Popular Science Monthly/Volume 49/October 1896/Correspondence



Editor Popular Science Monthly:

Sir: The "antagonism of the sexes" suggested in your criticism of my paper on Woman and the Ballot, in the June number of the Monthly, must have been read between the lines, as I have not the least feeling of that nature to betray.

I confess, however, that I have a passionate love of justice which is apt to be aroused by any attempt to forestall judgment such as was made by Mrs. Linton and Mr. Talbot in announcing the raison d'être for woman. Believing, as I do, that neither they nor any one else can give one iota of proof in regard to "causes of existence," whether of an amoeba or woman, a little irony is pardonable.

No attempt whatever was made to give the important arguments in favor of woman suffrage, as these were ignored in Mr. Talbot's article, his efforts being mainly directed to the testimony of "Nature" against a feminine share of government.

One of the best reasons I can urge for the gift of the franchise to woman is its educative effect upon herself. I hold strongly to the doctrine of personal responsibility, and think enough evil has been accomplished by "trusteeship," however generously and conscientiously it may be exercised in particular instances.

The special laws referred to as resultants of woman's effort were: The bill granting property rights to women in the State of Vermont, October, 1847; the removal of disabilities from the women of Kansas in 1869; and the granting of property rights to the women of Connecticut in 1877. The testimony in regard to these is as follows: "From 1843 to 1853, inclusive, I edited The Windham County Democrat, published by my husband, George W. Nichols, at Brattleboro. Early in 1847 I addressed to the voters of the State a series of editorials setting forth the injustice and miserable economy of the property disabilities of married women. In October of the same year Hon. Larkin Mead, of Brattleboro, 'moved,' as he said, by Mrs. Nichols's presentation of the subject in the Democrat, introduced in the Vermont Senate a bill securing to the wife real and personal property with its use and power to defend, convey, and devise, as if sole. The bill as passed secured to the wife real estate owned by her at marriage," etc.[1]

In 1859 Mrs. Nichols addressed the Constitutional Convention in Kansas upon equal legal and political rights for women. Three of the four petitions presented by her were granted, the report being adopted by a solid vote of the Democrats and enough Republicans to make a majority.[2]

The Connecticut law of 1877 giving property rights to women was passed upon Governor Hubbard's recommendation, who, in a personal letter to Mrs. Isabella Hooker, acknowledged her influence. "Thank yourself and such as you for what there is of progress in respect to woman's rights among us."[3]

If these women did not supply the motive power that stimulated the sluggish masculine "sense of equity and right," then we are wrong in ascribing causative value to any pleading. It is not a case of post hoc, propter hoc, merely; it has the connection of the match and the flash.

As for all generalizations concerning the mental characteristics of women, I think we have as yet no adequate data, and therefore that all books founded on such premises are entirely valueless from a scientific point of view.Alice B. Tweedy.

New York, August 25, 1896.


Editor Popular Science Monthly:

Dear Sir: On page 669 of the August number of the Monthly E. W. Moir makes the statement that he treated certain cases "homoeopathically." The cases were patients suffering with what has been called "caisson disease." The cause of this disease is the too sudden removal of supernormal atmospheric pressure, or the too rapid removal of one from a chamber of compressed air.

To relieve the paralysis thus caused we are told that the patients were again put into a heavy atmosphere. As it was the removal from a heavy atmosphere that caused the disease, certainly reintroducing a patient into a heavy atmosphere can not be called homoeopathic treatment. There are many others who misuse medical terms quite as recklessly as the word "homoeopathically" is in the instance mentioned above.

J. M. G. Carter, M. D.
Waukegan, Ill., August 1, 1896.
  1. Reminiscences of Clarinda I. Howard Nichols, History of Woman Suffrage, vol. i, p. 175.
  2. History of Woman Suffrage, vol. i, pp. 192, 193.
  3. History of Woman Suffrage, vol. iii, p. 326.