Knox’s response, November 22, 1912, To the Editor of The Morpeth Herald,
“Woman Suffrage Question” [italics below indicate Davison’s underlinings in the scrapbook text]
Sir, — I am extremely obliged to Miss E. Davison for drawing my attention to the medical evidence she quoted in a recent issue, although there was no need to throw at my head the old saw, ‘Convince a man against his will, he is of the same opinion still.’ Everyone, Miss Davison, runs the risk of having this applied to him, who, after what seems to him due examination and deliberation, has come to hold a certain set of opinions, and who, with his best endeavours, does not find any opposing views and arguments, any that can outbear his own. I rest content with my position, and it seems to me the only one open under the circumstances, for I fail to see the reasonableness of rejecting sound, good evidence that was ever vouchsafed to man.
Let me admit there was good evidence to support Miss Davison’s argument: but, on the other hand, there is as good—and I think better—to uphold mine, and in all matters of discordant opinions only one side can possibly be in the right. In establishing my theory against Miss Davison’s, let me quote some figures which speak for themselves; and, if I mistake not, will be more convincing than many arguments.
It may be presumed that if women are so well equipped as men in the size of brains, the average height of a group of women ought to be equal to the average group of men. But it is not so. Whatever the size chosen for comparison, the woman’s brain is always less than the man’s. Whether the observations be made in England, France, or Germany, the results are the same. From Boyd’s figures, taken in England, there can be picked out 102 men and 113 women between 64 and 66 inches high, averaging close on 64 inches for each group. But the brains of men average 46.9 ounces, while those of the women are only 41.9 which give the men the advantage of 12 per cent. There are 21 small men whose height average 62 inches, and there are 135 women of the same height. The brains of the men weigh 45.6 ounces, those of the women only 42.9 ounces, giving the men an advantage of 6.3 per cent. From the figures which Brocus gathered in Paris, there may be selected 54 men and 23 women whose heights were 1.61 metre, the average of women, however, being nearly half and inch more than that of the men; yet their brains were 9 per cent less than the men’s, the weights being 12.13 grammes for the females and 13.29 for the males.
It makes no difference if, instead of taking equal heights we take body weight. Bischoff figures, gathered in Bonn, will give us the data. There are 91 men and 116 women whose bodies were between 30 and 39 kilogrammes. The brains of the men weighted 13.48 grammes, and those of the women 12.06, which gives the men an excess of 11 percent. There were 206 men and 125 women whose body weights lay between 40 and 49 kilogrammes. The brains of the men averaged 13.62 grammes, those of the women only 12.15. Here the men have the advantage of 12 per cent. Between 50 and 59 kilogrammes there were 148 men and 50 women. The men’s brains averaged 13.70 grammes, the women’s only 12.45. The excess is 10 per cent. In favour of the men.
Taking our stand by these figures, we can safely form the opinion that when women and men are of equal height or equal weight, the men have something like 10 per cent more brains than the women. We might go further, and compare the weight of the brain with the height of the body. In that case man has the advantage. Boyd’s figures, taken at Marylebone Hospital, shows that man has .73 ounce of brain for every inch in his height, while woman has only .70. this gives him an excess of 4 per cent. Brocus figures in Paris gives by this method an excess of 6 ½ per cent. To the male brain.
Miss Davison will admit, I hope, that I have made ample amends for my apparent neglect in dealing with the medical evidence she quoted. It may be also hoped these figures will tell for something with her, and until they have been answered by other proofs as direct, I fear Miss Davison will fail in convincing me to the contrary. We cannot but yield allegiance to honest figures and these figures have been taken in places and at different times by men whose business it was to measure and weigh without regard to the conclusions. The lesson to be drawn from them is one that leaves but little room for doubt.
In dealing thus with quantity, I have by no means forgotten quality. There are no facts—at least not to my knowledge—to be procured in reference to quality, except such as arise out of the practical experience of every-day life. The question of relative quality is, therefore, one that is a matter of speculation. I have, moreover, from every-day life, endeavoured to show the quality in the male to be superior to that of the female; but Miss Davison over-rides my arguments by saying that I am tinged with a strong bias, and therefore no true philosopher. But whatever she may say and do, the excess of 10 per cent. of brain matter is no mere trifle, and not so easily brushed aside.
I take exception to the insulting remark attributed to me by Miss Davison about American women. I only stated what had been said by great American physicians, whose testimony can be borne out by every-day experience happening in that State. Although the climate may have something to do in oppressing American females more than English women, yet it is the physiological side that is at fault, and is engaging the attention of the American doctors.
Miss Davison does not dwell long on the physiological part of this discussion, and when I refer to it she passes it by with some brief comment. For of all the pricks against which it hard to kick, the hardest are those which are presented by nature in the form of facts, as a great scientist puts it. No amount of female education can overcome the natural and fundamental distinctions of sex. Women are women, and [here a vertical marginal line] they cannot choose but be women. This, Miss Davison, is not an empirical assertion, but a plain statement of physiological fact.
I have often wondered what is the future the new women are preparing for their own branch of the human race. Would it not happen that the strongest faculties of women are such, if exercised without social restraint, will most surely estrange them, if not from the feelings, from the habits and associations of the traditional female life. What number of new women will choose to become mothers, and what at best will be the maternal qualities of women [here a vertical marginal line] for whom maternity is no longer a primary object, but a possible incident of life? Would there not be one result of female emancipation, and that is, that in its full and final attainment, not only the power of love in women, but for either sex its possibility will have passed away?
These are only musings on my part, and I do not expect them to enter into this discussion. I could not resist the temptation to place them on paper, and from man’s standpoint of view they will be accepted as very interesting and deserving to be pondered over. –Yours, etc.,