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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Women and Men, I. Introductory. (search)
, this being spoken in dialogue, as often happened, by an actor of each sex, the woman rebukes the man for addressing the audience as You, gentlemen! She says: You, gentlemen! and why, I pray, to them? What! do the ladies merit no esteem? She then takes his place, and addresses the whole audience as if it were a parliament, or, in the phrase then familiar, a diet: Fair English Diet, then, Senate of ladies, lower house of men, I humbly pray, decree before you go. This was in 1671, the author being little starch Johnny Crowne; as Lord Rochester called him, from his starched neck-cloth. Crowne was born in Nova Scotia; and it is curious that even at that early day this continent should have begun to supply England with the seeds of social heresy on the woman question. In these days the joint phrase Men and women has thoroughly established itself, and needs no further vindication; and if I reverse it, putting women first, it is with no revolutionary design, although