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The Woman Thou Gavest Me
by [?]

Now that the clarion voice of the reformer is heard in the land, demanding for woman all the rights and privileges enjoyed by the sterner sex, perhaps it would be well to ask the fair client to come into court and establish that “natural equality” so vigorously claimed for her, as well as the fact, if fact it be, that she is being “wronged” and “cruelly oppressed” by the tyrant man.

Is it possible that the dear creature has, for some thousands of years, been robbed of her birthright and relegated to an inferior position in matters mundane simply because her biceps are not so large as those of her big brother, and she has no warlike whiskers?

As her attorneys in the suit to try title to this world’s wardship clamor for truth without trimmings, and rest their case upon “principles of justice” untainted by prescription or praemunire, suppose we grant their prayer and proceed to the consideration of their cause unhandicapped by chivalric sentiment.

That the greater intelligence should control the lesser must be conceded. To deny it would be to deny man’s right to the life and labor of inferior animals, to question God’s authority to govern man or beast. If the experience of several thousand years may be admitted in evidence the subserviency of the minor to the major intelligence is an immutable law of nature. Only equal minds can be accorded equal authority without doing violence to this law.

Is woman man’s intellectual peer, entitled to share equally with him the wardship of this world? The simple fact that for thousands of years man has been able to hold her in that “state of subjection” of which her attorneys so bitterly complain, is sufficient answer to this question,–is proof positive that he is as much her superior mentally as physically. This sounds unchivalrous, but she will please remember that her attorneys insist that this cause be tried solely upon its merits. Brute force does not rule the world. If it did the lion or the elephant would be creation’s lord, and the Ethiop and the red Indian drive the Caucasian into the waste places of the earth or reduce him to slavery. Knowledge is power; brain not brawn is master throughout the world. Had all Eve’s fair daughters been blessed with more than masculine strength their position would have been practically the same. They would have sung lullabies to the little ones, adorned themselves, and dreamed of love and love’s conquests while their brothers founded empires, subdued the forces of nature and measured the stars.

And both sexes would have been well content, as they have ever been, despite the protests of self-constituted “reformers” of the order established by the Infinite. Man is creation’s lord de facto and de jure. The immutable laws of nature make his sovereignty both a privilege and a duty. The voice of prophecy proclaims him king; he wears his crown by Divine ordination and right of conquest. Woman was created to be “an help-meet unto man,” not his co-ruler. It matters not whether Genesis be fact or fiction; that such was her destiny she has proven by fulfilling it.

Whatever “rights and privileges” she enjoys must be man’s free gift. Man asserts his position; woman can but ask to share the fruits of his victories. These he can divide with her; but he could not if he would, share with her his sovereignty, his power, because he cannot endow her with his judgment, his mental vigor, his courage and enterprise. Whether he wills it or not, man must perforce remain the master of the world, God’s sole viceregent on this earth.

In very few civilized countries does man manifest much opposition to the enfranchisement of woman. Many favor it heartily, and those who object do so chiefly on the ground that woman does not want it. Let a majority of the women in any state of the American Union ask enfranchisement and it will be accorded them. Let them unite in demanding any particular legislation and it will be enacted. Let them ask any possible thing whatsoever of their husbands and brothers and it will not be denied them.