Letter on Miss Jex Blake

The Times (July 1874)

As Miss Jex Blake may possibly think that my decision was influenced by prejudice against her cause, allow me to add that such prejudice as I labour under lies in the opposite direction. Without seeing any reason to believe that women are, on the average, so strong physically, intellectually, or morally, as men, I cannot shut my eyes to the fact that many women are much better endowed in all these respects than many men, and I am at a loss to understand on what grounds of justice or public policy a career which is open to the weakest and most foolish of the male sex should be forcibly closed to women of vigour and capacity.

We have heard a great deal lately about the physical disabilities of women. Some of these alleged impediments, no doubt, are really inherent in their organisation, but nine-tenths of them are artificial–the products of their modes of life. I believe that nothing would tend so effectually to get rid of these creations of idleness, weariness, and that "over stimulation of the emotions" which, in plainer-spoken days, used to be called wantonness, than a fair share of healthy work, directed towards a definite object, combined with an equally fair share of healthy play, during the years of adolescence; and those who are best acquainted with the acquirements of an average medical practitioner will find it hardest to believe that the attempt to reach that standard is like to prove exhausting to an ordinarily intelligent and well-educated young woman.


C. Blinderman & D. Joyce
Clark University