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Female Education,
and How it Would Be Affected
by University Examinations

1862 — Social Science Congress, London, England

 

The subject of the Education of Women of the higher classes is one which has undergone singular fluctuations in public opinion. There have been times when England and Italy boasted of the literary attainments of a Lady Jane Grey and a Vittoria Colonna, and there have been times when the Chinese proverb seemed in force, and it was assumed that “ the glory of a man is knowledge, but the glory of a woman is to renounce knowledge.” For the last half-century, however, the tide seems to have set pretty steadily in the direction of feminine erudition. Our grandmothers understood Spelling and Writing, Blair’s Sermons and Long Whist. Our mothers to these attainments added French and the Piano-forte, and those items, (always unimportant in a woman’s education,) History and Geography. In our own youth we acquired, in a certain. shadowy way peculiar to the boarding-schools of that remote period, three or four languages and three or four instruments, the use of the globes and of the dumb bells, Moral Philosophy and Poonah-painting. How profound and accurate was this marvellous education, (usually completed at the mature age of sixteen,) it is needless to remark. A new generation has appeared, and he who will peruse the splendid curriculum of one of the new Ladies’ Colleges of Bedford Square, or Harley Street, for instance, will perceive that becoming an accomplished young lady is a much more serious affair now than it was in “ the merry times when we were young.”

The question has now arisen, This wider and deeper education, how far is it to go? Have we reached its reasonable limit, or shall we see it carried much farther? If it be found desirable to push it into higher branches of study and greater perfection of acquirements, how will this best be accomplished? In particular, the grave query has lately been mooted, “Will those University Examinations and Academical honours, which have long been reckoned all-powerful in advancing the education of men, be found equally efficacious in aiding that of women? Ought they to be opened to female competition, and a Free Trade in Knowledge established between the sexes? Or, on the contrary, does there appear just cause why this door, at all events, should for ever be closed to the possible progress of women?

Before offering a few suggestions on this subject, I crave permission to make some general observations on the present condition of young women of the higher classes, and their special wants at this moment. A knowledge of these wants has alone induced me to obey the request to give such little aid as may be in my power to their efforts after a better state of things. Few indeed can be unaware that they are passing through a transition period of no small difficulty, and that there is urgent need for revision of many of the old social regulations regarding them. No class has felt more than they the rise in the atmosphere of modern thoughts; and where their mothers lived healthily enough in closed chambers, they are stifling. New windows must be opened to the light, new air of heaven admitted, and then we shall see bloom in women’s cheeks, and light in their eyes, such as they have never worn before.

The miseries of the poor are doubtless greatest of all, but there are other miseries beside theirs which it behoves us also to consider. The wretchedness of an empty brain is perhaps as hard to bear as that of an empty purse, and a heart without hope as cheerless as a fireless grate. As society is now constituted, no in considerable portion of women’s lives are aimless and profitless. There are Eugénie Grandets by hundreds in all our towns, and Marianas in Moated Granges in the country, whose existence is no better than that of “the weed on Lethe’s banks,” and yet who were given by Providence powers whereby they might have become sources of happiness to all around them. For (let us hope it will some time or other he recognized) there are purposes in the order of Providence for the lives of single women and childless wives, and they too are meant to have their share of human happiness. Most people prefer to ignore their existence as a class to be contemplated in the education of women, but it is as vain to do so as it is cruel. All of us know enough of those hapless households where the wife, having no children and few .home duties, undergoes the most deplorable depreciation of character for want of employment of heart and mind; and her nature, if originally weak and small, shrivels up in petty vanities and contentious; and if strong and high, falls too often blasted by the thunderstorms of passion accumulated in the moveless and unwholesome atmosphere. All of us know those other households, none less hapless, where grown-up daughters, unneeded by their parents, are kept from all usefulness or freedom of action, frittering away the prime of their days in the busy idleness of trivial accomplishments ; till, when all energy to begin a new course is gone, the parents die at last, and each one sinks into the typical “Old Maid,” dividing her life henceforth in her small lodgings between “la médisance, le jeu et la dévotion.”

