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Can any one doubt that it is chiefly on the homelife and on the influence of good women in those homes?
Says Macaulay: "You may judge a nation's rank in the scale of civilization from the way they treat their women." And Emerson, "I have thought Page 13 that a sufficient measure of civilization is the influence of good women.", Now this high regard for woman, this germ of a prolific idea which in our own day is bearing such rich and varied fruit, was ingrafted into European civilization, we have said, from two sources, the Christian Church and the Feudal System.
For although the Feudal System can in no sense be said to have originated the idea, yet there can be no doubt that the habits of life and modes of thought to which Feudalism gave rise, materially fostered and developed it; for they gave us chivalry, than which no institution has more sensibly magnified and elevated woman's position in society.
Tacitus dwells on the tender regard for woman entertained by these rugged barbarians before they left their northern homes to overrun Europe.
The feverish agitation, the perfervid energy, the busy objectivity of the more turbulent life of our men serves, it may be, at once to Page III cloud or color their vision somewhat, and as well to relieve the smart and deaden the pain for them.
And of that muffled chord, the one mute and voiceless note has been the sadly expectant Black Woman, An infant crying in the night, An infant crying for the light; And with no language--but a cry.It is because I believe the American people to be conscientiously committed to a fair trial and ungarbled evidence, and because I feel it essential to a perfect understanding and an equitable verdict that truth from each standpoint be presented at the bar,--that this little Voice, has been added to the already full chorus.The "other side" has not been represented by one who "lives there." And not many can more sensibly realize and more accurately tell the weight and the fret of the "long dull pain" than the open-eyed but hitherto voiceless Black Woman of America.Guizot expresses it, from the plundering and pillaging life of barbarism and crystallizing into the Feudal System, the tiger of the field Page 14 is brought once more within the charmed circle of the goddesses of his castle, and his imagination weaves around them a halo whose reflection possibly has not yet altogether vanished.It is true the spirit of Christianity had not yet put the seal of catholicity on this sentiment.