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Modern Persecution, or Married Woman's Liabilities
During the post-Civil Wars years, Elizabeth Packard was one of the key champions of rights for women and people labeled as insane. At this time, men could declare their wives insane and have them institutionalized without a public hearing—a fate that befell Elizabeth Packard in 1860. She spent three years in the Illinois State Hospital in Jacksonville, for disagreeing with her husband’s conservative religious philosophy, views on slavery, and how to raise their children.
In 1863, the asylum doctors declared her incurable and released her to her husband. He deprived her of clothing and boarded her up inside a room, actions that were illegal. She smuggled a letter to a friend, who convinced a judge to grant a writ of habeus corpus. At the trial of Packard v. Packard, the jury decided in her favor in only seven minutes.
After gained her freedom, Packard became an activist for women’s rights and personal liberty. Her writings inspired Illinois and several other states to pass laws that prevented husbands declaring their wives insane and that required jury trials before people could be committed.
But, from whence comes the mouldy, rotten, shriveled nut?
From the gnarly, old, decayed, rotten and crumbling trees of Calvinism!
Let the woodman's axe level it, and prepare it for the flames.
But let the fair young twigs of nature's verdant soil remain, to fill the welcome vacuums with the fragrant foliage, and spreading boughs, and teeming fruits of the perfected Christianity of nature.
So, in God's great family of human trees -- the sects, tribes, races, nations of men -- each and all, have a shell, and a nut, peculiar to itself. For God has made us to differ.
How shall we perfect ourselves?
Shall the butternut try to be a walnut?
Shall the chestnut strive to be a hazelnut?
No. Be what God has made you to be -- a good butternut, a good chestnut.
Some like chestnuts best. Some like walnuts best. Be good in your sphere, and you will be sure to find some to admire and appreciate you.
But the mongrel all rejects. It is not a native-born plant; nature perfects her own fruit on a self-reliant base. It is bad cultivation that makes nature's prodigies.
God made man a democrat; society makes him an aristocrat. Let not the aristocracy of the Presbyterian Church boast of their being God's workmanship.
No! aristocracy is the fruit of Calvinism, not of Christianity. It is the true man, the true woman, which God makes. And those only are good men and good women who are natural -- who bring forth the fruits of righteousness. "He that feareth God, and worketh righteousness, is accepted of him," whether Jew or Gentile, bond or free.
Be a good slave, and try to wait as patiently as you can for your freedom, for it is certain God will free you before long if your government does not.
Be a good slaveholder, if God's providence has made you one; but don't trust to Providence to be responsible for your continuing to be one; for to be a good slaveholder now, you must and will emancipate your slaves forthwith: for God says you must do it, or he will do it for you.
Be a good Catholic, if God has made you a Catholic; and to be a good Catholic you must not believe that Protestants are all heretics, for they are not all heretics. It is only the bigoted Calvinist that is a heretic -- a tyrant -- a despot. It is the Calvinist alone who reflects your image; or rather, it is you who reflects his image.
Be generous to your impulses. Be a free, independent thinker, standing on the self-reliant base of a whole true man.
Be equally generous to others. Let them be as true to themselves as you are to yourself, and all will be harmony and peace.
It is the Christians, the practical Christians, who are alike -- not the creeds or sects. In every man behold a brother and a friend -- one endued with equal rights and privileges with yourselves.
Remember, there is a well in every rock. Moses did not well to be impatient to see the waters of humanity gush on at the first drill stroke. The drill of perseverance does wonders in tunneling the rock.
Remember, too, that iron is melted by the furnace of affliction
Remember, too, that God thought that one Niagara was enough for one world. But not so with the verdant rill, the babbling brook, the heavy moving stream, the pond, the lake, the sea. Each has his own office to fill, and none can fill another's.
The foaming cataract is the world's wonder -- but the mountain spring is the world's blessing.
"One Lord, one Faith, one Baptism."
On the afternoon of October 16,1863, as I was preparing to copy my first volume for the press, Dr. McFarland came to my room to inspect the business.
I saw by the eye of my instinct, rather than by the eye of my natural vision, that he had not come alone, as usual, but brought that most unwelcome guest, the bad Dr. McFarland, or, the "old Adam," rather, with him.
I knew I must now be as wise as a serpent, in dealing with the serpent, or I should be bit by it! So I put on my "charming" powers to quiet his asperities and control his reason. And choosing, as I thought, the most unexceptionable manuscript, my "Dedication," I offered to read it to him, for him to offer his criticism upon, before copying it for the press.
I had read about two-thirds of it, with rather a palpitating heart, when he suddenly interrupted me by saying:
"I should like to remark here, that I don't like your calling this place a prison, so much; for it isn't so. And as I'm to superintend these manuscripts for the press, I'm not willing you should call it a prison. You may call it a place of confinement, if you choose, but not a prison. It is only a notion you have taken up, to call it a prison, by your choosing voluntarily to confine yourself to it, as if it were a prison. But you have no occasion for so doing. I am just as willing you should have your liberty, as I am to let Mrs. Chapman have hers. And she goes about just where she pleases; and so could you, if you chose to."