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III.—COEQUALITY OF WOMAN.
The Woman's Rights movement has now, as heretofore, our hearty sympathy. We rejoice in the evidences of its progress, which meet us on every side, in the altered tone of the press, in the increasing facilities afforded for the education of woman, and in the wider avenues of profitable industry that are opening before her. It is our firm conviction that the best interests of the human family would be promoted by the admission of women to an equal voice with men in making and administering the laws, by giving them the highest advantages of education, by opening to them all the avenues of professional life, and by guaranteeing to them equal property-rights with men. To deprive them of these rights and advantages, upon any plea of intellectual inferiority, or of reverence for authority, custom or precedent, is tyranny. The subjection of the wife to the authority of the husband is destructive of domestic happiness. There are few among us who have not witnessed some painful illustration of this truth. Examples may be found in almost every neighborhood of wives crushed by the tyranny of husbands, and subjected to the most degrading annoyances and exactions, for which the law affords no remedy. The wife submits, in many cases, only because she is pecuniarily dependent on the husband, having no legal claim to the estate which her labor, no less than his, has helped to acquire, and being obliged in consequence to endure the wretchedness thus entailed upon her, or to go out into the world without a roof to cover her head, to face the ills and bear the burdens of abject poverty. The wife who "guides the house" has a common right with the husband who manages the farm, the shop or the store, to the use and control of the property acquired by their joint exertions. Many husbands, apparently unconscious of this self-evident truth, treat their wives, not as equals, but as dependents upon their bounty. We fear that some of those even who have professed assent to the general doctrines of woman's rights, are yet unconsciously, and from the force of habit, acting on the assumption that their wives are their servants rather than their peers. There is need, even among reformers, of a constant reiteration of sound doctrine on this important subject; and this need will not have passed away until a radical change has been wrought in public opinion and our laws are made to conform to the principles of justice and equality.
Of all the evils which mankind have brought upon themselves, none is more appalling in its effects, or more inconsistent with the spirit of human brotherhood, than war. That beings created in the image and likeness of God, endowed with immeasurable capacities of reason and affection, and fitted for happiness in devotion to one another's welfare, should so "debase their heavenly birth" as deliberately to array themselves, nation against nation, in bloody conflict, killing one another by wholesale, is as astonishing as it is lamentable. "Wars and fightings, according to the Apostle James, come of " the lusts which war in your members"—in other words, from the dominance of the animal and selfish faculties over the moral and spiritual. They tend, in the nature of things, to brutalize humanity, to excite and foster every malign passion, and thus to undermine the foundations of private morality and publio welfare.
There can be no greater delusion than to suppose that the cause of human liberty is ever really and permanently promoted by war. Our higher nature earnestly responds to the admonitions of Scripture: "Recompense to no man evil for evil;" "Overcome evil with good;" "Resist not evil;" "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you." In the words of a devoted philanthropist,* which commend themselves to us as words of truth and wisdom: "The weapons of death are the legitimate weapons of Despotism; while those of Liberty are thought, speech, intellectual enlightenment, protest, contumacy, nonconformity, untiring persistency, indomitable purpose, unconquerable will, moral rebellion, abiding faith in the right, the Divine spirit of martyrdom."
It is worse, doubtless, to submit, in a servile and cowardly spirit, to the burdens and exactions of tyranny, than to resist thein by bloody means ; but to endure oppression, however cruel, in the spirit of meekness, and, while protesting against it in the name of justice and humanity, to refrain from retaliation and violence, is the highest effort of courage, the noblest exhibition of a godlike and manly character. The human race may have advanced more rapidly and surely through a bloody resistance to tyranny than it could have done through a pusillanimous and slavish submission; but we believe its progress in intelligence, morality and happiness would have been still greater, if the friends of truth and freedom, respecting the awful sanctity of human life, had used no other weapons than those which an Apostle of the Christian Faith has declared to be "mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds."
V.—TREATMENT OF CRIMINALS.
We renew our protest against the gallows as a relic of barbarism, as originating in the spirit of revenge, and tending to increase the evils it is designed to cure. Society, in dealing with criminals, is under obligation to seek their highest good, to treat them in the way best adapted to reform them; and this, instead of promoting crime, is the best and only effectual way to prevent it. We suggest to the friends of humanity everywhere that they ought to call the attention of legislative bodies to this subject, and, by the diffusion of light among the people, prepare the way for the abolition of capital and all other vindictive punishment.
* Win. Lloyd Garrison.
We renew our testimony in favor of the principle of Total Abstinence from the use of all intoxicating drinks as a beverage, as the only effectual safeguard against the terrible evils of drunkenness, entreating the friends of humanity everywhere not only to make this principle a rule of life for themselves, but to labor diligently to commend it to others, especially to the young and to all who have influence over them. We fear that the friends of temperance, within the last few years, have been so exclusively devoted to the work of suppressing the trafflo in intoxicating drinks by penal laws, that they have neglected to employ, as they should, those moral instrumentalities which are adapted to reform the inebriate and deliver the country from the evils of drunkenness. After all that has been done in this cause, there is still great need of the diffusion of light among the people. In this work we trust that all those who call themselves Progressive Friends will ever be found zealously engaged.
