JULIA WARD HOWE.
NAPOLEON I. is thought to have uttered a very sagacious remark when he said to Madame Campern, in view of the disorganized social domain with which he had to deal, “ France needs mothers.”
France probably had mothers at this time, heroic, unobtrusive women who fulfilled the heroic law of nature, and the law of humanity; the first, by bringing forth children, the second, by giving these children such advantages of training and education as their circumstances could afford. There were wild women of the poorer classes who caught the mad flame of the Revolution, and exulted in its cruelties. There were wilder women of the wealthy and aristocratic sort, who held the views peculiarly considered as French, on the subject of marriage and maternity. But the great mass of women, rich and poor, loved their children and cherished them. How else would the country to-day have a moral and social existence? Go to the Frenchman of this generation and say to him: “You and your generation had no great-grandmothers. Napoleon the Great said, “Let there be mothers, and there were mothers, and these became your grandmothers.” To such a saying as this, even the Frenchman of to-day would reply: “Sir, there have always been mothers, ever since man had being. This current of natural affection has flowed unbroken from its first mysterious source. There may be lapses elsewhere in our assumed methods of creation, but a missing link in the chain of motherhood is something which no theorist is hardy enough to claim.”
Napoleon himself had a noble old mother, whom Europe honored when it had ceased to honor him. He was not a man of empty sayings. What did he mean by his remark?
He probably meant this, that the ideals of French in his day were such as to lead women away from what he considered their great business on earth, that of being the mothers of men. The relations of the gay world of that time were such as to concentrate a woman's ambition upon the personal recognition she might be able to attain, either by beauty or by talent. Sexual attraction, possibly the most potent motive force in human nature, had attained an undue predominance, partly through the influence of a philosophy of pleasurable sensations, partly through the absence of any philosophy. Under these circumstances, the women in whom this attraction was most recognized occupied themselves for the most part in endeavoring to 'exaggerate and prolong its dominion, which the graver interests of parentage naturally circumscribe on either side. Women, as Napoleon saw them, the ladies of his court, and their imitators all the way down to the poorest and lowest, were bending their energies to the attainment and maintenance of that sort of companionship with men which looks not towards the vital interests of society, but away from them, and which, though not without its rules, assumes none of the responsibilities attendant upon man's moral existence. This state of things was patent to Napoleon's sight. The brilliant society of the day was deficient in motherhood. The Devastator of Europe said: “Let us train mothers." The word was wise, if it did come from one who, beyond all others of the time, had given mothers reason to complain of him.
It may not be amiss here to examine for a moment this mother question, so momentous to the existence and morality of the human race. Like all else in our twofold nature, it has two sides; the one natural, passional and material, the other moral and ideal. In the great dislocation of the normal instincts of humanity, to which society remains subject, it unavoidably happens that things which God has joined together are put asunder. It also happens that things which He has separated are inequally yoked or jumbled together, to fall apart in time, after much possible mischief. So the ideal womanhood and true natural womanhood, which God has put together, come to be divorced by perverted fashion and false education. Observers of humankind see with distress the two sides partially embraced by individuals, and so opposed to each other that the true result, that of their union, cannot be attained. When society recognizes this disjunction of its real from its ideal elements, it is useless to try to scold the one back or forward the other. Divine Providence only has the power to bring them together, and this it does in unforeseen ways.
To apply this reasoning: When a woman's mind has embraced the heights of poetry and philosophy, or the depths of spiritual contemplation and fervor, he who would impose upon her the natural motherhood as a necessity without alternative will speak a language which she cannot understand. If he says, “this is the chief end of your existence. You are bound so to consider it, and to act accordingly," he will provoke from her an indignant “No.” Sex is but one side of human nature.” This woman will say, “its duties and consequences can no more absorb the whole of my mind and heart than the whole of yours. I am a material being like you, but like you I am a spirit too, an intelligence, a power of will and affection. To follow some supreme bent or inclination, you can ignore the facts and attractions of sex. I am even better able than you to do this. Do not dare, with the sins and faults of your manhood upon you, to tell me that women have but one valid office in life, and that that office is to be the mothers of creatures such as you. History, the priestesses of Egypt and of Greece, the Pythoness of Delphi, the vestal virgins of Rome, the female saints of early Christianity, will rise up and tell you
that in all times women have been classed equally with men, with representing the ideal traditions and interests of the race.”
The tone, therefore, in which some men to-day rebuke the efforts and aspirations of women towards an ideal life is not only impertinent and improper; it is also mistaken and to be deprecated, as leading both parties further from that noble joint action, that energetic companionship which is essential to the best development of human society. Let this fact be realized, and let this male dogmatism about the duties of the female come to an end. Let the male attend to his own duties, and not seek to impose his partial rules and methods upon an intelligence which, like his own, is