All this is pitiful enough. We may laugh at it; but it is not the less a miserable destiny, and one, moreover, which it is often almost impossible for a young woman to shake off. If she be a Roman Catholic, she may leave her home and go into a nunnery in all honour and credit — but the exchange is perhaps no great gain. If she be a Protestant, friends, parents, neighbours, and all her little world cry out lustily if she think of leaving her father’s roof for any end, however good or noble, save only that one sacred vocation of matrimony, for which she may lawfully leave a. blind father and. dying mother, and go to India with Ensign Anybody. These curiosities of public opinion need surely to be set right. Let me plead with those men and women whose lives are rich and full, whose every hour has its duty or its pleasure, who can say,

How beautiful it is to be alive!
To wake each morn as if the Maker’s grace
Did us afresh from nothingness derive,”

To think of these poor, narrow, withered existences, and not say, “How can we keep women just what we would like — images set up in a niche ?” but, “What can ‘we do to give to a vast number of our fellow-creatures all the joys of a useful and honourable life?” Again, there are numbers of young women who are free, so far as the wishes of their parents go, to devote them selves-to practical usefulness. But the employment of women of the upper classes is one of the most difficult of achievements. At nearly every door they knock in vain; and what is worse, they are sometimes told they are unfit for work, (even for philanthropic work,) because they are not soundly educated, or possessed of steady business habits. Yet when they seek to obtain such education, here again they meet the bolted door!

It is needless to go on farther. Enough has been said, I trust, to show that young women (both those possessed of the means of independent maintenance, and those desiring to support themselves by intelligent labour) are sadly in need of some further improvements in their condition. Among the ways in which it may be possible to effect such improvements, a high education manifestly stands foremost —- a great good in itself, and needful for nearly all further steps of advance. On this subject also I must say a few words, and notably, to refute some popular misconceptions regarding it.

The idea that there is a natural incompatibility between classical studies and feminine duties, and that a highly-educated lady is necessarily a bad wife and mother, is indeed an idea venerable from its antiquity and Wide diffusion. “I would rather make women good wives than teach them Latin,” is a favourite species of apophthegm, whose parallel, how ever, (for all the sense it possesses,) might be found in saying, “I would rather make women good wives than make them eat their breakfasts!” Storing the mind with declensions, or the mouth with tea and toast, are neither of them, in the nature of things, antithetic to becoming a careful housewife and an affectionate companion. As Sydney Smith remarked, “ A woman’s love for her offspring hardly depends on her ignorance of Greek, nor need we apprehend that she will forsake an infant for a quadratic equation.” A priori, the thing is not probable, and actually we see that a very different doctrine holds good. Few of us, I think, would fail to cite in their own circles the best cultivated women as precisely those whose homes are the happiest, who exercise therein that spirit of order and love of beauty, and, above all, that sense of the sacredness of even the smallest duties, which comes of true culture of mind. These private examples of moral excellence in studious women we cannot often quote on such occasions as the present. I may be permitted, however, to name two of them who have become household words among us all, and both of whom it has been my rare fortune to know very intimately. They are examples respectively of the two great lines in which a woman’s virtue may be best displayed: the home duties of the wife and mother, and the out-of-door duties of the philanthropist.

The woman whose home was the happiest I ever saw, whose aged husband (as I have many times heard him) “rose up and called her blessed” above all, and whose children are among the most devoted, was the same woman who in her youth outstripped nearly all the men of her time in the paths of science, and who in her beloved and honoured age is still studying reverently the wonders of God’s Creation, —  that woman is Mary Somerville.

And the woman whose philanthropy has been the most devoted, who has done more than any beside to save the criminal and vagrant children of our land, and whose whole time and heart are given to their instruction, that woman is the same who taught Homer and Virgil as assistant in her father’s school at eighteen, — that woman is Mary Carpenter.

We now proceed a step farther in our argument. After the examples cited, it may perhaps be assumed as proved that a high education does not in itself unfit women from performing either domestic or philanthropic duties; but that, on the contrary, it is a thing to be desired on every account. Our next position obviously is this : If a high education is to be desired for women, ought it not to be sought for them in those same University studies and honours which have so long proved efficacious in the case of men? Here another objection straightway rises up against us: “A high education (it is said) may be desirable for women, but not a University education; for that would be to assimilate the training of the two sexes, and any step in such a direction must be fatal, as tending to obliterate the natural differences between them.”

A most weighty objection indeed would this he, were it founded on fact.

