Rachel Speght – “A Muzzle for Melastomus” (the end)

In this excerpt Speght uses the methods of Aristotelian analysis to prove that the creation of woman, as described in the Bible, was good. First of all, the cause – and who can fault the cause, since it was God himself, who made all things good? (really, Rachel? even tapeworms and mosquitoes?) Secondly the material – Eve was made of Adam’s rib, so not from dust as he was, but from his own body, which at the moment of her creation already had a soul, so it proves she was actually made of better stuff than he. Moreover, the rib (as opposed to Swetnam’s jibes about how crooked it is) is actually a very noble part: God chooses not to make woman out of man’s foot, to make her subservient to him, or his hear, to make her superior to him, but from a bone near to his heart, to show that they are equals. Thirdly, the form – since the Bible says that both man and woman were created in the image of God, nobody can deny they both must have been excellent. And fourthly, the reason why she was made, it was to glorify God, just like man, so again nobody can find fault with that.

A short text “To the Reader”, serving as a kind of a preface to the appendix to A Muzzle, shows us Speght justifying herself, saying that although she is only a young woman, and whatever learning she has, it was snatched just in the few hours free from more feminine occupations, she is aware that according to the rules of the polemic her text should follow the form of Swetnam’s text. But – and here’s another blow – Swetnam’s pamphlet is so disorderly logically and gramatically that there’s no way she could follow him. God, I love this girl and I am very sad her writing career was apparently cut so short.


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