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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/86

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

militated strongly against the publication of any article that might be signed with a woman's name. But science—not the false science which answered Miss Hardaker's invocation, not the science which would confine the negro to slavery because of his small brain and small mental achievement—true science says that, if woman's power is to be judged by her work, she must be given a fair field for its display. To clear the race-course for the man, and to block woman's road at a certain point, because we feel intuitively that she can go no further, is by no means consistent with modern scientific methods. If the line of woman's power is marked, let her discover the fact, as Bacon thought all scientific truth should be discovered by experiment. The discovery will not long be delayed; the law of the survival of the fittest will not be abrogated. But, if it should be found that the mental steam-ship of the female can, after all, store enough fuel to cross the ocean of reasoning, it would give woman the inestimable benefit of correcting the possible errors into which a professed enemy of her sex has fallen. It would demonstrate that, like Mr. Darwin's pea-hen, women have remained inferior to their mates, not because of natural defect, but by reason of external circumstances. A just trial is the whole demand of the reform philosophy.

In the Royal Society, many years ago, it is said Charles II asked an explanation of the fact that a fish in water had no weight; that water plus a fish was no heavier than water without a fish. The wise gentlemen of the Royal Society (presumably males of large bulk) were much agitated over the problem, and gave many scientific reasons for the remarkable phenomenon. It was a wiser man (though not of so scientific a turn of mind) who, instead of giving his reasons why the fish had no weight in its own element, tried the experiment and found, to the surprise of the scientific gentlemen, that a practical test was of more value than any quantity of learned but ill-founded speculation. Perhaps it will not be out of place, by way of parallel to Miss Hardaker's triumphant demonstration of "the reason why," to cite the testimony of a prominent instructor, whose evidence tends to show that her scientific impossibility may be affected by some elements which she has not considered. "So far as my observation and experience go," says President Magill, of Swarthmore College (a gentleman who for ten years has been the instructor of about three hundred students of both sexes), "there is absolutely no difference in the average intellectual capacity of the sexes, under the same training and external influences. The valedictorians of our classes have been almost equally divided between the sexes, with a slight and accidental preponderance in favor of the young women."