No man can possibly less desire any obliteration of the mental characteristics of the two sexes, than does every woman who has an intelligent care for the welfare of her own. But is such erasure indeed possible? Is it not clear enough that the Creator has endowed men and women with different constitutions of mind as of body? and need we be under the slightest apprehension that any kind of education whatever will efface those differences? Education is, after all, only what its etymology implies, — the educing, the drawing out, of the powers of the individual. If we, then, draw out a woman’s powers to the very utter most, we shall only educe her womanliness. We cannot give her a man’s powers any more than we can give a man a woman’s brilliancy of intuition, or any other gift. We can only educe her God-given woman’s nature, and so make her a more perfect woman. These differences will, I affirm, come out in every line of woman’s expanding powers — in study, quite as much as in all beside. If a woman apply herself to Art, it will be a fresh type of beauty she will reveal. If she devote herself to philanthropic labours, she will not work like a man, from without by outward legislation, but as a woman, from within — by the influence of one heart on another. Not by force of will, not by despotic volition, does a woman ever do any good. She has abandoned somewhat of her Womanhood when she exerts such powers. Even in teaching a class of little children, she rules not by authority, but by winning each little heart to voluntary submission. And in every other work it is the same. Her true victory must ever be an inward one, — a greater and more perfect victory, therefore, than was ever gained by conqueror’s sword. And in matters of study it will be the same. Woman learns differently from mam} and when she is able to teach, she teaches differently and with different lessons. If ever the day arrives when women shall be able to deal worthily with the subjects of our highest interests, we shall all be the better, I believe, for completing man’s ideal of religion and morals by that of woman, and learning to add to his Law of Justice her Law of Love, and to his faith in God’s fatherly care, her faith in His motherly tenderness, — that blessed lesson forgotten too long: that “as a woman hath compassion on the son of her womb, even so the Lord’ hath pity on us all”!

The differences between men and women are co extensive with their whole natures. A man and a woman are parallel to each other, but never similar; He is the Right Hand of humanity, and she is the Left. They are equivalents to each other, but never equals. He is the pound in gold, and she is the twenty shillings in silver. All these differences are innate, un changeable, ineradicable. It is a perfect caricature of them to represent that some kinds of knowledge are fit for men, and other kinds for women. As well might we say that some kinds of food were fit for one and the other. It is not in the truths to be, acquired, but in the assimilation of those truths in the mind which receives them, that the difference consists. It is as absurd to try to keeps. woman feminine in mind; by making her learn French because a man learns Latin, as it would be to try to keep her so in person by making her eat mutton because a man eats beef! Endless are the absurdities of this kind extant among us. Men ought to be well- informed: let women, then, know nothing but trivial accomplishments Men ought to be strong and healthy: let a woman’s check (as Burke expresses it) display the charming morbidezza, of partial disease. A man ought to be brave: let a woman be instructed to dread all things in heaven and earth, from thunder-storms to spiders! Thus it is fondly imagined we are helping Providence to keep women, women, and securing the universe against the disorder of their turning into men! Not, however, by narrowing and clipping every faculty, not by pinching her in mental stays, shall we make a true woman. Such processes produce Dolls, not Women; figures very suitable to be set up in haberdashers’ shops, to show off bonnets and crinolines, but not such forms as sculptors copy as types of womanly beauty. Our affair is to give nature its fullest, healthiest play and richest culture, and then the result will be what the Lord of Nature has designed. — a true Woman: a being, not artificially different from a man, but radically and essentially, because naturally, different; his complement in the great sum of human nature, not a mere deduction from his own share of that sum.

If these views be true, it follows that the highest education we can give will never efface, in the slightest degree, the natural characteristics of a Woman‘s mind. Another argument, however, is here urged against us. It is said, “Let it be granted that you will not make women masculine by teaching them Greek and Euclid; yet, it may still appear that Greek and Euclid are very inappropriate studies for women — useless in themselves. if not detrimental in the way supposed. A woman’s mind has natural affinities to the lighter studies, and repulsions to the heavier ones. Let us have an entirely different course of studies, suited to the feminine soul, and then, perhaps, the forms of a University education may be beneficial.”

Now, that any one will aver that the subjects of study in any one University are actually the very best possible subjects for women, or even for men, I do not suppose we shall find. But the point is, Who is to decide what is fit for a woman’s brain save the owner of the brain herself ? Who has a right to decree that the curriculum for the goose ought not to be the same as that which collegiate wisdom has appointed for the gander? If we were told that soldiers, artisans, or any other class of the community had sought instruction in arithmetic, or any such study, we should hardly think it our business to lay down the law for them: “This is fit for you to learn, and this is unlit; your Bœtian brains may have affinities for the Multiplication Table, but they have certainly repulsions for the Rule of Three.” The proof of this particular description of pudding lies exclusively in the eating!