We renew our testimony against the utterly useless, disgusting and every way injurious practice of chewing, snuffing and smoking tobacco; and we do so with the greater emphasis because, unhappily, the practice prevails to a considerable extent among those who are in active sympathy and cooperation with this religious society. We have great compassion for those who have been so long the slaves of an unnatural and vicious appetite, that, while they know and confess that its indulgence is wrong, they have yet almost lost the power of resistance; but we are constrained to admonish such that they ought at once to summon all their manhood to the conflict and break their chains at once and forever. In refusing to do it they will blunt their moral sensibility, and inflict a great wrong upon all those over whom their example has influence. We entreat parents, teachers and other guardians of the young to set their faces firmly against / a habit which is declared by the highest medical authority to be injurious to both body and mind, and which, we fear, is rapidly increasing in our country.
Believing that the true Church is composed of all the faithful lovers of God and man, the world over, who work the works of personal and practical righteousness, and labor for the redemption and advancement of the human race—that every one who thus doeth the will of the Father is accepted of him—we would again bear emphatic and earnest testimony against Sectarianism as one of the greatest, most deceptive, and demoralizing sins of the times. And by Sectarianism we mean that spirit which builds up and sustains religious parties on the basis of a creed, antiquated or modern, 'which ignores the "golden-rule" Morality of Christ and universal Philanthropy as essentials of Christian character, and rejects and condemns as "heretics" all who repudiate its "doctrines." We daily observe that this "substitute" for love and good will, and the various graces of the Spirit, is narrowing, dwarfing and vitiating the minds of many of its immediate victims, and making not a few morose, bigoted, oppressive and cruel; and that it is greatly hindering the progress of mankind in all moral and spiritual things.
IX.—" THE GREAT REVIVAL."
While we would not be slow to recognize any good that may have been incidentally effected thereby, we must, on the whole regard as deceptive and spurious, the " Great Revival of Religion," which has lately swept like an epidemic over the land. That such is its character is manifest to us, because it is a revival of the prevailing and popular religion of the country—a religion which sanctions slavery, war, and other abounding iniquities; because it is well pleasing to pulpit recreancy, church corruption, sectarian exclusiveness, political self-seeking and pro-slavery brutality; and because it inculcates false views of God and of man, and is calculated to augment the power of priestcraft and superstition. The friends of religion and common sense should be stimulated thereby to greater earnestness and fidelity in their efforts for the diffusion of light and truth, and the promotion of practical righteousness.
We feel a deep interest in the efforts now making in various parts of the country to give a wider scope and impart a higher character to our systems of education, which we must regard as exceedingly defective. To all such efforts we desire to contribute our efficient aid. It is especially to be lamented that so many of our popular schools and seminaries are under the paralyzing influence of sectarianism. The friends of reform and progress should take special care not to place their children in institutions where they will be taught to subordinate the Divine principles of justice and freedom to a selfish and worldly expediency; and in their plans to secure a proper education for their own children, they bhould not forget the duty they owe to the community. They should aim at nothing less than the physical, intellectual, and moral education of all the children of the country, and be ready at all times to promote any plan that seems best adapted to effect this object.
Adopted by the Pennsylvania Yearly Meeting of Progressive Friends, 1858.
JOSEPH A. DUGDALE, )
Let us consider the subject of Publio Worship.
To secure a favorable starting-point for this consideration, let us go behind the matters upon which nren are divided in opinion, the rites of particular churches, the customs of particular nations, and found ourselves upon something which all will agree in recognizing as truth.
God, being perfect in every imaginable excellence, is entitled to honor and reverence from his creatures; and history proves to us that all nations have felt their obligation to pay Him honor and reverence. No trait of human nature is more constant, among all the varieties of men, than this.
As the feelings of the heart naturally tend to manifest themselves in the life, this honor and reverence will of cfmrse find some form of expression on the part of those who truly feel them; and the particular mode of expression of individuals or communities will be more or less appropriate, other things being equal, according to their amount of intelligence.
History assures us that, among communities equally disposed (as far as our knowledge extends) to honor their Creator and conform themselves to His will, some (supposing that God needed nourishment like themselves) have periodically placed on a consecrated spot their choicest articles of food and drink for His use; others, of somewhat less gross conception, have sought to regale Him with fragrant incense and perfumed oils, and pictured Him to themselves as "smelling a sweet savor," and gratified with it; others have formed solemn processions, attired in gorgeous robes, and bearing costly emblems to do him honor; others, supposing Him pleased with blood, have killed men or inferior animals, singly or in numbers, upon His altar; others have sought to please Him by the mutilation of their own bodies and those of their children; others by self-inflicted bodily privations and sufferings, falling short of mutilation; and others, by similar violence done to the reason, the conscience, the social feelings and the affections. Some have thought their prayers to be more acceptable when written on strips of paper and kept moving in the air; others, when presented through the mediation of a saint; others, when offered on a particular day, and in a particular place; and almost all have esteemed the mediation of a priest to be either necessary or highly desirable.
That all these superstitious ideas and practices have existed in some dark period of the world is not strange; perhaps it is not strauge that