Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 11.djvu/449

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433
THE STATUS OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN.

shorten the two voltaic arcs. The consequence is, that the second lamp will have its proper working interfered with, while the first alone should have been regulated. In other words, the solidarity of the two apparatuses will tend to produce in each unnecessary changes of regulation that will constantly result in causing the system of lamps to work badly. But with the candle there is nothing of this kind, and, provided that the source of electricity possesses sufficient tension to produce the voltaic arcs, many may stand in the same circuit. In the Magasins du Louvre we have seen in some instances four lights, in others three, produced by a single machine. The sequel will show whether we can reasonably expect to see even a greater division of the electric light, and whether this invention may not have still further applications.—La Nature.

 
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THE STATUS OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN.
By HERBERT SPENCER.
I.

PERHAPS in no way is the moral progress of mankind more clearly shown than by contrasting the position of women among savages with their position among the most advanced of the civilized: at the one extreme a treatment of them cruel to the utmost degree bearable; and at the other extreme a treatment which, in certain directions, gives them precedence over men.

The only limit to the brutality women are subjected to by men of the lowest races is the inability to live and propagate under greater. Clearly, ill-usage, under-feeding, and overworking, may be pushed to an extent which, if not immediately fatal to the women, incapacitates them for rearing children enough to maintain the population; and disappearance of the society follows. Both directly and indirectly such excess of harshness disables a tribe from holding its own against other tribes; since, besides greatly augmenting the mortality of children, it causes inadequate nutrition, and therefore imperfect development, of those which survive. But, short of this, there is at first no check to the tyranny which the stronger sex exercises over the weaker. Stolen from another tribe, and perhaps made insensible by a blow that she may not resist; not simply beaten, but speared about the limbs, when she displeases her savage owner; forced to do all the drudgery and bear all the burdens, while she has to care for and carry about her children; and feeding on what is left after the man has done: the woman's sufferings are carried as far as consists with survival of herself and her offspring.

It seems not improbable that, by its actions and reactions, this