It may be found indeed hereafter that opening up other studies for examination than those at present used, and leaving the option among them free, may be a desirable change, specially beneficial to women. This is quite possible; but in any case the highest masculine studies ought to be left free to a woman, she feel the power and perseverance to undertake them. As Herbert Spencer remarks, “That a woman has less powers than a man, is a poor argument why he should be forbidden to use such powers as she has.” It is a grave mistake to assume that what we judge is the proper pursuit for women in general is the proper one for each in particular, and that we have any just authority to crush individuality displayed in the choice of unusually arduous studies.

The three great revelations of the Infinite One, the True, the Beautiful, and the Good, are all alike in sanctity in themselves. To devote life to the pursuit of any one of them is a noble thing. With respect to the Good we all feel this, and admit that to promote the virtue and happiness of our neighbours is a holy destiny for man or woman. And again, with respect to the Beautiful, we in a degree admit the same for woman; and if they display the gifts of Jenny Lind, or Mrs. Browning, or Rosa Bonheur, or Harriet Hosmer, we permit them to study music, or poetry, or painting, or sculpture. But with respect to the True, the rare and noble love of it, the readiness to devote life to its acquirements in abstract and abstruse studies — this is a thing we can hardly bring ourselves to sanction in a woman. Most women care only for the concrete and the personal, and the widest generalizations of philosophy too often interest them only as they concern the small affairs of their families and neighbours. Therefore, because few women rise to the love of abstract truth, no women are to be permitted to do so! This is utterly absurd. Instead of striving to bring all to the same dead level, we should welcome heartily all earnest devotion to Truth, Beauty, or Goodness, and rejoice in every diversity of gift whereby women may bring her special characteristics into play, and so enrich us all.

If I may hope that by these observations I have removed, in a measure, the objections to women pursuing the solid studies of a University education, I may now proceed to the positive side of the argument, which seems to have received far too little attention .from men; namely, that the natural constitution of the female mind renders a solid education peculiarly desirable, and even necessary to bring out all womanly powers and gifts in proper balance and usefulness. I verily believe that a man can infinitely better dispense with sound mental training than a woman. Among the essential differences between the mental constitutions of the two sexes, one of the most obvious is the preponderance in the latter of the intuitive over the reasoning faculties. As it has been facetiously expressed, “When a man has ‘ laboriously climbed up step by step to the summit of his argument, he will generally find a woman standing before him on the top. But of how she got there, neither he nor she can give the smallest explanation.” This rapid intuition of women may or may not prove a defect. Properly trained and balanced by that carefulness of truth which comes of conscientious study, it is no defect at all, but a great advantage; but unregulated quickness is a peril and misfortune. Jumping at conclusions is a favourite species of feminine steeple-chase, with whose sad results we are probably all, too familiar. I recollect an instance of it, in which that imperviousness to reason, which affords apparently so much pleasure to spectators when manifested by young ladies, must have been rather trying to the person principally concerned. It happened that an elderly lady, a true woman on weak-_ minded principles, discovered that the gentleman in whose house she resided had kindly paid the insurance for her personal property along with his own at his Fire Office. Rousing herself in great indignation, she exclaimed, “He insure my property? He insure getting my property after my death? No such thing! I meant to, leave him a good legacy, now I will do nothing of the kind — I will alter my will and leave him nothing at all! Vainly did the unfortunate gentleman endeavour to explain that fire insurances did not insure inheritance of property. Vainly did his friend, a Queen’s Counsel of eminence, who had convinced a hundred juries, argue for hours with that irate old lady. Her will was altered, and the legacy revoked! I should like to know the sincere opinion of that gentleman on the desirability of giving a better cultivation to the reasoning faculties of women.

