Matilda Joslyn Gage
Matilda Electa Joslyn Gage (March 24, 1826 – March 18, 1898) was a 19th-century women's suffragist, a Native American rights activist, an abolitionist, a freethinker, and a prolific author, who was "born with a hatred of oppression."
Woman, Church and State (1893)
Matilda Joslyn Gage : ‘Church, Woman and State’, New York, 1893. reprinted by Voice of India, New Delhi, 1997
- As early as the sixth century a council at Macon (585) fifty-nine bishops taking part, devoted its time to a discussion of this question, ‘Does woman possess a soul ?’…… Until time of Peter the Great, women were not recognized as human beings in that great division of Christendom known as the Greek church, the census of that empire counting only males, or so many ‘souls’ -no woman named. Traces of this old belief have not been found wanting in our own country within the century. As late as the Woman’s Rights Convention in Philadelphia, 1854, an objector in the audience cried out : ‘Let women first prove they have souls; both the Church and the State deny it.’
- pp. 56-57
- The Parliament of Toulouse burned 400 witches at one time. Four hundred women at one hour on the public square, dying the horrid death of fire for a crime which never existed save in the imagination of those persecutors and which grew in their imagination from a false belief in woman’s extraordinary wickedness, based upon a false theory as to original sin.
- p. 228
- It is computed from historical records that nine millions of persons were put to death for witchcraft after 1484, or during a period of three hundred years, and this estimate does not include the vast number who were sacrificed in the preceding centuries upon the same accusation. The greater number of this incredible multitude were women.
- p. 247
- Boiling heretics and malefactors alive, commonly in oil but occasionally in water, was practised throughout Europe until a comparatively late period.
- p. 267
- Massachusetts was not the only, colony that treated witchcraft as a crime. Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia possessed similar enactments. Witchcraft was considered and treated as a capital offense by the laws of both Pennsylvania and New York, trials taking place in both colonies not long before the Salem tragedy......... Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts and New York, eight of the thirteen colonies recognized witchcraft as a capital crime.
- pp. 289-90
- While the sale of daughters was practiced in England for seven hundred years after the introduction of Christianity, we note that by the ancient law of India, a father was forbidden to sell his daughter in marriage, or receive the smallest present therefor. In mediaeval England the daughter was held as a portion of the father property to be sold to the highest bidder.
- p. 301
- For a long period after the reformation, English women were not permitted to read the Bible, a statute of the Eighth Henry prohibiting ‘women and others of low degree’ from its use.
- p. 355
- An examination of history proves that in Christian Russia as in Christian England the husband could release himself from the marriage bond by killing his wife, over whom under Christian law he had power of life and death. Her children, as to-day in Christian England and America, are not under her control; she is to bear children but not to educate them, for as under Catholic and Protestant Christianity, women are looked upon as a lower order of beings, of an unclean nature.
- pp. 380-381
- The careful student of history will discover that Christianity has been of very little value in advancing civilization, but has done a great deal toward retarding it.
- p. 539
- The church and civilization are antipodal; one means authority, the other freedom; one means conservatism, the other progress; one means the rights of God as interpreted by the priesthood, the other the rights of humanity as interpreted by humanity. Civilization advances by free thought, free speech, free men.
- p. 540 as quoted in K. M. Talreja, Holy Vedas and Holy Bible: A Comparative Study, New Delhi: Rashtriya Chetana Sangathan, 2000
- The State, agent and slave of the Church, has so long united with it in suppression of woman’s intelligence, has so long preached of power to man alone, that it has created an inherited tendency, an inborn line of thought toward repression.
- p. 543 as quoted in K. M. Talreja, Holy Vedas and Holy Bible: A Comparative Study, New Delhi: Rashtriya Chetana Sangathan, 2000
- Encyclopedic article on Matilda Joslyn Gage at Wikipedia