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M., L. J.
Autograph Letter Signed L. J. M., undated, New York, circa 1840s, to his cousin Miss L. W. Bartlett, Dedham, Massachusetts

Quarto, two pages, written on a bi-folium, postal markings on integral address leaf, in very good, clean and legible condition.

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The author of this letter who signs himself the recipient’s cousin and her “most ardent admirer”, writes to Miss Bartlett, expressing his views on women and their place in society, and, unsurprisingly, his views reflect, with crystal clarity, the chauvinistic, sexist, and paternalistic views of the day:

 

“You seem to be very much delighted my dear Coz with the letter you recd from Mr C – in which he said he thought a woman could govern as well as man. I must say I do not agree with him. I think a woman would make a poor figure in the President’s Chair, or in the field of battle. Place her over an army of men, what could she do, and as to governing an army of women the Devil himself could not do that. Now if you will allow me I will examine Womans claim to govern. We will place her in all the different situations in which man is placed. We will first go to the office of the lawyer – Permit me to say that argument was never yet woman’s fort she would I fear like the Vicar of Wakefield’s wife, make up in noise, what she wanted in argument. Go to the physician – how could her trembling hand guide the lancet, nature has made her sensitive, she was made to watch b the sick couch, and in the chambers of suffering she is a ministering angel, there woman rises far above man. At the alter of religion she stands unmovable, suffering never yet made her forsake her master.  In sculpture and poetry woman rarely excels. And to come down to the meaner offices of life on tailoring and cooking man far surpasses woman. Cooking man far surpasses woman. You must not be offended. I allow your power over the heart of man. I allow your eyes are bright and that you are all most bewitching creatures – and that I should like to place you at the head of my table but never wish to see you at the head of the nation…”