The Characteristic Elements
of the Feminine
June 26, 1858 — Under a tent, Rutland Free Convention, Rutland VT
[Farnham began by declaring that her views “struck into the metaphysical.” She then read a series of resolutions.]
Resolved, That it behooves us as persons professing free thought and righteous purposes toward the higher welfare of society as well of individuals, to look frankly and courageously in their face the monstrous evils which grow out of the wrong and wicked generation of human beings; and that merely to continue working, however zealously and tenderly for the reform of such persons, after we have idly suffered this irreparable and greatest wrong to be done against them, were a weak and simple waste of the powers to know and to do with which God has beneficently endowed us.
Resolved, Therefore, that we will diligently search into all the means and conditions by which the good of our race may be thus primarily secured; and trusting that a wise and pure God has incorporated into his works no laws or elements which pure and earnest men and women may not only learn but worthily and properly teach, we will seek to unfold to both the knowledge and truth whereby they may be brought to act faithfully and wisely in the relation of parents as well before as after the birth of their offspring.
Resolved, That we regard the weight of this responsibility as resting upon woman and believe that she can never fill the measure of her duty till she is inspired with a consciousness of her higher powers and corresponding rank in the scale of being—till she is freed from the oppression of unequal laws, the slavery of mental darkness, vanity and selfishness in which she has been trained, and is made truly free and wise, both as a woman and mother; and that for these ends, grand and unattainable as they may seem to many, we believe no miraculous interposition is necessary, and no impossible effort demanded on the part of those who may receive and teach the truth; but that here, as elsewhere, we shall find that our dear Heavenly Father hath been beforehand with us, and has already more than half accomplished the great work in the susceptible, intuitive-spiritual nature which he has bestowed upon woman.
Resolved, Finally, that the paramount claim upon the intelligent progressive life of our age and country is thus to instruct woman in the grandeur and dignity of her great natural office; to enlighten her, and through her instrumentality to make man sensible of the consequences of her enslavement; to encourage and strengthen her to demand as her own and her children’s indefesible right that freedom and control of her person in the marriage relation which alone would enable her to consult her nature, and its physical and spiritual capacity to assume at any time the office of mother; and that in the acknowledgment of the rank and freedom herein claimed for her, we are the only source of a spiritual, enduring and harmonial civilization, as well as the hope of a nobler race than has ever yet occupied the earth; that we regard humanity at present as more the offspring of its father than of its mother, by reason of the fact that man has been the positive power on all the planes of life which we have yet passed, and we can only look for its essential advancement above and intellectual and material refinement which so far is the experience of the masculine by the embodiment in it of the intuitive life, harmony, tenderness, fortitude, integrity, purity and love, which are the characteristic elements of the feminine.
[Mrs. FARNHAM, in supporting these resolutions, claimed that woman is made organically superior to man, as she is confessedly his superior spiritually. The discord that we hear concerning the marriage question, she attributed entirely to the general idea of woman’s inferiority — a position which she utterly scouted. To her apprehension, this question will take a definite form whenever men would consent to judge from the physical in Nature what God intended the spiritual to be. Admitting this principle, we shall begin to understand the truth as it is. She believed that to-day, with the truths she had found, she could go into the Five Points, and by pleading with such women there as were yet capable of producing offspring, would never afterwards produce children so bad as they had produced — not through any eloquence she possessed, but in consequence of the power of the truths she could tell.]
Source: The Syracuse Standard, July 1858.
Also: Broadside at the Rokeby Museum, Ferrisburgh VT.