04 June 2011

For the times they didn't really change that much at all

Susan Fenimore Cooper, daughter of James and an accomplished author in her own right, whispers this bit of sanity to those who would hear:

"A word more on the subject of home life, as one in which the interests of the whole sex are most closely involved. It is clear that those interests are manifold, highly important to the welfare of the race, unceasing in their recurrence, urgent and imperative in their nature, requiring for their successful development such devotion of time, labor, strength, thought, feeling, that they must necessarily leave but little leisure to the person who faithfully discharges them. The comfort, health, peace, temper, recreation, general welfare, intellectual, moral, and religious training of a family make up, indeed, a charge of the very highest dignity, and one which must tax to the utmost every faculty of the individual to whom it is entrusted. The commander of a regiment at the head of his men, the member of Congress in his seat, the judge on his bench, scarcely holds a position so important, so truly honorable, as that of the intelligent, devoted, faithful American wife and mother, wisely governing her household. And what are the interests of the merchant, the manufacturer, the banker, the broker, the speculator, the selfish politician, when compared with those confided to the Christian wife and mother? They are too often simply contemptible--a wretched, feverish, maddening struggle to pile up lucre, which is any thing but clean. Where is the superior merit of such a life, that we should hanker after it, when placed beside that of the loving, unselfish, Christian wife and mother--the wife, standing at her husband's side, to cheer, to aid, to strengthen, to console, to counsel, amidst the trials of life; the mother, patiently, painfully, and prayerfully cultivating every higher faculty of her children for worthy action through time and eternity?"

While Miss Cooper's handling of the subject hits rather bluntly upon our modern sensibilities, her essay, Female Suffrage: A Letter to the Christian Women of America, is worth a perusal. Find it here.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just a few question from a curious lurker:
1- do you women vote?
2- is it always true for every woman that being a wife/mother is better than a career?
3. What about women who don't want children- are they bad/unchristian/lying?
4. what is your idea of a proper response to domestic violence/marital rape & emotional abuse?

Thanks!

Gauntlets said...

Hey, Anon. You seem the decent sort, so I'll give you the short of it here. If you're interested in a longer response, email me over at the CSPP account.

1. Yes.
2. No.
3. What?
4. Such things are sickening, and are best handled by agents of the Gospel and the Law.

Leah said...

"urgent and imperative in their nature, requiring for their successful development such devotion of time, labor, strength, thought, feeling, that they must necessarily leave but little leisure to the person who faithfully discharges them.

This is the part that makes me think rearing children is one of the hardest jobs there is - because the "faithful discharging" of it requires nothing less than my death.

Katy said...

Thanks so much for posting this (and thanks so much to the JFC Society for putting it online). I've had maybe 3 awkward conversations about suffrage in the last 5 years, and apparently most conservative (general, not political) folks haven't thought much about it; it is assumed, and they think I'm crazy for reconsidering the arguments against. Sometimes it's good to just have a book or article you can pass along when your own eloquence and understanding is deficient.

I knew there was a reason I liked Cooper so much...

Louise said...

"...a charge of the very highest dignity, and one which must tax to the utmost every faculty of the individual to whom it is entrusted."

I love my life as a wife & mother. Yes, it is my death. Thank you for sharing this article.

infanttheology said...

You inspired me:

http://infanttheology.wordpress.com/2011/06/07/on-motherhood/

Well, this post combined with some personal experiences yesterday that bring home the truth...

Enjoy your blog. Thanks.

infanttheology said...

this post = your post

Pr. H. R. said...

When I served a parish in a fancy suburb of Chicago it was very interesting to note that only the wives of the well off members stayed home. It is a sad commentary on our society that in many quarters traditional motherhood has become a status symbol that only few can afford. Is this the ultimate fruit of the Womyn's Movement: society, especially the labor market, has become so radically restructured that only a small part of society can find employment that allows mom to stay home?

Simple supply and demand. What did we expect to happen to wages when the labor market was flooded with unnumbered millions of the fairer sex?

+HRC

Rebekah said...

Magua understands that the white man is a dog to his women.

Gauntlets said...

Ayuh.

Here's more, more to the point:

http://www.thinkinghousewife.com/wp/2011/06/hostility-to-home-and-womanliness/#more-25025