Page:The Scholar in a Republic.djvu/28

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face to face with her last claim,—the ballot. It has been a weary and thankless, though successful, struggle. But if there be any refuge from that ghastly curse, the vice of great cities,—before which social science stands palsied and dumb,—it is in this more equal recognition of woman. If, in this critical battle for universal suffrage,—our fathers' noblest legacy to us, and the greatest trust God leaves in our hands,—there be any weapon, which, once taken from the armory, will make victory certain, it will be, as it has been in art, literature, and society, summoning woman into the political arena.

But, at any rate, up to this point, putting suffrage aside, there can be no difference of opinion: every thing born of Christianity, or allied to Grecian culture or Saxon law, must rejoice in the gain. The literary class, until half a dozen years, has taken note of this great uprising only to fling every obstacle in its way. The first glimpse we get of Saxon blood in history is that line of Tacitus in his "Germany," which reads, "In all grave matters they consult their women." Years hence, when robust Saxon sense has flung away Jewish superstition and Eastern prejudice, and put under its foot fastidious scholarship and squeamish fashion, some second Tacitus, from the valley of the Mississippi, will answer to him of the Seven Hills, "In all grave questions we consult our women."

I used to think that then we could say to letters as Henry of Navarre wrote to the Sir Philip Sidney of his realm, Crillon, "the bravest of the brave," "We have conquered at Arques, et tu n'y étais pas, Crillon,"—"You were not there, my Crillon." But a second thought reminds me that what claims to be literature has been always present in that battle-field, and always in the ranks of the foe.