civilization, and as Milton
paints animal life freeing itself from the clod, and tells us, you recollect, of the tawny lion, with his mane and fore-feet liberated, pawing to get free his hinder parts, so the mental has gradually freed itself from the incumbrance of the animal, and we come round to a society based on thought, based on soul.
What is the result?
Why, it would be idle to say that there woman is man's equal; she is his superior.
In social life she has taken the lead; she dictates.
Hers is this realm, and from her judgment there is no appeal.
Her intellect summoned literature into being, almost; as a reader she has demanded that it shall be decent; and now she takes her pen as a writer, and controls the world, as the sceptre of genius always controls it, no matter what lips, male or female, God's living coal has touched.
That, I say, is the counterpart, the picture, that represents to us what law and the civil state are to undergo in their successive changes.
We are here to-day only to endeavor to enforce on the consideration of the civil state those elements of power which have already made a social state.
You do not find it necessary to-day to say to a husband: “Your wife has a right to read;” or necessary to say to Dickens
, “You have as many women over your pages as men.”
You do not find it necessary to say to the male members of a church that the women members have a right to change their creed.
All that is settled; nobody contests it. If a man stood up here and said, “I am a Calvinist, and therefore my wife is bound to be one,” --you would send him to a lunatic asylum.
You would say, “Poor man!
don't judge him by what he says; he does n't mean it.”
But law is halting back just where that old civilization was; we want to change it.
We are not doing anything new. There is no fanaticism