“Discourse on Woman,” Assembly Buildings, Philadelphia, December 17, 1849
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68 “Discourse on Woman,” 1849 and occasionally by our accredited preaching in our Meetings, giving a check to this noble reformation? Are we showing by the stamp upon our countenances that we are still indulging in the intoxicating wine, beer, and cider while this great reformation has reached almost to the uttermost ends of the earth? Depend upon it if this be the case, our testimony against intemperance will be but as a show, as a form, and we shall not have evidence that we are advancing in this also. I hope better things my friends. I trust that this great testimony has found its place among the younger members, at least of our Society, influencing the fathers and mothers so far as to banish the decanters, and bringing us down to the pure water, by which our minds are kept clearer to discriminate, our morals purer, our hearts cleaner for the reception of the blessed light of Christ. May then these Quarterly Meetings be seasons of self examination, and for holding up great principles wherein there is progress one unto another. I could not let this opportunity pass without holding up these things before us, so that we may be profited. If we are really profited by these, it must be by coming home and bringing these principles to bear upon our every day conduct in life. Blessed shall he be who is ready to say, here am I O Lord, send me into the great harvest field of reform where there shall be labour and this labour shall be done A few words towards the close of this sermon were not heard distinctly. S[medley]. D[arlington], reporter Stenographic Report, Sermons, Mott Manuscripts, FHL 1. Rachel C. Rogers (ca. 1803–82), Philadelphia Hicksite minister (Palmer, 482). 2. At their Quarterly and Yearly Meetings, Friends responded to a series of queries to determine their faithfulness to the principles of the Society. LM refers to a debate that divided the Society of Friends during the 1840s. While some ministers and elders criticized LM and other Quakers for participating in the interfaith antislavery movement, LM asked whether or not the elders’ reading and voting habits conformed to the Society’s testimony against slavery and war. In 1848 Genesee Yearly Meeting, which had agreed that voting violated Quaker values, split over the issue of worldly activism, and LM’s allies formed the Congregational Friends (see Faulkner, 84–85, 132–33). “Discourse on Woman,” Assembly Buildings, Philadelphia, December 17, 1849 There is nothing of greater importance to the well-being of society at large—of man as well as woman—than the true and proper position of woman. Much has been said, from time to time, upon this subject. It has been a theme for ridicule, for satire and sarcasm. We might look for this from the ignorant and vulgar; but from the intelligent and refined we have a right to expect that such weapons shall not be resorted to,—that gross comparisons and vulgar epithets shall not be applied, so as to place woman, in a point of view, ridiculous to say the least. This subject has claimed my earnest interest for many years. I have long wished to see woman occupying a more elevated position than that which custom for “Discourse on Woman,” 1849 69 ages has allotted to her. It was with great regret, therefore, that I listened a few days ago to a lecture upon this subject, which, though replete with intellectual beauty, and containing much that was true and excellent, was yet fraught with sentiments calculated to retard the progress of woman to the high elevation destined by her Creator.1 I regretted the more that these sentiments should be presented with such intellectual vigor and beauty, because they would be likely to ensnare the young. The minds of young people generally, are open to the reception of more exalted views upon this subject. The kind of homage that has been paid to woman, the flattering appeals which have too long satisfied her—appeals to her mere fancy and imagination, are giving place to a more extended recognition of her rights, her important duties and responsibilities in life. Woman is claiming for herself stronger and more profitable food. Various are the indications leading to this conclusion. The increasing attention to female education, the improvement in the literature of the age, especially in what is called the “Ladies’ Department,” in the periodicals of the day, are among the proofs...


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