Again, women need solid mental training, not only to amend their reasoning and open their minds to argument, but also to correct the terribly inaccurate and superficial knowledge they now usually think sufficient. If the ladies of the — present day proceed in geography too far to ask the celebrated query of one of their grand mothers, “ Was Hyder Ali an island or a continent ?” and if in physical science they no longer (like another old lady) confine their knowledge of flowers to the Aurora Boreal is and the Delirium Tremens, yet abundance of them are to be found whose ideas of Hyder All are of the most hazy description, and whose physical science might be expressed in the exhaustive analysis of another lady: “Plants  are divided by botanists into monandria, bulbous roots, and weeds.” Modern languages are excellent studies, especially for us women, to whom enforced silence, whether in England or on the Continent, is not supposed to be particularly tasteful. Often have I rejoiced for myself and my fellows, in finding ourselves all over Europe and the East, not only chattering away gain on our own account, but able to assist our countrymen out of the multitudinous dilemmas to which their ignorance consigned them. Indeed, if any one particular branch of education be liable to the charge of giving to ladies an inconvenient degree of independence of and even power over the lordly sex, it is precisely this one of modern languages, which on all hands is given as our specialité. A certain old saw concerning the “Grey Mare,” and her superiority to her masculine companion in harness, is never so forcibly brought to recollection as when we behold the intelligent mother of a family at a railway station or hotel door in Italy or Germany, making all needful payments and arrangements with the utmost fluency and savoir faire; while at the rear of her brood of pretty chickens comes Paterfamilias, able to do nothing except carry the umbrellas and Bradshaws of the party.

But these same delightful modern languages, does their acquirement afford any mental training similarly beneficial to that which a boy’s mind under goes over his Latin grammar? Speaking from my! own sad experience, I must avow it does nothing of the kind, and that it is possible to talk three or four of them while remaining in pristine innocence regarding the cases and tenses of any one.

Lastly, the one noble science which would be the very best corrective of the slovenliness of female instruction, the science of geometry, is nearly utterly neglected. I verily believe that to gain only the idea. of what constitutes a mathematical demonstration, and how mathematical reasoning proceeds, would be to many of our minds a clearing up of fog and haze which would brighten the rest of our days.

Lastly, the one noble science which would be the very best corrective of the slovenliness of female instruction, the science of geometry, is nearly utterly neglected. I verily believe that to gain only the idea. of what constitutes a mathematical demonstration, and how mathematical reasoning proceeds, would be to many of our minds a clearing up of fog and haze which would brighten the rest of our days.

Now to bring woman’s education out of the stage of imperfection in which it stops, it seems evident that some test and standard of perfection is needful. And this test to be sought and applied must be made :a goal to which women will strive as ensuring some sort of prize. Scholarships and similar rewards are already used with much benefit at Bedford and other Ladies’ Colleges. But the prize which naturally belongs to perfection of attainment is simply its recognition, — such public and secure recognition of’ it as shall make it available for all sub sequent purposes. Herein will women find (as men have long found) the sufficient stimulus to strain up to that point, without which, in fact, education must ever be most incomplete. What the education‘ of Oxford and Cambridge would be were there no such things as “Little-go” and “ Greatego,” no examinations or strivings for degrees, woman’s education has hitherto been — nay, it has been worse, for it has been stopped at an age earlier than the collegiate education of men begins, and all the best years of study have been lost to her. We would now alter these things. We would obtain for women the right to such academical honours as would afford a sufficient motive and stimulus for thorough, accurate, and sustained study by young women past mere girl hood, and able to acquire the higher branches of knowledge. This general and great benefit would be the first object — the raising for all women the standard of education. But, beside this general utility, we believe that great special use would accrue to certain classes of women (and through them to the community) from thus opening to them the benefit of University education.

First, as regards those intending to be Governesses. Here will be first provided an exceedingly high standard, held out with due encouragements for those who seek the chief places in the profession. An entirely new class of instructresses’ will, we believe, be thence created. Secondly, mothers, whether themselves well taught or ignorant, will know on what they depend when they engage such governesses , and not. as now, find themselves constantly deceived by shallow pretence, and references to ill-judging employers. Thirdly, and above all, a few dozen accurately trained governesses would, I am convinced, do much to revolutionize the present state of female education in the country, by giving to their pupils the same habits of solid and accurate study they have themselves acquired. The slovenly lessons, the half-corrected exercises, will then, we hope, be at an end; and the young lady’s schoolroom become a mental gymnasium, where health and soundness of mind will be gained for life, instead of what it now is too often, — a place where ineradicable habits are acquired of mental scrambling and shuffling, of shallowness and false show. And again, these certificates will be of importance as preliminary steps to the introduction of women into the Medical profession. On this great subject I have no space worthily to speak, and can therefore only refer to it as one of the improvements most to be desired. Such little experience as I have myself had of such matters has lain among a class the most pit-eons assuredly in the community, — the sufferers from incurable disease. I can only record my conviction that a large number of women among them would have been saved from agonizing deaths had they been able in the first stages of their disorder to obtain the advice of female doctors. There are other employments beside those of governesses and physicians — clerkships, secretaryships, and the like, to which the admission of women will be universally facilitated by the proposed Degrees. These matters are, how ever, sufliciently obvious to require no discussion.

