“Woman Suffrage.” -- By: John Milton Williams

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 050:198 (Apr 1893)
Article: “Woman Suffrage.”
Author: John Milton Williams


“Woman Suffrage.”

Rev. John Milton Williams

For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife, and the twain shall become one flesh.” In this pregnant utterance the Great Teacher gives the divine conception and the true ideal of marriage. He makes it consist in the oneness of husband and wife. They are, he repeats, no more two, but one. What God hath joined together. Their home and possessions are common to both, their earthly-interests inseparable, and they so complement each other as to form a complete person—the unit of society.

The beauty and rationale of this relation appear when we reflect how the identity of aims and interests it secures knits human hearts together. It brings man and wife into the closest conceivable harmony, banishes separate interests, that chief bane of the household, and renders dissonance between them a thing hardly possible.

It is a relation in which woman as the weaker party finds a refuge. She stands related to her husband as a part of himself. He feels the same interest in her welfare he does in his own; he protects, defends, and shelters her, with the same ready hand that shields and protects himself. In the gains and losses, the victories and defeats, the prosperity and adversity of either, both are equal sharers. The gladness and the tears of the home belong equally to husband and wife. Thus united, how doubly strong they are, how doubly dear and helpful to each other, and how doubly fortified against the trials and enemies of the way! Like two moun-

tain rills united, they flow along with more than redoubled strength, and more than redoubled music.

This wondrous relation is the key to the great problem of woman’s sphere and rights. What are woman’s rights? Precisely those, I answer, of her husband. As a matter of convenience he carries the ballot to the polls as he carries the tax to the county treasurer, and relieves her of a burden she gladly escapes. The vote he carries is not his own alone. It is the family vote, selected, it is presumed, by the united wisdom of both husband and wife, in the emoluments of which both equally share. The complaint that she is deprived of her vote is groundless. She is, if in the true sense a wife, represented at the polls by her husband, as a partner in the firm, and she may as reasonably complain that he drives the carriage and feeds the horses. If she is ambitious for the publicity of voting, or if, by sickness or otherwise, he is disabled, I see no objection to her carrying the vote, unless it be the abuse which might come from such an arrangement.

But I am reminded that all women...

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