I hope I have now in some measure demonstrated — first, that some improvement is needed in the condition of young women, and that a better education is one of the stages of such improvement. Secondly, that a high education does not make women less able and willing to perform their natural duties, but better and more intelligently able and willing to do so. Thirdly, that to assimilate the forms of a woman’s education to that of a man by means of examinations and academical honours, and also the substance of it by means of classical and mathematical studies, will in nowise tend to efface the natural differences of their minds, which depend not on any accidental circumstances, to be regulated by education, but on innate characteristics given by the Creator. Fourthly, that there are many positive benefits, general and particular, to be expected from such Examinations and Honours, such classical and mathematical studies being opened to women.

Now it happens that there is one institution in this country which seems especially qualified to afford the advantages we have supposed — namely, the London University. In the older Universities the rule of collegiate residence necessarily excludes women; but in London the examinations being open to all, wheresoever educated, there is no reason why young ladies, studying in the various female colleges, or in their homes, should not be admitted to share all the benefits of the institution.

As most of my readers are no doubt aware, the proposal that women should be thus admitted has been lately under debate in the Senate of the University — the occasion of a new Charter offering a convenient opportunity for the change. A clause (it was suggested) should be inserted, extending the present terms “all classes and denominations of her Majesty’s subjects without any exception whatever,” to that small class, including half the human race, to which her Majesty herself belongs. This proposition, after much debate, was negatived, but only by the casting vote of the Chairman. Not unreasonably, therefore, may we hope that on the next occasion a fresh consideration will be given to the case, and another decision obtained. That so startling a proposal received on its first suggestion the votes of ten members of the Senate out of twenty, is much more surprising than that it should have been ultimately rejected. The long list of eminent names which has been obtained in favour of the movement, is guarantee for an amount of public opinion which may well inspire confidence in eventual success.

Should it so prove, and the University of London open its doors to women, the time will not be far distant when the innovation, which some may now regard as a derogation from its dignity, will be boasted of as no inconsiderable claim to public gratitude and respect. Those inequalities of the two sexes which place women at a disadvantage during ages when might makes right, are altered in happier times, when the strong heart is seen to be worth as much as the strong head. The tide has turned for women, and by and by the credit of helping their —  progress will not be lightly esteemed. Even were this otherwise, however, the University of London would hardly suffer, I think, from following in the course of the schools of Alexandria, where the martyr Hypatia held the first chair of philosophy then existing in the world; or in that of the University of Padua, where women learned and taught by the side of Galileo, Petrarch, and Columbus.

In conclusion, I would venture to make one appeal: do not let us in this, or any other matter connected with women’s claims, allow ourselves to be drawn aside by those prejudices which on both sides distract us. To a woman of refined feeling, that popular Ogress, the Strong-minded Female, is so distasteful, that she is inclined rather to leave her whole sex to mental starvation than contribute to the sustenance of one specimen of the genus. To a man with a spark of fun in his composition, the temptation to perpetrate jokes about Mistresses of Arts and Spinsters of Arts is perfectly irresistible. But, after all, refined women will best prevent the growth of strong mindedness, in its obnoxious sense, by bringing their own good taste to help their sisters, whom the harsh struggles of life under a woman’s disadvantages have perhaps somewhat hardened and embittered. And men who laugh at the absurdities, (incident, alas! in some mysterious way to all the doings of women,) will also in graver moments feel that there is another side to the subject, not a ludicrous one; and that the answer of the poor frogs to the boys in the fable might often be made by human sufferers: “throwing stones may be fun to you, but it is death to us.” To aid a Woman in distress was deemed in the old days of chivalry the chiefest honour of the bravest knight; it is assuredly no less an honour now for wise and generous men to aid the whole sex to a better and nobler life, and to the developing more perfectly, because more fully and freely, that Womanhood which God has also made in His own image a divine and holy thing.

 

 

Source: Female Education, and how it would be affected by University Examinations: A paper read at the Social Science Congress, London 1862, (London: Victoria Press), 1862.